Friday, July 29, 2005

Captain Future on the look out for Dreaming Up Daily news Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

“Art is born of humiliation.”
W.H. Auden

The Michael Jackson Genocide

This isn’t a newspaper or a magazine, web or otherwise. Nobody here is paid to gather and report news; nobody here is paid for anything. But there are lots of people who are paid, and very well paid, to report news in print and in electronic media.

They rake in millions in advertising, and they have camera crews and airplanes and helicopters and reporters. They have satellite uplinks and cell phones, wireless computers and minicams; they can report from more places more easily than ever before. But they don't. Not the U.S. media.

It’s bad enough that President Bush barely mentions the major genocide in Darfur in the Sudan. In case you missed it, it’s been going on for two years. But here’s a little wake-up sentence from Nicholas Kristof originally published in the New York Times:

"The American news media aren't even covering the Darfur genocide as well as we covered the Armenian genocide in 1915."

The worst is television.

“According to monitoring by the Tyndall Report, ABC News had a total of 18 minutes of the Darfur genocide in its nightly newscasts all last year - and that turns out to be a credit to Peter Jennings. NBC had only 5 minutes of coverage all last year, and CBS only 3 minutes - about a minute of coverage for every 100,000 deaths. In contrast, Martha Stewart received 130 minutes of coverage by the three networks.”

According to Gayle Smith of, which monitors the coverage, CBS went 75 days without a single mention of Darfur. In the same period it devoted 321 segments to Tom Cruise and more than 600 to the Michael Jackson trial.

Last month, Kristof notes, “CNN, Fox News, NBC, MSNBC, ABC and CBS collectively ran 55 times as many stories about Michael Jackson as they ran about genocide in Darfur.”

But CBS did send Diane Sawyer to Africa. To interview Brad Pitt.

Who has done a decent job? Kristof:

The BBC has shown that outstanding television coverage of Darfur is possible. And, incredibly, mtvU (the MTV channel aimed at universities) has covered Darfur more seriously than any network or cable station. When MTV dispatches a crew to cover genocide and NBC doesn't, then we in journalism need to hang our heads.

Time magazine gets credit for putting Darfur on its cover - but the newsweeklies should be embarrassed that better magazine coverage of Darfur has often been in Christianity Today.

From a very early version of Wells' "First Men in the Moon,"maybe Posted by Picasa

DVD FRIDAY: Wells at the Movies

While Spielberg's War of the Worlds hangs on at the multiplexes, you can see the earlier screen version, plus several versions of other major H.G. Wells novels on DVD.

They range from the classic "Things to Come" which Wells scripted, to two versions of "The Time Machine" (which Wells said was about "the responsibility of men to mankind. Unless humanity hangs together, unless all strive for the species as a whole, we shall end in disaster." ) and both the 1953 Technicolor "The War of the Worlds" and an unacknowledged 1996 remake called "Independence Day."

Read all about them, plus the famous radio version of "The War of the Worlds" right


Thursday, July 28, 2005

no, it's not cat blogging--it's cartography Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."
'>Howard Zinn

Blinded: The Burning Bush

Here's the Bushwhacked administration in miniature: it's a very hot summer in most of the U.S., including Virginia near Washington, D.C. It's in the mid 80s in the morning and the high 90s in the afternoon, with constant high humidity. But it's summer, so the Boy Scouts go camping. They have a huge Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Bowling Green, Virginia, an hour south of the White House.

So what do thousands of Boy Scouts standing in the heat waiting for an inexplicable visit from President Bush have to do with Iraq, Rumsfeld and oil? Read on...


Blue States Highways

Of course he knew not to even think about cruising into a red state. He wasn't that innocent. But CalTech Johnny didn't yet appreciate the subtleties. That was probably good, or he might never have agreed to go with us.

CalTech Johnny was in the back seat, asking a lot of questions. Dorie Dorie was driving, the Lemon Kid rode shotgun, and I was left to babysit Johnny. I'm Alice the Borg.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

water crystal of 251 different waters from all over the world mixed and given thanks, by the '>Project of Love and Thanks to Water Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

What the artist senses, the economist ignores."
'>William Irwin Thompson


Suppose that we have (and have access to) a collective unconscious, a kind of group soul, that not only includes the individual, the family, the tribe or nation or ethnic group, and the whole human race, but also the animal, vegetable and inorganic? We do share genes with most of that list, layers of our brains with much of it, and we are both nourished by and made up of the elements of the rest. Several prominent Jungian theorists (like '>Edward Edinger and '>Marie Louise von Franz, and perhaps Jung himself) believe we might.

Suppose we are in constant contact and communication with everyone and everything? There are '>many people now wondering if our concepts of time, space, matter, energy and being aren't too narrow for what we're now learning about physics, mind-body connections and the realms we classify and demonize as psychic. Ecology keeps telling us of our interdependence, but maybe the connections are even more profound than we yet conceive.

These are the big ideas, the re-shaping of our conceptual framework that is all part of dreaming up the future.

Then there are the broad ideals and principles that may allow us to reach that future. And the stories and images that help us figure out what kind of future we want.

Then there are the acts of practical idealism: the changes, the creative efforts, that move us towards a better future by solving problems and helping people. The daily work that makes its contribution.

There is the analysis of the problems, and the synthesis of the comprehensive approach. There is the on-the-ground work, innovation, experiment, yielding successes that may now seem "large" or "small," even though that judgment can't reasonably made for a long time, as change ripples out, and the people who have a better life as a result make their own contributions.

It's all part of dreaming up the future, daily. And because it's happening now, it's dreaming up the present as well.

I hope this will become more evident as the focus here, as time goes on. For now, let's begin with some practical idealism: a UN program to apply knowledge on a local scale to a current problem that is only going to get worse: water.

I have no idea whether this program, this technology, is actually that helpful. But it seems like an honorable attempt.

Water Tomorrow: Learning Today

It’s very hot in lots of places this summer, including much of America. Record highs in Alaska. At least 24 people dead in Phoenix, mostly elderly, homeless or both, attributed to the heat. Terrorist bombs aren’t the only killers of the innocent.

It’s not clear if global heating is figured into their estimates, but the United Nations agency Unesco estimates that in the next twenty years the average amount of water available per person on planet earth will shrink by a third. Today, more than a billion people can’t count on safe drinking water. By 2050, at least two billion people, and perhaps as many as seven billion, will be short of water.

"No region will be spared from the impact of this crisis," Koichiro Matsuura, director general of Unesco, recently said. "Water supplies are falling while the demand is dramatically growing."

But Unesco is working at the grassroots level to apply a fairly simple technology to identify water sources and help communities manage them sustainably.

The method called isotope hydrology is described this way in a story in the
New York Times:

"Cheap and reliable, it takes advantage of the fact that water molecules carry unique fingerprints, based in part on differing proportions of the oxygen and hydrogen isotopes that constitute all water. Isotopes are forms of the same element that have variable numbers of neutrons in their nuclei.

Using the tools of isotope hydrology, scientists can discover the age, origins, size, flow and fate of a water source. And that information, in turn, can guide sound water-use policy, letting water engineers better map underground aquifers, conserve supplies and control pollution.”

It also is not expensive to use. Unesco spends about $2 million a year on research and another $5 million (not billion) in aid, which includes training local practitioners. There are 84 such ongoing projects in 50 countries, including Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Morocco and Senegal. The Times story indicates it has had particular success in Ethiopia.

Water Today: Baghdad

It's hot in Baghdad, too. After bombing it, the U.S. has spent some $2 billion (not million) for reconstruction in that city, but basic services are still lacking. Water and sewage were not problems before the bombing. But they have been since, and they still are now.

Talib Abu Younes put his lips to a glass of tap water recently and watched worms swimming in the bottom.

Fadhel Hussein boils buckets of sewage-contaminated water from the Tigris River to wash the family's clothes.

The capital is crumbling around angry Baghdadis. Narrow concrete sewage pipes decay underground and water pipes leak out more than half the drinking water before it ever reaches a home, according to the U.S. military.

Despite $2 billion spent, residents say Baghdad is crumbling - Yahoo! News

Books in Heat Wednesday Greatest Hits: the Dismal Science

It's called the dismal science because of all those gray lines of figures, but the name might stick because as a science it has been a dismal failure. Abused by ideologues and self-serving liars, puffed up beyond its accomplishments in academia, with a deserved reputation for predicting the obvious and getting even that wrong, economics has failed its function and its potential. In this, a world predicated on economic relationships. Dismal.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

landscape with buckydome Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

I am not a thing, a noun.
I seem to be a verb,
an evolutionary process
—an integral function of the universe.

Here's to you, Ontario...Costco, you're the one

On a day when the fractures within American labor became open rebellion, apparently caused by still declining union membership and influence, it’s useful to note two other news stories that illustrate the validity of some old verities, sadly lost in the age of Reagan-Bush.

For a story that also asks the musical question: can an economy and a society based on the principles of personal selfishness and greed, liberated envy and cultivated unconsciousness. as well as institutionalized ignorance, last for long?


Big Brother Goes Cellular

MIT's Media Lab programmed cell phones to monitor the behavior of 100 students. It was so successful that companies are interested in using it as an "experiment" to learn about employees. If the boss "asks" you to do it, could you refuse?

Big Brother is phoning you, here:
Wired News: When Cell Phones Become Oracles

What Was Once Imagined

The latest news about Star Trek's future hasn't exactly filled me with hope.

There was a new round of rumors on the next Star Trek movie, suggesting that it will be set in 2010 after a nuclear war on earth when "our saviors from the future arrive", and the movie will involve Spock, in a story to be told over two movies. Another claims that it will center on the Romulan war, and that Brannon Braga as well as Rick Berman are involved. Oh, and Paramount is considering shooting it in Australia.

The best that can be extracted from this incoherent mess is that Paramount is considering shooting a Star Trek movie at all.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

How does it feel?(Dreaming World War III?) Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

"You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"
Steven Wright

Boomer Chronicles: This Date in History

July 24

1965 "Like A Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan released

1967 Beatles sign petition to legalize marijuana

1969 Apollo 11 returns to earth from the moon
Muhammad Ali is convicted of refusing induction into the U.S. Army

1974 Supreme Court orders President Nixon to turn over Watergate tapes

1991 First planet outside Terran solar system discovered

World War III! We Got It First!

Here's some cheerful news. In a poll of Americans and Japanese, the question was asked, do you expect World War III in your lifetime? Those answering YES :

U.S. 66%

Poll: Americans Say World War III Likely - Yahoo! News

It would be interesting to know how much of this is gloom over Iraq and the Bushcrawlers, and how much is based on a fundamentalist Christian or other religious apocalyptic belief. Or maybe it's just that good old American optimism.

george ORwELL bush

Is the Bush administration interested in protecting Americans and helping to structure a peaceful world? Or is it bent on creating a police state, using lies and raw power to advance the interests of a few corporations, with no conscience as to the consequences for most of the world?

The evidence could not be clearer, from only this past week.