Tuesday, August 30, 2005
AUSTIN, TEXAS – When students wander into the former University of Texas undergraduate library this fall, gone will be the "Quiet Please" signs, the ban on cheeseburgers or sodas, the sight of solemn librarians restocking books.
The fact is, there will be no more books to restock. The UT library is undergoing a radical change, becoming more of a social gathering place more akin to a coffeehouse than a dusty, whisper-filled hall of records. And to make that happen, the undergraduate collection of books had to go.
This summer, 90,000 volumes were transferred to other collections in the campus's massive library system - leaving some to wonder how a library can really be a library if it has no tomes.
But a growing number of colleges and universities are rethinking and retooling their libraries to better serve students reared in a digital age.
"While libraries are still focused on their physical collections, they aren't the sole purpose anymore," says John Shank, director of the Center for Learning Technologies at Penn State Berks College in Reading. The advent of the Internet and the digitization of information has transformed the way students learn, experts concur, and libraries are scrambling to keep up. read more...
Montana's governor wants to solve America's rising energy costs using a technology discovered in Germany 80 years ago that converts coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel.
The Fischer-Tropsch technology, discovered by German researchers in 1923 and later used by the Nazis to convert coal into wartime fuels, was not economical as long as oil cost less than $30 a barrel.
But with U.S. crude oil now hitting more than double that price, Gov. Brian Schweitzer's plan is getting more attention across the country and some analysts are taking him very seriously. read on...
Sunday, August 28, 2005
The distinctive double-rap sound characteristic of ivory-billed woodpeckers, once believed extinct by scientists, can be heard on the Web today, as further evidence the rare bird is alive and well in Arkansas forests.
The ivory-bill, the world's third-largest woodpecker, has a 30-inch wingspan, a jet-black body and large white wing patches. The recordings of tapping and a "toot'' call like a tin horn are similar to sounds made by the rare woodpecker, researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology said in a statement today.
"It's like the bird came out of the woods to tell us, you're doing a good job,'' said Scott Simon, director of the Nature Conservancy in Arkansas, in a telephone interview today. "It validates 20 years of conservation work.''
Once known as the "Lord God'' bird for the exclamation provoked by its dramatic appearance, the ivory-bill was believed extinct until an announcement in April that a team had documented its presence in Arkansas wildlife refuges. One hundred double- knock sounds were identified after 18,000 hours of recordings were analyzed, researchers told the American Ornithologists Union in Santa Barbara, California. more here.
The recordings can be heard at http://www.birds.cornell.edu
Saturday, August 27, 2005
via future feeder...
The winning entry to the Cradle to Cradle C2C Home Competition is an incredible single family dwelling by Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum that goes right to the core fundamentals of the Cradle to Cradle principles. Not only does the building run a photosynthetic and phototropic skin made with spinach protein, but it also produces more energy than a single family’s needs, allowing the excess to be distributed to neighbors. This radical shift, from centralized energy systems today, fosters community interdependence as neighbors benefit from the resources of others.
The core extends vertically, clad with a super-conductive photosynthetic plasma cell skin that is able to generate 200% more electrical voltage per area than contemporary photovoltaics. Building on current research involving extracted spinach protein, this living skin is photosynthetic and phototropic it grows and follows the path of the sun.
Friday, August 26, 2005
A moth flying into the flame says with its wingfire, Try this.
The wick with its knotted neck broken tells you the same. A candle as it diminishes explains, Gathering more and more is not the way. Burn, become light and heat and help. Melt.
The ocean sits in the sand letting its lap fill with pearls and shells, then empty. A bittersalt taste hums, This.
The phoenix gives up on good-and-bad, flies to rest on Mount Qaf, no more burning and rising from ash. It sends out one message.
The rose purifies its face, drops the soft petals, shows its thorn, and points.
Wine abandons thousands of famous names, the vintage years and delightful bouquets, to run wild and anonymous through your brain.
The flute closes its eyes and gives its lips to Hamza's emptiness.
Everything begs with the silent rocks for you to be flung out like light over this plain, the Presence of Shams.
~ Rumi, "The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy & Longing,"
transliterated by Coleman Barks
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Graphic of Osama: "LUV your SUV!"
"I'm funding terrorists, ask me how."
"SUV: Killing Americans at home and abroad"
And on the more postive side:
"Support Our troops? Buy hybrid."
And this from Andrea S.
IT CAN BE DONE: A reader reminds me of Gregg Easterbrook's pro-Kerry piece last year pointing out how incentives to move away from SUVs and toward hybrids could have a cumulatively important effect on our oil consumption. Money quote (TNR, for reasons beyond me, keeps most of its content behind a subscriber wall):
A simple one-third increase in the mileage of new vehicles would have a remarkably beneficial impact on the United States-Persian Gulf relationship, and quickly.Of course, John McCain backs this strategy. 9/11 was the obvious opportunity to revolutionize American energy policy to rid ourselves of having to deal with Islamo-fascist cartels. Bush blew it.
Here's the math. About 17 million new cars and "light trucks" (SUVs, pickups, and minivans) are sold in the United States each year and driven, on average, about 12,000 miles annually. If the fuel efficiency of 17 million vehicles driven 12,000 miles annually rose by one-third, from a real-world 17 MPG to a real-world 23 MPG, that would save about 200 gallons of gasoline annually per vehicle, or about 3.4 billion gallons of gasoline. Since a barrel of petroleum yields 20 gallons of gasoline, about 170 million barrels of oil would be saved.
Perhaps you think, Aha! With U.S. petroleum demand at 20 million barrels daily, this MPG initiative has saved just about one week's worth of oil. Yes--in the first year, the MPG increase would have little effect, in much the same way that, in their first year, few investments yield much return. But remember the miracle of compounding! In the second year, with two model-years' worth of vehicles at the higher MPG, 340 million barrels of oil are saved. The next year, the savings is 510 million barrels, the next year 680 million, and so on. In just the fifth year of this initiative, we would need to purchase about 850 million fewer barrels of petroleum--approximately the amount the United States imports each year from the Persian Gulf states.
come on darling
pass me one more cup
bestow on my soul
tranquility once more
and do it now
today is my turn
i can wait no more
for the unknown tomorrow
if you have as my share
even a small trace of grace
give it to me now don't
make me wait
let me go free
help me to break out
from this new trap
i've fallen into again
don't hand me over
to the monster of my thoughts
my thoughts are another trap
another waiting vampire
take my only belongings
take them to the pawn shop
pledge them once more and
bring me the last cup
-- Ode (Ghazal) 1045
Translated by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Burning Gate Press, Los Angeles, 1994
Quote: "Some of us still get all weepy when we think about the Gaia Hypothesis, the idea that earth is a big, furry goddess-creature who resembles everybody's mom in that she knows what's best for us. But if you look at the historical record – Krakatoa, Mt. Vesuvius, Hurricane Charley, poison ivy... down the ages – you have to ask yourself: Whose side is she on, anyway?" – Barbara Ehrenreich
Monday, August 22, 2005
When you see the face of anger look behind it and you will see the face of pride. Bring anger and pride under your feet, turn them into a ladder and climb higher. There is no peace until you become their master. Let go of anger, it may taste sweet but it kills. Don't become its victim you need humility to climb to freedom. -- Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi Ghazal (Ode) 2197 Translation by Azima Melita Kolin and Maryam Mafi "Rumi: Hidden Music" HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2001
"What is happening here is catastrophic," said Michael Diamond, Asia director for Plan, an international development agency, at the launch of a "Growing up in Asia" report on child welfare in the region.
Despite rapid economic growth in many countries, many Asian children are being left behind and lack access to basics such as food, clean water, shelter, healthcare, education and sanitation.
If nothing is done by rich and poor countries alike, the lost potential - and lost lives - could be one of the most tragic failings of modern times, Diamond said.
Outlining a strategy to spend US$1 billion ($1.45 billion) in 12 Asian countries in the next decade, the 68-year-old agency said it would try to give children a voice and change the attitudes of many societies towards their treatment of the under-18s.
NEVER FORGETTING AFRICA
If American-type countries would reduce their meat consumption by just 10%, enough grain would be saved to feed 60 million people. This figure is close enough to the number of people that die from hunger-related diseases each year. It would also free enough land and resources to grow over 12 million tons of grain annually -- enough to feed all those who died of starvation. This happens while millions agonize over one diet after another. Changing patterns takes one step at a time by one person at a time, but no one wants to go first.
Worldwatch states that 75% of the Third World imports of corn, barley, sorghum, and oats are fed to animals and not people. "In country after country, the demand for meat among the rich is squeezing out staple production for the poor." The demand for meat among the rich takes precedence over grain production for the poor since "cash" crops come first. Two-thirds of the grain exported from North America goes to feed livestock which then filters back to only feeding the ones who can afford that type of food.
Everyday, enough grain is fed to animals to provide two loaves of bread to every human being on earth.
In the US alone, the daily consumption per capita is 102 grams of protein, most of which is of animal origin. Americans alone consume about 2.6 billion pounds of dairy cow meat annually. The USDA confirms that roughly two-thirds of all cattle slaughtered are from spent dairy stock.
Twenty-five years ago, livestock consumed only 6% of Mexico's grain. Today, that figure is more than 50%. The same trend can be seen in South America, North Africa, and the Middle East. The demand for beef is more lucrative, and farmers succumb. While a typical acre of land in Latin America can easily produce over 1200 pounds of grain every year, that same land is used to graze cattle and barely yields fifty pounds of edible food.
In the US, 230 pounds of animals are consumed by each man, woman, and child per year, while in India animal consumption is less than 5 pounds per person. Forty-one million metric tons (2200 pounds per metric ton) of plant protein is fed to animals in order to produce 7 million metric tons of animal protein.
According to the World Bank, the number of people unable to meet their basic subsistence needs has reached 1.1 billion, with 14 million children dying every year from hunger and related causes. All the while, large quantities of grain and dairy products continue to be stockpiled in the US, Canada, and the European Economic Union. more here...
Friday, August 19, 2005
In London, the metro system is very courteous. Clear, distinct voices over the sound system let you know which station is next and give gentle reminders to stand clear of the doors. Perhaps one of the most frequent announcements they offer is to pay attention to the space between the metro car and the platform. Their incessant reminder is to “Mind the Gap.”
This phrase “Mind the Gap” is unrelenting. Even though the system is trying to be helpful, hearing this sentence over and over can get quite obnoxious. It has even infiltrated the popular London culture: one can see the phrase on t-shirts, postcards and even underwear. But if one were to think about the deeper meaning of that simple phrase, it actually becomes a wonderful reminder for an important aspect of our existence.
“The Gap” is the space between our thoughts and is the place of unlimited potential of all things. This is where everything originates and is expressed, like the void out of which our universe began. It is a nothingness that in Buddhism is the equivalent of "Pure Being," as it is free of all determination and therefore embodying everything. It is a place of power, divinity and creativity which magnifies and strengthens with our ability to be in it. From this place of “everything” (since it has not taken shape, it is therefore all), “anything” can be created, once one understands how to cultivate that ability. It is the place to experientially know God and to know ourselves. And the most amazing part is that all this is within us.
and from Dear Teacher ts
minding the gap ...
observing the null points between ...
where difference/duality is dissolve.
not one, not two ...
just what is.
as i have heard yosy say:
breathing in ...
we are born ...
breathing out ...
we die ...
mind the gap
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Thanks to SFGate.com
Saturday, August 12, 2005
Politicians and automakers say a car that can both reduce greenhouse gases and free America from its reliance on foreign oil is years or even decades away.
Ron Gremban says such a car is parked in his garage.
It looks like a typical Toyota Prius hybrid, but in the trunk sits an 80-miles-per-gallon secret — a stack of 18 brick-sized batteries that boosts the car's high mileage with an extra electrical charge so it can burn even less fuel.
Gremban, an electrical engineer and committed environmentalist, spent several months and $3,000 tinkering with his car.
Like all hybrids, his Prius increases fuel efficiency by harnessing small amounts of electricity generated during braking and coasting. The extra batteries let him store extra power by plugging the car into a wall outlet at his home in this San Francisco suburb — all for about a quarter.
He's part of a small but growing movement. "Plug-in" hybrids aren't yet cost-efficient, but some of the dozen known experimental models have gotten up to 250 mpg.
They have support not only from environmentalists but also from conservative foreign-policy hawks who insist Americans fuel terrorism through their gas guzzling.
And while the technology has existed for three decades, automakers are beginning to take notice, too.
So far, DaimlerChrysler AG is the only company that has committed to building its own plug-in hybrids, quietly pledging to make up to 40 vans for U.S. companies. But Toyota Motor Corp. officials who initially frowned on people altering their cars now say they may be able to learn from them.
"They're like the hot rodders of yesterday who did everything to soup up their cars. It was all about horsepower and bling-bling, lots of chrome and accessories," said Cindy Knight, a Toyota spokeswoman. "Maybe the hot rodders of tomorrow are the people who want to get in there and see what they can do about increasing fuel economy."
The extra batteries let Gremban drive for 20 miles with a 50-50 mix of gas and electricity. Even after the car runs out of power from the batteries and switches to the standard hybrid mode, it gets the typical Prius fuel efficiency of around 45 mpg. As long as Gremban doesn't drive too far in a day, he says, he gets 80 mpg.
"The value of plug-in hybrids is they can dramatically reduce gasoline usage for the first few miles every day," Gremban said. "The average for people's usage of a car is somewhere around 30 to 40 miles per day. During that kind of driving, the plug-in hybrid can make a dramatic difference."
Backers of plug-in hybrids acknowledge that the electricity to boost their cars generally comes from fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases, but they say that process still produces far less pollution than oil. They also note that electricity could be generated cleanly from solar power.
Gremban rigged his car to promote the nonprofit CalCars Initiative, a San Francisco Bay area-based volunteer effort that argues automakers could mass produce plug-in hybrids at a reasonable price.
But Toyota and other car companies say they are worried about the cost, convenience and safety of plug-in hybrids — and note that consumers haven't embraced all-electric cars because of the inconvenience of recharging them like giant cell phones.
Automakers have spent millions of dollars telling motorists that hybrids don't need to be plugged in, and don't want to confuse the message.
Nonetheless, plug-in hybrids are starting to get the backing of prominent hawks like former CIA Director James Woolsey and Frank Gaffney, President Reagan's undersecretary of defense. They have joined Set America Free, a group that wants the government to spend $12 billion over four years on plug-in hybrids, alternative fuels and other measures to reduce foreign oil dependence.
Gaffney, who heads the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy, said Americans would embrace plug-ins if they understood arguments from him and others who say gasoline contributes to oil-rich Middle Eastern governments that support terrorism.
"The more we are consuming oil that either comes from places that are bent on our destruction or helping those who are ... the more we are enabling those who are trying to kill us," Gaffney said.
DaimlerChrysler spokesman Nick Cappa said plug-in hybrids are ideal for companies with fleets of vehicles that can be recharged at a central location at night. He declined to name the companies buying the vehicles and said he did not know the vehicles' mileage or cost, or when they would be available.
Others are modifying hybrids, too.
Monrovia-based Energy CS has converted two Priuses to get up to 230 mpg by using powerful lithium ion batteries. It is forming a new company, EDrive Systems, that will convert hybrids to plug-ins for about $12,000 starting next year, company Vice President Greg Hanssen said.
University of California, Davis engineering professor Andy Frank built a plug-in hybrid from the ground up in 1972 and has since built seven others, one of which gets up to 250 mpg. They were converted from nonhybrids, including a Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Suburban.
Frank has spent $150,000 to $250,000 in research costs on each car, but believes automakers could mass-produce them by adding just $6,000 to each vehicle's price tag.
Instead, Frank said, automakers promise hydrogen-powered vehicles hailed by President Bush and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, even though hydrogen's backers acknowledge the cars won't be widely available for years and would require a vast infrastructure of new fueling stations.
"They'd rather work on something that won't be in their lifetime, and that's this hydrogen economy stuff," Frank said. "They pick this kind of target to get the public off their back, essentially."
By TIM MOLLOY, Associated Press Writer
Also see HERE.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
In ancient Greece knowledge was held in high esteem, and the Teacher who epitomized knowledge was Socrates.
One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Socrates, I just heard some disturbing news about a friend of yours." "Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test." "Triple filter?" "That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?" "No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and ..." "All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?" "No, on the contrary ..." "So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?" "No, not really." "Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, then, why tell it to me at all?" And this is why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
By e. e. cummings
(1894 - 1962)
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
follow no path
all paths lead where
truth is here
--e. e. cummings
maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and
milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea.
--e. e. cummings
e e and the web
Be kind to your reader. Capitalization and punctuation are the easiest ways to indicate exactly what you're trying to say. It's time for a little tough love, people: Anyone who types in all lowercase needs to be taken out back and beaten. You are not e.e. cummings; you are not being "artistic." You're just too lazy to hit the shift key. If you can't be bothered with the extra keystroke, I can't be bothered to read your site. Don't turn off readers before they even get to your words. (A refusal to capitalize is just one grammar horror that can be spotted at first glance. I can also spot an overuse of the ellipsis at 50 paces. There are two reasons to use an ellipsis (and neither one is because you don't want to write a transition): Use an ellipsis to indicate words omitted from a direct quote or to trail off intriguingly. If neither of these are your intention, try a period. Dot. Full stop. Terminal punctuation can be your friend.)
EATS, BLOGS, LEAVES
by Jennifer Garrett
Bush To Determine Scentific Curriculum Of American Schools Based On His Own Experiments
Will Personally Review Entire Body of Scientific "Knowledge," Says White House
The White House announced today that President Bush would henceforth determine the scientific curriculum to be taught in America's schools. The announcement came immediately after Bush endorsed the teaching of intelligent design.
President Bush apparently wants to adopt a modified pre-Copernican view of astronomy, to start. "This whole notion that the universe does not revolve around our great nation, our great planet, seems kind of crazy," he told reporters yesterday.
Bush was also skeptical about what he called "the notion of gravity." "I'm uncomfortable with teaching our children that bodies are attracted to each other," he said. "That seems like an unwholesome idea to put into children's heads, don't it?" He speculated that objects fall to the ground because "God wants them to."
Dr. James Dobson, founder of the rightwing Christian group Focus on the Family, applauded Bush's plans to eliminate scientists from science. "It just puts all four of my humours into complete harmony," he said.
Critics were less sanguine, however. "If George Bush is for teaching intelligent design in schools," said Professor and biologist Byron Glick, "it proves that there isn't any."
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Being critical of Buddhism isn't easy.
Buddhism is the most likable of the major religions, and Buddhists are the perennial good guys of modern spirituality. Beautiful traditions, lovely architecture, inspiring statuary, ancient history, the Dalai Lama — what's not to like?
Everything about Buddhsim is just so... nice. No fatwahs or jihads, no inquisitions or crusades, no terrorists or pederasts, just nice people being nice. In fact, Buddhism means niceness. Nice-ism.
At least, it should.
Buddha means Awakened One, so Buddhism can be taken to mean Awake-ism. Awakism. It would therefore be natural to think that if you were looking to wake up, then Buddhism, i.e., Awakism, would be the place to look.
::: The Light is Better Over Here
Such thinking, however, would reveal a dangerous lack of respect for the opposition. Maya, goddess of delusion, has been doing her job with supreme mastery since the first spark of self-awareness flickered in some chimp's noggin, and the idea that the neophyte truth-seeker can just sign up with the Buddhists, read some books, embrace some new concepts and slam her to the mat might be a bit on the naive side.
On the other hand, why not? How’d this get so turned around? It’s just truth. Shouldn’t truth be, like, the simplest thing? Shouldn’t someone who wants to find something as ubiquitous as truth be able to do so? And here’s this venerable organization supposedly dedicated to just that very thing, even named for it, so what’s the problem?
::: Why doesn’t Buddhism produce Buddhas?
The problem arises from the fact that Buddhists, like everyone else, insist on reconciling the irreconcilable. They don’t just want to awaken to the true, they also want to make sense of the untrue. They want to have their cake and eat it too, so they end up with nonsensical theories, divergent schools, sagacious doubletalk, and zero Buddhas.
Typical of Buddhist insistence on reconciling the irreconcilable is the concept of Two Truths, a poignant two-word joke they don’t seem to get, and yet this sort of perversely irrational thinking is at the very heart of the failed search for truth. We don’t want truth, we want a particular truth; one that doesn't threaten ego, one that doesn’t exist. We insist on a truth that makes sense given what we know, not knowing that we don't know anything.
Nothing about Buddhism is more revealing than the Four Noble Truths which, not being true, are of pretty dubious nobility. They form the basis of Buddhism, so it's clear from the outset that the Buddhists have whipped up a proprietary version of truth shaped more by market forces than any particular concern for the less consumer-friendly, albeit true, truth.
Yes, Buddhism may be spiritually filling, even nourishing, but insofar as truth is concerned, it's junkfood. You can eat it every day of your life and die exactly as Awakened as the day you signed up.
::: Bait & Switch
Buddhism is a classic bait-and-switch operation. We’re attracted by the enlightenment in the window, but as soon as we’re in the door they start steering us over to the compassion aisle. Buddhists could be honest and change their name to Compassionism, but who wants that?
There's the rub. They can’t sell compassion and they can’t deliver enlightenment.
This untruth-in-advertising is the kind of game you have to play if you want to stay successful in a business where the customer is always wrong. You can either go out of business honestly, or thrive by giving the people what they want. What they say they want and what they really want, though, are two very different things.
::: Me Me Me
To the outside observer, much of Buddhist knowledge and practice seems focused on spiritual self-improvement. This, too, is hard to speak against... except within the context of awakening from delusion. Then it's easy.
There is no such thing as true self, so any pursuit geared toward its aggrandizement, betterment, upliftment, elevation, evolution, glorification, salvation, etc, is utter folly. How much more so any endeavor undertaken merely to increase one's own happiness or contentment or, I'm embarrassed to even say it, bliss?
Self is ego and ego is the realm of the dreamstate. If you want to break free of the dreamstate, you must break free of self, not stroke it to make it purr or groom it for some imagined brighter future.
::: Maya's House of Enlightenment
The trick with being critical of so esteemed and beloved an institution is not to get dragged down into the morass of details and debate. It's very simple: If Buddhism is about enlightenment, people should be getting enlightened. If it's not about enlightenment, they should change the sign.
Of course, Buddhism isn't completely unique in its survival tactics. This same gulf between promise and performance is found in all systems of human spirituality. We're looking at it in Buddhism because that's where it's most pronounced. No disrespect to the Buddha is intended. If there was a Buddha and he was enlightened, then it's Buddhism that insults his memory, not healthy skepticism. Blame the naked emperor's retinue of tailors and lickspittles, not the boy who merely states the obvious.
Buddhism is arguably the most elevated of man's great belief systems. If you want to enjoy the many valuable benefits it has to offer, then I wouldn't presume to utter a syllable against it. But if you want to escape from the clutches of Maya, then I suggest you take a very close look at the serene face on all those golden statues to see if it isn't really hers.
::: About the Author
"Jed McKenna is an American original." -Lama Surya Das
Jed McKenna is the author of "Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing" and "Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment", published by Wisefool Press. Coming in 2005: "Spirituality X" and "Jed McKenna's Notebook". Visit WisefoolPress.com to learn more.
Friday, August 05, 2005
Strange happenings in Scotland. A reported five dogs in the last six months have committed suicide by jumping off the 40-foot Overtoun Estate Bridge in Dumbarton, Scotland, a suburb of Glasgow. The bridge site and the surrounding grounds of the estate are a bit Gothic, having been used as a backdrop for the BBC series, "Tales from the Madhouse," perhaps prompted by the tragic scene in 1994 when a certain Kevin Moy used the same location to throw his two-week-old son to his death, believing him to be the Antichrist.
From the New Zealand Herald
by Paul Kelbie
On a wet and windy winter's day on the west coast of Scotland, the ancient borough of Dumbarton can appear bleak and depressing. The once fashionable and prosperous ship-building centre is now little more than a suburb of Glasgow and, it appears, even some of the dogs have lost the will to live.
Animal behaviourists are concerned at an apparent spate of canine "suicides" in the town after at least five dogs are said to have thrown themselves from an historic bridge in the past six months.
In the once landscaped grounds of Overtoun House - an ornate country mansion built in 186
3 with ornate religious symbolism and the words "Fear God and keep His commandments" carved into its walls - the bridge is fast becoming known as "rover's leap".
Following a sudden rash of unexplained incidents in which family pets have suddenly leapt to their deaths from the parapet of the bridge, animal welfare experts are warning owners to keep their dogs on a tight leash in the vicinity.
"Dogs do not commit suicide. They have a strong fight or flight response," said Doreen Graham of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"The incidents at the bridge are of very great concern to us because we would like to understand why they are happening."
In the latest incident a woman was shocked to see her dog suddenly vault over the parapet and plunge 40ft to its death for no apparent reason.
"It is very weird for five dogs to have done the same thing at the same spot. There needs to be an urgent investigation of the bridge and what has happened. There must be a rational explanation," said Joyce Stewart, an animal behaviourist, who has never heard of a dog committing suicide but admitted the pattern of deaths at the bridge was "abnormal".
Ms Graham added: "Dogs naturally have a very good ability to judge distances so that they know they are going to be safe, so it is possible there is something which is causing an optical illusion or enticing the dogs to jump. From photographs of the bridge it would appear that the tree canopy rises above the bridge and it may cause some sort of confusion to the animal which thinks it is jumping to something solid.
"It may be an optical illusion or a sound or smell which the dogs can detect but humans cannot. They hear higher ranges of noises and have an acute sense of smell. It could be there is a noise coming from below the bridge that is enticing them."
Folklore claims that Overtoun House is a place where angels and gargoyles keep company.
The former home of Lord Overtoun, the owner of a huge chemical works and a pillar of the Free Church, it was the location for a BBC television series called Tales from the Madhouse and it is now at the centre of a £2.5m renovation project as a Christian "centre for hope and healing".
But it is no good talking to you, Baba -- you are just too-much love.
Whatever we say, you just smile with your smile of divine kindness
as much as to say, "Ho, these children of mine, Myself,
-- why did I ever wake up and start singing?" This singing of your smile
stretching out and supporting the nothingness of us-of-the-Nothing.
Oh, and the Dawn-song of His mouth. -- I only hope I am still around then.
It's no good talking to One who is the SAYING of the say which one says, because he doesn't listen because he knows exactly what he is going to say. Tired and tired am I of myself. For the wide expanse of the sky
of your bosom I cry. Awake in my heart that I may love you with service
-- or else be dust before your feet: anything but this not-even-nothing,
nor a place in your Everything; something, O my Child and my Father.
Amazing movements are happening in the hybrid car world. DAILY KOS: State of the Nation, a mostly progressive political site and by far the largest blog on the web according to Truth Laid Bear, most days receiving more than 600,000 hits.
One of the features of Kos is the showcasing of small blogs with subject matter as disparate as cookin to mechanics to finding a nanny. One of these columns is named Recommended Diaries, and the other called Recent Diaries, and today under the Recent Diaries was a blog, sorry, diary, called The Hybrid Car You Never Hear About 1, and ...Hear About 2.
This diary is written by a man and his wife who are now in the bio-diesel distribution business and is loaded with very useful knowledge from that rapidly developing world. Also the site is written for the entry level hybrid auto consumer and should be a must read for any potential buyer.
The best news at this point is that 80 mpg is very much within reach using biodiesel, which in addition to the low mpg, is one of the cleaner burning fuels, and gives the world a great windfall with the possibility in sight of the eventual elimination of petroleum usage globally. Truly at last the end of the petroleum nightmare is within sight and self sustaining energy a dream within reach and the great decimation of the atmosphere and environment brought about by the industrial era coming to an end.
All hybrids and diesels appearing here are named and discribed at this LINK.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
by Richard A Serrano
Aug. 4, 2005
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. worked behind the scenes for gay rights activists, and his legal expertise helped them persuade the Supreme Court to issue a landmark 1996 ruling protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.
Then a lawyer specializing in appellate work, the conservative Roberts helped represent the gay rights activists as part of his law firm's pro bono work. He did not write the legal briefs or argue the case before the high court, but he was instrumental in reviewing filings and preparing oral arguments, according to several lawyers intimately involved in the case.
Gay rights activists at the time described the court's 6-3 ruling as the movement's most important legal victory. The dissenting justices were those to whom Roberts is frequently likened for their conservative ideology: Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Roberts' work on behalf of gay rights activists, whose cause is anathema to many conservatives, appears to illustrate his allegiance to the credo of the legal profession: to zealously represent the interests of the client, whoever it might be.
There is no other record of Roberts being involved in gay rights cases that would suggest his position on such issues. He has stressed, however, that a client's views are not necessarily shared by the lawyer who argues on his or her behalf.
The lawyer who asked for Roberts' help on the case, Walter A. Smith Jr., then head of the pro bono department at Hogan & Hartson, said Roberts didn't hesitate. "He said, 'Let's do it.' And it's illustrative of his open-mindedness, his fair-mindedness. He did a brilliant job."
Roberts did not mention his work on the case in his 67-page response to a Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire, released Tuesday. The committee asked for "specific instances" in which he had performed pro bono work, how he had fulfilled those responsibilities, and the amount of time he had devoted to them.
Smith said the omission was probably just an oversight because Roberts was not the chief litigator in Romer vs. Evans, which struck down a voter-approved 1992 Colorado initiative that would have allowed employers and landlords to exclude gays from jobs and housing.
"John probably didn't recall [the case] because he didn't play as large a role in it as he did in others," Smith said Wednesday. "I'm sure John has a record somewhere of every case he ever argued, and Romer he did not argue. So he probably would have remembered it less."
Jean Dubofsky, lead lawyer for the gay rights activists and a former Colorado Supreme Court justice, said that when she came to Washington to prepare for the U.S. Supreme Court presentation, she immediately was referred to Roberts.
"Everybody said Roberts was one of the people I should talk to," Dubofsky said. "He has a better idea on how to make an effective argument to a court that is pretty conservative and hasn't been very receptive to gay rights."
She said he gave her advice in two areas that were "absolutely crucial."
"He said you have to be able to count and know where your votes are coming from. And the other was that you absolutely have to be on top of why and where and how the state court had ruled in this case," Dubofsky said.
She said Roberts served on a moot court panel as she prepared for oral arguments, with Roberts taking the role of a Scalia-like justice to pepper her with tough questions.
When Dubofsky appeared before the justices, Scalia did indeed demand specific legal citations from the lower-court ruling. "I had it right there at my fingertips," she said.
"John Roberts … was just terrifically helpful in meeting with me and spending some time on the issue," she said. "He seemed to be very fair-minded and very astute."
Dubofsky said Roberts helped her form the argument that the initiative violated the "equal protections" clause of the Constitution.
The case was argued before the Supreme Court in October 1995, and the ruling was handed down the following May. Suzanne B. Goldberg, a staff lawyer for New York-based Lambda, a legal services group for gays and lesbians, called it the "single most important positive ruling in the history of the gay rights movement."
In the blistering dissent, Scalia, joined by Rehnquist and Thomas, said "Coloradans are entitled to be hostile toward homosexual conduct." Scalia added that the majority opinion had "no foundation in American constitutional law, and barely pretends to."
The case was one of several Roberts worked on pro bono at Hogan & Hartson, a prominent Washington law firm that expects partners to volunteer time in community service.
Is this a breaking story or not? Read more reactions at DAILY KOS.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Carrara Marble Quarries No. 2,
Carrara, Italy 1993
Edward Burtynsky is into the horrors perpetuated upon the environment around the world. A photographer who takes elements from the very hell of the High Industrial Period and turns them into images of sublime beauty. "Three Gorges" documents China destruction over a 6 month period, of 11 cities and the homes of 1.2 million Chinese citizens to create a space for the Three Gorges Dam project, the largest engineering to date in the world. Have a look at his on-line gallery featuring themes of BREAKING GROUND, QUARRIES, URBAN, SHIPS, OIL, and China's THREE GORGES.
Explore Richard Tuttle's expansive, forty-year career through video of the artist at work, critical responses, and artworks that defy conventional notions of material, form, process, and craft. Tuttle: The Presence of Simple Things is produced in conjunction with the retrospective exhibition The Art of Richard Tuttle, on view July 2 through October 16, 2005.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Abandoning (the views) he had (previously) held and not taking up (another), he does not seek a support even in knowledge. Among those who dispute he is certainly not one to take sides. He does not [have] recourse to a view at all. In whom there is no inclination to either extreme, for becoming or non-becoming, here or in another existence, for him there does not exist a fixed viewpoint on investigating the doctrines assumed (by others). Concerning the seen, the heard and the cognized he does not form the least notion. That brahmana who does not grasp at a view, with what could he be identified in the world? They do not speculate nor pursue (any notion); doctrines are not accepted by them.
A (true) brahmana is beyond, does not fall back on views." -- vv. 796-803
Sutta Nipata IV.5
Translated from the Pali by John D. Ireland.
For free distribution only.
Read an alternate translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
From The Discourse Collection: Selected Texts from
the Sutta Nipata (WH 82), translated by John D. Ireland
(Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1983).
Copyright ?1983 Buddhist Publication Society.
Used with permission.