Tuesday, June 07, 2011

From Cuba to Cylons

Thursday June 2nd

There was more about Cuba on the news today. Sugar production was at its lowest ever last year whilst world sugar prices were at their highest, so the Cuban communist party is trying the weird and unusual technique of paying people for what they produce, privatizing the worst government run farms, and dropping the idea of paying everyone the same. Now where have I come across this idea before? Oh yeah, it’s called capitalism.

Beautiful weather yesterday so we went down to Makrigialos in the afternoon for a swim. However, just like last year the temperature was lower down there than up here. Talking in broken Greek to a garage owner, where I bought €1.78 per litre petrol, I learnt that with a South wind the temperature is higher up in Papagianades than in Makrigialos, whilst a North wind does the opposite, though I may have misunderstood some of what he was saying. We tried a swim, but gave up fairly rapidly.

I have to wonder what is going to happen here in Greece what with it being a certainty that the IMF loan to the country will never be paid off. Some speculate on, in extreme circumstances, a return to the Drachma, and extreme circumstances are what we now have. If that does happen I wonder how the hell it will work? Will the money I have in a bank here be converted to Drachmas then rapidly devalue against the Pound? I also have to wonder what else is on the cards. Will supermarkets empty, petrol stations run dry, all sorts of services close down? Will people riot even more? Will the army step in? And of course there’s the fact that in 2012 Crete has a vote on whether it will remain part of Greece, and I’ve yet to hear a single Cretan think that’s a good idea. Will Greece allow Crete, which is a net profit to the Greek economy, to separate?

Friday June 3rd
We’ve watched the first and second seasons of 24 many times, really enjoyed them, and now want the version that cuts out the Kim Bauer story thread, so recently we started on season three again. I have to say I’d forgotten quite a lot of it and it was all as enjoyable as ever. Moreover, I have to wonder how many Americans actually watched 24. Here we have a black president whose name is Palmer, which when heard through the filter of an American accent can sometimes sound like Obama, he is trying to introduce national healthcare, and this being Hollywood land and Palmer being a good guy means he must be a Democrat. Now, under this president, terrorist activity has ramped up so that we have nuclear weapons detonated on American soil, bio-weapons released, high-level assassinations, gun battles, torture the country taken to the brink of Armageddon. So please tell me why, with this fictional warning in place ten years beforehand, the Americans voted Obama into office?

I had a perfect day yesterday: I sat and wrote my 2,000 words, did a little bit of gardening, then we headed off down to the beach where I gritted my teeth and swam from Revans bar over to the harbour mouth and back again. Whilst doing that I had one or two spooky moments what with the black weed on the bottom and memories of a conversation about great white sharks (apparently they’re reappearing the Med what with tuna stocks growing). It’s very silly, but my swims are occasionally terminated to the sound of Jaws music playing in my head, especially if I have a view down in the distance into deeper water out of which I can easily imagine a shark rising. Sometimes too much imagination is not a good thing, but at least I know there are no glisters, homicidal whelks, or oceanic leeches down there ... are there?

With the sunshine increasing all the flowers are really coming out now. Here’s the broom in the mountains. It’s Spanish broom with a Greek name connected to rope, which I get since I’ve used the stuff to repair a bamboo chair and as ties in the garden.

Sunday June 5th
With Caroline having a cough she can’t shake we decided to go onto the electro-fags until at least 10.00 in the morning. I lasted until 8.50 thanks to some debate on BBC World about countries dumping nuclear power and replacing it with ‘renewables’. Some dickhead Scottish MP was going on about how easy it would be because it’s been done in wonderful Scotland with all its hydro-electric, wind and tidal power. What a complete and utter wanker. Might that have something to do with Scotland having a lot of mountains, rivers, coastline and not many people, and massive funding taken straight out of the pockets of those in the South?

Next we had some Liberal Democrat MP telling us that we must solve global warming or we’re just going to get hotter and hotter and end up like the planet Venus. I was hoping to hear the last of that one along with crap like the so-called consensus, the ‘10s of thousands of climate scientists agree’, the Polar bears are dying and Gore’s ‘correlation’. Could the heat on Venus have something to do with it being another planet – without a biosphere – lying 20 million miles closer to the sun than Earth?

Thankfully the interviewer picked up on German MPs bullshit with some comments about the coal-fired power stations there, but by then I was rolling a cigarette. I’ve come to the conclusion that I know the answer to the Fermi Paradox now: civilizations become the victims of mass stupidity and implode. This factor also needs to be included in the Drake Equation...

A volcano has just gone up in Southern Chile. This comes on top of the Japanese tsunami and numerous earthquakes all across the world. This morning some German Greeks turned up to try and sell us some God, brokenly mentioning the ‘devastation’ and perhaps getting ready for some bollocks about the power of prayer before we said goodbye. Personally I look forward to the stuff from the green religion giving us the ‘scientific reasons’ for why the earthquakes have all been caused by the evils of capitalism.

Tuesday June 7th
So first it was the Spanish cucumbers that caused the e-coli outbreak and now it’s organic bean sprouts grown in Germany, but in reality there’s been no proof of either. Twenty two people have died and thousands have been infected. Again, whenever I see some story like this my reaction is NOT one of, ‘Oh my God what’s happening!’ but one of, ‘Oh yeah, exactly the kind of thing that’s always happened in the past only now magnified by 24-hour news and a world population of over 6 billion.

It’s fast approaching the time now when I need to stop work on Jupiter War and start working through Zero Point again. Enough time has passed for me to have distanced myself from it a bit and to be able to pick up on more mistakes.

Now, enough of all that – I’ll now play catch-up on some photos. The first two here are the tiling of the spare room:

This next picture is especially for Martin in Agia Triada. I’m not sure if he looks at this blog, but he often growls when he sees how fast I grow stuff so I’ve put this here for future reference:

Here’s a flower coming up in the little garden in Revans Bar. Yorgos gave me a load of these last year and they’re coming up now so we should have a good display:

Now can anyone tell me why I look at one of our mosquito plug-ins and immediately think ‘Battlestar Galactica’?

Have a good day!


Jan Harald said...

Ooooh!! Cylon bugzapper!! Cool!! (Well, problably doesn't zap them).

Good to hear that you're finally getting some of the good weather down there too... Won't be long now, before it's back to normal... Piss-rain up here, and warm and sunny down there... Somewhat envious... ;)

Have a great and productive summer! Really looking forward to august/september... :-D

Jan Harald

Xanares said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Xanares said...

I've dived 70-odd times and snorkeled/swum in the Med around Malta numerous times and I still get those Great-White thoughts too Neal, so no worries!

There being more tuna should logically result in the sharks staying out at 10-20+ km, unless we count in the tuna-farms which are a lot closer to land. It's basically a shark-fridge with 150 well-grown tuna each hehe.

I'm going back down there in a month, so looking forward to that.

Jebel Krong said...

i believe you're right about the fermi paradox, it certainly explains a lot of what's going on in supposed "developed" nations now...

nice plug-in!

robann said...

A quick Google seems to suggest that a referendum on Crete leaving Greece is actually a widely believed but inaccurate urban legend:


"Will the money I have in a bank here be converted to Drachmas then rapidly devalue against the Pound?"

That is a possibility - although it would be more accurate to state that it would devalue/revalue against the Euro. Many wealthy people in Greece seem to believe this could happen and the economic measures of money supply (M1-M3 vs M0) seem to indicate "deposit flight" i.e. savings accounts are being emptied across Greece. Much of this is simply being transferred to other Euro-denominated bank accounts in other Euro countries (Germany) but some is also being transferred to Sterling and Swiss Francs. The main buyers of luxury property in central London in the last few months are supposed to be wealthy southern Europeans...

If you are concerned by this you could, as a UK citizen, simply open a Euro-denominated bank account with a major UK bank e.g. HSBC and hold most of your Euros there. Not that I'm giving financial advice, just discussing possibilities (disclaimer etc etc).

It's a complete mess and shows the problems with a shared currency and interest rates across areas that are economically very different - and you can apply the same argument for Southern England, Northern England, Wales and Scotland.

Back to the Sci-Fi. Does this prove that you CAN'T have very wide economic governance areas and therefore no interplanetary government?

Anonymous said...

Actually, the end-game is already in sight for the Euro. The key to things here is Germany, not Greece, and the most telling harbinger of the end is Angela Merkel announcing that Germany will phase out its nuclear power stations.

If you combine this with the assorted statements on global warming and CO2 emissions, plus Germany's status as a major energy user and CO2 producer, you can clearly see that the renunciation of nuclear power does not fit with the rest of the picture. Then there is the fact that people generally only support "green" policies where these do not impact on their own lives to any extent, and get most upset at blatant greenwash and so on (as with the phasing out of standard incandescent lamps, and the forcing of CFLs onto people).

No, what is going on here is bog-standard murky old politics. Germany has a proportional representation based political system, and if the current regime gets unpopular, then support tends to ebb away from it. Over a certain point, the current regime simply loses power and another takes over. Bailing out Greece was hugely unpopular with the mainly hard-working German electors, and the prospect of repeatedly bailing out what are seen there as good-for-nothing freeloading bums is political poison. Supporting the Euro was losing the Merkel government votes, and power.

To regain votes, they did a deal with the Greens. The price of the deal was phasing out nuclear power. When this bunch finally get the boot, nukes will be back in again.

Unknown said...

I agree with most of what Dr Holdsworth point said, but I don't think that the Germany's stupid energy move and their support of southern economies (Greece, Portugal and, eventually, Spain) will lead to the end of the Euro. Germany is still in the Euro because, despite all the money they've been injecting in southern countries, they benefit tremendously from it. If one's hand is gangrenous, the solution is not a beheading...

Neil said...

Germany will stay in the Euro, because the goverment believes in a federal state. Greeces loans will be restructured with everyone taking a bit of pain.

Wave power has potential, but it all comes down to costs, coasts and waves.

Thud said...

Like the rest of us a good bout of sustained sun and a bottle or two will set you at rights with the world...I do hope so.

Dr. Dume said...

The only reason wind power works in Scotland is the amount of hot air our politicians expel, the tax on real energy sources to pay for the garden ornaments and beans. Lots of beans.

As for whelks, they are evil and should be avoided. If they can't drag you under they'll undo the string holding up your trunks.