Online Insights with Steve Davis on FIVEaa, Sunday, March 08, 2009

March 8, 2009

I have fallen in love with this weather site because it goes deep into weather conditions and ties together various weather resources in one spot.

I particularly like the ability to overlay satellite, fire and severe weather information and then animate it (just like you see it done on television news).

Adelaide had boring weather today so I switched the view to “continent” and got an eerie view of Hurricane Hamish. By switching on the Hurricane view, I could see the hurricane clearly displayed with useful pointers showing where the most fierce parts were. It appears it is now a Category 4 Hurricane which means winds of 131 to 155 mph are expected (approximately 250kmh). One observation that surprised me – a lot of those little Pacific islands look very tiny and lonely when a huge weather event like this wends its way across the ocean!

You can have a look at

German police and old coins
A participant in one of my workshops has pointed out an interesting undercurrent of blog coverage on new cultural property laws slowly getting put into place around the world, and the effect they are having on collectors.

A particular blog post pointed out to me, covers recent German law changes and how a pensioner, upon receiving a coin he bought through eBay, had his home searched by police and his whole collection confiscated.

The laws all settle around “prvenance” – the ability to show where your relic came from and the sequence of ownership since then.

The concern among collectors is that these laws will put many collectors (of coins, stamps, pottery, etc) outside the law.

You can read this story at the Cultural Property Observer blog.


This is a quirky web comic created by a physics graduate, Randall Munroe, who once worked on robots at NASA but now works on computer servers.

It began accidentally, as Randall was, “going through old math/sketching graph paper notebooks and didn’t want to lose some of the work in them, so I started scanning pages. I took the more comic-y ones and put them up on a server I was testing out, and got a bunch of readers when BoingBoing linked to me. I started drawing more seriously, gained a lot more readers, started selling t-shirts on the site, and am currently shipping t-shirts and drawing this comic full-time. It’s immensely fun and I really appreciate y’all’s support.”

The comics deal with maths, sarcasm, romance and language and can be a little hit or miss. However, when they hit they are quite delightful. I particularly like the one, pictured, in which soldiers are told ‘we are going in, if you run out of ammunition, shoot outside of the battlefield to reload’. I like this because it covers the reality/virtual reality divide and one wonders how children immersed in video game culture will adapt to the real world if they are not encouraged to seek balance in their lives.

You can link to this comic here (Reload cartoon) and then explore the site. I recommend hitting the “random” button.