It is a scam

To all you people with some minimal knowledge in English you might see the funny point in the car dealer store in Braga, Portugal, that has taken the name SCAM.

I am not kidding!

I thought car dealers had enough bad reputation.

Maybe he is trying to be ironic?

But I very much doubt it ...


God Jul

Globalisation has some good points, among other being able to say Merry Xmas and Hapy New Year in many languages:

ARMENIAN: Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand.
AZERI-AZERBAIJAN: Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun.
BASQUE: Zorionstsu Eguberri. Zoriontsu Berri Urte.
BULGARIAN: Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo. Tchestita Nova Godina.
CATALAN : Bon Nadal i Felic, any nou
CHINESE-CANTONESE: Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun.
CHINESE-MANDARIN: Kung Ho Hsin Hsi. Ching Chi Shen Tan.
CZECH: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok.
DUTCH: Zalig Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieukjaar.
ESTONIAN: Roomsaid Joulu Phui ja Uut Aastat.
FINNISH: Hyvaa joula. Onnellista Uutta Voutta.
FRENCH: Joyeux Noel et heureuse Anne.
GAELIC-IRISH: Nolag mhaith Dhuit Agus Bliain Nua Fe Mhaise.
GAELIC-SCOT: Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur.
GERMAN: Frohliche Weihnachten und ein Glueckliches Neues Jahr.
GREEK: Kala Khristougena kai Eftikhes to Neon Ethos.
HAWAIIAN: Mele Kalikimake me ka Hauloi Makahiki hou.
HEBREW: Mo'adim Lesimkha.
HUNGARIAN: Boldog Karacsonyl es Ujevl Unnepeket.
ICELANDIC: Gledlig jol og Nyar.
INDONESIAN: Selamah Tahun Baru.
IROQUOIS: Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat
ITALIAN: Buon Natalie e felice Capo d'Anno.
JAPANESE: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto.
KOREAN: Sung Tan Chuk Ha.
LATVIAN: Priecigus Ziemas Svetkus un Laimigu Jauno Gadu.
LITHUANIAN: linksmu sventu Kaledu ir Laimingu Nauju Metu.
MANX: Ollick Ghennal Erriu as Blein Feer Die. Seihil as Slaynt Da'n
Slane Loght Thie.
NORSE-DANISH: Gledlig jul og godt Nytt Aar.
POLISH: Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia i szczesliwego Nowego Roku.
PORTUGUESE: Feliz Natal e Próspero Ano Novo.
RAPA-NUI (Easter Island): Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua.
ROMANIAN: Sarbatori Fericite. La Multi Ani.
RUSSIAN: Pozdrevly ayu sprazdnikom Rozhdestva Khristova is Novim Godom.
UKRANIAN: Veselykh Svyat i scaslivoho Novoho Roku.
SAMOAN: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou.
SLOVAK: Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok.
SERB-CROATIAN: Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina.
SINGHALESE (Ceylon/Sri Lanka): Subha nath thala Vewa. SubhaAluth
Awrudhak Vewa.
SLOVENE: Vesele Bozicne. Screcno Novo Leto.
SPANISH: Feliz Navidad y prospero Ano Nuevo.
SWEDISH: God jul och ett gott Nytt År.
TAGALOG (Filipino): Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon.
TURKISH: Yeni Yilnizi Kutar, saadetler dilerim.
WELSH: Nadolic Llawen. Blwyddn Newdd Dda.


Water for all

Every 15 seconds, somewhere in the world, a child dies from a water-related disease. And, across the developing world over a billion people do not have access to clean water.

With water privatisation clearly failing to tackle the water crisis, the question we need to ask is how do we get all these people connected to water?

WDM believes that developing strong public utilities that work for people not private profit is the way forward, and is calling on the UK government to take action.

Take Action Now.
Write to Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development and ask him to support public solutions to the global water crisis.

I just did, will you?

Organic produce is healthier!

Many have claimed that organic produce is healthier than conventional. Of course many claim that it is not the case. But results from FP6 funded research say that it is so!

Quite literally good news :-)


My score in the EDP self-test

Here are my answer to the answers to these questions about my environmental friendliness.

1. No, not enough insulation to keep the little heat "captured" at day time.
2. Yes, I dunno if it really helps.
3. Well, I would if I could, only windows on one side.
4. Yes, I put a timer on the heater in the bedroom.
5. Yes, of course.
6. Well, I would if I ever would buy one.
7. Well, I would if I ever would buy one.
8. Yes. But right now I am watching Mel and Smith :-)
9. Yes, only have one.
10. Yes.
11. Yes.
12. Yes, especially tea and a hot cup of chocolate in the winter.
13. Yes. But then I don´t eat much food from the freezer.
14. Yes.
15. No, at least never done that. Although I have checked that the temp is 6C in the fridge.
16. Well , don´t own a dish washer.
17. Yes, easy in the summer, not so easy in the winter.
18. Yes.
19. Yes, usually 40C for everything.
20. Yes.
21. Yes, bought one connecter to turn off all PC stuff in one go.
22. Yes, mainly dusting up behind the fridge and thawing the freezer regurlarly.
23. Doors and windows are in good, although not very insulating ... in Portugal there usually are wide cracks everywhere.
24. Yes, I usually go white.
25. Yes, I would if I owned my flat.
26. Yes.
27. Yes.
28. Yes, have replaced all normal bulbs.
29. Yes and No. Go by car to work far too often, but walk to often.
30. No, work is so close it takes longer to wait for the bus than walking.
31. Well, could be better, although I have started to use the engine to break.
32. Well, I don't have money to buy a car.
33. Well, whenever I figure how the air pumps in Portugal works. Very strange model. Not at all as obvious in design as in Sweden.
34. Yes.
35. Yes.
36. No, how do one keep a tap in good shape? I have no leaks yet in my flat.
37. Yes, I have put a filled soda bottle in the water tank.
38. Yes.
39. Yes, or I always print double sided. And often I print two sides on each page.

As you can see there are lots of cases in which the answer is no by default. Anyway, the sum is 28. So I can pat myself on my head :-)

There are seven "wells" ie I would have been given myself a higher score (35 out of 39) if I had put yes there. In a way a way that would be reasonable since that measure consumer behaviour. The test also assumes that I have bad equipment already that could be improved. But in my case that would mean buying machines I do not have not and thus increase my ecological footprint. Hmm ...



Yesterday I showed you how a true dinosaur called Portgas behaves in modern times. I mentioned how a more forward looking company that is up to speed with current topics and trends including taking of care our planet can behave.

The electricity company EDP attached a self-test for their clients to themselves evaluate their energy efficiency with a number of tips and tricks how to become more energy efficient in the form of self-test. Here is the test (in Portuguese) in two A4 pages:

First page:
First page of the self test

Second page:
Second page of the self test

Here is a hopefully true translation into English:

Are you saving energy?
Make the test

Indoor climate

1. During winter days make use of the sunlight at leave the curtains open to heat up the house.
2. During summer days close the curtains to avoid over heating your house.
3. In summer nights open the windows on opposing sides of the house to improve cooling.
4. Only turn on indoor climate parafernalia (heat, air conditioner and fans) when absolutely necessary.
5. When the indoor climate parafernalia are turned on: keep windows and doors closed.
6. When buying an air conditioner buy a model that both can heat and cool (even better by a model using a heat pump - my comment)
7. When buying indoor climate parafernalia check its energy effiency label (choose A or A+ - my comment)

Home appliances

8. Avoid having TV on just for company
9. Avoid having many TVs turned on at the same time
10. When ironing make sure you use the correct temperature and start with clothes that require the highest temperature.
11. When using the oven avoid opening the door to avoid heat leaking out.
12. Use the microwave oven to heat up small portions.
13. That food in advance to decrease the time in actual cooking.
14. Do not unnecessarily open the fridge/freezer doors and minimise the open time.
15. Duly regulate the temperature of your fridge to avoid ice formation.
16. Prior to putting dishes in the dish washer rinse off with tap water.
17. Avoid using dryer for clothes and opt for air drying whenever possible.
18. Only use dish washer and laundry machine with full load.
19. Use lowest possible temperature for dish washer and laundry machine.
20. When buying equipment check the energy efficiency and energy consumption label (choose A or A+ - my comment).
21. Turn off the machines completely (TV, video etc) and do not leave on stand-by.
22. Keep the machines in good shape and make periodic maintenance.


23. Make a habit to check that windows and doors are in good shape (no cracks and are well insulated).
24. When painting the inner walls opt for clear colours that reflect light better thus reducing the necessity of artificial lights.
25. When replacing windows opt for windows with better termic and acoustic insulation.


26. Make use of the sun light whenever possible and avoid lamps during day time.
27. Always turn off the lights when not used.
28. Use energy efficient lights insted of standard light bulbs.


29. For short distances: walk or bike.
30. Use public transport for daily travels (commuting).
31. When driving do it efficiently avoiding strong accelerations that consume a lot of energy.
32. When buying a new car check is fuel consumption.
33. Regurlarly check that the air pressure in the tyres are as recommended by the manufacturer.

Water consumption

34. Do not let water taps running or dripping.
35. Prefer showers over baths. (short showers! - my comment)
36. Keep the taps in good shape to avoid leaks.
37. Adjust to WC to minimal water use and/or put a water bottle in the water tank to reduce the volume. (A brick or a full 1.5l soda PET bottle is also OK - my comment)


38. Recycle
39. At home and work try to reuse paper whenever possible.

Count the number of ticks:

Less than 15 : Your habits can be improved. Learn the good practices of energy efficiency.

Between 15 and 25 : You are on the right way. Your habits reflect a concern for the environment. There is still room for improvement.

Above 25 : You are doing really well! You have already adopted many of the good practices of energy efficiency. Share your tricks with your friends!


Portgas mentiroso 2004

In the mail the other day came the electricity bill from EDP with questionnaire to help evaluate your energy efficiency. This is in stark contrast to the natural gas distributor Portgas that wants you crank up the heater. It is so wonderful to have a tropical climate at home ...

Portgas mentiroso 2004

They also claim that natural gas is the most energy / price effective. I beg to differ . They also claim that natural gas is clean since the only emission is CO2 (probably NOx as well). OK if we choose to forget about the global warming and the Kyoto Protocol.


More press clips

FT 2006-12-05
The way to a cleaner business community
The first task of responsible people inside the business community is to clean up your own backyard.

FT 2006-11-30
EU seeks tough limit on industry emissions
The cap trade system will at last lead to less carbon dioxide available quotas to be sold than the expected total emissions. Sofar the cap trade system has contained more CO2 than actually released. From 2008 a 7% year cut in the 2005 quotas are expected. Which actually only means 1% decrease in actual CO2 emissions. Still far cry from completing the Kyoto protocol in which EU is supposed to decrease its CO2 with 8% compared to the emissions in 1990. So the quotas needs to be restricted more and more each year to become closer to the target (which in itself should be fairly easy to fulfil - at least in technical terms).

And now for something completely different:
Pinochet is dead!
A HUGE relief for many.
Only thing sad about that this is that his lawyers worked so hard against him going to trial so that all his atrocities have not yet been subjected to formal legal scrutiny.
A long time ago a saw a movie about all the "missing people" in Chile whom in the movie end up being thrown out of air planes over the Pacific ocean after having been given "vaccines" that really were sedatives. I think the movie was called "autoshop paraiso" or something else with spanish for paradise in the title.


GM hails electric vehicles etc

Here are some snippets from printed newspapers.

FT 2006-11-30
GM hails future of electric vehicles
GM has started to develop a plug-in hybrid as part of an inexorable shift in electric vehicles.

Investors are blown away by French wind power
Renewable energy is the latest rage on the stock markets.

Jornal de negocios 2006-12-06
Floresta portuguesa certificada apenas em 2.19% da area total.
Only 2% of the Portuguese florests are certified.
The certification that is mentioned is the only good sustainable forest certification ie the Forest Stewardship Council.
In comparison with other countries:
Portugal 74 kha
Sweden 10445 kha
Germany 588 kha
Spain 120 kha
kha - kilohectares

Metade de riqueza nas maos de 2%
Half the wealth in the hands of 2%
The poorest half of the Earth´s population only has 1% of the total wealth.
See the full report


Trans fats off the plates in NY

The mayor of New York has decided to forbid trans fats to be used in the food in all restaurant within the city limits for health reasons. Trans fats have more negative impact on the human health than other types of fats.

Some of the bigger chains such as McDonalds, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken has said they will replace the trans fats with other fats. The hamburger chain Wendys has already replaced the trans fats with a mixture of soy and corn oils.

Some claim that trans fats make food taste better but that is just nonsense. The NY mayor says that he loves hamburgers so is the harm in making the little healther while keeping the good taste?

Seems like a good initiative. Denmark has already put a 2% limit of trans fats in all food stuff. Same taste just healthier. And that is why the researcher managed to convince the politicians to pass that law. Now EU says that it is trade obstacle but Denmark says they will go to court if necessary.

Did I write soy oil above? Yes I did. I guess much of comes from GMO soy ...

A danish scientist says it is better to use the trans fats for shoe polish!

Neoliberalism is anarchy?

Have you ever thought about that neoliberalism can be a form of anarchy? Neither anarchists nor neoliberals want any central power or authority that can make and enforce rules. In fact they do not seem to want to have any rules at all. So neoliberalism is anarchy.

And you thought that the right-wing neoliberals were not radical. It seems there is a backdoor between the far-right and the far-left.

What I don´t understand is how neoliberals will expect this to work? Do they count on the "goodness of man" or do they hope to rely on a strong (oppressive) military/police force, i.e. back to the good ol´ feudal system?


Deserts in Europe

Just heard about the ESA DesertWatch Initiative. Apparently there are and will be deserts in Europe. And Portugal that I live in is one of the country with highest risk of becoming more and more desert.

Quercus says that 36% of the country is already affected and at risk of becoming deserts, with 3/4 of that area at high susceptibility of becoming a desert. Mostly in the south were it does not rain so much and there is a big debacle with Spain regarding the use and access to the river water. Oddly also some parts in the north-east on the border to Spain are also at risk. See the page 17 in this pdf file.

Strange that Portugal would become a desert. I been down so I know it is dry very dry. Up here in north the problems right now seems to be do with to much water. Also, in the south there have a lot of floodings last week. "My" part is called Minho Verde - Green Verde because it is so green because of the plentiful rains in the winter, but even here it gets really dry in the summer. At 35-40C and no rain for a month or two it really dries up quickly. In way I am surprised that the water is not captured to a great extent than it is. The Douro river was 10m above normal levels in Porto two weeks ago. And Douro has many dams along its course.

Minho should have plenty of opportunity to capture and store water to a much greater extent than it has sofar. Much of the hydropower comes from Minho so much water is already stored but in large dams. It should be possible to each village to collect enough water for fire dams etc to cover the very local water need even in summer.


Light a million candles

I just received this:

The innocent victims of Internet child abuse cannot speak for themselves.

But you can.

With your help, we can eradicate this evil trade.

We do not need your money.

We need you to light a candle of support http://www.lightamillioncandles.com.

The more candles we light, the more powerful our voice becomes.

This petition will be used to encourage governments, politicians,
financial institutions, payment organisations, Internet service
providers, technology companies and law enforcement agencies to
eradicate the commercial viability of online child abuse.

They have the power to work together. You have the power to get them
to take action.

Please light your candle at http://www.lightamillioncandles.com.

Together, we can destroy the commercial viability of Internet child
abuse sites that are destroying the lives of innocent children.

Comunidade Portuguesa de Ambientalistas
Ring Owner: Poli Etileno Site: Os Ambientalistas
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