Bad Bishop of Limburg


When the head of the world’s richest corporation suspends one of it’s executives for extravagance and an overly lavish lifestyle – I stand up and take notice. When that CEO is the pope, executive the Bishop of Limburg – you have my full attention. This is worth pondering; the Catholic church isn’t an institution known for airing their dirty laundry.

So what does it take for the Vatican to draw the line? At what point does the pope stand at attention and declare – “oh hell no”? It appears the Bishop of Limburg knows the answer to those questions – Bishop Tebartz-van Elst probably shouldn’t have spent $42 million renovating his official residence. Even if he bathed in holy water, a bath costing $20,000 is hard to explain. Travelling on a first class ticket to visit the poor in India is a no brainer. Perhaps his nickname – the “Bishop of bling” sealed the deal. Lies to the court under oath about spending, certainly didn’t further his cause.

What does the church do with a suspended Bishop? If this were a sexual abuse scandal, he might be hustled off to another diocese or “retired” to a sleepy little corner of the world. The Bishop of Bling is only 53 years old – retirement not much of an option. Pope Francis has a true papal quandary to resolve; abusive priests are old news – public admission of flagrant, self serving excess, poses an entirely new set of considerations. The outcome should prove interesting.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/pope-removes-germany-s-luxury-bishop-from-diocese-1.2186497

Image from theguardian.com

Car2Go


Notes is now a member of Car2Go, a car sharing program developed by Daimler in Ulm, Germany, 2008. Nothing short of brilliant, I’m stoked over the concept, no need to purchase a second car, and how easy it is to use. Car2Go is now running in 7 countries, with over 7000 gas and electric “Smart cars”.

The premise is simple; locate a car2go, swipe your card against security panel to unlock the doors. Enter your PIN code and drive away.When finished, swipe your card again to stop your trip. Trips are charged to your account at .38 cents a minute, you don’t pay for gas, parking, or insurance. If you find your vehicle low on gas and choose to stop and fill up – enter your PIN again to open the glove box containing Car2Go credit card and fill up. For your trouble, Car2Go credits your account with a discounted charge for that trip. An app downloaded to your android phone pinpoints the location of the nearest car, which you can then reserve up to a half hour in advance. I live next to a hospital, most days a car is parked in front of my house. With over 300 cars in the Vancouver area, a Car2Go is never more than a few blocks away.

A taxi in Vancouver starts at 3.20 on the meter, then 1.84 a Km., or 32.86 an hour. With Car2Go, I could drive downtown and be parked in under 15 minutes – normally about a 12 – 15 dollar cab ride,now under 6 dollars, and I park anywhere for free.

As I said – simple and genius.

Delicate Balance


What better way to start the new year than with a ponder. Something to think about, talk about, learn more about.

Scientists from Harvard and GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research,  have announced that melting ice due to global warming,  effects volcanic activity. Water is heavy; as it flows to and collects in our oceans, extraordinary pressure is put on the tectonic plates. In a nutshell – continents get lighter, oceans heavier.  By looking at core samples up to a million years old, evidence of volcanic ash were present in times of warmer climates. The conclusion being; extra pressure forced more magma towards the surface.

Climate change is not the hot topic it was a few years ago. Al Gore has faded from the talk show and speaker for hire circuit. In 2011 Stephen Harper pulled Canada out of the Kyoto Protocol; an international agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions. Certainly a move that sent a jubilant cry throughout the “oil sands” in his home province of Alberta. Big business has settled nicely into the practice of trading carbon credits. Global warming came as a boom for the plastics industry; it created “environmental awareness” demanding millions of recycling bins. Ironic that plastic production is one of the worst offenders, not to mention the millions of barrels of oil required.

Life is a delicate balance; every action has a reaction. Life could not exist without a precise natural order. Cycles of climate change are part of that order. Are greenhouse gasses speeding up the process? Who can say for sure.

I look at it much like the “dust bowl’ in the 1930’s. Credited as the worst man made disaster in North America. A natural ten year cycle of drought occurred; the problem was, poor farming practices had stripped the great plains of grass. With natural grass gone, along with the 5 foot root system that kept soil in place – the plains simply blew away.

Global warming is a natural occurrence, charging full speed towards modern greed and indifference. Glaciers and the ice shelf are melting faster than they can be replenished. Ocean levels will rise, weather will become increasingly severe, and it seems volcanic activity will increase. Taking the lesson of dust bowl farmers; we can’t stop natural cycles, but can take steps to soften their impact.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219133551.htm

Jacobshavn Glacier retreat lines

Jacobshavn Glacier retreat: The rapidly retreating Jakobshavn Glacier in western Greenland drains the central ice sheet. This image shows the glacier in 2001, flowing from upper right to lower left. Terminus locations before 2001 were determined by surveys and more recent contours were derived from Landsat data. The recent stages of retreat have widened the ice front, placing more of the glacier in contact with the ocean. Image courtesy NASA Earth Observatory, Cindy Starr, based on data from Ole Bennike and Anker Weidick (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland) and Landsat data.