10MB Broadband upgrade!

I’ve just been informed by Telewest, my ISP, that my connection will soon be upgraded from 2MB to 10MB for downloads and from 256KB to 384KB for uploads! The best thing about this is that the upgrade is 100% free.

Is this the time to start thinking about hosting from home?

US Justice steps up to the plate… finally

Alvin K Hellerstein, a federal judge, ordered the release of more pictures of prisoners being abused at Abu Ghraib. The US government argued against this – saying that releasing the pictures would “would aid al-Qaeda recruitment, weaken the Afghan and Iraqi governments and incite riots against American troops”. I don’t think the government has any concerns over this, I think they really just don’t want to give the anti-war groups more ammunition.

At least Alvin K Hellerstein saw right through them. He said he was applying the Freedom of Information Act. Good on ya!

The American Civil Liberties Union brought the action almost two years ago in a lawsuit demanding information on the treatment of detainees in US custody and the transfer of prisoners to countries known to use torture.

The Abu Ghraib photo release article was carried today at News24.

Ominous South African land seizure

There are reports that the South-African government is moving to sieze land for the first time. I’m always sceptical about these kind of reports, but this story has been carried on CNN, BBC and IOL. Interestingly though, it is not carried by News24.

If it is true, it is very very worrying. Zimbabwe is the obvious example of how badly forced land distribution can go. I think this is the biggest challenge to a stable & peaceful South Africa. Without some land distribution South-Africa will be in serious trouble, but the whites won’t accept being forced off their land either. It is a very tricky situation.

Something like this can force one to re-evaluate your future.

The London Zoo

Sumatran TigerWe visited The London Zoo today. I was hoping to practice taking wildlife photography, but it didn’t quite work out that way. The animals are either behind glass or fencing, which of course makes photographing them difficult.

This tiger photo is the best I could do. But, even though it looks OK here, it was pretty far away and I couldn’t get a great shot. This is a Sumatran Tiger. They’re slightly smaller than Siberian tigers (but still huge) and alarmingly there are only about 400 of these magnificent predators left. Check out this Sumatran Tigers website to find out more about these cats.

The London zoo itself is not really what I expected. I get the feeling that the zoo is much more about preserving endangered and threatened species than a showpiece of animals. In fact, I’m against the idea of keeping animals in small enclosures for human entertainment. As a way of preserving species though, I’m all for it. Also, the enclosures aren’t “small” as such – they’re actually quite big, but obviously no cage can be big enough for a wild animal.

I encourage anyone who is concerned about our natural heritage to spend the ú14 and go to the zoo. They are doing very good work.

Weekend trip to Northern Germany

Tabea Holtmann
Tabea Holtmann
We got back from our long-weekend trip to Northern Germany on Monday. The main reason for the trip was that one of my wife’s best friends gave birth to a girl 6 months ago and we wanted to introduce ourselves.

This (on the photo) is her. Her name is Tabea and she is adorable. Anke & Carsten, Tabea’s parents, asked Lené to be Tabea’s god-mother. Lené is predictably over the moon with this honour.

To see more of Tabea, Anke, Carsten (aka Holti) and Northern Germany check out my Northern Germany set on Flickr.

Northern Germany
Northern Germany

Northern Germany really is a beautiful region. There is very little of the rat race here and the people are friendly here as well. The most well known towns in the area are Bremen (from the Bremen Town Musicians fable) and Hamburg.

Being a right snob, I have to say that the North Sea (see photos as well) didn’t impress me much. But as a South-African I’m probably spoilt when it comes to oceans and beaches.

Hilda Smits: towenaar

Julle kan gerus na Hilda Smits se dig blog gaan loer by dignet. Sy is vreeslik goed, nee eintlik is sy briljant.

Ek is besig om ‘n website te bou teen trofee jag (by StopHunting.org) en toe vra ek haar of sy weet van ‘n natuur gedig wat ek kan gebruik. Sy het toe vanself met die stukkie magic vorendag gekom:

die trofees
die koppe teen jou kamermuur tuur glasig uit oor land en wier vas
gemessel sonder graf of steen jou vier mure demp die reuk van reen
soveel fier oe in jou tronk vermink verower die dag rus loodswaar
op sy drie pote maar jy klein man rower van die stom siel was jou
hande in bloed blind vir verstarde spoke snags soekend na reen

Dit het my sommer ‘n knop in die keel gegee. Rerig.

Our Parisian breakaway

Eiffel Tower (Paris, France)As you might have gathered from my previous post, we had a superb breakaway to Paris for the bank-holiday weekend. We saw many of the sites including: The Pompidou Centre, The Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, The Sacre Coeur, The Champs ElysTes, The Louvre & The Arc de Triomphe. Paris just has sooo much to offer. I really love this city. Plus the food is, what can I say, French.

This was the first time that we actually used the Eurostar and it makes so much sense. The actual journey time is maybe an hour longer than flying, but in reality it takes about an hour less door to door. Even more so fo us because Waterloo is only about 15 minutes away from Wimbledon (where we live). Check in/out is a dawdle as well. We’ll certainly be doing this again.

Please check out my Paris photos as well. My personal favourite is the guy sitting in his window sill with his kid.

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