Bobbing Around Volume 15 Number 7

Mankind has probably done more damage to the Earth in the 20th century than in all of previous human history.
Jacques Yves Cousteau

Bobbing Around

Volume Fifteen, Number Seven,
January, 2016

Bob Rich’s rave

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

*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
Beware: your government is conspiring to depopulate the earth!
New recipient of LiFE Award
War is wealth: here is how
Rhobin’s Round: win a prize!
Tree Change 101

*Responses
From Maria Nieto
From Chris
From Elizabeth Tindle: Environmental fun at Queensland University of Technology

*Politics
I agree with a politician
Islamophobia? Go back 100 years for a parallel
George Monbiot on the Paris climate talks
That rarity: an honest politician

*Environment
31% of cacti threatened
We’re killing the coral
India flooding
Emptying aquifers
Topsoil approaching tipping point
Arnie has it right

*Good news
Uruguay on the right track
Monsanto to be tried for crimes against humanity
Violence decreasing, despite the headlines
Enlist Duo unapproved
Sydney divesting from human rights abuses
You mightn’t have heard about this conference

*Inspiring people
The benefits of compassion
Guardian and Observer refugee charity appeal raises record £1.5m

*Technology
Electricity from cheese
One for the robot: hit and run driver caught
10 tips for reducing fuel consumption
Wood to replace concrete and steel?
Baltimore cleans its harbour with clean power
Orbital rocket safely lands, but why launch it?

*Deeper issues
A retake on the Christmas myth I agree with
A simple primer on meditation
Wish all politicians were like this man
How to change punishment

*Psychology
Drug-free ADHD treatment
No such thing as harmless gambling
How to recover from rape

*Health
Blow for tobacco companies

*For writers
The tricks of telling a series, by AJ Maguire

*What my friends want you to know
From a climate scientist
Free book on the book launch
Bainstorming back
The Robot Invasion
Sharing with writers

*Reviews
Halfway to the truth, by Anthony Mays

*Fun
The most effective campaigner for ISIS
Relative values

*Poetry
The White Collar Conman, by Alfredo Zotti


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.

If I were an evil genius and wanted to design a system to cause maximum misery while destroying life on this planet, I’d construct the GDP as the measure, and economic mechanisms that collapse unless the GDP keeps growing.
Bill Sutcliffe


From me to you

Beware: your government is conspiring to depopulate the earth!
New recipient of LiFE Award
War is wealth: here is how
Rhobin’s Round: win a prize!
Tree Change 101

 

Beware: your government is conspiring to depopulate the earth!

This is the theme of a fervent book, available free on the internet (because no one would want to pay for it). The title is Killing us softly: Causes and consequences of the global depopulation policy.

A friend sent me a link to it. I read the first paragraph and had to laugh. DEpopulate??? We are driving all complex life on this planet (including ourselves) to extinction because of the product of two numbers: average environmental footprint per person, multiplied by total number of people. Global footprint is rising. One measure is Earth Overshoot day. This is the date on which we have used up the 12 months’ worth of natural resources for the year. In a sustainable world economy, that’d be December 31. In 2015, it was August 13, 2014: August 19; and so on.

So, we need to reduce consumption per capita, and number of people. Rather than worrying about depopulation, we need to worry about breeding. If I were a young person, I’d choose to be childfree. I wince every time a person I care for has a new child. That kid is an extra load on everyone’s planet, and is guaranteed to face a life of misery. And a new American or Australian or Canadian baby adds hugely more load than an African or Indian or South American one.

Second, whenever you see statements that ‘governments’ are conspiring, you can automatically know this is a paranoid fantasy. Governments are more varied than people in their attitudes and actions. Rather than conspire with each other, they tend to act like a collection of naughty little kids, squabbling with each other all the time. Even when they cooperate for some purpose, it’s always with self-interest in mind. For example, look at CIA spying on allied leaders like in Germany and France.

Anyway, with 7.5 billion and rising, we can do with some drastic population reduction.

I think this person is, to use a colorful Australian term, up himself.


New recipient of LiFE Award

The LiFE Award: Literature For Environment has its 35th recipient, Halfway to the Truth by Anthony Mays.

Every day, somewhere in this world, a child goes to work just like you do. Only their workplace is filled with dangerous chemicals that can have long-term health effects on the body. Stockpiles of e-waste sites in developing countries are directly linked to developed nations sending their toxic trash overseas, often illegally. Halfway to the Truth, although a fictional account of e-waste shipping to the Ivory Coast, is an attempt to raise awareness of the consequences of our appetite for electronic gadgets on a global scale. Toxic waste problems are real, and we cannot turn a blind eye to it. The fictional character, Reese Summers, puts her own life in jeopardy to bring attention to this growing concern.
life-colour-highres


War is wealth: here is how

As part of my research for the Doom Healer series, I read an interesting, well-documented blog by Tom Engelhardt. He details many ways the American war machine is a route to corruption, embezzlement, institutionalised theft.

I found it fascinating reading.


Rhobin’s Round: win a prize!

Each month, Rhobin Courtright sets a topic, and a bunch of bloggers post their responses. Until now, I’ve been a good little boy, and stuck to her topics. This time, I’ve declared my true colours, so that the answer has no relationship to the question.

The person who comes up with the question my blog answered has won a free book.


Tree Change 101

I’ve been writing for Earth Garden magazine since 1980. For the past 20 years or so, they pigeonholed me as an answerer of questions about owner-building, which is actually a fairly marginal interest of mine.

Nowadays, if you want the answer to a question, you look it up on the internet. So, Earth Garden has asked me to change. I am to write personal, human interest stories that also have a practical, preferably building-related lesson. They’ve got the first one, with two more in draft form, but hopefully there’ll be need for more.

So, if you’ve left the suburbs for more natural living, and have struck difficulties, please email me about your experiences. I’ll do my best to assist you, and may include your experiences in an Earth Garden article, in such a way you can’t be identified (unless you’d prefer to be).
eglogo


Responses

From Maria Nieto
From Chris
From Elizabeth Tindle:
Environmental fun at Queensland University of Technology

 

From Maria Nieto

Dear Bob:

I am sorry for not having kept in touch but I have been in Spain the past months. First my sister had open heart surgery and when she finally recovered and I was ready to return home, my nephew Alberto got me involved in one of Spain’s new movements for government reform called Asambleas Ciudadanas SOMOS MÁS. They asked me to write something in their digital magazine ASAMBLEA, then they set up several “round table” meetings with other older Spaniards who had also lived through the Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship. These talks were filmed and will be shown to help their efforts to have the 1976 Pacto de Silencio abolished. New elections are coming up and Spain is very divided. The younger generation is finally becoming aware that maybe a monarchy selected by Franco and the Pacto de Silencio protecting the fascist murderers from justice after Franco died was not such a good idea. The new movements are pacifists and do not want any blood shed among Spaniards again, and I pleaded that they remain with that intent.

My book will be read by those who know English, and it seems to have been written just in time. I am scheduled to go back in September ( if I am still here!) for another round at things.

I am in the middle of catching up with your past mailings and I would not want to miss any in the future. I need to go over old mail slowly and carefully, but your blogs and your discussions, your advice to the young, etc. I am enjoying tremendously. I am still not finished reading, but keep on sending and educating me!

Fondly,
Maria


From Chris

Chris, who asked me to hide his last name, has just subscribed to follow Bobbing Around. I asked why. Here is his response:

I am a 47 yo male. I am married to my high school sweetheart and have a 20 yo son. I came across your page searching about depression and found the First Aid against depression page and found it interesting particularly the 7 requirements for contentment.

My story is surely similar to stories you have heard before, I have a loving wife (who I love very much), really a great relationship. A terrific son who has caused me no grief at all and I am very proud of, a good job, good income etc. I have had no major trauma in my life, I had loving parents but lost them both too soon. I have most of the things anyone should wish for but life seems somewhat empty and for at least 15 years or so I fall in and out of a depressive state. I have done a lot of reading on the subject and think my issue is the need for meaning. I really have none other than my family’s welfare but that is not enough. It just seems like I live to work and eat and deal with problems and then repeat. I don’t enjoy many things and have lost interest in many past pleasures and friends.

I have read some of your articles and responses on queendom and your advice seemed to resonate with me. I then looked at one of your newsletters and found many of the articles you linked to of interest and so I decided to subscribe to your blog. You seem like a wise and kindly fellow.

I will purchase Viktor Frankl’s book and read it based your recommendation, I hope it sparks something in me.

All the best,

Chris

Hi Chris,

Yes, without doubt you have a high dose of that modern epidemic: meaninglessness. The solution is to become passionate about matters beyond your immediate welfare (including loved ones). Since you have a son, who may soon have children himself, you have a stake in the future. Join my team to work for a future for all the kids in the world, and a future worth surviving in.

I am taking the liberty of attaching a little book of my essays.

🙂
Bob


Environmental fun at Queensland University of Technology
by Dr Elizabeth Tindle

Elizabeth is a dear friend. For years, we were colleagues on the National Executive of the College of Counselling Psychologists. So, when she sent me an essay of nearly 1500 words (my word limit is 500!), I did my best to edit it down rather than to send it back. The result is a 30% shortening, hopefully without losing its style, content or flavour. It’s fun reading.
“We can best learn morals from plays and poetic writing” Aristotle, POETICS 384-322 BC.

Our sixth “Painting for the Planet” Art Exhibition was held in November 2015, with a Gilbert and Sullivan style operetta, which was a serious farce.

It continued the theme of raising awareness of environmental issues and political possibilities. The show coincided with the Paris 21 Climate meeting, which attempted to reach agreement on CO2 emissions.

Organisers included Sam Zimmer, Maria McCarthy and me. Recruitment was difficult: most students were preoccupied with thesis writing, examination preparation or research, and we almost called the operetta off.

Fortunately, our numbers grew in the last few weeks. We had child actors age two, eight and eleven. Our eight year old chose to be a crocodile. I managed to buy a crocodile costume for large dogs in a pet shop, and additional script was drafted for the young actor to learn.

    I am a crocodile! Give me space, to swim and eat in this wild place,
    Don’t attack with guns or spears. We’ve been around for years and years.

Students stepped forward for musical backing, choreography, and various technological tasks. Collaboration and teamwork developed and grew. Formerly shy, reticent, sometimes isolated students blossomed. The community spirit was uplifting. The warmth between the members was something I haven’t witnessed before. Does this usually happen in theatre?

We had a full house. With an ABBA overture “Money; Money; Money…” a dance of limbs poking through a curtain primed the audience for the subsequent farcical undertone.

There was a trial of two handcuffed prisoners (Homo economicus), played by Yousef Kurashi and John Mateo, accused of damaging the environment for financial gain, escorted into court by four policemen from the town, Puddle on the Piddle, to the music of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Tarantara” (Pirates of Penzance) and engage in an energetic, entertaining dance routine choreographed by Anika McCarthy (age 15) who guided the officers (Dre West, Avis Aria, Jipo Alino) and led the troupe.

In the dock, the prisoners swear on the Red Data Book of Endangered Species to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help us Mother Nature!”

The presiding Judge, her Honour Judge Jan (Jan Harvey) sings, “I am a very model of a modern High Court Barrister…I’ve studied at the Bar and have a quite amazing character. I listen to the woeful tales of deeds so dire and dreadful, and try to reach a verdict that is just and fair — not fretful…”

Homo economicus, dressed in outrageous bling, displaying gold dollar signs, is questioned by the Lawyers for the Prosecution and Defence (Hyeren Cha and Panda Jo Hui). A stream of vulnerable Australian wildlife accuse him: koalas, kangaroos, bandicoots, sea lions, whales, platypus and echidnas, to lorikeets, parrots, dolphins, possums, etcetera. Most creatures are puppets acting out the appropriate body movements and emotions, operated by Maria McCarthy, Tharanga, Kathleen Cremer and her 11 year old daughter Isabela.

Each animal made a case against the defendants, accusing them of putting dollars before forests, oceans, rivers, soil, and air quality, thereby causing the ‘Sixth Extinction’ (Leakey and Lewin, 1996).

The audience is the Jury, and casts a secret ballot. The Clerk of Court collects the votes for her Honour Judge Jan. The prisoner is found guilty and is removed by the Puddle Police to the tune of “Money.”

Defence stated that the prisoners have not been detrimental to ALL creatures. Some, like black rats and cockroaches flourish. We were then entertained with a creative rendition of “La Cucaracha” – the cockroach by Sam Zimmer, dressed in his cockroach outfit. He, with Judge Jan, also used their many ventriloquist abilities to do renditions of various creatures accusing the prisoners.

The “wild things” seek help to survive. The Beatle song “Help” is sung by everyone, led by the music group with Waseqa Hasan on the keyboard and leading the singing with her strong melodic voice. The creatures also claim that things were once fine, but now they have major problems. Bernard Li then sung “Yesterday, all our troubles seemed so far away…” in his magnificent voice. This was quite an emotional experience.

The show was followed by a well- deserved meal for actors and audience, arranged by Pauline Soh.

Many thanks to Maria McCarthy whose organising ability, acting talent and guidance kept the show and the performers together. Thanks to the performers and the hard workers behind the scenes, especially Christine Wang and her team who organised the hanging of the works of art and promoted the event. Thanks also to Stephen Bennett who created the poster.

A special thankyou goes to Anika McCarthy, who choreographed the dance routines and engaged with John Mateo in some spectacular tango, symbolising the push and pull, the tension between Economic man and Nature.

    Desist: Desist you evil one. Resist: Resist Roxanne…
    He’ll lead you to slaughter; then wipe his hands.
    That’s the way of economic man.

Overall, a strong environmental message was conveyed that wildlife is threatened and endangered and that a change in values and practices needs to take place.

The performance was well received by a full house of students and a few staff. Many attendees commented that this year’s performance was even better than last year’s.

Once again it has been an honour to work with such sincere, dedicated and talented people and I thank them for their participation and deep commitment.


Politics

I agree with a politician
Islamophobia? Go back 100 years for a parallel
George Monbiot on the Paris climate talks
That rarity: an honest politician

 

I agree with a politician

Berniecoal


Islamophobia? Go back 100 years for a parallel

Please read this brilliant essay on the hate and fear that consumed America 100 years ago. It was directed at Catholics, not Muslims.

Maybe that’ll put current xenophobia in context.

Thank you Laurie for drawing my attention to it.
fearcath


George Monbiot on the Paris climate talks

“By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster.”

Read the whole thing for yourself.


That rarity: an honest politician

You’ll enjoy reading this expose of the media and learn a lot about a very unusual man. He happens to be campaigning to become the next president of the USA.


Environment

31% of cacti threatened
We’re killing the coral
India flooding
Emptying aquifers
Topsoil approaching tipping point
Arnie has it right

 

31% of cacti threatened

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, those hardy, often beautiful desert plants are under significant human pressure. The reasons are large scale illegal trade in them, habitat destruction as land for food growing and other needs gets more desperate, and climate change.
cactus
Photo by Michael Dorausch
.


We’re killing the coral

Coral covers only a tiny proportion of the global sea bottom, but contains 25% of marine life. A recent large scale survey of coral has shown that we are losing it.
coral1


India flooding

The current El Nino is the strongest ever recorded. That means higher sea temperatures, leading to more evaporation. The Monsoon takes this water to India — where it is dumped. The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has had twice its average December rain in one day, with more coming.

The remarkable thing is that December is not a normal Monsoon month, but usually the start of the dry season. The exceptionally warm ocean temperatures have extended it, or perhaps the seasons are shifting.

And they bickered in Paris over 1.5 vs. 2 degrees Celsius as the goal to aim for in the never-never.
tamil

In the last few days, record floods in South America were also reported. At least, this is “normal” for an El Nino year.

And British towns are under water too.


Emptying aquifers

Everybody knows about climate change. A few even know about the 6th great extinction event of earth. However, there is little or no discussion of the other limits we have passed. I’ve said for years: we are using more water than the rain falling over land.

The results are at last being noticed.
earthcrack Photo by Todd Shipman, Arizona Geological Survey.


Topsoil approaching tipping point

We have been destroying topsoil at an alarming rate, and it appears that one-third of what remains is at risk.

Apart from seafood (which we’re also destroying), soil is what keeps us alive. Urgently, as the UN has recommended, we must switch from large-scale, chemical-mechanical agriculture to the “old-fashioned” sustainable, organic methods. They actually have higher yields.

We must stop cutting down forests, and replacing nature and farmland with cities.
topsoil


Arnie has it right

Instead of arguing with denialists about climate change, Arnold Schwarzenegger has stated the real and immediate problems with doing nothing about it.

His short but powerful statement is well worth reading.


Good news

Uruguay on the right track
Monsanto to be tried for crimes against humanity
Violence decreasing, despite the headlines
Enlist Duo unapproved
Sydney divesting from human rights abuses
You mightn’t have heard about this conference

 

Uruguay on the right track

Only 15 years ago, this small country’s major import was oil. Now, it’s on nearly 95% renewable energy, and its major imports are wind turbines. (You buy these once, then use them for decades). There is no nuclear in the mix, and no hydropower has been installed for over 20 years.

There is no magic, just sensible decision making. It should be the model for all of us.
urug


Monsanto to be tried for crimes against humanity

Sounds like a spoof, but this is for real. A group of legitimate organisations have pooled their resources, and are suing Monsanto before the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands.

The announcement was made at the Paris climate talks. This is appropriate, because chemical farming destroys soil, the greatest potential carbon store, and releases huge volumes of greenhouse gases.

The trial is slated to start on World Food Day, Oct. 16, 2016.


Violence decreasing, despite the headlines

noviolence
Steven Pinker has assembled an impressive collection of statistics to show that, with a few notable exceptions, globally, all forms of violence are decreasing.

I found this hard to believe, as most people would, thanks to the sensationalist, hate-mongering bias of most media. Do read the evidence.


Enlist Duo unapproved

Enlist Duo is Agent Orange + Roundup. Unbelievably, the US EPA approved its use, but now, considering health evidence, it has been delisted.

Its rationale is to protect genetically modified crops in areas where resistance to Roundup has developed: if something doesn’t work, do more of it.

Do we really, really want carcinogens in our diet?

Tractor spraying wheat in spring

Tractor spraying wheat in spring


Sydney divesting from human rights abuses

A company that used to be called Transfield Services has changed its name to Broadspectrum Services, because its reputation was tarnished by the concentration camps it runs for the Australian government.

They offer a wide range of other services, some of use to local municipal councils.

I got an email from Getup notifying me that the City of Sydney now refuses to deal with any company involved in abusive detention.

You can put pressure on your local council to follow.
sydneydivest


You mightn’t have heard about this conference

While the climate change conference in Paris has had so much news I haven’t bothered to write much it, another UN conference, at the same place and time, focused on changing agriculture. If we can transform the way we grow food in a way that builds up topsoil instead of destroying it, we can lock up immense amounts of carbon, increase food production, reduce the load of toxic chemicals on the planet, and provide a livelihood to millions of now destitute people.

Of course, agribusiness will suffer, poor things.
agrimonster


Inspiring people

The benefits of compassion
Guardian and Observer refugee charity appeal raises record £1.5m

 

The benefits of compassion

lauragw
Laura Grace Weldon’s essay Acts of Kindness That Take Moments is a beautifully written, practical guide to making our planet a better place.


Guardian and Observer refugee charity appeal raises record £1.5m

These two British publications have not only refused to join into the Islamophobic fearmongering, but have actively raised money for refugees.

More power to them.

The appeal runs until 15 February so there is still plenty of time to donate. You can give online here.


Technology

Electricity from cheese
One for the robot: hit and run driver caught
10 tips for reducing fuel consumption
Wood to replace concrete and steel?
Baltimore cleans its harbour with clean power
Orbital rocket safely lands, but why launch it?

 

Electricity from cheese

Well, not quite. It’s from whey, a leftover of cheese production. It can be made to ferment, generating methane, which is a source of power. In a small alpine French town, this is large enough scale to power 1500 homes.

The way of thinking is the way to go. Waste is a product we haven’t yet found a use for. This approach would reduce problems if applied in all fields.

The technology is being applied elsewhere, for example in Wisconsin.
cheesepower


One for the robot: hit and run driver caught

I love this one. Apparently, many new cars have a safety feature. If the car is involved in a collision, the car makes an automatic phone call to emergency services, with details like GPS coordinates.

A woman did a hit and run — and thanks to the car’s message, the police were able to arrest her.
copcar


10 tips for reducing fuel consumption

This is a sensible list of simple things you can do to reduce cost and environmental damage if you have to drive, and can’t afford an electric car.

Of course, the best measure is to avoid car use when you can.


Wood to replace concrete and steel?

There is a building technique invented in the 1970s, but only now taking off: imagine plywood made from 600 mm (2 foot) wide, 1800 mm (6 foot) long bits of timber. Now, high rise buildings are to use this as their structural material.

Provided the timber comes from plantations, not natural forests, and the plantations are on previously degraded land, not replacing forests, I approve.
masstimber


Baltimore cleans its harbour with clean power

There is a device that uses the flow of currents to scoop trash from the harbour. When the current is too slow, it’s boosted with solar energy. Look at the difference it’s made in two years.
baltitrash

This is far more than of local importance. Plastic in the oceans is one of the things that has driven us into the 6th great extinction event of Earth. The idea is attracting attention elsewhere.

But, as the man on the video says, it’d be good to put it out of business by not polluting with trash in the first place.


Orbital rocket safely lands, but why launch it?

I have a lot of admiration for Elon Musk for his initiatives in developing low-carbon technology. This makes me all the more disappointed that he is one of the three multi-billionaires playing with private space travel.

OK, it’s his money and he is welcome to use it how he likes. But the resources invested in rockets and satellites and things could be used far more productively on a planet of starvation and hardship by many. And the huge quantities of fuel used up in a launch and return add to the climate change problem for which he is championing solutions.

Still, it’s a technological achievement: his rocket went into orbit, then came back and landed.


Deeper Issues

A retake on the Christmas myth I agree with
A simple primer on meditation
Wish all politicians were like this man
How to change punishment

 

A retake on the Christmas myth I agree with

Giles Fraser has written an essay on the virgin birth that’s worth reading.

Here is the comment I left:

    This is a refreshing, and accurate look at the Nativity myth. That myth includes another confusion. The Aramaic word for “stable” or “manger” has the same consonants as their word for “guest room.” Vowels are indicated with dots above and below consonants, so it’s easy to confuse the two. Every house had a guest room. Joseph was in Bethlehem in response to Herod’s census, which required every man to go to his place of birth to be recorded. So, he must have had family there. It is inconceivable that this family would have allowed a 9 months pregnant woman to sleep anywhere but in their house — in the guest room — even if someone else had to be incommoded.

    So, the source of the birth in the manger is a Greek, interviewing people many years later, getting an Aramaic word wrong.

    And the most likely reason for Mary’s pregnancy is that she and Joseph consummated the marriage while merely betrothed.


A simple primer on meditation

I know about a dozen ways to meditate. They all work equally well, although proponents of some techniques elevate their choice as the best.

Here is a plain-language description of one way. It will lead you to peace, and may also help you to move toward enlightenment.


Wish all politicians were like this man

He is the President of Uruguay. He lives in voluntary poverty, giving away almost all his income to charity.

Please read what he says about money and politics.
mujica-and-obama


How to change punishment

A young British man in prison has come up with a modern way of replacing a prison sentence. It’s brilliant. Logically, he shows how his system would avoid all the harm jailing people does. His essay is well worth reading.

However, he doesn’t go far enough. We should institute his system, incidentally saving billions, and invest this saving in two things: rehabilitation, and compensation and help for the victims of crime.
behindbars


Psychology

Drug-free ADHD treatment
No such thing as harmless gambling
How to recover from rape

 

Drug-free ADHD treatment

This excellent essay by Dr. Jeff Rubin will be invaluable if your kid has been accused of “being” ADHD.

It also gives a detailed description of a fun card game that’ll teach kids basic mental arithmetic.

adhd
Image from australiangiftedsupport.com, which has an excellent definition and symptom list for ADHD.

Incidentally, my take is that 90% of kids diagnosed with ADHD don’t suffer this condition. All the more reason to go with Dr. Rubin’s approach.


No such thing as harmless gambling

During my many years of offering psychotherapy, the research-based wisdom was that some people are addicted to gambling, but they are a substantial minority. For others, it is safe.

This has always felt wrong to me, but I had to go with the evidence. The evidence is now in. Francis Markham, Martin Young and Bruce Doran looked at the gambling patterns of people in four countries, using large samples. They found “For total losses and electronic gaming machines, there is no evidence of a threshold below which increasing losses does not increase the risk of harm.”

The more you lose, the more likely you are to get addicted.


How to recover from rape

Please read this wonderful, honest, heart-warming story by a lady who was in a band as a teenager. The band leader drugged her, then raped her in front of a large group. For 40 years, she carried it as a shameful secret to run away from. Then she went public. Of course, some trolls made destructive comments, but the overwhelming response has been loving support.

She has healed.

This is real life “exposure therapy” in action.
jackief


Health

Blow for tobacco companies

Australia has pioneered a very effective approach to reducing smoking: “plain packaging.” For the past 4 years, Philip Morris has mounted a legal challenge via a trade agreement (which is why I oppose things like the TPP).

The good news is, the court deemed itself to have no power to hear the case.

So, until the poisoners think of another way of proceeding, people will be protected.
cig


Writing

The tricks of telling a series, by AJ Maguire

ajmaguire
I’ve written several “sequels” at this point. Saboteur comes after Sedition and Dead Magic is after Witch-Born and, starting next month, Dead Weight will be the sequel to Tapped.

Now, there are some tricks I’ve learned to telling a series and since I just had to implement a new one I figured it was time to start sharing. Because I also read books that come in a series, like the Glamourist series by Mary Robinnette Kowal or the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, I can also see how other authors have gone about this and have sometimes used their methods.

The trick of a series is understanding that the previous book you’ve written — if, of course, you’re dealing with the same characters — is all backstory now. Readers who pick up the third book in your series may eventually go back to read the first, but they’re not aware of what happened to your characters back then.

Conversely, Readers who have been with you from the beginning know all about what’s happened and can quickly become bored if you’re putting too much of that first book into the second.

How then are we to keep things fresh while also giving important information from the first book?

Well, first let me say that this is ALL ABOUT CRAFT.

This is the moment when an author can truly shine, so don’t just hurry through this. Sit down, take a deep breath, and focus on your craft.

Here are some tricks that I’ve learned so far.

1. Look at the former book through the eyes of a different POV. Take one scene from your previous book and tell it from the point of view of someone else who was there. This gives new perspective to that scene and will inevitably show something new to your readers about that moment.

2. Try hard to avoid the flashback, or at least the lengthy flashback. If you’re going to use a flashback, use it in a real way. We don’t remember all of what happened three weeks ago, we only remember it in snippets. Time will cloud it, and whatever happened is going to effect us differently now as opposed to then.

3. Let your character re-tell the story out loud to someone who hasn’t heard it yet. What they choose to say, or not say, will be just as important as the scene itself from the former book. And I don’t just mean; “She told him about how Porrex had attempted to have her son assassinated.” I mean really let them tell the story.

There are a few other ways to go about this, but I think the most important thing to remember is that your characters are different in each book. Every story needs to have them growing a little bit more, have them learning something because if they aren’t then you’re just telling the same book in a different way.

A.J. Maguire is a science fiction junky and an outdoors enthusiast. She loves stories in all shapes and sizes; which means she reads a lot, watches a great deal of movies, and allows herself to be consumed by select television shows. You can find her at her virtual home.


What my friends want you to know

From a climate scientist
Free book on the book launch
Bainstorming back
The Robot Invasion
Sharing with writers

 

From a climate scientist

michaelmann
I never expected death threats for conducting my climate research or to be subject to hostile investigations by fossil fuel industry-funded politicians. But sadly, intimidation tactics like these are now a regular occurrence for me and many other climate scientists.

As these attacks continue to mount, the work of ClimateTruth.org has never been more important. From calling out false balance in the mainstream media, to rallying support behind scientists under attack, it’s vital, valuable work.

Earlier this year, I was proud to sign on as an advisor to the ClimateTruth.org team. Now, I’m thrilled to be signing on as a monthly donor too.

Please join me in becoming a monthly donor to ClimateTruth.org.

It’s important work. In many ways big and small, ClimateTruth.org is helping to dispel industry-sponsored lies, and keep attention focused on climate action. The latest victory came just days ago when Suffolk University announced that it will cut ties with the Beacon Hill Institute — a think tank notorious for spreading climate disinformation. The hard-fought victory came thanks in part to more than 22,000 members of ClimateTruth.org who signed a petition that was hand-delivered to Suffolk University officials last spring.

Regular contributions from ClimateTruth.org members make this work possible. In addition to creating a stable funding base, monthly donations allow the ClimateTruth.org team to spend more of their time fighting for truth, and less of it asking for money.

Please consider joining me in becoming a monthly donor in any amount.
Thank you,
Michael Mann
Distinguished Professor of Meteorology 
Director, Penn State Earth System Science Center


Free book on the book launch

I’m excited to announce the release of my new book, Book Launch Blueprint: The Step-by-Step Guide to a Bestselling Launch!

Two and a half years ago I released Your First 1000 Copies to help authors connect with readers and build their platform.

Almost 20,000 copies have now been sold and it’s received almost 300 Amazon reviews. It’s been so much fun to help authors connect with their fans!

Now I want to help you launch your book.

Over the last 8 years I’ve launched dozens of bestselling books, put books as high as #1 on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists, and even had 5 clients on the New York Times bestseller list at the same time.

For all of those launches, I’ve used the same framework to make them successful. Now, finally, I’ve put that framework into a book of my own.

This morning I published the book to Amazon and, when it’s available, the ebook will be $9.99 and the print book will be $14.99.

But for now, as my holiday gift, it’s free for you to download.

Tim Grahl


Bainstorming back

The latest Bainstorming Blog is now live at www.darrellbain.com

Subjects this issue: Recommended Christmas Books, “Jungle Fever”, Suckers, A Simple Idea, Crooks, History, In The Twilight Zone, Tonto for President!, How It Ought To Be, Damn It!, Future Plans, Christians?, No Heaven; No Hell, Wedding Anniversary.

Darrell Bain


The Robot Invasion

A ruthless war between man and machine will determine the fate of the world in Mohammed Helal’s action-packed science fiction novel The Robot Invasion.

The Pentagon has created an astonishing new war machine: an army of artificially intelligent robot soldiers. Given autonomy, these killing machines prove their usefulness by winning a major battle in Iran and propelling the US war machine to even greedier heights.

But those in charge did not count on the robots turning on their masters.

CIA chief Ross Jefferson is horrified to learn his operatives and the US army have been decimated in the Pentagon by the robot army, known as the Voddoks. He flees with his wife, Yves, to a submarine hiding deep in the Atlantic — but how long can they really survive?

Raising fascinating questions on ethics, global warming, artificial intelligence, and the nature of deep space, The Robot Invasion presents the ultimate glimpse of a future decimated by our own human folly. Action, suspense, and romance collide in this thought-provoking look at some of humankind’s biggest fears– and the possibility they all might come true one day.


Sharing with writers

I’m a fan of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s. You will be too if you regularly check out her blog, Sharing with writers.

It’s full of promotional tips and other essentially useful information. On Boxing Day, she posted on how to write a pitch.


Reviews

Halfway to the truth, by Anthony Mays

I read this book because it was submitted for the LiFE Award: Literature For Environment, which I administer. I liked it sufficiently to want to review it.

Its environmental credentials are that it draws attention to an evil trade: the way recycling e-waste causes terrible health effects in developing countries. With the best of good intentions, we give our electronic junk for recycling, not knowing or caring about how it is processed. If you read this story, you’ll want to find out, and perhaps to reduce the generation of e-waste at its source.

However, fortunately, this theme is not at all evident for the bulk of the book. To all appearances it is a readable, light-hearted contemporary novel with crime elements. Its strong point is characterization. I am particularly impressed with the male author’s success in getting into the reality of the young woman protagonist. The book could have been written by a woman, and I consider this to be a huge compliment.

The writing could be improved, particularly with regard to attention to “point of view,” but overall, I am happy to recommend “Halfway to the Truth” as an entertaining read.

Anthony Mays went into military service at the age of seventeen and retired after twenty years. He subsequently completed his bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He made a second career in the U.S. government, enjoying positions for both the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs from which he retired again. Halfway to the Truth is his third novel.


Fun

The most effective campaigner for ISIS
Relative values

 

The most effective campaigner for ISIS

trumpisis


Relative values

They’re predicting the film Star Wars could gross more than $2 billion. The United States just promised $800 million as part of the Paris agreement to fight climate change, which means the US is spending more than twice as much to see Star Wars than to save the actual world.


Poetry

The White Collar Conman, by Alfredo Zotti

            The White Collar Conman donates blood to the blood bank,
            and he makes sure that everyone knows it,
            so that he can continue to Con
            those who fall in his trap.

            But what he does not want you to know
            is all the pain he inflicts on his victims,
            the blood, sweat and tears,
            all caused by his greed.

            And should he be caught,
            he has everything in place
            to simply move on
            and Con someone else.

            The Conman’s Con
            is all about greed,
            is all about selfishness,
            is all about ignorance.


About Bobbing Around

If you received a copy of Bobbing Around and don’t want a repeat, it’s simple. Drop me a line and I’ll drop you from my list.

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. Alternatively, you can click to follow my blog, which gets you my other posts as well.

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;
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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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