News that Fits the Bowl

November 3, 2013

Clever-baby-reading-newspaperEarly Sunday and falling back on time. Actually, I’m still an hour ahead, but at my leisure sometime this morning will set life right, clock-wise anyway.
The laptop, though, is already set in reality.

Day Savings Time is pretty ridiculous. And depending on where you live in the US, the overall affect/effect of DST is dumb-negative. Implemented during crisis, DST really…results in a one percent overall increase in residential electricity. And that it messes with sleeping patterns. Oh, and also it may cause heart attacks, according to the American Journal of Cardiology…
So, I’ll wait just a little while longer — it’s Sunday.

Illustration found here).

My youngest daughter departed back home to Minneapolis yesterday after a visit, so the air around here is still tainted with a bit of melancholy, which a parent’s normal sense of their children. Surfing the world’s news, however, I find myself gladdened almost by my situation. Maybe, it’s because I’m still an hour ahead.
Anyway, some noteworthy items that caught the eye…

In Chicago a “bizarre discovery” of an out-of-whacked kind: Authorities at O’Hare International Airport trapped a foot-long alligator that was discovered alive under an escalator at the airport Friday morning, police said.
No one was injured, and cops got the ‘gator into a trash can, then turned the whole affair over to the Chicago Herpetological Society (zoologists handling frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and, alligators) — right now, no understanding of how it got there.

Continuing on, another tempest around the tea pot this week.
Society in its whole sucks of itself. There’s a lot of things that look like shit, but may not be shit. And we have the word, “gay,” which has two meanings — the old version means ‘lighthearted and carefree,’ while the new one suggests homosexuality.
Can the old definition stand alone in this modern world? Not according to Hallmark Cards:

On an ornament decked out like a Christmas sweater, Hallmark removed the word “gay” from the lyrics to “Deck the Halls,” and instead printed the words “Don we now our FUN apparel!”
Immediately, the company received complaints from people upset at the implication that the word “gay” had been “hijacked by the same-sex relationship community.” (In other news, that’s a great new catchphrase.)

However, Hallmark updated the company’s response to the PR nightmare induced by the sweater ornament to include an apology on Thursday.
“We’ve been surprised at the wide range of reactions expressed about the change of lyrics on this ornament, and we’re sorry to have caused so much concern,” Hallmark said.
“We never intend to offend or make political statements with our products, and in hindsight, we realize we shouldn’t have changed the lyrics on the ornament.”

And to boot, the word, homosexual, sounds way-not-as-much-fun as the word, gay, so one can maybe see how in this era the transfer was readily accepted and now is the ‘only‘ definition. Or together, as in, “He’s a real gay, gay.”

Meanwhile, seeing is not necessarily believing, and vice-a-versa, a new study shows we see with the brain — those of us with one, of course:

Researchers from the University of Rochester in New York and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee say their findings suggest that what humans normally understand as sight has just as much to do with the brain as it does the eyes.

The researchers found that across all participants, approximately 50 percent were able to detect their own hand movements consistently, regardless of the false expectations created.
However, when an experimenter waved his hand in front of the participants, the subjects reported seeing no movement.
The researchers say this highlights the importance of “self-movement” in this visual process.

But Prof. Tadin says it is unlikely that the majority of humans are “preprogrammed” to have the ability to see in the dark.
“Innate or experience? I’m pretty sure it’s experience. Our brains are remarkably good at finding such reliable patterns,” he says.
“The brain is there to pick up patterns – visual, auditory, thinking, movement.
And this is one association that is so highly repeatable that it is logical our brains picked up on it and exploited it.”

Maybe that could explain the Tea Party? Or almost-all politicians?

And climate change just won’t go away.
Even with just a little smidge-bit of change will cause bad shit to get shittier. A report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due out next March, reveals all kinds of terrible spin-offs from a warming environment.
A draft of the report was leaked Friday online — via ABC News:

The report uses the word “exacerbate” repeatedly to describe warming’s effect on poverty, lack of water, disease and even the causes of war.

“Throughout the 21st century, climate change impacts will slow down economic growth and poverty reduction, further erode food security and trigger new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger,” the report says.
“Climate change will exacerbate poverty in low- and lower-middle income countries and create new poverty pockets in upper-middle to high-income countries with increasing inequality.”

If emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of coal, oil and gas continue at current trajectories, “the combination of high temperature and humidity in some areas for parts of the year will compromise normal human activities including growing food or working outdoors,” the report says.
For people living in poverty, the report says, “climate-related hazards constitute an additional burden.”

And as in the case of many of these kinds of reports, there’s optimism in conclusion, which in reality ain’t there.
Carnegie Institution climate scientist Chris Field, who heads the report: “The reason I’m not depressed is because I see the difference between a world in which we don’t do anything and a world in which we try hard to get our arms around the problem.”

In the face of reality (via UK’s Telegraph): Britain is flying 45 delegates to a United Nations climate change conference later this month despite admitting no “breakthrough” on a deal to cut emissions is expected.
And the same kind of story on the UN pow-wow in Warsaw here and here.
Where’s any kind of urgency? Not found.
President Obama’s idea is to create another climate-change Homeland Security apparatus — on Friday he signed an executive order forming the  Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, but alas, a good plan maybe a decade or so too late.

Anyway, that’s enough of forlorn, asshole-apoplexy, and surf’s down on the Sunday morning news cycle, except this little gem I just spied via Open Culture — director Christopher Nolan’s first actual film. He shot it during his youthful days at University College London: “The depths of insanity are explored by a man chasing something in his apartment with a shoe,” promises the video description of the three-minute Doodlebug.
See it at the link, and dude, it is far out. Nolan’s Memento blew my shit away — I’ve seen it a bunch of times, even knowing all about it. And he’s made other movies, too.
But time is only a keepsake of our living though life, it’s right now and it’s going forward — no sense of yesterday.

So, I’ve just re-set my wristwatch and the alarm clock up in the bedroom — now I’m running in synch.
Unfortunately, time is not in a bottle, maybe a bubble, though.

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