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Middle East

Sunday, 07 August 2011
Hiroshima Day

Yesterday, 6th August, was Hiroshima Day.

Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea’s two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).

Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing"the fear and folly of nuclear weapons.” It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.

Link: Isao Hashimoto, who writes about “1945-1998” ©2003/:

This piece of work is a bird’s eye view of the history by scaling down a month length of time into one second.  No letter is used for equal messaging to all viewers without language barrier.  The blinking light, sound and the numbers on the world map show when, where and how many experiments each country have conducted.  I created this work for the means of an interface to the people who are yet to know of the extremely grave, but present problem of the world.

(via Dean Whitbread).

Posted by bigblue on 07/08/2011 at 10:09 PM
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Thursday, 03 February 2011
Al Wajajah


This is a photograph of a desert sunset near the Oman/Dubai border, which I took just over five years ago. I took it at the border post between the two countries, 90 minutes drive from Dubai city and 3 hours drive from Muscat, the capital of Oman. I wrote about the eventful border crossing here.

Incidentally, Happy New Year - the year of the female iron rabbit!

Posted by bigblue on 03/02/2011 at 07:51 PM
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Thursday, 08 January 2009
A Critical Time


Even though the parties to the conflict seem to be starting to talk about the possibility of a truce, now is an extremely critical time. In the previous conflicts (e.g. Lebanon 2006) most bombings and killings took place in the final days before the ceasefire was agreed. In addition things are now so bad in Gaza that the UN suspended its aid operation, and the ICRC has highlighted that Israel is not meeting its obligations to civilians.

I therefore urge you to make a donation to MAP (Medical Aid for Palestinians) who are providing much-needed humanitarian support to the civilians who are caught up in this ghastly conflict.  For photos of what is going on, you can see Amir Farshad Ebrahimi’s photostream and Zoriah’s photostream (both are posting photos from Gaza onto the photo site Flickr).  Please also see my Pledge.

(The photo above is from: cactusbones (also Flickr).

Posted by bigblue on 08/01/2009 at 11:04 PM
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Monday, 14 April 2008
A Photographic Review


1. Mind the Gap, 2. The Night Sky, 3. Pen-y-beacon, 4. Moss on the roof, 5. Jumeira Mosque, 6. Ossuaire de Douaumont, 7. Four sisters: May, 8. Elland Road, 9. minus 20, 10. Ratcliffe-upon-Soar power station, 11. Sunset in Stockholm

These are all some of the more “noteworthy” photographs on my now (almost defunct) Flickr account.

Posted by bigblue on 14/04/2008 at 07:47 AM
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Tuesday, 24 January 2006


I took this photograph along the Muttrah Corniche in Muscat, Oman, last November. Cousin Ruth and I were catching a taxi back to our hotel after an evening at a local restaurant and the Muttrah Souq.  There were these fairy lights along the corniche, and I pointed my camera out the window of the taxi and took a few shots. This was the first, and best.

Recently I discovered a similar photo on Flickr called The wavelength of A174, taken on the road of that number in Teeside, England.

Posted by bigblue on 24/01/2006 at 08:54 PM
Filed under: Middle East • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Saturday, 17 December 2005
Advisory sign


We suggest that you rather give your precious belongings away, or sell them.  The above photograph makes its appearance on the wall of a restaurant in Dubai.

It suggests, despite all appearances, that there may be incidents of petty crime in the emirate after all.  According to Destinations:

Voted the safest City in the world for four consecutive years, by a study compiled by Interpol, crime in Dubai is almost non-exisent.

The Economist city guide to Dubai puts a different perspective on crime and safety. It seems that even crime is on a grander scale than most other places:

Dubai is in general a very safe place; there are some horrific murders and assaults, but these are largely confined to family disputes and organised crime. Semi-organised crime is present in the form of the so-called Russian and Indian mafias. The Russian mafia is reputed to control much of the prostitution industry, while the Indian mafia is involved in money-lending and inter-family trade feuds.

They also suggest that Dubai’s status as a trading hub makes it a natural conduit for drug smuggling from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Europe, although this has little impact on Dubai society as drug usage there is low (but rising).  Organised prostitution is also mentioned.  The Galactic Guide includes some advice as to some of the consequences for those who may be inclined to get involved in “criminal activities”:

According to the very severe local laws, you may get your arm chopped off for theft, and get hanged for the use or storing of drugs. If the police stops you drunk at the street, you may spend several weeks in prison. But normally police hardly ever stop people to check their passports and driving licenses. Foreigners are treated friendly.

Posted by bigblue on 17/12/2005 at 02:16 AM
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Thursday, 08 December 2005
Gold Souq

gold souq

This is a view down the Gold Souq in Dubai. I wasn’t particularly impressed after all the hype in the guide book. The Economist says:

Souk is the Arabic word for market, and Dubai is littered with them. They are a legacy of Dubai’s status as a thriving port, dating back to the 19th century, when traders and smugglers docked by the banks of the Creek to do business. The city’s souks remain beside the famous waterway.

The most acclaimed is the Gold Souk, on the Deira side of town near the mouth of the Creek. It’s an impressive sight. Rows upon rows of windows filled with elaborate 24-carat gold necklaces, with throngs of Arab and Indian women clamouring for a better view.

This is no tourist trap. People come to stock up on the yellow metal, mainly from India, the world’s largest gold market. Dubai’s bullion market has tailed off since 1999, when India liberalised gold imports, but jewellery is still thriving (recent price hike notwithstanding).

Perhaps I was missing something. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t really interested in buying anything, let alone haggling.

Posted by bigblue on 08/12/2005 at 11:02 PM
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Wednesday, 07 December 2005
darling, the earth moved


As I lay on the Boushar Beachfront that night last week, watching the stars, waiting for this shot to expose, I thought of that poem by Keith Gottshalk:

True Confessions:
Who Really Gave Nic Copernicus The Idea
That Ptolemy & The Church
Got It All Wrong

one moonful evening
mrs. Copernicus whispered
darling, the earth moved

Posted by bigblue on 07/12/2005 at 09:13 PM
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