EUROPE IN SPACE

02/06/2012

Nowadays the European Union not only covers the European continent, but also stretches into space. Through its European Space Agency (ESA) it develops and launches into orbit satellites that enhance navigation and collect detailed data on the state of the environment. The most recent developments in this area include the programmes Galileo, EGNOS, and GMES.

Galileo (as you may guess, named after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei) is a high-precision satellite navigation system able to determine horizontal and vertical position of an object on the Earth within one meter precision. Thus it is much better than the existing GPS technologies and has very good potential to be used in plane and ship navigation, mapping, rescue operations, commercial service and other fields. Moreover, it is said that the Galileo signal should be free and open to the public. The first two satellites of this programme were already launched in October 2011 from the Guiana Space Centre. 28 more are expected to follow them.

EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is another ESA’s bold idea to improve reliability and accuracy of space satellite measurements. It improves the accuracy of the signals of GPS and the above-mentioned Galileo greatly, allowing its usage in very critical and delicate operations, such as navigating large oil tankers through narrow channels. This is achieved through three geostationary satellites and 44 ground stations. The EGNOS service should also be free and open for anyone with a GPS device able to receive the EGNOS signal.

GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) is a bit different initiative that is focused on observing the Earth’s “health status”. By connecting together Earth observation satellites, ground sensors, control stations, etc. it should be able to continuously monitor and report the state of the environment, including air and water pollution, forest cover, land use, global temperature, and appearance of cataclysms. Currently GMES is in the development stage with the launch of its first space satellite Sentinel scheduled to 2013.

The EU and ESA were so excited about their space programmes that they decided to showcase and inform the public about them. Thus the European Space Expo was organized. I managed to visit its first edition in Copenhagen, Denmark. My impression: a bit small for space-wide programmes, but nevertheless quite interesting and interactive with a lot of learning opportunities. Personally I was interested in the mapping application of the programmes, as in the international movement “Let’s Do It!” I am part of we are trying to develop the World Waste Map and gathering and visualisation of statistical data about the waste issue in different countries. So, I definitely recommend you to drop in at this exhibition and spend some time at all its interactive video booths.

The European Space Expo will be in Copenhagen until the 5th of June, 2012 (the Danish Constitution Day, by the way). If you are not able to visit it until then, do not despair. The exhibition has 6 following editions taking place in other countries. You can see the dates and places of these editions at the European Commission’s website.

So, enjoy your exploration of the European space technologies!

Advertisements

BEAUTIFUL, SEXY, FUN, COLORFUL…

29/05/2012

In the post “IT’S SUMMER FESTIVAL TIME!” I have written about the Copenhagen Carnival that takes place at the beginning of the summer season in Copenhagen, Denmark. You can read about its history and watch a video about its 2011 edition there.

The 2012 edition of the Copenhagen Carnival happened on the 25th – 27th of May with colourful parades gone through Strøget and Fælledparken. In my opinion it was a bit more beautiful, a bit more sexy, a bit more fun, and a bit more colorful than last year. Particularly talking about the sexy part, the visitors (especially their male part) of the 2012 edition were pleasantly surprised to see a couple of dancing ladies showing openly their upper beauties. It is hard to tell what was more interesting and fun: looking at the almost naked girls or watching the spectators, from young boys to old ladies, getting very excited about the uncovered beauties and overloading their cameras and iPhones with erotic photos. However, in general this should not be so surprising, as Denmark was the first country in the world that legalized pornography (in 1969, to be precise). So, anything can happen here.

But enough text. As they say, “an image is worth a thousand words”. And video is probably worth two thousand. So, just relax and enjoy energetic music, exciting dances, colorful costumes and sexy girls:

Hope to see you at the next edition of the Copenhagen Carnival!


DENMARK: WHERE ENERGY GOES GREEN

15/04/2012

If you are interested about renewable energy technology, one of the best places to see and learn about it is Denmark. This country has committed itself to an ambitious target of 35% share of renewable energy in the total energy production by 2020 and also promised to increase this share to 100% by 2050. This implies significant investments and innovations in wind turbines, solar panels, which are also called photovoltaics (PV), biomass, smart grids, and so on. However, there are also benefits that motivate the Danish energy sector to go “green and clean”, in particular new profitable business opportunities, leadership on the renewable energy market, more jobs, and independence from fossil fuels and their prices.

In exploring the potential of renewable energy Denmark relies mostly on wind power. Indeed, strong winds, access to seas, and lack of sufficient solar radiation for PV make wind turbines a good choice to pursue. No wonder that the most efficient 3-bladed wind turbine design was “born” in Denmark (the so-called “Danish design”), as well as the most productive wind farm is situated here. Currently there are 12 offshore wind farms in the country.

But what is even more exciting in my opinion is that in Denmark renewable energy technology is open for all… literally. During the year you can find plenty of places and events related to informing public about the “green” energy. The most recent one called “Mind Blowing Copenhagen” and organized on 14th – 15th of April in Copenhagen displayed a good variety of electric vehicles, different applications of wind turbines and PV, as well as the real wind turbine transport and installation ship. Each visitor could find something matching his/her interests. For example, as I am doing an international research project on waste management called “Non-state Cooperation in Environment Protection Area in Developed and Developing Countries: The Case of Waste Management in Moldova”, I got interested in waste bins/compactors equipped with PV and thus working on solar power. Of course, children had most of the fun, as they had plenty of opportunities to play with solar and wind power.

So, if you are excited about the “green” energy, do come and visit Denmark. And if you are in Denmark, do look for such opportunities to learn about how we can implement renewable energy technology in our energy production and consumption. And when you learn this, do implement your knowledge in practice. Because it is high time for our energy to go “green and clean”!

 

Sources:

Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building, 2012. DK Energy Agreement, March 22 2012 [Online]. Available at: http://www.kemin.dk/Documents/Presse/2012/Energiaftale/FAKTA%20UK%201.pdf [Accessed: 15 April 2012]

Iscenco, A. 2012. EU Climate Change Policy in an International Context. University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen

Mind Blowing Copenhagen, 2012. Home [Online]. Available at: http://mindblowingcopenhagen.dk [Accessed: 15 April 2012]


KEEP UP GOOD SPIRIT

12/02/2012

A piece of good advice hanging above Amagerbrogade, one of the streets at the island of Amager in Copenhagen, Denmark.

No comments.


IT’S SUMMER FESTIVALS TIME!

23/06/2011

The three warm and sunny days of June and of the Whitsun Holiday are the days of the Copenhagen Carnival. The main shopping and touristic street of Copenhagen, Strøget, as well as the park to the north called Fælledparken, become filled with music of various genres, colourful parades, half-naked girls dancing samba and other energetic and exciting dances, photographers scurrying among the crowd to take good shots of the girls’ uncovered body parts, and just citizens enjoying the event. Of course, it is not the mega-grand and mega-shiny Brazilian Carnival, but still is quite fun and entertaining.

Here is a glimpse of the Copenhagen Carnival that took place this year (2011) for you to see for yourself:

The Copenhagen Carnival’s history stretches back to 1982, when it was organized for the first time under the topic “The street is the stage, and you are the entertainer”. The idea to organize this event belongs to the artist John Little, who was inspired by the marvellous carnivals in the Caribbean region. You can read more about its history and development into a yearly festival of world music HERE.But the Carnival is not a single opportunity to have lots of fun in Denmark this summer. Therefore, if you have missed it, do not worry. This is just the beginning of the summer festivals time! Check out the agenda full of various music, fashion shows, tasty delicacies, and lots of partying below.

Roskilde Festival: 26th of June – 4th of July

World music is coming to the Roskilde city once again. One of the six largest annual music festivals in Europe invites you for the 8 days of fun and entertainment. Read more about it HERE and HERE.

Copenhagen Jazz Festival: 1st – 10th of July

Crazy about jazz in particular? Then this music event organized since 1979 is the best place for you this summer. The stars of this year’s festival include Sonny Rollins, Bobby McFerrin, and Keith Jarrett. Get to know more about it HERE.

Copenhagen Fashion Week / Festival: 3rd – 7th of August

This is truly a marvellous gift to all ladies! While your boyfriend or husband revives slowly after unlimited beer-drinking and partying during the previous festivals, you can check out what the designers from all over the world have prepared for you this year. The Copenhagen Fashion Festival starts HERE.

Cultural Harbour: 5th – 7th of August

If your get overexcited from all those trendy and astronomically expensive models, then you can chill out at the annual harbour festival at Havneparken located at the Islands Brygge. Read some more details about it HERE.

SmukFest: 10th – 14th of August

Danes claim that this is the most beautiful festival of the year. They even did not put much creativity into its name and just called it “Beautiful Festival”. You can see if it is really true HERE.

Strøm: 15th – 20th of August

Now it is time for the fans of electronic music to invade the streets of Copenhagen. The one week festival called Strøm is dedicated to this music genre. More information can be found HERE.

Copenhagen Cooking: 19th – 28th of August

After all those festivals you would probably get very hungry. So, why not take “the cherry from the pie” during the last days of summer and visit this food festival with lots of cooking and tasting opportunities spread all over the Denmark’s capital city. See what is on the menu HERE.

And there are many more interesting and exciting opportunities offered by Denmark in summer. Just go and explore the country, and you will surely find them!

So, prepare for much movin’ and groovin’! Show the world your partying might under the silver moonlight! And to end this silly rhyme:

IT’S SUMMER FESTIVALS TIME!


GOING INTERACTIVE: SAVI LEARNING AT MUSEUMS

24/05/2011

Museum. Ancient slabs with hieroglyphs stand behind the glass cases. Beautiful tapestry hang on the walls supplied with the sign “Do not touch!”. People walk slowly among the silent showpieces… looking… looking… and looking…

This is the “traditional” image of a museum of any specialization, be it historical, zoological, cultural, etc. You can visit such museums in almost every city of the World. And it is great that we have them to spread knowledge within the society.

However, these “traditional” museums have one very strong limitation – they focus primarily (if not solely) on the visual channel of transmitting information. Thus, they ignore other elements of the so-called VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic) or SAVI (Somatic, Auditory, Visual, Intellectual) learning style models. In other words, you only see things, but have no possibility to hear how they sound (for instance, the song of a certain species of birds or the tonality of a musical instrument), to touch them (for example, to know what they are made of), to “play” with them in order to understand how they work, and last but not least to check what you have learned from each visit to a museum.

However, the good news is that more and more museums understand the importance of engaging all information channels in the learning process and incorporate them through various creative projects and exhibitions. This allows attracting people’s attention to and increasing their awareness of even such “simple” and “usual” things as water.

As an example I offer you to watch a short video taken at the mobile exhibition “Train of Ideas: Visions for Future Cities” aimed at informing people about ideas and ways of designing ecologically-friendly and sustainable cities and living in them. I managed to visit it when the exhibition was in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the end of April this year. The video shows only a small part of it dedicated to incorporating Nature into urban structure and the issue of water resource management. There you could try designing your own “green” city, feel yourself as part of it, play music with tap water, learn about the composition of water and where it comes from, see videos about modern “green” city design, and much more.

Within the exhibition there were also sections dedicated to renewable energy, waste management, way of living in an environmentally-friendly city, how people can move towards such living, and other.

As you see, even the simplest but creative ideas may bring significant benefits both to the organizers of an exhibition in terms of attracting visitors and to these visitors in making the learning process more interesting, fun, and impactful. And such ideas should be incorporated not only in the activity of museums, but in education as a whole, including schools, colleges, universities, and specialized courses. This should produce significant synergetic impact, because you engage all elements of the VAK or SAVI learning model in an integrated manner.

So, let’s get INTERACTIVE!


DAILY FAIRYTALE

16/01/2011

Waking up, quick breakfast, school / university / work, home sweet home, dinner, TV, Internet, sleep. And the same schedule tomorrow… and the day after tomorrow… and so on… Weekends might be coloured a bit with a short walk in the nearby park, visit to a concert, meeting with friends, or more TV / Internet.

It is quite familiar to you, isn’t it?

Well, this is the standard interest-and-passion-killing creativity-destroying freedom- eliminating everyday life. It is easy to plan and predict it, however it lacks of surprises, mysteries, and magic.

But if we do not want to make our life “standardized”, if we desire some pleasant surprises and real magic in it, if we want to add a lot more colours here, where should we look for them? Yes, in fairytales.

Do you remember all those thrilling stories and legends full of rich castles, brave knights, beautiful princesses, and romantic happy-endings with the enchanting Magic of Love? What was your favourite one? “Beauty and the Beast”? “Cinderella”? Or perhaps “Father Frost”?

In your childhood you most probably dreamed about being inside this fairytale and saving the beautiful princess trapped in a high tower from the ferocious fire-spitting dragon. Of course, you have always been victorious and deserved a sweet and tender kiss.

Or maybe you dreamed of being a princess yourself awaiting the handsome prince on his snow-white mighty stallion. And certainly he had always come only for you.

Do you want to get back these magical feelings? Do you wish to enjoy your life like a child? Do you desire to turn your every day into an enchanting fairytale? Yes?

Then DO IT!

Well, I should make myself clear here. Surely I do not motivate you, for instance, to steal a sword at the local museum and charge the nearby tax collector’s office with a shout: “Die, you blood-sucking dragon!”. In this case you might really end up in a “castle” (asylum, that is), but without any beautiful princesses… well, there might be some… those, who also took my advice very literally.

What I want to point out here is to make your own daily life and the lives of your dearest ones as wonderful and enchanting as in a fairytale.

Take a look around. There is always something from a fairytale in the environment. For example, Denmark, the country I currently study in, is quite rich in this aspect: they have the queen with her royal family; plentiful of beautiful castles and palaces; the magical amusement park “Tivoli” with sultan’s palace, pirate ship, Chinatown, etc.; den Lille Havfrue (the Little Mermaid), and many more things and places of this kind. Sometimes one can see royal coaches with graceful horses on the streets. No wonder one of the most famous personalities (if not the most famous one) in this country is Hans Christian Andersen – the poet and storyteller, author of such well-known fairytales as “The Snow Queen”, “The Little Mermaid”, and “The Wild Swans”.

So, why not to use this magical environment?

Take your boy/girlfriend on a visit to the Rosenborg Castle, for instance. Have a walk along the alleys of the King’s Garden, where the Castle is situated. Show him/her the beauty of the Mother Nature around. Plant two rose seeds there in order to come back to the Garden some day, see them blossom and recall that romantic day. Then enter the Castle and discover many elegant royal rooms and astonishing treasury in the cellars. Feel yourselves as true prince and princess there. Don’t forget to go upstairs to the Throne Room. And there, among the beauty and majesty, recite a romantic poem / fairytale / legend of your own dedicated to your beloved one (here and here are two examples in Russian).

The next day you can go to other places and / or come up with new interesting things and activities. Thus you keep your creativity and innovation working and love and interest to life glowing.

Do not have a beloved one yet? Well, if you spice up your daily life with fairytale magic, some day your prince / princess will find you. Because in this way your living becomes a fairytale, and in all fairytales prince and princess are meant to be together in order to “live happily ever after”.

And you do not necessarily need to come to Denmark to experience all this. It is not the place that makes a fairytale so interesting and inspiring – it is the characters. You are able to create your own wonderful story in every country of the World. For it is YOU who are the storyteller, the wizard who makes all the magic.

So, let’s start making it and creating your fairytale today:

Once upon a time…