Bobbing Around Volume 15 Number 10


No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others.

John Chrysostom, quoted by Pope Francis


We now know that greenhouse gases are rising faster than at any time since the demise of dinosaurs, and possibly even earlier.

Katrin Meissner & Kaitlin Alexander

Bobbing Around

Volume Fifteen, Number Ten,
April, 2016

Bob Rich’s rave

email

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

*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
TPP
New from James Hansen
How to respond to negative feedback

*Responses to previous issues
Florence Weinberg

*Politics
Pope Francis Endorses Bernie Sanders for President
Robert Reich on the American fascist
How Hitler came to power
The right response to terrorism
Canadian cabinet

*Environment
Mexico City is sinking
NOAA: sharp rise in atmospheric CO2

*Good news
Another big bank quits coal addiction
And the Rockefeller Fund divests too
China plans to slash CO2 emissions

*Inspiring people
Maybe she doesn’t need to learn any more lessons?
Australian concentration camp survivor speaks out
Bhutan stores 4 times as much carbon as it generates

*Deeper issues
Smarter than you think
You must read about the Hopi prophecies
Work that reconnects: Joanna Macy
Morality in a nutshell
8 breaths to joy
Wisdom from Ralph

*Psychology
I am unable to feel love
Am I too dependent on my therapist?
My kids’ problems are strangling me
Guided imagery in solitary confinement
How to talk to children (even if you don’t have any)

*Health
How to protect your eyes from screenitis

*For writers
Pitch Perfect: 10 Tips for Writing a Successful Query, by Barbara Kyle

*What my friends want you to know
Jan Sikes gets that Texas award, again
ActNow! for Papua New Guinea
100s of Deck Railing Ideas and Designs
Amnesty International for asylum seekers
7-8 May: Cut off Coal!
Also, Bill McKibben in Australia
From Faithful America

*Reviews
Ideas and Inspiration for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers, by James Hutchings
Koolura and the Mayans by Michael Thal
You can’t escape destiny, reviewed by Joyce Scarborough
You can’t escape destiny, reviewed by Abasin Mandozay

*Poetry
Seventy Seven Not Out, Not Yet, by Ian Higgins

*Fun
A cheap way to a high?


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.


The enjoyment of riches is inversely proportional to our understanding of the humiliation and suffering of other people’s poverty.
Bob Brown


From me to you

TPP
New from James Hansen
How to respond to negative feedback

 

TPP

This is my submission to a last-minute government enquiry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

    The TPP, like other trade treaties before it, favours businesses ahead of governments. It is a way of a country signing away its sovereign rights.

    I want Australia to be able to introduce laws protecting public health, safeguarding the environment, protecting our future without some multinational suing us.

    I want Australian jobs to be done by Australian workers.

    I want to see quality control in manufacture, protection of workers’ health and safety, and decent working conditions including paid leave, a decent rate of pay, etc., instead of having to compete with goods produced under exploitative conditions.

    In other words, we need decency, not “free” trade at any price.

    Sincerely,
    Bob Rich, Ph.D.


    New from James Hansen

    I have added another couple of paragraphs to the “new developments” section of my essay, But there is no need for despair:

    The newest is a peer-reviewed article co-authored by James Hansen, which presents strong evidence that sea level rise of 3 metres plus is likely within decades, instead of the less than 1 metre by 2100 predicted by IPCC.

    This is still way slower than my prediction, but, unfortunately, moving in the same direction.


    How to respond to negative feedback

    As readers of Bobbing Around will know, I’ve been seeking beta reads for You can’t escape destiny, the second volume of the Doom Healer series. Most of the feedback so far has been positive and encouraging, with enough suggestions for improvement to make the process worthwhile. However, during the past week, I received two reactions indicating that these readers didn’t find the opening engaging enough to read past chapter 1.

    I could argue with them. I could say to myself that you can’t please everyone, they have different tastes, so what. I could do a statistical analysis, and decide this is a sufficiently small proportion to be shrugged off.

    Instead, I reckon two is two too many. I am taking their reaction seriously.

    Difficult as it is, the proper response is to put the project away and let it get cold, to seek further feedback, then to do my best to think outside the box and try again.

    So, for the moment, I’ve withdrawn the first volume, The greatest force in the universe, from this web site, though I am happy to send it to people who request it via email.

    I am doing this, though it IS hard. I’m at an interesting stage in the third volume, and the ideas keep coming. Lucky I’m trained in psychology and know how to handle unwanted thoughts.

    You can’t escape destiny is still available, free of charge, to people who want to give me their honest opinion on it.


Responses to previous issues

Florence Weinberg

I like nothing better than receiving messages from you, Bob, even though they are meant for a general audience! So keep Bobbing Around coming–its contents are always interesting-to-fascinating, and send me any other post you see fit, please!

Florence is the writer of powerful historical fiction. Many of her stories also double as crime mysteries. She is one of my critique swap partners. Check her writing out.


Politics

Pope Francis Endorses Bernie Sanders for President
Robert Reich on the American fascist
How Hitler came to power
The right response to terrorism
Canadian cabinet

 

Pope Francis Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

He has.

You might say he should keep his nose out of the national politics of a country he is not a citizen of, but I consider that he is doing the right thing. I also endorse Bernie, and for the same reasons as the Pope, this great and good man.

Who becomes the pres of the USA affects every human on this planet. So, we all have a right to an opinion.

PS:OOPS. I’ve been notified this is not true, but a story made up in a satire publication. Well, I am sure that it’s true, even if the Holy Father has made no such announcement.


Robert Reich on the American fascist

Robert Reich, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley
Hitler’s rule started with a democratic election. How much suffering would ordinary German people have avoided if they’d voted differently!

But they believed the lies, and fell for the rhetoric of hate.

Thousands, perhaps millions of Americans are currently making the same mistake.

This is exactly Robert Reich’s warning, which is a must-read.


How Hitler came to power

And the above item reminds me of a powerful essay by Thom Hartmann, which I reproduced with permission on my web site.

Replace “Hitler” with “Trump,” and you can clearly see that we’re about halfway there.


The right response to terrorism

You must read this article in the Guardian. These people commit their atrocities because they want to get the west to attack them. The only proper response is what Bleri Lleshi says: fighting hate with love. He writes:

    The answer to terror is not vengeance or fear. We cannot fight fear with fear, or violence with violence.

    This does not mean that we should not tackle terrorism. As well as addressing socio-economic misery, we need a foreign policy that rejects militarisation and wars in favour of political solutions and dialogue.

    Moreover, it is important to offer an alternative. We need to strengthen vulnerable communities and groups. We need to invest in young people so that they develop self-respect and engage in society. We need to offer them clear prospects. This is one of the most effective ways to fight terrorism.

    And to those who sow fear we must respond with love, because love is a powerful weapon against terrorism.

This report is more factual, less emotional, and looks at the converse: love and support to the victims, and courage in the face of the attacks.


Canadian cabinet

Minister of Health is a doctor.
Minister of Transport is an astronaut.
Minister of National Defense is a Sikh Veteran.
Minister of Youth is under the age of 45.
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is a former farmer.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness was a Scout.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development was a financial analyst.
Minister of Finance is a successful businessman.
Minister of Justice was a crown prosecutor and is a First Nations leader.
Minister of Sport, and Persons with Disabilities is a visually impaired Paralympian.
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coastguard is Inuit.
Minister of Science is a medical geographer with a PhD.
And 50% of the cabinet is women.
canadac

Forwarded by Karl Kofoed, from “Todd Lockwood’s Facebook page,” but there are DOZENS of Todd Lockwoods. Sorry, I was unable to find the right one.


Environment

Mexico City is sinking
NOAA: sharp rise in atmospheric CO2

 

Mexico City is sinking

The reason is, emptying the aquifers.

This city of 21 million is, simply, unsustainable.

“Land subsidence in metropolitan areas is a major human-induced geological hazard that affects buildings and urban infrastructure and results in severe economical consequences for both individuals and local government administrations.”
subsidence


NOAA: sharp rise in atmospheric CO2

There is a huge amount of misinformation out there, on the web. Naturally, vested interests make sure of this, and then well-meaning, intelligent people spread it around in good faith. It is SO much more comfortable to believe that things are OK, or at least not too bad.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is one of the information sources I trust.

They report that the standard, benchmark measurement of CO2 levels in Hawaii has sharply risen in February, 2016.
co2up

“The annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii jumped by 3.05 parts per million during 2015, the largest year-to-year increase in 56 years of research… Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years. It’s explosive compared to natural processes… The last time the Earth experienced such a sustained CO2 increase was between 17,000 and 11,000 years ago, when CO2 levels increased by 80 ppm. Today’s rate of increase is 200 times faster.”

These same well-meaning, intelligent people can choose to believe that this is all right. CO2 is good, because it makes plants grow better, and its link to climate change is nonsense.

Sorry. I first learned about the “greenhouse effect” in high school. It is 19th century science. Argue as much as you like, but the effluent of industrial activity is cooking us.


Good news

Another big bank quits coal addiction
And the Rockefeller Fund divests too
China plans to slash CO2 emissions

 

Another big bank quits coal addiction

That’s JP Morgan Chase.

The rhetoric is environmental, but I’m sure the reason is that it’s not profitable any more.


And the Rockefeller Fund divests too

Its official web site states, “There is no sane rationale for companies to continue to explore for new sources of hydrocarbons.”

They particularly mention Exxon-Mobil, the descendant of Standard Oil, which was the basis of the Rockefeller fortune. The current company is morally bankrupt and to be held responsible for much of the misinformation in the way of human survival.

“The Board has instructed its advisors, effective immediately, to eliminate holdings of ExxonMobil, and all coal, and tar sands-based companies outside the portions of the portfolio managed by third parties, and to keep exposures for these three categories of investment below 1 percent across the entire portfolio. The Family Fund’s Finance Committee will soon be entering the second phase of its divestment work, which will entail seeking suitable alternatives to certain commingled funds now held. The field of Socially Responsible Investing is dynamic and growing and we are confident that a variety of options will soon emerge for mid-sized endowments such as ours.”


China plans to slash CO2 emissions

I find it amazing that there are still climate change denialists on this planet. Fortunately, China’s rulers are not among them.

Read this report from the World Resources Institute on China’s new 5 year plan.


Inspiring people

Maybe she doesn’t need to learn any more lessons?
Australian concentration camp survivor speaks out
Bhutan stores 4 times as much carbon as it generates

 

Maybe she doesn’t need to learn any more lessons?

ameliam
This girl has brain cancer, which could well kill her. She is only eight years old.

The Make a Wish Foundation offered to grant her one wish. This was to have all the rubbish cleaned up in her local park, to make it nice for everyone, and to save animals from getting sick.

She has a true appreciation of what life is about: giving not taking.


Australian concentration camp survivor speaks out

He was 10 years old when he landed in Nauru. He is one of the few to have been admitted to Australian society. Now 24, he is studying at university, and doing his best to protect others.

He says, rightly, that all arbitrary detention is abuse. He is right.

Read his inspiring essay in the Guardian.
2739mohammadali
Here he is addressing school kids about the reality of being in a concentration camp. Photo by Jason Hill.


Bhutan stores 4 times as much carbon as it generates

The reason: unlike stupid western countries, it puts forests ahead of profit.
bhutan


Deeper Issues

Smarter than you think
You must read about the Hopi prophecies
Work that reconnects: Joanna Macy
Morality in a nutshell
8 breaths to joy
Wisdom from Ralph

 

Smarter than you think

Long term readers of Bobbing Around may remember my occasional raves about animal intelligence, memory, the ability to feel emotions. There is lots of evidence that it’s arrogant for us to treat other animals as inferior. They are simply different.

This delightful essay, with beautiful pictures, presents evidence that Australian birds in particular have remarkable intelligence.
magpies Two young magpies negotiating a hide-and-seek game, observed and photographed by Professor Gisela Kaplan, the author of the article.


You must read about the Hopi prophecies

According to this article, Hopi means “peaceful.”

Their last prophet, who was a wonderful person, has recently died at 89.

Please read his message.
thomasb


Work that reconnects: Joanna Macy

Please read this passionate essay by journalist Dahr Jamail.

We live in an insane world, which is, literally committing suicide. Joanna showed this man, and will show you, how to survive, and even thrive, how to make our planet a better place.
joannam Joanna Macy. (Photo: Adam Shemper)


Morality in a nutshell

gosforda


8 breaths to joy

This is perhaps the best guided meditation I’ve come across. It instantly worked for me. Thank you, Laurie, for bringing it to my attention.

It is a very simple, easy to do and easy to remember mindfulness meditation you can do, literally, in 8 breaths, or take your time and do it in 8 minutes.

Please spend 2 minutes in reading it.


Wisdom from Ralph

ralphwe
I fully agree. To say, “the purpose of life is to be happy” is like saying, “the purpose of eating is to enjoy nice tastes.”


Psychology

I am unable to feel love
Am I too dependent on my therapist?
My kids’ problems are strangling me
Guided imagery in solitary confinement
How to talk to children (even if you don’t have any)

 

I am unable to feel love

I’m a 28 year old female, faced trauma at a young age. Comes from a family with depression.

I try really hard to love people but I’m not able to feel anything. I only feel a strong bond with my grandmother. It’s really hard for me to let people in or trust anyone. I was used and abused from a young age and I feel I am traumatized from that. Could my past be the reason I am the way I am or is this just my personality? I care and worry about only myself. Am I just selfish?

Any advice will be appreciated.

Thank you,
Briony

Briony my dear,

This feeling of not being able to feel anything is a result of trauma in infancy. I have the same. For much of my life, I could only feel sadness or anger. My solution was to study other people, and act like them in certain situations. I don’t “feel” joy or love in the way I know other people can, but I am able to DO joy and love.

This means that my friends and loved ones FEEL that I love them. I am able to affect them the way they affect each other. I’ve been called passionate, and there is a lot of powerful emotion in my writing, and when I give public speeches. It’s all genuine — but it’s all in the head, intellectual, not from the guts.

Therapy can help. I am now able to feel something like a black and white silent movie of emotions, compared to others’ technicolor dramas.

But it doesn’t matter. What matters is what we do, whether we act to benefit and support others, or to be selfish or cruel. I’ve lived a good life, and been of service to a great many people, despite my “handicap,” or perhaps even because of it.

You can do the same.

However, the effects of sexual abuse (if that’s what you were referring to) is something else. Find a therapist to work with. I entered “sexual abuse help” for your State in a search engine, and got several promising links. Help is out there, and probably free. Do something about it.

Have good life. You can.
Bob


Am I too dependent on my therapist?

I am an Asian girl originally from another country who has been sent to study and lived in the USA since the age of 15. I had since had many episodes of depression, anxiety issues due to school bullying, isolation and maladaptive way of coping with stress.

Fast forward to the current year. Since graduating from university 4 years ago, I have been adapting better in work /life situation and making slow progress. I have no longer been suicidal though my anxiety /mild depression never left me. However, last year, due to a series of blows — financial dispute during one business transaction, job loss, relational difficulties, for the first time in my life, I started to see a psychodynamic therapist. The therapist is a credible one with years of experience and his fee is around mid range as far as I know. He is also close to my parents’ age. However, because I have not been working full time and paying entirely by cash on my own, I really feel I spent a lot in therapy.

During therapy, we have touched on some issues including my past trauma, parental abuse, my people pleasing behaviors, my passive-aggressiveness, my false self identity and my fear-avoidant attachment styles and the transference caused by my attachment style etc. My therapist has been emphasizing last session to let man, including himself to care for me. I feel he is a competent therapist and he is encouraging me to depend on him — which translates to see him more often I suppose. (I currently see him about 2- 3 times a month but have some breaks). I also plan to clarify with him does that mean he want me to commit on the weekly basis. Which is a little hard for me financially (My deepest fear is being exploited) or I should try to keep the therapy once 10-14 days as I prefer and at the meantime try to engage my friends to share emotional feelings and doing more activities. (I have became a recluse recently).

I know I have trust issues. I feel that I am in competent hands. But It scares me to depend on my therapist so much that I will rely on him too much. It is also financially taxing if I continue with him more than one or two years. It just means no new shoes, clothes/ holidays. What can I do in my best interest? Thank you in advance for reading and any professional advice is appreciated.

Dear Kim,

Your therapist’s job is to make himself unnecessary. From the first session, my aim is to make my client independent. Therapy is not meant to “fix” you, but to give you the inner strength, independence and skills to fix yourself.

You are not there to help this man to earn a good income, but for him to give you the tools to get better and move on.

If you were to come to me as a client, it is possible that after one year we might still have sessions. However, this is quite infrequent. Most of my clients might start with a session a week, then perhaps stop after 2 or 3 months (at the most). Some might come back a year later, because they need revision, or, having got stronger, are now able to deal with the next level of issues.

Not knowing the details of your history, only the generalities you reported, I can’t tell if this man has done the right thing for you. But I suggest you have a holiday from him, and try out someone else. Shop around a little.

Look on therapy as school. By now, you should have learned everything you need to put your life on a better path. If not, you need a new teacher.

Clearly you are intelligent. Read for yourself, and be your own therapist. Think about the issues, and know that you have the strength to deal with them.

No other person can fix you. They can only show you the way for you to fix yourself.

You can do it.
Bob


My kids’ problems are strangling me

I come from a blended family of 9 kids, and I’m second to youngest. I have always hated my life. I never did well in school and hated every single day of it. I was literally never happy until I met my husband. I finished nursing school and when I was forty got a degree in nursing. I still feel stupid and we have struggled financially and with bad things happening almost on a daily basis. I feel like we never get our footing and got a normal life. Something crappy always happens.

But my real problem is that my kids all have alcohol and codependency issues and I just want to run away and hide from them all! They have made bad choices in life partners and because we have always stressed loyalty, they will not admit to it and move on. It is constant drama and fighting and needing help or money. They are all over 25 and I just want to not hear their problems anymore because it eats at me and it is sucking the life out of me. How can I make them see I can’t take the stress any longer?

Dear Monica,

You got a nursing degree. That says to me that you are not stupid, but that your poor performance in school was because of emotional difficulties, perhaps the chaotic nature of home life, maybe bullying and abuse. Others may have thought you to be stupid, and you accepted their opinion.

So, you can start respecting yourself.

As you say, your kids are over 25. They are adults, and should run their own lives.

YOU DO NOT OWE THEM ANYTHING ANY MORE.

They have made their choices, and need to experience the consequences. If mother isn’t there to rescue them from irresponsibility, then they’ll have to grow up at last.

There is an organization for people whose loved ones are addicted to alcohol or other poisons, called Alanon – Alateen. Look that up on the web. There will be meetings near you. They will be of great help to you in breaking free from your kids, and doing that, giving them an opportunity to find a good path for themselves.

This can be the start of your life.
Bob


Guided imagery in solitary confinement

Solitary confinement is a savage punishment meted out in prisons and other places. Sometimes, the recipient actually becomes a better, stronger person instead of suffering a broken spirit. Although Susie Nelson doesn’t use the term, she describes these exceptional people using guided imagery.

I’ve relied on this technique personally, and in my therapy, for years. My clients pestered me into making a CD of my favourite scripts, and I used to sell 3 or 4 a week. Then I retired — and still have boxes full of CDs. That’s why I reduced the price by 25%. Check it out.


How to talk to children (even if you don’t have any)

This light-hearted and amusing op-ed by Emma Jane Unsworth is actually excellent instruction in communication in general.
kidtalk


Health

How to protect your eyes from screenitis

A rising epidemic of myopia is developing, and is of serious concern.
glasses


Writing

Pitch Perfect: 10 Tips for Writing a Successful Query
by Barbara Kyle

Finished your book? First, congratulate yourself. Writing a book is a marathon, and only those who’ve made it to “The End” understand the determination it requires.

Now you want to get it published, and that’s your next challenge. In today’s tough marketplace you get only one chance with each literary agent or acquisition editor at a publishing house to interest them in your story. That one chance is the query letter.

It may be the most important piece of writing you’ll ever do.

What is a Query Letter?

It’s a sales pitch, pure and simple. Its sole purpose is to intrigue a publishing industry professional enough to want to read your book. A successful query is one that gets them to ask you to send your manuscript.

Like I said, simple. Well, not quite. As former agent Nathan Bransford says, “A query letter is part business letter, part creative writing exercise, part introduction, part death defying leap through a flaming hoop.”

So here are some tips to help you clear that hoop.

My Ten Tips

1. Limit your query to one page. Even if it’s an email, stick to the one-page rule. It’s what publishing professionals expect.

2. Structure your query in five brief sections: introduction, basics, hook, mini-synopsis, bio.

3. Introduction. This is your chance to connect with the agent or editor on a human level. If you enjoyed a talk she gave at a conference, say so. If you love his blog, tell him that. If you’re a fan of an author she represents or publishes, gush a little (but just a little). Be real. Build rapport.

4. Basics. State your book’s title (in caps), its genre (e.g. mystery, romance, thriller, YA fantasy), and the word count rounded off to the nearest hundred.

5. Hook. Give one concise and intriguing sentence about the story. For example: “THE KITE RUNNER is a tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that sweeps from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present.”

6. Mini-synopsis. Describe your story in two or three short paragraphs. This is hellishly hard, like trying to enclose an ocean inside a bottle. My advice is, don’t try to cram in the entire plot; it will make you crazy. Stick to the central character and the story’s central conflict. Don’t get sidetracked into subplots or theme. Read the back covers of books in your genre and note how the publisher has described the story’s protagonist and conflict is in a single, engaging paragraph. That’s the effect to aim for.

7. Include in #6 one or two comparables. A comparable is a successful book you mention to explain your book’s target audience. Agents and editors need to know where your book fits into the market. A good way to say this is that it “would appeal to fans of [author]'” or is “in the vein of [book].” Keep it recent; publishers aren’t interested in what sold forty years ago. And keep it rational; no boasts about how your book will be a bestseller.

8. Bio. Tell something about yourself, preferably related to writing. For example, mention anything you’ve had published, such as a short story, or any writing contest you’ve won. If you’ve had nothing published, stick to info about yourself that you feel might be of interest.

9. Finally, close your query with two crucial points: tell them the full manuscript is available, and ask if you may send it to them.

10. Send as many queries as you like. The rule about not sending multiple submissions applies to manuscripts (once they’ve been requested), not to queries. You can broadcast queries.

For More Advice

Here are two sites I recommend that are dedicated to the art of the query:

Agent Query — an excellent resource
Query Shark — agent Janet Reid’s blog

Now, go and write a wonderful query!

All my best,
Barbara Kyle


What my friends want you to know

Jan Sikes gets that Texas award, again
ActNow! for Papua New Guinea
100s of Deck Railing Ideas and Designs
Amnesty International for asylum seekers
7-8 May: Cut off Coal!
Also, Bill McKibben in Australia
From Faithful America

 

Jan Sikes gets that Texas award, again

homeatlast
On March 1, 2016, the Texas Association of Authors announced the winners of the 2016 book contest, and Jan Sikes received a first place award.

Home At Last was awarded best in Biography Fiction for 2016 by a panel of impartial judges.

This is the second award for Jan in as many years, having received an award last year for The Convict and the Rose.

Jan started writing around the age of eight and when it came time to tell these true stories, she rose to the task and is now finishing up the fourth and final book of this series, ‘Til Death Do Us Part. She will soon be announcing its release and book signing dates across the state.

For updates, follow Jan on Facebook or visit her website.

I’ve edited all of Jan’s books, and I think we both enjoyed the experience.


ActNow! for Papua New Guinea

Hi Bob,

We have not been in contact for a while but wanted to let you know we are still working hard to ensure a better future for all Papua New Guineans.

Our website has undergone a major upgrade and has a bright new look – you can check out all the latest happenings there, including our press release on The Great Timber Heist.
pngroadblock People stopping illegal logging.

We have gone to Geneva, informing diplomats about the SABL land grab, illegal logging and experimental seabed mining ahead of PNG’s appearance before the United Nation’s Human Rights Council in May. Read about our submission to the UN HRC.

We have also undertaken a review of three major Government Plans in the last 12 months. In September, we released the first report, detailing how the government’s long-term strategic plan, PNG Vision 2050, falls well short of meeting our Constitutional Goals. Two further reports will follow this year.

You can also check out all our other recent publications via our new publication pages.

We hope you like our new website, look forward to receiving your feedback and hope you will join with us again in 2016 to fight for a ‘gutpela sidaun blong olgeta’ — a more just and equal society.

We appreciate donations.

Kind regards
Effrey


100s of Deck Railing Ideas and Designs

Choosing the best railing can be tricky, not to mention time-consuming when you are searching for ideas. To help you find your perfect railing, I assembled over 200 pictures with other useful content into a handy guide — 100s of Deck Railing Ideas and Designs.

The guide is organized by material, from wood and metal to glass and mixed media… and more! Under each of these categories, you’ll discover a stunning variety of styles, each with its own aesthetic and functional qualities. Along with the timeless classics, you’ll find the newest and most unique designs, which stretch the imagination well beyond square, wooden pickets.

What’s more, some handrail designs come with a 3D model available for download. You or your designer can use it in architectural design programs, such as Chief Architect, AutoCAD, and SoftPlan. And finally to simplify your search even more, sit back, relax and enjoy a 15 minute video showing all of the 243 railing designs and ideas featured in the guide.

Whether you are just getting started or still drafting the details, it helps to visually experience the many railing options available. Your complimentary guide, 100s of Deck Railing Ideas and Designs, is available right at your fingertips with the handy infographic!

nature-rails One of the many designs

http://awoodrailing.com/2014/11/16/100s-of-deck-railing-ideas-designs/


Amnesty International for asylum seekers

“Thank you very much. I will not forget your help to me.”
Yasmin, a refugee from Syria
yasmin

Dear Bob,

You can show asylum seekers and refugees that they haven’t been forgotten, by providing them with an Amnesty caseworker.

Our caseworkers provide incredibly important services to people in detention centres. They’re able to:

Advocate for medical attention, including sexual assault counselling for children.

Contact and work with their families.

Provide support during their refugee assessment process.

Help them navigate language and legal barriers.

Lobby for intervention for particularly vulnerable cases.

But more than that, they give people hope.

There are so many more people we’d like to help — but we need funding for this program in 2016.

Bob, we know you stand up for those in need, that is why we are asking if you could please donate $48 today to keep this crucial program running at full capacity?

By supporting our caseworkers, you’ll be making a real difference in the lives of refugees and asylums seekers in Australia. How do we know? They told us:

“Calls from the casework team remind me that many Australians do care about refugees.” — Farzin, a refugee from Iran

“Thank You so much for all your help. Without it we wouldn’t be here.” — Nasrin, a refugee from Iran

“I remember my time in Sydney, and I remember how much the people cared and wanted to help.” — Hossein, a refugee from Iran

One day, Australia’s asylum seeker policies will treat people with dignity and compassion. But until that day arrives, we’ll keep helping the individuals who need us — who need you — right now.


7-8 May: Cut off Coal!

This May, join us at the world’s largest coal port as part of a global wave of actions to Break Free from fossil fuels…

Friends,

In 2016, as global temperatures soar to terrifying levels, the fossil fuel industry faces a major crisis.

Every country in the world has now agreed to begin coordinated climate action, the fossil fuel industry has lost its social license and is slipping into financial turmoil.

Two consecutive years of record global temperatures have increased support for a just transition to 100% renewable energy for all, like never before.

There has never been a better moment in history to break free from fossil fuels.

Since the Paris climate talks, people across the world have been making plans for a global wave of mass civil disobedience from May 4 – 15 that will give the world a mandate to confront and end the industry at their weakest moment in generations.

In Australia, there are bold plans afoot to take action at the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, and we want you to be a part of it!

As people on every continent on earth shut down their countries’ most dangerous fossil fuel projects, hundreds of Australians will come together on the 7th-8th of May at the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle. Together we will create Australia’s largest ever action at a fossil fuel site.

For decades now, Australia has allowed dirty and damaging coal to flood out of the Port of Newcastle, polluting surrounding communities, exporting climate pollution to the rest of the world. In Paris, Australia joined with the world to end the age of fossil fuels. If they’re serious, the buck starts with the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle.

Click here to join with hundreds in Newcastle and show our Government that it’s time to break free from fossil fuels.

We’ll provide transport, logistics and training details as soon as you sign-up!

By standing together in our hundreds and shutting down our biggest contribution to global emissions, we can show our Government that if they won’t do what it takes to break Australia free from fossil fuels, then everyday people will.

We will put our bodies on the line to stop the digging and burning of dirty fossil fuels and call-out the politicians who perpetuate this destructive cycle. And we will demand a plan that properly supports workers and communities to transition away from decades of living and working around coal and gas. And what better time to send that message than a few months out from a federal election.

Will you join hundreds of everyday Australians who are ready to break free from coal and gas?

By confronting the power of the fossil fuel industry, we can create space for something better to grow in its place: from clean energy projects to local solutions that provide for a just transition for workers and those impacted by fossil fuel exploitation to a new kind of economy.

Together, let’s make this the turning point.

Emma for the Break Free team

PS: Help us spread the word by joining the Break Free Australia facebook event and inviting all your friends.


Also, Bill McKibben in Australia

As global temperatures rise to disturbing levels, 350.org‘s co-founder Bill McKibben is returning to Australia next month.

Bill will be presenting two talks in Hobart and Sydney on the theme: the hottest year ever, and the hottest battle of our generation.

In Hobart, Bill will be the guest of the Bob Brown Foundation, Delivering the 6th Annual Hobart Oration at the University of Tasmania on the 17th of April at 3 pm.

1. Click here for a ticket to Bill’s Hobart talk.

2. In Sydney, 350 Australia will be hosting a talk and Q&A with Bill at Paddington Town Hall on the 21st of April at 6:30 pm.

Click here for ticket to Bill’s Sydney talk.

Unfortunately, Bill is unable to visit other Australian cities during this trip as he has commitments back in the US. However, we hope some of you outside of Sydney and Hobart will still be able to join us for his two talks. For those who can’t, we are looking into live feed options and will be in touch about that soon.

Looking forward to seeing you at one of Bill’s talks next month!

For a safe climate future,
Blair and the 350 Australia team


From Faithful America

Jesus didn’t do a lot of “winning.” He didn’t “make Israel great again.” His personal brand was not valued at $3 billion.

Good Friday should remind Christians that we already have a messiah and he doesn’t look much like Donald Trump.

Trump’s candidacy isn’t just a political problem, it’s a spiritual crisis. Millions of self-described Christians are flocking to a leader whose campaign of violence and fear is fundamentally incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ.

Faithful America’s #1 priority for this year is mobilizing Christians to stop Trump’s hateful and unchristian agenda. Our fundraising goal for this kickoff month is $40,000, and so far we’ve raised $35,000. Can you chip in?

Trump isn’t just another candidate with whom we disagree. He’s cultivating an authoritarian cult of personality and inciting his supporters to violence, all while villainizing some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

In short, Christians have a moral responsibility to take him on.

We’re going to demand that Christian leaders speak up. Publicize the prophetic words of those who do dare to challenge Trump. Put pressure on lazy and cowardly journalists who uncritically repeat Trump’s bogus claims of Christian piety.

But there are no billionaires, political parties, or even churches ready to fund a campaign like this — it’ll take a grassroots groundswell of Christians who are appalled by what’s happening in America.

Donate to Faithful America.

Thanks,
Michael


Reviews

Ideas and Inspiration for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers, by James Hutchings
Koolura and the Mayans by Michael Thal
You can’t escape destiny, reviewed by Joyce Scarborough
You can’t escape destiny, reviewed by Abasin Mandozay

 

Ideas and Inspiration for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers, by James Hutchings

This is an alphabetically ordered encyclopaedia of… imaginings? story kernels of various levels of bizarreness, humour, fancy and factual accuracy? myths? historical snippets?

I am not sure. Maybe all the above.

Some of the items are a mere sentence, or a short paragraph. Others are well-researched history, covered in some detail. I found some of these to be very enjoyable in their own right. Others are horrible. They may give wonderful ideas to horror writers — but then I find reality terrible enough without wanting to read horror fiction.

The 247 page book is obviously a work of love, and must have taken years to accumulate. Like me, James clearly likes to research, and has a fine eye for the unusual.

If you have time to fill, you don’t need to be a speculative fiction writer to enjoy dipping into it. There is the potential for hours of browsing, and if you like, you can make any item the starting point for some internet research, or, indeed a story.

Personally, I don’t need other people’s bizarre ideas. I have all too many of my own. But if your muse dries up, a random inspection of James’ offerings may well rejuvenate it.

Smashwords

Amazon

DrivethruRPG


Koolura and the Mayans by Michael Thal

Koolura is a twelve-year old girl with marvelous powers. Indeed, she keeps discovering new ones. In this third book of the Koolura series, she finds out where they come from, not that I am going to tell you. All I’ll say is that it’s technology, not magic: technology from a very advanced civilization of a faraway world.

The device that gave Koolura her powers pulls her back 1000 years into the past, where she and her almost-deaf friend Leila have adventures, face dangers, and need to solve fatally important problems under time pressure.

Who wouldn’t enjoy a story like that?

While this volume can be read in its own right, it will be far easier to get into its reality by first reading the other books in the Koolura series. We don’t want a young reader to think, “Oh, this is made up stuff, can’t be real!” In the first book, The Legend of Koolura, Koolura discovers she can do things others can’t. In book two, Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback, we see these marvels already established.

But, even starting by reading Koolura and the Mayans, a young reader will find the journey to be Kool.

A Kool gallivant through time and space.

Michael Thal was a talented and dedicated school teacher until hearing loss forced him to do other things. His writing reflects the normalization of disabilities such as deafness, and shows how people can triumph because of them.


You can’t escape destiny, reviewed by Joyce Scarborough

Although I’m not usually a fan of science fiction nor dystopian tales, I knew I would enjoy this book, because I fell in love with Dr. Bob Rich’s writing when I read ASCENDING SPIRAL, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed with this one. Bill Sutcliffe is a protagonist who makes you want to be a better person yourself. Despite his youth, he’s an old soul who understands that if things don’t change, we won’t have an Earth on which to dwell, and the only answer is unconditional love — metta as it’s called in the book. The ultimate good versus evil. This book examines some deep issues — climate change, environmental destruction, religions of the world, and social decline — and I sometimes felt overwhelmed as I tried to wrap my brain around all of it, but Dr. Bob’s humor and Bill’s engaging personality made it fun to keep reading. No wonder the aliens picked him to be our saviour.

Formerly the senior editor for Champagne Books, Joyce now writes both adult and YA fiction and does freelance editing. She’s lived all her life in the U.S. Deep South, she’s the mother of three gifted children and a blind Pomeranian named Tilly, and she’s been married for 33 years to the love of her life.
Find Joyce at http://www.joycescarbrough.com


You can’t escape destiny, reviewed by Abasin Mandozay

More than entertainment, this socio-political sci-fi is a compelling and relevant read. In a world overrun with bad news and manipulated people, the only hope for humanity is Bill Sutcliffe and his posse of Metta vigilantes. Set against a political backdrop all too close to home, with the big boys controlling the masses through subterfuge, the only thing which can save mankind is Metta (love). In essence, the novel is a reminder of what is important and has been highlighted in spiritual teachings throughout history and acts as a wake up call for us all.

The plot unfolds quickly and the pace keeps the reader entertained. Particularly, this book will allow a strong message to go over with a younger readership. The fact that the main character is a 15 years old will be inspiring for the youth, who are often disillusioned with global issues such as war, poverty and climate change. Not that they need an extraterrestrial boost like Bill to create change but the message is clear; in that, we all have the capacity to love and do good, it’s all in how we choose to live our lives.

The character play gives an undercurrent of humour while looking at some grim and relevant topics. It makes the dark a little more light and is an endearing quality of the novel. One way or the other, the show must go on and against all odds, Bill will go beyond what he thought he was capable of, to serve.

Abasin is my beloved nephew, a fine young man who has already done a lot of good in his short life.


Poetry

Seventy Seven Not Out, Not Yet, by Ian Higgins

            Today, birthday celebrations,
            Seventy seven not out.
            Never again to be: hearing-aid free,
            Wrinkle free, varicose veins free

            They say, at my age,
            Memory also starts to go,
            Only partly true.
            Yesterday’s a blank recall:
            And Barb. sees cobwebs
            On my rear-vision mirror.
            Maybe true:
            Yet still I can see
            Clear, images,
            From quite far away,
            So very long ago.

            My memory’s hyperactive now.
            Bidden, or unbidden,
            Old images reappear.

            Dad back from the war,
            Over seventy years ago,
            Sits quietly in khaki,
            On the top step;
            Waits for us
            Who missed the train.

            In the Randwick Presbyterian Church,
            Barb comes down the aisle,
            In shimmering bridal white,
            Smiles: so young, so fresh,

            The vivid crimson sun sets
            Behind volcanoes of Rabaul.
            Volcanic steam and smoke ascends,
            Creates the towering clouds,
            Before the storm downpour.

            Such clear memories,
            Disturb, energise.

            But look towards the future.
            That’s a different thing.
            The roadway so misty vague:
            A dead end, just ahead?
            Or just another bend?
            Only time will tell.

When we were young, Ian was the minister of our local Presbyterian church. He and his wife Barbara became lifelong friends. Later, both were ministers of neighbouring parishes of the Uniting Church.

Ian is also an expert in comparative religion, and the co-author of a high school text on the subject.


Fun

A cheap way to a high?

blueberry


About Bobbing Around

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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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One Response to Bobbing Around Volume 15 Number 10

  1. Pingback: First review, and reorganized pages | Teleleli

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