Back to: Why Content Is a Public Good | Forward to: As You Like It

While I'm away ...

I gather an erupting volcano in Iceland has closed all the airports in Scotland due to a volcanic ash plume that's drifting south-east. Hopefully it won't stop us flying home next week, but you never know; I might be stranded in Japan!

In order to maintain the usual content flow when I'm short of time for essay-writing, I usually post a link salad; but for once I'd like to do something different. Mili Popova is an IT project manager with a background in economics; I ran across an interesting blog posting of hers on the subject of content and public goods, and while I'm not sure I agree completely with her conclusions, I think they're provocative and deserve wider exposure. So rather than simply posting a link I'd invite her to repost the whole thing here. So without further ado — see the blog entry below.



If all else fails, ask the airline if the Trans-Siberian Railway is still operating, and come back by boat and train.




Planes are grounded all over the US, too. The plume is spreading rapidly.


Does that mean we'll be reading about Charles Stross and the Prisoner of Akihabara?


Harry: to borrow a suggestion: Charles Stross and the Prisoner's Dilemma.


As a last resort you could ride back from Japan in the stomach of a whale. Oh, wait, that'd require a live whale...


The cloud is pretty significant. Just had to route a fellow Shanghai - Bangkok - Nairobi - Rome then train to Frankfurt. Biggest air transport disruption since 9-11. That one was "man-made" and we could elect when to end it. This one is regretfully not in that catagory. Had gotten used to flying around the Alaska and Kamchatka ash clouds - but there was nothing of note downrange from them. This cloud has the potential to last an indefinite time, with far greater economic impact than fifty thousand stranded travelers. If the air traffic is grounded for more than a week it'll be grim. Time to buy stock in P&O and Hapag Lloyd!


The real question, though, is how long it will take for the next stock market crash to be blamed on an Icelandic volcano whose name I can neither spell nor pronounce.

(You've read it here first.) ;)


Hi Charles! Good to meet you, if only briefly, in Popeye's on Tuesday. We are in the same boat as you, so to speak. We should have flown out of Narita this morning, bound for Manchester via Helsinki but, tonight, we are back in Ikebukuro awaiting the next available Finnair flight on Tuesday. What can we do except shrug our shoulders, whistle "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life", turn to our ever-reliable "flexible friend" and enjoy another 3 days in this wonderful city, not to mention more "quality time" with our son! We'll worry about who pays for it all when we get home!

I don't know exactly when you are due to fly, but unless there is another eruption, it sounds like you should be OK.


Steve Thompson

PS Believe it or not, because of a comment I posted on the BBC News website, I got interviewed by Radio Leeds on our "predicament" (and almost by 5 Live)!


@2: To clarify, many international flights from US to Europe are grounded.


All this geological activity is making me wonder if the Old Ones are awakening.

Remind me not to buy real estate near New Madrid, Missouri.


I keep thinking about the "ring around a rosie" nursery rhyme.

I'm glad nobody got caught in the "all fall down" part.

Good note to the singularitarians--your high technology can also be compromised by fine sand in inconvenient places. Pass it on.

As for the earthquakes...what can I say? I got shaken a couple of weeks ago. It's sad when people die in quakes, but if we didn't have an active, molten core, we'd all be dead in fairly short order, due to increases in incoming solar and cosmic radiation. On the whole, I can live with a living earth. It's merely inconvenient, not unlivable.

Safe travels and blue skies.


@1 Chris

For what it's worth, Vladivostok to Edinburgh by train is 8 or 9 days (Vladivostok - Moscow - Brussels - London - Edinburg), and not enormously expensive (unless you use the Golden Eagle train). The annoying bit is getting from Japan to Vladivostok in the first place - at least, my recent researches haven't shown a particularly good option there.

Yes, we do intend to try to get to Japan in 2017 using surface transport.


@12 Alan, I did something similar in 1995, going London-Berlin-Moscow-Beijing-Weihai-Inchon-Pusan-Shimonoseki-Kyoto by boat, train, and bus, and it was a fantastic journey, the memory of a lifetime. Go for it!


This planet is clearly uninhabitable.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on April 15, 2010 9:11 AM.

Why Content Is a Public Good was the previous entry in this blog.

As You Like It is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Search this blog