...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



Arrhenius knew that his idea was new and very different to the accepted ideas. When he wrote up his paper he tried to make his ideas acceptable but his examiners were unhappy. They awarded him only a fourth class degree, the lowest pass possible. It would mean that he could not take up a permanent teaching position at the university.
Arrhenius was disappointed with his result but sent his paper to well known chemists. One, Wilhelm Ostwald, saw that Arrhenius' ideas could be useful and became his champion. Ostwald was one of the leading chemists of his time. Arrhenius was awarded a travelling scholarship and spent five years visiting laboratories around Europe, developing his ideas. In 1887 he published his theory in the journal edited by Ostwald and now the whole world knew of his ideas on ions in solution. Gradually other scientists accepted his theory - all except the Swedes. In 1895 he was put forward as a professor at the university of Stockholm. Many of the elderly professors disapproved of Arrhenius and his theories but eventually, with Ostwald's help, he was awarded the position. Soon Arrhenius was recognised as one of the great chemists and was awarded one of the first Nobel Prizes in 1903. Following this the King of Sweden founded the Nobel Institute and made Arrhenius its director.
Arrhenius has other interests. He investigated the effect of temperature on the speed of reactions and explained how only a few molecules in a reaction mixture have the required energy (the activation energy) to react. As a hobby, Arrhenius was interested in cosmology and meteorology. He developed the theory that life was carried to Earth through space. He imagined bacteria being carried from star to star and that life was common in the universe. Few scientists agreed with him.

In 1895 he carried out some calculations that showed the effect of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere on the temperature of the Earth. He knew that carbon dioxide absorbs infra-red radiation resulting in a warming effect on the atmosphere. He calculated that the surface of the Earth was about 30oC warmer than it would be if there were no atmosphere and he thought the Ice Ages happened when the amount of carbon dioxide in the air fell for some reason. In 1904 he became concerned that industry was causing an increase in carbon dioxide levels but he thought that the global warming that would result would have good effects. In fact carbon dioxide levels have risen much faster than Arrhenius expected although the global warming has been less than he calculated.

three years ago ellen cleaned her windows

The view from the roof was not alarming, yet. I played around with the hose, working out how to spray the tiles and the trees I could see from my vantage point. The fires were getting closer, but not too close. I still had time to go back down and check with my wife, Lyndsey, what we would do if the fires came closer. She was going to stay out the back and keep the decking wet and I was to get back on the roof and put out flying embers as they landed. Looking back, the ignorance and naivety is almost comical.

10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World

And as chief economist he[Joe Stiglitz] asked that some studies be conducted so that the neo-liberals, the privatizers, the proponents of the new global order could prove that their theories actually are producing economic miracles as they claim. They refused to do the studies because their own information was painting a clear picture. The only economies that seemed to be doing well were China, Vietnam, Botswana, Venezuela and the United States. What did all five of those economies have in common? All five told the IMF to go to hell and that includes the United States who does not listen to the IMF dictates at all. So Stiglitz said maybe we ought to change our methodology in dealing with the third world, in dealing with developing nations or even dealing with nations like Brazil.

Greg Palast interview


John Berger has been a hero of mine for years.
he's not young. he's all the way brave, in a way Americans no longer recognize bravery.
the idea of going against public will is not courageous anymore, it's just crazy. cowardice is so ordinary it can't be described as anything other than the way things are.
until you read someone like Berger.

thanks to wood's lot for reminding me

28.1.03 the guttering hearth, a ring of somber-gabardined grandpas

plays dominoes. Their stubble picks up the flicker like filaments

still waiting for the bulb or the phone to be invented. Even their

coughs, their phlegms, are in an older language. They move...

from A History of Civilization
the Miltonic Albert Goldbarth
in Poetry Daily January 28, 2003

The Onion has made a believer out of me

In the mid-1960s the legendary social psychologist Stanley Milgram asked randomly selected citizens of Kansas and Nebraska to try to connect with social "targets" in Massachusetts by mailing letters to likely intermediaries. The average number of links between strangers turned out to be surprisingly small. Milgram claimed we're all connected, on average, by half a dozen interpersonal avenues� a numinous network popularized by the phrase "six degrees of separation."

Now some mathematicians say the dynamics of such networks can describe a host of natural and technological systems. But Kleinfeld, who has reviewed the Milgram archive at Yale University, says the small world may have no basis in fact. "It's not a robust social-science finding," she asserts. "It's a very odd one that has never been replicated."
As a graduate student in the late 1960s at Harvard, where Milgram worked from 1963 to 1967, Kleinfeld had known of Milgram's studies. But it wasn't until the 1990s that she decided to try to repeat his study as an exercise for her graduate students. When she went to the Yale archives to find out more about his methods, Kleinfeld saw that the rates of completion in Milgram's studies were lower than she'd realized. In the main study, using almost 300 starters, only 29 percent of the documents reached a Boston stockbroker� and 100 of the Nebraska starters owned blue-chip stocks. In a pilot study� the one that yielded the anecdote of the divinity student's wife� just 5 percent of 60 documents reached the target, and they passed through an average of eight people. And Kleinfeld couldn't find any exact replications of Milgram's experiments in the literature.

Karen White in Discover Magazine
{Stanley Milgram's also the guy who designed and executed the infamous 'obedience' studies. his hagiographer has a website which can be found through Google.}

On Morning News, Dennis Mahoney's Supper Bowl XXXVII commercials post-mortem is trenchantly amusing, though I don't think he gets deep enough into the why of the half-hearted.....of it.

Soldiers know. I remember one British officer asking to use the BBC's satellite phone just after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. He was talking to his family in England and I watched him carefully. "I have seen some terrible things," he said. And then he broke down, weeping and shaking and holding the phone dangling in his hand over the transmission set. Did his family have the slightest idea what he was talking about? They would not have understood by watching television.

Thus can we face the prospect of war. Our glorious, patriotic population � albeit only about 20 per cent in support of this particular Iraqi folly � has been protected from the realities of violent death. But I am much struck by the number of letters in my postbag from veterans of the Second World War, men and women, all against this new Iraqi war, with an inalienable memory of torn limbs and suffering.

Robert Fisk, Independent UK


my Archives have 'gone missing'. at least the more recent ones have, so I'm dredging up a few posts from the pond of 2002. this is from 10/9/2002:

{virtually all of us have faced this. and that's how it sustains its momentum and mass. the split between the 'natural' man and the 'prosthetic' man. and of course the android side claims that there's only one. that the two sides are only that, two sides of the same creature. but it occurs to me it's really about honor, about honoring something in the past. or not honoring something. or honoring a different thing. the archetypal conflict is the superior physical, and the inferior, the large predator, the puny man. the tables turned with the addition of artifacts. a moment which we are all descended from. that moment of victory, that's where we started to become this, that we are now, and are going into becoming more finally, more irrevocably. but it occurs to me that there's those two guys, the one with the natural strength and power, the one with the crafty mind and tools. and it's about honoring one or the other. and that's all it's about. and there may be a way to honor both but it's not visible anymore, now it's all and only the puny guy with the deadly weapons, with the genetically altered dogs, with the aerosol bacteria, with the neutron bomb. the other guy, the physically superior, is a toy, an athlete/entertainer, little more than an amusement, while the real men go on about the business of survival, or more accurately the survival of their genes. the illusion that's broadcast is that there is no other way, that there never was. but I wonder. look at the missions of California. there was a moment when the indigenous people still lived in their traditional ways, and another moment when that became impossible. and in between there was that balance between the natives living behind the mission walls, and the natives in the hills. and then more precisely, more minutely, there was that moment when it became impossible to survive outside the reach of the conquerors, and the people faced going in to the mission, and living, and their children becoming what they would become under the priests and 'civilization', or dying in the 'wild'. (it's simplified yes, and there were northern tribes that were never forced to choose, exactly, and others not overcome until 'Americans' took over, but it holds true just the same) and it's about honoring one of those, though of course nobody on the android side wants to put it that way, because it's too obvious what's up with it. this is now a world where the term 'cowardice' has no definitional meaning. and finding a way through the trap of being born inside the mission is more than anyone has the time and free space to accomplish. but it's so clear if you really look. virtually all the 'progress' is about catching up. about correcting the flaws, healing illness, strengthening the weak. none of it seems to be, at least in the mass venues, about building up the superior, strengthening even more the strong. I'm not sure it can be. think not? how about the educational system being a fair representative of the values of the culture it serves? people will say 'we love our children' and they do. in a way. not enough to make teaching them more important than gasoline. ever listened to people's responses to 'gifted' programs? one of the biggest problems people have with the 'natural' world, with 'natural' living, is it's eugenic. heartlessly, coldly eugenic. and what we are as human beings now, what we've been moving toward is not, as most people think, a non-eugenic culture, but a culture in charge of its own eugenic program, which so far, except in bizarre and ultimately not successful ways, has been carried out without ever being acknowledged. think not? people who can't survive die. people who can't survive in a world of car exhaust and nightmare stimulation die, etc etc. somewhere in there people who could do well in other environments are being removed from the gene pool. while the center of what it is to be human shifts slowly toward the primal weaklings and their offspring, until those words are no longer descriptive, because what they describe is all there is. we exist in the midst of a great confused cloud of other living beings, and in the moments we live we share this thing called 'humanity', but later what that is won't be this, just as ten thousand years ago what it was to be a human being was differnt than now. and that's what's at stake in these arguments. that's the greater evil, the bigger war, the more pressing battle. not so much for this, now, though of course that must be won too, but just as the surrender to the missions was a surrender of more than the few thousand ragged children that were left of the millions of native 'californians' , it was a surrender of what they would become, and their children too, just so the opening future, the limitless reach of the thing we are, the thing that reaches through us, that reached through all the life before us and became this, is here now and is becoming something more, in the same way the shape of a man's life is in the hands of the child he must first be, but more than that, much more is at stake, and we are all speaking the language of the mission now, all of us descended from that terrible compromise, the love that found no clear way through, and surrendered rather than die.

from that we go on. what I'm suggesting is that we stop lying to ourselves about what this is, and prevent those more compromised from lying about it to our children.}

abstract pheromone blueprint

Unlike its ancient Egyptian counterparts, the Austerlitz pyramid is but a mere 200 years old. It was completed on 12 October 1804 by a French general, Auguste Marmont, who wanted to create a lasting monument in honour of Napoleon Bonaparte and - above all - himself. To make it even more spectacular, he placed an obelisk on top of the pyramid. The entire structure is approximately 50 metres high and stands on a hill of about the same height, giving a spectacular view of the surrounding area.

controversial hubristic Abramic geometry

Since the 16th century and the introduction of foreign technology in China, there have been discussions about how to implement new technology while preserving Chinese values. The concept of tiyong was introduced in the middle of the 19th century. It implies a view of social and cultural superiority, and a reluctance to accept foreign ideas and technology, especially from the West. The tiyong concept is crucial in understanding how the Chinese approach foreign technological development and its influence on social norms. It shapes the view of Chinese leaders and its citizens and provides them with a sense of being 'Chinese'.

"Cat" in the England of old was another name for violin. Or any stringed instrument of that ilk. Am now advised "catgut" is so called not because it ever came from cats -- it didn't -- but because it was used on cats, i.e., stringed instruments.



As a result, prison sentences have grown longer while prisons have become places where nothing is done to reprogram criminals for the life outside to which 95 percent of them will return. "Our contemporary prisons basically replicate the social order that produced the offenders to begin with," says Mark A. R. Kleiman, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Los Angeles. "Their signal qualities are violence, idleness, and noise."


{the three previous posts (looking 'v' down) were the result of this site, WORLDWIDE GUIDE TO WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP, an astonishingly wide-ranging collection of exactly that. a few of the names that jumped out as I browsed through:

Indira GandhimmmGolda Me�rmmmMargaret ThatchermmmMaria Estella Mart�nez Cartas de Per�nmmmGro Harlem BrundtlandmmmBenazir BhuttommmMary RobinsonmmmPatricia Scott SchroedermmmMadeleine Korbel AlbrightmmmAnn Willis RichardsmmmNora Astorga GadiammmNellie Tayloe RossmmmRuth DefusesmmmFreda Meissner-BlaummmSarojini Chattopadhyaya NaidummmJosefina Valencia de HubacmmmmmmGloria Macapagal-ArroyommmBella Savitzky AbzugmmmDixy Lee RaymmmMary McAleesemmmMarie-Fran�oise Haye-GuillardmmmHelen Mamayaok MaksagakmmmJudy GingellmmmGlenna F. HansenmmmLise ThibaultmmmTarja Halonenmmm*Angel Joy Rocker*mmmAna Maria Pessoa Pereira da Silva Pintommm

Yulia Voldyrovna Tymoshenkno
Griselda Alvar�z Ponce de Le�nMegawati Sukarnoputri
Ertha Pascal-Troullot

It's been 25 years since Mexican medical student Jes�s Piedra Ibarra "disappeared", reportedly at the hands of the State Judicial Police in Monterrey, Nuevo Le�n state. His mother, Rosario Ibarra, has never stopped campaigning for the truth to be known and justice to be done.
In 1977 a group of relatives of the "disappeared" in the state of Nuevo Le�n, led by Rosario Ibarra, created the Committee for the Defence of Prisoners, the Persecuted, the Disappeared and Political Exiles. The organization is also known as the Comit� Eureka. The name comes from the Greek word Eureka, meaning "I have discovered, I have found". Since it was founded, the Comit� Eureka has campaigned successfully for the release of 148 "disappeared" people.
This same work, however, has led to harassment and threats against the organization. Amnesty International has issued numerous appeals in defense of the organization and in support of its work.
In a 1998 interview, Rosario Ibarra was asked what kept her hope alive. In response she took the interviewer to another room in her house, opened the door, and said, "Look."

Colonel(Captain) Dr. Lakshmi Sehgal
...Her compassion and service to the poor have become legendary...

Radio Netherlands
a four part series on manic depression, Tourette's sydrome, synaesthesia and schizophrenia. full-program links (real player)

{from a search for Ingrid Betancourt}

O'Brien, who was first diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1994, said she told the officer who handcuffed her that he could call her doctor or her nurse to verify the prescription.

"I told him I had brain cancer, and I had a medical information card inside my wallet,'' she said. "It didn't matter to him. He didn't believe anything I was telling him.''

O'Brien's family posted bail that night, but she was still without her medicine. She was arraigned the next day; as a condition of her release, she was required to attend a session at a drug treatment facility.

{no price is too high, if we can keep painkillers away from people who don't deserve them. and if a few cancer patients here and there have to get roughed up for the War on Drugs to proceed, so be it.}


The plan, known as "Operation Game Day," is part of a $9 million post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism effort that includes beefed up security at the California-Mexico border, a no-fly zone over the stadium, military air patrols and an elaborate camera system monitoring every inch of the stadium and environs.

Arab-American groups estimated at least 36 people have been detained -- mostly Middle Eastern and Latino workers who were security guards or concession workers at the stadium. Foreign-born taxi and bus drivers have also been arrested. The San Diego Union Tribune quoted sources as saying 80 people were being held.

{what still stands inviolate is the fourth wall, the invisible barrier between the folks at home and the actors on the set.. sure there's cameras, but notice how nobody talks about who's monitoring those cameras. oh, right. it's a bunch of athletic brunettes in dark suits. right. it's as though all the video feed is being processed in some already existing neural center. horseshit. it's a bunch of crippled FBI wannabe's and other even more loathsome laboratory creatures. and far too late the truth will show, there's a feedback loop there, your consciousness rides back down the signal, you touch events you watch, even after they've happened.}

{ my ongoing refusal to co-operate with currently established 'blogging' protocol continues with this mild screed:

better minds than mine have pointed to at and near this backlit conglomeration of information and held speech. and compared it often to the neural pathways of corporeal existence. so imagine the nerve cells each one insisting on trademark and acknowledgement, and each cell having to feed itself, and each cell insisting on its own viability as at least equal to, if not more important than, the larger contextual body. Jorn Barger is being shunned I think. I'm not real interested in why. we are all of us standing on a thousand different precipices (precipici?) at the same moment, I mean each of us has a thousand ways to fall. one of those ways that seems the brightest, the most colorful, that holds for me the most promise, would put us closer to the body's cell, in sacrifice, in purpose, in selfless humility. which is a verbose and stilted attempt at excusing myself for not doing all that linking via thanks to and what was that? blogaversary? us-and-them horseshit. because the hour is late and I don't care that much how much of what I've done is known or lost. it's the thing itself that matters most. all else is a far and unimportant second.}


The bravery of those who dared to defy the Nazis to save Jews is generally muted by Holocaust chroniclers. But the incidents of countless non-Jews who risked their lives to protect people of another faith were as real as the ovens of Nazi death camps. This section will examine the reluctance to acknowledge and honor these heroes.

a site called Holocaust Heroes

{meta-Freudian ninja riposte}

Talking Cure

...The doctor believed that if she had been a normal girl
A house was on fire.
she would have responded with the attraction natural
at fourteen, not this blunt disgust. Diagnosis: hysteria.
Reversal of affect, displacement of sensation. Basically,
My father was standing
beside my bed
she was a prick tease, for her would-be lover must have
gathered from numerous signs (a man knows such things)
that he was secure in the girl's affections before proceeding.
and woke me up....

Cathleen Calbert
in the magazine Hotel Amerika

via Poetry Daily January 23, 2003

long time back

To many Americans, this sounds like socialism, big government, the nanny state. But so what? The result is: Europe has less gun crime and homicide, less poverty and arguably a higher quality of life than the U.S., which makes a lot of us wonder why America doesn't want some of what we've got.

Too often, the U.S. presents the "American way" as the only way, insisting on its kind of free-market Darwinism as the only acceptable "model of human progress." But isn't civilization what happens when people stop behaving as if they're trapped in a ruthless Darwinian struggle and start thinking about communities and shared futures? America as a gated community won't work, because not even the world's sole superpower can build walls high enough to shield itself from the intertwined realities of the 21st century. There's a better form of security: reconnect with the rest of the world, don't shut it out; stop making enemies and start making friends. Perhaps it's asking a lot to expect America to act differently from all the other empires in history, but wasn't that the original idea?

Brian Eno is a musician who believes that regime change begins at home


the good guys are funnier than the bad guys, as well.

Paul Krugman takes home $100 for a Google Answer about himself.

if I was a kid I'd want for an uncle, or an uncle and an aunt, or a family even.
here they calmly and with unprejudicial care lay out the facts of the somewhat piscine draft
deferment enjoyed by Mr. Rusty Limbaugh, otherwise known as 'Rush'.

Many parents who chose not to have their children vaccinated thought flu shots didn't work because they or people they've known have suffered stomach ailments despite having had a flu shot.

Their logic: My flu shot didn't keep me from getting a gastrointestinal virus, so clearly it doesn't work.

The problem: That's like blaming the polio vaccine for not preventing measles.

"We've got to be able to get our minds clear about what influenza is and what the vaccine does so that we can get people to believe in it," says Dr. Allison McGeer, director of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

Here Goes:

Gastrointestinal viruses like Norwalk rip through the system like drain cleaner. For 24, 48 or 72 hours, you feel like death warmed over and you can't stray far from the safety of familiar plumbing.

Influenza, on the other hand, has symptoms like those of a bad cold: coughing, sneezing, runny nose, achy muscles, fatigue, lethargy and a fever.

High fever can trigger vomiting in young children, so occasionally children with influenza will vomit -- a fact that probably adds to the confusion over what influenza is and isn't.

"Little kids when they get sick barf. It's a fact of life," McGeer says, noting it's the fever, not the influenza, that is responsible for the vomiting.

influenza never goes abdominal. ever.

my favorite template I wish I had


elegant, complete, UT(Texas) Library Online's
Perry-Casta�eda Library Map Collection

Q. Any reason why a clock's hands move clockwise instead of oppositely?

A. A sundial's shadow rotates clockwise in the northern hemisphere. Designers of the first mechanical clocks copied that.


on the strength of this:
Operator: Hello, Maury Povich show.
Me: Hello, is this the Maury Povich show from TV?
O: Yes.
M: Hi. I was watching your show today, "Your Boyfriend Got Me Pregnant," and at the end the screen said "Do you have a secret you want to reveal to someone on the Maury Povich show?" with this phone number, and I thought "I have a secret that I want to reveal to someone on the Maury Povich show," so I'm calling the number.
O: Uh huh. And who do you want to reveal the secret to?
M: Maury Povich.
O: Maury Povich, the host of the show?

While we're not sure Pete Townshend's " I was just doing some research" explanation will hold up in court, The Who guitarist last year drafted a six-page treatise on the easy availability of child pornography on the Internet. So easy, in fact, that Townshend, 57, wrote that he accidentally discovered a photo of a two-year-old boy being raped when he typed the words "Russia," "orphanages," and "boys" into a search engine.

Smoking Gun has Townshend's letter, from his website a year ago
{the end of the piece has this tone, I don't know, a little too goody-goody, a little too forced, a little too something, it's hard to know for sure, whatever motivated him to write it, that's all changed now. what he most needs to address is the idea that being an intelligent person he intentionally left an alibi behind him, in case the shit hit the fan, knowing that it would, or would probably. and I guess that would fall out around how many times his credit cards were billed. he makes some really valid points about the complicity of looking, that merely hitting sites like that feeds the slave trade in underage sex-toy human lives.

on the other hand, no one wants to talk about the threat in the presence of these 'above the law' vigilantes, not just on the internet but everywhere seemingly. there was a time when I felt that anything done to stop that destruction, that degradation, was justified. I don't think so anymore. I think the people involved in, and I don't know what else to call it, vigilante activities, too many of them are not healthy, that they spread a kind of sickness that's harder to see, but that does its own kind of damage. and they hide behind the real and undeniable fact of their resistance to evil, their defense of the innocent. so that in the immediate the children are rescued, some of them, but in the long run something else we haven't figured out a name for is perpetuated. the mentality that says if they have to ruin the lives of a few innocent people to get to the evil ones it's how it has to be. that same logic has turned America into a vast stockyard, filled with nervous sheep. we should not forget that the reason the exploitation of children is bad is the damage it does. many people without being able to say it, feel that sexual exploitation of children is wrong because sex is bad and children are good. but it's the damage. and there are other, non-sexual, forms of damage that go on all around us all the time. people get outraged at pedophile priests yet think nothing of a priest who tells a believing child that masturbation will send him to hell for all eternity. imagine what that is for someone who believes in eternity and hell as real possible outcomes. these are people many of them who are less affected by the sight of a child killed in a car wreck, than a child raped. even given that a raped child is very likely to become suicidal, still, one's dead, the other's alive. there's something sick about preferring the dead, virginal child to the living, violated child. something real sick. that child pornography is undebatably wrong, yes, I'm not interested in any arguments about that, but that the process the systems the ways of living that have made this all possible are somehow all right, and only the child pornography is wrong, that's the argument that needs to begin, if it isn't already too late. the responsibility of the so-called Free World to the suddenly free-falling people behind the Iron Curtain, the part that capitalism itself has played in the creation of the markets for young bodies and lives, that goes unspoken still. it isn't just sex that's wrong in our treatment of third-world children, an argument could be made that a ten year old working to exhaustion in a poorly ventilated factory, working with toxic chemicals and dust, working for almost nothing to enrich people whose attitudes toward that child's health and well-being are a perfect mirror for the sexual predator's disregard, that a child in those circumstances is being violated, being damaged to a degree that only an inhuman mind and heart could distinguish from the damage of sexual violation.}

It's known that peanuts originated in South America. It's also known that peanuts have been found sealed up in a Chinese structure more than 5,000 years old. How'd they get there?


the unfairness of

and the lack of necessity for




The tornado leveled over 200 homes, many of good construction on the west side of town. It completely swept away poorly constructed homes several miles to the west of town, and on the northeast side of town. Entire families were killed, up to 13 in a single home. When the official death toll of 216 was set, there were still over 100 people in hospitals in three states. Many were in serious or critical condition. The Mississippi State Geologist estimated the final death toll at 233. Since only the names of the white injured were published in newspapers, it is not possible to follow up on the fate of the black injured. This racial aspect of tornado documentation was common until the late-1940's, and occasionally present, in some form, until the mid-1950's.
{Bobbie Ann Mason in her Elvis Presley in the Penguin Lives series, says Elvis saw that tornado when he was a one-year old. she also mentions the Negro community of Shake Rag which was completely obliterated, lock stock and barrel, men women and children, in that tornado. because of the prudish and infantile nature of most mass media, these small-hearted idiots who want to debate 'Affirmative Action' are allowed to go on spewing their ignorance on the uneducated and even more ignorant. because the horror that's there, the real gut-emptying nightmare that only so very recently began to lift, were it to be shown plainly and clearly on national TV, would make that kind of debate impossible to sustain, and show those craven fools for what they are.}

The amount of ice melting from the surface of the Greenland ice sheet broke all known records last year, threatening a rapid rise in sea levels and a return of very cold winters to Britain because of a slowing down in the Gulf Stream.

Already the Gulf Stream, which bathes the west coast of Britain in warm water from the Gulf of Mexico and keeps the country much milder than normal for such northern latitudes, is slowing down. Even greater melting of the Greenland ice could shut off the currents altogether, allowing depressions to dump snow rather than instead of rain in Britain and leading to a much colder continental climate, as has been experienced in the past week.

As happens on the eastern seaboard of Canada, which on the same latitude, the sea could freeze and snow lie for weeks or months instead of a day of two.

Last year large areas of the Greenland ice shelf, previously too high and too cold to melt, began pouring billions of gallons of fresh water into the northern Atlantic. Melted water trapped between the ice and the rock beneath is causing an acceleration of glaciers breaking off in huge chunks and increasing the number of icebergs.

In February, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) will bring tribal representatives from around the United States to Washington to seek more money for schools such as the Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer, Montana, and the Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, North Dakota.

Though authorizations call for funding at a level of $6,000 per student for the colleges, appropriations now total only about $3,900 per student.

"We're very concerned. All of our colleges have been the most underfunded higher education institutions in this country," said AIHEC Executive Director Gerald Gipp, a member of the Hunkpapa Lakota tribe.

Indian advocates say support from the federal government is crucial to efforts to lift American Indians out of crushing poverty. As of the most recent census, an estimated 24.5 percent of the American Indian population was living in poverty, more than double the overall U.S. rate.

Haskell has been hit particularly hard. With its reliance almost exclusively on government funding and no specific tribal backing, the college has seen its budget held to minimal annual cost-of-living increases, with little extra for technology improvements, capital expenditures and other needs.

Out-of-date textbooks and computer systems too slow to send e-mail are among the problems, students and faculty say. Summer school was canceled last year because of the financial crunch, and student fee increases are being considered.

In response to AIEHC demands, a Senate task force met last spring to begin exploring funding options, and in July, President Bush signed an executive order recognizing the "significant role" of the tribal colleges and pledging to include them in high-priority education initiatives.

But in his budget for the fiscal year that began in October, President Bush proposed a 5 percent funding cut to the colleges, trimming annual appropriations to $39 million.

Funding levels are still being negotiated on Capitol Hill, and American Indians, who represent only 0.9 percent of the U.S. population and have little political clout, are not optimistic about the outcome.

"The tanks, the artillery and the helicopters fire away in their training exercises at all times of the day and night," Helmut Ott, the mayor of Auerbach and its 9,500 residents, told Reuters.

"The noise gets worse all the time," he added. "The quality of life is deteriorating and an increase in the target practice is an unacceptable burden to people who already suffer enough. The ground water is already contaminated. We're fed up with it."

The American army, which has 70,000 soldiers stationed in Germany, wants to increase the size of the forces at the vast Grafenwoehr combat training grounds from about 3,500 to 5,500 troops, and build 1,900 new apartments for the combat forces.

The blueprints also call for felling 80 hectares (200 acres) of adjacent forest for the G.I. settlement known as "New Town" in a region the government had designated a nature reserve - drawing more protests from environmentalists.

A recent poll tells us that one in two Americans now believe Saddam was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre.

{I missed that the first time through LeCarr�'s phillipic J'Accuse.
but of course we're not really talking about the truth anymore are we? like abortion, like Darwin, like Jesus, like Communism, like drugs, like same-sex, like all of it, the thing behind the words is gone. it's about the flag as gang-colors. it's about freedom as a battle-cry, entirely separate from the idea of actually being free. it's about the inevitable Cain and Abel circumstance that time itself is bringing to all of us. they're fighting for their lives, those people. nothing more or less than that. it has to be disguised now in moral terms, in order for the raw animal competition to remain invisible, disguised, unspoken. so the WTC towers become an unjoined cross, burning in the small-town night sky. it doesn't matter if it's lit by kerosene flames or neon gas. what it stands for is their lives. not the ones who died there on that day in 2001. the lives of the people who now think Saddam blew those towers up.}

Bar Code(UPC) FAQ
including links to two sites that provide online lookup product ID

They've all been swimming since Christmas Eve, whirling around the pool like tuxedos in a washing machine. No one knows why they started or when they'll stop. All they know is that the zoo's Penguin Island has turned into a very chaotic place.
SFChronicle via the necessary and currently funds-soliciting Undernews

Shark populations in the northwest Atlantic have plunged by more than half since scientists began closely tracking them in 1986, with marquee species like the hammerhead and the great white falling more than 75 percent, researchers say.
Such an abrupt decline in the ocean's dominant hunters is likely to alter marine food chains in ways that are impossible to predict and that might take decades to reverse, the researchers and other experts said.
The researchers, from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, ascribed the drop to intensifying commercial and recreational fishing for sharks, which reproduce slowly compared with other oceanic fish. They describe their findings in Friday issue of the journal Science.
The Dalhousie researchers said similar drops had probably occurred elsewhere and said "pervasive overfishing of these species may initiate major ecological changes."
They said there was no evidence that the drop was due to any natural cycle, partly because similar trends have been recognized in the Pacific and other waters with heavy fishing pressure.

...something of a dancer in this man

walking to the kitchen in his socks.

He went for sweet rolls.

He's got the coffeepot on, the radio soft.

When Eunice opens her robe...

Alison Pelegrin

The Zydeco Tablets

Poetry Daily Jan 18

birds, mammals, and flora on the Isle of Skye ::Wild Skye

A spokeswoman told The West Australian that, after reviewing the issue, the department had decided to accommodate people whose birth certificates recorded their sex as indeterminate.

Alex has since received the passport, with an X in the sex field.

After making inquiries with intersex people overseas, Alex believes the move set a global precedent.

"It means a great deal," Alex said.


picture this, a man in a room talking to himself, it's hard at first to make out the words so tone of voice is what you go on. he doesn't seem to be muttering in irritation the way so many of the lost, the footloose mad, do when they feel safe enough, or when their minds break far enough. no this guy, and it's hard in the dim light to see much about him other than gender, height, his clothes neither ragged nor sharp, but there's definitely no one else there, he's definitely talking 'to himself'. unless of course he's praying, but then his voice doesn't have the righteous sound of most public prayer, that layered-on sanctimonious performance most people fall into when it's time to address their personal deities. no, he sounds like he's talking to someone who owes him money, is that it? or someone who bumped their cart into him at the grocery store, no not that negative, but negative, yes, accusing maybe, but it sounds too like he's explaining something, that sense of a logical train, like one, two, three, or a, therefore b, therefore c.
logic and accusation, but what's that other sense, that tone? it almost sounds like, yes it is, it's that stand-up comedian thing, that schtick, the rap rhythm of a lead-in to a punchline, a set-up to a joke. and he's got that stand-up's bitter edge, that's what it is, self-hate from being there in front of the audience in the first place.
but listen, the sound's picked up in detail, you can hear the words now, the sentences begin to take shape.....

that's my life right there, my life right now anyway, and a lot of the last couple decades too, not that that's all of it, but some of the most important things I did in my life were done exactly like that, in a new form, a fragile medium so delicate a child's hand could erase all of it in a single gesture. but it had the immediate power of the living moment, not the held inspected crafted worked finished product but the right now come what may fall on your face or ascend into the night sky kind of spontaneous, what some of the younger ones took to calling 'free-style'.
I've been doing that since I was your age, and younger. in a dark corner of the world that only now has become real in a way that allows me to point to it. that's what I am. that's what I brought to this conversation.
it generated heat in a form that's hard to think about, for me anyway, hard because the anger it causes makes it hard for me to do anything but scream in rage, and the circumstances I'm in make any genuine emotions a kind of surrender, and anger a kind of invitation for punishment. I used to tell myself it was because I had work to do, that I had to keep whole, stay firm, but really I think I just got tired of getting beaten. it doesn't take too many times before the animal refuses to co-operate, and animal is what I've been, proudly so, a beast beyond the reckoning of any but the most imaginative and open-hearted.

because of that heat I carry, every word I've written you since virtually the first letter has been read by other people, most of them as they were being written. who they are, these uninvited, unwelcome readers, what they are, I have no clear idea, but that they're there, I'll stake my life on that. and I could give a fairly accurate description of their places in the world, sometimes, in the sense of their 'spiritual' stance, their intellectual abilities, etc. not because I've got access to any kind of secret info, but because I live in such isolation psychically, and because I have that kind of sensitivity.
imagine stay-at-home cripples with access to security monitors. only in the old days when there weren't so many cameras. it's different now. real different. and I'm credentialled old-school on that.
the irony is that it's my disgust at your cowardice that makes it possible to finally be direct and honest about this. because it doesn't matter to me anymore whether you can see what I'm saying, or, if you can see it, what it might mean to you.
you have your reasons for what you do, there are choices you don't see of course, things you could do, or could have done. it's like that for all of us most of the time.
my own version of that has narrowed down greatly. it's almost as though I no longer have any choices to make at all. each step now unfolds directly from the one before. there's a lot of light around, but it's a heartless brilliance that cares nothing for human dreams.
it's like the ocean that way. you go out on the ocean and your illusions are dangerous and nothing more. your hopes mean nothing to the sea. it is. it just is, and you make your way across it on its terms only. the light is like that now. and it's getting brighter.


{these guys(creative commons) did, after a fair amount of work, this. which, among other stimuli, caused this guy(Dan Gillmor) to say this. that, in turn, caused this guy, possibly named Arnold Kling, to say this, about both Gillmor and Creative Commons:

While there are many Net-heads who share Dan Gillmor's enthusiasm for Creative Commons, I do not. It has little or no significance, because it is based on a strikingly naive 60's-retro ideological view of how content intermediaries function. The Commons enthusiasts believe that content publishers earn their profits by using copyright law to steal content from its creators and charge extortionary prices to consumers.

In contrast, I believe that it is important to recognize that publishers perform a valid economic function of filtering content and effectively distributing and selling it to consumers. Today's media companies deserve plenty of contempt, as I have argued many times - see here or here or here. However, although we can get along without today's publishers, we cannot get along without the function that they perform.

that led in its own turn to this rebuttal by Mr Gillmor. Which is where things stand at this moment (5:00 p.m. Monday 01/13/03).

I would add only that the myopia of most participants in most debates of this nature is so horrifying to me that most of the time it sends me into a fugue state. Gillmor's grace is his humility, and a sense he conveys of being in the midst of overwhelming circumstances in which he has a part to play that may or may not bring huge responsibilities with it, but performing as though it does. so I listen to him. he talks about things I don't understand. tech stuff, and how that interfaces with politics and commerce, stuff like Wifi, I get what it does, a little, more though, it's the opening out of all this, hardware software application dream, potential imagined and real, that concerns me.

the Clovis point is, as I understand it, aside from its nature as weapon and tool, a development in the paleological dating of human settlements in North America. a refinement of spear technology whose benefits were so obvious and whose implementation so basic that it is assumed to have spread like wildfire. again, as I understand it, the presence or absence of the Clovis point in ancient middens is one way of determining how old they are. because the technology was so obviously important. and it was free. it spread like wildfire. because it was good, and it was free.

it's not hard to imagine some grasping bottleneck trying to hold out for more than esteem and high regard locally, more elk skins, more mastodon, especially with the examples we have before us of people who put their own welfare, their right to remuneration, above all else, including the welfare of the world itself.

but it also seems unlikely that people like that had much protection from the victims of their greed, then.

inasmuch as the Creative Commons is a small tentative move in the direction of freedom, but not structureless anarchy, they deserve encouragement and praise, I think. and the unquestioned axiom Mr. Kling refers to, that the media-created 60's were nothing more than a drug-muddled dead-end of idealism and naivete, is something I'd like to see held to closer scrutiny. I was there. it seemed a lot more like a brightly chaotic lunge for the fence to me.}

But none of this addresses the issue of why cloning scares the pants off most people. This is because it seems so unnatural, so artificial. It reeks of a smoking test tube and a luminous petri dish. And yet my sister and I are living proof that cloning is a naturally occurring phenomenon. Long before Messrs Antinori and Boisselier hit the headlines, cloning was as run of the mill as curly red hair or freckles - although an entire generation of Annies would, admittedly, be a pretty scary prospect.

{it's not the freakiness so much as the fingerprints on the human shape, cloning, GM humans, all that. it's that the mindless soulless heartless automata that now dominate scientific 'progress' will be turning over their results to the inhuman freaks that now run the world. and forget the idea of immortality in a test tube, harvesting new bodies, new organs, that's where the immortality lies. and it's all about freezing life the way it suits you, that's where the crime is, as though there's nothing else here but what you grab. the frightening prospect of evolutionary opportunists transcending, when the thorn has trumped the rose at last.}

Mother Teresa was given, to our certain knowledge, many tens of millions of pounds. But she never built any hospitals. She claimed to have built almost 150 convents, for nuns joining her own order, in several countries. Was this where ordinary donors thought their money was going?

Furthermore, she received some of this money from the Duvaliers, and from Mr Charles Keating of the notorious Lincoln Savings and Loan of California, and both these sources had acquired the money by - how shall I put it? - borrowing money from the poor and failing to give it back.

How could this possibly be true? Doesn't everyone know that she spent her time kissing the sores of lepers and healing the sick? Ah, but what everyone knows isn't always true. You were more likely to run into Mother Teresa being photographed with Nancy Reagan, or posing with Princess Diana, or in the first-class cabin of Air India (where she had a permanent reservation).

Christopher Hitchens

Terrorism is not a nation; terrorism is a tactic. The United States has used it or condoned its use. There is currently a very real Islamic fundamentalist terrorist movement. The United States has an equally real obligation to use its power to oppose this movement.

The movement is not controlled from Iraq; there is no evidence that the elimination of Saddam Hussein would do anything to hinder that movement. The Taliban still move freely along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; their power has been diminished but not eliminated. But we are asked to forget about that, even as we are asked to forget about the still-mysterious anthrax attacks that occurred less than two years ago.

It is necessary for us to remember; it is necessary for us to speak out. It is time to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. There is no greater patriotism.

Jon Carroll January 10, 2003


iCommune is a plug-in which extends Apple's iTunes software to share music over the network

Anyway, do you know how hard it is to get on welfare and food stamps? Well kids, let me tell you: writing a book and getting it published was easier--hey, giving birth to the Solid Gold Dancers out of your butt would be less painful, and getting welfare and food stamps is a constant and demeaning job. I would've gotten a job at McDonald's or some fast food joint, but couldn't get a hair net big enough.

Erika Lopez at Junction City we hear you

In a 1988 report, an NSF-appointed Antarctic Safety Panel wrote, "The Panel recommends that the National Science Foundation recognize and reflect in its management policies, directives and contracts, that its antarctic stations are not simply worksites, but communities of people with recreational, spiritual, cultural and other human needs." Sounds good on paper. At Antarctic stations, plays, music, and door decorations are all subject to management approval, and an envelope containing local satirical newsletters ("The Symmes Antarctic Intelligencer") was intercepted in the mail and confiscated at South Pole by Human Resources. Let's see how electronic media fares on the Frontier of Scientific Progress, shall we?

Fucked-Up Summer Person at Big Dead Place we hear you


ice booming. Dutchfolk hurling themselves into the North Sea. Capetown children busking the Lord's Prayer...
Quiet American, one minute sonic R&R's.
via the most-illuminating Dublog




danziger 01/08/03

maggots debriding a wounded foot

The founder of modern maggot therapy was William Baer (1872-1931), Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the John Hopkins School of Medicine in Maryland. He described how, during the First World War, he had treated two wounded soldiers who had remained overlooked on the battlefield for seven days having sustained compound fractures of the femur and large flesh wounds of the abdomen and scrotum. On arrival at the field hospital they showed no sign of fever or septicaemia despite the very serious nature of their injuries and their prolonged exposure to the elements without food or water. Their wounds, although filled with maggots, were beautifully clean and showing obvious signs of healing. Remembering these wartime experiences, Baer subsequently used maggots to treat four children with intractable bone infections (osteomyelitis) at the Children's Hospital in Baltimore in 1928. The treatment was very successful and the wounds healed within six weeks. In the absence of any equally effective alternative for the treatment of osteomyelitis or infected soft tissue injuries, the use of maggots spread quickly during the 1930s and remained popular for about a decade until the advent of sulphonamides and antibiotics offered a more attractive method for dealing with the problems of wound infections. In recent years, however, serious problems associated with the development of multi-resistant strains of bacteria, coupled with recognition of the limitations of other forms of wound debridement, led to the reintroduction of maggot therapy as a standard wound treatment.
Experience has shown that compared with conventional therapies, the application of maggots reduces treatment times by weeks or even months. Maggots do not have teeth and therefore cannot actively 'chew away' dead tissue. They feed by secreting a mixture of powerful enzymes into the wound, which break-down the necrotic tissue into a semi-liquid form that the creatures can ingest. They also reduce or eliminate odour and combat wound infections including those caused by the so-called 'super-bugs' that are resistant to most antibiotics in common use. It is believed that the ability of maggots to combat wound infection is partly due to the antimicrobial nature of their secretions, but it has also been demonstrated that actively feeding larvae ingest bacteria and destroy them as they pass through their gut.

LarvE; The World 's Smallest Surgeons
NHS Trusts
Commissioners Review 2002

The practice of using first instar larvae (maggots) of flies to heal wounds has been around for centuries. In the pre-antibiotic era, physicians noted that larvae would debride wounds of necrotic tissue and greatly improve the prognosis for disease in their patients. Larvae work continually to remove the dead tissue and cleanse it of bacteria while leaving the viable cells alone. Larval therapy gained acceptance and was widely used until the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940's. With the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of microbes, larval therapy is again being investigated as a viable treatment of wounds. Veterinary medicine appears to be falling behind human medicine in utilizing maggots. Fly larvae can be used to heal ulcerative lesions, burns, certain types of benign and malignant tumors, abscesses, and osteomyelitis when conventional treatments fail or are inappropriate. They are easy to apply, relatively inexpensive, and do not destroy normal gastrointestinal flora or leave violative residues as do systemic antibiotics.
Reports of the deliberate introduction of maggots into infected and gangrenous wounds, followed by successful healing, date back to ancient times and span various cultures world-wide. The Mayan Indians wrapped wounds with a dressing made of sun-exposed beef blood that would pulsate, apparently with maggots, a few days after it was applied. An aboriginal tribe in Australia cleansed wounds with maggots by following the protocols handed down for generations. In Newfoundland, a severe infection in a fisherman's hand was treated by an elderly woman who used maggots the, 'old way my mother show me.'
Larval Therapy: A Review of Clinical Human and Veterinary Studies
Janet Hinshaw,
Veterinary Student,
Kansas State University

Sprawled in this crater was a wounded German soldier. They drank the water together, then the American fell back, exhausted. He lay there for 24 hours before he was found. Maggots found his wound and swarmed into it with avidity.
When I cut away the cloth of his breeches, I could not see his wound. It was black with burrowed maggots. In some alarm I cleansed the wound and destroyed the maggots, and then stared at the flesh in amazement. It was glisteningly pink and clean, with firm, healthy granulation tissue and not even the suspicion of infection.
This was my first experience with so-called maggot therapy, an aspect of surgery that today is well known and infinitely more advanced than it was in 1918. The principle in itself was not new. Ambroise Par� had commented on it in 1557; it was known to Baron D. J. Larrey, Napoleon's famous military surgeon, who in 1799 observed the curative effects of live maggots on the badly infected wounds of French soldiers. Dr. J. F. Zacharias, a surgeon of Cumberland, Maryland, who served in the Confederate army during the Civil War, actually employed maggots in caring for the wounds of Rebel soldiers.
But it was Dr. William S. Baer, clinical professor of orthopedic surgery in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who placed this age-old procedure on a scientific basis, and amplified it so that it could be used in civil medicine. Baer had reached France in June, 1917 as a member of the Johns Hopkins Unit (Base No. 18), but he was soon transferred to the headquarters of the American Expeditionary Forces at Chaumont as orthopedic consultant, and his duties took him into all sectors held by American troops. One day in 1917 he had occasion to care for two American soldiers suffering from large flesh wounds in the scrotum and abdomen, and compound fractures of the femur. Yet these men, who had lain in No Man's Land for seven days without food, water or medical care, had neither fever nor any evidence of sepsis when Baer saw them. He did notice that their wounds were filled with thousands of maggots, a sight that disgusted him, as it did me. In spite of the fact that the mortality among soldiers having compound fractures during the World War was very great, the condition of Baer's two patients, except for the effects of starvation and thirst, was excellent. He was amazed.


One in eight nuns said she had been sexually exploited. Of those, nearly three in four maintained she was victimized by a priest, nun or other religious person. The exploitation included everything from pressure for "dates" to requests for sexual favours to sexual intercourse. Two of every five nuns who said they had been sexually exploited said the exploitation involved some form of genital contact.

And we're marchin' south in the pouring rain
We're all goin' down to Dixieland

I am Kilrain of the 20th Maine and we fight for Chamberlain
'Cause he stood right with us when the Johnnies came like a banshee on the wind
In the smoke smeared hell of Gettysburg many a mother wept
For many a good boy died there, sure, and the air smelt just like death
I am the Kilrain of the 20th Maine and I marched to hell and back again
For Colonel Joshua Chamberlain - we're all goin' down to Dixieland

I am the Kilrain of the 20th Maine and I damn all gentlemen
Whose only worth is their father's name and the sweat of a workin' man
Well we come from the farms and the city streets and a hundred foreign lands
And we spilled our blood in the battle's heat
Now we're all Americans
I am the Kilrain of the 20th Maine did I tell you friend I'm a fightin' man
And I'll not be back this way again, 'cause we're all goin' down to Dixieland

Steve Earle's Dixieland

Dan Gillmore's post for 01/09/03 lifted entire:

The Read-Write Web

Dave Winer's First (DaveNet) Essay of the Year is about many things, but it may boil down best to what he says in the first section:

" The Web uniquely wants to be used by everyone, not just for the purposes of big companies and their profits and paranoia. This is a foundation that I think we agree on."

It's a fine summary of how what he calls the "Two Way Web" is evolving. I think of it as the multi-directional Web, but the idea is the same. And the bottom line is that it's coming along brilliantly due to the tools he and other programmers and engineers have been developing in recent months and years.
I believe this is the year when the pieces will truly come together. We are seeing the rebirth of what Tim Berners-Lee envisioned when he created the Web in the first place.

The enemies of this vision are going to fight all the way.

Slide34a.jpg This is a slide I use in presentations, showing how Hollywood views the Web. It always gets a snicker. But its message is serious.

Hollywood and the other members of the entertainment cartel do not believe in a two-way or multi-directional Web. They believe they are sending their content to consumers, not customers who want to build their own content or, crucially, communities.

Dave Winer is an ally of the people who don't want a small group of powerful interests to control our communications. As a new year begins, I thank them all.
The Internet is Read-Write, not Read-Only



"The magic of the sentinel is that it protects the information, so that even after a hundred bacterial generations we were able to retrieve the exact message," says Wong. "Once the DNA message is in bacteria, it is protected and can survive." And as a millilitre of liquid can contain up to billion bacteria, the potential capacity of such a memory system is enormous.

faces and names

"re those advance reading copies (ARCs) of Pattern Recognition that have been popping up on eBay for the last little while.
Those are �uncorrected proof copies�, which means that they are (1) absolutely riddled with errata, and (2) in the case of this book, to some extent a variant text. There is, in particular, a completely annoying failure on the typesetter�s part to keep the email sections in the font allotted to email."

{a glimpse at the burden of proofreading. William Gibson enters the blogplatz.}
"I suspect I have spent just about exactly as much time actually writing as the average person my age has spent watching television, and that, as much as anything, may be the real secret here. "


More Edge:
That's true, Mr. President: liberals are not people who spend money on government programs per se, liberals are people who put money into improving social conditions because they affirm that humans can learn�from parents, peers, teachers, and what they see and hear around them. How come? Because human biology evolved for adaptation by learning. Can all humans learn equally well? Of course not, but they can learn better. We have seen that in the case of the learning disabled over the last generation. Are humans perfectible? Of course not. But liberals tend to use government to improve social conditions (which is to say, to support the learning environment in the widest sense) rather than on coercion, incarceration, warfare�and rewarding those who have already had the benefits of privileged environments. Have you ever noticed, Mr. President, how so much of the twins research that is used to argue the determining importance of genetics depends on controlling for socioeconomic status? That little phrase is the basis of the liberal agenda: give everyone an equal chance and, yes, the genes will play a large role. Inequality blocks genetic potential.

But is this science, you ask? Indeed. Anthropologists have spent the last century assembling evidence of how differently humans behave when reared in different cultural settings�and how those differences disappear when the settings change, sometimes overnight, sometimes over a couple of generations.

Mary Catherine Bateson Anthropologist
Visiting Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Author of With a Daughter's Eye (on her parents Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson)

More Edge: Biologist John Bonner at Princeton has, following more than forty years research, proved that it is impossible to distinguish between human intelligence and that of a social amoeba like slime molds. You just cannot demonstrate that slim molds�or bacteria for that matter�are unconscious. Since Darwin and modern genetics, the old debate around what distinguishes humans from other animals has become redundant. If anything, we are looking now into the differences betweens humans and minerals.

Astrophysicist John Gribbin�to the dismay of many�has been meticulously unscafolding away the existence of that last barrier. Life and the Universe are inextricably intertwined. There would be no planets like the Earth, and no life forms like us, if there were no clouds of gas laced with tiny traces of dusty debris produced by the previous explosions of supernova. There is no doubt now. We are made of interstellar galactic mineral dust.

Last but not least, the mother of all barriers, the last frontier between life and death is becoming ever more suspicious and difficult to ascertain. Hardly three years ago it was discovered that we humans too�like mouse and rats�have stem cells. Or, stem cells happen to be immortal. Stem cells command the process of morphogenesis from the incipient and magic zygot to the finished embryo. They are not the least important cells in the body. On the contrary. No wonder if the mother of all barriers has been deadly shaken. If atoms are eternal, and stem cells are immortal, what on earth dies out when somebody dies.

Eduardo Punset
Professor of Economic Policy at the Chemical Institute of Ramon Llull University in Barcelona
Director and Producer of Networks (a weekly programme of Spanish public television on Science).
Author of A Field Guide to Survive in the XXI st Century.

More Edge:
Optimists behave different than pessimists. They buy more, invest more, take risk for future gains, and work harder. One doesn't have to be a genius to realize that the threat of continual war, while enhancing power, leads to economic woes because investors and consumers are uncertain. While oil profits may rise, all the rest of our modern industries, from Airlines, to Investment Banking, Telecommunications, Software and Chips will continue to collapse. To end the depression, the country needs optimism about economic growth driven by expectations of peace and stability.

Jordan Pollack
Professor of Computer Science
Brandeis University

Susan Blackmore and the Perrott-Warrick Project:

Borderline states, like that between sleep and waking, have often set people wondering about the possibility of the paranormal - of seeing at a distance, or picking up thoughts, images or ideas from other people. Is this just fantasy? Or is there something special about the interface?

Much circumstantial evidence suggests that borderline states of consciousness are psi-conducive (that is, they encourage telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition). In addition some of the most promising experimental techniques seem to exploit this borderline. However, no one has previously approached psi quite this way, nor tackled the interesting question of what borderline is being crossed. Is the state of consciousness what matters, or is it the confusion between reality and imagination?

More Edge:

In my dream I can walk down any street in Bristol, Boston, Bogot� or Bombay and no one will steal my phone to get their next fix. No heroin�dazed beggar will plead for my change. No crack-crazed youth will kill me for my credit card. And why? Because in my dream they, like me, can walk down that street and buy any drug they like.

Cannabis and ecstasy, heroin and cocaine, LSD and aspirin, will all be sold � clean, legal, properly packaged in precise doses, with appropriate warnings and proper regulation. Tax revenue will be more than enough to treat addicts and to guide problem users. Scientists will be free to research the effects of any drug without fear. Children will be given true advice, and real drugs education that teaches wise drug use, not ignorant abuse. And global terrorism will have disappeared for lack of funds.

Our prisons will have room to spare. No one will be there for wanting the freedom to control their own mind. And no one will be there because gangs have lured or threatened them into a life of dealing and violence. Police will once more earn the respect of the majority whose lives they work to protect.

In my dream, the peasants of Afghanistan will work their poppy fields for legal wages, the farmers of South America will labour free of the fear of the drug barons, and the profits of world trade will not be siphoned off by the criminals but returned to the people who earned them.

Mr President, it is the United States of America who long ago brought the evil of prohibition upon the world, and still holds the power to prevent the rest of us from seeking freedom from prohibition. Mr President, you could win the war on terrorism, not by fighting, but by refusing to fight the war on drugs.

As your prospective scientific advisor on issues of mind and consciousness, I know that there is no more pressing issue than the problem of drugs. I urge you to act now to free us all.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Susan BlackmorePsychologist
Bristol, England
Author of Dying to Live, The Meme Machine, and Consciousness: An Introduction.

Nguyen Khac Toan, a former army officer, was arrested on 8 January 2002 in a Hanoi cybercaf� and has since been held in the B14 prison not far from the city.

RSF notes that three other cyber-dissidents are in prison in Vietnam. Le Chi Quang, who is in poor health, was sentenced to four years in jail on 8 November for advocating political reforms on the Internet (see IFEX alerts of 27 December, 8 November, 23 and 9 October, 27 September, 15 August and 14 March 2002). Pham Hong Son, who was arrested on 29 March (see IFEX alerts of 27 December, 23 October, 15 August, 26 July and 18 April 2002), and journalist Nguyen Vu Binh, who was arrested on 25 September (see IFEX alerts of 27 December, 23 and 9 October, 27 September and 23 July 2002), are in prison for having expressed opinions online and have not yet been tried. Tran Khue, a literature teacher who wrote a letter to then Chinese President Jiang Zemin which he put on the Internet, has been under house arrest since 10 March (see IFEX alerts of 4 July and 14 March 2002).

More Edge:
To illustrate the importance of these findings for the health of our nation, consider the following frightening fact: the best predictor, internationally, of the level of violence within a nation is the proportion of young men in the population. Men are more violent than women in all cultures. Although cultures can shift the level of violence, the sex difference remains. Men are more heavily involved in risk taking. We now know that a significant correlate of violence in humans, both men and women, is the level of circulating serotonin�a key neurochemical in the brain. When serotonin levels are low, the level of control is lower; low serotonin levels are associated with greater impulsivity, more risk taking. We are only beginning to understand what determines and changes levels of serotonin in the brain. One thing is certain: the key lies in understanding what happens in development. A recent study illustrates this point, and shows why science must interface with policy. Genetic analyses have revealed that a particular form of one gene causes differential expression of an enzyme. This enzyme plays a critical role in the production of serotonin. In a study of several hundred young boys, results revealed that when this gene produces a low level of the target enzyme, such children are far more vulnerable to physical abuse by parents than in children with a high level of the enzyme. In particular, boys who were targets of severe parental aggression were much more likely to shows signs of antisocial personality disorder if the level of the enzyme was low than if it was high. Parental aggression should not be tolerated under any circumstance. But what this study reveals is that we are not equally vulnerable to aggression.

Marc D. Hauser
Professor of Psychology
Primate Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
Harvard University
{Dr. Hauser appears to be an unrepentant vivisectionist. the possibility of his not being didn't occur to me until after a half hour's worth of condemnatory vituperation. so I hold my fire. the most difficult moral decisions before the human race are right in the crux of that debate. anyone who justifies the captivity of higher primates for 'research' is a coward. in case no one's noticed, cowardice has become an acceptable human quality. fear is now used as a justification for otherwise reprehensible acts. but I'm sure on a personal level Dr. Hauser is a reasonably brave man. as a thinker, as a philosopher, as a leader of men he's a weak fool. though I quote him because I like what he said, and agree with it.
there's a quality of 'going on', of continuing, that is a necessity for victims of many kinds, but especially for someone who is the, say, child of a rape.
accepting the inability to separate the self and its denunciation of the wrong from the wrong itself. it's what drives the internal madness of so many of the oppressed, after a while it's what you are, what you've become. Irish children with Danish features. Mexicans. out of Dr. Hauser's laboratories, with their 'humane' conditions come the new circumstances, we are this now. like Americans with the names of the indigenous peoples on their tongues all day, Chicago, Tennessee, Mississippi, Ottawa. it's what we are now. that thing that was done. pretending it was good is the most evil response possible. it wasn't good. the batteries of cages with 'apes' and 'primates' in them. rhesus monkeys are horrible enough, but chimpanzees, for God's sake.
Dr. Hauser goes on, as he must, as must we all. but the arrogance of delusion, the impossible pride in what took place, in what still takes place, pretending that it's anything but a scar, a wound, a disfiguring that can only be born with shame, means we have to live as animals, never justifying anything, because there is no justice, no higher morality, only what's possible, and it's possible to do so much now, it's almost limitless the power we have, but what have we become on the way to getting that power? I'm afraid Dr. Hauser may be on one side, and I on the other, of a line neither of us can see. but it's there. and the caged chimpanzee sees it well.}
{I let myself get blinded by the higher issue, so that the screed reads like a mis-sent bolt of inappropriate lightning. so, to tighten the segue:
the research into blood serotonin levels is practical, interesting, and ultimately as trivial as whether a serial killer has paid his taxes. for the same hands that caged these brothers and sisters, I know no other name for them that fits, cousins sounds too forced, and lacks the intimacy the nightmare brings, for those same hands to build anything, bridge, house, barn or dam, without the cleansing of acknowledged guilt and its attendant shame and remorse, is ultimately without meaning. it won't stand, as the most recent batch of swine are fond of saying. there is no way out but through. you can tear down every chemical wall in the world, you can map all the sequences of every mechanically possible combination, without that heart you're nothing. the opportunity waits. for us to pass through the fire and enter the endless possibilities, not of control, think of it! the same blind wormlike consciousness that now so desperately flees its horrible mistakes, mistakes that collapse all around us, threatening everything, everyone, with increasing pressure, that same consciousness wants to control the destiny of the human race. think of that. are we rising to that task? or crawling through the sewage of our negligence toward some means of escape? the door is there. maybe we should ask for the key. humbly. for once.}

More Edge:
I would like to urge you to provide more support for basic scientific research. But I would especially urge more support for the most productive, and most underfunded, scientific community in the country. This group of scientists and science educators do more to provide the basic intellectual infrastructure of the nation than any other. Every year they make fundamental discoveries in physics, biology, mathematics, and psychology, as well as ensuring that the discoveries of previous generations of scientists are transmitted to the scientists of the future. Yet they typically receive salaries somewhere between zero and $15,000.00 a year, and 20% are below the poverty line. Most of the science educators in this group actually make major financial sacrifices to do their fundamentally important work. They receive less federal and state support than any other part of the scientific community, no grants, no scholarships, no R and D write-offs, less even than public elementary schools or community colleges. In fact, both your administration and the preceding one have actually cut the small amount of funding that was once earmarked for this group. These unsung geniuses, are, of course, children under five and the many women (and a few men) who take care of them.

Alison Gopnik
Professor of Psychology
Coauthor of The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind

More Edge:
The prime task of 2003 and beyond is to re-define and re-discover the intellectual and moral roots of science. For science has become bound with wealth and power into a positive feedback loop from which it cannot escape: its perceived role in the present age is to provide high technologies of the kind that generate capital which in turn supports more science, of the kind that will provide high technologies to generate more capital and so on and so on. It becomes more and more difficult to finance science that offers no obvious short-term commercial or military reward. Worse: an entire generation of scientists and politicians has grown up that takes it to be self-evident that science should accept its role as the handmaiden of commerce and power.

Colin Tudge
Three-time winner of the Glaxo/ABSW Science Writer of the Year Award.
Author of The Time Before History

More Edge:
The task of such a bureau would be to allocate a goodly proportion of the national revenue to projects that are important to our survival and wellbeing. Not to the discovery of more foul chemicals, deadly viruses, or laser guns circling around the planet. Instead, ways to produce clean energy, clean water, to keep biodiversity from disappearing should be supported. We should be preparing for the future, Mr. President, not continuing to invest in a mythical past. Currently science is at the service of speculators and mindless traffickers in destruction. It is time the rest of society reclaimed its right to have a voice in determining what their lives shall be like.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Davidson Professor of Management
Claremont Graduate University
Author of Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience

Lawrence B. Brilliant, M.D. in the Edge Foundation's volley of concerned (real) thinkers advising a concerned (imaginary) President of the US.

"Here is why I chose not to vaccinate my family:

� 1) To the best of my knowledge, there is no proof of any link between the experiments at Vector and either Al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein, but concern is understandable. If any proof of linkage arises, I might change my mind.

� 2) If Saddam Hussein has smallpox, I believe he might well be crazy or desperate enough to use it as a "doomsday weapon" if he were about to be destroyed; but it is also likely that Iraqi scientists have the ability to genetically alter the virus to make it vaccine-proof. If it is an end game, why would he use a virus that we have a vaccine against? It makes no sense.

� 3) If Al-Qaeda has the smallpox virus, I do not believe they would be willing to use it. Unlike Saddam Hussein, Al-Qaeda seeks the victory of an entire people, a culture, a religion-not the hegemony of any individual. Smallpox is the ultimate boomerang weapon. If it is released from its captivity at Chicago O'Hare airport, it is only a matter of days before it infects Mecca and Medina. It is not a likely weapon for a war that is a "Clash of Civilizations" unless a combatant sought the destruction of both civilizations.

� 4) Smallpox can be prevented if an exposed person is vaccinated as late as four or five days after exposure. While there is some risk that smallpox could be spread unseen for the first attack, within two weeks cases would start to appear and for nearly all Americans, there would be ample time and ample vaccine to be vaccinated after the first attack and still be safe.

� 5) I do not want to go into the fear that a small minority of Americans have that the your administration is prone to exaggerate the risks of terrorism in general and smallpox in particular as part of an attempt to frighten the public into accepting the erosion of civil liberties. As horrible as that allegation is, I simply have no information on which to make any comment other than to note the fear exists. And for my purposes here, it really does not matter. Based on the evidence I have seen to date, the risk of getting a case of vaccine-preventable smallpox today is just not as high as the risk of an adverse reaction to the smallpox vaccine."

Lawrence B. Brilliant, M.D.
Interim CEO of Cometa Networks, Inc.
Medical officer for the United Nations World Health Organization(1970s) helping lead the successful effort to eradicate smallpox.
Author of nearly 100 scientific articles and two books and is an expert on smallpox, currently on call as a smallpox �first responder� for the Centers for Disease Control..

Russia's Czar Nicholas II had two identical trains. On the doors of each was the gold monogram: "N II." The two trains always rolled in tandem. Nicholas was either in the front one or the rear one. Nobody, not even the railroad commissioner, ever knew which.
Q. Where do we get the word "hokum"?

A. From a combination of "hocus-pocus" and "bunkum."


{somewhere in England someone was made "official Cycle-Path Ranger for the stretch of national cycle-path between Sandwell & Dudley rail station and the Coseley tunnel". and wrote about it in an online journal, posting also well-done photos of local flora (a search for images of cowslips led there). and scattered amongst that rural innocence and world-healing idealism, images of feral youth with spit and violence and plastic sacks of glue-fumes.}

News from Nowhere

Joan Didion:
"... early on, after John Ashcroft and Condoleezza Rice warned the networks not to air the bin Laden tapes because he could be "passing information," heated debate about the First Amendment implications of this warning�as if there were even any possible point to the warning, as if we had all forgotten that our enemies as well as we lived in a world where information gets passed in more efficient ways. A year later, we were still looking for omens, portents, the supernatural manifestations of good or evil. Pathetic fallacy was everywhere. The presence of rain at a memorial for fallen firefighters was gravely reported as evidence that "even the sky cried." The presence of wind during a memorial at the site was interpreted as another such sign, the spirit of the dead rising up from the dust..."

  • Pathetic Fallacy

  • what once separated the United States from Nazi Germany was the protection of civil liberties for American citizens. People of Germany had no rights and did not care. Those few who did care were so terrified of their government that they did not dare to speak out. Those who did speak out were declared "enemy agents" and sent to concentration camps.


    thru oblomovka:
    Bicycle? Rube Goldberg?
    Felsenstein got to work. He's built the solution. It's a bicycle-powered, ruggedised luggable, with a localised version of Linux and constructed from cheapo commodity parts. It's got an aerial, too: it uses WiFi to connect to a central Internet hub in the market town.
    Using it, villages that currently have no electricity, telephone or decent roads can monitor the prices of crops, negotiate group purchases with other villages, and make business deals without spending days away from the farm. And with email and built-in VoIP, the families will be able to make direct contact for the first time with the Laotian Diaspora - the relatives who left the war-torn zone to earn money in the capital and beyond.

    Here's his list of what the money can do:

    Your donation will pay for:

    * $10 20 lbs. shipping costs
    * $25 Keyboard
    * $50 Headset
    * $75 Antenna
    * $100 Battery
    * $250 Bicycle Powered Generator
    * $450 CPU or Mountain Top Solar Panel
    * $850 Base Station
    * $1,000 One RT US-Laos Trip for One Technical Consultant
    * $1,500 One Complete Jhai Computer
    * $2,500 One Complete Village Set-up
    * $3,000 Relay Station
    * $25,000 The Full 5 Village System
    "I sketched out a system of rugged bicycle-powered computers, one per village, interconnected by Wi-Fi (802.11b) digital data links and coupled to the local phone system several miles away. Through this system VOIP (digital telephone) calls could be placed to the local phone lines as well as long-distance calls through Internet telephony to relatives overseas. E-mail would provide a kind of "telegraphy" and the system could be operated by village kids (100 percent literate) trained through an existing local network of Internet Learning Centers affiliated with this project."
    Lee Felsenstein writes to danny o'brien

    {oblomovka sets perfect trap. impossible-to-resist outlet for all frustrated altruistic impulses, or at least a place to begin. it's my first online transaction. people with notoriety in a world I inhabit the fringe of are doing things that are at the heart of what is noble in the human spirit.}

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