Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, the sixth man ever to walk on the moon, has a message for all citizens of Earth: We are not alone.
"We are being visited," the 79-year-old grandfatherly "spacefarer" told 100 or so UFOlogists gathered at a National Press Club conference called by the Paradigm Research Group (motto: "It's not about lights in the sky; it's about lies on the ground").
"It is now time to put away this embargo of truth about the alien presence," said the astronaut who made the longest moonwalk in history. "I call upon our government to open up ... and become a part of this planetary community that is now trying to take our proper role as a spacefaring civilization."
Friday, February 26, 2010
If your thoughts do represent what happens outside of your brain, you can recover your thoughts. If they do not represent reality, who cares?
Loosing this password, may not be as bad as it seems.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I am a Warrior
I fight for Truth
I fight for Love
I am a Warrior for Peace
Sometimes I stumble and fall
but I get back up
I am proud to be an American
Do not mistake my love of peace for weakness
I am a Warrior for Peace
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Peace is something stronger than that. Merely placing it on bags and t-shirts seems to be degrading in a manner of speaking. I'm not trying to place a negative connotation on peace being fashionable, I just want it to be fashionable for the right reasons. The people who wear the merchandise don't often understand or care about the meaning of the symbol they wear. It's more of a lifestyle choice than it's being made out to be.
Peace is something that needs to be fought for (non-violently), not reduced to a stylish flare on a handbag being carted through the local shopping mall.
Marine mammal trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed today at SeaWorld Orlando by a 30 year old, 5 ton orca by the name of "Tilikum".
Tilikum has been involved in two other deaths of humans in the past.
We have no business making circus clowns out of killer whales.
Captivity is abusive to these animals.
I urge everyone to boycott SeaWorld Marine Parks.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Sen comes from East Bengal, India in what is now called Bangladesh. His family is very distinguished with strong roots in academia and government. As a nine-year-old boy, he witnessed the horrendous famine that devastated Bengal in 1943, in which three million people perished. He would later conclude that this terrible loss of life was unnecessary. This experience must have exerted a powerful influence upon where his future career would take him.
In his seminal work entitled, Development as Freedom, Amartya Sen claims that “enhancement of human freedom is both the main object and the primary means of development.” In his view freedom encompasses economic facilities, political freedoms, social opportunities, transparency guarantees and protective security. In his view, freedom is not simply a political attribute, but has very practical manifestations such as accessibility to adequate health care, housing, etc.
Amartya Sen, a Noble prize laureate in economics, has proposed a different model for economic development. While obviously a proponent of free trade, he envisions a very different approach to its implementation. He identifies the traditional ethics, exemplified in the policies of the IMF and World Bank, as focusing on the primacy of income and wealth. Furthermore, he defines poverty as a “deprivation of elementary capabilities which can lead to premature mortality, illiteracy and other consequences.”
He has postulated a freedom-based orientation to policies geared towards economic development. The author states that, “With adequate social opportunities, individuals can effectively shape their own destiny and help each other. They need not be seen primarily as passive recipients of cunning development programs.”
This different perspective allows application not only to developing countries but also to the developed world. The fact that tens of millions of Americans lack access to adequate health care provides a striking example. A link between income and mortality can also be readily established. The life expectancy of African Americans compare to poor countries such as China, Sri Lanka, Jamaica and Costa Rica.
In this view of development, a consideration of personal liberties cannot be divorced from economic consequences. The link between income and poverty is, of course, self evident. Freedom can be seen not only as residing in so-called political freedoms, i.e. freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, but also dependent on those aspects of economic life that are fundamental to living successfully, i.e. adequate health care, housing and food, referred to as substantive freedoms. What good are political freedoms to those who expend all their energy simply trying to survive?
In this paradigm, development is seen in terms of substantive freedoms and requires an analysis of the unfreedoms that people may suffer. This differs substantially from the current operational approach of the traditional institutions. The IMF’s approach to economic development often exacerbates, or, in extreme cases, creates the very inequities that make the plight of the poor even more devastating.
Sen has devoted much of his attention to the idea of justice and from this idea he has evolved his economic perspective. He has detailed his analysis of justice in his work entitled, The Idea of Justice. He has approached the theory of justice through the diagnosis of injustice. From his perspective, understanding involves reasoning and critical examination. He stresses the roles of rationality and reasonableness in understanding the demands of justice. From his perspective, he has concluded that the implementation or evaluation of social change should focus on whether or not such change would enhance justice.
In his mind, any theory of justice must, by necessity, include a diagnosis of injustice. From this perspective, injustice may either arise systemically or stem from individual behavioral transgressions. In Sen’s mind, injustice must be evaluated at the level of the individual as well as the institutions. For example, a society that prides itself on the democratic nature of its institutions may quietly condone and neglect the poverty and hunger that is a fundamental part of the lives of some of its people. Within the paradigm that Sen has proposed, this reality is an injustice in part because it is readily open to remedy. This practical consideration of real impact on social institutions on the lives of individuals represents a radical departure in regards to the analysis of the institutions themselves. Within this point of view, the emphasis is on reasoned arguments rather than relying on articles of faith and unreasoned convictions; reasoning and justice go hand in hand.
Sen invokes the age of European Enlightenment in the 18th and 19th centuries as having a positive impact on his thinking. He describes the idea of justice from two historic perspectives. The first he refers to as “transcendental institutionalism.” This represents the point of view taken by such notable philosophers as Thomas Hobbes and Rousseau. They envisioned a perfect justice that could be realized if the institutions themselves were perfected. This approach does not, however, take into account the behaviors of ordinary people and their social interactions. Sen believes this to be a major flaw, and, in many ways, an impediment to real justice.
The other perspective he refers to as “realization-focused comparisons.” This idea focuses on actual realizations and accomplishments. In defense of this approach, he cites such well-known thinkers as Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. As far as Sen is concerned, “The rules may be right, but what does emerge in society – the kinds of lives that people actually live.” This lies at the heart of Sen’s thinking. This point of view can be readily summarized in Sen’s own words, “The need for an accomplishment-based understanding of justice is linked with the argument that justice cannot be indifferent to the lives that people can actually live.”
Sen proposed that reason needs to be balanced by an instinctive revulsion to cruelty and to insensitive behavior and that the remedy for bad reasoning is better reasoning. Sen was strongly influenced by John Rawls in regards to formulating his theory of justice. In Sen’s scheme, justice must include the fundamental property of fairness and the use of reason. He felt that individuals have a strong inner sense of justice and a conception of the good. The following provide some insights into his thinking, “Why should we regard hunger, starvation and medical neglect to be invariably less important than the violation of any kind of personal liberty.” In his mind, justice must encompass an actual assessment of real freedoms and capabilities.
Amartya Sen applied his conceptions of justice, freedom and the use of reason to economics (On Economic Inequality, Oxford Press, 1973), and formulated an economic paradigm that challenged the conventional approaches to economic development. His sensitivity to the plight of many of the world’s people lies at the heart of his conclusions.
Going From Bad To Worse...
by George Lakoff, via CommonDreams.org
A longish article, but worth the time to read it...
“A Good Week For Science —
And Insight into Politics”
As is often true with CommonDreams...
the comments are as enlightening as the article.
Nothing else. Just - Please - Think, as you read it.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Altruism: unselfish interest in the welfare of others.
"In Tibet we say that many illness can be cured by the one medicine of love and compassion. These qualities are the ultimate source of human happiness, and need for them lies at the very core of our being. Unfortunately, love and compassion have been omitted from too many spheres of social interaction for too long. Usually confined to family and home, their practice in public life is considered impractical, even naive. This is tragic. In my view point, the practice of compassion is not just a symptom of unrealistic idealism but the most effective way to pursue the best interest of others as well as our own. The more we- as a nation, a group or as individuals - depend upon others, the more it is in our own best interests to ensure their well-being."
"Practicing altruism is the real source of compromise and cooperation; merely recognizing our need for harmony is not enough. A mind committed to compassion is like an overflowing reservoir - a constant source of energy, determination and kindness. This is like a seed; when cultivated, gives rise to many other good qualities, such as forgiveness, tolerance, inner strength and the confidence to overcome fear and insecurity. The compassionate mind is like an elixir; it is capable of transforming bad situation into beneficial ones. Therefore, we should not limit our expressions of love and compassion to our family and friends. Nor is the compassion only the responsibility of clergy, health care and social workers. It is the necessary business of every part of the human community."
The Dalai Lama
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
"...I felt the universe suddenly quake, and that a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one. At the same time my body became light. I was able to understand the whispering of the birds, and was clearly aware of the mind of God, the creator of the universe."
"At that moment I was enlightened: the source of budo is God's love - the spirit of loving protection for all beings... Budo is not the felling of an opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the world to destruction with arms. True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature."
"The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood. It is not a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek to compete and better one another are making a terrible mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst thing a human being can do. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent such slaughter - it is the Art of Peace, the power of love."........Morihei Ueshiba.
That Does Not Allow Denial.
by The Good People of GoodPlanet.org
A 1-1/2 hour movie called...
Proof of the complex simplistic truth of...
“It's too late for pessimism” - is now a shared reality for us all.
Friday, February 19, 2010
From the dictionary......
[fr.L liberalis, suitable for a freeman, generous, fr. liber free]
1: of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts
2: GENEROUS, BOUNTIFUL, 3: not narrow in opinion or judgement
4: TOLERANT; also: not orthodox, 5: not conservative
also related to liberty and liberate........
maybe it's not such a bad word after all.
Desecha Corte recursos de tres estados contra bodas gays
México, DF. El ministro de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN), Sergio Valls, desechó por notoriamente improcedentes las controversias constitucionales que presentaron tres estados contra los matrimonios entre homosexuales en el Distrito Federal.
Valls Hernández emitió los acuerdos mediante los cuales determinó que existe un motivo "manifiesto e indudable de improcedencia" que da lugar a desechar de plano las controversias constitucionales que presentaron los estados de Morelos, Guanajuato y Tlaxcala contra ese tipo de bodas en el Distrito Federal.
El ministro lo estimó así en virtud de que otros estados del país no pueden usar este tipo de juicios para impugnar reformas como las aprobadas en el Distrito Federal."
Dismisses Supreme Court objections by three states against gay marriages.
Published: February 19, 2010 14:15
Mexico City. The Supreme Court Justice (SCJN) Sergio Valls, dismissed due to notoriously improcedent the constitutional controversies presented by three states against gay marriages in Mexico City.
Valls Hernandez released the decision through which he determined that there exists a "notorious and undoubtable improcedent" motive that leads to completely reject the constitutional controversies the States of Morelos, Guanajuato, and Tlaxcala presented against this type of weddings in Mexico City. The Justice decided so based on the fact that other states cannot use this type of judgements to impugnate reforms like those approved in Mexico City".
Thursday, February 18, 2010
As a young man, he studied in Cambridge and was friends with such notables as Alfred North Whitehead, Ludwig Wittgenstein, GE Moore and John Maynard Keyes. Philosophically, Russell broke away from Hegelian Idealism and shifted his emphasis to logical and linguistic analysis.
He is renowned for his works in technical philosophy and mathematics. In 1910, he published the Principia Mathematica with his colleague, Alfred North Whitehead; this work is considered to be one of the most profound academic treatises of the twentieth century. An integral part of this master work was the concept of logicism, which holds that mathematics could be reduced to a few basic ideas and principles of logic. He is also famous for the so-called Russell’s’ Paradox or the theory of types.
What is not so well known is his lifelong battled against social injustice and state-sponsored violence. He was profoundly sensitive to the suffering of mankind. His definition of the good life is one, “Inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” In his lifetime, Russell combined his impassioned and unassailable logic with political action in defense of reason and human happiness. He was so ardent in his convictions that he was imprisoned twice by the British government.
In his working lifetime, he wrote some four hundred letters to the editor between 1904 and 1969 regarding such topics as World War II, Fascism, McCarthyism, the Cold War and the threat of Nuclear Annihilation. In addition he wrote eighty books and several thousand articles. He had a lifelong interest in the areas of social conscience and human rights. According to Russell, “Three passions simple but overwhelmingly strong have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge and an unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.”
In regards to his politics, Russell supported the principles of socialism in his book, German Social Democracy, but took issue with Marx’s idea regarding the necessity for violent revolution to supplant the status quo. In 1906, he ran for Parliament as a member of the Liberal Party and lost the election.
In 1914, he went to Harvard to teach and there he met TS Eliot, the famous poet. During his stay at Harvard, he wrote Our Knowledge of the External World, a collection of lectures published in 1914. In this book, Russell struggles with the difficulty that the individual has in comprehending the external world. He was an empiricist who incorporated the logic of mathematics into his thinking.
Russell joined the pacifist cause during World War I and was an adamant opponent of military conscription. In 1916 he was fined for pamphleteering on behalf of conscientious objectors and was dismissed from his lectureship at Cambridge. His opposition was seen as so threatening that by 1917 the government forbade him to travel abroad, and in 1918 he spent 6 months in prison for his anti-war writing; notable among these are – Why Men Fight (1916) and Justice in War Time (1917).
In the years leading up to World War II, Russell foresaw the approaching calamity in Europe. He was a strong advocate of pacifism and urged pacifism as an alternative should war come. He detailed his views in his books, Which Way to Peace published in 1936 and Power: A New Social Analysis published in 1938. In this latter work one of his conclusions was that military force or “naked power” is a fundamental aspect of human history, and is at the foundation of the monopoly of violence which we call the State. Furthermore, in his analysis, he determined that military force is used predominantly for the control of territory.
In his work entitled, Religion and Science, Russell compared the extremist and fanatical views of those who aligned themselves with communism and fascism to the religious fanaticism that retarded scientific and human progress some 300 years after Copernicus. His prescription for an escape from this mindset was individual free thought and a balance of scientific rationality and compassion. On account of his controversial views and influence, he was blacklisted and was unable to find work or publish his views. This would haunt him throughout the war.
Following the Second World War, the prospect of annihilation of human civilization with the advent of the atomic bomb and Cold War politics dominated his writing and thinking for the remainder of his life. He collaborated with Einstein and together they issued the Russell-Einstein Manifesto on July 9, 1955. In it they state,
“In the tragic situation which confronts humanity, we feel that scientists should assemble in conference to appraise the perils that have arisen as a result of the development of weapons of mass destruction, and to discuss a resolution in the spirit of the appended draft.
We are speaking on this occasion, not as members of this or that nation, continent, or creed, but as human beings, members of the species Man, whose continued existence is in doubt. The world is full of conflicts; and, overshadowing all minor conflicts, the titanic struggle between Communism and anti-Communism.
Almost everybody who is politically conscious has strong feelings about one or more of these issues; but we want you, if you can, to set aside such feelings and consider yourselves only as members of a biological species which has had a remarkable history, and whose disappearance none of us can desire.
We shall try to say no single word which should appeal to one group rather than to another. All, equally, are in peril, and, if the peril is understood, there is hope that they may collectively avert it.
We have to learn to think in a new way. We have to learn to ask ourselves, not what steps can be taken to give military victory to whatever group we prefer, for there no longer are such steps; the question we have to ask ourselves is: what steps can be taken to prevent a military contest of which the issue must be disastrous to all parties?”
Russell was also the President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Committee of 100. He both advocated and practiced civil disobedience, and as a consequence of his activism was arrested at the age of 89. During the Cuban missile crisis that nearly resulted in nuclear Armageddon, Russell exchanged telegrams with Premier Khrushchev and President Kennedy pleading that they step back from the brink of nuclear war.
Even at the age of 91 (1963), he remained active and founded the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation advocating world peace and human rights. Nine heads of state were sponsors of this foundation including Prime Minister Nehru of India. He was also an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and initiated an International War Crimes Tribunal in accordance with the principles set down by the Allies at Nuremburg.
He died in 1970. Bertrand Russell was both a renowned man of letters (he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1950) and a man of conscience and deep moral conviction. He left a remarkable legacy of thought and action that remains relevant to this day.
President Obama met Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalia Lama for more than an hour today in the Map Room of the White House, a move signaling Obama's solidarity with Tibet's quest for human rights and his willingness to irritate the communist Chinese government.
Following the meeting, the Dalai Lama told reporters he spoke to Obama about human rights and promoting religious harmony. The Dalai Lama says he has admired America since his childhood as a champion of "democracy, freedom and human value." He also praised Obama for "always showing his genuine concern" for Tibet.
Obama made no public remarks at the meeting. White House reporters were not permitted to photograph the president and the 74-year-old exiled Buddhist monk. The White House released a photo of the meeting later today.
The Dalai Lama, who, like Obama, has won a Nobel Peace Prize, left China for India in 1959 and has built a global following for Tibetan human rights. He leads a government in exile in Dharamsala, India.
Every U.S. president dating back to George Herbert Walker Bush has met the Dalai Lama.
Almost a year ago, the Dalai Lama accused China of turning Tibet into "Hell on earth." His holiness advocates autonomy for Tibet. Some younger Tibetans have been prodding the Dalai Lama to press for independence. China, which rules the rugged Tibetan region with stern military might, rejects autonomy and independence.
In a statement released by the White House, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama "stated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China."
Gibbs said Obama also praised the Dalai Lama's "commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government. " Obama has prodded both sides in the struggle to re-open dialogue. Talks between envoys for China and Tibet resumed in January, something Gibbs said Obama "was pleased to hear about."
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has denounced the meeting.
"China resolutely opposes the visit by the Dalai Lama to the United States, and resolutely opposes U.S. leaders having contact with the Dalai Lama," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.
Obama told Chinese leaders last fall he intended to meet with the Dalai Lama. Obama did not see his holiness during an extensive trip to the US in September of 2009, a move interpreted as an attempt to curry favor with Chinese leaders.
Gibbs said today Obama and the Dalai Lama "agreed on the importance of a positive and cooperative relationship between the United States and China.”
Before speaking to reporters briefly outside the White House, the Dalai Lama used his hand to imprint the image of a tiger in a snow bank outside the Briefing Room. The Chinese New Year, the year of the tiger, began Feb. 14. (fox news)
Beware of men with tennis racquets.
Mossad has often come under criticism for perceived excessive actions against Israel's enemies. It has been criticized for carrying out assassinations, abductions and torture. It has also been accused of violating international law. (read more)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
“The meaning of a sentence is derived from the original words by an active, interpretive process. The original sentence which is perceived is rapidly forgotten and the memory is then for the information (meaning) contained in the sentence.” ~ J. Sachs, 1967.
In the 1960’s, psychologists broke away from the long-standing traditions of behaviorism, and the field of cognitive psychology emerged. This act of secession was inspired by advances in fields such as neuroscience, cybernetics and linguistics. In the area of language development, psychologists adopted linguistic principles, introduced by Noam Chomsky, as a method for measuring verbal learning and behavior. These principles were more consistent with natural observations of language development. Chomsky’s model recognizes that language is expressed on at least two different levels ~ a ‘surface structure’, representing the audible/visible properties of a sentence (i.e. morphemes and syntax) ~ and a ‘deep structure’, representing the underlying semantic relationships conveyed by a sentence.
What they found is that the deep structure of a sentence is what people retain. Surface-structure is purged within milliseconds and no longer available for recall. The resulting memory is not a literal transcript of written or spoken language. It is more like a coded network of related concepts and ideas derived from the original sentence, as well as from the past experience of the listener. What we come away with is a feeling of resonance and familiarity, based largely on beliefs and experience ..and not necessarily the meaning intended by the speaker.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
has a dream something no no no that is the worst
thing to do write something beautiful beautiful
another lie on the border another beautiful lie
that will help us forget Juárez is alive and well
and living in El Paso.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz
A poet living in El Paso.
"The Society of the Spectacle"
by Guy Debord
The Society of the Spectacle is a critique of contemporary consumer culture and commodity fetishism. Before the term "globalization" was popularized, Debord was arguing about issues such as class alienation, cultural homogenization, and the mass media.
Debord traces the development of a modern society in which authentic social life has been replaced with its representation: "All that was once directly lived has become mere representation." Debord argues that the history of social life can be understood as "the decline of being into having, and having into merely appearing." This condition, according to Debord, is the "historical moment at which the commodity completes its colonization of social life."
With the term spectacle, Debord defines the system that is a confluence of advanced capitalism, the mass media, and the types of governments who favor those phenomena. "... the spectacle, taken in the limited sense of "mass media" which are its most glaring superficial manifestation...". The spectacle is the inverted image of society in which relations between commodities have supplanted relations between people, in which passive identification with the spectacle supplants genuine activity. "The spectacle is not a collection of images," Debord writes. "rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images."
In his analysis of the spectacular society, Debord notes that quality of life is impoverished, with such lack of authenticity, human perceptions are affected, and there's also a degradation of knowledge, with the hindering of critical thought. Debord analyzes the use of knowledge to assuage reality: the spectacle obfuscates the past, imploding it with the future into an undifferentiated mass, a type of never ending present; in this way the spectacle prevents individuals from realizing that the society of spectacle is only a moment in history (time), one that can be overturned through revolution.
Debord's aim and proposal, is "to wake up the spectator who has been drugged by spectacular images, through radical action in the form of the construction of situations, situations that bring a revolutionary reordering of life, politics, and art". In the situationist view, situations are actively created moments characterized by "a sense of self-consciousness of existence within a particular environment or ambience".
Debord encouraged the use of détournement, "which involves using spectacular images and language to disrupt the flow of the spectacle."
When Debord says that, "All that was once directly lived has become mere representation," he is referring to central importance of the image in contemporary society. Images, Debord says, have supplanted genuine human interaction.
Thus, Debord’s fourth thesis is "The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images."
In a consumer society, social life is not about living but about having; the spectacle uses the image to convey what people need and must have. Consequently, social life moves further, leaving a state of "having" and proceeding into a state of "appearing;" namely the appearance of the image.
"In a world which really is topsy-turvy, the true is a moment of the false."
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient mechanical calculator (also described as the first known mechanical computer) designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900–01 from the Antikythera wreck, but its complexity and significance were not understood until decades later. It is now thought to have been built about 150–100 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks appeared in Europe.
Professor Michael Edmunds of Cardiff University who led the most recent study of the mechanism said: "This device is just extraordinary, the only thing of its kind. The design is beautiful, the astronomy is exactly right. The way the mechanics are designed just makes your jaw drop. Whoever has done this has done it extremely carefully...in terms of historic and scarcity value, I have to regard this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa." (read more)
Friday, February 12, 2010
It is interesting for me to learn how much the tree shrew can tell us about human nature. They were one of the first primates on the evolutionary branch leading to humans. Neuro-anatomical studies reveal that they were also the first primate to evolve a highly elaborate and differentiated visual system. Psychological tests show that this development gave rise to the ability to perform two tasks with equal skill: 1) focusing attention on interesting features (while filtering out irrelevant information) and 2) swiftly shifting attention to other interesting (or alarming) features in the environment.
We take these contributions for granted now, but both abilities were not equally present in mammals before the tree shrew. It is an adaptation that had survival value, allowing them to track prey without losing sight of their predators – a trick of nature that makes them equally suited to act as hunters, as well as survive being hunted as prey. We appreciate these contributions when something goes wrong, resulting in one form of attention deficit or another. I think we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to these little beings. They mark the beginning of neocortical evolution in man.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
"One often hears the statement that agriculture is changing and we must adapt to the changes", says William Heffernan, a professor of rural sociology at the University of Missouri. "Few persons who repeat the statement really understand the magnitude of the changes and the implications of them for agriculture and for the long-term sustainability of the food system. It is almost heresy to ask if these changes are what the people of our country really want or, if they are not what is desired, how we might redirect the change. These changes are the result of notoriously short-sighted market forces and not the result of public dialogue, the foundation of a democracy. Neither are the changes the result of some mystical figure or an 'invisible hand'."
Earlier this year the Farmers' Union hired Heffernan to undertake a study on consolidation in agricultural trade. Heffernan concluded that once you disentangle a web of subsidiaries, mergers, joint ventures, parternships, side agreements, marketing arrangements and alliances you find that "three food chains dominate the global food production system". These chains are: Cargill/Monsanto; ConAgra and Novartis/ADM. Even so, Heffernan notes that because of lax reporting requirements it's difficult to get a fix on precisely what these companies own and how they go about doing business. "Cargill has operations in 70 countries and it's a privately held firm. How do we get all of the necessary information? We've exposed the tip of the iceberg, but exposure only indicates the type of information needed to understand the global food system."
Heffernan points to the Cargill/Monsanto cluster as one of the most dangerous of the new alliances. In 1998 Monsanto and Cargill announced that Cargill had sold its vast seed operation to Monsanto (the world's leading biotech outfit) and entered into an agreement with the chemical company to develop new kinds of crop biotechnology. This alliance presents distinct benefits to both companies but dangers to consumers, farmers and the environment. A case in point is the alliances' so-called terminator gene. "No longer will Monsanto have to depend on access to farmers' fields for collection of tissue samples to make sure farmers do not keep seed from one year's crop to plant the following year", Heffernan warns. "Use of the terminator gene will mean that all crop farmers must return each year to obtain their seed from seed firms, just as corn producers have had to do for the past half-century."
If the press, which rarely mentions agricultural issues anymore, doesn't take this turn of events seriously, the corporate leaders of the agri-conglomerates certainly do. And they are not the least bit bashful about what's at stake. Dwayne Andreas is the politically wired former CEO of Archer Daniels Midland. He recently boasted to Reuters that he wanted to make ADM the world's dominant agriculture firm because, to his way of thinking, there's simply nothing more powerful than controlling the world's food supply. He said agribusiness is more powerful than the oil industry.
"The food business is far and away the most important business in the world," Andreas said. "Everything else is a luxury. Food is what you need to sustain life every day. Food is fuel. You can't run a tractor without fuel and you can't run a human being without it either. Food is the absolute beginning." (read more)
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I hope I don't disappoint my host.
Nudity! Oh my, oh my.
I am a poor kid from downtown Mexico City. I never went to any nude anything there. The closest experience is having a free thinking father, that used to take baths with us kids. Two boys and two girls. I forgot when he stopped that, maybe I was six, I really don't remember. But one thing is for sure I was not raised as a prude like some kids in that huge megalopolis.
You may wonder how the city is. Today it is legal to adopt, no matter the sexual orientation of the parents. The federal government, conservative, is calling that city regulation into question. Two political parties one in the left, and one in the right, are vying for power in the 2012 presidential election.
I went to study at Santa Barbara, California, when I was 23. More Mesa Beach was my introduction to that weird gringo habit of taking your clothes off in front of strangers. I absolutely did not.
Sometime earlier, or after, I forgot by now, a bunch of friends in a lark, male and female went skinny dipping to some swiming pool in campus. Kid stuff, I guess. I was fitting in, or something.
Since then I haven't taken any part in such so.
I respect people that do it, but I am not going to go out of my way to start organizing a group like that here at the edge of the "elites' territory" in Acapulco. I am in Chilpancingo, and I would be "different" if I start to promote such social practices.
I read, going into that photography and poetry site, that some people find it objectionable, to post photographs, like the ones Oberon chose to put there.
I don't. I am more concerned about a possible collapse of civilization, than More Mesa Beach types going around with their sexual organs in display.
I may try my hand on some poetry in English here, though. If you read Spanish, I have a site for that in:
I already have two followers there!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
What is the meaning of life?
Candy, candy, candy!
Space is the empty void,
the power of nothing.
From the nothingness,
something is pulled.
Something from nothing,
From the singularity,
to the multiverse,
all has been given for free,
everything is free because,
"God" is a liberal.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
"Oh, squiggly line in my eye fluid.
I see you there, lurking on the periphery of my vision.
But when I try to look at you, you scurry away.
Are you shy, squiggly line?
Why only when I ignore you do you return to the center of my eye?
Oh, squiggly line, it's all right. You are forgiven."
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
"War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength"
Some guy on the news told me I should expect
a "terror attack" to happen anytime soon now.
I was surprised by involuntary spasms of fear,
as if splashed with buckets of ice cold water.
I thought to myself, this is how they do it,
it was beginning to sound like they had it all
planned out like some kind of perverse TV show.
Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country...Hermann Goering.
Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so...Unknown.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever...George Orwell.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The Whole Earth Catalog was an American counterculture catalog published by Stewart Brand between 1968 and 1972, and occasionally thereafter, until 1998. Although the WECs listed all sorts of products for sale (clothing, books, tools, machines, seeds -- anything for a self-sustainable "hippie" lifestyle) the Whole Earth Catalogs themselves did not sell any of the products. Instead the vendors and their prices were listed right alongside with the items. This led to a need for the Catalogs to be frequently updated.
Apple Inc. founder and entrepreneur Steve Jobs has described the Catalog as the conceptual forerunner of the World Wide Web.
The title Whole Earth Catalog came from a previous project of Stewart Brand. In 1966, he initiated a public campaign to have NASA release the then-rumored satellite photo of the sphere of Earth as seen from space, the first image of the "Whole Earth." He thought the image might be a powerful symbol, evoking a sense of shared destiny and adaptive strategies from people. The Stanford-educated Brand, a biologist with strong artistic and social interests, believed that there was a groundswell of commitment to thoroughly renovating American industrial society along ecologically and socially just lines, whatever they might prove to be. (read more)
Whole Earth Catalog
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Sri Lankan kids inside the jungle
Taking shelter from the bombs
Stand beside the rebel soldiers
And watch their daddies kill their moms
Haitian children live in huts
Don’t go to school, can’t read a book
Their parents cannot feed them - ever
But we can’t see if we don’t look
In Gaza, secret army soldiers die
For children shot, and killed, and terrified
So posters now display the losses
They’re peppering the countryside
Chinese teens have been detained
For remembering the fight
That failed to bring their honor back
That failed, again, to show what’s right
The Belgian painted killer who
Could hear the voices in his head
Rode his bike into a town
And left a score of toddlers dead
And when their lifeblood jobs were lost
A Californian man and wife
Knew desperation, thought long and hard
And then they took their children’s lives
These are the headlines – all today
Death, destruction, blood, and war
So when these kids grow up to hate
I’ll bet you’ll wish you had done more.
Monday, February 1, 2010
("let us pray for world peace")
is my first blog and the inspiration
for "GlobaLove Think Tank".
Apparently, several people thought my
photographs and ideas were "objectionable"
and let Google know they were "offended".
I find this fact a vindication of my assertion
that some people are "offended" by the truth.