Monday, September 30, 2013

Some conspiracies are real...


I wrote a while back in Bloomberg about the mystery of how so little has changed in economics and finance, despite the crisis. I mentioned there the great new book, “Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown,” by economic historian Philip Mirowski. It reads a little like a conspiracy theory, as he argues that defense of the academic status quo in economics and finance also serves an array of interests in business and finance for whom the “markets always work best” mantra paves the way to profit. Hence, the profession’s claim that nothing is seriously wrong with economic thinking has found ready allies, especially in conservative and libertarian-leaning think tanks and foundations.

 The picture above is of Polish economist Michael Kalecki, who died in 1970. Lars Syll points out that Kalecki had some very wise things to say -- and not all that different from Mirowski -- about the convenience of many "principles" of economics for industrial interests:
Every widening of state activity is looked upon by business with suspicion, but the creation of employment by government spending has a special aspect which makes the opposition particularly intense. Under a laissez-faire system the level of employment depends to a great extent on the so-called state of confidence. If this deteriorates, private investment declines, which results in a fall of output and employment (both directly and through the secondary effect of the fall in incomes upon consumption and investment). This gives the capitalists a powerful indirect control over government policy: everything which may shake the state of confidence must be carefully avoided because it would cause an economic crisis. But once the government learns the trick of increasing employment by its own purchases, this powerful controlling device loses its effectiveness. Hence budget deficits necessary to carry out government intervention must be regarded as perilous. The social function of the doctrine of ‘sound finance’ is to make the level of employment dependent on the state of confidence.

Lou Doillon - Fashion Week - Paris

hebergeur image

      Lou Doillon - Fashion Week - Paris

     On ne présente plus Lou Doillon, la fille de Jane Birkin et de Jacques Doillon, le
     réalisateur de films. Lou Doillon est à la fois mannequin, actrice et chanteuse.Elle a 
     quatre demi-soeurs, dont Charlotte Gainsbourg. Quand on la croise durant la Fashion 
     Week, elle porte la plupart du temps du noir ou du bleu profond. Elle a visiblement 
     un club de fans qui suit ses faits et gestes sur le net, persuadés de voir en elle
     l'incarnation de la parisienne d'aujourd'hui.

     Photos by Farid - Easy Fashion Paris
  hebergeur image

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Elisa - les Tuileries - Paris

hebergeur image

      Elisa - les Tuileries - Paris

     En matière de tenue, presque tout est permis, à condition de trouver son style
     et de ne pas devenir l'esclave des marques. La jolie Elisa a su trouver ce juste
     équilibre et tous les photographes et les sites de Mode veulent aujourd'hui la 
     photographier. Elle a choisi cette année de sauter le pas en intégrant une école 
     de Mode pour tenter de faire de sa passion un métier. On lui souhaite bonne chance !

     Photos by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris
      Ce portrait est le premier de la série réalisée pendant la semaine de la Mode

hebergeur image

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What do we know about climate?



Sad to say this is only my second post of September. I have been busy with other things... extensive travel.... re-roofing a barn... the usual. Anyway, just a couple of links I'd like to mention in connection to my most recent Bloomberg column, which appeared yesterday.

The point of my column was to emphasize just how complex the science of the Earth's climate really is. I was struck by two recent articles in Nature, both of which are worth reading. One, an excellent feature by Nicola Jones, describes a few of the counter-intuitive effects of climate, for example, how the sea can rise (or fall) in different ways in different places. Water doesn't just spread out, as you might intuitively think. It has mass, and inertia, gets blown by winds, etc., and can pile up. A short taste:
When Jeff Freymueller, a geophysicist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, visited Alaska's Graves Harbor more than a decade ago, his marine charts showed three isolated little islands; what he saw, instead, were three grassy peninsulas connected to the mainland. That was because water levels in some parts of Alaska are dropping — by up to 3 centimetres per year.

The ground there is lifting upwards, in a slow-motion rebound that has been going on for 10,000 years, since the glacial ice sheet that once weighed down the continent receded at the end of the last ice age. Gravitational influences on the oceans are also at work: as local glaciers recede and the Greenland ice sheet melts, their gravitational pull is subtly reduced, allowing more ocean water to slop southwards.

Trends in local sea level can differ strongly from the global average, which is increasing by around 3.2 millimetres per year. “Some places, sea-level rise is ten times faster than the average,” says Jerry Mitrovica, a geophysicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

One side of this equation is the movement of the land. Canada's Hudson Bay, for example, was once buried under more than 3 kilometres of ice, and the release from that load is now causing the land to rise at about 1 centimetre per year. As that part of North America moves upwards, land to the south is being levered down: the US east coast is dropping by millimetres per year.

Subsidence can cause some areas to sink much faster. Compaction of river sediments and hollowing out of the earth by groundwater extraction, for example, are causing parts of China's Yellow River delta to sink at up to 25 centimetres per year4.

Adding to the complexity, the oceans do not rise evenly all over the world as water is poured in. Air pressure, winds and currents can shove water in a given ocean to one side: since 1950, for example, a 1,000-kilometre stretch of the US Atlantic coast north of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina has seen the sea rise at 3–4 times the global average rate5. In large part, this is because the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic current, which normally push waters away from that coast, have been weakening, allowing water to slop back onto US shores.

Finally, waters near big chunks of land and ice are literally pulled up onto shores by gravity. As ice sheets melt, the gravitational field weakens and alters the sea level. If Greenland melted enough to raise global seas by an average of 1 metre, for example, the gravitational effect would lower water levels near Greenland by 2.5 metres and raise them by as much as 1.3 metres far away.
Scientists and engineers are only just starting to wrangle all these effects into local projections. In June, the New York City Panel on Climate Change updated its estimates of sea-level rise by including the local effects of gravitational shifts6. Panel members concluded that they expect to see 30–60 centimetres of rise by 2050. Finding and combining the right data sets took about six months; the exercise should pave the way for other cities to do the same, says Cynthia Rosenzweig, a climate-impact researcher at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. “We really are working to get the best science.”

Equally interesting and informative, in a very different way, is a commentary piece in the same issue by K. John Holmes. This looks at the history of the use and management of the arid lands in the central and western US. Sounds a little boring, but Holmes argues that the process then was just as messy, just as fraught with hysteria and massive disinformation, as is the current debate over climate change and what to do about it:
When nineteenth-century explorer William Gilpin travelled across the Great Plains, the expanse that covers much of the central and western United States, he marvelled at the “great pastoral region”, the dry climate of which was “favorable to health, longevity, intellectual and physical development”1. Great cities could be built there, he imagined, taking advantage of the wealth of local resources — rivers, forests and even gold.

Geologist John Wesley Powell saw things differently. Moving from the humid east to the arid west would affect agricultural practices, occupations, social interactions and political customs, he contended2, 3. Dry-land agriculture could not support a large population; any towns built in the west would need appropriate designs, irrigation and resource management. A controversy erupted.

The ensuing debates about how the arid lands should be settled hold lessons for us today on adapting to a changing climate. At their heart was a development plan for the region that Powell published in 1878 (ref. 2). It called for detailed scientific and engineering surveys, and analysis to inform land-use plans and laws. Although it addressed a spatial change in conditions caused by westward population expansion, Powell's coupling of physical and human dimensions was a forerunner to the assessment approach used today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Powell's plan was never implemented in its entirety, but it began an era in which large-scale environmental and natural-resources assessments became central to the policy process in the United States4. Stalled by misinformation, political controversy and recessions, legislation for allocating resources in the arid lands took decades to enact. Then, as now, the assessments and their validity became part of the debate. Eventually, extreme weather, including long droughts, pushed policy-makers to act.
Read the whole thing here

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

South Australia opens its data

South Australian government is the latest convert to free and open data cause. Unveiling www.data.sa.gov.au portal South Australian premier, Jay Weatherill, mandated that all state government agencies are to house their public data in a central portal to ensure that it is accessible to the community at large. At present there are 229 data sets released by a number of SA state government agencies including the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the Attorney-General’s Department.

As with all the other initiatives of similar type, the success will be measured by uptake of released data by business and the community. However, this information is hard to compile, so my litmus test of the likely success of a particular “data.gov.au” initiative is how much of useful information is put in the public domain...

It looks that SA is on a right track releasing full roads dataset but more spatial data has to be made available in order for this initiative to start paying off for the effort involved. My next criticism is rather useless (or frankly, lacking) metadata information for supplied data but this issue is not unique to SA and other jurisdictions are also guilty of neglecting that aspect of the "data discovery" part of their respective project. "ISO 19115 - Geographic Information Metadata" is certainly nowhere to be seen on "data.gov.au" portals...

Below is a quick scorecard of State and Federal government open data initiatives - based on availability of “high value” spatial data (as per my very subjective list).

Table. Availability of Free Fundamental Spatial Data

Dataset
Fed
ACT
NSW
NT
Qld
SA
Tas
Vic
WA
Gazetteer
Yes



Yes
Yes



Cadastre boundaries




Yes (by LGA)
Adelaide City only

Yes

Addresses locations

Gungahlin Town Centre only


Yes (as a list)


Yes

Roads




Yes (State managed only)
Yes

Yes

Admin boundaries
Yes (via ABS)




Some State specific

Yes

Property sales


By LGA only




?

Property/ land valuations




Yes (data at LGA level only)


?

Elevation
Yes
(30m)



Yes (90% coverage at 10m)


Yes (contours 1m+)

High Res imagery
25-15m
Landsat; 2.5m AGRI

Potentially (as tile service)

Old Landsat imagery




Overall









 


I will restrain from providing my assessment of those initiatives at this point in time. It is enough to say that expectations are high as to the economic value free and open data could deliver but, as you can see from the above matrix, there are many gaps in availability of what I consider fundamental data to make any meaningful impact… Let's give it a year and see if there are any improvements.

Related Posts:
East coast unanimously frees data
Free data a GFC casualty
Governments intensify free data efforts
Data overload makes SDI obsolete
What’s the benefit of gov data warehouses?


First spotted on: spatialsource.com.au

Monday, September 23, 2013

Speaking in Lisbon on October 5

My friend Pedro Bastos graciously invited me to speak at a conference he organized in Lisbon on October 5 titled "Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases".  I will give two talks:

  • "Ancestral Health: What is Our Human Potential?"  This talk will explore the health of non-industrial cultures in an effort to understand how much of our modern chronic disease burden is preventable, and it will briefly touch on one major aspect of non-industrial life that may protect against the "diseases of civilization".  This presentation will focus on age-adjusted data from high quality studies.  
  • "Why Do We Overeat: a Neurobiological Perspective."  This talk will attempt to explain why most of us consume more calories than we need to maintain weight-- a phenomenon that is a central cause of morbidity and mortality in the modern world.  It will touch on some of the brain mechanisms involved in ingestive behavior, and outline a framework to explain why these mechanisms are often maladaptive in today's environment.
Pedro will speak about dairy consumption, vitamin D, and chronic disease.  

The conference is targeted to health professionals and students of nutrition, however it's open to anyone who is interested in these topics.  It's sponsored by NutriScience, a Portuguese nutrition education and consulting company.  Sadly, I don't speak Portuguese, so my talks will be in English.  

Access the full program, and register for the conference, using the links below:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

DSHOCK - at JP Gaultier - Paris

hebergeur image

      DSHOCK - at JP Gaultier - Paris

     L'artiste DSHOCK (ici au défilé JP Gaultier de la dernière Fashion Week) montre
     que à la frontière entre la performance et la Mode, on peut aller extrêmement
     loin, à condition de ne pas se prendre les pieds dans le tapis (pour aller encore
     plus loin , voir son TumblR).

     Photos by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

hebergeur image

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bérénice - quartier de l'Opéra - Lyon

hebergeur image

     Bérénice - quartier de l'Opéra - Lyon

     Dans le quartier de l'Opéra, je suis tombé sur la charmante Bérénice qui 
     descendait de son vélo. Bérénice est étudiante en communication et son pire
     cauchemar est de tomber sur une armada d'araignées. Son rêve le plus fou est
     de gagner des millions au loto (et de sponsoriser mon blog. Hein ? bah quoi ?!) 
     Bérénice porte un T-Shirt Asos, un short en jeans self-made et des chaussures 
     Dolphi. Son sac est une souvenir de Thaïlande et son parfum est "Orange" de 
     Hugo Boss.
     
     Photos by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

hebergeur image

Aurélie - Place des Terreaux - Lyon

hebergeur image

     Aurélie - Place des Terreaux - Lyon

     C'est à l'occasion d'un déplacement à Lyon pour un site internet que j'ai croisé la
     jolie Aurélie, sur la place des Terreaux. Aurélie est costumière et styliste. Ses
     vêtements ne portent pas de marque, exception faite de ses lunettes et de son sac
     qui sont de chez NewLook. Son parfum favori est "Ambre" de l'Artisan Parfumeur.
     Dans la vie, le plus grand rêve d'Aurélie est de chanter et sa plus grande peur est 
     d'être confronté à la mort (Arggg ! Moi aussi !).

     Photos by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris
  hebergeur image

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mechtilde - le Grand Palais - Paris

hebergeur image

     Mechtilde - le Grand Palais - Paris

    La jolie Mechtilde est inséparable de sa soeur Eudoxie (quels joli noms !). L'une
    habille l'autre en catimini. Entre 2 dessins, Eudoxie conçoit et réalise les tenues 
    portées par sa soeur (Mais elle reste cachée dans l'ombre et elle observe ...).
    C'est le cas pour ce t-shirt en soie géant introuvable donc dans les magasins !

    Photos by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris
  hebergeur image

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mon truc en plumes - FW - Paris

hebergeur image

     Mon truc en plume - FW - Paris

     Mon truc en plumes
     Plumes de zoizeau
     De zanimau 
     Mon truc en plumes !

     Photo by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

Chanel - le Grand Palais - Paris

hebergeur imagehebergeur imagehebergeur imagehebergeur imagehebergeur imagehebergeur image

            Photos by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Marie-Paola - le Grand-Palais - Paris

hebergeur image

     Marie-Paola - le Grand-Palais - Paris

    J'ai croisé la charmante Marie-Paola de "Will You Meet My Fashion Eye" devant le
    défilé Chanel pendant la dernière Fashion Week. Avec le temps, le rendez-vous
    devant le Grand-Palais est devenu celui à ne pas manquer et tout le monde s'y 
    retrouve avec plaisir (enfin presque).
    Marie-Paola était encore assistante de communication chez Paco Rabanne il y a peu
    (elle est maintenant à la recherche d'un nouveau job) Ce jour-là, elle portait une 
    robe NewLook, un sac Vanessa Bruno et une fleur H&M dans les cheveux (elle porte
    toujours une fleur dans les cheveux Marie-Paola). Dan la vie, le pire cauchemar de
    Marie-Paola est de se retrouver sous les ordres d'un supérieur tyrannique (nan ça 
    n'arrive jamais !) et son rêve le plus fou serait de faire le tour du monde, main 
    dans la main avec l'homme de sa vie ...

    Photo by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ulyana Sergeenko - at Dior - Paris

hebergeur image

      Ulyana Sergeenko - at Dior - Paris

      Celle que le New York Times qualifie de poupée russe et "d'aimant à Streetstyle" 
      (à moins que ce soit de magnet à réfrigérateur. À vrai dire, on ne sait pas très 
      bien ...) fait toujours le buzz et poursuit son chemin.Ici au défilé DIOR avec une 
      jolie tenue de marin parfaite pour le coupe de l'America ...

      Photo by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

Noémie - rue Montorgueil - Paris

hebergeur image

      Noémie - rue Montorgueil - Paris

      C'est la seconde fois que je croise la charmante Noémie. Elle est étudiante à la fac    
      en communication. Dans la vie, son rêve le plus grand serait de n'être jamais à
      découvert sur son compte (tu m'étonnes). Son pire cauchemar est de voir son 
      coiffeur (sans doute quelqu'un d'important dans sa vie) rater sa couleur ...
      Ce jour-là Noémie portait un pantalon All Saints très joli acheté à Londres, des 
      sandales Zara et un chemisier piqué à sa mère (Ouuuhhh !).

      Photo by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

Alma - Passage du Grand Cerf - Paris

hebergeur image

      Alma - Passage du Grand Cerf - Paris

      C'est devant le passage du Grand Cerf que j'ai croisé la jolie Alma et son petit 
      canotier. Alma travaille dans un studio de création graphique et son pire 
      cauchemar est de tomber dans une chute sans fin (sans que l'un ait un rapport
      avec l'autre, mais vous l'aurez compris !). Alma est membre du club de ceux qui
      ne portent jamais de parfum (oui ça existe !). Sinon ses chaussures sont des Van's,
      son jeans est de chez AA, son sac de Jérôme Dreyfus et son canotier de chez H&M
      Pour son chemisier, elle ne sait plus. En tout cas Alma est un joli nom. Non ?

      Photos by Fred - easy Fashion Paris

hebergeur image

Soo - grande Pyramide - Paris

hebergeur image

      Soo - grande Pyramide - Paris

     J'ai croisé la gracieuse Soo devant la grande pyramide du Louvre. Ce n'est pas tant sa
     tenue qui m'a impressionné que sa capacité à prendre la pose, comme une danseuse
     de l'Opéra !
     Soo est étudiante à Londres en Design industriel. Elle porte des sandales et un top
     Zara. Son short est un H&M et son bracelet est de chez Mango. Ses lunettes sont 
     des Rayban et elle porte un parfum Chanel.

     Photo by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

Anya Ziourova - at Dior - Paris

hebergeur image

      Anya Ziourova - at Dior - Paris

      La styliste russe est de toutes les Fashion Week. Elle est fashion director pour Tatler
      magazine et creative consultant pour Allure magazine russe. Ça doit être chouette la 
      vie pour Anya ...

      Photo by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

Friday, September 13, 2013

Anastasia - les Beaux-Arts - Paris

hebergeur image

      Anastasia - les Beaux Arts - Paris

     J'ai croisé la belle Anastasia pendant la semaine de la Mode dans la cour de l'école
     des Beaux-Arts. Je me souviens qu'elle travaille dans les relations publiques et c'est
     tout !

     Photo by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

Marie - les Beaux Arts - Paris

hebergeur image

      Marie - les Beaux Arts - Paris

     J'ai photographié quelques fois Marie, la jolie danoise de Nemesys Babe. J'aime 
     beaucoup son côté fragile hors du temps et ses looks toujours un peu décalés.

     Photo by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

Alexandra - Invalides - Paris

hebergeur image

     Alexandra - Invalides - Paris

    J'ai croisé la charmante Alexandra au défilé Dior de la dernière Fashion Week.
    Je me souviens qu'elle était juste "graduate" d'une école de journalisme. Peut-être
    qu'elle va travailler dans l'univers de la Mode. En tout cas je trouve ses taches de
    rousseur très jolies !

    Photo by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

VHRA at Pendine Sands


Well ever since Neil from the VHRA (Vintage Hot Rod Association) told me this event was going to happen I'd been eager to attend, even though there was the mighty Trip Out and the Beaulieu Autojumble on the same day Pendine was the place to be. On arrival the car park around the Museum of Speed was teaming with hot rods and american machines all waiting for the tide to retreat and reveal the drag strip for the day.



A quick warm up sketch amongst the cars.

(ink sketch)


Stromberg Special

(ink sketch)
I've seen photos of this special before and had to spend some time with it, it has great attention to detail and it looks right. I don't really know anything about it so if someone else does please let me know, so I can make this bit look a bit more informed.

1930 Morris Cowley Folding Head Coupe

(ink sketch)
Well some purists may not be into this one but I think it's a really great lateral view on the hot rod as seen from a British perspective. The Morris has all british parts and runs a Daimler 2.4 with a 36 Daimler saloon diff. I for one would like to see more of this as it encourages creativity and stops the same thing being done over and over, besides I bet it was a heap of fun to build and drive.


1934 Station Wagon

(ink sketch)
Only been in the country for a few months and mechanically restored this incredible woody looked just the ticket on the beach, very apt for it's first major run out.

'37 Ford Midget Sprint

(ink sketch)
 Originally a barn find in the late 90's not much is known about this Midget. One theory is that it was imported along with a bunch of other Midgets to promote the sport over here. It's dated as '37 as the original engine, was a Tin Side v8 Flathead (60hp) which was only produced for 9 months in '37 as a racing engine, hence the tin sides. The car is now run by Niall who drives it everywhere using the power of a Fiat 1.6 twin cam.


Lovely shot by the ever inspirational Stefan Marjoram


A couple of overexposed shots inspired by the Don Montgomery Scrapbooks
 

Hot Rod Takeover