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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

London Pride - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:20 am EDT, Jul 10, 2005

London Pride is tolerant of dry, shady conditions. It grows to a height of 15-30 cm (6-12 inches) and provides rapid ground cover without being aggressively invasive, and in late spring produces a mass of small pale pink rosette flowers growing from succulent stems. It will grow well in neglected or unfavourable urban spaces where few other flowers flourish, and is a common garden escape. In particular tradition holds that it rapidly colonised the bombed sites left by the London Blitz of the early 1940s. As such it is symbolic of the resilience of London and ordinary Londoners, and of the futility of seeking to bomb them into submission.

London Pride - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Greening of the Kibbutz
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:12 am EDT, Jul  3, 2005

Samar is a very radical community. One of the stories that circulates around the Kibbutz Movement about them is the story of their common purse. They used to have cash freely available in a basket in the dining room, whoever needed any could go and help themselves. This wasn't actually denied, but I saw no evidence of this basket when we had lunch together there. However, they do set their own budgets, both of money and of labor days, and the different members differing needs are respected and catered for. They are not strong on committee work, preferring to give themselves an anarchic freedom to do the things that seem best to each one. And they keep themselves solvent, generating a profit each year to invest in projects of various kinds. On the way down to the dairy farm Brian showed me some solar powered glow lights, enough to mark the path on moonless nights.

The Greening of the Kibbutz

Powell's Rules
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:42 pm EDT, May 30, 2005

Colin Powell kept a set of these rules on his desk. For the last several years, I've kept a copy in my office as well. I've been staring at it alot today, so I figured it was worth memeing.

] 1. It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the
] morning.
] 2. Get mad, then get over it.
] 3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when
] your position falls, your ego goes with it.
] 4. It can be done!
] 5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
] 6. Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good
] decision.
] 7. You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let
] someone else make yours.
] 8. Check small things.
] 9. Share credit.
] 10. Remain calm. Be kind.
] 11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
] 12. Don't take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
] 13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Powell's Rules

Cosmos 1 Solar Sail Spacecraft Heads to Loading Site
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:53 pm EDT, May 23, 2005

] A private team of space-savvy civilians has hit a major
] milestone in plans to launch the first spacecraft
] propelled by sunlight after shipping the small probe to
] be loaded atop ballistic missile.
] The solar sail-propelled Cosmos 1 vehicle, hailed as the
] world%u2019s first solar sail spacecraft, has left its
] Moscow testing center and now bound to Severomorsk,
] Russia, where it will be loaded into a modified
] intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and readied for
] a June 21 launch, mission planners announced Monday.

Cosmos 1 Solar Sail Spacecraft Heads to Loading Site

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Blast hints at black hole birth
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:25 pm EDT, May 11, 2005

] Astronomers are poring over images of a distant galaxy
] for what may be evidence of the birth of a black hole.
] On Monday, the US space agency's (Nasa) Swift satellite
] detected a brief burst of gamma-rays - high energy
] radiation - originating from deep space.
] Within a minute, Swift was homing in on the burst to be
] followed by dozens of the world's most powerful
] telescopes.
] It could be due to two neutron stars merging or a
] collision between a neutron star and black hole.
] "It's incredibly exciting. It's what we've been waiting
] for for years," Professor Josh Bloom of the University of
] California told the BBC News website.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Blast hints at black hole birth

Latest Assault on Judges Threatens Rule of Law
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:14 am EDT, Apr 17, 2005

] What we are seeing, for the first time, is a fundamental
] challenge to the rule of law itself.

I keep telling myself they aren't this stupid... its all theater... They won't actually do this stuff...

Latest Assault on Judges Threatens Rule of Law

Guardian Unlimited | Life | Why Einstein may have got it wrong
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:52 pm EDT, Apr 11, 2005

] A century after Albert Einstein published his most famous
] ideas, physicists will today commemorate the occasion by
] trying to demolish one of them.
] Astronomers will tell experts gathering at Warwick
] University to celebrate the anniversary of the great
] man's "miracle year" that the speed of light - Einstein's
] unchanging yardstick that underpins his special theory of
] relativity - might be slowing down.

Guardian Unlimited | Life | Why Einstein may have got it wrong

New Scientist Cannabis: Too much, too young? - Features
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:29 am EST, Mar 25, 2005

] AT THE end of Jim van Os's street in the pleasant Dutch
] city of Maastricht there is a coffee shop. As with many
] such establishments in the Netherlands, "coffee shop" is
] something of a euphemism: most of its customers go there
] not to drink coffee but to buy and smoke dope. Van Os
] isn't too keen on the place. He doesn't like the shady
] characters it attracts. He doesn't like the fact that his
] children have to walk past it. And most of all he doesn't
] like that fact that the place breaks the law and sells
] marijuana to under-18s.
] Van Os's fears are rooted in more than the usual parental
] angst. He is a psychiatrist at the University of
] Maastricht who investigates the effect of marijuana on
] people's brains - particularly adolescents' brains. And
] the findings of his research make him worry about the
] effects of all this dope smoking on the kids in his
] neighbourhood.
] Over the past couple of years van Os and several others
] have been building the case that, for some teenagers,
] smoking cannabis leads to serious mental health problems
] in later life, including schizophrenia. Van Os claims
] that marijuana is responsible for up to 13 per cent of
] schizophrenia cases in the Netherlands. And with cannabis
] use among teenagers on the rise, the age at first use
] falling (see Graphic), and the strength of cannabis on
] the up, he says the figure can only increase

As someone with long term mental health problems possibly caused by heavy cannabis use this was particularly interesting

New Scientist Cannabis: Too much, too young? - Features

George Kennan's lessons for the war on terror
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:12 pm EST, Mar 23, 2005

] George Kennan, a giant of U.S. foreign policy who died on
] March 17, will be remembered as the architect of the cold
] war doctrine of containment. But Kennan was more than an
] insightful analyst of the logic behind Soviet
] expansionism. He was a big-picture strategist who
] understood that the cold war could only be won with a
] variety of tools, weapons and ideas. That's why his ideas
] have much to teach us about winning the war on terror.
] .
] Like the cold war, the war on terror can't be won by
] military means alone. President George W. Bush got it
] wrong when, in a speech at West Point in June 2004, he
] rejected "cold war doctrines of deterrence and
] containment" for the war on terror and argued instead
] that, to defeat terrorism, all that was needed was to
] "take the battle to the enemy."
] .

George Kennan's lessons for the war on terror

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | The last of the utopian projects
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:05 pm EST, Mar  9, 2005

] I have a lasting admiration for Mikhail Gorbachev. It is
] an admiration shared by all who know that, but for his
] initiatives, the world might still be living under the
] shadow of the catastrophe of a nuclear war - and that the
] transition from the communist to the post-communist era
] in eastern Europe, and in most non-Caucasian parts of the
] former USSR, has proceeded without significant bloodshed.
] His place in history is secure.
] But did perestroika bring about a second Russian
] revolution? No. It brought the collapse of the system
] built on the 1917 revolution, followed by a period of
] social, economic and cultural ruin, from which the
] peoples of Russia have by no means yet fully emerged.
] Recovery from this catastrophe is already taking much
] longer than it took Russia to recover from the world
] wars.
] Whatever will emerge from this era of post-Soviet
] catastrophe was not envisaged, let alone prepared, by
] perestroika, not even after the supporters of perestroika
] had realised that their project of a reformed communism,
] or even a social-democratised USSR, was unrealisable. It
] was not even envisaged by those who came to believe that
] the aim should be a fully capitalist system of the
] liberal western - more precisely, the American - model.
] The end of perestroika precipitated Russia into a space
] void of any real policy, except the unrestricted free
] market recommendations of western economists who were
] even more ignorant of how the Soviet economy functioned
] than their Russian followers were of how western
] capitalism operated. On neither side was there serious
] consideration of the necessarily lengthy and complex
] problems of transition. Nor, when the collapse came,
] given its speed, could there have been.

article by historian Eric Hobsbawm

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | The last of the utopian projects

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