Friday, June 30, 2006

Sydney Rally for Palestine

Rally for Palestine
12 noon, Sunday July 2

Assemble in Wiley Park, corner of Canterbury Road and King Georges Road, Wiley Park (a five-minute walk from Wiley Park station), for a march to Lakemba. Speakers include Sheikh Taj al-Hilaly.

A massive war crime is being carried in full view of world opinion.

Israel is preparing for an all-out invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Israel has kidnapped 24 members of the democratically-elected Palestinian parliament, plus 8 members of the cabinet, cut the electricity supply to hundreds of thousands of Gaza residents, and shelled farmland in the north of the Strip. This response is completely disproportional to the kidnap of one Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants. It is an act of collective punishment, and as such is illegal under international law.

Join the protest in Sydney this Sunday.

Write to newspapers and express your disapproval of Israel's actions:

For more information on the Sydney rally phone 0405 760 929 (English) or 0415 394 555 (Arabic).

More up-to-the-minute information on events in Palestine, visit or

The mysterious Tunguska Event

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

1908 7:17 am A giant fireball impacted in Central Siberia (Tunguska Event).
The mass of the unidentified object has been estimated at around 90,000 tonnes (about 100,000 tons) and the force of the explosion at 40 megatons of TNT. This is 2,000 times the force of the bomb exploded over Hiroshima in 1945. Even today, the exact cause of the explosion is unknown.

As old photographs show, and modern research confirms, an area as big as a large city had all its trees flattened by the awesome blast. The ‘event’ was so enormous that it has been estimated that had such an explosion occurred over Europe instead of the sparsely populated region of Siberia, the number of human victims might have been 500,000 or more.

Surprisingly, scientists of the day showed little interest in this extraordinary event and its consequences. Russia for the first two decades of the 20th Century was embroiled in war, revolution, and civil war, so it wasn't until the 1920s that anyone performed a serious investigation of what had happened on that fateful day at Tunguska ...

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Antidepressants, air conditioning might spark obesity

"Writing in the International Journal of Obesity, study author David Allison said too much attention is being paid to the 'big two' causes of obesity [fatty food consumption and lack of exercise]. Allison cited other factors, including the growing use of antipsychotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, and other drugs known to cause weight gain, Bloomberg news service reported."

Google News on this subject

Air-conditioning: Our Cross to Bear
America's Air-Conditioned Nightmare

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Be a part of the SievX Memorial project

Click to enlarge

Canberra, Australia: "The SievX Memorial is being built on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin to remember the worst maritime tragedy in our region since World War Two - the drowning of 353 parents and children on a refugee vessel bound for Australia in 2001.

"Community groups, churches and school students around Australia are contributing individually decorated wooden poles - to form a permanent memorial by the lakeshore ...

"We will assemble the poles in Canberra on Sunday October 15th, for the 5th Anniversary Memorial Event, attended by bereaved families, survivors, school students, churches and the international community concerned for refugees.

"You may choose to travel bringing your pole, or if you are far away, to send it by freight to be erected by volunteers on the day."

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A heavenly sky show on the 4th of July

"This drives astronomers crazy. Every summer, on the one night when millions of Americans are guaranteed to be outside at nightfall, necks craned upward watching the sky, almost no one pays attention to the heavens. It's all fireworks, fireworks, fireworks. Stars and planets don't stand a chance.

"But this 4th of July is different.

"At sunset, just as the fireworks are about to begin, the Moon and Jupiter will pop out of the twilight side-by-side: sky map. These are the brightest objects in the night sky, easily beaming through the flash and smoke of a fireworks display."


Supreme Court blocks Bush, Gitmo war trials

Click for myths
"The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, saying in a strong rebuke that the trials were illegal under U.S. and international law.

"Bush said there might still be a way to work with Congress to sanction military tribunals for detainees and the American people should know the ruling 'won't cause killers to be put out on the street.'

"The court declared 5-3 that the trials for 10 foreign terror suspects violate U.S. military law and the Geneva conventions."

Court rejects military tribunals
High Court Blocks Gitmo Tribunals :: World reacts with skepticism, optimism :: News 8 Austin
Channel 4 News :: : The Age :: all 998 related »

Commentary from Lindsay Beyerstein's blog at AlterNet:

"Marty Lederman of SCOTUSblog sees huge implications for this decision:
More importantly, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely," and that "[t]o this end," certain specified acts "are and
shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever"—including "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment. See my further discussion here.
"This almost certainly means that the CIA's interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administation has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act (because violations of Common Article 3 are deemed war crimes)."

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Be a part of the SievX Memorial project

Click to enlarge

Canberra, Australia: "The SievX Memorial is being built on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin to remember the worst maritime tragedy in our region since World War Two - the drowning of 353 parents and children on a refugee vessel bound for Australia in 2001.

"Community groups, churches and school students around Australia are contributing individually decorated wooden poles - to form a permanent memorial by the lakeshore ...

"We will assemble the poles in Canberra on Sunday October 15th, for the 5th Anniversary Memorial Event, attended by bereaved families, survivors, school students, churches and the international community concerned for refugees.

"You may choose to travel bringing your pole, or if you are far away, to send it by freight to be erected by volunteers on the day."

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Runic New Year and half-month of Feoh

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

Important in the runic year cycle, today marks beginning of the first rune, Feoh, sacred to Frey (pictured) and Freya (Freyja), the lord and lady often worshipped in modern Wicca. It is the half-month of wealth and success.

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International Cruise Victims

The tragic death of Australian Dianne Brimble on a P&O cruise liner has brought to the fore a worldwide plethora of tragedies and scandals involving passengers and staff on cruise ships. The victims are represented by International Cruise Victims.

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Australian government and the destruction of Alkatiri

Wilson's Almanac news and current affairs blog

A media, government and public relations disinfo con job

It seems to me that very few political commentators on the current East Timor crisis, other than John Pilger, seem to have a clue what's going on, nor have noted the economic machinations behind the story of the Australian government and the destruction of Alkatiri. That's why I'm glad I found his article -- originally in Rupert Murdoch's right-wing rag, The Australian, of all places (some pinko editor must have snuck it through)!!

Hint: It's all about Australia stealing East Timor's oil and gas reserves.

Rule of thumb: When all the media and all the politicians, as with one voice, condemn any politician or popular movement, it's time to prick up the ears, strap on the bullshit detector, and do one's homework.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ned Kelly's Last Stand

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

1880 Dressed in home-made armour and with revolver blazing, Australian bushranger Ned Kelly burst out of the Glenrowan Inn, which was surrounded by about 30 State troopers.

The most wanted outlaws the country has ever known, the four-member Kelly Gang, had £8,000 on their heads, at a time when a labouring man's wages were about 15 shillings a week. Their crime, among many others, was the murder of three policemen at Stringybark Creek.

At first the dumbfounded police could not understand why their bullets did not stop him. Even in the dawn light, they could see the helmet he was wearing, but when they aimed at his torso, nothing happened. Then they realised that under his long overcoat must be more armour, so they began firing at his legs. It wasn't long before he was brought down in a hail of bullets. Ned Kelly was hanged on November 11, 1880 ...

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That's what I wanted to hear!

Coffee drinkers at lower diabetes risk, says study

"Consumption of coffee, particularly the decaffeinated variety, is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, according to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

"The study is not the first to document this association.

"However, in previous studies it was unclear if the relationship were true among people of different ages and body weights and if the caffeine component was the ingredient primarily responsible for the anti-diabetes effect."
ABC News


Consider what the war in Iraq is costing the USA

$1.27 trillion. Twice as much as the Vietnam War, according to this article:

"The number is so high as to defy human comprehension. All the numbers ending in '-illion' sound the same. But a trillion is what you get if you spend a million dollars a day ... for a million days. That's 2,737 years -- a cool mil a day, every day, in other words, until the Year of Our Lord 4743. Or, working backward, from the time when Homer wrote the Iliad up to now.

"The $270 billion in rounding error is worth another 750 years at the million-a-day rate. That takes us up to the year 5493 -- or back to when Moses fled Egypt."

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Why did Shrub just sit there?

Click for Wilson's Almanac SiteMap
Why did Shrub just sit there? is a page of videos and photos that raise serious questions about the official story of the morning of September 11, 2001.

New video content added today.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The truth behind the blacklisting of my chronology?

The Wilson's Almanac Louisa and Henry Lawson Chronology contains approximately 100,000 words and many hundreds of hyperlinks for further information.

It is to my knowledge by far the biggest chronology on the Net covering Australian literature and history of the period – or perhaps any period – with an international context to aid research

Since 2005 the Chronology has repeatedly been rejected for inclusion at the Australian Government's Culture and Recreation Portal, the 'Directory of Australian cultural organisations and resources'.

Some of the reasons offered have been bizarre to say the least, such as:

"The extraneous material which is not Australian content and links which are not directly related to Henry and Louisa Lawson make it difficult for us to categorise this as either Australian History or Literature."
I wonder.

You might find it instructive to compare at random my free, high-Google ranking chronology with some of the sites that have been included on various subjects.Many of the sites the Portal links are miniscule, trivial and (unlike the Chronology) very commercial and with lots of advertisements.For example, type into the Portal's search box any subject, eg foreign-owned brands like Westinghouse, Microsoft, Kodak, Ford Motor Company, etc.

The real reason?
I wrote to my local conservative Federal Member of Parliament, Mr Luke Hartsuyker, who very kindly represented me before the (conservative) Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator Rod Kemp. In Senator Kemp's reply is mentioned a few reasons why the site has been blacklisted. One of the reasons perhaps gets to the honest heart of the matter, and might explain why the Portal editor has given me such run-around answers rather than state straight out what Sen. Kemp, no doubt on the advice of the Portal management, says in his letter to Mr Hartsuyker:

" … I understand the site [Wilson's Almanac] includes commentary about the ‘War on Terror’ and international UN Security Council issues," writes Senator Kemp.
Of course, many of the websites listed by the Portal -- the ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Adelaide Advertiser to name but a few -- contain vastly more such commentary than the Almanac does.

The Portal is undergoing a review of its policy and criteria (I wonder if my protests have precipitated this), the results of which will not be out till July at the earliest. Therefore, I am not pressing my case with my local Member at present. Stand by for further reports as I receive information.

Pregnant Gouldian

Pregnant Gouldian
Pregnant Gouldian,
originally uploaded by wilsonsalmanac.
Poor Lizzie can hardly fly at present and no doubt is 'great with egg'. Usually no Gouldian would let you pick them up, but she can hardly move. I even nearly trod on her on the floor.

Meanwhile, Johnny Gould is busy renovating last season's nest in the nesting box. What a man!

(If you also live with uncaged birds indoors, there's a flickr group called Uncaged! Birds in our homes just for you.)

An anti-addiction pill?

"Last month, the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was host to a conference about addiction for a small, invitation-only crowd of neuroscientists, clinicians and public policy makers. It was an unusual gathering. Addiction conferences are usually sober affairs, but M.I.T. offered a lavish cocktail reception (with an open bar, no less). More important, the conference was a celebration of the new ways scientists and addiction researchers are conceptualizing, and seeking to treat, addiction.

"While many in the treatment field have long called addiction a 'disease,' they've used the word in vague and metaphorical ways, meaning everything from a disease of the mind to a disease of the spirit. Many assumed that an addict suffers from a brain-chemistry problem, but scientists had not been able to peer into our heads to begin to prove it.

"Now they can, using advances in brain-imaging technology. And they tend to agree on what they see, although not necessarily on how to fix it: addiction — whether to alcohol, to drugs or even to behaviors like gambling — appears to be a complicated disorder affecting brain processes responsible for motivation, decision making, pleasure seeking, inhibitory control and the way we learn and consolidate information and experiences. This new research, in turn, is fueling a vast effort by scientists and pharmaceutical companies to develop medications and vaccines to treat addiction ..."
Amherst Times

Lid dip to Chris Keeley.

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Emma Goldman, pioneer feminist and anarchist

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1869 Emma Goldman (d. May 14, 1940), Lithuanian-born American anarchist-feminist writer, pioneer advocate of free love and contraception, and activist, who was deported to the Soviet Union for inciting World War I draft riots in New York.

Outspoken birth control advocate and champion of women's rights, Goldman wrote My Disillusionment in Russia; Anarchism & Other Essays; The Place of the Individual in Society.

In 1907, according to Goldman's autobiography, Living My Life, Melbourne anarchist Chummy Fleming (1863 - 1950) invited her to tour Australia and Australian anarchists had raised money for her fare. In 1908 she made preparations to go (she was to embark on the Makura at Vancouver on March 26, 1909), and 1,500 pounds of literature was despatched ahead. In April, Fleming wrote in the Melbourne Socialist that she had embarked, believing it to be so, but events had intervened, including police harassment and the US immigration department organising her deportation, but also a fit of jealousy over her lover, Dr Ben Reitman, whose promiscuity, despite her ideology, she was finding a challenge ...

See also Early progressives in the Book of Days

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UK rejects Hicks' plea for help

Australia: "THE Federal Government has backed Britain's decision not to lobby for the release from Guantanamo Bay of Adelaide terror suspect David Hicks.

"Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said it was entirely a decision for Britain.

"'I know what their perspective is because we have had some briefings provided to our officials by the British government,' Mr Downer told ABC radio from London.

"'It's really nothing to do with us.'"

UK refuses to lobby for Hicks :: Hicks denied help by Brits :: all 12 related »
Bush’s Guantanamo Bay torture centre: Free David Hicks!
UK in talks with US on release of British residents from ...
Hicks should return home :: More at 'The Jurist'
Hicks no longer a Muslim: ex-detainee
Cindy Sheehan calls for David Hicks’ release

"Nothing to do with us"
That's it. An Australian citizen is held in appalling and cruel conditions for years without being charged, and it is nothing to do with Australia. The Australian government has shamed all who voted for it, and even those who didn't.

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Photos by omnia

Highly recommended
I recently discovered omnia's photos on flickr. You can see by the number of comments and testimonials she gets that she is a very popular flickr contributor, and with good reason.

This talented photographer hails from my neck of the woods and I love seeing her shots of my local area; some of her beach shots are sort of like mine -- as an elephant is like an ant.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Australia-wide potests to say NO to unfair work laws

Click for more global actions one person can take

"This Wednesday June 28, there will be rallies and events all around Australia to Say No to unfair work laws.

"[Opposition Leader] Kim Beazley last week promised to abolish AWA individual contracts if the Labor Party wins the next election. Mr Beazley can take this stand thanks to the strength of the community campaign against the Howard Government's IR [industrial relations] laws. On June 28, let's show both parties that we will fight for our rights at work."

You can find all the times and city/regional venue details on the Rights at Work website.

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Tom DeLay The Big Guy

Today I watched the new DVD The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress.

Thanks to Almaniac Alinda L for sending me a copy of this chilling and important expose of corporate and political crime in Texas and Washington DC Republican circles. Well worth watching, so I've placed it in the Almanac store, Cafe Diem at a discount price.

The same people are about to release Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers. Can't wait to see it.

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Billionaire donates $37bn to Gates charity

"Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is to donate about $37bn (£20bn) - most of his vast personal fortune - to Bill Gates' charitable foundation. Mr Buffett will hand 10 million shares in his Berkshire Hathaway firm to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"In a statement, Mr and Mrs Gates said they were 'awed' by the donation, thought to be the largest charitable gift ever made in the United States.

"The foundation aims to fight disease and promote education around the world.

"News of the donation comes shortly after Mr Gates announced he is to step away from his day-to-day role at software giant Microsoft."

Warren Buffett at Wikipedia


Father Gill and his close encounter

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1959 In perhaps the best documented and most celebrated UFO experience of all time, Australian missionary Father William Booth Gill and the entire staff and clients of an Anglican Mission at Boianai, in the former Australian colony of Papua-Niugini (Papua-New Guinea), saw an aerial disc-shaped object and exchanged waves with four passengers on board. The 'close encounters' carried over into the next two days.

For some time, a spate of alleged UFO sightings had been reported by numerous people around the mission, and Gill’s colleague Rev. Norman EG Cruttwell had been keeping records and interviewing witnesses, while Father Gill himself had been dubious. Even a sighting by his assistant, Stephen Gill Moi, who claimed to have seen an "inverted saucer" above the mission at 1 am on June 21, had left Gill sceptical, but the priest's doubt was not to last ...

This new sighting, with Gill present (though why the missionary's testimony should carry more weight than those of the other witnesses is rather telling) began at around 6.45 pm on June 26 and lasted several hours, with Gill later estimating that length of the craft was similar to five full moons lined up end to end. The priest and at least 38 of his fellow-villagers saw four human-like figures moving about on the top of the object, occasionally disappearing below, and reappearing soon after. Later, Father Gill wrote:

"As we watched it 'men' came out from the object and appeared on what seemed to be a deck on top of the huge disc. There were four figures in all, but only occasionally were all on view at once." ...

See also Out Of The Blue (UFO documentary) for other famous encounters

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Independence from America Day 2006

Click for more global actions one person can take

Click for embetterment

Australia: The sixth annual Independence from America Day will be celebrated in Byron Bay, NSW next Sunday, July 2.

I hope to see you there. Assembling in Apex Park, Main Beach at 11am.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

"It's crap but you've got to play the game" - student

A beautiful discussion by a panel of Australian academics on the messed-up effect pomo (postmodernism) is having on learning of high school pupils. A generation of pomo-taught teachers is now passing on to impressionable minds the pompous nonsense it learned at university in the '80s and '90s, although pomo is now passé in the academy. Great stuff.

Simon Haines: "... to a great extent, to a surprising extent, pomo at the academic level is a feature of the 1980s, and in many ways that kind of playful...there's often a playful way of thinking about putting things together that you wouldn't normally put together, a collage way of thinking, did become overtaken in the 1990s by other things. I don't know if your other guests would agree with this, but my take on it is that we're actually dealing with something that's a bit passé, at least at the university level, and yet we're seeing the kind of roll on effects of it coming out through school curricula even now, maybe because of a generation of curriculum setters or even in some cases school teachers who picked ..."

Audio and podcast will be here in a few days.

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Geldof called in by Blair to police G8 poverty deal

"The pledges to the world's poor made by the leaders of the rich world at the G8 summit in Gleneagles last year are to be policed by an independent, high-level international group being set up by Tony Blair.

"The announcement ... comes in the week that celebrity campaigners Bob Geldof and Bono launch their own evaluation of how well the G8 leaders have kept their promises. The report, commissioned from a team of independent experts, will be published by Data (Debt, Aids, Trade, Africa), the rock stars' lobbying organisation, on Thursday - three days before the anniversary of last year's Live8 concerts."

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Yarri and Jacky, heroes of Gundagai

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1852 Australia: Seventy-seven (some sources put the number up to 83 or higher) out of 250 residents of the village of Gundagai, New South Wales, drowned when the Murrumbidgee River flooded. Gundagai at the time was a crossing point for people en route to the Victorian gold fields.

Many were saved by local indigenous people, notably Yarri who rescued 49 stranded people in his bark canoe, braving the torrents of one of the continent's largest rivers to pluck the survivors one at a time from treetops and roofs, working perhaps 50 hours without a break.

Following the rescue, Yarri was given a copper shield to wear around his neck (breastplates were a decoration not infrequently bestowed by Europeans to Aboriginals considered worthy of respect), but for nearly 140 years neither Yarri nor Jacky, his partner in the rescue, really gained the recognition they deserved ...

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

The global digital commons and other unlikely tales

The global digital commons and other unlikely tales is a stimulating new article by David M Berry.

'Darwin's tortoise' dies in Australia, aged 176

Harriet, a Galapagos turtle and the world's oldest known creature, has died in an Australian zoo, aged 176.

Darwin's Dinner Plate (2002) :: The origin of myth

My talk on the Lawsons

My talk on the Lawsons
My talk on the Lawsons,
originally uploaded by wilsonsalmanac.
On Wednesday night, June 21, I gave a talk at Coffs Harbour City Library on the topic of Louisa Lawson and Henry Lawson, entitled, 'What you weren't taught at school'. My topic was based on the novel I have just written about the Lawsons, and my research (contained in the 100,000-word online Louisa Lawson and Henry Lawson Chronology).

In this one-hour talk I covered in haste the relatively unknown lives of these two great Australians -- the 'Mother of Women's Suffrage' and her poet/author son. I covered such topics as terrorism, sedition, communes, mental illness, and much more.

It was very pleasing that more than 90 people returned RSVPs for this occasion. Unfortunately, space was limited and more than 20 people had to be turned away. My thanks to Enzo Accadia and Judy Atkinson for organising the sucessful wine and cheese night, and to all who attended on a cold and rainy Winter Solstice night.

This is the best photo available. The blue sleeve is because I stood in front of the projector.

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Robert Bradford Williams

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

1860 (?) Robert Bradford Williams (d. 1942), African-American-New Zealander lawyer (Class of 1885, Yale), born a slave in Georgia.

He was a 'black minstrel' in Australia for a lengthy period beginning in the late 1880s, a colleague of Orpheus Myron McAdoo in the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Williams later became the longest-serving Mayor of Onslow, a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand ...

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Thawing permafrost could unleash tons of carbon

"WASHINGTON - Ancient roots and bones locked in long-frozen soil in Siberia are starting to thaw, and have the potential to unleash billions of tons of carbon and accelerate global warming, scientists said Thursday.

"This vast carbon reservoir, contained in permafrost soil in northeastern Siberia, contains about 75 times more carbon than the amount released into the atmosphere each year by the burning of fossil fuels, the researchers said in a statement ..."

Alaska permafrost thawing at an alarming rate (lid dip to Mary Jane at pagans4peace)

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Midsummer Eve

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

Click for larger image (opens in a new window)

Click to enlarge

Midsummer Eve (St John's Eve): bonfires and a magickal herb

Saint John's Eve is the night before the Feast Day of St John the Baptist, and in Europe, from pre-Christian times, Summer Solstice festivities and spiritual practices have been a part of this day. Also called Midsummer Eve, June 23 is a time rich in folklore.

On this night in olde Britain, people would go into the woods and bring back branches to their homes, celebrating the eve of the birth of John the Baptist (the only Christian saint whose birth date is a feast, as well as the day of his death – August 29). Fairies speak in human tongues on this night; the flower of happiness blooms ...


Australia's most important forest action in years

Click for more global actions one person can take
John Seed writes:

"This is the most important forest action in years.

"Please help stop our oldgrowth from being woodchipped for $10/tonne. Please come to the Eden Chipmill Rally on Sunday July 2nd (hear Kerry Nettle, Penelope Swales et al) (carpooling, accommodation, flyers etc).

"Arrive Saturday 1st for the Pambula Hall gig that evening. See you there.

"For the Earth,

"John Seed"

Rainforest Information Centre
Box 368 Lismore
NSW 2480
61 2 66897519

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Laptops give hope to the homeless

"Happy Ivy doesn't have a bathroom or a kitchen in the bus he calls home. He does, however, have a video-editing station.

"Living in a squalid, Woodstock-style bus parked in a Fillmore, California, orange grove, the 53-year-old homeless man charges a power generator from a utility shed and uses Wi-Fi from a nearby access point. From this humble camp, he's managed to run a 'round-the-clock internet television studio, organize grassroots political efforts, record a full-length album and write his autobiography, all while subsisting on oranges and avocados ...

"Nearly all homeless people have e-mail addresses, according to Michael Stoops, director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. 'More have e-mail than have post office boxes,' Stoops said. 'The internet has been a big boon to the homeless.'

"Helping the homeless get e-mail addresses has been a priority for years at shelters across the country. And in an age when most every public library in the nation offers internet access, the net has proven a perfect communication tool for those without a firm real-world address ..."

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Afghan MP says she will not be silenced

Wilson's Almanac news and current affairs blog

Afghan MP says she will not be silenced

How alcohol corps are changing the face of India

"The production of alcohol is a multi-billion dollar industry hungry for new markets.

"One of the industry's main targets are countries where most people don't drink.

"In the second part of the series, Nigel Wrench travels to India where drink is becoming part of an elite lifestyle.

"As he hears there's not only big money at stake, but cultural tradition too."

Listen now (RAM) :: Download :: Podcast

For podcasts from 100 sources, see our Podcasts Page

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The world's oldest map of the heavens

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

Click to enlarge

Seen from the Mittelberg, a 252m hill in the Ziegelroda Forest, Nebra, 180km south-west of Berlin, the sun sets every June 22 behind the Brocken, the highest mountain in northern Germany. The Brocken is in a direct line of sight on a clear day, 85km (about 53mi) to the north-west.

The Brocken is fabled in northern European mythology as the place where witches gather for a coven every Walpurgisnacht, April 30.

Treasure hunters on the Mittelberg in 1999 found a 32cm bronze-and-gold disc, crafted around 3,600 years ago. The map on its face shows the Brocken as well as 32 stars including the Pleiades. The Nebra disc, with the oldest concrete representation of the stars in the world, was placed in a pit in the middle of a ringwall during the early Bronze Age. The ringwall was built in such a way that the sun seemed to disappear every equinox behind the Brocken. Scientists believe the map and site formed an observatory, used to set the calendar for planting and harvesting crops ...

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A phone company is ...

My favourite quote from the media this week:

"A phone company is a thin veneer of greed wrapped around a regulatory monopoly."
Cory Doctorow, Late Night Live, June 19, 2006

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The longest day

From Heritage and Culture at

"We are fast approaching the longest day of the year and for Scots the benefits of living far north are manifest in the long, light nights. It sometimes seems as though the sun barely sets, the low rays splashing the evening sky with colour as beautiful as an impressionist painting.

"Whilst many people will be marking midsummer with a celebration of the summer solstice, Heritage & Culture has gone for her polar opposite and gets up close to the moon. It is thought by many archaeologists that a number of Scotland's great stone circles were constructed primarily to measure not the journey of the sun, but the moon. Read all about druids and moon worship during one extraordinary night in the Callanish standing stones on the Isle of Lewis."

Thanks, Extra! Extra!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Packaging lies

Happy solstice

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
The solstices are the longest and shortest days of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, Summer Solstice (June 21 or 22) occurs when the sun is farthest north. In the Northern Hemisphere, Winter Solstice (round about December 22) occurs when the sun is farthest south.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the winter and summer solstices are reversed, so my family, friends and I are enjoying Winter Solstice, or Yule, as it is known in the Celtic tradition. Meanwhile our northern friends are enjoying Litha ...

The new narcissism

"The Body Project is Joan Jacobs Brumberg's fascinating account of the changing sense of self, over a century, in adolescent American girls.

"Looking at their diaries, she found that in the late nineteenth century, girls scarcely mentioned their bodies. Moral language was reserved for improving character. In a diary of 1892, for example, there is the entry:

"Resolved, not to talk about myself or my feelings. To think before speaking. To work seriously. To be self-restrained in conversation and action. Not to let my thoughts wander. To be dignified. Interest myself more in others.
"A diary entry in 1982 reads:

"I will try to make myself better in any way I possibly can with the help of my budget and babysitting money, I will lose weight, get new lenses, already got a new haircut, good make-up, new clothes and accessories."
Anne Manne, 'What about Me? The New Narcissism'; The Monthly (Australia), June, 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

No hard evidence on Osama, says FBI -- allegation

"On June 5, 2006, the Muckraker Report contacted the FBI Headquarters, (202) 324-3000, to learn why Bin Laden’s Most Wanted poster did not indicate that Usama was also wanted in connection with 9/11. The Muckraker Report spoke with Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI. When asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on Bin Laden’s Most Wanted web page, Tomb said, 'The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.'

"Surprised by the ease in which this FBI spokesman made such an astonishing statement, I asked, 'How this was possible?' Tomb continued, 'Bin Laden has not been formally charged in connection to 9/11.' I asked, 'How does that work?' Tomb continued, 'The FBI gathers evidence. Once evidence is gathered, it is turned over to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice than decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a federal grand jury. In the case of the 1998 United States Embassies being bombed, Bin Laden has been formally indicted and charged by a grand jury. He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connected [sic] Bin Laden to 9/11.'

"It shouldn’t take long before the full meaning of these FBI statements start to prick your brain and raise your blood pressure. If you think the way I think, in quick order you will be wrestling with a barrage of very powerful questions that must be answered. First and foremost, if the U.S. government does not have enough hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11, how is it possible that it had enough evidence to invade Afghanistan to 'smoke him out of his cave?'"

“On September 20, 2001 the Taliban offered to hand Osama bin Laden to a neutral Islamic country for trial if the US presented them with evidence that he was responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington. The US rejected the offer."
The Guardian

Taliban Met With U.S. Often’, Washington Post, October 29, 2001

"Meanwhile, President Bush rejected Sunday the latest Taliban offer to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden to a third country if the United States stops its bombing campaign and provides evidence of bin Laden's complicity in the September 11 attacks." CNN, October 14, 2001

"A secret meeting takes place between Taliban and US government representatives in the city of Quetta, Pakistan. Afghan-American businessman Kabir Mohabbat serves as a middleman. US officials deny the meeting takes place, but later in the month Mohabbat explains that the US demands the Taliban hand over bin Laden, extradite foreign members of al-Qaeda who are wanted in their home countries, and shut down bin Laden's bases and camps. Mohabbat claims that the Taliban agrees to meet all the demands. However, some days later he is told the US position has changed and the Taliban must surrender or be killed. Later in the month, the Taliban again agrees to hand over bin Laden unconditionally, but the US replies that 'the train had moved.'” [Counterpunch, 11/1/04; CBS, 9/25/01]

Source: Complete 911 Timeline

FBI's Osama Bin Laden 'Most Wanted' webpage

Myths of the ‘War on Terrorism’ and Iraq - in the Scriptorium

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Heil Herriman

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

1910 Krazy Kat, by George Herriman (1880 - 1944), made his or her debut in comics.

In a 1999 special issue, The Comics Journal named Krazy Kat as “the greatest comic strip of the 20th Century”, and many comic artists have acknowledged the influence Herriman had on their work ...

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