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