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Swedish, Nature conservation freak, Passionate about Africa, Loving Peace, Politically neutral

Saturday, 25 April 2009

1 year anniversary!

The day before yesterday (23rd) was the 1 year anniversary of the launch of this blog. I totally forgot about it, probably because it hasn’t felt as a whole year. Anyway I, The Evolving Ape, have to congratulate myself for hanging in there for so long. I don’t know if anyone else enjoyed it, but it has been 12 months of joy for me. Hopefully I can continue writing on regular basis in the future.

Some memorable moments from the past year:
  • 220 posts have been uploaded since the start, which equals an average of 0.6 posts/day.
  • The most common tag to my posts has been “South Africa”, used for 29 posts.
  • I have written some 14 posts about Robert Mugabe, but only around 5 posts about sustainable development (I probably should change the subtitle of my blog…)
  • The post that generated most visitors in a single day (approx. 5 000 unique visitors) was the one where I claimed that Obama will be dead within four years (Link).
  • The post the generated most comments (112 in total) was the one about my wish for Israel to wipe out Palestine (Link).
  • My Israel/Palestine series (Link1, Link2, Link3, Link4) resulted in several death threats sent to my e-mail. Kind of interesting experience...
  • All in all The Evolving Ape have had some 100 000 visitors (not unique visitors), which averages at around 2 000 per week.

Anybody who wants to celebrate The Evolving Ape may do so by having some cake and champagne (which you buy yourself), and I will try to provide some good atmosphere by continuing bloging.
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Thursday, 23 April 2009

Zuma’s win will become South Africa’s fall

The election in South Africa seems to have passed without any major incidents yesterday (although a Cope party member was shoot dead outside his home in Port Elizabeth). I predicted that ANC would get less then 50% this time around, but the primarily results say around 60% for the ruling party. This is nonetheless a step forward for South Africa, that doesn’t end up in the palm of a party with 2/3 majority. However the fact that there is no clear opposition force to be recon with may send the country towards a dictatorship á la Zimbabwe. All the signs are there...

It is practically determined that the next president of South Africa will be Jacob Zuma. Much can be said about this man, but even more should be said about his supporters, who are a ranging bunch of semi-bandits. The leader of the ANC youth league, Julius Malema, is a faithfully devoted supporter of Zuma and have on more then one occasion threaten with violence if things didn't go his way. Just the other day he promised to take to violent action against the restaurant chain Nando’s in South Africa if they didn’t removed a TV-ad where he was depicted as a puppet (see clip below).



Moreover, Zuma’s stronghold lies in the, relative, far left-wing and I wouldn’t be surprised if he owes the communist party some debt. The influence of “revolutionary” forces in South Africa can send chill down the spine of anyone that have experienced communism. Referring to each other as “comrades” the party members of ANC shout either “contra-revolutionarist” or “racist” when being criticized for their leadership. And we can all see what a wonderful leadership it has been so far...


Some would say that the light in the tunnel is the fact that the party DA (Democratic Alliance) seems to have won the provincial elections in Western Cape. The party’s leader, Helen Zille, is said to have done wonders during here time as mayor of Cape Town. Apparently she was voted the best major of the world last year (unconfirmed rumour). Nonetheless, the violence and the ever-growing informal settlements (shanty towns) in and around Cape Town doesn’t leave me raving about Zille’s skills. In my eyes and ears DA seems and sounds very much like a white ANC, but maybe I’m wrong.

Perhaps the best party for South Africa would be the ID (Independent Democrats), which seems to be the only South African party with a clear anti-corruption profile. Furthermore, the party have the most diverse “race” composition in South Africa, with some 30% coloured voters, 25 % whites, 25 % blacks, and 20 % Indians. Sadly a vote for ID is regarded by South Africans as a vote wasted, as the party is still very small (but managed to get over 8% in Western Cape according to primarily reports).

Lets hope and pray that Zuma and his thugs can either start to do a very good job, or totally screw everything up. If the latter, at least South Africa can leave this limbo it is situated in at the moment. Hopefully, the ANC’s lack of skills in leading a democratic country will become obvious to the majority of people before the next election in 2014, and before South Africa will become a new Zimbabwe.

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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Depeche Mode’s worst album

Depeche Mode’s Sounds of the Universe was released today. It is my sad duty to inform you that this is the worst of the band’s 12 full-length albums. It seems like the momentum that was picked up during Playing the Angel is lost again, and the majority of the songs sound like Dave Gahan’s solo project. However, Depeche Mode have a very high lowest level, and Sounds of the Universe still stands out in competition with most of the “music” being produced today.

Some of my personal reflections on the Sounds of the Universe tracks:

  1. In chains – If there would have been an album between Sounds of Faith and Devotion och Ultra, it would probably sounded a bit like this. Also contains some Enjoy the Silence vibes. Score: 2.5 (out of 5)
  2. Hole to feed – One of countless tracks that sounds like a Dave Gahan solo album. Moderate exciting, not particularly interesting. Score: 2
  3. Wrong – The first single from the album. Has a cool beat and rhythm but feels slightly unfinished. Sounds like nothing else from Depeche. More of that please! Score: 3
  4. Fragile tension – See description for Hole to feed… Score: 2
  5. Little soul – Pretty cool song that seems to flirt a bit with Construction time again. Score: 2
  6. In sympathy – See description for Hole to feed… Also some vibes from Playing the Angel. Score: 2
  7. Peace – One of my two favourite tracks from the album. Almost sounds like being produced by the Knife (by the way, can’t we start a campaign that demands Karin and Olof being the producers on the next Depeche album?). This is how Depeche would have sounded if the hadn’t left the synth 80s behind them. Score: 3.5
  8. Come back – See description for Hole to feed… Score: 2
  9. Spacewalker – Short instrumental track. Very cool, sounds like Stjarna would have sounded like if it was written today. Score: 3
  10. Perfect – Potentially the second single of the album. May very well grow to something big eventually. Like a mix of Vialotor and Songs of Faith and Devotion. Score: 3
  11. Miles away – Some interresting beats, but otherwise se description for Hole to feed… Score: 2
  12. Jerzebel – Probably the best track of the album. The stronget piece sung by Martin since The things you said. (Me being weak for the pling-plong sounds might render a very bias opinion in this case). Score: 3.5
  13. Corrupt – Mixture of Songs of Faith and Devotion and Exciter, and the results is hence a diluted Depeche… Score: 2.5

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Sunday, 5 April 2009

Sverigedemokraterna är idioter

Avslöjande om rasistiska tendenser bland Sverigedemokraterna kommer säkert inte som någon överraskning för de flesta. Att svenska politiska partier innehåller sorgliga ”element”, som gärna graderar människor efter tvivelaktiga skalor, har varit allmänt känt ända sedan Janne Josefssons valstuge-undersökning 2002. Man kan till och med ha förståelse för att det inom SD, som har relativt gott om anhängare med fokus på endast en fråga (invandringen), återfinns individer som passerar gränsen för att vara främlingskritiska och går över till att vara främlingsfientliga och sedermera enbart komiska. Vad jag däremot har svårare att förstå är den brist på intelligens som tycks återfinns hos många av medlemmarna i SD.

Lite analogt med att det inte är girigheten som är problemet hos bankchefer som döper om bonusar till löneförhöjningar (se inlägg) så är inte rasismen det stora problemet i SDs fall. Istället ligger problemet i att partiets medlemmar verkar sakna förmåga att vara offentliga och hårdgranskade personer. De tycks sakna förmågan att förstå vilka reaktioner och uppmärksamhet deras beteende kan leda till.

Må vara att jag inte alltid håller med SDs hållning i en mängd politiska frågor, men jag ser ogärna att man förbjuder åsikter. Emellertid så ogillar jag starkt dumhet och anser att denna borde utrotas alternativt förbjudas. Följaktligen så hoppas jag SD kan skicka sig själva på några kurser om hur man uppför sig och beter sig som en politisk figur. Det kommer säkert fortfarande finnas rasism inom SDs led, men jag slipper åtminstone bevittna någon mer dumhet och dåliga bortförklaringar.

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Sunday, 29 March 2009

China is taking over Africa

Well... not particular unexpected China is now increasing its presences in Africa. Chinese investors are flocking to the continent and already we can see how high some African leaders value their new trade partners (The South African government upholds its tradition).

I think that African leaders are relieved to have money/investors coming in, without any questions asked. For the African people it might be a different story, especially if the African countries are about to adopt China’s strategy of ruthless capitalism.


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Friday, 27 March 2009

Carl Bildts tystnad skrämmer

Jag har vid tidigare tillfälle ”analyserat” Sveriges utrikesminister Carl Bildts engagemang för Afrika och dess länder (länk). Genom att räkna antalet träffar för vissa specifika sökord på Bildts blogg ”Alla dessa dagar” så får man en någorlunda bra bild av hur utrikesministern tycks nerprioritera den afrikanska kontinenten till förmån för andra länder/regioner/konflikter.

Det är möjligt att UD/Bildt tillämpar en omfattande tyst diplomati gentemot afrikanska konflikter. Detta verkar särskilt uppenbart i fallet med fängslade Dawit Isaak i Eriteria, där Bildt vägrar svara på frågor som berör det fallet. För Sveriges del så är denna tystand inget annat än en stor skam. Tyst diplomati är detsamma som ett tyst godkännande.

”Det är inte ett fåtals brutalitet som skrämmer mig utan den stora massans tystand”
Martin Luther King

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Monday, 23 March 2009

The South African government upholds its tradition

South African governments from the past (especially between the years 1948-1994) loved to act in the best interest of their own kind. Stuff like morality and justice was given very little room. At present the current South African government, with president Motlanthe and ANC president Zuma in charge, is trying it foremost to uphold the tradition of this filthy mentality.

By giving into Chinese demands of not inviting Nobel Prize winner Dalai Lama to a peace summit in South Africa, the South African government is clearly showing its standpoint. A standpoint that says “oppression based on ethnicity is justified, as long it doesn’t affect me or my loved ones”. Hence, we can not expect South Africa to stand up against injustice in the world, unless that “injustice” is criticism against Mugabe, corruption charges against Zuma, challenging the ANC, and so on...

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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Lets gag the Pope!

Pope Benedictus XVI said during his Africa tour that condoms are not the right mean of fighting AIDS/HIV. Although he is partly correct (see my previous posts here below) in his statement I wish he would shut up and stop interfere in matters that he clearly has no experience of.

HIV/AIDS medical research is a waste of money
Thabo Mbeki should have won the Nobel prize in medicine



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Sunday, 15 March 2009

Det är inte girigheten som stör mig

Det har stormat rätt rejält kring SEB chefernas löner de senaste dagarna. Man har ju på ett närmast bedrägligt sätt döpt om sina bonusar till ”löneökningar”. Därmed har toppcheferna sett till att deras inkomst fortsatt att öka, trots den världsomspännande finanskrisen. Många upprörs över girigheten hos Falkengren & C:o, men jag irriterar mig främst över den dumheten som tycks existera bland bankens toppar.

Jag har svårt att förstå hur man kan arbeta inom bank- och finanssektorn och samtidigt visa prov på en sådan total oförståelse för hur allmänheten/samhället reagerar på de ovannämnda löneökningarna? Saknar man total verklighetsförankring när man tror att ingen skulle reagerar på att man döper om bonus till någonting annat? Det är kanske inte så förvånande att SEB drabbats så hårt av finanskrisen. Banken tycks sakna förmågan att förutse samhällets (både på lokal och global nivå) reaktioner och beteende.

Många av SEBs kunder muttrar nu om att byta bank. Det låter som ett utmärkt förslag, men jag hoppas att varje bankbyte sker med eftertanke. Överger man SEB så är det ett bra sätt att straffa dess ledning. Dock så måste man också se till att ens sparpengar mm hamnar hos förvaltare som verkligen har koll på läget, och som förstår sig på dynamiken och strukturerna i samhället (främst med avseende på konsumtionsmönster, köpbeteenden och dylikt). Jag har tyvärr inga råd att ge i detta fall, men kanske någon kan tipsa om en bra och jordnära bank?

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Friday, 13 March 2009

Uganda - more then just bad news

I noticed that two of Sweden’s biggest newspapers Svenska Dagbladet and Aftonbladet, reported today on two events that involved Uganda. One was about a shopping mall collapsing in the capital, leaving at least five people dead. The other article was about the Ugandan terrorists LRA (Lord’s Resistence Army) that are leaving a trace of humanitarian disasters wherever they decide to pillage. This unusually large amount of reports from this part of the world might be seen as depressing reading for some. Therefore I want to do some very brief advertise for the nature and wildlife of the country in order to balance the bad press. (Let me also just point out that the LRA does not operate anywhere close to Uganda’s (eco) tourist destinations).

In Uganda, which is just half the size of Sweden, you can find some of the following:
  • Lake Victoria does not only hold many fish species, but also contain a true Darwian demon (I’m not kidding).
  • The country houses some 330 species of land living mammals, which is approximately twice as many as can be found in the whole of Europe.
  • The number of birds species found in Uganda is over 1 000 (approximately 700 species for the whole of Europe).
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Monday, 9 March 2009

Video clip of the world’s most endangered mammals

The WWF have released a video clip of the Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus). The aim is to raise awareness for this critically endangered mammal, of which there only some 60 individuals left in the world. Maybe the WFF will have more success with this species then we have had with the Baiji or Yangtze river dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer), which is virtually exterminated by the Chinese development.

I have in previous post (though in Swedish) asked if there is any sense in trying to save these kind animals, the extremely endangered ones. Why not allocate the money to other, more likely to be successful, nature conservation projects? Let the rhino go extinct, and let it thus serve as reminder of a very dark chapter in the history of our civilization.





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Sunday, 8 March 2009

It's your day - a woman's day

Souma Yergon, Sou Nou Yergon, We are shakin' the tree
Souma Yergon, Sou Nou Yergon, We are shakin' the tree

Waiting your time, dreaming of a better life
Waiting your time, so much more than just a wife
You don't have to do what your mother has done, she has done
This is your life, this new life has begun
It's your day - a woman's day
It's your day - a woman's day

Turning the tide, you are on the incoming wave
Turning the tide, you know you are nobody's slave
Find your brothers and sisters
Who can hear all the truth in what you say
They can support you when you're on your way
It's your day - a woman's day
It's your day - a woman's day

Souma Yergon, Sou Nou Yergon, We are shakin' the tree...

Changing your ways, changing those surrounding you
Changing your ways, more than any man can do
Open your heart, show him the anger and pain, so you heal
Maybe he's looking for his womanly side, make him feel

You had to be so strong
And you do nothing wrong, nothing wrong at all
We're gonna to break it down
We have to shake it down, shake it all around

Souma Yergon, Sou Nou Yergon, We are shakin' the tree...



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Friday, 6 March 2009

Mugabe tries to assassin Tsvangirai

The Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was today involved in car accident, which apparently claimed the life of his wife Susan. Although details of the accident are still unclear, there should be no doubt that this was an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister, orchestrated by president Mugabe. This latest stunt by the country’s (former) despot should not surprise anyone. A man that have approved ethnical cleansing, assaulted and killed political opponents, and starved his own people to death, is more then likely to arrange a “car accident” in order to reach his goal; being removed from power only by God...

Mugabe starts arresting

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Thursday, 5 March 2009

The upside of high rape rates

The Doctors Without Borders reveal in their report that South Africa has the same level of rapes as war-thorn countries such as Congo, Colombia and Liberia. In one of the worst “informal settlement” (townships) a woman is raped every 26th second. This has lead to the bizarre situation of societies where raped women are the norm. Although rape-rates of these proportions are nothing to be happy about, they might bring some relief for the exposed women.

I have observed that a big part of the trauma, in association with rape, is shame. A shame that society puts on the woman, as if she was to blame for what had happened. In many cultures (note: including the “civilized” parts of the world) a rape women is regarded as unclean. She can become and outcast, abandon or chased away by her partner and/or family. Her suffering is thus several magnitudes larger that what it “should” be.

I can only speculate, but I wonder if not a raped woman doesn’t benefit from living in a rape-infested society as the above- mentioned township. If rape is becoming a natural part of life, then maybe the stigmatizing burden of having been sexual abused is easier to carry. Women that only have to carry the scarce from the actual assault, and not its aftermath, might have a less painful way back to a normal life (although I do ask myself if life can be regarded as “normal” in a country with murder and rape rates similar to areas of intensive and several armed conflicts).


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Wednesday, 4 March 2009

I do not acknowledge the ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued today an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir. He has been accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes. I welcome the attempts of brining a person like al-Bashir into justice. However, I don’t acknowledge the court, at least not until its authority is able to encompass all war criminal in the world, not only some African leaders in forgotten countries.

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Monday, 2 March 2009

Censored by creationist or evolutionists?

Nine Inch Nails epic "Closer" comes in two versions, one unedit and one edit. Watch them both and pay special attention to the section at 0.50 – 1.20. Who do you think is most happy about the censorship in the edit version, the creationists or the evolutionists?

Unedit version


Edit version


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Thursday, 26 February 2009

Deep sea creatures reveals the existence of God





The more I learn about nature, the more is left for me to discover and find out. Reaching new depths (literally), in my quest to enrich myself with knowledge of the world’s biodiversity, I become acquainted with some pretty amazing creatures. I have also started to believe that there might be a higher force, an invisible hand if it might, behind all these nature's “miracles”. Watching the video clips I see proof of the existence of a god.

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Sunday, 22 February 2009

Självklart att flickfoster ska aborteras!

Det har den senaste tiden framkommit att det finns fall där foster aborteras på grund av deras kön. Pojkfoster från vara kvar, flickfoster tas bort. Socialstyrelsen funderar nu på att införa begränsade möjligheter för havande kvinnor att få reda på fostrets kön. Denna hela debatt är lite svår för mig att förstå, då ovilliga föräldrar försetts med rätten att ta bort sådant som de ser som oönskat (fram t.o.m. 21:a(?) graviditetsveckan). Varför är könstillhörighet en egenskap som inte får avgöra ett fosters vara eller icke-vara?

Jag har tidigare skrivit inlägg om att blivande föräldrar kan gentesta foster för svåra sjukdomar. I takt med att gen- diagnostiken utvecklas så undrade jag om föräldrar som är måna om sina barns väl och ve inte också borde abortera foster som bär på ”homosexualitetsgenen” och ”otrohetsgenen” (se Gentesta foster för homosexualitet och Gentesta foster för otrohet). Det är ju rätt naturligt för föräldrar att välja den genotyp som innebär minst lidande för barnet i dess liv.

Eftersom kvinnor är eftersatta män i samhället, både vad gäller pengar (lön) och makt, så är det väl rätt självklart att man heller föder fram en pojke. Det är därför rent av oansvarigt av föräldrar att bringa en flicka till en värld som denna. Följaktligen så bör alla flickfoster aborteras, fram till dess att könsbalansen blivit så skev att detta kön värdesätts lika högt som manskönet.

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Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Wasting resources on saving a dolphin

A dolphin that was attacked by a shark has been rescued outside the shores of Queensland. The mutilated aquatic mammal was taken to Sea World were he/she was operated and reported to be making a speedy recovery. What I don’t understand is what makes this particular non-human individual so special that he/she deserves medical treatment. Why wasn’t the dolphin just left to die? How many starving children in Africa could we have saved if we didn’t waste our money on this “Flipper”...?

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Monday, 16 February 2009

Robert "Marie Antoinette" Mugabe


Mugabe will be having one heck of a 85th birthday, feasting on among others 8 000 lobsters and 2 000 bottles of Champagne...

Let hope that this is not only a birthday celebration but also Mugabe's farewell party. Apparently the old dictator secretly have bought a $5.6 million house in Hong Kong (see Link). So with a bit of luck people the Zimbabwean people soon can enjoy both bread and cake again.

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Friday, 13 February 2009

Mugabe starts arresting


Roy Bennet, a minister nominee, was arrested in the outskirts of Harare earlier today. The former farmer has recently returned from exile to Zimbabwe, and is expected to be appointed as the deputy minister of agriculture by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. However, president Mugabe might have other plans for Bennet, who a couple of years ago stood accused for attempts to assassinate Mugabe. I wont be surprised if the old dictator step up his position(s) and continue to haul any process of change in the country.

With an inflation rate hurdling up towards the 1.000.000.000 % mark, an unemployment rate of 94%, and some five thousand Zimbabweans fleeing the country daily, Zimbabwe is in a desperate situation. Allowing someone like Bennet to take charge of the agricultural sector could improve the situation for the starving population. But that is of course not in Mugabe’s interest. That would reduce his possibilities of blaming the West world, the Whites, the former Colonial rules, and God knows who, for all the bad things that has happened to Zimbabwe.

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Thursday, 12 February 2009

The good ol' apartheid days?

A protest turns nasty in Pretoria, South Africa. I bet that most of you would date this video to the apartheid era or the early/mid 90s. But the event took place yesterday...

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Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Zinkoxid inte farligt

(Favorit i repris, från 2008-05-28)

Naturskyddsföreningen har genomfört en studie och funnit att 5 av 18 undersökta solkrämer innehöll zinkoxid. Tydligen är det inte bra, och ämnet är förbjudet att använda som UV-filter. Men egentligen varför? Zink är en livsviktig metall som vår kropp behöver. Och oxid är ju bara syre, vilket också är livsviktigt för oss. Att smörja in sig i solkräm är att tillföra bägge dessa essentiella ämnen till kroppen på en och samma gång. Tidsbesparing! Eller kan man inte resonera så?

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Thursday, 5 February 2009

Nackdelar med kärnkraft

Alliansen tycks idag har enats om en nybyggnad av kärnkraften. Redan hörs röster om regeringspartiernas svek mot miljö och hur de saboterat satsning på förnyelsebar energi. Säkert finns det också de som ser det som ett svek mot demokratin, eftersom ”vi ju röstat nej till kärnkraften” (sanning med en stor mängd modifikation). Personligen så tycker jag att rådande omvärlds- faktorer gör att satsning på kärnkraft inte bara är av ondo. Man ska dock vara medveten om några av kärnkraftens baksidor.

Mycket av debatten idag om kärnkraftens vara eller icke-vara baserar sig på hur man ska ersätta denna energiform. Vindkraften anses störa och vara ineffektiv, fossila bränslen leder till global uppvärmning, och vattenkraften kan inte byggas ut mycket mer. Till detta tillkommer ibland argument om att biobränslen bidrar till världssvälten. Allt detta talar för kärnkraft, även om man ska ta ovanstående argument/påstående med en nypa salt.

Det återfinns även en hel del argument/påstående mot kärnkraften (och även dessa ska intas med eftertanke), och jag listar de tre nackdelar som jag primärt kommer att tänka på i samband med satsning på denna energiform;
  • Hantering av uttjänat kärnbränsle. Slutförvaring djupt under mark är det mest realistiska alternativet för stunden, men mer kunskap på området (inom bl a neotektonik) skulle behövs innan man sätter spaden i marken.
  • Utvinningen av uran anses vara en smutsig process, både för naturen och de som arbetar med det (kanske gäller främst i utvecklingsländer, men ändå).
  • Utveckling av kärnvapen kan bli lättare för ”tvivelaktiga” stater. De kommer då kunna hävda att de ”satsar på kärnkraft precis som Sverige”.

Som sagt så finns det säkert en hel del andra argument för och emot i denna fråga. Vad som däremot är viktigt att poängtera är det osunda i en alltför ensidig fokusering på en sorts energiform (vare sig det är biobränsle, kärnkraft eller något annat). Om hela befolkningen plötsligt vill enbart ha en sorts el i sina vägguttag så kan detta leda till problem. Man ska ju helst undvika att ”put all eggs in one basket”. En avvägd och hållbar variation av energikällor tror jag mest på.

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Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Carl Bildt reveals Sweden's twisted prioritizes?

The Swedish minister of foreign affairs, Carl Bildt, has his own blog; ”Alla Dessa Dagar”, where he writes about his daily activities and comments on current issues. Thus, the blog serves, partly, as a window into the Swedish government’s work and commitment in the world.

As a simple test of the current Swedish engagement(s) I searched for some keyword among Carl’s post from last two months. The number of hits for each of the keywords are displayed in the table below. I could make some elaborate analysis here, but I'm going to let the results speak for themselves.

The table shows number of hits for some searched keywords on Carl Bildt's blog (as the blog is in Swedish "Congo" and "Africa" are spelled "Kongo" and "Afrika", respectively).

Gaza Kongo Afrika Zimbabwe Sri Lanka
Dec 13 0 1 2 0
Jan 23 0 0 0 0
Feb 22 0 0 0 0


My previous post on similar matters:
I hope Israel will wipe out Palestine
I hope Israel will wipe out Palestine 2.0
Why the hell is Gaza the center of the world?
I hope Israel will wipe out Palestine 3.0

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Top 3 snakes

Fossils of the mother of all snakes have apparently been discovered in Colombia. The vertebrate found in a coal mine suggest that the serpent in question measured over 13 meters and weighed over 1100 kg. Although we should not get carried away by size, it is still pretty impressive measurments (compare to the anaconda or salt water crocodiles that reach 7 meters in length, at their best).

I’m taking the opportunity to display my top 3 favorite snakes, hoping that more people will appreciate these very interesting creatures.

Gabon viper (Bitis gabonica)

Black adder (Vipera berus)

Beauty rat snake (Elaphe taeniura)

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Friday, 30 January 2009

Two Zimbabwean elephants


The situation in Zimbabwe have skipped and jumped between tragedy and comedy so many times that I totally lost track. Hence, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the new power sharing agreement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Will the Zimbabwean people see any difference due to the change of ruling?

There is a saying in Africa: “When two elephants fight, the grass suffers”. This might actually pinpoint to the problem in more than one way. Many African countries, Zimbabwe included, looks for strong and brusque leaders, probably as a reaction to the forced on submissive posture during colonialism. Thus, there have been a selection towards large elephant-like beasts; creatures that clinch on to power and searched for every opportunity to increase it.

We see a desperate need for a paradigm shift in the African perceived notion of a good leader. The elephant, whose missteps can cause so much harm, is not right for the people. What the people need is a mouse, which is more on the same level as themselves and do not alter its environment to the same extent as elephants do. And furthermore, a mouse has the authority to scare away any threatening elephant that might be approaching.

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Tuesday, 27 January 2009

My Tintin cast

Rumors has it that Steven Spielberg is about to start filming The adventure of Tintin, staring Jamie Bell as the young journalist/ adventurer. Being a big fan of Tintin I have many times pondered over who would be most fitted to play the different characters in a Tintin motion picture. I feel it is an outrage that mr Spielberg didn’t contact me before casting the actors. But it is his loss. Here are the actors that should have gotten the main parts:

Brad Pitt – Tintin
Perhaps passed his time a bit, but lets take Brad from the early 90s for this role. I chose him partly because of his short height, which fits nicely with Tintin’s petite build body.

Mickey Rourke - Captain Haddock
There are probably many good actors that could play this role. But I think that Mickey's natural raw and rough style would make become Captain Haddock rather than just playing him.

Michael Jeter - Professor Cuthbert Calculus
Unfortunately Michael isn’t with us anymore, but he would have been just perfect for this role. His, short but memorable, performance in the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is all the audition that is needed.

José López Rodero - Thomson and Thompson
Quite unknown actor, probably best remembered for playing the twin book storekeepers in the movie The Night Gate. Seems to have the right looks and the experience of doubling his role in movies for this role. (Sorry for the low quality photo).

Lois Maxwell – Bianca Castafiore
This is a tricky one. Women in Bianca’s age that beam confidence and self-esteem are difficult to find. I was considering a middle-aged Judi Dench, but finally decided on Lois “Miss Moneypenny” Maxwell, preferably from the early 70s.

I have very low expectations of getting my ideas through to mr Spielberg (especially as two of the actors are already dead, and one is too old for his role…). But maybe my casting kills will give me a job in the future, who know.

Ps. No, I haven’t forgotten about Snowy. I would chose that dog from the sitcom Fraiser. Just painting him white first...

Update: Damn, I was hoping that either Mickey or Brad would have won an Oscar today.
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Friday, 23 January 2009

Things can get worse after Nkunda's arrest

Reports from Africa say that the Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda was arrested last night in Rwanda. Apparently some disagreements within his own rebel group has forced him to flee. Perhaps the reason for this potential mutiny stemmed from Nkunda’s reluctance to have his rebel army join up with the Congolese army. This latest development, in the war torn Congo, is met with hesitant optimism. However, with Nkunda out off the picture there is the risk of even worse massacres of civilians in the region.

Nkunda is said to be a man that knows how to work the media (video clip #1). Despite this, the notion around the world is that he and his rebels are responsible for some of the most foul atrocities done to civilians. Although I wouldn't regard myself as an expert on the Congo conflict, I wonder how much of the mutilations, rapes and loathing can be traced to Nkunda's group.

The Christmas massacre a couple of weeks ago in Orientale province, which left some 620 people slaughtered, where the works of Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). And the unrest in the national parks, with among others park ranger casualties, has been fuelled by the Mai-Mai rebels. Perhaps both these groups have close links to the Nkunda rebels, but the fact remains, things don't necessary have to get any better just because one rebel group's leader has been arrested. I fear that other rebels, as for example the unpredictable and irrational LRA (see interesting post on the blog The African Wind), might strengthen their power in the region and increase the disorder.

An additional problem is that Nkunda's rebel group might split up, into supporters and opponents of its former leader, and thus adding to tensions. Lets also not forget that all this is taking place in a area of high biodiversity value. Not only the civilians are suffering, but so are the species, that very well might be the last of their kind. The killing of park ranger Safari Kakule (video clip #2) just proves what measures the rebels are willing to take in order to get their will through.

I really don't know how to solve the situation here. But I suggest that we start by bringing more attention to the region. Maybe that will facilitate in a cease of suffering for the people and species.

#1 (Coverage of Congo, AlJazeera)


#2 (R.I.P. Safari Kakule)


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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Marx stödjer homosexuella äktenskap

"I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member"

Kloka ord från den store Marx. Analogt till denna tankegång bör finnas en strävan att få bli medlem i en klubb som inte vill ha en som medlem. Jag gissar att detta är ett ganska vanligt och naturaligt beteende bland människor, sökandet efter det förbjudna/otillåtn. Och det förklarar nog också varför homo- och bisexuella så gärna söker sig till "kyrkoklubben"...

Ps. Tänk efter innan ni kommentarer att jag citerar Marx

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Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Obamas relatively inexpensive

Today is Barack Obama’s inauguration. Soon America will have a new president moving in to the White House with his family. Even though I’m not familiar with the arrangements for the president’s closest one, I suspect that the costs of protecting the Obamas (and the mother-in-law Marian) will be higher than for any American president to date. Almost for sure there will be some taxpayers complaining about these and other presidential expenses that they have to pay for. But the Obamas are probably relatively inexpensive, at least compared to the prospected cost for the Zumas…

The to-be-president of South Africa Jacob Zuma (lets assume that he will win the elections in April) is a polygamist. He has currently three wives and a couple of dozens of children. It is also most likely that some illegitimate sons and daughters will seek up Daddy Zuma after his inauguration, hoping to reap some of benefits from being the president’s close family.

The security arrangements for politicians in South Africa are probably bigger than in the United States. 40 cars accompanying the president is not an unusual sight. I suspect that even the maid of the secretary of the secretary of some low profile minister has a minimum of five police cars assisting her. Just imagine the cost of transporting the Zuma children to school...

Voices are being heard to change the protocol for the president and his family before Zuma assumes office (see Link. Medical aid, private jet, pension, etc. to all of the Zumas will simply be too expensive. Hopefully this matter can be resolved quickly, so that the poor in South Africa don’t have to pay a high price because their president was to cheap to buy some condoms (condoms are by the way distributed for free in South Africa).

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Monday, 19 January 2009

Kontrollera fisken med sms


Naturskyddsföreningen har gått igenom fiskdiskarna i 62 svenska livsmedelsbutiker och kommit fram till slutsatsen att dessa inte är så miljövänliga som man skulle kunna önska. Fortfarande sälj fisk från bestånd som inte fångas på ett uthålligt sätt, eller från arter som är utrotningshotade. Det faktum att havsresurserna är svåra att nyttja på ett hållbart och uthålligt sätt (se Att vända skutan) gör att ansvaret måste falla mer på de som köper fisken, dvs konsumenterna.

I Sydafrika så finns sen något år tillbaka en sms-tjänst, FISHMS, som stärker konsumentmakten vid fiskdisken. Den potentiella fiskköparen kan enkelt sms namnet på fisken han/hon vill köpa och får strax tillbaka ett sms som talar om huruvida arten är hotad eller inte. Jag har inte sett något sådant initiativ i Sverige, men hoppas att man kan starta upp en sådan tjänst snarast möjligt.

Uppdatering
: Singnaturen "emil" informerade mig om att tjänsten jag efterlyser existerar redan i Sverige. Se fisk.cc

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Friday, 16 January 2009

Inte bättre att bygga ut redan exploaterade stränder?

Regeringen har angett ett nytt förslag till strandskydd. Tydligen så ska skyddet förstärkas i redan exploaterade strandområden, men försvagas i ”glesbygden”. Vidare så ska länsstyrelsen få en ny kontrollerade uppgift av kommuners dispensgivande. Frågan om denna modifiering av strandskyddet kommer att föra med sig så mycket nytta.

Det faktum att kommuner är väldigt kåta på att ge dispens från strandskyddet finns många exempel på. I de flesta beslut går inte heller att finna någon angiven förklaring till att dispens har beviljats, vilket visar tydliga tecken på ett bortseende från natur- och friluftslivet behov, och en löjligt slapp inställning till miljöbalken. Man kan väl bara be en stilla bön att situationen förändras i och med förslaget. Jag är dock en smula osäker hur det hela skiljer sig från dagens situation (där länsstyrelsen är den myndighet som ska bevilja dispenser, men får delegera denna uppgift till kommuner).

Vidare så finns det de som argumenterar för att det kanske är bättre att, så att säga, exploatera sönder vissa områden och låta orörd natur/stränder förbli orörda (se Minskande grönområden leder till sjunkande bostadspriser och dess kommentarer). Det vore därmed kanske mer fördelaktigt att bygg bryggor och strandvillor vid varje strandmeter av Danderyd, snarare än att bryta den romantiskt orörda landskapsvyn i Torneträsk. Problemet är att djur- och växtlivet i bl a Stockholms skärgård är beroende av fredade stränder (se Förstärkt strandskydd krävs!), och så säkert även friluftsmänniskorna.

För naturens bästa så bör strandskyddet helt klart behållas som det är idag, och dispenserna bör begränsas till ett absolut minimum. Om man däremot känner sig tvingad att gå exploateringsvägen, så verkar bägge ovanstående alternativ innehålla tråkiga nyheter för växt- och djurlivet och/eller friluftsentusiaster.

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Monday, 12 January 2009

Why the hell is Gaza the center of the world?

Gaza:
  • 850 people killed and some 3 500 injured since the Israeli attacks began on December 27.
  • Rumours say Israel is using white phosphorus (a nasty compound that catches fire if not kept constantly moist/wet) in combat.
  • Reports indicate that up to 25 % of the victims are children.
The public and media reacts: “We have to do all in our power to stop this atrocity! Everybody needs to become aware of what is going on here! More protest marches! Boycott Israel!”

Zimbabwe:
  • Some 1 000 people have died of cholera since mid December, 2 000 in total since the outbreak in August 2008.
  • Every day between 5 000-10 000 flee the desperate situation in the country.
  • Several opponents to Mugabe’s rule have been arrested and may be facing the death penalty.
The public and media reacts: “If only Mugabe were white, then we would issues some big protest against him.”

Congo (DRC):
  • Approximately 650 civilians killed in the Orientale province since December 24.
  • Victims are often hacked to death/pieces.
  • Rapes and child abductions (to serve as soldiers and/or sex slaves) are common features.
  • Ranger killed by rebels in the Virunga National Park while he was trying to protect the endangered mountain gorillas.
The public and media reacts: “Congo? Didn't Tintin go there on one of his adventures...?”

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Friday, 9 January 2009

Världsreportern är överflödig

Ulf Nilsson, mångårig utrikeskorrespondent på Expressen, skriver i ett inlägg på Newsmill att bloggarna aldrig kan ersätta världs- reportern. Han menar att man från sin plats bakom dataskärmen aldrig kan uppleva samma saker som om man är en äventyrlig journalist. Men frågan är om en (utländsk) världsreporter någonsin kan förstå helheten på samma sätt som de inhemska skribenterna kan, må vara att de ”bara” är bloggare.

Spända situationer runtom i världen uppstår sällan pga enkla och uppenbara skäl. Några stora och en mängd små faktorer brukar vara bidragande orsak till t ex osämja mellan olika folkgrupper. En väpnad konflikt idag kan ha haft sin grogrund i en granfejd år 500 f. Kr. eller en minimal kulturell skiljaktighet. För att fullt ut förstå varför grupp A hatar grupp B så bör man ha florerat i samman- hanget en hel del. Man bör ha smakat, lyssnat, luktat och sett bägge sidornas argument. Och till detta räcker sällan en världsreporters livstid, det krävs sinnesintryck från många generationer bak i tiden.

Men kan en bloggare som befinner sig mitt i smeten bilda sig en objektiv bild av läget? Kanske inte. Dock så kan ju en han/hon förmedla sin bild, och en annan bloggare kan förmedla sin (mot-)bild av situationen. Dessa ”dagböcker” från verkligheten innehåller ofantligt mycket mer information än vad en världsreporter skulle kunna klara av att utvinna. Nackdelen är att det kan vara en mycket stor mängd material att gå igenom för läsaren, och vidare finns det risk för att den skrivskickligaste (eller internettätaste) sidan får flest sympatier. I sådana fall kan man alltid ha en journalist som kommer in och försöker skriva objektiva sammanfattningar. Och till en sådan uppgift krävs ingen världsreporter, en skrivbordsreporter räcker gott och väl...

(Jag lägger dock in en viss reservation till min sågning av den sk världsreportern. I områden med stora behov av uppmärksamhet, och där t ex bloggning är obefintlig, så fyller journalister en viktig uppgift).
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Thursday, 8 January 2009

Mandela abandons ANC?


Today is the 8th of January, an important date in South African history. On this very date in 1912 ANC was founded by, among others, Pixley ka Seme. The party began as something of a Xhosa interests organisation, but under the legendary leadership of Chief Albert Luthuli grew to become a real nuisance for the apartheid government. Other prominent leaders of the party were of course Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela. The latter is now over 90 years old, and is beginning to show signs of disapproval with the current leaders of the ANC.

Reports from South African media suggest that Madiba (Mandela’s “nickname”) is not going to participate in the ANC’s 97th anniversary. Reports also say that neither will the former president Thabo Mbeki join in the celebration, but that comes as no surprise as he has practically been kicked out of the party. However, the fact that Madiba may choose to stay home today has to be seen as a way for the founding father of the modern South Africa to show his disliking with what is going on within the ANC.

There is of course always the chance that Madibas old age prevents him from participating in the event, but if we don’t see any video greeting or hear any phone call at the venue we know what is about to happen. The old leader is about to abandon ANC.

This “dumping” of the party could possible have great consequences for the ANC in the election in April this year. Parties like DA (Democratic Alliance), ID (Independent Demarcates), and the newly founded Cope (Congress of the People) may try to capitalize on the fact that ANC has distance itself so much from reality that not even Madiba wants to be associated with them.

Hopefully, Madiba’s action will work as an alarm clock for the South African people. They will see that supporting ANC is not a must anymore, and that perhaps other parties are better fitted to be running the country. The fact that DA is making good progress in Cape Town (where they are the ruling party) and that ANC doesn’t have any substantial support in the urban areas clearly prospects a sigh of change. Lets only hope that this change will not end up in political violence.

Ps. Other important events that occurred at this date includes the birthday of the co-founder of evolutionary theory Alfred Wallace, and music legends Elvis Presley and David Bowie. (Hope I haven't forgotten anyone's birthday now...)

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Sunday, 4 January 2009

I hope Israel will wipe out Palestine 2.0

Three days ago I wrote a post on this blog about the current crisis in the Gaza-strip (see I hope Israel will wipe out Palestine). I quickly received a lot of comments that either praised me or condemned me for what I had written. And one can see that it took some 50 comments before anyone actually bother to reflect on the core of my message; Why is it that people get so upset when killing, slaughter and mutilation occur in one part of the world, but remain silent when it happens in another part?

When I, in the last couple of months, tried to steer focus towards the conflict in DRC, the HIV epidemic, or the ongoing and prospective food crisis, I got practically no reaction. Perhaps I didn’t use an as controversial title as I did in the Israel-Palestine post. But surely post like; "HIV/AIDS research is a waste of money" and "Can starvation be of any good?" deserve some attention. Or are we so exceptionally narrow minded that we can only focus on one conflict at the time? Have we become completely unable to give our divided attention and engagement to more than one suffering group of people at a time?


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