Update: 3D Modelling – Cardiff City Hall

31 03 2007

Now that I’ve actually got some time off uni, I’ve started work on city hall again.. It’s really starting to come into it’s own!

Click to enlarge:





EU The Rising Superpower?

31 03 2007

 

The European Union – The Rising Superpower?

 

Recently I’ve been reading an interesting book by American Journalist and Washington Post Chief J. R. Reid entilted “The United States of Europe: The Superpower no-one talks about”. Which argues that the EU will become a dominant superpower that can rival the U.S within the next few decades if the EU continues to integrate and the Euro becomes the currency of the continent. I may seem contradictory when I say this but, the more nations that join the EU the better. The U.K or Wales included.

The time of independent nations is over in my opinion. With rising potential superpowers such as China and India (as has been suggested among others), it stands to reason that countries who unite democratically (which is the key difference here and the contrast of Wales in the UK) aren’t easily bullied into submission by more dominant world players. So why resist? Some individuals believe that their country will lose independence (well Wales doesn’thave that either and the UK, does excatly what the Bush Administration wants. Because it can). I won’t go into depth about this supposed “special relationship” seems quite one-sided alot of the time.

 

 

 

Further,the EU is the only example of a supranational legal framework; The EU could be the very building blocks of a global world government. It is important to note that there are prime examples of “devolved” government in the EU. The Parliament is located in Brussels but regional government is everywhere. This is an exciting time in Europe, which should be embraced.

 

 

 

It’s important to note that what we get out of Europe is dependent on what we put into it.





Cardiff – The Distant Capital.

26 03 2007

Firstly, I admitit fully. I love Cardiff. Moreso than any other city including my own hometown. But, I’m not going to bore you to death with my undying love for the capital of Wales but to discuss the accessability of the largest and most prominent city of Wales.

Cardiff City Hall

Apart from “nearby” towns and cities such as Swansea, Newport, Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd etc.. The capital of Wales, is largely inaccessable to the majority of Welsh people. Even areas served by public transport such as Merthyr Tydfil, offer one-an-hour train services too and from Cardiff. I can only imagine the services in other parts of Wales… Why, for example travel to Cardiff from anywhere in Powys, when you can travel to Birmingham for likely half the price?

Matters certainly aren’t helped when the people of the North, who see such investment in the south reap no rewards from it. Resentment is only increased with relations between the gogs and my fellow hwntw’s, which have historically not been that good since the fall of Owain Glyndwr (tobach on w). It doesn’t seem wise to me, as the average Welshman that investing so much in Cardiff and surrounding areas reaps no rewards for the northerners. After all, isn’t Cardiff supposed to be every Welsh persons city of pride? How can people be proud of a capital they can very rarely reach?!

Welsh Millenium Centre

The investment into Cardiff, in my opinion is fantastic but, I can say that because I directly reap the rewards from it. That isn’t fair to all though. Regardless that the South is more populous than the west and north combined. It is said that the terrain of Wales makes it impossible to connect North and South, through central Wales possible… I don’t believe that for a second. Why? Let’s just look at railway achievments world wide..

The transcontinental railway in the U.S.A was finished in 1869, from the east coast to the west. Traversing and going through the rocky mountains. Dwarfing the Brecons, Cambrian and Snowdonia.

Trans-siberian railway, linking Moscow to Beijingin 1905. Over 5000 miles of track and penetrates countless mountain regions and terrain types.

Now, if other countries can achieve feats of this magnitude, surely we can do the same. It isn’t impossible, what it really. truely boils down to is investment. Historically, Wales hasn’t had that much investment at all, now that we have increased political powers with the assembly, perhaps one day I can catch a train from Cardiff to Aberystwyth…





Welsh in Education – The Controversy.

24 03 2007

So, I had a PGCE lesson this friday and a debate started off about the role of Welsh language in Education in Wales. For those not in know, The role ofWelsh language is becoming much more important in Wales. Compulsory in primary-high school, colleges will be able to recieve more funding if they can teach BTEC’s, OCN’s, A-levels etc in Welsh rather than English.

For non-Wels speakers in my PGCE class, this was portrayed, in my opinion, as something negative. My lecturer, who is Welsh, said that those working in the PGCE sector in the future may find themselves hard pressed to find a job in Wales and that their qualification may not be recognised in England. I couldn’t help but feel that a huge negative slant was being etched onto the discussion. I simply had to have my say! >:)

I commented in the discussion that alot of “fear” by both non-Welsh speaking Welsh and English about the language seems to be taking precedence over the cultural and economical benefits a bilingual Wales could bring. I explained that, as a Welsh learner, the more you learn the more “doors open on your own identity”. I compared it to, learning English and discovering Shakespeare. There’s so much Welsh literature and Culture that falls off the radar if you don’t speak the language.

“You are still Welsh, if you don’t speak the language” I said, Something I completely believe in. Just that, once you start learning the language you begin to discover parts of your own heritage that you never realised was there. There were two other students who were also pro-welsh language. Inevitably comments were made about Welsh history and the “Knott”.

“Wales for the Welsh” a phrase that kept being used by my lecturer, really grated on me. A phrase another Welsh pupil from Bridgend vocally disagreed with. “It’s not really Wales for the Welsh, though is it? There are oter nationalities that live in Wales other than the Welsh”. Obviously, what she (the lecturer) was actually meaning was “Wales for the Welsh speaker”. The student from Bridgend commented that a friend of his from Powys was pressured so much into learning Welsh that he left for England, he was Welsh. This is the most disturbing perception of being Welsh, you are either a “real” Welsh person (who is fluent) or a “wannabe” Welsh person (who doesn’t). A two tiered system of citizenship comparable to class.

On the one hand, compulsory Welsh in schools is a good thing, on the other it also robs people of choice. Welsh adults shouldn’t be pressured into learning Welsh, They should want to learn Welsh. The key is portraying Welsh as a vibrant and practical language today.

I couldn’t help but get the feeling that some huge exodus will occur within the next 20-25 years, by the attitude of my lecturer. That those that do not speak Welsh will suddenly up and leave to England. I didn’t feel that that was exactly correct in the slightest. Wales, if anything will become a bilingual state, rather than a monoglot one. English is the international language, and many nations of Europe. Sweden, in particular are largely bilingual. So I don’t see the Welsh simply abandoning it altogether, not when we have a neighbour right next door of some 48 million English speakers. Hardly good for the economy if we abandon it.

It was cited that “This is the beginning of an age where we are establishng what makes us different to one another, rather than what unites us”, but, isn’t that exactly the contrary to diversity. We concentrate so much on what makes us alike, that we forget, ignore or disregard what makes us different to begin with. There’s far to much fear that what is different is automatically bad. Welsh Language included.

A bit of history was cited about Wales being a principality of chiefdoms and princes and a non-united Wales. In contrast to Scotland. Which I had to correct. I mentioned Owain Glyndwr becoming the King of Wales (I believe there was another before him that united Wales) , she didn’t know about Owain Glyndwr at all.

This is what annoys me, this institutionalised perception of Wales that has been passed down generation to generation to Welsh people in the south at least. Without so much as an analysis of Welsh history to begin with. How on Earth can you present an argument in debate if you haven’t done any background information to begin with?! I don’t expect an in depth account of how sausages were cooked in St Fagans in 1412. But, Owain Glyndwr?! C’mon!

Perhaps this is the issue we face today in Wales, the voice of the new Welsh, confronting that of the old Welsh. The Welsh who have been affected by the Welsh Language act and its drive toward a bilingual Wales and the Welsh whoohaven’t had the opportunity/interest to discover their heritage and have their own preconceptions of Welsh.

It seems to me that the moment you begin to learn welsh, you begin to be tarred with the nationalist brush. As though language only serves to further a political ideology. Not to mention being “anti-English” apparently.





More random Welsh sentences

29 11 2006

    Playing with vocabulary I do know:

Dewch y mewn yn y dosbarth

Dw i’n mynd i’r Gaerdydd dydd Gwener yn y tren o Gasnewydd. [most] boreau(mornings?) hefyd (too?).

Nadolig Llawen i bawb

Heulog, Heulog, Heulog! Mae hi’n heulog.

Dydd Mercher 29fed Tachwedd, heddiw.

Spelling may not be spot on, nor grammar but, I’ll keep at it. [Something “ati”?]

Next on the agenda:

  • Memorising the months
  • Playing with plurals.

Noswaith dda, diolch am darllen.





Not letting it slide…

24 11 2006

Read the rest of this entry »





Battlestar Galactica Countdown

22 08 2006

October 6th and Battlestar Galactica returns for it’s third series (at least for the Americans). For those that haven’t watched the show but, generally like original sci-fi. Where have you been?!

When i say original i really do mean, original. It just doesn’t touch or pander to it’s predecessor in any way. However, rather than me further profess my undying love for this series (as i have done in the past). Let’s have a recap and speculation session.

After a long war. The Cyclons, a product of mankind. Left the twelve colonies of mankind in search of “greener pastures”. A remote outpost is constructed, that serves to maintain diplomatic relations between mankind and it’s “children”. Each year the coolonials (the twelve colonies military force) send an officer. For fourty years the Cylons had sent no-one. This all changes when it is revealed to the viewers that Cylons now look human and we glimpse for the first time, a Cylon in human form:

There, she along with the colonial officer and two Cylon centurions are obliterated by a cylon missile. The shit really has hit the fan here folks…

We think she’s dead, only to be shocked, there are many copies. There are twelve “models”, they have infiltrated the colonies, asserting themselves into key positions within the colonial government and military. One who wouldlater be called a Cylon hero is “Six” (reffering to her model number), who had been sent to exploit the new colonial defence program which was being made by her lover; Gaius Baltar a self-centred, a moral but ingenious scientist, who has, to a certain extent, fallen in love with “Six”. Likewise her “other motive” was to feel “love”.

Meanwhile, the Galactica herself is undergoing it’s decommisioning ceremony when all hell breaks lose.

The Colonies are nuked by it’s own missiles, billions die within a matter of a hours. With a handful of survivors (Baltar amongst them) and the remaining humans in space. This is all what is left of mankind; less than 50,000. The new program, invented by Baltar had been sabotaged by “Six”, Greatly exploited by the Cylons, who had now come “home. In their time of absence they had developed their own version of “mysticism” and philosophy, that centred around a single god. Which is in direct confliction with the twelve colonies, who believe in the Greek gods.

Their only choice is to run and in that time, they have been hunted and betrayed. As some Cylons are “sleeper” agents, who completely believe they are human, until plans change for the benefit of the Cylons.

To motivate his morale weakened crew, Adama plays on the ancient legend of the thirteenth colony; Earth. He promises his crew and the fleet a happy end to their misery. The problem is getting there together.

Not only are their Cylon infiltraitors in the fleet, Baltar may be counted amoungst them.

Now, after a dire presidential election, which resulted in Laura Roslin failing to regain the presidency and Baltar taking it, pandering to the people’s hopes. They settle on a barely hospitable planet, with a skeleton crew and fleet in orbit. All goes well, for a time. Until they are found. The fleet flee’s from orbit, no chance to evacuate those below.

With the “new” Cylon belief in dominance and superiority, New Caprica is quickly subjucated. How will humanity survive? How will they escape? Will Baltar ever be found out for the traitor he is? Best wait till October for that answer.








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