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Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the y'canna-take-our-laaaaandform dept.

Earth 286

00_NOP writes "The political battle over Scotland's independence ballot — to take place in September this year — has now moved on to how the BBC project the UK on their national weather forecast. The BBC use a projection based on the view of Britain from geostationary weather satellites and so there is naturally some foreshortening at the northern end of Britain (Scotland, in other words). But nationalist campaigners say this means Scottish viewers are constantly being shown a distorted image of their country which makes it look smaller and hence (in their view) less able to support independence. In response others have suggested that the nationalists are truly 'flat earthers.'"

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Firrrst post the noo (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 8 months ago | (#46374781)

Jings, crivens and helpmaboab!

Will there be a referendum about beta, d'ye ken?

Re:Firrrst post the noo (1, Troll)

dintech (998802) | about 8 months ago | (#46374927)

Although probably economically beneficial to Scotland, most people want independence for moral reasons. Successive Tory governments have been absolutely ruthless of stripping Scotland of it's assets while maintaining that it is a burden. Economic and social policy benefits mainly only London and the south east but negative decisions about war and other foreign policy affect us all equally. It's time for a change in Scotland.

Re:Firrrst post the noo (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374985)

Most of your remarks apply equally to most of England. Maybe there should be a referendum on kicking out the south-east.

Re:Firrrst post the noo (2)

kanweg (771128) | about 8 months ago | (#46375001)

Successive Tory governments have been absolutely ruthless of stripping Scotland of it's assets

As evidenced by the fact that they don't wear briefs.


Re:Firrrst post the noo (4, Insightful)

Sesostris III (730910) | about 8 months ago | (#46375073)

Although probably economically beneficial to Scotland, most people want independence for moral reasons.

Oh, has the referendum happened? I thought it was due in September.

Or are we talking only about those (in Scotland) who so far have expressed a preference for independence. Although substantial, I don't believe this is (yet) a majority of those eligible to vote. And we won't know for certain until September.

As to "Successive Tory governments", from 1997 to 2010 we (the UK - I'm rUK) had a Labour government, with two Scottish Chancellors (Brown and Darling), a Scottish Prime Minister (Brown) and a Prime Minister, who if not Scottish, was educated at one of Scotland's top Public Schools (Blair, went to Fettes, in Edinburgh).

Re:Firrrst post the noo (0, Flamebait)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 8 months ago | (#46375269)

you refer to the previous government, of course. (yes, I know they call themselves Labour, but just look at their policies to see how they're true children of Thatcher. The Tories are actually more in touch with the common man!)

anyway, the only people who want independence are the Scottish national party, and even they want everything to be just as it was before only with Alex Salmond declared King of Scotland.

If you want to harp on about economic policy only affecting the South East, then you're quite right - after all, who was it that had to bail out Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax Bank of Scotland? Those economic policies that allowed those banks to fuck up really benefited London and the rest of the UK.

Personally, I think its right that Scotland gets independence for moral reasons - all those Scottish MPs (who are either Labour ot SNP) get to vote on things that only matter in the rest of the UK, so you guys gets to tell us what to do without any for of reciprocity. - so getting rid of those useless MPs would actually be beneficial for the rest of the UK, morally.

Hey, but you could then have Gordon Brown back as PM of Scotland! Still sure you want independence :-)

Re:Firrrst post the noo (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 8 months ago | (#46375591)

yes, I know they call themselves Labour, but just look at their policies to see how they're true children of Thatcher.

Rather apt [] .

Re:Firrrst post the noo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375491)

The English arent getting a say nor a vote in the breakup of my country because most of the English want porridgewog land gone due to the fact the only balanced Scot is one who has a chip on both shoulders against the English.

Re:Firrrst post the noo (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#46375581)

This Scotland vs. England stuff is placid. Let's have some real fun around here and talk China vs. Taiwan.

Not the first time (1)

duckintheface (710137) | about 8 months ago | (#46374935)

This would not be the first time distorted maps have been used for a political purpose. There is no reason use the Mercator projection on world maps except to make the northern hemisphere countries look much larger than those in Africa and South America near the equator. (Hint: Africa is enormous but is often shown as smaller than North America)

Re:Not the first time (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#46375007)

The problem is that any projection of a map onto a flat surface is distorted. There are no un-distorted maps. A map contains serveral classes of important data on a map, and projections mainly affect distances, areas and angles. It is mathematically impossible to have a plane projection of the Earth's surface which correctly displays distances, but you can have a map that preserves angles and a map that preserves areas. You can't have a preservation of both area and angle in the same map though. But both angle-preserving and area-preserving maps are absolutely bad at displaying distances, so most projections in use today try to compromise between areas and angles and still have not too large distortions of distances. Northpole and Southpole, because they are uninhabited, are cut off most maps, which gives larger playroom for compromise-maps.

But if you have a map, which tries a compromise between angle preservation and area preservation, and which does not show North- and Southpole, you will always have the areas of the northern and southern regions displayed larger than they are compared to those near the Equator. This is a pure mathematical necessity and not limited to the Mercator projection. The only way to not have this distortion is not to have the Equator being horizontal on your map.

Re:Not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375193)

I suppose next you'll denounce global warming models for not being the actual climate.
Why do you H8 science?

Re:Not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375459)

cant they use the normal excuse its smaller because its fucking cold?

Re:Not the first time (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46375647)

Your post is only half correct.
To make it better you could explicitely mention: world map.

Ofc. there are plenty of distance true projections. Acimute projection comes to mind, or Gauss - Krueger coordinate systems.

The point is: those projections or coordinate systems only work (properly) on a local scale.

For those interested, GK coordinate systems are 3 degrees wide stripes (latitude) projected on a cylinder. That means the same location has different coordinates depending on which cylinder it is referenced. The coordinates are in meters, right value and up value (X and Y is not really used as it swithced meaning several times in history). Those coordinate systems are often specilaized further so that the zero point for a certain map is in the lower left corner. E.g. germany (not officially) has a special map with the zero point down left in france.
For realy local measurement, like a town, that town has its own zero point and hence its own coordinate system. That is important for exact measurement of property and taxes.

Re:Not the first time (1)

websitebroke (996163) | about 8 months ago | (#46375493)

You must be one of those Gall-Peters "lets make Africa look like a limp dong" map proponents.

Mercator was not made and is not used for political purposes. When it's used in publishing, it's because the square format of the projection fits nicely on a single vertical-formatted book page. If the publisher is opting for something across 2 pages, they'll typically use a reference map such as Robinson or Winkel-Tripel.

Mercator IS used in places like Google maps, because it's great for navigation.

Re:Not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375589)

Sure, merkator is not great, but over the length of britain, it has very little effect. Other projections (e.g. the OS grid) distort the country even less. Choosing a projection that deliberately makes scotland roughly 1/4 the size that it is is insane. The very northern parts of scotland get shrunk orders of magnitude (shetland becomes one pixel instead of about 40).

Bravemap (5, Funny)

RDW (41497) | about 8 months ago | (#46374783)

"Would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take OUR MERCATOR PROJECTION!"

Might want to avoid looking like kooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374787)

If you're trying to drum up some support, slightly wacky points of view can sometimes help, but when you're looking for majority support, you have to avoid looking petty or eccentric.

Re:Might want to avoid looking like kooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374967)

Oh man, it's way too late for that. Alex Salmond himself is Chief Kook of the McKooks. "We want to be entirely independent from the rest of the UK!, could we still use your currency and central bank though? Oh and we'll still stay in Europe, right? What do you mean 'no'?!"

Re:Might want to avoid looking like kooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375377)

The so-called Bank of England is a UK asset, and therefore Scotland is entitled to a share of it. If the rUK is unwilling to share assets equitably, then it has already been made clear that Scotland will not take responsibility for any part of the UK national debt, a stance which is in accordance with the Treaty of Vienna. As for the pound, it is a freely tradeable currency and any country which wishes to use it can do so, with or without the approval of the UK government. If an independent Scotland did switch to using its own currency, the effect of losing most of the North Sea oil revenues from the sterling zone could cause a major fall in the value of the pound.

As for the EU, the biggest threat to Scottish membership is a No vote in the referendum, as it is quite likely that the UK will leave the EU within the next few years.

Map projections (1)

hammeraxe (1635169) | about 8 months ago | (#46374789)

This is an interesting point actually. Different map projections really do affect the way countries (and especially big countries) look like on the map.

Whether this should have an impact on how the Scottish view their potential independence I don't know....

Re:Map projections (0)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#46374813)

I picture it being like our hillbillies of the south,wanting to secede @ civil war, not really slave owners, just not wanting to live with a black hearted asshole like Lincoln lording over them. What the hell, England steadily gave up its other conquests and pulled its meddling ass out, over the years. Time and economy say its right to let Scotland and Ireland go. I know the Irish get poor social status there, not sure about the Scots, but I think its time to set them on their own.
England should let them go and concentrate their efforts instead, on making a beer thats worth a fuck.

Re:Map projections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374833)

on making a beer thats worth a fuck.

Ohhhhh shit, it's on now.

Re: Map projections (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374837)

Hello, Ireland checking in here. Ireland most certainly does not belong to England. Only the north does. Even then, the extent of the crowns control over NI is limited by NIs recent devolution. The concept of the Irish having a poorer social status in England is also non applicable since we are both members of the EU. Source: having lived in both countries.

Re: Map projections (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 8 months ago | (#46374873)

I just have a hard time taking Ireland seriously because the Irish have one of the silliest sounding accents in Europe. However, you make damned good whiskey, so I support you.

Re: Map projections (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#46374879)

I understand they make decent stout as well, but, since it gets turned to beer extract before its shipped here and then added to worthless U.S. lager, who would fucking know if Guiness is worth a shit or not. There are so many domestic stouts that just kick the shit out of Guiness + water.

Re: Map projections (2, Funny)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#46374899)

Well, let Bono know! That prick has been hanging around the rest of the world whining how fucking bad it is living in Ireland and then offering political solutions to fix other countries. Would you please keep him home and give him his shots, tag him and make him wear a shock collar so he doesnt get outside your borders again, like responsible dog owners should !?

Re:Map projections (3, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46374889)

I picture it being like our hillbillies of the south,wanting to secede @ civil war

Most hillbillies did NOT want to secede. Mountainous regions did not have plantations, so had few slaves, and the people there saw little benefit in secession. The hillbillies of Virginia seceded from their state, and rejoined the Union as West Virgina. The hillbillies of the other states raised regiments to fight in the Union Army. The only state that didn't raise at least a regiment for the Union was South Carolina, which has few mountains.

Time and economy say its right to let Scotland and Ireland go.

It seems the opposite to me. Economics says stay in the UK, and the independence movement is most driven by emotion. Which is why I predict the independence vote will fail. People will follow their heart when answering pollsters, but are more hard headed when casting ballots.

England should let them go and concentrate their efforts instead, on making a beer thats worth a fuck.

Or they could do what Americans do: chill it down so cold that you can no longer taste how horrible it is.

Re:Map projections (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#46374943)

Wow, that was mostly bullshit, but I give you a +1 used car sales.
Incedentally lager, is the beer that needs low temperatures, because it tastes like diarreah once it warms, unlike a good ale.
I tend toward the artisans of Colorado brewries, Breckenridge brewries,New Belgium,and various others. Anheiser Busch, Coors and the other criminals will one day pay for not putting any beer in their beer.

Re:Map projections (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 8 months ago | (#46375295)

absolutely.. buy the T-Shirt []

I resent that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374965)

England should let them go and concentrate their efforts instead, on making a beer thats worth a fuck.

Or they could do what Americans do: chill it down so cold that you can no longer taste how horrible it is.

Our (major brand) beers do NOT taste horrible. That implies they have taste.

That's why the micro-breweries sprang up.

Re:Map projections (3, Interesting)

Sesostris III (730910) | about 8 months ago | (#46374897)

"England" (or more correctly the rest of the UK, or "rUK" as it's become known - there's Wales and Northern Ireland as well) don't have a say in the decision. The decision either to become an independent country (or not) will be made by the voters of Scotland, and the voters of Scotland alone.

As someone in the rUK all I can do is sit back and accept whatever they decide. That said, I cannot help feeling that if the decision for independence will somehow be influenced on how Scotland looks in the BBC weather map, somewhere the plot has been lost!

As to beer, try Theakston's Old Peculier. Ace!

Re:Map projections (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#46374951)

We actually fought to get away from England, glad you dont have to. Cheers!

Re:Map projections (1)

Sesostris III (730910) | about 8 months ago | (#46374995)

Actually you fought to get away from Great Britain, not (just) England. The Union was in place when America declared it's independence (I assume you're US-American).

Re:Map projections (0)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#46375041)

G.B., England, its all the same viewed from our east coast.
Obscured details abound, doubt you could tell much difference between Canadian and U.S. sports bars, save for the number of hockey sticks.

Re:Map projections (2)

Sesostris III (730910) | about 8 months ago | (#46375093)

G.B., England, its all the same viewed from our east coast.

Maybe, but it really pisses off the Scots!

Re:Map projections (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#46375233)

Perhaps Scotland should have a hockey team...

Re:Map projections (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 8 months ago | (#46375611)

Actually, from your east coast, you can see significantly more Scotland than England. Partly because Scotland is actually as long as England north to south, and partly because Ireland blocks your view of England.

Re:Map projections (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#46375651)

America fought to stop being oppressed colonies of the English crown (stuff the facade of being a united kingdom). You raise a good point though. In hindsight we should have allied with Scotland, which was a fellow oppressed colony. A two front war would have been a good strategy. It would also have taken advantage of the Franco-Scottish Auld Alliance - which is still in effect. []

Re:Map projections (1)

Spacelem (189863) | about 8 months ago | (#46374923)

England should let them go and concentrate their efforts instead, on making a beer that's worth a fuck.

Nothing wrong with English beers, there are a great many excellent ones, and many interesting regional ones to be found. The UK does good beer -- go and find a bottle of Norfolk Nog, and tell me it doesn't taste wonderful, or try a bottle of Fraioch heather ale, and note how refreshing it is.

It might be the case that you're too used to crap beer that needs to be chilled in order to taste okay. Good beer isn't supposed to be served warm, just cool, because you're meant to be able to taste it.

Re:Map projections (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#46374969)

I actually have had the Norfolk Nog, in the import section of my liquor store, I paid $12 U.S. for a pint.
If you get the chance, do try one of Breckenridge Brewries Vanilla Porters.

Re:Map projections (1)

Gonoff (88518) | about 8 months ago | (#46375099)

I picture it being like

You picture it wrong. They are unrepresentative. I am Scottish. I am also British, Orcadian, European, Western and various other groupings. The one "British" is good enough for most purposes when doing business or travelling. Scottish identifies what part of the UK and Orcadian could be my ethnicity within that. The modern trend is towards linking states, not breaking them up into non-functional bits.

Because it wouldn't work. Yes they are a long way from the control centres of an over-centralised nation. Just like Scotland. They have their own capital, state plant, legislature just like Scotland. It's a long list. It doesn't matter. Some things are best done locally - probably a lot more than actually gets done this way but some other things are better done as part of a larger system.

Nationalism is the past. History is interesting and must be known but we don't want to go and live in it. That's why our ancestors left...

Re:Map projections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375217)

Nonsense, we are trying to liberate Mexico from U.S. rule right now and just like you the Mexicans dont want any part of it. They want to be part of the U.S. so badly, theyll almost learn English as a language and take the jobs away from domestic Negros to do so.
Honestly though, All countries should be set free on a sink or swim basis then absorbed by bigger ones if they cant get their shit together. We can clean up centuries of diplomacy, racial hatred, bad loans and social stigma by dropping everyone on their ass until they beg to join a successful country.

Re:Map projections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375469)

The difference is that the Scots are actually far more leftist and (social-)liberal, whereas England is the home of an insane amount of hard-line conservatives who want to leave the EU, start wars and build nuclear power plants.

Had Scotland not been part of the UK, practically all parliamentary elections of the past century would have led to a Tory government. Scotland, on the other hand, has continuously preferred a leftist approach, be it (old) Labour or the SNP (which, despite the N, is not a right wing party like other "nationalist parties"). Even if you do not believe in the cultures being different enough to merit their own states, the political communities clearly want some very different and, thus, should have the opportunity to have their views expressed by the government.

So, this is more like New England seperating from the South, if the South had a population 10 times as large as New England.

Re:Map projections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375513)

Seem to recall an astronaut nearly drowning in his merkin made space suit reported the other day. They may as well have used merkin beer for that because it would have tasted like his own piss and its fucking close to water anyways.

Re:Map projections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375551)

Ignorant American asshole! No one in England gives a flying fuck about Scotland. The place is a mosquito-ridden mess of socialist policies and bankrupt industries, whose elite is busy sucking money out of the arse of the notoriously undemocratic European Union. The only people who want Scotland inside Britain are the British (note, *not* English) political elite. The (left-wing) British Labour party understands that with Scotland gone, they will lose a large proportion of their representatives in the British parliament, while the (centre-right) Conservatives are attached to it for sentimental reasons. The rest of us just wish that those whining losers were gone already.

everywhere! (1)

polar red (215081) | about 8 months ago | (#46374791)

They're everywhere the same. They have this ridiculous niotion that a border reinstated not very long ago makes the people on both sides in any way different.

Re:everywhere! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374795)

Nationalism is a very good tool for the 1%-ers (just like religion is/was.)

I will never happen (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374799)

Independence is a big word, Sovereignty is perhaps a bit better.

If they would achieve that, they would be outside the EU as well, because GB, Spain, France an a few others would veto it.
They are too afraid it would encourage their own Nationalist Basques, Catalans, Corse an so on.

Re:I will never happen (1)

duckintheface (710137) | about 8 months ago | (#46374949)

And all that oil would be outside the EU then.

Re:I will never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375137)

Freed from the United Kingdom and freed from the European Union at once, and in a single day? Gosh. Any country would be lucky to achieve such a thing.

But it doesn't work like that. Nobody gets to leave. The "independent" Scotland will be "permitted" to remain in the EU after being "asked" to make some big concessions, the exact nature of which will be revealed only after the independence vote has gone through. I'd guess those concessions would be sufficiently punitive as to give the Catalans pause.

Half right (3, Insightful)

kaiidth (104315) | about 8 months ago | (#46374805)

Yes, they changed the projection in around 2005. The new format did indeed suck - take a look at the 'this is how weather maps look now' image on this page [] . It was a triumph of 3D prettiness over usability and produced wonderfully unhelpful graphics like this [] and there was a lot of sulking over it, not so much because of nationalist fervour, but more because it was crap. The BBC themselves claim they had 16,000 complaints [] . So they tweaked it, significantly [] .

It's a shame that the BBC's obsession with shiny things produced a weather forecast that sucked, and it is indeed quite possible that they didn't recognise how much it sucked because of inner-M25 London myopia, although if so the joke's on them because a significant proportion of BBC staff were moved to Manchester fairly shortly thereafter. Since the BBC produces a lot of things that are shiny but happen to suck it doesn't seem necessary to attribute the weather forecast to a subconscious urge to portray Scotland as negligible. Occam's razor suggests that the simpler explanation might be that whoever outsourced the weather forecasting isn't half as smart as they think they are.

Re:Half right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374811)

This. The BBC was already creatively broken as it decided to buy in almost everything rather than nurture talent and take risks with its own ideas, but it died off entirely as from the late '90s to mid-2000s it privatised most of its transmitter network, miscellaneous tech and R&D departments.

The free market rarely does anything in the long term benefit of anyone. The chickens always come home to roost.

Re:Half right (1)

2sheds (78194) | about 8 months ago | (#46375043)

It didn't 'decide' to do anything of the kind. The Beeb has always been far from perfect, but it was compelled to do all those things by successive governments obsessed with supposed free market policies that only ended up sacrificing the creative and technical integrity of the corporation for what ended up being the enrichment of a very privileged few who were in the right place at the right time.

Re:Half right (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 8 months ago | (#46375357)

now that's true - accountancy breaks a lot of things.

Because each programme had to be accounted for independantly, you'd get the situation where top-end equipment would be bought for the engineers on the series, and once the series was complete would be chucked away. I recall hearing from sound engineers who had to throw perfectly good top-end headphones away because their 'accountancy values' was nothing.

Similarly for TV, I once bought a few rally high-end Dell monitors off a guy flogging them on ebay, turned out they were bought to make the animated Captain Scarlet series, and once done.. technically worthless. I paid £10 each for something that was worth hundreds.

Common sense got thrown out the window with the "feminisation" of these public sector services, where it was more important to be politically correct than actually do what you were supposed to, where it was more important to fill the place up with air-headed middle management than more working staff. Now, lets stop this bitching and all go on an ethnic diversity stress awareness course of the benefits of vegetarianism on workplace.effectiveness...

Re:Half right (1)

kaiidth (104315) | about 8 months ago | (#46375571)

That government pressure to change is perennial. It will always be there in one direction or another. One of the most important roles of senior staff in any such organisation is to handle that pressure.

Ultimately organisations are severely damaged not solely by pressure from above, as bad as that is, but by the opportunistic reactions from people looking to cash in on the situation. "Ooh, pick me! I've got no integrity at all and have no clue what this department technically does, but I'll fuck anybody over if there's something in it for me." What you get out of these privatisations is a perfect storm, a combination of externally catalysed and incoherent policy change, arsehole me-first management and slimy consultancy. Result: loss of decades of expertise, plus the enrichment of a large number of functionally irrelevant suits who probably have the phrase 'change management' on their linked-in profiles.

So while it's entirely reasonable to blame the asshats in government, also take the time to note the complicity of asshats in management. The government couldn't fuck up things up so badly if it couldn't count on a legion of supremely self-interested fifth-columnists.

Re:Half right (1)

smallfries (601545) | about 8 months ago | (#46374843)

It's not particularly hard to fix: spin the viewpoint around the country. For the southern forecast a view from across the channel (pretty much what it is now). For Scotland spin round to viewing from the north, Wales from the west etc. This then has the benefit that whatever region is being discussed takes up most of the screen and the rest of the UK drops away in perspective.

Whoever they outsourced to is not just less smart that they think they are. They have gone full-retard.

Re:Half right (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 8 months ago | (#46374877)

"spin the viewpoint around the country"

And the even bigger upside is that it would then make sense to display it in 3D prettiness. Displaying a 3D image from a fixed 2D viewpoint is just bad.

Re:Half right (2)

kaiidth (104315) | about 8 months ago | (#46374937)

The system is apparently Weatherscape XT [] , aka the commercial arm of the New Zealand MetService. See an example that does something more like what you suggest here [] . The technology looks quite capable, if a bit gratuitous, so probably someone with a good understanding of how to use such packages could've made something very successful out of it. Weatherscape XT may simply have been doing what the customer requested (no matter how loopy). In view of the AC's remarks on the creative brokenness of the BBC it might well be that the BBC weren't up to doing their part of the procurement process, getting the requirements right, developing an understanding of the way the 'solution' should be used and figuring out whether the result is a useful visualisation and what the audience will make of it. Typical for an outsourcing process. Lose the in-house expertise, buy in something commercial, cross your fingers and hope.

Still, on the plus side the contract is apparently up for renewal, so stay tuned for whatever the BBC chooses next. If it involves 3D glasses and weather icons swooping out of the screen towards you I will be gloomily unsurprised.

Map Projections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374807)

Map Projections [] - the solutions to the problem of representing the spheroid Earth on a 2-D map. I didn't hear about the political side effects of common projections like the Mercator until it was briefly mentioned on the West Wing, where the Peters Projection [] was suggested as being a better alternative.


Re:Map Projections (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 8 months ago | (#46374853)

You can't do that! It's freaking me out!

Singapore is much smaller (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 8 months ago | (#46374839)

If Scots think Scotland is a bit small to be functionally viable, then maybe they shouldn't be looking at independence then. These people are idiots.

Re:Singapore is much smaller (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 8 months ago | (#46374881)

Scots don't think it. Scots think other people will think it, which they likely do.

Re:Singapore is much smaller (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374913)

But those people won't be voting.

Re:Singapore is much smaller (1)

Sesostris III (730910) | about 8 months ago | (#46374957)

Other people aren't voting in the referendum, only Scots. So what other people think doesn't matter.

Re:Singapore is much smaller (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375457)

LOL. implying the British didn't learn any of the Canadian dirty trick to cheat independence referendum? All there threats bout currency, European union, 'too small to succeeded on it on', the debt, the territorial integrity, are all from the Canadian play-book. Unfortunately most voters are gullible and history ignorant, they believe that shit and will chicken out in the pooling station.

There referendum will fail just like both Quebec's ones. Independence is not acquired by asking permission, it is took by force. Unless the Scots have the courage to raise a militia and take what is their nothing will happen.

Someone who is going to vote yes.. (1)

Severus Snape (2376318) | about 8 months ago | (#46374849)

The whole of the UK is enlarged on almost every map and thus is not in scale with the rest of Europe. My main point though is, who the hell cares?

Re:Someone who is going to vote yes.. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46374859)

This is why I prefer American maps. We're massive and you're put in your proper place — anywhere so long as it's small

Re:Someone who is going to vote yes.. (1)

Severus Snape (2376318) | about 8 months ago | (#46374941)

Find a global map where the UK isn't enlarged. Land mass doesn't translate to economic power and in turn power in the world.

Re:Someone who is going to vote yes.. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 8 months ago | (#46375637)

Those of us who want to know what the weather is in Scotland care. We're not talking about Merkator making the UK look a little big here, we're talking about the north of scotland being reduced in size by 40 times thanks to perspective, and hence making it very difficult to tell what's going on up there.

Mel Gibson (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 8 months ago | (#46374861)

They can distort their maps, but they cannot take their FREEEDOM!

so british (2)

taikedz (2782065) | about 8 months ago | (#46374865)

Just goes to show how British the whole affair is. *sips tea*

Like nails on a chalk board (2, Interesting)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 8 months ago | (#46374867)

This is the Scottish version of "black holes are racist" and the illogic of it makes my skin crawl.

Re:Like nails on a chalk board (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374981)

Not really. Scotland does appear noticeably smaller than it really is.

It might be subtle, but subtle is what matters because it has the biggest effects on a persons view of the world.

Re:Like nails on a chalk board (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 8 months ago | (#46375047)

The point is not that a certain type of projection does not change size ratios between countries (it does), but that not everything is a statement. The same map drastically deforms the coast line of the Netherlands. Should this be taken as a statement that therefore the bbc implies all Dutchmen are barely human mutant scum? No, but that's exactly what Scotland is doing.

Re:Like nails on a chalk board (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#46375593)

The Dutch don't pay the British TV licence Fee that funds the BBC, so they can't complain.

Re:Like nails on a chalk board (3, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | about 8 months ago | (#46375659)

No, the point is that this map is meant to be useful. It is meant to accurately show what the weather is doing in various places. If someone chooses to make the representation of that 40 times smaller (yes, that really is how much smaller shetland ends up with this projection) for some people, than for others, then it's a very clearly biased map.

The point re independence is that while the weather map is clearly a subtle and tiny issue, these things add up. Every time a decision is made, it's made with first thought to London, and 1/40th of the thought to the north of Scotland. As such, decisions are made that are not in the best interest of Scotland, and hence... We should go independent.

Re:Like nails on a chalk board (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375431)

Even if the BBC are being subtly biased with their weather map, it is a trivial issue compared with the bias in their reporting. Any news item which can be given an anti-independence spin is given prominence, while other news favourable to independence is not reported or mentioned only briefly. When pro-independence politicians are interviewed, they are questioned aggressively and often interrupted before they can complete an answer, while unionist politicians are not asked awkward questions and listened to politely.

Needless to say, when an academic study of this bias was published, the BBC did not report on it. When an Irish government minister complained that her remarks in an interview had been misrepresented by the BBC, they refused to report this.

If they don't like it... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374883)

then stop supporting the criminal stone age institution otherwise known as the TV License. That shit needs to go anyway.

Re:If they don't like it... (1)

Spad (470073) | about 8 months ago | (#46375169)

Oh totally, the Beeb would be so much better if it produced the same level of lowest-common-denominator shite as ITV and Channel 5.

Re:If they don't like it... (1)

Froggels (1724218) | about 8 months ago | (#46375205)

I sense derision in your comment. If you are so fond of the BBC then YOU can give them money, but as for the rest of us we shouldn't be FORCED to pay for a license for the simple act of owning a television set. We no longer live in the 1950s. If the BBC is so worried that people will receive their signal without paying then they should encrypt the bloody thing and make it only available to subscribers.

Re:If they don't like it... (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#46375631)

The BBC should have a subscription for people in the rest of the world, so that we can watch the quality programmes they make online. I am sure this would be very popular, we wouldn't have to pay the cable companies for the higher monthly cost necessary to get BBC America.

Or maybe Amazon can do a deal with the Beeb so we can get more British programs on Amazon Prime

Does Scotland have the shit pipes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374891)

enough to carry the internet? No shit pipes, no independance. Right then, go rub yer blarney, mate, only do it out behind the house, not in front of the company.

Of Course..... (1)

segedunum (883035) | about 8 months ago | (#46374905)

When it comes to national forecasts London isn't interested in anything north of Watford.

In perspective (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 8 months ago | (#46374907)

Scotland is a tiny country smaller in area than South Carolina or French Guiana.

Re:In perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374997)

This discussion resembles the discussion about Greenlandic independence from Denmark.
Greenland only have a population of 55 000.
The population of Scotland is approximate the same as each of the Scandinavian countries.
Iceland is independent and have a population of 320 000.

I'm sure that Scotland is large enough to be on it's own, but I’m not so sure about Greenland.

Re:In perspective (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#46375657)

I thought the Danes abandoned their Greenland colony in the 13th century, and the settlers all died.

Last week at the SNP strategy meeting (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46374911)

Och, Alex, I've got it at last! We can win this thing. Those English bastards think we're a wee bit nuts right? So all we need to do is make them thing we're as mad as a nessie with a haggis on its head, and they'll pop over the border from Carlisle to Gretna Green to vote us independent. Och, we're Scotland after all; where the men wear nothing under their kilts and the fields are thick with thistles. They'll fall for it in no time.

Re:Last week at the SNP strategy meeting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375023)

How can they tell what the Scots are saying? Or any of the Celts?

I listen really hard and I think it's English ... then again....

I just nod politely and smile when they do.

What, Behind The Rabbit? (1)

pipingguy (566974) | about 8 months ago | (#46374979)

Manky scots git!

What do they use as the starting point? (1)

houghi (78078) | about 8 months ago | (#46375225)

I am aware that no matter what, this is NOT a technical problem. It is a social one. Even if they somehow found a way, the people moaning now will find something else. They will keep moaning even after they would get what they asked for.

That said, looking at the technical side, what do they use as starting point from where the UKandNI are vieuwed from? Is this the equator as many maps are made that way? What if they would use the middle of UKandNI [] as a point from where people look. That would mean much less distortion and equal distortion to the north as to the south.

If they are already are doing that, it just shows that it is a social problem and not a technical one.

I can sort of relate to that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46375237)

This is clearly completely political with the timing and all that but as someone living in Finland I am used to being cut off most of the maps and to be honest it did annoy me quite a bit. For instance still 10 years ago the BBC world weather would basically go over the whole world, including tiny islands in the pacific, but the map of Europe would be cut so the southmost, less than 10% part of Finland would be shown. It was very inconvenient from time to time to live in the only part of the whole world in addition to the north pole not included in the global weather forecasts. Of course there were ways to get the more local ones so it wasn't like I couldn't get the current weather even while abroad.

Since then things have improved, now the standard is to show just about half of the country on the "maps of Europe", which I am sure is the case for some Northern parts of Canada and Alaska for example as well.

Makes sense (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 8 months ago | (#46375245)

An independent Scotland might be a colossal economic fuckup as all the jobs & money from insurance, banking, service and support industries flee south but dammit the map projections will be correct. Vote Yes in the referendum!

Blame Mercator! (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 8 months ago | (#46375265)

In New Zealand's national museum, I saw a plane world map with the standard viewpoint shifted to directly above the country. There was no distortion of the standard projection, just a shift in viewpoint that made New Zealand look much bigger and more important. On every other map, it's a tiny sliver scrunched into one corner.

Re:Blame Mercator! (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 8 months ago | (#46375297)

Self-correct: that should be "projectionists," not Mercator. We don't use Mercator any more and if we did, New Zealand would be exaggerated, not shrimpified.

My kingdom for an Edit function. I hope the dreaded Beta has one.

What did they expect (1)

Livius (318358) | about 8 months ago | (#46375329)

...with all those Scots running around for hundreds of years achieving great scientific and economic advances leading to the greatness of the British Empire?

Surely (1)

symes (835608) | about 8 months ago | (#46375495)

Any 2 dimensional representation of a 3 dimensional object will be distorted in some shape or form. Anyhow - if they are that bothered perhaps they should pop a satellite into orbit and make their own weather forecast.

The West Wing had a great segment on map projectio (4, Interesting)

chriswaco (37809) | about 8 months ago | (#46375529)

This clip from The West Wing sums up map projection issues nicely: []

Size matters (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46375543)

it mit look like a joke or pretty braindead.
However lots of americans are convinced their country is bigger than the rest of the world together.
I guess that happens if you don't know anything about maps and the rest of the world.

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