Sunday, May 30, 2010

Okay, So He Really Was Crazy

Or, like so many before him, driven mad by prophecy. The Guardian is reporting that when GW Bush was trying to sell the invasion of Iraq to the French, the Shrub was doing it by using screwy biblical prophecy: Gog and Magog. To quote Andrew Brown:
In the winter of 2003, when George Bush and Tony Blair were frantically gathering support for their planned invasion, Professor Thomas Römer, an Old Testament expert at the university of Lausanne, was rung up by the Protestant Federation of France. They asked him to supply them with a summary of the legends surrounding Gog and Magog and as the conversation progressed, he realised that this had originally come, from the highest reaches of the French government.
President Jacques Chirac wanted to know what the hell President Bush had been on about in their last conversation. Bush had then said that when he looked at the Middle East, he saw "Gog and Magog at work" and the biblical prophecies unfolding. But who the hell were Gog and Magog? Neither Chirac nor his office had any idea. But they knew Bush was an evangelical Christian, so they asked the French Federation of Protestants, who in turn asked Professor Römer.
He explained that Gog and Magog were, to use theological jargon, crazy talk. They appear twice in the Old Testament, once as a name, and once in a truly strange prophecy in the book of Ezekiel[.]

And, of course, the story just gets stranger--as is typical when talking about the Bush II Whitehouse.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dam That's Big!

Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada is the largest park in Canada's system of National Parks and the 2nd largest protected area in the world, at 44, 807 square kilometres. It is also home to the world's largest.....beaver dam. Seriously.

The dam is, apparently, about one and a half CN Towers in length, ~850 metres or 2,800 feet long. The product of several generations of beavers, the dam blows past the old record of a dam 652 metres long in Three Forks, Montana.
Beaver dams are unusual in that they can be seen from space--like the Great Wall or the Pyramids at Giza. Canadian ecologist Jean Thie said Wednesday he used satellite imagery and Google Earth software to locate the dam, which is about 850 meters (2,800 feet) long on the southern edge of Wood Buffalo National Park.

Beaver can cut down as many as 200 trees a year, and generally build dams between 10 and 100 metres long. When such dams are near human development, the dams are usually destroyed and the beavers caught and transported to little beaver penal colonies new areas away from humans. These beaver, well away from people, have been free to reshape the environment as they see fit.
The dam wasn't begun until after 1975, it was determined after comparisons between aerial photographs. But they've been *ahem* beavering away on the dam for decades. Currently, there are two new dams going up that look like they will eventually be connected to this dam, making a dam almost a full kilometre long. 
Here's a Parks Canada video of the dam from the air:

There's a number of links, so I'll just include a link cluster here.
Parks Canada
Discovery News