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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Ecuador has Volcanoes, Galapagos Island, Beautiful Beaches and the Amazon

Chimborazo volcano, photo by David Torres Costales.

 

Located in the Andeas, Ecuador is a land of intrigue for travelers. Travel to Ecuador and you can trek the Amazon, climb volcanoes, or loaf on beautiful beaches. Perhaps the biggest reason to travel to Ecuador is a visit to the famous Galapagos Islands. Regardless of your preference, the following attractions are all worth a look.

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Quito

A hot bed of colonial architecture, Quito is the capital of Ecuador. The city is considered one of the most beautiful in South America with architecturally masterpieces of white washed buildings with red tile roofs. For those living in large cities, you will be shocked by the lack of neon in Quito.

 

La_Carolina

La Carolina Park, photo by H3kt0r.

 

Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, the climate is an eternal spring throughout the year. The Avenue of the Amazons, “Avenida Amozonas”, is a bustling area with outdoor cafes and good people watching. Ecuador has economic problems, so watch out for pickpocket thieves.

 

Avenue of the Volcanoes

South of Quito, the Avenue of the Volcanoes is a must see. Running down each side of the valley are mountain peaks dotted with dormant volcanoes. Small villages throughout the valley give the area an old world vibe.

 

Galapagos Islands

Darwin and the Galapagos Islands. Galapagos Islands and Darwin. The two are inseparable. Roughly 600 miles off the mainland, the Galapagos consist of 13 islands with exotic wildlife. You can reach the islands by flying into San Cristobal or take a boat ride to the major islands such as Isabela. At last check, entrance to the islands required a $ 100 permit.

 

Galapagos tortoises

Galapagos tortoises engage in a dominance display in an enclosure on Santa Cruz Island. By Aaron Logan.

 

 

Charles Darwin called it “a little world within itself.” Sailors referred to it as “Las Encantadas”— the enchanted islands. Lying in the eastern Pacific Ocean, straddling the equator off the west coast of South America, the Galápagos is the most pristine archipelago to be found anywhere in the tropics. It is so remote, so untouched, that the act of wading ashore can make you feel like you are the first to do so.

Beautifully weaving together natural history, evolutionary theory, and his own experience on the islands, Nicholls shows that the story of the Galápagos is not merely an isolated concern, but reflects the future of our species’ relationship with nature—and the fate of our planet.

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Asamblea_nacional_del_Ecuador

The National Assembly of Ecuador, branch of the Ecuadorian Government. Photo by Fercarvo.

 

San Lorenzo Railway

If you’re looking for a new experience, try a ride from San Lorenzo Railway to Ibarra. The trip runs through picturesque scenery, but it the train that is most interesting. The train is actually a bus converted for the tracks! Only in Ecuador!

Ecuador has much to offer travelers looking for something off the beaten path. While the Galapagos Islands are amazing, the rest of the country has much to offer.

 Imbabura_des_del_sud

Mount Imbabura from south-east, photo by Marc Figueras.

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Escape From Greece

Panoramic view of the ancient theatre of Epidaurus. The theatre continues to be used for staging performances, including ancient Greek plays. Photo by Hansueli Krapf.

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VICE News

As one of the gateways to mainland Europe, Greece may be home to thousands of immigrants — but at the moment, it’s not a particularly happy one. Many spend their days trying to escape the xenophobia and erratic immigration policies that characterise Greece at a time of deep financial crisis. More often than not, the migrants look to the West — to countries like the UK or Germany — where they feel they will be able to lead richer, happier lives.

However, even if certain sections of Greek society would rather rid their country of immigrants, EU law means that’s easier said than done. What do you do when you’re trapped in a country that doesn’t want you?

VICE discovered that, for some, the latest route to a better life was on foot — on an increasingly well-worn path from Greece into Macedonia, Serbia and on into Hungary.

 

The Great Firewall of China

ChinaA composite satellite image of China.

 Question by Kurt: How does Internet work in China?
Can people in China get around “The Great Firewall of China?”

Best answer:

Answer by Bball77
China censors what their country can view on the Internet. If they find a website not up to their standards then they will block it. They do all of this based on a persons IP address which shows they are located in China. A way to get around this is to use a private proxy service that has servers outside of China which will show a US IP address where we are not censored when on the Internet. I know of people that have worked oversees in China that needed to access US websites and were unable to until they used a private proxy service. I’m not saying this always works but you have a pretty good chance that it will.

The only catch is that you need to get the service from outside of China before going there because once you are there, China has pretty much censored all proxy websites because they don’t want you to get around their censorship.

What do you think? Answer below!

Hungary history question?

Budapest Museum

The Museum of Applied Arts, an Art Nouveau building designed by Ödön Lechner. Photo by Misibacsi from the Hungarian Wikipedia.

Question by Snowflake: Hungary history question.?
What was going on in Hungary around 1895-1910? Many of my relatives from Hungary came to America during this time and I am wondering what the political / social climate was like. What made leaving so appealing to so many of them? (specifically, by going to America)

Thank you so much for your help. It is genuinely appreciated…

Christina

Best answer:

Answer by ceewill
“Hungary’s population rose from 13 million to 20 million between 1850 and 1910. After 1867 Hungary’s feudal society gave way to a more complex society that included the magnates, lesser nobles, middle class, working class, and peasantry …

Some lesser-noble landowners survived the agrarian depression of the late nineteenth century and continued farming. Many others turned to the bureaucracy or to the professions …

The rise of a working class came naturally with industrial development. By 1900 Hungary’s mines and industries employed nearly 1.2 million people, representing 13 percent of the population. The government favored low wages to keep Hungarian products competitive on foreign markets and to prevent impoverished peasants from flocking to the city to find work. The government recognized the right to strike in 1884, but labor came under strong political pressure. In 1890 the Social Democratic Party was established and secretly formed alliances with the trade unions. The party soon enlisted one-third of Budapest’s workers. By 1900 the party and union rolls listed more than 200,000 hard-core members, making it the largest secular organization the country had ever known. The diet passed laws to improve the lives of industrial workers, including providing medical and accident insurance, but it refused to extend them voting rights, arguing that broadening the franchise would give too many non-Hungarians the vote and threaten Hungarian domination. After the Compromise of 1867, the Hungarian government also launched an education reform in an effort to create a skilled, literate labor force. As a result, the literacy rate had climbed to 80 percent by 1910. Literacy raised the expectations of workers in agriculture and industry and made them ripe for participation in movements for political and social change.

Hunyad Castle, Hunedoara, Transylvania, Romania

Hunyad Castle, Hunedoara, Transylvania, Romania. Photo by Todor Bozhinov.

The plight of the peasantry worsened drastically during the depression at the end of the nineteenth century. The rural population grew, and the size of the peasants’ farm plots shrank as land was divided up by successive generations. By 1900 almost half of the country’s landowners were scratching out a living from plots too small to meet basic needs, and many farm workers had no land at all. Many peasants chose to emigrate, and their departure rate reached approximately 50,000 annually in the 1870s and about 200,000 annually by 1907. The peasantry’s share of the population dropped from 72.5 percent in 1890 to 68.4 percent in 1900. The countryside also was characterized by unrest, to which the government reacted by sending in troops, banning all farm-labor organizations, and passing other repressive legislation.”

This was taken from the Library of Congress Country Studies: Hungary. They regularly update the URLs of these studies making bookmarking them impossible, so it’s best that you search for the article with a search engine – it will be worth the effort as they are very comprehensive and authoritative articles.

What do you think? Answer below!

West Country, Ireland

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Image by Georgie Sharp

Revisiting that wonderful green isle… we had such fun in Ireland …. and that glorious green will remain with me forever ;-))

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[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”1598693239″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51T75Khhf9L._SL160_.jpg” popups=”default” tag=”harveyrobinso-20″ width=”141″][easyazon_link asin=”1598693239″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”harveyrobinso-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]101 Things You Didn’t Know About Irish History: The People, Places, Culture, and Tradition of the Emerald Isle[/easyazon_link]

Discover the truth behind the myths of the Emerald Isle

Forget about shamrocks, leprechans, and all that blarney; 101 Things You Didn’t Know about Irish History dispels the myths and tells the true story of the Irish.

Complete with an Irish language primer and pronunciation guide, 101 Things You Didn’t Know about Irish History is an informative reference for anyone who loves the Irish.

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Dublin City Guide

The Story of St Patrick’s Day

Ireland Tourist Attractions

 

Earth From Space HD 1080p / Nova

The groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth.

 

Alternative Energy in Ireland

Photo by Jeff Schmaltz – NASA Earth Observatory. It is easy to see from this true-colour image why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle. Intense green vegetation, primarily grassland, covers most of the country except for the exposed rock on mountaintops. Ireland owes its greenness to moderate temperatures and moist air. The Atlantic Ocean, particularly the warm currents in the North Atlantic Drift, gives the country a more temperate climate than most others at the same latitude.

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The Irish are currently pursuing energy independence and the further development of their robust economy through the implementation of research and development into alternative energy sources.

Ballywater_WindFarmBallywater WindFarm. Looking Northwestward out over the salt marsh at the back of Morriscastle caravan park in Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford at the 42 MW 21 turbine wind farm at Ballywater close to Cahore Point and lying between the villages of Ballygarret to the North and Kilmuckridge to the South. Taken on afternoon of Sunday 6th May 2007.

At the time of this writing, nearly 90% of Ireland’s energy needs are met through importation—the highest level of foreign product dependence in the nation’s entire history. This is a very precarious situation to be in, and the need for developing alternative energy sources in Ireland is sharply perceived. Ireland also seeks to conserve and rejuvenate its naturally beautiful environment and to clean up its atmosphere through the implementation of alternative energy supplies. The European Union has mandated a reduction in sulphuric and nitric oxide emissions for all member nations. Green energy is needed to meet these objectives. Hydroelectric power has been utilized in Ireland in some areas since the 1930s and has been very effective; however, more of it needs to be installed. Ireland also needs to harness the wave power of the Atlantic Ocean, which on its west coast is a potential energy supply that the nation has in great store.

Inishmaan_turbines

Wind turbines on Inishmaan, photo by Towel401.

Ireland actually has the potential to become an energy exporter, rather than a nation so heavily dependent on energy importation. This energy potential resides in Ireland’s substantial wind, ocean wave, and biomass-producing alternative energy potentials. Ireland could become a supplier of ocean wave-produced electricity and biomass-fueled energy to continental Europe and, as they say, “make a killing”. At the present time, Ireland is most closely focused on reaching the point where it can produce 15% of the nation’s electricity through wind farms, which the government has set as a national objective to be reached by 2010. But universities, research institutes, and government personnel in Ireland have been saying that the development of ocean wave energy technology would be a true driving force for the nation’s economy and one which would greatly help to make Ireland energy independent. A test site for developing wave ocean energy has been established in Ireland, less than two miles off the coast of An Spideal in County Galway Bay. This experimental ocean wave harnessing site is known as “Wavebob”. The most energetic waves in the world are located off the West coast of Ireland, says Ireland’s Marine Institute CEO Dr. Peter Heffernan. The technology to harness the power of the ocean is only just emerging and Ireland has the chance to become a market leader in this sector. David Taylor, CEO of the Sustainable Energy Initiative,or SEI, tells us that SEI is committed to innovation in the renewable energy sector. Wave energy is a promising new renewable energy resource which could one day make a significant contribution to Ireland’s electricity generation mix thereby further reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

Padraig Walshe, the president of the Irish Farmers Association, tells us that with the closure of the sugar beet industry, an increasing amount of Irish land resources will become available for alternative uses, including bioenergy production. Today, renewable energy sources meet only 2% of Ireland’s total energy consumption. From a farming perspective, growing energy crops will only have a viable future if they provide an economic return on investment and labour, and if the prospect of this return is secure into the future. Currently the return from energy crops is marginal and is hampering the development of the industry. Biomass energies need to be further researched by Ireland.

Visiting Ireland

 

 

Bologna, ITALY: Tortellini Lessons at the Source

CHRISTMAS was many weeks away, but the smell of holiday tortellini was already in the air. On a rainy October evening, several young men from the Ducati motorcycle plant in Bologna traded their work clothes for paper caps and white aprons in a rustic country inn. Wooden tables laid with large maple boards, bowls of flour and fresh eggs lined one wall of the dining room. By ANN WILSON LLOYD

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Bologna_from_Asinelli_tower

San Petronio, Piazza Maggiore and Palazzo d’Accursio, photo taken from the top of Torre degli Asinelli, Bologna, Italy. Photo by the great Luca Volpi.

 Eating Italian Food in Italy

 

 

Young Swedes Flock to Newly Rich Norway for Work

Long a poor cousin in Scandinavia, Norway has surpassed Sweden to become one of the richest countries in the world — to the point where it has become a magnet for young Swedes ready to work hard to make quick money, and lots of it. ”When I was young, Swedes had whiter teeth, clearer skin, Abba and Bjorn Borg. We had lots of fish, and not much else. By IVAR EKMAN

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Reine in Lofoten, Norway

The village of Reine in Lofoten, Norway, photo by Petr Šmerkl, Wikipedia.