Sunday, September 30, 2012
跪乳 ... 反哺。
註: 語出【增廣賢文】 『羊有跪乳之恩，鴉有反哺之義』
Thursday, September 27, 2012
大衛•萊特曼的深夜秀難題 絆倒英國首相戴維•卡梅倫：大憲章 / British Prime Minister David Cameron on Late Show with David Letterman: Magna Carta
I feel sorry for British Prime Minister David Cameron who was stumped by the host's question on Magna Carta during the Late Show with David Letterman. So what exactly is Magna Carta?
大憲章（拉丁語：Magna Carta，英語：The Great Charter）是英國最初於1215年訂立的拉丁文政治性授權文件；但在隨後的版本中，大部分對英國王室絕對權力的直接挑戰條目被刪除；1225年首次成為法律；1297年的英文版本至今仍然是英格蘭威爾斯的有效法律。
I learnt the phrase Magna Carta from my legal counsel colleagues when I was working on the promulgation of government legislation / regulations. More specifically, legal discussions were often linked to a modern interpretation of Clause 29 (clause 39 in the 1215 charter), a right to due process.
According to Wikipedia, Clause 29 states:
NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.
But frankly, that's about the limit of what I know abt Magna Carta.
By the way:
Here in Ottawa, Latin words such as Magna Carta, personq non grata, addendum, ad hoc, ad infinitum, affidavit, bona fide, caveat, sine qua non, contra, per diem, habeas corpus, de facto, dictum, erratum, et al., ex officio, in absentia, in camera, incognito, in situ, innuendo, inter alia, modus operandi, omnibus, per se, post mortem, pro forma, pro rata, quid pro quo, sine qua non, subpoena, veto, vice versa, viz., et cetera are often used by journalists, legal counsels, and bureaucrats.
These are just the Latin words that I recognize. For further info, please see:
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
According to Wikipedia: ".... Kite aerial photography (KAP) is a hobby and a type of photography. A camera is lifted using a kite and is triggered either remotely or automatically to take aerial photographs. The camera rigs can range from the extremely simple, consisting of a trigger mechanism with a disposable camera, to complex apparatus using radio control and digital cameras. On some occasions it can be a good alternative to other forms of aerial photography...."
You may wish to see more of Rob's KAP photos at his Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robhuntley/5752604861/
Friday, September 21, 2012
Here is the Sept 21, 2012 headline from The Telegraph, UK on-line:
"Andrew Mitchell police row: Why has the word 'pleb' caused such outrage? Andrew Mitchell has been accused of calling a bunch of Downing Street policemen “plebs” but what does the word actually mean?"
So, what did the UK's Secretary of State for International Development mean exactly?
According to The Telegraph:
".... Critics of Mr Mitchell are particularly upset about his alleged use of the word “pleb”. They have seized on the term as a sign that Mr Mitchell was deploying a class-based insult. This is because the term is a short form of “plebeian” – the Latin word for people of the lower classes. It was originally derived from the Latin word plere, meaning “to fill up” or the Greek word for crowd, plethos. Both theories conjure up images of an unruly mob. Ancient Roman plebeians were often merchants or small businessmen with a fair amount of power. They were neither slaves, nor the ruling “patricians”, just ordinary citizens.
However, in today’s language, the word “pleb” has taken on further connotations of coarse and vulgar. The term has since become common parlance in public schools, such as the prestigious Rugby School where Mr Mitchell was educated. In this context, it is used to mean a pupil who does not come from the gentry ...."
With the recent killing of two policewomen, Mr. Mitchell should have been more sensitive with his attitude towards police officers. Instead, he has created a problem for himself and his party!!! Plebs, you say?
Photo Caption/Credit: "Ugh, Plebs!! No, we cannot invite the Symingtons. Way below our class. They insist on buttering their own bread!!" (Source: http://cheezburger.com/6253750784)
Supplementary info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleb
".... The plebs were the general body of free land-owning Roman citizens (as distinguished from slaves and the capite censi) in Ancient Rome. They were the non-aristocratic class of Rome, and consisted of freed people, shopkeepers, crafts people, skilled or unskilled workers and farmers. Members of the plebs were also distinct from the higher order of the patricians. A member of the plebs was known as a plebeian ( /plɨˈbiːən/; Latin: plebeius). This term is used today to refer to one who is or appears to be of the middle or lower order; however, in Rome plebeians could become quite wealthy and influential. .....
Modern usage: In Great Britain, Canada, France, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South African English pleb is a back-formation, in Dutch it is plebs; a derogatory term for someone thought of as inferior, common or ignorant. The term is often, though not always, synonymous with prole. plebby is a more recent derivative used to describe an action which was inconsiderate and/or ignorant. ....."
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Clarifications on the news article: "Germany sets new solar power record" by Erik Kirschbaum of Reuters
The purpose of this article is to provide clarifications on some of the technical details and terms used in a very popular article regarding the setting of solar-power generation record by Germany earlier this year. My comments are written in red and the relevant original texts are highlighted in yellow.
Germany sets new solar power record, institute says
By Erik Kirschbaum
BERLIN | Sat May 26, 2012 7:02pm BST
(Reuters) - German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour - equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity - through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.
My comments: 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour doesn't sound right. I learn in physics, 1 watt of power = 1 joule of energy per second. So, 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour = 22,000,000,000/60 joules of energy per second per seconds. Dimensional analysis tells us there is no such thing as "joules per second per second" !!!!
In my opinion, the world record should be interpreted as:
22 gigawatt-hours of electrical power was produced on an hourly basis, measured through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday when the sun was shinning strong with little or no clouds above.
The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022.
Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50 percent of the nation's midday electricity needs.
Comments: Again, it should be interpreted as 22 gigawatt-hours of energy produced on an hourly basis, measure over the said Friday/Saturday sunny period.
"Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity," Allnoch told Reuters. "Germany came close to the 20 gigawatt (GW) mark a few times in recent weeks. But this was the first time we made it over."
Comments: The 22 gigawatts is the power output during a day-and-a-half of sunny weather, not 24/7 over any length of time.
The record-breaking amount of solar power shows one of the world's leading industrial nations was able to meet a third of its electricity needs on a work day, Friday, and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed.
Comments: Let's hope for more sun over the solar plants in Germany !!!
Government-mandated support for renewables has helped Germany became a world leader in renewable energy and the country gets about 20 percent of its overall annual electricity from those sources.
Germany has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets about four percent of its overall annual electricity needs from the sun alone. It aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.
Comments: Given that Germany does not have major sources to generate hydro-electricity, the exploitation of solar energy is a smart move.
Some critics say renewable energy is not reliable enough nor is there enough capacity to power major industrial nations. But Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany is eager to demonstrate that is indeed possible.
The jump above the 20 GW level was due to increased capacity this year and bright sunshine nationwide.
The 22 GW per hour figure is up from about 14 GW per hour a year ago. Germany added 7.5 GW of installed power generation capacity in 2012 and 1.8 GW more in the first quarter for a total of 26 GW capacity.
"This shows Germany is capable of meeting a large share of its electricity needs with solar power," Allnoch said. "It also shows Germany can do with fewer coal-burning power plants, gas-burning plants and nuclear plants."
Allnoch said the data is based on information from the European Energy Exchange (EEX), a bourse based in Leipzig.
The incentives through the state-mandated "feed-in-tariff" (FIT) are not without controversy, however. The FIT is the lifeblood for the industry until photovoltaic prices fall further to levels similar for conventional power production.
Utilities and consumer groups have complained the FIT for solar power adds about 2 cents per kilowatt/hour on top of electricity prices in Germany that are already among the highest in the world with consumers paying about 23 cents per kw/h.
German consumers pay about 4 billion euros ($5 billion) per year on top of their electricity bills for solar power, according to a 2012 report by the Environment Ministry.
Critics also complain growing levels of solar power make the national grid more less stable due to fluctuations in output.
Merkel's centre-right government has tried to accelerate cuts in the FIT, which has fallen by between 15 and 30 percent per year, to nearly 40 percent this year to levels below 20 cents per kw/h. But the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, has blocked it.
($1 = 0.7992 euros)
Comments: All kilowatt/hour and kw/h should be kilowatt-hour and kw-h !!!!
BTW, here are the average monthly electricity bill paid by households across Canada http://www.ontario-hydro.com/index.php?page=current_rates
Friday, September 14, 2012
Almost a year after Rick Mercer posted his Asbestos Rant on YouTube, Christian Paradis, the federal Minister of Industry finally announced that Canada will no longer block the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance under the Rotterdam Convention.
Mind you, the Conservative Government's sudden change of heart has little to do with Rick's Rant (sorry Rick), scientific findings from around the world, or advice from international and national medical/health professionals (such as the World Health Organization and the Canadian Public Health Association). Instead, the motive behind the policy U-turn is straightly political and is based mainly on the outcome of the recent General Election in Quebec.
The federal Conservative Government (and the previous Liberal Quebec Government under Jean Charest) has always maintained that chrysotile asbestos is not hazardous if it is handled/used "properly". But we all know in many developing countries, workers are often not protected and laws not enforced when it comes to the management of hazardous materials.
While I am glad to hear the decisions of the provincial and then the federal governments to stop subsidizing the chrysotile asbestos industry, I am disturbed by Christian Paradis' political game to blame the newly elected provincial govt for the loss of hundreds of asbestos mining and processing jobs.
He could have claimed credit for reducing tens of thousands of asbestos related illness and deaths in many developing countries. But instead his announcement has done little to repair the reputation of Canada. It does not make any social-economic-environmental sense to jeopardize the health and well-beings of many thousands of foreign asbestos workers just for the sake of saving a few hundred jobs (and therefore political votes) in Quebec.
Other information sources:
Federal Tories reverse course and won't veto substance's listing in Rotterdam Convention
Posted: Sep 14, 2012 3:26 PM ET
Last Updated: Sep 14, 2012 10:19 PM ET
Convention imposes disclosure rules
Asbestos around the world
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
The Quebec Election Results 2012
Charest lost his Sherbrook riding and, as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, the provincial election.
However, Quebec voters did not give Pauline Marois of the Parti Québécois the majority government she had asked for, thus putting the PQ's sovereignty project on less solid ground.
In her acceptance speech, Marois saluted Charest and other party leaders and offered to work with opposition MLAs in the National Assembly. Switching to Englsh, Marois comforted Anglophones and others that their rights will be respected.
Knowing hard-core PQ separatists would continue to push her to take a non-comprising stance, Marois re-iterated her commitment to the sovereignty project. She addressed her supporters in French: "As a Nation, we will make decisions that are important to us. We are a country. And we will have it. Quebec needs to become a sovereign country …." (and the crowd cheers).
The Crime Scene
Then all of a sudden, Marois was rushed out of sight by security and everyone was asked to leave the room. Outside, there was a person on the ground and a rifle was lying not far away. Shortly after, Marois was back on the podium and concluded her victory speech. People then evacuated the room while outside on the street, a man was led into a police car in hand-cuffs. Fire-fighters also had put out a fire in a near-by back alley. Montreal police announced two persons were injured and one person was arrested. As of now, police has cordoned off the area and an investigation is underway.
Apparent shot fired during Marois victory speech
PQ leader rushed off stage as police make arrest outside venue
Posted: Sep 4, 2012 8:00 PM ET
12:06 AM ET
Read 670 comments 670
Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois was rushed off the stage during her victory speech after a starter pistol was fired, prompting a quick response form security officials.
She returned a few minutes later and urged supporters who packed Montreal's Metropolis concert hall to leave calmly.
"There was a little unfortunate incident," she said.
Montreal police could be seen taking a man into custody outside the building.
After battling back from inner party turmoil and record lows in party support, Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois have claimed victory over the incumbent Liberals. The PQ will return to power with a minority government after almost a decade in opposition.
Marois, 63, will now become the province's first female premier.
Before the incident, Marois took the podium as the gleeful crowd burst into a round of Gens du Pays, a nationalist anthem, Marois told all Quebecers she was hopeful they could put aside their differences for a united Quebec.
"Voters have made a choice and we will respect it, and we will govern with all other parties at the national assembly," she told the packed room at Montreal's Metropolis concert hall.
"We are all there to serve Quebecers. And I'm sure we will be able to find the right compromises. It's time to regain confidence to make the right decisions."
In English, Marois told anglophone Quebecers that their rights would be respected.
"We share the same history, and I want us to shape together our future," she said.
While the minority win falls short of the majority the PQ made a heavy pitch for, it marks a significant loss for the Liberals, who, after nine years in power, gambled on a summer election a year before the end of their mandate.
Long-time premier Jean Charest lost his bet that student turmoil and a soft economy would be enough to push voters to support a Liberal government for a fourth term.
Charest falls in own riding
In his own riding of Sherbrooke, Charest lost to Serge Cardin, former Bloc Québécois MP and current PQ candidate.
With a coarse voice, Charest conceded defeat to a crowd gathered in his home riding, alongside his wife and family.
"This is not the result I would have wanted. This is not a battle that I backed away from. I now have the firm conviction that our party will continue to serve Quebec, and will do it together."
Charest pointed to the PQ's failure to gain a majority, saying the campaign results show that the "future of Quebec lies within Canada."
He took responsiblity for the Liberal loss, saying he did so with an "open heart."
"I tell you at the same time, there will be other chances for the Quebec Liberal Party," he said.
"We have work to do. We proposed things to Quebecers, and now, faced with a minority government, we will be able to make our own contribution to the further construction of Quebec."
CAQ leading or elected in 19 seats
The newly-formed Coalition Avenir Québec, in its first appearance in an provincial election, had a good showing, coming in third.
"The political landscape of Quebec will never be the same," party leader François Legault told a crowd gathered in Repentigny. "We will see a new political force rise in Quebec. We can be proud of the road travelled in the last year."
Legault won his riding of l'Assomption in a down-to-the-wire race against his nearest opponent, the PQ's Lizabel Nitoi.
Quebec Solidaire won two seats, one each for its co-spokespeople. Françoise David marked her first win in the Gouin riding, defeating PQ MNA Nicolas Girard, who had held the seat since 2004.
To a standing-room crowd at Montreal's Olympia Theatre, David thanked voters for believing in the party.
"Thank you for expressing a profound desire for a feminist, ecologist and sovereigntist change," she said.
The former president of the Quebec federation of women congratulated Pauline Marois on her historic role as the first woman to lead Quebec's government.
Amir Khadir, the party's other spokesperson and sole QS MNA when the national assembly was dissolved, has also been re-elected in the Montreal riding of Mercier.
Jean-Martin Aussant, leader of the Option Nationale, has lost to the CAQ candidate Donald Martel in the Nicolet-Bécancour riding, CBC News projects. It's the same riding Aussant previously held for the PQ before he left the party in 2011.
Challenging night for star candidates, cabinet ministers
While all eyes were on the party leaders, the spotlight was also shining on several key candidates.
Former student leader and PQ candidate Léo Bureau-Blouin is projected to take the riding of Laval-des-Rapides, defeating the Liberal incumbent Alan Paquet and CAQ's star challenger Maud Cohen.
Jacques Duchesneau, former head of the province's anti-corruption squad and high-profile CAQ candidate, has won his race in St-Jérôme, CBC News projects.
Four cabinet ministers – Pierre Corbeil, Clément Gignac, Alain Paquet, Serge Simard – were all defeated. All four lost their seats to PQ challengers.
This campaign wasn’t a walk in the park for any party, with all leaders traversing the province and revving up the engines of their get-out-the-vote machine until its dying hours.
The Liberals were in the fight for their political lives since the campaign's very first day.
The PQ and the upstart CAQ were quick to try to claim an advantage by highlighting the Liberal record on economic issues, the continuing corruption inquiry into the construction industry and the government’s handling of the tuition crisis and resulting civil unrest last spring.
Voters elected 125 representatives to form the legislature’s 40th national assembly. Sixty-three seats were required to form a majority government.
Saturday, September 01, 2012
腹下有鰭，身上有鱗，脊上有刺，有頭尾的，如鯉魚、鰱魚、鯽魚、草魚、黃花魚、帶魚等可以食用。不能食用的有鯨魚、鯊魚、青蛙、烏龜、海豚、海豹、海狗、海獅等，還有「像魚不是魚、叫魚不是魚」的也在禁忌之列，如泥鰍、甲魚、貝類等。 但這禁忌不是根據伊斯蘭教在古蘭經里的經文: 海里的動物和食物，對於你們是合法的，可以供你們和旅行者享受。你們在受戒期間，或在禁地境內，不要獵取飛禽走獸，你們當敬畏真主——你們將被集合在他那裡的主。
Source: Wikipedia 回族