Wooden Shutters For Your Windows

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All of us believe in a saying that says our house is our best asset. Whichever part of the world you live in, a huge percent of us spend time, money and effort in finding the best place for us to reside in and the rest of the time is occupied in designing the interiors of our house, which makes it look just right with no flaws.

In addition to this, having wooden window shutters installed on your property will boost its grace and look, providing some additional benefits. If you’re also thinking to renovate your property, start looking for the gorgeous shutters for the wooden sash windows that are already experiencing a surge in popularity among the architectures around the United Kingdom. The walls are the most common ones and are suitable for a huge array of interiors. Since wood is a classic material, you may use it in whatever fashion you want and for whatever design you are trying to attain.

Besides home, the renowned shutter companies are providing innovative engineering and design solutions for the shutter design to go in the offices. While looking for the shutters for the office windows, it’s critical to search for those which assist in controlling the amount of light in the office premises. Get the right shutters that suit the needs and requirements of your location whether it is home or office. Consider getting the louvres fitted with a silent tilt performance in addition to split tilt so the top and bottom of the shutter panels can be controlled raising the light control.

Sound and thermal insulation: The shutters when closed, the wooden panels provide very good sound and heat insulation. This works in two popular ways- in summers, it’s possible to open the windows while keeping the panels closed, allowing the air to flow freely while keeping the sun heat out. The similar impact can also be given with thick and heavy curtains, by giving a more traditional appearance to the home space. However, for the office premises, the thicker fabric isn’t considered ideal.
Added privacy: The pair of shutters can cover the whole window and also to let light in adjusting the louvres accordingly, making it effortless for the people to inside your home. Curtains on the opposite side are either open or shut and so unless you have net drapes, you’ll lose all sort of privacy. Thus, wooden dividers are proven beneficial in regards to adding extra privacy to a location. The walls require less maintenance since they may easily be wipe down with a damp cloth from time to time, keeping their fresh style for a longer time period.
Extra curb appeal: The interior wooden shutters are one of the nicest additions that can enhance the curb appeal of the place whether it is a house or office premises. The shutters are more permanent and beneficial fixture as compared to the curtains or blinds because they add a royal touch to the interiors of the home. And these fixtures are even easy to remove, if in the event you did not like them, you can replace them with whatever coverings you’d love to have in your house. Maintain the panels fully-opened to let the light flooded the room. The harmful UV rays can harm your window coverings, therefore, be sure you buy the shutters finished with a UV protection layer that will protect the paint color and the wood stain finish and may also restrict the panels from wrap.

10 Simple Ways Technology Can Protect Your Family

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Home security should be at the top of the priority list for anybody who cares about the safety of their loved ones. It can be especially unsettling when you are away on holiday because your mind keeps worrying about what might be occurring in your absence. Are neighbors discovering that you are not around? Are the doors and windows securely locked? Has someone tried to break into the home?

To help keep your mind relaxed and to take care of all these worries, you may want to consider using high-tech apparatus that will make it effortless for you to keep an eye on things from anywhere through your smartphone.

1.

This is an all-in-one security system for your home. It comes attached to HD audio and video and a built-in siren. It functions by auto-arming itself once you leave the house. The device is hard to notice because it is designed to look like everyday house gadgets; such as light bulbs and sockets. It sends you an alert straight to your cell phone when any action or motion is detected.

It includes a two-way microphone, night vision, motion sensor, and multi-angle cameras. The cameras can capture images up to 65 feet away. The 24 LEDs automatically light up when they detect poor lighting conditions. Motion detection and scheduled recordings are a few of the features that make this home security system a device of choice for most homes. Once you get the alert, you can view a live video stream directly from your phone and call for help from the app.

2. Ring Video Doorbell

This system lets you see and speak from your smartphone to whomever drives the doorbell. It provides the visitor or stranger the impression that you are home, scaring away potential thieves. The apparatus also has built-in movement detectors that trigger mobile alerts and record videos that you can access from your mobile phone.

3.

It is imperative that you give equal attention to the inside as well as the outdoors of your dwelling. The indoor camera will give you personalized alerts on your phone and records all movements within the home.

Choose a kind of outdoor camera which will keep watch over your compound whether there’s sunshine or rain. Ensure it can withstand all kinds of weather if you want 24/7 security.

Go for a camera that plugs into power so you do not have to worry about dead batteries when you are gone. Just ensure that they are strategically placed however, well hidden from sight, for appropriate recording and to prevent tampering with by intruders.

4.

Think about getting a smoke detector that lets you know whenever there is a fire in your property. Additionally, it detects a carbon monoxide leak and sends an alert to your smartphone, letting you find the leak, or the fire. The technology behind this gadget works by using a split-spectrum sensor together with an enhanced blue LED to monitor the air around it. You can stop the alarm from your cell phone.

5. Smart Door Lock

To improve the security of your house, you will need to think about upgrading your traditional door locks with modern high-tech ones. On the current market, you can find latches that function with Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices such as the iPhone.

The wise door locks come with a touch-screen that is very easy to use, in which you have to type a code instead of inserting a key to unlock it. Others lock and unlock once they detect your fingerprint; hence you need to configure them so. The most critical advantage is that you need not worry about losing your keys and getting locked out.

However, make certain you memorize the code well lest you also lock yourself out. It gives you an alert when it is being tampered with, so rest assured that nothing will occur in your house behind your back.

6. Phone and Key Finder

It’s imperative that you have the confidence which you can easily find your keys and phone in the event you misplace them. Just consider how much time you waste when you’re looking for them around the home in the most unlikely places. Although this device may not fall under the home security gadgets category, it will make your life easier and reduce the chances of your keys falling into the wrong hands and accessing your house illegally.

The phone-and-key finder device works by helping monitor your items with the support of a smartphone app connected to Bluetooth. By attaching a tile apparatus to an object, you can easily find it by sound, or by marking it as missing. You’ll get an alert when it’s been found.

7.

You might have all the safety systems out there, but if your windows and doors aren’t well secured, it’s likely that your home will nevertheless be broken into while you are away. Along with reliable lock systems, ensure that you also receive window and door detectors to reinforce the safety of your home. The window alarm sensor comes in a sleek and simple design, is easy to install, and is unobtrusive. The alarm goes off if it finds the window is open, a window pane is broken, or when there is drilling.

8. Burglar Decoy

A decoy gives the impression that what’s going to be done might fail, and the individual might get caught or hurt in the process of committing a crime.

For instance, you can put a sticker that says”Rottweiler Security” that provides the impression that your house is under security watch by a security company, keeping burglars off. A large dog bowl may also act as a decoy that gives the impression that you have a large dog guarding your home, and no one will want to trespass

9. Door Brace

The door safety braces can be installed on just about any type of door, and largely on residential interior and exterior doors. The braces come in various designs, ranging from the ones that brace the door on the floor and extend to hook just under the knob, to those who are portable, yet function as powerful doorway braces.

10.

Light sensors are simple electronic gadgets that work by detecting infrared energy, and in this instance, they detect body temperature and light up. They’re sensitive up to a range of 12 micrometers, and they ring a bell as soon as they detect motion. You can also have them send a notification to your mobile device once motion is detected, helping you to take the necessary action against the intruders.

If you use a combination of a few, or all, of these security methods, you will be giving your house and family top-notch security. Whether you are home or away, the last thing you have to worry about is the home being broken into, or losing your property to thieves.

Pokemon Go’s popularity

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Pokemon Go isn’t fresh news. It’s become one of the top rated and most popular games worldwide. What really is this trend and crave for Pokémon Go?

The Pokémon Go is seemingly one of the series biggest admittance into the mobile gaming. It is accessible for a free download on Android and iOS. The game’s fame right now is comparable to that of Twitter’s daily active users on Android.

Pokémon Go is a game that utilizes a individual’s phone’s GPS and clock to feel where the game player is inside the game, then conjures a Pokémon to”appear” around you inside your phone screen. It is your mission to proceed in catching them. The Pokémon series and matches occurs in a world inhabited by strikingly powerful monsters. These game monsters can appear like dragons, rats, snakes, birds, eggs, dinosaurs, trees and even swords.

As you move inside the game, many forms and numbers of Pokémon’s will appear randomly near your location and your phone’s time monitoring. The main objective of the game is to inspire you to trip around the real world to grab a Pokémon while inside the game scene. By using your phone’s capacity to track time and your location, Pokemon Move mirrors what it would be like if the monsters were drifting around. The monsters must be caught and collected.

The principal entry of Pokémon games began with 151 creatures. However the catalog has since evolved into more than 720. With the Pokémon Go, only the original 151 monsters are accessible.

Pokémon Go is now fulfilling the fantasies that Pokémon fans world-wide have had since the game’s first launching. It’s a hot game for adventurous game players, and is just one of the free trending games currently available. Fans should play today if they haven’t yet.

Further than attaining childhood dreams, Pokémon Go is everybody’s intro into a new sort of game which connects the real world using a virtual one that is also called Augmented Reality.

Why play this game? Since everyday actions can get dull, it can get better by spicing it up with the new craze, Pokemon Go!

Are you a Pokemon fan? Why not download the free Pokemon Go program now available on your telephone at Google Play store? New e-books for training and tricks are now available at amazon.com.

Summer Camp Adventures

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Summers take on a new level of excitement once your children are old enough to go to camp, and parenting now requires coming up with new activities that pull your kids away from their electronics. In an adventure-based summer camp, your child won’t ever complain about spending time outdoors since they will be having too much fun testing their abilities with new challenges. During your search for an excellent summer camp, look for these favorite outdoor adventures that kids look forward to all year long.

Build Survival Skills With Overnight Camping

For many kids, spending the night camping is the best adventure. During summer camp overnight trips, cabin groups get to venture out across the water and camp out in a wilderness location. There, they know how to build a campfire, set up a safe shelter and follow outdoor safety rules.

Many people waterski at least once in their lifetime. However, children who go to summer camp get to dive right into watersports and find a passion for adventure. Throughout waterskiing and wakeboarding lessons, children slowly work through a system of skills daily until they have mastered the coolest tricks. Returning campers look forward to progressing in their lessons every summer until they are confidently doing jumps and flips with the proficiency of a competitive skier or wakeboarder.

Soar Through the Air in Aerial Acrobatics Classes

Adventure camps take gymnastics lessons and amplify them with technical training in aerial acrobatics. For many children, summer camp is one of the few areas where they can strengthen their skills in the safety of a state-of-the-art gym that’s equipped with features like bungee systems that allow kids to safely learn how to fly. Aerial silks are just one example of acrobatics where children can learn how to conquer their fears as they perform tricks that dazzle an audience, and trampolining accents a child’s competitive abilities in a wide range of sports.

Although summer camp experiences are constantly enjoyed under careful supervision, many of the greatest experiences that kids have start with being able to explore new opportunities to interact and develop new interests. During free times, kids get to venture out on the water and take part in serious play activities such as canoe races and floating on inflatable water toys. Spontaneous kid-led sports competitions are a frequent sight on the campgrounds, and the positive atmosphere generated at camp stimulates kids to try things that they would have never thought of trying before at home. Whether or not a kid enjoys working through each new height of a ropes course or flying on the Tarzan swing, each moment is packed full of adventure.

Kids look forward to experience camp throughout the year, and it is common to see kids practicing the skills they learned the year before as they get ready for their summer months. Whether your child was practically born with fins and loves the water or they like to bounce their days off on a trampoline, you can enjoy knowing that they will be full of stories when they return from their summer camp about their amazing adventures.

Do Fathers Love Conditionally?

Father, Daughter, Beach, Family, Daddy

It is often said that there is the being and then there is the doing, and that both of these aspects are important. Consequently, if someone can only adopt one of these aspects, they are going to be out of balance.

Another way to study this dynamic is to be to say that there is the masculine and then there is the feminine. When one is simply being, they’ll be in their female; whereas when they are doing, they’ll be in their masculine.

Lopsided

The feminine part of them is going to tell them that their value is based on who they are, yet the manly part of them is going to tell them that it is based on what they do. Therefore, if one has not incorporated the former, they could be out of touch with their inherent worth.

On the other hand, if a person has not incorporated the latter, then they won’t feel as though they should work for anything and that everything ought to be offered for them. Both of these scenarios will result in problems, problems which will hold them back in 1 way or another.

A Machine

Therefore, when one is out of touch with their inherent value, they can end up trying to compensate for how worthless they feel. They will believe that their worth is defined by what they achieve, meaning that their whole life could revolve around attempting to achieve things.

How they feel at a deeper level will start to rise up again, causing them to look for something else to achieve.

Stuck On a Treadmill

They won’t have the ability to attain this gold, but they will compromise their health and wellbeing, for instance, in order to try and get it.

If they were able to take a step back and to reflect on what’s taking place, they may see how futile this is. However, the pain that’s within them is likely to stop them in order to do this.

Running Away

As stressful as it will be for them to live in this manner, facing what is going on within them will be far more painful. They could believe that they only have two options: either they face how they feel and feel worthless, or they try to change how they feel by being successful.

Consequently, this individual isn’t likely to think about being, let alone allow themselves to be. They will be a human being, that much is clear, but that will be as far as it will go; it will not be possible for them to behave like one.

Another Option

Alternatively, someone like this could only face how they feel rather than attempt and do anything about it. This will probably mean that they won’t achieve very much, and they could also be accustomed to feeling depressed.

So while the person above will have obtained a masculine approach, this person will have taken a feminine approach. The first is resisting their true feelings, yet the second person has given in to them.

The Other Side

When it comes to someone who’s out of touch with their masculine aspect, they can have a strong sense of entitlement.

They are very likely to see themselves as being special and different, so it is to be expected that they would act in this way. There are a variety of things that can define whether this individual’s reality matches up with what they think.

For Example

If somebody was to come from a well-to-do background, their family might give them what they want. There’s then going to be no need for them to work for anything, as it will be dropped right into their lap – that is unless their family’s financial position changes.

Because of how they look, it is not going to be a challenge for them to fulfil this requirement – that is until they get older

Way Back

What generally plays the biggest part in an adult’s masculine and feminine development is what took place during their early years. For arguments sake, the feminine aspect is usually developed by having a mother who loves unconsciously, and the masculine aspect is usually developed by having a father who enjoys conditionally.

Each parent then plays an essential role, a role that will allow the child to grow into a balanced human being. The mother will show them that they are inherently valuable, and the father will show them that while they’re valuable, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have to work for things.

Competence

The mother will assist the child to cultivate self-worth and the dad will help the child to cultivate self-esteem, and these two components are also connected. Putting effort in to attain things won’t only enable the child to develop a sense of competence, it will also allow them to be convinced too.

If a child was to grow up with just one of those influences, it could set them up to experience problems as an adult. This can be exactly what happens when a child only has one parent around, but it may also take place when there are two.

A Closer Look

The child could have only one parent about and this parent could always tell them how amazing they are, or else they could abuse/or neglect them. This may then cause the child to develop a strong sense of entitlement, or they could become a human doing who hates themselves.

Then again, a kid could have two parents still end up developing problems. One parent could be emotionally absent and the other could see them as an extension of themselves.

A Grey Area

The love that they want will not be provided, which may set them up to behave as if they are a machine. What this shows is that it is not enough just to have two parents; they need to be healthy people

This is why it isn’t necessarily going to be better for a child to have two parents than it will be for them to get one. Having one good parent and a grandparent, for instance, is going to be better than having two bad parents and nobody else available.

Awareness

If someone can see their side of their nature is out of equilibrium, and they would like to change their life, it will be essential for them to reach out for assistance. This is some thing can be provided by the aid of a therapist or a healer.

A brief of Snowden

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In graphic novel form, this book examines the life and inspiration of Edward Snowden, among the most famous, or infamous, people on the planet.

Snowden grew up in Maryland, just a few miles from the headquarters of the National Security Agency, or NSA. It was the sort of community in which one learns not to ask their neighbor, or their partner, just what they do for a living; it is probably secret. An attempt to join the Army after 9/11 was not successful. As a CIA employee, he had been stationed for a time in Switzerland. He was exposed to other systems of values, and started to wonder if America was really the”good guys.”

He left the CIA, and combined the NSA, eventually becoming a systems administrator, or sysadmin. He spent some time in Japan, which further removed any notion that America was on the side of the angels. As a sysadmin, he had access to all sorts of classified files that detailed America’s surveillance plans. Whenever he had an opportunity, he downloaded file onto flash drives.

Here are a few examples. An NSA program called”Captivated Audience” lets them track you through your smartphone and listen to conversations in your home, even if the telephone is Off. “Gumfish” allows the NSA to take a picture of you, at any time, using the camera in your notebook. Smart TVs, the ones that allow streaming of web content, possess a camera that the government can trigger at any time to watch anyone (like the telescreens in Orwell’s”1984″).

Now working in Honolulu for an NSA contractor, one afternoon Snowden jumped a cab to the airport with his flash drives. His next stop was Hong Kong where he leaked his advice to a few journalists. Following the global bombshell, he had been planning to fly to Latin America to request asylum. While in the air, his passport was revoked. He also knew that if he flew through the airspace of a US ally, the ally would force the plane to land. Snowden would be arrested, handed over to American authorities and”disappeared” (such as Bradley/Chelsea Manning). Snowden got up to Moscow, where he remains today.

Say what you will about Edward Snowden (he’s a hero or he is a traitor), this is an excellent, and very easy to read, look at why he did what he did. It’s very highly recommended.

Animal Farm, a satire on Communism

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Animal Farm, a masterpiece novella by George Orwell was composed in 1945. It falls under novella as it is shorter and contains a less intricate plot unlike a novel. The crux thing of Animal Farm is all about how Czarist Russia evolved to communist Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. Orwell used the animal farm because the backdrop representing Russia and the critters that dwelled in the farm as the who’s who in the Russian Revolution. The Animal Farm is an allegory-a narrative which uses literary devices to unveil concealed messages and meanings.

The Oxford Dictionary defines allegory for a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a political or ethical one. In addition to that, Animal farm can be a satire. The exact same Oxford Dictionary defines a satire as using humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to mock, expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other social issues. Animal farm fits into these two categories aptly.

At the time when the book was printed, it was not that popular, didn’t control a widespread reading because Russia was an ally of the West in their fight against German aggression under Hitler in World War II. In a clear sign of belittling the Russians and its communist leaders, the western world saw it as an act of non-goodwill if they popularized the book in droves.

The author himself wasn’t an anti-communist. Actually George Orwell is said to be a socialist who supported the belief that businesses should be under the control of the working class (employees ) for the benefit of everyone, not just benefitting the elites, who commanded these industries. However, he witnessed the tainted revolution of the communist in Russia, eventually leading to a change of perception.

Orwell was perplexed on how the communist had diverted, departed from their initial noble goals of looking for a classless society.

He was adamant to demonstrate the other side of communism when it was taken too far without a check and balance and how the leaders of this cause succumbed to worldly pleasures, the same class bound pleasures they despised on other ideologies; hence the world must witness the arrival of Animal Farm. Orwell had used allegory to the best of influence, to criticize the hypocrisy of communism, particularly its overzealous leaders, their actions and their thirst for merciless murders and mass killings to maintain their status quo.

Using pigs, of all animals, was the acme of this novella. In the thought of a layman, pigs are idle creatures, non-productive and gleefully end as meat in many taste buds. He utilized pigs because his protagonists and antagonists in Animal Farm for the very same reasons of how modern science had revealed quite surprisingly however, about these animals. Scientists want people to think of legumes as more than just meat. Among other talents, pigs are known to have excellent long-term memories and they’re proficient at completing mazes and recognizing symbols, just like our near cousins-chimpanzees. They also have empathy and can learn from each other in groups.

Besides that, Orwell had utilized pigs as an irony, debunking all the myths surrounding these fleshy animals as lazy but wise, gluttonous but conniving, immobile but strategist who is vivacious in thoughts, plotting and scheming a plan discreetly. Pigs are fleshy, sized creatures known for their slobs. Orwell was quick in equating some world leaders particularly from the communist ideology countries to pigs probably due to the state of hypocrisy that they lived their lives; floating in the wealth made by the proletariat who for a significant portion of their miserable lives remained poor and desolate, where else the leaders were fat, ugly and precariously healthy.

The Old Major in Animal Farm was a pig, depicted as wise and old, experienced and well-respected. This was relayed to the animals, who rejoiced in the prospect of preventing themselves from the clutches of the elites – the humans. Orwell used Old Important to signify Karl Marx, the founder of Communism and the Communist Manifesto, which is based on Marxism. The words uttered by Old Major represent Marx’s words on the evils of feudalism and capitalism.

The utterance also highlighted on the idealistic world of communism. Thereby, the Russian Revolution in 1917 was motivated by those who believed big from the doctrines of communism. In Marxist methodology, it initially used economic and sociopolitical inquiry to analyze and review the evolution of capitalism and the role of class struggle in systemic economic change.

According to Marxist doctrines, class conflict within capitalism arises due to escalating contradictions between highly productive mechanized and socialized production performed by the proletariat (workers), and private ownership and appropriation of the surplus product in the form of surplus value (profit) by a small minority of private owners known as the bourgeoisie. In the Animal Farm, the bourgeoisie were represented by Mr. and Mrs. Jones, the people who owned the animals, frequently ill-treating them. Mr. and Mrs. Jones may also be equated in direct reference to the last Czar of Russia – Nicholas II and his consort Alexandria who were cheered by the Russians at that time for unnecessarily dragging Russia into World War I. Apparently, the animals exhausted their patience, began to rebel, eventually booting the humans out of the farm and took charge of their own destiny.

Besides Old major, another pig character was Snowball. Snowball rose as one of the leaders in Animal Farm. Snowball was depicted as a vivacious and an ingenious character. He was given the job of spreading the attained glory of Animal Farm through the area.

However, fate had it differently when both Snowball and Trotsky were expunged by ruthless and corrupt individuals who craved for power more than anything else.

Napoleon was another pig personality who rose as a pioneer in the novella. As opposed to influencing other creatures and working through consensus, he covertly raised nine dogs into ferocious man-eating animals. These nine puppies were his private army of bodyguards which he manipulated and used to achieve his goals, no matter how treacherous and brutal they were.

The KGB carried out all of Stalin’s commands religiously without fear or favour.

The false confessions of disloyalty in Animal Farm, and the subsequent executions were modeled at Stalin’s great purge in the 1930s in which anyone who’s seen as a counter-revolutionist was murdered mercilessly.

Squealer, another character in Animal Farm is a pig who always spread persuasive messages encouraging the leader’s goals and objectives. Squealer is an embodiment of hypocrisy and propaganda. He reinvents the history and rules to be able to confuse the other animals in the farm. He could also signify Pravda- the communist newspaper in Russia which was the official propaganda mouthpiece of the party in the 1930s. Together with his wizardry like manipulative and words articulation, Squealer kept the public (the creatures ) calm and under control with his frequently misleading and crooked messages and announcements.

Animal Farm serves as a reminder of how humans crave for unlimited power to rule the lives of innocent people through’divide and rule’ and’manage by fear’ approaches to achieve their personal targets. Along that line, some made it into the history books as either being exemplary or loathed.

Students will not only learn the English Language, but also the various literary devices – allegory, satire, irony, metaphor and personification that include it. The novella contains lots of humour from which the writer mocks the actions of their leader and students will also be able to apply their thoughts out of the box to identify why some individuals had managed to receive power, how some maintained this power whatsoever, how some misused the power entrusted on them for their own personal gains and agenda, how some abused their power using violence and threats, and how some had lost to the people-power insurgencies.

Apart from that, the historic events representing this novella will provide an insight of Communism and Russian history.

Byzantium

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The book, incidentally, is far from impossible to read, despite its rather dry style. The issue is the breadth and sheer extent of its subject, an issue the writer confronts with both enthusiasm and endurance. And it’s often a problem of which we are unaware, precisely because we are rarely aware of the assumptions we bring to any expertise. And this is exactly why we need books like this one by Jonathan Harris, because it can cut through what we clearly don’t understand. We need to face preconceptions, because the process is always enlightening. However, the process is often challenging too.

The challenge from the Lost World of Byzantium is met head on and early on. We talk a lot of Rome, and much less of Byzantium. We hail the achievements of the former, and generally list the shortcomings of the latter. We see Rome as somehow noble, classical and correct, whereas Byzantium is often corrupt, degenerate, knavish and unsuccessful. And, as Jonathan Harris points out, we are always describing why the Byzantine Empire finally collapsed. What we rarely acknowledge is that at its height it was a more extensive empire than Rome’s and, importantly, it lasted longer than its precursor. Plus it was Christian from the start.

It’s this perception of Byzantium as eventual failure that Jonathan Harris dispels at the beginning. It is also essential that he does this, since then we can appreciate the detail of the empire’s history in its own context, instead of in another imposed by our own preconceptions about a future it never saw. The Ottoman expansion westwards and its eventual conquest of the empire functioned to supply a wake-up call for concerted action to defend Christianity. At least one previous attempt had dissolved into anarchy as the Crusaders sacked the very place they had set out to defend. The fall of Byzantium, however, rendered any future sectional gain irrelevant, for if the edifice fell, there would be nothing for anyone. And thus the continent changed a little after Lepanto.

Any reader of such a long and complex history as that of the Byzantine Empire, however, must bear in mind the size and scope of the author’s task. The Lost World of Byzantium may contain about 150,000 words, but it is trying to cover more than a century of European history, and of course swathes and eras of Middle Eastern, Central Asian and North African history as well. What becomes clearer, however, is an empire could wage war at its periphery, which war may result in contraction or expansion of its land. But if the empire wages war against itself at the centre, then the threat to its safety is existential. Jonathan Harris’s book relates several occasions when Byzantium endured such complete and wounding internecine transformations.

An enduring insight from The Lost World of Byzantium relates to the overall function of faith in these transfers of power, and specifically the ability of theology to make empires, rulers, dynasties and perhaps states. Byzantium was founded on Constantine’s embracing of Christianity. But this was only the beginning of the story as we perceive it. The early church was riven by schisms and heresies, notably the Arian interpretation of the nature of Christ. From the perspective of our own age, these theological differences may seem to have the significance of disagreements on the exact count of angels on a pinhead. But at the moment, theological disagreements could lead to persecution, exile and war. A long time after the early church had solved some of its self-generated conundrums, new theological differences arose with similar consequences. It is an excellent accomplishment of Harris’s book that it manages to raise what we now might regard as arcane to the status of living political argument. If economic advantage granted by the accomplishment and tenure of power, as ever, remained the goal, the political and ideological battleground where that status was secured was often theological and only if we appreciate that role do we understand the background of the empire, and perhaps also the history of the first and much of the second millennium of the Christian era.

If there’s a criticism of the monumental work, it’s that the requirement of chronicling the incumbents of the throne sometimes make the history a mere list of tenants, a procession of kings who only seem to come and go. The Johns, the Michaels and the Constantines keep coming, forever counting, and it seems sometimes that only the numbers change, as every incumbent suffers his own conspiratorial fate, often remarkably like that of his predecessor. And also history appears to reproduce itself as yet another incumbent marries to secure peace and alliance, or pursues yet another catalogued military effort against north, south, east or west, as only partially successful. The muddle, it seems, tends to continue.

Overall, the book deserves some criticism for not including enough description of the economic and social conditions within the empire. Such diversity, both cultural and religious, needs more detail to supply a picture of its complexity. There’s not much that conveys any sense of what it was to live even in Constantinople, itself, let alone the Byzantine Empire as a whole. But then, with a job of this size, any author needs to be selective. Jonathan Harris simply could not have included material of the kind without doubling the size of an already enormous book. And, given the writer’s commitment and dedication to his subject, this lack ought to provoke most readers to explore more of his output. This aspect surely has also been covered elsewhere.

What is included are descriptions of greens and blues, Pechenegs, Basils, various Phokases and numerous Theodoras, alongside Abbasids, Seljuks, Fatimids and hordes of Constantines. If even one of these hits a blind spot, then Jonathan Harris’s book will help provide the missing understanding. If anything, it’s surely comprehensive. History is always about much more than our preconceptions and all fantastic writing on the subject should remind us of the fact. The Lost World of Byzantium provides a superb opportunity to learn much about this failed, but crucial age of history.

Yugoslavia Failed

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To most folks twentieth century Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic fantasy that ended tragically in the 1990s in a virulent civil war, mostly concentrated on but not confined to Bosnia.

Therefore you may ask why I took up this book by Fred Singleton written in the mid 1970s when Tito was still alive. Well the solution is simply I wanted to investigate the circumstances which resulted in the first major armed conflict in Europe since the end of the Second World War and more specifically the lessons in it for additional multi-ethnic states like mine. For of one thing we could be sure and that is that the Yugoslav civil war was not one of a kind and would not be the last at the break-up of multi-ethnic states. What is significant about Yugoslavia is the southern Slavs were united for as long as they were, through much of the twentieth century into one entity, first as a kingdom and subsequently as a republic.

Background to Conflict

Why then did things grow as they did? These are the obvious questions that strike us on any consideration of the Yugoslav issue. To answer the second question first it would be worthwhile reading the most recent book on the issue by Robert West,’Tito and the Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia.’ I have not as yet but do intend to. However certain obvious things happen to us even before reading that book which is that Yugoslavia existed though in a different form even before Tito’s coming on the scene. Second Tito did not preside over a typical communist state under the stewardship of the L.Y.C. For example private enterprise and tourism were permitted to flourish at a time when they had been heresy into the Communist world. Tito might be thought of as a mild dictator in that respect. He however did enable a nation with modest resources to punch above its weight in global affairs. However he also showed Yugoslavia was able to diversify its options when Cominform turned its back on the country. The remarkable part of this independence was that it did not lead to a Soviet invasion as happened in Czechoslovakia or Hungary. This must be attributed entirely to Tito’s leadership.

Yugoslavia and the Soviet Collapse

Many are tempted to view the Yugoslav civil war from the prism of the Soviet collapse but in my opinion there are limits to such a perspective. For example Yugoslavia wasn’t a typical communist state as stated earlier. However the de-legitimization of this L.Y.C. ideology, of what was a one-party state proved fatal. Also it had been by this time over a decade since the death of Tito in 1980. Undoubtedly the hand of Tito could have been a steadying factor in steering the country through a tricky period but this wasn’t to be. A favorite Western premise is that the rise of ethnic nationalists like Milosevich contributed to the civil war. However this ignores the fact that ethnic loyalties were always paramount in Yugoslavia and had even caused Tito to warn of a potential collapse of the federation according to Fred Singleton. Similarly the cleavage between Roman Catholicism of Croatia and Eastern Orthodoxy of Serbia proved too combustible since it reflected fundamentally different cultural traditions.

Conclusions for the future

Yugoslavia definitely started out well but the failure to create institutions and foster democratization ultimately proved fatal. Economic liberalization alone was not enough. Similarly geography also proved aggressive as the mountainous terrain of the nation impeded the development of national infrastructure that might have welded the nation into a cohesive entity. As far as Fred Singleton’s comprehensive work on the subject is concerned that the book’s most significant lacunae is obviously that it came out too soon, before the twentieth century was truly over. One wishes he had waited for the 1990s to complete and introduced a chapter on the civil war.

From a modern perspective that the chapters on nationalism and geography are of topical interest. While the ex-Yugoslavs May Not contemplate a revival of the dead nation they would do well to facilitate cooperation among themselves through multilateral frameworks for the sum is always greater than the parts and this is nowhere more evident than in the Balkans today

Why britian should leave the eu

Eu United Kingdom 2016 Problem England Pro

Robert Oulds’ book, Everything You Wanted to Know About the EU, published in 2013, is still timely and even more applicable than when first published; I doubt whether any of its central contentions have been subsequently disproved, and we all have to welcome are some updates about the statistics that are probably likely to further confirm his fundamental contentions. In fact a number of the events since 2013, specifically the Syrian crisis, must add more weight to his position. So, partisan? Yes, but being partisan does not disqualify one from having an informed opinion, or farther from being right. The purpose of criticism is to observe the thing for what it is and to do that one must know one’s own subjectivity initially and build that into the equation. This I think Robert Oulds has admirably done; and for the integrity of the review I need to disclose that I have known Robert for several years and respect him as a friend. With that in mind, what of his book?

The book contains a brief introduction and then has 7 meaty chapters covering in more detail than most people would like the economic, political, legal, historical workings of the EU, especially as they relate to the United Kingdom. There was much criticism lately of the quality of the debate: that it lacks real information, real analysis, and is all about’bullet-points’ each side fires in the other. Well, if you feel that’s the case, read this book. Instead of bullet points, Oulds provides chapter, verse and statistics on all the critical issues; further, he also provides a balanced commentary. To put that in perspective: where the EU does benefit the UK he is not slow in recognizing it. However, with Oulds, the key issue is always the balance of arguments: the cost-benefit analysis Quite simply, so that in reading the book one increasingly feels that although there are a few great things about being in the EU, yet there are several negatives too the position of staying there to some rational mind is untenable.

What, then, of some of his arguments? What have I found especially compelling in studying this work? I really do like his general observations about how things operate. This is similar to discussing first principles. A good example occurs in chapter 2, The Trouble with the EU, when he sees:”Political unions aren’t needed for commerce; in fact from enhancing trade politics and politicians really create barriers to trade.” Aren’t we guilty in the UK of a double-think here? We all know that political interference in business is catastrophic, hence the need during the past 40 years to de-nationalise numerous chronically underperforming industries; knowing that, how then can it be consistent with Britain’s corporate leaders to claim company would be better in the EU, which is just not’state-run-regulated’ but’supra-state run’? When you think of this, it’s foolish: FOOTSIE 100 Chiefs asking the UK Government for less red-tape and regulation and then implying the only hope for our company and economy is being in the EU. Switzerland isn’t a member of the EU, but still trades with it under two bilateral arrangements. It therefore must accept – on its terms – some constraints, but as Oulds notes:”Since the start of 1993, when the Single Market came into being, the Swiss have adapted their legal code to bring it into line with only approximately two thousand EU legislative instruments. The U.K., together with other EU members, has however had over 20,000 enforced from above”. If we then look at the expenses of the, as Oulds does in enormous detail, the Bilateral agreements enabled them to have access to the market in a cost to them of 550 million Swiss France’s a year; whereas if they were to have full EU membership the cost would rise to 4.9 Billion Swiss Francs – a nine fold increase. And this”excludes the cost of the inevitable increase in EU laws”! That is, the 18,000 legislative instruments they missed since 1993 – and more because 2013!!! These figures, incidentally, aren’t composed by Oulds but based on the Swiss Federal Council’s own research incorporated within their Europe Report.

Citing the work of Professor Jean-Jacques Rosa, a French economist,”It [the EU] enforces and enriches the rents of big, older business firms and bureaucracies and freezes the hierarchical structure of both industry and political production at a moment when innovation, new smaller firms, and lighter government are required. It is a recipe for rapid decrease.” Surely, this should resonate with us? We know that entrepreneurialism depends on flexibility, innovation and vision – the exact reverse of what the EU offers us by being members.

Robert Oulds provides many more examples of where the EU works against our interests as Brits, and I have hardly mentioned the important sovereignty and political arguments. Space prohibits my outlining his points here, suffice to say, as one major point that Oulds explores: the rise of the political right wing in Europe, which the EU likes to characterise itself as the winner against, is almost certainly (and especially from the 3 years since his book was published) a result of the EU: the’democratic deficit’ has been felt everywhere across Europe, and rather than creating stability and security the EU is fomenting widespread opposition to its imperialist and non-democrat diktats, leading to extremism.

But to return the financial problem, it would be best to end on a positive note, for if we leave the EU, what options do we have? As Oulds explains: quite a lot! He goes into fine detail that the situation appertaining to different international organisations and scenarios, two of these organisations, one obscure to most of us, and one well known, hold out massive hope for our progress and success in the wider world should we opt to leave the EU. These two organisations are EFTA, the less well known, and the Commonwealth of Nations itself. Briefly, on the former, it is evident, if somewhat inconvenient for the EU, the four European countries which are currently members – Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein – have some of the greatest standards of living for their populations of any nations anywhere in the world. So much for suffering by not actually being in the EU. One significant statistic that Oulds cites is that in 2011 EFTA exported $189.2B worth of good to the EU; the USA itself only managed $90B. This is pretty incredible stuff, but if we believe the Commonwealth, and the choice of re-activating that choice, then what is possible could truly amaze us.

John Cridland, former Director General of the Confederation of British Industries, said in 2001:”We’ve concentrated too much on Europe – we will need to get out and build export markets in the rest of the world”. Currently, of course, that the”UK is prevented from creating its own unique bilateral investment treaties on its own terms with Commonwealth countries, but also the EU prevents the UK from reaching trade agreements with these critters [markets within the Commonwealth]”. Lest we forget the Commonwealth comprises”54 countries stretching across every inhabited continent on the planet; even Europe where the UK isn’t the only member. More impressively still:”The inhabitants of the Commonwealth is almost two and a quarter billion people, approaching a third of the planet’s population, living on more than eleven and a half million square miles; nearly a quarter of the planet’s land mass. Furthermore, this territory is rich in natural resources, which not only offer the international economy with the commodities which enable growth but can also give its member states real potential.” Since Oulds goes on to observe:”Currently, the Chinese are forging links with these resource rich states; the UK’s Eurocentric orientation is making Britain lose out on the abundant opportunities overseas.”

There’s much more to say about this wonderful book, but space prohibits. It’s a vital book for those who genuinely want to reach out to a few of the facts underpinning this debate and to move away from fear and slander: the notion that just nutters and Little-Englanders could possibly wish to move away from our lovely Big Brother, the EU.

But I have to end on one critical note about this book, good as it is: given the caliber of research and the citations employed, the lack of an index is a major flaw; maybe a new, updated edition – timely now – will correct this otherwise great read.

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