Dear Santa, thank you for the dolls and pencils and the fish. It's Easter now, so I hope I didn't wake you but... honest, it is an emergency. There's a crack in my wall. Aunt Sharon says it's just an ordinary crack, but I know its not cause at night there's voices so... please please can you send someone to fix it? Or a policeman, or...
Back in a moment.
Thank you Santa.

Monday, May 30


Rainy Rainy Rain

Heavy rain here in Sydney (yay!) with flash flooding reported in several inner-city suburbs and the University of New South Wales under water.

Which is what you get for building a university in a swamp.*

More of the same expected tomorrow, but I stocked up on eatables on the way home and I don't have to go in to the office, so I don't mind much.

Water levels in our dams are at their highest since 2002.  In May 2008 we had just 3mm of rain; I think we've had more than that in the last five minutes...

It's okay though; my new phone has internet access so if my house floats out to sea I'll live-blog it.

* But the fourth one stayed up!

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Sunday, May 29


Consonental Drift

I always thought the term Mid-Atlantic in Mid-Atlantic accent refered to the same Mid-Atlantic as the Mid-Atlantic states.

Turns out that it's an artificial accent deliberately created to be equally well-received in America and Britain - half-way between, in fact - so it really means Mid-Atlantic as in the Mid-Atlantic ridge.  Which is why it's not heard any more - it was created at a particular time to serve a particular purpose, rather than arising organically in a regional population.

Which came up because I was watching The Idiot's Lantern just now (new Doctor Who, series 2 episode 7), and the lady in* the television is doing a flawless 1950's received pronunciation (i.e. BBC English) accent.

Which has likewise pretty much disappeared now, encountered only in old TV shows and new period pieces.  Which is what The Idiot's Lantern is.  And when I started looking things up on Wikipedia, things fell into place.

* Yes. **
** Spoilers, as River Song would say.

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Saturday, May 28


Cute Sad Funny Weird

In one little photo.

Yes, she's riding a lavender toy horsie.  smile

That's because the real horsies for the event are quarantined due to an outbreak of a lethal horsie virus.  sad

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Monday, May 16


Carbon Dioxide Snow

Does carbon dioxide snow ever naturally form on Earth?

Carbon dioxide solidifies at -78C at 1 atmosphere.  The lowest recorded (natural) temperature on Earth is -89C at Vostok Station in Antarctica.  So, the question arises...

The answer is apparently yes.  No.  Maybe.   With a side-order of ask the Mythbusters.  A big part of the problem is that CO2 represents just 0.04% of our atmosphere by volume, so when you have one atmosphere of air you have, more or less, zero atmospheres of CO2

Which (a) may change the equations and (b) if it does fall as snow you're unlikely to notice.

No, it's not quite that cold here right now.

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