Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The decade in pictures

Take a look at this post showing the decade in pictures. It wasn't the aim of the piece, but it really gets the point across how messed up our world is. A decade of photos, and I could count on one hand how many of them have no negative story behind them. The positive ones all seem to be recent as well..... I have to wonder if any of those positives will be remembered in another ten years.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The News: June 2010

The last month or so has shown us far too much about human nature. We have seen countless examples of people putting power or profit first, often with disasterous consiquences.

In fact, thinking back, I can only come up with a scarse few articles that don't relate to this theme.

Like the research that found that "shapeshifting" coral attols are keeping ahead of sea level rises (which unfortunately seems (to me at least) to be destined to become more fodder for the 'scientists got one little thing wrong therefore the whole thing's a sham' bragade).

Of course, I have to mention the oil spill. New documents have emerged to show that BP know about problems with their rig as far back as June last year. It also became clear that the agency that was supposed to be regulating the industry also know about the faults but allowed BP to opperate anyway.

And then there's Sarah Palin. According to her the Gulf oil spill is all the fault of environmentalists and there would have been no environmental disaster if we were drilling in wildlife reserves instead. Nice logic.... I wish I could make her watch Joe Berlinger's Crude so she can see the potential for environmental damage from 'safe' onshore drilling.

And then there's the stories about humans who think it's cool to keep an endangered animal as a pet, even though they can't look after them properly and they should really be in a breeding programme somewhere. Last week eight endangered monkeys were stolen from a zoo in Sydney. Seven have since been recovered but there are fears that the last (baby) monkey will die without his family.
And let's not forget the four underweight tigers rescued from a tattoo parlour (of all places) in the US. Exotic pets are unfortunately still far too common.

Of course, it's not just exotic animals that get treated badly for money - there was a reasonably local (for me) story about a car that was pulled over by the cops and found to contain four humans and fourteen sheep. That's a lot of sheep for a car......
And then there's the cows. I'm not even going to link that one, the video in the article is too disturbing, but I will say that these cows were beaten with various objects, kicked in the face when they were too injured to stand up, and some even had their tails twisted until the bones snapped. Human nature at its darkest.

And because that's possibly too sickening a note to leave you on, I'll end with the onion's article about eco-friendly cigarettes: stopping global warming at the source.

Kiana Firouz

Some of you might remember how in 2007 President Ahmadinejad of Iran claimed that there was no homosexuality in his country. Whilst this claim is clearly untrue, it does not bode well for homosexuals living in Iran.

Under Iran’s ultra-conservative interpretation of Islamic law, lesbians face 100 lashes and, if caught four times, death. Male homosexuals likewise face execution. Scores have been hanged and hundreds flogged since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

So why is the British government sending a known lesbian back to face that kind of persecution?

Kiana Firouz, 27, came to Britain several years ago as a student, but while she was there the Iranian intelligence services discovered footage of a documentary that she had been making secretly about homosexuals in Tehran. The film (Cul-de-sac) shows her to be an unrepentant homosexual, a crime punishable by public execution in Iran. Her death is considered a certainty if she returns home. The Home Office rejected her asylum appeal, saying that she could conceal her homosexuality if she went home, and that ruling was been upheld by two appeals tribunals this year.

“My application was ... ignored by the Home Office despite the serious threat to my life that I’ll face if they deport me to Iran,” she told Radio Free Europe. “I’m shattered and emotionally devastated that they have dealt with my application so irresponsibly.”

According to her legal representation, “She will be in incredible danger, not only because she’s clearly gay but because the film does not show the Iranian authorities in a good light. They will probably seek to make an example of her."

She has lodged one final application, arguing that the sexually explicit publicity for Cul-de-sac means that her homosexuality is now common knowledge but there are no guarantees that she will not end up on a plane back to Tehran.

This situation is made worse by the knowledge that she will not be able to simply fly under the radar as the authorities seem to be suggesting. Jafar Panahi, one of Iran’s leading film-makers, is at present locked up in the infamous Evin prison in Tehran for allegedly making a film critical of the regime. Arrests do happen over films like this, and there has been so much publicity surrounding her case that she would not be able to remain undetected. If Kiana does not manage to stay out of Iran then she will be tortured and she will die.

I don't usually ask people to sign petitions. I usually think that if people want to make a difference then they can do it better by changing their own lives. Actions speak louder than petitions. But in this instance words are all we have. Please, sign the petition to let Kiana stay in Britain (there is a precedant for letting her stay but it took political pressure to make that case a success). Also, click here to email Home Secretary Theresa May about his case.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

More from the Gulf

That poor creature is a bird. I doubt anyone could tell what type it is from this picture. It would appear that it can see but here's something for you to consider: a bird's nostrils are on its beak. How is this bird managing to breath?

I'd write more but this picture has already reduced me to tears. I love birds.....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Images of an oil spill

Three weeks ago, on April 20, the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sunk in the gulf of Mexico. This event marked the start of a massive and ongoing oil spill. Since then, many attempts have been made to stem the flow, but with little
success. An estimated 5,000 barrels of oil continues to spill into the gulf every single day.

(images have suffered from blog auto-format. Please click for full view - it's worth it.)

Seawater covered with thick black oil splashes up in brown-stained whitecaps off the side of the supply vessel Joe Griffin at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill containment efforts in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana Sunday, May 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Oil burns during a controlled fire May 6, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Coast Guard is overseeing oil burns after the sinking, and subsequent massive oil leak, from the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform off the coast of Louisiana. (Justin E. Stumberg/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

A pod of Bottlenose dolphins swim under the oily water Chandeleur Sound, Louisiana, Thursday, May 6, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A man holds a plastic bag with seawater and oil from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill south of Freemason Island, Louisiana May 7, 2010. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Mississippi River water (left) meets sea water and an oil slick that has passed inside of the protective barrier formed by the Chandeleur Islands, off the coast of Louisiana, on May 7, 2010. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Heather Neville of Tristate Bird Rescue and Research rinses off an oiled brown pelican which was captured on a barrier island off the fragile Louisiana coast on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at a triage center in Fort Jackson, Louisiana. (MIRA OBERMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

An oil soaked bird struggles against the oil slicked side of the HOS Iron Horse supply vessel at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana Sunday, May 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

An aerial view of the oil leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, May 6, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel Beltra)

Oil, scooped up with a bucket from the Gulf of Mexico off the side of the supply vessel Joe Griffin, coats the hands of an AP reporter at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, May 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

More pictures here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Just some Pictures

I did these a couple of years ago..... they fit with this blog so I thought I'd post them. As always, click for full view.

Stupid Game

Click for larger view