Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Prince William launches earth-saving climate action international prize!

You go, William!

"The Duke of Cambridge has announced “the most prestigious environmental prize in history” in a bid to galvanise a decade of action to repair the planet.
The Earthshot Prize aims to encourage and inspire people across the world to find innovative new solutions to one of the gravest problems facing the Earth.
A multi-million pound prize will be awarded to five winners a year over 10 years, comprising at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest problems by 2030.
The Duke, 37,  joined forces with Sir David Attenborough to make the announcement just as the first countries around the globe saw in the New Year and a new decade.
He said: “The earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve.
“Remember the awe inspiring civilisations that we have built, the life-saving technology we have created, the fact that we have put a man on the moon.
“People can achieve great things. The next ten years presents us with one of our greatest tests - a decade of action to repair the Earth.”"

You can find more details here.

Saturday, October 12, 2019


Image result for elizabeth may green party 

With just over a week to go before the election, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has made a rookie mistake and reduced his party to the tail trying to wag the Liberal-dog.

Singh has ruled out his party supporting the Conservative Party under any circumstances.

Because the Conservatives will not win a majority of seats in the House, based on current polls, the rules that apply to our Parliament provide that the next Prime Minister will be Justin Trudeau.

Even if the Conservatives won more seats than the Liberals (but less than 50% plus 1 of all seats), Trudeau will table a Throne Speech and the House will then vote confidence in him or withhold such confidence.

Because the Liberals will need support from other parties to gain a majority of MPs expressing support in his government, they will need MPs from the NDP, the Green Party and/or Bloc Quebecois to survive that confidence vote.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Writers, how to test if your title for your novel is a really really good one

It's very easy to do.
Just go to Lulu Titlescorer (click here) and you can get some useful input on your choices.

Here's some of that Lulu offers:

Put your title to the test

Want to know if you've got a killer title for your novel? Now, for the first time in literary history, you can put your title to the scientific test and find out whether it has what it takes for bestseller success.
Are you brave enough to put your title to the test?

The Lulu Titlescorer has been developed exclusively for Lulu by statisticians who studied the titles of 50 years' worth of top bestsellers and identified which title attributes separated the bestsellers from the rest.
We commissioned a research team to analyse the title of every novel to have topped the hardback fiction section of the New York Times Bestseller List during the half-century from 1955 to 2004 and then compare them with the titles of a control group of less successful novels by the same authors.
The team, lead by British statistician Dr. Atai Winkler, then used the data gathered from a total of some 700 titles to create this "Lulu Titlescorer" a program able to predict the chances that any given title would produce a New York Times No. 1 bestseller.
The fruit of this work is presented here, in the form of the Lulu Titlescorer: a program that you can use to gauge the chances that your own title will deliver you a New York Times No. 1 bestseller.

Go on! Try it!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Psst! Look this way, PM Trudeau: Hope is nigh

Trudeau’s policy of fighting climate change is under fire in the provinces:

In contrast, former federal Conservative cabinet minister James Moore said that the onus is on Trudeau to go back to the drawing board and come up with a way to fight climate change that isn’t a tax, or risk prompting a national unity crisis over the carbon tax fight.

“Please tell me that the plan that Justin Trudeau has been failing at for three-and-a-half years isn’t all they’ve got. They need to retool … and come forward with something reasonable that reflects the democratic reality of what we saw in Alberta on election night,” Moore said.

One way the Trudeau government can implement an effective global warming reduction policy is to employ the efforts of millions of ordinary people to take steps to achieve just that.

Yet when I suggested to the Trudeau government a few months ago a way to do that (using the GaiaHope Eco-Prize concept described in this post), their reaction was that they thought they had everything under control with their existing climate policies.

Perhaps now that so many provices have elected governments that oppose the main plank of Trudeau’s climate change policy, he might instruct one of his ministers to revisit the GaiaHope Eco-Prize concept, and go straight to the people to get them onside with steps to reduce CO2 emissions?

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Miracle at Notre Dame cathedral

Miraculously, the Pieta statue in Notre Dame cathedral seems to have survived intact, even though debris from the burnt roof fell very close to it, as the photograph shows.

The Pieta statue is beautiful; we gazed in awe at it during our research inside Notre Dame before I wrote The Euros: Notre Dame Point Zero.

Here is the portion of The Euros describing the Pieta:

Deep into the cathedral, beyond the choir stalls, a griefstricken Mary throws her arms out wide, face turned to heaven, her Son, just descended from the Cross, spread lifeless across her knees.

Eight bronze angels watch the two kings kneeling next to her: Louis XIII to her left offers her his crown and scepter, and Louis XIV, in identical pose but without any offering, kneels to her right.

Sculptor Nicolas Coustou, the son of a woodcarver who was greatly influenced by Michelangelo, has caught with great beauty the anguish on the mother’s face, slightly tilted to her left, and the lack of life in the face of the Man lying on her knee, and in his right hand, that has fallen to the floor before her.

Behind her, the tall, bright cross rears into the air.

Below her, a stone table with eight pillars supporting its heavy top is covered by a white table cloth; seven heavy candlesticks stand on it, bearing seven thick white candles.

A bulky man, clad in a thick jacket, sits on the floor before the table, a thin chain, threaded through the spaces between the pillars of the table, holding his slumping body upright.

His hands are taped to the floor, while his short legs sprawl out towards the top of the three brightly colored steps that lead down to the level of the choir stalls.

The index finger of his right hand has been removed, and the open wound cauterized by a small blowtorch. Dried blood has settled below the hand, staining the richness of the marble floor.

Notre Dame Cathedral tragedy

A tragedy unfolded in the heart of Paris, as the ancient Notre Dame cathedral burned fiercely.

When researching my novel The Euros: Notre Dame Point Zero we visited the cathedral several times, exploring every nook and cranny that we could.

One striking thing is the amount of wood in the cathedral roof; and this gave me an idea for the novel:

“My God!” the Historian exclaimed, his head snapping up as he remembered something.
“The roof! There is a forest of wooden beams up there, all old and dry! I forgot to tell you when we talked about similarities between the old Commune and these men, but in 1871, the rebels marched into the cathedral and forced the clergy out. Then they plundered the Treasury. When they started to withdraw, they brought two wagons loaded with petroleum, to set fire to the cathedral.”
His pale face showed his horror.
“They piled up chairs in five different spots, poured petroleum over them and added gunpowder. A fire was started in the choir, and caused some damage; it also burned the altar and some of the flagstones. The heat from the burning chairs melted seven of the bronze lamps that were hanging from the roof. But then the rebels feared the fire might reach the Hôtel-Dieu, where some rebels were being treated, so they did not spread it.
Instead, they fled, and people rushed in to save it.”
He grasped Knuckle’s arm.
“Did he say anything about what explosives have been put in the roof?”
She shook her head. “He was not taken up the stairs to the roof, but he was told that explosives had also been placed in the roof.”
The Historian screwed his eyes shut, clasped his hands before him, and started a silent prayer.

Here are some photos of the cathedral, and of the wood in its ceiling.

Archbishops are buried in the crypt below the cathedral, and the crypt plays a role in my The Euros novel.