Monday, 21 December 2009

DIY plough...

There was no plough during the last 24 hours on our village's roads - so how far should diy go?

Carpe diem!

globally warmed snow, no doubt!

That was yesterday, today it is twice as much - 25" snow! Time for the big boys' toys like the plough in front of the Unimog!

I can hear them warming up, the sceptics!

The visitor stays the same.

Merry Christmas!

Carpe diem!

Monday, 14 December 2009

the end of the line: no fish

If you like fish you better become sceptical about its resources.

So where are the fish sceptics? The End of the Line

Carpe diem!

Friday, 11 December 2009

postponing and impeding...

Copenhagen certainly is needed but to my mind it is missing the point; tackling "global warming" alone is like trying to get rid of a cough while the heart is under attack.

Like the raindrops fill the oceans it needs pouring thoughts to describe and understand our problem.

There are some elements of our human tradition worthwhile remembering which listening to independent, experienced and potentially wise people is one of. So don't think you waste your time following (possibly a second time) Sir David Attenborough and his Horizon Special on BBC; or click your way through below YouTube feeds.

Remember... "getting bored is postponing but impeding the answer ".

Carpe diem!

"oil" is carbon neutral: or was it "wood"?

People keep repeating that "wood is carbon neutral" slogan to me. Sure, the wood-boiler and other related industries are celebrating this marketing frenzy. But it is brutal rubbish.

Obviously the human brain tends to make calculations neglecting time expecially when the scale of time doesn't match our wee and limited horizon! Watch out, soon we will be told "oil is carbon neutral!" simply because oil = wood = carbon ?!?

Now. how is that?

"What's so neutral about wood? Time!"

Carpe diem!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Obama's seech in Oslo (text)

The Orange County Register news: Obama's speech accepting Nobel Peace Prize

Should you be asked to discuss the price or this year's winner it might make sense to know what he had to say:

President Barack Obama this morning accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. He is only the third sitting American president to receive the award. Here is the text of his speech.

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Distinguished Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, citizens of America, and citizens of the world:

I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility. It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations – that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice. And yet I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who have received this prize – Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela – my accomplishments are slight. And then there are the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice; those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relieve suffering; the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened of cynics. I cannot argue with those who find these men and women – some known, some obscure to all but those they help – to be far more deserving of this honor than I.

But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of a nation in the midst of two wars. One of these wars is winding down. The other is a conflict that America did not seek; one in which we are joined by forty three other countries – including Norway – in an effort to defend ourselves and all nations from further attacks. Still, we are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict – filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other. These questions are not new. War, in one form or another, appeared with the first man. At the dawn of history, its morality was not questioned; it was simply a fact, like drought or disease – the manner in which tribes and then civilizations sought power and settled their differences. Over time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups, so did philosophers, clerics, and statesmen seek to regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a “just war” emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when it meets certain preconditions: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the forced used is proportional, and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence. For most of history, this concept of just war was rarely observed.

The capacity of human beings to think up new ways to kill one another proved inexhaustible, as did our capacity to exempt from mercy those who look different or pray to a different God. Wars between armies gave way to wars between nations – total wars in which the distinction between combatant and civilian became blurred. In the span of thirty years, such carnage would twice engulf this continent. And while it is hard to conceive of a cause more just than the defeat of the Third Reich and the Axis powers, World War II was a conflict in which the total number of civilians who died exceeded the number of soldiers who perished. In the wake of such destruction, and with the advent of the nuclear age, it became clear to victor and vanquished alike that the world needed institutions to prevent another World War. And so, a quarter century after the United States Senate rejected the League of Nations – an idea for which Woodrow Wilson received this Prize – America led the world in constructing an architecture to keep the peace: a Marshall Plan and a United Nations, mechanisms to govern the waging of war, treaties to protect human rights, prevent genocide, and restrict the most dangerous weapons. In many ways, these efforts succeeded. Yes, terrible wars have been fought, and atrocities committed. But there has been no Third World War. The Cold War ended with jubilant crowds dismantling a wall. Commerce has stitched much of the world together. Billions have been lifted from poverty. The ideals of liberty, self-determination, equality and the rule of law have haltingly advanced. We are the heirs of the fortitude and foresight of generations past, and it is a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud. A decade into a new century, this old architecture is buckling under the weight of new threats. The world may no longer shudder at the prospect of war between two nuclear superpowers, but proliferation may increase the risk of catastrophe. Terrorism has long been a tactic, but modern technology allows a few small men with outsized rage to murder innocents on a horrific scale. Moreover, wars between nations have increasingly given way to wars within nations. The resurgence of ethnic or sectarian conflicts; the growth of secessionist movements, insurgencies, and failed states; have increasingly trapped civilians in unending chaos. In today’s wars, many more civilians are killed than soldiers; the seeds of future conflict are sewn, economies are wrecked, civil societies torn asunder, refugees amassed, and children scarred. I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war. What I do know is that meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work, and persistence of those men and women who acted so boldly decades ago. And it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace.

We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified. I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony years ago – “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.” As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King’s life’s work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak –nothing passive – nothing naïve – in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King. But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason. I raise this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter the cause. At times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world’s sole military superpower. Yet the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions – not just treaties and declarations – that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest – because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity. So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. And yet this truth must coexist with another – that no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy. The soldier’s courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause and to comrades in arms.

But war itself is never glorious, and we must never trumpet it as such. So part of our challenge is reconciling these two seemingly irreconcilable truths – that war is sometimes necessary, and war is at some level an expression of human feelings. Concretely, we must direct our effort to the task that President Kennedy called for long ago. “Let us focus,” he said, “on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions.” What might this evolution look like? What might these practical steps be? To begin with, I believe that all nations – strong and weak alike – must adhere to standards that govern the use of force. I – like any head of state – reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation. Nevertheless, I am convinced that adhering to standards strengthens those who do, and isolates – and weakens – those who don’t. This becomes particularly important when the purpose of military action extends beyond self defense or the defense of one nation against an aggressor. More and more, we all confront difficult questions about how to prevent the slaughter of civilians by their own government, or to stop a civil war whose violence and suffering can engulf an entire region. I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That is why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace. America’s commitment to global security will never waiver. But in a world in which threats are more diffuse, and missions more complex, America cannot act alone. This is true in Afghanistan. This is true in failed states like Somalia, where terrorism and piracy is joined by famine and human suffering. And sadly, it will continue to be true in unstable regions for years to come. The leaders and soldiers of NATO countries – and other friends and allies – demonstrate this truth through the capacity and courage they have shown in Afghanistan. But in many countries, there is a disconnect between the efforts of those who serve and the ambivalence of the broader public. I understand why war is not popular. But I also know this: the belief that peace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it. Peace requires responsibility. Peace entails sacrifice. That is why NATO continues to be indispensable. That is why we must strengthen UN and regional peacekeeping, and not leave the task to a few countries. That is why we honor those who return home from peacekeeping and training abroad to Oslo and Rome; to Ottawa and Sydney; to Dhaka and Kigali – we honor them not as makers of war, but as wagers of peace. Let me make one final point about the use of force. Even as we make difficult decisions about going to war, we must also think clearly about how we fight it.

The Nobel Committee recognized this truth in awarding its first prize for peace to Henry Dunant – the founder of the Red Cross, and a driving force behind the Geneva Conventions. Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe that the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America’s commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions. We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not just when it is easy, but when it is hard. I have spoken to the questions that must weigh on our minds and our hearts as we choose to wage war. But let me turn now to our effort to avoid such tragic choices, and speak of three ways that we can build a just and lasting peace. First, in dealing with those nations that break rules and laws, I believe that we must develop alternatives to violence that are tough enough to change behavior – for if we want a lasting peace, then the words of the international community must mean something. Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable. Sanctions must exact a real price. Intransigence must be met with increased pressure – and such pressure exists only when the world stands together as one.

One urgent example is the effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and to seek a world without them. In the middle of the last century, nations agreed to be bound by a treaty whose bargain is clear: all will have access to peaceful nuclear power; those without nuclear weapons will forsake them; and those with nuclear weapons will work toward disarmament. I am committed to upholding this treaty. It is a centerpiece of my foreign policy. And I am working with President Medvedev to reduce America and Russia’s nuclear stockpiles. But it is also incumbent upon all of us to insist that nations like Iran and North Korea do not game the system. Those who claim to respect international law cannot avert their eyes when those laws are flouted. Those who care for their own security cannot ignore the danger of an arms race in the Middle East or East Asia. Those who seek peace cannot stand idly by as nations arm themselves for nuclear war. The same principle applies to those who violate international law by brutalizing their own people. When there is genocide in Darfur; systematic rape in Congo; or repression in Burma – there must be consequences. And the closer we stand together, the less likely we will be faced with the choice between armed intervention and complicity in oppression.

This brings me to a second point – the nature of the peace that we seek. For peace is not merely the absence of visible conflict. Only a just peace based upon the inherent rights and dignity of every individual can truly be lasting. It was this insight that drove drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after the Second World War. In the wake of devastation, they recognized that if human rights are not protected, peace is a hollow promise. And yet all too often, these words are ignored. In some countries, the failure to uphold human rights is excused by the false suggestion that these are Western principles, foreign to local cultures or stages of a nation’s development. And within America, there has long been a tension between those who describe themselves as realists or idealists – a tension that suggests a stark choice between the narrow pursuit of interests or an endless campaign to impose our values. I reject this choice. I believe that peace is unstable where citizens are denied the right to speak freely or worship as they please; choose their own leaders or assemble without fear. Pent up grievances fester, and the suppression of tribal and religious identity can lead to violence. We also know that the opposite is true.

Only when Europe became free did it finally find peace. America has never fought a war against a democracy, and our closest friends are governments that protect the rights of their citizens. No matter how callously defined, neither America’s interests – nor the world’s –are served by the denial of human aspirations. So even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal. We will bear witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu Kyi; to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently through the streets of Iran. It is telling that the leaders of these governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation. And it is the responsibility of all free people and free nations to make clear to these movements that hope and history are on their side Let me also say this: the promotion of human rights cannot be about exhortation alone. At times, it must be coupled with painstaking diplomacy. I know that engagement with repressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation. But I also know that sanctions without outreach – and condemnation without discussion – can carry forward a crippling status quo. No repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of an open door. In light of the Cultural Revolution’s horrors, Nixon’s meeting with Mao appeared inexcusable – and yet it surely helped set China on a path where millions of its citizens have been lifted from poverty, and connected to open societies. Pope John Paul’s engagement with Poland created space not just for the Catholic Church, but for labor leaders like Lech Walesa. Ronald Reagan’s efforts on arms control and embrace of perestroika not only improved relations with the Soviet Union, but empowered dissidents throughout Eastern Europe. There is no simple formula here. But we must try as best we can to balance isolation and engagement; pressure and incentives, so that human rights and dignity are advanced over time.

Third, a just peace includes not only civil and political rights – it must encompass economic security and opportunity. For true peace is not just freedom from fear, but freedom from want. It is undoubtedly true that development rarely takes root without security; it is also true that security does not exist where human beings do not have access to enough food, or clean water, or the medicine they need to survive. It does not exist where children cannot aspire to a decent education or a job that supports a family. The absence of hope can rot a society from within. And that is why helping farmers feed their own people – or nations educate their children and care for the sick – is not mere charity. It is also why the world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, famine and mass displacement that will fuel more conflict for decades. For this reason, it is not merely scientists and activists who call for swift and forceful action – it is military leaders in my country and others who understand that our common security hangs in the balance. As the world grows smaller, you might think it would be easier for human beings to recognize how similar we are; to understand that we all basically want the same things; that we all hope for the chance to live out our lives with some measure of happiness and fulfillment for ourselves and our families. And yet, given the dizzying pace of globalization, and the cultural leveling of modernity, it should come as no surprise that people fear the loss of what they cherish about their particular identities – their race, their tribe, and perhaps most powerfully their religion. In some places, this fear has led to conflict. At times, it even feels like we are moving backwards.

We see it in Middle East, as the conflict between Arabs and Jews seems to harden. We see it in nations that are torn asunder by tribal lines. Most dangerously, we see it in the way that religion is used to justify the murder of innocents by those who have distorted and defiled the great religion of Islam, and who attacked my country from Afghanistan. These extremists are not the first to kill in the name of God; the cruelties of the Crusades are amply recorded. But they remind us that no Holy War can ever be a just war. For if you truly believe that you are carrying out divine will, then there is no need for restraint – no need to spare the pregnant mother, or the medic, or even a person of one’s own faith. Such a warped view of religion is not just incompatible with the concept of peace, but the purpose of faith – for the one rule that lies at the heart of every major religion is that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Adhering to this law of love has always been the core struggle of human nature. We are fallible. We make mistakes, and fall victim to the temptations of pride, and power, and sometimes evil. Even those of us with the best intentions will at times fail to right the wrongs before us. But we do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place. The non-violence practiced by men like Gandhi and King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love that they preached – their faith in human progress – must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey. For if we lose that faith – if we dismiss it as silly or naïve; if we divorce it from the decisions that we make on issues of war and peace – then we lose what is best about humanity. We lose our sense of possibility. We lose our moral compass. Like generations have before us, we must reject that future. As Dr. King said at this occasion so many years ago, “I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.

I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘isness’ of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal ‘oughtness’ that forever confronts him.” So let us reach for the world that ought to be – that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls. Somewhere today, in the here and now, a soldier sees he’s outgunned but stands firm to keep the peace. Somewhere today, in this world, a young protestor awaits the brutality of her government, but has the courage to march on. Somewhere today, a mother facing punishing poverty still takes the time to teach her child, who believes that a cruel world still has a place for his dreams. Let us live by their example. We can acknowledge that oppression will always be with us, and still strive for justice. We can admit the intractability of depravation, and still strive for dignity. We can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace. We can do that – for that is the story of human progress; that is the hope of all the world; and at this moment of challenge, that must be our work here on Earth.

Furthermore, America cannot insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves. For when we don’t, our action can appear arbitrary, and undercut the legitimacy of future intervention – no matter how justified. The world rallied around America after the 9/11 attacks, and continues to support our efforts in Afghanistan, because of the horror of those senseless attacks and the recognized principle of self-defense. Likewise, the world recognized the need to confront Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait – a consensus that sent a clear message to all about the cost of aggression. Agreements among nations. Strong institutions. Support for human rights. Investments in development. All of these are vital ingredients in bringing about the evolution that President Kennedy spoke about. And yet, I do not believe that we will have the will, or the staying power, to complete this work without something more – and that is the continued expansion of our moral imagination; an insistence that there is something irreducible that we all share.

Carpe diem!

come on: "bash it!"

telegraph: Taxpayers-face-2-trillion-unfunded-pensions-liability

I'd understand if we had a wide and strong export industry to then trash the Sterling obviously would make sense (for the Export lobby and foreign tourists) just as China and the US (and others) are doing it at the moment (to the extreme).

But to bash one's own currency in times where we are depending on imports, should avoid (importing) inflation and rather strengthen our purchase power comes very close to acting suicidal.

The entire bill of around £2.2 trillion would more than triple the size of the national debt overnight. It is entirely unfunded, so will have to be paid directly by future generations of taxpayers, rather than out of a pot contributed to by the pensioners themselves.

Well, how new is that?

Between you and me and the gate post: at least one of the economies that make the EURO is insolvent, officially; it's called Greece! Others, in fact the majority, are close to being insolvent and are definitely over indebted! And close to all of them face the same downturn, the same deflationary scenario and, believe it or not, very similar liabilities when it comes to public sector pensions etc.

They just don't talk about it!

Why do we?

Is there a specific hidden agenda we should get prepared for?

Carpe diem!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

expert foxes for the climate targets of the geese?!

BBC: Expert team to advise on Scottish climate targets

We all know that in Copenhagen currently a massive number of experts are discussing of how to avoid an increase of the global temperatures of more than 2°C; this 2°C figure is a guess, an estimate at best; in reality it is the lowest common denominator of what is made up of 'hope times ignorance multiplied globally'.

However, there is help: Scotland's Government has secured the advice of theee experts on achieving its climate targets. Expert from BT, SSE, Lloyd's Bank, Royal Mail, Stagecoach, FirstGroup, etc.

This is spot on; spot on as 'asking the fox to keep the geese'.

Carpe diem!

... that's where I long to be...

Take a break...

Carpe diem!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


The Telegraph: Barack Obama given powers to cut GHGs

EPA Press release

During the last weeks mainstream media driven by the wave of tuned e-mail messages on climate figures built up the idea of Obama (and Gore) not making it to Copenhagen; he'd fail to set ambitious targets; he and his fellow citizens would not care less. There were voices that wanted Gore and Obama return their prices to Oslo. Well, now Barack Obama gives the answer, again and against all odds.

The news dramatically improves the prospects of reaching a new agreement to combat global warming at the climate summit which opened in Copenhagen on Monday.

His administration formally declared that the gases "endanger the public health and welfare of the America people" empowering its Environment Protection Agency to regulate them across the country under the country's Clean Air Act, without having to get a hotly-contested climate bill through the US Congress.

I believe, if it is man made, man can reverse it; if it is not man made, man must take the necessary precautions; common sense dictates that; it includes discussion, scepticism and passion.

Carpe diem!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

if it was simple it would be easy to fix!

More than a year ago NEW SCIENTIST published a report that is worthwhile to mention again: "How our economy is killing the Earth."

The quintessence is to not reduce the impact discussion to headlines like "CO2", "Global Warming
", "Climate Change" or "Copenhagen". You might want to read the report here or just inhale the below charts - there is much more to sustainability than reducing GHGes:

and more...

Lot's of food for thought; for sceptics, too.

Carpe diem!

knowledge, faith and scepticism


Imagine, you sit in your car driving pretty fast up the autobahn; your cooling water temperature gauge moves closer and closer towards the red sector; you feel uneasy and after first ignoring it as casual as possible you are now tempted to stop and take a look; but then ‘what do I know’, so you consider to take the car into the next possible gas station to ask for advice, help... a solution.

This describes what an average reasonable intelligent person would go through watching that temperature gauge. But then there are those that travel with faith; they might make it! Same for the ones deciding this stupid gauge to be the problem; the practical ones wished they had two or three measuring systems, preferably independent and separated from each other. That can be helped:

To understand changes and variations in our climate it is essential to know how the surface temperature changes — from month to month, up to decade to decade. Global-average temperature records provide this vital information.

From these records we can see how warm specific months, years or decades are, and we can discern trends in our climate over longer periods of time. Global records go back about 160 years, giving a long period from which to draw conclusions about how our climate is changing.

There are three centres which calculate global-average temperature each month.

  • Met Office, in collaboration with the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UK)
  • Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is part of NASA (USA)
  • National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (USA)

These work independently and use different methods in the way they collect and process data to calculate the global-average temperature.

So, they are lucky, those sceptics, here is what one gauge and two more indicate:

…, the results of each are similar from month to month and year to year, and there is definite agreement on temperature trends from decade to decade (Figure 1). Most importantly, they all agree global-average temperature has increased over the past century and this warming has been particularly rapid since the 1970s.

Well, no!

I don't want to discuss what makes it warmer; we have masses of highly trained and paid scientists to do that; should they take bribes, fail, err or cheat: fire them, head first! There are more waiting for a chance, a job...

The gauge still climbs; the problem remains unsolved; there is a possibility that the trip on the autobahn might end early.

Carpe diem!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

affinities with living creatures? no!

Put one and one rat

into a big, beautiful, blue and self contained cage;
feed and treat both well,
comfort them,
supply panem et circenses for the children
Play Stations and Viagra for the children's children,
cheap transport, fast food and multi media distraction,
democratic shine and social feelings,
industrial lobbies and political parties,
professional politicians and plebeian tribunes.

Forget moral, ethics and faith.


Do we learn from it?
What was the end?
Oh, we did not learn from it!

Our cage... and we keep on arguing about vanities
like tinted e-mails, sponsored surveys, lobbied media and politics...

Carpe diem!

Friday, 4 December 2009

pfiffigste's advent-calendar-game!

For any of you speaking German, or English while understanding German or English and German, or whatnot - here is a nice and challenging game to shorten your waiting time towards Christmas!

Carpe diem!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Fox - no Bush-News

Well, I think it was called: Propaganda!

Carpe diem!!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

and what...?

telegraph:Global warming will bring killer heat, floods and storms to Britain

1972: our biology prof introduces a new book to us: "This is going to be part of your life, read it!". We read it, we discussed it and read it to others, we were heavily impressed; it made sense and set the goals; ever since then I wait to see and live the consequences of "The Limits to Growth". The Club of Rome started the discussion - but nothing happened except we came up with different names for basically the same problem: "climate catastrophe" or "climate change", "global warming" and "green house gases", "peak-oil" or "carbon society".

The effects of the temperature rise would also be seen in food shortages in the short term in many areas of Europe, especially the south. Droughts in East Anglia would make wheat more difficult to produce, although it would be possible to grow more Mediterranean fruits and vegetables in the south of England.

Although climate change has in the past been seen as potentially positive for northern Europe, because more crops could be grown in cooler areas, the new predictions found this would be balanced out by significant losses in commercial forestry and livestock because of the threat of pests and plant disease.

John Mitchell, director of climate science at the Met Office, said that the research highlighted the importance of a global deal on climate change. “This latest research emphasises the necessity to make drastic cuts in emissions as quickly as possible if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. It highlights the importance of the negotiations that will take place in Copenhagen in December,” he said.

Is this part of our lives ever going to be addressed like it should? With common sense and human intelligence?

Carpe diem!


telegraph: Train operators in spin row over fair rises

Obviously we will be going through deflationary times with inflationary exceptions; but lets face it, items that are available in abundance and not really "essential" when it comes to making a living are becoming really cheap where items, fees and taxes that are necessary and unavoidable will drive inflation.

Some fares will rise sharply, with First Great Western imposing a 15 per cent increase on its "super saver single" between Swindon and London, which will go up from £20 to £23.

Meanwhile Southeastern trains is pushing up the cost of all its off-peak return fares by 7.3 per cent, while passengers on Arriva Trains Wales will see increases approaching 10 per cent on some journeys.

I am sure the guardians of any official statistic will try to calm us down by mixing in- and deflation notwithstanding life per se becoming more expensive!

Carpe diem!

Monday, 16 November 2009

one Axle: two mill stones

At some point, American workers will rebel. US unemployment is already 17.5pc under the broad "U6" gauge followed by Barack Obama. Realty Track said that 332,000 properties were foreclosed in October alone. More Americans have lost their homes this year than during the entire decade of the Great Depression. A backlog of 7m homes is awaiting likely seizure by lenders. If you are not paying attention to this political time-bomb, perhaps you should.

It is fashionable to talk of America as the supplicant. That misreads the strategic balance. Washington can bring China to its knees at any time by shutting markets. There is no symmetry here. Any move by Beijing to liquidate its holdings of US Treasuries could be neutralized – in extremis – by capital controls. Well-armed sovereign states can do whatever they want.

If provoked, the US has the economic depth to retreat into near autarky (with NAFTA) and retool its industries behind tariff walls – as Britain did in the 1930s under Imperial Preference. In such circumstances, China would collapse. Mao statues would be toppled by street riots.

The rest of the world watching that development will be forced between those two mill stones and for sure loose its texture.

Carpe diem!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

bull... (not!)

Daily Mail: 'You can eat an extra cheeseburger a day' - say diet experts

I wonder, which Lobby or Lobby-Club has initiated that article? What a generalising b...s...!

Official guidance on how much we can eat each day has been underestimated for the last two decades, scientists have revealed.

The daily intake of calories - currently 2,000 for woman and 2,500 for men - could be increased by up to 16 per cent, the equivalent of cheeseburger or two packets of crisps.

An average adult could happily squeeze in an extra 400 calories a day and not pile on the pounds, Britain's leading nutritionists have admitted.

Who takes responsibility for that "Official Guidance", is it MacD or the Potato Farmers? May be Gordon!?

Carpe diem!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Golden Sachsens everywhere!

Matt Taibbi, American journalist, on the "Great American Bubble Machine".

I am aware of the fact that is is a lot to read and listen to, to digest and understand: at the same time it is very
likely that the big players are aware of just that fact as well and therefore get away with what the get away with.

and part two:

Please also see:
Do you believe in miracles?
Max Keiser, part 1
Max Keiser, part 2

Carpe diem!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

the nuclear countdown

telegraph: "Ten nuclear power plants get the go-ahead despite safety fears"

The article appears to me like a confession of failure and sums up pipe dreams of 10 new nuclear power stations supplying up to 25% of the UK's electricity latest from 2025 onwards with the first to go onto the grid as early as 2018: nine years from now!

If you miss the explanation why this should work now and has not for the last 20 years: I do too.

May be the mixture of a Government ready to override all objections, to sweep away the toxic waste problem while mixing in dark and cold power-cut-scenarios and the need for some pseudo-green coal power plants and the ever-so-alleged leadership in new technologies such as CCS shall act as the smoke screen.

Is that what sustainability stands for?

Carpe diem!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

sunday's final!

Guardian: “Ravaged by drought, Madagascar feels the full effect of climate change”

Friends of mine wanted to visit Madagascar by boat; they were told not to do so as the country is in a “state of instability”; this happened three weeks ago.

Three forces are combining with deadly effect on the Indian Ocean island, which is incalculably rich in wildlife but impoverished in basic infrastructure. Climate change is widely blamed for playing havoc with the seasons and destroying agricultural harvests.

This is exacerbated by local deforestation, which has altered the microclimate and reduced rainfall. Finally, a bloody political coup earlier this year paralysed essential services and led to the crippling suspension of several foreign aid programmes. The UN says that nearly half of households in the south have severe food shortages.

It is all man made, isn’t it?

Carpe diem!

apropos energy!

telegraph: "Climate targets can't be achieved, say energy companies”

It is very obvious that this statement comes from energy companies that use any type of fossil fuel to generate power. If I was one of those I would most probably sign that statement.

At least, the article says something interesting about gas:

...Several urged governments to consider gas, rather than less reliable, more expensive renewables, because this fossil fuel emits 50pc less carbon dioxide than coal when burnt.

So gas in combination with Combined Heat and Power units (CHPu) and intelligent construction should give us time to develop further energy alternatives avoiding the disasters of idleness and/or fruitless discussions about what should or should not be done.

And what is more Natural Gas could soon become Bio Gas!

What is the hold up?

Carpe diem!

apropos chemicals!

telegraph: Why boys are turning into girls

Not so funny as it sounds, not so beautiful as telegraph's leading picture; however, very serious in its consequences:

Here's something rather rotten from the State of Denmark. Its government yesterday unveiled official research showing that two-year-old children are at risk from a bewildering array of gender-bending chemicals in such everyday items as waterproof clothes, rubber boots, bed linen, food, nappies, sunscreen lotion and moisturising cream.

The 326-page report, published by the environment protection agency, is the latest piece in an increasingly alarming jigsaw. A picture is emerging of ubiquitous chemical contamination driving down sperm counts and feminising male children all over the developed world. And anti-pollution measures and regulations are falling far short of getting to grips with it.

A clever man is a man that knows that he knows nothing and begins learning!

Carpe diem!

apropos radiation!

telegraph: Long-term use of mobile phones "may be linked to cancer"

No, I don't want to discuss this again; but then how long will it take for a flood of reports to pop up all over the place denying any link whatsoever.

Let's just pretend we listen to all these lobbies from tobacco to food, from pharmaceutics to chemistry, from nuclear to coal, or from left to right.

Carpe diem!

p.s.: This article picks up on radiation and heart diseases.

apropos waste! sites may be used to dump radioactive waste

Don't worry; there will be a site near you; this is for "low level waste", only; but lots of it!
What an easy solution for the nuclear industry and the bankrupt Councils?

Carpe diem!

Forwever waste!

nuclear waste in barrels standing on salt
click on the picture to get a feeling for the dimension(s) "Nuclear Waste unsolved"

It remains a miracle for me that on a global scale all decision makers are calling for new Nuclear Power Stations while the saga of “How to handle nuclear waste material” remains not only unsolved but is a fast growing hazard to mankind.

The article also refers to the “German Lesson”:

Storing waste in the mine had to be stopped because scientists didn’t understand how water flows in and out of the space, putting the structure and nearby water resources at risk, Wolfram Koenig, president of the German nuclear safety regulator, said in an interview on a train to the site.

...just another method!

You should know that Mr. Koenig refers to a "former salt mine"; salt and water and scientists that have to admit to not understand "how water flows"!

Good luck!

Carpe diem!

P.S.: here is another interesting article on nuclear waste or "spent nuclear fuel".

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Apples importing inflation?

"At the moment we have a situation where we are importing massive amounts of food into the UK, while we have our own apples. It is bizarre. Consuming local produce not only cuts down on food miles, it helps local farmers and is good for our health."

While imports not necessarily will be bad for your health I just think the Pound's weakness came too fast to be growing more apples over night; imports paid for in € have become 40% more expensive; but would you bet on an apple tree and next year's currency ratios?

Carpe diem!

Fuel or rather construction poverty?

telegraph article on fuel poverty

With energy prices going up more and more people/households will be pushed into fuel poverty.

...the targets of ending fuel poverty in vulnerable households by 2010 and all households by 2016 were now "embarrassingly unattainable.

High energy bills are a serious problem for millions struggling with the consequences of Gordon Brown's recession.

I wonder how that ominous target was and is dealt with? Throwing money at it might help - short term.

A more lateral approach will be to clean up poor building regulations and poor construction standards. All instruments are readiliy available; it is for a future-oriented governement to set the targets and a customer-oriented industry to offer the appropriate products. The technology is long known, it needs training and education of both, the customer and the supplier.

The benefits will be multifaceted from reduced CO2 emissions to lower energy bills, from creating valuable jobs to creating future-proof, comfortable and healthy living space.

What is the hold up?

Carpe diem!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

China and its weak currency!

China's geopolitical influence

The Renminbi as the shadow currency of the US $ is just as weak while at the same time China is extending its geopolitical influence by securing resources, energy and markets.

Carpe diem!

and the EURO takes it all!

Obviously the EURO is currently loosing the fight of the economies in trouble (which one is not?) of trying to import inflation (i.e. reducing debt) and export goods (i.e. economic growth); the easiest way to achieve both is weakening the own currency; by coincidence (?!) all major and not-so-majorcurrencies are on the same trip, some more successful like $ and RMB thanothers.

Not that it would make a big difference but setting the EURO rules did definitely not include a strategy out of a global economic disaster other than an automated destruction.

The result is going to beat 1929.

Carpe diem!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A global problem, it seems...

If you want another world press "08/15"!

Carpe diem!

Monday, 19 October 2009

God sends crashes?

Telegraph article: "A sterling crash is a godsend"

Apart from who should send what kind of crashes I doubt that the idea of hoping for a weakening currency makes much sense.

A currency mirrors the state in which an economy is in; the weaker the currency the more fragile the economy becomes and – most important - vice versa. The Sterling is weakening ever since 1949 against the DM for example, now the EURO. What once was DM11.70 had become around DM3.00 when the DM was buried and now is almost par value with the EURO [i.e. DM1.95583].

On the long run, how will the Sterling win the race that all major currencies are competing in which is trying to support exports and breeding inflation, the obvious two only ways out of the absolute and disastrous figures?

Just to see the full picture: Pound versus Euro started off in 1999 at 0.65874 and yesterday was 0.9131; that has made all exports round about 40% more competitive for our export partners, so where is the export boom?

At the same time imports are inflated by 40%, that, under normal circumstances would trigger "imported inflation"; once the deflationary trend is over with such "normal circumstances" might strike back and in the mix with a weak and affluent currency lead to (hyper) inflation.

Of course, all equities and liabilities will be relative, then.

Carpe diem!

GBP versus DM between 1983 and 1997
source: Deutsche Bundesbank