Friday, January 30, 2009

spot of train spotting #1

click to enlarrge  —  imarge by jarcob

Like a ghostly apparition, Y135 (early-1960s vintage) hauls the South Gippsland Tourist Railway’s ‘Dinner Train’ across the river flats between Nyora and Loch.


Dinner Train — caboose perspective (bum shot) ...

click to enlarrge  —  imarge by jarcob

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gaza bean counting

According to the CIA World Factbook, the Gaza Strip has an estimated population of 1,500,202 in an area of 360 square kilometres.

Feeding these figures into a spreadsheet yields an average population density of 4,167 persons per square kilometre.

As we know, however, only a portion of the Gaza is built-up. Looking at this map, I’d estimate the built-up area of the territory to be around 20 percent. Assuming the population in these built-up areas to be of the order of 70% of the Gaza population — that’s a guess — my spreadsheet yields an average urban population density of 14,585 persons per square kilometre.

Regarding the recent war in Gaza, Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth notes...

Awful as it is to have white phosphorous raining down on you, the IDF probably caused more civilian casualties with its use of 155 mm high-explosive artillery shells in Gaza. These weapons can injure civilians from blast and fragmentation over an area with a radius of as much as 300 meters. That’s roughly the equivalent of taking three football fields, lining them end to end and then rotating them around the point of the shell’s impact.

Now, a blast radius of 300 meters represents a blast area of 0.283 square kilometres. Thus, on the above calculations, a 155 mm shell fired into a built-up area of the Gaza could potentially kill or otherwise harm 4,123.896 people.

Naturally this figure would be reduced by factors such as structures or even human bodies which would impede the blast wave. There must be a formula for that somewhere...