Bovenkerk in Kampen with Jeduthun

Last Saturday evening we all went to Kampen (North East of the Netherlands). They have an impressive church there, the Bovenkerk,built in the 12th century, where my choir had a performance. It's a privilege to perform there, and it was especially a privilege for me to be allowed to sing there, as new member. I had to wear a suit:

The first seats were reserved, so I had to sit in the back. But was able to make some videos:

As you can hear, the sound of 130 man voices is quite something. As we couldn't zoom in enough, here a picture that is more clear:

And here another video:

Hurricane latrina

Washington D.C. the day after:

The New York Times headline for this photo? "Obama Audience Donates Generously to Area Homeless". Eh say what?

Also watch Post Barakalyptic Wasteland.

How many people watched the inauguration

It seems we will get an official count, but it was about 1 million:

satellite images of Obama's swearing-in suggested the crowd was probably about [1.0 million], said Clark McPhail, who has been analyzing crowds on the National Mall since the 1960s.

Strategy page on Mexico

Mexico a failing state? Stratepage doesn't think so:

But Mexico is not Pakistan. It is not collapsing. It is not a "near failed state." Mexico is a threatened state, but the country has political will to confront the threats posed by violent drug cartels and its own legacy of corrupt politics. Even accounting for Chiapas (Maya land) and numerous wannabe separatists, Mexico also has money, education, and a comparative political-social coherence the entirety of South and Central Asia should envy.

Work in the Netherlands

As I didnt have any school for 4 days I went to work on my Uncles farm from Wednesday to Thursday. I slept at Opa and Oma's house.

On Wednesday I started round about 9 a.m and we worked on getting the cages where the calves are in removed so they have room to move about, this was pretty hard work. Then we did some other jobs like removing all the buckets where they normally drink from as they werent needed anymore. Then we went home to have some lunch. After that we moved calves into there appropiate places which was pretty hard work and then we drank some tea. At tea time though two calves escaped and so we had to chase them and get them back, it was pretty hard work getting those calves back as they were pretty wild.  Then we just finished moving the calves and feeding them. I came back at about half past 7 to do two more blocks of getting all the cages out and was finished at around 9 p.m.

On Thursday I had to wake up early (about 6 a.m) to go with Opa and feed the calves as my Uncle went skiing that day. We feed the calves and then went to have some breakfast. After breakfast I had to wash all the buckets that we collected from yesterday, this was really hard work as there were a lot of buckets. I worked until about 1 p.m and then went to have lunch. Then Opa and me worked both on the buckets which went a lot faster. When didnt get buckets finished till about 5 p.m  but inbetween that we moved two dead calves and helped feed the calves. Then we went home for dinner. After dinner it was nearly time for me to go home again. I really enjoyed those two days of work.

Drudge Report gets in on the action

Ice almost gone for a week, and Drudge Report reports on ice skating in Holland.

To be fair, Drudge doesn't do original reporting and this is a story that appeared yesterday in the International Herald Tribune. It seems that if you want to have up-to-date news, you're better off abandoning the main stream media (MSM), just as the first picture of the US Airways crash was posted on Twitter 30 minutes before the newsmedia got in on the act.

Very short days

Days are very short in the Netherlands at the moment (the reverse is true in summer of course). Sunrise is at 8:48am, and sunset at 4:39pm on January the 1st. But things are improving, although we don't really notice it yet: Sunrise is now at 8:40a and sunset at 5pm. It also takes very long for the sun to rise: if ther is a clear sky, you can see light for a very long time before the sun actually appears above the horizon.

first interview at VLC

This morning I had my first interview at the Van Lodenstein College. They asked me why I wanted to work there, what my motivation is. I also got questions about my thoughts about internet and tv. The interview was very pleasant and the principal was very accommodating and helpfull. It's quite nice that I am allowed an interview and possibly work here till the summer holidays. Just one interesting note:  The school only accepts students from 5 reformed churches who are all bound by the same confession of faith. The same rule applies for teachers. They asked me to what church I belonged. Of course the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland is not one of the participating churches. This wouldn't be any problem for the principal or board, but the problem lays in the Dutch government. The school could be fined or worse for hiring someone from a different denomination. The judge could tell them they are inconsequent and if they allow someone from the FP church, they could also allow someone from a liberal church eg. This Friday I have to come before the Board and they will thoroughly question me :-) No, seriously I don't expect this to be a huge problem, but ultimately the board has to decide how to tackle this hurdle.

 

Boer Auke

Auke the farmer has now become farmer Auke:

His uncle puts him to good use it seems:

They have about 1,000 calves, so there's a lot to do feeding them all.

Een land, twee vlaggen?

Het lijkt me onmogelijk om één land te hebben en twee vlaggen:

Prime Minister John Key will support flying a Maori flag from the Auckland Harbour Bridge, but says it will be up to Maori to decide.

Vertaling: Minister president John Key ondersteunt het hijsen van de Maori vlag vanaf de Auckland Harbour Bridge, maar zegt dat de Maori hier de beslissing moeten nemen.

De achtergrond is dat bepaalde Maori, niet allemaal, wellicht minder dan 50%, graag de eigen vlag wil voeren. Deze Maori zien ook eigenlijk twee staten, en twee wetten, in Nieuw Zeeland: een voor Maori, en een voor de rest. We zullen zien wat hiervan terecht komt, maar er is geen land in de geschiedenis geweest dat twee vlaggen heeft gehad.

My Weird Day

I had a weird (and short) school day and a strange lunch. Read on to find out.

 

Today I went to school, and found out that we only had two hours (except the people that had Latin and Greek, which included me) of school. This was because 5VA had a school outing, and most of our teachers were gone. So I should have had four hours. Instead I had 3 hours and 5 minutes as the class had a SO (test) and finished in 5 minutes so we could all go home.

 

I got home in time for lunch, and you'll never guess what I had. I had sandwiches with pig's head and sandwiches with horse meat (yummy!). Of course you can only buy such food in Holland (I don't think anyone in New Zealand eats that).

World economic freedom index

New Zealand rises to 5th place in the world economic freedom index (ranked as free), The Netherlands is found at 12th place (ranked as mostly free). What this means if you start a business: it takes one day to start a busines in New Zealand, versus ten in The Netherlands. This is literally true. I started a new business in December, and it took me about 1 hour to fill in the online form, receive a GST number ("BTW nummer"), and fax back the signatures.

Skype phone is of horrible quality

As we don't have a land line, we bought a cheap Skype phone, the Think Xtra Xtender Dual DECT phone. It was the cheapest I could find. This is a consumer product of a quality that I didn't know existed anymore. Or in other words: a horrible product. The numeric keypad only works partially. So we're returning it. Hopefully we get a full restitution.

Men's choir

Yesterday I did something I haven't done before: I became a temporary member of the man's choir Jeduthun. First performance is this Saturday. It was actually very nice to sing, and amazingly I could immediately participate with singing in harmony. I'm a second tenor it appears. The choir also has first tenor, baritone and bass. There are about 130 members.

Dutch newspapers

Dutch newspapers are similar to the New Zealand one's, and actually that's true all over the world. TV viewers and newpaper readers are pawns in the information wars: if you repeat a lie long enough, it will be true in the end. For example the Reformed Dutch daily, "Het Reformatorisch Dagblad" writes about a visit of the Dutch Prince of Orange to the South pole:

De koninklijke gasten willen zich op Antarctica ook verdiepen in de effecten van de klimaatverandering. Het ijs van de Zuidpool smelt steeds sneller.

Translation: "The royal guests will inform themselves on Antartica about the effects of climate change. Ice at the South pole melts faster and faster".

As usual this is not true.It's just as true as the story that the Norh pole was melting and that you could circumnavigate it last summer. If you just google for "South pole melts" you will find stories claiming that the South pole isn't actually melting. But I suppose the taxpayer wouldn't cough up for the prince to look at increasing ice. That's not a story and the prince might have had to pay the trip himself! No, climate change is the word if you want handouts.

First of all, the theory that if the ice melts, temperatures would rise, is not true. For creationists this is well-known. After the flood we had enormous evaporation, leading to a great drop in temperature, which gave us the Ice Age. So does evaporation on the Antartic lead to a drop in temperature:

One of the most popular global warming feedbacks is considered to be changes in the extent of polar ice.  The story goes that as the ice melts, more heat gets absorbed in the ocean, leading to higher temperatures.  Today we test that theory. ... The effect is exactly opposite of what has been predicted by global warming modelers.  Antarctic ice is increasing and temperatures are cooling.

As it goes, we happen to have fairly good data on the extend of the ice of Antartic since 1979. Since that time we have satellite photos. Before that we have nothing reliable, so any calculations with extend of ice before that are highly suspect. And here the latest data on what is actually happening at the Antarctic:

Over the last 30 years Antarctic sea ice has been steadily increasing, as shown below.

Just look at the graph which comes from The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

According to the newspaper article the idea for a royal visit was concocted in the Antarctic centre Christchurch, which the prince visited in 2006. So not sure what they told him there. Probably not much helpful as New Zealand is full of global warming believers as well.

The prince will also visit a glacier in Chili. This is melting bcause of global warming. When we visited the glaciers in New Zealand, the Fox and the Franz Joseph, we were told they were growing because of global warming...

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