Sunday, December 12, 2010

Coming into

Rockhampton from the south, about a kilometer past the sculpted bull—one of about twelve erected by the city council, not to mention many more fiberglass ones mounted on commercial premises: this is, after all, the self-proclaimed beef capital of Australia—in the middle of the roundabout that marks the beginnings of the city proper, you pass by a sign declaring that the Tropic of Capricorn has just been crossed.

It's bullshit. The ToC has already been crossed, about five kilometers south of where the traveller is now. There used to be this sign there in the 1970s

but it was on what is now—though it may once have been part of the highway—a secondary road that is no longer used by tourists. So, the council in its wisdom & with more than a eye on the tourist dollar, decided to move the ToC into the city & turn it into an information & souvenir shop, with a pleasing backdrop for a photo op.

The original sign has lost its identification. When we came across it not too long after we arrived here, we thought it was a decrepit busstop, & wondered why there'd be a bus route along this barely used road.

Commerce 1, Cartography 0.

The council has been at it again, with economics dictating a change in the way floods are described.

As the 2008 plot below shows, if the river reached a height of five meters, the flood was classified as minor. Six meters was moderate, seven meters major. This flood was above seven meters so was described as major—which kept the tourists away.

Fuck that, said the council. After all, there were only about 200 homes & businesses that were affected by water, & not that many roads that needed to be closed, & the fact that all the riverbank carparks were under water was something that really affected just the residents. The only thing major about it for the council was the fact that the tourist businesses lost money through this gross act of misrepresentation.

So, let's lobby to change the criteria. Keep the tourists coming.

The plot below is of the current river rise. But note that now, when the river reaches a height of seven meters, it is only a minor flood. Moderate kicks in when a height of 7.5 meters is reached, & the flood now has to be 8.5 meters high before it is described as a major flood, & scares the tourists off.

Commerce 1, Hydrography or Hydrology or Meteorology or whatever it is, 0.


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