Saturday, November 22, 2014

Politics, Morality & Civility :: Summer Meditations :: By Vaclav Havel

There are some sharp parallels between what Vaclav Havel is writing about in the first chapter of his book "Summer Meditations" - what was happening during the Velvet Revolution in the new Czech Republic - and the current state of "things", politics, life, capitalism in the United States. Oh, and don't forget civility. I suppose we can throw in morality in a fundamentaltruthoftheUniverse sorta way, as in right vs. wrong do the right thing and do the thing right.

It's the first time I'm reading it, and thought I would share.

Summer Meditations :: Chapter 1 :: Politics, Morality and Civility :: by Vaclav Havel

Friday, September 26, 2014

El Crux

The crux of our collective lifetimes...this life, this time, is that in the face of increasing population and dwindling resources, resources we should not be combusting/reacting/burning/cutting/digging, frugality, a frugal lifestyle, has never been part of the equation. That's because of our consumption based/principled economy, which is based on the myth of perpetual growth. To me, that is the crux of my time on this Earth. So few individuals are adopting a frugal lifestyle - yes, growing numbers, but still too few to make a difference. I doubt, as a "sentient" species, we have the balls to do what it takes on a global scale, but that's okay. If we don't, Mother Earth will do it for us.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, July 25, 2014

Iraqi Tango


The story of the paralleling lives of a war traumatized marine and an upscale Argentinian prostitute whose worlds collide in the underground network of sex trafficking.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Milongueros - thanks Nina P...!

I have never seen the film "Tango Bar" with Raul Julia...I see that it's available in its full length on YouTube...

However, I would offer this version of La Cumparsita as an alternative sound track...

Or this one, for a little more the staccato piano and violin picking in this version...when I used to DJ, I would usually play two or three versions of La Cumparsita as the last song...chosen from the 40 or so versions I've collected over the years...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Alan Watts on Waking Up

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This is what social tango is all about...

Thanks to Marina for setting her video as "Public" so it can be shared...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Tango & Architecture

Happened across this...looks like tango dancers...but the leader's posture is all wrong for tango...but still, I'll take it as tango...

The artist is Sean Edward Whelan...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Carbon Dioxide aka CO2 Emissions :: Playing with the Math :: Corrected Version

So I wake up this morning and put on the coffee and start to read the news. Right up there at the top is this:

Down towards the bottom of the piece, they throw out the figure 2.05 billion metric tonnes for 2013 CO2 emissions (from coal-fired power plants alone).

So naturally, I hop on over to an old blog post of mine to check/cognitate/validate/equilibrate/machinate to otherwise make some rusty-old-carbon-based-life-form-gears kick in and make sense of this figure. Keep in mind that those mind gears of mine are lubricated with high-fructose corn syrup - which ain't a good thing. (grin)

So, immediately (EEmEEdEE-EETLEE like they over-EE-none-CEE-ATE it on NPR), I notice my frickin' math is off. By an order of a thousand or something or other.

You dumbfuck!, I exclaim, and EE-MEE-DEE-EET-LEE run out to my officehovelcave to re-run the numbers and make the corrections.

Big difference in the numbers. BIG, difference. I remember thinking (when I ran the original numbers) that it didn't seem like that much CO2 (by weight). I shoulda double-checked myself.

Shouldawouldacoulda. My mantra these days.

Here's the old post with the wrong math -

Below is the revised post - with the math corrected correctly, I hope. Someone please check my "simple" math. Thanks in advance.

I was looking for data on total U.S. energy usage - something to validate the 5 terawatt figure I have rolling around in my head - when I ran across another troubling figure.

Annual CO2 emissions (from fossil fuels) in the U.S. are estimated this year at 5,981.5 million metric tons or tonnes. A tonne is 1000 kilograms or 2205 pounds.

I pull up a blank Excel spreadsheet to start doing the math - simple unit conversions.

So that's 5,981,500,000,000 or five trillion, nine hundred eighty one billion, five hundred million tonnes.

In pounds, that equals 13,189,207,500,000,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere each year. Thirteen quadrillion, blah, blah, blah pounds.

I decide to convert this into units I can get my head around.

The curb weight of one Ford Expedition is give or take 5500 pounds.

That equates to 2,398,037,727,273 [two trillion, three hundred ninety eight billion, thirty seven million, seven hundred twenty seven thousand, two-hundred seventy-three] Ford Expeditions [by weight, not volume], a figure that's still difficult to comprehend. Try writing a check out for that amount! Ha!

A Ford Expedition takes up a footprint of roughly 110.70 square feet. Those 2.398 trillion Ford Expeditions parked side to side, bumper to bumper, would cover 9,522,176 (nine million five-hundred twenty-two thousand one hundred seventy-six) square miles.

Still meaningless?

The United States is 3,537,379 square miles in size.

So that's the entire United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, covered solid with 2.67 (two and two-thirds) layers of Ford Expeditions.

That's just for one year. The annual amount will continue to grow each year to 6800 million tonnes in 2030.

That's just emissions for the United States - you would have to figger in the rest of the industrialized world. Note that this is all CO2 emissions from burning all types of fossil fuels. Then you've got wood and dung and whatever the fuck people are burning.

Ready to reduce your carbon footprint now?

Yeah, that's it, you got it - go ahead and screw in your little fluorescent twisty bulb thingies. Bring your cloth sacks to the grocery store and don't use their plastic bags. String a clothesline. Set the thermostat to sweat in the summer and shiver in the winter. Upgrade your old fridgerator to an Energy Star model. Sell your car and ride your bike. Hell, go ahead and sell both cars. Sell your house or condo and move into a teepee, or a yurt. Erect a solar PV panel to power your computer and tee-tiny two cubic foot refrigerator. Tend your energy usage to zero.

Go ahead and do it, do your part. It still won't be enough to make a difference. Why not? Because there are five billion other people on the planet who will never do it.

Houston, we have a problem.

So you've made it this far and probably noted that I didn't say anything about the article, or Obama, or the EPA's new rule or whatever that is coming out today to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030. So 30% of 2.05 billion (metric tonnes) over 16 years equates to 10 billion metric tonnes of CO2 "not" pumped into the atmosphere. That's if they started the 0.615 billion metric tonne annual reduction this year.

During the same 16 year period, we've pumped roughly 96 trillion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere - rough math of 6.0 trillion tonnes/yr x 16 years.

So, the long and the short of it is that we'll cut 0.1 trillion (one tenth of one trillion) tonnes against a 96 trillion tonne CO2 load. Over sixteen years.

Helluva tiny drop in a helluva big bucket.

Fuckers. Fuckin' disinforming onion-eyed miscreants.

Hey at least we're talking about it.

Baby steps, right?

Some might say we oughta be happy about this news.

It just pisses me off.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chomolungma Dreaming

Lost dreams of the heart of a man...

Write it asshole...

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ballroom Brainwaves | The Scientist | By Eli Chen

Thanks to Dawn for the find!

The Scientist »
News & Opinion »
Daily News

Ballroom Brainwaves

A neuroscientist studies the brains of tango dancers in an attempt to understand interpersonal connectedness.

By Eli Chen | March 28, 2014

Tango Passion Abstract
The original article showed Eli's photo...this is one of mine cuz it's easier to post...

Dancing with someone for the first time involves a great deal of uncertainty. At first, new dance partners watch their feet nervously, unsure of where to step. But with time, rhythm and flow can develop between them. Eventually, it might seem as though they’ve known one another for years and can predict their partner’s moves.

It’s not fully known what makes two people click. But some researchers are working to understand how human brains can operate in sync. Suzanne Dikker, a cognitive neuroscientist at New York University, is one such researcher, and she’s using partner dance to unravel the complicated neuroscience behind such interpersonal “chemistry.”

“Humans are always trying to gauge compatibility and connectedness,” says Dikker, “so we know who we want to work with and who we don’t. Our survival is dependent on how we synchronize with each other.”

Dikker staged an event in Brooklyn, New York, this week (March 26) to demonstrate what brain synchrony might look like between dancers. With “NeuroTango,” which was hosted by the Greater New York City Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience as part of its Brain Awareness Week, Dikker hooked up two pairs of tango dancers with EEG headsets to measure each person’s brainwaves. She then performed three experiments.

First, the previously acquainted pairs danced to a song like they normally would. Then they switched partners to dance with someone they were less familiar with. After that, the dancers stood in place with their initial partners and imagined they were dancing. All the while, Dikker projected graphics and numerical scores onto the walls of the room, depicting when the dancers’ brains were in sync, and when they were less so.

Dikker is using tango to study brain synchrony for a couple of reasons. For one, she finds the interactions between two tango dancers fascinating because of the amount of coordination it takes to make complicated movements look natural and instinctive.

“Tango is interesting and complex to study because depending on whether you’re a leader or a follower, there are different brain states involved in anticipating what your partner will do,” says Lawrence Parsons, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Sheffield. Parsons conducted the first neuroimaging study on dancers, in 2008, to discover which parts of the brain were most active in dance.

Beyond exhibiting performance art, with “NeuroTango” Dikker sought to test whether EEG could be reliably used to study moving interactions in real time. She had previously worked on Marina Abramovic’s performance piece, “Measuring the Magic of Mutual Gaze,” which was featured at the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow in 2011. As part of that installation, participants were asked to sit still and make eye contact with strangers for prolonged periods of time, as EEG headsets captured their brain activities. The brainwave data Dikker collected from Abramovic’s piece were what inspired her to devise NeuroTango—she wanted to compare the EEG’s reading on stationary versus mobile subjects.

However, brainwave data is best collected in the absence sound or movement, and it’s well known among neuroscientists that portable EEGs can be hypersensitive.

“I’m cautious because the subjects’ movements and the audience presence could create noise in the data,” says Lewis Hou, a research associate at the University of Edinburgh, who’s leading a project to discern what’s happening in the brains of Scottish folk dancers. From a science communication standpoint, however, “I think this is event is a fantastic way to engage the public in neuroscience,” he adds.

Dikker also hoped to explore how each dancer’s level of experience played into synchronization. One pair of dancers had known one another for 17 years, while the other had only been dance partners for six. Ivana Konvalinka, a cognitive neuroscientist at Technical University of Denmark, wondered what Dikker’s preliminary data might show about what happens in dancers’ brains while they’re imagining movement, and how that might relate to his or her level of expertise.

“Studies have shown that experienced dancers coordinate their movements very differently than those who aren’t,” says Konvalinka. “[The] premotor cortex, which is activated while dancing, is also highly activated even when they’re just rehearsing in their heads.”

While technological limitations make these questions a challenge to investigate, “NeuroTango” nonetheless provided a glimpse into a small but growing field in neuroscience that’s diving deep into the mysterious space between two people.

Corrections (March 28): This article has been updated to more accurately reflect Suzanne Dikker’s current affiliation, and to correct when and where Marina Abramovic’s “Measuring the Magic of Mutual Gaze” was featured. A previous version incorrectly stated Abramovic’s piece was featured in New York City last year. It was in fact featured in Moscow in 2011. The Scientist regrets the errors.

neuroscience, neuroimaging, EEG, dance and culture Friday

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sickcare/ObamaCare is fundamentally broken at every level

From Zero Hedge

Longtime correspondent Ishabaka (an M.D. with 30+ years experience in primary care and as an emergency room physician) responded to this article with an insider's account of what happens when greed and cartels take over healthcare. After reading What's wrong with American hospitals?, a scathing deconstruction of for-profit healthcare, Ishabaka submitted this commentary:

I could have told you what was wrong with our hospital system by 1989 - nobody would listen to me back then.

Up til the '70's, almost all hospitals in the United States were not for profit COMMUNITY HOSPITALS. They were LOCAL. The Board of Directors was made up of some senior doctors, maybe the head nurse, and various other prominent local businessmen and professionals. Others (mostly Catholic), were run as non-profits by religious orders. A very few, mostly very small hospitals were for profit, usually owned by a group of doctors, or even one doctor.

The mission of these community hospitals was to provide for the LOCAL COMMUNITY - one and all. Payment was various - private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, self pay - and the idea was to collect just enough money to keep the hospital going, and provide care for the poor who had no money to pay. If your grandma got bad care - you could go - in person - to the local, say, banker, on the Board of Directors, and tell him - and he would CARE.

THIS SYSTEM WORKED, and kept costs DOWN. Remember, the hospital just needed enough money to stay in the black. Often local wealthy people would will money to the hospital in which they had been cared for.

In the '80's - there was the arrival of the for-profit cartels - and I use the world cartels specifically - these were run by people with the sociopathic Goldman Sachs type mentality - their sole goal was to acquire huge sums of money for themselves, their hospital directors, and their SHAREHOLDERS. They used a typical sneaky technique - they'd come into town, and tell the locals they could run the hospital much cheaper, because of their economy of scale. People believed this, and the cartels bought out most of the community hospitals.

I worked at one such for-profit hospital and had a 21-year old indigent man come in who'd been struck by a car while walking, and was rapidly bleeding to death. The hospital administrator refused to open the operating room, even though I had a surgeon right there, willing and able to operate for free to save this young man's life. The surgeon threw a fit, and he was a big wheel at the hospital and the administrator backed down - otherwise I firmly believe the young man would have died. This was LEGAL back then, before the EMTLA law was passed because similar abuses were rampant NATIONWIDE.

Around this time, the administrators of the remaining community hospitals found out the administrators of the for-profit hospitals were making tens of times their salaries - and bonuses based on profits - and started demanding similar salaries and bonuses based on PROFITS - a contradiction of the old concept of community hospitals (the article does touch on this).

How do you increase hospital profits? Number one - avoid any care for the poor you can weasel out of. Number two - cut staff to the bone and beyond (one of hospital's biggest expenses). Most American hospitals now have UNSAFE nurse to patient ratios because of this.

As far as patient care goes, nurses are the most important people in hospitals. I know of one lady who DIED while in a monitored bed, and wasn't found dead until several hours later due to the criminally low nursing staff ratio in a hospital I worked in. I HAD complained about the dearth of nurses, and was threatened with the loss of my job. Another side effect of this is, nursing in hospitals has become unbearable for nurses who really cared about their patients - many good hospital nurses have left hospital work for other fields. The results are appalling.

I saved the life of a patient an unqualified, under-educated nurse gave the wrong medicine to - a medicine that IMMEDIATELY MAKES YOU STOP BREATHING, because it was cheaper for the hospital to hire her than a knowledgeable and experienced nurse. The medicine is pancuronium bromide, if you want to Google it. The nurse didn't know one of the effects was cessation of breathing - this is Pharmacology for Nurses 101, this drug is used all day long in every operating room in America (where doctors WANT patients under anesthesia to stop breathing, and put them on breathing machines during the surgery - which is very safe if done correctly).

I could go on and on. Simple things, like the instruments you use to suture cuts - community hospitals used to buy Swiss or German made ones that were of the finest quality, sterilize and re-use them over and over. This changed to disposable instruments that sometimes literally fell apart in my hands. Bandage tape that didn't stick, instead of quality Johnson and Johnson tape - anything to save a buck.

It is not getting better, it is getting worse. The nurses I know tell me hospitals are cutting staff even MORE now in preparation for Obamacare.

I will end with a story that illustrates the difference between Old School and New School hospital administrators.

I had the pleasure of working five years in a real community hospital. One of the senior administrators (R.I.P.) was a gentleman who'd made his fortune in the grocery business. In his late 80's, he would arrive at the emergency department entrance every morning between seven and eight am, and proceed to walk throughout the hospital. He would ask various and sundry staff how they were getting along - everyone from janitors to senior physicians. If something was amiss - HE RECTIFIED THE SITUATION. Tragically, this hospital was bought out, and is now part of a chain.

I had the displeasure of working in a "community" (really for-profit) hospital with a middle aged administrator who NEVER set foot outside his office or conference rooms - he NEVER appeared in the (very large and busy) emergency department once. This was in the early 90's, and one year it was revealed that his compensation was $600,000 - and a brand new Lexus as a "performance bonus". He was on the golf course by three pm every single day. That was the hospital where the woman who was being "monitored" (alarms and all that) was found very cold and dead after a delay of who knows how many hours.

Thank you, Ishabaka, for telling it like it really is. Needless to say, ObamaCare (the Orwellian-named Affordable Care Act--ACA) purposefully ignores everything that is fundamentally broken with U.S. sickcare and extends the soaring-cost cartel system, essentially promising to stripmine the taxpayers of however many trillions of dollars are needed to generate outsized profits for the cartels.

Only those with no exposure to the real costs of ObamaCare approve of the current sickcare system. Government employees who have no idea how much their coverage costs, well-paid shills and toadies like Paul Krugman, academics with tenure and lifetime healthcare coverage--all these people swallow the fraud whole and declare it delicious.

Only those of us who are paying the real, unsubsidized cost know how unsustainable the system is, and only those inside the machine know how broken it is at every level. Greed + cartels = Sickcare/ObamaCare. Love your servitude, baby--it's affordable, really, really, really it is.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Does anyone know the name of the photographer? Iconic photo of Carlos Gavito y Marcella Duran...Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Photographer: Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Thanks to Juan Pablo Vicente for the name! Muchas gracias! And to Christian Wilton for the correction - it's Marcella Duran, not Maria Plazaola...

TangoBreath on Tango Posture and Hyperlordosis by Susannah Gebhart

Photographer: Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

I ran across (thanks Renata F., you lucky bastard!) a great article on a great website early early this morning and feel compelled to share it. There are lots of other great articles - check it out. Eric and Susannah are very graciously sharing lots of great tango info.

This one in particular gives a great explanation of the overly forward tilted pelvis or "ass-out" (sorry, I couldn't resist) hyperlordosis by accident or by affectation.

Good writing, good reading, good practice. The article is chock-full of graphics and illustrations, so I won't attempt to re-post it all.

Here is the link:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bill Moyers on why the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement is death for democracy by Gaius Publias

Hola y'all. Happy New Year, I suppose. Hell, it's already the eleventh and I haven't even sat down to reflect, nor to project. I've been busy of late, and trying to keep my nose above water, without much luck. We shall see. We shall see what this new year holds.

Anyway, here's a topic that I haven't been paying enough attention to - but my gut tells me there's some sleight of hand at work.

Bill Moyers on why the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement is death for democracy
Reposted from AmericaBlog - original article here
11/5/2013 10:05am by Gaius Publius 55 Comments

Many of you know I’ve been covering TPP (the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement) for a while now — for example, here. Obama and the rest of the neoliberal (“free-trade”) Democrats are dying to implement it, and the Republican servants of the same fine CEOs are not far behind.

But the TPP is complicated — at least in appearances — and the public is having a hard time bottom-lining it, in between taking kids to soccer and paying bills in the evening. By comparison, characterizing Keystone is easy — “Want to drink goo from your faucet and watch the earth cook? Support Keystone.”

It’s not really hard to understand TPP though, once you see the pattern — TPP puts the ruling class (and the corporations they control) in charge of most aspects of our economic and regulatory life. It rewrites the laws of every nation that signs it, all to increase the wealth of our pathological betters. We just need more people saying that.

Now comes Bill Moyers with an excellent, listenable primer on what TPP is and why it spells death to democracy (literally) and breathes even more life into the predator 1% of the 1%.

Governments involved with our betters in implementing the TPP "corporate-rule" agreement

Governments involved with our betters in implementing the TPP “corporate-rule” agreement. These are the perps.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to Moyers’ great introduction, then to the discussion with Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism and Dean Baker of CEPR. This is one of the best ways to come up to speed on TPP I’ve found — very tight, very clear:

Yves Smith and Dean Baker on Secrets in Trade from on Vimeo.

From the video’s introduction at Vimeo:

A US-led trade deal is currently being negotiated that could increase the price of prescription drugs, weaken financial regulations and even allow partner countries to challenge American laws. But few know its substance.

The pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is deliberately shrouded in secrecy, a trade deal powerful people, including President Obama, don’t want you to know about. Over 130 Members of Congress have asked the White House for more transparency about the negotiations and were essentially told to go fly a kite. While most of us are in the dark about the contents of the deal, which Obama aims to seal by year end, corporate lobbyists are in the know about what it contains.

And some vigilant independent watchdogs are tracking the negotiations with sources they trust, including Dean Baker and Yves Smith, who join Moyers & Company this week. Both have written extensively about the TPP and tell Bill the pact actually has very little to do with free trade.

Instead, says Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, “This really is a deal that’s being negotiated by corporations for corporations and any benefit it provides to the bulk of the population of this country will be purely incidental.” Yves Smith, an investment banking expert who runs the Naked Capitalism blog adds: “There would be no reason to keep it so secret if it was in the interest of the public.”

Suitable for sharing with your friends and online associates. Seriously; help to make TPP a household name ahead of the Senate hearings on it and the Fast-Track legislation that will introduce it.

We’ll be following this closely as well. At some point soon, we’ll all need concerted and raucous citizen opposition. As Moyers and company show, this is as big a deal as stopping Big Carbon in its tracks. If we don’t prevent this, TPP will rewrite constitutions across the globe, including here at home.

And believe me, our poor Constitution has taken on a lot of rewriting lately. Save the Constitution. Help kill the TPP “corporate-rule” agreement. (More information here.)


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius