Animation : Borrowed light, by Olivia Huynh

Borrowed light by Olivia HuynhThe previous nights were the occasion to see the Perseid meteor shower. It was also the Nuits des Etoiles in France, where hundreds of events are organized to allow people to watch stars and (re)discover the sky and stars above our heads.

As you perhaps know, I am quite an astronomy fan and I believe it is very sad that the skies aren’t dark anymore. So when Grist published an article about a cute animation on that very topic I knew I had to share it with you.

Borrowed light by Olivia Huynh made me wish for a darker sky and to be able again to enjoy the marvels of the stars, galaxies and nebulae.

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Charlie Chaplin’s speech in The Dictator

For Christmas, our family reunion is generally the occasion to sing Christmas carols and read texts that are inspiring us. This year I intended to read one of the most inspirational texts of all time:

Charlie Chaplin’s final one in The Dictator. Despite being over seventy years old, there is a lot of things we should use now. Fighting greed, fighting ignorance, fighting hate are prerequisite.

Embracing love and helping each others could sure do wonders today. Keeping faith in such dark times is also much needed.

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Franke James needs YOUR support !

Canada is said to be an open country, democratic, always welcoming new people and new ideas. In theory… Indeed, Franke James, an absolutely brilliant and amazing artist is learning it’s not always the case. And she is learning it the hard way.

To make a long story short : ” The Canadian Government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party, is actively working to shut down (her) solo European art exhibition, which is set to tour 20 cities in Europe. “

I discovered Franke’s amazing visual essays years ago – she is one of the very first persons I followed on Twitter, thanks to a common acquaintance – and I have always loved them ever since.

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American Power, by Mitch Epstein

Today I went to see the American Power photo exhibit at the Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson, in Paris. Pictures are the result of years – from 2003 to 2009 – of travel and photography by Mitch Epstein.

I believe these pictures clearly enable us to witness how energy, power, is shaping and altering the United States. Some pictures are oppressing – like the one on the left – while others are depressing. (A few however left me indifferent…)

All these pictures make us question our addiction to energy, or rather energies. It personnally increased my determination to push forward the best energy source of all : efficiency.

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A few quotes on pessimism

Despite I have a very optimistic personality – a trait inherited from my beloved grand-father Louis – It’s hard not to be pessimistic when we look at some news on climate these days. The socio-economic situation ain’t that bright either.

So I had a look at some quotes on pessimism. Nearly all of them point out to the fact that being pessimistic is bad. Bad for you, and as a matter of fact, for the entire community… So let’s smile, roll up our sleeves and go on with it.

I don’t believe in pessimism. If something doesn’t come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it’s going to rain, it will. ~ Clint Eastwood.

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Film review : The Borrower Arrietty

I watched this weekend the latest film from the Studio Ghibli : Arrietty, also known as The Borrower Arrietty. As usual with productions from the Studio Ghibli there was great pictures and scenery, awesome music as well as an excellent story.

But what I particularly like with this film is the reason I loved the Studio Ghibli’s previous productions like My Neighbour Totoro, Mononoke Hime and of course Nausicaä is the environmental message.

Living in harmony with Nature and others, satisfying oneself with few things and many other key environmental messages are part of the film and for this I strongly recommend it to you all.

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My 2008-09 selection of books

I wanted to publish for Christmas and New Year’s day a list of books I particularly liked in 2008-09 (I already did a selection in 2007) but couldn’t publish it in time. So, here it is with a few weeks late.

From readings on sustainable development and energy issues to science fiction and from graphic novels to serious readings on social sciences, I recommend you nine books and series of books to keep  you busy for days.

Please note that many books have been reviewed here previously and that I added links to enable you to make up your mind. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did !

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It’s not about saving the planet, but ourselves

George CarlinMany people think that the current Copenhagen climate conference is about saving the planet. I believe this not true as we are just trying to save ourselves from our own folly.

Our planet – whom you may refer to as Gaïa – will still be there long after we are gone. The brilliant George Carlin reminded us brilliantly of that in his bout about environmentalists.

This gem of green humour was first brought to my attention in June 2008 by Marguerite via her blog. Many thanks to her for that.

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The Revelation Space cycle by Alastair Reynolds

The Revelation Space CycleEarlier this year I read three sci-fi books I strongly recommend you if you are interested by the genre. The five books making this cycle were written by Alastair Reynolds, a UK scientist who dedicated himself to writing space operas.

Back to 2007 I read Chasm City the second opus of the cycle which can be read as a stand alone. If you like this one as much as I did (I then gave it a grade of 17/20), you will love the whole series.

Taking place in a not-so-distant future, The Revelation Space cycle provides a good plot in a coherent universe filled with interesting ideas and characters.

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Book Review: Sustainable energy – without the hot air

I finished reading this weekend a book I strongly recommend to anyone interested by sustainable development and energy as it is packed with figures and findings that are due to start discussions among CleanTechies.

One of the main findings of this book is that electrifying our cars and installing heat pumps in our buildings would enable us to cut significantly both our greenhouse gases emissions and fossil fuels consumption.

Both solutions are much more efficient than current ones and could benefit from massive electrification to answer all our energy needs.

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Imagining India, by Nandan Nilekani

imagining-india-idea-of-renewed-nation-nandan-nilekaniMy main trades and areas of interest before climate change mitigation and sustainable development are international business and management. This brought me to focus early on India.

So when I discovered today’s book via The Daily Show with Jon Stewart I knew I had to read what promised to be a fantastic book on India’s past, present and future. And the least I can say is that I wasn’t disappointed.

Imagining India is a must read whether you are an Indian citizen or a foreigner who wants to learn out more on this nation’s potential to become a super power.

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