Some Baby Facts Included Today.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes, baby facts and a lot of grown up facts too in this selection.

Hope you find something of interest.

Enjoy.

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did you know2

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In spite of their crying sounds,

babies tears don’t begin to flow until they

are around 4 to 13 weeks old.

 baby crying

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Anne Parrish, an American writer was browsing

in a Paris bookstore one day when she came across

a book called, ‘Jack Frost and Other Stories’.

She began to tell her husband how she loved

the book when she was a child.

He took the book, opened it,

and inside the cover were written the words

“Anne Parish, 209 N Weber Street, Colorado”.

 Anne_Parrish,_children's_author,_head_shot

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The Titanic had its own newspaper

called The Atlantic Daily Bulletin.

 The Atlantic Daily Bulletin

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The term ‘Geek’ first showed up in northern Britain

in 1876, when it was used to refer to a fool.

Americans tweaked the meaning and by 1957 it meant

‘an unsociable and over-diligent student’.

Of course, once computers turned up in the 80’s,

‘geek’ took on a second meaning as

‘an expert in computers or science’.

 Bill_Gates_Paul_Allen_1981

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The first modern lighter was invented by

German chemist Johann Wolfgang Dobereiner in 1823,

three years BEFORE the match was invented

by John Walker in England.

 Johann Wolfgang Dobereiner

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One of the most iconic military vehicles of all time has to

be the Willys MB Jeep, manufactured from 1941 to 1945.

This small four-wheel drive utility vehicle has

a maximum speed of up to 65 mph (105 km/h)

and an operational range of 300 miles (almost 500 km).

It was used by several countries in WWII,

including the US, UK, France and the Soviet Union.

 Willys MB Jeep

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Technically Europe is not a continent,

it’s separation from Asia was actually a Greek idea.

 Europe map

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While filming Lord of the Rings

in the mountains of New Zealand,

Sean Bean refused a helicopter ride to a set

that was high in the mountains

due to his fear of flying.

He instead hiked up to the set

in his full Boromir armor

every day that they shot up there.

 boromir

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In Indonesia the government has restricted some

lanes of traffic to only cars with 3 or more people

to try to cut down overcrowding on the roads.

Some poor people from the city outskirts

take advantage of this law by offering drivers a

Professional Hitchhiker service,

so they can drive in the fast lanes.

 Indonesia traffic jam

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Genghis Khan believed that a man could be measured

by the number of children he fathered

and consequently his harem included thousands of

women with whom he had a great many children.

So many, in fact, that geneticists have found

that roughly 8% of men in Asia carry his genetic legacy

in their Y-chromosome.

 Genghis Khan  descendents map

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127,000 trees are chopped down every day

in order to keep up with the global demand

for toilet paper.

Holy S***!!!

 toilet paper

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The original ER movie was to be directed

by Steven Spielberg until he became more interested

in another of Crichton’s projects: Jurassic Park.

Spielberg Jurassic Park

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Forty-Four Mouth-Watering Facts About Curry.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I’ve done ‘peanut butter‘ and ‘chocolate‘ and ‘coffee‘ in other posts. Today it is another fasab food favorite, the curry.

A curry, properly made, has to be one of the most delicious foods in the world.

I have spent many happy evenings with friends enjoying this delicacy in one form or another. Personally I like it with some naan bread or sometimes with rice. Either way is socially acceptable and extremely tasty.

Mouth watering already?

Very good, let’s get straight to the facts.

Enjoy.

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dishes of curry

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The word curry comes from a Tamil word ‘kari’ or ‘karil’, meaning spices or sautéd vegetables.

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The meaning changed when Portuguese traders used it for the sauces with which rice was served.

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Essentially, the term curry was invented by the English administrators of the East Indian Trading Co. and later continued by British government employees.

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The British army in India further changed the meaning as its liking for hot sauces introduced the modern idea of curries being hot.

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Surprisingly, the term ‘curry’ isn’t used very much in India. There are many types of curry-style dishes, which have their own characteristic regional variations.

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Curry Powder is a mix of spices, rather than a spice in its own right. It usually consists of turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, sweet basil, and red pepper.

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Some of the most common types of curry are ‘Korma’, ‘Massala’, ‘Dhansak’, ‘Phall’, ‘Rogan Josh’, ‘Dopiaza’, ‘Madras’ and ‘Vindaloo’.

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Curry is said to have a number of valuable health benefits, including the prevention of cancer, protection against heart disease, reducing Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, easing pain and inflammation, boosting bone health, protecting the immune system from bacterial infections, and increasing the liver’s ability to remove toxins from the body.

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In addition to being an established and firm favorite in Britain. and increasing popular throughout Europe and the United States, curry forms a major element of the diets of several Asian countries including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Maldives, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and Fiji.

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Chili (or Chilli) is the most popular spice in the world and can help combat heart attacks and strokes and extends blood coagulation times preventing harmful blood clots.

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Contrary to common western belief, curries are not always ‘hot’, they can be mild, medium and hot.

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curry with rice

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The earliest known curry was made in Mesopotamia in around 1700 BC, the recipe for meat in a spicy sauce appearing on tablets found near Babylon.

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The Scoville scale is the measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chili peppers or other spicy foods.

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The ‘Bhut Jolokia Chilli Pepper’ (also known as the ‘Naga Jolokia’), is the hottest pepper in the world, accompanied with its own health warning! This pepper is also known as the ‘Ghost Chilli’ or ‘Ghost Pepper’, and is grown in the Indian states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur.

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The first commercial curry powder appeared in about 1780.

In Britain Indian food now surpasses Chinese food in popularity, with Indian restaurants outnumbering Chinese restaurants by two to one.

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The word ‘balti’ means bucket. Balti is more a style of cooking than one particular curry.

In specialist ‘Balti Houses’ the balti is a meal in itself which contains both meat and vegetables and is eaten straight from the karahi using curled up pieces of naan bread. In standard Indian restaurants the balti is more of a stir-fried curry containing plenty of fried green peppers and fresh cilantro (also known as coriander).

South Indian food is more spicy than North Indian food.

The first curry recipe in English appeared in Hannah Glasse’s ‘The Art Of Cookery’ in 1747.

The world’s biggest ever curry was a 13 tonne Biryani, including 187lb of chilies and 6600lb of rice. It took 60 chefs to make in New Delhi in June 2008. And required three cranes to move the container and a 3ft high furnace to cook it!

In Western Europe and the U K, curry powders available contain more turmeric than anything else, and tend to be toned down to palates used to bland food.

curry with naan bread

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The tallest poppadom stack in the world stands at a massive 282 poppadoms. The record was set by a chef from the Jali Indian Restaurant in Blackpool.

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In 2008, Bath and North East Somerset Council advised a man to sprinkle curry powder on his wife’s grave to keep squirrels and deer away.

Tim Stobbs, aged 42 years, currently holds the world record for munching an impressive 15 poppadoms in 5 minutes! The annual World Championships, in aid of Cancer Research UK Scotland, is held every year at St Andrews University.

There are about 10,000 Indian restaurants serving curry in the UK, the vast majority of which are run by people from Bangladesh, not India.

To make a ‘hot’ curry mild, just add some coconut milk.

The word ‘masala’ means spice mix.

In 1846, William Makepeace Thackeray wrote ‘A Poem To Curry’, as part of his Kitchen Melodies.

Britain’s first curry house, called the Hindustani Coffee House and located in London’s Portman Square, opened in 1809. Now there are more curry houses in London, England than in Mumbai, India.

Chili can help combat heart attacks and strokes.

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One of the hottest curry dishes ever made is known as the Bit Spicy 3 Chili Phall which is even hotter than the infamous ‘Chicken Naga’, made with a high volume of Naga pepper seeds. More than 100 times hotter than jalapeño peppers!

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People crave a curry because the spices arouse and stimulate the taste buds.

curry powder

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Vindaloo was originally a Portuguese dish which took its name from the two main ingredients which were ‘vinho’, wine/wine vinegar, and ‘alhos’, garlic. Over time it was spiced up, hotted up and otherwise changed by the indigenous peoples of the ex-Portuguese colony of Goa.

The ‘Big Jim’, a large chili hailing from New Mexico, currently holds the world record for the largest chili ever grown. This plant frequently produces chilies that are over a foot in length, which is hugely impressive considering that the plant itself never grows more than two feet!

The town of North Curry is in Somerset while West Curry is in Cornwall.

Madras and pathia are both hot and sour dishes. Kashmiri a more subtle and creamy dish usually made with lychees or bananas – or both.

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Scientists at Nottingham Trent University have discovered that people begin to crave for a curry because the spices arouse and stimulate the taste buds.

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One in seven curries sold in the UK is a chicken tikka masala, making it the most popular Indian restaurant dish in the UK. It is thought to have originated in Britain after an enterprising Indian chef had the idea of adding a tomato and onion paste to the grilled chicken to satisfy the British preference for food that isn’t dry.

The largest naan bread ever made was a whopping 2.75m in diameter and contained meat dumplings – the equivalent of 167 normal sized naan breads. The bread took over ten hours to finish and required twelve chefs, 30kg mutton, 125kg flour, 16kg onion and 90kg of water to cook it.

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Southeastern Asian cultures have always mixed a number of spices to flavor their dishes, usually according to recipes handed down from generation to generation.

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A common way to categorize Thai curry is by the color of the curry paste used to make the curry dish. Green and red curry paste are the most typical. Yellow and sour curries (also sometimes known as orange curry, gaeng sohm) are also well known. Each has its own particular combination of herbs and spices to make up the curry paste that makes it unique.

‘Panang’ and ‘masaman’ curry are probably the most popular Thai curries in the West, because of their rich tastes.

Finally, if you are eating a curry which is just too hot for you, don’t drink water, that only makes it hotter!

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FAREWELL 2014

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi folks,

Last day of this year and time for my recollections of 2014’s main events.

As always this is by no means meant to be a complete coverage of all the events that happened during 2014, just a personal blog post about some of the things I remember, and a few that I had forgotten until I started to compile this list.

I hope you enjoy.

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farewell 2014

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The Weather

We will start off with the weather since so many of us seem to be obsessed with it.

  • In the United States there were weather extremes. In California, for example, January was the warmest and driest on record in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. Only four other Januaries since 1878 had been completely dry in Los Angeles until January 2014. Alaskans experienced their third warmest January in 96 years of record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

California drought 2014

  • In many parts of the Midwest, on the other hand, 2014 was the coldest winter since the late 1970s or early 1980s. And some southern states of the US became the victims of, firstly, winter storm Kronos which brought a rare blanket of snow as far south as Louisiana, and sleet as far south as Harlingen, Texas and Pensacola, Fla. in late January, and then, just days later, a second winter storm, Leon, hit many of the same areas causing commuter chaos in both Birmingham, Ala. and Atlanta. Leon also spread ice and sleet to the Gulf Coast, including the Florida Panhandle, and the Low country of South Carolina.
  • And worse was on the way. Winter Storm Pax deposited an inch or more of ice in a swath from east-central Georgia into South Carolina, including Augusta, Ga. and Aiken, S.C. Pax was the second heaviest ice storm dating to 1947 in Wilmington, N.C. The accumulation of ice from Pax claimed the famed “Eisenhower tree” at the Augusta National Golf Club. Pax marked the first time since January 1940 that Columbia, S.C. saw snowfall for three straight days.

Winter Storm Pax Washington

  • In complete contrast, the week after Pax, Columbia, S.C. tied its all-time February high of 84 degrees. Augusta, Ga. warmed into the 80s two straight days on Feb. 19-20.
  • Elsewhere in the world, severe Atlantic winter storms took their toll on many parts of England which in 2014 experienced storms and rain not seen since the late 19th century.

Atlantic winter storms Cornwall England

  • In Tokyo, Japan, which usually averages only about 4 inches of snow each year, there were also severe snow storms. In February, snow blanketed the city with 11 inches of snow in less than a week, the heaviest snowfall in 45 years for Tokyo and in 60 years for the city of Kumagaya, northwest of Tokyo. The following weekend, parts of eastern Japan, including parts of the Tokyo metro area, received another round of snow. Some smaller communities were isolated by more than 3 feet of snow.
  • And in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported that more than 10 percent of Queensland and almost 15 percent of New South Wales experienced their record hottest day on Jan. 3. A second heat wave hit parts of southern Australia in mid-January, with temperatures peaking above 41 degrees Celsius (just under 106 degrees Fahrenheit) for four straight days from Jan. 14-17, and reaching a sizzling 43.9 degrees C (111 degrees F) on both Jan. 16 and 17.

australia heat wave 2014

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Business and Technology

  • In the world of business and technology 2014 was the year the Obama administration decided to stop inversion deals, where US companies bought foreign domiciled businesses and moved their profit centers to a much more tax friendly location.
  • In technology buys, one of the largest was Facebook’s purchase of smartphone application WhatsApp for $19 Billion.

14.02.19-Facebook-WhatsApp

  • In other sectors 2014 saw world oil price plunge to around $50 per barrel, good news for consumers, not so good for producers.
  • Under pressure from the fall in oil and gas prices, along with the economic sanctions imposed by the west because of the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, the Russian Ruble went into free fall in December.

APphoto_Russia Economy

  • Also in 2014, in March, the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whaling program was not scientific but commercial and refused to grant further permits.
  • With Quantitative Easing having been ended in the US (for the moment anyway) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans for a new $29 billion fresh stimulus, including subsidies and job-creating programs, to help pull the world’s third-largest economy out of recession.

Quantitative Easing cartoon

  • After their embarrassing foul up last Christmas, this year both FedEx and UPS managed to deliver more than 99 percent of express packages as promised on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, according to shipment tracker ShipMatrix.
  • South Korean prosecutors arrested a government official who allegedly leaked information about an investigation into former Korean Air Lines executive Cho Hyun-ah, who forced a flight to return over a bag of macadamia nuts. Most of the rest of the world tends to think that the idiot executive should suffer the consequences of her stupidity, not the whistleblower.

korean-air-lines-macademia-nut-scandal Cho Hyun-ah

  • And finally, after their embarrassing hack attack and cringe-worthy capitulation to what amounted to a terrorist cyber attack which was rightly criticized publicly by President Obama, Sony finally decided to release its movie ‘The Interview’.

Rogan Franco The-Interview

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Conflicts, Wars & Terrorism

Unfortunately 2014 saw many conflicts and acts of terrorism.

  • In April an estimated 276 girls and women were abducted and held hostage from a school in Nigeria. The following month, Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people in a night attack on Gamboru Ngala and terrorists in Nigeria detonated bombs at Jos, killing 118 people.

Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people Gamboru Ngala

  • June saw the emergence of a Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’ (also known as the ‘ISIS’ or ‘ISIL’). It began an offensive throughout northern Iraq, with the aim of eventually capturing the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad and overthrowing the Shiite government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The group has been responsible for beheading of hundreds of people including several from the United States.

Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’

  • In July and August tensions between Israel and Hamas grew following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June and the revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in July. Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on the Palestinian Gaza Strip starting with numerous missile strikes, followed by a ground invasion a week later. In 7 weeks of fighting, 2,100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis were killed.
  • Also in July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777, crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 souls on board. There are conflicting claims as to who was responsible, some blaming pro Russian forces for a missile strike and others blaming Ukrainian forces.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

  • In August and September the United States military began an air campaign in northern Iraq to stem the influx of ISIS militants and the following month the United States and several Arab partners began an airstrike campaign in Syria.

Expect more on these stories during 2015.

Departures

During 2014 we said farewell to many well know people from various walks of life. Here is just my selection of those I remember.

From Literature

Sue Townsend

British novelist and playwright (b. 1946)

SueTownsend

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P. D. James

British writer and life peer

(b. 1920)

P. D. James

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From Movies & TV

Roger Lloyd-Pack

British actor

(b. 1944)

Roger Lloyd-Pack

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Maximilian Schell

Austrian-Swiss actor

(b. 1930)

Maximilian Schell

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

American actor

(b. 1967)

Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Shirley Temple

American actress and diplomat

(b. 1928)

shirley_temple

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Sid Caesar

American actor

(b. 1922)

Sid Caesar

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Harold Ramis

American film director,

writer, and actor

(b. 1944)

Harold Ramis

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Mickey Rooney

American actor

(b. 1920)

Mickey Rooney

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Bob Hoskins

British actor

(b. 1942)

Bob Hoskins

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Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

American actor

(b. 1918)

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr

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Rik Mayall

British comedian,

writer and actor

(b. 1958)

Rik Mayall

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Casey Kasem

American radio host

and voice actor

(b. 1932)

Casey Kasem

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Eli Wallach

American actor

(b. 1915)

Eli Wallach

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Elaine Stritch

American actress and singer

(b. 1925)

Elaine Stritch

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James Garner

American actor

(b. 1928)

James Garner

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Menahem Golan

Israeli filmmaker

(b. 1929)

Menahem Golan

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Robin Williams

American actor and comedian

(b. 1951)

Robin Williams

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Lauren Bacall

American actress

(b. 1924)

Lauren Bacall

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Richard Attenborough

British actor and film director

(b. 1923)

Richard Attenborough

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Joan Rivers

American comedian, actress,

and television host

(b. 1933)

Joan Rivers

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Richard Kiel

American actor (b. 1939)

Richard Kiel

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Polly Bergen

American actress

(b. 1930)

Polly Bergen

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Ken Takakura

Japanese actor

(b. 1931)

Ken Takakura

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Warren Clarke

English actor

(b. 1947)

Warren-Clarke

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Glen A. Larson

American television producer

and writer

(b. 1937)

Glen A. Larson

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Virna Lisi

Italian actress

(b. 1936)

Virna Lisi

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Billie Whitelaw

English actress

(b. 1932)

Billie Whitelaw

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Luise Rainer

Golden Age actress

“The Great Ziegfeld”

(b. 1910)

Luise Rainer with oscars

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From Music

Pete Seeger

American singer, songwriter,

musician, and activist

(b. 1919)

Pete Seeger

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Johnny Winter

American singer and guitarist

(b. 1944)

Johnny Winter

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Glenn Cornick

British bass guitarist

(b. 1947)

Glenn Cornick

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Jack Bruce

British rock bassist

(b. 1943)

Jack Bruce

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Acker Bilk

British jazz clarinetist

(b. 1929)

Acker Bilk

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Joe Cocker

English singer

(b. 1944)

Joe Cocker

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From Politics

Zbigniew Messner

9th Prime Minister of the

People’s Republic of Poland

(b. 1929)

Zbigniew Messner

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Ariel Sharon

11th Prime Minister of Israel

(b. 1928)

Ariel Sharon

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Tony Benn

British politician and diarist

(b. 1925)

Tony Benn

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Adolfo Suárez

138th Prime Minister of Spain

(b. 1932)

Adolfo Suárez

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James R. Schlesinger

American economist and politician

(b. 1929)

James R. Schlesinger

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A. N. R. Robinson

3rd President of Trinidad and Tobago

(b. 1926)

A. N. R. Robinson

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Howard Baker

American politician and diplomat

(b. 1925)

Howard Baker

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Eduard Shevardnadze

2nd President of Georgia

(b. 1928)

Eduard Shevardnadze

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Albert Reynolds

Irish Taoiseach (prime minister)

(b. 1932)

Albert Reynolds

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Ian Paisley

British politician and

First Minister of Northern Ireland

(b. 1926)

Ian Paisley

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Nicholas Romanov

Prince of Russia

(b. 1922)

Nicholas Romanov

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Jean-Claude Duvalier

41st President of Haiti

(b. 1951)

Jean-Claude Duvalier

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John Spencer-Churchill

11th Duke of Marlborough,

British peer and educator

(b. 1926)

John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough

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Gough Whitlam

21st Prime Minister of Australia

(b. 1916)

Gough Whitlam

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From Space Exploration

Valeri Kubasov

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1935)

Valeri Kubasov

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Wubbo Ockels

Dutch astronaut and physicist

(b. 1946)

Wubbo Ockels

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Henry Hartsfield

American colonel and astronaut

(b. 1933)

Henry Hartsfield

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Anatoly Berezovoy

Soviet cosmonaut

(b. 1942)

Anatoly Berezovoy

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From Sport

Eusébio

Portuguese footballer

(b. 1942)

Eusébio

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Mae Young

American professional wrestler

(b. 1923)

Mae Young

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Louise Brough

American tennis player

(b. 1923)

Louise Brough

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Tom Finney

English footballer

(b. 1922)

Tom Finney

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Nelson Frazier, Jr.

American professional wrestler

(b. 1971)

Nelson Frazier, Jr

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Jimmy Ellis

American boxer

(b. 1940)

Jimmy_Ellis

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Jack Brabham

Australian race car driver

(b. 1926)

Jack Brabham

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Malcolm Glazer

American businessman,

owner of Manchester United

(b. 1928)

Malcolm Glazer

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Valentin Mankin

Ukrainian sailor, Olympic triple champion

and silver medalist

(b. 1938)

Valentin Mankin

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Fernandão

Brazilian footballer and manager

(b. 1978)

Fernandão

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Alfredo Di Stéfano

Argentine-Spanish footballer

(b. 1926)

Alfredo-Di-Stefano-Dies-at-Age-88

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Andriy Bal

Ukrainian football player and coach

(b. 1958)

Andriy Bal

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Björn Waldegård

Swedish rally driver

(b. 1943)

Björn Waldegård

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Andrea de Cesaris

Italian race car driver

(b. 1959)

Andrea de Cesaris

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Health

  • The big health scare of 2014 that dominated the headlines was the of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa in February, that initially infected over 19,000 people and killing at least 7,000, the most severe both in terms of numbers of infections and casualties.

ebola_map Africa

  • In other news, also in February, Belgium became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia for terminally ill patients of any age.

Politics

  • On January 1, Latvia officially adopted the Euro as its currency and became the 18th member of the Eurozone.
  • In February, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office, replacing him with Oleksandr Turchynov, after days of civil unrest that left around 100 people dead in Kiev. The pro-Russian unrest lead to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and an insurgency in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

President Viktor Yanukovych

  • In March, Nicolás Maduro, the President of Venezuela, severed diplomatic and political ties with Panama, accusing it of being involved in a conspiracy against the Venezuelan government.
  • Also in March, an emergency meeting, involving the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and Canada temporarily suspended Russia from the G8.
  • In April, also in response to the Crimean crisis, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution temporarily stripping Russia of its voting rights; its rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the PACE Presidential Committee, and the PACE Standing Committee; and its right to participate in election-observation missions.
  • The same month, United States President Barack Obama began new economic sanctions against Russia, targeting companies and individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin Obama

  • In May the Royal Thai Army overthrew the caretaker government of Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan after a failure to resolve the political unrest in Thailand.
  • Back in Europe, in June, King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated in favor of his son, who ascended the Spanish throne as King Felipe VI.
  • And the political year ended on a positive note, with U.S. President Barack Obama announcing the resumption of normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than half a century.

normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba

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Space

  • The major space event of 2014 happened in November when the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Philae probe successfully landed on Comet 67P, the first time in history that a spacecraft has landed on such an object.

Rosetta Philae

Sport

  • The two major world sporting events of 2014 were the XXII Olympic Winter Games, held in Sochi, Russia in February, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, and won by Germany, during June and July.

world-cup-2014-champions-germany-trophy

  • In American sport the Super Bowl was won by the Seattle Seahawks, the MLB World Series  winners were the San Francisco Giants and in basketball the San Antonio Spurs came out on top.
  • Ice Hockey had three champions in 2014, Canada becoming Olympic champions, Russia world champions and in the NHL the Los Angeles Kings were the victors.
  • In tennis at the world famous Wimbledon Tournament in England Novak Djokovic became Men’s Singles Champion and Petra Kvitova Ladies Singles Champion, while the men’s and women’s winners of the US Open were Marin Čilić  and Serena Williams respectively.

novak-djokovic-with-wimbledon-crown

  • In Soccer, as noted above, Germany won the 2014 World Cup. The European Champions League winners were Real Madrid and the English Premiership was won by Manchester City.
  • The Formula 1 motor racing champion for 2014 was British driver Lewis Hamilton, who also picked up the award of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
  • In golf’s major championships, the Masters Tournament, held in April, was won by Bubba Watson by three strokes. It was his second Masters championship.
  • May saw the BMW PGA Championship where young Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy birdied the 18th hole to win by one stroke over Irishman Shane Lowry, who also birdied the 18th hole.
  • In June, U.S. Open winner was Martin Kaymer who won by eight strokes to become the first German player to win the U.S. Open, and the first player to win the Players Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year.
  • In July, the Open Championship Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy, was on top again winning by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio García. It was his third career major championship, and his first Open Championship. With the win, he became the fourth player ever of 25 years old or under to have won at least three majors.
  • In August, McIlroy was back, winning the PGA Championship by one stroke over Phil Mickelson. He was having quite a year, it was his fourth career major and his second PGA Championship.PGA Champion Rory McIlroy
  • Then in September, in the Ryder Cup, Team Europe (also including McIlroy) defeated Team USA by a score of 16½ – 11½. It was the third consecutive Ryder Cup victory for Europe, and also Europe’s fifth consecutive home victory in the Ryder Cup.

Tragedies

  • In March Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 airliner en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, disappears over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board. The aircraft is presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.
  • In April Korean ferry MV Sewol capsized and sunk after an unmanageable cargo shift. More than 290 people were killed, mostly high school students.

south-korea-ferry MV Sewol

  • In May hundreds of workers were killed in mining accident in Turkey.
  • In July, Air Algérie Flight 5017 crashed in Mali, killing all 116 people on board.
  • And just a few days ago AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed, wreckage has been found off the coast of Indonesia’s Kalimantan coast.

indonesia-airplane AirAsia flight flight QZ8501 airport notice board

 

Okay, I Give Up – Show Me The Money!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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money

I know it isn’t quiz day today, but this is just a short post to ask one very pertinent question – one that deserves an answer.

Quantitative Easing ended on Wednesday past.

QE was the media tag given to the process whereby the US Federal Reserve has printed $3.6 trillion over the past few years.

Quantitative Easing

The Bank of England did it in Britain too, and so did the European Central Bank for the European Union.

So where did all that money go?

I didn’t get any of it.

Did you?

But it must have gone somewhere.

Someone must have got it.

So where is it now?

If you know the answer please do tell. I, and I am sure many other people, would be interested in the answer.

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Oh Gimme Strength!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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interfere

He’s only gone and done it again!

First Obama got his nose stuck in Russia’s affairs, and now he’s pointing a nostril at China’s.

What is wrong with US politicians these days? They know nothing about foreign policy or foreign regimes come to that, yet they continue to try to dictate how everyone else should be behaving themselves.

These things aren’t any of our business and American Presidents, Secretaries of State and the rest are not doing themselves, or their country, any favors by getting involved in foreign disputes that don’t concern them.

You could understand it if they knew what they were talking about, but the long list of failed initiatives and interventions shows clearly they don’t. No one respects their opinion any more and economically and militarily strong nations, like Russia and China, certainly aren’t going to lie down and buckle under because of any outside interference.

 china-vs-usa-CARTOON

So far US meddling in other people’s affairs has caused a catastrophe in the Middle East, ill will in Europe, sanctions against Russia that don’t work, and now interfering in what is happening in Hong Kong has done nothing but irritate the Chinese government. They’ve actually told America to butt out and mind their own business.

What they actually said was “Hong Kong affairs fall entirely within China’s internal affairs. We hope that some countries and people can be prudent in their words and deeds, refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Hong Kong in any way, do not support the illegal activities such as the ‘Occupy Central,’ and do not send any wrong signals.”

Like I said – butt out!

The Chinese government will do what they are going to do, no matter what criticism it draws from the rest of the world. China is not a democracy so it is pointless to try to impose democratic ideals on it and its people. You can be sure that those in charge in China will eventually put down the current protests, violently if necessary. All that will be achieved by egging the protesters on will be a disaster like the Tiananmen Square massacre. How many lives is it worth to embarrass China on the media for a few days?

tiananmen square Wang Weilin holding up tanks in Beijing

Apart from the un-informed who only parrot what they hear on heavily skewed TV newscasts, most of the rest of us are fed up with people dying in order to make the world safe for democracy.

America has a cart load of problems, economic, social and the rest, without taking on the ills of the rest of the world as well, especially when it hasn’t a clue how to solve them.

Time for a rethink, assuming that any thought was put into what they are currently doing.

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They’ve Got It Wrong AGAIN!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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russia-sanctions

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I wrote a short post the other day on the subject of failure. I think it was a success 🙂

What hasn’t been a success, however, is America’s foreign policy. I’ve also written about this many times in the past. I find it very annoying that a country as great as America and with so many brilliant people within it can neither elect a smart politician, or even a not so smart politician but one who has enough brains to hire smart advisers.

The current President, Barack Obama, has continued the trend of failure. Particularly with regard to foreign policy, at which he has not only failed but added indecision and procrastination to the mix.

The examples are many, but the latest foreign policy debacle is the leading role America has taken in the imposition of sanctions against Russia. Sanctions that may have been aimed against Russia but which are already starting to backfire against the US.

I noted in another post that sanctions have been imposed in regard to Russian oil and natural gas, which Europe (particularly Germany and France) needs, but America doesn’t; but that the sanctions were not imposed on nuclear fuels, which America does need.

Believe me, the hypocrisy of that has not been lost on the European governments or its public.

And the hypocrisy does not end there.

rosneft getty

On the one hand there have been hyped up media statements telling everyone that Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, and its head Igor Sechin, have been targeted in the sanctions.

But what hasn’t been trumpeted so loudly is the fact that British oil company BP, owns almost 20% of Rosneft, and has confirmed that it would not be severing ties with the Russian firm.

Similarly, Norway’s Statoil is continuing its partnership with Rosneft to search for oil in the Norwegian section of the Barents Sea.

And France’s major oil and gas company, Total, has announced that it is seeking financing for its next gas project in –  where else? –  Russia. When they get that financing, amounting to something in the region of $27 billion, it will be in Roubles or maybe even Yuan, but certainly not in US dollars – again thanks to the ill thought out sanctions.

This will set a trend for similar deals that will also exclude the US dollar, inevitably lowering its standing as the world’s reserve currency. I expect more such deals to be done with the Russians by German companies in particular as the sanctions fail to bring the promised results and as a consequence start to fall apart.

But it gets worse.

Before any of the US Senators or Congressmen stand up and start to call names at the Brits or the Norwegians or the French for backtracking on sanctions, they would be better to take a look nearer home.

It now seems that American Companies are not paying attention to the sanctions either.

ExxonMobil_Challenges

For example, ExxonMobil, America’s largest oil company, has continued drilling offshore in the Russian Arctic, also with Rozneft.

If the sanctions were anything more than a bit of public posturing by Obama, ExxonMobil shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) be doing any more work with the Russians in Russia. But using the excuse that it is environmentally safer to complete the well than to allow the Russians to do it alone, ExxonMobil got permission to continue.

No doubt the company will express its gratitude when the next round of electioneering fund raising comes along! (Gosh, I’m such a cynic!)

Now, if Obama and his advisers had thought for a moment about the consequences of sanctions, they would have realized that, in cases like this, companies such as ExxonMobile had not really got a choice. If they hadn’t continued to work with Rozneft, the Russian company would simply have gone ahead without them with a consequent dilution of ExxonMobile’s return if/when the well is a success.

In addition to that, if the Russian company did need other help you can be sure there would have been a Chinese energy company there ready and willing and eager to take up the slack.

Whilst Obama and his predecessors have been blundering around the world pissing off friend and foe alike, the strategy of the Russian President has been to cultivate new friends and thereby new markets and customers for his country’s vast energy reserves.

It has been a clever move.

Sanctions or not, game to Putin this time I think.

sanctions against Russia

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What’s That Smell?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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hypocrite definition

Last week I wrote a post about the resurgence of the Cold War. I called it “Anyone Feel A Chill?” (click here if you would like to read it.)

But, politicians being politicians, they cannot even have a mock war like a Cold War without the stench of hypocrisy attached to it.

For example, the United States blames Russia for interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine, as indeed it is currently doing. But at the same time it attaches no blame to itself for also interfering in the Ukraine’s internal affairs, which it also did – in the process helping to create the mess we now see on our TV screens.

ukraine protests

Now, not content with that, America has been coercing Europe to go along with it in imposing economic sanctions on Russia. And by and large Europe has meekly and unthinkingly followed the US lead.

It started with foodstuffs and freezing bank accounts and assets, which Putin has managed to shrug off without too much trouble.

Now they’ve upped the ante and imposed sanctions on Russia’s supply of energy which is it’s big wealth earner and which given time will no doubt hurt a bit. I say “a bit” because any long term shortfall in energy revenue from Europe will be more than made up for by energy hungry customers like China, India and the rest of Asia. China, for example, recently closed a $400 billion natural gas deal with the Russians.

As a matter of fact, with winter approaching, the sanction game may well end up hurting Europe a lot more that it does Russia.

hypocrisy meter

You see, the thing is, the energy sanctions imposed by the US and Europe are on the sale of oil and gas. These are the things that Europe desperately needs, but are things on which America does not rely on Russia for at all.

Wait a minute, there’s that smell again.

Worse than that, the US did not invoke sanctions on the sale of Russian nuclear fuel, which America does rely on Russia for, since it just happens to power 10% of all American homes.

Now do you smell it?

At the moment it looks like this Cold War is going to get very cold in Europe and very expensive as the cost of heating increases with the shortfall in supplies.

America will be fine though.

So will Russia.

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