Happy "BillionTreePlanting" in 2008

-- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - BillionTree Campaign Site --: "The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a major worldwide tree planting campaign. Under the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, people, communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments are encouraged to enter tree planting pledges online with the objective of planting at least one billion trees worldwide each year."

We kept our commitment for 2007 and have already planned our 2008 contribution!

Best Wishes for a happy & healthy 2008

2008 Environmental Photographer of the Year

The CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2008 - competition now open!


Cult Post-Apocalyptic SF feature films of 2007-2008

It seems as if post-apocalyptic movies are en vogue again.
After the hugely succesfull 28DaysLater, Danny Boyle issued 28WeeksLater and is preparing for the 2009 release of 28MonthsLater!

Earlier this month, the release of the Matheson-inspired cult classic SF thriller "I am Legend", starring Will Smith will bring us back to desolate and vampire-invested cityscapes...

And last but not least: CLOVERFIELD... the viral video


Foreign Policy: the top 10 stories you missed in 2007

Take this little quiz: which of the following did not happen in 2007

  • first real-life cyberwarfare at international level

  • first deployment of robots as soldiers, equipped with killing devices on battlefields

  • outbreaks of Dengue all over the world get officials to worry about your kneecaps

  • extremists loose faith in Jihad and abandon Al Qaida

  • Thai fat cats give themselves a raise to preserve country tourist destinations

  • Belgium splits into 4 parts and cvil war breaks out (oh no, this one was from 2006...): the newsstory of 2007 should be: "Belgium remains a federal country and after 192 days finally has an.... interim cabinet"

Read more on http://www.foreignpolicy.com/TopTenStories2007_print.html

Water & Health: the real and hidden casualties... right in front of us

From the excellent CNN article

The next time you fall sick and someone suggests it's because of something in the water, they could be right. According to the World Bank, 88 percent of all diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. The number are daunting. Annually, water-related problems are responsible for:

4 billion cases of diarrhea, resulting in the deaths of more than 6 million children.
300 million malaria sufferers;
200 million schistosomiasis sufferers;
6 million people who have been struck blind by trachoma;
and 500 million people who are currently at risk of contracting it, the World Bank says.
The U.N. also suggests that unsanitary water is to thank for 1.5 million cases of hepatitis A (and 133 million cases of intestinal worms).

At any one point in time, 50 percent of all people in the developing world will be in hospital suffering from one or more water-related diseases. Most will be children, water-related diseases being the second biggest killer of children worldwide (after acute respiratory diseases like Tuberculosis), according to Water Aid. (Diarrhea alone has killed more children in 10 years than all the people killed in wartime since World War 2, according to UNICEF).

Stubru Music for Life - in support of the Flemish Red Cross "Water Projects"

Support the Flemish Red Cross' campaign on drinking water: donate to www.stubru.be and select your favorite song to play.
For the second time, the Flemish rock station hosts a 6day radio marathon to benefit a concrete solidarity action: our kind of music, our kind of action!


In your Faeces! what do you do with YOUR shit?

Do you know where your water comes from?
What do you do with your shit?

2 prime questions: easy to answer? Check out this viral video by India's CSE (led by Sunita Narain).

Water - H20 = Life (exhibition in NYC)

In New York, check out the exhibition in the American Museum of Natural History: Water: H20=Life. Today, more than a billion people still cannot get enough safe drinking water to keep them healthy. This kind of water scarcity isn't just about too little rain-it's a problem of lack of funding, politics, infrastructure and sustainable use. The AMNH exhibit explores the many facets of water.

the World's Worst Toilet


Another type of gift this Xmas?

Tired of early-warning Christmas decoration in the streets?
Shocked to the bone by consumeristic impulses?
Consider giving the gift of water!

Water Pump $408.00
Water is life, yet still more than 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and more than 2 billion lack basic sanitation. It is estimated that nearly 6,000 children die every day from diarrhea caused by poor sanitation and contaminated drinking water. By purchasing a water pump you will help provide clean, safe drinking water for a whole community. This reliable and durable deep-well hand pump was designed by UNICEF and to date, more than 1 million pumps have been installed in communities around the world.

Asian Water Development Outlook

November 29, 2007: release of the Asian Water Development Outlook

“We can confidently predict,” Biswas says, “that Asian developing member countries, (DMCs) should not experience, or expect, a crisis in the future because of physical scarcity of water; there is now enough knowledge, technology and expertise available in Asia to solve all its existing and future water problems. If some Asian DMCs face a water crisis in the future, it will not be because of physical scarcity of water, but because of inadequate or inappropriate water governance.”

Key recommendations
  • Worldwide competition for water is increasing. But any water crisis in the future will not be caused by physical scarcity of water, but more likely by inadequate or inappropriate water governance
  • There is a need to address the inherent relationships between water and other development-related sectors, e.g. energy, food, environment, as interactions among them will determine the future of Asian countries
    Climate change is creating a new level of uncertainty in water planning and management processes, and accelerated research is needed if serious water-related stresses are to be avoided
  • Limited access to water is a key determinant of poverty. Yet the poor causes a significant proportion of water problems, e.g. uncontrolled deforestation. Investing in poverty reduction counters further degradation of water resources and the environment
  • Stable institutional frameworks, strong political will, accelerated demand from civil society to solve water issues, adequate financial and managerial support, and intensive capacity development efforts are among the common characteristics of successful water management practices in the region

WASH - Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

"What if a postcard could save a life? These cards may shock you, but they can make a difference. Send them to the government officials responsible for water supply and sanitation and let them know how important these issues are to you and your environment. Make a difference by creating the political will to end the tragedy of inadequate water supply and sanitation. Take a stand, send a card, save a life!"

Wacondah invites you to take a look at the WASH Campaign: Sign up, become a member and send your politicians postcards! 2008 is the international year of Sanitation: our collective aim should be to get politicians to really do something about shit!

Hurry up! 2.6 billion people want to use the toilet
Millions of women have to do it with an audience
1.2 billion people drink dirty water every day
Diarrhoea kills babies every day
Dirty water kills
In some countries women risk rape by collecting water


Last picture: Tintin in Brussels
Reading: Dimitri Verhulst
Viewing: Ali G
Listening to: The Blue Nile
Thinking: Quiting Smoking wasn't soo hard
Travelling: Barcelona, Madrid
Days since I've quit smoking: 1 week, 5 days and 56 minutes. Amount Saved 44.54€. Life Saved: 9h15m


Toys + Kids = Fun (or not)

The 25 Most Baffling Toys From Around the World.

Hilarious article on what NOT to get your kids for Sint Maarten, Sinterklaas or X-Mas.
I do appreciate the "teddy-bear firing gun" however...


The Right Brain vs Left Brain test

uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies



Originally uploaded by wacondah
Charles, born October 16, 2007 at 03h: 3,550kg & 51Ccm: brother to Camille & Henri... more pix on http://www.flickr.com/photos/wacondah/



We're happy to announce the birth of Charles, brother to Camille & Henri on October 16, 2007 at 03h. (specs: 51cm; 3,550kg, blond hair & blue eyes) - more soon, but sleep first


Iphone - portable handgrenade?

The gagdet for 2007-2008... The race is on.
"The difference between man and boys... is the size of their toys"


Een weinig-diepgravende quiz over uw separatist/federalistisch gehalte.


Into the Wild

Chris McCandles / Alexander Supertramp's sad sad stories is being released as a movie: "an aesthetic voyager whose home is the road". After Jon Krakauer landmark rendering of this travels, Sean Penn tackles the story of this ambitious and naive young traveler, who set out on the road to pursue his dream to live "off the land". A 21st century of dream-chasing, friendship and unparalleled beauty: looking forward to see whether screens can capture more than words!

Buy the book before you check the movie!


World's Weirdest/Stupidest Conspiracy Theories

JFK was killed by his driver!

Hitler and some associates escaped to the Arctic in a submarine, to live with super-advanced aliens who reside within the hollow earth. (This story originated with Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel The Coming Race, was treated as fact by the pre-Nazi Vril Society, was bolstered by the forged "secret diary" of Admiral Byrd, and was adopted by the likes of Ernst Zundel)

Back to the Future: (kite) Sailing Ships

Several companies around the world are experimenting with wind-assisted ships, which would reduce fuel consumption at a time where fuel can represent up to 60 percent of the running costs of operating a ship. But another goal is to reduce pollution: the toxic emission volume of the world trade fleet is roughly equivalent to the U.S. one today. In "The new age of sail," New Scientist describes a ship that will be partially pulled by a high-tech kite flying at an altitude of up to 500 meters where winds are more stable than at sea level. The German designers, who tested a prototype last year, estimate that such a hybrid sailing ship would see a 50 percent reduction of its fuel consumption. Danish and Japanese companies are also designing wind-assisted ships.

Codex Gigas - The Devil's Bible

Codex Gigas - Kungl. biblioteket: "Codex Gigas The Codex Gigas or the Devil’s Bible is a medieval manuscript at the National Library in Stockholm that is famous for two features. First, it is reputed to be the biggest surviving European manuscript. (Codex Gigas means ‘giant book’.) Secondly, it contains a large, full page portrait of the Devil. (This explains its alternative name.) This site contains a digitised version of every page of the manuscript as well as commentaries on its history, texts, script, initials and decoration. The manuscript was made in Bohemia (now part of the modern Czech Republic) between about 1200 and 1230. It is remarkable that virtually all of the manuscript, script, initials and decoration, appears to have been the work of one person who probably worked in a Benedictine monastery."


Belgian Fries - soon available in an automatic dispenser near you

Wacondah's blog was lacking something: an entry on "Belgian Fries" - probably the only product that Belgians nowadays agree to be proud off...

Belgium is "famous" for its fries. The Federal Government has an official FRITES website! No wonder that in times of constitutional crisis and ever-lasting government-formation negotiations, the surrealists of the world come up with a new wonder of technology: an automated Belgian Fries dispenser...

Even the "Fritkoten" are interested because it would enable them to serve fries 24/7.

Below is the wikipedia entry on FRIES: I call upon all Belgian Fries-friends to start editing this entry...

The Belgians claim that "French" fries are in fact Belgian, but definitive evidence for the origin has not been presented. Belgian historian Jo Gerard recounts that potatoes were already fried in 1680 in the Spanish Netherlands, in the area of "the Meuse valley between Dinant and Liège, Belgium. The poor inhabitants of this region allegedly had the custom of accompanying their meals with small fried fish, but when the river was frozen and they were unable to fish, they cut potatoes lengthwise and fried them in oil to accompany their meals."[8][9][10]

The Dutch concur with a Southern Netherlandish or Belgian origin when referring to Vlaamse frieten ('Flemish fries'). In 1857, the newspaper Courrier de Verviers devotes an article to Fritz (assumed pun with 'frites'), a Belgian entrepreneur selling French fries at fairs, calling them "le roi des pommes de terre frites". In 1862, a stall selling French fried potatoes (frietkot, see below) called "Max en Fritz" was established near Het Steen in Antwerp.[11][9]

A Belgian legend claims that the term "French" was introduced when British or American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I, and consequently tasted Belgian fries. They supposedly called them "French", as it was the official language of the Belgian Army at that time.[9] But the term "French fried potatoes" had been in use long before the Great War.

Whether or not Belgians invented them, "frites" "quickly became the national snack and a substantial part of both national dishes — making the Belgians their largest consumers,[citation needed] and to Europe, their "symbolic" creators.

Every Flemish Citizen pays 2.5€ / day to Wallonia

Bron: De Standaard

Een studie van de Facultés universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix in Namen geeft aan dat in 2005 5,6 miljard euro van Vlaanderen naar Wallonië zou zijn gevloeid. Dat komt neer op 2,50 euro per dag per Vlaming, zo staat donderdag te lezen in de kranten van de groep Sud Presse.

Volgens de studie van Olivier Meunier, Michel Mignolet en Marie-Eve Leurquin betaalt elke Vlaming 929 euro per jaar aan de Walen. De krant voegt er aan toe dat Vlaanderen in 1949 een werkloosheidscijfer had van 19,5 procent, tegenover 5,2 procent in Wallonië.

De Naamse professor Robert Deschammps vindt niettemin dat we niet naar het verleden mogen kijken. Hij preciseert dat, mocht Vlaanderen zijn onafhankelijkheid uitroepen, 'de drie gewesten hun economisch welzijn zouden zien dalen'. sdg


imagini - visual DNA for the masses


A very simple 10 questions test to develop your own visual DNA: Wacondah is a "go-getter"!



Bulletin Boards? Sound familiar? Then you were part of the 80ies revolution! Long live dial-up frustrations...


911-debunking the conspiracies (BBC)

Watch this BBC show which gives a fairly balanced reality check of some of the wildest goose chases in the world: the 911 conspiracy theories:

Particularly of note was a key feature that had not tripped THE wire back in the early 2000s: 6 months before the 911 attacks, the USA was taken by storm by an X-Files spin-off called the "Lone Gunman".
The BBC set out to check with one of the key X-file & Lone Gunman screenwriters and had a nice chat on the need for people to be believe in conspiracies:

- when we are faced with such dramatic developments as the attacks of 911, our minds simply cannot accept the simplest explanation that this was just a bunch of lunatics that had just killed 3000 people, and had been training and planning for years under control of a madman in a cave in Afghanistan.
- if you debunk a conspiracy, you take people's security blankets away: they have been failed by their government in charge of their protection. Yet, however, they were not conspired against...
- from the documentary it is clear that their has been a cover-up after 911, not before...
- all "Loose Ends", such as the myths around the so-called 4000 Jews not showing up to work, or the missing plane at the Pentagon are adressed from both sides

Belgium: Crackdown on Religion

Heard this morning on the radio:

"Belgian Federal Prosecutor to initiate legal action against the Belgian chapter of the Scientology Church (pronounced a "sect" by the Parliament) and the European Headquarters (based in Brussels) and its 14 board members. A world première for a legal system taking action against an organisation that in some countries is a recognized religion..."

"Belgian Federal Prosecutor has sealed the offices of the Moslim Executive in Brussels, accused of trafficking, money laundering, falsification of bills and general misadministration." The former Secretary-General was already emprisoned in the past. The Moslim Executive is the official body recognized by the Government for representing Muslims in Belgium towards the administration (//just like Belgium recognises the Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish, ... and maybe some other religions as well) and is funded by tax-money at work, just as the taxpayers fund the other religions.

This reminds us of course of the intention of the Belgians, a couple of years back to go after any US General ever setting foot on our soil (especially when they need to visit any of the 2 NATO HQ's located in the country) or developing world-class international legislation that would have turned our lower courts into serious competitors of the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague...

Could this be some spin to drive attention away from the Belgian Institutional Crisis? For more info on conspiracies, check out the BBC

For all tie-suckers out there: the WINDSOR

Rain: the sweetest entry full of British humour (h2g2/BBC)

This will kickstart your rainy day! Rain does not affect you while traveling in a submarine - honestly!

BBC - h2g2 - Rain: "If cows are seen to be lying down, rain is imminent (this, supposedly, is because when it rains the ground gets wet. So cows, like any other sensible creature, don't like to lie down in the wet. Hence, they lie down before it rains)."


Lost in Translation star Bill Murray; caught drunk driven a golfcart in Stockholm

Apart from this being one of the greatest movies ever made, Lost in Translation should be mandatory viewing for any melancholic frequent traveler. An hommage to Japan by itself, the movie paints a sorry portrait of success and our unability to understand different cultures.

Update - B.Murray has just been caught by Stockholm traffic police, for driving a golfcart -drunk - in downtown Stockholm: another classic example of real-life being weirder than some movies...


Art (A.Pacino in Scent of a Woman)

Brad Pitt - saving landmarks!

Aside from suffering his wife's campaigns, he found time to save some architectural landmarks in the USA. Insisting on shooting at an endangered location: great idea. What's next? Brad could have a look at UNESCO's World Heritage List or at the World's Intangible & Oral heritage

Dads, Geeks - Wired has a new blog

Geeks & Dads united on one of Wired.com coolest blogs. interesting articl on how to "loc8te" stuff.... Clip it to your kid, and "hide-n-seek" becomes childplay - NOT!

Geekdad - Wired Blogs: "Aside from the obvious keys/wallet finding benefits, it doesn't take much imagination to think up more fun applications like digital treasure hunts and hide-and-go-seek. On a more practical level I admit that if my cat Kylie were the outdoors type I would definitely buy one of these and tag her collar, and in certain circumstances (i.e. something involving big crowds) would certainly clip one on my daughter's belt. "


August update

Reading: Jared Diamond: "Collapse"
Viewing: Grizzly Man
Listening to: Vive la Fête
Thinking: "1,5 children die every year from drinking polluted water"
Travelling: From Heist to Stockholm
Last picture: see flickr for new set (Cities Visited)

Terrorism, Part II - Freakonomics

Terrorism, Part II - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog: "the main reason we aren’t currently being decimated by terrorists is that the government’s anti-terror efforts have been successful."

Now that's a great line!


Kruger Battle

Called one of the most amazing videos on Youtube... The epic battle in Kruger park between prey/predator and the outcome is quite unexpected. Also interesting are the comments by the safari tourists and guide: you clearly hear a very typical antropomorphic view on the buffalo...


Summer Holidays are over

Originally uploaded by wacondah
Summer holidays at the Flemish North Sea Coast:
- sailing my 5.0 Nacra Cat (in 6 Beaufort, 2,5m high waves and no rudders) and still getting certified
- spending 2 weeks with Camille & Henri (what an adventure!)
- biking, strolling, blading and generally refraining from CO2-emissions
- mentally preparing for la rentrée & October!
- building sandcastles and watching them being swallowed!

more pix on http://www.flickr.com/photos/wacondah/sets/72157601321252674/


In Flanders' Fields

QE2 was in Flanders' Fields yesterday to commemorate World War I.
The Last Post was performed (for the 27079th time) in Ypres under the Menin Gate and a field visit to Passchendaele and Tyne Cot were on the programme. An aerial salute was flown by a squad of F16s accompanied by a 1917 Doubledecker which streamed poppies over the fields... Quite a strong statement of Remembrance

The Long Now Foundation

The "Long Now Foundation" is a project set up by a bunch of visionaries (including Brian Eno) who've got their mind set on.... well something way beyond our human horizon... In times of disaster-prone media and climate change doomsday preachers, it's refreshing to look a bit over the shoulders of the next 2 or 3 generations. Their best-known project is an attempt to build a clock for accurate time-keeping that will work for 10.000 years...

In particular, for those interested in long-term gambling and huge prize-money, cast your bet on http://www.longbets.org/

We love this one:
By the year 2150, over 50% of schools in the USA or Western Europe will require classes in defending against robot attacks.


Beaver Fever

Beaver Damming Alleviates Water Woes - and Combats Global Warming; a New DVD Shows How.

Beaver activity can alleviate serious water problems - and even help combat the climate crisis, according to a talk by Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife (BWW) biologist Sharon Brown at a recent environmental conference in China.

"Freshwater wetlands have been rated as the world's most beneficial land-based ecosystem," explained biologist Brown, "because they cleanse the water, host rich biodiversity and moderate the flow of streams, which in turn decreases droughts and erosion upstream as well as costly flood damage downstream. Beavers build leaky dams that enhance these functions. For example, up to 90 percent of the silt in a stream can be removed by a beaver dam."

More recently, scientists around the world have recognized that wetlands play a significant role in climate regulation because their lush plant life takes up carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. "Since beavers work for free," Brown said, "promoting and protecting beaver wetlands can be a cost-effective way to alleviate global warming and other serious environmental problems, such as the quantity and quality of available water."

Beavers are native to North America, Europe and Asia, including China, where they are considered "vulnerable" with only an estimated 800 animals surviving in the far West. Beaver populations worldwide were hunted to near extinction in the past, because of the value of their fur. Today sixteen countries are actively working to restore healthy beaver populations due to growing awareness that this species' greatest value is not its lustrous pelt, but instead, its ability to restore vital wetlands.

"For decades beavers have been relocated to arid states in the U.S. West to restore wetlands, raise water tables and create fish habitat," Brown said. Because there are many dry areas in China too, she suggested studying that country's beaver population to see whether relocation of beaver pairs to huge areas reforested with hybrid poplar might be feasible to improve the local water quality and quantity. Beaver cutting of poplar is called sustainable harvesting as it stimulates new growth from the trees' roots.

Oddly enough - a wrap-up of breaking stories

Live Earth's First Green Test: Clean Up Own Mess:Live Earth concerts on Saturday meant to spur action to fight global warming must first tackle another environmental hazard -- mountains of trash and thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases caused by the events.

DEVELOPMENT: THE POOR NEED BETTER CONTRACEPTION:… The use of contraceptives in poor countries needs to be actively promoted, the Dutch minister for development assistance has said. Bert Koenders, who recently marked his first 100 days as a member of the Dutch government, claimed that an “ideological campaign against condoms is sabotaging the fight against AIDS.” …

Aids cash could be switched to climate change fight : Billions of dollars currently targeted at fighting Aids could in a few years be redirected to tackling climate change - increasing the urgency for bigger steps soon against the killer disease, the world's largest Aids foundation has warned.

Malaysia Seizes 900 Monkeys from Wildlife Poachers : Malaysia has smashed a ring of wildlife smugglers and seized more than 900 poached monkeys destined for China or the Netherlands in what officials called their biggest seizure involving the animals so far, media said. "We believe the monkeys would end up as food in China, where they are said to be an aphrodisiac, and for laboratory studies in Holland," wildlife official Celescoriano Razond, who led the raid, told reporters.

Trial set for banana workers claiming pesticide left them sterile : The pesticide was designed to kill worms infesting the roots of banana trees on Latin American plantations.But at least 5,000 agricultural workers from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama have filed five lawsuits in this country claiming they were left sterile after being exposed in the 1970s to the pesticide known as DBCP.

Alternative Energy Hurt - By a Windmill Shortage : The race to build new sources of alternative energy from the wind is running into a formidable obstacle: not enough windmills.In recent years, improved technology has made it possible to build bigger, more efficient windmills. That, combined with surging political support for renewable energy, has driven up demand. Now, makers can't keep up -- mostly because they can't get the parts they need fast enough.

Who's more short-termist: business or government?

One of the criticisms made of the private sector is that it is short-termist. But often people make the mistake of believing that governments, bombarded by newspaper headlines and 24-hour television news, are somehow wonderfully long-termist. So I was both pleased and surprised to see Al Gore, father of An Inconvenient Truth, pointing out that: For whatever reason, the business world rewards a long-term perspective more than the political world does. One reason that the business world may have a longer-term perspective is that each business's objective is more straightforward - to deliver value to shareholders. Often R&D can take years to pay off, but if it's a a sensible business plan, shareholders will support it. On the other hand, governments have huge quantities of conflicting objectives, the pressure of elections, and "public opinion" that is more fickle and less considered that that of institutional investors.


And now.. the news (from Iran, in English)

Interested in News and viewpoints from "the other side". Check out the recently launched Iranian News Site in English: http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/menu-234/. The section on "politic" (sic) should be of interest.

This dapper fellow is presented as the General who denies Iranian interference in Iraq!

Eco Enquirer: the real news from the frontlines of Global Warming

The Eco Enquirer - news and satirical views from so-called "right-wing environmentalists". Hilarious views from the frontlines of Global Warming.

Check out this story: "Polar Bears "Dropping Like Flies" From Heat Exhaustion": Hunter Jeremiah Johnson comforts a polar bear that had collapsed from heat exhaustion before he could shoot it.

Other stories include
  • Court Orders Fisherman to Apologize to Eagle
  • Levitating Islands in Bermuda Triangle Observed by Spy Satellite
  • U.S.-Canada Border Conflict Continues


Family Guy - A-Team

In 2005, a group of local misfits won a costume contest at an 80's tv convention. These men promptly returned home and drank some beer. Today, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem and if no else can help and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-TEAM.


Einde Amnistie Wapenwet in België

Morgen, 30 juni loopt de verlengde amnistieperiode voor het legaliseren van wapenbezit af.

In totaal kwamen dus zowat 162.000 wapens boven water, terwijl er in het centraal wapenregister ongeveer 700.000 wapens geregistreerd staan. Naar schatting 1,5 miljoen tot 2 miljoen wapens zijn in België in omloop. (cijfers van HLN, 9 mei 2007)

  • Op 30 april verschijnt een communiqué van de politie zelf: reeds 50.000 wapens gesmolten in hoogovens van Mittal Steel in Gent en Luik...

  • Op 9 mei verschijnt een artikel in Het Laatste Nieuws: "Wapenwet een grote flop": er zouden slechts 10% van alle wapens in België naar boven komen, en de lokale Politie zou de toevloed niet aankunnen. 58.000 die vergunningsplichtig waren werden opnieuw aangegeven. 34.496 jacht- en sportwapens die voor de nieuwe wet niet vergunningsplichtig waren en nu wel, werden geregistreerd.

  • Het centrale wapenregister van de Federale overheid zou meer dan 700.000 records hebben van reeds legaal aangeven wapens (voor de wet van Juni 2006)

  • op de site van de Hubertusvereniging Vlaanderen vindt u een FAQ over de nieuwe wapenwet

  • In Vollezeele eerder deze week, stond een lange rij wachtenden met "oud schroot". De Politie aldaar deed perfect hun job! ... En de mensen die niet in orde waren lieten hun gerief achter.

Het resultaat van deze operatie/hetze is dus in het beste geval twijfelachtig te noemen. 10% van alle wapens die al gekend waren worden opnieuw aangegeven. Dat wil dus zeggen dat er een grote burger-onwil bestaat. Bovendien zijn de mensen die hun wapens gaan afgeven zijn al te goeder trouw: er bestaat een groot vermoeden dat de sportschutters en jagers zich allemaal al in orde hebben gebracht - en bovendien hebben die vaak al aangiftes gedaan (vb. internationale vuurwapenpas). De paar tienduizeden particulieren die hun erfstukken gaan binnendoen zijn zonder vergoeding, waren sowieso al geen bedreiging voor de democratie. Natuurlijk wordt het nu veel moeilijker om zomaar een "wapen" te gaan kopen in een winkel. Maar worden de échte problemen wel aangepakt? Al die energie die gaat naar de registratie van "onschuldige" wapens, had men die beter niet geïnvesteerd in het aanpakken van de illegale wapencircuits? Is het niet nog altijd mogelijk om in bepaalde wijken in bepaalde steden aan vuurwapens te geraken op de zwarte markt. Men vertelt dat er nu al illegale Oost-Europeanen aanbieden om niet-geregistreerde wapens op te kopen, voor goed geld...

De criminelen onder ons die met een FN P90 rondlopen (om nog maar te zwijgen over al die overvallen op politie & militaire stockpiles van de laatste jaren) en die laden met armour-piercing ammunition; die waren natuurlijk niet te bespeuren in de voormalige rijkswachtkazerne van Vollezeele (waar trouwens nergens een logo van de nieuwe ééngemaakte politie hangt...)


Wenende Baby's: advies voor vaders

wenende baby's van 1 week: een korte handleiding

't beste wat je kan doen is proberen ...

1/ wiegen (tot je rugpijn hebt...)
2/ rondrijden in koetske?
3/ in de auto steken - dat werkt in 90% van de gevallen,
4/ zien dat ge uw pedalen niet verliest: mocht uw vrouw op zijn van de zenuwen, vermoeidheid etc... stuur haar dan eens shoppen en wees een nieuwe man...
5/ mijn ervaring is: ga er niet met 2 rond staan, maar wissel af...
6/ na 1 week zijn baby's wat aan het ontwennen... 't is te zeggen, de scheiding van de baarmoeder begint nu te wegen, en ze krijgen al snel heimwee
7/ is er stoelgang in de pamper?
8/ misschien wat last van krampen, dat gaat over, maar er zijn geen wondermiddelen
9/ zet de TV zo luid dat ge niets meer hoort
10/ baby's die huilen: fantastisch en verplicht, het wil gewoon zeggen dat ze hun stembanden oefenen en hun longen trainen... en dat is hoogst noodzakelijk (anders kunnen ze later geen joints paffen)
11/ zet de baby af bij schoonouders...
12/ probeer toch het hoofd rustig te houden en niet gefrustreerd raken ook al lijkt het of ze 24h/24h wenen
13/ TUT...
14/ als ge toch onzeker zijt, neem temperatuur en bij koorts: onmiddellijk bellen naar A/vroedvrouw van de kliniek die u altijd nog wel willen helpen of B/huisarts of C/ pediater....


Blackberry Ban in France

Various news sources are reporting that the widespread use of Blackberry devices can pose a threat to business and national security! In France, the DGSE intelligence agency has advised the new Sarkozy-Government to ban Blackberry's from their offices: the reason: the servers are hosted in the UK and the USA, which could compromise French governmental communications. Reports further indicate that nowadays, businessmen on the bring of engaging in confidential business discussions/signing of deals are pulling the batteries out of their Berries to show their absolute honesty...
  • Members of the new French cabinet have been told to stop using their BlackBerries because of fears that the US could intercept state secrets ...
  • US bankers would prove their bona fides in meetings by first placing their Black­Berries on the table and removing the batteries

Greywater Guerillas

Interesting blog discovered: the "Greywater Guerillas", a new movement in the USA that attempts to make the best of various water usages in your home. A clear example is to divert water from your washing bassin to your toilet to use it to flush excrements - instead of using "normal" drinking water.

Other links: http://graywater.net/ for in-depth coverage of techniques and tools to use Grey Water


Asian Family Empires: Clans on the Run

Wacondah is pleased to announce a new entry that will hopefully lead to a very closeknotted string of family business stories & research:

TIMEasia Magazine: Clans on the Run: "As a new generation takes over, Asia's richest business families are being forced to change their cloistered, Confucian ways"

How children lost the right to roam in four generations

Excellent graphic and comment posted by Peter. This clearly is a trend!


2 Belgian Cook Blogs of Note

As you grow older (as is our case particularly lately), you find you're drawn to other interests and that your palatal senses change drastically. A cooking frenzy ensued last weekend with traditional Belgian Entrecôte + Fries, followed by Gnocchi in fresh tomato sauce. Now, whereas Camille refuses to eat "live" (i.e. unsquashed and unprocessed tomatoes), she absolutely digs my tomato sauce! Victory for Daddy (and not so much for the washing machine...)

Anyways, 2 secretive cooks have set up quite interesting blogs of note

for a Brazilian touch: http://aboboragostosa.blogspot.com/
for greener fingers: http://www.leafy-cooking.blogspot.com/


The Invasion has Begun

Once every 17 year, these little critters emerge for a very short lifespan: their sole objective: procreation.

Question: Why do they stay underground for 17 years? (5/2004)Answer: There are a number of theories. Most likely they've developed this rhythm to avoid predators. Climate events -- perhaps the Ice Age -- are also factor.

More info here

Populations of the periodical cicada species are synchronized, so that almost all of them mature into adults in the same year. The fact that periodical cicadas remain locked together in time is made even more amazing by their extremely long life-cycles of 13 or 17 years.
Periodical cicadas are found in eastern North America and belong to the genus Magicicada. There are seven species -- four with 13-year life cycles (including one new species described in 2000), and three with 17-year cycles.



Begin storing water IMMEDIATELY! and more useful tips in case of nuclear disaster

Lack of clean water will devastate your family much more quickly and more severely than any lack of food. Without water for both drinking and continued good sanitary practices in food preparation and for bathroom excursions (which will inevitably be much less sanitary than normal), debilitating sickness could rampage through your household with little hope of prompt medical attention. That is a highly likely but, avoidable, disaster, ONLY IF you have enough water.
Source: http://www.ki4u.com/guide.htm
Note: remember to print the guide as, in the case of this scenario, your computer will no longer work...


West Antartica - NASA Finds Vast Regions Melted in Recent Past

NASA - NASA Finds Vast Regions of West Antarctica Melted in Recent Past: "NASA Finds Vast Regions of West Antarctica Melted in Recent Past"

For those of you who've seen "An Inconvenient Truth", there's a scene in the documentary where A.Gore talks about a big chunk of Antartica that's melting: here's the proof by NASA...


Where have U been?

Optimum Population Trust - a British charity wants you to have no more than 2 kids!

pic source
Being a young proud father of 2 kids and planning for #3, I found myself dumbfounded by the latest communqué from these creepy Brits - the Optimum Population Trust : on the news last night was the statement that choosing to have a 3rd kid was the equivalent of pumping additional greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere of approx. 620 round-trip transatlantic plainrides!

These creeps base their theories on Luddite, Club of Rome & Club of Lisbon post-Malhtusian freakonomics...

For more guestimates on current population size: see the US Census at http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/popclockworld.html (it stood at 6,593,737,707 at the time of this post)

  • should we feel guilty?
  • should we feel guilty that we do not live in a 3rd world country?
  • should we feel guilty that we're able to get up in the morning?


Sarkozy wins landslide French elections

Presidential elections in France have a tendency to be a high-octane political thriller with last-minute landslides - see notably our post on the 2002 elections, and especially the 2nd tour which positioned outgoing Chirac against right-wing Le Pen. This 2007 Sarko-Ségo race turned into a spectacular fight between 2 highly-coached expert communicators: the right one have the advantage/disadvantage of coming out of an outgoing government, the other being a very eye-candy camera-pleasing socialist woman who happens to be married to France 1st Secretary of the Socialist Party.

A part from the very interesting televised debate and the spitting confrontations over the last months; commentators agree that the Socialists went too far in diabolizing Mr.Sarkozy and even menacing that there would be riots if he was elected...

One should, in politics, always try to master his temper and this is exactly what Mrs. Royal lost, thinking she could outrace Mr.Sarkozy with her image of "Mariane saving the republic"...

In the end, Mr. Sarkozy on La Concorde last nigt reiterated his campaign goals:
- work work work
- pas de droits sans devoirs
- la France m'a tout donné, il est maintenant temps que je lui rende tout.

Sidenote: as a son of immigrants, Sarkozy can permit himself to adopt staunch measures on criminality etc... In this position, he is much harder to critizise than e.g. Le Pen.


Climate Change: "Six steps to hell"

"Six steps to hell"
April 30, 2007

By the end of this century, Earth could be hotter by 6 degrees centigrade than it is today, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Just how bad would that be? Mark Lynas sifted through thousands of scientific papers for some answers, by degrees.

summary of the article found here

  • 1° warmer: new dust bowls in the USA, a Greener Sahara (?), Alpine melt-off in Europe
  • 2° warmer: plankton wiped out; increased old-age die-offs in Europe's heatwaves (remember 2003 with 30.000 surplus deaths?); Greenland icecap meltoff resulting in global sealevels rise by 7 (!) meters; Alpine meltoffs in South & North America resulting in huge water shortages and ultimately: mass deaths
  • 3° warmer: tipping point where we would no longer be able to control climate warming: possible Amazon forest burndown in massive firestorm which would tip the world right away into the 4,5° warmer scenario. Sub-tropic population will migrate to mid-latitudes due to extreme wheather events that threathen foodsupply. Sub-Sahara Africa and Australia become inhabitable.
  • 4° warmer: worldwide permafrost meltdown unlocking massive carbon storages to be released in the atmosphere; no more North Pole Ice; Antartica partial melt-off will result in another +5 meters increase in worldwide sea-levels. Great Trek North in Europe due to 45+° temperatures in the Southern parts
  • 5° warmer: Ocean Blurp and Massive Tsunamis: methane (a more powerfull greenhouse gas) is no longer trapped in the oceans and is released into the atmosphere.
  • 6° warmer: ref to the end-Permian wipeout of 251 million years ago. By the end of this calamity, up to 95% of species were extinct. The end-Permian wipeout is the nearest this planet has ever come to becoming just another lifeless rock drifting through space. major oceanic methane eruptions could release energy equivalent to 10,000 times the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Obesitas has reach global epidemic proportions (WHO

While a staggering number of people are living on less than 1 dollar per day, an increasingly large number of large people is sufferin from obesitas... According to the World Health Organization, the obesity problem has reached epidemic proportions. The statistics are alarming:
  • Globally, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them obese.
  • Worldwide, 22 million children under age 5 are estimated to be overweight
  • Obesity and overweight pose a major risk for chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer. (World Health Organization)
  • Although many think of obesity as affecting only industrialized societies, over 115 million people in developing countries are estimated to suffer from obesity-related problems. Among the affluent and the impoverished alike, the obesity epidemic is an extreme manifestation of the problem of malnutrition.


Plant a Billion Trees Campaign 2007 (UNEP)

Happy to announce that we've completed our pledge of planting 10 trees (salix alba - knotwilg)in 2007. Camille proved to be very resourcefull: we know enjoy our weekly "aperitieverkes" near them, come rain or shine !

“The symbolism – and the substantive significance – of planting a tree has universal power in every culture and every society on Earth, and it is a way for individual men, women and children to participate in creating solutions for the environmental crisis.” Al Gore, Earth in the Balance

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a major worldwide tree planting campaign. Under the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, people, communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments are encouraged to enter tree planting pledges online with the objective of planting at least one billion trees worldwide during 2007.
Facts & figures: Forests cover 30% of land

World Environment Day 2007

World Environment Day 2007, June 5

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II has released its Summary for Policymakers

Extract for EUROPE from the IPCC WG II Report (April 2007)
Nearly all European regions are anticipated to be negatively affected by some future impacts of climate change and these will pose challenges to many economic sectors. Climate change is expected to magnify regional differences in Europe’s natural resources and assets. Negative impacts will include increased risk of inland flash floods, and more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion (due to storminess and sealevel rise). The great majority of organisms and ecosystems will have difficulties adapting to climate change. Mountainous areas will face glacier retreat, reduced snow cover and winter tourism, and extensive species losses (in some areas up to 60% under high emission scenarios by 2080).


Earth Day Special: stepchange!

April 22, 2007 is EARTH DAY
Find out what you can do on http://www.sierraclub.org/earthday/

What We Will Do next Sunday (and the rest of the year)
  • turn off electrical equipment and kill the "sleep" modus on a number of appliances
  • share rides (amazingly, this morning again, the proportion of the vehicles that I've spotted in my usual traffic jams that had a sole occupant was +85%)
  • buy a new bike soon for every member of the family
  • eat more "local" food
  • recycle more


Schwarzenegger to enviros: Make the environment SEXY !

at a recent meeting in Washington, Austrian-Californian Gubernator Schwarzenegger told a gathering of environmental activists: "stop nagging, make it sexy... just like bodybuilding"...

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told environmentalists Wednesday they
needed to stop nagging and make their cause sexy, likening it to bodybuilding's
evolution from a weird pursuit to mainstream.

"Bodybuilding used to have a very sketchy image," the former bodybuilding
champion told an environmental forum at Georgetown University. "... It had
fanatics and it had weird people. ...But we changed that. ... It became sexy,

"Like bodybuilders, environmentalists were thought of as kind of weird and
fanatics also, you know, the serious tree huggers," Schwarzenegger said.


Ipod FM Transmitter: no longer illegal in Belgium!

Net binnen: het BIPT heeft een aantal maatregelen genomen waardoor het niet langer onwettig is om een fm-transmitter op uw IPOD te installeren zodanig dat je je autoradio erop kan afstemmen... Dit was dus regelrecht illegaal!!! en nu niet meer. voor de geïnteresseerden, op 88,5 FM kan je in Brussel nog rustig zenden, enkel wat storing in de buurt van het Madou-plein, maar voor de rest picobello ontvangst...

P.S. Het BIPT zou er beter iets aan doen om de ontvangst van radio's in de Brusselse tunnels te verbeteren, of in elk geval de verkeersinformatie wat beter te laten doorstromen. (Enfin, die zou eigenlijk beter ook eens deftig geregulariseerd moeten worden...maar dat is stof voor een volgend artikel)


I thank you for challenging me

M.Manson gets "challenged" in this Fox news story. Quite interesting video interview of a shock artist getting his morals questioned by modern-day crusaders

Dialects, Languages...dialectics

One of the tests people use to differentiate "language" from "dialect" is
mutual intelligibility. You can say that people speak the same language -- or a
dialect of the same language -- if they understand each other. If they don't
understand one another, they must be speaking different languages. That seems
like a good rule. So why, in a case like the Cologne and Bavarian dialects,
which aren't mutually intelligible, don't the Germans call them separate
languages? Or why are Swedish and Norwegian separate languages, when Swedes and
Norwegians have no trouble understanding one another? It's really pretty

source: The 5minute Linguist

(B)rain man

Meet Daniel Tammet, a 27 year-old math and memory wizard. He can do things
with numbers that will truly amaze you. He is a savant. . . with a difference.
Unlike most savants, he shows no obvious mental disability, and most
importantly, he can describe his own thought process.

The Canary Database: animals as sentinels against biohazards

There was never a logo as beautiful as this, and an even prettier endeavour...
Can animals - like canaries in coal mines - warn humans about chemical, infectious, and physical environmental hazards? Find out more on the Canary Database - a joint undertaking by Yale and the USGS.

Legaal bloggen - juridische valkuilen voor weblogs (in Maatschappij > Juridische zaken @ iusmentis.com)

Op deze site krijg je meer info "Legaal bloggen - juridische valkuilen voor weblogs": http://www.iusmentis.com/maatschappij/juridisch/bloggen/:

Link via een mede Brussel Blogt Redacteur (http://www.rewinder.be/2007/02/mea-maxima-culpa.html)

Zo krijg je er een duidelijk antwoord ivm:

Ben ik aansprakelijk voor wat ik op mijn weblog zet? ==> JAZEKER!


How to go green: Reuters Renewables weblinks

Source: http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=12287

February 26, 2007 — By Sylvia Westall, ReutersLONDON --

The idea of renewable energy at home is no longer as distant as an offshore wind farm. More companies are waking up to the popularity of green energy and the Web hosts many sites showing steps people can take -- or gadgets they can buy -- to use renewable technology, from renting a solar panel to burning calories with a pedal-powered washing machine.

- To make the case for energy efficiency, the European Commission provides a carbon calculator and suggestions on how to cut down on energy use, including tips from celebrities. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/campaign/index_en.htm
- In Australia, the government provides an informative site on green suppliers, appliances and eco-friendly lifestyle options. http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/education/tips/consumers.html
- Going one step further, the Web sites of international charities Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are home to definitive green guides and feature daily tips from members of the public. http://www.greenpeace.org, http://www.foe.co.uk/living/tips/index.html

- For homeowners wanting to make a serious commitment to green power, the U.S. Department of Energy provides useful calculators to add up the savings from devices like solar heaters: http://www.eere.energy.gov
- If buying a solar panel sounds daunting, customers can rent one at http://renu.citizenre.com/ The company says on its Web site that over 5,000 people have already signed up for the scheme in the United States and the manufacturing plant has not even been completed.
- British home improvement store B&Q launched a range of roof-top wind turbines and solar panels in September. The devices, which are available from around 1,500 pounds ($2,923), can be bought at http://www.diy.com
- Customers across the globe can visit http://www.surfacepower.com and find out about total renewable energy systems in the home.
- Even people on online auction site eBay are in on the act, offering solar panels and wind turbines to bidders: http://www.ebay.com

- It may not be Prada, but the solar-panelled handbag can recharge mobile phones and music players on the go. Designed by Joe Hynek, the 'power purse' comes with a designer price tag of $300, but is an unusual accessory for the environmentally conscious: http://www.solarjo.com
- Backpackers can also tap into the trend for a fraction of the price thanks to Unison Light, a company which offers solar panel backpacks from around $35: http://www.globalsources.com
- The wind-up radio is still going strong after its invention 12 years ago. The Web site http://www.ethicalsuperstore.com offers wind-up phone chargers and radios from 30 pounds.
- In the home, ambitious environmentalists and health fans can eliminate two chores in one with a pedal-powered washing machine. Details are available at http://cyclean.biz

Energy suppliers are falling over themselves to flag up their green credentials, but switching to a supplier which invests in renewable technology does not always mean customers receive green energy.
- The Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S provides consumers with detailed information on green power investment at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower and encourages companies to show non-renewable energy the door.
- In Europe, www.greenprices.com lists green suppliers and their credentials, making choosing a supplier a breeze. The Web site says that often a simple phone call is enough to switch to eco-friendly power.

Governments can provide backing to green consumers who may be worried about burning a hole in their pocket bigger than the one in the ozone layer.
- State-by-state cash incentives in the United States feature on a database at http://www.dsireusa.org, while in Britain the low-carbon buildings programme offers grants for devices like solar panels and turbines. http://www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk
- On a wider scale, http://www.climatecare.org gives details of how to offset carbon emissions and funding for renewable devices in countries including India.

Links to the Web sites featured in this article, and to other renewable-friendly pages, are available on the social bookmark site http://del.icio.us/reutersrenewables

Celebrity Environmentalists

February 26, 2007 — By Jill Serjeant, Reuters LOS ANGELES --
Source: http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=12288

Whether it's forsaking a gas guzzling limo in favor of driving a hybrid car to the Oscars, or fitting their homes with solar panels, many celebrities embraced green causes long before they became fashionable. Just as a famous face can sell a perfume, stars of stage and screen can sell a cause and scores of them are doing more than merely putting their money where their mouth is.

"Whether it's fashion or cultural trends, the entertainment industry has the ability to communicate to a global audience ideas that set forth actions and create change," said Debbie Levin, president of the Environmental Media Association which promotes green issues through the entertainment industry. "Early adopters, like Cameron Diaz, led the way and now with everyone from Kirsten Dunst to Maroon 5 to Will Ferrell driving hybrid cars, (it) sends the message that it's cool to think and buy green," Levin said.

Following is a list of some of the leading green celebrity players:

- ROBERT REDFORD: 30 years on board of Natural Resources Defense Council, founder of Sundance Preserve, winner of 1993 Earth Day award, 1987 United Nations Global 500 award. In April 2007, launches weekly three-hour slot called "The Green", dedicated entirely to the environment, on his Sundance TV channel.
- LEONARDO DICAPRIO: started the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998 to promote environmental issues, drives a hybrid car, currently writing and producing a feature length documentary on global warming called "11th Hour".
- BRAD PITT: co-creator of design competition to build 20 affordable, reduced energy, environmentally friendly homes in New Orleans.
- STING: founder in 1989 of Rainforest Foundation to protect rain forests and their indigenous peoples.
- HARRISON FORD: vice chairman of Conservation International, has a Central American ant named after him, won the Global Environmental Citizen Award in 2002.
- DAVE MATTHEWS BAND: offsets CO2 emissions produced by their multi-city tours by funding projects such as tree plantings and wind turbine construction.
- AL GORE: former U.S. vice president whose climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" was Oscar-nominated, also nominated for 2007 Nobel Peace prize.
- PIERCE BROSNAN: focuses on marine mammal and wetland protection, headlined Natural Resources Defense Council campaign against effects of Navy sonar on whales, awarded 1997 Green Cross International Environmental Leadership Award.
- CATE BLANCHETT: plans to equip Sydney Theatre Company building with solar panels, rainwater collection systems to make it completely eco-friendly. Sydney home is fully powered by solar energy, donates to Forest Guardians.
- EDWARD NORTON: launched the BP Solar Neighbors Program in 2003 which matches each celebrity purchase of a solar energy home system with a solar installation in a low-income family home in Los Angeles.
- DARYL HANNAH: arrested in June 2006 for staging a 23-day tree sit-in during a bid to preserve an urban community garden in Los Angeles, traveled across America in 2005 in a biofuel car, home is entirely off-grid.
- RICHARD BRANSON: Virgin Group chairman, a former global warming skeptic, who in Sept. 2006 pledged to spend all profits from his airline and rail businesses (estimated $3 billion over 10 years) on investments in biofuel research and projects to tackle emissions.
- ALANIS MORISSETTE: given 2003 Environmental Media Association Missions in Music Award; campaigns against oil drilling in Alaska; has solar panels on home.
- KT TUNSTALL: ran her US tour bus on biodiesel fuel, performed at eco-friendly "Golden Green" at the 2007 Golden Globe awards in Los Angeles.
- JOSH HARTNETT, ORLANDO BLOOM, MAROON 5, KT TUNSTALL: promoting 2007 Global Cool initiative to cut carbon emissions by encouraging people to turn off TVs, mobile-phone chargers and other energy-draining gadgets.
- JAMIE OLIVER: celebrity chef, plans to power his Cornwall, England, restaurant by wind turbines.
- NEIL YOUNG: 2004 North American tour fueled entirely with biodiesel.
- WILLIE NELSON: singer, co-partner in the Willie Nelson Biodiesel Company.
- BARENAKED LADIES: run their tour buses and trucks on biodiesel fuel.

Drivers of hybrid cars include: Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron, Carole King, Kirsten Dunst, Billy Joel, Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell, Julia Roberts, Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Alanis Morissette, David Duchovny, Patricia Arquette, Jackson Browne, Larry David, Danny DeVito and Bill Maher.


Shutdown Day - March 24, 2007

Shutdown Day is an worldwide initiative to give your computer some well-deserved rest: Un-plug on March 24 and enjoy your life!
Can YOU survive for 24h without a computer?

Turn Down, Switch Off, Recycle, Walk... (cont'd)

Turn Down, Switch Off, Recycle, Walk... (thanks FLO)
The European Commission has a dedicated website to inform on what YOU can do to fight global warming
see also: http://wacondah2007.blogspot.com/2006/10/your-personal-eoclogical-footprint-and.html


Mexico to plant 250.000.000 trees

Source: Metrotime.be

Mexico gaat kwart miljard bomen planten
(Belga) Mexico gaat dit jaar 250 miljoen bomen planten, ofwel een kwart van het aantal dat door de VN wereldwijd werd aanbevolen om de klimaatverandering tegen te gaan.
"Ik heb de minister (van Milieu) opdracht gegeven dit jaar 250 miljoen bomen te laten planten", aldus president Felipe Calderon dinsdag. "Een op de vier bomen die dit jaar ter wereld zullen worden geplant, zal in Mexico staan", zo luidt het. Het programma kreeg de naam ProArbol en gaat ruim 6 miljard pesos (430 miljoen euro) kosten.


Stern and Sachs call upon UN to form urgent CO2 World Body

Source: World Bank Press Review

"A new international body could help in the fight against global warming but the need for action is too urgent to wait for one to be created, two leading economists and climate change experts said on Friday.
Nicholas Stern [former World Bank chief economist and current head of the UK Government Economic Service] and American Jeffrey Sachs both advocate urgent global action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that many scientists believe trap heat in the atmosphere with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Earlier this month, French President Jacques Chirac called for the creation of a UN environment body that would have more clout than the existing UN Environment Program, known as UNEP, a plan backed by 45 other nations but not the US, China or Russia. ‘
We probably will need some kind of organization,’ said Stern... ‘But we can't
wait for such an organization. We have to get on with it now,’ said Stern.
Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and a UN anti-poverty adviser, said he favored creating a World Environment Organization, but
‘I don't believe it's necessary for solving this problem.’
Instead, the UN and existing agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions could do the job if world leaders took them seriously enough, Sachs said.


Masterpiece or Fakes: the Joyce Hatto Scandal

Very interesting article on copyright infringement and outright fakery/stealing in the classical music sphere! It appears this couple edited a huge catalogue of a female virtuosa, based on other pianists' recordings... or how to get caught when you underestimate sound engineers...

Gramophone - News - The world's best classical music magazine: "Masterpieces Or Fakes? The Joyce Hatto Scandal - February 15 2007

It was already one of the strangest stories the classical music world had
witnessed. But the discovery of the late English pianist Joyce Hatto as the
greatest instrumentalist almost nobody had heard of, appears to have taken a
bizarre, even potentially sinister turn. "

ART GONE POSTAL | The Envelope Collective

ART GONE POSTAL The Envelope Collective

This is a very interesting art project that aims to reconcile ancient-style letter-writing with an internet project... You send out an enveloppe, they scan it and off you go... collaborative art


UN issues Rich Nations "child well-being" report

source: Metafilter / Guardian

How does your country measure up as a place to raise kids?

UNICEF studied all the wealthiest nations (full report PDF here), and the US and UK came in at the bottom on almost all indicators (material wellbeing, health and safety, education, family and peer relationships, behaviours and risks, and the subjective feelings of kids and teens themselves ). Doing best for kids were the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. It turns out that GDP and material wealth alone does not ensure healthier or happier or more well-educated kids--the Czech Republic scored very well despite being one of the poorest nations surveyed.

Belgium ranks 10th, which is not a bad place, given the very bad scoring on "Health and Safety" and "Behaviours and Risks"... the overall positive position is balanced by 1st position on education. However, this is a still a series wake-up call to our politicians...



Daan wins best song and best video for "The Player", out of a shortlist of 100 titles: congratulations! Lyrics for The Player on this site. Copyright by www.daan.be


The Gallmann Africa Conservancy

Just Finished reading "I dreamed of Africa" - a incredibly moving story about Kuki Gallmann's (mis)adventures in the Kenyan wild. The book tells the tale of Kuki's settling into late 20th century Kenya and establishing a landmark foundation and conservation project in the highlands near the Great Rift Valley after the tragical loss of both her husband and son. (a must-read story rated *****/*****)

When afterwards you visit the Nairobi National Park and are invited to step into a cage with a cheetah, you touch the earth's history through the carnivore's docile behaviour!

The Gallmann Africa Conservancy


midomi : just what we've all been waiting for... Catchy tune on the radio, but you can't seem to remember artist/song... sing it into this site and it will deliver instant results!


Telemark skiing

Just back from a wonderful short ski holiday on a 3500+m high glacier above Saas-Fee in Switzerland. After much speculation on the difficulties and some years of pondering, finally decided to take a go at TELEMARK downhill skiing. Happy to report: it is worth the aductor-pain and technical mastering... Hemmingway was an avid fan in the 1920s....

Telemark skiing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The Telemark turn became the technique of ski touring in rolling terrain."

Pioneer Sondre Norheim, from Morgedal in Telemark, has often been called the father of modern skiing for inventing the equipment and techniques that led to modern skiing as we see it today. Having grown up in the farmlands of Norwegian Telemark, Norheim invented a “birch” binding that enabled skiers to ski without the risk of losing their skis. Then, in 1870, Norheim introduced a short, curved, flexible ski he crafted in order to allow for easy turning in soft snow. Norheim, at the age of forty-three, went on to become the winner of the first Norwegian downhill skiing competition in Christiania. (modern day Oslo)


My Big Fat Green Wedding

Interestingly, more and more couples are turning their weddings "green"...
Below are some extracts from an Independent article!
  • The dress came from Oxfam, the food was organic, and the guests had to offset their air-miles
  • conflic-free diamonds
  • a fashionable wedding website instead of sending out massive paper invitations
  • no flower shipped in from Kenya...
  • a gas-converted Bentley for the couple to be driven around
  • fairtrade food...
  • gifts: training of school teachers...
  • an eco-friendly wedding trip

Congo: Idiot rebels shoot silverback gorillas

Report just in from the African Wildlife Foundation:

January 19, 2007 — By African Wildlife FoundationKIGALI, Rwanda — African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has learned from the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) that insurgent forces led by the dissident General Laurent Nkunda have invaded Virunga National Park's south sector in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and killed at least one silverback mountain gorilla.
This area serves as precious habitat for six groups of endangered mountain gorillas habituated for tourism and five lone silverbacks that are also monitored daily. A total of 82 individuals reside in this sector.
Hostilities forced ICCN's park staff and their families to flee the park's Jomba, Bikenge and Bukima patrol posts on December 20, 2006. This left the park and its mountain gorilla population extremely vulnerable.
On January 11, 2007 rebel insurgents succeeded in shooting and killing a silverback. The silverback, named Karema, was formally a member of the Lulengo Group, but had been solitary for the last few years. Unfortunately, due to continuing insecurity, ICCN rangers were only able to access the park and verify the killing on Monday January 15. These rangers acted at tremendous risk to their own lives.
A second silverback mountain gorilla was killed, though authorities have yet to identify the individual.
General Nkunda was a commander in the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD), a main rebel group which controlled most of eastern Congo during the country's five-year civil war. Nkunda dissidents continue to conflict with both government forces and local people in addition to the national park. As recently as November, Nkunda's forces attacked DRC troops in eastern posts; this fresh fighting forced more than 10,000 Congolese people to flee into Uganda.
International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP - a coalition of AWF, Fauna and Flora International and World Wide Fund for Nature) officers on the ground continue to work tirelessly with park authorities to collect information about this loss and other potential damage. However, the situation in the area remains extremely tense and unstable. Contact Info:
Amy Wiedemann African Wildlife FoundationTel : 202-939-3333E-mail: awiedemann@awf.org
Website : African Wildlife Foundation



FRANCE JOINS UNEP’S TREE PLANTING CAMPAIGN UNEP has launched a second appeal to the international community to join its global tree planting campaign, “Plant for the Planet: the Billion Tree Campaign,” from France, with several French partners endorsing the initiative. The campaign, which seeks to help mitigate climate change and encourage environmental action around the world, has to date recorded over 157 million tree planting pledges globally, including 5.5 million in France.


WSF2007 Kenya

The 7th World Social Forum is in full swing in Nairobi, Kenya. It is the first time this event is organised on the African Country. Over 50.000 participants have descended to Nairobi for a massive 1200-sessions programme that takes place in the Kasarani/Moi Sports Stadium to the North of the city. Over 21 themes will be debated by participants from more than 140 countries. The WSF, with its origins in the Battle for Seattle attempts to unite civil society representatives in a parallel event that takes place at the same time as the World Economic Forum in Davos: the objective- to propose Another World is Possible. Apart from the fact that much of the debate is off-axis and borderline-metaphysical, it is a quintessential showcase of poverty and struggles. Hosting the WSF in Africa is a brave decision, and although there is lots of complaining on logistical matters, it must be noted that overall this event illustrates the wide diversity of movements, opinions and brings to the world tribune the huge misery and inequalities faced by the larger part of the Earth's population. The local Kenyan population expresse high hopes that may be clouded by the lack of concrete action plans and high-level government commitment to the agenda of the WSF. Mobilizing public opinion and networking remains therefore the key objective. A photoreportage is available on http://www.flickr.com/photos/wacondah/


Wiels Contemporary Art Museum - Brussels (opens May 25 2007)

a brand new Contemporary art museum will open this May 25 in the former WIELS Breweries, near the Brussels Midi Train Station:

interesting article on Cafébabel.

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't is ne keer iets anders dan Wallonië bij Frankrijk, St-Genesius-Rode bij Brussel of Vlaanderen bij Nederland...