In the days since Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into the Crimea, it has been amateur hour back in Washington.
I don’t mean Barack Obama. He’s doing pretty much everything he can, with what are a very limited set of policy options at his disposal. No, I’m talking about the people who won’t stop weighing in on Obama’s lack of “action” in the Ukraine. Indeed, the sea of foreign policy punditry - already shark-infested - has reached new lows in fear-mongering, exaggerated doom-saying and a stunning inability to place global events in any rational historical context.
Florence Nightingale was much more than just ‘that Crimean nurse with the lamp’
What I learned is that after the Crimean War from 1853 to 1856, in which thousands of British soldiers died from infections, Nightingale visited almost every hospital in Europe, analyzed them and then wrote up her findings in “Notes on Hospitals,” which became the guide to hospital architecture for the next century.Florence Nightingale Credit Associated Press
Its first sentences changed my idea of Florence Nightingale forever: “It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm. It is quite necessary, nevertheless, to lay down such a principle.”
They fought it out for 15 years. She turned down every suitor; she took every opportunity for training as a nurse, and eventually she won. Her father granted her an annuity, and she took over a hospital on Harley Street where she put her ideas into practice.
some more interesting tidbits about Florence:
Although much of Nightingale’s work improved the lot of women everywhere, Nightingale was of the opinion that women craved sympathy and were not as capable as men. She criticized early women’s rights activists for decrying an alleged lack of careers for women at the same time that lucrative medical positions, under the supervision of Nightingale and others, went perpetually unfilled.
She preferred the friendship of powerful men, insisting they had done more than women to help her attain her goals, writing, “I have never found one woman who has altered her life by one iota for me or my opinions.”She often referred to herself in the masculine, as for example “a man of action” and “a man of business”.
She did, however, have several important and long-lasting friendships with women. Later in life she kept up a prolonged correspondence with Irish nun Sister Mary Clare Moore, with whom she had worked in Crimea. Her most beloved confidante was Mary Clarke, an Englishwoman she met in 1837 and kept in touch with throughout her life.
The genius behind Sarah’s simple but profound invention is that the Wonderbag is a non-electric, heat-retention cooker that allows food that has been brought to a boil, to continue cooking after it has been removed from the fuel source. Today, due to Sarah’s passion, energy, and perseverance, 750,000 bags have been distributed, first round of carbon credits registered and issued, production capabilities in Rwanda, Mexico and Turkey with launches in Kenya, Nigeria and Somaliland. 14,000 bags have been sold in the UK, Europe and USA, with a buy-one-give-one model to support getting Wonderbags into humanitarian relief.
There is a certain sense of destiny behind Sarah and Paul’s meeting. “Our office was in Durban as was Unilever’s South Africa headquarters located. I had followed Paul’s move into the CEO ranks and what he was trying to accomplish. But I had no understanding of corporate politics and just asked for a meeting. Paul was in for the World Cup, when we were running our first pilot program with 100,000 bags as part of a promotional package,” says Collins.
Ireland is wet. 32,595 square miles of island surrounded by 41.08 million square miles of the very wet North Atlantic Ocean. And what happens to be a very warm and wet North Atlantic Ocean.
Heat and Water mean mild climates. Ireland’s climate , despite the misnomer of a damp cold temperament, is the definition of ‘mild’.
Winters, compared to say, balmy, southern Georgia, in the summer it is t shirts without the burn, and winters are jackets without the need for snowsuits.
This equates to more than a lack of snow plows and hurricane shutters: verdant fertile agricultural lands; a quiver full fishing industry; robust sporting community; lower incidents of natural, meteorological based, disasters; and a secure, dynamic environment.
So what happens if Ireland gets wetter…
and not only that :
This was the station’s wettest winter day since 2008.
A marine record was also broken in February when a new maximum wave of 25 metres was reported at Kinsale Energy Gas Platform on February 12th.
So Ireland is wet, and getting wetter by the year, and this has global significance. Let’s explore some of the causes and consequences…..
the processes, proofs, and problems :
Climate models suggest that lake-effect snowfalls are likely to increase over the next few decades. In the longer term, lake-effect snows are likely to decrease as temperatures continue to rise, with the precipitation then falling as rain
‘Lake Effect’ works for oceans as much for ‘Great Lakes’
most climate models predict that the atmospheric circulation slows down and the overturn of the atmosphere doesn’t occur as quickly, and thus what you end up with is a more wet but stagnant atmosphere.
- Ireland could be 2.5-4° C warmer in the later part of the 21st Century, compared to the 1961-1990 average.
- While rainfall is decreasing in southern regions, it is increasing in northern Europe.
- Climate change is projected to increase river flooding, particularly in northern Europe, as higher temperatures intensify the water cycle.
- The Arctic is warming faster than other regions. Record low sea ice was observed in the Arctic in 2007, 2011 and 2012, falling to roughly half the minimum extent seen in the 1980s.
- Melting of the Greenland ice sheet has doubled since the 1990s, losing an average of 250 billion tonnes of mass every year between 2005 and 2009.
- Glaciers in the Alps have lost approximately two thirds of their volume since 1850 and these trends are projected to continue.
- Sea levels are rising, raising the risk of coastal flooding during storm events
Met Éireann co-ordinated a major international study looking specifically at how climate change would alter the picture here. It draws on its own data sets collected over decades but also on expertise available from Ireland and abroad.
The results were used to deliver a detailed report, Irish Climate: The Road Ahead. It provides assessments of changes to mean air temperatures, wind and wave heights, but also the likely impact on river systems and the risk of flooding.
Some of the changes include warmer summer daytime temperatures, up by two degrees compared to the current mean, but also higher night-time winter temperatures, which will be two to three degrees higher than the current mean.
if you are a conservative - you will love this part:
The generally warmer climate will provide some benefits, the authors say. For example, it should help to reduce the health burden, particularly amongst the elderly, which sees numbers entering hospitals over the winter months soar.
It should also mean less expenditure on wintertime heating, the authors add.
and if you are sane - this should alarm you:
But this warm air carries a price. Warm air summer or winter holds more moisture and this will fall as precipitation, mainly rain. While summers will typically be up to 20 per cent drier compared to today’s normal, winters will see 14 per cent more precipitation.
The net result is more water filling the main river systems that, when overloaded, will trigger widespread flooding. Add to this an increased risk of exceptionally heavy downpours, and the chance of flooding soars.
because - a tiny, damp. island, in the middle of a large wet ocean cannot afford to get wetter, is exactly why it should be a bellwether for
“Wake the fuck up” finally not allowing politics to blind us to science.
Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada on Sunday voted for a resolution to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations of Ukraine.
The draft of the resolution was tabled by parliament speaker and acting president of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov. It was supported by 300 lawmakers at a parliament meeting held behind closed doors on Sunday, MP from the Batkivschyna faction Andriy Shevchenko said.
read more @ Kyiv Post
“The question is: Are those costs big enough to cause Russia not to take advantage of the situation in the Crimea? That’s the $64,000 question,” said Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan, a retired Army officer who served as defense attaché in the American Embassy in Moscow and now, as a Harvard scholar, leads a group of former Russian and American officials in back-channel talks.
Russia is an even tougher country to pressure, too formidable even in the post-Soviet age to rattle with stern lectures or shows of military force, and too rich in resources to squeeze economically in the short term. With a veto on the United Nations Security Council, it need not worry about the world body. And as the primary source of natural gas to much of Europe, it holds a trump card over many American allies.
The longer-term options might be more painful, but they require trade-offs as well. The administration could impose the same sort of banking sanctions that have choked Iran’s economy. And yet Europe, with its more substantial economic ties, could be reluctant to go along, and Mr. Obama may be leery of pulling the trigger on such a potent financial weapon, especially when he needs Russian cooperation on Syria and Iran.
read more @ the New York Times
meanwhile, Fox News is reporting
A Ukrainian official announced Sunday that all military reservists were being called to active duty, even as Russian troops appeared to be advancing deeper into the Crimean Peninsula.
Foreign Policy takes on the complexity of alliances of language, ethnicity, and culture :
Even the Crimean Autonomous Republic isn’t quite as solidly pro-Russian and pro-Putin as it’s often depicted. The northern part of the peninsula is populated by ethnic Ukrainians, most of whom are bilingual and are likely to have some loyalties to Ukraine. The central and southern parts are populated by Crimean Tatars, who currently comprise about 15-20 percent of the total population. Most of them speak Russian on a daily basis, yet most also oppose Crimea’s annexation by Russia and strongly support the Kiev revolution. Several hundred have even joined the revolutionaries in downtown Kiev.
Kiev nicely illustrates another important nuance. It’s often said that Kiev speaks like the East and votes like the West: most Kievites are fluent in Russian, and most also support the ongoing anti-government revolution, just as they supported the 2004 Orange Revolution. (In the photo above, anti-government protesters in Kiev sing the Ukrainian national anthem.) This means that language preference does not as easily correlate with cultural preferences (Russia versus the West) or political choices (Yanukovych versus the democrats), as the East-West paradigm suggests. In that vast space between far East and far West, many Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians vote against the Party of Regions, support Ukrainian independence, and fear Putin’s Russia. Voters in Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, Chernihiv, and Kharkiv provinces are known to cast votes for other parties. Neither Yanukoych nor the Party of Regions received 100 percent of the vote in any province. Not surprisingly, about one-fifth of the demonstrators in Kiev hail from Ukraine’s “pro-Russian,” south-eastern provinces.
Putin’s mission is restoration. First, restore traditional Russian despotism by dismantling its nascent democracy. And then, having created iron-fisted “stability,” march.
The question is, can this administration muster the counterpressure to give Ukraine a chance to breathe?
read more @ the Union Leader
Wow, I had no idea that these dedicated people existed as an organized group. Looks like I’ve found yet another new book to add to my Amazon wish list.
Without the work of these curators and professors, tens of thousands of priceless works of art would have been lost to the world forever
Captain Robert Posey and Pfc. Lincoln Kirstein were the first through the small gap in the rubble blocking the ancient salt mine at Altausee, high in the Austrian Alps in 1945 as World War II drew to a close in May 1945. They walked past one sidechamber in the cool damp air and entered a second one, the flames of their lamps guiding the way.
There, resting on empty cardboard boxes a foot off the ground, were eight panels of The Adoration of the Lamb by Jan van Eyck, considered one of the masterpieces of 15th-century European art. In one panel of the altarpiece, the Virgin Mary, wearing a crown of flowers, sits reading a book.
“The miraculous jewels of the Crowned Virgin seemed to attract the light from our flickering acetylene lamps,” Kirstein wrote later. “Calm and beautiful, the altarpiece was, quite simply, there.”
Kirstein and Posey were two members of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section of the Allies, a small corps of mostly middle-aged men and a few women who interrupted careers as historians, architects, museum curators and professors to mitigate combat damage. They found and recovered countless artworks stolen by the Nazis. […]
It is my first post, be gentle! Tips welcome. Yes I did say that.
In the Israeli media, readers have repeatedly been told that the widely-held European stance against ritual circumcision is rooted partly in anti-Semitism, and partly in fear of an expanding Muslim population in Europe. Such anti-religious rhetoric is unjustified. The vast majority of Europe’s opponents of ritual circumcision are religiously tolerant, but consider cutting off an important part of a non-consenting, healthy child’s genitals to be contrary to modern ethics. This view was clearly expressed in September 2013 in a common statement of the ombudsmen and spokespersons for children in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Greenland and Denmark. To most Europeans circumcision is an ethically problematic ritual that is intrinsically harmful to children: every child has the right to protection of his or her bodily integrity and the right to explore and enjoy his or her undiminished sexual capacity later in life.
More at the Copenhagen Post