FP teacher at school

Forgot to mention that the second hour I had a meeting with teacher James Fraser. A native FP-er from Edinburgh, married with a dutchie! We had a nice talk and of course a lot of common friends! I nearly felt at home :-)

first work day

Today I left home at 7.30 for an appointment at the Van Lodenstein College. I am supposed to work on Mondays and Tuesdays, but today I had to pick up a roster and have some meetings with English teachers. I arrived at 8.00 and had a chat with the unit manager. He handed me a general roster and told me I am going to work with 1VA, 1VB, 2VA, 2VB, 3VA - all bilingual groups. The days are divided into 7 'hours', so I have to fill up 14 hours. I thought they were going to give me a roster, but actually the school is giving me the freedom to compose my own roster :-) I spent the first hour matching classes, students and hours. The plan is to take groups of 5 students out of their normal class/subject, so I have to email the teacher in question to get permission. I have planned in about 9 hours. The other hours I will assist in Art and Design. This week the school also had a visit from a pastor and 3 teachers from a Reformed Romenian school. I was privileged to attend a meeting (and get a yummy lunch ;-)). They are preparing a project where 25 students from Romenia will be based in Dutch families and go to school Together with the Dutch students they will attend workshops, lectures, excursions. I am involved in making an interesting program for these students. So we plan to visit Anne Frank museum, Science museum, tulip fields, beach, Delta werken. All students have to attend seminars about ethnic diversity, cultural differences between the countries, water management, health (drugs, drink, obesity). My task is to prepare the students to discuss these isues verbally, so they get more confident in their spoken English and therefore hopefully will be able to communicate with the Romenian students. A few are going to write articles in the Dutch Reformed newspaper about these projects.

 

Dutch minister of science to look at global warming

As I wrote a while ago, the Dutch prince is going to Antarctica, at taxpayers expense of course, to look at a non-problem. Accompanying him is minister of science, Ronald Plasterk, who is quoted as:

The poles are the wrists of the climate, the effects of climate change are visible first there.

And they are most visible in the annals of Nature:

Professor Eric Steig last month announced in Nature that he’d spotted a warming in West Antarctica that previous researchers had missed through slackness - a warming so strong that it more than made up for the cooling in East Antarctica.

Whew! Finally we had proof that Antarctica as a whole was warming, and not cooling, after all. Global warming really was global now.

One of the authors was Michael Mann, most famous for inventing the hockey stick of temperature change. If you're snowed in in Britain right now, warmer weather is just around the corner:

This hockey stick has been so thoroughly debunked that the latest IPCC report didn't dare to include it.

Here's how Professor Steig and Michael Mann detected global warming:

Previous researchers hadn’t overlooked the data. What they’d done was to ignore data from four West Antarctic automatic weather stations in particular that didn’t meet their quality control. As you can see above, one shows no warming, two show insignificant warming and fourth - from a station dubbed “Harry” shows a sharp jump in temperature that helped Steig and his team discover their warming Antarctic.

But it gets worse:

Harry in fact is a problematic site that was buried in snow for years and then re-sited in 2005. But, worse, the data that Steig used in his modelling which he claimed came from Harry was actually old data from another station on the Ross Ice Shelf known as Gill with new data from Harry added to it, producing the abrupt warming. The data is worthless.

Also read Steve McIntyre's original post on this subject.

Adding data from two different climate stations, and publishing it in a peer reviewed journal. Kids doing their science fair can do better than that.

There's even more. When these climate scientists became aware of Steve McIntyre's poking, they pulled and corrected their data set!

The whole affair is now in the Proceedings of the National Accademy of Sciences.

I suggest that our Minister of Science has a good look at weather station Harry. No global warming to see there. And leave Nature closed for a while.

The big political story in The Netherlands

The biggest political story in The Netherlands, and the one the political classes, especially on the left, get most excited about, is to have another look at the decision making around participating in the war in Iraq. A war which happened five years ago. The country is facing the biggest economic challenge in decades, and is throwing billions after bad banks, but what parliament is going to do is discussing if ousting a dictator is a good idea. As Mark Steyn once said: there is never a bad day to dispose a dictator.

New Zealand almost there: third world country status

If you read this, you just wonder what kinds of people are in power nowadays:

Many homes and businesses in the Auckland suburb of St Heliers were without power today and more may face blackouts if power usage doesn’t drop. ...

As a result Vector cut power to the mainly residential St Heliers for no longer than two hours to keep demand below the necessary level, she says.

She says if demand did not slow then there would be further power cuts in the area.

“They would be for no more than two hours and would be rolling around the area,” she says.

I have a friend in India, and it sounds just like over there. But I assume it will do wonders in reducingn our carbon footprint.

job interview

Finally I got my job interview with the schoolboard last Thursday. 3 members of the Board were present plus a secretary. The interview was in an immensely large room, at an amazingly large table: very imposing:-). The interview itself was quite good, they asked questions about what I believed about baptism, King James, confession of faith, media use. We also talked about the children and their and our first impressions. They liked to have some feedback from a former student and someone who has experience in teaching abroad. Membership from the FP church wasn't even discussed. In the end I was sent to a different room and the board had to decide. Decission was positive, so I got the job - starting today. I will be teaching english communication, art and design, NZ geography. I will also be involved in a Romenian project, where Romenian children will stay with Dutch Christian families for a fortnight and go to school as well. It looks like an interesting job with lots of variety.

Why Hollywood always blames America

Holland's Christian culture is very concerned with the influence of movies on Christian families. And they should. But it is remarkable that the complaints are usually centered around life style and life choices. Never about politics, never about capitalism, never about businesses.

For example in the eyes of Hollywood, America is always wrong. If they make a movie about Vietnam, Americans are the crazy, drug-smoking, drinking killers of a peaceful nation. Andrew Breitbart has made a remarkable observation. He starts with:

Ever wonder why the white American businessmen are always the bad guys and radical Islamists almost never are?

The answer is that Hollywood is the most outsourced industry in America. Most of the work is done overseas. Moreover:

More money is now made from foreign than domestic box office.

Which leads to this:

As a result, Hollywood now crafts its moral, ethical and political messages to assuage external sensibilities. Our top films are now premiered and showcased abroad, and standing ovations for anti-American films by elite festivalgoers in San Sebastian, London, Cannes and Toronto grant Hollywood celebrities a distorted picture of America´s worth. These economic dynamics contribute to why “they all hate us.”

The customer is always right.

Catechism

We have catechism here on Mondays not on Sundays like New Zealand and here it is in the evening (7:30 p.m) not like New Zealand where it is at (10:30 a.m, just before church).

We had to learn a question for Monday and it was a pretty long one (all in Dutch) from the catechism. So we studied hard to learn it all now when we came to catechism on Monday we were gutted to learn that we didnt really need to say, but a few people had to say a few lines. Now in New Zealand you learn the question and when you come to catechism you always have to say the question no matter what. So all that study work and didnt get to say anything :(

Don Brash gives a history lesson

Don Brash, former governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, gives a history lesson:

Gould seems not to have noticed that the crisis emerged not in the essentially unregulated hedge fund industry, or even among private equity funds, but in the most highly regulated part of the financial sector, namely banking.

Exactly right. Regulation is not the answer, but part of the problem:

But Gould implies that the crisis was caused by "free" and unregulated markets, especially in the financial sector. This is quite simply nonsense. Banks may be relatively lightly regulated in New Zealand (where there is no banking crisis), but they have been highly regulated in the United States and Europe for many years.

Government agencies have stipulated minimum capital levels that banks must maintain, and have enforced a wide range of rules and restrictions, including limits on concentration of credit risk, limits on net foreign exchange positions and much more. They have monitored those rules by regular on-site inspections.

In many ways, this intensive supervision by official agencies made matters worse by leading bank customers to assume that banks were effectively "guaranteed" by Government, thereby enabling banks to operate with levels of capital well below those regarded as prudent in earlier decades. Perhaps even more serious, intensive supervision led some bank directors to suspend their own judgment, and believe that they were behaving prudently provided they were observing all the rules.

But we all know what we will get: more government involvement in banks, and therefore even greater problems.

More customers, but more in debt: public transport in Washingtong D.C.

On the Obama inauguration day, the Washington D.C. Metro spent $5 million in operating costs but only brought in $3 million in fares. Now they are $2 million more in debt. Hat tip: Living in The District.

No wonder Nanci Pelosi wanted to have birth control in the Obama simulus package: less people, is less demand for government handouts. What a crazy world.

New York, wrapup

Here the photos for New York that haven't made it to this blog so far. The view from our hostel on the rainy day:

How different on a sunny day!

Having dinner in Chinatown:

There was a fair amount of snow in Central Park:

We walked over the Brooklyn Bridge:

And here we went:

Unusual view on the Brooklyn Bridge:

Washington DC, wrap up

There were still some photos we made in Washington D.C. that haven't made it to this blog, so here a wrap up of the remaining photos. These angry boys in the Washington D.C. metro are supposed to be my children:

But they can laugh as well, here Auke who can't stop:

Another picture from The National Mall:

It was extremely busy that day, here a typical queue for one of the Smithsonians:

And let it not be said Berend never does work in the household:

National socialist government now telling banks how to run their business

In New Zealand, as in every former capitalist country, politicians are now telling businesses how to run their business:

Finance Minister Bill English said yesterday he expected banks would be pressed to reduce the penalties for breaking mortgage agreements to get cheaper interest.

And state-owned Kiwibank could expect a discussion with him as shareholding minister on the subject, he said.

We know of countries where businesses were run by politicians. The former Soviet Union comes to mind. If busineses are no longer run for profit, they will become government departments. What government department has ever posted a profit? What government department has never needed more money? At what time will the taxpayer run out of money? I'm afraid we will find out.

Judo

A girl from school asked me to come and watch her do judo, so I said yes. It was really close by about 2 minutes with the bike. It was just at a school in a small hall. They said I can just train with them, it was a group of about 10 people (pretty small). It was really fun, we started with a small warm up and then we got into the throws. It was fun learning these things and practicing it on people (I could do it alright for a beginner). Then at the end we had to have a fight, I faced the girl from school and a 2 boys. You won by throwing them on the ground and then they had to tap out. I won all 3 of my ones, I found it pretty exciting. It went for about an hour starting at 6 and finishing at 7. I really enjoyed doing it and hope going back again.

Gym

We had gym at school today, it was really cool.

We played this game were you had two teams, each team had one king and two bombs. The teams didn't know who was the king or bombs. So you had to get on the floor and and wrestle with people if the held you down for 3seconds the they would ask you if you were the king, but if not then you would just find another person the wrestle with, and if you were a bomb and you won then that person had to go out. And if the king lost then the other kings team won. We ended up with 2 king wrestling each other, one king knew that he was wrestling with the other king but the other didn't so it was quite funny.

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