Happy New 2012

Will 2012 really be a happy year? Will it be a year without major catastrophes, without wars, and without tragedies? Very likely it will not. It will probably be a year as all the years before – wars, violations, disasters, killing, aggression, power struggles, exploitation of resources, shortage of food and water, and even higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Now I may really sound negative, but I am not that negative. I’d say I am part realistic and I am part optimistic, because I never loose my hope that people sooner or later may learn from experiences, and may be able to look back in time to understand that much of what is happening is nothing but repetition. I also hope that those greedy guys, who are out to make big money, will realize that they won’t get happier by having more and more, and that they will start giving back their money by investing into something that is of value for the majority of the world’s population: education, food, sustainability, and health.

What will 2012 bring for me?
New student classes – our course on Human Evolution will start again soon, and will be followed by excursions to Les Eyzies in France.
A new project – search for paleotsunami deposits along the Andaman Sea coast of western Thailand in collaboration with researchers at Chulalongkorn University, and as part of our research school for teachers on natural hazards.
Documentaries – the department film is almost ready; the last Asian monsoon film may (if we find more financial support) be ready sometime in autumn; and ideas for new films are many, but money is still lacking!
Asian Monsoon project – sampling of the Thailand sediment cores with colleagues from Finland, the UK and USA; new PhD students, more analytical work and writing up the results; Nut and Moo will have enough manuscripts to defend their licentiate during the spring; more fieldwork in Thailand in November/December. Maybe even a trip to Indonesia to check out some possible lake sites for coring?
Conferences – it is time to present the Thailand material and our results at EGU in Vienna this spring as oral and poster presentations.
Administration – after having avoided administrative tasks for several years, I felt that it is time to do my share for the coming three years.
Holidays – two weeks as volunteer in Mongolia in June, teaching English, joining the horse riding treks, taking care of the guests and teaching them how to ride! And, of course a few weeks with family and friends!

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