Hello Cruel World
Monday, April 25, 2005
Exchange: Reaction to Geraldine Brooks reaction to cancer
-----Original Message-----
From: a
Sent: Tuesday, 19 April 2005 11:16 AM
To: me
Subject: Geraldine Brooks

last night on Denton, author Geraldine Brooks was asked what it was like to have breast cancer.

She said something like, "all your life you are scared of this thing, or that thing, then it finally happens to you and you think, 'oh, its just this, and I am still me'

From: me
To: a
Subject: RE: Geraldine Brooks
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 13:10:44 +1000

Still haven't unearthed remote control, so I can't get the captions onscreen to get gist. Saw it was her, recorded it while I listened to astronomer & ethicist on radio. I usually play Media Watch & early Denton straight back after 10pm, but got distracted by several things, then tired. Packed bag for work & went to bed.

Glad you let me know, I didn't know she'd had cancer. What she said was, in some ways, one reason why it set me back a bit when you asked about whether I'd have rather have had cancer or lost my home & job. I'd had to adapt and come to terms with living through and with the cancer and its effects, and not be forever thinking of & bemoaning the lost possibilities (or actualities, like just having a quick refreshing shower or swim).

Considering a bit more, the cancer & its effects have limited me in so many things, both physical & mental, that I guess being able to avoid it for another 20 or 30 years, and having my strength & health probably would be a reasonable swap, with the possibility that I could work enough then to at least get myself a home of my own. The _nearly_ losing everything (i.e., the home, after losing my job) that happened during 1982/3 has, OTOH, definitely left its mental scars.


Cats, Butterfly weight, Haiku Earrings, Schiavo subtext, etc
How not to get a good nights sleep
www.livejournal.com/ users/ james_nicoll/ 75978.html
New rule: before strapping on the CPAP mask, check to make sure that no cat has thrown up in it.

Sleeping Cats
... was experimenting with sleeping next to me last night, so I didn't get much sleep ...
Having seen RESIDENT EVIL 2
... It's not a horror film. It's a video game film. You can always hit replay on a video game so there's no element of tension, no possibility of permanent loss.
I've proposed what I call "Less Virtual Than It Looks Reality" games (in which the dangers to the character in the game are translated into real danger to the player) to various companies but they all lacked my visionary nature. They call it "negligent homicide" but I call it "artistic vision."

In breaking news: Fox announces PONTIFF!
CNN is reporting that Fox has signed a deal with the Vatican for the next big reality show, PONTIFF!. This will use the format of shows like SURVIVOR and THE APPRENTICE, mapped onto the selection process for the next Pope.


Andrea Dworkin Has Died
susiebright.blogs.com/ susie_brights_journal_/ 2005/ 04/ andrea_dworkin_.html
April 11, 2005

www.faultline.org/ place/ pinolecreek/ archives/ 002241.html
Creek Running North
April 11, 2005
Andrea Dworkin, 1946-2005

www.faultline.org/ place/ pinolecreek/ archives/ 002239.html
Vanessa cardui
I watch the painted ladies flying north.
Hundreds of the butterflies pass me in any five-minute period. They’ve been headed north for some weeks, nourished by a spectacular growth of annual flowers in the Mojave and deserts south ...
It's really rather impressive. This blizzard of orange and black crepe crossing mountains, desert valleys, going from country to country, no luggage nor passport, orange and black wings thinner than crepe and fueled by tiny sips of flower, and they're moving faster than I can run. Each is just slightly more substantial than a thought, maybe a tenth of a gram of chitin and water and light. But probably ten thousand butterflies will pass me on my hike, a kilogram of flying stained glass shards. My hike covers five and a half miles. Extrapolate from there: many tons of butterflies are moving north in California today.
Butterflies hate cameras, I find. With the lens stowed safely in my pack the painted ladies linger in my gaze ...
When stealth and slyness fail, a cheating hunter uses bait. I park myself near a black sage in flower ...

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2005. Photos - very large files.

Haiku Earrings
www.livejournal.com/ users/ davidgoldfarb/ 3747.html
The concom got Elise Matthesen to come out and sell her jewelry. On Sunday she did haiku earrings. This is the process:

    Elise lays out a bunch of small earrings on her table.
    You pick out one or a pair and bring it to her.
    She gives you a title.
    You write the haiku that has that as the title.
    You put the haiku where the earrings were.
    Now you own the earrings.
    Optionally you grant her the right to reproduce your haiku in a chapbook and/or a card to be strung on a necklace.

My earrings had two beads: the upper was an oval with pointed ends, a shiny yellow, with a picture of an oval-shaped leaf, strung through one
end; the lower a clear blue faceted ball.

I took them to Elise. She asked me, "Silly or serious?" (I found out later that she had asked someone else, "Ancient or modern?".) I chose serious, and received 'The Price of Immortality'.

    The Price of Immortality
    Yellow leaves in blue
    Water are carried away
    And never touch me.

I read this to Elise. She smiled. "Yes," she said. "That's the haiku that goes in that place."

Farthing, by Jo Walton -- A beta read, gloat gloat. This is supposed to be out sometime this year from Tor Forge, but I haven't seen it on their schedule yet. A mystery novel set in an alternate timeline where Rudolf Hess actually managed to make peace between Nazi Germany and the UK. Very powerfully written, one of the best books I read all year.

David Scott Marley
www.livejournal.com/ users/ wild_irises/

Debbie N.
www.livejournal.com/ users/ therealjae/
10:28 am - The New Yorker killed Terri Schiavo
Apparently, I'm not allowed www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/LondonFreePress/ News/2005/04/04/981625-sun.html to make public entries about the thing I really want to be talking about today (is blogging journalism? is a livejournal a blog? my head hurts.), so I'll take on the New Yorker instead. One of the things that's struck me about all of the verbiage devoted to the Terri Schiavo case is that there's been very little mention of how she was reduced to a permanent vegetative state in the first place. Amidst the discussions from both left and right about whether a brain cavity filled with spinal fluid actually qualified as "life," why is "look, bulimia can kill you!" not being shouted from every rooftop? As one of the few publications that actually mentions the disease in conjunction with Schiavo, the esteemed New Yorker might have an answer for us. Hendrik Hertzberg writes, in the column "The Talk of the Town" for the April 4th issue (emphasis mine):
Terri Schiavo was born on December 3, 1963, near Philadelphia, the first of three children of Robert and Mary Schindler.
As a teenager, she was obese -- at eighteen, she weighed two hundred and fifty pounds -- but with diligence she lost a hundred pounds, and by the time she married Michael Schiavo, in 1984, she was an attractive and vivacious young woman. By the end of the decade, she had moved with her husband to Florida, was undergoing fertility treatments, and had slimmed down further, to a hundred and ten pounds. On February 25, 1990, Terri suffered cardiac arrest, leading to severe brain damage. The cause was a drastically reduced level of potassium in her bloodstream, a condition frequently associated with bulimia.
Do I really even have to subject this to an analysis? Perhaps I do. All right, then. The above paragraph implies not only that a young woman who weighs two hundred and fifty pounds can be neither "attractive" nor "vivacious," but also the inverse, i.e., that losing a hundred of that two hundred and fifty pounds will automatically make you both of these things, even if you lose that weight through bulimia. Even worse, it reduces bulimia -- a disease in which people starve themselves by self-induced vomiting or abuse of laxatives -- to "diligence," and praises a dead woman for having the disease that killed her. A disease which it goes on to mention in the *very same paragraph*. Never mind that many healthy young women exist who are attractive, vivacious, *and* fat. Never mind that a young woman with bulimia, a disease which, among other things, causes feelings of ill health, is most likely anything but "vivacious." Never mind that one of the U.S.'s foremost magazines turned an opportunity to educate people about bulimia into a subtle propagation of the demonstrably false ideology that arguably killed the very person they were writing about. Never mind that the truth about what science has learned about fitness and fatness -- that there is no provable relationship between so-called obesity and poor health -- is out there for anyone who wants to read about it:

Dutch language blog about my daily life and my cats

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

April 25th: Another Anniversay
When the Hubble Space Telescope rocketed into orbit aboard the Shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990, the world of astronomy was forever changed for the better
Anniversary Feature

Four Famous Photos

Register for MyNASA and get the NASA information you want. As a member you can customize your MyNASA page with the NASA channels and content that interests you. Members can also bookmark articles and features throughout the NASA.gov portal for quick access during future visits.

In German ... www.astronomie.de/sonnensystem/entwicklung.htm

; ;
Thursday, April 21, 2005
I like Science (aka Speculative) Fiction for its ideas
If you want information on the authors, titles, series, dates, etc., of published works, try:
The Internet Speculative Fiction Database

ISFDB blog

ISFDB2 documentation

The Linköping Science Fiction Archive

The Locus Index to Science Fiction: Site Directory

Online Indexes:
The Locus Index to Science Fiction: 1984-1998

The Locus Index to Science Fiction: 1999

The Locus Index to Science Fiction: 2000

The Locus Index to Science Fiction: 2001

The Locus Index to Science Fiction: 2002

The Locus Index to Science Fiction: 2003

The Locus Index to Science Fiction: 2004

Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections.

Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Weird Fiction Magazine Index: 1890-2001
A Checklist of Magazine Titles and Issues
This checklist is an excerpt from the Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Weird Fiction Magazine Index by Stephen T. Miller & William G. Contento, published on CD-ROM by Locus Press. The index lists by author, title, issue, and cover artist the contents of some 900 magazines with 13,000 individual issues.

The Locus Index to Science Fiction (1984-1997)

The Locus Poll Database: Locus Awards

Contento's Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections

The Library of Congress Home Page

Ingram Book Group's The Book Kahoona

Mystery Short Fiction: 1990-2000

First Person - A Mastectomy in 1811
One reason I'd hesitate if time travel became practicable. Thank goodness for anaesthetics (& of course antisepsis).

Thursday 21/04/2005 at 10.45am, as part of Life Matters.

First Person - Letter from Fanny Burney to her sister Esther
Read by: Kate Roberts
(Listen - Real Media Format)
In 1811 Fanny Burney was diagnosed with cancer of the right breast and endured a mastectomy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Sometimes all that I need is the air that I breathe ...
Department of the Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 787 Canberra ACT 2601 Australia
Telephone: +61 (0)2 6274 1111
Non-Dust Atmospheric Emissions From Minerals Processing
Environment Australia
www.deh.gov.au/industry/industry-performance/ minerals/booklets/atmosphere/what-is.html

What is clean air?

The major constituents
The earth's atmosphere has evolved over geological time to its present composition, which, excluding water vapour, comprises a mixture of gases; approximately 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% argon. The concentration of water vapour is highly variable but can reach up to 3%. This booklet is mainly concerned about gases present at concentrations much less than 1%.
The importance of trace constituents
With the exception of water vapour, the current proportions of gases are maintained by equilibrium processes which include biogenic and anthropogenic activity as well as geological processes which in many cases are intimately connected with biogenic processes. Scientists estimate that the current level of oxygen in the atmosphere was reached approximately 400 million years ago (Cloud, 1983). As the input and removal rates of the constituent gases change so too does the point at which equilibrium is established. Carbon dioxide is perhaps the most obvious example where this is occurring. Since the industrial revolution, the rate of input of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere has increased. If the input rate were to stabilise at its new higher level a new equilibrium would be established where concentrations would be higher than in the past and at the point where the removal rate matched the rate of input. The same principle applies for all the constituents of the atmosphere.
These gases are transparent to visible light. At sea-level light scattering from particle-free air would allow a theoretical visual range of approximately 320 km (Stern et al., 1984), which is well beyond the distance to horizon for most ground-based observers. Trace contamination can reduce visibility significantly. Small particles will scatter light and reduce visibility. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA, 1979) estimates that a density of 1 µg/m3 of particulate matter in the size range effective for scattering visible light (0.1 to 1 µm) along a sight line will reduce visual range by 30% from 320 km to 224 km and 10 µg/m3 will reduce visual range to between 30 and 40 km.
Not only do small changes in the composition of the atmosphere have significant effects on visibility and climate, but small changes in the concentrations of other trace gases can have implications for health and the viability of life. For example the World Health Organisation ( WHO Fact Sheet No 187 www.who.int/inf-fs/en/fact187.html , 2000) guideline value for 15-minute exposure to carbon monoxide is 100mg/m3 (87 ppm) and the 10-minute exposure guideline for sulphur dioxide is 0.5mg/m3 (0.175 ppm). These exposure levels are acceptable, but concentrations at ten times these levels are not.
Thus clean air is best defined by quantifying the trace levels of harmful polluting gases rather than focussing on the major constituents ...
Last updated: Sunday, 20-Jun-2004 05:52:11 EST

State of the Environment Tasmania (2003)

The preparation of this SoE Report is one of the features of Tasmania's Resource Management and Planning System. SoE reporting provides a means to assess progress towards the sustainable development objectives www.rpdc.tas.gov.au/soer/copy/15/index.php defined under the system ...
A 'printer-friendly' version of the report, which contains the 'at a glance' pages from this website and the recommendations in full, can be downloaded from : www.rpdc.tas.gov.au/soer/file/66/index.php
Atmosphere Key Concepts
Structure of the Atmosphere
Composition of Air Near the Earth's Surface
Gases Formula % by Volume
Nitrogen N2 78.08
Oxygen O2 20.95
Argon . Ar 0.93
Neon . Ne 0.001 8
Helium He 0.000 5
Hydrogen H2 0.000 05
Xenon Xe 0.000 009
Carbon dioxide CO2 variable (average 0.036)
Methane CH4 variable (average 0.000 1)
Ozone . O2 variable (polluted air average 0.000 004)
Carbon monoxide CO variable (polluted air average 0.000 02)
Sulfur dioxide SO2 variable (polluted air average 0.000 001)
Nitrogen dioxide NO2 variable (polluted air average 0.000 001)
Particles (dust etc.) variable (polluted air average 0.000 01)
Water vapour H2O variable (up to 4% in some areas)
Source: adapted from Crowder 1995 <source/523/index.php?PHPSESSID=4d6dd6e9890cd5187d5d0d971f1c37 3a&g

Habemus Papam
Habemus Papam

News has run through the city, and the bells are ringing in Rome. The people are gathering in Piazza San Pietro in an ancient vigil. The city and the world know there is a new Pope. They wait to see who will appear through the window and step onto the balcony.

There is a room where the newly elected one usually goes to prepare himself for the step that starts an extraordinary journey, I believe it is called The Crying Room (Chamber of Weeping). Even for someone who hoped and schemed for the position, it must not be an easy transition.

Someone must have put in a good word for Benedict XVI - at least we can put paid to the George Ringo jokes. It's Uncle Joe, sometimes called Cardinal Rat.

Well, we shall see: Man proposes; God disposes. The rain has started here in Sydney, and I am well overdue for bed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
These recipes are not for 'Babe' lovers (Warning: Your arteries may clog up just reading). www.gumbopages.com/looka/archive/2005-04.html#6

www.abqtrib.com/albq/nw_science/ article/0,2668,ALBQ_21236_3699656,00.html
... 300 million years ago, 8-foot-long millipedes (arthropleura) were in control of the landscape in New Mexico ... "This is basically the Tyrannosaurus of the Pennsylvanian period (325-280 million years ago), millions of years before dinosaurs evolved." (Picture of a smaller specimen [ http://mas.scripps.com/ALBQ/2005/04/14/041405_dig3_e.jpg ] The largest one is only known from its footprints.) Evidence of the creatures has also been found in Nova Scotia and Scotland ... Arthropleura died out at the end of the Pennsylvanian, probably because the amount of oxygen in the air was reduced from 30 percent during that time period to closer to the 21 percent we have today, ... They just couldn't survive at that size in modern air," Lucas said.

houseochicks.com/hoto.html (anatomy puppets)

www.muppetcentral.com/news/2005/040605.shtml muppet wizard of oz

The best book on vampires, ever, is Paul Barber's Vampires, Burial and Death: folklore and reality, published Yale UP 1988 [Well, that's one person's opinion. Might check this out - find a LINK]

news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/ story.jsp?story=630165
Oxyrhynchus Papyri decoded
... The papyrus fragments were discovered in historic dumps outside the Graeco-Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus ("city of the sharp-nosed fish") in central Egypt at the end of the 19th century. Running to 400,000 fragments, stored in 800 boxes at Oxford's Sackler Library, it is the biggest hoard of classical manuscripts in the world.

The previously unknown texts, read for the first time last week, include parts of a long-lost tragedy - the Epigonoi ("Progeny") by the 5th-century BC Greek playwright Sophocles; part of a lost novel by the 2nd-century Greek writer Lucian; unknown material by Euripides; mythological poetry by the 1st-century BC Greek poet Parthenios; work by the 7th-century BC poet Hesiod; and an epic poem by Archilochos, a 7th-century successor of Homer, describing events leading up to the Trojan War. Additional material from Hesiod, Euripides and Sophocles almost certainly await discovery.

Oxford academics have been working alongside infra-red specialists from Brigham Young University, Utah. Their operation is likely to increase the number of great literary works fully or partially surviving from the ancient Greek world by up to a fifth. It could easily double the surviving body of lesser work - the pulp fiction and sitcoms of the day.
Speaker A: . . . gobbling the whole, sharpening the flashing iron.

Speaker B: And the helmets are shaking their purple-dyed crests, and for the wearers of breast-plates the weavers are striking up the wise shuttle's songs, that wakes up those who are asleep.

Speaker A: And he is gluing together the chariot's rail.
These words were written by the Greek dramatist Sophocles, and are the only known fragment we have of his lost play Epigonoi (literally "The Progeny"), the story of the siege of Thebes.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Federalism & Feminism
Back in The Good Old Days (e.g. 1850s), even a married women's *own* earnings became her husband's. It helped trap wives in almost intolerable situations & kept suffering families under the control of sometimes bad, greedy, or incompetent men. Even after some improvements in these laws (e.g. 1950s), a wife's dependence could be used as a psychological & financial weapon.

With this government's record of withdrawing funds from people who criticise it, or just don't do exactly what they say, it's quite clear why States would prefer to keep some independent funding.

Already it has made financial threats not just to community groups and citizens who assert their responsibility to represent what they think will improve our country - or prevent harm to it - but also to State Governments with differing opinions to it.

A Buncha Blog Links
dearsatanicdiary.blogspot.com Lily's Blog
Internationally released Chinese fair always - ALWAYS - contains conversations with two dialects in dialogue. In reality, these people would be struggling to mime even simple phrases. It's the equivalent of having Shrek speak to Donkey in English and Donkey replying in French and passing off the movie as "American" in an Asian market because they share the same alphabet. I saw this in Time & Tide too.

http://alonewithluna.blogspot.com/ - malay? bahasa?
http://hypernated.blogspot.com/ hyperness - music plays - interesting colour changing headline - very "personal"
crawlacrosstheocean.blogspot.com Crawl Across the Ocean - This Blog focusses primarily on Canadian politics with digressions into international politics and anything else that seems relevant, interesting, amusing, or at the very least better than not posting at all
rogrants.blogspot.com - Roger's Rants - Because no one else is listening . . .

Friday, April 08, 2005
New Scientist: Climate change: Menace or myth?
Climate change: Menace or myth?
12 February 2005
NewScientist.com news service
Fred Pearce

ON 16 FEBRUARY, the Kyoto protocol comes into force. Whether you see this as a triumph of international cooperation or a case of too little, too late, there is no doubt that it was only made possible by decades of dedicated work by climate scientists. Yet as these same researchers celebrate their most notable achievement, their work is being denigrated as never before.

The hostile criticism is coming from sceptics who question the reality of climate change. Critics have always been around, but in recent months their voices have become increasingly prominent and influential. One British newspaper called climate change a "global fraud" based on "left-wing, anti-American, anti-west ideology". A London-based think tank described the UK's chief scientific adviser, David King, as "an embarrassment" for believing that climate change is a bigger threat than terrorism. And the bestselling author Michael Crichton, in his much publicised new novel State of Fear, portrays global warming as an evil plot perpetrated by environmental extremists.

If the sceptics are to be believed, the evidence for global warming is full of holes and the field is riven with argument and uncertainty. The apparent scientific consensus over global warming only exists, they say, because it is enforced by a scientific establishment riding the gravy train, aided and abetted by governments keen to play the politics of fear. It's easy to dismiss such claims as politically motivated and with no basis in fact - especially as the majority of sceptics are economists, business people or politicians, not scientists (see "Meet the sceptics"). But there are nagging doubts. Could the sceptics be onto something? Are we, after all, being taken for a ride? ... (more)

Wednesday, April 06, 2005
In The Cloisters of New York, a Unicorn awaits
www.newyorker.com/fact/content/ articles/050411fa_fact

How two mathematicians came to the aid of the Met.
Issue of 2005-04-11
Posted 2005-04-04

In 1998, the Cloisters—the museum of medieval art in upper Manhattan—began a renovation of the room where the seven tapestries known as “The Hunt of the Unicorn” hang. The Unicorn tapestries are considered by many to be the most beautiful tapestries in existence. They are also among the great works of art of any kind. In the tapestries, richly dressed noblemen, accompanied by hunters and hounds, pursue a unicorn through forested landscapes. They find the animal, appear to kill it, and bring it back to a castle; in the last and most famous panel, “The Unicorn in Captivity,” the unicorn is shown bloody but alive, chained to a tree surrounded by a circular fence, in a field of flowers. The tapestries are twelve feet tall and up to fourteen feet wide ...
Timothy Husband, the curator of the Cloisters, walked in. He is a tall, polished man in his late fifties, and has been at the Cloisters for thirty-five years. We sat down in one of the window seats facing the tapestries. “There is a luminosity and depth in them,” he said quietly. “It didn’t come about by chance on the part of the weavers.”

I asked Husband how he felt when he was alone with the tapestries.

“That happens on Mondays, when the Cloisters is closed,” he said. He spends anywhere from a minute to an hour with the tapestries. “It can be an exceedingly frustrating experience. One ponders so many questions about the tapestries for which there are no more answers today than there were when I was in graduate school.” In some of the scenes, the unicorn may represent Christ. Alive and chained to the tree, after its apparent death in the hunt, it may speak of the immortality of the soul. Or the drops of blood may represent the pains of love. The truth is that the modern world has lost touch with the meanings in the Unicorn tapestries. “Sometimes I come in here and try to pretend I have never read anything about them, never heard anything about them, and I just try to look at them,” Husband said. “But it’s not easy to shed that baggage, is it? And my other reaction, sometimes, is just to say, ‘To hell with it, someday someone will figure them out.’ And then there is a solace in their beauty, and one can stare at them in pure amazement.”

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 / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

This is my blogchalk:
Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.