No higher education for girls! Dangerous!

Education for girls is dangerous!

See the full story here:
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect bans ‘dangerous’ higher education for women
23 Aug, 2016

It is “dangerous” for women to be university-educated and the practice is now banned among the Satmar sect of ultra-Orthodox Jews. The ban is to prevent “secular influences” in the “holy environment.”
“It has lately become the new trend that girls and married women are pursuing degrees in special education. Some attend classes and others online. And so we’d like to let their parents know that it is against the Torah,” reads the decree, written in Yiddish and translated by The Independent.

The decree was issued by Satmar rabbis in New York, where the sect is based, but will apply to all its followers globally.
“We will be very strict about this. No girls attending our school are allowed to study and get a degree. It is dangerous. Girls who will not abide will be forced to leave our school,” the decree reads. “Also, we will not give any jobs or teaching position in the school to girls who’ve been to college or have a degree.”

What is Satmar?

Satmar is one of nine major sects of Hasidic Judaism, a spiritual revival movement that began in the 18th century in what is now Western Ukraine and spread from there. The sects are named after the towns in Eastern Europe from which their adherents came. They remain radically insulated from the secular world that surrounds them, forming their own self-sufficient communities and economies. Education for girls is not seen favorably…

Every religion has its extremes

While today most look at Islam as the religion harboring many fanatics, many religions have “sects” that deviate from the mainstream.
Fanaticism and extremism are a plague and pops up everywhere. Unfortunately girls and women are mostly the first victims.
All based on what?
I have many Jewish friends and most are very open and tolerant.

Fanaticism. See here a good definition:
Fanaticism is defined as extreme devotion or zeal. An example of fanaticism is following a set of rules even to the extent of killing other individuals.

Wegwerpcultuur: Zweden wil reparaties meebetalen


Ja ik denk ze hebben mijn boek gelezen (Toxic Capitalism). Men koopt teveel (rommel), gebruikt het slecht en werpt het weg bij het minste “probleem”. Bij ons komen de Repair Cafes verder op, een prachtig initiatief:

Mensen zijn al te lui om hun koffietoestel te ontkalken… Gooien het weg…

Weg met de wegwerpcultuur: Zweden wil reparaties meebetalen (03/10/2016)

Reparaties tegen Wergwerpcultuur

Wat is goedkoper: je oude schoenen laten herstellen of een nieuw paar kopen? In onze huidige maatschappij met haar massaproductie is het duidelijke antwoord helaas vaak dat laatste. Zweden wil dat nu echter tegengaan door de belastingen op herstellingen te verlagen.

Culture clash: men and women meeting in public

Immoral behavior?

Men and women meeting in public can raise hell in some countries.
A leading Nigerian actress, Rahma Sadau, had to “apologize” in her country: she was seen “hugging and cuddling” pop star Classiq in a video.
Obviously in our eyes nothing wrong at all. But the fanatic and conservative Hausas want a ban on the actress.

Read more:
“Nigerian actress Rahama Sadau sorry for ‘offensive hug'”, 4 October 2016


men and women meeting in public


Ms. Sadau said sorry to those she upset, but said her actions were “innocuous”.
Hausa films are popular in the mostly Muslim northern Nigeria where it is taboo for men and women to hold hands in public.
The industry, commonly known as Kannywood, has been under fire from conservative Muslim clerics who accuse it of corrupting people’s values.
Obviously we have strongly different views. If those fanatics want to impose Middle-Ages-restrictions, be it, but then: remain in your country and do not try to impose that on us.

China’s e-waste recycling app goes global

E-waste recycling in China

China is one of the largest producers and recipients of e-waste in the world. According to a recycling industry report released by the Ministry of Commerce in May 2016, e-waste items recycled in China in 2015 alone amounted to 152.74 million pieces.

The cover of my book Toxic Capitalism shows the arrival yard of one of the few e-waste recycling factories around Beijing. As I describe in my book, the recycling industry in China might be big but is also contributing to more damage to the environment.
Another related issue is ‘toxic waste” such as batteries, ink cartridges and alike. In Beijing I did not find a way to properly dispose of it, as mentioned in my book.

Seminar on e-waste recycling

See the full story here (August 2016):

Participants from over 13 countries have come together to learn from China’s experience in managing the mounting e-waste recycling challenge, and be inspired by China’s e-waste management systems, practices, disposal and treatment technologies and how these can be applied and replicated throughout the world.
To discuss this challenge, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) together with the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office under the Ministry of Environmental Protection, developed a three-day workshop to share experience and knowledge with government representatives, private sector companies and academia. Participants will visit a dismantling factory in Tianjin, alongside learning about the Innovative Baidu Recycle App, launched by UNDP China and internet giant Baidu.

The pioneering Baidu Recycle App, uses an innovative model of connecting consumers, dismantlers and manufactures together using an efficient and user friendly smartphone app. The user can find out a price and recycle their electronic products using a nearby legitimate e-waste pick-up services, helping to simplify the recycling process and cut down on informal recycling stations.

OK to be honest I still don’t know much about this app – and it probably in Chinese only…

Floating wind farms, a potential to be explored

Wind farms are not always popular

People complain about pollution, about nuclear, about so many things. But when efforts are made to promote sustainable energy such as through wind farms, people again complain. It is “disturbing the landscape”. So, we should also destroy the windmills in Belgium and Holland?

I personally don’t feel “offended” by wind turbines, they are rather elegant. The complaints about noise and hurting birds are also exaggerated. If people love birds then they should not have windows because many birds fly right into those, being misled by the reflection. Just recently a lovely bird crashed into my Beijing window. I tried to take care of it but I am afraid its legs were paralyzed and it would not recover.

Floating wind farms

A newer technology, offshore floating wind farms might accommodate some of the complaints.
See interesting article:
Offshore Wind Farms See Promise in Platforms That Float
By Diane Cardwell, NYT 29 September 2016:

What are floating wind farms?

Right now, almost all offshore wind turbines require fixed platforms built into the seafloor. Floating turbines, with anchors, would mean new flexibility in where wind farms could be placed, with potentially less impact on marine life. Also, less opposition from the human neighbors on shore.
Developers can locate the farms farther out at sea, where they would not be visible from land, and their anchoring mechanisms have a smaller, more flexible footprint than the embedded foundations of conventional wind turbines. That could result in less environmental disturbance and easier transportation and installation.

Conventional offshore wind developments, with foundations deep beneath the ocean floor, are increasingly common in Europe. But partly because of public opposition, fixed offshore turbines are just starting in the United States, with the first such farm set to begin operation by November near Rhode Island.
Statoil, the Norwegian oil and gas giant, is already developing what could become the first commercial-scale floating wind farm, off the coast of Scotland.
Trident Winds, a company based in Seattle, is pursuing a federal lease to install about 100 turbines more than 30 miles out from Morro Bay on the central California coast.

With the floating concept, you can use the same turbine everywhere, so you can see the potential for mass production. The beauty of this is, every 20 years — which is typically when the turbine reaches the end of its life — you can tow this back to shore, put a new turbine on and take it back.

Read the full story in the NYT.

Not sorry for my atheism

Atheists are bad?

We atheists have a bad reputation? The so-called religious people look down on us and we often feel like the rejected because we “don’t believe”.
We could say it is our religion and we could look down on those who believe in fairy tales and superstition, and ignore science and reality.
No, I am not sorry for my atheism. And we have reasons not to be. I mean REASON like in science.

Some slides on “not sorry for atheism”

Religion, atheism and development

When looking at the countries where religion is “important”, or better where it puts a lid on freedoms, it is pretty similar as to grade countries who evolved economically.
Those countries that look like attaching less importance to religion are actually still strongly influenced by religion but adapted a more open society and avert extremism.
Religion is a personal choice that we should respect, we just demand reciprocity because we also have our belief in ethics and being good to others. That is because we are all humans.
If you respect my philosophy I will respect your religion.

Viability of carbon capture and storage

Canadian Embassy event

The Embassy of Canada organized another “Canada in Conversation” event on the viability of carbon capture and storage. The seminar was chaired by Ms. Cindy Termorshuizen, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy.
It took place on 22 September 2016 at the Embassy.
The Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall gave a keynote address and participated in a panel discussion featuring Mike Monea, SaskPower’s President of Carbon Capture and Storage Initiatives, along with Chinese experts, chaired by Ms. Xu Qinhua of Renmin University.
A networking reception at the Official Residence followed the panel discussion.

Background on carbon capture and storage

Coal is an energy source that generates about 40% of the world’s electricity and about 25% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As global population increases and developing countries continue to industrialize and increase their standard of living, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will continue to rise. It is critical to find ways to reduce GHGs and mitigate the impacts of climate change, while ensuring sustainable economic growth.

One key option for the near term is carbon capture and storage (CCS), a technology that can capture, transport and safely store up to 90% of the CO2 emissions produced from coal and other fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes – and stop it from entering the atmosphere.

Current CCS projects underway in the province of Saskatchewan, including the world’s first post-combustion coal-fired CCS project integrated with a power station, are positioning Canada as a global leader in turning the corner on climate change and developing clean technologies that recognize dependencies on energy derived from fossil fuels.

See the introduction of the event: 160922-canada-invitation

See here the previous session I had attended:
Embassy of Canada: a view on the Arctic:

Carbon capture and storage: a Canadian success story

The presentation was pretty convincing, many like me are not always convinced underground storage works, the CO2 does not filter back to the service and it is economically doable.
Of course the Canadian project has some great advantages to make it work. They sell the gas to oil companies – who pay money – so they can use it to maximize oil recovery from their wells. And as Mike Monea explained, the oil wells work as perfect seals to keep the gas underground. Only a rather small part of the carbon is stored by the power plant.
There was a great interest from the Chinese side: I was one of the very few “foreigners” in the audience.

Details on the carbon capture and storage project

The full report:
‘IEAGHG, “Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Project at SaskPower’s Boundary Dam Power Station”, 2015/0 , August 2015’
The full report was given to all participants received during the seminar: (85.3 MB):
IEA GHG_BoundaryDamReport_English.pdf

Their website:

Details of the power plant:

Eating beef a reason to rape and murder

All because of eating beef?

Another sad example of total intolerance, one more through religious extremism.
Muslim woman and 14-year-old ‘gang raped’ in fatal attack ‘over eating beef’, say reports
The woman, 20, was accused of eating beef, leading to her uncle and aunt being beaten to death.
See the full article by William Watkinson, also carried by BBC:
13 September  2016

Extreme Hindus against Muslims.

Police in India have arrested four men alleged to have gang raped a Muslim woman and her 14-year-old cousin and murdering two of her relatives after they were accused of eating beef. Reports of the shocking incident, on 24 August, rocked the Muslim-dominated Mewat district, 100km from the capital Delhi, in Haryana state.
The 20-year-old woman claims that her attackers were accusing her of eating cow meat – which is considered by some Hindus as sacred, with the slaughter of cows forbidden in several states, including Haryana.
Although she denied consuming beef, her uncle and aunt were allegedly beaten to death in their home and her 8-year-old child was also said to have been threatened. Four suspects have been arrested and charged with rape and murder, with the latter charge reportedly added after protests within the Mewat community.

Religion, the source of so much horror

And obviously, all based on what? Eating beef a reason to rape and murder.
The whole West must be doomed, eating beef and pork. And we love it.

Creative recycling can be fun

Creative recycling can be cute, fun and useful.

See some images I collected from different corners.
They prove recycling can be more fun than just sorting out the trash in five different bags.

Be creative, look around and think a bit before throwing out stuff.

Wave energy, less well known

Wave energy in the world

By some estimates, the ocean’s endless motion packs enough power to meet a quarter of America’s energy needs. But wave energy technology lags well behind wind and solar power, with important technical hurdles still to be overcome.
See here the full article:
America’s First Wave-Produced Power Goes Online in Hawaii (19 September 2016)
By Cathy Bussewitz, Associated Press

Developers are still working to come up with the best design. Some buoys capture the up-and-down motion of the waves, while others exploit the side-to-side movement. Industry experts say a machine that uses all the ocean’s movements is most likely to succeed.
Also, the machinery has to be able to withstand powerful storms, the constant pounding of the seas and the corrosive effects of saltwater.
Wave energy technology is at about the same stage as the solar and wind industries were in the 1980s.
it is said the USA are a decade behind Europe. The European Marine Energy Centre in Scotland, for example, has 14 grid-connected berths that have housed dozens of wave and tidal energy devices from around the world over the past 13 years, and Wave Hub in England has several such berths. China, too, has been building and testing dozens of units at sea.

But while the U.S. government and military have put about US$334 million into marine energy research over the past decade, Britain and the rest of Europe have invested more than $1 billion, according to the Marine Energy Council, a trade group.

Wave energy in Hawaii

The U.S. Navy has established a test site in Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay with hopes the technology can someday be used to produce clean, renewable power for offshore fueling stations for the fleet and provide electricity to coastal communities in fuel-starved places around the world.
Hawaii would seem a natural site for such technology. It is blessed with powerful waves.

Jose Zayas, a director of the Wind and Water Power Technologies Office at the U.S. Energy Department, which helps fund the Hawaii site, said the United States could get 20 to 28% of its energy needs from waves without encroaching on sensitive waters such as marine preserves.

Though small in scale, the test project near Kaneohe Bay represents the vanguard of U.S. wave energy development. It consists of two buoys anchored a half-mile to a mile offshore.
One of them, the Azura, which extends 12 feet above the surface and 50 feet below, converts the waves’ vertical and horizontal movements into up to 18 KW of electricity. The company involved, Northwest Energy Innovations of Portland, Oregon, plans a version that can generate at least 500 KW.