Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Ben Shapiro On Charlottesville



I was going to write something about this earlier this morning, but ran out of time. Never mind, Ben Shapiro is far more thorough than I could have been with my limited time and multiple responsibilities. The utterly crass nature and stupidity of identity politics was obvious for years even before recent insanities. The only thing I would add to what looks like a looming civil conflict in the U.S. is that this conflict is not confined to the U.S. or even "the West" in general. Here in Taiwan for example, the obvious threat to our freedom is China but in my opinion there is also a growing liability of an increasingly politicized youth - largely because they are being radicalized by capital "L" Leftist SJW control freaks. It would be a terrible irony if Taiwan were to successfully deter Chinese annexation, only to self-impose mob rule and domestic Leftist tyranny.

Fortunately, we appear to still be some way from that happening.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

"Goolag Archipelago"

My output here has progressively declined in the last couple of years largely because I need to find another way to do it, and because I have a lot of distractions. But I have never kept quiet out of fear.

The story of the recently fired Google employee James D'Amore for circulating a memo on the upper echelons of the Google company being an insane, double-think, capital "L" Leftist echo chamber is yet another flashlight upon the intrusion of human monsters behind the scenes. Scott Alexander has a good post about it here. How many people are now choosing to remain silent and censor themselves for fear of the online lynch mob?

It is time for me to finally leave the Blogger platform and Google entirely. I am beginning the process of transferring and archiving all of my work here and setting up new social media accounts at the new platforms that are springing up to lure users away from Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter. My only regret is that I cannot get out instantaneously.

A prediction: the SJW lynch mob will eventually turn on each other and lynch themselves, and it will be some consolation to sit back from afar and watch evil consume itself.

Monday, 7 August 2017

First Trip To Deyuan Lake Reservoir (德元埤水庫)

Looking eastward from the Tainan 171 over the rice paddies to the earth dam at Wushantou reservoir.
The little replica windmill for which the site garners a certain amount of local fame. Place names in Taiwan occasionally baffle me; this lake in Tainan's Liouying district is called "Deyuan", which can be translated as either "German" or "German currency", and yet the entire site is peppered with references to the Netherlands like this windmill and a giant pair of wooden clogs. In addition, the entire site is referred to as "Holland Village" (荷蘭村) even though there isn't a village here. I can kind of understand the Dutch references given that the area in Liouying, as with other districts west of the foothills, is entirely flat and so bears a superficial resemblance to one of the Netherland's more famous characteristics, but then why the lake is called "German currency" lake is a mystery. I've asked Taiwanese friends, but I'm none the wiser for it. 



Oddly enough, the reservoir is empty. I'm not quite sure why this is yet, though the obvious guess is that there is a serious sedimentation problem, though raw, uninformed observation alone is not a sufficient judge of this.

You can see that the reservoir is formed only when the river overflows the banks of sediment.

The arrow in the sculpture points directly north and away from the windmill in the background. I have no idea why.

The local feeder stream flowing westward into Deyuan reservoir. It is heavily supplemented by water from the Chiannan irrigation canal issuing out of nearby Wushantou reservoir. An auxilliary function of Deyuan reservoir, I suspect, is to serve as a flood control facility for water that must be released from both Wushantou reservoir and the Chiannan canal system. The lake may be defined as a reservoir, or it may also be considered as a wetlands area.

Looking downstream (northward) as the feeder stream approaches Deyuan reservoir from the south.

The southward facing gates of the spillway at the westernmost end of Deyuan reservoir.

Tainter gates; of the five gates, all but the central gate (shown left) were opened to release water. 

The small stilling basin immediately beyond the gates.

Upstream view of the five spillway gates.

I left Deyuan reservoir and drove north to Baihe reservoir to try and improve upon the pictures I had taken there on Thursday, and yet I found that, not only was the weather slightly better (no rain), but that there was actually water issuing out of the spillway for the first time in a long time.

Water leaving the spillway must be an indication that an awful lot of sediment has been shifted in the last six months or so.

The ogee crest at the end of the spillway with the water falling over into the after bay. The fresh concrete of the new sluiceway is to the left.

The water seems to be coming out of the central gate only and yet it doesn't appear to have been raised at all and is on a level with the other two gates, left and right.

Another shot of the new sluiceway tunnel mouth with the bags of cement stacked up above the rip-rap.

Some parting shots on leaving Baihe late in the afternoon. This particular mountain has become so familiar to me.

A little panorama showing just how concentrated the dark clouds were.

Final picture of the day before the long drive back to Tainan city.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Quick Afternoon Trip To Yuanshuidapi (鹽水大埤)

Yuanshuidapi is a small reservoir in Tainan's Xinhua district. Although there are a couple of tiny feeder streams at the back, I suspect it is for the most part a directly rain-fed reservoir like Manzihmanpi or Jianshanpi reservoirs. I was last here about six months ago when the water level was low but yesterday's trip is the first time I've seen Yuanshuidapi full or close to full. 

Yuanshuidapi serves as the source for the Yuanshui river which runs through Tainan and passes by the remains of the old Dutch fort in the west of the city before entering the Taiwan Strait. Built between 1954 and 1955 its' primary function however was to provide supplemental irrigation water to that already provided by the nearby Houtopi reservoir about a kilometer and a half to the south. It is unusual in that the basin of the reservoir is formed from entirely man-made embankments in an approximate figure 8. The brown color of the water indicates high turbidity which may result from the reservoir being so shallow and small; from my observations six months ago when the water level was very low I think the depth of the water here will be no more than four or five meters at the deepest point.

The height of the rushes all along the embankment is an indicator of just how forgotten and neglected this place is. Unlike Houtopi which is a popular fishing spot, there aren't even any locals coming here to go fishing. 

The upstream face of the four spillway tainter gates. There is no dam as such because the embankments encircle the reservoir completely aside from the feeder streams at the back and the spillway gates at the front.

Downstream face of the four tainter gates. Even though they are closed, there is plenty of water seeping out from the eroded undersides of the concrete spillway lip.

Looking up from the end of the spillway channel.

The abrupt end of the channel walls.

The beginning of the Yuanshui river that flows to the Taiwan Strait just to the north of Tainan city proper and the old Dutch fort in Anping. 

On the way home I took a detour to explore a newly constructed extension to provincial highway 39 which runs beneath the HSR line. It runs north from Alian district down in Kaohsiung, through Tainan's Guiren district and the HSR station up into Xinhua and now all the way over into Xinshih district via this bridge over provincial highway 1. Potentially, this could be a superior route for me to get to work in Xinshih's science park on weekday evenings. The river in the distance to the left is the Yuanshui river as it rolls westward between the city's Yongkang district to the left (south) and Xinshih and Annan districts to the right (north).

Looking directly southward over the local TRA railway line between Xinshih and Yongkang to the left and provincial highway 1 to the right with a green corridor in between and the Yuanshui river passing underneath from left to right.

Looking eastward over the railway line and the floodplains of the Yuanshui river toward Yongkang.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Quick Check-In At Baihe Reservoir

Full scene at the downstream face of the dam yesterday: there are only a few visible changes since last time I was here, the most obvious being that the water flow out from the irrigation channel is much higher since the recent rains. The concrete walls for the new sluiceway are still separated from the tunnel mouth as work continues inside there.

The main visible development is that the shoulder adjacent to the tunnel mouth is now partially covered by boulder rip-rap; the white bags surmounting this are most likely cement mix that must be kept dry prior to its' application.

The dam crest and spillway gates.

Female golden orb spider (nephila pilipes) in the process of determining that a fallen leaf is not actually a food source.

Extreme sexual dimorphism: the tiny orange spider sitting astride the abdomen of the larger spider is actually the male of the species, most likely attempting to mate with the female. 

Not the end of the road, a section in which the tarmac had been washed away. This was at the northwest end of the reservoir and I was following google maps to see if I could get a hirtherto undiscovered view from the north-west. As I have found so many times elsewhere however, I found that the google map image is not accurate; beyond this point the road breaks out into a number of trails used by the bamboo farmers that aren't represented on the map. I spent about an hour walking uphill and downhill through the bush until I ran out of time and was left frustrated and riddled with insect bites.

Looking west into the setting sun: a farmer in his flooded rice paddies.

Looking east back to the mountains that overlook Baihe reservoir.