Monday, November 30, 2009

Cartographically speaking

Strange Maps. Click here to launch slide show.

Click here to read a slide-show essay on strange maps.

"Spread your tiny wings and fly awaaaaayyyy"

[Members of the media brave the snow and gather outside Roman Polanski's chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland, waiting for the director to be placed under house arrest in the building. Image via Getty]

Don't look for the loo in this library

Mini-Library Created from Phone Box - Image from BBC

The red phone boxes of Britain are such a pleasant sight. They are bright and cheerful and one of the most recognizable icons of the British Isles. It’s no wonder that the impending loss of such a phone box could send villagers into somewhat of a panic.Phone Box Library - Photograph: SWNS

Rather than just panic, the residents of Westbury-sub-Mendip, a village in Somerset, took action. Not only was their beloved Giles Gilbert Scott K6 design phone box under threat, the mobile library was no longer servicing the 800 inhabitants. So why not kill two birds with one stone? And that’s what the villagers did -they turned the phone box into a mini-library.

With an investment of £30 (of which £1 was the purchase cost of the phone box), shelving, and books donated by residents, the local library was up and running.

Unlike other libraries, this one is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Circulation is carefully monitored and if a book garners little or no interest, it’s donated to a charity.

Parish councillor Bob Dolby says, “It’s very pleasing that the phone box has been saved but is also being used to provide a service for the village.”

Cormac McCarthy typewriter for sale


Cormac McCarthy looks like a typewriter sort of author - I just can’t see him updating his Twitter account from his iPhone some how. His old manual typewriter, a much-used Olivetti that he bought in a Tennesssee pawnshop around 1963, is up for auction on Friday. This antique is definitely a piece of literary history as McCarthy has written all his books on it. The author has probably spent more time with this typewriter than he has with this wives (he’s been married three times.)

Clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack coming from his study day after day for year after year.

Christie’s estimates that it will sell for “between $15,000 and $20,000.”

In Europe the Car of the Year

Volkswagen Polo 2009

Car of the Year - VW Polo

New Volkswagen Polo scoops European Car of the Year 2010.

Today in Wash.D.C. – reality has no effect

White House still believes 'climate change is happening'... Gibbs on Climategate: The science is settled
Climategate: 'Scientific establishment hopelessly compromised'...
Nobel-prize winning climate alarmist flies to India and back to play cricket for one day. Twice.
Health bills fail to block illegals from coverage, despite Obama pledge...
Scott Rasmussen finds that an astonishing 71 percent of voters describe themselves as angry at the current policies of the federal government. That's up five percent since September. A plurality of 46 percent say they are "very angry" at the federal government. That's up 10 percent since September.
Not surprisingly, voters continue to reject the Democrats' health care proposals by, currently, 53-41 percent.

Bill Finds Beauty In Burmese Teak...From Paris

It's hard to argue. There is something splendid and beautiful about the natural grain of wood; spontaneous without pretension.
Bill and Robert agree. We can find beauty at every turn.
"When I see birches bend to left and right,
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay."
--Robert Frost

Buick Regal/ Opel Insignia. They liked it

 More »

  • We drove the European spec Insignia against the Regal and believe it or not, the Regal is better.

    So let's see what we have here; A gorgeous, fun-to-drive, quick, comfortable, well-equipped American sedan built with the quality of its German competitors... and it's a Buick. Who knew?

    The BBC and the Most Important Meeting in History

    The Most important Meeting in History! 


    I have just heard a BBC world service reporter declare matter-of-factly that next month’s climate-change conference “is the most important meeting in the history of the world.”
    (Incidentally a few minutes later another BBC presenter talked of the BBC’s worldwide “reputation for fair and unbiased reporting” — BBC staff seem unaware that the BBC lost that reputation decades ago.)
    This site has a brilliant list of things (with links to reports in media such as the BBC and Reuters) caused by global warmingaccording to the alarmists that is, of course. And all on 0.006 degrees centigrade per year!

    Spectacular Wave Door

    This door, created by Matharoo Associates for a diamond merchant in India, is flat-out crazy. It's 17 feet tall, five and a half feet wide, and is made up of 40 sections of Burmese teak. The door uses a counterweight, 80 ball bearings and 160 pulleys to create the incredible effect of reconfiguring into a sinusoidal curve when you push on any one section. Amazing.

    GW: it is not just the lying scientist, it is what they did to the scientific method

    ... global warming will kill us

    Edurdo Zorita, a researcher on past temperature trends at the Institute for Coastal Research in Germany, is calling for prominent Climategate reseachers, Phil Jones, Michael Mann, and Stefan Rahmstorf, to be banned from any future work on the Intergrovernmental Panel on Climate Change's reports. But Zorita makes an even more interesting and very disturbing observation:

    By writing these lines I will just probably achieve that a few of my future studies will, again, not see the light of publication. My area of research happens to be the climate of the past millennia, where I think I am appreciated by other climate-research 'soldiers'....

    I may confirm what has been written in other places: research in some areas of climate science has been and is full of machination, conspiracies, and collusion, as any reader can interpret from the CRU-files. They depict a realistic, I would say even harmless, picture of what the real research in the area of the climate of the past millennium has been in the last years. The scientific debate has been in many instances hijacked to advance other agendas.

    These words do not mean that I think anthropogenic climate change is a hoax. On the contrary, it is a question which we have to be very well aware of. But I am also aware that in this thick atmosphere -and I am not speaking of greenhouse gases now- editors, reviewers and authors of alternative studies, analysis, interpretations,even based on the same data we have at our disposal, have been bullied and subtly blackmailed. In this atmosphere, Ph D students are often tempted to tweak their data so as to fit the 'politically correct picture'. Some, or many issues, about climate change are still not well known. Policy makers should be aware of the attempts to hide these uncertainties under a unified picture. I had the 'pleasure' to experience all this in my area of research.

    Post Reply | Private Reply ...

    Huckabee, (Rep Ark) really messed up on this one. No excuse. It was wrong for Dukakis and it is wrong for Hucklebee

    Suspect in Cop Killings Was Out on Street Despite Lengthy Rap Sheet, Sentences

    His criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington, according to The Seattle Times. He had a lengthy prison sentence commuted in 2000 by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who cited Clemmons' youth.
    Gilchrist hearts Huckabee

    This did not take long. So the GW data was made up, lets worry about Global Cooling!

    New research shows that switching off the North Atlantic circulation can force the Northern hemisphere into a mini 'ice age' in a matter of months.

    The Day After Tomorrow on ...

    In the film The Day After Tomorrow, the world enters the icy grip of a new glacial period within the space of just a few weeks. Now new research shows that this scenario may not be so far from the truth after all.

    Around 12,800 years ago the northern hemisphere was hit by a mini ice-age, known by scientists as the Younger Dryas, and nicknamed the 'Big Freeze', which lasted around 1300 years. Geological evidence shows that the Big Freeze was brought about by a sudden influx of freshwater, when the glacial Lake Agassiz in North America burst its banks and poured into the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. This vast pulse, a greater volume than all of North America's Great Lakes combined, diluted the North Atlantic conveyor belt and brought it to a halt.

    Backgrounder on the SEALs Court Martial

    US Navy Seals Signed Book

    Earlier this week, news broke that three Navy SEALs were charged and may be court-martialed for allegedly punching a prisoner.  The prisoner, a high-value target (HVT) was turned over to authorities with a bloody lip.

    According to a source of mine — a retired SEAL who like myself still serves in other capacities — the feeling going around the Special Operations community at Fort Bragg is that this latest development is a kneejerk reaction to the situation a couple months ago when SEAL operators rescued Captain Phillips – Captain of the Maersk Alabama – off the coast of Somalia.

    At the time of the capture, the media played up the angle that President Obama himself gave the order to the SEAL snipers to open fire. Having done extensive time in anti-terrorist units myself, I can tell you from personal experience this is ridiculous, a total fabrication. Nobody except those with “eyes on” the targeted individuals can make the judgment call to open fire.

    The truth of the situation was that the SEALs were held off from infiltrating the AO (Area of Operations) for over 36 hours. There was a lot of resistance from the White House in letting them in theater in the first place; once they were in place they were given very restrictive ROE (Rules Of Engagement); so restrictive that they really couldn’t engage their targets. There were two previous opportunities to rescue Captain Phillips, and they were not allowed to engage their targets.

    When they finally did execute, they did so by liberally interpreting the ROE; the onsite commander finally had enough with the situation and gave them a weapons-free command and they were able to engage and rescue Captain Phillips. The fallout from the National Command Authority was immediate and extremely unpleasant; the White House did not want the rescue to be conducted in the way that it was.

    So the word on the street is that this latest development is payback for the SEALs violating the ROE in rescuing the captain of the Maersk Alabama. The Chain of Command is asserting itself, letting everybody know what’s going to happen to you if you don’t follow orders.

    As this was expressed to me, this opinion is based on very good, solid inside information. In my personal experience with Navy brass I have found they are very political and very politically correct. The Naval Command’s reaction to the prisoner situation was so overblown and out of proportion that I somehow find this latest angle quite believable. Unfortunately.

    Blue Sliver


    Our Atmosphere: A Fragile Sliver Of Blue Against An Endless Black

    Earth's atmosphere shimmers in the sunlight, against a dark background, in this amazing photo taken by the crew of the International Space Station during a docking with the Space Shuttle Atlantis

    NBC going after the reporters of the scandal, not the scandal

    massive plot by ACORN ...

    ACORN Considering Name Change?!
    REVEALED: NBCNEWS, ACORN worked together in 'undercover video sting'...

    NBC Nightly News TV Show ...


    Happy St Andrew's Day


    In 1320 Scots issued the Declaration of Arbroath. Stating that Scotland had converted to Christianity through the inspiration of St. Andrew, they passionately affirmed their love of liberty -

    It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

    St Andrew - his Greek name means manhood and valour - was Christ's first apostle and the brother of Peter. He is said to have preached in Asia Minor, Scythia, Russia and Greece and to have been martyred on an X-shaped cross. it is believed that his relics were brought to St Andrews early in the 8th century.

    During a 9th century battle, the Scots saw a cloud shaped like a saltire – an X-shaped cross – in the blue sky, and declared that St Andrew was watching over them. They won the battle.

    This is part of the real cost of ObamaCare

    ... in Cars are Cancer Causing

    10,000 Unnecessary Cancer Deaths (In Britain). “Since Britain’s population is less than one-fifth that of the U.S., the equivalent number of unnecessary deaths in the U.S. would exceed 50,000. The U.S. has cancer survival rates which exceed even the better European countries, so that number may be higher. Keep that in mind the next time you hear Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and others throw around fictitious numbers about how many people die in the U.S. from lack of insurance.”

    Actually, Al had some help

    global warming hoax ebooks ...

    The CRU has been a major source of data on global temperatures, relied on by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But the e-mails suggest that CRU scientists have been suppressing and misstating data and working to prevent the publication of conflicting views in peer-reviewed science periodicals. Some of the more pungent e-mails:

    "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

    "Can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith re AR4?"

    "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."

    You get the idea. The most charitable plausible explanation I have seen comes from the Atlantic's Megan McArdle. "The CRU's main computer model may be, to put it bluntly, complete rubbish."

    Clinton to Wed


    Press Secretary confirmed that 29-year old Chelsea and investment banker Marc Mezvinsky got engaged on Thanksgiving and announced it in an e-mail to friends.

    Chelsea is the only daughter of the former president and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

    High Salt Intake Directly Linked to Stroke and Cardiovascular Disease

    High salt intake is associated with significantly greater risk of both stroke and cardiovascular disease, concludes a study published on the British Medical Journal


    The World Health Organization recommended level of salt consumption is 5 g (about one teaspoon) per day at the population level, yet dietary salt intake in most Western countries is close to 10g per day (and much higher in many Eastern European countries).

    Their analysis shows unequivocally that a difference of 5 g a day in habitual salt intake is associated with a 23% difference in the rate of stroke and a 17% difference in the rate of total cardiovascular disease.

    Quick Hits

    (Daily Mail)
    British officials spend two years and $500,000 on study proving that 10-pin bowling is a health and safety hazard and should be banned

    (Wall Street Journal)
    Arab world has stopped applauding Barack Obama, just like Americans have
    People are tired of bailouts, big spending, unchecked corruption, and being told their values are politically incorrect. "Even with the best of intentions, government almost always does more harm than good."
    (Foreign Policy Magazine)
    Who was the "greatest thinker" of 2009? If you picked the guy in the White were *this* close



    In just part of our life times


    Man, We’ve Come a Long Way From Floppies

    This infographic makes me so glad that we came up with storage methods other than floppy disks. Imagine replacing your 2TB hard drive with 1,422,222 floppies

    The entire GW consensus was predicated on this CRU “group”. Turns out they did not know statistical analysis.

    A confederacy of dunces?

    Climategate emails show the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit trying to manipulate data, deep-sixing data requested through the Freedom of Information Act and, incredibly, losing much of the data on which predictions of global warming and climate change are based. But never mind that.

    Judging by its hapless emails, CRU cannot comprehend statistical analysis nor untangle the complex computer programmes "devised to contort data". This is of some important because "CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures.

    The United Nations, Great Britain, the European Union, the present US administration and many rational and concerned citizens have accepted these figures as definitive prophecies of doom. They are prepared to do something on a global scale to prevent the world from boiling over.

    "Doing something" includes wrecking our economies by controlling and taxing every carbon transaction - including how far you drive, when you fly, what you build and how many people in your family breathe.

    But it is now clear that the CRU did not observe proper research or statistical analysis protocols. They allowed their feelings to cloud their scientific impartiality. They did not share or even properly protect their data.

    Many now see CRU scientists as part of a global warming conspiracy. Regretfully, we are inclined to think they are part of a confederacy of dunces.

    It passed

    Women lead Swiss in vote to ban minarets

    Swiss People's Party

    People are worried about minarets dominating the Swiss skyline

    ObamaCare: the real cost is much more than $$

    Even Before ObamaCare is ...

    PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: Nicholas Kristof, Obamacare, and the Broken Window Fallacy.

    Sure, it would be great if John had health care insurance. But at what cost to everybody else? Should women under 50 be denied mammograms so as to hold down health costs so that John can have government-subsidized insurance? How about men over 70 with slow acting prostate cancer? Should we deny them treatment on the assumption that something else will kill them first, so that the government can afford to insure John?

    The point is that Kristof and his ilk are basically running a con. They want you to focus on the most sympathetic cases, while ignoring the large and amorphous mass of individuals who will be adversely affected.

    Polyphenols and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Good

    Polyphenols A group of ...

    The research revealed that mice fed an LMN diet, when compared to those fed a control diet, have more cell proliferation in the two areas of the brain where neurogenesis is produced, the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus, both of which are greatly damaged in patients with Alzheimer's disease. These results give support to the hypothesis that a diet made up of foods rich in these antioxidant substances could delay the onset of this disease or even slow down its evolution.

    Polyphones can be found in tea, beer, grapes, wine, olive oil, cocoa, nuts and other fruits and vegetables. Polyunsaturated fatty acids can be found in blue fish and vegetables such as corn, soya beans, sunflowers and pumpkins.

    Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation

    global-warming-hoax « THE ...

    A week after my colleague James Delingpole , on his Telegraph blog, coined the term "Climategate" to describe the scandal revealed by the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, Google was showing that the word now appears across the internet more than nine million times. But in all these acres of electronic coverage, one hugely relevant point about these thousands of documents has largely been missed.

    The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Climate change data dumped

    ... bad environmental reporting

    SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

    It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years