Taking a short time-out from my realm of work at the moment. BECAUSE. I suddenly realised how important it is to state the obvious. Because, what is obvious to one, obviously is not obvious to another.

About connecting the dots – I know my associative thinking skills can go on the overdrive at times, and much of the time, I try to get a hold of myself on such matters. Because, I don’t know when my imagination gets abit too far fetched. Guess there is still a tiny bit of Pisces in me (born on the cusp!)

These few days, the geek in me has been indulging in maps and Maps and MAPS and MAPPPPSSS. Guess this is also a “job hazard”, the brain automatically starts analysing distances, areas, connecting many dots and extrapolating virtual overlays in some hidden realm in my head. Basically I was just trying to get my head around to the scale of bushfires and wind speeds and wind directions and haze infiltration, and how many places can still be “breathable” if fire seasons get longer. Scary train of thought, right? I hope all of us gets scared, and realize (even for myself) it is not just me being a worrywart and an overthinking paranoid freak.

SO. Anyway, something entertaining in this heavy times. I came across this thread while catching up on news during my lunch break: the size of Australia shocks America in bushfire map comparisons. I would imagine most people do not realise this. I only know because much of my work revolves all around size and scales of urbanisation and I am forever doing comparisons of cities and countries. The sad subtext of this is that – hmm… that’s how big the fires are, people!! It is really important to be able to visualise, otherwise they are just huge numbers in the millions that just fly past our heads because numbers – how many zeros are there in a million – does that sit in our system at all?

Visualization is important. Let me share a joke, which I probably have mentioned somewhere before. I lived in Melbourne for a while, absolutely loving the ocean. Pacific Ocean, because we are in Asia-Pacific, still easy-peasy connecting the dots. I love dolphins, I love whales. America, on the other hand, always felt like the other side of the world, or maybe even another realm / another world. Because, it takes 8 hours for me to get to Melby, but 26 (archaic times, before there were direct flights) to get to the far end of US of A. When I first went to California, I was shocked! It finally occurs to me that it is just on the other side of the Pacific Ocean!! Haha!! OH MY! It means that the whales I see at Torquay could be the same whales I see at Big Sur! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Assuming they do the distance. hahaha.

Where Whales Hang Out – A different viewpoint on Planet Earth

That is how messy my brain is, filling up with all sorts of nonsensical dots that the geek in me loves to connect for no reason at all. The other point being, we are just too used to the knowledge and information shown to us – we look more at world maps than at atlases / globes. Plus hardly any flights fly the other way around. It is so easy to be brainwashed just by how information is featured. Interesting, right? That calls for more introspection into the kind of information we are fed. That boils back to my epiphany today – it is important to state the “obvious”.

Since realm covers the spatial aspect, of course I must balance this out (and also take the opportunity to score another RDP .. gahaha) with the time dimension. Temporal – here are more maps on the effects of recurring and short-interval fires on snow gums and theΒ article here.

Back to my realm of work. Different realms of darkness, different realms of shade. :/

6 Comments Add yours

    1. leapingtoes says:

      I’m very scared of the day a full biodiversity census is carried out … it’s already very painful just looking at the broad areas. 😦


  1. Yes! I live on the dry, eastern slopes of a mountain range that drops into a high desert. It’s interesting to note how forests burned at various times in history have re-grown. The lower elevation forests no longer re-grew after the 1950’s, and likewise rather higher after the 70’s, and so on. Now, trees simply die at higher elevations due to drought. Now when those forests burn, they tend to be massive conflagrations… one of my first posts on WP.


    1. leapingtoes says:

      It’s a really sad thought – how the ecology is “downgrading”. I don’t want to use the word “deteriorating” yet, because … Mother Earth may have her own plans.. or survival mechanisms. ..
      Question though – do the trees grow/survive better in the western slopes since they get more moisture? I was in Calif during the 2017 fires, but was too aghast to ponder this ditsy question.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not “ditsy” at all! At this latitude, the main air currents flow from west to east, so they bring moisture inland from the cold North Pacific Ocean. Most of the moisture drops on the west side of the mountains, which rise gradually. By the time the air gets over the highest elevations at the divide (around 3,500 meters), most of the moisture has been released. The eastern “rain-shadow” slope drops steeply, so it’s easy to see the changes at different elevations.

        The normal weather pattern here is several years of drought punctuated by brief intervals when many years’ worth of precipitation occur in a single winter (or maybe just one storm). Last winter was one of those watersheds when the western slopes re-filled as a water reservoir for California. But the year before that had five of the largest forest fires in California’s history — destroyed whole towns and killed 103 people. So a small change here can have a big effect.


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