Saturday, December 30, 2006

Rain forest into savannah

In an AP article:
Global warming could spell the end of the world's largest remaining tropical rain forest, transforming the Amazon into a grassy savanna before end of the century, researchers said Friday.

Jose Antonio Marengo, a meteorologist with Brazil's National Space Research Institute, said that global warming, if left unchecked, will reduce rainfall and raise temperatures substantially in the ecologically rich region.

This was an extreme scenario but climate change is happening and the edges of the rain forest are, I would guess, likely to be affected first. So our prized rain forest is definitely under threat. It is time we paid more attention to this issue. We need to take more steps to make our contribution towards reducing carbon emissions. There are things we can do which may actually save us money but do require behaviour change - and that is tough, but not impossible (see link below).


Guyana and global warming

Friday, December 29, 2006

Guyanese bloggers - a list of blogs

Looking around for other Guyanese bloggers I found a list at the blog of friend Taran (of Trinidad), many of which are not very active. I decided a quick review might be useful so here it is. I include what other sites I found using dependable Google and ended up with a better list of active blogs - a dozen or so, mostly at Blogspot. I have omitted sites which no longer exist, are no longer blogs or have not been updated for more than a year. This blog is included for completeness though I am at a loss as to how to describe it...

Some observations - a number of blogs started around the time of the national elections (August 2006), two bloggers account for nearly half the blogs both of whom seem to be politically motivated, most use Blogspot.

Golden Grove - Nabaclis Historical Society - politics and history (Started 2004)
Guyana - local tales and stories (Started 2005)
Guyana - Civil Society Speaks - general commentary (Started 2005)
Guyana - Open For Business - general commentary (Started 2004)
Guyana Diaspora - achievements of Guyanese overseas (Started 2006)
Guyana Genealogical and Biographical Society - local history (Started 2004) Blog - general commentary (Started 2006)
Guyana Plunder Without Profit - forestry issues (Started 2006)
Guyana Providence Stadium - about the new cricket stadium and CWC 2007(Started 2005)
Guyana Visionaries - general commentary (Started 2005)
Guyana 360 - general commentary (Started 2006)
Living Guyana - a blog of a media critic (Started 2005)
Wondering Thoughts - a diverse and unusual collection of posts on development, IT and other issues
The Guyana Grove - general commentary from a woman's perspective (Started 2005)
The People of East Coast Demerara - politics and history (Started 2005)

Not so active - Two or less updates in the past 6 months
Descendants Of Sancho - family history (Started 2002)
Edgar Mittelholzer - literary / historical (Started 2006)
Guyana Resource Center - useful cricket links (Started 2005)
Jono's Blog - literary / historical, many links (Started 2006)
Kyk-Over-Al - literary / historical (Started 2005)
Martin Carter - literary / historical (Started 2005)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

And concerning Iran...

I have always had a soft spot for Iran since becoming a Baha'i some 30 plus years ago - understandable when you know the history and the good things the Baha'i Writings say about it. I even spent time learning to read and write Persian though I have forgotten most of it now. So I was glad to hear that there is still support at the UN for the persecuted Baha'i community of Iran.
According to the Baha'i World News Service of Dec. 20th:
The United Nations General Assembly yesterday adopted a resolution expressing "serious concern" over the human rights situation in Iran, including the escalation of violations against Iranian Baha'is.
Their continuing plight is not forgotten and is continuing to draw attention even in Iran itself.

A few things

A rather wet and warm (28 Celsius - sorry don't do Fahrenheit any more) holiday season here. Glad we, as family, unlike most people here, don't celebrate Christmas. Too much commerial ... what's the word... confusion? frenetic activity?
As it was I was preoccupied by reconfiguring routers and servers at work, some thing which needs doing when others are not around.
Rick kindly mentioned me in his blog. He also had an interesting comment on the open letter from the President of Iran.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Guyana - where we're at

Guyana has a great future. We all need to understand that. Our population is small for a country this size. Most of our natural resources are unexploited and probably largely undiscovered. Large parts of the country are rainforest and mostly uninhabited.

Not that Guyana is undeveloped but the development is limited to small parts of the country. We do have ATMs, a university and fast food...

Our human resources are significant though much of it lies outside Guyana due to the extraordinary migration rate which has kept the population fairly constant for many decades. We need to focus on what will bring us to work together and put aside all forms of prejudice - not just racial prejudice.

Egyptian courts rules against Baha'is

In Egypt the Baha'is are doing their best to be law abiding but that
has just got more difficult. It is no longer possible for them to be
legally Baha'is - their ID cards (required to be carried by law) must now
identify them as either Muslims, Christians or Jews...

The highest court has just ruled against the Baha'is (after a lower
court ruled in their favour) putting the Government in a unfavourable

One wonders what is happening with Hindus, Zoroastrians and Buddhists
though there must be few who are Egyptian citizen, if any.

Here in Guyana we benefit from a high level of tolerance for all religions including the Baha'i Faith which is widely known and respected. The national body was incorporated by Act of Parliament about thirty years ago. Neither are there problems between Muslims and those of other Faiths.

Guardian report
Baha'i News Service

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More water on Mars

Watching the progress of the Rovers on Mars since the beginning when they landed has been fascinating. The big question is life or no life. But there is also the question of water which is neccessary for life that we are familiar with. Since the Rovers landed much has been learnt - from the Rovers themselves and from NASA and ESA orbiters.
The most recent excitement is over liquid water and if it reaches the surface where it would soon freeze or evaporate. What seems to be water escaping on the surface and freezing has been seen:
BBC report article

The guy at Xenotech Research has been collecting pictures for years on this - seems he has been closer to the truth than many sceptics. Here is one of the pictures (see right).

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Life After Death?

No, I am not going to ask if there is life after death. If the writer were living in N. America or Europe this would likely be the question. But from the view point of the writer here in tropical Guyana, the common assumption is that of course there is life after death, after all it is a land of many religions and all agree on this.

I would maintain that the great majority of people in developing countries have the same belief. Indeed that the same view has been usual thoughout recorded history. It is those who do not share this belief who are outside the norm - mainly people (not neccessarily a majority) who live in 'developed' countries who take a very limited material view of life.

The major religions provide reasons for believing in life after death - where is the evidence to the contrary?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Getting up there - Space elevators

Over the past few years this exciting concept has been steadily moving towards reality. When it does happen - and I believe it will - it will be a milestone in man's development.

Basically it involves putting a very large satellite or asteroid into geostationary orbit (so it appears fixed over one place on Earth like many satellites) and dropping a cable down to earth. This cable is then used by elevators to haul material and possible people up to orbit - slowly, safely and very cheaply. Like a railroad to the heavens...

The technology does not quite exist yet especially a cable strong enough but many feel the challenges can be over come. Research is being done and companies have been set up to build elevators. There is now an prize and annual competition to test the technology for short cables.

It would also seem to be energy efficient and friendly to the environment - the elevators might even be solar powered from collectors on the satellite.

Wikipedia article

National Space Society Special Interest Chapter for the Space Elevator

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


The United Nation Development Programme. Does that ring a bell? Here in Guyana, as in other developing countries I am sure, everyone knows the name. It is a respected institution. It played an important part in giving us an orderly national election back in August. Over the years it has assisted in many areas of development including governance, environment, entrepreneurship and ICT. In most developing countries it is UNDP which also represents the UN.
Yet, strangely, in developed countries few know of it or the role it plays. A search of a web site for a major paper in the UK yielded very few stories for 2006 mentioning the UNDP and only two of some substance, neither really saying much about its role.
The UNDP does not have country offices in developed countries for obvious reasons but needs some kind of presence. And the media needs to be a bit more searching and pay more heed to UNDP and other UN agencies that work in the developing world and are so important to them.

UNDP Guyana

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Where is Guyana?

Guyana is a small English -speaking country here on the north-east edge of South America. It is considered as a part of the Caribbean with which it has many ties such as language, culture, economy and cricket.

The climate is tropical being a fairly steady 28 degrees Celsius the year around. There are two rainy seasons.

Most of the population lives on the coastal plain, at or below sea level. The interior is largely undeveloped rain forest and savannah.

The population is largely of African and East Indian origin with substantial number now of mixed ancestry.

There is a small but significant number of Amerindians, some Chinese and a few of other races.

Religion is important to most Guyanese. About half the population is Christian, the rest is mainly Hindu or Muslim with a significant number of Baha'is.

The attractions of Guyana include her people and the unspoilt natural wonders of the country such as Kaieteur - a magnificant watefall (that is my son standing in front of it).

Kaieteur National Park
Guyana and the Environment


Monday, November 20, 2006

Planned obsolescence (and recycling)

This means deliberately making something so that it will last only a limited time so that the owner will have to buy another. This is a common practice at the present time. I am convinced that this is short-sighted and that making goods with a longer life will help conserve global resources and reduce global warming. Great amounts of energy and resources go into producing manufactured goods especially things like cars, computers, cell phones etc but also items like the humble dinner plate, mug etc. Of course this is less advantageous for technologies which are immature and rapidly advancing.

This is related to the practice of recycling. The item may have reached the end of its useful life but the parts may still have life as recycled parts or the materials could be recycled if it were carefully designed.

In Guyana we have far to go in recycling, indeed we have scarcely made a start. There is nowhere to take recycled items such as plastic or metal. Garbage is not separated. Indeed you are fortunate if it is collected. Being a small country does not help as we do not benefit from economies of scale. However, there is work being done on this and things are changing. A bit more globalisation is needed in this field...

Open source software

A great alternative to propriatary software with high license costs. Reliable and free of viruses. Having used it almost exclusively at work for years both as a desktop and a server I would recommend it. We started using Linux in 1996 for servers. Soon many who currently use unlicensed copies of software - often without knowing - will be faced with difficult choices. Open source software is a good choice if it can do what is needed, and it usually can.

Guyana has an active Linux user group - GLUG.

Useful links:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Solving the problems in society

Suppose, just suppose everyone (virtually) was trustworthy. What would life be like? It would be so different that it takes a while to identify how many things would change. No need for security, locks, multiple signatures, guards, bars etc. Crops planted would not be stolen. Children would be safe on the streets. No corruption, no bribes. People would do the jobs they are paid for. No litter. Productivity would soar. Waste would drop right down. So why aren't we discussing how we can educate children to be like this? What can effect this kind of change?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Nobody will read this

Well not quite. I have read it.

But really there are around 100 million blogs and a 1000 million internet users. From personal experience I would guess most users do not read blogs. Some have a few favourite blogs. Very few read many blogs. Bloggers cannot expect to become famous now.

I don't mind. If a few people such as family members or friends get some valuable from these pages that's fine with me. Objective achieved.

Of course I could start throwing some keywords around like crazy to get some hits with Google but it would only get buried at search page 3245...