November 8th, 2007

The storm (2)

It’s spring-tide, meaning the moon is closest to the earth, so the tides are most violent. And there is a North-Western storm howling. Not a very powerful storm, about Bf9, but from the North-Western direction (full frontal on the coastline, and pushing up against the United Kingdom). And it will last for almost a full day. For the first time in 30 years, tonight full dike watch will be on throughout the entire coastal line. And the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier will be closed, and probably the Maesland barrier too, the two open dams.

These thingies are MASSIVE. Unless nature will seriously roar its head of course, but that will not happen tonight.

Added: All A-OK.

October 8th, 2007

The beauty of language (and women)

We use the word “Photoshop” virtually unchanged in our language, as in “whoa, they photoshopped her for sure”. The word “photo” is spelled as “foto” though, but the pronounciation is virtually the same as in English. Now, “to fib” here is worded as “jokken” (pronounce as “yock’n”). You got it, a new word is emerging here, “fotojokken” (to photo-fib). It has a tight fit/rhyme with “photoshoppen” (the Dutchyfied verb form of “to photoshop”) and my God does EVERYBODY knows what it means inuitively.

A movement is urging especially women’s magazines to either declare themselves “un-photoshopped” or state which pictures are “shopped”. Among quite a few local magazines,  including Opzij, a feminist magazine, even Playboy promised they would put a logo “Photoshop-free” or “Photoshopped” on the cover of their September issue. I surely hope this will stick a bit.

I love what Dove’s doing through the dove self-esteem fund too. Previously with the well know clip going from photosession to billboard, this campaign’s slogan is: “Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does“.

October 5th, 2007

The horses

Truly amazing.

September 29th, 2007

The choice for a donor organ revisited

 From NewScientist: UK considers organ donation by default.

Should doctors assume that people are happy to donate their organs unless they make the effort to opt out? That’s the scenario being considered in the UK, as a means of reducing the widening gap between supply and demand for donated organs.

(…) Last year, a study of 22 countries found that donation rates were 25 to 30 per cent higher in countries with presumed consent, such as Spain, Austria and Belgium.

That makes more sense to me than our crappy system. Earlier on the nest: link link

July 28th, 2007

The untamed world

Absolutely stunning. I want the book.


July 26th, 2007

The oil on the ice

Told you about miro the other day. In one of my channels, called TERRA: The nature of our world, it started download the struggle between oil and nature in Alaska. You can play part 1 it here directly from their website but I recommend using miro and use this channel (shortcut: hit Ctrl-N and paste this string: )

Terra 333

July 16th, 2007

The donor show revisited

Well I think we can put the tab on this. It seems that about 7.300 new “yes” forms came in. End of discussion.

June 19th, 2007

The demise of human influence

English Russia


From “English Russia“:

This was once a Southernmost part of Russia, close to Turkey and Iran lying on the shores of the Black Sea. Very popular Soviet resorts situated there. Now it’s a part of Georgia, though they consider themselves to be an independent part of Georgia. But the most important fact the Soviet structures that were left there 20 years ago after USSR started to collapse stay there untouched and unmaintained because budgets of these small countries sometimes are not enough even to supply electricity and heat to its citizen. There were many periods of time when people of these places lived without any centralized electricity for months, almost every apartment had to be equipped with independent diesel generator of electricity, and that task was not easy when there are no jobs and the average salary is ten dollars per month.

It reminds me of a kinda saddening seven-piece wall-poster set I had as a kid. It depicted a beautiful German rural scene, with seven year intervals. The first one was very, a small house, a beautiful apple tree, and went through urbanization, to finally a freeway cutting the landscape, flanked by neon on office buildings (yes a tad cheap, I know). A then well known politician wrote an accompanying letter, basically saying we should be careful with rural development. But I distinctly remember the last sentence of that letter: “My kids don’t see it as saddening at all, they look at them in the reverse order”. Isn’t it interesting how, in only 20 years, serious infrastructure can be overtaken by nature? Give it 80 more and you won’t see a thing anymore I bet.

June 4th, 2007

The choice for a donor organ

There is a HUGE international controversy growing around a TV show here. First a backgrounder. As in the entire world, we are facing a shortage of organ donors. To counter that, the administration issued a law a few years ago where every citizen turning 18 is asked to state his or her preference in writing. The preference can be:

  1. Yes, I want to be a donor;
  2. No, I do not want to be a donor;
  3. I leave it up to my family to decide when I’m a goner;
  4. I leave it up to a specifically named person.

Not turning in the form automatically means option 3 of course. The answers are kept in a registry doctors can query should the occasion arise. The idea of the legislation was to make people THINK about it and to avoid putting this huge decision on family members in time of distress, often leading to a NO.

The rapid individualization and xenophobic fear, mixed with this confrontation with ones mortality has actually led to the numbers of donors going down, if I remember correctly, about 20% of the population is an active donor. A proposal to make the non-deciders a donor by default was fought down by the largest Christian oriented party (how pro life). Some people suggest only donors should be receivers, or only people who don’t drink or smoke themselves to death should be allowed to receive.

Now here is the story. Coming Friday, one of the more controversial networks her (BNN) will air a show where a terminally ill 37 year old woman will decide who will get her kidneys when she dies one of her kidneys shortly before she dies. The three candidates have to “sell themselves” to her, and of course she will be advised by the public through SMS voting. Hey, somebody needs to pay the bill. The network, under huge pressure, has refused to knee-jerk. One of the arguments they use is: “hey, these 3 receivers now have a 33% chance to get a kidney. In the current system it is a magnitude lower”. We are talking about approximately 1000 people waiting an average of 4 years. They also state that one goal, putting the issue on the map, has more than succeeded already, everybody is talking about it. Legally it is all sound, as we’re talking about a living person giving away her own kidney. One must assume, if only for arguments sake, that all 3 receivers are equally compatible. Almost all comments are negative, leaning on ethical and moral arguments. One Christian member of parliament even called upun the administration to forbid the show. Mind you, that would be a breach of our constitution! Still, one COULD say “it’s my kidney, I decide who gets it”. I do have an opinion about this but I would love to hear from you! Comments please!

p.s.: Add this to the prejudice list about my country, haha.

Disclaimer: I am a donor. I have carried a codicil since I was, oh, maybe 12 years old, way way before mentioned law. A family friend who b.t.w. is still alive now more than 30 years later, is a kidney patient and she had to go through the dialysis routine every 3 days.

Added: a few clarifications about what we’re factually talking about.

Added: things are heating up. Present will be CNN, Al-Jazeera, Reuters, Associated Press, ZDF and Nippon TV.

Added: Show just ended. It was a hoax. Man, a few early critics, including our PM, will be pissed. I am having a good laugh!

Added/Update: Friday evening, the registry logged 18.000 30.000 form downloads. By now, the registry has logged 50.000 more form downloads than usual. Which is no indication of course; we should wait to know how many are REALLY turned in and with what result. Not too bad though. The last 7 days has seen more talk about this subject than the7 years before. Administration is still studying. Let’s close this for now, cause if we have to wait for any action from that end…….

May 7th, 2007

The world record

American photographer Spencer Tunick broke his own world record yesterday photographing 18.000 naked people in Mexico City. Oh well.