I have been preoccupied by other matters, so two brief visual place-holders:

1) Anyone who loves the English-language Chinese press will love it all the more thanks to the kickoff to this new series in the proudly nationalist Global Times:


Remember, this is part of the government-guided soft-power initiative to the outside world. And it's a feature in English, about foreigners. This should make Mitt Romney feel a little better about his recent bumpy patches when dealing with alien sensibilities. It also made me reflect on the big exhibit I saw at the lovely Shanghai Art Museum a few years ago, with dramatic photos of families dislocated during the building of the Three Gorges dam. The huge posters outside said, in English: "Photos of The Three Georges."

2) Phone-cam shot of the dashboard of my car, as I sat at a stop light on Virginia Avenue in DC this afternoon. I direct your attention to the 105F reading on the outside-temp gauge.


OK, the reading may have been skewed by urban "heat island" effects, and so on. Still. It is almost as if something larger is happening to the world's climate system, though of course we are not supposed to say that. If you would like some non-reassuring reading on this point, check out this, about what the extreme heat and drought are doing to world food supplies. Or, no joke, this segment on The Colbert Report, with an Iowa agriculture. Or this from Grist, about a Tom the Dancing Bug feature. Or, for one more visual aid, this graphic of how much the Greenland ice sheet increased its melting in a four-day period earlier this month, from NASA. Details at the NASA site, but with the concept of "red = warm" you'll get the idea.

670398main_greenland_2012194-673 (1).jpg

More tomorrow.