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Baltic

Not a nuclear explosion, but sunset over the Baltic Sea

Thought for the day…”Well done is better than well said.”  (Benjamin Franklin).

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”

A wonderful story in the news at the moment from Washington, DC,  about ‘Steve’, the security robot who fell down some steps into a water fountain.  The high-tech robot was fitted with ultra-sonic sensors, infra-red sensors and HD video, yet still managed to fall down the steps and into the water below.   His makers, Knightscope,  have been providing updates on his ‘condition’ from ‘hospital’.   The security robot is quoted as thanking his human helpers for saving him, and he is also quoted as saying that he did not see the ‘No Swimming’ sign before entering the water.    Apparently the water has played havoc with his electronics (natually).  His condition was reported as ‘critical’.    So despite all the high technology, the ‘intelligent’ robot still managed to end up wet and useless.   And this is supposed to be the future !!

Not a nuclear explosion, but sunset over the Baltic Sea near Sweden for the photo today…

and another photo…Lake Hawea on the South Island of New Zealand, another Fuji X-T20 photo..

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RESPECT, FAIRNESS & CONSIDERATION


Down the alleys of Stockholm

Thought for the day…”It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old”

Am I missing the point?    Went into a local sports shop (part of a large international chain) and could not understand why a sports shop has escalators to go up and down between the different floors.   This is the same chain of sports shops which sells running machines and keep fit equipment, yet they have escalators between floors.  Am I missing the point?

Lovely photo of the alleys in the medieval part of Stockholm, Sweden.  This part of Stockholm (actually an island) is known as ‘Gamla Stan’, or Old Town, and dates from the 13th century.  In the 19th century the area was a slum, but from the 1970s the area was restored.   Fuji X-T10 camera & 18-55mm lens.

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and another photo from the archives….pondering the moment in Ethiopia…..

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How can they call this a meal?

Thought for the day….”Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on when others have let go”

“Life is not a rehersal, it is the real thing”.

I get to fly a lot, and one of the things that I am noticing more and more are the cutbacks on the airlines.    I used to be a shareholder in Lufthansa, but I am happy that I am no longer one.   Today’s photo is of the ‘meal’ served on a recent Lufthansa flight.    It did come with tea or coffee though, although the small size of this ‘meal’ is quite incredible.   I wonder how Lufthansa can advertise this as a meal?    Not even served on a tray, and only half a sandwich.  Two pieces of bread and a piece of cheese.  That was the ‘meal’.    And, as usual, the coffee came in small cups (paper) which they only half fill.  Why??   Things like this, and the fact that the Lufthansa group are now charging for choosing a seat or checking in a bag, are just going to drive me to the budget airlines.    Before, there was an advantage to choosing one of the ‘legacy’ airlines.  Not now.    The news that seating onboard the new Lufthansa A321’s will be even closer than on Ryanair, and that the extra seats in the back of the aircraft will be windowless,  will also make people choose the cheaper airlines.  No point in paying more for less.    Certainly, the ‘meal’ from Lufthansa would not encourage me to pay extra again.   Luckily, we have a choice…….

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and another photo from the archives…..time for a snooze in Tallinn, Estonia.

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Coffee time in Finland

Thought for the day…”Value is more expensive than price”

“You may not know what is going to happen when you try, but if you do not try, nothing will happen”.

Two photos from opposite sides of the globe next, one from the Finnish capital of Helsinki and the second from the Central Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand.   Interestingly, the building in the first photo is now the City Hall for Helsinki, but was originally a hotel where the first moving pictures were shown in Finland by the Lumiere brothers in 1896.   Even in winter (when temperatures are frequently below -20 degrees centigrade) people will sit outside in the area around the harbour to drink excellent, strong Finnish coffee (kahvi in Finnish language).   Finland is number one in the world for coffee consumption per capita, something to do with the long, dark Artic nights.  But the coffee is excellent !!!   It works out to about 12kg of coffee for each person in Finland.   A survey in 2014 reported that 14% of men and 6% of women in Finland drank MORE than 10 cups of coffee a day.  They like their coffee !!

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And another photo from the archives….Lake Hawea, Otago, New Zealand

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The megapixel race

Thought for the day…” Remember- you are unique.  Just like everyone else”.

“Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects, so keep taking it regularly”.

Just been reading the latest issue of Amateur Photographer magazine, and learning about the latest and greatest cameras that are being released, some of which now come with over 40 megapixels of resolution.    I read a very interesting letter on the dpreview.com forum (dpreview.com   is an excellent website for anyone interested in photography) from a man who was selling his Fuji camera.  He was very happy with the excellent quality photos that it produced and the very high resolution BUT he went on to say that all he ever did was to look at his pictures on the computer screen, so having so many pixels was wasted.   The camera produced fantastic quality pictures, but for HIS needs, it was too much.   I am sure that many people will sympathize with his views…do we really need upwards of 40mp resolution?   How many photos are we actually going to print or enlarge to a huge size?   And if we are just going to look at them on a computer screen then those extra pixels may indeed be wasted.    I will stick with my 16mp Fuji camera for now…the results are totally ok for my needs.   No need to upgrade to a 40mp camera…..I just do not need the extra pixels.    Sorry Canon, sorry Sony, I am just not interested !!

Today’s photo is reduced in quality for the internet…..but shows Furusund in the Swedish archipeligo at sunset..

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and another photo from the archives….a happy cyclist in the Challenge Wanaka Triathlon competition…..

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Street corner colour – Riga, Latvia

Thought for the day…”About the time that we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends”.

A bit of street life in the Latvian capital city of Riga for the photo today….and not much action judging by the photo.   About 640 000 people live in the this city, or about 1/3 of the entire population of Lativa.   Temperatures in the city in winter can fall to -20 or -25 degrees.  It became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, and interestingly, after independence around 290 000 people (about 14% today) were left with no citizenship of any country.  Latvia is also home to Europe’s widest waterfall, the 110m wide Ventas Rumba Falls.  Apparently, the studs on jeans were invented in Latvia, when the Latvian Jacob Davis joined with Levi Strauss.

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and another photo from the archives..the waterfalls at Iguazu, Brail…..

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Two from Oslo, Norway

Thought for the day…”Pretty words are not always true, and true words are not always pretty”.

“You cannot live a positive life with a negative mind”.

Think of Scandinavia and you probably think of countries with high standards, countries that are clean and also countries that are fairly well-ordered.    So when you mention Norway, and the capital, Oslo, you do not tend to think of a city with problems.   Two of the big problems there are hard drugs and also gypsies.    What is also surprising is that this happens not just in the suburbs, but in the very heart of the city.    Just a few steps from the main train and bus stations (and sometimes even inside these) are people openly dealing in drugs, even during the daytime.   Drug use is also very obvious in the city centre, yet the police seem to do little about it.   It is not just the ‘soft’ drugs but the serious ones like heroin as well.  Around 250 people die each year in Norway from heroin overdoes.    And it is very obvious who is using these hard drugs too.   Add to that a huge problem with begging gypsies and it makes the city centre of Oslo far from pleasant.     Last summer gypsies were even setting up camp in the main squares and parks, then lighting fires to cook on.   Now they are plagueing the city streets, begging in shop doorways and street corners.    Add to that the explosion of grafitti in Oslo, and the city that tourists discover on arriving is far different from the city that they expected.

Staying in Oslo for the photo today…..a colourful corner shop.

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And another photo from the archives…..a perfect autumn morning in Geilo, Norway……

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Colourful Copenhagen

Thought for the day…” Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if you remember to turn on the light”.

” A negative mind will never give you a positive life”.

Today’s photo comes from the Danish capital, Copenhagen.   Around 474 islands make up Denmark, but there are also the islands of the Faroes and Greenland, which also belong to Denmark (although are autonomous).  The highest point in Denmark is only 170m (Mollehoj).   Some Danes joke that summer in Denmark is different to winter in Denmark because the rain is warmer.     And did you know that the fairy tale books from the author Hans Christian Anderson have been translated into more languages than any other author? And more Danish trivia….Walt Disney, after visiting the amusement park Tivoli in Copenhagen, gained the inspiration to start his own park, Disneyland?  The famous Sydney opera house was designed by a Danish architech too.   And that famous children’s toy, LEGO comes from the Danish words ‘leg gott’  which means ‘play well’.     As an estimated 320 BILLION Lego bricks have been sold then it works out that every human being in the world owns/has owned 56 Lego bricks.   According to the Lego website, it would take around 40 billion lego bricks to make a column tall enough to reach the moon.   Not made of lego bricks are these colourful buildings in the city centre of Copenhagen…..

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and another photo from the archives….arriving at Nadi, Fiji.  Early morning sunshine, but before it got too hot…..

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Scandinavian duo – Stockholm & Helsinki

Thought for the day…” A star needs darkness to shine ”          ” Beauty might bring happiness, but happiness always brings beauty”.

It you take around 51 000 steps, and run them in around 2 hours and 2 minutes, and cover a distance of 42.195 km then you will have run the famous marathon, and in a record time too !!   It is said to have started when a Greek messenger called Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens with news of the Greek victory over the Persians.  The sad fact is that having run the marathon with the exciting news, that he collapsed and died.    An extra 182 m was added to the distance in 1908 during the Olympics in London, so that the finish line would be in front of the royal box, and since then the marathon has remained at 42.195 km.   Annette Fredskov from Denmark holds the dubious honour of having run 366 marathons in a single year.   In Canada the 101 year old  Fauja Singh completed a marathon in Toronto during 2011 in a time of 8 hours 11 minutes.    Around 21 000 runners compete in the annual Stockholm marathon, from where today’s photo comes.   Judging by the number of runners in the photo, then it was certainly crowded over the first few kilometres.

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And another photo from the archives……snowmobile jumping in the Finnish capital of Helsinki….

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Helsinki duo – Two from Helsinki, Finland

Thought for the day…” The difference between genius and stupidity is…..genius has limits”

” The secret of getting ahead is getting started (Mark Twain).

Two photos today  from Helsinki, capital of Finland.   Helsinki is one of those cities that you have to discover, for there is a lot that is not obvious on arrival.   For one thing, Finland is number one on the world for coffee consumption per capita, and the coffee is good, strong and available everywhere. (Try ‘The Roastery’ on Alexanderkatu for some really good coffee). And to go with the great coffee….some Fazer chocolate (although Karl Fazer was actually originally from Germany).   It is also the only city in Finland to have trams and a subway (metro) and is said to have the world’s most northerly metro station.     The language is horribly difficult for a foreigner, in winter is is very cold (-25 is not uncommon) and also dark for most of the day, but to make up for this there are some excellent sports facilities, wonderful architecture, good eating places, and the feeling that you have left Europe behind and have crossed into Russia (like when you see the Russian Orthodox churches in Helsinki, with their onion domes).  Indeed, parts of Helsinki look so much like Russia that Helsinki used to be used instead of Russia when making films (such as ‘Gorky Park’) until the city council decided that it was not a good idea and stopped promoting it.    And if you explore the indoor markets, then you may find things like bear meat for sale as well as the more common reindeer and moose meat.  But perhaps give another tradional (but popular) Finnish sweet, salty liquorice, a miss.   The city has about 53% women (versus 47% men), and after Reykjavik, Iceland, is the world’s most northerly capital city.  More trivia….it was the first country in the world to give women the vote and also the first country to make broadband a legal right for citizens.

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and another photo out of the archives….taken just a couple of hundred metres from the previous photo, but months apart….a new photo converted into Black & White, then converted into Sepia to give it the old-fashioned look.

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