Big Gav

The NYT profiles Gavin Schmidt: Dr. Schmidt’s demeanor melds the subtle elegance of an Oxford-educated Englishman (which he is) with the savvy of a street-smart New Yorker… ah how true (though there is more of the blood-lust of the NY lawyer in his question style at conferences). Thanks to PT for the tip.

[Update; I’m too sexy for my model says Gristmill on the same story (via CB on RC)]

Is my font too small?

A reader foams at the mouth:

You see, I set up Mozilla Firefox so that the default font is Verdana 18 point, because that’s a size I am comfortable with, being a quintedecarian. Then all these WWW graphic designers say, “The default font for most of the browsers in the world (ie. Internet Explorer) is too large and clunky, rather like the sort of thing old people like to read, so I’m going to set my body style to 80% of that (or whatever to make it small and elegant and youthful.” Thanks a lot, guys. As a result I look at your blog, along with many other sites, with the Page Style suppressed.

So… here is your chance to vote (in the comments section I suppose). Is the font too small? Should it be set bigger? Should it just leave you with whatever your browser defaults to? I’m not quite sure how the site/browser interaction works, anyway.

Incidentally, I was poking through the stats yesterday, and the most popular browser at this site is Firefox.

[Top tips (i.e. ones not involving me having to change my .css) so far:

  1. “Control =” or “Control +” (Control-Shift-=) to increase font size
  2. (Joe Shelby / Razib)

  3. The Read Easily firefox plugin
  4. Read via RSS 🙂

]

Give us back our crown jewels

So says The Grauniad. Its talking about public access to publicly collected data in the UK. As near as I can determine, in the US most govt-collected data is in theory and in practice freely available to citizens. In the UK this is very definitely not true: the most obvious example is the Ordnance Survey, which collects mapping data. Instead of being what it should be – a government body funded to collect, organise and disseminate mapping data, it is a psuedo-commerical organisation with revenue targets to meet by selling data, mostly straight back to other government bodies. Other examples are photos (including those from BAS :-() and scientific papers.

The Grauniad argues, and I agree, that attempting to “commercialise” these things is stupid: the goverment doesn’t run businesses well, and anyway the revenue made from selling the products is probably far less that the extra economic growth (including more taxes…) that would occur if the data were just available. Not to mention that a whole pile of red tape could suddenly be axed.

That article is, apparently, the start of a Campaign: hopefully it will succeed.

[Updates: the Grauniad now has a blog about this and a web page. Both have appallingly bad web design, which is a bit odd]