Thursday, January 31, 2008

run for the hills!

Don't you just hate it when you stumble across a blog which seems to be written by an intelligent and clear-thinking human being, only to discover that they won't be adding any more contributions to it because they're, well, dead? Happens all the time, but specifically when I encountered the late Chris Lightfoot's blog the other day. Well worth a look - everything from some quite detailed stuff about the Government's proposed identity card scheme (and the campaign against them) to more everyday concerns like Jaffa Cakes and how Amazon's "you might also like this" recommendations really suck. Another example of this is my own purchase of a Pentax digital camera a while back - I was then bombarded with e-mails saying, essentially, we see you've just bought a digital camera, so what you'll probably be wanting now is, erm, another digital camera of very similar specification. Well, no, actually, I don't want one. Or, more accurately, I do want one, but not two.

By a series of tenuous and tangential links this leads me back to the subject of maps, a topic close to my heart, as you know (though separated from it by a thick layer of calcified fat deposits and mayonnaise build-up). Chris Lightfoot produced, prior to his untimely death, some interesting maps for MySociety based on travel times in Greater London, the second set of which has some cool interactive slider bars that you can play with.

Staying with the map theme, here's an interesting blog linking to some widgets that people have bolted onto Google Maps. Just a quick browse round a couple of them revealed some interesting stuff, for instance: when the lovely Hazel and I decided to move in together we wanted, in a spirit of fairness and partnership, to choose somewhere roughly equidistantly between our former places of residence (Cardiff and Bristol, respectively). We didn't actually get the ruler out, but if we had we would have found that a strict midpoint of a line between the two cities would have put us approximately here. I suppose we could have bought a houseboat or something.

A more sensible estimation, based on actual distance by road, would have put us somewhere in the vicinity of Magor. Handy for the Little Chef at the services, but otherwise not very interesting, so we shifted west a bit instead.

Finally, when the day of judgment is at hand and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melt, it's good to know at what point your house will be inundated with flood water and you'll be obliged to swim for it. I'm therefore reassured to learn that it will take a sea level rise of at least 14 metres before Baneswell in central Newport is flooded, so there'll be a bit of time to make good my escape, assuming that hordes of homeless locals haven't stormed the house by then, flayed the flesh from my living carcass and made a crudely-fashioned flute out of my tibia. A 14-metre rise in sea level will result in the inundation of large parts of central London, the Somerset Levels, East Anglia and East Yorkshire, so there could be a fair amount of orgiastic ritual slaughtering going on by then, I reckon.

Oh, and if you live in Holland, Bangladesh or southern Florida, you're boned. Sorry.

No comments: