Testing

Jan. 5th, 2017 10:18 am
liveonearth: (Default)
Just imported my journal from LJ to here and starting to look around. Problem is, where are my friends? Hope to find some new friends. I'm 50 years old though and not especially into rehashing the freakouts of youth. Where are you, educated elitist liberals? Scientists who know exactly how little they know? Tea party people who were in it for shrinking government and not out of racism? Atheist or agnostic Buddhists? Where are my people?

I just set up the crosspost option but the box still isn't clickable. Work in progress.
liveonearth: (dont_be_heavy)
The worst criticism
seeks to have the last word
and leave the rest of us in silence;
the best opens up an exchange
that need never end.

--Critic Rebecca Solnit, quoted in Brainpickings.org

Wasteland

Jan. 3rd, 2017 05:52 pm
liveonearth: (Homer Simpson "D'oh!")
I just went looking around LJ for communities or interesting people and found..... nada.  Where did everybody go?  When did all this nonsense and commercialism show up?  Guess I've not been paying any attention.
liveonearth: (moon)
It is much more important to know what sort of person this disease has than what sort of disease this person has.
--William Osler
liveonearth: (bright river)
No man ever steps in the same river twice,
for it is not the same river,
and he is not the same man.

-Heraclitus
liveonearth: (moon)
Today I finally got my updated living will / medical power of attorney updated, witnessed, and notarized, and I also officialized my first last will and testament.  My friends asked me if I was planning on leaving.  It's a good question to ask a person who is settling their affairs at my age, but no, in spite of the depressing state of affairs in the world, my life is good enough that I'm planning to stick around and see what happens next.   In my living will today I specified what I want done if I lose my mind (travel to a country where euthanasia is allowed for dementia--Switzerland or Nederlands allow it as of now), and also where I want my brain to go (for research purposes, to the Oregon Brain Bank of OHSU).  I'm excited and glad to have this done.  I've been meaning to do it and rewriting it for a decade now.

The real reason I was motivated to complete these documents at the age of 50 is that I can tell that I am losing cognitive function.  It shows up in many ways, and people routinely fight me on this observation, saying that I'm fine, it's normal aging, blah blah blah.  Let me just say that I used to be very smart, and I'm not any more, and I know the difference.  A minor example is that I make more mistakes in typing, for example I switch "their" for "they're" and vice versa.  This is a mistake that I used to find utterly mystifying, and now I am doing it.

The other day I updated my lifetime river log with the rivers I have run this year.  I've done 20 new rivers around Oregon this year!  But the shocker finding was that one day in July when I went paddling on the Lower Wind, I could not remember what had happened when I logged the day.  All I remembered at the time (a few days after the actual day when I logged it), was that I had planned to go paddling with Todd.  I did not remember where we went or what happened.

What happened that day was that I hit my head, again, and had short term memory loss as a result.  I have had many traumatic brain injuries over the years, from biking, skiing, and kayaking.  This is the reason that I want to donate my brain for research.  I suspect that my brain will prove that recreational sports participants can also suffer from CTE = chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  It's not just for football players anymore.

On that day I flipped over at the top of a rapid known as the Flume, and was battered on my head and shoulders as I floated through the rapid upside down.  I was afraid to try to roll up because getting in position to roll puts you in a more open and vulnerable position, so I "went turtle" which in this case simply means to tuck tightly under the boat and get my elbows in so nothing gets broken.   I rolled up at the bottom of the rapid and was dazed but otherwise OK.  And yes, for you who do not know me, I was wearing a top notch helmet.  There is no helmet that can protect your brain from the knocking it takes when your whole head is getting walloped around.

This was the third time I'd floated through that particular rapid upside down.  It is a steep, fast, shallow and rocky rapid....brutal, really.  One of my three upside down runs I didn't hit a thing.  Twice I've been beaten silly.  I vowed after this day to not run that rapid at low water anymore.  It's much easier at higher flows and that is the only time I will attempt it.  Unfortunately the portage is difficult and dangerous too... so I may not go on the Lower Wind as much anymore.  Too bad because I do love the waterfalls.

Something else happened that day.  I've thought of it many times since my memory of the day returned.  At the end of the Lower Wind run there are four major drops, three falls and one slide, not in that order. We'd run the first 12 foot falls without incident and were running the tallest single waterfall, about 18 feet vertical.  It's so high that you can't see if the person ahead of you made it, so we just wait a few seconds between boats and then go.  Todd went ahead of me and I waited probably eight seconds, then committed to the drop.  When I crested the horizon line and could see my landing zone at the foot of the falls, he was swimming in it.

He had plunged too deep in the hole below the drop, gotten caught and held, and wet exited from his kayak in the hole.  It took him a while to surface and start floating downstream.  When I saw him I was already mid-air and headed straight for him.  I was afraid that the bow of my kayak would plunge into the water and hit him in the abdomen, rupturing his organs and killing him. That didn't happen.  Thankfully I'd hit a good enough boof from the top that my bow skipped off the surface of the water and I went right over his head.  But the trauma of believing that I was about to kill Todd has not left me.  I am going to require a better signalling system for running blind drops from now on.  I need to know that the landing zone is clear.  We have had trouble at this drop before and still we are too casual about it.
liveonearth: (Math: Be rational/get real)

A president intent on developing

a base of enthusiastic supporters

who believe bald-faced lies

poses a clear threat

to American democracy.

This is how tyranny begins.

--Robert Reich,

here: http://robertreich.org/post/154643782110

liveonearth: (moon)

Cheetah population crashes, raising threat of extinction

The world's cheetah population is crashing, leaving the world's fastest land animal approaching extinction, according to new research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday. There are now about 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild, the report said, down from an estimated 100,000 at the end of the 19th century. Cheetahs once roamed Africa and Asia, but they have lost an estimated 91 percent of their habitat. Most of the remaining cheetahs are in Africa, with about 50 remaining in Iran. In Africa, 14 of 18 groups studied were decreasing. Zimbabwe's cheetah population has fallen from 1,200 to 170 in 16 years. [USA Today, CNN]

SOURCE

The Week at http://theweek.com/10things/662478/10-things-need-know-today-december-27-2016

My thought: I'm still reading Sapiens and the first section, about how humans absolutely devastated the megafauna of every continent and island, is still reverberating through my consciousness.  The extinction of many species, including the wooly mammoth and the sabre tooth tiger, immediately followed the introduction of our species to a land mass.  We are still causing extinctions.  You would think that we'd make an effort to sustain at least token populations of the more charismatic species.  Instead it appears that the great white hunter would rather have one on his wall than to keep them alive in the wilds.  As the political reality in the US turns even uglier, I have less and less respect and care for my own species.  We may extinct ourselves, but that would be good for many other species.

liveonearth: (moon)
Creationism gets treated by religious people as if it were a viable theoretical alternative to Evolution.  They do this in spite of the fact that evolution is broadly accepted by educated people world wide.  Evolution is obviously working on species today, and it is visible to any person with minimal powers of observation and exposure to the natural world.  Darwin was one such person.  Creationism is a myth, a dogma.  It is based on nothing other than a nice fictional book, and promoted by a whole lot of people who need a simple and colorul story to tell about how the world came to be.  Every culture, language and religion has its own creation story.  Creation stories can be spectacular and we love them.  But this does not make them theories in the scientific forum.  This does not make them true.  This just makes them good fiction.
liveonearth: (Spidey: come into my parlour)
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi
liveonearth: (moon)
I'm feeling particularly unresolved at the moment.  Home sick and I've been sick enough to be unproductive.  Even holding up a book to read is hard work, though I did read about 100 pages yesterday.  I guess I resolve to read another 100 pages today, how's that for a start?
liveonearth: (moon)
The First Wave Extinction, which accompanied the spread of the foragers, was followed by the Second Wave Extinction, which accompanied the spread of the farmers, and gives us an important perspetive on the Third Wave Extinction, which industrial activity is causing today.  Don't believe tree-huggers who claim that our ancestors lived in harmony with nature.  Long before the Industrial Revolution, Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for driving th emost plant and animmal species to their extinctions.  We have the dubious distinction of being the deadliest species in the annals of biology.
--Yuval Noah Harari in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, 2015, p74.
liveonearth: (moon)

Anacoluthon per wikipedia = an unexpected discontinuity in the expression of ideas within a sentence, leading to a form of words in which there is logical incoherence of thought.  It's how Trump talks, and can be useful for putting people in a stream of consciousness mode: less analytical, more suggestible.  Plural = anacolutha.  I've been studying up on hypnosis.  =-]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anacoluthon


**first use of tag: hypnosis

liveonearth: (moon)
The previous post about big water rowing strategy for small water boaters has been helpful to a lot of non-boatmen tasked with rowing.  Several friends have asked me to write another with more rowing skills to learn and practice.  In truth, it took me decades to get comfortable with the basics, most likely because I rowed only occasionally.  Really having control of my boat angle, and going for the meat got easier, but the finer points were lost on me.  I've ridden with boatmen who row every day for months and years on end, and been amazed at what they can do.  I've never rowed for a living, so I'm an amateur.  Still, I've had some seasons when I rowed enough that light bulbs went off in my head.  Here are a few of the lessons that made a big difference for me.

Lesson 1: Push More (You Don't Have Pull out of Every Corner)
Read more... )
liveonearth: (flower and bird)
Ninety nine million years ago a dinosaur got its tail stuck in the sap. Then, in 2016, someone noticed some interesting stuff in the amber at a Myanmar amber market. The pictures of dinosaur feathers are great--and they show a flowchart of feather evolution, and where these feathers fit in.  So cool.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/jaw-on-the-floor-entire-chunk-of-feathered-dinosaur-discovered-in-amber/
liveonearth: (tree trunks)

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget that perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s where the light gets in.

—Leonard Cohen

liveonearth: (key to my heart)

Come, come, whoever you are.

Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.

It doesn't matter.

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vow

a thousand times

Come, yet again, come, come. 

-Jalaluddin Rumi

liveonearth: (Homer Simpson "D'oh!")

We are pending a bona fide axis II becoming president. Plus ADHD without question. I've taken my deep breaths, become solid, and am looking forward to messing with the Clown every chance I get. I will be ok for sure; I crossed that line I think. But you may not be ok, nor your beautiful child, nor mine. That's what I worry about. I spent 30 years dealing with criminals, but never a billionaire criminal... however, the tone is unmistakable... and it smacks of the most evil I've seen. This guy has more issues than any 100 random people put together. Exhaling now....
--this quote stolen without permission from facebook, this psychologist spends his days assessing delinquient children's mental health for the courts, he will not be named unless he wants to be named as of 2/6/16

**first use of tag: trump

liveonearth: (pentacle 2)
This is the after-elementary-school program being offered by an organization called The Satanic Temple.   It was news to me, but the Satanists I met tonight at the FFRF meeting consider themselves to be atheists.  They do not believe in a metaphysical God or Satan.  Satan instead is a symbol of individual liberty, of the ability we each have to say "I'm out" when someone offers us a load of dogma.  Lucifer, of course, is the fallen angel in Christian mythology who refused to tow the line.  "...Our metaphor of Satan is a literary construct inspired by authors such as Anatole France and Milton--a rebel angel defiant of autocratic structure and concerned with the material world. Satanism as a rejection of superstitious supernaturalism."

This take on Satan is all fine and good if you're inside that particular literary bubble.  If you, like me, grew up surrounded by Christian mythology, Satan is THE bad guy.  So I was a bit taken aback that they want to call their program this, and their club, and so on.  Why choose such a hot button for Christians?  Why not call it after school Humanism, or Atheism, or Evolution???  Well they do have a reason.  The concept is that Satanists can assert their rights as a religious organization and influence public affairs, reminding the dominant religious groups that in America such privileges are for all religions, not just the chosen ones.

I also learned that the legal definition of a religious organization is one that takes a stand about god.  Hence an atheist organization is a religious organization in the good old US of A.

The Oregon chapter of The Satanic Temple is brand new.  They've offered After School Satan Clubs at two elementary schools where Good News Clubs are already offered.  They plan to teach evolution, and how the world was formed.  The only problem is that when the local chaper offered an open house at a local school, the superintendent of the school (Karen Gray) let all the students and teachers go home an hour early, effectively eliminating the curious audience while also ticking off the parents who had to get out of work an hour early to pick up their babies.  Only two students signed up.  I wonder how many would have signed up if it was the After School Spaghettimonster Club?

The 2001 Supreme Court Decision called Good News Club vs Milford Central School resulted in a decision that the Milford school's restriction of the Good News Club violated the Club's free speech rights, and that no Establishment Clause concern justified that violation.  If you don't remember the Establishment Clause, it's the part of the First (free speech) Amendment that prohibits the establishment of religion by Congress.  So after school programs are allowed access to school premises regardless of content.  Free speech is allowed by religious groups as well as boy scouts, debate and chess club...and Corporations, but that's a separate ball of wax.

The Good News Club is a private Christian organization for children.  Their goal is to Christianize the next generation.  They teach elementary school kids that they are sinners and that they are going to hell if they don't repent and do right by this one particular version of God.  The Child Evangelism Fellowship creates the curriculum and trains instructors.  They have over 40,000 volunteers in the US and in 2011 there were 3560 clubs in public schools in the US and over 42,000 clubs worldwide.  THIS is how they get off calling it a Christian Nation.  And they are effectively brainwashing children before they've developed the powers of discimination to know they've been hoodwinked.    A 5th grader is unlikely to really comprehend that the teachings after school are of a different nature from the teachings in school.

Because of the 2001 SCOTUS decision, Satanists have the same rights of access to public schools as Christians, so After School Satan is one answer to the Christianization.  The name is intended to provoke Christians, and it does.  There have been ample protests.  The goal is simple: to get the Christians to remove their programs from public schools, so that then the Satanists will go back into private and stop enticing their children with cool programs and rebelliousness.

One of the coolest things I heard from tonight's programs was the 7 Tenets of The Satanic Temple.  They are beautifully enlightened so I will share:

I. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.


II. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.


III. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.


IV. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.


V. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.


VI. People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.


VII. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

Wouldn't it be nice if THESE were American Values?

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liveonearth

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