Robert L. Peters

31 May 2012

Should you check your e-mail?

(thanks to my colleague Adrian Shum for this; original source unknown)

Click on the image for a link to a larger view.

30 May 2012



29 May 2012

I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.

Diane Ackerman

28 May 2012

We didn't have the "green thing" back then…

(thanks to my climbing friend Rod Colwell, and the original author…)

Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough… to save our environment for future generations.“

She was right about one thing–our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then? After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day, here’s what I remembered we did have….

Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 240 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Wales. In the kitchen, we blended & stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a water fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

27 May 2012

You are a perishable item. Live accordingly.

(a quotable seen somewhere… not sure where)

26 May 2012

"The most influential gear of all time…"

(from Outside magazine)

“We’ve scoured the gear archives and the history of sport across continents and eras to compile our first attempt at an authoritative list of the 100 most important outdoor inventions ever…” Link to the article here.

A spork? Really, a spork on the top 100 list?!

24 May 2012

Ethics… redux


“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution.
Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”

~ Thomas Alva Edison

“There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity”

~ Tom Peters

“The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.”

~ Albert Schweitzer

“Even the most rational approach to ethics is defenseless
if there isn’t the will to do what is right.”

~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn

“In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others.
In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.”

~ Immanuel Kant

“No man can purchase his virtue too dear, for it is the only thing whose value must ever increase with the price it has cost us. Our integrity is never worth so much as when we have parted with our all to keep it.”

~ Ovid

“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”

~ Confucius

“It is curious—curious that physical courage should be
so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.”

~ Mark Twain

“Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.”

~ Albert Einstein

23 May 2012

Icograda | Montreal Board Meeting

Montréal, Quebec

There’s a good reason I have not posted to my blog in nearly a week… I have been completely immersed in Icograda meetings—with our great Secretariat Staff, the Interview Committee that is charged with replacing outgoing Managing Director Brenda Sanderson, and with the Icograda Executive Board, meeting for the third time in this 2011-2013 term. All of this is by dent of my having agreed to take on the interim role of ‘Acting Director’ with Icograda to help with the transition between Brenda’s departure at the end of April and the start-date for the new Managing Director (likely in mid-July).

On a personal note, I realize this may be of little interest to those of you who do not know what Icograda is or means; on the other hand, those who know me will likely also know that over the years Icograda sort of grew to be the “family I never had”—for better or worse (I wrote about this in a post back in 2007, here). It’s wonderful to back in a tighter orbit with Icograda, and also a little overwhelming, to be perfectly honest…

Captions for photos above: Members of the current Icograda Board, left to right, who were present in Montréal this past weekend: Jeffrey Ho (Singapore), Sophia Shih (Taiwan), Yesim Demir (Istanbul), Leimei Julia Chiu (current president, Japan), Iva Babaja (Croatia), Gaby de Abreu (South Africa), Kyle Kim (Korea), Sali Sasaki* (France), and Gitte Just (Denmark)—missing were Russell Kennedy (Australia), Vesna Brekalo (Slovenia), and Lawrence Zeegen (United Kingdom) | Brenda and Leimei at the farewell dinner for the outgoing Managing Director | Gaby, Iva, and Sali at the same dinner | Sophia, Iva, and Yesim—”smokin’-hot” outside the hotel, to quote another board member. | The view from Mount Royal on the evening following the board meeting (we were hosted to a dinner in the pavilion there by Culture Montréal along with international delegates from the UNESCO Creative Cities Network).

*On Sali’s behalf, I feel I need to explain why she is wearing sneakers and not fancy shoes by Jimmy Choo or the like in the top photo… unfortunately Sali was hit badly by a luggage cart (commandeered by a rude and pushy woman) when she landed at the Montréal airport, causing serious harm to one foot.

18 May 2012

Wind vs. Sun

I don’t recall my exact age at the time, but I know I was very young when I first heard Æsop’s fable of the Wind & Sun from my pacifist father (a gentle but firm man who served as a conscientious objector during the Second World War). The simple tale offered a compelling allegory re: the “exercise of power” that has stuck with me throughout my life (and may also bear more literal responsibility for my ongoing interest in passive solar energy). The gist of the parable goes like this…

Once upon a time, high in the heavens, a dispute arose between the Wind and the Sun as to which was the more powerful of the two. The Wind (always a blow-hard) challenged the Sun to a contest that could resolve once and for all who was the stronger. Looking down, the two could see a lone Traveler making his way across the land—it was agreed that whichever would be the first to strip the man of his cloak should be accounted the victor.

The Wind began, and blew with all its might with blasts as cold and fierce as a Thracian storm; but (of course) the stronger and more furiously the Wind blew, the closer the Traveler wrapped his cloak around him, and the more tightly he grasped it with his hands. Finally, exhausted, the Wind gave up in despair.

Then the Sun (which had been hiding behind a cloud) came out and simply shone with warmth and brightness—in almost no time at all the Traveler felt the genial warmth, took off his cloak, and cast it on the ground.

Thus the Sun was declared the victor, and it has ever since been deemed that “persuasion is better than force”—and the sunshine of a kind and gentle manner is more efficacious than the force of blustering authority.

16 May 2012

Sage advice (redux)

(it seems I had to re-learn this lesson today, once again…)

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