Friday, April 28, 2006

The real inconvenient truth

As Al Gore (you remember him, he invented the Internet) prepares to release his new movie, An Inconvenient Truth, the guys at JunkScience have put together a page that summarises (it's a complex issue, so the summary is pretty long) the issues around climate change, "global warming", the greenhouse effect, etc. In talking with friends and colleagues it's pretty clear that most people confuse carbon-reducing measures with anti-pollution laws, think that C02 is an unmitigated negative that is entirely produced by humans, and that the atmosphere has warmed by at least 3 degrees this century. (The real figure is about 0.6 degrees). Anyway, definitely worth a read if you are concerned about this issue.

The Real Inconvenient Truth.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Never forget

Today is Yom Hashoah: the day on which we remember the 6 million martyrs. At my shul this morning, the rabbi read out a list of the names of all of the people lost by members of the shul. A terrible list of brothers and sisters lost, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who do not share in the lives of their children. A gap that will never be filled, and will never be forgotten.

Today is also the day of the brit milah of the first-born son of a dear friend of mine. As we all, family, friends, and community, joined to celebrate the entry of this precious child into the family of Israel, we paid ultimate tribute to the failure of the Nazis, and of all who would destroy us: we survived, our sons and our daughters are Jews still, and we continue in the faith of our forefathers, Avraham, Yitschak, and Yaakov. May it always be so, amen.

Time to turn off the alarmists

Mark Steyn has a brilliant piece on the climate change scaremongers. One bit that interested me:

Remember what they used to call "climate change"? "Global warming." And what did they call it before that? "Global cooling." That was the big worry in the '70s: the forthcoming ice age. Back then, Lowell Ponte had a huge best seller called The Cooling: Has the new ice age already begun? Can we survive?

As I grew up in the '70s, interested in science and environmentalism, I well remember worrying about the coming ice age. Also the world running out of food. And of course nuclear armageddon.

Funny how nobody's said "Sorry about that. We were all idiots." Funny nobody's stopped to say "Hang on, you know the last time we went on about this kind of stuff, we were dead wrong. Maybe we should rethink things a bit." Funny how it's turned out that anti-nuke was actually anti-American-and-British-nuke. Wonder why CND want America to stop giving Iraq a hard time about wanting nukes.

Wonder why anyone ever listens to these idiots.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Pixar's Cars

I went to the Pixar exhibit at the Science Museum yesterday. It was a bit disappointing in that it wasn't nearly as extensive as the Lord of the Rings exhibit a couple of years ago, but I still found a couple of things of interest. For one thing, it made it completely obvious that Pixar is dominated by artists. Most of the exhibition was made up of incredible drawings, paintings, even collages, executed by the artists during the design phase, as well as incredibly detailed clay sculptures which were digitized to create the "in-computer" character. The level of skill exhibited in almost all of these works was pretty impressive.

Another really cool thing was the "21st Century Zoetrope", which was a 3-D zoetrope, made up of models mounted on a turntable, which, when spun and then illuminated by strobe lighting, brought a multitude of Pixar characters to seeming 3-D life! Great fun.

I also enjoyed the movie made for the exhibition. In keeping with its theme, all of the art in the movie was painted by hand, although computers were used to animate these static drawings in a quite evocative way.

Finally, the exhibition really made me want to see Cars, the next Pixar release. I found this poster on the web, and it's got all kinds of cool jokes in it. (Look now if you want to see what you can spot yourself.)

Back already? OK, what I saw was the petrol-cap-shaped rock in the foreground: the tall rocks in the background shaped like the fins of '50s cars: the contrails in the sky which look like tyre tracks: the helicopter with the Dinoco logo (the gas station in Toy Story was a Dinoco): the LightYear blimp. If you spot any others, let me know!