Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Well, he is small and he does have a Call Sign, but I'm not sure if this is how I want him to start off in life...
UPDATE: it actually takes nothing more than filling in a form, showing ID, and paying $5!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Installation is really simple. The device is USB, and requires a SIM card (with of course a data subscription). The software does allow you to set up a forwarding phone number, otherwise a caller gets a busy tone if your using the SIM in your modem. Note that the software defaults to ask for your card's PIN number, which is a good security feature (but can be turned off).
Connecting is quick; you do of course have to specify connection details. Performance is dependent on coverage - if signal is poor you'll get dial-up type connectivity, but overall I had a good experience with it. It also supports various networks: HSDPA, EDGE, UMTS, GPRS.
What's great about the concept is that it offers you an extra level of connectivity on the road (or even at home). Sure there are often several wi-fi hot-spots you can tap into at an airport for example, but you also have to be mindful of security considerations. And there are still places DSL hasn't reached yet, and for those areas this option is ideal. Or if you simply want to ditch your Cable & Wireless land line & DSL.
It would also be especially useful when roaming overseas - you should for instance be able to buy a SIM card with mobile broadband from a provider such as 3 in the UK.
I also liked how the modem will work on a Mac as well as a PC, and that the device can also be used as a USB drive.
Marks out of 10: 8
Sony Ericsson Mobile Broadband USB modem MD300: EC$399 from Digicel Dominica.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
I'll MMS an e-mail from my phone to my account at HelloTxt.com. This site allows me to update multiple social network sites by sending just one message. I can either enter it on the site, or via an SMS or MMS message sent to the site.
So from one simple text message I can update my status on my Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, Plurk pages (and to many others such as MySpace, Bebo, Hi5 if I used them too).
Monday, December 01, 2008
For my friend here in Dominica it was Mas costumes, and the way scary Sensey-costumed men would just appear in the village around Carnival time. The best - and even I agree it's is a bizarre and spine-chilling image - was 'The Man Who Wore a Termite Nest on his Head While Playing an Accordion'. Apparently, villagers would hear his eerie dirge long before they saw him, which only added to the fear factor.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
No, not for luggage, but for them to reduce their fuel surcharge. Their Oct 15th announcement at http://www.liatairline.com/news/fuel_surcharge.html announces a $2.50 reduction, since fuel prices 'have stabilised at around US$100 a barrel'... Funny how slow people can be to change their price to the consumer in a downward direction (and I'm thinking of DOMLEC too).
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Thing is, several years ago they rebranded to Telecommunications of Dominica (ToD), then had to un-rebranded after admitting none knew ToD and that C&W was a globally recognised brand. Well at least lots of people know what a lime is.
Already there are alternate meanings for LIME - Lousy Internet, Mediocre Everythingelse is one. But maybe LIMP is better:: Landline, Internet, Mobile, Profits
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
"Newham Council commemorated the national day of Dominica on Monday (November 3) by flying the countrys national flag.
Mayor Sir Robin Wales and Deputy Mayor Councillor Christine Bowden joined Agnes Adonis, the Dominica Acting High Commissioner, fellow councillors and residents on the steps of the Town Hall in East Ham to mark the 30th anniversary of the nations independence.
It is the fifth year that Newham Council has raised the flag of Dominica alongside the Union Flag and the borough flag. It was the first local authority to do so.
Sir Robin said: We are proud that in Newham we have so many communities that live, work and play together. Our Dominican residents are proud of their nation and their flag and we are proud of them and their contribution to life in the borough.
During the celebration Dominica flags were waved by children from St Antonys School in Forest Gate and the national anthem was played. There were refreshments served in the Town Hall."
Monday, October 20, 2008
The road from Soufriere to Scott's head was so damaged it was impassable, but by yesterday it was open again. Better still for the people of Scott's Head, electricity was also restored!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
More photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dominica_steve/sets/72157608099422817/
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
There are parts of Dominica I define by a relative lack of rivers - like that 'barren' drive between Loubiere and Soufriere. Even the drish West Coast around Salisbury - so often left black by bush fires in the dry season - is punctuated by some delicious rivers like the Macoucherie.
So when the weather is hot like now I can just look at a photo like this one and feel cooler.
Friday, August 15, 2008
I must try that.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
"Clue(do) now takes place in a mansion with a spa and a home theater where the rich and famous have gathered for some sort of in-crowd shindig. Military man Colonel Mustard is now Jack Mustard, a former footballer. The studious Professor Victor Plum is now a video game designer and dot.com millionaire. And the cook, Mrs. White, has departed in favor of child star Diana White.
Plus, the lead pipe has disappeared, replaced by a trophy. And the revolver is now a pistol."
Friday, August 08, 2008
And did you know 100g gives you 103% of your recommended Vitamin C requirement?
More on papaya on Wikipedia.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
This weekend saw the annual Rabbit Festival in Cochrane. One of the highlights are the Rabbit Races. I was hoping to get some good odds on a rank outsider but alas, there was only one race and I missed it.
It wasn't, apparently, a race in the normal sense. It seems rabbits are not racing animals (no? ah, that's the hare), so the 'race' involved the rabbit jockey holding his animal and moving according to squares drawn out of a hat (no reports of a rabbit appearing out of the hat).
Anyway, it was still a fine afternoon (if you weren't stuck in the traffic jam). And rabbits make better dishes than dashers...
Photo: top - winner. Bottom - loser.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
I had been thinking of blogging about the singular lack of any electric storms this year so far. Until yesterday. A night of distant thunder turned into a morning of violent thunder and lightning, and some really heavy rain. One strike hit close and left the village without power for 15 hours. And it wasn't even a tropical disturbance!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
But recently I've discovered that, on Friday at least, the Roseau Market never sleeps. If you go around 8pm or later you'll find people have already set up their stalls, breadfruit are a-roasting, vegetable are fresh, and that staple of any visit to the market (whatever the time), the jelly coconut, is readily available.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
"Consistent with Government’s commitment to encouraging the use of alternative forms of energy, with immediate effect all duties on equipment to be used in the self-generation of energy from renewable sources will be removed."
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Lets not forget the extensive allegations of corruption against Mr. Blatter. The only thing medaeval about the whole affair is Mr Blatter himself. Tell him directly via the FIFA website.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
My favourite Firefox 3 add-ons:
No more browsing for files such as attachments - just drag into the form!
Control your music software (like iTunes) from Firefox. Cool 'Now Playing' Signatures feature too.
3. Web Developer
A must for a Webbie.
4. Back to Top
A Top (or Bottom) of page button for Firefox.
Enhance your tabbed browsing with cute colours.
6. AdBlock Plus
Ditch the tired 'You are the 1,000,000,000 visitor' banner ads.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Over time, these mostly refrigerated storage units, have become white elephants. They sit on the shores underutilised, and not serving the fishing community which lacks the capacity to catch the amount of fish necessary to fill them. They may have served a purpose at the time of their establishment when the governments of these small states pointed to them as indicators of investment in their small and less well-off fishing communities. Today, it is clear the fishing communities would have done better if investment had been made in improving their capacity to fish with bigger boats and more modern technology by giving grants or very low interest loans.
Many of the countries that Japan recruited to bolster its position in the IWC cannot afford to join other international organisations that are of importance to them or send delegations to meetings. Yet, they have somehow managed both to meet the cost of membership of the IWC and to send vociferous delegations to its meetings."
Thursday, June 12, 2008
In using Facebook for our Dominica page, about the only City/Town allowed is Roseau. This of course is simply Not Good Enough. For example, I'm trying to add event info for the Cochrane (Pesky) Wabbit Festival. But no, it's not being held in Cockrane, Alabama.
So I urge everyone to go to http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=region_request to request Facebook add our major towns and villages!
So far, I've added:
“In common with most of our Caribbean neighbors, Dominica remains strongly in favor of the sustainable use of marine resources,” said Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica. “Our stringent environmental practices and philosophies have earned us the label, ‘The Nature Island’ and, upon careful review and deliberation of the issue, it has been determined that voting for an overturn of the existing worldwide ban on commercial whaling would be inconsistent with the standards and principles of sustainability that we so fervently advocate.”
Listening to: XTC - Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her, Kiss Her
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
Great news: our Prime Minister today announced that Dominica will abstain at the annual IWC vote on the resumption of commercial whaling.
This follows 10 years of siding with the Japanese on the issue. Many people have questioned the official Government position that Dominica has for so long taken on whaling; our whale watching industry has a huge potential with one of the best success rates in the region, and it's also been hard to square the whaling stance with our desire to be seen as a leading eco-tourism destination.
It'd be nicer to have a more definite 'no' on the issue but for now abstaining is a huge step in the right direction.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
International NGOs’ Forum on Human and Community Development Financing.How do I know? Tracing the send of the e-mail, it was sent from Togo, West Africa! It appears to be sent from the fully legit cantercorporation.com
August 4-9, 2008: Seattle, Washington, United States.
August 11-16, 2008: Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Thing is, Fair Trade would seem to be the way to go, more even than organic. (In fact, this article debunks the myth that organic is good for you, and for the environment.) UK Fair Trade bananas have gone from sales of £7.8 million in 2000 to £150 million in 2007; we have to embrace it and stop the infighting.
And as a footnote, this article highlights another 'banana war' going on - between UK supermarkets.
See also fairtrade.org.uk
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Normally any spam I get I report: I view the message source, copy, and paste into my Spamcop.net account. I knew there must be a plug-in to automate this, and there was. I started with the Habu add-on, but have since gone with the KnujOn.com plug-in from secondwheel.
In fact, the easiest way to report spam to Spamcop is simply to forward the mail to the unique e-mail you get when you sign up!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
After a grueling 9-month campaign, I win Channel 4 Fantasy Football League.... again!
Overall points total
Best 3 months
2 Steve, Simon, Liz
1 Harry, Wendy, RJ
Monday, April 28, 2008
Next - let's find a good way to dispose of used engine oil.
The scrap metal initiative is by Ivan Smith (767 276 6434) in conjunction with Lifeline Ministries (767 449 8593).
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The LIAT Twin Otter flight from Canefield, Dominica, is how flying should be - fun, lots to see (especially with the large windows), a little 'edge of the seat' at times, and short. En route to Antigua, the stop over is about 15 minutes at Guadeloupe, when one usually sits in the plane and awaits any passengers going on to Antigua.
Until now. Because of a 'new law', as the <racial stereotype> sulky but stylish French female</racial stereotype> ground staff told us, we had to get off the plane, follow her around into the airport, up several flights of stairs, through a security check again, and back down and out to the plane.
Still, one gets to see another airport, and one could even buy a copy of Le Monde before it goes bankrupt (it lost US$31m last year). Except that Le Monde journalists are on strike... Which got me thinking, when French air traffic controllers take their annual strike action, does that mess LIAT flights up? I'd rather not know...
A recent newspaper article voiced concerns by farmers in Dominica that wildlife - especially parrots - had made such a comeback that their numbers were impacting on farmers' crops. Apparently they're very partial to grapefruits.
Rather than shoot them (as had been done), the farmers ought to see this as a golden opportunity. People will pay good money to see these magnificent birds, which are only found here. Remember, there were only sixty or so Sisserous (Amazona imperialis) after Hurricane David. Now there are about 300. I did wonder how Hurricane Dean last year impacted on birdlife, and events such as that serve to show that we still need to protect our own endangered species.
(Photo by Izzy)
PS The newspaper also said one farmer was considering court action. The defendant may only be referred to as Jack O...
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
The home will be able to look after approximately 100 children per year, giving them a secure and loving place of refuge. The Place of Safety will also function as a child development centre, providing respite care and other services to the wider child population, including Carib ‘Kalinago’ children. They are seeking to raise £300,000 to complete and equip the project by October 2008.
NCH staff in Dominica are currently in contact with abandoned and abused children who are in need of dedicated care and protection, while efforts are made to find loving homes. For example, one child is currently living in a hospital because she has nowhere else to go.
NCH needs help right now to meet this commitment and protect children from abuse, neglect, and homelessness. Read more at http://www.placeofsafety.blogspot.com/
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Dominica boxer Lennon Bannis was denied a chance to qualify for the Bejing Olympics at the recent qualifications in Trinidad when his opponent delivered a low blow that was missed by the referee, who then stopped the fight and awarded the bout to the opponent.
What was also sad was that the chance for an appeal was missed for lack of funds... why it costs to lodge an appeal I don't know!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
"Now I know what it's like to be a travelling England fan".
For a long time we had hope - the first half ended 0-0 and though chances were few, we knew a goal was possible.
But then it all went pear-shaped in the 59th minute: a straight red card for our captain (at least one of their players was sent off for a second yellow at the same time). Without him - arguably our next best player after the awesome goalie - we were prone to the increasingly confident Bajan attacks... Then in the 75th minute their number 14, Standford, who came on a as sub in the 62nd minute, got the goal that put us out, and set Barbados up with a June meeting with Team USA.
But well done our boys! And the highlight of the game - the announcement over the PA asking for a Richard X, whose girlfriend had just gone into labour at the main gate... What's the betting the baby will be called Stanford?
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
10 days till the big game - the second leg of the 2010 World Cup football qualifying game v. Barbados on the 26th. I had a chance to speak with the manager, Erickson Christopher, recently, who was upbeat about our chances. He and the team fly out on the 22nd, and are joined by the English players a couple of days later.
Remember in UK-based Richard Pacquette we have a guy who's scored against mighty European Champions Liverpool, and given his impressive goal against Barbados in the first leg, must be the biggest threat. Heartening new is that in recent friendly games Barbados have struggled to score.
The prize of course is the USA in the next game. What a way to showcase out new stadium!
Monday, March 03, 2008
A recent article talked about Dominica's 'grinding poverty'. Like another from someone else who'd done cursory research on the web (but never been anywhere near here), it emphasied how poor we are.
Before I go on, let's quickly look at the UN's Human Poverty Index. Dominica ranks 71st, the top of the Medium Human Development group of nations, above many of our Caribbean nations (inc. St Lucia, Grenada, St Vincent). And even above our new partners, China and Venezuela! And above another 84 countries in the same group. Below that are the Low Human Development group of another 20-odd nations.
But along with the other indices that rate us highly in quality of life (4th happiest in the world, no less!), they are ignored in favour of a sweeping generalisation. Certainly, if the author of the article were to visit, for every ramshackle home they'd pass, they'd also be passed by a SUV. Yes there's poverty, but it's not 'grinding'. The author is probably closer to it than we are.
What we do have is a grinding greenery. A lushness that hits you in the face hard every day. An almost depressing natural beauty that berates you constantly ('look at me, climb, explore, take photos, dive, stop working!'). And as the rain continues to fall outside, a grinding rainforest. I know where'd I rather be.
Listening to: Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Saturday, March 01, 2008
- a hairstyle consisting of dreadlocks shaped into a mohawk.
Taken from http://www.fauxlogism.com/,
Fauxlogism is "an ongoing project to document false words. It appears to be heading mostly in the direction of portmanteaus, but all fraudulent or phony words are acceptable.
Why is any given new word a fauxlogism and not a neologism, you might ask? There’s no good answer to that question so let’s just shuffle our feet a little, tug at our collars, and move on...."
Friday, February 29, 2008
More importantly though I heard the PM talk briefly of how the oil refinery was on hold (not cancelled, note). But he continued on the theme of 'energy security' by talking extensively of the forthcoming and exciting plans for geo-thermal electricity - exploring the potential for cheap power that could also be exported to the neighbouring islands. And contrasting the two options, it really is a no-brainer.
The plans by the way are for a soon-to-start French-funded exploration into the potential, centred in nearby Wotton Waven. Given previous studies have shown there is potential, let's get going!
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
And it's not even raining. Someone turn the heat up please.
Listening to: Jeff Wayne - War Of The Worlds - Part 01
Friday, February 15, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association recently released a press release on the refinery issue, and it's worth repeating here:
"The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association is alarmed at the prospect of the building of an oil refinery in Dominica and the negative impact this will have on the thousands of jobs created through tourism. The tourism sector presently employs thousands of people and according to the latest IMF report, tourism contributed an estimated $186 million to the economy, creating huge foreign exchange. This growth can be multiplied substantially every year if Government demonstrates its commitment to the tourism sector and helps it move forward for the benefit of the entire country, from farmers and fishermen, vendors and tour operators, tour guides and artistes, the construction industry and to all other sectors which benefit directly and indirectly from the tourism industry.
Dominica's entire tourism industry has been developed and marketed on its rich and pristine natural rain forest and marine environment. Locals and foreigners alike have invested millions in developing a product which is unique and which has been recognized internationally as one of the most sustainable tourism destinations in the world. Establishing an oil refinery on the nature island, regardless of its location, would destroy that image and severely curtail any serious tourism investment on the island.
Dominica has an abundance of potential alternative renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass which can be explored to provide us with options that pose less threat to our environment and could create investment and jobs in cutting edge technology.
While we recognise and appreciate the assistance from friendly governments that has improved the lives of our people, we believe that an oil refinery will severely curtail one of the most promising sectors in the economy. While tourism has consistently shown incremental growth over the years, the constraints on the industry have held it back from delivering on its promise. With improved air access and commitment to marketing, it has been stated over and over again that the tourism industry would become the “driver of the economy” that the policy makers have hoped for.
The DHTA therefore wishes to reiterate its firm opposition to any oil refinery in Dominica. As the voice of the tourism sector and partners in development with the Discover Dominica Authority, we owe it to all stakeholders in the industry, and to all Dominicans, to safeguard our natural resources and the opportunities and jobs that lie within a healthy tourism industry.
We look forward to a more open consultative process that will bring all voices together to consider the effects on all segments of society. Development of the country must be planned for the long term benefit of all."
We bag everything here. Stores must spend a small fortune on black plastic shopping bags (Dominica imported US$1.3 million of plastic products last year). Even the smallest item goes into one, sometimes two. Recent reports of a huge garbage vortex in the middle of the Pacific is probably matched by one in the middle of the Caribbean. I hate them, and take a small pleasure from the looks of horror I get in stores when I refuse them. Ban them I say.
Fortunately, there's now the re-usable Green Dominica grocery bag. All is not lost.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Read more on the game here.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Instead, there's been one press 'conference' (more of a press speaking-to in fact), one press release, one meeting with select stakeholders.
Can you, for instance imagine Govt. saying 'We understand your concerns about the possible effect on tourism. So we'll double the budget for tourism marketing!"
No, I can't either. Instead, the industry is dismissed as worthless, and critics are dismissed as 'evil'.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The Laptop Lock is a site that allows you to register your laptop, and if it's stolen you can flag it as such. The site will connect with your laptop (you install a little piece of software) and you have access to a number of options the first time your laptop connects to the Web - including the ability to encrypt specify folders.
One interesting option is to be able to geographically track where the laptop is accessing the Net from once stolen... that is, if the thief's managed to by-pass your passwords!
Monday, January 28, 2008
If they'd have had you wire the money to the US it would have been perfect. I know of a case locally where a whole group were invited to West Africa only to get there to find it was a scam. Our Government even contributed air fares. At least the group got to see Africa.
But like I did with this scam, Google the event. If there's not a whiff of the event, take a closer look. Especially given it was supposed to be the 2nd of its kind, why nothing online about the 1st?!
ALERT: watch out also for the 'Forum on Human and Community Development Financing'!
That was the ball from Dominica's Matthew that bowled-out Jeffers of the BVI in last night's 20/20 cricket match, one of the first in the competition presently being held in Antigua. It was a great game - especially to see our team do so well - and the Dominicans in the crowd thoroughly enjoyed it too!
Next game - Barbados on Feb 5, which is the day before our football team play Barbados in the World Cup qualifier!
(a Yorker by the way is a ball pitched right at a batsman's feet. Click here for my old 'Cricket for Beginners page').
Friday, January 25, 2008
The filming of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 in Dominica in 2005 (yes, that's me in the rigging!) brough in around EC$47 million. Then last year we had PirateMaster. OK, so it flopped, but they still filmed here, and again, based on our pristine environment. As one of the producers said:
"We selected Dominica for its lush, pristine landscape with rugged mountain peaks, deep river gorges, towering waterfalls and accessible coastline - the ideal setting for a pirate adventure..."
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I've been testing out one of the XO laptops - part of the One Laptop Per Child project. First thing you need to bear in mind is that it's not any kind of 'ultra portable' PC, it's an educational computer for children. Which is why it's pitched at $200.
But what's great about it is it's mobility - both in size but more in its connectivity. Though I've yet to get it working on a fixed-IP wireless network, it does connect well to DHCP wifi networks, and even more importantly to other XOs via their 'mesh network'. If one on the mesh can connect to the Net, they all can. A basic PC with the 'XS school sever' software on it then connects all to the Net. And to other meshes of XO elsewhere in the world.
And therein lies the potential for somewhere like Dominica. I imagine a network of children in a small village like mine, connected to each other, and via a XS to the net. Bill Gates, you want to send a dozen XOs so I can set up the Caribbean's first XO mesh?!
In fact, there presently is a scheme to collect donations for an OLPC in Dominica here.
Update: XO laptops in Dominica!
Detailed review of the XO.
Monday, January 21, 2008
5. In Dominica’s context the island would likely be of interest to certain segments of the retiree market because Dominica is viewed as an unspoilt destination with a relatively good record for security and safety and for friendly people with a relatively good living standard. Dominica is noted for its pristine natural environment and opportunities for healthy lifestyle, research in environmental and related disciplines and wellness tourism.
6. These attributes, by themselves, will not translate into investment in residence tourism on a significant scale unless a deliberate policy to promote the destination to this segment is adopted. Dominica also has other inherent constraints such as the absence of state-of-the- art medical facilities and evacuation procedures.Dominica should seek to capitalize on this vibrant and growing industry."
Listening to: The Police - Deathwish
Sunday, January 20, 2008
But you have to look it's the impact on tourism. It's the fastest growing sector for employment and the income from tourism outstrips any other sector. The Visit-Dominica.com database has 135 accommodations, 50 tour ops, 10 dive ops, 32+ restaurants, 15 car hire companies. Let's say 250+ businesses directly involved in tourism. Now for each one of those, you've got several supporting employees. Then for every person staying, you've got to feed and water them. That's employment for farmers, fishermen, and sales for the Kubuli factory. And as you wave each tourist off, we take their departure tax, and remit all the sales tax/VAT. And you also have to include all the people employed in constructing the many projects still underway.
So in short, one tourist visit employs dozens of people directly but possibly twice as many indirectly. I don't see a refinery drinking Kubuli and eat local food.
And building a refinery would without a doubt impact on tourism. We market ourselves as an eco-tourism destination. As I speak of here, our tourism product has an inbuilt wow factor that generates untold publicity for us. Replace that wow factor with a 'what a shame' factor and we're just another Caribbean island that's harder than the rest to get to. And that will impact on jobs.
Next: the environment
Friday, January 18, 2008
Too close to people, especially the good people of Belfast. Can you imagine them looking north to the smoke stacks of the refinery?
It's got the water you'd need, and therein lies the problem - there are also millions of tons more held back by the natural but flimsy dam of Miracle Lake. Plus the issues of flooding from the Layou.
Flat for sure, but dry, so not much water. And isn't it earmarked for a golf course? Still, you'd have a great view of a refinery there from the entire Portsmouth area. Including Ross School of Medicine, the Cabrits, and the soon-to-be under-development Cabrits marina. Mmmmm.
Dominica in general
Volcanoes & earthquakes. And hurricanes.
Best location: Venezuela
Listening to: Soul II Soul - Mood
Every project has one. We do them, but rarely are they made public, and as far as I know, a project has never had a critical EIA. That's as much because we just churn them out - people actually make a living from writing them, not because of their environmental background and knowledge, but because they'll say the right thing.
Recent pronouncements from official sources in Dominica even talk of doing the EIA for the refinery, then going right ahead with it!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
So one day, we take what Taiwan offer, then the next we take what China offers and sing the One China Policy song as if we have all our lives.
Personally, if I was the European Union I'd say 'Are you taking the mickey? We give you millions of Euros to develop your eco-tourism product, then you turn around and want to build an oil refinery???'
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
"The pursuit of cleaner and environmentally friendly sources of energy is in keeping with Government’s aim of lessening the island’s dependence on fossil fuel while at the same time maintaining Dominica’s reputation as the Nature Island of the World. "
Now here's the full press release:
"Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Lands, Telecommunications, Energy and Ports, Dr. Colmore Christian has outlined the strategy being employed by the Government of Dominica to harness Dominica’s renewable energy resources, mainly geothermal and wind in response to the escalating price of oil on the world market and the need to pursue reliable and affordable sources of energy.
Dr. Christian was at the time addressing an Alternative Energy Symposium, organized by the Environmental Coordinating Unit (ECU) in partnership with the Global Environment Facility Small Grant Project (GEF-SGP) and the Florida Association of Voluntary Agencies for the Caribbean Action (FAVACA), USA.
Speaking at the symposium on Thursday, Dr Christian noted: “ The increase in world prices for oil have had and continues to have devastating effects on small developing economies and economies in transition.
“These international developments have forced countries and development strategists to explore options for sustainable renewable sources of energy. Surely, the current high price of oil on the international market and the call for a reduction in the use of ozone depleting substances globally have made some non-oil based sources of energy much more economically attractive and environmentally desirable….”
The Government of Dominica, through the Ministry of Housing, Lands, Telecommunications, Energy and Ports has embarked on a multi-pronged approach, the primary elements of which include:
· Development of Hydro: Presently Hydro makes up 40% of Dominica’s energy production. Although there are no plans to expand that percentage in the short term, the goal is to at least maintain and consolidate that level of hydro energy production into the future.
· Dominica’s geographic location presents opportunities for harnessing the abundant supply of available solar energy. The State has invested in a totally solar-powered facility at the Morne Diablotin National Park at Syndicate.
· Wind Energy Research has confirmed the potential for wind energy generation in some parts (Woodford Hill and Delices) of the island.
· Geothermal Initiative- Phase I of the GEF-funded and OAS coordinated sub-regional initiative, involving Dominica, St. Lucia and St.Kitts/Nevis.
A funding proposal for Phase II of this initiative is presently before the GEF for consideration. Further investigations to be undertaken and the possibility of developing a pilot project in Dominica has been proposed under this second phase.
· Collaboration with the French (funded under Intereg)
· Government is actively pursing the development and commissioning of a 5-megawatt geothermal plant by December 2008.
Also addressing the symposium was FAVACA’s Chief Engineer, Dr. Bill Young., also from the Florida Solar Energy Centre. Dr. Young delivered a presentation on photovoltaic/ wind energy.
On the invitation of the Environmental Coordinating Unit, Dr. Young was on island from April 17-21, 2006 to undertake an assessment of Dominica’s potential in regard to the generation of solar/wind energy. While in Dominica, Dr. Young also made site visits to a number of communities including Penville.
The pursuit of cleaner and environmentally friendly sources of energy is in keeping with Government’s aim of lessening the island’s dependence on fossil fuel while at the same time maintaining Dominica’s reputation as the Nature Island of the World. "
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
I recently attended a 'workshop' on the forthcoming legislation on 'The Interception of Communications Act'. (I did ask about existing wiretaps, and was told there aren't any since without this legislation they'd be illegal. Yeah, yeah). (Note to the presenters: read this on Powerpoint presentations!)
Anyway, the article made me wonder how it'd work here in Dominica. Little people get cut off after 7 days of an unpaid bill; Govt. gets to run up huge bills, years in arrears, so I guess their wiretaps won't get that annoying automated Cable & Wireless messages about 'Your service has been disconnected'.
Mind you, I do pity the poor guy who has to intercept e-mails. But I also think he enjoys our vibrant (and a little subversive) Message Board!
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
And reading this article about the sorry state of Bejan football gives me hope. Because the winner plays the US!
2008 is, I have declared, the year of the UMPC: the Ultra Mobile PC. I get my hands on the OLPC laptop very soon, but am also excited by the Eee PC by Asus.
These type of pcs are also known as 'mobile internet devices', and it's the light-weight, rugged mobility that's particularly appealing to me.
And being ultra mobile doesn't have to be ultra expensive. While the Sony Vaio UMPC is around $2k, the Eee PC is just $400.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
The Roseau Bayfront and roads leading off are 'spanned' by several of these arches, built for this our 30th Reunion year. The problem is: all of them are around 6 feet too narrow - far too narrow even for two cars to pass.
Nevertheless, they remain steadfastly in place, almost a week after being put up. And in place despite the fact they restrict traffic on several key roads in Roseau. And held in place only by plywood bases.
So OK, someone screwed up, maybe reading the internal width as the total width. But still, to leave them in place - on one of the busiest roads in town? A case of the the Bumbling Arch Constructors meets the Unable to Admit You've Screwed-up Event Organisers....
Mind you, it somewhat spoils a photo to have 'copyright 2008' etc over it. I'm happy to put them up, then, if they are stolen, I'll take matters into my own hands...
Saturday, January 05, 2008
"Environmental scientist Dr David Spurgeon said: "Because these light bulbs contain small amounts of mercury they could cause a problem if they are disposed of in a normal waste-bin.
"It is possible that the mercury they contain could be released either into the air or from land-fill when they are released into the wider environment.
"That's a concern, because mercury is a well known toxic substance."
Official advice from the Department of the Environment states that if a low-energy bulb is smashed, the room needs to be vacated for at least 15 minutes.
A vacuum cleaner should not be used to clear up the debris, and care should be taken not to inhale the dust.
Instead, rubber gloves should be used, and the broken bulb put into a sealed plastic bag - which should be taken to the local council for disposal."
I guess the TV act that ate broken light-bulbs is with us no more!