Monthly Archives: March 2011

So what did the Romans ever do for us?


Or to put it another way, who really built that road? The March edition of the BBC History magazine has an interesting article which suggests that excavations in Shropshire, England, point to a ‘beautifully crafted’ road having been built up to 100 years before the Romans arrived in Britain. It also seems that the Iron Age Britain’s engineering prowess was probably home grown rather than a result of early contact with the Roman Empire.

It’s an interesting article and well worth a read. Such developments may mean some reappraisal of other ‘Roman contributions’, as well as opportunities to revisit a certain Python sketch.  I was also fascinated by the comment from Tim Malim, the archaeologist who co-directed the Shropshire excavation: ‘The traditional view has often been that Iron Age Britons were unsophisticated people who needed to be civilised by the Romans. It’s an attitude that has its roots in the late 19th century when Britain saw itself as the new Rome, bringing civilisation to the rest of the world’.

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Filed under British History, History

Winters end and Springs awakening


Some of my images of day to day life in Austria in late February and through March, including the trip to Salzburg and the invasion of my garden pond:

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Filed under The odd thought or observation, Vienna Life

‘Potato Earth’


Really interesting piece about new understanding of how gravity differs across the planet:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12911806

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Filed under Environment & science, Green

Lib Dems still want to axe tuition fees


The BBC are reportsing that Deputy Liberal Democrat leader Simon Hughes has said his party remains committed to axing tuition fees.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12923049

Simon Hughes also wrote an interesting piece about the educational maintaince allowance (EMA):

http://www.libdemvoice.org/simon-hughes-writes-educational-maintenance-allowance-a-grownup-replacement-23609.html

I was surprised to discover via Twitter that Labour had been committed to scrapping the EMA

http://www.markpack.org.uk/did-you-know-labour-were-committed-to-scrapping-the-educational-maintenance-allowance-ema/

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Filed under Politics, UK Politics

So are the Lib Dems still relevant?


Steve Richards (The Independent’s chief political commentator) article provides a balanced and interesting analysis of the Lib Dems role in the UK government which he sees as abenevolent and growing force:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/steve-richards/steve-richards-the-lib-dems-irrelevant-far-from-it-2257652.html

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Filed under British Politics, Liberal Politics, Politics

What does the future hold for Austrian Politics?


Recent opinion polls have suggested that the SPO, OVP and FPO are all polling at similar levels. I keep hearing and reading comments questioning how long the grand coalition between the OVP (Centre Right) and the SPO (Centre Left) will continue. State elections over the past year have been a mixed bag for all the Parties, whilst the strong showing for the (Far Right) FPO in Vienna was depressing for those of us of a liberal left persuasion.

The ongoing struggle to get the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan safely under control clearly had an impact in the recent German state elections, with big gains for the Greens. This has produced some discussion about the current performance and future potential of the Austrian Green party. An example of which is this piece from Tuesday’s Austrian Times:

http://www.austriantimes.at/news/General_News/2011-03-29/31838/%27Proud%27_Glawischnig_sets_2013_focus

Another story in today’s AT, as well as featuring in other newspapers and in TV news stories, is the potential for leadership changes in the OVP:

http://www.austriantimes.at/news/General_News/2011-03-30/31863/Rivals_reach_for_power_as_Pr%F6ll_bound_to_rehab

The next twelve months could prove politically very interesting in this corner of Europe.

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Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics

March Hares


I rather liked this piece in the Vienna Review about Hares and thought I’d post the link:

http://www.viennareview.net/scenes-vienna/notes-nature-4825.html

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Filed under Green, Wildlife