Monday, January 31, 2011
Jody Williams was born on October 9, 1950 in Brattleboro, Vermont. Her brother was deaf and suffered from schizophrenia. On account of his disabilities, he was incessantly tormented by his classmates. Williams was deeply touched by her brother’s plight. An indication of Williams’ concern about world issues was the that that as a teenager she was aware of the consequences of American military involvement in Southeast Asia and became involved in the anti-war effort during the Vietnam War.
Williams is the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), an organization that began in October of 1992. She has overseen the growth of the ICBL to more than 1,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in more than sixty countries. She has served as the chief strategist and public representative for this campaign. Working extensively with many non-governmental organization (NGOs) and receptive governments, the ICBL ultimately achieved its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines during the diplomatic conference held in Oslo in September 1997. For this monumental effort Williams was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize along with the campaign she worked for. It should be noted that governments of the United States, Russia and China refused to be signatories to this treaty.
The life that she lived that led up to this monumental achievement was a life dedicated to service. Williams first trained as a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL), receiving a BA from the University of Vermont in 1972 and a Master's degree in teaching Spanish and ESL from the School for International Training (also in Vermont) in 1974. She taught ESL in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and finally Washington, D.C.. During her stay in Mexico, she had her first real experience of what constitutes grinding poverty. In 1984, she received a second M.A. in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
On learning about the U.S. involvement in the civil war in El Salvador, she began to devote her attentions to this situation. For two years she led delegations to Central America as coordinator of the Nicaragua-Honduras Education Project where she was an aid worker from 1984 to 1986. She also served as the deputy director of the organization Medical Aid for El Salvador where she developed and directed humanitarian relief projects. She was particularly concerned about the deleterious impact of U.S. policy in Central America; Williams held this position until she took up her role within the newly formed ICBL.
In late 1991, Bobby Muller, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, called Williams to see if she was interested in coordinating a new effort to ban landmines worldwide. She proceeded to mobilize non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to press this worthwhile cause. Millions of these explosive devices remain buried in the ground in war-torn countries around the world long after the initial conflicts had ended.
In October 1992, the ICBL was formally launched. The ICBL called for an end to the “use, production, trade, and stockpiling of mines.” As the ICBL’s chief strategist, Williams took every opportunity to speak and write about this issue and was insistent on calling for a total ban.
Their efforts got another boost in 1996, when a meeting hosted by the Canadian government agreed to draw up an international treaty banning landmines. In December 1997, the treaty was signed , with the support of 122 countries. In little more than five years, Jody Williams and the ICBL had achieved their goal of raising public awareness about landmines and affecting a landmine ban.
Together with Shawn Roberts, she co-authored After the Guns Fall Silent: The Enduring Legacy of Landmines (VVAF, 1995). Their book detailed the more hidden costs of landmine use, such as the long-term effects of land mines. Williams expressed her concerns in the following way, “Besides the costs of treating landmine victims, the mines mean that people cannot travel or work safely. Land goes unused, causing unemployment and poverty.”
"People have this idea that land-mined fields are set off with barbed wire like they are in World War II movies, but that is not how it is," Williams once told a reporter. "They put them where people go. They put them next to watering holes, along the banks of the river, in the fields. It is not realistic for people to stay out of those areas."
To achieve her monumental goal, Williams developed an approach that capitalized on the power of numbers, for her cause struck a strong and sympathetic chord in many individuals throughout the world, who were horrified to hear of the impact of landmines on innocent people. In her own words, Williams said, “Imagine trying to get hundreds of organizations – each one independent and working on many, many issues – to feel that each is a critical element of the development of a new movement. I wanted each to feel that what they had to say about campaign planning, thinking, programs, actions was important. So, instead of sending letters, I’d send everyone faxes. People got in the habit of faxing back. This served two purposes – people would really have to think about what they were committing to doing before writing it down, and we have a permanent, written record of almost everything in the development of the campaign from day one.”
Williams continues to serve the ICBL as a campaign ambassador and editor of the organization's landmine report, and, since 2003, has held a faculty position as a distinguished professor of social work and global justice at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Her publications include:
• After the Guns Fall Silent: The Enduring Legacy of Landmines, Shawn Roberts and Jody Williams, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1995.
• "Landmines and measures to eliminate them," International Review of the Red Cross, July-August 1995. No. 307.
• "Landmines: Dealing with the Environmental Impact," Environment Security, 1997, Vol. 1. No. 2.
• "Social Consequences of Widespread Use of Landmines," Landmine Symposium, International Committee of the Red Cross, Montreux, Switzerland, April 1993.
• "The Protection of Children Against Landmines and Unexploded Ordinance," Impact of Armed Conflict on Children: Report of the Expert Group of the Secretary-General, Ms. Graca Machel, A/51/306, 26 August 1996.
In 2006, Williams was one of the founders of The Nobel Women's Initiative along with sister Nobel Peace Laureates Rigoberta Menchu, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire. Six women representing North America and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa decided to bring together their experiences in a united effort for peace with justice and equality. It is the goal of the Nobel Women's Initiative to help strengthen work being done in support of women's rights around the world.
She was the Head of the High-Level Mission dispatched by the Human Rights Council to report on the situation of human rights in Darfur and the needs of Sudan. The Mission issued its report on 7 March 2007. In addition, Williams was invited to participate in the UN’s Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict of Children that was led by Graca Machel former first lady of Mozambique.
In conferring the Nobel Peace Prize to Williams and the ICBL, Francis Sejersted, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said, "There are those among us who are unswerving in their faith that things can be done to make our world a better, safer, and more humane place and who also, even when the tasks appear overwhelming, have the courage to tackle them... You have helped to rouse public opinion all over the world against the use of an arms technology that strikes quite randomly at the most innocent and most defenseless."
To date, more than 156 countries have signed the landmine ban treaty. The following is an excerpt taken from her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, “The desire to ban land mines is not new. In the late 1970s, the International Committee of the Red Cross, along with a handful of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) pressed the world to look at weapons that were particularly injurious and/or indiscriminate. One of the weapons of special concern was landmines. People often ask why the focus on this one weapon. How is the landmine different from any other conventional weapon?
“Landmines distinguish themselves because once they have been sown, once the soldier walks away from the weapon, the landmine cannot tell the difference between a soldier or a civilian -- a woman, a child, a grandmother going out to collect firewood to make the family meal. The crux of the problem is that while the use of the weapon might be militarily justifiable during the day of the battle, or even the two weeks of the battle, or maybe even the two months of the battle, once peace is declared the landmine does not recognize that peace. The landmine is eternally prepared to take victims. In common parlance, it is the perfect soldier, the "eternal sentry." The war ends, the landmine goes on killing.
“Since World War II most of the conflicts in the world have been internal conflicts. The weapon of choice in those wars has all too often been landmines -- to such a degree that what we find today are tens of millions of landmines contaminating approximately 70 countries around the world. The overwhelming majority of those countries are found in the developing world, primarily in those countries that do not have the resources to clean up the mess, to care for the tens of thousands of landmine victims. The end result is an international community now faced with a global humanitarian crisis.”
Jody Williams has worked tirelessly for the causes of peace and social justice. She is now assisting the ICBL in its efforts to promote a new Cluster Munitions Treaty. Her actions and those who have participated in these efforts with her have undoubtedly saved countless lives and helped craft a safer world for many of the world’s children.
Everybody knows that fireflies have no real limitation in life other than the delicacy of their wings. With their ever present light, innate sense of general direction, and sensitivity to predators (like automobiles and frogs), they are actually a truly fierce, noble people.
The only problem arises, see, in the case that their wings become inoperable. Say a little yellow/green firefly is just frolicking along in the twilight, tickling the tips of the grass and grazing the bouncing petals of Hibiscus before she bids the day adieu, when suddenly it begins to rain. There might be a very simple solution if only a few misty sprinkles burst into life; or, it may be a deadly flight for the little firefly's life, dodging self-sized droplets as they explode from every direction. It is a deftly maneuvering air ballerina who manages a Caribbean downpour without losing a wing.
What happens when wings lose their strength? A nearly immediate death. Whatever portion of life still remains in the body is cut into fractions of hopes surrounded by a mortar of crushing "I can't move!"
On the extremely rare occasion when a firefly does get her wings back, one can only assume she will never cease her constant exercise of flight and complete emulsion into the wonders of a truly free life.
You must be wondering how, exactly, a firefly saves her wings. This feels like an ancient secret, but I tell you it is not! It is as available tot he night-nymphs as it is for an apple farmer to drink cider.
She simply must be aware of her innate magical powers, and powerfully manipulate the energy surrounding her so that her will prevails. All healing and flight will be restored if only she encourages light to triumph over fear.
This is the story of one particular young Firefly. She took risks like skimming sea foam at the edge of glowing bays, she radiated more colors than any one flutter bug ever had, and she asked questions about almost everything. Why? was always her favorite.
One day, she took her foam-hopping a little farther off shore, following the salty spray of a particularly bubbly wave. She flew and she flew until she could not smell the sand anymore and day had turned to night.
It was out over the clear, rolling black sea that she first glimpsed her reflection. In a blur of silky, sparkly movement, a visage achingly familiar to her blinked before her eyes.
She gasped at its brilliance.
In the next breathless moment, the sea was dark again and she hovered there alone.
Where had it gone, this first felt reflection of herself?
Little Firefly looked up, and in the blanket black above her, she saw a tiny shiny twinkle peeking through the haze. Is this me that I do see? She wondered as the star blinked with its bright but far away light. And, though it felt a tad like her, she had to let it be.
Many days and nights she flew on and on, as fireflies are wont to do, but her wings began to tire and her heart started to ache . . . beginning to lose hope, just as her wing beat began to slow, something shimmering caught her attention.
Flaming bright pink, she quickly flashed her soul defense: her brightest light of all, in order to protect herself. She lit up out of shock! A few tense moments assured her she was alone in the air and that the sea had turned dark once more. Again, the cool calming feeling of soft affinity soothed her fears, and she decided to start looking for home.
As she flew across the black waters with only her own light to guide her way, she cursed the clouds for slowing her perception, begged for Moon to come illuminate the way - but the night was dark, and she was lost.
With just a flicker here and there, a faintly changing sparkle like a lamp bulb dying out, she made her last attempt to calm herself and arrive safely.
Just then, right before her eyes, a glowing love replaced the darkness and warmed her up to glow with such heat she thought she might explode!
What are you?! She screamed; not happy, afraid, or sad, she felt so overwhelmed by what was happening that she could not speak.
As Jellyfish approached the air, his glow couldn't help but fade. Firefly flew closer, shaken from her awestruck paralysis. They were suddenly only inches apart, and Jellyfish could feel the power of her quick bursts of color like droplets of sunshine upon his face.
They then shone a newborn shade, first seen that starless night. A strong, familiar, easy color: every peaceful blue and lively green with sunburst orange and daisy yellow all together in one stationary pulsating light.
As the shock of that sank in, they began to dance as if they had been awoken. A brilliance illuminated the sky and shook the water, causing tiny atomic sparks all throughout the air.
Firefly then spoke aloud for the first time since she'd left shore, "Where are we now?" She had finally begun to see that Jellyfish was not her own reflection at all, but a glimpse of a familiar other. He, too, realized that perhaps he had been wrong. Or maybe both were right.
Still passionate and curious, they moved closer to explore, each a little bit afraid of being so far from home.
Just as soon as they ventured further out to see, the clouds broke up and Moon came out, and their own individual glows were distorted so that they became shrouded in confusion!
Firefly and Jellyfish both panicked, moving erratically in aimless circles and getting nowhere; they lost their purpose, exhausting themselves with unintentional apathy for many long, lonely nights.
But they never forgot about that dance. The electricity of movement, the shutter of color, the deep satisfaction of being completely, comfortably immersed in a familiar feeling light: this became their focus, their obsession.
With that focus came a calm, so their lights began to dim. And their hearts began to grow, and to beat more and more loudly. The sound of their lifeblood became the music of their soul, and they placed it higher than the value of their light.
So as little Firefly finally reigned in her regret of flying far from home, she also opened herself up to the idea of staying out at sea.
Separately, Jellyfish decided the exact same thing!
Firefly set out in a direction, seeking somewhere quiet, dark, warm and full of tree leaves upon which she could rest.
Jellyfish swam to warmer, shallow waters close to the sturdy comfort of tree trunks and ensconced in calm coves.
One night, when Moon was behind some clouds, the water and the sky became an impenetrable inky black mass. To the quick pitter-patter of her little heart, Firefly danced around the lagoon as though her light was effervescent, with total wild abandonment and utter enthusiasm. She'd finally found a place to shine.
Meanwhile, Jellyfish watched the Aurora Borealis show through glassy, clear black waters. His heart was bursting to know that it was her - his fiery reflection!
Overcome with excitement, he followed her to a low Mangrove canopy where it is always dark and the leaves hover breaths away from the water as their trunks absorb the energy within the sea.
One eager tentacle reached up out of the surface and caught a pretty wing.
"Oh!" she gasped and fell away into a nearby leaf.
He swam up close and whispered, "My darling light! Get up! Come play with me!"
She turned a paling head his way and a teardrop splashed onto his cheek. "I can't get up," she said, "my wings are just too weak." All the time she had been searching for him had drained her strength, and his sudden touch had electrified her. She could barely move!
He swam closer, nestled his body against her leaf,and gently pulled her down until she weighed upon him. A splashy tear pooled around her as he told her how he never thought he'd find her again and hadn't meant to cause her harm.
Their lights began to fade.
"But wait!" he cried, she can't go now, he begged the trees.
I can't go now! She sobbed into the water.
They cursed Moon and the clouds, and even the sea and shore. They had all conspired against them for this tragic moment.
It would have been her last attempt to fly on broken wings, but instead miss Firefly used all her strength and all her heart, soul, and mind to flash one final light, with which she knew she would be free.
Exactly in that same breath, Jellyfish charged up his final shock: a blast so strong it would stop his own heartbeat - or jump start a dying thumpthump thump thump t h u m p.
A lightning bolt! And skies parted, fluorescent raindrops exploded in every direction!
It was in this powerful moment that both Firefly and Jellyfish were transformed. They had no need for delicate wings, air on which to fly or stinging, graceful tentacles and water to tread: the two souls finally burst into the light they'd created and began to exist in eternal bliss as one exuberant, brilliant, ever changing dance.
A million years have passed, and still tonight Firefly and Jellyfish light up the bioluminescent bays, sparkling from every drop and leaf, splash and sting, ripple, foam, and wave. On dark nights, a Light-Song can be felt. Mother Earth herself pauses to rejoice in the magic of passion, and to sparkle in her all-permeating, familiarly bright comfort.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on Tuesday, January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida, United States, at 11:38 a.m. EST (16:38 UTC).
Disintegration of the entire vehicle began after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The O-ring failure caused a breach in the SRB joint it sealed, allowing pressurized hot gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent SRB attachment hardware and external fuel tank. This led to the separation of the right-hand SRB's aft attachment and the structural failure of the external tank. Aerodynamic forces promptly broke up the orbiter.
The crew compartment and many other vehicle fragments were eventually recovered from the ocean floor after a lengthy search and recovery operation. Although the exact timing of the death of the crew is unknown, several crew members are known to have survived the initial breakup of the spacecraft. However, the shuttle had no escape system and the astronauts did not survive the impact of the crew compartment with the ocean surface.
The disaster resulted in a 32-month hiatus in the shuttle program and the formation of the Rogers Commission, a special commission appointed by United States President Ronald Reagan to investigate the accident. The Rogers Commission found that NASA's organizational culture and decision-making processes had been a key contributing factor to the accident. NASA managers had known that contractor Morton Thiokol's design of the SRBs contained a potentially catastrophic flaw in the O-rings since 1977, but they failed to address it properly. They also disregarded warnings from engineers about the dangers of launching posed by the low temperatures of that morning and had failed to adequately report these technical concerns to their superiors. The Rogers Commission offered NASA nine recommendations that were to be implemented before shuttle flights resumed. (read more)
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
"We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true. But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds. We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube. You eat like the tube. You raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube. This is mass madness -- you maniacs! In God's name you people are the real thing, WE are the illusion.
"So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off right in the middle of the sentence I am speaking to you now. Turn them off!!"
-- Howard Beale, as played by Peter Finch, during his live studio broadcast of the Network News Hour (video clip)
Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940), nicknamed "The Fighting Quaker" and "Old Gimlet Eye", was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. By the end of his career he had received 16 medals, five of which were for heroism. He is one of 19 people to twice receive the Medal of Honor, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only person to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.
In addition to his military achievements, he served as the Director of Public Safety in Philadelphia for two years and was an outspoken critic of U.S. military adventurism. In his 1935 book War is a Racket, he described the workings of the military-industrial complex and, after retiring from service, became a popular speaker at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists and church groups in the 1930s.
In 1934 he was involved in a controversy known as the Business Plot when he told a congressional committee that a group of wealthy industrialists had approached him to lead a military coup to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt. The individuals that were involved denied the existence of a plot, and the media ridiculed the allegations. The final report of the committee claimed that there was evidence that such a plot existed, but no charges were ever filed. The opinion of most historians is that while planning for a coup was not very advanced, wild schemes were discussed.
Butler continued his speaking engagements in an extended tour but in June 1940 checked himself into a naval hospital, dying a few weeks later from what was believed to be cancer. He was buried at Oaklands Cemetery in West Chester, Pennsylvania; his home has been maintained as a memorial and contains memorabilia collected during his various careers.
In War Is A Racket, Butler points to a variety of examples, mostly from World War I, where industrialists whose operations were subsidised by public funding were able to generate substantial profits essentially from mass human suffering.
The work is divided into five chapters:
War is a racket
Who makes the profits?
Who pays the bills?
How to smash this racket!
To hell with war!
It contains this key summary:
"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."
In another often cited quote from the book Butler says:
"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."...Major General Smedley Butler (read more)
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
...the primary human motivations are...
...food, sleep and sex...
...feeble human mores are no match for...
...hunger for food...
...the need to sleep and...
...the urge to merge...
...you will never stop the hormonal tides...
...insemination will result in pregnancies...
...does a zygote rise to the level of "human being?"...
...shall we endow a microscopic cell mass with "full human rights?"
...shall we force every impregnated women to carry to full term and give birth?...
...perhaps we should offer free and available birth control instead and...
...counsel women on how to prevent unwanted pregnancies...
...no one should be using abortion as a form of "birth control"...
...pro-life...pro-choice...both want to reduce abortions...
...anti-choice...pro-abortion...are "loaded words"...
...who wants an abortion?...
...nobody...wants an abortion...
...why do women have abortions?...
...mostly one reason...an unwanted pregnancy...
...why are there unwanted pregnancies?...
...the mistake is getting pregnant when you don't want to...
...abstinence, sex education and birth control products...
...are the only ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies...
...shouldn't we employ every practical method to reduce abortions?...
...if you are pro-life or pro-choice you have an obligation to support sex education and the availability of free birth control for the prevention of unwanted pregnancies...in addition to this you have an obligation to protest and vote against:
the global arms trade...
the death penalty...
the war machine and all war...
...to reduce abortions we must prevent unwanted pregnancies with:
detailed sex education...
readily available birth control products for free...
state supported womens clinics for reproductive health...
...abortions have declined worldwide as access to family planning education and contraceptive services has increased.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Donald Jay "Don" Rickles (born May 8, 1926) is an American stand-up comedian and actor. A frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Rickles has acted in comedic and dramatic roles, but is best known as an insult comic. However, unlike many insult comics who only find short-lived success, Rickles has enjoyed a sustained career, thanks to a distinct sense of humor, a very sharp wit and impeccable timing.
It is known that Rickles has a genuine affection for the people that he insults during his routine, and that it's all part of the act. Although sarcastically nicknamed "Mr. Warmth" due to his offensive and insensitive stage personality, in reality most know him to be actually quite genial and pleasant. (read more)
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), was a landmark although controversial decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but that right must be balanced against the state's two legitimate interests for regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting the mother's health. Saying that these state interests become stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the mother's current trimester of pregnancy.
The Court later rejected Roe's trimester framework, while affirming Roe's central holding that a person has a right to abortion up until viability. The Roe decision defined "viable" as being "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid," adding that viability "is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks."
In disallowing many state and federal restrictions on abortion in the United States, Roe v. Wade prompted a national debate that continues today, about issues including whether and to what extent abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, what methods the Supreme Court should use in constitutional adjudication, and what the role should be of religious and moral views in the political sphere. Roe v. Wade reshaped national politics, dividing much of the nation into pro-choice and pro-life camps, while activating grassroots movements on both sides.
Friday, January 21, 2011
...growing up in southern california near the san andreas fault in el centro, it was inevitable that i would eventually experience a major earthquake event...
it happened one hot day...the shaking started and i rushed outside onto the front lawn...sprawled on my belly i witnessed the entire event...
as i looked down the street i saw waves of movement in the lawns, the street, and the sidewalks that resembled the waves on the ocean...i was on the ocean...
the cars parked on the street shook back and forth on their parking brakes...the trees all trembled in place...my body swayed on the waves of earth as the ground roiled and rumbled...
i was on the sea of uncertainty...the fate of time...it's an earth-quake!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Dawn is breaking on the continent of Capella. Overhead, the star of Davriel is still visible in a purplish blue sky. A meteorite trail flashes by. Sallareä bows her head in homage to all she does not know. She’s unaware that, momentarily, what she does not know will be paying homage back. Flickering particles of crystal enter a sector of Sallareä’s narrative-space. Passing through the prisms of her senses, they arrive and get merged in the centers of perception. A message appears in the form of three-dimensional letters stretching from the ground to the heavens ..too high for her to make out what they say. In addition, they vanish and reappear each instant. This kind of apparition calls on her centers of continuity. Then, like constructing a Klimt from grains of sand ..an interpretation begins to form that is such a departure from conventional classification, she has to temporarily step outside herself. An entity that looks like a changing constellation of linked images begins to emerge ..unraveling faster than it can stay together as a singularity. Sallareä is surprised to learn that, whoever or whatever this presence may be, it seems OK with the circumstances of their existence and wants to know if they can join her narrative-space and play.
Quasicrystals are structural forms that are ordered but not periodic. They form patterns that fill all the space though they lack translational symmetry. While crystals, according to the classical crystallographic restriction theorem, can possess only 2, 3, 4, and 6-fold rotational symmetries, the Bragg diffraction pattern of quasicrystals shows sharp peaks with other symmetry orders, for instance 5-fold.
Aperiodic tilings were discovered by mathematicians in the early 1960s, but some twenty years later they were found to apply to the study of quasicrystals. The discovery of these aperiodic forms in nature has produced a paradigm shift in the fields of crystallography. Quasicrystals had been investigated and observed earlier but until the 80s they were disregarded in favor of the prevailing views about the atomic structure of matter.
Roughly, an ordering is non-periodic if it lacks translational symmetry, which means that a shifted copy will never match exactly with its original. The more precise mathematical definition is that there is never translational symmetry in more than n – 1 linearly independent directions, where n is the dimension of the space filled; i.e. the three-dimensional tiling displayed in a quasicrystal may have translational symmetry in two dimensions. The ability to diffract comes from the existence of an indefinitely large number of elements with a regular spacing, a property loosely described as long-range order. Experimentally the aperiodicity is revealed in the unusual symmetry of the diffraction pattern, that is, symmetry of orders other than 2, 3, 4, or 6. The first officially reported case of what came to be known as quasicrystals was made by Dan Shechtman and coworkers in 1984. (read more) (the basics)
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
i know what you're thinking...
do you believe in intuition?...
most people say yes.
do you believe in esp?...
most people say no.
if there's nothing to esp...
why has the c.i.a. and military
spent so much time and money on it?
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath --
America will be!
They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954 -- in 1945 rather -- after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China -- for whom the Vietnamese have no great love -- but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.
What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?
Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government.
Five: Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.
The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality...and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing "clergy and laymen concerned" committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala -- Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.
In the strife of truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light.
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet 'tis truth alone is strong
Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.