Tuesday, 20 September 2016

"Why Do People Hate The Media?"

In a post yesterday at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen poses the question: "Why do people hate the media so much?" His answer is interesting, but there's a simpler explanation: we hate the media because, essentially, they are shit. Allow me to illustrate...

The opening paragraph from a front page report in today's Taipei Times by Chen Wei-han:
"About 1,000 Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) employees yesterday marched to the Executive Yuan in Taipei to protest a planned amendment to the Electricity Act (電業法) aimed at power market liberalization, which they said would split the state-owned company and allow private businesses to monopolize power rates."
What is this? Employees of an existing State monopoly protesting against privatization on the claim that private businesses will then "monopolize" electricity prices? If there are several businesses in competition with one another to broker electricity prices to consumers, then this cannot be a monopoly by definition. The obvious contradiction passes through the remainder of the article entirely unremarked upon.

Do gross errors like that arise from mere temporary incompetence or a deeper conceptual derangement? How else could have Chen Wei-han and the editors at the Taipei Times contrived to publish this gibberish?


I found another of these mind-numbing contradictions at the News Lens International the other day. At the beginning of an article about some "research" ostensibly about why some women in China do not get married, the writer notes that no firm conclusions can be drawn from the research due to its' methodological weaknesses. By the end of the same article however, the writer is telling us that the research "unmasks myths" and "exposes truths" about the marriage market in China. Look darling: it's one or the other, you can't have it both ways.

How these people get to work in the media ought to be a source of fascination for historians; it seems like you could just curl out any old mindless shit and as long as the themes are politically correct, it'll get published.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sunday Afternoon At Agongdian Reservoir

The view southwards over the reservoir from atop Xiaogangshan.
Girlfriend peering into the one active muddy volcano at Wushanding.
The belching mud.
The two of us on the side of the active muddy volcano.
The seemingly dormant muddy volcano on the far side.
Another kissing shot next to the dormant volcano.
A 300mm shot north westward back toward the reservoir; the intake tower is just visible.
Broader context shot; this is pretty good for sunset and without the use of black cards.

Saturday Trip To Chiayi & Renyitan Reservoir

Westward panorama shot overlooking Renyitan reservoir from the east.
Yesterday I drove up late in the afternoon to Chiayi city and on to Renyitan reservoir. I expected the management staff to have the long weekend off, but I wanted to try once more to see if I could find any other evidence of a water course leaving the west side of Renyitan to run north-west toward Lantan.

Once again, I didn't find a thing.

For some time now I have harboured the suspicion that this conduit may have been destroyed to make way for the stretch of National Freeway Number 3 which runs between the two reservoirs. If that is the case then it would follow that Lantan is now fed purely by direct rainfall on its' surface, though I can't quite bring myself to believe this simply because I've never seen it dry.

I took a few pictures whilst I was there, and then drove back to Tainan city.

Looking eastward from the west end of the dam over the water quality monitoring station.
The first of several shots looking eastward toward the mountains of Alishan district. I had wanted to stitch these into a panorama, but for some reason neither of the two programs I use could do it.
Looking toward the upstream face of the Renyitan dam with the mountains in the background.
The pylon standing in the water, with the parking area off to the right.
The dam at its' highest point with tourists ambling along the top and flying kites.
Wide-angle context shot.
The barrier between the reservoir and the feeder stream with water flowing over the top.
Looking westward back toward the main tourist corner of the reservoir.
I took a series of these shots and again, neither of the two programs I use could stitch them together into a panorama shot, which is a shame.
The water quality monitoring station is just visible in the center right of this image, with bits of the south side of Chiayi city in the background.
Looking toward the trees on the north western side which hide two corridors of water, one of which contains the portcullis gate for the feeder conduit to Lantan reservoir.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Typhoon Meranti

After typhoon Meranti passed through on Wednesday, I ventured out to the park yesterday morning and this is what I saw...

The rain hadn't been that bad actually, at least compared to the previous Tuesday, but it was still enough to flood the depressed areas of ground and bits of pavement.
The first of several uprooted trees.
Snapped and broken branches everywhere.
Snapped in two.
The big one: this is one of the park's largest rubber trees completely uprooted.
Coco sniffing around the debris of the massive tree.
The same rubber tree shot from a bit further back to put it into context.
The field at the back of the park got off relatively lightly, with only one uprooted tree, though this one was already bent out of shape and standing at an awkward angle even before the typhoon hit. 
The damage at Xiadong road park was comparatively mild consisting mostly of fallen palm branches, which is normal.
There was only this pair of uprooted trees.

Monday, 12 September 2016

The New Trans-Basin Diversion Tunnel (跨流域引水隧洞) To Feed Wushantou Reservoir (烏山頭水庫) From The Tseng-wen River (曾文河)

Some photos from yesterday...

Photographed from an overlooking hillside to the north; the construction site for the western end of the new tunnel lies just a few meters downstream from Yoichi Hatta's original, which I was fortunate enough to have visited by raft two years ago long before the current project began. Unfortunately, the original tunnel's west mouth is out of shot off to the left and I was unable to find a vantage point from which I could capture it from the hillsides.
Plan of the new tunnel (bottom line) in comparison with the original tunnel (top, straight line). The intake will be on the east side (right) and the exit point - "west mouth" - as the original was called, is on the west side (left).
A somewhat closer shot of the site and the equipment.
The two ventilation pipes; the upper one for ensuring the oxygen supply within the tunnel, and the lower one for removing exhaust gases and dust from the drilling within.
Slogans: "safety first" and "environmental protection".
Truck with drilling arm and crow's nest attachments.
On-site offices made from two shipping containers.
Until the weather clears up (there's another typhoon coming and Taipei is forecast for rain yet again this week), I might delay the next Taipei trip yet again. I had booked a tour of Feitsui reservoir this month, but the administration authority had to postpone it due to unforeseen maintenance work. At this rate, I won't get back up to Taipei until October...