Melbourne: vision of the apocalypse?

My Melbourne friend Richard (one of the several Richards I know there) sends this photo of Melbourne’s smoke-filled sky today as residents face the massive bushfires.

Melbourne's smoky sky

He writes:

So far around 400,000 hectares have been burned.

Although the fires are burning in an area between 150 and 200km north-east of the city, they’re casting a smoky haze over Melbourne. You can smell it, even indoors, and despite the pollution in the CBD.

It’s like God’s fired up his pot-belly stove.

The Age is collecting further smog photos too.

I should be Spenglerian, apparently

Now that I’ve upgraded to Firefox 2.0, I get spell-checking inside website forms — a bonus! But the spell-checker has trouble with “Stilgherrian” (oddly enough).

Its suggestions are “Spenglerian” (after the German pre-Nazi historian and philosopher Oswald Spengler, “Utilitarianism” (the ethical theory), “Cherianne’s” (whoever Cherianne is!), “Algerian’s” (well, I know what Algerians are, but why has it chosen the possessive form?) or “Utilitarians”. Not the best set of alternatives…

Oh, in New Scientist again

I actually told New Scientist about this back in April, but they finally ran it in the 18 November edition — which I’m just getting around to reading now.

It seems a curious claim to allow on your website for several months, but if it is true then‘s “advanced search” is very advanced indeed. Since April, when reader Stilgherrian first told us about it, it has offered to search back through the last 6142 years of internet forum postings.