Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Little Mermaid

We are currently living through two weeks which will determine the living standards, and indeed, lives of billions of people. Typing that feels unrealistic. I'm sure reading it does too. But while we debate what to eat for dinner tonight, and lament another 4 days of work or school until the weekend history is being made in Copenhagen. The question is whether it will be made by the few of the many, whether we will hand over our voice to governmental representatives, whether our democracy extends to one day every 4 or 5 years where we cast a vote, or whether we take advantage of our freedoms in these two weeks where they matter so much and speak out as global citizens in order to secure a future free of the ills of climate change.

These ills are many and they are harsh. They are also indisputable, the leaked East Anglia Emails may show some poor professional morality on the behalf of a few scientists but they do not prove a conspiracy. Indeed, none of the claims of the climate change deniers stand up to the facts, and none disprove the research, supported by /Every single national and international scientific body - "With the release of the revised statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 2007, no remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change".
And for those who think that it's all an argument about plastic bags and polar bears, I would urge you to think of it as a problem with food. Africa will obviously be hard hit, but so too will Dear old Blighty... A fact which not even The Daily Mail(!) contests. But yes, the Polar Bears and Eskimos are fucked too.

I do not write this to moralise, or to nag, and certainly the last thing I want to encourage is at attitude of "we're all screwed anyway, so what's the point". The only reasonable attitude anyone can take to any of the problems with the world today, be it poverty, human rights, climate change or whatever, is that things are bad, but through human agency and action they can be made better.

So a simple request. In the next week, while the Copenhagen conference is still ongoing, make an action, any action, in solidarity with the campaign to avert climate change. It makes a difference, it was not the benevolence of our politicians that has given Britain world leading emissions targets and laws, but the action of many.

Make a donate to Friends of the Earth, where your input will currently be doubled.
Or any other great eco-charity, like Greenpeace, Campaign against Climate Change.

Join Plane Stupid, and partake in their protests, or just keep an open eye out for any events in your area, you never know what you might stumble into (see below).

Sign a petition calling our government into action... Sign two!

Use the power of the market and sign up to Sandbag, and ensure that Europe's emissions pledges are realized, not just promised.

Join 10:10 and do your best to cut your Carbon emissions by 10% in the year 2010, a goal supported by everyone from leftist campaigner George Monbiot to David Cameron and the Tory front bench.

Write to your MP and express to them your concern for climate change and get them to explain in detail their policy on it. If their reply is not adequate, write again and tell them so.

Change your energy supplier to Ecotricy, the only supplier in Britain who use every penny you pay them to build /new/ windmills and increase our supply of renewable energy.

There is a lot one can do. I ask that now, during this conference in Copenhagen that you do so.

Bonus pictures: protest can be sexy:





Tuesday, 1 December 2009

I'm getting a tattoo of my name in the Japanese alphabet.

No I'm not. I don't like tattoos, my mummy wouldn't let me and there's no such thing as a Japanese alphabet you Absolute Follop.

However, I have been thinking of late about ways to write my name in Japanese.
Japanese has 3 syllabaries: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. The first two are purely phonetic, with Hiragana being the system used mostly for grammatical constructions and basic words and Katakana being the system used for foreign words and sound affects (and sometimes it is used like typing in ALL CAPITALS in English). Kanji is borrowed from Chinese and is the system where characters hold both sound and meaning. This is used for the majority of the Japanese vocabulary, including names.

Most non-Asian foreigners write their names in Katakana, trying to best aproximate their name within the narrow constraints of the Japanese limited phonetic range. My name in Japanese comes out as Dominiku, written


. My friends Frankie and Sam come out as Furankii and Samu,



But a few rare foreigners chose to write their name in Kanji, giving it meaning and making it look more Japanesey. A well known example is that of the foreigners rights activist, the ex-David Aldwinkle and current Arudou Debito. Which is a name which looks like
有道 出人

, which literally translates as "Exist Road Leave Person" and which he translates as "a person who has a road and goes out on it". This is kind of cool? But mostly really annoying. Like his activism is kind of pretty necessary, but he's mostly a confrontation self-righteous wasteman with a persecution complex.

But anyway, I've been playing around with the same thing. Sam has managed to come up with 茶武

, which means "Tea Warrior". For Frankie we've come up with 腐乱鬼

- "Decomposing Goblin" or my own hippy variation, 不乱気

- "Non-violent Energy".

So now to Dominiku. Sigh. Within my name there is a stark 'niku' -

- "Meat", or even more depressingly a near percet match with 'minikui' - 醜い

- "Ugly". Compounded with the fact that "Do" can act as "Very", it doesn't start off promising. Right, round 1:

or going upmarket, 何魅肉

- respectfully "What flavour meat?" and "How charming meat!"

Right then. I have been restricting myself with one thing. The majority of Japanese names are 2 characters long, all though a fair few are 3. Four is just not the done thing. So I can struggle on playing with Do, Mi, and Niku (In which case I should probably do away with meat in favour of

- "Hardship, Difficulty") or I can concede artistic defeat and break it into the unweildy Do, Mi, Ni and Ku...

To be continued! xxxx