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To Do

by Nomad
Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 01:09:11 PM EST

What succeeds is not a bucket list.

Apparently a bucket list is a list of goals necessary to your life, to be achieved before you die (kick the bucket).

Intuitively that doesn't make me like the concept much - when a list is a prerequisite to map out highlights of one's life, then how much joy is in life in the meantime? Personally, I want to be able to look back now and feel complete. Of course I'm quite easy to please.

Nevertheless.

Read more... (8 comments, 399 words in story)

Nomad's Norway II (End)

by Nomad
Fri Nov 27th, 2009 at 08:02:07 AM EST

Part I

Day 11
Approaching Jotunheimen, snow-covered giants in the distance, via the Ottavale, tracing the road that skirts close to Reinheimen - another national park and hiking delight. The town of Lom lies at the crossroads of both areas, and visibly exploits that advantage. Sun emerges from the cloud cover, making it warm and summer. We pass the verdant valley leading to Spiterstulen, one of the gateway valleys worming into Jotunheimen. Find our campsite a few clicks down south and rest for the day. Begin to lose my sense of time.

Read more... (3 comments, 1983 words in story)

Nomad's Norway

by Nomad
Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 01:55:09 PM EST

From the journals

Day 1
00:28

Night scenes. In between Germany and Denmark, the ferry lifting anchor out of Puttgarden. My girlfriend dozing besides me, tucked on a row of uncomfortable seats. Air-conditioning and small children clamouring prevent any attempt to sleep. A knife that clatters to the ground, the smell of coffee drifting, the cafeteria closing down. A couple of seats behind me, loud conversation in a language that sounds Slavic. The ship rocks like a lullaby, and no one sleeps.

Read more... (10 comments, 2181 words in story)

Vuvuzela!

by Nomad
Sat Jun 20th, 2009 at 03:33:51 AM EST

A minor kerfuffle is beginning to grow in Europe now the Confederations Cup has kicked off in South Africa, as appetizer for next year's World Cup. Apparently, the enthusiastic use of South Africa's vuvuzela has been discovered by European football fans and players, and to much of their chagrin:

Football Feed Article | Football | guardian.co.uk

FIFA is to discuss the future of the vuvuzela, the noisy plastic trumpet blown at the Confederations Cup which has drawn complaints from European television stations. FIFA president Sepp Blatter told a media briefing he was aware of complaints the din of the instrument was drowning out the commentary of broadcasters and that they wanted it banned at this tournament and next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Click here for the sound of the Vuvuzela!



Promoted by Sassafras

Read more... (15 comments, 715 words in story)

Worm Poo

by Nomad
Mon Jun 15th, 2009 at 12:37:48 PM EST

Alas, another diary about poo.

But factually, it's about Lumbriculus variegatus. That is the name of a common water-abiding worm. The worm is also the central subject of Tim Hendrickx's PhD thesis which he defends tomorrow at the University of Wageningen.

Hendrickx investigated the problem of waste sludge - that is, the waste product that remains after human sewage has passed through sewage treatment: sludge. Highly concentrated in phosphate, sludge makes good fertilizer (when absent of heavy metals), and this use has been encouraged by the European Commission.

However, with more sludge produced than turned into fertilizer, disposing sludge on dumps or incinerating it is a costly and environmentally unfriendly affair. Who you gonna call? Lumbriculus variegatus!

Read more... (23 comments, 428 words in story)

Your favourite cartoon!

by Nomad
Sun Jun 14th, 2009 at 03:20:00 AM EST

The enthusiasm about cartoons yesterday deserves a bit of its own niche!

So: what is your favourite cartoon??

Speaking for myself, I grew up with a veritable wealth of cartoons - in the eighties, cartoons had already become big business. Even when I was eight, I found this annoying - there was too much to read, and too little time, and too much other fun to be had outside books! Probably the cartoons that drew me in most significantly, were from the hand of Belgium's Willy VanderSteen: the adventurous duo "Suske en Wiske" (in English known as "Spike and Suzy" and in French "Bob et Bobbette"):


Sunday morning cartoons - afew

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EU Elections - The Netherlands

by Nomad
Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:15:34 AM EST

 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 

AKA "The Goons are Marching In"

As was already projected in polls, the party of Geert Wilders (diary here) has most likely become the big winner of the European elections in the Netherlands yesterday. The official announcement of the results will wait until Sunday, however, the preliminary results below are from counted votes (not all of them). Characteristically recalcitrant to the European standard, the Dutch stick to the opinion that voting should be transparent and open. So there. Actually, there is not one word in the press that the Dutch are the only ones bringing their results out in the open.

Plotted as European groups in parliament, the results are projected as following:

Whereby the anti-European party of Wilders is represented as "Non-Inscrits" - a party operating outside a traditional parliamentary group.

Below the fold, a breakdown at the national level.

Read more... (28 comments, 807 words in story)

Less Doom from the Antarctic?

by Nomad
Mon May 25th, 2009 at 03:18:16 AM EST

An interesting article was published in Science last week, concerning the estimated melt from the Antarctic ice sheet, due to the effects of higher temperatures:

From the abstract:

Reassessment of the Potential Sea-Level Rise from a Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet -- Bamber et al. 324 (5929): 901 -- Science

Theory has suggested that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be inherently unstable. Recent observations lend weight to this hypothesis. We reassess the potential contribution to eustatic and regional sea level from a rapid collapse of the ice sheet and find that previous assessments have substantially overestimated its likely primary contribution. We obtain a value for the global, eustatic sea-level rise contribution of about 3.3 meters, with important regional variations.

Emphasis mine; the rest of the article is only available for people with a subscription. But the main point: the estimated 5 - 6 meters of catastrophic sea-level rise has become a little more nuanced.

promoted by whataboutbob

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Questioning the MEP Candidates

by Nomad
Thu May 14th, 2009 at 06:03:30 AM EST

 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 

There are plans in the works to interview at least a few of the MEP candidates for different national parties - and clearly we're not the only ones, as Frank's diary shows.

Below the fold, we're developing a set of questions as a template for anyone who's interested to send them to a MEP candidate of choice. The basic idea is that by establishing a set of identical questions, this will facilitate a comparison of the (perhaps different) priorities of the MEP candidates.

What questions would you like to pose to the Member of European Parliament candidates?

Read more... (8 comments, 362 words in story)

Amsterdam MeET-up - Final

by Nomad
Fri May 8th, 2009 at 05:47:52 AM EST

Tomorrow there will be an ET Meet in Amsterdam! Final details and my cell number (encoded) below the fold.

Read more... (16 comments, 361 words in story)

Amsterdam meET-up - May 9

by Nomad
Thu May 7th, 2009 at 01:38:03 PM EST

Next week, Saturday May 9, there will be a ET meet-up in Amsterdam!

A proposal for an evening meet below the fold.

Read more... (35 comments, 384 words in story)

Inside Geert Wilders

by Nomad
Thu May 7th, 2009 at 05:48:48 AM EST

 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 

Like Britain's BNP, Geert Wilders represents the xenophobic hard-right in the Netherlands. But unlike the BNP, Geert Wilders and his party, Party for Freedom, have already become a mainstream party in the Netherlands. Wilders' party is represented in the Dutch Parliament with nine seats - a disheartening surprise during the 2006 parliamentary elections. What's more, recent projections show that Wilders' party is the most favoured party in the Netherlands, with a projected 32 seats - what would make it the biggest party. And he's participating in the European Elections.

Coupled to a dearth of visibility from European politicians, partly by a lack of interest from Dutch media, next month's European elections could spell certain victory for Wilders' rabid anti-European party. Paradoxically, it is committed to the European Parliament with the ultimate aim to disband it - to press the self-destruct switch of democracy.


Read more... (23 comments, 1524 words in story)

Criminalisation of HIV patients

by Nomad
Thu Apr 30th, 2009 at 06:58:53 AM EST


Past weekend, I attended Africa Day, organised by the Evert Vermeer Stichting - which is an organisation affiliated to the Dutch Labour party. Prominent speakers were  the minister of Humanitarian Development, Bert Koenders (Labour), and Paul Rusesabagina, whose story during the Rwandan genocide was made into the movie "Hotel Rwanda".

There were plenty workshops and events to choose from, and as I felt no need to attend such workshops as "Who is Zuma?" I ended up on a subject I knew little about, but whose attendees were remarkably ardent against the subject: the creep of criminalisation of HIV patients. This is a recent development not just in Africa and Asia, but also, surprisingly, in Europe.

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Democracy in Puberty: SA Elections

by Nomad
Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 02:31:44 AM EST

This Wednesday, April 22, South Africa will have its fourth general elections since becoming a full democratic country in 1994. The outcome of the winner is practically ensured: with the eradication of apartheid only 15 years ago, the ANC party will remain, hands down, the biggest party. That doesn't sound exciting, but there's much afoot underneath the surface. This will be the most contested elections in South Africa's history - more and more parties are rattling at the gate and after the 15 years that the ANC has been in power, there is growing discontent within the nation. Therefore, a more interesting question for this election will probably be: how much credit will the ANC keep, and how will the rest be displayed in the opposition parties?


Read more... (9 comments, 2536 words in story)

Amsterdam Mini-ET

by Nomad
Wed Apr 8th, 2009 at 09:12:15 AM EST

There's interest to realise a mini-ET meet-up in Amsterdam in May.

Read more... (51 comments, 285 words in story)

A Nomad's Life (End)

by Nomad
Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 05:57:27 AM EST

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A Nomad's Life (9)

by Nomad
Thu Mar 12th, 2009 at 09:55:00 AM EST

Sarah
The Hague HS station, December, a Thursday evening. It's already dark, and I've arrived at the meeting point, cell-phone in hand. I don't need to wait long. From out of the passing crowd heading for the exit, Sarah emerges, carrying a sporty blue backpack and the enigmatic smile that I still remember from our relationship. We greet with punctuated kisses on the cheek, an act, so I suspect, entirely premeditated by Sarah to avoid a scene of first awkwardness between us. Nearly five years now. I have crossed the 30 mark, she is in her formative twenties - the age of the unassailable belief one can do anything, the age I was when we first met.

Read more... (10 comments, 3536 words in story)

A Nomad's Life (8)

by Nomad
Fri Mar 6th, 2009 at 08:07:16 AM EST

Sabine
Sabine settled onto Johannesburg like a butterfly, capricious and brief. Suddenly, she was there, an August Saturday. I had been out of town that week, supervising fieldwork, attending a conference. That evening, the coach had dropped me off in front of the fancy hotel where the international bigwigs were ensconced, stranding me in Sandton, the slick commercial centre in the northern part of Johannesburg. It was actually the first time I was consciously in Sandton; the place had never attracted me previously, and now I was there, sitting on my pack on the pavement and watching luxurious cars slide by one after the other, it still didn't. Short-sleeved, sweaty, unkempt, tanned (the traditional look of the geologist tramping out of the field), I was feeling happily out of this place dominated by ironed white shirts and Gucci sunglasses, all readying for cocktails, DJs, the dating game. It's a world I know, one I rapidly grow excessively weary of, while South Africa's up and coming thoroughly revel in it, have made it their end-all and be-all.

Another Nomad episode from Jozi - afew

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A Nomad's Life (7)

by Nomad
Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 01:55:19 PM EST

Cape Town with Dagmar & Leon - Part 2

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A Nomad's Life (6)

by Nomad
Fri Feb 13th, 2009 at 04:51:15 AM EST

The Car
The car-shop was tucked away behind a bigger building, one easily would've missed it in a hurry. I counted only ten cars on display, loitering in rows of 5 behind the white gate of iron bars. For most of this September afternoon I'd walked up and down Main Road, yet here, in this tiny shop, I had seen the one car with the best potential - and so I had come back, hoping my luck would be a bit better. Popping in and out of the numerous second-hand car shops that line the street for several kilometres, I'd been waved out of glass reception halls by blond,  cigarette smoking women after exposing my upper financial limit, I'd met the typical male sharks, too often greasy, overweight Afrikaners with tattoos spiralling around their arms, who run their sweaty, run-down shops with a certain disregard for customers. I'd walked out one shop in the company of an Iranian who had just tested the engine of a white BMW, in the presence of his entire family, wife, son, daughters. Out of hearing distance of the shop's owner, he professed to me that it had been pure junk on display. "I am a mechanic; I know how a healthy engine should sound like." Having two left hands, I wished I had a friend like that for my mission today.

Nomad in Jozi - a must-read - afew

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