Friday 28 August 2015

What Happens When the Permafrost Melts? (Global Warming in the Present Tense)

This is an image of a "sinkhole" apparently created by (1) collapsing permafrost, and (2) escaping methane gas (but, as the narrator notes, this is a new area of scientific research, and how the sinkholes are formed by rising temperatures is not entirely understood).  Methane is a crucially important variable for understanding arctic climate-change, and you can find various instructive videos on this topic created by members of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG).

Saturday 22 August 2015

Scenes from Urban Canada (5 min.)

[景色] My Life in Canada: UVic Campus [カナダの都市部]
Not a masterpiece of film-making (nor of social commentary), but this does show the scenery here on campus, partly for the benefit of some of my friends and colleagues far away, who may have trouble imagining what this part of Canada looks like:

Sunday 16 August 2015

Ravens of Victoria: the Bored and the Beautiful

Life in Victoria, B.C., proceeds at a slow pace, even for the ravens.  Some of them cope with their boredom by tormenting the humans who pass them by.  This year, for a few months, there was one raven who perched in the rafters of the Market Square (a public quadrangle, downtown).  He/she passed the time by swooping down to pass his/her claws through the hair of people walking up a particular (outdoor) staircase.

Thursday 13 August 2015

Taiwan Discovers Japan, Not Vice-Versa

While I was in Taiwan, it did seem to me that the younger generation had taken an increasing interest in the islands next-door, with English being (absurdly) the lingua franca linking the two cultures (note that I lived in Taiwan at several different odd junctures of my life, for some number of months on each occasion, so I have only a fragmented sense of how the culture has changed, but still, this seemed new and noteworthy; during my first period of living in Taipei, many years ago, Japan seemed distant and rarely-thought-of).  The change shows up in the statistics as a significant leap in the numbers of tourists going from Taiwan to Japan (cf. the second chart, below: the growth is not in business-travelers); however, the feeling is not mutual.  Japanese interest in Taiwan has increased, but only modestly, during the same period of time.