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Showing posts from May, 2006

Pacific encounters

Feathered head
Hawaiian Islands, Late eighteenth century
Feathers, basketry, fibre, dog canine teeth, pearl shell, wood
H. 81.0 cm, HAW 80
The British Museum


Went to the re-opening of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia and was impressed by the refurbishment and launch exhibition: Pacific Encounters: Art and Divinity in Polynesia 1760-1860. A wooden bowl, supported by two figures with shell eyes and teeth of cut boars' tusks, is just one of 270 rare and extraordinary sculptures, ornaments and textiles in the exhibition; striking giant feathered heads from the Hawaiian Islands with dogs teeth and pearl shell eyes and woven feathered helmets, all used as ritual objects. The red, black and yellow feathers came from honeycreepers unique to the islands. One, a rare U-shaped breast pendant from the Marquesas Islands seen at Tahuata during Cook's second voyage in April 1774, has hundreds of red and black abrus seeds gummed to the upper surface of its whit…

The new rocket fuel

Just returned from two weeks in London, where I've been freelancing for a specialist provider of financial information on the renewable and clean energy industries worldwide. The work has given me a clearer picture of the technology being developed to support the growing interest and funding being directed at the sector.

No more is this evident than in the NEX, a global index, which tracks the performance of 'companies worldwide whose technologies and services focus on the generation and use of renewable energy, conservation and efficiency, and advancement of low-carbon energy solutions.' A quarterly update on the performance of the NEX shows a gain of 25.3% in the first quarter of 2006. An increased interest from investors and the effects of rising oil and gas prices have contributed to this rise. The best performing sector was biofuels, biomass and waste-to-energy sector. Ethanol and biodiesel could well be the fuels of the future.

My rocket fuel has been provided by the …