Monday, January 31, 2011

Be Resourceful, Protect the Earth: A Virtual Graduation Speech to the Class of 2099 A.D.

A new ebook coming soon from the wonderworks of Sunbury Press, pre-orders: US$2.99 video included!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Trouble with Clouds

The Trouble with Clouds

a new book by Kevin Cookson

We asked Kevin a few questions about his book and this is what he told us via email.

"The book is 265 pages, and the target audience is ... ... anyone over 12 who struggles with the concept of 'why we should be afraid of global warming' ... but in the end, though, it's just a feel-good fantasy story. I am hoping people of all ages will like it."

"The theme is ... tackling the ever-increasing violence/extreme weather events."

"My background? I have the following letters behind my name: B.Sc., C.Eng., PGCE., MIEE., FIQA. So my upbringing is science and engineering but, since retiring (nearly), if you'd have asked me that question twelve months ago I would have replied: I am a musician first and a songwriter second - now I'm not so sure - I enjoyed writing the book more than I thought I would."

"What was the genesis of the book? Writing the book came about because I had time to spare on a two week holiday and because the noise in the apartment prevented me from writing songs. I wrote what I considered to be the most difficult part of the book first, to see if I thought I could write. I found I could - and what's more - I enjoyed it! I have not looked back since that time - my second book is due out in a couple of months - and my third book will be started in a few months time."

"I am hoping to find readers and tell people about my book using the internet. I posted some tweets on on Twitter .....but Twitter didn't like what I did they banned me for a few days - so I can't do that again! I've been told there is a way via twitter so I'm about to learn how to do it properly. One sector I thought would be interested in my book was the cloud appreciation society members - so where possible I am marketing to them - and other weather related individuals. You see, the book is written in such a way that, even serious weather people, would enjoy it."

[Danny asks: "Even What's Up with That blogger and rightwing climate denialist Anthony Watts in the USA?"

"I live in Darwen - Lancashire - England. I am a a businessman who no longer needs to be tied down fully to my business. So the artist in me gets about three days a week free to do the things I love to do."

"I'm 62 and English."

[Question: Your book contains a serious message for young readers about
climate change and its ramifications. With its intriguing mix of fact
and fantasy, adventure and romance, 'The Trouble With Clouds' is a tale
that will ensure that you never look at clouds the same way again!
CAN YOU explain this MORE,,,just in what way will the book help kids
and their parents and teachers to LOOK at cloouds in a new way after
reading your the book?]

"Ha! you need to read the book.First of all, only true ... verifiable/historic ... global warming facts are presented - amd second, I invent a cloud and wind world that is not altogether far from the real cloud and wind world - yes, I've had to give the clouds characters and extend their longevity (writer's poetic licence) in order to present a coherent story, but not much else is tampered with - and third, I talk about the differences between weather systems - from fluffy white clouds to hurricanes, and everything in-between."

"The subject was chosen when a large proportion of the population was still dithering about whether global warming was real or not. I'd been following the global warming science since 1966 so I had no doubts whatsoever - and still have none.
There is a song that goes with the book. Go to:
and press play on the flash player.

Lyrics are:


Last night I saw the sun go down

(Words & Music: (c) 2011 Kevin Cookson)

Last night I saw the Sun go down ... But felt no chill upon the ground

A new Sun would be coming round - come morning time

I'd seen those pictures sent from space ... Showing the haze where the human race

Built its Cities and growing space - when things were fine

But the winter came so warm this year ... The snowcaps blew away

Another day another year ... Amongst these cosmic rays

- - - - - -

Last night I saw the sun go down ... On life we knew above the ground

The change that came was so profound - how could we know

And oxygen is getting low ... It won't be long before it goes

The 'Other Earth' scenario - was a real no-go

And winter came so warm this year ... The snowcaps blew away

Another day another year ... And all will be flambé

- - - - - -

Last Night I Saw The Sun Go Down ... On Mankind’s Bid To Stay Around

The Global Warning battleground - it soon was lost

Saw children ask their parents why ... Saw fathers hang their heads to cry

Saw mothers weep, so horrified - of the holocaust

Still winter came so warm this year ... The snowcaps blew away

No other day, no another year … (silence)

Last night I saw the sun go down...


Songwriter's Notes: I imagined writing this song over many years - the first verse in 2050; the second in 2075 and the last, well who knows?

On a more cryptic note: the trouble with tipping points is they come upon you without you realising it - let's hope we're not there yet.

Kevin's final words:

"Climate change IS real. The future is debated in the book in terms that anyone can understand."

"My message to the kids is: Make a difference! Don't just watch your parents misbehave - tell them it's YOUR future that's in danger - not theirs."

Retired Dutch diplomat in Taiwan, Menno Goedhart, 66, leaves Taiwan in a hurry without saying a long goodbye: What happened?

UPDATED November 2012**********

The Departure of 'Mr. Taiwan'


Former Dutch diplomat Menno Goedhart left Taiwan recently because of what his friends said was an inability to adapt to a culture in which "policies change when leaders change."
Goedhart, who served as the head of the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office in Taiwan for eight years, was dubbed "Mr. Taiwan " for his love of Taiwan and familiarity with the country.
He was also keen on tracing the footprints of his ancestors, who reigned over the Tainan area and other parts of Taiwan from 1624 and 1662. During that period, some Dutch citizens married local aborigines, mostly from the Rukai tribe.

In 2009, Goedhart visited Pingtung County's Wutai Township along with nearly 40 Dutch people residing in Taiwan, leading them to meet the descendants of the mixed marriages.

Because of his close friendship with the tribe, Goedhart was even made an honorary chieftain under the name Ama Daganau.

He decided to stay on after his retirement from his post in August 2010 and settled in Xinhua District in Tainan, but he left for France recently.

It is said that he paid three years of rent for his home in Tainan but lived there for just over a year. The landlord did not give Goedhart back the unused portion of the rental because of financial troubles.

The following is an excerpt from the United Daily News on the former Dutch envoy's departure from Taiwan:

Goedhart would not reveal too much about his reasons for leaving Taiwan, saying only that Taiwan would always be on his mind and that he would return should the chance arise.

Diplomatic circles in Taipei were surprised to learn the news, but friends close to him said he left mainly because his research had not been going smoothly and because he did not feel respected by the Tainan City government and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU).

Goedhart had wanted to cooperate with the Tainan-based university to set up a Taiwan Center for Dutch Heritage, but the plan never took off.

The university asked him to serve as a paid scholar in residence last year, but the arrangement apparently left neither side happy because of different perceptions of budget issues.

The school also asked him earlier this year to serve as a researcher with the school's Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center, but he declined, and his cooperation with NCKU was disrupted.

Goedhart's friends said he had difficulty with Taiwan's culture of "policies changing as leaders change."

They said former Tainan Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair awarded Goedhart with an honorary Tainan citizen certificate, but incumbent Mayor Lai Ching-te never met with him after taking office in late December 2010.

At the same time, NCKU's previous president promised to sponsor related research, but the school's incumbent president decided not to honor the pledge, they said.

Goedhart also had difficulty with the haphazard way of doing things. He once was invited to speak at a prestigious university in northern Taiwan, but learned later he could only claim the fare for a regular Taiwan railways ticket even though he bought a ticket on the more expensive high-speed rail.

To bridge the gap, the school suggested that he say he was traveling with his wife to claim two fares, roughly equal to the cost of the high-speed rail ticket.

Goedhart also found that a lot of advisers to the Tainan City government were hired because of election considerations, and he regretted that he was not able to contribute his diplomatic expertise to the government, sources say.

He compiled his travel notes during his eight years in office into a book titled "The Real Taiwan and the Dutch: Traveling Notes from the Netherlands Representative," in which he surprised many local residents by "knowing many things that the locals didn't know."

When southern Taiwan was hit hard by Typhoon Morakot in 2009, Goedhart not only donated the royalties of his book but also mobilized his relatives and friends in the Netherlands to chip in.

The retired diplomat once said that, "Taiwanese people are flexible, and they don't always follow the rules," traits that now may have led him to leave Taiwan.

The Tainan City government and NCKU said they felt sorry about his departure.

Tainan City government spokesman Chen Tsung-yen said Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te had wanted to meet Goedhart, but the timing had been difficult to arrange.

Chen admitted that the city government did not have a comprehensive program for a foreigner of Goedhart's stature, but he said he did not think that government's attitude was the main reason for Goedhart's departure.

He added that he was unaware that the former Dutch envoy was keen to serve as an adviser to the city.

NCKU stressed that its attitude toward professors is consistent and does not change simply because of a change in university presidents.

The misunderstanding over the budget may have arisen because Goedhart was not familiar with the accounting system in Taiwan, the university said.

Goedhart is not the only diplomatic who opted to settle down in Taiwan after retiring.

William A. Stanton, former director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan, started teaching English and American literature at the Taipei American School after retiring in August this year, and he also occasionally gives speeches and attends seminars.

Henrik Bystrom, the former Swedish representative to Taiwan, ended his three-decade-long diplomatic career in Taiwan in December 2009.

He and his wife currently live in Taipei, and he continues to promote business exchanges between Sweden and Taiwan. He also travels between Taiwan and China

Menno Geoedhart worked an ambassador in Taiwan for The Netherlands for
eight years, until retiring in the summer of 2010. After short trip
back to Holland, the ambassador and his wife returned to Taiwan
and settled in 2011 in southern Taiwan.

The retired ambassador, now 64, plans, post-retirement, to stay in
Taiwan and savor island life for many more years. We asked him a few questions about his new life in southern Taiwan in a recent email exchange, and he was kind enough to share with plans and feelings with us.

QUESTION: As a retired diplomat in south Taiwan now, what do you and your wife do on a typical day here and how do you spend your time? Are you still busy with office work and meetings, or do you have and enjoy a much more relaxed life now?

MENNO GOEDHART: My wife and I arrived back in Taiwan in January after a few months stay in Holland, and now we plan to stay here in Southern Taiwan, where we have a house. After Chinese New Year, our normal life can begin. I plan to work 5 days a week at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan. On weekends, we will further explore Taiwan, and to begin with, the surroundings of Xinhua. My work will also bring me to the Taiwanese countryside where elements of Dutch heritage can be found, and during those trips my wife will accompany me.

QUESTION: There is still some prejudice, both social and psychological, against Aboriginal people in Taiwan, from the Han Chinese majority? Why do you think they treat the Aboriginal peoples this way and do you think this prejudice will disappear in the future?

Menno Goedhart: In fact, this kind of ethnic prejudice occurs worldwide, but the situation is improving in many places, and also in Taiwan, I think. Now, people more and more recognize that the indigenous culture is not only part of Taiwan, it is also a real treasure.

QUESTION: Some Taiwanese people in south Taiwan, especially in the Tainan area,
have freckles on their faces. Could this be a DNA clue that their
grandparents and
other earlier relatives were perhaps Dutch men who intermarried with local women
or just had babies with the local girls without getting married? Did
you ever see
people with freckles on their faces here in Taiwan?

Menno Goedhart: No, I have never met or seen Taiwanese people with freckles,
but I have met Taiwanese with light hair and blue eyes. I think that
there are many
Taiwanese with some Dutch background.

QUESTION: During WWII, some Dutch women in Indonesia were forced to become
sex slaves, ''comfort women'', ''wei-an-fu'' in Chinese, for the
Japanese soldiers in
East Asia. Are young people in Holland today aware of this chapter in
Japan's history,
and also aware of the fact that many Taiwanese Aboriginal women were also forced
to be sex slaves for the Japanese too? What is the word for ''comfort
women'' in the
Dutch language?

Menno Goedhart: In Holland, those women are called “troostmeisjes”.
There was quite a lot of publicity about this subject, certainly when
the Japanese
emperor visited Holland. Young people reading newspapers will probably know,
but as anywhere time goes on and young people prefer looking forward and not
backward. As to Taiwan, I myself learned about this part of history
here only when I
visited some Aboriginal tribes and notably those along the East Coast.

QUESTION: You have decided to remain in Taiwan after your retirement as a

diplomat for Holland. What draws you to Taiwan now?

Menno Goedhart: I decided to live in Taiwan after my retirement because it is a
pleasant place to stay with nice people. Nature is beautiful, food is
gorgeous. Taiwan
is a dynamic and developed country with a good record on democracy,
human rights,
freedom of speech and freedom of press. Those are important to me.

QUESTION: What is your favorite Taiwanese movie?
Menno Goedhart: You know, quite frankly, when I worked as a diplomat in Taipei
for eight years, I was working 24/7, every day, and to be honest, I
never had time
to go to the movies. But, of course, I know the good international reputation of
the Taiwanese film industry, so now that my wife and I are starting
our new life in
retirement here in Taiwan, I am sure we will have time to enjoy the movies.

QUESTION: Do you believe that climate change and global warming are real and
what do you think the future will be like for Holland and Taiwan in the future
regarding climate conditions?

Menno Goedhart: I was in The Netherlands in November and December last year,
and to be honest, I have never seen so much snow before in my home city -- The
Hague -- and it was freezing cold earlier in season more than ever before and it
lasted a long time. Some experts even expect a short Ice Age to visit
Earth, just as we
had from 1600-1800, due to the activity of the sun. It is therefore
difficult to predict
how climate worldwide will develop. But, one thing seems to be
sure: CO2 emissions should be reduced as much as possible as any other
With so many people on our globe, we are obliged to fight all kinds of


In a news story in the Taipei Times by reporter Loa Iok-sin on August
15, 2010, readers learned that Ambassador Goedhart ''has been a
chemist and a diplomat, [and] is also the Rukai chieftain Daganau and
a friend of the Tsous, who have named him Menno Voyu. After completing
his service as the Netherlands' representative in Taiwan, he will be
staying in Taiwan to discover more about Taiwan's connection to his
home country, a relationship which began four centuries ago.

In 2004, a Dutchman who helped organize an exhibition at the National
Palace Museum about the Dutch period in Taiwan went to the Netherlands
Trade and Investment Office to ask for some help and Goedhart was
rather amazed by the materials that were to be exhibited, according to
the Taipei Times article. "It was these exhibitions that opened the
door for Goedhart to Taiwan's Aboriginal cultures," the article noted.
The more Goedhart talked to Aborigines -- especially those living in
the south since Tainan was the Dutch colonial capital -- the more he
became interested in Taiwan's Aboriginal cultures and the history that
the Dutch left in Taiwan from that period.

From then on, Goedhart spent most of his weekends and holidays hiking
in the mountains and visiting Aboriginal villages.

It was for the friendship he has shown that he was bequeathed the name
Menno Voyu by the Tsous in Alishan Township (阿里山), Chiayi County.

In 2009, he was recognized by the Rukais in Wutai Township (霧台),
Pingtung County, as a chieftain and given the name Daganau since the
chieftain's family has Dutch blood.

According to tribal elders, one of the daughters of a Rukai chieftain
was married to a Dutchman and the husband later inherited the
chieftainship. "Daganau" was the Rukai name of the Dutch chieftain.

In May, Goedhart visited the -Rukai village of Taromak in Taitung
County to perform a ritual to officially terminate a 350-year-long
hostile relationship between the village and the Netherlands.

"According to the elders in the village, their ancestors once spotted
'men with red hair' in the tribe's domain 'with smoke coming out of
their mouths,'" Goedhart recounted.

Rukai warriors from the village then killed all but one of the "men
with red hair" they had encountered. The remaining one was set free as
a warning, but his tongue had been cut off so that he couldn't reveal
what he had seen in the village, Goedhart said.

After hearing the story, Goedhart checked Dutch archives and found the
village was actually marked as a "rival tribe."

He believed the "men with red hair" and "with smoke coming out from
their mouths" were a group of Dutch soldiers on an expedition and were
smoking while taking a rest.

Goedhart and his wife now own a house in Tainan County's Sinhua
Township (新化) where they reside.

He plans to create a center for Dutch heritage at National Cheng Kung
University in Tainan City as a project in collaboration with Leiden
University to discover more about Dutch heritage in Taiwan.

Looking at the work ahead and numerous invitations for speeches,
Goedhart said he may be busier after retiring.

"Right now, I'd be happy with some shanzhurou [mountain pigs] on an
open fire, some xiaomijiu [millet wine] and some singing," Goedhart
told the Taipei Times last August. "What else do you need?"

Goedhart has also written a book titled "The Real Taiwan and the
Dutch" which was published in 2010. Goedhart says the book is more of
a travel guide than a history book. The book, published in both
Chinese and English versions, features many of Taiwan's attractive but
largely unknown destinations, including many in Hualien and Taitung
counties in eastern Taiwan, Tainan and Chiayi in the southern and the
offshore Penghu County. It also focuses on indigenous tribes in
Taiwan. The book detaqils Mr.Goedhart's experiences trying to trace
the footsteps of Dutch ancestors who ruled Taiwan during the 16th to
17th century.




Intro – introduce the interviewee, say why he’s being interviewed,
explain the significance and what’s new

Info graph – tell the story, preferably chronologically. Doesn’t have
to be the whole story, but tell it up until you can put in the some
Q&As. Give the reader a framework within which to fit the interview.
Also, assume the reader isn’t an expert on Taiwanese history.


Info graph: Pick up the story, fill in info that the reader may not be aware of


Info graph:


Outro – wrap up

Also, at the end, this sentence is mandatory. “This interview has been
edited and condensed.”

Friday, January 14, 2011

Global Warming: Dire Prediction for the Year 3000 and POLAR CITIES

Global Warming: Dire Prediction for the Year 3000 - POLAR CITIES coming our way, too

3000 comments too

Even if humans stop producing excess carbon dioxide in 2100, the lingering effects of global warming could span the next millennia. The results? By the year 3000, global warming would be more than a hot topic - the West Antarctic ice sheet could collapse, and global sea levels would rise by about 13 feet (4 meters), according to a new study.

Using a computer model, researchers looked at two scenarios - an end to humans' industrial carbon dioxide emissions by 2010 and by 2100 - stretched out to the year 3000.

Even if humans were to stop emitting excess carbon dioxide - or if they figured out a way to completely capture it - the effects of global warming would continue to accumulate. That's because previously emitted carbon dioxide lingers in the atmosphere and the oceans, unlike land, warm only gradually, according to one of the study researchers, Shawn Marshall, an associate professor of geography at the University of Calgary.

The carbon dioxide legacy

A number of gases contribute to global warming, among them carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. The study focused on carbon dioxide, because it is the principal greenhouse gas, and it can linger in the atmosphere for centuries, according to Marshall.

"Some of the carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere this century will be there still 1,000 years from now," he said.

Marshall, lead researcher Nathan Gillett of the government agency Environment Canada, and their colleagues found that, by the year 3000, the brunt of the changes occurred in Southern Hemisphere. Not surprisingly, the 2100 scenario yielded more extreme results. In particular, the model predicted that southern oceans - the combined South Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, where the Antarctic Circumpolar Current resides - would warm considerably, with some far-reaching results.

North vs. south

The 2100 scenario highlights stark differences between the Northern and Southern hemispheres, according to Gillett.

In the north, "the changes, which will occur up to 2100, some of those will reverse partially, it will cool a little bit after 2100, the rainfall in high latitudes will tend to decrease," he said. "The biggest ongoing change is in the Southern Hemisphere."

This is because the Northern Hemisphere is covered primarily by land, which warms and cools more quickly than water. After emissions drop off, warming over land is expected to decline fairly quickly, Marshall said. Not so with water, which dominates the Southern Hemisphere.

The long-term warming seen there occurs because this century's elevated temperatures would continue to propagate into the oceans for many centuries, even after warming at the surface has eased, according to Marshall.

The researchers found that warming would be concentrated most the further from the equator (at higher latitudes) at ocean depths between 0.3 and 0.9 miles (0.5 and 1.5 kilometers). The model showed these waters would warm very little by 2100 - but by 3000 they'd likely increase by 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) in parts.

But this isn't the only factor that could contribute to southern warming. A deep current from the warmer North Atlantic is moving (and would continue to do so), slowly toward the Antarctic, carrying warmer water with it. In addition, intensified winds could help mix warm waters into the southern oceans, and finally, the loss of Antarctic sea ice would allow more heat to enter the ocean, Marshall told LiveScience in an e-mail.

The researchers found, however, that the Arctic sea ice has recovered from its losses by 3000.

While the 2010 scenario calls for a sea level rise of 9.1 inches (23 cm), the 2100 scenario would generate a sea level rise of more than 3.3 feet (1 m) due to the thermal expansion of the ocean. It's even possible the warming waters could reach the Antarctic ice, the researchers speculate. If so, the result could be the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which holds 500,000 cubic miles (2.2 million cubic kilometers) of ice. This would mean at least another 9.9 feet (3 m) of global sea level rise, according to the researchers.

If we stopped emitting carbon dioxide now, which would bring us close to the 2010 scenario, it's unlikely the ice sheet would collapse, Gillett said.

In addition, the simultaneous warming of the south and the cooling of north may cause the intertropical convergence zone - the region where the northeasterly and southeasterly trade winds converge, forming a band of clouds or thunderstorms near the equator - to shift southward. As a result, the drying predicted for North Africa could continue even after emissions are stopped in 2100, and the region could lose an additional 30 percent of its precipitation, according to the researchers.

Confirmation needed

While the legacy effect of carbon dioxide lingering in the atmosphere has been demonstrated by others, other research has yet to predict the warming of the high-latitude southern oceans, according to Gillett and Marshall.

"It would be really important to see this in some other climate models to see if they find the same result, because every model has its own set of uncertainties," Marshall said.

The study was published online Jan. 9 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

自由女神穿新衣 - The "Statue of Liberty" refurbished and cleaned and repainted with new crown in Chiayi City, Taiwan -- January 10, 2011

''自由女神穿新衣'' - ''Statue of Liberty'' (freedom goddess) statue in Chiayi City wears new clothes, thanks to collaborative efforts of local expats and local government and the Lions club.


The "Statue of Liberty" refurbished and cleaned and repainted with new crown in Chiayi City, Taiwan -- January 10, 2011 - LIBERTY TIMES newspaper
see below post

What is being lost is that the evidence shows that reading on the computer is not the same as reading a book or hard copy.

''What is being lost is that the evidence shows that reading on the computer is not the same as reading a book or hard copy''.

自由女神穿新衣 - The "Statue of Liberty" refurbished and cleaned and repainted with new crown in Chiayi City, Taiwan -- January 10, 2011

自由女神穿新衣  - Dan Bloom's Roving Adventures in South Taiwan (2011) - published in Liberty Times newspaper, reported by Irma Yu, January 8, 2011, in Chinese-language edition only
BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS: The before photo from this website
shows the statue in 2010 with three broken points in her crown and a dirty, weatherbeaten exterior

THE NEW AFTER PHOTO by Irma Yu of the Liberty Times shows the Statue of Liberty after
the local DPP office called the Lion's Club on behalf of one petitioning expat who spent 5 years
trying to get the city to pay attention to the typhoon-struck and weatherbeaten "Freedom Godddess" first
erected by the Chiayi City Lions Club in 1985 or so. Now in 2011, she is all cleaned with a new paint of white and a new crown. BRAVO and thank you DPP and Lions Club!


Chiayi's Lady Liberty, strides high atop a traffic circle on the entrance into town from Highway 1. It is like a shining beacon for those who value freedom everywhere:... "Give me your tired, your poor, your hungry, your huddled masses ...." -- I am told that there is a replica somewhere in New York....
WIKIPEDIA SAYS: There are at least two Statue of Liberty replicas (greater than 30 feet) in Taiwan. These two statues are in the cities of Keelung and Taipei. Here are two photos for reference. There are other smaller replicas on rooftops of love hotels and motels across Taiwan, with over 50 spotted so far. In addition, there is a smaller replica in Chiayi City, now repainted in fine white paint with a new crown on seven rays
on her head after being weatherbeaten for over ten years due to autumn and summer typhoons which broke
three of the rays off and her turned her once-white coat into a drab grey. [Now all fixed. See above.]

Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (1834 - 1904) is the name of the French man who designed the original, which was called in French ''Liberty Enlightening the World''.

Soon after the establishment of the French Third Republic, the project of building some suitable memorial to show the fraternal feeling existing between the republics of the United States and France was suggested, and in 1874 the Union Franco-Americaine (Franco-American Union) was established. Among its members was Bartholdi. The plan of Bartholdi having been approved, more than 1,000,000 francs were raised by subscription throughout France for the building of the statue. In 1879, Bartholdi was awarded design patent U.S. Patent D11,023 for the Statue of Liberty. This patent covered the sale of small copies of the statue. Proceeds from the sale of the statues helped raise money to build the full statue. On July 4, 1880, the statue was formally delivered to the American minister in Paris, the event being celebrated by a banquet.
Before starting his commission, Bartholdi had traveled to the United States and selected New York Harbor as the site for the statue. The United States set apart Bedlow's Island as a site for the monument, and funds were collected throughout the United States for the building of the pedestal, about US$300,000 being raised. In October 1886, the structure was presented to the nation as the joint gift of the French and American people.

This statue is 151 feet high, and the top of the torch reaches 306 feet above low-tide sea level. It was the largest work of its kind that had ever been completed up to that time. It was rumored all over France that the face of the Statue of Liberty was modeled after Bartholdi’s mother; and the body after his wife, Jean Emilie. TRUE?

Monday, January 10, 2011

There was a small Y1C computer glitch in Taiwan in 2011 (Year 100 in ROC history)


Did Taiwan face its own immanent Y1C computer problems next year when
the ROC turned 100? Yes and no. Mostly, nothing happened. But a few minor
glitches were reported.

With a new year upon us in the Western faux-Gregorian faux-calendar, as well as
it being a century year in the official Republic of China calender, it
turns out that most of the anxieties about
the year ''100'' causing computer glitches on some computers in Taiwan
were unfounded. Nothing much happened in terms of the
anticipated "Y1C" (Year One Century) computer bug that several news
articles last year alluded to.

However, an expat friend of mine in Taipei told this blog of his own recent
experience with a minor Y1C problem, saying: "Sometime during the
first week of the new year, I tried to use the telephone appointment
system to arrange an outpatient visit at a large hospital in Taiwan.
After punching in all the required information, the computer voice
"confirmed" that I had made an appointment on 'day zero of month
zero'. My wife then put in a phone call to a real person the next day
to make a real appointment. This person told my wife that the apparent
problem I encountered had to do with '2-digit year becoming 3-digit
year' (or something to that effect), and that the hospital expected to
have it fixed by the end of the first week of January. If they could
'fix' it so quickly, I wonder now: Why didn't they do what they were
supposed to do before it caused inconvenience for countless people?"

When most of the Western world was getting ready for the year 2000 and
all the Y2K computer problems the change-over from year 1999 to year
2000 might create -- and lo and behold, nothing really happened and
the change-over went smoothly with almost no glitches at all -- Taiwan
was facing its own Y2K problem. Call it Taiwan's Y1C problem,
because Taiwan's government uses the year 1911 as its founding date as
a republic -- The Republic of China (or R.O.C.) -- and since this year
is year 99 in Taiwan using this calendar system, next year will mark
year 100. And the extra digit just might cause some headaches for
Taiwan's computer systems that handle bank transfers, university
tuition bills, insurance premiums, medical records and driver's
license applications.

According to a post on Wikipedia, not to worry. Or, as the case might be, worry.

"Since, generally speaking, only government offices use the official
1911 dating system, the impact on the private sector in Taiwan should
be minimal," the Wikipedia entry says. "However, the potential to
affect government systems is another matter. Then again, on the other
hand, looking at the bright side of things, a large number of
government computers are already using a three-digit system for dates,
with a zero being used as the first digit for years below 100 (Western
year 2010 A.D. or earlier). Some government documents such as driver’s
licenses already refer to years over 100; fortunately, nothing more
than minor glitches have so far been reported."

According to David Reid, an Australian post-graduate student in Taipei, the
blogosphere began discussing this issue four years ago.

"The problem has been labelled 'Y1C' for Taiwan, and there is even a
Wikipedia page about it at,"
he said in a recent email to this reporter. "A blog called Pinyin News
wrote about it in 2006, or the year 95 as some might prefer. I expect
the issue will cause some minor problems, but I doubt it will prove to
be a disaster.:

"However, what would be a good thing is if the entire date issue
promoted more debate in Taiwan about whether using the ROC calendar is
relevant or practical," Reid added. "This is unlikely as the KMT will
be obsessed with marking the centenary and unwilling to engage in
debate about the issue."

Roger Chen, a computer science graduate student at Chung Cheng
University in Chiayi, doesn't think the problem will become too big or

I think we can solve what problems come up," he told this reporter.
"However, it's true, many banks and hospitals will have to stay on top
of it. I don't think it going to be a big problem, but then again, you
never know."

An American expat in Taipei who works for a ROC government branch as
an editor, thinks this is all much ado about nothing.

"I don't think there will be any problem on January 1, 2011, which
will be Year 100 in Taiwan's calendar system," he said. "Every PC I've
ever seen -- and most
of them have parts or are completely made by Taiwanese-owned
companies -- run a BIOS and OS that works on the Western calendar. I've never
seen a BIOS set to the ROC calendar, and I've never seen a Taiwan-specific OS
for that matter, just localized versions of Mac, Windows and Ubuntu.
Then again, if I owned a PC software service company, I'd be spreading
fear of the Y1C bug and then offering expensive plans to 'cure' it."

For the expat blogger who runs Pinyin News in Taiwan, things could get
sticky, he said in looking into the future a few years ago.

"This [everything-begins-again-with-us] dating system -- which
reflects the habits of the imperial dynasties the ROC was supposed to
have eliminated -- isn’t just a quaint local custom," he wrote in
2006. "Its continued use is heading Taiwan toward its very own type of
Y2K problem. In just a few years, when the ROC reaches the age of 100
and has to jump to three-digit years, Taiwan will likely experience
what I like to call the Y1C problem. (Yes, I know: I’m mixing systems
in that C represents hundred in a system that uses M, not K, for
'thousand.' But that’s the best I could come up with. I’m open to
suggestions for catchy but correct names.)"

Pinyin News continued: "As far as I know, nothing is being done yet to
address this. Slow are the wheels of Taiwan’s bureaucracy. To give an
example of this, the Y2K problem certainly did not lack publicity,
outrageous hype even; yet in 2005 the high-profile English-language
website of the Office of the President gave the year as being 105.
About six weeks ago, when I gave a presentation to officials in charge
of various government agencies’ Internet departments, listing some of
the things wrong with the Taiwan government’s English-language
websites, I specifically brought up the example of the presidential
office’s howler."

He concluded: "Before the [ROC] year 100 comes in 2011, somebody
remind me to find a bank outside Taiwan for what little money I have."

This so-called Y1C computer problem was a local Taiwan issue. But did
overseas media like the New York Times or the Guardian newspaper in
London pay attention? No. Just the local media and a few blogs, and the AFP and Reuters wires.

This story had legs. Smell legs. Nothing much happened. Story is dead in the water.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Who is Nikolai Tamarov and does he really reside in Belfast, Northern Ireland?


The letter writer's intentions were good, but he should know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions (Letters, Taipei Times, Jan. 1, 2011, page 8).

He wonders, for example, how “an open and multicultural spirit” can be spotlighted on a logo that is the “logo of just one political party.” Well, this is experienced all the time in democratic societies where, at any given point in time, only one political party rules.

The real question is: Do we want an open and multicultural spirit pervading our nation? We certainly do not need the oppression we get from communist regimes that tell the people how to act and think. On the other hand, open societies corrupt the people by allowing various perversions like rightwing Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Nikolai Tamarov , Christianity and the like.

What we really need to mark Ireland's anniversary this year is a logo that symbolizes objective morality, ie, morality which is “true” for every man, woman and child regardless of one’s hedonistic tendencies. I move that we instill the Devil Sign of the Anti-Christ on the logo.

resident of
Belfast, Northerm Ireland

Bubbie and Zadie Invite Children Nationwide To Write Letters Suggesting Their Ways to Fix America (education, internet use, school bullying, climate change, air pollution, TV shows, etc)


After a children's picture book titled "BUBBIE AND ZADIE COME TO MY HOUSE" was given to the Obama White House
during a holiday party in December 2010, the author of the book, newspaperman Danny Bloom has decided to create a Bubbie and Zadie Go to the White House Letter Writing Program encouraging children around the nation to write letters about
the future of America -- and the present! The best letters will be forwarded to President Obama at the White House, Bloom says.

Bubbie and Zadie Invite Children Nationwide
To Write Letters Suggesting Their Ways to
Fix America (education, internet use, school
bullying, climate change, air pollution, TV shows, etc)

A selection of the best letters will be forwarded to
President Barack Obama at the White House so that he
can see what kids are saying to Bubbie and Zadie.

Letters can be handwritten and send by snail mail or
written on a computer and sent by email. Children aged
five to 15 are encouraged to join the letter writing program.
All mail should go to:

Letters for America
% Bubbie and Zadie
115 Herricks Road
Garden City, New York 11040


Letters should suggest to President Obama
and his staff ways to fix America in terms
of making it a more fair, just, equal, happy,
joyful, healthy, confident country which embraces all
its people and can be a great place to grow up. Any
other ideas children want to write about is okay, too.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

files: not for outward viewing:

Forget Sunscreen, Be Resourceful: A Virtual Graduation Speech to the 'Class of 2099'

by D.H. Bloom

View a 4 minute video of this speech here:

"An excellent commencement speech -- better than almost all the ones I've ever heard."
-- Bill McKibben. 
[page 1]

Good afternoon, Class of 2099...

[page 2]

I can't be here in person to address you, since I passed into oblivion
long ago. But I wanted to leave you with a brief
message -- from the past to the future --

-- about global warming and
climate change, and the need to tighten the noose around coal and oil as soon as possible...


before it's too late!


As the class of 2099, you are about to enter the 22nd Century in a few
more months

and you will bring with you not only your university
experience, but also your career expectations and personal anxieties as
citizens living on a planet in the midst of a major climate crisis.
I hope you can read my message or view it online.

I want to take a few moments here to wish
you all the
best of luck and good health in your future lives.

May all your dreams come true in the world of
2099, and
then some!
Members of the Class of 2099, you are living in a very crucial time in
the history of humankind.

==========Your world stands at the threshold of a
period of human history when very important decisions will have to be
made about the use of fossil fuels and the "consume! slash! burn!"
lifestyle that you have come to expect.


I wonder: do the names James Lovelock or James Hansen still
ring a bell in your generation now, or have new faces and names
replaced them?

Is that book by Mark Lynas, titled "Six
Degrees", still in print, or has a new besteller on climate change
become the must-read of your generation?

And what about
Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour"? Have you ever heard of that documentary,
or has it been all but forgotten in your day and age?

Let me recommend a very good novel from the early part of this century, written by Hamish MacDonald, and titled "Finitude." It is something you should read before you graduate! It's that important!

Class of 2099, I want to leave you with nine words: "We must tighten
the noose around coal and oil".
Dr. Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University in New York wrote those
words more than 100 years ago, and they were prophetic. Has your world
tightened the noose around coal? And around oil?

Has your world started to tackle the
vexing problems of overpopulation, climate change and the creation of
a sustainable economy?


Whatever your own personal views are about global warming, you should
know this: there is not much time left.

I hope your generation finds a
way to stop the burning of fossil fuels and also finds ways to
mitigate the impact of climate change.

I just

said that "there is not much time left". Maybe I should have said
"time is running out".
Class of 2099, good luck and do your best
to stop global warming before it gets out of hand!

Persist. Persevere. Never give up. The very future of humankind is at stake!