Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
Has the government of George W. Bush sought to wage war on Al Jazeera? Why was the Official Secrets Act invoked recently by Lord Goldsmith - to reaffirm the confidentiality of US-UK discussions, or to coverup maliciousness?
These governments overstate their assertions, refuse to divulge uncertainty, and aggressively promote highly-troubling chauvinistic political policies. They proactively attack their critics.
A vigorous press should be an important counterbalance. But too few people are willing or able to give voice to objections or to provide correctional guidance.
I am not from a British parliamentary constituency. But each of you represents much more: you have been defiant & bold; you've a freshness and special spark, developed in very different political backgrounds.
Together, and uniquely, you two MPs can shine light on this deadly morass.
Bruce Henry Lambert, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Yet there is something disturbing about yesterday's NASA press release:
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 10:10:30 -0600
Subject: International Space Station Status Report #58
10 a.m. CST, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2005
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
International Space Station Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev will enjoy a day off Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving. The holiday highlights a week in orbit of robotics operations, routine maintenance and early preparations for a shipment of supplies and Christmas gifts.
McArthur and Tokarev are the 12th crew of the space laboratory and will be the sixth station crew to observe Thanksgiving on the complex. They sent holiday greetings to Earth this week and described their plans to feast on irradiated smoked turkey, dehydrated green beans, powdered drinks and a thermo stabilized cranberry-apple dessert.
On Monday, McArthur powered up the station's 60-foot robotic arm and maneuvered .....(snipped)
There seems to be the assumption here that all the world celebrates Thanksgiving (and that the ISS is a USA project). A bit too US-ethnocentric a report I think. Perhaps as a US-expatriate working on Thanksgiving I'm sensitive. Anyhow, Tokarev count your blessings. I'd have you working.
(Perhaps both are working; no beers or NFL / high school football 230 miles up)
(Watashi no English-language haiku)
by Genki 元気
Cold morning washroom
Lit up grey around my face
My father's stubble
My smile is wider
Greeting a familiar face
Whose name I forgot
frosty dawn barely witnessed
the sound of water
one bite leads to another
another plate to wash
My belly relaxes
Welcome winds of spring
late 1980s, Tsukuba, Japan
late 1980s, Tsukuba, Japan
Everyone has known these things
That poets, beggars, clowns & Kings
Have routinely to bend and shit.
January 1980, Waterville, Maine
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I remember when I was perhaps ten years old. No - I wasn't challenging the classic heroic dose. But near my home was a large dirt hill separating a private development from the public road system. Many of us regularly traversed these dirt hills on our bicycles. Anyhow, one day they began to clear the hills away, but stopped mid-way. Perhaps they were called away to another job, or they didn't want to spoil a good job and use one day when five would suffice. In any event, half of the dirt hill was suddenly chopped away.
This presented the possibility of using the hill as a jump. I remember looking forward to challenging the jump. I pedaled my bicycle as hard as possible, and jumped as high as possible. But the coming down was not nice.
I had not given any thought at all to 'reentry' - absolutely not an instant's consideration - my bike hit hard, I was only partially in control, my balls, guts, chest and bike got badly busted (I partly protected my foolish head).
Anyhow, those contemplating the 'heroic dose' - give a though about the comeback - perhaps leave a note about who should get your mp3 player, and if you'd prefer cremation.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
At times it may be difficult to recognize cause. If a system responds to infection, (let's say), with quick countermeasures, it may be difficult for observer analysts to recognize the infection for what it is: countermeasures may be labeled simply as syndrome, and cause is masked. Cases where underlying mechanisms have emerged only slowly include present understanding of intestinal flora, asthma, perhaps also how pathogenic exposure in poor childhood hygiene can lead to longer term benefits. We can hope ultimately that scientific methodologies will clarify what is happening. Are there many remaining cases where our imperfect knowledge of physiological, social or other interactive mechanisms clouds understanding?
There are phenomenon where observer interference is difficult to exclude. Perhaps our excitement at getting near may put something further away…
Friday, November 11, 2005
There may be more than one parallel with Stephen Christman's research work at the University of Toledo, Ohio. He identified a relationship between strength of preference for using right or left hand, musical abilities, and brain development (focusing on hemispheric linking nerves of the corpus callosum). An interesting dimension is that strength of preference was found significant, rather than the simple classification of right or left (see Wolman 2005). Most people have some degree of mixed-handedness, some have extreme strong-handedness. Hypotheses include linking handedness with corpus callosum size, with belief in improbable events, and with revision of attitudes when faced with new information.
I wonder whether one day indicators might be found for recognizing or measuring better developed religious tendencies.
Perhaps one day we will be better able to teach people how to live peak experiences, and religious vividness. What are the best questions to ask in regard to comparative religion? How do people relate to religion? What draws people to religion? What do they get from it? William James investigated "The Varieties of Religious Experience" over a century ago, but are we closer to understanding religion, religiousness or religiosity?
Wolman, David (2005) "On the other hand." New Scientist (5 November 2005) pp 36-39.