High tide in Venice

Tomorrow the tide in Venice will be exceptionally high, what they call the acqua alta.

Normal high tides are about 80-90cm above the historical average, but a combination of rain and wind will push the tide higher tomorrow, up to around 120cm above the historical average, which means that about one third of the city will be inundated.

The weather is going to be rotten, rain and occasional thunder, so it might not be a good day for a paddle in St. Mark’s square. Besides, I’m in Copenhagen anyway, so even if i could go paddling there I couldn’t :-)

“Interesting” photos

Flickr.com has a way of assigning “interestingness” to photos. I’m not quite sure how they do it. The algorithm probably includes the number of views, number of times it is marked a favourite and the number of comments, and it seems, also who views, marks or comments the photo and when and how fast they do it, but there is very little information about the details on the net.

The algorithm does seem to work well, at least it has picked some of the best of my photos, and the overall best on Flickr are usually really really great photos.

Here are the most “interesting” from my photo collection on flickr.

Hit by a wave in the sunThis photo is taken in Spain in 2006 and it has turned out quite remarkable. It is, however, more a matter of chance than of skill. It is taken with a Pentax Optio W10 mounted on a suction cup mono pod on the foredeck of the kayak, and set to take a photo every 20 seconds. After the paddle up and down the coast from Llança in Catalonia I had hundreds of photos on the camera, including this one of a wave breaking over the foredeck. The photo was used on the front page of the catalogue of my local kayak pusher and is still the top photo on their web site.

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Homosexual necrophilia in the mallard

This is so weird, some would probably say disturbing, but nature is a weird and sometimes disturbing place.

On 5 June 1995 an adult male mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) collided with the glass façade of the Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam and died. An other drake mallard raped the corpse almost continuously for 75 minutes. (source: “the duck” by Kees Moeliker)

I believe that generally most mallards are quite well-behaved, though they are known to sometimes drown the females when there are too few of them around and a gang of males get a bit too eager.

Modern comical art also has it’s say on the sometimes aggressive behaviour of ducks (explanation here).

No more war!

The armistice which became the end to the Great War, the first world war, took effect at 11:11 o’clock on November 11,  1918, exact 90 years ago today.

It was the most horrible war the world had ever seen, with carnage on an industrial scale, taking tens of millions of lifes over a period of less than five years. After the war the cry of “No more war!” was heard on all sides.

No more war! and what have we got?

(photo from a visit to Verdun when I was a child)

The Gondola Blog

By chance one day I stumbled over the Gondola Blog by Greg Mohr, who nurtures a burning passion for gondolas. He is, as he states on his blogger profile, a gondola fanatic.

There are quite a few gondolas in the USA. One day I visited the Squero Tramontin in Venice, Roberto Tramontin told that there were at least 120 gondolas there, including several he built himself, and I’m quite sure he didn’t count the electric ones :-)

Greg also runs Gondola Adventures, a gondola service working in Newport Beach (CA), Lake Las Vegas (NV) and Irwing (TX).

Video of Berlusconi’s ‘compliment’ to Obama

The Guardian has a video of Berlusconi followed by a few interviews with ‘common’ Italians.

Video: Italians rage at Silvio Berlusconi’s ‘racist’ Barack Obama comment

The Repubblica has another one with clips from many countries.

L’abbronzato fa il giro del mondo.

The Corriere reports that Obama has called the leaders of all the G7 nations, except Berlusconi.

Obama chiama per ringraziare tutti ileader del G7 tranne Berlusconi.

Berlusconi compliments Obama on his “tan”

The election of Obama in the USA hasn’t gone down so well within the Italian government. Prime minister Berlusconi literally adored Bush, and apparently aren’t able to hide his disappointment with the election of Obama.

While on an official visit in Moscow, Berlusconi answered a question about the election of Obama with a “Barack Obama? Young, handsome and well tanned”. He then offered Obama “advise” based on his “ancianity”.

When confronted Berlusconi said that it was “a compliment and absolutely a sweet thing towards him”. He also complained that people have no sense of humour: “If they have no sense of humour it means the idiots have invaded the pitch and they should just go home …”.

One of the fascist members of Berlusconi’s government, Maurizio Gasparri, said after the elections that now “Al Quada would be content”.

Berlusconi, prima gaffe su Obama “E’ giovane, bello e abbronzato” – esteri – Repubblica.it.

Update:
The Guardian also runs the story: Obama is young, handsome and tanned, says Silvio Berlusconi.

On BBC: Berlusconi defends Obama’s ‘tan’.

If London Were Like Venice

By chance I fell over this quite amusing image of how London would be if it were like Venice. I believe it is a piece of very early science fiction writing, in the British scientific romance genre. It was published in 1899, and later republished on the Forgotten Futures web site.

Click on the link below for the full article and many more images of how London would have been, had it been like Venice.

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Kayak coach exam

Back in August I took a kayak coach exam according to the Danish system. It was for the first of two levels, suitable for coaching beginners.

Its the first time I have ever taken any kind of formal assessment of my kayaking skills. I followed the coaching course last year during the summer, but never got to take the exam because it was postponed several times, until September when I was in Italy, first in Venice and later in Sardinia for the circumnavigation of that island.

The exam was scheduled several times this summer, first for late June, then for early August and until it was finally held on August 31st.

I passed the exam, both the theoretical and the practical part, but I still haven’t received any kind of documentation for the pass, which is a bit of a problem.

Everybody here in Denmark are moving from the old national system to EPP – the European Paddle Pass – so I must have my new certification translated into the new system, and that is the problem. The deadline for applying for transfer of was November 1st, but without a proper Danish coach certificate I have not been able to send in a complete application. I’ve sent in what I had, so now I’ll just have to wait for some kind of reply.

I believe the exam I have taken will be converted to an EPP2 coach award, but there seem to be some confusion about what EPP skill award will follow. I have heard  that some only get an EPP2 skill award, but I believe the exam I passed is equivalent to at least EPP3. Maybe it doesn’t matter, since I haven’t been able to present a complete EPP application at the deadline.