Hello Cruel World
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose
There's an old saying: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." The French have it too (see heading).
With the current kerfuffle about problems with the New South Wales rail system, when, searching for some important legal papers, I stumbled across these comments in a collection of old songs, I thought some people might also find them illustrative of Santanya's saying that "those who forget history are condemned to repeat it." Note the dates below.
If I can wrench some time and mental energy away from burgeoning "urgent & important" demands I may be able to write about how better public transport is an important part of answers to a large number, perhaps a majority of the problems discussed in "the meeja".
AUSTRALIAN RAILWAY STORY
A Continuing Project: Concerning the Culture Associated with Australian Railways.
Further the collection and documentation of songs, poems and stories that reflect on the contribution railways have made (and continue to make) to the social history of Australia
Railway Voices a CD of Australian railway workers stories with songs and poems
Brian Dunnett electrical fitter, Loco Workshops, Chullora
Undoubtably the 1970 period which led up to the election of the Wran government was the first real occasion that the public actually got itself involved in the debate about public transport. The argument between road and rail lead to the closing down, in the 1960s, of our tramway system, and that appeared to be the way in which rail as a whole was heading. The thing that intervened in that process, and as encouraged people to look again at rail as a system and a more efficient means, both of moving people and certainly bulk goods, was the energy crisis, the environmental questions that arose in the 1970s. People were in fact forced to look at the enormous increase in the usage of diesel and the cost, not only the cost factors involved but, but the energy crisis dominated a lot of the debate. It was stirred on here, I think, by the Green Ban movement in Sydney and elsewhere that it created a basis of interest about well ... what do you do with your cities?
Now what ... what had occurred was the NSW government, Askin, brought to Australia a British expert, so called expert, Phillip Shirley, who had been connected with the British run-down of rail and that government was quite openly speaking about 10,000 jobs. The repercussions of that within the union movement was enormous, very sharp divisions, and it was the railway unions that discovered that they had some unity of interest with the public, that formed the "Save Public Transport Committees". Granville had that effect of bringing home what railway workers had been saying, that if you neglect a system, if you don't spend money on maintenance, if you don't do the right thing, well then you're in for trouble.TRAIN TRIP TO GUILDFORD
A song by John Dengate (1975)
John Dengate - guitar and vocals.
Waiting, waiting for the twenty past four to arrive;
Mate, the twenty past four doesn't run any more,
The next train's the quarter past five.
Time means money, they say,
And I must get to Guildford today
Did he say platform nine for the Liverpool line?
Do I have to change trains on the way?
Indicator, please won't you indicate soon
With your little round light that this platform is right;
I've been waiting at Central since noon.
This old fellow here next to me
Caught the bus up from Circular Quay;
He scratches his arse with his pensioner's pass
But he's on the wrong line for Narwee.
Waiting, waiting, for the twenty past four to arrive;
Mate, the twenty past four doesn't run any more,
The next train's the quarter past five.
Come on you timetable mob, I'm desperately short of a bob,
I'm in my good gear and I'm right off the beer
And at Guildford they say there's a job.
Indicator, please won't you indicate soon
With your little round light that this platform is right;
I've been waiting at Central since noon.
The service is worse than a fraud And the fare's more than I can afford
But I'll never complain - here comes the train
to Guildford And now I'm aboard.
But it's Wentworthville, Pendle Hill;
We're rattling towards Emu Plains.
I should have got out when I heard someone shout
At Granville, "You have to change trains."
Waiting, waiting for the twenty past eight to go back,
But the twenty past eight is half an hour late
And I think I'll lie down on the track.
Types of Vision (e.g. Jellyfish); First Woman on the Moon
www.empiretileworks.com/ New%20ETW%20website/ Art%20Glazed%20Tiles.htm
Lund Vision Group
The Lund Vision Group is internationally recognised as one of the leading groups in vision science in the world. With twenty five to thirty academic and two technical staff, the group's research stretches across the entire animal kingdom, from the tiny eyes of jellyfish, via the compound eyes of insects and crustaceans, to the advanced camera eyes of squids and vertebrates. Our specialty is the design and evolution of eyes, and especially how eyes are adapted to the lifestyles and habitats of animals.
Four major research themes are pursued, with techniques ranging from optics, electrophysiology and theoretical modelling, to electron microscopy, molecular biology and visual behaviour.
Upcoming Poster Designs
Copepods, Jellyfish, Larval Forms, Larval Forms II, Phytoplankton, Pondlife, Predators, Phyllosoma, Jewels of the Sea
In Memoriam Wayne Papp, photographer (from Wildernessgalleries)
Daily Imagery from topleftpixel
(add comment about Doctor/Dr on weblog) http://philip.greenspun.com )
Jellyfish — Columbus Zoo
Hephaestion was Alexander's best man when he married with the native
THE THIRD MAN (variation) aka Unknowns
When that plane crashed, it claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie
Valens, J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson and *** the pilot, Roger Peterson. ***
2 July, 1937: The US aviators Amelia Earhart and *** Fred Noonan *** took
off from New Guinea to Howland Island in the central Pacific during their
attempt to fly around the world. They disappeared, never to be seen again
Peter Conrad - Third Man on the Moon (Charles P Conrad, called Pete)
Charles Conrad, third man to walk on moon, dies in accident at 69
July 9, 1999
OJAI, Calif. -- Former astronaut Charles P. "Pete" Conrad, who in 1969
became the third man to walk on the moon, uttering an exuberant "Whoopie!"
as he stepped on the lunar surface, died in a motorcycle accident. He was
Conrad, who also flew two Gemini missions in the 1960s and commanded first
Skylab mission in 1973, crashed on a turn Thursday on Highway 150 near Ojai
and died five hours later at Ojai Valley Community Hospital.
Like Glenn, Conrad's passion for space exploration never diminished. In
1995, he formed several companies with the goal of commercializing space.
"He was going back to space as an entrepreneur, trying to create ways for
rockets to launch inexpensively and manage satellites," Mrs. Conrad said
NASA selected Conrad, an aeronautical engineer and Navy test pilot, as an
astronaut in 1962, three years after the first seven astronauts were
announced. He piloted the eight-day Gemini 5 mission in 1965, which set an
endurance record in orbiting the earth. A year later, Conrad commanded
Gemini 11, which docked with another craft during orbit and set a space
altitude record of 850 miles.
As commander of the Apollo 12 mission in November 1969, Conrad earned the
distinction of being the third man to walk on the moon after bringing the
lunar module down in the moon's Ocean of Storms ...
When the 5-foot-6 Conrad stepped onto the surface four months later, he
exclaimed with his trademark sense of humour: "Whoopie! That may have been a
small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me."
Conrad and astronaut Alan Bean spent seven hours and 45 minutes on the lunar
surface. Among their tasks was installing a nuclear power generating station
to provide a power source for long-term experiments.
During the 28-day Skylab flight in May-June 1973, Conrad established a
personal endurance record for time in space by bringing his total flight
time to 1,179 hours and 38 minutes. He called his last mission in space the
most satisfying, working to repair the damage Skylab suffered during its
After retiring from NASA and the Navy in 1973, he worked as chief operating
officer of American Television and Communications Corp. in Denver and later
for McDonnell Douglas Corp., the aviation manufacturer.
The Philadelphia native is the third of the 12 original moon walkers to die.
James Irwin of Apollo 15 died in 1991 and Alan Shepard of Apollo 14 died a
Conrad, who divorced his first wife, is survived by his second wife, three
sons and seven grandchildren. A son preceded him in death.
; Michael Collins Third Man on Apollo 11, didn't land on the Moon.
Last Man on the Moon: Gene Cernan (the scientist)
Eugene Cernan left the final bootprint that may ever appear on the surface
of our dusty satellite. Yet Cernan has been heralded for far more than this
milestone. He is not only one of the most accomplished of the astronauts—he
journeyed into space three times, on Gemini 9, Apollo 10, and Apollo 17—but
one of the most eloquent in describing his otherworldly experiences.
First Woman on the Moon Project
FIRST WOMAN ON THE MOON
SATURDAY 28 AUGUST 1999, FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET ON THE BEACH AT NOORDPIER,
WIJK AAN ZEE
First Woman On The Moon, a project by Aleksandra Mir, will take place on 28
August 1999. For one day only, heavy machinery and manpower will transform
the flat beach at Wijk aan Zee into a moonscape with hills and craters. The
moon will extend across 300 m x 200 m of sand, beneath the smoke of the
IJmuiden steel industry. The First Woman On The Moon is a performance,
sculpture, environmental art, large-scale entertainment and a playground for
children. The project has been realized through help and sponsorship from
the local community: the local council provided the permits, and the machine
companies, the catering staff at the beach pavilion, hotel owners and the
tourist board all contributed. Locals and internationals, art and non-art
audiences, journalists, feminists and tourists are invited to come to Wijk
aan Zee to bear witness to this event. First Woman On The Moon is being
transmitted out into the world like an historic event, to post offices,
universities, ministries and anyone interested in space travel. The
preparations for the project may be closely followed on Casco's web site in
English, French and Spanish. A map and other tourist information is also
available. For those who will not be able to attend on 28 August, First
Woman On The Moon is above all a media event; just as with the first landing
of a man on the moon, people will ask themselves whether the images they are
seeing and the messages they are hearing are actually real. And as with the
studio-like, flash photography that remained after that event, the
photographic 'remains' of the First Woman On The Moon will have to be tested
on the accuracy of their depiction of the facts.
In her projects Aleksandra Mir investigates the relationship our generation
has with the values and norms of the 'radical' years of the 1960s. Cinema
for the Unemployed from 1997 was a project in which a film programme of both
old and new disaster movies was played at a theatre during office hours
(entrance was free to the unemployed). This was an investigation into the
way unemployment was understood in the 1990s: an unwanted tragedy, or a
conscious choice for freedom. The moon landing of 1969, together with the
Vietnam War, Kennedy's assassination, the Prague Spring and the student
riots, is one of the historic events that shaped this era. Extensive
reporting in the media has led to these public events being engraved on our
collective memory. In a similar way, First Woman On The Moon refers to the
power of the media in the construction of our history.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
150 Years of Licensing
I did wonder if this Victorian group protesting about a licensing law was in some way marking the sesquicentenary of the Eureka Uprising?
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
NOTE: Our work Email Exchange Server is down.
WORLD CITY PHOTO ARCHIVE F.A.Q.
Q. Where did all these photos and the idea for the site come from?
A. From literally thousands of websites I have explored over the last
8 years. I started in mid-1994 after visiting Matthew Woore's "300
Skylines" page. The World City Photo Archive's earliest incarnation
would be the collaboration I did with Matt in gathering new photos for
his page, which was unique at the time. Ahh, the heady days of hunting
fruitlessly high and low across the infant (and blessedly
non-commercial) internet for photos of Antananarivo, Noril'sk.....but
I digress :-)
Q. WHY do you do this?
A. I have always loved geography, maps, and comparative urban form. I
got a university degree in it, in fact. And what better way to see the
juicier parts of the world that are difficult to impossible to reach,
unless you're Robert Pelton (bless you and your books, sir). You may
notice that the photos I seek most diligently are those of
underrepresented third-world nations and cities. Folks, these people,
their problems, their solutions, and their societies, and their cities
are much more interesting than their bland Old World and American
equivalents. I see a stange beauty in the stark layouts of Soviet box
apartments of the Russian cities (see Nizhnevartosk!). The modern
architecture in Chinese cities is amazing and daring.
Holy Rarebit, Batman!
Apparently the grilled cheese on bread with the image of the BVM has been sold to a casino for $US36,000.
It is possible to 'merchandise' most things:
"tragic microfilm accident"
Pretty Pix, to relax a bit with - Alex Uchoa is a Brazilian photographer.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Sore Eyes (a site for ... ) has stopped comments due to spam. Here are some
nice things from it -- you'll have to go there to get the links
Quite a crop this week:
* A false-colour image of Jupiter, complete with the shadows of not one, not
two, but three of the planet's moons crossing the planet's face.
* Talking of eclipses, dinyctis produced this lovely montage of images of
the recent lunar eclipse.
* Sam Javanrouh posted a couple of stunning images this week: a single,
solitary cloud, and a glorious shot of sunset illuminating some otherwise
ordinary-looking office buildings.
* Two shots from Reinhard Kirsch: a picture of a shelf-full of desserts
which looks so good I'm pretty sure just staring at it for too long piles on the
pounds, and a breathtaking landscape.
* Finally, three very impressive images from sundry deviants: Bada-Pyramide
by Bada nicely captures the pyramid at the Louvre at dusk, horizon by ssilence
looks computer-generated but isn't, and welder's Fate and Grace is a spooky
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
The Power of Nightmares (BBC Documentary)
www.acutor.be/silt/index.php?id=573 - Transcript of The Power of Nightmares
I contacted the BBC through their web site to try and obtain a legitimate DVD of the documentary, and got the following response:Thank you for your question/questions regarding Power of Nightmares.
At present we do not have any information relating to whether the programme will be re-broadcast. Unfortunately the resources to show previous episodes are not available at present.
Due to resource limitations the programme’s transcripts are not available.
We regret that there are currently no plans for the programme to be released on DVD. However, you may be interested to visit the programme’s web content: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/3951615.stm
Assistant Editor, Current Affairs Interactive
[S]omeone has posted a DVD encode to usenet, alt.binaries.multimedia abvcd.how.to
Monday, November 15, 2004
Cargoweasel helps us chill out
Cargo - at www.livejournal.com/users/cargoweasel
November 8th, 2004
Time: 12:35 pm
Two interesting links of visual beauty today. Enjoy.
Hough waves ( www.hough.no) are designs based on the Hough transformation algorithm ( homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/rbf/HIPR2/hough.htm). They are sold in the form of photographic prints.
The Hough transform is a technique which can be used to isolate features of a particular shape within an image. Because it requires that the desired features be specified in some parametric form, the classical Hough transform is most commonly used for the detection of regular curves such as lines, circles, ellipses, etc. A generalized Hough transform can be employed in applications where a simple analytic description of a feature(s) is not possible.
Squidfingers ( www.squidfingers.com/patterns) has a repository of 140-odd pixel patterns in GIF format, from the modern to the arabesque.
Post-election: Major bugs found in Diebold vote systems - (UPI)
Major bugs found in Diebold vote systems
Washington, DC, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The voting machine controversy likely will linger after a look at the systems source code software from Ohio-based Diebold yielded reports of numerous bugs...
... The Digital Encryption Standard 56-bit encryption key used can be unlocked by a key embedded in all the source code, meaning all Diebold machines would respond to the same key.
Rubin, his graduate students and a colleague from Rice University found other bugs, that the administrator's PIN code was "1111" and that one programmer had inserted, "This is just a hack for now."
The implication is that by hacking one machine you could have access to all Diebold machines...
Updated Photo Blog
I'm trying out a couple of uploaders for the Small Dark Room blog. I had originally hoped to put links to separate album pages on the front blog page, so that loading the main page would be quick, but that isn't how most of these services work.
At least something is getting up online anyway.
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Schneier on Security: more on electronic voting
Schneier on Security: A weblog covering security and security technology.
November 10, 2004
The Problem with Electronic Voting Machines
In the aftermath of the U.S.’s 2004 election, electronic voting machines are again in the news. Computerized machines lost votes, subtracted votes instead of adding them, and doubled votes. Because many of these machines have no paper audit trails, a large number of votes will never be counted. And while it is unlikely that deliberate voting-machine fraud changed the result of the presidential election, the Internet is buzzing with rumors and allegations of fraud in a number of different jurisdictions and races. It is still too early to tell if any of these problems affected any individual elections ...
Basically, a voting system has four required characteristics:
1. Accuracy. The goal of any voting system is to establish the intent of each individual voter, and translate those intents into a final tally. To the extent that a voting system fails to do this, it is undesirable. This characteristic also includes security: It should be impossible to change someone else’s vote, ballot stuff, destroy votes, or otherwise affect the accuracy of the final tally.
2. Anonymity. Secret ballots are fundamental to democracy, and voting systems must be designed to facilitate voter anonymity.
3. Scalability. Voting systems need to be able to handle very large elections. One hundred million people vote for president in the United States. About 372 million people voted in India’s June elections, and over 115 million in Brazil’s October elections. The complexity of an election is another issue. Unlike many countries where the national election is a single vote for a person or a party, a United States voter is faced with dozens of individual election: national, local, and everything in between.
4. Speed. Voting systems should produce results quickly. This is particularly important in the United States, where people expect to learn the results of the day’s election before bedtime. It’s less important in other countries, where people don’t mind waiting days -- or even weeks -- before the winner is announced.
Through the centuries, different technologies have done their best. Stones and pot shards dropped in Greek vases gave way to paper ballots dropped in sealed boxes ...
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Remembrance Day remembered
Sometime before next Anzac Day I will try to write the piece on Australian War Memorials I have in mind to put some flesh on the casualty figures, but here is an unofficial site about the many smaller local memorials. The official site is www.awm.gov.au, which has some excellent resources, including searchable databases of pictures & documents.
This link commemorates some Voices lost to the world of arts in The War to End Wars
(Two earlier posts on Remembrance Day.)
Tolkein's Friend, CS Lewis, on Theocracy in 1946
I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both the rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely because he torments us with the approval of his conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations.
And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic, held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In a word, it forbids wholesome doubt. A political programme can never in reality be more than probably right. We never know all the facts about the present and we can only guess the future. To attach to a party programme — whose highest real claim is to reasonable prudence — the sort of assent which we should reserve for demonstrable theorems, is a kind of intoxication.
--C.S. Lewis, 1946
"A Reply to Professor Haldane" in "Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories"
PDF file: oddlots.digitalspace.net/downloads/democrat.pdf
Mentioned in "Danny's Blog Cabin", www.brendoman.com/danny/archives/006596.html
May 26, 2004
Church and State: Keep Them Separated
(Article from a June 2004 church newsletter)
bodyandsoul.typepad.com/blog/2004/06/church_and_stat.html (in comments by bellatrys)
Thursday, November 11, 2004
News Just Through: Arafat's Death Announced
News of Arafat's death has just come through.
Is this a turning point? Which way?
We are all rowing forward into the future, only able to see where we've been in the past.
A Poem After War
They ask me where I've been,
And what I've done and seen.
But what can I reply
Who know it wasn't I,
But someone just like me,
Who went across the sea
And with my head and hands
Killed men in foreign lands...
Though I must bear the blame,
Because he bore my name.
Wilfred Gibson (1878-1962)
Early Remembrance (1); pre-dawn 11/11/2004
Extracts from a small thing for Armistice/Remembrance Day, which I thought had a few aspects people may find good to think upon.
A life in three centuries November 11, 2004, by Jonathon King
Age shall not weary Peter Casserly. And, rather than being condemned by the years, time has made him a record breaker. He is Australia's oldest known man for one. Next, of the 331,000 Australians who fought overseas in World War I he is the sole surviving serviceman from the Western Front. For good measure, he appears to have notched up the country's longest running marriage - lasting 80 years and 10 months before his wife Monica died at 102 in August ...
"The passing time never changed the loveliness of my wife for me. She remained a beautiful blessing throughout our long marriage. But you know what my secret is ... Rum!
"I tell you they gave every soldier two issues of rum each day on the Western Front, but I knew my way around and used to get three and I've been drinking rum ever since - I'm still drinking it. It's a sure cure for the flu. If you feel it coming on, take some rum and in two days it's gone."...
Casserly was born just north of Perth on January 28, 1898, and has the birth certificate to prove [at 106] he's the oldest man in Australia.
A man of three centuries, the world into which Casserly was born is now long gone. Also born in 1898 were one of the discoverers of penicillin, Howard Florey; Charles Kingsford Smith's co-pilot Charles Ulm; billiards champion Walter Lindrum and the artist Sali Herman. There were only 3 million people living in the Australian colonies over which Queen Victoria ruled ...
After the war, Casserly helped with clean-up operations until his discharge on September 11, 1919. On his return he worked as a wharf labourer, timber cutter, sailor and fisherman before establishing a wood yard and then cray fishing business. He won a bravery award for saving the life of a swimmer who had got into difficulties...
Although Casserly returned to the Western Front with veterans for the 75th anniversary of the armistice in 1993, he always opposed subsequent wars and has only marched twice on Anzac Day - in 1917 and again this year.
Early Remembrance (2); pre-dawn 11/11/2004
Some poems of two wars
World War One Poets on the Battlefields: Blunden; Brooke; Owen; Sassoon; St Quentin; Ypres
"Damn all war mongers who lie to the young so they volunteer to kill + to be killed"
http://www.1914-18.co.uk/owen/ (Wilfred Owen Association)
Early Remembrance (3); pre-dawn 11/11/2004
Some non-poetry of two wars: Article (for members); Article (for members)
(Casualty figures 1914-1918; 1939-1945)
Until I can work out something grand & good -- this puts it into millenial vistas -- it looks like the only way you can look at these latter two is to download them. Any suggestions for simple conversions of complex Excel spreadsheets to, say, HTML tables?
I will try to write the piece on War Memorials I have in mind to put some flesh on the figures. This link commemorates some Voices lost to the world of arts in The War to End Wars.
Voting Above & Beyond
I know, it's easy to snipe as I sit here in Canada, as immune to unpleasant affairs abroad as a Belgian in 1933 but I'd like to issue a very special Adrej Waidja Stakhanovite* Award to the Republican voters of Gahanna District in Franklin County, Ohio, where 4,258 of the 638 people who voted voted for Bush. I think the old Soviets only ever managed to get turnouts 99% in favour the chosen candidate. Exceeding the actual number of voters has to count as something extraordinary.
*Or possibly Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov (??????? ??????????? ????????) - from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksei_Grigorievich_Stakhanov, see also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stakhanovite about the "model Soviet worker" (or shock-worker) movement.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
The First 9/11 - Broken Glass & Ashes
(In Australia 9/11 is November 9th)
Remember Kristallnacht - 9/11/38
Two sites of many
November 9th is still a pertinent anniversary: "Kristallnacht - the Night of Broken Glass".
In 1938, incensed by hearing of his family in Germany being forced into "relocation camps" in the November snow under Nazi laws, an adolescent Jew in Paris shot and killed a German diplomat.
Goebbels used this for propaganda about conspiracies against Germany, inciting Germans to "rise in bloody vengeance", culminating on the long winter night of November 9th in organised widespread violence. Non-Jews who protested were beaten. Police and firemen watched people brutalized, buildings smashed, looted and burnt.
Morning footpaths were impassable under an icy glittering crust of broken glass and ashes.
Lack of public protest encouraged the Nazi government to pass even more repressive laws in the next few months. Prominent Germans who protested were arrested. Ordinary Germans who protested were beaten up.
Can we hope that we've learnt from last century's several examples of disasters wrought by stirring up - for power, for gain, for dogmatic religion or ideology - the darker side we all have?
what disturbed the German populace was less the sight of synagogues burning (fires take place all the time, after all -- it depends on the scale) than of the savage and wasteful vandalism that confronted bystanders everywhere, disrupting the clean and orderly streets (to say nothing of consumer convenience). What was indeed memorable was the sheer quantity of broken glass. A third point was the economic outcome of this massive breakage. Germany didn't produce enough plate glass to repair the damages (synagogues did not have to be replaced -- quite the contrary). The result was twofold: the need to import glass from Belgium (for sorely needed cash) and the outrage of indemnifying the Jewish community to pay for the damages.
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich
(UK Edition) Nickel and Dimed: Undercover in Low-wage America
The Working Poor : Invisible in America by DAVID K. SHIPLER
Features > May 10, 2004
By Kurt Vonnegut
Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of ...
Monday, November 08, 2004
Deep & Meaningful stuff; Barriers of many kinds
From a discussion on a subject like unto one my friends & I have discussed
Graydon ::: September 10, 2004, 09:54 PM
Prosperity and civilization *do* manage to obscure some basic truths, the learning of a hard life.
One of the most basic of those truths is this -- you cannot kill fear with an ax. You cannot kill fear at all; fear is a thing in your heart, and if you cut your heart out, you are dead, and the shape of fear is dead with you.
I have said before the that American Radical Christian Right isn't, that they're fundamentally atheistic. One of the great teachings of Christianity is that you do not need to fear. With faith, all things are possible; in the love of God, the just and the pious are sure of their reward.
For people who ought -- in the certainty of their faith, and the power of their conviction -- to have no fear at all, they're creatures chained to terror, a terror of losing money, place, and material power. None of those are of themselves bad things; like all things else, what matters about them is what you do with them.
If you need, to build a cage for fear, to brick up the broken knowledge that money is not the same thing as goodness, to not believe that wealth is neither virtue nor the reward of virtue, that the wonder and the glory that is the material world can be understood and used to change all things for the better, to keep all those things away from the certainties of a distant childhood and the fear of surrendered power -- because, God knows, no one would any sense would trust and surrender power to them, and there are none better than them in all the world -- then you will, in whatever haze of deception, come to prefer to destroy your civilization, rather than endure the change that comes from peace and prosperity and letting everybody get at opportunity.
One of the ways you do this is break the machinery of government; treat the public sphere as a mechanism for mass theft, as a machine for making wealth equivalent to virtue, as a device for oppression -- price supports backed up with military power, that ancient doom of empires. So you remember that repetition creates belief -- it does; the insides of our heads are the lands of magic -- and repeat what you want to be true, because if it isn't, then, well, you're a liar and a coward and a skinflint son-of-a-bitch, a stranger to generosity and hope and courage.
All courage isn't found in the service of arms -- ask anyone who has been honest with their children about something they're not proud of, or who has done the right thing at personal cost -- but, well, look at the Right. Not the followers -- it's a ghastly set of certainties, but people will follow any certainty in which they come to believe -- but the folks out front, burning down the house? ...
The comment under
Randolph Fritz ::: September 10, 2004, 08:03 PM
also reflects something mentioned previously
no investment--not equities (stocks), debt securities (bonds), not cash, not gemstones, not precious metal--is certain. Your IRAs and 401(k) may turn into so much worthless paper. And they all depend on policy to maintain their values. When the SEC stopped doing its job, fraud in the securities markets (Enron!) made many stocks into so much worthless paper. Debt securities depend on the rate of inflation--the inflation that is likely if W. Bush is reelected will devalue them dramatically. Investments in any currency depend on international trade policies; it is likely that the dollar will not be the world standard of value in 20 years and there will be many losers in the resultant capital shifts. Metal and gemstones are only valuable as long as most people hold them; in hard times, many people will try to sell and the value will drop.
It all depends on policy--every penny of it. And, since it does, I think it makes good sense to make policy that protects everyone, rather than the minority of lucky investors.
The odd thing is, I'm sure that you--and just about any savvy investor--is aware of the facts I mentioned above. But, somehow, when it comes time to make policy, many of us forget.
and you'll probably notice that
PiscusFiche ::: September 11, 2004, 11:25
puts an example that follows my argument -- concluding "Times are changing, and the more we cooperate, the more able we are to weather it."
September 12, 2004 The Worst Part Is I Don't Want Help
"Sometimes I avoid friends or family obligations in order to read novels."
"I have neglected personal hygiene or household chores until I had finished a novel."
"I have spent money meant for necessities on books instead."
"I have wept, become angry or irrational because of something I read."
"If you answered 'yes' to three or more of these questions, you may be a literature abuser
Affirmative responses to five or more indicates a serious problem."
Large Killer Tracheophytes
Silent Killers: The True Story Of Deadly Trees
By Gene Weingarten Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 7, 1998; Page C01
America was stunned this week by the tragic deaths of Michael Kennedy and Sonny Bono, who lost their lives to a silent killer.
[also see (Hughes, Sylvia; "Antelope Activate the Acacia's Alarm System," New Scientist, p. 19, September 29, 1990.) summarised at . This is only a "killer" because the antelope are artificially confined by humans.]
Flagging & Surveying Tape
Used for surveying, mapping, forestry, tagging, roping off an area, or any other marking application. Also available in biodegradeable & printed versions; Pre-Made Aerial Targets
SKULL AND CROSSBONES (ONLY) (Glo Orange)
DANGER DANGER (Glo Orange)
PROPERTY LINE (Glo Pink)
WETLAND DELINEATION (Glo Pink)
PEST MANAGEMENT (Glo Pink)
Spot fire (Glo Orange)
WETLAND BOUNDARY (Glo Orange or Glo Pink)
TIMBER HARVEST BOUNDARY (Glo Pink)
RIPARIAN MANAGEMENT ZONE (Glo Pink)
STREAMSIDE MANAGEMENT ZONE (Glo Pink)
Photo-luminescent Tapes (Glow-in-the-Dark)
Chart & Map Tape
Color Coding Tape
Plastic Vinyl Tapes
Safety Reflective Tapes
Symbols & Stripes
[WARNING!] Review: Night Travels of the Elven Vampire
(After reading 98 3/4 pages of complete and utter badness) ... This is my favorite half paragraph in the book.Glowing red eyes looked at her, and she turned her eyes away from the sight of the glowing orbs. Each one stood at least seven feet in height, and must have weighed around six hundred pounds. They were covered in fur, had pointed ears, a snout and large sharp teeth. They stood on legs the size of tree trunks.
As an aside, there is a sequel in the works for this that is going to be rated NC-17. I can tell you right now that if I read any kind of porn written by this woman it will make my genitals shrivel up and retreat into my spleen, and I'll have to just pollinate for the rest of my life.
Now, that might make this somewhat more understandable? Or not?
The Rapture Index
The Rapture Index has two functions: one is to factor together a number of related end time components into a cohesive indicator, and the other is to standardize those components to eliminate the wide variance that currently exists with prophecy reporting.
The Rapture Index is by no means meant to predict the rapture, however, the index is designed to measure the type of activity that could act as a
precursor to the rapture.
You could say the Rapture index is a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity, but I think it would be better if you viewed it as prophetic
speedometer. The higher the number, the faster we're moving towards the occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture.
Antichrist Photo Gallery
Ummm ... www.ericawebb.com/091601
Saturday, November 06, 2004
First Canberra, then Washington
ng Light - Bad morning - November 03, 2004, 12:47 PM
On one hand, I cannot recognize this as my country. On the other, dammit, it
*is* my country, and while I've been threatening to leave if Bush is
reinstalled, this morning I find that I don't want to leave. I want the sons
of bitches who have taken over my country out of power. -- Catie Murphy
Monday, November 01, 2004
One thoughtful place
www.wileywiggins.com/writing.html - Things made out of Words
This is my blogchalk:
Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.