quinta-feira, outubro 26, 2006

Bankrupt !

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Next, Back, Thread Ahead: Two Views of Climate Change, Thread Back: Handbasket.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarFriday November 3 2006

All sorta reminds me of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe ... Milliways.

03/11/06, Ian Herbert & Colin Brown & Jonathan Brown, PM's vow to tackle global warming hit by plans to treble flights, (Archive).
30/10/06, Gerald Traufetter, The Climate Indulgence market, (Archive), Technorati Blogs.

Tuesday October 31 2006

31/10/06, Colin Brown & Rupert Cornwell, The day that changed the climate, (Archive).

Stern Review final report, you would think they could keep the techhies in line at least, technically this site shows all the signs of little boys playing ... the Report is cautiously optimistic, too optimistic for me.

Thursday October 26 2006

Canada reaping 8 times what the planet can support, no surprises.

Harmony or Horror? pick one ... and fairly soon.

The 'externalities' are starting to drive the show, leave the 13th Fairy off the dinner list at your peril.

WWF Living Planet Report 2006.

24/10, Tenille Bonoguore, Humans are ‘bankrupting' the environment, (Archive), Globe Forum.

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domingo, outubro 22, 2006

St. James United Church, Montréal

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Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarSt. James United Church, Montréal.
Arlen John Bonnar, Minister; Batia Bettman, witness; Jenny Cohen, soloist
Psalm 104,

I have been thinking for some time that I must speak better of the United Church. Each time I visit the blog of José Datrino I remember that I have not treated them with Gentileza. So today, possibly my third-last day in Canada for quite some time to come, I set out to find a church I hardly remembered on Ste. Catherine Street in Montréal and in the process ... changed my thinking.

I was there once more than 40 years ago with my aunt Esther to hear a musical presentation by an organist she knew. I remembered that the front of the church was hidden behind store-fronts ... Lo and behold! The store-fronts have been cleared away and I arrived just on time for the 11:00 service.

to be continued ...

Faith is necessary. If God does not exist then He must be invented.

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sexta-feira, outubro 20, 2006

Harold Scott MacDonald "Donald" Coxeter 1907-2003

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"The chief reason for studying regular polyhedra is still the same as in the time of the Pythagoreans, namely, that their symmetrical shapes appeal to one's artistic sense ... Such an escape from the turbulence of ordinary life will perhaps serve to keep us sane."
     Donald Coxeter, 1948, Regular Polytopes.


King of Infinite Space - Donald Coxeter, the Man Who Saved Geometry, by Siobhan Roberts, House of Anansi Press.
Siobhan Roberts' website.

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Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarIn Siobhan's book there is a photograph of 'Coxeter striking a cerebral pose at Cambridge', p. 69 - quite a handsome fellow; also one of Donald and Rien at their wedding, p. 114 - she was a beauty; sorry I have no way to post them here. To the right is Siobhan herself.

Introduction to Geometry, by H.S.M. Coxeter, John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd..

Back in the 1980's and 90's I was building all sorts of tetrahelix models; all possible spirals intersecting in a single tetrahedron and the like. Some of them were quite beautiful to me. My friend George and I developed a wireframe computer program to facilitate the investigation, now sadly lost. At one point I wrote him a letter wondering if the spiral vertices would ever repeat - and he answered with a reference to Introduction to Geometry. I can't remember the upshot anymore ... and the letter has been lost as well.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarBucky was going on about 'unzipping angles' and the like - I never really understood much of Buckminster Fuller and I was suspicious of his relationship with Kenneth Snelson and Tensegrity - it seemed to me that he took the idea from Snelson and didn't do much with it. I wish I had some pictures of those models - maybe I will build them again one of these days.

The geometry of innocent flesh on the bone
Causes Galileo's math book to get thrown
At Delilah who sits worthlessly alone
But the tears on her cheeks are from laughter

     Bob Dylan, from Tombstone Blues


What does innocent flesh on the bone look like I wonder? Is this it?
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(Jim Adams, Raymond Ellstad, Jerry Matchett, Yuri Bonder, Martin Kovalik, Adriano Batista).

What does innocent even mean? I only know what it is to my quite imperfect and febrile sensibility. Or am I just hung up on T&A? What is innocent and what is not? How do I know? Maybe it is some Alzheimer's precursor to be losing track of qualities; but it does remind me again of Steve Smith in Montreal in the mid-60's dying of cancer and writing (something like) this poem:

God's Kaliedescope

when my speck of green
first turned the brown of Job's dunghill
i looked up to curse
but then i saw
that in God's eye
all turns are just as beautiful


Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarI came across this later on and just wanted to remember it: 20/10/06, Sandra Martin: Lindalee Tracey, Filmmaker and Writer 1957-2006, (Archive), Bio at White Pine Pictures, Magnolia Movies.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarAnd this on Alanis Obomsawin: 21/10/06, Sarah Hampson, Love and genocide, (Archive), Wikipedia, Library and Archives Canada.

quinta-feira, outubro 19, 2006

two versions of Jonah and the whale

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Next, Back, Thread Ahead: None Yet, Thread Back: Hans Christian Andersen, The Snow Queen.
Also: Schumacher Thread: Lembranças.

In the sea, once upon a time, O my Best Beloved, there was a Whale, and he ate fishes.

Two stories with a lot of similarities: Jonah and the Whale in the Bible; and Rudyard Kipling's How The Whale Got His Throat.

Maybe I will map it all out thoroughly later, maybe not; for now, read both stories and see for yourself.

My mind never strays that far from the fundament-al. I will see about an ultrasound image, and some old-fart staring lasciviously at a bit of porn to complete the images for the KJV version.

Into what belly have we been swallowed lately I wonder? The belly of cost-justified economics? The belly of the Internet? The belly of a wholly objectified earth? Need to re-read E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful eh? Any whales in there? Can't remember ...

Jonah - King James Version of the Bible, (Back)

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Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows. Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.


The Bible story goes on for two more chapters, but this is the end of the whale-part, follow the link above to see the rest if you like

How The Whale Got His Throat, Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories, (Back)

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IN the sea, once upon a time, O my Best Beloved, there was a Whale, and he ate fishes. He ate the starfish and the garfish, and the crab and the dab, and the plaice and the dace, and the skate and his mate, and the mackereel and the pickereel, and the really truly twirly-whirly eel. All the fishes he could find in all the sea he ate with his mouth--so! Till at last there was only one small fish left in all the sea, and he was a small 'Stute Fish, and he swam a little behind the Whale's right ear, so as to be out of harm's way. Then the Whale stood up on his tail and said, 'I'm hungry.' And the small 'Stute Fish said in a small 'stute voice, 'Noble and generous Cetacean, have you ever tasted Man?'

'No,' said the Whale. 'What is it like?'

'Nice,' said the small 'Stute Fish. 'Nice but nubbly.'

'Then fetch me some,' said the Whale, and he made the sea froth up with his tail.

'One at a time is enough,' said the 'Stute Fish. 'If you swim to latitude Fifty North, longitude Forty West (that is magic), you will find, sitting on a raft, in the middle of the sea, with nothing on but a pair of blue canvas breeches, a pair of suspenders (you must not forget the suspenders, Best Beloved), and a jack-knife, one ship-wrecked Mariner, who, it is only fair to tell you, is a man of infinite-resource-and-sagacity.'

So the Whale swam and swam to latitude Fifty North, longitude Forty West, as fast as he could swim, and on a raft, in the middle of the sea, with nothing to wear except a pair of blue canvas breeches, a pair of suspenders (you must particularly remember the suspenders, Best Beloved), and a jack-knife, he found one single, solitary shipwrecked Mariner, trailing his toes in the water. (He had his mummy's leave to paddle, or else he would never have done it, because he was a man of infinite-resource-and-sagacity.)

Then the Whale opened his mouth back and back and back till it nearly touched his tail, and he swallowed the shipwrecked Mariner, and the raft he was sitting on, and his blue canvas breeches, and the suspenders (which you must not forget), and the jack-knife--He swallowed them all down into his warm, dark, inside cup-boards, and then he smacked his lips--so, and turned round three times on his tail.

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THIS is the picture of the Whale swallowing the Mariner with his infinite-resource-and-sagacity, and the raft and the jack-knife and his suspenders, which you must not forget. The buttony-things are the Mariner's suspenders, and you can see the knife close by them. He is sitting on the raft, but it has tilted up sideways, so you don't see much of it. The whity thing by the Mariner's left hand is a piece of wood that he was trying to row the raft with when the Whale came along. The piece of wood is called the jaws-of-a-gaff. The Mariner left it outside when he went in. The Whale's name was Smiler, and the Mariner was called Mr. Henry Albert Bivvens, A.B. The little 'Stute Fish is hiding under the Whale's tummy, or else I would have drawn him. The reason that the sea looks so ooshy-skooshy is because the Whale is sucking it all into his mouth so as to suck in Mr. Henry Albert Bivvens and the raft and the jack-knife and the suspenders. You must never forget the suspenders.

But as soon as the Mariner, who was a man of infinite-resource-and-sagacity, found himself truly inside the Whale's warm, dark, inside cup-boards, he stumped and he jumped and he thumped and he bumped, and he pranced and he danced, and he banged and he clanged, and he hit and he bit, and he leaped and he creeped, and he prowled and he howled, and he hopped and he dropped, and he cried and he sighed, and he crawled and he bawled, and he stepped and he lepped, and he danced hornpipes where he shouldn't, and the Whale felt most unhappy indeed. (Have you forgotten the suspenders?)

So he said to the 'Stute Fish, 'This man is very nubbly, and besides he is making me hiccough. What shall I do?'

'Tell him to come out,' said the 'Stute Fish.

So the Whale called down his own throat to the shipwrecked Mariner, 'Come out and behave yourself. I've got the hiccoughs.'

'Nay, nay!' said the Mariner. 'Not so, but far otherwise. Take me to my natal-shore and the white-cliffs-of-Albion, and I'll think about it.' And he began to dance more than ever.

'You had better take him home,' said the 'Stute Fish to the Whale. 'I ought to have warned you that he is a man of infinite-resource-and-sagacity.'

So the Whale swam and swam and swam, with both flippers and his tail, as hard as he could for the hiccoughs; and at last he saw the Mariner's natal-shore and the white-cliffs-of-Albion, and he rushed half-way up the beach, and opened his mouth wide and wide and wide, and said, 'Change here for Winchester, Ashuelot, Nashua, Keene, and stations on the _Fitch_burg Road;' and just as he said 'Fitch' the Mariner walked out of his mouth. But while the Whale had been swimming, the Mariner, who was indeed a person of infinite-resource-and-sagacity, had taken his jack-knife and cut up the raft into a little square grating all running criss-cross, and he had tied it firm with his suspenders (now, you know why you were not to forget the suspenders!), and he dragged that grating good and tight into the Whale's throat, and there it stuck! Then he recited the following Sloka, which, as you have not heard it, I will now proceed to relate--

By means of a grating
I have stopped your ating.

For the Mariner he was also an Hi-ber-ni-an. And he stepped out on the shingle, and went home to his mother, who had given him leave to trail his toes in the water; and he married and lived happily ever afterward. So did the Whale. But from that day on, the grating in his throat, which he could neither cough up nor swallow down, prevented him eating anything except very, very small fish; and that is the reason why whales nowadays never eat men or boys or little girls.

The small 'Stute Fish went and hid himself in the mud under the Door-sills of the Equator. He was afraid that the Whale might be angry with him.

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HERE is the Whale looking for the little 'Stute Fish, who is hiding under the Door-sills of the Equator. The little 'Stute Fish's name was Pingle. He is hiding among the roots of the big seaweed that grows in front of the Doors of the Equator. I have drawn the Doors of the Equator. They are shut. They are always kept shut, because a door aught always to be kept shut. The ropy-thing right across it is the Equator itself; and the things that look like rocks are the two giants Moar and Koar, that keep the Equator in order. They drew the shadow-pictures on the doors of the Equator, and they carved all those twisty fishes under the Doors. The beaky-fish are called beaked Dolphins, and the other fish with the queer heads are called Hammer-headed Sharks. The Whale never found the little 'Stute Fish till he got over his temper, and then they became good friends again.

The Sailor took the jack-knife home. He was wearing the blue canvas breeches when he walked out on the shingle. The suspenders were left behind, you see, to tie the grating with; and that is the end of that tale.

    WHEN the cabin port-holes are dark and green
    Because of the seas outside;
    When the ship goes wop (with a wiggle between)
    And the steward falls into the soup-tureen,
    And the trunks begin to slide;
    When Nursey lies on the floor in a heap,
    And Mummy tells you to let her sleep,
    And you aren't waked or washed or dressed,
    Why, then you will know (if you haven't guessed)
    You're 'Fifty North and Forty West!'


Well, the last I heard of Arab
He was stuck on a whale
That was married to the deputy
Sheriff of the jail
But the funniest thing was
When I was leavin' the bay
I saw three ships a-sailin'
They were all heading my way
I asked the captain what his name was
And how come he didn't drive a truck
He said his name was Columbus
I just said, "Good luck."
     Bob Dylan's 115th Dream.

quarta-feira, outubro 18, 2006

Muhammad Yunus / Grameen Bank of Bangladesh

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Background:
      Wikipedia - Micro Credit, Wikipedia - Muhammad Yunus.
      Grameen Foundation, Grameen Communications - Photos.
      The Nobel Peace Prize 2006.
      Universidad de Madrid - Honorary Degree Acceptance Speech 2004 (pdf).
      17/10, Padma Rau, Interview with Muhammad Yunus, (Archive), Technorati Blogs.

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I read this piece yesterday over breakfast and the thought that ran through my head as I was reading was simply - better no official policy whatsoever and no policy wonks to develop it, better no bureaucratic meddling and squandering: 16/10, Preston Manning, Mandela's dream has been unfulfilled, (Archive).

Then when I saw this today I thought I would have to make a post on the subject: 18/10, Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Enterprise is better than aid, (Archive).

Here's a silly rant for you: The Canadian government extorts upwards of 65% of every nickel earned and spent in this country and then squanders the proceeds. A national police force, the RCMP, which murders and sets up citizens for torture with impunity; senators who fly off to Dubai to spend tens of thousands of tax dollars on 'The Presidential Suite' in one of the best hotels there; total mismanagement and destruction of the Newfoundland fishery; truculence and inaction on Global Climate Change; refusal to deal with asbestos exports to the third world; the list just goes on and on and on and on - I am left asking if the politicians and bureaucrats do anything worthwhile beyond feed their familes? I never wanted either Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Employment Insurance (EI) - the name-change alone probably cost us billions - even Canadian Medicare that everyone likes to whine about is a racket.

60% of Canadians do not even have a passport. Fat, complacent, smug, self-righteous, and more-or-less unaware. Rush hour everywhere east of Alberta starts around 8:30 AM; in Ottawa and St. John's it peaks at 9:00 AM or so. In Edmonton the flood is at 6:30 AM and even then it is moving well. Alberta is effectively a separate country I guess?

Here's the dirt on the Canadian Senate in Dubai: 18/10, CP, CTV reveals senators' costly week in Dubai, (Archive).

And here they are (with email coordinates on their websites if you want) the: Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence:
      Colin Kenny, Chair.
      Michael A. Meighen, Deputy Chair.
      Norman K. Atkins.
      Tommy Banks.
      Larry W. Campbell (no longer on the committee).
      Joseph A. Day.
      Wilfred P. Moore.
      Marie-P. Poulin (Charette).
      Gerry St. Germain.

I emailed Tommy Banks - and he responded with a Press Release. I cannot find it on-line but I have posted it in the Archive.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para Aumentar19/10, Editorial, Why Bouchard is right, (Archive). It's not just Québec, it's the whole country except maybe Alberta, and Alberta is just a throwback to Texas and John Wayne, cashing in the oil riches God gave them for a mess of pottage.

terça-feira, outubro 17, 2006

As if everybody knows

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Next, Back, Thread Ahead: St. James United Church, Montréal, Thread Back: This is the day which the Lord hath made.

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(a-wa) o kodwa u zo-nge li-sa namhlange
(a-wa a-wa) si-bona kwenze ka kanjani
(a-wa a-wa) amanto mbazane ayeza
She's a rich girl
She dont try to hide it
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

He's a poor boy
Empty as a pocket
Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarEmpty as a pocket with nothing to lose
Sing ta na na
Ta na na na
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

People say she's crazy
Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarShe got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Well thats one way to lose these
Walking blues
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

She was physically forgotten
Then she slipped into my pocket
With my car keys
She said youve taken me for granted
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Wearing these diamonds

And I could say oo oo oo
As if everybody knows
What I'm talking about
As if everybody would know
Exactly what I was talking about
Talking about diamonds on the soles of her shoes
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She makes the sign of a teaspoon
He makes the sign of a wave
The poor boy changes clothes
And puts on after-shave
To compensate for his ordinary shoes

And she said honey take me dancing
But they ended up by sleeping
Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarIn a doorway
By the bodegas and the lights on
Upper broadway
Wearing diamonds on the soles of their shoes

And I could say oo oo oo
As if everybody here would know
What I was talking about
I mean everybody here would know exactly
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Talking about diamonds

People say I'm crazy
I got diamonds on the soles of my shoes
Well that's one way to lose
These walking blues
Diamonds on the soles of your shoes

      Paul Simon, Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Click to Enlarge / Click para Aumentar      Graceland, 1997.


Grace, Providence ... what on earth do these words mean? Who knows what they mean? When you got the diamonds and when you ain't? Walkin' around, full of holes; horizon full of holes too. Pig lifts up his head from the trough for a sec, swill drippin' off his chin, and all of a sudden it is a mirror and he is you, you are him.

Jews walkin' into the ovens of Graceland; Necdet Kent steppin' on board the boxcar to Graceland, later on sayin', "What I have done is what I should have done. I knew I had to act." Dietrich Bonhoeffer hangin' in Graceland. Roméo Dallaire stumblin' in there, Simon Charlie curled up in there last time I saw him, Martin Luther King on the streets of Selma ... my friend Ed pushin' a shopping cart up and down the hills of old St. John's; up and down the streets and hills of Graceland; yeah.

Photos by Natasha Barabasha (Natasha and Andrei).

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