Thursday, 17 April 2008

Piste and dunes


So. Sitting happy but exhausted. Two hours non stop of 5 minute laps in the AMAZING Dubai snow done thing (in scary-wobbly-loose boots!). And it really is like being on a (smallish, admittedly) mountain - look, it even has snowboarders sitting in the middle of the piste!

So, you ask, was it good fun? Well there aren't many mountains where I am nearly the best skier, are there (in fact, until today there weren't ANY)? So OF COURSE it was good. lol

3 comments:

Katrin Becker said...

I attended your closing keynote at CNIE - thoroughly enjoyed it!

I was, however a little disheartened to find so many people furiously taking notes. To me it implies that much of what you showed us and talked about was new to the attendees - given that many of them are actually in the business of e-learning it shouldn't be. The piece I shared with my family first was the cute multiplication trick - not much point telling my 13-year-old about any of the rest - he's already doing most of it, though not, of course, in school.

Curiously (or perhaps not...) one of the comments that stuck in my mind had little to do with the main topic: you mentioned (paraphrasing) you were a vegetarian because you felt it was better (i.e. less wasteful) to eat what the land grows yourself than to feed it to an animal and then eat the animal. I respect the sentiment, but the logic only holds in some geographic locations - to be fair England is probably one of those.
The comment stuck in my mind for two reasons:
1. I live about 1 hour's drive SE of Banff in the heart of ranching country.
2. I raise (and eat) poultry, rabbits, and the occasional cow. I do it partly for ecological reasons.
The area around where I live is ranching country at least partly because much of the land around here is, at best, marginally suitable for growing grass. So, though the general principle that it is more efficient to eat the veggies, etc. yourself than it is to feed them to an animal and then eat the animal makes sense, it does not take into account the vast areas of land on the planet that can only grow food suitable for grazing animals. Sadly, we aren't grazing animals.

I'm not convinced that there is even enough arable land on the planet to feed the human population. Not that I'm trying to convert you to anything - just provide a different viewpoint to ponder....

The reason I am posting this comment here is that one of the first things that struck me when I saw the picture of the indoor ski hill was - I wonder how much power (and other resources) it took to build that thing, and I wonder how much it takes to keep it running... I bet it leaves a carbon footprint the size of which would humble any sasquatch.

Conspicuous consumption meets modern technology.

Prof Stephen Heppell said...

Point well made Katrin. I thought the same as I drove back to the airport in the bus - having slept on the way to Banff I was suprised to see so much grazing land on the way back!! Canada is a VERY big place.

It will be interesting to see what the oil-rich countries do with their energy - especially as we head for the $200 barrel and, give or take some controversy, Canada's oil sands might put you in the rich club too! I hope, like the AE that you will spend a significant bit of it on education and remarkable new schools.

Katrin Becker said...

We do have a lot of land - it is something some of us cherish, and something that gives many Europeans pause. When the road sign says "No services for 75 Km", we really mean it - no house, no gas station, not even a phone (very likely no cellphone service either). Though we are the second largest country on Earth, about 65% of our landmass is uninhabitable by humans.

btw the route from Banff back to Calgary passes through one fairly large First Nations Reserve (Nakoda) and skirts another (Tsuu T'ina along the south side of the highway just outside of Calgary).