Here it is at last. I've finally given up my fight with Google Pictures and accepted URLs the length of small essays, just so that I can store my images in The Cloud. The essay on Southern England uses the old Picasa image storage. But in the middle of writing this, a few days later, Google withdrew it and introduced their mega-URLs. Then, before I could get any further with a solution, I found myself in hospital. See below.
Anyway I hope this was worth the wait - particularly for those of you who like to travel and have not yet been to Romania. .
In mid July 2016 Wendy and I took flight again to Europe. Those who follow these travel diaries will note that part of out trip last year was cut when Wendy's mum took ill. In particular we missed out on a planned trip to Romania and eastern Germany. This time our British sojourn would be interrupted for a few days by a side-trip to Copenhagen and Roskilde in Denmark (later posts to come). We spent the initial week in London and after our return from Denmark, toured about the West Country to Cornwall and then east along the South coast as far as Sidmouth.
Regular visitors to this website will know that I have been on about energy since the site's inception in 2010. Now that I've had the chance to say "I told you so" in the case of South Australia and suggest one solution - Read Here - I've revisited some with new statistics (kindly provided on-line by various government agencies) to confirm that the numbers still support my earlier arguments. Obviously they do or in this post-truth world I'd just be keeping quiet. In particular I've updated the Electricity Storage section of 'How does electricity work?' with South Australia as an example. For those who've recently read it - there are now new supporting data regarding energy production and costs.
Catching the ferry back from seeing Wendy onto the airport train on her way to Iran, I saw a girl with ash on her forehead and realized it was Ash Wednesday. What would I give up for Lent? Undoubtedly the obvious. Then the following day I was wearing a so called 'halter' monitoring my heart for 24 hours to see if death is imminent - perhaps at Easter? And that made me revisit this story, adding some additional personal details.
As Easter approaches I have revisited this story and added an epub download - for e-books.
In 2011 I had my wallet stolen on the train in Buenos Aries. So in this short story I imagined my anti-hero growing up in Rio - perhaps the child of one of the 'working girls' we had seen plying their trade along the beachfront at Copacabana. I gave him a terrible, misanthropic life and made the theft of my wallet as his final undoing.
With the long predicted problems in South Australia and soon in Victoria due to over-dependence on wind generated electricity (follow this link: 'Wind is seldom a good match for the customers’ consumption requirements...' ) clean coal is back in the news as a possible solution. It may come as a surprise to some but coal is not carbon free. Nor is petroleum. Nor is 'natural' gas. Coal-fired supercritical steam technology may get coal close to conventional gas but it comes at a cost and neither are 'clean'. So when people speak of 'clean coal' they usually mean technology that incorporates a means of capturing the combustion by products - in particular carbon dioxide (CO2) and putting them somewhere other than into the atmosphere. I've explored carbon capture and storage also known as carbon sequestration on several past occasions. I'm not a fan as there is an obvious; safer; less expensive; and technically mature; option already in widespread use.
I was recently restored to life after being dead for several hours.
'Really?' you say, 'dead?' What does: 'dead' really mean?
At one time a person who was no longer breathing; who had no heartbeat; was limp and unconscious; and failed to respond to stimuli, like being poked with a knife; or having their heart removed; was pretty certainly dead. Yet while a death certificate may well have been issued for me in the not so distant past, today we set no store by the heart or the lungs or even reflexes as indicators of life but rather the potential recovery of the brain and central nervous system.
Thus I was not actually dead. The colony of cells that is me remained relatively undamaged, still a viable living organism thanks to continuing oxygenated blood supply. In particular my brain was undamaged, so my mind could be restored to awareness when anaesthesia ceased.
The 2015 Spielberg movie Bridge of Spies recalls the U-2 Incident, one of those seminal moments when the world would take a new path into the future. In 1960 this otherwise mundane spy flight would swing the result of a US election and thus set the tone for the coming decade. The new President was to make US confrontation with the USSR a hallmark of his term in office. The Cuban Missile Crisis; escalation of the wars in Indochina; conscription; draft dodging; protest; flower-power and a spate of assassinations; can therefore all trace their roots to this incident. On the positive side was the Peace Corps and the 'Space Race' that would lead to rapid technological advance. The technologies of the 21st century: communications and computers; new materials; 'and all that' came from there.
I've been to Berlin several times but have been reluctant to offer an 'off the cuff' summary of this complex city. Instead here are some selected impressions that are by no means intended as a comprehensive analysis.
The recent Australia Day and Invasion Day dispute made me recall again the late, sometimes lamented, British Empire. Because, after all, it was the Empire that was the genesis of Australia Day. For a brief history of that institution I can recommend Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World by Niall Ferguson. It may also have some relevance to US hegemony - Amerika über alles!
This is the story of the McKie family down a path through the gardens of the past that led to where I'm standing now. Other paths converged and merged as the McKies met and wed and bred. Where possible I've glimpsed backwards up those paths as far as records would allow. In six generations, I, like most people, have 126 ancestors. Around half have become obscure to me. But I know the majority had one thing in common: they lived in or around Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England.
During that time Newcastle grew from a small port town into one of the World's most important and innovative cities. Thus they contributed to the prosperity, fertility and skill of that blossoming town during the century and a half when the garden there was at its most fecund.
Have you read this???
- this content changes with each opening of a menu item
The Lao People's Democratic Republic is a communist country, like China to the North and Vietnam with which it shares its Eastern border.
And like the bordering communist countries, the government has embraced limited private ownership and free market capitalism, in theory. But there remain powerful vested interests, and residual pockets of political power, particularly in the agricultural sector, and corruption is a significant issue.
During the past decade tourism has become an important source of income and is now generating around a third of the Nation's domestic product. Tourism is centred on Luang Prabang and to a lesser extent the Plane of Jars and the capital, Vientiane.
The movie The Imitation Game is an imaginative drama about the struggles of a gay man in an unsympathetic world.
It's very touching and left everyone in the cinema we saw it in reaching for the tissues; and me feeling very guilty about my schoolboy homophobia.
Benedict Cumberbatch, who we had previously seen as the modernised Sherlock Holmes, plays Alan Turing in much the same way that he played Sherlock Holmes. And as in that series The Imitation Game differs in many ways from the original story while borrowing many of the same names and places.
Far from detracting from the drama and pathos these 'tweaks' to the actual history are the very grist of the new story. The problem for me in this case is that the original story is not a fiction by Conan Doyle. This 'updated' version misrepresents a man of considerable historical standing while simultaneously failing to accurately represent his considerable achievements.
Bertrand Russell (Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970)) has been a major influence on my life. I asked for and was given a copy of his collected Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell for my 21st birthday and although I never agreed entirely with every one of his opinions I have always respected them.
In 1950 Russell won the Nobel Prize in literature but remained a controversial figure. He was responsible for the Russell–Einstein Manifesto in 1955. The signatories included Albert Einstein, just before his death, and ten other eminent intellectuals and scientists. They warned of the dangers of nuclear weapons and called on governments to find alternative ways of resolving conflict. Russell went on to become the first president of the campaign for nuclear disarmament (CND) and subsequently organised opposition to the Vietnam War. He could be seen in 50's news-reels at the head of CND demonstrations with his long divorced second wife Dora, for which he was jailed again at the age of 89. The logo originally designed for the CND, the phallic Mercedes, became widely used as a universal peace symbol in the 60s and 70s, particularly in hippie communes and crudely painted on VW camper-vans.