will brady's ruminations
Back in the late 1980s an eccentric millionaire joined forces with Columbia University to fund and develop an experiment known as Biosphere 2
. The objective was to create a sealed, self-contained environment where all air, water, food and other resources were continually sustained from inside the "bubble". It ran itself in this manner in an arid desert setting outside of Tucson, Arizona. there were two separate teams of "biospherians" who remained within the nearly air-tight environment for two years each. Results of the The Biosphere 2 Experiment were tabluated and published
The Biosphere 2 crew produced about 80 percent of their food.
The Biospherians grew 86 different crop species. The crop varieties were selected to provide nutritional balance and a varied diet.
Cultivation was carried out entirely by the eight crew members who devoted about one third of their workday to agriculture.
The agriculture system combines both ancient and modern techniques.
The Biosphere crew recycled 100 percent of its wastes - something that has never before been achieved by inhabitants of a closed system.
Through this process, human wastes and domestic waste water have been re-introduced into a productive agricultural system.
A separate system condenses water from the atmosphere to supply drinking water. In addition, Biosphere 2 has a back-up sterilization system for potable water that uses ultraviolet light, and does not introduce chemicals into the water.
From trace gas measurements of the atmosphere from May 1992 to August 1993, the leak rate set a world record low leak rate for a large closed ecological system, 30 times lower than the Space Shuttle leaks.
Sadly, the grand experiment that was Biosphere 2 has been reduced to operating itself as a tourist attraction
while it's current owners seek to sell off the structures
and the Biosphere 2 campus.
Late in 1994 there were changes in the management perspectives of the operation, resulting in the experiment of a sealed environment concluding. Columbia University assisted with the project, focusing on a "reduced CO2 level study." Columbia withdrew from participation in 2003.
Efforts at conducting closed system environments continue at places such as Global EcoTechnics
who have published a number of studies from the Biosphere 2 experiments, and other experiments on closed systems as well. The Biosphere Foundation
has developed a smaller research model, and the Institute of Ecotechnics
in Great Britain continue to conduct research and hold conferences
closed system experiments. Their efforts shall be important not only in ~apparently pie-in-the-sky ideas like travel and settlement on Mars, but in dealing with and addressing the effects of global pollution and competition for increasingly limited resources
that our society shall have to face as we go farther into the 21st century.
International War Criminal Slobodan Milosevic is dead
! His supporters claim he was poisoned. His detractors bemoan that he won't pay for his crimes. I wonder what Pat Robertson
will have to say about this. Of course, if one believes in Heaven and Hell... If you are interested, here's The Hague's Files
on the war crimes tribunal against Milosevic.
Dubai Ports Deal dead as well
. Clearly, the Dubai power elite have the resources to build their own palaces
, so they don't need the money they'd make from running USA ports. But... now that they are out of the picture, how is it that Halliburton is considered a likely vendor
? And by none other than Charles Schumer? For shame! Given this "choice" what's your verdict on who should run the US Ports
Petty shoplifter and Assistant to President G W Bush for Domestic Policy Claude Allen has resigned to "...spend more time with the family"
. I loved the unvarnished version of this news report
. Now for the details: Busted for a low-end scam by a Maryland Target store, Allen is charged with practicing a form of shoplifting called "refund fraud." According to official sources, Presidential Aide Allen was paid a $161,000 yearly salary
. Mr. Allen has also been an outspoken advocate of abstinence education, supported anti-gay initatitves, was instrumental in censoring HHS websites that advised people engage in safe sex. Once an Aide to former Senator Jessee Helms. Now arrested [and caught on video camera] for shoplifting less than $500 at a time [though repeatedly] from a Target Store
Maybe he ought to have practiced abstinence from shoplifting
"Thomas Kinkade is famous for his luminous landscapes and street scenes
, those dreamy, deliberately inspirational images he says have brought "God's light" into people's lives, even as they have made him one of America's most collected artists.
But it's not his "luminous paintings" putting in the news these days. Rather it's his sleazy [and decidedly un-Christian] business practices
Some reports indicate a "...far more selfish portrait of the artist emerges from legal action brought by former gallery owners against Kinkade, Media Arts Group Inc. - the public company he has since taken private - and some who helped build it into a $250-million-a-year retail juggernaut before its sales flagged and its stock tanked.
Ex-dealers allege that the artist used his faith - and manipulated theirs - to induce them to invest in Thomas Kinkade Signature Galleries, independently owned stores licensed to deal exclusively in his work. They also contend he sought to devalue the company before buying it back two years ago for $32.7 million, renaming it Thomas Kinkade Co".
I don't know what it is about gullible people. Is it really enough to put fish symbols on the back of one's car and aggressively spout scripture to convince them that someone is righteous? Seems that way.
Strange Patient Chart Notations inspired by Brenda at What's Up Down South
["Living and Learning with Rednecks"]
The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.
The baby was delivered, the cord clamped and cut, and handed to the pediatrician, who breathed and cried immediately.
From my own medical history: At age 8 a group of us were playing hide-and-seek inside the house on a rainy day. No adults were present. "Base" which we had to touch in order not to get caught, was a narrow wooden post situated between two panes of glass. I raced through the house and missed the base by an inch, putting my left arm through the smaller pane of glass. A neighbor came quickly and tried to get me to go with him to the hospital. I kept screaming at the top of my lungs that I would not go with him, that he was a kidnapper. Finally, he lowered his voice and whispered in my ear, "Do you want me to call the police?"
Once he said that I carefully pulled my arm from the window pane, allowed him to wrap it in a cloth and quietly went with him to the hospital with no additional fuss.
Exam of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.
The skin was moist and dry.
Rectal exam revealed a normal size thyroid.
The patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.
She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until 1989 when she got a divorce.
Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.
I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy. (Must be one of the better HMOs)
The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed.
From my own medical history: Two years ago, as part of a comprehensive scan of my innards I was scheduled for a colonoscopy and an upper endoscopy the same day. I asked to be sedated for the procedures. While counting backwards from ten to la-la land, the last thing I heard the med technicians say was "which end are we putting this tube down first?"
The patient was prepped and raped in the usual manner.
Examination reveals a well-developed male laying in bed with his family in no distress.
Patient was alert and unresponsive.
When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.
The patient keeps spewing forth verbal diarrhea [this was double underlined so heavily the mark showed through several pages in the chart]
The patient lives at home with his mother, father, and pet turtle, who is presently enrolled in day care three times a week.
Bleeding started in the rectal area and continued all the way to Los Angeles.
Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.
She is numb from her toes down.
Exam of genitalia was completely negative except for the right foot.
The patient suffers from occasional, constant, infrequent headaches.
From my own medical history: I once was in a car accident where the vehicle flipped up over a snowbank turned upside down and back up. We were both cut up but got out of the car relatively intact. I had to be stitched up in my face and shoulder. While in the emergency room I innocently asked how long this who matter would take since I was planning on going bobsledding the next day. The docs looked at each other and sent me back up to x-ray to do some more shots of my skull.
While in the emergency room, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.
The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stockbroker instead.
Written 11 nov 1993 for a presentation at an Abuse Survivor's "Speakback" held in Waterbury, CT |Some Thoughts on Making Productive Social Change
Affecting Social Change is much more than mouthing slogans or sound bites | It can mean devoting hours - days - years - spending time with those who are reluctant and unwilling to hear the truths of others or to work at
changing existing social policy or considering other ways of living ||
Yet making the fundametal changes in the values that underlie oppressive social policies require interacting with those who oppose us | This must be done before we get to the voting booth, before we get to legislative committe hearings or publci forums | We need to get our points across and to affect change in board rooms and private offices; in juvenile and adult corrections, mental health, the courts, in educational, cultural, legislative and personal spheres ~ where ever decisions affecting all our lives are made regulalryl and daily ~ and we need to do this now!
We must infiltrate the meeting places of adversaries and decision makers who oppose eliminating wrongs | We must insist upon and make impact by directly negotiating polic change, laws and directions for the future | Once there, being heard, we have to make our points clearly enough to be effective advocates for change | Now, affecting change doesn't necessarily make for chit chat or small talk at parties | You won't be making friends with those you meet and confront at policy plannings or while negotiating change, nor will your own friends necessarily want to know about the details of your efforts ||
Even if we cannot immediately make changes to oppressive social policies or practices, our mere presence in some of these meeting places can prevent additional harmful policies from being implemented | Also ~ remember to stay in touch with others who know what you say to be true, and to refresh and replenish yourself from behind-the-scenes battles rather than burn yourself out | Stay healthy to battle successfully ||
WHAT PROMTED THE POST: Bill Pusztai, at his LiveJournal blog recently [05 Mar 2006|02:22pm] posed the question:
Aprés Midi d'une Faune (sp) just came on the itunes. Damn it feels like, despite their fractious arguments about how to make art and what was good and bad, those people took it for granted that art was something worth doing. A certainty I don't think we can ever again feel.
Or am I just making things up?
This was my response: I don't accept the premise that art is made [perhaps in greater quantity] during "politically stable times". Except, perhaps, for the latter 20th Century [the "commodification" period], artists have been seen as, and ofttimes expected to be change agents. Subversive in their approach to prodding the elite [generally the largest patrons of the arts] to question their own values and decision making.
Nor do I believe that the "traditional" media [painting, drawing, sculpture] are archaic means of expression. In my own experience, these apparent static media are only tools of expression and other tools come along for us to make use of, albeit after a learning curve on how to use them.
I work in conventional media [watercolor, oil, pen + ink]. My most "modern" media are photography and collage. It is what you show and how your viewers are impacted that make art worth doing. Living in an oppressive age is hardly a justification of backing off on being creative. Rather, it provides us a challenge and an obligation to keep the creative impulse flowing.
Just what you were waiting for: Lego Brokeback Mountain Daniel Brown
, on his Smugmug
site took the time to make a whole series of vigniettes from Brokeback Mountain entirely from LEGOS. A better man that me, that's for certain.
What if the Confederate States of America won the War against Northern Aggression
? That's the premise behind the Spike Lee produced film by Kevin Willmott, The CSA
. In this mocumentary, supposedly produced by a British broadcasting team, and aired, amid controversy on CSA network television now, the film provides an alternate history of North America. The outcomes, except that slavery remained legal, were that this nation's history might not have seemed all so different from the racial divisions and social problems this nation currently faces.
Filmmaker Willmott says of this production:
In many ways, the South did win The Civil War. Maybe not on the battlefield, but they won the peace. They won the fight for their way of life. The North changed, not the South. One of the best examples is the city in which I live, Lawrence, Kansas, famously founded by abolitionists. Following the North's "victory," the city was segregated. Kansas University, where I am an Assistant Professor, was segregated. The Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court decision that desegregated schools in the United States was in Kansas, not Mississippi. Maybe the history of the "C.S.A." would not be all that different from the one we have known - some differences, perhaps, but not a complete counter history.
As with all parodies, among the humor some uncomfortable truths come to light. The near-real commercials from the Slave Shopping Network
featuring live screen call-in bidding wars for whole pickninny families, or [if the viewers prefer] breaking up the group for the convenience of the new owner. More sobering are the excerpts where Abe Lincoln is captured and arrested by President Jefferson Davis, a timeline of international slavery initatives and the federal government signing a non-aggression treaty with Hitler [which "...allowed for Jews to reside in Reservations on Long Island
Now, even though the Oscars awarded the top honor this year to Crash
, dealing with racism is still in its infancy. We have, after all, a society run by angry, powerful white folks who cling to that power with jealousy, irrationality, self-righteousness and zealotry about their "right" to remain there. The CSA
is a film that adds to the discussion in ways that Crash might not. Regrettably, with Crash
now long removed from the movie screens, and The CSA
only getting limited screen play. it doesn't give me much optimism that the discourse so needed shall be adequately pursued.
There are two other bits of inspirational source materials I'd like to make note of on this topic; one being Yale history professor
Harry S. Stout and his new book "Upon the Altar of a Nation: A Moral History of The Civil War
." In the book, Professor Stout makes a timely reconsideration of "just war," and examines the moral underpinnings of the 1860s War Between the States. Both groups’ claimed that they had God on their side, which fueled the ferocity of the conflict and its provided a legacy that endures today. Commentary from the website Real Clear Politics
says of the book's concerns that "...The religious language of the war, in particular, was nearly always the language of the jeremiad, in which God guarantees victory to the righteous and ruin to their enemies, and battlefield success is linked to piety and failure to apostasy...
." The central paradox being that "...the more moral a war seems to be at the outset, the greater the moral compromise it may eventually require
While it is the 1860s Civil War that Stout scrutinizes in his book, it is racism, and our nation's failure to address its consequences, that seems to me the larger war we must deal with; whether this be the Black:White faux dichotomy constantly bubbling under the surface in the United States or the false construct of "fundamentalist Islam versus Fundamentalist millenialist Christianism" that we and the rest of the planet witnesses daily in the so-called war on terror so glibly touted by the Bushco Regime.
Finally, I want to draw attention to a valuable yet under-noticed newsletter, Race, Racism and the Law
, edited and published Dr. Vernellia R. Randall, Professor of Law at the University of Dayton, Datyon Ohio. Her newsletter tackles tough questions, many of which don't have clear answers [like dealing with White Privilege
] and others [such as reparations for post civil-war racially motivated assaults like the May 31, 1921 massacre in Tulsa Oklahoma
] which one finds not the slightest recognition of, much less acknowledgment or discussion.
For those not in the know, the Tulsa Massacre
was when up to three hundred African-Americans were killed, thousands were left homeless, and the predominantly Black Greenwood community was burnt to the ground by a white mob, deputized by the city fathers of Tulsa and aided by the State of Oklahoma. Even now, more than 80 years later, the courts and this nation's leadership evade taking responsibility to this sanctioned act of genocide.
But I digress. My point here is quite simply, unless and until we start learning the seamier sides of our history, making them our own, and finding ways to acheive some measure of social justice, then our ability to find solutions for current day problems based on ignorance and racial prejudice shall continute to be compromised. We can no longer afford the dubious luxury of remaining ignorant. Ignorance, after all, is not bliss. It is the stumbling block that holds us back from truly progressing toward equity and justice.
what's on my desktop?
Blame Joel Sax for this
. he has challenged a bunch of us to meme his example [is that redundant?] of posting a photo of what's on my desktop. This is what I snapped.
Okay. I'll admit. I vamped up the desktop to look good for this posting. SO... here's how the screen really
appeared when I got Joel's chellenge.
On top of this, I confess to being literal, plus
given that a "desktop" means more to me than what's on monitor screen of my computer, the next snap [left] shows my easel desktop
Finally, when I get literal, to me photo
the desktop is not just hitting the prt scr
copies but what my camera captures. Therefore, the last pix in this series [right] shows an actual photo of my desk's top, upon which rests the computer monitor, showing its
desktop features [as highlighted above].
futuristics | dystopias
Domino's Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan has plans to create a new town in Florida, Ave Maria, that will be governed according to his own personal interpretation of what are "strict Roman Catholic principles"
Said Monaghan, "We're going to control all the commercial real estate, so there's not going to be any pornography sold in this town. We're controlling the cable system. The pharmacies are not going to be able to sell condoms or dispense contraceptives
Town planners indicate that "...Located on what was once largely agricultural land, it has been designed to be a compact, walkable, self-sustaining town that reflects the community's rural roots while offering a full range of residential options and commercial services to its residents...
The town would essentially be built around Ave Maria University
, which has operated from Ann Arbor, Michigan for a few years and recently moved to Naples, Florida. But the college's success is not an isolated one and appears in part to be hinged to Father Joseph Fessio, the new College's provost and top-ranking priest. Fessio enjoys a close relationship with Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI.
The San Francisco, California-based Ignatius Press, which Fessio founded and still runs, is the primary English-language publisher of Ratzinger's works. After Ratzinger was named Pope, Time magazine acknowledged Fessio as a member of the new pontiff's inner circle. [This from a news report at Common Dreams
Not surprsing, there's much more to the story. Another component of making this dream of Monaghans' achievable is the active collaborative partnership of real estate developer and agricultural/mineral explotier Barron Collier Companies
. Barron Collier has ties with upscale real-estate developer Lutgert Corporation
. Together, as real estate developers, they seem to have a good record at develping attractive looking communities, but their record with respecting environmentally sensitive terrain may be more problematic. Exxon-Mobil [ who has partnered with them to develop and start extraction
of "potential new oil fields in Southwest Florida and is currently active in furthering exploration of Collier’s 840,000 acres of mineral assets
"]. It's a matter of public record that Barron Collier has no problem fighting local governments and environmental groups about issues such as where to place high voltage power lines
. So there may be other much more troublesome matters afoot than just having concerns about adult book stores and condoms at the drug store counter.
The Project has already put spade to earth on 17 February 2006 and hopes to have the nation's first new Roman Catholic college in 40 years open by 2007. Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist said it will be up to the courts to decide the legalities of the plan. Florida Governor Jeb Bush, at the site's groundbreaking earlier this month, lauded the development as a new kind of town where faith and freedom will merge to create a community of like-minded citizens. He didn't speak to the implications of local ordinances that might violated state or federal Constitutional protections.
Personally, I find it difficult to believe that a town designed on a square grid pattern, densely settled, and superimposed atop farm and marshland, comes even close to reflecting rural roots.
Others have written about the endeavor. Analyst Bill Berkowitz at Working Assets
has some questions of his own
about monocultural communities, authortarian cults and social control. Over at Leiter Reports
commentator Benj Hellie explores the corporate connections
Given the founder's penchant for overt control of things he has clearly said he doesn't like [pornography, abortion, birth control], I'd also have concerns about what attempts would be made to forbid livavble wages [while Monaghan long ago sold off his intersts in Dominos Pizza, he was hardly an exemplar of one sensitive to worker's concerns], zoning laws, universal health care and universal educational standards.
And what happened when an amateur theatre group wants to perform something like Arthur Miller's Crucible [not to mention Torch Song Trilogy]
Given the close ties with corporate real estate speculators, as well as existing relationships with one of BigEnergy's more flagrant polluters, concerns about political censorship around if and when the citizens of Ave Maria begin to question environmental degradation, waste disposal, even global warming, makes for a much more disturbing union.
I'm certain we'll hear more about this as ime marches forward.
View from the ICU
travels | philadephia
Here's some shots from last spring that I may or may not have posted
City Hall at night. Tha vantage point is looking south from Logan Circle on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
City Hall at night. This time looking up at the south entry gate from Broad Street.
The City of Brotherly Love apparently allows it's less fortunate the privilege of sleeping in public places. This outside the famed Independence Hall. I must be missing something here.
My road talismans reflected on the window as I sit outside a warehouse trying to call people on my cellphone.
For what it's worth, I have bigger feet
than Sylvester Stallone
Buttercake. Anybody who isn't from Philly might not know of this sinfully tasty concoction of mostly sugar, a touch of lemon juice and congealed butter atop a painfully thin layer of cake. Not as well known as the hoagie or the Philly Cheese Steak but every bit as rich. Can you say "coronary"?
websites | books
Laughter is the spackle of the soul
. Wonder what happened to that photo album you thought
got thrown away at the landfill? Perplexed about the snapshot of you and your ex-girlfriend, torn and tattered and tossed out the window of your car? This site retrieves discarded home pictures, makes up captions and shares them with the world. As a side note, you could also look at their site Say Something Cryptic
, comprised of the writings and ruminations of a group of "Reality Avoidance Therapists", though they may be more on the mark than some of our world's leaders these days.
Runs with Scissors
. A Brooklyn based school teacher and amateur photographer who sometimes flaunts the conventions of the powerful [e.g. "..You can't take pictures in here...
Seen but Not Heard
. "helveticaneue" hails from south central Pennsylvania where she takes incredible photographs and captures the essence of the air around her.
Mountain Mike's Flickr Photos
. Evocative of remote rural settings. I await the re-opening of his personal site, Mountain Mosaic
.BOOKS: You could add these to my personal wish list
Ghosts in the Wilderness: Abandoned America
. Written and photographed by Tony and Eva Worobiec who traveled throughout the midwest USA. Said one reviewer: "...these evocative photos (Tony's are taken in black-and-white and hand-tinted, Eva's are shot in color) focus on what has been left behind -- vehicles, farms, schoolrooms, kitchens, sofas, peeling walls, clothing still on hangers -- and have the feel of vintage postcards or 19th-century spirit photographs re-imagined by John Steinbeck
". — Francine Prose
. Lawrence Grecco's three year odessey photographing the Kirkpina championships. Turkish Wresting is a ancient sport full of machisimo and bravado, taken seriously for over six centuries. Grecco was permitted to go on-field and document this athletic and powerful artform close up.
Tthhaat's all fer now...