News: Pelikan Hubs 2017 Locations        
Pelikan’s Hub locations for 2017 are now available on their website.  The data doesn’t reveal any big surprises and many of the same cities that we’ve seen in the past have again emerged as Hub locations.  Others are absent, making room for a few new venues.  Based on the available data, the fourth annual Hubs […]
          ASAHI INDIA GLASS LTD ANNOUNCES UNAUDITED FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER ENDED 30TH JUNE, 2017        
by Shrutee K/DNS

New Delhi – AIS (Asahi India Glass Ltd.), India’s leading integrated glass Company announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended    30th June, 2017 at its Board Meeting.

The consolidated financial performance highlights for the quarter ended 30th June, 2017 are as follows -

Sales (inclusive of Excise Duty) at Rs. 670.98 crores, reflected an increase of 8.60% over the previous period (Rs. 617.84 crores).

Operating EBIDTA i.e. Operating Earnings before Interest, Depreciation, Taxes and Amortisation was recorded at Rs. 109.85 crores registering an increase of 7.89% over the corresponding figure of Rs. 101.82 crores for the previous period.

Cash profit increased by 19.94% from Rs. 66.65 crores in Q4 FY 2016 to Rs. 79.94 crores in Q4 FY 2017.

PBT increased by 25.67% from Rs. 46.08 crores in Q1 FY2017 to Rs. 57.91 crores in Q1 FY2018.

PAT increased by 38.33% from Rs. 28.33 crores in Q1 FY2017 to Rs. 39.19 crores in Q1 FY2018.

The table below gives the details of the financial performance both on standalone and consolidated basis –  

AIS – Financial Results for the first quarter ended 30th June, 2017
(Rs. Lakhs)
Particulars
Standalone
Consolidated
2017
2016
Change (%)
2017
2016
Change (%)
Sales
65,891
61,022
7.98
67,098
61,784
8.60
Operating EBIDTA
11,314
10,427
8.51
10,985
10,182
7.89
Cash Profit
8,329
6,923
20.31
7,994
6,665
19.94
Profit Before Tax
6,202
4,963
24.96
5,791
4,608
25.67
Profit after Tax
4,145
3,058
35.55
3,919
2,833
38.33


We have also implemented some operational upgrades in our float glass plant at Roorkee leading to productivity increases from the next quarter. We also welcome the new regulations & standards from the government for architectural glass which shall be beneficial to everyone in the long term. As required by law, we have migrated to the new IndAS method of accounting and therefore, our results have been restated this quarter with minor upside on PAT coming from positives in depreciation.  Overall, we continue to look forward to consistent growth in auto and architectural segments as well as a stable macro environment.”

About AIS:
Asahi India Glass Ltd. (AIS) is a joint venture between the Labroo family, Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. of Japan, and Maruti Suzuki India Limited. AIS began operations in 1987.
AIS, today, is a leading integrated glass company in India, manufacturing a wide range of international quality automotive safety glass, float glass and architectural processed and value added glass. AIS operates under three strategic business units (SBUs), namely, Auto Glass, Architectural Glass and Consumer Glass.
Auto Glass is India's largest manufacturer of world class automotive safety glass and is, in fact, one of the largest in the field in Asia. It is the sole supplier to almost all the OEMs and has a market share of approx. 77 per cent in the Indian passenger car industry.
Architectural Glass is formed as a result of management merger of Float & Glass Solutions (Processed Glass) SBUs. This SBU manufactures quality float glass and deploys an extensive network of 4 zonal offices and over 1000 distributors. It also markets a wide range of AGC products in India as its distribution partner.
Consumer Glass SBU is Company’s interface with end users for its range of automotive and architectural glass offerings. Impeccable, customized and consumer centric solutions is the key differentiator of Consumer Glass SBU. It includes GlasXperts – a retail initiative in the Architectural Glass segment and Windshield Experts which is India’s only automotive glass repair & replacement specialist.

          Mobile emergency room arrives just in time for Alabama hospital         
none
          How improving emergency department design leads to greater hospital efficiency        
none
          1994        

From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Mon, 14 Feb 1994 12:09:05
Subject: Eccomi

Mannaggia a te! Che c'era di male nelle lettere cartacee? Signornò. "Dai, mandami un'e-mail! E' facile, divertente, vedrai!". - Intanto ho dovuto iscrivermi al laboratorio d'informatica di questa cavolo di università, dove bisogna fare domanda in carta bollata anche per un caffè al bar. Poi, io il computer manco lo so usare. A quest'ora dovrei essere in sala studio a preparare l'esame di diritto privato comparato (capirai); invece sto qua ad arrovellarmi con tastiera e mouse.

Va beh. Ti scrivo per questo: devi assolutamente registrarmi un po' di cassette di musica rock. Hai presente? Quella che tu hai sempre detto che io la snobbo. Specialmente, quanto più progressive anni '70 riesci a procurarmi. Non so, gli Yes, i Genesis, i King Crimson, quella roba là. E poi il grunge. Non i Nirvana, ché onestamente non li reggo: Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden. E magari della musica da discoteca, però di un certo livello. E ci sarebbe un pezzo di un gruppo inglese che mi ossessiona, si chiama... ce l'ho sulla punta della lingua. Basta, appena mi ricordo il titolo te lo dico.

No, non sono impazzito. E' che ho conosciuto una ragazza molto simpatica che ha questi gusti musicali. Anche molto bella, a dire la verità. Anzi, la sola cosa che le vorrei dire è proprio questa: che la trovo bellissima. Ma, tu mi conosci; non c'è verso; se provo ad affrontare l'argomento, ammutolisco senza rimedio. Così mi servono urgentemente altri argomenti di conversazione. Lei studia inglese, e fin qui posso arrangiarmi. L'ho anche accompagnata a lezione, ho studiato i suoi appunti. Sai? Sto diventando, credo, il massimo esperto di T. S. Eliot di tutto il basso Ionio reggino. Quest'estate, se non altro, potrò esibirmi nei locali sul lungomare recitando The Waste Land a memoria.

Ma tutto questo non basta. Prima o poi dovrò trovare il coraggio di invitarla a uscire una sera, che so, ad un concerto, o addirittura (non ridere) a ballare. Perché ho capito che alle matinée in Conservatorio lei non ci viene. Ebbene, è qui che subentri tu. Devi aiutarmi ad andare oltre Beethoven. Ripeto, procurami del rock, perché mi serve come il pane!

Attendo tue notizie, stammi bene.

P.S. Mi sono ricordato il titolo di quella canzone: Creep, dei Radiohead.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Mon, 21 Mar 1994 15:31:22
Subject: Re: Re: Eccomi

Grandi novità! Abbiamo occupato. Ora la nostra casa dello studente è Pensionato Universitario Occupato Autogestito. L'abbiamo deciso venerdì sera, al termine di un'agitata assemblea sugli ultimi aumenti delle rette e della mensa. Io mi sono aggiudicato la gran parte dei turni di notte in portineria: sia per evitare i turni di pulizia, sia perché mi piace fare le ore piccole e perché durante l'occupazione c'è un bel clima. Si parla, si beve, si fuma tabacco e non solo: effettivamente, non sto studiando granché. Però mi diverto.

Ieri, per esempio, verso la mezzanotte la situazione comprendeva una bottiglia di mirto, uno stereo, sei-sette persone fra cui Alice (la ragazza di cui ti ho parlato nella mia ultima lettera) e me. Il guaio è che dopo un'oretta loro sono usciti, per andare credo in discoteca, mentre io dovevo rimanere per continuare il turno; ma mi hanno lasciato la bottiglia, d'altronde semivuota, e lo stereo. O forse due bottiglie e due sterei, a quel punto non capivo più bene. Sono riuscito, in qualche modo, a togliere la cassetta dei Rage Against The Machine e a mettere su il Lamento d'Arianna di Monteverdi, che in quel momento era anche più adatto.

A proposito: mi hai registrato le cassette che ti ho chiesto? Se scendi anche tu in Calabria per le elezioni, tra una settimana me le puoi dare. Ma l'hai visto quel pagliaccio miliardario? E pensa che magari qualcuno lo voterà anche. Viviamo in un paese meraviglioso.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Fri, 15 Apr 1994, 16:05:30
Subject: buona notte al secchio

La sai una cosa? Tre anni fa, dopo il diploma, commisi un solo errore.

Allo sportello della stazione chiesi un biglietto per Milano. Sbagliai: avrei dovuto comprare un sola andata per Londra, o per Parigi, o per Berlino.

L'occupazione è finita. L'Ente per il Diritto allo Studio ha promesso che, col nuovo bilancio, ben il 3,75% delle risorse aggiuntive sarà stanziato per porre rimedio ai recenti rincari delle tariffe, compatibilmente con il principio del pareggio contabile.

Insomma: non abbiamo ottenuto un bel niente.

Ho saputo che Alice si è fidanzata. Con uno studente d'ingegneria, milanese da varie generazioni e di ottima famiglia, buon giocatore dilettante di basket. Ha una macchina svedese con doppia alimentazione, benzina verde e gas, perché bisogna proteggere l'ambiente. Un bravissimo ragazzo.

Tutto è perduto. Mentre questa ridicola nazione, consegnatasi ancora volontaria nelle mani di un tirannello squilibrato, si avvia verso il suo triste destino, io ti comunico la mia irrevocabile decisione.

Pongo rimedio al mio errore.

Espatrio.

E basta, con queste e-mail del piffero! Ti farò avere prossimamente il mio nuovo recapito estero.

La sai un'altra cosa? Siamese Dream degli Smashing Pumpkins è molto più noioso della più tediosa sinfonia di Bruckner.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Tue, 26 Apr 1994 16:28:43
Subject: scherzavo

E niente: all'estero non sono andato.

Ti spiego cos'è successo.

Sai che mi è sempre piaciuto stare sveglio fino a tardi; ultimamente sto esagerando; mi succede spesso di fare l'alba. Da un po' non scendo neanche più in sala studio, per non rischiare d'incontrare Alice. La sera me ne sto tappato in camera, ascoltando Brahms.

Un mio consiglio per i giovani: se abitate in una casa dello studente, cercate di non innamorarvi mai di un'altra persona ospite del pensionato. Soprattutto se non corrisposti.

Bene: domenica notte, mentre studiavo, ho messo su il Tristano. Così, tanto per cambiare. Ma, poco dopo il preludio, ho dovuto spegnere.

Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?


Mi si è annebbiata la vista, e ho scoperto che avevo finito i kleenex. Ho chiuso il libro. Mi sono alzato dalla sedia e sono andato a lavarmi il viso con l'acqua fredda. Poi sono tornato alla scrivania.

Ho acceso il quinto canale della radio (quello che trasmette solo classica). C'era un brano di avanguardia; una cosa che non conoscevo, una specie di collage sonoro sul tipo di Revolution 9 dei Beatles, hai presente? Folle in tumulto, suoni strani, rumori ambientali, nastri in loop, voci umane che declamano sillabe incomprensibili. Un delirio.

Roba forte! Ho attaccato lo spinotto delle cuffie alla radio e mi sono sparato il brano nelle orecchie, chiudendo gli occhi e reclinando indietro la testa. A un certo punto, dal tappeto sonoro ha cominciato a emergere una voce femminile, che sembrava pronunciare un testo coerente. Dapprima si sentiva sullo sfondo, e non si capiva bene cosa dicesse; qualcosa sul Vietnam. Man mano, la voce diventava sempre più forte, più netta, e veniva sempre più in primo piano. Alla fine, con una presenza sonora impressionante, la voce scandiva, anzi no scolpiva, queste parole: "Rimanete qui, e combattete per la vostra dignità di uomini".

"Avete ascoltato: Luigi Nono, Contrappunto dialettico alla mente", ha detto l'annunciatore.

Ho staccato lo spinotto, ho tolto le cuffie e ho spento la radio.

Ho riconsiderato la mia intenzione di espatriare. Ho pensato: ma non l'ho già fatto? Sono già emigrato. E prima di me mio padre, proprio negli anni in cui Nono componeva quel pezzo.

Quante volte ancora voglio fare le valigie?

Possibile che l'unica soluzione sia quella di scappare sempre più lontano?

L'indomani, 25 aprile, sono andato alla manifestazione. Il concentramento era alle due del pomeriggio; ma mi sono svegliato così tardi che non ho potuto neanche fare colazione. Ho preso un caffè al distributore automatico giù in atrio e sono uscito, in direzione porta Venezia.

Era previsto un corteo molto grande. E' stato immenso. Mai vista tanta gente tutta insieme! E che varietà, quanti colori, che musiche, che allegria! Quanta pioggia, anche: veniva giù a secchiate, per tutta la durata della manifestazione.



Io ero in fondo al corteo, e pensa che non sono neppure riuscito a entrare in piazza Duomo, tanto era gremita! Ho svoltato per piazza Fontana, poi per via Larga. Ho vagato per un pezzo; non so chi o cosa mi aspettassi di trovare, a parte qualcosa da mettere sotto i denti, dato che avevo una fame da lupo.

Mi sono ritrovato, non so come, in piazza Sant'Alessandro, vicino alla facoltà di lingue, che naturalmente era chiusa; c'era però un bar-tavola calda miracolosamente aperto; mi ci sono fiondato dentro.

Ero seduto sul mio sgabello, dando le spalle all'ingresso, e divoravo la mia pizzetta, ovviamente pessima come solo a Milano la sanno fare, quando mi è parso di vedere una sorta di variazione nella luce. Come se avesse improvvisamente smesso di piovere e fosse uscito un sole splendente.

Mi giro, e vedo Alice entrare nel locale e raggiungermi.

Era in tenuta da manifestazione: jeans sdruciti, camicia grunge, niente make-up (lei che di solito è così curata). I lunghi capelli biondi inumiditi dalla pioggia, che intanto continuava a scrosciare.

"Ciao", le dico. "Dov'è il tuo fidanzato?"

"Sciocco", mi ha risposto. "Oggi ci sono cose più importanti", ha detto. "C'è mezza casa dello studente qui fuori: abbiamo fatto uno striscione molto figo, lo andiamo ad attaccare al portone dell'I.S.U. Cosa fai qua, solo come un gufo? Vieni anche tu!"

Non me lo sono fatto dire due volte.

E dunque. Fra un mese ho l'esame di diritto sindacale. Materia interessante, sai? Credo che chiederò la tesi.

Per ora rimango qui.

(Racconto già pubblicato su Evulon. Ogni riferimento a fatti, persone, città, eventi, uomini politici, bar e pizzette della realtà è puramente casuale).
          Adagio in sol minore        
Roma, giugno 1984.

Una folla immensa e silenziosa riempie il centro della città. Un milione di persone, venute da tutta Italia per rendere l'ultimo saluto al segretario nazionale, abbattuto da un ictus durante un comizio. Piazza San Giovanni è troppo piccola. Le bandiere rosse sventolano nel sole, ovunque. Molti piangono.

Mentre il feretro esce dalla sede del partito, un sistema di altoparlanti inizia a diffondere una musica lamentosa, straziante.

L'Adagio di Albinoni.


Venezia, febbraio 1958.

Il freddo umido entra nelle ossa. Due uomini passeggiano lungo le Fondamenta della Misericordia, in mezzo a una fitta nebbia.

"Cusa l'è 'sta spüssa?"

Quello che ha parlato si chiama Mario e viene da Milano.

L'altro è il musicologo Andrea Mocenigo. "Quest'odore - risponde pazientemente all'amico - è l'acqua bassa. Ritirandosi, lascia scoperti i detriti sul fondo del canale. Dopo un po' ci fai l'abitudine".

"Va beh, Andrea, ma che schifo. Cià, mettiamoci al chiuso, ti offro un camparino".

Entrarono in un caffé e si sedettero. "Allora, camerata" disse Mario. "Parlami un po' delle tue ricerche".

Andrea lanciò una rapida occhiata intorno, per accertarsi che nessuno avesse sentito l'appellativo rivoltogli da Mario. Poi rispose: "Se vuoi parlare di politica, andiamo in un altro posto. Qui non è zona nostra". Gli sembrava che, da dietro il bancone, il barista li stesse già guardando male.

"Tranquillo. Niente politica. Sono venuto a Venezia solo per affari. E per rivedere qualche vecchio... amico. Lavoro per casa Ricordi, come sai. Nel tuo caso, unisco l'utile al dilettevole. Saremmo contenti di riaverti come collaboratore. Qualcuno ancora ha presente quel tuo strepitoso articolo del '40, come s'intitolava? L'arte di Verdi nell'era fascista. Poter pubblicare ancora delle robe così..."

"Altri tempi", disse Andrea.

"Altri tempi, già" concordò Mario. "Ma torneranno, torneranno, te l'assicuro... Veniamo a noi. Mi hai scritto di avere delle novità clamorose, no? E alura, tira fuori il rospo".

"No, no", Mocenigo mise le mani avanti. "Andiamoci piano. Novità grosse ancora non ne ho. Continuo a lavorare alla monografia su Vivaldi. Sarà pronta fra un anno o due. E poi c'è l'edizione delle opere di Albinoni, di cui ti ho scritto..."

"Ah, che meraviglia!" lo interruppe Mario. "Come t'invidio! Il barocco... Immergersi in quell'epoca dorata. Allora sì che regnava l'ordine: i re erano re, i nobili erano nobili, e la plebe era plebe! Ognuno al suo posto. Onore, fedeltà e disciplina! Non questa cosiddetta repubblica che c'è oggi, dove anche i figli degli operai vogliono diventare dottori. Per me un Campari e soda, tu cosa prendi?"

Era arrivata la cameriera a raccogliere le ordinazioni. Tornò poco dopo con le bevande. Mario le si rivolse ora con fare mellifluo. "Ma dica, signorina, cosa fa, lei, dopo il lavoro? Se vuole, passo a prenderla. Io sto all'Hotel Silva, ha presente? Vicino piazza San Marco. Un posto di gran lusso, sa? C'è una bellissima buvette, e si potrebbe bere insieme una flûte di champagne d'annata..."

La ragazza non rispose. Lasciò i due aperitivi sul tavolino, e si allontanò mormorando "Ma va' in mona".

"Bella gnocca, eh?" ammiccò Mario al suo amico. "Cos'è che ha detto?"

Andrea ridacchiò. "A una fanciulla / un vecchio come lei non può far nulla. Ecco cosa ti ha detto", rispose.

Mario si rabbuiò. "Lascia perdere il Mozart, quel pirlotto. Solo lui poteva farsi infinocchiare da un depravato ebreo come Da Ponte, al punto da mettere in musica versi così immorali. Se oggi non c'è più religione, è anche per colpa di gente come loro. Ma mi stavi dicendo di Albinoni. Continua".

"Ecco, mi sono immerso nella materia, come dici tu. E sai com'è, mi sono talmente immedesimato... che ho composto un pezzo. Un omaggio, un tributo, chiamalo come vuoi. Un breve adagio, per archi e organo, nello stile di Albinoni. Volevo fartelo leggere. Ecco, ce l'ho qui con me". Mocenigo si chinò, estrasse una partitura manoscritta dalla ventiquattrore e la porse a Mario.

Mario lesse con attenzione. Poi restituì la partitura ad Andrea.

"Allora?" chiese Andrea.

"Allora niente", rispose Mario. "E' bellissimo. E' un capolavoro. Lo pubblichiamo senz'altro. Però, guarda che ti sbagli. Non l'hai scritto tu, questo Adagio".

"No?" disse Andrea, stupito.

"No. Questo è un adagio inedito di Tomaso Albinoni, che faceva parte dei manoscritti del compositore, già conservati alla biblioteca di Dresda, e che tu hai fortunosamente scoperto. Come sappiamo, la biblioteca fu distrutta tredici anni fa, da un criminale bombardamento aereo angloamericano. Pochi, miseri frammenti sono scampati allo scempio, ritrovati fra le macerie. Da essi, tu hai sapientemente ricostruito questo Adagio, che ora sarà restituito alla riverente e commossa ammirazione del pubblico, quale ultima testimonianza di un'epoca di splendore ingiustamente tramontata. Spiegherai tutto nella prefazione alla partitura. Ah, tra parentesi: non preoccuparti per i diritti di copyright. Spetteranno a te, in qualità di arrangiatore. Prevedo che te ne verranno un bel po' di dané".

Andrea Mocenigo rimase senza parole. Poi balbettò: "Ma... ma sarebbe un falso bello e buono! Scusa, chi vuoi che ci creda? E quella roba, che secondo te dovrei scrivere: il 'criminale bombardamento alleato' e via dicendo! Come se la Luftwaffe, invece, sganciasse mazzi di fiori. No, mi rideranno in faccia. Non si può fare, mi spiace".

"Da che parte stai?", chiese Mario, gelido.

"Dalla tua! Ma scusami ancora, Mario. Non ti posso seguire in quello che mi proponi. Non siamo più nel 1940. C'è stata la guerra. L'occupazione tedesca, la gente se la ricorda bene, e oggi come oggi non gli puoi raccontare una storia in cui noi camerati figuriamo come le povere vittime. Senza contare che sarebbe una storia falsa, e prima o poi si verrà a sapere, e allora che figura ci faccio?"

Mario sospirò. Bevve un sorso del suo aperitivo, poi si appoggiò allo schienale. "Senti, Andrea" disse. "La nostra battaglia non comincia e non finisce oggi. Devi capire che noi lavoriamo per il lontano futuro. Hai detto bene: oggi, la gente non è bendisposta verso di noi. Per creare il Nuovo Ordine, il Reich Millenario, abbiamo dovuto procedere con estrema durezza. E, per ora, siamo stati sconfitti. Ma fra venti, trenta o quarant'anni, quando saranno scomparsi coloro che oggi ricordano certi... spiacevoli inconvenienti, allora la nostra Idea tornerà ad affascinare i popoli. Fino ad allora, si tratta di guadagnare terreno, a poco a poco, tenacemente. Partendo anche dai dettagli. E poi, il bombardamento di Dresda c'è stato per davvero, no? Cominciamo col dirlo".

"Sì, ma la storia dell'Adagio trovato fra le macerie è una balla", rispose Andrea.

Mario si spazientì. "Balla, non balla! Chi se ne frega! La verità è ciò che riesci a far passare per tale. Tu offri al pubblico una musica seducente e ben scritta, condita da una storia romantica. Vedrai che ti crederanno. Populus vult decipi, caro mio. Et decipiatur! Il popolo vuole essere ingannato. E allora, lo si inganni! E comunque" continuò Mario "se vuoi pubblicare con noi, queste sono le condizioni. E adesso usciamo, ché mi son rotto gli zebedei a stare qui".

All'uscita del locale, Mario e Andrea furono circondati da una torma di ragazzini in maschera, che improvvisarono un girotondo, e che se ne andarono solo quando Andrea, ridendo, ebbe dato loro qualche monetina. Mario, intanto, ostentava la più completa indifferenza.

"Ma tu dici che l'Adagio piacerà? Non somiglia troppo a Mascagni?", chiese Andrea.

"Ma va là! Il tuo è barocco purissimo, te lo dico io. Farà furore. Suonerà come le campane a morto, contro la robaccia negroide-bolscevica che va di moda oggi. E comunque, Mascagni era dei nostri anca lü".

Si allontanarono nella nebbia, mentre il puzzo di fogna si faceva sempre più forte.

(Pubblicato su Evulon il 21 aprile 2011. Nell'immagine: il bombardamento di Guernica del 26 aprile 1937. Fotografia tratta dalla pagina che ho linkato sopra).


          Il terremoto di Messina del 1908        
Ripubblico qui di seguito una mia recensione (risalente a sei anni fa) al libro di Giorgio Boatti, La terra trema. Messina 28 dicembre 1908. I trenta secondi che cambiarono l'Italia, non gli italiani, Mondadori, Milano 2004, pp. 414, € 18,50.

"Ore 5.20 terremoto distrusse buona parte Messina - Giudico morti molte centinaia - case crollate sgombro macerie insufficienti mezzi locali - urgono soccorsi per sgombro vettovagliamento assistenza feriti - ogni aiuto sarà insufficiente".

E' il testo del telegramma con cui il governo italiano apprese del terremoto di Messina: inviato dal comandante di una nave militare da una stazione telegrafica calabrese alle 14.50 del 28 dicembre 1908, giunse al Ministero degli Interni alle 17.35 dello stesso giorno, cioè dodici ore dopo il disastro.
In questo telegramma la valutazione dei danni è naturalmente molto sottostimata: il terremoto, dell'undicesimo grado della scala Mercalli, distrusse quasi completamente le città di Messina e Reggio Calabria e causò, secondo le statistiche ufficiali, 77.283 morti (in altre valutazioni la cifra oscilla fra le 80.000 e le 140.000 vittime).

A volte, quando ci si sofferma a considerarla, la storia del nostro paese sembra un'ininterrotta sequela di disastri. Ogni generazione ha la sua catastrofe civile da ricordare e anzi spesso più d'una, a volte d'origine naturale e a volte umana. Il copione sembra sempre lo stesso: evento tragico; prime ricostruzioni giornalistiche, concitate e a forti tinte; interviste ai superstiti; il cordoglio della nazione; le autorità dello stato si precipitano sul luogo dell'evento; polemiche sulla tempestività dei soccorsi e sulla loro efficienza; i parenti delle vittime accusano; funerali solenni; ancora polemiche finché i riflettori dei mass-media si spengono.

Questo libro di Giorgio Boatti sul terremoto di Messina si basa in gran parte su uno studio accurato dei giornali dell'epoca. Una prima constatazione è che in essi lo schema che ci è tristemente familiare appare già operante. Il governo di Giovanni Giolitti dovette ben presto difendersi dalle accuse di non aver compiuto in modo adeguato e tempestivo l'opera di soccorso delle popolazioni colpite. In particolare, l'opinione pubblica dell'epoca fu colpita dal fatto che i primi soccorsi organizzati non vennero apprestati da parte italiana, bensì, a partire dalla mattina del 29 dicembre, dagli equipaggi di squadre navali russe e inglesi che casualmente si trovavano nei pressi al momento del terremoto (equipaggi che, secondo tutte le testimonianze, svolsero la loro opera eroicamente). I primi soccorritori italiani, dell'ottavo reggimento dei Bersaglieri, provenienti da Palermo, sbarcarono solo nel pomeriggio inoltrato dello stesso giorno.

Ma la cosa che più colpisce nella reazione all'evento da parte del governo italiano non consiste tanto nella lentezza o inefficienza dei soccorsi, per la quale si possono addurre delle circostanze attenuanti: l'Italia era allora un paese povero, sottosviluppato rispetto alle altre nazioni europee; la stessa tecnologia dell'epoca non consentiva una grande rapidità di reazione; il terremoto danneggiò molto seriamente le infrastrutture e le vie di comunicazione nelle zone colpite; infine non esisteva ancora il moderno concetto di protezione civile e lo Stato italiano non era preparato ad affrontare simili emergenze.

Ciò che realmente sorprende è che fin dall'inizio, il governo e una parte della pubblica opinione sembrarono considerare il terremoto principalmente come un problema di ordine pubblico. Fra le prime preoccupazioni si registrano, infati, il timore delle epidemie e la paura dei saccheggi.

Scrive il quotidiano "La Tribuna" del 2 gennaio 1909: per impedire un'epidemia occorre "compiere l'opera distruggitrice perpetrata dal terremoto: buttare giù quel poco che resta di queste case, buttarlo giù nel modo più energico, più rapido: a colpi di cannone. Far sgomberare i pochissimi superstiti e dalle navi bombardare queste scarnificate vestigia della città (...) non v'è altra via per impedire che il luogo dov'era Messina diventi un centro d'infezione a cui nessuno osi più avvicinarsi". (p. 118). "Il Mattino" del 6-7 gennaio rilancia la stessa idea attribuendone la paternità al Re, mentre "Il Messaggero" del 6 gennaio suggerisce di ricorrere al fuoco: "Si dia in preda alle fiamme [Messina] per purificarla, o si ricostruisca con piccole case come una cittadina giapponese" (p. 119).

E' sconcertante che fra le prime misure suggerite dopo un terremoto, vi sia quella di deportare la popolazione colpita e poi bombardare la città: sembra che nel caso di Messina non si sia arrivato a tanto solo perché, a distanza di molti giorni dalla catastrofe, si continuavano a trovare dei sopravvissuti sotto le rovine. Ma si rimane ancora più stupiti quando si apprende che uno dei motivi che suggerirono queste misure estreme, fu la necessità di preservare dai furti i valori rimasti sotto le macerie e soprattutto i caveaux delle banche.

Il regio decreto del 4 gennaio 1909 stabiliva lo stato d'assedio nei territori colpiti dal terremoto e conferiva i pieni poteri per l'emergenza al generale di corpo d'armata Francesco Mazza (annota Boatti che una diceria popolare fa discendere dal suo cognome l'etimologia della locuzione siculo-calabra "non capire una mazza"). Installatosi con il suo stato maggiore a bordo di una lussuosa nave militare al largo, e senza scendere quasi mai a terra, il generale Mazza provvide a circondare Messina di un cordone sanitario di truppe, cui diede l'ordine di sparare su chiunque dall'esterno si avvicinasse alla città senza lasciapassare. Questo per impedire che bande di saccheggiatori si riversassero sul luogo del disastro.

Ecco alcuni passi tratti dal bando emanato dal generale Mazza il 10 gennaio, riportato integralmente a p. 374 del libro di Boatti: "1 - Sono sospesi fino a nuovo ordine gli scavi delle macerie da parte di privati cittadini, sia per rintracciare cadaveri, sia per recuperare valori. (...) Le persone trovate a scavare saranno considerate come ladri e deferite al tribunale di guerra. [Questo mentre ancora i parenti delle vittime cercavano i loro cari sotto le macerie, n.d.r.] Anche le truppe, nei lavori stradali che compiono, si limiteranno esclusivamente ai lavori di assestamento evitando di eseguire scavi. (...) 3 - E' proibito l'ingresso in città a tutte le persone non munite di regolare permesso rilasciato dall'autorità politica della provincia da cui provengono..."

Il 6 gennaio l'autorità militare ordina di sospendere la distribuzione di viveri ai superstiti. Saranno distribuiti viveri a bordo delle navi, solamente ai profughi che accetteranno d'imbarcarsi per lasciare la città. L'idea, commenta Boatti, è perciò quella di "utilizzare l'arma della fame e della sete per imporre (..) la desertificazione di Messina" (p. 135). Questa cinica soluzione non viene attuata perché, come accennavo sopra, alcuni dei sepolti sotto le macerie si ostinano a farsi ritrovare vivi anche dopo giorni e giorni dal terremoto; ma altresì per le perplessità espresse da una parte della pubblica opinione e anche per le proteste degli stessi messinesi: un'assemblea autoconvocata di cittadini chiede il 19 gennaio la revoca dello stato d'assedio. Stato d'assedio che - osserva con sarcasmo il corrispondente de "Il Mattino" del 6 gennaio 1909 - sembra avere lo scopo precipuo di garantire "il sonno ai morti e la biancheria, gli oggetti e i titoli di banca ai vivi" (p. 137).

In seguito Giolitti giustificò la scelta di dare priorità al recupero dei valori, adducendo il timore di speculazioni al ribasso sulla lira (p. 146). Boatti propone un'altra spiegazione: "La difesa delle proprietà, la guardia ai caveaux delle banche, il salvataggio dei lingotti che mette in secondo piano altri interventi è una linea d'azione adottata, anzi, sbandierata, perché dal disordine - anche sociale - del terremoto emerga alfine una visione dove a prevalere è l'ordine, lo status quo, l'autorità e il prestigio dell'apparato dello Stato. (...) Salvare milioni, o lingotti, dopo tutto è meno complicato che cercare di strappare alla morte, in una gara contro il tempo, migliaia di sepolti vivi" (p.155).

A questo atteggiamento grettamente calcolatore da parte degli apparati dello Stato si contrappone lo slancio di solidarietà manifestato da più parti della società. In poche settimane si raccolgono più di ventun milioni di lire (dell'epoca) in sottoscrizioni, buona parte delle quali provenienti dall'estero. La cosa non manca anzi di creare preoccupazioni nelle alte sfere: non si rischierà di creare l'abitudine all'assistenza, al farsi mantenere dallo Stato, a quello che oggi si chiama assistenzialismo? Sua Altezza Reale il Duca d'Aosta esprime autorevolmente questo cruccio quando afferma che "è immorale mantenere un'orda di vagabondi e creare oziosi" (p. 234).

Non si trattò soltanto di solidarietà finanziaria. Volontari affluirono da tutta Italia per prestare opera di soccorso. Boatti dedica particolare attenzione alla vicenda di uno di essi, il parlamentare parmense Giuseppe Micheli, un deputato cattolico che, arrivato a Messina pochi giorni dopo il terremoto, subito mise in piedi, con la collaborazione dell'Arcivescovo, un "comitato messinese di soccorso", a carattere volontario, che si rivelò un'organizzazione semiufficiale sotto molti aspetti più efficiente di quella statale (pp. 263-68). Un'altra figura che emerge è quella dell'ex sindaco socialista di Catania Giuseppe De Felice Giuffrida, che era stato protagonista pochi anni prima di una delle esperienze politico-amministrative più avanzate della Sicilia dell'epoca: da sindaco della sua città aveva promosso forme di socializzazione dei servizi pubblici (forni municipalizzati, cucine popolari), la cui esperienza risultò ora preziosa per organizzare la distribuzione dei viveri ai superstiti del terremoto (pp. 203-4).

La miseria delle regioni colpite dal terremoto impressionò molti degli osservatori e degli inviati giunti sul luogo della catastrofe. Qualcuno propose dei rimedi; ad esempio il letterato Giovanni Cena suggerì, naturalmente quale misura temporanea, quella di emigrare. "Parecchi anni di duro tirocinio all'estero (...): poi gli emigranti calabresi torneranno altri uomini e non domanderanno più nulla, fuorché il loro buon diritto di cittadini" (p. 381). (Oggi si può dire che noi calabresi abbiamo seguito il consiglio, e che gli "anni di tirocinio" sono stati effettivamente molti, anzi durano tuttora. Sarà che siamo un po' lenti ad imparare?).

Il libro di Boatti non manca di sottolineare l'imprevidenza e anche l'incoscienza generalizzata che indussero i cittadini di Messina e Reggio Calabria (le città che oggi qualcuno vorrebbe unire con un ponte lungo tre chilometri, inutile, dannoso e pericoloso) a costruire tutto, anche gli edifici pubblici, al di fuori delle più elementari regole di sicurezza. Le fotografie che corredano il volume illustrano un panorama di distruzione impressionante, ove emerge, unica costruzione intatta perché edificata con criteri antisismici, il villino di un medico messinese.

Nella sua ricognizione della pubblicistica dell'epoca, Boatti dedica due capitoli ad alcune singolari polemiche: quella (cap. XVII) fra autorità laiche e cattoliche riguardo alla sistemazione degli orfani del terremoto (il Vaticano pretendeva ovviamente che fossero tutti educati "in Cristo" nei suoi istituti), e quella concernente il destino dell'Università di Messina, di cui alcuni illustri cattedratici proposero senz'altro la chiusura, in base alla considerazione che di università ce n'erano fin troppe e che in particolare quelle meridionali erano diplomifici per giovani sfaccendati (pp. 276-7).

Boatti chiude la sua esposizione con un'osservazione suggestiva: la "meglio gioventù" dei volontari del terremoto, poco dopo, buttò via inutilmente la propria carica di idealismo e di amor patrio, la propria volontà di fare e di cambiare le cose, nelle trincee della Prima guerra mondiale. Agli ordini (aggiungo io) di quella medesima classe dirigente ignorante, ottusa, autoritaria, incapace e meschinamente arroccata nella difesa dei propri privilegi, che aveva già dato prova di sé nella gestione ufficiale dell'emergenza-terremoto e che di lì a poco "inventerà" il fascismo.

Questo testo di Giorgio Boatti fa luce su un episodio importante e poco conosciuto della nostra storia nazionale, e lo fa (a differenza della pseudo-storiografia sensazionalistica e superficiale oggi di moda) con grande scrupolosità e metodo: il volume si chiude con ben cento pagine di appendice documentaria e di note al testo. Anche solo per questo sarebbe da raccomandare. Per chi come me proviene da una delle zone disastrate, la lettura di questo libro è irrinunciabile e consente di ritrovare la radice di mali antichi.

Originariamente pubblicato il 22 febbraio 2005, qui.
          Three days in Berlin (or improving the pim user experience)        

KDE Project:

Last weekend I've met with some of our old timer KDEPIM developers and some of the newer ones who are interested in KDEPIM or related technologies in the KDAB offices in Berlin.
Being a KDAB employee for a few years already (wow, time is passing quickly), the place was familiar, the people looked familiar. The foosball table was slightly familiar, although some players changed their dresses in order to spread confusion inside the visitor's heads. That is the only reason we've lost against locals with 5-0, 5-0.
Suprisingly enough, the table wasn't used that much. Why? Because people were busy either working and talking. What they talked about I don't know too much, as I focused on some issues I planned to fix, but others can testify that Volker did not sit too much in front of his computers, but was dragged from one place to another for various discussions.
Most of us started on Friday around noon. I won't tell too much about what others did, that is mostly their problem. Especially if they were on the other side of the room and I didn't saw their screens, I can't tell if they worked at all or not. They looked like they did though. ;) I can share some things about what some sitting nearby did. See later.
As recently I became the de-facto maintainer and bugfixer for mail filters, I worked mostly on them. Unfortunately the first attempt to fix a bug failed: a bug that bothers me, although it is not the most reported one. It is about mails not being filtered for a while after a resume from hibernation. It is hard to reproduce, and although I run into it, I couldn't reproduce reliably enough and in a way I can debug it. After fighting with it and realising it won't work, I gave up. See you next time.
Meantime we had some excellent food in an Indian restaurant, then when finally everybody arrived (almost everybody to be honest, plus even some more from KDAB who didn't sign up, but show up there), we were ready to start with presenting the kdepim and Akonadi architecture. Old time pimsters Volker Krause, Kevin Krammer and Tobias Koenig helped me with it, and sometimes saved me, as my knowledge in some area proved to be superficial. We ended up with a pretty impressive drawing on the whiteboard:
Hopefully for those being on site it was understandable.

Time passed, so we went out for dinner to a Greek restaurant at the corner. Nice place, third time being there, good food (seems Berlin has only good eating places). We even saw how Germany won over Ireland. Too bad Steveire (Stephen Kelly) was not there... We continued with some more talks and hacking, then everybody went to their sleeping places.
Some left earlier, some later waiting for remote developers to show up and discuss the patches (he didn't show up).

Day 2
Next day started around 9 o'clock for some. Later for others. I continued with the filter debugging and fixing. I looked at the bugreports and tried to come up with some bugs that are both would help the users and myself. I'm selfish, I want to fix the bugs I run into. ;) One problem that bothered me for a long time is that email content from online IMAP is downloaded even if no filter for IMAP requires it (but a filter for e.g POP3 needs the full content). Now this is fixed and those who use online imap could notice a great speedup in mail syncing (depending on their filter setup). Another often reported issue was duplicating the mails, especially after spam filtering. You've ended up with a mail in the spam folder and a mail in the original place. This could be combined with a conflict dialog shown up as well for that mail. This problem actually revealed a not-well handled case down inside the Akonadi stack that was created by a reordering of filter commands in the filtering code. For those who want technical details: if there was a move action (like "move mail to spam folder") followed by a modify action (like "mark as read"), the filter reordered this to "mark as read" followed by a move. Unfortunately this exposed two problems, (mostly, but not only) IMAP specific: on IMAP you can't modify a mail, instead you create a new one and delete the old. What happened here is that a filter changed the mail (run through bogofilter/spamassasin), then the "mark as read" action was executed, which uploaded the changes, including the changed mail to the IMAP server. This caused a new ID for the item on the IMAP server. The mail with the old ID was deleted. Then the filter agent performed a move, but he had only the *old* ID, before the modifications. The move - if performed between two different resources, like IMAP and local maildir - is technically a copy followed by a delete. The copy worked fine, but the delete didn't. It tried to delete the old mail again (which was gone), not the modified version. That's how you ended up with a duplicate.
The current solution is to reorder the filtering pipeline, so the move is performed before the flag modifications. The extra benefit is that the filtered message is not uploaded again just to be deleted the next second. Speedup, less network traffic, better user experience. This doesn't fix the main problem with Akonadi, but it is an acceptable workaround. The reordering is so far only in the master branch (KDE 4.10), but the relevant code will be backported to the 4.9 branch, so it will be in 4.9.3.
And speaking of conflicts, that was the next hot topic, and one of the often reported bugs. It was mostly caused by conflicting flag changes (read/spam/important/etc), either caused by KMail itself plus the filtering or just KMail. After some discussion we agreed, that reporting conflicts on flag changes doesn't make sense, so we should not bother the user. It is not data loss, and in worst case some flag is reset. In normal case nothing wrong happens, as Akonadi is able to merge two changes in the flags (or so claims Volker).
I have to admit that this fix was not completed at the sprint, I finished it today, as I noticed more code in KDEPIM that didn't disable conflict check on flag changes.
While doing the changes, I did quite some refactoring, cleaning up the code as much as I could do for the parts I touched. The code was originally deep inside KMail (as most of other code), got extracted from it for 4.8.0, and now we are at the stage that we can make the extracted code more cleaner, we can remove some things that doesn't make sense anymore now that the filtering is not inside KMail.
While reading the bug reports, I also run into one indicating that mails arriving to an MBOX account (like /var/spool/mail/username) are not filtered automatically. Sounds like an easy bug to fix and so was it. Now they are filtered.
Finally another annoying issue was fixed: there was no indication that filtering is ongoing. Now when this happens, you can see in the KMail's progress bar.
The net result of the above: faster filtering, less annoying and useless error dialogs for the users. And according to bugzilla, 31 bugs less (some were duplicates though).

Nepomuk...one of the things that, well, so far I was always recommending for users to turn off. Slight detour here: what is Nepomuk and its relation to KMail? Nepomuk helps you to find data. It indexes all kind of data and with some queries you can find e.g every file where my name is mentioned, all email addresses from any file, etc. There is a process that goes through the akonadi data (emails, calendars, etc) and "feeds" to it for Nepomuk to be indexed. Then there are queries and code in KMail accessing Nepomuk: getting email addresses for composer's autocompletion, searching inside mail bodies, tagging your emails with custom tags, etc.
Unfortunately there are problems around it. One is that some queries ae processed quite slowly, that in turn slows down KMail, leading to poor user experience. E.g switching between mails, sending mails, etc. is slow. Or startup is slow or even blocked. I tried to fix the last part as I just run into it, but as this was my very first Nepomuk related patch, I'm not sure 100% succeeded. We found a problem with the Nepomuk API itself, and I informed Vishesh, the Nepomuk developer about it (even if I used non-blocking calls against Nepomuk, one call is blocking without question). He suggested something I might try later, although I'd be more happier if somebody with real Nepomuk knowledge could give a review of the pim Nepomuk usage.
Then there is the Akonadi feeder, that gives the data to Nepomuk. Something is not perfect there and the indexing causes a serious slowdown, where either itself or Nepomuk (actually its storage backend, virtuoso) starts to use the CPU *a lot*. This is the main reason I recommend to users to disable Nepomuk so far. We had Christian Mollekopf the author of the feeder in the sprint, and he worked on some optimizations. Hopefully this will improve the situation. Meantime we (and I) tried to convince Vishesh to use KMail, so he can see himself the problems our users face.

As a break we had another presentation, this time about KMail itself, what components make up KMail, how they are distributed. As far as I saw, this was less interesting to the audience, they rather looked at their computers and hacked on something. Luckily our KMail maintainer, Laurent Montel, is super active, but I wouldn't mind more contributors. Too bad he wasn't at the sprint.

We had a lunch at a nearby place, nothing extra, but the food was (again) good.

What did other do? Let's see what I can remember... Sune dreamed about crypto stuff and composite jobs. He worked on making some cryptographic code asynchronous and started to get faimiliar with kdepim code. I'd not say he picked up the easiest job.
Volker run around all the time, discussed various things like "spanish sync" with Alex Fiestas (see here), database backends with Martin, change recorder with David Faure (who remotely joined the meeting and got lost inside the change recorder code ... he has the solution now in his head, so be patient, we will end up with a better implementation for it that again speeds up Akonadi), job pipelines with me, and who knows what with others, as for a long time he just disappeared with a bunch of developers. They actually ended up in the lobby discussing "stuff". Milian Wolf, who is not (or not yet?) a KDEPIM developer, but mainly a KDevelop one, joined us and used massif to track down some ugly memory usage in KMail. And he did a good job in it. Previously KMail used more and more memory as you navigated between large folders (Alex mentioned some 2GB for him), while now it levels up at one point and doesn't increase. He might blog himself about, as he has also some nice graphs.
Then there were two guys from KDAB, who are old time pim developers (quiz: find their names in this blog), but they cooked something else, not related to KDEPIM, not related concretely to KDE, but to a lower level: to Qt. It is an amazingly cool stuff, but I don't want to give more details. Expect it to be presented a the Qt Developer Days, either in a talk or at the KDAB booth. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure it will be freely available what they did and KDE can enjoy it in the future.
I'm sorry that I don't remember what the rest did. In general I know that Martin Klapetek worked on the social network resources, Mark Gaiser, who recently started to work on KDEPIM stuff eagerly listened to our presentations and worked on a QML calendar application, Alex kept reporting bugs and discussed improvements with Volker, while John Layt, the "timezone KDE guy" worked on plasma calendar related issues.
As a KDE person Chani also joined us for a while, we quickly nominated her as the QML and Plasma person, so all questions related to them were immediately redirected to Chani. Jos Poortvilet was also supposed to join for some talks, but he could show up only on Sunday for personal reasons.
At the end of the day everybody was so busy, so instead of going out for eating, we just ordered some pizza. And most of us stood in the office well past midnight.

Day 3
Well, the above partially happened on Sunday. It was a shorter day for me, due to the late night standup before, and that I had to go to the airport after lunch. A lunch that wasn't exactly as planned. We went out for a Doner Kebab place that is supposed to be the best one in Berlin. It is just a small kiosk on the sidewalk in a street, but man, there was a big queue for it. On a Sunday! Locals says it is worse on weekdays. Even after almost an hour, we still had 10 persons in front of us, my departure time was approaching, so I gave up and instead bought some (quite good) chinese fast-food from a nearby place, then rushed to the airport.
A long journey awaited me with a 3 hour stopover in Munich, but luckily I had a power supply there and even some network (they offer 30 minutes/day/phone number), so I could continue on the work I started at the sprint. After flying and driving another 2.5 hours, I arrived late (or rather early) morning next day back home, and after sleept until around 10. Then I started to work again for KDAB, a work that is just as enjoyable as working for KDE. After all, the two communities has a serious overlap. ;)
That's from the sprint. If you'll be at the Qt Developer Days Europe, we might meet there. I'm looking forward for a good conference.


          G4NP Around the Globe - Zooming in on Action Against Hunger        

Every dollar and minute count to further your cause and focus on your mission. We’re pleased to highlight nonprofits who were able to make greater impact with fewer resources by using Google tools—from G Suite to Google Ad Grants–made available through Google for Nonprofits (G4NP) at no charge.

Varying in size, scope, and timezones, these nonprofits from around the world share one thing in common: utilizing the G4NP suite of tools to help their specific needs. G4NP offers nonprofit organizations across 50 countries access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Ad Grants and more at no cost. This week, we’ll take a look at how the nonprofit Action Against Hunger utilizes these tools to increase productivity, visibility, and donations,  in order to improve lives in  the communities they serve.

Action Against Hunger

In 2016 alone, Action Against Hunger provided nourishment to over 1.5 million starving children(1). In order to save lives with nutritional programs, Action Against Hunger looked to Google for aid—not for food, but for technology. Action Against Hunger now utilizes five Google technologies that have drastically improved their ability to save lives around the globe.

Raising Awareness with Google Ad Grants & Analytics

For major international emergencies, like the Ebola outbreak or the South Sudan famine, Action Against Hunger needs a way to inform people and recommend ways to get involved. With Ad Grants, the nonprofit activates targeted keywords relating to the crises to drive people to their page and empower them to take action. Google Analytics then allows them to track their effectiveness and adjust accordingly to increase engagement and improve their fundraising techniques. With this data-driven strategy and the tools’ ability to optimize campaigns, Action Against Hunger has nearly doubled funding year-over-year. In fact, Ad Grants brought 158,000 people to their website in the past year alone, raising $66,000 which is equal to treating 1,466 hungry children.

Ad Grants brought 158,000 people to their website in the past year alone, raising $66,000 which is equal to treating 1,466 hungry children.

Increasing Productivity with G Suite

When working with a global network and managing hundreds of programs abroad, collaboration and communication are key. After experiencing unnecessary latencies in their operations, Action Against Hunger has since adopted G Suite which streamlined their workflow. The nonprofit is especially fond of Gmail, Hangouts, and Drive where Action Against Hunger employees can message each other quickly, share files securely, and collaborate on Docs in real-time—avoiding duplication of efforts and saving time.

Fundraising with One Today & YouTube

To drive donations and expand awareness to broad audiences, Action Against Hunger uses One Today, a Google app that allows users to easily donate $1 or more towards causes they care about. Campaigning on One Today on World Food Day in 2016,  Action Against Hunger raised more than $1,200 in support of their cause with each dollar going directly helping those in need. Additionally, Action Against Hunger creates and shares content on YouTube to reach their global audience, and is  beginning to use the YouTube donation cards to further increase donations. The large exposure and website referrals from both YouTube and Google+ helped Action Against Hunger raise over $20,000.

Using Google products Action Against Hunger gained extra time and energy to focus on what really matters: feeding the hungry.

To read more about Action Against Hunger’s story and learn how they used Google tools so effectively, visit our Google for Nonprofits Community Stories page. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more inspirational stories about nonprofits using technology to help their cause.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers products at no charge to qualified nonprofits.



          Discover The Secrets Behind Emergency Personal Loans        
If you suffering a financial crisis then being able to get emergency personal loans may solve all your problems. There are now many online lenders that can offer an instant payday cash advance, even to people who have bad credit.

The majority of payday loans that you will be offered will be up to a maximum of $500. However, dependant on your income, some companies may be willing to offer you up to $1500. The reason that these companies like to limit your borrowing is because this is a short term loan and will usually need to be repaid within 2 to 4 weeks. Remember this type of loan is for those who are cash-strapped till payday.

The internet has made the process of securing emergency payday loans a lot more convenient. This will afford you a lot more privacy and can also speed up the process. There is no need to book appointments and wait agonisingly for a decision. In most cases, you will be required to complete an online application and hold on for an immediate answer. You may be asked to produce payslips or bank statements as proof of earnings, but these can either be faxed or scanned and sent by e-mail to the company in question.

As mentioned, the online process and acceptance can be an immediate solution. You may find that if you apply on a weekday, that the funds could be transferred to your checking account on the same day as your initial application.

These lenders are taking a high risk as there are usually no credit checks completed, hence the reason that more substantial sized loans are not offered.

Perhaps you have tried to secure a payday advance before and been declined! If you have been struggling for any amount of time and are not sure what to do next, i suggest you check out Kim Roach's Instant Payday Loan Formula.
          A Buffalo Church as a New Buffalo Brewery        


In Buffalo NY it’s hard to not be drawn to a church for a brewery right away. It’s like a brewing palace. Beautiful surroundings, ceiling heights that are unmatched, since it was for people to gather the utilities are surprisingly low (several feet of brick and mortar are even better than 6 inch of fiberglass, the temp stability is amazing) and Buffalo has a bunch of extra churches right now that could use a, well use. 

So what’s the problem? They came in a couple of flavors (Sadly the flavors are like skunked Bud Light, and not a Buffalo micro-brew). 

1) If the church is owned by the Papacy it cannot be used for a brewery, period dot. That takes out many of the primary candidates 

2) Most of the churches need some repairs, the first church we looked at required over 500k in stabilization and another 400-500k in conversation costs. The second needs 300k, but the conversion costs were down to about 100k. That is almost the entire budget for New Buffalo. In this same category, if there’s not a door I can get the tank thought I don’t want to bust down walls to get them installed, that’s not hard and fast just a bit of the preservationist that lingers. 

3) A brewery falls under a M1 Zoning, churches are a C1, the first city councilmen I tried to work with refused to talk to me about it for several  weeks before giving me a “I won’t actively try to stop you, but I’m not going to help you in anyway” kind of answer.  The Councilmen Franczyk, who’s district I wasn’t working in was excited about the idea. In any case not being zoned correctly is another huge risk for use to undertake, a 6 month wait would bankrupt us in our first year   

 4) There is no equity in churches so the bank will not lend us money to fix a church for the most part.  On top off that even as we pay down the merger costs of the church we can’t barrow against it later own to expand like a normal building. 

5) Preservation, on one hand it has some money we can tap into in, almost 50% of the stabilization or big repair costs could be deferred by public funds,  however you have to keep the building the way the rules call for which in the case of the first building, we would have had the largest tasting room in the world (not proven but I don’t know of any breweries with 12,000sqft of tasting space, and two levels with a stage in the middle) 

6) Transportation, I need to be able to bring in semi’s, right now were planning on a grain bin for the pale malt, and I have to be able to get that into the building, also just in the first year we’ll be moving a couple truckloads of beer a week. I have to be in a place they can get too. 

To sum it up, were still looking for a church that could hold us but it’s not our focus anymore. Unless we received a grant for $1million it looks like it’s going to be a goal to expand too.  I know the city has money like that, and that $5million went to the Staler. The city isn’t going to trust a young guy like me, my background is Intelligence and factory work, not history building refurbishing. 

This was a very long post, but I wanted to hit on it since several people have asked me about it. Chris Fetter has been a tremendous help, sending us updates when a non-Catholic church comes on the market.  We hope this will work out, but we can’t wait forever. 

This post is in response an exchange with http://www.communitybeerworks.com/, on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-New-Buffalo-Brewing-Co/215182275168604


          Cosa Dovresti Sapere Prima di Decidere se Trasferirti in Brasile        
Il flusso di Italiani che decide di cambiare vita all’estero aumenta sempre di più, e secondo me viene volutamente sottostimato. Uno dei paesi più gettonati è proprio il Brasile, appartenente al blocco delle economie emergenti (BRIC). Non ho una conoscenza diretta di India, Cina e Russia ma il Brasile lo conosco sufficientemente per sapere quali insidie […]
          ÐœÐ¸Ñ€Ð½Ñ‹Ð¹ воин / Peaceful Warrior (2006) BDRip 1080р        

Категория: Фильмы/HDTV/HD/Blu-Ray/MKV
Размер: 2.27 GB
Траффик: Раздают (отдают): 7,280, Скачивают (качают): 9,845
Добавлен: 2017-08-10 21:22:58
Описание: Информация о фильме
Название: Мирный воин
Оригинальное название: Peaceful Warrior
Год выхода: 2006
Жанр: Биографический, Драма, Спорт
Режиссер: Виктор Сальва / Victor Salva
В ролях: Скотт Мехловиц, Ник Нолти, Эми Смарт, Тим ДиКей, Эштон Холмс, Пол Уэсли, Б.Дж. Бритт, Агнес Брукнер, Том Тарантини, Беатрис Розен

О фильме: Дэн Миллмен — талантливый гимнаст колледжа, мечтающий о выступлении на Олимпийских играх. У него всё есть: награды, друзья по команде, быстрые мотоциклы, девушки и бесшабашные вечеринки.

Мир Дэна переворачивается с ног на голову, когда он встречает загадочного незнакомца по имени Сократ, у которого достаточно возможностей, чтоб открыть новый мир силы и понимания. После серьёзной травмы, с помощью Сократа и эфемерной молодой девушки по имени Джой, Ден понимает, что ему много чему ещё придется научиться…
Выпущено: Германия, США
Продолжительность: 02:00:44
Озвучивание: Профессиональный (многоголосый закадровый) ТВ3, Оригинальная аудиодорожка: Английский
Субтитры: русские, английские

Файл
Формат: MKV
Качество: BDRip 1080р
Видео: 1920x1072, 23,976 (24000/1001) кадра/сек, ~2049 Кбит/сек
Аудио: 48 kHz, AC3, 2 ch, 192 kbps-Профессиональный (многоголосый закадровый) ТВ3
Аудио #2: kHz, AC3 Dolby Digital, 3/2 (L,C,R,l,r) + LFE ch, 448 |Оригинальная аудиодорожка: Английский|
Инфофайл

          Ð§ÐµÑ€Ñ€Ð¸ / About Cherry (2012) BDRemux 1080p | L1        

Категория: Фильмы/HDTV/HD/Blu-Ray/MKV
Размер: 17.56 GB
Траффик: Раздают (отдают): 9,886, Скачивают (качают): 3,172
Добавлен: 2017-08-10 13:45:08
Описание: Информация о фильме
Название: Черри
Оригинальное название: About Cherry
Год выхода: 2012
Жанр: драма

Режиссер: Стивен Эллиот
В ролях: Эшли Хиншоу, Лили Тейлор, Дев Патель, Джонни Уэстон, Джеймс Франко, Хизер Грэм, Дайан Фарр, Майя Рэйнс, Винсент Пало, Элана Крауш

О фильме:
История 18-летний девушки начинающей работать в порнографическом бизнесе после того, как она переезжает в Сан-Франциско. Первое о чем ей предстоит позаботиться – какой-нибудь заработок. Новый город – новые друзья, новая судьба и пьянящая возможность легко и весело заработать, снимаясь у профессионалов. Сначала фото, потом видео - можно показать себя, пускай и полностью, без цензуры. Для раскованной симпатичной девчонки это легко.

http://s.rutor.info/imdb/pic/1945062.gif http://www.kinopoisk.ru/rating/592037.gif

Страна: США
Студия: Enderby Entertainment, Gordon Bijelonic / Datari Turner Films
Продолжительность: 01:42:11
Перевод: Любительский одноголосный, закадровый [Kerob]

Файл
Кодек: h.264
Качество: BDRemux
Видео: 1920x1080, 24598 Kbps, 23.98 fps
Звук:
AC3, 48 KHz, 6 ch ~ 448 Kb/s (русский);
DTS, 48 KHz, 6 ch ~ 1510 Kb/s (английский).
Субтитры:
Английские (полные), PGS;
Испанские (полные), PGS;
Русские (полные), SRT;
Русские (форсированные), SRT.

Семпл

Скриншоты

M.I

          Sejda offre 30 strumenti online per fare di tutto con i PDF e un software per Windows, Mac e Linux        
Sejda è una suite che offre 30 strumenti online per fare di tutto con i PDF e un software per Windows, Mac e Linux. Le funzioni principali sono: split, merge, office & PDF, edit & sign, compress & convert. Vale a dire dividere, unire, ufficio e PDF, modificare e firmare, comprimere e convertire in altri formati. Vediamo […]
          Review: Laniege Trouble Relief Cream         
Today I am join review another item part of the Laneige Trouble Relief series. Previously I wrote a review on Laneige Trouble Relief Spot Gel HERE, which I really recommended. This is time the review will be on Laneige Trouble Relief Cream! I am not sure about the price since it is a gift from my friend. But it should S$50 dollars.

Let's start off with pictures of the product itself

Front view of the box
Back view of the box

Here is the product. I think it is made of glass, but don't worry because I have dropped it a few times and it did break haha.

The inside

The picture above shows the consistency of the cream. It has a snow consistency. This is my first time using a cream with snow consistency. The consistency is like in between emulsion consistency and body cream.

Instruction sheet that comes with the bottle


The instructions are:
1) After applying toner, apply 1.2 cm in diameter of the cream
2) Gently smooth the cream from the center to the outer edge of your face

Initially I did not follow the instruction. I feel that the second step make some difference to the effectiveness of the cream, I am not sure of the scientific reason behind it though haha.

before
after
I usually apply once in while, when I feel that there is a impending breakout of my face. Example redness, slight itchiness, red bumps that are going to emerge as acne. I apply it after I cleansing my face. From the picture, although the cream looks kinda clumpy it is easy to spread on you face evenly. When you first apply it, it will feel very slightly heavy and oily but after it filtrates into your skin it will not be oily at all. In fact it filtrates in pretty fast. I can usually see improvement in 1-2 days time. The next morning after I applied it on my skin, my T-zone will be less red/inflamed. It also reduces the bumps on my skin and prevent acne from breaking out on my skin. These are most likely due to the anti-bacterial properties of the cream. It also has moisturising effect, but i felt that is less moisturising compared to the emulsion. But it could also because I did not apply any toner.

I will rate this product 5/5.

          WhatsApp spam used by ASProx Botnet to Deliver Kuluoz Malware        

5448944597_8e70da64ab_o.png

Photo by: Sean MacEntee




As you probably know, Facebook bought WhatsApp for an obscene amount of money in stock earlier this year. What you might not know is that there's a lot of WhatsApp spam that is being used by ASProx Botnet to deliver nasty Kuluoz malware to unsuspecting  users. This is not good news any way you look at the situation. Keep reading if you want to know more about this as well as what you should do to stay safe.


Here's a look at some of the dates when the WhatsApp problem has made Malcovery's "Today's Top Threats" list.


  1. SEPTEMBER 19, 23, 24, 25, 26
  2. OCTOBER 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
  3. NOVEMBER 14
  4. JANUARY 9, 13, 15, 20, 28


Looking at that list, it's easy to start wondering why nothing has been done sooner about the problem. Additionally, it really makes you wonder why Facebook paid so much for the company by offering them stock options.


Going back to November of last year, ComputerWorld published an article about how WhatsApp was one of the top five brands imitated to deliver malware with spam. That's quite a bit of recognition - and not in a good way.


Here's a look at some specific ways you can stay safe and avoid Kuluoz and other malware.

  • Use Protection - The very first thing you want to do is make sure you're using some type of protection. The good news is that you don't need to spend a lot of money to get decent anti-virus software these days.
  • Update Protection - Having protection software is nice, but if you never update it at all, you're going to find that there's still a high chance your computer will get infected and quit working correctly.
  • Be Suspicious - If you're not sure of something online, you want to err on the side of caution and not take any unnecessary risks. Even with a brand like WhatsApp - that's connected to Facebook now - you want to be very careful and know what you're doing.
  • Educate Yourself - Last but most certainly not least, you should make an effort to stay informed about how malware works and the steps you can take to protect yourself from it whenever possible. This is really the best way you can make sure your computer stays safe and virus free.


Following the advice above, there's a good chance you'll be able to avoid WhatsApp spam and not get infected with Kuluoz malware. Still, it's a good idea to pay attention and update your anti-virus software all the time. If you have any experience with WhatsApp that's negative, please leave us a comment below. 







Guest Post - 
 
Written by: Jenny Corteza deals with staff outsourcing all the time. She's a writer and dealing with editors and others can sometimes be a problem. Still, she loves writing articles about technology. Go figure.






          â€œHay que declarar en estado de emergencia la salud de los niños”        
Miembro directivo del Grupo Impulsor Inversión en la Infancia, el padre Gastón Garatea habla sobre lo que espera del 4to Encuentro Nacional por la Primera Infancia, organizado por esta iniciativa ciudadana. Reflexiona sobre la situación de los niños, la falta de conciencia en las autoridades y la población acerca de la importancia de terminar con males como la anemia y la desnutrición y atender a la infancia para asegurarle un pleno desarrollo. También señala lo que debería hacer el gobierno en este tema.
          C'est pour ton bien, Cindy Costes        
Je ne sais plus trop comment cette nouvelle est arrivée dans ma PAL numérique (tellement de bouquin là-dedans que si je devais me souvenir du pourquoi pour tous...). N'empêche, elle a dut me tilter à un moment donné. Et du coup, comme j'avais envie d'une lecture rapide, c'est tombé sur elle. Puis j'aime bien la couverture

C'est pour ton bien, Cindy Costes

Editeur : Autoédition
Collection : /
Année de parution : 2016
Format : epub

 A lire si :
- Vous voulez une lecture rapide (une vingtaine de page en gros)
- Vous aimez les moments de vie

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous voulez du long
- Vous aimez avoir un background.

Présentation de l'auteur :

Laetitia est une jeune femme d'aujourd'hui, une battante. Bien entourée par ses collègues, sa meilleure amie et sa mère....
Bien entourée ? Oui... effectivement, tous sont là pour la conseiller, la pousser à prendre les bonnes décisions que ce soit dans la vie amoureuse ou professionnelle.
Mais finalement, qui sont-ils pour juger et dire « ce qui est bon » ?
Avec une écriture mature, pleine de tendresse pour son personnage principale, Cindy Costes nous offre une tranche de vie, parfois douloureuse mais belle et lucide....

Mon avis

Imaginez-vous mère célibataire, travailleuse un peu trop acharnée, ayant à peine rompue avec son copain, lui-même dépressif. C'est ce qu'il se passe dans la vie de Laeti en ce moment. Or, si elle arrive à tout mener de front, il semble que cela ne soit pas l'avis de sa meilleure amie, Gaby et de sa mère. Les deux femmes veulent à tout prix chapeauter sa vie, l'incitant à changer de boulot par exemple. Le tout pour son propre bien. Et elle laisse faire, parce qu'elle n'a pas envie de se prendre la tête, parce que peut-être aussi que ça lui va pas trop mal comme situation. Situation qu'on est beaucoup à avoir connu, je suppose. Mais voilà, elle découvre qu'elle est enceinte. Et là, pas mal de chose vont changer pour elle. Parce que Gaby ne lui donne pas le choix. C'est pour son bien, elle travaille dur, elle n'a pas de mec, alors, elle va avorter. Point. D'ailleurs, elle lui prend même un rendez-vous pour ça. J'ai envie de dire "super la copine quand même...".

La nouvelle est courte, pas forcément sans défaut mais elle tape plutôt bien. On se reconnait pas mal en Laeti qui a somme toute une vie normale. Les amis trop envahissants, les mères qui continuent à diriger notre vie... C'est l'une des forces de la nouvelle d'ailleurs, ce personnage de "madame tout le monde" qui soudain va se rebeller. Pour elle, se sera parce qu'elle est enceinte et que non, elle n'a pas envie de suivre le choix que l'on veut faire pour elle. J'ai apprécié d'ailleurs qu'elle ne parte pas bille en tête juste pour être en rébellion. Une petite discussion avec la gynécologue sur le choix qui est intéressante bien que courte et hop, voilà notre Laetitia qui prend sa décision pour son bien à elle en son âme et conscience.

La nouvelle est agréable à lire, surtout qu'on arrive facilement à s'identifier à la jeune femme. Le style est fluide, n'en fait pas trop. On s'immerge rapidement et si la nouvelle est sans surprise, elle permet de passer un moment sympathique. Après, n'attendez rien de foufou ou de vraiment surprenant hein, ce n'est pas vraiment le but, il me semble. 



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blog entry 60
blog entry 82


blog entry 86
                  
El lugar del evento fue El Casino Metropilitano, ubicado en el centro histórico de la Ciudad de México; el Casino Metropolitano consiste en un enorme e impresionante galerón estilo "under ground", oculto tras portones de madera tallada y vestíbulos de mármol.
En este lugar se llevan a cabo exposiciones de artistas emergentes, donde se mezclan la arquitectura del lugar con las instalaciones y obras que se presentan también ha servido para eventos privados como pasarelas y fiestas de inaguración de festivales.
          Protecting Our Houses of Worship: Guest Column by Security Expert / Retired NYPD Detective Sergeant         

By ALAN SCHISSEL

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

  • Integrated Security Services

  • According to the Washington Post, “it’s been a bad 2017 for Jews.” During the month of January, 48 bomb threats were called in to Jewish community centers across the country. Also last month, a neo-Nazi made national news by promising to hold a march in Whitefish, Montana to intimidate the town’s small Jewish population.

    This, of course, was followed by another unprecedented press conference by our President during which two reporters were moved to ask Mr. Trump about the rise in anti-Semitism. Many of us were aghast at the President’s rude and dismissive response, and his unwillingness to address the question seriously. The fact is, the country is experiencing an alarming increase of anti-Semitic incidents, and this has been trending upward since 2015. A security report issued by the Department of Homeland Security on protecting houses of worship stated that the United States has approximately 345,000 religious congregations representing 230 denominational groups and roughly 150 million members. Despite being sanctuaries from the troubles of the world, houses of worship have also been targets as violence has spiked across the country in recent years. The killing of nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina was the largest mass shooting in a house of worship since 1991, when nine people were shot at the Wat Promkunaram Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona, northwest of Phoenix.

    [Under relentless pressure, the President subsequently denounced anti-Semitism.]

  • Empathy and action: Muslims unite to help fix vandalized Jewish cemeteries


  • The intent of this column is to generate awareness and provide a short guide which contains security practices for religious institutions, parishioners and our non religious communities to help deter threats, mitigate hazards and risks, and minimize the damage caused by an incident in or around a house of worship, including mass casualty events.

    I preface with the word “short” because there is a wide range of methods from programmatic and procedural considerations to technological enhancements that religious facilities and their leadership may consider implementing based upon the most likely threats to their facilities and their available resources. Basic security principals would suggest taking a blended approach to security and safety with the goal of hardening the facility to deter, detect and/or delay a criminal occurrence before it happens. The next steps are equally important and this is where lives are saved and mass casualties are reduced. Selecting the appropriate response to a threat or armed intrusion will help facilitate a safe transition into an effective recovery and restoration of services mode.

    Identifying Your Threats & Vulnerabilities

    Identifying and evaluating a known or potential threat to a given facility is the first step of a security assessment. The results of which will guide the process of developing a security plan. A proper readiness plan will aim to deter a threat or mitigate a threat by reducing the religious facility’s vulnerability to those threats.

    Natural Hazards vs. Targeted Violence

    As stated before, all life safety solutions should be designed using a blended approach to managing risk. Protecting a religious facility means your emergency management plan(s) must address an all-hazard approach to both natural hazards, e.g., infectious diseases and illnesses, fire, and seismic and weather-related events (hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods) as well as targeted attacks. Spontaneous and pre-planned attacks are likely to occur by individual(s) who use firearms; improvised explosive devices (IEDs); vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs); chemical, biological, or radiological attacks; or arson in order to inflict a number of casualties and damage to religious facilities.

    Protective Measures

    As previously mentioned earlier, a house of worship environment is managed by creating layers of protective measures in collaboration with state and local partners that allow religious institutions to deter, detect and delay threats. These layers also allow an institution to consider a threat as soon as possible and to more effectively respond to, further deter, eliminate or mitigate that threat.

    • Technological sensors such as CCTV surveillance cameras or alarms (fire, smoke, wind, and intrusion detection) will trigger informed decision-making.

    • Barriers, such as locked doors or fixed barriers or uniform security personnel should be in place to deter or delay a threat and afford more time for effective decision making.

    • Having the correct inbound and outbound communication network in place will influence a number key decisions. Time, or the lack of time, is a principle disrupter of effective decision-making. Sound communication strategies such as emergency email blasts, voice activated alert systems, and silent alert systems help to improve response to and during a crisis. An effective communication protocol should expand the window of time available to leaders to make sound decisions.

    Additional Measures to Consider:

    • Reporting Procedures

    • Establishing Collaborative Planning Teams

    • Starting an Emergency Operations Plan

    • Define Roles and Responsibilities

    • Notification Procedures

    • Evacuation Lockdown and Shelter‐In‐Place Policies and Procedures

    • Plans for Diverse Needs of Children and Staff

    • Necessary Equipment and Supplies

    • Common Vocabulary

    • Emergency Drills

    Call us at (212) 808-4153, or write us to tell what you think or how we can be of more assistance and remember, always dial 911 first in an emergency!







  • Integrated Security Services


  • About Alan Schissel










  • Cool Justice Editor’s Note: By way of disclosure, Cool Justice is an occasional denizen of Integrated’s Hartford office and once in a while even does a little work …

  • more COOL JUSTICE

  • Hartford PI Stars in Network Real-Life Manhunt Show

  •           [updated*] Suggested reading and listening, 2017: THE BLACK BACK-UPS and other poems, by Kate Rushin        



    University of St. Joseph students, West Hartford, CT,
    With Kate Rushin Following Poetry Workshop, 2-22-17 ...






    usjct This afternoon some of our students had the pleasure of meeting successful writer, teacher, and feminist Kate Rushin. We had the pleasure of hearing her read The Bridge Poem along with many others. Thank you Kate for joining us here at USJ today! #usjct #poetry #katerushin

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  • Upcoming: Kate Reads Friday, Feb. 24 With Nat Reeves Jazz Combo, 'Nat Reeves State of Emergency,'









    At The Artists Collective, 1200 Albany Ave. (corner of Woodland Street) in Hartford.


  • Details



  • ---
    Podcast

    via










  • Kate joins Colin’s WNPR Nose panel for discussion of "Manchester By The Sea"















  • * Ongoing updates to include
    upcoming appearances






    Plz see links below for poems, articles


  • Leisure listening, Kate Rushin on NPR


  • The Bridge Poem


  • Kate's website






  • News reports:

  • Hartford Courant


  • Harvard Crimson




  • Photos by BOB THIESFIELD

    In photo above the book jacket, Kate fired up a diverse crowd of poets, writers, boxers, students, business leaders, cops and academics with her version of the Ali Shuffle. The event took place Jan. 15, 2010 at The Hartford Club.

    Directly above, Kate joins colleagues Gaby Calvocoressi and Binnie Klein, taking a breather after many rounds of poetry and prose. The festivities -- including writing workshops, two bands and a boxing exhibition -- drew about 150 guests to the Hartford Club
    .


              Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        

    UPDATES:





  • Water Protector Legal Collective Files Suit for Excessive Force against Peaceful Protesters


  • Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields’ for Dakota Pipeline Protesters



  • Oceti Sakowin encampment on Oct. 6, 2016. The proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux is Oceti Sakowin, (Och-et-eeshak-oh-win) meaning Seven Council Fires.








    Story and Photos by John Briggs

    Cool Justice Editor's Note: OK to repost, courtesy of John Briggs and The Cool Justice Report.







    Corporate – Government Alliance Versus the American People

    Native Americans from tribes across the country have gathered on the windswept plains of North Dakota to pray with Mother Earth to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from pumping 500,000 gallons of oil a day beneath the Missouri River. The natives know the pipeline will most certainly leak or break, as have most U.S. pipelines, fouling the water for the Great Sioux Nation and 18 million non-Natives downstream.

    The standoff -- which began in April -- continues as a new U.S. administration ascends to power with a president-elect who campaigned denying human-caused climate change and threatening the Paris Climate accords. This remains the overriding reality despite a mini walk back by Donald Trump pledging an open mind to The New York Times this week.

    Standing Rock illuminates the brazen alliance that has developed between corporate and government interests. Viewed from the front lines, the law has been turned into a fig leaf for repression and suppression. Only the discipline and spiritual clarity of the water protectors and the native elders has kept people from being killed or seriously injured since April when the movement began.

    The fused police-DAPL force is doing everything it can to incite a violent reaction from the resisters so as to crack down, clear the camps, imprison, or even gun down the natives. More than one commentator has found the atmosphere at Standing Rock similar to what led to the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 when 300 Sioux were murdered by government troops who mistook their prayerful Ghost Dance for a war dance.

    A great deal is at issue at Standing Rock. The Sioux and their numerous native and non-native allies face a militarized force whose composition tells us something dark about the complex façade that U.S. democracy has become and suggests the proto-fascist zombi lurking beneath. More deeply, Standing Rock also emblemizes a struggle that is taking place at this moment in human history between two distinct modes of human consciousness.

    One mode is the familiar anthropocentric (human-centered) consciousness that the dominant culture most of us were born into favors—a consciousness that assumes reality is a collection of objects to be extracted, owned, and branded. Humans are the focus of this consciousness, meaning that our concerns about climate change focus primarily on the fate of our own species.

    Distinct from this anthropocentric mind-set is a second, ancient and spiritual mode of awareness that understands that the earth and its landscapes are not objects; they are relationships, including the tangle of relationships that gave us birth. This ancient mode of consciousness is potential in everyone, but for most it has been buried beneath the piles of conceptual objects that we have come to believe constitute our reality.

    The Indigenous Peoples gathered at Standing Rock are guided by this ancient, holistic, earth-mind consciousness, and so they understand that humans are not the most valuable living objects on the planet: we are not in control of the planet; it is not our job to manage nature; rather, our sacred task is to work with Mother Earth and other beings as members of Earth’s family. If we don’t, Mother Earth will make us face this spiritual truth one way or another.

    Guided by their ancient, earth-mind awareness, Native Americans have taken up a role as “water protectors.” “Mni Wiconi, Water is Life” is the slogan of the Standing Rock movement.

    Every day scores of Sioux from North Dakota, South Dakota and nearby states, along with Paiute, Shoshoni, Diné, and a sampling of other Natives from the 300 or so tribes whose flags fly at the Standing Rock encampments set out to pipeline construction sites in a convoy to engage in “actions” on the “front lines.”

    There the protectors sing and pray in the face of physical harassment and arrests by heavily armed police fused with a corporate security force.

    DAPL and their overlord company, Energy Transfer Partners, have lavished campaign contributions on politicians in North Dakota and the U.S. Congress so that they could use the state’s eminent domain powers to force purchase of land for the pipeline all across North Dakota, beginning in the Bakken fields in the northwest corner of the state where the fracked crude oil is extracted. Similar eminent domain arrangements were achieved in other states through which the 1,200-mile line traverses before reaching a river port in Illinois. The company promised Congress and the public that the pipeline would carry oil for 100 percent domestic use only, but it is clear from reporting done by the website The Intercept that the oil will be sold on international markets.

  • Though Promised for Domestic Use, Dakota Access Pipeline May Fuel Oil Exports


  • The DAPL line, now virtually complete except for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in the link that crosses under the Missouri River, passes just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The DAPL construction runs through sacred burial and archeological grounds that the Lakota people were given free access to by treaties with the U.S. Government in the 19th Century. In mounting their resistance to the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux have been turned into “trespassers on their own land.”

    In late August, the tribe’s lawyers filed a stop work petition in federal court detailing areas where sacred sites would be disturbed if construction continued on its planned trajectory. The federal judge routinely forwarded a copy of the filing to DAPL. Over Labor Day weekend, when the company would not have been expected to work, pipeline crews leapfrogged to the disputed sacred and preemptively bulldozed them under. Too late, the judge granted the Sioux an emergency restraining order, but, then in a curious move, allowed construction in some areas where sacred sites have been discovered. DAPL has ignored a request from the Obama administration not to work in buffer areas on either side of the river. No fines have been imposed for intentionally bulldozing the disputed sacred sites.

  • The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline


  • Burial ground at center of police confrontations is known historical site


  • In recent live-stream videos from the front lines, DAPL-police snipers can be seen perched on top of a sacred mound called Turtle Island, their high-powered rifle crosshairs trained on the water protectors who are standing in prayer in the frigid lake below.

    North Dakota wants the federal government to pick up the tab for the massive expenditures required to keep the Native Americans under their guns. Alternatively, the CEO of Energy Transfers, Kelcy Warren, has offered to pick up the millions-of-dollars tab.

  • ETP CEO Kelcy Warren Says They Have Offered to Pay Protest Related Expenses


  • Native media have documented that DAPL has already been supplying military-style equipment, drones, armored vehicles, riot gear, water canons, concussion grenades and other armaments. The tax-payer-funded and corporate-sponsored front lines phalanx is led by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, which has local jurisdiction, reinforced by North Dakota State Troopers, North Dakota National Guard units, sheriffs and police from six nearby states—all interpenetrated by DAPL security (while the FBI lurks in the background). A contingent of Hennepin County, Minnesota, Sheriffs’ Deputies were recalled following protests back home. Residents in the state of Ohio are writing letters and calling legislators to express their distress that their law enforcement has been enlisted into this repressive force.

  • Hennepin Co. sheriff's deputies leave Standing Rock protest


  • Native media’s live stream videos show DAPL security teams in mirror-visor helmets and black ops body armor with no identification, mingling with the police, sometimes directing them when and who to mace or pepper spray. They point out media making video for arrest. The big fossil fuel company evidently has plenty of experience dealing with protestors around the world. In their blank, reflecting visors we can see the soulless Darth Vader face of the government-corporate proto-fascist state the U.S. is becoming.

    Of course, this struggle with the Wasi’chu (Lakota word for the white man, meaning literally “takes too much”) is an old story for Native-Americans. In the 18th and 19th centuries it took the form of the Sioux nations trying to hold back the tsunami of colonizers flooding into their ancestral lands, occupying and despoiling them. The big difference now is that the fire-power of the state (think Custer’s 7th Cavalry or present day militarized police) has been fused with vast profit centers dependent for their existence on plundering the earth in the name of energy-squandering lifestyle survival.

    The provocations the water protectors endure take many forms. There is the psychological pressure of constant surveillance: the heavy police presence on the roads around tribal and reservation lands, the DPLA helicopter and a small plane that circle constantly above the encampments; there is the Bureau of Indian Affairs station set up on a knoll to suck out data from the cell phones of anyone in the area. There is the pepper spraying and tasing of water protectors who are praying. There is the more recent blasting of the protectors with freezing water canons in sub zero weather. There is the constant threat of weapons pointed at them. One twitching trigger finger could set off a slaughter.

    The water protectors are unarmed. The resistance movement does not allow guns in the encampments. One day, at one of the front line actions, an armed man showed up with a pistol and began firing. Possibly he was paid by DAPL to create an incident. The Natives are aware of paid provocateurs or agitators passing through the camps, pulling dirty tricks, looking to start something. Antimedia reported about the man with the gun: “According to an official statement from the tribe, the man fired several shots from his gun before being peacefully apprehended by tribal police. Witnesses at the scene say he pointed his gun at several protesters. The man was clearly trying to provoke violence that could later be used to demonize protesters who have so far remained peaceful.”

    The news site added, “The Morton County Sheriff’s Department circulated a false report claiming the man was shot, presumably by protesters… [As images show], the man was not harmed. The Sheriff’s Department has since retracted that report. Anti-Media’s attempts to obtain clarifying comments from Morton County Sheriffs were ignored.”

  • Dakota Access Caught Infiltrating Protests to Incite Violence, Funding Trolls Online


  • On a hill overlooking Oceti Sakowin, the largest of the Standing Rock encampments, an old army tent houses the field office of the rotating teams of lawyers who come to Standing Rock to help out. They use donations made to the resistance to bail out protectors who have been arrested; they try to negotiate with the police so the protectors can be allowed to pray. The constant arrests on trumped-up charges are an ongoing harassment—people maced or beaten, violently thrown to the ground and zip-tied. Often activists are charged with trespass and “riot” on the Morton County Sheriff’s novel legal theory that if several people are arrested for trespass that must signify that they were engaged in a riot.

    All this naturally requires court time and money to defend, incarceration in usually unpleasant conditions, including dog kennels. (Though the white allies who are arrested seem to get better treatment.)

    Arrests are to be expected as a consequence of civil disobedience. But some arrests are directed at chilling speech. One lawyer who came to Standing Rock from the Oregon-based Civil Liberties Defense Center, an activist defense nonprofit primarily involved in climate protests, https://cldc.org/ told Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network that often after the day’s action was over, police would stop the last cars in the caravan. They would then make “snatch and grab” arrests, impounding the cars of people who had come to support the water protectors but had no expectation that they’d be arrested when the action was over and the police told them to leave. They have to pay heavy fines ($900) to get their cars back. She said the arrests and impoundment fines for their cars are unlawful. “The intention with those types of actions is to scare out-of-towners from being comfortable coming to these actions. So they’re trying to chill the rights of others to come and participate in these protests.”

  • Environmental Lawyer Explains Standing Rock Legal Issues




  • The authorities regularly characterize the natives as terrorists, and local radio spreads false rumors of farm animals being slaughtered and stolen, reported vandalism—the kind of thing you would expect from psychologically projected homesteader fears about savage Indians of earlier centuries.

    Yes, Magazine on Oct. 31 reported: “The county sheriff is claiming the water protectors were violent and that police were stopping a riot. But hours of live video feed from people caught in the confrontation showed instead a military-style assault on unarmed people: police beating people with batons, police with assault rifles, chemical mace, guns firing rubber bullets and beanbag rounds, tasers.”

  • Why Police From 7 Different States Invaded a Standing Rock Camp—and Other Questions


  • The UN has sent human rights observers. According to Salon, Nov. 16, 2016: “The U.N. special rapporteur said that American law enforcement officials, private security firms and the North Dakota National Guard have used unjustified force against protesters.

    “ ‘This is a troubling response to people who are taking action to protect natural resources and ancestral territory in the face of profit-seeking activity,’ [Maina] Kiai [U.N. special rapporteur] said in his statement, which was issued by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and was endorsed by several other U.N. experts.

  • Native Americans facing excessive force in North Dakota pipeline protests – UN expert


  • “At least 400 activists have been detained and often have been held in ‘inhuman and degrading conditions in detention,’ Kiai added. Some indigenous protesters have said they were treated like animals and even held in dog kennels.

  • Dakota pipeline protesters say they were detained in dog kennels; 268 arrested in week of police crackdown


  • “ ‘Marking people with numbers and detaining them in overcrowded cages, on the bare concrete floor, without being provided with medical care, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment,’ the U.N. expert said.

    “ ‘The excessive use of State security apparatus to suppress protest against corporate activities that are alleged to violate human rights is wrong,’ he continued, noting that it violates U.N. guidelines on business and human rights.

    “Amnesty International USA, which has repeatedly criticized authorities for not respecting the rights of protesters, issued another statement on Tuesday noting that U.S. authorities had put up roadblocks to prevent journalists and human rights observers from documenting the protests and the official response.”

  • U.N. experts call for halt in Dakota Access pipeline, blast “excessive force” against protesters


  • Living on Earth reporter Sandy Tolan reflected: “You know, at times I felt I was back reporting in the West Bank, and not the Northern Plains…”

  • Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux


  • The Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians

    Compare the government response at Standing Rock with the response occasioned by Ammon Bundy and his gang of armed militants when they occupied Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for over a month in January 2016. Imagine if the Bundy gang had been pepper sprayed, beaten, hit with water cannon, tased. But the Bundy crew were taking over the refuge to proclaim their belief that public lands should be given free to the profit-making private ranching business. In other words, the Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians.

    The mainstream corporate media has largely ignored the stand-off at Standing Rock. Rallies have taken place around the world at places like Tokyo, Stockholm, and Auckland, but the sad truth is many foreigners have heard more about Standing Rock than Americans have. Not surprising. The news editors, working for corporate media conglomerates, choose what they believe we should know and what fits the larger corporate agenda, and so they devote massively more play to Brad Pitt, to the gossipy politics of who’s-on-first, and to whatever the latest glittering consumer thing is than they do to climate change and issues highlighted by the poor and the powerless, like Standing Rock. What coverage that does exist is usually cursory and misleading.

    Fortunately, alternative media have been on the scene and active at Standing Rock. As someone who taught journalism for more nearly 20 years, it has been refreshing for me to see what the alternative press is accomplishing.

    Amy Goodman of the webcast Democracy Now brought the prayer-resistance movement to national attention over the summer. She was arrested and charged with riot in absentia for her live reports of water protectors being set upon by dogs. The charge was later dismissed in court.

    Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network has done searching interviews and incisive commentary from the scene.

    But my absolute favorite news source at Standing Rock is Myron Dewey’s Digital Smoke Signals. Dewey does updates every day, which he posts on Facebook. I highly recommend anyone who has a Facebook account to “follow” him. I went to Standing Rock on Oct. 4-11 with two friends and I have since been able to keep up with developments on the ground through Dewey’s Facebook broadcasts. He posts live stream unedited clips that constitute what he calls an ongoing “documentation” of what is happening day-to-day at the movement.

    Here is Dewey at night standing on a hillside next to the Oceti Sakowin encampment. His face appears in the glow of his screen. Then he’s panning and zooming in on a large grassfire as he’s telling us about it. His finger appears in the screen and points out where the fire started. He says the helicopter which constantly circulates over the camp suddenly disappeared 20 minutes before they saw the first flames. He zooms to the area where he and the person he is with first spotted the fire. He says, “It looked like someone using a drip torch.” He says they called 911, but it’s been over an hour and the Morton County Fire Department hasn’t shown up. He tells the people in the camp, his audience, not to worry, though. It looks like the fire was started by DAPL employees to scare them or hurt them. But the Oceti Sakowin is full of Indians who supplement their income by wild-land firefighting, work that also benefits Mother Earth; he mentions that he is himself a “hotshot” firefighter [one of the elite crews]. He and his fellow firefighters can tell by the wind direction that the fire won’t harm the camp.

    Now here’s Dewey on a bright morning walking along the road by Oceti Sakowin. A young man appears on screen, and Dewey asks him who he is and why he’s here. He’s from the Paiute nation. “I’m here to protect the water,” he says. Dewey asks him to sing a Paiute song. The young man closes his eyes and sings.

    In another nighttime broadcast find we ourselves looking through a car windshield, headlights illuminating the highway, centerlines whizzing by. We hear voices talking in the backseat. The car drives on and on. We’re just watching the road. Then ahead is a police roadblock. The police van looms. Dewey gets out with his camera and calls over to the officers, asks them where they’re from, inquires about where the road blocks are, what are the open routes. At one level it’s a mundane exchange between a citizen and police, but you experience the edginess of the situation. More deeply, you feel the riskiness and pathos that is involved any human interaction. Dewey firmly exercises his right to have these protect-and-serve police respond to him civilly; he is cordial and respectful in a way that reinforces to them and to his viewers that he is after all not their enemy but a fellow human being. Dewey asks more questions and the lead officer says he doesn’t want to be filmed; Dewey offers to turn his camera away from them and onto himself. The distant officers disappear from the screen and Dewey’s face fills it. The contact officer walks nearer; we can hear his voice. Dewey can’t resist a joke, though. He asks the officer if he’s sure he doesn’t want to become famous by putting his face on Dewey’s screen? You realize these are just guys doing their job. Dewey understands that, but he also wants to educate them about the water protectors’ mission. He never misses an opportunity to educate his adversary, as well as his own people about the larger dimensions of the Standing Rock resistance. When he gets back in the car, someone in the back seat says “Let’s get out of here; this is enemy territory.” Dewey laughs, turning the car around, “It’s not enemy territory.”

    I believe you learn more about Standing Rock by watching Dewey’s unedited video than you ever could from watching any number of dramatically produced, commercially constricted reports on CNN, complete with the drumb-drumb latest crisis theme music.

    Dewey explains to his viewers that what they’re seeing is a “documentation” that’s not edited. “It’s not scripted. It’s not acted out.”

    After a month of watching Dewey’s daily reports I realize more fully than I ever have before how ghastly and vacuous mainstream news reporting is: a production where facts have been emptied of the humanity of real encounters, replaced by the shallow performances of reporters and news sources, slick, clichéd phrasing, behavior slotted into ready made categories, events analyzed and even predigested. The news about reality comes to us compartmentalized in trays like tasteless microwave dinners. Rarely is the reader or viewer allowed to simply experience the event unfolding through the reporter’s eyes or camera. The stories are crafted and slickly packaged. Their very polish and stimulating presentation sabotages their meaning and replaces it with a meaningless, artificial understanding.

    Note that I am not saying that the news these days is politically biased. Some obviously is, but the left or right bias charge is a serious red herring, a mis-direction. In fact, in mainstream media’s very effort to appear neutral and unbiased means events are chopped up and pieced together to fit the templates of a few hackneyed forms of storytelling: the winner-loser story, the conflict story, the individual overcoming obstacles story, the facing bad choices stories, he-said, she-said stories, scandal stories, hypocrisy stories. You’ve seen them all, repeatedly.

    Most of these templates come plated with a cynicism, skepticism, superiority, or sentimentality that grabs our attention by adding a dash of disgust. The current journalistic manner of telling stories reduces and dismisses the story in a way that sometimes makes the commercials and pop-up ads come as a relief. None of the common journalistic templates or attitude has much to do with real life as it’s lived in the moment. It’s not what people really experience in their lives. Instead, it’s how they’ve been conditioned to wrap up experience afterward in a dramatized way that leaches out the nuance, that leaves out the moment-to-moment uncertainty, or as the Lakota call it, the Wakan, the deep mystery of relationships that permeates every event. And that’s what Dewey’s broadcasts have in abundance. You get to see him interacting with the people who show up on his screen. You get to feel his humanity and the mystery of everyday relationships taking place at Standing Rock that he brings to light. It’s certainly not dramatic or melodramatic. It’s not interesting or stimulating in the usual way. It does seem really important.

    So when Dewey sits in his parked car and does an update video on “10 things to know about DAPL” (Nov. 18, 2016), there’s no editing and no script, meaning that you get to see him thinking through what those top 10 things might be. Some points he makes are incisive and comic, others not so much. But the not-so-much ones can lead you to thinking about gray areas, the imprecise observations we all make. He asks a guy who just got in the car to help out with his list and the guy, William Hawk Birdshead, goes immediately serious on him until Dewey says, “I was trying to keep it light.” So the Birdshead says, “Laughter is good medicine.” Suddenly they’re off. Dewey mimics the shifty-eyed look of the FBI guys lurking around the area and denying they are FBI, the DAPL security characters trying to look all steely and tough. We learn that in the encampments they say that “DAPL dresses up like Ninja Turtles.” You can tell that it’s DAPL undercover because those guys never drive rez cars, which are rusted and dented. Nobody is spared. Dewey describes the water protectors just arriving from California as dudes who’ve “got their animal spirits on… They’re all furred up. They’re coming in all mystical and crystals.” He and his buddy laugh, which Dewey says is laughter “in a good way,” because the whole thing going on at Standing Rock is deadly serious but you need laughter, because that’s good medicine for healing. And healing and praying are about “getting reconnected with the Earth.”

    This points to a major difference between anthropocentric prayer as most of us know it and earth-mind prayer. In the prayer that most people are familiar with, an individual seeks intercession for human needs with a transcendent being. The Native prayer is about healing not getting. The prayer is a community ceremony or song or ritual to maintain or restore the balance between and among beings, both animate and inanimate. Prayer is to all my relatives, all my relations, the birds, the water, the wind, the buffalo, my family, even those who oppose me as enemies. Mitakuye Oyasin is an important Lakota phrase that means “all my relations.” When you’re watching a Dewey update from Standing Rock you’re experiencing Mitakuye Oyasin in action. It’s newscasting as a kind of prayer, in the earth-mind sense. Whether he’s engaging in laughter or educating about the spiritual importance of water, you can see that what he’s getting at is healing relationships. Watching and listening, you get to be part of that healing.

    What Dewey does goes way beyond advocacy journalism.

    Our traveling companion for our visit to Standing Rock, Lakota elder Tiokasin Ghosthorse, also provides a good way to keep up with developments through the interviews he conducts for his weekly syndicated broadcast from WPKN in Bridgeport Conn. and WBAI in New York City. On Oct. 31, 2016, Tiokasin interviewed a young man who was seized on Oct. 27 when a frontline camp was destroyed by police. Trenton Joseph Castillas Bakeberg, in the bloodline of Crazy Horse, was praying in a sweat lodge when the militarized police swept through the camp. They yanked him out of the sweat lodge and arrested him. The young water protector told Tiokasin:

    “I pray that we’ll be able to keep a state of prayer and peace, as we have been… Although there’s some people on our side are more likely to tend toward violence. But there’s also people on our side to stop them. Don’t start a fight. That’s what it’s all about, keeping it peaceful because the elders told us in the beginning that all it takes is one single act of violence, one person attacking a police officer and they’ll unleash the fear on all of us. This wrath that we have with our military overseas, we’re beginning to see it now in the heart of our own country. All for the greed and the corporate interests of this government. They say we’re a democracy but it’s not showing anymore. The people didn’t want this pipeline, but this foreign entity that they call a corporation, Energy Transfers, is saying, we don’t care. We want this money. We need this for economic stability of the country and that somehow trumps the interests of our communities and our nation as a whole….We’re standing up to this corporate machine with prayer and love.”

  • Forcibly removed from prayer at Standing Rock


  • Against a heavily armed, corporatized democracy designed to ensure that only powerful business and political elites rule the land and possess the wealth of its objects, the Native-American people at Standing Rock stand in defense of Mother Earth armed with songs, prayers, and an understanding that Earth’s objects are us, and we are them. They are our relatives. It seems better armament than most of us Wasi’shu possess. Webster defines fascism as “a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted.” It’s an incendiary word, and readers might think ill of me for introducing it here. Certainly we are not a fascist state yet. But for the prayer-resistance at Standing Rock, the clear alliance between corporate and government interests to quell their opposition under color of the law has a fascist flavor.

    It should not surprise anyone that the new US president reportedly holds stocks that directly fund the Dakota Access Pipeline and that the DAPL CEO Kelcy Warren gave the Trump campaign a substantial donation.

  • Trump's Personal Investments Ride on Completion of Dakota Access Pipeline


  • This is how the proto-fascism works. Ironically (or perhaps absurdly), Trump may have been elected by people hoping he would somehow counter the tightening grip of multinational corporations on their lives. One might wish for that to happen.

    At a deep level, Standing Rock may suggest that such absurdities as a Trump presidency occur because our mode of consciousness is impaired or inadequate to the situation it has created on our planet at this historical time. Too many of us have gone dead to the natural world we come from. Our obsessive anthropocentric mode of consciousness has reduced nature and reality at large to a bunch of things we have names for—things that feed our greed. Fortunately, many Indigenous people have retained an acute and ancient consciousness that we are those rocks and trees and clouds, and birds and water that we see outside our windows, and that restoring our relationships with them is incumbent on us.

    John Briggs is emeritus distinguished Professor of Writing and Aesthetics from Western Connecticut State University. He was the English Department’s journalism coordinator for 18 years and was one of the founders of Western’s Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process. He is the author of several well-known books on chaos theory, fractals and creativity. He lives in the hilltown of Granville, Mass., where served as a Selectman for five years and as reserve police officer for 10 years.


    When people at Standing Rock talk about the black snake they mean the pipeline, referring to an old Sioux legend about a black snake that will threaten the end of the world. The Lakota prophet Black Elk said that in the seventh generation, the Sioux tribes would unite to save the world.

    Media covering the Standing Rock resistance movement:

  • Digital Smoke Signals


  • Myron Dewey, Facebook


  • The Antimedia


  • Democracy Now


  • The Intercept


  • The Guardian


  • Censored News


  • Unicorn Riot


  • Living on Earth


  • The Indigenous Environmental Network


  • Status of Standing Rock court claim



  •           Burn After Reading        

    Who’s Who
    What’s What

    In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors




    NEW BOOK:

    The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
    By WAYNE MADSEN
    ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9


    Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].

    EXCERPTS:

    From the Introduction


    One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.

    *

    An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

    “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

    "I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”

    *

    The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.

    *

    As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.

    SELECTED ENTRIES

    Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

    American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

    American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

    AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

    Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

    Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

    Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

    Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

    Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

    DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

    Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

    Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

    Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

    Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

    In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

    General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

    Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

    Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

    Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

    Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

    Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

    Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

    Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

    Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

    Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

    Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

    Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

    Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

    Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

    Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

    Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

    Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

    Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

    National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

    Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

    Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

    Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

    Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

    Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

    Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

    Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

    Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

    Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

    Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

    Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

    Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

    Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

    The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

    United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

    U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

    U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

    Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

    Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

    Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

    W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project



  •           Interviewing Richard Stallman: Freedom in the time of SaaS        
    Richard Stallman is one of the most revolutionary thinkers and activists of the twentieth century. Thanks to him we have things like GNU and free software movement. Meedabyte had the opportunity to publish an interview with him about the threats to personal freedom deriving from using what is commonly identified as SaaS. All of us use SaaS every day but the contours of this phenomenon, which has so many obscure points for users, are rarely clear. Emerges a clear picture: on one hand users, citizens, taxpayers, on the other huge economic interests. In the middle, the need for individuals to mobilize and be the first lawyers of their own Freedom. Richard Stallman è uno dei pensatori più rivoluzionari e gli attivisti del ventesimo secolo.A lui dobbiamo cose come GNU e del movimento del software libero. Meedabyte avuto l'opportunità di pubblicare un'intervista con lui riguardo le minacce alla libertà personale derivanti dal Software as a Service. Tutti noi usiamo SaaS ogni giorno, ma i contorni di questo fenomeno, che ha così tanti punti oscuri per gli utenti, raramente sono chiari. Ne emerge un quadro chiaro: da un lato gli utenti, cittadini, contribuenti, dall'altro enormi interessi economici. Nel mezzo, la necessità per gli individui di mobilitarsi e di essere i primi gli avvocati della propria libertà.
              Optimización libre y solidaria        
    Motorela
    El mundo tiene más sorpresas que las que uno espera. En un viaje los detalles pequeños saltan a la vista con mayor facilidad que las grandes diferencias de lenguaje, historia, ubicación, etc. Una de las que más me ha llamado la atención es este medio de transporte llamado "Motorela". 

    Al norte de Mindanao, en Misamis Oriental, entre Camiguin y Cagayan de Oro en Filipinas se ve este curioso medio de transporte. Se trata de una moto con un remolque que -mágicamente- permite acomodar 10 personas. ¿Cómo? La palabra es esa... magia. Aunque tenga un uso masivo, sea un espacio pequeño, que todo quepa o o que nada se cae a pesar de que todo parezca inestable este medio tiene algo muy especial.

    ¿Cuál es su especialidad? Se trata de una optimización libre. Los filipinos mencionan sutilmente la ubicación y el conductor sutilmente acepta o rechaza el destino propuesto. Una vez aceptada la dirección, en silencio el conductor se dirige a ese lugar. Los peatones se acercan y mencionan otros lugares. El conductor simplemente asiente o niega la ruta deseada por los otros pasajeros. El vehículo se llena y los pasajeros se van bajando en el lugar deseado y uno llega a su destino. El precio son 7 pesos filipinos (PHP) el equivalente a aprox 14 centavos de dólar o 540 pesos colombianos (COP).

    ¿Qué tiene eso de novedoso? Lo que he podido observar es que el medio permite satisfacer la necesidad de transporte, su cupo se utiliza plenamente, es un transporte colectivo y el conductor con una señal sutil está optimizando la ruta. ¡Muestra un fenómeno emergente que sin control previo genera resultados ordenados! ¿Podrían las grandes plataformas como Über, Waze, Google Maps lograr procesos de optimización donde en lugares precisos se recogan personas que vayan hacia la misma ruta? 

    Lo mejor de todo es que rompe el paradigma tecnocrático de que la mejor opción de transporte es planificada. ¿Podría esa moda de alcaldes tecnócratas colombianos lograr un medio óptimo, cooperativo y a la vez libre? La planificación que empieza a utilizar varias variables se pierde rápidamente. Es fácil perder el rastro de simples supuestos programados en Excel al punto de que los archivos cobran vida. Sin embargo, un conductor de forma sencilla y ante todo libre resuelve problemas colectivos que llevan a resultados óptimos. 

    Muchas acciones individuales llevan al orden, pocas acciones de un "líder" generan caos... ¿Por qué? La libertad tiene atractores extraños y eficientes a pesar de su caos, el orden forzado produce caos...   


              CALL OF DUTY | INFINITE WARFARE        
    Call of Duty! This project has been my primary creative focus for the last couple of years, and it's been a great honour and a pleasure to have been involved with such a potent franchise. There's not much bigger than COD! The development studio for Infinite Warfare, Infinity Ward, has been my home since January and part of last year, and it's been a dream come true to live and work in Los Angeles. Ever since I was a kid, looking through art-of books of my favourite movies, LA has been the place I always wanted to be.

    I had been working remotely, as a freelancer, on the IW project for a while, creating concepts like the C12 here, so it was a natural next step to join the team in house in sunny California. The project needed a dose of solid, believable, and badass science fiction flavour, and that's exactly what I love to do! The C12 was the first thing I designed for the project, and it turned out great. The brief was for a walking tank, an enemy robot with a threatening presence, bristling with armaments. I love the right hand appendage, a combination door breaching hammer and articulated claw. The arms are mounted on curved shoulder rails, so they can rotate around and track various targets. There is so much articulation in this guy, it really taxed the rigging department! Bone count be dammed! ha ha

    This is the accompanying human sized enemy robot, the C6. A menacing eyeless axe shaped sensor head is mounted on a 360° degree swiveling pintle frame, so the head can target you from any angle. I imagined the player shoot one in the back, only to have the head spin 180° round and target you, the weapon following a split second behind, helped by the highly mobile shoulder and upper arm sections, allowing the robot to move in ways a human can't, and creating a unique adversary. The work done by the character department to model and texture these robots was insane. It was a true honour to have my concepts brought to life by such a talented team!

    A couple of variations on the standard SDF enemy soldiers. The idea was to create an iconic look, something clearly a guy in a suit, but still dehumanised and threatening enough to make them clearly the badguys, and worthy of killing by the hundreds. I added some frames to the 'muzzle', similar to the mounts on a modern day soldiers helmet, that can have additional optics or emergency breathing apparatus attached, to create an aggressive look. The reinforced polymer face pieces have a variable opacity laminate, I imagined a scene where you see a soldier seal up his transparent mask, then the mask turns cloudy white from the bottom up, obscuring the face and turning the visage into an eyeless skull. These SDF soldiers live in their suits, and have multiple redundancy life support systems, with visible added connective cable and hoses, to create a unique inside-out look to contrast against the clean and slick suits of the Earth forces.

    Ethan, or E3N, the buddy brobot you as the player have alongside for the game. This guy was fun to design, and I love how the head and upper arms worked out. My brother was the inspiration for this character, he's a big badass dude with the right friendly demeanor that I thought was perfect for this robot. I wanted Ethan to look and feel like someone who would have your back in battle, and be down for some extreme sports in down time. My bro is into motocross, so for the articulated pistons on Ethan's neck, I gave him gold cylinders to reflect the awesome looking forks you find on race bikes. Ethan's head is also a combination of elements from a motocross helmet, with articulated lens hood pieces from a camera lens, and the top hood piece forming a cap and visor peak shape.

    Really happy with how his head was resolved. It's tough to come up with a unique and iconic robot head with the right character and ability to emote.

    The final design for the UNSA SATO Marine helmets. With the hero Marines, I wanted to create a rugged and tough suit that paid homage to some classic Marine ideas. Mainly the thick armoured neck and arms. The thick neck was an attempt to create a different silhouette than the usual space suit form of thin neck/big helmet. I kept the helmet as slim and 'operator' as possible, while pumping up the neck, to create a unique look that feels badass, and harks to the leatherneck moniker of the Marines.


    With the arms I wanted the suit to feel like the rolled-up-sleeves look that's popular with Marines, and seen in some classic movies like Aliens. The lower arm sections and neck utilise mechanical pressure to protect from the vacuum of space, while the rest of the outfit is a traditional gas pressure space suit. Taking inspiration from the latest concepts of future space suits from places like NASA, with their elasticated tight fitting sleeves and lines of non-extension, I created a rugged military look with a thick armoured feel and beefy grid like pattern.

    I've loads more concepts to share in the future, so excited to show some of the other cool characters and weapons I was lucky enough to create for the project. Be sure to check out the game too, I'm playing through the final product now and it's rad, so cool to see my work realised to such a high level by a huge and talented team. Cheers!
              Be Careful on Giving Unsolicited Advice        
    I love reading up on financial news and learning more about personal finance. And I like helping people as well. Sometimes, I give advice to my family and friends. Although they would listen for the most part, they almost never act on what I tell them to do. It's interesting that despite my honest advice to help them, they would push away everything I say. They would always have some kind of doubt or excuse. Recently my friend is running low on money. He's a real estate agent and he hasn't closed any deals lately. Since I know a few extra bucks would help him, I told him about signing up for credit cards or bank accounts with cash bonus. Or he can play the 0% balance transfer. He thinks it's too much hassle.
    I have spoken to several friends in the past two years about contributing to retirement accounts, such as 401k and IRA accounts. They give me the usual answer, "I have no money." I tell them the importance of saving up for retirement. Moreover, I provide them with important financial messages - pay off debt, have emergency money, save up for retirement, invest, etc. They don't seem interested and don't listen. Yet they like to complain about not having money.
    Sometimes I feel that they don't want financial advice -- they want MONEY. What they want me to do is not to teach them how to make money, but to hand them cash. Everybody wants to be a millionaire but nobody wants to work for it anymore. It's all about get rich quick.
    They tell me they don't have time, and it's not worth making a few extra hundred bucks. If you have a lot of money, I would understand, but if you need money and have the opportunity to do it, why not?
    It's hard to teach family as well. They don't seem interested in learning. I tell them to start ROTH IRAs because it really helps if you have low income, the government even give you tax benefits if you qualify. But they say they rather have the money now.
    While I'm no certified professional, I know my advice can help my friends and family. They just don't see it. Perhaps they need to learn their own way. I just thought maybe I can give them a shortcut, but sometimes people need to learn the hard way.
    I figure I'll save my energy on going out of my way to help people. People just don't appreciate. Instead, I'll focus on those who wants my help. It's a lose-lose situation if they don't appreciate your advice. Because if they miss the opportunity, they would blame you. If they execute your advice improperly and the results come out bad, they would blame you. The moral of the story is never give unsolicited advice.

              In An Emergency        
    none
              Trump: 'The opioid crisis is an emergency' - CNN        

    CNN

    Trump: 'The opioid crisis is an emergency'
    CNN
    (CNN) President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration plans to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, a designation that would offer states and federal agencies more resources and power to combat the epidemic. "The opioid crisis ...
    Trump says opioid crisis is a national emergency, pledges more money and attentionWashington Post
    Trump says he will declare opioid crisis a 'national emergency'Politico
    Will Melania Trump 'Just Say No' In Her Own Way?NPR
    BBC News -The Atlantic -The Hill -New York Daily News
    all 220 news articles »

              Foss Evening Cricket League round-up        
    PROMOTED Heworth overcame newly-merged Middleton & North Dalton in the opening round of Foss Evening Cricket League division one games.
              Hit By Flooding And Pumping System Crisis, New Orleans Braces For More Rain - NPR        

    NPR

    Hit By Flooding And Pumping System Crisis, New Orleans Braces For More Rain
    NPR
    On Saturday, heavy rains fell on New Orleans, causing floodwaters to rise in low-lying areas — and linger for hours. At first, officials said the city's pumps and drainage system were working fine and that the storm was just unusually strong. But that ...
    Emergency declared in New Orleans as flood threat loomsWashington Post
    New Orleans braces for more rain as city works to clean up flood falloutCNN
    New Orleans braces for possible flooding amid pump failures, as more rain in the forecastFox News
    U.S. News & World Report -NOLA.com -The Mercury News -The Weather Channel
    all 255 news articles »

              Gacetilla de Prensa        


    Suspensión inicio Capacitación Sindical en el Gremio de la Fruta

    La Comisión Directiva de la Seccional General Roca del Sindicato de Obreros Empacadores de Frutas de Rio Negro y Neuquén decidió suspender el inicio del “Curso de Capacitación y Actualización Sindical” que estaba previsto para el próximo 11 de Julio, en razón de la Emergencia Sanitaria establecida en la Provincia de Rio Negro por la pandemia de la gripe A, como así se suspende toda actividad que implique concentración de personas en la sede sindical de calle Misiones 1675 hasta el 26 de Julio inclusive.


    Asimismo, se informa que el Curso dará inicio el sábado 01 de Agosto en la sede Sindical en la que se hará la presentación del programa del curso, las expectativas de los participantes y se trabajara en el primer modulo que será de interpretación de recibos de sueldo y acuerdos de productividad, tarea que se desarrollara en una parte teórica para luego trabajar en la instancia de taller. Este primer modulo será dictado por Marcelo Portiño y Mariano Grigera.




    Pablo Camarada

    Secretario de Prensa


              CONVENIO COLECTIVO DE TRABAJO NRO. 1/76        
    CONVENIO COLECTIVO DE TRABAJO NRO. 1/76

    I) PARTES INTERVINIENTES
    ART. 1- PARTES INTERVINIENTES
    II) APLICACIÓN DE LA CONVENCIÓN
    ART. 2- VIGENCIA
    ART. 3- AMBITO DE APLICACIÓN
    ART. 4- REINCORPORACIÓN DEL PERSONAL
    ART. 5- BOLSA DE TRABAJO
    ART. 6- RELACION DE TRABAJO
    ART. 7- LLAMADO AL PERSONAL POR ANTIGÜEDAD
    ART. 8- LABORACION DE HORAS EXTRAS
    ART. 9- TRABAJO A DESTAJO (PROHIBICION)
    ART. 10- NO OBLIGATORIEDAD DE MAXIMO RENDIMIENTO
    ART. 11- FORMAS DE TRABAJO
    ART. 12- APLICACIÓN DE LEYES: LEY DE ACIDENTES DE TRABAJO
    ART. 13- ACCIDENTES Y/O ENFERMEDADES INCULPABLES
    ART. 14- PAGO DE SUELDOS
    ART. 15- PAGO SALARIOS FAMILIARES
    ART. 16- VACACIONES ANUALES Y/O PROPORCIONALES
    ART. 17- PAGO POR INDEMNIZACION
    ART. 18- HORARIO DE TRABAJO
    ART. 19- BONIFICACIÓN POR MAYOR ESFUERZO (10% TEMPORADA)
    ART. 20- SUSPENCIONES
    ART. 21- COSECHA PAGO MES COMERCIAL
    ART. 22- GUARDERIA INFANTIL
    ART. 23- DIA, HORA Y LUGAR DE PAGO
    ART. 24- SERVICIO MILITAR OBLIGATORIO
    ART. 25- DURACION Y APRENDIZAJE
    ART. 26- NUMERO DE APRENDICES- REMUNERACIÓN DE TRABAJO DE CATEGORIA SUPERIOR A LA DEL OPERARIO QUE LA EFECTUA
    ART. 27- DEBERES DEL PERSONAL
    ART. 28- INASISTENCIA POR ENFERMEDAD O ACCIDENTE
    ART. 29- SANCIONES POR FALTA INJUSTIFICADA
    ART. 30- MEDIDAS DISCIPLINARIAS- FACULTAD DEL EMPLEADOR
    ART. 31- OBLIGACIONES DE LA PATRONAL: OBLIGACIONES VARIAS
    ART. 32- PERMISO PARA DONAR SANGRE
    ART. 33- PIZARRA PARA COMUNICADOS GREMIALES
    ART. 34- TRANSPORTE DE PERSONAL
    ART. 35- LICENCIA POR FALLECIMIENTO FAMILIAR DIRECTO
    ART. 36- DEBERES Y OBLIGACIONES DE LOS DELEGADOS
    ART. 37- PERMISOS GREMIALES
    ART. 38- ESPECIALIDADES Y CATEGORIAS
    ART. 39- RETENCIONES Y APORTES SOCIALES
    ART. 40- RETENCIONES DE CUOTA SOCIAL Y/O ESPECIALES
    ART. 40 BIS- RETENCIONES CUOTA MUTUAL DE LA FRUTA
    ART. 41- ADICIONALES MENSUALES: BONIFICACIÓN POR ANTIGÜEDAD
    ART. 42- ADICIONAL POR PERAS
    ART. 43- ADICIONAL O BONIFICACIÓN POR ASISTENCIA PERFECTA
    ART. 44- DIA OBRERO DE LA FRUTA
    ART. 45- ACREDITACION FEHACIENTE DE CATEGORIA- SALARIO
    ART. 46- PROHIBICIÓN PARA CAPATACES O ENCARGADOS
    ART. 47- INDUMENTARIA PROVEIDA POR EMPRESA
    ART. 48- VIERNES SANTO- ASUETO
    ART. 49- SEGURO DE VIDA
    ART. 50. CONSTANCIA DE TIEMPO TRABAJADO
    ART. 51- ARTICULOS DE APLICACIÓN EN POST-TEMPORADA: SUSPENSIÓN POST-TEMPORADA
    ART. 52- CALCULO SALARIO POST- TEMPORADA
    ART. 53- MINIMO DE DIAS PARA COBRO SALARIO FAMILIAR
    ART. 54- PROHIBICIÓN TAREAS EMPAQUE EN CÁMARA O ANTECAMARA FRIGORIFICA
    ART. 55- REPRESENTACIÓN GREMIAL EN POST-TEMPORADA
    ART. 56- INCORPORACION TRABAJADOR ENFERMO DADO DE ALTA. SUSPENCIÓN LEGÍTIMA AL REEMPLAZANTE
    ART. 57- ORDEN PÚBLICO DEL PRESENTE CONVENIO
    ART. 58- COMISIÓN DE INTERPRETACION DE ESTA CONVENCIÓN
    III) DISPOSICIONES TRANSITORIAS
    ART. 59- PROYECTO DE REGLAMENTACION DE GUARDERIAS
    ART. 60- REMISIÓN AL SINDICATO DE PLANILLA DE PERSONAL
    ART. 61- POST-TEMPORADA: ANTELACION DE 24HS PARA SUSPENDER Y FECHA PROBABLE DE REINCORPORACION
    ART. 62- RESPONSABILIDAD EMPRESARIA POR TRABAJO EN CAMARA O ANTECAMARA FRIGORIFICA
    ART. 63- OBLIGACION DE INFORMAR VOLUMEN DE FRUTA EN FRIO A SINDICATO
    ART. 64- FECHA INICIACION DISCUCIÓN SALARIAL

    ADVERTENCIAS

    Debemos hacer algunas advertencias en relación al texto del Convenio que sigue a continuación.
    Primero, que los montos dinerarios que figuran en el texto fueron fijados en la fecha en que se firmó el Convenio, es decir en Enero del año 1976, por lo que dichos montos están totalmente desactualizados.
    Segundo, muchos de los artículos han sido modificados por sentencias judiciales en casos concretos, que no alcanzan a modificar el texto del Convenio, pero como las Sentencias sientan jurisprudencia, en el momento de la aplicación judicial pesan más esos fallos que la letra del Convenio.
    Tercero, que en el articulo 1, cuando se hace mención a las partes intervinientes, es necesario aclarar que Empacadores y Frigoríficos de Frutas Asociados de Río Negro y Neuquén actualmente es la Cámara Argentina de Fruticultores Integrados (CAFI).


    TEXTO DEL CONVENIO

    I) PARTES INTERVINIENTES

    Artículo 1- Las partes que suscriben el presente convenio, Sindicato de Obreros y Empacadores de Frutas de Río Negro y Neuquén; y Empacadores y Frigoríficos de Frutas Asociados de Río Negro y Neuquén, se reconocen mutuamente como entidades gremiales representativas con el sentido y alcance que se desprenda de las normas legales vigentes, a los efectos de la suscripción de esta convención.

    II) APLICACIÓN DE LA CONVENCIÓN

    Artículo 2- Vigencia temporaria: el presente convenio regirá desde el 1 de Enero de 1976 y hasta el 31 de Diciembre de 1976, en las cláusulas que determinan las condiciones de trabajo. Con respecto a las condiciones económicas rigen desde la misma fecha, comprometiéndose las partes a reunirse el 30 de Mayo de 1976 para considerarlas nuevamente.
    Articulo 3- Ámbito de aplicación: el presente convenio será de aplicación al personal que labore en los establecimientos en que se empaque fruta fresca, sitos en las provincias de Río Negro y Neuquén, en tareas propias de la actividad.
    Artículo 4- Reincorporación del personal: A la iniciación de la temporada, la reincorporación del personal se efectuara comenzando por los obreros de mayor antigüedad, computada por tiempo efectivo de trabajo y dentro de cada especialidad y categorías conforme a las necesidades del empleador. En caso de coincidir en igual especialidad y categoría, será preferida a los fines de la reincorporación y suspensión, el de más antigüedad de la planta de empaque.
    El caso de la clasificadora puntera de acuerdo al párrafo anterior que debiera ser suspendida, quedará trabajando como clasificadora, cuando tuviera antigüedad como tal, si mediara conformidad de la primera para efectuar dicha tarea con el sueldo de clasificadora. En el caso que un obrero adquiera otra categoría dentro de la especialidad no perderá la antigüedad adquirida en la especialidad a la fecha, computándose la misma a los fines de la reincorporación en la temporada. Para la suspensión por finalización de cosecha, se aplicara igual criterio comenzando por los menos antiguos y de conformidad al artículo 21.
    Artículo 5- Bolsa de trabajo. Las empresas que deben incorporar personal nuevo a su plantel, podrán requerir el mismo en la bolsa de trabajo de la Seccional respectiva del S.O.E.F.R.N. Y N. del mismo lugar donde deban llevarse a cabo las tareas. Las Seccionales del Sindicato deberán pasar la lista total de los obreros inscriptos en cada especialidad, a las empresas, para que están concreten los pedidos en cualquiera de los integrantes de esa nomina que presenten antecedentes de idoneidad que lo acrediten en la especialidad. Toda solicitud de personal deberá hacerse con 24 horas de anticipación y deberá ser provisto dentro del mismo lapso de recibida la solicitud.
    En caso de que la empresa no contratare al personal solicitado y que le fuera proveído, cuyo pedido no fuera anulado oportunamente, deberá abonarle a ese personal una compensación de los jornales correspondientes a tres (3) días.
    El que hubiere sido despedido por el empleador con anterioridad a esa solicitud, no es obligatorio contratarlo nuevamente.
    Articulo 6- Relación de Trabajo: La patronal asegura a los obreros el trabajo mientras dure el termino de cosecha con las limitaciones expresadas en los artículos 4º y 21º. Se entiende por cosecha el término durante el cual ingresa fruta fresca a la planta para ser empacada.
    Articulo 7- Llamado al personal por listas de antigüedad: Con diez días de anticipación a la iniciación de la cosecha, los empleadores colocaran en lugar visible y de fácil acceso a los obreros, una lista de aquellos que por su orden de antigüedad en la especialidad, deben reingresar haciendo constar en la misma fecha de ingreso y tiempo efectivo trabajado en la empresa, la fecha probable progresiva en que deban presentarse en la temporada. Será obligatoria la remisión de una copia de dichas listas a la Seccional respectiva del Sindicato. A los efectos del Art. 107º de la Ley nº 20.744, antes del 31 de Diciembre de cada año el trabajador deberá manifestar al empleador su disposición de desempeñar el puesto y el empleador de ocuparlo en la forma y con las modalidades requeridas. Toda notificación al obrero deberá hacerse en el domicilio real del mismo, el que deberá ser denunciado por este finalizar cada temporada. Si el obrero que tuviere domicilio dentro de las provincias de Río Negro y Neuquén, no se presentase dentro de las 48 hs. posteriores a la fecha probable en que debería ingresar, deberá ser intimado por el empleador mediante telegrama simple para que .lo haga en un plazo de cuarenta y ocho horas; si no se presentare será considerado incurso en abandono de trabajo. Pero si el obrero tuviera domicilio fuera de ambas provincias deberá ser intimado se igual forma para que se presente en siete (7) días bajo el mismo apercibimiento. En caso de encontrarse el domicilio real del obrero fuera del radio de distribución de correspondencia de la localidad en donde resida, deberá fijar domicilio en el radio antedicho, bajo de apercibimiento de considerarse valida las notificaciones que se efectúen en las Seccionales respectivas de S.O.E.F.R.N. Y N. Es voluntad de las partes que la contratación del personal nuevo sea efectuada con preferencia entre el que tenga residencia en las provincias de Río Negro y Neuquén.
    Articulo 8- Laboracion de horas extras: Cuando haya que embalar fruta para exportación y sea necesario trabajar horas extras, a juicio de la empresa, aquellas que empleen una cantidad de personal inferior a la del año anterior, queda limitada la cantidad de horas extras a diez horas en días continuado se dará al finalizar la primera, quince minutos de descanso pagos. Las horas extras deberán ser laboradas por todo el personal o por sectores en forma rotativa, y nunca por una minoría o sector determinado, a excepción del personal afectado a carga y descarga de frutas. Todas las empresas deberán tener controla reloj.
    Articulo 9- Queda prohibido el trabajo a destajo en temporada.
    Artículo 10- Ningún operario podrá ser obligado a efectuar tareas a un ritmo superior al normal de trabajo. En caso de surgir algún inconveniente, este será planteado por el delegado o la comisión de reclamos. Cuando la entrada de frutas exceda de los dos mil (2.000) cosecheros diarios el empleador pondrá como mínimo dos(2) descargadores. Cuando las tareas de cualquier especialidad, exija un máximo rendimiento, el Delegado solicitara a la empresa el personal que fuera necesario.
    Artículo 11- Ningún obrero podrá ser destinado a tareas que importen una disminución permanente de especialidad y/o categoría. Para el caso de que el obrero deba realizar tareas distintas a la que esta afectado, el mismo no podrá negarse, salvo su derecho a mayor salario que corresponda y siempre que no afectare su decoro y este dentro de las posibilidades físicas y materiales. Este desplazamiento deberá efectuarse por parte de la patronal en forma rotativa, evitando que recaiga en una sola persona y/o especialidad. Las tareas que requieran esfuerzo físico excesivo no podrán ser asignado a mujeres.
    Artículo 12- Aplicación de leyes: Las empresas asumirán el conjunto de las obligaciones preceptuadas por ley 9.688 y sus modificaciones.
    Articulo 13- Respecto a los accidentes y/ o enfermedades inculpables regirá lo dispuesto en el art. 225 de la ley 20.744.
    Articulo 14- El pago de las retribuciones se hará de acuerdo a lo establecido en el Titulo IV de la Ley Contrato de Trabajo nro. 20.744.
    Articulo 15- Los obreros del empaque de frutas tendrán derecho a los beneficios establecidos por ley 18.017. A tal fin la antigüedad a que se refieren los artículos 2, 3 y 4 de dicha ley, se computaran por trabajo efectivo sumado por temporada sucesiva, Los subsidios se pagaran siempre que el evento de que se trata se produzca en tiempo en que el obrero tenga derecho a trabajar. El salario familiar se pagara en todos los casos en que corresponda, según las normas C.A.S.F.E.C.
    Articulo 16- Los trabajadores que se desempeñen en forma continua o discontinua gozaran de vacaciones anuales pagas de acuerdo a lo establecido en el Titulo V de la Ley 20.744. En cuanto al personal que se desempeña en temporada tendrá al finalizar la misma, derecho a percibir el equivalente a un día de vacaciones cada 20 días de trabajo, tomando en cuenta la totalidad de los días trabajados en la temporada, computables de acuerdo a lo dispuesto en el articulo 166 de la mencionada Ley.
    Articulo 17- El pago por indemnización por despidos se hará conforme a lo previsto en los artículos 20, 104, 105, 106 y concordantes de la Ley Contrato de Trabajo (20.744). A estos efectos se considerara tiempo de servicio al que efectivamente haya prestado el obrero durante la relación laboral.
    Artículo 18- El horario habitual de la tareas de clasificación y empaque, no podrá iniciarse antes de las 7 horas a la mañana y a las 14horas por la tarde. Las horas trabajadas fuera de este horario serán pagadas como suplementarias con los recargos de ley. El personal de la planta que trabaje en horas nocturnas, no podrá hacerlo antes de las 21, ni después de las 24. Estas horas serán remuneradas la 100%.
    Artículo 19- Por el mayor esfuerzo que significa el trabajo durante la temporada de cosecha, se fijara una bonificación durante dicho lapso equivalente al 10% del salario profesional o básico que se liquidará conforme esta previsto en el art. 42.
    Artículo 20- Solo se aceptaran como validas las suspensiones que estén motivadas en las siguientes circunstancias:
    a) Disminución normal de entrada de fruta en la planta de empaque.
    b) Alteración en el normal levantamiento de la cosecha debido a factores climáticos, problemas sanitarios, inconvenientes en el transporte y cualquier otra circunstancia ajena a la voluntad del empleador. Estas suspensiones deben ser comunicadas al personal en forma fehaciente. Los tres primeros días de las suspensiones enumeradas por este articulo deberán ser pagados. Por finalización de cosecha la suspensión deberá ser comunicada con 48 horas de anticipación como minino.
    Artículo 21- Mientras dure el término de la cosecha la patronal abonara al personal los haberes correspondientes por mes comercial.
    Artículo 21 bis: Las partes acuerdan que al solo efecto del cálculo de la retribución de las horas suplementarias laboradas en temporadas los rubros remunerativos de la escala mensual se dividirán por doscientas horas y a tal resultado se le sumará el recargo del 50% y 100% según corresponda.
    Artículo 22- La obligación impuesta por el articulo 195 de la Ley 20744 la cumplirán las empresas mediante un aporte que cada empleador hará al Sindicato, proporcionalmente a los niños que deban atenderse de cada empresa, haciéndose cargo la organización sindical del funcionamiento y mantenimiento de la guardería. La aplicación de este artículo será reglamentada por acuerdo de ambas partes.
    Artículo 23- No podrá pagarse a los trabajadores remuneraciones solo por razones de edad o sexo. El recibo de pago que no se ajuste a las prescripciones vigentes o no dé cuenta de que se ha hecho la retención legal y convencional pertinente, carecerá de validez para operar como prueba destinada a acreditar que se ha extinguido la obligación. Cuando el Sindicato o Delegado u obrero del galpón solicite a la empresa fijación de hora y lugar de pago por medio fehaciente antes del 28 de cada mes, estas estarán obligadas de fijar día y hora de pago con una antelación de 24 horas también en forma fehaciente. Dichos pagos así dispuestos, podrán ser controlados por autoridades del Sindicato que no excedan de dos y/o el Delegado del galpón inicialando los recibos en prueba de conformidad. Los pagos se efectuaran dentro del horario de trabajo. El empleador se ajustara en un todo a los artículos 143, 204 y concordantes de la Ley nro. 20.744. Las empresas otorgaran al trabajador constancia simple de la recepción de la documentación de las asignaciones familiares. Los empresarios están obligados a aceptar que los obreros entreguen la correspondiente documentación con la intervención de los Delegados del Galpón en caso de ser necesario.
    Artículo 24- El personal que deba cumplir con la Ley de Servicio Militar obligatorio y tuviera una antigüedad no inferior a dos temporadas, gozará de un porcentaje equivalente al 30% de las remuneraciones que por la especialidad y categoría le correspondan durante el tiempo que el obrero tuviera derecha a trabajar en la temporada.
    Artículo 25- La duración del aprendizaje será de sesenta días, no pudiendo excederse de una temporada y ser inferior a 40 días, cumplido el cual, si la empresa no lo ascendiera, el obrero solicitara de la misma ser sometido a examen, el que será rendido ante un representante de la Dirección Nacional de Frutas y Hortalizas, a cuyo fallo se someterán las partes.
    La idoneidad del personal que ingresa será apreciada por el empleador, capataz o encargado. El obrero podrá impugnar esa calificación solicitando ser examinado por un representante de la Dirección Nacional de Frutas y Hortalizas, a cuyo fallo se someterán las partes. Esta impugnación deberá efectuarla dentro de los 5 días que le fuera negada la categoría que pretende. En los dos casos mencionados en este articulo, el examen podrá ser presenciado por un dirigente gremial o un Delegado obrero y un representante de la patronal y cuando el fallo fuera favorable al obrero, el empleador pagara con retroactividad a al mismo, la diferencia de sueldo que corresponda de acuerdo al fallo. Si pasados los cinco días del reclamo la empresa no se expidiera al respecto, se considerará que el obrero pasa automáticamente a la categoría inmediata superior.
    Artículo 26- La cantidad de aprendices no podrá ser superior a l 15% de los obreros ocupados en la empresa, salvo que no hubiera personal especializado en la Bolsa de trabajo del Sindicato. El operario que realice tareas de cualquier categoría remunerada con un sueldo superior, recibirá la diferencia por el tiempo que se haya desempeñado, siempre que lo haya efectuado como mínimo durante media jornada normal de trabajo.
    Artículo 27- Son deberes del personal:
    a) efectuar correctamente su trabajo siendo considerado falta grave el insistir en hacer pasar un trabajo defectuoso;
    b) ser cuidadoso y económico en el uso de los útiles y herramientas que se le confíen;
    c) comunicar al superior inmediato toda circunstancia peligrosa o anormal que observe, como así avisar sobre hallazgos de herramientas o material abandonado;
    d) no abandonar las tareas sin causa justificada y cumplir estrictamente el horario de iniciación y finalización de las tareas;
    e) acatar las órdenes del inmediato superior;
    f) notificar de inmediato a la empresa todo cambio de domicilio;
    g) notificarse de toda comunicación o sanción disciplinaria patronal, aún cuando estén en desacuerdo. La negativa a ello implicara falta. La firma de la notificación no significara por sí reconocimiento a la legitimidad de la sanción o de la verdad de los hechos. Todo conforme a lo dispuesto en los art. 72, 235 y concordantes de la ley nro. 20.744;
    h) hacer uso correcto de las instalaciones sanitarias, velando por la higiene de las mismas.
    Artículo 28.- El obrero que falta a su trabajo por enfermedad o accidente, deberá comunicarlo de inmediato, salvo que acredite la imposibilidad de hacerlo, y el domicilio en que se halla, para que dicha inasistencia sea controlada por la patronal. El obrero no podrá negarse al examen médico que el empleador mande al domicilio comunicado. , sin perjuicio de sus derechos de asistirse con el facultativo de su confianza. La omisión injustificada del aviso antedicho, constituirá acto de indisciplina, pero no alterara el derecho a la percepción de las remuneraciones si se acreditara que existió enfermedad que imposibilito la concurrencia del trabajador del acuerdo al articulo 226 de la Ley nro. 20.744.
    Artículo 29.- La primera falta injustificada será sancionada con amonestación, la segunda con dos días de suspensión, la tercera con tres días de suspensión, la cuarta con cinco días de suspensión y la quinta dentro de la misma temporada será causal de despido justificado. Cuando la llegada tarde no supere los cinco minutos, el obrero comenzará a trabajar de inmediato; si se superara dicho tiempo ingresara a la media hora del horario fijado, sin perjuicio de descontarse el tiempo no trabajado. Esta tolerancia de cinco minutos se admitirá hasta cinco veces por mes calendario. Este criterio se aplicara tanto a las horas comunes como en las horas extras. Las empresas deberán entregar al personal constancias de los permisos que otorgue para faltar a sus tareas.
    Articulo 30.- Es facultad privativa del empleador la aplicación de medidas disciplinarias al personal por faltar a sus obligaciones. Toda medida deberá ser notificada por escrito al afectado y, asimismo, al Delegado del galpón y/o Seccional respectiva, con expresión de motivos. El obrero recibirá para constancia el original y devolverá el duplicado firmado, reservándose el derecho de impugnar esa sanción, si la considera injusta o improcedente. Por sí sola dicha firma ni significara consentir la sanción.
    Artículo 31.- Obligaciones de la Patronal: es obligación de la patronal proveer al personal de todo los elementos necesarios para la ejecución de las tareas. Deberá proveerse delantales de protección (1 por temporada) a. cargadores, descargadores, selladores, emboquilladotes, alambradotes, tapadores, , embaladores/as. Se proveerá de guardapolvos a todo el personal femenino, excepto las embaladoras, y todo el personal que en forma permanente tenga contacto con fruta fría o húmeda, se le proveerá de guantes. Las empresas colocaran tinglados en los lugares que se efectúen habitualmente tareas al rayo del sol, salvo en playa de cargas. El empleador deberá ceder un lugar para que el personal estacione su medio de movilidad (bicicletas-motos-automóviles). También deberá disponerse en cada planta de empaque de un botiquín equipado con todos los elementos necesarios para practicar curaciones de emergencia. En todos los lugares deberá proveerse de agua y jabón para la higiene del personal, debiendo haber baños suficientes, divididos por sexo, manteniéndose en completo estado de higiene y conservación.
    Se entiende por baños suficientes la cantidad de uno por cada 30 trabajadores, o fracción mayor de 15, pudiendo ser comunes los lavatorios y mingitorios. En los galpones de empaque deberá proveerse de agua fresca y abundante para el consumo del personal. Para las obreras clasificadoras, se habilitaran bancos con respaldo, para que sean utilizados cuando lo crean necesario. Cuando el personal sea contratado con alojamiento el empleador suministrará el mismo en condiciones de habitabilidad e higiene, asegurando cobertizos por sexo, habitación independiente para familias y baños con duchas. Durante la temporada las empresas colocaran ventiladores en la mesa de clasificación. En post-temporada las empresas colocarán calefacción efectiva para que el personal que labora o reacondicione fruta, pueda utilizarlas cuando lo crea necesario.
    Articulo 32.- La patronal tendrá la obligación de permitir a su personal donar sangre gratuitamente al banco de sangre de la Obra Social del Sindicato y/u otras instituciones. El trabajador que done sangre ese día será pagado por el empleador y aquel deberá acreditarlo mediante certificado expedido por la Obra Social o la institución a la que ha donado sangre. No podrá salir de la planta de empaque más del 2 por ciento de los obreros a los fines de este artículo.
    Articulo 33.- las empresas colocaran en un lugar visible del establecimiento una pizarra o vitrina, donde el Sindicato o sus representantes pueden insertar avisos de carácter estrictamente gremial, el contenido de tales comunicados no deberán emitir quejas ni expresar manifestaciones contra la patronal, hechos estos que deberán ser presentados por la vía correspondiente. Las empresas permitirán el entrada a galpón a dirigentes gremiales de la Asociación Profesional correspondiente, y su libre accionar dentro del mismo para realizar reuniones con los obreros, ajustándose en un todo al articulo 81 de la ley 20744.
    Artículo 34.- Las empresas que se encuentran a más de dos kilómetros del radio urbano asumirán la obligación de transportar al personal desde los puntos que la misma fije hasta los lugares de trabajo. Si la empresa estuviera radicada fuera del radio urbano y a una distancia no mayor a dos kilómetros del mismo tendrán la misma obligación anterior si el 40 % de su personal tuviere domicilio real fuera del radio urbano y fuera del radio de dos kilómetros desde el lugar de trabajo. Esta deberá asegurar comodidades de seguridad a los trabajadores. Se habilitara un lugar en el establecimiento donde los obreros puedan protegerse del sol o la lluvia antes de la entrada al trabajo. Esta habilitación será de 30 minutos antes de comenzar las tareas.
    Artículo 35.- En caso de fallecimiento de padres, cónyuge o hijos residentes en el país la empresa otorgará al trabajador una licencia de tres días corridos con goce de sueldos. Cuando el fallecimiento se produzca fuera de la zona de trabajo, se concederá una licencia ampliatoria de cinco días más sin goce de sueldos.
    Artículo 36.- Deberes y atribuciones de los delegados: Los delegados serán elegidos en la proporción y el número establecido por la ley nro. 20645 y de entre ellos se elegirá la Comisión Interna de reclamos que no podrá estar compuesta por más de tres miembros y que preferentemente pertenezcan a distintas especialidades, a cuyo cargo se hallará la relación con la patronal.
    Será obligación de los delegados:
    a) velar por el respeto y cumplimiento del Convenio;
    b) bregar en defensa de los intereses de sus representados.
    c) cumplir y hacer cumplir directivas del Sindicato. A tal efecto la patronal no entorpecerá el libre accionar de los mismos dentro de la empresa para las gestiones gremiales.
    Artículo 37.- Los empresarios otorgarán permisos con goce de sueldos a los Delegados y Representantes Gremiales que tengan acreditada su personería gremial para faltar por tareas inherentes a sus funciones a cuyos efectos éstos deberán justificar la inasistencia por medio de una notificación previa y fehaciente del S.O.E.F.R.Y N. Las inasistencias a las que se refiere el párrafo anterior no podrán sumar más de tres jornadas laborales dentro del mes. Cuando pasare esa cantidad, el permiso será otorgado por la patronal sin goce de haberes. La actuación de los Delegados Titulares excluye la de los suplentes, siendo estos designados de igual forma y oportunidad que aquellos. Los obreros que resulten elegidos Delegados Titulares y los Suplentes con titularidad, serán incorporados en la especialidad con referencia al resto del personal y suspendidos en último término. Los Delegados del personal serán elegidos en el lugar y hora de trabajo. Las empresas otorgaran un lapso de 20 minutos para la convocatoria de elecciones y de ninguna manera trabaran el acto eleccionario. Todo ello de acuerdo a las disposiciones establecidas en la ley 20.615.
    Artículo 38.- Quedan establecidas para la clasificación general de las tareas las siguientes especialidades, categorías y salarios (solo se pondrán las especialidades y categorías, pues los salarios se renuevan en paritarias y la escala se encuentra en otro lugar de este blog): 1) Embalador de primera
    2) Tapador a mano
    3) Alambrador
    4) Tapador a maquina
    5) Embalador de segunda
    6) Armador de cajones a mano
    7) Estibador o secador
    8) carretilleros
    9) Emboquillador o alimentador
    10) Armador de cajones a maquina
    11) Chofer auto elevador ant. Cámara frigorífica
    12) Mecánico
    13) Tamañador de Primera
    14) Recibidor y/o pesador
    15) Clasificadora puntera
    16) Alambrador de maquina automática
    17) Descargador de cosecheros llenos
    18) Cargador de cajones empacados
    19) Embalador aprendiz
    20) Chofer auto elevador de primera
    21) Tamañador de segunda
    22) Operario maquina lavadora
    23) Clasificadora
    24 Alambrador aprendiz
    25) Peón de trabajos varios
    26) Sereno de 12 horas
    27) Chofer de auto elevador de segunda
    28) Chofer camión planta de empaque
    29) Papelero
    30) Apuntador
    31) Romaneador
    32) Carretillero aprendiz
    33) Alcanzador de tamañador o embalador
    34) Sereno de diez horas
    35) Sellador de riel
    36) Afichador o encartonador
    37) Sereno de ocho horas
    38) Sellador de playa
    39) Clasificadora aprendiz
    El presente convenio regirá solo para aquellas chóferes que sean tomados en y para la temporada y afectados con tareas relacionadas con el empaque de frutas. Cuando el trabajador en razón de sus tareas deba ausentarse de la localidad, sede de la planta de empaque y deba almorzar, cenar o pernoctar, lo hará con cargo al empleador. Al personal de vigilancia se le proveerá de elementos mínimos necesarios para cumplir con sus tareas y cuidar su seguridad personal. Queda comprendido en la escala salarial precedente, el aumento otorgado por el decreto nro. 350/76 del Poder Ejecutivo Nacional.
    Artículo 39.- Retenciones y aportes Sociales. Las retenciones que se apliquen a los obreros y el aporte patronal, en virtud de lo dispuesto por la Ley 18.610 con destino a la Obra Social, serán depositadas a la orden del S.O.E.F.R.N. Y N., en la cuenta especial nro. 2-91-27 del Banco de la nación Argentina. Los importes deberán ser depositados por los empleadores dentro de los 15 días corridos posteriores a cada mes vencido, debiendo remitirse la boleta de deposito y las planillas correspondientes, en el mismo termino, las cuales serán enviadas, una al domicilio legal de la Obra Social: 25 de Mayo 152 de Cipolletti, y otra a la Seccional que corresponda. Tal obligación deberá ser satisfecha independientemente del hecho de haberse o no abonado las remuneraciones del personal. Las empresas enviarán mensualmente al Sindicato o a la Seccional respectiva la planilla del personal con las altas y bajas, de acuerdo a lo establecido en el articulo 7 de la Ley 18610 reglamentado por el articulo 13 del decreto nro. 4714/71.
    Artículo 40.- La patronal deberá retener a todo el personal beneficiado por esta convención, por única vez en la temporada, medio día de sueldo. Asimismo deberá retenerles el 1% del total de las remuneraciones en concepto de cuota sindical, debiendo ser depositados dentro de los cinco días de abonados los salarios. Los importes de las retenciones de cuota social y/o especial será depositado en la cuenta nro. 9759-8 del Banco de la provincia de Río Negro debiendo remitirse la boleta de depósito y las planillas correspondientes en el mismo término, las cuales serán enviadas, una al domicilio legal de la central del S.O.E.F.R.N. Y N. , 25 de mayo 152 de Cipolletti, y otra a la Seccional que corresponda. Éste será el único medio de pago válido de esta obligación. El incumplimiento del depósito en los plazos estipulados, producirá la mora automática del empleador, sin necesidad de previa intimación y autoriza al Sindicato a iniciar las acciones judiciales pertinentes. Todo pago que se efectúe al margen de lo determinado en el presente artículo, como así en el artículo 39, no será reconocido por esta organización.
    Artículo 40 bis.- La patronal será agente de retención del 0,50% del total de las remuneraciones percibidas por el trabajador y depositar en la cuenta especial que el S.O.E.F.R.N. Y N. indique, destinada al Fondo de Mutual-Vivienda y Obra. Esta retención deberá ser depositada a los cinco días de haberse efectuado el pago de haberes.
    Artículo 41.- Adicionales Mensuales: Se estableció una bonificación mensual por antigüedad de $25 por temporada de cosecha trabajada. Esta bonificación se liquidara de la misma forma establecida en el artículo 42.
    Artículo 42.- Las empresas abonaran al empleador que trabaje peras durante el mes, un adicional de $250. Este adicional se abonará en proporción a los días trabajados durante el mes por el embalador y conjuntamente con el salario. La proporción se obtendrá dividiendo el adicional por 25.
    Artículo 43.- Las empresas abonaran al personal que observa asistencia perfecta una bonificación mensual equivalente a $470 durante la temporada. Para los obreros que trabajan en post-temporada, esta bonificación será de $700 mensuales. Se entiende por asistencia perfecta cuando el obrero labore todos los días normales del mes y no registre llegadas tardes a su trabajo dentro de los límites del artículo 29. Esta bonificación se liquidará de la misma forma prevista en el artículo 42.
    Artículo 44.- Día del Obrero de la Fruta: se instituye el tercer domingo del mes de Marzo, como DIA DEL OBRERO DE LA FRUTA, el que será pagado por todos los empleadores involucrados en el presente convenio, al personal en actividad, con el equivalente a un día de trabajo.
    Artículo 45.- El personal que ingrese como nuevo en la planta de empaque y acredite mediante recibo de pago y/o certificado de trabajo, su categoría dentro de la especialidad en que se va a desempeñar, no podrá percibir salario inferior a ella.
    Artículo 46.- El personal que se desempeñe como capataz o encargado de la planta de empaque no podrá realizar tarea alguna en forma permanente, en ninguna especialidad, mientras no se haya incorporado la totalidad del personal o hayan sido suspendidos.
    Artículo 47.- Las empresas proveerán a todo el personal efectivo o permanente, durante el periodo de invierno, de dos pantalones y dos camisas, siendo su uso obligatorio, debiendo ser reemplazados cuando se deterioren por su uso normal.
    Artículo 48.- La empresa otorgará o no asueto el viernes santo de acuerdo a su tradición y creencia, en horas de la tarde, conforme al artículo 17 de la ley 20744.
    Artículo 49.- Las empresas que a la fecha no hayan contratado el seguro implantado por decreto nro. 1567/74 del Poder ejecutivo nacional deberán hacerlo exclusivamente por la Caja Nacional de Ahorro y Seguro, aquellas que la tengan concertados con otras compañías aseguradoras, deberán comunicar al S.O.E.F.R.N. Y N. el nombre y domicilio de las mismas, y a su vencimiento deberán contratarlo con la Caja Nacional de Ahorro y Seguro, conforme a lo establecido en este articulo. El monto de este seguro es de $30.000 por cada obrero o empleado con ajuste anual automático de acuerdo a la evolución del índice del precio minorista, cubriendo los riesgos de muerte e invalidez total, absoluta e irreversible o permanente de todo trabajador en relación de dependencia. El pago de las primas está a cargo de los empleadores. Este beneficio no sustituye a los que otorgue la ley de accidentes de trabajo u otras normas de derecho laboral o provisional. Asimismo no podrá afectarse los capitales que se abonen por concepto alguno, teniendo en cuenta que los mismos son de exclusiva pertenencia del asegurado o los beneficiarios.
    Artículo 50.- A la finalización de cada temporada la patronal entregará a su personal, constancia del tiempo trabajado en la misma, a los fines de controlar el obrero su antigüedad para su próxima reincorporación.
    Artículo 51.- Artículos de Aplicación en Post-temporada: Aquellas empresas que realicen tareas en post-temporadas, en el momento de comunicar la suspensión a cualquier trabajador, deberá confeccionar una lista por duplicado de todo el personal, donde éste manifestara su voluntad de realizar o no trabajos en post-temporada, dicha lista será remitida al Sindicato dentro de los cinco días de terminada la cosecha. Aquellas empresas que realicen tareas de este tipo en tales periodos deberán reincorporar a ese personal de acuerdo a sus necesidades, respetando el orden de antigüedad y categoría, otorgándole un plazo de 48 horas para presentarse. Si el obrero dejara de hacerlo, la empresa quedará relevada de sus obligaciones emergentes de este artículo. Aquellos obreros que a la finalización de la cosecha expresaran su voluntad de no reincorporarse en temporada fuera de la cosecha y los que no respondieren a la citación patronal, dentro de dicho lapso quedarán suspendidos con derecho a ser reincorporados en la próxima temporada de cosecha. . Los obreros que en la temporada fuera de cosecha acepten desempeñarse en una especialidad o categoría distinta a la suya, percibirán el salario que por este convenio le corresponda a la especialidad y categoría que efectivamente trabaja.
    Artículo 52.- En las tareas de post-temporada, cuando se abone el salario por tiempo efectivamente trabajado, la retribución diaria se obtendrá dividiendo el sueldo de este convenio por 25. Además se pagará al trabajador media jornada o jornada completa, aún cuando no se completare la misma, por razones ajenas a su voluntad y siempre que se encuentre a disposición del empleador.
    Artículo 53.- A todo obrero que trabaje en post-temporada más de ochenta (80) horas durante el mes calendario, le será asegurado un mínimo de cien (100) horas en dicho mes y por lo tanto las asignaciones familiares correspondientes.
    Artículo 54.- Queda terminantemente prohibido realizar tareas de empaque en cámaras o ante cámaras frigoríficas. Cuando las empresas cedan sus instalaciones para el empaque de frutas a mano o a maquina, deberá ajustarse al régimen establecido por la ley 20.744, artículo 248.
    Artículo 55.- Será obligación de los empleadores que desarrollen actividades en post-temporada, cualquiera sea su naturaleza, mantener al personal con representación en la planta de empaque del delegado o los Delegados obreros en la proporción que establece la ley de acuerdo a la cantidad de operarios. La representación sindical será ejercida por el Delegado/a/s, con mayor antigüedad como trabajador en la empresa. La reincorporación del Delegado/a/s, será de acuerdo a lo establecido en el artículo 37.
    Artículo 56.- El obrero que haya manifestado su voluntad de trabajar en post-temporada y que al ser llamado por la empresa se encontrase enfermo, se incorporará al ser dado de alta. En tal caso será legítima la suspensión que se aplicare a quien lo reemplazó.
    Artículo 57.- Las disposiciones del presente convenio son de orden público y será nula y sin ningún valor toda convención de partes que anule los derechos determinados en la misma, conforme a la Ley de Trabajo 20.744 en sus artículos 7, 8, 9, 11 y concordantes de la misma.
    Artículo 58.- De la Comisión de Interpretación: La comisión paritaria de interpretación de esta convención esta integrada por dos representantes del S.O.E.F.R.N. Y N. y un representante de la Delegación nacional del Ministerio de Trabajo de la ciudad de general Roca, Provincia de Rio Negro, quien la presidirá. Esta comisión tendrá a su cargo la solución, por vía conciliatoria de los diferendos que se susciten con motivo de la interpretación de este Convenio.

    III) DISPOSICIONES TRANSITORIAS

    Artículo 59.- A los efectos de la aplicación del artículo 22 el S.O.E.F.R.N. Y N., presentará dentro de los 60 días un proyecto de reglamentación de funcionamiento y administración de la guardería que se discutirá dentro de la comisión de interpretación.
    Artículo 60.- Las empresas enviaran mensualmente al Sindicato o a la Seccional respectiva la planilla del personal con las altas y bajas, de acuerdo a lo establecido en el articulo 13 de la Ley nro. 18.610 y decreto reglamentario.
    Artículo 61.- Post-temporada: La patronal comunicará al personal, en caso de suspensión, con 24 horas de antelación y probable fecha de reincorporación. Si el obrero se presentara a trabajar y no se lo reincorpora de acuerdo a la notificación antedicha en un plazo posterior a 72 horas, el trabajador recibirá a partir de ese lapso, los jornales correspondientes, sin necesidad de recurrir al cobro por vía legal.
    Artículo 62.- Para el caso en que se realicen tareas de empaque en la cámara o ante-cámara de un frigorífico que no integre el establecimiento de un galpón de empaque, el propietario o la razón social propietaria del frigorífico, será responsable de todos los efectos que surjan del contrato de trabajo de empaque de frutas y cargará con todos los derechos y obligaciones emergentes de este convenio y de las leyes que rijan la actividad.
    Artículo 63.- Las empresas no podrán negar al representante de S.O.E.F.R.N. Y N. que se acredite como tal cuando éste lo solicite, el volumen de fruta existente en cámara frigorífica (cajones empacados o cajones bins) como así también es requerido a los efectos de determinar aproximadamente la duración del vínculo laboral. Este artículo es también de aplicación para aquellos frigoríficos particulares que alquilen o cedan sus cámaras o ante-cámaras.
    Artículo 64.- Se conviene de ambas partes que la escala salarial, bonificaciones o cualquier otro beneficio acordado por la parte económica de este convenio, será ajustable en las siguientes fechas: 30-5 y 30-08-76, dejando expresamente aclarado que los salarios fijados por este acuerdo se considerarán mínimo profesional. En este mismo acto queda convenido también como fecha de iniciación en la discusión de próximos convenios de temporadas sucesivas al 1 de Diciembre de cada año calendario.

              CARMEN NAVARRO EN MURCIA OPEN DESIGN 2012        
    Del 8 al 11 de Noviembre se celebró Murcia Open Design, y allí estuve para presentar mi nueva colección de ropa "Mis flores en tu jardín"... además de mostras algunos de mis diseños en sombrerería..



    Diseñadores como David Delfín, Ion Fiz, Alba Prat, Ana Sánchez, Paula del Vals... se dieron cita en las pasarelas para darnos a conocer sus propuestas... 

    Pero no solo quedó en eso, tambien se organizaron conferencias, concursos, talleres, exposiciones y un micro market donde Carmen Navarro tuvo el placer de estar... y compartirlo con el resto de diseñadores... con unas creaciones geniales!!!

    Tuvo lugar un concurso "PASARELA ON" de jóvenes talentos emergentes de diseño de moda... Las diseñadoras murcianas LAS CULPASS participaron en él... no fueron las ganadoras pero sus diseños no pasaron inadvertidos...

    Bolso sujetador -- Las Culpass

     Os paso a enseñar algunos de los diseñadoras con los que compartí espacio...


    Espacio de Raquel Samper
     
     Carolina de "Carola Vintage"  organizando su espacio.

     eMedePetra de la mano de Patricia.

     Diseños con calaveras de la mano de Amaya Hezdoz

     Diseños de Estefania Nicolas


    Colección de Miriam García

     Colgantes de Rebeca García

    Rebeca Nicolas, Miriam Garcia, Carolina, Carmen, Amaya y Patricia (de izquierda a dercha)

    Inma Aniorte de Pret A Emporter con tocado de Carmen Navarro y capa de Carola Vintage

    Amaya Herdoz con ala de Carmen Navarro y vestido de Carola Vintage

    Sin olvidar el resto de diseñadores!!! of course... Sonia de Son Loc Corre ve y Dile, Lady Dilema con sus camisetas super bonitas, Proyectomania, Titi's Clothing, Jose Zambrano, Jordi Rafat, Antonio Posadas, Lidia Moral, Mujeres con Pajarita, Evita Glamour, Bego 4 Monso, Maria Schneider, Petit Comité, Cayetana Ferrer y Laboratorio de cucharas y tenedores...

    Y un gracias a Murcia Open Design... te esparamos el año que viene!!! 

    Encantada de haber compartido estos días con todas vosotras!!! Un beso...

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              With an emphasis on culture, a new kind of nature trail emerges along Chicago’s south lakefront        
    Environment & Conservation

    North of the Margaret Burroughs Beach, a Caracol-inspired gathering space with a Mesoamerican hop scotch game is be part of a new trail in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. This is one of five sites installed in by teams of artists and community-based organizations whose designs are inspired both by local ecology, as well as the heritage of communities adjacent to the south lakefront.

    Moving along the trail, just past the 31st Harbor, an intertwined monarch butterfly sculpture crowns a hill, this design will be circled with common milkweed. West of Lake Shore Drive on 31st Street, south on the trail, a Scholar's rock sits in a grove of mature oak trees; have a seat and imagine the sounds of traffic as waves from an ocean, urban nature at its best. Crossing 39th street/Oakwood, on the west side of Lake Shore Drive, designed for growth every year, sculpted willow branches take organic shapes. The woodchip trail continues, a fallen tree hugs a bird sculpture born from the Sankofa symbol, a soulful reflection on nature.

    The Gathering Spaces, part of the Roots & Routes Initiative, were curated by a volunteer committee comprised of arts professionals and community leaders. 

    Caracol Opening

    Caracol, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Roots & Routes, Habitat Restoration, Pilsen, Contratiempo, Chicago, Lakefront
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum


    1. Caracol

    Lead artists:  Georgina Valverde, Diana Solis, Jose Terrazas

    Non-profit partner:  contratiempo (Pilsen) – preserves and highlights the cultural identity and contributions of the Spanish-speaking

    Latino population in the United States.

    Description:  Drawing on rich connections from the natural world and cultural symbolism, Caracol (“snail” and “shell” in Spanish) represents the immigrant's desire to belong while maintaining the core of memory and identity. Snails perform a critical role in the food chain, breaking down plant matter and aiding in the nutrification of the soil. Likewise, immigrants economic and cultural contributions enrich and revitalize the host society. Caracol´spiral-shaped structure suggests ongoing movement from the core to a widening exterior—from the familiar to the unknown.  The installation includes a table that can function as a work or picnic table, and as a painting surface for a series of murals featuring the interplay of language and images, a stage, and a hopscotch game that uses Mesoamerican numbers.

     

    La Ronda Parakata

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, La Ronda Parakata
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    2. La Ronda Parakata

    Lead artists:  Hector DuarteAlfonso “Piloto” Nieves

    Non-profit partner:  Casa Michoacán (Pilsen) – promotes cultural, social, and sporting activities between the Mexican and immigrant Michoacán community, with a transnational vision.

    Description:  This project is a circular sculpture inspired by the magic symbolism of the butterfly, harmony with nature, and migration.  It is demarcated by a delicate sculptural ring or “ronda” of interlocking butterfly forms. The center of the space features native plants and cement blocks that are being repurposed as rustic seating.

     

    Set in Stone

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Set in Stone
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    3. Set in Stone

    Lead artists:  Andy Bellomo, Anna Murphy

    Non-profit partner:  Chinese-American Museum of Chicago (Chinatown) -- promotes the culture and history of Chinese-Americans in the Midwest through exhibitions, education and research.

    Description:  This project is an interpretation of a traditional Chinese “scholar’s rock” by sculpting, molding and fabricating a sculpture that emulates the magnificence felt through viewing these rocks. The scholar’s rock sculpture is placed at the center of a tranquil rock garden with hand-carved log benches for viewing/contemplation.

     

    Sounding Bronzeville

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sounding Bronzeville
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    4. Sounding Bronzeville

    Lead artists:  Fo Wilson, Norman Teague

    Non-profit partner:  Bronzeville Community Development Partnership (Bronzeville) -- focuses on information technology, heritage tourism, hospitality workforce development and training, preservation and sustainability in Bronzeville.

    Description:  This site includes several organic, amorphous sculptural forms that rise from the ground in different heights and shapes, covered with native plant material. Some of these forms serve as seating, and some have “sound ports” or “nesting ports.” These openings allow for visibility through the forms as well as opportunities for specific audial experiences between people. This piece commemorates and remembers the strength and resilience of thousands of African-Americans who made the journey from the South seeking better opportunities North with 100 years of the Great Migration.

    Architects: Monica Chadha and Mike Newman; Landscape Architects Nilay Mistry and Nathan Wright; Willow Furniture Maker and Consultant Dave Chapman

     

    Sankofa for the Earth

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sankofa for the Earth
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    5. Sankofa for the Earth

    Lead artists:  Arlene Turner Crawford, Dorian Sylvain, Raymond A. Thomas

    Non-profit partner:  South Side Community Art Center (Bronzeville) -- preserves, conserves and promotes the legacy and future of African American art and artists, while educating the community on the value of art and culture.

    Description:  This project features a “Sankofa” bird made from mixed-media and recycled materials. In Africa, a bird looking backwards over its tail represents the Sankofa symbol, which means “go back and fetch it.” It is an understanding that our past(s) holds important information to move us forward in life. There is a mosaic on the exterior of the bird and mural on the interior representing Bronzeville history. QR codes are integrated into the mural design to allow visitors with smartphones, to access sites with information about the images included in the mural, as well as, information on Bronzeville, the Chicago Park District and the Field Museum.

     

    How to get to the Gathering Spaces: 

    Gathering Spaces Map


              Interface deal good for the industry         
    08/09/2017

    The $600 million Interface Security Systems deal has sent—as The Beach Boys once sang—“good vibrations” throughout the security industry, as it provides not only a vote of confidence for what Interface is doing as a modern systems integration company, but also a vote of confidence in the security industry, in general, as companies like Interface represent a new breed of integrator that is staying at the forefront of new technology and innovation.

    John E. Mack III, executive vice president, co-head of investment banking and mergers & acquisitions at Imperial Capital, which acted as financial advisor to Interface on the deal, astutely pointed out that this deal goes beyond validation of what Interface is doing in the space.

    “This is a very cool story for the sophisticated new-age security provider, which is what Interface is—the 2.0 version of what the right kind of security player should be,” he told Security Systems News. “We spend so much time in this industry talking about the residential side of the business, which is interesting, but there is a massive opportunity on the commercial side of the business that Interface is tapping into that I think is a compelling theme.”

    He continued, “There is a lot of validation for a very successful business model here that Prudential is putting up $180 million of new capital, and SunTx is putting up additional capital into the deal. And that you’ve got a very attractive set of debt investors, and just the fundamental backing for the business, is a meaningful part of a positive message for the industry.”

    Jeff Frye, SVP for Interface, told SSN that the support from equity partners is not only a stamp of approval for what the company is doing, but the “capital gives us more fuel to build on our current, better than 15 percent compounded annual growth rate, so we know that we can do more with a little more gas in the tank and we are anxious to prove it.”

    Frye noted that the equity will allow the company to expand its products and services around providing business intelligence, as security is becoming so much more than just, well, security.

    “As a network provider, and a managed services provider of network services and cybersecurity services, we touch a lot of aspects of our customers’ businesses,” Frye explained. “And as a leading purveyor of Internet of Things services, we are able to aggregate intelligence from all of those sensors and data sources to bring actionable insights to a customer’s business. There are some new verticals that we would like to focus on more, including financial services and banking, so this makes that horizon much brighter and much more approachable.”

    And it also makes the security industry’s horizon a little brighter.


              ASAP expands in Virginia        
    08/09/2017

    Vector Security announced in early August that Newport News, Va., is now live with Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). Newport News joins other municipalities in the state of Virginia using ASAP, such as the City of Richmond, James City County, York County, and Henrico County.

    The ASAP to PSAP program, created by The Monitoring Association—formerly CSAA—and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials automates communication between alarm monitoring central stations and 911 centers.

    Transmitting alarm information digitally, results in improved accuracy and faster emergency responses by eliminating the need for communication over the phone between PSAP centers and monitoring centers.

    Vector Security was the first alarm company to use ASAP in the City of Richmond, Va. in 2012. Vector Security assisted with implementation in Newport News by helping to perform extensive testing prior to the system going live.

    “Alarm users in Newport News, including several hundred Vector Security customers, will benefit from faster and more accurate emergency response with the implementation of ASAP,” Anita Ostrowski, vice president of central station services at Vector Security, said in a prepared statement. “We hope the positive impact that ASAP will bring to Newport News will encourage other major 911 centers in the nation to adopt this technology as well.”

    Ostrowski continued, “As a security provider, we seek ways to promote ASAP’s value to municipalities and public agencies, and help other alarm companies implement it for the greater good of the industry and the safety of our communities.”

    Other municipalities that have implemented ASAP include Houston and High Point, TX; Washington D.C.; James City County, York County and Henrico County, Va.; Tempe and Chandler, Az.; Boca Raton, Fla.; Cary and Guilford County, N.C.; Kernersville and Durham County, N.C.; Johnston County, N.C.; Denton County and Grand Prairie, Texas; Morgan County, Ala.; Delaware County, Ohio; Bucks County, Pa.; and Highland Park, Texas.


              Allied Universal turns 1        
    08/02/2017

    Allied Universal, a leading facility services company and one of the largest security forces in North America, marked its one-year anniversary this week after forming a year ago via the merger of AlliedBarton Security Services and Universal Services of America.

    In the announcement, Steve Jones, Allied Universal CEO, thanked all of the company’s 150,000 employees and its clients “for their continued support and commitment that contributed to a phenomenal first year as our new company! I look forward to our continued success in the security and services industries."

    Over the past year the company has made several acquisitions, as it continues to transform to a full-service security company, moving beyond the manguarding services the it has been known for.

    Jones told Security Systems News, after the company’s most recent acquisition of ALERT Protective Services in May, that the company continues to look at acquisitions as a way to diversify its offerings.

    “We’ve got a pretty robust pipeline of deals that we are looking at—some in the technology space and some in the traditional manguarding space—and we hope to announce a few more before the year is over that will help us to diversify our company and bring more value to our clients.”

    In the press release announcing the one-year milestone, the company outlined some additional organizational achievements since the merger:

    •    Became the unequivocal leader in guarding services throughout North America. Our security professionals and our company play a major role in keeping the U.S. and Canada safe and secure.

    •    Provided service to over half of the Fortune 500 companies and nearly every major retail mall in the U.S. From healthcare facilities, commercial office buildings, manufacturing and industrial plants, residential communities, transportation facilities and government services, Allied Universal has a significant security presence.

    •    Managed the integration of a workforce of over 150,000 security professionals to perform our jobs on a daily basis and serve our growing customer base.

    •    Implemented a world-class training program, the AU Institute, which offers over 1,000 training assets and professional development programs to enhance our security professionals' delivery of service and protection.

    •    Introduced several technological innovations to expand our physical and operational security solutions and service offerings to enhance the protection of client properties and assets.

     


              [Article] The Evolution of Smart Home Performance and Its Benefits to the Grid        
    As the number of residential demand-response programs and the use of smart home technologies has grown over the last several years, an important opportunity has emerged in home performance to increase residential energy savings. Namely, the opportunity to use smart home technologies to target leaky, inefficient homes that cannot hold a constant temperature during a period of several hours once an air conditioner, for example, is turned up or off during a demand response event called as part of a utility program.
              [Article] Bits and Watts, Watts and Bits        
    More and more, the streams of energy and information are becoming entangled. No single event heralds this merger; instead, dozens of innovations across a wide front mark the transformation. What does that wide front look like on the ground? Here are some examples.
              New English Zumbar Coffee 22oz        
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              Voyage to study Earth’s mostly submerged hidden continent begins        
    The research ship JOIDES Resolution is on its way to take samples from Zealandia, a continent that lies mostly below the waves
              Hand Therapy Massage        
    Special Recommend information on A H1N1 (swine flu)
    As it is known to all, currently we human being are all faced with a big enemy-A/H1N1 flu (swine flu) which has been threatening our life. Now the situation is worsening. As health and medical to AH1N1organ, we shoulder more responsibility to handle outbreak of this emergency.

    In TCM, A/H1N1 belongs to epidemic febrile disease of TCM which is the same as human avian influenza and SARS and similar to A/H1N1 flu syndrome differentiation and treatment of TCM prevention and cure. It is advocated “dispelling wind, reducing fever and dissipating dampness in clinical.

    TCM center will provide latest Special Report Globally on the A/H1N1 flu; and you still can find the Symptoms and Prevention about A/H1N1 flu ; further more, TCM prevention for swine flu provides latest global news; Chinese medicine prevention for A/H1N1 flu ; Chinese herbal medicine and so on.Although there are many therapeutic methods used for hand therapy, only the most common are discussed in this chapter. They include massage, acupuncture, hand bath, qigong and several miscellaneous methods including holding herbs, pressing and kneading the border of second metacarpal bone, arm swinging and other exercises.

    I. Hand Therapy Massage
    In hand therapy massage, stimulation is applied by hand to the regular and extra acupoints or reflective points and reflective areas closely related to various internal organs and tissues in the body. Particular maneuvers are employed to adjust their function, treat diseases, improve life quality, and maintain health. The basic maneuvers of massage include pressing, digitpressing, kneading, pushing, pinching, twisting, rotating, pulling, rubbing, and grinding methods.

    1. Pressing maneuver:
    A vertical pressure is applied by the tip or pad of thumb at the acupoints, reflective areas, and reflective points (Fig. 18).
    Indications: The pressing maneuver is usually applied at the acupoints on a flat area (such as thenar and hypothenar prominence) combined with a kneading maneuver to prevent and treat various chronic diseases and pains and maintain health.
    Principle of manipulation: The thumb should be firmly applied on the skin to produce a steady and persistent pressure in a small area. The pressure should be gradually increased in intensity, and not suddenly applied with a violent action. The frequency and intensity of pressure should be even.

    2. Digit-pressing maneuver:
    A pressure is applied at the acupoints of the hand by the tip of thumb or middle finger; or by the lateral border of tip of little finger supported by thumb and ring finger; or by the knuckle of proximal interphalangeal joint of index finger (Fig. ! 9).
    Indications: The digit-pressing maneuver is usually applied with a heavy pressure at acupoints in a fissure between bones, or in a limited area to treat acute or painful diseases.
    Principle of manipulation: Compared with the pressing maneuver, this maneuver can produce a stronger stimulation in a smaller area. The pressure should be applied at an accurate location without any sliding movement. The intensity of pressure may vary over a wide range.

    3. Kneading maneuver:
    The pad of thumb or middle finger is placed at the acupoint of the hand to receive treatment, and the forearm is actively swung to and fro with the elbow as a fulcrum and the wrist, palm, and finger as a transmitter to produce a gentle rotating and kneading movement to the acupoint with the pad of finger ( Fig. 20).
    Indications: The kneading maneuver is usually applied at acupoints situated superficially over a broad area to produce an adjusting and toning effect for treatment of chronic, deficient, and wasting diseases as well as for maintenance of health and relief of local swelling and pain.
    Principle of manipulation: The pressure applied by the kneading maneuver should be gentle and the movement of finger, hand and arm should be coordinated, rhythmic, and persistent for a longer period of time.

    4. Pushing maneuver:
    The single or multiple finger(s), root of palm, thenar or hypothenar prominence is used to produce an unidirectional linear pushing movement over certain parts of the hand (Fig. 21).
    Indications: The pushing maneuver is usually applied along the longitudinal direction of the hand or over various sides of the fingers, and it may be followed by a rubbing maneuver to maintain health and treat chronic diseases, pain, and soreness due to soft tissue strain or diseases caused by deficiency and cold.
    Principle of manipulation: To apply the pushing maneuver, the pushing force must be steady and strong enough, with the finger or palm placed firm on the skin of the hand. The pushing speed should be slow and even. The direction of the pushing maneuver is along the bones of the hand, and the force of the pushing maneuver may be freely adjusted, but it should be maintained at a fixed depth.

    5. Pinching maneuver:
    The free border or radial corner of the thumb nail or free border of the nails of other fingers is used to apply a vertical, heavy stimulation to the hand acupoints; or the free border of the thumb nail and the free border of the nails of other fingers are used to pinch the acupoint from both sides (Fig. 22).
    Indications: The pinching maneuver is usually applied between metacarpal bones or between metacarpophalangeal joints together with pressing, kneading, and twisting maneuvers (or alternately applied) to treat acute or painful diseases, epilepsy, and neurasthenia.
    Principle of manipulation: This is a maneuver designed to produce a heavy and deep stimulation and response. After the heavy and deep pinching manipulation is held for half a minute, gentle pressing and kneading maneuvers should follow for half a minute to relieve the discomfort produced by the pinching maneuver. This manipulation is repeated a second time. The pinching maneuver may be applied for a shorter duration and with a quicker rhythm. The nail must be steadily applied at the acupoint without any sliding movement to avoid causing injury to the skin.

    6. Twisting maneuver:
    The pads of thumb and index finger are used to hold and twist the injured finger back and forth to promote blood circulation through collaterals and stop pain (Fig. 23).

    More information from TCM and health: Hand Therapy Massage
              Hand Therapy Using Hand Bath        
    Special Recommend information on A H1N1 (swine flu)
    As it is known to all, currently we human being are all faced with a big enemy-A/H1N1 flu (swine flu) which has been threatening our life. Now the situation is worsening. As health and medical to AH1N1organ, we shoulder more responsibility to handle outbreak of this emergency.

    In TCM, A/H1N1 belongs to epidemic febrile disease of TCM which is the same as human avian influenza and SARS and similar to A/H1N1 flu syndrome differentiation and treatment of TCM prevention and cure. It is advocated “dispelling wind, reducing fever and dissipating dampness in clinical.

    TCM center will provide latest Special Report Globally on the A/H1N1 flu; and you still can find the Symptoms and Prevention about A/H1N1 flu ; further more, TCM prevention for swine flu provides latest global news; Chinese medicine prevention for A/H1N1 flu ; Chinese herbal medicine and so on.


    Hand bath is a steaming and washing therapy. The hot steam from an herbal decoction is used to heat the hands which are then soaked in the warm decoction after it gradually cools down. Diseases can be cured by the hot stimulation applied to the meridians and acupoints of the hand and by the gradual absorption of herbs through the skin.

    1. Origin and classification of steaming and washing therapy:

    Steaming and washing therapy originated in ancient times. Among 52 ancient herbal therapy recipes unearthed from the Han Dynasty Mawangdui Tomb, eight were used for steaming and washing therapy. This indicates that steaming and washing therapy has been used by Chinese people to treat diseases for at least 2,000 years. This therapy is also mentioned in classical medical books of the Han (206 B. C.-220) and Jin (265-420) dynasties. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), this method was used to treat carbuncles, cellulitis, skin rashes, dermatitis, frostbite, hand and foot diseases, and gynecological and eye disorders. In the Kin (1115-1234) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties this method was classified as an essential medical therapy. In the Qing Dynasty ( 1644-1911 ), Wu Shangxian, a famous physician of traditional Chinese medicine, divided this therapy into smoking, steaming, shower, sitz bath, and hot ironing. It is a folk treatment used by common people to treat acute sprains, bone injuries, and contusions with a good therapeutic results.
    Steaming and washing therapy can be classified as general and local. Local treatment includes steaming and washing therapy for the hand, foot, and eye, and sitz baths. Hand bath is steaming and washing therapy for the hand.

    2. Function and characteristics of hand bath:

    As demonstrated by the experiments of modern medicine. steaming and washing therapy with hot and moist air can promote the absorption of herbs through the skin, dilate the skin's small blood vessels, promote the circulation of blood and lymph, enhance the phagocytic functions of the reticuloendothelial system, increase the permeability of cellular membranes, and promote metabolism by stimulating the sensitive sensory nerves scattered along the skin. The effective components of herbs used in steaming and washing therapy can directly kill the pathogenic germs on the skin. According to the theory of traditional medicine, the meridians of the hand are closely related to the organs and meridians of the entire body. Therefore, this therapy can clear stagnation in meridians, adjust bodily deficiency and excess, and promote circulation of qi and blood.
    The hand bath is simple, cheap, and easy to learn and practice, with numerous indications and good therapeutic effects, and without any harmful side effects. It is most useful for patients proscribed from taking drugs.

    3. Methods of manipulation:

    1) The proper recipe is selected according to the diseases and the basin, towel and sheets are prepared in use.
    2) The hot decoction of herbs is poured into the basin and the hands and arms are put over the basin. Cover the arms and basin with a sheet to reserve the hot air from quickly escaping away. Some boiled water may be added to the basin to maintain the temperature. After the decoction is cooled down to an adequate temperature, the hands may be soaked and washed in the decoction.
    3) After steaming and bathing, the hands should be dried with a towel and protected from attack of wind and coldness.
    4) The steaming and washing therapy may last for 20-30 minutes, twice a day.

    4. Precautions:

    I) The water used to boil the herbs should be adequate to prepare a decoction of the proper concentration. Aromatic and volatile herbs should be boiled for only 10-15 minutes; and roots, stems and herbs in large clumps should be boiled for 30
    minutes.
    2) The temperature of the decoction for bathing and soaking the hands should be monitored to avoid burning the skin.
    3) These decoctions are not for oral administration.

    More information from TCM and health: Hand Therapy Using Hand Bath
              Hand Therapy Using Hand Qigong        
    Special Recommend information on A H1N1 (swine flu)
    As it is known to all, currently we human being are all faced with a big enemy-A/H1N1 flu (swine flu) which has been threatening our life. Now the situation is worsening. As health and medical to AH1N1organ, we shoulder more responsibility to handle outbreak of this emergency.

    In TCM, A/H1N1 belongs to epidemic febrile disease of TCM which is the same as human avian influenza and SARS and similar to A/H1N1 flu syndrome differentiation and treatment of TCM prevention and cure. It is advocated “dispelling wind, reducing fever and dissipating dampness in clinical.

    TCM center will provide latest Special Report Globally on the A/H1N1 flu; and you still can find the Symptoms and Prevention about A/H1N1 flu ; further more, TCM prevention for swine flu provides latest global news; Chinese medicine prevention for A/H1N1 flu ; Chinese herbal medicine and so on.
    Hand qigong is employed as physical exercises of the hand or the entire body induced by the hand, and is usually accompanied by breathing and mental exercises for treating diseases.

    1. Origin and classification of hand qigong

    Hand qigong is a branch of medical qigong for treatment of diseases and has a long developing history. There were an introduction and case reports mentioned in the medical literature of the Sui (581-618), Tang, Ming (1368-1644), and Qing dynasties.

    Hand qigong can be divided into two types: The pure physical exercise of the hand for treating diseases of the internal organs, and exercises of the entire body induced by the hand with breathing and mental exercises to adjust meridians, qi, and blood throughout the body.

    2. Function and characteristics of hand qigong

    The hand is closely connected to tissues and organs of the entire body through meridians, and there are many sensitive and effective acupoints, such as Hegu (L1 4), Laogong (PC 8) and Shaoshang (LU 11 ) on the hand. Therefore, the physical exercises of the hand and physical exercises of the body induced by the hand with breathing and mental exercises can adjust qi, breath and mental activity, promote circulation of qi and blood through meridians, adjust deficiency and excess in internal organs, and balance yin and yang throughout the body.

    This exercise is simple, practical, easy to learn, and can be practiced by people of all ages at any time and place. It is effective for treating many diseases, especially chronic diseases, without harmful side effects.

    3. Precautions:

    Before doing qigong exercises the practitioner should get rid of mental distractions, maintain a calm mental state, assume a proper posture, and develop a slow and even breath. Then, various types of special hand exercises or physical exercises of the entire body may begin.
    Practical methods of qigong exercises will be discussed in the treatment of different diseases included in the following chapter.

    More information from TCM and health: Hand Therapy Using Hand Qigong
              Hand Therapy Using Miscellaneous Methods        
    Special Recommend information on A H1N1 (swine flu)
    As it is known to all, currently we human being are all faced with a big enemy-A/H1N1 flu (swine flu) which has been threatening our life. Now the situation is worsening. As health and medical organ, we shoulder more responsibility to handle outbreak of this emergency.

    In TCM, A/H1N1 belongs to epidemic febrile disease of TCM which is the same as human avian influenza and SARS and similar to A/H1N1 flu syndrome differentiation and treatment of TCM prevention and cure. It is advocated “dispelling wind, reducing fever and dissipating dampness in clinical.

    TCM center will provide latest Special Report Globally on the A/H1N1 flu; and you still can find the Symptoms and Prevention about A/H1N1 flu ; further more, TCM prevention for swine flu provides latest global news; Chinese medicine prevention for A/H1N1 flu ; Chinese herbal medicine and so on.

    Besides massage, acupuncture, hand bath, and hand qigong, there are some other therapies applied to or near the hand including holding herbs, pressing and kneading maneuvers applied along the second metacarpal bone, swinging arms, and playing bracelet or ball with the hand.
    1. Holding herb therapy
    As an external treatment herbs, properly selected according to the nature of the disease, are held in the hand as a treatment for various ailments.
    This is an ancient therapy. Herbs that induce sweating and promote digestion are best absorbed through the skin of a hot and moist palm to stimulate the meridians and acupoints of the hand.
    Herbs for particular diseases come in a variety of shapes and patterns such as pills or powders, easy to hold in the hand. Fresh raw herbs are also produced for therapeutic use. Before holding the herbs, the hands should be soaked in hot water for a while. The herbs are then held in the hand until a slight sweating is induced. The herbs should be wrapped in gauze and secured to the palm by bandage for babies and young children.
    This method is used to treat common colds, headache, facial palsy, and indigestion in children.
    Corrosive or allergenic herbs should not be used, and it is contraindicated for patients with ulcers or wounds of the palm.
    2. Pressing and kneading therapy beside the second metacarpal bone
    The pressing and kneading maneuvers are applied at the points on the radial side of the second metacarpal bone for treating various diseases.
    The location, indications, and principles for selecting points have been discussed in Acupuncture for Hand Therapy.
    The pressing and kneading maneuvers are chiefly applied in an area around Hegu (LI 4) acupoint. The Hegu acupoint is an important point used to control pain all over the body and is especially effective for stopping pain of the head and face and in the chest, abdomen, and upper and lower limbs.
    The patient is asked to relax the hand muscles and make a hollow fist with the radial side facing upward. The physician holds the patient's fist by one hand and applies pressure with some kneading movement at a frequency of 150 per minute at Hegu acupoint with the thumb of the other hand to produce a sore, distending, heavy, and numb sensation for three minutes.
    The point should be correctly located; the pressure should be vertically applied to a deep layer, and should be gentle to avoid damaging the skin.


    3. Swinging arm exercise
    This exercise was developed and taught by Mr. Tian Ruifang in Shanghai, 1961. It is a physical exercise, simple and easy to learn and practice and effective for treating certain chronic diseases.
    l) Preparation: Before starting the exercise, the practitioner should be rid of all mental distractions, calm the mind, and fully relax every part of the body and remain this way for 3-5 minutes.
    2) Posture:
    (1) The feet are separated to a distance the width of the shoulders to maintain a natural stance, with the head and body kept erect, the knees naturally and slightly flexed, and the arms freely dangling down (Fig. 34).
    (2) The neck is relaxed, the chin is held slightly backward and the vortex of the head, Baihui (GV 20) acupoint (at midpoint between bilateral tips of ear auricle), is intentionally raised upward.
    (3) The pectoralis major muscles are relaxed and the shoulders are slightly drawn forward to draw in the chest and straighten the back and to produce a counteraction against the intentional upward ascent of the vortex of the head. The qi may move
    downward to Dantian when the chest is drawn in; and the qi may diffuse all over the abdomen when the abdomen is relaxed. After the clear qi is moved upward and the dirty qi is moved downward, a result of "deficiency in upper part and excessiveness in lower part of body" can occur.
    (4) The shoulders are relaxed and sagging to draw in the chest and move the qi downward to Dantian. Otherwise, the qi may move upward, if the shoulders are shrugged.
    (5) The thigh, leg, and foot are all relaxed.
    (6) The muscles all over the body are relaxed with a smiling face and a generally comfortable demeanor.
    (7) The tongue should be naturally flat in the mouth. The mouth and teeth should be lightly closed, because the mouth and tongue may become dry if the mouth is opened; and the practitioner cannot relax the body if the mouth is tightly closed and the teeth gnashed.
    3) Method of performance:
    (1) Both naturally extended arms are moved forward with the shoulder joints as a fulcrum, the fingers are naturally and comfortably extended, the palms are slightly concave and facing forward, and the thumbs are slightly flexed and pointing downward. The hands are moved forward and upward, but not beyond the umbilicus (Fig. 35).
    (2) The shoulders are relaxed and the arms swing freely backward to the initial position, but not beyond the buttocks, with the shape of the palms unchanged (Fig. 36). The forward and backward movement of the arms are continuously repeated.
    (3) The arms are moved back and forth by the relaxed shoulders. The shoulders should not be shrugged and the arms always move parallel. The arms are moved forward by a force conducted from the shoulder and then freely swung backward by gravity, as a repeated movement with arms alternately kept tense and relaxed.
    (4) The palms are slightly concave and the fingers are slightly flexed and separated, because the full extension of tight fingers may interfere with meridians and the free circulation of internal qi.
    (5) The arms should be naturally extended throughout the back and forth movement and the elbows should not be flexed to move the forearms alone.
    (6) The feet are flat on the ground. With increased experience, the practitioner may keep a stance with the toes firmly holding the ground.
    (7) The swinging arm exercise should be carried with the body relaxed, quiet, and natural.
    4) Repetitions, speed, and silent counting:
    More information from
    TCM and health
              COMMON ACUPOINTS FOR HAND THERAPY        
    Special Recommend information on A H1N1 (swine flu)
    As it is known to all, currently we human being are all faced with a big enemy-A/H1N1 flu (swine flu) which has been threatening our life. Now the situation is worsening. As health and medical organ, we shoulder more responsibility to handle outbreak of this emergency.

    In TCM, A/H1N1 belongs to epidemic febrile disease of TCM which is the same as human avian influenza and SARS and similar to A/H1N1 flu syndrome differentiation and treatment of TCM prevention and cure. It is advocated “dispelling wind, reducing fever and dissipating dampness in clinical.

    TCM center will provide latest Special Report Globally on the A/H1N1 flu; and you still can find the Symptoms and Prevention about A/H1N1 flu ; further more, TCM prevention for swine flu provides latest global news; Chinese medicine prevention for A/H1N1 flu ; Chinese herbal medicine and so on.

    The acupoints for hand therapy include the regular and extra acupoints on the hand. The acupoints on the forearm are also used in hand therapy because they are exposed and convenient to locate for application of acupuncture (the acupoints marked with an asterisk (*) are located on the hand).

    1. Chize (LU 5, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: With elbow slightly flexed, it is on the cubital crease and on the radial border of tendon of brachial biceps muscle (Fig. 1). Function: To suppress adverse ascent of lung qi, tone lung yin, and moisten the lung. Indications: Cough, asthma, hemoptysis, sore throat, chest distension, acute mastitis, arm and elbow pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6 cm, or bleeding therapy with three-edged needle; and moxibustion is permissible.

    2. Kongzui (LU 6, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: With arm extended and palm supine, it is on the connecting line between Chize (LU 5) and Taiyuan (LU 9) and 23.3 cm from Taiyuan (Fig. 1). Function: To suppress adverse ascent of lung qi, clear blood heat, and stop bleeding. Indications: Cough, asthma, hemoptysis, sore throat, aphonia, hemorrhoids, and arm and elbow pain. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    3. Lieque (LU 7, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: It is proximal to radial styloid process and 5 cm proximal to carpal crease (Fig. 1). Function: To expel pathogen from lungs and adjust Renmai (conceptional vessel). Indications: Cough, asthma, sore throat, hemiplegia, deviation of mouth and eye, migraine, stiff neck, toothache, and hotness in palm. Acupuncture: Oblique insertion of needle toward elbow for 0.7 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    4. Jingqu (LU 8, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: With palm supine, it is 3.3 cm proximal to carpal crease and in a depression between radial styloid process and radial artery (Fig. 1). Function: To control cough and asthma and adjust breath. Indications: Cough, asthma, sore throat, pain and distension in chest, and hotness in palm. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    5. Taiyuan* (LU 9, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: With palm supine, it is on carpal crease and in a depression on the radial side of radial artery (Fig. 2). Function: To control cough, resolve phlegm, improve body resistance, and expel pathogens. Indications: Cough, asthma, hemoptysis, pain and distension of chest, sore throat, vomiting, abdominal distension, irregular pulse, and hand and wrist pain. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for l cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    6. Yuji* (LU 10, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: With palm supine, it is proximal to the first metacarpophalangeal joint, at the midpoint of metacarpal bone and on the dorsopalmar boundary (Fig. 2). Function: To clear heat in lungs, relieve stagnation in throat, and clear heat in blood. Indications: Cough, hemoptysis, sore throat, elbow spasm, and hotness in palm. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    7. Shaoshang* (LU 11, on hand Taiyin lung meridian). Location: On the radial side of thumb and 0.3 cm from corner of nail (Fig. 2). Function: To clear heat, open sense organ orifices, restore yang, revive critical patients, relieve stagnation in throat, and control convulsion. Indications: Cough, asthma, sore throat, madness, epilepsy, stroke with coma, febrile diseases, and convulsion in children. Acupuncture: Horizontal insertion of needle toward wrist for 0.6 cm or bleeding therapy with three-edged needle; and moxibustion is permissible.

    8. Shangyang* (LI 1, hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the radial side of index finger and 0.3 cm from the corner of nail (Fig. 3). Function: To clear heat, resolve swelling, open sense organ orifices, and refresh the mind. Indications: Sore throat, swelling of jaw, toothache, deafness, tinnitus, cough, asthma, stroke with coma, and shoulder pain. Acupuncture: Upward oblique insertion of needle for 0.6 cm or bleeding therapy with three-edged needle; and moxibustion is permissible.

    9. Erjian* (LI 2, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: With hand slightly clenched, it is on the radial side of second metacarpophalangeal joint and distal to it, and on the dorsopalmar boundary of hand (Fig. 3). Function: To clear heat and resolve swelling. Indications: Sore throat, swelling of jaw, nasal bleeding, toothache, eye pain, deviation of mouth and eye, body heat, and shoulder pain. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 0.6 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    10. Sanjian* (LI 3, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: With hand slightly clenched, it is on the radial side of index finger and proximal to second metacarpophalangeal joint and capitulum of second metacarpal bone (Fig. 3). Function: To clear heat, resolve swelling, relieve fullness, and stop diarrhea. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    11. Hegu* (LI 4, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: Between the first and second metacarpal bone and at the midpoint of second metacarpal bone (Fig. 3). Function: To clear heat, treat exterior syndrome, and improve vision and hearing. Indications: Headache, dizziness, toothache, eye pain, sore throat, swelling of face, deviation of mouth and eye, diseases of nose and ear, fever, hemiplegia, finger spasms, arm pain, amenorr hea, late delivery of baby, skin rashes, and diseases ofstomach and intestines. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    12. Yangxi* (LI 5, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the radial side of dorsum of wrist and in a depression between tendons of long and short extensor muscles of thumb (Fig. 3). Function: To clear heat, tranquilize the mind, improve vision, and remove stagnation in throat. Indications: Headache, sore throat, red eyes, deafness, tinnitus, toothache, arm and wrist pain, epilepsy, and madness. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    13. Pianli (LI 6, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the connecting line between Yangxi (LI 5) and Quchi (LI 11) acupoints and 10 cm from Yangxi (Fig. 4). Function: To improve vision and hearing. Indications: Nasal bleeding, red eyes, tinnitus, deafness, deviation of mouth and eye, sore throat, edema and pain in shoulder, arm, elbow, and wrist. Acupuncture: Oblique insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    14. Wenliu (LI 7, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the connecting line between Yangxi (El 5) and Quchi (L 11) acupoints and 16.6 cm from Yangxi (Fig. 4). Function: To clear heat, resolve swelling, tranquillize the mind, anti promote transportation in organs. Indications: Headache, facial swelling, nose bleed, sore throat, pain in shoulder and back, epilepsy, and madness. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    15. Xialian (LI 8, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the connecting line between Yangxi (LI 5) and Quchi (LI 11) acupoints and 1.3 cm from Quchi (Fig. 4). Functi,on: To adjust qi and promote transportation in organs. Indications: Headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, acute mastitis, and pain in elbow and arm. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    16. Shanglian (LI 9, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the connecting line between Yangxi (LI 5) and Ouchi (LI 11) acupoints and 10 cm from Quchi (Fig. 4). Function: To adjust qi and promote transportation in organs. Indications: Headache, pain in shoulder and arm, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and hemiplegia. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    17. Shonsanli (LI 10, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the connecting line between Yangxi (LI 5) and Quchi (LI 11) acupoints and 6.7 cm from Quchi (Fig. 4). Function: To clear heat, improve vision, adjust qi, and promote transportation in organs. Indications: Abdominal distension, diarrhea, eye diseases, toothache, hemiplegia, and hand, arm, and elbow pain. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for i.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    18. Quchi (LI 11, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: With elbow flexed, it is in a depression on the radial end of cubital crease (Fig. 4). Function: To expel wind pathogen, control itching, clear heat, and resolve swelling. Indications: Febrile diseases, sore throat, toothache, eye pain, skin rashes, skin sores, scabies, diseases of stomach and intestine, epilepsy, madness, disturbance of menstruation, paralysis of upper limb, and shoulder and arm pain. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 3.3-5 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    19. Shaohai (HT 3, on hand Shaoyin heart meridian) Location: With elbow flexed, it is in a depression on the ulnar end of cubital crease (Fig. 5). Function: To tranquilize the mind. Indications: Heart pain, epilepsy, madness, tuberculosis of cervical lymph nodes, hand tremors and spasms, and pain in armpit. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    20. Lingdao (HT 4, on hand Shaoyin heart meridian) Location: With hand supine, it is on the radial border of ulnar flexor muscle of wrist and 5 cm proximal to carpal crease (Fig. 5). Function: To expand chest and adjust qi. Indications: Heart pain and palpitations, dizziness, vertigo, unreasonable crying and laughing, stiff tongue, aphasia, and wrist and arm spasms. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    21. Tongli (HT 5, on hand Shaoyin heart meridian) Location: With hand supine, it is on the radial border of ulnar flexor muscle of wrist and 3.3 cm proximal to carpal crease (Fig. 5). Function: To tranquilize the mind, tone yin, and clear heart heat. Indications: Heart palpitations, stiff tongue, aphasia, profuse uterine bleeding, headache, vertigo, and pain on medial and posterior side of shoulder, elbow, and arm. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    22. Yinxi (HT 6, on hand Shaoyin heart meridian) Location: With hand supine, it is on the radial border of ulnar flexor muscle of wrist and 1.6 cm proximal to carpal crease (Fig. 5). Function: To tranquilize the mind and clear heat in the blood. Indications: Heart pain and palpitations, night sweating, aphasia, and hematemesis. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    23. Shenmen* (HT 7, on hand Shaoyin heart meridian) Location: On the carpal crease and on the radial border of ulnar flexor muscle of wrist (Fig. 6). Function: To improve the body's resistance, expel pathogens, and tranquilize the mind. Indications: Heart pain and palpitations, insomnia, poor memory, unreasonable crying and laughing, epilepsy, madness, headache, vertigo, and hotness in palm. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.
              Hand Therapy Indications, Characteristics, and Precautions        

    Special Recommend information on A H1N1 (swine flu)
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    In TCM, A/H1N1 belongs to epidemic febrile disease of TCM which is the same as human avian influenza and SARS and similar to A/H1N1 flu syndrome differentiation and treatment of TCM prevention and cure. It is advocated “dispelling wind, reducing fever and dissipating dampness in clinical.

    TCM center will provide latest Special Report Globally on the A/H1N1 flu; and you still can find the Symptoms and Prevention about A/H1N1 flu ; further more, TCM prevention for swine flu provides latest global news; Chinese medicine prevention for A/H1N1 flu ; Chinese herbal medicine and so on.


    1. Indications: 1) Painful diseases: Neurotic headache, trigeminal neuralgia, toothache, angina pectoris, chest pain, intercostal neuralgia, neuralgia sciatica, and abdominal pain. 2) Chronic diseases: Bronchitis, peptic stomach ulcer, chronic gastroenteritis, diarrhea, diabetes mellitus, rheumatism, soft tissue injury, chronic nephritis, hemiplegia, arthritis, and muscular strain of the waist. 3) Functional diseases: Irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhea, functional disturbance of vegetative nervous system, intestinal paralysis, and stomach spasms. 4) Neurological diseases: Neurasthenia, spasm of facial muscles, facial palsy, and neurotic deafness. 5) Inflammatory diseases: Tonsillitis, pharyngitis, stomatitis, rhinitis, bronchitis, periarthritis of shoulder, cholecystitis, nephritis, and arthritis. 6) Acute diseases: High fever with convulsions, acute angina pectoris, acute attack of epilepsy, acute larygopharyngitis, acute conjunctivitis, and acute gastritis.

    2. Characteristics: 1) Holistic principles in the treatment of disease are followed. This includes treating internal diseases with external therapy and treating general diseases with local therapy. 2) Hand therapy is a simple treatment with numerous indications, including common internal diseases, surgical problems, and gynaecological, pediatric, and ENT disorders. 3) This treatment is cheap, convenient and safe. 4) It can be used to treat diseases as well as improve the health of normal people. 5) It can be done by the patients themselves for early diagnosis and treatment. 6) It can produce good therapeutic results without harmful side effect. 7) The techniques of hand therapy can be widely popularized for broad application.

    3. Precautions: 1) Care must be taken in treating pregnant women at early and later stages of pregnancy. 2) It must be used with care in potential surgical conditions such as acute appendicitis with indication of surgical intervention. 3) Hand therapy is prohibited for patients with necrotic, infectious, or pyogenic skin lesions of the hand.


              Looking for Trusted Water Damage Restoration Professional in Michigan – Call (313) 447-0244        

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              How Plastic We've Become        

    Our bodies carry residues of kitchen plastics

    Food for Thought

    In the 1967 film classic The Graduate, a businessman corners Benjamin Braddock at a cocktail party and gives him a bit of career advice. "Just one word…plastics."

    Although Benjamin didn't heed that recommendation, plenty of other young graduates did. Today, the planet is awash in products spawned by the plastics industry. Residues of plastics have become ubiquitous in the environment—and in our bodies.

    A federal government study now reports that bisphenol A (BPA)—the building block of one of the most widely used plastics—laces the bodies of the vast majority of U.S. residents young and old.

    Manufacturers link BPA molecules into long chains, called polymers, to make polycarbonate plastics. All of those clear, brittle plastics used in baby bottles, food ware, and small kitchen appliances (like food-processor bowls) are made from polycarbonates. BPA-based resins also line the interiors of most food, beer, and soft-drink cans. With use and heating, polycarbonates can break down, leaching BPA into the materials they contact. Such as foods.

    And that could be bad if what happens in laboratory animals also happens in people, because studies in rodents show that BPA can trigger a host of harmful changes, from reproductive havoc to impaired blood-sugar control and obesity (SN: 9/29/07, p. 202).

    For the new study, scientists analyzed urine from some 2,500 people who had been recruited between 2003 and 2004 for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Roughly 92 percent of the individuals hosted measurable amounts of BPA, according to a report in the January Environmental Health Perspectives. It's the first study to measure the pollutant in a representative cross-section of the U.S. population.

    Typically, only small traces of BPA turned up, concentrations of a few parts per billion in urine, note chemist Antonia M. Calafat and her colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, with hormone-mimicking agents like BPA, even tiny exposures can have notable impacts.

    Overall, concentrations measured by Calafat's team were substantially higher than those that have triggered disease, birth defects, and more in exposed animals, notes Frederick S. vom Saal, a University of Missouri-Columbia biologist who has been probing the toxicology of BPA for more than 15 years.

    The BPA industry describes things differently. Although Calafat's team reported urine concentrations of BPA, in fact they assayed a breakdown product—the compound by which BPA is excreted, notes Steven G. Hentges of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group. As such, he argues, "this does not mean that BPA itself is present in the body or in urine."

    On the other hand, few people have direct exposure to the breakdown product.

    Hentges' group estimates that the daily BPA intake needed to create urine concentrations reported by the CDC scientists should be in the neighborhood of 50 nanograms per kilogram of bodyweight—or one millionth of an amount at which "no adverse effects" were measured in multi-generation animal studies. In other words, Hentges says, this suggests "a very large margin of safety."

    No way, counters vom Saal. If one applies the ratio of BPA intake to excreted values in hosts of published animal studies, concentrations just reported by CDC suggest that the daily intake of most Americans is actually closer to 100 micrograms (µg) per kilogram bodyweight, he says—or some 1,000-fold higher than the industry figure.

    Clearly, there are big differences of opinion and interpretation. And a lot may rest on who's right.

    Globally, chemical manufacturers produce an estimated 2.8 million tons of BPA each year. The material goes into a broad range of products, many used in and around the home. BPA also serves as the basis of dental sealants, which are resins applied to the teeth of children to protect their pearly whites from cavities (SN: 4/6/96, p. 214). The industry, therefore, has a strong economic interest in seeing that the market for BPA-based products doesn't become eroded by public concerns over the chemical.

    And that could happen. About 2 years after a Japanese research team showed that BPA leached out of baby bottles and plastic food ware (see What's Coming Out of Baby's Bottle?), manufacturers of those consumer products voluntarily found BPA substitutes for use in food cans. Some 2 years after that, a different group of Japanese scientists measured concentrations of BPA residues in the urine of college students. About half of the samples came from before the switch, the rest from after the period when BPA was removed from food cans.

    By comparing urine values from the two time periods, the researchers showed that BPA residues were much lower—down by at least 50 percent—after Japanese manufacturers had eliminated BPA from the lining of food cans.

    Concludes vom Saal, in light of the new CDC data and a growing body of animal data implicating even low-dose BPA exposures with the potential to cause harm, "the most logical thing" for the United States to do would be to follow in Japan's footsteps and "get this stuff [BPA] out of our food."

    Kids appear most exposed

    Overall, men tend to have statistically lower concentrations of BPA than women, the NHANES data indicate. But the big difference, Calafat says, traces to age. "Children had higher concentrations than adolescents, and they in turn had higher levels than adults," she told Science News Online.

    This decreasing body burden with older age "is something we have seen with some other nonpersistent chemicals," Calafat notes—such as phthalates, another class of plasticizers.

    The spread between the average BPA concentration that her team measured in children 6 to 11 years old (4.5 µg/liter) and adults (2.5 µg/L) doesn't look like much, but proved reliably different.

    The open question is why adults tended to excrete only 55 percent as much BPA. It could mean children have higher exposures, she posits, or perhaps that they break it down less efficiently. "We really need to do more research to be able to answer that question."

    Among other differences that emerged in the NHANES analysis: urine residues of BPA decreased with increasing household income and varied somewhat with ethnicity (with Mexican-Americans having the lowest average values, blacks the highest, and white's values in between).

    There was also a time-of-day difference, with urine values for any given group tending to be highest in the evening, lowest in the afternoon, and midway between those in the morning. Since BPA's half-life in the body is only about 6 hours, that temporal variation in the chemical's excretion would be consistent with food as a major source of exposure, the CDC scientists note.

    In the current NHANES paper, BPA samples were collected only once from each recruit. However, in a paper due to come out in the February Environmental Health Perspectives, Calafat and colleagues from several other institutions looked at how BPA excretion varied over a 2-year span among 82 individuals—men and women—seen at a fertility clinic in Boston.

    In contrast to the NHANES data, the upcoming report shows that men tended to have somewhat higher BPA concentrations than women. Then again both groups had only about one-quarter the concentration typical of Americans.

    The big difference in the Boston group emerged among the 10 women who ultimately became pregnant. Their BPA excretion increased 33 percent during pregnancy. Owing to the small number of participants in this subset of the study population, the pregnancy-associated change was not statistically significant. However, the researchers report, these are the first data to look for changes during pregnancy and ultimately determining whether some feature of pregnancy—such as a change in diet or metabolism of BPA—really alters body concentrations of the pollutant could be important. It could point to whether the fetus faces an unexpectedly high exposure to the pollutant.

    If it does, the fetus could face a double whammy: Not only would exposures be higher during this period of organ and neural development, but rates of detoxification also would be diminished, vom Saal says.

    Indeed, in a separate study, one due to be published soon in Reproductive Toxicology, his team administered BPA by ingestion or by injection to 3-day-old mice. Either way, the BPA exposure resulted in comparable BPA concentrations in blood.

    What's more, that study found, per unit of BPA delivered, blood values in the newborns were "markedly higher" than other studies have reported for adult rodents exposed to the chemical. And that makes sense, vom Saal says, because the enzyme needed to break BPA down and lead to its excretion is only a tenth as active in babies as in adults. That's true in the mouse, he says, in the rat—and, according to some preliminary data, in humans.

    Vom Saal contends that since studies have shown BPA exhibits potent hormonelike activity in human cells at the parts-per-trillion level, and since the new CDC study finds that most people are continually exposed to concentrations well above the parts-per-trillion ballpark, it's time to reevaluate whether it makes sense to use BPA-based products in and around foods.


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              No Peanuts for Your Peanut        

    Youngsters are developing peanut allergies earlier because of exposures in babyhood

    Food for Thought

    Peanuts are a protein-rich snack food packing plenty of vitamins and trace nutrients. However, these legumes can elicit potentially life-threatening immune reactions within the one in 100 American adults who are allergic to them. Rates of peanut allergy are even higher among children. And the really disturbing news: A new study finds that the age at which this common food allergy first shows up is falling.

    Today, peanut allergy typically emerges in early toddlerhood, a team of Duke University researchers reports in the December Pediatrics. "That's almost a year earlier than what we knew, scientifically, a decade ago, "explains A. Wesley Burks, a pediatric allergist who coauthored the new study.

    Although children outgrow many allergies, peanut allergy is not typically one of them. Among people who develop immune reactions to this food, 80 percent retain their allergy for life.

    The new study began, Burks says, after Duke immunologists noticed that they were encountering younger patients with peanut allergy. To investigate, the researchers pulled entry records and medical charts for all 140 young patients who had come in with the allergy since 1988. Poring over the records confirmed a fall in age at first diagnosis throughout this period—one that proved more dramatic than expected, Burks told Science News Online.

    Nationally, the rate of food allergy appears to be increasing, according to a 2006 report of a National Institutes of Health expert panel. The most striking increase, it noted, has been for peanut allergy, which is also the most common food sensitivity. Because some allergies can be avoided by delaying a child's initial introduction to certain foods, in 2000 the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents "consider" keeping peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish out of the diet of kids under age 3.

    Burks acknowledges that most parents aren't aware of this recommendation. On the other hand, most peanut allergy shows up in children that had already exhibited allergic reactions to other foods—typically eggs or milk. Many affected children also had skin sensitivities as infants, such as eczema or atopic dermatitis, and a parent or sibling with allergies, although not necessarily to food.

    Against that background, you would think parents of the most vulnerable kids would be especially careful about introducing peanuts into the diet. And they might well have been. Indeed, Burks suspects that most initial introductions to peanuts in his young patients were inadvertent. Either a child encountered items that contained unlabeled traces of peanuts—perhaps a jelly bean, certain flavorings used in medicines, or any of several baby lotions (see Unexpected Sources of Peanut Allergy). Or perhaps the kids encountered peanut allergen in the air when others were eating, handling, or cooking foods that contained the legume.

    But for now, Burks' team has no firm leads on why peanut allergies are showing up earlier. The Duke group and others will be probing that in the next few years.

    Homing in on the problem

    Children with peanut allergy in the new study showed the expected history of vulnerability. For instance, four in five had parents or a sib with some form of allergy. Four in five children also had personally experienced atopic dermatitis, two in every three suffered from asthma, and more than half had allergies that triggered runny noses. Moreover, blood tests from two-thirds of the youngsters turned up antibodies highlighting sensitivity to other foods, typically eggs or tree-nuts.

    Half of the young patients were born between 1988 and 1999, the rest between 2000 and 2005. The average age of their peanut allergy's onset was significantly different between the two groups—roughly 29 months old for the pre-2000 birth group, versus 15 months for children born since 2000. Within the first group, half of the children developed peanut allergy by 21 months of age; for children born since 2000, half developed their allergy by the time they were 14 months old.

    In hopes of teasing out factors that contributed to the trend of earlier allergies, Burks' group is participating in a Food Allergy Research Consortium that has been given $17 million to study food allergies—especially to peanuts. One facet of the 5-year program, which is sponsored by NIAID, is investigating the use of shots to desensitize people with peanut allergy. In addition, some 400 infants with milk and egg allergies will be studied for signs of immunological differences that distinguish those who outgrow their allergies from those who retain them lifelong.

    Currently, some 30,000 people a year are hospitalized for food allergy in the United States, and 200 die during an allergic episode. One concern, Burks notes, is that children who develop peanut allergy earlier than in the past might face a lower-than-usual chance of outgrowing their life-threatening affliction—one that requires constant vigilance.

    Such an allergy can even crimp one's social life. Consider the poor teenage girl whose lips swelled up after being kissed by her boyfriend (see A Rash of Kisses). Hours earlier, the boy had eaten peanuts, to which the girl was allergic.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    141 Northwest Point Boulevard

    Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

    Web site: [Go to]

    A. Wesley Burks

    Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology

    Duke University Medical Center

    DUMC 2644

    Durham, NC 27710

    National Institutes of Health

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

    Office of Communications and Government Relations

    6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612

    Bethesda, MD 20892-6612

    Web site: [Go to]
    Further Reading

    Helmuth, L. 1999. Allergy vaccine may take fear out of nuts. Science News 155(April 3):213. Available at [Go to].

    Long, A. 2002. The nuts and bolts of peanut allergy. New England Journal of Medicine 346(April 25):1320-1322. Extract available at [Go to].

    Raloff, J. 2003. Unexpected sources of peanut allergy. Science News Online (March 15). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2002. A rash of kisses. Science News 162(July 20):40. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1998. The mango that thought it was poison ivy. Science News Online (Aug. 8). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1997. A whiff, a sniff—then asthma. Science News Online (Feb. 1). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1996. Peanut allergy found common and increasing. Science News 150(Sept. 7):150. Available at [Go to].

    _____. 1996. Family allergies? Keep nuts away from kids. Science News 149(May 4):279. Available at [Go to].

    Seppa, N. 2003. Tough nut is cracked: Antibody treatment stifles peanut reactions. Science News 163(March 15):163. Available at [Go to].

              Canadians Advocate Boosting Vitamin D in Pregnancy        

    A Canadian medical society recommends pregnant women and nursing moms boost their intake of vitamin D dramatically

    Food for Thought

    Canadian pediatricians certainly aren't shirking controversy when it comes to a vitamin guideline they've developed for pregnant women and nursing moms. They're asking these women to boost their intake of vitamin D dramatically—to 10 times the daily doses advocated by most health organizations in the States. This new prescription is aimed at combating rickets—leg deformations caused by soft bones—in youngsters who get too little of the sunshine vitamin.

    Vitamin D helps build strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium. Getting pregnant and nursing women to take more of the vitamin ensures that plenty will reach developing children.

    In the past, most people had little trouble getting enough vitamin D—they just went outdoors where ultraviolet rays from the sun trigger chemical reactions in skin to make this vital nutrient. However, some people always had trouble making enough. Canadian kids at highest risk of vitamin deficits generally live in First Nations and Inuit communities. With sun-filtering pigments in their skin, and living at high latitudes, they must glean most of their vitamin D from the diet—generally a poor source—not the sun.

    Most North American women—including those in the United States—eat diets delivering only about 100 international units, or IU, of vitamin D daily, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in Washington, D.C. That is half of what IOM recommends and a mere 5 percent of what Canadian pediatricians are now advocating for new and soon-to-be moms.

    Although IOM's dietary recommendations are for the United States, the Canadian health establishment has tended to rubber stamp them. In this case, though, Canada's health agency took the unusual tack of signing off on a Canadian Paediatric Society proposal to boost the recommended intake by women who are pregnant or breast feeding to 2,000 IU per day. This new guideline appears in a consensus statement published in September by the society in its journal, Paediatrics & Child Health.

    Soon the society will begin sending its new guideline to every provincial, territorial, and aboriginal health department across Canada, notes Marie Adèle Davis, the group's executive director. The goal, she told Science News Online, is to make sure all public health officials learn about it—not just pediatricians.

    The higher recommendation equals the amount that IOM has designated as the safe upper limit for vitamin D's daily consumption. Most nutritionists don't really consider that value is a true ceiling for safe intake—especially since sunbathing on a bright summer day can generate 10,000 to 20,000 IU in the body without harm. Still, for political and legal reasons, most organizations shy away from advocating intakes near what IOM has flagged as a potential maximum for safe consumption.

    Now a number of researchers suspect that intakes by pregnant and lactating women much below 2,000 IU per day could actually prove unsafe for child health.

    Reinhold Vieth of the University of Toronto explained why, recently, to officials with Health Canada, a counterpart to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To prevent rickets, he argued, a baby needs 400 IU of vitamin D per day. And in many parts of Canada, he said, nursing women may require several thousand IU of vitamin D per day to get 400 IU into their breast milk. Vieth had been recruited by the Canadian Paediatric Society to help defend its proposed guideline to government officials.

    U.S. physicians won't quibble over the 400 IU figure for babies and young children, notes pediatrician Frank R. Greer, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) committee on nutrition. Although the 1997 IOM report says 200 IU of vitamin D per day should be sufficient for anyone under 50—including children—few researchers buy that. "Everybody feels that we should be taking more than 200 IU," says Greer, of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

    Unlike the Canadian Paediatric Society, though, "We [at AAP] don't really have any influence on what pregnant and lactating women take," Greer says. "However, I can say that AAP's committee on nutrition has recommended to the board that we go back to [recommending] 400 IU for all children." That's the amount in a teaspoon of cod liver oil—the vitamin D supplement of choice throughout the early 20th century. Greer expects his committee's recommendation to be approved by AAP's board, perhaps within the next month.

    Optimal needs vary

    For most of the past century, nutrient guidelines have been set to prevent gross deficiencies—shortfalls that could cause disease. Those recommendations tended to represent minimally adequate intakes. Over the past decade, however, considerable debate has surrounded what vitamin D consumption levels would be optimal versus merely adequate.

    The controversy has been fueled by a steady stream of studies that have emerged since the IOM set its vitamin D guidelines. Nearly all demonstrate substantial health benefits from relatively high intakes of vitamin D—amounts well in excess of what most individuals now get. Moreover, those benefits extend well beyond protecting bone. More vitamin D seems to diminish the risk of cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, muscle loss, viral infections—even gum disease.

    Researchers gauge vitamin D sufficiency on the basis of 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25-HD). This is not the form of the vitamin that is consumed—nor the hormonal form that the body actually uses—but an intermediary. To achieve optimal concentrations of 25-HD, growing numbers of nutrition and health scientists suggest, most of us would need intakes of 800 to 4,000 IU per day (see Vitamin D: What's Enough?).

    How much vitamin D someone needs can vary widely, largely depending on the amount of skin that gets exposed to the sun each day—and for how long. Further complicating the picture, some skin is heavily pigmented, filtering sunlight out. Many people cover up with clothes or sunblock when they go outdoors. Still others live at high latitudes—as Canadians do—where little ultraviolet radiation makes it through the atmosphere during much of the year.

    Even for women in the southern United States, however, "we've found that lactating women need about 6,000 IU a day to transfer enough vitamin D into their milk to supply adequate amounts to a nursing infant," says Bruce W. Hollis of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

    Nor are nursing moms the only individuals who may need relatively large doses of the vitamin. Hollis' research has shown that black women may sometimes need 4,000 IU a day for months at a time to compensate for little time outdoors, heavy skin pigmentation, and/or obesity—a factor that appears to diminish the body's ability to use vitamin D efficiently (see Understanding Vitamin D Deficiency).

    Another reason for moms' supplementation?

    In March, researchers at Harvard Medical School reported evidence that ample vitamin D diminishes the chance a child will develop asthma, a scourge who's incidence has been rising, especially in black and low-income communities (see Childhood Vitamin D—A New Benefit?). Recently, an additional putative benefit has emerged for pregnant women and their developing babies.

    A study linked elevated risk of preeclampsia—high blood pressure that develops in some women during the last half of pregnancy—with low intakes of vitamin D. This condition, which can lead to miscarriage and even the death of the mother—ordinarily develops in some three to seven percent of first pregnancies.

    Pittsburgh researchers enrolled 1,198 women who were pregnant for the first time and measured their blood concentrations of vitamin D within the first 22 weeks of gestation. Subsequently, 59 women developed preeclampsia. Blood values from all but four were compared to a similar group of recruits who maintained normal blood pressure throughout their pregnancies.

    The higher a woman's blood concentrations of 25-HD, the lower her chance of developing preeclampsia—and that risk fell steadily and "strikingly" with increasing vitamin D values, Lisa M. Bodnar of the University of Pittsburgh and her colleagues found.

    Moreover, babies whose moms had developed preeclampsia were far more likely to have low vitamin-D values than were children whose moms had maintained normal blood pressure. "These differences were found in our population despite widespread prenatal/multivitamin use in the 3 months before delivery," Bodnar's group reports in the September Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

    Black women face far higher risks of developing this hypertensive syndrome. Overall, black women are also far likelier than other ethnic or racial groups to have low blood levels of vitamin D. Against this backdrop, Bodnar's group says, "our data linking vitamin D deficiency and preeclampsia risk raises the intriguing possibility that vitamin D may contribute to racial disparities in this [syndrome]."

    "The story of deficiency begins with vitamin D itself and its primary mode of synthesis, which is from sunlight," argue Adekunle Dawodu of the University of Cincinnati and Carol L. Wagner of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. In a commentary in the September Archives of Disease in Childhood, they report a resurgence of rickets around the world, not only in children at high latitudes, but also in the Arab world and Asia where culture or excessive temperatures may keep women and children indoors or covered up.

    A shift from vitamin-D sufficiency to widespread deficiency has occurred rapidly—mostly throughout a half-century. The reason for it is clear, Dawodu and Wagner say: "insufficient sun exposure and inadequate corrective vitamin-D supplementation." They conclude, much as the Canadian Paediatric Society just has, that dosing moms during pregnancy and lactation "would achieve the double effect of preventing vitamin-D deficiency in both mothers and children." But unlike the Canadian society, they note that doses considerably higher than 2,000 IU may be necessary for some individuals and communities.

    As a goal, achieving population-wide vitamin D sufficiency "may be one of the more important preventative public health initiatives," conclude Dawodu and Wagner.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    141 Northwest Point Boulevard

    Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1098


    Lisa M. Bodnar

    Department of Epidemiology

    University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

    A742 Crabtree Hall

    130 DeSoto Street

    Pittsburgh, PA 15261


    John J. Cannell

    Psychiatry Department

    Atascadero State Hospital

    10333 El Camino Real

    Atascadero, CA 93423

    Marie Adèle Davis

    Canadian Paediatric Society

    2305 St. Laurent Boulevard

    Ottawa, Ont. K1G 4J8

    Canada

    Frank R. Greer

    Department of Pediatrics

    University of Wisconsin, Madison

    Madison, WI 53792

    Bruce W. Hollis

    Department of Pediatrics

    Medical University of South Carolina

    P.O. Box 250917

    171 Ashley Avenue, Room BM326

    Charleston, SC 29425


    Reinhold Vieth

    Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

    Mount Sinai Hospital

    600 University Avenue

    Toronto, ON M5G 1X5

    Canada
    Further Reading

    Cannell, J.J. In press. Autism and vitamin D. Medical Hypotheses. Abstract available at [Go to].

    Dijkstra, S.H., et al. 2007. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in newborn infants of high-risk mothers. Archives of Disease in Childhood 92(September):750-753. Available at [Go to].

    Moore, C.E., M.M. Murphy, and M.F. Holick. 2005. Vitamin D intakes by children and adults in the United States differ among ethnic groups. Journal of Nutrition 135(October):2478-2485. Available at [Go to].

    Raloff, J. 2007. Childhood vitamin D—A new benefit? Science News Online (May 19). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2007. Childhood vitamin D—A dark side? Science News Online (May 12). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. The antibiotic vitamin. Science News 170(Nov. 11):312-317. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Breathing easier with vitamin D. Science News Online (Dec. 17). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Vitamin D boosts calcium potency. Science News Online (Nov. 12). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Understanding vitamin D deficiency. Science News Online (April 30). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Vitamin D: What's enough? Science News 166(Oct. 16):248-249. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Vitamin boost. Science News 166(Oct. 9):232-233. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Should foods be fortified even more? Science News Online (Sept. 11). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2000. Calcium may become a dieter's best friend. Science News 157(April 29):277. Available at [Go to].

    Williams, A.F. 2007. Vitamin D in pregnancy: An old problem still to be solved? Archives of Disease in Childhood 92(September):740-741. Available at [Go to].

              Troubling Meaty 'Estrogen'        

    High temperature cooking can imbue meats with a chemical that acts like a hormone

    Food for Thought

    Women take note. Researchers find that a chemical that forms in overcooked meat, especially charred portions, is a potent mimic of estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. That's anything but appetizing, since studies have linked a higher lifetime cumulative exposure to estrogen in women with an elevated risk of breast cancer.

    Indeed, the new finding offers a "biologically plausible" explanation for why diets rich in red meats might elevate breast-cancer risk, notes Nigel J. Gooderham of Imperial College London.

    At the very high temperatures reached during frying and charbroiling, natural constituents of meats can undergo chemical reactions that generate carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines (see Carcinogens in the Diet). Because these compounds all have very long, unwieldy chemical monikers, most scientists refer to them by their abbreviations, such as IQ, MeIQ, MeIQx, and PhIP.

    Of the nearly two dozen different heterocyclic amines that can form, PhIP dominates. It sometimes accumulates in amounts 10 to 50 times higher than that of any other member of this toxic chemical family, Gooderham says. Moreover, he adds, although heterocyclic amines normally cause liver tumors in exposed animals, PhIP is different: "It causes breast cancer in female rats, prostate cancer in male rats, and colon cancer in both." These are the same cancers that in people are associated with eating a lot of cooked meats.

    However, the means by which such foods might induce cancer has remained somewhat elusive. So, building on his team's earlier work, Gooderham decided to probe what the heterocyclic amine did in rat pituitary cells. These cells make prolactin—another female sex hormone—but only when triggered by the presence of estrogen. Prolactin, like estrogen, fuels the growth of many breast cancers.

    In their new test-tube study, Gooderham and coauthor Saundra N. Lauber show that upon exposure to PhIP, pituitary cells not only make progesterone, but also secrete it. If these cells do the same thing when they're part of the body, those secretions would circulate to other organs—including the breast.

    But "what was startling," Gooderham told Science News Online, is that it took just trace quantities of the heterocyclic amine to spur prolactin production. "PhIP was incredibly potent," he says, able to trigger progesterone production at concentrations comparable to what might be found circulating in the blood of people who had eaten a couple of well-done burgers.

    The toxicologist cautions that there's a big gap between observing an effect in isolated cells growing in a test-tube and showing that the same holds true in people.

    However, even if PhIP does operate similarly in people, he says that's no reason to give up grilled meat. Certain cooking techniques, such as flipping hamburgers frequently, can limit the formation of heterocyclic amines. Moreover, earlier work by the Imperial College team showed that dining on certain members of the mustard family appear to detoxify much of the PhIP that might have inadvertently been consumed as part of a meal.

    The human link

    Three recent epidemiological studies support concerns about the consumption of grilled meats.

    In the first, Harvard Medical School researchers compared the diets of more than 90,000 premenopausal U.S. nurses. Over a 12-year period, 1,021 of the relatively young women developed invasive breast cancers. The more red meat a woman ate, the higher was her risk of developing invasive breast cancer, Eunyoung Cho and her colleagues reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine last November. The increased risk was restricted, however, only to those types of breast cancers that are fueled by estrogen or progesterone.

    Overall, women who ate the most red meat—typically 1.5 servings or more per day—faced nearly double the invasive breast-cancer risk of those eating little red meat each week.

    Related findings emerged in the April 10 British Journal of Cancer. There, researchers at the University of Leeds reported data from a long-running study of more than 35,000 women in the United Kingdom who ranged in age from roughly 35 to 70. Regardless of the volunteers' age, Janet E. Cade's team found, those who consumed the most meat had the highest risk of breast cancer.

    Shortly thereafter, Susan E. Steck of the University of South Carolina's school of public health and her colleagues linked meat consumption yet again with increased cancer risk, but only in the older segment of the women they investigated. By comparing the diets of 1,500 women with breast cancer to those of 1,550 cancerfree women, the scientists showed that postmenopausal women consuming the most grilled, barbecued, and smoked meats faced the highest breast-cancer risk.

    These data support accumulating evidence that a penchant for well-done meats can hike a woman's breast-cancer risk, Steck and her colleagues concluded in the May Epidemiology.

    PhIP fighters

    Such findings have been percolating out of the epidemiology community for years. Nearly a decade ago, for instance, National Cancer Institute scientists reported finding that women who consistently ate their meat very well done—with a crispy, blackened crust—faced a substantially elevated breast-cancer risk when compared to those who routinely ate rare- or medium-cooked meats.

    However, even well-done meats without char can contain heterocyclic amines, chemical analyses by others later showed. The compounds' presence appears to correlate best with how meat is cooked, not merely with how brown its interior ended up (SN: 11/28/98, p. 341).

    At high temperatures, the simple sugar glucose, together with creatinine—a muscle-breakdown product, and additional free amino acids, can all interact within beef, chicken, and other meats to form heterocyclic amines. In contrast, low-temperature cooking or a quick searing may generate none of the carcinogens.

    Because there's no way to tell visually, by taste, or by smell whether PhIP and its toxic kin lace cooked meat, food chemists have been lobbying commercial and home chefs to reduce the heat they use to cook meats—or to turn meats frequently to keep the surfaces closest to the heat source from getting too hot.

    The significance of this was driven home to Gooderham several years ago when just such tactics spoiled an experiment he was launching to test whether Brussels sprouts and broccoli could help detoxify PhIP. "I bought 30 kilograms of prime Aberdeen angus lean beef," he recalls. "Then we ground it up and I gave it to a professional cook to turn into burgers and cook." Professional cooks tend to move meats around quite a bit, he found. The result: His expensive, chef-prepared meat contained almost no PhIP.

    In the end, he says, "I sacked the cook, bought another 30 kilos of meat and prepared the burgers myself. It was a costly lesson."

    Once restarted, however, that study yielded encouraging data.

    One way the body detoxifies and sheds toxic chemicals is to link them to what amounts to a sugar molecule. Consumption of certain members of the mustard (Brassica) family, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts (both members of the B. oleracea species)—can encourage this process. So Gooderham's team fed 250 grams (roughly half a pound) each of broccoli and Brussels sprouts each day to 20 men for almost 2 weeks. On the 12th day, the men each got a cooked-meat meal containing 4.9 micrograms of PhIP.

    Compared to similar trial periods when their diets had been Brassica-free, the volunteers excreted up to 40 percent more PhIP in urine, the researchers reported in Carcinogenesis.

    Experimental data suggest that two brews may also help detoxify heterocyclic amines. In test-tube studies, white tea largely prevented DNA damage from the heterocyclic amine IQ (SN: 4/15/00, p. 251), and in mice, extracts of beer tackled MeIQx and Trp-P-2 (see Beer's Well Done Benefit).

    The best strategy of all, most toxicologists say, is to prevent formation of heterocyclic amines in the first place. In addition to frequently turning meat on the grill or fry pan, partially cooking meats in a microwave prior to grilling will limit the toxic chemicals' formation. So will mixing in a little potato starch to ground beef before grilling (see How Carbs Can Make Burgers Safer) or marinating meats with a heavily sugared oil-and-vinegar sauce (SN: 4/24/99, p. 264).


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    Janet E. Cade

    UK Women's Cohort Study

    Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics

    30/32 Hyde Terrace

    The University of Leeds

    Leeds LS2 9LN

    United Kingdom


    Eunyoung Cho

    Channing Laboratory

    Department of Medicine

    Harvard Medical School

    181 Longwood Avenue

    Boston, MA 02115

    Nigel J. Gooderham

    Biomolecular Medicine

    Imperial College London

    Sir Alexander Fleming Building

    London SW7 2AZ

    United Kingdom

    Susan Elizabeth Steck

    Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

    Statewide Cancer Prevention and Control Program

    Arnold School of Public Health

    University of South Carolina

    2221 Devine Street, Room 231

    Columbia, SC 29208
    Further Reading

    Raloff, J. 2007. Concerns over genistein, part II—Beyond the heart. Science News Online (July 7). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2007. Concerns over genistein, part I—The heart of the issue. Science News Online (June 16). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. Pesticides mimic estrogen in shellfish. Science News 170(Dec. 16):397. Available to subscribers at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. No-stick chemicals can mimic estrogen. Science News 170(Dec. 2):366. Available to subscribers at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. Meat poses exaggerated cancer risk for some people. Science News Online (March 25). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Beer's well done benefit. Science News Online (March 5). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Carcinogens in the diet. Science News Online (Feb. 19). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. How carbs can make burgers safer. Science News Online (Dec. 4). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Uranium, the newest 'hormone'. Science News 166(Nov. 13):318. Available to subscribers at [Go to].

    ______. 2001. Fire retardant catfish? Science News Online (Dec. 8). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1999. Well-done research. Science News 155(April 24):264-266. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1998. Very hot grills may inflame cancer risks. Science News 154(Nov. 28):341. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1996. Another meaty link to cancer. Science News 149(June 8):365. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1996. 'Estrogen' pairings can increase potency. Science News 149(June 8):356. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1995. Beyond estrogens: Why unmasking hormone-mimicking pollutants proves so challenging. Science News 148(July 15):44. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1994. Meaty carcinogens: A risk to the cook? Science News 146(Aug. 13):103.

    ______. 1994. Not so hot hot dogs? Science News 145(April 23):264-269.

    ______. 1994. How cooked meat may inflame the heart. Science News 145(March 12):165.

    ______. 1994. The gender benders. Science News 145(Jan. 8):24. Available at [Go to].

    Smith-Roe, S.L., et al. 2006. Induction of aberrant crypt foci in DNA mismatch repair-deficient mice by the food-borne carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b] pyridine (PhIP). Cancer Letters. 244(Nov. 28):79-85. Abstract available at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. Mlh1-dependent responses to 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b] pyridine (PhIP), a food-borne carcinogen. (Abstract # 514). Toxicologist 90(March):105.

    ______. 2006. Mlh1-dependent suppression of specific mutations induced in vivo by the food-borne carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b] pyridine (PhIP). Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis 594(Feb. 22):101-112. Abstract available at [Go to].

              Kommentar zu Docs & Demo von b.a.        
    try google -> gpx merge track!
              Human Suffering and Humanitarian Emergencies [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Craig Calhoun | Humanitarian emergencies are not simply brute facts, appealing directly to our emotions or our moral sensibilities. They are one of the important ways in which perceptions of human life, sympathy for suffering, and responses to social upheaval have come to be organized in recent decades. Like nations and business corporations, they are creatures of social imaginaries, but no less materially influential for that. They are shaped by a history of changing ideas about the human; moral responsibility for strangers; structures of chance and causality; and the imperative and capacity for effective action, even at a distance. They reflect the context of the modern era generally and more specific features of the era since the 1970s. And they are embedded in a complex institutionalization of responses. First, grasping human suffering as humanitarian emergencies is made possible by a long history of changes in how we – Westerners especially – construct the categories of the human, the emergency, and moral obligation. Second, though they are influenced by both state politics and economic activity, humanitarian emergencies appear as anomalies outside the putatively normal stable functioning of political and economic systems. Third, emergencies and humanitarian sympathies are produced importantly through large-scale media systems, including especially visual media. Fourth, they have commanded attention especially since the 1970s as responses to an era of market-driven globalization and declining faith in political action. Fifth, they have occasioned a new institutional field of response in which NGOs and voluntary action are pivotal (even though states remain crucial funders), and they are shaped by the way such response organizes both what we see and what happens materially on the ground. Sixth, they reflect a view from relatively ‘core’ locations in the modern world-system on seeming chaos in its periphery, a view often linked at once to a managerial orientation, an idea of charity, and the reassurance of grasping suffering and chaos precisely as distant. The specific historical circumstances that gave rise to humanitarian response are changing, and with them this specific project of cosmopolitan care for distant strangers may be undergoing a deep transformation. Professor Calhoun is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. Professor Calhoun is an American citizen but has deep connections with the United Kingdom. He took a D Phil in History and Sociology at Oxford University and a Master's in Social Anthropology at Manchester. He co-founded, with Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology at LSE, the NYLON programme which brings together graduate students from New York and London for co-operative research programmes. He is the author of several books including Nations Matter, Critical Social Theory, Neither Gods Nor Emperors and most recently The Roots of Radicalism (University of Chicago Press, 2012).
              The Art of Lovin' Animals --- Featured Group of Artists Inspired by Their Beloved Pets.        
    "Enilde And Our Children" Oil on Panel 42" x 60"
    Painting by Luke Van Hook, 2003
    Painting and Photograph copyright by Luke and Ginger E. Van Hook, 2004
    Courtesy of the Van Hook Collection

    The Art of Lovin' Animals
    Features a group of artists inspired,
    motivated or influenced by their beloved pets
    and appear in this blog in the following order:

    Joshua Elias, Simone Gad, Betty Glass, David Newsom,
    Monrovia Association of Fine Arts supporters
    (KidsArt Studio, PaintNPlay Art Studios, Tyson & Tillman Skate Dogs)
    Family Dog and Cat Hospital in Monrovia, California (displays animal artwork).
    Ginger Van Hook, Luke Van Hook,
    Alex in Welderland, Elena Wolek, and Zareh.

    Additionally as part of the "Art of Lovin' Animals"
    there is a special book and movie review of
    John Grogan's book "Marley and Me", and the recent hit movie
    starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson


    Written by Enilde G. Van Hook with special thanks to all participating artists!


    Do you remember your first pet? I do. I even have a picture of how much bigger my cats’ paws were than my two feet put together at the age of three. My mother, tells me I had a yellow duck, a small dog and a large yellow tabby cat that owned me as a child.
    These three pets were protective, possessive and they were my first companions as I ventured out, for the first time, into my wild back yard of dirt and weeds. I was born in Rosario Argentina and to me now as an adult, my backyard is still my world. I live in Los Angeles, California but the romance of the Argentinean Pampas is not lost on me. From the pictures of my past, I gathered that my Belgian Grandfather, Francisco, ran a plant nursery in Buenos Aires and that my father, Luis, grew up to be an inventor in America. But the most unique connection I have to my past is my relationship with animals. I’ve had a pet at almost every age as I grew up. The importance of this type of companionship has not been explored enough in the art world, at least, this is my opinion. This is the reason I am blogging about the subject of the art and inspiration of lovin’ pets. I hope to instigate discussion, if not compassion. I hope to motivate an artistic response to my thoughts as well. You may have a completely different experience, so I personally encourage you to post your comments after you read this entry.
    This is what I asked myself for the subject of the essay for Ginger's Art Journal. What is the relationship of animals and pets to the art world? How involved are animals throughout the art strata? How much inspiration is gathered from the love of a pet? Can that even be measured? Does the love of a pet inspire political causes? Activism? How does one explain the pangs of loneliness from the loss of a pet? Does the death of a pet make an artist create more art? Does the gift of a new life of a pet inspire hope and renewal in artists? How do artists express their love and affection for the four-legged critters of our earth? How do animals, pets, pet trees, pet rocks or pets of any kind affect the process of making art?
    There are a number of artists that I have followed for a period of time to investigate the questions that will make up this entry. Studying the work of a number of local artists from the Los Angeles and surrounding areas that work with pets in their art practice, I will present some of their unique stories with photos. The artists, in alphabetical order, include Joshua Elias, Simone Gad, Betty Glass, David Newsom, Ginger Van Hook and Luke Van Hook, Alexandra from Alex in Welderland, Lena Wolek and Zareh. Additionally, the art of lovin’ animals has made a seamless transition from the literary art into the film arts so I will discuss one of my favorite books by John Grogan named “Marley and Me” as it compares to its latest movie version of “Marley and Me” starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson which opened in December for Christmas Day.
    The method selected to choose these artists was random. I began my animal photographic study in 2006. Through my daily practice of studying the arts, I have come across people who were “in my back yard” and came to connect with me in a special way. I didn’t set out to write a story about animals. I merely went about my daily routine of photographing people and artwork that caught my “eye” because I was at the right place at the right time. Believing that the universe has a special plan for me, I allowed this story to evolve of its own volition. What I discovered both surprised me and opened me up. What I mean by this is that I was surprised to discover that artists who had pets had a great deal in common with other artists who had pets. Most people know and understand the history that reveals how the Egyptians revered cats and how the dog is considered “man’s best friend”. While it was common to have general conversations about how great it was to have pets and create pet portraits, I rarely came across artists that spoke to the deeper underlying significance in the arts about this specifically. While doing this research, I came across the most extreme case of worshiping our pets. The act of cloning has been in the news ever since the cloning of “Dolly” the sheep, but did you know that now there is a company that has launched itself into a commercial venture to clone man’s best friend? I discovered this and lots more so enjoy the new year in 2009 with a renewed commitment to your beloved pet. This is an ongoing story so don’t feel left out if your best friend isn’t included in this entry. I’m still reviewing artwork and pet portraits,
    feel free to send me an email about your animal story and I’ll include it in the followup stories!

    *********************************************************************************

    JOSHUA ELIAS
    Fine Arts Painter

    Joshua Elias, Exhibition, DCA Fine Arts
    Santa Monica, California
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook, 2007
    Winston and Lucille read art literature on the couch and
    wait for Joshua Elias to become inspired to feed them.
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook, 2008
    Paintings by Joshua Elias
    Art in the making at the Brewery Artist Colony
    Los Angeles, California, 2008
    Studio visit by Ginger Van Hook
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook
    Artist brushes belonging to Joshua Elias
    The instruments by which Joshua Elias creates the canvas of weather and inspiration.
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook, 2008
    DCA Fine Arts Gallery, Joshua Elias with Mathew Heller and his girlfriend
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook 2007
    Joshua Elias, Exhibition at DCA Fine Arts Gallery
    Santa Monica, California
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook, 2007
    Joshua Elias with his cats Winston and Lucille
    in his studio at the Brewery Arts Complex in Los Angeles, California
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook, 2008

    Joshua Elias
    Artist Statement

    Art has become about large quantities of Resin, masquerading as Content. The focus has been on Process, confusing it with Content. Enough. I wish to focus on Content. Story and Vibration lead the way for me to paint.

    I work in oil because of the depth and movement that it allows for me, as a medium. I focus on Landscapes that are rearranged. Traveling spirits act as guides, to the movement of a particular painting. The influence of Moorish architecture and its many doorways offers and allows entryways into paintings.

    At present we are in a period of Time where there seems to be long standing fights over Space, Time Religion, Money, Ideology, and Relationships. Enough. The one thing we do all share is Weather. Through the action of Creating our own environment, our own personal Weather, the Repositioning of Weather can illuminate and allow for more Creation to happen, more of a Life Force to shine and to take shape.

    ï¿_ Joshua Elias

    Courtesy of the DCA website
    *************************************************************************************************************************



    SIMONE GAD
    Fine Arts Painter, Collage Artist, Actor and Performer
    Simone Gad, Artist, Solo Show, L2Kontemporary Gallery
    February 2008 Chinatown, Los Angeles, California,
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008


    Selfportrait with Max and Bella/Autoportrait avec Max et Bella
    Private collection, photo courtesy of Simone Gad, Artist, copyright 2005
    Gad/Rin-Tin-Tin Collection Long Beach Museum of Art
    Courtesy Simone Gad, Artist, copyright 2005


    Picture Holocaust Clowns - Pinups 127, Gad and Poodle
    Courtesy Simone Gad, Artist, copyright 2005

    Selfportrait with Cat and Jesus
    Private collection, Courtesy of Simone Gad, Artist, copyright 2005

    Hommage a Ma Mere 2005 Painting Collage
    Copyright and Collection- Simone Gad
    Courtesy Simone Gad-Artist
    Photograph by Antonio Garcia





    Autoportrait avec Kashmir, painting collage 2005/06
    Courtesy Simone Gad- Artist and L2Kontemporary Gallery
    Chinatown, Los Angeles, California. Copyright Simone Gad


    Portrait of Bella, the Brindle cat, acting secretary for Artist, Simone Gad
    Los Angeles, California, Artist studio visit
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008



    Bella the Brindle Cat, (on the Marilyn and JFK Installation)
    Photo copyright and courtesy of
    Jesse Bonderman and Simone Gad,

    Bella, the Brindle Cat #2 (Marilyn Installation)
    Photo courtesy of Jessie Bonderman and Simone Gad


    Portrait of Simone Gad, Artist with companion, Bella.
    Los Angeles, California, Artist studio visit
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008

    Portrait of Bella
    The Brindle cat, Artist assistant, model
    and loyal companion to Simone Gad.
    Los Angeles, California, Artist studio visit
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008

    Max and Bella pose for pictures in the window of Simone Gad's artist studio
    Los Angeles, California
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008

    Simone Gad poses with one of her paintings of Chinatown
    during her solo show at L2Kontemporary Gallery
    Chinatown, Los Angeles, California
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008



    Enilde Van Hook writer's notes: I met Simone Gad at an exhibition of her work in Chinatown in the spring of 2008. The L2Kontemporary Gallery is a unique gallery located at 990 N. Hill Street #205 in Downtown Los Angeles (90012), California. I received an email from ArtScene, a wonderful source of local Art Events that is produced by the staff of Coagula Art Journal. Special thanks to Michael Salerno and Mat Gleason, because somewhere in the announcement, I read that Simone Gad was a Belgium-born artist and this led me to want to meet her to talk about the art in Belgium, where my grandfather had been born. Once I attended her exhibit and got a chance to meet Simone, I realized there was a distinct cultural connection we had through our reverence to the animals. She used images of her cats to make intriguing and poignant self-portraits and insightful photographic collages.
    I have followed Simone Gad’s work into 2009 and you will enjoy visiting her site through the L2Kontemporary Gallery located in Chinatown in Los Angeles: Follow these links to get to know a renaissance artist, a versatile film and TV actress, a woman of many talents and an artist who has a great deal of compassion to show for her animal friends: visit the online gallery site at http://www.l2kontemporary.com to view her solo show at L2k for Feb 08 plus her updated resume which may be viewed at saatchigallery.org by writing in her name or wooloo.org by writing in Simone Gad’s name.
    Special thanks to the L2Kontemporary Gallery for cooperating with my interview! (www.L2Kontemporary.com and L2Kontemporary@sbcglobal.net and phone: 323-225-1288)

    Simone Gad
    Artist Statement and Biography: 2009

    I've been showing in museums and galleries for 40 years-am a 6 times grants recipient, including a CRA Grant 1986, the Woman's Building 1985/6, New Orleans Contemporary Museum of Art 1984, the Gottlieb Foundation-NYC/Painting Medical Emergency Grant, Change Inc-Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Grant-both in 2002 for painting and medical emergency, and Artist Fellowship Foundation Grant in 2007-NYC. I am included in the Archives of the National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian-Washington, DC, and will also be included in the Lyn Kienholz Encyclopedia of Los Angeles Artists who have shown between 1944 and 1979. In Los Angeles, I am represented by L2kontemporary Gallery-Chinatown, Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, and am showing in Spain. I am also in the traveling museum exhibition-Your Documents Please thru 2010 in Japan/Europe/Mexico curated by Daniel Georges of Brooklyn, NY. I was born in Brussels, Belgium to holocaust survivor parents, from Poland. We came to the US in the early 1950's and settled in Boyle Heights/E.L.A, after arriving at Ellis Island. My mother got me into show-biz at the age of 4 upon our immigration. I grew up in the entertainment field as a young actress-have been working professionally in film, tv, commercials and theatre ever since. Have always had a dual career-.visual/performance artist and actor. George Herms and Wallace Berman were my first mentors. Al Hansen was my mentor from 1972 to 1995 when he passed away in Koln, Germany.

    My cats Max and Bella Bettina Kashmir are my inspiration for many of my painting collages-have been so for many years. I've always been inspired by my cats and dogs that I've had since I arrived to this country from War torn Europe. My father got me my first dog-Teddy Queeny when I was a child living on Folsom Street-We had just returned from a movie on Brooklyn Avenue when we saw the puppies on our way home. I was allowed to have one-and I was so happy. But my mother hated animals and wouldn't let me keep my pet with me in my bedroom and it cried all night. I was heartbroken when I got home from Nursery School the following day and found that my dog was gone. My mom told me she had sent it to New Jersey to live with my Tante Sally. I wasn't allowed to have any animals after that. Years later I visited my aunt and asked her if she had taken care of my Teddy Queeny and she told me she never did-she never got the dog-didn't know what I was talking about. I realized that my mother had lied to me and had possibly killed my beloved doggie. I had moved to Topanga Canyon for a while in the late 1960's-that's where I got to know Wallace Berman and George Herms. I was given a miniature sheppard-who I named Lady. She was my constant companion and I adored her. She was run over by a couple of friends who were staying with me one night. I found her bleeding from her mouth by the driveway. She died in my arms and I could feel her spirit leave her body. We buried her the next morning. I was devastated for years. A friend of mine gave me a dash-hound and I took it home to be with me when I left Topanga and stayed with my parents for a while. I named her Wiggle Butts because she had this habit of wiggling her behind when she walked. I was not allowed to keep her-once again-so I called a friend and had her drive from The Canyon to pick Wiggles up and take care of her for me. When I left my parents and got an apartment, I got a cat-Nathaniel-my very first cat-who was with me for 15 years until he passed away. It was then that I started to incorporate animal objects into my collages-in the mid 1970's.

    copyright Simone Gad 2009

    http://www.l2kontemporary.com to view Simone Gad’s solo show at L2k for Feb 08 plus her updated resume-you may also get it on saatchigallery.org by writing in her name or wooloo.org by writing in Simone Gad’s name-

    ************************************************************************************


    BETTY GLASS

    Focus One Gallery in Monrovia, California. Sponsored by M.A.F.A.,
    the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts and Focus One Community Credit Union.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2006

    Betty Glass celebrates Christmas with Lulu at home in 2008.
    Lulu, wearing her new holiday sweater,
    pokes her nose into the gift bag
    to see if she likes what Santa has brought her.
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty Glass and James Glass.
    Turtle Painting, Watercolor Artwork by Betty Glass reminiscent of her pet turtles.
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty and James Glass.
    Trojan Horses, Watercolor painting by Artist, Betty Glass
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty and James Glass.
    Hummy, Watercolor Painting by Artist, Betty Glass.
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty and James Glass.

    Yankee and Sugar, Watercolor Painting by Artist, Betty Glass
    memorializing the life of her beloved friends.
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty and James Glass.

    Yankee (5-17-80 --- 4-20-94)
    the larger white and orange Brittany on the right,
    and Sugar (7-20-90 --- 12-24-04)
    the smaller Brittany on the left.
    "Beloved Friends and Forever in our hearts!"
    Loyal Friends, Inspiration and Companions
    to Artist, Betty Glass and her family.
    (Special thanks to husband, James Glass
    for his technical computer assistance
    with digital photography formating of Betty Glass Artwork.)
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty and James Glass


    Enilde Van Hook, Writer's Notes:
    I met Betty Glass through the Monrovia Association of Fine arts in 2006. We were showing together at the Focus One Gallery on Huntington Drive in Monrovia, California. When Betty came into the gallery, she was toting her adorable poodle named Lulu. I was charmed immediately and I just had to have a photo of this beautiful female pooch with a twinkle in her eye and the gumption to come into an art gallery where only humans gathered. This little poodle had no clue there was any difference between her and her owner, and she acted like she was looking at the art just like everyone else. At the time, I considered this a very cultured poodle and I told Betty so. Betty giggled and let me take her snapshot with Lulu and then we did not see each other again until we had another show together, also at Focus One Gallery two years later in December of 2008. When I saw Betty this time, I saw the connection of her artwork and the love of her animals come through her work and later, she agreed to participate in the interview for my blog. You may enjoy Betty Glass's artwork by visiting her website at www.bhglassart.com

    Betty H. Glass
    Artist Statement about Animal Art

    Through art we communicate our feelings and thoughts.
    Our art reflects what experiences in life have influenced us.
    I have had a lifetime of pets
    ranging from goldfish, parakeets, and turtles and, of course,
    the loyal dog—always your friend even when the sky seems to be falling.
    I am still sketching and painting animals, birds, and fish.
    The softness of their fur, the texture of their feathers and fins,
    the variations of color are very appealing to me,
    because color is part of my artistic signature.
    Sometimes they are presented in a realistic fashion.

    Other times I use animals in a more stylized way—
    using their shapes as patterns, semi-abstracting them and their background.
    For example, my painting Trojan Horses shows flattened stylized figures of horses.
    Hopefully artistically pleasing and calling to mind ancient Greece.





    The Art of Lovin’ Trees-- 
    Featuring Artist Joel Tauber
    Story dedicated to Joel and Alison
    in celebration of their joyous engagement on November 9th,
    2008

    Written and Researched by Enilde Van Hook
    Story Consult and Editing by Luke Van Hook
    Painting, www.lukevanhook.com
    Photography, www.gingervanhook.com
    Writing, www.enildeingelsvanhook.com


     America is having a love affair with trees and California is second to none in leading its appreciation of trees. Digging deep into the roots of this story, I have followed and researched the tree culture specifically in Los Angeles where our love of trees has spawned a unique pop tree culture relating to art. Our popular tree culture today includes but is not limited to tree sculptures, tree paintings, tree photographs, tree videos, tree poetry, tree songs, tree jewelry, tree movies and even tree love affairs. 


    Tree Earing created by Joel Tauber for his Sick-Amour Tree in Pasadena, California.
    Additional Tree Jewelry created by Joel Tauber to adorn the Sick-Amour Tree includes leaf jewelry, as well as the male earing and the female earing that hang from the tree below.  
    Photos of tree jewelry courtesy of  Susanne Vielmetter Gallery 5795 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, California 90232 www.vielmetter.com   infor@vielmetter.com (323-933-2117)


    Sick-Amour Tree in the parkinglot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, protected by barriers installed by Joel Tauber in his quest to save his beloved tree. Tree wearing the earings looks hot!  Photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery.
    Leaf sculpture by Joel Tauber
    Female tree earing by Joel Tauber.
    Male tree earing created by Joel Tauber, photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, 2008

    For the record, our love of trees goes way back to the dawn of time when we were swinging in the trees, however, our love has grown and matured since then. The Greek and Roman heritage of literature and art bestows us with intoxicating stories of their Gods having entanglements with humans. Some of their deities were known as protectors of trees and nature such as Dionysus the Greek god of agriculture, fertility, wine and merriment. He was later renamed Bacchus by the Romans and reported to be the Tree God. Back in the day when artists carved trees into stone and marble relief sculptures to worship in the temples of their mythological gods, people celebrated the sacredness of trees, grapevines and sometimes the unions of gods and mortals. There was Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees who married Vertumnus, the god of fruits and gardens. Digging deep enough, one is sure to find stories of deities mating with trees and spawning children of the harvest for instance.

    In modern literary circles there are a number of great imaginative family favorites written about trees, like “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Then there’s the infamous story of how Robinson Crusoe lived in a tree-house, and of utmost importance to our American history of trees, we propagate the very memorable legend of ‘Johnny Appleseed’.

    In our contemporary times we have a legend in the making too. I have been fortunate to witness the emergence of a new ‘Johnny Appleseed’ and interestingly enough, the story involves a recent romantic love affair between one special tree and a mortal that is well worth pursuing the story. Sometime in the fall of in 2007, I met Joel Tauber. This is the artist who I believe was struck by a mythological bolt of lighting, so to speak, pertaining to one of the Greek or Roman deities’. Joel Tauber is said to have fallen head over heels in love with one particular Sycamore Tree in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. My chance meeting with this now famous mortal under the influence of an enchanted mystical spell, has led me to research the mysteries intrinsic in the charms of trees. I too have been struck with the frailty of trees, their vulnerabilities, and their enormous strengths and inspiration. This together with my own personal experiences with trees has prompted me to come out of my shell and discuss the subject in all seriousness.

    My own personal background is not in trees. I am simply a tree-lover from childhood. For a little over ten years, my professional background was in radio as a disc jockey and on-air personality. I listened to music, reviewed songs and kept tabs on the pop music culture. I worked in the Los Angeles market as well as Santa Barbara, California; Eventually I moved to expand my work experience in neighboring radio markets like Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe and Gardnerville/Minden, Nevada. It was through traveling that I saw some of the most beautiful trees along the routes through Northern California and Northern Nevada!
    While I drove from one radio market to another over the years, I watched the trees go by at the various speed limits along the highways of my life’s journeys. Thus you will understand when I tell you that often I see art and life, for that matter, through a series of moving images in my head which include a music bed. 
    I was eleven years old when in 1970, Joni Mitchell wrote and released a song called ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ whose lyrics surpassed the test of time and is currently in airplay by a glut of new groups. The lyrics began with “…They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum and they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see ‘em.” One of the barometers I use to gage the influence of any particular song, music or artwork that I come into contact with is if it will surpass the test of time, among other important criteria. This song became one of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrics made so much sense to me.
    When I met Joel Tauber, I was introduced to the enormous scope of his Sick-Amour Tree-Baby Project. It was then that I suddenly started hearing Joni Mitchell’s song in my mind again, only this time, as I got in my car, Counting Crows was performing the song. When I started doing more research on the song that I could not get out of my head, I was struck by how many artists had re-recorded the song and barely changed anything about the words. There is Amy Grant, who upgraded the dollar amount from $1.50 to $25 when singing about how much the museums charged people to enter. Additionally there is Green Day, Sarah McLachlan, Charlie Barker, Bob Dylan, Moya Brennan, Ireen Sheer, Donnie Eidt and a host of so many others that have recorded ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ it was simply overwhelming!
    I think the importance of the lyrics to this one particular song is that it reveals the fact that people love trees and hate parking lots. The message is that if it weren’t for our trees, we could be living in a frying pan! The impact of this single song is that it reveals what is really going on in people’s minds. There is a reason why so many artists are flocking to re-record the lyrics in their own way.











    Not only are trees involved in the music arena, trees as subjects, are very involved in politics as well. Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin at the time, took a leading role in developing the celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd 1970 as a way to commemorate our environmental concerns. Arbor Day is presently celebrated as well with the first ceremonial tree planting in Washington D.C. on April 27th in 2001, all evidence that goes to prove the people of our planet do care about what happens to our trees.


    Trees stand as a testiment and memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King

    Dr. Martin Luther King is memorialized with trees along Expositon Blvd. across from the Los Angeles Coliseum and down the street from the University of Southern California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    Online sources on the subject of trees are rich in number. For instance, eighteen years ago, here in Los Angeles, a multi racial group of volunteers planted 400 Canary Island Pine trees along seven miles of road on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life. Today, this living homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to thrive and keep the dream alive for his followers. The founder and President of www.treepeople.org is Mr. Andy Lipkis and he keeps tabs on the trees to make sure all 400 trees stay healthy.



    Mayor Antonio Villarigosa is the person to thank for the ‘Million Trees Initiative’ he signed into effect in May of 2006 and Los Angeles residents can learn how they too can receive up to 7 free trees to plant on their property. Visit the website at www.milliontreesla.org to learn the details.   Also in Portland, Oregon there is www.friendsoftrees.org and in Bellingham Washington you will find www.geocities.com. There is also the International Society of Arboriculture called ISA and can be accessed by visiting www.isa-arbor.com. You will also find a great deal of valuable advise on the growth and care of trees at www.treesaregood.com and check out Tree Care Industry Association TCIA as well.



    Mark Dion created an art piece titled "Library for the Birds of Antwerp" which is also a good example of how art is vitally connected with our tree culture and how it connects Mark Dion to his PBS special where he removed a dead tree from the forest and recreated its living components in a city scape in Washington.  From the "20th Century Artbook Phaidon Press 1996", the caption reads: "Using props from the natural and man-made world, Dion has constructed an installation that explores contemporary attitudes to science and the environment. He has created a fictional and hybridized situation in which the trappings associated with knowledge, learning and classification--such as books and photographs--are juxtaposed with natural elements including birds and wood.   The representation of nature is a fundamental subject in Dion's art, and here he takes on the role of sociologist/anthropologist and blurring the boundaries between authentic and fake, representation and parody. By adopting the persona of a scientist and by satirizing man's obsession with categorization, Dion questions the values of the Western world.  His subject matter is heavily influence by popular culture.  In Dion's world we might witness Mickey Mouse as an explorer, or Clark Kent interviewing Dr. Frankenstein." (Photo and contents are used in this story for purposes of artistic review.)

    In the art world, an artist named Mark Dion was featured in a documentary film report that aired in 2007. To view the video one may visit on the Internet by going to www.pbs.org and find Mark Dion as he took the subject of trees and made an art piece that explored what would happen if one were to take a tree after its death, take it out of its familial context of natural forest, and re-create the ecosystem in an environment that would otherwise be a hostile urban setting, needless to say, a cityscape. Just outside of Seattle Washington, he states, a Hemlock fell on February 8th, 1996…and so begins an elaborate experiment that pits optimism against reality." The PBS special is very detailed and you will enjoy the depth of research and work that Mark Dion went to to take a tree out of the forest and recreate the setting in the city.  The difference between the artwork presented by Mark Dion and  the artwork presented by Joel Tauber is in the nature of the life of the tree. Mark Dion works with a dead tree and its living components, and Joel Tauber creates life out of a tree seed and duplicates it all over his community.


    Thus I’ve discovered for myself that when I researched the subject of trees, I discovered Joel Tauber wasn’t alone! However, instead of creating an experiment in ecology, Joel Tauber goes further than Mark Dion does with this concept of eco-systems and their frailties. Joel Tauber begins a journey that could eventually repair the eco-systems that man has destroyed. This is where Joel Tauber takes the lead in the art world and becomes not only the realist but the optimistic hope for trees in desecrated forests all over the country.
    Joel Tauber’s work as a living project of art in 2008 has resonance and his story is well worth telling again and again. He is certainly not the first, nor the last to get involved in the love of trees, but he is the first in contemporary times to have been associated with a mythological and mystical occurrence of reproducing tree babies out of just hugging one lonely tree.


    The last time I saw a man hugging a tree, he was hugging the tree for all the wrong reasons. At the MOCA, Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, some years back I was viewing an exhibition that was in town by the Utah born artist now working in Los Angeles, Paul McCarthy. While this work of art depicted a very raw and unsettling sculpture of ‘tree-lovin’ it had nothing whatsoever to do with the love of any tree. The work displayed a timely political statement about our government rather than the love for trees, but bear in mind that the thought involved images from man’s intimate involvement with trees both in the biblical sense and in the sense of man’s raping of the planet. Joel Tauber’s work counteracts the devastation of many years of neglect for our trees with a very basic recipe for the renewal of our commitment to our green-leafed friends. Now, when I see the image of Joel Tauber hugging his Sycamore Tree in Pasadena, I get a whole new perspective for the love for our planet, our trees and our environment as a whole.

    "The Garden" by Paul McCarthy from The 20th Century Art Book, 
    Phaidon Press Limited, page 280. Photo is used for purposes of artistic review.
    The caption in the book reads as follows: " 'The Garden'  is a full-scale tableau of an outdoor, woodland scene, complete with leafy trees, shrubs and rocks.  This tranquil picture of nature is rudely interrupted by the presence of a middle-aged, balding man with his trousers round his ankles, engaged in a wholly unnatural act. From one side of the installation, his actions are not immediately apparent, being partially hidden by the tree trunks and foliage, but the sound of mechanical activity draws the viewer in to discover the shocking sight of a man copulating with a tree.  This robotic figure, with its endlessly repetitive movements, is both comical and crude, and is intended by McCarthy to question notions of acceptable public behavior and sexual morality.  McCarthy is a lecturer at UCLA as well as an artist. His sculptural installations evolved out of his earlier performance work which focused on his own body engaged in extreme and disturbing acts."




    To further explain this romantic entanglement between a tree and a mortal, I cite some important historical facts. Back in 2005, Joel Tauber was in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, when he spotted a particularly lonely and neglected Sycamore Tree. There are hundreds of thousands of trees in Pasadena, and a great number of them thrive very well on the grounds of the Rose Bowl, should you ever drive through this luscious community of tree and rose-lovers, you will see. But Joel Tauber focused his attention on one specific lonely tree. He started to note more and more how cars would hit the bark of the tree and scrape it, injuring the tree repeatedly. Joel Tauber became a witness to this tree’s life. Taking compassion and friendship upon this particular tree, Tauber began to film the area of the parking lot where the tree was growing. He got the idea to put up solid barriers to protect it from cars and also carried water in large plastic bags to irrigate the tree. Soon, Tauber found himself as a one-man band, orchestrating a symphony of activities leading to editing mass quantities of tree footage, fighting City Hall, and embarking on a quest to save this tree from infertility using tried and true guerilla tactics that would make tree-huggers stand and salute. To personally view the Sick-Amour project, along with the giant scale tree sculpture installation exhibited at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery in 2007, you may visit www.vielmetter.com.













                   Recently, I had the privilege and opportunity to discuss Joel Tauber’s work with Susanne Vielmetter and she was delighted to tell me what a wonderful sense of humor that Tauber exhibits in all of his works of art. Susanne Vielmetter reviewed the Underwater project with me as well as the Flying Project which Tauber presented.
    She explained how deep down, she feels Tauber is on a quest for meaning in his work and that he has a keen sense of humor that unifies and makes his ideas successful. She states that he uses the comical and the tragic in the Tree-Baby project to address the issues of urban living in our time and very subtly pokes fun at the problems innate in urban planning. The real irony of a small Sycamore tree dying of thirst in a parking lot of a beautiful park in a paradise-like valley, alongside the 110 Pasadena Freeway where 80% of the territory is plastered with concrete and the water below runs along asphalt channels of the Los Angeles River is not lost on Tauber, she explained. To contrast, Susanne Vielmetter cited that parks in Europe allow for weeds to grow naturally on landscapes that are not covered with concrete. Joel Tauber’s projects were initially presented at the Susanne Vielmetter Gallery located at 5795 Washington Blvd., in Culver City, California. The response Susanne Vielmetter’s Gallery received was incredibly exciting, even though at first, some folks thought Joel Tauber was a nut; he went on to prove just how serious he really is about changing the landscape of our environment, one tree at a time.



    Joel Tauber has a large body of video artwork, photographs and developing tree babies, (the children of a mortal and a Charmed Sycamore Tree) and one may also visit www.joeltauber.com.
    As I learned more and more about Joel Tauber’s project, I realized how blessed we all are that tree-lovin’ is not a singular act of love or even a fleeting love of art. I realized how connected we all are to our environment and how the idea of having a special friend ‘the tree’, any tree in any state, in any country for that matter is a beautiful connection to have. The connection that Joel Tauber has to his Sycamore Tree is in synch with the love that the country is experiencing during our new millennium. We have all become acutely aware of the fragility of life; we realize now more than ever that we must respect our dependence on our environment and value our trees.

    The first thing that struck me about Joel Tauber was that we had the love of trees in common. He seemed a bit shy, unassuming and humble yet I was later to learn the enormous power he wielded for this one frail and neglected tree in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California. I was truly inspired by the level of involvement and commitment he had demonstrated for his own beloved Sycamore Tree which he had turned into a full-blown art-project including video, photography and sculptured jewelry. (He did it all!) He named this work the Sick-Amour Project mainly because he said he felt this tree was ill from the lack of love and the inability to have tree babies to fulfill its legacy. I had never personally met someone with such an extreme love and dedication to one particular tree. In our local newscasts, I had heard stories of people who became very emotional when a land developer was about to cut down a tree they considered a relic of their community; in which case people got very nasty about the issue and would chain themselves to the trees or surround the location with demonstrators that would shut down the jobsite. That’s when the news crews would come in with their cameras and boom mikes and the news helicopters would hover in circles above the trees trying to capture the ‘event’ that was creating all the uproar. A very recent example of this type of community behavior is written about on the front pages of the Los Angeles Times where Eric Bailey, a Times Staff Writer, wrote an extensive story about the tree-issues pertaining to Scotia, California where activists are protesting the logging of the Great California REDWOODS! Read the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times, August 24th, 2008 or visit www.latimes.com online to learn how the tree-sitters are doing today.

    But Joel Tauber is a different type of activist. He doesn’t consider himself an activist at all. He merely states, humbly, just for the record, that he loves this one particular Sycamore Tree and it is an outrage to him to see how his new best friend is being suffocated under a six-inch blanket of black tar and asphalt. Better yet, Joel Tauber does something about it. Not with a crew of forty thousand demonstrators, not even with a crew of forty residents. He does this on his own, quietly challenging the laws of the city of Pasadena and humbly takes responsibility for the care and nurturing of his new best friend. I was touched. At once I began to marvel at his potent idea.



    The art of loving our trees has grown roots in the higher levels of the art world as well. For instance, if one were to visit the J. Paul Getty Museum both at the Getty Villa which recently re-opened in Malibu and at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, you will find the love of trees has grown branches on all the hillsides surrounding both properties. There are lucky Sycamores and fortunate Pines; there are Pomegranate trees, Apple trees, Pear trees, Jacaranda trees and trees that just look good in a vista overlooking the ocean. Millions of dollars went into the development of artistic gardens which envelope the California landscape against a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean on one edge and the rolling hills of Malibu on the other.






    Over in the area of the Miracle Mile, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is celebrating an enormous renovation of its facilities and you guessed it, there are aisles and isles of gigantic palm trees lining the walkways to the entrance of the museum in concert with a unique and flamboyant architecture that has drawn the attention of the art-world with the generosity of Eli and Edythe Broad of the Broad Foundation. The Broad Contemporary Art Museum is the new wing at the LACMA and is considered the largest space in the country devoted exclusively to contemporary art. With a ‘living art display’ dedicated to the iconic palm trees, not native to California, Robert Irwin has developed a plein-air walkway through ‘Palm Gardens’ as one makes their way to the entrances of the museum.





    Lush green trees thrive all over Pasadena, California, home of the Rose Bowl where Joel Tauber fell in love with a Sycamore Tree.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2008




     The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California  is also home to some of the most exquisite antiquities in its museum history which includes sculptures amid a forest like atmosphere. Currently at the Norton Simon Museum, among its many exhibitions, one may enjoy the artwork of Ruth Weisberg, Dean of the Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. Opening on October 17, 2008 the Weisberg exhibition at the Norton Simon runs through March 2, 2009. Additionally a lecture by the artist is planned where Weisberg discusses: Guido Cagnacci and the Resonant Image on Sunday November 16, 2008.  The Norton Simon Museum of Art is located at 411 West Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, California. Ruth Weisberg was instrumental in selecting the work of Joel Tauber to be permanently planted on the Main University Campus of USC on January 24, 2008 where a tree planting ceremony was held and attended by numerous members of USC faculty, staff, students and guests. The location of the new tree-baby, child of the Sick-Amour Project, currently exists on the Exposition side of the campus between Gate one and the Fischer Gallery, across the street from the Museum of Natural History. 


    In Pasadena, where lovers of trees line every street of the city as the landscapes are lush with all types of trees and where these wonderful healthy trees keep cool the throngs of tourists who visit the Rose Bowl every year, is also home to the Norton Simon Museum and the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Both locations are areas where tree-lovin’ may be experienced alongside some of California’s best-known artworks. Visit the NORTON SIMON MUSEUM at www.nortonsimon.org located at 411 West Colorado, Pasadena, California 91105 or visit the PASADENA MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA ART at www.pmcaonline.com at 490 East Union Street, Pasadena, California.



    In San Marino, California, the art of trees, gardens and succulents has found a worthy haven at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens spanning an area of 120 acres dedicated to the fine arts founded by Henry E. Huntington in 1928 as the very first public art gallery in Southern California. Along with English portraits and French eighteenth-century furniture, one will delight in tours of the unique garden paradise established for the pure love of the botanical arts.


    On the hillside along the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, one may also enjoy walking along the elegant landscapes of the Skirball Cultural Center and Museum grounds and witness the serenity of the trees as Weeping Willows slope their leaves to the ground, and gentle breezes sway the branches of Sycamores, Oaks and Birch trees. Visit the Skirball Museum online at www.skirball.org, or enjoy a personal walk along the grounds and explore the tributes to culture at 2701 North Sepulveda, Los Angeles 90049.

    Trees at the Skirball Museum and Cultural Center thrive and enjoy the mild California climate.


    In San Diego, one enjoys walking through a vast museum complex housing 15 unique museums in Balboa Park, not to mention to the collection of rare cactus and enormous Eucalyptus trees (just to name one tree type out of numerous ones) which shade the paths leading from one museum to another.

    Each of the locations I have mentioned or described here is where I personally walked through, witnessed, and or photographed sophisticated artistic tree landscapes of the California terrain.

    The Roots of my personal anxieties: Why I care.

    The impact of my meeting Joel Tauber coincided with an important event that took place for me way before I knew about his Sick-Amour Tree project and was what eventually led me to throw myself into this frenzied study of trees over this summer. Thus I do not necessarily consider myself struck by any of the Greek or Roman gods. I believe my influence came with a special awareness of the frailty of trees with this personal story:

    A little over one year ago, on June 30th, 2007 I was walking our dog Sasha, around the block for one of our frequent walks. I rounded the corner to the next block when I was taken aback as I witnessed a set of ‘city’ crewmembers slaughtering what appeared to be a California Oak tree. I had grown quite fond of that particular Oak on my many walks while I was writing my first novel. As a matter of fact, I had used that model of tree to describe a forest of these trees in a chapter in my first fiction novel. I especially love the sculptured texture of the Mighty gnarly Oaks. This tree had been the one to rekindle my relationship with the trees of my imagination. My stomach got queasy when I saw how it was being destroyed. I would have thrown-up, but I got a hold of my emotions and took Sasha home. Not only did I return to the scene of the slaughter, but I brought my camera to document the death and dismemberment of this great oak; I was so distraught that I returned again to the site, without my camera this time, and begged the men to stop for a moment while I sought out the seeds for this tree. To my surprise, the men stopped and helped me search for the seeds.








    When I got home, I had no idea what to do with the seeds. I called a couple of nurseries until a gentleman at a nursery in Marina del Rey explained to me that I had to wait until the pods dried up and slit to get at the seeds and plant them. So, I waited until the pods were black and wrinkled. I split them according to the directions I had gotten from this kind anonymous arborist. (He suggested a process much like that which squirrels have for cracking the pods.) I photographed the seeds and compared them with the larger seed of an apricot fruit tree and the seed of a maple tree.






    Once properly documented, I planted them in a small brown pot. Two weeks later, the first seed came up. A few days later another seed appeared to take root. On the one-year anniversary of the re-birth day of this Great Knurly Oak tree, July 20th, 2008, I documented how large the great twin oaks had become. The highest little bitty branch was about fourteen inches tall. I estimated this tree had grown a little over an inch every month. A compassionate act of kindness yielded a new life on the impulse of grief. The impulse of grief affected not only me; there is an entire world of tree-lovers mourning the losses of their favorite tree friends in surrounding communities.












    What about the subconscious feelings innate in developing a relationship with a tree? For instance, what draws people to want to save a particular tree? 

    I can really only speak to my own experience in that my relationship with trees started when I was a child.

              Luke Van Hook Paintings Now at Brand Library Galleries "Circle in the Square" Yesung Kim, Barbara Kolo, Susan Sironi, Cheryl Walker thru Sept 5th 2008        
    The Entrance to the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale, California hosts a prominent postcard of the show "Circle in the Square" now exhibiting through September 5th, 2008


    PHOTO-JOURNAL BY GINGER VAN HOOK


    Photo above: 
    Cathy Billings, Art Librarian and Gallery Manager of the 
    Brand Library Art Galleries and Co-Curator of 
    "Circle in the Square" selected Luke Van Hook 
    as one of the artists to show his circle paintings 
    which explore Giotto's fabled "perfect circle.
    Photo below: 
    Alyssa Resnick, Senior Library Supervisor, Gallery Director 
    and Co-curator pictured with Luke Van Hook.
    Both ladies made studio visits all over Los Angeles and surrounding communities in search of the "perfect circle" of artists to represent the illusive qualities of the circle.
    It takes over a year to prepare for a large show at the Brand Library Art Galleries and no one will have a better story to tell you about the waiting process than Galleries Manager and Curator, Cathy Billings or Alyssa Resnick, Senior Library Supervisor and Gallery Director. These ladies traveled to Inglewood, California for a studio visit to see Luke Van Hook's circle paintings some time in the early summer of 2007. They told Luke that they were preparing to curate a show of artists working on the motif of the 'circle'.  They had already reviewed a number of artists and found making the final decision difficult, first because there were a number of artists who worked with this subject and secondly, the talent was very competitive. The subject of the circle and how each artist approaches this topic is worth dedicated study in and of itself.  These lovely ladies, Cathy and Alyssa, with a keen eye for artistic talent, selected a total of five talented artists to show together this summer.   
    Here you will find photos of how each artist expressed their obsession with the circular form.  I'll begin my blog entry with a brief history of what I believe may have led Luke Van Hook to painting the circle and continue with the photos and biographical information of the additional four artists each selected for working with the motif of circles, independently of each other, with their own unique and individual interpretations of the circle: Yesung Kim, Barbara Kolo, Susan Sironi, and Cheryl Walker.
    Luke Van Hook began his present study of the circle in 2005. He first discovered the legend of Giotto's "Perfect Circle" in a class about ancient history; but the idea didn't sink in at first. He needed time to reason with his quest. While Luke approached the specific task of painting the circle with thin paintbrushes and applying layer upon layer of color to a raw naked canvas, I set about trying to understand what the hell prompted my husband to go circle crazy in the first place.  I started researching what the circle meant and I found a lot of literature in the realm of magic, rituals, mathematics, secret societies and romance. But my first impression was that the circle was a way to get back to the beginning of things.  Then I delved deeper.  Was Luke trying to say that he was going in circles?  Were we at this artistic point in our lives as a result of a past life?  Was our circular existence referencing our cycle of birth, death and rebirth?  Or was the answer more basic than that, like "the earth is round and it's an orbital thing.' There were other issues on the table I was urged to deal with also.  Were these circle paintings partly influenced by the school we had attended?  Once we leave school we are expected to make works of art that have fresh meaning and to blow out the cobwebs of old thinking.  While at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Luke Van Hook studied all the required areas to excel in his chosen profession as a fine arts painter including the figure, landscapes and abstracts. But the abstract visual image is what finally drew Luke back in.  Could it be the understated obvious fact that the big 'O' (which formed a circle on every memo, syllabus and brochure in the name of Otis College) was influencing him subconsciously?  
    Luke's earlier work involved intricately small hatch marks that evolved into large abstract images full of vibrant colors.  This work was very reminiscent of Jasper Johns.  So where did this circle idea really emanate from?  Did his hatch marks get married or what?  Observers of Luke Van Hook's work have stated that it raises the question, 'Is it a painting or a drawing?  Is it text or writing?'  Luke will often begin a row of circles that reads from left to right just as western literature is expressed.  But sometimes he changes his mind, and the direction of his technique, and he starts to paint his rows from right to left. At other times, he completes a horizontal column of circles which refers more to ancient Asian forms of writing going from the top, down.
    During his graduating year at Otis College in 2004, Luke went on a mission to explore machine technology as it pertained to replacing humans.  He painted large canvases with a number of faces and shapes that represented cyborgs expressing the fear, uncertainty and ambivalence that humans have toward our technological future.  But once out of school, a full year later, in 2005 Luke seem to have turned a corner.  He seemed to have replaced his fear of technology with a competitive defiance that defied all reason.  Luke started working with his father-in-law, in his machine shop, where he started to observe how everything around him involved the circle in one way or another.  He watched the machines (Fadal CNC's- numerical control production machines) in action. The tool would spin in circles, plunging in and out of aluminum, stainless steel and plastic materials. The space left behind was almost always a perfect circle.  Perhaps, this was Luke's starting point. It was the first time he'd really seen a machine make simple circles and Luke probably said something to himself like 'I can do this! Just watch me!' then promptly, decided to take on his destiny. To compete with a machine, may have been the early impulse that drew Luke to paint the circle, but the legend of Giotto's 'perfect circle' was what has kept Luke going full steam ahead into production of abstract works of art.  The initial pieces he created were prototypes. These were the experiments he and his father-in-law Luis Ingels, worked on before moving into the hand made pieces. As his first experiment, Luke inserted a paint brush into the collet of the machine and programmed the coordinates to match the canvas. He overshot his calculations and the brush came crashing down upon the canvas; the collet smashed the brush right through the canvas and even broke the frame. Perhaps, Luke might have thought as he and my father, Luis, looked at each other, 'it was time to go back to the drawing board'. Undaunted by initial failure, Luke did complete an entire series of machine made circles before he went on to the main event, the competition of drawing the circles, one by one, by hand.  
    Each piece of artwork created since his first attempts, is meticulously reinvented into creative visual landscapes layering circles upon circles of color schemes in gradations of complementary hues.  The colors reveal very subtle changes.  The circles pull the eye in.  The images seem to have a life of their own, a vibrant quality of pushing the viewer to look for patterns while pulling the eyes into fishers, crevices, or 'wormholes' as one collector observed. I have witnessed the intimate evolution of Luke's circles only because I have the honor and privilege of being Luke's wife.  The fact that I am discussing my husband's art work is of significance only in the sense that it is somewhat rare, although not unheard of, for the artist's loved one to interject a provocative discussion of the artwork publicly in a blog; however, this is a sign of the times we live in today and I feel blessed as a writer to have this open forum to share with you the joys and struggles inherent in Luke's artistic process.
    The way I see it, Luke has taken on  the impossible task of creating the perfect circle, where no perfect circle has ever existed before, despite Giotto's legend.  All mathematical equations to date reveal that there is no perfect circle. It is a myth. So why Luke has persisted in this impossible feat only reminds me of the story of Don Quixote. Here is where I see Luke chasing his windmills. This is where in my imagination, I view the circles on the canvas as Luke's quest for the impossible dream and his circles are his windmills.  His paintbrush is his sword.  Thus Luke 
    Van Hook's paintings, for me, exhibit all the romantic qualities innate in a love story.  Seeking to please his beloved Lucia, these references emerging from raw canvas could be read practically like text.  Some art collectors saw the circles as Braille text or some secret code or language.  The secret, I think, lies in Luke's love of sports!  Sometimes I interpret this circle code to reflect images of the sports activities I see Luke enjoy daily;  I make visual connections to the circles on the wheels of his bicycles which hang in his studio or his skate boards that decorate the rafters of the painting bays or even the wheels that drive his car which sits resting on almost perfect circles on the driveway.
    For a while, I was convinced that Luke's enthusiasm for cycling was directly influencing the subjects of his paintings because one day, I was staring at one of his earlier images, (which is hung lovingly on the wall of the dining room right over the microwave oven); I saw it hanging next to a photograph of Luke participating in the 'Death Race 1999', a bicycle ride that cycle enthusiasts pursue along the most dangerous mountainous roads known as the California Alps in Northern California at the edge of the Northern Nevada border where Markleeville meets the Carson Valley.   The image Luke had painted in 1998, while recovering, ironically, from a broken ankle suffered in a bicycle race in Minden; was the image of three bicycles in a dead heat on the gray pavement with the yellow dividing line providing a ground for what appears as three large helmets (representative of the riders) in red, green and yellow.  The eventual emergence of Luke's hatch marks from work created in 2000, can be seen on the helmets and if you are really looking for this, (with your microscope) you may even find, the very beginnings of the influences which have eventually led to this mad case of circle paintings!  The circle imagery you might be searching for could have started at the base of the bicycle's anatomy with the wheels spinning along the highway to Kingsbury Grade, somewhere near Genoa, along the bottom of the hill leading to Lake Tahoe.  I comfort myself as painter's wife, that even Picasso had his periods, as did Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Monet and Gauguin and so long as Luke Van Hook doesn't try to cut off his ear we are doing just fine with these circles.


    But don't take my word for it. Luke Van Hook's circle paintings are something you should see for yourself.  The subtlety of the work is difficult to capture on film, although I tried my best to create a video after struggling with photographing the stills for three years.  But even the video work fails to reveal the whole story.  You've got to stand in front of one of these pieces to involve yourself in the novella of Luke's life.  Although I can decode a small portion of what I see through his work, the rest of the circles on the canvas are still a vague mystery to me as well.  Every relationship has its secrets.  Thus Luke and I, as artists, are no different.  Even when we know each other, there are elements of surprise and adventure that we have yet to tell each other.  The mystery in his canvases is what really thrills me to see Luke's work on display under gallery lighting! (Sales don't hurt my enthusiasm either!)





    When I think of Luke Van Hook's circle paintings, today, in 2008, I often think of Luke riding a skateboard doing 'ollies' and then trying for a loop-de-loop in mid-air.  This is because in January of 2008, Luke begged for a skateboard for his birthday and little did I know what would happen when I wrapped it up for him!  He has returned to the love of his youth.  Luke Van Hook has come full circle to his beginnings to land on his home base. The skateboard has also flown in mid-air, in harmony with gravity, and both land as one in a perfect execution of a move I would never dare try to do myself.  I see each circle on the canvas as Luke's attempt to catapult his work into the mainstream of the art-world with each rotation of the paintbrush on the surface of the canvas.  This is where I see Luke Van Hook in mid catapult, surfing on the air, light in transition, from youth to inspired maturity; from student to master, with paintbrush in hand landing and continuing to roll on four wheels with a great big shit-eating grin on his face. ('four' being the lucky number of his numerology charts). I see the ordered struggle, the innate joy in the success of one loop-de-loop after another. And once in a while, I also see the crash landing and the bloody injuries.  What is more important is that Luke gets up and does it again each and every time.  Luke has to begin again with each new circle, every circle becoming a part of a larger layer of community, thus his canvases vibrate with activity, mystery, romance and adventure.  I find my own meanings in each image  as it develops day by day and I am privileged to stand beside him, admire and witness the struggle of our Don Quixote in the new millennium, first hand.
    There is still time to see these painting up close and personal. The Brand Library Art Galleries is part of the Glendale Public Library, located at 1601 West Mountain Street in the City of Glendale, 91201  Telephone:  818-548-2051/ fax 818-548-2713 ;  visit the Brand Library Art Galleries online at   www.brandlibrary.org    to  check for Library hours.
    Cookie Gallegos, Ana Porras and Martha Ingels attend the opening of "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook. Brand Art Library Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008 Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    (From left to right) Margo Payne, Lynn Nantana-Green and Angela Williams attend the exhibition "Circle in the Square" in support of Luke Van Hook.
    Lynn Lantana-Green came to support Artist, Luke Van Hook at the opening reception of "Circle in the Square" an art exhibition held at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.  Photos by Ginger Van Hook
    Kevin Powell came to support Luke Van Hook and enjoy the paintings at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California, August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist Luke Van Hook brought home-made pies to his reception of the exhibition "Circle in the Square". In addition to painting, Luke Van Hook has a reputation for making awesome pies from scratch. Photographed milling around the Double Fudge Pican Pie and the Sweet Berry Pie were the grandchildren of Hector Sticker. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    (From left to right) Claudio Sticker, Hector Sticker, Peter Bolten, Martha Ingels, Luke Van Hook and Luis Ingels attend the reception of  "Circle in the Square". Luke Van Hook and Luis Ingels worked together to create circles on canvas with the use of robotic CNC machines. After creating a little over a dozen machine-made paintings, Luke went on to compete with the machine and do the circles on his own by hand, one by one. Each circle is represented as being one breath and Luke Van Hook states that these are the marks he is leaving behind which define his existence during this lifetime as he continues to pursue the legend of "Giotto's Perfect Circle". Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    From left to right, Ohannes Berberian, his daughter Melanie, Luke Van Hook and Rouzanna Berberian attend the opening reception of "Circle in the Square" at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008.  Ohannes Berberian owns DigiTECH Camera Repair in Monrovia, California (www.digitechcamerarepair.com). Luke Van Hook and Rouzanna Berberian are both fine art painters and members of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (M.A.F.A.). Rouzanna Berberian is a teacher in the after-school arts programs supported by M.A.F.A.  which promotes the goal of enhancing the lives of those within the community through interaction with the arts and to increase the opportunities of children through art education. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    From left to right, Kathleen Zgonc, photographer Frank Zgonc and artist Luke Van Hook attend the opening reception of 'Circle in the Square' at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008. Frank Zgonc is a an executive member of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts in Monrovia, California. Frank Zgonc is the vice-president and official curator of Monrovia's yearly October Art Festival. This year the October Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday October 11th and 12th, 2008 at the Monrovia Community Center located at 119 W. Palm Avenue in Monrovia. Free and open to the public, this art event will feature work by photographer Frank Zgonc; (Scheduled from 10 am to 6pm both days).  There will also be an Opening Night Celebration Saturday, October 11th from 7-9:30 pm where the special Renaissance Award will be presented to a worthy individual who has made significant contributions to the arts. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Mr. and Mrs. Luke and Ginger Van Hook attend the opening reception of 'Circle in the Square' at the Brand Libraries Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 in Glendale, California.  Luke Van Hook an artist working from Inglewood, California earned a BFA  at Otis College of ARt and Design.  For several years, Van Hook has been exploring in his work, Giotto's fabled "perfect circle".  Over time the single-minded focus on the perfection of the circle has been subsumed by the artist's interest in the aesthetic and expressive qualities of the circle. New works depict ritualistically repeated circular brushstrokes on canvas, hemp, and other materials. Van Hook states that he began " as a challenge to myself to see if a perfect circle was possible; these circles have now morphed into a challenge to myself to see if a perfect circle is  possible. These circles have now morphed into a study in patience. The sense of time and the marking of time is inherent in the meticulous application of paint. The viewer can appreciate these temporal qualities but is also compelled to bring their own  interpretation to the work. Are these circles pure abstraction? Combined do they conceal deliberate shapes and forms? or are they perhaps a secret code or language? Van Hook has exhibited at TAG Gallery, Focus One Gallery, and the Bolsky Gallery in  Westchester. Luke Van Hook's painting may also be viewed on his website: www.lukevanhook.com
    Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten


    Kevin Powell comes to support Luke Van Hook for his opening reception. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Jason Porras attends the opening reception to support Luke Van Hook in his endeavors to pursue Giotto's legend of the 'Perfect Circle'. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo By Ginger Van Hook.


    Zoe Hengst, Ginger Van Hook and Martha Ingels attend the opening of "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten.
    Zoe and Jopie Hengst walk through the center of the exhibition "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook at the opening night, August 2, 2008. Paintings by Susan Sironi in the background. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.

    Cookie Gallegos, Ginger Van Hook and Luke Van Hook pose for photographs in front of Luke Van Hook's painting at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 Glendale, California. Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten.

    Cookie Gallegos and Ana Porras watch the dance performance choreographed by Cheryl Walker, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California.
    Paintings by Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Paintings by Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Yesung Kim poses for a photograph in front of her paintings at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 02, 2008, Glendale, California. Yesung Kim from Upland, California, was born in Seoul, South Korea and holds MFA degrees from Chung-Ang University and Claremont Graduate University. Kim's mixed media pieces are seductively simple. Ordinary brown packing string is deftly applied to a painted canvas creating organic shapes that shimmer and reflect light. At times these shapes appear to be on the brink of an amoeba-like division as they spread and expand, dropping off the edge of one canvas and continuing on to another. Kim  cites the natural world and light and color as the underlying themes that both inspire and permeate her work.  Following solo shows at the Seoul Museum of Art and the Seoul Arts Center, Kim's work was most recently exhibited at the San Bernardino County Museum's Multi Media Mini Show. More information about Kim's work can be found on her website: www.yesungkim.com
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Painting by Susan Sironi, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 Glendale, California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Glass curtain by Susan Sironi, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008,Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Cheryl Walker designed a curtain of vinyl layers of color called 'Waterfall IV' that became the backdrop for a beautiful dance performance using the 'circle in the square' theme exhibited at the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale California, August 2, 2008. Cheryl Walker holds in her hand some of the vinyl circles that were placed upon the windows at the exhibition hall. Her vinyl circles upon the windows created an illusion of  the stained glass effects. The dance piece entertained a large audience on opening night as artists, collectors, art appreciators and family and friends celebrated the mythologies, geometries, magical and mystical qualities of the circle.   Dance Performers Liz  Curtis, and Martha Carrascosa performed a dance which included participation from members of the audience.  
    Members of the audience interacted with the dancers Martha Carrascosa and Liz Curtis at the Brand Library Art Galleries participated in creating a colorful cascade of window art on August 2, 2008 in Glendale, California.
    Audience watches dancers Liz Curtis and Martha Carrascosa from Glendale Community College as they perform a choreographed piece by Cheryl Walker, artist. "Circle in the Square", Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California, August 2, 2008.  Photo By Ginger Van Hook
    Dancers Liz Curtis and Martha Carrascosa performing dance choreographed by artist Cheryl Walker, (within the green curtain), Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Cheryl Walker engaged in performance art intersecting with window art using the artistic theme of 'Circle in the Square'. Brand Library Art Gallery, Glendale, CAlifornia August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.

    Cheryl Walker smiles happily on opening night, Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California. August 2, 2008. Cheryl Walker, a Los Angeles artist, earned her BA in art in her home state of Minnesota, and her MFA from California State University, Long Beach. In this exhibition Walker created two large site-specific installations of vinyl, oil pastel and natural and artificial light.  Walker explains that the driving force behind her work is "human interaction and improvisation in response to a natural phenomenon or situation." Trained as painter, Walker's installations have some of the qualities of painting; when viewed head-on the suspended layers of vinyl can appear to be two-dimensional because of their transparency and the cut shapes and forms applied to the vinyl are reminiscent of brushstrokes--but removed from the wall these works are thrust into what she calls an "interactive field of play." The fluidity of the material she works with and her interest in collaboration between the artist and the viewer have inspired Walker to create works that can be transformed into performance pieces by dance, music and in-situ art-making. In this exhibition, a dance performance captivates the audience on opening night at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. August 2, 2008.  Photos By Ginger Van Hook




    Barbara Kolo, Artist from "Circle in the Square" poses for a photograph in front of her painting with her husband Mr. Kolo. Barbara Kolo, a Santa Monica Artist, earned her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Kolo Participated in a successful two-person show at the Brand Library Art Galleries in 1999. The Brand Library Art Galleries are pleased to present (nearly ten years later) a new body of work by Barbara Kolo that connects to that which was here before. In those works and these, her focus is on representing organic materials. The current large scale acrylic on canvas works are saturated with color; the stippled application of paint creates organic shapes and patterns representative of the natural world.  The subject matter is open to each viewers interpretation, where one may see a birch forest at dusk, others may see the  bold aesthetic of pure color and abstraction. Kolo has had recent solo shows at Topanga Canyon Gallery and the Off Rose Gallery in Venice, California. More information about Kolo's work can be found on her website: www.barbarakolo.com Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook






    Barbara Kolo poses for a photograph during opening night celebrations for the exhibition, "Circle in the Square" at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Augusts 2, 2008. Glendale, California.


    Susan Sironi,  an artist living in Altadena, California posed for her photograph in front of her paintings at  the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. August 2, 2008.  Susan Sironi earned her BFA at California Sate University, Long Beach. This exhibition will showcase Sironi's recent paintings as well as her Glass Curtain installation which is comprised of conjoined antique optometric lenses. Her paintings are about texture, color and process. Small dabs of oil paint are painstakingly applied to aluminum, building up an intricate, thorny surface. Highly textured and multihued when viewed up close, this surface belies the color play minimalist color-field appearance of the work at a distance . In the artist's own words "texture and color play equal roles in these works. They ... set up contradictions within each piece. Painitings  that seem to invite touch and intimacy are also reserved and automomous. Time and process are weighed against a static and minimal structure. Sironi's work was most recently seen in the Brea Art Gallery's Made in California exhibition, at the Chouinard School of Art Gallery, and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art.  More information about Sironi's work can be found on her website: web.mac.com/susansironi/susan/sironi/Welcome.html.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook.  

    Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Gallery, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.



    The Entrance to the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale, California hosts a prominent postcard of the show "Circle in the Square" now exhibiting through September 5th, 2008

                       Luke Van Hook paintings are now showing at the Brand Library Art Galleries in
              The Art of Reading Leads to the Art of Writing at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the UCLA campus in Westwood! by Enilde Van Hook        

    When is a library, not a library? When it’s a Book Festival where the books come out to play! The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books celebrated its 13th year of book promotions on the UCLA campus with an estimated attendance of over 140,000 people who love to read books!
    Here is where the traditional library, once thought to be a stuffy, hush-hush, nerdy and quiet setting transforms itself into a megalomaniac fair of books and stories and documentaries just waiting to come alive. Books become the roller coaster of emotions, the merry-go-round of ideas, the bumper cars of change and the Ferris wheels of fiction.


    In this day and age, the traditional library has undergone a radical change in our culture…it has gone outside, yes outside the box, outside the building and outside under yonder shade trees to re-invent itself. Unlike the regular library, where one checks out a book and must return it within a specific amount of time, this type of literary environment goes beyond just borrowing a book. This activity steps into the realm of personal libraries. This is where the reader amasses his or her own library collection of favorite authors, books, books on tape, digital recordings of books, even recordings for the blind and dyslexic by going outside the comfort of indoor lighting and venturing into the elements of nature.



    The weekend of April 26th and 27th, under weather conditions reaching over 90 degrees in Westwood, the Pacific Ocean breeze quietly slipped in and around the leaves of Ficus trees, Great Oaks, Pines, and luscious landscaped lawns of one of our most prestigious institutions of higher learning; on the campus of UCLA, surrounded by noble buildings of great learning and ample gardens of exquisite greenery, what promised to be adventure at first, had indeed become an obsession for learning, an unquenchable thirst for more information about one’s world…who was in it in the past? Who’s in it now? Where’s the planet going? Who killed who? Or Whom? What artist leapt to his death from the bridge of misunderstanding? The answers were all there waiting to be revealed once you ventured out into the Festival of Books to bring home some new friends! This was my third year visiting the LA Times Festival of Books.




    As I came upon the first of the booths, I saw a long line of people, fanning themselves in the hot sun with only partial shade for some while others brought lawn chairs, umbrellas and water bottles or coolers and bared the heat while reading the LA Times or a comic book they’d purchased while sipping lemonades from the local vendors. “Get your lemonade!” a man shouted from the center of another line of readers waiting for an author. As I made my way down the narrow aisles of celebrity book fans I looked up in time to see that Valerie Bertinelli was about to emerge and I could already see a wave of nervous cameramen and camerawomen with their trigger fingers anxiously poised above their focused lenses. I felt in good company. I too was about to sign copies of my book today. The Kingdom Of Nuts and Bolts, was being released to the reading public and I was headed over to join the authors at booth 715 sponsored by THE GREATER LOS ANGELES WRITER’S SOCIETY.






    I was invited to join the Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society recently and have discovered the treasures of its membership as well as the benefits to career and community. The Greater Los Angeles Writers Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring writers of all levels in the craft and business of writing. The society works to provide continuing education and a forum for the marketing of a writer’s work. The society is guided by a philosophy of “writers mentoring writers of all disciplines” and their website (www.glaws.org) details their variety of resources, welcoming writers from all over California and the country to learn more about the craft.















    I knew I had gotten to the right booth when I saw the buttons they were passing out. “What’s Your Story?” As I was about to take the hot seat of an author…I kid you not; the seat was hot because the sun cast its rays upon the storytellers’ table; I thought to myself again, ‘I’m in fine company!’ I had heard that Gay Talese, Julie Andrews and Tommy Lasorda were telling their stories and here I was, a humble little writer of my first fiction novel about to tell my own.
    I resorted to taking pictures to relax my own photo-happy-trigger finger. I always enjoy a good shutterbug moment and this was no exception. So, I took pictures of the authors I was with, while I signed a few books myself.








    I met Leslie Ann Moore, the author of Griffin’s Daughter, and I learned she wrote romantic fantasy (which I overheard her telling a reader that she had won an award). I visited her website at www.leslieannmoore.com and was inspired by her story that she is a veterinarian, writer and belly dancer too!






    I also met Mike Robinson the author of Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray (which personally as a photographer, I liked the title.) I learned that Mike Robinson is the author of seven novels and two collections. Mike also sold a number of short stories to print and electronic magazines, anthologies and podcasts. Visit Mike’s website at www.freewebs.com and learn that he too is stalking BIG FOOT!






















    On Saturday, another author I had the opportunity to meet at the GLAWS booth was Matt Pallamary. We sat together as our fans lined up to talk to us about our books. (Maybe our lines weren’t as long as Valerie Bertinelli’s for her book “Losing it: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time” but we had a following, nonetheless!) Matt has written his memoirs detailing his spiritual journeys to Peru where he worked with shamanic plant medicines. His most recent book is titled Spirit Matters and his website is www.mattpallamary.com. This was a serendipitous place to be sharing space with Matt Pallamary as I had the rare opportunity to discuss some of my own spiritual stories from my early childhood in Argentina. The Kingdom of Nuts and Bolts is a story about a five-year-old boy named Miguelito, who can see things that others can’t and this makes him special and extra inventive. He has a special magic friend named Hector (made out of nuts and bolts) who teaches him to fix things. The story, a comedy, is set in Buenos Aires, Argentina using the popular genre of South American writers, that of Magical Realism. The story explores an imaginative spirit world set in the 1930’s and is told from the perspectives of a fly, a witch, a seagull, an angel, a demon and two little brothers. The paperback version is available through www.enildeingelsvanhook.com.
    and coming soon to www.amazon.com so check the website in mid May for available stock.























    Several new, emerging and established writers joined us at the Festival of Books in the GLAWS booth #715. Among them was Joan A. Friedman, a Ph.D. who is an identical twin, herself, and has over thirty years of experience as a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of twin-related issues. Her new novel, Emotionally Healthy Twins is a comprehensive guide on how to raise twins who are self-realized and distinct individuals.





    Dr. Joan Friedman posed for a photo-op alongside two of the movers and shakers of GLAWS; Tony Todaro, one of its original founders (Sci-Fi aficionado) and an established strategic consultant (Todaro Communications) as well as John Weiskopf, the author of The Ascendancy.








    The Ascendancy is an appropriate story for today’s times, as John Weiskopf has created a new world mythology at a volatile point in history. His latest novel brings modern day imagination to the old story of Jack in the Beanstalk. The premise of this novel is that a beanstalk starts growing out of the rubble of the World Trade Center and the protagonist Jack Tott, a twenty-six-year-old musician, believes that if he climbs the beanstalk, he will somehow find the means to help save his dying sister. This book is available through www.johnweiskopf.com.
















    I met Sandra Walter, the author of The Creator State (www.sandrawalter.com) a story where actors discover a unique state of consciousness and art changes reality. Pictured here to the right is the author of Akira's Army by Keith Kowalczyk as he tells the story of Ray Quincy who becomes a prisoner of war while on his family vacation on a small South Pacific Island (a novel available through midnightpressbooks.com) Also pictured in booth #715 are Tony Todaro, Neil Citrin, and John Weiskopf.









    I also had an opportunity to talk to Robin Reed who was also releasing her first novel called Xanthan Gumm. Robin Reed writes in the science fiction genre about hard working creatures called ‘Humans’ who labor to make stories that are loved throughout the Galaxy. One young alien dreams of going to the ‘Forbidden Planet Earth’ to perform in the movies and wants to become famous like his idol, E.T. This book is available through www.barstowproductions.com.






    On Sunday at the LA TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS, I had the distinct privilege of sitting at the author’s table with Film Educator and author Charles Domokos. His work in education especially in the cinema and film-editing field has a long history of contributing extremely technical post-production knowledge to film students at USC School of Cinematic Arts, Loyola Marymount and Los Angeles City College. His book titled: Non-linear Editing: The Cutting Edge provides the foundation for the college-level media student to make the leap into the world of film and HD-based professional post-production, as practiced in the Hollywood media community. His book is available through Amazon.com; Barnes&Noble.com or www.GoGardner.com.



    While sitting under the canopy of a nearby Elm tree, our booth enjoyed a little more shade and relief from the heat on Sunday, just enough to share our experiences and challenges of our publishing our first books. Charles and I also shared some of our inspirations to write and joked around that in our booth alone, we had the resources for taking my story of The Kingdom of Nuts and Bolts and turning it into a movie using stop-frame animation to create a Hollywood environment for my animated critter made of nuts and bolts and feathers named ‘Hector’. We figured we had a whole production team from writing the screenplay to filming, editing and strategic marketing with Tony Todaro!



    Speaking of Tony Todaro, one of the founders of GLAWS, I learned he is a prolific fiction writer as well. He is now working on a final draft of his next novel, “What Comes Around” a story set in a future city by the name of San Angeles, a metropolis divided by rivers and gangs after the ‘Big One’ (the big anticipated earthquake Angelino’s often fear, has already happened in this story) has rearranged the real estate and politics of the Southland. Just a little sneak preview of his upcoming book, finds Fed Corp Special Crimes investigator Major Xander Hunt in the midst of two murder mysteries to solve: the death of prominent physicist Allan Dunwharton, and after a series of battles and attempted assassinations, (perhaps even his own death). Hunt has kept his aging body alive with a concoction of drugs and nanobots, despite decades of damage as a black-ops agent, and the terminal cancer eating at his guts. (Imagine here the actor Sean Connery as the wise, aging officer in the Untouchables, though Hunt thinks of himself as the younger version of a Kevin Costner character.) Tony Todaro is a strategic marketing consultant with a long history in the music business and now shares his expertise with his fellow authors in GLAWS!



    With a philosophy of “writers mentoring writers of all disciplines” GLAWS holds monthly informative meetings, often with nationally-known guest speakers, offers critique groups, advice in the craft and business of writing, conducts special events including writers conferences and seminars, and promotes its vision through many businesses and social opportunities.
    In April I had the opportunity to attend one of the membership meetings to hear the science fiction and fantasy writer, Tim Powers, author of Anubis Gates and winner of the Philip K. Dick Award. He spoke at length about the essence of “plot” or what actually happens in a story. He encouraged writers to think of the question ‘why’ and then dig deeper and ask no, ‘why, really?’; ‘why really is the character motivated?’ He also gave us an overview of what it is like to be a writer at work. He stated that he had cultivated a sense of both guilt and fear. “Afterall, I play with the cat while truckers have jobs…” In a brief moment I had to talk with him before he got on the podium, he stated that I should write down imaginary bets… but not to do it in my head. He urged me to write thoughts down directly onto the keyboard. In his presentation, he also shared some of the advantages to writing down your ideas and character traits onto index cards and spreading them around your workspace. Maybe one day, if you are experiencing ‘writers block’; maybe the landlord comes around knocking, blows open your door and tromps all over the index cards mixing them up every which way; well, he said, ‘you never know when that might have helped your plot strategy a little!’ TIM POWERS chuckled.

    The headline of today’s blog stated that the Art of Reading leads to the Art of Writing. I strongly believe this because I can attest to the significant verbal, literary and visual growth that a child can attain while immersed in a supportive community reading program. That, in and of it-self is where the art of reading leads directly to the successful art of writing. Exposure to the arts at a young age in a person’s life greatly enhances the chances this experience will foster a love of story telling as well as an appreciation for the authors and artists of these works that influence the mind at a critical stage in our development.
    I am an example of an After School Reading Program child. My first exposure to library books came about at approximately the age of 8 when I stated participating in the Duarte Public Library After School Reading Program and simultaneously the Monrovia Public Library system in California.







    I personally see this important correlation between early reading and early writing because I began to keep a diary at the age of twelve after reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I went on to improve my reading skills by practicing my writing skills in my journal and reading even more each month until I had practically consumed all the books I could in the children’s section of the Duarte Library. I seem to recall that by the age of thirteen I was already into the adult section where I promptly fell in love with science fiction and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. (At the time, I made no physical distinction between the right or left section of the Duarte Library but I did get into trouble with my mother who discovered one day that one of my books had an identifying label from the adult section of the library…I no longer remember what the name of that book was, because I didn’t get to read it…only that it had a harmless picture of a cat on the cover and I distinctly recall how disappointed and rather humiliated I was when I had to return the book to the librarian and admit that I had rules at home I had to follow that superceded library freedoms.)





    My consolation was that I was a rebellious child so after that, I no longer checked out the adult books to take home—I just spent my free time reading the contraband stories, sitting cross legged on the floor between the stacks by the light of a window where a beautiful oak tree cast intermittent sun, shade and childhood inspiration; Under these conditions, I finished reading Pearl Buck’s novel The Good Earth. I can’t stress enough the importance of reading in a young person’s life. I admired writers without even knowing what they looked like. Often I didn’t see pictures on the covers. I just knew their voices by the way they would write their sentences. I feel I learned about life, lived through the characters and had adventures I couldn’t even dream of having all through the art of reading a wonderful book.

















    By the time I was sixteen, I had obtained my first job away from home. The Duarte Public Library hired me to work as a ‘page’ part time while I attended high school. I was able to devote even more time to filing and flipping through the pages of my most beloved writers and fondest friends. I recall taking a whole summer to finish the novel Hawaii by James Mitchner. These books were my education and entertainment away from the classroom and the schoolyard. By the age of eighteen, I was working for the USC Bookstore during freshman year of college and the Doheny Library by my sophomore year of college.

























    Now fast forward to the present day in 2008. I have written and self-published five books of poetry and recently released my first novel, The Kingdom of Nuts and Bolts here at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the campus of UCLA. Was it an accident that I developed into a writer? (In my particular case, I am also a photographer and an artist.) (www.gingervanhook.com) (www.enildeingelsvanhook.com) I don’t think this is a random event. I think there are no accidents in the universe. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe in cause and effect. I believe that if you want to end up with a delicious cake, you need to prepare the recipe with proper ingredients. The ingredients leading to the successful art of writing requires nothing short of fresh time, young minds, good books and positive parental and community encouragement to read. The art develops naturally as the heat of age ripens the stories into cupcakes of our culture for everyone to enjoy!

    I attended the Duarte Festival of Authors in October of 2005 in Westminster Gardens, in Duarte California just to visit with and enjoy a moment listening to Ray Bradbury as the featured keynote speaker, presented by The Friends of the Duarte Library.



    We also support the Monrovia Arts Festival Association which is undergoing a change of name this year. In addition to the changes featured in Monrovia Library Park, with the new Library construction, Monrovia Arts Festival Association is about to be renamed the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts to better define the role of the arts in the community of Monrovia.
    The Monrovia Arts Festival Association will continue to serve the arts and artists as well as the after school art programs in Monrovia as well as surrounding communities and schools. I firmly believe, the younger a child is exposed to the arts, in terms of reading, writing, painting, sculpture, photography, film, digital media, comic book art and art history just to name a few of the variety of arts, the more creative a child will grow into adulthood and the more rewarding our communities will be to thrive in.
              2nd Quarter 2017 – Hurricane Emergency Plan        
    Introduction The purpose of the Nicholls State University Hurricane Emergency Plan is to provide a detailed summary of the steps deemed necessary to secure the university and protect property and lives in the event of an approaching hurricane. The plan is available to all university employees, students and members of the community and can be […]
              3rd Quarter 2016 – Emergency Evacuation – In Case of Fire        
    The U.S. Fire Administration reports that 99,500 fires occurred in non-residential buildings in 2014, resulting in 60 fatalities, 1200 injuries, and over 2.6 billion in dollar loss.  The best way to prevent these deadly fires from occurring is by eliminating the possible fire hazards.  You are responsible for fire prevention at work for your safety […]
              2nd Quarter 2016 – Hurricane Emergency Plan        
    Nicholls State University Hurricane Emergency Plan  Introduction The purpose of the Nicholls State University Hurricane Emergency Plan is to provide a detailed summary of the steps deemed necessary to secure the university and protect property and lives in the event of an approaching hurricane. The plan is available to all university employees, students and members […]
              Mary e Max - uma amizade diferente        


    Eu não poderia deixar de compartilhar e indicar um novo filme, que vi por estes dias e muito me agradou. Mary e Max - uma amizade diferente, ainda que seja apresentado em animação, propõe uma reflexão para o público adulto a respeito das neuroses e fobias que tomaram conta dos consultórios de analistas e terapeutas no mundo contemporâneo. Dirigido por Adam Elliot, o filme conta a trajetória (de aproximadamente 15 anos) de dois personagens: Mary, com 8 anos de idade no início, e Max, com 44. Vivendo em mundos distantes - ela, na Austrália; ele, em Nova York - eles se correspondem durante o período em que dura a história, movidos, a princípio, pela curiosidade de Mary: ela quer saber se na América as crianças nascem do fundo de uma caneca de cerveja, conforme sua mãe lhe ensinara, ou de um outro modo, como de uma caneca de coca-cola, por exemplo. Desde a primeira carta trocada por ambos, há uma reflexão profunda acerca de amizade, confiança, convivência, origem da vida, relações sociais, religião etc, de onde emerge uma profunda amizade que, apesar da distância, passa também pela problemática da incompreensão, da discussão e do afastamento, com um final brilhante. Além das reflexões colocadas acima, o filme nos leva a pensar sobre o papel que assumimos num possível caos que tem se tornado a vida nos últimos decênios, as psicopatologias, os velhos e novos meios de comunicação/aproximação entre as pessoas, a melancolia provinda da modernidade, a distância entre teoria e prática dos estudos acadêmicos, e até mesmo em questões de ordem narrativa, como a narratividade das cartas, entremeadas pela narrativa em terceira pessoa de um observador que vai costurando a história e unindo os universos de Mary e Max. Fica, aqui, a recomendação! Abaixo, o trailer:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPULUwu0Wm8

              channelers ~ video & album premiere        


    Each time I see the news from Inner Islands my days turns into a little celebration. The music this label releases resonates so deeply with my perception of the world, that it feels almost impossible. Of course there are always some space for interpretations and subjectiveness but some things don't need an explanation. They just emerge somewhere between the sounds, between the flips of the tape, in the soft humming of endless water streams shown in this amazing video which label's boss Sean Conrad shot in American deserts and over expanses of Iceland... When the beauty arises, it touches hearts directly, without need in words. That's why we love music so much - it can be pure beauty, without strict material form, just flow of vibrations from one soul to another. It needs just few instruments or voice to appear and an open ear to be heard.

    channelers ~ space makes clearing (inner islands, 2016)

     Â«Reverence for the cycles of life, for the ever-changing sky, for the yearning that drives one forward, for the acceptance
    that keeps one still».
    inner islands

    On the different paths life makes through the space and time there are always cycles, seasons, changes which unfold like an endless spiral. With every new turn we may feel something like deja vu, considering the ability of our minds to forget everything quickly, to think in one dimension. To regain the experience of past cycles in the present, to make them significant and changing, we create rituals - may kinds of them. Starting from morning tea and social interactions and up to religions and annual celebrations. And once again our minds are failing, forgetting the meaning, flattening the experience... So the only way here is awareness, which unavoidably leads to self-invented ceremonies, practices, to the clear feeling of your own unique path. While listening to the music created by any of Sean Conrad's projects this feeling on the uniqueness appears with every album, showing the perception of the world, which may be shared, but at the same time remains thw whole in itself. Like any river is created by the thousands of streams, the Inner Islands is a bright torrent of personal world perceptions, created by many artists and Sean's ability to maintain that stream is amazing. There is a place for many forms and crossroad for many path, but still this unique universe of sound keeps its doors open for any resonating soul. And its essence is always changing, moving with the sun and moon, growing, unfolding... Archipelago of the tiny whirls of creative energy, forming something bigger and powerful than its part taken separately. Each album of Ashan or Channelers seems like a private ceremony, which concentrates the overall aura of Inner Islands. Gathering of winds and waters, celebration of new cycle, which begins with every new batch of sounds released to the world... It may seem unimportant, but this is the thing of such intimate creations - it becomes bigger, when you inside of it. Like gazing at the drop of water, which reflects the whole sky. Each song here is a drop. And each tiny moment of silence between them is the passage from the inner to the outer. It's simply fascinating.

    listen ~ buy

              one in a million        

    Let's get realistic about love.

    For this exercise, we will make certain broad assumptions, discounting exceptions and outliers. We will try to figure what's happening statistically when two people fall in love. We will also place our exercise in an Indian social and cultural context.

    Let's start with the potential "universe" of people one can possibly fall in love with. We will start with the total population, and reduce for mutually exclusive groups. India has 1.2 billion people. ~50% for the opposite sex -> 600 million. India's median age is 27 years (50% population less than 27 years of age) . For this exercise, assuming that one intends to get married in the age range of 24-32, an 8-year span (our math won't vary much if we increase this window on either side by a few extra years, there is a bulge below this range), we are down to ~80 million.

    It gets a little tricky from here. Remove for some semblance of economic backgrounds and we are down to ~8 million (80 lakh). Now from this, remove for religion & caste preferences (I am looking at you Brahmins), dietary preferences (no onion no garlic anyone?), height & weight preferences (taar bijli se lambe humaare piya), complexion preferences (it's only fair, right? Lovely), educational preferences, language barriers and north Indian and south Indian and Gujju and Mallu and Kashmiri and Jat preferences. And so far we haven't removed for people already married or in love with someone else who is not you. And after you have removed for all of the above, you need to be with a person with whom when you spend time, your emotional response to them lies between "surreal" and "I can stand this person" on a scale of butterflies, and the other person's emotional response also lies somewhere in the same ballpark. And whoever you are left with, you haven't even begun to find him/her yet. Given your life experiences of school, college, workplace, pubs, bars, travels, tinder and what not, and the count of people you potentially meet through these life experiences, what are the fuckin' odds.

    I had always believed that the concept of "the one" does not hold. But given the odds, and given that there exists atleast "a" one, you are probably better off with a the. Two people falling in love with each other is a statistical miracle.


    [from Watchmen] Miracles. Events with astronomical odds of occurring, like oxygen turning into gold. I've longed to witness such an event...; ...and out of that contradiction, against unfathomable odds, it's you - only you - that emerged. To distill so specific a form, from all that chaos. It's like turning air into gold. A miracle.


    I hear "everything is great, but I am not so sure" ever so often that it's fuckin' unbelievable. I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would break up. You met someone and liked, and they liked you back, and you loved each other's company, and then you eventually started driving each other crazy and "it didn't work out"?! Huh?

    For people who are single still, I feel sorry for you. The odds are stacked against you and there is little hope for you (lol). Live, is all, and maybe, just maybe lightning will strike (in this case, twice). And for people who are married or with someone and in love, go hug your Significant Other really hard right now right this moment, take a good look at them, smile, hold their hands, and know that they are your one in a million. You have witnessed a miracle.




              86th Academy Awards        
    ------------
    Note 1: Well, I did a post on Oscars last year, so I am going to do one every year now. Talk about being clingy, heh.

    Note 2.0: Post 2.0 is going to be bigger and better, aww yeah!
    ------------

    It hasn't been a stellar year for movies compared to the previous year, neither there nor here. A year of massive snubs too (I weep for you, Coen brothers, Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson). '12 years a slave' emerges as the 'Lincoln' from last year, and TEN nominations for 'American Hustle', are you effing kidding me?! The race is wide open (which makes it mildly interesting), and my prediction is that this year predictions in general are going to go for a toss. My sentiments for this year's Oscars are best summarized by the movie nominated this year for Makeup and Hairstyling, a movie that will be selling DVDs with 'Oscar nominee' plastered on its cover - 'Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa'.

    The complete list of nominations is available here. This is going to be a difficult year for predictions, so whenever in doubt, I will stick to a golden rule - snub American Hustle!




    CategoryPredictionPickVishesh TippaniQuotesHit / Miss
    Best Motion Picture of the Year12 Years a SlaveThe Wolf of Wall StreetThe Wolf of Wall Street is by far the best movie of this year, its only fault being that it isn't "Best Picture material". F.U. American Hustle, I wish Jonah Hill peed all over you.From TWOWS: "My name is Jordan Belfort. The year I turned 26, I made 49 million dollars, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week."Hit! But they got it wrong. Time.
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleMatthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers ClubLeonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Streetsee: Best Motion Picture of the Year
    P.S.: F.U. American Hustle.
    From TWOWS: "I am not gonna die sober!"Hit! So disappointed for Leo!
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading RoleCate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
    Kill me for saying it, but I don't think Amy Adams' cleavage deserves an Oscar. F.U."Who do you have to sleep with around here to get a Stoli martini with a twist of lemon?"Hit!
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleJared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
    see: Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling"Relax, I don't bite. I guess you're handsome, in a Texas, hick, white trash, dumb kind of way."Hit! 
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RoleLupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
    If only Scarlett Johansson was nominated. Sigh. And F. U. JLaw, Eff. You. You didn't deserve it last year, you don't deserve it this year.From Her:
    "You know, I can feel the fear that you carry around and I wish there was... something I could do to help you let go of it because if you could, I don't think you'd feel so alone anymore."
    Hit! So much deserve! 
    Best Achievement in DirectingAlfonso Cuarón, GravityMartin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Streetsee: Best Motion Picture of the YearFrom TWOWS:
    'The name of the game, moving the money from the client's pocket to your pocket.'
    'But if you can make your clients money at the same time it's advantageous to everyone, correct?'
    'No.'
    Hit!
    Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the ScreenSpike Jonze, Her
    The writing is just devastating. Devastating. Isn't that what great writing is supposed to be?"Sometimes I think I have felt everything I'm ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I'm not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I've already felt."Hit!
    Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published12 Years a SlaveRichard Linklater, Before MidnightAnyone who has followed the 'Before...' series will hardly contest that Linklater deserves this, but well...From Before Midnight:
    "Like sunlight, sunset, we appear, we disappear. We are so important to some, but... we are just passing through."
    Hit!
    Best Animated Feature Film of the YearFrozen
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    'Olaf! You're melting!'
    'Some people are worth melting for.'
    Hit! â™¥
    Best Foreign Language Film of the YearThe Great Beauty
    The Great Beauty is what To Rome with Love should have been, or rather what this movie should have been called.'We're all on the brink of despair; all we can do is look each other in the face, keep each other company, joke a little... don't you agree?'Hit!
    Best Achievement in CinematographyGravity
    Technical awards for Gravity is quite a no-brainer this year. From the camera-work to sound, Gravity is, without a doubt, going to sweep the technical awards.'Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission.'
    'Please elaborate.'
    'Well, it reminds of a story.'
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in EditingGravityCaptain PhillipsCaptain Phillips' climax got close to Argo's climax. It's tough to beat Gravity for the technical awards this year.From Captain Phillips:
    "Shut up, Irish. Too much talking."
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Production DesignAmerican HustleHerHer was a surprise (and deserving) nomination for this category, and the minimalism in the look and feel of the movie only goes on to show how much thought was put into it. Oh, and yes, F. U. American Hustle.From Her:
    "Your past is just a story you tell yourself."
    Miss. The Great Gatsby.
    Best Achievement in Costume DesignAmerican Hustle
    Probably the only good thing about American Hustle. Yup, Amy Adams' cleavage wasn't one."But, you know I thought you were mysterious like my mother. Until, it turned out... the mysterious just meant depressed." Miss. Because in-your-face costumes are the way to go. :| The Great Gatsby.
    Best Achievement in Makeup and HairstylingDallas Buyers Club
    see: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original ScoreSteven Price, Gravity
    While I really wish Thomas Newman, after being nominated 11 times before this (including Wall·E), won this one for his great score in a music-heavy Saving Mr. Banks, I feel Steven Price deserves this one. Check it out.
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song'Let it go', Frozen'Ordinary Love', U2, Mandela: Long Walk to FreedomThis is a tough one to pick, between 'Ordinary Love' and 'Let it go'. I do want to see U2 win, after they didn't win the last time they were nominated. And while you are at it, 'The Moon Song' from 'Her' is absolutely heart-breaking.
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Sound MixingGravity
    see: Best Achievement in Cinematography
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Sound EditingGravity
    see: Best Achievement in Cinematography
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Visual EffectsGravity
    see: Best Achievement in Cinematography
    Hit!




    Total:
    18 / 20


    Who are you rooting for?

    86th Academy Awards...

              What You Should Know About Cash Loans – Before Borrowing        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Cash loans are loans in which you may be required to repay quickly. While financial experts and well-meaning friends and family will probably tell you to save money for financial emergencies, it can be tough to do in this economy. Most people request a small amount when they need cash loans, and they usually seek

    What You Should Know About Cash Loans – Before Borrowing


              Need to Borrow Money Just to Keep Up? Here’s Your Financial Escape Plan        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    When you need to borrow money–unless it’s an emergency situation–it probably indicates that you suffer from financial problems that go beyond the immediate situation. According to Pewtrusts.org, only 14 percent of today’s borrowers can truly afford to repay a short-term, high-interest loan. People are often driven to borrow money by desperation and rose-colored outlooks about

    Need to Borrow Money Just to Keep Up? Here’s Your Financial Escape Plan


              Safety of a Rapidly Dissolving Buprenorphine/Naloxone Sublingual Tablet (BNX-RDT) for Treatment of Opioid Dependence: A Multicenter, Open-label Extension Study        
    imageObjective: To assess the safety of rapidly dissolving buprenorphine/naloxone sublingual tablets (BNX-RDT) in opioid-dependent patients. Methods: This open-label, 24-week extension study enrolled patients who completed primary trials of BNX-RDT. Daily tablet doses ranged from 5.7 to 17.1 mg. The primary endpoint was safety; secondary assessments included opioid cravings, addiction severity, health-related quality of life (QOL), and workplace productivity at screening (final day of the primary trials) through study end, with changes measured from baseline of the primary trials. Results: In all, 665 patients received treatment; 292 (43.9%) completed the study. A total of 258 patients (38.8%) reported 557 treatment-emergent adverse events, most commonly headache (3.2%) and constipation (3.0%). Craving scores showed continued improvement on 100-mm visual analog scale (mean change from primary trial baseline, −52.8 at screening; mean change from extension trial baseline, −60.5 at week 24). Reductions in addiction severity from baseline of both the primary and extension trial were maintained through week 24 on multiple assessments, as were improvements in QOL on Short Form 36. Employment increased by 15% and mean (SD) hours worked per week increased by 4.6 (20.1) from baseline to study end. Mean (SD) scores for impact of opioid dependence on work productivity improved from 4.7 (3.0) at baseline to 0.9 (1.8) at study end (11-point scale). Conclusions: Extended treatment with BNX-RDT demonstrated a safety profile similar to other BNX formulations, reduced opioid cravings, and improved both QOL and work productivity. Continued treatment may enable patients to advance in recovery and return to normal functioning.
              When Knowledge and Experience Do Not Help: A Study of Nonfatal Drug Overdoses        
    image With recent increases in overdose deaths in Australia, there is renewed interest in understanding the factors that contribute to overdose. We examine the experiences of persons who report a nonfatal drug overdose. Fifty people who inject drugs (PWID) and who had accidently overdosed in the past 12 months were recruited and interviewed at 1 of 4 Needle and Syringe Program sites during September and October 2013. Participants were typically male, middle-aged, with long injecting histories. Half of the participants reported mainly injecting pharmaceutical opioids. Most overdoses occurred at home with others present. An ambulance was called for only 38% of cases and 26% were admitted to a hospital emergency department. Police were seldom involved, and there were no complaints about the involvement of police at the time of the overdose. Participants commonly had a history of overdosing, and most were on prescription medications for physical and/or mental health problems. Poly drug use was common for those reporting an accidental overdose. Benzodiazepines (eg, Xanax or Valium) were implicated in just over half of the overdoses. Most of those reporting a recent overdose also report a past history of previous overdoses. Most of those reporting a previous overdose continue to use substances in ways they are aware contribute to the risk of an overdose.
              New footage of truck driving into crowd in Nice        
    New video has emerged that shows the seconds before a truck drove into a crowd in Nice, France.
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              Chief Communications and Marketing Officer – Austin, TX        

    SAFE who WE are We’re The SAFE Alliance, a merger of Austin Children’s Shelter and SafePlace. We’re a registered, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, spanning two amazing campuses on several acres in beautiful Austin, Texas. We’re a diverse, passionate group of more than 350 staff with a vision of a just and safe community, free from violence …

    The post Chief Communications and Marketing Officer – Austin, TX appeared first on Texas Council on Family Violence.


              Behavioral and Educational Support Specialist – Austin, TX        

    SAFE who WE are We’re The SAFE Alliance, a merger of Austin Children’s Shelter and SafePlace. We’re a registered, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, spanning two beautiful campuses on several acres in beautiful Austin, Texas. We’re a diverse, passionate group of more than 335 staff with a vision of a just and safe community, free from violence …

    The post Behavioral and Educational Support Specialist – Austin, TX appeared first on Texas Council on Family Violence.


              REVISION: Ownership Structure, Voting and Risk        
    We analyze the determinants of a firm's ownership structure when decisions over risk are taken by majority vote of risk-averse shareholders. We show that when a fraction of small, diversified shareholders abstains from voting, mid-sized blockholders may emerge to mitigate the conflict of interests between one large shareholder, who prefers less risky investments, and these small, non-voting shareholders. The paper offers a novel explanation for the puzzling observation that many firms have multiple blockholders. The paper develops numerous empirical implications, for example on the link between ownership structure and risk choices and on the relative size of blocks.
              Retroescavadeira cai, e caminhão tomba na BR-277; duas pessoas ficam feridas        
    G1 PARANA
    Um caminhão carregado com uma retroescavadeira perdeu o freio, causando um acidente na BR-277 em Morretes, no litoral do Paraná, na noite de segunda-feira (7), de acordo com a Polícia Rodoviária Federal (PRF).
    Conforme a PRF, a máquina caiu sobre a pista, e o caminhão tombou. Uma pessoa ficou gravemente ferida. Outra teve ferimentos leves.
    As duas vítimas ficaram presas nas ferragens por quase duas horas, segundo a PRF, até serem socorridas e levadas ao Hospital Regional de Paranaguá, também no litoral.
    A rodovia chegou a ficar parcialmente bloqueada, mas, de acordo com a PRF não houve congestionamento no local. O acidente aconteceu no km 42 da BR-277.
    Retroescavadeira caiu do caminhão, que tombou na pista (Foto: Divulgação/PRF)Retroescavadeira caiu do caminhão, que tombou na pista (Foto: Divulgação/PRF)
    Retroescavadeira caiu do caminhão, que tombou na pista (Foto: Divulgação/PRF)FONTE - G1 PARANA

              #152 Medications and Your Trip to Ireland – Audio        

    Whether it’s prescriptions or over-the-counter, you’ll need to know how to pack them, what you can bring, where you can get more, and what to do if you need an emergency refill.

    The post #152 Medications and Your Trip to Ireland – Audio appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.


              Holiday gift ideas for that hard-to-shop-for driver        





    With the holidays upon us, lights fill the streets in familiar ways, and songs that both the young and old know are joyfully recited. However, new stresses arise with the overwhelming task of buying gifts for family and friends. "Do you have a list?" and "What do you want?" are common questions this time of year, and while it never gets easier, help is on the way…depending on the type of person you're shopping for.

    People drive cars…that's pretty obvious. You can be an enthusiast who takes the ultimate pride in their vehicle, a novice who's either just beginning to drive or knows very little about cars, or everything in-between. Luckily, there's always going to be something every type of driver will need for their automobile - and what better time than now to get it for them!

    While buying someone a car isn't typically in the cards, there are thousands of car gifts out there, and here are just a few, both necessary and fun, that might turn your shopping season into an enjoyable one.

    Portable Jump Starter
    You've got that roadside assistance service, but not everyone does. One of the worst feelings is to be stuck somewhere because of a dead battery, so a portable jump starter is the perfect gift for all types of car owners. A portable jump starter packs a lot of power, and weighs 10 lb. (or less), so it fits nicely in the trunk for those 'imperfect' moments.

    Portable Inflator
    Like a dead battery, having a flat or under-inflated tire is no fun, and can unfortunately happen at any time - especially when driving. Having a portable inflator handy can be a life-saver, and it's as easy as plugging it right into your power outlet, and letting it go. Most have emergency lights to warn oncoming traffic, as well as a flashlight and gauge to make sure you see what you're doing and how full the tire is.

    First Aid Road Kit
    It's those items you think you'd never need, however at the most inopportune time, you'll be thankful you had. A First Aid Road Kit is a must-have, and is typically equipped with everything from band-aids to gauze to alcohol pads.

    Heated Ice Scraper
    Whether you have a $10,000 car or a $80,000 SUV, there will be at least a handful of times this winter where you'll need to scrape the snow and ice off your windshield. To make it easier on yourself, get a handy heated ice scraper. It's safe on the glass, and is easy to use - just plug it in and get that car drivable in half the time.

    Whistle Key Finder
    Know someone who constantly loses their keys? Get the Whistle Key Finder, where the simplest tune will track down those pesky car-starters. Before purchasing, however, make sure the recipient can, in-fact, whistle.

    Travel Coffee Mug
    Chances are, everyone has a travel coffee mug. Chances are, people use them on a daily basis, and need to replace them every year or so. The fun part about it is that there are thousands of different sizes and designs, so if that special someone loves frogs or leopard print, you can find one that will mean a lot more because it's not only coming from you, but because it's more personal.

    Bluetooth Car Kit
    For those with older cars, they most likely than not, don't have a Bluetooth HandsFree system. With safety being so important throughout the year, and especially in the winter, keeping all eyes on the road and hands on the wheel should be a top priority. So instead of having them fumble for the phone every time you call, give a Bluetooth Car Kit, which is easy to use and install, and will make driving and talking a much more enjoyable experience.

    GPS
    Those who have it might take it for granted, but a GPS system is great not only for finding your way around unfamiliar areas, but can also help you avoid those heavy-traffic areas on the way to work. They come in all different screen sizes and have different features for all types of drivers, so do your homework before purchasing.

    While there are many other gifts out there to give, we hope this at least helped give you an idea of what to give to that 'tough-to-shop-for' friend or relative. For quality parts and accessories, visit your local Acura dealer at Muller Acura of Merrillville. If you're in the market for a new or pre-owned vehicle, stop by and view our wide selection of luxury cars and SUVs.

              Bees in the baobab        

    The Bedik people came to south-east Senegal from Mali in the thirteenth century. They now number around 8,000 people, living in and around seven villages in the hills of this remote corner of Senegal. I came to spend a few days in the ‘capital’ of the Bedik country, the village of Iwol.

    Bees are an important part of the history of Iwol. When Alpha Yahya attacked them from his base in Guinea to convert them to Islam, they fled into the surrounding hills, hiding in the caves. But realising that they could not defeat Yahya and his army, they offered their 12 fittest young men as a sacrifice to the village’s guardian spirit so that the village could be saved. The spirit accepted this offering and sent a swarm of bees to attack Yahya’s soldiers. The stings were so bad that they all fell down dead on the spot (only Yahya himself survived), and the Bedik got their village back.

    At one side of the village is an old, gnarled baobab tree, some 23m in circumference. This sprouted, many centuries ago, over the burial place of some members of the Camara family – which somehow makes it sacred. As the bees now nest in it I suppose it is doubly sacred.

    A nice by-product of this is the honey, which the Bedik add to palm wine to make a delicious mead drink.

    Whilst many of the Bedik are now Catholic, they are at the same time still animist – having decided, apparently, to maintain this alongside their Catholicism so as not to lose their traditions. An important part of those traditions is the annual initiation ceremony by which the boys of this and nearby villages come of age. Whilst the whole initiation takes some five months, much of it taking place out in the sacred forest, it begins with a public ceremony in the village and it was this I had come to see.

    It starts with the presentation by each boy of a cockerel to the village spirit. The cockerel is slaughtered, cut open, and the colour of the inside of its testicles checked – a healthy white and the boy may be initiated, but if this is black then further consultations with the spirits are required. In the worst case it may be decided that it would be bad luck for the boy to be initiated and he has to come back again the next year. Thankfully this possibly traumatic experience (for the boy) is rare, and this year all 18 boys were able to continue.

    The cockerel is plucked and cooked over the coals, then skewered with a big stick that is placed in the roof of the initiate’s home, to mark his location. Then the masks appear from the hills – men from the village in a mask costume made from raffia and leaves – carrying big sticks and hunting for the boys. They find the huts with the chickens and try to take the boys, but the villagers are prepared and protect the boys whilst fighting back against the masks with their own big sticks. It is all quite chaotic and it seems some people do end up with some big bruises, but everyone involved sported big grins – it is obviously an event that the villagers really enjoy!

    Over the following few days one can hear occasional drumming and shrieking coming from a specially built little hut in the middle of the village, and the boys emerge from time to time to parade around. Their appearance is suggestive of girls at this point, with an elaborate hairdo and earrings, and they stamp their feet rhythmically as they move, so a bunch of iron hooks dangling on their backs jangle loudly. I didn’t get the whole of the story behind these parades, but the boys move as if exhausted, and have one or two villagers who support each of them – although occasionally the boys throw off that support and try to make a run for the church at the top of one hill, from where the girls are watching the ceremony. They are always caught and pulled back before they get there, however.

    This goes on for some four days but everyone told me I should stay as the ceremony ends with a massive celebratory dance which the whole village attends in their best attire. This dance was supposed to start Tuesday afternoon and go on all day Wednesday, but on Tuesday nothing happened (my guide told me it was because the women had work to do, both the regular work such as the long walk to the well to collect water but also the preparation of food to give to those organising the initiation). On Wednesday the atmosphere was a little different, and there was plenty of millet beer being drunk all around. So much millet beer though that the final dance never happened. I was disappointed, but had to remind myself that it was a part of the village life, and that it was this real village life (rather than dances put on for tourists) that I had come to see. Perhaps if they were better at organising things they would not still be living in a picturesque village without a water supply, holding traditional animist ceremonies, and the women would no longer be wearing porcupine quills through their noses.
              Fermentation Fun with Friends        
    A Portrait of the Author as a Lacto-Fermentation Instructor
    On Thursday, October 18th, I had the privilege of teaching a lovely group of people about lacto-fermentation. The space we used was The Red River General Store at 5700 Henderson Highway - for my friends in the local Jewish community, that's the old Stern store. I was stunned to discover how many people were sentimentally attached to that place!

    First of all, many thanks to my friend Rosalie, who brought her iPad and took pictures for me. Here is a picture of me behind the counter, posing with a jar of lacto-fermented pearl onions I brought along to demonstrate the kind of things we can make.

    Gorgeous winter cabbage
    This is one of the gorgeous winter cabbages our gracious hostess Monique provided for us to use. They were so beautiful, some people were munching on them as they went along.

    We started with a brief overview of lactic acid fermentation (in which cells convert glucose into lactic acid and energy - it's the same process that happens in your muscles when you run fast, causing "the burn" - although if you are a scientist you may prefer to call it anaerobic glycolysis). It's a traditional method of food preservation all around the world, because the increased acidity of the food causes molds, botulism, etc. to be inhibited, making it very safe. The Lactobacillus bacteria responsible for this miracle are present everywhere, in the air, on the vegetables, on our hands, and most importantly, in our gut. Eating lacto-fermented food, whether vegetables or dairy, is a great way to heal our antibiotic-ravaged digestive systems.
    Participants
    We washed our hands and cut up that lovely cabbage. We added some good, real salt that had not had all its minerals stripped away, and also some caraway seeds and/or juniper berries for flavour. Then we squished that cabbage within an inch of its life - a source of great enjoyment for everyone, I think. Who says only kids can have fun squishing their food?

    The salt drew liquid out of the cabbage incredibly quickly, and we soon found ourselves with liberal quantities of brine in our bowls. We then filled little mason jars (yes, I know, they don't seal as well as one would like, but they are great for beginners). We were careful to cover the cabbage with a nice big leaf to keep it submerged in the brine, and weighted it down with little plastic bags filled with excess brine (again, yes, I know, plastic in our food is B.A.D. But I hope everyone found a better, more suitable weight when they got home).
    Chopped cabbage
    We finished the evening with a quick, funny video about fermentation and some great discussion. Monique spoiled us with yummy snacks, coffee and amazing herbal tea.

    I had an absolute blast and it looked like most people were having a good time. I'm hoping we can do this again - maybe we'll do a kombucha/water kefir/milk kefir session? I do need somebody to provide me with water kefir grains before I can do that ...

    Finished productThanks again to Monique, Rosalie and everyone who came out on a rainy, yucky October night to celebrate lacto-fermentation with me!







              We Look At New Campaign Money, New Ads And A New Poll        
    A new poll shows surprising leads for the incumbents in the U.S. House and governor's races, new campaign ads in multiple races emerge in the final weeks, and gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte sets a new record for personal campaign financing. Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson and Rob Saldin dig in to these issues and more in this episode of “Campaign Beat.”
              PINOY MAIDS MASS BREAKUP WITH BANGLA BOYFRIENDS AFTER S'PORE TERROR ARRESTS        

    by Wan Dan Liao, Straight Times

    SINGAPORE - After news broke that twenty-seven Banglas were arrested for terrorism related offences, scores of Pinoy maids gathered at Lucky Plaza for an emergency townhall meeting. It is unclear what exactly transpired during the meeting but ST sources revealed that the maids were debating a total boycott of Bangladeshi boyfriends in Singapore.

    At the scene, most of the maids were inconsolable and some went hysterical for fear that having a bangla boyfriend would get them deported back to the Philippines. One of the maids, Pinoi Bionkbangla kneeled down in the middle of the Orchard road walkway and cried loudly: "I promise I sms breakup with my Bangla boyfriend already. I am not related to that Bangla no more. Please gib me a chance, I no want go back Philippines."

    Another domestic helper Itchi Tuanini was more stoic and looked forward. "I love my bangla boyfriend, he make me happy every weekend, but since my fellow maids say we must breakup or lose our jobs, I follow their idea. So sad I cannot see my hunny anymore. Maybe time to find China or Indian boyfriend."

    At around 7pm, spokesperson for the Pinoy Maid Association Singapore (PMAS) told ST that almost 800 pinoy maids have pledged to break up with their Bangla boyfriends with immediate effect. They believe it is in their best interest to disassociate themselves with Bangladeshi workers to safeguard their employment status in Singapore and the security of Singapore. The remaining 10000 maids with bangla bfs will review their decision at a later date.

    When interviewed, Mdm Kia Zheng Hu, an employer of a Filipino domestic worker shared: "I completely support my maid's decision to break up with her bangla boyfriend. This is in Singapore's national security! I will give her a $20 bonus for this very wise decision."

    Disclaimer: This piece was written by satirist Wan Dan Liao for the Straights Times. You must absolutely believe what you read.

    Editor's Note: 

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              FAMOUS STATIONMASTER CAT PASSES AWAY, ENSHRINED AS GODDESS        

    Tama the stationmaster was a well known sight to visitors at the Kishi railway station in Western Japan. Hired in 2007, she was appointed as stationmaster in 2007 and received her very own stationmaster's uniform - a cap and a jacket. Sitting quietly at the gates to Kishi railway station, she would greet and see off passengers to the station diligently everyday like most stationmasters would.

    But Tama was no ordinary stationmaster - she was a cat. Her "service" to Kishi railway station soon became world famous.

    Legend has it that Tama drew in enough curious tourists and passengers to the station that her employer went from near-bankrupt to profitable. Tourism flourished and even the local economy in Tama's town felt the effects of her popularity.

    On 22nd June last Sunday, Tama passed away in hospital of heart failure. After her death, Tama's employers held a short Shinto-style funeral at the station where she served, where Shinto priests elevated Tama to a "goddess".

    Wakayama Electric Railway President Mitsunobu Kojima thanked the cat for her "service", and said Tama would be enshrined at a nearby cat shrine next month.

    “Tama-chan really emerged like a savior, a goddess. It was truly my honor to have been able to work with her,” Kojima said in eulogy to the cat.

    During her tenure, Tama had contributed an estimated 1.1 billion yen ($8.9 million) to the local economy.

    Kojima said that when he visited Tama at an animal hospital the day before she died, the cat woke up and reached out to him with her paws, as if asking for a hug, and looked straight into his eyes. He said he told Tama to get well so they can celebrate the cat’s upcoming 10th anniversary as a stationmaster, and said the cat responded with a “meow.”

    Tama had climbed the corporate ladder from stationmaster to “ultra-stationmaster” and vice president of the company before receiving the additional title Sunday of “honorable eternal stationmaster.”

    She will be succeeded by another calico cat, Nitama, now an apprentice stationmaster.

    Editor's Note: 

    Do you have a story to share? Please use our submission form or email us at editorial@allsingaporestuff.com.

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              Emergency Heart Valve Replacement Surgery Saves Triad Man’s Life        
     Jack Vynalek enjoys hiking. In fact, he and his wife, Pam, were hiking Pilot Mountain 10 days before his heart valve stopped pumping blood through his heart. The good news is he is still around to tell the story. “By the grace of God, it’s a miracle that I’m here, today,” said Vynalek. 
              Wake Forest Baptist’s AirCare Flight Team Brings Home the Gold Two Years in a Row        
    For the second straight year, four flight paramedics with AirCare Critical Care Transport Services at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have won a national competition of professional emergency medical services teams. Roger Horton, NREMT-P, Barry McMillian, NREMT-P, Robert Coleson, NREMT-P, and Justin Bowers, NREMT-P – all of whom are stationed at the AirCare base at the Elkin Municipal Airport in Surry County – placed first in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) 2017 Games Advanced Clinical Competition, held in Salt Lake City at the end of February. The competition attracted 24 teams from across the country and around the world.
              Wake Forest School of Medicine Offers Students First EMS Course in the State to Study Health Disparities        
      In an ongoing effort to better prepare medical students for a career in emergency medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is offering an emergency medical services elective course for fourth year students. The School of Medicine is the first medical school in North Carolina and one of only a few nationwide to offer such a program.  
              Sci Fi Mosquito- Found Object Robot- Junk Art Assemblage- Sculpture by butcherooney        

    350.00 USD

    A sci-fi mosquito but this one does not carry the Zika virus so no worries! He has emerged from a motor from an adding machine for its torso, his "stinger" or suction tube is a knitting needle, wings are from a decorative found object, and he is mounted on some cool things I found at a local junk yard. This guy stands 9-1/2" tall, 5" wide at the wings, and 7-1/4" long.


              Guide for Picking The Best Android Phone for You        
    Sony Xperia X10 vs Nexus One vs Motorola Droid vs Acer Liquid vs Archos


    Xperia X10


    Nexus One


    Motorola Droid


    Acer Liquid



    (Updated: 21st Jan 2010) The Android handset landscape has changed drastically over the past year, from a literal handful of options to – the fingers on both your hands, the toes on both your feet and all the mistresses Tiger Woods has had in the past 24 hours (OK, maybe 4 hours). You get the point though, there are quite a few options and through the course of 2010 these options will only increase.


    The only other mainstream handset smartphone option that rivals the Android handset options available in 2010 will be the Windows mobile platform – and we're all rushing for it – not!


    So what are the handsets to consider in 2010? The ones currently released on the market that we will look at are the Acer Liquid and Motorola Droid and an additional three to be released early 2010, the Sony Xperia X10, Google Nexus One (Passion, HTC Bravo) and Archos Phone Tablet – though we only have a handful of details on the phone.



    Archos Phone


    We will look at hardware and software sub-categories, and compare the phones based based on the information we have.


    HARDWARE


    Processor


    The Nexus One and Sony Xperia X10 have the snappier Qualcomm Snapdragon 1Ghz processor onboard. The Acer Liquid has a downclocked version of the Snapdragon running at 728Mhz – perhaps to conserve battery. This would probably put the Acer Liquids performance more on par with the Motorola Droids. The Archos Phone promises to be a really fast phone with an upgraded ARM Cortex processor running at 1Ghz and also with improved GPU over Droid and iPhone.


    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD 8250, 1.0 GHz

    Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 550 Mhz

    Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD 8250, 1.0 GHz

    Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD 8250, 768 MHz

    ARM Cortex 1Ghz


    Graphics


    The Snapdragon's Adreno 200 Graphics core is phenomenal on the triangle render benchmark, coming in with a score of approximately 22 million triangles per/sec compared to approximately 7 million triangles/sec on the Motorola's SGX530. This is an important element for 3D graphics. Interestingly, the iPhone 3GS has a similar CPU to Motorola Droid but an upgraded faster SGX535 GPU which is capable of 28 million triangles/sec and 400 M Pixels/sec. Archos may get better SGX GPU.


    Xperia X-10 Graphics Demo


    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Adreno 200 Graphics Core with OpenGLES 2.0

    PowerVR SGX530 Graphics Core with OpenGLES 2.0

    Adreno 200 Graphics Core with OpenGLES 2.0

    Adreno 200 Graphics Core with OpenGLES 2.0

    PowerVR SGX540?

    22 M Triangles/sec

    7 M Triangles/sec

    22 M Triangles/sec

    22 M Triangles/sec

    35 M Triangles/sec

    133 M Pixels/sec

    250 M Pixels/sec

    133 M Pixels/sec

    133 M Pixels/sec

    1000 M Pixels/sec

    HD Decode (720p)

    HD Decode (720p)

    HD Decode (720p)

    HD Decode (720p)



    3-D Graphics Benchmark









    Motorola Droid 20.7 FPS (Android 2.0).

    Nexus One 27.6 FPS. (Android 2.1)

    Acer Liquid 34 FPS. (Android 1.6)

    Xperia X10 34FPS+ est. (Android 1.6)



    Note: All phones tested running WVGA resolution 480 x 800 or 480 X 854. Different versions of Android will be a factor e.g. Android 2.0 + reproduces 16 million colors vs 56K for 1.6. Older phones such as G1, iPhone 3GS may score 25-30 FPS but they use lower 480 X 320 resolution.



    Memory/Storage


    The Nexus One comes in with an impeccable 512MB of RAM. This provides an element of future proofing for the hardware and puts it in a league of its own. The Xperia X10 comes with 1GB of ROM and 384 MB of RAM. The 1GB means you'll be able to have twice as many apps on your phone until Google lets you save on your removable memory. The Acer Liquid and Droid are more or less the same.




    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    RAM

    512 MB

    256 MB

    384 MB

    256 MB


    Flash

    512 MB

    512 MB

    1024 MB

    512 MB



    Display


    The Nexus One uses an AMOLED screen which provides crispy images and more saturated colors than a TFT-LCD. It's also more energy efficient. Xperia X10 packs a 4.0 inch TFT screen with 854 x 480 resolution. Expect similar picture quality to the Motorola Droid for the Sony Ericson phone. The Archos Phone promises to deliver an interesting experience that could potentially make it the King of Androids.



    Spot the difference: Top TFT-LCD screen and bottom OLED



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    800 x 480 px, 3.7 in (94 mm), WVGA,

    AMOLED

    854 x 480 px, 3.7 in (94 mm), WVGA,

    TFT-LCD

    854 x 480 px, 4.0 in (102 mm), WVGA,

    TFT-LCD

    800 x 480 px, 3.5 in (89 mm), WVGA,

    TFT-LCD

    854x 480px, 4.3 in (109mm), WVGA, AMOLED



    Display Input


    All standard stuff here. All are pretty much Capacitative with multi-Touch depending on the continent you buy your phone from.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Capacitative, Multi-Touch

    Capacitative, Multi-Touch

    Capacitative, Multi-Touch

    Capacitative, Multi-Touch

    Capacitative, Multi-Touch



    Battery


    The Xperia X10 has the largest battery – and might I add likely the best quality battery from the lot. It's the same battery used in the Xperia X1 and it performed admirable. Talk time for the Nexus One is very good and we expect the Xperia X10 to match this or be marginally better. Of concern is Nexus Ones 3G stand-by time of 250 hours. It's worse than the other phones but not bad at a little over 10 days! Updated 21st Jan 2010 - confirmed Xperia battery times. Xperia more or less performs at the same level as the other Android phones, delivering 5 hours talk time.


    Sony 1500 mAh Battery




    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    mAh

    1400 Li-Po

    1400 Li-Po

    1500 Li-Po

    1350 Li-Po


    Talk/Standby 3G

    hrs/hrs

    7/250

    5/380

    5/300

    5/400




    Communication


    The phones are all capable of 3.5G (HSDPA 7.2 Mbit/s) data transfer. The Motorola Droid and Sony Xperia X10 can give you a little bit extra supporting 10.2 Mbit/s data transfer. Obviously the network must exist to support these speeds. Motorola is the only one with Class 12 EDGE, but this is not too important in this day and age of 3G.




    Nexus One, Bravo

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    HSDPA (Mbit/s)

    7.2 (1700 band)

    10.2

    10.2

    7.2


    HSUPA

    2.0 - 5.76

    2.0-5.76

    2.0-5.76

    2.0-5.76


    GSM

    (850, 900,1800,1900)

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    EDGE

    Class 10

    Class 12

    Class 10

    Class 10


    UMTS band 1/4/8

    (2100/AWS/900)

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    GPS

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Network

    3-3.5G

    3-3.5G

    3-3.5G

    3-3.5G




    Connectivity:Bluetooth/Wifi


    Nexus One is the only Android phone that currently offers 802.11n connectivity. In fact, I can't think of any other phone out there that also has 802.11n. This might be the Google Talk phone we all thought was heading our way after all! All phones have either bluetooth 2.0 or 2.1. These will essentially be the same as far as data transfer (3 Mbit/s) is concerned. Version 2.1 offers better power efficiency though and a few other enhancements.


    Nexus One - Broadcom 802.11n



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Bluetooth

    2.1 + EDR

    2.1 + EDR

    2.1 + EDR

    2.0 + EDR

    Y

    802.11 b

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Y

    802.11 g

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    802.11 n

    Y

    N

    N

    N

    Y


    Ports/Connectors/Sensors


    The 2GB shipped micro-SD card with the Acer Liquid is unrealistic by todays standards. The Motorola Droid offers the best deal with a 16GB micro-SD. The Sony Xperia X10 is shipped with an 8GB micro-SD card, but remember the Xperia X10 also has that slightly bigger 1GB flash memory on-board as well for and impressive total of 9GB expandable to a total of 33GB. Google decided to save on costs by only offering a 4GB micro-SD card with the Nexus One, but if the idea is to compete against the iPhone then 8GB should be the minimum. Clearly the Motorola is on the right track with 16GB shipped, and you can't ignore the impressive 1GB ROM on the Xperia X10.


    SanDisk working on 128GB Micro-SD




    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Sim Card

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    3.5 mm jack

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Micro USB

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Shipped Micro SD/Supported (GB)

    4/32

    Class 2

    16/32

    Class 6

    8/32

    Unknown

    2/32

    Class 2


    Unknown

    Light Sensor

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Proximity Sensor

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Compass

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Accelerometer

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Cell/Wifi Positioning

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y



    Case Material


    The Motorola metal case is the sturdiest. Build quality for the Nexus One and Xperia X10 is very good. The Xperia X10 has a refelective plastic whilst the Nexus one is more industrial with teflon and metal on the bottom. Acer Liquid has average build quality, but that was always the intention with the Liquid in order to keep manufacturing costs low.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Rubber/Plastic

    Metal

    Plastic

    Plastic



    Keyboard


    If you want a physical keyboard then the Droid is your only choice in the list. The keys on the Droid keyboard are basically flush so you don't get the comfortable key separation feel on a Blackberry keyboard. The others (Droid as well) have virtual keyboards which work in portrait or landscape mode.



    Droid Slide-out keyboard



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Virtual

    Physical

    Virtual

    Virtual

    Virtual


    Camera


    The Xperia X10 is one of the best camera phones. Sony used it's camera know how for their new smartphone lineup and it will be hard to match-up against Sony unless the other guys partner up with someone like Canon. The X10 comes with an 8.1 mp camera with X 16 digital zoom. The software has also been changed from standard Android to include typical camera options. Also included are a four face detection feature that recognizes faces in a photo and appropriately tags/files the photo. Motorola Droid comes in with a 5 mp camera with X4 digital zoom compared to the 5mp and x2 digital zoom on the Nexus One.



    Xperia X10 sample photo

    ***Additional Photos***



    Motorola Droid sample photo



    Nexus One sample photo



    Acer Liquid sample photo




    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Megapixel

    5

    5

    8.1

    5


    Zoom

    X 2

    X 4

    x16

    1


    Flash

    Y

    Y (dual)

    Y

    Y



    Video


    Video wise, the Nexus One, Motorola Droid and Xperia will perform roughly the same.














    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Video Res.

    720x480

    720x480

    800x480

    320x240


    Flash

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N




    Size/Height/Weight



    Lightest and thinest is the Nexus one. Motorola is weighed down by the metal used. They all are roughly the same size as the iPhone 3Gs which comes in at 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3 mm and weighs 135g.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Height (mm)

    119

    115.8

    119

    115


    Width (mm)

    59.8

    60

    63

    62.5


    Depth (mm)

    11.5

    13.7

    13

    12.5

    10

    Weight (g)

    130

    169

    135

    135




    SOFTWARE


    OS Level


    Nexus One has the most current OS level at 2.1. Motorola Droid is expected to upgrade soon as well as the Acer Liquid. The heavily customized Xperia X10 will be more of a challenge to upgrade to 2.1 because of the heavy customization.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    2.1

    2

    1.6

    1.6




    Customization


    Xperia X10 shines as far as demonstrating how customizable Android really is. The other 3 phones have very few changes to the standard Android OS.


    Sony TimeScape/MediaScape



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    None

    None

    Rachael UI

    Acer UI 3.0



    Application Market


    We are likely to see more App market emerge. Sony currently leads the way and Motorola and HTC (Nexus One) will follow suit as well.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Android Market

    Android Market

    PlayNow, Android Market

    Android Market



    Media


    Mediascape is an ambitious effort to add decent media functionality to Android. Sony succeeds and also introduces a fun way to organize your media. Acer has Spinlet which is not as complex as Mediascape.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Android

    Android

    MediaScape

    Spinlet



    Social Networking


    Sony again leds the customization way with Timescape. This is another good job by Sony to add extra functionality to Android. Timescape helps manage your contacts better and brings social networking and contacts onto one application.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Android

    Android

    TimeScape

    Android





              Sally Morgan’s fans react to her apologising for her husband        
    It’s not been a good week for Sally Morgan, otherwise known as Britain’s best loved psychic. A video has emerged where skeptic campaigner Mark Tilbrook is confronted by Sally’s husband and tour manager John Morgan, and later her son-in-law and tour manager Daren. If you are going to watch the video below then brace yourself, it’s pretty nasty ...
              If you're not feeling well but think things can't get any worse - you forgot to factor in the Australian Minister for Health's cost cutting ways        

    The Age, 4 August 2017:

    State and territory health ministers say hospital treatments and services will suffer under a Commonwealth proposal to withhold budgeted funds and reduce spending.

    Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has drafted a directive to the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority to review its public hospital funding method.

    It would result in retrospective funds not being paid and reduced services in future, Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick said in a joint statement issued after the COAG Health Council meeting in Brisbane on Friday.

    Mr Hunt drew condemnation from Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT when he confirmed he would uphold the direction.

    "States and Territories have already funded services and boosted frontline staffing taking into consideration Commonwealth funding," the statement said.


    Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA), media release, 17 July 2017:
    IHPA releases Consultation Paper on Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2018-19
    The Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) today released its Consultation Paper on the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2018-19. The consultation is open to the public until Thursday 17 August 2017.
    The Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2018-19 outlines the major policy decisions which will underpin the National Efficient Price and National Efficient Cost Determinations for 2018-19.
    This year IHPA will seek feedback regarding work that has been progressed on pricing and funding for safety and quality as well as canvassing options to enable new and innovative approaches to value based or preventative health care models.
    The Chair of the Pricing Authority, Shane Solomon said, “IHPA has continued to work closely with the jurisdictions, clinicians and other stakeholders to make significant progress on the implementation of national reforms to incorporate safety and quality into the pricing and funding of public hospitals in Australia.
    “A range of factors must now be considered including risk adjustment and how the approach can be embedded as part of broader system change.
    “The success of a safety and quality pricing and funding mechanism is dependent on national, state, and local health systems working together to support the implementation of a model and ensure that it is working to improve safety and quality across all services,” he said.
    “The Consultation Paper is an important opportunity for stakeholders to engage with IHPA on the approach to pricing and funding for safety and quality as well as the emergence of new innovative pricing models to help improve public hospital services across Australia. We strongly encourage all interested parties to provide feedback as part of this process,” concluded Mr Solomon.
    The Consultation Paper on the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2018-19 is available on the IHPA website.
    Submissions should be emailed as an accessible Word document to submissions.ihpa@ihpa.gov.au or mailed to PO Box 483, Darlinghurst NSW 1300 by 5pm on Thursday 17 August 2017.
    – ENDS –

    Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA), Ministerial Direction, 16 February 2017:
    Ministerial Direction
    On 16 February 2017 IHPA received a Ministerial Direction from the Hon. Greg Hunt under section 226(1) of the National Health Reform Act 2011.
    The Direction requires that IHPA undertake implementation of agreed recommendations of the COAG Health Council on pricing for safety and quality to give effect to:
    1. nil funding for a public hospital episode including a sentinel event which occurs on or after 1 July 2017, applying to all relevant episodes of care (being admitted and other episodes) in hospitals where the services are funded on an activity basis and hospitals where services are block funded; and
    2. an appropriate reduced funding level for all hospital acquired complications, in accordance with Option 3 of the draft Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2017-18, as existing on 30 November 2016, to reflect the additional cost of a hospital admission with a hospital acquired complication, to be applied across all public hospitals; and
    3. undertake further public consultation to inform a future pricing and funding approach in relation to avoidable hospital readmissions, based on a set of definitions to be developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
    IHPA will incorporate the requirements under this Direction into the final Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospitals 2017-18 due to be published on the IHPA website in early March 2017.
    IHPA will undertake further consultation as part of its annual consultation process on the draft Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospitals 2018-19 due for publication in June 2017 and provide a report back to the COAG Health Council by 30 November 2017.
    Note: This follows on from a Direction received on 29 August 2016 which required IHPA to provide advice to the COAG Health Council on options for pricing for safety and quality.
    More information
    For any questions, please contact enquiries.ihpa@ihpa.gov.au
    Links

              Surprise, surprise - those Murray-Darling Basin water raiders have slithered over the horizon once more and are eyeing off the Clarence Valley river system yet again        

    With so little fanfare that much of  Northern Rivers region missed it, the NSW Berejiklian Government reopened the March 2016 inquiry into augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales on 28 May 2017, with Terms of Reference published in July 2017.

    This Upper House inquiry is chaired by Robert Brown MLC, from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and its reporting date has been extended to 30 March 2018. 

    Current committee membership is as follows:

    Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Chair
    Mick Veitch MLC, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Chair
    Jeremy Buckingham MLC, The Greens
    Rick Colless MLC, The Nationals
    Scot MacDonald MLC, Liberal Party
    Greg Pearce MLC, Liberal Party
    Penny Sharpe MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Daniel Mookhey MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Paul Green MLC, Christian Democratic Party
    * Jeremy Buckingham MLC (Greens)is substituting for Dr Mehreen Faruqui MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Matthew Mason-Cox MLC (Liberal)  is substituting for Hon Greg Pearce MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Paul Green MLC and Penny Sharpe MLC will be participating for the duration of the inquiry.

    A poorly advertised public hearing scheduled for 1 August 2017 in Lismore (with details sent to media on 31 July 2017) excluded Northern Rivers residents from giving evidence unless they represented a small number of invited groups.

    It appears the committee had also determined that Clarence Valley Council was to be asked its view on diverting Clarence River system flood water.

    Given flood water is already diverted to the purpose built Shannon Creek side dam to ensure a sustainable water supply for the est. 125,103 residents (Census 2016) currently living in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour local government areas, there are no prizes for guessing where any additional water diversion would be allocated.

    Yes, that paragon of sustainable water mismanagement - the cluster of councils, industries, irrigators and water traders within the Murray-Darling Basin.

    It will come as no surprise that Griffith Council is still pursuing a Clarence River dam and divert scheme. North Coast Voices reported on its obsession in August 2016.

    This is what the Griffith City Council Deputy mayor, Dino Zappacosta of Zappacosta Estate Wines in Hanwood, told the inquiry on 1 March 2017:

    The issue that my committee, Build More Dams, has looked at is that we need more water because farmers are crying out for more water. We need new water. By "new water", I mean water that is not currently being used at all. We looked at various options, including the Clarence Valley area, where millions and millions of megalitres of water flow out into the sea for what seems to be no real benefit at all for the community of the Clarence region, other than for the natural farming land and the fishery industry there.

    It soon became apparent that, appart from the notion of free water at the expense of Clarence Valley communities’ social, cultural, aesthetic, environmental and economic values, Griffith Council knew little about how this dam and divert scheme would work.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: You have been talking about the Clarence River diversion scheme. Is it correct that that is essentially restricted to the Mann River subcatchment?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: To the best of my knowledge, it covers most of the tributaries—for example, the Boyd River, the Mann River, the Nymboida River and the Timbarra River. They are highlighted on map 2, which was provided to the Committee.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: I am a little confused about the way the map reads. It appears as though the water is coming out of the Mann River catchment, which is a subcatchment of the Clarence. The divisions appear to be above the confluence of the Nymboida and the Mann. You recommend a 23 per cent Clarence River diversion, but the question is: What percentage of is that of the Mann River flow and what environmental impact will that have on the Mann River below where it is diverted? We should keep in mind the history of the Snowy River and what has happened there over the past 50 years. Does anybody have any thoughts about that? Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I will have to take on notice exactly how much comes from the Mann River itself.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: What is the reduction in flow from the sub-catchment rivers below where the water is diverted from them? What environmental impacts will that have on those rivers?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I appreciate the question. I think what you are asking is something we should dig into a bit deeper; there should be a study of it, preferably a feasibility study.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: There needs to be a lot of work done on this, as you would appreciate.

    While the Director of Utilities at Griffith City Council stated:

    As an engineer I see the great benefits of supporting a scheme such as the Clarence River diversion scheme, not only from a water augmentation point of view. My directorate covers water supply as well as the flooding impacts caused by rainfall run-off. The Clarence River diversion scheme is not only a supply scheme but a flood mitigation solution, as the general manager mentioned. In my research I have referred to the document entitled Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 produced by BMT WBM consultants. They happen to be the same consultants who undertook our flood study and provided our flood mitigation options. They work across the State and they are well versed in flooding, from the Northern Rivers down to our area.

    The Clarence River catchment on the far North Coast of New South Wales is one of the largest catchments on the east coast of Australia. It is approximately 20,000 square kilometres. It is above the towns of Grafton, Maclean and Yamba, and it is home to more than 20,000 people. The lower Clarence Valley has a long history of flooding, since settlement in about 1850. Bear with me as I read out the dates of the flooding events. I was just going to say a number, but it has more of an impact when you follow the years of flooding that the area has endured due to the large catchment that sits above it. Floods were recorded in 1863 and 1864. There was a record flood in 1890 in which two people lost their lives and there was extensive damage to the rural area. Further floods occurred in 1921 and 1928. Since 1945 the incidence of major flooding has been much higher, with floods occurring in 1945, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2001, 2009 and 2013.

    There is a regular occurrence of extreme flooding in the Northern Rivers catchment, below the Clarence River. Section 4.4 of the Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 acknowledges that "the river flows originating from upstream of Grafton dominate flooding in the Lower Clarence Valley". Diversion of the Clarence River flows for that area towards the west, and the 25 per cent or 23.8 per cent that will be captured, diverted and controlled, will be of great benefit to flood mitigation in the Northern Rivers area. The document further says that it will maximise the investment from the Government not only to help solve water augmentation issues but to reduce the financial and human impacts flooding has in the northern coastal areas. The Clarence River diversion scheme was documented in 1981 by David Coffey and he estimated costings back then. We have done a projection to a present-day cost of approximately $10 billion. There are statistics on the map that I have provided to the Committee.

    The Snowy Mountains scheme would have cost $10 billion in present-day money, so there are similar costings in the schemes. The 1,100 gigalitres diverted per annum from the Clarence River has generated $1.82 billion in agriculture. The scheme means that 23.8 per cent of the flows that would be heading down to flood people can be diverted. When you equate the $550 million a year in flood damages with the cost of a diversion scheme, 1,100 gigalitres can generate $1.8 billion a year in agriculture growth. The additional water means that 118,000 hectares of viable open country can be farmed. The offset of diversion and flood protection is that it is beneficial to all. That is where I will leave it.

    The public hearing in Griffith was reported thus by The Area News on 2 March 2017:

    HIGH-profile Griffith water users and city officials enjoyed a rare opportunity to sit face-to-face with Members of the NSW Upper House on Wednesday to discuss their handling of water….

    The Honourable Rick Colless, The Honourable Paul Green, The Honourable Matthew Mason-Cox and The Honourable Penelope Sharpe were on hand to hear the concerns of the community….

    Along with wanting to fix the water sharing plans, the other hot topic was the Clarence River Scheme, initially conceptualised by David Coffey in the 1970s.

    The plan outlined diverting river flows westward from high rainfall catchments in the Northern Rivers.

    According to Griffith City Council, the scheme will benefit lands south of the Dumaresq River while also providing flows into the Murray River, reducing the reliance for Murray-Darling Basin allocations to fill the original allocation to the basin. 

    “We have looked at various options and we look at the Clarence Valley area where there are millions of millions of megalitres of water flowing out into the sea for what seems to be for no real benefit,” Councilor Dino Zappacosta said.

    Griffith City Council general manager, Brett Stonestreet said it’s time the scheme is looked at again.

    “It provides new water to give this state another shot in the arm,” he said.

    “It also looks at potentially reducing flooding impact of the coastal communities adjacent to the Clarence by 25 per cent.

    “There is a huge amount of money that can be generated and inland communities rediscovered and regenerated through new water.”

    Mayor Dal Broi was pleased with how the inquiry was conducted and the feedback from the Senators.

    “Some of the questions that were asked by the panel members, we know now what they are thinking,” he said.

    “They were very receptive to the concept of new water so whether it's the diversion of the Clarence or lifting the wall on Burrinjuck Dam ... they were very receptive to that because we tried to make the point that the limited resources at the moment.”

    “We need new water if our regions are to grow and have a better long-term sustainable allocation.”

    Not content with bringing down the largest river system in Australia in order to line their own pockets, these wanabee water raiders just keep on coming after what they see as more 'free' water for the rorting.

    Clarence Valley Council gave evidence at the re-opened inquiry on 1 August and the only question of interest to the water raiders came after a few minutes of questioning at Page 26 of the Lismore public hearing transcript:

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Thank you for your submission. In your submission you talk about this idea of diversion of the Clarence River to west of the Great Dividing Range. Could you give us a bit of a background on that proposal and what your council thinks about it?

    Mr ANDERSON: I will start but Mr Mashiah might finish. Our council has resolved six times that they do not support the diversion of the Clarence, and each time that has been unanimous in regard to council's position. That is based on the fact that damage to the environment and the ecological systems that work within the Clarence River emerge from there. 

    The CHAIR [Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party]: You probably cannot answer this, but that is an all-encompassing position of council?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes.

    The CHAIR : I wonder what the council's position would be on the diversion of floodwaters only.

    Mr ANDERSON: Again, Mr Chair, like you said, I cannot answer that question.

    The CHAIR: What I am asking you is that I guess the council's resolutions were not burrowed down to that extent to be able to answer that question. We might ask Clarence council for an opinion on that.

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Are those decisions supported by an independent side to pick advice? How were they derived?

    Mr MASHIAH: There was a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry into the Clarence in I think it was 1999, from memory, and part of the outcome of that commission inquiry was the importance of regular flood events in terms of the fishing industry and also the cane industry. I believe you have representatives from the cane industry here with us later.

    The CHAIR: This afternoon, yes.

    Mr MASHIAH: And also in terms of fisheries, one of the aspects that Clarence Valley Council has been active in for the past 20 years is trying to manage the floodplain to address issues such as acid runoff.

    The CHAIR: Solid sulfate soils.

    Mr MASHIAH: As the sulfate soils and particular acids run off. So we have done things like open floodgates and—

    The CHAIR: And you should be congratulated.

    Mr MASHIAH: Thank you, Mr Chair, for that. I will pass that on to the relevant staff who have been coordinating that. The regular flushing of those areas, which are fish breeding grounds, by floodwaters is very important. So if floods were diverted there are significant concerns from the fishing industry about the ongoing viability of the industry because the grounds where fish breed, according to the studies that have been undertaken, would then be adversely impacted. So that is one of the reasons that the fishing industry has very strongly opposed, through our estuary management committee in particular and through the estuary management plan, any diversion of water and we have tried to ensure that the fish breeding grounds are protected.

    The CHAIR: I just made the observation that most of those fish breeding grounds would not be the same areas of land that are subject to high residential development or business or commercial or other aspects. In other words, you are not talking about the township of Grafton itself, you are talking river peripheries, flooded-out areas, for breeding concerns?

    Mr MASHIAH: The challenge is that the urban footprint on the lower Clarence floodplain is probably about 1 to 2 per cent of the total surface area and all the urban areas are surrounded by rural areas. So it is very hard to work out how you manage that 1 or 2 per cent without adversely impacting the other 98 per cent, or vice versa, how do you manage the 98 per cent without adversely impacting 1 or 2 per cent of urban area?

    The CHAIR: The 2013 flood, you have described it as a major flood, correct?

    Mr MASHIAH: It was the flood of record at Grafton.

    The CHAIR: I am wondering how the 2013 flood would have enhanced the fishery on the Clarence?

    Mr MASHIAH: The main issue with the 2013 flood—I guess with any flood in the Clarence the flood behaviour in the upper river is a lot different to the flood behaviour in the lower river because of the tidal influences in particular and also how wet the floodplain is already. The 2013 event was actually three floods.

    The CHAIR: And they rolled up on each other?

    Mr MASHIAH: Yes, within a three-week period—quite distinct flood events.

    The CHAIR: So it was a prolonged flood.

    Mr MASHIAH: It was a prolonged flood and that meant there was significant inundation of back swamp areas, and I understand that there were some areas that effectively were areas that were flushed that had not been flushed in floods probably since 2001, so it is probably 12 years. So from an ecological perspective, talking to our environmental scientists, I understand that it was actually quite beneficial because the bigger floods only get into those areas once every 10 to 20 years.

    The CHAIR: Were there any concurrent blackwater events for the fishery?

    Mr MASHIAH: Not that I can recall, and I think that is a result of the management measures that have been undertaken on the floodplain because most of the farmers now operate the floodgates and so only shut the floodgates when there is actually a flood coming and open them fairly soon afterwards.

    The CHAIR: So it is their responsibility to operate their own floodgates, is it?

    Mr MASHIAH: That has been passed on to them, yes.

    The CHAIR: Do you have any oversight of that?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes, we do, and we work with those groups and undertake training et cetera . It is a two-way street of communication: they tell us what they need and, vice versa, we provide training associated with that and inductions and operate that through a number of committees et cetera as well.

    Evidence was also given by the NSW Professional Fishermen’s Association (commencing Page 38) the NSW Canegrowers Association (commencing Page 45) and the Clarence Environment Centre (commencing Page 56).


    One has to wonder why the committee members of this reformed Water Augmentation Inquiry didn't seek the views of those holding Native Title (See Yaegl People #1 Yaegl People #2) over the Clarence River from the waters approximately half-way between Ulmarra and Brushgrove right down to the eastern extremities of the northern and southern breakwater walls at the mouth of the river.

    After all they are significant stakeholders in any discussion of water policy and water management in the Clarence River catchment area.

    The other matter of note, arising from North Coast Voices somewhat belated discovery that the water raiders were back on the scene, is the suggestion that not all Clarence Valley councillors had forewarning that council staff were appearing before the inquiry on 1 August.

    If true this would be a disturbing indication that council administration has retained some of the bad habits it acquired under the former general manager who was handed his hat in March this year.


              Memories of a Maryland forest        

    The forest patch in my Maryland backyard has always been a part of my life and is filled with fond memories. This patch is one of the last remaining outposts of nature amongst the rapid development in Frederick’s outskirts, cut off from its brethren.

    Yet this small patch has been thriving for decades.

    The forest undergoes wondrous transformations with the changing of the seasons. During spring every plant ardently strives to be the largest; every centimeter of their delicate foliage strains for the Sun. When summer arrives, schools of industrious minnows snatch insects off the surface of the gurgling creek. As summer wanes into autumn, the trees explode into a whirlwind of brilliant, dazzling color. Winter ushers in the end of the year as the slumbering forest is gently bundled into a fluffy white blanket. Birds of all species emerge from the trees and crowd my mother’s bird-feeders in a flock of color: cardinal red, junco gray, and sparrow brown..

    But this patch is a mere scrap compared to the magnificent National Forests, particularly the untouched Roadless areas. According to the Forest Service, the 58.5 million acres of roadless forests are indispensible to wildlife as they tend to have older and rarer trees than non-protected areas. These forests provide irreplaceable ecological services to both people and wildlife. They keep our waterways clean, provide unparalleled recreation, filter our air, preserve our soil, sequester carbon, and more.

    “Although roadless areas represent less than 1 percent of the American landmass, they serve as a reservoir of rare and vanishing values,” according to former Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck. “They provide clean drinking water, habitat for fish and wildlife, abundant hunting and fishing, recreation opportunities, reference areas for research, and barriers against noxious and invasive species.” Roadless areas are also highly productive economically. In 1984 alone, roadless areas in Colorado provided over $60 million in recreation revenue to the state.

    My great hope is that the U.S. continues to expand the roadless areas in light of their significant ecological and economic benefits. As a child, I took many creek walks with my mother and sister in our backyard forest. I can only imagine the splendor of hiking in a national forest.

    Learn more: See a chronology of the Roadless rule
     

    Photo: Fallen tree gives snow a place to sit in Maryland.

    Photo courtesy of: Sarah Peters

    Fallen tree gives snow a place to sit


              Android Windows XP 2013        
    Android Windows XP 2013
    Android Windows XP 2013 | 697.28 MB

    Special thanks to the designer version Engineer / Omar Rajab

    Version Features:
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    9 - has been added to Android Cleaner file is a file from the artificial device to accelerate by 90% file deletes unused cookies  and other harmful files, which cause slow device
    10 - to inquire about the version or technical support please

    Download Link
              Norton PartitionMagic 8.05 Build 1371 (Boot CD) + Serial        
    Norton PartitionMagic 8.05
    Norton PartitionMagic 8.05 Build 1371 (Boot CD) + Serial | 276.14 MB

    Norton PartitionMagic lets you easily organize your hard drive by creating, resizing, copying, and merging disk partitions. Separate your operating system, applications, documents, music, photos, games, and backup files to reduce the risk of data loss if your system crashes. You can use Norton PartitionMagic 8.0 to run multiple operating systems safely.

    Features :
    1. Divides a single hard drive into two or more partitions
    2. Lets you safely run multiple operating systems on the same PC
    3. BootMagic makes it easy to switch between different operating systems
    4. Allows you to copy, move, resize, split, or merge partitions as needed - without losing any data
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              Softchoice Cares & Tokens 4 Change: Enabling urban independence together        
    Six years ago, my friend Scott volunteered at Youth Without Shelter (YWS), an emergency shelter in the Greater Toronto Area. He noticed there was a focus on education and development to enable independence, but realized the cost of transportation stood as a major barrier. Without money, how could residents go to interviews, school, or even […]
          

              Make the Most of Summer with Employee Volunteer Days        
    Giving back to the communities we serve is engrained in the Softchoice culture. Beyond the activities of the company’s employee-led philanthropic initiative, Softchoice Cares, all Softchoice employees are offered two paid volunteer days a year to give back to their communities in support of any cause near and dear to their hearts.  In true Softchoice fashion, two common elements often emerge. […]
          

              Mergers Fail when Cultures Clash        
    William Wallace, a 13th century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence yelled, “Freedom!” just before he was beheaded for treason. The attempted “merger” of Scotland with England was less than successful because the cultural differences were large enough to cause a war. I have been involved in acquiring four […]
          

              Competitive Dialogue - A practical guide - by Michael Burnett        

    Competitive Dialogue has been hailed by some as the new solution for public authorities wanting to award contracts for complex infrastructure projects, while others see problems in applying it effectively to obtain value for money for the public sector. Objective advice for decision makers on when and how to use Competitive Dialogue is hard to find. This book - written for politicians, public officials and their professional advisers - is an independent guide for those facing these challenges at all levels in Europe.

    After an explanation and analysis of legal framework for Competitive Dialogue, the book sets out how Competitive Dialogue emerged, how it compares to the Negotiated Procedure, the legal challenges in applying Competitive Dialogue, when it is appropriate to use it and where it is being used in the EU. Successive chapters then analyse the key issues arising in the implementation of Competitive Dialogue at each stage of the process and how they should be addressed. Finally, the book draws together the key conclusions for the future use of Competitive Dialogue and the actions needed to implement them at EU and national level. Taken together, they add up to an agenda for the future effective use of Competitive Dialogue.


    Book Review
    What people have said about “Competitive Dialogue – A practical guide”

    “Burnett and Oder...have produced an essential practitioner’s guide into the complex area of concluding public contracts” Professor Christopher Bovis (in European PPP Law Review)
    Read the review here.


    “Has added to our understanding of the Competitive Dialogue process. If it is read and its guidance is followed there could be significant improvements in public sector procurement outcomes” John Tizard (in Government Opportunities)
    Read the review here.

    “This book is a unique addition to the existing literature on Competitive Dialogue...Burnett and Oder set out their findings in a clearly written, illustrative and practically relevant manner” Sylvia de Mars (in Public Procurement Law Review)
    Read the review here.


              Taking the Pulse of European Public Administrations - key Findings of the European Public Sector Award 2009 - by Marga Pröhl, Alexander Heichlinger, Peter Ehn, Melanie Pissarius, Michael Burnett, Anita Rode, Tony Bass, Herma Kuperus        

    During the last 15-20 years the public sector has faced a number of challenges connected to changing socio-economic, environmental and political factors, including among others:

    • Demographic changes such as an ageing population, a diminishing working population and increased immigration;
    • Environmental changes, such as climate changes and shortage of space;
    • Urbanisation including pressure on metropolitan areas, commuting and citizens’ demand for housing;
    • Globalisation, internationalisation and Europeanisation;
    • Diminishing “social capital”, including participation in elections and mistrust towards public administration and public services;
    • The emergence of complex social issues, arising from social fragmentation, not susceptible to single agency action and/or one dimensional responses;
    • Less willingness to increase resources to the public sector, despite higher demands and expectations of citizens for better services.

    These issues are strong drivers for change in Europe’s public administrations and generally cut across traditional boundaries of government departments, and in some cases of the responsibilities of different levels of government; this presents challenges to public administrations in the way they deliver their public services. Consequently, a number of profound reforms have taken place and continue to do so at all levels of public administration. The (ultimate) purpose of the different reforms is to make governments more responsive to society’s changing needs and demands.


              Edifier P281 Sweatproof Sports Earphones Unboxing Review @EdifierNAmerica        
    Edifier.com Waterproof and Dustproof These earphones are incased in a protected shell that keeps out the elements. The P281 fully submerged into 3-feet (1 meter) of water can reemerge after...
              QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE - OS REIS DO STONER ROCK        
    Nº72 MOTO REPORT Dezembro 2007
    Stoner Rock é um subgénero do rock, caracterizado por possuir riffs de guitarra graves e lentos, com grande influência do psicadelismo lisérgico dos anos 70. Os QOTSA serão talvez a banda mais emblemática deste movimento do rock alternativo. Os seus temas são intensos e vigorosos, tal como o som de uns drag pipes num motor V2.

    Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, John Garcia e Alfredo Hernandez formaram uma banda californiana chamada Kyuss que, após ter sido apadrinhada pelo produtor Chris Goss, saiu do completo anonimato para se tornar numa referência da cena heavy-metal americana, chegando inclusivamente a figurar como o principal ícone do stoner rock à época. No entanto, apesar da popularidade, os Kyuss dissolvem-se em 1995. O líder e guitarrista, Josh Homme, muda-se nessa altura para Seattle para ingressar na formação dos Screaming Trees, como segundo guitarrista, durante a digressão do álbum Dust de 1996. A banda participa na última edição do festival Lollapalooza, tocando ao lado de bandas como os Sound-garden e os Metallica. A partir de 1997, com as actividades dos Screaming Trees tornam-se cada vez mais esparsas, Josh encontra o tempo suficiente para trabalhar num projecto próprio. Foi o início da série “Desert Sessions”, iniciativa que lhe permitiu expressar-se com maior liberdade, no mais puro experimentalismo. “Desert Sessions” foram sessões experimentais de estúdio, criadas por Josh Homme em parceria com músicos de diversas bandas de rock americanas, com a intenção de compor novas músicas, porém sem fins comerciais. As gravações iniciaram-se em Agosto de 1997 e foram feitas num estúdio que ficou conhecido como Rancho De La Luna, na cidade de Joshua Tree, localizada num deserto no interior do estado da Califórnia (terra natal de Josh Homme). Foram seis álbuns extraídos das “Desert Sessions” que, mesmo sem objectivos comerciais, acabaram por ser lançados mais tarde pela editora independente Man’s Ruin Records. Na sequência das “Desert Sessions”, Josh resolve formar outra banda, os QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. Com a ajuda do baterista Alfredo Hernandez, Josh retorna à região do deserto californiano para trabalhar o som da nova banda. Embora o som dos QOTSA, à primeira impressão, relembre os Kyuss, fica bem claro que se trata de uma proposta diferente, com uma sonoridade mais eclética. O primeiro disco (homónimo) foi financiado pela própria banda e acabou por ser lançado em Setembro de 1998 pela editora Loosegroove, de Stone Gossard, guitarrista dos Pearl Jam. O álbum teve uma repercussão impressionante e ajudou a fixar o nome dos QOTSA como uma das grandes promessas emergentes do rock alternativo. A banda esteve em digressão durante quase dois anos, tocando com grandes nomes como Bad Religion, Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole e Ween. Em Junho de 2000, os Screaming Trees terminam, deixando Josh exclusivamente dedicado aos QOTSA que, de volta a Palm Desert, trabalhou no seu segundo álbum que contaria com várias participações especiais. No mesmo mês foi lançado “Rated R”, desta vez pela Interscope. O disco que possui, entre outras, as participações de Mark Lanegan e Barrett Martin dos Screaming Trees, Rob Halford dos Judas Priest e Pete Stahl dos Scream e Goatsnake, é recebido com entusiasmo pela crítica, mas não atinge grandes cifras de vendas, apesar de conter canções candidatas a hit, tal como “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” e “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret”. Para o segundo disco, os QOTSA contaram com a participação de dois bateristas: Gene Troutman e Nicky Lucero. Finalizado este trabalho, os Queens of the Stone Age embarcaram em mais uma exaustiva tournée de dois anos pelo mundo fora, incluindo uma memorável apresentação no Rock in Rio em Janeiro de 2001, onde Nick Oliveri se apresentaria em palco completamente nu. No ano seguinte a banda já estava em estúdio a preparar o seu terceiro disco. Mark Lanegan integra definitivamente o colectivo como segundo vocalista, enquanto que, na bateria, a banda contaria com a participação do ilustre Dave Grohl, ex-Nirvana e líder dos Foo Fighters. Com o disco pronto, os QOTSA, encetam mais uma tour com Lanegan e Grohl. “Songs for the Deaf” é lançado em Agosto e o sucesso entre público e crítica é quase unânime. Em 2004, a banda passa por uma fase mais complicada. Depois de Dave Grohl retornar aos Foo Fighters (lançando logo após um disco que possui influências bem expressivas do seu período na banda de Josh Homme), Joey Castillo assume as baquetas do grupo. Contudo, haveriam mais baixas: Josh resolve demitir Nick Oliveri, alegando estar cansado do comportamento completamente irresponsável do baixista. Mark Lanegan aproveita e também abandona a banda. É lançado o EP “Stone Age Complications”, numa tentativa de abafar a turbulência, enquanto Josh Homme tenta reorganizar a banda para gravar o 4º álbum. É então lançado “Lullabies to Paralyze” e com ele surge uma proposta diferente dos QOTSA. Embora muita da ferocidade da banda tenha sido suprimida neste trabalho, é trazida à tona toda a capacidade dos restantes membros comporem melodias mais densas, sombrias e perturbadoramente pesadas. Com o line-up refeito, Josh Homme, Alain Johannes (multi-instrumentista que já tinha colaborado nas Desert Sessions com Chris Cornell), Troy Van Leeuwen (guitarrista, ex-A Perfect Circle), Natasha Shneider e Joey Castillo saem em digressão internacional. Momentos marcantes dessa época são: a gravação do MTV Akustik Session em Berlim, a reunião com John Garcia (exvocalista dos Kyuss) para um concerto, cantando canções da antiga banda, e a gravação do primeiro CD/DVD ao vivo “Over The Years And Through The Woods” em Londres. Devido ao adiamento de dois concertos nesta cidade, os músicos decidiram presentear o público com um EP contendo a faixa inédita “The Fun Machine Took A Shit & Died”, supostamente “perdida” durante as gravações de “Lullabies to Paralyze”. De regresso aos EUA, Josh Homme e Brody Dalle (vocalista e guitarrista dos The Distillers) tiveram uma filha e, na altura, pouco se sabia sobre o que a banda faria a seguir. No entanto, no segundo semestre de 2006, os QOTSA entram em estúdio para gravar seu 5º álbum, novamente com a produção de Chris Goss. O álbum, intitulado “Era Vulgaris”, é finalizado em Março de 2007. Rumores indicariam que Alain e Natasha haviam decidido voltar as suas atenções para a sua banda original, Eleven. Mais uma vez ocorreram boatos de que Oliveri voltaria ao grupo, muito em função da interrupção abrupta dos concertos da sua actual banda, Mondo Generator. Entretanto, os zunzuns foram desmentidos após a contratação de Michael Shuman, dos Wires On Fire. O novo álbum tem colaborações de Jesse Hughes (dos Eagles Of Death Metal), Trent Reznor (dos Nine Inch Nails) e Julian Casablancas (dos Strokes). Billy Gibbons (dos ZZ Top) e Mark Lanegan asseguram também a sua participação como convidados.

    Formação actual:
    Josh Homme – Voz, guitarra e baixo
    Troy Van Leeuwen - guitarra, baixo e
    Lap Steel
    Joey Castillo – bateria
    Michael Shuman – baixo
    Dean Fertita – teclas

    Discografia
    (1998)
    Queens of the
    Stone Age
    (2005)
    Over The Years
    And Through The
    Woods
    (2005)
    Lullabies to
    Paralyze
    (2002)
    Songs for the Deaf
    (2000)
    Rated R
    (2007)
    Era Vulgaris
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para MOTO REPORT, uma publicação da JPJ EDITORA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 253 215 466.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

              MERCADO MOTOCICLÍSTICO        
    Nº262 ANECRA Maio 2007
    Nº67 MOTO REPORT Julho 2007 (com autorização)
    O mercado dos motociclos, quando encarado sobre uma perspectiva global, surge como um aliado natural de toda a indústria automóvel e não como um concorrente desse mesmo sector. Veja-se o caso dos fabricantes que constroem, simultaneamente, carros e motos. O exemplo é auto-explicativo. Do ponto de vista do consumidor, estes dois produtos finais (o automóvel e o motociclo) são, na maioria das vezes, bens complementares. Hoje em dia, as necessidades profissionais, familiares e recreativas podem, perfeitamente, apelar à coexistência pacífica destes dois tipos de veículos. O que nos confirma de sobremaneira a conclusão antecipada de início. Perante esta constatação de facto, optámos por efectuar uma análise ao mercado desde 1999 (o ano do “boom” nas vendas) até ao ano transacto. Convidamo-lo, então, a tomar o pulso a este ramo de actividade, que já conheceu melhores dias, mas que, com uma aposta consciente de todos os seus intervenientes (directos e indirectos), poderá recuperar o ritmo outrora alcançado. Assim todos saibam investir, promover, gerir, legislar, fiscalizar e apoiar.

    Situação Económica Nacional
    A Economia Internacional lida, actualmente, com a escalada do preço do petróleo nos mercados internacionais. Uma situação que vem sendo recorrente desde a década passada. Em rigor, questões por resolver, como sejam a do Iraque ou a da ameaça – algo dissimulada, porém omnipresente – do Irão ou, até mesmo, da Coreia, continuam a ter repercussões nefastas na economia global. Os barões da indústria de extracção e transformação do crude encontram nestes pretextos - mais até do que na própria escassez do produto - excelentes formas de exercer especulação, com consequências a nível mundial e que todos nós percepcionamos diariamente. Por outro lado, a concorrência de economias em crescimento, como sejam a chinesa ou a dos países do leste europeu, faz-se sentir veementemente. Estes países são – devido a conjunturas várias – altamente competitivos e, nos últimos anos, têm penetrado com eficácia e também com eficiência nos domínios da cultura, da sociedade e, principalmente, da economia europeia. A União Europeia (UE) apresenta uma subida constante do PIB, com excepção feita a 2005, e esta tendência de crescimento cimentou-se num efectivo aumento do consumo privado, coadjuvado pela redução drástica da despesa pública. A taxa de inflação ficou-se pelos 2,2%, em 2005, e, no mesmo ano, o desemprego atingiu os 8,6%. Por contraponto, os EUA apresentam 3,4% e 5,1%, respectivamente. O PIB americano manifesta tendência análoga à europeia, ocorrendo, inclusivamente, o mesmo fenómeno de redução da despesa pública e reforço do consumo privado. A Economia Nacional tem demonstrado grande dificuldade em resistir à negativa conjuntura internacional. Por ser pequena e aberta, torna-se naturalmente permeável ao contexto externo. Deste modo, o PIB, no período em análise, apresentou um crescimento global de cerca de 20%. Contudo, o investimento exibiu um decréscimo significativo (a rondar os 5%). O consumo, esse sim, aumentou avidamente, sendo que a taxa de crescimento se cifrou nos 25% para o sector privado e nos 30% para o sector público. Perante estes indicadores, é possível inferir que o recurso à banca foi o agente eleito para acelerar o consumo, já que o investimento decresceu e o PIB não acompanhou a evolução da despesa. Portugal continua também com as importações a terem um peso superior ao das exportações, sendo que 2003 foi o ano onde a diferença mais se esbateu. Já o Investimento no Estrangeiro conheceu uma drástica diminuição (para menos de metade). Igual tendência para o desinvestimento tem acontecido em relação às decisões do estrangeiro em investir em Portugal. Todavia, a taxa de decréscimo ficou-se pelos 10% O saldo da Balança Corrente é negativo, com agravamento desde 2003. A Dívida Pública apresenta um crescimento sustentado, a par da Taxa de Desemprego. E o mercado de trabalho é precisamente um reflexo de tudo o que para trás foi enunciado. Para clarificar este ponto, refira-se que o número de desempregados, em 2005, era o dobro do que havia em 2000. Evidentemente que este fenómeno, para além do flagelo social que dissemina, gera também uma sobrecarga ao nível da despesa pública por via do dispêndio de verbas por parte da Segurança Social. O que, em abono da verdade, contribui negativamente para cumprir o Pacto de Estabilidade e Crescimento. Já a Inflação apresenta oscilações entre o crescimento e o seu inverso. Até 2002 a tendência foi para o aumento do indicador, e daí para cá veio paulatinamente a reduzir, estimando-se que para 2006 o valor a apurar comute a orientação. Conclui-se, portanto, que as reformas levadas a cabo pelo Governo com o intuito de conter os custos, e que passam por uma racionalização da despesa pública, levarão o seu tempo a produzir os efeitos esperados. Até lá, Portugal é um país deprimido, envolto num pessimismo generalizado, e profundamente descrente da tão desejada retoma.

    Evolução das Vendas de MOTOCICLOS em Portugal
    O ano de 1999 permanece, até à data, como um marco muito positivo em termos de vendas de motos. Desde então, o número de matrículas novas tem vindo a decrescer. Esta tendência manteve-se até 2003, sendo que, no ano seguinte, ocorreu uma tímida recuperação. Os anos de 2006 e 2005 foram sinónimo de altos e baixos, respectivamente, sendo que, e em suma, os últimos três anos apresentam valores muito próximos. O mês de Janeiro de 2007 destaca-se o do seu homólogo do ano anterior, com vendas totais superiores em 50%. A KEEWAY é o construtor que mais cresceu. Analisando os recordistas de vendas em Portugal, constatamos que, de entre os 10 primeiros, quatro fabricantes são europeus, outros tantos são nipónicos (historicamente as marcas mais comercializadas), um é norte-americano e outro é coreano. Neste ponto, surge um dos sinais mais evidentes: o emergente mercado de exportações do eixo Coreia - China. De um ano para o outro, a KEEWAY passou de nove para 490 motos, e, só em Janeiro de 2007, vendeu quase 25% do volume atingido em 2006. Esta categoria está relacionada com as motos, ainda que tangencialmente. Vejamos o que nos diz o n.º4 do artigo 107º do Código da Estrada: «Quadriciclo é o veículo dotado de quatro rodas, classificando-se em: Ligeiro: veículo com velocidade máxima, em patamar e por construção, não superior a 45 km/h, cuja massa sem carga não exceda 350 Kg, excluída a massa das baterias no veículo eléctrico e com motor de cilindrada não superior a 50 cm3, no caso de motor de ignição comandada, ou cuja potência máxima não seja superior a 4 KW, no caso de outros motores de combustão interna ou de motor eléctrico; Pesado: veículo com motor de potência não superior a 15 KW e cuja massa sem carga, excluída a massa das baterias no caso de veículos eléctricos, não exceda 400 kg ou 550 kg, consoante se destine, respectivamente, ao transporte de passageiros ou de mercadorias.» Nesta classificação cabem os veículos de quatro rodas, que em tudo se assemelham a um automóvel, mas que podem ser conduzidos sem carta de condução – os “microcars” –, mas também os “moto4” que são parte integrante do catálogo de construtores de motos. Com esse fito, ao analisarmos a evolução de matrículas novas constatamos que a evolução é positiva até 2001, voltando-o novamente a ser depois de 2004. Aliás, note-se bem que de 2005 para 2006 o salto é de quase 36%. Indo de encontro ao detalhe dos registos, deparamo-nos com duas realidades que se aproximam. Se por um lado, os sete principais fornecedores de quadricilos são construtores de motos (logo são os “quads” a dominar esta categoria), quem, de facto, tem incrementado a taxa de crescimento das vendas é a indústria de quadriciclos “com capota”. O que desvirtua, em parte, este estudo, já que, em última instância, são viaturas com naturezas completamente distintas. Todavia, é claramente uma pista a ser seguida com toda a atenção.

    Distribuição do parque Segurado de MOTOCICLOS por Distritos
    Segundo os valores reportados pelas Seguradoras ao Instituto de Seguros de Portugal (Ministério das Finanças), esta contabilização manifesta tendência crescente, ainda que ligeira. Esta análise não manifesta, pois, correlação directa com as anteriormente apresentadas uma vez que:
    • Apenas são considerados os veículos com matrícula;
    • Apenas são considerados os veículos com seguro (código da empresa de seguro correcto);
    • Apenas são considerados os registos com data válida (AAAA-MM-DD);
    • Apenas são considerados os registos com data de início de seguro;
    • Nas circunstâncias em que existe mais do que um registo da mesma matrícula, apenas é considerado aquele cuja data de início é a mais recente (desde que inferior à data a que a informação se reporta);
    • Um registo apenas é considerado se a respectiva apólice se encontra em vigor na data a que diz respeito;
    • Todos os registos que se encontrem nas condições descritas, mas que não tenham devidamente preenchido o código de concelho e/ou o código de categoria. O ISP optou por considerá-los nas categorias “Desconhecido” e “Outros” respectivamente.

    Com a tabela seguinte podemos aquilatar a dispersão geográfica dos motociclos em Portugal. Há, logicamente, uma forte concentração junto dos grandes perímetros urbanos, sendo mais reduzida à medida que nos aproximamos de zonas eminentemente rurais. Porém, uma curiosidade: Faro é o distrito com mais motos por cada cem mil habitantes. O que lhe confere autoridade moral/nacional para realizar a maior concentração de motos da Europa. O distrito com menos motos per capita é Castelo Branco, logo seguido do Porto. Lisboa apresenta uma correspondência com a média verificada.

    Evolução do Mercado Europeu
    Na União Europeia (Europa dos 15), em sete anos, venderam-se perto de 8,5 milhões de motos, sendo que 2000 foi o melhor ano comercial. Em 2002, os valores bateram no fundo da tabela (tal como em Portugal), e daí para cá a evolução tem sido positiva. Ainda não estão disponíveis os dados 2006, mas crê-se que a tendência se terá mantido. Para a República Checa, Estónia e Lituânia, as taxas de crescimento são de três dígitos. Para os restantes países, os dados são esparsos e, por isso mesmo, inconclusivos. Refira-se, no entanto, que o primeiro deles aplica aos motociclos as menores cargas fiscais de toda a Europa, tendo inclusive, prémios de seguros com custos extremamente reduzidos (cerca de 10€). Não admira, pois, que se assista ao despontar da democratização deste produto naquele mercado. Em termos absolutos, a UE apresenta um conjunto de seis países que, por razões demográficas, mas também sócio-culturais, lideram o ranking de vendas de motociclos na região: Itália, Alemanha, França, Reino Unido, Espanha e Grécia. Excepção feita à Alemanha e à vizinha Espanha, todos os outros apresentaram evolução positiva entre o início e o fim do período em análise. Comparando a tendência da UE com Portugal, o auge das vendas ocorreu em 2000 (e não em 1999 como cá), tendo o volume global decrescido continuamente até 2002. A inversão de tendências acontece precisamente neste ponto. A partir de 2003, a UE inicia a recuperação e Portugal permanece em queda, abandonando a orientação do conjunto; circunstância que se deverá verificar até 2006 (apesar de, como já mencionado, os dados oficiais ainda não estarem disponíveis). A extinção da nossa indústria de motociclos, a própria mutação dos interesses pessoais dos consumidores, a falta de incentivos fiscais para aquisição e obtenção de licença de condução, e os sucessivos aumentos do IVA serão, genericamente, as razões que conduziram Portugal a este cenário marginal, quando comparado com o que acontece no restante continente europeu. Refira-se igualmente como causas as restrições legislativas, o desacompanhamento e despromoção do conceito e seus benefícios a nível institucional (poder político) e a insensibilidade das seguradoras, a par com as políticas comerciais brandas e pouco efectivas de fabricantes e importadores.

    Conclusão
    Perante a realidade em apreço, dois aspectos se nos afiguram evidentes: o sector está em crise e a China está a conquistar quota de mercado. A aposta chinesa não é na inovação nem na qualidade, mas, antes, na melhor relação qualidade/preço. Os seus produtos destinam-se ao segmento das motos de baixa cilindrada, onde a simplicidade mecânica e a estética parcimoniosa, aliadas a uma economia de escala com mão-de-obra barata, permitem reduzir drasticamente os custos de produção a favor de um preço final muito competitivo. Por outro lado, estes dados mostram-nos que no nosso país há uma vastíssima carteira de clientes interessada em motos com baixo custo de aquisição e manutenção. São as pessoas que necessitam de moto para, diariamente, se deslocarem dentro das cidades (onde o aumento da mobilidade e a poupança financeira são benefícios efectivos e imediatos). Ou que, a ser na província, as pessoas mais não precisam do que um veículo com motor até 250cc, para pequenos trajectos ao longo desse “Portugal Rural”. No fundo, esse é o nosso mercado tradicional.
    Sempre existiu, desde a época das fábricas de motorizadas no norte do país até aos nossos dias a adopção de medidas de incentivo – como aquela preconizada na directiva comunitária 125cc/Carta B, onde condutores de automóveis ligeiros estariam habilitados a conduzir motociclos até 125cc – poderiam deflagrar uma definitiva retoma do sector. Até porque, uma observação mais atenta do quotidiano revela-nos que não está a acontecer uma renovação da classe motociclista. Na prática, este grupo está, todos os anos, um ano mais velho. Não há uma nova geração a entrar no meio. Com a crise que se alastra no ramo, não são só os departamentos comerciais de revendedores e concessionários de motos que acabam por ser afectados. É-o toda uma indústria, desde os fabricantes de acessórios, vestuário e componentes mecânicos até aos serviços técnicos – quase sempre dependentes de um concessionário oficial ou revendedor. Quanto menor o número de unidades comercializadas, menor será o número de intervenções de reparação e manutenção a serem requisitadas. Pelo que, a não inversão da tendência de queda, irá deixar lentamente uma marca incómoda nos tecidos económico e social, pois não é só o plano macro-económico que perde o contributo deste sector, mas a própria micro-economia é posta à prova, seja através de mão-de-obra excedentária, ou de crédito malparado, ou até mesmo de processos de falência e contencioso. Sob um outro prisma, com a escalada do preço do petróleo, e com a necessidade de reduzir as emissões poluentes para a atmosfera, a utilização de motos como meio de transporte, sobretudo em centros urbanos, seria – à semelhança do que acontece pela Europa fora – uma opção natural com benefícios colectivos, longe de serem, de todo, despiciendos.
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para REVISTA ANECRA, uma publicação da ANECRA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 21 392 90 30.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

              El video y la nueva generación de podcasts        
    The Wall Street Journal publicó un artículo sobre cómo las nuevas estrategias de negocios y publicitarias pueden aprovechar la generación emergente de podcasts multimedia. El video ha renovado para siempre a los podcasts, impactando sensiblemente en el marketing online. Los podcasts -que en abril de 2006 ya habían superado a la cantidad de emisoras de …
              Apple ignoriert weiterhin SMS-Notfallsystem        

    Die European Emergency Number Association versucht seit mehreren Jahren mit Apple Kontakt aufzunehmen, um das SMS-Notfallsystem AML in iOS zu integrieren. Das System schickt bei einem Notruf den genauen Standort des Anrufers an die Notrufzentrale. Der Rettungsdienst kann so schneller am exakten Einsatzort sein. Bisher reagiert Apple aber nicht auf die Anfragen der Organisation.

    (Weiterlesen)
              Trump declares opioid crisis a ‘national emergency’        
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              Personal Record        
    As I have been devouring new blogs about marathon runners, a new lingo has emerged in my lexicon! (Can you tell I'm taking a language course?)

    One of them is PR, for Personal Record, usually in conjunction with super awesome running that you are proud of and display for everyone to see and admire. (I have to remind myself when I'm reading these blogs that yes, they are awesome, but no, I cannot do that [yet. yet? yet.] because I am just beginning.)

    However, today I sacked up and ran 3.1 miles (5k) on the treadmill in the gym, and I did that in 30 minutes, which totally makes that my PR for a 5k that is not a real race.

    Yay, me!

    Things to Remember for Future Use When Running:

    1. Download some new damn songs for your ipod so you aren't suddenly hearing a ballad when you want Shakira or Paramore or Avril Lavigne or someone that makes you want to run.

    2. Anyone can run a mile! ANYONE. Which means when you only have 1 mile left? You have no excuse not to finish. Even if you've already done 2 miles.

    3. Same with half a mile. If that Anybody can do it, I can too. And faster, even.

    4. Don't forget the towel, because man, I get sweaty. Ugh.

    5. I totally ran 5k in 30 minutes, and I am going to beat that time!


    Race is in T-minus 6 days. Eek!
              I, You, We Stir Fry!        

    Now that I had perused five different texts for at least 5 minutes each, I chose two to look at in more depth.

    The first one I investigated was Stir Fy Text. Because there were five different sections within this game. There was a lot to explore.

    The first, Log, was interesting because it had a strong connection to self. It starts with five different times. Under each time is a short description, five sentences each, about what is happening to the person. These short descriptions do not reveal big details, but instead are able in invoke emotion within the reader. The writer seems to be searching for something, possibly finds it, and loses. He seems to be in a perpetual state of waiting, no matter what is happening. Running my mouse over the text, some of the original writing is preserved, and new things are added. Each time, different words seem to convey the same emotions, despair and waiting.

    The second text, Spastext, starts with a description of writing. It does not matter who does the work, who gets credit for the work. It matters that extraordinary writing is done and made available to everyone. As I ran the mouse over the text and read other sections, it seemed that t