Wednesday, June 01, 2011

May into June

Thursday 26th May

I see that Switzerland, just like Germany, noted for its earthquakes and tsunamis, is going to phase out nuclear power replacing it with renewables. It’ll be interesting to see how they are going to replace 40% of their power supply with windmills etc, meanwhile despairing of the depth of human stupidity in this world. I also note that some penguin species are ‘in danger’, and that to save them we need to reduce our fishing and, apparently, our carbon dioxide. I wonder if they are as in danger from CO2 as the polar bears (whose population has more than doubled in the last fifty years), and I wonder how Germany’s phasing out of nuclear power stations, whilst they are building more coal-fired stations on the quiet, works in that respect.

Saturday 28th May
I had to chuckle at the news today. Cuba, that beacon of hope for lefty plonkers around the world, is trying something to rejuvenate its moribund Soviet-style economy. The government is cutting the red tape and regulation on small businesses, for example, restaurants will now be allowed to seat as many as fifty people rather than the previous twenty. It is also waiving taxes for one year to allow such businesses to get a foothold; get established. Well well, so that would be the hated capitalism then? Funny how countries that have sat under the boot heel of communist dictatorship are discovering that, surprise surprise, if you give entrepreneurs their head they make stuff, grow stuff, generate wealth and improve the lot of every citizen.

Of course, this is whilst our ‘western’ societies are heading the other direction by killing businesses, and that old much-abused concept called ‘freedom’, with increasing red tape, the expansion of state bureaucracy by putting more and more people on the government payroll, and by increasing the client state. Reading the Athens News I’ve come to the conclusion that Greece is Britain under New Labour but with a larger serving of corruption and nepotism, the EU is much the same whilst Britain is now New Labour light. Odd, isn’t it, how the countries on the rise across the world are those that were starved of the opportunities capitalism and freedom provide, and are now grasping them enthusiastically, whilst those going down the toilet are those where the state is becoming increasingly dictatorial. Maybe this is something to do with the direction of change rather than the quantity of it (in Cuba four out of five are still state employees). Maybe you can feel more optimistic about the future when your freedom to act is on the increase rather than the opposite.

Today started of grey and rainy so I whipped myself to this computer, started with the ranty waffling above then moved on to Jupiter War. Now at 5.00PM I feel great because I’ve cleared 3,000 words. I can only say that it was a good thing that I did not find success straight away and that I had to work in numerous real jobs over about 25 years beforehand. Often in here I’ve commented on how one of the things impelling me to write is knowledge of the alternatives. That’s true as far as it goes, but also there’s that instilled work ethic, that niggling conscience that makes me feel like crap, like a lazy sod at the end of the day if I haven’t written something. I can stave it off by labouring on this house, or in the garden and sometimes with lengthy blog posts, but in the end none of them pay the bills and are the low alcohol decaffeinated version. Accept no substitutes...

Wednesday June 1st
Dusty and messy in the house yesterday since we decided to have new tiles laid over the crap tiles in the spare room. The original tiles are a creamy colour with a rough stone effect surface that means they are a bugger to clean. Shiny tiles are the answer here where ‘skoni’, or dust, is a perpetual fact of life. Even when it rains you can’t get away from the stuff since the rain often dumps a load off of the Sahara. Often I go out to my car, which was dark blue the evening before, and find it transformed to and orangy muddy brown.

Some lazy irresponsible Greek has dumped a dog at the top of our village and it has taken up residence around an empty house above us. Being soppy English this worries us, but what to do? The single overstretched animal charity here is impossible to get hold of, we have no intention of taking it in since we aren’t here all year and certainly don’t want to end up like a lot of English here fostering and looking after the waifs and strays. If we feed it then it will hang around, and if it hangs around one of the locals will eventually get round to lobbing rocks at it until it runs, or dies, poisoning it, hanging it from a tree or setting it on fire. This is one of the hard realities of this Mediterranean paradise, and I also have to wonder if the kind of lazy irresponsibility that put the dog there in the first place is the reason this country is financially fucked.

Sorry, no pictgures today – forgot to download.


Chrish said...

Found this on last week:

This week, the Minister Milena Apostolaki of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food presents an updated law concerning house pets, which includes all the aspects of pet caring and identity, travel, abuse as well as the problem of stray and circus animals and new regulations concerning shows. A short overview:
1. Abuse: Pet abuse or torture will be punished with a fine from 5.000 to 30.000 € for each animal. This includes having the dog attached to a chain. The unlicensed use of an animal in circus or theater: 20.000 € / animal. Boats with no appropriate kennels: 5.000 €. Organisation of shows without license: 5.000 €. Breeding and selling without license: 3.000 €. Licensed breeders are forbidden to sell pets under the age of 8 weeks. At last! Fine: 1.000 €. Abandoning a pet: 300 €.
2. Protection: Animals under 10 kg are allowed in public transports in an adapted cage. Fine: 300 € if not in a suitable cage. Social dogs (for blind people, etc.) are allowed inside. On public roads: obligation to collect the excrements. Fine: 100 €
Docked dogs and dogs with cut ears are not allowed to participate to shows.
3. Identification: Dogs and cats have to be microchipped (300 € / animal if not). A fine of 300 € is due if entering Greece with a pet which is not microchipped and the owners have the obligation to let it done.

And the comments:

What department is going to police this ?
Possibly the same people who are enforcing the smoking ban in cafés and restaurants.
I have a partial answer to some of the questions.
1. Stray dogs and cats are the responsibility of the local authorities. They will have to take care of them, particularly they will have to chase them from or take them away from the neighborhood of hospitals, schools, sport centers, highways, ports and airports. There are about 300.000 stray dogs in Greece. Some are adopted, some are taken into a shelter for a while, the rest will stay on the streets and in the nature. In the years to come, their number should diminish drastically, thanks to the new measures, amongst which the obligation to microchip each dog, which becomes traceable and under the entire responsibility of its owner.
2. Stray dogs and cats, if not adopted, are not under the responsibility of a casual caring person. There is a campaign going on for months, allowing people to bring an adopted stray animal to a municipal vet or to the local Direction of Agricultural Development (Διεύθυνση Αγροτικής Ανάπτυξης) to let it microchipped and/or neutered. One pays only the cost of the microchip, nothing else.

Neil said...

I am confused by the Germans nuclear policy. I'm all for green energy, but it has to be part of a power balanced portofolio. Of course that would require the green parties to actually think longer term, than the end of their nose.

I wonder how long they will be envogue, once the costs of having to rollout a vast renewable project to cover 40% of their grid, plus the additional power solutions to cover when it's not renewing at their time.

I can see nuclear back on the table very soon in Germany once the real numbers are crunched out.

Jesus 40%, that's massive. Maybe they will run a DC or is it AC power line into the north saharan desert (Can't remember which one is best for carrying power with minimal loss).

Jebel Krong said...

yeah good luck replacing 40% of your energy needs on immature renewables on short notice... seriously all this will do is make the germans even more reliant on russian gas for the next 20-odd years. talk about energy insecurity!

Huan said...

Too much navel gazing going on in Deutschland at present, They must be planning on massively expanding the Lignite mining industry in Aachen and Swabia to compensate.

Nuno said...

Yep, AC, Neal.

Politicians acting irrationally -- does the opposite ever happen?. 40% is simply ridiculous, look what is happening in Denmark.

Jebel, that is correct, but even Nordstream won't be able to cope with Germany's gas demand. That's why Poland is moving fast on its plans for building its first nuclear reactor, even after Germany's attempted meddling in Polish affairs.

They'll be very embarrassed when the insanity surge eventually vanishes.

Nuno said...

Sorry, can't seem to get the last link to work properly. Here it is:

Neal Asher said...

Chrish, I read that with a rather cynical eye. Enforced chipping and various fines is just going to result in a mass of dog dumping, I suspect.

As for all the rest about energy policy and nuclear stuff, see my latest post - I know the answer to the Fermi Paradox.

Nuno said...

...civilizations become the victims of mass stupidity and implode. This factor also needs to be included in the Drake Equation...

Hehe! And since the said equation, by itself, is not science (much like religion, it can't be tested), another such parameter would make perfect sense -- at least it would include the most common trait of our species. Btw, only tobacco in that cigarette? You probably needed something stronger after all that bull... :D