For a group of people committed to intense soul searching, the residents of Great Vow monastery can be surprisingly light hearted. When it’s time to work or meditate, their discipline is impeccable – but they also know how to kick back and relax.
On Sunday afternoon, several residents went to a nearby farm to light a bonfire and dance
I’ve lived at the monastery now for about a month, and am starting to settle into the schedule. Rising before dawn every day doesn’t feel like torture anymore.
Walking past a Buddha statue in the rain
The view from the monastery can be breathtaking
Spending time in nature goes a long way to reducing stress and angst. Much of my free time is passed wandering beneath the silent forest canopy or admiring the sunsets.
Perhaps my biggest surprise so far was learning how talented people are. Tonight they held…
Today the monastery was closed and we didn’t have to follow any schedule. I slept in, did six hours of meditation (alternately sitting in the meditation hall and walking in the forest), and took care of miscellaneous tasks – like helping to organize a bone marrow drive in Nigeria next week.
I also watched some skeleton point-of-view (“POV”) videos from the office of the monastery, the only place with reliable wifi, and asked, “Do I really want to keep going after this Olympic dream? What’s driving me? When do I move on?”
I’ve come to Great Vow, a place of quiet contemplation, to wrestle with these questions. Tonight I reread a 2010 interview with NPR that ended with:
“There’s a strong parallel between the challenges of transplant and the challenges of being a skeleton athlete,” Adebiyi says. “There’s a time for all-out effort, and there’s a time for surrender.” Surrender…
Ever since I researched the meanings of monuments in the cultural landscape in Mexico City, I’ve been fascinated by the cultural politics of memory and heritage. The removal of a statue is a cultural 180, acknowledging what was once honored and revered is now something that does not worthy of that distinction. This sort of change is not without protests on both sides and a cultural rearticulation of who “we” are when “we” make a public memorial.
Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.
“A few years back, scientists at the biotechnology company Amgen set out to replicate 53 landmark studies that argued for new approaches to treat cancers using both existing and new molecules. They were able to replicate the findings of the original research only 11 percent of the time.
“Science has a reproducibility problem. And the ramifications are widespread.”
Read the entire original at: Science Needs a Solution for the Temptation of Positive Results – The New York Times http://nyti.ms/2rhpwEg
True to the original purpose of this blog, today I am starting a systematic study of WordPress itself. My site is the simplest, cheapest offered, but with Premium membership for access to a huge array of themes that I plan to experiment with. My purpose is to learn to use as many features and edits as possible, while sharing my thoughts on many topics.
First I want to thank all the WordPress “Happiness Staff” who have rescued and educated me, especially during the past year. What a team!
And now, to start my journal, I share what has made me happy today: the photo quality from my Samsung S7 Galaxy’s latest full upgrade:
I just can’t take my eyes off it! And to think it’s “just” a cell phone camera . . .
The surging number of child immigrants from Central America has provoked another political crisis for US President Obama, who is already facing Republican opposition to his plans for immigration reform. Although both sides of politics agree that something has to be done about illegal immigration, a deal is unlikely, writes Keri Phillips.
ABCRadioNational, Excerpt: Illegal immigration in the USA Share 385 Cookie†policy
It’s a 3,200-kilometre long border. In the early 1980s there were 2,000 border patrol agents, today there are 20,000. In the early 1980s there was almost no fencing on the border; today there’s about 1,000 kilometres of relatively secure fencing.
PROFESSOR PHILIP MARTIN, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.
Technology is weird, and strange, and it allows us to do things that people would probably not have imagined a few years back. Like this, that just appeared in my Facebook stream — a Rube Goldberg machine to tell the Passover story, which is an essential part of the Jewish Passover seder through the series of prayers known as the Haggadah.
Or this, DIY Haggadah generator, an online interactive tool to help you create and share your very own custom haggadah.
People have done some really interesting and creative things with making their own Haggadahs. I’d like to share some of them with you, but first a bit of context. While I am not Jewish, I have sometimes had the privilege of being invited to the Passover seder celebration, which is beautiful and meaningful. I confess to being surprised by some of the range of Haggadah I’ve stumbled across…
“This is a wild eagle nest and anything can happen. While we hope that all eaglets hatched in this nest will grow up healthy and successfully fledge each season, things like sibling rivalry, predators, and natural disaster can affect this eagle family and may be difficult to watch.”
View activity at the nest via 2 cameras as chicks hatch, grow and fledge.
Join us on this three day adventure filled with fun, exploration, and discovery. Each day we will hike, play games, be creative, sing songs, and more all while exploring the CNC property. Campers will be divided into smaller camp groups according to age. You won’t want to miss this year’s Spring Break Mini Camp! Deadline for registration is March 25. Fee: $100 (CNC Members $80) Campers 8 years old and up are invited to camp out at the Visitor Center on Thursday night. After spending the night exploring the outdoors, playing games, and sleeping in the Visitor Center, campers will be ready for pick up at 9 am on Friday. The cost for the overnight experience is an additional $25 to the regular mini-camp fee.
More than 40 species have been officially recovered by the Endangered Species Act. Some, like bald eagles and peregrine falcons, have received a lot of publicity.
Here are five lesser known – but no less interesting – stories of recovery.
The Endangered Species Act had its genesis in the early 1900s, when visionary conservationists like George Bird Grinnell, Gifford Pinchot and Theodore Roosevelt began calling for a change in wildlife management and habitat protection.
“To lose the chance to see frigatebirds soaring in circles above the storm, or a file of pelicans winging their way homeward across the crimson afterglow of the sunset, or a myriad terns flashing in the bright light of midday as they hover in a shifting maze above the beach,” wrote Roosevelt. “Why, the loss is like the loss of a gallery of the masterpieces of the artists of old time.”
Something needed to be done. A lot of those early efforts focused on protecting game species and migratory birds. In the 1960s, conservationists focused on saving species that needed the most help. In 1966, Congress passed the Endangered Species Preservation Act. In 1973, under the Nixon Administration, the Endangered Species Act was born.
Enjoy these five successes: a reptile, mammal, plant, fish and bird.
Island Night Lizard
Two words are most commonly used to describe the island night lizard: remarkably sedentary.
That may be an understatement.
The small lizard can live to be up to 30 years old, but often sticks to a home range of about 20 yards.
“They have incredibly small little worlds where they live,” says Jane Hendron, spokesperson for the Carlsbad office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “They will eat vegetation. They will eat beetles. And during lean times, it’s been demonstrated that if they shed their skin they will even eat their skin.”
The island night lizard – oddly named since it isn’t nocturnal – is found on only a few islands off of California’s coast: San Clemente, San Nicolas and Santa Barbara, and a tiny little islet called Sutil.
They give birth to live young, and because of their general lack of movement, require only about half the food of similarly-sized lizards.
The lizards thrived in their island life until nonnative goats, pigs and rabbits ate most of the vegetation, and feral cats ate the lizards themselves.
The federal government interceded in 1977, and by the mid-‘90s, the Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and the U.S. Navy had coordinated to remove all goats, sheep and rabbits. Feral cats were also largely eliminated.
In 2014, the lizards crawled off the endangered species list. More than 20 million are now estimated to live on San Clemente Island, more than 15,000 on San Nicolas and almost 18,000 on Santa Barbara.
Columbian White-Tailed Deer
Anyone living on the East coast won’t likely think of white-tailed deer as endangered. They range across huge swaths of the U.S., providing hunting opportunities for thousands of Americans. But the Columbian white-tailed deer is a different story.
Tens of thousands of the small mammals weighing between 100 and 300 pounds and standing less than 3-feet tall at the shoulders once roamed portions of the Pacific Northwest from the Cascade Mountains to the ocean, Puget Sound to southern Oregon. They thrived on small islands and riparian areas.
Their story is a familiar one: Habitat changed with encroaching agriculture, residential development and logging. Over-hunting and poaching took its toll, says Brent Lawrence, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Oregon.
The distinct subspecies was given federal protections in the late 1960s. Its numbers were down to less than 1,000 deer between two small subpopulations.
Through translocations and partnerships on wildlife refuges, numbers started increasing.
“They have a relatively small population distribution right now, and there’s not a huge range of them,” says Lawrence. “But they’re recovering nicely in those areas.”
So nicely, in fact, that one population was removed from the endangered species list in 2003 with more than 5,000 animals. The second population, centered around the Columbia River, was downgraded in October from endangered to threatened.
Tennessee Purple Coneflower
Like the black-footed ferret or Caspian horse, the Tennessee purple coneflower was once thought to be extinct. Until it was found again.
It grows in the limestone barrens and cedar glades of only three counties in Tennessee, and until a Vanderbilt professor named Elsie Quarterman accidentally rediscovered it in 1968, most botanists assumed it was lost.
“In its natural habitat, it is a beautiful, magenta-colored, daisy-like flower in the middle of gray and green. It grows in lovely groupings in cedar glade and barren habitat,” she says. “It’s one of those great stories about how important basic field botany still is.”
The purple coneflower wasn’t growing in a remote corner of a western wilderness. It was on the outskirts of Nashville, under everyone’s nose.
It also needed help.
So for decades after it was listed, countless groups from The Nature Conservancy to garden clubs to federal agencies worked together to protect swaths of coneflower habitat. The effort paid off, and in 2011, the Tennessee purple coneflower, one of the first plants to be placed on the endangered species list, was removed. The protected land has also benefited about 30 other rare plant species, not to mention birds, butterflies and small mammals.
And now the plant that some thought was extinct has 19 secure colonies among six populations.
Threats that faced the Oregon chub read like a buffet of environmental issues: Predation from non-native species; runoff from herbicide and pesticide; rotenone to manage sport fisheries; accidental chemical spills and the list goes on.
Damming rivers and flood control, resulting in a loss of side channels and overflow ponds, were some of the biggest blows to the mosquito-eating, olive, silver and white fish.
But aside from fixing the physical issues, another challenge for biologists was convincing people why they should care about the relatively nondescript, 3.5-inch minnow.
“When you are doing good things for the Oregon chub, and they are thriving, the same backwater areas are great for young salmon and steelhead to be in, also,” Lawrence says. “So when you are creating waterways to help the chub you’re also helping more iconic sportfish.”
In 1993, when the species was listed, there were only eight known populations. Through protecting habitat and wild populations, and reintroducing new ones, that number increased to 38. In 2010, the Oregon chub became the first fish to be removed from the endangered species list.
And its success continues. Fisheries biologists have now documented 50 populations.
Depending on where you look, it’s hard to imagine the brown pelican was once endangered to the point of possible extinction.
The birds with 7-foot wingspans and pouches that can hold up to 3 gallons of water and fish cover the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts of North and South America. But it wasn’t always that way.
Brown pelicans – also called common pelicans – faced their first wave of threats in late 19thand early 20th century. Their feathers were sought for clothing, particularly for women’s hats.
The subsequent Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918 helped protect them from illegal hunting, but by the late 1940s, their numbers were crashing again. Commercial fishermen blamed pelicans for lower fish numbers. DDT thinned their shells so much the eggs broke during incubation, and another pesticide – endrin – killed them.
It’s been a long, long journey to this vantage point. I feel like a pilgrim standing on top of a mountain ridge, looking down at the trail behind and up at the peak ahead. I can’t say that I’ve arrived at my destination, so much as reached a good place to stop for a while.
Eight years ago, when I began this blog, I was a young and newly-minted attorney who had just received a terrifying diagnosis of two rare and aggressive blood cancers. I set out to find a life-saving donor, not only for myself but for others who – due to their ethnic heritage – were unlikely to ever find a match. I wanted to recruit 10,000 donors to the worldwide registry, start a new donor registry in Nigeria, and use the Olympics as a platform to create awareness.
I eventually accomplished all three goals. Just this past…
During ten years of struggling with UTIs I have found doctors to be of no help in getting to the cause. They simply prescribe antibiotics for periodic infections and estrogen to reduce the number of occurrences. So I am taking matters into my own hands.
First I searched the web and found enough information to start a little archive – my new blog: utinotes Now I am seeking a clinical study to join or some research project to volunteer in. I’ll begin with my primary care unit, University of Michigan Geriatrics Center. They are part of a huge medical complex and may have suggestions.
Do you, dear reader, have any ideas? Please share them either or both in comments to this post or on my UTI blog.
Writers/Directors: ETHAN COEN, JOEL COEN
Eddie Mannix: JOSH BROLIN
Baird Whitlock: GEORGE CLOONEY
Hobie Doyle: ALDEN EHRENREICH
Laurence Laurentz: RALPH FIENNES
DeeAnna Moran: SCARLETT JOHANSSON
Thora & Thessaly Thacker: TILDA SWINTON
I went for a lark.
I thought I’d go to the movies just this once for fun. No analysis, no timings in the back of the theater with my iPhone taking notes and risking getting kicked out. Pam was gone for the night, so I ate a Wendy’s Apple Pecan Salad in the Emagine Theater parking lot as it started to snow. Went in, bought my Senior Discount ticket, got some chocolate covered almonds (Hey, Lent starts tomorrow), and sitting in my seat put in my new hearing aid so I could understand the dialogue.
I was expecting a brainless, escapism, night at the movies.
Here’s a hint.
Hail, Caesar! is (at the same time) all about the fragility and splendor of being human. It is about the inability of humans to do what is right and their perseverance in trying to be better. It’s about the darkness of life and the candles we can ignite to bring light into that darkness. And, it’s about how incompetent Hollywood can be and how, at the same time, utterly brilliant and talented the people there are. It’s about the difficult of doing what is right and not what is easy. And all of that under the mercy of our creator. It is a pure movie about the human condition and how we help each other in this dark valley of tears.
HAIL, CAESAR! was entertaining (after a while). I cringed at first…it took a while to figure out what was going on. Hey, it’s the Coen brothers and they are two smart directors, but you have to stick with them—they will make you work. There were moments of profound seriousness and scenes that seemed obscure at best. And yet, there were scenes I could not stop laughing (although many of the jokes for me were filmmaking inside jokes. I’ve directed actors enough and been in editing rooms enough (even with uprightMoviolas), that the moments were gut busters…with many homages to the greats of the industry. There were repeated sends-up of Hollywood and it’s ridiculous attempts to get things right but didn’t. (When you see the rear view of Jesus on the Cross is not satire of Christianity, it’s satire at Hollywood trying to tell the
story of Christ….big difference….don’t be confused). There is a dance number that puts Gene Kelly to shame, and Esther Williams’s grand water choreography makes an appearance. Enjoy the respites of talent, they’re there to remind you of humanity’s goodness and how the struggle is worth it.
Thus, I identified easily with the protagonist and his arc….Eddie Mannix, the CAPITAL studio head played by Josh Brolin. Watch him carefully. The movie is NOT about George Clooney’s character Baird Whitlock, although Baird’s predicament is what drives Eddie’s primary, physical goal.
I’ll watch it again and do a little amendment on the Moral Premise later. Let me know what you think.
Many other authors have advised me never to read a review of my book as it can be hurtful when they are negative, However, I have gotten used to so much criticism here, and even hatred and vitriol on Facebook (last year, which is now over thanks to the ability to block the offenders) I feel ok about reading it.
Hence, I am posting the first review of my book, which was actually written a few weeks ago, as the person is a reviewer, and was sent a draft of my manuscript to read (not even the final one) so there was a review up when the book was released. Unfortunately, if he had read the book thoroughly and ‘really listened to me’, or done any research at all on me, he would not have referred to me (or others with dementia) as a sufferer, as per this screen shot of…
Today is one of those days I feel like hiding under the blankets all day, although where I live, that would be a tad warm as it’s very hot here this summer! Anyway, I suspect, sweat droplets would take over from tear droplets eventually and it will all be ok! But it doesn’t feel ok just now…
How do we negotiate a secure footing, in our world that is always moving and full of confusion, misunderstandings and such constant change in functional ability due to dementia? It needs patience and love, and a lot of bloody hard work. How can asking one simple question turn out so badly? I must get better at managing situations and problems, and find ways to deal with things so they don’t backfire and hurt me.
I’m not feeling strong today, and need time to sit and ponder if this global advocacy…
Well, I can’t believe how little I’ve been here. I am absolutely SHOCKED that I haven’t blogged in over a MONTH! Of course, this is because I’ve been so gosh all darned busy, both at work and at home. Just briefly, what all is keeping me away is probably of interest to folk.
With the visit of Pope Francis to the United States, I thought it might be interesting and pertinent to explore emerging technologies in the context of the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. I self-describe my religion on Facebook as Zen Pagan Catholic (which makes for some interesting conversations from time to time), and primarily practice as a Catholic, but I have a deep fondness for many other faiths as well (Quaker! Judaism! More!) and like to look at ideas and concepts in a broad ethical framework. This is just a small ‘deep dive’ into an area where a global leader in ethics touches on the impacts and ethics surrounding emerging and existing technologies. There are many such, and many ways to explore this.
I thought the image opening this post was a real treasure illustrating how current technologies, services, and memes (selfies? Instagram?) are being adopted by or…
For the first time since his son’s death, Creigh Deeds, the Virginia state senator and former gubernatorial candidate whose son stabbed him multiple times before committing suicide, testified Tuesday morning before members of Congress considering the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.
His primary message? The country needs to ease patient privacy laws to help people with severe mental illness and their families.
“HIPAA prevented me from accessing the information I needed to keep my son safe and help him towards recovery,” said Deeds. “Even though I was the one who cared for him, housed him, fed him . . . I was not privy to any information that could clarify for me his behaviors. I did not know his diagnosis, prescription changes and necessary follow-up care.”
Among many important provisions, the reintroduced “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act” would include adjustments to the HIPAA Privacy Rule so caretakers of the severely mentally ill can access information in times of crisis.
“I was in the dark as I tried to advocate for him in the best way I could with the best information I had,” Deeds continued. “We have to do better. Not for me. Not for the countless other families who have already buried their loved ones. But for those who still struggle with mental illness and the families that struggle to help them.”
“This bill makes important changes to HIPAA that would allow adult children to be cared for by the parents or family members that already care for them,” Deeds said. Read his entire testimony.
Representative Matsui (D-CA) has also introduced legislation “Including Families in Mental Health Recovery Act” that would provide guidance and educate providers, patients and families about sharing information under HIPAA. Members of the bipartisan panel expressed support for both pieces of legislation.
“The graph represents a network of 1,147 Twitter users whose recent tweets contained “#15ntc”, or who were replied to or mentioned in those tweets, taken from a data set limited to a maximum of 18,000 tweets.”
“The network was obtained from Twitter on Wednesday, 04 March 2015 at 04:32 UTC.”
“Windows on Earth is an educational project that features photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station.Astronauts take hundreds of photos each day, for science research, education and public outreach.The photos are often dramatic, and help us all appreciate home planet Earth.These imageshelp astronauts share their experience, and help you see Earth from a global perspective.” By Seth Dixon on Geography Education
The Risk Bites video series is touching on many of my favorite emerging technologies topics. Every now and then, I’m hoping to take some of their topics and dig into the issues a little more. Today’s topic is e-cigs, which I’ve blogged about here before. Earlier this week, the e-cigarette panel discussion at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (#APHA14) attracted a great deal of attention, including attendance from the current Surgeon General.
In addition, APHA endorsed a public call to the FDA to push forward on regulating electronic cigarettes.
20149 Regulation of electronic cigarettes — Calls on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop regulations that hold e-cigarettes to the same marketing and advertising standards as conventional tobacco cigarettes and calls for the…
It is an unwritten military maxim: in order to turn the nation against an enemy, the nation must seize seeing the other side as human, and begin to understand them simply as an enemy.
That is pretty depressing, and it’s something the owners of Pittsburgh’s Conflict Kitchen are acutely aware of. The restaurant seeks to overcome cultural misunderstandings by exclusively serving the cuisine from countries with which the U.S. is in conflict.
The restaurant works with those still living in the country at hand, as well as local members of the diaspora, to develop “events, performances, publications and discussions” to supplement the food, and also to “instigate questioning, conversation, and debate with [its] customers.”
A live Skype meal between Pittsburgh and Tehran, Iran
Every few months the restaurant rotates its identity to relate to current geopolitical events. So far it has seen installments from Afghanistan, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and…
“2014 marks the centenary of this extraordinary extinction. Project Passenger Pigeon will mark this anniversary and promote the conservation of species and habitat, strengthen the relationship between people and nature, and foster the sustainable use of natural resources.”
It’s always a delight to have the opportunity to show off a University of Michigan event in these posts. It’s even more of a delight to show off an event of which I was so intimately a part, even though I have to confess I feel like I did very little and it was the community that really drove this magical event! I was just lucky to be among the core team at the front, along with the incredible Joyce Lee and Emily Hirshfeld! There are so very many incredible people who were involved I can’t possible thank them all.
One thing you’ll notice in these tweets is the range of media included — many photos and videos that may or may not display. To get a more engaging sense of the event as displayed in the tweets you may need to click through.
We’re having a big event, as you already know. We’ve used social media a lot in the planning and preparation of the event, and we want social media used during the event. We want to be able to show engagement, a diverse community, a virtual community as well as the face-to-face folk who come in person. We want people to upload pics to Instagram and Flickr, videos to Vine and Youtube; we want people to blog, and to tweet like crazy.
But anyone who has spent much time on Twitter knows what happens when you get a really active hashtag going. Spammers show up. And sometimes trolls. And sometimes people get confused about your hashtag and start sending content they think is relevant (but really they’re confused and it isn’t at ALL appropriate). And some people are just nasty or snarky on purpose. So what do you do?
This has been a classic “learning experience” for Mary. I have a knack for making a mess of simple things, but I am fortunate to have friends who rescue me when things seem hopeless.
The original version of this post described an awkward fix to a simple problem, and the fix turned out to be worse than the problem. Happily the situation was reported (in the comments) by two of my followers, pros with blogs I admire very much and read regularly.
I have chosen not to entertain you with my misadventures. Instead I’ll provide links to my colleagues’ blogs for your enjoyment. They are as different as two blogs can be but equally interesting, creative and well crafted.
Many photos are of recognizable places, like the Manhattan skyline. None of these landscapes are of instantly identifiable locations. The two aerials were photographed somewhere between Houston and LA, but I can’t tell you even what state is pictured. Remaining images are from Kauai, but without the Hawaii tag, nobody would ever know.
Sharing this, because it seems an interesting lesson.
I am teaching E-safety to my pupils at the moment and wanted to try a little experiment. Please share this photo and see how far it gets, I want to show my students how easily photos etc can go viral, even when you may not want them to. Share it and see how far it goes!