The rusting Australian landmass

January 25, 2007

I love looking at the scenery while flying – it’s so interesting to look at the topography and patterns of human settlement, imagining how towns developed and noticing how the environment shapes human settlement and land use so clearly. The scientist in me is fascinated. During most international flights the plane is often too high to make out too many details, but watching the scenery is one of the joys of domestic flying.

(Flying on a clear night last year heading north-west over Indonesia, I was astonished to be able to make out lights from cities and roads. Upon access to a map, I realised that I had had an almost cartographic view of part of eastern Java! Incredible.)

I flew back to Sydney from Adelaide today, and the ground was a partially dried watercolour painting during the first part of the flight over South Australia. During the latter part of the flight, outbreaks of rust riddled the land, as if it were sick. Overlaid was the geometric shading of land use. Startling.

Adding Darlene Taylor’s blog to my blogroll

January 25, 2007

I’ve just added Darlene Taylor’s blog to my blogroll. Darlene appeared in the blog world a few months ago and likes watching Australian Princess, so she’s a good addition to my blogroll.

Update: Darlene has a celebrity news “column” – you have to read it!

The Bulletin’s story on the expensive Sealink ferry to Kangaroo Island

January 22, 2007

On January 5th I wrote this post about how extraordinarily expensive the sealink ferry to Kangaroo Island is. On January 9th The Bulletin published this story on the same topic which included the following gems: Read the rest of this entry »

On media and blog coverage of the Iraq war

January 13, 2007

Just a short comment – it seems to me that quite a bit of media coverage (eg at CNN and the SMH)  and blog discussion (eg at Larvatus Prodeo) about the Iraq war and the recent policy to “surge” the number of troops is about whether the US population and politicians support the policy, not about ways in which the situation in Iraq can be improved. Of course, many media reports are more “standard” (eg this BBC story), but I’m surprised at what seems to me to be misplaced energy.

I’d like to see more discussion about how the situation in Iraq can be improved.

Electoral redistricting in California and the US

January 12, 2007

It truly seems bizarre to Australian commentators that US state legislatures can draw their own electoral boundaries; the boundaries for State Senate districts in the Los Angeles area are very unusual to Australian eyes indeed! Read the rest of this entry »

“Italian death call for alledged Nazis”…

January 11, 2007

…is the headline of this story on the SMH web-site; yet another example of the web-pages not being proof-read before being published.

News-corp papers are worse at this than Fairfax, but Fairfax isn’t that great. I’m just amazed that “alledged” hasn’t been corrected.

On a similar note, The Australian used “nulear” in its lead story before christmas in a piece on the possibility of Australia using nuclear power. Incredible! Don’t these mistakes stick out to people working in the media?

Update: the misspelling’s been fixed.

What I’ve been up to

January 11, 2007

Recently I’ve been very busy getting back into a routine – eg work, going to the gym, and havn’t written many posts.

I’m reviewing my first paper for mathscinet, and have a number of personal projects on the boil, along with work which is very busy at the moment.

I enjoyed reading The Twenty-one Balloons on the holiday, a fun kids book (first bit of fiction I’d read in a while), and I’m enjoying The Economist, National Geographic and mathematics magazines.