Wednesday, September 27, 2006

National Ask For A Raise Day

on a recent oprah show, a handsome wealthy family turns over the keys to a house that they bought for a poor family, victims of Katrina. the givers were so pleased with themselves that they said they were going to do it again, buy another house for another poor, poor family. it occured to me then that there's a lot of that going on lately. sure was nice of them. but it's kind of frightening.

poor people, even middle class folk, are becoming more dependent on the kindness of the richy riches who have all the money. is this a good way for society to operate? we depend on fortune's wealthiest, billionaires like bill gates and warren buffett, to save the world? fortunately, more wealthy people are sharing their riches but
what about the ones who don't? how many of of them never share a dime?

wealthy people tend to horde their riches and they tend to keep it in the family and they circulate it within a small network of other wealthy people. don't tell me they work harder for it. cause it ain't true. maybe they work smarter. but on whose back?

should wealthy people share their money?

seems to me that shouldn't even be a question. they just shouldn't have so much of it. it would be nice if the wealth was spread out more evenly, so more people have a chance to actually do more than scrape out a living, so they wouldn't have to work two, three jobs just to get by. working hard doesn't necessarily equal more money. there are plenty of people who work hard for dirt. it would be nice if the people at the top were paid less and the worker bees received more. it would be nice if more people were more comfortable rather than just a few very comfortable folks with all the money.

what's wrong with that? why is that such an evil concept in our society? does that rich dude really need another home? really need another exotic car, when that single car could house and feed several people for a year? why can't they settle for comfortable? why do they have to have everything? imagine the world if the people at the top earned a few thousand less and the people on the bottom made $5 an hour more.

maybe we should have a national ask for a raise day.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Masha D'yans

these are fabulously whimsical cards by artist, Masha

Saturday, September 16, 2006

To Beat the Man, Get a Plan

great article on how the democrats have focused on "the man" without a plan of their own.
what do you do when you feel weaker than a rival? why, you poke fun and draw attention to your opponent. that is, if you're immature and shallow. peggy argues that the hapless democrats have done just that. sorry bunch of leaders.

PEGGY NOONAN

To Beat a Man, You Need a Plan

The election is all about Bush, and that's not necessarily good for the Dems.

Friday, September 15, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

Autumn is the true American New Year. This is when we make our real resolutions.

The perfect fall has two things, present pleasure (new exhibits, shows, parties) and something to look forward to--for the political, the upcoming election.

Which is my subject. My resolution is to try in a renewed way, each day, and within my abilities, to be fair. I find myself thinking so much of William Meredith's poem about the advice he'd received from older writers: "Look hard at the world, they said--generously, if you can manage that, but hard."

In light of that, my sense of things: They say the election is all about Iraq. It's not. It's about George W. Bush. He dominates the discussion, or rather obsesses the discussers.

He is talking a lot lately, out there in America, and in the Oval Office. People don't say as often as they used to, "You watch Bush's speech last night?" Or they don't ask it with the same anticipation and interest.

I think that Americans have pretty much stopped listening to him. One reason is that you don't have to listen to get a sense of what's going on. He does not appear to rethink things based on new data. You don't have to tune in to see how he's shifting emphasis to address a trend, or tacking to accommodate new winds. For him there is no new data, only determination.

He repeats old arguments because he believes they are right, because he has no choice--in for a penny, in for a pound--and because his people believe in the dogma of the magic of repetition: Say it, say it, to break through the clutter.

There's another reason people don't listen to Mr. Bush as much as they did. It is that in some fundamental way they know they have already fully absorbed him. He's burned his brand into the American hide.

Pundits and historians call Mr. Bush polarizing--and he is, but in some unusual ways. For one thing, he's not trying to polarize. He is not saying, "My team is for less government, your team is for more--my team, stand with me!"

Mr. Bush has muddied what his team stands for. He has made it all come down to him--not to philosophy but to him and his certitudes.

What is polarizing about him is the response he elicits from Americans just by being himself. They have deep questions about him, even as he is vivid to them.

Americans don't really know, deep down in their heads, whether this president, in his post-9/11 decisions, is a great man or a catastrophe, a visionary or wholly out of his depth.

What they increasingly sense is that he's one thing or the other. And this is not a pleasant thing to sense. The stakes are so high. If you woke most Americans up at 3:00 in the morning and said, "Tell me, looking back, what would you have liked in an American president after 9/11?" most of them would answer, "I was just hoping for a good man who did moderately good things." Who caught Osama, cleaned out Afghanistan, made it proof of the possibility of change and of the price to be paid by those who choose terror as a tactic. Not this historical drama queen, this good witch or bad.

The one thing I think America agrees on is that George Bush and his presidency have been enormously consequential. He has made decisions that will shape the future we'll inhabit. It's never "We must do this" with Mr. Bush. It's always "the concentrated work of generations." He doesn't declare, he commits; and when you back him, you're never making a discrete and specific decision, you're always making a long-term investment.

This can be exhausting.

And yet: You know he means it when he says he is trying to protect America. You know his heart is in it. You know he means it when he says there are bad guys and we will stop them. And that has meaning.

With all this polarity, this drama, this added layer Mr. Bush brings to a nation already worn by the daily demands of modern individual life, the political alternative, the Democrats, should roar in six weeks from now, right? And return us to normalcy?

Well, that's not what I sense.

I like Democrats. I feel sympathy for the hungry and hapless, identify with aspirations, am deeply frustrated with Mr. Bush. More seriously, I believe we are at the start of a struggle for the survival of the West, and I know it is better for our country if both of its two major parties have equal responsibility in that struggle. Beyond that, let's be frank. Bad days are coming, and we're all going to have to get through them together, with two parties, arm in arm. It's a big country.

But I feel the Democrats this year are making a mistake. They think it will be a cakewalk. A war going badly, immigration, high spending, a combination of sentimentality and dimness in foreign affairs--everyone in the world wants to be free, and in exactly the way we define freedom at dinner parties in McLean and Chevy Chase--and conservative thinkers and writers hopping mad and hoping to lose the House.

The Democrats' mistake--ironically, in a year all about Mr. Bush--is obsessing on Mr. Bush. They've been sucker-punched by their own animosity.

"The Democrats now are incapable of answering a question on policy without mentioning Bush six times," says pollster Kellyanne Conway. " 'What is your vision on Iraq?' 'Bush lied us into war.' 'Health care? 'Bush hasn't a clue.' They're so obsessed with Bush it impedes them from crafting and communicating a vision all their own." They heighten Bush by hating him.

One of the oldest clichés in politics is, "You can't beat something with nothing." It's a cliché because it's true. You have to have belief, and a program. You have to look away from the big foe and focus instead on the world and philosophy and programs you imagine.

Mr. Bush's White House loves what the Democrats are doing. They want the focus on him. That's why he's out there talking, saying Look at me.

Because familiarity doesn't only breed contempt, it can breed content. Because if you're going to turn away from him, you'd better be turning toward a plan, and the Democrats don't appear to have one.

Which leaves them unlikely to win leadership. And unworthy of it, too.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father," (Penguin, 2005), which you can order from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Fridays on OpinionJournal.com.

Drowning Polar Bears

from reuters:

Polar bears drown, islands appear in Arctic thaw

By Alister Doyle, Environment CorrespondentFri Sep 15, 11:26 AM ET

Polar bears are drowning and receding Arctic glaciers have uncovered previously unknown islands in a drastic 2006 summer thaw widely blamed on global warming.

Signs of wrenching changes are apparent around the Arctic region due to unusual warmth -- the summer minimum for ice is usually reached between mid-September and early October before the Arctic freeze extends its grip.

"We know about three new islands this year that have been uncovered because the glaciers have retreated," said Rune Bergstrom, environmental adviser to the governor of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago about 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole.

The largest is about 300 by 100 meters, he told Reuters.

On a trip this summer "We saw a couple of polar bears in the sea east of Svalbard -- one of them looked to be dead and the other one looked to be exhausted," said Julian Dowdeswell, head of the Scott Polar Research Institute in England.

He said that the bears had apparently been stranded at sea by melting ice. The bears generally live around the fringes of the ice where they find it easiest to hunt seals.

NASA projected this week that Arctic sea ice is likely to recede in 2006 close to a low recorded in 2005 as part of a melting trend in recent decades. A stormy August in 2006 had slightly slowed the 2006 melt.

"There are very unusual conditions this year from Svalbard to Alaska," said Samantha Smith, director of the WWF's environmental group's Arctic Programme.

One international study in 2004 projected that summer ice could disappear completely by 2100, undermining the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and driving creatures such as polar bears toward extinction.

WAKE-UP CALL

Smith said the shrinking ice should be a wake-up call for governments to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly from power plants, factories and cars that most scientists say are causing global warming.

"The Arctic is likely to warm more than any other part of the world" because of global warming, said Dowdeswell. Darker water and soil, once exposed, soaks up far more of the sun's heat than mirror-like ice and snow.

The melt may also open up the Arctic to more exploration for oil, gas and minerals, increase fisheries and open a short-cut shipping route linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Ian Stirling, a researcher with the Canadian Wildlife Service, said polar bears were finding it harder to find food, threatening their ability to reproduce.

"In 1980 the average weight of adult females in western Hudson Bay was 650 pounds (300 kg). Their average weight in 2004 was just 507 pounds," he said in a report this week. Numbers in the Hudson Bay region dropped to 950 in 2004 from 1,200 in 1989.

For some, the unseasonal warmth is good news. It was 5 C (41 F) on Friday in Longyearbyen, the main village on Svalbard. "Last year the first snow fell here on September 11 and stayed all winter," said Bergstrom.

"A lot of people here have boats to go out hunting in summer and go to cabins. So it's a good year for them -- the ice melted earlier and they can still use the boats," he said.

what everyone can do to stop global warming

Friday, September 15, 2006

Torture Me

the red hot chili peppers used for torture?
this from the NYT is kinda funny but RHCP's music is hardly torture. this is probably the only time i would agree with bill o'reilly, albeit for different reasons.
torture me, yeah, torture me.

At a Secret Interrogation, Dispute Flared Over Tactics
By DAVID JOHNSTON

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 — Abu Zubaydah, the first Osama bin Laden henchman captured by the United States after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was bloodied and feverish when a C.I.A. security team delivered him to a secret safe house in Thailand for interrogation in the early spring of 2002. Bullet fragments had ripped through his abdomen and groin during a firefight in Pakistan several days earlier when he had been captured.

The events that unfolded at the safe house over the next few weeks proved to be fateful for the Bush administration. Within days, Mr. Zubaydah was being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques — he was stripped, held in an icy room and jarred by earsplittingly loud music — the genesis of practices later adopted by some within the military, and widely used by the Central Intelligence Agency in handling prominent terrorism suspects at secret overseas prisons.

President Bush pointedly cited the capture and interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah in his speech last Wednesday announcing the transfer of Mr. Zubaydah and 13 others to the American detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. And he used it to call for ratification of the tough techniques employed in the questioning.

But rather than the smooth process depicted by Mr. Bush, interviews with nearly a dozen current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials briefed on the process show, the interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah was fraught with sharp disputes, debates about the legality and utility of harsh interrogation methods, and a rupture between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the C.I.A. that has yet to heal.

Some of those interviewed offered sharply contrasting accounts, but all said that the disagreements were intense. More than four years later, these disputes are foreshadowing the debate that Mr. Bush’s new proposals are meeting in Congress, as lawmakers wrangle about what rules should apply as terrorism suspects are captured, questioned and, possibly, tried before military tribunals.

A reconstruction of Mr. Zubaydah’s initial days of detention and interrogation, based on accounts by former and current law enforcement and intelligence officials in a series of recent interviews, provides the first detailed account of his treatment and the disputes and uncertainties that surrounded it. The basic chronology of how the capture and interrogation unfolded was described consistently by sources from a number of government agencies.

The officials spoke on the condition that they not be identified because many aspects of the handling of Mr. Zubaydah remain classified and because some of the officials may be witnesses in future prosecutions involving Mr. Zubaydah.

This week, President Bush said that he had not and never would approve the use of torture. The C.I.A. declined to discuss the specifics of the case on the record. At F.B.I. headquarters, officials refused to publicly discuss the interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah, citing what they said were “operational sensitivities.”

Some of the officials who were interviewed for this article were briefed on the events as they occurred. Others were provided with accounts of the interrogation later.

Before his capture, Mr. Zubaydah was regarded as a top bin Laden logistics chief who funneled recruits to training bases in Afghanistan and served as a communications link between Al Qaeda’s leadership and extremists in other countries.

As interrogators dug into his activities, however, they scaled back their assessment somewhat, viewing him more as the terror network’s personnel director and hotelier who ran a string of guest houses in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mr. Zubaydah’s whereabouts in Pakistan had been determined in part through intercepted Internet communications, but for days after his capture his identity was in doubt. He had surgically altered his appearance and was using an alias. But when agents used a nickname for Mr. Zubaydah, he acknowledged his true identity, which was confirmed through analysis of his voice, facial structure and DNA tests.

By all accounts, Mr. Zubaydah’s condition was rapidly deteriorating when he arrived in Thailand. Soon after his capture, Mr. Zubaydah nearly died of his infected wounds. At one point, he was covertly rushed to a hospital after C.I.A. medical officers warned that he might not survive if he did not receive more extensive medical treatment.

According to accounts from five former and current government officials who were briefed on the case, F.B.I. agents — accompanied by intelligence officers — initially questioned him using standard interview techniques. They bathed Mr. Zubaydah, changed his bandages, gave him water, urged improved medical care, and spoke with him in Arabic and English, languages in which he is fluent.

To convince him they knew details of his activities, the agents brought a box of blank audiotapes which they said contained recordings of his phone conversations, but were actually empty. As the F.B.I. worked with C.I.A. officers who were present, Mr. Zubaydah soon began to provide intelligence insights into Al Qaeda.

For the C.I.A., Mr. Zubaydah was a test case for an evolving new role, conceived after Sept. 11, in which the agency was to act as jailer and interrogator for terrorism suspects.

According to accounts by three former intelligence officials, the C.I.A. understood that the legal foundation for its role had been spelled out in a sweeping classified directive signed by Mr. Bush on Sept. 17, 2001. The directive, known as a memorandum of notification, authorized the C.I.A. for the first time to capture, detain and interrogate terrorism suspects, providing the foundation for what became its secret prison system.

That 2001 directive did not spell out specific guidelines for interrogations, however, and senior C.I.A. officials began in late 2001 and early 2002 to draw up a list of aggressive interrogation procedures that might be used against terrorism suspects. They consulted agency psychiatrists and foreign governments to identify effective techniques beyond standard interview practices.

After Mr. Zubaydah’s capture, a C.I.A. interrogation team was dispatched from the agency’s counterterrorism center to take the lead in his questioning, former law enforcement and intelligence officials said, and F.B.I. agents were withdrawn. The group included an agency consultant schooled in the harsher interrogation procedures to which American special forces are subjected in their training. Three former intelligence officials said the techniques had been drawn up on the basis of legal guidance from the Justice Department, but were not yet supported by a formal legal opinion.

In Thailand, the new C.I.A. team concluded that under standard questioning Mr. Zubaydah was revealing only a small fraction of what he knew, and decided that more aggressive techniques were warranted.

At times, Mr. Zubaydah, still weak from his wounds, was stripped and placed in a cell without a bunk or blankets. He stood or lay on the bare floor, sometimes with air-conditioning adjusted so that, one official said, Mr. Zubaydah seemed to turn blue. At other times, the interrogators piped in deafening blasts of music by groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Sometimes, the interrogator would use simpler techniques, entering his cell to ask him to confess.

“You know what I want,” the interrogator would say to him, according to one official’s account, departing leaving Mr. Zubaydah to brood over his answer. rest here.


RHCP Torture Me

Because I'm happy to be sad
I want it all I want it bad
Oh oh, it's what I know

A vintage year for pop I hear
The middle of the end is near
Let's go oh, it's what I know

Torture me and torture me
It's forcin' me so torture me, please
Torture me with sorcery
It's forcin' me so torture me, please

All the leaves are turning brown
The wind is pushing me around
Let's go oh, it's what I know

Torture me and torture me
It's forcin' me so torture me, please
Torture me with sorcery
It's forcin' me so torture me, please

The will of God is standing still
Brazilian children get their fill, Let's go

Let's turn it up and dumb it down
The vision of your ultra sound, Is so

All the leaves are turning brown
The wind is pushing me around, Let's go

A vintage year for pop I hear
The middle of the end is near, It's so

Torture me and torture me
It's forcin' me so torture me please
Torture me with sorcery
It's forcin' me so torture me, please (x2)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hiatus

big project for me, requires head down, no blogging, total focus. therefore, i'm taking a hiatus, 1 week or so. i leave you with information on homelessness and a pretty picture and a pretty song.

RHCP
Going Inside, John Frusciante
You dont throw your life away
Going inside
You get to know whos watching you
And who besides you resides
In your body
Where youre slow
Where you go doesnt matter
Cuz there will come a time
When time goes out the window
And youll learn to drive out of focus
Im you and if anything unfolds
Its supposed to
You dont throw your time away sitting still
Im in a chain of memories
Its my will
And I had to consult some figures of my past
And I know someone after me
Will go right back
Im not telling a view
Ive got this night to unglue
I moved this fight away
By doing things theres no reason to do

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pronouncing Iran and Iraq

i hear so many different pronunciations in the media... so how do you pronounce iran and iraq?
from iranian.com , it's eeron.
from west los angeles college: "“Iraq” is pronounced “a-ROCK,” not “I-RACK.” (Pronounce the “a” like the “a” in “apple.”)
from merriam webster:
m-w iran
m-w iraq

Monday, September 04, 2006

Pole Shift

another possible earthly demise-- the earth has flipped before and could flip again. this is an excerpt from universe today:

Scientists have found no evidence for an ice age occurring 800 million years ago, and the change in the ocean at this juncture remains one of the great mysteries in the ancient history of our planet,” he said. “But if all the continents were suddenly flipped around and their rivers began carrying water and nutrients into the tropics instead of the Arctic, for example, it could produce the mysterious geochemical changes science has been trying to explain.


though princeton just put out the news release calling it "polar wander," it's an underground topic known as "pole shift" and it's been talked about since the 1930s. it was viewed as radical when charles hapgood suggested it in his book, "the path of the pole," in the 1970s.

unlike the underground theorists, who say pole shift will happen again, soon, princeton scientists say nope. the earth is balanced now, thank you very much.

pole shift links

great dreams
pole shift forum
planet-x
crystal links
charles hapgood
wikipedia

Princeton U release:
Planet Earth may have 'tilted' to keep its balance, say scientists

Imagine a shift in the Earth so profound that it could force our entire planet to spin on its side after a few million years, tilting it so far that Alaska would sit at the equator. Princeton scientists have now provided the first compelling evidence that this kind of major shift may have happened in our world's distant past.

By analyzing the magnetic composition of ancient sediments found in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, Princeton University's Adam Maloof has lent credence to a 140-year-old theory regarding the way the Earth might restore its own balance if an unequal distribution of weight ever developed in its interior or on its surface.

The theory, known as true polar wander, postulates that if an object of sufficient weight -- such as a supersized volcano -- ever formed far from the equator, the force of the planet's rotation would gradually pull the heavy object away from the axis the Earth spins around. If the volcanoes, land and other masses that exist within the spinning Earth ever became sufficiently imbalanced, the planet would tilt and rotate itself until this extra weight was relocated to a point along the equator.

"The sediments we have recovered from Norway offer the first good evidence that a true polar wander event happened about 800 million years ago," said Maloof, an assistant professor of geosciences. "If we can find good corroborating evidence from other parts of the world as well, we will have a very good idea that our planet is capable of this sort of dramatic change."

Maloof's team, which includes researchers from Harvard University, the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as Princeton, will publish their findings in the Geological Society of America Bulletin on Friday, Aug. 25.
True polar wander is different from the more familiar idea of "continental drift," which is the inchwise movement of individual continents relative to one another across the Earth's surface. Polar wander can tip the entire planet on its side at a rate of perhaps several meters per year, about 10 to 100 times as fast as the continents drift due to plate tectonics. Though the poles themselves would still point in the same direction with respect to the solar system, the process could conceivably shift entire continents from the tropics to the Arctic, or vice versa, within a relatively brief geological time span.

While the idea that the continents are slowly moving in relation to one another is a well-known concept, the less familiar theory of true polar wander has been around since the mid-19th century, several decades before continental drift was ever proposed. But when the continents were proven to be moving under the influence of plate tectonics in the 1960s, it explained so many dynamic processes in the Earth's surface so well that true polar wander became an obscure subject.

"Planetary scientists still talk about polar wander for other worlds, such as Mars, where a massive buildup of volcanic rock called Tharsis sits at the Martian equator," Maloof said. "But because Earth's surface is constantly changing as the continents move and ocean crustal plates slide over and under one another, it's more difficult to find evidence of our planet twisting hundreds of millions of years ago, as Mars likely did while it was still geologically active."

However, the sediments that the team studied in Svalbard from 1999 to 2005 may have provided just such long-sought evidence. It is well known that when rock particles are sinking to the ocean floor to form layers of new sediment, tiny magnetic grains within the particles align themselves with the magnetic lines of the Earth. Once this rock hardens, it becomes a reliable record of the direction the Earth's magnetic field was pointing at the time of the rock's formation. So, if a rock has been spun around by a dramatic geological event, its magnetic field will have an apparently anomalous orientation that geophysicists like those on Maloof's team seek to explain.

"We found just such anomalies in the Svalbard sediments," Maloof said. "We made every effort to find another reason for the anomalies, such as a rapid rotation of the individual crustal plate the islands rest upon, but none of the alternatives makes as much sense as a true polar wander event when taken in the context of geochemical and sea level data from the same rocks."

The findings, he said, could possibly explain odd changes in ocean chemistry that occurred about 800 million years ago. Other similar changes in the ocean have cropped up in ancient times, Maloof said, but at these other times scientists know that an ice age was to blame.

"Scientists have found no evidence for an ice age occurring 800 million years ago, and the change in the ocean at this juncture remains one of the great mysteries in the ancient history of our planet," he said. "But if all the continents were suddenly flipped around and their rivers began carrying water and nutrients into the tropics instead of the Arctic, for example, it could produce the mysterious geochemical changes science has been trying to explain."

Because the team obtained all its data from the islands of Svalbard, Maloof said their next priority would be to seek corroborating evidence within sediments of similar age from elsewhere on the planet. This is difficult, Maloof said, because most 800-million-year-old rocks have long since disappeared. Because the Earth's crustal plates slide under one another over time, they take most of geological history back into the planet's deep interior. However, Maloof said, a site his team has located in Australia looks promising.

"We cannot be certain of these findings until we find similar patterns in rock chemistry and magnetics on other continents," Maloof said. "Rocks of the same age are preserved in the Australian interior, so we'll be visiting the site over the next two years to look for additional evidence. If we find some, we'll be far more confident about this theory's validity."

Maloof said that true polar wander was most likely to occur when the Earth's landmasses were fused together to form a single supercontinent, something that has happened at least twice in the distant past. But he said we should not worry about the planet going through a major shift again any time soon.

"If a true polar wander event has occurred in our planet's history, it's likely been when the continents formed a single mass on one side of the Earth," he said. "We don't expect there to be another event in the foreseeable future, though. The Earth's surface is pretty well balanced today."

Maloof's research was sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation.

Creative Writing MFA?

or not. a friend suggested i give it a whirl -- get a masters in creative writing. my trouble with school is: why bother when you can just write?
but there are connections to be made and other advantages to creative writing programs, they say. here is one of the best stories i've read on the topic.
author jeffrey yamaguchi's blog. the blog also links to tons of other book blogs.

Bye Crocodile Hunter

before my skinthood, when i used to have cable, i got a kick out of the crocodile hunter, steve irwin, killed by a stingray of all things. a short life, at least he died one heck of an enthusiastic guy. it seems that the spirited peeps are the ones who always go first.

here is a Steve Irwin memorial blog

from animal planet:

Statement from Billy Campbell, President, Discovery Networks, U.S. Discovery Communications, Inc.

Our entire company is deeply saddened by the tragic and sudden loss of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. Steve was beloved by millions of fans and animal lovers around the world and was one of our planet's most passionate conservationists. He has graced our air since October 1996 and was essential in building Animal Planet into a global brand.

Steve was killed during a filming expedition on the Great Barrier Reef. While we are still collecting specific details, it was a rare accident in which Steve swam over a stingray and was stung by its barb in his chest. A doctor on board Croc One, Steve's research vessel, was unable to resuscitate Steve and by the time he was reached by the rescue helicopter he had passed away.

DCI Founder and Chairman, John Hendricks said, "Steve was a larger than life force. He brought joy and learning about the natural world to millions and millions of people across the globe. He was a true friend to all of us at Discovery Communications. We extend our thoughts and prayers to Terri, Bindi and Bob Irwin as well as to the incredible staff and many friends Steve leaves behind."

DCI CEO and President, Judith McHale said, "I don't think we will ever get over the loss of Steve Irwin, a human being of enormous heart, irrepressible enthusiasm and dedication to everything he touched."

Steve's loss has been felt around the world, evident by the hundreds of heartfelt condolences that have already flooded into Steve's fan site on AnimalPlanet.com.

To honor Steve and the enormous contribution he made to the world and to our company, DCI will rename the garden space in front of Discovery's world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, the "Steve Irwin Memorial Sensory Garden."

DCI is looking at the creation of the Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter Fund, which we'll affectionately call "The Crikey Fund" to honor Steve's passion and exuberance for conservation and the animal kingdom. This fund will allow people from across the globe to make contributions in Steve's honor to support wildlife protection, education and conservation. The fund in addition to contributions by DCI will also aid Steve's Australia Zoo in Breewah, Australia as well as educational support for Bindi and Bob Irwin.

Right now, our focus is on Terri and the children. We will keep you informed as plans unfold to pay tribute to our beloved Steve Irwin.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Going to Harvard

what's it like being a student at Harvard? here's a bit from harvard's newspaper, the crimson. i lurk around there to see what i missed.

Bluefront.org

i heard about this on some obscure radio station this morning. bluefront.org talks about the ways we can stop polluting the ocean. i always feel a personal responsibility, living so close and all. as i write, thousands are at the beach right now having their last fling at the beach, leaving behind their little lunch wrappers, plastic pails, shoes... it drives me crazy.

i always wonder how people can get up from a spot and not notice the big gulp cup sitting there.

Where's jacques cousteau when we need him!

anyway, bluefront has a book: 50 ways to save the oceans.

here's a recent blog by bluefront:

A strong case can be made that the Bush administration has had the worst environmental record of any presidency. But just as Barry Bond's homerun record will always come with an asterisk relating tohis alleged steroid use, any recounting of the Bush Administration's environmental stances will now have to come with an asterisk noting the establishment of America's first great and fully-protected wilderness park in the sea, the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Monument.

I had the luck and privilege of being in Honolulu on the day the president announced that some 140,000 square miles of small islands and vast atolls and coral reefs will remain forever wild. I was speaking about my book --'50 ways to save the Ocean'(number 37 'Work to Create Wilderness Parks under the Sea') at the invitation of KAHEA an alliance of Native Hawaiian and environmental activists. KAHEA is also one of the key seaweed citizens' groups that helped win protection for this unique marine ecosystem that stretches 1,200 miles northwest from the main islands. They had turned out hundreds of people at public hearings over the last five years helping inspire Hawaii's Republican Governor and state Congressional delegation to join their call for full protection of the area. That in turn made it easier for the President to take positive action.

The Northwest Hawaiian reef system was first given transitional protection as an --'ecosystem reserve' under President Bill Clinton back in 2000 after he was informed that if he did so he would have protected more wilderness area than Teddy Roosevelt.

Still there has been fierce opposition to final protection from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, one of eight regional advisory groups that, because they're the only federal regulatory bodies exempted from conflict of Interest laws, are also dominated by the commercial and recreational fishing industries they're supposed to manage.

Because there's been so little extractive pressure in the remote islands area to date (only 8 commercial boats had permits to make the long fuel-costly journey) it retains many of the pristine characteristics of the ocean before human impacts. One of these is that, like Denali or Yellowstone national parks on land, it's a predator-dominated ecosystem with 50 percent of its biomass made up of big carnivorous critters like sharks, jacks and groupers. In the populated part of the Hawaiian chain that figure has been reduced to under five percent

One of the other great things about Northwest Hawaii is that its reef system is at the low end of temperature tolerances for tropical corals. That means it has a far better chance of surviving coral bleaching linked to fossil-fuel driven climate disruption than many other reef systems such as the Florida Keys. This cooler waters advantage was not mentioned by the President in announcing the new Monument. What the President and others did discuss was the problem of marine debris, particularly plastic waste that drifts into the area on Pacific currents. The President's interest in this and other marine topics was piqued in April when he attended a White House screening of a PBS documentary on Northwest Hawaii produced by Jean-Michael Cousteau. The screening was arranged by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair (and diving enthusiast) Jim Connaughton in collaboration with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. It was attended by a number of Marine Conservationists including Sylvia Earle. Sylvia was science director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under the President's father and spent much of the evening briefing the son on the state of the reef. Perhaps she assured him that while the rare Hawaiian monk seals that thrive in Northwest Hawaii are endangered, they are not religiously persecuted. In any case the President, who is known not to be much of a reader, was clearly inspired to action by the Cousteau documentary and subsequent discussion. After cleaning up the marine debris that has accumulated in the new monument the main threat to our vast new (and relatively cool) wilderness range will probably come from human-enhanced climate change. It's too bad the president has said he won't watch Al Gore's movie.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Tell Me Baby Behind the Scenes

thanks flo! i suppose i could just send you to flo's place but i need these.
the behind the scenes film gives so much more meaning to the song. love it.
part 1

part 2

part 3

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

it's only but a moment but listen to the sweet voice of the man, Mr. Frusciante, sounding better than ever.