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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Fracking under a National Park, UK: Ineos Shale to frack in North York Moors; Fracking Pads the size of football fields.



From The Sunday Times, 31 December 2017 (register or subscribe to read), Jonathan Leake

“We can’t frack in national parks but we can frack under them by drilling sideways from points around the edges,” said Tom Pickering, of Ineos Shale, which will make the planning applications.

“In 2018 we want to do a geological survey to build a 3D picture of the rock strata before drilling test wells".

' If gas is found, then, in each licence area of six miles by six miles, Ineos would build between 10 and 15 fracking pads and drill up to 10 wells from each pad'.


Fracking (shale gas), North York Moors National Park

"The NPA welcomes the Government’s intention to prohibit any surface development required for hydraulic fracturing within National Parks as this increases the protection afforded to these special areas (DECC Consultation 4 Nov 2015). However, the Regulations voted on today (16 December 2015) which allow fracking to occur below 1200m from drilling outside the boundary of a National Park undermine this intention and indeed the legislation protecting these areas, which do not stop at a certain depth below the surface. The Authority understands the Government’s wish to proceed with the shale gas industry as a transitional approach to help to move towards a lower carbon energy strategy whilst also demonstrating to the public that the country’s most sensitive environments would be protected from the risks associated with fracking. However, the fact that fracking itself will still be able to take place in the geology of the National Park means that public concerns surrounding potential groundwater contamination, seismic activity and faulting and the use of chemicals and release of naturally occurring radiative material do not appear to be addressed".

Update:

Ineos 'misled' public over fracking in Sherwood Forest, The Guardian, January 7






PF 2018, A Happy New Year! Šťastný Nový Rok! Gott Nytt År! Bonne Année! Καλή Χρονιά! Sydney has Celebrated!


PF 2018 (Pour féliciter 2018) - a Czech and Slovak greeting, St. Sylvester's Day...

and a Swedish tradition:

Ring, klocka ring!
Ring, klocka, ring i bistra nyårsnatten
mot rymdens norrskenssky och markens snö;
det gamla året lägger sig att dö...
Ring själaringning över land och vatten!

Ring in det nya och ring ut det gamla
i årets första, skälvande minut.
Ring lögnens makt från världens gränser ut,
och ring in sanningens till oss som famla...

Ring, klocka, ring... och seklets krankhet vike;
det dagas, släktet fram i styrka går!
Ring ut, ring ut de tusen krigens år,
ring in den tusenåra fredens rike!


From the original poem by Tennyson:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light :
The year is dying in the night ;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow ;
The year is going, let him go ;
Ring out the false, ring in the true...

Ring out old shapes of foul disease ;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold ;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

(from In Memoriam)


Krister Henriksson och Kattis Ahlström | Foto: Stina Stjernqvist/SVT:


"I år hälsar vi skådespelaren Krister Henriksson varmt välkommen att ringa in det nya året från Sollidenscenen".

– "Min ambition är att försöka läsa den i år på ett sätt så att alla förstår den, den är förhoppningsfull och i år kanske det behövs en sån dikt, så som världen ser ut, säger Krister Henriksson om dikten Nyårsklockan".


Sydney has just celebrated the New Year


Sydney Video, ABC TV

Ευτυχισμένο το νέο έτος για εσάς και την οικογένειά σας!



Talking of Plastic, Philip Strange; Dorset Coast; Marshwood Vale Magazine






Photo above, JP

Internet image (detail):


See also: 


"Fighting plastic pollution is one of the defining challenges of our times. In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tonnes of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced more than 320 million tons of plastic".















Saturday, 30 December 2017

Žantovský: Havel (Double CD), Václav Havel; Michael Žantovský; Biography; Audiobook


The biography:


"Václav Havel: iconoclast and philosopher king, an internationally successful playwright who became a political dissident and then, reluctantly, a president. His pivotal role in the Velvet Revolution and the modern Czech Republic makes him a key figure of the twentieth century. Michael Zantovsky was one of Havel's closest confidants. They lived through the revolution and during Havel's first presidency Zantovsky was his press secretary, speech writer and translator. Their friendship endured until Havel's death in 2011, making him a rare witness to this most extraordinary life".


MICHAEL ŽANTOVSKÝ ON HIS BOOK “HAVEL”, Radio Praha Interview

New York Times review: ‘Havel: A Life,’ by Michael Zantovsky

Guardian review

A double audiobook CD from Supraphon

Informace o albu (information about the album - try Google Translate)


"Zvuková verze biografie podrobně postihující nesmírně zajímavé osudy Václava Havla, velké osobnosti naší země, od jeho dětství až do smrti

Životopis velké postavy českých a světových dějin 20. století, Václava Havla, napsal Michael Žantovský, jeho přítel a spolupracovník z doby disentu i Havlova prezidentství. Knihu vydalo nakladatelství Argo.

Autor čerpal z vlastních zážitků a zkušeností, z literatury, rozhovorů, zápisků, Havlových projevů literárních, politických i filosofických. Využil při práci svých profesí klinického psychologa, překladatele, Havlova tiskového mluvčího a politického reprezentanta naší země (byl velvyslancem v USA, Izraeli a Velké Británii). V současné době je ředitelem Knihovny Václava Havla, instituce, jejímž cílem je shromažďovat, studovat a šířit dílo a odkaz tohoto velkého muže, dramatika, literáta, nevšedního myslitele a politika a připomínat současným generacím fascinující přínos jeho práce. Biografie byla napsána původně anglicky, přeložena již do desítky jazyků (do češtiny ji přeložil autor sám), vzbudila v literárním světě mimořádné nadšení. Podrobná a zasvěcená chronologie Havlova života a díla je psaná s objektivitou, kritickým nadhledem a zároveň s vřelým pochopením pro všechny životní peripetie sledované osobnosti".

From my own photo archive:


Michael Žantovský (right) - in my Prague office,
before the Velvet Revolution


President Havel (right)




Also of interest: Bohumil Hrabal.


Friday, 29 December 2017

Learn a new language; UK Preferences; Languages for the Future



Languages for the Future, British Council - The foreign languages the United Kingdom needs to become a truly global nation (download pdf report):

Ranking of Language

1 Spanish 2 Mandarin 3 French 4 Arabic 5 German 6 Italian 7 Dutch 8 Portuguese 9 Japanese 10 Russian

Learning new language popular resolution for 2018, says survey, Evening Express


Press Association Graphics


Can I speak your language? i Newspaper, 29 Dec 2017:

'One in five Britons intends to learn a new language as a 2018 new year’s resolution. A study by the British Council calls for a ‘‘bold new policy’’ to give foreign language lessons the same priority as maths and science in schools and warns that if we are to remain globally competitive post-Brexit, we need to address the UK’s languages deficit'.


Learning new language popular resolution for 2018, says survey, Belfast Telegraph


I think I'll brush up my Czech...





The Pomegranate, for Good Luck and Good Health





I bought a large pomegranate at the market, almost forgetting the Greek custom.






Wednesday, 27 December 2017

ROBERT MCCRUM BACK IN PRAGUE (Radio Praha)













ROBERT MCCRUM: BRINGING OUT HAVEL AND KUNDERA, Radio Praha

A radio programme: Robert McCrum speaking to David Vaughan.

Robert McCrum's own novel, first published 1984 (paperback 1985).



An extract:


Architecture: Ethiopia’s ancient churches; Photos



The architectural mastery of Ethiopia’s ancient churches, from Quartz, Africa


Related -  a reminder about my film.








Czeslaw Milosz and Timoshenko Aslanides: Extracts from Two Poetic Letters, or Appeals


Are you in harmony with your surroundings?

Do you feel really at home where you live?


Czeslaw Milosz:

From An Appeal

You, my friends, wherever you are,
Whether you are grieving just now, or full of joy,
To you I lift this cup of pungent wine
As they often do in the land of France.
From a landscape of cranes and canals,
Of tangled railway tracks and winter fog,
In the smoke of black tobacco, I make my way
Toward you and I ask you a question.
Tell me, for once at least laying
Caution aside, and fear and guarded speech,
Tell me, as you would in the middle of the night
When we face only night, the ticking of a watch,
The whistle of an express train, tell me
Whether you really think that this world
Is your home? That your internal planet
That revolves, red-hot, propelled by the current
Of your warm blood, is really in harmony
With what surrounds you?



Written in Brie-Comte-Robert, 1954; included in "From the Rising of the Sun", 1974.


Timoshenko Aslanides, a distinguished Australian poet, notes that his own poem "Letter (an appeal)" is an imitation of "An Appeal" by Czeslaw Milosz. This extract comes from the poem published in Aslanides' collection Australian alphabet, Butterfly Books, 1992:












An article: Czeslaw Milosz’s Battle for Truth, The New Yorker, May 29, 2017

An interview: Czeslaw Milosz, The Art of Poetry No. 70, Paris Review, Winter 1994

Australia's ongoing cultural cringe, Timoshenko Aslanides, Independent Australia, 19 June, 2016

Timoshenko Aslanides, website

Books available from the author







Tuesday, 26 December 2017

A Scandi-Brother? More on Sweden and the Nordics; DNA.



Distilled, Stockholm


Tjelvar's Ship-Grave, Gotland

When I lived and worked in Sweden (with regional duties that sometimes took me to Norway, Denmark and Finland), I would wonder why it was that I felt so much at home in Sweden and the Nordic Countries, with such a strong rapport with many of the people, their customs and ways of thinking.

Out of idle curiosity, I recently decided to do one of those popular mass-market DNA kit tests, to see if the results would bring any surprises.

The estimated British, Scottish and West European percentages came as no surprise, but I was fascinated to find out that my ethnicity percentage for Scandinavia scored a relatively high 27%.

I don't know how much faith one can put in these genetics kit results. They are not very precise. The West European area stretches from France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to Switzerland and the Czech Republic; the South European area includes Greece and Italy. There are also concerns about the security of genetic data, and the uses to which it can be put.

Here are some illustrations of my more recent links with Sweden; nothing at all to do with links from the distant past suggested by DNA results; and yet...perhaps there was a (socially- or biologically-determined?) predisposition to feeling a sense of sympathy and belonging? It's not that I fancy that I had some Viking (or Norman) ancestors. Perhaps we all had. My strongest modern links are with Greece, so there can be no direct correlation with DNA - although the Vikings did sail southwards to Greece, as the runic inscription on some standing stones confirm




Food for the Eagle
Gripsholm Runic Stone, Mariefred



British Museum Graphics




Midsummer, Gotland (JP)


Gotland

Scotland in Sweden:





Strandvägen, Stockholm, where I lived in Sweden.



Strindberg




Ingmar Bergman and Harriet Andersson, Fårö.
2018 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth (14 July, 1918)


Blockhusudden, Stockholm, The Glacial Erratic



Visby, Ruins in Gotland


Feeling happy and at home in Visby!
                                        
                                         A lecture at the Mediterranean Museum,
                                         Stockholm:





 "Nå står vi tre brødre sammen, og skal sådan stå"): 



"Fienden sitt våpen kastet,
opp visiret fór,
vi med undren mot ham hastet,
ti han var vår bror.
Drevne frem på stand av skammen,
gikk vi søderpå;
nå står vi tre brødre sammen,

"The booming market in DIY genetic tests has a darker side, raising concerns over data use"
 The Times, December 23, 2017









Stonehenge; Landscape of the Megaliths (Plinius)





Lucas de Heere, circa 1572 (Wikimedia Commons)


Sunday, 24 December 2017

On Sweden



Christina Patterson, ‘My other country, my mother country, my mother’s country’, Boundless

An excellent essay on being half-Swedish.

The Lost Songs of Anatolia



The Lost Songs of Anatolia

Thanks for the link to this film, Rory.

A New QC (Queen's Counsel).



Very proud that my son has been appointed QC (Queen's Counsel); looking forward to The Silk Ceremony in February.

42 Middle Templars appointed new Queen's Counsel in 2017-18 competition, The Honourable Society of The Middle Temple


2017 COMPETITION – ANNOUNCEMENT, The QC Appointments website

The appointments of new Queen's Counsel (also known as silk) made by Her Majesty The Queen on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, David Lidington MP, following consideration by the independent Queen's Counsel Selection Board.


Panel approach to competencies


Update, 3 January 2018, from The Royal Gazette


It doesn't seem many years since he was called to the Bar...








Saturday, 23 December 2017

VOA Issues in the News, 22 December 2017: Join David Rennie


Join David Rennie


Two Seasonal Images








North Korea, What Next? Experts Discuss (Radio)



The North Korea Deep Dive, BBC World Service Radio

"What next for North Korea? Kim Jong-un's nuclear ambitions and their global repercussions are explored in this special, extended edition of the programme.

After a year of repeated weapons testing by the secretive regime that’s sparked a war of words with the United States, Ruth Alexander brings together six expert witnesses to dive deep into the detail of what is one of the biggest geopolitical challenges of our time.

Their discussion examines North Korea’s weapons capability, the mind-set of its leader, the chance of war breaking out and the possibilities of finding a diplomatic solution".


Latest UN sanctions, BBC News

UN Security Council imposes new sanctions on N. Korea over latest missile test, Euronews

North Korea: New UN sanctions an act of war, BBC News

From Euronews








Friday, 22 December 2017

Fossil Fuels in Epirus and Zagori: Ορυκτά καύσιμα και πετρελαιάδες. Ή το δικό τους ή το δικό μας τέλος



From Professor Sarantis Dimitriadis, Professor of Geology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki:

Ορυκτά καύσιμα και πετρελαιάδες. Ή το δικό τους ή το δικό μας τέλος

"Με πρώτη αυτήν που επιχειρείται στην οικολογικά πιο πολύτιμη αλλά και πιο ευάλωτη σε περιβαλλοντικές καταστροφές περιοχή της χώρας μας: την Ήπειρο. Όπου και το πρώτο ένοχα αθόρυβο ξεκίνημα ενός πραγματικού περιβαλλοντικού εγκλήματος. Εν πλήρη αγνοία μάλιστα της τοπικής κοινωνίας για τα τεκταινόμενα -μέχρι πριν λίγες μέρες τουλάχιστον".