Thursday, February 28, 2008

time shift

I find it scary how time seems to be passing so quickly for me (and perhaps for so many creatures on the planet as well) I think that perhaps frogs are the "canaries in the coal mine" for our species. But on a personal level, time seems to have gone into another dimension of rapidity. Some say that this is a reflection of getting older, the different perspective that time has once we know (conscious or unconsciously) that the time we have left is likely less than the time we have lived. Or perhaps it is a reflection of my very fortunate life, which is full of variety of activities, some altruistic, some purely self indulgent, and others a mix of the two. But I have been intrigued lately by some reading I have been doing about the Mayan calendar. One interpretation is - we, or rather Consciousness have been down this same road seven times before over the last 16 billion years. Each of these cycles of Creation runs 20 times faster than the last one. The same amount of Creation is paced 20 times tighter. This is why time seems to be going so fast. It is not "time" but Creation itself that is accelerating. We are entering into the 5th cycle of the underworld, with the 6th cycle of the Mayan calendar being empty after 2012. Crackpot idea, maybe, but the Mayans did predict celestial events well into the future, way beyond the time of the Mayan rulers and to quote Shakespeare "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Vive Obama

Thought this was interesting. A sign that perhaps Latinos could be an important demographic in the coming election? Quien sabe?(who knows?)
Web site with music! here..even without knowing Spanish, the message gets through.

Maca, tuber that gives energy

Here is a a video from the NY Times showing how the tuber Maca is grown in the high Andes and how the increased consumption of the healthy tuber could also help the indigenous people who live here.
I take Maca every day and have taken it for about 8 years, ever since it helped me have a very trouble free (ended my hot flashes within 24 hours) menopause. I'm a believer.
picture from the video, showing the high Andes where the plant is grown

Friday, February 22, 2008

A true story, the world is stranger than we can imagine

The last time Jaeyaena Beuraheng saw her seven children was in 1982 when she left the southern Thailand province of Narathiwat on one of her regular shopping trips across the nearby border with Malaysia.

She disappeared, and police later told her family that she had apparently been killed in a traffic accident.

In fact, Jaeyaena had simply taken the wrong bus home - an error that would have been easy to fix except that she only speaks the local dialect of Malay known as Yawi, according to officials at the homeless shelter where the 76-year-old has lived for two decades.

On her way back from Malaysia, she mistakenly hopped on a bus to Bangkok, some 1150km north of her home in Narathiwat province.

Unable to read Thai and speaking a language few Thais can understand, she again took a wrong bus, this time to Chiang Mai, another 700km further north.

There she ended up as a beggar for five years, until she was finally sent to a homeless shelter in the central Thai province of Phitsanulok in 1987.

An official at the shelter said she was known as "Auntie Mon" because her speech sounded similar to the language of ethnic Mon living along the border with Burma.

But still no one could understand her, until last week when three health students from Narathiwat arrived on an exchange program to research the problem of homelessness at the shelter.

She sang a song for the visitors, one that the staff at the shelter had often heard but never understood.

"She sang her same old song, one that nobody could understand until those three students from Narathiwat told us that she was singing in Yawi, a Malay dialect," the official said.

"So we asked them to talk to her and find out if she had relatives."

Jaeyaena told the students that she had a Malaysian husband and seven children, recounting her entire story of the bus and how she had become lost in northern Thailand.

Her shocked family sent her youngest son and her eldest daughter to meet her and bring her home on Tuesday, the official said.

"She remembered all of her children's names. But at first she couldn't recognise her youngest son, but she recognised her eldest daughter," said the official, who was at their reunion.

The village chief said she had arrived home yesterday, some 25 years after she left to go shopping.

original news story link here

photo credit unknown, but not taken by me

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

wildlife art festival in our town

What do you do when there are no more places for wildlife to live? Have a "celebration" of wildlife represented by artists’ representations of all those animals. As you know I sometimes exaggerate for effect, but every day all around me I see more trees being cut down, more huge houses being built where trees used to be, more hunters chasing after fewer animals with places to hunt overused, overcrowded or just disappearing. At times it seems that hunters (and I use the term to refer to those who honor the animals they kill and want to see conservation of those animals and their habitat) are some of the most effective voices for wildlife.

So lots of very good paintings, wood carvings, and other animal representational art of all types, with an emphasis on wild bird decoys was represented at this festival. Most of the art is of a very high quality; the hours of work this bluebird represents amazes me.
Also carving contests, retriever trials, duck and geese calling contests (a 12 year boy was a national champion) and a chance for John to talk with his friends who share his interests in waterfowl.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

obesity and smoking helps the health care system?

Turns out I might have had a misplaced concern about the stress placed by smokers and the obese on our already broken health care system. According to some recent studies "Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it doesn't save money, researchers reported Monday. It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer which that counters the common perception that preventing obesity would save governments millions of dollars"
Now, this really does make sense when you think about it, those of use who practice healthy eating, not smoking and other healthy habits, like exercise are going to live long and thus over time cost the health system more.
you can read about the study here Fat People Cheaper to Treat, Study Says
However, I think there are lots of costs that the study did not consider, just to think of a few, like for example, the cost of updating beds and hospital floors to account for heavier people, doctors being tied up taking care of obesity-related illnesses, etc.

And the data seems to have been obtained rather simplistically, just by dividing cost by the number of years, obese people are cheaper. Dead people are very low maintenance! If the higher cost of healthy people is truly just because they live longer, then that should be reflected in a year-by-year cost. I still find it difficult to believe that a healthy person who suddenly drops dead at 90 would be more expensive than someone who lives the last 20 years of his/her life with diabetes, heart disease, possible amputations, etc.etc. or the cost of gastric bypass and/or the correction of failed gastric bypass.

Friday, February 1, 2008

things are horribly out of balance

first picture: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums and Charlene Dumas was eating mud read the full report here
and then there is this excerpt from a recent NY Times Article: full article here"Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler"

To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan to the ultra-efficient Prius.
Grain, meat and even energy are roped together in a way that could have dire results. More meat means a corresponding increase in demand for feed, especially corn and soy, which some experts say will contribute to higher prices.
This will be inconvenient for citizens of wealthier nations, but it could have tragic consequences for those of poorer ones, especially if higher prices for feed divert production away from food crops. The demand for ethanol is already pushing up prices, and explains, in part, the 40 percent rise last year in the food price index calculated by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization.

Though some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs and chickens. This despite the inherent inefficiencies: about two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption"

I already knew that meat production is an inefficient way to get protein in terms of the resources used to obtain it, but this article highlights just how damaging it is on so many levels.

Am I saying that because I eat less meat that means I think the poor people will not have to eat mud? No, not directly and not immediately; I don't believe that anything is going to change for poor people in my lifetime. But all things and beings (animal and human) ARE connected, and if enough people made many small changes the chain of existence which connects us all could be linking more people who can live without hunger and with dignity. Of course, for me even if there was not a huge hidden cost to eating large quantities of meat, it's an easy choice because it makes me feel bad or downright ill. I feel SO much better eating very small amounts of meat (mostly pork as a seasoning) and mostly vegetable, fruits, some dairy products, like yogurt, so that makes me not a particularly noble character for eating very little factory farmed meat; for me it's no sacrifice.