Sunday, 24 July 2011


July 23rd-24th: I'm changing the blog aesthetics. The new blogger head picture was taken today north of Tainan City on route 17, but I may change it again if and when I contrive to take something better. What I had in mind was trying to capture the entire skyline of Tainan City, which would have meant a panorama shot, but there were two problems: first, there was far too much cloud noise (as you can see) and second, though it can't be seen in the new blog header, the view of the tower next to the train station is partially obscured from route 17 by the trees and green construction fencing which has recently been erected along the section just after the main northbound bridge. Zooming in would have meant loss of whatever blue sky I could get and would also have complicated any panorama composite. What I really needed to take a great shot there was a point of elevation. In the end I went with a compromise that took in enough blue sky and enough of the buildings (though not the train station tower) and road to make sense. I'll think about the problem some more later...

While I was out there I saw the immediate aftermath of a horrible traffic accident. I didn't see the accident itself, but as you can see, that truck has literally crushed the little scooter underneath. I was careful not to include the license plate of the truck in that picture since I have no idea who was at fault. The victim was an 18-20 year old boy - he was still alive, but seemingly only just; he was in such a bloodied and broken up shape that I'd be amazed if he survives. Still, horrors like this are an everyday occurance in Taiwan because driving culture here is permeated with bad epistemology. Essentially, the basic problem is that people don't look around them and think about the omnilateral implications of their vehicle's movement relative to the position of other drivers (hence my blog address). Since the moment I first arrived in Taiwan I've always promised myself that nothing like that would ever happen to me, and though I've been in a few minor scrapes, it never has.

Anyway, it was lovely weather so off I went to continue taking pictures before getting myself lost in an unfamiliar district of the town and then getting back to the park. On the right is a picture of the Anping river, which though nothing special in itself, does show the tri-colour set I most associate with Taiwan (south Taiwan anyway): blue, white and green. The problem with the new blog header is just that: too much white, and not enough blue and not enough green.

From all of today's reading, I thought Mark Steyn had the best words:
"...the “debt ceiling” debate is regarded by most Democrats and a fair few Republicans as some sort of ghastly social faux pas by boorish conservatives: Why, everyone knows ye olde debt-limit vote is merely a bit of traditional ceremonial, like the Lord Chancellor walking backwards with the Cap of Maintenance and Black Rod shouting “Hats off, strangers!” at Britain’s Opening of Parliament. You hit the debt ceiling, you jack it up a couple trillion, and life goes on — or so it did until these GOP yahoos came along and decided to treat the vote as if it actually meant something."
Read the whole thing!


  1. Nice new blog-header picture, Mike. Perhaps, it would would have been pretty topical (political and other conflicts, and all that) to put the accident picture instead. :)
    Perhaps some politicians want to keep raising the debt ceiling, no matter what. Lower the value of American money, of American value, so to speak, will inevitably continue, as it has, if no major change occurs. Already, the unthinkable has occurred. The Canadian dollar consistently outperforms the US dollar, not merely this month, but has done so for more than half a year now. No doubt, this will mean more Americans coming to Taiwan as English teachers. ;) As a Canadian, however, I can only gloat...except, not really. A strong U.S. is just as good for the Canadian economy as for the the world. The Canadian dollar doing well is all very well and good, but really, the long-term implications mean more instability in ways even those with the most foresight probably cannot even comprehend.
    "Brain drain" is only one aspect that will come out of the US deficit and debt. The United States will become a manufacturing centre once again (due to eventual cheap labour as a result of the low dollar). Only this time, it will not be like the glory days of the early to mid-twentieth centuries (despite some odds).

  2. "Nice new blog-header picture, Mike."

    Thanks Thoth, though I'll almost certainly be changing it in the event that weather and opportunity come together again this week.

    "Perhaps some politicians want to keep raising the debt ceiling, no matter what."

    With some of them, it's possible that they're simply too stupid to realize the implications of what they are doing (e.g. Senator Reid). With others, including the President and his advisers, my sense is that they know more or less what they are doing.

    The Canadian dollar is insignificant in the general scheme of things Thoth.

    What is being done to the US dollar has profound implications for the rest of the world. What remains of America in the preservation of its history, in the immensely transformative force of its mere inertia and in the actions and character of the people reared in its culture - despite the vandalism of its' own Statist sociopaths - is still, even now, the brightest light the world has ever seen. Of course, it was originally a European light, purified to some extent by the vision and efforts of the American Revolution.

    It is in any case being rapidly diminished toward extinction point.


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