The last golden age of travel

Via haiku, this is a reminder that popular sites are never as portrayed in the glossies.  We knew that of course – you being the readership you are – but this puts it graphically.

I’m not so fussed about the Pyramids being in outer Cairo – most people probably know that – and there was still enough desert for me to be kidnapped a couple of decades ago, with the gf, plus the Pyramids and Sphinx in themselves are historic wonders, there was more than enough space to move about, plus the journey from the Med was interesting.

For me, the two places where I could not handle the sheer crush of the crowds were the Duomo, in Firenze and Versailles. The swirling hordes around the Duomo were daunting and as for Versailles!

For some reason, we were able to jump the queue and get in but that hardly helped, once inside. A great disappointment in these pictures is the Sistine Chapel – maybe those ugly barriers were there decades ago, maybe not but my recollection was that there were a fair few but you could still lie down and look up, plus most people were doing it – there was no official telling you not to.

Not today:

Seems to me I did my travelling while it was still doable and modern circumstances had not made it a horror. For example, I’ve not yet been patted down at any airport, my last flight being in 2008, so all the stories one hears are since then.

Going further, if the between wars era could be said to be the golden age of travel, maybe it was but the 80s weren’t bad either.

Seems to me that, just as with film, the travel era has gone, in the sense that it’s no longer convenient, no longer without intrusion and danger, no longer fun.  In 1989, I went first class rail around Europe and it did not break the bank – that was eating out every night for a month – plus there were not huge crowds – it was summer too.

Perhaps it’s just age now and loss of interest but somehow methinks it’s more than that.

Nuclear as part of a strategy

EDF maintains [they would]:

Nuclear power facilities can produce energy at a 91% efficiency rate 24/7, with virtually zero carbon emissions. 13% of the world’s electricity comes from nuclear power plants that emit little to no greenhouse gases.

So, what went wrong with Hinckley C? Powerful interests of course, like Ineos:

In December 2013, Jim Ratcliffe, the chairman and CEO of Ineos said he had recently agreed to purchase nuclear power in France at £37.94 (€45) per MWh and warned of the Hinkley Point C project: ‘Forget it. Nobody in manufacturing is going to go near £95 per MWh’.

Also in December 2013, the chairman of Voimaosakeyhtiö SF described the Hinkley Point C “strike price” as ‘very high’, saying ‘subsidies will drive prices up, as everyone will try to get as high a price as possible. Fennovoima (Hanhikivi) will be built without any subsidies, now or ever’.

Religion and its limits

This is not a heavy and turgid piece. The author has, in his usual plainspeak, set out the dilemma without being religious, without being atheistic.

Religions tend to set limits. Those limits come with the force of God or some spiritual force that transcends man. Otherwise, a religion would be nothing more than man-made rules enforced by the strongest. This is why laws in most of the world are rooted in the dominant religion of the region or country. The local religion is a list of restrictions and limitations placed on the believers. Naturally, when it came time to form a government and write laws, they relied upon the laws and rules of their religion.

This may seem rather obvious, but the concept of the limiting principle is easy to take for granted. This is a core feature of most religions and it easiest to understand by considering our laws. Take two people who are not robbing banks. Just as long as both are not robbing banks, neither is more or less of a bank robber than the other. Both are simply not bank robbers. In other words, while there may be degrees of bank robbery, there are no degrees of not bank robbery. Not being one is the limit of that virtue.

Read on here.

[H/T Chuckles]


Shame and honour