Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday snippets - a blog round up

I gave myself the pleasure this morning of simply reading round the blogs. It is around a month since my last full browse.

Geocurrents is a remarkably interesting blog, taking me into areas that I know very little about;  Border Delineation and Desiccation in Lake Chad is one example, The Guinness Phenomenon in Nigeria and Cameroon a second. The blogs uses maps very effectively; I found the current series on Pakistan an education.

Joshua Gans started it, David Stern continued it, so I had to join in.

Started what? Checking Internet connection speed. I checked mine twice, yesterday morning around 8, then again now at 6am. The upload speed was the same both days, 0.26 Mb/s. However, the download speed varied - 2.6 Mb/s yesterday, 7.21 Mb/s this morning. Both speeds are to the Optus server here in Sydney. Then I tested it with a US server. The upload speed increased to 0.47Mb/s, but the download speed dropped to 1.18Mb/s.

We are on fibre, but we also have a wireless modem linking the PCs to the cable. I suspect that that slows things down. With any system, speed is determined by the slowest point. Certainly I find current speeds frustratingly slow. I don't download or upload a lot of video, but I do handle substantial documents. It gets quite frustrating sitting there waiting for transmission to finish.

I see from demographymatters that the Population Reference Bureau has released its 2010 World Population Data Sheet. You will find it here.

Some of the numbers make for uncomfortable reading. While population growth rates are falling in the developing world, and have turned negative in parts of the developed world, we are still looking at a projected increase in global populations to c 9.1 billion by 2050. To quote:

"There are two major trends in world population today," says Bill Butz, PRB's president. "On the one hand, chronically low birth rates in developed countries are beginning to challenge the health and financial security of their elderly. On the other, the developing countries are adding over 80 million to the population every year and the poorest of those countries are adding 20 million, exacerbating poverty and threatening the environment."

We are dealing with fundamental shifts here, shifts that make the current debate about the appropriate size of the Australian population look fairly trivial, even a little ridiculous. I have no idea just how global demographic change will affect this country; my feeling is that the impact will be substantial.  

In And I broke a bloody fingernail!, skepticlawyer reports on a case of assault. I lack her martial arts' skills. Another blogger who was subject to a senseless assault was Bellingen's Pip Wilson who was left unconscious. The latest news I had was that he was still at John Hunter Hospital, but was our of the ICU.

Marcellous continues with his musical posts. Or should that be posts about music? Or both? Certainly M's writing can be musical! Anyway, in  Thinking of Lord McNaghten M managed to mix law and music in one post, jumping sideways so to speak. The post has a rather wonderful quote from Lord M; I leave it to you to find.

In The truth behind Howard's battlers, Geoff Robinson looks at shifts in Australian working class voting patterns. I never fully understood why the left found it so hard to accept that some of what it perceived to be its "client base" should have rejected the cause.

A little while ago, I don't think that I have mentioned it already, in The Art of Conversation, the Stubborn Mule looked at the insights offered by H P Grice.

Good conversation really is an art form. I wish that I was better at it. I tend to get too involved in the ideas, and so lose the plot!

All for now.    

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