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I have been ignoring both my blog and Twitter. Facebook has become my social media of choice, mostly because it’s easier to post links to articles and I find the threaded conversations easier to follow and take part in, also no 140 character limit on comments.
My 68 year old brain just can’t keep up with all three (Blogs, Twitter and Facebook)
What is your favorite social media site?
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” Carl Sandberg
1) World In Pictures – Summer Fun
Sydney, Australia: Surfers return to the seas at Bronte beach as sea conditions return to normal following days of high tides. (John Donegan/Getty)
Ryan Blair (c.) and his friend Kasim Brown play in water released from an open fire hydrant on Memorial Day, Monday, in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP)
A girl runs past Memorial Day kites on the beach in Santa Monica, California, on Sunday. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
Cape Town, South Africa: A man on Chapman’s Peak looks out over the Atlantic Ocean (Nic Bothma/EPA)
2) Dennis Hong: Making a car for blind drivers.
There are way too many who drive like they are blind. This is the kind of technology that can make driving as safe as we need it to be.
“Using robotics, laser rangefinders, GPS and smart feedback tools, Dennis Hong is building a car for drivers who are blind. It’s not a “self-driving” car, he’s careful to note, but a car in which a non-sighted driver can determine speed, proximity and route — and drive independently”
1) This being the start of the Major League Baseball season I give you the Abbott and Costello classic “Who’s On First”
2) The World In Pictures
Parishioners from the Angel of Michael Healing Tabernacle sing and dance at the 16th Shouter Baptist Liberation Day celebration at the Spiritual Baptist Empowerment Hall in Maloney. The Shouter Baptist religion comprises elements of both Protestant Christianity and African doctrines and rituals, and is characterized by religious services that involve shouting, clapping, and singing loudly.
(Andrea De Silva/Reuters)
Srinagar, India Chinese tourists get their picture snapped during a visit to the Siraj garden, which has more than 1.2 million tulip bulbs of around 70 varieties and will be officially open to the public on Friday. (Photo by Dar Yasin / Associated Press)
An Egyptian woman and child sit on a bus at a refugee camp near Ras Jdir on Feb. 28 after fleeing unrest. People in Tunisia and Egypt are driving to the border to help those arriving from Libya, with many hosting strangers in their homes, international aid groups have said. (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)
3) A very cool video of the new Geoid unveiled today at the Fourth International GOCE, from information gathered by the European Space Agency’s GOCE satellite. A Geoid is a map of where the Earth’s gravity is all equal: if you flooded the entire planet with water, this is the shape it would if gravity were the only thing shaping this global ocean’s surface.
A link to more information on the ESA’s site – http://tinyurl.com/4ubstpt
When was the last time you danced and to what song/music?
From a slide show about dance on the Boston Globe’s Big Picture Blog – http://tinyurl.com/4zhsslw
Dancers from China’s Gansu province Opera Ensemble perform during their Dunhuang Charm Show at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria, Feb. 8. (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)
A girl dances near plumes of smoke from fires of coal scavenged by her family in the New Colony village in Jharkand, India, on Jan. 7. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press)
Egyptian youths dance in a Faluka, a traditional boat, on the Nile River in Cairo to celebrate the Islamic holiday marking Prophet Mohammed’s birthday Feb. 15. (Hussein Malla/Associated Press)
Indian school girls spin in a swirl of color on the eve of Basant Panchami, the Festival of Spring, in Amritsar on Feb. 7. The girls are dressed in Punjabi traditional folk Giddha outfits, with yellow being the dominant color of the festival. The event also features kite-flying. (Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images)
2) Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell
I just finished the audiobook “The Power of Myths” where Bill Moyer interviews Joseph Campbell, (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987), who was perhaps the worlds leading authority on the mythology of the worlds different cultures.
Campbell got me thinking about the question of life and the Universe. The Universe is made up of matter and energy. Life is what happens when energy interacts with, and changes, matter. One thing is transformed into another.
My perceptions is that what men of science call energy, religious people call God. Of course people of religious faith believe God is separate from the Universe. What may define us as human is the sense of awe and wonder at the source of life, be it energy or a God.
The Wikipedia entry on Joseph Campbell – http://tinyurl.com/65etyxl
Some quotes from Joseph Campbell:
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.”
“Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.”
A video where Campbell talks about the first city states:
We can follow the time-line of flamboyant costumes from Liberace to Elton John to Lady GaGa. They could all take a cue from the plumage we see at Carnival:
Naomi Cabrera Pulido, wearing a creation called “A hundred years of history” by Spanish designer Leo Martinez, reacts after being crowned queen in the annual carnival queen election gala at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, on the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, March 2, 2011. (REUTERS/Santiago Ferrero)
Dancers from the Uniao da Ilha samba school ride a float during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro Monday night. Rodrigo Abd/AP
b. International Women’s Day
Hyderabad, India: Activists from the National Federation of Indian Women take part in a torch-lit rally on the eve of International Women’s Day (Photograph: Mahesh Kumar A/AP)
Islamabad, Pakaistani Asia Rani washes her laundry in pool of water in a brick factory. Pakistan is among countries marking International Women’s Day, billed as a day to celebrate women’s economic, political and social achievements and also to spotlight the plight of poor women. (Photo by Nathalie Bardou / Associated Press)
2) Words – Crossings by Revi Shanker
Between forest and field, a threshold
like stepping from a cathedral into the street—
the quality of air alters, an eclipse lifts,
boundlessness opens, earth itself retextured
into weeds where woods once were.
Even planes of motion shift from vertical
navigation to horizontal quiescence:
there’s a standing invitation to lie back
as sky’s unpredictable theater proceeds.
Suspended in this ephemeral moment
after leaving a forest, before entering
a field, the nature of reality is revealed.
3) If you had to pick one spokesperson for your faith, besides someone such as Jesus, Mohammed, or Siddhārtha Gautama, who would it be?
As an Atheist my choice is easy – Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan talks about “the gods.” This clip is from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos episode 10, “The Edge of Forever.”
1) World In Pictures
A Hindu devotee offers prayers to Hindu Lord Shiva inside a temple during the Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh. Hindu women across the country celebrate Mahashivratri, better known as the Lord Shiva’s wedding anniversary, in hope that their husbands will be blessed with long lives.
A woman is silhouetted next to a solar panel display by solar module supplier Upsolar at the fourth International Photovoltaic Power Generation (PV) Expo in Tokyo. More than 600 companies in the solar energy business from 18 countries are taking part in the March 2-4 expo, which showcases firms and products related to photovoltaic power generation, according to the organizer. (Yuriko Nakao /Reuters)
Satellite eye on Earth – Guardian slide show – http://tinyurl.com/4pswg65
Ostrov Shikotan (or Shikotan-to) is a volcanic island at the southern end of the Kuril chain. Shikotan lies along the extreme southern edge of winter sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere. The island is surrounded by sea ice – swirling shapes of ghostly blue-grey. Although sea ice often forms around Shikotan, the extent varies widely from year to year, and even day to day. The ice in this image may have formed in a matter of several days, and it is prone to moving with currents. North of the western end of Shikotan, eddies have shaped the ice into rough circles. The eddies may result from opposing winds – winds from the north pushing the ice southward, and winds from the south-west pushing the ice toward the north-east. (Photograph: ALI/EO-1/NASA)
2) Excerpts from Black Petal by Li-Young Lee
The complete poem can found here – http://tinyurl.com/amzpwn
“I never claimed night fathered me.
that was my dead brother talking in his sleep.
I keep him under my pillow, a dear wish
that colors my laughing and crying.
I never said the wind, remembering nothing,
leaves so many rooms unaccounted for,
continual farewell must ransom
the unmistakable fragrance
our human days afford.”
“And when clocks frighten me with their long hair,
and when I spy the wind’s numerous hands
in the orchard unfastening
first the petals from the buds,
then the perfume from the flesh,
my dead brother ministers to me. His voice
but the far years between
stars in their massive dying,
and I grow quiet hearing
how many of both of our tomorrows
lie waiting inside it to be born.”
Stem cell research is an example of where science is creating new ethical dilemmas for many. At this point stem cells have only shown they appear to be effective in treating some medical problems in mice. Human trials seem a long way off at this point. If the day does arrive when stem cells can be used to cure blindness, deafness, and as the store below suggest, spinal cord injuries, than many will face some tough choices. The specific issue is the use of embryonic stem cells, stem cells from the stage in human development called a blastocyst, 4 to 5 days after fertilization.
Some religious doctrines hold that a blastocyst represents human life. Destroying one is a sin, muder. This would mean a person who believes this doctrine would have to choose between remaining blind, deaf, or paralyzed, or commenting a grievous sin, the taking of a human life.
The larger question is should our socities laws reflect religious doctrine? Should an Atheist be denied treatment to cure their blindness, or deafness, or ability to walk. Being an Atheist you know my answer. What’s yours?
A University of Rochester press release, http://tinyurl.com/68gjjwg :
“For the first time, scientists discovered that specific human cells, generated from stem cells and transplanted into spinal cord injured rats, provide tremendous benefit, not only repairing damage to the nervous system but helping the animals regain function as well.
The study, published today in the journal PLoS One, focuses on human astrocytes – the major support cells in the central nervous system – and suggests that transplantation of these cells may represent a new avenue for the treatment of spinal cord and other central nervous system injuries.
“We’ve shown in previous research that astrocytes are beneficial, but this study brings it up to the human level, which is a huge step,” said Chris Proschel, Ph.D, lead study author and assistant professor of Genetics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “What’s really striking is the robustness of the effect. Scientists have repaired spinal cord injuries in rats before, but the benefits have been variable and rarely as strong as what we’ve seen with our transplants.”
There is one caveat to the finding – not just any old astrocyte will do. Using cells known as human fetal glial precursor cells, researchers generated two types of astrocytes by switching on or off different signals in the cells. Once implanted in the animals, they discovered that one type of human astrocyte promoted significant recovery following spinal cord injury, while another did not provide any benefit.
“The study is unique in showing that different types of astrocytes, derived from the exact same population of precursor cells, have completely different effects when it comes to repairing the central nervous system,” noted Proschel. “Clearly, not all astrocytes are equal in regards to their therapeutic value.”
Proschel and study co-authors from Rochester and the Unversity of Colorado School of Medicine also found that transplanting the original stem cells directly into spinal cord injured rats did not aid recovery. Researchers believe this approach – transplanting undifferentiated stems cells into the damaged area and hoping the injury will cause the stem cells to turn into the most useful cell types – is probably not the best strategy for injury repair.
According to Mark Noble, Ph.D, director of the University of Rochester Stem Cell and Regenerative Medical Institute, “This study is a critical step toward the development of improved therapies for spinal cord injury, both in providing very effective human astrocytes and in demonstrating that it is essential to first create the most beneficial cell type in tissue culture before transplantation. It is clear that we cannot rely on the injured tissue to induce the most useful differentiation of these precursor cells.”
To create the astrocytes used in the experiment, researchers exposed human glial precursor cells to two different signaling molecules used to instruct cell fate – BMP (bone morphogenetic protein) or CNTF (ciliary neurotrophic factor). Transplantation of the BMP astrocytes provided extensive benefit, including great protection of existing spinal cord neurons, support for nerve fiber growth and recovery of movement and overall function, as measured by a rat’s ability to run quickly and easily with no mistakes over a ladder-like track.
In contrast, transplantation of the CNTF astrocytes, and of the undifferentiated stem cells, failed to provide any benefit. Researchers don’t know why BMP astrocytes performed so much better than CNTF astrocytes, but say multiple complex cellular mechanisms are probably involved.
An added bonus of the BMP astrocytes is that they didn’t have to stick around in the injury environment for very long to aid recovery. The cells came in, did their job and were gone, likely absorbed by the rats – a positive finding since transplanted cells that persist can lead to negative immune responses and raise the risk of tumor development.
With these results, Proschel’s team is moving forward on the necessary next steps before they can implement the approach in humans, including testing the transplanted astrocytes in different injury models that more closely resemble severe, complex spinal cord injuries in people.
According to Proschel, “In the end, astrocyte therapy is not going to be the golden bullet. Injured patients may need other transplants or drug therapy, and they will certainly benefit from intensive physiotherapy. But because of the multi-modal effects that we see with this astrocyte-based therapeutic approach, we’ve made a big leap ahead for spinal cord injury repair.”
“Studies like this one bring increasing hope for our patients with spinal cord injuries,” said Jason Huang, MD, associate professor of Neurosurgery at the Medical Center and Chief of Neurosurgery at Highland Hospital.
“Treating spinal cord injuries will require a multi-disciplinary approach, but this study is a promising one showing the importance of modifying human astrocytes prior to transplantation and has significant clinical implications.”
1) Tuesday In Pics
“Black & White” by Julia Maier
Rabuni, Algeria Shrawi Bachir Siad Daf rest at the Martyr El Scherif land mines victim center. More than 150,000 Sahrawis live in refugee camps scattered in the Algerian desert 35 years after Morocco annexed the disputed territory in the Western Sahara. (Photo by Juan Medina/Reuters)
London: Director and performer Bartabas trains 12-year-old Le Tintoret on stage at Sadler’s Wells theatre (Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
2) The House by Richard Wilbur
Sometimes, on waking, she would close her eyes
For a last look at that white house she knew
In sleep alone, and held no title to,
And had not entered yet, for all her sighs.
What did she tell me of that house of hers?
White gatepost; terrace; fanlight of the door;
A widow’s walk above the bouldered shore;
Salt winds that ruffle the surrounding firs.
Is she now there, wherever there may be?
Only a foolish man would hope to find
That haven fashioned by her dreaming mind.
Night after night, my love, I put to sea.
3) Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?
For the first 18 years of my life I didn’t treat anyone, including myself, very well, zero self-compassion, zero self-worth. I was able to gain the self-confidence I needed to make life work, but then went through a period of complete self-indulgence, where I didn’t treat anybody but my self well.
It took decades before I reached a balance between compassion for others, and feelings of self-worth about myself. Although I must admit to still spending perhaps a tad to long in front of mirrors.
From an article in the New York Times, by Tara Paker-Pope
“That simple question is the basis for a burgeoning new area of psychological research called self-compassion — how kindly people view themselves. People who find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, it turns out, often score surprisingly low on self-compassion tests, berating themselves for perceived failures like being overweight or not exercising.
The research suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Preliminary data suggest that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat and may help some people lose weight.
This idea does seem at odds with the advice dispensed by many doctors and self-help books, which suggest that willpower and self-discipline are the keys to better health. But Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field, says self-compassion is not to be confused with self-indulgence or lower standards.
Dr. Kristin Neff is an Associate Professor in Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin.
“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent,” said Dr. Neff, an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin. “They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”
Imagine your reaction to a child struggling in school or eating too much junk food. Many parents would offer support, like tutoring or making an effort to find healthful foods the child will enjoy. But when adults find themselves in a similar situation — struggling at work, or overeating and gaining weight — many fall into a cycle of self-criticism and negativity. That leaves them feeling even less motivated to change.
“Self-compassion is really conducive to motivation,” Dr. Neff said. “The reason you don’t let your children eat five big tubs of ice cream is because you care about them. With self-compassion, if you care about yourself, you do what’s healthy for you rather than what’s harmful to you.”
Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.
A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.
I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I didn’t want to interrupt her.
2) Some amazing, up close and personal, photos of different life forms from the Wellcome Image Awards 2011. These come from a Guardian slide show – http://tinyurl.com/5retw5k
Rows of suckers on the foreleg of a male great diving beetle – the largest freshwater beetle in the UK. Great diving beetles mate underwater and the male has evolved plate-like joints on his front legs that are covered in suckers, allowing him to hold onto the female. This polarised photomicrograph (created by Spike Walker) shows a portion of the joint, revealing part of one of the two larger suckers and five rows of small ones.
Ruby-tailed wasp (Spike Walker). To photograph the wasp, Walker first had to calm it down by putting it in his freezer for a few seconds, causing it to curl into this protective posture.
Photomicrograph of the base of a silkworm caterpillar’s proleg (Spike Walker). Prolegs are short, stubby structures that grow from the underside of the caterpillar’s abdomen. Each has a circle of hooks (yellow and orange), which enable the caterpillar to climb up vertical surfaces. Caterpillars can have up to five pairs of prolegs and three pairs of true, jointed legs that remain in the adult moth. The prolegs disappear.
3) The Henry Viscardi School, Albertson, New York, is demonstrating that the term “severely disabled” refers to the body, not the mind. Seventy per cent of Viscardi’s students continued their education in college and vocational schools.
What do you think is the greatest handicap you have had to overcome?
From an article in the New York Times, by Sarah Maslin Nir – http://tinyurl.com/4svhpvs
“Viscardi is one of several private schools in New York that enroll severely disabled children, using technology and on-site medical care to keep its students, some of whom are incapable of speech or even movement, in the classroom.
Its 185 students, in prekindergarten through 12th grade, come from all over the New York region, some arriving daily by ambulance. The nurse’s office is not just a place for students to escape a pop quiz, but also an in-house triage unit that handles 100 or more visits a day to administer medications and provide services like suctioning clean students’ airways. Almost every year, a few medically frail students die.
“We have the same expectations for our students to achieve academically and for them to fully participate in the whole educational experience,” said the school’s executive director, Patricia Kuntzler. “Whether it’s a field trip for the kindergarten to the pumpkin farm or whether it’s being part of a school paper.”
“Before coming to Viscardi two years ago, Dayna Stropkay, who previously attended public schools in Garden City, in Nassau County, was under the constant supervision of an aide. She is unable to speak, walk or care for herself, and the arrangement in school seemed to be increasing her dependency, said her mother, Denise Stropkay. In public school, Dayna repeatedly failed her Regents examinations, but nevertheless dreamed of attending college.
“There can be great isolation,” Ms. Kuntzler said, “with one student and one aide rather than a group of kids and independent mobility and a social situation that says, ‘No, you’re expected to follow the schedule, you’re expected to complete the assignments.’ ”
At Viscardi, Dayna, who is 20 (students can stay until they turn 21) has no dedicated aide. But things like bathroom attendants and a class size of nine have allowed her a degree of autonomy she never knew before, her mother said. She received a hearing aid after a specialist working for the school discovered she was nearly deaf. She recently passed four Regents exams.
“You have to get through all these layers before you get the person,” Ms. Stropkay said. “At Viscardi, you’re right at the person.”
“They study the same curriculum used in New York City public schools, but it is adapted through technology for children who may not be able to see, hear, speak or turn a textbook’s pages. Art class, for instance, features baseball caps mounted with drawing implements for children who cannot move their hands.
Along with math and history, students’ therapies may incorporate academics. In speech therapy, Dylan Cuevas, a second grader who is fed by a tube and breathes with the help of a ventilator, reads his course work aloud, said his mother, Debbie Cuevas; in occupational therapy he learns the motor skills to manipulate a computer mouse. “They are trying to strengthen his hands,” Ms. Cuevas said, “and also are giving him independence.”
1) Quotes – Abraham Lincoln
“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.”
“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”
What is a favorite quote of yours?
2) The World In Pictures – Thursday
a. Bilbao, Spain: Cloud formations during sunrise
b. Kinolawa, Japan Workers wearing protective suits prepare to dispose of culled chickens after a case of bird flu was confirmed (LA Times)
c. On Friday, a government report will recommend whether a raft of proposed uranium mines should be approved, which would jeopardize some of the canyon’s natural beauty and its flora and fauna
A million acres of land in the canyon was withdrawn from exploration in 2009 to allow time for an environmental assessment
Should mining be allowed in the Grand Canyon National Park? Even if this will reduce our dependents on foreign sources of these minerals?
NASA STEREO Reveals the Entire Sun
1) Pictures of daily life in Pakistan & Afganhistan.
An Afghan refugee girl stands with others in an alley of a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)
From a slide show on the Boston Globes Big Picture Blog “Daily Life In Pakistani”
Pakistani children gather by a vendor on a bicycle selling balloons on the outskirts of Islamabad. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press
2) From a Los Angeles Times slide show of winners of the World Press Photo Awards.
I could add a warning label, and then just link to the following picture. I won’t because this blog is about my world view, which I feel needs to include both the best and worst of what we humans do to each other.
An 18-year-old Afghan woman whose nose and ears were cut off by her abusive husband, with Taliban approval, as punishment for running away. (By Jodi Bieber)
3) From NASA
This oddly colorful nebula is the supernova remnant IC 443 as seen by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Also known as the Jellyfish Nebula, IC 443 is particularly interesting because it provides a look into how stellar explosions interact with their environment.
Like other living creatures, stars have a life cycle — they are born, mature and eventually die. The manner in which stars die depends on their mass. Stars with mass similar to the sun typically become planetary nebulae at the end of their lives, whereas stars with many times the sun’s mass explode as supernovae. IC 443 is the remains of a star that went supernova between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago. The blast from the supernova sent out shock waves that traveled through space, sweeping up and heating the surrounding gas and dust in the interstellar medium, and creating the supernova remnant seen in this image.
What is unusual about the IC 443 is that its shell-like form has two halves that have different radii, structures and emissions. The larger northeastern shell, seen here as the violet-colored semi-circle on the top left of the supernova remnant, is composed of sheet-like filaments that are emitting light from iron, neon, silicon and oxygen gas atoms, in addition to dust particles, all heated by theblast from the supernova. The smaller southern shell, seen here in a bright cyan color on the bottom half of the image, is constructed of denser clumps and knots primarily emitting light from hydrogen gas and heated dust. These clumps are part of a molecular cloud, which can be seen in this image as the greenish cloud cutting across IC 443 from the northwest to southeast. The color differences seen in this image represent different wavelengths of infrared emission.
The differences in color are also the result of differences in the energies of the shock waves hitting the interstellar medium. The northeastern shell was probably created by a fast shock wave (223,700 miles per hour), whereas the southern shell was probably created by a slow shock wave (67,100 miles per hour).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
4) Words of Love
a) From a letter by John Keats to Fanny Brawne, written in 1819 -
“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”
b) Lullaby by W.H. Auden
Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.
Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s carnal ecstasy.
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.
Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.
1) Friday In Pictures
Indian school girls wearing traditional dress help each other get ready for the Basant Panchami festival celebrations, which mark the start of spring, in Amritsar, India. (Altaf Qadri/ AP)
Whooper swans at dawn in Hokkaido, Japan. This photo earned Stefano Unterthiner, a National Geographic photographer based in Italy, second prize in the Nature Stories category of the World Press Photo contest.
A traditional rural wedding in Henan province, China, of Rebecca Kanthor, an American citizen, and Liu Jian, a local musician (Photo by Carlos Barria)
2) Human Planet
Below is the trailer, spactaular in its own right, of a new series produced by the BBC series that marvels at mankind’s incredible relationship with nature in the world today.
3) Happy Birthday Charles Darwin
Christians believe Jesus saved mankind from original sin. For Atheist it was Charles Darwin.
The International Darwin Day Foundation http://www.darwinday.org/
4) San Antonio by Naomi Shihab Nye
Tonight I lingered over your name,
the delicate assembly of vowels
a voice inside my head.
You were sleeping when I arrived.
I stood by your bed
and watched the sheets rise gently.
I knew what slant of light
would make you turn over.
It was then I felt
the highways slide out of my hands.
I remembered the old men
in the west side cafe,
dealing dominoes like magical charms.
It was then I knew,
like a woman looking backward,
I could not leave you,
or find anyone I loved more.