I recently recalled our visit to Israel a decade ago. Over the years we've been to many interesting places. So, in this section I've decided to reprise another one from the past - even further back.
It's now a dozen years since we went to Cuba.
So, I've embedded a link to the movie (it's on YouTube) at the end of this, otherwise unchanged, article. If it's been some time, or you've never seen the movie, you can now enjoy it here.
Travel - 2023
> Canada and the United States - Part2
Part 2 begins in August 2023 in Florida, with a nine day cruise to the western Caribbean; then a flight back up to Boston and a drive through Massachusetts; Rhode Island and Connecticut to New York City, for five days; flying to Salt Lake City, Utah and Los Angeles, California, for three days, then back home, after six-and-a-half weeks since leaving.
Part1 began in Seattle and Vancouver and followed our movements across Canada to Montreal.
> Canada and the United States - Part1
Part1 begins in July 2023 with three nights in Seattle, Washington; then a bus journey north to Vancouver, in Canada, followed by a drive across the Rockies through: Kamloops and Revelstoke to Banff, where we were joined by our friends Brian and Kat, to drive up to Jasper and back, then on to Calgary.
From Calgary we flew to Toronto for a couple of days before driving to Niagara Falls, then on to Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal. Twenty days in all.
Part2 starts in Florida, then the upper east coast and across the United States to Los Angeles, then back home to Sydney, after six-and-a-half weeks.
> Southern Africa 2023
In April 2023 Wendy and I took a second package tour, this time to South Africa with our friends Craig and Sonia.
It involved two long flights, via Singapore, staying at quite a nice hotel in Cape Town before a few nights at a resort in Stellenbosch, in lieu of the cancelled Red Train, that was supposed to be a feature of the tour (more of that later).
From there we made our way north, via Johannesburg, to several days on safari in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve; then it was off to Zambia (and Zimbabwe) and Victoria Falls, before more fights home.
Our first overseas trip of 2023, was a package tour to Sri Lanka, booked, somewhat optimistically, amidst the Covid 19 lockdowns, over a year previously.
> Sri Lanka 2023
Beginning in the capital Colombo, on the west coast, our bus travelled anticlockwise, in a loop, initially along the coast; then up into the highlands; then north, as far as Sigiriya; before returning southwest to Colombo.
More Travel: Click Here
|Thinking about our visit to Israel, nearly a decade ago, I've been moved to wonder how many of today's terrorists were children in 2014, during the last full scale IDF attack on Hamas, when 17,200 Garzan homes were totally destroyed; three times that number were seriously damaged and an estimated 2,000 civilians died in the destruction?
How many saw their loved ones: buried alive; blown apart; maimed for life; then dismissed, by 'Bibi' Netanyahu, as: 'collateral damage'?
And how many of the children, now stumbling in the rubble, will, in their turn, become terrorists against the hated oppressor across the barrier?
Is this present purge a good strategy for assuring future harmony?
Since republishing this article, I've received several worthwhile comments and have added the related links to the introductory addendum. I commend them to you.
|Seeing this film got me thinking about nuclear power again.
On this website, there are numerous references to the potential benefits of this discovery, that was confirmed by the first atom bomb in the year I was born, and has formed a background to my entire life, both as the gift of new knowledge and as an ever-present threat. That new knowledge has saved and/or extended my life on at least two occasions, while at the same time, radically transforming the society in which we all live.
And if you have a spare three hours, the movie, that is now being streamed on YouTube and Foxtel, is perhaps the best of last year's offerings.
Energy and the Environment
With world media attention no longer on the Covid Pandemic, except in China, the spotlight has moved on to the war in the Ukraine, and at least in Australia and the UK, to the rocketing cost of electricity.
> Electricity Woes
The new Federal Government, that came to power on a promise to substantially cut power bills, has had to concede, that instead, there will be substantial price increases.
During the election campaign the Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy repeatedly asserted that the solution lay in increased wind and solar generated electricity, that he asserted were now cheaper than fossil-fuel generated electricity.
Meanwhile, last July (2022) Wendy and I had occasion to visit the town of Rønne on the small Danish island of Bornholm. There on the quayside were a dozen huge wind-turbine nacelles.
As I had some spare time on my hands, I looked on-line and discovered that they were Vestas V174-9.5 MW units for installation off the coast of Germany, for either the Baltic Eagle or Arcadis Ost 1 project. I compared the published project cost with other large energy projects around the world.
Suffice it to say, that wind-generated electricity is not price-competitive with modern fossil-generated electricity - it's just a lot cleaner.
> Electric Cars again-and-again
Electric vehicles like: trams; trains; and electric: cars; vans; and busses; all assist in achieving better air quality in our cities. Yet, to the extent that the energy they consume is derived from our oldest energy source, fire: the potential toxic emissions and greenhouse gasses simply enter the atmosphere somewhere else.
So are they actually more environmentally friendly than conventional, petroleum-fuelled, vehicles?
> Climate Change - a Myth?
Several friends and acquaintances of my generation continue to assert that the climate is beyond our control or that 'Climate Change' is a myth.
Might I be mistaken in other ways?
Biology - we can't escape it
> The Prospect of Eternal Life
When I first began to write about this subject, the idea that Hamlet’s apprehension concerning 'that undiscover'd country from whose bourn no traveller returns' was still current in today’s day and age seemed to me as bizarre as the fear of falling off the Earth should you sail too far to the west.
Yet it has become apparent to me that some intelligent, educated, people still identify the prospect of eternal life, in either heaven or hell, as an important consideration when contemplating their own life and death.
During our recent trip to Central Australia, I found myself wondering if there is more or less 'life' out here than there is in the more obviously verdant countryside to the north south east or west.
Perhaps the entirety of the Earth's biota - James Lovelock's Gaia - is optimised by 'survival of the fittest' to fully exploit the prevailing conditions, so that, at any one time, the total mass of living cells the planet can support has been maximised?
Then, maybe, given the present planetary environment, the total biological cake can't get any bigger - it can only swap one: individual; species; order; phylum; etc; for another?
This is, of course, pure, unsubstantiated, speculation - born of my 'peripatetic musings'. What do you think?
> The Chemistry of Life
This article - that begins with 'What everyone should know' was written back in 2013 as an appendix to The Meaning of Life, my wide-ranging essay for my children about understanding: what we can know and what we think we do know.
> The McKie Family
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.
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.
> Luther - Father of the Modern World?
Continuing the religious theme, 2017 also marked 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his '95 theses' to a church door in Wittenberg and set in motion the Protestant Revolution.
> Alternative Facts and other Untrue Tales
Most fiction has its roots in real events. Yet the flights of fancy (untruths) these inspire can be more fun.