Sunday, June 29, 2008

Equestrian elegance

What is more graceful than a horse and an amazon moving in unison? What charm in the bending of both necks, in the curves generated by a swift but captivating impulse. I was there and stole the moment.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Yesterday's Sunset

Summer Solstice 2008

Through the tele lens, the sun almost blinded me.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Here goes the sun...

A life-long sun worshiper, the 21st of June used to be MY day. I never celebrated birth- or nameday, but the unending torrents of light made me sing.

How is it now that I observe this date not as the triumph of light but as the beginning of its gradual dwindling and decadence?

I have grown old.

Friday, June 13, 2008

"At our present level of ignorance..."

I was sent this short article published in the Wall Street Journal - and I want to share it with you:

JOHN R. CHRISTY: My Nobel Moment (2007 Nobel Peace Prize)

I've had a lot of fun recently with my tiny (and unofficial) slice of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But, though I was one of thousands of IPCC participants, I don't think I will add "0.0001 Nobel Laureate" to my resume.

The other half of the prize was awarded to former Vice President Al Gore, whose carbon footprint would stomp my neighborhood flat. But that's another story.

Both halves of the award honor promoting the message that Earth's temperature is rising due to human-based emissions of greenhouse gases. The Nobel committee praises Mr. Gore and the IPCC for alerting us to a potential catastrophe and for spurring us to a carbonless economy.

I'm sure the majority (but not all) of my IPCC colleagues cringe when I say this, but I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see. Rather, I see a reliance on climate models (useful but never "proof") and the coincidence that changes in carbon dioxide and global temperatures have loose similarity over time.

There are some of us who remain so humbled by the task of measuring and understanding the extraordinarily complex climate system that we are skeptical of our ability to know what it is doing and why. As we build climate data sets from scratch and look into the guts...

Mother Nature simply operates at a level of complexity that is, at this point, beyond the mastery of mere mortals (such as scientists) and the tools available to us. As my high-school physics teacher admonished us in those we-shall-conquer-the-world-with-a-slide-rule days, "Begin all of your scientific pronouncements with: 'At our present level of ignorance, we think we know . . .'"

Monday, June 9, 2008

Golden boy

The sun was setting and filling everything with gold.

The little boy was tinkering, with a serious and decisive expression. I do not know what two planks and a fork stood for - maybe a car, or a spaceship.

Gold was all over the place. I hope he finds more in his life.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Negative thinking

Yesterday upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
Oh how I wish he'd go away!

(Hughes Mearns. Antigonish 1899)

- Give me an ice cream without flavor
- Without what flavor?
- Without vanilla.
- Ain't got no ice without vanilla.
- OK, gimme one without strawberry!

(Old American joke).

Two antagonistic salesmen meet on the train.
- Where are you going?
- To Mink
- Ha! You tell me you are going to Mink, so that I think you are going to Pink. But you bastard, are really going to Mink. So why are you lying?

(Russian-Jewish joke).

What is common in all three texts is the affirmation of a negation. The man who wasn't there, the ice without flavor and the true statement which is marked as a lie (because a lie is expected) have a common denominator. Negative thinking.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What I do not know about flowers:

- Their names

(OK, I can identify a rose or a carnation - but most flowers are anonymous for me and the ones in the picture totally unknown).

- Their botanical classification (species, Latin name, family).

What I do know about flowers:

- Their beauty (fragile and transitory)

- Their scent (should they have one)

- and the fact that seeing them can make my day, as these flowers did. I tried to capture the moment with my mobile phone.

But the feeling - abruptly being confronted with a high, all-blossoming bush - you must try and imagine for yourselves.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

All that shines…

What makes the world go round?

One obvious answer comes up in verse. Love (or sex) makes the world go round.

Cynics would not agree. For them the power of money is the cause, the motive and the ultimate reason for everything that happens.

In my youth, real money meant gold. Currency, whether in coins or in bank notes, meant nothing. It was subject to fluctuations, devaluations and loss. Only gold was a steady and safe value. During wars and in dark periods, gold was the main factor of survival.

The gold standard does not exist any more – but the yellow metal remains a secure investment and is constantly gaining in price. Not to speak of its mystical and symbolic value.

This is the photograph of a gold bar I had bought in dark times as a back up – if worse came to worst. I sold it a few days ago. But before, I took a parting shot.