in post

13 August 2021

Planning and preparing for a walk

I have been busy researching the possible walk in France - now it looks more likely that I will begin in Le Puy en Velay, and do the route sometimes called the Via Podiensis or the GR65. On the other hand, COVID figures are rising again in France, so it may eventually happen that Israel will cancel all flights there. Nothing can be certain in the COVID era. In Israel itself, dire predictions are being made about the ever-worsening situation.

Part of my preparation has been taking longer walks. Fortunately we are ideally placed for such training, being able to pick from among numerous trails whenever we leave the village. We just have to be sure, in this season, to start very early in the morning, or, alternately, to walk in the late afternoon. Morning is better, so I have been out by just after 6 AM.

I discovered that with the OSM app in my phone, I can very easily record my walk, as well as find my way. So I know that I have been traveling each time about 9 to 9.28 km, going at an average speed of 4.4 - 4.5 km per hour, and descending / climbing about 300 m. OSM is really an app that shows the value of free open source software. Despite its weaknesses, it is so much more flexible than the commercial alternatives. Enthusiasts can easily create their own layers and applications of it.

Two old cameras

Around 2008 or 2009 I bought a Canon PowerShot SX110, which I still have. But then in 2015 I replaced it with a Panasonic ZS45, which was advertised as a real bargain as the price had been knocked down from around $400 to $200 - I picked it up on one of my trips to the US. I had paid about $300 for the Canon PowerShot - but products are always more expensive in Israel, so I don't know what it was selling for in the US at the time.

I hadn't done much research on either camera, however now, when I look at old reviews, I see that the PowerShot was very well received, whereas the Panasonic got roundly panned. So I have pulled out the Canon and started to snap some photos. Despite the double megapixel count of the Canon, and its superior CMOS sensor, I have to say that the Canon pictures are more pleasing. I may take that one with me on my walk. There's a possibility of repairing my son's Sony A5000 camera; but the repair is expensive and the camera is a bit heftier. If I carry a camera at all the walk, it had better be small and light.

village

Things that caught my eye

Dissident Pakistani exiles in UK ‘on hit list’ - The Guardian

Critics of country’s military told by Met police of plots against them as security forces fear there may be an attack in Britain

Anti-Muslim slogans raised in Indian capital, suspects in custody - Al Jazeera

Opposition parties say the violence and hatred against Muslims are not a “fringe phenomenon” and are being “actively promoted” by Modi and his most trusted aide, Home Minister Amit Shah.

Poland’s coalition under threat as parliament votes on media bill - The Guardian

“Our parliament will today be voting to disenfranchise TVN, Poland’s largest, American-owned independent TV station. If the bill passes, we will likely cross the point of no return toward a kleptocratic autocracy.”

the move follows a sustained government drive to control Poland’s media in which public service outlets such as the state-run TVP television station become propaganda organs for the ruling party, while private, independent media have been steadily driven out of business.

Hundreds of Polish journalists and editors have also signed an open letter calling on the government to halt “the destruction of media freedom in our country”.

The Israeli army, meanwhile, is killing Palestinians every day - around 140 of them since the hostilities of May. They are shot dead in the most trivial way, whether they are children or adults. There is, as usual, little accountability. As numerous people have pointed out in the past, Israel and Palestine have tiny populations. In a larger country, this amount of carnage would amount to the killing of thousands.

Every loss means one more grieving and embittered family. It increases the likelihood of further bloodshed in the future. Israelis have every reason to fear that, although it may be trivial to kill Palestinians today, this will not be forgiven, in a situation where the tables are turned. I think everyone carries this knowledge with them, and keeps it in a corner of their brains, as a latent fear. Conflicts follow Newtonian laws.

In first massive cyberattack, China targets Israel - Haaretz.com

the Israeli targets included state bodies and as well as private organizations from the fields of shipping, high-tech, telecommunications, defense, academia and information technology.

Despite the ongoing American feud with China, Israel has allowed Chinese companies to carry out several major infrastructure projects here, including building a new port in Haifa and the light rail project in the greater Tel Aviv area. However, Israel didn’t grant the Chinese firm Hutchison a permit to buy the mobile operator Partner. And it may have intervened behind the scenes to thwart the sale of the Phoenix insurance company to another Chinese firm, Fosun.