Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Europe's biggest Dino discovered 220 km away from Expo Zaragoza 2008 venue

This 48 tons vegetarian “pet” whose 3.5-meter-long left forelimb is seen inset in the photo has been found south of Zaragoza, in Teruel.
The remains of the Turiasaurio (ie. dino from Teruel) were found by a team led by Rafael Royo-Torres of the Joint Paleontology Foundation Teruel-Dinopolis.
They also have a thematic park where you can see this and other dinos…it is called “Dinopolis” and you can reach it at discount price using the train. More info (and a funny animation) at

Coming back to the creature: similar sauropods have been found in France, Portugal, and England, suggesting Turiasaurus or closely related species of giant sauropods roamed other parts of Europe during the Jurassic period.
"I don't think there was any problem getting from Spain to England in those days," said a specialist from the University of Portsmouth.
Isnt it great, either you get a (35 metres long & 18 meters height) sub-aquatic dino or England and Spain were together in the Jurassic period. Btw, at that time the area where this dino was found was the meander of a big river near the sea…however now the area is quite far from the sea plus doesnt have any big river around…neither similar pets ;)
The above shows that water (and in particular inland water) forms the basis of ecosystems and natural habitats. At the Expo Zaragoza 2008 some of the world's great rivers - the Nile, the Amazon, the Yangtze, the Ebro, etc and their ecosystems will be explained in detail. You can find more info on the river aquarium pavilion at

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ebro bridge-pavilion at the 2008 International Expo in Zaragoza gets world class content providers

This landmark 270 metres long pavilion will joint obliquely (yes, obliquely!) both sides of Ebro river in the particular stile of Zaha Hadid (see more information about her posted at That’s for the shape of the receptacle. The thing to be put into the Pavilion will not doubt be as important as the pavilion itself and….

…well, we won’t have the USA as official participants to our Expo in Zaragoza, but we will enjoy American creativity from the hands of the Ralph Appelbaum Associates. They have won the € 928,000 contract to design the contents of the bridge pavilion at the 2008 International Expo in Zaragoza.

These guys have done wonderful things in the past. For instance, New York’s Museum of Natural History (see photo above of "Hall of Planet Earth") and –closer to Spaniards & Europeans- the contents of the science pavilion at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia

I wish all the best inspiration for their team!!

NB: BTW, they will probably work for the World Exposition Shanghai China 2010. For the time being, they are included in the list of the First Batch of Recommended Service Providers for the World China Expo under the heading of Exhibition Planning and Designing.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

4 African countries - 1 (disappearing) lake = 2 country participants to the Expo Zaragoza 2008 on Water

Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon still share the Lake Chad, but the poor lake (or rather the poor inhabitants around) has apparently shrank by 20 times in the last 35 years. This doesn’t look good. It seems that climate change and human demand for water are the forces behind. However, curiously enough, the most dramatic decrease in the size of the lake is shown in the fifteen years between January 1973 and January 1987. Might be because of the reduction of use of water for irrigation? Might be. Those attending the Expo will know more about it first hand. Out of the 4 mentioned countries Niger and Nigeria will be officially participating. You can see the whole list of participants at the Expo Zaragoza 2008 website (see at

…and the other 2? I don’t know. It might be that were not selected, or simply couldn’t come. Fernández Castaño, the Commissioner of the Expo, has explained that due to the characteristics of the International Exhibition, "Expo 2008 cannot house all of the countries of the African region, or in other words, their presence is the result of a previous selection process depending on the different institutional relations and the willingness of each country".

For me, what it matters is that the (collective) African pavilion, with space for 14 different countries, is representative and self-explanatory of the entire African continent water & sustainable development issues.

See on the left the Nasa photo. Quite graphic: the small patch of blue that is now the lake stands in stark contrast to the wide swath of the -according to the study- old lake bed (shown in green, indicating vegetation). More photos at:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Al Gore inconvenient truth & Zaragoza Expo 2008

around 10 days ago I went to see the "An inconvenient truth" documentary with a friend.
I feel that Mr. Gore makes sense in what he says and, if not, it seems to me a nice way of passing the time till he finds anything he likes more (presidential elections?) or both.

After leaving the cinema, I felt sorry for all those huge glaciers just getting smaller and smaller, then becoming tiny seracs…then i thought about Zaragoza and its desertic surroundings...

I also felt confused with all this data that talks about warning but in fact, in some places, could mean freezing…for instance, Mr. Gore explains that the last Ice Age in Europe came quite suddenly when fresh water from North America went into the ocean and, as a result, Europe temperatures got drastically colder…

A summary in my head is, if understand it correctly, and overall increase in temperatures (helping the Poles ice-melting … rising sea levels up to 6 metres by…well, we don’t know…) with some poorly understood changes in weather patterns.

At the end of the movie there is a link to a webpage which I visited. You can do the same at . There you can find the following apocaliptic message: “Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced”.
Uff, I think the page should deal with information and awareness but without creating any anxiety to the visitors. What do you think?

Let’s relax and try to understand the Global Warming hipothesis. What follows is my (poor) understanding (critics/comments accepted ;)

First you need to figure out the relation between CO2 increase and temperature increase.
To do that you will need to establish Co2 levels over a period of time. Mr. Gore do it for you and states that the level of CO2 (measured through ice cores) is now higher than at any time in the past 650000 years. And the temperature too…The last eleven years have included the ten hottest since records began.
Second, you need to believe (as Scientifics seem to do) in the Greenhouse effect
Third, and last step, the link needs to be made: more CO2 means more greenhouse effect, which in turns helps to trap more heat…Simple.

Well, no thatsimple. First, warming doesn’t ocurre evently across the planet…why? Well, we don’t know. And as we don’t know why, we say that weather patterns have a great degree of variability…this is what we say when we don’t understand something….too complex. Second, it is not that easy to measure the earth temperature (it is not like fever measuring with thermometers)…

But in the meantime, till we understand, we in Europe are already limiting those nasty greenhouse emissions…also in big events…as in our Expo Zaragoza 2008. Please, let us know any examples of best practices from previous Expos and/or events that could be implemented in the Expo Zaragoza 2008. From my side, I will check what is being actually done in Zaragoza…Last but not least, let me know what do you thing of all this…

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Zebra attacks Expo in Zaragoza

Normally you can expect international or global events being disturbed by NGOs. For example, environmentalists accusing the organisers to cement the wild meander where the Expo will take place. But what would happen if the Zaragoza Expo in 2008 is “disturbed” by small Mussels dressed in fancy zebra tones?. Material for a colourful Expo carnival parade around the pavilions? Maybe. But it can be more real than that. Millions of these conquers which –as some of the visitors- come from overseas might be there in 2008.

The Spanish delegation, supported by the Estonian, Maltese, Portuguese, Polish, Danish and Belgian delegations, recently asked the European Commission to propose measures to put in place – and to coordinate implementation of - an efficient comprehensive Community legislative framework to tackle the problem of invasive alien species.

Oh, the European Union. That means that here there is a problem, a big problem. What we do then?. Earlier this year there was an international conference in Zaragoza ( ) to exchange views on how to deal with the invasion...

.... but other parties are joining the debate…maybe from a less scientific background, but not doubt with wisdom for imaginative and artistic proposals. For example Arrudi ( He was selected to fill the river meander where the Expo will take place, known as “ranillas” (ie. small frogs”) meander with thousands of designed frogs.
I hope the ranillas will stand the fight against the zebras…otherwise, as proposed by Arrudi- I would advocate for the creation a new Spanish “tapa” to be served on all food menus at Expo Zaragoza 2008.You guest...yes, using the zebra mussels as main ingredient. Would you volunteer to taste it?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Extreme Water pavilion (II)

The aim of the themed plaza “Extreme Water” is to demonstrate the effects of tsunamis, hurricanes and Mediterranean cold fronts so realistically that the public can feel them. Javier Martín, the project’s Science Director (Professor of Physical Geography of Barcelona University), explains: “members of the public fear at the risks posed by water and think that better use and planning could have lessened the impact of catastrophes like those of the Biescas campsite or New Orleans".

I hope that the pavilion wont be a excuse for massive bombardment of the public with fears on natural catastrophes. I think this pavilion should deal with information and awareness but without creating any anxiety to the visitors. After all, we all know there are dangers that, although improbable, once they happen they can have devastating effects.

But if the pavilion is going into that fearful direction, what about to tackle the Three gorges dam in China (see right) and, for example, go into explaining what are the contingency plans in case there is an earthquake there….
The Chinese are attending the Expo Zaragoza 2008, among other reasons because they will be hosting the Expo 2010 Shanghai China ( So, for sure the Chinese Three gorges dam will become a potent symbol in their pavilion. Thus, it might be good for the visitors to see the other side of the coin…either in the Chinese Pavillion or in the Extreme Water one? Anyone knows what will be featured by the Chinese on the Zaragoza Expo 2008?
See more information on the Extreme Water pavillion at:

Monday, October 09, 2006

Expo 2008: “Extreme Water” pavillion

The 22 metres high pavilion construction should start by March 2007. According to the designers this pavilion will show the devastating effects of natural disasters : Tsunamis, etc. From outside the building will have the shape of a Tsunami wave …once inside you will be put the safety belt and will start feeling the power of water…

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fiesta in Zaragoza

A fast entry in the blog just to let you know that next week Zaragoza will be on Fiesta.
Will try to explain: my region's most important fiesta is in honor of the Virgen del Pilar celebrated in Zaragoza on October 12… but there is party for all of next week.
On the day of Pilar there is a procession with a spectacular display of flowers (see left)dedicated to the Virgin.
This is beautiful to see, and if you cannot be there (like me) and yet you want to have a taste on how it feels, just click at to see it real time on the 12th October…. so many people…all in traditional dresses, many dancing and singing “jotas” (with terrific power!) …yes …difficult to pronounce….
You can access either at mid-morning or early afternoon, till more or less 15h CET
Pd. actually you can even virtually put flowers to the Virgin at

Monday, September 11, 2006

Welcome to Expo Zaragoza 2008 blog!

Zaragoza has been selected to host the International Exhibition in 2008 (from 14th June to 14th September 2008) under the Theme “Water and Sustainable Development”. Zaragoza is my city and I feel very proud of it. Currently, I am working in Belgium on environmental issues so the Expo theme is very much of my interest.

When talking with non-spanish friends they are asking me all kind of questions regarding the Expo in Zaragoza. So I have decided to blog the some of the info I am providing my friends with.
In addition, while at work I meet with many foreigners. So far, when I talk with them about Zaragoza they usually are unable to put it ”on the map” often mentioning either Vasque Country or Catalunya as the region where Zaragoza is located. When I then mention Aragon it rings some bells but not that many…

But enough about myself. Let´s talk about the rules of the blog. Every now and then (ideally every month) I will be posting on different issues related to the Zaragoza Expo 2008 (see below some examples in not particular order) and I would do my best that debate grows around them, so the information flows smoothly from both sides of this blog.

Budget trip to the Expo & around from how to buy promotional entry tickets to which companies to flight in at low rates. And for those with extra holidays, you might want to know that Zaragoza is in a junction just around 1 hour from Madrid or Barcelona by high speed train or 3 hours drive from Bilbao or Valencia.

Virtual Expo for those who cannot come…or those who cannot wait, I will do my best to grant you all available resources for a virtual visit to the Zaragoza Expo 2008. To start with, you can already have a virtual “eagle view” of the Expo at

Expo ceremonies & regional days, there are a lot of singular traditions in Spain and many regional days take place during summer. For example, in Aragon there are different ways of having “fiesta” and one of them involves a cow… and although some might think is not as artistic as the cow pictured here...

but it might be artistic in its own way….

Bridge Pavillion, this pavilion Bridge will pass obliquely over the River Ebro and its cross-section will be diamond-shaped. Hard to imagine? Well, this is the way Zaha Hadid is ( and see...

...a previous work by her in which something originally planned as a fire station, became a museum.

Post-Expo Zaragoza 2008 will be another topic to deal with. I visited the Dutch pavilion in the Hannover Expo in 2000 with a German friend and it was great. Sadly enough, if you can go now at scroll down, you will see the struggles of time.

Waterscapes, being Water the main theme of the Expo I will post the diverse water & landscapes of Zaragoza and surroundings...that should be a good basis to discuss with you the influence of the Zaragoza Expo 2008 in the sustainability debate which is more a more at the center of international conferences. I leave you with Kiccoro (Forest Child ) and Morizo (Forest Grand Father) mascots for Aichi Exhibition and Fluvi (river of life), the Zaragoza expo mascot...

Greetings to all readers