Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A sample of pagodas in Shijiazhuang

On my way to the kidney hospital in the spring, my train stopped at Shijiazhuang, a provincial capitol. From the window of the train I could see a large complex under construction.

I had thought someone might be building a new Orthodox cathedral, but it's probably a mall.

Twenty minutes of my life wasted walking to it.

Next step was to find a bus (or a series of buses) to get to Zhengding County, which I had identified as a principal tourism objective. As it was an important religious site for over a thousand years, there are numerous temples and pagodas in the area.

Handy reference map

The area appears to be surrounded by a wall with ramparts. The bus passes through a gate on the south wall, where I disembarked . . .

. . . directly across the street from the Hua Pagoda. My immediate impression was that this tower, built during the Tang Dynasty, was inspired by Hindu temples, although the repeated motifs on the pagoda wall were definitely Chinese.

Leaving the pagoda grounds, the next pagoda appears about 300 m to the north, surrounded by temple buildings.

According to Wikipedia, this is the Chengling Pagoda, in the Linji temple. There was no English documentation anywhere on site, but there was a large photoboard commemorating the 1150th anniversary of the pagoda's construction (apparently last year).

As this was the site of the founding of one of the birthplaces of Chan Buddhism, it is a popular site for pilgrims.

Further north, you enter a town, which is disappointingly ordinary. Then, in the middle of town, there is this recently constructed gate.

A little to the north and west is the Xumi Pagoda, which reminds me somewhat of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an.

At one time the site also boasted a bell tower and large halls. Recently, some of the supports for the original hall were recovered onsite, and these have been erected to give you  a sense of its size. Additionally, a large earth dragon was found nearby and brought to the site--this probably at one time carried a stone tablet that would have been several metres tall.

Solar observatory on Xumi Pagoda grounds

The last pagoda that I reached was near the centre of town, and is called the Lingxiao pagoda. It was originally built in the Tang Dynasty but was remodeled extensively during the Song Dynasty

Pagoda grounds across a public square

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Something big is brewing

I have used the product of the gold price and the US dollar index as a metric for the profitability of (most) gold companies. I divide the product by 100 to end up with a convenient number.

Conventional thinking would have it that gold goes up when the US dollar goes down. If that were the case, this graph would consist of a straight horizontal line. Increases in this product represent times when non-US gold miners make more money. If the US dollar rises, and gold remains constant, the mining company outside the US with expenses in local currency benefits, arguably more than they would by a rise in the gold price, which is often accompanied by special windfall taxes.

As seen in other posts, the long-term trend over the past ten years has been a rise in both the gold price and the US dollar. But there is a lot of noise.

Today's chart is a simple look at the level of gold price x USDX since the beginning of 2012.

It looks to me like a setup for a big move, perhaps up by 400 points, which would bring the index close to 1600. For the record, the previous all-time high was 1448.