Sunday, 6 June 2010

I saw Pegasus evolve into a creepy egg-laying insect

Our au pair has just finished her degree in cartography. Cartography? My goodness - she must be in high demand these days. From Eyjafjallajokull to Deepwater the world is currently enwrapped in map mania. Missmc can never resist a bit of forecasting though scientists would prefer it to be called "a projection".

Projecting the path of Deepwater's spurgy glops raised a bit of hysteria last week in the media. The press scampered back under cover and exclaimed that these projections were not real, could not be real and were mere forecasts based on inky blot models. So there. Not real, not happening. Whew.

Is anyone having a flashback? Ah yes. Volcano dust. The forecasts were not facts according to the Daily Mail. So therefore not real. Philosophers.

Like the dust, oil mapping is a tricky task. The current maps only map what is "visible". Projections based on currents, wind and weather are semi- accurate for a day or so ahead and become more theoretical as the timeframe increases. As there has been over a million gallons of chemicals released to disperse the oil there is an awful lot of invisible gunk in the deep deep levels of the sea that will remain unmapped. The effects of the oil and the chemicals deep down under will appear later on further up the food chain, but, by then, gosh - perhaps we'll have another crisis to take off the focus. Maybe the Israelis will go on a pirating course and hone their skills.

The Rorschachian nature of these maps for both the oil and the volcano dust adds to Missmc's appreciation of the mathematical models behind them. For instance, here is a map of the oil glop. I saw Pegasus slowly evolve into a creepy egg-laying insect this morning. Of course, Missmc is operating on the usual she-still-might-be-a-tad-drunk-after-last-night batteries. Afterall, it is Sunday morning.

I do hope to return this week with my own map. "Deepwater, meet Eyjafjallajokull" "Eyjafjallajokull, meet Deepwater". I just have to adjust the model a bit more as long timeframe projections are...a...bit...unreliable. But the graphics are marvelous.

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