Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kungälv.

Way too early.





Sunday, January 26, 2014

The starving hoards of...

The internet can be a bountiful place.

A few years ago, I discovered American radio episodes of The Saint
from the 1950s,
available for free download.  I've been listening to them lately, and they're interesting.

Besides being entertaining, they're like time capsules.  Most obviously, they reflect the social attitudes of the time; the men are unapologetical womanisers, for example.  The drinking, the casual violence... well, it is fiction.

But most interesting for me is the messages at the end.

At the end of most episodes, the starring actor, usually Vincent Price, will give voice to a social message.

One of these is an appeal for money to send food packages to undernourished families in Europe.

How quickly we forget. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

By Shinto!

As I used to say a lot in my childhood, with no idea what it meant.  War comics were still very popular when I was growing up.

Lucy lead us to a lot of shrines when were in Japan. Some were massive.  Some contained museums.  Several were hundreds of years old.  We saw shrines with hundreds of Tori gates,

one had Tori gates out a sea...



But this one was a bit different.



It was mentioned in Lucy's guide book, tucked away on a back street in Tokyo.  So small that it took us a while to realise that this is what we were searching for.

Cool.

In Japan, even the manhole covers are cool.





I should have taken photographs of more of these.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I heard on the radio...

...that more and more families are turning to religious charities because the state is turning them away when they have nothing left.

I'm pretty sure that's not how it's supposed to work in Sweden.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A couple of thoughts.

Sometimes, one has probably hair-brained ideas that one lacks an effective forum for. If one happens to be me, they end up here. I saw a documentary on T.V. a few years ago called "Änglar med skit på vingarna." ("Angels with shit on their wings"; it's in Norwegian).

It is about how eagles are killed by wind turbines along the Norwegian coast; they can't see them.

And I wondered why they don't surround them with a thin wire mesh. Not enough to block the wind, enough to block the birds.

And I have read and listened to a lot of criticism about hydroelectric power.

They wipe of fish; on one major river in Sweden, less than 0.1% of some species survive the journey through the four power stations along it's course.

Plus, rotting vegetation that is a result of flooding caused by the dams can create serious levels of carbon emissions, depending on location; in Brazil, it can take decades for the dams to create enough power to make up for the damage they cause.

Plus, they are made less effective by rivers freezing in the Winter, when power is needed the most.

And I though, why not build smaller turbines, micro-turbines, again with meshing, along the bed of the river? They'd be relatively difficult to maintain, what with silting, but, no dead fish, year round power, no need for dams.

As I said, probably hair-brained. But i don't know who to send them to in order to be ridiculed publicly. So you get to read them. Lucky you! :p

Friday, February 18, 2011

When the dream gets top heavy.

Our pensions are going to be worth a fraction of what we paid for them, and here's why.

What is a share?

I mean those things that are traded on the stock exchange. The basis of our pensions, one of the indicators we use to measure how our economy is doing.

It's exactly what it says it is, of course. It's a part ownership in a commercial enterprise, sometimes giving one a voice in the running of that enterprise, sometimes not.

But that's not how we treat them. We treat them as entities in themselves.

The price is notionally based on the performance of the company. If profits are good, the share usually reflects this. But the share price is no longer in any reasonable proportion to the dividend. Some companies issue no dividends at all; you are expected to make your profit by trading in the shares.

The shares hav become an entity in themslves. One buys them on the basis that one thinks that the share price will rise. The bosses bonus is often based on goals for the share price.

Companies now have a dual function; to provide a good or service, and to inspire confidence in the value of it's stock. There is a corelation, but in the abscence of meaningful dividends in scale with the price, it is a largely theoretical one.

Simply put, the stock market has become a pyramid scheme. We have a commodity that has value based on a faith that in the future, some-one else will have a greater faith in the value of the commodity.