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.