Europe, human and virtual or Middle Ages?

Europe has wisdom, sense, spirits and a good virtue. Yet, it appears that she disorderly managed valuable values. It is the time now to reinvent these and to work together on widening and deepening, due to believes in our prosperity and welfare.

My name is Europa. I’m a member of a family of approximately 500 million, a continent, a union of nations states (within public law / law of nations a rather new phenomeon) and a myth. I’m living in an organising world, where volatility, dynamics and developments in areas like cultures, religions, security, energy, climate, technics, economics, identity and other social processes are all in front of the stage. In this period of chances and worriments, people of Europe perceive changes and anticipate upon developments. Supported by the capacity of leading politicians, academics, other personalities and citizens to look forward and in advance as a whole and by their devotion, a lot of good has been achieved and will be still achieved. The present level of democracy, security, prosperity and welfare are indebted for acting in concert. So, ever took along with Zeus and had the son Minos (the mythical king of Crete), one should call oneself lucky and priviliged living with me and to feel my spirits. I’m also a union of nation states, represented by citizens and institutions. Not going for a requiem or hard power, but for seizing, shaping, promoting and protectioning. I have become mature and measured up to developments. I became a member of the world, where the world could not round about. There is more: developments and environments which shaped me, which are shaping me now and which will shape me in the future. I remember values of the Classics, the ranges of thoughts, trends and other meaningful events from the ancient and centuries beyond. About these days I can tell about social market-economies, my drive to enlarge, security and secular welfare nation states that marks me, just like my diversity in culture, religion, language and history, my humanistic views, pragmatic approach and my individualism. Concerning the future, I pave the way for developments for the make up of my family, where on one hand ageing and knowledge is present and on the other hand religion and birth. Areas like culture (identity), technics (nano, artificial fusion), social fit, political items and security are priorities on my agenda. I secure civilization and promote and safeguard the present values and affairs versus weak sides and paradoxes of globalisation. After all, values are there to help us live our lives and organise our societies. One could say: “I’m a multilateral creature with spirits of feeling, of cooperation and integration and of reason”. So much to feel, to think, to tell, to see, to hear, to invent and to teach. Good motives to write this treatise, which is composed of 4 chapters: the 1st one is devoted to spirits of feeling, the 2nd to spirits of the European Union, the 3rd to spirits of reasonThemes were definited because they are all related to each other, because they were and are within Europa in front of the stage, with reference to tracks of the  AIFestival” (www.aifestival.org) India was selected because of the special relationship and many similar political and social ideals. I secure civilization and promote and safeguard values and affairs versus weak sides and paradoxes of globalisation. After all, values are there to help us live our lives and organise our societies and I’m under the impression that compassion, arts and culture, tolerance and solidarity and social spirits are in life drivers. Believing that feelings of compassion are of essential importance, a archetype to defeate life, I make this spirit starting point. To have the disposal of compassion is a basic and neccesary condition to go on with other spirits. After all, living a life without is a life full of chillines and not really a life for human beings. I went through a seminar of Nexus Institute (www.nexus-instituut.nl) “Compassion, The Art of an Ethical Problem" about the meaning of compassion in moral, artistic and social respect, where on one hand askings for and questions were at the centre and on the other hand five intellectuals, thinkers of universal stature Jean Clair, Mitchell Cohen, George Klein, Ingrid Rowland and George Steiner lectured on compassion. Very welcome to my identity. Touch feelings of Compassion Compassion: the keen awareness of the interdepence of all things and the ultimate and most meaningful embodiment of the emotional maturity. It is shared suffering from the lowest level, but also share a meal and shaking hands are aspects. The moment of exchange counts. If you have the bacilli of that passion or obsession, you will defeat life. It is through compassion that a person achieves the highest peak and deepest reach in his or her search for selffulfillment. Touch feelings of compassion by:  Homer (Ilias, chapter 24). Go through the fights and killings. The resentment of Achilles against the Greek leader Agamemnon: quarrel about a captured female slave. That’s why Achilles withdraw himself from the fight with military adversity for the Greek as a consequence. The death of his comrade Patroclus stimulated Achilles to participate again in the combat to revenge oneself on the Trojan hero Hector. Last episode of the Ilias is the funeral of Hector.  portraitures of the body of Jesus on Maria's lap (the beautiful pietà’s of Titziano and Bellini).  “durch Mitleid wissend"-motive in Wagner's opera Parsifal. A young boy suddenly shoots a swan, at that time a holy animal. The knighthood is appalled about this action and the young boy breaks his bow and arrow. It was thought that the young boy was the predicted chaste fool so that he was invited to participate the Lord’s Supper (‘Zum Raum wird die Zeit’). However, the young boy did not care at all and did leave.


Volatile Art and Culture Art is a (product of) human activity, made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind; by transmitting emotions and/or ideas. Culture refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activities significance and importance. It reflect different theoretical bases for understanding, or criteria for evaluating, human activity and is manifested for example in music, literature, lifestyle, painting and sculpture and theater. In this organising world I sometimes think that I’m going to loose my existing valuable arts and culture, which was build up in the last 2500 years in exchange for “new volatile” culture and that in future there is a possibility that my familiy does’nt know anymore there was the core curriculum. If so, than in certain sense we are all responsible for the fact that we might loose:  the myth Europa  the Classics (Crete, Greek and Romans - Charlemagne)  established ranges of thoughts such as philosophy, politics, humanism, reformation and enlightenment  clergy (christianity, Judaism, the Templars, Benedictus)  knowledge about science (eg. from Archimedes, Newton, Huygens, Einstein)  thoughts about impressive trends as Romanic, renaissance, gothic and baroque  views on and fruits of meaningful events (restoration, colonial expansion, the French and industrial revolution, the fall of the Wall)  merits of architecture, sculpture, art, literature, poetry and music.

Volatile arts and culture. It looks like culture nowadays is less giving significance and importance and therefore from different level and from another order than in the past; more easy and rapid transitory. Think about “the internet culture”. Although of significance and importance, long standing and spread over the world, I feel it as rather chilly and as an easy culture. “Hiphop culture” seems to miss timbres. “Skate-culture” looks more to be a fashion and behaviour “good is what I think that is good” and “I-pod” lookes more fostered by a voice of egoism. It is ok to me, but only if it is supplementary. Comparing “old” and “new” arts and culture, “new” arts and culture brought a more trivial way of life: more easy and of short duration. I hope we will not forget Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Luther, Erasmus, Shakespeare, Marx, Hegel, George Steiner, Jürgen Habermas and many others. Together with “new” cultures, they are all inextricably bound up with me, just like Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Bach and Schönberg. So, no vanish from the stage and no exchange for EURO Top 20: ‘OneRepublic’, ‘Timbaland Featuring’, ‘Duffy’ and so on. Of great help to keep also the value of “old” culture is teaching. After all, lessons are the means to give food for reflection and it deepens the understanding of Western intellectual heritage.  Believe in Tolerance, naïve?

New borders in a new world. Ethnic nationalism, different creeds. It is important to understand each others arguments. In addition reciprocity seems to be a keyword. Used in social, cultural and religious contexts tolerance describes attitudes and practices that prohibit discrimination against those practices or group memberships that may be disapproved of by those in the majority. Though developed to refer to the religious toleration of minority religious sects, tolerance is increasingly used to refer to a wider range of tolerated practices and groups or political parties or ideas widely considered objectionable. 

 John Locke proposed a more detailed and systematic theory of toleration, which included a principle of Separation of Church and State that formed the basis for future constitutional democracies. The philosophers and writers of the Enlightenment, especially Voltaire and Lessing, promoted and further developed the notion of religious tolerance, which however was not sufficient. The usual definition of tolerance in pre-modern times as Bernard Lewis puts it was that: “I am in charge. I will allow you some though not all of the rights and privileges that I enjoy, provided that you behave yourself according to rules that I will lay down and enforce”. Very topical on tolerance are Jurgen Habermas’ statements during his lecture in March last at Nexus Institute: The Post secular Society-What does it mean? Habermas explained the strained relations between creed, church, the state, individual citizens, politics and society: “Tolerance is often seen as synonym for respect. But that is a misunderstanding. In European history tolerance mostly went attendend by a lack of respect – minorities were hold in contempt, but were tolerated. Separation of Church and State is not the solution for all problems anymore. Secular range of thougt is dominant in our society and the faithful don’t feel well, often even discriminated. In daily life citizens have to exert oneselves to understand each others arguments. For that purpose they should learn something of each others vocabulary. After that they can mention points of differences, make concessions and overcome disputes. Only understanding is needed to do business”. Of great help to understand the idea of tolerance and each others arguments is dialogue and schooling. After all, lessons are the means to give food for reflection. “Where to begin?” wrote philosopher Hassan Hanafin in 2005. In January this year the European Union and Grand Mufti mr. Hassoun answered that question. Motto now is “Maintaining the Dialogue”. Furthermore, the Alliance of Civilizations, the Coalition of the Global Commons and myriad other institutions are active in this direction. The EU declaired 2008 “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue”. A partnership between a faculty, some universities and an institute will organise the Management International Conference “Intercultural Dialogue and Management” in Barcelona November 2008 (http://www.mic.fm-kp.si/2008/). In daily life citizens have to exert oneselves to understand each others arguments. Believe in tolerance could also be seen as a part of solution of the situation on the Western Balkans (Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnie, Macedonia). How the European perspective could be strengthened, how about Kosovo, a new state within Europa, how will situations further develop and how to manage to let perspective succeed. History and believes are very important elements. In Kosovo furious young people and drugs-maffia is of significance. In Serbia is a fast ageing of population present. Russia and Serbia has strong ties for centuries and a voluminous part of the citizens sympathize with Russia, another voluminous part will join the EU. America is also giving pressure. Nevertheless, a wide commited policy of encompassing and by comprehensive politics increase also chances to succeed in satisfied solutions: "Civil Society Development in Southeast Europe: Building Europe Together" (EU). Solidarity as attitude to life and Social Spirits In the organising world my family is living in social market economies, the main economic model used in Western and Northern Europe. The social market economy seeks a middle path between socialism and capitalism (i.e. a mixed economy) and aims at maintaining a balance between a high rate of economic growth, low inflation, low levels of unemployment, good working conditions, social welfare, and public services, by using state intervention. Basically respecting the free market, the social market economy is opposed to both a planned economy and laissez-faire capitalism. Globalisation is an opportunity for economic and social progress and yet many citizens across the European Union apprehend it and tear its negative social impact. Solidarity and social rights are indivisible values on which the European Union is founded. Creating necessary conditions for citizens to make the most of the opportunities offered by globalisation, is therefore committed by policy makers and the Union. FeelingEUROPE: ‘my name is EUROPA’ | 6/15 In April the European Commission in cooperation with the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS, www.ceps.eu) organised a conference “A Social Europe Fit for Globalisation”. The event was related for a part to the Commission’s preparations for a renewed Social Agenda. How to accomodate a global dynamic as increased immigration for instance has become more prominent on the policy agenda and is now viewed as an urgent issues in many member states. The study on the social impact of globalisation informs that, although there are fears, social policy and the capacity and potentials of my family to maintain its commitments to solidarity is of rather solid nature. The key message is that the EU as a whole will gain from globalisation. However, Europa urges that the social impact of globalisation in the EU context has to be regularly analysed in relation between inequality, growth and poverty and its policy of existing rules ongoing readjusted to prevent “social dumping” and to maintain and stimulate increase social achievements. According to the study, core of a social policy is in education, immigration policy, labour market and economic reforms and the re-shaping of social protection in order to rescue the existing social welfare systems, especially of public pension and health insurance schemes. It are keys for a succesful response of globalisation. Based on the study on the social impact of globalisation:  globalisation is more an opportunity than a menance  globalisation brings aggregate benefits ..........  ........ but there are undeniably adverse consequences  what are the core policy challenges?  Policy responses to globalisation may further increase uncertainties ......  ......... but can also favour the capacity to adjust  globalisation is not the only rationale for reinventing the welfare state .....  the European social model is not doomed! However, “fear is justifiably so at least for the 78 million Europeans who live on the brink of poverty”. Social solidarity refers to the integration, and degree and type of integration, shown by a society or group. It refers to the ties in a society - social relations - that bind people to one another. What forms the basis of solidarity varies between societies. In some less complex societies it may be mainly based around kinship and shared values. In more complex societies there are various theories as to what contributes the sense of social solidarity. Émile Durkheim introduced the terms "mechanical" and "organic solidarity" as part of his theory of the development of societies. In a society exhibiting mechanical solidarity, its cohesion and integration comes from the homogeneity of individuals—people feel connected through similar work, educational and religious training, and lifestyle. Mechanical solidarity normally operates in "traditional" and small scale societies. Organic solidarity comes from the interdependence that arises from specialization of work and the complementarities between people—a development which occurs in "modern" and "industrial" societies. 

SPIRITS OF COOPERATION AND INTEGRATION: the European Union (EU)

I secure civilization and promote and safeguard values and affairs versus weak sides and paradoxes of globalisation. After all, values are there to help us live our lives and organise our societies. Of great addition is to further cooperate and to integrate to help to flourish the communities. Many movements and societies tried to make a unity of me. It is certainly not a new phenomenon: Greek, Romans, Charlemagne, but also world war II are examples. Ranges of thought concerning core curriculum, clergy and scientists as well as impressive trends contributed to integration and brought me my properties and qualities. Furthermore, not only meaningful events, but also merits from the past have strongly influenced my character. Now again I’m going for cooperation and integration. Since Hague Congress 60 years ago, where Konrad Adenauer, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, François Mitterrand, Paul-Henry Spaak, Albert Coppé and Altiero Spinelli took an active role, I still take the road of increasing peace, democracy, freedoms, security, equality, solidarity, tolerance, the rule of law, citizen’s rights, justice and culture to built together a new order. Randolph S. Bourne wrote in “The Atlantic Monthley” in 1916: “We have needed the new people and orders to save from stagnation”. Well, a strong point of me is the drive to enlarge. That quality proved to be the single most cost-effective instrument for promoting piece and security. Emerge of my family is therefore needed. In that connection, I’m tying items and issues together continuously, internal as well as external, I solve issues, I’m realistic, I stay keen and in cases I’m prepaired to revert to unpleasant methods. All of this almost like matters of course. “Ohne Union werden die Länder elkander bekämpfen. Mit liefert stabilität” sagte der President des Europäischen Parlaments H.G. Pöttering 16-04-08). There are people around me, who wants to become part of the family and who wants to strengthen peace and democracy and promote welfare. When it become more catching and more citizens and institutions will join, then challenges in fields as foreign policy (enlargement, immigration), energy, sustainability, climate-control), security (control of terrorism) and employment can be still much more strongly performed and managed. However, thinking of me has to be ongoing encouraged. After all, except there is not enough notion, there is also always a reverse side and are obstacles to take into account: somebody said to me “without one language no feeling Europe”. A part of the family has the view that I have no incorporation and authority and that therefore it looks as if activities are being performed without arranging competences. Also the thought that common policies pulls power away and that therefore somewhere else less influence rests, is an element of delay in the process of integration. Other elements that slows down the progress is that enlargement (in connection with security and immigration) and further integration, remains taken up by a part of the family as a threat (in stead of a strength). Finally, there are also views that further integration is not necessary needful. One considers the existing cooperation sufficient to obtain goals. Nevertheless, there is a solid chance that the co-ordinated treaty will enter into force 01-01-2009, provided that all members of the family have ratified it. After all, to fit it all comfortably within dominant cultural mores and conventional morality persons, the community needs rule of law. Hague Congress 1948 European integration common policy common policy - broadening (new fields of competence) - widening (geographical enlargement) - deepening (institutional reform) 

SPIRITS OF REASON

I secure civilization and promote and safeguard values and affairs versus weak sides and paradoxes of globalisation. After all, values are there to help us live our lives and organise our societies. Attention for education, innovation and technology, global dynamics, climate and sustainability, global commerce and world economy, the net generation and food and society is therefore a demand. Education: drawing out latent talents Education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgement and well-developed wisdom. Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation. Education means 'to draw out', facilitating realisation of self-potential and latent talents of an individual. It was fixed in the philosophical and psychological treatises of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds that children are to be reared for citizenship, and that this required systematic schooling in what is often translated as virtue. The Greek arête translates readily as moral excellence and refers to a set of behavioural and emotional dispositions, powers of self-control, and the adoption of worthy goals. Bertrand Russell said “most people would sooner die than think, in fact they do so”, Allan Bloom wrote the book “The Closing of the American Mind about triviality and quality of education. Perhaps an enumerate of study guides of Intercollegiate Studies Institute (www.isi.org) of the most important fields of knowledge could support people: natural science, study of law, political philosophy, religious studies, liberal learning, European history, literature, Classics, music history, European political thought, economics, philosophy, history, the core curriculum, psychology. I think this knowledge, including transmission of knowledge about “old” culture, the idea of tolerance and social policy, family ties, environment, Europa and globalisation tackles the whole and will make the mind open. Children and young people needs teaching and schooling. It is plausible that most of them cannot teach themselves. Process of education in the Netherlands was one of experiments during several decades. It looks that it resulted in incomprehension and that there was too less drive in required matters. Fundamental is the must to lead up to ways to find the right knowledge and instructing about substances. Learning is to understand and after that the search follows of a better grade or salary in future. Lessons are the means to give food for reflection. It let see and feel human beings what values meant during their existence. Besides, it helps to contribute to maintain dialogues and to understand each others arguments. Schooling and teaching is pre-eminent(ly) the way to built a fit society, in which also full play should be given for innovation and technology. Importance of Innovation and Technology Believe should not be a factor that arrests further developments, like it was ages before. Far in the past clerics checked developments concerning innovation. However, just after the Middle Ages progress of inventions became in front and clergy realized the importance of such progress. After that they did’nt stop the developments anymore, but they began to stimulate research in order to realise solutions. Nowadays we are used to a high velocity of inventions: artificial fusion, nano and quantum, information technologies and it became a part of the global dynamic. I still want to make progress. I strive for invention of and connection with new technologies and instituted “EIT” (European Institute of Innovation and Technology, http://ec.europa.eu/eit/), a new initiative which aims to become a flagship for excellence in European innovation in order to face the challenges of globalisation. 

Technology is a broad concept that deals with a species' usage and knowledge of tools and crafts, and how it affects a species' ability to control and adapt to its environment. Innovation is in economics, business and government policy,- something new - must be substantially different, not an insignificant change. In economics the change must increase value, customer value, or producer value. Innovations are intended to make someone better off, and the succession of many innovations grows the whole economy. The need to have sufficient technicians and engineers is therefore of vital importance. ITER It is of importance to give innovations (science, technics, ict) an extra impulse for development. New ways to generate energy for instance. There is the International Thermonucleair Experimental Reactor, the ITER-project (www.iter.org), an innovative invention. It is a joint international research and development projects that aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power. Fusion is the energy source of the sun and the starts. On earth, fusion research is aimed at demonstrating that this energy source can be used to produce electricity in a safe and environmentally benign way, with abundant fuel resources, to meet the needs of a growing world population. The partners in the projects - the ITER Parties - are the European Union (represented by EURATOM), Japan, the People's Republic of China, India, the Republic of Korea, the Russion Federation and the USA. ITER will be constructed in Europe, at Cadarache in the South of France. In a fusion reaction, two light atomic nuclei fuse together to form heavier ones. The fusion process releases a large amount of energy.

Nano and quantum Other promising technologies are nano and quantum. The term nano was already used in 1974 by the Tokyo Science University: “Nano-technology mainly consists of the processing of, separation, consolidation and deformation of materials by one atom of by one molecul. It is manipulating of matter. In natural science quantum is an indivisible quantity. Research is on atomic or subatomic level. Recently efforts were attempt to make a quantum-computer. Such a computer will be able to execute still at this time impossible calculations, which brings along large consequences and progress concerning developments in most of the area. Information techologies Fantastic technologies in the present information society: tomtomerising, websibisioism, speeddates, screening and migration technology, total body scan (the computer can read and show the state of mind of one’s moods) and gene-history. Will I take my privacy easier? I experienced several of these new technologies at a festival “The glass body”, organised by Rathenau Institute (www.Rathenau.nl), which institute stimulates public debate and political judgement about social, ethical and political effects of modern science and technology. artificial fusion device nano quantum backscatter Global Dynamics, working on possibilities I’ve thought how to complete this chapter. So little blank and so many themes are present and all of the themes are worth to say something about it: search of identity, tolerance, migration of nations, energy, technologies, changes in climate, labour markets and trade flows or a (supposed) democratic deficit. Themes became “globalisation” and “demography”. It is to be expected that globalisation will give the world a good shaking with large consequences. Europa thinks that her achievements, values and identity may not be lost, but for the progress she has to stimulate enlargement, employment, growth, trade, social rights. FeelingEUROPE: ‘my name is EUROPA’ | 10/15 Due to a presentation in February at AmCham EU, the President of the European Commission José Barosso said: “Protecting competition and our internal market rules does not mean being protectionist. It means protecting European citizens and the European interest and values”. Globalisation, as subject to teach? In several chapters of this treatise attention is given to many items and issues concerning globalisation and global dynamics. In doing so, I will only suffice with saying that globalisation asks to become a separate subject at schools. After all, the phenomenon is present in almost all fields. Adopted definitions of importance that could trigger further thougths and views on this theme are:  “Integration into the world economy” and increased interdependence “through” trade, investment, finance, regional integration, technology, and demographic factors” (Richardson)  “growing integration of economies and societies around the world as a result of flows of goods and services, capital, people and ideas (Dollar)  external opening and an increased role of markets internally (Robinson)  process in which “trade grows more rapidly than production” (Storper)  “Closer integration of the countries and peoples of the world which had been brought about by the enourmous reduction of costs of transportation and communication, and the breaking down of the artificial barrieres to the flows of goods, services, capital, knowledge and (to a lesser extent) of people across borders” (Stiglitz)  ”reorganization of production into global production systems, notably global value chains and export processing zones (Carr & Che)  “gradual of integration of economies and societies driven by new technologies, new economic relationships and the national and international policies of a wide range of actors, including governments, international organisations, business, labour and civil society (Gunter & van der Hoeven)  “Globaliserung ist von immenser Bedeuting. Menschen kommen mehr und mehr zusammen und es bekommt ein Platz in das Gehirn von Menschen” (H.G. Pöttering 16-04-08). Demography About 1,5 million immigrants a year till 2050 could be expected. High priority how to manage and monitor immigrant-waves is therefore a continious ongoing item. After all, the divers European spiritual and material achievements are too valuable to loose. How best to integrate their diverse cultures and religions into relatively homogeneous societies. Long term programs to strengthen cohesion and communial sense and taking care that absorption and understanding of each other culture should become general accepted, is needed. International dialogue is of great help to achieve goals. In this connection the need of identity is back in front of the stage. Identity is from deep impact and inextricably bound up with our lives. After all, living without is hardly possible. Another important phenomenon that is perceived as profound interest, is the one of combination concerning ageing -knowledge  birth – religion. In 2004 the well considered thought of European Neighbourhood Policy was developed with the objective to share the benefits of the EU’s 2004 enlargement with neighbourhood countries and of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and neighbours and instead strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all concerned. The EU typically concludes Association Agreements in exchange for commitments to political, economic, trade, or human rights reform in a country. In exchange, the country may be offered tariff-free access to some or all EU markets (industrial goods, agricultural products, etc), and financial or technical assistance. ENP policy is of help to slow down flows of immigrants. Climate and sustainability Environment is back on the political agenda: the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" from Al Gore made us wakening and the British leading economist Nick Stern figured out that if do'nt do nothing, we make a loss of 5% GDP yearly (http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/stern_review_economics_climate_change/sternreview_index.cfm). Costs of EU climate policy amounts to 55 milliard a year. 

A range of measures are agreed and also deforestation was already widely discussed: citizens can do something at home, on the road, at the office, at school. State and local governements are participating in national voluntary programs and initiatives, are analyzing the costs and benefits of actions and developing and apply innovative programs and strategies that achieve wide-ranging benefits to businesses, the environment and public health. Business can educate their industry, consumers, and employees about global warming; and what further steps can be taken to further "lead by example." Also waste-preventing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by implementing sequestration and other agriculture/forestry projects are important priorities. The addition of greenhouse gases and aerosols has changed the composition of the atmosphere and have likely influenced temperature, precipitation, storms and sea level. Politics launched on the agenda’s in December “The Bali Action Plan”. Recently there was the 4th Annual Brussels Climate Change Conference (Epsilon) and in July there is the G8+5 summit. Furthermore, IETA (trading in greenhouse gas emission reductions http://www.ieta.org/ieta/www/pages/index.php) and also the United Nations play an important role to prevent negative change. EU leaders agreed about an increase of carbon monoxide of 20%. An agreement was made too that in the year of 2020 at least 20% of energy need to be sustainable. Prime minister of Japan conducts the discussions concerning environmental protection and climate change. There will be a consultation together what efforts will be needed to realise the aims of the Kyoto protocol. Probably there is also consultation about succession of a new framework after 2012. How to realize the goals? Which mixture of policy-instruments is the optimum? What are the costs for the society and the public treasury? How should the European goals be translated to the national goals? What has to be done at least by the government? Must the present generation sacrifice prosperity? Or, if next generations will become richer, will they invest in the enormous amounts to force back the change? In other words: What are the Economics of the Climate Change?.......................................................................

Global Commerce and the World Economy

Good news is that the EU has been amoung the winners of India’s rapid expension, in particulair in the field of business services. Other questionable news is volatile: stock indices, European rate refinancing interest 4%, ”high” euro value (X-rates 29 June: EUR/USD 1,5555, EUR/BRL 2,5888, EUR/RUB 36,8888, EUR/INR 62,4888 and EUR / CNY 10,9999). Poverty in Africa, in the midst of a world credit crisis (George Soros), a “weak” American economy (Lawrence Summers in a Dutch newspaper from April) and strong increasing prices for food. This last issue was also raised by George Soros during a meeting in April about his Latest book “The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means”. Soros said "markets are not out of trouble yet. Hedgefunds need to be controlled and the commodities bubble is still in the growth phase”. On the other hand there are joint efforts of a range of (transatlantic) organizations and policies that will and can enhance economies and welfare, for instance:  G8+5 (www.mofa.go.jp/policy/economy/summit/2008/)  DOHA rounds are there to give developing countries a better chance to sell their agricultural products to rich countries  WTO (www.wto.org) global international organisation, dealing with the rules of trade between nations. Goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters and importers conduct their business  OECD (www.OECD.org) is for a better world economy  Framework for advancing transatlantic economic integration between the EU and the USA (www.TPNonline.org)  ENP European Neighbourhood Policy. The EU typically concludes Association Agreements in exchange for commitments to political, economic, trade, or human rights reform in a country. In exchange, the country may be offered tariff-free access to some or all EU markets (industrial goods, agricultural products, etc), and financial or technical assistance. The meeting of the G8+5, the group of the 7 richest industrial countries (G7) + Russia + the heads of government of the 5 leading emerging economies and international organisations (African Union, IEA, UN, UNESCO, Worldbank, WGO and IMF), will take place from 7 up to including 9 July 2008 on the of exceptional natural beauty island Hokkaido (Japan). Climate change and poverty in Africa are also important issues on the agenda. 

The Net Generation It looks like culture nowadays is less giving significance and importance and therefore from different level and from another order than in the past: more easy and rapid transitory. Think about “the internet culture”. Although of significance and importance, long standing and spread over the world, I feel it as rather chilly and as an easy culture. However, the new culture is rising and the development cannot be stopped: online shoppen versus physical. E-commerce, orders by internet the way it goes now, will disappear. In stead of it, V-commerce will become cours of things: virtual threedimensional shoppen in centra, provide for chat and sales-advice by peers. The new generation does not see the necessity to visit shops physically. However, visiting will not completely disappear. People has their organs of sense and wants to keep the possibility to touch, smell and taste. We stand in need of communication services, communications delivered via electronic or electromechanical energy. February 2007 CEPS held the conference "The Future of Communications Services in Europe and the United States: The role of Regulation and Markets in a Converged World", keynote speech by C. Boyden Gray. Three main themes were discussed:  investments in next generation Networks  network neutrality  content development. The conference informed among other things about a gap between present technical possibilities and the lack of fast connections and of "broader band". Service providers and telecom companies have to work faster and have still to do a lot to bridge the gaps concerning faster internet and broader broadband by wireless networks. Fantastic technologies in the present information society, but keep fragile consequences in mind. Public debate and political judgement about social, ethical and political effects of modern science and technology, have to ongoing challenge public to cast a glance at the future. Debates, lectures, talkshows, art, theater and experiments are the tools to awaken individuals within societies that they are more and more unable to keep things private. We must ask ourselves questions: “are we taking things easier nowadays if we hand over information to institutions and ngo's? Was permission given if information was used for other purposes than aimed? How about the law? How about privacy?” After all, devices are used to store information. Food and Society One bread, some rice: food, necessity of life. “Still, lot of people have to pay more than half of their daily income for food” (World Bank). Increasing prices on high for food by high energy prices and increasing demand. This crisis is not only economical or humanitarian, but also a democratic and politcal issue, by which regulation, food sharing and alternatives plays important roles. That is not good news. Riots, plunderings and strikes are consequences. So, time for action concerning a world wide food policy. Financial support to the poorest, increasing efficiency for agriculture, research on other forms of maize, biology and demolishing of trade barriers. Help from the world bank and IMF and (financial) instruments for reduction of the fluctuations in food prices. Organics and agriculture policies to the latest ideas to combate modern famine; balancing the conversion of food crops to fuels and using genetic modification.

How getting in sync with your partner can lead to increased intimacy and sexual desire

Researchers discover a link between nonverbal synchronization and relationship success.

Pixabay
Sex & Relationships
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How humans evolved to live in the cold

Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Surprising Science
  • According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
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Stan Lee, Marvel co-creator, is dead at 95

The comics titan worked for more than half a century to revolutionize and add nuance to the comics industry, and he built a vast community of fans along the way.

(Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Lee died shortly after being rushed to an L.A. hospital. He had been struggling with multiple illnesses over the past year, reports indicate.
  • Since the 1950s, Lee has been one of the most influential figures in comics, helping to popularize heroes that expressed a level of nuance and self-doubt previously unseen in the industry.
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