Sunday, December 24, 2006

Can you still smoke it?...

...As they find a 2,800 year old mummy buried with a bag of marijuana leaves in China reprts the "People's Daily"."From his outfit and the marijuana leaves, which have been confirmed by international specialists to be ingredients for narcotic, we assume the man had been a shaman and had been between 40 and 50 years old when he died," said Li, a noted historian in Xinjiang.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Santa's melting runway...

Starbucks is not a green company...

...as their despicable treatment of the coffee growers of Ethiopia shows. Read more...

Gould plays Bach...


...The Goldberg Variations are probably my favourite piece of music. I discovered them a little later in life than most of the classical pieces I love. Last Saturday I also managed to try another classic, a Pommard 2002, (Demeter organic) from Christine and Didier Montchovet who have been making superb organic wine in Burgundy since 1984. Beautifully balanced and elegant this is a wine for that very special romantic dinner. I'm grateful to Johan Kunst, who was at de Belly organic store on the Nieuwe Lelie Straat, for introducing me to this treat. Johan runs Vin Bio in Brummen. (Tel: +31 (0)6-42326143)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Occam's razor...

...and Le Monde Diplomatique on conspiracy theories.
"The conspiracy virus is not new. Let me recall. The Russians couldn’t possibly have built an A-bomb without Commie traitors. Hitler was a victim of treachery, otherwise he couldn’t have been defeated by the Red Army marching across eastern Europe and half Germany. JFK couldn’t have been shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, it had to be the CIA. There is no end to examples seeking to prove that Russians, Arabs, Viet Cong, Japanese, whoever, couldn’t possibly match the brilliance and cunning of secret cabals of white Christians." writes Alexander Cockburn. I agree.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

All green and beta...

...as all my blogs are now beta. Confused? Me too. But it will sort itself out over time. When I tried to change the first time it didn't work out as planned so everything ended up double. Now comes the reduction process. Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Final lone mass demo in 2006...

...is on December 20 in Parliament Square and if your are in London and want to take part then you have to apply for permission from the police by the 14th. Rachel has all the details on her blog. Santa himself will also be applying tomorrow at Charing Cross police station. As Rachel says, "By applying to protest as an individual about anything you like - silly or serious - and doing so, as a lone individual - together - simulataneously - with other lone protesters - and by applying en masse to protest as individuals - you draw attention to the crapness of the law. Whilst obeying the letter of it.
It is 100% legal, it is making a serious point in a satirical way and it is great fun. One day you will tell your grandchildren you were there, I promise."

Friday, December 08, 2006

MacRumors founder interviewed regarding the iPhone

...This should put the cat amongst the pidgeons. What will Nokia do in January? The mobile world is changing rapidly and there are enough Apple fans out there to make the iPhone a success.
Kevin Rose iPhone leak diggnation digg...

...Pastamas is coming or will it be there for Easter?
Keith Jarrett Solo Concert...

...in Tokyo, 1984.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Times past, times to come...

...At 3.30am on January 6, 1990 I received the news that my mother had just died in hospital. We had seen each other the night before and she was at peace and ready to leave. We all lose someone we love sometime. The end of a relationship, a death, or the breakdown of a friendship or marriage. Yet time heals and nature repairs the wounds. New loves come and new friends enter our lives. I have been blessed to know some very fine women and this music, that I listened to on that morning nearly seventeen years ago is dedicated to them. A small handful of women philosophers, scientists and activists who have brought the joy of Ceridwen's muse into my life.

Murgles face extinction...

...as a tornado hits London...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Political uncorrectness sweeps over Holland...

...as the Dyslexic Satanists get more confused and the rest of the world clogs up with greenwash...read more...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gould plays Beethoven...

...and reminds me of my first cat, Susie, who was wise and warm and my first contact with the spirit. Tonight I celebrated with a very good friend who has just passed her masters exam. We went to a party and then we drank a beer in a little brown cafe and talked of science, nature and the future. It was a most magical evening.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Convergence is the new buzz word...

...Read more...
Soma lecture at Cannabis Cup 2005

Soma talks about organic cannabis and sings a song with his granddaughter, Lexis.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fon and 360 Fashion...



with thanks to Anina at 360 Fashion for the picture. Anina has been working on ecofashion with Hempworks and we spent the evening talking about fair trade, organic and natural fashion as well as the possible positive benefits of new technology as part of the solution to the environmental crisis. It was a positive exchange of ideas. The night before I was at Soma's tea which was awesome this time. I visited a sacred space that is in us all if we only look for it. The illusion of time in a living universe that is mind itself. The vision of compassion and beauty that arises out of the heart. Geshe-la has left for Paris and I wish him a safe trip back to India. There was much love around me and within me this night.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Beta...just a learning curve...

...or the shock of the new. I'm spending a quiet afternoon having fun with Blogger beta, Feedburner and HTML that works by some kind of rocket science that is beyond me. The pace of technology means we always have lots of new options but also that we (and our old hardware and software) are always catching up. Still I got there in the end. I spent the night deleting all the unwanted stuff on our recycled computer. It now boots up just a tad faster than continental drift. I would love to use Ubuntu as an OS but first I have to sort out the wireless connection. That's a geek problem way beyond my very limited technical skills so I'll need to call on one of my more nerdy technophiles to solve that one. Hi-tech trash is becoming a major waste disposal problem so this little bit of recycling is a small contribution to the solution. As flat screens are becoming more fashionable you see loads of old monitors on the street here. We should be able to set up a small community internet cafe with what we find. The idea is to offer free computers with open source and wifi and a cheap cup of organic coffee to keep the adrenalin flowing. But for now I'm off to the organic market and tonight it's mushroom teatime again.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A nice Polish lunch...

...I've been having a quiet day for a change. I had a visit from my Dutch philosopher friend and we had a nice Polish lunch. Since Oma came from Poland the catering in this establishment is much improved. We talked a lot about Spinoza and the good life. Sometimes a nice chat with a good friend and plenty of laughter is the best medicine. It has been a busy week that turned out well in the end. Many of my deepest values have been challenged of late and I've had to deal with many memories as well as cope with days full of frentic activity and crises that often drained my energy. So a nice lunch was long overdue. My Dutch friend left me with a warm glow in my heart. Must have been the fifties background music and the good food that set the mood. Joli weekend, mes amis.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Blogging for blondes...

...as one of those blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are, generally speaking I've been asking myself recently why I bother. After all Rachel does the political stuff much better and I'm an exile anyway. I can only use magic mushrooms legally here in Holland now. Theoretically in London I could be given life imprisonment for what I believe in doing. It was when I read Rigmor's piece on a grumpy Christmas that the penny dropped, this time in the company of some lovely isolater hash. What matters at the end of the day? The big picture, the small picture, or some weird combination of both? At the moment our house is full. Our Polish granny turned up today with lots of homemade goodies including a lovely handknitted Norwegian pullover. We finally have the internet after trying out three computers, three separate mice and three separate keyboards in a combination that works. So I'm no longer dependent on the free internet hour I get in the public library. Tomorrow my Tibetan friend arrives so I'm looking forward to having a Geshe in the house. It's all so trippy. Amsterdam is a strange moving feast. Just when you think you've got it she pulls another rabbit out of the hat.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Calling all dyslexic Satanists...

...golb early for Christmas as Santa is on his way to chocolate lovers everywhere. Rachel says that "As the US neo-cons unravel, you'd think the time for calmer voices calling for thoughtful debate would be heard. But politicians think they can win votes and leadership elections by swinging their dicks and stamping their feet and bellowing like gorillas with the tabloids gibbering a chorus.Until we stop indulging these macho ego-displays and grow up, we'll continue to get hysteria, fear, demonisation of Muslims and the febrile atmosphere of anger, suspicion and cynicism that such an explosive atmosphere brews." so come on, boys, put away your toys and stick your dicks back in your pockets so we can all have a nice green Xmas with lots of organic fair trade chocolate and some wicked dyslexic pudding. I've had such a stressful week that I have an urgent need to be silly so tonight I'm going to drink a beer with the maddest Polish DJ I know, the Funkymonkeyman. Skol, yule and Kali ma to yall. While all Joan Armatrading fans can be "open to persuasion."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tree protester fined 250 euros...

...in an Amsterdam court today, as Michal Grygoruk was convicted of resisting arrest after trying to prevent over 20 trees from being cut down on the Uitdammerdijk 16 in the north of Amsterdam. The spontaneous protest took place on May 2 as the demolition crew moved in on the squatted campsite to cut down all the trees probably without permission. A number of the squatters had been bribed by the owner, Successparkeren, to leave. Michal knew nothing of the bribery and has to carry the can. This is an unsafe conviction that sends out the wrong message at a time when Wangari Maathai calls on us to plant more trees not cut them down. This daily incremental carve up of nature has a terrible cummulative effect. Every day species go extinct and nature loses some more of her inventory in a piecemeal silent holocaust. These twenty odd trees are no more. Yet another loss we can ill afford, and a decent man has been criminalised for his conscience.
"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way." (William Blake)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Leighton in full colour beta...

...as blue is the new blue as Leighton Cooke now has a leightoncookie URL to go with the space cookies. Talking of which I'm quite spaced at the moment. Which is why it took me till Sunday to finish this post. Had a nice supper with a friend from Israel last night. Sometimes the simple things, nice pasta, Belgian beer and good coffee in the company of good friends can make all the difference. Started growing wheatgrass from spelt this last week and its doing fine. Should be ready to eat in two days.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

More stuff happens...

...as the Democrats win Virginia where Republican George Allen has admitted defeat. I'm drinking wine with some Canadian friends who are packing their kit and leaving for London for a few days. I feel the time has come to mingle my biography with the big picture. Will all this change my life. I do hope so for the sake of the three children I live with. Let's hope the world will now be a safer place with a better future. My five marijuana plants are doing fine and will be put into flower tomorrow. They have been grown in excellent organic soil and given seaweed and neem oil according to Soma's best organic principles. I also now have a prescription for medical marijuana for my arthritis which is practically non existent thanks to the 'erb. It's all good. And my Tibetan lama's coming to Amsterdam to do a meditation course so if anyone's interested get in touch. What a day!

Stuff happens...

...after all "Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things." and "Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war." and "I believe what I said yesterday. I don't know what I said, but I know what I think, and, well, I assume it's what I said." and "Well, um, you know, something's neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so, I suppose, as Shakespeare said." and "I'm not into this detail stuff. I'm more concepty." so now we know. As Donald fades into history we'll miss his grammar for sure. I'm grateful to Rachel for the link to these Donald Rumsfeld quotes. We wake up this morning to a different political landscape. The neocon scam is over and the neocon rats are deserting the sinking ship. They have stood in the way of dealing with the serious problems facing humanity and the earth for long enough. Maybe one day Rummie can be put on trial for his war crimes against the Iraqi people but for now let's just celebrate his departure and as Rigmor has a supply of bubbly we'll go back to hers.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Yet not enough say the kids...

...as "Almost two thirds of young people believe we aren't doing enough to tackle climate change, a new survey reveals today (6 November) [1]. Friends of the Earth polled 1000 young people asking them for their view on climate change as part of a Shout about climate solutions week from 6 - 10 November. This nationwide week of activity will see some 1800 schools and youth groups working on projects ranging from making mini wind turbines to carrying out their own school energy audit.

The poll of one thousand 8 - 14 year olds also found that young people are becoming increasingly concerned about the dangers of climate change, with 75 per cent saying they were worried about the impacts of climate change compared to just 60 per cent of respondents in a similar poll conducted last year. The survey also showed that over half of young people had talked about climate change with their parents and that many young people have taken action to save energy at home and at school. Fifty seven per cent said they made sure they turned their computer, stereo or TV off when not in use rather then on stand by, and 60 per cent make sure they turn the lights off when they leave a room.

Shout about climate solutions week offers teachers and youth leaders a fun and engaging way of exploring the issue of climate change, and how to tackle it with young people. As part of the week schools and youth groups also have the chance to win a wind turbine worth over £1500." according to Friends of the Earth.

America says enough is enough to Bush...

...as the Democrats win control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 12 years. After one of the most sleazy, dirty and expensive campaigns ever the American people have given the thumbs down to the war in Iraq and the corruption endemic in Congress. Now we wait for Virginia and Montana to see if Bush loses the Senate as well. The most stupid and ignorant President in modern times is now the lamest of lame ducks. There is also a touch of irony in the closing down of the Iraq auditors as the extent of the corruption and mismanagement of the over $18 billion reconstruction programme emerges. Iraq is falling apart and not even hanging Saddam could save George this time around. As I took the kids to school this morning I felt as if the world was given space to breathe. This is just the beginning of a new era when humanity realises the extent the problems we are are facing with the world's climate. At least the Bush era is coming to an end and for all its faults American democracy has delivered what the world desperately needs. Blair must be feeling lonely this morninig as his buddy in the White House is no longer the biggest kid on the block. Perhaps Arnie has a job for him.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Planting trees in Klobikau...

...is all the rage at the moment as the former East German town becomes the recipient of British carbon sinners largesse. Udo Wurzel, 60, is the mayor of Mücheln, a small city in the Geisel valley south of the eastern German city of Halle, which is framed by an abandoned brown coal open-cast mine and the 100-meter (328-foot) Klobikau slag heap. When he came into office in 1990, just after German reunification, he knew that the first thing he had to do was to plant trees, "to clean up the air that we were breathing." Now we all want to do it even Massive Attack. It's a start. Flying less would also be good (take a note Al Gore, who likes to use private jets). It was funny watching Blair and Brown greenwashing themselves at the Royal Society the other day, in the company of Sir Nicolas Stern. The Stern Report has produced much hot air in the media. What is now needed is action and lifestyle changes. How about cheap trains and bicycle lanes, Mr Blair? What about banning the incandesent light bulb? Let's also join Udo and plant some trees too, but not use that as an excuse to do nothing else.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Climate change bad for business...

...so the suits are getting worried. The Stern review calls for a new global deal to curb carbon emissions. Funny but as long as global warming was a problem only for anoraks nobody was concerned. With 4x4's all the fashion and cheap flights for all who would care about rising sea levels in Bangladesh or drought in Africa? We are so used to the idea that climate change is going to happen sometime in the future when our children will have to pick up the tab that we fail to realise this is happening right now. This year wheat harvests failed because of drought and prices are expected to rise as a result. So stock up on pasta if you are a hamster. Even the humble global kiwi is guilty of emitting too much carbon on its way to our supermarket shelves. With a possible global economic downturn of 5% to 20% if we do nothing the economic case is now in line with the ecological imperative. So what's stopping us? Maybe we could make a start by flying less.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Earth spirit...

"Navdanya means nine crops that represent India's collective source of food security. The main aim of the Navdanya biodiversity conservation programme is to support local farmers, rescue and conserve crops and plants that are being pushed to extinction and make them available through direct marketing.
Navdanya is actively involved in the rejuvenation of indigenous knowledge and culture. It has created awareness on the hazards of genetic negineering, defended people's knowledge from biopiracy and food rights in the face of globalisation.
It has its own seed bank and organic farm spread over an ares of 20 acres in Uttranchal, north India."
It is modernity that separates spirit and matter to the detriment of the former. When we touch the earth we touch the spirit. Joli weekend, mes amis.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Norwegian railings...

...have now been installed on the tube so maybe the Northern Line will be less tedious as they also answer back when you sit on them.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Got another two planets, mate?...

...As Iraq, Blair and Bush go into meltdown and we all hope the Republicans get their arse whipped in the November elections a report out today shows that Britain will soon need the resources of three planet Earths to maintain its current levels of consumption according to the WWF as "in 2003, the most recent year for which figures were available, demand exceeded supply by about 25%, meaning the Earth took 15 months to produce the resources that had been consumed over 12.
The group warned that the consequences of the accelerating pressure on the Earth's natural systems were "both predictable and dire", and would mean the collapse of ecosystems and the erosion of the Earth's ability to support people." What is more important? Fighting a war that is already lost or trying to change our habits so that future generations have a planet to live on? It is time for Tony Blair to move on. Maybe Arnie can give him a job in California where levels of consumption require five planet Earths. But who should replace him? Gordon Brown sounds just as bad and Cameron has a long way to go to be convincing although he does try at least to make the right noises. No, it is we the people who must decide whether or not we want a future. Each one of us has a responsibility to adopt a sustainable lifestyle so that we leave a minimal environmental footprint as we walk this Earth that is the mother of us all.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Immunology and hallucinogens...

...and the learning curve of delirium were the topic of this night's magic mushroom "trip" or rather lack of a trip. I feel very tired as if I've been fighting something. When I started my research into psychedelics three years ago I was open to whatever the path would show me. Now three years later I reach the sober conclusion that my immune system has adapted to the toxological effects of magic mushrooms. My arthritis has gone. I freak out less. I have the paradoxical reaction of the return of depression after many years absence but also the development of a more refined sensitivity known in French as tristesse that in the classic bipolar way is alternated by statess of bliss that seem to come at random. There is a lack of inner agitation and a feeling of contentment. Yet there is much work to be done. The shadow of tuberculosis has returned to my life as an outbreak in my circle of friends has caused fifteen infections. As of yet we do not know the strain. I can only hope it's not the multiple drug resistant variant. One of my best friends has been coughing up blood and presenting all the classic symptoms. Perhaps it is time to wake up to the silent epidemic on our doorstep. According to the WHO one third of the world's population are infected with TB. I am one of them. At least according to the unreliable Tine test. I hope that my immune system is learning to cope. Joli weekend, mes amis!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Quote of the day...

..."Russian is a very complicated language, sometimes it is very sensitive from the point of view of phrasing," said the Kremlin press service as Vladimir Putin said "I never would have expected it of him. He has surprised us all, we all envy him!" on Moshe Katsav, Isreal's president who could be charged with the rape and sexual harassment of several women. Wonder what Rachel thinks of this?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Eviction street party in Amsterdam...


...as a number of squats were evicted today by the riot police. The clowns were great but at one point on the Weteringschans the cops lost their sense of humour and decided to arrest them, which seemed a bit silly. I spent my lunch being chased by the riot police with their water cannons. Then we had a picnic by the cops van and watched the whole spectacle. The last action was near the Anne Franck House opposite the Westerkerk. A number of the squatters were arrested so we hope they will be let out ASAP and free the clowns, guys! Where's ya sense of humour?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Kids boogie...

...What does the discerning nine year old boogie to these days? Ray Charles of course, at least in our house. For the past couple of days we've beem treated to a spontaneous surprise dancing show every evening before bedtime, put on by our own trio of dancing girls aged six, seven and nine. Today was Ray Charles' turn to provide the groove. The downside is that I have to get up every morning at seven to take them to school but I guess that's a small price to pay. Sometimes when we are really lucky we get some chocolate with the surprise. It's all part of entering a kids world and it sure keeps me busy and leaves me less time for blogging. Hopefully some routine will set in during the coming weeks. The weather here is still very mild and all the leaves are still on the trees. Saturday is mushroom teatime again and I'm curious to see how my spirit reacts to all the changes that have been taking place. A very good friend of mine called me a romantic the other day. If that means Goethe and Beethoven then I plead guilty as charged. What have we learned stuck here in Plato's cave? Plus ça change... That the circle is a spiral dance? That we are all children deep down and the wise are those who own up to their lack of knowledge. Despair is not a sensible option nor is greed or cynicism. Wake up to the child in your eyes. And keep taking the chocolate!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How safe are pesticides?...

...Today in the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam that question was being asked in the context of medical marijuana. Soma's case now hinges on the decision as to whether a patient has the right to alternative medicine that is free of pesticides and the adverse effects of irradiation. This case has wider implications for the organic movement as clear medical evidence was given about the risks involved in inhaling pesticides, as opposed to eating them. People working where pesticides are used could also use this case in an argument about potential risks to health. Put simply the Dutch government was allowing the distribution of medical marijuana that had high traces of pesticides to pharmacies for the use of patients suffering from chronic pain. One of the disadvantages that the grey area of marijuana cultivation presents is the difficulty of quality control. People have a right to have control over what they put in their bodies and a right to know what is in their medicine.
Marijuana.org

Monday, October 09, 2006

Start eating your planet today...

...somewhat earlier than 19 December which was when the Earth meal began in 1987. The ecological debt day is the measure of our global environmental footprint. Britain's day already fell on 16 April which shows how much the UK is consuming the world's resources. NEF says that "new calculations released today show that from now until the end of the year we will be living beyond our global environmental means. Research by the US-based Global Footprint Network in partnership with nef and Best Foot Forward reveals that as of today, humanity has used up what nature can renew this year and is now eating into its ‘ecological capital’.
Each year, the day that the global economy starts to operate with an ecological deficit is designated as ‘ecological debt day’ (known internationally as ‘overshoot day’). This marks the date that the planet’s environmental resource flow goes into the red and we begin operating on a non-existent environmental overdraft." Bon appetit!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ganja only causes short term memory loss...

...as a new study shows that THC can prevent Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California found that marijuana's active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can prevent the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from breaking down more effectively than commercially marketed drugs. So skin up senior citizens and enjoy a mellow old age. I find marijuana great for...um what was it?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Organic food standards at risk...

...as the demand for organic food grows and becomes more mainstream. Supermarkets are being accused of putting pressure on organic farmers to cut corners and lower standards and become more "efficient." Organic farming pioneer Lawrence Woodward said examples of "lowering standards" were the large numbers of "derogations", or get-out clauses, allowing farmers to be awarded organic licences even though they do not meet the correct standards. These include the use of conventional feed for poultry, the continued practice of slicing the beaks off chickens to prevent them mutilating each other, and the sale of organic chicken from flocks of 2,000 and more, even though the association recommendation is 500, reports today's Guardian. The Soil Association has confirmed the increase in lobbying by large supermarkets to lower standards. Many people I've spoken to have often said they do not trust the organic labels on supermarket products and feel that shops dedicated to selling only organic are more reliable. Here in Amsterdam we have a farmer's market on a Saturday at the Noordermarkt where it is possible to buy direct from the farmer. For the average consumer trust is a big issue and so it is vital to make sure that organic standards are kept. This particular case involves salmon farming but the principle applies to all foods. BSE was one of the main reasons why many people became vegetarian or decided to go organic and that crisis was a matter of trust and loss of faith. This is not the time to compromise basic principles just for profit.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Permaculture...

...Working with nature instead of against her seems like a good idea. I'm reading a lovely book called Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway. The book describes a method of gardening and much more that works with nature and integrates land use by creating stable ecosystems that serve multiple needs such as food, fuel and clean water as well as respecting the part that all of life, including the so called "weeds" and insects or "pests", has to play in a balanced natural environment. What impressed me was the way in which a useless piece of desert was transformed into a living garden producing all the vegetables and fruit one could wish for. ThePermaculture website has some great links and the Permaculture Association is a good source of information on all aspects of this fascinating method of horticulture. This should be the future of gardening and could be one way in which many people could have a positive impact on global warming. Just finding out more about all the different things that a tree does was an eye opener. One of the principles of Hermeticism is that the Earth is alive. We need to learn to think in terms of living systems. All the billions of interconnections are what makes the living universe what it is. That is both science and magic, matter and spirit, in a down to earth practical way. Clean water. Clean air. Good food to eat. And lots of bees and butterflies. Paradise here on earth.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New beginnings...Post 101...

...The last few weeks have been very hectic and intense. For the first time in a few years I've been doing my old job of being a nurse and getting to know the Dutch psychiatric care system. Three emergencies in one week gave me a glimpse into the way things work here. When it comes to emergencies the Dutch can be far less bureaucratic than their reputation. The last mushroom tea was a very sobering and clear experience. I was left with a very deep impression of making a new start after all of my values had been challenged in recent months. I've had the seven year itch and it's left me very stratchy indeed. So what does it all mean. First of all I feel somehow physically very different, healthier and less prone to minor aches and pains. I sleep well and I eat well and get plenty of excercise and I meditate a lot. Never felt better in years. Many people around me seem to be going through intense traumas and crises yet I feel like the eye of the storm. I find myself turning more and more to the Western mystery tradition and its wisdom. The Hermetica and the Neo-Platonists in particular. We also have a great tradition of love for life and wisdom passed down from the days of Pythagoras. Perhaps we now need this wisdom more than ever as we face a global climate and energy crisis. Change begins with small things. I'm living with three young children at the moment. Interacting with them is fun and a great joy and they teach me much each day. I'm beginning to feel like a child again myself. Perhaps that's the secret. Never to grow up but instead remain in the beginner's mind where there are so many possibilities?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Putin vs. Shell...

...and Exxon. It's not just the Royal Society that's criticising Big Oil. Now Putin has joined the fray by withdrawing Shell's permit to develop the $20bn (£10bn) Sakhalin-2 energy project, because of environmental degredation. Greig Aitken, of Bankwatch, said: "Russian and international environmental organisations have, for several years, documented the same pattern of violations cited by the Russian government, as well as a range of others that all have a grim bearing on an island that depends on fishing for one third of its economy.
"If there is talk of Russia asset-grabbing as it carries out its right to, belatedly, defend its environment, it should not overshadow the asset-grabbing Shell is attempting in the form of billions of dollars of international taxpayers' money for a project it has been unable to get right for the last three years."
That the Russians are showing awareness of the environment is to be welcomed. The search for natural resources needs to take account of the consequences for the natural world, in this case among other issues the future of the Pacific Grey Whale is at stake. We also need to seriously invest in alternatives to oil. That should mean other companies than Big Oil taking the lead in the renewable energy industry. Business as usual is not an option.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Torpark...open source anonymous web browser...

...Based on Firefox, Torpark is a free web browser that allows you to surf the net anonymously. "Plug it into any internet terminal whether at home, school, or public. Run Torpark.exe and it will launch a Tor circuit connection, which creates an encrypted tunnel from your computer indirectly to a Tor exit computer, allowing you to surf the internet anonymously. How much does Torpark cost? IT'S FREE." "The Torpark tool has been created by Hacktivismo - an international coalition of hackers, human rights workers, lawyers and artists.



Torpark uses the Tor network of internet routers set up by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that already has tens of thousands of regular users.
Whenever any computer connects to the net it freely shares information about the address it is using. This is so any data it requests is sent back to the right place.
The Tor network tries to stop this information being shared in two ways. First, it encrypts traffic between a computer and the Tor network of routers - this makes it much harder to spy on the traffic and pinpoint who is doing what.
Second, the Tor network regularly changes the net address that someone appears to be browsing from - again this frustrates any attempt to pin a particular browsing session on any individual." BBC

Exxon vs. The Royal Society...

...Sonia has found out that Exxon the US oil company is being challenged by the Royal Society in London to "stop funding groups that attempt to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change.
In an unprecedented step, the Royal Society, Britain's premier scientific academy, has written to the oil giant to demand that the company withdraws support for dozens of groups that have "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence".
"The scientists also strongly criticise the company's public statements on global warming, which they describe as "inaccurate and misleading". This is the first time that the Royal Society has gone so far as to write to a company and it represents the extent of the consensus of the scientific community with regard to global warming. The Society's action should be a wake-up call for those still in any doubts about the dangers of climate change denial. Those in power , both in business and in politics, have a responsibility to take heed of the scientific consensus and take the action required to ensure the future of generations to come. Does the CEO of Exxon have any children? If he does he should be worried.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Exxon and the climate change denial industry...

...They made $10 billion in three months and are major funders of skeptical research into climate change. The world's largest company by revenue seems to take little interest in the future of life on this planet. At a time when there is a growing consensus on the reality of climate change Exxon is still in the denial business. Every day something new is reported on this issue, today the BBC says that the temperature of England is rising because of human activities. George Monbiot has written a new book, "Heat," exposing the antics of Exxon.
"Among the organisations that have been funded by Exxon are such well-known websites and lobby groups as TechCentralStation, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Some of those on the list have names that make them look like grassroots citizens' organisations or academic bodies: the Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, for example. One or two of them, such as the Congress of Racial Equality, are citizens' organisations or academic bodies, but the line they take on climate change is very much like that of the other sponsored groups. While all these groups are based in America, their publications are read and cited, and their staff are interviewed and quoted, all over the world.
By funding a large number of organisations, Exxon helps to create the impression that doubt about climate change is widespread. For those who do not understand that scientific findings cannot be trusted if they have not appeared in peer-reviewed journals, the names of these institutes help to suggest that serious researchers are challenging the consensus." says Monbiot. There also seems to be an unholy alliance between Big Oil and Big Tobacco on this issue as the same methods and organisations are being used to run the denial campaign. At a critical time in the past few years when urgent action was needed to mobilise public opinion and governments to accept the facts of climate change Exxon seems to have been doing its best to obstruct and decieve. That's the power of too much money in too few hands.

Friday, September 15, 2006

34 degrees...

...It was first developed in Canada. Having found out that people who fall into cold water or frozen lakes can survive longer the Canadians pioneered a new branch of intensive care medicine. I saw it in action today visiting a friend whose body is being kept at 34 degrees in an intensive care unit in Amsterdam to minimise the brain damage by slowing her metabolic rate. My professional ethics do not allow me to say much more except that her chances of survival are not very good. I wish her well.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Arctic ice shrinking fast...


...according to NASA satellite pictures. "The extent of "perennial" ice - thick ice which remains all year round - declined by 14%, losing an area the size of Pakistan or Turkey. The last few decades have seen summer ice shrink by about 0.7% per year."
The research is reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. As ice reflects heat back into space a planet with less ice gets warmer. Once more evidence of global warming from a reliable source should be making this issue a top priority. Yet the debate goes on as Global Warming Watch points out. Why do humans have such a hard time recognising the obvious when it is in conflict with their own selfish interests?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

We interrupt this empire...

...is a San Francisco Bay Indymedia production about the protests in the financial distict after the invasion of Iraq. "A collaborative work by many of the Bay Area's independent video activists which documents the direct actions that shut down the financial district of San Francisco in the weeks following the United States' invasion of Iraq. With the audio backdrop including the live broadcasts of SF Indymedia's Enemy Combatant Radio and the SFPD's tactical communications that were picked up by police scanners, the documentary takes a look at the diverse show of resistance from the streets of San Francisco as well as providing a critique of the coporate media coverage of the war and exploring such issues as the Military Industrial Complex, attacks on civil liberties, and the United States' current imperialist drive."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Water...the universal solvent...


...was one of our topics on the radio today. Is it a human right, a common good or a commodity? I know that I drink too little of it, tending to try to survive on coffee. We live on a water planet. Global warming and climate change will probably mean that some parts of the planet will have far more of it than they bargained for, while others will have less. It is a precious resource. We should respect this ubiquitous molecule. Water Aid

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11...I missed the first one...

...as I was staying with a friend and we did not have access to the news. I remember being in Bochum a few days later and asking my girlfriend if I'd missed anything, surrounded as I was by lots of strange images on TV. She suggested I read the newspaper. I did and had a brief but rather strange feeling I had been transported to a paralell universe. My private life in the years since has often given me the impression that it is so. So here I am in this strange topsy-turvy world having fallen down the rabbit hole into the post 9/11 universe where values are distorted and the image of death has become our mantra. Like many I yearn for the age of innocence when moderation was the key to a civilised life. Did it ever exist or is it just a fiction of my memory? After 9/11 came Madrid then 7/7 and we entered these strange Orwellian times in which there seems so little to hold on to. Yet each one of us in her way is finding a voice. We talk, we blog, we question and together we write our own history. We yearn for peace and truth. We hope. We despair. We are alive. That is our reality.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Tony Blair persona non grata...

...in Palestine after his summer holiday antics while Lebanon was burning. Seems the Palestinians have no interest in his designer swimwear. I wonder why?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ani Di Franco...

...independent media in a time of war which features Ani.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fair trade down on the farm...

...It's part of modern living, the expectation that you can shop till you drop 24/7. Retail therapy as a substitute for community. The Blog of Hope has done a piece on Tesco and the effect that supermarkets have on local communities.


"Supermarkets are also contributing to global deforestation and biodiversity loss by their reliance on using cheaply produced palm oil in thousands of their products. Palm oil plantations are now the major cause of rainforest clearance in Indonesia and Malaysia, threatening some of the world's richest wildlife forests and endangering native species including the orang-utan.


The criticisms are stacking up against the big supermarkets; their influence extends beyond the homogenisation of the high street and the ruination of local economies through to the detriment of animal welfare, to environmental damage, to the suppression of foreign economies and the exploitation of workers throughout the world. Their impact is truly global."


Only a recognition by the global community that it is in all our interests to support fair trade and local products can help to turn the tide of this disturbing trend. One of the ideas discussed at Ecotopia was the concept of anti-consumer education and the need to focus on quality of life rather than quantity. Humanity runs the risk of destroying itself in a consumer orgy of diminishing returns.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Miki Gonzales...

...a song about the coca leaf, the natural medicine of the Incas of Peru. Minka Wasi will be developing these themes in the coming weeks as we look into the traditions and culture of these fascinating people.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Rachel protests for free speech...


in Parliament Square along wth many other activists and people concerned about many of the draconian laws passed by the Blair junta. Maya Evans was also a victim of this stupid law. Rachel says, "New Labour wanted a Big Conversation, once. Engagement with Voters. Feedback. Dialogue between People and Government.
Well, if anyone of them, Blair's MPs, Blair's Cabinet, who were only a few hundred yards away, behind security guards and concrete bollards and bombproof glass had stepped outside, he or she could have had their dialogue, in the gentle evening sunshine, on as diverse an array of subjects as you could have desired. Cameras would have recorded it for posterity. Police would have protected them. They would have come to no harm, for we meant none.

And I'm sure there would even have been a pint for them at the Red Lion afterwards."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Go for it!

OK Go - Here It Goes Again...the funky monkey fitness freaks.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Blogpoets...sad, joyless people in their underwear...

...as the BBC tries once again to fathom out why do we do it. I am in Amsterdam's public library so I don't think it's a good idea to sit here in my Tony Blair designer summer holiday underwear. Might attract too much attention from security. It's been a busy week in the Russian squat with lots of very nice visitors from Poland, including the Funky Monkey DJ, who played for us during the funniest mushroom trip I've had in years. I definitely believe that giggling is very healthy. Comrades, eat Thai shrooms and giggle and change the world. Pluto the planet is no more. So bye, bye Pluto. Rachel is asking us to pass on the word and defend free speech so if you're in London on the day go for it. Tonight I'll be defending my right to be silly again in the third party of the week. Saturday is Soma mushroom tea time so I'm looking forward to some silly blogging in my underwear on the weekend. Joli weekend, mes amis!

Monday, August 21, 2006

World's oldest vinyl record shop for sale...


...in Cardiff. This is the record shop where I bought my first Beatles record as well as Hendrix, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin et al. Henry Spiller opened the world's oldest record store in 1894 in the Hayes in Cardiff but the shop is now up for sale as part of a divorce settlement. Spiller's was where you went to spend your pocket money in the sixties, and where you got your punk vinyl in the seventies and the independent store is still flourishing in the internet download age. Spiller's has been a part of the musical and cultural life of many Cardiffians for a long time. Bobcaster Swipe has made the suggestion that George Orwell would have been a blogger if he were alive today. Very probably. Blogging is also a way to be a small voice in the crowd and part of the wider dialogue. The sale of Spiller's has made me feel a bit nostalgic and sentimental for all the quirky individuals and projects that help to define our lives. Yet to constantly compare with the past is to lose the present in regret. Perhaps today would be a good day to start a new Spilller's.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Blogpoets...

...Sonia has been looking into British foreign policy and writes, "If countries want to go about being violent - then obviously we ordinary individuals have tried but have not been able to stop them. Pointing to the cycle of violence which makes it much harder to stop future violence is hardly ‘justifying’ violence - precisely the opposite - you want to stop ALL kinds of violence! if you wanted to justify violence you wouldn’t be much interested in stopping the overall cycle. I guess a lot of people are just too dumb to see that or frankly = not interested in the overall picture. They could just be honest about that." Which seems simple enough so why don't we accept that the cycle of violence in the Middle East will have consequences for us. Whatever the real cause of terrorism it seems that a large number of people have lost confidence in a government that will not even recall Parliament to discuss the risk to the country. The constitutional royal prerogative gives the Prime Minister too much power. He does not seem to know how to exercise it wisely so perhaps we need a better constitution that gives a fairly ele cted Parliament a bit more power. Rachel has linked to this interesting posting on the whole business of flying toi let terror. Will we ever know the truth? Joli weekend, mes amis.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Microsoft security...oxymoron of the day...


...as last Friday the US Department of Homeland Security, who are usually fighting the war on terror, has urged Windows users to install the latest patches from Microsoft as quickly as possible. In particular it warned about one bug fixed in the latest batch of security updates that, if exploited, could put a PC under the control of an attacker. The bug allows attackers to take over Windows machines. In any other industry a market share of 90% would be considered a monopoly in need of urgent regulatory intervention. Now I know that what I'm saying is not new but I think it's still worth saying. When will the EU bite the bullet and do something about Microsoft's dominance of the operating system market? After all we now have much better open source software such as Linux and Ubuntu. After a week of Windows/Internet Explorer/Dell hell with a computer that crashes on average once an hour I'm quite ready to start saving up for my Apple MacBook. Why is it so difficult to buy a PC without Windows? It should be the law that a customer can demand to buy a PC without having to make an involuntary contribution to Bill Gate's pension fund. I have a friend who works with Ubuntu on her PC and it is fast and never crashes.


Dell is recalling 4.1 million laptop batteries which is why we are reposting the lovely Japanese photo above. That must be the ultimate security flaw. For more Dell hell read buzzmachine. So if there is a reliable laptop manufacturer out there that is prepared to sell it's products with an open source OS such as Linux I would like to hear from you.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Blogpoets...anoraks and zombies...


...and the great unwashed and uneducated are taking over according to the dazed and confuzzled Heather. And the hacks are scared wicked. How dare we have the temerity to give our purile opinions on the internet. That sort of thing should be left to the experts. They are known as journalists. Maybe Arnie Blairo can pass a new law to get us all burned at the stake? Roll up! Roll up!Auto da fe in the bunker. Not content with just writing. People such as the Rockmother are even podcasting. Now perhaps even the BBC will get its knickers in a twist. So it seems we are here to stay and we are lowering the tone of the place. Janet Street Porter sums up her views on blogging in her frankly obnoxious column by saying:
"The web is fast becoming clogged with blogs; the verbal diarrhea of the under-educated and banal."
Patroclus comments, "What a great post, nice one Heather. At times like this I like to air my zombie analogy - the media are scared of blogs because blogs are like a horde of attacking zombies: they look like the media, but they're all disfigured and horrid, and there are millions of them, and you can't kill them, and even if you 'kill' one or two (e.g. by hiring them as columnists), hundreds more rise up in their place."
As information degenerates into chaos and stranded holidaymakers have spontaneous champagne parties in airports around the world life imitates art yet again and a horror scenario future becomes our present. 8/11 nearly joined 9/11 in the annals of the bizarre Orwellian reality we now inhabit. Greenland's icecaps are melting three times faster than expected so I hope we can all swim. Across the channel maybe! Joli weekend mes amis.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Heathrow closed...Europe isolated...


...as the UK goes critical on the MI5 Richter scale of the new combined terror alert and shipping forecast. Sonia's media empire has all the latest on Britain's new splendid isolation. Once again our country needs lerts so if you want to be one send your holiday plans to "Arnie Blairo" 10 Downing Street Bunker, London or if you are stranded in Europe we recommend you hitchhike to the Costa Brava. Think of all the pollution these lerts are saving by closing down Heathrow.

So all the femails can't get to Rotterdam to make themselves young and beautiful again with stem cell embryos.


We have discovered a new personal search engine called Rollyo where you can roll your own search. "Rollyo offers the ability to search the content of a list of specified websites, allowing you to narrow down the results to pages from websites that you already know and trust." (BBC World)
We have also set up a few radio stations on Pandora with the help of a friend in NYC so happy listening. The stations are also on a button on Ceridwen Jazz where you can escape the lerts and watch some Jimi Hendrix. Have fun!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Magic mushrooms may cure depression...


...according to a study made by John Hopkins University. Soma sent us this link to theDaily Mail article on the study made by Professor Roland Griffiths, from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
" Researchers also found that people who took the chemical experienced genuine mystical experiences, as defined by psychologists. A third of the 36 study participants described their psilocybin experience as the 'most spiritually significant' of their lives." according to the Mail. The group were given either psilocybin or the drug Ritalin which was used as the placebo. "The volunteers were all healthy, well-educated, mostly middle-aged and with no family history of psychotic illness." The findings were published on July 11 in the journal Psychopharmacology. See also ABC News."[The study] shows that, under carefully controlled conditions, psilocybin can be administered safely and that it can occasion a mystical-type experience, which scientific measures say are very similar to spontaneously occurring mystical experiences" Griffiths said in an e-mail to ABC News. "The results suggest that such events may have lastingly beneficial consequences." So now the experts have confirmed what many of us know already. I've been drinking mushroom tea with Soma for over three years now and have had many mystical experiences during the monthly trips. I've also noticed a significant long term positive effect. I never get depressed these days perhaps because the mushrooms have given me a glimpse of the divine beauty of the universe.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Lord Rees makes global warming plea...

...Lord Rees, the President of the Royal Society has made a plea for more investment by government into tackling global warming. Whether anyone will listen to his words is a moot point. We seem to be living in a state of mass denial of the obvious. I had an email from a friend today pointing out that all us green activists don't have a clue and everything is really all due to the sun and the Mayan calender. So in 2012 it's all over anyway and the great cosmic shift comes to the new age of something or other. This sort of tosh is all over the place and even Britain's leading scientist can't do much against superstition. The rich love superstition as it means they don't have to do anything except consume more and fate will do the rest. I quote from my friend's email,


"In our environmental crisis the sun is the problem, not the earth. This on
a stellar, maybe even galactic or cosmic scale and this could be seen as us
(the solar system) moving toward higher energy area's or levels of the
galaxy/draco stellar system, in this material 3/4 or other, nonmaterial
dimensions...Blaming this solely on human greed and stupidity, as the green movement tends to do, makes us direct responsible for the developing disasters.
The earth is seen as an independent piece of the universe and we are to blame
for not taking care. However, if the real problem is the sun in its stellar
or galactic wanderings or energy cycles, then the scope of the situation is
broadened and new questions and scenario's arise...The relevance of the sun issue, as I stated in the beginning, is not merely hypothetical. Apart from the 2012 lore, the great shift as predicted by Maya's, Hopi's etc. (my guess is dec 29, 2011, however), now the ecological crisis can no longer be ignored and will have such enormous implications for our common psyche, that politicians, sociologists, psychologists and in fact nearly all scientists will have to deal with it. And maybe they will, as happened before in times of great upheaval, turn to the intradimensional specialists, the theologians, the priests, the mages and (true or false) prophets."


Now that's all very clear then. Just sit back and enjoy the ride in your Hummer!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tea time...


...once again just a few blocks away from the ex Russian consulate. Mushroom tea of course and once again the cosmos was at home in my inner biochemistry. Funny how each time the tea takes me somewhere new. This time some old friends turned up out of the blue and I learned to smell and touch again. Awesome! Happy daze. There is a world in us and out there that is good and full of wonder. Just waiting to touch us.
Now a few days later on a rainy Amsterdam day I can still feel the afterglow of a wonderful vision.
Futurama on Global Warming...

...if only it were this simple!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Der Herr Bush...

Spitze! Like awesome dude.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Puppet show on global warming

...funny and makes a good point.
Leon...

...the very short version! Still my favourite movie.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hemp For Victory...

...for more info see Cannabis College who have the best advice on this amazing plant.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dean and Tony go travelling...

...in song.
Conscience Cola...

...the unofficial history of the adrenalin rush. A canned look at how a drink is changing the planet.
Peat bogs cause more global warming

A look at how the effects of global warming could release large amounts of CO2 from peatbogssuch as those in Wales.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

X Files legalize it!

A short stop-motion animation which addresses the issue of marijuana and hemp legalization in the US. Subjects include Anslinger, industrial hemp, hemp products, medical marijuana, and marijuana history and legalization.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Anina models potato chips...


...Anina.net

Al Gore: The Climate Crisis

Mon 29 May 2006 10.40pm
Appearing at The Guardian Hay Festival, Al Gore talks exclusively to Jonathan Freedland about his crusade to stop the world burning up through global waming. His film "An Inconvenient Truth" is in US theatres now.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

melt - a teenager's view of global warming -do something now-

How can you you live with the thought of walrus pups crying for their mother's -floating away on blocks of ice to their deaths ? this planet's melting and we need to change things now.
A young filmmaker Ruby Reynolds - explores some of the options that are staring us in the face.

Good luck baby Mert!...


...Clicking on next blog to play Billy's small blog world I came across this small baby in Ankara, Turkey. Today baby Mert has to go into surgery for CDH (congenital diaphragma hernia) so I hope this little bit of serendipity brings Mert and his parents Emel and Aytekin plenty of health and good luck. This could be a new twist on the game. Instead of trying to find our way to Billy, which as Swipey has found out is not always that easy, we could find people and stories that we might otherwise never know about. And who knows one day we may find our way back to Billy too!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Dreaming Universe...



...is the title of a book by Fred Wolf who also blogs as a time travel yogi. The basic idea is that life is a dream, except on the Northern Line where of course it is a nightmare. Ask Norway's famous existential confusionalist who has just bought a new dress. A dream come true, maybe? So is there a Big Dreamer? Are we all just the eyes and ears of the Dreamtime, stuck in Plato's cave wishing to be free? Should we awaken from the dream where shall we be then? Who shall we be? Pure awareness with no object?


The Tibetans have an ancient tradition of dream yoga. Using visualisation and concentration they develop the state of lucid dreaming and so liberate themselves from harmful patterns of conditioning. I learnt some of these techniques from Sogyal Rinpoche. Through Sogyal I met Dudjom Rinpoche, one of Tibet's greatest Nyingma masters who once said "You actually have this awareness within you. It is the clear, naked wisdom of dharmakaya. But who can introduce you to it? On what should you take your stand? What should you be certain of? To begin with, it is your teacher who shows you the state of your awareness. And when you recognize it for yourself, it is then that you are introduced to your own nature. All the appearances of both samsara and nirvana are but the display of your own awareness; take your stand upon awareness alone. Just like the waves that rise up out of the sea and sink back into it, all thoughts that appear sink back into awareness. Be certain of their dissolution, and as a result you will find yourself in a state utterly devoid of both meditator and something meditated upon - completely beyond the meditating mind." Keith Dowman is a great source for much of this ancient wisdom.


Who dreams? Where do dreams come from and where do they go? We are children of stardust. How many degrees of separation lie between us?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Amsterdam squat protest great success...



...Photos/Hans/Story Indymedia/NL
...It was a night to remember. The Friday squat protest on Dam Square was peaceful, the food was good and every one had a great time. Everyone I spoke to this morning who was there still feels energised and motivated. Amsterdam krakers showed the positive contribution they make to the city. So why change the law? If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Rachel's London one year later...


..."Photo shows The Wounded Angel of St. Pancras church, dedicated to the victims of the 7th July bombings, and flowers underneath left by some of the passengers of the 8.50am Piccadilly line train that was suicide-bombed, ( 'Kings Cross United'), the London Underground staff, from Kings Cross and Russell Square and the British Transport Police officers who rescued the passengers, and the drivers of the bombed Piccadilly train."


"When we all got on the train we did not know that for some of us it would be a last journey, and that some of us would not come home.
We did not all finish our journey together, but we carry you in our hearts. To all that loved you, knew you, worked with you, miss you, our thoughts are with you.
Wherever we travel, we know that we are all fellow passengers,and we are with each other on our journey.'

Silence for one minute


Today is Rachel's day as well as being a day that belongs to all those that died or were injured last year in the London suicide bomb attacks. It is also a day that belongs to every Londoner who gets up to go to work by public transport each day. It is a day that belongs to the rescue services and police who came to help the victims. It is a day that belongs to ordinary people who became heroes by helping those next to them. It is a day to remember all victims of violence everywhere, whether in New York City or Kabul or Baghdad. Rachel's blog has been an inspiration to many. Her humanity and honesty and her determination to fight for justice for the victims are an example to us all.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sleep-in posters and preparations...



...Preparations are underway for the sleep-in on Dam Square on Friday night. So far we've had a positive response for the idea from those we have spoken to, and many have promised to come. It really is a case of safety in numbers and publicity as it is technically illegal to sleep on Dam Square since 1970. Street medics will be on call during the night and there will be a free vegan kitchen, organised by the squatters from WildeWestenVoKu. This is intended to be a peaceful protest to show the positive side of squatting in Amsterdam. Should you come and be arrested on the night the lawyers Böhler, Franken, Koppe, Wijngaarden will be standing by to help. Radio Patapoe will be live at the event on 88.3 FM. ASCII will be hacking the night away with free internet. So come and add your voice of protest for freedom and the right to a roof over your head and show that Amsterdam has a future as a cultural and community city open to all, not just the rich.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Squat protest in Amsterdam...


...on Friday evening starting at 9pm (7 July) against government plans by Ministers Donner and Dekker to make squatting illegal. The plan is to have a sleep-in on Dam Square which has been illegal since the marines cleared the square in 1970. It is planned to have a festival with music and artists and activists. So if you are in Amsterdam on Friday evening come along with your sleeping bag and help us to make a peaceful protest on behalf of the homeless and a movement that has made the cultural life of Amsterdam what it is today. Free WiFi will also be available, so bloggers, bring your laptops!
"Are you an artist? Do you work in a Volkskeuken (cost price restaurant)? Are you in a band? Do you run a free radio station? Do you dance, or do acrobatics? Do you run a cinema? Write books? Bring it along to Dam Square and show everyone what you're up to! Apart from a few things like a press group, a legal team and street medics, we will not plan the action's programme. All too often we passively perform a demonstration-ritual through the city, after which everyone goes home quietly. This time it is our collective responsibility to use our own inventiveness, our creativity and our solidarity to make this night a success."
squat.net/damslapers

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Things are hotting up at Blonde Towers...


...where Scotland's sexiest blonde blogger reveals all her past indiscretions. Could this be the real cause of global warming as blonde lovers the world over pant tons of CO2 in sweet anticipation of the next sexy episode? But wait. All this may one day have consequences as Scotland's blog template megageek Jules points out.


"I'm bored and unhappy, and doped up on St John's wort, rescue remedy and frequently also red wine. I'm silently angry.
And I'm terrified because all there is of me now is being a mother, all that made me who I am has been drained away by it. And here I don't even like it." she says. I can sympathise. I used to be a single father, which was quite a rarity in those days. It wasn't always a picnic but I enjoyed being a dad. Fucked my career up for a few years though which is one reason why I am all for women's rights. Being a mother is a full-time job and should be recognised as such by society. How many women have been turned down for a good job because their prospective employer thought they might get pregnant?


We interuppt this blog posting for a special announcement by the President of the United States on global warming. There is no cause for panic or alarm.


And here are some tips on what you can do from Edd the duck, Froggy and Mr Cow and James Lazenby. With thanks to our sponsors Sonia's media empire and the Merton Rule and R. Swipe Property Management.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Vanishing blog returns...

...as Depressed Single Mother is blogging again. Welcome back, Jules. One less mystery, or maybe one more. While musing on Jules and Hannah's Edinburgh, I could not help but think of the Scottish equivalent of Montezuma's revenge. This particular Scotsman's Wikipedia page has been protected against vandalism. Can you imagine there are those out there who call him a liar and a war criminal? Arrgh! No more politics. It puts me off my lunch. The whole world has now become an army of Bill Gates beggars now that Warren Buffett has made the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation worth more than Tescos or the GNP of Croatia. So if you are poor stand in line at Bill's soup kitchen. Maybe he has a crust for you. It's a cool scam. Make up some tacky product. Turn everyone into junkies so they have to buy it. Then give all the money away and get to be god. Buy your way into heaven.
"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer:"


Smart cards for prostitutes is one of the projects sponsored by all this largesse. Prostitutes who fail to comply with health checks get their cards withdrawn. Social control through charity. Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose."

Friday, June 23, 2006

More Merton Rule...

...The Merton Rule

The Merton Rule...

...is a new groundbreaking planning policy pioneered by the London Borough of Merton. The idea is to promote renewable energy systems in planning and development. See Sonia's media empire for more details on how we can google bomb this great idea.
uniteddiversity
The Merton Rule

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A perfect day...


...starts with coffee and chocolate just like this morning. Then a preview of some beautiful thangkas just in from Nepal, including a beautiful Avalokiteshvara. My friend gives me two of his famous organic ganga cookies with isolator hash inside and I think how great sometimes to be in Amsterdam. Then on my red bicycle into town. At the moment I'm listening to Vivaldi and thinking what sort of reality do I want to spend my life in. Right now it's the one I've got. So much magic in such a short space of time. Rigmor's been having a hard time keeping fit at Cannons Health Club. Now I realise why I do Qi gong in the park. It's fun, free and I get lots of fresh air.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Art of Satire...


...was all the rage in 18th century London and Sonia has info on the satirical London exhibition at the Museum of London. They have some great period prints. Picture/A Gin Shop/Thomas Rowlandson c. 1809/Museum of London

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sitatara...



...with thanks to Don Croner for this great shot of Zanabazar's magnificent twenty-seven inch high rupa. Many who have seen the original claim that Tara has spoken to them.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Hay Festival 2006...

...did not have the weather on its side this year. All the usual suspects turned up to the Welsh Cannes of books. Al Gore also turned up and explained why it was that when he had the power he did nothing, but now that he has none he's turned a new leaf. They all loved him for it. Al would save the world if he could at least that's what he would like us to believe. Somehow I feel it is just not going to be that easy. Hollywood goes green. Tell it to Bollywood. They should all read Jared Diamond's "Collapse" to realise just what we are up against.


Lord Rees, the new President of the Royal Society, beat the terror drum. Lord May we miss you already. "In a global village there will be global village idiots. And with this power, just one could be too many," he said. These might not be fundamentalists, but those with the mentality of a computer virus designer or arsonist, he added. "Even a single person will have the capacity to cause massive disruption through error or through terror. We are kidding ourselves if we think that technical education leads to balanced rationality." said Rees. So now we know. The village idiot is to blame.


The truth is it is the pace of consumption that is the problem, Lord Rees. Your predecessor knew this and did not spend his time on red herrings. All this terror tosh is missing the point. It is we who need to change.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A different kind of book


...as Apple release the new 13-inch MacBook featuring the Intel Core Duo processors.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ambient findabilty...


...As the world gets interconnected being able to find what we are looking for becomes vital in a world where there is so much information. Google, blogging, the Wikipedia and Craigslist are changing the wat we find things. As computers get ever smaller and mobile technology means we are always reachable, business models will have to take account of search.


Business Week Peter Morville has written a book that should be required reading for anyone involved in the net and website design. Morville hopes that " as ambient findability becomes reality, we are able to offset the inherent dangers of group think and mob justice by empowering literate individuals with the ability to find and recognize the truth, make informed decisions, and when necessary act independently. I believe librarians have an important role to play in leading us towards this more desirable future." Digital Web


This is one of those books that I feel I need to read two or three times. The book is published by O'Reilly

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Watkins Books...


...one of my favourite bookshops.
"John Maurice Watkins, the founder of this bookshop, was a friend and disciple of H P. Blavatsky and was himself personally involved in seeing the first edition of The Secret Doctrine, her great metaphysical classic, through the press.
The ideal of founding the bookshop is said to have occurred to Mr Watkins in a conversation with Madame Blavatsky in which she lamented the fact that there was nowhere in London one could buy books on mysticism, occultism and metaphysics."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What did you do in your parallel world today?


...Dr. Michio Kaku is a Japanese American theoretical physicist who is a co-creator of string field theory. The Harvard graduate and professor at City College of New York is a well known author of popular science books and also has his own radio show. His many activities can be kept up with on his website.






Is the book "Parallel Worlds" science or science fiction? While reading it I had the uneasy feeling of being out of my depth. It seemed as if all the "Star Trek" episodes I had watched were about to become true. Now quantum mechanics is weird but it does make my PC and mobile phone work. Do I have to accept the scientific speculation behind it? Up to a point, yes. After all I can't do the theoretical work behind books like this. Biology I can do. Particle physics is a tad expensive.



I found this blog by Plato the proof that I was out of my depth. So what shall I say of my impression of the book? The multiverse seems a possibilty to me. The contradiction that the unity is more than one. Language does not seem to help much before the big bang (or after the big crunch for that matter.) So creation and nirvana are both possible. Yet we have to plan our way out of this doomed universe, that will no longer be there billions of years in the future. Ecology tries to teach us to value what we have here. Kaku's science seems to be ultimately pessimistic. Maybe at root it is based on some fallacy. Are we missing something mind bogglingly obvious?



At times like this I always fall back on the veil of Isis. She let's us know what we need to know, in order to grow. Yet she still holds sway over the ultimate mystery. I know, that's mysticism. Guilty as charged. At least it helps me sleep at nights.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The World is Flat...


...says Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times three time Pulitzer prize winner. According to Friedman changes in the world of economics and technology have begun to produce a level playing field with enormous consequences for the future of humanity. As I was reading this book a thought occurred to me. Ceri and I are taking part in this process as bloggers. What can we do that won't be outsourced? Information crunching is a cultural phenomenon. For some time now I wanted to do a book blog. Not sure of what to do with my own blogs as I'm busy in the backroom of Ceridwen Devi Media most of the time. I thought quite simply I'll turn my two blogs into book blogs. Review what I'm reading and publish on Blogger and Wordpress. Two birds with one stone.

Friedman seemed the obvious place to start. He "describes the unplanned cascade of technological and social shifts that effectively leveled the economic world, and “accidentally made Beijing, Bangalore and Bethesda next-door neighbors.” Today, “individuals and small groups of every color of the rainbow will be able to plug and play.” Friedman’s list of “flatteners” includes the fall of the Berlin Wall; the rise of Netscape and the dotcom boom that led to a trillion dollar investment in fiber optic cable; the emergence of common software platforms and open source code enabling global collaboration; and the rise of outsourcing, offshoring, supply chaining and insourcing. Friedman says these flatteners converged around the year 2000, and “created a flat world: a global, web-enabled platform for multiple forms of sharing knowledge and work, irrespective of time, distance, geography and increasingly, language."

The process of globalization produces winners and losers like anything else. Today the Latinos of America are out on the streets demanding more rights in some of the largest demonstrations seen since the civil rights movement. They are as much a part of the process as Wal-Mart and Google. They also need to find a voice. I was in Berlin when the Wall came down. I shall never forget those days. The feeling that something big and unique was about happen.

The trick is to get on top of all this and use the opportunities that are there. Beware of the hype though. I see a world emerging on different time scales according to the amout of access people have to all these new gizmos. The social dimension seems to be ignored. Look at the explosion of the NGO "industry." As we remember John Kenneth Galbraith, who died on Saturday at the age of 97, let's hope that some of his ideas, that went out of fashion for a number of years, can live on to help us cope with the consequences of all this change. Friedman has asked the question, but not found the answer.

"While The World Is Flat is not a classic like From Beirut to Jerusalem, it is still an enthralling read. To his great credit, Friedman embraces much of his flat world's complexity, and his reporting brings to vibrant life some beguiling characters and trends. If his book is marred by an exasperating reliance on the first person and a surplus of catch phrases (" 'Friedman,' I said to myself, looking at this scene, 'you are so twentieth-century. . . . You are so Globalization 2.0' "), it is also more lively, provocative and sophisticated than the overwhelming bulk of foreign policy commentary these days. We've no real idea how the 21st century's history will unfold, but this terrifically stimulating book will certainly inspire readers to start thinking it all through." wrote the "Washington Post."

Wikipedia