sábado, abril 29, 2006

Jane Jacobs, Citizenship

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Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarI heard earlier in the week that Jane Jacobs had died; but today, sitting up on Signal Hill with three Tim's and a Weekend Globe, I read this little piece by Catherine Gildiner and suddenly found myself in tears.

Globe: My quiet moment with citizen Jane.

The operative phrase was, "... she never asked if I needed help."

Yes, I mourn Jane's passing - I read her book 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities'. I remember thinking that it was lucky for her she had time in her life for such a continuous struggle with mediocrity - I was envious, I was full of admiration. She entered my 'architectural canon' such as it is. The world suddenly seemed a lonlier place without her in it.

OK, I was crying for myself as well, a little self-pity at some recent reversals. Who doesn't wish that a passing stranger will simply 'see'?

Back in about 1984 sometime I was drinking a fair bit - those halcyon days before gout, when I thought I might just be allowed to become an alcoholic like my father. After work I used to go from one low-end Ottawa pub to another, buying a different paper as I bumbled from one to the next until I reached the point of not being able to even pretend to read, when I would patiently wait for a bus to take me home. If I had any loonies in my pocket, usually did, I would find places to hide them as I waited; window ledges, hydrant flanges.

Just-about-staggering along one afternoon I happened to see a young woman with her toddler crossing Bank Street. She had one arm full with two squashed bags of groceries and with the other she picked the lad up by his arm to get across quickly. I carried her groceries home for her, explaining about dislocated shoulders and what not. She thanked me. That was it.

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quarta-feira, abril 26, 2006


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Next, Back, Thread Ahead: Darfur ... , Thread Back: Charles Taylor.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Sides in northern Sudan:
Government: Omar Hassan al-Bashir, president / Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, vice president / Dr. Magzoub El Khalifa, spokesman / Jamal Ibrahim, foreign ministry spokesman / Amin Hassan Omar, spokesman
Janjaweed: government supported militias / aka Janjawid, Jinjaweed etc. / "armed men on horseback", "devils on horseback"
JEM - Justice and Equality Movement: Ahmed Tugod, chief negotiator / Ahmed Hussein / Khalil Ibrahim, a leader / linked to opposition Hassan al-Turabi
SLM - Sudanese Liberation Movement: aka SLA - Sudanese Liberation Army
SLM - Abdul Wahid faction: Abdel Wahed Mohammed al-Nur, leader / Ahmed Abdul Shafi, vice chairman
SLM - Minnah faction: Minni Arcua Minnawi, leader / Saifaldin Harun, spokesman
AU - African Union: peacekeeping troops / Denis Sassou Nguesso, chairman / Alpha Oumar Konare, commission head / Baba Gana Kingibe, mission head (?) / Maj Gen Collins Ihekire, Nigeria, force commander / Noureddine Mezni, Tunisia, spokesman
UN - United Nations: Jan Egeland, emergency relief coordinator

Issues: government imposition of Sharia law, arab/black rivalry (all are Muslim), squabbling over oil money, semi-autonomous status like southern Sudan, disarmament of pro-government Janjaweed militia, and integration of rebels into the Sudanese army

Sides in Chad:
Government: Idriss Déby (Idi), president / MPS - Patriotic Salvation Movement
FUC / FUCD / UFDC - United Front for Democratic Change: armed rebels, Mahamat Nour Abdelkerim, president, umbrella group, linked to Sudan
RDL - Rally for Democracy and Liberty:
SCUD - Platform for Change, Unity and Democracy: Yaya Dillo Djérou, coordinator
CNT: Hassan Salleh Al Gadam, president
FIDEL: Abdelwahit About, secretary general
FNTR: Babikir Ismail, representative
Group of 8 December: Abakar Tollimi, coordinator
CNR: Almado Awad Mardo, chargé of defense
FRRRT: Yaya Batit Ali Al-Mahmoudi, president

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarAnother mystical smile; this one in a photograph by Claire Soares of a woman selling soap in a market in N'Djamena, Chad.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClaire Soares is interesting - turns out to be a writer as well as a photographer. A piece in the Christian Science Monitor: Some hope Chad's vote will bring calm. Skeptics abound., and two more photographs of women worth looking at, one of an avocado seller, and one of a girl with a pan on her head (I can't quite see how it stays there).

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarIslamic fundamentalist Omar al-Bashir presides over this carnage as just about an absolute despot, has done so since a coup in 1989.

Sends his army to camp near Labado, a town of 20,000, which he burns to the ground using helicopter gunships firing incendiary shrapnel rockets. These photos by Brian Steidle - they are a bit large so they may take a minute to view - worth the look. More of his photographs at: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para Aumentar Some few people are returning to Lobado. Meanwhile, the UN might get around to sanctioning four others: Gaffar Mohamed El-Hassan, air force commander and arms dealer to Janjaweed militias; Sheikh Musa Hilal, Janjaweed leader; Adam Yacub Shant, SLA (Sudan Liberation Army) commander; and, Gabril Abdul Kareem Badri, one of the leaders of the National Movement for Reform and Development.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Three articles so far on the subject by Gwynne Dyer:
June 2004: State of war
June 2004: Sudan — peace in the south, war in the west
January 2005: Sudan deal, a Pandora’s box on borders

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarA little basic geography (naming the parts):
Sudan itself: Jamhuryat es Sudan, Sudan, Soudan, Súdan, Sudão, Sudán, Republiek Sudan, Republic of the Sudan, República do Sudão, República del Sudán, Republikken Sudan, Sudánská Demokratická Republika, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan

Divided into more-or-less autonomous North and South; 9 Regions or Provinces, 26 States or wilayat, and 133 (who knows how many) districts.

A nightmare of similar-but-not-quite-the-same names. I don't think there is another table like this anywhere, and even this is not quite 'on' - I know already that the Darfur capital 'Geneina' is often called 'Janaynah' and half a dozen other variants.

This is where Google Earth could really have done some service - and this is precisely the area where they completely miss the boat.

  Province / State  aka  Capital
  Ash Shamālīyah  Northern, Ash Shamaliyah, Ash Shamālī, Nord  Al Damar
    Ash Shamālīyah  Northern, Ash Shamālī, Nord  Dongula
    Nahr an Nīl  River Nile, An Nīl, Nil, Nile, Nile River, Nilen, Nilo  Al Damar
  Kassalā  Kassala, Ash Sharqī, Ash Sharqīyah, Eastern  Kassalā
    Al Bahr al Ahmar  Red Sea, Mar Rojo, Mar Rosso, Mar Vermelho, Mer Rouge, Röda Havet, Rødehavet, Rotes Meer  Port Sudan
    Kassalā  Kassala, Cassala, Kessala  Kassala
    Al Qadarif  Gedarif, Gadarif, Gedaref, Gederaf  Gedarif
  Dārfūr  Darfur, Darfour  El Fashir
    Shamāl Dārfūr  North Darfur, Dārfūr ash Shamālīyah, Darfur Septentrional  Al Fashir
    Gharb Dārfūr  West Darfur, Dārfūr al Gharbīyah  Geneina
    Janūb Dārfūr  South Darfur, Dārfūr al Janūbīyah, Darfur Méridional, Southern Darfur  Nyala
  Kurdufān  Kurdufan, Kordofan, Cordofão, Kordofam, Kòrdofan  El Obeid
    Shamāl Kurdufān  North Kordufan, Kordofan Septentrional, Kurdufān ash Shamālīyah, North Kordofan  Al Obeid
    Gharb Kurdufān  West Kordufan, Kurdufān al Gharbīyah, Gharb Kurdufun, Western Kordofan  Al Fula
    Janūb Kurdufān  South Kordufan, Kurdufān al Janūbīyah, Janub Kurdufun, Kordofan Méridional, South Kordofan  Kadugli
  Al Khurţūm  Khartoum, Al Khurtum, Cartum, Jartum, Khartum  Khartoum
    Al Khurţūm  Khartoum, Cartum, Jartum, Khartum  Khartoum
  An Nil al Azraq  Blue Nile, Al Wusţá, Al Awsat, Central  Wad Medani
    An Nīl al Abyad  White Nile, An Baḥr al Abyad, Nil Blanc, Nilo Branco  Rabak
    Sinnār  Sennar, Sinnar  Sinja
    Al Jazīrah  Gezira, El Gezira, Gezeira  Wad Medani
    An Nīl al Azraq  Blue Nile, Nil Bleu, Nilo Azul  Al-Damazin

  Bahr al Ghazal  Bahr al Gazal, Bahr el Ghazal  Wāw
    Gharb Bahr al Ghazāl  West Bahr al Ghazal, Bahr al Ghazāl al Gharbīyah, Bahr el Ghazal Occidental, Western Bahr el Ghazal  Wāw
    Shamāl Bahr al Ghazāl  North Bahr al Ghazal, North Bahr al Gazal, North Bahr el Ghazal  Awil
    Warab  Warap  Warab
    Al Buhayrāt  Lakes, Al Buhayrah, Al Buhairat, Buheirat, El Boheirat, El Buhayrat, El Buheyrah  Rumbek
  A`Ālī an Nīl  Upper Nile, A`Ali an Nil, Alto Nilo  Malakal
    Al Wahdah  Unity, Wahda  Bantio
    Junqalī  Jungoli, Jonglei, Jonglie, Jonqley, Junglei, Jongley  Bor
    A`Ālī an Nīl  Upper Nile, Nil Supérieur  Malakal
  Al Istiwā'īyah  Equatoria, Al Istiwaiyah, Al Istiwā'ī, Equatória  Juba
    Gharb al Istiwā'īyah  West Equatoria, Al Istiwā'īyah al Gharbīyah, Équatoria Occidental  Yambio
    Bahr al Jabal  Bahr el Gabel  Juba
    Sharq al Istiwā'īyah  East Equatoria, Al Istiwā'īyah ash Sharqīyah, Équatoria Oriental  Kapoita

'Sudan' itself derives from a word for black people; Bahr el Ghazal - river of the gazelles; Darfur - home of the Fur, tribal name; Gezira - the island, referring to the area between the White and Blue Nile; Khartoum - "the snout, from the shape of the land where the White and Blue Nile rivers meet.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarI wonder and wonder about it - Why is it happening? Why is it going on for so long? Why doesn't someone stop it? Can no one stop it? Trite bourgeois questions maybe, but you have to start where you are. In order to understand I must be able to imagine it somehow.

Nation against nation; faction militias against everyone; tribe against tribe; person against person. I came on some photographs (which I cannot now find) of violence at wells where farmers and herders compete for water. Then a paragraph in Tim Flannery's book, The Weather Makers caught me: "Pretend, for a moment, that you are a camel herder living in the Sudan. For all of your life you have known nothing but bad seasons, and in desperation you turned your herds into the lands of the farmers with whom you once intermarried and traded, where the livestock trample crops and sow discord." And yesterday I revisited Solzhenitsyn's thought that, "the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being."

Lake Chad has been dwindling towards the point of extinction for 40 years according to these NASA snapshots. I can imagine the kinds of pressures this puts on the people who live there - it must literally turn brother against brother. Lake Chad is not in Darfur of course, it is about 1,200 kilometres to the west, but some digging today shows me that there is huge competition for water in Darfur as well. I found some good maps at: UNOSAT - Satellite Imagery for All (there is a little joke here for people who know of Brasilian forro music), and: CDE - Centre for Development and Environment, one of which is a detailed map (it is a large pdf and takes a fewminutes to download for display) of Al Geneina at: Darfur - Al Geneina.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarFor now I am imagining global warming slowly drying the place out and creating violent anarchy; people aligning tribally and with jinjaweed warlords for some semblance of security and to struggle for diminishing resources; and a national and international matrix of power games on top of that.

I wonder what Gwynne Dyer thinks of Darfur? Stopping for now with this woman's beautiful smile, more later ...

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terça-feira, abril 25, 2006

Yad Vashem

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Next, Back, Thread Ahead: Muslim Persecution of Bahá'ís, Thread Back: Basque Peace - Alec Reid.

Click to Enlarge / Click para Aumentartoday, in something like an anniversary, we remember the Holocaust, Schoa (in German), Shoah, Ha Shoah - catastrophic upheaval.

in Israel drivers stop their cars and get out and stand.

'Whan that Aprille with his shoores soote ...'
'April is the cruellest month ...'

'If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary just to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?', Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

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segunda-feira, abril 24, 2006

Entrenched Mediocrity

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Next, Back, Thread Ahead: Sexual Suicide.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarI ordered her book, 'Break, Blow, Burn', and it has already arrived and I have begun to read it. She calls it 'close reading', and 'explication of text', and she calls her essays, 'concise commentaries'. If this is a bestseller as the cover claims then maybe there is hope for the American dream after all. Bright pink cover, hahaha. Born in '47, she is already ... 59, so she did her foundation work before the likes of Google - that means a lot of things, among them actually sitting in libraries. She sort of reminds me of Keith Ecclestone, a prof of mine in the 60's; thorough, armed with lots of facts, tho' something is not quite right, can't put my finger on it yet.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Just a phrase from Camille Paglia, "entrenched mediocrity". Bob says, "pettiness which plays so rough"; about the same thing.

Watching 'No Direction Home' last night, Billie Holiday is in there singing the first verse of Strange Fruit.

sábado, abril 22, 2006


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Strange Fruit, Abel Meeropol aka Lewis Allan, sung by sweet Lady Day, Billie Holiday, first and others later:

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarSouthern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Words, Neil Young

Someone and someone were down by the pond
Looking for something to plant in the lawn.
Out in the fields they were turning the soil
I'm sitting here hoping this water will boil
When I look through the windows and out on the road
They're bringing me presents and saying hello.

Singing words, words between the lines of age.
Words, words between the lines of H.
If I was a junkman selling you cars,
Washing your windows and shining your stars,
Thinking your mind was my own in a dream
What would you wonder and how would it seem?
Living in castles a bit at a time
The King started laughing and talking in rhyme.

Singing words, words between the lines of H.
Words, words between the lines of H.

I always thought it was 'between the lines of H.'; this being a druggy sort of song; the whole album for that matter. The website said 'between the lines of age.' I have used my remembering of it.

A few words that caught my attention today in the Globe:

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarBasiji: troops of children (says Paul William Roberts of the Globe) sent to clear mine-fields by walking into them. As usual with the Globe they keep this kind of thing under lock-and-key; here is an exerpt: "In an attempt to compensate, the Ayatollah decided to send Iranian children, some as young as 12, to the front lines. There they marched in formation toward the enemy, clearing a path through the intervening minefields with their bodies. Before every heroic mission, one of the Taiwanese keys was hung around each child's neck -- to open the gates of paradise for them."

Kamikaze: Associated with a historical notion of 'divine wind' according to book reviewer Robert Pape. I have given up on the Globe website and actually go out and buy hard-copy - and I cannot find a link to this review, sorry.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarNuclear energy in Brazil: This one not from the Globe; an article that I stumbled on yesterday which upset me: Seattle PI - Brazil quietly pursues own nuclear path. I was aware of the Brazilian nuclear thing, driving back and forth from Rio to Angra dos Reis you can hardly miss it. While I was there a controversy arose over completing the second plant and I thought it had been given up on since there was considerable protest at the time - but I guess not. This is where Lula's lack of education shows it's ugly head. He thought that the tsunami two years ago in Indonesia had something to do with environmental atrocities - maybe a Freudian analysis of this would turn up guilt or something, over the exploitation of the Amazon or the like, who knows, he's probably not that complicated.

Why should this upset me? Can't really say in a few words - I love the place is all.

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quarta-feira, abril 19, 2006

Rat's Ass / Denial / Great Divides

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Next, Back, Thread Ahead: Ontario Energy Minister Donna Cansfield, Thread Back: A River Runs Through It.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarI'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet. (Leonard Cohen)

Today we see Greenpeace going after the IAEA on Chernobyl. Their report includes opinions by some people who should know; and the official IAEA death toll of 56 (or 112 or 116 or whatever) is ludicrous; nonetheless Greenpeace is challenged as 'unscientific' and that is enough to discredit them. But so what? Is it any wonder? Greenpeace and the United nations stand on opposite shores of an ideological Great Divide. The result is a no-brainer - smoke and heat but no light.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarHere, read them for yourself:
Chernobyl’s Legacy by the UN Chernobyl Forum.
The Chernobyl Catastrophe by Greenpeace.

The UN report looks to me like diplomatic bafflegab; lay no blame, accentuate the positive, offend no one, deny what you cannot prove categorically. A-and everyone knows that Greenpeace are the same ilk as protested the Newfoundland seal 'hunt' last week - the likes of Paul McCartney's idiot mannequin wife. QED.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarNuclear energy? The dangers have been known from the outset. There has never been any even vaguely credible plan for what to do with the waste - which is incredibly poisonous and long-lived. The electricity generated is almost entirely squandered - witness the Earthlights picture elsewhere in this blog. QED.

Follow the money and you find big governments and big corporations - you have to be big to build these things. Why build them? To get rich. The rich are happier than the poor. Is there anyone who does not know this?

Take the only tree that's left and stuff it up the hole in your culture.
(Leonard Cohen)

Edvard Munch images from: WebMuseum, Paris.

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terça-feira, abril 18, 2006


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Next, Back, Thread Ahead: Organ 'Harvesting' in China, Thread Back: Sem Teto, Sem Terra, Inmigrantes Ilegales.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para Aumentar

Assassínio de João Canuto de Oliveira:

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para Aumentar
Em 18 de dezembro de 1985 no Río María del Sur, Pará, Brasil - com 18 tiros. Em 1990, matavam dois de seus filhos também.

The Corumbiara Massacre:

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarNa fazenda Santa Elina, Corumbiara, Rondônia, 9 August 1995

Rubens Fidelis Miranda (officer), Ronaldo de Souza (policeman), Vanessa dos Santos (aged 7), Nelci Ferreira, Odilson Feliciano, José Marcondes da Silva, Ercílio Oliveira de Campos, Enio Rocha Borges, Sérgio Rodrigues Gomes, Oliveira Inácio Dutra, Jesus Ribeiro de Souza.

The Massacre at Eldorado dos Carajás:

On April 17, 1996, at about 3:00 p.m., several buses arrived at the encampment of 1,500 rural laborers at the “S-curve at kilometre 97” between Eldorado dos Carajás and Marabá in Pará state. Brazil. They were blocking the PA-150 highway. About 200 soldiers under the command of Major José Pereira de Oliveira and Colonel Mário Colares Pantoja of the Military Police, killed twenty-one people and injured another sixty-nine.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para Aumentar

The dead were: Altamiro Ricardo da Silva, 'Tonico' Antônio Costa Dias, Raimundo Lopes Pereira, Leonardo Batista de Almeida, 'Badé' Graciano Olimpio De Souza, José Ribamar Alves De Souza, Oziel Alves Pereira, 'Leiteiro' Manoel Gomes De Souza, Lourival da Costa Santana, Antônio Alves da Cruz, Abílio Alves Rabelo, João Carneiro da Silva, 'Irmão' Antônio Iran do Nascimento, José Alves Da Silva, Robson Vitor Sobrinho, 'Surdo-mudo' Amâncio dos Santos Silva, 'Bem-Te-Ví' Valdemir Ferreira Da Silva, Joaquim Pereira Veras, João Rodrigues Araújo, Francisco Divino da Silva, and João Batista Penha.

More than 100 military police and 19 officers went on trial in June 2002. All were absolved with the exception of Colonel Mario Pantoja and Major José Maria Oliveira, who are free while they appeal.

Eldorado, Edgar Allan Poe

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old
This knight so bold
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be
This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied
"If you seek for Eldorado!"

alegremente vestido
cavaleiro audaz
no sol e na sombra
viajara longe
cantando cancão
procurando Eldorado

mas envelhecera
esse cavaleiro assim audaz
e para seu coração
caiu escuridão quando encontrou
nenhum pedaço de chão
que pareceu Eldorado.

e como sua força
então fracassava
encontrou fantasma de peregrino
"fantasma," disse
"a onde pode ser
essa terra de Eldorado?"

"ao outro lado das montanhas
de Lua
lá pelo vale da sombra
ande, ande corajosamente"
disse fantasma
"se você procura Eldorado!"
Reference: Amnesty International - Corumbiara and Eldorado de Carajás, Rural violence, police brutality and impunity

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quinta-feira, abril 13, 2006


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Domingo, Abril 16 / Sunday, April 16, 2006 - Páscoa / Easter

era uma vez ... aprendi um pouco da lingua Português, pareceu que o mundo foi diferente nessa lingua, olhos novos, terra nova, ainda acho só que deixei oportunidade qualquer jeito não sei como, tipo de fé não aguentei

Sábado, Abril 15 / Saturday, April 15, 2006

as virtudes virtues os pecados sins
a castidade, a coragem, o mérito chastity, courage, valour a luxúria lust, undesired love
a generosidade, a nobreza generosity, nobility a cobiça greed
a temperança, o sacrifício temperance, moderation, abstinence, self-control a gula gluttony
a prudência, a sabedoria diligence, knowledge, justice, truth, prudence a preguiça sloth
a paciência, o perdão patience, peace, forebearance, forgiveness, satisfaction a ira anger, wrath
a gentileza, a amizade, o amor kindness, compassion, friendship, love a inveja envy
a humildade, o respeito humility, modesty, respectfulness o orgulho pride

Quinta-fiera, Abril 13 / Thursday, April 13, 2006
Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para Aumentardia de nascimento de José Datrino, o Profeta Gentileza, 11 Abril, também festival de Songkran no Tailândia, e logo chega Páscoa

Click to Enlarge / Click para Aumentaro Deus cristão nos dá compaixão nos sofrimentos, mas parece não sabe como dar compaixão nas alegrias, tudo bom, digo 'esteja bem' para todos, agradecido

e pela Iémanja também

Baião Da Penha, Gilberto Gil
Demonstrando a minha fé
Vou subir a Penha a pé
Prá fazer minha oração
(Eu vou, eu vou)
Vou pedir á padroeira
Numa prece verdadeira
Que proteja o meu baião

Penha! Penha!
Eu vim aqui me ajoelhar
Venha, venha
Trazer paz para o meu lar

Nossa Senhora da Penha
Minha voz talvez não tenha
O poder de te exaltar
(Ai, ai, ai, ai)
Mais dê benção padroeira
Pressa gente brasileira
Que quer paz prá trabalhar

Penha! Penha!
Eu vim aqui me ajoelhar
Venha, venha
Trazer paz para o meu lar.
attesting to my faith
I will climb Penha on foot
to make my prayer
(I'm going, I'm going)
Im' going to ask the lady saint
in a true prayer
that she may protect my song(?)

Penha! Penha!
I came here to get down on my knees
may she come, may she come
to bring peace to my home

Our Lady of Penha
maybe my voice does not have
the power to exalt and excite you
(Ai, ai, ai, ai)
but give your saintly blessing
to this brasilian people
who want peace in order to work

Penha! Penha!
I came here to get down on my knees
may she come, may she come
to bring peace to my home

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quinta-feira, abril 06, 2006

A River Runs Through It

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Next, Back, Thread Ahead: Rat's Ass / Denial / Great Divides, Thread Back: Earthlights.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

This is the day that the Lord hath made - and I am speechless before it, thankfully Spiegel fills the gap:

Spiegel: Chernobyl Disaster, Accident or Catastrophe? (Archive), discussion.
Spiegel: Lessons Forgotten, Ukraine's Nuclear Future (Archive), discussion.
Spiegel: Chernobyl Remembered, "My Friends Were Dying under my Eyes" (Archive), discussion.
Spiegel: The World from Berlin, Lessons from the Memory of Chernobyl (Archive), discussion.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tomorrow, sometime very early in the morning, will be the 20th anniversary. These words from the man who carried the can ... my heart goes out to him. But the real anniversaries blur and smear out; over the 20 years before the catastrophe, all the personal, political and engineering decisions that led up to it; and throughout the years since, all the coverups and whitewashes, the twisted statistics, the ostrich mentality, the willingness to see and hear and understand - or not. The wake-up call came and we have not answered it.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarReuters: Chernobyl boss - "True cause of disaster was hidden". He says:
"Chernobyl has not taught anything to anyone."
"Official investigations into the cause of the disaster were a whitewash designed to exonerate the nuclear industry."

Chernobyl, Tchornobyl, Tchernobyl, Ĉernobil
Viktor Bryukhanov, Viktor Brioukhanov, Viktor Petrovitch Brioukhanov

Monday, April 17, 2006

Spiegel is re-printing a series of articles around this issue; I will post links to them here. It is not only the atoms that are 'murderous', it is also the politicians and bafflegab engineers. If James Lovelock is promoting this deadly shit as a quick-fix for global warming then he must be crazy at least, or worse. The solution is to take on each person living on this planet and get them to stop squandering. Laugh if you want but I cannot see any other way short of complete and absolute totalitarian control.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarSpiegel: Chernobyl May 5 1986 Reprint - Murderous Atoms (Archive), discussion.

Many (or most?) of these images were taken by Igor Kostin (Igor Fedorovitch Kostine). It looks to me like some of them were taken at considerable personal risk. He was born in Moldavia in 1936. After working as an engineer for ten years, he became a photographer for the Nowosti news agency. Kostin has been documenting the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster for 20 years. Others by Rüdiger Lubricht, Anatol Kliashchuk, Paul Fusco, Andreas Gefeller, Gerd Ludwig.

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Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarHere is the second of the Spiegel articles: Spiegel: Chernobyl - The Pompeii of the Nuclear Age (Archive), discussion and a good timeline (unfortunately done in Flashplayer so only available as long as Spiegel maintains it): Spiegel: Timeline.

Systematic suppressiion and distortion of information was extensively practiced by the UN as well as the then Russian government, and by subsequent Ukranian and Belarus governments. Denial, pure and simple, for shame and for greed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thanks to Martin for this link: Guardian: Beside the leaking tomb

So, there ARE meters that register in millisieverts ... I wonder where you get one?

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Chernobyl, Pripyat, April 26th, 1986, coming up on twenty years ago. I have not found any readily understandable reports of the current status of contamination in the area. I will continue looking. Everyone seems to have a reason for not speaking clearly about it. They speak in relative terms and bafflegab, somewhere there must be some hard numbers.

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OK, back to high-school physics:

Units of Radioactivity (from Wikipedia): The becquerel, symbol Bq, is the SI derived unit of radioactivity, defined as the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second. The older unit of radioactivity was the curie (Ci), defined as 3.7×10 10th becquerels or 37 GBq.

GBq: gigabecquerel, 10 9th (9 zeroes), or one Billion Bq.
PBq: petabecquerel, 10 15th (15 zeroes), or one thousand Trillion Bq.
SI: The International System of Units, abbreviated SI from the French language name Système International d'Unités.

"The worldwide average background dose for a human being is about 2.4 mSv per year." - UN; "The natural background effective dose rate varies considerably from place to place, but typically is around 3.5 mSv/year." - Wikipedia. Some divergence, let's call it 3 mSv per year.

mSv: millisievert, 1 Sv = 1 Joule/kilogram, so a milliseivert is 1 Joule per gram no, it is 1 Joule per megagram (or 1,000 kilograms, or metric ton, ton, tonne).

Joule: the work done or energy required, to exert a force of one newton for a distance of one metre. I am not sure what this means? "exerting a force for a metre"? Here's a few simpler terms: 1 joule is the absolute minimum amount of energy required to lift a one kilogram object up by a height of 10 centimetres; the work done to produce power of one watt continuously for one second.

Gets complicated because bequerels measure the amount of ambient radiation, and grays and sieverts measure the dose and biological impact of radiation received.

OK, here we go; a chest x-ray is about 0.1 mSv, so normal background radiation is about equivalent to 30 chest x-rays a year.

All I can see from the UN reports is that there continues to be about 1 mSv per year additional radiation effect within the 30 kilometre exclusion zone. An additional 1/3? This does not seem like much ... more later.

REAC: Radiation Measurement
Radiation Risk
External Radiation Dose Calculator
The United Nations and Chernobyl
UNSCEAR: Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation
IAEA: Chernobyl Forum

I found some reports:
1. Report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation to the General Assembly (undated)
2. Radiological Conditions in the Dnieper River Basin, 2006 from work done in 2003-4
3. Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident and Special Health Care Programmes, 2005

None of them was forthcoming with any general statements about continuing risk within the so called 'exclusion zone' - which is hardly an exclusion zone since there appears to be numbers of people living there.

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