Comments for en-gb 30 Mon 28 Jul 2014 07:25:18 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at CDuke We didn't see a modern ice age in the 70's when we were all warned about global cooling and we certainly won't be treading water as a result of so called global warming. It’s not going to happen. Sure the ice shelf along Greenland’s coast is falling into the sea, but the thickness of the ice far inland has tripled. How many of you have read those reports? Think of it like pouring too much waffle batter onto a hotplate, it has to go somewhere. It runs off the sides…into the ocean. However, since there is such a strong effort to squelch and suppress all rational arguments against man made climate change, few of you have been able to view the evidence against it. I am in agreement that we must renew our efforts as stewards of the planet or we might just find an eviction notice in our mailbox..."People of Earth, you have 364 days to pack your belongings and leave the premises. The owner has another party interested in the property." How’s that for imminent domain? Thu 31 Dec 2009 15:00:10 GMT+1 Bob Young Well, I just saw the BBC America piece on Australia's plight with the errosian of and loss of seafront properties. From the pime ministers comments it seems he wants the developed contries to treat Australia as a third world country. Loss of seafront property is to be expected when one builds too close to the sea. I have lived on the seafront and I sure did not blame others for my loss. It is to be expected. I never thought of the Australians as crybabys but I may have been wrong. Many seafront properties have been lost in North America, both inexpensive and very expensive. Get used to it.Dallas Trebor Wed 30 Dec 2009 01:46:23 GMT+1 sensiblechucky Bank rolling the third world due to accumulated liberal guilt is hardlya recipe for success of the developing countries. Loans to build infra-structure and advance education are the means which can transform a country and even a region. Look at South Afica, Chile, or India. Workingtheir way to a modern society, no hand outs, self-beneficial progress that can be sustainable if the political will exists. The US governmentis currently run by apologists who really don't give a hoot about the rest of the world as long as they stay in power and look good to theresupporters. AGW and climate change is the excuse to pay out and absolvethere guilt. Instead, we should be funding technology and innovation toincrease efficieny for super conductors and new power sources that wouldbenefit all countries. Tue 29 Dec 2009 15:35:25 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII Oh now you tell me. Too late. So that's how I got the tail...and the horns. Hell has gone high tech. But who sent me the pitchfork WebAlice, was it you? Was that your Christmas present to me? Where did you get it, it smells distinctly of sulfur. Fri 25 Dec 2009 00:20:07 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Mavrelius, all the rest here, further than "the white rope" is Mr Chubais.Oh, no! Chubais is now transferred from energy onto nano-technology!Then I'm really worried, I do not know, what's behind the socket. Before, in the wall, there sat Chubais and "made electricity" :o)))) And his electricity Russia's grid and empire :o)))MA don't heat up water in the microwave oven. Hell knows them microwaves, can be bad for health. We were fond of them at a time then left behind. What if you will grow a tail or I don't know what, who will I quarrel with. Don't heat up water in the micro-wave. Thu 24 Dec 2009 23:20:37 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII WA;"And I thought that "LED" is what they write on those sticky papers attached to suitcases you check in in the airports. It's int'l abbreviation for St. Petersburg in aviation - still LED. Like LHR , etc. Leningrad."The three letters the porter or ticket attendant writes on your luggage tag at the airport is a three ltter code which signifies the destination your luggage will be sent to. With any luck it will be the same place you are flying to. You'll know when you get there...if it ever arrives. For example, JFK stands for John F Kennedy airport in New York City, LAX stands for Los Angeles airport in California. Every airport has a designation. You can look them all up on the internet somewhere probably by googling airport codes. The black lines with the numbers on a white sticker is called a bar code. If it is in a retail store, it is often called a universal price code or UPC. A scanner reads it and feeds it to a computer. If it's your luggage, it will allow tracking it wherever it goes. If it's a UPC in a store, it will allow you to check out of the store without the cashier having to manually and sometimes incorrectly tally up the price on a cash register. We had expected it to be replaced with a more advanced system some years ago, an embedded semiconductor chip that was supposed to cost 0.1 cents each. That would make checkout even faster. You'd simply scan your credit card and walk out the door with your filled shopping cart, the computer would automatically debit your credit card account. In theory, this will allow someone to drive past your home and scan every object you own. They will know everything about you from what cereal you eat and how many boxes of it you have to what type of shoes you wear. George Orwell would be jealous. That white "rope" the wire that connects your lamp to the wall outlet is the tiniest tip of a vast iceberg, the electrical power generating and distribution network that contains hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of different elements and connections that make the modern world possible. When we talk about energy and global warming, we are largely talking about this network. That energy comes largely from steam made in "kettles" boiling water (except for motor vehicles.) Those boilers are heated by burning coal, oil, natural gas, and bringing enriched uranium together. Without it, even the most lavish mansion or castle is nothing more than a glorified cave and the most modern city or factory is paralyzed, even unsafe and unfit to inhabit until power is restored. That in part is how I earn my living, building, modifying, analyzing, improving parts of the network in my country. It is a wonderful and fascinating challenge. Mistakes are unforgiven by nature and unforgivable by people. The old saying; "what you don't know can't hurt you" doesn't apply here. It's more like; "what you don't know can kill you." I see it's time to put the kettle on for a cup of tea (actually I heat my water in a microwave oven :-))))) Thu 24 Dec 2009 14:52:01 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Mavrelius, how difficult is life for you.Electricity is white ropes that go from the wall to the lamp.If the rope is torn, you shouldn't hold simultaneously the place and lean on the central heating radiator. That's all about it.Well, outside, electricity is metal ropes up there. When it's torn and falls to the ground, you don't come with dog nearby.?Really, at a loss what else. Ah, there are also metal boxes attached on some strange small buildings between houses, with the skull drawn on it and bones below. Like a pirate flag. And it is written "Don't come will kill".You don't let cat sniff in those, when walking the cat.?Finally, on a deep scientific level! inside white ropes in dacha can be yellow-reddish metal can be silvery white one. When a fixer comes to add a piece of re-connect, he asks which ones are yours. One should know ( I forget), so that he adds a likewise piece of rope - with yellow stuff or with silvery stuff inside.Wel, Mavrelius, if you are seriously into science I'll tell you what. An electric kettle eats up 2 of something!Hope you know all now. Thu 24 Dec 2009 13:44:41 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII JK;"MarcusAureliusII’s explanation of LEDs is accurate, and well-suited to people with engineering backgrounds."Perhaps in Europe but in the US it is geared to people with average knowledge, at about a high school level. At an engineering level, incandescent light would be explained as an example of thermionic emission of electromagnetic radiation, fluorescent light at the level electrons absorbing photons with their momentum and then re-emitting them which is the definition of fluorescing and LEDs would be explained by the change in quantum energy levels of electrons according to quantum mechanics theory. All would have detailed equations describing them. Perhaps that explains in part why on average Americans in general are more technologically savvy than Europeans. What is engineering level for Europeans is general knowledge for Americans. Unfortunately in the US, computers have had the unintended consequence of replacing thinking and knowledge with the artificial mechanics of software. They've become a crutch, not a tool. We may be regressing back to the level of Europe I fear. Thu 24 Dec 2009 11:45:29 GMT+1 Jan_Keeskop funniinnit: The word government is thus the very source of the steering the ship of state metaphor. To be absolutely clear, any word for “mind” is absent from government. (There’s a straight line for someone to make some hay with…) Wed 23 Dec 2009 19:21:31 GMT+1 Jan_Keeskop WebAliceinwonderland: More a lazy system than a scientific system — I much prefer not having to get on my knees to check the water level of the tree’s reservoir every couple of days, and the convenience of refilling the jug once every few weeks (even though it’s about 20 kg at a time).MarcusAureliusII’s explanation of LEDs is accurate, and well-suited to people with engineering backgrounds. If you remember the first generations of pocket calculators or digital watches, with red or green numbers lit up on dark backgrounds, those numbers were formed from LEDs. (See Svetodiod and Losev, Oleg Vladimirovich in Russian Wikipedia.)Apartment purchases here are rarely done in cash (is it most often in euros or dollars there?), most often depending upon the buyer getting a mortgage, so the paperwork usually reflects the actual purchase price. Notaries serve a different purpose here (and perhaps in other common law jurisdictions), but the “civil law” notaries (for want of a better adjective) serve a useful purpose in real estate transactions, which I think would be a helpful addition to our system. We have “title insurance” available that offers responsibility in case of previously unknown owners appearing out of nowhere, but you’ve mentioned before the distrust of insurance companies there.funiinnit: I can’t answer your first question, and everyone has his own answer to your second question. I can state that government is not Greek for “mind control”, as -ment is a Latin suffix (from -mentum [a suffix also found in English ornament, fragment, &c.] rather than from mentum [genitive form of mens, thus Latin for mind’s, but not a suffix form]). The govern- prefix comes to us via Latin gubernatio from the Greek word for “steering”, so it is control in the same sense as steering a ship would be controlling it. Any Greek word for “mind” is absent from government. A little study of Latin will also reveal the etymology of the word human — think of homo sapiens and ad hominem. Wed 23 Dec 2009 18:40:40 GMT+1 cool_brush_work Re #186And every other contribution you have made to these Blog Articles.You cannot come on here and start making Marcus AureliusII seem logical, sensible, perspicacious and enlightening. Wed 23 Dec 2009 17:40:34 GMT+1 funniinnit How long will it be before the slumbering masses awaken to find that for centuries they have had a mono communistic regime governing them? The money the prols earn is sequested and given to whatever is deemed profitable for the governing body (government:Greek: mind control). The prols know nothing of this, they feed on lies and are told to uphold truth in all they do. They are sold at birth as slaves and indeed even their willingly accepted title of human signifies their enslavement, HU being a demon god of the sun sect who control all. Hu man meaning; property of the demon god HU..So whenever you are arguing about what money goes where and is given from who to who it is as well to ask a question. What is the bigger picture? There is no justice, no fairness, no reasoning to be had when you walk and talk in the dark. Time to switch your light on, suggest you start by switching off the tv...... Wed 23 Dec 2009 11:25:22 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland :o)In the line "reason for divorce" was written: he's been sending our dialogues to the jokes of the day' site and whole country laughed at me. Question "What will I become in three years' time" is un-interesting in Russia for only one man.In 2009 in AutoVaz was introduced into practice 2,700 rationalisation suggestions. And should have been - one. :o))))))Following the multiple requests of the fighters with climate, it was decided to put the global warming on freeze. Fin. crisis 1998 - lost all earned in life.Fin. crisis 2008 - lost all earned in life and stayed owning as much in credits. "Which American doesn't like fast food?"Nikolay Vasilievich Gogol':o)))) ("Which Russian doesn't like fast ride")The fact that island-state Nauru decided to recognise Abkhasia gave Russia an idea to invite the Dutch and wash-up (create) several islands more! :o)))))Russian-American relations didn't change because they were pressing the button "reset", and should have been - "update".:o(In response to the popular foreign book "Dao Toyota" we shall publish our motherlandy edition "Alternatively gifted AutoVaz":o))))))"Sonny, I absolutely don't like the people who surround you lately" - was writing Paulus-mum to her son in Stalingrad :o))))))1908 Kitchen cloth (soft) tsar, and Rasputin.2008 And nothing has changed!Obama's prize is simply a somewhat delayed response of the West to Leonid Iliich Brezhnev!:o))))) Wed 23 Dec 2009 03:49:36 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Mavrelius, exactly what I needed as read for the night. I will save it for later, though, as just ran with Ro-Ro knee-deep in snow, then we found another dog at 3 in the morn. and had a fight, then he was coming back o senses in a snow pile, then I pulled out ice that stuck btw his fingers in his furry paws, then cat's ear bled and we dashed around wiping it and consoling cat and ate something to forget quicker about it (I mean, not me), then I kept cat out of the window in the frost so that bleeding stop somehow, now I promised cat a consolation walk to the 7th floor "the view to the ocean".Then will read about your lights hope it will console me.And I thought that "LED" is what they write on those sticky papers attached to suitcases you check in in the airports. It's int'l abbreviation for St. Petersburg in aviation - still LED. Like LHR , etc. Leningrad. Wed 23 Dec 2009 01:37:48 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII WA;LEDs are light emitting diodes. Normal incandescent lights are made by putting a tungston filament (wire) into an evacuated glass bulb. Electricity heats the filament and causes it to glow. Very inefficient. The quality of light can be fairly good but it consumes a lot of electrical power for a given amount of light. Fluorescent tubes used in most modern offices are more efficient. They emit light by ionizing an invisible gas which strikes phosphors on the inner surface of the tube causing it to glow. They are more efficient but the quality of light is only fair to poor. Light emitting diodes are semiconductors something like transistors made from silicon crystals doped with impurities but when you pass current through them they emit light. Many small lights on radios and other electronic devices have used them for a very long time, many digital readouts that glow use them. Now they can be made much brighter. The quality of light is excellent, they are very efficient, and they can be dimmed with normal dimmers unlike fluorescent lamps which require very expensive dimming ballasts if they can be dimmed at all. When production scales up LEDs will replace incandescent and fluorescent lamps completely. They should also have a very long usable life, many times that of incandescent lamps. New television and computer flat panel displays are being made from them too and they will replace LCD (liquid crystal displays) and plasma TVs in the not too distant future. They are sharper, brighter, and more efficient. Wed 23 Dec 2009 00:24:13 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Jan_Keeskop, very scientific system of watering a Christmas tree I'm impressed. What's "LED" lights?Yes, multi-colour is traditional approach in our quarters, but these days all are impressed with euro trees in pictures looking all dark blue and in ribbons, with bows tied on I mean (un-usual here) or silver and dark-blue, or all red, or red and golden, and try to (silly) imitate.Old ones, the decorations, were all eatable + glass figurines. Nuts in golden foil, marcipans, candies etc. A red star on top granted! :o)))) Kremlin-like. Plus "silver rain" (glistening foil strips)A figurine of Ded Moroz (grand dad Frost) under the tree, by the bucket :o))) and presents under the tree as well. Well I guess it's the same concept plus/minus Kremlin star LOL everywhere.Now those Soviet toys sell for awful amount of money, various cosmonauts glass figurines, sputniks, sporty Soviet skiiers, but all normal people have them long broken as it happens with glass. As to larch un-transportable over the Urals, I guess before was somehow transportable, in trains, but then the last century really no time for nothing :o)))) And now that glue+chips imposed on you everywhere as a building material, as it's easier to import them from abroad agreeing with foreigners than to arrange any thing internally to be obtained and transported from one place to another :o))))With China I guess with the amount of Chinese on our side they take the trouble somehow, agreeing with each other, and trusting each other. From one of their company to another of their company, without Russians on the way to the border. Their business is all-inclusive, they don't take in outsiders, and trust only each other, in transporting, in all, in finance, it's from hands to hands. Tue 22 Dec 2009 23:56:32 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII Juka Boxa #166, U-Boat #169"You left out that oil is a fungible commodity."As usual Juka your posting is absurd and irrelevant. Oil and gas are only fungible to the degree that the means to deliver them are available. If they were truly fungible, then when Russia cut off supplies to Ukraine and much of Europe was left out in the cold as an unintended consequence, they would have simply bought what they needed elsewhere. But they couldn't because they don't have the means to offload, store, and transport it from other sources. So oil and gas are not entirely fungible at all. Oil arriving by ship from one country is fungible with oil arriving by ship from another. In that way it is fungible. Russia lost not only revenue because Ukraine didn't pay but because much of Europe couldn't buy. But Russia would cut off its nose to spite its face. Meanwhile, the cost to foot the bill for Ukraine was a pittance compared to what it cost Europe to shut down. But would Europe negotiate sharing the cost of Ukraine's gas and oil? Not on your life. They too would cut off their noses to spite their faces. Now what more does anyone need to know to conclude that Europeans are mean and stupid? And it will happen again and they will all deserve it.Comparing anything like energy consumption whether per capita or per unit GDP in the US with Europe or China is also absurd. Distances between major population centers in the US dwarf those in Europe as does the mobility. So do extremes of climate. When I lived in France nobody even had screens on their windows to keep the flies and mosquitoes out during the summer let alone air conditioning. Many had little or no heat. Conditions like that in the US would be considered inhuman, even fatal in many places. No there is no way to compare. Also comparing economies based on current currency exchange rates or even PPP is a very questionable business. Absurd and irrelevant. There are enormous qualitative differences that can't be having one common language and culture. Tue 22 Dec 2009 23:49:29 GMT+1 Jan_Keeskop Jukka Rohila: I agree — population density is not the only difference. This is why I’d stated part (but not all).U4466131: The spring of 2008 showed that petrol at $4 per US gallon (66 p per litre) was sufficiently high to leave SUVs and large pickup trucks to rust on dealers’ lots. Given the Big Three’s dependence upon the fat profit margins on these types of vehicles to subsidise the lower margins on their more fuel-efficient cars, and their inability to adapt quickly enough to this change in US consumer sentiment, it’s not surprising that they got into financial hot water.My older car (Japanese marque, made in North America) was offered in North America with a six-cylinder engine, with the option of an eight. At the time I read that it was sold in Europe and Australia (if not elsewhere) with a four-cylinder engine, with the six as an option. Had it been offered here with the four as an option, I would have taken both the four and the six for a test drive; given my general apathy about 0 to 100 km/h performance, there would’ve been an excellent chance of the four being our pick. Sometimes the available choices constrain one’s actions. [There, another fine specimen of American excuse! ;*) ] Tue 22 Dec 2009 23:29:22 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland And the fun to check 100-dollar banknotes if they are false or not! :o)))A special cashier desk girl is normally rented from the bank with the dollar-checking machine - and does it twice! When all are present when money is deposited.And just in case again, because of this nightmare with keys to the safe-box - when money is extracted out!Just to remember, hair raises up on head. The real estate guys are though always trusted to know the real amount of the deal. By their papers the deal is for one amount, by state registration bureau - for another amount. Nobody never compared records, don't know why, I guess because this suits someone somehow. ? Or simply nobody bothers. And anyway the real estate by idiotic Russian law carries nil responsibility for the deal, they are there exclusively for fun, to charge money for bringing buyer and seller together, so that they find each other.But they carry no responsibility by law in case there happen later more interesting unknown people to own this apartment, some relatives temporarily away LOL returning later, say, from army or from prizon :o)))) or totally different people, at once :o))) to the ones who "sold it" :o)))) , by fake documents or? forgot other scares.Ah, if money are false or the buyer runs away with the money after the apartment becomes "his". Whatever - real estate is unanswerable. They are there only "to advise", give counsel. That's why may be nobody checks their records - irresponsible people, what to take of them ! :o)))) Tue 22 Dec 2009 23:02:29 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland To say nothing that the notary's sale document states one amount, and in the bank's safe box lies totally another amount in cash. :o)))))People get grey-haired :o)))) every time you sell or buy something. Tue 22 Dec 2009 22:50:35 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Looked up. oj, 11 or 12 thousand dollars. oj.But then, must be about right. Say, one half is stolen (black to grey market shades represening from 60 to 40 per cent of economy, depending on the times :o)))), 22 to 24 thousand dollars must be about right.Say, who ever bought an apartment stating the correct purchase sum in papers? One sum in papers, another in cash (we buy houses for cash exclusively :o)))) Well, I did, once, but only because I had back then high official salary and could get some taxes back. And the sellers fought tooth and nail with me, un-willing to get a paper telling how much they've received. By the way I tried to do it via bank, but bank was so capricious and confused all enormously, several meetings with the bank manager how to arrange it that I bring money to the bank and then banks gives it later to the sellers, resulted in nothing. Either it was because all back then sold apartments for dollars or euros, and bank had to convert them into roubles and we were all losing much, or something? Forgot.In any case apartments in Russia are bought by extraordinary tricky way. One side rents a hole in the metal box in the bank's basement, for several days, and stuffs it with cash dollars or euros. The keys from the safe box are given forgot to who. Not to the seller, or he will open and run with the money, without selling the apartment. 1 key to the buyer definitely, so that he can take his money back if the deal does not work out the last minute.The second key? To the agency, the mediator, in the sale, I think.So that without the real estate agency the buyer can not take money back.But then if the buyer does not show up with the key, then the real estate people can't pass over the money to the seller either. ?I remember it's awful tricky and there is a bug somewhere. People lose kilos of nerves on this money pass-over, when property in Russia changes hands.Because it's a 2 stage process, a visit to the notary, when one sells one buys notary verifies the deal.And then this notary doc has to be submitted to the city's state property records agency, who accepts kilos of papers (+the notary doc), processes it for a couple of days, and then issues a new doc, for the rights to the apartmen/house, to the new owner, verifying that the deal is clean, all papers submitted correctly, there are no 3rd parties in their internal records holding rights for the same piece of property, and only after the buyer gets this certificate for property - the deal is complete.All these 2-3 days the cash rests in a safe box in banks' basement, and all are nervous, because the documents could be returned uncertified, and the deal is broke. Tue 22 Dec 2009 22:49:02 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland I agree, I think where it is less efficient - you simply don't want it to be more efficient what to bother :o))))NORMAL countries, Jukks :o)) don't sit hysterically compare percentages, but simply live as they are used to :o))))No idea what's Russian GDP. Nobody knows, wonders, and sleeps better for it, I suspect! :o))))) Tue 22 Dec 2009 22:20:44 GMT+1 U4466131 #173 Jan_Keeskop"Regarding post 166, part (but not all) of the reason for that disparity is the greater population density of France and Germany as compared to the US, which reduces transport costs, and increases the viability of passenger rail service, which is far more fuel-efficient per person-km than automobiles are."Whilst I agree that this could be a contributing factor I would think the US consumers prediction for very large inefficient car engines would be more of the reason, and of course the reason why they are so popular is the very cheap price of gasoline in the US. If you they had to pay around $7 a gallon I wonder would there be such a market for fuel inefficient engines? Tue 22 Dec 2009 20:10:58 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To Jan_Keeskop (173):Well, population density plays only into a certain point...Finland 15.1 bbl/year per capitaFinland GDP nominal 51,588$ per capitaFinland 1 bbl/year produces 3416$ before somebody makes a point that we are all packed into a one corner or inside huge cities, let me point out that A) 61% of our population lives in urban areas (in US 79%), B) Helsinki metropolitan area has 1 million inhabitants and 1335.49 person per square kilometer, C) all other urban centers are small and bundled with detached houses, etc.. essence, I would say that you really can't explain the disparity between US and European countries with just noting the differences in population density.Note* The German figure should be 3727$ if you are wondering, I made an typing error with that. Tue 22 Dec 2009 19:44:18 GMT+1 Jan_Keeskop Maria Ashot: From your post 126, it sounds as though there are still many Russians who take greater pride and satisfaction in doing things despite the rules — which could just as well describe many Americans (not to mention our own considerable prowess in excuse-making). Perhaps this somehow ties into Jukka Rohila’s theory of extra-Europeans?angloscotty: On post 127, given the exclusions of force and edict on family size, it would seem unfair to refer to leaders as innumerate. I doubt that they are unaware of projections of population levels and energy usage — rather, that their acute awareness of it was precisely what caused them to offer those wheelbarrowfuls of money to the developing world, that they ought to accept such a payoff in return for forswearing the developed world’s own path of development — that their own development should take the sustainable high road, while accepting those brightly coloured stacks of paper as full amends for the developed world’s soiled path. Do as we say, not as we do!WebAliceinwonderland: For post 129, I don’t know about the Siberian larches, but the tamarack doesn’t tolerate shade well — is your dacha’s larch in a sunny spot? If the Chinese are getting your larches, and they’re not being floated across the border, then whatever is transporting them south ought to be able to transport them west of the Urals too, no?In post 137, that movie-by-movie robbery is what keeps our media executives in the lifestyles to which they have become accustomed. (Those prices are typical here.)For post 144, I didn’t know that the Keeskop Christmas tree traditions were traditionally Russian! Our tree gets a chaos of colour, and we usually try to keep the tree up until Easter. ;*) We use a homemade automatic watering system: a 20-litre water-cooler jug sits on top of a five-litre pail; the pail has a small hole near the top, to allow aquarium tubing to run from the bottom of the pail to the tree’s water reservoir. The pail and jug sit on top of a toddler’s stepstool. Once the vacuum is established in the tubing, gravity keeps the tree reservoir filled with water, and the jug can be filled (with a few ml of bleach added to prevent unwelcome buildup in the tubing) as needed without disrupting the vacuum. Mrs K. decided to try LED lights on the tree this year (Chinese, as one might expect); to my eyes they’re overly bright for the purpose, but perhaps they’ll tone down (or maybe I’ll get accustomed to them).On post 163, I didn’t know about 60° North hosting such a superhighway of wind — obviously of importance for Piter! For some reason we’re more familiar with the “Roaring Forties” of the southern hemisphere over here — perhaps due to trade routes of the clipper ships before the Panama Canal opened.In post 168, the Julian calendar is “late” from the Gregorian perspective, due to the Julian having more leap days than necessary to synchronize with Earth’s orbit: the October Revolution happened in November, and Julian 25th December happens in January.MarcusAureliusII: On post 141, cutting Europe off from Russian energy would not cause European demand to decrease; Volkswagen AG isn’t going to get its welding done on pedal power! Europe’s demand would flow to suppliers not currently serving the European market. You’re right in that its demand could not be completely met by shipped supplies; the insufficent supply would drive prices up, as I noted in 118.I never claimed that government cheese was a gourmet food; I did have expectations of it tasting like cheese, though. Its best use would be as an ingredient in cheese sauce, say for macaroni. To be fair, the tinned government beef was better than the cheese (I never did find out where he got them…); shredded rather than ground, quite edible with some garlic and a little salt and pepper, with only an occasional bit of bone or gristle.Were I to live abroad, I think that the only food I would miss is a certain mayonnaise whose brand name depends on which side of the Rockies it’s sold on. [I know that it’s available in Canada, so I’d be able to get my fix there. ;*) I wonder if the Rockies determine its brand name there as well?]Jukka Rohila: Regarding post 166, part (but not all) of the reason for that disparity is the greater population density of France and Germany as compared to the US, which reduces transport costs, and increases the viability of passenger rail service, which is far more fuel-efficient per person-km than automobiles are. Tue 22 Dec 2009 18:29:02 GMT+1 U4466131 #170 WebAliceinwonderland"Ukrainians can't do anything right, :o)))) even to chose a normal time to fix Chernobyl."Don't cry WebAlice, don't cry. Tue 22 Dec 2009 15:59:34 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland And Ukraine itself got nil! Chernobyl located on the North of it. Nothing went East and South, all West and North instead! Tue 22 Dec 2009 15:48:38 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland And, yes, a correct observation, strange :o))) that didn't become mass public knowledge and understanding on your side before :o))))For Russia to throw a bomb left is the same as spit against the wind. Satisfaction, :o))) so to say, guaranteed :o))))BBC Weather knows, all airlines' pilots know, it 100% of the time takes an airplane 20 minutes more time to fly Moscow-Frankfurt, Moscow - London, St. Petersburg - Paris, St. Petersburg - London because you fly to Europe against the wind.And much quicker on return to Russia, which gives airplanes more time to taxi around in the fields, or to prepare for take-off, take their time, in other words in before and after the flight business. In schedules fly times are the same. In practice - you are always less in air on the way from Europe to Russia, flying on the wave, of the stream. Chernobyl was a nasty exception. They started repairs selecting for it that minimum 15% of reverse transfer stream! From Siberia into Europe, combined with an in-flow South-North, the most abnormal weather pattern. Never normally North of Russia has an ounce of air from the Black Sea and South. Right they say that troubles don't arrive alone, but in trio-s. That's why the Ukrainian air mass went not East, where it ought to have done, to settle on Ural mountains, but vertically up North! Was in St. Petersburg in a day, in Finland, in Sweden, Belorussia simply had tons of it! whereas normally they wouldn't get a gulp! total disaster. Ukrainians can't do anything right, :o)))) even to chose a normal time to fix Chernobyl. Tue 22 Dec 2009 15:46:46 GMT+1 U4466131 #166 Jukka RohilaExcellent but Marcus will either ignore it completely or rubbish it on the grounds that some your information comes from Wikipedia.But there you go we know better. Tue 22 Dec 2009 15:37:57 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland And with the snow traffic back-log in Europe elsewhere I would also recommend LOL to relax a little bit about "making it there" by all means by the 24th, remember there is another calendar, always forget which is which, Julian it is that 25th of December is this week? and by Gregorian today is only 22-13 = 9 December today? Or the other way around?If people lived in snow like we do, preventing travel when it intensifies, they'd also knew the use of having 2 calendars in operation, just in case you get stuck in a snow pile on your way to "Christmas party" :o)))) and kept spare 13 days for emergencies :o))) Tue 22 Dec 2009 15:24:04 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland U44:o)66:o)131:o) thank you very much. Also, best Christmas wishes to you, in the un-likely event that we won't speak before Friday.And any way we have here heaps of Christmases, never late to congratulate LOL Russians :o)))), 24th-25th "the Western way" - 31st Int'l New Year - 6th-7th January "the Russian way" - 13th of January "Old New Year" :o))))) (all the havoc caused by 2 weeks' differences btw Julian and Gregorian calendars).So, really, one should try very hard here "to miss the important date" :o)))), one has nearly a month time to deliver presents, pay visits, arrange parties and send post-cards :o))))But of course "the Western way" comes soonest, already this week, so a Very Merry Christmas to you! (for starters :o)))) Tue 22 Dec 2009 15:19:04 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To MarcusAureliusII (152):You left out that oil is a fungible commodity. If for some reason Russia wouldn't sell oil to Europe, but would sell it to other markets instead, then there would be no effect on market price of the oil. And as oil is a fungible commodity Europe could import oil easily with tankers from other oil producers. Now if Russia would not sell oil to Europe and wouldn't sell the surplus oil to anyone, then the whole world would have to pay higher prices for oil. should also add that Europe uses less oil per capita than the USA and reaches same GDP nominal per capita figures consuming much less oil than the US. For example...US 24.8 bbl/year per capitaUS GDP nominal 47,440$ per capitaUS 1 bbl/year produces 1913$...compared to...France 11.9 bbl/year per capitaFrance GDP nominal 46,037$ per capitaFrance 1 bbl/year produces 3868$Germany 12 bbl/year per capitaGermany GDP nominal 44,729$ per capitaGermany 1 bbl/year produces 3227$ point being that Europe is less dependent on oil than the US to keep its economy running.And lastly but not least, 32.9% of oil and 40,4% of gas consumed in Europe comes from Russia... excuse me when I disregard your bleak story of how vulnerable Europe is. Tue 22 Dec 2009 14:39:35 GMT+1 U4466131 #164 GheryandoI object. This is anti trollism at it's worst most trolls are nice people, wouldn't let my daughter marry one but.......#163 WAInteresting point that which brings me back to my thoughts at the height of the cold war and the wisdom of the USSR ever using all those nukes on Western Europe. You'd have to be pretty desperate before you did it. Let's just be grateful it never happened although MA11 would have loved it. Just think, all us nasty ungrateful European socialists and all of you unthinkable creepy communists wiped out in one go. If I don't speak to you again before Friday I wish you a wonderful festive season and a happy and healthy 2010. Tue 22 Dec 2009 13:49:18 GMT+1 Gheryando re #162 MarcusAureliusII - You, my friend, are a troll. Tue 22 Dec 2009 13:29:18 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Well. As a matter of fact I thought I care what Britain does in terms of reducing CO2. And Iceland. From our, Russian perspective. The air moves from left to right, in this continent, and the biggest channel of air transfer rotates constantly on the 60th level, with decreasing amounts of transfer down to 45th. We here in European Russia get our air from Northern Europe, from the West, we get North of Britain air in a day time. You can throw up a letter into the air in Yorkshire, so to say, and get it in St. Petersburg in a day time. Without any mail service :o)))This is the known 60th phenomena, the great 60th' transfer of the globe. Like a Golfstream, only airy one.The 60th air transfer mighty pull West-East works 60% time of every year, in 100% capacity, and just 15% of time is when Europe gets the Siberian air, from the East, in reverse order, when things get upsie down, against the stream. The rest of the time is pour over from the South, pour over from the North, but honestly these are just violations and fringes on the scheme of events, the great and mighty constant West to East traffic. What's there, in terms of cleanliness, on the 60th to our left side I wonder. 50th also count, but less so.I hope nothing much, it's very up North. Tue 22 Dec 2009 13:20:00 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII WA;"Personally MA I think that whatever Europe does in terms of reducing CO2 is irrelevant"Whatever Europe does in terms of anything is irrelevant. Tue 22 Dec 2009 12:58:34 GMT+1 pciii MAII, all of the above: utterly inane.So you propose that China puts in the place the infrastructure in place to take Europe's current share of Russian gas? Do you think that in the mean time the Euros won't be negotiating and prospecting elsewhere (they already are, I've had some involvement).As for the tunnel. Let's get this straight, you're criticising a continent that actually has workable trans-national passenger train services. You, the American capitalist, also appear to be suggesting that the state should have some ferries on standby, just in case.Quoting some ancient tv advert does not lend gravitas and wisdom to your postings. Nor does it back up anything you have said. Just what is your point? Tue 22 Dec 2009 12:58:24 GMT+1 U4466131 #155 MarcusAureliusIIHave you never thought, unlikely as that might be, that your brand of pathetic nastiness is just sad. We can all do it, it's easy and childish. On the subject of thinking and trains I can only suggest that you consider the following 'when they were passing out brains you thought they said trains and got a slow one.' There you are, I've come down to your level I hope it makes you happy. Tue 22 Dec 2009 12:50:55 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Mavrelius is in Christmas moods, but he simply can't allow himself to miss the time to remind all about gas supplies when it got cold for a change for a sec in Europe. :o)))))When next opportunity arrives is un-clear, climate so un-reliable, so now is the best time to scare :o)))) Personally MA I think that whatever Europe does in terms of reducing CO2 is irrelevant, while, how to say, there is a little bit of forest in Russia left. If it gets improved - wonderful and beautiful, but if it doesn't - while there is forest left - it will compensate for, somehow.On how the sales of gas contribute to the growth in CO2 emissions in Europe I don't know. For that one needs , someone like Jukka able to fish out old statistics, Gazprom statistics - how much European consumption of Russin gas grew over the past 45 years. One must remember we sell same gas through the same (so far) Ukrainian and Belorussian tubes to the same Europe since long long time, since USSR, for 40 years plus.Now, if the tubes are the same diameter - it can very well be - Europe they consumes the same amount, more or less, for the past 40 years.Then, as their CO2 grew - it may be it's not because of gas arriving through those old tubes, but something else contributing? For the amounts one needs Gazprom statistics for the 20 years and of the same Gazprom but Soviet state owned for the 20 yrs before the "modern" on. Tue 22 Dec 2009 12:46:24 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII pcii, it's is very discouraging but hardly surprising at least to me that some, possibly many Europeans can't understand the law of supply and demand. Then is it also not surprising that they can't land on Mars without crashing into it? Or that they can't build an electric railway that will operate if the snow is the wrong consistency? I can see why issues of the quality of education come up so frequently in PMQT. UEA was just one more recent demonstration of that reality too. Tue 22 Dec 2009 12:39:23 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII U-Boat, why don't we just try it and see who's right. I said Russia would have to be subsidized for its loss. China could afford keep all that oil and gas in reserve for pipelines built to China in the future. They could buy it now, take delivery later, lock in the price to assure their future supply. Russia will be more than happy to take their money and the Chinese have little else they can do with it now anyway. There was a TV ad by a tire company in the US called Armstong once. It went "You go in snow or we pay the tow." Not even a ferry or two to back up the trains in case they ever failed. No "plan B" whatsoever. That's the Europe I've come to know; "Thimk Ahead." Could it get any worse...or funnier? So when all those Brits stuck in France run out of money on just surviving until they can get back home as the French fleece them in their plight (they're famous for that of course) what will the French government or SNCF say about it when they can't even afford to eat in those exorbitant restaurants anymore where the meals leave you with a half empty feeling..."let them eat cake?" Tue 22 Dec 2009 12:32:48 GMT+1 pciii #151 "If Russia cut Europe off from it's exports of oil and gas, prices around the world would suddenly drop because of a sudden surplus of capacity."Stick to doing the wiring Sparky, you're knowledge of economics is sadly lacking. Tue 22 Dec 2009 12:23:24 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII U-Boat;I strongly urge you to leave the thinking to others. It can be very dangerous if you are not properly equipped and trained for it. Many who shouldn't have made the attempt have tried it anyway and look at what a mess they've left the world in. And I'm afraid they're still at it. Try not to contribute to thought pollution. We're neck deep in it as it is. BTW, got a bicycle? The least they could have done was provide bicycles for those trapped in the Chunnel who could pedal them. No Mopeds though. Tue 22 Dec 2009 12:17:42 GMT+1 U4466131 #151 MarcusAureliusIIThere's a fatal flaw in your logic. If Russia cut Europe off from it's oil and gas the first problem would be for Russia. No income, the second for Europe but where would this surplus of oil and gas go? The answer to that is, nowhere for the short to medium term, there would be no surplus because it takes a long time to build pipelines to new customers. There aren't enough pipes now which is why we are building more, so just switching the supply to other customers is not an option.I would have thought an engineer would have thought of that. Your cold war thinking needs adjusting. Russia needs Europe probably more than Europe needs Russia. Tue 22 Dec 2009 12:11:07 GMT+1 U4466131 #151 MarcusAureliusIIDuring the course of this particular thread I had become to think that Marcus had had some kind of personal restructuring a 'seminal moment' even. There were interesting posts that refrained from the usual tirade of 'US is the best and the rest are trash' variety. I put it down to the arrival of the festive season but no, it couldn't last, here we go again foaming at the mouth 'rabid US engineer bites European'Such a pity. Tue 22 Dec 2009 11:55:29 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII Speaking about being cut off, I noticed that Chunnel train traffic is still ground to a halt with tens of thousands of people stuck in France, unable to get home. The explanation I heard on TV is that the Chunnel train was developed to survive wet heavy snow but not light dry snow and so when this snow melted inside the chunnel the entire thing suffered a catastrophic electrical short circuit. Hundreds of people were forced to walk with their luggage however many miles through the service tunnel to get out. What a plan. What technology. A hundred years of building electrified railway systems which operate in every conceivable weather condition and this is the best Europe can do. They want to have a competitive space program, build monster jumbo jets, supercolliding atom smashers, global positioning satellites, save the world from climate change all through technology but they can't even make electric trains that operate when the snow is the wrong consistancy. And people wonder why I chide Europe for its backwardness. Hey, any word from the Beagle II yet? :-) Tue 22 Dec 2009 11:50:26 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII pcii;If Russia cut Europe off from it's exports of oil and gas, prices around the world would suddenly drop because of a sudden surplus of capacity. Of course in Europe they'd go through the roof. But I wasn't thinking about Europe. In my calculus of the world, Europe doesn't count for much. Europeans don't like to face that fact but the little demonstration at the end of the meeting in Hopelesshagen last week shows who the real players in the world are. I'm not here to teach you economics pcii. I Strongly recommend you read Samuelson's textbook if you are interested in learning something about it and how markets work. It's the one I used in college. Samuelson died within the last couple of weeks. Tue 22 Dec 2009 11:35:18 GMT+1 angloscotty Re 128 from Maria AshotThis is the most sensible contribution to the population growth debate I have read. How much more sensible it would have been to spend the time devoted to the shambolic Copenhagen conference, if we could have agreed globally that the population issue is even more imortant than curbing CO2 emissions, and that education is the key? The most senseless analysis of the outcome which emerged from Copenhagen is that its main failure was a lack of a legally binding agreement. No one seems to have commented on the impossibility of enforcing a legally binding committment on a nation. What is the rest of the world supposed to do? Wipe it off the global map? What posturing nonsense! Tue 22 Dec 2009 10:00:06 GMT+1 U4466131 #124 cool_brush_work You Think I'm that vain huh! No,I have seen you on this blog many times. Re Murdoch News Corp and Europe. I re read my #122 and realised that I could have phrased it better. On three occasions that I can think of where Murdoch/News Corp have been sniffing around European media (Bartelsmann, Canal +, The Independent} suggestions have been made in the European press and by MEP's that such legislation should be brought in. The equally unlovely M Berlusconi has also made this suggestion on a couple of occasions, but that is probably just to wind up Rupert.Re the mechanics of such legislation, I think that it was only ever suggested for media ownership and never taken much beyond the suggestion stage. It did, however, ruffle Rupert's feathers and both he and his sons have remarked on it on several occasions usually at the same time as they are describing the BBC as the 'Evil Empire'. Tue 22 Dec 2009 09:27:19 GMT+1 pciii #141 "So if Europe were cut off from Russian oil, the price around the would drop."To coin a phrase, What exactly in hell are you talking about? Please don't tell me that you really believe this Marcus? The price of Russian oil might drop briefly, but only a fool would think that global suppliers wouldn't be inundated with increased demand from Europe, using the opportunity to increase prices as countries bid against each other. Tue 22 Dec 2009 08:30:44 GMT+1 David WAIts a bittersweet poem, but with foreboding this one poem. Thank you. (I love bittersweet stuff--its life--cathartic) This, also, captures one's attention. I guess, finally, I will read the book. I need more poetry in life :) Tue 22 Dec 2009 06:31:43 GMT+1 David I dont walk our streets at night are kids with nothing to do and plenty of time to do it. :) Tue 22 Dec 2009 03:34:11 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Yesterday was nasty day, birthday of Stalin. Various cock-roaches normally crawl out on the day. Quiet, though, this year. The shortest day in the year, the longest polar night. Today? Or tomorrow? From Wednesday I think the day will start adding up :o)Oh, Saakashvili kicked out a trick, had monument to Georgians fallen in the 2ndWW blown up. Not the whole piece, just 120 tons of it! :o))))The wall, high wall, with an arch-like opening in it, where stands a Georgian knight on a horse, under the arch way. The horseman he exported, and the wall blew up. Big scandal we wrote a note of protest, Georgians also protesting as they can. Those who are not modern war "revisionists".A charmer, every 10th Georgian fell in that war.Saakashvili wants a new parliament building in the place, and Georgia is so small, 50 metres to the left to the right in the field they couldn't :o))))Huge scandal, in our quarters, especially that he blew up without a warning, afraid of protests, and 2 people passer-by-s were torn to pieces. What can Saakashvili possibly "revise" about that war is beyond anyone's understanding. Of the good things we heard that the sign over Aushwitz the Polish police has found. My mum says granted teenagers, Aushwitz is in a very poor, workers' quarters of Poland, has always been un-safe there, you couldn't walk out in the evenings because of street gangs' crime. Must be stupid youngsters. Tue 22 Dec 2009 03:22:56 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Yes, Cheryando, we've got "metel'" /snow storm behind the window, what else to do. Literally, "a sweeper" :o)))) It sweeps snow at you like a floor brush. Window in designs, don't know how it's called in English.For that matter did any one see Christmas decorations in shops which are NOT made in China? :o))) Millions and billions and all chains and balls and what not are China-made. By the way next year 2010 the year of tiger, white tiger, by Eastern calendar, we've got heaps of tigers in all formats here don't know how about in the EU?Saw 2 hand-painted Ukrainian balls for the Christmas tree with idiotic tigers and a lonely pack of Russian glass balls hand-painted that's all! All the rest Chinese!Today's newspaper advises me that "if you want your tree decorated "traditional Russian" way - keep to all multi-coloured things hanging on, and if you want it "traditional European" way - keep to 1 colour or 2 colours max. And if you want vintage hang on CD discs :o))) or forgot what else. Traditional Russian I'd say is to install the tree into a bucket of water on the 30th of December and keep it till end of March! If you are lucky. Whereas "traditional European" never saw Christmas trees kept longer than for a week :o))))David, Pasternak, right, a muscovite. The end of Doc Zhivago is poems, un-usual format for a novel. One starts "It swept and swept across all Earth, towards all limitsA candle burned all night on desk, a candle burned.And there dropped two little shoes with knock knock :o) on the floorAnd wax, like tears, off the desk, onto the chairs was falling in dropletsAnd all was getting lost in white fog, in white and grey-hairedA candle burned all night on desk, a candle burned. :o) Tue 22 Dec 2009 03:10:39 GMT+1 David Dr Zhivago, I realize, is written originally by a Russian writer -- Pasternick Tue 22 Dec 2009 02:37:15 GMT+1 David OK, thank you Web Alice, I do like culture AND history. :)BTW, what about the birch tree, is that emblamatic of Russia? White Birch? In the British movie, Dr. Zhivago (Pasternick-sp?) there were so many birch trees -- maybe they are called silver birch.It's probably not what you guys were talking about. :) But, thank you, I will look. I need to see "Solaris," because I like Science Fiction--especially the "hard" science fiction--not space opera --type movie). Tue 22 Dec 2009 02:33:00 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII JK:"MarcusAureliusII: For post 81, that wouldn’t force a reduction of just European energy use; what it would do is set off a bidding scramble for the remaining oil and gas on the market. Everyone’s oil and gas would become more expensive, which would benefit the remaining suppliers, and which would force a reduction of energy use worldwide (due to price) — except for the place no longer selling their oil and gas to foreign customers."I don't think it works that way at all. By that logic, if nobody wanted any, the price would be infinite. By the law of supply and demand, when demand goes down (because Europe is cut off) but the supply remains constant, prices should tumble for those who have access to it. Europe would buy as much of it as it could from other sources to make up for its lost suppier but I think the ability to obtain full replacement by sea isn't there because of limits of the port facilities, perhaps even the number of ships. So if Europe were cut off from Russian oil, the price around the would drop.US government cheese in storage is not meant as a gourmet food, it is meant to stay edible indefinitely and then to keep people from starving to death when it is needed. Anyway, it's still a matter of taste. When I lived in France, a friend of mine who had gone back to the states for a holiday came back with a container of Wispride processed "American Cheese" as a gift for a mutual French friend of ours. She asked me some time later if there wasn't something wrong with it. I tasted it and it was an American palate. But it was not comparable to anything the French were accostomed to or would like. I wasn't surprised. Chaque un a son gout as the French least that's what I think they say...sometimes. At that time the song "Popcorn" was popular but popcorn was unknown in France. At some French friends' request I came back from a holiday in the states with some. Also requested was peanut butter. They'd also never seen whipped cream in an aerosol can. Funny, America's Test Kitchen, one of my favorite cooking shows did a report on supermarket bought whipped cream as a substitute for fresh made whipped cream recently. They hated all of them including my favorite RediWhip. I found out when I brought some back to France that RediWhip will last and last and last unrefrigerated. Evidently there are enough chemicals in it to keep it from going bad for a very long time....unlike the stuff I ate in France which sometimes seemed to be sour immediately. Tue 22 Dec 2009 02:27:09 GMT+1 Gheryando Wow're the poster of the day Tue 22 Dec 2009 01:01:35 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland OK, David. Google yaom.Will give you a Russian site for on-line viewing direct. You can't copy a film there only to switch it on and watch on-line.Their search line is stupid does not understand names of the films translated into English.But reacts to some English in the way we need.In their search line in the upper right hand corner fill in Irina Kupchenko. (name of one of the actresses there.)The site opens just 2 films, and the one of them is The star of captivating bliss! finally!Surely "captivating". After so much trouble! Tue 22 Dec 2009 00:43:24 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland And, David, don't even think to buy Solaris. You will die from boredom, it is long and ununderstandable. Tue 22 Dec 2009 00:29:55 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland OK David,if you search in Amazon for "Formula of Love", it comes up the third from the top, after some books and among hand lotions:o))) a DVD "Russian language only". $12.97!!!! Awful. if you search in Amazon for "The White Sun of the Desert" it comes up first, "5 new starting from 16.48"!!! robbery. if you search in Amazon for "The captivating star of happiness", it pops up second from the top, "two new at 9.94"!I don't know. You'll get robbed this way, movie by movie. Must be another way. Will look up in Russian internet sources. Jukka, this link of yours, international movie database, it's descriptions only ? you can't see any thing there, right?A hoax, for Alices! What else could one expect from you! :o))))) Tue 22 Dec 2009 00:28:37 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland OK, Jukks as always, indE?spensible, indI?spensable - a treasure re links!David, if to believe Jukks, there is Formula of Love (Count Caliostro and friends', Italians' adventures in Russia) (real thing he was here). What Russians in their dacha-s do with poor foreigners :o)))) the beginning, Caliostro in St. Petersburg selling his formula of love, start when you see country scenes, Caliostro's carriage arrives to a Russian dacha estate. (gets broken there, to be more exact :o)))Here is the Star of Captivating Bliss an old thing, but this one isn't funny and is long, you might get bored. About one young chap who desired to marry a French girl a nobody, a sewing lady, and his mum was against as that was one of the richest families in Russia. Anyway they fell in love, only he participated in nobility uprising against one of our tsars, and was packed away to Siberia, same Gulag, only 2 hundred years earler, together with the rest of his friends. 5 leaders of the plot tsar simply hanged up, in St. Petersburg here, in the St. Peter and Paul fortress.Anyway the French girl fell to the feet of the tsar horses asking permission to marry a prizoner, and tsar kindly :o)))) allowed. And she followed the poor chap to Siberian uranium or whatever mines, where he sat in chains underground. The young guy's mum regretted deeply and profoundly that she didn't bless their love before, as the girl proved to be extraordinary decent, but it was too late. She tried to hold her, though, at home, to decorate the decline of own years, poured her in diamonds and tried to convince not to ruin her young life, following her silly son to Siberia. But the French girl was very stubborn and went and married him there. Along with other Russian wives, who also followed their husbands to Siberian mines. There is a set expression : "Decembrists' wives", meaning sacrifice, of those uprising in December participants' wives.Any woman in Russia ever after who follows her husband in troubles be that prizon Siberia whatever, is called a "typical Decembrists' wife".For they were richest families, and every girl who went against tsar desire had to sign a paper that all money goes to the state, estates given up, lands given up, children to be left behind at home forever never to see, and new kids should they be born in Siberia will be serfs!Quite a paper to sign for a young rich girl. Mon 21 Dec 2009 22:58:13 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Maria-Ashot, you're kidding, the only thing I do is talk to various trees LOL! shaking various "paws" as hello-s and good-bye-s, not to miss offend someone :o))))) mostly apple-trees imploring them not to die out and freeze over, and may be even , like, kindly produce me 4 apples! instead of standard 2 per tree :o)))))We've got one apple-tree father was silly named it after me. The source of my neverending concern since after :o)))) because I'm natutrally worried of its well-being :o)))) (never never do this!) Well when that wonder finally came up with a single apple father had it gilded ! wrapped in gilded foil! and put on his shelf somewhere and admired for a long time :o)))) and annoyed me in parallel if I'm going finally to bring home "a baby in an apron" :o)))))Nothing helps. They want sun and not to stand neck-high in water, the dacha is drowning. Mon 21 Dec 2009 21:50:06 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To WebAliceinwonderland (133):Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky case of availability, if Amazon doesn't have it, you really don't want to have it. Mon 21 Dec 2009 21:43:41 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Maria-Ashot, glad to see you back.First thing - I spotted you saw L. in the other thread! Great and wonderful. Too late to pass them over hello-s for Christmas now though :o(I am most fond of "I", on that side of the Atlantic.Could be that you met "O" and family. Poor "O" couldn't even get to his house because of the 4 metre iron fence. But if you met "O" he would have complained to you, already.On the pyramid hanging over Kremlin we aren't sure, because it's everywhere in photos and videos but not a single live muscovite on the ground who saw it. Appears either a fake or as it happens sometimes with those halo-s and various lighted things is seen only on film, when you take a chancy pic of Kremlin as a tourist. Besides it's a grey, un-impressive triangle, nothing shiny or beautiful, and we initially thought may be another Bulava mis-travelling :o)))) but no, no sparks or anything interesting. Just a grey ugly thing. Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper and Echo of Moscow both announced they welcome anyone who saw it not through lens but with own eyes, and nobody replied from Moscow. So, in tourist cameras and videos exclusively. Maria-Ashot, while you are here, David here has been wondering where in internet to get hold of some Russian-Soviet films to see, and I didn't know, said when you are back on-line we'll ask you. Any ideas?Or do you have them on DVD, video and never looked in the web?The White Sun of the Desert I recommended David to see, and the Star of Captivating Bliss, and the Formula of Love, and may be Curcus! Circus! Curcus! or may be Volga-Volga, or "Cuban cossacks" or I don't know. What's the point to "recommend" if I can't advise where to get films. Mon 21 Dec 2009 21:26:13 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Jan_Keeskop, yes, yes, 29401, Charleston! Will remember and use as as mantra. :o)))) For dialling codes in safe boxes LOL and other handy places :o))))As it is I use the telephone I was taught when 2-3 years old not to be lost in the streets alone and tell strangers to dial if I am found in the Taurida park (knyaz' Potyomkin's ex-garden/Catherine the II lover No 15). Parents really worked hard on making me to remember it, apparently, as that's the only number I remember in my life. :o))))Apparently with the address it was a no-go :o)))) but the home tel number I memorised somehow :o)))))_____Jukka, a friend of mine has married a Customs' officer. May be I should enquier enquier enque ASK what's the import tariffs on log cabins and we start a business ith you in the decline of our years. By simple look at the dacha village (800 houses) every second house needs re-placing by the new wooden house. OK, those who don't can still build a second one and rent it out in summer. That barack of 17 thousand dollars worth without technicalities, that my brother's friend finished this summer - he's going to lend lent? have "dachniki" dacha dwellers in it, in summers, and the dacha rental price in our village is 1,500 US dollars a month. ! He built this barack not for himself, but to rent it out, May-Sep. Many do this who have land by St. Petersburg.2 floors you say? can't believe. Let's start re-export, and local Tajiks will be putting them together in Lahta. Mon 21 Dec 2009 21:06:06 GMT+1 Maria Ashot Alice, have you tried actually taking care of the plants?And have you tried talking with them? No, I am not kidding.Treat a plant with the same care, attention, affection & dignity you accord a human presence -- assuming you do, and from your writing here I would assume you do -- and it will thrive.Russians used to be really good with nature... Mon 21 Dec 2009 21:05:27 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Worse than larch in the dacha then looked only sun-flowers. Father brought from Ukraine as experiment. Then we lost them. Then we found them. There was a grove of bamboo :o)))), about 4-5 metres high :o))))), thin sickly shoots, disappearing up in the sky. And if you look at them from the 2nd floor of the house, LOL, you saw tiny yellow plates on top of them - poor sun-flowers tried "to get to the sun". :o))))) Mon 21 Dec 2009 20:49:47 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Jan_Keeskop, yes, larch. I don't know even how it looks like, it's in Siberia (and in Canada and in America). Now I looked I know I have one defective sample in the dacha, what I thought is an extraordinary sickly fir tree, shadowing my veranda window, an idiotic thin and bending stuff, with strange soft needles and branches way too far away from each other, and not even geometrical, someone's present must be from Siberia, some of fathers' friends brought over to plant. But now I see it's larch, by the cones. :o)Jesus Christ. What an ugly sickly baby. Definitely feeling un-well in St. Petersburg.While Russian wiki tells me it's supposed to be 100cm in diameter and straight, and grow at a rate of 1 metre per year, reaching btw 50 metres and 100 metres height (in Siberia).Ours is thin as a hand, and there for 25 yrs, and managed to be barely 3 metres high. NOT promising as beams for my future new dacha.Russian wiki also explains why Russians this side of Urals don't have it for the floors to say nothing of walls of their houses. "Siberian larch drowns in water same dense as iron therefore cannot be sent down or along the rivers like other timber." "Wood-workers hate it as it has so much tar? those? sticky ? things in that it spoils all the wood cutting instruments at once."When I get fed up totally with my sickly imported sample I'll drown it in the pond! That's what I'll do. :o)))) Mon 21 Dec 2009 20:47:13 GMT+1 Maria Ashot The way to achieve population sanity is to make responsible procreation the second lesson after the literacy lesson, on the first day in school -- and from thereon in.No, that need not require explaining the functioning of the human reproductive system to five-year-olds if that is not what you want taught.All it involves is putting the idea in the heads of Boys as well as Girls: "How old are you? How old were you a year ago? How old are you going to be next year?"And then you ask: "And when you are big and strong and all grown up, who will you be? And who will you be like?"And then you say: "And will you be having a little boy or a little girl just like you, when you are all grown up?"And then you say: "How many boys or girls just like you do you think you would like to be taking care of, when you are the age of your Father/Mother/Grandpa/Sister/Uncle?"You would be surprised how effectively the brains of very young children process information.If you convey, at a very early age, the idea that it is important to Think about family size, that there is some Desire (Choice) involved -- and if you gather the inputs from the very young Boys & Girls about how they perceive family size, family relations & family responsibilities -- you will find that you have a very receptive audience even in the youngest groups.And then you just have to reinforce the right ideas -- early on, well ahead of puberty.If more policymakers spent at least a year teaching primary school children, first-years -- the really, really small ones -- they would have more confidence in the extraordinary potential of education policy, when intelligently, positively crafted, to shape adult behaviours.We do succeed, everywhere on earth, in teaching most little ones to read, write and count.We can also teach them to think about their options when it comes to assuming responsibility for the care of others. Most little kids especially do not naturally crave large families, especially when they are poor.The "value" of a having a very, very big family of offspring is largely an idea invented by powerful, wealthy and ambitions clans, in most cultures. It has been enshrined in some religious ideas as well, for the reason that many religious authorities have also been obsessed with power, and so have participated in the culture of dynasties that competed for political & economic power, and so saw the number of sons and daughters to use to forge alliances with others as an important advantage -- especially in the days of short or uncertain life expectancy.Those ideas can be reconfigured in the awareness of most people. And it is not just the Girls who need to be taught differently: it must also be the Boys who learn that having a Wife & Children is COMPLICATED, not just a natural & obvious consequence of growing up.Yes, it is good to become a Parent -- but you must be an Intelligent Parent. You cannot view a human life as anything akin to a weed, or even a blade of grass, to be allowed to grow haphazardly "just because." Mon 21 Dec 2009 19:44:24 GMT+1 angloscotty Re 118There is no simple answer to how to achieve a steady state population, certainly not by force or edict.Education is very important. Even in India there are regions with high educational standards, high quality of life, low poverty, and a birth rate of only 1.5 per fertile woman, with an average age at marriage of 28. Yet neighbouring regions have high birth rate poor education and age at marriage of 18.The only certainty is that unfettered population growth is completely unsustainable, and whether we like it or not, lack of food and education will take its toll.We cannot carry on pretending otherwise.Mankind has to realise that it is a tenant of the planet and not the master whose will must be obeyed. We are already too big for our boots. Mon 21 Dec 2009 19:23:57 GMT+1 Maria Ashot Alice: so the question I have is:Some Russians, notably a portion of the better, non-alcoholic parents & the new generation of pro-earth farmers, are figuring out that they need to live in harmony with the land, their family, their community -- what in the West is promoted as "sustainable" farming.I know these people: and quite a few of them get promoted even on the rather desultory & off-kilter Russian TV programing. But far too many Russians somehow believe the word "zapreshcheno" -- "forbidden" -- does not apply to them on any personal level.They want everyone else to follow logical & ethical concepts, yet they do not apply them to themselves.I have had at least 20 people during my last two-month stay tell me about driving: "Obviously it is impossible to get anywhere if you follow the rules of the road. Everyone knows the rules of the road are not for anyone to follow strictly." After which, there would be some really horrendous, dangerous driving. What happened to the feeling of pride -- of satisfaction -- attached to doing things intelligently, BY THE RULES, and also effectively?And the same applies to so many other areas of life.Russians have become a people of expert excuse-makers. There was "your friend" Vladimir Yakunin on BBC video, on the record saying "Russia is misunderstood."Our people were given a great, incalculable natural treasure to hold in trust: THAT LAND, which is worth so much more than the majority of incompetents who defile it with their greedy, criminal schemes.Will we rise to the moment to defend its integrity as a whole, healthy, vital zapovednik -- preserve -- for the benefit of human survival? In which case, cleaning it up, protecting it, managing it, maintaining it must become the No. 1 Priority of every single Russian soul out there?Or are we going to follow Esau's example and sell our birthright for a bowl of lentils? Or a Hummer? I note with some satisfaction that EGaidar kicked the bucket. Maybe it marks the beginning of the end of the culture of Greed, in Russia. Because that is what his fat little cheeks represented, to me.I met him once, in the 1990s, courtesy of Sun Microsystems. He had excellent English, no manners to speak of -- and really, really lame ideas. You could tell all he was after was pleasing whomever would give him the fattest bank account. And now, at the ripe age of 53 -- just a 15-16 months older than I am -- his tenure as midwife of Russian 20th century oligarchy comes to an abrupt end.And by the way: what of that "pyramid" over the Kremlin zone of Moscow? A hoax? A mirage? Any eyewitnesses? Lenin's relatives dropping in to visit the corpse?First there was the "round lightning over Moscow" a couple of months ago, and now this bizarre thing.As the saying goes: A Russian won't come to his senses ("cross himself") until he hears the thunderclap.Anyone coming to their senses yet? Was the pyramid searching for signs of intelligent life?And if so, did they find any? Mon 21 Dec 2009 19:11:37 GMT+1 Maria Ashot Just the AIG bailout alone is running into the hundreds of billions of US dollars. The NY Times yesterday or the day before cited a figure of 750Billion U$D, and rising. So yes, it is absurd to speak of a 100 B fund as "a bug commitment."It will require, in the end several Trillions of US currency (based on current values) -- but it will be well worth it, because, in the end, at least half of that money will be paid out in compensation to people working in the field, and will come right back in consumption & revenue.The trick is to get the funds invested in green production now, so that when the compensation begins to flow it does not increase the emissions burden so much, but instead goes towards earth-friendly industries.It can be done: it is not at all impossible. Those who imagine it is impossible should step aside and allow those of us who know how to get this done just get it done. Mon 21 Dec 2009 18:50:00 GMT+1 cool_brush_work Re #122 and Rupert MurdochNo, I'm not following you around. I also concur with your explanation of the unsavoury Murdoch's 'nationality' hopping.However, I am puzzled about your 'EU' reference to ownership and nationality: I have not heard of these moves by the EU and was wondering how exactly they might do such a thing? Surely, Europe is not going to exclude anyone on grounds of 'nationality' from controlling businesses in the EU?If EU did I believe somewhere in the region from 30 to 40% of UK-European firms would have to change the controlling shareholder stake! And what would be the point in any case: It's an international trading world? Mon 21 Dec 2009 18:08:01 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To Jan_Keeskop (121): is graph that plots CO2 emissions from 1800 to this day. If you look at the graph what you can easily see is that after 1950 the CO2 emissions exploded. You should also note that oceans have largely in the past absorbed our CO2 emissions, but as with everything, there are limits on what our oceans can take and when we brake those limits the fun starts quickly. Mon 21 Dec 2009 17:39:06 GMT+1 U4466131 #77 Gheryando "Lastly, Rupert Murdoch has made it his lifetime mission to discredit the European Union in the UK through his media outlets. I have no idea why since he's Australian but I would really like to know."I can explain that. Rupert Murdoch holds dual nationality he is Australian by birth and a US citizen by choice. He made that choice when he bought FOX Studios because under the then existing SU laws you could not own a US media company unles you were a US citizen. There have been more than one attempt made within Europe to bring in such legislation and Rupert does not like this because he can't have yet another nationality. If the EU brought in legislation requiring media owners to be EU based and EU nationals Rupert would be forced to get rid of his UK assets and this is why he constantly attacks the EU. Maybe it's time the much maligned 'evil EU' earned it's reputation and brought in such legislation, it would stop Rupert interfering in UK politics for one thing and that would definitely be a step forward. Mon 21 Dec 2009 17:20:38 GMT+1 Jan_Keeskop cool_brush_work: Agreed! The series was a stellar example of what television could have been, rather than the Who Wants to Make a Publicly Humiliating Spectacle of Himself? direction that it took.MarcusAureliusII: When I was a hungry student, a friend had acquired a ten-pound (4.5 kg) block of “government cheese” from somewhere, and the lot of us decided to try it out in grilled-cheese sandwiches. The best thing about that cheese was its price; the experiment wasn’t repeated, despite the dearth of alternatives within our limited means.WebAliceinwonderland: I think that it was filmed in the early 1970s. I watched it in the mid-1970s, one episode per week for six months or so. I haven’t seen it since [yet ;*) ], but its opening theme music still readily comes to mind. I don’t remember what it covered on the USSR v. Japan conflict, but my guess is that this series is what was shown on your TV.Jukka Rohila: I’m sorry, I didn’t plan on going down this old familiar by-way. To try to bring it back towards the thread’s topic — I wonder if anyone has tried to estimate the amount of greenhouse gases produced between 1939 and 1945, how global temperatures could have been affected during that period? Mon 21 Dec 2009 17:20:14 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To WebAliceinwonderland (104):You are being ripped of with the prices of log cabins. I checked what log cabins cost in Finland, for example an easy to build up log cabin packet for 4,5mx4,4m cabin with two livable floors costs 4000e without VAT, add to this cost of foundation, a metal roof, insulation and interiors, still shouldn't cost more than 6000 - 8000e at total. The manufacturer says that two able bodied men can build the frame in just couple of days.Maybe you should ask Putin for the Russian government to pay compensation from the money gotten from timber export tariffs to people who import wood back to Russia to replace wood exported out of the country! Just take example from Americans and call the law something like Law of Patriotic Import of Wood for the Glory of Russia. Mon 21 Dec 2009 17:17:10 GMT+1 U4466131 #73 EUprisoner209456731 "As for you being bored! I do not post here to entertain you."Well you have certainly achieved that objective, entertaining you are not. Boring to the point of inducing sleep, possibly but entertaining no. Many have made the point that they see the graft and corruption of the undeveloped/developing nations as a serious problem. It most certainly will be and the three ring circus that was Copenhagen did nothing to redress this.Our problem seems to be that to take no action can only be seen to be foolish, but unless the action is concerted and world wide it will not have the necessary effect. Seems like we are stuck between a rock and a very hard place and it will be our children and grand children who will pay the real price. Complaints about spending money seem very petty if you consider just what future you maybe bequeathing them. Mon 21 Dec 2009 17:05:55 GMT+1 Jan_Keeskop Ah, judgment has been returned on post 105: apparently the tree comment was immoderate, because it contained a non-English word. A redacted reposting follows:geoffrey terry: On post 51, how much would you estimate your bipolar pumping project to cost?Seraphim85: For post 57, it would still require an enormous infrastructure investment to move the electricity across the Mediterranean, wouldn’t it?Jukka Rohila: In post 61, whether or not the results of Copenhagen were a failure depends upon what one’s expectations were for it. I don’t doubt that for some people, the results of Copenhagen were a success — due to having had different goals for it. What next? for the EU would depend upon each person asking the question, and each person’s readiness, willingness, and ability to pursue his goals.angloscotty: For post 63, what would you recommend as answers to the global population question?luke: On post 70, all tools have limited use… except duct tape. ;*)WebAliceinwonderland: In post 72, Euro-4 is coming to Russia on New Year’s Day, so it sounds like Russian industry is closing the gap.Regarding post 95, my dictionary gives larch as the English translation of [the immoderate Russian tree name]. Wikipedia lists three different larch species growing in Siberia. The wood from tamarack (a North American larch) is also recommended for outdoor uses, such as porch construction.For post 99, perhaps the ZIP code from your Charleston would be appropriate? ;*) — 29401.MarcusAureliusII: For post 81, that wouldn’t force a reduction of just European energy use; what it would do is set off a bidding scramble for the remaining oil and gas on the market. Everyone’s oil and gas would become more expensive, which would benefit the remaining suppliers, and which would force a reduction of energy use worldwide (due to price) — except for the place no longer selling their oil and gas to foreign customers. Mon 21 Dec 2009 15:54:27 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland I think I saw the documentary you speak about, don't know from where but saw at nights, around last victory day, TV showed at about 3-4 in the morn! The voice sounded English to me, and it was many series, not one night. And looked very realistic to me, not like modern war revisionism, I even thought "why they all don't know now and say various crap while there is a good film in English saying very much how it was, agreeing with the Russian view". As minimum, saw nothing disagreeable with the Russian understanding of war there. May be because lots of our footage included. Don't know when it was done but must be people had more realistic view of the war back then then it is now, in some crazy quarters!I wonder Jan_Keeskop if it ends with the Russian entry into China, that footage, then it is that film. Well, not ends, but has that war in as well. Mon 21 Dec 2009 15:42:39 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland When humid - your logs take in humidity. When dry - they slowly give it away. It's a climate control conditioner, self-activating, human, slow and natural. But they should be fat in diameter, so that you hardly embrace by arms or that you don't. And this makes basements expensive, because the house gets awful heavy. Mon 21 Dec 2009 13:52:58 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland MA, I agree, about unnerving qualities :o) of compressed wood chips and glue. Look suspicious to me, in other words. Though, likewise, here all are builing of them, and all survive, and all are advertising them, to sell more houses built of it. En vogue, most likely because the trend started "in the West", where innovations are picked up first, and then it travels down the markets (acc. to that MBA that you are so critical (rightly) about :o), it's called Int'l Product Life Cycle as far as I remember. Meaning all markets want things at their different times, money and other things permitting, so, gracefully :o) for sellers, if a thing can't be sold in one place stuck in the warehouses dead - there'd always be another market in another stage of the Life Cycle, where exactly that crap is wanted, it's their hey hop time. While the old place is saturated or whatever. With this glue and chips the minus is you need to add all paraphernalia? para? anyway, linings, inside and outside and insulation, and be careful and all. Otherwise frost crack rain leak gone. With logs (sorry, I am obsessed with getting somewhere them :o))))- they stand frost themselves, and rain and leaks and all, without nothing extraordinary in terms of inside-outside lining. Wood-board outside, and those thin sheets of the same glue and chips - inside. Simply, to be able to stick wallpaper, so that your walls are straight, not curvy. How do glue and chips without insulation hold warmth at minus 30?They simply don't. A log does. One thick pine-tree log wall by itself - even without straight walls - is a guarantee patented - that at -30 warmth will stay inside. -30 outside, any heater inside, if you are separated from outside world by a wall made up of simple logs +20 guaranteed inside. Holding 50 degrees C difference - that's what the pine-tree log insurance is. That's why it's so badly wanted in our part of the world. And is priced accordingly! like black caviar! far higher than any glue and chips. Mon 21 Dec 2009 13:49:32 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII WA;I must admit there is something extremely unnerving to me about exterior grade particle board and oriented strand board (OSB) made from compressed wood chips and glue. But experts keep assuring me these materials are strong, light, durable, weather resistant and make excellent materials for building houses. These "engineered" products are made probably under extreme pressure with materials that have proven themselves in extensive testing to be suited to their purpose. I have to accept what these experts say but it isn't easy when you look at it, feel it in your hands. So far my new house hasn't collapsed after 10 years. Neither have my neighbors nor any others I've heard of. It is material that is very easy to work with I admit. If you want to run an electrical wire or pipe though one, you can drill a hole in it in about a second.You won't be able to build a house in America for $17,000. Not in Western Europe either I think. Building a house in the US requires in addition to buyig land, hiring an architect, licensed contractors, obtaining permits, and inspection. Or you can buy one from a developer who does all of that for you. Usually if you can't or don't want to arrange your own financing, he can do that too. Of all the things you can build in the way of structures larger than a storage shed it struck me that there is nothing easier to build than a house. The techniques are very well known. If you build a large house in America today, it's build much the same way as a small house except that you get more of it. Interior finishes like kitchen cabinets and carpet may be fancier in a luxury home and there may be some unique features like a whirlpool tub instead of an ordinary bathtub in the master bathroom but I consider these details. From a construction point of view they are mere gingerbread even if they are more expensive.One reason the US is saturated with such a surplus of houses is that they are so easy to build. In the US material is cheap, labor is expensive. In the orient labor used to be cheap and material expensive. That is because of the difficulty of importing it from the west. But now in places like China material has also become very cheap while labor remains cheap except in a few places like Japan. Europe has the worst of all worlds with both expensive labor and expensive material. But unlike the US, taxes are very so high on everything, that your net salary after taxes in Europe is low and prices are high. This is one thing I noticed when I lived in Europe. In comparing buying power of people with comparable jobs, because of high retail prices and low net salaries, little competition (don't know how it is now but they did not have the kind of cutthroat competition among retailers in Europe they have always had here) the amount of "stuff" you could buy was much less. America is drowning in material stuff. Houses, cars, electronics, clothing, even industrial buildings, you name it. We have a throw away society. Something breaks, you just throw it away, it's often cheaper to replace it. I once knew one guy who had 9 cars. The most I ever had at one time was only 4. It is hard to believe that there are people going hungry in America. I have to ask why. Food is so cheap and plentiful. The government gives away food stamps to people who are poor. It has stockpiled millions of pounds of cheese in salt caves for an "emergency." You have to wonder if any of it will ever be eaten. Yet we have so many hungry people here. What's wrong? Right now our financial system is broken. It's the result of about 40 or 50 years of the government and industry being run by MBAs and lawyers. They care clueless. Give someone an MBA and they think they know how to run a business. Give them a law degree and they think they are smart enough to not just try legal cases but to make laws too. They have wrecked the country. Time to replace them with people who have actually experienced life as it is, not as it was taught in classrooms. Mon 21 Dec 2009 12:04:01 GMT+1 cool_brush_work 'World At War': Sat enthralled with my Parents who had met and married in Brussels during the European part of the 'war'.Easily the best ever series on WW2: The vivid film footage was the documentary archive of those who were there, the comments and contributions from those who lived it, the music theme as immense as it should be for such a tragic 'World' epic of the Human Race, and all encapsulated by the brilliantly scripted and immortal Laurence Olivier voice-over. Mon 21 Dec 2009 10:34:15 GMT+1 Gheryando EuprisOf course they can. But thats one of the things you have to accept and it is only fair not to keep the majority of good people hostage to a criminal authority. At least now they can be persecuted and sent to where they committed a crime. No more escaping.Having a single currency not only makes things more convenient. It makes things immediately comparable. I bought my Christmasgifts (some) from the German Amazon since Italian sites were more expensive. I probably wouldn't have done it without the Euro. Last but not least, the Euro is a symbol of strength and friendship. I am proud to share this currency with other peoples. When they come to my country they know they are as close to home as you can be while abroad.Call it Eurobonding.Your experience obviously didn't go so well in Germany. May I suggest that it probably had a lot to do with culture shock as well as the fact that it was more than 30 years ago and things have changed now? Italians, or more specifically, Sicilians, don't speak English? Are you surprised? They, like you, are an Island, with and Island mentality. For the rest of Italy: Northern Italians have traditionally learned French or Spanish due to cultural closeness and easiness of learning. Only recently has the English boom kicked in and now young people start to learn English as their second language. In fact, I'd say its not even considered a foreign language anymore. When people ask you what language do you learn at school, they actually mean what other languages besides English do you learn.Learning Italian, like any other language, would be done easiest by going to Italy. May I suggest to check out the EU Commission's website. Also, if at some point in time, you are looking for a speaking partner in London, I can try to brush your oral skills up a notch. Finally, let me reccommend two great programs: is located in a 16th century palazzo in the dramatic seaside town of Sorrentoand is based in the medieval city of Siena. (it also offers cooking courses)P.s. If you enjoy young beautiful women and old disgusting men, turn on RAI International for a taste of Italian non-culture. Mon 21 Dec 2009 08:27:44 GMT+1 David Ty..but yes ..its like when John Williams did the score for Dynasty..(I was thinking "it sure sounds like the score from The Right Stuff"--showing my age here:) ty Mon 21 Dec 2009 08:12:41 GMT+1 Jan_Keeskop David: If you look on a certain Web site known for auctions, you can find the set on DVD for immediate purchase for considerably less than $80, delivered.Richard Rodgers, as in Rodgers and Hammerstein? Seems a bit of a departure for him, compared to, say, Getting to Know You and My Favorite Things… ;*) Mon 21 Dec 2009 06:11:48 GMT+1 David Jan Keeskop Did you know I saw that series "the world at war" at a bookshop (B&N) -- the whole series for about 79.99 dollars and didnt have enought money, and the next week it was gone. That series is probably the best of all the WW2 documenataries..(and I'm not a warmonger.)I remember that Richard Rogers did the score for it, and no one runs it on TV in the USA anymore--they prefer cheaper, now, I guess.:) Mon 21 Dec 2009 05:02:10 GMT+1 Jan_Keeskop WebAliceinwonderland: I’d replied to many posts in my last post, so perhaps I’ve managed to simultaneously offend a wide swath of the general Europe-blog readership. I haven’t received an e-mail from the moderators yet, as to what the nature of my apparent immoderacy was.On the chance that my tree-related comment was sufficiently inoffensive, I’ll repeat here that the tree in your post 95 is called a larch in English.You undoubtedly know more about NATO aviation than I do! All I can say is that when I was a boy, I’d watched enough episodes of The World at War to also conclude “not in winter!” ;*) Mon 21 Dec 2009 04:27:23 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Jan_Keeskop, only you can be "referred to the moderators" at 5 o'clock in the morning :o))))(I'm on cat ear watch :o( As if it's of any use.By the way, Jan_Keeskop and MA, I'm sorry we didn't agree to help you with military helicopters, training Afghani "good ones" to fly them fight the "bad ones". That'll be clear military involvement, you know what it is "to train". We "trained", in Korea, it means you fly yourself.Besides, it's a joke, looks like NATO does not read Russian press. If they were, they'd know that all our helicopters are Soviet made and flop down once in a month steady for the past 2-3 years. Our region governors flop in helicopters, simply military folk, who only not. It's even a joke now, that all the favourite governors should be issued helicopters :o))))You don't need shooting at them, imagine in Afghanistan, "help", aha, international shame. Though, as a matter of fact, LOL, with NATO aviation :o)))) judging by the head of NATO airplane :o)))) we might fit in perfectly :o))))We just held him captive :o)))) in Moscow, the other day, during his visit. His airplane froze up and couldn't take off. So he had to return to the hotel, and for the whole day they were trying to send him away, eventually :o))))) so that he wouldn't start it again, about helicopters :o))))) Took 24 hrs to put capicious airliner on the wing again.Moscow now jokes that he gave a lecture, to the students of the Moscow university, ensuring youngsters to relax finally about NATO, that it's not going to attack Russia. All concluded "We hope not; as minimum, we hope, he himself concluded "Not in winter." :o))))))) Mon 21 Dec 2009 02:39:45 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 78. At 10:07am on 20 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:"Oh, and may I add that the two single most convenient/visible results of being in the EU are not implemented in the UK. The Euro and borderless travel. I can drive through Austria to Germany over to France and back to Italy in one go. With one currency. Ah! The joy!"EUpris: So can criminals. And they do. And the more open borders benefit them more than anybody else. I don't want those open borders and loads of continentals don't want them either.I used to live in Germany on the Dutch border. I had no problem with keeping stuff in two currencies. At the moment I have three currencies in my residence.I have found it an advantage to have one currency when driving through Holland and Germany to go skiing in Austria. It still doesn't save that much bother. You don't need a European Army or the Lisbon Treaty to have it either. 77. At 10:04am on 20 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:" ..Also, your schools teach next to nothing about the EU."EUpris. I doubt if you know that especially since the remarks that follow it are untrue. When I taught in German schools the pupils were clearly subjected to a stream of pro-"EU" propaganda. I was walking down the corridor one day and a large teacher with fingers like German sausages was shouting at a pupil and jabbing his finger at him because the pupil had dared to question the value of the "EU". Te teacher said to the pupil "You ask Herr [EUpris]" He got a shock when I told him I was anti-"EU" or strictly speaking its predecessor." You learn no languages" EUpris: Not true! At this school we sued to get French teachers visiting. They spoke no German and the Germans spoke no French. I had to translate on several occasions. Not very well!At Tegel Airport in Berlin I have twice seen Italians in difficulties with the language. So the Germans spoke to them in ... Guess what Yes, English! At a British adult college I found about the same numbers of lecturers able to speak Swahili ans German. In Sicily I found very few Italians willing or able to speak English."... and you have no cultural exchanges ..." Not true! I have accompanied students on a cultural exchange to Germany."Lastly, Rupert Murdoch has made it his lifetime mission to discredit the European Union in the UK through his media outlets. I have no idea why since he's Australian but I would really like to know."That had no influence on me. I went to live in Germany in August 1972 being pro-Common Market. By January 1973 I was wobbling and by April 1973 I was against it and have been ever since. By 1975 I decided I had to do something about it and have been writing letter, wearing anti-Eurorubbish T-shirts, ringing up the "EU" commission and telling them where to stick it and posting here ever since."I also genuinely do wish you a merry Christmas and happy holidays. "Thank you!I am trying to learn Italian but am finding it more difficult than it is supposed to be. Maybe it is my age. Mon 21 Dec 2009 02:34:13 GMT+1 Jan_Keeskop This post has been Removed Mon 21 Dec 2009 02:09:54 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland Half a million roubles is 17,000 dollars. Plus water ways, plus sewage tanks, plus electricity line in, plus gas line in, let me see, 5,000 dollars the water "permission" only from our water monopolist holder, plus pipes and work - 8,000 dollars water way into the house, gas heater installment, from another monopolist, 2,5 thousand dollars, 5000 kw electricity line - 3,000 dollars from the third monopolist, say, 14,000 -technical stuff. On top of 17,000 for the barack itself. 31 thousand dollars for the questionable happiness to freeze in winter in a non-log house, that does not breathe either, and sit have fun in either of your 3x3 metre rooms! Mon 21 Dec 2009 01:25:57 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland And, MA, when we go for a wooden house, synthetic panels are out, everything useful, LOL, is out, because otherwise all the trouble and expene of being medieval is lost, the thing ought to breathe. Breathe in, breathe out, one plastic panel spoils all the work. So, nothing practical can be applied, only wood wood and wood. Mon 21 Dec 2009 01:12:58 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland MA will copy onto word what if may come of some use, after all an engineer speaking. Some words need to look up in the dictionary.A friend of my brother recently built a second dacha on his land plot. 500,000 roubles, awful, un-affordable. And the result is, attention: 6 metres wide facade, 9 metres long deep, that's all! 1 floor only. A barack, in other words! And not logs, just, modern, that stuff, chips glued together. Inside 1 long corridor, ending with a bathroom and toilet together! in 1 compartment. Not even a bath tub, a shower! 2 "rooms" 3x3 meters each. And one large kitchen.Half a million. Disaster. He said 200 thousands of it ate up the basement, to extract soil and crap, to fill the hole with concrete and metal strips, bull-dozers' work, that thing rotating cement so that it doesn't freeze up work, trucks coming and going with sand and gravel, only basement - 200,000, and via acquaintances, to me he said will cost 250,000.______________________:o) Copehangen doctors couldn't decide where to carry the patients to - either to call ambulances or to bring to "psykhushka" :o)))) /psychiatric hospital.For the first time they had on hands a thousand deep over-frozen, reciting "We are dying from heat! Stop the global warming!":o))))))))) Mon 21 Dec 2009 01:06:19 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII WA, sorry about not giving you a zip code. These are actually postal codes which will identify an area where the nearest Home Depot can be found. Prices vary due to the cost of shipment. Try 08820. This is a town in NJ I used to live in.The lumber is fully finished on all surfaces. It is very good quality. Slightly better is kiln dried pine. The exterior of most houses today is exterior grade particle board. It is wood chips held together with a binder of glue. It is surprisingly strong and weather resistant. So is exterior grade plywood but it's more expensive. On top of that goes tar paper and then siding. Most of my house is vinyl siding which will be maintenance free forever, never needs painting, never wears out or cracks. The front of my house is a brick facade. It looks and feels like brick but it is only an inch or two thick. It's not a real brick. Insulation is fiberglass. The interior walls are 1/2" sheetrock. Windows are energy efficient double pane glass with gas between the panes, I think argon which improves their insulation against heat and cold air infiltration. This is the standard way to build houses. Houses usually have either a concrete slab or a basement of poured concrete or concrete blocks. Steel columns and beams hold up the center of the house. Floor joists are often made from long Oriented Strand Board with 1 x 1 nailed top and bottom to make what looks like an I beam out of wood. they are also surprisingly strong and you can have very long spans with no columns between them. In the old days they used to use 2 x 10 pine. I don't think this is typical construction in Europe. They use a lot of manonary, at least that is what I saw when I was there. I think wood and paper products were and still are very expensive in Europe. Plumbing and electrical fixtures and quality of workmanship there was awful at least when I lived there. The US builds to different electrical and maybe plumbing codes but has now adopted the International Building Code. Our electrical code is almost universally the National Electrical Code (part of the National Fire Code), Europe uses the International Electrical Code. There is a world of difference. Mon 21 Dec 2009 00:20:07 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland And MA, here the approach is piling up a log on a log, horizontally, and thus you grow up your wall. The tricky thing is connection, if too tight, they'll all curve up out, you leave a space for them to set down and settle together somehow. For they dry up and move and what only not. :o))) I heard the idea is to make 4 walls and wait a year, for them to get together, and only after that you start plucking the holes between logs with moss LOL (yep. ideal. but where to take these days) and finishing the house. 2 dollars for an 8 feet (8x3=2.4 m log) sounds awful incredibly outrageously cheap, one can have hundreds of dacha-s with such cheap logs. Except the logs should be 6 metres long, one wall length - 1 log length. Sun 20 Dec 2009 23:52:56 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland MA, can't see "lumber" unless I put in my "zip code". "studs" shows me pictures without asking for my "area zip code", but they look like tricky metal things. Anyway. Sun 20 Dec 2009 23:45:29 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland I wish I knew where to get dried up pine so cheaply here! To re-place the dacha with another dacha. Only raw pines un-done around and they crack awful, from the centre to the edge of the perimeter, triangle cracks, if you just build the walls of them. I am really at a loss. May be I am even thinking these cracks are alright? Must open a wall next summer of the existing dacha, look what's inside. So much trouble to tear off away a panel of? pressed thin wood? what is it in English. Ordinary old stuff. Thin sheets, made of pressed together I guess wood chips? With glue? I need to hire someone again, to fix it back then. And my favourite local policeman retired, who fixed me all, decided to abandon me, returns home to his motherland, to live the remaining years in his motherland, Arkhangelsk, he's a Northerner. oh wow. Dacha will collapse without his fixing in 1 summer. Are they raw "in skin" :o) the logs there inside, or "de-skinned", or cut to shape or what is it. I want the same whatever it was. Dacha problem is roof and floors. Floors sank, all wood rotted away, the bricks of the basement turned powder and evaporated, the whole house has no basement and mysteriously hoovers in the air on tubes! of heating and 3 main oak logs across, because nothing happens with oak. Sun 20 Dec 2009 23:37:38 GMT+1