Sunday 18th of November 2018

war score .....

war score .....

Letters to the Editor

The Times Editor,  

We're winning but the other side makes all the points.

So the president thinks America is winning its war ["Five Years of War: Defiant Bush says U.S. safer, world is better," Times page one, March 19].  

In some sense, the terrorists have "won," if you must use that word. They destroyed the World Trade Center to damage the USA by striking deep into the American economy.

Five years later, the cost of chasing al-Qaida has caused us to incur huge annual deficits, each increasing the massive national debt; our economy is in recession; gasoline has gone from about $1.40 a gallon to around $3.50; we have lost 4,000 dead and several times as many severely wounded; America admits it now tortures captives and holds people incommunicado for years; and we have few friends left in the community of nations. Is there anything on that list that the terrorists didn't want to happen as a result of 9/11?

— Jon Jensen, College Place 

A Few More 'Victories' & The US Will Be Bankrupt

of dots and lines...

While the Sydney city planners and politicians seem to be using their left hand with vigour, I got quite annoyed at a programme on ABC 1 last night. The fellow is enthusiastic enough and certainly has some credentials but something was missing... Art historian Nigel Spivey show on "how art made the world —the day pictures were born" should hopefully improve in "accuracy" and scope in the next episodes with more obvious recent or pointed examples.

It is my view that Nigel's foray into anthropology stank of "I am so right with discovering one tit-bit of knowledge" — with but one example in South Africa to back up his theory re the European cave paintings... If I recall correctly, he made some general comments that were wide of the mark. His comments might have been applicable selectively but not universally.

For example he announced that 12000 years ago people "stopped painting" and he asked why, to take us to a place in Turkey where sculpture were mostly visible by torch-light at night... Specky stuff but near useless explanations followed... Up till then apparently, artists had gone down inside caves and had painted stuff but then they stopped... then they carved?

I don't think so.

In Australia, the continuum of painting was "uninterrupted". Aboriginal "cave" paintings (done under rock overhangs go back to at least 40,000 years in Arnhem Land plateau and were still painted as recently as the 1960s. Today, the practice may still go on. This unsung history is phenomenal in its scope and it is frightening to see how a major part of human history can be so bypassed...

Where Europe can claim, say up to 100 sites (to be generous), Arnhem Land plateau has more 3,500 sites of prehistorical significance — some more than 100 metres long.

Thus, here goes in smoke Spivey's theory about painted art stopping at about 12,000 years ago. In fact, even in Europe painted art is still found for later dates but in much rarer occasions. But the crux of the matter is that Spivey could have given us a broader picture.. going to Turkey to show us ancient sculptures is commendable but not enough. I would suggest here that at the time he mentioned, the valleys in that region of turkey were green and lush (including the ancient wheat being "cultivated") but soon, something happened: global warming.

No kidding.

12,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago was the big melt — the Noah biblical flood. This event was also recorded in the overhangs of Arnhem Land by the locals. They saw the plains between New Guinea and mainland Australia being flooded by the sea. They recorded the change of fish life, on the walls. New species came up the now salty rivers... The change of topology may also have changed the weather which brought the monsoons, soon to become the rainbow serpent. I say may because although we can extrapolate we can be wrong too. But Spivey is wrong, by omission big time.

My view point is that it is most likely that the earliest pictures might have been drawn in sand... A finger poking a hole in the sand... or a hand, swiping the ground from leaves, making a strange regular mark on the ground. These images may have been done much much much earlier than "recording" with more permanent art. But art these earlier sand pictograms would have been.

The crucial leap would have been made when the hominoid grunters realised their fingers poking at the ground left a mark that could be associated with the specific grunt or the specific "concept" (looking at a scenery, lighting fire, etc.), that the grunt meant. This is a slow/fast evolution of symbols in symbiosys. "Soon", larger patterns could have been drawn in the sands and the relationship with a particular exclusive meaning developed. Scribing on tree trunks may have been common too. Symbolism was born in the moiré between language, observation and the rudimentary gesture. Dance may have come earlier, or as part of this earliest form of communication... Who knows. By the time recorded art appeared, symbolism would have long been established. Many sacred Aboriginal ceremonies still have their "symbolic sand drawings"... Buddhist Chakra with coloured sands is another example of the understanding of the ultimate symbolic meaning, in its most ephemeral art phase.

The foray by Spivey into the "trance" was interesting enough but somewhat misleading. Many artists, including myself if I may indulge here, know the power of the trance in order to perform some works. Trance also includes the power of the illusion, the power of memory, and the power of dreams. A lot of the aboriginal culture rely on dreams. Some artists use drugs to induce the "trance". I don't although I will relax with a drink or two or more.

The brain sure has "mechanical" devices that gives us dreams and overdrive. We can alter our consciousness. Trance is a bit like an overdrive, where we give our mind the freedom to explore its own self at high speed, under the mesmerising rhythms, natural, "drumbeat" or melodic — exterior (outside) or interior (within). In a trance we stop ourselves from stopping ourselves. Adrenaline is pumping to the max, the lungs hyperventilate, we saturate our brain with unbridled power...

The images shown by Spivey about the spots and the lines of the visions in trance were pretty crude. Since my childhood, daily, without being in a trance, I have experienced these "fantastic" patterns of light and dark, of dots and lines and of complex 3D images that blow my socks off. One does not need a strobbing machine to do that. We just need to pay attention... And I believe we all do experience these. The next step is to extrapolate these images into art. This can be somewhat difficult because many of these images are like shifting sands and are as ephemeral as drawings in dirt on a windy day, with new waves of images coming in, like surf breaking on a seashore... I wrote about these quite a while back, in the early 1990s and how I used these to underscore some of my paintings... But in Spivey's example of cave paintings, memory would have played a more important role in the development of the image, as well as the "low" light... By the way, the size of the work and the lines on these cave paintings also show an extraordinary steady purposeful hand...

Penultimate in this analysis of the dots... For my part, I can assure you that at nigh-time, the lower the light intensity, the more "dots" I see with my eyes wide opened. That is to say, in near darkness, my vision becomes more like a Seurat painting. It is as if in order to capture the low light, only some sensors in the eye take over the entire vision. And it flickers too, a bit like the view from night-vision goggles... Nothing special. But fascinating nonetheless...

So, in my view, Spivey missed many points that HAD TO BE MADE last night, even if one cannot tell the whole of a story in 50 minutes of TV... The week before Spivey raved on about the ultra fat "Venus of Willendorf" (25,000 BC) and its universal meaning... There has not been a "Venus of Willendorf" in Aboriginal recorded art as far as I know. Aborigines have painted many images of women in explicit position but most have beautiful elongated bodies and slender legs. Stylised and symbolic works... In Aboriginal art, symbolism has had a continuous run and this symbolism is still at a most important phase, while in other groups, such as the Europeans, figurative art even with a stylistic approach started to permeate culture (until the 20th century).

In Aboriginal art, style ,with variation in evolution, and symbolism seem to have been the flux that has flourished till today — seen in the extraordinary paintings that some modern Aboriginal artists produce... The abstraction are most powerful and most enticing. And most demanding of our understanding yet stirring our emotional acceptance... When Jack Pollock was creating blue poles, Aboriginal artists may have had visualised a million blue poles... As Spivey metioned, Picasso said "we invent nothing" or such... And as Gus Leonisky propose: "we still have a lot of nothing to discover"...

Dots and lines, fluidity and structure, colours and dreams....

The world is a fascinating place...

And yes... It is most likely that the previous global warming turned the rich plains in Turkey into semi-desert or total desert... Civilisations came and went...

meditation


Scientists probe meditation secrets
By Naomi Law

Kathy Sykes
There is evidence that meditation changes brain structures

Scientists are beginning to uncover evidence that meditation has a tangible effect on the brain.

Sceptics argue that it is not a practical way to try to deal with the stresses of modern life.

But the long years when adherents were unable to point to hard science to support their belief in the technique may finally be coming to an end.

When Carol Cattley's husband died it triggered a relapse of the depression which had not plagued her since she was a teenager.

"I instantly felt as if I wanted to die," she said. "I couldn't think of what else to do."

Carol sought medical help and managed to control her depression with a combination of medication and a psychological treatment called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

However, she believes that a new, increasingly popular course called Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) - which primarily consists of meditation - brought about her full recovery.

It is currently available in every county across the UK, and can be prescribed on the NHS.

One of the pioneers of MBCT is Professor Mark Williams, from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.

He helps to lead group courses which take place over a period of eight weeks. He describes the approach as 80% meditation, 20% cognitive therapy.

New perspective

He said: "It teaches a way of looking at problems, observing them clearly but not necessarily trying to fix them or solve them.




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Gus: back in 1994, I wrote this piece below about my personal form of "meditation" (NR-D, Non-Reactive Defocusing) to help reduce the impact and the addictive nature of depression. It helped me for many years in the removal of "mind-blocks", of fatigue and of oncoming depressive moods. It was part of a chapter in a non commercially released book that I wrote after a health scare, just in case.
The book — quite bio-mechanical in its approach — was rejected by publishers (and still is) on the grounds, I believe, of its anti-religious stance. In fact the book is anti-dogma, rather than anti-religion or anti-spiritual. Dogma is the soft/hard killer of curiosity and of personal exploration of our strange reality. In the book too I explore the value and importance of "style" in our understanding of substance. I called this "Stylism"... Since then I have called it "Stylism+" (Stylism plus). Style being the driving force of our interpretations of life. "Stylism+" being our understanding of this important relative mechanism that still connects us to the animal world but in humans has become our multi-coloured feathers....

My NR-D may not do the same thing as a Buddhist or other forms of meditation but I find it very effective. I even use it to treat headaches, should I get one from over indulgence (for headaches, the head needs to be quite higher than the feet in the process — like being semi-seated on a pack of pillows, without having to hold one's back). It works for me.


NR-D

Defocusing
Defocusing is akin to mine-sweepers being de-gaussed. These boats eventually develop an undesirable polarity during operations. This polarity being dangerous in finding and removing magnetic mines.
We can loose track of reality when our memory and imagination become polarised on one single intense activity. Eventually we become inefficient in other activities, losing track of their importance. During such polarisation we forget to feed ourselves, we fail to see oncoming danger or we lose general cognitive ability, eventually leading to nervous breakdown and depression.

Pressing the reset button
Somewhere in our brain there is a reset function, like the one we press on a computer after a crash—a function that happens when we sleep and dream, allowing us to discard conflict-residual effects. We often say: ‘Sleep on it and you’ll feel better in the morning...’. Sleeping should help us re-value and reposition what we do and think, in alignment with biorhythmic activities. But sleeping may not be as efficient as it should be, because our biorhythms are too much out of kilter or we have accumulated too much junk in our mind, or we can’t properly sleep because of problems.

N-RD (Non-Reactive Defocusing) practice
The following practice is a strong defocusing device which when applied properly removes mind blocks, improves our ability to make choices and can arrest the progress of depression. At the end of it as part of it, a deliberate caring ethic should underlay our activities.
Before starting, we need to make sure that our body is free of bodily function needs. We use a comfortable surface to lie upon, like a good bed on which we spread eagle, flat on our back. A soft pillow should support the neck and head in line with the natural curvature of the spine. A dark and quiet room is recommended as light and noise can decrease the efficiency of the process. We could be totally naked if the room is warm enough, but we can be fully clothed. A small pressure cushion placed on the eyes can speed up the process.

Step one: Relax
Spread eagle we should feel joints being stretched-out, unless we are naturally flexible. Now, we relax every muscle in our body. We abandon all muscular stresses—especially all muscular tension of the face—mouth, eyes, jaws, etc—which is not as easy to do as it seems (this is where the pillow on the eyes can help). Rolling of the eyes for a few second can help settle. Once totally relaxed, we bring our arms back alongside the body, gently linking our hands with intertwined fingers on top of our tummy and we relax once more. Our body, head to toe, is void of tension, our eyelids are closed and secure.

Step two: Wander. Nothing matters....
We gently concentrate on the black that our eyes see while at rest. We soon discover the black is not totally back but faint swirling patterns of pitted black. According to our state of mind these patterns are different. It is likely that we soon enter a torpor-like daze.
We now think of nothing and everything, good or bad, related or unrelated to our self, past, present or future... The very important part is not to attach any emotional value to what goes on inside our mind. If we do, our body that we have placed in a maximised relaxed position will tense up and we will know straight away. What goes on in our mind does not matter, we can drift from ideas of beauty, death, sex, happiness, the meaning of life to the price of fish, nothing and anything or what to cook for dinner. Our mind is free to be without being emotionally reactive—no fear, no contentment. It could be difficult to be totally non-reactive and we may need several sessions before we become adept at this self-induced desensitisation, exercising our important ability to mentally do anything, without restrictions of reaction.
Depending on our conflict-residual amount, the process can take various length of time, but it is not recommended at first to push beyond twenty minutes of free-wheeling, until we decide to activate our self, nor to have more than one session per day. It is not recommended to use an alarm clock or a timer. Our mind will soon know when it has had enough, like a wild horse that has run and run until there is no need to run, there is no need to further wander.

Step three: Re-activate
We slowly awaken the body by slow movements and cat-like stretches. We do not pay any attention to whatever we have though during the process. Strangely enough, we should feel physically washed out—out of steam. Our mind has roamed realms without limits while having no need to excite our body through hormonal production, thus we have run out of adrenaline, during this semi-sleep. We have explored the meaning of life, jumped over our inhibitors, frolicked in the fields of forbidden fruit and the boring ordinary, all without emotional reactivity of guilt or enjoyment, and we have let go.
Unknowingly or knowingly we have reset our mind in tune with its support system, the body, and vice verso. After a few minutes of light physical activity to re-energise our self, such as stretches and gentle walking, we should feel a lightness of body and of mind in which mental blocks have disappeared. We have re-ignited our ability to make better decisive choices instantly. We can surprise our self. What do we want? To be happy! Let’s be happy... simple.

Step four: Care
We reorganise the reality of our dedication to our self and our environment. We make, or re-establish, the agreement with our self, to care for our self and care for others. This is a very important agreement which is going to underlay the purpose of our activities designed to create and maintain a happy self in a better environment.
We can now act as twice the speed we used to, without hesitation. We can work with a new born confidence and we can accept or solve the most difficult problems. Using the reset button, we are managing the biorhythm of our life, adjusted in the social and natural environment in which we operate by our re-affirmed decision to care for our self and care for others. We are generating a great feeling of well-being in the present, less and less attached to the past and more likely to be unstoppable in the near future. Living is now. Enjoying life is here. having tuned our body/mind biorhythmic activity, serendipity soon becomes the companion of our decisions.
In an unbridled mind, the N-RD practice manipulates our subconscious stylistic stack. We are tuning our biorhythm to our stylism—our ability to exercise choices which are not survival related.
We might need to use the reset button regularly to eliminate mental blocks more efficiently. At first we could feel the need to do this every day, but soon once a week, once a month, once a year becomes enough, because our sleeping patterns usually improve and we lessen the desire to use consciousness-altering substances such as drugs.
We can induce the process while being active and, in a simple decision, clear our mind of conflict-residual, but we need to have used the Non-Reactive Defocusing practice to recall and draw on former results.

Connecting to the self in N-RD practice
The joining of the hands on the tummy is not an insignificant factor and work several folds. As depicted by Michelangelo and as seen in ET, The Extra Terrestrial, fingertips are shown to convey the energy of creation, love and understanding. In fact, because of their important use of control from the brain, the hands have a strong energy field of moisture, heat, electromagnetism and feeling of touch, as well as being important practical natural tools for creative expression. Reinforced by being joined, the energy field from the hands is thus not lost in thin air, and their slight weight on the fully relaxed tummy also encourages the natural processing in the visceral cavity. As well, the joining of the hand—like a hand-shake establishing a relationship with some one else—symbolises the acknowledgement of establishing a relationship with our self.

Taping personal animal energies
The process does not make appeal to any outside forces but our own personal energies. This is why Non-Reactive Defocusing is a form of non-faith meditation. Instead of focusing on a faith-related mantra to reach serenity, we defocus the mind in a semiconscious non-emotional process. As we emerge from it we focus on the practical ethic of caring for the self and caring others.
With N-RD we are not psycho-analysing the source of problems. With N-RD we minimise and even eliminate the relative emotional importance we have placed on problems while increasing the processing space availability for decisive choices.
Taking a shower after the practice can parallel the concept of cleaning the body after having experienced the cleaning of the mind.
I have found the best time for Non-Reactive Defocusing to be around eleven o’clock in the morning and three o’clock in the afternoon, or anytime should we feel we should be in full active swing but experience a mental block, or a loss of motivation for whatever reason.
There is no secret in the bio-mechanical process of Non-Reactive Defocusing (pressing the reset button) practice. We provide the body and mind with a timeframe in which to relax fully and a dream-space to reconnect at will as long as there is no reactivity involved, that is to say no emotional reaction and no movements, until the mind comes to a standstill from which we reboot activity and ethics in tune with each other.
In practice, even with the help of N-RD, we might still make mistakes, most likely less though, but these will be in perspective with our re-enforced desire to care rather than a fear of failure or punishment. We become more adept are making better choices.

Caring for the self and caring for others
The need to establish the notion of caring for our self and caring for others resides in the reinforcement of decisive ethical agreement in line with survival, personal and shared. When Non-Reactive Defocusing practice is enacted to the maximum, it trail-blazes a direct pathway between the natural core re-activities of life—which are aggressiveness and receptivity—and our behaviour, while by-passing inhibitors, some necessary some unnecessary. With the agreement we establish a definite line of action to care, in order to minimise the direct line to violence in aggressiveness and minimise submissiveness in receptivity.
This ethical decision of care does not mean we have to be super-charitable and abandon notions of wealth. Caring is a more aware notion of relationships. Caring is an attitude that allows our self and others to be and to develop, rather that giving just enough deed to maintain the status quo. We value our relationships in which we minimise violence and minimise submissiveness, and increase the notions of sharing and enjoyment. We become more in charge of our self and less victim of circumstances, as our activities are geared to minimise the harm we can do to our self or to others, and to maximise personal and shared benefits.

Faith and beliefs
It is most likely that some aspects of faiths and prejudicial beliefs will strongly interfere with the efficiency of Non-Reactive Defocusing practice because of so-called taboo subjects which N-RD might let us explore. The more we practice N-RD, the more we can eliminate these barriers, including our feeling of guilt and also the more we can replace this feeling with the notion of caring. This empowers us directly by choice-making ability rather than by fear of action.
Being aware that the Non-Reactive Defocusing practice is a highly manipulative activity should not prevent it from being effective. To the contrary, being conscious of the self-manipulation process added to the ethical choice of caring makes us more pro-active and less reactive.

Another use of N-RD practice
We usually take a couple of pills to deal with headaches and hangovers but we have the natural ability to manage these, usually by ignoring them and engaging in measured low physical activity that increases blood flow. In some cases this won’t work. Non-Reactive Defocusing can help, but instead of lying flat on our back, we half-sit up on a comfortable surface such as a stack of pillows to reduce gravity-induced blood pressure to the brain. We still bring the body to rest, totally relaxed in order to minimise variations of pain as the natural pain-killing ability of the brain through endorphin usually cannot counter variation of pain intensity. The defocusing is modified in this case to become a focus on nothing exclusively—we think of nothing but concentrate gently on the black our eyes see while our eyelids are closed, while we are still non-reactive. This can eliminate headaches within five minutes, migraines within twenty minutes and strong hangovers within forty minutes, naturally. The getting out of this process also demand mild physical activity such as cat-like stretches but may not need ethical care reinforcement.

Signing off
Bringing an activity to completion and acknowledging the end of this activity is necessary for any activity to be complete. This can appear as a logiscism but, in fact, how many times have we started a project we have abandoned through lack of commitment, either having lost track of what we were trying to achieve or because we found it too hard to continue? How many times did we finish a project without acknowledging the end? How many time have we not taken the time to send a bill to a client as soon as a project ends? Failure to bring an activity to an end can become chronic, thus creating a pattern of constant failure or disinterest in the result, inducing distress and depression. We need to achieve, acknowledge and celebrate the terminability of some of our goals to create enough emotional shifts of happiness and alleviate a possible sense of general failure. Indifference leads to carelessness and depression.
To sign off physically we can give ourselves a pat on the back, an applause, a stretch, a shout, a jump in the air, a punch in the air with a fist and other such manifestations. Sportsmen often do “victory pumps or laps” when they shoot a goal or win a point, as physical display of exhilaration which promotes adrenaline production and has the other beneficial effect of acknowledging the public acknowledging them for their success. In business, a success might be celebrated by a party or a lunch to close a deal.
We should be aware that in many stylistic creative activities, the last five to ten per cent of activity necessary for superior quality completion of a project is often the most mentally demanding to achieve. Creation is often referred to as ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration, but the ending of an activity usually demands a greater commitment than the bulk creation. We have to make the decision that we have stylistically achieved the work. This is not as obvious as it may seem, because in most creative works we have to stylistically assess that the level of achievement is passable, good enough, very good, excellent or just cannot be pushed any further.
On this level, we could fear the end of a project as it can appear as the death of this event—fear that the finished event is not as good as it should, or that finishing the project kills the dream attached to it.
Not finishing is not a problem if the event is not critical to our survival, natural or stylistic—in relationships or on a personal level— at this point in time, and if we are able to complete and acknowledge—and also be acknowledged for—other important and smaller events that instil shifts of happiness in our self.

The yellow bunch...

Simpsons ditched by Venezuelan TV

The Simpsons has been dropped from morning TV in Venezuela after being deemed unsuitable for children - and has been replaced by Baywatch.

The popular US cartoon about the yellow dysfunctional family was branded "inappropriate" and pulled by the country's television authorities.

Caracas TV station Televen has started showing episodes of the beachside show in the same mid-morning slot.

It became famous for its bikini-clad stars, including Pamela Anderson.

Glamorous locations

The country's TV regulator said the saga of Homer Simpson, wife Marge and their three children flouted regulations that prohibit "messages that go against the whole education of boys, girls and adolescents".

It said that some unspecified complaints had been received from viewers.

Televen's manager may decide to show The Simpsons, which has been dubbed into Spanish, at another time of day.

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Gus; see toon on top and read the rest of the blogs in this column at your leisure... 

disfunction boondoggle

The Road to Somewhere Shady

The Senate has taken the unusual step of proposing that the Justice Department begin a criminal investigation of a long-running Congressional embarrassment known as the Coconut Road earmark. At issue is who slipped the $10 million boondoggle back into the transportation budget after it had been rejected by Congress.

This is no minor mystery. The way precedent creeps around the Capitol, a stealthy $10 million alteration can easily be followed by one worth $100 million.

From the first, the project was classic pork — an earmark that Representative Don Young of Alaska, then the powerful G.O.P. transportation committee chairman, tailored after visiting Florida and receiving $40,000 in developers’ campaign donations. Local officials objected, saying the proposed Coconut Road connection to the interstate would increase land values but abuse the environment by cutting across a valued wetland.

They requested that the $10 million go to more pressing interstate needs, an appropriation both houses finally approved. Yet, the bill arrived for President Bush’s signature with the Coconut interchange miraculously substituted for what Congress approved.

After months of Congressional chagrin about earmark corruption, Mr. Young’s office admitted that it may have been a staff member who altered the bill after the vote, but not to finagle it — only to somehow “correct” it. Representative Young is the porkmeister who championed the notorious Bridge to Nowhere. He remains incorrigible.

The latest transportation bill includes a high-speed rail link between Nevada casinos and California that Mr. Young sought. Yes, the rail link developers made a contribution to Mr. Young’s campaign fund, and they even hired the same lobbyist involved in the Coconut Road project, according to CQ Today.

visions...

May 30, 2008,  8:57 pm The World Science Festival: Oliver Sacks at the MET

What can you see with your eyes closed? As it turns out a lot more than you might think, as the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks discovered in 2005 when he developed cancer in his right eye. Speaking at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Friday night to a standing room only crowd, Sacks detailed in words and drawings from his journals (think preschool art) what it is looks like when your eyes deceive you. His talk was part of the World Science Festival, which John Tierney, who is also reporting on the festival on TierneyLab, writes was founded by a husband-and-wife team, Columbia physicist Brian Greene and television producer Tracy Day, determined to engage the public in science.

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Gus: see blog above, "of dots and lines..." Apart from his great work in the functioning (or dysfunctioning of) of the brain,  Oliver Sacks loves paleobotany. It is a science that gives one of the most structured insight into the Earth's past and present... 

the war on whatever

Afghan commandos discover 230 tonnes of cannabis in the desert

By Jerome Starkey in Kabul
Thursday, 12 June 2008

Afghan officials have announced a world record in the war on drugs after they unearthed more than 200 tonnes of cannabis buried in desert trenches.

Two RAF Harrier jets were called in to bomb the 236.8-tonne cache, with a minimum street value of £225m. It was found by Afghan commandos who work with Britain's Special Boat Service. Hundreds of grain sacks, stuffed full of hash were hidden deep inside six trenches. The entrances to the trenches were concealed with branches.

The soldiers arrested three people at the site and seized binoculars, a satellite phone and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

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Gus: magic!

But then a little voice in the back of my mind tells me something is not quite right... Are we witnessing a cache of dope being sacrificed by the drug lords to make sure the price of the merchandise would go up three times, once a quarter of supplies is destroyed? Hum...

I've seen that before with vanilla beans.... Tonnes being destroyed to keep the value up for the producers...

 3 people, binoculars, a satellite phone and a Kalashnikov assault rifle????? Fodder...

permaswift...

Arctic thaw threatens Siberian permafrost

By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Saturday, 14 June 2008

The permafrost belt stretching across Siberia to Alaska and Canada could start melting three times faster than expected because of the speed at which Arctic Sea ice is disappearing.

A study found that the effects of sea-ice loss – which reached an all-time record last summer – extend almost 1,000 miles inland to areas where the ground is usually frozen all year round.

The smaller the area of sea ice, the less sunlight is reflected and the more heat is absorbed. That means scientists expect a tripling in the rate of warming over the continental land mass surrounding the Arctic. "Our study suggests that, if sea ice continues to contract rapidly over the next several years, Arctic land warming and permafrost thaw are likely to accelerate," said David Lawrence of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

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Swifts take flight from vanishing eaves

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Saturday, 14 June 2008

Swifts, the fast-flying summer visitors which are among Britain's most extraordinary birds, are being renovated out of existence.

Their traditional nesting places in roofs and eaves are rapidly vanishing as older houses and other structures are upgraded – while newer buildings, especially those in steel and glass, provide no space whatsoever.

Edward Mayer, who is campaigning to have nest boxes installed on buildings and to have the species' plight recognised, warns that eventually there will be no nesting places left.

Surveys by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) have shown a dramatic fall in swift numbers between 1995 and 2005, with a decline of 22 per cent in England and Wales and a 38 per cent fall in Scotland.

race for the mad house

Ralph Wiggum for prez...

see toon at top...  

rocks in their heads...

"This rock art dismantles the popular identity of Australia being a nation first visited by the British," said Dr Alistair Paterson, of the University of Western Australia, also on the expedition. "It goes against the idea of the Bicentennial and convicts."

The first rock art expert known to have seen the shelter was George Chaloupka in the 1970s. But the exact location was lost until a doctoral student at the Australian National University, Daryl Guse, relocated it by working with a local Aboriginal elder, Ronald Lamilami.

Apart from conducting the first full recording of the Djulirri art, the team of researchers discovered thousands of other rock paintings previously unknown to science.


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Gus: Hum... The photograph of the so-called long lost site paintings in the article published by the Sydney Morning Herald is a big featured double spread (pages 204-205) in George Chaloupka's brilliant book "Journey in Time"... "The World's Longest Continuing Art Tradition".

The site is carefully described in the caption page 203.

Chaloupka, I believe, recorded more than 3,500 painting sites (may be most or all) on the plateau while working at the Arts and Science Museum of Darwin... For some paintings, he did not reveal their exact location or only gave approximate positions, for respect of the elder/owner (at the time I believe his old friend "nipper") of the land and also to prevent vandalism.

For true scholars "the popular identity of Australia being a nation first visited by the British" was never on. It has been known early that Makassans (Indonesians) were trading with the Arnhem Land Aborigines for hundreds of years before the British landing. The Makassans came to fish "bèche de mer" and other stuff from the waters too. In George Chaloupka's book, this long relationship is explained in details via the painting record and there is even the paintings of two monkey on page 193... possibly painted by an Aboriginal artist who had travelled to the Indonesian islands with the Makassans.

When George Chaloupka's book was (first) published in 1993, it put a lot of academic's noses out of joint. See, George was not a "scholar" with his nose buried in dusty books, nor was he copying the accepted theories of the past. As an artist and enlightened investigator, Chaloupka restructured the somewhat patchy anthropological knowledge with serious geological/palaeo sciences (some existing, some new) and the local aboriginal knowledge, most of which he recorded personally — all meticulously. His work is simply brilliant.

Chaloupka got an honorary doctorate for his monumental work, but academics may have resented him having created a massive body of knowledge contrary to — or adding to — their long held arrested beliefs.

Being an artist, Chaloupka has a great sense of "style" and of "symbolism". Being able to re-associate these elements with the natural environment in evolution and change was masterful. Combining all this with the local aboriginal story-lines was delicate and respectful. His time lines of the art in the Arnhem land plateau are fascinating.

"thousands of other rock paintings previously unknown to science."? Have they looked at the amazing photographic record of Chaloupka's? 200,000 pictures, half a million? May be "they" don't regard him as a scientist?... Thus even if they were long time known to Chaloupka, these may not have been "known to science"... Rotten.

Here with the Herald story I feel someone — possibly the dazzled reporter, who knows?, is reinventing the wheel and the bread slicer, with less functionality.

To me, it is sad that Chaloupka never got the true recognition he deserves. But at least I believe his work will survive its own "Journey in Time"...

... And pox on those who resent the word tradition being used in Chaloupka's context, on the account of the changes of "style" in the continuum. Contrary to popular beliefs, "traditions" always evolve or change, even in the most precious garded cultural environments...

read of dots and lines...

 

dear, dear readers

May I ask you for a big favour?

Gus Leonisky is persona "non grata" with the rest of the Aussie media... Thus if I may ask please copy the letters below and send them the respective editors of the Sydney Morning Herald, the letter pages, and to The Australian (other letter below), snail mail, email, etc.

Please do not include any links to the story above ("rocks in their heads"). Only refer to it if asked by the editors to confirm source of information. If you do not trust me, go to a library and/or buy the book "Journey in Time" and be amazed... It is my humble opinion that the media still lives in the dark ages...

 -----------------

To the Sydney Morning Herald

Sir/ Madam

The photograph of the so-called long lost site paintings in the article published by the Sydney Morning Herald (20/09/08) is a big featured double spread (pages 204-205) in George Chaloupka's brilliant book "Journey in Time"... "The World's Longest Continuing Art Tradition".

The site is carefully described in the caption page 203.

Chaloupka, I believe, recorded more than 3,500 painting sites (may be most or all) on the plateau while working at the Arts and Science Museum of Darwin... For some paintings, he did not reveal their exact location or only gave approximate positions, for respect of the elder/owner (at the time I believe his old friend "nipper") of the land and also to prevent vandalism.

For true scholars "the popular identity of Australia being a nation first visited by the British" was never on. It has been known early that Makassans (Indonesians) were trading with the Arnhem Land Aborigines for hundreds of years before the British landing. The Makassans came to fish "bèche de mer" and other stuff from the waters too. In George Chaloupka's book, this long relationship is explained in details via the painting record and there is even the paintings of two monkeys on page 193... possibly painted by an Aboriginal artist who had travelled to the Indonesian islands with the Makassans.

When George Chaloupka's book was (first) published in 1993, it put a lot of academic's noses out of joint. See, George was not a "scholar" with his nose buried in dusty books, nor was he copying the accepted theories of the past. As an artist and enlightened investigator, Chaloupka restructured the somewhat patchy anthropological knowledge with serious geological/palaeo sciences (some existing, some new) and the local aboriginal knowledge, most of which he recorded personally — all meticulously. His work is simply brilliant.

Chaloupka got an honorary doctorate for his monumental work, but academics may have resented him having created a massive body of knowledge contrary to — or adding to — their long held arrested beliefs.

Being an artist, Chaloupka has a great sense of "style" and of "symbolism". Being able to re-associate these elements with the natural environment in evolution and change was masterful. Combining all this with the local aboriginal story-lines was delicate and respectful. His time lines of the art in the Arnhem land plateau are fascinating.

"thousands of other rock paintings previously unknown to science."? Have they looked at the amazing photographic record of Chaloupka's? 200,000 pictures, half a million? May be "they" don't regard him as a scientist?... Thus even if they were long time known to Chaloupka, these may not have been "known to science"... Rotten.

Here with the Herald story I feel someone — possibly the dazzled reporter, who knows?, is reinventing the wheel and the bread slicer, with less functionality.

To me, it is sad that Chaloupka never got the true recognition he deserves. But at least I believe his work will survive its own "Journey in Time"...

... And pox on those who resent the word tradition being used in Chaloupka's context, on the account of the changes of "style" in the continuum. Contrary to popular beliefs, "traditions" always evolve or change, even in the most precious garded cultural environments...

Thank you.

--------------------

To The Australian

Sir/ Madam

George Chaloupka's brilliant book "Journey in Time"... "The World's Longest Continuing Art Tradition" show that "the lost rock art shows battleships" (your article of 22/09/08) was never lost. His picture showing these battleships is a magnificent double spread pages 204-205 and was first published in 1993.

Chaloupka, I believe, recorded more than 3,500 painting sites (may be most or all) on the plateau while working at the Arts and Science Museum of Darwin... For some paintings, he did not reveal their exact location or only gave approximate positions, for respect of the elder/owner (at the time I believe his old friend "nipper") of the land and also to prevent vandalism.

For true scholars "the popular identity of Australia being a nation first visited by the British" was never on. It has been known early that Makassans (Indonesians) were trading with the Arnhem Land Aborigines for hundreds of years before the British landing. The Makassans came to fish "bèche de mer" and other stuff from the waters too. In George Chaloupka's book, this long relationship is explained in details via the painting record and there is even the paintings of two monkeys on page 193... possibly painted by an Aboriginal artist who had travelled to the Indonesian islands with the Makassans.

When George Chaloupka's book was (first) published in 1993, it put a lot of academic's noses out of joint. See, George was not a "scholar" with his nose buried in dusty books, nor was he copying the accepted theories of the past. As an artist and enlightened investigator, Chaloupka restructured the somewhat patchy anthropological knowledge with serious geological/palaeo sciences (some existing, some new) and the local aboriginal knowledge, most of which he recorded personally — all meticulously. His work is simply brilliant.

Chaloupka got an honorary doctorate for his monumental work, but academics may have resented him having created a massive body of knowledge contrary to — or adding to — their long held arrested beliefs.

Being an artist, Chaloupka has a great sense of "style" and of "symbolism". Being able to re-associate these elements with the natural environment in evolution and change was masterful. Combining all this with the local aboriginal story-lines was delicate and respectful. His time lines of the art in the Arnhem land plateau are fascinating.

"thousands of other rock paintings previously unknown to science."? Have they looked at the amazing photographic record of Chaloupka's? 200,000 pictures, half a million? May be "they" don't regard him as a scientist?... Thus even if they were long time known to Chaloupka, these may not have been "known to science"... Rotten.

Here with (the Herald and) the Australian story I feel someone — possibly the dazzled reporter, who knows?, is reinventing the wheel and the bread slicer, with less functionality.

To me, it is sad that Chaloupka never got the true recognition he deserves. But at least I believe his work will survive its own "Journey in Time"...

... And pox on those who resent the word tradition being used in Chaloupka's context, on the account of the changes of "style" in the continuum. Contrary to popular beliefs, "traditions" always evolve or change, even in the most precious garded cultural environments...

Thank you.

-------------------

Dear readers, wherever you are, whomever you are,  thank you... This is very very important.

 

disfunctional family still together

Animated comedy The Simpsons is to become the longest-running prime-time series in US TV history after makers Fox ordered another two seasons.

The show is currently in its 20th season which matches the record of Western drama Gunsmoke, shown on CBS, which ended in 1975.

The 21st season will begin in the autumn with the 22nd airing next year.

The Simpsons was first shown in December 1989, and made its UK debut on Sky in September 1990.

The new commission of 44 episodes over two seasons will bring the total number of shows to 493.

The popular cartoon, featuring Bart, Homer, Marge and other residents of Springfield, has received 24 Emmy awards in its 20 years on screen.

Next month, a new episode of The Simpsons is to have its premiere in the UK for the first time in the show's history.

New episodes are usually shown in the US on Fox a week before being shown on Sky1 in the UK.

In The Name Of The Grandfather, a St Patrick's Day special which details a family holiday to Ireland, will be shown on Sky1 on 17 March.

---------------

see toon at top... and read the rest below it...

of sleep and rubbish....

from the independent

To sleep, perchance to dream, said Hamlet. Now scientists have shown that sleep is more about getting rid of the previous day's mental rubbish than it is about dreaming.

A study into slumber has found that the nerve connections built up in the brain during a busy day are pruned back during the night in an attempt to keep the mind from overloading on junk information.

The findings lend support to the idea that a good night's sleep is essential for consolidating important memories of the previous day and getting rid of things that would otherwise clog up the system.

----------------------

Gus: Yes and no...  There are other ways to deal with "junk" info.

In my comment above, meditation, I explain how one can do this withing 20 minutes — or within ten seconds, once one has acquired the pathway to "unlocking" the brain.

We are creature of habits, biorhythms and pathways. We don't venture at night in unknown territory unless we are extraordinarily prepared or foolish. But we can manipulate the "spread" — naturally or with the use of chemicals that modify our consciousness... During our daily awareness, too, there are times when we can and should make decisions about certain things, dumping or accepting — decisions that should not leave any trace (doubt or conflict with past information acquired), ONCE we accept the outcome or the pathway.

In some ways we might need several languages to deal with this, although, if not in control. we can become more confused by the complexity. In most of my sleep, I stay in control: i.e. I am fully aware of  my surroundings, except for about two hours max. And I know... I process the rest of time to imagine rather than dream, and sleep-dreams merge with my imaginings but I can stop anytime I wish. At times, I will have to "close my eyes" to rest that part of the brain — as eyes are the brain on the direct surface of interaction with the outside world...

And the clock ticks, 12, one, two three, four o clock... still alert yet resting... Best "sleep" is between 9 and 11...

People needs are different.

re-discovering?...

An Indigenous association in the Northern Territory says it is developing the world's largest rock art database.

The Jawoyn Association - which represents the Jawoyn people, whose traditional land spans from Katherine up into Arnhem Land - says it has uncovered more than 3,000 Aborginal rock art sites.

The association's cultural manager, Ray Whear, says two of the rock paintings seem to depict tasmanian tigers.

"It's quite unmistakable - there's no doubt in the world," he said.

Wes Miller, the association's director, says Aboriginal rock paintings were first found in stone and gorge country six years ago and more is being found.

"It's enormously significant - we have one of the largest rock art site areas in the world," he said.

"The world doesn't really know about Jawoyn art yet, but they will."

----------------------

Good on the Jawoyn people to tackle their cultural ancestry on their own terms and make a data base. But I would also refer them AND the ABC news editor to the work by George Ckaloupka as mentioned above in this line of blog — a work called "Journey in Time". This important book, published in 1993, expose the variety and style of the Aborignal people on the Arnhem plateau and in Kakadu. Chaloupka catalogued more than 3500 significant sites for the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin... Check it out.

from the land of aborted freedom...

A proposed Utah law that would open women who suffer a miscarriage to possible criminal prosecution and life imprisonment has enraged feminists and civil rights activists across the United States.

Adopted overwhelmingly by both sides of the state legislature in Salt Lake City earlier this month, the draft bill is now awaiting the signature of the state's Republican Governor, Gary Herbert. It is not clear if the growing national controversy surrounding the proposed law will slow or even stay his pen.

While the main thrust of the law is to enable prosecutors in the majority-Mormon state to pursue women who seek illegal, unsupervised forms of abortion, it includes a provision that could trigger murder charges against women found guilty of an "intentional, knowing or reckless act" that leads to a miscarriage. Some say this could include drinking one glass of wine too many, walking on an icy pavement or skiing.

-------

Like the Simpson who by accident or because Bart's pointed his naked bum at the american flag, the country of freedom is free as long as do what they say, according to the rules of the KKK, the mormons or the shooter's party — so they got put in prison, from which they escape. The Simpson end up in France (the French hate the Yanks, apparently... although I know of a few French people, most of them hate the Simpsons... but there you are) ) to become immigrants back to the US where Homer wishes to become a cop — a crooked cop...

The US is loosing the plot... The Simpsons are winning the war. See toon at top.

the greatest character in the world...

Homer Simpson has been named the greatest TV and film character of the last 20 years, according to a Entertainment Weekly survey.

The cartoon character, best known for his love of eating, beat schoolboy wizard Harry Potter to the top slot.

------------------------

Gus: brother!!!... See toon at top.... and if you have some spare time read meditation and the NR-D...

saint simpsons...

D'oh! Simpsons not Catholics after all

 

The author of an in-depth religious study on The Simpsons says that the official Vatican newspaper had misinterpreted his work as meaning the famous cartoon family are Catholics.

"I don't think that at all," said Francesco Occhetta, a Jesuit priest and staff writer for the Rome-based journal Civilta Cattolica.

"I wouldn't say they're Catholic, I would say they're people of faith," he said.

Watching The Simpsons "could help us" spiritually, he added.

The claim in Sunday's issue of Osservatore Romano, in an article entitled "Homer And Bart Are Catholics", has also been countered by the US show's executive producer Al Jean.

Jean told Entertainment Weekly he was in "shock and awe".

The Simpsons, he pointed out, attend a "Presbylutheran" church.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/10/21/3044141.htm?section=justin

 

Gus: new link to watch for...

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2026525_2026524,00.html

----------------------

see toon at top and articles below it...

an unlikely praise...

Strangest of all, throughout all the years of his celebrity, Sacks lived alone. For 35 years, he had no partner and, apparently, no interest in sex.

In fact, Sacks was gay. But he had grown up at a time when homosexuality was illegal in Britain — and in a traditional Jewish community where homosexuals were regarded as abominations against God and nature.

In 2009, at the age of 75, Sacks surprised himself. He met a man named William Hayes and fell in love.

Bill Hayes was just 48 — and was living with grief. Not long before, his partner Steve had died of a heart attack, lying in bed beside him.

He'd moved to New York in search of a new beginning, and had found an unexpected romance with a writer he admired — Sacks.

Hayes tells the story of their love in a tender and generous memoir called Insomniac City.

 

Read more:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-08/oliver-sacks-remembered-in-his-par...

 

Of all things, I remember Oliver Sacks for sending me a private letter praising my work, out of the blue. This is still cherished. I have no clue as to how he managed to get hold of my address, but, a hand-written missive by the great man reached my premises. I replied to say thank you... G

paid foxes against fox news...

For years, the Murdoch family has been able to maintain a separation between its Fox News network and its sprawling entertainment empire.

But that corporate buffer seems to be disintegrating, with several prominent creators of hit TV shows expressing disgust in recent days with the 24-hour news channel’s coverage of the Trump administration’s border security policy.

Steve Levitan, the creator of “Modern Family,” which airs on ABC but is produced by Fox’s television studio, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that he was “disgusted to work at a company that has anything whatsoever to do with @FoxNews.” The film director Paul Feig echoed those sentiments, writing that he had made two films for the 20th Century Fox movie studio but “cannot condone the support their news division promotes toward the immoral and abusive policies and actions taken by this current administration toward immigrant children.”

Those tweets came several days after Seth MacFarlane, the creator of “Family Guy,” said he was “embarrassed” to work at 21st Century Fox after the Fox News host Tucker Carlson told viewers not to trust other news networks.

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/business/media/fox-news-immigration-coverage-celebrities.html?

 

Read from top and above comment...