Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Could do better

Did you catch last week’s two extremely depressing simultaneous publications? Those of you wishing to remain cheerful, look away now.

Firstly, IUCN’s red data list, which looks at the state of the world’s biodiversity at regular intervals. Without fail, every animal, plant or other living organism in the world is at least as badly off, if not considerably worse off, than before. I lie. There is one bird that has been moved down one level of endangeredness. Certain corals, gorillas, orang-utangs, tigers, and lots of birds lead the list of most likely to be extinct within a few decades. Why? Overwhelmingly, because of human activity.

Secondly, the IISS’s report on international security, which shows Al Quaeda stronger than ever, Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organisation growing by leaps and bounds, and young men signing up by the dozens across the globe for martyrdom in the fight against the morally bankrupt West. Another 9/11 is perfectly possible they say.

What a wonderful contribution we as a species are making to – as far as we know – the only living planet in the known universe.

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Monday, September 10, 2007


Introducing the newest member of our family.
Is she cute or what?

Granny and Grandpa

We’ve just had a fleeting visit from my parents, en route to a conference in Nairobi. It’s always lovely when people come to see us, I certainly feel the distance and isolation out here. And they brought us some exotic treats: couscous, wholegrain mustard, cheese, pop-up books for the boys, not to mention an exceptionally bulky and heavy lamp from IKEA which – quite frankly – I’m sure I would have dumped on the way. For which THANK YOU!

I think the highlights of the visit for Joaquim were:

  1. bacon and pancakes for breakfast at the hotel where Granny and Grandpa were staying (our spare room – alas – not yet ready)
  2. swimming pool at the same
  3. a day-long boat trip that included catching an 18kg yellow-fin tuna (he talked about that for several days)
  4. riding in the boot of the car with Grandpa (what a thrill, has been asking for a repeat ever since)

For Sebastian

  1. the bacon, again
  2. the pool, where he gained a lot of confidence – he finds the sea a bit big and scary
  3. the pop-up book full of construction machinery (brrrrm brrrrm)

For me:

  1. the bacon, of course!
  2. managing to wangle my work load so I could take my parents to see a couple of projects I’m working on, and have a night in a top-end eco beach lodge along the way
  3. being with lots of people I love at the same time.