Quotes: The American President on Pollution

“You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including many other places, the air is incredibly dirty, and when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific. It flows and we say, ‘Where does this come from?’ And it takes many people, to start off with.”

From an interview with Donald Trump in The Washington Post.

Crossing the Black Sea

Because Ukraine is back in crisis this week, with some of its military ships impounded by Russia during an attempted trip from Odessa through the Kerch Strait, this might be a good time to revisit a trip from several years back between Istanbul and Odessa by overnight ferry. Here’s how that went:

Common Sense and Whiskey


From 2007:

Today we’d sail on the Yuzhnaya Palmyra, a ship of the UKRFerry shipping company, on once weekly service Istanbul to Odessa. It was to be an approximately 28 hour crossing of the Black Sea south to north, although we’d have to see about the timing.

Departure was set for 9:00 on the web, 10:00 on our ticket (a hard copy they insisted on sending via DHL for $70 from Ukraine to the U.S.), and 11:00 by the people at the hotel, who made some calls on our behalf. So arrival as well, I suspected, ought to be approximate.

We presented ourselves down at the Karakoy docks shortly past 8:00 a.m. “Actual Time,” as the reception clock had it. We had ample time for a spin up and down ship, stem to stern, and an extended goodbye to the mosques filling the Istanbul skyline, lying at anchor, as…

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Quotes: On Frum, Bannon & Populism

Probably a wee bit obscure, but in an article in The Walrus on the recent Munk Debate on populism between David Frum and Steve Bannon in Toronto (it’s interesting stuff, watch it here), Ian Wells makes this point:

“Exposing populist nativists to facts, we now know, will not disabuse them of their political delusions—not least of all because our “facts” are their fake news. “

Weekend Reading

Suggested reading for the weekend. No politics:

Border Crossings: Myths and Memories of Tolerance about the North-African Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
The Man Who Showed Us Istanbul. Orhan Pamuk remembers the photographer Ara Güler.
Ara Güler’s photography.
– The world’s oldest known intact shipwreck has been found Under the Black Sea.
Are we wrong to assume fish can’t feel pain? by Carl Safina. Also read his Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel.
New definitions of scientific units are on the horizon.
A Stinging Decline. On the future of bees.
Our illusory sense of agency has a deeply important social purpose.
Why Forests Give You Awe: “nature-produced awe involves a diminished self.”

Okay, one bit of politics: The Munk Debate on Populism, a debate between David Frum and Steve Bannon, will be live-streamed here from Toronto tonight at 7:00 US eastern time. Also airing on CPAC TV in Canada and C-SPAN in the U.S., and streamed on Facebook Live.

Enjoy the weekend. See you next week.