Skywhale ahoy

May 10th, 2013

Artist Patricia Piccinini has created a hot air balloon she's christened The Skywhale, in honour of the centenary of the founding of Canberra:

Artist Patricia Piccinini says her inspiration came from the wonder of nature.

"My question is what if evolution went a different way and instead of going back into the sea, from which they came originally, they went into the air and we evolved a nature that could fly instead of swim," she said. […]

Me, I think it looks pretty great. It's partly that goofy grin it has, and partly the sheer incongruity of glancing up and seeing something this strange go by:

[Via MetaFilter]

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Heat upgrades

January 8th, 2013

Australia is experiencing such a heatwave that meteorologists are having to come up with new colours for their weather maps:

SYDNEY – Extreme heat in Australia forced the government's weather bureau to upgrade its temperature scale, with new colours on the climate map to reflect new highs forecast next week.

Central Australia was shown with a purple area on the latest Bureau of Meteorology forecast map issued for next Monday, a new colour code suggesting temperatures will soar above 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit).

The bureau's head of climate monitoring and prediction David Jones said the new scale, which also features a pink code for temperatures from 52 to 54 degrees, reflected the potential for old heat records to be smashed.

(Meanwhile in the UK, the Met Office is most likely devising symbols to represent how deep the flooding gets, in the event that your local river decides to burst through your flood defences and saunter up to – and under – your front door. With bonus points if they can design a symbol that simultaneously indicates both how deep the flooding is and how many years in a row flooding has affected that particular town or village.)


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November 25th, 2012

Earlier this month Maciej Cegłowski took a trip to Queensland, Australia to see the total eclipse of the Sun:

Tuesday, November 13

I get up early to watch the sunrise, partly because jet lag makes it easy, partly because I want to see what conditions might be like tomorrow, and mostly from my irrational fear that every one of us has done the date math wrong. The eclipse is marked on November 13 in my date book, and while I believe in the International Date Line, I don't believe in it enough to sleep in.

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Wombats are the original dice-makers

August 4th, 2012

Stuff I learned on the internet today: Why you should give a square shit about wombats.

[Via MeFi user tempestuoso, commenting here]

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Sailing away

May 27th, 2012

A light show projects actual sails onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

I'll grant you that the part where the 'sails' appear to collapse is spectacular (as are the bits with the dancers), but I liked it best when the sails seemed to have unfurled, and were fluttering in the breeze as if the opera house was making sail. I think they should keep that portion of the light show up permanently.

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January 18th, 2012

Lake Dundas, Western Australia.

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How would they vote?

December 11th, 2011

How would they vote? is fanfic with a somewhat unusual focus. Take, for example, The Breakfast Club's "Princess", Claire Standish:

Soon after joining the Breakfast Club, Claire realised there was more to life than pearl earrings and skiing trips to Colorado. Where was the reward in having life delivered to you on a silver platter?

Enter John Bender. While Bender had started off as simply a grab for attention from her quibbling parents, it soon became apparent that he was much more than that. Reforming John Bender would become Claire's personal Fix-Her-Upper, the challenge that would bring fulfilment to her otherwise vacuous life. And she loved him for it.

Despite initial misgivings about Bender, Claire's conservative parents came round to the young man, admiring his 'organic entrepreneurial spirit' and it wasn't long before the couple was happily married. Claire studied PR and encouraged John to enrol in a community college course in business studies. When he wavered with his software design idea, she pushed him forward.

She was also successful in her own right. Upon graduating, she entered into a big-name PR firm and managed several big accounts during the early '90s, including for Sega, Pepsi Max, and Janet Jackson. She voted Clinton in '92, purely out of respect for his rapport with the common man, but swung right in 2000, under the influence of her husband's anti-tax, small government crusade.

By 2008, Claire's talent for PR had started to get noticed by the right people in Washington. When she received a call to help out a struggling Hilary Clinton in the race against Obama to secure the Democratic nomination, Claire couldn't refuse. That fall she came up with her best idea yet – the infamous 'red phone' ad.

Despite Clinton's failed run at the presidency, Claire stayed in Washington and it wasn't long before she had made the seamless transition from Clinton to the other side of politics, recruited by the Koch brothers to work on strategies for undermining the Obama administration in the lead-up to 2012.

The focus of the site seems to be on characters from US and Australian TV, which leaves something of a gap in the market. What would Detective Inspector Jack Regan have made of members of the Met being bussed up to the Yorkshire coalfields to put striking miners in their place? Would Tom Good, having presumably ended the 1970s as a classic wooly Liberal, have ended up in the Green Party, or been seduced by New Labour? Would Alan B'Stard still be a Tory?1

[Via MetaFilter]

  1. OK. Stupid question!

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Big Ad

June 12th, 2011

An epic TV advert.1

  1. Presumably it's old hat to Australian readers, but as far as I know it never made it over here.

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Really owning your double entendre

February 18th, 2011

Do you have a long, stabby thing close at hand while you sleep? Breakfast TV hosts discuss home defence, Australian style.

[Via MetaFilter]

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Brisbane before and after

January 18th, 2011

Brisbane floods: before and after.

Nice user interface for the gallery: horrifying images.

[Via Bifurcated Rivets]

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