Saturday, December 03, 2005
I am a firm believer in the imminent advent of global climate change. I believe this change is not cyclical, but due to the indiscrimate polluting of our planet through Carbon dioxide emissions and other toxic gases.One only has to observe the pollution eminating from the average city to understand that there must be a detrimental affect on the Earth's finely balanced ecosystem. Even if there is not 100% scientific proof that global warming is responsible fpr the predicted change in climate, we must take urgent steps now to reduce our carbon footprint. Every citizen should take proprietary measures to examine their own individual pollution and start to change their lifestyle (if necessary). Governments too must take stronger action using the media and educational fields to bring home the message. There should also be additional legislation where voluntary measures are not deemed successful. We have seen the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions which have helped to cause the current situation over the years. Now there must be more rapid progress in the Environmental revolution (which I believe started in the 1970's and continues today).There has been plenty of discussion although more is needed. Unfortunately the action has not kept up with the words and it has been left to individual governments of 'green' countries plus NGO's to try and limit their own pollutants. There is a definite role here for the United Nations. But where are they?It is too serious a problem to be left to market forces (as in the case of oil consumption) to regulate. There should be well-thought out plans and strategies to take us forward, These would then be marshalled and funded via the offices of the UN. Sanctions would be imposed on those countries not participating fully and fines levied by the UN. If for no other reason, we owe this to future generations and the integrity of our human existence alongside all other living species of this planet.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Scientists from Brazil and the US say new research suggests deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has been underestimated by at least 60%. The team has completed a study using a more advanced technique of satellite imagery that can pick up more types of logging activity. These include selective logging, where loggers pick out trees of value but leave the surrounding forest intact. Brazil's government welcomed the report but said the figures were exaggerated. NASA's help: Deforestation in the Amazon is on such a massive scale that the only way of measuring it is by using satellites. The trouble has been that while traditional aerial images can show areas that have been completely destroyed, they do not reveal selective logging of valuable trees such as mahogany. With input from the Nasa space agency, the joint US and Brazilian team used an ultra-high-resolution technique to examine just how much selective logging was going on. The report was published in the US journal Science. The researchers concluded that the area of rainforest destroyed between 1999 and 2002 was thousands of square kilometres bigger than previously thought. They also found that about 25% more carbon had been released into the atmosphere than estimated - possibly enough to affect climate change. Brazilian officials praised the scientists for highlighting the issue of selective logging, but said the new figures were hard to believe. The businessmen involved in the practice claim picking out individual trees is more environmentally friendly than the blanket clearance of huge areas. But environmental campaigners say that to reach the prized trees, roads have to be built and heavy equipment brought in. This, they say, can be of no benefit to the Amazon. Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/4362760.stmPublished: 2005/10/21 01:24:49 GMT
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Today, in some papers and on some TV screens we have seen justice - as handed out by the Czech police and TV Nova.
A few weeks ago, (see below) a young family man was gunned down in the centre of Prague, just because he was a caring citizen and had gone to the assistance of a young woman who was being harassed by a man. For this act of courage he was mercilessly murdered in cold blood. A crime that sent shivers down the spines of all normal citizens of this land. However, recently, thanks to the police and TV Nova, we have been treated to the spectacle of the alleged murderer being forcibly restrained by police and in full camera/photo shot of the journalists of TV Nova - the same TV Company where the murdered man worked….there was even a microphone thrust under the suspect’s nose – perhaps ready for a public confession? I have to ask the following questions of both the police and TV Nova:. Since when did the Prague police and TV Nova have the right to determine that this particular individual was the guilty party? Even if the alleged murderer confessed to the crime, isn't he innocent until proven guilty by a court of law? Surely it’s a judge and not a policeman or a journalist who determine guilt? Are there different rules of due process of law at work in the Czech Republic? Isn't it something of a coincidence that it was TV Nova and not CT1/2 or TV Prima, who were there to capture it all on camera. The murdered man was an editor with TV Nova. How did TV Nova know that he was being arrested and taken to a detention centre? In most places in Europe the arrested individual is presumed innocent until a court of law determine otherwise and a blanket would be placed over his head - to ensure anonymity. Just to put the record straight – if this man is found guilty by due process of law – I personally hope the courts jail him and throw away the keys for what he has done….but to be honest, I would hope that we are all innocent until the evidence in court proves otherwise. Frankly I put more trust in the judicial system here than I do in either the Czech police or the media.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
The news of the fatal shooting of a TV Nova editor recently is more proof, if it were needed, of man's inhumanity to man. Michal was with his child when he saw a woman being attacked by a man. He intervened and was shot several times by the man. I didn't know Michal personally, but I am aware of some of the grief and sorrow that has been caused by this crazy and tragic incident. I hope this doesn't deter other public-spirited individuals from doing something to help those in trouble. Otherwise humanity is surely on a downward slide. One can debate Michal's actions but we must all honour his thoughtfulness and courage. Surely none of us know what we would have done in a similar situation. I hope for three things: His killer will quickly be brought to justice and punished appropriately. His family, friends and colleagues will soon find peace in their hearts and minds. Some kind of lasting tribute will be established to show that we all honour Michal and the help he offered to a complete stranger in trouble.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Bringing death and destruction to the gulf coast of the USA....Katrina the force 5 Hurricane proved that Mother Nature still rules and gave us a foretaste of what will happen if we continue to ignore the signs of impending natural catastrophe - just as the Bush Administration have done in New Orleans and surrounding area. This should be a lesson we all take on board now and remember it when we next vote! The world needs leaders of vision who are prepared to put Environmental issues at the very top of the political agenda and not be dictated to by commercial interests. 'If you are not man enough for the job Mr President/Prime Minister, wherever in the world you are.....Stand aside for someone who is!'
Sunday, August 28, 2005
One might be forgiven for thinking that this is going to be about the liquid gold that is on most people’s minds these days….oil! As the price of the stuff we apparently cannot do without, rockets to nearly $70 a barrel. But there is another liquid far more important to all of us. Just ask the residents of Africa, Middle East, Portugal & Spain what that fluid is? WATER Of course this is nothing new. We all know that we cannot live without water for more than a few days. Yet we treat this precious liquid very badly, wasting millions of gallons of it every day. Even the inhabitants of that excessively greedy city, Las Vegas, are slowly coming to the realisation that the Nevada desert which surrounds it has finite amounts of water flowing through its rocky terrain. Environmentalists and water engineers are warning that the city must curb its excessive and largely unnecessary use of water. Only 30% is currently used in the home for washing and drinking. The remainder being used to provide water parks, spectacular fountains and swimming pools etc. That must seem pathetic to those of us who are dying of thirst in Africa, or in current danger of being burnt out of their homes (and perhaps lives) in Portugal and Spain. Even the oil rich states in the Middle East, long ago realised that water was much more precious than the black ‘gold’ the west craves. A bottle of water in Saudi Arabia is more expensive than a bottle of oil and the longest continuous pipeline in the world carries water not oil. Unfortunately, like most problems associated with the environment, governments and people do seem to have buried their heads in the sand. We all know that water is the most precious commodity save only for oxygen. Yet we treat it with scant regard in the west. Millions of litres leak from badly fitting and broken pipelines. We waste more in the home – when was the last time you turned off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth? Like oil, water is drying up in many areas. We are witnessing the not-so-slow desertification of the Iberian Peninsula. In other parts of Europe sudden torrential downpours flood large swathes of land because the drainage is unable to cope and we lose another opportunity to store the precious liquid. One gets the feeling that most people are aware of the environmental dangers that face us. Yet they feel they are powerless to do anything about it – so best not to even think of it. That is folly in the extreme. We are all responsible for the protection and proper usage of the earth’s natural resources, be it finite, like oil or seemingly endless - as water appears to be. We can all do something about it and one day we will have to address these problems seriously and vigorously – because all our lives will depend on it, as the inhabitants of Africa, Iberia and the Middle East will surely verify.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
WHAT WE SAY……WHAT THEY* UNDERSTAND…… WHAT WE MEAN…… I’m sure it’s my fault…… It’s his fault……It’s your fault. I’ll bear it in mind……He will probably do it……I’ve forgotten it already. I was a bit disappointed that….It doesn’t really matter…..You’ve really annoyed me! By the way/Incidentally…This is not very important……This is most important. I hear what you say….... He accepts my point of view…….You’re wrong! Correct me if I’m wrong…Tell me what you think....I know I’m right and that’s that. With the greatest respect…He is listening to me……I think you are wrong, or a fool. That is an original point of view…… He likes my ideas……You must be crazy! Very interesting……He is impressed……I don’t agree, or I don’t believe you. You must come for dinner sometime……I’ll get an invitation soon……No invitation (just being polite). Quite good……Quite good……A bit disappointing. Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005. From a guide intended to help foreigners understand the idiosyncrasies of British English, found by a journalist for The Economist in 2004 on an office wall in the European Court of Justice. Originally from Harper's Magazine, December 2004. Found again on the WWW and doctored somewhat (in the interests of accuracy) by Gerimedic(Peripatetic Language Consultant and English gentleman) * THEY -denotes anybody originating from across the Atlantic/Channel/North Sea ponds
Sunday, August 07, 2005
There is only one explanation for the number of Brits who shame themselves and others at home and abroad, by their inability to hold their drink. The British are quite aggressive as a race (witness our colonial past). Mix this latent aggression with copious amounts of alcohol and you have a recipe for violence towards people and property - all in the name of 'having a laugh'. I know this because I have spent 22 years of my life dealing with the public as an Ambulanceman/Paramedic. Where 70% of red (emergency) calls after 2100 hours were alcohol related - and that's a conservative estimate. I was also a lay Magistrate and saw the same anti-social problems associated with alcohol, via the court cases. Having lived in Prague for 6 years and witnessed drinking parties of Brits all too often. I can now confirm my reluctance to admit to being from the UK. Prague has attracted countless numbers of these people (usually young men) because of the cheap drink available here. Now more and more establishments are banning these groups due to countless incidents of drunkenness and violence. Interestingly, the Czechs (who are noted for their beer consumption) are not a problem when they get drunk - a little noisy perhaps, but you are still safe to walk the streets here at night. Czechs (unlike the British) have a phlegmatic attitude and rarely feel the need to destroy or injure when they drink a lot. Other European countries have a similar relaxed attitude after drinking - but not those from the UK where the beer is often weaker. So changing the licensing laws probably won't make much difference. The British need to improve their socialization skills and adopt a thoughtfulness, that currently, is sadly lacking in many young men and women.
The Stampe was designed in 1933 by Belgian WWI pilot Jean Stampe as a rival to the Tiger Moth. With a maximum speed of 165mph and a ceiling of 13,000f
GETTING READY FOR TAKE-OFF....... Posted by Picasa
As someone who loves all forms of flying i.e. watching birds and watching and travelling in anything that flies.I should remark on how lucky some airline passengers have been this week. Who can forget the miraculous escape of 309 passengers and crew from the Air France Airbus 340 which slid off the end of the runway at Toronto's Pearson airport. Witnessing the incident (along with millions of others) via the CTV/BBC/CNN live feed from a traffic camera. Imagining the horror as we observed explosions and thick black smoke engulfing the aircraft. Little did we realise then how fortunate the passengers were to escape with their lives - due in part, no doubt, to the skill and professionalism of the cabin crew. BUT what of the Captain and First Officer? It seems unfair that the guy in the left seat should take all the blame and shoulder so much responsibility, when the passengers, airlines, ATC etc. all have some responsibility in their need to land at the right airport, at the right time. Thus putting pressure on all Captains to deliver the goods! Who can imagine the pressure the pilots were under to get that plane down safely, thus avoiding lengthy delays to their passengers and others due to fly later. Delays are inconvenient and expensive after all! In this incident the weather obviously played a big part....should the Captain (who has the final say) have landed or aborted and flown to another airport - Montreal was within range? The evidence is suggesting he made a 'long landing' not giving the aircraft time/distance enough to stop within acceptable parameters. What part ATC and technological problems might have played in this drama is less evident. I hope the flight crew will not be made the fall guys for this accident, as it seems they will be. How many of us have to make such important and immediate decisions in our working day. How many of us complain when we are kept waiting for a delayed flight? Who really understands the pressure these flightcrew are under every time they take-off? Of course there is a multi-million dollar lawsuit in the offing, instigated by greedy lawyers and passengers. Personally I would just be pleased to have escaped with my life, without worrying about my bank balance.....after all it was the passengers decision to fly in the first place. They took the risk that inevitably comes with this form of travel.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Czechs please take special note... Please don’t be offended, but my girlfriend and I need to get away from people. Therefore when the question of our holiday arose initially – several places were discarded immediately. CROATIA – Lots of sun and clean water true, but also saturated with Czechs and German tourists. Ach jo! SPAIN – Lots of sun and not-so-clean water and also lots of British and German tourists. Ach jo! EGYPT – Lots of sun, sand and, well, more sand, terrorists, Czech, German, British tourists plus the odd Arab. Ach jo! BRITAIN – No sun, no sand, lots of cold murky water, cold murky weather and cold murky people. Ach jo! The main requirement for our holiday being lots of nature (to indulge my hobby of bird watching), peace and quiet, reasonable climate, relatively inexpensive and lots of good wine…settled… there was only one possibility – ZNOJMO! So what is so special about Znojmo? Lying on the southern Czech Moravian border with Austria. This delightful town boasts several advantages over the aforementioned destinations. There are very few tourists around; It lies amidst the Podyji National Park – so lots of nature. The climate is moderate. It is cheaper to live there and there are vineyards full of grapevines ready to make excellent wines. So leaving polluted and overcrowded Prague behind we set off on the 3-hour drive in our rented Fiat, our small car full of people (Pavlína and I), two cats (Míša and Káťa) and our assorted belongings. Having safely negotiated the D1 motorway with its pitted and uneven surface, the heavily detoured E38 and the somewhat erratic driving of Czechs, we arrived at our final destination – the small satellite village of Dobšice which is joined by an industrial umbilical cord to Znojmo. Our first pleasant surprise awaited us. We were greeted by the charming owner of the chalet apartment we had rented for the week. Penzion Anna was a delight. Overlooking open fields, it was big, spotlessly clean and tastefully furnished. The cats liked it immediately and began exploring every nook and cranny… so that was ok then! Our week’s itinerary included the following: *A trip to Lednice to view the beautiful chateau and grounds. *Several trips to local wine bars (a favourite being U Legionnaire – an historic tiny cellar bar in the heart of the old town and recommended). *Several early morning and late evening bird watching forays. *Several excursions to local restaurants (neither of us enjoy cooking). *Lots of walking in the surrounding countryside and national park. *Ending most evenings outside our apartment, drinking wine by candlelight. Znojmo itself is worthy of some mention here. The owner of our favourite wine bar explained that Znojmo is currently in the doldrums. Tourist numbers are down again this year. Several large companies have pulled out of the modest industrial area, leaving a 30% unemployment rate in its wake. This was our second visit to Znojmo and we can confirm that there were fewer people in town than on our previous visit in 2003. Apparently the lure of history, interesting architecture, the national park, decent wine and a good locally brewed pivo (Hostan), together with a lively cultural scene – are not enough to tempt Czechs and foreigners to this jewel of Moravia. Well sorry Znojmo, but at least two of your guests are happy with this status quo. Few people around, reasonably friendly locals (even the substantial Roma population were comparatively well behaved)… that suits us just fine. As before, we briefly considered moving here. Of course the reality of the situation proves that it wouldn’t be feasible. The demand for English teachers (even on a Znojmo salary) seems non-existent. Suitable rented property is scarce…ach jo! The amount of wildlife in the local countryside is quite prolific. Obviously when man and industry move out – animals move in. We saw many mammals in the area. Deer (vysoká zvěř), otter (vydra), weasel (lasice); a fleeting glimpse of what I thought was a coypu (nutria) and birdlife aplenty. For those of you who are interested in ornithology, there is an appendix to this, describing my Znojmo bird list. Much more could be written about this interesting area. However, my recommendation would be for you to visit yourself. Just three hours away or one and a half, if you drive like a typical Czech. Forget Croatia, Egypt and the like. Znojmo has no snob value it’s true – but I’m sure you will be enchanted by its delights – just as we were. Just remember – in Znojmo people will understand you, you won’t have to get used to funny money, your stomach won’t be upset by the local cuisine, the koruna in your pocket will last longer and you will be supporting the local Czech economy. Just don’t tell too many of your friends…...Pavlina and I like it just the way it is!
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Our cats - one thinks she is a Siberian Tiger (on the left) and the other a Possum - she spends all day up a tree (usually called the wardrobe) asleep. Their names are Kata (somewhat imaginatively) and Misha (she being the Siberian tiger). Don't be fooled by their cute expressions. They own us completely - if we put a foot wrong.....we die!
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Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Sunday, January 30, 2005
So January 30th 2005 is a very important day in world history. For today I have posted my very first blog - this is it! Other events fade into relative obscurity as Gerimedic goes global........The problem is - I have no idea what to write? I am intellectually intimidated to venture out and add my X to all the other X's that are viewable. Who knows, there may be suicide bloggers out there, who will wreck my moderate world with their fanatacism. Oh well, here goes! All I have to do is figure out how I go about it and put my blog in the right place. It's all very complicated and I have no officials to help me poll my blog (sounds painful doesn't it). Do you think CNN will feature my blog on 'Your world today'? Maybe Monita Rajpal will read it out on air......She's beautiful isn't she? She can view my blog anytime. Who is your favourite CNN anchor? (I thought that was something that you dropped in the sea). What about Richard Quest? I digress of course, desperately thinking of something interesting to blog, after all world history is being made with this.........Maybe somebody would like to put me out of my misery - no suicide bloggers mind. Just kind, gentle bloggers who care for this world and all creatures in it......maybe blogging will bring people together in harmony - Muslim and Jew and Christian - George Bush and the rest of the world - Capitalist and Communist - Vegetarian and Carnivore - Rev. Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams (whatever happened to them) - Philip Morris and the W.H.O - Exxon and Greenpeace - the list is endless, who have I forgotten? Oh well, maybe spontaneous blogging is not to be recommended.....what say you?