Monday, January 11, 2016

Betty MacDonald and very special bridges

Betty MacDonald in the living room at Vashon on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.

Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund praised the International Betty MacDonald fan club events.

I totally agree with her.

I made many new friends there.

We are building bridges to Betty MacDonald fan club fans in 5 continents.

We may be from different cultures but we have so many things in common for example we adore very brilliant and witty author Betty MacDonald.

My favourite city for next International Betty MacDonald fan club event is breath taking Sydney because there are so many Betty MacDonald fan club fans in Australia.

There are only 3 days left.

Don't miss the chance, please to win the most interesting collection of Betty MacDonald unique handmade Christmas cards.
Betty MacDonald fan club contest team made a decision about a new deadline:

December 15, 2015

We'd like to give you a very good advice. 

There might be a document or a letter in Betty MacDonald fan club letter collection which could be very helpful to find the correct answer.

In which year did Betty MacDonald create this Christmas card?

Good luck folks!

Wolfgang Hampel's new Vita Magica guest will be a very famous personality.

Perhaps a new Betty MacDonald fan club honor member?

Speaking of Betty MacDonald fan club honor members we are very happy indeed that our beloved Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli is back.

What about a trip to Betty MacDonald's very beautiful Vashon Island?



Don't miss this very special book, please.

Vita Magica
Betty MacDonald fan club

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French )

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I  

Betty MacDonald fan club groups 

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund

Leonardo Da Vinci Designed A Bridge...Now It's Being Build! Amazing!

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At the turn of this year, students from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) constructed a replica of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in ice. Next up, they're turning their attention to a bridge designed by Leonardo da Vinci. If successfully completed, it will have the longest open span ever built from ice.

According to TU/e, the current record for the longest such span is held by the first project it ran as part of its Structural Ice program. The Pykrete Dome was built in 2014 and had a span of 30 m (98 ft). The aim for the da Vinci Bridge in Ice is for a span of 50 m (164 ft).
Pykrete is a mixture of ice reinforced with wood or paper fibers, used to construct the Structural Ice projects. It is said to be three times stronger than plain ice and a lot tougher. The overall aim of the projects is to show how pykrete can be used as a building material for temporary structures.

"Pykrete offers an easy way to build slim, safe and low-cost temporary structures," explains project leader and TU/e lecturer Arno Pronk. "For example, for temporary roads in Arctic regions, at events or for ice hotels."

What do you think about this video?



When it comes to refugees, Scandinavia is deeply divided

To some Americans, Scandinavian countries might all seem basically the same: They lead the world's rankings, be it in education or health care, and seem to be centers of innovation. These days, however, northern Europe couldn't be more divided. What is separating these wealthy nations? The question of how to deal with refugees.
Sweden has so far taken in the most refugees per capita among all European nations. Meanwhile, in neighboring Denmark, authorities have taken the opposite approach. They placed an ad in Lebanese newspapers, carrying an unspoken yet unmistakable message: Don't come to Denmark. On Wednesday, Denmark stopped all trains connecting the country to continental Europe through Germany for an undetermined time to prevent refugees from being able to cross the border.
Earlier in the week, the Danish newspaper Information published a photo by Sigrid Nygaard of a man spitting on refugees who were passing under a bridge. The image was widely circulated on social media sites. What does this photo represent? Is it the country's real face?
It certainly isn't the image most Americans have of peace-loving Scandinavia. And yet, such tensions could hardly surprise close observers of Scandinavian politics.
"Until 2001, Norway, Sweden and Denmark could be seen as a fairly liberal bastion in the north of Europe," Rune Berglund Steen, the director of the Norwegian Center against Racism, told The Washington Post. Since then, Norway and Denmark have drifted away from Sweden.
"In Denmark and Norway, the political climate has been dominated by right-wing populist parties peddling in anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, something Sweden — at least until the recent rise of the Sweden Democrats — has been spared from," Berglund Steen explained. He said the evolution of the political discourse in those countries has led to different attitudes toward refugees.
Already in 2012, Patrick Kingsley observed in the British Guardian: "Denmark, then, is a tale of two opposing mindsets – one indignant and xenophobic, the other tolerant and communal." The country's strengths, which include its strong inter-community relationships, are also partially responsible for its current levels of xenophobia. "Danes reimagined their society as one defined by togetherness," Kingsley, who published the book "How to Be Danish," wrote. Consequently, Denmark has become a highly homogeneous society, making it difficult for some foreigners to assimilate.
After the Liberal Party, which is categorized as center-right, formed a minority government in June, it drastically curtailed refugees' rights. Denmark continues to isolate itself from the influx of newcomers to Europe and has cut generous benefits to discourage asylum seekers from coming to the nation.
Denmark is hardly the only northern European country opposed to more migrants. In the first half of this year, Norway, Finland and Iceland also took in fewer than 15,000 refugees each — compared to 75,000 who came to Sweden — though Sweden has by far Scandinavia's biggest population with about 10 million citizens.
Northern European countries are among the world's richest
Except for Finland, these countries are extraordinarily wealthy, partially due to oil revenues, which allow them to fund a generous welfare system. Norway's Government Pension Fund is financed through the country's surpluses in oil sales and is currently worth about $870 billion, for instance. Norway has the world's sixth-highest gross domestic product per capita, which means its citizens are among the world's richest, on average.
But Norway has not done nearly as much as Sweden to help refugees. When some tried to enter the country from the Arctic Circle, crossing the Russian-Norwegian border, the government threatened to charge anyone who helped them with human trafficking.
"These days, a popular conception in Sweden seems to be that Norway is a rather racist country, while a popular conception in Norway is that Sweden is a very naïve country, blind to the supposed hazards of immigration," Berglund Steen said. "While both views are strongly oversimplified, there is little doubt that sadly, anti-immigrant and Islamophobic rhetoric generally has had more resonance in Norway."
Why is there so much fear?
In many of these countries, the financial burden does not necessarily appear to be the main argument against accepting more refugees. Rather, it's the fear of having to adapt a societal concept that appears to work rather well in many regards. Whereas German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged that the country had to accept that it would change due to the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees in the coming years to stop its population decline, the northern Europeans seem more determined to preserve their way of living.
In an interview with NPR, Robert Acker, who emigrated from Bosnia to Sweden in the 1990s, said the mood was changing in Sweden as well. "I got along with the Swedes early on. But now, I believe it's a totally different thing. ... They want us out. They just want Swedes here." As in the other countries, many Swedes accuse Muslims of not being willing to to assimilate — but they do not mention how difficult some migrants find it to build ties because they don't feel welcome.
Terror attacks have only increased the rift in recent months: In February, for instance, a man who had sworn fidelity to the Islamic State killed two people in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. Violence has also targeted Scandinavian Muslims: Several Swedish mosques have been burned down this year. 
Sweden and Iceland stand out
According to a Eurostat survey, most Swedes continue to think positively about non-E.U. immigrants. In Iceland, which has only about 300,000 inhabitants and does not technically belong to Scandinavia although it is often associated with the region, support has gone even further. Citizens recently urged the country's government to accept more refugees. A poll conducted by Iceland's market and media research institute MMR showed that 88.5 percent of the population thought the country should accept more refugees. Last week, 1,000 Icelanders even offered their homes to accommodate them.
The initiative could turn out to be a success: The country's welfare minister announced shortly afterward that authorities were examining private accommodation offers, and that the country might decide to let in more refugees as a result.
In Finland, a Nordic country close to Scandinavia, where the population is more opposed to accepting more refugees, the reverse happened: The prime minister announced last weekend that he would accommodate refugees in his private home in order to inspire others to do the same.
Also read:
A Hungarian camerawoman trips refugees who are running from police
This map helps explain why some European countries reject refugees, and others love them
7 Middle East crises that are a bigger problem than Iran’s nuclear program

Rick Noack writes about foreign affairs and is based in Europe.
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