Adventures in Gardening: Weeding, Watering, Wasps & Whatnot — Empty Nest Homesteading

A weed is but an unloved flower!    Go dig, and prune, and guide, and wait,    Until it learns its high estate,    And glorifies some bower.A weed is but an unloved flower! All sin is virtue unevolved,    Release the angel from the clod–    Go love thy brother up to God.Behold each problem solved.    All sin is […]

Adventures in Gardening: Weeding, Watering, Wasps & Whatnot — Empty Nest Homesteading

23th July (’22): National Holiday of Egypt (Egyptian revolution of 1952 )

The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 (Arabic: ثورة 23 يوليو 1952), also known as the 1952 Coup d’etat (Arabic: انقلاب 1952) and 23 July Revolution, was a period of profound political, economic, and societal change in Egypt that began on 23 July 1952 with the toppling of King Farouk in a coup d’etat by the Free Officers Movement, a group of army officers led by Mohamed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser. The Revolution ushered in a wave of revolutionary politics in the Arab World, and contributed to the escalation of decolonisation, and the development of Third World solidarity during the Cold War.

Though initially focused on grievances against King Farouk, the movement had more wide-ranging political ambitions. In the first three years of the Revolution, the Free Officers moved to abolish the constitutional monarchy and aristocracy of Egypt and Sudan, establish a republic, end the British occupation of the country, and secure the independence of Sudan (previously governed as an condominium of Egypt and the United Kingdom). The revolutionary government adopted a staunchly nationalist, anti-imperialist agenda, which came to be expressed chiefly through Arab nationalism, and international non-alignment.

The Revolution was faced with immediate threats from Western imperial powers, particularly the United Kingdom, which had occupied Egypt since 1882, and France, both of whom were wary of rising nationalist sentiment in territories under their control throughout Africa, and the Arab World. The ongoing state of war with the State of Israel also posed a serious challenge, as the Free Officers increased Egypt’s already strong support of the Palestinians. These two issues converged in the fifth year of the Revolution when Egypt was invaded by the United Kingdom, France, and the State of Israel in the Suez Crisis of 1956 (known in Egypt as the Tripartite Aggression). Despite enormous military losses, the war was seen as a political victory for Egypt, especially as it left the Suez Canal in uncontested Egyptian control for the first time since 1875, erasing what was seen as a mark of national humiliation. This strengthened the appeal of the revolution in other Arab countries.

Wholesale agrarian reform, and huge industrialisation programmes were initiated in the first decade and half of the Revolution, leading to an unprecedented period of infrastructure building, and urbanisation. By the 1960s, Arab socialism had become a dominant theme, transforming Egypt into a centrally planned economy. Official fear of a Western-sponsored counter-revolution, domestic religious extremism, potential communist infiltration, and the conflict with the State of Israel were all cited as reasons compelling severe and longstanding restrictions on political opposition, and the prohibition of a multi-party system. These restrictions on political activity would remain in place until the presidency of Anwar Sadat from 1970 onwards, during which many of the policies of the Revolution were scaled back or reversed.

The early successes of the Revolution encouraged numerous other nationalist movements in other countries, such as Algeria, where there were anti-imperialist and anti-colonial rebellions against European empires. It also inspired the toppling of existing pro-Western monarchies and governments in the MENA region.

The Revolution is commemorated each year on 23 July.

♬ Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill (Lyrics) | From Stranger Things Season 4 Soundtrack

LYRIC

It doesn’t hurt me
Do you wanna feel how it feels?
Do you want to know, know that it doesn’t hurt me?
Do you wanna hear about the deal I’m making?
You, it’s you and me
And if I only could, I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get Him to swap our places
Be running up that road, be running up that hill
Be running up that building
Say if I only could, oh
You don’t wanna hurt me
But see how deep the bullet lies
Unaware, I’m tearing you asunder
Oh, there is thunder in our hearts
Is there so much hate for the ones we love?
Oh, tell me we both matter, don’t we?
You, it’s you and me
It’s you and me, you won’t be unhappy
And if I only could, I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get Him to swap our places
Be running up that road, be running up that hill
Be running up that building
Say if I only could, oh
You, it’s you and me
It’s you and me, you won’t be unhappy
Come on baby, come on darling
Let me steal this moment from you now
Come on angel, come on, come on darling
Let’s exchange the experience, oh
If I only could, I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get Him to swap our places
And be running up that road, be running up that hill
With no problems
Say if I only could, I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get Him to swap our places
Be running up that road, be running up that hill
With no problems
Say if I only could, I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get Him to swap our places
And be running up that road, be running up that hill
With no problems
Say if I only could
Be running up that hill
With no problems
If I only could, I’d be running out that hill
If I only could, I’d be running out that hill

The extreme heat blocks nuclear power plants in France and Switzerland

Nuclear power plants need the continuous cooling of the reactors, which usually takes place through water drawn from rivers, lakes or seas that are close to the power plants themselves. The record temperatures we are witnessing these days, among other things, are also posing serious obstacles to the cooling process of nuclear power plants, especially in France.

According to Bloomberg, France’s nuclear reactors were brought to 46% of their capacity on Friday, after another contraction in operating regimes was introduced earlier in the week. Not without repercussions for the French economy, which usually benefits from the export of energy abroad and which in this case, for the first time, is forced to import.

Bloomberg prices in France

The reduction of the energy output of the French plants is wanted by the local authorities. Normally, in fact, the water used to cool the reactors, which has now risen to considerable temperatures, is sent back to the rivers or streams from which it was originally drawn. This can create a further rise in temperatures, and unpleasant consequences for the fauna and flora.

The rise in temperatures on the Garonne will force to further reduce the output of two power plants on the Rhone River in the coming days, when a further increase in temperatures is expected, or in any case a maintenance compared to the levels of the last few days. EDF, the largest French energy company, has in fact announced further cuts for the next few weeks.

The rise in temperatures is only one of the factors that is leading to the increase in the cost of energy, already high due to the war in Ukraine and the blocking of supplies from Russia. In the last week alone, the cost of energy has increased by 18% to around 500 € / MWh (in 2021 the cost was less than 100 € per MWh). We are at an all-time high while, according to the EDF style, 2022 will be the worst year in terms of energy produced compared to the last 30 years.

The French reactors already had corrosion problems in the first part of the year, which led to the temporary closure of a large number of them, and the consequent reduction in electricity production. Corrosion problems are increasing and increasingly require a large-scale plan lasting several years to ensure normal nuclear power generation schemes in France.

In addition, local authorities are also taking similar decisions in Switzerland. In particular, the Beznau plant uses the Aare river as it is done in France on the Garonne and, for the same reasons, it was decided to limit the production capacity of the two reactors, which normally produce around 6000 gigawatt hours of electricity per year. Production at the Beznau plant was “adjusted throughout the day to the current Aare temperature so that the requirements are always met,” a plant spokesperson said according to CNBC.

France and Switzerland are not the only countries that have suffered consequences for energy production due to temperatures: something very similar is happening in Texas.

20th July (’22): Saint Elijah

Elijah (/ɪˈlaɪdʒə/ il-EYE-jə; Hebrew: אֵלִיָּהוּ‎, ʾĒlīyyāhū, meaning “My God is Yahweh/YHWH”Greek form: Elias[a] /ɪˈlaɪəs/ il-EYE-əs) was, according to the Books of Kings in the Hebrew Bible, a prophet and a miracle worker who lived in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Ahab (9th century BCE). In 1 Kings 18, Elijah defended the worship of the Hebrew God over that of the Canaanite deity Baal. God also performed many miracles through Elijah, including resurrection, bringing fire down from the sky, and entering heaven alive “by fire”. He is also portrayed as leading a school of prophets known as “the sons of the prophets”.Following his ascension, Elisha, his disciple and most devoted assistant, took over his role as leader of this school. The Book of Malachi prophesies Elijah’s return “before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD”, making him a harbinger of the Messiah and of the eschaton in various faiths that revere the Hebrew Bible. References to Elijah appear in Sirach, the New Testament, the Mishnah and Talmud, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and Baháʼí writings.

In Judaism, Elijah’s name is invoked at the weekly Havdalah rite that marks the end of Shabbat, and Elijah is invoked in other Jewish customs, among them the Passover Seder and the brit milah (ritual circumcision). He appears in numerous stories and references in the Haggadah and rabbinic literature, including the Babylonian Talmud. According to the Hebrew Bible, Elijah will return during the End of Times.

The Christian New Testament notes that some people thought that Jesus was, in some sense, Elijah, but it also makes clear that John the Baptist is “the Elijah” who was promised to come in Malachi 3:1; 4:5. According to accounts in all three of the Synoptic Gospels, Elijah appeared with Moses during the Transfiguration of Jesus.

In Islam, Elijah or Ilyas appears in the Quran as a prophet and messenger of God, where his biblical narrative of preaching against the worshipers of Baal is recounted in a concise form. Due to his importance to Muslims, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians, Elijah has been venerated as the patron saint of Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1752.

20th July (’22): International Chess Day

International Chess Day is celebrated annually on 20 July, the day the International Chess Federation (FIDE) was founded, in 1924.

The idea to celebrate this day as the international chess day was proposed by UNESCO, and it has been celebrated as such since 1966, after it was established by FIDE. FIDE, which has 181 chess federations as its members, organizes chess events and competitions around the world on this day. As recently as 2013, the international chess day was celebrated in 178 countries, according to FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. On 12 December, 2019, the UN General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution recognizing the day.

The day is celebrated by many of the 605 million regular chess players around the world. A 2012 Yougov poll showed that “a surprisingly stable 70% of the adult population has played chess at some point during their lives”. This number holds at approximately the same level in countries as diverse as the US, UK, Germany, Russia, and India.