Welcome to my Blog - Ruud Leeuw

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Welcome to my Blog!The lion roars!!!
I hope to share here my irrepressible thoughts on news, music, books, arts and such like. In general these will be items, events and issues which I feel have no place on my website (which focusses on aviation history and my travel photography).

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.

Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself. - Charles Baudelaire
Esse est percipi (To be is to be perceived) ¬Bishop George Berkeley

Not even I understand everything I am ¬Aurelius Augustinus of Hippo

In 2013 I started a series of photo albums on Blurb.com, named '36Exp' (a subject adressed in 36 exposures, a reference to the exposures on most common rolls of 35 mm film: 12, 24 & 36.).
The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website or Amazon.





Blue Skiews over Beijing
Subtitled 'Economic Growth and the Environment in China'

Since the 1980s, energy consumption in China has soared as a result of rapid economic growth and urbanization. Most of this energy is supplied by fossil fuels, primarily coal (66 percent in 2012) and oil (20 percent)
The combustion of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), nitrogen oxides, particulates, and other pollutants into the atmosphere. For the year 2012, the World Health Organization attributed nearly 1,033,000 deaths in China to ambient air pollution, compared to about 38,000 deaths in the United States.
Another report estimated the cost of air pollution to be 6.5 percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP) between 2000 and 2010.3 Many Chinese citizens get information about air quality through official sources and through social media.

In Blue Skies over Beijing: Economic Growth and the Environment in China, Matthew E. Kahn and
Siqi Zheng examine how China's urban growth has impacted the environment and how air quality impacts the decisions made by citizens, firms, and government.
Kahn is a professor of economics and spatial statistics at the University of Southern California.
Zheng is affiliated with Tsinghua University, where she is a professor and director of the Hang Lung Center for Real Estate at Tsinghua University and the deputy head of the Department of Construction Management.
The authors' sources include interviews of numerous urban residents, their own previous research, and the personal experiences of coauthor Zheng, who lives in Beijing with her family.
While it is in many aspects a rather dry, academic book (plenty of stats and other figures) it also translates the observations to aspects of linving in the Western world such as quality of life and living (a.o. air quality, distances to work and schools for the children).

This book consists of 10 chapters, two brief appendices, an extensive end notes section and the index. Chapter 1 introduces readers to China's environmental challenges and provides an overview of the book. Readers learn about some of the advantages and disadvantages of life in Beijing from Zheng and two informants.
The research questions are presented on pages 7 and 8:
• For China's hundreds of millions of urbanites, how does pollution affect their daily quality of life?
• How do their day-to-day choices in aggregate impact local and global environmental challenges?
• Why is their demand for a cleaner environment likely to increase over time?
• How will government policies influence urban environmental quality dynamics?

The authors note that the Chinese government has eased restrictions on the internal passport system (hukou), allowing citizens more freedom in choosing where to live. They also introduce the environmental Kuznets curve, which "posits that as poor cities grow wealthier, such economic growth causes environmental degradation, but that as middle-income cities grow wealthier, such economic growth contributes to economic improvements".
'Part I: A Geographic Overview of Urban Pollution in China' traces the rise of manufacturing in China and its impacts on the environment.
Rural-to-urban migration and city-to-city migration are also discussed.




Slow Down... look again; by Louis Botha

Slow Down... look again; by Louis Botha

Slow Down... look again; by Louis Botha

Slow Down... look again; by Louis Botha

At the northern entrance to Prince Albert in the Great Karoo lies Northend, a neighbourhood home to a special group of people.

They have a very special way of communicating with others through their stories, which indicate an inherent joy of life. However, judging by their environment and circumstances, it is clear that they have experienced many hardship, and for an outsider it is an enriching experience to meet them.
Every picture in Slow Down look again... tells a story and is supported by explanatory text.
These enable the reader to gain insight into the past and the present of this unique neighbourhood and its residents.The captions are both in English and Afrikaans, it invoked a special feel to me to decipher the Afrikaans into Dutch, mostly it wasn't hard at all.

All the photographs were captured by Louis over the last four to five years (since 2015). He used a 1975 Hasselblad 6 x 6 medium format film camera.
The book was launched on 6th November 2015 during the Prince Albert Leesfees.
The book is available at the Louis Botha Photo Gallery in 2 Parsonage Street, Prince Albert. I think it would be nice to visit that gallery upon a future visit to South Africa.

The joy and sorrows of the residents of Northend - as well as their scant earthly possessions - are illustrated through Louis Botha's excellent choice of photographic backgrounds.
And yet the absolute neatness of their homes illustrates a certain pride - poverty without dilapidation.
This also struck me on the visit to Soweto last mont, see my SA 2020 REPORT.
We become witnesses not only to the extraordinary character of a close-knit community, but also of its trusting relationship with the person whom they have allowed to tell their story.

Louis Botha was born in Bloemfontein in 1955 and grew up on a small-holding north-east of Pretoria. After school he studied finance and followed a career in the Financial Services Industry. At the age of 40, and encouraged by his wife he pursued his hobby more seriously.
Besides the Hasselblad he also acquired an early 1980's 6 x 17 medium format panorama film camera, now used in conjunction with his very first 35mm Pentax K1000 film camera, and a 35mm Canon 5D digital camera.
He's held several exhibitions and lives in Prince Albert.

The book is a valuable historic document and photographic achievement.
I treasure this copy in my photobook collection.




Cheat- tv-series

The story is centered around a dangerous relationship between university professor Leah and her student, Rose.
After a series of events take place, things escalate between the two leading to dramatic consequences. Leah is under pressure, hoping for a positive assessment leading to a permanent position at the Cambridge university. Meanwhile her husband Adam is persisting in making a baby, a desire Leah is less and less positive about. A relation gap is looming.
Rose has an agenda of her own and manages to get close to Adam, who is increasingly unsupportive to Leah who suspects some kind of a Machiavellian plot by Rose.




Deep Water - tv series

Three women living in Windermere dealing with jobs, relations and life in general.More drama than crime but I soon caught on.
Anna Friel leads the series as Lisa Kallisto, a mother-of-three juggling a hectic family life and a flourishing dog kennel business.
Friel revealed about her character: "She had visions of a career which she had to abandon.
"I think Lisa is content but when she sees other people's lives and thinks how much better it can be, she starts questioning herself and her true happiness."

Lisa was supposed to pick up Lucinda from school, daughter of one of the other women, but she forgot while on a rare day out with her own daughter. Lucinda disappears and Lisa is full of remorse, while the police investigate the disappearance and the community participates in a giant search but everybody seems to expect the worst.
Roz is a physiotherapist who is in a huge amount of debt thanks to her partner Winston, who is a compulsive gambler undergoing therapy; Roz receives an offer that could end her money problems.
Kate Riverty, the 3rd woman, is the dark horse here, what is her agenda?





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Created: 04-APR-2020