Key Benefits Of Installing Wooden Shutters

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All of us believe in a saying that says our house is our best asset. Whichever part of the world you live in, a huge percent of us invest time, effort and money in finding the best place for us to reside in and the rest of the time is busy in designing the interiors of our house, which makes it look just right without any flaws.

In addition to all this, having wooden window shutters installed on your house will enhance its grace and appearance, providing some additional benefits. If you are also thinking to revive your property, look for the gorgeous dividers for your wooden sash windows that are currently experiencing a surge in popularity among the architectures around the uk. The wooden shutters are the most common ones and are suitable for a wide variety of interiors. Since wood is a classic material, you can use it in whatever style you want and for whatever design you’re trying to achieve.

Besides home, the renowned shutter companies are providing creative engineering and design solutions for the shutter style to go in the offices. While searching for the shutters for the office chairs, it is critical to look for those which assist in controlling the amount of light in the office premises. Get the right shutters that suit the demands and requirements of your location whether it’s home or office. Think about obtaining the louvres fitted with a silent tilt operation in addition to split tilt so that the top and bottom of the shutter panels can be operated raising the light control.

Sound and thermal insulation: The walls when closed, the wooden panels offer good heat and sound insulation. This works in two popular ways- in summers, it is possible to open the windows while maintaining the panels shut, allowing the air to flow freely while keeping sunlight heat out. The similar impact can also be given with thick and heavy curtains, by giving a more traditional look to the home space. However, for your office premises, the thicker fabric is not considered ideal.
Added privacy: The pair of shutters can cover the entire window and to let light in adjusting the louvres accordingly, making it effortless for the people to inside your dwelling. Curtains on the other side are either open or shut and so unless you’ve got net drapes, you’ll lose all type of privacy. Thus, wooden dividers are proven beneficial in regards to adding additional privacy to a place. The window shutters are therefore a good selection for the people with allergies as they are easy to keep clean. The walls require less maintenance since they may easily be wipe down with a damp cloth from time to time, maintaining their fresh look for a longer time period.
Extra curb appeal: The interior wooden shutters are one of the nicest additions that can enhance the curb appeal of this place whether it is a home or office premises. The shutters are more permanent and valuable fixture as compared to the curtains or blinds because they add a royal touch to the interiors of the house. And these fittings are even easy to remove, if in case you did not like them, you can replace them with whatever coverings you’d really like to have in your house.
UV protection: Get louvered shutters for your location because these louvres can be angled accordingly to let the light in or limit it. Maintain the panels fully-opened to allow the light flooded the room. The harmful UV rays can damage your window coverings, therefore, be sure to buy the shutters finished with a UV protection layer that will protect the paint color and the wood stain finish and may also restrict the panels from wrap.

Simple Ways Technology Can Protect

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Home security should be at the top of the priority list for anyone who cares about the safety of their family. It can be especially unsettling when you are away on holiday because your mind keeps worrying about what may be happening in your absence. Are neighbors discovering that you aren’t around? Are the windows and doors securely locked? Has someone tried to break into the home?

To help keep your mind relaxed and also to look after all these worries, you may want to think about using high-tech apparatus that will make it easy for you to keep an eye on things from anywhere through your smartphone.

1. Canary Security System

This is an all-in-one security system for the home. It comes connected to HD audio and video and a built-in siren. It works by auto-arming itself after you leave the house. The device is not easy to notice because it is intended to look like everyday house gadgets; such as light bulbs and sockets. It sends you an alert directly to your cell phone when any activity or motion is detected.

It comes with a two-way microphone, night vision, motion detector, and multi-angle cameras. The 24 LEDs automatically illuminate when they detect poor lighting conditions. Motion detection and scheduled recordings are a few of the features which make this home security system that a device of choice for most homes. As soon as you get the alert, you can view a live video stream right from your phone and call for assistance from the app.


This system lets you see and speak from your smartphone to whomever drives the doorbell. It gives the visitor or stranger the impression that you’re home, scaring away potential burglars. The apparatus also has built-in movement detectors that trigger mobile alerts and record videos which you can access from your mobile phone.


It’s crucial that you give equal focus to the inside as well as the outdoors of your dwelling. This is where hidden cameras come in. The indoor camera will provide you personalized alerts on your phone and records all movements within the house.

Choose a kind of outdoor camera that will keep watch over your chemical whether there’s sunshine or rain. Ensure it can withstand all sorts of weather if you want 24/7 security. Fantastic quality indoor and outdoor cameras should have inbuilt speakers and a microphone, enabling you to converse with a visitor.

Go for a camera that plugs into power so you do not have to worry about dead batteries when you are away. Just ensure that they’re strategically placed however, well concealed from sight, for appropriate recording and to prevent tampering with by intruders.


Think about obtaining a smoke detector that lets you know whenever there’s a fire in your home. Additionally, it finds a carbon monoxide leak and sends an alert to your smart phone, permitting you to find the leak, or the flame. The technology behind this gadget works by utilizing a split-spectrum sensor together with an enhanced blue LED to monitor the air around it. Interestingly, you can select between the wired and the Wi-Fi versions which work on the 120v and battery setups respectively.


To increase the security of your home, you will need to consider upgrading your traditional door locks with contemporary high-tech ones. On the current market, you can find latches that operate with Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices such as the iPhone.

The smart door locks include a touch-screen that’s very simple to use, in which you have to type a code rather than adding a key to unlock it. Others lock and unlock as soon as they detect your fingerprint; hence you need to configure them so. The most significant advantage is that you don’t need to be concerned about losing your keys and getting locked out.

However, ensure that you memorize the code nicely lest you also lock yourself out. It will give you an alert when it is being tampered with, so rest assured that nothing will take place in your home behind your back.

6. Phone and Key Finder

It’s imperative that you have the confidence that you can easily find your keys and phone in case you misplace them. Just consider how much time you waste when you’re searching for them around the home in the most improbable places. Although this device may not fall under the home security gadgets category, it is going to make your life easier and reduce the chances of your keys falling into the wrong hands and accessing your house illegally.

The phone-and-key finder device works by helping monitor your items with the help of a smartphone program connected to Bluetooth. By attaching a tile apparatus to an item, you can easily find it by sound, or by marking it as lost. You’ll find an alert when it’s been found.

7. Window Alarm Sensors

You might have all the security systems out there, but if your doors and windows aren’t well secured, it’s likely that your home will still be broken into while you are away. In addition to reliable lock systems, make certain you also receive door and window sensors to reinforce the security of your home. The window alarm detector comes in a sleek and simple design, is simple to install, and is discreet. The alarm goes off if it detects the window is open, a window pane is broken, or if there is drilling.

8. Burglar Decoy

A decoy gives the impression that what’s about to be done might go wrong, and the person may get caught or hurt in the process of committing a crime.

By way of instance, you can put a sticker that says”Rottweiler Security” that provides the impression that your home is under security watch by a security firm, keeping off burglars.

9. Door Brace

You can increase the security that your door provides by installing a door jammer, which prevents unwanted entry. The door security braces can be installed on nearly any type of door, and largely on residential exterior and interior doors. The braces come in various designs, ranging from those that brace the door on the ground and stretch to hook just beneath the knob, to those who are portable, yet be the powerful door braces.


Light detectors are simple electronic gadgets that work by detecting infrared energy, and in this instance, they detect human body temperature and light up. They are sensitive up to a range of 12 micrometers, and they ring a bell once they detect motion.

If you use a mix of a few, or all, of these security methods, you’ll be giving your house and family top-notch security. Whether you are home or away, the last thing you need to worry about is the house being broken into, or losing your property to thieves.

Why is Pokemon go so popular

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Pokemon Go is not fresh news. It has become one of the top rated and most popular games worldwide. What really is this craze and crave for Pokémon Move?

The Pokémon Go is seemingly one of the series biggest admittance into the mobile gaming. It’s obtainable for a free download on Android and iOS. The game’s fame right now is comparable to that of Twitter’s daily active users on Android.

Pokémon Go is a game which utilizes a individual’s phone’s GPS and clock to sense where the game player is inside the game, and then conjures a Pokémon to”appear” around you inside your phone screen. The Pokémon series and games happens in a world occupied by strikingly powerful monsters. These game monsters can appear like dragons, rats, snakes, birds, eggs, trees, dinosaurs and even swords.

As you move within the game, several forms and amounts of Pokémon’s will appear randomly near your location and your phone’s time tracking. The principal goal of the game is to inspire you to trip around the real world to catch a Pokémon while inside the game scene. By utilizing your phone’s capacity to track time and your place, Pokemon Move mirrors exactly what it would be like if the critters really were drifting around. The monsters must be captured and collected.

The principal entry of Pokémon games began with 151 creatures. However the catalog has since evolved into more than 720. With the Pokémon Go, only the first 151 monsters are accessible.

Pokémon Go is currently fulfilling the fantasies that Pokémon fans worldwide have had since the game’s first launching. It’s a popular game for adventurous game players, and is one of those free trending games now available. Fans should play today if they haven’t yet.

Further than attaining childhood dreams, Pokémon Go is everybody’s intro into a new kind of game which connects the real world using a virtual one that is also called Augmented Reality.

Why play this game? Since everyday actions can get boring, it can get better by spicing it up with the new craze, Pokemon Move!

Why not download the free Pokemon Go program now available on your telephone at Google Play store? New e-books for training and tricks are now available at

Outdoor Summer Camp Adventures That Kids Look Forward To

Outdoor Summer Out Camping Fire Barbecue C

Summers take on a new level of excitement once your kids are old enough to go to camp, and parenting now requires inventing new activities that pull your children away from their electronics. At an adventure-based summer camp, your kid won’t ever complain about spending time outside because they will be having too much fun testing their skills with new challenges. During your search for a quality summer camp, look for these favorite outdoor adventures that children look forward to all year long.

Build Survival Skills With Overnight Camping

For many kids, spending the night camping is the best adventure. During summer camp overnight trips, cabin groups get to venture out across the water and camp out in a wilderness location. There, they know how to build a campfire, establish a safe shelter and follow outdoor safety rules.

Lots of people waterski at least one time in their lifetime. However, kids who go to summer camp get to dive right into watersports and discover a passion for adventure. Throughout waterskiing and wakeboarding lessons, kids gradually work through a system of skills daily until they’ve mastered the coolest tricks. Returning campers look forward to progressing in their course each summer until they are doing jumps and flips with the proficiency of a competitive skier or wakeboarder.

Soar Through the Air in Aerial Acrobatics Courses

Adventure camps take gymnastics lessons and amplify them with specialized training in aerial acrobatics. For many kids, summer camp is one of the few areas where they can strengthen their skills in the security of a state-of-the-art gym that is equipped with features like bungee systems that allow kids to safely learn to fly. Aerial silks are just one example of acrobatics where kids can learn how to conquer their fears as they perform tricks that dazzle an audience, and trampolining accents a kid’s competitive abilities in a broad assortment of sports.

Enjoy Freedom to Explore New Friendships and Fun

Although summer camp experiences are always appreciated under careful supervision, many of the greatest experiences that kids have begin with having the freedom to explore new opportunities to interact and develop new interests. During free times, kids get to venture out on the water and take part in serious drama activities such as canoe races and floating on inflatable water toys. Spontaneous kid-led sports contests are a frequent sight on the campgrounds, and the positive atmosphere created at camp stimulates kids to try things that they would have never considered trying before at home. Whether a kid enjoys working through every new height of a ropes course or flying on the Tarzan swing, each second is packed full of experience.

Kids look forward to experience camp throughout the year, and it’s common to see kids practicing the skills they learned the year before as they get ready for their upcoming summer. Whether your child was practically born with hooks and enjoys the water or they prefer to bounce their days off on a table, you may enjoy knowing that they will be full of stories when they return from their summer camp about their amazing adventures.

Child Development

Girl, Father, Portrait, Eyes, People

It’s often said that there’s the being and then there is the doing, and that both of these aspects are important. Consequently, if somebody can only embrace these aspects, they are going to be out of equilibrium.

Another way to look at this dynamic would be to be to say that there is the masculine and then there’s the feminine. When one is only being, they will be in their female; whereas when they’re doing, they’ll be in their masculine.


The feminine part of them will tell them that their value is based on who they are, yet the masculine portion of them will tell them that it is based on what they do. Consequently, if one has not incorporated the former, they could be out of touch with their inherent worth.

On the other hand, if one hasn’t incorporated the latter, then they won’t feel as though they need to function for anything and that everything should be offered for them. Both these scenarios will lead to problems, problems which will hold them back in one way or another.

A Machine

Therefore, when one is out of touch with their inherent worth, they may wind up trying to compensate for how useless they feel. They will believe that their value is defined by what they achieve, meaning that their entire life could revolve around attempting to achieve things.

How they feel at a deeper level will start to rise up again, making them look for something else to attain.

Stuck On a Treadmill

They won’t have the ability to achieve this gold, but they will compromise their health and wellbeing, for instance, in order to try and get it.

If they could take a step back and to reflect on what is taking place, they may see how futile this is. However, the pain that’s within them is likely to stop them from be able to do this.

Running Away

As stressful as it’s going to be for them to live in this manner, facing what is going on within them will be a lot more painful. They could believe that they only have two options: either they face how they feel and feel unworthy, or they try to change how they feel by being successful.

Consequently, this person isn’t likely to think about being, let alone allow themselves to be. They’ll be a human being, that much is clear, but that will be as far as it will go; it won’t be possible for them to act like one.

Another Option

Alternatively, someone like this could only face how they feel rather than attempt and do anything about it.

So while the individual above will have obtained a masculine approach, this person will have taken a feminine approach.

The Other Side

When it comes to someone who’s out of touch with their masculine component, they can have a strong sense of entitlement. It can be as though their mere existent gives them the right to have everything they want.

They are likely to see themselves as being special and different, so it is to be expected that they would behave in this way. There are a variety of things that could define whether or not this individual’s reality matches up with what they believe.

For Example

If somebody was to come from a well-to-do background, their family might give them what they need. There is then likely to be no need for them to work for anything, as it’ll be dropped right into their lap – that is unless their family’s financial position changes.

Because of how they look, It’s not likely to be a challenge for them to fulfil this requirement – that is until they get older

Way Back

What generally plays the largest part in an adult’s masculine and feminine development is what took place during their early years. For arguments sake, the feminine aspect is usually developed by having a mother who loves unconsciously, and the masculine part is usually developed by having a father who loves conditionally.

Each parent then plays an essential role, a role which will enable the child to grow into a balanced human being. The mother will show them that they are inherently valuable, and the father will show them that while they are valuable, that doesn’t mean they don’t have to work for things.


The mother will assist the child to cultivate self-worth and the dad will assist the child to cultivate self-esteem, and these two components are also connected.

If a child was to grow up with only one of those influences, it may set them up to experience problems as an adult. This is what happens when a child only has one parent around, but it may also occur when there aren’t two.

A Closer Look

The child might have only one parent about and this parent could always tell them how wonderful they are, or else they could abuse/or neglect them.

Then again, a child could have two parents still end up developing problems. 1 parent could be emotionally absent and another could see them as an extension of these.

A Grey Area

The love that they want will not be provided, which might set them up to behave as though they are a machine. What this shows is that It’s not enough just to have two parents; they both need to be healthy Folks

This is why it isn’t necessarily going to be better for a child to have two parents than it will be for them to have one. Having one good parent and a grandparent, for example, will be better than having two poor parents and nobody else available.


If someone can see their side of the nature is out of equilibrium, and they want to change their life, it’ll be essential for them to reach out for support. This is something can be provided by the assistance of a therapist or a healer.

A Graphic Novel on Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, People, Man, Face

In graphic novel form, this book examines the life and motivation of Edward Snowden, among the most famous, or infamous, people in the world.

It was the type of community where one learns not to ask their neighbor, or their partner, just what they do for a living; it is probably secret. An attempt to join the Army after 9/11 wasn’t successful. As a CIA employee, he had been stationed for a time in Switzerland. He had been exposed to other systems of values, and began to wonder if America was really the”good men.”

He left the CIA, and joined the NSA, eventually becoming a systems administrator, or sysadmin. He spent some time in Japan, which farther removed any notion that America was on the side of the angels. As a sysadmin, he had access to all sorts of classified documents that detailed America’s surveillance programs. Whenever he had a chance, he downloaded file after file onto flash drives.

Here are a couple of examples. An NSA program called”Captivated Audience” lets them track you through your smartphone and listen to conversations in your home, even if the telephone is Off. “Gumfish” allows the NSA to take a picture of you, at any time, using the camera in your notebook. Smart TVs, the ones that allow streaming of web content, have a camera which the government can activate at any time to watch anyone (such as the telescreens in Orwell’s”1984″).

Now working in Honolulu for an NSA contractor, one day Snowden hopped a taxi to the airport with his flash drives. His next stop was Hong Kong where he leaked his advice to a few journalists. After the worldwide bombshell, he had been planning to fly to Latin America to ask for asylum. Snowden got as far as Moscow, where he remains today.

Say what you will about Edward Snowden (he is a hero or he’s a traitor), this is a wonderful, and very easy to read, look at why he did what he did. It’s very highly recommended.

A Review of Animal Farm

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Animal Farm, a masterpiece novella by George Orwell was written in 1945. It falls under novella as it is shorter and contains a less complex plot unlike a publication. The crux thing of Animal Farm is all about how Czarist Russia evolved into communist Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. Orwell used the animal farm because the backdrop representing Russia and the critters that dwelled in the farm because the who’s who in the Russian Revolution. The Animal Farm is an allegory-a narrative that uses literary devices to unveil concealed meanings and messages.

The Oxford Dictionary defines allegory as a story, poem, or picture which could be interpreted to show a hidden meaning, typically a political or ethical one. In addition to that, Animal farm can be a satire. The same Oxford Dictionary defines a satire as using humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to mock, expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of modern politics and other social problems. Animal farm fits into both these categories aptly.

At the time once the book was published, it was not that popular, didn’t control a widespread reading since Russia was an ally of the West in their struggle against German aggression under Hitler in World War II. In a clear indication of belittling the Russians and its communist leaders, the western world viewed it as an act of non-goodwill if they popularized the book in droves.

The writer himself wasn’t an anti-communist. In fact George Orwell is said to be a socialist who supported the belief that industries should be under the control of the working class (employees ) for the good of everyone, not only benefitting the elites, who controlled these industries. But he witnessed the tainted revolution of the communist in Russia, finally causing a change of perception.

Orwell was perplexed on how the communist had diverted, departed from their initial noble goals of seeking a classless society. Orwell’s conviction was that he owes the world a warning of how damaging unchecked authority was.

He was adamant to demonstrate another side of communism when it was taken too far with no check and balance and how the leaders of the cause succumbed to worldly pleasures, the same class bound pleasures they despised on other ideologies; hence the world got to witness the birth of Animal Farm. Orwell had used allegory to the best of effect, to criticize the hypocrisy of communism, especially its overzealous leaders, their actions and their thirst for merciless murders and mass killings to keep their status quo.

The use of pigs, of all creatures, was the acme of the novella. In the thought of a layman, pigs are idle creatures, non-productive and gleefully end as meat in many taste buds. However, Orwell was way ahead of his time. He used pigs because his protagonists and antagonists in Animal Farm for the same reasons of how modern science had revealed quite surprisingly however, about these creatures. Scientists want people to think of pigs as more than just meat. Among other talents, pigs are known to have excellent long-term memories and they are skilled at completing mazes and recognizing symbols, just like our close cousins-chimpanzees. They also have empathy and can learn from each other in classes.

Besides that, Orwell had utilized pigs as an irony, debunking all the myths surrounding these fleshy animals as idle but shrewd, gluttonous but conniving, immobile but strategist who’s vivacious in thoughts, plotting and scheming a plan subtly. Pigs are fleshy, sized creatures known for their slobs. Orwell was fast in equating some world leaders particularly in the Greek ideology states to pigs probably due to the state of hypocrisy that they lived their lives; drifting in the wealth produced by the proletariat who for a significant portion of their miserable lives remained poor and desolate, where else the leaders were fat, ugly and precariously healthy.

The Old Major in Animal Farm was a pig, portrayed as wise and old, experienced and well-respected. This was relayed to the animals, who rejoiced at the prospect of preventing themselves from the clutches of the elites – the people. Orwell used Old Important to signify Karl Marx, the founder of Communism and the Communist Party, which is based on Marxism.

The utterance also highlighted on the idealistic world of communism. Thereby, the Russian Revolution in 1917 was inspired by those who believed big in the doctrines of communism. In Marxist methodology, it initially used economic and sociopolitical inquiry to analyze and review the development of capitalism and the role of class struggle in systemic economic change.

According to Marxist doctrines, class conflict within capitalism arises due to escalating contradictions between highly productive mechanized and socialized production performed by the proletariat (workers), and private ownership and appropriation of the surplus product in the form of surplus value (profit) by a tiny minority of private owners known as the bourgeoisie. In the Animal Farm, the bourgeoisie were represented by Mr. and Mrs. Jones, the humans who owned the animals, often ill-treating them. Mr. and Mrs. Jones can also be equated in direct reference to the last Czar of Russia – Nicholas II and his consort Alexandria who were disliked by the Russians at that time for turning Russia into World War I. Apparently, the animals exhausted their patience, started to rebel, finally booting the humans from the farm and took charge of their own destiny.

Besides Old major, another pig personality was Snowball. Snowball rose among the leaders in Animal Farm. Snowball was depicted as a lively and an ingenious personality. He was given the task of spreading the attained glory of Animal Farm throughout the neighbourhood. Snowball represents Leon Trotsky – Lenin’s second in command in the Russian Revolution and the leader of the’Red Army’ in the subsequent Russian Civil War.

Trotsky also wanted to spread the word about communism to other nations. However, fate had it differently when both Snowball and Trotsky were expunged by ruthless and corrupt people who lacked for power more than anything else.

Napoleon was another pig personality who rose as a pioneer in the novella. As opposed to influencing other creatures and working through consensus, he covertly raised nine puppies into ferocious man-eating creatures. These nine dogs were his personal army of bodyguards which he used and manipulated to achieve his goals, no matter how treacherous and brutal they were.

The KGB carried out all of Stalin’s commands religiously without fear or favour.

The false confessions of disloyalty in Animal Farm, and the subsequent executions were modeled at Stalin’s great purge in the 1930s in which anyone who’s viewed as a counter-revolutionist was killed mercilessly.

Squealer, another character in Animal Farm is a pig who constantly spread persuasive messages encouraging the leader’s goals and objectives. He reinvents the rules and history to be able to confuse the other animals in the farm. He could also represent Pravda- the communist newspaper in Russia which was the official propaganda mouthpiece of the party in the 1930s. With his wizardry like manipulative and words articulation, Squealer maintained the public (the creatures ) calm and under control with his often misleading and crooked messages and announcements.

Animal Farm serves as a reminder of how humans crave for unlimited power to rule the lives of innocent people through’divide and rule’ and’manage by fear’ approaches to accomplish their personal goals. Along that line, some made it into the history books as being exemplary or despised. This novella is excellent to be used as a reading resource for middle and high school students.

Students won’t only learn the English Language, but also the various literary devices – allegory, satire, irony, metaphor and personification that include it. The novella contains plenty of humour where the author mocks the activities of their leader and students will also have the ability to apply their thoughts from the box to identify some people had managed to obtain power, how some maintained this power whatsoever, how some misused the power entrusted on them for their personal gains and agenda, how some abused their power using violence and threats, and how some had lost to the people-power insurgencies.

Aside from that, the historic events representing this novella will offer an insight of Communism and Russian history.

A Brief on the Byzantine Empire

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A review of The Lost World of Byzantium by Jonathan Harris is near impossible to write. The issue is the breadth and sheer extent of its topic, an issue the author confronts with both enthusiasm and endurance. And it is often a problem of which we’re unaware, precisely because we are rarely conscious of the assumptions we bring to any experience. And this is precisely why we need books like this one by Jonathan Harris, because it can cut through what we clearly don’t understand. We need to face preconceptions, because the process is always enlightening. However, the process is often hard as well.

We talk a lot of Rome, and even less of Byzantium. We hail the achievements of the former, and generally list the shortcomings of the latter. We see Rome as somehow noble, classical and correct, whereas Byzantium is often corrupt, degenerate, knavish and unsuccessful. And, as Jonathan Harris points out, we’re always describing why the Byzantine Empire eventually failed. What we rarely acknowledge is that at its height it was a broader empire than Rome’s and, importantly, it actually lasted longer than its precursor. And it was Christian from the beginning.

It is this perception of Byzantium as ultimate collapse that Jonathan Harris dispels at the beginning. Additionally it is essential that he does this, since then we could appreciate the detail of the empire’s history in its own context, instead of in a different imposed by our own preconceptions about a future it never saw. The Ottoman expansion westwards and its eventual conquest of the empire functioned to provide a wake-up call for concerted action to defend Christianity. The fall of Byzantium, however, rendered any future sectional gain irrelevant, for if the edifice fell, there would be nothing for anybody. And thus the continent changed a little after Lepanto.

Any reader of such a long and complicated history as that of the Byzantine Empire, however, must keep in mind the size and scope of the author’s task. The Lost World of Byzantium may comprise about 150,000 words, but it is hoping to pay more than a century of European history, not to mention swathes and eras of Middle Eastern, Central Asian and North African history also. We soon learn not to regard the Byzantine Empire as a purely or even primarily European phenomenon, as regular battles are fought to the south and east as well as to the north and west. What’s clearer, however, is an empire may wage war in its periphery, which war may lead to expansion or contraction of its land. But if the empire wages war against itself in the centre, then the danger to its security is existential. Jonathan Harris’s book relates several occasions when Byzantium endured such complete and wounding internecine transformations.

An enduring insight from The Lost World of Byzantium relates to this overall function of religion in these transfers of power, and specifically the capability of theology to create empires, rulers, dynasties and possibly states. Byzantium was founded on Constantine’s embracing of Christianity. However, this was only the beginning of the story as we perceive it. The ancient church was riven by schisms and heresies, notably the Arian interpretation of the nature of Christ. From the perspective of our own age, these theological differences might appear to have the significance of disagreements on the exact count of angels on a pinhead. But at the moment, theological disagreements could lead to persecution, exile and war. A long time after the early church had solved some of its self-generated conundrums, new theological differences emerged with similar consequences. It’s an excellent accomplishment of Harris’s book that it manages to increase what we now might regard as arcane to the status of living political argument. If economic advantage granted by the accomplishment and tenure of power, as ever, remained the target, the political and ideological battleground where that status was secured was frequently theological and only when we appreciate that role do we understand the history of the empire, and perhaps also the history of the earliest and much of the second millennium of the Christian era.

If there’s a criticism of this monumental work, it’s that the necessity of chronicling the incumbents of the throne sometimes make the history a mere list of tenants, a procession of kings who only seem to come and go. The Johns, the Michaels and the Constantines keep coming, forever counting, and it seems sometimes that only the figures change, as every freshman suffers his own conspiratorial destiny, often remarkably similar to that of his predecessor. There are numerous child emperors, all with their own nakedly ambitious protectors. And also history seems to reproduce itself as yet another incumbent marries to secure peace and alliance, or pursues yet another catalogued military campaign against north, south, east or west, as ever only partially successful. The muddle, it appears, tends to last.

In general, the book deserves some criticism for not including enough description of the social and economic conditions within the empire. Such diversity, both ethnic and religious, needs more detail to provide a picture of its complexity. There’s not much that conveys any sense of what it was to live even in Constantinople, itself, let alone the Byzantine Empire as a whole. But then, with a job of this size, any author has to be selective. Jonathan Harris simply could not have included material of the kind without doubling the size of an already massive book. And, given the writer’s commitment and dedication to his subject, this absence needs to provoke many readers to explore more of his output. This facet surely has also been covered elsewhere.

What’s included are descriptions of greens and blues, Pechenegs, Basils, various Phokases and numerous Theodoras, alongside Abbasids, Seljuks, Fatimids and hordes of Constantines. If even one of those hits a blind spot, then Jonathan Harris’s book will help provide the missing understanding. If anything, it is surely comprehensive. History is always about much more than our preconceptions and all good writing on the subject should remind us of this fact. The Lost World of Byzantium provides a superb opportunity to learn much about this neglected, but crucial age of history.

Brief on Yugoslavia

Map Austria Hungary Bosnia Yugoslavia Bree

To most folks twentieth century Yugoslavia was essentially a multi-ethnic dream that ended tragically in the 1990s in a virulent civil war, largely concentrated on but not restricted to Bosnia.

Thus you may ask why I took up this book by Fred Singleton written in the mid 1970s when Tito was still alive. Well the answer is simply I wanted to investigate the circumstances which led to the first major armed conflict in Europe since the end of the Second World War and more specifically the lessons in it for additional multi-ethnic states like mine. For of one thing we can be sure and that is that the Yugoslav civil war was not one of a kind and would not be the last at the break-up of multi-ethnic states. What’s significant about Yugoslavia is the southern Slavs were united for as long as they were, through much of the twentieth century into a single entity, first as a kingdom and afterwards as a republic.

Why then did things grow as they did? Was Tito the central figure who held everything together? These are the obvious questions that strike us on any consideration of the Yugoslav issue. To answer the second question first it would be worthwhile reading the latest book on the issue by Robert West,’Tito and the Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia.’ I have not as yet but do intend to. However certain obvious things happen to us even before reading that book and that is that Yugoslavia existed though in another form even before Tito’s coming on the scene. Secondly Tito did not preside over a typical communist state under the stewardship of the L.Y.C. For example private enterprise and tourism were permitted to flourish at a time when they had been heresy into the Communist world. Tito might be considered a mild dictator in that respect. He however did enable a country with small resources to punch above its weight in global affairs. However he also showed Yugoslavia was able to diversify its options when Cominform turned its back on the country. The remarkable aspect of this independence was that it did not result in a Soviet invasion as happened in Czechoslovakia or Hungary. This must be attributed entirely to Tito’s leadership.

Yugoslavia and the Soviet Collapse

Many are tempted to view the Yugoslav civil war from the prism of the Soviet collapse but in my view there are limitations to such a perspective. For example Yugoslavia wasn’t a typical communist state as mentioned earlier. However the de-legitimization of the L.Y.C. ideology, of what was a one-party state proved deadly. Undoubtedly the hand of Tito would have been a steadying factor in steering the nation through a tricky period but this was not to be. A favorite Western premise is that the growth of ethnic nationalists like Milosevich contributed to the civil war. However this ignores the fact that cultural loyalties were always paramount in Yugoslavia and had caused Tito to warn of a possible collapse of the federation based on Fred Singleton. Similarly the cleavage between Roman Catholicism of Croatia and Eastern Orthodoxy of Serbia proved too combustible since it reflected fundamentally different cultural traditions.

Yugoslavia definitely started out well but the failure to create institutions and foster democratization ultimately proved fatal. Economic liberalization alone was not enough. Similarly geography also proved aggressive as the mountainous terrain of the nation impeded the development of national infrastructure which may have welded the nation into a cohesive entity. As far as Fred Singleton’s comprehensive work on the subject is concerned the book’s biggest lacunae is of course that it came out too soon, before the twentieth century was truly over. One wishes he had waited for the 1990s to finish and introduced a chapter on the civil war.

From a modern perspective the chapters on nationalism and geography are of topical interest. While the ex-Yugoslavs May Not consider a revival of their dead country they would do well to facilitate cooperation among themselves through multilateral frameworks for the sum is always greater than the parts and this is nowhere more evident than in the Balkans now

bye bye europe

Brexit, Uk, Eu, Britain, Europe

Robert Oulds’ book, Everything You Wanted to Know About the EU, published in 2013, is still timely and much more applicable than when first printed; I doubt whether some of its central contentions have been subsequently disproved, and we all have to welcome are some updates on the data that are probably likely to further confirm his central contentions. In fact a number of the events since 2013, especially the Syrian immigration crisis, must add more weight to his or her position. Yes, but being partisan does not disqualify you from having an informed opinion, or further from being right. The purpose of criticism is to see the object for what it is and to do that one has to understand one’s own subjectivity initially and build that into the equation. This I think Robert Oulds has admirably done; and for the integrity of the review I ought to disclose that I have known Robert for several years and respect him as a buddy.

The book contains a brief introduction and then has 7 meaty chapters covering in greater detail than most people would prefer the economic, legal, political, historic workings of the EU, especially as they relate to the UK. The names of these chapters are: A Snapshot of the EU, The Trouble with the EU, A Question of Influence, The Alternatives for Britain, Which Way Out, The Implications of Withdrawal, Alternatives to the EU, and these are followed by a Concluding chapter and a couple of useful appendices. There has been much criticism lately of the quality of the debate: that it lacks real information, real analysis, and is all about’bullet-points’ every side fires in the other. Well, if you feel that is the case, read this book. Instead of bullet points, Oulds provides chapter, verse and data on all the critical issues; farther, he also provides a balanced comment. To put this in perspective: in which the EU does benefit the UK he’s not slow in admitting it. However, with Oulds, the crucial issue is always the balance of arguments: the cost-benefit analysis Quite simply, so that in reading the book one increasingly feels that although there are a few great things about being in the EU, yet there are so many negatives too the position of staying there to any rational mind is untenable.

What, then, of some of his arguments? What have I found particularly compelling in reading this work? First, I really do like his general observations about how things operate. This is like discussing first principles. A good example occurs in chapter 2, The Trouble with the EU, when he sees:”Political unions aren’t needed for commerce; in reality from enhancing trade politics and politicians really create barriers to trade.” Are not we guilty in the UK of a double-think here? All of us know that political interference in business is catastrophic, thus the need during the past 40 years to de-nationalise numerous chronically underperforming industries; knowing that, how then is it consistent for Britain’s corporate leaders to claim business would be better in the EU, which is just not’state-run-regulated’ but’supra-state run’? When you think of this, it’s foolish: FOOTSIE 100 Chiefs asking the UK Government for less red-tape and regulation and then implying the only hope for our company and market is being in the EU. To put that in perspective, chapter 7, Alternatives to the EU, makes a telling point. Switzerland isn’t a member of the EU, but still trades with it under two bilateral arrangements. It therefore must accept – on its terms – some limitations, but as Oulds notes:”Since the beginning of 1993, when the Single Market came into being, the Swiss have adapted their legal code to bring it into line with only approximately two thousand EU legislative instruments. The U.K., along with other EU members, has however had more than 20,000 enforced from above”. If we then look at the expenses of the, as Oulds does in enormous detail, the Bilateral agreements enabled them to have access to the market at a cost to them of 550 million Swiss France’s a year; whereas if they were to have full EU membership the cost would increase to 4.9 Billion Swiss Francs – a nine fold increase. And this”excludes the expense of the inevitable growth in EU legislation”! In other words, the 18,000 legislative acts they missed since 1993 – and more because 2013!!! These figures, incidentally, aren’t made up by Oulds but according to the Swiss Federal Council’s own study included within their Europe Report.

More important than any of the foregoing, however, important as those points are, is the more general proof that belonging to the EU is a recipe for terminal economic decline. Citing the work of Professor Jean-Jacques Rosa, a French economist,”It [the EU] enforces and enhances the rents of large, older business firms and bureaucracies and freezes the hierarchical structure of both industry and political production in a moment when invention, new smaller firms, and lighter government are required. It is a recipe for accelerated decline.” Certainly, this should resonate with us? We know that entrepreneurialism depends on flexibility, innovation and vision – the exact reverse of what the EU provides us by being members.

Robert Oulds provides many more examples of where the EU works against our interests as Brits, and I’ve barely mentioned the significant sovereignty and democracy arguments. Space prohibits my outlining here, suffice to say, as one significant point that Oulds explores: the growth of the political right wing in Europe, which the EU likes to characterise itself as the champion against, is almost certainly (and especially in the 3 years since his book was published) a result of the EU: the’democratic deficit’ is being felt everywhere across Europe, and instead of creating stability and security the EU is fomenting widespread resistance to its imperialist and non-democrat diktats, resulting in extremism.

But to return the economic problem, it would be best to end on a positive note, for if we leave the EU, what choices do we have? As Oulds describes: quite a lot! He goes into fine detail the situation appertaining to various international organisations and scenarios, two of those organisations, one obscure to most of us, and one well known, hold out massive expectation for our progress and success in the wider world should we opt to leave the EU. These two businesses are EFTA, the less well known, and the Commonwealth of Nations itself. Briefly, on the former, it’s noticeable, if somewhat inconvenient to the EU, that the four European countries that are now members – Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein – have some of the highest standards of living for their populations of any countries anywhere in the world. So much for suffering by not really being in the EU. One significant statistic that Oulds cites is that in 2011 EFTA exported $189.2B value of good to the EU; the USA itself only managed $90B. This is pretty phenomenal stuff, but if we believe the Commonwealth, and also the option of re-activating that option, then what’s possible could truly amaze us.

John Cridland, former Director General of the Confederation of British Industries, said in 2001:”We have concentrated too much on Europe – we need to get out and build export markets in the rest of the world”. Currently, of course, the”UK is prevented from creating its own unique bilateral investment treaties on its own terms with Commonwealth nations, but also the EU prevents the UK from reaching trade agreements with these tigers [economies within the Commonwealth]”. Lest we forget the Commonwealth comprises”54 countries stretching across every inhabited continent on the planet; even Europe in which the UK isn’t the only member. Both Malta and Cyprus are members of the Commonwealth.” More impressively still:”The inhabitants of the Commonwealth is nearly two and a quarter billion people, approaching a third of the planet’s population, living on more than eleven and a half million square miles; nearly a quarter of the earth’s land mass. What is more, this territory is full of natural resources, which not only provide the global market with the commodities that enable growth but can also give its member states real potential.” Since Oulds goes on to observe:”Currently, the Chinese are forging links with these resource rich states; the UK’s Eurocentric orientation is making Britain lose out on the abundant opportunities overseas.” If it goes on like this, it certainly will make sorry reading in 20 years from now for the UK.

There’s much more to say about this wonderful book, but space prohibits. It is an essential book for those who genuinely wish to reach out to some of the facts underpinning this debate and to move away from fear and slander: the idea that just nutters and Little-Englanders could possibly wish to move away from our lovely Big Brother, the EU.

But I have to end on one crucial note about this book, good as it is: given the caliber of research and the citations used, the lack of an index is a major flaw; maybe a new, updated edition – timely today – will correct this otherwise amazing read.

If you would like to find out more about what motivates you, go