The blog of Laszlo Bokor

The blog of Laszlo Bokor

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Snail files, with regular updates

Hello friends,

A few days ago, I experienced an annoying thing, which has already happened many many times to many many of us before, and that is to accidentally step on a snail. If you step on a snail, you hear that unmistakably sad sound when the unfortunate little fella's shell cracks. In the majority of the cases, the shell (and the snail) suffers a serious damage, so all you can really do, no matter how bad it sounds, is to crush the snail and to put it out of its foreseeable misery. No matter how hard you try, without the shell, the snail dies.  

I was tiding up the garden when I found about six snails behind the bin, so I tried my best to migrate them to a safe spot. But, unfortunately, I did not see the seventh which ended up under my foot. Then I heard the crack sound and I instantly started feeling sad... 

...though very quickly I thought that there could be a solution. Luckily, if the snail's body is intact and the crack is not involving the entire structure, there may be hope! I went online and I found a webpage with a very positive (click here to see the post) solution to the problem and I thought I would try and help the snail recover its shell in a natural way. I also thought that I could write up my experience, so in this blog post, I will share daily updates with photos so you can follow Clarence's (this is the name of my little patient), our Burgundy snail's (Helix pomatia) recovery and daily life. 

~ Laszlo

>>> Posts come timely order; scroll down for the latest updates <<<


>>> 26 July 2018 <<<
Day 1, the accident happened, the recovery process officially started by moving Clarence in a suitable plastic tub. I do not think, it needed water, but since keeping the snail wet and in a relatively humid environment, I thought a small amount of water could make the tub's atmosphere a little bit more suitable. I also put some fresh lettuce in the tub which is both food and shelter to the snail. Snails eat mostly vegetables and fruit, so I also added some blueberries to the 'hospital room'. I also made sure that I regularly checked Clarence and sprayed water on him, especially in the cracked open area which looked quite large once I removed the broken pieces.





>>> 27 July 2018 <<<
Day 2, I had a closer look at the affected area. Well, it did not look good, but it also did not look hopeless. I carried on spraying water on it. By the end of the day, a thin, slimy layer started developing which looked good. 




>>> 28 July 2018 <<<
Day 3, Clarence is much livelier than the other days. I am not entirely sure if he eats yet, but it is good to see him being more active. I have also cleared out his tub and gave him fresh lettuce leaves, celery and pepper slices. He likes sliding on the tub's lid, so we have had a closer look at his shell and we also tried to catch some of his facial expressions. 






>>> 29 July 2018 <<<
Day 4, it is a Sunday and it even feels like a Sunday. Clarence is also sleeping most of the time. I gave him a nice slice of fresh apple today and I have also got a small piece of cuttlefish bone sorted for him that is a good source of calcium and it should help him rebuild his shell faster. 





>>> 30 July 2018 <<<
Day 5, Clarence still sleeps a lot which I assume is both its natural daily cycle and an energy-saving method during the shell-recovery period. Although, when awake, he seems to be very curious about the environment that hosts him and then he looks really lovely.




  
>>> 02 August 2018 <<<

Day 8, Clarence sleeps most of the time and he has not been very active in the last few days, so today I decided to wake him up and make sure he goes for a little 'slide'. I also washed his shell to make sure that he gets enough water and will not dry out. He seemed very happy about it and had a little exercise on my hand.  






>>> 07 August 2018 <<<

Day 13, it looks like that our snail's shell is healing much slower than anticipated; however, Clarence itself looks fine and he is happy to wander and explore when awake. He has been sleeping a lot recently, so I felt the need to make him a more exciting environment where he has more stuff to climb on and it is just generally a bigger space. I have used a cake box for the purpose which is great in many ways: lightweight, spacious, secure and it is portable. I think he likes it so far! 




Come back for regular updates!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Why learn geography? Why learn at all?

Hi there,

I was going through my archived documents and I came across a piece of writing that I did a few years ago. It is about Geography and why I love this subject. I thought this should be posted to here, so here you are. Read it please and get motivated. 

~ Laszlo


I believe it does not matter what subject you choose to learn in the end. You must choose and learn something that makes you happy and that you will enjoy doing as a profession throughout your life. Geography has always been my hobby and some years ago, I chose to study and be a geography researcher (MSc), because for me it is the most attractive subject that I can shape, develop, and improve—and not to forget about the potential chance to travel the world. Now, I have achieved a new milestone in my life: I have also become a geography teacher (I have done PGCE). For me, no matter if I research or teach, as long as it has a link to my hobby and makes me happy, I love doing it with a great enthusiasm.

I would not like to talk about clichés, but education gives you knowledge and confidence. And knowledge is valuable. It does not matter if you self-educate yourself or attend a university, as long as you keep learning something that interests you, you will gain a powerful tool that will always come handy in your life. In the social world where we all live, however, every human has to be recognised by a qualification. This is the document, your degree that you obtain once you complete your studies in a higher education institution. Why not gain a comprehensive and competitive knowledge with plenty of experience from a subject that gives you the most, enjoyable, and you can do it as a hobby? 

When you think of geography, it is not only a simple subject. Geography encompasses everything that can be seen on Earth, and everything that surrounds you in your environment. I would call it “the knowledge of everything”. You can talk about life—yes, biology is a great part of it; you can talk about the weather—yes, physics is a great part of it; or you can talk about your holiday—yes, tourism is a great part of it; talk about your beer, your coffee, your hamburger, your car, your smartphone, your telly, and so on and on, no matter what it is, everything will have some links with geography. So why not to have the ability to see behind the scenes instead of only focusing on one thing? 

Geography for many people appears to be something very complex and difficult. Truly, it is a very diverse conglomerate of scientific disciplines, but the level of difficulty is only defined by you. People always forget about the fact that everything in life and on Earth is geographic. When you drive your car, when you eat your breakfast, when you drink your coffee—all of these have geographical significance. So, in this sense, everybody on the planet is quasi a geographer. As a professional, however, you can also synthesise things and you become more aware of how your car has an impact on the economy, how your breakfast affects the natural environment, and how coffee bean production gives jobs to tens of millions of people worldwide. You will know what the difference is between physical and human geography, and how to combine them to have an outstanding and sustainable knowledge that is worth sharing with everybody. If you, however, end up teaching something different, like I have taught mathematics, you will be even more capable of raising the standards of any subject you teach with the involvement of geography. 

So, learn Geography, but at least, learn something that is important for you and not for the others!

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Here comes the palm oil!

Hi everyone,

The other day, I went with The Sign Hunters to New Mills and then I just discovered that the famous Swizzels products are actually made here locally.


According to the sign at the Swizzels factory in New Mills, these sweets have been enjoyed for 90 years now which is really impressive. We all know these products and they often pop up in our lives. Even I have got one at home as the t-shirt printers normally hide one for me in the package as a little treat.


Once I was back home, I checked the packaging of one of their sweets and it was good to identify the actual production site on the package. However, if you look at the ingredients, the factory uses palm oil to produce these things. I wonder whether that was an actual ingredient that they used 90 years ago, too? (I doubt that very much!)


You know, they might have an ethical source, but since so many companies put palm oil into their products (lots of them could be avoided or replaced by other ingredients) and the demand is enormous, there must be a level where even the ethical is unethical. Another example among many things is coffee, which is my personal enemy, and nobody will ever convince me that coffee bean production has any positive impact on the environment or that Fair Trade is actually good for the planet and the environment. I think No Trade is the best for the environment, but this would trigger a lot of argument mostly related to money, economy and poverty management. 

I am just trying to say that the overall problem is not the palm oil itself. Palm oil is actually extremely versatile, high in saturates, and much easier to produce than other types of oils. So consuming products with palm oil is fine to some extent, as long as the palm oil comes from sustainable sources. This is when you need to keep an eye out for RSPO or Green Palm label, so you know that the company ensures that your purchase is made with certified sustainable palm oil. But one can argue whether the actual producer follows all rules that apply... 

 

I, however, cannot just walk past my doubts that palm oil adds that much into a product. What I know for sure, however, that palm oil production really puts a massive impact on the environment and that is not positive at all. I am also having a problem with the fact that palm oil is not produced locally in the UK, because as you know, palm oil cannot be produced in the UK, so these sweets and other, similar products have an even bigger ecological footprint. And since we buy these products, they increase our own ecological footprints, too. It is hard to believe that palm oil and all the consumerism are so essential parts of our lives. For me, the best way to enjoy life is to not buy products that are unnecessary in our lives. This is the best way to refrain yourself from being a large-scale palm oil consumer. That is when you do the most against environmental destruction. So, buy fewer luxury commodities and then you will help the environment the most.

~ Laszlo

Monday, 18 June 2018

The fifth anniversary of GLS 1: Locality and the Energy Resources

Hi there,

Yes I know, I am fully aware that I have been neglecting my own blog and my fantastic audience as I have not put anything on here for a year now. And you also know, there can always be some sort of explanation, lots of things that I had to go through and that I had to deal with. Good news fellas, I am not going to bother you with the details, so let us pick up the thread where we dropped it a year ago! Hopefully, I will open a new chapter in my life today and catch up with all the work that I have abandoned for a while...

Today is a special day then: first of all, it is my return to the path I want to walk, and it is a celebration because I achieved a milestone on the 18th June 2013 and we must remember that day!

Geographical Locality Studies is our (Frugeo's) open-access journal - free to join, free to download, free to share. Today, we celebrate the fifth anniversary of publishing GLS 1: Locality and the Energy Resources which marks an important milestone in the history of this scientific initiative.  

Every GLS issue is dedicated to someone who has left their influence on the subject area that the current number investigates. in 2013, Locality and the Energy Resources celebrated Dr Klára Bank's 60th birthday and praised her commitments to highlighting the role and importance of geography of energy resources within Earth Sciences. Exactly five years ago, therefore, we enjoyed a birthday, a book publishing, and a workshop on energy resources which took place at the University of Pécs in Hungary. Today, we remember the 18th June as we began something exciting then and there, and it is fantastic to see how much we have achieved so far over these years. (It was also one of the most classic days in my life as it was the middle of Summer, about 50 degrees in the classroom, and I was wearing a dark green, long-sleeved shirt. As you can see, it was not a winning choice, but hey-ho, life goes on...)

Well done to everyone who has ever, in any way, contributed in GLS and thank you for lots of people's continuous support over these years. I am very pleased to write these lines today to honour all your help, work, and achievements. Thank you!

~ Laszlo, Editor-in-Chief 











Selection of photos of the event on 18 June 2013 by György Mánfai
Other photos by Laszlo Bokor (Frugeo GRI Limited)

* * * * *

Our GLS publications can be downloaded free of charge, but hard copies are still available for £15 each and all profit goes to support future projects. Click here to order one today: http://www.frugeo.science/shop.html  

* * * * *

GLS is a co-operative British-Hungarian scientific journal that sets its specialist area in locality, sustainability, environment-related issues, and energy resources. All the published issues and papers are available free of charge at Frugeo's website.

Published numbers:
- GLS 1 (2013): Locality and the Energy Resources - available at http://www.frugeo.science/gls1.html

- GLS 2 (2014): Locality and the (un)Sustainable Settlements - available at http://www.frugeo.science/gls2.html

- GLS 3 (2015): Locality and the Impact of Human Consumption on the Environment - available at http://www.frugeo.science/gls3.html

- GLS 4 (2016): Locality and the Global Challenges of Energy Transition - available at http://www.frugeo.science/gls4.html

* * * * *

Thursday, 18 May 2017

I will never vote for the Tories - A local fairy tale

Hi again,

About two weeks after the local council elections, I have finally managed to find some time and to shed my thoughts on the thing, but projecting light only onto my local, Shrewsbury (Quarry and Coton Hill) area.

Sadly, afterwards the elections, we can see a massive increase in support for the Tories across the UK which is, on the one hand, is due to the decline of UKIP whose supporters migrated and then merged into the Conservative party; while, on the other hand, apart from a couple of small alternative parties, there is almost no large opposition. Labour has shredded itself to bits by its constant fight for its internal power, and although Greens and LibDems are not strong enough yet, they are slowly making their way up and, hopefully soon, will be able to provide reliable alternatives.

As a Hungarian-born and not-a-British-citizen, I do not always have the chance to take part in elections in this country. This is such a selective thing, sometimes I am allowed, sometimes I am not allowed to vote. When the opportunity arises, I am pleased to go to the polling station and cast my vote. I am, however, hard nuts when I have to choose among the candidates as I have all sorts of political beliefs and values, thus I cannot fully say that I support a certain party wholeheartedly. If I, however, have to put myself in a group, I belong to the ‘left’ and I would never vote a right-winged, especially a nationalist, party!

At the moment, almost a year after the Brexit referendum and just before a rapidly called general election, there is a funny political atmosphere in this country and, like it or not, the Tories are literally the only ones who can stand up as a cohesive whole who has supporters from all walks of life and from all around the country. No matter what and how they say, people will still support them. Do not ask me how and why people do that though, but I bet there is something to do with fish and chips!

So I went to vote on the 4th May and I was very much pleased on the next day when I found out that in my local ward, the Tory candidate, Arlinda Ballcaj, burned down to ashes - and there will be no Phoenix resurrection.

On the Unitary election, I voted Huw Peach, because I know him personally and he would have been a great choice for the area, plus he was running for Greens, which is literally the only British political group whose politics is the most appealing to me. I am not saying I agree with everything they say or do, I find them ‘too left’, but come on, there is no political party that could fulfill all your wishes. On the Town and Parish election sheet, I ticked the LibDems (I find them way too left too), voted for Nat Green. But what’s funny that there was no other choice! Nobody could pay me enough to vote for Arlinda Ballcaj (who was stood there smiling and posing with a blue-white conservative ribbon on her chest when I walked into the polling station), never, and not necessarily because she was representing the Conservative colours. I think she is literally just the one who wanted to get a nice, juicy position in the council.

I am a progressive mind, with progressive values who believes that the planet is in a constant change; thus we, the society, should be in a constant change too to adapt ourselves to the new challenges. Locking ourselves into the ‘room’ or following old habits does not mean we are safe and secure against global forces. This does not mean that I do not support some traditions and that I would not have traditional values. I have my own traditions and values. This just means that I am very aware that many of the human traditions are obsolete enough to hate them and they are not serving our life values in the 21st century (like the whale killing in the Faroe Islands - just because it is a tradition). But yes, some things, especially good, environmentally sound practices should be conserved. For me, however, conservatism in this country means conserving neo-liberal, capitalists values which mean produce more, sell more, buy more, do more, get more credits, own more, and more and more and more whatever… and, in the end, be more dependent. This is what traditional means in this country. And for me, this is what the Conservative party wants to preserve, hence to ‘conserve’.

I was born in Hungary and if there are citizens in this country who want to remain in the past and carry on doing what their forebears did, that is fine for me, but that will not give them refuge against the global flow of ‘anything’. What, however, I do not understand at all is why foreign-born politicians - just look at, for example, the local MP Daniel Kawczynski (born in Poland), a pro-Bexit knowledge knight, or here is again Arlinda Ballcaj (born in Albania) - join the conservative party in the UK and campaign for values that is not their very own? I think I can explain this though…

I am lying if I say I do not understand this at all, but every time I think of it, I conclude that these people are just pure opportunists which I personally find irritatingly hypocritical. Of course, when majorly conservative values rule Shropshire, a posh English countryside, where else on Earth you, as a foreign-born, would have better opportunities to get near power? It is really worth having a look at Arlinda’s campaign letter, as well. She randomly stops beside an ambulance car, saying “Fighting to retain hospital services in Shrewsbury” - what? The Tories fight for the NHS? Or stop by a random police van and “tackling antisocial behaviour” - really? Guys, I think you should open some more coffee shops in Shrewsbury town centre (that you are also fighting for) as the over 150 places where you can purchase coffee and other hot drinks do not seem reasonable for me.





In this country, especially in places like the countryside, you can achieve a great political career with repeating anti-EU rhetorics and what the countrymen want - especially if you are a foreign-born. But good to see that people in Shrewsbury are actually seeing through nonsense, as taking photos in front of things will not make you a responsible, credible politician, Arlinda, and, I think, your campaign leaflet and manifesto is one of the reasons that you failed on the 4th May (not to mention the horrendous image quality and graphic design). I personally have high hopes that David will also lose on the 8th June.

Rant over for today. I am glad that I had the opportunity to fight against the Tories in Shrewsbury.

~ Laszlo