Thursday, November 30, 2017

Eons and Eons of Waxing and Waning of the Greenhouse Effect

After the Earth first formed, the temperatures were higher than they are now. Anaerobic life evolved and flourished in conditions with high methane and CO2 levels for hundreds of millions of years. Then Cyanobacteria came into being and consumed the CO2 while releasing oxygen, creating a great dying off of the anaerobics.  The CO2 levels got so low that the Earth became what scientists call Snowball Earth. Eventually, however, the CO2 and oxygen levels balanced out and new life forms evolved and flourished in the pre-Cambrian Period. After this, the only times that great extinctions occurred were when CO2 levels soared due to natural catastrophes.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

FCC Plans To Ditch ‘Net Neutrality’

“The Republican head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission unveiled plans on Tuesday to repeal landmark 2015 rules that prohibited internet service providers from impeding consumer access to web content in a move that promises to recast the digital landscape.

The commission will vote at a Dec. 14meeting on his plan to rescind the so-called net neutrality rules that treated internet service providers like public utilities.
These rules barred broadband providers from blocking or slowing down access to content or charging consumers more for certain content. They were intended to ensure a free and open internet, give consumers equal access to web content and prevent broadband service providers from favoring their own content.

The impending action marks a victory for big ‘internet service providers’ (ISPs) such as AT&T, Comcast Corp and Verizon that opposed the rules and gives them sweeping powers to decide what web content consumers can get and at what price.

A major concern raised by consumer advocates is that ISPs could block or slow traffic to websites or services of their choosing, playing an outsized role in what users can and cannot access. Providers could also give preferential treatment to their own content or websites that pay extra fees, consumer advocates said.
ISPs could impede video streaming services and consumers' ability to make free or inexpensive phone calls over the internet, advocates said.
The nonprofit Consumers Union said a repeal could lead to higher consumer prices for existing internet access and speeds.

What is net neutrality?:

Take action:

Novarupta: Largest 20th Century Eruption

In the last week, there have been two notable volcanic eruptions (Mexico and Bali) and a large flurry of micro quakes in California (that could possibly be the precursor to a major seismic event). Other volcanic episodes and mega quakes during the past century highlight the tectonic drama of the Pacific Ring Of Fire. One such volcanic eruption that has been forgotten occurred on “June 6th, 1912  when a tremendous blast sent a large cloud of ash skyward and the eruption of the previous century was underway. People in Juneau, Alaska, about 750 miles from the volcano, heard the sound of the blast – over one hour after it occurred.”

"For the next 60 hours the eruption sent tall dark columns of tephra and gas high into the atmosphere. By the time the eruption ended the surrounding land was devastated and about 30 cubic kilometers of ejecta blanketed the entire region. This is more ejecta than all of the other historic Alaska eruptions combined. It was also three times more than the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the second largest in the 20th Century. Forty years after the eruption, investigators finally realized that Novarupta -- and not Mount Katmai (6 miles distant) had been the source of the eruption. The region was so sparsely populated that there were no witnesses. Because of the reports of the top several hundred feet of Mt. Katmai being gone, it was assumed that Katmai had blown. It turned out, however, that about one cubic mile of material collapsed into the magma chamber below Katmai -- because Novarupta had stolen vast amounts of magma that had supported Mt. Katmai. This collapse produced a crater about two miles in diameter and over 800 feet deep."

List of known large volcanic eruptions:

Note: Free apps showing current world wide volcanic activity and earthquakes are readily available.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

China: NOT A Leader Against Climate Change

“When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, it seemed to confirm Beijing’s new role as a leader in the fight against climate change.
But new data on the world’s biggest developers of coal-fired power plants paints a very different picture: China’s energy companies will make up nearly half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade.
These Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal... Many of the plants are in China, but by capacity, roughly a fifth of these new coal power stations are in other countries.
Over all, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries. The new plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent.
The fleet of new coal plants would make it virtually impossible to meet the goals set in the Paris climate accord, which aims to keep the increase in global temperatures from preindustrial levels below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Electricity generated from fossil fuels like coal is the biggest single contributor globally to the rise in carbon emissions, which scientists agree is causing the Earth’s temperatures to rise.”

“Even today, new countries are being brought into the cycle of coal dependency.”

Friday, November 24, 2017

Methane and CO2: Givers and Takers of Life

Once upon a time, there was a planet whose sun was dimmer during the first half of the planet’s existence than during the last half of its geologic history. Why?! How could this be? It was because of the high levels of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But then, Cyanobacteria (blue green algae) evolved and consumed these greenhouse gases and released oxygen as a byproduct. Eventually, the methane and CO2 levels were lowered until the temperatures decreased to the point that the planet was entirely locked in ice, despite the sun’s increasing output. This lasted for millions of years, until finally enough carbon dioxide was emitted by volcanoes and eventually a balance between oxygen and CO2 was achieved. From this point on, the only extinctions that ever occurred were when CO2 levels spiked on this, our planet, Earth.

Movie, “The Whistleblower”: Peacekeeping and Human Trafficking in Bosnia

Very rarely do I blog about a movie. They are usually so well covered in the media that it would be repetitive. But, the movie “The Whistleblower” needs greater exposure, especially with the current public concern over women’s rights and sexual abuse are in the headlines:

The movie The Whistleblower stars Rachel Weisz as Kathryn Bolkovac, a police officer from Nebraska who gets a job as a UN Peacekeeper in Bosnia. However, she soon finds out that her UN colleagues are involved in using and providing children for the sex trade.
The movie is a true story, based on the book The Whistleblower by Kathryn Bolkovac, which details her experiences as a human rights investigator. It started when Bolkova spotted a recruitment flyer from military contractor DynCorp, posted at her police department. A mother of three, with two of her children in college, Kathy signed up to be one of 2,000 police officers from 45 countries to work as peacekeepers. During the training process at DynCorp in the United States, she already became aware that at least one man in her immediate group knew about the use of young girls aged 12 to 15 for sex in Bosnia.
Upon arrival in Sarajevo in 1999, she found restaurants or dance clubs that were fronts for brothels–where young girls were forced to dance naked and have sex with customers–that catered to international clientele, including her fellow UN peacekeepers. She was appalled to find that the Bosnian police knew about the practice and turned a blind eye....”

The Whistleblower (2011) Movie Trailer (2 minutes)
(4 minute)

The Whistleblower: Kathryn Bolkovac— Peacekeeping and Human Trafficking in Bosnia (9 minutes)

Primitive American Tribalism: One Nation, Two Tribes

“Two tribes, whose mutual incomprehension and loathing can drown out their love of country, each of whom scans current events almost entirely to see if they advance not so much their country’s interests but their own tribe’s. Two tribes where one contains most racial minorities and the other is disproportionately white; where one tribe lives on the coasts and in the cities and the other is scattered across a rural and exurban expanse; where one tribe holds on to traditional faith and the other is increasingly contemptuous of religion altogether; where one is viscerally nationalist and the other’s outlook is increasingly global; where each dominates a major political party; and, most dangerously, where both are growing in intensity as they move further apart.”

“The project of American democracy — to live beyond such tribal identities, to construct a society based on the individual, to see ourselves as citizens of a people’s republic, to place religion off-limits, and even in recent years to embrace a multiracial and post-religious society — was always an extremely precarious endeavor. It rested, from the beginning, on an 18th-century hope that deep divides can be bridged by a culture of compromise, and that emotion can be defeated by reason. It failed once, spectacularly, in the most brutal civil war any Western democracy has experienced in modern times. And here we are, in an equally tribal era, with a deeply divisive president who is suddenly scrambling Washington’s political alignments....”

“It’s always worth remembering that ‘tribalism’ is not just one aspect of human experience. It is the ‘default’ human experience. It comes more naturally to us than any other way of life. For the overwhelming majority of our time on this planet, the tribe was the only form of human society. We lived for tens of thousands of years in compact, largely egalitarian groups of around 50 people or more, connected to each other by genetics and language, usually unwritten. Most tribes occupied their own familiar territory, with widespread sharing of food and no private property. A tribe had its own leaders and a myth of its own history. It sorted out what we did every day, what we thought every hour.”

“Tribal cohesion was essential to survival, and our first religions emerged for precisely this purpose. As Dominic Johnson argues in his recent book “God Is Watching You: How the Fear of God Makes Us Human” almost all indigenous societies had a common concept of the supernatural, and almost all of them saw their worst threats — hunger, disease, natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Harvey and the specter of global climate change), a loss in battle — as a consequence of disobeying a god. Religion therefore fused with communal identity and purpose, it was integral to keeping the enterprise afloat, and the idea of people within a tribe believing in different gods was incomprehensible. Such heretics would be killed.”

“The tribes that best survived (and thereby transmitted their genes to us) were, moreover, those most acutely aware of outsiders and potential foes. A failure to notice incoming strangers could end your life in an instant, and an indifference to the appearances of other human beings could mean defeat at the hands of rivals or the collapse of a tribe altogether. And so we became a deeply cooperative species — but primarily with our own kind. The notion of living alongside people who do not look like us and treating them as our fellows was meaningless for most of human history.”
[Note The history of genocides, especially during hard times.]

Why We Are Addicted To Divisive Politics

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Assisted Living: Pet Inclusion

Where assisted living facilities allow pets, understand that it is an added monthly cost and it is best when the resident is able to take care of the pet.. Cats are easier than dogs. Dogs need walking and there are breed and behavior issues and size limitations. If you rely on the staff to walk the dog, expect there to be some degree of unreliability. Not because they don't care, but rather it's that there are conflicting priorities. If the dog could be trained to use a special pee mat, you would save on carpet cleaning hassles. If not, then try putting up a white erase board for staff to sign and mark when they walked the dog. At least it provides some accountability.

In our case, it was very important for my mother to keep her small dog as a companion. She had a very hard time as it was. Without the dog she would have folded. It was worth the trouble to arrange for the dog's integration into the assisted living facility arrangement.

The dog had a roomy pet carrier as a cage and a small carpet remnant and felt blankets for putting underneath her. I visited daily and made sure of upkeep, and also bathed and groomed the dog. Without my daily visits I do not know if it would have been feasible. This is something that you discuss beforehand with the assisted living intake personnel.

In Iran, we reap what we sowed

“The next time you find yourself reading about the intransigence and mistrust of Iran toward the United States, and how negatively it has affected the recent negotiations over Iran’s nuclear power plans, and you wonder what gives, consider this:
In 1951, the popular, democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, realized it was long past time for his country to throw off the shackles of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later BP), which had been exploiting Iran’s huge oil reserves since 1913 and allotting the Iranians a mere 10 percent of the bounty.
Not about to sit still for this, BP appealed to the British MI6 to intercede.. In 1953, MI6 enlisted the aid of the American CIA, which helpfully organized and carried out Operation Ajax, the coup which enabled the re-installation of the Shah and the overthrow of Mossadegh. This loss of the leading champion of secular democracy in Iran’s modern history paved the way for the Iran we face today.”

Note: Iran- CIA Operation Ajax 1953 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dealing With Populists

“The populist recipe is universal. Find a wound common to many, someone to blame for it and a good story to tell. Tell the wounded you know how they feel. That you found the bad guys. Label them: the minorities, the politicians, the businessmen. Cartoon them. As vermin, evil masterminds, flavorless hipsters, you name it. Paint yourself as the savior. Enrapture your followers with a good story. One that starts in anger and ends in vengeance. A vengeance they can participate in.”

Populism works through caricature, through the unending vilification of a cartoonish enemy. You’re the enemy, you, with the Starbucks cup. Trump needs you to be the scapegoat. “But facts!”, you’ll say, missing the point entirely....

.....don’t feed polarization, disarm it. This means leaving the theater of injured decency behind....

Trump, however seemingly evil, is not stupid. Getting to the highest office in the world requires great, calculated rhetorical precision. By looking down on Trump’s supporters, you’ve lost the first battle. Instead of fighting polarization, you’ve played into it.....

Remember, our far left almost certainly handed Trump the election. Yes, even Jill Stein’s votes would have been enough to stop Trump, never mind the votes for Johnson and the even greater number who didn’t vote. And then we tried to swing the electoral college and looked like idiots when more electors abandoned Clinton for Bernie surrogates than abandoned Trump.....

.....people on the other side — and crucially, independents — will rebel against you if you look like you’re losing your mind and look like an enemy of democracy [the way UC Berkeley protesters just turned against free speech, right where the free-speech movement began in 1964....

.....Ditch all the big words. The problem, remember, is not the message but the messenger. You’re more valuable to Trump supporters as an enemy than as a compatriot. Your challenge is to prove that you belong in the same tribe as them — that you are American in exactly the same way they are.....

.....if you want to be part of the solution, the road ahead is clear: Recognize you’re the enemy they need; show concern, not contempt, for the wounds of those that brought Trump to power; by all means be patient with democracy and struggle relentlessly to free yourself from the shackles of the caricature the populists have drawn of you.

Berkeley protestors assailed free speech:

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Greenhouse Effect Is Accepted By Even Oil Companies

The following is a letter to the editor that I happened across that I like:

“Back in the 1960s, my mother with the background of her degree in petroleum geology taught 8th grade earth science in Shawnee Mission Kansas. She also taught Sunday School on weekends. One of the accepted scientific principles she taught, used in understanding the history of the earth, was the Greenhouse Effect in the atmosphere.
She taught that in the same way that a greenhouse works, the atmosphere, clear to visible light, allows the sun's heat, provided to us by our great Creator, to pass through the atmosphere and warm the earth. Part of the heat of the warmed earth is re-released as infra-red heat radiation. However, the atmosphere isn't transparent to infrared, so this heat is trapped by the atmosphere just like a greenhouse, and the atmosphere is warmed by this released heat.  
This is not politics and was accepted as a scientific principle long before the idea of climate change became a political football. I was taught the same science when working for Shell Oil and taking a general geophysics course at USC extension. It was estimated that the average temperature of the earth would be somewhere below zero without the warming of the Greenhouse Effect.
It's well documented that fossil fuels are increasing the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, and that carbon dioxide is one of the main sources of the Greenhouse Effect in the atmosphere. In this way, burning of fossil fuels is increasing the Greenhouse Effect of the atmosphere. While there is some range of opinion about the exact effect of the additional heat trapped by the atmosphere, it's generally thought that significant heating of the surface of the earth will occur.  
While we're not exactly able to predict the extent of this warming, we are effectively untutored children tampering with a thermostat which we're not able to read. This is a dangerous situation with effects of an unknown severity, which may be more than we want our children to deal with.  
For the health and safety of our children and grandchildren, we need to consider the future effects of our present actions, and adjust our actions to provide a healthy future for coming generations.”

Carlton Jones, Beaverton

Thursday, November 16, 2017

“Genomic Anthropology” Introduces the Denisovans

“The bone was no bigger than a coffee bean. It was a bit of pinky from a young girl that could have easily been missed among the thousands of bones dug up by archaeologists at the site each year. Yet the unassuming fossil made it out of Denisova Cave in Siberia’s Altai Mountains and into the Max Planck Institute’s ancient DNA laboratory in Leipzig, Germany, where in 2010 it yielded a complete genome of a previously unknown type of human.”

No one had previously suspected such a population was out there.
That partial finger bone was the first evidence of the Denisovans (a distinct branch of the Homo family tree), whose members mated with both Neanderthals and modern humans during the past 100,000 years.....

.....everything we know about Denisovans comes from their DNA. Never before has the history of an extinct human been told by its genome, rather than its fossils and artifacts....

DNA extracted from all four Denisovan fossils determined that the specimens came from different individuals. Based on accumulated genetic differences among them, two of the individuals lived roughly 65,000 years before the others; the Denisovan lineage was around for quite some time.

Denisovans, Neanderthals and modern humans descend from the same population of ancestors, who most likely lived in Africa between 550,000 and 765,000 years ago. Some of these early humans spread to Eurasia, where they split into Neanderthals in Europe and Denisovans in Asia.....

My Comment: The fact that two of the individuals lived 65,000 years before the others evokes an odd sense of isolation. That’s a long time. And imagining the Stone Age comings and goings over such a long period of time from one identifiable location (the cave) gives us a unique perspective.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Catnip Spray: Odorless and Very Effective Mosquito Repellent

I've tried every marketed brand of mosquito repellent there is that's natural and not toxic. They work, but I find their odor to be too strong. Finally, I tried catnip spray:
Catit Liquid Catnip Spray, 3 Ounces.
I ordered through Amazon @ $12.
A little goes a long way.

Supplemental info:
If you don’t use the Catit above in time to avoid mosquito bites, for anti-itch and swelling reduction, use the following:

Sunday, November 12, 2017

You Chose What You’ve Become

When you make a choice, be it active or passive, you have ‘clicked in’ another data point. This helps to better define who you are becoming. 

It is similar to when you choose to click on an icon or make a web page selection. The search engine algorithm logs into your unique computer matrix identifier another defining element that effects the gestalt of the whole. And the whole is forever changing.

For example, when you use Google or YouTube, the algorithm possesses your unique preferences. It channels the most similar available informational options to you based upon the gestalt of your previous choices. This is done in a neutral manner — whether the options are benign or not isn’t relevant. It is all based upon your past choices ‘aka’ selections. You have created your own reality.

Choose or do not choose, it is still a choice. Choices are constantly flowing in and around and thru you. Therefore, do try to be aware of this simple fact:
You are who you chose to be.

So, close your eyes and listen. 
Really ‘listen ‘:
“Purity of Mind” (2 hour) 
Meditative Music and Soft Chanting

Saturday, November 11, 2017

When Love of Theology Trumps People

Those who genuinely have faith in God do not feel threatened by the differing beliefs of others.

How you treat others defines who you are.

An agnostic or atheist who is good hearted and has good empathy is a better person than a hard hearted ‘believer’.

Most Christians have tunnel vision when it comes to reading and studying the Bible and don’t even know that there are two differing Creation stories in Genesis. 

“When Christians Love Theology More Than People”

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Krishnamurti: Quotes Shown On Videos

“Meditation is hard work. It demands the highest form of discipline – not conformity, not imitation, not obedience – but a discipline which comes through constant awareness, not only of the things about you outwardly, but also inwardly. So meditation is not an activity of isolation but is action in everyday life which demands cooperation, sensitivity and intelligence. Without laying the foundation of a righteous life, meditation becomes an escape and therefore has no value whatsoever. A righteous life is not the following of social morality, but the freedom from envy, greed and the search for power – which all breed enmity. The freedom from these does not come through the activity of will but by being aware of them through self-knowing. Without knowing the activities of the self, meditation becomes sensuous excitement and therefore of very little significance.”

“Meditation Is Hard Work”
12 minutes

50 Quotes From Jiddu Krishnamurti:
The quotes, photos and music are interspersed beautifully for a relaxing and delightful experience.
22 minutes

Krishnamurti's Teachings

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Psychic Does Not Equate As Spiritual

There are some people who have genuine spiritual experiences that allow them contact with the spiritual hierarchy. However, almost all other people who see and hear things and beings beyond the physical realm are experiencing the psychic astral realm. They can all too easily become enthralled and misled by their glamorization of what they’ve tapped into without recognizing the dangers:

“The psychic realm is only one level above the physical realm and in fact interpenetrated it to a large extent. Bearing this in mind we can more clearly understand why the psychic plane – or astral plane or astral light as it is also known in Theosophy – is spoken of as the unseen atmosphere surrounding the terrestrial and indelibly imprinted with every thought, word, emotion, imagination, experience, and action of humankind, past and present. In a very real sense it is a type of “collective unconscious.” Its contents, images, and inhabitants are derived solely from the physical plane.
Thus psychism is something earthly and material in nature, rather than something spiritual and divine. Entering into this vast realm, one immediately opens oneself up to deception, delusion, and confusion. Full of images, scenery, and beings which seem to be real and genuine, it easily leads astray....”

Sunday, November 5, 2017

GOD’s Infinite Qualities

Mankind has a hard time grasping the Infinite Qualities Of God. That is one reason why celestial members of God’s Spiritual Hierarchy, at times, manifest themselves in the world — to give us greater hope and to more firmly anchor God Into our conscious mind. Angels and Archangels are recorded in the Bible and other holy books bringing us signs of God’s Light and Love. The very greatest was Jesus Christ, Who anchored God’s Love into our hearts.

Do you believe in God?:

How do finite beings worship an infinite God? (Audio included):

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Born Again and Again and Again: Reincarnation in Christianity

“Many ideas compatible with reincarnation appear in the Bible. Reincarnation assumes that we are immortal beings. Jesus speaking to the Jews in the Temple of Jerusalem said, "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" (John 10:34). Reincarnation also presupposes we are bound by karmic laws. Biblical scriptures tell us that those who live by the sword die by the sword (Matt 26:52) and that we will reap what we sow (Gal 6:7). Paul taught that each seed gets its own body (1 Cor 15:38). Our thoughts are seeds, and our actions are seeds for more actions — it could take countless eons for them to come to fruition, to get their own bodies — and it could take many rebirths to work out all the effects of causes we set in motion.....”

John 10:34
This passage references the concept that we are each God individualized. We are each as a spark from the eternal flame which is God and is perpetually sustained by the Creator of all.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Once Again, The Real Mr. Rogers To The Rescue

Are you feeling jaded by all of the clickbait fueled sensationalistic news headlines? If so, then read:

Are you something at a loss as to how to help your young children or grandchildren deal with the news spillover that’s bound to splash onto them? Then read: