Tag Archives: Sarah Palin

Climate change all over the place

And speaking of climate change there is an interesting story at the BBC about how monsoons/droughts, as recorded in the concentrations of minerals in stalactites, have been linked with Chinese dynasties:

By comparing the rain record with Chinese historical records, Pingzhong Zhang of Lanzhou University in China, and colleagues, found three out of five “multi-century” dynasties – the Tang, the Yuan and the Ming – ended after several decades of weaker summer monsoons with drier conditions.

These moisture-laden winds bring rain necessary for cultivating rice. But when the monsoon is weak, the rains stall farther south and east, depriving northern and western parts of China of summer rains.

This could have led to poor rice harvests and civil unrest, the researchers speculate.

It’s an interesting theory, and reflects how important climate is in the lives of humanity, and also in the lives of lemmings, with the discovery that the lemming population of Norway is no longer as fecund as it once was:

The research team, composed of Norwegian and French scientists, believes the winters are now too humid, leading to the “wrong kind of snow“.

This results in a less stable subnivean space (the space between the ground and the snow layer above), meaning substantially fewer animals survive until spring.

Aww. But apparently it’s not all bad news vis a vis climate change. Apparently certain Alaskan glaciers have in fact grown this year for the first time in 200 years.

This will please Sarah Palin – who apparently has only recently discovered that Africa is a continent, not a country.

Congrats on the win, America!

As to the glaciers – only time will tell.

[wanxiang cave image from BBC News, lemming from kdleditsch on flickr]

Sarah Palin’s Second Life

Two different Sarah Palin avatars in Second LifeYou don’t have to pick sides to say that Sarah Palin’s nomination as Republican VP candidate has been controversial. No medium is devoid of discussion about her, be it positive or negative – and even in the metaverse of Second Life, both poles of opinion are represented.

But of course, a virtual world allows ways of expression support or disdain that are arguably impossible elsewhere, like creating walking talking embodiments of Palin’s attributes as perceived by the creator. As Wagner James Au at New World Notes reports, some are positive:

“Sarah has some pretty distinct features,” she says. “I’m used to making more round and smooth featured faces, and while I could just make a square head I wanted to try for something more realistic.” She pretty much kept her Palin avatar’s body generic. “I can only guess as to what type body frame and build she has.”

While some are more critical:

… the Sarah Palin in the fur bikini, which its creator, Cymbal Constantine, developed as a satirical riff off the notorious bikini Photoshop.

“I don’t agree with her hunting views or her views regarding women’s rights,” Ms. Constantine tells me. “I am highlighting her extremist views which I do not feel the media is doing a good job of [covering]. As a woman, Sarah is deeply insulting to me.”

It’s hard to concentrate on our conversation, because Bobby the chatbot baby insists on gurgling random sentences out loud. “You make me feel loved!” he babbles.

Cymbal Constantine nods to him. “My child of course. Prop baby.”

Second Life’s much-touted potential as the next platform for internet business seems to have been moved to a back burner, but I think its potential for creative peaceful protest and socio-political satire has yet to be fully explored. [image from linked New World Notes article]