Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I got bored, so I decided to chart out the history of monthly posts on the good old ALfA blog. The solid, jagged lines are the actual data - the black line near the bottom is the number of posts each month, while the more curvy and much higher one is the cumulative total posts on the blog. The straight, fuzzy lines are trendlines for each set of data, and they indicate that we are trending slightly low on the cumulative totals, but have hit some monthly post numbers recently that are above the trend.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The above videos were made with a new software product by Microsoft called Songsmith.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
In a time when I was
unhappy, yet in retrospect
they were the best years
of my learning how to
forget about happiness
and how to see the world
as it is, fundamentally neutral:
good and evil both won
And you, I was carrying you
in particular, the marked body
of a g-dess and the marked
soul of a man:
but happy, emotional
glad to see the faces
once relegated to
nothing, but now
everything in the end
and rooted in the earth
from which I grew
I carried you
but there were too
many cups to remove
from the bed
of our time:
One book in particular has stood out to me, has really inspired me in an incredibly mysterious way such that I am not sure what it means to me, or how even to understand it. This is the Mumonkan "The Gateless Barrier". Here is a koan from that text:
TWO MONKS ROLLED UP THE BAMBOO BLINDS
The monks gathered in the hall to hear the Great Hogen of Seiryo give a teisho before the midday meal. Hogen pointed to the bamboo blinds. At this two monks went to the blinds and rolled them up alike. Hogen said, "One has it; the other has not."
I don't know which one is me...
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
For you, finding refuge in philosophy is to hide from the challenges that life has presented at this moment.
And one should never hide; one should fight.
Only the mediocre hide, and you, as I know you, are not mediocre.
Take advantage of what you have accomplished so far, meaning: if you do not get what you want at this time, then off you go, to other challenges.
Monday, January 19, 2009
On this day in 1809, Edgar Allen Poe was born in Boston.
One of the true "giants" of American literature, Poe is generally credited with inventing the "detective story" (The Murders at Rue Morgue, The Tell-Tale Heart), as well as developing the now-standard techniques of the modern horror story (Masque of the Red Death) and psychological fiction (William Wilson: A Tale) as well as being one of the major influences for writers of science fiction.
In addition to this, he was famous for his poetry (The Raven), as well as being a major literary theorist and critic of his day. He wrote hundreds of reviews of other people's work, and occasionally published scathing reviews of his own work, under pseudonyms, in order to generate publicity for himself.
Poe died in 1849, at the age of 40, having ruined his health with a lifetime of debauchery, which often included prolonged periods of sleep deprivation followed by days and nights of drug-induced writing. The cause of his death is unknown, but is often attributed to alcohol poisoning, a drug overdose (either accidentally or as suicide), tuberculosis, rabies, or a heart attack brought on by his self-abuse.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
When we talked about your poem, I remember how surprised you were that someone appeared to relate.
But it was easy for me to understand, since I had also dreamt that bewitching dream.
It was so real and painful that a whimper still echoes in my mind.
We sat by the dock watching the feeding minnows ripple the surface.
She wrapped her arms around me, and the sun was softly shining in the clear morning air.
Birds were chirping and there was nothing wrong.
Then I woke up and felt that world slip away.
My hissing radio alarm clock chimed me into the reality of my isolation.
I never dream of being alone.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The Oort cloud was named after Jan Oort, a dutch scientist who hypothesized about it.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
The Oort cloud (pronounced /ˈɔrt/ ort, alternatively the Öpik-Oort Cloud IPA: [ˈøpik]) is a hypothetical spherical cloud of comets which may lie roughly 50 000 AU, or nearly a light-year, from the Sun. The distance places the cloud at nearly a quarter of the distance to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun. The Kuiper belt and scattered disc, the other two known reservoirs of trans-Neptunian objects, are less than one thousandth the Oort cloud's distance. The outer extent of the Oort cloud defines the gravitational boundary of our Solar System .
Friday, January 16, 2009
Messianic Hugs transcend Species!!
A fleet of ministering angels are my conspiratorial allies in this endevour to deliver to all sentient beings who have ever lived and who will ever live one ginormous paradigm shifting hug.
Included in this list:
santa claus, gnomes, fairies and all other extradimensional ilk, space aliens of every solar system, jose krahn, dave macri, don maximo, jesse Q, dan saidman, carlos the doctor Q, my boss, sharmas, cousins, wait a second the impossiblility of naming all sentient beings who I love is rapidly becoming evident, Osama ben laden, George Bush (its been a good run), the bhuda, the 2nd bhuda who will emerge 2012, jose krahn, the makers of lucky lager, the mushroom entities, the notorious BIG, hermes trismestgustus, all elements listed on the periodic element of the elements and also all those elements not listed, Brittany S (because the goddess life is hard), a special shout out to conan (the cimmerian), Lorne r, Louis R, , I saw this show about this SAVANt dude who flies up in an airplane over the city of london for half an hour. then he lands and draws this massive panorama for five days of London in perfect detail that guy rulz, dave macri, king arthur, bilbo, aslan, yukdugu, and also included in this list are every single other living entity everywhere and everything and everytime forever.
A billion most high explodding lotusflower UltraMega KITTEN!!!!
The immaterial vision which has made me tremble with delight
The physical asanas are only a preperation for meditation.
The mind is a tangled thing and through the process of composing, performing, listening: meditation!
Bazooka, fireworks, white phosphorous,
beAutifULL kittens are A JOY TO THE HOME
through the practice of yoga, the ego-soul is fused with the devine soul generating bliss and perfection 4 U!!!
APOCALYPSe: Uncovering, unveiling
The NEW Gods ARE Born!!
THE nEW GODS FOR SURe!!!!
WAY To gO
WAY To gO
the NEW Gods Are real
the new gods CAN feel
THE NEw gODS wiLL HEAL YOU
THE NEW GODS WILL PEEL the dUST FROM your REALITY
MESSIANIC POWER UNVEILED AT A DISCOUnt prICe!!!
So, a bit ago, we had knocked around ideas about population growth and food supply. During that convo, there was some disagreement with the notion that increased food production was tied in to population growth.
Here's some info on the subject from a great paper at http://www.mnforsustain.org/pimentel_hopfenberg_human_population_food_supply.htm
Our position is that population growth, the prime environmental problem affecting all ecological, biological, and non-living systems, is a function of increasing food production (Quinn, 1992, 1996, 1998a; Pimentel, 1966, 1996).
It is the current perspective in both the scientific and lay communities that food production must be increased in order to support a growing human population (Postel, 2001; Bongaarts, 1994; Waggoner, 1994; Brundtland, 1993; Baron, 1992; Anifowoshe, 1990; Brown, 1989; Robson, 1981).
However, as Farb (1978, p. 121) has pointed out, "intensification of production to feed an increased population leads to a still greater increase in population."
That is to say that as more food has been made available ostensibly to alleviate food shortages caused by the increased number of people, the biologically determined response has been an increase in the population.
The image (by Steve Greenberg, originally in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) is from http://www.geographyalltheway.com
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Following is the complete text of the draft resolution considered by the Council:
“The Security Council,
“Reaffirming it previous resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 1322 (2000), 1397 (2002), 1402 (2002), 1403 (2002), 1405 (2002), 1435 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1544 (2004),
“Reaffirming the applicable rules and principles of international law, including humanitarian and human rights laws, in particular the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949,
“Expressing its grave concern at the continued deterioration of the situation on the ground in the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel since 1967, during the recent period, particularly as a result of the excessive and disproportionate use of force by Israel, the occupying Power, which has caused extensive loss of civilian Palestinian life and injuries, including among children and women,
“Condemning the military operations being carried out by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Gaza Strip, in particular the attack that took place in Beit Hanoun on 8 November 2006, which have caused loss of civilian life and extensive destruction of Palestinian property and vital infrastructure,
“Condemning also the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel,
“1. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to immediately cease its military operations that endangers the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to immediately withdraw its forces from within the Gaza Strip to positions prior to 28 June 2006;
“2. Calls for an immediate halt of all acts of violence and military activities between the Israeli and Palestinian side as was agreed in the Sharm El-Sheikh understandings of 8 February 2005;
“3. Requests the Secretary-General to establish a fact-finding mission on the attack that took place in Beit Hanoun on 8 November 2006 within thirty days;
“4. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to scrupulously abide by its obligations and responsibilities under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949;“5. Calls upon the Palestinian Authority to take immediate and sustained action to bring an end to violence, including the firing of rockets on Israeli territory;
“6. Emphasizes the need to preserve the Palestinian institutions, infrastructure and properties;
“7. Expresses grave concern about the dire humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people and calls for the provision of emergency assistance to them;
“8. Calls upon the international community, including the Quartet, to take immediate steps, to stabilize the situation and restart the peace process, including through the possible establishment of an international mechanism for protection of the civilian populations;
“9. Calls upon the parties supported by the international community to take immediate steps including confidence-building measures, with the objective of resuming peace negotiations;
“10. Stresses the importance of, and the need to achieve, a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), the Madrid terms of reference, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the League of Arab States Summit in March 2002 in Beirut and the Road Map;
“11. Requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations to report back to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution in a timely manner;
“12. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
Apologies for perpetuating this discussion here but I thought recent developments were blog-worthy:
The United Nations asked isreal to allow its trucks into Gaza in order to deliver humanitarian aid. The Isrealis agreed to a ceasefire for a few hours so that the aid trucks could come in. And then they bombed the UN truc ks!!! Killing two drivers! I was listening to someone interveiw a spokesman for the Isreali defence and he said that the UN is infiltrated with Hamas terrorists!!!!
And then this:
This is intolerable. Im outraged!
Monday, January 12, 2009
Collin Zipp made these images for me, in some cases he used my photographs, and I can't decide on just one.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
In light of recent events and blog discussions, thought I'd post this trailer from Waltz With Bashir, which I saw last night-- it's the best movie I've seen in a long time.
It looks at the 1982 war in Lebanon, and a civilian massacre in two refugee camps, from the perspective of a 19-year old Israeli soldier who, two decades in the future, is trying to recover his blocked memories from the event.
Friday, January 09, 2009
Thursday, January 08, 2009
I know you must all see this on the regular news but thought you might want to be reminded.
By any interpretation of international law, Israel today is committing massive and egregious war crimes and crimes against humanity against the defenseless people of Gaza. It's doing it with the full support and encouragement of the US and willful compliance of the West.
Today during a ceasefire 2 UN drivers bringing releif were killed by Isreali bombs. There s photographic evidence of the use of deadly phosphorous bombs being used which are banned weapons.
Our government supports Israel.
I find these acts to be audacious. Everyday Canadian soldiers are coming home in body bags in a useless struggle in afghanistan. For what. Why arent we there defending those children. Who s side are we on. It makes me feel ashamed to be canadian. In fact, Im ashamed for humankind. My mind is glued to these transpirings and an overall gloominess pervades my everyday reality. I feel helpless to act other than trying to stimulate discussion.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I saw six beautiful women dancing on top of a bar to this song tonight wearing short shorts, and Timbaland, for those who know, has been one of the more interesting producers in commercial and radio-friendly-type rap for many years...
So, like, if you don't care to watch the video, don't, but listen to the lyrics (which are kind of cute, and refreshingly honest) and turn this song f**king LOUD on your speakers and, like, have sex or something. Seriously.
The Way I Are Video
I am currently reading a book by Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychologist, on mindfulness. She states "much research in psychology has shown that people often ignore population-based information in favor of anecdotal, idiosyncratic information. If, when car shopping, we are shown statistics underlining the high quality of a Volvo but we know someone who has had trouble with a Volvo, we are not likely to give much weight to the group-based information."
I am not familiar with this literature from the field of psychology, but if it is correct, then at least when it comes to working with the public and wondering how we can communicate better and bring the public back into public health, that our evidence hierarchy (least effective - anecdotes > case control studies > randomized trials - most effective) needs to be flipped on its head as the public's prefered language of anecdotes is different - and perhaps until we can communicate better in that language, we continue to be like two trains passing in the night...
On 7-Jan-09, at 2:56 PM, he wrote:
I'm not familiar with that literature, but I would think that public opinion is more complex, i.e., people can be impressed and fooled by statistics, and that is one way to get them to buy. Whether an anecdote trumps that at the point of making a decision, like I said, don't know the literature.
Yet I have another point.
I'm not sure people necessarily need knowledge on the social determinants of health.
I think people fundamentally know what we are doing here, sort of a Plato inherent knowledge kind of thing.
Poverty, whether it 'will always be with us' or not, by definition, is an outrage, we're just numb, or choose to be.
And then there's the idea that if people knew more about the social determinants of health, they'd somehow change, I'm a bit of a pessimist on this issue.
What is needed now is FUNDAMENTAL change in who we are, and unfortunately, by definition as well, it appears that this presupposes individual change, the hardest of them all.
Think about it, what have you done today?
I was lucky, I live in the downtown of a large city, so I was able to walk to work. I will take a subway home.
Were you as lucky?
Did you buy all local grocery last time you visited your grocer?
Man oh man, I love bananas.
Did you vote?
Did any of you or your children get a i-phone, or some i-something or other, to be tossed in a landfill in 1 to 3 years time, so we can get some new ones?
I have a fancy i-pod.
Did you use, like Leonard Cohen said: the bags that time cannot decay?
And don't get me wrong, public opinion is a powerful agent of change, but I think we're beyond that.
It's fundamental now.
It's fundamental now.