Sunday, September 11, 2011


As we get older, we become more cynical, more rooted in the boring, mundane world that we see around us every day. We waste all our finest talents until we finally lose them completely, and you know the saddest thing of all? Saddest of all, is the fact that most of us are never aware of the existence of those special talents. Most of us never know we have them, so when they wither and eventually shrivel up altogether from disuse, we don't even realise that they're gone. Simply put, it's the boring adult world, with its stunted and artificial 'norm', that forces conformity and compliance. It clouds our judgement and soothes our awareness until they can no longer function; it anaesthetises and lobotomises our minds. Worse, it then facilitates the creation of a cosy, desensitized, minutely confining cage for each and every one of us and it soothes and dulls our minds until we are utterly brainwashed, convinced there is no question of whether it is right and proper to meekly submit ourselves to a sentence of voluntary life imprisonment. As a reward for our self-subjugation, we are encouraged to step forward into the ranks and claim our place as another of the successfully dehumanized drones in the herd of compliant and mindless automata. And the very worst of it is this; that the custom-built cell we have each condemned ourselves to, the gilded cage that defines the outer limits of our lives, our realities and our minds and that only allows us the absolute minimum of space, this part cell, part cage, part madhouse, is a cage of our own making, created inside our own minds and our own limited perceptions, built of the pulverised, homogenised shambles of our dreams. We are each trapped within our own minds and our acceptance of our castrated lives, our limited existence and our narrow perspectives. We dutifully deny ourselves the realisation that there is a greater and worthier and infinitely more fulfilling reality to be claimed if each of us would only reach out and grasp it, each to make it their own. We don't allow ourselves the realisation that we are the inheritors of a far greater legacy which was handed down to us, and which we are systematically squandering. And so we deny and lock away our most glorious selves, the very parts of our humanity that makes of each of us a radiant being, and thus locked away, we settle down to quiet unquestioning acceptance of our comfortable little existences in our cages, mouldering inexorably until we finally rot away altogether. Our conformity to the accepted and imposed norm gradually disempowers us. Eventually it becomes impossible to perceive the extraordinary any more, to experience at first hand the exceptional and the remarkable that is always everywhere around us.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who painted these pictures?

Take a look at these pictures below. All of them were painted by the same artist, who later became world famous after giving up art and getting into an entirely different career path. It's a pity, because they show some talent, but unfortunately an application to an art school was rejected. And that rejection was ultimately to have drastic results for the world.

The artist in question was Adolf Hitler, who was instrumental in bringing about the worst armed conflict in world history. His application to study at a well-known art school of the time was rejected, possibly as much for his relatively low-class background as much for the quality of his work. That rejection forced him into a different career path. His only skills were painting and being a decent low-rank soldier, and since Germany was not in a war at the time, he struggled to keep himself afloat by painting portraits and postcards for sale. But his disillusionment crystallised into a hatred for the ostentatiously wealthy Viennese Jews, and was to lead to the West being dragged into a war that was to cost 50 million lives, wipe out almost the entire Jewish population of Eastern Europe and change the course of history forever.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What is climate change?

Climate change refers to variations in the Earth’s global climate, or regional climates, over time - changes that have accelerated rapidly over the last century. One of the major effects of modern climate change is the rise in average global air and ocean temperatures commonly referred to as "global warming".
Did you know that 19 of the 27 years since 1980 were the warmest since temperatures were first measured in the 1850s?
The Earth has warmed by 1 degree Celsius over the last century. The most authoritative scientific reports to date which is the conclude that this global temperature increase is very likely due to the observed human-induced increases in six major greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, for example, have increased to just below 400 parts per million from 300 ppm before industrial times. If we continue business as usual, levels of this major greenhouse gas are expected to rise above 600 ppm by 2100, increasing global temperatures by between 2 and 4.5 degrees Celsius.
The culprits
Human industry is mostly responsible for climate change, because of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by factories (particularly cement factories), power plants, airplanes, trucks, cars, and other sources. What few people realize is that burning or clearing tropical forests is also a major source of atmospheric carbon, an estimated 20 percent of the total, which is second only to the power generation sector. Some 35 million acres (close to 11 million ha) of tropical forests (about the size of Italy) are destroyed through slash-and-burn methods each year to make way for livestock farming and crops, releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In fact, the destruction of tropical forests contributes one quarter of global emissions with agriculture and land use change, more than all of the world's cars and trucks.

Did you know?
Predicted deforestation in Central Africa is estimated to release 34 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere by 2050. This is roughly equivalent to the United Kingdom’s CO2 emissions over the last 60 years. The Democratic Republic of the Congo risks losing almost half of its forests.
Large scale agriculture is another global warming culprit, as large amounts of the artificial nitrogen fertilizers applied to crops convert into the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. Factory farming is another greenhouse offender. Globally, livestock produce large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent than CO2. Landfills, where we dump the mountains of waste we produce, are another source of methane, producing 34% of total emissions. In many countries it is law to flare off the methane produced by landfills, but this is not practiced in South Africa. However, in a showcase project at three landfill sites in Durban, methane is captured and used to produce an annual 10 MW of electricity that is fed into the municipal grid. This project by the eThekwini Municipality is a leading example of how to turn climate change to our benefit.
Did you know that the average CO2 emission rate per person in South Africa is about 10 tons of CO2 (or equivalent in other greenhouse gases) per person per year? This is above the global average of 7 tons per person, making South Africa a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Why worry?
The Earth's atmosphere is now warming at the fastest rate in recorded history, posing a threat to sustainable development, especially in developing countries, and could undermine global poverty alleviation efforts and have severe implications for food security, clean water, energy supply, human health, environmental health and human settlements. Human communities are also directly threatened by climate change as seas rise, storms become more intense, and episodes of drought and flooding increase. Climate change and global warming are also among the greatest threats to biodiversity today and without action will destroy some of the World's most precious ecosystems and result in the extinction of more than a million species. Coral reefs are bleaching and many already dying off due to increased sea temperatures and acidification of the oceans to a level not experienced in over 800,000 years. As the Earth's temperature rises and habitats change, wild species that have adapted over millions of years to their specific conditions have to move to more suitable areas. Many species, however, cannot move because they are not suited to their surrounding ecosystems or are hemmed in by human development. Entire populations of species can disappear if they are unable to relocate or adapt to climate changes.
What will happen if the Earth heats up?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that temperatures will rise by between 2°C and 4.5°C by 2100, relative to pre-industrial temperatures. Below are estimates of the impacts for each degree of temperature rise based on a major report published by Nicholas Stern, chief British government economist, in October 2006.

The impacts of 1°C rise
• Small Andean glaciers disappear, threatening water supplies for 50 million people
• Cereal yields in temperate regions increase slightly
• At least 30,000 people die every year from climate-related diseases, but winter mortality in Northern Europe and US drops
• 80% of coral reefs are bleached, including the Great Barrier Reef
• The Atlantic thermohaline circulation starts to weaken

The impacts of 2°C rise
• Water availability in some vulnerable regions (Southern Africa and Mediterranean) could drop by 20% - 30%
• Crop yields in Africa drop by 5% - 10%
• 40 - 60 million more people are exposed to malaria in Africa
• Up to 10 million more people are affected by coastal flooding
• Arctic species, including the polar bear and caribou, run a high risk of extinction
• The Greenland ice sheet could begin an irreversible melt

The impacts of 3°C rise
• In southern Europe, serious drought happens occurs every 10 years
• 1 to 4 billion more people suffer water shortages; up to 5 billion gain water but they could suffer increased floods
• Another 150 to 500 million people are at risk of hunger (if carbon fertilisation is weak)
• 1 to 3 million more people die from malnutrition
• The risk of abrupt changes in monsoons climbs
• There is a higher risk that the West Antarctic ice sheet, and the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, will collapse

The impacts of 4°C rise
• Water availability in Southern Africa and Mediterranean could drop by 30% - 50%
• African agricultural yields drop by 15% - 35%
• Up to 80 million more Africans are exposed to malaria
• Another 7 to 300 million people are affected by coastal flooding

The impacts of 5°C rise
•Some of the large Himalayan glaciers may disappear, affecting one quarter of the Chinese population and millions in India
• Ocean acidity continues to rise; marine ecosystems are seriously disrupted
• Sea level rise threatens small islands, low-lying coastal areas such as Florida, and major world cities such as New York, London, and Tokyo.

What to do?
There are two key ways of responding to changing climate. One is through mitigation - reducing the intensity of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the second is adaptation - the process of recognizing the effects of climate change and adapting to these changed conditions.
Mitigation recognizes that in the longer term countries and individuals can stem the tide of climate change through activities that reduce the quantities of greenhouse gases we produce. This approach implies radical changes in the use of technology, and employing practices that actively reduce carbon emissions such as innovative industrial processes, the use of cleaner fuels, the implementation of energy efficiency measures and the enforcement of fuel efficient vehicles.
With regards to atmospheric carbon dioxide, a business as usual scenario will produce atmospheric CO2 levels of more than 750 parts per million by 2050, leading to a predicted global temperature increase of between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius. The European Union and the United Nations have set a target of keeping global warming to below 2? Celsius, which means keeping atmospheric CO2 concentrations (or the equivalent in other greenhouse gases) to below 450 parts per million. As current levels are 389 ppm, meeting this target means reducing our current emissions – quite a challenge!

Adaptation is an equally important response to climate change and implies behavioral changes in response to the changed conditions, such as the implementation of alternative farming practices, climate wise conservation planning and appropriate measures in development planning and so on.

Mitigation is urgent.
Time to bend the curve is short.
Data provided by Harald Winkler Energy Research Center
All information from

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Country comparison: current account

This entry records a country's net trade in goods and services, plus net earnings from rents, interest, profits, and dividends, and net transfer payments (such as pension funds and worker remittances) to and from the rest of the world during the period specified. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Quote of the Day

In Germany, they came first for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists but I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time nobody was left to speak up.
[Martin Niemoeller, Dachau, 1944]

Not even funny

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

America, god-king of the world

Gyanendra [the former King of Nepal, deposed 2008] felt he had a natural ally in a pugnacious White House. He felt spurned when he was ignored. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. Gyanendra's position in Nepal was the same as Washington's position in the world. Most of Nepal's difficulties (backwardness, poverty, war) stemmed from the inequality that still prevailed in the kingdom, and Gyanendra was the one who benefited most from that uneven system. Substitute the world for Nepal and the White House for the king, and the same broad logic held true. Many of the world's problems (backwardness, poverty, war) came from inequality, and the US was the country that benefited most from that uneven system.

Gyanendra was intelligent and ambitious. He recognized a God-King in the twenty-first century was an anomaly. He knew he was the problem. But he enjoyed power and genuinely believed he could help his people. Talking with his enemies wasn't going to improve his situation. Talking could only mean talking it all away. So he chose to fight.

Were these the same impulses guiding the West? If they were, it would explain why our leaders' responses to globalization often appeared to be so inappropriate. And there was some evidence to suggest that Western governments did realize that they, or at least the comparative richness of their economies, were the problem, and one that related to violence. What were the trillions of dollars spent by the West on overseas aid in the developing world, if not an implicit acknowdgement that the system of global income distribution was unfair? What was the deployment of hundreds of civil affairs specialists among the 800 Special Operations soldiers at the US anti-terrorist base in Djibouti, if not a Pentagon admission that Africa lacked and that, if unaddressed, such yawning deficits produced unrest? What were the billions of dollars spent on reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, if not an acceptance that quenching the fires of insurgency took wealth as well as war?

Like Gyanendra, the White House would never talk to terrorists. But beyond the old objection that talking to terrorists only encouraged others, was there another reason? That negotiations could only mean weakening the Western position? Again, there was evidence to suggest so. Look at Bush administration intransigence on climate change. Or the European Union steadfastness on preserving unequal terms of trade with Africa. Or look at the war on drugs, or the war on terror. Those seemed to show a preference for fighting, rather than diplomacy. In the late years of the Bush administration, critical newspaper columnists disinterred an ancient word to describe this overconfident, uncompromising, often damaging stance: hubris. That sounded a lot like Gyanendra.

What was clear was that Gyanendra's unilateralism – his hubris – added fuel to the fire in Nepal. It had been the same for the Bush administration in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.

[Selected extracts from "Falling Off the Edge" by TIME foreign correspondent Alex Perry, Macmillan, London, 2008 (ISBN 978-0-230-70689-7)]

Submitted by Frank.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quote of the Day

Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
[Oscar Wilde]

Weaponized Stupidity in fashion

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More frightening statistics

$ 14,353,207,603,583 U.S. Public Debt

World Population
6,978,842,632 Current World Population
73,174,820 Births this year
263,726 Births today
31,252,327 Deaths this year
112,635 Deaths today
41,922,493 Net population growth this year

Government & Economics
$ 7,361,328,286 Healthcare expenditure by governments worldwide today
$ 6,493,904,020 Education expenditure by governments worldwide today
$ 3,344,190,968 Military expenditure by governments worldwide today
33,680,217 Cars produced this year
75,358,701 Bicycles produced this year
214,328,810 Computers sold this year

Society & Media
637,909 New book titles published this year
369,859,807 Newspapers circulated today
515,775 TV sets sold worldwide today
3,810,410 Cellular phones sold today
$ 129,589,127 Money spent on videogames in the world today
2,202,258,999 Internet users in the world
253,078,143,495 Emails sent today
2,952,346 Blog posts written today
155,594,895 Tweets sent today
2,608,051,857 Google searches today

2,874,078 Forest loss this year (hectares, net of reforestation)
3,869,286 Arable land lost due to soil erosion this year (hectares)
18,544,685,679 Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions this year, in tons
6,631,817 Desertification this year (hectares)
5,411,772 Toxic chemicals released in the environment this year (tons)

919,433,537 Undernourished people in the world right now
1,543,396,985 Overweight people in the world right now
514,465,662 Obese people in the world right now
22,275 People who died of hunger today
$ 346,617,938 Money spent for obesity related diseases in the USA today
$ 137,692,374 Money spent on weight loss programs in the USA today

2,739,873 Water consumed this year (billion liters)
995,208 Deaths from water related diseases this year
860,408,217 People with no access to safe drinking water

285,309,654 Energy used worldwide today (MWh), of which:
231,099,564 - from non-renewable sources (MWh)
54,210,091 - from renewable sources (MWh)
2,130,202,848,563 Solar energy striking Earth today (MWh)
61,057,020 Oil pumped today (barrels)
1,300,058,802,180 Oil left (barrels)
15,477 Days to the end of oil
1,157,165,572,510 Gas left (boe)
60,903 Days to the end of gas
4,410,143,783,470 Coal left (boe)
152,074 Days to the end of coal

7,173,865 Deaths caused by communicable diseases this year
4,200,441 Deaths of children under 5 this year
23,215,716 Abortions this year
189,978 Deaths of mothers during birth this year
33,665,050 HIV/AIDS infected people
928,977 Deaths caused by HIV/AIDS this year
4,538,568 Deaths caused by cancer this year
542,049 Deaths caused by malaria this year
11,025,063,554 Cigarettes smoked today
2,762,531 Deaths caused by smoking this year
1,382,137 Deaths caused by alcohol this year
592,593 Suicides this year
$ 221,072,174,019 World spending on illegal drugs this year
745,970 Road traffic accident fatalities this year

Statistics as of 15:30 GMT 21 July 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Global diets

These photos show family diets in an average week from around the globe. Also interesting to note are the relative family sizes, the difference between processed and raw or natural foods, and the total expenditures. 

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week $341.98

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11 

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09 

Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

Egypt : The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53 

Ecuador : The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

Bhutan : The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

Chad : The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quote of the day

If you came and you found a strange man teaching your kids to punch each other, or trying to sell them all kinds of products, you'd kick him right out of the house, but here you are; you come in and the TV is on, and you don't think twice about it.
[Jerome Singer]

Weaponized Stupidity in the wild

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Not even funny

You cannot solve your problems with the same mind that created them.
[Albert Einstein]

The global village needs a town crier

In the era of globalization, the slow death of foreign correspondence is a paradox. As economies and cultures integrate and our world becomes one, we need more and more information on the world – not least because that process often throws up violent reaction. But that information is diminishing. At first glance, that appears illogical. You might think our knowledge would increase as the world becomes closer. For business in particular, you'd think it was paramount. And with cheap air travel exploding, you'd think hundreds of millions more overseas tourists every year would add to the world's knowledge of itself.

I've argued before that the reality of globalization is that it is a force for standardization, with a bias towards the more powerful. That tends to mean that Western systems of business and Western culture dominate, and alternatives, and the poor and powerless, are squashed and ignored. Now think of the generic five-star, four-restaurant, three-pool resort now found on the coast from Phuket to Namibia, or the all-but-identical shopping malls being erected from Cape Cod to Cape Town. Look at the effort that goes into insulating the tourist from the place he is visiting – from five-star hotels to the backpacker trail – to ensure that he has all the amenities of home. It's hard to argue that you're seeing the world if you're merely visiting the same place in different locations.

Journalism is going through the same process of standardization. After all, why bother to get to know other parts of the world when, to the international traveller zipping between glass and steel airports and multinational hotel chains, they increasingly look like your own?

This "flattening" process affects news too. You'd expect British newspapers to splash on train wrecks in London, or the US press to headline on fatal bridge collapses in America. But India's newspapers will also lead on the same stories, relegating twenty-word items about "fatal mishaps" involving overcrowded Indian buses and Himalayan gorges to the inside pages. In the Philippines in 2001, I was astonished to see one national paper lead on the story of a Manila ferry disaster in which hundreds died and a rival splash on the story of four students who had been shot at a high school in the US. Hurricane Katrina was a story around the world. The story of Bombay's floods, in which many more died a month earlier, barely reached Pakistan. Many big stories – a war here, a shining beacon of hope there – are missed altogether. Our pool of knowledge is shrinking. And this narrowing of the world has a self-reinforcing effect. As people become less familiar with the world, they become less interested in it. One of the great paradoxes of globalization is that as the world becomes smaller and smaller, it knows itself less and less well.

In other words: to get globalization, you've got to go. And that means real travel. Not to five-star hotels in Shanghai or business parks in Bangalore or the Africa debate at Davos. But to entirely new environments, places with relaxed attitudes to issues like plumbing and roofing.

Only a few do. The most celebrated commentators on world affairs, the pundits, never do their own reporting, but gather the facts second-hand from CNN and Google. The journalists, academics and politicians who venture a little further – to the Bangalores and Shanghais – confine themselves to brief trips to the inner cities and mistake a tour of an elite shopping mall for a tour of the nation. That's like exploring New Orleans by visiting New York. It's how a couple of kilometres of Edwardian riverfront in central Shanghai came to be taken as a whole city, which was duly dubbed "the Paris of the East". And it explains how, on a 2006 state visit, George W. Bush hailed the "new India" from a podium in central Delhi, apparently unaware that he was looking out over a city where 10 million people had no toilet.

It's about perspective. You need to get close to see the detail. And you need to pull back to see the big picture. Too much of the former and the entirety of the object you're examining becomes obscured. Too much of the latter and everything looks (that word again) flat. Which is why, next time you hear someone say Bombay is the new New York, you should ask them how New Yorkers cope with all the cows in the street.

[Selected extracts from "Falling Off the Edge" by TIME foreign correspondent Alex Perry, Macmillan, London, 2008 (ISBN 978-0-230-70689-7)]

Submitted by Frank. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Further rape statistics

73% of sexual assaults are committed by a non-stranger.
38% of rapists are friends or acquaintances of the victim.
28% are intimate partners of the victim.
7% are relatives of the victim.
6 in 10, or 60% of rapes occur in the home of the victim, or in the home of a friend or relative of the victim.

From the U.S. Department of Justice's National Criminal Victimization Study [2005] and Sex Offense and Offenders Study [1997].

What the future holds

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weaponized Stupidity in the wild

In case you were wondering, this is what happens when you run a light aircraft up right next to a parked one. The neat row of slices are caused by the propeller.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quote of the Day

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this. 
[Bertrand Russell]

Weaponized Stupidity in the wild

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quote of the Day

Only when the last river runs dry, the last fish drops dead, the last tree is cut down, will we discover that money cannot be eaten.
[Native American prophesy]

The very definition of Irony

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Weaponized Stupidity in the wild

The world's ten largest urban agglomerations

This is a list of the world's largest urban agglomerations, with the estimated numbers currently living in them. Source is the CIA World Factbook.
  1. Tokyo (Japan) - 36,669,000
  2. Delhi (India) - 22,157,000
  3. Sao Paulo (Brazil) - 20,262,000
  4. Mumbai (India) - 20,041,000
  5. Mexico City (Mexico) - 19,460,000
  6. New York-Newark (US) - 19,425,000
  7. Shanghai (China) - 16,575,000
  8. Kolkata (India) - 15,552,000
  9. Dhaka (Bangladesh) - 14,648,000
  10. Karachi (Pakistan) - 13,125,000 (2009)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Big Brother is watching you

After 9/11, the US FCC mandated that by 2005 all cellular mobile phones need to be able to locate someone in the event of an emergency, by use of a GPS chip which can pinpoint the position of your cellular phone to within 30 feet. The data is classified and encrypted but accessible via military satellite.

GPS chips are standard in all models of laptops in the US since 2005.

 In South Africa, RICA [Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act] provides for the ability to monitor, record, store, and use in court where applicable, ALL forms of electronic communications. Cellphone service providers are required to warehouse all user data regarding cellphone usage and to record the positions of cellular phones triangulated via cellphone towers, as well as sms messages - and soon, conversations - for a period of up to 10 years. Email providers and Internet service providers will be required to begin archiving similar data, and any and all such recorded data is admissible in a court of law. Telephone conversations via land-line may soon also be recorded and similarly admissible.

In theory, access to all such records requires a court order. In practice, anything you say or do electronically, or any place you are with your cellphone switched on, could be used against you in court for up to 10 years after the fact.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Not even funny

The Emma Maersk

This is the Emma Maersk, part of a Danish shipping line and one of a new fleet of container ships. This is one of three presently in service, with another two ships commissioned to be completed in 2012. They were commissioned by Wal-Mart to transport all their goods from China. They hold an unbelievable 15,000 containers and have a 207 foot deck beam. The full crew is just 13 people on a ship longer than a US aircraft carrier  - which has a crew of 5,000.
With its 207 foot beam this monster is too big to fit through the Panama or Suez Canals.  It is strictly trans-Pacific. The Emma Maersk transports goods across the Pacific Ocean in just 5 days at a cruise speed of 31 knots (31 nautical miles per hour).

The goods arrive 4 days before the typical container ship (travelling at 18-20 knots) on a China-to-California run. 91% of Walmart products are made in China. So this behemoth is hugely competitive even when carrying perishable goods. 

The ship was built in five sections, the sections floated together and then welded. The bridge is higher than a 10-story building and has 11 cargo crane rigs that can operate simultaneously, capable of unloading the entire ship in less than two hours. Silicone painting applied to the ship bottom reduces water resistance and saves 317,000 gallons of diesel per year.

A recent documentary in late March 2010 on the History Channel noted that all of these containers are shipped back to China, empty. The USA sends nothing back on these ships. What does that tell you about the current financial state of the USA?

Additional info:

Country of origin - Denmark
Length - 1,302 ft
Width - 207 ft
Net cargo - 123 ,200 tons
Engine - 14 cylinders in-line diesel engine (110,000 BHP)
Cruise Speed - 31 knots
Cargo capacity - 15,000 TEU (1 TEU = 20 cubic feet)
Crew - 13 people !
First Trip - Sept. 08, 2006
Construction cost - US $145,000,000+


Quote of the Day

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve, nor will he receive, either.
[Benjamin Franklin]

Thursday, June 2, 2011

World natural gas consumption

This table shows natural gas consumption for all 210 sovereign territories as listed in the 2010 CIA World Factbook. Figures are in cubic metres.
- World 3.073 trillion cu m (2008 est.)
1 United States 646,600,000,000
2 European Union 489,400,000,000
3 Russia 367,500,000,000
4 Iran 119,000,000,000
5 Germany 96,260,000,000
6 Japan 94,670,000,000
7 Canada 94,620,000,000
8 United Kingdom 87,450,000,000
9 China 87,080,000,000
10 Italy 78,120,000,000
11 Saudi Arabia 77,100,000,000
12 Mexico 59,800,000,000
13 United Arab Emirates 59,420,000,000
14 Uzbekistan 52,600,000,000
15 Ukraine 52,000,000,000
16 India 51,270,000,000
17 Netherlands 48,600,000,000
18 France 44,840,000,000
19 Argentina 43,140,000,000
20 Egypt 42,500,000,000
21 Pakistan 37,500,000,000
22 Thailand 37,310,000,000
23 Indonesia 36,500,000,000
24 Turkey 35,070,000,000
25 Korea, South 34,090,000,000
26 Spain 33,880,000,000
27 Kazakhstan 33,680,000,000
28 Algeria 26,830,000,000
29 Australia 26,590,000,000
30 Malaysia 26,270,000,000
31 Venezuela 24,860,000,000
32 Trinidad and Tobago 21,940,000,000
33 Qatar 20,200,000,000
34 Turkmenistan 20,000,000,000
35 Brazil 18,720,000,000
36 Bangladesh 17,900,000,000
37 Belarus 17,000,000,000
38 Romania 16,920,000,000
39 Belgium 16,870,000,000
40 Poland 16,330,000,000
41 Oman 13,460,000,000
42 Kuwait 12,700,000,000
43 Bahrain 12,640,000,000
44 Taiwan 12,440,000,000
45 Nigeria 12,280,000,000
46 Hungary 11,320,000,000
47 Azerbaijan 10,120,000,000
48 Iraq 9,454,000,000
49 Singapore 8,270,000,000
50 Austria 8,232,000,000
51 Czech Republic 8,182,000,000
52 Colombia 8,100,000,000
53 Vietnam 8,100,000,000
54 Slovakia 6,493,000,000
55 South Africa 6,450,000,000
56 Syria 6,180,000,000
57 Libya 5,500,000,000
58 Ireland 5,112,000,000
59 Portugal 4,846,000,000
60 Norway 4,620,000,000
61 Denmark 4,410,000,000
62 New Zealand 4,320,000,000
63 Finland 4,289,000,000
64 Tunisia 4,220,000,000
65 Brunei 4,200,000,000
66 Burma 3,850,000,000
67 Lithuania 3,530,000,000
68 Greece 3,528,000,000
69 Peru 3,390,000,000
70 Bulgaria 3,350,000,000
71 Switzerland 3,282,000,000
72 Croatia 3,205,000,000
73 Jordan 2,970,000,000
74 Philippines 2,940,000,000
75 Hong Kong 2,830,000,000
76 Serbia 2,610,000,000
77 Moldova 2,520,000,000
78 Bolivia 2,410,000,000
79 Chile 2,340,000,000
80 Latvia 2,050,000,000
81 Armenia 1,930,000,000
82 Georgia 1,730,000,000
83 Estonia 1,510,000,000
84 Equatorial Guinea 1,500,000,000
85 Cote d'Ivoire 1,300,000,000
86 Luxembourg 1,268,000,000
87 Sweden 1,229,000,000
88 Israel 1,190,000,000
89 Slovenia 1,050,000,000
90 Puerto Rico 806,600,000
91 Kyrgyzstan 750,000,000
92 Angola 680,000,000
93 Tanzania 560,700,000
94 Morocco 560,000,000
95 Dominican Republic 470,000,000
96 Cuba 400,000,000
97 Bosnia and Herzegovina 310,000,000
98 Tajikistan 266,100,000
99 Ecuador 260,000,000
100 Congo, Republic of the 180,000,000
101 Mozambique 100,000,000
102 Papua New Guinea 100,000,000
103 Macau 91,300,000
104 Gabon 90,000,000
105 Macedonia 80,000,000
106 Uruguay 70,000,000
107 Senegal 50,000,000
108 Afghanistan 30,000,000
109 Albania 30,000,000
110 Barbados 29,170,000
111 Cameroon 20,000,000
112 American Samoa 0
113 Benin 0
114 Botswana 0
115 Burkina Faso 0
116 Paraguay 0
117 Panama 0
118 Niue 0
119 Liberia 0
120 Lesotho 0
121 Lebanon 0
122 Laos 0
123 Kosovo 0
124 Korea, North 0
125 Kiribati 0
126 Kenya 0
127 Jamaica 0
128 Niger 0
129 Nicaragua 0
130 New Caledonia 0
131 Netherlands Antilles 0
132 Nepal 0
133 Nauru 0
134 Namibia 0
135 Montserrat 0
136 Mongolia 0
137 Mauritius 0
138 Mauritania 0
139 Malta 0
140 Mali 0
141 Maldives 0
142 Malawi 0
143 Madagascar 0
144 Iceland 0
145 Honduras 0
146 Haiti 0
147 Guyana 0
148 Guinea-Bissau 0
149 Guinea 0
150 Guatemala 0
151 Grenada 0
152 Seychelles 0
153 Sao Tome and Principe 0
154 Samoa 0
155 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 0
156 Saint Pierre and Miquelon 0
157 Saint Lucia 0
158 Saint Kitts and Nevis 0
159 Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha 0
160 Rwanda 0
161 Yemen 0
162 Western Sahara 0
163 West Bank 0
164 Virgin Islands 0
165 Vanuatu 0
166 Uganda 0
167 Turks and Caicos Islands 0
168 Tonga 0
169 Togo 0
170 Zimbabwe 0
171 Zambia 0
172 Timor-Leste 0
173 Swaziland 0
174 Suriname 0
175 Sudan 0
176 Sri Lanka 0
177 Somalia 0
178 Solomon Islands 0
179 Sierra Leone 0
180 Greenland 0
181 Gibraltar 0
182 Ghana 0
183 Gambia, The 0
184 French Polynesia 0
185 Fiji 0
186 Faroe Islands 0
187 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) 0
188 Ethiopia 0
189 Eritrea 0
190 El Salvador 0
191 Dominica 0
192 Djibouti 0
193 Cyprus 0
194 Costa Rica 0
195 Cook Islands 0
196 Congo, Democratic Republic of the 0
197 Comoros 0
198 Chad 0
199 Central African Republic 0
200 Cayman Islands 0
201 Cape Verde 0
202 Cambodia 0
203 Burundi 0
204 British Virgin Islands 0
205 Bhutan 0
206 Bermuda 0
207 Belize 0
208 Bahamas, The 0
209 Aruba 0
210 Antigua and Barbuda 0
Source: 2010 CIA World Factbook