Bobbing Around

Volume Nine, Number One
July, 2009

Bob Rich's (purple) rave

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

 

*About Bobbing Around
  subscribe/unsubscribe
  guidelines for contributions
*Politics
  Don't let greed destroy the Australian book trade
  Taboos get in the way of survival, by Peter Cock
  Stimulus packages and carbon trading -- two ways of wrecking our world
*Environment
  Bamboo
  Nano-solar panels
  Climate radio offers solutions to the climate emergency
*Deeper issues
  Brain energy
  Creativity and madness??
*Psychology
  How to have a good relationship
  A Gestalt exercise
  Murder urges again
  Refuse to own the problem, by Carolyn Harris
*For writers
  Judges and young writers sought for New Voices contest
  Shortening, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
*Health
  Environmental medicine group warns against genetically modified food
  Living in a radiation soup?
  Seroquel for anxiety or depression
  Ever heard of e-cigarettes?
*Ergonomics
  Sabotaging the toothbrush industry
*What my friends want you to know
  The big melt: FOE climate justice tour
  2nd August is Koori Day
  'Footprints,' a must-read ecological e-zine
  Freebies from Michael Larocca
  Find Carolyn at the Green New Media Expo
  July Bainstorming
  Cort Curtis launches therapy newsletter
*Computers
  Alfredo on spyware
*Reviews
  Authentic Happiness, by Martin Seligman
  The Travels of First Horse, reviewed by ChrisChat


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.

 

 Lately, my friend Alfredo and I have been cooperating in generating cartoons like this one. I come up with an idea, he draws it. The first was for the newsletter I edit for the College of Counselling Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society. Then I volunteered to do a newsletter for the APS's Environmental Interest Group, and we came up with a funny in that too. So, I thought, why should Bobbing Around miss out?
:)
Bob

 


From Walter Divissi, an old friend

Dear Bob,

   Thank you for your Healing Scripts CD.

   It arrived around the 20th of May or so and I've been listening to it on and off since then.

   I've been meaning to get back to you. In any case, the need to express my appreciation was heightened today when I was at the dentist having root canal surgery.

   I was lying down in the dentist's chair with my eyes shut and as I felt the tension building up in my shoulders and neck I suddenly heard your voice guiding me through your relaxation and pain control scripts. I was amazed by the clarity of the sound and the imagery. It really was as though I had my ear phones in my ears. My muscles relaxed and I was able to observe (rather than become alarmed by) a thin path of pain that traced a line over my right cheek bone and around the right side of my eye until it faded to a finish somewhere over my forehead. To top it all off, you spontaneously appeared in the room beside the dentist, again with amazing clarity. I suspect it was the Bob Rich I knew from 1981 wearing a home spun jumper. You spoke steadily as you held your hands in front of you with the finger tips of your left and right hands meeting gently. It was good to see you again!

   I hope you and Jolanda are both well. Please pass on my regards to Jolanda.

Bye for now,
Walter


Heaven lies within us and is available to us all. It is not a geographical destination that we enter at some future time. Hell is that state in which we feel separate from everyone and everything -- abandoned, lost, forgotten by life or love. It is a moment-by-moment choice whether we live in heaven or hell. Our life's purpose is to awaken to heaven because it's here now.

Petrea King


   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.


Politics

Don't let greed destroy the Australian book trade
Taboos get in the way of survival by Peter Cock
Stimulus packages and carbon trading -- two ways of wrecking our world

Don't let greed destroy the Australian book trade

   Woolworths and Coles are Australia's biggest retailers of just about anything. Both are known for their predatory, unethical behaviour. I could tell you some stories...

   They and 4 other big businesses have formed something they call The Coalition for Cheaper Books. Only one of these businesses is related to selling books. This Coalition has made a submission to Australia's Productivity Commission, requesting that a scheme termed Parallel Importation Restrictions be ended. In the USA and Britain, as well as in Australia, there is a prohibition on importing foreign-produced copies of a locally released book. If, say, a new Harry Potter is released in the USA, you can't import copies from Britain. This is a very reasonable protection of local authors, publishers, and even retailers.

   PIR has been ended in New Zealand. Book prices have not come down.

   There are several problems with abolishing PIRs. The most obvious is that, if Australian publishers can’t have exclusive rights to publish a book, they are unlikely to publish it. It would not be financially viable to put resources into producing an Australian edition of a book, only to find that booksellers instead source their stock from overseas.

   So, Australian publishers will lose income. When an Australian edition of a book is purchased, the Australian publisher makes money they can spend on publishing Australian books. The money generated from big sales of the Harry Potter books, for example, can be put toward the cost of producing books by lesser known Australian authors, and on Australian topics. Without the income generated from selling these overseas books, publishers will be forced to cut back on their Australian publishing programs.

   There are lots of other reasons for maintaining PIR, as expressed in a press release by the Australian Society of Authors:

   The ASA is asking people to write to members of parliament to voice their concerns. Many SAWC members have written to both local and federal ministers and senators. To find a list of senators and members of parliament, visit http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/index.htm.

   A one-page PDF on the issue can be downloaded from http://www.asauthors.org/lib/pdf/zSubmissions/2009/Press_Release_PI_Report_Jul09.pdf.

Thanks to Sally Murphy for drawing this issue to my attention.


Taboos get in the way of survival
by Dr Peter Cock

   We must challenge the notions that economic growth must continue at all cost, and that population can be allowed to grow. These taboos need to be broken to enable human survival.

   The small greenhouse gas reductions proposed by governments are clearly insufficient in reducing our ecological footprint and will not provide the needed leadership by the overdeveloped world. It merely illustrates how far behind we are.

   The longer we wait, the more radical the steps required. We have an ecological emergency, which involves making painful paradigm shifts. If we don’t act radically, the extent and impact of natural disasters such as fire, drought and floods will be even more painful as our choices will be radically limited. The threatened collapse of the old economic order has provoked a call to spend more to prop up old institutions and in particular the mantra of economic growth. This is fundamentally in conflict with creating a sustainable society. All that money could have been used to transform the technological base of society; to invest in activity needed to assist us to adapt to change, rather than consumption for consumption’s sake.

   Investing all hope in strategies to reduce our per capita ecological demands by only investing in green technology is also naïve. A technological fix is simply insufficient to solve the problem. We need to use less per person, and to relearn how to live in local communities. We are going to need a wide range of social, technical and economic policy changes that enable us to demand much less of the earth. This is necessary in part to compensate for the increasing affluence in the developing world. Reasonably, they demand to consume as we do. This is partly because of our own export marketing.

   These changes, as radical as they need to be, still won’t be enough, without also confronting the challenge of the optimum population for Australia and for the Earth. As confronting as it is, there are too many humans consuming too much. Population stabilisation is a key step toward sustainability and yet Australia’s population is the fastest growing in the overdeveloped world. The big end of town supports high immigration to feed their labour supply, and drive economic growth. Our population growth is concentrated in our large cities, which is intensifying city life, and threatens its liveability. What benefit to the existing population is there from growing Melbourne into five million people?

   The migrants we encourage to come here are the skilled and therefore those most needed in their own countries. When they come here their eco footprint is increased, particularly if they come from the least developed countries. Instead, we could provide aid to help them stay and contribute in their own countries.

   All political parties have failed to develop a sustainable population policy. Population stabilisation is a taboo subject, hidden by fear of racism. How can we say no to others in need, or to those who desire to come here to improve their lives, especially when we live so well materially? How do we say no with compassion and justice? Because it is so hard we don’t, until we are desperate. How do people in an overcrowded lifeboat decide who is to slip overboard or be eaten in order to save the rest?

   It is because of compassion for suffering people, and guilt over our consumption that the ‘progressive’ side of politics has been largely silent when it comes to the question of what constitutes a sustainable population for Australia and for the Earth. Many are aware that we are already over the limit and yet remain silent. By being silent we are in effect encouraging the human species to swamp other species’ populations and to denude us of the delights of living as part of bio-diverse ecosystems. Our compassion begins naturally for humans, for they are our own kind, but this needs to extend to our other species’ relatives in order to take care of our ecology and hence ourselves. Earth care needs to be at the top of our ethical hierarchy. And even for humans, overpopulation leads to hardship, starvation and war.

   Unless the Left and the Greens challenge our population growth now, the voices of the Right will rise again as times become more desperate. Emergencies breed dictatorship. Such actions are as much about sustaining our democracy and civil liberties as they are to quieten the earth’s rumblings of discontent at our greed.

   Given the growing demands to come here, whom should we give priority to? I would argue giving priority to political refugees; equal to the number of Australians who leave each year (about 30,000). They have the need, the motivation and the courage to make it in this country.

   We need more investment in our existing population to reduce our consumption and increase our skills, knowledge and participation in citizenship. We need to empower our citizens to know what changes are needed and their partnership in making them happen. For example, citizens could have a more direct say over big issues, such as a direct on-line vote on what percentage reductions in greenhouse emissions are needed.

   Only when we tackle both our per capita consumption and the size of the human population will we have a chance to make a stabilizing contribution to our climate.

Dr Peter H Cock

Peter and I have been comrades-in-arms since 1975. He and his wife Sandra are the only remaining original members of the Moora Moora community where I live. I am glad to say, we have both maintained our idealism. It doesn't please us that our predictions have come true, but we keep fighting for a better future.


Stimulus packages and carbon trading -- two ways of wrecking our world

   Carbon trading is a licence for big business to continue the generation of greenhouses gases. They merely need to pay for it, and then can put up prices. So, we pay more for stuff, and they can keep doing what they've always done.

   The only way to reduce the generation of greenhouse gases is to make less stuff. We need to live simply, so that we may simply live (it's no longer so that OTHERS may simply live). So what do the governments of the overconsuming countries do? They hand out stimulus packages: monopoly money that has value only as long as everyone pretends that it does. We are encouraged to spend this rather than saving it. The intention is to have us buy more stuff.

   Edward Goldsmith once had an analogy to describe this kind of thinking: it's keeping the chickens warm by burning down the coop.

   The only way to fight climate change is to get society off its addiction to consumption. What we have consumed, and continue to consume, is our future. Only, it is no longer the distant future, but ALMOST NOW. In fact, for some parts of the word, for some people everywhere, it's in the present and even the recent past.

   When your city is hit by floods or fires or hurricanes or tornadoes or landslides of unprecedented savagery, when ocean currents are disrupted and so areas like Western Europe freeze, then it will be too late.

   Take action now. Sabotage the Economy. Use less stuff. Travel less. Find a way to work from home. Live simply, so you may simply live.


Environment

Bamboo
Nano-solar panels
Climate radio offers solutions to the climate emergency

Bamboo

   It grows so vigorously that it can be a serious weed. You will find it in all sorts of climates, and is especially prevalent in the poorest parts of the world.

   In Hong Kong, bamboo has been used as reinforcement for concrete for well over 30 years. I have heard of no building failures due to it rotting away (I am open to correction, but believe that the alkalinity of the concrete protects the bamboo). Its strength may not be that of steel rods, but obviously it’s sufficient, even on Hong Kong’s steep slopes and tendency to land slips. Think of all the energy that could be saved if this became a universal practice. Bamboo grows back, its removal doesn’t leave huge holes in the ground, and it generates minimal amounts of greenhouse gases in comparison to the smelting of iron. It is far lighter to transport, to move around on-site, and even cutting it is far less work.

   My wife Jolanda and I have towels made from bamboo fibre, manufactured by people working in decent conditions and getting reasonable pay. These towels are soft, almost silky to the touch, readily absorb a lot of water and have gone though many washes without any signs of wear. Given the height bamboo can grow to, I imagine that it will produce far more fibre per area than cotton or flax (what linen is made from), and this is without need for pesticides or fertilisers.

   A friend of ours has bamboo flooring. It looks like cork tiles, is hard-wearing and attractive. Cork is now in very short supply, because the trees that grow it can’t keep up with the demand. So, bamboo flooring is cheaper.

   There are bamboo bridges, dams, boats, even aeroplanes.

   Californian bike designer Craig Calfee is known for carbon fibre racing bikes that cost thousands of dollars. However, he has developed a bamboo bike, and has started up a cottage industry in Africa for making them.

   So, why are we still chipping up old-growth forests for paper? Why not use bamboo (and other quick-growing sources of fibre that are actually waste products like sugarcane and straw)?


Nano-solar panels

   A company is producing thin film solar collectors that can generate electricity at about one-third of the cost of the next best device. The process is intriguing: they use self-aligning nanoparticles to create the semiconducting material for their cells. This means they lay the material down on a backing substrate and the circuits effectively organise themselves. The backing is a semi-conducting foil that acts as an electrode. It is flexible and lightweight. This is an advantage because they are able to avoid costly and time consuming industrial processes when manufacturing the cells. All the required parts for the cells are contained in the dye used to print the cells. Once the dye is laid on the foil backing, the particles arrange themselves and the cells are ready to be mounted and used.

   There is only one problem. Instead of making almost instant billions by selling licenses to the process, they are making millions by keeping it a secret. They are working flat out, but can't keep up with the demand. It'll be a long time before you'll be able to buy nano solar.


Climate radio offers solutions to the climate emergency

   Fed up with waiting for global climate negotiations, a growing Movement of Climate Change Affected Peoples is tackling the problem head on with permacultural and low-tech solutions.

   We get a majority world perspective on the climate emergency from Goldman Prize winner Ricardo Navarro. Navarro won the Goldman prize for sustainable development back in 1995 for his work as founder and director of the El Salvador Centre for Appropriate Technology and he is a former director of Friends of the Earth International. Here he talks about how a new regional Movement of Climate Change Affected Peoples is responding to the pressures of climate change with awareness raising, permaculture techniques and low-level technologies as well as putting up resistance to inappropriate development. He also gives us his wider perspective on the United Nations climate talks which he has been attending since 1992.

   For more information, visit the climate radio website. http://coinet.org.uk/discussion/climate_radio


Deeper Issues

Brain energy
Creativity and madness??

Brain energy

   When I played competitive chess, I used to stand up from the board at the end of a game with my knees shaking from exhaustion. I’d burned up a tremendous amount of energy, just sitting there and looking at bits of wood on a board.

   Thinking burns up energy.

   So does the normal use of the brain. Whatever you are doing, even vegging out in front of the idiot box, uses more brain energy than you’d expect.

   MRi studies have attempted to track where this energy goes, but the “hot spots” they find in response to various tasks are a miniscule portion of the total energy. In a recently published study By Robert Shulman and associates at Yale University, researchers reported a search for the rest.

   Their conclusion: simply maintaining consciousness is what the overwhelming bulk of brain energy is used for. Shulman said, "You can think of consciousness not as a property of the brain, but of the person."

   No longer being a scientist, I have the luxury of speculating wildly beyond the available evidence. Every living being has an energy field around it. Where does the energy of the aura come from?


Creativity and madness??

   A study in the September issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says the brains of creative people appear to be more open to incoming stimuli from the surrounding environment. Other people's brains might shut out this same information through a process called "latent inhibition," defined as an animal's unconscious capacity to ignore stimuli that experience has shown are irrelevant to its needs. Through psychological testing, the researchers showed that creative individuals are much more likely to have low levels of latent inhibition.

   "This means that creative individuals remain in contact with the extra information constantly streaming in from the environment," says co-author and U of T psychology professor Jordan Peterson. "The normal person classifies an object, and then forgets about it, even though that object is much more complex and interesting than he or she thinks. The creative person, by contrast, is always open to new possibilities."

   Previously, scientists have associated failure to screen out stimuli with psychosis. However, Peterson and his co-researchers -- lead author and psychology lecturer Shelley Carson of Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard PhD candidate Daniel Higgins -- hypothesized that it might also contribute to original thinking, especially when combined with high IQ. They administered tests of latent inhibition to Harvard undergraduates. Those classified as eminent creative achievers -- participants under age 21 who reported unusually high scores in a single area of creative achievement -- were seven times more likely to have low latent inhibition scores.

   The authors hypothesize that latent inhibition may be positive when combined with high intelligence and good working memory - the capacity to think about many things at once - but negative otherwise. Peterson states: "If you are open to new information, new ideas, you better be able to intelligently and carefully edit and choose. If you have 50 ideas, only two or three are likely to be good. You have to be able to discriminate or you'll get swamped."

   "Scientists have wondered for a long time why madness and creativity seem linked," says Carson. "It appears likely that low levels of latent inhibition and exceptional flexibility in thought might predispose to mental illness under some conditions and to creative accomplishment under others."

   For example, during the early stages of diseases such as schizophrenia, which are often accompanied by feelings of deep insight, mystical knowledge and religious experience, chemical changes take place in which latent inhibition disappears.

   "We are very excited by the results of these studies," says Peterson. "It appears that we have not only identified one of the biological bases of creativity but have moved towards cracking an age-old mystery: the relationship between genius, madness and the doors of perception."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031001061055.htm


Psychology

How to have a good relationship
A Gestalt exercise
Murder urges again
Refuse to own the problem by Carolyn Harris

How to have a good relationship

   In the past year, I have worked with a great many warring couples; with people who used to be in a warring couple but were now both lonely and scared to try again; and also with children traumatised by the conflicts of their parents.

   Time and again, I found myself saying much the same things to people who want to have a loving family, but don't know how to do it. So, finally I have written it up as a 2-page summary. I have put it up on my web site so it's easier to find than in the archives of bobbing around.

   Do have a look.


A Gestalt exercise

   One exercise from Gestalt psychology is to look around wherever you happen to be, until some object catches your eye. Then, you BECOME that object, and need to talk as if you were it.

   Years ago, when I learnt about this idea, I tried it out. My eyes lit on a photo cube: you know, a plastic object into which you can insert photographs on all eight sides. As you turn the cube, you can see the different pictures.

   As the photo cube, I said to myself, “I am very useful to others, but never do anything for myself. I present a brave, attractive front but I am empty inside.”

   This brought me to tears, and was a part of my healing.

   Today, I was washing the dishes. I have a little frying pan we bought soon after our marriage 42 years ago. As I was scrubbing it, without meaning to I drifted into the Gestalt identification exercise. I said, “I am battered and burnt by life, but still strong, still useful. I have joy by putting myself on the fire for others, time and again.”


Murder urges again

Hello,

   I hope you don't mind me sending you this email. I don't know where else to turn. I have just read your reply to 'Somebody' in response to his post 'Why do I want to commit murder' My name is Mick. I'm 26, I live in the UK and very similar thoughts to 'Somebody' about murder.

   I think about killing someone random most days just because I'm curious as to how it might make me feel. I walk along the street wondering if everyone around me is thinking the same, maybe doing a better job burying their thoughts than me.

   Anyway, I don't want to bore you with more details if you're too busy or not able to help.

   I hope you do have the time to reply and thank you for taking the time to read this.

Mick

Dear Mick,

   No, most people do not suffer from this particular thought. It is something relatively unusual, and a cause for concern.

   Some people have been known to give in to such an obsession. They have one of two reactions.

   One is terrible guilt and remorse. Often, after a time, they cannot live with it and eventually, after much self-torture, they commit suicide.

   Others have an even worse reaction. These are the ones who have spent their lives feeling powerless, unimportant, even invisible, who feel disrespected and treated with contempt. They kill someone, and become addicted to the temporary feeling of power. Assuming they are not caught, they find that after awhile the feeling goes, and life goes on with the same treatment they see as getting from others (and this feeling may be accurate in some cases). So, to get back the illusion of power, they kill again. They are the ones who become serial killers.

   I would like to ask you this: is there any person whom you care for? It could be a friend, brother or sister, parent, even a dog or cat. How would you feel if someone casually killed this person, for no good reason at all, just to satisfy a whim?

   Would you say to yourself, "Oh, I did love X, but this fellow wanted to kill him and that's all right?" Or would you be angry and sad and distraught? Would it cause you to have a hole in your life and a pain in your heart?

   Do YOU have the right to do this to anyone else?

   Mick, you have this obsession only because you believe your thoughts. You had the thought once, and then you paid it attention. You treated it like it was something real. And the more you focused on it, the more powerful it became.

   Instead, look on it as an invitation from a monster. If you succumb to it, the monster has won, and has managed to wreck several lives, including yours. So, just say "No thank you," and instead do some act of kindness to somebody.

Hope this helps,
Bob


Refuse to own the problem
by Carolyn Harris

Carolyn has been a major support for breast cancer sufferers for years. Recently, she has expanded her interest to all forms of cancer, and then included depression as well, since the two monsters are mutually supportive of each other in making your life a misery. Look her up at http://www.darkiescancercorner.com/

   Just been reading through Bobbing Around and find so many people are suffering depression. One of the things I have made sure of in the Cancer thread is that no one 'owns' the problems that beset them.

   I have made it clear that cancer, depression and whatever else comes along in the Corner are things that attach themselves to us and we can detach them when we learn how. Yes, of course people can go very deeply into depression and people can die of cancer along with a lot of other horrible things, but if they never say 'my' then we can rest assured that once they have died it doesn't go along with them into the next life as part of the package so to speak.

   Once someone has said 'my' cancer or 'my' depression or 'my' bi polar, 'my' suffering they are claiming they have actually adopted it, bought it if you like, as their own special baggage and not something that does not 'belong' to them.

   In my small experience I have found people move more easily away from what ails them if they realise that it is alien to their own selves - that they do not have to own it.

   We come into this world as small human beings and along the way we go through many challenges that force us to develop - even when we don't like those challenges - but they are all part of the huge learning experience we need if we are to develop spiritually, and it is very important never to lose sight of the bigger picture. What we can claim as our own is the knowledge we gain from all these things.

   In my own life I have experienced many very hard times but the one thing I know is this: If we accept that we live many lives, that we do, indeed, reincarnate, then many of the experiences we have in this life begin to make sense. We are not here to just flow along like a leaf on a placid stream, we are here to develop and grow and we can't do that if all life is easy. We must experience everything so we can understand all of life and this can't be done in a mere 70 odd years.

   Every person is born with the right to learn and from the moment we face our own parents and realise that they too are learning, and in the process are already setting up challenges for us to over come, to the moment of death - that wonderful fall back when all else fails, we have to grow - it is what we are here for.

   People all around the planet are suffering and each of them is in a cycle of development that they must experience if they are to understand what suffering is. That is not to say they have to continue suffering, because there are others out there who will meet the challenge of trying to alleviate the suffering - note I say 'the' suffering, not 'their' suffering.

   We only ever really understand life if we accept it as a school for our souls and every single thing that happens to us happens so we will understand that particular lesson. One day we will have to help others - maybe in other lives - and we can't do that if we have not travelled that road ourselves. The lessons we learn stay with us for eternity and are never forgotten, the more we know the more we can reach out and help others up, but first we have to do these things ourselves.

   Oh and "Never believe all you think" is a Maxine saying that is close to my heart. Thought about it when I was reading about the desire to murder or hurt.

   Just my personal opinions Bob, but needed to say them :)

love Caro xxx


For Writers

Judges and young writers sought for New Voices contest
Shortening by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

New Voices writing contest for kids

   Call all authors and readers, alike! The 2010 New Voices Writing Competition opens August 1st, for high school and middle school students, and we have judging slots available. Sponsored by Epic, New Voices provides young people an opportunity to express and discover themselves through writing in different genres.

   Judges will be contacted this fall for the judging schedule. Entries are accepted through November 20th, 2009.

   The competition winners receive fabulous prizes and an opportunity to be recognized at the annual EPICon Conference which will take place March 2010 in New Orleans. Don't miss out on an inspiring, charitable opportunity to touch the lives of today's youth.

   For more information or direction to a judge's application sheet, contact either Co-Chair, New Voices 2010: Danielle Thorne or Marci Baun.

Or visit the 2009 web page: http://www.epicauthors.com/newvoices.html


Shortening
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

"Shortening" is butter or other fat used for making pastry or bread. Carolyn has an analogous use for it in your writing...

   I thought I'd share with you some wordy phrases that can always be shortened, though--on rare occasions--you may not want to do that. An example of such an occasion might be in the dialogue of a character who is prone to wordiness. Very occasionally the wordy phrase might reveal your intent more clearly than the shortened one. It's yours to decide, but when you see these phrases in your writing they're clear warnings to take heed:

   These little gems may litter our speech unnoticed but may very well annoy an agent or editor if you use them in a query letter. These people have been around the publishing yard for a while and will often use wordiness as a determiner: Should they chuck the manuscript or give it a read?

   Mmmmm. "May very well..." in that last paragraph of mine. How about just "may." It's nice to write like we talk. It can even help us reflect our personalities in our work. But that "very well" couldn't add that much to this piece--especially at the risk of ticking off a reader.

   I bet you can find others in this post if you look. I'm thinking of collecting often-used wordy phrases. Maybe for a booklet. If you think of any of your own, please let me know. If I include your suggestion, I'll credit you and include the name of your title and a link to your Web site. Find me at HoJoNews @ AOL. com.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson needs no introduction to readers of Bobbing Around -- or to a great many other people. Look her up at http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com/


Health

Environmental medicine group warns against genetically modified food
Living in a radiation soup?
Seroquel for anxiety or depression
Ever heard of e-cigarettes?

Environmental medicine group warns against genetically modified food

   On May 19, 2009 the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) released a landmark position paper signed by physicians across the U.S. calling for a moratorium on GE foods:

   "Avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible... Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food... There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation...The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies." Learn more.

   Contact Information: Dr. Amy L. Dean, D.O. Public Relations Chair Member, Board of Directors American Academy of Environmental Medicine environmentalmed@yahoo.com

   Wichita, KS - The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) today released its position paper on Genetically Modified foods stating that "GM foods pose a serious health risk" and calling for a moratorium on GM foods. Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes, "GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health."

   The AAEM calls for:

   "Multiple animal studies have shown that GM foods cause damage to various organ systems in the body. With this mounting evidence, it is imperative to have a moratorium on GM foods for the safety of our patients' and the public's health," said Dr. Amy Dean, PR chair and Board Member of AAEM. "Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions," said Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, President of AAEM. "The most common foods in North America which are consumed that are GMO are corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed oil." The AAEM's position paper on Genetically Modified foods can be found at http:aaemonline.org/gmopost.html. AAEM is an international association of physicians and other professionals dedicated to addressing the clinical aspects of environmental health. More information is available at www.aaemonline.org.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine was founded in 1965, and is an international association of physicians and other professionals interested in the clinical aspects of humans and their environment. The Academy is interested in expanding the knowledge of interactions between human individuals and their environment, as these may be demonstrated to be reflected in their total health. The AAEM provides research and education in the recognition, treatment and prevention of illnesses induced by exposures to biological and chemical agents encountered in air, food and water.


Living in a radiation soup?

   Scientists at Nokia Research Labs at MIT are developing a mobile phone that never needs to be charged. No more plugging in to keep it going.

   Where is the energy coming from? We live in a soup of ambient energy emitted by WiFi, TV antennas, broadcast stations and heaven knows what else. This is the source of power for topping up the battery of your phone of the future.

   My question is, what does this radiation to do the health of living beings, including humans? With all the swine flu hype, lately there has been little media attention paid to cancer. And yet, in 2005 when I researched the statistics for my book Cancer: A personal challenge, the expectation was that more than 1 in 3 people will get cancer in their lifetimes, and 1 in 5 can expect to die from a cancer. At that time it was clear that these rates are rising.

   There are three major reasons for this, and exposure to all the ambient radiation is one of them.

   Oh well, we all have to die of something...


Seroquel for anxiety or depression
Based on a press release by Judy Hittman and Diana Zuckerman

Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D. is President of the National Research Center for Women and Families. She testified against the approval of Seroquel for use in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

   Seroquel is a dnagerous drug, used to treat psychosis that involves hallucinations and delusions. Some of its side-effects can be drowsiness to the point where the person cannot stay awake; serious weight gain; diabetes; and tardive dyskinesia (a condition that causes uncontrolled movements, such as grimacing, tongue protrusion, and lip smacking). There is a lack of effective treatments for these symptoms and stopping the drug after the problems have started usually doesn't work. Seroquel can even kill you.

   Since all other antipsychotic medications have dangerous side effects, this is considered acceptable when used for schizpophrenia. However, many doctors prescribe it for anxiety and depression, for which it has no active ingredients. The article analyses the evidence provided by the drug's manufacturer, and, simply put, shows the claims to be false. For example, questionnaires measuring anxiety and depression include questions on sleep disturbances. Seroquel puts you to sleep, so this will change the score even if the sufferer's anxiety/depression is unaffected. The differences between the drug and placebo are small enough for this to account for it.

   The way to deal with anxiety or depression is to deal with the underlying issues, possibly but not necessarily through therapy. Drugs cannot do this. But if you MUST have drugs, insist on those that have been shown to be effective for releiving the problem, instead of something that is misused.


Ever heard of e-cigarettes?

   While I was looking around the web site of the National Research Center for Women and Families, I saw a link about e-cigarettes. Never having heard of such a bizarre thing, I had a look. You can buy a battery-operated thing that puts nicotine and an unspecified mix of other chemicals into your lungs. One advantage over ordinary cigarettes is that if you are under-age, you may have trouble getting the conventional coffin nails, but as yet there is no law to stop you from using this device.

   Nicotine is bad for you, in whatever form you take it. Think of this: it's a highly effective insect poison. You don't know what other muck they are having you take into your body.

   Don't use it.


Sabotaging the toothbrush industry

   The humble little toothbrush works because the points of the fibres get into the cracks and crevices between the teeth, dragging out any rubbish there. So, if the fibres bend over, they do nothing.

   Of course, toothbrushes are deliberately made so that the fibres bend over as soon as possible. Then you can do your duty by the great god Economy and go out to buy a new one.

   I am not that motivated to keep Chinese slave-waged workers in employment. I don’t like tossing out things.

   A few years ago, a major supplier of toothbrushes had a very successful advertising campaign focussed on a shaggy dog. Quite rightly, they pointed out that a shaggy dog toothbrush doesn’t clean where it should.

   Their solution: buy a new toothbrush (their brand of course).

   My solution involves a pair of scissors. Give the shaggy dog a haircut.

   I find that by carefully trimming off the bent-over fibres on the outside, I in effect have a new toothbrush. This may be bad for the economy, but it is good for the environment, and my bank account -- in a minor way of course, but every little bit helps.


What my friends want you to know

The big melt: FOE climate justice tour
2nd August is Koori Day
'Footprints,' a must-read ecological e-zine
Freebies from Michael Larocca
Find Carolyn at the Green New Media Expo
July Bainstorming
Cort Curtis launches therapy newsletter

The big melt: FOE climate justice tour

August 10 - 18 www.thebigmelt.org

   Find out about climate change in the 'roof of the world' and what it means for Australia and Asia.

   Hear Pemba Dorje Sherpa, holder of the world record for the fastest climb of Mount Everest, talk about his experience of global warming in the Himalayas. He is joined by environmental lawyer and activist Prakash Sharma, Pro Public Nepal.

   Global warming is already having a big impact on Mount Everest and the Himalayas. Glaciers are melting creating floods and danger for the local people. But the big melt also means a big dry as these 'water towers' of Asia lose their capacity to provide water to the giant rivers in the summer months. Eventually rivers like the Ganges in India and the Yellow River in China will lose their dry season flow and the billion people in these river basins will lose their water security.

   In the lead up to Copenhagen, the tour will also examine how a global climate action can be developed that will prevent the big melt in the Himalayas and halt global warming.

   The tour will coincide with the release of a new Friends of the Earth report: High Stakes – Climate change, the Himalayas, Asia and Australia.

Canberra
Tuesday August 11
6.30 PM – 8.00 PM
Johnson Auditorium Pilgrim House Conference Centre
69 Northbourne Ave, Canberra

Sydney
Thursday August 13
6.30 – 8.00 PM
Mitchell Theatre
Sydney Mechanics School of Arts
280 Pitt Street, Sydney

Wollongong
Friday August 14
6.30 - 8.00 PM
University of Wollongong
Venue TBC : check website for details

Brisbane
Sunday, August 16, 2009
4.30 PM – 6.30 PM
Function Room Wesley House
140 Ann St (behind the Albert St Uniting Church), Brisbane

Melbourne
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
6.30 PM – 8.00 PM
State Library of Victoria - Village Roadshow Theatrette
328 Swanston St
(Use Entry 3, La Trobe Street), Melbourne

   The tour is hosted by Friends of the Earth Australia, with the support of The Intrepid Foundation, the Uniting Church in Australia - Synod of Victoria & Tasmania and Australian Ethical.

   For more information contact: Damien Lawson 03 9419 8700 or www.thebigmelt.org

   RSVP (not essential but it helps us know who is coming): info@thebigmelt.org.


2nd August is Koori Day

Cick here to see the poster

Hi All

   Could you please network and circulate the 2nd KOORI Day. We are the custodians and we are the owners of this sacred land. We are all working and walking towards Multicultural Harmony and Holistic Sustainability. Real Reconciliation for our Mother earth.

   Anyone wanting to assist and help co-ordinate resources for the day please email australias_first_treaty@hotmail.com or mobile 0409202037

Thanks
Yours Truly
Daniel Kiag and Beryl Booth

Australia's First Treaty
(Indigenous Aboriginal Embassy & Habitat Creation)
PO Box 71 MERRI MERRI _ Northcote 3070
Mobile 0409202037
One country, one people and one home
Let's dream and share for all our children's future!
BUNJIL WARRIN NGARRAP BIIK


'Footprints,' a must-read ecological e-zine

   If you are concerned about human survival, you need to subscribe to Footprints, the excellent e-zine edited by Dr John James. It is always impeccably researched, hard-hitting and to the point. It will supply you with ammunition in arguing with suicides (there are only two kinds of people in the world: conservationists and suicides).

   Have a look at the last few issues for yourself.

   You can subscribe at http://www.planetextinction.com/planet_extinction_newsletter_subscribe.htm.


Freebies from Michael Larocca

   Michael LaRocca is giving away his award-winning, critically acclaimed short story collection, THE CHRONICLES OF A MADMAN, at http://www.chinarice.org. He's also giving away ABOUT WRITING, which is a collection of his articles on the topic, and NO EDIT FOR YOU, a "greatest hits" collection from his oddball newsletter, at the same website.


Find Carolyn at the Green New Media Expo

   The series of Green New Media Life Expo will include Book Pavilions at all venues of the expo. Anyone in the publishing world who considers themselves green may feature themselves at the expo and the new media technology that is part of the Expo package will continue to broadcast their books and services online long after the trappings of the festivities have been swept away. And, of course, that New Media technology will reduce their promotional footprint to help keep the environment green.

   Award winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson plays host to the exhibitors and guests and will interview many of the participating authors, publishers, printers and more. Carolyn, the author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers, has been interested in the environment since the 1970s and is an official blogger for the Green New Media Life Expo. She often features green tips for authors in her Sharing with Writers online newsletter and on her blog, which was picked as at Writer's Digest 101 Best Website. Howard-Johnson is an instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program and the award-winning author of literary fiction and poetry and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV stations nationwide.

   Expos will be held at the Ontario Convention Center, Ontario, CA; the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento, CA, and the Pomona Fairgrounds, Pomona, CA--all this fall. The first is Sept. 12-13 at the Ontario venue. Well-known TV and Los Angeles radio host Rey Ybarra is producing the event. Sought-after Randy Detroit will coordinate the filming. Author Patricia Kokinos is coordinating publicity.

   To keep up with all things green and the coming Expos visit: http://www.greennewmedialifeexpo.com/. To follow Carolyn's Green Expo and Green Book Pavilion blogs: http://www.greennewmedialifeexpo.com/content/writers-can-be-fantastically-green

   Incidentally, Carolyn will have a display about the LiFE Award.


July Bainstorming

   The July issue of Bainstorming is now live at http://www.darrellbain.com.

   Subjects this month: Human By Choice a finalist, Re-readable Books, Tonto Antics, Progress Report, Why we kiss, Weird sound, Memorable Phrase, Book Report, Guest contribution by Gary Bain, Excerpt from Galactic Frontiers

Darrell Bain
Fictionwise 2005 Author of the Year. Double Eppie Award winner 2007.
Dream Realm Award, 2007.


Cort Curtis launches therapy newsletter

   Cort Curtis has initiated A Change in Thinking newsletter. You will discover a state-of-the-art approach to eliminating negative emotions and allowing a greater peace, love and joy into your life. His work is all about getting free of everything that is creating unhappiness or is holding you back from knowing your true and joyful Self.

   My Mission Statement for A Change in Thinking and all of the work I do with clients is this: "The purpose of my practice is to transform your experience of living so that the situations you have been trying to change or have been putting up with clear up simply out of letting go."

   If you have worked with me in the past, you know that "letting go" is the cornerstone of my work with clients. But letting go of what? Simply, it is letting go of the emotions and core beliefs that have arisen from past events and which are impacting your happiness and well-being. These are some basic assumptions that lay at the heart of letting go and these are...

  • You are not your ego
  • You are whole and complete as you are
  • You are not your feelings
  • You are responsible for your feelings
  • Your situation does not cause you to feel the way you do.
  • Your feelings are neither right or wrong, good or bad.
  • It is impossible to be happy and hang on to negative feeling states
  • It is possible to let go

       All of this points to the fact that therapy and personal growth work does not have to be a long drawn out process. It is not about analyzing, explaining or fixing you. Letting go can happen in an instant when you step up to the threshold of choice and realize what you are doing to yourself. You can learn to get free of whatever is holding you back in just a short time.

       I will look forward to sharing with you tips and tools to empower you in your personal and spiritual journey.

    In Wholeness,
    Cort

       If interested, visit Cort's web site.


    Computers

    Alfredo on spyware

    Alfredo on spyware

       Spyware can bring your PC or Macintosh to a halt. To remove spyware for the Mac here is a website http://www.macosxspyware.com. For the PC here are some websites where you can get a free anti spyware program http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html and http://www.emsisoft.com/en/software/free.

       It is absolutely necessary to have one anti spy-ware program on the Mac and two anti-spy-ware programs on a PC and my favorite ones for PC are Spybot Search and Destroy and 2-Squares. These must be updated regularly and scans run at least once a week.

       It is important to understand that the Restore Program in both XP and Vista does not always get rid of Viruses or other malicious threats. For this reason I recommend that backup is done regularly and System Restore is turned OFF completely. System Restore is resource hungry and will render the computer much slower also putting a substantial load on a hard drive therefore reducing its life.

       It is also important to have a suitable anti virus. Those anti viruses that run permanently and constantly are trouble. You should run anti virus software twice a week possibly when you do not use the computer and run anti spyware also twice a week for best results. You should switch off constant anti virus monitoring as this also puts a tremendous strain on resources. An anti virus is necessary but many anti viruses today are exaggerated and cause problems by themselves.

    FOR THE MAC

       If you bank online or do delicate and private operations on the net I would suggest the stealth mode. This renders your Mac invisible to traffic. Here is an informative website for both Mac and PCs http://www.xvsxp.com/system/security_firewall.php.

       Finally for those who have Vista Home Premium or Ultimate (NOT VISTA HOME BASIC) it is important to know that the Aereo program which are fancy visual effects like transparency use a tremendous amount of resources. Most people would want to turn these off for more improved performance. To turn visual effects off do the following:

       Click on start (bottom left) and right click on the word My Computer. Click on Advanced system settings and then click on settings underneath performance. On the visual effects tab select adjust for best performance to disable everything. For those of us who need a fast basic computer (not for games) we have now a much faster performance improved machine.

       For best security always remove private data files and cookies from the system. All your private information and passwords will have to be re-typed each time but very secure method to keep your business safe.


    Reviews

    Authentic Happiness, by Martin Seligman
    The Travels of First Horse reviewed by ChrisChat

    Authentic Happiness
    by Martin Seligman

    New York: Free Press, 2002
    ISBN 978-0-7432-2297-6

       I have been using positive psychology for many years, and am a member of the International Positive Psychology Association. However, I'd never read this book till now.

       Martin writes beautiful, easy to read prose, and, like all great writers, lets you into his own life. He becomes a real person in these pages.

       His analyses and recommendations are all based on scientific research, and are in accord with accepted best practice. This makes the book an excellent introduction for psychotherapists who are as yet unfamiliar with positive psychology.

       At the same time, the book is actually designed as a self-help tool for lay people. As such, perhaps it is a little too academic. Any intelligent, educated person will get immense benefits from applying its recommendations, but it may be a struggle for someone who barely completed high school -- and they deserve a good life too.

       Like many American writers in the field, going back to Abraham Maslow, Martin is enthocentric without realising it. The very title assumes that, of course, happiness is the goal of life. This is actually untrue for most of the human occupants of this planet. As Viktor Frankl showed, meaning and purpose are far more important, and can lead to contentment in situations that preclude happiness.

       To be fair, he distinguishes between two sources of feeling good: momentary pleasures, and long-term satisfactions. The latter are closer to my idea of what we should strive for, and Martin shows how.

       My only other complaint is about the way notes are organised. References, and frequent interesting comments, are in a separate endnotes section. While reading the first one-third of the book, I kept turning to this section at the end of each page, but it was rather onerous and distracting to do so.

       All in all, this is a book that will uplift your spirit. If you implement its recommendations, it will change your life for the better. It is a classic of the psychological literature.


    The Travels of First Horse
    reviewed by ChrisChat

    Chris Speakman, AKA ChrisChat, is reading her way through all my books. Here is what she wrote after reading the story of one of my favourite people: First Horse.

       Can one person stop a lifetime of warring?

        Horse, Heather-the-Mother’s son (the same Heather from book I) decides he must travel the world to learn how to defeat the Doshi. An enemy of the Doshi may just be the friend of the Ehvelen.

        “Travels of First Horse” is a long detailed read. I know I did not give it the justice it deserves due to time restraints; however, that doesn’t lessen the enjoyment I had reading it.

        Dr. Rich has me wondering just how much is true and how much was just his imagination. Don’t miss his bio at the end of the book.

        Dr. Rich incorporates a multitude of people’s history and culture. His notes throughout add dimension to the translation of the Ehvelen’s tale.

        Seeing these people (some being Egyptians, Ethiopian, Danish, Jews) through Horse’s eyes was an entertaining puzzle; I couldn’t always figure out their modern counterpart. I wouldn’t mind reading more about some of the people Horse encountered.

        “Travels of First Horse” is as much fun and dangerous adventure as it is fantasy. I laughed at parts and raced through others.

        I’m even curious about what was happening while Horse was away. The glimpses of Heather reading Horse’s letters weren’t enough.

        When Horse returns home will he be instrumental in ending the war of his lifetime? I’m not telling.

       

    Enjoy.

    To celebrate this review, subscribers to Bobbing Around can buy this book for half price until the next issue comes out.


    About Bobbing Around

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       It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

       Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

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