Sunday, December 24, 2006

Off to the mountains

I'm off to Pavliani village in the morning, one of 22 surrounding Mt. Iti (2152 m) and its gorgeous National Park. Mythology has it that this is the place where Hercules lived his last days before he died from Dianera's poisoned cloak.
Happy holidays!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Tangled Bank X-Mas Special

Anti-Santa Claus (aka Martin Rundkvist) holds wonderful gifts for us this year, the 69th Tangled Bank blog carnival: War on Christmas edition!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The London Array is OK!

The UK government has finally approved Europe's largest off-shore windfarm to be developed off the coast of SE England. The London Array will consist of 341 turbines located 12 miles offshore. The DTI has also approved a second major scheme in the Thames estuary, to be built in Thanet. The 2 windfarms will deliver 1.3 GW of green electricity - enough to meet the needs of a third of homes in Greater London. The scheme currently depends on an onshore power substation being approved to be built in Swale, Kent, and an inquiry to discuss revised plans is due to start next month. It has to be noted that the estuary wind farm scheme has been altered to protect a little-known bird called the red-throated diver, even a conservation officer with the RSPB said that other developers they've worked with haven't always given the same priority to birds.
Other huge projects such as that of the Isle of Lewis have faced srong opposition by local communities and the RSPB is concerned that the wind farms would affect golden eagles and other birds, and damage sensitive peat land.

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The perfect Christmas trip

Pay a visit to the Exploratorium, this December, and take a trip to the field sites surrounding the North and South Poles. Its a celebration for the start of the upcoming 2007-2008 International Polar Year, featuring a special series of Webcasts highlighting the scientific work done at the Poles.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Athenian light

My friend Ana Paola was visiting this weekend and we took the opportunity to walk up to the Acropolis on Saturday morning. It was a gorgeous day, and as usual the light was magnificent, especially in these surroundings. I was very impressed with the extensive restoration activities that are explained for each monument.

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Joan As Policewoman - words are not enough

Athens, December 16th 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Kolonaki vintage transport

I know this is a TOTALLY irrelevant post but I couldn't keep myself from publishing, both vehicles passed before me withing 30 secs of each other.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Abrupt ice retreat there - Giant mosquitoes here

Sea-ice 2000
Sea-ice 2040
Images: UCAR

The "inspiration" for today's post came to me after a terrible night of constant mosquito attacks. I don't know if anybody else in Athens has noticed lately. But it's been way to warm for December with mean daily temperatures of 14 degrees Celsius and relative humidity reaching almost 100%. Greece is turning into Puerto Rico - no doubt.
As if all that wasn't enough to stress me out, today I stumbled upon another freakish announcement from the the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), that the recent retreat of Arctic sea ice is likely to accelerate so rapidly, due to GHGs, that the Arctic Ocean could become nearly devoid of ice during summertime as early as 2040.
The Community Climate System Model was used for this analysis. The scientists conclude that different rates of GHG emissions can affect the probability of abrupt ice loss. After another 15 leading climate models were tested, they found that if emissions of CO2 and other GHGs were to slow, the likelihood of rapid ice loss would decrease and summer sea ice would probably retreat at a much slower rate.
"Our research indicates that society can still minimize the impacts on Arctic ice", Marika M. Holland, the study's lead author, said.
The study "Future Abrupt Reductions in the Summer Arctic Sea Ice", Authors: Marika M. Holland, Cecilia M. Bitz, and Bruno Tremblay, has been published in the December 12 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

The year's coolest party!

I guess they must have been playing for more than two hours but I was in such a trance from the music and the vibes that I didn't realize how much time had gone was truly one of the best concerts/fiestas I've ever been to, everyone was ecstatic, dancing like mad, including Ojos. Suzie's flamenco was also incredible. They are music evolution itself.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ojos de Brujo and the Greek concert ticket tragedy...

I'm off to see Ojos in a little while playing live in Athens and I wanted to comment on the ticket situation. As with many other concerts organized in the last couple of years in Greece, the tickets are extremely expensive.And as if that wasn't enough the production usually sucks (bad choice of venues & sound systems, way too many people shoved into the venues etc). The price for seeing Ojos tonite is 45 euros (thank god Lily got invites) - and 35 euros for the concert in Thessaloniki - a difference which doesnt really make any sense. So this made me address the production company, On Stage, with a complaint letter (maybe more of us could send complaints), I attach it here - in Greek:

Αγαπητοί Κύριοι,
Θα ήθελα με αυτό το email να σας εκφράσω την απογοήτευση - όχι μόνο την δική μου αλλά και πολλών άλλων ανθρώπων - που δημιουργείτε βάζοντας μια τόσο υπερβολικά υψηλή τιμή στα εισιτήρια των Ojos de Brujo. Είναι πραγματικά κρίμα διότι αυτό είναι ένα απογορευτικό ποσό για πολλούς νέους. Επίσης δεν μπορώ να καταλάβω για ποιό λόγο η τόσο μεγάλη διαφορά μεταξύ των εισιτιρίων Αθήνας (45) και Θεσ/νίκης (35)?
Όπως θα καταλάβετε και οι ίδιοι απόψε, ο κόσμος που θα είναι παρών στη συναυλία δεν θα είναι αυτός που αρμόζει σε ένα σχήμα σαν τους Ojos - δεν μιλώ για το ποιοί θα είναι αλλά για το πόσος κόσμος θα μαζευτεί. Αλλά ακόμη και αυτοί που θα έρθουν πιστέψτε με δεν θα έχουν μια χαλαρότητα, ένα κέφι ας το πούμε, θα είναι ήδη αρκετά σφιγμένοι λόγω του ποσού που δώσαν.
Με εκτίμηση...

I'm curious to see whether they will grace me with a reply.

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The Cape May & Nina

Just some pics from the show the other day, the Cape May were great and Nina too...shame I cant say the same for the two Greek bands that opened the show.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Climate Truth in Chaos?

Photos from the I Count - Stop Climate Chaos event where 25,000 packed into an unseasonably sunny Trafalgar Square.

I was reading today Mike Hulme’s article on BBC Online, where he talks about how the rhetoric of climate change catastrophe is in danger of tipping society onto a negative, depressive and reactionary trajectory.

He argues, on the occasion of the massive Stop Climate Chaos event last month in London, and I quote, that the increasing use of the word “catastrophic”, "chaotic", "irreversible", "rapid" - has altered the public discourse around climate change and that it is not is not the language of science. Its not just campaigners anymore, but politicians and scientists too, that are actively ignoring the careful hedging which surrounds science's predictions? Catastrophic language will not be visible in the next assessment by the IPCC and the current scenarios of future climate change are significant enough without having to invoke society into behavioral change.

But isn’t that what we scientists should try to invoke?

I mean, shouldn’t we try and convince people, by publicly presenting scientific evidence (because most people today, that have no climate scientific background for example will never read the IPCC report or visit the CRU or Tyndall Center’s websites), that they have to alter some of their daily behaviors? To try sustainable living, in order to contribute less to climate change from a household point of view – because everything starts from there.

For example, we can conserve energy at home via energy efficient appliances, or seek alternative means of transport (public transport, carpooling etc) - to go to work, or try recycling; composting; use of renewable electricity and so many other simple measures one can take and turn them into a habit for them and their kids.

Now the industrial sector is a whole different ballgame, simple arguments are not enough because there is serious money involved. They need either massive incentives or penalties in order to comply with emissions reductions legislation etc.

So don’t get me wrong, I’ve had the utmost respect for Mike Hulme and his work ever since I started studying climate change, but I think we do have to be militant to some degree about climate change, now the line where it turns into a soap-opera is thin, but maybe we shouldn’t be so judgmental of the climate campaigners or NGOs and join them instead.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Don't miss tonite at AN Club

Nina Nastasia is performing tonite at AN Club in Athens, I'm definitely going especially since The Cape May are playing as well. I predict a great Americana - filled night...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Spring Fling

(photo by Kate Kunch)

Jolie Holland is my latest obsession. With a voice often likened to Billie Holiday, she fulfills all of my americana, folk, blues needs and dreams all at the same time! I simply cannot stop listening to Old Fashion Morphine from the Escondida album and I am so anxious to go home after work and listen to her latest release, Springtime Can Kill You, again from ANT1 records. I was reading about her on American Songwriter and Filter Magazine and I was suprised to hear that she can neither read nor write music and is entirely self-taught. Check her out on MySpace too.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Futures of Cities (and Pasts)

yr 2000 stats
The upcoming Futures of Cities World Congress - Impacts: Indicators: Implementations, has set up a cool website that you can check, it features a dynamically illustrated timeline regarding the transition from urban to rural living (1913-today & future projection). Some interesting architectural facts also provided.