I’m from Wisconsin! Protest updates!

Governor cooks the books and claims they are in a fiscal crisis? Nope, not true!

miracle

Egypt: don’t call it a democracy


Egyptians, you have an opportunity to create a new country and leadership. Don’t be fooled by America’s democracy. It’s not working here. We have two ruthless political parties who do not represent the people but rich people who select the politicans.
Call your scholars together and create a new way, a new system. Call it what you want. Create a model we can all emulate. We need you to succeed.
Seek peace. Serve all your people equally. Feed everyone and abolish poverty.
My prayers are for you now.

inuit sniff kiss

cosmos: ordered world

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-reverence-heavens.html
For some, the contemplation of the cosmos is a religious experience. Vatican astronomers say this can lead to profound insights about ourselves and the nature of the universe.

Our Sun is just one small point of light in the swirl of suns that shape the disc of the Milky Way. The galaxy’s hundreds of billions of stars are strewn so widely apart, it would take a spaceship traveling at the speed of light one hundred thousand years to travel the distance. The starry wheel of the galaxy turns around a massive black hole, a point of infinite density with gravity so complete that not even light can escape.
The structure and scale of our galaxy is astonishing. But ours is just one among hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe.
Little wonder, then, that the contemplation of the cosmos can evoke the same emotions as religious awe and reverence. According to Father Paul Pavel Gabor, an astronomer for the Vatican Observatory, this is not always a positive experience. Just as some may experience fear and trembling when contemplating God and Heaven, there are those who become similarly overwhelmed when confronted with the astronomical proportions of the heavens.
“They find it quite awe-inspiring, but in the wrong way,” Gabor notes. “When I show people pictures of the local cluster of galaxies, just to give them a sense of the scale of things, the reaction quite often is, “Oh dear. I’m completely insignificant, and I’m uncomfortable about this whole universe thing.”
Science, and particularly geometry and astronomy/astrology, was linked directly to the divine for most medieval scholars. The compass in this 13th century manuscript is a symbol of God’s act of creation. God has created the universe after geometric and harmonic principles, to seek these principles was therefore to seek and worship God.
In Gabor’s view, one way to counter this despair is to have faith in a higher power, to believe in a God that created the universe as a gesture of love.
“Faith tells you that the universe is not something to intimidate you, but it is something given to you as a gift, by somebody who wants to give you something nice, something pretty,” he says. “So looking at those astronomy pictures, you can either feel that the glass is half full, and believe that you’re really being given something here, or you can feel the glass is half empty and this is just frightening and you want to hide in your little rabbit hole somewhere.”
Whether you are terrified or thrilled by the grandeur of the universe, there is no disputing its elemental nature: it is the source of us all. As Carl Sagan once said, “We are made of star stuff.” The chemical elements that shape the breadth of creation also form our galaxy, our planet and even the cells of our bodies. Exploring the cosmos therefore is one way to get close to a “grand creator.”
The term “cosmos” means “ordered world”. For most of recorded history, humans have believed that God created the ordered universe out of chaos. This belief is still shared by a majority of people around the world today, but aspects of that faith have changed as our scientific knowledge of the cosmos has grown. For instance, Gabor’s colleague, Vatican astronomer Brother Guy Consolmagno, says that while many people believe God created the universe, they think its very enormity makes it impossible for God to take any personal note of us. This mote of dust we call planet Earth is insignificantly tiny in comparison to the smallest of stars, and each of our lives lasts for the briefest of cosmic moments.
“Some people will refuse to believe because they still haven’t grasped what kind of God we’re talking about, a God that is so “other” that it is possible,” says Consolmagno.
This philosophical notion of a God for whom all things are possible, and who is beyond our basic human capacity of understanding, finds an echo in the still mysterious nature of the universe. For instance, most of the universe is currently attributed to the obscure categories “dark energy” and “dark matter”. Writing in Scientific American, the astrophysicist David Cline noted those terms are really just expressions of our ignorance.
Another area of scientific ignorance is the time before the Big Bang. What, if anything, happened before the universe began its current outward expansion? The Roman Catholic priest Georges Lemaître originally proposed the idea that the universe expanded from an initial point (which he called ‘the primeval atom’), and the Catholic Church supported the Big Bang theory even before most cosmologists did. This “day without yesterday” was seen as being consistent with the creation ex nihilo (out of nothing) as described in the Book of Genesis.
According to a recent Reuter’s news report, Pope Benedict XVI said that “God’s mind was behind complex scientific theories such as the Big Bang”. The Pope did not cite the Big Bang specifically, but spoke more generally about the creation of the universe:
“The universe is not the result of chance, as some would like to believe. In contemplating it, we are invited to read for ourselves something quite profound: the wisdom of the Creator, the inexhaustible imagination of God, his infinite love for us. We should not let ourselves be limited by the concept of theories that only arrive at a certain point and which — if you look closely — are not set up as rivals of faith, but don’t manage to explain the ultimate sense of reality. In the beauty of the world, in its mystery, in its grandness and in its rationality how can we not read the eternal rationality, and how can we do nothing less than to be taken by hand as it leads us to the ultimate unique God, creator of heaven and earth.”
In another talk given at a different time, Pope Benedict said that one way we could try to understand the universe better is through mathematics:
“[Galileo] was convinced that God has given us two books, the book of Sacred Scripture and the book of Nature. And the language of Nature — this was his conviction — was mathematics, so it is the language of God, a language of the Creator. The surprising thing is that this invention of our human intellect is truly key to understanding Nature, that Nature is truly structured in a mathematical way, and that our mathematics, invented by our human mind, is truly the instrument for working with Nature, to put it at our service, to use it through technology.”
Consolmagno says that some wonder whether mathematics was invented by man to describe Nature, or whether we discovered the mathematical properties that were built into Nature by a higher power.
“Maybe it’s a little bit of both,” he says. “The thing that always astonishes me, beyond the fact that the universe is mathematical, the universe makes sense. The mathematics is beautiful. When a student grasps what Maxwell’s equations tell them, there’s this leap of joy that’s as great as looking at the sunset that Maxwell’s equations can explain. Why it should work at all is something no philosopher has been able to figure out.”

zero energy house – oh we need more!

150-year-old letters give voice to Dakota prisoners

Dakota prisoners /**/http://minnesota.publicradio.org/www_publicradio/tools/media_player/popup.php?name=minnesota/news/features/2011/01/19/dakotaletters_20110119_64

by Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio January 19, 2011
For nearly 150 years, the voices of Dakota men imprisoned after the Dakota Conflict of 1862 went unheard.
But the details of their imprisonment are starting to emerge, in letters written by those prisoners after six weeks of fighting along the Minnesota River Valley that left hundreds of Indians, settlers and soldiers dead.
In a tiny office at North Dakota State University in Fargo, Clifford Canku has spent 10 years poring over the faint handwriting with a magnifying glass.
“One letter would take about a week,” said Canku, a Dakota elder who teaches Dakota language at North Dakota State. Canku is one of three lead translators on the project, which has unearthed never-before revealed details of a turbulent episode in Minnesota history.
Some of the letter writers talk about the war; others describe prison life.
“We’re very cold, and they took the stove away from us,” one prisoner wrote. “It’s way below zero and we’re freezing. A lot of people have died.”
The letters add important first-person perspective to a troubling time in history, said professor Bruce Maylath, one of Canku’s colleagues in the NDSU English Department. They plan to publish 50 of the letters.
“There’s a lot to be bothered by,” Maylath said. “This has been a one-sided story to this point. And for the first time this tells the other side — directly from the Dakota side. And it tells it in the language they were most comfortable in.”
Dakota POW letter The written Dakota language was created by a Presbyterian missionary, Stephen Riggs. When the prisoners wrote to him, he would share the letters with families. The letters, along with other documents, were stored in a box at the Minnesota Historical Society for decades.
Hundreds of Dakota men were imprisoned after the war. Some 300 were sentenced to death. President Abraham Lincoln commuted the death sentence of 265 men, who were then sent to the prison at Fort McClellan in Davenport, Iowa.
Maylath said the letters indicate prisoners were under great pressure to convert to Christianity. Interestingly, while missionaries were trying to save their souls, the Dakota understood being “saved” to mean they would not be hanged. Maylath said the letter writers asked about young men who disappeared from prison.
“There’s speculation in the letters about perhaps the young men disappeared because they refused to convert to Christianity,” he said. “We do know those young men were never seen again.”
Descendants of the letter writers are alive today. Some of the translators recognized names while reading the letters for the first time at the Minnesota Historical Society.
“This has been a one-sided story … for the first time this tells the other side — directly from the Dakota.”- Bruce Maylath, North Dakota State Univ. “One of them would turn to me with a letter and say, ‘Flag this one. It’s by my great-great-grandfather.'” Maylath said. “And to have the voices of the ancestors right there, visible in their own handwriting, that was the most moving thing to me.”
The letters reflect the Dakota prisoners’ concern after Lincoln was assassinated. The men feared they might be killed now that the man who saved them was dead.
Canku said some letters are painful to read. He said the prisoners’ letters tell how at night, guards would rape the Dakota women who worked at the prison camp, cleaning and cooking.
“When they [guards] came after the women at night, they didn’t have any recourse but to sing and let them know, and pray,” Canku said, “to let the women know ‘we’re leaving you in the presence of God. Because if we were able to help we would have stopped what’s going on. But we can’t.’
“When we read these letters to common everyday people, especially the women cry and go through a tremendous amount of anguish, because they have their own stories about what happened to their relatives back then,” Canku said. “A lot of them were killed. Women were raped.”
Canku said the content of some letters is likely to be controversial. Some letters are likely to upset Dakota people, since they identify Dakota men who collaborated with the U.S. Army. Their descendants don’t want that information publicized, he said.
Execution The letters also raise uncomfortable questions for historians.
“What happened? Did they have concentration camps in Minnesota? Even today, people don’t believe that,” Canku said. “People died. They were in prison. They experienced genocide. And when you talk about these things you are going to get opposition saying, no, these things didn’t happen. But they did happen.”
For Canku, the project is about truth telling. He said it’s time for these long silent voices to be heard.
“I think it’s spiritually inspired by our ancestors,” he said. “It’s time to do this and give the information out. I feel a tremendous responsibility to carry this through.”
The 50 letters translated so far were chosen because they represent a cross-section of the 150 letters in the collection.
The letters will be published early next year in book form with the original Dakota language, the literal translation, and the contemporary English explanation.

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/01/19/dakota-tribe-letters/

Standing Silent Nation (HEMP documentary)

 

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Oren Lyons, respected elder, speaks about options

Enough bases to sink the world

The Pentagon’s Planet of Bases … (America’s Pentagon? Yes!)

India, a rising power, almost had one (but the Tajiks said no). China, which last year became the world’s second largest economy as well as the planet’s leading energy consumer, and is expanding abroad like mad (largely via trade and the power of the purse), still has none. The Russians have a few (in Central Asia where “the great game” is ongoing), as do those former colonial powers Great Britain and France, as do certain NATO countries in Afghanistan. Sooner or later, Japan may even have one.

All of them together — and maybe you’ve already guessed that I’m talking about military bases not on one’s own territory — add up to a relatively modest (if unknown) total. The U.S., on the other hand, has enough bases abroad to sink the world. You almost have the feeling that a single American mega-base like Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan could swallow them all up. It’s so large that a special Air Force “team” has to be assigned to it just to deal with the mail arriving every day, 360,000 pounds of it in November 2010 alone. At the same base, the U.S. has just spent $130 million building “a better gas station for aircraft… [a] new refueling system, which features a pair of 1.1-million gallon tanks and two miles of pipes.” Imagine that: two miles of pipes, thousands of miles from home — and that’s just to scratch the surface of Bagram’s enormity.

Spencer Ackerman of Wired’s Danger Room blog visited the base last August, found that construction was underway everywhere (think hundreds of millions of dollars more from the pockets of U.S. taxpayers), and wrote: “More notable than the overstuffed runways is the over-driven road. [The Western part of] Disney Drive, the main thoroughfare that rings the eight-square-mile base,[…] is a two-lane parking lot of Humvees, flamboyant cargo big-rigs from Pakistan known as jingle trucks, yellow DHL shipping vans, contractor vehicles, and mud-caked flatbeds. If the Navy could figure out a way to bring a littoral-combat ship to a landlocked country, it would idle on Disney.”

Serving 20,000 or more U.S. troops, and with the usual assortment of Burger Kings and Popeyes, the place is nothing short of a U.S. town, bustling in a way increasingly rare for actual American towns these days, part of a planetary military deployment of a sort never before seen in history. Yet, as various authors at this site have long noted, the staggering size, scope, and strangeness of all this is seldom considered, analyzed, or debated in the American mainstream. It’s a given, like the sun rising in the east. And yet, what exactly is that given? As Nick Turse, who has been following American basing plans for this site over the years, points out, it’s not as easy to answer that question as you might imagine.

Source: Tom Englehardt
http://www.tomdispatch.com/

zombies and cancer

the zombies are coming

by lara hentz

With all those dead animals reported in January, of course 2011 was a bumper year for zombie insects. Reports of mind-controlled ants and caterpillars creeped everyone out this year.

In May, in the journal BMC Ecology, researcher David Hughes from Pennsylvania State University reported that a parasitic fungus infects forest ants to fulfill its bidding. The fungus fills the ant’s head with fungal cells and changes its muscles so the ant can grab a leaf in a death grip just when and where the fungus wants it — specifically, they all bite down around noon, then all die together around sunset, like some weird fungus-addled ant cult. The fungus then bursts out of the ants’ head and spreads its spores to its next unwitting victim.

Another report in September found the genetic culprit that sends caterpillars to the treetops, where they liquefy and rain infectious death down on their peers. The virus that zombifies these gypsy moth caterpillars also makes sure they grow as large as possible so they spread infectious viruses far and wide, study researcher Kelli Hoover, of Pennsylvania State University, said. They also send the caterpillars crawling up trees in the middle of the day, when they are most vulnerable to bird attacks.

zombie antCredit: PLoS ONE

[My strong belief is cancer is actually a fungus and until drugmakers can make money on a drug to cure cancer, there won’t be any cure.  Cancer treatment now is expensive and makes some people lots and lots of money. Lara]

the zombies are coming

With all those dead animals reported in January, of course 2011 was a bumper year for zombie insects. Reports of mind-controlled ants and caterpillars creeped everyone out this year.

In May, in the journal BMC Ecology, researcher David Hughes from Pennsylvania State University reported that a parasitic fungus infects forest ants to fulfill its bidding. The fungus fills the ant’s head with fungal cells and changes its muscles so the ant can grab a leaf in a death grip just when and where the fungus wants it — specifically, they all bite down around noon, then all die together around sunset, like some weird fungus-addled ant cult. The fungus then bursts out of the ants’ head and spreads its spores to its next unwitting victim.

Another report in September found the genetic culprit that sends caterpillars to the treetops, where they liquefy and rain infectious death down on their peers. The virus that zombifies these gypsy moth caterpillars also makes sure they grow as large as possible so they spread infectious viruses far and wide, study researcher Kelli Hoover, of Pennsylvania State University, said. They also send the caterpillars crawling up trees in the middle of the day, when they are most vulnerable to bird attacks.

zombie ant

Credit: PLoS ONE

[My strong belief is cancer is actually a fungus and until drugmakers can make money on a drug to cure cancer, there won’t be any cure.  Cancer treatment now is expensive and makes some people lots and lots of money. Lara]