Bobbing Around

Volume Seven, Number Five
January, 2008

Bob Rich's rave

bobswriting.com/  anxietyanddepression-help.com/  mudsmith.net/  other issues

 
*About Bobbing Around
  subscribe/unsubscribe.
  guidelines for contributions
*Politics
  China and Tibet, by Carl Stonier
  Can history be changed?
  Letter to Woy Woy's 'Peninsula News'
*Environment
  The Earth today stands in imminent peril, by Dr Andrew Glikson & Dr Barrie Pittock
  Vertical farming
  One voice, deaf ears? by Philip Harris
  New kind of photovoltaic panel on the market
  Time to stop the greenwashing, by Dr Glen Barry
*Deeper issues
  Thoughts on Christmas
  Living with MS, by Dan Weatherington
*Helping Others
  So shy I want to die
  Support group for breast cancer
*What my friends want you to know
  Resource Manual on Violence Against Women With Disabilities
  Climate Movement convergence
  Chinese spectacular in Melbourne
  Wind Energy Yearbook available
  Share in co-op for sale
  Frugal Book Promoter is top seller
  Bainstorming
  New forum for Twilight Times Books
  Along the Templar Trail, by Brandon Wilson
*Environmental Humour
  Greenpeace International on the IAEA
  Worms get the poo
*Poetry
  Save our planet, by Elizabeth Tindle
*Reviews
  When Kids Know Why They Try! by Dr Dan Doyle
  Natural Homebuilder, Volume Two, edited by Alan Gray
  Tilting at Treadmills, a DVD by John Benton
  Your Designer Diet, by Todd Hoff
*Free contests, good prizes

A response

Hi Bob,

   I just want to thank you for your newsletter. As a peace, anti-nuke and environmental activist, I write many newsletters -- all of them in some way depressing given the subject matter!

   When I read the many stories you share with us, I feel real hope in human nature.

   Thanks so very much for your work -- and for those many people you include in your thought. May 'Peace on Earth' really prevail through people like yourself.

Regards,
Kim Stewart
FoE Brisbane


   Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.


   I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

"Best editor of 2007"
Best editor logo

   It is my delight to thank the hundreds of people who voted for me as "best editor" at the recent readers' poll at Preditors and Editors. This is probably the most important web site for writers.

   In particular, my mate in Florida, Ron Peters, is a one-man public relations band for me. He cajoled me into entering, and then lined up enough votes to put me into 6th place. I never do things only 100%. Once I entered, I contacted all my old editing clients back to about 2003, and (blush) everyone else I could think of. The result was that a separate entry for me came second. At the end of the contest, the two entries were combined, to give me a win.

   OK, winning a poll like this is not a measure of quality, but of popularity and perseverance. All the same, I am immensely grateful. To celebrate, until the next issue of Bobbing Around comes out, I will edit 3000 words FREE for any subscriber.


What can guided imagery do?

   It can fix my painful lower back and get rid of the shooting pains down my leg, that's what.

   I have poor hypnotic ability. There is a wide range of how easily a person can go into a trance, and I am down in the bottom third of the population.

   The better your hypnotic ability, the more you can benefit from using guided imagery. Those who are really good at it can go through a major operation, using nothing but the tools of their mind as anaesthetic.

   I can't do that, but I can soothe and relax overtight, spasming muscles, to the point that the bones of my lower spine and pelvic girdle return to their normal positions.

   You see, when your "back is out," it is a matter of unequal muscle tension. Something is keeping it out.

   Yesterday, I had the pleasure of doing vigorous physical work with a bunch of young people. All was well until lunchtime. I felt pleased, and perhaps a little arrogant, that by then, they seemed more tired than I was. But, at my age, I no longer wear the body I used to. I can still do everything I was able to at 30 -- but what I could then do for 16 hours is now only possible for maybe 4.

   By the time I came in for afternoon tea, I felt a stiffness in my back. And that evening, there were arrows shooting into my buttock, down my left leg, all the way to the feet. This is of course the result of a nerve being pinched because a vertebra has got crooked.

   Before I went to bed, I did a set of stretches, which achieved nothing observable. In bed, I spent maybe half an hour first relaxing the rest of my body, then calling down a healing light from space to penetrate my lower back, soothing it all back into place. I imagined the vertebra moving back the way it is supposed to be. And I kept telling myself that it would all be fine by morning.

   Through all this, there was enough pain that I thought I wouldn't be able to sleep.

   I woke at about 2 a.m. to go to the toilet. The pain was still there, so I repeated the imagery.

   When I woke at 6 a.m., the pain was gone. I did my stretches again, and found that I had returned to a full range of motion, as normal. Now, as I write, my lower back feels delicate, but there is no pain anywhere. I am sure that one incautious movement would send me right back, but for the moment, the problem is fixed.

   You can have a look at http://anxietyanddepression-help.com/heal.html, where I offer to share my favourite healing imagery scripts.

Politics

China and Tibet by Carl Stonier
Can history be changed?
Letter to Woy Woy's 'Peninsula News'

China and Tibet
by Carl Stonier

   Following Bob's article about the Chinese abuse of Falun Gong, it's worth remembering that China has a long history of suppressing and oppressing those who disagree with them (remember Tiananmen Square) and of using extreme methods to achieve their aims, regardless of any 'Human rights' considerations.

   Not least of the examples is the genocide inflicted on the people of Tibet. Mao Tse Tung invaded Tibet in 1950. Ignoring a history of independence of thousands of years, the Chinese claimed that Tibet was a region of China, and the People's Liberation Army invaded the country "on behalf of the people of Tibet." This 'liberation' has killed well over a million Tibetans on top of the 500,000 who starved to death in 1956, when, for the first time in history, the crops failed. Why did the crops fail? Because the Chinese had replanted the Tibetan staple of barley with their preference, wheat. It was the wheat that failed to grow in Tibetan conditions, yet Mao's propaganda machine claimed that the replanting was a part of the "Great Leap Forward." The great leap forward was that Mao thus gained access to the great reserves of gold, copper, lead, zinc, borax, oil uranium and timber contained in Tibet, as a way of financing and promoting China's development as a world power.

   China has systematically destroyed the Tibetan people, culture, heritage, religion and way of life -- a way of life that was ecologically sound, working in harmony with the land and the conditions, and had been sustained for thousands of years. China has razed over 6000 Buddhist monasteries, which were the religious centres, and also the cultural and political centres for the local communities, as well as the archives of all the local and regional history and wisdom. In destroying the monasteries, the occupying Chinese also systematically set out to destroy the credibility of the monks and nuns through humiliation (until the Chinese invasion, Tibet was a gender equal country) by forcing the monks and nuns into sexual acts, thereby destroying their vows of celibacy -- and in public as well! This destruction accounts for 95% of the monasteries and temples in Tibet. Those that resisted were executed in the most barbaric ways. A favourite was 'thamzing:' a public gang-beating, played out over several days, in which all the local community were forced to watch either their loved ones or their neighbours or their religious leaders being systematically beaten and tortured. Families were forced to watch their family members being slowly murdered, so that the last of the family would have experienced more mental anguish than physical. Broken bones would not stop the beatings, but might signal further beatings when the unfortunate recipients cried out. Usually, people would confess to anything in the hope that by doing so, they would get a reprieve from the beatings. It would be easy to describe some of the recorded horrors that occurred, but such descriptions are not comfortable reading. Suffice to say that imagine the worst that you can, then add some. This is what the Tibetans have suffered since the Chinese invaded their country.

   The very culture of the nation has been systematically destroyed. There are now more Chinese in Tibet than there are Tibetans; Tibetan families who choose to send their children to Tibetan speaking schools do so secure in the knowledge that their children will subsequently be denied access to any further education opportunities -- and destroying the language is the surest way of destroying the culture. The monasteries which are still extant -- and the Chinese authorities will say that many have been rebuilt -- are there as tourist attractions, and as soon as they show any signs of spiritual success, they are shut down, and the tourists are diverted to less 'successful' monasteries. The vast wealth of learning, culture and heritage that had been safely kept in the monasteries for centuries has either been destroyed or relocated to China.

   How has such destruction been allowed to go unchallenged and unchecked? When the Nazis set out to destroy the Jews and other minority groups, Britain went to war, to be joined later on by the Americans. When we were told that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, both the USA and the UK went to war (or was that, perhaps, because of oil reserves?) When we hear of the atrocities in Darfur, we send in Oxfam and other relief agencies. Gordon Brown refuses to meet with Robert Mugabe because of Mugabe's human rights violations in Zimbabwe. The USA went to war in Korea to prevent the spread of communism from the North to the South of that country. The list could go on almost indefinitely, yet where is the support for Tibet against the Chinese? The nearest that there has been to any support for the Tibetans has been from the covert American support of the Tibetan resistance via the CIA, and as welcome as this was, it was too little, too late and not maintained for long enough. There has been no overt political pressure in nearly 60 years. There have been no threats of warfare. There have been no economic sanctions. Might it be that the West is scared of China's power? If so, then be very afraid, because the quest for power that led China to invade a relatively easy target 60 years ago might well encourage it to extend its reach further afield, and already most Western countries are afraid of China's economic power, since China can call the shots for most Western countries, and holds the debts simply because it chooses so to do at this time. When it suits, China could call in its debts, and leave the West bankrupt.

   What can we, the ordinary folks, do? Avoid buying anything that says 'Made in China' for a start. Not only will this hit China in the only place that matters, its pocket, it will also help to avoid perpetuating the abuses to its own citizens, for whom adherence to the party dictate is compulsory. We can boycott the China Olympics, much as British cricketers refused to play in South Africa during the apartheid years. We can support the Tibetan Government in exile financially and emotionally. We can maintain the profile of the plight of the Tibetan nation in the international limelight. We can avoid falling for the Chinese propaganda that states how much better off the Tibetans are now (that they have completely rewritten Tibetan history). In short, we can remember Tibet, rather than forgetting about it, as much of the world has done since it first became aware of it 50 years ago.

After a 28 year career in nursing, Dr Carl Stonier took early retirement and established the Personal Potential Counselling Service in 2000. He's a trustee of the UK National Conference of Cancer Self Help Groups, once briefly met the Dalai Lama and is passionate about sustainable living and spiritual growth. He is a contributor to Cancer: A personal challenge.


Can history be changed?

   Under pressure from Britain's Muslim minority, the History curriculum has been changed in schools. When discussing the Second World War, there is no longer to be a mention of the Holocaust. Does this matter?

   The email that informed me of this stated, "It is a matter of history that when Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.

   "He did this because he said,

   'Get it all on record now -- get the films -- get the witnesses -- because somewhere down the track of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.'"

   This of course ties in with Carl's essay about Tibet, with the Armenian genocide in Turkey that didn't happen if you believe the Turkish government, and there could be many other examples.

   This one, however, is particularly horrid, because it is the result of expediency. Modern Turks want to think of themselves as good people, so it hurts them to accept that their recent ancestors acted like vicious savages. However, the British authorities merely want to look the other way, to twist the truth to pacify those who might otherwise throw a tantrum.

   The Holocaust happened. I lost relatives because of it, and spent the first two years of my life in a Ghetto.

   Muslims justly feel sympathy for the Palestinians. So do I. But the two issues are separate. The fact of the Holocaust does not justify what Israel is doing. These are separate tragedies, and twisting facts about one will not help to resolve the other.

   There is only one way forward in Israel/Palestine, and it is not the official Israeli policy. It is the movement that pulled the teeth of the IRA. After generations of mutual violence, now Northern Ireland is at relative peace. The only violence comes from the Orangemen. The Catholic women of Belfast have spoken: "We have lost too many sons and husbands. This will stop." It did.

   The only way forward is the way of Nelson Mandela. After many years of imprisonment and humiliation, he found himself in charge of his country. He did not lead a movement to revenge, or even to justice and fairness, but to reconciliation. There has been no bloodbath in South Africa thanks to him.

   The only way forward is that of Ghandi. Watch the movie. It is historically very accurate. In particular pay attention to his last speech before he was assassinated. This was in the middle of the civil war.

   Hate begets hate. Revenge invites revenge. It is only love and acceptance that can end bloodshed.

   Rather than attempting to change history, rather than denying the Holocaust, we need to study it, to understand its causes and effects, to learn from it.


Letter to Woy Woy's 'Peninsula News'

Dear Sir,

   I have been made aware that current planning for flood damage mitigation and prevention use the tried and trusted concepts of '100 year flood level' and the like.

   This would be very wise -- if we lived in a steady-state world. When those design tools were devised, the past was a pretty good guide to the future.

   Sadly, thanks to the galloping climate change that now only the willfully blind can deny, the past is now anything but a guide to the future. It is irrelevant. We know with 100% certainty that sea levels will rise, within the expected lifespans of buildings being erected now. We know that all weather patterns will gain in energy, and this means stronger winds causing higher waves.

   If you would read 'Turning Up the Heat', a very readable book on climate change by distinguished Australian scientist Barrie Pittock, you will find out that climate change is not always gradual and predictable. There are also what he calls 'threshold effects'. Something happens that causes a major change, in a very short time. We know that all over the globe, ice is melting. This is usually considered a steady, slow process, but it is one of the things that can change suddenly. What if a large chunk of ice (like the size of NSW) were to suddenly break off the Antarctic ice sheet? It would cause a very high wave that would certainly reach the Woy Woy Peninsula. If I lived in your beautiful area, therefore, I would buy land right on the seashore, at the (current) sea level.

   Why?

   Because surviving a major catastrophe may be worse than dying from it.

Sincerely,
Robert Rich, Ph.D.


Environment

The Earth today stands in imminent peril
by Dr Andrew Glikson & Dr Barrie Pittock
Vertical farming
One voice, deaf ears? by Philip Harris
New kind of photovoltaic panel on the market
Time to stop the greenwashing by Dr Glen Barry

The Earth today stands in imminent peril
by Dr Andrew Glikson & Dr Barrie Pittock

THE GLOBAL VIEW

   Professor James Hansen, NASA's Chief Climate Scientist, states: 'The Earth today stands in imminent peril and nothing short of a planetary rescue will save it from the environmental cataclysm of dangerous climate change'. This is consistent with the 4th IPCC Report 2.

   A major conclusion from the recent history of Earth indicates the atmosphere, climate systems, the oceans and ice sheets are extremely vulnerable to even minor changes in natural forcings, including solar and greenhouse forcing, atmospheric particulates and ice reflectance/albedo changes.

   Following completion of the draft IPCC-2007 Report early in 2006, concern has been expressed by leading climate scientists regarding the pace of climate change. The balance of evidence may be swinging toward a more extreme climate change outcome, including:

1. Global warming In the probable range of 2-6 degrees C by 2100, with more than a 50% probability of 3 degrees C or higher, a dangerous level in terms in droughts, storms, sea level rises and many other impacts.

2. Reduction in atmospheric particles and increase in permafrost melting reduce reflectivity (albedo), increase temperatures and positive feedback (amplification) by carbon dioxide and methane.

3. Climate change accelerated by emission from drying vegetation and increased wild fires.

4. Arctic sea ice rapid retreat speeds up global warming as reduced sunlight reflection increases surface heating.

5. Changes in air and sea circulations in mid and high latitudes results in pole-ward migration of climate zones and mid-latitude westerlies, transporting more heat pole-ward and changing rainfall patterns, and increases in storminess.

6. Rapid disintegration of ice shelves and acceleration of outflow glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica are adding to ice sheet melting, reduced reflection of sunlight, global warming and sea-level rise.

7. Tropical cyclones becoming more intense.

IMPLICATIONS FOR AUSTRALIA

   Mid-latitude agricultural zones of Australia are vulnerable to climate change in terms of severe droughts; subtropical Australia is susceptible to the El-Nino effects and cyclones, and the concentration of Australia's population in coastal zones and cities places the nation at risk from sea level rises. Already the poleward migration of climate zones is affecting Australia through the southward retreat of the moist westerlies and consequent decreased rainfall over southern parts of Australia, including the wheat belts of southwestern Western Australia, Victoria and the Murray Darling Basin. By contrast, precipitation is increasing in northern and northwestern Australia.

   Specific social and economic risks for Australia include

1. Drying of southern and eastern regions associated with bush fires, erosion, ecosystem losses and major economic impacts.

2. Sea level rise and storm surges with major impacts on coastal development, infrastructure, saline intrusion, loss of coastal wetlands.

3. Warming: crops and forests stressed, species threatened, fire, coral reef bleaching.

4. Severe floods and storms, large capital costs and down time.

5. Acidification of oceans, with consequent effects on marine life, reefs and fisheries.

6. International refugee and economic crisis arising from sea level rise and flooding of large population centers, in particular throughout southeast Asia (including Pacific and Indian Ocean islands, Bangladesh , and coastal cities and heavily populated deltas and low river valleys in China, Viet Nam, India and Pakistan).

7. Severe disruption of sea trade due to port/harbor flooding.

   Recommended policies include:

1. It is essential Australia determines to make every effort to help prevent CO2 levels from rising above 500 ppm and global warming from rising above 2 degrees C relative to pre-industrial temperatures, as is the European target.

2. Carbon emissions need to be reduced by 60-80% by 2050 to stabilize climate, commencing with reductions of 20-30% by 2020-2030, or 4-5% reductions per annum relative to business as usual.

3. Major improvements in public transport and rapid development of more energy-efficient private transport.

4. Major efforts at revegetating dried areas and planting new forests, aimed at carbon sequestration and erosion control.

5. International negotiations and agreements placing constraints on emissions from Australian coal exports.

6. Asia-Pacific Partnership (AP6) to be seriously strengthened to achieve less than the minimum 1.7¡C warming by 2100 (relative to 1990) that was projected to result from AP6 by ABARE.

7. Major incentives for development of clean energy technologies, including solar, wind, geothermal (hot rocks), hydrogen, tidal and wave.

8. Development of solar-powered coastal and ground water desalination systems.

9. Major incentives for development of large-scale clean energy utilities, including solar-thermal, solar-desalination and wind-water extraction plants in outback regions using highly efficient high voltage DC cables to supply electricity to major cities.

10. Emphasis on development of the above (item 9) for indigenous communities, enhancing new employment opportunities, thus reducing social problems.

11. Development of coastal protection and adaptation strategies.

12. Universal application/construction of water tank storage associated with residential, business and industrial properties.

CONCLUSIONS

   The state of the Earth's atmosphere which has allowed agriculture and civilization to flourish is changing fast. This is now acknowledged by the highest scientific and political authorities. Such is the scale and the urgency of the issue, it places future generations and much of the progress which has been achieved in relation to human civilization, human welfare and human rights in grave jeopardy. We are concerned that, due to inertia in the political system, the urgent mitigation required to arrest runaway climate change may not be forthcoming. Australia is in a pivotal position vis-?-vis climate change due to its coal wealth and good relations with relevant countries. The gravity of the situation calls for renewed efforts on an apolitical basis in an attempt to avert the worst consequences of runaway climate change.

Dr Andrew Glikson is former Principal Research Scientist, AGSO, and Visiting Research Fellow, Australian National University. Dr Barrie Pittock is the author of Turning up the Heat. He is an Honorary Fellow, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research; former leader, Climate Impact Group, CSIRO.

   I have had to shorten this statement, among other things removing a substantial list of references. Second, while the article focuses on Australia, similar implications apply anywhere else, including the USA. Also, I think the authors are being FAR TOO optimistic. I doubt that we need to worry about what may happen by 2100 -- 2020 will be significantly and disastrously different from today. Don't believe me? Think about the changes in the past 12 years.


Vertical farming

   Las Vegas is planning to construct the world's first vertical farm tower. According to reports at Next Energy News, the $200m building will include 30 storeys of farming land and produce enough food to feed 72,000 people once fully operational.

   The eye-opening vertical farm is expected to generate $40m in annual revenue -- $25m from fresh produce and $15m from tourism -- and require just $6m a year in operating expenses.

   Nevada State officials, who spearheaded the project, reportedly claimed that the building will be able to grow over 100 crops, producing everything from strawberries and lettuce to banana trees.

   The officials said that the bulk of the produce would be used in local casinos and entertainment complexes, adding that they chose to build the project in Las Vegas because they wanted to clean up the city's image as a party, drinking and gambling Mecca.

   Agricultural industry analysts are likely to be watching the project closely. Intensive farm towers have long been touted by some experts as a potential solution to the world's food shortages, allowing farmers to generate high yields in controlled biospheres without using up precious agricultural land.

   The tower, which could become operational as early as mid-2010, could also be replicated in other heavily built-up urban areas, where produce has to be transported long distances.

   Food prices are currently climbing, driven by a combination of climate change, population growth, high energy costs and the shift toward biofuel crops.

   Around 80% of the available agricultural land is currently being used and the UN has warned that there is a serious risk of global food shortages if supply issues are not addressed.

Source: http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2206656/las-vegas-build-farm-skyscraper

   I am interested in your comments on this. Is it a good idea, or a disaster in the making? What are the pitfalls, if any?


One voice, deaf ears?
by Philip Harris

   When the Tsunami devastated Southeast Asia and hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, the cry was, "Why was there no warning?" Now, we are faced with an environmental tsunami but the difference is we have a warning. According to the U.N. panel of scientists as reported by AP writer Arthur Max, global warming is "unequivocal." U.N. Secretary General Ban said, "The worldÕs scientists have spoken clearly and with one voice."

   What are the unequivocal changes that will occur regardless of actions? Here is the short list: A sea rise of 4-6 feet; water shortages for 75-250 million Africans; coastal and river flooding for major Asian cities; heat waves and water competition in North America; and the extinction of up to 70% of all plant and animal species. Many changes are expected by 2020, assuming no new environmental factors emerge. We all know predictions as recently as a year ago had to be modified as the environment decided to react on its time plan, and not ours. Everything is happening faster than expected. Secretary Ban said, "Only urgent, global action will do."

   The IPCC has been bold in its warnings and leaves little room for doubt that we are in for some "interesting times." Keeping in mind that almost nothing has been done by the largest nations to address the issue, only the foolish would expect that the calamities would not be worse than predicted. When new diseases are added to the picture, aggravated by rising temperatures, water shortages and overcrowding, the scenarios take a turn for the worse.

   Obviously, two things must happen: governments must act, and people must heed the warnings. Governments are not acting so that leaves the rest up to us. We have received an early warning, and like the tsunami, if we do not heed that warning, there is no one to blame but ourselves if lives are lost. There is no question that rather than flocking to coastal cities, people need to start thinking about relocating inland. This will reduce exposure to disease and the loss of life and property due to flooding. Look at Bangladesh, is this the kind of life you want to live? Move to the country and start growing your own food. All one has to do is read my book called, RAPING LOUISIANA: A DIARY OF DECEIT and see how FEMA and governments are not only incapable of evacuating populations, they have no clue how to deal with the aftermath of situations like Hurricane Katrina.

   People must begin to leave flood plain and drought-prone areas -- it will only get worse. Pressure will increase on rural areas and people there must start thinking now how they will accommodate an influx of population. Precious farms cannot be lost, so some real planning is in order. Life as we know is changing and people have a choice: live or die. It will be way too late when governments order evacuations.

   We must demand that new and sustainable sources of energy be released at reasonable prices. Reliance on oil serves no one but the oil companies. Current prices of oil is just another wake-up call. Your next vehicle purchase must be a hybrid at a minimum. The fuel will not be there or at least not at an affordable cost. The technology is out there for non-polluting vehicles and the consumer must demand that this technology be made available. All new construction that has even a hint of public financing must demand that alternative energy be incorporated into the design. The public must also demand, for the sake of our children, that rules be passed to reduce the billions of tons of pollutants added to the environment each year. No is not an option.

   We must also preserve our biodiversity. People don't realize that the numbers being discussed in terms of extinctions will result in ecological collapse. It is not just about saving the polar bear or some exotic species. If the ecological systems collapse, our systems will collapse with them. We are all interconnected and most of the relationships are not even understood. But one thing is certain, lose the number of species discussed by the IPCC and life as we know will be altered forever.

   The list of actions could go on but I think you get the point. We have been warned. Change will happen. We can make them changes for the better by altering the way we live and the way we do business. The alternative is to continue to be led like lambs to the slaughter down the road of environmental collapse. This is not science fiction, this is science fact. I can only hope that the "one voice" does not fall on deaf ears!

Philip Harris is a multi-published, award winning author as well as a nationally syndicated writer with the American Chronicle.


New kind of photovoltaic panel on the market
from Martin Roscheisen, CEO, Nanosolar

   After five years of product development -- including aggressively pipelined science, research and development, manufacturing process development, product testing, manufacturing engineering and tool development, and factory construction -- we now have shipped first product and received our first check of product revenue.

   We are grateful to everyone who supported us through all these years and the many occasions where there appeared to be mile-high concrete walls in our path; the unusual intensity and creativity of our team deserves all the credit for achieving this major milestone today.

   Our product is defining in more ways I can enumerate here but includes:

  • the world’s first printed thin-film solar cell in a commercial panel product;
  • the world’s first thin-film solar cell with a low-cost back-contact capability;
  • the world’s lowest-cost solar panel -- which we believe will make us the first solar manufacturer capable of profitably selling solar panels at as little as $.99/Watt;
  • the world’s highest-current thin-film solar panel -- delivering five times the current of any other thin-film panel on the market today and thus simplifying system deployment;
  • an intensely systems-optimized product with the lowest balance-of-system cost of any thin-film panel -- due to innovations in design we have included.

       Today we are announcing that we have begun shipping panels for freefield deployment in Eastern Germany and that the first Megawatt of our panels will go into a power plant installation there.

    Thank you, Lance Collins, for drawing my attention to this bit of good news.


    Time to stop the greenwashing
    by Dr Glen Barry

       We are threatened with imminent ecological ruin. You should be afraid, very afraid. Yet real hope remains that fundamental social change can avert looming failure of global ecosystems. The biggest current obstacle to such change is that now that everyone, every product and every business claims to be "green"; we have been diverted from the required urgent, adequate ecological change.

       Many mainstream (and some "radical") environmentalists, most businesses and all governments are greenwashing -- misleading the public regarding the environmental benefits of their practices, policies and products. All logging destroys ancient forests, climate and water. Coal is unlikely to ever be clean, and sequestration is unproven. Biofuels hurt the environment, geo-engineering will destroy remaining natural processes, and buying more stuff is rarely good for the environment.

       It is time to stop greenwashing. After two decades of successfully raising awareness regarding climate change, forest protection and other challenges to global ecological sustainability, increasingly my time is spent reacting to dangerous, insufficient responses that fail to address root causes of ecological decline, provide a false sense of action, and frequently do more environmental harm.

       Many "greenwash" to make money, some to be seen as effective advocates, while others believe incremental progress without changing the system is the best that can be done. Yet all are delaying policies. The greatest obstacle to identifying, refining, espousing and implementing policies required to maintain a habitable Earth may come from "environmentalists" proposing inadequate half-measures that delay and undermine the rigorous work that must be done.

       Massive policies required to save the Earth. Deep-seated change is required in how we house, feed and clothe ourselves; in our understanding of acceptable livelihoods and happy lives; and in our relationship with the biosphere and each other. There is no alternative to fewer people and less consumption, a smaller and restorative economy, and an end to cutting natural vegetation and burning fossil fuels.

       Systematic failure of global ecosystems and social systems must be addressed in more than a token manner. A whole series of policy actions are needed, would work, are sufficient, and could start immediately: massive investments into renewable energy, implementing population controls, banning coal, ending old-growth logging and financing carbon emission reductions.

       Given the Earth has already exceeded what can be sustained, not only must the destruction stop, but massive large-scale ecological restoration must commence. Economic growth beyond steady-state use of natural capital must be stopped, and sustainable relocalized communities built around bioregions.

       Certainly, ecologically positive technology has a role to play. I recently chose the best transportation option society offers me and bought a Toyota Prius. But leading environmentalists touting technology as the primary emphasis to save our environment are dreadfully misinformed, and are obviously unaware of the ecological nature of being. They seem to have forgotten about the primacy of maintaining and restoring ecosystems.

       Necessary consumption should focus upon durable items that will last. Strong tools and minds are required to grow food, make a righteous living, and otherwise practice ecological living. Excessive consumption is a poor substitute for a truthful, fully aware, knowledge-filled and experience-rich life. All can and should enjoy some luxuries, rather than some enjoying all.

       Global ecological threats are intensifying -- oceans lifeless, forests tattered, water scarce, and the atmosphere perhaps irreparably damaged. This occurs even as a climate change backlash builds, largely as a result of truthful apocalyptic warnings presented without adequate policies that go beyond greenwash responses and actually promise a hope filled solution likely and able to succeed.

       Given this increased urgency and public awareness, the environmental community must espouse rigorous, sufficient polices "while the iron is hot"; and demand real actions that are sufficient to solve global ecological crises. And greenwashers beware: if you stand in the way of sufficient ecological responses to the greatest emergency of all times, you will be exposed as Earth destroying charlatans and resisted.

    Dr. Barry is founder and President of Ecological Internet; provider of the largest, most used environmental portals on the Internet including the Climate Ark and http://www.EcoEarth.Info/. He is a conservation biologist and political ecologist, a writer of essays and blogs, and a computer specialist and technology researcher.


    Deeper Issues

    Thoughts on Christmas
    Living with MS by Dan Weatherington

    Thoughts on Christmas

       I am writing this on Christmas Day, 2007.

       If you are a Christian, Christmas should be nothing more and nothing less than a holy day, a day for celebrating the birth of Christ. It should be a day for remembering His message, and renewing your commitment to it. This message is Love. It is love, not only for those you find easy to care for, but love for your neighbour, and even for your enemy.

       If you are not a Christian, Christmas should be like Chinese New Year to a Swede, or Hanukah for a Buddhist. It is simply someone else's religious festivity.

       Unfortunately, Christmas is nothing like it should be, which is the reason this is the time of year I want to go off-planet.

       Christmas is hypocrisy. When I worked in nursing homes, I used to be REALLY upset by those loving relatives who came bearing useless gifts and false smiles around Christmas, and then didn't show until a year later. They exemplify the family gatherings where long-established enemies will hopefully manage not to have a slanging match; the superficial good wishes with no meaning behind them; the sentiment that's expressed all so sincerely but ignored for the rest of the year.

       Christmas is obligation "Oh, what will I give Joe?" "How much should I spend on Sally's present?" People give presents to each other, not from a spirit of love or generosity or even caring, but because they will commit a social blunder if they don't. This includes the meaningless and useless barrage of Christmas cards that choke up the mail.

       Christmas is commercialism One large shopping centre announced that it was swamped during its night hours at Christmas Eve. Everybody had to be there for that last-minute shopping. We have been encouraged -- brainwashed -- into spending more and more on less and less, and Christmas is the time for spurious specials that painlessly remove money from your bank account.

       Christmas is indulgence It is when diets and promises of abstinence are forgotten, when people get drunk and eat too much, all of the wrong foods.

       Christmas is sorrow Those who are isolated will hurt all the more when they think that everyone else is enjoying family. Those who have lost someone will miss them with a special poignancy at this time.

       As you may have gathered, if I could, I'd ban Christmas. I would like every day of the year to be Christmas, in the real meaning: a time for implementing the message of Jesus. But I would like to get rid of all the rest of the nonsense.


    Living with MS
    by Dan Weatherington

       A few days ago, I was loading my groceries into the car when a lady reached into my shopping cart, grabbed a couple of bags and put them into my car. "You know," she said, "I've see you here many times and I really admire you."

       Her statement caught me entirely off guard. "Admire me?" I asked. "Why?"

       "You have a hard time coming to this place. I can tell that," she said, "but you do it every week."

       I smiled and made some cute comment like "person's gotta eat." I really didn't know what to say, but after a few pleasantries she went on her way.

       Her comment wasn't unusual, I've heard it before, and it's nice, but bottom line... what choice do I have? But, then again, everyone has choices.

       I have had MS for several years. The first symptom was the wonderful penmanship that Sister Marie McDonald used to brag about as an example of the way it should be done began to look like a printout from an EKG machine. From there, it went downhill until I was in a wheelchair. I can still use a cane, but for me, a long walk is the length of a Chevy.

       Maybe I do have a good attitude, but this is choice I make. I have seen too many people make the other choice. They are unfortunate enough to come down with a disease or disability and, all of a sudden, it's everyone else's fault. Everyone else has to catch hell because old Joe has been hurt or has cancer. Why?

       Let's be honest, people don't know how to act around people with disabilities or diseases. How do you blame someone for 'not knowing'? Many times I have been hobbling along, approach a door and feel that moment of rest as I lean on the knob, only to have some kind soul jerk the door open to help me. Did he know that I was leaning on the doorknob and he almost pulled me over? No. He was trying to be nice. He was trying to be helpful. Now, what kind of a jerk would I be if I didn't act appreciative?

       Our disabilities, our diseases, remind people of their own mortality. People don't want to be reminded. The second they see someone in a wheelchair or with a cane, the moment they see someone whose hair has fallen out from chemotherapy, they know that in a split second, it could be them.

       They also fear catching what we have. I don't know where my MS came from. I don't know where someone's cancer came from. I used to join several men for breakfast and once one of the men borrowed my spoon. I watched him stirring his coffee. "Don't blame me when you start walking funny," I said. The whole table laughed, but I noticed after that he used my spoon regularly. Overcompensating... perhaps. But, I notice myself doing the same thing.

       I have had friends with cancer who tell me people don't want to touch them. People don't want to shake their hand. Beside being stupid, it's sad. That's why that whenever I greet someone with cancer I grab their hand and hold it like I did my first teenage girlfriend. Overcompensation? Again, perhaps.

       We don't know how to act. If I, who have a disease, with all the trappings that comes with it, don't know how to act around someone with a disease, what right have I got to expect someone without a disease to know?

       Around now, someone is saying, "all anyone has to do is just act normal."

       People act normal around normal people. The moment we sit in a wheelchair, or shave our head, we are not average. We are not normal. But we are not "privileged" either. Our disease, our problem, doesn't give us the right to treat others badly. No, they don't know how to treat us, but we do know how to treat them. We treat them as we would like to be treated. Maybe I can't change somebody's flat tire, but I can pull over and offer to let them use my cell phone to call help. Maybe I can't open the door for someone, but I can say "thank you" when someone does it for me. Maybe I can't get into the attic to find something for my wife, but I can tell her she looks nice when she does.

       Some people with a malady want to feel sorry for themselves and moan and groan about their lot in life. Medical science has measured... all the moaning and groaning a human can produce and all the feeling sorry for oneself a person can muster will not treat, and certainly not cure a disease. I make a joke about my disease. I call myself a fat ugly, cripple. That joke is one thing, but being a cripple who ACTS ugly is something entirely different, and it's certainly not a joke.

    Dan Weatherington has over twenty years writing experience mostly in the realm of Freemasonry. His work has been published throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. He is a Thirty-Third Degree Mason, Dean Emeritus of Wilkerson College North Carolina’s College of Freemasonry, Chairman of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina Committee on Masonic Education, recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Joseph Montfort Award and North Carolina’s only recipient of the Scottish Rite Legion of Merit Award.


    Helping Others

    So shy I want to die
    Support group for breast cancer

    So shy I want to die

    Dear Bob,

       I am 17 and have been painfully shy all my life and was bullied at school for it. Now school is over I'm finding it difficult to find work, and I am very depressed and feel like my life isn't worth living, to be honest I don't care whether I live or die.

       I only have one friend whom I don't see much, so there's not much in my life keeping me going. is it possible for even the shyest of people to overcome being shy?

    Helen

    Helen my dear,

       I was exactly where you are when I was 17. I was painfully shy until I was in my early 20s, and then started to do something about it.

       Yes, you can conquer this problem. Exactly how depends on the particular self-damaging thoughts that torture you. I had quite a collection: I thought myself to be stupid and ugly and unlovable ("people who like me don't know me"), and could never do anything right. All of these self-statements were in fact lies. The evidence was there, but I could not see it.

       I was also bullied, as a little child, in school, as a young man. Later, I had the sadness and worry of seeing my children being bullied.

       Now they are fine adults who live good lives, and the same is true for me.

       Just from your short note, I can see several good things about you. You are intelligent, literate and articulate. I am sure that if we met, we would become good friends despite the age difference.

       I think you should seek out counseling from a suitably qualified person like a psychologist. This person will set you on the path to a good life in 4 to 8 sessions, although the work will take you many years. But that's all right: life is a journey, not a destination.

       In the meantime, here are a few "tricks" that may help.

    1. First, know the enemy. What is shyness to you? Think about it, work out what you are doing when you are feeling shy, and what you are doing when you are feeling confident, and good about yourself, and enjoying what you are involved with. And don't tell me there are no such times. There are, but your sadness-colored glasses blind you to them.

       In my experience, shyness was when I used to focus in on what other people may have thought about me. It's a sort of stage fright.

       Let me tell you a story. When I finished my Honors research, the professor got me to tell a class of 300 students about it. I knew my stuff, was enthusiastic and well prepared. I gave an interesting talk, and then fielded a quarter of an hour of questions.

       Three weeks later, I had to present the same material at a conference. This time, my audience was about 50 psychologists. Well, I completely stuffed up. I couldn't think of my opening sentence, and my eyes were too blurry to read my notes. I stammered and mumbled and wanted to find a deep, dark hole, crawl into it and pull it after me.

       The difference? The second time I was worried about what the audience would think of me. Instead of concentrating on my material, on the job I was to do, I focused on myself. My head was full of unwanted thoughts like "They're all watching me," and "God, I know I'm going to stuff up," "I can't do this..." and of course these thoughts were self-fulfilling prophecies.

       To me, shyness is the same thing, only in an informal rather than a formal situation.

    2. Let me tell you a secret. Most people live as the stars of a soap opera. This is particularly true for teenagers, but also a great many adults go though life as if the whole world revolved around them and every other person in their lives was a walk-on.

       When you feel that all eyes on you, that everyone is judging you, chances are high that you are wrong. To all those people, you are background. Each of them is the star, and their attention is focused on themselves, not on you.

    3. Shyness is one of the many possible manifestations of thinking badly of yourself. This is why you should find a psychologist, who will use a variety of techniques to get you to challenge your deep-held, irrationally negative views about yourself. Everybody has irrational, childish beliefs, left over from infancy and childhood. When these are of the form "I am never good enough," then you may suffer anxiety, depression, and many other problems.

       I don't know you at all, we'll never meet. But I do know that those negative thoughts about yourself are false. You do many things. Some of them are excellent, others OK -- and some cause you problems. When you identify such habits, there is no need to feel bad. All you have done is to find a learning opportunity. So, learn.

    4. This leads to my last point. You can learn by being an actor. Find some girls who can engage in social situations in a way you admire. Then find safe situations, and become an actress, copying the ways these girls do things. And when you have practiced these skills well enough, they will become natural. You will still be a loner, which is fine, but you will have poise, confidence and the ability to cope.

    Love,
    Bob


    Support group for breast cancer

       My friend Carolyn Harris is keen to be of help to anyone suffering from breast cancer, as well as people who love someone with that affliction. She is the organiser of a very useful and close-knit community, which uses a bulletin board provided by eBay of all places. The link is http://forums.ebay.com.au/thread.jspa?threadID=300013045&start=9480.

       Clients of mine are part of this group. it could be a lafe-saver, and certainly a sanity-saver.


    What my friends want you to know

    Resource Manual on Violence Against Women With Disabilities
    Climate Movement convergence
    Chinese spectacular in Melbourne
    Wind Energy yearbook available
    Share in co-op for sale
    Frugal Book Promoter is top seller
    Bainstorming
    New forum for Twilight Times Books
    Along the Templar Trail by Brandon Wilson

    Resource Manual on Violence Against Women With Disabilities

       Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), the national peak organization for women with disabilities, has recently published a Resource Manual on Violence Against Women With Disabilities. This Manual is made up of four booklets:

    A Life Like Mine! -- Narratives from women with disabilities who experience violence (52 pages).
    Forgotten Sisters -- A global review of violence against women with disabilities (112 pages).
    It's Not Ok It's Violence -- Information about domestic violence and women with disabilities (76 pages).
    More Than Just A Ramp -- A guide for women's refuges to develop disability discrimination act action plans (92 pages).

       Audio, e-text & Large Print PDF versions of the Booklets are included on a CD-ROM that accompanies the Manual.

       The cost of the Manual is $22 (within Australia), which covers postage and handling costs. For all Overseas orders, please contact WWDA directly to obtain postage and handling costs.

    WWDA


    Climate Movement convergence

    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Saturday February 9, 2008

       Over the past few years, we have seen the emergence of a new social change movement, driven by an inspiring new wave of grassroots community activism. Around the country there are literally dozens of new groups, campaigning for effective action on climate change.

       As yet, this new movement has not been able to gather in the one place. The climate movement convergence seeks to create this space in a one day forum, aiming to bring together the remarkably diverse climate change community we have here in Victoria, including local climate action groups, peak green groups, thinkers and strategists, social activists and other sectors concerned about climate change, and progressive businesses.

       We aim to provide an inspiring day of workshops, open space for discussions, an overview of the latest climate science, ideas on building a strong and vibrant movement, and the opportunity to ponder what opportunities are now present with a change in federal government. To offer a workshop, please see the website.

       We would welcome your involvement.

    Details:
    Saturday February 9, 9am – 5pm
    Northcote High School, St Georges Road, Northcote, 3070 (just north of Merri creek). Take tram 112 towards West Preston, stop 26: full details at: http://tt.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/tt/TTB/20071216-092454/vic/03112Ettb.pdf
    Costs: low income $15/ waged people $25 (no one excluded through lack of funds)
    We are asking people to pre-register: details on: http://sustainabilityconvergence.org.au/.


    Chinese spectacular in Melbourne

       The Communist government has been systematically destroying Chinese culture. Elsewhere in the world such as in Australia, Chinese people are doing everything possible to keep the old arts and customs alive. As part of this, there will be a Chinese Spectacular show to celebrate Chinese New Year.

       I'd love to reproduce the flyer they sent me, but if I make it a reasonable file size, the writing will become too small. So, you'll just have to put up with my listing of the details:

    DIVINE PERFORMING ARTS Chinese Spectacular:
    Happy New Year... final countdown to 5000 years of culture.
    28-30 March, 2008
    The Arts Centre, State Theatre, Melbourne, Vic. Australia.
    Details at http://www.divineshows.com/ .
    Tickets available through Ticketmaster, 1300 136 166


    Wind Energy Yearbook

       The second edition of the WWEA yearbook Wind Energy International 2007/2008 is now available and can be ordered.

       This international yearbook for wind energy gives a comprehensive and updated overview of the current state of wind energy utilisation around the world.

       Highlights/Basic contents of Wind Energy International 2007/2008:

  • Country Reports with basic and up-to-date information on 66 countries providing a comprehensive overview of the status of wind power in the world regions, including information country by country on electricity sector, market situation, legal conditions, wind resources, and more.
  • Special Reports on the most important aspects of the international wind energy deployment: education and training, policies, economies and markets, integrating renewable energies, small scale wind and hybrid systems, grid connected systems and wind farms onshore and offshore, financing as well as research and development of technology
  • Contributors are leading wind energy experts from national wind energy associations, international organisations, industry, science, and governments.
  • 344 pages, numerous tables, pictures, graphics
  • Price: 90 EUR, rebates for WWEA members and bulk orders.

    the second edition of the WWEA yearbook Wind Energy International 2007/2008 is now available and can be ordered.

    Order from the WWEA bookshop.


    Share in co-op for sale

       Goolawah landsharing coop is located on 1640 acres (664 ha) of land approx 12 kilometers south of Crescent Head and 16 kms north of Port Macquarie, on the mid-north coast of NSW.

       Each shareholding is allocated 1.2 acres (.5 ha) of land for their home site.

       About 200 acres is cleared cattle farm which is the home sites for the 80 members, and the remanding 1400 acres is mainly SEPP 14 wetlands or natural bush.

       The site for sale is a gentle slope with good top soil over a clay base for the top third of the acre, then sandy loam for the bottom 2/3 of the site. Avocadoes grow well, with one five year old tree about ten feet tall, and others coming up.

       The site also has some citrus (valencia organge, lime and lemon trees), three fig and pecan and apple tree all two years old. An organic vegie garden has been established on the site for four years.

       Included in price are two caravans -- one 22' x 9' wide (a lounge is included) which serves as the lounge room and bedroom/washroom. Another van is well appointed as the dining room and kitchen.

       Building materials include approx. 30 bush poles which can be used to build a roof or in the main house. Also glass feature door (value $600) and other materials including some tin.

       A 1000 litre water tank, Honda/Onga firefighter water pump with ag fittings to pump from one of the nearby dams or the bore, and Yamaha/Rover mower. Price includes a share in the bore and dams.

       Total price $30,000 as is where is. Phone Marcus on 0408-697189 or email oneearthmedia-goolawah@yahoo.com.au


    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

       Kristie Leigh Maguire, publisher of Star Publish, announced that Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s how-to book for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t, is her firm's top seller for 2007.

       The Frugal Book Promoter is a USA Book News Best Book and a winner of Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award. It is the first in Howard-Johnson's How To Do It Frugally series of books for writers. The second is the newly released The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, also a USA Book News award winner.

       Howard-Johnson, an instructor at UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program, chose to have the book published in both e-book format and paperback in order to give both emerging authors and her struggling students affordable and convenient choices. Whichever format a reader chooses, The Frugal Book Promoter assures an author’s book the best possible start in life. Full of nitty-gritty how-tos for getting nearly free publicity, the author shares her professional experience as well as practical tips gleaned from the successes of her own book campaigns. A former publicist, she tells authors how to do what their publishers can’t or won’t and why authors can often do their own promotion better than a PR professional.

    Buy it here.


    Darrell Bain

    HI Folks--

       My monthly newsletter is now live at www.darrellbain.com.

    Subjects this month: HOLIDAYS, SAVAGE SURVIVAL REVIEW & PRICING, LOVE VS LUST (AGAIN), A REVOLTING DEVELOPMENT, MOVIES FROM BOOKS—BLEH!, BOOK REVIEWS, MALE/FEMALE SHOPPING DIVIDE STORY, NEW THEME FOR SCIENCE FICTION, KINDLE AND E-BOOKS, LAZINESS AND INVENTION, EXCERPT FROM CRAZY SHIPS.

       Comments welcome on the new name of the newsletter!!
    Darrell Bain
    Fictionwise 2005 Author of the Year. Double Eppie Award winner 2007. Dream Realm Award, 2007.


    New forum for Twilight Times Books

       Visit with Twilight Times Books authors in our new user-friendly forum at SFF.Net.

       SFF.Net is a large, bustling online community of authors, publishers, editors, and -- above all -- readers.

       To find out more about Twilight Times Books, check out an article in Publishers Weekly online. "Lida Quillen's Twilight Times Books: Bridging the gap between E and P" by David Rothman.

       Twilight Times Books will be open to submissions February 15th to March 5th.


    Brandon Wilson

       In this year of political grandstanding, it's refreshing to hear about someone who literally, "walks the talk." Author Brandon Wilson and his 68-year-old French friend recently completed a 2620-mile, eleven-country, two-continent peace walk to Jerusalem.

       Wilson's new book about the odyssey, Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace, interweaves adventure, history, wit and sharp social commentary into an inspiring tale.

       The distance, climate and terrain were difficult enough. But when war erupted in Israel, violence mounted in Damascus, and Hemorrhagic Fever raged in Turkey, everything became uncertain -- except for their steadfast and life threatening resolve. Fortunately, they frequently stumbled upon "angels" whose random acts of kindness bolstered their resolve.

       Wilson explained, "I'm convinced one person can still make a difference -- and the time is now. It's time for truth and tolerance, instead of blindly following a road of mutual destruction. I'm re-establishing this trail as a path of peace for people of all cultures, faiths and nationalities. Let's set aside our differences; let's walk as one."

       Arun Gandhi, president of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, calls the book, "A fascinating testimony of faith and gumption... A must read."

       Available at your favorite bookstore. For a preview: www.pilgrimstales.com.


    Environmental Humour

    Greenpeace International on the IAEA
    Worms get the poo

    Greenpeace International on the IAEA

       VIENNA, Austria. Editor's note: In preparing this article about the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), we read all the most reputable sources, the reports from all the best institutions, the statements from all the governments and agencies, but nowhere could we find a reasonable, rational, or plausible explanation of what was happening.

       Ever since Alice had slipped down the Rabbit Hole, the news had been getting curiouser and curiouser. She found herself at a very large table where the March Hare, a dormouse, a hippopotamus, and the Mad Hatter were having tea.

       The Hatter was saying how George W. TweedleDum had just got back from India, where he promised to give away shiny new nuclear technology. At the same time, TweedleDee had been getting very red-faced at the UN about some shiny new nuclear technology in Iran that he wanted taken away. He broke off his story to wave an empty teapot at Alice.

       "Would you like less tea, my dear?"

       "Don't you mean more tea?" asked Alice politely.

       "No no no no. We don't have any "more tea" we only have "less tea." And it's rude to ask for what we don't have. Now, would you like more Peaceful Nuclear Technology and Less Nuclear Weapons to go with that?"

       "Umm, yes please," said Alice, thinking this must be the correct answer and not wanting to upset the Hatter again.

       "There you go again, asking for what we can't possibly give you!" cried the Hatter, springing to his feet.

       "How about some safe, clean nuclear power instead?" offered the dormouse helpfully.

       "That sounds quite nice, I suppose," said Alice with some hesitation.

       "Wrong answer! No such thing!" the Hatter shouted with glee, politely adding "One lump or two?"

       Alice was quite put out. "Isn't it rude to offer something you don't have?" asked Alice. "And even ruder to offer something that doesn't exist? What kind of a tea party is this?"

       "Why this is an IAEA Board of Governors meeting, my dear, and we're having an NP Tea Party!" said the March Hare.

       "An NP Tea Party? What's that?"

       "It's all very simple," said the Hatter as he handed out slices of cake and then went around smacking everyone's hand when they started eating it, "the NPT is a treaty in which the parties that have nuclear weapons agree to get rid of their nuclear weapons in exchange for the parties that don't have nuclear weapons promising not to get them. As part of the incentive for not getting nuclear weapons they're rewarded with the means to make nuclear weapons. Slice of Cake?"

       Alice eyed the yellow cake suspiciously. She heard a distant voice shouting "Off with their heads!"

       "At the moment we're discussing Iran, which has signed the treaty and promised not to build nuclear weapons and so has been rewarded with the means to make nuclear weapons. But there are some people at this party who think that they're actually using those means to make nuclear weapons."

       "Which they've said they don't want..." said Alice.

       "Oh yes, but as you of all people should know, my dear, saying what we mean isn't always the same as meaning what we say. Saying that they aren't making nuclear weapons is just what you'd expect them to do if they were making nuclear weapons. Proof enough."

       The Hatter took a slice of cake and pushed it into the face of the Hippo, who already had his mouth full. "You shouldn't eat so much cake," he sputtered.

       George W. TweedleDum appeared. "Personically, I'd like to see less nuclear weapons in the world. Which is why I'm building more."

       "THAT's the spirit!" cried the Hatter.

       "But I don't understand!" cried Alice. "If you can use nuclear power technology to make nuclear weapons, and you want to get rid of the nuclear weapons, shouldn't you stop handing out the nuclear power technology?"

       George W. TweedleDum patted Alice on the head. "You are an absurd little creature, aren't you? Hatter, why don't you explanify the Treaty thing?"

       "The TREATY thing, yes yes, mustn't forget that!" cried the Hatter as he absent-mindedly dipped the dormouse in his tea.

       "Now you see, on the one hand Iran has signed the Non-treaty on Weapons Proliferation, and the Treaty on the Proliferation of Non-weapons Nuclear, and the Proliferation of Treaties on the Proliferation of Weapons, Non..."

       "Which are all the same thing," said the dormouse, yawning.

       "So if THEY try to get nuclear weapons, that's quite illegal and we must send them to the Queen of Hearts' Security Council for punishment."

       "India, on the other hand," said the Hatter holding up a second hand and dropping the teapot on the dormouse's head, "has never signed the treaty, so their nuclear weapons are perfectly OK and they should be rewarded with more nuclear technology."

       "Pakistan, on the third hand," and oddly the Hatter actually produce a third hand, " has never signed the treaty, but we're not so sure about them, so we're NOT going to reward them with more nuclear technology."

       George W. TweedleDum smiled broadly. "The lessonification here is never, never sign a treaty. That's my motto. Lot of bother. I promise to keep my nuclear weapons and everybody else has to get rid of theirs unless I say they can keep them. That's my kind of Treaty. I believe in maintaining high standards. I believe in maintaining high standards."

       "You said that twice." said the Hatter.

       "He has to say it twice," said the dormouse. "It's a double standard."

       The Hatter now declared it was time for a vote. "Now, who thinks we should send Iran to the Queen of Hearts? ("Off with their heads! came the cry from the garden next door again...) Everyone looked at the Hippo. The hippo started to raise his foot, and everyone in the party started to raise their hands. Or paws. Then the hippo put his foot down, and everyone in the party did the same. Then George W. TweedleDum took a large hatpin and quietly stuck it into the rather large backside of the Hippo, who jumped into the air with his foot raised, and everyone in the party followed suit.

       "There then, it's settled, off to the Queen of Hearts with them!" sang the Hatter.

       "Is that what you call democracy?" asked Alice curiously.

       "Well it looks like democracy, but in reality the Hippo decides, and the Hippo just does what TweedleDum tells him to do" said the Hatter.

       "Oh. I see," said Alice. "I suppose then it's not really a democracy at all, is it?"

       "Well it's just a very different kind of democracy, my dear. Some people call it a Hippocracy. Cake?"


    Worms get the poo

       A New Zealand inventor has been forced to defend the use of worms in a composting toilet he has developed after officials became concerned that the creatures might become traumatised by the procedure.

       Coll Bell was told to get an expert's report on the mental impact on the tiger worms being used after an official became concerned during a site visit.

       He says the official felt that the worms were being unfairly treated, being expected to deal with human faeces, and that it could affect them in a psychological way.

       Mr Bell was told he had to get someone with the necessary qualifications to say the worms were happy.

       A vermiculture consultant was called in and she has found the worms are in excellent health and breeding happily.

    AFP


    Save our planet

    by Elizabeth Tindle

    I have the pleasure of knowing Elizabeth, because we are both on the National Executive of our professional organisation. She is a marvellous lady, who is still playing basketball in her 70s, is a passionately competent psychologist, a talented artist, and a person who is always innovating, always giving, always fighting for what's right.


    Reviews

    When Kids Know Why They Try! by Dr Dan Doyle
    Natural Homebuilder, Volume Two edited by Alan Gray
    Tilting at Treadmills a DVD by John Benton
    Your designer diet by Todd Hoff

    When Kids Know Why They Try!
    by Dr Dan Doyle

    $14.95 at Amazon

       I edited this book for Dan. I am both a psychologist and a professional editor, and so was in a unique position to assess it.

       The methods and approaches Dan describes are based on strong scientific evidence. Many of his recommendations are what I do in my work, and know them to be effective.

       The book is clear, interesting and easy to read.

       It could be a manual for turning your life around.


    Natural Homebuilder, Volume Two
    edited by Alan Gray

    Earth Garden Publication
    ISBN 978-0-9678947-3-0
    $19.95

       The powers-that-be are doing their best to make owner-building harder and harder. A friend of mine started building a year ago, with no more difficulty than I had to face 25 years ago. His mate started this year -- and was required to do a course and get a certificate before being allowed to have the proud qualification of being an Owner Builder.

       Not that he needs it -- the lobby group of builders needs it to protect their business.

       Therefore, it is both a relief and a delight to me that I can report, owner building is healthy and doing well. The proof is this inspiring book from Earth Garden magazine. It contains 19 stories about recent building projects. One is the extensive renovation of a previously energy-hungry house in an inner suburb; one is the new strawbale office of Earth Garden. The others are new homes from all around Australia.

       All these projects share a strong environmental awareness: every attempt to keep energy costs (as well as costs in money) down, and a design for minimising energy use. They are all unique in various ways. Some are very simple designs, but beautifully fitting their users' requirements. Beauty does not have to mean a complicated shape.

       Materials and construction techniques range from conventional to about as alternative as you can get. You are likely to learn something from all of them.

       If you are looking for inspiration, for the feeling that yes, you can do it too, then you need to read this book. Even if you have completed your own house, you can have it around to convince visitors that you are not crazy, or at least that there are other people who share your craziness.

       And the photos are magnificent.


    Tilting at Treadmills
    a DVD by John Benton

    http://EcoRenDesign.sakienvirotech.com/
    Telephone +61-03-9752 1089
    Fax +61-03-9752 0585
    105 Priors Rd The Patch Victoria Australia 3792 ecorendesign@sakienvirotech.com

       Have you seen Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth? If so, you will be inspired to make personal changes that will contribute to reducing the effects of climate change.

       Another movie, by Australian John Benton, will show you how.

       I have been working toward a sustainable future for 35 years, living a pretty good approximation of it for 25. I have kept up with my reading on the relevant issues. All the same, I learned a few things from watching Tilting at Treadmills. While the 55 minutes of the film is inspiring and pleasant watching, it also amounts to a primer on alternative energy. Watch this movie, and you will be able to change your life in ways that will:

  • Save you money in the long run, even if some of the up-front investments are more than conventional alternatives.
  • Maintain and even improve your quality of life. For example, as one woman said, her filtered waste water tastes lovely. Compared to that, city tap water is like drinking from a swimming pool.
  • Give you the knowledge that, unlike most humans, you are acting intelligently. You are not just a victim hoping that THEY will do something about climate change.

       Tilting at Treadmills was the 25th recipient of the LiFE Award: Literature For Environment.


    Your designer diet
    by Todd Hoff

    Currently $17.95 at Amazon.

       I had the pleasure of editing this book for Todd, and was very impressed with his way of going about weight loss and maintenance. It is all scientifically supported common sense. I am also a psychologist, and have recommended the book to quite a few of my clients who cope with depression through comfort eating.

       Obesity and overweight are major epidemics. Anyone with a weight problem must read Todd's book. What's more, this will be no hardship. His writing style is very easy, almost chatty, and he has the gift of explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

       Many of his recommendations were quite new to me, and they just have to work, they are so obvious once he points them out. For example, he reminded me of something I learned as an undergraduate: the taste buds rapidly adapt. The first mouthful of a particular food will have a strong taste, but after several mouthfuls, the taste is just about gone. So, Todd says, why not spend time and attention on just one mouthful of a delicious dessert? After that, there is no need to shovel into more, since you've got all the enjoyment available.


    Free contests, good prizes

       Until the 14th of February, Bookswelove is running a Valentine's Day contest. And starting on the 15th of February, it is a St Patrick's Day contest.

       There are excellent prizes, some of them being my books. Lots of authors belong to Bookswelove, and we regularly supply prizes for the contests.

       It costs nothing but time to enter.


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