Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hitler depicted in a Church in France

In a church in Montgeron, South of Paris, a depiction of Hitler is clearly evident on a window. Specifically the depiction is supposed to reflect King Herod ready to kill Apostle Jack with a big sword.  This window was placed at that church in July 1941, after the invasion of France from the Nazi army, as a symbol of the French against the invaders. As Dominique Guerin, the priest at the specific church explains: "The figure has Hitler's hair but the moustache is hidden behind his arm, in order to not make the depicted figure obvious to the invaders". 


French Historian Renaud Arpin states: " A few people noticed that it was Hitler since it was placed there 70 years ago".  The window was created by the brothers Maumejean who had worked on many churches in France during that period. This depiction is seen as a national treasure, a symbol of the resistance, in a country which was considered by many as a 'chicken' since it had no resistance, not until the allies landed in Normandy. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mykonean Feta from Buenos Aires

Many refer to modern globalization and many of the products we eat or wear come from all around the world. This is no different. A company named Armar in Buenos Aires which produces white cheese, manufactures two products called "Feta Mykonos" and "Feta Juan Grande" which are sold to various shops in the city. Argentina does not import feta cheese from Greece, according to some statistics from the Greek Embassy in Buenos Aires, although feta is found regularly in many supermarkets in Argentina. 


It is known that feta cheese is also produced in Bulgaria, Turkey, India, USA, Hong Kong and Denmark. This is a major problem for the Greek Feta, which after decisions taken at the European Court no one else, except for the Greek Feta from central Greece can use the name Feta. This is a serious and global problem for Feta from Greece, especially since the other white cheese manufactured in other countries are cheaper. That is why for example most if not all the Greek and non-Greek restaurants in the UK use Turkish and Danish Feta. Unfortunately for them it is easily identified as non-Greek since the taste is totally different. 
All of these statistics are verified when we are reminded that the turnover of consumption of Feta cheese within the EU is estimated at 1 billion euros annually, while Greek exports of Feta are approximately 130 million euros.  

Britain was born by a tsunami

Britain was part of the European peninsula 8.000 years ago until a big tsunami hit and created the current islands.  The only question is if that first tsunami created the current shape. The coastline and landscape were created after the last ice age. The islands became more humid after the ice melted. The see between Britain and Ireland, the Northern Sea and the English Channel were all land but gradually sank.


It is believed that the tsunami occurred when there was a landslide in Norway, creating one of the largest tsunamis in world history. The water travelled through the low lands between Britain and France, hence the English channel. David Smith, a geologist, believes that the waves were 10 metres high. Residues from the pre-tsunami period were discovered beneath the sea near the Isle of Wight where boats and trees dating back to 8000 years ago were recently found. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Body Building and infertility

Growing numbers of men are becoming infertile because they take anabolic steroids in order to obtain a muscular body.


Body Building except from its ability to transform people into 'monsters' it has many defects, infertility being one of them. Doctors claim that men who regularly go to the gym should avoid taking steroids to bulk up. 
Some men who stop taking steroids never regain their reproductive capacity and for others it takes years for normal sperm production to resume.  

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Do nothing for 2 minutes

Today, living in a big, modern city where everyone is so busy, doing nothing for 2 minutes can be seen as laziness or a good excuse for a break. Maybe that is why this site was invented and called: "do nothing for 2 minutes", where you can relax and enjoy the waves. Do nothing for 2 minutes also rewards its viewers with a 'Well Done'. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

The top10 European cities with the most traffic

An American company published one of its latest research showing which are the 10 top European cities with the most traffic. This research from Navteq emphasised how traffic does not only occur due to crashes or weather. It is normally affected by the structure of the cities and its streets, the public transport, time and so on. 


The cities which made the top 10 list are:
1. London
2. Paris
3. Dublin
4. Berlin
5. Stockholm
6. Hamburg
7. Manchester
8. Lyon
9. Vienna
10. Marseilles


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Memories

Every summer, if not every then most, I spent at my fathers village which is called Ag. Triada near Nafplio, Southern Greece. One of the images I always have and a place I visit every time I am there is my grandfather's mini farm. Its totally different to the farms many are used to but this is a typical village style farm which will always stay in my memory! 




The posters are for decoration but also for the "mati" (the evil eye) as I was told by relatives. This cage has a story and reminds me of my naive childhood. One summer I told my grandfather to keep the male rabbit that he had in there and that it would be mine. The next summer I found that my rabbit had become a lovely stifado and was replaced by the next male rabbit successor. Every time I see this cage I remember this small story!




Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The largest statue of Jesus

The small Polish city Swiebodzin wishes to become the new Rio since it has constructed the largest statue of Jesus in the world.


 The statue is 33 metres high, weighs 440 tones and was finished in November 2010. The whole project cost 1 million euros. Most of the amount was collected through charity. 

How the world depicts the Greek Crisis





Monday, March 21, 2011

Lamborghini

Ferruccio Lamborghini is the founder of the car company Lamborghini. He was born in Ferrara, Italy in April 1913. He studied mechanical engineering , which helped him use his skills during the Second World War as a technician in the military tanks.




After the war, rural development in Italy pushes Lamborghini to buy combat vehicles in order to convert them into trakters. This gave birth in 1948 to the Lamborghini Trattori with a bull as its symbol, which was also his zodiac sign. The company progressed for several years and became one of the most important in Italy in the production of agricultural machinery.


One day something happened that was to change history of the global automobile industry. Lamborghini owned a Ferrari, since he was a lover of speed. Seeing that there was a problem with his car's clutch he complained to Enzo Ferrari, who replied "the car is excellent, you keep on working with your trakters and let me manufacture sports cars".


This made him change his strategy and enter into the car production. In 1963 he creates the Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini SpA in Sant Agata Bolognese. Seeing that his son was not interested in the business he sold his company to a Swedish businessman. 


He died at the age of 77 on 20 February 1993. Although the factory owners have changed many times, all have kept the prestige and reputation which is deserved for Lamborghini cars. Now the company is owned by Volkswagen. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

St. Nikolaos Church in Ermoupolis


Visiting Syros, a Greek island in the middle of the Aegean (where the capital of the Cyclades - Ermoupolis - is located) I found the Church of St. Nikolaos as a wonder. It is located on a hill in the capital Ermoupolis and can be seen clearly from the ship, since it is in a prominent position between many buildings. The blue dome makes it stand out from other buildings.



The construction of the church commenced on the 28th of February 1889 and was finished on September 13th 1870. It was the biggest church of the liberated part of Greece. Its imposing dimensions, its beautiful, tall, marble bell towers, its marble entrances with ionic columns, the rosettes that elapse the church give monumental ancient Greek character. 



Eminent people, not only from Syros, ambassadors, ship-owners, businessmen, consuls from Greece, Russia, or other Balkan countries, dedicated to the church consecrated vessels, gospels, holy cups, blessing crosses, Epitaphs embroidered with gold. The interior of the church is overflowed with distinguished scintillations of light from the crystal chandeliers from Trieste since the days of Mary Theresa and the unique bronze chandeliers from Venice. 



The church also has an imposing and miraculous icon of Saint Nikolaos, which was painted and overlaid with silver in Moscow. The church also has an organ since 1968 and accompanies the choir, which is an exception within the Orthodox world, since the Byzantine tradition uses a monophonic system.     

Friday, March 18, 2011

Robocop statue

Campaigners in Detroit have raised more than $50.000 to build a statue of Robocop. This idea was sparked on twitter and was directed at Detroit mayor Dave Bing explaining how "Philadelphia has a statue of Rocky, Robocop would kick Rocky's butt. He's a great ambassador for Detroit". However the mayor replied that the city did not have any plans of erecting such a statue.


But this suggestion sparked an internet campaign. Imagination Station, a local non-profit group, set a Robocop fund. They managed to collect more than $25.000 in donations. Also a private source matched that sum, giving us a total of $50.000 for the Robocop statue. Who ever has seen the movies  filmed in the 1980s can understand why Detroit is the perfect place for a statue of Robocop, since they were set in a futuristic Detroit in which crime was rampant. Its not a first time a city or its people wish to build a statue of a fictional movie hero. The best example is Rocky, who is located outside a Philadelphia museum. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nuclear plants around the world

A very serious issue this past week is the disaster created after the terrible earthquake in Japan, where thousands have died, cities have been destroyed but the most serious result has been the catastrophe at the nuclear plant in Fukushima, which will create major problems for many countries, millions of people and the environment around the world. That is why I thought it interesting to see how many nuclear plants exist in the world and where they are located. 
There are currently 443 nuclear reactors, minus the ones destroyed now in Japan, which produce electricity in 30 countries. During 2004 they accounted for 16% of the production of electricity globally. The countries which have nuclear power are: Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Japan, India, Spain, Canada, China, Korea, Lithuania, UK, Mexico, South Africa Holland, Hungary, Ukraine, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Taiwan, Czech Republic and Finland.


27 nuclear power stations are under construction in Argentina, Bulgaria, Japan, India, Iran, China, Ukraine, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Taiwan and Finland. 


Unfortunately there have been nuclear accidents which have been categorised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which has created the International Nuclear Event Scale. The Chernobyl disaster was given the number 7, which is the highest making it a major accident. The current crisis in Japan was given a 4 (an accident without significant off-site risk). Unfortunately this has been "upgraded", with a prospect of surpassing the Chernobyl catastrophe.
Lets only hope that governments around the world see this as a serious matter and rethink the nuclear energy as a major source of creating electricity. Maybe a new source is the solution, which is environmentally friendly and is not as dangerous.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Aristotle Onassis

36 years ago (and one day) is when the richest Greek died. Aristotle Onassis was born in Smyrni in Asia Minor (today Izmir in Turkey) on the 20th of January 1906. Aristotle studied at the Evangelic School of Smyrni and helped his father with the cigarette business. After the Asia Minor war and catastrophe he relocated to Athens with his family where he worked as an usher at the newspaper  "Eleftheros Logos". After a year he travelled with a tanker to Napoli, Italy, and from there he headed of to Argentina. 


In Buenos Aires, whilst knowing English and French, he worked at a call centre called United Telecom. After five years collecting his money and opening a cigarette factory he made a small fortune. In 1928 he helped the Greek government to sign an intergovernmental agreement with Argentina, which made him General Consul. Slowly but steadily he expanded to the shipping industry and in 1932 he bought his first tanker, giving it the name Kallirroi. 
During the Second World War the Allied Nations used his tankers and ships. Many were destroyed. With the money he received from the insurance he bought 17 tankers, hotels, casinos and theatres in Monte Carlo. In 1950 he published a series of articles concerning shipping. In 1957 he founded Olympic Airways, flying to all five continents. 
In 1946 he married Tina Livanou and gave birth to Christina and Alexandros, but in 1960 they got divorced. That was the period where he was going out with Maria Callas, who he did not marry. However he did marry Jacqueline Kennedy, President Kennedy's widow. 
However not everything was easy and magical for one of the richest men in history. In 1973 he was informed that his son was seriously injured after a plane crash, whilst he was flying it. Seeing that there was no hope for his son he said.." My life has no meaning anymore...". After his death his daughter, during a troubled period in her life, was found dead in her bath in Buenos Aires.
Today Aristotle's wealth has passed down to his grand-daughter, Athina, who is Christina's daughter, making her one of the wealthiest women in the world. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

How the economic crisis hit the world..

Here we can see Synthia's story...This video, created by Denic van Waerebeke, explains how the economic problem, created by the banks, becomes a global problem!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cement plant transformed into a luxurious house


This abandoned cement factory, was discovered in 1973 and turned into a luxurious home by...

architect Ricardo Bofill. The renovation lasted 2 years and the home has a variety of plants and trees, including cypress, olive, palm and eucalyptus trees. The Bofill Home consists of an exhibition hall, space where he creates his artwork and has his architectural office.  


















Friday, March 11, 2011

Greek Dancing

These are a great and funny representatives of Greek Dancing...Enjoy!!!
OPA!



Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Dalai Lama resigns

Since 1960 the Dalai Lama has repeatedly stated that Tibet needs a leader, elected freely by the people of Tibet to whom he can give his authority too. He submitted his resignation from his position of political leader of the exiled Tibetan Government which is currently located in the North part of India. 


The Dalai Lama will seek and amendment that will allow him to resign during the next meeting of the Tibetan Parliament in March. This, however, does not mean that he will abandon his spiritual role. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Turkish Flag

There are many myths and legends around the Turkish flag and its origin. The most prominent is that the star and moon, although Muslim symbols, have a long pre-Islamic past in Asia Minor, especially in Constantinople (Istanbul). 
The origins can be found in the pre-Christian period, when Istanbul was not Constantinople but Byzantio. The moon and star symbol was dedicated to the Goddess Ekavi and became officially the city's symbol when Philip, Alexander the Great's father, tried to invade and capture the small city. During a cloudy night he sent a few soldiers to invade the city by surprising his enemies. Suddenly the moon appeared and they were spotted by the defending soldiers. From then the city recognised this as divine help from the Goddess Ekavi and the moon was established as the city's official symbol. This is even evident in a coin found in the region which is dated back to the period of Byzantio. 


Emperor Constantine renamed the city Constantinople and kept this traditional symbol. Mohammed the Conqueror established this symbol as one of the Ottoman emblems.
Another legend is that a reflection of the moon occulting a star, appearing in pools of blood after the battle of Kosovo in 1448, a battle which established the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Europe until the 19th century. This led the adoption of the Turkish flag by Sultan Murad II according to one tradition. Others refer to a dream of the first Ottoman Sultan in which a moon and star appeared from his chest and expanded, presaging the seizure of Constantinople by his dynasty. However, there are other legends around the origin and the predominance of the current Turkish flag. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lost Metopes from the Parthenon were found

Lost metopes from the Parthenon were found on the wall of the Acropolis, the Holy Hill according to the ancient Greeks. They were found after a long process, by taking 2.250 pictures. It is evident that five metopes were erected from the site and are believed that they derive from the Southern side of the temple. 
They were used for the fortification of the Acropolis during the 18th century, when the walls were restored. It is clear that they are different from the rest of the wall since they are made from the same marble as the Parthenon, i.e. a well crafted marble from Penteli. 


Archaeologists believed until recently that the metopes from the Southern part of the Temple were destroyed during the explosion that took place on the Acropolis in 1687. What the five metopes depict will be revealed when they are taken of the wall. Let us only hope that the other Parthenon Marbles will, one day, be returned to Athens. We can only hope..! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stupidity

It just makes you think how some people can be really stupid...I don't think I need to describe anything..Enjoy the pictures!!!







Sunday, March 6, 2011

The $2 billion house

India's richest man, who is the fifth richest man in the world, Mukesh Ambani has built the most expensive house in the world in Mumbai, worth $2 billion. It is given the name Antila, after a mythical island. The whole structure is 27 stories high, contains a health club with a gym and a dance studio, a ballroom, guest rooms, a range of lounges and  a fifty seater cinema. They also have 600 servants to do all the chores. 


Mukesh's wife had a great idea of building a house like this when she was in new York, staying at the Mandarin Oriental. Nita Ambani was so impressed with the interior Asian style decoration that she wanted something similar for her to live in. I can't say that I am impressed with the exterior look of the building but the interior looks fantastic. However it makes you think...isn't a waste of money??

Saturday, March 5, 2011

£15.000 to watch a football match

A League One football club in England is offering their fans a chance to pay £15.000 for a season ticket, making them the most expensive in the UK. Peterborough United supporters who pay this enormous amount of money for a League One side will have the opportunity to sit in the director's box, have a three course meal before each match and obtain the title of Honorary Director. Even the club's director does not think that this idea will actually work. 


For most Peterborough United fans season tickets cost about £450 for two years. Arsenal which is a Premiership Club, comes second on priciest season tickets with £1.825, then Chelsea with £1.210 and Manchester United with £931. It is just mad how someone would pay so much money for season tickets for a League One Club. The funny thing is that Peterborough United is also currently offering a 75-year season ticket for a one-off payment of £12.000. That sounds more logical!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Energy Drinks are dangerous

Energy Drinks are considered very dangerous, especially for children and teenagers, as studies in Florida showed. These drinks have a lot of caffeine, sugar and supplements for example vitamins and herbal essences. Paediatrician in the USA have indicated that young people who consumed these energy drinks had seizures, hallucinations, heart problems  and even kidney and liver damage.  
Since the energy drinks are characterised as dietary supplements they go through less scrutiny and restrictions than food and medicine. Although manufacturers claim that their products enhance both mental and physical performance, researchers from Florida, who reviewed the statistics on this issue, consider the statements of the companies (which support the beneficial properties of their products) as questionable.  



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kew Gardens

Although we do not yet see the spring climate in London, since winter still persists, it is March...who knows maybe this post will 'bring' better weather. Kew Gardens complies of three hundred acres of botanical gardens, which is located on the south bank of the Thames River between Richmond and Kew in the suburbs of South-West London. 





The gardens are Royal, the official name being 'The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew',  because for many years the estates that now form the gardens were owned by members of Britain's Royal Family. King George II and Queen Caroline lived at the Richmond Estate (one of the two estates - the other being Kew Estate -  which form the Royal Botanic Gardens). Their son and heir, Prince Frederick, leased the neighbouring Kew estate in the 1730's.  
Under King George III and under his unofficial director Joseph Bank, Kew Gardens flourished. Banks dispatched botanical collectors across the world to collect unusual, rare and interesting specimens. This resulted in the transformation of Kew Gardens into a depository of the world's plant species and a centre of botanical research. After their death the Gardens declined, until they were handed over to the state in 1840.
The Royal Botanical Gardens, hence, came into being in 1841. Sir William Hooker was the man charged with running the gardens. He was responsible for founding the Museum, the Department of Economic Botany, the Library and the Herbarium. 





In 1848 the Palm House was introduced in the Kew Gardens, followed by the Temperature House in 1860. It is a copy of the Crystal Palace, which was erected during the Victorian Period for the Great Exhibition in 1851, which was the starting point of the modern global capitalist system. Today it maintains the largest plant collection in the world. Kew Gardens remains one of the world's premier public gardens.