Tag Archives: Weird world

Die Gänte

Wenn Gans meets Ente, dann gibt’s Gänte.

To the right, a normal sized duck. To the left, the youngster – proof of an interspecies relationship?

Human parallel

Some time ago, I wrote about what humans consider to be invasive species vs. the useful ones. Useful to humans, obviously.

As a friend pointed out, a lot of people have exactly the same attitude to migrant workers once they are not needed any longer. When they were invited, the host nation received them quite pleased and congratulated itself for having them – who else would do the work? – but then they dared to stay, to bring their wives, to have children. Not to mention that they had their own language, culture or even a different religion.

And now?


Corruption of the mind

Tunesia: The upheavel threatens the economic stability.*
Libya: The revolution increases the oil price.*
Japan: The earthquake and its consequences are a threat to the global economic growth.*

When exactly did the economy become more important than freedom, than democracy, than life?

* Read in regular online news.

A matter of taste*

I never quite understood how it comes that the English like the accent French speakers have. To me, it is ok as long as it is only a faint accent, but a strong one is about as enjoyable as having your toe nails removed. Without anaesthetics** painful.

But then I realised that it is all a matter of taste. After all, I’ve never seen as many – what I consider – badly dressed people as in the UK: leggings and shorts; undersized cloths on oversized people, hyper creative colour combinations…

* Or: How to insult two nations with one post.

** Mes chers amis français, je vous aimes! D’autant plus que nous pouvons communiquer sans devoir passer par une autre langue que la votre.

Diplomatic difficulty

The problem with being nice diplomatic is that people might still get angry at you because of what you said while they will not appreciate what you did not say.

In other words: Did you ever experienced someone getting upset because you criticised him (or her) in what you considered to be rather gentle words? Only to be left wondering what would have happened if you had said what you really thought?

No need to thank me for sharing this.

Insights in the human brain

Where does the ‘need’ come from  to dismiss, disqualify or disdain what others are interested in and passionate about? It doesn’t matter if you are into modern art, cooking, IT, history, cars, architecture, whatever – more often than not, someone will make a down-looking comment on it: that is so boring, that is so old fashioned, this is so nerdy, etc.

Why can’t we just admit that we don’t care, are not interested or have no clue of the matter at stage?

My biologic clock

is not very well aligned with the needs of modern – read office – life. The other day, I was working just fine – at home on private stuff from 13 to 22. Productive, average efficient and with some decent results. The later it got, the better was what I wrote but no, my employer thinks that I need to be in the office at 9.

Honestly, I admire people who are early birds. Getting up with the light, getting things done, singing, shining and utterly annoying. The problem is; I’m not one of them. The first couple of hours per day, I merely function thanks to what must be a natural auto pilot.

There are however also those who envy me for being able to sleep 12 hours in a row; for being able to sleep in trains, planes or buses. One day, I’ll have to write about the naps I have in the office. But not today, it’s getting late…

My brain and I

need to have a conversation. Yesterday morning, I wrote down a few things I needed to do. Send an email to this friend, take this paper to work, etc. One of the things I wrote down is “Chaos, small chair”. Only that I have no recollection of 1) writing this down in the first place and, 2) what I could have possibly meant by it.

Life in the expat bubble – What bubble?

The true winner of the Belgian language wars is, not very surprisingly, English.For once, this insight is not only thanks to my perception but to an academic article. The article was published in 2007; hence before a 9 months interim without a government and the exacerbation of the conflicts around the notoriously famous BHV.

Besides providing some evidence on the rise of English in Belgium in general, the article states some interesting facts about Brussels:

In all the Flemish and Walloon provinces, people of Belgian descent exceed 80%. In Brussels, by contrast, they represent just 44%. The residents of non-European descent remain under 10% in all provinces, while in Brussels they make up one third of the population.

To put this the other way round: 1 out of 2 people living in the capital is not of Belgian origin. 1 out of 3, not of European. I’m not sure if the Flemish nationalists are aware of this when they claim back ‘their capital’

Invaders ahead

During the visit to La Camargue, the guide pointed out some “invasive species”. One were a muskrat*, the other one some unnoticeable plant as well as a turtle and crayfish**. What he did not point out where the rice, the Asian reed or the Spanish buffalo (contrary to the original Camargue ones) though they are as foreign to la Camargue as the four others.

What really struck me is that all those species were qualified invasive depending on whether they were useful to humans or not. Some of them – like the rice, the reed AND the muskrat – were actually introduced by humans. The last one for their then valuable skin.

Now, the muskrat is not only qualified as invasive but furthermore as harmful. Harmful because its digging it’s dens in the dikes. Dikes built by humans to keep the Rhône from overflowing. Only that these previously regular floods were an integral part of the delta and its ecosystem. But that’s not the only change man did.

Rice is only growing in the Camargue thanks to lots of subsidies and even more pesticides; altering the landscape and the soil and huge industrial petrochemical plants are located right outside the protected conservation area.

It doesn’t leave much space to wonder which species might actually be the most invasive and harmful on earth…

* Bisamratte, rat musqué
** écrevisse, Flusskrebs