Random Superhero Adventure Generation   
These are from a couple old DC Heroes books.
First we have a random generator for adventures from the 1st Edition Gamemaster book.
Worth noting is that it needs some modifying to be perfected.

First, the villain list. Obviously, you'll want to put villains in that are appropriate for your campaign. Whether Marvel, DC or others. And then of course, ones that are the right power level. However, you also may want to ditch that chart altogether and make your own.
Because it's 2D10. Which means the ones in the middle will be more recurring and #s 2 and 20 will hardly ever appear. It's best to use 1D20, a percentile (1D100) chart or a chart with multiple 1D6 or 1D10 sub-charts.

Second, you may want to change the locations.
I recommend using Adamant Entertainment's Modern Dispatch #42: Pulp Adventure Generator for businesses and/or crimes.
Also, Adamant put out several other random generators in the Modern Dispatch, including one for Superheroes. Constructive GMs can utilize it with this to make some exciting adventures.

Something else I prefer to do is on the villain power list, roll 1D10: on a roll of 1-9 randomly select from any powers, on a roll of 10 randomly select two powers. These would be the main powers. Then do it again for secondary powers. This opens up more powers to use.

If your using DC Heroes, just put higher APs in the first set of powers. If you're using Marvel Super-Heroes, you may want to use two separate charts to randomly determine power levels. For instance, for primary powers, use one that ranges up to Amazing or Monstrous. And for Secondary powers, you could use one that stops at Excellent or Remarkable.

Plus, this is a random chart for urban crimes that appeared in Night in Gotham. The book, itself, is quite useful as it has a treasure trove of adventure seeds. The chart is set up with each district of Gotham having its own percentages for certain crimes. This could easily be translated into any large city like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. Or a fictional city from the comics or one you create, yourself.

And here's a random crime chart that appeared in an issue of Dragon Magazine. It can be inserted in to replace the DC Heroes crime list.

So, as I described over at my other blog, on Thursday last I went to the first in a two part class at Busy Bees on how to make a beautiful felt embroidered bag.  Normally I do quilt classes there but I like the fact that they also run these associated needlework courses.  The bag was made from a lovely piece of rather gorgeous felt, in a rich cerise colour.  It was difficult to choose a colour, as there were so many lovely ones, and I was not familiar with working or stitching on this type of surface.  In the class, we were shown how to make a simple template for our bag, then cut out the felt and the batting and glued these together.  Very simple so far! Then came the fun part - embroidery.  Sandra, our wonderful tutor gathered us round, and demonstrated a variety of stitches to us.  Each of us had been given a practice piece of felt and batting to work with and I was using a new type of thread to me, perle, space dyed in lovely bright shades, and much chunkier needles than I am used to using for my cross stitch.  It was lovely to sit round in a circle with Sandra teaching us, making our first faltering attempts and Sandra kindly showing us again and again so patiently and cheerfully what to do.  The class was full of laughter and smiles as we got to grips with our new stitches, and I was amazed when it was half past twelve and time to go.  Sandra had equipped us with the ideas and tools to decorate our bags so our job was to to go home and wield our needles, and do the decorative stitching before returning next week, to make a handle, sew the bag together and add a fastening.  

On getting home, I realised that I needed to practice some of the new stitches and had an idea.  I bought some felt at the local craft store, and cut out some Christmas ornament shapes using a template from a card making goody bag.  My Crop a dile punched a hole in the top for a ribbon, and added a decorative hole finisher (never sure of the right word for these!).  Then I did little rows of stitching and added pretty gold and coloured seed beads to give twinkle and dimension.  The effect was pretty and festive and I liked it, although I need to keep practicing. 

The pics attached show the finished festive ornaments and the bag in the various stages as stitching and then beading was added. 

          Kevin Durant Responds to Chris Paul Trade to Rockets with Emojis on Twitter   

Kevin Durant apparently doesn't think much about his newest competition in the Western Conference.

As Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey announced on Twitter, the franchise acquired perennial All-Star point guard Chris Paul on Wednesday, making last season's No. 3 seed a legitimate contender to beat the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors.                 

Based on this response on Twitter, Durant doesn't seem to take the threat seriously:

Considering the Warriors went 16-1 in the 2017 postseason, it will take a lot for any team to beat this group.


This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

Get the best sports content from the web and social in the new B/R app. Get the app and get the game.

Read more NBA Pacific news on BleacherReport.com

          All Seasons All Wild Bird Food Feeder 10"   
All Seasons All Wild Bird Food Feeder 10"

All Seasons All Wild Bird Food Feeder 10"

Natures Feast All Seasons All Wild Bird Food Feeder Revolutionary Multi-Food feeder.Easy to fill and clean.Squirrel resistant.Action: Twist base to adjust feeding for different seeds or nuts.Suitable for: Most foods from Peanuts to nyjer Seed.

          All Seasons Nyger Seed Feeder - 12"   
All Seasons Nyger Seed Feeder - 12"

All Seasons Nyger Seed Feeder - 12"

Cranswick  Pet Products All Seasons Nyger Seed Feeder - 12" Heavy Duty Contempory Feeder Angled Base To Dispense Food To The Feeder Edge For Birds Easy Access.Quick Release Pin At Base Of Feeder For Easy Cleaning.

          All Seasons Nyjer Seed Feeder - 23cm   
All Seasons Nyjer Seed Feeder - 23cm

All Seasons Nyjer Seed Feeder - 23cm

Natures Feast All Seasons Small Nyjer Seed Feeder. Cast alloy lid and base.Tough polycarbonate tube.Angled base to move food to edges.Easy to hang and fill.stainless Steel ring perch.Should be used in conjunction with a All Seasons Feeder Tray.Overall Height 23cm.


August seems to have been one of those months with a non-stop succession of visitors! All very welcome, but there has been a slow down in craft progress. However, I've managed to complete a number of things, so here's an update. Firstly, you remember the baby sampler I wanted to take to the show? Well, the weather meant the show was cancelled, about five days before the big day, as the ground was so wet it would have turned into a quagmire. Naturally, I was very disappointed, especially as the framer has done a really wonderful job (I went with the framer rather than simply putting it into a bought frame, at Andrew's suggestion ). From the same little book as the sampler design, I stitched a card to welcome the new baby. As you can see from the attached pic, I added a few green seed beads to the border, and mounted it into a little aperture card, with some adorable "girly" ribbon attached. Since I started the card, the baby arrived, and is a healthy little girl called Amelie. The sampler and card are being dispatched tomorrow after Andrew has carefully packed them.

Secondly, my dear great-aunt (92) has been in hospital with a foot problem, so I attach a get well card I made for her. A narrow pink base card,with pink and green papers layered above. Then some of the new die cuts added and a little bit of glitter added via some Stickles (glitter glue). Very simple but very pretty.

Thirdly, I have started out on Christmas cards for the greyhound shop. First batch, made and bagged up are pictured. There are about 20 here. I usually aim to make a couple of hundred.
Fourthly, I attach a pretty anniversary design (which would also work for a wedding) by Joan Elliott, that I stitched for Andrew's parents. Not surprisingly, I added some clear seed beads to the design, and it looks lovely mounted up in its card.

Finally, my auntie has been staying with us this past week, so we had a nice bit of "crafty" shopping. Went again to the new Hobbycraft and a visit to Inkspot, our local favourite craft store.

          All Seasons Seed Feeder 12"   
All Seasons Seed Feeder 12"

All Seasons Seed Feeder 12"

Cranswick Pet Products All Seasons Seed Feeder 12" Heavy Duty Contempory Feeder Angled Base To Dispense Food To The Feeder Edge For Birds Easy Access.Quick Release Pin At Base Of Feeder For Easy Cleaning. 

          All Seasons Seed Feeder 9"   
All Seasons Seed Feeder 9"

All Seasons Seed Feeder 9"

Natures Feast All Seasons Seed Feeder. Easy to fill and clean. Strong Squirrel resistant design. Polycarbonate tube. Cast alloy lid and base. Metal ports. Quick release base for easy cleaning. Suitable for: Seed Mixtures, Sunflower Hearts and Black Sunflower. Overall Height 23cm.

          All Seasons Sunflower Heart Feeder 30cm   
All Seasons Sunflower Heart Feeder 30cm

All Seasons Sunflower Heart Feeder 30cm

Natures Feast All Seasons Sunflower Heart Feeder 30cm Strong alloy lid and base.High volume feeder.Suitable for peanuts and black sunflower seeds. Quick Release Pin At Base Of Feeder For Easy Cleaning.


Some more ATCs and a birthday card for our nephew. The ATCs are for a stitching theme on Do Crafts Forum. I cross-stitched two small pieces - one of a blue bunch of flowers with a creamy yellow bow, and the other of a poppy with seed beads added to represent the stamens. For the blue card, I took a textured card blank and gently rubbed two ink pads over it, Adirondack Juniper and Cool Peri, then spritzed it with a Sky Glitz so giving it a subtle sheen. I added the trimmed and backed stitching, then stamped a row of three flowers along the base in dark blue and coloured them in turquoise. These had a layer of glitter glue added to them for some sparkle. Finally, I went round the edge of the card with a dark blue Sakura pen in a faux stitch and added two ribbon roses to the top of the stitching. I am very pleased with the finished card, as the colour scheme is lovely, very fresh and pretty.
I am much less happy with the other one and am thinking I am not likely to send it to the swap- at least not in its current form. I may have another go at it tomorrow morning.
Finally, I made a birthday card for our nephew who will be eight this week. I used a K & Co card blank in shades of blue and green stripes. To this I added a colourful tag, featuring Chinese lanterns in a row, with some orange ric rac tied at the top. Then I added some K & Co stickers from the same family as the tag and finally an initial J for the birthday boy. This will be posted tomorrow.

          Everything about Pussy Fingering: Making Her Touch The Sky   
Fingering Vagina

Fingering is one of the most erotic ways of making your wife or girlfriend reach orgasm. If done well, this sexual technique can make your partner experience maximum pleasure – even harder than what your penis or mouth can do. If you are not confident with yourself, do not fret! There are a few tips on how you can make your chick scream for more.

Fingering vagina requires that know how many fingers will make your girl feel the heavens. Start with one finger, then two… depending with what she is ok with. But before penetrating inside her pussy, aim for her clit; the main point of stimulation for every woman. The clit, better known as clitoris, is located at the upper part of the pussy-lips above the entrance of the vagina. You’ll have to spread her lips so as to see it – it resembles a small bean seed.

Many girls like it slow, soft and very gently. Make sure your finger is nice and wet when handling the 'stimulator' -- clit; use a lube or better still, your mouth to keep them dripping. There is also another option; if her cunt is really wet, dip two of your fingers gently in her hole to get them wet enough before going for her bean.

Cunt fingering Solo

If she is not wet, don’t rush to play with her G-spot. Start by touching and kissing her on her mouth, including other places like the ears, the neck, suck her earlobes going down to the nipples. Kiss her tummy, then her inner thighs, legs and toes; suck the toes, then finally passionately kiss her ass whispering dirty talk gently up her ear. Do whatever it takes to get her pussy wet, you can even ask her how she likes it best, or get some heads-up from fingering vagina at EroticVideosex.com tube.

When she’s wet, this means she is ready. Gently place the two fingers – the index and the middle finger are great candidates for this – over her clitoris, then softly rub and tease side to side, up and down, and around it. As you do this, always try to be as delicate and light as you can. Tease and play with it as if you are playing with delicate petals of a rose flower. When she gets turned on, you’ll start to feel it swelling and expanding. In case your fingers get dry, spit on her clit or use a pussy juice to keep them really wet.

Know how to set the right amount of tempo by finding the regular motion that she likes, and do it again and again. When she is squirming and getting into it, work your way inside her hole using the two fingers touching the top of the vagina in such a way that feel a rough part when you are about 3 inches inside her. The fleshy patch of skin situated inside on the top is what we call the G-spot! Push up and down ensuring that you reach the G-spot, and as you do this, licking and sucking her clit will work wonders – trust me.

Repeat the motion slowly increasing the tempo, and when she starts to get into her sexual might, do not stop! With the nice pussy fingering, she should start throbbing, gyrate, and then have a really powerful orgasm. For additional information, please check how guys do it in free porn movies.

          AHL Game Night: 3-25-15 Crunch at Phantoms   

Phantoms never had a ghost of a chance.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. He's won 5 straight starts and put together 4 straight quality starts in the process. His save percentage has steadily risen to .904 and he's building up confidence necessary for a solid playoff run.

First Period
SYR Mormina, (4) (Kunyk), 11:46 (SH)

Second Period
SYR Marchessault, (20) , 8:45
SYR Koekkoek, (5) (Martindale, Gourde), 10:56

Third Period
SYR Marchessault, (21) , 2:19 (SH)
SYR Courtnall, (7) (Vermin), 4:47
SYR Martindale, (11) (Courtnall, Dotchin), 8:12
LV Jones, (7) (Comrie, Gordon), 9:22 (PP)

Jonathan Marchessault, Justin Courtnall, and Gudlevskis were the game's three stars. Marchessault is currently tied for 6th in the league in scoring. Courtnall's got 5 points and a +5 rating in 7 games since joining the Crunch. At this rate, maybe the Lightning should've signed him the first run through the organization?

It's been a long road, but Syracuse has closed back within 1 point of Hershey for the 2nd seed in the conference. For the longest time, they looked to be locked into the 3 seed, but they're playing themselves into a spot to challenge for better position.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

read more

          Victoria Eliminated from Playoffs, Will Wait for RBC Cup   

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 3/31

Courtnall has a full month of practices ahead of him.

BCHL Playoffs – Coastal Conference Finals

Powell River Kings 4 @ Victoria Grizzlies 1
Powell River wins Best of 7 series 4-3
W Justin Courtnall, VIC: 0-0-0, 4 PIM (slashing, roughing)
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 2-4-6, 24 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 22-41-63, 98 PIM

Top-seeded Victoria, owned by Lightning co-owner Len Barrie, will not be advancing to the BCHL championship series. Despite coming back from a 3-1 series deficit, the Grizzlies lost on their home ice 4-1 in Game 7, ending the BCHL playoffs - but not career - of Lightning prospect Justin Courtnall. The former 7th rounder was second on the team in scoring during the regular season, but had a hard time finding the scoresheet during the playoffs for the second straight year.

read more

          The Not So Popular Common Grackle    
With the afternoon sun greatly enhancing the Grackle’s iridescent feathers and looking much like a songbird, here the species almost looks appealing. Looks can be deceiving........
We get a good variety of songbirds here, wrens, finches, warblers, etc. Whether it be at the feeders or in our apple tree when it’s covered with blossoms, we often have a plethora of feathered songsters on hand. Then, one day in spring, like clockwork, a flock of Grackles comes flying in and setting up shop in the surrounding trees. As you might guess, they waste no time taking over our bird feeders. Just like that our songbird fest is over – at least until the feeders have been depleted of seed and the marauding Grackles have moved on.

The Common Grackle’s trademark look of sinister defiance.
Whenever I see Grackles, three distinct images come to mind, two of which bring about feelings of disdain. The first instance occurred while doing a landscape job and seeing what I thought was a piece of paper being blow along by the wind. Following close behind was a Grackle, pecking away at the moving object which turned out to be a fledgling Robin, helpless and trying its best to flee its tormentor. The second occurrence was reported by a friend who told me of watching a horde of Common Grackles strutting through a meadow in search of ground-nesting songbirds.  
Imagine what a fledgling bird must feel when confronted by this menacing presence.    
Lastly, I was hiking along Tonawanda Creek one spring afternoon when I heard a commotion in cluster of phragmites. The rustling sound roused my curiosity and as tried to get a closer look a grackle sprang forth from those dead reeds, taking flight with a snake dangling from its beak. That little wildlife drama left me with mixed emotions toward the grackle. On one hand there was just the slightest trace of admiration, after all, here was bird not much bigger than a Blue Jay about to make a meal of a snake. On the other hand I felt no remorse for the snake and no hurrah for the grackle.     

Until next time, 
Jim & Claudia

          Woodpeckers - Percussionists of the Avian Kingdom   
Taking a break from the rigors of its normal routine, a Red-bellied Woodpecker
opts for an easy meal at our suet feeder.
Estimates show that, between foraging for insects, mating displays or for purposes of territoriality, the average woodpecker will strike trees – and sometimes man-made structures, in excess of 12,000 times daily. If you’re even a casual birdwatcher, chances are that at one time or another you wondered how woodpeckers can rapidly and repeatedly hammer away on trees and not appear to suffer any ill effects. Studies have shown that the woodpecker’s brain is encased in a rather spongy bone casing that absorbs the shock of repeated pounding while extra muscle along the back of the woodpecker’s neck provide much needed support for their daily task.

This Red-bellied Woodpecker has a firm grip on the trunk of an aged Cottonwood.
As the photo above shows, Woodpeckers belong to the avian group classified as tree-clingers. It is on trees such as this where the Red-bellied Woodpecker’s tongue serves it well. It’s barb-covered tongue is nearly two and a half times the length of its bill, enabling it to better apprehend prey hiding in the cracks and crevices of thick bark.   

Don't let his diminutive stature fool you.
Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers are quite similar in appearance.  Both readily dine on berries, nuts & seeds but, most importantly they will aggressively seek out insects, including beetle larvae, adult beetles, ants, caterpillars, etc. 
It won't take long for him to find his next meal.
The Pileated Woodpecker is the heavy duty excavator of the tree-clingers, capable of busting out a large rectangular cavity in dead or decaying trees in search of their favorite food, carpenter ants. Whereas the Downy, Hairy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers are quiet, the Pileated is often heard prior to being spotted, its presence given away by a raucous CUK-CUK-CUK-CUK.

It has been a long while since we’ve wondered whether woodpeckers get headaches from their daily workload. Along the way we’ve not only come to appreciate their role in nature, we also came to realize that every species comes into this world equipped to do the job for which it was intended. Nothing was overlooked because ...........................God saw that is was good.

Until next time

Jim & Claudia

          Bye Bye AdGrads, hello AdMISSION...   

Bye bye, all. See you at the Ad-Mission...

Hello, everyone.

This is quite a hard post to write. 

I (Will) have written AdGrads for about five and a half years now - and, to get to the point, AdGrads is moving to become part of the IPA's graduate recruitment blog, the AdMission

Initially, AdGrads was begun by the four of us. Myself, Anton Reyniers, Alex Jena and Sam Ismail. The blog was originally meant to stand as a counterpoint to the dearth of Advertising advice out there. The IPA had a good fact file on agencies, but there was nothing out there that *really* showcased what life was like when getting in as a graduate.

The seeds were sown when my blog (‘Confessions of a Wannabe Ad Man’, now living here, and still being updated, happily) and Anton & Sam’s blog (‘Ad Lads’) seemed to have the same, underlying purpose - to document what the first steps in Advertising were really like.

People sometimes asked us, ‘have you ever accepted any money for blogging?’ And, I’m pleased to say that no, no-one at AdGrads has. We have always written and posted help and advice because it was the right thing to do. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the blog has had an obvious upside for us - AdGrads has always believed that by helping people out, it’ll benefit the agency sector and help us out when we’re more senior. More bright people equals better work, which in turn, equals better place/s to work - places that aren’t staffed by nepotism and privilege, which was one of the big driving forces behind AdGrads’ inception.

What’s more, over the past few years, I’m pleased to say the blog’s helped a lot of people and agencies recruit and be recruited - examples that range from helping Leo Burnett with their revamped graduate scheme to writing for The Guardian. Personally, as I’ve become the sole writer of the blog, I’ve met a whole lot of bright, vivacious, interesting people who will be the agency stars of the future. I hope, in some small way, that AdGrads has helped them.

Finally, and most encouragingly, I’m delighted to say that as Sam, Alex, Anton and myself became busier and less able to contribute as much as we did back in 2007, the IPA have really stepped up their efforts to help provide different perspectives about how to get into the business. Recent IPA presidencies have made graduate recruitment a priority, which is utterly brilliant.

With that in mind, the IPA have launched the AdMission. You can read more about it here. I (Will) will be writing there periodically - and it'll use 'the best of AdGrads' to help add to its content; however, more to the point, there will be another generation of AdGrads who will be writing about their adventures in the business. Anton, Alex, Sam and myself are now more removed from graduate experiences, and, given that we have less time, it’s good, right and appropriate for the next generation to step up. I wish them all the luck in the world. 

Read what they have to say here - the Ad-Mission should be your first point of call for graduate recruitment queries.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. The blog won’t be deleted (even if I wanted to delete it, I’m not the admin - Sam is, and I’ve not been in touch with him for a while); it will still provide a useful resource for those searching for ‘AdGrads’. Similarly, the twitter account will remain, but I’d urge those who follow it to follow the IPA/Ad-Mission twitter account.  

P.P.S. If, for some reason or another, you’d like to meet for some graduate advice, I’m more than happy to meet for a coffee before work. Email me at william.humphrey [AT] yahoo.co.uk. 

          Feeding Parrots: Converting a Seed Junky   
. . 8-29-13 I began using your sprouting mix in order to convert my seed junky to a healthy diet to improve his color and overall health. Janet *** 8-29-13 Thank you Janet. Please let us know how this transition goes for you and your birds. In Health & Healing for Parrots Everywhere, Leslie Moran […]
          Seed Processing Assistant - Westland Agro Ltd. - Gravelbourg, SK   
Responsible for incoming and outgoing shipments, operating and maintaining seed cleaning equipment, augers and tractors, ensuring quality of product and... $23 - $28 an hour
From Indeed - Thu, 30 Mar 2017 17:23:18 GMT - View all Gravelbourg, SK jobs
          Comment on Saw Palmetto Berries Pickers Are Back! by Lynn   
What I do have a problem with is that there are miles of vacant lots but they have to get right up in your yard.I have an Australian Shepherd and even if she is in the house she can hear them and she will bark for hours will not deal with it this year.Putting on my snake boots and 2 square acres will be picked before they can get here. And if the fruit is still sellable I'll sit on them till the price goes up. Doubt it will hit last year's price, very dry this winter. And for those who think they are making an honest living,not by my standards.they don't have to claim any money they get. And don't think they're not on assistance with a green card or illegally here.And if they still come and mess with my neighboring lots next to me,I'll just takeme dog for a walk through the woods till they go.I won't get physical unless I feel threatened. And let the police tell me I can't walk on those properties. Enough ranting. And for the animal lovers, don't worry,if I can't sell them weeks old they will be thrown throughout Greenbriar to reseed and feed our wildlife
          Comment on Becoming Better Negotiators Through Harvard Law Training by St brak   
Inclusion of seeds from the Asian countries is a good approach towards understanding the global environment in a better way !
          Dub of A Preacherman   

Yes! We've finished our Epic tale of love and lust amongst the seedy Oxford alleyways for Count Skylarkin and Harvey K-Tel's banging Dub of a Preacherman. It only took us about a weekend or something, yeah. It was well easy.

Hope you all like it! It's probably going to be Christmas Number 1!

You can download the tune from Count Skylarkin's Soundcloud HERE
          Comment on Student Voices: Planting the Seeds of Peace by GRANDMA ROSALEE, GRANDPA RON   
Every day in every way we are so proud of you, Krys. You have sowed the seeds of friendship and helpfulness since your studies began in Graland and continued at East High, Pamona, your trips to France, Africa, and then Harvard. We can't wait to see you in May!
          Multimodal imaging analysis in Charles Bonnet Syndrome: a case report   
Title: Multimodal imaging analysis in Charles Bonnet Syndrome: a case report

Author, co-author: Martial, Charlotte; Di Perri, Carol; Larroque, Stephen; Cavaliere, Carlo; Wannez, Sarah; Kupers, Ron; LAUREYS, Steven

Abstract: Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a rare condition characterized by visual impairment associated with complex visual hallucinations in psychologically normal elderly people. Previous studies have suggested that visual hallucinations may be caused by brain damage in the visual system. However, in the case of CBS, specific brain regions in the occipital cortex have not been clearly determined and functional neuroimaging remains relatively unexplored. To our knowledge, functional connectivity by means of resting-state magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has never been investigated in patients with CBS. We here aimed to investigate structural imaging, brain metabolism and functional connectivity in a patient with CBS. Resting-state functional and structural MRI were acquired in an 85-year-old patient with CBS and 12 age- and gender-matched normally sighted controls. Cognitive functioning was measured by behavioral assessment. A seed-based resting state fMRI was performed to investigate the default mode network (DMN), the executive control network and the visual networks connectivity. A voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis was employed to investigate the grey matter volume. Cortical and subcortical grey matter thickness were further investigated. Finally, 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) was also acquired to observe regional glucose uptake by comparing standard uptake values (SUVs). Increased functional connectivity was found between the DMN and the temporo-occipital fusiform cortex, as well as between the secondary visual cortex and the left frontal cortex, in the CBS patient compared to controls. The patient also demonstrated increased functional connectivity between the primary visual cortex and the left supramarginal gyrus and between the associative visual cortex and the superior temporal gyrus/angular gyrus, as compared to controls. Decreased grey matter volume was observed in the lateral occipital cortex/angular gyrus in our patient as compared to controls. Diminished grey matter thickness values were observed in the lateral geniculate nucleus compared to healthy controls. FDG-PET results confirmed previous work and showed bilateral hypometabolism in the occipital cortex (mean SUV reduction of 5.36%, p<0.001). Our results suggest that structural alterations in visual system in CBS are associated with compensatory/adaptive changes in functional connectivity that involve regions known to support hallucinations of faces in CBS patients. We suggest that this functional connectivity reorganization following visual structural damage may contribute to visual hallucinations. These findings might shed light on the pathophysiology underlining this rare condition.
          Kutukan Misterius Paling Terkenal di Dunia   
Sejarah dunia kita ini sangat penuh dengan hal misterius yang mungkin tidak bisa diterima oleh nalar dan akal sehat, namun itulah yang terjadi, seperti hal misterius yang namanya kutukan, semenjak zaman dahulu hingga zaman kita sekarang ini, banyak diantara kutukan ini yang sangat tidak masuk akal, namun itu benar terjadi, anda mungkin bisa kaget setelah membaca kutukan kutukan aneh ini, termasuk diantara daftar berikut adalah kutukan superman. mari kita lanjutkan kepada Kutukan Misterius Paling Terkenal
Kutukan Superman

Kutukan superman ini mengacu kepada ketidakberuntungan dan nasib sial terhadap orang orang yang terlibat dengan cerita superman dalam beberapa tahun ini. mungkin yang paling terkenal adalah kutukan pada George Reeves yang merupakan pemeran awal superman pada serial televisi dan Christoper Reeve yang memainkan karakter Superman di film film awalnya, George Reeves bunuh diri, dan Christoper Reeve menjadi lumpuh setelah terjatuh dari kuda. korban lainnya adalah Jerry Siegel dan Joe Shuster yang merupakan pencipta karakter Superman namun mereka hanya mendapat sedikit sekali uang, karena Perusahaan DC Comic yang merupakan pegawai mereka memegang seluruh hak cipta atas karya superman, beberapa orang pernah mengatakan bahwa jerry dan joe menaruh kutukan kepada karakter superman karena mereka merasa hasil jerih payah mereka tidak dihargai. ada sebuah spekulasi yang mengatakan bahwa John F Kennedy juga merupakan korban dari kutukan ini, sebelum kematiannya, seorang staff dari JFK menyetujui skenario cerita superman dimana sang pahlawan memuji kesehatan fisik sang presiden, skenario ini dijadwalkan akan rilis pada bulan april 1964.
Oleh karena kutukan semacam ini lah banyak sekali aktor yang menolak untuk memerankan tokoh superman, Contohnya adalah Pemeran Superman yang bernama Paul Walker, dia terpilih sebagai salah satu dari 10 aktor paling buruk.
Kutukan Porsche James Dean

Pada tanggal 30 september 1955, tepatnya pada pukul 5.45 seorang icon film yang bernama james dean meninggal dunia akibat kecelakaan saat mobil Porsche Spyder (Nicknamenya “Little Bastard” yang baru dibelinya menabrak mobil lain, pada saat kejadian James dean sedang bersama dengan Rolf Wutherich yang merupakan sahabatnya dan juga seorang mekanik, pada saat kecelakaan itu Rolf terlempar dari Mobil dan selamat dari kecelakaan maut itu, namun Dean terkunci di dalam mobil, lehernya patah. Donald Turnupseed, pengemudi dari mobil yang ditabrak oleh dean hanya mengalami cedera ringan, setelah tragedi tersebut, seorang modifikator mobil bernama George Barris membeli rongsokan mobil itu seharga $2.500. Saat mobil itu tiba di garasi Barris, Porsche ini tergelincir dan jatuh menimpa salah satu mekanik yang sedang mengeluarkan mobil ini, kecelakaan ini mengakibatkan mekanik tersebut patah kedua kakinya.
Barris mempunyai firasat buruk sejak pertama kali melihat mobil ini, dan kecurigaanya pun terbukti saat balapan di Pornona Fair Grounds pada 24 oktober 1956, dua orang dokter yang bernama Troy McHenry dan William Eschrid yang mana mobil mereka mempunyai onderdil yang di ambil dari “Little Bastard”, McHenry tewas di saat mobilnya yang menggunakan mesim porsche hilang kendali dan menabrak pohon, sementara itu mobil Eschrid terbalik namun Eschrid selamat walaupun menderita luka parah, selanjutnya dia mengatakan bahwa mobil yang ia pakai tiba tiba terkunci saat dia sedang menikung,
Kecelakaan yang berhubungan dengan mobil ini terus berlanjut sampai tahun 1960
Kutukan Kennedy

Kutukan Kennedy ini mengacu kepada serangkaian kejadian sial yang dialami oleh keluarga Kennedy, beberapa pihak menganggap bahwa kesialan beruntun yang terjadi kepada keluarga kennedy sebagai sebuah kutukan, beberapa dari keluarga Kennedy mati muda, misalnya Saudara dari John F Kennedy dan Robert F Kennedy yang mati dibunuh pada saat dia sedang berada di kantornya kemudian ada John F Kennedy Jr. yang mati pada kecelakaan pesawat di tahun 1999, beberapa anggota keluarga lainnya menganggap ini sebagai bukti dari kutukan tersebut, selanjutnya ada juga Joseph Kennedy yang dibunuh pada saat perang dunia ke dua, dan Edward Kennedy Jr, yang kakinya di amputasi pada usia 12 tahun dan yang terakhir ada juga Michael Kennedy yang tewas kecelakaan pada saat bermain ski.
Kutukan 27
Klub 27 ini juga dikenal sebagai klub 27 abadi,ini adalah nama budaya pop kepada sekumpulan dari musisi rock dan blues yang kesemuanya mati pada saat berusia 27 tahun, terkadang akibat hal misterius, ada beberapa perdebatan kepada kriteria yang digunakan untuk memasukkan orang kepada klib ini, pendorong dari pembentukan grup ini adalah kematian beberapa musisi ini yang kebetulan pada Usia 27. Termasuk di grup ini adalah Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison dan Janis Joplin, Brian Jones juga termasuk, Kemudian Kurt Cobain juga sekarang sering di anggap layak masuk ke dalam grup ini karena impactnya dalam bidang musik beberapa tahun belakangan ini
Kutukan Tutankhamen

Mungkin inilah kutukan yang paling fenomenal dan misterius di dunia, ceritanya beberapa bulan setelah pembukaan makam tutankhamen’s tragedi menimpa Lord Carnarvon -57 tahun- (Penyumbang dana untuk pencarian makam tutankhamen), beliau mengalami penyakit misterius dan dilarikan ke cairo, dan meninggal beberapa hari kemudian, penyebab pasti kematiannya tidak diketahui, namun sepertinya penyebabnya akibat infeksi terhadap gigitan srangga, Legenda mengatakan bahwa saat dia meninggal terjadi banyak kejadian yang tidak bisa diterima akal sehat. seluruh cairo menjadi gelap dan tidak ada cahaya, Anaknya juga melaporkan bahwa anjing kesayangannya menggonggong dan tiba tiba langusng mati. yang lebih aneh lagi, di saat mummy tutankhamen di buka pada tahun 1925, ditemukan adanya luka di pipi kiri tepat sama persis seperti posisi gigitan serangga pada Carnavaron,
Pada Tahun 1929 sebelas orang yang terhubung dengan pencarian makam meninggal mendadak dan dengan cara yang tidak wajar. ini juga termasuk dua kerabat dari Carnavaron. Sekretaris Pribadi Carter, Richard Bethell dan Ayahnya, Lord Westburry, Westburry mengakhiti hidupnya sendiri dengan cara melompat dari atas gedung, dan dia meninggalkan pesan yang bertuliskan “Aku benar benar tidak tahan lagi terhadap horror ini, dan tidak tahu harus bagaimana lagi, jadi aku mencari jalan keluarku”.
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          The Covenant and the Cargo Cult: Concluded   


Let's get this out of the way first - SPOILERS! Then this: Alien: Covenant is not a very good movie. 

It's not offensively terrible, in fact it goes out of its way to be as inoffensive as possible. Even the gore seems polite. 

I'd give you a synopsis but you can just as easily take all your favorite scenes from the Alien franchise, arrange them however you please, add in a cartoon villain whose motivations are entirely incomprehensible and then go fix yourself up some Jiffy Pop.

Alien: Covenant goes to great lengths to piss away the entire ontology proposed in the film it's meant to act as a sequel to, ostensibly annihilating the god-like Engineer race in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it CGI eruption that has all the heft and drama of a 80s video game. 

But at the same time it seems to tell a story beneath the surface narrative. And a lot of its riffs will be well familiar to anyone versed in Ancient Astronaut Theory. Which, let's face it, was arguably extraneous to the running plot of Prometheus (space mission finds remains of alien race mixed up with the xenomorph progenitors).

As Gordon and I discussed, it also feels like it meant to originally serve as the advance guard for a new AAT media blitz*, a plan that appears to have been scuttled in the wake of Hurricane Trump and the resultant cold (for the time being) civil war the country has been plunged into. 

I've never seen divide-and-rule politics as divisive as what we're seeing today, with the ostensible goal being to atomize the population into impotent, squabbling subsects in order to preempt any potential challenge to oligarchal rule, even if the oligarchy itself is itself carved up into mutually antagonistic camps. (I should mention here that this whole program seems to have fired up in the wake of the Occupy movements).

Of course there's also the fact that the easiest social grouping (tribe, country, empire, etc) to conquer is one that's divided against itself. 

Just saying.

But even this miserable turn of events seems to resonate with the AAT perspective as well, specifically the "gods at war" subplot running through Zecharia Sitchin's bibliography, as well as some of the theorizing emerging on the fringe science circuit.

Now, there's a strand of thinking among those who wrestle with the Fermi Paradox, essentially arguing that high technology is inherently anti-adaptive and inevitably leads to self-destruction. 

What this theory essentially proposes is that we've not had any (acknowledged) contact with extraterrestrial races because they've all been wiped out by their own advanced technology (read: 'weaponry'). This of course is a wildly egocentric assumption ("extraterrestrial races are all as savage and murderous as we are") and automatically presumes that our own high technology is not in fact some kind of alien intrusion, even if it behaves every bit like one.

I bring this up because there are two running themes in Alien: Covenant I do want to unpack, because they do (obliquely) reference some of the basic tenets of AAT (the film seems to keep a lot of its AAT on the DL).

First off is David's genocide of the Engineer planet. This was a fairly ridiculous subplot, essentially chucking everything we were told about these beings in the first film. This is a billions year-old race that seeded all life on Earth and yet they're all defeated by a lone android who had hijacked one of their spacecraft? Huh?

Wouldn't they naturally have some kind of defense infrastructure that would have intercepted this ship before it ever reached orbit? There's no attempt at following the story's own internal logic.

Now there are all kinds of ways you could have made sense of this. The Engineers had degenerated over the millennia and lost their high technology, that they'd become so drunk on their own power that they never expected any exterior challenge, etc etc etc. But the film makes absolutely no attempt to sell any of that.

But by the same token there's a fascinating allegory at work here, even if it's unintentional, and that ties back to the war of the gods theme running through a lot of AAT theorizing. 

Note that the Engineers aren't decked up in their Gigeresque finery in the apocalypse scene but look more like the kind of quasi-Medievals familiar to space fantasy fans. They also look pretty stupid gazing up at the approaching ship like the hapless New Agers in Mars Attacks. 

But were they in fact the Engineers? Some fans don't seem to think so.

A closer look at the (humanoid) aliens in the film may suggest that this in fact was another descendant race, the clue being the skintone (matte and pinkish as opposed to chalky white and moderately reflective). They also don't seem quite as black-eyed. Another clue is their reaction to the ship, arguably suggesting these people were expecting their gods to return.


Is this a fakeout or a reference to another covert subplot altogether? It's possible there was a revelation that this was just a descendant race in the original script but that all got lost in the rewriting process. 

Perhaps David's apparent plan to kill off the human colonists- who are both his progenitors and another descendant race- are the clue here. Either way, the story (mankind's cousins wiped out by a space invader) ties in pretty neatly with the theories put forth by plasma physicist Dr. John Brandenburg:
"Dr. Brandenburg has previously theorized that the red color of Mars and the radioactive substances in its soil are the result of a thermonuclear explosion from natural causes. He now says that the “high concentration” of Xenon-129 in the Martian atmosphere and uranium and thorium on the surface are remnants of two unnatural nuclear explosions, most likely triggered by alien invaders. 
"Who were these aliens invading and eventually wiping out? Brandenburg believes Mars once had a climate like Earth and was inhabited by two civilizations – one in a region called Cydonia Mensa and another at Galaxias Chaos. Why these two regions? 
'Analysis of new images from Odyssey, MRO and Mars Express orbiters now show strong evidence of eroded archeological objects at these sites.'
According to Brandenburg, the Martians maintained a high civilization, albeit a non-technological one:
He says Mars once had an Earth-like climate home to animal and plant life, and any intelligent life would have been about as advanced as the ancient Egyptians on Earth.
There's also David's genetic tinkering with the xenomorph genome. As a self-styled god, David here is playing the part suggested by AATheorists, who postulate that the Anunaki went through a series of experiments in creating the modern human genome and eradicated unwanted models while they did so. 

Strangely enough, this also correlates to the AAT-friendly origin myth put forth by the ancient Greek writer Hesiod in his landmark Works and Days. Hesiod, significantly, was apparently deeply influenced by Babylonian literature, the Enuma Elish in particular

And the war of the gods certainly correlates to the Titanomachy, or the wars between the Olympians and their progenitors, the Titans.

So is there an unspoken inference that David is the titular Prometheus, defying the "gods" and shepherding the engineered development of the xenomorph race? In the context of the film itself it's really hard to care one way or the other but it does suggest that there was in fact a lot more meat on the bone in previous drafts of the script.


But it's worth noting that the Alien franchise is not only another example of a major SF property that revolves around AAT it's also an example of a SF franchise onto which AAT was grafted midstream (at the same time it was grafted onto the Predator franchise). 

Some franchises have AAT baked into their genome at conception (Star Trek (more or less), the Space Odyssey series, Battlestar Galactica) but many more seem to have it implanted sometime into their runs (Quatermass, Doctor Who, X-Files, Indiana Jones, Transformers, Jonny Quest, Godzilla, Doom, Halo, Assassin's Creed). 

When the Olympics came to Hollywood

This raises a very simple question: why? Is there in fact a AAT cargo cult at work in the entertainment industry? I mean that sounds ridiculous, right? 

Well, maybe it seems a bit less so when you look at the influence the Nine had on the Star Trek franchise (relaunching on television this year) or the fact that one of the most powerful cults in Hollywood is explicitly AAT-oriented right down to its very core. There's also the Mormon Church, which is at the very least AAT-compatible.

On the other hand, there's also the Brookings Report. 
The report has become noted for one short section entitled "The implications of a discovery of extraterrestrial life", which examines the potential implications of such a discovery on public attitudes and values. The section briefly considers possible public reactions to some possible scenarios for the discovery of extraterrestrial life, stressing a need for further research in this area. It recommends continuing studies to determine the likely social impact of such a discovery and its effects on public attitudes…" 
One detail that caught the eye of researchers like Richard Hoagland is the mention of possible artifacts discovered on our neighbors, artifacts that might call our entire view of our planet and our very existence into question.
"While face-to-face meetings with it will not occur within the next twenty years (unless its technology is more advanced than ours, qualifying it to visit Earth), artifacts left at some point in time by these life forms might possibly be discovered through our space activities on the Moon, Mars, or Venus." 
And then there's this passage, which basically explains why so many STEM types are so deeply wounded by AAT:
"It has been speculated that, of all groups, scientists and engineers might be the most devastated by the discovery of relatively superior creatures, since these professions are most clearly associated with the mastery of nature, rather than with the understanding and expression of man. Advanced understanding of nature might vitiate all our theories at the very least, if not also require a culture and perhaps a brain inaccessible to Earth scientists."  

And the money quote: suggestions for how that eventuality- or some kind of alien contact- might be managed by the Managers.
Continuing studies to determine emotional and intellectual understanding and attitudes -- and successive alterations of them if any -- regarding the possibility and consequences of discovering intelligent extraterrestrial life. 
Historical and empirical studies of the behavior of peoples and their leaders when confronted with dramatic and unfamiliar events or social pressures. Such studies might help to provide programs for meeting and adjusting to the implications of such a discovery. Questions one might wish to answer by such studies would include: How might such information, under what circumstances, be presented to or withheld from the public for what ends?  
And lo and behold, 57 years after the Brookings Report we get this:
The solar system that humanity calls home may have once been inhabited by an extinct species of spacefaring aliens, a top scientist has suggested. 
A space scientist has suggested ancient extraterrestrials could have lived on Mars, Venus or even Earth before disappearing without a trace. 
In a fascinating academic paper about “prior indigenous technological species,” Jason T. Wright from Pennsylvania State University raised the fascinating possibility that evidence of these extinct aliens could exist somewhere in the solar system. 
Wright is an astronomer who received global attention after suggesting an “alien megastructure” had been spotted in orbit around a distant star.Now the stargazer has said advanced aliens may have left behind “technosignatures” for us to find — if only we knew where to look for them.
Of course, this is exactly what Richard Hoagland has been talking about- and has been roundly attacked for doing so- for at least the past 40 years. But I suppose it's different when the very same theorizing comes from within the priesthood.

It's funny; last night I was cutting the grass and thinking about stuff. You know, like you do when you're cutting the grass. Then I started mulling over how simplistic and repetitive the Ancient Aliens show is and how quickly Giorgio Tsoukalos transformed himself into a cartoon character. 

But then I realized that's how educational indoctrination works in our culture. 

All kinds of teaching and training materials in public schools use cartoon characters, right? Walt Disney probably made a fortune licensing his characters for educational films. And it's through repetition that people really learn anything. 

So Ancient Aliens might chew over the same gristle year after year but that helps keep its messaging consistent as its audience ebbs and flows (read: enters/graduates high school). Love it or loathe it, you have to acknowledge that there's a cogent methodology at work there. 

Government-conditioning program or cult indoctrination, they all work out of the same toolbox.

Is it all leading up to some major revelation, the way 'Disclosure' advocates expect? Or is all leading up to some massive Project Blue Beam type of hoax? 

Well,  why would anyone expect it to? Why would anyone expect the skies to open- or not- as the climax of all this conditioning? 

The answer, of course, is Hollywood. Because that's the way it works in the movies. Real life doesn't usually work that way. 

However, no matter who or what is behind all this the fact remains that, like it or don't, AAT (and the UFO topic in general) have already dramatically changed our culture, our technology and our society. Certainly our popular culture. 

Being a bit long in the tooth it still boggles my mind how many younger people take the basic assumptions of AAT for granted, even if they haven't read a page of Sitchin or Von Daniken or even watched a single Ancient Aliens. They don't have to. So much of their favorite pop culture is neck deep in it.

*You can toss in the Sekret Machines project here, spearheaded by former Blink 182 guitarist Tom Delonge and Peter Levenda of Necronomicon and Sinister Forces fame, and involving all kinds of Deep State heavies such as John Podesta.

          The Covenant and the Cargo Cult, Part 1   

Sir Ridley Scott's long-awaited prequel to Prometheus opened this week in certain countries and is set to open in America next week. For those waiting for a continuation of the storyline from the last movie- when crew member Elizabeth Shaw and the head of android David taking off to invade the Engineer homeworld- well, I hate to say it but you're out of luck. 

The Prometheus story is referenced only as exposition, apparently.  I hope I'm not giving away any spoilers (it feels like half the movie has already been posted to YouTube in the form of trailers and excerpts) but it is what it is.

Of course, the bit with Elizabeth and David's disembodied head from Prometheus is yet another one of those bizarre and inexplicable references to John the Baptist that tentpole sci-fi movies are so fond of. Remember that John's mother was named Elizabeth*, who had her own covenant with an extraterrestrial entity (the Archangel Gabriel, in this case). 

But I digress. If you've been following the previews and the various puff pieces in the media you'll suss out that Alien: Covenant is more like a remake of the first Alien film than a sequel to Prometheus. In much the same way as the JJ Abrams' Star Wars it's meant to act a jumping-on point for the Alien franchise for post-Millennials:
If Star Wars: The Force Awakens led the way in merging fan-service universe-building with fresh heroes, stories and themes for a new generation, Alien: Covenant grabs the reboot ball and runs with it. 
Director Sir Ridley Scott has said himself how much he was impressed by Disney's handling of Star Wars' renaissance, and it's clear to see why this similarly iconic '70s sci-fi world is equally ripe for a life-extending overhaul.
The film apparently references the AAT of Prometheus but also taps into the current anxieties over AI and robots and their potential to do away with the rest of us, kind of like a more ambitious HAL 9000. Scott apparently 86'd the idea of more direct sequel to Prometheus after reading some of the negative reviews dumped on the film, which he called "a mistake":
What changed was the reaction to ‘Prometheus’, which was a pretty good ground zero reaction. It went straight up there, and we discovered from it that [the fans] were really frustrated. They wanted to see more of the original [monster] and I thought he was definitely cooked, with an orange in his mouth. So I thought: ‘Wow, OK, I’m wrong’.
Well, somebody thought Scott was wrong, "somebody" almost certainly being a Fox accountant or three. However, one SF fansite accused Scott of "selling out" by not following up on the Prometheus story and I'm sure a lot of other fans will disappointed the story was dispensed with so easily. Either way, Scott continues to make eyebrow-raising comments about aliens in the press, referring to them recently as "superior beings."
Alien creator Ridley Scott has said that he is convinced that there are extra-terrestrials out there – and one day they will come for us. The veteran director said he believed in higher beings as he prepared to release the sixth episode of the sci-fi horror series, Alien: Covenant, next month. 
“I believe in superior beings. I think it is certainly likely. An expert I was talking to at Nasa said to me, ‘Have you ever looked in the sky at night? You mean to tell me we are it?’ That’s ridiculous.” 
“So when you see a big thing in the sky, run for it,” he joked.“Because they are a lot smarter than we are, and if you are stupid enough to challenge them you will be taken out in three seconds.”
Which makes you wonder about the whole "Covenant" thing, doesn't it? 

The term is essentially religious ('contract' is more commonly used to describe written civil agreements), dating back to the Old Testament.  And seeing how that covenant was made with a god who flew around the sky in a pillar of smoke and light, and needed a special environment built in order to interact with his subjects, you do start to wonder what the implications of all this happen to be. 

Well, start with this. Like Jack Kirby (whose Eternals so inspired the first Alien film),  Scott seems to have been bitten by the ancient astronaut bug and bitten hard. I don't know what the current status is on the project but back in 2014 it was reported that Sir Scott was developing an AAT series for HBO called Pharaoh:
Scott has signed on to serve as the executive producer and director for this project, which was created and sold to the premium cable channel by David Schulner. The Hollywood Reporter explains: 
The drama explores an alternate explanation for the foundation and ascent of the ancient Egyptian empire — one in which greatness was bestowed upon us by beings from another world, calling into question what it means to be a “god.” The project was co-created by Giannina Facio and Colet Abedi, who will exec produce alongside Scott and David Zucker for Scott Free. 
His film Prometheus was partially inspired by the writings of Swiss author Erich von Daniken who is known for his books like Chariots of the Gods? and Gods From Outer Space. Von Daniken is also a regular talking head on History Channel’s Ancient Aliens.
Again, I'm not sure where Pharaoh stands today but according to an October report from Omni the project was still on. It may be why the planned Stargate reboot was reported as being put into turnaround in November. Which, if so, strikes me a bit curious. The mighty Devlin and Emmerich nosed off their turf by Sir Scott? Huh.

But there's an interesting little visual cue in one of the trailers that suggests that Scott takes AAT very seriously. The Covenant crew lands on an alien planet and discovers a familiar sight. From io9:
This alien planet that looks untouched by human hands is growing recognizable wheat, which very much has been touched by human hands. This plays into the Alien mythos that there was a race of “Engineers” that were the progenitors of humans—they’re similar to us, why wouldn’t their food be similar? And if they were traveling around, why wouldn’t they carry seeds like we do?
Why is wheat so significant in the context of the Prometheus teleology? The late Lloyd Pye explains: 
Many have "wild" predecessors that were apparently a starting point for the domesticated variety, but others--like many common vegetables--have no obvious precursors. But for those that do, such as wild grasses, grains and cereals, how they turned into wheat, barley, millet, rice, etc. is a profound mystery. 
No botanist can conclusively explain how wild plants gave rise to domesticated ones. The emphasis here is on "conclusively". Botanists have no trouble hypothesising elaborate scenarios in which Neolithic (New Stone Age) farmers somehow figured out how to hybridise wild grasses, grains and cereals, not unlike Gregor Mendel when he cross-bred pea plants to figure out the mechanics of genetic inheritance. It all sounds so simple and so logical, almost no one outside scientific circles ever examines it closely.
Modern wheat is one of those innovations that scientists revert to ontological arguments to explain. The wheat we know obviously exists so it simply had to have been the product of long-term domestication. How exactly the domestication of an essentially-inedible wild grass was domesticated into a modern foodcrop-- over the span of centuries, mind you, if not millennia-- by illiterate Stone Age farmers is never exactly made clear. Pye again:
 On the other hand, those New Stone Age farmers who were fresh out of their caves and only just beginning to turn soil for the first time (as the ”official” scenario goes), somehow managed to transform the wild grasses, grains and cereals growing around them into their domesticated ”cousins”. Is that possible? Only through a course in miracles! Actually, it requires countless miracles within two large categories of miracles.  
The seeds and grains were maddeningly small, like pepper flakes or salt crystals, which put them beyond the grasping and handling capacity of human fingers. They were also hard, like tiny nutshells, making it impossible to convert them to anything edible. Lastly, their chemistry was suited to nourishing animals, not humans. So wild varieties were entirely too small, entirely too tough and nutritionally inappropriate for humans. 
They needed to be greatly expanded in size, greatly softened in texture and overhauled at the molecular level–which would be an imposing challenge for modern botanists, much less Neolithic farmers.  
Despite the seeming impossibility of meeting those daunting objectives, modern botanists are confident the first sodbusters had all they needed to do it: time and patience. Over hundreds of generations of selective crossbreeding, they consciously directed the genetic transformation of the few dozen that would turn out to be most useful to humans. And how did they do it? By the astounding feat of doubling, tripling and quadrupling the number of chromosomes in the wild varieties! 
Domestic wheat and oats were elevated from an ancestor with seven chromosomes to their current 42–an expansion by a factor of six.”
Remember that the cultivation of wheat brought about the rise of the Sumerians, who had oddly intimate relationships with their gods (the Anunaki, of course). The ancient Greeks were certain that wheat was the gift of a god; Demeter, in this case. It was the final "mystery" in the dramas put on at Eleusis. The Egyptians credited wheat to Osiris, the star-sailor.  So its inclusion in this film hardly seems incidental. On the contrary; it looks as if someone were doing their homework.

Now, longtime readers of The Secret Sun realize that nearly every major SF franchise of the past 50 years (starting with 2001: A Space Odyssey) is centered around ancient astronaut theory in one way or the other. 

Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars (arguably), Battlestar GalacticaAlien (of course), Stargate, The X-Files, Transformers, Indiana Jones and the entire Marvel and DC Universes all established their creation myths, in varying degrees, as the work of advanced extraterrestrial interlopers. Does that seem coincidental to you? It certainly does not to me.

There've also been a ton of less-visible but still-signficant TV shows and movies that have done the same, like Jonny Quest, The Phoenix, The Man from Atlantis as well as Childhood's End, Cocoon, Hangar 18, countless American and Japanese cartoons (even the hugely-popular cardgame/anime property Yu-Gi-Oh). So much so that you can't help but wonder if there's not a very powerful cargo cult at work behind the scenes in Tinseltown.

Bearing all that in mind, as well as the Ancient Aliens cable show (now in its 12th season), researchers might be forgiven for believing this was all part of some long-running conditioning program. You know, kind of like the one suggested by the Brookings Institution report back in 1960. 

Or exactly like it, actually.

Researchers would be especially forgiven in light of this recent blockbuster news story:
Was our solar system once home to an advanced civilization other than our own — perhaps one that predated humanity by hundreds of millions of years before being wiped out by an asteroid impact or some other cataclysm? 
There's no evidence for such a pre-human indigenous technological species, though people have been speculating about one since ancient times. But a respected space scientist points out in a provocative new paper that if the existence of home-grown intelligent space aliens has never been established, it's never been ruled out either. 
And if a race of smart and perhaps spacefaring aliens did make their home in our solar system, traces of their lost civilization might still be out there somewhere in the system just waiting for us to find them.
Quite a "synchronicity," don't you think?

UPDATE: Check out Gordon's review on Alien: Covenant on Rune Soup.


* Elizabeth is often traced to Elisheba but you can also frame it as a contraction of Eloah-Isis-Beth, or "House of Isis, the Goddess."

          The Holy Fool (Updated 4/1/2017)   

The jingling of bells during the dance is meant to frighten evil spirits and the clashing of sticks represent the fight between good and evil. The dancer who weaves in and out of the team of dancers is known as the Fool and whilst his dance seems to be that of a random nature, in fact his is a very intricate dance and represents the naivety of man. A dancer who is dressed as an animal character shows mans reliance on nature. Handkerchiefs emphasise the hand movements during the dance.- Crop Fertility Rituals
The Kalends of April are sacred to Venus, as is the entire month, and this day has been called the Veneralia. Public games, ludi, would be held in honor of the deity. This day was also known as All Fools Day to the Romans, and they would spend the entire day celebrating with comic hilarity, doing things backwards, wearing women's clothes, dancing in the streets, and generally carrying on in the most in the most foolish and congenial manner. 
This is one of the few Roman holidays that has preserved some of its original character, under the modern name April Fools Day. In Egypt, this day was celebrated as the Birthday of the god Hathor.- (link)

The Anglo-Saxons called April Oster-monath or Eostur-monath, the period sacred to Eostre or Ostara, the pagan Saxon goddess of spring, from whose name is derived the modern Easter.- Wikipedia

It's probably no coincidence that April Fools' Day is celebrated at the same time that two other similar holidays are celebrated. In ancient Rome, the festival of Hilaria was thrown to celebrate the resurrection of the god Attis. Hilaria is probably the base word for hilarity and hilarious, which mean great merriment. Today, Hilaria is also known as Roman Laughing Day. -How Stuff Works

In tribute to Attis, the priests of Cybele - known as Galli or Galloi - would castrate themselves and dress as women. They’d then travel the countryside, and perform wild musical rituals to the Great Mother just as Attis did...

Ancient historians held a variety of opinions on the Galloi, from admiration to bemusement to ridicule to hostility. But everyone seemed to agree that the Galloi loved to kick up a racket. Their rituals and festivals made Woodstock look like a ladies’ club luncheon.

The public performances of the Galloi were so intense that crowds would be driven into a religious frenzy...
... The Galloi even made an appearance in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, the classic Roman comic novel. The story concerns an amateur sorcerer named Lucius, who mucks up a spell and turns himself into a donkey. Lucius is then sold to a wandering band of Galloi and dragged around while the priests travel the countryside, often performing their act door-to-door. 
Obviously not a fan, Lucius describes the Galloi's rites, which include an eerily-exact precursor of heavy metal headbanging: “They arrived at a rich man's villa and screeching their tuneless threnes from the moment they saw the gates, they rushed frantically inside. Bending their heads, they twisted, writhed and rolled their necks to and fro while their long hair swung round in circles.”-- The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll

 "The local [Phrygian] legend about him [Attis] being this. Zeus [i.e. the Phrygian sky-god identified with Zeus], it is said, let fall in his sleep seed upon the ground, which in course of time sent up a Daimon, with two sexual organs, male and female. They call the daimon Agdistis. But the gods, fearing Agdistis, cut off the male organ. 
There grew up from it an almond-tree with its fruit ripe, and a daughter of the river Saggarios (Sangarius), they say, took the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child. A boy was born, and exposed, but wastended by a he-goat.
As he grew up his beauty was more than human, and Agdistis [Kybele] fell in love with him. When he had grown up, Attis was sent by his relatives to Pessinos [city in Phrygia], that he might wed the king's daughter. The marriage-song was being sung, when Agdistis appeared, and Attis went mad and cut off his genitals, as also did he who was giving him his daughter in marriage. 
But Agdistis repented of what she had done to Attis, and persuaded Zeus to grant the body of Attis should neither rot at all nor decay. These are the most popular forms of the legend of Attis." Pausanias, Description of Greece   

When Gilgamesh returns to Uruk, he washes the filth of battle from his hair and body. He dons a clean robe and cloak, wipes Humbaba’s blood off his weapons and polishes them. When he ties his hair back and sets his crown on his head, he looks so splendid that Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, is overcome with lust. She pleads with Gilgamesh to be her husband. She promises him a harvest of riches if he plants his seed in her body. She tells him they will live together in a house made of cedar, and that she will give him a lapis lazuli chariot with golden wheels. She says that kings and princes will offer him all their wealth.  
But Gilgamesh refuses to be her plaything. He has nothing to offer her in return, since, as a goddess, she has everything she could ever want. He says that her desire for his body is fleeting, and that she’ll soon lose interest. He tells her he knows what happened to her other human lovers, and they’ve all learned how traitorous and cruel her heart and whims are.  
Her husband, Tammuz, the shepherd, became a captive in the underworld and is mourned in festivals every year. Another shepherd she loved became a broken-winged bird. She loved the lion, then ensured that he was captured in “ambush pits.” She loved the stallion but contrived harnesses and whips and spurs to control him. When a goat herder loved her, she turned him into a wolf. When her father’s gardener rejected her advances, she turned him into a frog. Gilgamesh asks why he should expect to fare any better. -- "The Epic of Gilgamesh"
Gilgamesh means "Gibil is Commander."

Perhaps the biggest change came from the initiated version of the Tarot that the original Golden Dawn (and its later offshoots) used. In that deck, the Fool is represented as a naked child of indeterminate sex, who is accompanied by a wolf on a leash, who is reaching up for a rose. In Golden Dawn, the Fool represents the god Harpocrates, the Egyptian god Horus as a young child. - Associated Content

"The four magic symbols, the sceptre, the cup, the sword and the pentacle. The fool always carries them, although he has long since forgotten what they mean. Nevertheless they belong to him, even though he does not know their use. The symbols have not lost their power, they retain it in themselves. - P D. Ouspensky
One theory for its origin, and perhaps the most widely accepted, relates to the European transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. At the Council of Trent in 1563, Pope Gregory XIII issued a papal bull decreeing that Christian countries should adopt a new standardised calendar. Now the internationally accepted calendar in the Western World, the Gregorian calendar was adopted due to its greater accuracy compared to the Julian calendar. One consequence of the transition however, was that New Years Day moved from 1st April to the 1st January. 
Although resisted by the Protestant countries in Europe, the new calendar was officially adopted by the Catholic states reasonably quickly. However, presenting the news of the transition across largely rural populations was a much slower task. Supposedly, this was a particular problem following France’s switch to the new calendar in 1582. People who continued to celebrate the New Year at the end of March became the targets for jokes, pranks and hoaxes. This included having paper fish attached to their backs, and being called ‘April fish’, in reference to their supposed gullibility. -- New Historian

          The Present Can Only Be Viewed from the Past   

2017 might seem like the hangover after a particularly-nasty meth, glue and Thunderbird bender, but it's actually a year of major anniversaries. We're coming up on the 70th Anniversary of Kenneth Arnold and Roswell (as well as the National Security Act), the 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper and the Summer of Love and the centennial of the Russian Revolution. But there are a lot more observances, all kinds of 'ennials to observe. 

I thought I'd dig into a few anniversaries germane to The Secret Sun and the topics we look at here. Readers are encouraged to weigh in with their own (observations that can be counted in multiples of five and ten, that is) in the comments.

December will see the fifth anniversary of the 2012 apocalypse/ascension/ absurdity (depending on your point of view). Needless to say, most of us are still here and the skies didn't open and Nibiru didn't come crashing into the moon. So there goes another apocalypse. 

I can't help but wonder about the 2012 meme, though. As I wrote a couple years back, it certainly seems like something changed that year, that the bottom fell out somewhere but no one seemed to notice it at the time. 

I mean, Donald Trump is sitting in the White House, isn't he? If even you're a Trump supporter you have to admit this would have seemed impossible five years ago.

Maybe the Apocalypse works on a different timeline than it does in the movies. Maybe we're living in one only we can't see the forest fire for the burning trees. History can only be written from a distance.

2007 was the year Our Gods Wear Spandex was published and the year I began actively blogging on this site, so Happy Ten Year Anniversary to me. It's also the year that a newly-elected Senator - with a weird, oblique connection to the Council of Nine - announced his candidacy for President.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Heaven's Gate suicides, an event I've gone into some detail on this blog. Whatever the media might have you believe the Gate were a bonafide modern Gnostic sect, were serious and rigorous about their work and were deeply troubled by the emergence of the techno-surveillance state they saw emerging at the time. 

This week also marks the 20th anniversary of the last of the Order of the Solar Temple "suicides" ( rendered in quotes since many investigators suspect foul play by outside parties with the OST mass deaths). I wrote in some detail about the OST and their influence on pop culture here (the X-Files writers seemed especially fascinated with the OST and their unique status and history and the lingering questions over their deaths).

Postmortem reports claimed that the OST committed ritual suicide in order to spiritually ascend to Sirius, where they believe their souls originated from. If this is true this is another troubling link to the "Walk-Ins from Sirius" theme from Ruth Montgomery's seminal Aliens Among Us, which has also been linked to the Heaven's Gate suicides.

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the Phoenix Lights flap, a controversial UFO sighting that caused a major media meltdown and has been the focus of a growing mythology ever since. What is particularly interesting about the Phoenix episode- however you view it-- is that it took place right down the highway from the Heaven's Gate compound in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. 

It may have been seen as the final sign that their ride was here, seeing as how the web-savvy cult was monitoring all kinds of infostreams for omens and portents. 

Next week also marks the 20th anniversary of the Outer Limits episode "Double Helix," which plays out like an idealized fantasy world version of Marshall Applewhite's most cherished beliefs. 

Seeing as how the suicides were discovered before its airing it plays like an elegy, a bizarre epitaph for the cult, its leader and their beliefs. How the hell that happened is anyone's guess.

Speaking of double helixes, 1997 saw the announcement that the first major cloning had been done, of "Dolly" the sheep. The news was broken in Roslin, Scotland, of all places (Dan Brown fans take note). More ominously it was also the year IBM's Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in chess. 

Coincidentally or not, Steve Jobs returned to Apple a few months later and changed the world as we knew it. One of his last projects was designing the Apple HQ, which looks like a friggin' flying saucer.

Why do all those events feel so closely entwined? We can't say we weren't warned.

1987 is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Whitley Strieber's seminal autobiography Communion, which brought the concept of alien abduction out of the fringes and into book store in America and other parts of the world. 

It's hard to explain to younger people what a phenomenon this book was, the controversy it engendered, and the effect it had on the culture. Strieber was a well-known author of best-selling horror novels, a couple of which had been adapted into movies (Wolfen and The Hunger) but never enjoyed a success like Communion, which stayed on the New York Times best-sellers list for months and sold millions worldwide.

Daytime talkshows were suddenly fora for abductees, whether real or imagined, as were popular tabloid TV shows like Unsolved Mysteries. The craze made celebrities out of Strieber, abduction researchers like Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs and later, Harvard psychologist John Mack. 

Oldline UFO researchers stewed on the sidelines, having traditionally regarded abduction reports with suspicion, if not contempt. Communion would lead to other projects, the Travis Walton biopic Fire in the Sky, The X-Files (which became an even greater phenomenon than Strieber's book), and the Steven Spielberg maxi-series Taken (which would be the SciFi Channel's most-watched series at the time of its airing).

1987 was also the year New Age seeped into the mainstream and has been insidiously rewriting its host body like a computer virus ever since. Pop culture was the medium yet again- a miniseries based on Shirley MacLaine's "spiritual authobiography" Out On a Limb was aired on ABC and planted the seeds for the Me Generation's catch-as-catch-can Theosophy 2.0. 

1987 saw "Ramtha" go wide with the publication of JZ Knight's autobiography, A State of Mind. Channeling soon became a multimiilion dollar industry, with hundreds of mini-Ramtha's popping out of the woodwork dispensing greeting card homilies for a spiritually-indiscriminate polity.

All you needed to do was squint, loll your head around meaningfully, adopt a weird quasi-British accent and learn to spout pseudo-profoundities and you were in clover.

Again, the New Age craze is hard to explain today, though in large part because the New Age is so ubiquitous today it's woven into the cultural fabric of most Western- and many non-Western- cultures. 

Yoga studios can be found in every sizable American town. Acupuncture and other "alternative" modalities are often covered by health insurance programs. Health food stores are slowly displacing conventional supermarkets and many more traditional houses of worship offer New Age programs (meditation, yoga, self-actualization) to their congregants.

1987 also saw the Harmonic Convergence (aka the "New Age Woodstock"), meant to act as the movement's big hop over the cultural fence. But its organizers (which included the original 2012 guru, Jose Arguelles) deeply misjudged the true nature of the movement and how it actually existed in the ideational biosphere. 

This wasn't a revolution, it was a slow-moving insurrection, one that subverted culture from within, all the while denying its very existence (the hallmark of a true New Ager is that they deny actually being a New Ager). Big, showy events weren't going to do the work. Tenacious, relentless but quieter actions were going to insinuate New Age into the mainstream.

1987 saw the Iran-Contra Affair- in which arms were sold to Iran in exchange for American hostages held by Iran-controlled radicals and the profits then diverted to anti-Sandinista militants in Nicaragua- become the major news story, dominating the headlines and Sunday talk shows for the entire year and into the next. 

Iran-Contra is also arguably the impetus for the true mainstreaming of conspiracy theory (just in time for the dawning of the Internet Era). Conspiracy research wasn't a fringe hobby then, it was front page news all across the world. It's just that the virus escaped from the lab and filtered down into places the mainstream media would have rather it hadn't.

But the real groundwork for the rise of conspiracy culture would be laid ten years earlier when the first fully-functional home computer, the Commodore PET was debuted at a trade show. 

Conspiracy theory may have thrived on talk radio (and short wave and ham radio, not to mention mail order) but it would explode on the Internet, even in the crudest venues of the BBS dial-in days.

At the same time the Commodore was unveiled, a new President from Plains, Georgia took office who swore to tear the lid off government corruption (and significantly, UFO secrecy) in Washington. 

Things, predictably, wouldn't work out so well for him.

1977 saw the commoditization of the modern Hollywood blockbuster-- already having birthed itself in 1975 with Steven Spielberg's Jaws. 

George Lucas' spiritual SF epic Star Wars and Spielberg's UFO fantasia Close Encounters of the Third Kind changed the rules forever (you can throw in Saturday Night Fever if you like, as it spawned the rise of the blockbuster soundtrack as well) and, as many would argue, planted the seeds for the eventual creation empoverishment of the Hollywood they created.

In today's market, doubles and triples are no longer be enough, you need to either write a movie off as a tax loss or score a grand slam blockbuster, complete with merchandising and ancillary rights.

But Star Wars and Close Encounters were such monsters because they filled a genuine void in the culture, a need for miracle and transcendence in a rapidly-secularlizing culture. In their wake the movies would become the dream theater of the masses, in the same way the great cathedrals were to the peasants of the Middle Ages.

Both films struck at the right time- NASA tested its first space shuttle at the beginning of the year, promising a new era in space exploration. One that has yet to come to pass, 40 years later. Even so the mood was right at the time.

On the other end of the ritual spectrum 1977 also saw the arrest of David Berkowitz, whom the media named as the sole "Son of Sam" killer despite the fact that witnesses had cogently and explicitly described other shooters not matching his description. 

Berkowitz himself would later claim he was a member of a sect of the Process Church of the Final Judgement, he was not the only shooter and that the killings were human sacrifices. And as fate would have it two of the men he claimed as his accomplices would die under mysterious circumstances not long after Berkowitz was arrested. 

And their father was named Sam.

Also in the summer of 1977, Elvis Presley died after a long struggle with obesity and prescription drug abuse. 

It was poetic in a Greek tragedy kind of fashion since '77 not only saw the precipitous rise of Disco as an all-consuming craze (Donna Summer had the first hit with a totally-synthesized record, "I Feel Love," that year) but also the breakthrough of punk rock and first-wave New Wave (the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Elvis Costello and Talking Heads all released their debuts), which took the basic, four to the floor rock 'n' roll Presley cut his teeth on and wed it to postmodernism, Dada and other weird, Continental theories that old-timers like the King would never have anything to do with.

Not that most of America even noticed. The Eagles' Hotel California, Pink Floyd's Animals and Fleetwood Mac's Rumors were albums most of the public were actually buying. Punk bombed bad in its first assault on American record stores and most of the first wave bands would soon break up or radically water down their styles in a bid to make it to the US Top 40. 

New Wave, which began as a marketing ploy to ease punk into the American market, would become the musical equivalent of New Age, a contagion that would insinuate itself into the host and rewrite the matrix from within. 

40 years later New Wave concepts are so dominant (irony and sarcasm not the least among them) in pop they're no longer recognized as distinct or unique. But that process began in earnest over 35 years ago, when MTV began beaming art school weirdos from England into a growing number of American living rooms. 

In short order even Jethro Tull and Bob Dylan- the onetime crunchiest of the crunchy- were recording with drum machines and sequencers.

There's more to come. 

          Walt Whitman: Singer of the Body Electric   
The fire, the sweet hell within,
The unknown want, the destiny of me.
— Walt Whitman
“By the time he was 12 years old, an apprentice printer in Brooklyn, Walt had lived in about a dozen different houses, each one more cramped than the last. Of the eight Whitman children who survived infancy, one was a mental defective and three were psychic disasters; three were normal, and one became the chief celebrant of what William James called ‘the religion of healthy-mindedness,’” wrote Justin Kaplan in Walt Whitman: A Life.
“Walt’s father … owned a copy of The Ruins, a celebrated attack on Christianity and supernaturalism by the French savant Count Constantin de Volney. Like others who grew up on such literature, Walt believed that a long, dark tyranny over man’s mind and body was at last coming to an end; the Children of Adam would be able to walk in their parents’ garden. Leaves of Grass borrowed the insurgent and questioning spirit of these mentors along with literal quotations from their writings.”
“Words, when he acquired language, became life itself, links to the external world and to his unconscious,” Kaplan wrote, quoting Whitman: “ ‘A perfect writer would make words sing, dance, kiss, do the male and female act, bear children, weep, bleed, rage, stab, steal, fire cannon, steer ships, sack cities, charge with cavalry or infantry, or do any thing that man or woman or the natural powers can do.’ Words were instruments of command and of relationship to a world waiting to be named for the first time.”
Whitman had the dubious benefit of a “…thrifty and national scheme of education devised by an English Quaker, Joseph Lancaster,” Kaplan noted. “Assisted by hierarchies of student monitors, one teacher was able to distribute rote learning, together with fundamental social values and strict notions of the good and the useful, to 200 and more pupils.
“Sometimes he invoked muscular Christianity and resorted to the birch rod, the cowhide strap and, in Whitman’s words, ‘other ingenious methods of child torture,’ mental as well as physical. He demanded unison, unquestioning obedience to regulations, undivided attention and a physical discipline that dictated the precise way to hold and close a book during recitations and the position of hands when students stood at parade rest.
“The Lancaster method was designed to separate children from their ignorance as cleanly and impersonally as Eli Whitney’s cotton gin separated fibers from seeds. It proved to be stupefying even for pupils less jealous of their emotional freedom than Walt.”
Whitman said that the first time he wanted to write anything was “…when I saw a ship under full sail, and had the desire to describe it exactly as it seemed to me.”
Whitman loved swimming with other young men, nude in the fashion of the 19th century, their bodies electric.

Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes,
The skin, the sun-burnt shade, freckles, hair,
The curious sympathy one feels, when feeling with the hand the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers, the breath, and breathing it in and out…

“The young men ran dancing and laughing along the sand, bathed in the surf, fished, dug clams, speared messes of fat, sweet-meated eel,” wrote biographer Kaplan. “He loved swimming, of a passive sort — ‘I was a first-rate aquatic loafer,’ he recalled. ‘I possessed almost unlimited capacity for floating on my back.’ Cradled, rocked and drowsing, his body rolling ‘silently to and fro in the heave of the water,’ he lay suspended between the depths and the light, between the unconscious and the world of necessity.”
As a young man, Whitman wrote a bad didactic novel about the evils of drink, and edited a newspaper attacking Catholics and the Irish. For solutions, like other Americans, he looked West.
“Continentalism and Union were to shape Whitman’s poetic vision (‘I am large. I contain multitudes’),” Kaplan wrote. “ ‘California’s shores’ were not only the western boundaries of the Union — they were the boundaries of the found and the ‘yet unfound,’ the measure of his psychic growth. (‘Eastward I go only by force,’ Thoreau said, ‘but westward I go free.’)”
Unfortunately, Whitman’s enthusiasm for freedom only went so far. While sympathetic to the plight of individual black people, Whitman regarded their race as unfit for freedom and decried the “ranting” and “abominable fanaticism” of the abolitionists.
“Sylvester Graham, temperance reformer, physiological guru and eponym of the delicious cracker, joined in the battle against dyspepsia, or indigestion, a malady of epidemic proportions for Americans,” wrote Kaplan. “The “Peristaltic Persuader,” as he was called, favored internal and external applications of cold water and repasts of boiled vegetables and bread made from unsifted whole-wheat flour. Alcohol, tea, coffee and red meat were proscribed, on the grounds that they stimulated the lower nature.
“In a celebrated lecture on chastity, Graham argued that there had to be something amiss with any organ that sent priority messages to the brain — an erect penis was no more wholesome than a bloated stomach or an infected finger. According to him and other popular theorists of the day, the seminal loss for a man in one act of sexual intercourse was the equivalent of 40 ounces of blood, a fifth of the body’s supply. This appalling figure was a warning against sexual overindulgence — meaning more than once a month — could cause tuberculosis, convulsions, indigestion and even imbecilism; sex — especially masturbation — withered the thinking organs of men, just as thinking withered the reproductive organs of women. Sex was a major disorder, even a catastrophe; it was a wonder the species had lasted as long as it had.”
And then came Whitman. “By 1855, when Whitman presented himself coatless and bare-necked, his pelvis thrust forward, in his Leaves of Glass frontispiece, men of fashion were dressed from head to toe like black tubes,” Kaplan wrote. “No other poet of his century wrote about the body with such explicitness and joy, anatomizing it at rest and cataloguing its parts, celebrating it as an instrument of love:

“Without shame the man I like knows and avows the deliciousness of his sex,
“Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.

“No other poet of his century paid such a continuing high price for his boldness, ostracism, ostentatious neglect, ridicule, censorship, suppression.”
“…Whitman saw few encouraging signs in 1850. Democratic hope was at an ebb tide. Two years earlier, the overthrow of Louis Phillipe in France had touched off a wave of revolutions all over Europe. Americans rejoiced in the expectation that soon no throne would be left standing anywhere.

“‘God, ‘twas delicious,’ Whitman wrote,
‘That brief, tight, glorious grip
‘Upon the throats of kings.

“But the forces of liberal nationalism — Emerson’s ‘party of the Future,’ ‘the Movement’ — were crushed with appalling ferocity. The revolutionaries of 1848 died on the battlefields, at the barricades and before firing squads, or they fled into exile. Karl Marx spent the rest of his life in London writing Das Kapital in the reading room of the British Museum. Mazzini and Carl Schurz also took shelter in London; Giuseppe Garibaldi dipped candles on Staten Island. Whitman was to see the Hungarian patriot Louis Kossuth riding up Broadway. Reaction, repression and militarism prevailed once again.”
And then came the Civil War.
Whitman poured his love of young men onto the emotional desert of war, soothing its victims at great cost to himself.
“(H)e dedicated all his resources of physical and emotional strength into service to wounded soldiers, the maimed, the sick and the dying, for well nigh three years — until his strength broke down and he was prostrated for six months, probably the start of his later paralysis,” wrote A.L. Rowse in Homosexuals in History.
“He did an extraordinary job as a nurse-missionary-almoner all on his own; the doctors said that his services in the Washington war-hospitals and camps were more valuable than their own. Today he would be described as a psychotherapist; he was healer, father-confessor, dispenser of consolation and gifts he collected for the men. But his outpouring of love was the most important. A good lady-worker told him that the men were unresponsive. Little did she know: with limbs shattered, sick or dying, they longed to be kissed. Here was one young wounded New Yorker among thousands. ‘He behaved very manly and affectionate. The kiss I gave him as I was about leaving he returned fourfold. I had several such interviews with him. He died just after the one described.
“One cannot go into all that Walt did for these men, writing their letters, always bringing presents, spending all he could collect on them to keep their spirits going, consoling, hearing their prayers, taking their last messages.”
Neil McKenna, in his The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, reported that in his trip to America in 1882, “Oscar desperately wanted to meet Walt Whitman, whom he and many others considered to be America’s living poet… Whitman’s poetry spoke of the potency of friendship and love between men, particularly between working-class men, and positively oozed homoeroticism. Indeed, the Calamus section of Whitman’s great poetic cycle Leaves of Grass was so intensely homoerotic that it gave rise to the short-lived term ‘calamite’ to denote a man who loved men.”
They spent hours together, drinking elderberry wine. “One of the first things I said was that I should call him ‘Oscar,’” Whitman reported. “‘I like that so much,’ he answered, laying his hand on my knee. He seemed to me like a great big, splendid boy. He is so frank, and outspoken, and manly. I don’t see why such mocking things are written of him.”
And Wilde’s reaction? David Friedman wrote that, “A Philadelphian joked that it must have been hard for Wilde to swallow the homemade wine Whitman had offered. For once Wilde rejected an invitation to snobbery. ‘If it had been vinegar, I should have drunk it all the same,’ he said. ‘I have an admiration for that man which I can hardly express.’”
Bronson Alcott, Louisa May’s father, was present when Whitman met Henry David Thoreau in 1856.
“Observing the edgy traffic between them, Alcott was reminded of ‘two beasts, each wondering what the other would do, whether to snap or run,”” Kaplan noted.
“He decided that either Henry was afraid Walt would steal his woods or Walt had recognized that for once he had met his match in Henry, ‘a sagacity potent, penetrating and peerless as his own,; an ego as unbiddable, an eye as hawklike. (Emerson surmised that perhaps Henry’s ‘fancy for Walt Whitman grew out of his taste for wild nature, for an otter, a woodchuck or a loon.’)… Each had his own vector of self-willed resistance to a trade- and conformity-minded society.”
Thoreau became an evangelical booster of Leaves of Grass.
Ralph Waldo Emerson urged Whitman to cut some of the more physically vivid passages from the expanding editions of Leaves of Grass. No more “love-flesh swelling and deliciously aching” or “limitless limpid jets of loves hot and enormous.” And please no more references to…

…The young man that wakes, deep at night, the hot hand seeking to repress what would master him;        
The mystic amorous night — the strange half-welcome pangs, visions, sweats,        
The pulse pounding through palms and trembling encircling fingers — the young man all color’d, red, ashamed, angry;

Whitman asked Emerson if the book would be as good without such passages. Emerson paused, then replied, “I did not say as good a book. I said a good book.”
Years later, Whitman said, “Expurgation is apology — yes, surrender — yes, an admission that something or other was wrong. Emerson said expurgate — I said no, no... I have not lived to regret my Emerson no.”
Whitman’s optimism was hard-pressed during the Civil War. In a single year, 1864, Whitman’s brother George became a prisoner of war and Whitman had his violent brother Jesse committed to the Kings County Lunatic Asylum. His alcoholic, widowed sister-in-law Nancy became a prostitute and gave birth to a son who was run over and killed by a brewery wagon in 1868. And Whitman’s nursing of all those shattered and dying soldiers he loved finally brought him to the verge of physical and mental collapse.
Yet, faced with calamity, Whitman determined “…to be self-balanced for contingencies,
“To confront night, storms, hunger, ridicule, accidents, rebuffs, as the trees and animals do.”
Kaplan wrote: “Somehow I seem’d to get identity with each and every thing around me, in its condition,” (Whitman) said at Timber Creek. “Nature was naked, and I was also.” Earth rocks, trees and small living beings were lessons in imperturbability, concreteness and strength. “Being” was superior to “the human trait of mere seeming,” The human habit of “persistent strayings and sickly abstractions.”
Ironically, while Whitman could identify with small living beings, apparently he couldn’t do so with large ones who happened to be black.
Although opposed to slavery, Whitman remained a racist. Watching five black regiments of Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s army march in review, Whitman remarked, “It looked funny to see the president standing with his hat off to them just the same as the rest.”
The following is from a Bill Moyers essay: “American democracy grew a soul, as it were -- given voice by one of our greatest poets, Walt Whitman, with his all-inclusive embrace in Song of Myself:

“Whoever degrades another degrades me,
and whatever is done or said returns at last to me...
I speak the pass-word primeval — I give the sign of democracy;
By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms...
(I am large -- I contain multitudes.)”

Author Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has vividly described Whitman seeing himself in whomever he met in America. As he wrote in I Sing the Body Electric:
“-- the horseman in his saddle,
Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances,
The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner-kettles and their wives waiting,
The female soothing a child — the farmer’s daughter in the garden or cow-yard,
The young fellow hoeing corn --”
…Whitman saw something else in the soul of the country: Americans at work, the laboring people whose toil and sweat built this nation.  Townsend contrasts his attitude with the way politicians and the media today — in their endless debates about wealth creation, capital gains reduction and high corporate taxes — seem to have forgotten working people. “But Whitman wouldn’t have forgotten them.” She writes, “He celebrates a nation where everyone is worthy, not where a few do well.”
I dream in my dream all the dreams of the other dreamers.
And I become the other dreamers….
Now in a moment I know what I am for, I awake.
— Walt Whitman

Whitman was apparently subject to kenshō, that spontaneous mental state described by Dumoulin as “… an insight into the identity of one’s own nature with all of reality in an eternal now, as a vision that removes all distinctions.”
“He had shared the experience of countless people, irreligious by common standards, who had flashes of illumination or ecstasy — even Caliban saw the clouds open and ‘cried to dream again,’” Whiteman biographer Justin Kaplan wrote. “These experiences have a remembered correlative or ‘trigger.’ With Whitman it was the sea, music, the grass, the green world of summer. The rhythm of these experiences is sexual and urgent — tumescence, climax, detumescence — but the ‘afterglow’ may last a lifetime, as it did with him, and he invited it an prolonged it through poetry; the poet was the shaman of modern society — a master of ‘the techniques of ecstasy.’"

          Tempura Asparagus   


Prep time15 minutes


An easy entree


50gplain (all purpose) flour
175mlsoda water - cold
1tspsesame seeds
  oil for deep frying


1. Set oil to heat in a suitable heavy duty saucepan while preparing the other ingredients.
2. Trim asparagus to desired length. Set aside.
3. In a bowl, combine plain flour, cornflour and salt. Mix ingredients to ensure they are well combined.
4. Add in sesame seeds and stir.
5. Pour in soda water and mix the batter well. A few lumps are nothing to be worried about.
6. Dip asparagus into the batter, trying to coat the entire peice and carefully lower into pre-heated oil.
7. Allow to cook until the batter is golden in colour or 1 minute has passed. Use your judgement on this.
8. Drain on paper towels and set somewhere to keep warm while cooking the remaining asparagus.


You can cook multiple pieces at a time, depending on the size of your saucepan and depth of your oil.

          The Florida Gators Are The Top Seed In The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament   
The NCAA has announced which teams will participate in the 2014 NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament. Continue reading…
          Buy Two Watercolor Earrings, get the THIRD for FREE!   
Spring is here!  Starting to officially celebrate it by collecting flowers, planting seeds, and figuring out where all the kids' bathing suits are.  Crazy weather these days - hats, gloves and jackets this weekend, and 88' bathing suit temperatures by the end of this week!  In the spirit of the weather not being able to make up its mind - I'm offering a buy two get one sale on the earrings shown below, just in case you can't make up YOUR mind on what color to get....  Available now at the Etsy store:  Blue Beehive Studio on Etsy

          Read Download The Uncommon Wisdom of Ronald Reagan: A Portrait in His Own Words Ebook Full   

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          Ebook Download Unusually Stupid Politicians: Washington's Weak in Review Free PDF Online   

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          Here's What's Cooking This Week:   
Week one of running vegetarian-style:

Poor man's Caviar:
This one is easy- just mix everything together, let it sit for 24 hours, grab some tortilla chips or other favorite dredging device. I'm adding avacados upon serving. Yummo!!

1 (14 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15.5 ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 (14 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can white corn, drained
1 cup finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or amount to taste
**of course, you can substitute kidney beans or white beans, or any other kind of beans**

This a favorite "go-to-recipe" of my mom's.  She served it at Christmas Eve get-together and even my kids loved it.

1 head cabbage, shredded
8 green onions, sliced
3/4 c. sunflower seeds/chopped walnuts/almond slices/etc...
2 pkgs. Ramen noodles oriental, uncooked

Crush the Ramen noodles and brown them in a skillet with slivered almonds or walnuts (and sunflower seeds). Let them cool slightly and add them to the shredded cabbage. (I might add shredded carrots here, too)  I also added a few handfulls of raisins.  ***I'm all about building from the basis of a recipe**
Mix the following together and pour over the cabbage salad.

1 c. oil of choice

2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
**I also added a generous amount of soy sauce, perhaps as much as 1/4 cup***

Toss it all together and enjoy!!!

Cream of Asparagus Soup  (borrowed from a cookbook I have)
2 lbs. fresh asparagus
1 1/2 tbs. butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp flour
2 cups water
2 cups hot milk (lowfat/soy/etc...)
2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp tarragon
white pepper to taste

saute chopped asparagus and onions in melted butter and salt for about 10 minutes.  Sprinke 2 tbsp flour while stirring constantly over low heat. (5-8 minutes)  Add water, stirring constantly and bring to a boil. Bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Add remaining flour and cook for another 10 minutes.  Puree the soup with the milk and season with dill, tarragon, and white pepper. 

**I am making this right now and I think that I will add some cooked diced potatoes after it is purreed.**

Other ideas for the week:
I bought some great cilantro/black bean veggie burgers that we tried last night on whole wheat rolls, vegan mayo, onion....they were great.

I have lots of sweet potatoes and plan to use them liberally

I also bought some Tempeh that we love to slice up into small sticks, saute them up, and use as dippers for hummus

I'm going to try the new Acai smoothie packets that I bought with some frozen berries and bananas - just to see how they go.

          Aproveitando as conferências   
Agora que estou com um rádio no carro que aceita o que o meu MP3 toca, estou conseguindo dar conta de boa parte daquilo que estou baixando. Um Podcast que eu recomendo e que está á disposição é o da conferência Exponential que foi realizada no mês passado em Orlando, teve um grupo do Brasil que esteve lá e por conta disso eu comecei a fuçar um pouco no site, eles levaram uns conferencistas excelentes para falar a respeito de plantação de igreja e lá você vai poder ouvir, Wayne Cordero, Alan Hirsch, Tim Keller, Rick Warren etc... Ontem eu pude ouvir uma mensagem do Bill Hybels, fazia tempo que não ouvia nada dele e me identifiquei muito com ele quando ele descrevia a história do começo da Willow Creek, muito bom! Quando ouvi ele falando a respeito de se andar pela fé e não por aquilo que se vê. Quando se caminha contando com as pessoas que ainda não estão com você ou com recursos que ainda se está longe de se ter é uma grande loucura, mas faz parte da grande aventura que Deus nos chama a trilhar.
Passando de alguém bem pouco emergente para o outro extremo, antes de ontem pude ouvir uma mensagem de Shane Claiborne, a mensagem foi dada na conferência do Mustard Seed Associates: "The New Conspirators", boa parte das palestras estão à venda por US$ 3.00 cada e eu já separei para comprar assim que puder, as mensagens do Mark Scandrette sobre paternidade intencional, do Eugene Cho, sobre o Quest, da Chistine Sine sobre os ritmos de vida e com Tom Sine sobre as ações para se praticar tudo isso. A do Shane Claiborne, Radicais normais agindo nas ruas, é gratuita, por isso que a ouvi, e é muito boa também. A gente consegue ter mais idéia até onde está chegando essas ações emergentes através desse pessoal que está radicalizando sua busca a Jesus Cristo com ações poderosas nas comunidades. É um cara que está cada vez mais presente nas conferências, principalmente depois do último livro dele "Jesus for President", e você precisa ouví-lo.
          Jovens vivendo alternativamente   
A Mustard Seed Associates publica este mês um relatório sobre jovens que vivem de forma alternativa como resposta ao chamado de Deus em viver pelo seu Reino, a chamada era assim:

Como você respondeu ao chamado de fazer parte do trabalho redentor de Deus nesse mundo?

A vocês que estão vivendo uma comunidade intencional radical. A vocês que cultivam hortas sem pesticidas. Outros que têm se voluntariado para cuidar de crianças nas favelas ou de famílias sem teto, enquanto outros fazem encontros para celebrar a família, amigos e vida juntos. Você que tem batalhado pela justiça social, estuda a Escritura, rejeita o consumismo, pinta, canta, dança, ora e ama. Queremos ouvir a seu respeito.

A gente até colocou uma chamada no Renovatio Café para enviar casos brasileiros e chegamos até a enviar um caso do Projeto 242, a Kelly e o Marcelo, sinceramente eu fico só um pouco frustrado por não ter mais casos para enviar para lá, mas fico esperançoso de que a gente possa inspirar mais gente a viver dessa forma. É legal ver esse relato de jovens que resolveram aplicar a sua energia e radicalidade em buscar viver realmente o que leram de Jesus no evangelho, tem um pessoal que está se reunindo, seja em casas, seja na igreja, seja em cafés mas estas reuniões acabam gerando ações muito inspiradoras de grupos que se unem em um ritmo de vida comum, em uma mutualidade muito forte e consequentemente em ações para a comunidade (externa) poderosas, sem esperar que alguém outro mais faça alguma coisa por eles.
Realmente minha oração é de que isso ocorra muito mais, ou que a gente descubra estes casos cada vez mais pela frente. Vamos fazer questão de publicar!
          Why Project Scorpio is Xbox 2 in Disguise   
XBox 2 Scorpio
Xbox 2 Project Scorpio

At E3 2016, Xbox boss Phil Spencer took the stage and announced Project Scorpio, a new console that is promised to be the most powerful console ever made. Promises were made regarding 4K and VR, along with some vague specs, all of which points to one simple truth:

This new console, code named "Project Scorpio" is actually the Xbox 2 in disguise. While it’s holiday 2017 release date seems soon, join me as we examine six compelling reasons why this is indeed the next generation console from Microsoft.

5 Powerful Reasons Why Project Scorpio is Xbox 2

It is easy to look at this announcement and say, “yeah, that’s just an Xbox 1.5 to Sony’s PS4 Neo.” While I thought the same thing at first, I took a step back and looked at how the pieces fit together. This isn’t some upgraded console like the Xbox One S, this is completely entirely new.

Join me as we look at how the pieces fit together and show us that this is indeed the Xbox 2.

#1 - Phil Spencer Already Shot Down the Xbox 1.5

Our first piece of evidence takes us back to April of 2016, a few months before E3 2016. This was right in the heat of the recently revealed PS4.5/Neo rumors following GDC 2016. Gamers were putting the screws to Microsoft, anxious to see how they would react to this sudden change in the usual cycle of consoles.

After the Microsoft Build keynote, the ultimate question was thrown out for him to answer publicly. Would Microsoft respond to the PS4 Neo with an Xbox 1.5? This is what he had to say:

"I’m not a big fan of Xbox One and a half. If we’re going to move forward, I want to move forward in big numbers. For us, our box is doing well. It performs, it’s reliable, the servers are doing well. If we’re going to go forward with anything, like I said, I want it to be a really substantial change for people--an upgrade."

In addition, Phil went on to elaborate that he wanted the console to be capable of constant hardware innovation, similar to the way a PC can be taken apart an upgraded. More on that soon, but the point of this first reason is simply this:

Microsoft doesn't want a mere upgrade, they want a brand new console that will dominate. I think Project Scorpio fits that bill, but let’s keep going.

XBox 2 Scorpio Controller

#2 - Console Cycles as We Know Them are Dead
Phil Spencer made some bold comments during the Xbox Spring Showcase in March of 2016. It was here that he described a future of Hardware innovation in which new hardware would be released during a generation, similar to how we see upgrades in smart phones.

During this showcase he said:

"We see on other platforms whether it be mobile or PC that you get a continuous innovation that you rarely see on console."

He described a future where we will see new hardware come out that runs backwards and forwards with other games and accessories. Sound familiar? Project Scorpio was announced as part of the “Xbox Family” in which it would work with Xbox One games and accessories.

This is all part of Microsoft’s rumored plan for the future known as Project Helix. This project consists of Microsoft’s plan to merge Windows 10 and Xbox into a unified platform.

We saw the first steps of this at E3 2016 when Phil Spencer announced Microsoft’s “Play Anywhere” program. This program allows you to purchase and play specifically marked games on both your Xbox One and your Windows 10 PC.

Buy it once, own it on both platforms. It’s a bold move, especially given the fact that you can transfer your saved data and achievements between the platforms and never lose any progress when you switch.

Project Scorpio is the first in Microsoft’s new plan to integrate hardware upgrades without alienating owners of the older systems. With this announcement, they have essentially shattered the walls between generations.

If every console upgrade is part of a new platform, then they are all part of this metaphorical “Xbox Family” which allows you to carry your games forward as you upgrade. Need more proof? Here’s another quote from the Xbox Spring Showcase, well before E3 2016:

"We can effectively feel a little more like we see on PC, where I can still go back and run my old Doom and Quake games that I used to play years ago but I can still see the best 4K games come out and my library is always with me. Hardware innovation continues while the software innovation is able to take advantage and I don’t have to jump a generation and lose everything I played before."

Phil Spencer was laying the seeds for Project Scorpio (Xbox 2) months before the initial announcement! This represents the future he outlined, one where cycles are no longer relevant and everything moves forward with you when you upgrade to the new console.

In this brave new world, Project Scorpio is the closest we’ll see to a traditional “next-generation” console. It’s the evolved form of the concept. It is the Xbox 2.

#3 - The Specs are Way Higher than Xbox One

We usually look at a console’s specs as the indication that it is indeed the generational leap forward that would define a new cycle. Things are different now, but the same logic can still be applied to an extent.

It’s looking more and more like console cycles will be a thing of the past, but for all of us that have grown up with this concept, it’s important to outline the hardware upgrade between the known specs of Project Scorpio and the current specs of the Xbox One.

Here’s the breakdown of the Xbox One vs Project Scorpio’s potential specs:

  • Xbox One has eight Jaguar Cores clocked at 1.75GHz vs Eight cores in Project Scorpio most likely up-clocked.
  • 12 GCN compute GPU units in Xbox One at 853MHz vs possible 56-60 GCN compute units in Project Scorpio at 800-850MHz
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM in Xbox One with 68GB/s bandwidth vs 320GB/s RAM in Project Scorpio and potentially up to 12GB of GDDR5.

The Project Scorpio reveal also mentioned six TFLOPs of power in the GPU, which is not only way higher than Xbox One, but also higher than the rumored power of the PS4 Neo. This kind of leap in power, and promises of 4K and VR show that the new console is going to be a massive upgrade from the current generation.

In a final point here, Microsoft is already doing an Xbox One S, so that fills the potential “slim” or Xbox 1.5 slot if there needs to be one. This is a big and bold step forward.

#4 - VR and 4K Define Xbox 2

While Sony has managed to unveil the PlayStation VR for their console, Xbox One was never equipped to handle something like that. Even more evidence in apparent in the fact that the console has not, nor will it ever support 4K.

Both of these technologies represent cutting-edge developments in the world of hardware and gaming. When Xbox One was released, we we’re still firmly in the realm of 1080p gaming. Only the highest-end PCs were capable of running 4K, and the adoption rate was still very small.

While 1080p hasn’t gone extinct, by the time Project Scorpio comes out in holiday 2017, it’s very possible that 4K will be far more cemented in the mainstream view. In addition, this will be a year into mainstream VR technology, which makes the new system ripe for these additions.

I think it’s fair to say that VR and 4K are innovations that define a generational leap forward in terms of marketing. VR alone is a huge addition to the realm of gaming, and 4K represents the first leap forward in visual fidelity since the dawn of HD.

Support for these technologies isn’t something we can expect from Xbox One, or even an Xbox 1.5. No, this is something that has to come from a new console. One with massive amounts of power and a name to represent it. That name, my friends, is Xbox 2.

#5 - It’s all in the Name

Our final point is a simple one, but I think by now we’ve made a strong case. The name “Project Scorpio,” while cool, is a code name. It’s never going to be the final title of the system. Keep in mind that before it was known as PlayStation VR, they called it “Project Morpheus.”

Before the Kinect received it’s final title, they announced it as “Project Natal.” Everything starts with a placeholder, which means that the final title of Project Scorpio has yet to reveal itself.

Will that name be Xbox 2? Perhaps, but if one thing is certain, its final title will indeed reflect its true nature.

Are you Ready?

The future is standing before us my friends. Project Scorpio is the first concrete step forward into Microsoft’s Project Helix. This is the way of the future, this is the evolution of gaming. This, my friends, is the Xbox 2.

What do you think? Is this the leap forward that signals a new future for gaming? Let us know in the comments!

Note: The thoughts expressed in this article are the opinions of the author (Bradley Ramsey) and do not yet represent facts or the opinions of Microsoft. Although it will probably be accurate, for now it is pure speculation. Thanks for reading!

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          ledi_lena: Мастер-класс и выкройка броши-куколки Монро.   

Это цитата сообщения Надежда-Эсперанса Оригинальное сообщениеМастер-класс и выкройка броши-куколки Монро...

Источник сообщения
Размер готовой броши будет около 10 см. Вот пример того, как отлично будет смотреться на вязаном трикотажном изделии, кофточке или пуловере.

Более подробнее в блоге Лилии КУКЛА-МОДА-ЛЮКС

Автор МК Лилия Хамитова пишет:
Собственно, начну мастер-класс по изготовлению броши-куколки Монро. Ткань у меня хлопковая телесного цвета фабричной окраски. Сложить ткань вдвое и перенести на нее две детали выкройки. Это тело и голова будущей броши.

Прошить по контуру оставляя не зашитыми отверстия для выворачивания деталей головы и тела. Шить можно вручную либо сделать машинную строчку.

Вырезать детали с небольшим припуском, примерно 3-5 мм. Сделать надсечки в выпуклых или вогнутых местах.

Вывернуть обе детали нашей будущей броши. А вот она на фото для примера.

Теперь надо приложить к детали тела заранее вырезанную из бумажной выкройки левую ножку и обозначить линию, отделяющую одну ножку от другой.

Проложить строчку по обозначенной линии.

Продолжаем мастер-класс по созданию броши-куколки Монро по иллюстрациям Евгении Гапчинской. Далее следует этап наполнения изготовленных деталей головы и тела.

Теперь все отверстия, оставленные для наполнения, нужно зашить потайным швом. Чтобы обозначить руки будущей броши, потребуется немного утяжки. Для этого надо приложить к тельцу заранее вырезанные из бумажной выкройки обе руки броши и провести линии для утяжек.

Утяжку лучше начать из точки на внешней стороне левой руки напротив подмышки куколки. Закрепив нить двумя маленькими стежками начать утяжку, двигаясь вниз по направлению к кистям. В процессе утяжки надо иглу вести не прямо, а как бы подгребая ею наполнитель внутри броши, чтобы формировалась рельефность очертаний руки.

Закончив утягивать левую руку, перейти к утяжке правой руки, также сверху вниз.

Вот так выглядит тело броши-куколки Монро после всех прошивок и утяжек.

Следующий этап в мастер-классе по изготовлению броши-куколки Монро: пришивание головы к телу. В нужном месте детали головы подготовим участок для отверстия, куда будем вставлять шею. Наметим карандашом небольшой крестик.

Намеченный участок смажем раствором клея ПВА с водой в пропорции один к одному и дождемся высыхания.

Сделайте аккуратный крестообразный надрез.

В полученное отверстие в голове надо вставить шею. Для удобства можно воспользоваться каким-нибудь предметом с острым концом, например, палочкой для суши и освободить место в наполнителе в детали головы.

Затем пришить голову к телу потайным швом. На этом этапе мастер-класса брошь-куколка Монро готова к дальнейшей росписи и тонированию.

Слегка наметим карандашом очертания лифа платья и трусиков.

Вид сзади.

Белой акриловой краской закрасить наряд броши-куколки и туфельки. Контуры очертить темно-коричневой или черной акриловой краской, пользуясь самым кончиком тонкой кисти из синтетики. Сделать роспись личика, навести румянец. Сухой пастелью затонировать лицо и тело броши-куколки.

Прическу я делаю из соответствующих шерстяных ниток для вязания. Нитки объемные и выглядят как прядки. Нить начинаю пришивать к голове от затылка и двигаюсь по спирали вверх к макушке. Для фактурности прически можно отдельно пришить хвостик из таких же ниток.

На следующем этапе мастер-класса по изготовлению броши-куколки Монро по иллюстрациям Евгении Гапчинской будем делать юбочку с эффектом развевающегося на ветру подолом. Для этого надо вырезать по выкройке овал из тонкой ткани белого цвета с небольшим припуском. Припуск подогнуть и приметать, при этом прокладывая тонкую проволоку для бисероплетения.

Вырезать внутренний круг в юбочке. Обметать вручную внутренние и внешние срезы. Можно слегка подтонировать сухой натертой пастелью.

Надеть юбочку на куколку и пришить потайным швом вокруг талии. Спереди юбочку пришивать под кистями рук.

На этом мастер-класс закончен и брошь-куколка Монро по мотивам иллюстраций Е.Гапчинской готова. Куколку можно носить как брошь на одежде или использовать как подвеску для украшения домашнего интерьера или салона автомобиля.

          The Bamboo Founding Team   
Bamboo started just like anything else: an idea. From this idea, just a seedling, our team of four entrepreneurs including Amanda Lewan, Mike Ferlito, Brian Davis and David Anderson, got together and activated a space Downtown. We started with community first. We listened and created...
          My Boys' June Books    
Even though we officially finished up our schoolwork by the first Friday in June, my boys have still been reading just about every day.  Alec, in particular, has been reading up a storm and they have all picked some really great books to read lately!

The Wolf Keepers

The White Wolf

Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape

Splat the Cat; The Rain is a Pain

The X-ed Out X-ray


Cuộc gặp mặt vui vẻ, ấm cúng

Bạn Minh Đức đón thầy Tuấn từ Thái Nguyên về Hà Nội dự lễ kỷ niệm 60 năm ngày thành lập trường TNVN. Đây là lần đầu tiên thầy dự hội trường, hội lớp của chúng ta. Cũng có lẽ đây là lần đầu tiên thầy gặp lại các đồng nghiệp của mình như thầy Quý, cô Quế kể từ ngày giải tán trường về nước. Bạn Minh Đức đã tổ chức cuộc gặp mặt nhỏ ở nhà hàng số 20 Hàng Hành để thầy Tuấn gặp bạn bè và các học trò của thầy. Rất tiếc là đến phút chót cả thầy Quý và cô Quế đều thông báo là không đến được. Liên lạc qua điện thoại rất nhiều lần để mời thầy Toàn cũng không được vì vậy cuộc gặp mặt hôm nay chỉ có Thầy Tuấn ( cùng Hương con gái thầy) và một số bạn K5 : Nữ Hiếu và anh Dũng, Minh Ngọc, Xuân Hoài, Như Thanh, Hữu Hùng, Trung Hải, Công Lý, Công Kỳ, Nguyệt Ánh

Cuộc gặp mặt diễn ra trong không khí ấm cúng và vui vẻ. Bắt đầu là mọi người nâng cốc và cùng hát “ được cùng đồng chí tưng bừng…” rồi cùng kể chuyện, nhắc lại những kỷ niệm cũ rồi lại hát. Hát rất hăng cả bài Lớp Ca, sợ thầy không hiểu, bạn Công Kỳ phải giải thích về cái sự “ sướng ghê” khi lần đầu tiên trong đời được trèo lên cái gường lò xo mà nhún nhẩy.
Thầy Tuấn có chuẩn bị sẵn một bài  cả văn xuôi cả thơ để phát biểu trên hội trường nhưng vì  không đủ thời gian nên BTC đã cắt. Bây giờ thầy đọc ở đây và tôi đã ghi lại. Xin mời các bạn bấm để nghe ( Xin mở loa trên máy tính của bạn to lên nhé ).

Đáp lại thầy, bạn Trung Hải cũng vừa đọc, vừa diễn giải một lên khúc thơ khá dài. Tôi phải quay đến 4 Video mới hết. Sau đó tôi ghép lại thành một. Vì kỹ thật kém nên nhiều chỗ mất hình và rất xấu. Tuy vậy vẫn cứ đưa lên để các bạn nghe lời thơ là chính.

Cô Hương con gái thầy, là giáo viên, cũng là một cây thơ. Cô muốn làm quen với chúng ta bằng 2 bài thơ của mình. Từ nay chắc là chúng ta còn sẽ được đọc nhiều thơ hay của Hương trên Blog.

Cuộc họp mặt hôm nay không chỉ đã để lại cho tôi những ấn tượng đẹp mà nó còn gây sự ngạc nhiên và cảm phục với cả ông chủ cửa hàng người Úc. Một bàn khách rất vui vẻ, lịch sự rất trí thức và văn hóa.
ThầyTuấn mệt nên về khách sạn nghỉ trước, còn chúng tôi còn ngồi lại bên nhau khá lâu. Nhưng rồi cũng phải chia tay nhau vì biết rằng chương trình Hội lớp còn dài, ngày mai sẽ gặp nhau ở nhà cụ Minh Gương.

4 nhận xét:

  1. Hình ảnh rất đẹp nhưng tiếng không rõ lắm chị ạ!
    Trả lời

    1. Em xem máy tính của em có mở loa to hơn không ?

  2. Nàng đã công khai tình yêu với bạn M Đức một cách hồn nhiên rồi. Chúc mừng hạnh phúc của cặp đôi Thanh Hương-Minh Đức nhé!
    Trả lời
  3. Chúc mừng các anh chị trong ngày hội ngộ.
    Trả lời



BLOG LUSONQUELAM :Thứ Bảy, ngày 31 tháng 8 năm 2013

Bạn Thế Long (DCOS) đưa tin : Tối 30-8, một số bạn lớp ta đã gặp gỡ tiễn thầy Phạm MạnhTuấn trở về Thái Nguyên. Trong buổi liên hoan, thầy đã phát biểu và đọc một bài thơ rất cảm động về tình cảm thầy trò bè bạn chúng ta. Xin chép ra đây và xin các cụ Lý trưởng, Phó lý Làng LSQL đăng trên đình làng để mọi người cùng đọc.

                                                                       Thày Tuấn đọc thơ

Thưa các bạn đồng nghiệp!
Các em học sinh thân mến!
Thấm thoắt đã 60 năm, các thế hệ học sinh Lô Sơn – Quế Lâm đã thành đạt, giữ những trọng trách quan trọng của Đảng và Nhà nước, lên vị thế ông, bà; mỗi lần gặp nhau ta đều thấy phấn chấn như tìm được dĩ vãng: cái tuổi trẻ nhiệt tình năng nổ của các thầy cô giáo, cái tuổi thơ hồn nhiên trong sáng của các em học sinh một thời chung sống, giảng dạy, học tập ở bên đất nước người.

Cái thuở ban đầu lưu luyến ấy
Nhiều năm chưa dễ mấy ai quên

Từ mái trường Lô Sơn – Quế Lâm, các em tỏa đi khắp nơi, rèn luyện, học tập, mang sức mình, nhiệt tình xây dựng và bảo vệ Tổ quốc, các thầy cô đều rất tự hào về những đóng góp của các em cho quê hương đất nước. Dẫu nay cuộc đời đã thay đổi, hoàn cảnh sống mỗi người một khác song mỗi lần gặp mặt tình thầy trò vẫn thủy chung, trong sáng trước sau như một.
                          Các tay máy hoạt động hết công suất !
Từ trái sang : Thày Toàn, thày Nội, Thày Tuấn 
hiện nay và 60 năm trước ( ảnh dưới)
Chia tay nhau thuở thiếu thời
Tuổi cao gặp lại thật vui, thật mừng
Thời gian trôi chảy lạnh lùng
Tình người vẫn cứ thắm nồng trước sau
Thầy trò bè bạn cùng nhau
Nguyện xin trân trọng dài lâu giữ gìn
Trời xanh nâng những cánh chim
Nước non ngàn dặm vẫn tìm đến nhau
Mấy mươi năm trắng mái đầu
Trái tim vẫn đỏ thắm mầu yêu thương
Đã cùng chung một mái trường
Chia tay khôn lớn tìm đường ra khơi
Dù xa cuối đất cùng trời
Gặp nhau đây thấy cuộc đời đẹp thay
Tứ phương hội tụ về đây
Tưởng như sống lại những ngày xa xưa
Thật rồi cứ ngỡ như mơ
Tình thầy nghĩa bạn bây giờ còn đây
Bồi hồi tay nắm chặt tay
Buồn vui ôn lại những ngày bên nhau
Gặp nhau rộn rã tiếng cười
Xa nhau nhớ mãi cuộc đời thủy chung
Gọi đàn cho ấm tiếng chim
Yêu thương cho ấm trái tim nghĩa tình.

Và đây tôi xin bổ xung videpclip mà tay máy Đặng Nguyệt Ánh đã quay đêm đó tại nhà hàng khách sạn Sikver Mool
 Chúc mọi người mạnh khỏe, gia đình hạnh phúc!

Thông tin và hình ảnh : Diachuoansai Hoàng Thế Long

5 nhận xét:

  1. Cam on Blog luson.quelam , anh Calathau da dua tin,dua anh phuc vu nhu cau theo roi couch gap go the ky ky niem 60 nam thanh lap Truong to chuc tai Ha. Noi ngay 30.8.2013 cua cac cuu Giao vien,can Bo,hoc sinh cac Khoi cua Truong thieu Nhi Viet Nam.
    Cac buc anh ba thay Toan, thay Noi,thay Tuan cach nhau 60 nam rat co Gia tri doi voi cac thay,doi voi Chung ta nhung hoc sinh cua Truong thieu Nhi Viet Nam. Blog dua cac buc anh Nay den voi Nguoi doc la mot thanh cong cua tinh than vi moi Nguoi cua Dan QL.
    Trả lời
  2. Sau khi nghe thầy Tuấn đọc bài thơ với giọng truyền cảm vả xúc đông, một bài thơ thắm đượm tình cảm Thầy Trò Trường TNVN LSQL khi gặp nhau sau trên nửa thế kỷ. Thầy Tuấn viết:..."Bốn phương tụ hội về đây / Tưởng như sống lại những ngày xa xưa / Thật rồi cứ ngỡ như mơ / Tình thầy nghĩa bạn bây giờ còn đây. / Bồi hồi tay nắm chặt tay / Buồn vui ôn lại những ngày bên nhau).
    Mọi người có mặt nghe xong, vỗ tay tán thưởng. Bạn TL còn nói thêm: "Đúng là Thày giáo dạy văn của chúng em ngày xưa". Bài thơ của Thầy rất hay.
    Trả lời
  3. Bài thơ của thày thấm đậm tình thầy trò,bè ban,đồng môn mà thòi gian của 6o năn xa chách không thể phôi phai!
    Em không được thầy trực tiếp dây bảo ,nhưng qua bài viết về thầy của anh Công Kỳ, em vô cùng cảm phục kinh yêu thầy !
    Lần đâu gập em Hương,chắc biết em mới qua cơn bạo bệnh,Hương cứ cầm tay em,vuốt ve,tỏ lòng thương mến .Em hiểu rằng em Hương được hưởng thụ sự dây bảo cua thầy cô giống chúng em ,luôn sống chân tình.
    Cám ơn thầy và các thây cô đã cho chúng một môi trương GD rất tốt trong những ngày đầu đời để sau nay bước di trong cuộc đời, chung em hầu hết đếu trở thành những "CON NGƯỜI" đúng với nghĩa của hai từ ấy !
    Trả lời

    1. Bạn Diệu Huyền đóng 1 lúc 2 vai : vừa là cựu HS 3A vừa là "con dâu" của K5 nên bạn rất thấu hiểu nội tình K5.

  4. " Mấy mươi năm trắng mái đầu
    Trái tim vẫn đỏ thắm mầu quê hương "
    Nghe thơ Thày, dạ vấn vương
    Tình Thày, nghĩa bạn Quế Lâm thưở nào
    Trong xa cách vẫn dạt dào
    Qua gian khó thêm ngọt ngào yêu thương
    Trả lời

          God Guides Those who Fear Him   
‘What man is he that feareth the LORD? Him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.’ (Psalm 25:12-13) There was a time not too many years ago when a believer was described simply as a ‘God-fearing man.’ That was...
          Théo Friant – Méditation Alignement / Reconnexion Starseed   

Les amis ! Voici une méditation d’alignement / reconnexion Starseed en cadeau pour vous. Théo Friant – Méditation Alignement / Reconnexion Starseed     Avec une immense joie et un amour profond. Théo Friant StarseedAstro     Pour aller encore plus loin retrouvez Théo en consultation ou suivi personnalisé via...

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          « Contact in the Desert 2017 » – Conflits Galactiques et Divulgation Cosmique   

Voici l’article « Contact in the Desert 2017 – Conflits Galactiques et Divulgation Cosmique ». J’ai porté les couleurs de la France à Contact in the Desert 2017 et vous ramène les dernières informations sur les conflits galactiques, les programmes spatiaux secrets (voyages stellaires, enlèvements et hybrides), la véritable histoire de notre humanité et...

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          Reconnexion Enfants – Adultes « Indigo / Cristal » et Starseeds   

Voici le nouvel article StarseedAstro : Reconnexion Enfants – Adultes « Indigo / Cristal » et Starseeds. Le rendez-vous est pris les amis et il est l’heure d’accompagner ceux qui le souhaitent à traverser cette crise de Conscience majeure et c’est cette Conscience qui reprend le pouvoir en cette humanité. Toutefois, il...

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          Théo Friant – Les 3 Dimensions de votre Signe Astrologique – le Bélier   

Voici le nouvel article StarseedAstro : Les 3 Dimensions de votre Signe Astrologique – le Bélier. En tant qu’astrologue, j’étudie tous les jours des cartes énergétiques afin de traduire les énergies de chaque consultants en mots, exercice de style audacieux, j’aime à le penser 😉 . L’astrologie et la numérologie sont...

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          Connaitre son « Identité Cosmo-Tellurique » pour Accomplir sa Mission de Vie   

À l’instar de beaucoup d’hommes et de femmes, j’explore les différentes facettes de mon humanité. À l’âge de 22 ans, j’ai connu mon premier éveil spirituel, me mettant en contact avec le monde de l’invisible, aussi appelé l’au-delà, l’écriture automatique était mon support. Depuis cet âge, je n’ai eu de...

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          Féminin et Masculin Sacrés – les Clés du Nouveau Monde   

Voici le nouvel article « Féminin et Masculin Sacrés – les Clés du Nouveau Monde » sur l’union du féminin et du masculin sacrés, le couple sacré, la nouvelle matrice / le nouveau monde… Depuis mon voyage initiatique en Angleterre, Stonehenge m’a ouvert les portes des mystères de la création, entre « matrices terrestres » et...

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          Le Choix d’Être Soi   

Chaque être est maître de sa destinée, maître en son royaume… Le Choix d’Être Soi. Incarner le Soi Inconditionnel.   Chaque être est maître de sa destinée, maître en son royaume… Chaque matin, nous faisons ce choix conscient, en posant le pied au sol, de créer ou de detruire, d’accueillir...

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Siguiendo la trayectoria del éxito en el Dakar 2017, los ingenieros de Peugeot Sport presentan el nuevo Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi.
  • Las mejoras aportadas al tamaño y las suspensiones del auto tienden a una mayor estabilidad y performance para el ‘’DreamTeam’’ Peugeot Total.

  • Sébastien Loeb estrenará el nuevo auto en carrera, en el Silk Way Rally del 7 al 22 de julio próximo.

  • Luego de dos victorias en las ediciones 2016 y 2017 en el Rally Dakar, disputado en Sudamérica en enero, Peugeot Sport reveló el auto que sucede al Peugeot 3008DKR. Una “bestia de carrera" basada en el modelo de serie Peugeot, el nuevo SUV 3008, galardonado con el título "Auto del Año 2017".

  • El Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi está diseñado para recorrer las pistas de tierra, dunas y terrenos de los rally-raid más difíciles del mundo y apuntará a tener cada vez mayor performance.

  • El nuevo auto es 20 centímetros más ancho que el anterior (ancho total de 2,40 m.), debido a la ampliación de la cinemática de las suspensiones en 10 centímetros por lado. Se han cambiado los triángulos de suspensión inferiores y superiores y los árboles de transmisión. El objetivo buscado por los ingenieros de Peugeot Sport: ganar estabilidad y mejorar la dinámica del vehículo.

  • Si bien estas nuevas evoluciones siguen un programa de desarrollo de un año, el Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi debutará en carrera en el Silk Way Rally 2017: una etapa decisiva en el proceso técnico, con no menos de 10 000km a recorrer, de Moscú (Rusia) a X’ian (China) pasando por las estepas de Kazakstán. El rol de Sébastien Loeb será testear las modificaciones aportadas para dirigir la orientación de las próximas pruebas, con vistas al Dakar 2018. Pero, como lo subraya Bruno Famin, Director de Peugeot Sport, el único objetivo en esta prueba de 15 días es la victoria.

  • Sébastien Loeb estará acompañado en la aventura Silk Way Rally por Stéphane Peterhansel, ganador del Dakar, y el poseedor del título Silk Way Rally, Cyril Despres, ambos al volante del Peugeot 3008DKR, la versión que obtuvo los tres primeros puestos en el Dakar 2017.

  • La experiencia de Carlos Sainz, que se unirá al ‘’Dream Team’’ para el próximo Dakar, resultó crucial en la puesta a punto del Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi en ocasión de 3 sesiones de pruebas que tuvieron lugar en Marruecos, Portugal y Francia.

Bruno Famin, Director de Peugeot Sport
"Incluso antes de haber tomado la largada del Dakar en enero, habíamos empezado a trabajar en la próxima generación del Peugeot 3008DKR. Nuestros ingenieros tenían por misión seguir con sus esfuerzos y estudiar nuevas pistas de mejora técnica. Las últimas modificaciones aportadas al auto deberían permitir una mayor performance en nuestros próximos desafíos deportivos y brindar la mejor oportunidad de éxito a nuestras tripulaciones. Lo  más difícil cuando se ha ganado, es reiterar la victoria.  El Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi será confiado a Sébastien Loeb y Daniel Elena para debutar en carrera en el Silk Way Rally. Cada uno de nuestros pilotos ya realizó varias sesiones de pruebas. Los datos que se recabarán en la carrera nos ayudarán a definir la configuración definitiva para el próximo Dakar."

Sébastien Loeb, piloto del Team Peugeot Total
"Pienso que el auto es más estable, ahora que es más ancho. Las sensaciones son un poco diferentes al volante. En las partes angostas y técnicas, es más voluminoso, pero en términos de estabilidad y de pilotaje, es realmente mejor. El auto tiene menos tendencia al rolido y da más confianza para atacar y deslizar. Yo diría que el punto fuerte del Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi es su capacidad en fuera de pista. Con sus vías anchas y sus grandes ruedas, podemos ir más o menos a cualquier lado. Quizás no sea tan ágil en las rutas que se asemejan a especiales de rally, pero este territorio es más el de la tracción en las cuatro ruedas. El punto fuerte de nuestro auto es poder arremeter contra todo con confianza, y sobre todo en las dunas."

Carlos Sainz, piloto del Team Peugeot Total
"Tuve buenas sensaciones con el nuevo Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi en las pruebas y es realmente una gran mejora respecto de la versión anterior: sentí que habíamos hecho progresos. El cambio más visible es el ensanchamiento de las vías, que debería permitirnos atacar mejor en las curvas. El auto parece también más estable en los tramos rápidos y en las rutas más abruptas. A lo largo de los años, es cada vez más difícil mejorar el envase, pero el trabajo de los ingenieros de Peugeot Sport es notable. Intenté ayudarlos tanto como fue posible. Es fantástico ver a los ingenieros intentar sacar el máximo de un auto ya optimizado, y muy excitante seguir el recorrido del desarrollo a penas de regreso del Dakar."

          Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex 1st GIG E16-20 BDRip 1080p Ita Jap x265-NAHOM [BDRiP] [Seed (1)/Leech (0)]   

Titolo: Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex 1st GIG
Anno: 2002
Genere: Fantascienza
Produzione: I.G. Production
Distribuzione: Panini Video 2006
Numero episodi: 26
Durata approssimativa episodi: 24'

Ambientato nel XXI secolo Ghost in the Shell è in superficie un thriller di spionaggio futuristico che segue le imprese del maggiore Motoko Kusanagi, membro della Nona Sezione, una squadra speciale di operazioni in incognito della Commissione nazionale di pubblica sicurezza giapponese specializzata nel combattere crimini legati alla tecnologia. Sebbene tecnicamente sia pari grado agli altri membri, Kusanagi ricopre il ruolo di leader della squadra e viene solitatamente chiamata maggiore a causa del suo passato rango nelle forze armate. È in gran parte robotizzata, un cervello umano in un corpo artificiale capace di imprese sovrumane e specializzata per il suo lavoro.

L'ambientazione di Ghost in the Shell è distintivamente cyberpunk o postcyberpunk, simile a quelle della Trilogia dello sprawl dello scrittore di fantascienza William Gibson, sebbene l'opera di Shirow sia maggiormente focalizzata sulle ramificazioni etiche e filosofiche della fusione tra l'umanità e la tecnologia. Gran parte degli uomini sono collegati alla rete, a cui possono accedere non soltanto mediante terminali fisici, ma soprattutto attraverso impianti situati nel loro stesso cervello. Diversi uomini sono diventati cyborg, ovvero esseri in parte organici in parte robotici. Quello che differenzia un cyborg integrale da un robot è la presenza di un cervello umano e del Ghost, ovvero dell'anima, qualcosa di intrinseco e inspiegabile che permette agli uomini di "sentire" sensazioni particolari. Il Ghost è l'istinto non mediato dai calcoli. Lo sviluppo dell'intelligenza artificiale ed un'onnipresente rete computerizzata sono il palcoscenico per la rivoluzione dell'identità umana e della unicità di sé stessi. In particolare il manga affronta direttamente queste problematiche: Kusanagi ed i suoi colleghi devono affrontare minacce esterne così come soffrire conflitti interni dovuti alle loro proprie nature.

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Rapporto creato da AVInaptic (18-12-2011) in data 28-06-2017 23:50:08

          Lauryn Hill - MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 [Flac][TntVillage] [Musica] [Seed (15)/Leech (4)]   

Artist: Lauryn Hill
Title Of Album: MTV Unplugged Number 2.0
Pubblicazione: 2002
Genre: Acustic
Source: CD

Quality: FLAC + Cue + M3u8 + Log
Cover: Front Back 2CD

1. Lauryn Hill - Just Like Water [06:09]
2. Lauryn Hill - Interlude 4 [01:40]
3. Lauryn Hill - Just Want You Around [04:36]
4. Lauryn Hill - I Gotta Find Peace Of Mind [09:19]
5. Lauryn Hill - Intro [02:28]
6. Lauryn Hill - Mr. Intentional [06:58]
7. Lauryn Hill - Adam Lives In Theory [07:26]
8. Lauryn Hill - Interlude 1 [01:56]
9. Lauryn Hill - Oh Jerusalem [08:54]
10. Lauryn Hill - Interlude 2 [01:21]
11. Lauryn Hill - Freedom Time [04:59]
12. Lauryn Hill - Interlude 3 [03:18]
13. Lauryn Hill - I Find It Hard To Say (Rebel) [06:50]

Playing Time.........: 01:06:00
Total Size...........: 370,95 MB

1. Lauryn Hill - Just Like Water [06:09]
2. Lauryn Hill - Interlude 4 [01:40]
3. Lauryn Hill - Just Want You Around [04:36]
4. Lauryn Hill - I Gotta Find Peace Of Mind [09:19]
5. Lauryn Hill - Intro [02:28]
6. Lauryn Hill - Mr. Intentional [06:58]
7. Lauryn Hill - Adam Lives In Theory [07:26]
8. Lauryn Hill - Interlude 1 [01:56]
9. Lauryn Hill - Oh Jerusalem [08:54]
10. Lauryn Hill - Interlude 2 [01:21]
11. Lauryn Hill - Freedom Time [04:59]
12. Lauryn Hill - Interlude 3 [03:18]
13. Lauryn Hill - I Find It Hard To Say (Rebel) [06:50]

Playing Time.........: 01:06:00
Total Size...........: 370,95 MB

"Il mio mitra è un contrabbasso che ti spara sulla faccia" cantava Demetrio Stratos nel '74 e così deve aver pensato pure la bella Lauryn Hill dando alle stampe questo MTV Unplugged un paio di anni fa.
Un disco impegnato e "di spessore" per l'ex reginetta del pop-easy listening (ex dei Fugees) passata, nell'arco di un paio di dischi, dal puro intrattenimento alla composizione di queste canzoni di rabbia e di rivolta. Canzoni che parlano di diritti civili, di poltica, della situazione della donna, insomma, canzoni "sentite" e, se me lo concedete, di "impegno", Che non è "l'impegno de noantri" sbandierato dai nostri 4 cantanti di casa per promuovere i loro album al Live8, o le pseudo donazioni fatte a pseudo organizzazioni con i ricavi di pseudo vendite etc. L'impegno della nostra Lauryn trasuda da ogni nota suonata in questo disco, canzoni come comizi e note "sudate" che sanno di lotta e di rivoluzione. Alla nostra eroina, passata coscientemente dalle limousine dorate del mondo POP alle barricate della canzone politica, oggi non serve granchè. Rinnegati i lussi di una vita da pop star immaginiamo scialba e vuota (così almeno ci piace immaginarla), la pasionaria Hill impugna la chitarra come un mitra e su un palco spoglio senza trucchi e senza luci, canta le sue storie con l'anima e l'interpretazione di un'amazzone stanca ma agguerrita.
Bellissime e "sentite" le sue stonature e i rari momenti dove la voce viene a mancare che danno all'interpretazione dei brani, un calore e un senso di verità ancora più coinvolgente... momenti emozionanti da vera pelle d'oca. Una volta tanto una cantante che fa il percorso "al contrario" a differenza dei più che partono "rocker e maledetti" per stabilizzarsi, col tempo e l'età (e diciamo pure, grazie al sostanzioso conto in banca) su registri più tranquilli e rilassati (vedi il Blasco Nazionale tanto per dirne uno) nel migliore dei casi. Opinionisti e filosofi nei peggiori.
Un disco forse eccessivamente lungo e parlato che mette a dura prova chi se la cava così così con lo slang dell'americano parlato, a cui però va comunque il nostro plauso.
Un applauso, dunque, al coraggio e alla grandezza di questa Artista che ha saputo rimettersi in discussione percorrendo la via più impervia e rischiosa che un'artista possa percorrere: due luci, una voce e una chitarra. Qui non si bara, niente mega produzioni, niente effetti stroboscopici, niente spot o mega promozioni televisive, niente 4 palchi rotanti o "campivolo" del cazzo.
Qui si è nudi: se hai l'anima o no, qui si sente. Mica cazzi.

          BLOG: The Gospel and Prosperity, Part 1   
The Bible teaches that it is normally God's will to prosper us materially and give us good health.

That is true in the Old Testament: "Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits -- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Psalm 103:2-5).

And Saint Paul clearly teaches a connection between generous, sacrificial giving and our experiencing increasing financial blessing: "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. . . And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. . . Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God" (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).

While we should not limit this blessing to material things, material things certainly are at least somewhat in view: " . . so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (verse 8). "You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion" (verse 11).

That is the teaching of the 31 chapters of the book of Proverbs. But I said, normally, because Job reveals the fine print in the contract, as I will attempt to lay out below.

First of all, consider health. Essentially, I believe that a person is "immortal" until God's purpose for his life is completed. That doesn't mean that we won't get sick; we will, and unless somebody shoots us or runs over us with a car or something like that, one day, sooner or later, every one of us is going to get sick from something that's going to kill us: "It is appointed for men to die once" (Hebrews 9:27). We see that in the life of one of the three greatest workers of miracles in the Old Testament, Elisha. "Now Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died" (2 Kings 13:14). Amazingly, even in his death, this type of Christ brings life: "Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet" (2 Kings 13:20, 21).

I believe that it is normally God's will that we have sufficient health so that we can go about doing what he's called us to do, not that we don't ever get tired, feel bad or have a bout with illness. Due to sickness, I have only missed preaching in our Sunday morning services two times in the past 32 years. But I will let you in on a little secret, if I'm going to feel under the weather when I get up, it's almost always on Sunday morning. Time and again, my fever has broken while I was preaching. I'm usually ready for a nap after the second morning sermon, but I almost always feel better after I preach than before. Back on Monday, January 26, 2004, I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy which left the left side of my face paralyzed to the point I could neither completely close my left eye or the left side of my mouth. I had been eating lunch with a man in my congregation and I realized that the onions in my liver and onions kept falling out of my mouth. Within three weeks I was completely healed, but on two Sundays I had to use my left hand to push my lips together every time I used a bilabial plosive, otherwise I couldn't pronounce words like "pastor" or "bad."

As indicated above, the Bible teaches that it is normally God's will to prosper believers materially, but we must hold fast to certain truths, lest we twist this biblical truth to our own destruction.

1. It belongs to God alone to define what prosperity is.

1.1. Prosperity is not having everything we desire -- so much of what we desire is bad for us, afterall, like a little child stuffing himself with candy at holiday time. If I went through my list of desires, let's see . . . on second thought, I don't think I want to go there.

1.2. Prosperity varies from place to place, culture to culture and time to time. Having an automobile in modern suburban America is probably a necessity, and one that we may humbly expect that God will provide as we seek to do his will. But having a dirt-floored, log cabin, vegetables and cured meat, homespun clothing, a mule and tools would have met these criteria a couple of hundred years ago.

1.3. Prosperity is having enough "money" so that we are able to provide food and shelter for those for whom we are responsible and to have enough left over to give to advance God's kingdom in the lives of others.

2. Our ultimate "prosperity" in Christ means that God will sometimes orchestrate the events of our lives in such a way that we find ourselves bewildered by our circumstances. That certainly was often the experience of the Apostle Paul as he describes it in 2 Corinthians 11:21-29: "I have . . . been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?"

2.1. Saint Paul teaches us that God is directing everything in the life of believers so that they will become more and more like the Lord Jesus: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers" (Romans 8:28, 29).

2.2. Joseph could look back on the trials of his life, the hellish events unleashed by the murderous deeds of his brothers, and confess: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).

2.3. It wasn't because of Paul's sin or lack of faith, that our heavenly Father ordained that an angel of Satan would cause Paul to suffer with his thorn in the flesh; it was to produce growth in grace and increasing humility before God: "And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me -- to keep me from exalting myself" (2 Corinthians 12:7)!

Paul experienced real pain from this attack and earnestly sought relief from his Father, "Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me" (2 Corinthians 12:8).

But his prayer was not answered the way that he wanted, and this wasn't due to Paul's lack of faith or the presence of unconfessed sin in his life: 'And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The end result of this was Paul's joyful submission to God's good providence, not a bitter, stoic resignation: "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10).

Continued in Part 2.

          Comment on BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The Guy Who Follows Cal is Screwed, Right? by az1006   
4everUKblue...If you're saying falling short of a national championship is always a disappointment, then I truly feel sorry for you. As a fan of any sports program, to expect a national championship every single year, and only be satisfied with a national championship, must make your fandom extremely sad. Kentucky's won 8 national championships, as you know, and has fielded 114 basketball teams. So, we've only won a title 7% of the time, good enough for 2nd best in the nation. It was disheartening that the 2003 team failed to at least reach the Final Four, but that is still one of my favorite teams of all time. Their incredible defense, interior passing, balanced scoring, and overall dominance in the SEC at a time when the SEC was arguably the best conference in the country was something to behold. Had Bogans stayed healthy, perhaps we're having a totally different conversation. The fact is, the landscape of college basketball changed and changed quickly toward the end of Tubby's tenure. He did a poor job of keeping up, and I think it has soured his legacy in the eyes of some fans. There were some down years during his tenure, to be sure, but from 2003-2005 we were arguably the best team in the country. Two consecutive #1 overall seeds in the NCAA Tournament, two Elite Eights, and a healthy Bogans and offensive rebound against Michigan State away from potentially two Final Fours (or better) in 3 seasons. People, for whatever reason, tend to overlook that 3 year stretch. If college basketball were the same in 1997 as it is today, Tubby would have been a horrendous hire. But, at the time, he made a lot of sense and was a good fit, at least for the first 5 or 6 years. As often is the case, he just stuck around for a few too many years.
          Multiculturalism at work   

Charing Cross Road, a heaving mass of punters, tourists and ambling drunkards flows past Samuel's workplace at its usual frenetic, clogged pace, until one of its number dislodges himself. An ambling drunkard. He sports baggy pants, a loose striped jacket and a whiskery, unkempt beard. He shouts at Samuel to the rustle of a plastic Waterstone's bag. "Fuck… eh, you….you… what are you doing?" "What!" Samuel stays back, keeps cool. The abuse runs in thick streams, words can barely be made out. Curious shoppers stare wildly over their issues of Zoo and The Economist. The man is black; Samuel is black too. "Fou!" Is it French? Red-eyed, mouth agape, the man keeps screaming, grabs his bag and plunges back into the crowd. Punters dive back into their torrents of headlines, semi-nudes and Harry Potter blurbs at the Borders storefront. Samuel resumes his lax position at the reception, wistfully contemplating the crowds.

Charing Cross Road is the pulse of multicultural London, an artery of pleasure, strife and boredom, snaking from the imperial grandeur of Trafalgar Square to the heart of Oxford Street. Its pedestrian flow makes a garish display; multicultural, festive and sweaty. Almost half of the UK's ethnic minorities live in the capital, clustered in villages: Jews up Golders Green, Cypriots in Haringey, Arabs at Edgware Road and hip white things in Islington. Charing Cross road is where they meet, shop and scuffle: but it is also a place where cultures are put to work. If the now bitterly contested British model of multiculturalism is falling ill, Charing Cross Road is a good place to take its blood pressure.

The security guard

"We don't get too much abuse. We are trained to handle this," Samuel says laconically. No security guard clichés apply to his five foot eight inch frame: no bouncy muscles, towering torso or chiselled face, and only a small corporate insignia on his plain T-shirt indicates he might be at work. Except, that is, for one distinct marker of those guarding the shopfronts and clubs of central London's incongruous geography these days, a marker by now too clichéd to even be noticed by most Londoners: Samuel is black.

"I have been working as a security guard for three years," he says. "You get a lot of junkies in this area. Sometimes you have to be aggressive." Samuel smiles, pushing out his chest a little. "You have to know how to act depending on the person. It's like science – action and reaction." He chuckles ever so slightly.

Samuel comes from Nigeria, as do many others in his profession. His eyes flick back and forth, scanning the throng of people. "You can't stand like this for too long, talking – somebody might just go in, take a pack of CDs and leave," he says. Samuel excuses himself, adding his name and a furtive handshake as an afterthought. Less than five minutes' talk in all.

The private security sector is expanding, and guards now adorn even the humblest of supermarket checkouts and dingiest of clubs. A "visual deterrent" to crime, security companies claim. And this visual deterrence is increasingly performed by bored-looking black Britons and Africans. The good news may be that black minorities, still two and a half times more likely to be unemployed than white Britons, are now entrusted with security matters, inching a bit higher up London's pecking order. The bad news is that an ethnic furrow is drilled into London's asphalt, channelling black men into badly paid, vulnerable frontline positions.

Politicians, pundits and even the police have often praised the multicultural British model of integration, not without good reason. Nobody will launch into patriotic sing-a-longs or wave a Union Jack in the face of the hookah-smoking, Morris dancing, Qur'an-chanting and sauerkraut-eating masses. But this is all multiculturalism by night. Multiculturalism also works – works hard – up Charing Cross Road, down dingy backstreets, at the back of fusty pubs, deep in the cellars of milk-white Kensington hotels, under the sterile bulbs of NHS surgeries.

It may be insolent to heave another load of real-world grit onto multiculturalism's back at this time of trials by government, racism and terror. But dreary work is the flipside to London's multicultural project. Black bouncers, Asian shopkeepers, African parking attendants, Polish bartenders, Spanish chambermaids, Irish builders, African nurses, Indian doctors – they all come to London and find their place, as if by serendipity, from £4.85 an hour and counting. Europe's financial capital is insatiable, spongy, absorbent. But do people pick jobs according to ability and preference, or is the grid already laid out for them; colourful, deceptive and non-negotiable as a London tube map?

The parking attendant

Like security guards, parking attendants are too busy for a chat. Brisk, outsourced, undaunted, they roam the capital's grimy single yellow lines armed with just an oversized machine to crunch number-plates and a council vest against cold winds and the evil eye. And they are virtually unstoppable, furtive figures.

"I am too busy, don't have time," says my first interview target, a stern black parking attendant. He walks off briskly, escaping the lunging white hack. Luck comes in the voluminous shape of a fast-paced black woman negotiating a Camden sidestreet. Her vest is deceptively branded with a comforting council-green dye that blends with a minuscule NCP insignia – the private, nationwide parking venture that won Camden Council's lucrative enforcement contract in 2001.

Is this one of London's toughest jobs? "No, it's not that hard!" she chuckles, scanning a white van's pay-and-display ticket. She treads along briskly. "Really, it's OK," she assures me. "In the beginning it's harder, but you get used to it. The abuse comes daily, of course. It's not the job for you if you can't handle abuse. But if you know you are doing the right thing, it's OK. You just walk away when they start shouting."

She is matter-of-fact, stout and cheerful, her hair sculpted into a bun. I tag along, barely keeping up. Is she running away from her stalker? What's her name? "You can call me this!" she chuckles again, pointing to her shoulder cuff. It says 1571. "I am not allowed to say my name. Here I am a number – my name doesn't matter." 1571 looks busier and busier. The radio crackles. Where is she from? "Nigeria." Why do so many Africans do this job? "Oh, I don't know," 1571 says, curtly or just briskly. We reach the end of the block, another grey Camden thoroughfare beckons beyond, with a neat stack of pay-and-displays. She is speeding – wait … too late. 1571 chuckles, says goodbye. A colleague approaches – could be her cousin: hair neatly wrapped, fast-paced, African features. Then a male colleague – black, African traits. One, two, three, all heading down the same street, an avalanche of attendants … And my failed source, pacing briskly as ever. But now he smiles. "So, you found somebody?" His accent, too, is African.

No job evokes such hostility as parking enforcement, more so since public-private partnerships and new profit-making incentives began unleashing a ticketing bonanza on the capital's streets. But London's parking business has been doubly outsourced: to private ventures and flak-catching Africans, who have relentlessly populated the payrolls. At the public-private faultline they teeter, armed with silly hats and plastic machinery, come rain or shine or saliva-spattering owners of four-by-fours.

Enforcing London's rules and patrolling private property are tough tasks, but somebody's got to do them. Not to worry: multiculturalism assigns the posts. Please tick the ethnic monitoring form and wait in line. If you tick "black", the chance is you will soon find your place within London's hard-working, visually deterring foot soldier community.

Who's doing what – A rough guide to working Britain

4.3 per cent of Pakistanis work as shopkeepers, wholesale and retail dealers, compared to 0.5 per cent of white Britons

4.2 per cent of Indians work as medical practitioners, compared to 0.5 per cent white Britons

16 per cent of Bangladeshis work as chefs, compared to 0.7 per cent white Britons

11.3 per cent of Bangladeshis work as retail assistants, compared to 6.3 of all Asians and 4.5 of whites

2 per cent of Asians work as cashiers or checkout operators, compared to 1.1 per cent of whites

9.4 per cent of Pakistanis are chauffeurs or cab drivers, compared to 0.5 per cent whites and 0.9 per cent of blacks

8.5 per cent of black Africans are nurses, compared to 1.7 per cent whites, few South Asians and 11.2 per cent of "other Asians"

3.6 per cent of black Africans work as security guards, compared to 0.5 per cent of whites

Approximations based on data from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, December 2004 – February 2005. Ethnic minority data is unreliable due to sample size.

The shopkeeper

Aftab huddles behind a desk cluttered with weekly glossies, breath mints, KP nuts and 2p sweets, the radio filling his shop with muted noise. "Violence is not the solution," he sighs, referring both to the still recent 7 July London bombs and Iraq. On a shelf by the open door, a four-year-old copy of The Economist peeks out next to a gaudy selection of lads' mags. "The day the world changed", its front page trumpets, to the dust and fumes of Manhattan. "It reminds me of when it all started," Aftab says softly.

His cornershop is set in the shadow of thronging, roaring Camden Town station. Aftab comes from Pakistan, or rather, Kashmir. "Ever since Pakistan was created out of the British Empire in 1947 by [Muhammad Ali] Jinnah, it has failed to reconcile the different nations within its borders. It's an artificial creation. Actually, there are only two countries in the world created on the basis of religion: Israel and Pakistan," he says, bemused. "Their borders are a colonial legacy."

Since coming to Britain in 1997, Aftab has become the hub of a local community made up of itinerant builders, international students, crackheads, Bangladeshi shopkeepers and working-class families. He knows everybody. "My brother was running the shop when I got here, then he fell ill. I started coming to the shop, reading four-five papers a day: that's how I got to know all the people around here." He has braved shoplifters, stinkbombs and random yobbery, and recently appeared on the BBC after launching a petition against drug-related crime.

Aftab holds a Masters in Sociology from the University of Karachi. "When I came here they told me that if you have a Third World qualification, you need to get a diploma in this country," he says. "The Job Centre is just there to give you your £52 a week in benefit, and then you're off. They don't help you find jobs. I was registered there for two years, and scanned job offers all the time. At one point I said, 'please, just give me anything!' I told them I could study for a diploma to complete my qualifications, but they weren't interested. Then I started to get more involved here." He still wants to study a Masters of Science in Human Rights.

Has he felt discriminated against? "No, it's the same for everyone." He smiles. I ask him why he thinks so many Asians have set up shop. He looks unsure, and eventually produces a bit of sociology. "When migrants first started arriving here, many were uneducated and set up shops and have continued since then. But their children often prefer to go looking for employers. With Sainsbury's and Tesco opening local stores, the cornershop is becoming a thing of the past."

In this "nation of shopkeepers", shopkeeping has been subcontracted to that old imperial safeguard of the nation's values, British Asia. Small-scale entrepreneurs of Indian or Pakistani extraction have absorbed the retail function, running cornerstores as well as staffing supermarkets, high street stores and bank counters. They are not alone, of course: Turkish Cypriots have carved a clothes-and-food niche out of north London. But Asian shopkeepers are the only group with full-spectrum dominance, from Haringey to Hampstead. However their market share is increasingly threatened by supermarkets that wedge their slick Express, Local, Metro and Central chains into minuscule urban spaces. Does that leave you, or your kids, unemployed? Please tick the "Asian" box, and be patient: the chance is you will be handling supermarket tills, sorting ballpoint pens in a stationers, or stacking crates before you know it.

The supermarket assistant

Feronda pauses from stacking tins and dons a sincere, expectant grin worthy of the glossiest of Corporate Social Responsibility reviews. He is happy with his job as a Sainsbury's customer assistant. "I'm from Sri Lanka. I'm a refugee. Only I and one more are from Sri Lanka in this shop – most of the other people here are Pakistani." Actually, all the other customer assistants seem to be Brits of Pakistani background. Even the security guard is Asian. Why does Feronda think this is so? "Oh, this I don't know," he says, tugging his grin along, keen to move on to the next question. "I like it here, I want to stay – I especially enjoy being on the shop floor. Before I worked for four years as a car mechanic up the road," – he waves past pea cans, north – "doing night shifts. That was very hard." Now he works 3-11pm, five days a week, at £6 an hour. "Let's see… about £850 a month for a 39-hour week," he says. He looks thrilled, grateful. Before coming to the UK he studied computers, but struggles to translate his education into British levels. "I didn't apply for any other jobs – just this," he says. But is there anything he doesn't like about the job? "No, no," he says, with the sparkling grin making a lingering plea for mercy. The largely white Chalk Farm clientele scavenges for breakfast bagels and tender-stem broccoli. Feronda's colleagues shuffle past, aisle-wide looks in their eyes.

Whether British supermarkets' workforces are as diverse as their stock of curries, mozzarella and stodgy German bread is hard to ascertain – their statistics slip from your hands like salmon. Fourteen percent of Sainsbury's employees and three to four percent of its managers come from ethnic minorities: more detailed figures are not available from either Sainsbury's or Tesco, despite their equal opportunities policies.

Sainsbury's prohibits discrimination and strives to "move beyond simple legal compliance," according to Cheryl Kuczynski, a spokeswoman. "We actively look to employ colleagues who reflect the diversity of our customers," she says. Tesco, the behemoth of the British food market, says targets have been set to get so-called "ethnic groups" into managerial positions. Flexible work during Ramadan and Diwali and briefings in languages like Hindi, Urdu, and Bangladeshi are two selling points. All according to its Corporate Social Responsibility review.

Katie Jenkins, Tesco's employment spokeswoman, says that diversity "creates a great atmosphere in stores" and makes everybody contribute with different skills and knowledge. "Retail is a fast-paced environment, so we look for people who can adapt well to change, people who are very customer-focused. The stores reflect the demographics of the local area. It is about recruiting local people into local jobs."

In lush white Hampstead, amid the cobblestones, blonde beer, Unitarian churches, window displays of pains au céréales and fragrant Jojoba oils, lurks an unbecoming Tesco Express. Inside, Jayvishal is morosely stacking boxes of vegetables. "I can't do an interview if it's going to take time," he warns. I try an optimistic note. What does he like most about his job?" "I don't like it at all," he says, his slightly pained face sloping down into an unlikely smile. "It's hard work, very hard work. Packing all the time."

Jayvishal is from India. "There are not many Indians here – mainly Sri Lankans and some Europeans," he says. By European he must mean British Asian: all the shop's staff look Asian. How did he find this £6-an-hour job? "Oh, through the Job Centre, and then I had some friends over here," Jayvishal answers, somewhat cryptically. "I have been in the UK since 2003, and couldn't find a job for a while. It was very hard. Legally, international students are only allowed to work 20 hours a week, but during vacations I do overtime. It is difficult economically – I have to pay rent, transport and everything, and only earn £500 a month."

Jayvishal is studying a Masters in Business and Finance at London's Metropolitan University. While not in India he lives in Queensbury, zone four, on the Jubilee line that branches through a parallel part – or galaxy, perhaps – of north London. Skills and knowledge he has: a local he is not. The manager, a short-set, trim-bearded man of South Asian features presses up against us, fingering the stack of plastic boxes. Time to retreat. "And when you're finished…" – the orders fade, giving way to wine bars and American ice cream parlours slanting down the north London hillside.

Hampstead is at the extreme end of the spectrum. But a random Monday afternoon headcount at seventeen West End supermarkets, where workers are least likely to be drawn from a residential pool, confirms the ethnic pattern, albeit with minor variations. One hundred customer assistants were of Asian background, fifty-eight were black, nineteen white, and four "other Asians". The eleven security guards on duty were all black but for one.

The bar tender

It would be a mistake to think that low-paid jobs are the reserve of the Queen's post-colonial subjects. Some minorities have fared quite well: ethnic Indians, for one, are now approaching the employment chances of white Britons. Meanwhile, London's pint-pullers earn even less than its shelf-fillers, and a terrifying ninety-seven percent of pub workers nationwide are white. Why?

Perhaps Al Murray's comedy act the Pub Landlord hinted at the answer when saying that there should be no things foreign in a proper English pub, with the natural exception of peanuts. Peanuts are more nondescript than exotic, a bit like the "white other" box on the ethnic monitoring forms. And so it is that Europeans, Australians and their fellow Antipodeans have been swallowed by the fusty land of minimum wages, ruddy-faced regulars and sticky floors.

Behind the bar, a twenty-something lad moves packets of crisps about. Covent Garden's cobbled streets unfold outside. "Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning all the time," he says, in spotless English. "There's lots of cleaning in this pub." He doesn't look glum at all saying it. The pub is one of a constellation of glinting properties on the online London map of the Spirit Group, one of the UK's biggest pub businesses with over two thousand venues to its name. Boleslaw has worked here since May, and shares the pleasure with a girl from Sweden, another from France, an Irish boss and two other Poles – a friend and the assistant manager. He got his job through the previous manager, also Irish. "That's a traditional English pub for you!" he says.

This is not the first time I come across the Ladder. The Ladder is a peculiar upstairs-downstairs way of ordering the capital's economy. The lower steps of many a London workplace are, predictably enough, dominated by the poor relatives of the world economy: Poles, Colombians and Nigerians abound. But climb one step up, and surprisingly often you will find employees from closer to home: Irish managing continental Europeans, perhaps, or Spaniards managing Colombians. On the top of the Ladder, perch the white English top managers and boardroom staff. The Commission for Racial Equality's (CRE) chairman Trevor Phillips has called it "snow-capping", or white on black: only 1.4 percent of executive management comes from ethnic minorities.

"It's a very hard job and not paid very well. The minimum: £4.85," Boleslaw continues. No big deal. This is his third bout of pub work in London. "At least this is a very nice area, with lots of theatres around." Nice areas make customer flows impressive, and it's hectic, lager-churning madness. "After a while you get used to it – even if it's packed you can listen to the music and chat up a girl. But you work till late and don't have time for yourself. You wake up at nine or ten next morning and start work at 12. It's like a full circle." He smiles. "If you get some days off, you just chill upstairs," he adds, pointing heavenward. Boleslaw and his colleagues sleep upstairs: it's a live-in pub.

Despite paying rent to his landlord-bosses, Boleslaw can save "a few hundreds" each month, he says. He is a graphic designer and photographer, a graduate of Poland's Academy of Fine Arts, and has worked for advertising agencies back home. "It's a dodgy job market in Poland, simple as that," he says, unapologetically. "The UK market is more stable. You can do bar work for a while, then start looking around for what you really want to do."

A man with entourage orders pints of Tetley and pork scratchings. A colleague shows up, and Boleslaw breaks into Polish for a few sentences, cackling until the colleague disappears into the sunshine.

What do his fellow Poles do in the capital these days? "Any job you can get," he says. "Normally, guys who are tough enough go work on building sites, but others go into these jobs. The guy who just left, for example, is a doctor." A doctor? "Yeah – it's easy to find them working in pubs. We got lawyers, we got doctors, graphic designers, actors, the lot. This country has got the most educated bar staff ever," he says cheerily, pouring pints of Guinness for a couple of Koreans. He has only applied for one graphic design job so far, and saves his pounds with determination. "I felt I had too good qualifications. They looked at my portfolio and said 'you're too good, you better go somewhere else'. When the time comes, I'll do it."

Years back, London's fleet of theme pubs, Irish pubs, local pubs and all the other concept and brand name pubs shop-fronting for Japanese investment banks were manned by cheery mates from Down Under. The Anglo-Saxon reaches of empire supplemented London's homegrown working class with much-needed building and boozing skills. Aussies and Kiwis provided the pint-pulling crowd. South Africans joined the Irish on the building sites. The Working Holiday Visa kept the children of the Commonwealth snuggled on old England's beer belly for years.

But in 2000, New Labour sowed the seeds of a revised migration strategy, which has blossomed into today's demand-based, quotas-and-points approach. Working Holiday rules for Commonwealth countries changed in 2003, and Antipodeans have moved into administration, computer work and public services with the easing of job-type restrictions. Poles are entering the pub-and-scaffolding race, quickly filling their predecessors' place. Some 98,500 Poles had applied for Britain's worker registration scheme in May 2005, over half of all new east European hopefuls arriving in the wake of 2004's EU expansion. Eighty percent of them earned up to £5 an hour.

The arrival of Poles is changing the demographic makeup of other parts of London's service economy, too. José Vigo, employment adviser, senses a growing fashion for east European employees at his West End Job Centre, which specialises in low-paid hotel and catering vacancies "that have not been taken through the domestic labour market".

Southern Europeans and Latin Americans, often over-skilled but with poor English, have peopled the lower reaches of London's job market for years, where a dank stereotype of the Latin service worker has grown. A recent Job Centre language survey confirms the lingering Mediterranean makeup of London's catering and hotel trades: Spanish clocked in as first language, followed by Portuguese, French and Italian – but with upstart Polish wedged in at third place.

Statistics are scant and unreliable and the turnover ferocious, but Vigo confirms that employers now head for eastern Europe rather than scavenging the Iberian soils for catering and hotel staff. "There they get better levels of English and people willing to do that kind of job."

The service sector is likely to continue haunting southern European visitors, however. "London is still one of the most popular places in Europe for young Spaniards," says Manuela Martínez, adviser for EU employment network Eures in southern Spain. "People want to master English and make their CVs look better. But if their level of English is low, they will work in places where they don't deal with the public, in 'backstage' jobs. They end up spending a year in London and bring back three or four words related to the hotel trade. Then, naturally, they only tell people about the good things that happened, and the process starts snowballing."

The backstage jobs of London's fickle service economy have a convenient feature: as Portuguese hotel workers, Spanish chambermaids and Latin American kitchen porters mingle in their trade, they speak Spanish instead of English. And the less English they speak, the more likely they will languish in their underpaid niches. London keeps luring job-hunters into its wide nets, its finance-fuelled economy selects and cherrypicks the candidates, and multiculturalism keeps them apart, blissful in their ghettoes.

The state's story

Government departments are blissful in their ghettoes, too, and keep chucking the ball out of their own ponds. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) does not target specific ethnic groups, says Ben Lloyd, a spokesman, who suggests I try the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), which deals with safeguarding employees' rights. And what does the DTI think? A spokesperson mentions Tony Blair's 2003 cross-departmental Ethnic Minorities Employment Task Force, but little more: the DWP is wrong – "we don't deal with getting people into jobs."

Academia is also suffering from a "paucity of research" on ethnic recruitment according to Dr Sophia Skyers, senior research fellow on the London labour market with the public interest company Office for Public Management (OPM). She explains ethnic niching in relation to London's expanding knowledge economy. "We are seeing a polarisation of the labour force into, on the one hand, high-paid jobs in professional and financial services and, on the other hand, retail, protective services and other personal services like healthcare," she says. "What we get is a pattern of occupational segregation – a lot of people are forced into particular employment groups, often because of discrimination in other sectors. The stereotype goes with the job, and sticks to the people who get these jobs."

Professor Michael Hardt, co-author of the watershed tome Empire about how power has been redistributed in a globalised world, agrees that multiculturalism plays an economic role in the new economy. "Britain's multicultural model can facilitate an ethnic division of labour, a model that has perhaps a longer history in the Americas," he says. "Racialized hierarchies and exploitation do not always function along the old or assumed models of exclusion. But it's worth insisting that recognizing that cultural diversity can be part of a new scheme of exploitation does not mean we should be against cultural diversity as such. What we need to strive for is equality and freedom within this multicultural society."

Trevor Phillips has criticised multiculturalism for keeping people apart, labelling it "a typically British way of dealing with difference". But now the stakes are higher. While London Mayor Ken Livingstone praised multiculturalism in the wake of the 2005 London bombings, Tony Blair announced a crackdown on Britain's permissive liberal consensus to a chorus of tabloid approval. But even multiculturalism's defenders often have little clue of what it really is, or does. Multiculturalism is not only a heap of colours, it is a machine with cogs that whirr. It not only fuses, but keeps apart. It doesn't so much discriminate as direct a choreography of cultures. Much like a latter-day, benign sort of empire, where all races and cultures play a minor part in the symphony of power.

On the ring road again

Your no-frills flight descends among thick nighttime clouds and your bags emerge from the bowels of Stansted airport. Now it's business the British way. Bearded Muslims, lavish Iberian girls and red-nosed Brits clutching Su Doku books mingle in the halls and tow their luggage into the rainy night, stared on by billboards vying for their London fare. Outside, hordes of many-accented hustlers flog £5 one-ways for cheap airbus upstarts. Beyond the Pink Elephant car park waits the National Express. A stream of people crosses the wet asphalt, oblivious to the hustlers' calls. This is how multicultural London commutes, in and out of London, twenty-four hours a day, every fifteen minutes.

Chris descends from his bus and lights a quick fag before his next drive. "The job is not as stressful as it looks," he says. "It's easy, and the pay's quite good. £22,000 a year because I do night shifts." He cuts a stoic figure, tall and bulky, his shaved head pinched by an earring. His colleagues, like him, are overwhelmingly white, bald, and big, emblems of the well-fed English working class. They ferry multiculturalism in and out of the capital. What do the people boarding his coach to the throbbing financial hub of Europe do, then? "Well," Chris puffs on his fag, thinks. "We carry a lot of students, some come over on a gap year, a small portion are on business and the bulk of them are tourists and sightseers."

What about the workers? Where are they? Who notices the shelf-stacker in the business student, the pint-puller in the graduate, the cornershop owner among the businessmen, the sandwich wrappers, cappuccino steamers and doormen among the tourists? Not Chris, not Ken, not Tony, nor Middle England or the City elite. The City: white as a scrubbed cathedral wall, home of offshore dollars and high-value bonds, generator of the service economy and its guards, attendants, retailers, cleaners, drivers. And Chris, where does he live? "I live in Haverhill, outside Cambridge," he says, stubs out his fag, and sets the motor purring towards the M25.

          Recipe + Vintage Apron: Tortellini Soup   
It has been quite a cool, cloudy, dreary day, so I decided some red wine, a colorful vintage apron, and some warm soup would brighten my spirits. I love this tortellini soup recipe, it tastes rich, but has so many vegetables in it, that it is actually quite light. It also makes enough for a weekend of leftovers.

1/2 pound sweet or spicy crumbled Italian turkey sausage (about three links with casings removed)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup shredded carrots
4 tomatoes, seeded, and chopped
2 zucchini, 1 yellow, 1 green
2 cups finely chopped spinach
1 10 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
6 cups beef broth
Handful fresh basil, chopped
Dried oregano to taste
Frozen cheese tortellini
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Crumble sausage into pot, cooking until it is no longer pink. Add garlic, stirring for about a minute. Stir in vegetables, cooking until crisp-tender. Add spinach and cook until wilted, then add wine, tomato sauce, beef broth, oregano, and basil, and bring pot to a boil. Turn the heat down and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Add desired amount of tortellini to each bowl, then pour hot soup over them, letting sit for about 3-5 minutes, or until tortellini is al dente. Garnish with more basil and parmesan cheese. It's great with a glass of the red wine you used in the soup!

          Raising A Godly Seed   
A new MP3 sermon from Hilltop Audio Ministries is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

Title: Raising A Godly Seed
Subtitle: Series: Deuteronomy
Speaker: Paul E. Steele
Broadcaster: Hilltop Audio Ministries
Event: Sunday Service
Date: 6/24/1990
Bible: Deuteronomy 6:1-3
Length: 60 min. (64kbps)
          Compaction by forestry equipment and effects on coniferous seedling growth on four soils in the Alberta foothills   
Soils developed on four parent materials (glaciolacustrine clay, clay loam till, coarse fluvial, and loamy eolian) in west-central Alberta were examined to determine residual effects of logging and use of site-preparation equipment upon soil bulk density. These studies were conducted on sites that were logged during the previous 24 years. Compaction was evident on all soils except those of the Summit association, which were dominantly Brunisolic Gray Luvisols developed on cobbly fluvial deposits of Tertiary age. Compaction was greatest on soils of the Marlboro association, which were dominantly Brunisolic Gray Luvisols developed on clay loam till. Soil bulk density values on the clear-cuts had recovered to those of the controls at comparable depth at ages ranging from 0 (Summit) to 17–21 years (Marlboro). Lodgepole pine and white spruce seedlings were grown on the four soils compacted in the laboratory to three bulk densities approximating the following field conditions: (1) those observed or expected immediately following logging and site preparation; (2) those observed 5–10 years after logging and site preparation; and (3) undisturbed control. In most cases, significant reduction in nine expressions of seedling growth (maximum root depth, maximum root depth in soil core, total weight, shoot weight, root weight, stem diameter, shoot height, seedling survival, and shoot weight: root weight ratio) was observed with increased bulk density.
          Lodgepole pine and white spruce establishment after glyphosate and fertilizer treatments of grassy cutover forest land   
Perennial herbaceous vegetation, mainly marsh reed grass, (Calamagrostis canadensis (Michx) Beauv.), was sprayed with glyphosate on the day before planting one-year-old plugs of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. var. latifolia Engelm.) and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) on cutover forest land north of Edson, Alberta. Spraying at 4.5 kg ai/ha, included spot and strip applications in June 1976, compared with unsprayed scalps and controls. At the same time, all treatments were repeated plus a 9 g, 22-8-2 fertilizer tablet for each seedling. Another experiment at the same site, begun on August 1, 1976, compared scalp, unfertilized control and glyphosate strip treatments, followed by planting of pine seedlings the day after spraying 4.5 kg ai/ha glyphosate. An adjacent experiment, also commenced on August 1, included dosages of 1.1 to 5.6 kg ai/ha with planting of pine seedlings in 4.5 kg/ha and in control plots in May 1977. August application of 2.2 kg/ha provided excellent initial vegetation control, as effective as the larger amounts applied at that time, and was superior during the first 12 months to 4.5 kg/ha applied in June. Twenty-six months after the spring planting new shoot growth of fertilized pine in the glyphosate strips was statistically significantly greater than that for all other treatments and growth in fertilized scalps was also very good. At the same time leader growth of spruce in fertilized scalps was significantly greater than that for other treatments but growth in glyphosate strips did not exceed that of unfertilized controls. Contrary to results of spring planting, there was marked injury and mortality of pine planted in August in glyphosate plots which had been sprayed on the preceding day. Seedlings planted in glyphosate-treated strips nine months after the August spraying exceeded the growth of control plants but not until the year after they were planted.
          The Warhound and the World's Pain   
The first stop on my long journey into Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion saga is his short novel. The War Hound and the World's Pain. Although written more than a decade after the first Elric novel, Moorcock himself now suggests it and the following books in the Von Bek series as the best starting point for getting a handle on the whole Eternal Champion thing.

The main character (I hesitate to use the word hero for any Moorcock book) is Ulrich von Bek. Son of a learned nobleman, he rejected his father and family by first becoming a soldier and, later on, a mercenary for hire. The novel opens towards the end of the Thirty Years War, with Europe in general and Germany in particular largely torn apart by the long, violent clash between nations. Ulrich (whose similarity in name to Elric is certainly purposeful) is battle-weary at this point. We see him travelling across a devastated landscape looking for temporary sanctuary before joining yet another conflict.

Ulrich stumbles across an ancient castle. Lacking any guards, he first thinks it empty and helps himself to a nice bed and some food. But it isn’t long before he discovers Sabrina, a beautiful raven-haired woman he instantly falls for. After a wild night of debauchery, Sabrina openly admits to being a slave for Lucifer and that she’s being used to help arrange a meeting between Ulrich and her master. Ulrich thinks Sabrina, despite her intelligence and beauty, might be a bit crazy. Or at least her master might be. Curious, he decides to play along to see what will happen.

The Lucifer he meets, as it turns out, is quite real. But this Lucifer is not the stereotypical fire-and-brimstone devil. There’s no pitchfork, no horns, no tail. Ulrich walks into the fallen angel’s private study and finds “Seated at the table and apparently reading a book...the most wonderful being I had ever seen. I became light-headed. My body refused any commands. I found myself bowing” (34). This description sits closer to the descriptions we see of Angels in the Bible than it does to the stereotypical descriptions of demons and devils. Which makes sense since Lucifer is, after all, an Angel God kicked out of heaven. The portrayal here reminds me of Lucifer as Neil Gaiman portrays him in his Sandman series, and, of course Mike Carey’s spinoff comic book series Lucifer. It would not surprise me to find out that this novel was an influence on both writers. Lucifer has a deal for Ulrich.

Since Ulrich has spent most of his life bringing war to the world, Ulrich’s soul belongs fully to Lucifer. The fallen angel vows to release Ulrich’s soul on the condition that Ulrich locate the Holy Grail. Lucifer believes it to hold the secret to the cure for the world’s pain and through its use hopes to both bring mankind eternal happiness and reclaim his own place in heaven at God’s side. Despite the being’s obvious power, Ulrich remains dubious that this could be the one and only Lucifer. So the demon takes the warrior on a whilrwind tour of hell, showing him everything from bored spirits to tormented souls. Ulrich accepts Lucifer’s deal, on the one condition that Sabrina’s soul be released as well if he succeeds. The quest takes Ulrich across war-torn Europe and deep into forgotten mystical lands. Along the way he acquires a companion, a not-too-bright East European warrior named Sedenko who pledges his life to help Ulrich. He also meets Groot, a strange mystic who holds the key to the Grail’s location. These two very different companions represent two different ways of looking at the world---Sedenko’s being filled with supersition and mistrust while Groot holds tight to ideas of mysticism and idealism. The two of them have several disagreements throughout the tale. Discouraged about there progress, at one point Ulrich asks, “What’s the use?”

Groot replies, “Because we are alive, I suppose, Captain von Bek. Because we have no choice but to hope to make it better, through our own designs.” “The world is the world,” said Sedenko. “We cannot change it. That is for God to do”.“Perhaps he thinks it is for us to do,” said Groot quietly. 156

This last line is key to the ideas of free will and taking responsibility, two of the great themes of this book.

But this is also an adventure story, and what would an adventure be without a villain? Early in his journey Ulrich meets a man named Klosterheim. A former valiant knight who also once sought the grail, Klosterheim now serves a demon of hell hoping to take advantage of Lucifer’s failure and usurp control of both Hell and Earth. Groot tells us:

...should Lucifer be defeated, there will be a wild carelessness come upon Creation and it will be the end of the world, indeed. There will be no single Anti-Christ, though Klosterheim could be said to represent them all. There will be open warfare, in every region, between Heaven and Hell. It will be Armageddon, gentlemen, as has been predicted. Mankind will perish. And I believe, no matter what the Christian Bible predicts, that the outcome will be uncertain. 151

When Ulrich first meets Klosterheim he is little more than a gang-leader controlling a handful of vagabonds. But by the end he is a true threat, reigning over a vast army of men, demons and undead eager to stop Ulrich from fulfilling his quest. Because this is a heroic tale Ulrich does ultimately find the Grail and sees it for what it is---a simple clay pot. In a final confrontation between himself and Klosterheim, Ulrich holds the Grail out towards Klosterheim’s blood-hungry horde.

I held the Grail up high. No shining came out of it. No music came out if it. No great event took place. It remained what it was: a small clay pot.Yet, here and there in the ranks of Hell, pairs of eyes became transfixed. The looked. And a certain sort of peace came upon the faces of those who looked....They were falling to their knees. The were dismounting from their beasts. Even the most grotesque of them was transfixed by the clay pot. 175-176

The evil warriors defeated, Ulrich travels back to the castle to give the Grail to Lucifer and end his quest. Ulrich finds Lucifer not a champion but a being given a new task.

I am charged to bring Reason and Humanity into the world and thus discover a Cure for the World’s Pain. I am charged to understand the nature of this cup. When I understand its nature and mankind understands its nature, we shall both be redeemed...Your destiny is yours. Your lives are your own....You are at the beginning of a new age for Man. Man, whether he be Christian or pagan, must learn to rule himself, to understand himself, to take responsibility for himself. There can be no Armageddon now. If Man is destroyed, he shall have destroyed himself.

So we are to live without aid? Sabrina asks.

“And without hindrance," Lucifer replied. 180

Like all great stories, while the tale of Ulrich ends here it plants the seeds for another story. At this ending I couldn’t help but think what would come next of humanity and I see with interest that the next volume in the series takes place in Europe in the late 1700’s----after the influence of the Age of Reason stirred populations in colonial America and Europe to revolt against the long-held power of the royal families .

Overall the book is a mix of (sometimes heavy-handed) philosophy and action, so basically I loved it. It explores some high-minded thoughts you don’t always see in fantasy---or even traditional fiction----very often. I was also quite surprised by how much I liked Ulrich as a character. While Elric with his constant hand-wringing and wanting to change the established order is certainly a interesting I can’t say I’ve ever liked him. Ulrich, on the other hand, is a man of action but smart enough to think about beforehand. He’s a good leader but also willing do the hard-work and also sit down, have a beer and get to know his men. Much more interesting and rich a character. Since the next two books look at other generations of his family I’ll be especially interested to see what they are like and how this will tie into the whole Eternal Champions thing.

Next up: Book II in the Von Bek Cycle: The City in the Autumn Stars


          หน่วยที่ 1 การสื่อสารข้อมูล   

บทเรียนออนไลน์ เทคโนโลยีสารสนเทศ ระดับชั้นมัธมศึกษาปีที่ 2



1. สื่อนำข้อมูลมีหน้าที่อย่างไร

ก. รับข้อมูลที่ส่งมาจากผู้ส่ง

ข. เป็นตัวกลางในการส่งข้อมูล

ค. เป็นวิธีการในการสื่อสารข้อมูล

ง. ส่งข้อมูลไปยังจุดหมายทีต้องการ

2. ข้อใด ไม่ใช่ องค์ประกอบของการสื่อสารข้อมูล

ก. ข้อมูล

ข. ระยะเวลา

ค. โพรโทคอล

ง. สื่อนำข้อมูล

3. ”ปุ๊กชมรายการโทรทัศน์ยูบีซี” จากข้อความนี้ข้อใดคือสื่อนำข้อมูล

ก. ดาวเทียม

ข. โทรทัศน์

ค. โทรศัพท์

ง. สายเคเบิล

4. ”ผู้ส่งและผู้รับทำการตกลงวิธีการสื่อสารให้เข้าใจตรงกัน” ข้อความนี้หมายถึงข้อใด

ก. ผู้ส่งข้อมูล

ข. ผู้รับข้อมูล

ค. โพรโทคอล

ง. สื่อนำข้อมูล

5. การฟังเพลงจัดเป็นการส่งข้อมูลแบบใด

ก. การส่งข้อมูลทิศทางเดียว

ข. การส่งข้อมูลสองทิศทางสลับกัน

ค. การส่งข้อมูลทิศทางเดียวสลับกัน

ง. การส่งข้อมูลสองทิศทางพร้อมกัน

6. การส่งข้อมูลทิศทางเดียวกันมีลักษณะอย่างไร

ก. ส่งและรับข้อมูลโดยไม่ได้โต้ตอบกัน

ข. ส่งและรับข้อมูลโดยสามารถโต้ตอบกันได้ทันที

ค. ส่งและรับข้อมูลโดยจะโต้ตอบกันทางโทรศัพท์

ง. ส่งและรับข้อมูลโดยไม่สามารถโต้ตอบกันได้ในเวลาเดียวกัน

7. ข้อใดจัดเป็นการส่งข้อมูลสองทิศทางพร้อมกัน

ก. การใช้วิทยุสื่อสาร

ข. การสนทนาออนไลน์

ค. การชมภาพยนตร์ดีซีดี

ง. การเรียนผ่านดาวเทียม

8. การรับส่งข้อมูลที่ไม่สามารถโต้ตอบกันในเวลาเดียวกัน จัดเป็นการส่งข้อมูลแบบใด

ก. การส่งข้อมูลทิศทางเดียว

ข. การส่งข้อมูลสองทิศทางสลับกัน

ค. การส่งข้อมูลทิศทางเดียวสลับกัน

ง. การส่งข้อมูลสองทิศทางพร้อมกัน

9. สัญญาณแอนะล็อกเป็นอย่างไร

ก. เป็นสัญญาณแบบไม่ต่อเนื่อง

ข. มีลักษณะเป็นรูปกราฟคลื่นไซน์

ค. ต้องแปลงข้อมูลให้เป้นสัญญาณดิจิทอล

ง. สัญญาณมีการเปลี่ยนแปลงแบบไม่

10. ข้อใดเป็นลักษณะของสัญญาณดิจิทัล

ก. ต้องแปลงข้อมูลให้อยู่ในรูปเลขฐานสอง

ข. ต้องวัดจำนวนรอบความถี่ของคลื่น 1 วินาที

ค. มีอุปกรณ์ทวนสัญญาณที่สามารถกรองสัญญาณรบกวน

ง. มีความสามารถในการผลิตคลื่นสัญญาณมากกว่า 100 ล้านรอบ

11. ”มีฉนวนหุ้มข้อมูลหลายชั้น ทำให้ป้องกันสัญญาณรบกวนได้” เป็นคุณสมบัติของตัวกลางประเภทใด

ก. สายคู่บิดเกลียว

ข. สายโคแอลเชียล

ค. สายไฟฟ้าแรงสูง

ง. สายใยแก้วนำแสง

12. สื่อนำข้อมูลแบบมีสายที่มีส่วนประกอบเป็นทองแดง เป็นคุณสมบัติของตัวกลางประเภทใด

ก. สายคู่บิดเกลียว

ข. สายโคแอลเชียล

ค. สายไฟฟ้าแรงสูง

ง. สายใยแก้วนำแสง

13. ข้อใดเป็นสื่อนำข้อมูลแบบมีสายที่จำเป็นต้องเดินสายใส่ท่อลงใต้ดิน

ก. สายคู่บิดเกลียว

ข. สายโคแอลเชียล

ค. สายไฟฟ้าแรงสูง

ง. สายใยแก้วนำแสง

14. สื่อนำข้อมูลไร้สายประเภทใดที่มีลักษณะการส่งสัญญาณต่อเนื่องเป็นช่วง ๆ

ก. สัญญาณวิทยุ

ข. แสงอินฟาเรด

ค. ระบบไมโครเวฟ

ง. การสื่อสารผ่านดาวเทียม

15. สื่อนำข้อมูลไร้สายประเภทใดที่ใช้อากาศเป็นตัวกลางในการสื่อสาร

ก. สัญญาณวิทยุ

ข. แสงอินฟาเรด

ค. ระบบไมโครเวฟ

ง. ถูกทั้งข้อ ก และ ค

16. ข้อใดไม่ใช่การสื่อสารข้อมูลแบบทางเดียว

ก. การค้นหาข้อมูลทางอินเตอร์เน็ท

ข. การชมภาพยนตร์จากวีซีดี

ค. การสนทนาผ่านเครือข่ายอินเตอร์เน็ท

ง. การรับฟังวิทยุจากคลื่น SEED 97.5 MHZ

17. ข้อใดเป็นคุณสมบัติของสื่อข้อมูลแบบแสงอินฟาเรด

ก. มีความถี่ต่าง ๆ กัน

ข. ไม่สามารถทะลุผ่านวัตถุทึบแสงได้

ค. ไม่สามารถส่งข้อมูลในระยะทางไกลได้

ง. ข้อ ข และ ค ถูก

18. ข้อใดจัดเป็นสื่อนำข้อมูลแบบมีสายป้องกันสัญญาณรบกวนได้ดีที่สุด

ก. สายไฟฟ้าแรงสูง

ข. สายคู่บิดเกลียว

ค. สายโคแอกเชียว

ง. สายใยแก้วนำแสง

19. ลักษณะการสื่อสารประเภทใดทำการส่งข้อมูลได้สั้นที่สุด

ก. สัญญาณวิทยุ

ข. แสงอินฟาเรด

ค. ระบบไมโครเวฟ

ง. การสื่อสารผ่านดาวเทียม

20. ข้อใดสามารถส่งข้อมูลได้ในระยะไกลรองลงมาจากการสื่อสารผ่านดาวเทียม

ก. สัญญาณวิทยุ

ข. แสงอินฟาเรด

ค. ระบบไมโครเวฟ

ง. ไม่มีข้อถูก

คะแนนที่ได้ =


          หน่วยที่ 3 ระบบสารสนเทศ   

บทเรียนออนไลน์ เทคโนโลยีสารสนเทศ ระดับชั้นมัธมศึกษาปีที่ 2




          Pink Snow   
Yes it really does snow in Australia! I know it's hard to believe maybe for my international readers but Australia isn't permanently in the midst of a heat wave, we do actually have four seasons and in my part of Oz we have a pretty chilly winter. It doesn't snow in the heart of Melbourne but you can drive for about two hours and find yourself in the midst of a beautiful white wonderland depending on the direction you go. My friend and I headed to Mount Donna Buang to see the snow for ourselves and had a pretty fun time making snow balls and throwing them at each other. The snow season is sadly now over for another year, but I think I'm going to try and make the effort to go every year from now on.

Outfit details
Pink Bomber Jacket Show Time in Sydney's Chinatown (the mall housing this boutique is AMAZING and my number one spot to shop in Sydney!)
Pink Turtle Neck Jumper Gorman
Stripe Glitter Dress Gorman
Pink Cableknit Tights Obus
Pink Glitter Boots Golden Ponies
Pink Pom Pom Beanie Gorman
Pink Earmuffs Daiso
Pink Gloves H&M
Pink Backpack Ebay
Pink Pom Pom Charm Seed Heritage
Pink Flower Bangle Materiel

I couldn't be wearing more pink if I tried!

Pink Pom Pom Beanie Gorman
Pink Earmuffs Daiso

My sister gave me these super kawaii gloves from H&M. I don't recommend making snowballs with them though as they're not waterproof and your hands will freeze like mine did!

Pink Gloves H&M
Pink Flower Bangle Materiel

Truth be told these are not the best boots to be wearing in the snow, I actually changed into a pair of gumboots I brought along after we shot these photos. But they look super duper freaking awesome!

Pink Cableknit Tights Obus
Pink Glitter Boots Golden Ponies

My love of backpacks never dies!

Pink Backpack Ebay
Pink Pom Pom Charm Seed Heritage

This jacket is all kinds of amazing. Those little patches also say "Leave Me Alone" - how freaking perfect is that?

Pink Bomber Jacket Show Time in Sydney's Chinatown

Shop the look!!!

          200 Years of Australian Fashion at the NGV   
 200 Years of Australian Fashion opened at the NGV the other week and I was there to capture it all. Honestly it's an amazing exhibition, I wish I blogged it sooner but I've been working full time and sick on and off with tonsilitus, so just way too exhausted to sit down and edit photos and write. I need to be in the mood to blog and I just haven't been feeling it. This year marks my 10th year as a blogger and whilst I love all the opportunities my blog has given me I must admit I'm going through a little bit of bloggers block. My life has changed so much in the last few months, I lost my "instagram husband" (who was obviously more than just that to me) which has made taking outfit photos kinda difficult. So that is why there has been such a huge break between posts. I have a lot of content to come though so stay tuned, but for now let's take a look inside this fabulous exhibition.

The exhibition spans from the 1800's through to now with some stunning pieces on display.

The always incredible Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson in their Flamingo Park themed room in the exhibition. I am a long time fan of Jenny Kee and the fact that she knows my name and once phoned me blows my mind haha.

Another iconic Aussie designer who knows my name is Jenny Bannister, again this blows my mind, and also oddly I have also spoken to her on the phone.

Dion Lee.

Romance was Born next to Discount Universe. Some of you who have followed my blog for a while will know that Nadia and Cami of Discount Universe are old friends of mine and it was so lovely to catch up with them at the media preview. Love their work and how far they've come and it's just so exciting to see where they're headed.

So incredible.

200 Years of Australian Fashion is at the NGV Australia until 31 Jul Open 10am–5pm daily

What I wore:

Outfit details
Dress Shuh from their pop up at the Limedrop shop this month
Earrings Kitsu
Tote bag Sunday Social
Silver platform brogues Seed Heritage
Pink socks Found in my drawer no idea where I got them

So terribly excited to be wearing squiggles!

 Nail Art by Sayuri at Clara H Nails (more on that soon!)

I love these shoes soooooo much!

Shop the look!!!

          Forum Post: Managed Workspace Variable based on Attribute   
I am changing the way that we define our project configurations in our managed workspace by using the $(DMS_PROJECT(_DGNDIR) variable and only have to have one project configuration. We have a naming convention for the project specific files (seed, dty, dgnlib) that is based on an attribute value (PIN) that is assigned to the project. Is there any way to use an attribute value in a variable in the configuration? For example - the PIN for a project is 1234 and the seed file name for that project is 1234_Seed.dgn. I would like to have the config variable be set up similar to _USTN_PROJECTDESCR = PIN which then could be used with MS_DESIGNSEED = $(_USTN_PROJECTDESCR)_Seed.dgn for the workspace. The resulting assignment for the MS_DESIGNSEED variable would be 1234_Seed.dgn.
          Farmacology Specialist - Legend Seeds, Inc. - De Smet, SD   
The Farmacology Specialist role is to work alongside other Legend Departments to promote the marketing, selling, and utilization of the Farmacology brand, and...
From Legend Seeds, Inc. - Wed, 28 Jun 2017 03:09:42 GMT - View all De Smet, SD jobs
          Comment on Maker’s Game Page 246 by Levi D Dalv   
Why did he wait, is he planting seeds?
          Native Americans Call for Rethinking of Bering Strait Theory   


Native Americans are questioning the leading theory of how the first peoples in North America arrived on the continent.

For years, scientists have been debating where the first Native Americans came from, and when they arrived in North America.

The scientific community generally agrees that a single wave of people crossed a land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska around 13,000 years ago.

This theory is called the Bering Strait Theory, named after the waterway between eastern Russia and western Alaska. Yet some Native Americans feel that theory is too simple and culturally biased.

Theories from the religion before science.

The first European explorers to arrive in the Americas did not use science to explain the people they found. The explorers instead looked to the Bible. Christianity’s holy book suggested that human beings were created around 4,000 years ago. Biblical tradition holds that all humans are related to the first man, Adam. That would including native peoples whom Europeans considered as primitive or simplistic.

'Dominant science believed in a concept of superiority,' said Alexander Ewen. 'And that created an idea that either people were genetically inferior or that there were stages of civilization, and Indians were at a lower stage,' he said.

Ewen is a member of the Purepecha Nation. He wrote a book called the 'Encyclopedia of the American Indian in the Twentieth Century.'

Early scientists felt the 'primitives' they discovered in the Americas did not have the technology to have sailed the oceans. So they decided that Indians had reached North America by some unknown land bridge. They found their answer in the Bering Strait.

Ewen says that scientific theory has lasted to this day, even with new discoveries and technology. Yet new findings suggest that Indians arrived much earlier and by using different methods.

Map of eastern Russian and Alaska with a light brown boarder depicting Beringia, where archaeologists believe ancient Americans crossed from Siberia into Alaska around 13,000 years ago. (U.S. National Park Service) Map of eastern Russian and Alaska with a light brown boarder depicting Beringia, where archaeologists believe ancient Americans crossed from Siberia into Alaska around 13,000 years ago. (U.S. National Park Service)

'In the first place, it's simplistic,' said Ewen. 'The people in this hemisphere were, and are, extremely diverse, more than any other place in the world.'

Conflicting theories

In the 1930s, scientists studied a number of bones from ancient mammoths. The bones were discovered in the American community of Clovis, New Mexico. Among them were several unusual spear points, which the scientists named “Clovis points.”

Since then, tens of thousands of the Clovis points have been found across North America. Some have even been found in South America, as far south as Venezuela.

This led scientists to decide the Clovis people must have been America's first peoples. They believed the Clovis people arrived about 13,000 years ago.

Additional discoveries in the 1970s led some scientists to push back the arrival date. Archaeologist James Adovasio dated artifacts found in Pennsylvania's Meadowcroft rock shelter to be up to 16,000 years old. But other scientists criticized the methods he used to arrive at that date.

The Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Washington County, Pa., where archaeologists found artifacts dating back 16,000 years. The Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Washington County, Pa., where archaeologists found artifacts dating back 16,000 years.

All fields of science are in the debate

Other scientists have expressed their ideas on the subject. In 1998, University of California-Berkeley linguist Johanna Nichols argued that it would have taken up to 50,000 years for a single language to split into the many languages spoken by modern Native Americans. This theory meant that America’s first peoples would have arrived closer to 19,000 years ago.

Geologists have said that it would not have been possible to cross the Bering Strait by land until 10,000 or 12,000 years ago. This led to theories that early humans might have sailed down the Pacific coast into the New World.

In 2015, a Harvard University geneticist, Pontus Skoglund, noted genetic links between Amazon Indians and the native peoples of Australia and New Guinea.

An elderly member of Brazil's Surui Nation. Researchers found the Surui bear a genetic relationship to indigenous peoples of Australia and New Guinea. An elderly member of Brazil's Surui Nation. Researchers found the Surui bear a genetic relationship to indigenous peoples of Australia and New Guinea.

Yet a Smithsonian Institution anthropologist was criticized for suggesting Stone Age Europeans sailed across the Atlantic thousands of years before Christopher Columbus.

In April of 2017, researchers in California studied crushed bones they say came from an ancient Mastodon. Mastodons are no longer alive, and were related to modern elephants. The researchers think the creature they studied was killed by humans 130,000 years ago. However most scientists reject this theory because the findings cannot be confirmed.

Native American accounts

Some Native American tribes have their own beliefs of how their people came to the continent.

Montana's Blackfoot tradition says that the first Indians lived on the other side of the ocean, but their creator decided to take them to a better place. 'So he brought them over the ice to the far north,' the story says.

The Hopi people of Arizona say their ancestors had to travel through three worlds before they finally crossed the ocean going east to a final new world.

And Oklahoma's Tuskagee people believe the 'Great Spirit' chose them to be the first people to live on the earth.

However, few scientists seem to take those beliefs seriously. Joe Watkins, supervisory anthropologist at the U.S. National Park Service, says scientists are uneasy about the time references and possibility for more than one explanation.

Yet he does not feel the beliefs should be dismissed completely.

'…I do believe most of them carry within them kernels of truth of use to researchers,” he adds.

I’m Phil Dierking.

­­­­­­­­­­­­Cecily Hilleary reported this story for VOANews.com. Phil Dierking adapted her report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

How do you think the first people came to the Americas? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

artifact - n. a simple object (such as a tool or weapon) that was made by people in the past​.

bias - n. a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly​

geologist - n. a science that studies rocks, layers of soil, etc., in order to learn about the history of the Earth and its life​

inferior - adj. low or lower in quality​

kernel - n. the small, somewhat soft part inside a seed or nut​

linguist - n. a person who studies the science of languages

primitive - adj. very simple and basic ​

reference - n. the act of referring to something or someone​

spear - n. a weapon that has a long straight handle and a sharp point​

superior - adj. high or higher in quality​

          Dirty Harry Meets Harvey   

Clint Eastwood at the Republican Convention
Film buffs remember Jimmy Stewart's iconic portrayal of a simple man who had a six foot two invisible rabbit as a friend. Stewart carried the 1950 film classic, Harvey which centered around the question of whether Jimmy Stewart's character was sane or insane.
There is no question that the rambling Clint Eastwood is sane. His performance at the Republican National Convention, where he conversed with an invisible Barack Obama, may have been a bit bizarre but it nicely encapsulated the fiction that continues to be the criticism of the President. Clint Eastwood was short on specifics, but he tried to reinforce the myth that the President is a nice guy but in over his head, that he is not up to the job.

The media generally has panned Eastwood's convention performance, alleging that he sounded like an “old,” almost senile man who was generally an embarrassment and out of synch with the Republican convention. Certainly, he was a shadow of himself if you compare his performance in Tampa with the powerful Superbowl commercial he did for Chrysler. The Chrysler commercial was criticized by Republicans for sounding too pro-Obama. Somehow, truth-telling, which is what Eastwood was doing in the commercial, seems to benefit the President. But Eastwood went beyond truth-telling in that hard-hitting Dirty Harry style spot. The commercial not only reminded Americans of the critical role the President had in saving the US automobile industry, but Clint made that all-American pitch, that we were merely at halftime, alluding to not only the break in the football game but also, some concluded, to the halfway mark of Obama's presidency. Therefore, it became imperative for the Republican Party to make clear to the voters that Eastwood was a supporter of the Republican ticket.
But Eastwood is no old senile man. Far from it. He is as clever as a fox. His performance was not only designed to pander to the delegates at the convention but was also designed to plant seeds of doubt among the undecided voters. Unfortunately for Clint, it was too clever by half and he got lost in his contradictions. It is hard to make the point that Obama is a “nice guy” who is in over his head while simultaneously attributing epithets such as “go fuck yourself” and “shut up” to him since most people think of their President as a mild-mannered man. Eastwood did, however, capture the essence of the Republican message and talking to a non-existent Obama pretty much says it all. The Romney/Ryan campaign is entirely dependent on perpetuating a critique of a non-existent Obama. The following is a small representative sample:
The Stimulus was a Failure
It is a classic fallacy that if something does not solve every problem it must have failed. In order to make this statement believable one must suspend all reality. The only legitimate critique is that the stimulus could have been larger, but that is counter to Republican orthodoxy that government is powerless to solve anything. Thousands of jobs were either saved or created. All manner of projects, both in the public sector and private, were brought to success. For example, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, would never have been able to balance his budget without stimulus funding. All manner of infrastructure work was accomplished in spite of a few projects which were not quite “shovel ready.” The Republican critique only works if one concentrates on the few failures. A short quote from Energy.com tells a small part of the story:
Today, the Obama Administration announced the selection of the first public-private pilot institute for manufacturing innovation in Youngstown, Ohio, to help revitalize American manufacturing and encourage companies to invest in the United States. This new partnership, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), was selected through a competitive process to receive an initial investment of $30 million in federal funding and matched by $40 million from the winning consortium of manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organizations from the Ohio-Pennsylvania ‘Tech Belt.’ August 16, 2012 [source: Department of Commerce]
There are countless initiatives that did not make the news. Unlike the simplistic slogans characterizing the media as “liberal,” the media gravitate more to sensational stories. For example, the closing of a single plant such as Solyndra in California is simple to report, while telling the bigger story of NAMII (the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute) is more complex and nuanced and therefore a more difficult story to tell in a five minute segment.
The Elimination of the Work Component of Welfare Myth
This blatant falsehood is essential to paint Obama as a protector of the shiftless and lazy class, complete with racial overtones since so many people assume that welfare recipients are mostly blacks. The best numbers available on welfare recipients: Black – 39.8%, White – 38.8%, Hispanic – 15.7%, Other – 3.3%, Asian – 2.4%. [source: answers.com]
All the fact-checkers agree that Obama did not eliminate the work component for welfare recipients. He simply gave, within the provisions of the law, some flexibility to governors, such as Mitt Romney himself, regarding how to attain the work requirement. For a party that is constantly promoting states rights not only is this critique a lie but it is disingenuous as well as hypocritical.
The Gutting of Medicare Myth
This is clearly one of the most pernicious of all the Republican lies. The $716 billion number Republicans bandy about as “taking” from Medicare is really a tightening of the program by negotiating with hospitals and other providers smaller reimbursements based on the expectations of an expanded population insured under the American Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The Republicans, on the other hand, have made no secret of their desire to eliminate Medicare by forcing future seniors into the private insurance market with the promise of a fixed subsidy that may or may not cover the insurance premiums, which will undoubtedly be extremely high based on probability factors. Ironically, only the full implementation of Obamacare with its insistence of insuring people with pre-existing conditions might palliate the Republican voucher plan. Of course, to add insult to injury, Ryan has the exact same cut to Medicare in his plan as Obama does.
Obama Believes Jobs Come from Government
This particular myth is actually quite easily disproved, although Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated that repeating a lie over and over again has an effect on the body politic. Public sector jobs grew by 4% under George W. Bush and shrank by 3% under Barack Obama, a fact that is just not generally known thanks to a failure of the Obama administration to push that point coupled with the media's infatuation with more sensationalist stories. Not only do too many people believe Obama is “growing” government but too many people don't realize he cut most of their taxes as well.
This is why Clint Eastwood's dialog with a non-existent Obama rings true. Critics have had a field day accusing President Obama of the most outrageous fantasies. The above examples are merely a few selected policy fabrications, but the concoctions have been many and varied. The smears on his reputation seem to be endless, from raising doubts about his own birth, his faith, his convictions, almost everything about him has been called into question – not as legitimate inquiry, but as deliberate fraudulent statements designed to misrepresent. The Republicans have been criticizing a non-existent Obama for years and getting away with it.
Clint indeed made their day.

Link to C-SPAN for debate archives and more.

          Tea Time Snacks   
Tea Rusks, Toasts, and some other Indian Snacks for Tea.

For me, Tea Drinking is a passion, and having certain snacks along with it is an added pleasure. Here when I refer to my tea drinking passion, I refer mostly to what some refer to as Chai.

See Chai is actually Hindi for Tea. But as what I witnessed in the States and now have come to notice in Starbucks and Coffee Bean, many non-Asians construe Chai as either Tea with Milk or Spicy Milk Tea, i.e. Masala Chai. So Chai Tea is actually a tautological term, i.e. a repetitive word. Similar to terms we use here like Pintu Gate, Tolong Cuba Try (where Cuba is Try in Malay)

One of the best Masala Tea in Malaysia (according to me and my dearest) can be found at the Bharat Tea Plantation in Cameron Highlands. You can read more about it here. The best Masala Tea? Well for me it's at home. My dearest makes the best Masala Tea. :) Too bad the Masalah is not for sale.... yet.

So back here in Malaysia, Tea is commonly know as Teh. If you want the famous acrobatic hot milk Tea which the person 'pulls / tarik', and comes with the bubbly foam, it is Teh Tarik. It you want just normal hot milk Tea, it would be Teh Panas. (Panas for Hot). Now usually English Tea, is Black Tea, i.e Tea Bags dipped in hot water., so English tea would be Black Tea, and Milk and Sugar served separately. I always wondered why Tea Bags never tasted as rich as Chai (more later). Here, if you want just black Tea (with Sugar), you'd say Teh O. If you want Strong (Dark?) Tea, you add the Kau / Gau in the end. 

Ok so why doesn't Tea Bag taste that good? Especially if you're planning to have Milk Tea i.e. Chai. Here's what Wikipedia says;

"The traditional chai-brewing process actively boils the tea leaves over sustained heat. Chai prepared in this manner has a caffeine level comparable to coffee, as the prolonged boiling produces a more robust beverage than quiescently steeping the tea leaves in hot (but not boiling) water. "

So why do people prefer Tea Bags? I guess convenience of preparation and cleaning. Hmmm, no wasn't my blog entry supposed to be about Tea Time Snacks and not Tea. Well, just proves how passionate I am about tea.

Ok back to the snacks. Toast and Tea Rusks are common snacks, with different varieties and fusions around places and cultures.

Most of the products we found were from the Zyka Brand which we bought from Mustafa in Singapore. Sorry no Mustafa in Penang yet. Let's start with Tea Rusks. This were really good. Now I'm not sure what's the difference between toast and rusk. Eventhough Wikipedia describes it as "
A rusk is a rectangular, hard, dry biscuit or a twice-baked bread (zwieback)." This we're more semi-sphere (semifera) than rectangular. Baked twice? Not sure.

Zyka Tea Rusks

And yes, it tastes fabulous with tea. We're those that like to dip the toasts into our tea. And it being rusks, don't soften up too much but suck up the tea, making a succulent toast.

The Tea Rusk

And above is how the Tea Rusk looks like. Yes somehow the graphics for the above picture is intriguing to say the least. It's an aerial view of the toast which has been placed in one of those plastic containers. If you remember, some time back I blogged about another good Toast found locally; Azan Toast. Somehow I don't see it in the stores anymore though. How sad.

Next is the Suji Toast. This toast are 'slimmer'. Why does that matter? It's easier to dip into your tea of course. Especially if your tea cup is not wide. Suji is Semolina per Wikipedia, i.e the purified middlings of Durum wheat used in making pasta; also, the coarse middlings used for breakfast cereals and puddings.

Suji / Semolina Toast

The taste was really good. I'm not sure how distinctively I recognized the Semolina taste, as I'm not sure how it should taste and since it's dipped into tea, you get a whole new and nice concoction.

Ok, now to more exotic Indian Snacks. This is Gathiya. Personally I don't agree with the English desciption they have as you can see. Savoury Gram Flour Noodles. When you say Noodles, something like mee, Maggi or those kinds of 'noodles' comes to mind. 

Ghatiya - I'll pass

FYI, the Gram in Gram Flour is actually pronounced using the Malay pronounciation style, and not pronounced how you'd pronounce Kilogram in English. Here's some info on the Gram Flour I'm referring to from Wikipedia

Agriculture and horticulture

Gathiya - How the Look

Above is how the Ghatiya looked like. Frankly, it wasn't what I expected. Usually the home made ones, are really crunchy, alot thinner and rich in taste. This one tasted more like just Gram Flour! That was a dissappointment as Haldiram's other products have been really satisfactory as you can read on my Indian Sweet's Blog Entry by clicking here

Khakhra is next. Basically Khakhra is a pretty good tea time snack. It is very light, and crispy and not that oily. We bought two different brands. As you can see, the below one is Jeera Khakhra. Jeera is cumin, so the Khakra is peppered with Cumin Seed. 

Jeera Khakhra

Here's the Masala Khakhra. Different supplier, so different packing. 

Masala Khahkra

And here's the last of the snack time food. Methi Khari. Methi is Fenugreek. Well you would have noticed that the additions / spices used together with these snacks have really good health properties. Indian culture is very rich with spices and appreciate its health properties as well. And this has been recognized by time. I'll try to share a story about Turmeric (Kunyit) in the future. Anyway back to the Methi Khari. It is very brittle and crunchy. Wouldn't be my favourite, but was a decent snack. Zyka has a good assortment of snacks and the quality is above average. 

Methi Khari

Did you notice the Green Circle in a white square in the above packing. Yes, like indicated in my previous post, this would suggest it is vegetarian friendly. 

Ok, that's all for Tea Time Snacks. My apologies as most of this is not avaiable in Penang, but it'll make a good shopping list when you travel abroad. Also hopefully some entreprenueering chap tries to import this. 

          Biofuel as a Jet Fuel Alternative?   
Biofuels | Future Technology | Transportation

The seeds of a humble weed could lower a jet fuel’s cradle-to-grave carbon emissions by 84 percent. Camelina sativa is an oilseed crop and it might be used as fuel in aircrafts in the near future. A study conducted at Michigan Technological University claimed that Camelina has shown to be one of the more promising […]

          Gardman R687 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse   
Gardman R687 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse

Brand Gardman

Product Features
* Dimensions when built: 62 by 27 by 19 inches (h x l x w); each tier is 12-1/2 inches high
* Small greenhouse with 4 shelves for deck, patio, or balcony
* Sturdy shelves for pots and seed trays; plastic cover with full length roll up zipper
* Ideal for seed propagation and plant growing and display

Product Description
The Gardman Four Tier Mini Greenhouse can be positioned on a deck, patio, or balcony. It has a sturdy, tubular steel frame and a removable, clear plastic cover with full length roll up zippered access. Inside, there are shelves for pots and seed trays. This greenhouse is ideal for seed propagation and plant growing and display.
Any garden can accommodate this multi-tier mini greenhouse.

Product Details
# Product Dimensions: 19 x 27 x 63 inches ; 6 pounds
# Shipping Weight: 13 pounds

>> more details..


if you either put the shelving pieces together first, then stack them, or give a gentle tap with a hammer as you go so the one you just finished doesn't come loose while you're working on the next section. One side bonus I found to this system - since the pots are sealed inside the greenhouse, the need to water was cut by less than half. Anyone who has started seeds knows how difficult it can be to carefully water not sprouted or newly sprouted plants without disturbing the seeds or seedlings. This greenhouse kept the humidity in well enough that very little watering was necessary. Also, the top shelf is tall enough that some of the larger plants I started (bush beans especially!) have plenty of room to take off until I can get them outside. This greenhouse rack if just the right size to place in front of one side of my patio doors so the plants can get plenty of light. There just aren't any plants that survive in that much shade. I've used those shelves for pots and potting supplies. Also, the clearance between the top of the zip-up flap and the top shelf is too narrow for my plants, so when I pull them out, I end up having to tilt the pot or bend plants to get them out. I was a little worried that the materials would be sub-par because the purchase price was so much lower than similar products. But, the materials are good and I'm not sure why anyone would pay $300.00 for the same type of greenhouse. So glad I found this product.
          This time of the year…   
by AimeeAh, springtime, the awakening season. When all green life shakes off the dream of winter and reemerges in slow splendour. This time of the year brings about such a surplus of new topics that I have a difficult time narrowing my focus. My mind wants to goes in every direction, like the seeds on a […]
          Ten ways to enjoy more spring spinach   
by AimeeEach spring, spinach is the first package of seeds I scatter over the earth in our backyard garden. It’s a hearty seedling and easy to grow, and brings a welcome touch of green to our menu after a long winter. Spinach precedes asparagus, artichokes and most other spring produce, which means we’re adding it to everything […]
          Switch Locked Seeds (Secret)   
Switch Locked Seeds - Tired of being stuck with the crappy cards Crazy Dave makes you have? All you have to do is exit the game and restart it and the 3 cards will be changed to something else.
          Janet Loverseed   
Janet Loverseed is well-known in the literary circles of the North West. She has been published in magazines and anthologies and in her pamphlet entitled […]
          Mac und iPad für Fotografen Fotos verwalten, bearbeiten und veröffentlichen   
- Literatur / Betriebssysteme

Wenn man zur richtigen Zeit am richtigen Ort ist und ein perfektes Motiv ablichten kann, behält man es in den meisten Fällen nicht für sich allein, sondern möchte es mit anderen teilen. Social Media Netzwerke, Fotografie-Foren bzw. interaktive Plattformen und natürlich Druckerzeugnisse stehen dabei zu Verfügung und haben entsprechend unterschiedliche Anforderungen an die Daten. Dazu gibt es mehrere Möglichkeiten die Bilder professionell für den Export aufzubereiten und zu veröffentlichen. Alle Kniffe und Wissenswertes rund um das Thema liefert das Buch "Mac und iPad für Fotografen".

Hier finden sich gesammelte Informationen für ambitionierte Hobbyfotografen, Fortgeschrittene, Semi-Profis und solche, die es noch werden wollen. Ausgehend vom Arbeiten am Mac oder iPad, aber teilweise auch auf andere Betriebssysteme übertragbar, startet die Lektüre mit wichtigen Grundlagen zum Foto-Workflow.

Wie werden die Daten auf den Computer übertragen, welche Hinweise zur Archivierung und Verwaltung gilt es zu beachten - all das ist erforderlich, um bei der weiteren Bearbeitung den Überblick zu behalten. Ganz gleich ob die Fotos selbst ausgedruckt werden oder online gestellt werden sollen, aktuelle Kanäle sind hier ausführlich beschrieben. Der Leser bekommt nicht nur einen guten Unterhaltungswert dank umgänglicher Schreibweise, sondern vielmehr einen kenntnisreichen Mehrwert.

So behandeln die untergliederten Kapitel Lightroom und iCloud gemeinsam mit deren Anwendung für kreative Szenarien, Tool wie zum Beispiel Snapseed werden vorgestellt und mit der Praxis direkt in Verbindung gebracht.

Damit schafft es Autor Sascha Erni stets seinen Leser souverän durch die Materie zu führen, ohne dass dieser mit unnötigen Abschweifungen aus dem Konzept gebracht wird. Der freischaffende Fotojournalist integriert in diesem Buch seine Erfahrungen aus Projekten, wie die "Leuchtspur" der Thurgauer Zeitung und Veröffentlichungen in den Bereichen Bloggs, Kurzgeschichten, Printprodukten und Fotografien.

Er kennt den kompletten Arbeitsablauf zur Bildnachbearbeitung, seine Tücken und Potentiale. Neben sinnvollen Werkzeugen und
Dateiformaten möchte Sascha Erni dem Leser die Möglichkeit zeigen, einen selbstständigen Workflow zu entwickeln und gibt interessante Einblicke in seine eigene Arbeitsweise, als Hilfestellung und Inspiration.

Statt einem weiteren Buch über iPhoto und Co. geht Sascha Erni eher pragmatischer an die Sache heran und stellt tatsächlich den Workflow als solchen in den Vordergrund. Ab dem Moment, wo die Datei die Kamera verlässt bis hin zur Veröffentlichung werden alle bedeutsamen Schritte und dazu eine Menge Hinweise strukturiert dargestellt. Jener Arbeitsschritt namens Organisation, der manchen unter Unmengen an Fotos beladenen Festplatten wieder einen Sinn gibt.

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          Seedling Clip Art   
          Corporate Blogging, Comment Seeding, and Controversy   
Jerry Bowles at Enterprise Web 2.0 posted a fairly scathing indictment of Deb Weil and the GlaxoSmithKline corporate blog (clog?) for Alli: Deborah Weil and the Art of the Fake . Bowles argues: Deborah Weil has been around the block a couple of times and she must have known when GlaxoSmithKline’s agency approached her to...
          what are your 3 "desert island" flowers?   

I'm going to ask for your top 3 as I think 8 (on the radio programme) is too many. Mine are:

1. green alkanet 

beautiful blue flowers, it blooms early before other plants get going so it's great for bees and self-seeds easily and seems happy in partial shade

2. violas/pansies

cheerful simple flowers, blooming all year except in the bitterest cold

3. foxgloves

nothing is better in the garden than seeing a bee go right up into the flowers, they self-seed so 1 seed packet lasts for years

          Greenhouse heating.   

Perhaps I may have mentioned this before.  I am toying with the idea of purchasing a greenhouse heater.

Over the years, from a private personal point.  I have used parffin, propane gas, and just left well alone.


I have searche dthe web pges for a suitable heater.  Next to my greenhouse, about 13 x 8.0ft  Halls Cedar wood.  T&G boarded upto staging ht.  Sides and ends glass.  Roof twinwall polycarbonate.  Inside.  The whole area is insulated with bubble plastic stapled to the timber frame.  My Max/Min thermometer has seldom gone lower than 2 deg. C below freezing.  Most stock can tolerate low, even perhaps very low temps.  Under staging, I have my pots of Liliums.  On stage.  various other pots, including a collection of alpines.  Perhaps I don't rfeally need to heat the house at all.  Any seeds that might have already been sown, can well remain without heat.  However Mike, loves to experiment.  That is why, If my memory serves me correct.  I may have posted to the effect that, although being a pro.  I don't always stick to the printed page.  I would really appreciate your comments. I have a couple of soil warming cables plus stats etc.  I can easily knock up a propagating frame etc.  Might I ask you.  Log onto the net.  Type in.  Elecktrotherm.  This is a heater. Electric.  So I am OK there, as I have electric to my workshop next to the greenhouse.  I was thinking about the version that has the basic unit.  Plus the high tube to suck in roof space heat etc.  Then it puts out heat via two lower tubes.  The circuit is such that heat id generated, pumped out via thetwo lower ducts. It is then reclaimed by, not only the highrise duct, b ut also the sides of the basic unit.  OK. £200.0 plus is a lot, but friends.  Might GROWMORE solicit some feedback?

          Digital Marketing Executive at Intercontinental Hotel Group   
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC informally InterContinental Hotels or IHG is a British multinational hotels company headquartered in Denham, UK. IHG has over 742,000 rooms and 5,028 hotels across nearly 100 countries.1. KEY RESPONSIBILITIES Assists in the annual marketing strategy andbudget process, consulting to ensure channel optimisation for direct revenue,resource allocation, risk identification and new business opportunities Strengthen customer relationships throughSocial and Earned Media, monitoring both hotel, outlet and competitors'presence on social media for performance enhancement Is the custodian of the customer experienceacross the distribution channels ensuring the hotel and outlet valuepropositions and communication of them are consistent and effective throughouteach channel, for all customer types Manage presence in social networking sitesincluding Facebook, Twitter, and other similar community sites, posting onrelevant blogs, and seeding content into social applications as needed. Become an advocate of the hotel in socialmedia spaces, engaging in dialogues and answering questions where appropriate. Manage a Blogger outreach program and buildan active network to spread the word about the hotel. Monitor effective benchmarks for measuringthe impact of social media programs, and analyse, review, and report oneffectiveness of campaigns in an effort to maximize results. Regularly feedback insights gained fromsocial media monitoring into the Sales & Revenue teams, to help them evolvetheir strategies in a timely fashion Monitor trends in social media tools, trendsand application 2. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS Required Skills / Qualifications Strong project management or organizational skills. In-depth knowledge and understanding of social media platforms and their respective participants (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Flickr etc.) and how they can be deployed in different scenarios. Knowledge of blogging ecosystem relevant to the hotel's field. Ability to effectively communicate information and ideas in written and verbal format, and build and maintain relationships. Team player, with the confidence to take the lead and guide other departments when necessary. Good technical understanding and can pick up new tools quickly. Public relations, Sales, Community Management experience, a plus. Qualifications Ideally, you'll have minimum 2 years post graduate work experience or 2 years Marketing experience, coupled with excellent communications skills, written & oral proficiency in English. A degree in Marketing or relevant college qualifications. In return, we'll give you a competitive salary and benefits package, hotel discounts worldwide and opportunities to learn new skills and grow your career. You'll join a team of positive professionals who are full of energy, so you will feel motivated to come to work every day. Most importantly, we'll give you Room to be yourself. If this sounds like the perfect move for you, apply online now! Get in touch and tell us how you could bring your passion and your individual skills to IHG by 30th June 2017
          Wimbledon Seeds   

At The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club London July 3-16 (Ranking in parentheses) Men 1. Andy Murray, Britain (1) 2. Novak Djokovic, Serbia (4) 3. Roger Federer, Switzerland (5) 4. Rafael Nadal, Spain…

The post Wimbledon Seeds appeared first on FederalNewsRadio.com.

          Eulogy for my Mother, Tatiana Efthyvoulou, 1931-2017   

When my mother was first diagnosed with leukemia she was told she had two weeks to live. Almost two years later we have walked a troubled path, death hiding behind every rock and tree, challenging our time together. Many of you have heard about the struggles of supporting my mom in the last couple of years, but here I want to focus on the positive.

As you can see from the photos in this slide show, my mother had a beautiful smile and was generous with her laughter. When I was a young child she was my Goddess—a strong, striking, independent, and hard-working woman, who was quiet and mysterious. She was a scuba diver, a sport that struck terror in me, but that I admired. I will always see my mother emerging from the sea, sun glinting off her wet skin, or sitting on the shore in a floppy sunhat, her gaze on the distant horizon. My mother was a romantic and a dreamer.

While my childhood was not always easy, I attribute so much of who I am today to my mom. Seeds of naturalism she planted continue to grow in me—a connection to the countryside, to lawns gone wild, to creek stomping and hill climbing and sunset views, and my great love of the vast sea. My mother was committed to feeding the birds, and loved to watch them from her Crozet window, competing with the squirrels.

 These two photos are of me, in Cyprus

A popular travel consultant, my mother engendered in me a passion for travel. She took me to Jamaica, St. Martin, the Bahamas, Mexico, England, Spain, Italy, Malta, Tunisia, Egypt, and Greece. These trips were sometimes difficult for a child—there were destitute beggars in the slums of Cairo pulling at us, gypsies with hungry babies in Madrid calling to us, andmy mother’s whereabouts unknown to meI was left with a babysitter that didn’t speak my language in Tunis. But through this exposure I learned about compassion and diversity and resilience. I will never forget the time we went on diving tour of the Caribbean Islands. My mother and the rest of the group were deep in dark, turbulent water, and I was on the deck of the swaying yacht with the cook, both of us queasy. At some point I asked her why our skins were different color. She replied in a thick accent, “Because child, God cooked me longer than you.” We are all the same inside, regardless of color, and we deserve equal respect and opportunities. Living in a very white small town, I might not have learned this lesson so early on if my mother hadn’t taken me on these trips.

With my mother & her stepmother, Marcell, in Egypt

Another great gift my mother gave me was my birthplace: Cyprus. And while it set me apart from my peers when she moved me to a small rural Pennsylvania town when I was four, the lonely life I shared with my mother fostered imagination, resourcefulness, independence, and a broad world view.

My Papou and I in Cyprus

My mother had a big heart. Love lead her down many roads, and sometimes the turns she took, did not lead her or I or my brothers to bright shores. While she suffered from several failed relationships, her children were most important to her, becoming more and more so as she aged. She made many sacrifices for us in her later life, wanting to make up for ways she thought she fell short when we were younger.  There is not a shadow of a doubt that my mother loved my brothers and I deeply.  

Tatiana Efthyvoulou, born in 1931 in Nicosia, Cyprus, was an ardent supporter of peace and women’s rights, picketing and protesting on many occasions. Much to the other tenants’ dismay, she regularly fed a homeless woman who slept in the entry foyer of her apartment building in Buffalo. In her last year of life, conversation was almost always dominated by her great worry that Donald Trump would become president. I often minimized her concerns, refusing to believe it was possible. The day Trump was inaugurated my mother stopped eating and getting out of bed. I was traveling to DC for the Women’s March, something she urged me to attend. I wore a sash, at the time not even realizing that the phrase I had etched across it—Love Your Mother—was driven by a very personal significance. 

 At the Women's March in DC 

My mother made amazing food: Baklava, Mousaka, Pastitsio, Youvralakia, Souvlaki, and brownies my brother James would eat an entire tray of. She adored picnics and cook-outs.  She was also an astonishing knitter, making amazing garments for her children, her in-laws, her grandchildren. A detailed double sided shawl was her last great work. She took flight, and gave me wings in the process. 

While my mother and I had a troubled relationship at times, we shared so much, just the two of us, on the road, or quietly sitting in her warm apartments, attending to our individual pursuits. We had a relationship of little words, and when there were words, they were often argumentative ones. We are built of the same stubborn blood, after all, and both carried a great deal of unresolved pain. But in the end, when her anxieties quieted and she lay in her hospice bed awaiting the angel of death, the only thing left between us was pure love. In my sadness is an unconditional love that I know will heal all the hurts.
 Light reflecting on the wall above her bed in hospice 

I am relieved she is free of her suffering, reunited with her own beloved parents and siblings, looking down upon us as she promised to do. Without the pain, or the fear, her stunning smile is stretching across the heavens, and embracing us in her generous, undying, maternal love. 

Above: Me, my brother James, and my brother Howard
Below: My mother and I with my Papou looking on 

Below are a few shots from my mother's wake, funeral, and makaria for far away family who could not attend. 
Memorial gifts can be made to Hospice of the Piedmont and St. Nicholas Orthodox Church.


Memory Eternal

          Hair of the Dog, and the Writing has been a real DOG!   
Oh Good Lord! I haven't finished that writing project yet- I have worked almost everyday ALL day-but I am getting close. And now, next week, I have to go into my classroom to get ready for school! Where did the summer go?

I haven't even really been doing much knitting. The few things I have worked on aren't really worth talking about, or taking pictures. However, I HAVE been knitting on a plain sweater, knit out of beautiful yarn. The yarn is the heavy worsted from Impulse of Delight (you can go here and see what she has http://www.impulse-of-delight.com/store/index.php). That Ruth is quite amazing- she takes photos of things she loves, and then manipulates them on the computer to get the pure colour out of them. I saw she had taken some pics of her beloved Irish Wolfhound (whom they lost, sadly, quite recently). She called the yarn colour "Guinevere", after the dog, of course. I just fell in love with the colour- a rich variety of greys, bordering on a taupe a "greige" as they call it-right down to a near charcoal. The sweater is a simple cardigan-seed stitch borders, and one button (I actually have a lovely antique mother-of-pearl carved button that will be quite nice). Sorry about the blurry picture- but it was the only one that came close to capturing the colours in the yarn!
What I wanted to do was line each front edge with a piece of brocade ribbon or braid- but do you think I could find any locally????? If anyone has a Canadian source for wide brocade braid or ribbon- leave me a message!
Anyhow-I am so close to the end of the writing I can almost TASTE it-so off I go while it is quiet in here-

          The Forgotten Spring   
I guess in the flurry of planting seeds, preparing soil and playing in the sunny weather I forgot to journal about most of our spring and summer (summer post coming soon).

 A picture of the peas in their first few weeks.  They went strong for about a month or so and are tapering off now, due to the very hot days we've been having around here I think. 

And my gorgeous zucchini flowering and producing these wonderfully tender and flavorful veggies for our table.  First year I've grown zucchini and I have to tell you, I'm smitten.  Completely smitten.  I love them so!

And my tulips! I planted tulips for the first time this year and they all bloomed.  Unfortunately I enjoyed them so much I forgot to take any pictures of them, save for this poor lonely fellow who hung on by himself for a good long haul.  I do love tulips.

And this little boy.  Oh my... He has completely stolen my heart.  He's such a happy and sweet little guy.  Doted on completely by the entire family.  He is growing too fast for this mama.  Walking and "talking" all day long.  I love his sweet little baby babble and his pudgy little feet carefully (and sometimes not so carefully) plodding all over the house.

I did manage to do some sewing recently.  This cool stack is destined to become 4.5" squares for a king size bed quilt.  When we get the house built we plan to have a king sized bed in our master bedroom.  It seems to be a favorite place for everyone to congregate in the early morning or late evening for stories, snuggles and the occasional tickle fight.  I'm still working out exactly which pattern I want to use for the quilt but I know I'll need 4.5" squares so cutting on these lovely fabrics has begun.  

More later!

          Alternative Thanksgiving   
We have already celebrated our first Thanksgiving. On November 21st we hosted "Alternative Thanksgiving" at our home. Because many of us are going in other directions for the main event, we hosted an earlier version yesterday. It was the complete deal, and I spent some time creating a new centerpiece for the table. Do you remember my log slice vases? Well, same tree but different slices and cut in half to make a quick and easy centerpiece.

A couple of years ago my husband was cutting up a downed pine tree with a hollow center. I requested some slices and have been storing them in the top of the garage. I sliced a few in half on the band saw, sanded the edges and drilled a 7/8" hole in the top for a standard candle. I also added some seed pods to the bottom of some glasses cylinders along with a sprig of bittersweet and a found feather for additional interest.

I was pleased with the final result - a nice nature inspired Thanksgiving table.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

©2015 Marji Roy, Ashbee Design

          Finally back at Hodge Podge   

I am so happy to be back to posting and happy to be participating in Hodge Podge again!  Thank you Joyce for easing me back into blogging again with great questions :)  Check her out over at:
From This Side of The Pond.

1. The Wednesday Hodgepodge this week falls on John Chapman's birth date.  He's more famously known as Johnny Appleseed...what's your favorite variety of apple? 

I really like Grapples. (Apples that taste slightly like grapes)  You can check it out more here

2.   When did you last say 'ick'? 

Yesterday when I cleaned my kids bathroom - no dry heaving this time though so I was happy about that.

3.   Do you think there's a generation gap?  Explain. 

This question requires too much thought right now :)  I didn't use to think there was but as I get older and see teenagers I think there must be.

4.  What's on your computer screen saver?  Do you leave it alone or change it often? 

A family picture and I like to change it periodically.  I am to lazy and busy to do it often but I like change.

5.  If you had the attention of the entire world for two minutes, what would you say? 

I would say stop, be grateful and be kind.

6.  Four fashion trends to try this fall are-brocade/jacquard (fancy printed fabrics), peplum, lace, and printed pants...which of these four would you be most likely to wear? 

Well I did purchase a peplum dress which I really like & I think out of the others I would most go for lace.  I just don't know if I can pull of the printed pants.

7.  What can make your bad day better?

A hug from my kids and chocolate.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Well, it has been ages since I posted on my blog, let alone to the Hodge Podge.  August was an insanity filled month and September has been a little nuts also.  I really am hoping that life has slowed down and that we are finally getting back into routine around these parts and yay for finally having internet so I can rejoin you!!!
          Evergreen 2016: Symbiosis   
When I hear the term “Evergreen,” it immediately invokes images of nature’s symbiotic relationships – Bald eagles nesting in coniferous trees, lady slipper orchids thriving in soil nutrients typically found beneath conifers and hemlocks, pollinators and mammals relying on evergreens for food and, in return, help to redistribute seeds. There is also a complex network […]
          Evergreen 2014   
This past weekend I visited a farm in Central Washington and was able to see the full life cycle of crop production.  In one area, closed and light controlled, seeds germinate into small seedlings.  When large enough, the seedlings are tempered and prepared for movement out to the greenhouse.  In the greenhouse, the plants are […]
          TRADE #4: One VIP "Out Of This World Experience"   

Right around the time I was doing the trade with the Universe for the space books, I had a sense this entire project could have deeply spiritual implications. Anytime we set out to do something outrageous, and put faith in ourselves and in the ability for order to arise from the chaos of life as we attain our goals, there is something profound happening there...

I began to think of one of the most in-tune, spiritually advanced humans I know -- a fellow by the name of Vishen. I first discovered Vishen when I saw him speaking at Yanik Silver's Underground in DC last year -- he gave a keynote like I had never seen before -- literally leading thousands of people in singing Queen's Bohemiem Rahpsody  together. I speak around the country, and generally get 5 star reviews, but this was mind blowing -- I knew I had to meet Vishen Lakhiani.

I was excited to learn Vishen would be attending Summit Series (a group which I played a significant role in getting off the ground) in DC. I sent him a "meeting request" through the Summit web site for 4pm on the first day of the conference. (For those of you who don't know Summit Series, think TED, but a younger and cooler crowd ;) ) Anyhow, Vishen apparently didn't log in and check to see his meeting requests, so I never heard back from him. However, that didn't stop the Universe from bringing us together. At literally 4pm on the dot on day 1, I found myself walking out of the mens room, along side Vishen. We struck up a conversation and really connected..

Cut to this project... Vishen's company, MindValley, is out of this world, and I figured they would have something amazingly cool to trade. I hadn't talked to him since Summit, but I remembered looking over their products and seeing courses that helped people quantum jump into parallel universes. This seemed space related to me, so I shot Vishen an email and asked if he'd be interested in trading for the paintings.

He was stoked to do it! And thinks too all of you who emailed, commented, and facebooked me, we've decided to trade our amazing paintings from Kate Banazi for [[[drum roll]]]...

An "Out of this World Experience" - a VIP Ticket to MindValley's 2nd Annual Invite Only Awesomeness Fest  Nov. 3-6, 2011 in HAWAII (tickets cost $2,000+!)

OPTION 1: An "Out of this World Experience" - a VIP Ticket to MindValley's 2nd Annual Invite Only Awesomeness Fest  Nov. 3-6, 2011 in HAWAII (tickets cost $2,000+)

Benessere donna

Integratore alimentare utile per alleviare

i disturbi legati alla menopausa

Menopausa, Sindrome Premestruale,

Dermatite, Benessere della Pelle

La menopausa non è una malattia, i cambiamenti ormonali che avvengono durante questa fase nella vita di una donna sono naturali e normali.

Molte donne sono sempre più alla ricerca di modi naturali per affrontare la condizione della menopausa.

Un miglioramento dello stile di vita e della dieta possono avere una enorme importanza in questa circostanza, esercizio fisico regolare e una dieta varia e ben bilanciata sono essenziali durante la menopausa.

Menopause è una combinazione naturale di antiossidanti, vitamine, minerali, acidi grassi essenziali e isoflavoni e può rappresentare un'ottima soluzione per le donne che necessitano di un ulteriore supporto nutrizionale.

  • Menopausa
  • Sindrome Premestruale
  • Dermatite
  • Benessere della Pelle

Dose giornaliera (1 capsula vegetale)

  • Olio si demi di Borragine (Borrago officinalis) polvere (fornisce min. 20% Acido Gamma-Linoleico) 100 mg
  • Magnesio (Ossido) 600 mg (20% RDA)
  • Vitamina C (Calcio Ascorbato) 60 mg (100% RDA)
  • Concentrato di Isoflavoni di Soia (fornisce min. 40% di isoflavoni) 25 mg
  • Tè Verde (Camelia sinensis) foglie estratto standardizzato, min. 40% in polifenoli 20 mg
  • Niacina (Vitamina B3 come nicotinamide) 18 mg NE (100% RDA)
  • Vitamina B6 (Piridossina Cloridrato) 10 mg
  • Vitamina E (D-Alfa Tocoferolo Acetato) 15 u.i. 15 mg (100% RDA)
  • Zinco (Citrato) 7,5 mg (50% RDA)
  • Ferro (Citrato) 7 mg (50% RDA)
  • Acido Pantotenico (Vitamina B5 come Calcio Pantotenato) 6 mg (100% RDA)
  • Beta Carotene 4,8 mg
  • Equivalente a Vitamina A attiva 2664 u.i. 800 μg RE (100% RDA)
  • Acido Alfa Lipoico 4 mg
  • Pino (Pinus Spp.) Corteccia Estratto standardizzato, min.70% in proantocianidine 2 mg
  • Vitamina B2 (Riboflavina) 1,6 mg (100% RDA)
  • Vitamina B1 (Tiamina Cloridrato) 1,4 mg (100% RDA)
  • Folato (come Acido Folico) 500 μg
  • Manganese (Citrato) 0,5 mg
  • Selenio (come Selenite di Sodio) 200 μg
  • Rame (Citrato) 100 μg
  • Vitamina B12 (cianocobalamina) 5 μg

Olio si demi di Borragine (Borrago officinalis) polvere fornisce Min. 20% Acido Gamma-Linoleico; Magnesio (Ossido), Vitamina C (Calcio Ascorbato); Concentrato di Isoflavoni di Soia (min. 40% di isoflavoni); Tè Verde (Camelia Sinensis) foglie estratto; (estratto standardizzato, min. 40% in polifenoli); Niacina (Vitamina B3 come nicotinammide); Vitamina B6; Vitamina E (D-Alfa Tocoferolo Acetato1); Zinco (Citrato); Ferro (Citrato); Acido Pantotenico (Vitamina B5 come Calcio Pantotenato); Beta Carotene; Equivalente a Vitamina A attiva; Acido Alfa Lipoico; Pino (Pinus Spp.) Corteccia
Estratto (estratto standardizzato,Min.70% in proantocianidine); Vitamina B2 (Riboflavina); Vitamina B1 (Tiamina Cloridrato); Folato (come Acido Folico); Manganese (Citrato); Selenio (come Selenite di Sodio); Rame (Citrato); Vitamina B12 (cianocobalamina); Capsula (cellulosa vegetale, silicio biossido); Anti-agglomerante (magnesio stearato vegetale).

Non contiene: additivi, coloranti, aromi e conservanti artificiali, lattosio, sale e zucchero, grano, glutine, frumento e lievito; latticini, ingredienti geneticamente modificati, grassi idrogenati, derivati di arachidi e noccioline.

Contiene: Soia1.

Dosi consigliate:
1 capsula al giorno, ad integrazione dei pasti principali. La capsula può essere aperta e il contenuto miscelato in poca acqua.

Precauzioni d'uso:
Nessuna nota alle dosi consigliate.

Combinazioni ideali
Bio-Magnesio, Linseed Oil 1000, Osteoplex.

  • Acido Alfa Lipoico
  • Acido Folico
  • Beta
  • Carotene
  • Ferro
  • Isoflavoni di Soia Concentrato
  • Magnesio
  • Manganese
  • Niacina
  • Olio di Semi di Borragine
  • Pino Estratto
  • Rame
  • Selenio
  • Tè Verde Estratto
  • Vitamina B1
  • Vitamina B12
  • Vitamina B2Vitamina B5Vitamina B6Vitamina C
  • Vitamina E
  • Zinco


          Miracle Herb: 10 Powerful Health Benefits of Moringa Leaves and Seeds   


The post Miracle Herb: 10 Powerful Health Benefits of Moringa Leaves and Seeds appeared first on FinerMinds.

          Attraction is Only Half the Game – Take Action to Harvest the Seeds You’ve Planted   


The post Attraction is Only Half the Game – Take Action to Harvest the Seeds You’ve Planted appeared first on FinerMinds.

          Drowning The Story   

Today on the 5: I tried really hard to like Aftermath: Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In the end, the writing style just overwhelmed the seeds of a good story.

          Busty Milf Abby Lee Pisseed After Caught Teen Boy Wanking In Her Bedroom   
Watch Busty Milf Abby Lee Pisseed After Caught Teen Boy Wanking In Her Bedroom at XXXPorn.rs - best free online XXXPorn videos for you to enjoy.
          UEFA Champions League - Qualification   
Qualification for the competition is decided by competitor teams placing in their domestic league championship, on a quota system, with countries with stronger domestic league competition allocated more teams. Clubs that play in stronger domestic leagues also enter at later stages of the competition.
For example, the three strongest domestic leagues, as rated by UEFA, place their champions and runners-up directly into the group phase, and their third-and fourth-place teams enter at the third qualifying round.
There is one exception to this rule: the current Champions League titleholder is an automatic qualifier for the group stage, regardless of where it finished in its domestic league.
However, until 2005 if the Champions League winner was from a country that was entitled to send four clubs to the competition, it was not assured of entry unless it was in the top four. This issue came to a head after English club Liverpool won the 2004-05 competition. Liverpool finished fifth in the FA Premier League, one spot outside automatic qualifying position.
After Liverpool won the Champions League, The FA was forced to choose whether to send Liverpool to the 2005-06 competition at the expense of the team that finished fourth - namely Everton, the other major club in Liverpool. As the FA had already decided that the top four Premiership clubs would qualify for the competition despite Liverpool's victory, they decided to continue lobbying for a fifth Champions League place following this win. After this FA decision, UEFA president Lennart Johansson went on record as saying that the Champions League winner should be able to defend its title regardless of its league position. Prior to 2005, if a fourth placed team was denied a Champions League place for this reason, it was granted a place in the UEFA Cup.
The last time such a scenario played out was in 2000, when Real Madrid won the title but finished fifth in the Spanish League. As a result, Real Zaragoza was forced into the UEFA Cup. Two years later, Zaragoza was relegated, an unfortunate turn of events that some fans believed to be a direct result of the lost prestige and revenue.
In June 2005, the UEFA committee met to discuss the fate of Liverpool. Liverpool was awarded a place in the first qualifying round without displacing their arch-rivals Everton - England thus entered 5 teams from the qualifying stages of the competition. Liverpool kept one of the top eight seeds but were not treated as an English side for the purposes of the draw, meaning they could play another English side prior to the quarter-finals. Due to the way in which the seeding works, this means Liverpool could have played city rivals Everton in the third qualifying round.
After qualifying, the Reds were ultimately drawn to play Premiership champions Chelsea in the group phase. Everton failed to qualify because of their loss to Villareal and participated briefly in the UEFA Cup before being knocked out 5-1 on aggregate by Dinamo Bucharest in the very first round.
UEFA also said that the rules have been amended and should the situation arise again, the title holders will replace the 4th placed team in the domestic league (with that team being entered into the UEFA Cup, as happened to Zaragoza in 2000). This ensures that in future, the number of teams from every country will remain stable.

          Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Vol 04 Ch 014   
Eating a Poppy Seed, Floating in Kindness?
          Western Conference Stanley Cup Playoffs, Quarterfinals Preview   
Earlier today, the Black & Blue & Gold staff broke down their picks for the first round in the Eastern Conference. Now, to follow up the second set of regular season recaps and playoff power rankings, here are the staff’s Western Conference quarterfinal selections. Numbers, schedule, and picks after the jump. 8th Seed Chicago Blackhawks […]
          Digital : Now Or Never   

The present era of business is seeing lot of excitement and promise all around. Around the world, every day in our lives bring lot of changes – fast, unpredictable and may times we have to struggle hard to understand what the change stands for. Globalization, technology has transformed the playing fields across continents, industries and sectors. Very powerful forces of change have shaken the beliefs in many aspects of governance and social thinking. Fortune 500 companies list is changing faster than the fast pace that we have seen in the past. Powerful brands have suffered huge damages and many industries have gotten transformed substantially so much so that many successful leaders today claim their business need to adapt and transform faster than ever. Leading edge corporations run faster in this direction to ensure that their rate of change inside is ahead of the change seen in their external environments. Looking at these developments, it’s clear that the time to re-imagine the future is now, and it is best done by a fresh school of thought that governs our thinking frameworks to enable a fundamental rethink and envision what is desirable and sustainable. For some of the enterprises, it looks like embarking on a massive digital initiative would help meet some of these opportunities and challenges.

One of the most opportune moments in business today is the ability to strike really big in the digital space. The opportunities provided by digital structural change are really far reaching and there’s every indication that such initiatives will get more bold and impactful in the future. The reach and virulence of such initiatives become more evident when it can be seen that everyone can participate in varying capacities in the digital space so long as they have access to the internet. In the word of myriad type of configurations, it can be seen that flexible and varied relationships are formed between people and their diverse identities in the online and offline worlds. This also throws itself amenable to experimental forms of participation and such collaboration will become more pronounced in the medium term, which will continually influence the value creation process in many firms. Digitalisation is thus changing our social and economic lives as well as the way that we interact with one another and how corporates and individuals (have to learn to) handle (personal) data in future.

The larger risk that corporates face in this sweeping wave of digitalization is one of existence. If they do not manage to change and succeed in the digital world, they will be out of market over a period of time. The question then is who are at risk and to what degrees and how to mitigate the risk while capitalizing on the opportunity to grow in this age? The road to survival for several longstanding players is thus paved with painful consolidation measures and cost-intensive reforms that are; however, important in ensuring they hold their own in the new competitive environment of the future. The increasing adoption of digital models and technologies give rise to new market entry opportunities, particularly for corporates who can leverage technology in their core operations. As in the case of a market changing and a new market emerging, the attractive opportunities for the new players, create and impose new norms of competitive pressure on the established players. Due to digitalization, many traditional firms are finding themselves exposed in some areas that could in turn develop into Achilles' heels. These vulnerabilities provide especially fast-growing internet firms with the opportunity to occupy certain market niches, both to monetize their digital content and make their own product range more appealing to an even wider audience. After all, the business world is ever dynamic, and the dynamism is heavily accelerated in the digital wave that’s engulfing the world of business.

A lasting change in consumption and media usage behavior has occurred. Today it is not always about ownership and possession, but more often only about access to products and services. For some time, lots of small technology-driven start-ups and niche operators active in the markets that are also fighting with the incumbents for market share. In addition, the internet behemoths have been spreading their wings/ influencing the business models across various industries and services,, investing billions of dollars, experimenting in diverse markets – increasingly also outside their core business – and offering new especially digitalized business models. Competition is therefore intensifying appreciably in many sectors and in many markets.Sharing assets, services, and time are known elements; in fact the “sharing economy” is not new, but the internet is accelerating its penetration into daily life. The sharing economy is a phenomenon created by individuals seeking to provide flexible services, lower costs and generate profits; it works because it creates more favorable economics when parties share underutilized assets. In this model, the ability to scale up the business is related more to imagination and not just around asset ownership.The publishing sector is now offering e-books on demand (Scribd, Kindle Unlimited); in the music and film segments digital content is increasingly being streamed (Spotify, Amazon); accommodation is being offered and organized globally by private individuals (Airbnb); projects and start-ups are obtaining finance via the crowd (Seedmatch, Kickstarter) and the mobility and local public transport sectors are also seeing alternative, web-based business models being offered (Uber, Lyft). Add to this the consumer’s desire to be globally minded, sustainable, and adventurous and valuable. This shift in consumer behavior towards welcoming services and sharing assets with strangers was born out of the peer-to-peer marketplace model first introduced by internet companies like eBay, Craigslist, Napster, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Ask.com. The business ideas behind them are often not really new in and of themselves, but they are based on digital value creation processes. In addition, the new players speak the language of the internet. “Convenience”, ubiquitous access across channels and “one-stop shop” are the key ideas. The economics behind this is relatively simple: digital value creation processes can be managed much more cost efficiently and wider (customer) reach is achieved faster thanks to economies of scale and network effects. In dynamic markets with shorter product life cycles these are valuable competitive advantages.

Ofcourse, some of these modern developments are still in their infancy and require an appropriate regulatory framework in order to be able to achieve their full potential. Various parts of the word is just seeing some maturity regarding applicable laws for the internet. The challenges include finding ways of usefully integrating modern technologies and methods into people's daily lives without violating freedoms, without discrimination, competition infringements or tampering taking place or without increasing people's fear of being spied upon. On account of the many varied interests and the international nature of the products and services, however, (national) legislation pertaining to online issues often has a limited impact.Many new player have their noses in front in many markets because from the outset their business model concepts have been “digital”, as have been the structuring and regular development of these models. These digital players can expose their offerings as services to their ecosystem, enabling collaboration amongst with partners and sometimes competitors. This makes them fast and flexible in their reaction to market needs but most importantly they change the dynamics of the business as a whole. The consumers benefit a lot and they begin to demand more and more. It is apparent that many of the traditional general firms can be found to be lagging behind the new players with regard to implementing the necessary digitalisation of their various marketing and communications channels and of preferring to work on siloed solutions instead of subjecting their processes to radical innovation therapy. The battle for the wallet share of digital customers is in full swing and is so intense that many established companies are (still) not adequately prepared for it.

With the digital ecosystems currently in place the firms operating online are relatively small in number, but they command a relatively strong position in the market. All the same, many small start-ups as well as niche operators are providing valuable stimulus to the market, but it is not uncommon to see them serve as attractive takeover candidates for the wallet rich or bigger digital players. However, although some digital firms and some start-ups are currently (still) leaders in modern technologies and data analysis – the battle for customers and market share in the digital age has only just begun. Internet behemoths like Google, Facebook were also small when they started out. Of course they enjoy a certain lead in information and expertise with respect to algorithms and data analysis.The wannabe’s and the ambitious enterprise must begin planning the digital re-imagination of their businesses now – just as companies like Netflix/Amazon did long time back. Established companies in these sectors will be challenged by outsiders and newcomers that aren’t burdened by legacy business models and assets. Just as online publishers are trying to displace established publishers, Netflix displaced Blockbuster companies in sectors with high digital intensity should expect serious incursions into their markets. In contrast, companies whose offerings and customer experience can’t be replaced by a digital version – think Disney World – might focus less on digital reimagination and more on transforming the offering they provide today, as Disney is doing with its theme park digital initiative or like in the case of a bank/insurance company leveraging digital technologies to the hilt in providing services to their customers. . The strategy in this case may be more about digital transformation. These companies – especially ones with big investments in physical assets – must find ways to use digital technologies to give customers a better experience with products and services (e.g., a trip to a Disney resort) that they already value.

Many online innovations are incremental in nature and emerge largely via trial and error. However, they require investment, scope for experimentation, scope for freedom as well as scope for creativity and error tolerance. Traditional firms, too, must continually adapt and improve their capabilities for this. After all, there is no magic bullet for innovations in the internet age. Just as in the analogue age, the people behind them are creative types who have good ideas, are courageous and prepared to take risks – and of course need a bit of luck. This is, however, not the main issue.it's a tribute to the accelerating accelerating digital phenomenon that some nations are now focussed on innovation-stimulating measures that includes an appropriate internet policy, improved immigration opportunities for skilled personnel, greater autonomy in the higher education sector or the rethinking of the (excessively) long periods for which intellectual property rights are protected in some sectors. With the limitless possibilities for upside in the digital world, the most often asked question is which is the right digital strategy for a company or a division of that company (if its business is quite different from the businesses of other divisions – different customers, different offerings, and so on)? We believe it depends largely on two factors - Digital affability of the company or division: This refers to the degree to which its core offerings, business processes (especially marketing, sales, and distribution),and market’s experience in using those offerings can get digitized. The sectors that have a greater digital intensity are banking & financial services, insurance, media and entertainment, telecommunications besides software Such companies are especially vulnerable to disruption, since their products can be fully digitized: payments made through a smartphone, movies streamed to a desk or tablet computer, software rented ‘by the tap’ from the cloud, and so on.

Like in every other evolving paradigm, clearly not all can get into the digital bandwagon and count results by the quarter - aside from the vision and sophistication of the program being attempted influencing the quality and upside of the outcomes, different sectors will clearly have graded adoption. while overnight quick ramp-up success stories will continue to show up, fact is that a complete digital canvas as a reality for all industries will take its own time. Apart from the inertia inside enterprises, investment size, regulations, market acceptance of digital offerings will play a big role in shaping their digital journey. There may be some industries that may not see digital disruption in some parts of their business - like in the utility business with massive assets and providing everyday service to customers, but these companies need to exploit digitalization for providing better experience - which in turn could beget huge upsides in their top lines and bottom line. Like Uber experience or IoT enabled Barbie toys almost redefining the core of the business, automobiles and wearables embracing digital, there are enough white spaces to conquer. It’s seen that in early adapters, digitization helps the enterprises to get closer to the customers and are redesigning the future of business. The gap in traditional customer engagement models will directly and the new avenues of interactions powered by technology will pave the way for the next wave of disruption. The best guideline to make this happen will be to build an ecosystem that will help us look at our products from the customer’s perspective, and help conduct easy business with everyone. Clearly, the question is not how and why,but fast becoming “when” but the answer is ready : it’s “now or never”.

          The Digital Wave & Business Leverage   

It is now common knowledge that digital is changing the fortunes of many business – impacting both positively and negatively, depending on their level of preparedness to embrace digitalization. In every industry, competing business leveraging digital technologies, platforms and relationship to win over rivals, get more customers and their business and loyalty, and thereby rewriting the rules of competing in business, is perhaps the order of the day.

Reimagining the possibilities for business by becoming a digital enterprise is a key expectation for survival in the future for many businesses around the world. That calls for going beyond creating revenue by mere digital substitution. A digital strategy that focuses on specific business outcomes leveraging various forms of digital technologies can create an edge for the enterprise and in many cases, a sustainable edge comes in where the inane physical resources mutate with the vibrant digital information to create new value. Winners in doing this get there by thinking big and small together transforming processes, creating/validating/rebooting business models and enabling new waves of customer experience. The reality is that any company large or small, old or new can leverage digital technology and principles to create a winning edge for its business and perhaps, its industry. Your customers, your competitors, and your suppliers are all digital now. You can’t address this change with a bolt-on strategy that adds an app here or a site there. You need a comprehensive strategy that embraces both digital markets and digital operations.

Firms like Amazon and Netflix, were born digital — they find embracing these digital principles far easier. Most others strive to have significant digital business and imbibe /embrace digital DNA as their core mantra. For some of them, who were not tuned in, a near extinction threat could be shaking them up. The good news is that, with the body of expertise and collected wisdom available, survival and being competitive is possible like Kodak and Burberry with varying motivations and expectations were able to reorient and restructure their commercial business and have created formidable digital business. The old and well established business of last century or the ones started in the century before are totally capable of successful digital transformation.

Being self-aware is the key to reinventing oneself – this universal principle holds good for enterprises as well. At whatever level of maturity an organization is, digital journey for enterprises would call for substantial degree of change with respect to organizational DNA – this would permeate the culture, organizational structure, operations and governance. As I wrote here, “digital transformation, for a company board or a transformation council could look like a large scale revamp, but in reality, it is a series of coordinated number of changes – on multiple dimensions - across various attributes covering some planned, known unknowns, unknown unknowns - the coming together of this creates a deep impact and effects change, leading into a converged advantage. One can say that the commonality across different true transformation initiatives would rest on ability to think differently about set ways of functioning and willingness and ability to revisit all known models and think and act on them to change to deliver different results”.

There are multiple ways to measure an enterprise maturity and determine the strong and weak points (the most common way to measure is to plot a two- by-two with internal capability vs delivered excellence or capability vs maturity etc). Digital Babies” Digital Natives”, “Digital Phoenixes”, “Digital Masters” etc. are some of the terms used to denote categories, depending on whom you choose to listen to. From Slow moving to Wannabe leaders to Visionaries to Path breaking leaders, the different players can be classified through an assessment. My preferred assessment, as a next step is to chart radar diagrams covering the entire customer lifecycle journey measuring the efficiencies of various attributes along the way and using the outcome to rate against overall expectations. With such classification at hand, depending on the industry trends, a rapid path - either as a protective measure or as a winning measure need to be laid out. The important thing to notice here is no enterprise needs to be left behind in this digital journey lest they suffer extinction over time.

The successful undertakers of the digital journey need to look beyond bolt-on initiatives and look at transformation possibilities holistically, covering digital experience, digital operations and process outcomes. The nature of digital business is such that there are a lot of players/processes that need to be aligned – and some of them could be internal and some could be external involving partners, customers etc. So, the overall ecosystem would matter to get the best experience and outcome to customers. Think travel business or something like how ozon, the leading ecommerce player in Russia achieved success.

The need for holistic view cannot be under emphasized. With the proliferation of digital touch points and increased range of services that customers are beginning to expect, it is unwise to look at each of these as discrete or sequential projects – as such an approach would lead to increased cost and take a long time to deliver overall best results for the enterprise. In an age where time-to-market is a key determinant of success, such approaches are not in tune delivering for the needs of the day for enterprises.

When we digitalize enterprises, we set the seed for destruction of the old practices and policies and instead embed new age practices and leading edge policies. The customer expectations, service levels, support mechanisms etc. substantially change in the digital age and as such, those types of changes cannot be avoided. How do we conceptualize and validate such changes? The answer lays in being able to think for digital solutions wearing the shoes of the customer. Should services be delivered separately or in combinations – should we restrict the combined services to what can be natively delivered by the enterprise or combine them with external services. These types of questions need to be objectively assessed and answers though through – the answers will in turn shape the contours of digital transformation covering both strategy and operations.

One of the defining characteristics of cutting edge digital solutions is the ability to seamlessly weave associated services available with a bevy of partners made into a seemingly single stranded service for the customers – imagine airline ticketing service or financial services like Intuit(Mint) or Amazon marketplace. This is both an opportunity and a challenge – opportunity is to provide service under one virtual roof, challenge lies in integrating a variety of services real time. The customer expectations would not care for challenges though – so long as some other enterprise is able to provide similar integrated services, the baseline of expectations get already set in. The key to note here is that by offering such services leveraging relevant partners/services, an enterprise protects itself from the competitive effects of digital disruptors.

Such an ecosystem of partners sharing data and services protects the players within, overall from competitive onslaught. In every industry, digital thinking for business forces non-linear thinking and the can provide disproportionate returns to the enterprise. As the Ozon case illustrates, the partners can be sometimes competitors but such arrangements done through smart working relationship frameworks can provide great agility and scalability to business and can provide endearing value to customers.For some, such outcome may not be magical – remember, it’s a journey and the game keeps improving. It’s truly transformative for some, but in ways that will feel right and sometimes may not even look so special, given that these may become second nature. Many times, we don’t realize that the future that we envisaged in the past, when it arrives look so reachable and understandable – every enterprise embarking on a digital journey, can feel that along the way, if digitalization is pursued in a vigorous way with discipline inside their respective enterprise.

          Dis-intermediation of the university via open courseware -- NYTimes: An Open Mind   
Dis-intermediation of the university via open courseware -- NYTimes: An Open Mind
[Some excerpts from NYtimes – BSA]


Open courseware is a classic example of disruptive technology, which, loosely defined, is an innovation that comes along one day to change a product or service, often standing an industry on its head. Craigslist did this to newspapers by posting classified ads for free. And the music industry got blindsided when iTunes started unbundling songs from albums and selling them for 99 cents apiece.

Some imagine a situation in which the bulk of introductory course materials are online, as videos or interactive environments; students engage with the material when convenient and show up only for smaller seminars. “In an on-demand environment, they’re thinking,

Mr. Schonfeld sees still more potential in “unbundling” the four elements of educating: design of a course, delivery of that course, delivery of credit and delivery of a degree. “Traditionally, they’ve all lived in the same institutional setting.” Must all four continue to live together, or can one or more be outsourced?

Edupunks — the term for high-tech do-it-yourself educators who skirt traditional structures — are piloting wiki-type U’s that stitch together open course material from many institutions and combine it with student-to-student interaction. In September, Neeru Paharia, a doctoral student at Harvard Business School, and four others from the open education field started up Peer 2 Peer University, a tuition-free, nonprofit experiment financed with seed money from the Hewlett and Shuttleworth foundations.

Ms. Paharia doesn’t speak the same language as traditional educators: P2PU “runs” courses. It doesn’t “offer” them. There are currently 16 courses, in subjects as diverse as behavioral economics, music theory, cyberpunk literature and “managing election campaigns” (and all with a Creative Commons license that grants more freedom of use than a standard copyright). Several hundred people are taking classes, Ms. Paharia says.

P2PU’s mission isn’t to develop a model and stick with it. It is to “experiment and iterate,” says Ms. Paharia, the former executive director of Creative Commons. She likes to talk about signals, a concept borrowed from economics. “Having a degree is a signal,” she says. “It’s a signal to employers that you’ve passed a certain bar.” Here’s the radical part: Ms. Paharia doesn’t think degrees are necessary. P2PU is working to come up with alternative signals that indicate to potential employers that an individual is a good thinker and has the skills he or she claims to have — maybe a written report or an online portfolio.

David Wiley, associate professor of instructional psychology and technology at Brigham Young University, is an adviser to P2PU. For the past several years, he has been referring to “the disaggregation of higher education,” the breaking apart of university functions. Dr. Wiley says that models like P2PU address an important component missing from open courseware: human support. That is, when you have a question, whom can you ask? “No one gets all the way through a textbook without a dozen questions,” he says. “Who’s the T.A.? Where’s your study group?”

“If you go to M.I.T. OpenCourseWare, there’s no way to find out who else is studying the same material and ask them for help,” he says. At P2PU, a “course organizer” leads the discussion but “you are working together with others, so when you have a question you can ask any of your peers. The core idea of P2PU is putting people together around these open courses.”

A similar philosophy is employed by Shai Reshef, the founder of several Internet educational businesses. Mr. Reshef has used $1 million of his own money to start theUniversity of the People, which taps open courses that other universities have put online and relies on student interaction to guide learning; students even grade one another’s papers.

The focus is business administration and computer science, chosen because they hold promise for employment. He says he hopes to seek accreditation, and offer degrees.

Mr. Reshef’s plan is to “take anyone, anyone whatsoever,” as long as they can pass an English orientation course and a course in basic computer skills, and have a high school diploma or equivalent. The nonprofit venture has accepted, and enrolled, 380 of 3,000 applicants, and is trying to raise funds through microphilanthropy — “$80 will send one student to UoPeople for a term” — through social networking.

A decade has passed since M.I.T. decided to give much of its course materials to the public in an act of largesse. The M.I.T. OpenCourseWare Initiative helped usher in the “open educational resources” movement, with its ethos of sharing knowledge via free online educational offerings, including podcasts and videos of lectures, syllabuses and downloadable textbooks. The movement has also helped dislodge higher education from its brick-and-mortar moorings.

If the mission of the university is the creation of knowledge (via research) and the dissemination of knowledge (via teaching and publishing), then it stands to reason that giving that knowledge away fits neatly with that mission. And the branding benefits are clear.
The Open University, the distance-learning behemoth based in England, has vastly increased its visibility with open courses, which frequently show up in the Top 5 downloads on Apple’s iTunes U, a portal to institutions’ free courseware as well as marketing material. The Open University’s free offerings have been downloaded more than 16 million times, with 89 percent of those downloads outside the U.K., says Martin Bean, vice chancellor of the university. Some 6,000 students started out with a free online course before registering for a paid online course.

Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative is working with teams of faculty members, researchers on learning and software engineers to develop e-courses designed to improve the educational experience. So far there are 10 complete courses, including logic, statistics, chemistry, biology, economics and French, which cost about $250,000 each to build. Carnegie Mellon is working with community colleges to build four more courses, with the three-year goal of 25 percent more students passing when the class is bolstered by the online instruction.

The intended user is the beginning college student, whom Dr. Smith describes as “someone with limited prior knowledge in a college subject and with little or no experience in successfully directing his or her own learning.”

It works like this: Virtual simulations, labs and tutorials allow for continuous feedback that helps the student along. The student’s progress is tracked step by step, and that information is then used to make improvements to the course. Several studies have shown that students learn a full semester’s worth of material in half the time when the online coursework is added. More students stick with the class, too. “We now have the technology that enables us to go back to what we all know is the best educational experience: personalized, interactive engagement,” Dr. Smith says.

email: Bill.St.Arnaud@gmail.com
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          A Garden... a victory for the pocketbook   
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