Saturday, October 06, 2012

Bare Trees -- pre Nicks FleetwoodMac

Added: The songs just before and after Bare Trees are also really great.

Sunny Side of Heaven By Danny Kirwan is without lyrics and has an ethereal sound.

Sentimental Lady By Bob Welch is a catchy tune that got a lot of airplay when I was a kid--though it was probably not this, early Fleetwood Mac version.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Amazon Heat Map

There are a lot of ways (many of them self-serving) of looking at this graphic. I think the most direct is with the following assumptions:

1. It is mostly conservatives buying conservative books and mostly liberals buying liberal books. People look for ammunition and reinforcment of what they already believe.

2. Even though about twice as many people describe themselves as conservative than as liberal, the fact of the matter is that Democrats and Republicans each get very close to 50% of the total vote.

3. Why then are conservative books selling so much better than liberal ones? I think it is in the very different distribution of each of the side's 50%: The conservative side ranges from working class people through wealthy people, with most in the middle. The liberal side has lots in the middle too, but they dominate the opposite ends of the spectrum. The underclasses are almost monolithically liberal and the same is true of elites, such as college professors.

4. The underclasses barely buy books at all, let alone ones that are hard to read and lack much entertainment value. So it isn't as if the country is swinging right, it is just that a big chunk of the left are not in the book-buying demographic.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Touching Photo (especially if you give it a careful look)

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The obvious bit is the guy who is pointing at Romney with a "I can't believe I'm posing with the Republican candidate for president" look. It is a refreshing glimpse at humanity, which is full of honest emotions.

The other part is the two women on the other side of Romney. They are holding hands! They are probably nervous and are close enough to seek this kind of comfort. Maybe they are sisters, or more likely--they have bonded through their shared experiences at work.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Polar Opposites

There has recently been some hysteria alarm over the state of the polar ice cap.

Here is a typical story on the phenomena from the NYT:

And here is a graph of satellite data:

The couple of things I think about when I see this data are:

There seems to be a clear trend of decline in Arctic Sea Ice, though the normal seasonal variation is an order of magnitude greater. The trend looks like maybe between 5 and 10 percent decline over a 35 year time-span, while the normal seasonal variation is around 50%!

The other thing is that while it seems to recover every winter season, there may be some value in the Arctic Ocean being navigable for some portion of the year.

Meanwhile, the obvious thing--at least to me, to look at is what is going on in the Antarctic region. If global warming is causing a decline in the Arctic Sea ice, it stands to reason that the Antarctic Sea ice should be similarly declining.

Except it isn't: It is in record high territory.

While the current anomaly is small as a percentage of the whole, note that it is past two standard deviations from the mean.

Besides being on the opposite sides of the Earth, the poles are reversed in their local environment too: In the Arctic, there is an ocean surrounded by land masses. In the Antarctic, there is a continent surrounded by oceans. If you read the articles, you will see that both the melting in the Arctic and the growing ice in the Antarctic can be accounted for by global warming. Somehow though, I suspect that if the Arctic Sea ice was growing and the Antarctic Sea ice was shrinking, there would still be a global warming rationale to account for it.