I can see it in your eyes.
You have the look of a man who accepts
what he sees because he's expecting to
wake up. Ironically, this is not far from
the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: 'Cause I don't like the idea that
I'm not in control of my life.
Morpheus: I know exactly what you mean.
Let me tell you why you're here.
You're here because you know something.
What you know, you can't explain.
But you feel it. You felt it your entire
life. That there's something wrong
with the world. You don't know what
it is, but it's there. Like a splinter
in your mind -- driving you mad.
It is this feeling that has brought you
to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Neo: The Matrix?
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
(Neo nods his head.)
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere,
it is all around us. Even now,
in this very room. You can see it when
you look out your window, or when
you turn on your television. You can
feel it when you go to work, or when
go to church or when you pay your taxes.
It is the world that has been pulled
over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo.
Like everyone else, you were born into
bondage, born inside a prison that
you cannot smell, taste, or touch.
A prison for your mind. (long pause, sighs)
Unfortunately, no one can be told what the
Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.
This is your last chance. After this,
there is no turning back.
(In his left hand, Morpheus shows a blue pill.)
Morpheus: You take the blue pill and
the story ends. You wake in your bed
and believe whatever you want to believe.
(a red pill is shown in his other hand)
You take the red pill and you stay in
Wonderland and I show you how deep the
rabbit-hole goes. (Long pause;
Neo begins to reach for the red pill)
Remember -- all I am offering is the
truth, nothing more.
(Neo takes the red pill and
swallows it with a glass of water)
Saturday, July 31, 2010
I can see it in your eyes.
Friday, July 30, 2010
The title of The Audacity of Hope was
derived from a sermon delivered by
Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
Wright had attended a lecture by
Dr. Frederick G. Sampson in Richmond,
Virginia, in the late 1980s, on the
G.F. Watts painting Hope, which
inspired him to give a sermon in 1990
based on the subject of the painting.
"With her clothes in rags, her body
scarred and bruised and bleeding,
her harp all but destroyed and with
only one string left, she had the
audacity to make music and praise God ...
To take the one string you have left
and to have the audacity to hope ...
that's the real word God will have us hear
from this passage and from Watt's painting."
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
"In 1972 I went to Berkeley and studied mathematics and physics and, later, operations research. Later I earned a Ph.D. in statistics. I spent my career teaching mathematics and statistics, and traveled widely. In 1996 I wrote my bestselling book, Fermat’s Last Theorem, which has been translated into 22 languages and was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Award that year. In 2004, I was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. From 2005 to 2007, I was a visiting scholar in the history of science at Harvard University. I am currently a research fellow in the history of science at Boston University. I often write articles about science, and some have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Jerusalem Post, The London Times, and other papers. I also authored a dozen research articles on mathematics, and two textbooks. But my primary occupation is writing popular books on science—it is my passion to bring science to everyone".
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
"Chance makes a plaything of a man's life"...Seneca.
On November 5, 1975, seven men witnessed a spacecraft from another world hovering silently between tall pines in the Apache-Sitgreaves National forest of north-eastern Arizona. One of those men, Travis Walton, became an unwilling captive of an alien race when the other men fled in fear. Read what they say about their experience: (click here)
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Cannabis is indigenous to Central and South Asia. Evidence of the inhalation of cannabis smoke can be found in the 3rd millennium B.C., as indicated by charred cannabis seeds found in a ritual brazier at an ancient burial site in present day Romania. Cannabis is also known to have been used by the ancient Hindus and Nihang Sikhs of India and Nepal thousands of years ago. The herb was called ganjika in Sanskrit (ganja in modern Indic languages). The ancient drug soma, mentioned in the Vedas as a sacred intoxicating hallucinogen, was sometimes associated with cannabis.
Cannabis was also known to the ancient Assyrians, who discovered its psychoactive properties through the Aryans. Using it in some religious ceremonies, they called it qunubu (meaning "way to produce smoke"), a probable origin of the modern word "cannabis". Cannabis was also introduced by the Aryans to the Scythians and Thracians/Dacians, whose shamans (the kapnobatai—"those who walk on smoke/clouds") burned cannabis flowers to induce a state of trance. Members of the cult of Dionysus, believed to have originated in Thrace (Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey), are also thought to have inhaled cannabis smoke. In 2003, a leather basket filled with cannabis leaf fragments and seeds was found next to a 2,500- to 2,800-year-old mummified shaman in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China.
Cannabis has an ancient history of ritual use and is found in pharmacological cults around the world. Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices like eating by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century B.C., confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus. One writer has claimed that cannabis was used as a religious sacrament by ancient Jews and early Christians due to the similarity between the Hebrew word "qannabbos" ("cannabis") and the Hebrew phrase "qené bósem" ("aromatic cane"). It was used by Muslims in various Sufi orders as early as the Mamluk period, for example by the Qalandars.
A study published in the South African Journal of Science showed that "pipes dug up from the garden of Shakespeare's home in Stratford upon Avon contain traces of cannabis." The chemical analysis was carried out after researchers hypothesized that the "noted weed" mentioned in Sonnet 76 and the "journey in my head" from Sonnet 27 could be references to cannabis and the use thereof.
Cannabis was criminalized in various countries beginning in the early 20th century. It was outlawed in South Africa in 1911, in Jamaica (then a British colony) in 1913, and in the United Kingdom and New Zealand in the 1920s. Canada criminalized marijuana in the Opium and Drug Act of 1923, before any reports of use of the drug in Canada. In 1925 a compromise was made at an international conference in Haag about the International Opium Convention that banned exportation of "Indian hemp" to countries that had prohibited its use, and requiring importing countries to issue certificates approving the importation and stating that the shipment was required "exclusively for medical or scientific purposes". It also required parties to "exercise an effective control of such a nature as to prevent the illicit international traffic in Indian hemp and especially in the resin". In the United States the first restrictions for sale of cannabis came in 1906 (in District of Columbia). The first federal law in the U.S. that in practice prohibited cannabis was the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. (read more)
Friday, July 23, 2010
Superman is a fictional character, a comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster first created a bald telepathic villain bent on dominating the entire world. He appeared in the short story "The Reign of the Super-Man" from Science Fiction #3, a science fiction fanzine that Siegel published in 1933. Siegel re-wrote the character in 1933 as a hero, bearing little or no resemblance to his villainous namesake, modeling the hero on Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and his bespectacled alter ego, Clark Kent, on Harold Lloyd. The character first appeared in Action Comics #1 (June 1938) and subsequently appeared in various radio serials, television programs, films, newspaper strips, and video games. With the success of his adventures, Superman helped to create the superhero genre and establish its primacy within the American comic book.
An influence on early Superman stories is the context of the Great Depression. The left-leaning perspective of creators Shuster and Siegel is reflected in early storylines. Superman took on the role of social activist, fighting crooked businessmen and politicians and demolishing run-down tenements. This is seen by comics scholar Roger Sabin as a reflection of "the liberal idealism of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal", with Shuster and Siegel initially portraying Superman as champion to a variety of social causes. In later Superman radio programs the character continued to take on such issues, tackling a version of the KKK in a 1946 broadcast. Siegel and Shuster's status as children of Jewish immigrants is also thought to have influenced their work. Timothy Aaron Pevey has argued that they crafted "an immigrant figure whose desire was to fit into American culture as an American", something which Pevey feels taps into an important aspect of American identity.
Siegel himself noted that the mythic heroes in the traditions of many cultures bore an influence on the character, including Hercules and Samson. The character has also been seen by Scott Bukatman to be "a worthy successor to Lindberg ... (and) also ... like Babe Ruth", and is also representative of the United States dedication to "progress and the 'new'" through his "invulnerable body ... on which history cannot be inscribed." Further, given that Siegel and Shuster were noted fans of pulp science fiction, it has been suggested that another influence may have been Hugo Danner. Danner was the main character of the 1930 novel Gladiator by Philip Wylie, and is possessed of the same powers of the early Superman.
Comics creator and historian Jim Steranko has cited the pulp hero Doc Savage as another likely source of inspiration, noting similarities between Shuster's initial art and contemporary advertisements for Doc Savage: "Initially, Superman was a variation of pulp heavyweight Doc Savage". Steranko argued that the pulps played a major part in shaping the initial concept: "Siegel's Superman concept embodied and amalgamated three separate and distinct themes: the visitor from another planet, the superhuman being and the dual identity. He composed the Superman charisma by exploiting all three elements, and all three contributed equally to the eventual success of the strip. His inspiration, of course, came from the science fiction pulps", identifying another pulp likely to have influenced the pair as being "John W. Campbell's Aarn Munro stories about a descendant of earthmen raised on the planet Jupiter who, because of the planet's dense gravity, is a mental and physical superman on Earth."
Because Siegel and Shuster were both Jewish, some religious commentators and pop-culture scholars such as Rabbi Simcha Weinstein and British novelist Howard Jacobson suggest that Superman's creation was partly influenced by Moses, and other Jewish elements. Superman's Kryptonian name, "Kal-El", resembles the Hebrew words קל-אל, which can be taken to mean "voice of God". The suffix "el", meaning "(of) God" is also found in the name of angels (e.g. Gabriel, Ariel), who are flying humanoid agents of good with superhuman powers. Jewish legends of the Golem have been cited as worthy of comparison, a Golem being a mythical being created to protect and serve the persecuted Jews of 16th century Prague and later revived in popular culture in reference to their suffering at the hands of the Nazis in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. Superman is often seen as being an analogy for Jesus, being a saviour of humanity.
Whilst the term Superman was initially coined by Friedrich Nietzsche, it is unclear how influential Nietzsche and his ideals were to Siegel and Shuster. Les Daniels has speculated that "Siegel picked up the term from other science fiction writers who had casually employed it", further noting that "his concept is remembered by hundreds of millions who may barely know who Nietzsche is." Others argue that Siegel and Shuster "could not have been unaware of an idea that would dominate Hitler's National Socialism. The concept was certainly well discussed." Yet Jacobson and others point out that in many ways Superman and the Übermensch are polar opposites. Nietzsche envisioned the Übermensch as a man who had transcended the limitations of society, religion, and conventional morality while still being fundamentally human. Superman, although an alien gifted with incredible powers, chooses to honor human moral codes and social mores. Nietzsche envisioned the perfect man as being beyond moral codes; Siegel and Shuster envisioned the perfect man as holding himself to a higher standard of adherence to them.
“So Bill, what are you doing for your thesis ..?”
“Studying how people can be easily misinformed ..like deceptive advertising, that sort of thing.”
“Oh, so you can devise better methods of propaganda ..”
“No, so we can teach better methods of detecting it ..”
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die."
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
"Sit down before fact as a little child,
be prepared to give up every preconceived notion,
follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads,
Or you shall learn nothing."
(click here to see what's really on the moon)
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
The essence of human behavior lies, in fact, within the intricacy and complexity of the human brain. This fabulous organ has evolved over millions of years of evolution. On an elemental level, the predominant driving force is related to survival of the individual and the propagation of the species. This we share in common with all of life.
Layered over this are the areas in the brain relegated to complex emotions and higher-order thinking. Profound self consciousness probably sets us apart from all other creatures on the planet. This faculty brings with it the challenge that faces every individual – to find the balance between striving for individual accomplishments and contributing meaningfully to the commons. This balance is the essence of human happiness. To my thinking, humans naturally derive pleasure from both of these types of behaviors otherwise the species would not have survived over these millions of years. The advance of technologically-based culture has distorted this balance and shifted emphasis to the individual. This core belief in the supremacy of the individual has proven to be seriously flawed.
Collectively, humanity needs to reeducate itself for the sake of its own continued survival. I believe the answer lies in perfecting the art of self examination in order to truly understand what truly motivates us. A corollary to this is the practice of self discipline. Without these tools, the individual can become prey to the vagaries of experience.
Collectively, we are the masters of our own fate. Either we take hold of the future, or we allow the forces of dissolution and destruction to continue unabated.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
On November 15, 1966, two young, married couples from Point Pleasant, Roger and Linda Scarberry, and Steve and Mary Mallette, were traveling late at night in the Scarberrys' car. They were passing the West Virginia Ordnance Works, an abandoned World War II TNT factory, about seven miles north of Point Pleasant, in the 2,500 acre (10 km²) McClintic Wildlife Management Area, when they noticed two red lights in the shadows by an old generator plant near the factory gate. They stopped the car, and reportedly discovered that the lights were the glowing red eyes of a large animal, "shaped like a man, but bigger, maybe six and a half or seven feet tall, with big wings folded against its back," according to Roger Scarberry. Terrified, they drove toward Route 62, where the creature supposedly chased them at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.
They drove to the Mason County courthouse to alert Deputy Millard Halstead, who later said, "I've known these kids all their lives. They'd never been in any trouble and they were really scared that night. I took them seriously." He then followed Roger Scarberry's car back to the secret ex-U.S. Federal bomb and missile factory, but found no trace of the strange creature. According to the book Alien Animals, by Janet and Colin Bord, a poltergeist attack on the Scarberry home occurred later that night, during which the creature was seen several times.
The following night, on November 16, several armed townspeople combed the area around the TNT plant for signs of Mothman. Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Wamsley, and Mrs. Marcella Bennett, with her infant daughter Teena, were in a car en-route to visit their friends, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Thomas, who lived in a small house near the TNT plant. They were heading back to their car when a figure appeared behind their parked vehicle. Mrs. Bennett said that it seemed like it had been lying down, slowly rising up from the ground, large and gray, with glowing red eyes. While Wamsley phoned the police, the creature walked onto the porch and peered in at them through the window.
On November 24, four people allegedly saw the creature flying over the TNT area.
On the morning of November 25, Thomas Ury, who was driving along Route 62 just north of the TNT, claimed to have seen the creature standing in a field, and then it spread its wings and flew away, and Thomas sped toward the Point Pleasant sheriff's office.
A Mothman sighting was again reported on January 11, 1967 hovering over the town's bridge, and several other times that same year. Fewer sightings of the Mothman were reported after the collapse of the town's bridge, the Silver Bridge, when 46 people died. The Silver Bridge, so named for its aluminium paint, was an eyebar chain suspension bridge that connected the cities of Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Gallipolis, Ohio over the Ohio River. The bridge was built in 1928, and it collapsed on December 15, 1967. Investigation of the bridge wreckage pointed to the failure of a single eye-bar in a suspension chain due to a small manufacturing flaw. There are rumors that the Mothman appears before upcoming disasters and seems to try to warn people of them. After that, mothman was never again seen in Point Pleasant. (read more)
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
A few days ago and today, a friend of mine Captain Roel Ayala Mata, repeated something on the radio that has me worried, very worried. A few months back Tom Friedman wrote about Global Weirding in the NYT. The problem we are facing is not so much that the Earth is warming everyday, the problem is that meteorological phenomena are more and more unexpected.
My friend, the meteorologist Ayala Mata, repeated on the radio, that we abruptly entered a "La Niña" event. He told us that after a hot spell in the equatorial part of the Pacific ocean, very fast, the temperature there, went down.
From the link posted above, you can see that the water temperature change was about 2[;^\circ;] C.
For water that is a lot, and it happened in less than 4 months.
To me that seems like "Hell Freezing Over."
Aren't there phrases like that in the millennial end of the world predictions?
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The Broken Column (La columna rota), 1944
Frida Kahlo de Rivera (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954; born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón) was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán. Perhaps best known for her self-portraits, Kahlo's work is remembered for its "pain and passion", and its intense, vibrant colors. Her work has been celebrated in Mexico as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.
Mexican culture and Amerindian cultural tradition figure prominently in her work, which has sometimes been characterized as Naïve art or folk art. Her work has also been described as "surrealist", and in 1938 one surrealist described Kahlo herself as a "ribbon around a bomb".
Kahlo had a stormy but passionate marriage with the prominent Mexican artist Diego Rivera. She suffered lifelong health problems, many of which stemmed from a traffic accident in her teenage years. These issues are reflected in her works, more than half of which are self-portraits of one sort or another. Kahlo suggested, "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best." (read more)
Happy Birthday Frida
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
You think you have freedom?...
You think you have a democracy?...
You think our government works for us?...
You are a slave...a prisoner of war.
Global corporate fascism is complete...
the new millennium of slavery is here.
It's "Independence Day"...are you "free"?
(from the dictionary)
independence: the quality or
state of being independent :
independent 1: SELF-GOVERNING;
also : not affiliated with a
larger controlling unit 2: not
requiring or relying on something
else or somebody else 3: not
easily influenced : showing self
reliance and personal freedom
4: not commited to a political
What are we fighting for?...are we fighting
for freedom or are we fighting for corporate acquisition?
It's time for a revolution...a revolution for independence.
I advocate for the non-violent removal of all government
and military leaders and the elimination of all corporate
influence in the control of our world affairs...
...it's time for a real "Independence Day" !!!
We can do better...it's time to change the world.
The horrendous ecological and environmental devastation that is now occurring in the Gulf of Mexico is such an indicator, but it is only one of many. The haunting and seemingly inexorable progress of climate change is clear and unmistakable; unless, the mind is clouded by denial and the pandering propaganda of those with a vested interest in the current economic paradigm. The science is clear; the data is insurmountable.
The numerous wars the nation has waged ostensibly in the name of freedom but ultimately tied to the fever of our acquisitiveness have left us morally and financially bankrupt. We seem to have a greater fondness for guns than a desire to correct the savage injustices that exist within the fabric of our social order. We appear to be indifferent to the avoidable suffering of those who are homeless or ravaged by the excesses of poverty, especially the children.
We are a nation where 40% of the wealth is hoarded by 2% of the population. It is no wonder that so many people have so little. The mythology of our absolute greatness as a nation and a people continues to dominate the public discourse and drown out meaningful dialog regarding the actual state of our nation. The corporate-controlled media has been quite successful in manipulating the public conversation.
The nation is woefully unprepared for the future of humanity on this beleaguered planet. The choice is ours to make – either we remain in exquisite denial or we move towards reasoned deliberations and arrive at intelligent solutions.
My 63rd Fourth, And My Most Worried-About-The-Future One So Far.
My “worried-about”? The fact that you allowed this, and are still allowing much more than this, and you will continue to allow. . . Without any real effort to punish anyone. Not one person has been fired or punished in any way what-so-ever for any of the destruction of the last 10 years.
Not one - Think about it - You are a nation of cowardly allowers.
The corporatists know you better than you do. Why do you think they don’t even attempt to hide their bored disdain of you? Seriously - Think about it, (since obviously you haven’t so far.)
Why the fuck do you keep “allowing” your own,
(and the rest of ours,) destruction?!?
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
“The natural progression
Is the coming of your age
But they cover it with shame
And turn it into rage”
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I apologise in advance to this sort-of-a-downer of a post. I believe there are some things that need to be faced head-on, with our proverbial heads out of the proverbial sand.
This is a post I hoped I would never write. As you, my readers, know, I practice the virtue of chardi kala, translated in many different ways, but all having the meaning of eternal optimism and never giving up. I am still practicing, but it is hard.
No doubt by now you have heard about the massive oil spill by British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico in the Caribbean Sea, truly a paradise on earth. Or at least it was until 20 April 2010. On that day the Deepwater Horizon oil rig - owned and run by British Petroleum - exploded, caught fire and began gushing massive amounts of crude oil into the pristine waters around it. Eleven were killed and 17 injured. That was tragic, but it is just the beginning.
Here's a nice little widget to help you calculate.
Those are pretty dry figures for most people, so here's a more graphic look. This is what the spill looks like right now (30 June 2010):
Ifitwasmyhome to move the spill to wherever you live.
Perhaps you'd like to see it as it happens.
If that's not enough to bring it home to you, here are a few oil-soaked pelicans. I find this horribly painful to look at.
In addition, massive amounts of methane gas has been released into the water. This may well turn out to be even more dangerous than the oil. The methane depletes the water of oxygen, leaving all the sea life devoid of the element that is necessary to all life on earth. It is feared that the methane will cause a dead zone where nothing can live, possibly for decades. Also, scientists believe that a huge methane bubble is forming under the water. When it bursts, it could release a tsunami of 20-60 ft (6.1-18.3 m), certainly enough to engulf most of the Caribbean islands. For more information on the gas leak, go here:
Gas Leak 3000 Times Worse Than Oil.
And, by the way, with our current technology we have no way to cap or contain the methane.
I guess that's not enough bad news. It is now hurricane season. (For those of you in Asia, those are typhoons.) There will be hurricanes. In fact, the first one is blowing right now. Hurricane Alex did not move close to the spill, but there will be another hurricane and another and another.
The next thing to consider is the ocean currents. The Gulf Stream is an ocean river that runs from the Caribbean to Europe.
Best case scenario: the southern coast of the United States becomes uninhabitable for a period of time and much of the sea life in the Gulf of Mexico dies, with devastating consequences to the people who now live there. As it is impossible that there be no hurricanes in the season, we can be sure that the winds will carry the oil throughout the region, damaging all it touches. That damage cannot be estimated at this time, except to say it will be extensive.
This morning (1 July 2010), going through my inbox, I found this article in the daily UN bulletin:
Methane at 100,000 times normal levels have been creating oxygen-depleted areas devoid of life near BP's Deepwater Horizon spill, according to two independent scientists
Remain in chardi kala, my dear brothers and sisters!
the fire - United States Coast Guard (via Wikipedia)
dead fish - Sean Gardner (Reuters)
the pelicans - Charlie Riedel (AP)
the earth - courtesy of NASA