Even in absurdity, sacrament. Even in hardship, holiness. Even in doubt, faith. Even in chaos, realization. Even in paradox, blessedness
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Hey, original t-shirts for sale!
bird on the moon weblog
all the pictures
call me moonbird
"Life expands or shrinks in proportion to one's courage." ~Anain Nin
¡alive and well in sudamerica!
This message comes way by of a very confusing keyboard, so please excuse excessive grammatical liberties.
It seems very strange that this is only day 3... so much has happened and yet there is so much more. I´m typing from Aguas Calientas, the nearest town to Macchu Pichu, where we spent most of the day and where i return tomorrow to make the rather steep hike to the summit of Huayna Pichu. No altitude sickness, no utterly gut wrenching gastronomical adventures, and my Spanish is improving by the day. I´ve had plenty of time to think and experience this shockingly vivid place. I´m extremely light on time right now and so I´ll really have to save the stories for later. Just know that I¨m having a mindblowing adventure courtesy of the stunning history here, and of the tri-fold grace of puma, condor and sserpent... power, freedom, wisdom.
I don´t know when I´ll have a chance to say hello again, but until then, know that i am staggeringly alive and brilliantly well. I love you all!
all that lies under condor wings
The Inca Empire (called Tawantinsuyu in modern spelling Aymara and Quechua, or Tahuantinsuyu in old spelling Quechua, which means Land of the Four Corners), was an empire located in South America from 1438 CE to 1533 CE. Over that period, the Inca used conquest and peaceful assimilation to incorporate in their empire a large portion of western South America, centred on the Andean mountain ranges. The Inca empire proved short-lived: by 1533 CE, Atahualpa, the last Inca, was killed on the orders of the Conquistador Francisco Pizarro, marking the beginning of Spanish hegemony.
Cusco or Qosqo was built at 3.400m in the shape of an enormous puma (see picture above right). The body of the puma contained the most important palaces, temples and governmental buildings while the fortress just outside the city, known as Sacsayhuamán, formed the head of this sacred animal.
O Pilgrims, thou art where, thou art where?
Thy beloved is thy neighbor, behind the wall
If that lovely faceless face you once see
From house to house, you sought for proof
If it is the house of soul you seek
If you’ve been to the garden, where is your bunch?
With all this pain where is your gain?
Hidden treasure chest, buried in soil
King of the World, to you will show
on the road to find out
Well, this will be my last official post until I can get online in South America. I wonder what I'll have to report? If only MT's future post option would let me see what I'm posting in the future. Maybe with quantum computing...
Today I perform a wedding for two good friends, Vicky and Greg. After that, it's a mad scramble to finish what's left to do and to try to make a dent in schoolwork. I am limiting my expectations, yet I'm emphasizing to myself this mantra: Teaching begins on the first step of any journey. Tomorrow at 9:20am, that journey begins when Joshua and Robin ceremoniously remove me from my duties at Jubilee and drive me to the airport. I'll be on four flights to my destination: Cusco.
Right now, these names only mean the amount of research I've put into them. They're empty, awaiting fulfillment by experience. That's what I'm off to do: to experience, to live life, to learn.
I'll see you all on the flipside. Thanks everyone for your support and friendship. It is sustaining and everlasting on return.
Deep peace and deep merriment!
Off to bed right now, and am mostly packed. It's almost time to go. A wedding tomorrow and a few errands and it's time to fly. My heart races with excitement for Peru and Bolivia and my mind races in preparation to learn.
eclipsing the media with mind
The message seems clear- resist and we will fuck you up. Underneath this lies a second message. This message lies encoded inseparably from the phenomenology of seeing America’s best and brightest choked down by fascist thugs. I urge people to view this video as an amazing piece of guerilla surveillance. The Third Mind keeps the pressure on, even in sight of a Gestapo onslaught against peaceful protest. Kids- barely out of their teens, if at all- choked out by cops in riot gear, recalling the worst excesses of apartheid states from Birmingham to Cape Town to Tel Aviv to Boston. The constant recurrence of other people’s cameras provide the most hope for me. Indeed, we leave the Third Mind and add a Fourth, a Fifth, ad infinitum.
The corporate media, always hungry for a scandal, will no doubt be interested in footage of police terror. Innocent (and let’s be frank here, white middle class) post-adolescents getting brutalized by riot police makes for good copy. Cut the footage down to nothing but the most horrific moments. Skinny white men choked down by the town’s hottest Bears in cop suits, dressed up like Little Lord Fauntleroy Gestapo Style. Brutality captured from all angles opens the door for a cut-up of violence. Picture, if you will a meeting of four or five camera-persons from this event. One of them must know how to edit. They cut the footage down to the most brutal events. Splice in footage of the Gestapo, Boston cops defending racist terrorists in the 70s, LBJ, township rebellions, Kent State, atomic testing, etc. Finally add in prepared commentary to the mix. I suggest a string of nonsense, immediatist slogans, pop magic! Mantras, and even the odd flash of sigil. The end product resembles something between a Kenneth Anger film and the six o’clock news.
America, you have raised your children for this.
bronze age love song
Ancient Egyptian Sexuality [via orlin grabbe]
...Revel in pleasure while your life endures
there's time enough
Lynds' paper, "Time and Classical and Quantum Mechanics: Indeterminacy vs. Continuity," is the latest chapter in a story that begins with Zeno and runs through Newton and Einstein to today. The question they struggled to answer: How does matter move through time and space?
Newton described motion as a change in position over time. (In the process of figuring that out, he invented calculus.) That allowed for infinite series of infinitesimal steps, which polishes off Zeno. But for his model to make sense, Newton needed what he described as "absolute, true and mathematical time, which of itself flows equably without relation to anything external." It's a God clock, ticking out discrete instants, or, if you prefer, a universal CPU, doling out reality one cycle at a time, a series of static instants giving only the appearance of motion like the successive frames of a movie.
But Einstein didn't buy it. The heart of relativity is that everything depends on your point of view - if you're traveling at close to the speed of light (a constant), then time moves differently for you than for your slowpoke friends back home. Einstein died before he had worked out the implications of his own brilliant ideas. Among the problems left unsolved: Time could go faster or slower (or even backward), but was it divisible? And were there irreducible "atoms" of time, quantum flecks now called chronons?
jay's reality show
Time is accelerating in some bizarro whirlwind of bent light and catching sight of one's self doing things in the future. Really. I'm in an interstellar overdrive to try to get everything done (that *can* be done) before I skedaddle for two weeks under new constellations. Thanks to a little injection of prioritization from my therapist (obviously, I must be crazy as well), I was up until 2 catching up on schoolwork rather than surfing Flickr to see pictures of where I'll be this time next week. Based on the view from here right now, it really looks like everything will get done without a huge panic.
Saturday, just before I split, I'm performing a wedding for an old friend, and I think the service will be a wonderful way to truly begin the journey... in the spirit of love, hope, and most importantly, teaching. I'm open to whatever Peru and Bolivia need to say, and I'll pay attention to all the subtle ways that teaching is transmitted on the path. I'm going to frame the leaving in ritual, as well as the return.
And this posting, itself, was quite a diversion, but I felt like it was time for a short episode of my reality. Believe me, I prefer my reality to be short as well (being that reality is only a gauze over the eyes to minimize the glare of brilliant, cosmic non-absolutes). Wink.
In pictures: Kalash spring festival
Tucked away in the mountains of northern Pakistan, the tiny Kalash minority celebrate the end of winter in May each year with the Joshi (spring) festival. It is a time to give thanks for the end of the harsh weather and to celebrate the arrival of the more productive spring months. Until recently the Kalash had no calendars or watches. They work out the festival dates by the position of the sun.
The way most newspapers and TV news tell it, there's little going on in Africa except poverty, famine, disease, and even genocide. But there's more to Africa than hardship. And there are growing efforts to try to present a fuller, more rounded picture of this continent to the world... A prominent challenge came this week from Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Speaking in Kenya at the International Press Institute's annual gathering, he defied the media to tell the whole story.
"I urge you to play your role, not merely as watchdogs and whistle-blowers, but as advocates and educators in our joint venture to make Africa ... a better place," he said.
He further argued the negative portrayal hurts Africa's efforts to fix its problems. "One of the reasons why Africa has not been able to attract enough foreign direct investment, which we need for our development, is the constant negative reporting," he added.
...Intelligent design is not what people often assume it is. For one thing, I.D. is not Biblical literalism. Unlike earlier generations of creationists—the so-called Young Earthers and scientific creationists—proponents of intelligent design do not believe that the universe was created in six days, that Earth is ten thousand years old, or that the fossil record was deposited during Noah’s flood. (Indeed, they shun the label “creationism” altogether.) Nor does I.D. flatly reject evolution: adherents freely admit that some evolutionary change occurred during the history of life on Earth. Although the movement is loosely allied with, and heavily funded by, various conservative Christian groups—and although I.D. plainly maintains that life was created—it is generally silent about the identity of the creator.
The movement’s main positive claim is that there are things in the world, most notably life, that cannot be accounted for by known natural causes and show features that, in any other context, we would attribute to intelligence. Living organisms are too complex to be explained by any natural—or, more precisely, by any mindless—process. Instead, the design inherent in organisms can be accounted for only by invoking a designer, and one who is very, very smart.
All of which puts I.D. squarely at odds with Darwin. Darwin’s theory of evolution was meant to show how the fantastically complex features of organisms—eyes, beaks, brains—could arise without the intervention of a designing mind.
Mayan religious centres were designed along the principles of sacred architecture
The Mayan story of creation has survived the destruction of the Spanish invasion. It is contained within the Popol Vuh, a 17th century book of the history of the Quiche Maya. The story of creation details the activities of the Twin Maize Gods and their family in the Third Creation, which the Maya date to 3114 BC. This date should not be taken literally – like the 4004 BC that people calculated as the date for Creation based on the Bible. Many scholars now believe that August 12, 3114 BC marked a significant celestial event, with one author, John Major Jenkins, arguing that the Mayan careful stellar observations resulted in their knowledge of what is known as the “galactic centre”. It is this stellar phenomenon that is also linked with the Mayan calendar’s end date of December 21, 2012 AD, which experts like Linda Schele remarks is nowhere mentioned as a physical end for the world within the Mayan literature.
it's about freedom... yeah.
In a 300-page annual report, the group also accused the US government of damaging human rights over its attitude to torture and treatment of detainees. This encouraged and fuelled abuses by governments in all regions of the world, the human rights advocates said... The televised beheading of captives in Iraq, the bombing of commuter trains in Madrid and the siege at a school in Beslan in Russia showed that "four years after 9/11, the promise to make the world a safer place remains hollow", secretary general Irene Khan said.
Deception runs like a red thread throughout all of human history. It sustains literature, from Homer's wily Odysseus to the biggest pop novels of today. Go to a movie, and odds are that the plot will revolve around deceit in some shape or form. Perhaps we find such stories so enthralling because lying pervades human life. Lying is a skill that wells up from deep within us, and we use it with abandon. As the great American observer Mark Twain wrote more than a century ago: "Everybody lies ... every day, every hour, awake, asleep, in his dreams, in his joy, in his mourning. If he keeps his tongue still his hands, his feet, his eyes, his attitude will convey deception." Deceit is fundamental to the human condition.
Research supports Twain's conviction. One good example was a study conducted in 2002 by psychologist Robert S. Feldman of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Feldman secretly videotaped students who were asked to talk with a stranger. He later had the students analyze their tapes and tally the number of lies they had told. A whopping 60 percent admitted to lying at least once during 10 minutes of conversation, and the group averaged 2.9 untruths in that time period. The transgressions ranged from intentional exaggeration to flat-out fibs. Interestingly, men and women lied with equal frequency; however, Feldman found that women were more likely to lie to make the stranger feel good, whereas men lied most often to make themselves look better.
the end is beginning
Whether it is named the Singularity or the Spike, the Transcendental Object at the End of Time or the New Jerusalem, the vision of humankind’s mass transcension into a hyperdimensional state of being is a millennia-old archetype whose depths obstinately refuse to be fully plumbed. Like all abiding memes, it is a motif whose representations can vary a great deal in detail without losing their basic archetypal pattern.
Today’s prophesized Singularity (as commonly publicized by Vinge, Drexler, and Kurzweil, among many others) is no different. Though first catalyzed by an unparalleled technological leap, this metahistorical Spike promises to comprehensively and irrevocably transmogrify every mode in which we relate to our selves, each other, and the phenomenal world at large. Our sphere of influence will vastly deepen -- not only outer space, but inner space as well will be laid bare to the penetrative stare of innumerable nanites and foglets. We shall at last see as we have been seen, and will then be, courtesy of superhumanly intelligent and benignly spiritual machines, summarily remolded in the image of our greatest and wildest expectations.
The only significant precedent to such a mind-bending warp in consensual reality would have to be the resultant Utopia often foreseen as the coda to the various ‘end-times’ scenarios of pious apocalypticists. Peering at length through the symphonic perversity of their feverish visions, we touch upon several key intimations regarding the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of a post-historical planetary renovation -- visions which until recently have been either faithfully reverenced as gospel truth in spite of (or perhaps because of ) their seeming improbability, or alternatively scorned as hallucinogenic pipe-dreams. But when set alongside the forecasts of our contemporary futurists, these ancient allusions are sometimes startlingly similar to those foreseen today, and occasionally appear to describe the technologies of tomorrow in bold detail.
is the funk in the trunk?
In 1997, O'Connell-Rodwell took this discovery in a bold, new direction by proposing that low-frequency calls also generate powerful vibrations in the ground - seismic signals that elephants can feel, and even interpret, via their sensitive trunks and feet.
Scientists have long known that seismic communication is common in small animals, including spiders, scorpions, insects and a few vertebrate species, such as white-lipped frogs, kangaroo rats and golden moles. Seismic sensitivity also has been observed in elephant seals - huge marine mammals not related to elephants.
But O'Connell-Rodwell was the first to suggest that a large land animal is capable of sending and receiving vibrational messages. "A lot of research has been done showing that small animals use seismic signals to find mates, locate prey and establish territories," she notes. "But there have only been a few studies focusing on the ability of large mammals to communicate through the ground."
land of the jaguar, of the condor
Countdown: 4 days, 19 hours, 24 minutes
The more ancient character inherent in it was displayed in the presence of deities many of which were little better than mere totems, and although a definite monotheism or worship of one god appears to have been reached, it was not by the efforts of the priestly caste that this was achieved, but rather by the will of the Inca Pachacutic, who seems to have been a monarch gifted with rare insight and ability-a man much after the type of the Mexican Nezahualcoyotl.
In Inca times the religion of the people was solely directed by the state, and regulated in such a manner that independent theological thought was permitted no outlet. But it must not be inferred from this that no change had ever come over the spirit of Peruvian religion. As a matter of fact sweeping changes had been effected, but these had been solely the work of the Inca race, the leaders of which had amalgamated the various faiths of the peoples whom they had conquered into one official belief.
Animal Reviews: The Cat
The team has observed that baddies in films (and possibly in real life too) favour the cat over any other mammal as an illustrative prop to demonstrate their power over others. These cats are often decked head to paw in diamonds, and are usually fairly well mannered in temperament (seemingly in an attempt to create a dramatic contrast to the volatile nature of the kitty's owner). So that makes them excellent.
schroedinger's traffic light
On my way to work this morning, there was a massive jam around a light that was both red and green at the same time. People had no clue what to do when the predictable duality went all hooey on them.
It was fascinating.
Yup. Yes indeed.
...Some brain-damaged people can't comprehend sarcasm, and Israeli researchers think it's because a specific brain region has gone dark. The region, according to the researchers, handles the task of detecting hidden meaning, a crucial component of sarcasm. If that part of the brain is out of commission, the irony doesn't come through, the scientists report... "People with prefrontal brain damage suffer from difficulties in understanding other people's mental states, and they lack empathy... Therefore, they can't understand what the speaker really is talking about, and get only the literal meaning." The findings... could help rehabilitation centers do a better job of helping brain-damaged patients adjust to the world and understand other people.
Michael Maier’s book Atalanta Fugiens (Atalanta Fleeing) was published at Oppenheim in 1617 by the firm of Johann Theodor de Bry. It’s an alchemical text in a strikingly unusual form: it comprises fifty sections, where each section consists of a score of a short fugue (‘in two canonical parts over a cantus firmus’), a motto, an engraved emblematic image, a Latin verse, and a few pages of cryptic commentary. It takes its title from the legendary tale of Atalanta’s race with Hippomenes. In its simultaneous presentation of music, image, poetry and prose, it is a singular piece of Baroque multimedia.
I cannot get out of my mind the recent news photos of ordinary Americans sitting on chairs, guns on laps, standing unofficial guard on the Arizona border, to make sure no Mexicans cross over into the United States. There was something horrifying in the realization that, in this twenty-first century of what we call "civilization," we have carved up what we claim is one world into 200 artificially created entities we call "nations" and armed to apprehend or kill anyone who crosses a boundary.
Is not nationalism--that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder--one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking--cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on--have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.
National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica, and many more). But in a nation like ours--huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction--what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.
A Stand Against Assimilation
"In the past we used to learn from elders and have no written history or learning," says Luke Rehmat, a member of the dwindling 3,000-strong Kalash community nestled in the mountains of the Hindu Kush in northern Pakistan. "We want to preserve our culture, but it is also very necessary to get a good education for all, including women." Until recently, the lifestyle of the Kalash had changed little since the community was established, according to their oral history, by settlers from Alexander the Great's armies in 377 BC.
sunday noodle soup
The dawn began in a shroud
I know these people, you see,
The evening comes down softly
william butler yeats
Where dips the rocky highland
Where the wave of moonlight glosses
Where the wandering water gushes
Away with us, he's going,
8 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes
That's how long until the South America trek officially kicks off, on the first of four flights which will eventually drop myself and three other co-experiencers to Cusco, Peru. We will wind our way through the Andes, to Lake Titicaca, and through Bolivia. I've just returned from an excursion to procure provisions, and I'm startlingly on budget and keeping myself within fairly tight limits.
The site will be on autopilot, but I'd like to invite any of my regular readers to guest host as well. Email me for login info. I'm having to get all of my schoolwork done two weeks in advance, and work-work is a whole other organizational fiasco. We're having a little bon voyage party tomorrow with my friends Kim and Tree who're headed off to Germany. Wunderbar!
The sense of acceleration and exhileration is ever-present, and I'm so greatly looking forward to getting below the equator for the first time and seeing the Southern Cross in the night sky and to be far beyond my cultural norm. I'm planning a ritual soon to bless the undertaking with a lil' mojo, and am already feeling myself pulling away from here, stretching my soul toward a hidden continent, a world above the clouds...
sheep in wolf's clothing
Eight sane people gained secret admission to 12 different hospitals. Their diagnostic experiences constitute the data of the first part of this article; the remainder is devoted to a description of their experiences in psychiatric institutions. Too few psychiatrists and psychologists, even those who have worked in such hospitals, know what the experience is like. They rarely talk about it with former patients, perhaps because they distrust information coming from the previously insane. Those who have worked in psychiatric hospitals are likely to have adapted so thoroughly to the settings that they are insensitive to the impact of that experience. And while there have been occasional reports of researchers who submitted themselves to psychiatric hospitalization, these researchers have commonly remained in the hospitals for short periods of time, often with the knowledge of the hospital staff. It is difficult to know the extent to which they were treated like patients or like research colleagues. Nevertheless, their reports about the inside of the psychiatric hospital have been valuable.
(The therapist somehow triggered something in him;
There will be a ritual on the banks of the French Broad-
Today, the rain is dropping billions of journeys
He finally senses, watching the window and the transit of birds,
The man knows, just as the boy, that real action follows real action.
(He leaves the therapist's office
three inca prayers
Viracocha, Lord of the Universe!
the blinding light of awareness
It is perfectly understandable that many find themselves easily lost in this seemingly boundless, somehow affectionate glow. One has spent long hours diligently skating the ice that customarily limits our world of fluid matter from pushing up into the world of windy Spirit. Etching ever more intricate fractal outlines into the seemingly impenetrable periphery, searching for a fault into the Unknowable, a rupture into the Ineffable.
And then at last the glassy veneer gives way, the ice splintering into a dizzy maze of incandescent explosions. Heaven itself has been breached -- the once impermeable permafrost of the Beyond collapsing into a sun-drenched shower of millions of dazzling fireflies.
Bacterial colonies as art [via reality carnival]
The Yes Men
That said, the Acceptable Risk™ paradigm is no magic bullet, and cannot fix everything. The Bhopal catastrophe of 1984 was so extreme that risk adjustments just wouldn't have mattered. It's good it happened in India and not in Vermont, but even if it had happened in the Congo, there would have been huge market stress. Dow is gratified by the SEC's recent ruling that shareholder pressure groups can't interfere with the way we approach such ongoing problems, but that certainly doesn't make these skeletons golden. Before embarking on any enterprise with such huge potential effects, we must weigh the factors by hand very carefully.
What we blandly refer to as "ritual rules," are actually quantum mechanics rules. That is, native ceremonial behavior is exactly what is needed to change reality via the observer effect. For example, shamanic rituals are extremely repetitive over long periods of time. This is because they are trying to effect the probability waves that bring reality into time and space in the first place. Waves are repetitive, and so are the waves of consciousness generated in a shamanic ritual.
Once you understand these new findings of physics, what shamans do in ceremony appears rational. This means that healing ceremonies are basically wish-fulfillment exercises, whereby the "wish" is expressed as prayer. A prayer constitutes an intensely focused, strong human will. It is the observer effect of quantum mechanics at its best. It is the patient who sets this process into motion by first making a request and "sacrifice", usually in the form of a payment, to the healer. The notion of sacrifice accompanying prayer is an ancient tradition in all religions, such as the early animal sacrifices of ancient Judaism. It is this sacrifice that sets the aim of the prayer such that it will hit its target. You give before you receive.
Who are they? I mean the people obsessed with control using the government to threaten and intimidate; I mean the people who are hollowing out middle class security even as they enlist the sons and daughters of the working class to make sure Ahmad Chalabi winds up controlling Iraq’s oil; I mean the people who turn faith-based initiatives into Karl Rove’s slush fund; who encourage the pious to look heavenward and pray so as not to see the long arm of privilege and power picking their pockets; I mean the people who squelch free speech in an effort to obliterate dissent and consolidate their orthodoxy into the official view of reality from which any deviation becomes unpatriotic heresy. That’s who I mean. And if that’s editorializing, so be it. A free press is one where it’s okay to state the conclusion you’re led to by the evidence.
The Thirty Years War
Note: You can't read this without getting just a tish angry.
1981... The Council for National Policy, a highly secretive club of America's most powerful far-right religious activists, begins meeting quarterly at undisclosed locations. Among the members will be R.J. Rushdoony, who calls for death penalty for homosexuals, and anti-gay crusaders James Dobson, Beverly and Tim LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, Tony Perkins and Phyllis Schlafly. George W. Bush will meet with the Council during his first campaign for president.
The reductionist argument does not really disprove the existence of God, it simply makes God unnecessary. For every 'wonder of nature' or 'ecstatic realisation' put forward by Religion, Science responds with an explanation based upon physical law. The fact that an electrode in the brain can simulate a mystical experience does not logically prove that mystical experiences are 'no more than' currents in the brain than does imitation leather disprove the existence of cows, but it does offer an easy route to the mental tendency to prefer simpler or unifying explanations. Why believe in God if we don't need to?
But the point is that this reductionist argument also has momentum in human culture. After hearing umpteen such reductions of the spiritual world into simple material models, the human mind moves to the next step and realises that it can survive on the models or explanations alone - it no longer needs the material world. "Just give me the information, I do not need matter." ...If Science aspires to a "theory of everything", then that theory could be modelled in an information processor and it should create a virtual universe which will itself evolve life and conscious beings. If it fails to do this, it suggests the theory of everything is not complete.
A Glimpse into the Future
It's customary when composing scenarios like this to say up front that nobody can predict the future and only fools attempt to, blah blah. It seems true that history is anything but linear. Events unfold fractally, so to speak, with surprising zigs and zags, with unexpected amplifications, resonances, and outcomes, showing up would-be smartypants prophets like me. But it strikes me as more foolish, in the face of what may be epochal and disruptive change in how we live, to put on a show of excessive humility and pretend that we can't make any sense of our unfolding circumstances...
We've thrown away our national wealth on free parking, cul-de-sac housing subdivisions, strip malls, fried food huts, and the other ridiculous accessories of the system. What will become of it all? A fraction of it will be retrofitted for sustainable living, the rest is apt to become materials salvage operations (steel, aluminum, copper), and ruins.
Popo Bawa is real, and well prepared
Holidaymakers on the Indian Ocean islands tend to smile dismissively at accounts in guidebooks of the bat-like ogre said to prey on men, women and children. But for superstitious Zanzibaris a visit from the sodomising gremlin is no joke. Although no one ever has seen it, belief in the monster and his unnatural lust is so strong that entire villages will sleep out of doors for protection: Popo Bawa (Swahili for Bat's Wing) prefers to attack behind closed doors at night.
In huts set amid rustling groves of jackfruit and mangoes on Zanzibar's Pemba island, victims told Reuters in interviews that they detected a bad smell, became cold and went into a trance in the moments before they felt the creature's inhuman strength. Some attacks were heralded by the sound of giant wings and claws rattling and scraping on huts' tin roofs. Others cringed in terror at what sounded like a car engine ticking over.
And so what I would call a basic problem we've got to go through first, is to understand that there are no such things as things. That is to say separate things, or separate events. That that is only a way of talking. If you can understand this, you're going to have no further problems. I once asked a group of high school children 'What do you mean by a thing?' First of all, they gave me all sorts of synonyms. They said 'It's an object,' which is simply another word for a thing; it doesn't tell you anything about what you mean by a thing. Finally, a very smart girl from Italy, who was in the group, said a thing is a noun. And she was quite right. A noun isn't a part of nature, it's a part of speech. There are no nouns in the physical world. There are no separate things in the physical world, either. The physical world is wiggly. Clouds, mountains, trees, people, are all wiggly. And only when human beings get to working on things--they build buildings in straight lines, and try to make out that the world isn't really wiggly. But here we are, sitting in this room all built out of straight lines, but each one of us is as wiggly as all get-out.
Now then, when you want to get control of something that wiggles, it's pretty difficult, isn't it? You try and pick up a fish in your hands, and the fish is wiggly and it slips out. What do you do to get hold of the fish? You use a net. And so the net is the basic thing we have for getting hold of the wiggly world. So if you want to get hold of this wiggle, you've got to put a net over it. A net is something regular. And I can number the holes in a net. So many holes up, so many holes across. And if I can number these holes, I can count exactly where each wiggle is, in terms of a hole in that net. And that's the beginning of calculus, the art of measuring the world. But in order to do that, I've got to break up the wiggle into bits. I've got to call this a specific bit, and this the next bit of the wiggle, and this the next bit, and this the next bit of the wiggle. And so these bits are things or events. Bit of wiggles. Which I mark out in order to talk about the wiggle. In order to measure and therfore in order to control it. But in nature, in fact, in the physical world, the wiggle isn't bitted. Like you don't get a cut-up fryer out of an egg. But you have to cut the chicken up in order to eat it. You bite it. But it doesn't come bitten.
So the world doesn't come thinged; it doesn't come evented. You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean. The ocean waves, and the universe peoples. And as I wave and say to you 'Yoo-hoo!' the world is waving with me at you and saying 'Hi! I'm here!' But we are consciousness of the way we feel and sense our existence. Being based on a myth that we are made, that we are parts, that we are things, our consciousness has been influenced, so that each one of us does not feel that. We have been hypnotized, literally hypnotized by social convention into feeling and sensing that we exist only inside our skins.
Bonus feature: Prickles and Goo (flash)
Panpsychism Meets Modern Physics
Can conscious experience-feelings, qualia, our "inner life"-be accommodated within present-day science? Those who believe it can (e.g. physicalists, reductionists, materialists, functionalists, computationalists) see conscious experience as an emergent property of complex neural network computation. Others see conscious experience either outside science (dualists), or believe science must expand to include experience (idealists, panpsychists, pan-experientialists, "funda-mentalists"). These philosophical battle lines were originally drawn in ancient Greece between Socrates, who believed the cerebrum created consciousness, and Aristotle, Democritus, Thales and others who argued that mental qualities belonged to fundamental reality. Perhaps both sides were correct...
Perhaps panpsychists are in some way correct and components of mental processes are fundamental, like mass, spin or charge. Following the ancient Greek panpsychists, Spinoza (1677) saw some form of consciousness in all matter. Leibniz (1766) portrayed the universe as an infinite number of fundamental units ("monads") each having a primitive psychological being. Whitehead (e.g. 1929) was a process philosopher who viewed reality as a collection of events occurring in a basic field of protoconscious experience ("occasions of experience").
a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The presence of mosaic illustrations in the basilica of Aquileia representing mushrooms with psychotropic properties indicates that some religious rites of early Christianity, which were probably linked to mysterial cults meant to be kept secret, were related to the ingestion of hallucinogenic substances facilitating mystic ecstasy. It still remains to be seen, however, whether these ecstatic techniques were a common heritage of all early Christian churches or whether they were known and practiced only within some heretic groups of Christians.
For several thousand years it has seemed obvious that the basic nature of the universe is extreme complexity, inexplicable disorder; that mysterious, tangled magnificence popularly known as Chaos. The poetic Hindus believed the universe was a dreamy dance of illusion (maya).
The paradoxical, psycho-logical Buddhists spoke of a void too complex;maybe a trillion times too complex; to be grasped by the human A-B-C-1-2-3 wordprocessing system (mind). Chinese poet-philosopher Lao Tse sardonically reminded us that the tao is forever changing complexities at light speed, elusive and inaccessible to our fingers and thumbs laboriously tapping letters on our alphanumeric keyboards and mind-operating systems.
Socrates, that proud, self-reliant Athenian democrat, indiscreetly blurted out the dangerous secret when he said, "The aim of human life is to know thy selves. "This is surely the most subversive T-shirt flaunted over the centuries by humanists, the most confrontational bumper sticker on their neuro-auto-mobiles. Individualistic thinking is the original sin of the Judeo-Christian-lslamic bibles and sabotages attempts by the authorities to order Chaos.
The first rule of every law-and-order system is to trivialize-demonize the dangerous concepts of Self, Individual Aims, and Personal Knowledge. Thinking for Yourselves is heretical, treasonous, blasphemous. Only devils and satans do it. Creative thinking, committed out loud, becomes a capital crime. It was "Three Strikes and You're Out" for several hundred thousand Protestant dissenters during the Inquisitions of the Roman papacy;not to forget the witch burnings performed by the Protestants when they took charge of the Chaos-control department.
Are you a Cultural Creative? This list compiled by Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson can give you an idea. Choose the statements that you agree with.
You are likely to be a Cultural Creative if you...
1. ...love Nature and are deeply concerned about its destruction
3. ...would pay more taxes or pay more for consumer goods if you could know the money would go to clean up the environment and to stop global warming
4. ...place a great deal of importance on developing and maintaining your relationships
5. ...place a lot of value on helping other people and bringing out their unique gifts
6. ...do volunteering for one or more good causes
7. ...care intensely about both psychological and spiritual development
8. ...see spirituality or religion as important in your life, but are concerned about the role of the Religious Right in politics
9. ...want more equality for women at work, and more women leaders in business and politics
10. ...are concerned about violence and abuse of women and children around the world
11. ...want our politics and government spending to put more emphasis on children's education and well-being, on rebuilding our neighborhoods and communities, and on creating an ecologically sustainable future
12. ...are unhappy with both the Left and the Right in politics, and want a to find a new way that is not in the mushy middle
13. ...tend to be somewhat optimistic about our future, and distrust the cynical and pessimistic view that is given by the media
14. ...want to be involved in creating a new and better way of life in our country
15. ...are concerned about what the big corporations are doing in the name of making more profits: downsizing, creating environmental problems, and exploiting poorer countries
16. ...have your finances and spending under control, and are not concerned about overspending
17. ...dislike all the emphasis in modern culture on success and "making it," on getting and spending, on wealth and luxury goods
18. ...like people and places that are exotic and foreign, and like experiencing and learning about other ways of life.
If you agreed with 10 or more, you probably are a Cultural Creative.
If I were to live my life
rainer maria rilke
"I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone"
I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
latcho drom, mary
Good journeys and safe roads to a dear friend, Mary Walker, who leaves in a few days for a three month assignment in Malawi, then off to Rome. Hopefully, she'll move back to Asheville when she's done, but for now, I'll miss her greatly. Not only is Mary an incredible friend who can make me laugh beyond reason at silly little things, she was a great office-mate and colleague who's given me such great advice and support over some truly hellish months at work.
Her work is now the open sky and a land in need of compassion and action. Mary exemplifies those two virtues. Cheers to you, heaps of laughter, and oodles you beauty to you, good human.
Turning the Superparadigm Inside Out
The key to this new model of reality is an understanding of how we perceive reality. Advances in physics, psychology, and philosophy have shown that reality is not what it seems.Take vision, for example. When I look at a tree, light reflected from its leaves is focused onto cells in the retina of my eye, where it triggers a cascading chemical reaction releasing a flow of electrons. Neurons connected to the cells convey these electrical impulses to the brain’s visual cortex, where the raw data is processed and integrated. Then—in ways that are still a complete mystery—an image of the tree appears in my consciousness. It may seem that I am directly perceiving the tree in the physical world, but what I am actually experiencing is an image generated in my mind.
The same is true of every other experience. All that I see, hear, taste, touch, smell and feel has been created from the data received by my sensory organs. All I ever know of the world around are the mental images constructed from that data. However real and external they may seem, they are all phenomena within my mind.
This simple fact is very hard to grasp; it goes against all our experience. If there is anything about which we feel sure, it is that the world we experience is real. We can see, touch and hear it. We can lift heavy and solid objects; hurt ourselves, if we're not careful, against their unyielding immobility. It seems undeniable that out there, around us, independent and apart from us, stands a physical world, utterly real, solid and tangible.
Little Brains That Could
To look at details of the bee's working memory, Zhang and his colleagues used variations of a layout with a wooden tunnel leading into an upright pipe. The two exit holes from the pipe were marked with different patterns. The researchers put a partition in the tunnel with a hole for bees to fly through. The partition carried a pattern, such as stripes slanting left. Bees had to remember the pattern and pick the matching pattern on one of the exit signs to reach the treat. During a bee's training, the researchers regularly switched the patterns.
Once a bee was choosing correctly about three times out of four, the researchers repeatedly lengthened the tunnel beyond the partition. Thus, the flying bees had a longer and longer delay between seeing the pattern and matching it to the exit sign.
The bees' memory of that pattern remains strong for about 5 seconds, the researchers report in an upcoming Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In field tests, bees tend to choose flowers that resemble the one they visited some 5 seconds earlier. Birds' short-term memory lasts a similar time.
another extraordinary machine
Hurtubise said the device—created with major contributions from a German physicist, and the help of an electronics engineer and an electrician—has produced such “staggeringly positive” results, he will open his lab to any scientist or researcher in the world who wants to come to North Bay to investigate the God Light.
“You can use my lab for as long as you want to conduct any experiment that you want, all I ask for is a copy of your report when it’s done, whether it’s negative or positive,” Hurtubise said, after giving BayToday.ca an exclusive demonstration of the God Light.
“My lab is open to anybody of credibility in the scientific world, who works on, say, Parkinson’s, AIDS, MS, or Alzheimer’s. The proof is in the pudding, and I will turn the machine on and you will see results that will amaze you.”
A computer scientist with a background in particle physics, was in North Bay... Hurtubise gave him a demonstration of the God Light. “I think this is going to revolutionize physics and change the understanding of the concepts of science. What Troy’s doing can’t be done, according to the current theories and models that we have. I know a lot of physicists in Japan who would love to get their hands on this machine.”
When the first matter came into being right after the Big Bang, what was it like? It may not have been quite as scientists have been describing it. That is one of the possibilities raised by four international teams of researchers that are about to publish important results three years into an experiment to recreate the primordial matter of the universe. Weizmann Institute scientists are among those who participated in the creation of matter that may be the "quark-gluon plasma" thought to be the first matter in the universe.
A zeplin armada, piloted by mongoslings 1 string guitars Spaghetti Farms My work ethic a word for when you keep seeing the same pop culture reference over and over again, having only just learnt of existance recently An insideout hedgehog A spell that turns beautiful people into mannequins
Of course, by mentioning these things, don't we bring them out of the void and at least into possibility? Hmmm.... (*head a'splodes*)
really haute couture
What we question here is why reported alien episodes from the contactees through the abductees (experiencers) exhibit heterosexual behavior (the seduction of Villas Boas or David Huggins for instance) but the homosexual gestures by “male aliens” in abduction scenarios are played down, even when they are the main ingredient in the reconstruction.
Yes, George Adamski’s Venusian friend Orthon was referenced in such a way that one might conclude he was either androgynous or totally effeminate, but since Adamski’s tale is fraudulent, the description of Orthon is, very likely, a projection of Adamski’s sexual preferences.
it's not a small world after all
While no corner of earth remains uncharted, there are still millions of species that have yet to be discovered and documented. The quest to complete a comprehensive directory of all life on earth goes on. It's a good job monkeys don't understand us, else you'd fear for the newly discovered Callicebus aureipalatii. The creature is one of about 30 varieties of titi monkey which can be found in the dense tropical rainforests of South America. There's Callicebus brunneus (Brown titi), Callicebus personatus (Masked titi), Callicebus moloch (Dusky titi) and then there's the new arrival, Callicebus aureipalatii - Golden Palace titi.
This latest species had the dubious fate of being discovered in an era of strident global capitalism - hence its name, the result of a charity auction eventually won by the online gambling emporium GoldenPalace.com. Novelty names aside, though, it's surprising that on a planet which has been so comprehensively researched, circumnavigated and trampled over there are still new sorts of primate which have evaded human detection.
How long could you survive without your car? For the many Americans who think nothing of driving 10 blocks to buy a gallon of milk, the answer is obvious. But before any of you dedicated pedestrians and die-hard cyclists start feeling smug, try this question: How long could you survive without talking?
Chances are, nowhere near as long as John Francis did. After a massive oil spill polluted San Francisco Bay in 1971, Francis gave up all motorized transportation. For 22 years, he walked everywhere he went -- including treks across the entire United States and much of South America -- hoping to inspire others to drop out of the petroleum economy.
Soon after he stopped riding in cars, Francis, the son of working-class, African-American parents in Philadelphia, also stopped speaking. For 17 years, he communicated only through improvised sign language, notes, and his ever-present banjo. The environmental pilgrim says he took his vow of silence as a gift to his community "because, man, I just argued all the time." But it may have been Francis who benefited most of all. For the first time, he found he was able to truly listen to other people and the larger world around him, transforming his approach to both personal communication and environmental activism.
Visualization in Medieval Alchemy [via orlin grabbe]
This paper explores major trends in visualization of medieval theories of natural and artificial transformation of substances in relation to their philosophical and theological bases. The function of pictorial forms is analyzed in terms of the prevailing conceptions of science and methods of transmitting knowledge. The documents under examination date from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. In these, pictorial representations include lists and tables, geometrical figures, depictions of furnaces and apparatus, and figurative elements mainly from the vegetable and animal realms. An effort is made to trace the earliest evidence of these differing pictorial types.
parrot-heads are behind this
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." That's the name of a children's book about the strange town of Chewandswallow where it rains soup and snows mashed potatoes. All the town's food is delivered by the weather. Up on Mount Soledad, Janet Andrews is reporting it rained shrimp on April 28. She and others found masses of baby shrimp on the tennis courts of the Summit residential development.
"They're not crazy," says Bob Burhans, curator of the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. "I haven't heard of it raining shrimp, but I have heard of it raining fish." About 15 years ago, a Chula Vista man reported that hundreds of minnows had dropped out of the sky onto his driveway, yard and roof. A marine biologist at Scripps identified the airborne fish and theorized they were from the Sweetwater Reservoir.
The most likely delivery system: a wind funnel that formed over the water, picking up surface creatures and then dropping its load as it dissipated.
i knew there was something to it!
Using a brain imaging technique, Swedish researchers have shown that homosexual and heterosexual men respond differently to two odors that may be involved in sexual arousal, and that the gay men respond in the same way as women.
The new research may open the way to studying human pheromones, as well as the biological basis of sexual preference. Pheromones, chemicals emitted by one individual to evoke some behavior in another of the same species, are known to govern sexual activity in animals, but experts differ as to what role, if any, they play in making humans sexually attractive to one another.
A history of sex
By examining the DNA of living people, Dr Hammer and his colleagues have found that far fewer men than women pass their genes on to subsequent generations. In short, a small number of men have been putting it about a lot, thus outcompeting their lesser rivals.
The researchers draw their conclusion from differences between the variability of mitochondrial DNA (a type of DNA which follows the female line) and Y-chromosome DNA (which follows the male line). They examined the mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA of three widely separated populations—the Khoisan of southern Africa, the Khalks of Mongolia and the highlanders of Papua New Guinea—to see how those DNA sequences differed between the groups. What they found was that there is a lot of variability in the mitochondrial DNA, and much less in the Y-chromosome DNA.
Moment to moment, the universe hangs together. Somehow, the universe of this moment and the universe of the previous moment are both similar and different: similar, in that the present moment resembles the previous moment in important ways; different, in that it is also significantly new. The more you think about it, the more mysterious the whole thing is....
The inheritance of the past is one the central topics we will be discussing, because it turns out to be a key in almost every area of human inquiry. But it also touches on what is perhaps the most crucial question in the whole area of spirituality.
All of the ancient spiritual traditions--from shamanism to Neoplatonism to Christian mysticism to Buddhism--maintain that, in addition to this physical realm, there are higher realms or higher dimensions or higher levels of reality, and these higher levels already exist in some sense (e.g., as Platonic forms, Hegelian ideas, Aurobindian involutionary deposits, archetypes of all varieties, or as shamanic higher and lower worlds). For Aurobindo, to give one example, all of the higher levels of reality are laid down by involution and therefore pre-exist in a real sense, and thus these higher levels unfold or become manifest during evolution (so that evolution is simply unfolding what involution enfolded or deposited). But all of the modern and postmodern currents deny that there are higher realms--or, more generally, deny that there are any sort of pre-existing givens at all (including any sort of pregiven ontological structures: modernity denies higher structures, postmodernity denies structures altogether: either way, spirituality is out). Spiritual traditions insist that salvation is in some sense a re-discovery of an already existing reality. Postmodernity insists that nothing is discovered, everything is constructed. The entire 'fight' between ancient and modern hinges on that central issue: are there ontologically pre-existing levels or dimensions of reality?
eyewitness to billion-year old news
Astronomers photographed a cosmic event this morning which they believe is the birth of a black hole... A faint visible-light flash moments after a high-energy gamma-ray burst likely heralds the merger of two dense neutron stars to create a relatively low-mass black hole... It is the first time an optical counterpart to a very short-duration gamma-ray burst has ever been detected. Gamma rays are the most energetic form of radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum, which also includes X-rays, light and radio waves.
The merger occurred 2.2 billion light-years away, so it actually took place 2.2 billion years ago and the light just reached Earth this morning.
he's just a schmo
The capture of a supposed Al-Qaeda kingpin by Pakistani agents last week was hailed by President George W
Al-Libbi’s arrest in Pakistan, announced last Wednesday, was described in the United States as “a major breakthrough” in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.
discovery on the sly
Scientists believe they have found a wholly new species of mammal deep in the heart of one of the richest, least studied and most endangered wildlife areas on earth.
The discovery of an apparently new kind of fox in the dense forests of central Borneo is an extremely rare event. Only a handful of new mammals have been discovered in the whole world over the past 70 years. It comes as hopes are rising that the forests - which are expected to be cut down within the next 15 years - may be saved at the last minute. The Indonesian government has recently halted logging in an important national park and has begun preparations with the governments of Malaysia and Brunei about establishing a 220,000 kmsq conservation area.
Borneo - the world's third largest island - has possibly the most diverse wildlife on the globe. By a conservative estimate, it is home to 15,000 species of plant; one 52 hectare plot alone has 1,175 different kinds of tree - a world record. Six thousand of them are found nowhere else, as are about 160 of its fish species, 30 of its birds and 25 of its mammals.
my dinner with knucklehead
“The problem I have with gays is that they wanna put their gayness in my face!”
“Oh, you’ve seen those gay pride parades, with the leather and the bare buttocks. And have you seen Will and Grace? It’s nothing but gay, gay, gay.”
“So you think people should keep their sexuality to themselves?”
“So you’re anti-Pamela Anderson?” (Being a courteous guest, I didn’t tell him that I consider Pamela Anderson to be a drag queen, a person who has drug out gender to a hilarious extreme, a person so femme that she makes the Marilyns, both Monroe and Manson, seem butch.)
“That’s not true!” my sister yelled from the other room. “He goes bug-eyed whenever she’s on tv!”
“And when straight people get married,” I said, “and drive around town honking their car horns and towing cans and streaming crepe paper, you’re against that flaming heterosexuality too?”
“That’s not flaming heterosexuality. They’re celebrating a sacred union. And they’re quite discrete. Not like those gays.”
“Ahh, I see,” I said, thinking about all the times I’d seen brides hoist their skirts and tuxed fellas ratchet garters up their thighs, while het guests whooped as if it were a good old-fashioned ho’ down.
yeah, and I'm sure he was reading the da vinci code too.
The new Pope, Benedict XVI, was actively investigating secret societies including the Knights Templar and the Illuminati, it was revealed yesterday. Details were exposed by a local newspaper in Hertfordshire, England. Cardinal Ratzinger was head of the Inquisition, the arm of the Church set up to investigate, persecute or eliminate heretics. But the curious thing is, we now know that he started his investigation shortly before he was elected as the new Pope. Did he know something? He certainly made no secret of his ambition to become Pope.
And on the Eighth Day, Man Destroyed the Earth
Why do so many conservatives yawn, laugh derisively or change the subject at the first mention of Earth Day? How can they be so apathetic to the same earth that their preachers praise as �God�s creation�? Why don�t all Christians hold the Bush administration accountable for decisions that threaten our water, our air, and life itself? Having listened to countless conservative sermons on the subject, and to evangelicals and fundamentalists (not necessarily the same people), I�ve discovered that their denials of scientific evidence regarding environmental destruction aren�t really believed at a deep level. Instead, this �reactive thinking� has been learned from others.
Reactive thinking is a rehearsed mental security system of sorts, composed of unexamined assumptions and learned replies that defend the individual from complex, unpleasant or frightening realities. Reactive thinking accounts for most of the trouble that environmentalists are running up against, now that the pollution-friendly Bush administration is in control. This applies especially to the conservative Christian Bush supporters who should, being Christian, care that human beings are ruining the world that they believe God created in seven days.
There is a right way and a wrong way to engage religious voices in the public square. I believe "Justice Sunday" reflects the latter and highlights several disturbing trends. I agree with the Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, president of the Chicago Theological Seminary, who called "Justice Sunday" sacrilegious and said, "The radical religious right turned a sanctuary into a political platform." As a Baptist minister for more than 40 years with a profound respect for religious freedom and pluralism, I fear it will get worse. In fact, I think we are teetering on the brink of theocracy and the Christian Right could conceivably use the battle over the judiciary and weakening support for reproductive rights to push us over the edge. Unfortunately, although Frist has been vigorously, and appropriately, criticized for his poor judgment and political opportunism in taking part in the telethon, the greater problem of sectarian religious manipulation of public policy debates has been minimized. President George W. Bush brushed off a question about the role of faith in politics at his April 28th press conference with the innocuous response that "people in political office should not say to somebody you're not equally American if you don't agree with my view of religion." Rather than give a high school civics lesson, he should have had the courage to disavow the religious arrogance and extremism of "Justice Sunday."
The world is full of women
I do give value.
Not that anyone here
This is fun; locked my keys in an office downtown and will have to crash here til morning.
*Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.
a perfect saturday morning
I wake up on the couch
To be waking up this Saturday morning,
the flight of Saint-Exupéry
"Waterspouts stood in apparently motionless ranks like the pillars of a temple. On their swollen capitals rested the dark and lowering arch of the storm, but blades of light sliced down through cracks in the arch, and between the pillars the full moon gleamed on the cold stone tiles of the sea. Mermoz made his way through those empty ruins, banking for four hours from one channel of light to another, circling round those giant pillars with the sea surging up inside them, following those flows of moonlight towards the exit from the temple."
preserve the diversity
Over 360 new species have been discovered in Borneo over the last decade, highlighting the great need for conservation in the area, the WWF says. Previously unseen insects, frogs, fish, lizards and snakes have made themselves known to science for the first time. And a new report suggests thousands more species remain undiscovered.
However, these newly introduced and yet-to-be-uncovered species are also under threat, WWF claims, because Borneo's forests are being cleared. "Borneo is undoubtedly one of the most important centres for wildlife in the world... It is one of the only two places on Earth where orang-utans, elephants and rhinos can be found."
with this ring, i prove thee theories of light
This is Einstein's Year. One-hundred years ago a little known Swiss patent clerk in the very early years of a scientific career was confronted with a series of paradoxes related to time and space, energy and matter. Gifted with a profound intuition and a powerful imagination, Albert A. Einstein rose out of obscurity to present an entirely new way of looking at natural phenomenon. Einstein showed us all that time had very little to do with clocks, energy has less to do with quantity and more to do with quality, space was not just “a big square box to put stuff in", matter and energy were two sides of the same cosmic coin, and gravity had a profound effect on everything - light, matter, time, and space.
Today we use all these principles – enunciated a century ago - to probe the most distant things in the Universe. Because of Einstein's investigation of the photoelectric effect, we now understand why light is not continuous but curiously riddled with dark and bright lines telling us when that light was emitted, what emitted it. and the kinds of things touching it in its travels. Because of Einstein's insight into the conversion of mass and energy, we now understand how distant suns illuminate the cosmos, and how powerful magnetic fields whip particles up to stupendous speeds later to come crashing down on the Earth's atmosphere. And because gravity is now understood to influence everything, we have learned how distant objects can capture and focus light from even more distant objects.
Although we have yet to find an absolutely perfect instance of gravitational lensing in the Universe, today we are much closer to that ideal.
To the dismay of gay-rights activists, the Food and Drug Administration is about to implement new rules recommending that any man who has engaged in homosexual sex in the previous five years be barred from serving as an anonymous sperm donor. The FDA has rejected calls to scrap the provision, insisting that gay men collectively pose a higher-than-average risk of carrying the AIDS virus. Critics accuse the FDA of stigmatizing all gay men rather than adopting a screening process that focuses on high-risk sexual behavior by any would-be donor, gay or straight.
the machine will tell you what's on your mind
It is possible to read someone’s mind by remotely measuring their brain activity, researchers have shown. The technique can even extract information from subjects that they are not aware of themselves.
So far, it has only been used to identify visual patterns a subject can see or has chosen to focus on. But the researchers speculate the approach might be extended to probe a person’s awareness, focus of attention, memory and movement intention. In the meantime, it could help doctors work out if patients apparently in a coma are actually conscious.
“I’m not trying to hide my age or anything,” the woman said. “I’m thirty-five.”
“And how old was your father-in-law when he died?”
“What did he do? His job, I mean.”
“He was a priest.”
“By priest you mean a Buddhist priest?”
“That’s right. A Buddhist priest. Of the Jodo sect. He was the head of a temple in the Toshima Ward.”
“It must have been a real shock,” I said.
“That my father-in-law was run over by a streetcar?”
“Of course it was a shock. Especially for my husband,” the woman said.
Dillard's little valley — with its clouds, fences, bullfrogs, giant water-bugs, houses, red-tailed hawks; with its messy entanglement of the human and the natural - allowed her to say all she needed to say about some very big questions. In prose that was at once vernacular and visionary, she set out "to tell some tales and describe some of the sights of this rather tamed valley, and explore, in fear and trembling, some of the unmapped dim reaches and unholy fastnesses to which those tales and sights so dizzyingly lead".
Oh, it leaves me breathless, this alchemist of the word! I feel so lucky to have randomly chosen "tinker Creek" as an audio book for a drive about a year ago. Changed my life.
Because I Care
I'm driving to Raleigh, 250 miles, for another blessed meeting. NPR, tea, and a fried egg burrito will keep me company on thie drive, which began around 6am this morning. I love long drives, just not exactly thrilled about winding my way into gaping maws of corporate blahtopia.
Le Cadavre Exquisite
The Exquisite Corpse game was developed by the artists and writers associated with Andre Breton's surrealist group during the third decade of the twentieth century. Those pictured above and others famous and obscure are responsible for the concept and this site is an homage to them.
The process on this site has been digitized. It is a collaboration between a small number of artists, each with little to no idea as to what has gone before, creating a (hopefully) single, unified and otherwise unique work that could not be created any other way. Graphic skills, while important, need not be a barrier to participation. Flexibility, creativity, humor, and openness are indispensible.
Discovering April Fool's a litte late
There has been a small outbreak of “zombism” in a small town near the border of Laos in North-Eastern Cambodia. The culprit was discovered to be mosquitoes native to that region carrying a new strain of Malaria which thus far has a 100 percent mortality rate and kills victims in fewer than 2 days. After death, this parasite is able to restart the heart of its victim for up to two hours after the initial demise of the person where the individual behaves in extremely violent ways from what is believed to be a combination of brain damage and a chemical released into blood during “resurrection.”
Cambodian officials say that the outbreak has been contained and the public has no need to worry.
an interesting take
Digital Philosophy (DP) is a new way of thinking about the fundamental workings of processes in nature. DP is an atomic theory carried to a logical extreme where all quantities in nature are finite and discrete. This means that, theoretically, any quantity can be represented exactly by an integer. Further, DP implies that nature harbors no infinities, infinitesimals, continuities, or locally determined random variables.
reality based community roundup
it's all about intention
On an operating table at a medical center in San Francisco, a breast cancer patient is undergoing reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy. But this will be no ordinary surgery. Three thousand miles away, a shamanic healer has been sent the woman's name, a photo and details about the surgery.
Prayer, however, is just one modality. Scientists have suggested in field of consciousness studies that our actual awareness is as external as it is internal, and things like telepathy, psychokinesis and possibly healing is simply a stretching of that energized 'membrane' which forms the skin of our awareness...
According to materialistic science, any memory requires a material substrate, such as the neuronal network in the brain or the DNA molecules of the genes. However, it is impossible to imagine any material medium for the information conveyed by various forms of transpersonal experiences described above. This information clearly has not been acquired during the individual’s lifetime through the conventional means, that is by sensory perception. It seems to exist independently of matter and to be contained in the field of consciousness itself, or in some other types of fields that cannot be detected by our scientific instruments. The observations from the study of transpersonal experiences are supported by evidence that comes from other avenues of research. Challenging the basic metaphysical assumptions of Cartesian-Newtonian thinking, scientists like Rupert Sheldrake 8seriously explore such possibilities as "memory without a material substrate" and "morphogenetic fields".
atoms packed in an egg-carton of light?
Scientists... have taken a step toward the development of powerful new computers -- by making tiny holes that contain nothing at all. The holes -- dark spots in an egg carton-shaped surface of laser light -- could one day cradle atoms for quantum computing. Worldwide, scientists are racing to develop computers that exploit the quantum mechanical properties of atoms... These so-called quantum computers could enable much faster computing than is possible today. One strategy for making quantum computers involves packaging individual atoms on a chip so that laser beams can read quantum data.
Teuku Jacob, a professor at Gadjah Mada University, who led the human anthropology research team, said 80 per cent of the Rampapasa villagers were small, with most male adults under 145cm and female adults about 135cm. "The presence of the pygmy people there is both very interesting and surprising," Prof Jacob said. "For years, scientists from all over the world could only see their traces. Now we could find them living in a society. Mini people have been reportedly seen in Andaman and the province of Papua, but only a few remained and they have been difficult to find because they have been spreading to some areas." In the November issue of the journal Nature, professors Morwood and Brown, who claimed the discovery together with Indonesian colleagues, said the species was thought to have evolved from Homo erectus, which spread out from Africa to Asia about two million years ago.
Neuro Lit. 101
Because the cells reflected the actions that the monkey observed in others, the neuroscientists named them "mirror neurons." Later experiments confirmed the existence of mirror neurons in humans and revealed another surprise. In addition to mirroring actions, the cells reflected sensations and emotions.
"Mirror neurons suggest that we pretend to be in another person's mental shoes," says Marco Iacoboni, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. "In fact, with mirror neurons we do not have to pretend, we practically are in another person's mind."
Since their discovery, mirror neurons have been implicated in a broad range of phenomena, including certain mental disorders. Mirror neurons may help cognitive scientists explain how children develop a theory of mind (ToM), which is a child's understanding that others have minds similar to their own. Doing so may help shed light on autism, in which this type of understanding is often missing.
mouthy lil' buggers
Bacteria are able to communicate with one another through a process known as quorum sensing. Here's how it works: Individual bacteria secrete signaling molecules called autoinducers into their environments, and as the number of bacteria in a colony increases, so does the concentration of the signaling molecule.
Quorum sensing allows bacteria to coordinate their behaviors on a global scale and to act like enormous multicellular organisms... The types of behaviors initiated by quorum sensing are typically those that are beneficial only when performed as a group, such as the release of toxins or the formation of aggregates called biofilms.
...Bacteria in the wild are not typically found in homogenous groups, but rather coexist in diverse communities with other bacterial species. "We don’t think anymore that it does bacteria any good to only count its own species; they have to be able to take a census of the rest of the population."
warm yes, fuzzy no
Scientists have concluded more energy is being absorbed from the sun than is emitted back to space, throwing the Earth's energy "out of balance" and warming the globe. Scientists... used satellites, data from buoys and computer models to study the Earth's oceans. They confirmed the energy imbalance by using precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content over the past 10 years.
The study reveals Earth's energy imbalance is large by standards of the planet's history. The imbalance is 0.85 watts per meter squared. That will cause an additional warming of 0.6 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) by the end of this century.
Caprturing the Unicorn
In the wet lab, a team of textile conservators led by a woman named Kathrin Colburn unpacked the tapestries and spread them out face down on a large table, one by one. At some point, the backs of the tapestries had been covered with linen. The backings, which protect the tapestries and help to support them when they hang on a wall, were turning brown and brittle, and had to be replaced. Using tweezers and magnifying lenses, Colburn and her team delicately removed the threads that held each backing in place. As the conservators lifted the backing away, inch by inch, they felt a growing sense of awe. The backs were almost perfect mirror images of the fronts, but the colors were different. Compared with the fronts, they were unfaded: incredibly bright, rich, and deep, more subtle and natural-looking. The backs of the tapestries had, after all, been exposed to very little sunlight in five hundred years. Nobody alive at the Met, it seems, had seen them this way.
Bless, O Threefold Goddess,
On the fragrant plain, on the gay mountain sheiling.
Everything within my dwelling or in my possession,
From wave to wave, and base of waterfall.
Be thy Three Faces taking possession of all to me belonging,
Shield my loved ones between the Beltane fires.
Bless everything and every one,
Till we see the Land of Promise.
What time the kine shall forsake the stalls,
May the tending of the Triad follow them.
Thou being who didst give me birth,
In thine own Circle, O Goddess of Love.
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are Copyright 2005 by theodore "jay" joslin and joyous jostling studios. Thank you, Wanderer, for All.
i am jay joslin: a spirit-fed mountain hopping lover of everything, an ordained lefty-veggie-homo, and bon-vivant go-go dancing with all the messenger mockingbirds of morning.
Progressive Voice of the Mountains
Free Radio Asheville
Eclectic Music for Mountain Folks
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Keep it even,
"Not all who wander
You contain everything
Everything contains you
If you desire the Infinite,
look no further than the window.
Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe
0. If you find yourself
wonderstruck, don’t forget to return the favor. 1. Always be of service to
the whole and the Holy. You’ll find that the Holy will reciprocate by being
of service to your becoming Whole. 2. You will be called upon
to use your mind and your vision in ways I cannot possibly glimpse. Never
turn down an offer to shine that light so uniquely yours to help others in
their darkness, and you’ll find that when it’s your turn to be in the night
that there’ll be someone along the way who happens to have a little glow to
share . 3. The rewards of being
true to yourself are infinite, even when outwardly your efforts are met
with nothing. 4. You’ll also see that
knowledge and wisdom will come from within yourself through your own
struggle and curiosity... your loved ones may guide you to insight, but
yours is the power to choose it. 5. You’ll find that some of
your choices could’ve been better, or at times were downright stupid. That’s
okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them
I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what a good one might feel like if I
tried it on. 6. Your growth will be a
mysterious, comic, ecstatic and sometimes scary ride, and I pray that you
strive to savor each minute of it, even the most difficult or embarrassing
minutes. Don’t count on second chances. 7. In those times when
everything collapses around you, and what’s left won’t go right, don’t
forget your chances of being alive in this solar system, in this galaxy, are
a little on the slim side. So slim in fact that it could be called a miracle
to breathe this air, drink this water, and have whet ever predicament you’re
having no matter how you shake, rattle and roll it. So go with the cosmic
flow and always choose something over nothing, while remembering that
there’s a little of each one hidden in both. 8. Respond as best as you
can with love to adversity rather than reacting with fear... Love, in any
situation and being the primordial source and essence of ALL THIS STUFF,
leaves / enters us with the most possible ways out / in. 9. Whatever you’re doing,
celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what you’ve got
when you’re done. Magic lives in the action. 9 ½ . All matter is energy.
All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short
time in this shape until we’re reunited with the expanse from which we came.
Your delicate yet sturdy, resilient body is a temporary shelter of energy
that has swam the universe eternally and will continue eternally. You are a
sudden crystallization of the infinite. One must ask themself, therefore,
why be bored? 9 3/4 . Choosing to live in
the moment is courageous but becomes effortless once you begin...feeling
obligated to survive in the past or future is dangerous and is difficult to
continue. It’s one of the few risks I’d recommend not taking, right up there
with trusting icons and shrugging off coincidences. 10. The Universe itself it
not confusing, we humans just like it that way. Do frogs seem bewildered ,
butterflies befuddled and amoebas addled? Nope, just us, my child. So,
whenever things just don’t make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as
best you can, because that’s what you get for choosing this goofy,
unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.
0. If you find yourself wonderstruck, don’t forget to return the favor.
1. Always be of service to the whole and the Holy. You’ll find that the Holy will reciprocate by being of service to your becoming Whole.
2. You will be called upon to use your mind and your vision in ways I cannot possibly glimpse. Never turn down an offer to shine that light so uniquely yours to help others in their darkness, and you’ll find that when it’s your turn to be in the night that there’ll be someone along the way who happens to have a little glow to share .
3. The rewards of being true to yourself are infinite, even when outwardly your efforts are met with nothing.
4. You’ll also see that knowledge and wisdom will come from within yourself through your own struggle and curiosity... your loved ones may guide you to insight, but yours is the power to choose it.
5. You’ll find that some of your choices could’ve been better, or at times were downright stupid. That’s okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what a good one might feel like if I tried it on.
6. Your growth will be a mysterious, comic, ecstatic and sometimes scary ride, and I pray that you strive to savor each minute of it, even the most difficult or embarrassing minutes. Don’t count on second chances.
7. In those times when everything collapses around you, and what’s left won’t go right, don’t forget your chances of being alive in this solar system, in this galaxy, are a little on the slim side. So slim in fact that it could be called a miracle to breathe this air, drink this water, and have whet ever predicament you’re having no matter how you shake, rattle and roll it. So go with the cosmic flow and always choose something over nothing, while remembering that there’s a little of each one hidden in both.
8. Respond as best as you can with love to adversity rather than reacting with fear... Love, in any situation and being the primordial source and essence of ALL THIS STUFF, leaves / enters us with the most possible ways out / in.
9. Whatever you’re doing, celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what you’ve got when you’re done. Magic lives in the action.
9 ½ . All matter is energy. All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short time in this shape until we’re reunited with the expanse from which we came. Your delicate yet sturdy, resilient body is a temporary shelter of energy that has swam the universe eternally and will continue eternally. You are a sudden crystallization of the infinite. One must ask themself, therefore, why be bored?
9 3/4 . Choosing to live in the moment is courageous but becomes effortless once you begin...feeling obligated to survive in the past or future is dangerous and is difficult to continue. It’s one of the few risks I’d recommend not taking, right up there with trusting icons and shrugging off coincidences.
10. The Universe itself it not confusing, we humans just like it that way. Do frogs seem bewildered , butterflies befuddled and amoebas addled? Nope, just us, my child. So, whenever things just don’t make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as best you can, because that’s what you get for choosing this goofy, unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.