Thursday, 30 December 2010

coming up to seven billions

Good news, there is growth everywhere...

7 Billion, National Geographic Magazine from Jamie Lee Godfrey on Vimeo.

Carpe diem!

Friday, 17 December 2010

snow over easter...

Possible captions:

Global warming fall-out now reached Easter Islands!

First we ran out of wood,
so we used stone,
now snow!
Virtuality will be the last resort
for our moai.

As seen in Bavaria*!

* true!

Carpe diem!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Happy Christmas from Nigel Farage

Greece is on strike, Spain will be down graded, Belgium and Portugal are sha(c)king; Ireland is forced into saving (more and more), UK students meet Charles while Berlusconi is paying €500k per vote to stay in power; this all allows Merkel and Sarkozy to run the show, order more paper and China to buy what's left.

Carpe diem!

let the eyes of vigilance never be closed

"How do you stop a snowball after it hit you in the face?"

I do not know Julian Assange, I am not related, I never met him; yet, I have the strange feeling it could have been me. Fox News want him executed but there are others, even Americans... that know better ways to discuss this latest distraction of what is a world in chaos and turmoil.

I agree with most of what (U.S.!) Congressman Ron Paul had to say and I disagree with the way Sweden and the UK are dealing with the matter making American dogsbodies of themselves. Blair was stupid and ignorant enough to get us into unwinnable wars, as among others  WikiLeaks' documents confirm; idiocy goes (a)round (the world) in circles.

This is all far from handling a democracy and its values in any intelligent and honorable way.

Carpe diem!

Monday, 13 December 2010

snow rumors on tyres

... or snow tyres' rumors?

Last weekend's best joke!

Some motorists who fit winter tyres to their car to cope with snow are being charged higher insurance premiums, it has been claimed.
AA Insurance Services says some people have been told to pay up to 20% more.

Winter tyres should be much safer in the snow, but some insurers have been counting them as a modification to the manufacturer's specifications.

I find it very funny (at times) to watch the UK's desperate need to be different than all the others, at least invent any possible wheel again but name it differently even for technologies and products that have been around for long and can hardly be improved by making them British!?

This is all far from being efficient and living an intelligent and sustainable life.

"The confusion may be through call centres, where that information is not getting through," says Malcolm Tarling, of the ABI.

Oh well, "... not getting through" what?

Carpe diem!

Friday, 10 December 2010

we should get mad, shouldn't we?

Carpe diem!

... a sleaze ball named Julian Assange!?

What information that has not been made public, yet, justifies discussions like the above? What is there that makes America - and/or the Banksters (??) - so nervous?

Propaganda goes back a long time!

Carpe diem!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

how heavy the snow is!

...give me a break! Heavy blanket?!


Our part of the country is covered with 30 or 40 cm of snow; no time to measure its weight and call it "heavy"; in the end it is just a normal winter's dress one would expect to blanket our country like so many others. The difference is most of those other countries just know how to deal with ice and snow while we seem to believe in global warming being a one-way-road and snow ploughs being a tool of the past.

With the North Atlantic Drift slowing down Western Europe would be in for a more continental climate which will have more extremes on the menu for us - it is that simple, that global and that un-heavy!

Carpe diem!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

a genius never dies

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

See you there!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

going passive, the future of construction...

making it fast, efficent and sustainable!

Simple answer on a simple question:

Carpe diem!

Friday, 3 December 2010

the older you get...

... the more friends are leaving you!

Peter Hofmann died November 30th, 2010.

See you there, Peter!

fish net will have to be something else, soon

The Spatial Expansion and Ecological Footprint of Fisheries (1950 to Present)

Using estimates of the primary production required (PPR) to support fisheries catches (a measure of the footprint of fishing), we analyzed the geographical expansion of the global marine fisheries from 1950 to 2005.

This approach enabled us to assign exploitation status across a 0.5° latitude/longitude ocean grid system and trace the change in their status over the 56-year time period.

At the end of the line there will be no fish:

The decline of newly exploited areas since the late 1990s, which corresponds to a decline in global landings [7], implies that the era of great expansion has come to an end. With a limited room for expansion, and excessive appropriation of primary production in many regions, the only way toward sustainability of global fisheries goes through reduction of PPR.

So we will have to find new applications for fish net...

Carpe diem!

hallelujah, school buses on snow tyres!

... and it just took another winter!

One evening a year ago our parents' council discussed the problems with school transport, mainly related to bad weather conditions; well, usually just normal weather conditions taking the season called winter into account.

The proposal to ask the bus contractor to install snow tyres was washed away by the local politician, indeed the local councillor, as being a condition to be included in the next contract term's agreement, only, as it had never been part of the current contract. With other words, as it was not ordered one wouldn't get it or: life is  "mostly sunny!", anyway.


So pushing all common sense plus those ever so destructive Health and Safety rules away our kids had the pleasure to sit in totally unsafe buses; okay, only when those made it up or out of the snow piles and across the ice patches which covered our roads for the first three months of 2010.

A mere eight months, early frost, heaps of new snow and may be the one winter on tyres blog post later those school buses show up on snow tyres!!

Victoria, victoria!

Common sense prevailed! Or would you think that a clever politician improved a contract?

Carpe diem!

the miracles of modern construction...

... based on fabulous marketing?

SupaWall® panels are extremely thermally efficient and have been tested by the National Physical Laboratory who confirmed a U-value of 0.12 W/m2K. When typical cladding is taken into account the U-Value is 0.11 W/m2K
As an option, the 50mm polyurethane insulation on the cavity face of the timber frame can be omitted, giving U values with and without cladding of 0.17 W/m2K & 0.18 W/m2K respectively.

We have calculated this wall construction several times; the best we come up with is an overall U value of 0.17W/m²K which is describing the best case scenario; the mentioned "typical cladding" is typically vented, so it does not really improve the U-value but rules the humidity level between the two walls which seems to make the dew point critical. Also, as the stone cladding needs to be attached to the wood construction, usually by stainless steel pins, the thermal bridging effect would further strain any U-value calculation, the correct one or its phantasy's version.

So what makes it 0.12? What did we miss?

Any suggestions?

Carpe diem!

Monday, 29 November 2010

the transfer-union transferring debts

This could also be signed with...

"...your best chaps of Euroland,
The Ponzis!

You need to read the IrishTimes article twice to understand how those €85bn are put together...

Under the terms of the deal the State will contribute €17.5 billion of the required funding, €12.5 billion of which will come from the National Pension Reserve Fund and €5 billion from “other domestic cash resources”.

The European Financial Stability Mechanism will contribute €22.5 billion, the IMF €22.5 billion and the €22.5 billion from the European Financial Stability Fund.

So the "Irish National Pension Fund" and "other domestic source"are in fact making good money in supporting this package:

The European Union has approved an €85 billion rescue package for Ireland which, if drawn down in its entirety today, would attract an average interest rate of 5.83 per cent.

At least, no need to worry for Irish pensions!

Carpe diem!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

the truth is in the jar

Whoever claims copyright on the below should tell me more:

Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?


Did you check for blood pressure?



Did you check for breathing?


So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?


How can you be so sure, Doctor?
Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar!


I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practising law!

Don't you laugh, the obvious is da.. serious!

Carpe diem!

euro's suicide, round II

With Irish and Greek yields soaring EURO's suicide is back on track:

Yields on Greek 10-year bonds spiked to 11.34 per cent on Friday, approaching the historic highs of last May when the country had to be bailed out by the European Union and International Monetary Fund to avert a sovereign default.

Not to forget Portugal; so much for the outcome of the rescue package; nevertheless the ECB now has €64bn in hands to buy more of the same junk. No reason to be criticising the FED and its $600bn package doing just the very same; they all hang on the drip called Ponzi with the US hating the EURO crisis as it gives them a huge problem in trying to devalue the greenback and inflate the market; times of easy Dollar adjustments like Ronald Reagan did it are long over with.

China buying into EUROland spending its Dollarpaper will retard the lingering illness and increase its influence on the losers while at the same time German's export bonanza goes on using the same Irish, Greek and Portuguese currency that is in its final throes.

Don't anybody worry: the G20 will sort it out; this week, here on this planet; stay tuned!

Carpe diem!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

and the winner is...


"Paid for by citizens against government waste": waste?! 40 or 50 years too late.

Carpe diem!

the lateral gearbox

If round doesn't sove it, think square!

Carpe diem!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Do you know Liu Xiaobo?

Last Friday, October 8th 2010 the democratic activist Liu Xiaobo received this year's Peace Nobel Price. This is where he lives, a prison in Jinzhou, North-East China:

British media as most international does not cover much about the country he lives in and really not much about him - all in comparison to the country's size, its influence, its role, its power; the usual headlines are related to the suppression of journalism, shut down blogs and a bit more about the US trying to convince China to appreciate its currency, the Renminbi, better known as Yuan. Here is the reason why:

Unbelievable $1,600,000,000,000 (some sources even say 2,5 trillion) and no debts, no interest on debts, no sovereign bond crunch but pure investment potential, isn't it? The difference makes it twice as much!

China is pouring another $7bn (£4.4bn) into Brazil's oil industry, reigniting fears of a global "land grab" of natural resources. (The Independent)

And the UK is trying to cut some £5bn and close down a number of quangos just because sovereign debts, bad banks and interest payments are killing us; they question our creditworthiness while at the same time our industrial base is shrinking following the US model of neo-liberalism for the last 40 years. Yet, China is back on track:

This is all we (can?) do:

Question: Do you miss Mrs Merkel?

Answer: Germany does not really want to applause its hardest competitor China while it is copying same in taking advantage of an artificially depressed currency (€) allowing it to boost Exports and create another economic miracle; however, this time this miracle is neither sustainable nor will it last very long.

The trend is back to normal, a downward spiral for the US and the rest of the world while China invests in anything possible - including land which you hear and read not much about. China's severe protectionism not only covers for example its currency but also its land which is state owned, so one might be able to lease it, but an individual will never own it. So even China itself goes shopping for land and more elsewhere:
While much of the developed world is baulking at its debts in the aftermath of the financial crisis, China has continued a global spending spree of unprecedented proportions, snapping up everything from oil and gas reserves to mining concessions to agricultural land, with vast reserves of US dollars. (The Independent)

What will be the impact on the Pound once the wars on labour, resources and markets are united in what will be one global trade war sparing no currency and no asset? We might well see a soaring Pound, that's not optimism and won't last that long either, but one or two or three currencies out there will be loosing the war for the weakest one and will (have to) play the counterparts of what will be a crushed $, € and/or ¥. So we better prepare ourselves for rough times to come pretty soon where imports will include a big portion of inflation and challenge our industrial base; rather, what's left of it.

By the way, this is Liu Xiaobo! Why "by the way"? Just because I think that Liu will share the same experience as the Dalai Lama did when he was rewarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1989: nothing changed and China moved forward.

Carpe diem!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

coca-cola zero: aspartam: E951

Max Keiser and his latest idea:

...and here is another reason why this seems a good idea:

Carpe diem!

like a dog without a bone...

Into this house we're born,
into this world we're thrown...

Take a long holiday, let your children play...

There is a storm coming up; nobody will tell you as nobody knows, wants to know or wants you to know: 

There is a storm coming up, we will call it an unprecedented one but it will simply be the storm accumulated by the endless and interdependent crunches we caused, cause, watch, and fail to solve even one single one of.

There is a storm coming up which will be our generations' perfect storm and manifest our failures perfectly for the future generations to learn from: hope will die thereafter!

Riders On The Storm lyrics
Songwriters: Krieger, Robbie; Densmore, John; Morrison, Jim; Manzarek, Ray;

Riders on the storm, riders on the storm
Into this house we're born, into this world we're thrown
Like a dog without a bone, an actor out on loan
Riders on the storm

There's a killer on the road, his brain is squirmin' like a toad
Take a long holiday, let your children play
If ya give this man a ride, sweet family will die
Killer on the road, yeah

Girl ya gotta love your man, girl ya gotta love your man
Take him by the hand, make him understand
The world on you depends, our life will never end
Gotta love your man, yeah

Riders on the storm, riders on the storm
Into this house we're born, into this world we're thrown
Like a dog without a bone, an actor out on loan
Riders on the storm

Riders on the storm, riders on the storm
Riders on the storm, riders on the storm

Carpe diem!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

$ € £ ¥: it is forlon hope!

I know it seems like currency related topics are taking over, even this blog that would rather discuss solutions to our lives' sustainability issues than what is forlorn hope, anyway; but I should, at least, mention today being a special day for Germany and the rest of Europe.

As expected China does not miss any chance to stay on top of the game and therefore will help Greece with a €3.6bn fund designated to buy Chinese ships. Interest will be ultra low, so Greece will be able to undercut international shipping rates running the latest state-of-the-art-ships even more. China gets its money back which is nothing else but those USD bonds which the US are printing, printing and again printing - in what obviously are totally uncontrolled but desperate processes (from 3 minutes in the video becomes really painful for Madame Inspector General for the Federal Reserve Coleman!):

Yes, the video dates back to 2009, March; but yes, the ECB, the BoE and the BoJ are all busy sucking up (their own) bonds, approving dozens of Bad Banks while pressing return, return, return - nothing else but the modern, though very green alternative, of printing money ponziing the scheme!

That wouldn' bother me too much; what really bothers me is the fact that while some countries seek their rescue in printing, others print and at the same time implement cuts that threaten social peace while all the custs of this world won't catch up with what is thrown into black holes and banksters' pockets.

This could all be cut short: new banks, new money, corrected rules, all said already long ago! Alone, now it needs new currencies as well! So, what's next? The longer we wait the more damage will be done.
The human races' stupidity to not being able to keep pace learning while progressing is closing in on the worst case scenario.

But then there seems to be one country on the edge of a continent, far away, one human race, that understood the rules and regulations of what it was allowed and invited to play with faster and better than all the others combined: China! The one and only global player which has now, watching its rivals' disintegration, decided to spur domestic demand to stabilise economy.

The rest is putting funny text over aging generations' hymns.

Carpe diem!

Friday, 1 October 2010

it is the race to the bottom...

Finally some experts and insiders are taking this currency war for what it is, a race for cheap labour and a war on jobs! From 2:45 it starts to become interesting - but you read most of the arguments earlier in this blog.

It is a matter of time, only, until the Pound will be effected. Latest when one of the PIIGS fails or Germany can't sign the next cheque it will become dramatic, really volatile and totally unpredictable. Of course, they will try to delay this as long as possible because once they fail German export will be collapsing. The big players have taken all precautions possible, the rest will have to shrink and fight for survival.

Carpe diem!

trade war or tradewar?

Following yesterday's video on Peter Schiff and his "so funny" look at repaying debts I received a video (Newsy) on a number of experts discussing the possible consequences for the US economy caused by the Levin/Yuan Bill; it being bark or bite?

All true, but late, very late, somehow too late, isn't it? Paul Krugman puts it into the right context but then even he is coming in 76 minutes past twelve with his wisdom.

Trade war? Fine! In its "cold" and unlimited form this goes on ever since the ones that are now called Neo-Libs have started to globalise what was global anyway but controlled; true, often over controlled, i.e. protected by rules and rights, by duties and customs, export and import regulations. With other words, the Neo-Libs shot way beyond what was supposed to describe "open markets" but eliminated all controls; they banned protection leaving everything and anybody unprotected and highly praised  the "free markets' society" as the master of all religions.

There is some parallelism in the procedures and methods to how the biggest nonsense..., the EURO, was born and imposed upon a bunch of economies that couldn't be any more different and had proved so ever since 1949. Still, the EURO was a means to a similar end.

In what one could describe a joint-venture like community of interests the Neo-Libs joined up with the guardians of those emerging markets that offered the most liberty, i.e. possibilities. Above all China (PRoC) with its reddish-brown regulated paper currency and negligible social rights and cost offered all of that and more and was/is paradise for transferring jobs boosting global payers' margins; at the same time they allowed know-how, formerly utmost protected and safe guarded, to cross all borders and contracts at will but by purpose! Here is an example of how openly China follows its aims today! There are many more examples from toys to clothes, PCs to mobiles, airplanes to trains. And then there is the military expense.

Don't anybody think that this is to criticise China or blame it of being unfair or suchlike! The opposite, think about the path China took the last two, three, four decades - sure, invited and supported by those who trade(-d) in coffin ships, that sold our assets and souls - but with China taking every single opportunity to climb the stairs unflinching and fearlessly mutating from what once was a farming Red China into the number one work-bench, exporter and financier of the world; if one digs deep enough one will find China amongst the top three, max five, in any of the races for any kind of resource from energy to ore and food to water, not to forget: land.

So a bill accusing China of predatory currency policy is the one and only globalism joke; I hear China laughing but thinking while not expecting to be paid back. It is all very old news and if anything it underlines the impotence of a  desperate world power choking on its accumulating failures and its professional and/or ignorant and/or seduced politicians competing for a warm seat.

If the problem was to be really addressed it had to be a global approach to same setting global rules - something that neither Brussels wants to address in reference to the EU and an imploding EURO nor the US and its Neo-Liberal intelligence dislodged far from Joe Blow.

That's how near or far we all are from globalism.

Carpe diem.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

debts? paying back!? joking?!

Peter Schiff about everything and the US debts in particular which are not expected to be paid back, ever! Even China knows!

So how strong will that bill be that the Senate now has to pass on the Yuan and it needing appreciated? It's old news, both, the video and the Yuan but China today is really shivering, hardly laughing like the audience in the above Peter Schiff video, about 40 minutes into the talk, when Peter makes jokes about good old Madoff and the Government's' Ponzi schemes versus what seems like naive China. Seems!

Go and talk to your bank and tell them "You must be joking! You - want your money back?! Kidding me??"

Carpe diem!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

the biggest nonsens in monetary history

Last weekend a conference was held in Berlin: "The EURO ante collapse"; it was completely ignored by the German, the European media; "Russia Today" odd enough, was the only programme reporting about it; here are two videos which will tell you why mainstream was switched off. On the conference's website you find more details.

Here is Professor Wilhelm Hankel explaining the problem, again, only covered by "Russia Today":

No coverage avoids disruption; mainstream is under total control, any and everywhere; a modern and more sophisticated form of what needed a Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in former times!

Carpe diem!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


This is beyond any believe; we write the year 2010 in some places of this world.

I feel sorry for them, you and me!

Carpe diem!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

it's either out ... or out ...

... but who, how and when?

Nigel Farage in an interview with Michael Mross on the EURO, it having been a mistake, the timing of its exodus and the undemocratic European Union:

Carpe diem!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

san quentin...

... have a nice weekend, and if you don't know what to do to stop thinking about crap replace smokes and drinks by good music!

Carpe diem!

Ohhh, ...

San Quentin, you've been livin' hell to me
You've hosted me since nineteen sixty three
I've seen 'em come and go and I've seen them die
And long ago I stopped askin' why

San Quentin, I hate every inch of you.
You've cut me and have scarred me thru an' thru.
And I'll walk out a wiser weaker man;
Mister Congressman why can't you understand.

San Quentin, what good do you think you do?
Do you think I'll be different when you're through?
You bent my heart and mind and you may my soul,
And your stone walls turn my blood a little cold.

San Quentin, may you rot and burn in hell.
May your walls fall and may I live to tell.
May all the world forget you ever stood.
And may all the world regret you did no good.

San Quentin, you've been livin' hell to me.

Monday, 20 September 2010

unprecedented pressure

on planet Earth ... but why it is good news as well!

Johan Rockstrom, Executive Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, gave a TED talk in July 2010:

The drama is, of course, that 200 countries on this planet have to simultaneously start moving in the same direction!

Carpe diem!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

the american dream has turned into a nightmare...

...what about (y)our dreams?

From self love to the Tea Party (19-07-2010):

Carpe diem!

Friday, 17 September 2010

was it not us to be(come) world market leader...?

I do remember, it was Gordon Brown's idea, see the Telegraph here. Another one of those brilliant examples of politicians' talk the talk never getting into walk the walk. Another example? CCS!

I am very sure China runs a number of think tanks, this morning one decided to shake up the automobile industry, the one outside PRoC, here is the WSJ article:

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is preparing a 10-year plan aimed at turning China into "the world's leader" in developing and producing battery-powered cars and hybrids, according to executives at four foreign car companies who are familiar with the ministry's proposal.
The draft suggests that the government could compel foreign auto makers that want to produce electric vehicles in China to share critical technologies by requiring the companies to enter joint ventures in which they are limited to a minority stake, the executives say.

So they do it again like they did it with trains, airplanes, ships, lawnmowers, chainsaws, computers, mobiles, toys, clothes and so on and "we" again don't like it...

The plan is "tantamount to China strong-arming foreign auto makers to give up battery, electric-motor, and control technology in exchange for market access," says a senior executive at one foreign car maker. "We don't like it."

Hey, you senior executive, that won't make any difference! We all know that none of these vast Chinese markets ever was meant to be a free market for all to join in under equal rights, conditions and options! The Red Party and the Renminbi will ensure that this is a proper regulated cul-de-sac like so many before and you do what you are told!

Nice, you could almost become jealous of such a strong government and those red cars.

Carpe diem!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

smart meter rubbish

BBC:Smart meters 'may not cut energy use'

Research by a University of Oxford scientist found that the devices alone were unlikely to lead to an overall reduction in the demand for energy.

Indeed, who ever expected a meter hanging on a wall, smart or stupid, to reduce demand? Would you safe gas if the pump meter at the gas station was smart, which it most probably is?

Citing Italy and Sweden as exampled, she said: "They are not being rolled out with the aim of giving customers better feedback, except that the households will get an accurate bill whereas in the past they might have got an estimate.

No, they are rolled out to safe somebody being paid to collect data in situ; accurate, in time, remote monitoring of what is consumed simply helps to charge in time and accurately - it helps the supplier and you pay the cost and ensure profit! That's what is smart about the meter; the rest is bullshit.

"But in [the UK], it is part of government policy that smart meters will be rolled out with real-time electricity displays."

Real time displays: if that display besides the consumption figures gave you the on-time price for what you are or are about to consume that would help; however, you would have to watch it when and while you switched on the washing machine or put the kettle on? That could be at one o'clock at night or seven o'clock in the morning, when we all have our tea... during that time the imported electricity will be most expensive anyway, so you might have a cup of water for breakfast which, no doubt, soon will be monitored by a smart water meter. The suppliers are what's smart here, that's for sure.

No, smart meters do not reduce consumption! Who ever believed or believes in that fairy tale fell or falls for another trick of another trade; don't worry, you are in good company, the government does it again and again.

We should understand and know what we get for our money; the rest is just daffing.

Carpe diem!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

the export power house's think tank

...warns the US ... and the rest of the world.

Ding Yifan, a policy guru at the Development Research Centre, said China could respond by selling holdings of US debt, estimated at over $1.5 trillion (£963bn). This would trigger a rise in US interest rates. 

China's authorities seem split over how to respond to moves on Capitol Hill for legislation to punish Beijing for holding down the yuan. The central bank has ruled out use of its "nuclear weapon", insisting that it would not exploit its $2.45 trillion of foreign reserves for political purposes. "The US Treasury market is a very important market for China," it said. 

These lines are part of an article in today's Telegraph on a Chinese think tank warning the US in case of a trade war to be the loser. It is almost as if the author is on a yellow payroll: or just naive: his lines read as if there was a democratic government in place in China right next to a totally independent Central Bank. Both is definitely not the case.

It is also misleading to talk about $1.5 or even $2.45 trillion as if those were stacked in a big bank's  treasury box. China has made extensive use of the huge surplus it worked so hard for by collecting hard currencies and defend its fancy paper money glued to the US currency's heels. Globalism allowed for one of its major participants to pay with rice and paper and suck up $s and €s; no wonder China's foreign investments jumped from $5.5bn in 2004 to $56.5bn in 2009 and is expected to reach $100bn in 2013; beware: those are the official figures not covering what China does not want us to know! And there is plenty of that.

China's path to lead the way  can be phased as follows: phase I, the time when China sucked up labour and offered cheapest products is dealt with, that is not to say it ever ended; phase II was to suck in know how and equipment under the cover of intensifying phase I; the neo-lib masterminds of all continents celebrated their bonanzas of soaring shareholder values by letting Chinese factories manufacture what then was sold with dream margins to the rest of the world. At the same time know how was not only given away, it was thrown at any Chinese face, interested or not!

Now China is entering phase III where the infrastructure and the resources are in place to run the show, become world market leader in producing more or less any of the mass and most of the future relevant products. High tech or low tech, anything. Just one example: railway.

And while Japan is desparate to devalue its currency (BBC) the Yuan is money to play with: play money..

Carpe diem!

Friday, 10 September 2010

the burial of 10 (US) industries

... Huffington Post...

is naming ten US industries that suffer the most and will never be what they were before the crisis started. That's a huge job loss but then we - I include the UK - obviously have too many jobs anyway; how else will one explain the many, many jobs we let go or even actively displaced to China and elsewhere for the sake of some share-holders' benefit.

By the way, a great part of those "ten (US) industries" the UK is about to lose as well, some (>Auto) is gone already, some might not know or only believe, yet.

Carpe diem!

Monday, 6 September 2010

lie the unthruth

My recent blog on the Highland Housing Expo has triggered some strange reactions. Some asked why I would purposely "damage Scotland's and the Scotts' reputation" by criticising Scottish craftsmen, architects and builders so directly and drastically?


I had described the most obvious which obviously and directly leads to the ones responsible for same! What is wrong with that? The key word here is “responsibility”, which at least in former times, came with every and anything one did. To stick with the subject who ever designed, developed, built, cut, screwed or painted anything was responsible for what and how he did it.

Has that changed? If so, should I say "Sorry, I offended you - I should have lied"??

I had commented elsewhere:

I admire you trying and really managing to say the truth while circumnavigating the obvious which, as in most cases, would include addressing the ones responsible for the disaster. At the same time I doubt whether this helps to improve things, to get better, to learn and train people from craftsmen to architects, engineers to customers per se and in the end to solve problems that we – all and together - need to deal with so desperately.

Not daring to say the truth, being afraid of criticism, of criticizing or simply to may be violate any kind of superstitious law, i.e. a discrimination act or similar … will not help us achieve anything and in the end puts even more responsibility on those hiding behind such excuses as on those not seeing and/or not understanding the real problems.

Tomorrow we will read how great a success it was, all aims achieved, visitors in loads and progress all over, may be next time we add some fireworks; no worries, life goes on and the Affordables will be affordable from now on.

My comment above was "used" against another blogger’s opinion of “how the ideas and buildings shown at the EXPO could be relevant across Scotland” which you will find here.

This opinion, thrown at me by a number of people, is one from a designer’s point of view, something that I had sensibly avoided as a) it is not really my field and b) it definitely is not measurable, hence, no measure for what the Highland Housing Expo was supposed to stand for (if the link doesn’t work here or here might help; I wonder why this website is so slow; will it be shut down a week after the event, already, or do they work on it?

Just to remind us:

Featuring innovative construction and cutting edge sustainable systems the houses will showcase the very latest in product design, landscaping and interiors. Affordability and low running costs are a main part of the design brief.

Any design brief, of course, includes anelement of “art” but the overall majority of the design work would have to be donewith-your-hand-on-the-arm, that’s designing room shapes and sizes, ratios andfunctions, floor plans and elevations, interiors and exteriors.

Today, I am afraid,architects and designers have to include a flood of accurate calculations anddefinitions into their work limiting the artistic elements and forcing those into what might exactly not be what an architect thinks he wants to be doing. But form follows function where function is much more than utilisation like sleeping, working, living or cooking; it does include energy performance and durability ruled by sustainability and – as always - cost. I know, it almost sounds as complicated as a sales pitch for features a’la RV-like slide-outs clad in copper surrounded “by sort-of robust walls” enclosing a Hemingway designed walled garden.

No kidding!

That's a prime example of why I refrain from discussing taste, flavor or design as in “art” and I believe, no arrogance hidden, that is what "designers" and many others should do vice versa. Example? Just one or three… in no relevant order and definitely not to discredit anybody.

While designed to catch one's eye, to make it different, almost unique, think!

Last winter we had 30" of snow, almost three months in a row, so the roof valley above would have been filled with snow, compacting to ice, thawing, freezing, more ice, clogging up the gutters. Is the roof construction made for one, two or three tonnes of ice? In the alps those gutters do have to be heated something which makes efficiency avoiding sustainability! While here design celebrates a form, its primary, most important function has to be questioned, to say the least.

Second example: the hatches (on the photos) were missing, so looking into lofts was easy, as easy as the craftsmen had taken the installation of any type of insulation; that included any pipework in the loft or the underside of any roof. It was explained to me that these were so called "cold roofs", ventilated to avoid condensation...: designed to last and losing heat?!

Well, give me a break. "... cutting edge sustainable systems..."

Apropos cut edges. Click on the next photo to make it larger, please; what you will see is rough, unplained timber, sprayed, it might be called "chalked" but it won't be chalk, it is made from fresh cut wood pieces, just touching, sucking in what should run down.

This clad will be an ongoing subject to maintenance, chemicals and energy, and even with the best intentions it will be hard to keep it up. I won't sing a song for the Scottish timber industry, at least as long the output besides low-grade timber is nothing but hollow words.

Walking with open eyes through and around the expo's houses you could have seen endless examples of how to not do things (another one was to see huge radiator sizes in the smallest rooms - obviously energy demand calculation programmes did not include "designing" the correct radiator surfaces). All that could be regarded as one of the pluses of the expo, at least, as long as customers tried to see and understand; left alone to do so they were! There was also enough material to discuss room sizes and designs or "miniature sinks in family bathrooms behind doors with the hook on the door aiming at the hand washer's skull"; with the majority of comments not really repeatable.

For sure the overall designs must have been a challenge for the Planners; I doubt whether it will be easy to take the vast majority of the designs and copy them elsewhere, at least in the Highlands, without major fights with Planning and neighbours; to go beyond tradition or only push traditional design a wee bit into future will be a challenge. In this respect the expo houses offer a brilliant opportunity for those who want to live in one. By the way, here you will find prices of some of the homes for sale.

Hopefully the area won't end up like somebody commented:

...who's paying him... ? ... those who knit their own yogurt or are placed there due to having nowhere else to live would want to live in the "Goldfish Bowl" that is the development at Highland Expo. Wait to see it in a few years, it will either have been bulldozed or be a very sorry sight of weathered wood and peeling paint.

While the organizers did what they had to do builders, architects, landscapers, bathroom and kitchen designers, even garden and furniture suppliers could have made a difference.

Carpe diem!

addendum: an Inverness Courier article on the energy efficiency of the HHExpo homes (07-092010) in general; somebody not lying the untruth!