Why the fuss about Turkey’s relationship with EU and Britain or anywhere else

For the sake of the country, Boris Johnson should resign from politics and go and run a West End Theatre. he has the charisma, he can lie on stage and he will be (eventually) adored for it if successful. Sadly I think the wealth and power he could accumulate through this would not be enough for him.

His latest batch of lies (alongside the ex, current and future Conservative continuous lies) were about Turkey joining the EU and apparently a huge influx of people from Turkey if we stay in the EU. I have heard this since I lived in Turkey in the late 1990s including from Conservatives (they were mostly the only ones who came to Turkey then on holiday).

Of course there will be a small minority who would consider this option but citizens of many different backgrounds in Turkey have been migrating and working throughout Europe for centuries. Not all of them chose to move to the UK. My ex father-in-law spoke a little bit of German and lived / worked in Germany for a while but his life and heart was firmly in Turkey.

Ok I have not been to Turkey for several years now but what makes my fellow citizens think because of the current president that there will be a mass migration appears to be based on rumour and rhetoric. If Erdogan really believes he is an Ottoman emperor he won’t be allowing his fellow Ottoman citizens to depart en masse and form their own competing empires elsewhere. And if he is not and they want to leave, why wouldn’t they head east anyway – more money and tea without milk in it 😉

Turkey is a beautiful country with millions of warm friendly citizens, amazing history, culture, agriculture, natural environment, commercial opportunities and crazy taxi drivers. It may just be possible (based on the mass purchase of lands and homes during the 2000s) that people from the UK like living in Turkey too.


DICATS update – quite long

We will have a confirmed provisional schedule hopefully available by end of next week. I am not on the submission review subcommittee because I’m not an art therapist so I don’t know what has been approved or not. It looks like we will have a mix of pre-recorded and live presentations at each hive. Due to lack of additional resources, a medical emergency and competing workloads for the organising committee we will not be able to run as many hives as originally planned. However relationships are being built / expanded and if this version of the symposium goes well, we hope to have all those hives available independently next year. We will have representations from across the therapies i.e. art, drama, dance and music therapies.

Unconfirmed provisional schedule looks like:

  • Singapore start (possibly with Australia / New Zealand presenting pre-recorded with live discussion in 2D but will be streamed in VR 360 from Singapore during the Singapore session
  • London next (with Russia – Moscow presenting pre-recorded with live discussion in 2D but will be streamed in VR 360 from London during the London session
  • US – Philadelphia (with Canada – Vancouver presenting pre-recorded with live discussion but will be streamed in VR 360 from Philadelphia during the Philadelphia session
  • US – California (prerecorded and hopefully live discussion via VR 360 streaming)

We have an hour ‘break’ with existing pre-recorded content between each hive for those who want to stay ‘plugged in’. Several of us are planning to be for the full 24 hours 🙂 There may also be options for responsive mixed reality art making across hives either during a specific hive or in the breaks.

Social & online interaction will continue throughout the 24 hours too  – we may be using AltSpace VR throughout but due to resource this may not be possible to facilitate so will leave people to experiment. It will be possible to take part – in person at a hive, online with social media, online and viewing 2D 360 video, online and viewing virtual reality 360 video, in person and viewing virtual reality 360 video. It’s been a steep but very interesting learning curve with the technologies and working out the different kind of realities we think we are presenting versus the different realities that attendees may choose to experience.

For example, traditionally camera operators are in the room streaming in 2D but they are now part of the experience with both 360 and virtual reality so whatever experience they are trying to present as important may be different for attendees who can view them operating cameras. Will post separately about technologies and getting up and running after the symposium (we will know then whether it’s worth sharing details about them for future use).

At the London hive site, our team will be:

  1. Co-organiser and senior arts therapy lecturer – Michele Wood – host
  2. Myself – role to be whatever they need in real time
  3. Roehampton AV professional team – 1 x VR 360 camera operaor, 1x 2D camera operator and others supporting the live broadcast and audio
  4. A volunteer with previous live television broadcasting technologies experience, drama and learning technology experience (we got lucky!)
  5. Student volunteers – some doing in-house stuff, others managing social media interaction, some may be supporting AV depending on what they want to do.

We are planning for sufficient connectivity but we are well aware that this could all go wrong in real time and we will run pre-recorded content during any glitches. Each hive site has real-time remote support but as with anything online, anything could happen ! Fortunately due to lack of resources we have not advertised this as widely as originally planned so this symposium will be a useful experiment with a smaller group of interested people. Will post another pre-conference update in February if not before.

“I believe imaginative tolerance to be among the foremost virtues of a civilised mind”

Brilliant from the brilliant Aneurin Bevan, very appropriate for Brexit / EU debates where twitter yelling is often the norm (as opposed to pubs where people used to do this in person)

European Alternatives – when two tribes go to war

I went to an Another Europe event in autumn even though there was the inevitable anti-Russia stuff present. There were some good examples from Turkish presentations and a really interesting Italian former minister who spoke about the US pressure on European countries not to join Maastricht at the time and how he managed to get the far left to support Maastricht.

In the light of what is happening this week, they’ve released another episode in their podcast series. It’s interesting and Russia-free

Using RSS and Twitter to highlight Russian climate scientists research

One of the earliest international Russian climatologists was Mikhail Ivanovich Budyko who started studying climate science in 1942, the WMO claim that

he was the first to warn the humankind of the unavoidable nature of global climate change resulting from industrial activities. Mikhail Budyko’s 1972 quantitative forecast of average global air temperature increase resulting from rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere proved to be highly accurate at the end of the XX century 1

I spoke with a Russian colleague at another UK university about a small experiment to join the overall climate scientists twitter list set up by Katherine Hayhoe. I had initially contacted Katherine Hayhoe via twitter because she didn’t have climate scientists in Russia on the list and was interested.

This experiment is primarily to highlight research news from Russian climate scientists without them all needing to set up and use individual twitter accounts. Whilst climate change is not my special environmental interest area, I do feel strongly about trying to help others join any discussions – especially when a social network is used but there are no representatives from the Russian academic scientific community who are carrying out their research in Russia.

This will never be a big activity even if we continue after an experiment as climate scientists do speak to each other very effectively through their own international informal networks but this is another public outlet which may produce some interactions or scientists finding some researchers that they may not come across elsewhere. Especially yet to be published ones from any country. Or interested members of the public.

I have now learnt from being part of the DICATS committee experience that starting very small would have been better not least because of academic staff increasing workloads. I know of one climate scientist in Russia who may be interested and my colleague knows of others. So we may start with about four climate scientists from both social and physical sciences.

If they do want to go ahead we will test reaction and interaction with the twitter account: https://twitter.com/russianclimsci

Probably over a month. We will discuss whether to connect latest research news or discussions onto a site that offers an RSS feed. I have set up a quick demonstration: https://russiaclimate.science.blog/

I will initially use Rssground to auto publish to twitter and see how that works out, you get once every 24 hours with a free account and this worked fine posting with cyrillic characters from a test post on my blog earlier day.

Creating a bot which could create or translate posts would be interesting but would be a large project that I don’t currently have time to either write a bid for funding, source another way and adapt but if anyone is interested, please contact me.

1. World Meteorological Organisation (2018) Mikhail Ivanovich Budyko available at: https://public.wmo.int/en/about-us/awards/international-meteorological-organization-imo-prize/mikhail-ivanovich-budyko

Good news – Russia introduces legal ban on animal cruelty

As reported last week, now on Rapsi – in English and includes

A person can’t get rid of an animal in an arbitrary manner for it must be transferred either to a new owner or an animal shelter.


Animals can’t be slayed under any pretense, organization of animal fights, setting animals on other creatures and humans are all forbidden, the law reads. Also, propaganda of cruel treatment of animals as well as keeping wild animals in apartments, private houses and land plots, are all banned.


The law forbids special zoos of a “contact type” often found in malls as well as keeping animals in bars, cafes and restaurants

more at http://www.rapsinews.com/legislation_news/20181228/293096578.html


On a punt heading past some of the colleges and Russian borscht from last night

Transboundary groundwater and Palestinian extinction

Fadia Daibes-Murad used to be the legal expert for the Palestinian Water Authority. She was also a humanitarian Edberg award winning researcher writing about international water laws. She was killed in a car crash in Palestine which some people believe was a murder. Based on the genocidal intentions of the Israeli right, US republicans and some US Democrats, would now seem much more likely.

The legal case for shared Palestinian groundwater and aquifer ownership has a lot of evidence to support it legally, scientifically, historically and geographically.

Her book and also an interview with Fadia from 2009. She didn’t give up and it’s not too late even now, although total inaction from the international political community is unhelpful.

So why not try eating compost – the healthy medieval diet

If you’re stuck for ideas, why not try compost, it’s vegetarian – am going with non alcoholic version:


Calling Russia evil for not welcoming the 1.5C report is pointless and uninformed, this is why

Barents Observer post about Russian exploration of Arctic. https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/arctic-industry-and-energy/2018/12/russia-presents-grandiose-5-year-plan-arctic

From my nice relatively uninformed cosy British seat this looks terrible environmentally whilst on the other side – if they don’t do it, someone else will which is equally terrible and even worse from an international security perspective.

I don’t believe in climate change denial caused by fossil fuels in a STEM rich country who are also being already affected by it but with economic dependencies, I wouldn’t expect them to be shouting loudly from the rooftops about it or welcoming a report that suggests self-annihilation. Would you in the same position?

Any scientific evidence from Russia about the Arctic in particular deserves international consideration and critique where applicable. I don’t know how much that is happening.

And re security – an article about “Why the New Arctic cold war is a dangerous myth”

Expecting certain governments to magically stop fossil fuel production, especially one under unnecessary economic sanctions is unrealistic.

Personally instead of immediate fossil fuel divestment, I think a UN specialist scientific and economic Commission could specifically look at countries where fossil fuel dependencies and interdependencies obscure innovative thinking about alternative energies and ways of capturing, storing and distribution if we are going to reach the 1.5C target by 2020. Having grand scientific challenges with funded prizes such as great discoveries in the past may help. A commission if wanted must investigate and act quickly because poorer nations do not have time.

An excellent overview – translated via Yandex, Angelina Davydova’s report on Russian economic thoughts and climate funding – in Kommersant:https://t.co/QKGaaVWCxx?amp=1

Warming will go by the rules

The UN conference was unable to agree on the modalities of dealing with it.

Saturday night in Katowice ended the UN conference on climate change. The results of the two-week session adopted the guide on adaptation to climate change and a set of rules the implementation of the agreement — but they describe only the reporting countries on the implementation of commitments, climate measures and costs. Agree about the economic mechanisms, and to convince countries to take enhanced commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions UN delegates are unable.

The most important achievement of the UN conference on climate in Katowice was the approval of the rules of the Paris agreement and guidance on adaptation to climate change. Rules determine how countries should report on measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the actions of adaptation, allocation of funds and their spending — will have to do it every five years, in 2023 and 2028 respectively. “The rules define the procedure and the reporting structure, monitoring the global situation, however, the action of the rules does not prescribe,” says the participant of the conference, the Director of the program “Climate and energy” WWF Russia Alexei Kokorin.

Success in the extension of country commitments the conference has not reached. Despite data on the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the world in 2017 (after three years of stabilization) and a poor prognosis for 2018, plans to increase the obligations stated only Canada, several EU countries and Ukraine. Current voluntary commitments by countries and their measures of low-carbon development output the world to increase global temperature more than 3 ° C by the end of the century. To keep warming to within 2 º C, it is necessary to increase the obligations three times, and to limit to 1.5 ° C — five times, according to the report of experts of the UN Programme on the environment. New applications on a voluntary commitment, however, is only expected in September 2019 at the climate summit in new York will be hosted personally by the UN Secretary-General antónio Guterres.

The delegation of the Russian Federation (until Russia agreement not ratified) at the UN conference for the first time headed the new special presidential envoy for climate Ruslan Edelgeriev, who succeeded Alexander Bedritsky. Mr. Edelgeriev confirmed that Russia was preparing to ratify — is working on the concept of state regulation of greenhouse gas emissions (see “Kommersant” on 4 December), long-term low-carbon development strategy and the plan of adjustment of the economy to climate change.

The Ministry has dispatched on the coordination in departments the new version of the draft law on the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions

Support during conference received the climate funds — Germany and Japan will allocate them for $1.5 billion, France, Finland and Norway confirmed that ready to ensure the operation of the Green climate Fund in the years 2020-2023. The world Bank announced that in five years will be allocated to climate projects $200 billion and will begin financing of projects of adaptation to climate change. However, the requirements of countries to access these funds has caused conflicts, tightening the end of the conference on the day. The demands for Brazil’s access to money has a new mechanism of sustainable development did not give the parties to agree on the economy of his work (see reference) — the solution to this issue is postponed for a year, and instead of Brazil, the UN conference will take Chile.

Not so developed, to refuse money

Access to funds climate funds triggered a series of conflicts, tightening the end of the UN conference for the whole day. So, the Turkish delegation insisted on leaving the group of countries with developed and transition economies due to the unavailability of her funds international climate funds the United Nations (for the same reason Turkey will not ratify the agreement itself). The same problem at the conference spoke the representatives of Belarus. Note that Russia because of sanctions is also experiencing difficulties with access to international green financing (primarily funds of the international development banks and Global environment facility), which is a serious obstacle to decarbonizing the economy, said the representative of “Business Russia” and “Russian partnership for climate protection,” Oleg Pluzhnikov.

The second conflict was also financial: the delegation of Brazil insisted to allow access to a new market mechanism of the SS (the steady development mechanism) projects launched during the Kyoto Protocol (then most of these green funds received Brazil, China and India). The firm position of Brazil not given to harmonize the rules of operation of market mechanisms — the question was postponed for a year. Also, the country refused to host the UN conference on climate in December 2019 — it was moved to Chile. However, such contradictions have already become traditional for climate negotiations: emerging economies require differentiated approach depending on the level of development and achieve the mandatory inclusion of financial assistance itself in voluntary commitments by developed countries under the Paris agreement.

Angelina Davydova, Katowice, Poland

Polar Museum in St Petersburg

For Arctic part of course attempting (and failing) to keep up with COP24.

Went to new Polar Worlds gallery at Maritime Museum – from 1953, it includes an Arctic Survival guide (like SAS and other ones) and apparently includes “the best faces to pull to prevent frostbite and when you expect bits of you to ‘fall off’ should you fail.”

Have found Polar Museum in Russia (physically in St Petersburg) online (in Russian)


Instagram pics: http://instagram.com/polar_museum