14 June 2009

And a ray of hope

A new Australian book - the Clean Industrial Revolution

John Quiggin says "if you only buy one book on climate change, this should be it" .. I'll take that as high praise indeed and look forward to reading it soon. Good to see someone seeing the opportunity and not just the cost of it.

13 June 2009

Australian coasts - rich people are shocked

"The state's view is that the risk to a property from sea-level rise lies with the property owner, public or private - or, whoever owns the land takes the risk. They gain the benefit of proximity to the ocean and they bear the risk of proximity to the ocean."
. . .

The NSW plan is being developed as scientists and councils warn that sea-level rise from climate change will greatly increase the number of beachfront homes at risk of inundation in coming decades, affecting some of the most expensive property in the country.
. . .

The NSW Government released a draft policy statement on sea-level rise in February but councils and coastal property owners are only now realising its implications for beachfront properties.

The policy is based on scientific advice that sea levels are expected to rise up to 0.4 metres by 2050 and up to 0.9 metres by 2100.

Each centimetre of sea-level rise is expected to cause, on average, a metre of erosion along vulnerable coastlines. Sydney coastal councils were warned this week that the frequency of coastal flooding would increase by a factor of 300 if sea levels rose by half a metre.

Full article.

11 June 2009

Shouldn't we talk about the weather?

Amsterdam: 9.53 am, nearly Summer (official start: June 21)
Sydney: 5.53 pm, approaching Winter solstice.

10 June 2009

Quotes from recent New York trip

"What's going on here? This side is for US citizens only. Are you a US citizen? If not you should be over there in the black lines. Hey! I'm lookin' at you!" - Uniformed security guy at Chicago immigration, you have to imagine the accent.

"Swing it out like your sis-tah" most definitely directed at Miss J, as we emerged from the subway, while we were doing that fake confident I-know-exactly-which-crossing-to-take walk that you do in strange cities.

"For two lovely ladies, of course". When I politely asked if we could pop into a city bar just to use their restrooms at around 1.30 am on a Thursday night.

"Hey! No photos of the shark!" Security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, referring to the Damien Hirst piece in the modern art wing.

"Well I just don't think anyone is truly happy in their relationship" .. overheard at Bryant Park popping out of the general hubbub of chatter on a sunny Friday afternoon.

"Too slow swipe again" - message in LED from the subway gates, perfectly sums up the existential tourist experience. I think being in genteel Netherlands I've lost my big-city finesse with those horrible cattle hearding things.

9 June 2009

Things that make more sense now. ..

.. references in pop culture that kind of click once you've actually been to New York. This is in danger of being a really cheesy dumb tourist post, but then I'm a bit of a cheezy dumb tourist, and it was the subject of conversations while walking around the streets of Manhattan...

Billy Joel - Up town girl (she's been livin' in her uptown world, now's she's playing with a downtown guy... ). Oh so every address comes with "uptown" or "downtown" attached... clearly it was a class thing, but it is also a fundamental part of working out where the hell you are.

Marylin Monroe, late night cop dramas, gritty 80s relationship movies, Madonna in "Desperately seeking Susan" ... yes there really is steam coming out of those fucking subway vents. Ew.

"No soup for you" (Seinfeld)- everywhere sells soup! About the cheapest thing you can get at lunch, that isn't a toxic hotdog - I suppose its an ecomonic way to make a lot of servings.

Coming to America (Eddie Murphy)/ Bright Lights Big City (Michael J Fox)/ Big Business (Bette Midler) - those opening scenes where the newcomers stare goggle eyed out of the window of a yellow cab at the skyscrapers - yeah, that was us too.

Sex and the City exteriors - uniformed doormen and those marquee-like shelters over the front entrance. Definitely an uptown thing.

Woody Allen. Oh is, like everyone in this town an artist/filmaker/performing arts manager or what? The ones I met were.

Sesame street. I don't think this needs an explanation - but my, there is a lot of Spanish spoken in the neighbourhood - even to most major subway advertising campaings, being done bi-lingual.

This post is officially open to additions from recent numty travellers like myself...