Panoramas taken with the Spark at sunset, over the beach in front of our apartment. This is from 120 m (400 ft), and about 80 m (260 ft) out to sea. To the north you can see Mount Dutton and Mount Greenly, while panning to the west you can follow the complex convolutions of Coffin Bay itself. To the south the dunes of Coffin Bay National Park spread towards the southern coast. On the far horizon you can just make out the archipelago of islands off Point Avoid. Eastwards you can see the township of Coffin Bay, mainly oyster fisheries and tourist acommodations, spread out below the drone.
This panorama is a composite of 46 separate images taken with the DJI Spark drone, stitched in PTGui. Since the drone cannot tilt far enough to capture the sky directly overhead, I used an Insta 360 X 360-degree panoramic camera to capture the zenithal sky from the ground. I then colour-matched these two images and composited them in Photoshop to create the final 360 x 180 degree panorama.
As the wind turns easterly over Adelaide on 2019-12-22, it carries a suffocating pall of smoke dozens of miles over the city. This panorama was taken over 25 kilometres from the fires at an altitude of 120m. This ensures that the drone was not interfering with firefighting aircraft, and shows the extent and size of the fires.
These maps, taken by the Himawari-8 weather satellite at 4PM Central Australian Daylight Time on 2019-12-20, reveal in stark detail the huge range and reach of the bushfires currently ravaging the nation. All along the eastern coast and the Great Dividing Range, the dull grey plumes of smoke from the bushfire fronts rise into the atmosphere to be blown eastwards over the Pacific by the jet stream. Along the Blue Mountains down through the Snowy Mountains and the Australian Alps as far south as Gippsland, a clearly visible and near-continuous wall of fire has cut off the eastern cities from the remainder of the country.
The fires have been burning unchecked for over two weeks, and efforts to contain them have so far proven fruitless. It highlights how we puny humans cannot hope to contain nature’s fury at such a scale. What makes the situation even worse is that we are coming from a year-long drought, with empty dams and dry rivers. There are reports of people giving up the water in their swimming pools to helicopters to fight the blazes, because all the dams have run dry due to the drought.
Putting the fires in perspective
For those in other countries unable to grasp the magnitude of this catastrophe, there are maps with the British Isles, the United States and India overlaid on them. It can be clearly seen that if these fires were transplanted to the United Kingdom, there would be a wall of fire running from London through Edinburgh, as far as the Shetland Islands. The plume of smoke would be carried over Europe, darkening the skies as far east as Poland.
In the United States, if these fires were to occur there, the fire front would stretch from Los Angeles to Portland in a near-continuous wall of fire, with the smoke plume darkening the sky as far east as Wisconsin. Or, carried to the eastern seaboard, the fire front would run from Miami to Washington DC, and the smoke plume would reach Bermuda.
If the fires were occurring in India, they would form a wall of fire from Chennai to Patna, and the smoke plume would cross the Bay of Bengal as far as Myanmar.
Be aware, we are in danger
Our nation will survive this disaster, as it has many others. But for those of us still safe in our homes, it is my hope that these terrifying images will bring home to my fellow Australians just how far up shit creek we ALL are.
Instead of watching the goggle box when you sit down to relax this evening, watch this 43-minute commentary instead. It will be time well spent, believe me.
These two guys absolutely nail it all. This is the reason I don’t go to the cinema any more, and is the reason why I’ve lost interest in Star Wars, Star Trek, and why I never bothered to get into Marvel.
Utah mom says healthy 19-year-old son died from flu shot
Many people manifest a strong belief that doctors are only in it for the money, that they are nothing more than pill salesmen for Big Pharma. I believe that is very far from the truth.
Medicine is science and science is evolving – as are the problems it works to solve.
The reality is that medicine will always be a hit and miss science because each of us is different, and close enough is not always good enough.
Modern medicine enables more people to survive who would otherwise die. Consider someone with a peanut or egg allergy who gets anaphylactic shock. In the past such people simply died, and if they died young enough they didn’t reproduce to pass on the allergy.
Now they do survive, and so more and more people are born with life-threatening anaphylactic allergies because we’ve stopped them from being non-survival traits.
These allergies are going to affect different people in different ways. An allergy to peanuts could be an allergy to a chemical present in peanuts – or in vaccines.
I wonder how many vaccine deaths are due to an anaphylactic allergy to some chemical used in vaccines?
But consider that there may be different allergies in different people to different chemicals. So if you isolate the chemical that kills one kid, and replace it with something else, why wouldn’t the replacement kill a kid who the original chemical might not have affected?
Medicine is no cakewalk.
I believe most doctors do their best for their patients. If you think about it, while the money is lucrative it’s not a pleasant or easy job. You have to be pretty dedicated to earn your crust looking and digging through people’s guts and organs. And you have the ever present risk of a patient dying under your care. Lawsuits aside, the simple human factor of wanting to save a person’s life and failing is hardly a pleasant experience.
Doctors are not big pharma stooges. My doctor, who I’ve known and been treated by for many years, hates big pharma, and the grip they have on the medical profession. He’s seen shit that would turn anyone’s stomach. No way would I ever want to do that job, not if it paid ten times as much. Yet he does, and has done all his life.
Doctors become doctors because they want to save lives, not because they’re after an easy buck. The medical profession executives and big pharma are the ones who set the prices and costs. I’ve never met a doctor who says they wouldn’t treat a patient even if the patient couldn’t pay, and leave the payment to be sorted out later by the beancounters and lawyers.
Evolution works both ways.
However, the more lives doctors save, the more we preserve life-threatening pathologies in our species. Pathologies that will develop and become worse with every generation, because we will do everything in our power to keep people alive despite them.
Because of this dichotomy, this is a war that doctors and medicine can never hope to win, since their efforts to save lives also preserve the disorders. All they can do is keep trying, and that means mistakes will be made and kids will die and lessons will be learned, and the endless path of evolution will continue.
These images are stitched panoramas taken with my DJI Spark drone on 2019-11-27. The panoramas are interactive; you can zoom in and out by using your scroll wheel or pinch-zoom on your phone. You can also view the panorama fullscreen by touching the ⬚ icon at the top left of the image.
The above panorama was taken from 120 metres (about 400 ft) above the lily pond in the Mt Lofty Botanic Garden, South Australia (34°59’14.06″ S138°42’57.49″E).