When a belief is widely held in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we call it a superstition. By that criterion, the most egrerious superstition of modern times, perhaps of all time, is the “scientific” belief in the non-existence of psi.
May the blessings of light be upon you,
Light without and light within,
And in all your comings and goings,
May you ever have a kindly greeting
From them you meet along the road.
May you work like you don’t need the money,
Love like you’ve never been hurt, and
Dance like no one is watching.
Dance as though no one is watching you,
Love as though you have never loved before,
Sing as though no one can hear you,
Live as though heaven is on earth.
Worked up the ladder today, trimming off the dead branches on the Ancient Cheery Tree in our back yard (left over from the old insane asylum from the 19th century from the river up to Mt. Tabor) Branches were rotten, widowmakers if I ever saw them…
Trimmed the neighbors tree as well, in all the years we have been here, she just lets them go. Nice neighbor, bad pruning habits. It cost us quite a bit of growing space (due to the shade factor) in the yard. We grow moss the best, followed close behind by the dandelions.
We went to the nursery today, picking up veggies, herbs and poppies. I love poppies, but they are always being wacked by the pod thieves! Argh. Bad habits abound. I love the nursery. I discovered a new tobacco plant from Brazil. Mary nixed me getting it, sez it will mess with the tomatoes. I am looking for Tobacco Rustica to grow next year. Love the smell! The whole gardening meme is a lovely one. Ahhhh. Loam!
We are getting the garden prepared for summer events. Dale and Laura Pendell will be in Portland on the 1st of June, for a reading at Powells… My Father is visiting… Summer Salons and various gatherings are being planned. The Solstice of course, and PARTIES!
More tomorrow, of course.
on the Grill
The Next Green Revolution
Universe ‘child of previous one’
Poetry: Jesse Lee Kercheval
How technology is leading environmentalism out of the anti-business, anti-consumer wilderness.
By Alex Nikolai Steffen
For decades, environmentalists have warned of a coming climate crisis. Their alarms went unheeded, and last year we reaped an early harvest: a singularly ferocious hurricane season, record snowfall in New England, the worst-ever wildfires in Alaska, arctic glaciers at their lowest ebb in millennia, catastrophic drought in Brazil, devastating floods in India – portents of global warming’s destructive potential.
Green-minded activists failed to move the broader public not because they were wrong about the problems, but because the solutions they offered were unappealing to most people. They called for tightening belts and curbing appetites, turning down the thermostat and living lower on the food chain. They rejected technology, business, and prosperity in favor of returning to a simpler way of life. No wonder the movement got so little traction. Asking people in the world’s wealthiest, most advanced societies to turn their backs on the very forces that drove such abundance is naive at best.
With climate change hard upon us, a new green movement is taking shape, one that embraces environmentalism’s concerns but rejects its worn-out answers. Technology can be a font of endlessly creative solutions. Business can be a vehicle for change. Prosperity can help us build the kind of world we want. Scientific exploration, innovative design, and cultural evolution are the most powerful tools we have. Entrepreneurial zeal and market forces, guided by sustainable policies, can propel the world into a bright green future.
Americans trash the planet not because we’re evil, but because the industrial systems we’ve devised leave no other choice. Our ranch houses and high-rises, factories and farms, freeways and power plants were conceived before we had a clue how the planet works. They’re primitive inventions designed by people who didn’t fully grasp the consequences of their actions.
Consider the unmitigated ecological disaster that is the automobile. Every time you turn on the ignition, you’re enmeshed in a system whose known outcomes include a polluted atmosphere, oil-slicked seas, and desert wars. As comprehension of the stakes has grown, though, a market has emerged for a more sensible alternative. Today you can drive a Toyota Prius that burns far less gasoline than a conventional car. Tomorrow we might see vehicles that consume no fossil fuels and emit no greenhouse gases. Combine cars like that with smarter urban growth and we’re well on our way to sustainable transportation.
You don’t change the world by hiding in the woods, wearing a hair shirt, or buying indulgences in the form of save the earth bumper stickers. You do it by articulating a vision for the future and pursuing it with all the ingenuity humanity can muster. Indeed, being green at the start of the 21st century requires a wholehearted commitment to upgrading civilization. Four key principles can guide the way:
Renewable energy is plentiful energy. Burning fossil fuels is a filthy habit, and the supply won’t last forever. Fortunately, a growing number of renewable alternatives promise clean, inexhaustible power: wind turbines, solar arrays, wave-power flotillas, small hydroelectric generators, geothermal systems, even bioengineered algae that turn waste into hydrogen. The challenge is to scale up these technologies to deliver power in industrial quantities – exactly the kind of challenge brilliant businesspeople love.
Efficiency creates value. The number one US industrial product is waste. Waste is worse than stupid; it’s costly, which is why we’re seeing businesspeople in every sector getting a jump on the competition by consuming less water, power, and materials. What’s true for industry is true at home, too: Think well-insulated houses full of natural light, cars that sip instead of guzzle, appliances that pay for themselves in energy savings.
Cities beat suburbs. Manhattanites use less energy than most people in North America. Sprawl eats land and snarls traffic. Building homes close together is a more efficient use of space and infrastructure. It also encourages walking, promotes public transit, and fosters community.
Quality is wealth. More is not better. Better is better. You don’t need a bigger house; you need a different floor plan. You don’t need more stuff; you need stuff you’ll actually use. Ecofriendly designs and nontoxic materials already exist, and there’s plenty of room for innovation. You may pay more for things like long-lasting, energy-efficient LED lightbulbs, but they’ll save real money over the long term.
Redesigning civilization along these lines would bring a quality of life few of us can imagine. That’s because a fully functioning ecology is tantamount to tangible wealth. Clean air and water, a diversity of animal and plant species, soil and mineral resources, and predictable weather are annuities that will pay dividends for as long as the human race survives – and may even extend our stay on Earth.
It may seem impossibly far away, but on days when the smog blows off, you can already see it: a society built on radically green design, sustainable energy, and closed-loop cities; a civilization afloat on a cloud of efficient, nontoxic, recyclable technology. That’s a future we can live with.
By Sarah Cruddas
A joint UK-US team has put forward an alternative theory of cosmic evolution.
It proposes that the Universe undergoes cycles of “Big Bangs” and “Big Crunches”, meaning our Universe is merely a “child of the previous one”.
It challenges the conventional view of the cosmos, which observations show to be 12-14 billion years old.
The new ideas, reported in the journal Science, may explain why the expansion of the Universe is accelerating, the researchers say.
“At present the conventional view is that all of space, time, matter and energy began at a single point, which then expanded and cooled, leaving the Universe as it is today,” said Professor Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, New Jersey.
“However, this new theory suggests that there’s a continuous cycle of universes, with each a repeat of the last, but not an exact replica.
“It can be thought of as a child of the previous universe.”
The new idea builds on previous work by the same team, and is set to challenge the current model.
The cosmological constant represented an inherent pressure or force associated with free space, which would be resisting the gravity-drive contraction.
The concept was later abandoned when observations showed the Universe to be expanding – causing Einstein to label the cosmological constant as “the greatest blunder of my career”.
In 1998, a form of the constant was re-habilitated when it was found that the Universe’s expansion was actually speeding up.
Although the re-introduction of the constant enabled calculations to match theory, it also raised the question that there was something in physics that was “missing”.
Professor Neil Turok, of Cambridge University, told the BBC News website: “When the value of the cosmological constant was calculated, it was found to be much smaller than expected.
“The explanation as to why this constant is so small has become one of the biggest problems in physics.
“At present, the only explanation for this is that things just have to be that way.” This theory leaves many questions unanswered, but now Professors Steinhardt and Turok have developed a new theory to explain why the cosmological constant is so small.
They suggest that time actually began before the Big Bang, meaning there was a pre-existing universe.
This would also mean that the current Universe is much older than presently accepted.
“At present there may be an alternative ‘dark matter’ universe that exists at the same time as ours, but we could never reach it,” explained Professor Turok.
“The best way to think of this is to think of a pane of double glazing with a fly on it. The fly is unable to cross over from one side to another, just like we are unable to get from one universe to another.
“These two universes are drawn together by the force of gravity and will eventually collide.
“This means that things that are happening now will help to create another universe in the future.”
Poetry: Jesse Lee Kercheval
5000 years ago & already religion over
fells a 16 ton menhir
carved with deer a running hare
& hauls it to the shore
onto a barge for the trip
to this shale island
lost among a sea of islands
buries the pictographs inside a fresh dug dolman
with pounded earth
because like Islam 3000 years later
this new faith does not show
its God in pictures
but rather in abstraction
in sweeping curves &
circles inside circles
God with her daughters
resting in her
They had come so farthese first human farmers
Plants grew & cows gave birth
when & where they ordered
Everything was possibleeverything was new
So the menhir from the old believers
hunters/ gatherers was buried
then time covered the new religion to
as time will cover ours
now we walk to board our boat
& find the tide
leaving our poor boat stranded
in a bay of sticky mud
the earth sleeps
the sea never
so Im left with time to wonder
why sit in the dark
etching circles into limestone
but a sharp quartz pebble?
Why make the ordered marks
already fading on this page?
because you do not draw
a human head
to show the face
Children of Paradise
Paris is an egg. It is the egg.
Wide or narrow, it is a ribbon
of pastry, of moonlight, of butter.
Paris is the light
gliding over our eyelids,
sneaking in even when we try
not to see. We know ourselves
through Paris & in this
Paris is as private
as blood & as public
as humiliation in high school. I broke a molar
on a piece of popcorn
watching Les Enfants du Paradis
in Paris, watching that luminous cloud Arletty
playing the heroine Garance.
Like the flower, she says
after giving her name. What flower? the audience
always murmurs. Me too
& thats what I love
the not knowing.
Just as no one in the Paris of the film
can truly know Garance.
But what with the cracked tooth,
watching this film about Paris
in Paris turned out
not to be the rush of paradise
I expected, but instead,
along with Baptise the mime,
I was in agony. Baptise
from his unconsummated love
for Garance. Me from my molar,
from the pain crashing through my nerves,
& for a moment I thought
ammonia & chlorine bleach
had come accidentally together
filling the whole theater
because I was crying,
because I couldnt breathe.
took me out of myself & into the souls
of the stars, filled me with great pity,
with a sense infinite space as poignant actuality,
as the light from the projector
shone over the heads of the audience.
But there is more, much more
to Paris than that. In Paris, life
runs away, is a runaway
at play & passion is everywhere.
Paris dangles all possibilities before us,
clanging as loud as bells. The mind sees
as through a glass–Heaven.
The heart sees–as through a moving curtain
worlds beyond the bones
Isle de Brehat
In this garden enclosed
by a stone wall
on this stone island
where the stone houses
have stone roofs
my son twists
on a wooden swing
In between cold
rock shore & cold rock
shore, this garden
bleeds w/ roses
the bruised kiss of fuschia
Beyond the wall, in
the low & marshy land
sheep crop the sweet
This could be
my stone houseKercheval
in the land where
ker means home,
It could be my
parents in the cemetery close
inside the church
yard wallsmy father
lost at sea
lost to war
their faces still young
in the enameled
photographs that grace
the cemetery walls
or hang in honor
in the Chapel of the Rescuers
resting place for those
lost in the slate grey sea.
Who have I saved
300 years gone
from this stone land
long ago set sail across
the wide and
No one, I admit
at least not
catch my son
in my arms, hoping
lovemine or Gods
will be enough save him
First him, then
I deliver my daughter to kindermusic.
The teacher has her theories:
how the body, so young,
already knows music.
Week One: the class
two boys, four girls
dances with ribbons
imagining themselves notes.
Week Two: they draw music,
slash, dashes, waves, wolves
across butcher paper
unrolled on the floor.
Week Three: they clap, they stomp
making their bodies mallets,
beating the floor,
the air, their drum.
At the end of each class
they get stampsbutterflies,
tigers, smiley faces
on the back of their hands.
Week Four: Finally they are given
their special kindermusik
xylophones, white plastic
with red metal keys,
are taught how to hold
the wooden mallets
how to hit each note
just so. No more improvisation,
no more roaring and dancing.
Ding, all together, ding.
At last, theyre making music.
Their teacher smiles and smiles.
Jesse Lee Kercheval was born in France and raised in Florida. She is the author of six books, including the poetry collection Dog Angel, the novel The Museum of Happiness, and the writing text Building Fiction. She is the Sally Mead Hands Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, where she directs both the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing. She lives in Madison with her husband and two children.