Friday ReadsPosted: January 8, 2016
I’m rather late getting this written today. It’s due to stuff I like to refer to as samsara surfing activities. It’s the entire basic Buddhist thing on the nature of this existence. My washing machine overflowed last night in the laundry closet which has created a huge mess. Thankfully, I seemed to have fixed the machines issues for the moment but the floor is just inundated with water. Also, a friend of mine of over 35 years had a stroke on New Year’s Eve and passed on Wednesday. She was only 65 and had just retired about six months ago. Both of these items come under the heading of I’m not surprised, not shocked, expected it to happen sooner than it should but I’m still asking why now? Why now when I can least afford fixing up stuff and when I had put off talking to her because my voice was shot from the flu. Timing is everything still, I guess and mine sucks atm.
Also, I still need to mention the timing of the font bill for the blog. It’s in two days and I need to beg for donations. I don’t need anything huge but a little from some of you would get it off my plate and then we have the blog free and clear again until October.
So, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to write a very cohesive post today but I will share what’s been attracting my attention even as distracted as I am. My artwork today is the Tibetan Buddhist Wheel of Life or Wheel of Samsara. It reminds us that nothing lasts for ever. Everything changes and eventually reformats.
By Samsara (bhavachakra) we are talking of all existences that are conditioned by: ignorance, suffering and the unexplainable flow of time, often represented by Yama holding the wheel of life. Nirvana, on the other hand, represents the world unaffected by negative emotions, which by definition is the nature of true happiness.
The notion of a rotation or cycle, is explained by the fact that humans or beings, as I will call them for the remainder of this article, do not occupy a stable place within Samsara, but depending on their Karma will pass from one type of existence to another.
I’m pretty comfortable in the idea that we all reformat constantly. I’m even fairly resigned to being okay with reformatting to just energy and dust. But damn, it’s always difficult to live the idea that time rolls over us. Things we love never last long enough. Things we want to go away seem to stick around for ever. So, we just have to surf along knowing that’s the case.
So, here’s a new journal study from Science entitled: The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene which essentially deals with time and our existence here on earth. I quote the abstract’s background here.
Humans are altering the planet, including long-term global geologic processes, at an increasing rate. Any formal recognition of an Anthropocene epoch in the geological time scale hinges on whether humans have changed the Earth system sufficiently to produce a stratigraphic signature in sediments and ice that is distinct from that of the Holocene epoch. Proposals for marking the start of the Anthropocene include an “early Anthropocene” beginning with the spread of agriculture and deforestation; the Columbian Exchange of Old World and New World species; the Industrial Revolution at ~1800 CE; and the mid-20th century “Great Acceleration” of population growth and industrialization.
So, the bottom line is this: Human impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say. New study provides one of the strongest cases yet that the planet has entered a new geological epoch. This is a scientific way of stating the Buddhist idea that we’re creating our own hell realms.
There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, according to a group of scientists.
The question of whether humans’ combined environmental impact has tipped the planet into an “Anthropocene” – ending the current Holocene which began around 12,000 years ago – will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions later this year.
The new study provides one of the strongest cases yet that from the amount of concrete mankind uses in building to the amount of plastic rubbish dumped in the oceans, Earth has entered a new geological epoch.
“We could be looking here at a stepchange from one world to another that justifies being called an epoch,” said Dr Colin Waters, principal geologist at the British Geological Survey and an author on the study published in Science on Thursday.
“What this paper does is to say the changes are as big as those that happened at the end of the last ice age . This is a big deal.”
Phil Gibbard, the University of Cambridge geologist who set up the working group initially, told the Guardian the Anthropocene epoch might be more effective as a cultural concept than a scientific fact.
“We fully recognize the points [in the new study’s research]: the data and science is there,” Mr. Gibbard told the Guardian. “What we question is the philosophy, and usefulness.”
Popularity for an idea that the Holocene “entirely recent” epoch is giving way to a new epoch ruled by humans has grown since the Nobel laureate atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen used it in 2000. In 2013 alone, the word appeared in 200 peer-reviewed articles, Joseph Stromberg reported for Smithsonian Magazine.
Popularity alone does not change geologic fact, however, and some of the scientists who specialize in rock layers have said the Anthropocene epoch has more pop-culture appeal than scientific validity. Agriculture made its mark on Europe’s rock layers as long ago as 900 AD, Whitney Autin, a stratigrapher at the SUNY College of Brockport told Smithsonian Magazine, so the Anthropocene epoch, “provides eye-catching jargon, but from the geologic side, I need the bare bones facts that fit the code.”
The SOTU address will be next Tuesday. We will have a live blog as usual. The President is going to be doing something unusual to call attention to the many many victims of US gun violence.
President Obama will pay tribute to victims of gun violence by leaving one seat empty in the first lady’s guest box at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
Obama told supporters Friday that the gesture is meant to send a message of Congress that they must act to make it harder for guns to fall into the wrong hands.
“We want them to be seen and understood; that their absence means something to this country,” he said on a conference call with Organizing for Action.
“We want to tell their stories, we want to honor their memory and we want to support Americans whose lives have been forever changed by gun violence and remind every single one of our representatives that it’s their responsibility to do something.”
The announcement is another indication of how the president will address the contentious debate over gun control in his final State of the Union.
President Obama on Friday vetoed legislation that would repeal much of ObamaCare, the first such measure to reach his desk since it became law in 2010.
Obama used his veto pen without fanfare on a legislative package rolling back his signature healthcare law and stripping federal funding from Planned Parenthood.In a lengthy message to Congress, Obama said repealing the law would reverse improvements made in the nation’s healthcare system.“Because of the harm this bill would cause to the health and financial security of millions of Americans, it has earned my veto,” the president wrote.Obama noted that congressional Republicans have attempted to roll back the law more than 50 times, to no avail.“Rather than refighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal basic protections that provide security for the middle class, members of Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle-class families, and create new jobs,” he wrote.The veto was the eighth of Obama’s presidency and the sixth since last year, when Republicans took over both chambers of Congress.
Even though Obama long threatened to veto the measure, Republicans touted the vote as an important step toward reversing the Affordable Care Act if the party wins the White House in November.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Friday pledged that Congress would vote to override Obama’s veto. The party lacks the two-thirds majority necessary to achieve that, however.
Radical Christianists continue to plague women’s health and constitutional rights. Here’s an interesting thing going on here in New Orleans where the city’s street banners are displaying political speech and not the usual event ads. Our lone Republican woman/city council member is challenging the city to take them down in line with the “offensive” logic used to remove Confederate Statues on public property. Stacy is definitely her own kind of woman and has spent her terms on the city council generally doing things that unnerve a lot of groups.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu should explain why anti-abortion banners festoon the St. Charles Avenue neutral ground, since he has decided to be the arbiter of what symbols are so offensive that they must be removed from public property, City Councilwoman Stacy Head said at a recent meeting.
Head didn’t mention the monuments specifically, as she spoke at a committee meeting Wednesday (Jan. 6), but her comments were a clear reference to Landrieu’s push to have Confederate-related statues declared nuisances and removed from public property.
As a woman, Head said, she feels like the banners are a nuisance since they “negatively influence the perception of my civil liberties as a woman. I believe I’m being discriminated against.”
Head asked the administration to explain in writing the process by which the city decides what banners are allowed, and how much money they generate.
The mayor should explain at least that much since, “We are looking to the admin to decide which objects and symbols are appropriate for the city on city property. Which ones offend us. Which ones are negative,” Head said. As a woman, it offends her to have to drive by them and be reminded of the oppression, she said. Does that give her standing to call for their removal?
Head called the banners “political signage for a particular position that I perceive as a nuisance. I perceive it as offensive. I do not see it is a promoting awareness.”
A city spokesman said the city allows “community awareness banners” on city streetlights provided they are not commercial in nature and do not endorse any specific candidate or another political campaign up for a vote. The St. Charles banners did not appear to violate that standard when the application to hang them was submitted, he said.
The banners are the usual fetus porn used by the group.
Remember, along with the SOTU, we will be live blogging both of the upcoming primary debates. The next Republican debate will be: Thursday, January 14, 2016. The next Democratic debate is scheduled for Sunday, January 17, 2016.
The first caucuses and primaries are in February and are being held in Iowa and New Hampshire respectively.
Hopefully, the Republicans will be tossing a few of their clowns to the curb and we’ll have a better look at their “best” and “brightest”.