Friday, December 19, 2014

The Wagon Of Fools And Other Land Yachts...

The Wagon of Fools is a famous land yacht painting by the Dutch artist Hendrik Gerritsz Pot. It was painted in 1637 and depicts the Haarlem weavers, having abandoned their looms to follow Flora, Goddess of Flowers. Flora, her arms laden with tulips was riding to an imminent death along with a selection of tipplers, money changers et al.
Before that in 1600, in the second image, the wonderful wind chariot or land yacht featured was designed by inventor Simon Stevin for Prince Maurice of Orange.
The next two images aren't quite as salubrious but still part of land yachting history and the last image features land yachts at New Zealand's Muriwai Beach.
It was then and still is, a lot of fun...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Pakistani Taliban. What Gutless Disgusting Evil Cowardly Bastards You Are...

To the Pakistani Taliban.
What evil, gutless, disgusting, cowardly, murderous bastards you are. Or were.
You must have been very proud of yourselves, attacking a school, killing more than one hundred and thirty defenseless, innocent children, then setting fire to some of their teachers, making the children watch before you murdered them.
In the name of religion...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Few Of The Outstanding Images From The 2015 Sony World Photography Awards...

As usual the Sony World Photography Awards give us an opportunity to view some outstanding images submitted already from around the globe.
Entries close in January 2015.
Andrew Suryono would be one happy man with his simply gorgeous and amazing image of this Orangutan in Bali using a banana leaf to shelter from the rain.
Jubair Bin Iqbal's image of a Hindu monk in a mango garden in Bangladesh. 
Arief Siswandhono's daughter overcomes her fear of the family cat.
An Ethiopian man collects wood.
And Gareth Lowndes was up early to get this image of a hot air balloon near Dubai.
There's more here.
The gorgeous little Orangutan does it for me...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

And You Think You're Doing It Hard At The Coal Face...

Perhaps next time you're feeling hard done by
at your workplace, when your tea break isn't long enough to finish the crossword, spare a thought for some of the women working in the most atrocious conditions in Munshiganj, Bangladesh. These women spend their days shoveling and sorting waste coal with little more than a spade and a makeshift sieve.
Wearing no protective clothing, working often in bare feet and inhaling the most toxic dust that causes horrific lung diseases, they're paid less than twenty dollars a week.
These women don't know what a tea break is
but they can still smile.
For some, life is hard at the coal face...

Monday, December 15, 2014

17 Year Old Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai Tells World Leaders A Thing Or Two...

During Malala's powerful acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo a few days ago, the young Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban two years ago and has become a global icon, was now sharing the most prestigious of prizes with Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi. The gutsy and eloquent Malala criticised world governments for having the resources to begin wars but not the will to enable peace and universal education.
The world's youngest Nobel laureate's wonderful acceptance speech laced with self-deprecating humour is here.
She called as all peace prize winners do, not just for education but also fairness and caring.
The so-called world of adults may understand it, but we children don't. Why is it that countries which we call 'strong' are so powerful in creating wars but so weak in bringing peace? she said.
Why is it that giving guns is so easy but giving books is so hard? Why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so difficult?
World leaders aren't interested in peace Malala,
there's no money in it...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The World's Oceans Are Gasping. We Can't Breathe They Cry. We're Choking To Death...

The world's oceans are gasping.
We can't breathe they cry.
The world's oceans are choking to death on an estimated 270,000 tons of plastic pollution caused by mankind.
Mankind. That's you and me.
I can't breathe is a cry for help that seems to fall on deaf ears these days but mankind must respond to this global disaster.
Mankind. That's you and me again.
It's estimated that there are five trillion pieces of plastic littering the oceans, that's around seven hundred pieces for every man woman and child on the planet.
And we could all be culpable of littering
without actually knowing it.
Most modern clothing companies use plastic man-made fabrics like polyester and nylon.
Each time we wash a shirt, jacket, or other clothing made from these materials, plastic microfibers get washed into the sewage system and flow into the ocean. From there the microfibers are ingested by small fish, and make their way up the food chain.
And these fibers are everywhere.
They contaminate not only our waterways, but also our food and air.
When ecologist Mark Brown studied microplastics on shorelines across the globe, he discovered that a full 85% of the plastic came from man-made clothing fibers.
Experiments with washing machines reveal that 1,900 pieces of plastic microfibers come off of a single piece of clothing every time it’s washed.
Since nearly every major clothing company now uses these sorts of man-made fibers, it adds up to a huge amount of plastic microfibers entering our waterways each year. And just like other plastics, plastic microfibers contribute toxins to our environment.
Science has only recently discovered this problem, and what we need now is a solution
to this mess.
You and I are the problem. And the solution...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Cacti Diet Helps Save The Giant Galapagos Tortoise From Extinction...

Remember Lonesome George?
With his demise in 2012 his particular species would be no more but fortunately on the island of Espanola, another island in the Galapagos group, conservation efforts over the last number of years ridding the area of goats which were decimating the sometimes many hundreds of years old cactus plants, a staple diet of the tortoise, the numbers of the almost extinct giant tortoise have risen from just fifteen to over a thousand. There's more to this wonderful story
of survival here.
But there's still only the one Flying Tortoise...