Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bus stops

Bus stops around the world are a bit boring, since there is nothing to do until the bus arrives. In some cases, though, this is not true. Many advertisement companies have thought it through and have found various solutions to this small problem, by using the space to their advantage. Some examples are shown here.



Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

A Royal Wedding is always a great event in British life, one of the milestones in the life of many British people but also many who live across the globe and support the monarchy. Inevitably this is all the more thue when the wedding involves a future monarch. Prince William and Kate, or as Buckingham Palace wishes to call her now Catherine, Middleton met at the University of St. Andrews in 2001. 10 years after they are getting married today at Westminster Abbey.


A royal frenzy has also hit the UK since souvenirs are found everywhere and the Union Jack flies in every corner of the British capital. This will be a celebration for all the country. However a funny story exists in every occasion. In this instance a shipment which came from China had on the mugs a picture of Catherine and Prince Harry, instead of William. Funnily enough these mugs reach Britain and had to be sent back in order for the right Prince to be put on the souvenir mug.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mount Athos on CBS

60 Minutes on CBS has just broadcasted a very appealing story on Mount Athos. It is interesting to see this video, since it is a very good advertisement both for Agion Oros and Orthodoxy.


As they explain, it's called Mount Athos and prayers have been offered there every day, with no interruption for more than a thousand years. It was set aside by ancient emperors to be the spiritual capital of Orthodox Christianity and has probably changed less over the centuries than any other inhabited place on the planet. The monks come to Mount Athos from all over the planet and have no contact with the rest of the world. Maybe it is a good idea to allow more reporters, channels, newspapers into Mount Athos in order to spread awareness, not only to Christians but to everyone in the world.  

Smallest Books in the World

Jozsef Tari is a Hungarian collector of miniature books. He began this 'different' collection 35 years ago and has currently more than 4.500 books. The size of the books within his collection is not greater than 7.5 cm .



 His smallest book is 2.9X3.2 cm, whilst many of them are more than 100 years old. He also collects miniature newspapers, the smallest being 1.9X2.6 cm. I am guessing that he has a very good eyesight in order to read these very small books.!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Popeye was right!!!

Popeye and mothers urge us to eat our greens such as spinach in order to grow strong. Health experts have long echoed this sentiment as studies show the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables, especially the green ones. 


A new study published in the February issue of Cell Metabolism has emphasised that eating vegetables can make muscles more efficient. The researchers gave volunteers small doses of inorganic nitrate for 3 days and found that they consumed less oxygen when riding an exercise bike. Green vegetables such as spinach contain these nitrates   which consequently means that this could provide some explanation for these health benefits. 
However these nitrates have short term benefits, so more work is necessary in order to find and understand the longer term effect.  This study shows merely how a belief and a habit introduced to us by our mothers and the cartoon figure Popeye  has been now verified scientifically.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Firework Battle

Since it is Easter I thought of a weird tradition that people in the island of Chios in the Aegean have. The firework battle between two communities, the community of St. Mark and the community of Virgin Mary Etithiani has been attracting visitors for 200 years. This began due to some hostilities that existed between the two neighbourhoods but has become a spectacular show for locals and visitors.  
This battle commences after the priests have chanted the Christos Anesti (Christ is Risen). After this occasion normally everyone wishes each other with the Pascal greeting and then go to eat. But Chios has retained this magnificent and somewhat dangerous tradition!




Saturday, April 23, 2011

Epitafios

Today we celebrated the burial of Jesus Christ. A tradition within the Orthodox Church is the Epitafio, which is decorated with many beautiful flowers and which symbolises His Tomb. His body will remain in the Tomb until His resurrection, on Easter day.
The pictures here are from three different Greek Orthodox Churches in London and show how there have different shapes, colours but the Epitafios is still a symbol of Jesus' Tomb. Normally, if the weather is good enough, the believers take the Epitafios around the Church, i.e. a Litany. This was the case at the Church of All Saints, where we took the Epitafios and followed it around the church, halting all traffic. This was a great example of how Christianity persists and prevails in an ongoing secular society which cannot tell the difference between tolerance and persecution (especially against Christianity). 



All Saints Cathedral, Camden Town


Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Michael, Golders Green


St. Panteleimon Church, Harrow

Friday, April 22, 2011

EU economy

Instead of writing a whole essay on this serious and current matter I thought of posting this picture which shows emphatically the reality of the present economic crisis and instability within the European Union. Especially now that Portugal has "joined the club" together with Greece and Ireland, it seems more likely that more states will eventually follow, bringing large problems to the Union but also individually to each country.


The P.I.G.S. (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) are in the last position, however many refer to the P.I.I.G.S., which also include Italy in the equation. If something does not change, I am afraid that the economic crisis will  merely spread within the E.U.   

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Flag Tattoos

To have tattoos all over ones body is not something unusual. However to start this hobby at an old age is a bit strange. The pictured Indian here is 67 years old and aspires to get into the Guinness Book of Records. That is why he also changed his first name to Guinness. He is on track in achieving in putting all the flags of the world all over his body. He has also a world map. Eventually he will have 60 countries on his head.




Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Birthday!!!

Since it is my birthday today I thought of this video I saw recently about Mukhtar, a bus driver in Copenhagen. At one stop a musician boards the bus and a woman starts singing the birthday song. All the passengers then join, when they understand that the song is intended for the bus driver. And then something else happens..! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Revolutions in the future will be on line

Revolutions in the future will be on line, although this is currently the case in many countries which have had political problems and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. In countries where official news cease to broadcast news or are told what to show people have been replaced by bloggers or via social networks, by people who are in the centre of the revolution. 


Wikileaks has emphasised how this has already started and that the internet will eventually be the leading force in any revolution. Previous examples show how this is already the fact, e.g. in Iran Twitter was used and in Tunisia Facebook was the main source of information and source for starting demonstrations. I have a personal experience when the police man shot the 15 year old teenager in Athens. Many of my friends where sending messages with updates whilst trying to organise a demonstration.
A recent paradigm is Tunisia where people demonstrated in order to bring democracy to the African state. Their main weapon was the internet. That is why the Tunisian authorities started stealing passwords and spying on the citizens in order to control the situation and limit the critical voices which constantly expanded internally and beyond the borders. On the other hand Facebook has realised its important role of information exchange especially amid any crisis and has publicly committed to not censor anything. 
Information and global communication currently available are unprecedented; this will of course continue to be the case in the future. The internet has already become a critical form of struggle of the modern epoch. All needed now is a click, a keyboard will do all the job. Rebels can easier complain against corruption and the system. This has made it more difficult for governments and powerful individuals to stop various people talking and acting against corruption, especially against authoritarian regimes, as is the current case in many states in the Middle East and North Africa. 
The on line revolution is inevitable and will increase in the future. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Modern Catholic Church in Nigeria

When it comes to homes, hotels, stadiums and other modern buildings architectural creativity is out of this world. In this case the new Catholic Church of the Transfiguration will be built in Nigeria's capital, Lagos, by DOS Architects who are based in London.


 It will have a huge capacity, around 2000 people. The project consists of several arches in various sizes, creating a stunning and impressive roof.



 This structure will have a two story church hall with windows at both ends, emphasising the hight of the room. Construction is expected to commence this year. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Just before Easter...

Every Easter we find out about a knew discovery concerning the life of Jesus Christ. Many believe that through these new discoveries Christianity could and should change or cease to exist. These past few years various individuals have discovered Judas' Bible, which was clearly a gnostic book, Jesus' Coffin, found by Steven Spielberg, which had written on it the name Jesus believing that it was Christ's without taking in to account that it is a very common name, especially 2000 years ago, and now Jacobovici has found the nails used by the Romans soldiers to crucify Jesus in Caiaphas' Tomb but without any proof. 


It is interesting to ask why all these discoveries are published and actually found during the period just before Easter. Many of these findings have brought unrest to the Christian world. But they have not interfered with the existence, life and practice of the Church. Christianity promotes knowledge and these are seen as promoting but also interfering with the peaceful existence of the Church's life. Christianity has not seen these as facts that could destroy its exist....far from it. But a serious issue to reflect on is why are these negative, in most cases, facts and discoveries promoted during the biggest feast within the Christian Calender and by whom? Is it the secular, modern world that is combating religion or is it a case of religious groups going against other religious groups? 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fasting is good for your health

Fasting has the capability of reducing the possibility of suffering from coronary heart disease. Science is now verifying what many religions have already said since antiquity, that fasting (periodically) is good not only for the spirit but also for the body. (By fasting here I mean the absence of meat and dairy products, although it can be interpreted in different ways.) 


I remember my Biologist teacher, Mrs. Mpali, who stated that fasting two times a week is good for our diet and our bodies. This has been verified now by Science but has been a millennium old practice of Christianity, which has a spiritual but also a historical symbolism and origin, i.e. Wednesdays because that is the day Jesus Christ was caught by the soldiers and Friday due to the fact that it was the day he died on the Cross. 
Although here I refer to a weekly fasting tradition of Christianity, fasting is a tradition and a custom practised by all religions, in order to challenge and teach the faithful. Fasting is another factor which unites religion and science and emphasises how customs practised by religion are verified by the scientific community. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A book made by human skin

The book "The Poetical Works" includes English poet's John Milton's poems. Paradise Lost is also found here, which is one of his most famous work. The book referred here is one of a kind since the leather which binds it together is made with human skin.  


George Cudmore was executed by hanging in March 1830 for allegedly poisoning his mistress Sarah Dunn. A little while after his execution in Exeter his soulless body was ripped of its flesh and part of it was found in Mr. W. Clifford's hands, who had a bookshop near the area where the hanging took place. It is evident that this book is a unique, unusual and cruel creation, but without this story it would have remained a mystery. However it does not seem, easily, that its origins derive from a human.

The obese nation

Nauru is the worlds smallest island nation which is located in the South part of the Pacific Ocean. The islands is 21 sq.km. and has a population of about 10000.
 It has a negative record, of being the most obese nation in the world. 97% of men and 93% of women are considered overweight and obese. This of course has disadvantageous results for their health, whilst diabetes, cancer and heart problems are common.  


The population of the Republic of Nauru is addicted to fast food in such an extent that fresh fruit and vegetables are not found on the island. This is an immediate result of the modern western way of life, which the people in the small island wish to follow. Be that as it may this was not the case during previous decades. This is evident through countless pictures from the past that show how people were fit and athletic.  
Nonetheless they are currently fans of weightlifting in such an extent that the World Championship took place there. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lilliputian Police Station in London

The Lilliputian Police Station is the smallest police station in London, which is located in the South East corner of Trafalgar Square. It is easily missed, since it is so small and it does not remind people that it is a police station. It was built in the 1930s so it could serve as a watch post, since Trafalgar Square is located in the centre of the city and attracts countless protesters, rioters, marchers, tourists and pigeons.  


It is so small that it only fits one person. However it is currently a storeroom for cleaners, that is why all anyone can see now, through the glass window, are several mops. But until its abandonment it was a centre against protesters, having a direct line to Scotland Yard and slits in the walls like the ones found in castles in order to allow the officer inside to shoot at rioters if needed. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The 12 Greek Popes

In the entire history of the Papacy and the See of Rome there have been 265 Pontiffs. Looking at the Church History we can identify that the descendants of Peter were not only Italian but also French, Spanish, Syrian, African, Dalmatian and Greek. The official records of the Vatican show that 12 of them were Greek. This brings them in fourth place behind the Romans (114), Italians (94) and French (14).


The Greek Popes lived before the Great Schism (1054). They were:
1. Saint Evarestos from Jerusalem, 97-105
2. Saint Telesforos from Taranto, 125-136
3. Saint Iginos from Athens, 136-140
4. St. Eleftherios from Nikopolis (Iperos), 175-189
5. St. Anteros from Greece, 235-236
6. St. Sixtos II from Athens, 257-258
7. St. Eusebios from Greece, 309
8. St. Zosimos from Cappadocia, 417-418
9. Theodoros I from Jerusalem, 642-649
10. Ioannis VI from Ephesus, 701-705
11. Ioannis VII from Southern Italy
12. Saint Zacharias from Southern Italy, 741-752
The work of the Pontiff has always been a difficult one, especially for those who lived during the first millennium, where persecution, heresy and violence were part of daily life. Great was the contribution by the 12 Greek Popes, some of whom were martyrs. 
Evarestos became Pope in 97 AD, 30 years after St. Peter's death. In a period where Christians were persecuted he was able to organise his flock into parishes. He was the one who first recommended the priestly offices, which later formed the body of the cardinals.
Telesforos was a hermit, that is why he is still venerated by the monks of Karmilou. Iginos was the first to state that the churches should be dedicated to saints and that they had to receive their names. Eleftherios was Pope during a period when Christianity was vastly spread within the Byzantine Empire. However Eleftherios had to face Montano's heresy which stated that the Church should abolish the bishops and return to the Apostolic practice and era. However he was beaten by the Pope and was eventually exiled.  
Anteros was Pope only for 43 days because he was assassinated by the prefect Maximus. He was the first Greek Pontiff to be buried in the Crypt of the Popes. Sixtos II was martyred when pagans forced him to sacrifice to the Pagan Gods; after his refusal they beheaded him.  
Eusebios was only head of the Roman Church for four months due to the fact that Emperor Maxentios sent him in exile to Sicily. During his reign there was a great issue with many Christians who renounced their faith due to the persecutions. Hiraklios was a fair believer of returning them back to Christianity without any formality. Pope Eusebios was against this view. This argument was magnified within the Empire and was only dissolved when both Eusebios and Hiraklios were exiled. 
Zosimos was a monk from Cappadocia, Asia Minor. He had to come against the heresy of Pelagianismos, he went against slavery and made it possible for priests and believers to come in contact and refer to the Roman See. 
Theodoros I became Pope at a hard time in the relations between Rome and Constantinople. Theodoros went against the Emperors Constantine X and Consta II and deposed Patriarch Pyrros for his monothelitic beliefs. 
During Ionanni's VI Papacy Rome was becoming more and more independent from the Byzantine Empire, taking its own decisions on many matters, even going against external threat on its own, without the help from the Byzantine army. Ioanni's VII reign was also a period where relations between the two cities, Rome and Constantinople, were not the best. The Emperor, Justinian II asked the Pope to examine the canons from the Quinisext Council and to reject anything he did not agree with, however he refused.
In the course of his Zacharia's Papacy an independence of Rome was in discussion, which would not be under the Byzantine lord of Italy. He became Bishop of Rome without asking for approval from Byzantium. This was due to the fact that Emperor during that period was Leon III, an iconoclast and then Constantine V, again an iconoclast. In 751 the Pope was the one who decided and crowned the King of the Franks. With this initiative Pope Zacharia inaugurated the right to crown and depose the secular rulers, hence after this action the Roman Church emancipated from the influence of Byzantium.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Diet (light) drinks are dangerous

A recent research from the University of Miami found that people who drink diet (light) drinks have a bigger chance of suffering from a heart attack or a stroke.


Specifically the research results stated that people who drink these drinks on a regular basis have a 61% greater chance of suffering from a heart attack or a stroke than those who do not. Countless statements have been written and have been tested concerning various drinks, especially the fizzy light ones. It is probably wise to stop buying and stop drinking them, in order to lead a healthier life.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Official Opening of St. Panteleimon Church in London

Today we celebrated the Official Opening of the new Byzantine Style Church in Harrow, NW London. It was a unique occasion for us all, since the last time this took place in the UK was over 100 years ago when the last Greek Orthodox Church was built.




The Official Opening, Θυρανοίξια, is different to a consecration, which will eventually take place in the coming Autumn. The Official Opening symbolises the official entrance into the new Church. The ceremony was presided over by His Eminences, the Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain and the Metropolitan Georgios of Paphos. Many priests, deacons and chanters took part, whilst the Church was fool of people from all over London. Also the Metropolitan bought from Cyprus relics of St. Panteleimon which also added a magical atmosphere in the celebrations. 



It is moving to be present at such an event, where everyone was amazed at the progress of the New Church building of St. Panteleimon. It was also emotional to see many people enter the Church moved by this magnificent and massive project, which is still in progress. 
It seems that Marx was wrong when he said " Die Religion ist das Opium des Volkes", which translates into English "Religion is the opium of the people". Religion cannot be seen, as Marx understood it, as a social reality, without taking into consideration other factors, such as spirituality, faith , God or the human nature. Also it is wrong to believe and state that religion is going to vanish from society in the coming years, something which many sociologists believed would be the case in the first decade of the 21st century. This ofcourse is not the case. These endeavours show emphatically how both paradigms have been proven wrong by this astonishing new Church. 
We can only hope that the rest of the project will continue as planned and then I am sure the beautiful icons will follow to decorate the interior and the exterior of the Church.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bracelet paradise in India

Women all around the world love and acquire countless bracelets. However in India, although this is the case, it also has α traditional element. The bracelet holds several symbolisms, which have been maintained through the centuries  till this day. 


It is a custom for Indian women to wear many bracelets made from different materials, including numerous kind of glass, gold and diamonds. The bracelets are so popular that whole markets exist, which only sell a large variety of bracelets, in many parts of India.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A movie shot with an iphone

The first movie shot with an iphone is a reality. South Korean director Park Chan-Wook filmed his latest film, "Night Fishing" in 10 days which cost him about 102.000 euros, whilst having a crew of 80 people. Although his film is not long, about 30 minutes, it is unique since it is the first movie filmed using an iphone. Two phones were used plus various other apple devices by the crew to film the scenes from different angles. 


He saw this at the beginning as a joke, but was pleased with the result so he carried on and finished his project. He is also a firm believer that a good movie consists of good actors and does not depend on the technology used, although he is a fan of modern technology.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The known Universe

This video starts from the Himalayas and reaches the farthest corners of the Cosmos, which is believed to have a diameter of about 40 billion light years, whilst the known universe has a diameter of 13.7 billion light years, which means that we can only see and observe a fraction of the Cosmos. That is why it is maybe illogical to believe that Earth is the only planet with appropriate conditions to maintain life. That is why NASA and other bodies are trying to find a planet similar to our one. The question is what would we do if we found it? 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How people in 1900 imagined the year 2000

Time travel has always fascinated, not only me, but millions of people of all epochs. It is always, I think, interesting to see how people from other eras imagined and depicted the future. 



The past is evident through archaeology, monuments, books, stories and more. But the future is unknown, magical, full of hope (in most cases) and prosperity. Here I show some pictures which emphasise how people in 1900 imagined life in 2000. 



They have imagined some extraordinary things, which have happened but also some that have yet not come to existence. This is the chronic mistake people have always made, as is evident in many films, where we believe that for example in 20 years we will be flying around instead of driving to our destination. 



This is what people in the 80s or 90s believed would happen in the present era. Taking this in mind we could forgive them for their mistakes and congratulate them for their imagination.

Monday, April 4, 2011

FYROM: change the name to enter NATO

A recent research which took place in FYROM and was conducted under the auspices of the Institute of Political Research Skopje upon the Defence Ministry's request gave some very interesting statistics. 65,9% of the people asked answered that they believe that FYROM meets the criteria for NATO membership. 24,7%, on the other hand, do not believe that the country meets the criteria. Asked if they would accept to change the constitutional name in order to enter NATO 62,2% gave a negative answer. However 30,3% answered positively and 7.6% did not answer. 


Although here I state the facts from a local and simple poll, it is important to understand that the name issue is still on going, due to many political mistakes from the past, both from Greece and FYROM. It seems that this problem needs to be solved quickly and it should please both sides, or else the Balkan region will still be unstable, politically and economically, since progress is constantly halted on many fields. 

Eco-conscious stickers

The designers of Hu2 came up with and designed some unique and new decorative stickers which depict eco-conscious images. 


These stickers are placed in homes and switches are designed to remind us all to turn off he light in order to save energy and reduce carbon dioxide production. 


These specific stickers are made of biodegradable material and can be fitted on any smooth surface. 


Maybe it is a good idea to have stickers or symbolisms like these even in our homes to remind us of our responsibility towards our fellow humans and especially our environment.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

He records his voice which he will loose so his son can keep on hearing him

Lawrence Brewer from Bolton, England who is 43 years old and has a rear disease (the disease of motor neuron) where he will loose his voice in the next couple of months. He is trying to record his voice in order to keep reciting stories to his child. 


With the help of modern technology he is able to record words and phrases which he will then put through a synthesizer in order to keep reading bed time stories to his son. This will maintain his voice and accent. This disease is the one Stephen Hawking also has.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Our planet will not be able to sustain the population in 2100

The global population is expected to exceed the staggering number of 14 billion people by 2100, which our planet will not be able to maintain. It is believed that about 2050 the world's population will be around 9 billion people. The UN is concerned that the population numbers will be uncontrollable, leading to the eventual 14 billion which is expected, due to the absence of regulatory laws concerning the issue of population numbers. 



In any case an increase of the world's population to 9 or 14 billion, or 7 billion expected by the end of the year, will bring an enormous  pressure on the natural resources of the planet, which will be phenomenal and unique. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Jumbo Stay

At the Arlanda Airport in Stockholm there is located a unique Hostel. It is constructed within a Boeing 747-200 Jumbo Jet. The Hostel includes 25 rooms, 74 beds, a suite with a private bath which is located within the pilot's cabin. The prices range from 30 euros to 150 euros per night. It also has a snack bar and a conference lounge, offering ready made meals, salads, sandwiches... Although I have never been to a hostel, I have to say that this is an experience I would like to have in this specific Jumbo plane.