The crazy things people do: Howland Island

This must be the very first video I ever made, an all-analog tale from an expedition to Howland Islands, in the middle of the Pacific, back in 1993.

The video is a capture of the magical moments, with music which inspired me at that time.
Sit back, relax, and imagine how it feels like, to travel to the middle of no-where...

If you are interested, here is another video from the same expedition. Years ago, I also wrote a short story of my adventures on Howland Island.
For the handful of you reading Dutch, I also published the full story of my first expeditions.

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Shocking graph revealed

Actual meaning yet to be explained.

Courtesy De Speld, with HT @JanRadio

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Empower youth by highlighting their projects

In the recent years, I had the opportunity to help highlighting the work young people do, throwing the spotlight on their projects and success stories, their struggles and challenges.

I firmly believe that putting young people on a platform, enabling them to bring their message, automatically empowers them, their causes and youth in general. It not only gives the individual a well-deserved chance to show their project, but each of those projects reminds the world that young people *are* the future deserving our attention, support, guidance, mentoring and funding.

And the youth have the drive, the ingenuity, the geniality and true spirit to make a change.

I was privileged to be part of the group giving that spotlight to people like Joseph Macharia from Kenya or Joseph Otim from Uganda just a few weeks ago.

It is in that spirit you should watch the video from Kelvin Doe, a fifteen year old from Sierra Leone, who picks parts from trash, to make his own radio station - including its mini-generator - in Sierra Leone.
I invite you to support "Innovate Salone" with similar initiatives.

Thanks to Kay Chapman for the tip on the video..

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Climate scientists become climate models

Kickstarter recently featured a funding request for an interesting project by Rebecca Fowler and Francesco Fiondella. The project wants to make a 2014 calendar with "the hottest climate science", and the scientists -the people- behind it.

The photos in the calendar not only highlights the climate change issues in an interesting and provocative way, but also combines it with the science behind it.

I wish I would have come up with that idea! :-)

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Italy: sunsets and garbage men

Sunset Italy

Last night, just before sunset, I saw a large garbage truck, parked next to the alley way giving access to beach. I walked onto the sand and I saw the two garbage men.

Both of them looked straight West, as the sun was sinking behind the horizon, in a sky transitioning from bright yellow to dark blue, over a flat wave-less sea.

As I passed the two men, I heard one of them say: "Mamma mia, che bello!"

At that moment, I thought: "Probably, Italy might be the only place on earth, where two garbage men would interrupt their route, just to watch a sunset".

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Follow the frog

In our ongoing quest to find good and exciting advocacy videos, I found this one from the RainForest Alliance.

HT to Susan for the tip!

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5 Broken Cameras

"5 Broken Cameras" is a film, shot almost entirely by a Palestinian farmer, Emad Burnat. Emad bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son. He registers life in the Occupied Territories, following his family through five years of village turmoil. Emad watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost, through a cycle of five cameras. Each camera gets destroyed in a violent incident.

This is an extraordinary work, a deeply personal, first-hand account of the Palestinian resistance in Bil'in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements.

The footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit. The film was nominated for "Best Documentary Feature" in the 2013 Academy Awards. (More in this LA Times article)

Update (Feb 22):
Emad Burnat travelled to the US with his wife and son to attend the Oscar's ceremony. He was held up by US immigration on the account of "not having the right invitation", he was eventually released.
Reminded me of my own horror story with US immigration.

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This is what winning looks like

soldier does camel

John Allen, the US general in charge of NATO's troops in Afghanistan, handed over his command to his successor. But not without a farewell speech, in which he declared:

"This is victory, this is what winning looks like, and we should not shrink from using these words." (Full)

Dear General Allen, I have some news from you: you have not accomplished shit in Afghanistan. The Taliban have not been defeated, and are just waiting for you to leave. The living conditions of the Afghani people have not become better and certainly not safer.

Actually your intervention did make a difference. Nowadays, Afghanistan is once again, one of the largest exporters of heroin, while poppy growing was fully eradicated under the Taliban rule before your invasion.

If this is what US victory looks like, you can keep it.

Picture courtesy TheChive

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Alitalia crash reveals dead bodies in the closet

The crashed "Alitalia" plane as it looked on Saturday

Last Saturday night, a plane crashed at Fiumicino (FCO), Rome's main airport. The initial news reports mentioned "an Alitalia flight from Pisa to Rome, veering off the runway after landing in strong winds".

Already from that moment, I was a bit surprised: I live 5 miles from the landing strip, and the wind was not unusually strong. Luckily only one person was seriously injured. But surprise: it was a flight attendent who was apparently not strapped in. Why would a flight attendant not be strapped in, during landing in strong winds?

And within hours, a more obscure story came up: While the plane had the colours and insignia from Alitalia, Italy's national carrier, and had an Alitalia flight number, it had nothing to do with Alitalia. The plane was not only operated by Carpatair, an obscure Romanian budget airline, with a Romanian crew, but was also owned by that same obscure airline. The plane itself was actually registered in Romania, and not in Italy, as Alitalia planes normally are...

More suspicion came in when I saw this Carpatair press release (.PDF):

The forcasted (sic) winds in FCO were in the limits for the ATR as aircraft type as well as those of Carpatair. Windshear predicition (sic) information was not available in the in the (sic) reports regarding actual weather and forecstaed (sic) meteorological conditions given to the crew before the flight, it was not mentioned to the pilots in the weather updates info through the ATIS (actual weather special radio frequency) during the flight or by on the tower (sic) frequency before landing

I am a firm believer that small details often reveal a full picture. A sloppy press release full of spelling/grammatical errors, puts Carpatair in the category of "duct tape and shoe lace"-airlines, in my book.
Now beyond that, what are they trying to say: that their ATR-72 aircraft should not have been flying in this weather, but nobody informed them? I smell rotten fish.

So here is my question: Explain why this is not plain fraud? While code sharing and the practice of "flights of one airline being operated by another", is common practice, in this case, there is absolutely nothing that ties this flight to Alitalia. Except the flight number.

And of course, less than 24 hours after the crash, the plane was neatly repainted, hiding all references to Alitalia.

The "Alitalia" plane, one day after the crash

Smell the dead bodies in the closet? Next thing we will hear is that a Moldovian hooker was giving the captain a blow job at the time of the crash, like with the Italian Costa Concordia cruise ship, which ran aground off the coast almost exactly a year ago...

Pictures courtesy Daily Mail and EPA.

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The complexity of the US "Fiscal Cliff"

TV blooper

TV screen shot: Last night the Belgian program "Ter Zake" tackled the difficult subject of the US "Fiscal Cliff".

Or was it the "Ficscal Cliff"?

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