Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 11

Bobbing Around

Volume Fourteen, Number Eleven,
April, 2015

Bob Rich’s rave

email

bobswriting.com anxietyanddepression-help.com/ mudsmith.net/ previous issues

“Humanity has so massively overshot planetary ecological boundaries, that already there is an impact upon jobs and consumption; and as a result of diminishing expectations, neo-fascism is rising. It is likely humanity’s cumulative huge demands upon ecosystems, which we seek to prolong at all costs for a huge population base, will collapse the entire biosphere as societies and economies crash. To avoid such a fate we must have fewer children, end fossil fuels, and restore natural ecosystems. Green Liberty — a political alignment of progressive, greens and libertarians that value ecology, justice, equity, and small governments and corporations — is the only pathway within existing sovereignty to achieve global ecological sustainability.”

Dr Glen Barry

*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
On reproductive technology
Another update
Letter to Monster for Social Services
Guest post by me
Two guest posts at Bobbing Around

*Responses to past issues
Rosemary Wattle

*Politics
Sri Lanka’s new prime minister on human rights
Prime Monster doesn’t want solar gift

*Environment
That snow in Boston
Climate scientists are real people: inspiring videos
We’ve caused California’s drought
Wisdom from today’s top Antarctic explorer
John Kerry has it right
Naomi Klein discovers what I’ve been saying for years
Minimum maximum for Arctic ice

*Good news
How all decisions should be made
Quakers succeed
Byron Shire leads. We must all follow
More on zero waste
The renewable revolution is working
Texas town goes all renewable
An entire nation on renewables

*Compassionate action
Who is charitable to a right-wing thug?
A Gangsta Gardener
Grab them young!

*Technology
Hydroelectric sewerage
Turn into a tree after death
New French roofs green

*Deeper issues
Glen Barry has it right
Gandhi As An Economist
Octopus personality
Nonhuman placebo effect
What happens when we die?
Buddhist monk blasts business
A recipe for serenity

*Psychology
Is it possible that I could have been raped as I child and no longer remember it?
I want to murder
Why do I have so much anxiety?

*Health
Pesticides in food
Feeling lonely? You’re at risk

*For writers
Semicolons explained, very well
Do YOU think in past tense?

*What my friends want you to know
Great Transition Initiative, September 2015
Great Forest National Park
Merchants of Doubt
Snowball for Tibet
The Simulations, by John Forelli
Writing evaluation contest
Carolyn’s service to writers
Ted Cruz hijacking Jesus?

*Reviews
Tales of the Symbiont Safety Patrol, by Samuel King
Quantum jumps, by Cynthia Sue Larson
Lucky go Happy, by Paul van der Merwe
Freedom is for the birds, by J. M. Sutherland
The Dreams of Kings, by David Saunders
Ascending Spiral: Humanity’s Last Chance, reviewed by Cynthia Sue Larson
Ascending Spiral, reviewed by J. M. Sutherland

*A bit of fun
Find the giraffe
Eye Halve a Spelling Chequer
Escape


I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.


Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.


From me to you

On reproductive technology
Another update
Letter to Monster for Social Services
Guest post by me
Two guest posts at Bobbing Around

 

On reproductive technology

An article in the Guardian assesses the dangers of current cutting edge reproductive technologies by pointing out that the fears of IVF 30 years ago didn’t materialise. More than 5 million babies have safely been manufactured, and…

This is the comment I’d left:

Global population is now over 7.3 billion. Those “more than 5 million babies” are unnecessary additions to this load, at great cost per baby.

It is perfectly possible to have a good life as a childfree person. I have provided therapy to people who, even after IVF, were unable to have a child. They rebuilt their value systems and got on with life.

If you have the opportunity, now is the time to choose to avoid bringing a new person to life. This will reduce the load on other people — and protect that unborn child from inevitable suffering. Thanks to the idiocy of our current global culture, all alive in the next years (or decades if we last that long) are guaranteed to suffer.

I am not only talking about the consequences of climate change, though that’s a big part, but also economic collapse, the effects of widespread extinctions of other species, global epidemics of various diseases, etc. All are obvious consequences of untrammelled growth within a limited system.


Another update

My essay But there is no need for despair has attracted considerable attention. I have now added the fourth new bit of evidence that has emerged indicating that we have very little time.


Letter to Monster for Social Services

Scott Morrison had a great time committing crimes against humanity when he was Minister for Concentration Camps. Now, he has been moved to look after those Australians who depend on government support, and I have no reason to believe that the change has improved his compassion and morality.

There has been an announcement that the coming budget may include a reduction to social service payments. Of course. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

Here is my letter to the bloke.

The Right Hon. Scott Morrison,
Minister for Social Services

Dear Mr Morrison,

I am on the age pension. If the level of support is reduced, I will need to discontinue private health insurance, so that my future medical costs will be a government burden. I am paying off a mortgage. If I am unable to keep up payments, I will become homeless, or need to rely on government support in one form or another.

Before reducing pensions, you need to do a complete financial analysis of real costs and benefits. This includes considerations such as those above. I think you will find that a level of pension that allows independent, dignified living by retired people is more cost-effective than the superficially obvious savings from reducing pensions.

Sincerely,
Bob Rich, PhD.


Guest post by me

The Great Mystery Publishing blog post is featuring one of my little articles on writing. If you’re a regular Bobbing Around reader you’ll have seen it anyway, but please visit and leave a comment anyway. One person who does so before 30th April will have won a free book.

Comment on my essay Writing from Within, at Great Mystery Publishing, for a chance to win a FREE book.


Two guest posts at Bobbing Around

My friend Oleg Reznik was a child in Ukraine, although he trained as a physician in the USA. He contributed a powerful chapter to my book, Cancer: A personal challenge.

He has contributed a thoughtful essay entitled The Three Evils of Socialism in response to The Three Evils of Capitalism, which I have reblogged.

Andrew Gaines is also a long-term comrade in our effort to create a surviving and survivable society. He went through 20 minutes of despair — and pulled himself out of it by writing this essay. I think, given the state of our planet, that’s a magnificent effort.

Comments are welcome to both their contributions.

Responses to past issues

Rosemary Wattle

Hi Bob
I have had problems galore in trying to get on the Internet but I’m on now. This is the first time I’ve been able to read this issue of Bobbing Around. I just wanted to say that I watched
the video on whales and how they change our climate. I’ve always been a lover of whales and whale watching and after watching that video it has further educated me.

I do hope that the Japanese have stopped their killing of whales.

This video enhanced how important it is for us to be their best friend because they are already our best friend by their actions in what they do in helping the climate. I believe that there should be a whale breeding program in every country and that it should be made a priority if we are to sustain life as we know it on this planet.

Hope you are well!
Kind regards,
Rosemary

Thank you, Rosemary.

Yes, whales of all sizes are wonderful. You know, there is lots of evidence that they are as intelligent as us? Actually, Paul Watson says they are more intelligent.

🙂
Bob


Politics

Sri Lanka’s new prime minister on human rights
Prime Monster doesn’t want solar gift

 

Sri Lanka’s new prime minister on human rights

sripres
In the last issue, I reported on Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe telling James Packer to stay at home, and keep his casino plans out of Sri Lanka. He has also condemned his predecessor’s involvement in a deal with the Australian government, which kept silent about human rights abuses in exchange for assistance with its crimes against Sri Lankan asylum seekers.

He is taking seriously a UN inquiry into claims that up to 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed under Rajapaksa’s command in the final months of a war that ended in May 2009.

I wonder if he might be interested in migrating to Australia and standing for parliament? We could use a prime minister like him too.


Prime Monster doesn’t want solar gift

I wasn’t sure whether to put this item in the “Fun” section, because it is rather funny.

A Christian group crowd-funded a 12 solar panel system they wanted to donate, from the goodness of their hearts, to Kirribilli House, which is the official Sydney residence of the Prime Minister.

Guess what, the gift has been turned down, with a very thin excuse.
kirri


Environment

That snow in Boston
Climate scientists are real people: inspiring videos
We’ve caused California’s drought
Wisdom from today’s top Antarctic explorer
John Kerry has it right
Naomi Klein discovers what I’ve been saying for years
Minimum maximum for Arctic ice

 

That snow in Boston

…is no evidence against climate change, but is evidence FOR it. Anyone with even a slight knowledge of meteorology knows this. Here it’s explained in plain language.
bostonsnow


Climate scientists are real people: inspiring videos

Read about it here.

More than 200 top scientists talk about their emotional, human response to our world.
realsc


We’ve caused California’s drought

A new study has demonstrated that California’s worst drought ever is the result of climate change caused by human action, and is likely to continue.
Drought Drops Lake Mead Water Level To 40 Year Lows Photo Urban Land Institute, Los Angeles


Wisdom from today’s top Antarctic explorer

robertswan


John Kerry has it right

You can read a summary of his speech when addressing the Atlantic Council.

You can watch the webcast.
johnkerry


Naomi Klein discovers what I’ve been saying for years

This is: we need a global, unified, emergency reaction from everyone to ensure we have a future.
naomiklein

“We know that if we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, climate change will change everything about our world. Major cities will very likely drown, ancient cultures will be swallowed by the seas, and there is a very high chance that our children will spend a great deal of their lives fleeing and recovering from vicious storms and extreme droughts. And we don’t have to do anything to bring about this future. All we have to do is nothing. Just continue to do what we are doing now, whether it’s counting on a techno-fix or tending to our gardens or telling ourselves we’re unfortunately too busy to deal with it.”


Minimum maximum for Arctic ice

No, I didn’t get confused. Arctic ice reaches a maximum each year at the end of February. This maximum has been getting smaller over the decades. This year, it’s the smallest ever.

And what is there contains a lot of one-year old ice: thinner, more easily melted, less resistant to storms. So, this coming northern summer, we can expect more exposed Arctic water than ever. This will absorb more energy than reflective light, and release more methane into the atmosphere.

Hope I am not raining on your skiing trip.
arcticice2


Good news

How all decisions should be made
Quakers succeed
Byron Shire leads. We must all follow
More on zero waste
The renewable revolution is working
Texas town goes all renewable
An entire nation on renewables

 

How all decisions should be made

New Yorkers have got together to determine how their water is to be supplied. This is an inspiring model for how we should run our world. The idea is not new: it’s what Bertrand Russell advocated. Great to see it in practice.


Quakers succeed

If I were ever to become a Christian, I’d be a Quaker, because I really like how they do things. They have been pressuring one of the largest American banks to divest from mountain top removal coal mining, and have succeeded!
quaker Photo credit: Earth Quaker Action Team


Byron Shire leads. We must all follow

This northern NSW shire is going carbon neutral.
brookfarm


More on zero waste

Last issue, I drew your attention to Lauren, a girl who has established a zero-waste lifestyle in New York.

Now, read about the lady who inspired her.

bea
Bea Johnson and her husband Scott have been doing it since 2008. She has written a book, runs a blog and offers live presentations. Links are all in the article.

I am delighted to tell you that this family have implemented what I have said in my essay How to change the world. Her conclusions are the same as mine: living simply improves quality of life, leaves more time for joyful activities, costs a lot less, and provides meaning and purpose.


The renewable revolution is working

CO2 emissions have levelled off. The reason: the hugely rapid spread of wind and solar energy.
co2growth

However, this doesn’t mean we can breathe easy. As long as there is growth, we are killing ourselves.


Texas town goes all renewable

…because it costs less, and uses less water. Anastasia Pantsios reports on EcoWatch that Georgetown, Texas is switching to wind and solar, because economics and environment point in the same direction.

Wonderful to see logical thinking in the heartland of the oil industry.
georgetown


An entire nation on renewables

So far this year, all of Costa Rica’s energy has come from renewables.


Compassionate action

Who is charitable to a right-wing thug?
A Gangsta Gardener
Grab them young!

 

Who is charitable to a right-wing thug?

When he was a sheriff, this man headed an organisation opposed to federal power. He has done everything he could to destroy the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and has been very vocal against gays, Latinos and other minorities.

Then his wife got sick and he suffered a heart attack. He launched a begging campaign over the internet. Guess what? Many poor people whose lives were saved by Obamacare, gays, Latinos, Black Americans have donated to him. Read some of their comments.

Maybe humanity DOES have some humanity?
mack


A Gangsta Gardener

Read this heart-warming story about a young man who transformed his local slum neighbourhood. He planted an edible garden on what in Australia we call the “nature strip,” apparently called “parkways” in Los Angeles. It was for all to share — and the Council was going to fine him for it.

Now, the law has been changed, and his gangsta gardens are popping up everywhere.

Ron Finley is the change we need.
ronfinley


Grab them young!

This is an encouraging report about a compassion-based curriculum in kinder.


Technology

Hydroelectric sewerage
Turn into a tree after death
New French roofs green

 

Hydroelectric sewerage

Well, why not? A city produces huge amounts of waste water. As it flows, this has energy. Portland, Oregon has such a system as a pilot project.
sewerpipe


Turn into a tree after death

Two Italians have designed an environmental way of using a body after death to feed a tree.

It’s… different.

This was my comment on the article:

    I have long advocated memorial forests: burial in a recycled cardboard coffin, with no embalming, with a suitable species of tree planted on top. (I prefer a walnut, so family can meet once a year to gather Bob’s nuts.)
    This is a nice urban equivalent, if you can get it past legislators in most places.
    Anything but cremation, which is a way of using irreplaceable fossil fuels to turn excellent fertiliser into air pollution.

walnut


New French roofs green

…at least commercial ones. All new commercial buildings in France must be covered with solar panels or plants.


Deeper Issues

Glen Barry has it right
Gandhi As An Economist
Octopus personality
Nonhuman placebo effect
What happens when we die?
Buddhist monk blasts business
A recipe for serenity

 

Glen Barry has it right

My friend Dr Glen Barry has posted another important essay. I agree with every word.

If humans were only killing ourselves, at least it would be justice. But, we are killing everything, and risk an earth that will be functionally dead for perhaps millions of years while complex life can re-evolve.

The natural reaction of those most responsible for the problem is to hold on to power and wealth at all cost, including their own lives.

It is now too late to avoid major suffering, but there is still a lot we can do to reduce the total damage, and act with compassion to those who need it. Glen sets out how.


Gandhi As An Economist

Professor John Avery has a wonderful essay on Gandhi’s ideas of how the world should be run. Are you surprised that I agree? Please read it, and perhaps send me a comment.
gandhi


Octopus personality

I learn a lot from the characters who consent to appear in the stories I write. My current project features an alien person, who is 500 cubic kilometres of complex electrical connections. It has made a deep study of terrestrial life, and has told my hero, Bill, that humans, elephants and octopuses are examples of beings who are capable of self-reflection and morality.

The inclusion of octopuses surprised me. (Yes, yes, I am writing the story, but I always learn from my characters.) However, this fascinating article validates the alien’s judgment.
octopus


Nonhuman placebo effect

I am currently reading Quantum Jumps by Cynthia Sue Larson. I am not one to believe something just because it’s in a book, so when she claimed that dogs respond to the placebo effect, I did an internet search. Sure enough, here is a reference:

McMillan, Franklin D. “The placebo effect in animals.” J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999; 215, No. 7:992-999

There were others.

More evidence that humans are nothing special. Other animals are as good as we are.


What happens when we die?

Well, in the last analysis, there is only one way to find out, and we’ll all do it. But for many years, people who have returned to life after their body shut down for a while have made remarkably consistent reports. The materialist, reductionist view of science has been to dismiss this, or to try to explain it away.

However, Mario Beauregard has reviewed the evidence in his new book, Brain Wars.

Read the extended extract.


Buddhist monk blasts business

A prominent Buddhist monk and scholar was invited to give the keynote address to a global conference on “sustainable brands.”
phra

This is an annual conference that’s been rapidly growing. The Venerable Dr Phra Shakyavongsvisuddhi emphasised that sustainability and the current global business model are opposites, and can never be reconciled.


A recipe for serenity

karennoe
Read this beautiful little essay from Karen Noe to gain peace in your heart.


Psychology

Is it possible that I could have been raped as I child and no longer remember it?
I want to murder
Why do I have so much anxiety?

 

Is it possible that I could have been raped as I child and no longer remember it?

I am a college sophomore who is very introverted. I come from a strong Christian household.

Ever since I was younger, from about the ages of 6-8, I have been very aware of sex and started to have sexual feelings at the age of 6, feelings that did not seem, as now what I would consider, normal feelings for that age. I remember at that age in elementary school I went into the bathroom, went into the stall, took off all of my clothes, and ran around the bathroom naked (no one was in there). I remember feeling sexually aroused during and afterwards. Almost like sexual liberation, if that makes any sense at all. When I was 8 I was sexually touched by someone I knew. I appeared very unbothered by the situation until I become about 12 and remembered the situation and realized that what was done to me was wrong. At that age I became aware of porn and I would watch it because of the sexual desire that I would feel, but I would feel so guilty afterwards and hated the feeling of sexual arousal that came with it.

Now a sophomore in college I have this feeling that when I was at least between the ages of 5 or 6, maybe younger, that I could have possibly been raped. I just have no account of it. I can’t remember anything about it. I remember growing up my mom was very cautious about me and my sister staying the night at my friends’ house because they could have an older brother or a dad in the house who may try to touch us (not her exact words, but somewhere along those lines, insinuating rape or molestation.) I remember standing in a store telling my sister that “when I get older I can’t wait to have sex.” In retrospect that is very odd for a child to say. How at 6, would I know what sex was, unless I was exposed to it prematurely, rather through tv, computer, or a person? Being raised in a Christian household, we’re taught no sex before marriage and that its wrong; and so I distinctly remember at 8 that I vowed between me and God that I would not have sex before marriage. Although at that age I don’t recall my parents EVER discussing sex with me or even bringing up the “no sex before marriage” notion. I find that now as an adult, I don’t like to be touched and I am awkward around guys. Every time a guy approaches me I automatically assume he wants something from me; that all he wants is sex. I am so bothered by this. Is this a result of rape? I want to discuss this with my parents, but I don’t want to look crazy for feeling this way.

Anna my dear,

Your intuition is supported by scientific evidence. Sexualized behavior by a prepubescent child is a strong indication of sexual abuse in the past. You are actually fortunate: many children acting like that are found out, and then they are punished for the symptoms of the past abuse.

Having no memory of the childhood abuse is also common. This could be for one or both of two reasons: 1. It may have occurred before you developed the ability to speak, and so it is not possible for you to put it into words although it can still affect your emotions, thoughts and behavior; and 2. The experience was so awful that as a child you internally “ran away from it.” This leads to repression of the memories.

Your mother’s behavior implies that she either knew of the abuse (and put a stop to it, then chose to protect you from memories by keeping it a secret), or at least strongly suspected it.

I have worked with many people in this kind of situation. Therapy can be very effective and powerful. You can transform your life by finding a good psychologist. If you were to come to me, I’d use “age regression hypnosis” with you. This is getting you into a fully safe situation, then in imagination you go back in time. When you are ready, you will visit traumatic episodes, but still from within a situation of safety. Then you can calmly deal with the terror, disgust, shame, helplessness — whatever emotions surface. Also, you as an adult-now can give love to that poor little girl. This is very powerful. I’ve done it for myself (except that was a little boy of course).

If you don’t want to use hypnosis, find someone qualified to use a technique called “Traumatic Incident Reduction.” This is slower, but can achieve the same result. Look them up at http://tir.org.

Not all men are predators. Trouble is, you don’t have the past experience to sort out the users from the givers. I suggest you avoid situations designed to pair people up. Instead, engage in activities that interest you, and deliberately make friends with nice young men. Be clear that you want friendship, not a romance. Once you get to know their good and bad qualities (we all have both), you may feel yourself safe enough to allow one of them to get closer to you.

With (grandfatherly) love,
Bob


I want to murder

Hi Bob,

3 days ago I started having dark dreams and thoughts I c0uld not make out what I was thinking or dreaming but after 3 nights I woke with a smile on my face and I thought that was unusual because normally I am frowning when I wake up but I knew right away why I was smiling my dreams finally got bright again and I saw myself clear as a picture and I can never see faces in my dreams clear. I always see them blurred or faded or I just don’t remember them. But this time I myself standing over a corpse. I was holding a knife and I was covered in blood and I was smiling and I looked into my eyes and I (the dream me) told me that this is my dream this is what I want because I want to and then I woke up and I realized it was true I have been writing a diary for the past days I call “my psycho diary” and every time I am happy while I write down all the sick and twisted murders I want to commit BUT NOT ONCE have I desired to rape and I just thank god I am still sane enough to not want that I cant bring myself to think about it and that makes me glad but I still want to know why do I want to kill so SO SO!!! much I don’t even want to kill someone specific just anyone will do and as long as it is in a public area where many people can see me do it and I want to be caught by the police just so I can tell them I did this because I wanted to.

Dear Mac,

You will be surprised to find out that your problem is quite common, both for males and females. This is not because there is something wrong with you, but because we live in a crazy culture.

I have worked with many people who have some version of your problem. Often, it is waking obsessions, not only dreams as in your case, and that’s worse because they can have a strong temptation to act on the thoughts.

Sadly, as you know from the news, some people actually do so. This is always a tragedy for the killer as well as for the victims hurt, and the families of everyone involved, and even the entire local community.

The people who seek help instead, like you have, are not evil, not murderers, but are decent people who happen to have these thoughts.

Where do your dreams come from?

Do you watch movies or TV shows that show horrible acts? Do you see them on the news? Do you sometimes read books that glorify violence? (This includes righteous violence, in which the hero does things to a villain who thoroughly deserves punishment.) Do you play games that involve pretended violence?

THAT’s where the dreams come from. They have nothing to do with you, but have been placed there from what is accepted as entertainment in an insane world.

Anyway, you didn’t go to bed hoping for a dream in which you kill people. The dream just came. So, you are not responsible for it. You are responsible for what you do, which was to seek help rather than to do something evil. Well done.

Next, the feeling of joy in the dreams, and when you think of violence. Again, same thing. In games, movies, books, violence is power. The hero conquering the villain is manufactured joy. You’ve taken this on board.

I don’t know, but suspect, that you don’t have too much joy in your life, and perhaps little or no power. So, the solution is to find other sources of joy and personal power.

Here is a trick: turn the obsession on its head. Every time you find yourself fantasizing over killing someone, go and do a good deed for a person or animal. Make this an invariable duty that you MUST carry out. Your punishment for having the killing thought is to do an act of kindness. This could be as simple as fishing a spider out of a bucket of water, or smiling at a stranger in the street, or picking up a bit of rubbish and putting it in the bin. You can add the act of kindness to your record in the “psycho diary.”

Then make sure you enjoy the fact that now you are the kind of person who makes people and animals feel good, and makes the world around him a better place. Celebrate yourself: the fact that you have the power to do good. No one else needs to know about this, although I assure you, after awhile people will notice the change, and will react to you with friendship and even admiration.

You are welcome to email me and let me know how you are going with this project.

Your new grandfather,
Bob


Why do I have so much anxiety?

I have anxiety and I don’t know how to conquer it and my mum and dad have recently broke up and I’m struggling really badly and my dad is really upset and I really miss him and don’t know what to do.

What shall I do about my parents break up and my anxiety ???????

Dear Dolly,

What you are experiencing is a normal reaction to a nasty situation. Your parents have broken up. They don’t get along with each other any more, but you love them both, and are forced to choose. You want both, and that’s impossible, so you’re in a bind.

Who could stay happy in that situation?

Also, your dad has moved out, and you miss him. That’s grief, and you are entitled to grieve when you have suffered a loss.

It may help to look ahead in time. Two years from now you’ll be 16. Things will have settled down. Assuming your parents’ breakup is permanent, design what the best life for you will be. You’ll be spending time with your dad. Every second weekend and half the holidays is a typical arrangement. Write down a plan for how you will be spending this time with him. Write down a plan for how you will be helping your mum to get on with life.

Then of course you don’t need to wait two years. Once you have the design, you can do these things, right now.

So, rather than anxiety about facing an unknown situation, you can take charge of your life, and make it the best you can.

Something else. Do you want mum and dad to be happy again? That probably means that once they have settled down after the breakup, both of them will seek a new person to spend time with. Some kids react to the new partner with hostility. Instead, you can welcome in someone who will make a beloved person feel better. So, if and when your mum has a new guy, if and when your dad has a new lady, make friends with that person. Again, this puts you in charge, gives you the ability to improve a touchy situation. And you may end up with four loving parents instead of two.

Separation and divorce are all too common in our society. It has a very bad impact on some children, leaves others unscathed — and makes some into better, stronger, more compassionate people. You can deliberately choose to put yourself in this third group, by doing what I have suggested.

You’re welcome to email me back so we can continue this discussion.

Love,
Bob


Health

Pesticides in food
Feeling lonely? You’re at risk

 

Pesticides in food

…are not good for you. The Environmental Working Group has listed the worst and best.
toxicapple Image from Definitely Healthy


Feeling lonely? You’re at risk

A study just published in Perspectives on Psychological Science has used the statistical technique of meta-analysis to combine information from a large number of studies to show that isolation increases mortality. Even people who feel isolated, although objectively they weren’t, are at risk.

So, reach out to those lonely people. You may be saving a life. And if you’re alone, you are only at risk if you feel alone.
lonely


Writing

Semicolons explained, very well
Do YOU think in past tense?

 

Semicolons explained, very well

In the early years of my creative writing, I used semicolons a lot. Even though my usage was correct, I got rapped on the knuckles for doing so, because, as one publisher’s editor said, “they are too stuffy for fiction.” As an editor, I’ve passed this on to my clients.

Here is an essay that has me reconsider. Maybe I was right and the publishing world’s prejudice is wrong?

As part of discussing this punctuation mark, Claire Fallon gives simple and accurate guides on how to use it correctly.
semicolon


Do YOU think in past tense?

I have noticed a strange tendency among many writers, including the authors of highly popular books. Their characters think in the past tense.

What do I mean?

“Jack dragged himself through the door, thinking I was so tired! He flopped onto the couch.”

I THINK the author meant that Jack felt tired right there and then, as he walked in. But did the passage say that?

No, the passage implied that Jack had been tired at some previous time. Surely, if he was thinking about his current state, the thought would be I am so tired!

I deliberately picked an example that shows up how ridiculous this custom is. And yet, I have read it in highly acclaimed books, released by large publishers. The heroine tiptoes into danger, thinking Oh, it was so scary… You will find examples everywhere now that I have sensitised you to the problem.

When you quote dialogue, you report what people have actually said. Consider this conversation:

    Jim looked over Sally’s shoulder, asking, “What are you up to?”

    “I’m just checking my email. I haven’t done it for several days and have an inbox as full as your kitchen sink.”

    “Yes, well, I do plan to wash the dishes one day.”

Now imagine it to be reported in past tense:

    Jim looked over Sally’s shoulder, asking, “What were you up to?”

    “I was just checking my email. I hadn’t done it for several days and had an inbox as full as your kitchen sink.”

    “Yes, well, I used to plan to wash the dishes one day.”

Bizarre?

Right, now that you understand this little point, we’ll have one less issue to debate when I edit your book 🙂

Recycled from Bobbing Around Volume 2 Number 3.


What my friends want you to know

Great Transition Initiative September 2015
Great Forest National Park
Merchants of Doubt
Snowball for Tibet
The Simulations, by John Forelli
Writing evaluation contest
Carolyn’s service to writers
Ted Cruz hijacking Jesus?

 

Great Transition Initiative, September 2015

We are launching a Great Transition initiative during September 2015. This gives us enough lead time to get many individuals and organisations involved. We envision organisations across Australia and globally championing transitioning to a life-sustaining society through blogs, articles, lectures, workshops and training.

As always, our intention is to contribute to changing the direction of society as a whole so that we do not continue to blindly self-destruct.

The Great Transition initiative – Engaging mainstream commitment to a life-sustaining society outlines a simple communication strategy, along with 20 imaginative communication tactics. This is a way to turn our caring into a new kind of action: affecting people’s mindsets.

The Great Transition initiative website is live. I set it up; soon it will be professionally upgraded. It is robust. It has access to ready-to-use tools, such as sample emails, to make communicating about the Great Transition as easy as possible. We know that people are busy, so we have set up a platform that need not take too much of any one individual or organisation’s time.

I think that you would agree that inspiring mainstream commitment is essential, however difficult it may seem. Our model is to inspire organisations and their members to seed transformative ideas into the larger culture. With this in mind, I have two requests:

1 Please review the Tactics section in The Great Transition initiative, and work out what you and/or your organisation might do during September.

2 Invite other leaders to participate in the Great Transition initiative Launch during September.

Warmly,
Andrew

Andrew Gaines
andrewgaines@greattransitioninitiative.net


Great Forest National Park

My part of the world has some of the most beautiful temperate rainforests in the world — but they are under attack. Vicforest is a State-owned company that loses money for taxpayers in order to convert forest into paper, as quickly as possible.

There is a strong push to declare a Great Forest National Park to protect the remnants. The newly elected State government needs pressure on it to go for the park, against vested interests.

Proud to say we have finally released our first of many videos supporting the GFNP online campaign.

Thanks to Prof. Lindenmayer for his amazing delivery of this content, we have 12 more of these ready to go over the next 12 weeks which should make for an exciting few months ahead.

Youtube link is here.


Merchants of Doubt

When I wrote the book Merchants of Doubt in 2010, I only wanted one thing: to uncover the truth about who was behind the widespread, and sadly effective, campaigns to undermine the established science of climate change, and why they were doing what they were doing.

I never imagined that, a few years later, Sony Pictures would release Merchants of Doubt, a captivating feature film that exposes the ugly world of climate denial like never before.

Thousands are about to see this movie, and when they do, they’ll be fired up and anxious to take action — let’s make sure they do. Together, let’s create a surge of people power strong enough to bring down climate denial.
Watch and share the trailer for Merchants of Doubt, and then tell your friends to build the buzz!

Merchants of Doubt is about to spread our message wider than ever before. Now’s the time to really build the buzz.

Sincerely,
Naomi Oreskes
Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University

Follow-up

Right now, climate deniers are attacking the film. News just broke that Fred Singer, who’s profiled in the film, lobbied high-profile deniers to bring legal action against the movie.

It’s no surprise that they don’t want this film seen — Merchants of Doubt has shown how the same “playbook” has been used on everything from tobacco to toxic chemicals to climate change. But these climate deniers have lots of fossil fuel money at their disposal — and that means, if we don’t fight back now, they’ll continue to go after the film and distort climate science in the media.

Sign the petition to demand that media outlets stop allowing climate deniers on-air!


Snowball for Tibet

Dear Friends,

TASHI DELEK!

A snowball starts small, but can grow into a powerful force as it rolls along. The same can be said of kindness and compassion.

The Tibetan Homes Foundation (THF) invites you to become a positive force in someone’s life by becoming a THF SNOWBALL member by donating one dollar a month to the THF SNOWBALL PROJECT.

The Tibetan Homes Foundation is a registered charitable organization founded by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They are engaged in community programs to meet the basic needs, including education and healthcare, of displaced Tibetans, particularly those most vulnerable — children. To continue to care for the 2,400 children presently under its support, the THF relies on critically important initiatives like the THF Snowball Project.

The Tibet Fund manages the Snowball Project in the U.S. To become a member, please visit www.tibfund.org.
tibet


The Simulations, by John Forelli

johnfWhen Ray Ality arrives for a job interview at Simulations Inc. he’s immediately drawn to Delilah, the cute receptionist. Only one problem: she’s engaged.
Ray soon concocts a plan to win Delilah over, as he and his new, eccentric coworker Bob use the company’s software in an attempt to simulate the process of courting her. Ray soon discovers that the simulations aren’t exactly what he expected, and as he sinks deeper into virtual reality it becomes harder to distinguish real life from the imaginary.
This novel is Office Space meets The Matrix — an existential discourse told among keyboards and cubicles.
You can Check the book out here.


Writing evaluation contest

by Barbara Kyle

Grand Prize: a $1200 manuscript evaluation.
Mikhail Petgrave
Want expert feedback on your manuscript? Then this contest is for you. It’s open to anyone with a work of fiction or narrative non-fiction. All genres are welcome.

It’s free to enter. Enter by sending a sample (1,500 words maximum) of your work. Entry deadline is 30 April 2015.

And here’s the great thing. If you win, you’ll have up to a year to send me your manuscript. If it’s ready now, that’s fine; send it as soon as you hear you’ve won. But if you need more time to complete it, that’s fine too. Winners will have up to a year to send their manuscript.

Through my mentoring I’ve launched many writers to published success, including bestselling mystery author Robert Rotenberg, historical novelists Ann Birch, Tom Taylor, and Barbara Wade Rose, award-winner Steven T. Wax, and debut novelist Marissa Campbell.

Now it’s your turn! Enter now for a chance to win an in-depth analysis of your work.

For details about how to enter the contest click here.

All my best,
Barbara Kyle
www.BarbaraKyle.com


Carolyn’s service to writers

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s monthly newsletter is available for download.

It’s an invaluable resource if you’re an author or small publisher.


Ted Cruz hijacking Jesus?

Listening to Ted Cruz’s campaign announcement, you would think Jesus Christ himself had offered the Texas senator an endorsement.

Senator Cruz chose Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University to give a speech asking the audience to imagine “millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values.” And today, the media headlines are already blaring that Cruz is “appealing to Christians” with a “Christian fervor.”

Cruz may not win his party’s presidential nomination, but all the Republican candidates will purport to speak for Christians and invoke our faith to justify hateful and divisive attacks — on LGBT people, women, Muslims, the poor, and the planet.

If you want to put a stop to the right-wing hijacking of Jesus, Faithful America urgently needs your financial support.

With almost 300,000 grassroots members across the country, Faithful America is the largest organization of our kind. We’re not affiliated with any church or denomination. We have no pastor, property, or charitable tax status to protect. We’re not afraid of criticism, and our small staff and creative use of technology means we can turn on a dime to respond to the latest right-wing attacks.

But we do depend on our members to help take on the religious right and reclaim Christianity as a prophetic voice for a just and compassionate society. And with the Republican primary heating up and outrages coming fast and furious, there is suddenly more to do than ever before.

Can you chip in?
Thanks,

Michael


Reviews

Tales of the Symbiont Safety Patrol, by Samuel King
Quantum jumps, by Cynthia Sue Larson
Lucky go Happy, by Paul van der Merwe
Freedom is for the birds, by J. M. Sutherland
The Dreams of Kings, by David Saunders
Ascending Spiral: Humanity’s Last Chance reviewed by Cynthia Sue Larson
Ascending Spiral reviewed by J. M. Sutherland

 

Tales of the Symbiont Safety Patrol, by Samuel King

symbiont
The purpose of a novel is to entertain. This book does. However, a story that merely entertains is forgettable. It soon gets lost among other trite, entertaining tales. Good writing also entertains, while making the reader think. On that basis,
Tales of the Symbiont Safety Patrol qualifies as good writing. This is an interconnected series of short stories, combined into a coherent narrative that uses a fun way of presenting some important, serious questions:
What is a person? Do we have a person if an artificial intelligence has emotions, feelings, personality?
Is owning an artificial intelligence that is a person a form of slavery?
Is it ever allowable to inflict pain and suffering on someone, whether that person is the result of a birth or of a manufacturing process?
Below that, at a more subtle level, there are forever questions of morality: is violence justified in fighting evil, or does it make the defender evil too?
Samuel King is an African-American, and a computer expert. Both these have clearly influenced his writing, resulting in a technically intriguing set of concepts, and a passionate call for compassion, decency, fairness in our own world.


Quantum jumps, by Cynthia Sue Larson

Narrative therapy depends on the truth that you change your reality by changing your story about yourself. Here is an example from the story I am currently writing:
“‘Without realising it, you’ve been sending out black energy, and people respond to that. You have the power to change that to white energy, and people will respond to that too.’
‘Bull… bulldust!’
Bill laughed. ‘That was an example. You just blasted a big beam of black energy at me. I expected it, or I’d react with anger. Now, try an exercise. You no longer have a sore throat, your coughing has stopped, and your temperature is normal. From the depth of your heart, without words, thank me.'”
Of course, Bill’s client was not sending out any form of energy, but the metaphor got him to act in a more constructive manner. The truth or falsity of the story doesn’t matter, only its consequences do.
Cynthia Sue Larson tells us a story about the mechanisms of the universe. There is a great deal of evidence for this conception in subatomic physics. She also tells us many stories, again based on evidence, that demonstrate how people can change their lives in big and little ways. She cites a number of scientists who claim that these macroscopic, life-altering changes are due to quantum jumps.
Sorry, Cynthia, I have not bought the connection. Those scientists are only expressing opinions about causation, not evidence.
But that doesn’t matter. I love this quote from the book:
“Best results will likely be obtained by those who have no beliefs at all. There can be a beautiful balance between intentional, active manifesting–in which what is desired and expected is clearly envisioned and held firmly in mind–and in allowing ourselves to receive whatever comes our way” (p 75).
I look on this book as a primer for achieving a good life. If you DO the things Cynthia recommends, you will gain immense power over your world. And, as with my little example about black and white energy, the truth of the justifying story is irrelevant. Only its effectiveness matters.
So, you can do yourself a favour and learn techniques for improving your life, while enjoying Cynthia’s clear, entertaining, easy-to-follow explanations of some very difficult concepts. If you never could understand physics, now is your chance to make the quantum leap into understanding.
cynthialarson

Cynthia Sue Larson has a degree in Physics from UC Berkeley, and has been featured on the History Channel, Coast to Coast AM, and BBC. Cynthia’s newest book, “Quantum Jumps,” describes the science of instantaneous transformation. Learn how consciousness changes the physical world with her popular monthly ezine: www.realityshifters.com.


Lucky go Happy, by Paul van der Merwe

luckygohappy
From Aesop’s Fables on, animal stories have often been used to teach deep lessons. As a father long ago, and now a professional grandfather, I have enjoyed many. Nor are they all for children — think of Watership Down for example.

Paul has used this time-honoured device in a delightful way, to present the findings of Positive Psychology in what is supposedly a children’s book. As is often the case, adults will get more out of it than kids, although a bright 10 to 12 year old will benefit, not only learning about how to strive for a good life, but also being presented with some simple mathematical concepts in an enjoyable way.

I love the twists of humour, like Vulture being a vegetarian greengrocer, or that HAPPINESSISNOWHERE can be “happiness is nowhere” or “happiness is now here.”

Paul has earned my particular approval for demonstrating with mathematical exactitude that money has nothing to do with happiness. This is done in several guises, each entertaining and easy to understand. And in our greedy, conflict-ridden age, it is nice to see the creatures of the Bushveld acting with decency, compassion, generosity and wisdom.

I wish humans could follow them.

Paul van der Merwe is a Guinness World Record holder and has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He spends his days working as an engineering manager for an engineering contractor that executes large capital projects fo. He and his wife, Corlia, have two children and live in Pretoria.


Freedom is for the birds, by J. M. Sutherland

freedombirds
This is a wonderful story. Many aspects of it more than deserve five stars. However, I find other aspects wanting. In part, this is personal taste, and others may disagree with me. Here are my problem issues:
The book reminds me of the “Celestine Prophecy,” which was a best-seller — but I was unable to complete reading it. Both books lecture at the reader. Actually, this delightful story is a lot easier to read then the “Celestine Prophecy,” but I don’t like being lectured at, however delightfully.
Animal stories are a long tradition, and not all are aimed at children. However, from the beginning on, I see this book intended for the young reader, while both language and concepts are for intelligent, thoughtful adults. In my opinion, few youngsters would be able to absorb the lessons, or enjoy being presented with them in this form.
A necessary part of fiction is for the author to design a world, then induce the reader to create the reality. Time and again, I was brought up against an issue that I found very difficult to accept as “real.” For example, the school for animals includes young ones from species that are natural enemies. This presented me with all sorts of questions that interfered with reality-building, such as “will the young hawks ever be able to hunt sparrows and robins, having gone to school with them?” “Why are there no baby rabbits there, then?” “How can an owl function in daylight?”
Finally, while the writing is technically excellent, there is an almost complete absence of contractions, making the language ponderous.
OK, that’s the negatives out of the way. The positives override them.
First is the author’s passion for all the things I approve of: Mother Nature, Balance, compassion, decency, living in harmony; her disapproval of greed, selfishness, wanton aggression.
Here is an example: “If you are being sad because of the grief you feel for what Kmal is going through, then it is healthy, as you are feeling empathy. If you are being sad because of the grief you feel for your own loss, then you are only thinking of yourself and not the life around you. You must not be selfish, or you will be unable to move on from this event. Life continues, and we all face the possibility of death and accept that” (p 155).
Second, I love the characters. They are fun, their attitudes, opinions and actions inspiring.
Third, I really love the author’s opinion of humans: the lowest of the low who arrogantly think themselves the highest of the high. This is best expressed in her creation story, in which humans were formed when Mother Nature could no longer put up with those animals who consistently chose the negative, and refused to advance in spiritual development. In despair, She punished them by turning them into humans.
And best of all is the implication of the whole book: how we, although we may be unfortunate to be humans, can nevertheless live in harmony with Mother Nature and with each other, and to work for Balance.
Thoroughly recommended.


The Dreams of Kings, by David Saunders

davidsaunders
This story transports you back to the 15th century. The behaviour, thoughts, customs… everything about the period is vivid and immediate.
History is like archaeology. From a few bones, we must reconstruct the lifelike animal. Historical fiction is the same. David Saunders has done a fine job of doing so, and filled the empty periods in the record with real emotion, personalities, tension. The events described may or may not have happened — but they are certainly real within the story.
One fun feature is that we follow the lives of two decent, very likeable young men who are on opposite sides of the conflict. We want both to win, but of course they can’t. And knowing the historical facts gives a bittersweet tang to reading about their struggles. I won’t give away the outcome of course.
If you want to read about the savage times of the War of the Roses, you can’t do better than this book.


Ascending Spiral: Humanity’s Last Chance
reviewed by Cynthia Sue Larson

Ascending Spiral swept me up in the action of men fighting for their lives and freedom right from the start, transporting me between modern-day times in 2011, to 800 AD in the time of Vikings, and 18th century Ireland. This is a tale of the human spirit, and how it can feel to move from a state of discarnate consciousness from human life to human life. Rather than adopting a preachy tone, Ascending Spiral draws readers in to feel the rise and fall of emotions, as the lead characters encounter all manner of challenges.

Throughout each story line, protagonist Pip Lipkin’s indomitable spirit shines through, facing life-and-death struggles as a free Irishman, and when taken as an Irish slave, transported from his homeland to Wales. While readers might hope that despite having suffered the worst horrors of mental and physical abuse of war, the Pip’s earlier incarnation would make completely heroic choices, he sometimes opts to torment others instead, which leads to reminders to him to choose more wisely next time at each life transition point.

Ascending Spiral reads like a historical adventure novel for more than half the book, especially covering life in 18th century Ireland and England, and mid 19th century Australia. The different life threads are easy to follow, as they are neatly divided into their own separate books-within-a-book, with explanation provided as to how each subsequent life unfolds.

At the beginning of Book 3, Ascending Spiral takes on a science fiction vibe, venturing into truly otherworldly vistas as it covers the life lessons of a newly hatched walking plant, and continuing the ongoing saga of drama between victims and heroes. Book 3 is also the beginning of some truly large leaps through time and space, with the experience of life as a space flower, some 10,000 years BC.

Ascending Spiral’s journey through space and time returns us to present day in Book 4, where some of the seemingly loose ends woven throughout Ascending Spiral weave back together into a rewarding conclusion—though this is clearly a book that shows the weaving of story lines never truly ends.

Ascending Spiral is a real page-turner for any reader, and will be especially rewarding for those intrigued with questions about why things happen the way they do, and how we are connected to one another.


Ascending Spiral
reviewed by J. M. Sutherland

Ascending Spiral is a book that meshes together many different genres. Bob Rich uses a very colourful imagination to weave a true work of fiction, filled with historical events, alien existences, and outer space, that follows one soul through many life times. It is adventurous at times and you get caught up in the love story flowing through the lives. Some parts of the story are very controversial by using rape as a topic of karma. Other parts of the story like the walking, talking alien plant or the guy in space destroying planets completely lose my interest. Overall, Bob Rich’s message tries to make you question your motives and actions in life, while promoting good karma.


A bit of fun

Find the giraffe
Eye Halve a Spelling Chequer
Escape

 

Find the giraffe

Thanks to Karl Kofoed for forwarding this.
giraffe


Eye Halve a Spelling Chequer

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew


Escape

A soldier ran up to a nun. Out of breath he asked, ‘Please, may I hide under your skirt. I’ll explain later.’

The nun agreed. A moment later two Military Police ran up and asked, Sister, have you seen a soldier?’

The nun replied, ‘He went that way.’

After the MPs ran off, the soldier crawled out from under her skirt and said, ‘I can’t thank you enough Sister. You see, I don’t want to go to Iraq ….’

The nun said, ‘I understand completely.’

The soldier added, ‘I hope I’m not rude, but you have a great pair of legs!’

The nun replied, ‘If you’d looked a little higher, you’d have seen a great pair of balls… I don’t want to go to Iraq either!

And thank you Max Shub for the last two.


About Bobbing Around

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You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html, or you can forward a copy to your friend. However, you are NOT ALLOWED to pass on parts of the newsletter, without express permission of the article’s author and the Editor (hey, the second one is me.)

If you are not a subscriber but want to be, email me. Subject should be ‘subscribe Bobbing Around’ (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.

Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to decline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

  • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
  • Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
  • Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
  • Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

Submission Guidelines

It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

Author bios should be about 50 words, and if possible include a web address.

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About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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6 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 11

  1. Thanks, Bob,
    What a variety of subjects! I especially liked the reviews and the humor.

    Wishing readers and you, of course, Happy Holidays.

    Like

  2. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Thank you Janis. And may your health be better than you expected.
    🙂
    Bob

    Like

  3. Pingback: Against the Institution of War | Bobbing Around

  4. Pingback: Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 12 | Bobbing Around

  5. Pingback: Bobbing Around Volume 15 Number 1 | Bobbing Around

  6. Pingback: Interview with Cynthia Sue Larson on the nature of the universe | Bobbing Around

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