Bobbing Around Volume 15 Number 11

The Paris agreement is historic in the sense that the Munich Agreement was historic–a catastrophic act of appeasement meant to maintain business-as-usual arrangements.
Ezra Silk

The biggest myth about the climate debate is that there is one.
Robert Redford

Bobbing Around

Volume Fifteen, Number Eleven,
May, 2016

Bob Rich’s rave

email    previous issues

*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
49 years
Major job completed
Australian election coming
Keep coal in the ground

*Responses to previous issues
Veronica-Mae Soar
Sam Luxenburg

Politicians ignore the biggest issue
Is Hillary getting money from big oil?
Naomi Klein on Clinton and Sanders
I signed an open letter to Donald Trump, and you should too, by Owen Jones
Greens’ policy on asylum seekers
The real reason they’re impeaching Dilma

Greenland melt: never seen before
Why Nigerians want to keep GMO out
Plastic in the sea = starving whales and other animals
Bernie on fracking
Already burning
Great Barrier Reef dying
Typhoon protection
ACF on Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

*Good news
Kids won’t go back to concentration camp
Environmental intelligence in New York State
San Francisco follows France
Thank you, we can stay!

*Compassionate action
How do you make your struggling café take off?
Not wasted any more

*Inspiring people
How to respond to bullying
Pope Francis washes and kisses the feet of Muslim refugees
This little girl is suing her government
Leonardo’s inspiring speech

*Deeper issues
Don’t tell me fish have no emotions
On the GDP

When someone is grieving
How do I increase my working memory?
Addiction and PTSD
She betrayed me and destroyed my life

Splenda gets scientific disapproval
Drug ads on your TV exposed
Everyday pills damage the brain

*For writers
Now you’ve got your book, how do you get it out?
An amusing and accurate grammar guide

*What my friends want you to know
Stroke Awards now open
Environment Victoria in election mode
Two poisons are worse than one
Great Barrier Reef tour 12 – 19 October 2016
Hit the dinosaurs in marginal seats
Investing in health
Joan’s elder care guide

Racing Extinction — the movie

Thank you, Max Shub

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.

Humans survive because non-violence is the norm and violence is the exception.
Peace Paul

It’s more useful to leave old trees standing than to chop them down and replace them with new ones.
Kevin Matthews

From me to you

49 years
Major job completed
Australian election coming
Keep coal in the ground


49 years

Seven sevens is a magic number, isn’t it?

That’s how long Jolanda and I have been married.

Neither of us is that incredibly young person who hitched our carriages together. It’s been a great ride, so far.

She still laughs at my spontaneous jokes, though some of the repeating ones have worn a bit thin.

I feel honoured to have shared my life with this generous spirit.

Major job completed

The pic shows my lifelong friends Professor Gayle Avery and her husband Dr Harry Bergsteiner, picking up advance copies of their new book:

SUFFICIENCY THINKING: Thailand’s gift to an unsustainable world

This is a collection of case studies and explanatory essays on the “Sufficiency Economy Philosophy,” which is the creation of Thailand’s king.

I did the copy editing for this marathon project. Basically, my job was to convert Thai English into English English, but actually it involved a lot of teaching. I am delighted at how much the writing competence of most of the authors improved over repeated drafts.

If you agree with me that the global economy is insane, you couldn’t do better than to read this book when it is available. Official launch in Bangkok is 31st May.

Australian election coming

The Prime Minister and leader of the COALition has provoked what’s called a double dissolution, and we’ll be going to the polls on the 2nd of July.

There is not much to choose between the two dinosaur parties, both of them stuck in the 19th Century. Fortunately, there is a third alternative: the Australian Greens. I am an enthusiastic member, in case you haven’t noticed.

There is preferential voting in Australia. This means that you can register your disapproval of both the main parties by voting Greens first, giving your second preference to the one you least disapprove of, and put last the one you most disapprove of.

And you could do a lot worse for this planet than joining the Australian Greens.

Keep coal in the ground

At the urging of an email from Market Forces, I wrote the following to two dinosaurs who want to use taxpayers’ money to finance the worst coal mine project in the world:

To: Finance Minister Cormann, Future Fund (Peter Costello)
Subject: Keep coal in the ground
Message: Sir, you may have noticed that Peabody, the largest coal mining company in the world, is filing for bankruptcy. The reason is that much of humanity has woken up to the fact that unless we get off our fossil fuel addiction, climate change will kill all of us. Already, it has been established that we are in the 6th great extinction event of the Earth. Maybe it can be slowed or reversed — but not if Australia keeps coal mining.

Why have most large banks refused to finance Adani? Not because they are particularly environmental, but because they know that coal is a losing proposition. I do not want my tax dollar to be used to destroy the Barrier Reef and thousands of hectares of land in a futile attempt to sell coal.

Please do not finance the Carmichael scheme.

Responses to previous issues

Veronica-Mae Soar
Sam Luxenburg


Veronica-Mae Soar

I tried to insert a graphic into one of the “pages,” But There is No Need for Despair. However, in their wisdom, WordPress seem to have destroyed my ability to do so. (Please let me know if you can point me to a workaround.) So, in desperation, I reproduced the contents as a new blog post. Veronica-Mae kindly left this comment:

There is no need to go to the Arctic to find methane leaks. There are leaks a-plenty in America, thanks to the oil and gas industry activities.

Whatever happens it will — as always — be the poor who will suffer; they are already facing dreadful water shortages in many countries. What is called the “developing world” is finding to its cost that following the example of the “West” has brought with it tremendous problems which they are struggling to overcome.

The only fact we can rely on is that no-on can predict the future — all is speculation. Our world and its climate is so complex that those who think they understand it all are deluding themselves There is always the joker in the pack, the unknown, the unexpected. Nature has her own plans and her own ways. All we can do is try to follow her lead. Already some scientists are discovering that mimicking or copying nature can produce some astounding results.

Readers may find the Wood Hole Research Centre website informative.

Veronica-Mae, I agree. I remember, many years ago, walking down the street in an old suburb of Sydney, Australia. To my country nose, it was obvious: everything stunk of gas. Well, it’s the stuff they put into gas so it stinks, because methane itself is odourless. So, I am sure that in every city with piped gas, methane has been pouring into the air for years.

And of course we hear horror stories about methane concentrations above fracking and oil fields.

This is why I work very hard at equanimity, and why my current writing involves an extension of what we understand as the laws of physics to include alterations to “reality.”



Mona is a delightful young lady who lives in India, but has spent 10 years in Britain. In response to the last issue, which was her first, she sent me an essay by John Welwood. Unfortunately, at over 2000 words, it’s too long for Bobbing Around, but Mona is right: it’s the same message I’ve been hawking: we are made of Love. It is our basic nature. We should not and need not expect someone else to validate us, but rather become aware of our true nature. And a broken heart can be healed, even if the source of the pain is still there.

She has also sent some lovely pics. Here is the one I like the best:

Sam Luxenburg

Sam is a counselling psychologist, one of my comrades working for the environment at the Australian Psychological Society. He is responding to what I said about the opening pages of the second volume of my Doom Healer series.

Dear Bob,

We need more people like you exerting your positive and life affirming influence on the world. However, you cannot please everyone. To be universally accepted might equate with being universally bland. Not something I would ever accuse you of!

Could I suggest that you share the two pieces of negative feedback with a few trusted friends and get their responses. Also remember that feedback is sometimes more about the giver than the receiver.

My own reaction to your response was surprise and also disappointment. Your projects, including your writing, are a lot more important than a couple of negative reactions. If it will really support what you are doing to “let it go cold”, then I respect your decision, even though I doubt if it is the best way forward.

In the meantime, I will happily read what you have written and give you my feedback. I promise to be honest, supportive and hopefully useful.

All the best in your endeavours,


Politicians ignore the biggest issue
Is Hillary getting money from big oil?
Naomi Klein on Clinton and Sanders
I signed an open letter to Donald Trump, and you should too, by Owen Jones
Greens’ policy on asylum seekers
The real reason they’re impeaching Dilma


Politicians ignore the biggest issue

We are now in the 6th great extinction event of Earth. Climate change is only part of the reason.
Here is some of the evidence.

Plastic in the oceans… urbanisation replacing nature… farming practices that poison everything and destroy topsoil… the destructive effects of warfare… peak fresh water… Our attack on nature is unrelenting.

This article shows that politicians don’t have a clue about what’s really important.

While it’s in the Australian context, it applies just as well in America, or anywhere else.

Is Hillary getting money from big oil?

She says she is very angry, that’s a Sanders lie. Read the publicly verifiable facts.

According to this researcher:

    That works out to $5 million altogether. It’s hard to say what the going rate for buying a presidential candidate is, but unlike Overby, I wouldn’t refer to Clinton’s fossil-fuel-industry contributions as “paltry.”

    And even though Overby warns you away from looking at the Clinton Foundation — because it’s the sort of thing a “Republican opposition research group” would do — you don’t need to go to a middleman; the Clinton Foundation lists its donors on its website. There you can learn that the Foundation has received at least $10 million from Saudi Arabia; at least $5 million from Kuwait, as well as from oil-refining billionaire Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi; at least $1 million from ExxonMobil, natural gas-producer Cheniere Energy, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates, the Dubai Foundation, “Friends of Saudi Arabia,” etc.

Naomi Klein on Clinton and Sanders

This is a must-read.

Doing more of what caused a problem is guaranteed not to solve it.

I signed an open letter to Donald Trump, and you should too
by Owen Jones

First read what Owen has to say. This is the letter millions are signing. I have, too.

Dear Mr. Trump,

This is not what greatness looks like.

The world rejects your fear, hate-mongering, and bigotry. We reject your support for torture, your calls for murdering civilians, and your general encouragement of violence. We reject your denigration of women, Muslims, Mexicans, and millions of others who don’t look like you, talk like you, or pray to the same god as you.

Facing your fear, we choose compassion. Hearing your despair, we choose hope. Seeing your ignorance, we choose understanding.

As citizens of the world, we stand united against your brand of division.

[Add your name!]

Perfect. Please sign.

Greens’ policy on asylum seekers

A crisis is unfolding.

Millions of people are fleeing for their lives. Torn from their homes, they are desperate to find safety for their families.

For over a decade, Labor and Liberal have said the best way to save lives is to lock people up. But, we’ve got a bold, new approach that shows there is a better way to welcome those seeking a safe home.

We’re taking this plan to the election. Will you sign up to support ‘A Better Way’?

Together, our exit strategy could end the government’s cruel and damaging policies. We could close the Manus Island and Nauru camps, save billions of dollars, and help 50,000 people per year find a safe home.

People seeking asylum have been an asset to Australia for generations and they can help make our country stronger than it has ever been. Click here to support the plan for a better way.

No-one should have to face the impossible choice of getting on a leaky boat. By helping assess people’s claims in Indonesia and Malaysia and flying those who are found to be refugees to Australia, we will undercut the people smugglers business.

This is a plan where we treat people how we would want to be treated. Together, we’ll make it a defining feature of this election.

Yours in hope,
Sarah Hanson-Young & Richard Di Natale

P.S. We have a plan to help 50,000 people per year and to close the camps on Manus Island and Nauru. But the biggest obstacle to changing the dangerous public mood is believing that there is a better option. We need your help to get the message out there. Will you share the plan for A Better Way?

The real reason they’re impeaching Dilma

I’ve been impressed with Dilma Roussef, and was surprised at the charges of corruption levelled at her. It seems that my intuition is right.


Greenland melt: never seen before
Why Nigerians want to keep GMO out
Plastic in the sea = starving whales and other animals
Bernie on fracking
Already burning
Great Barrier Reef dying
Typhoon protection
ACF on Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area


Greenland melt: never seen before

Maps show the current melt area centered around southwest Greenland. The graph shows the current melt season in blue and the average in black. Photo credit: Polar Portal

What does this mean?

At least in that part of Greenland, there is already as much melting as is average for the end of May.

From Ecowatch, 14th April 2016.

Why Nigerians want to keep GMO out


Plastic in the sea = starving whales and other animals

Whales, fish, birds can’t tell that a piece of plastic is inedible. They fill their stomachs with the stuff, and it sits there, blocking everything up. So, they starve to death.

One of the latest is a report about 29 magnificent sperm whales who beached in Germany. Autopsies showed they were full of plastic junk.

“So what,” you might say. But even if you have no compassion for people who happen not to be human, their fate affects ours. Everything is connected. Killing nature is suicide.

Bernie on fracking

Make that all over the planet.

Already burning

Alaska’s first wildfire in 2016 was in February.

The New York Times reports that “New Mexico has had 140 fires this year, double the number in the same period last year, fueled by one of the warmest, driest winters on record.”

I don’t know how people can still deny climate change.

Great Barrier Reef dying

Because of significant warming of the sea, almost all of the Reef has bleached.

One of the wonders of the planet, until now a bountiful home of many species, is turning into dead stone.

I suppose the politicians will say, “Oh well, now we can’t harm it any further, might as well have coal ports there!

Except, destroying nature in all Her complexity is species suicide.

Typhoon protection

Read this fascinating report on what typhoons do in the Philippines, and what can be done for protection.

The answer in one word is: mangroves. For each kilometre of mangrove forest that ocean waves pass through, water levels can be reduced by half a meter.

ACF on Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

From the Australian Conservation Foundation:

The United Nations has told the Tasmanian and Federal governments that their plans to log and mine the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area are absolutely unacceptable.

Their report made 20 unequivocal recommendations — at the top of the list were demands that the area be ‘off-limits to commercial logging’ and mining. The UN also said that wilderness must be protected and that strict criteria is needed to ensure tourism development doesn’t harm the area.

Last year, you and over 10,000 of us wrote to Greg Hunt, and a further 1,659 people from the ACF community made submissions to the Tasmanian Government about the management of this World Heritage area.
tassiePhoto: Bette Devine.

Good news

Kids won’t go back to concentration camp
Environmental intelligence in New York State
San Francisco follows France
Thank you, we can stay!


Kids won’t go back to concentration camp

From Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young:

Dear Bob,

This morning, Fairfax reported that the babies and children the Turnbull Government was threatening with deportation have been released from detention.

Thank you. This is a huge victory for people power. Because of the tireless work of tens of thousands of people just like you, doctors and nurses and community workers, dozens of organisations across the country, churches and religious leaders; these children now have their first taste of freedom.

The Prime Minister wanted to keep these beautiful kids, like Samuel and Naomi, out of sight and out of mind so we would forget about them, locked up in cruel detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

The tens of thousands of you who took to the streets, who refused to leave Lady Cilento Hospital and who offered up their homes made that impossible.

Our work is far from done. There are still 148 people in our community who are being threatened with deportation, and over 1500 vulnerable people trapped offshore on Manus Island and Nauru.

We will not stop until we shut down these cruel detention centres, and end this political race to the bottom.

It’s clear that the overwhelming majority of Australian people know that we are strong enough to welcome those who seek our help, and share with them the safety and opportunity that we have here in Australia.

Thank you for everything you do,
Sarah Hanson-Young

Environmental intelligence in New York State

The proposed “Constitution Pipeline” is an integral part of the fracking industry, which does so much harm.

I therefore congratulate the decision-makers in New York State, who have refused permission for the pipeline.

San Francisco follows France

Well, the US-centric announcement claims San Francisco is the first city to require all new buildings to have solar electricity.

While this is not true — Since March, 2015, all of France has required required all new roofs to have either solar panels or plants — it is nevertheless very welcome.

Thank you, we can stay!

Two months ago, my family and I were in detention in Darwin, about to be deported to Nauru. Today, we’re building a new home in Sydney. I want to say thank you.

Now my son Samuel has a garden where he can play. In detention, everything was made of metal and wire. Children love colours, they want to touch things. Now we have grass in our backyard, and he’s so happy.


When my family first told our story, and Samuel’s picture was on the front pages, we didn’t know what would happen to us. We’re refugees. Everything was uncertain. All I knew back then was that I would do anything to make my family safe.

But then you spoke up for us.

When the protests started, I watched the news constantly in the detention camp, tears running down my face. When you and hundreds of thousands of others asked the Australian government to #LetThemStay, you were talking about my family, and people like us.

I could never have imagined how many people wanted to help us and our friends – or how much power people in Australia would have when they spoke together.

In Iran, where we’re from, those protests would have been ignored – or silenced. But in Australia, the government listened. Three weeks ago, we were released from detention into the community in Sydney.

I’ve kept all the newspapers and the pictures, so I can make a memory book for Samuel. When he’s older, I want to show him how Australians like you fought for us. I want him to know how good this country can be; how lucky we are now to live in a democracy.

Our new situation isn’t perfect, and I know the fight is far from over. We still can’t work, study, or travel freely. The Australian government is still refusing to process our refugee claims. And I can’t stop thinking and worrying about our friends who are still in detention.

It’s Samuel’s birthday in a month, and I want all our friends from detention to be able to come to the party. I want us all to be free together. I know you won’t stop fighting for these people whose souls are being crushed by indefinite imprisonment.

But for my family, Australia feels like home now. When you stood up for us, you welcomed us. And now, our new community is welcoming us, too. I’ve been taking Samuel to a playgroup at our local library. At first he was scared – but every time we go, he gets calmer, and happier.

I know Samuel feels that it’s different now. Before, when we were in detention, I cried a lot. Now, my husband and I smile all the time. Our baby understands that.

From my family to yours — thank you.


Compassionate action

How do you make your struggling café take off?
Not wasted any more


How do you make your struggling café take off?

Well, that wasn’t the owner’s intention. She gave a bit of food to a homeless man, in exchange for having him was dishes. The mutual service grew, and she wrote something about it on her Facebook page. Now, people come a long way just to eat at her little restaurant.

This is karma in action. Read this touching little story.
Here he is, at work.

Not wasted any more

Suzy DeYoung is a chef in Cincinnati. Two things horrified her: the amount of food wasted, and the number of people who go to sleep hungry every night.

She has set up La Soupe, which accepts unsaleable leftovers from organic farmers, shops and restaurants, and uses volunteer labor to provide free food for those who need it.

A third benefit is giving people like this the opportunity to be of benefit:

Inspiring people

How to respond to bullying
Pope Francis washes and kisses the feet of Muslim refugees
This little girl is suing her government
Leonardo’s inspiring speech


How to respond to bullying

She was bullied in school. Nine year old Milla’s response was to spend the best part of a year, training for a gruelling trial: a 24-hour US Navy obstacle race meant for very fit adults.

She ran 36 miles, swimming 8 kilometres (I do wonder at the mixing of measuring systems), and overcame obstacles that’d challenge most adults.

She has inspired her family to train with her, and with self-confidence shining out of her, the bullying has stopped.

Now, she wants to do something about changing a culture that leads to bullying.

Watch her here.

Pope Francis washes and kisses the feet of Muslim refugees

I love this guy.
Here is one brief report of the event.

This little girl is suing her government

She is 7-year-old Rabab Ali, who is challenging the government of Pakistan, and her state, to do something about climate change.

More power to her.

Here is one of several reports about it.

Leonardo’s inspiring speech

This young man has my constant admiration, not because he is an actor, but because he uses his fame for the good of everyone.

Please read the transcript of his latest speech to the UN.

Deeper Issues

Don’t tell me fish have no emotions
On the GDP


Don’t tell me fish have no emotions

You can spare a few seconds to watch this video. One fish is caught in an undersea net. Another fish hovers around, refusing to leave. A human frees the trapped one, and they swim off together.

Doesn’t that sound like what people might do in an analogous situation?

On the GDP

Bill Sutcliffe has said in his speech to the Australian Press Club: “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.”

Naturally, I agree with him. I mean, he is a character in my story, isn’t he?

I’m not the only one. If you want to know why the global economic system is rushing down the wrong path, read this brief report based on the work of three French economists, two of them Noble Prize winners.


When someone is grieving
How do I increase my working memory?
Addiction and PTSD
She betrayed me and destroyed my life


When someone is grieving

Some people cross the street, because “I don’t know what to say.” Others offer cliches that are hurtful to the recipient.

Here is a very helpful essay on how to approach this painful situation.

How do I increase my working memory?

The old, research-based limit to immediate memory is 7 + or – 2, but this is an average. Memory span is part of what IQ tests measure, and some people can go to 12 items or even more.
And it IS trainable.
Here are some tricks that work.
When looking up a phone number, write it down from memory, then check. If necessary, do it again till it’s right. Then dial from memory. Getting it wrong is punishment, so you’ll be trying hard!
Reading a newspaper, magazine, web page: summarize each paragraph with a few words. When you’ve completed the article, summarize the whole. Check back for accuracy.
Learn to play music, and do so by reading ahead in the score while playing.
These will give you the idea. Adapt them. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Memory is a muscle.

Addiction and PTSD

Individuals with PTSD suffer unique challenges with mental health, addiction and access to treatment.

While there are many unique addiction treatment resources available, none of them are comprehensive and specifically tailored to those with PTSD. After research across the resources available on the web, the Forterus Treatment Center team noticed the absence of a centralized resource designed to help understand the basics of mental health, alcohol use and addiction within this demographic and offer guidance on navigating support systems.

They decided to fill this gap of knowledge. The result is this page:

This page summarizes available governmental, non-profit and other resources and makes them easily accessible to those searching for assistance. It includes dozens of the latest studies and external resources for the PTSD assistance.

Thank you,
Ashley Knowles

She betrayed me and destroyed my life

I turn thirty in a little less than a month. I’ve been married and divorced once, and while it was a trying time, it’s nothing to how I’m feeling now.

I fell in love with my best friend. Well, if truth be told, the first time I saw her, I felt strongly that she was the person who was meant to be in my life. I’ve known her for years, but I was married, and I’m nothing if not loyal. So we became friends, inseparable, in fact.

Fast forward a few months and I’m getting divorced (my wife cheated on me multiple times while I was deployed). My best friend and I had some physical things between us (against my better judgment) and a few months after that, I ended up telling her the truth about how I feel about her. The thing that got me was that she claimed to have always liked me in that way too. It was to the point where we were making future plans (marriage, kids etc), and I was really excited about it; she’s the only person I can see spending my life with, if I’m honest. And she’s the only person that I’ve ever felt this strongly about.

She told me she was in love with me. A few days later she disappeared: stopped responding to me, blocked me on all social media, just fell off the face of my earth. No explanation. Come to find out she went to Texas to be with the woman who has been cheating on her repeatedly and unashamedly for almost two years.

It’s been almost two months, and I still find myself crying in a heap uncontrollably. I cry myself to sleep and wake up in tears. I lost not only the woman I would’ve spent the rest of my life with, but my best friend, the only person I really ever trusted.

Is this feeling of despair and loneliness and just not feeling good enough, this feeling that I would be better off not here, this feeling that I will never be happy again… how do I get rid of this? Is it only because I’m turning 30? How do I heal my heart, my soul? Because the pain I’m experiencing, while entirely mental and emotional, is physically hurting my heart. And I don’t know how much longer I can survive this. Please help me. I have no one.

Dom my dear,

Turning 30 has nothing to do with it.

You had all your hopes and plans invested in living the rest of your life with one person — and those hopes have been dashed. This was the one person you trusted — and she let you down. It is perfectly understandable that you are grieving. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be. It is grief of the same strength as if someone close to you had died.

This happened two months ago. That’s a very short time for major grief. Twelve months is a typical figure before the grief is “resolved.” That means that life goes on with its ups and downs, and most of the time you’re fine. You can think of the person you’ve lost, the good and the bad, laugh about funny memories, and not go to pieces. One or two special days a year, like a birthday, the tears may come.

You can achieve this. One helpful thing to do is to buy a wonderful book by Elizabeth Harper Neeld: Seven Choices: Finding daylight after loss shatters your world.

The second tool is to “schedule” your grief. Set aside a time each day for giving yourself permission to dwell on it. At first, this can be 2 hours a day. During this “appointment,” you’re allowed to feel exactly like you have been for the past two months. For the rest of the day, any time you think of this person, say to yourself, “Go away. I’ll talk to you at five o’clock (or whatever).”

And the third thing is, misery thrives in a vacuum. Fill those other 22 hours with the activities of normal life, and do them “mindfully.” This means, when you are eating, you focus on the food: the taste, feel, the movements of your hands as you eat, the scent… focus all your attention on the activity of eating. When you talk with someone, have 100% of your attention on that person, as if s/he was the most important person in the world. When you drive a car, concentrate as much as a kid being tested for driving skills.

Finally, we need to look at trust. You trusted this person, and she let you down. This says NOTHING about the trustworthiness of other people. You can get a benefit from this sad experience by realizing that no one can be trusted 100%, we are all faulty humans, but most people can be trusted most of the time. You can learn to trust, within reason. And realize that your happiness and contentment doesn’t depend on other people, ever. It depends on you, regardless of your circumstances.

Have a good life (you can),


Splenda gets scientific disapproval
Drug ads on your TV exposed
Everyday pills damage the brain


Splenda gets scientific disapproval

Until now, recommendations have been to use the artificial sweetener with caution. The main argument against it has been that it doesn’t break down, so will sit within our waters forever.

However, recent evidence indicates that it is carcinogenic.

My feeling is that any artificial molecule that has never been found in nature is likely to be dangerous if ingested.

Drug ads on your TV exposed

This essay in the Huffington Post is very long. I’ll confess: I didn’t finish reading it. However, the point is made in the first few paragraphs. Do read that.

As in most cases, Big Pharma is playing you for a sucker. Their advertising is dishonest, even dangerous, and goes against evidence their own research has generated.

Docs and Big Pharma
The drawing comes from Their essay on the way this industry buys medical practitioners is also worth reading. Actually, it’s briefer and better written, and supports the same overall point.

Everyday pills damage the brain

Dr Michelle Schoffro Cook has reported on recent research that several very commonly prescribed drugs do nasty things to your brain.

We should all take note.


Now you’ve got your book, how do you get it out?
An amusing and accurate grammar guide


Now you’ve got your book, how do you get it out?

Here is a very sensible article by Robin Cutler at Bookworks. It’s an unashamed plug for the Ingram Spark program, but it does set out the advantages and options without hype, and these same ideas can be applied if using a different company.

If you have self-published, or are considering doing so, you need to read this article.

And here is another article that compares Ingram Spark to Create Space, the other big player.

An amusing and accurate grammar guide

This is worth reading even if you’re not a writer. I wish every one of my editing clients would read it.

What my friends want you to know

Stroke Awards now open
Environment Victoria in election mode
Two poisons are worse than one
Great Barrier Reef tour 12 – 19 October 2016
Hit the dinosaurs in marginal seats
Investing in health
Joan’s elder care guide


Stroke Awards now open

Dear Bob

We need your help to find the unsung heroes of stroke.

Nominations are now open for the 2016 Stroke Awards. These awards aim to recognise stroke survivors and their carers, health professionals, and volunteers who have shown outstanding commitment to improving the state of stroke in Australia.

There are many unsung heroes of stroke: people whose hard work and compassion make life for people after stroke better. People who have dedicated their lives to improving and preserving the dignity, wellbeing and quality of life for themselves, their families and the broader community.

Do you know any stroke survivors, carers, health professionals or volunteers who you think should be recognised for their efforts? Then show your appreciation by nominating them for the 2016 stroke awards.

The award categories this year are as follows:

Stroke Care Champion Award (in conjunction with the Stroke Society of Australasia)

Improving Life After Stroke Award

Creative Award

Fundraiser of the Year Award

Courage Award (new category)

Nominations can be completed online and are open until 31 May 2016.

Help us spread the message that the awards are now open.

Environment Victoria in election mode

Our election campaign begins now.

Yesterday we opened the first of our election headquarters, the Frankston Enviro Hub. Next week we launch our grassroots campaign in the marginal electorate of Deakin, where we’ll have a second shop front hub.

Click here to watch the video from the launch event.

That’s two marginal electorates where our volunteers will be talking to people in their community about clean energy, cutting pollution and protecting nature, and asking them to make their vote count for our environment.

Together we’ll knock on doors, have stalls and run phone banks. We’ll have meetings with MPs and candidates. We’ll advertise in local papers and on our mobile billboard to spread the message far and wide. And we’ll team up with other environment groups like the Australian Conservation Foundation to make our impact even bigger, so that all parties put the environment front and centre this election.

We know this works because we’ve done it before. In the lead up to the 2014 state election, hundreds of volunteers helped make the environment a key issue for people and the political parties vying for their votes.

This election is high stakes for our environment. In the past three years, the Coalition Government has attacked clean energy, cut our renewable energy target, trashed laws that reduce pollution and is letting big polluting companies open new coal mines, dredge the Reef and log our national parks. So let’s get started.

Two poisons are worse than one

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency admitted that Dow’s highly toxic herbicide blend, Enlist Duo, created for use on the next generation of genetically engineered crops, is likely significantly more harmful than the agency initially believed.

The EPA revoked registration of this herbicide, which blends glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, with 2,4-D, a poison used during the Vietnam War as an active ingredient in Agent Orange.

But in a horrible turn of events, Dow won the right to continue selling this toxic blend until after the EPA concludes its studies…which could take years.

This herbicide is simply too dangerous for humans and animals! Today, I’m asking for your help to fight back. Help us take on powerful chemical companies like Dow for the sake of people and our planet.

The EPA has already approved this highly toxic herbicide cocktail for widespread use on genetically engineered corn and soybean crops in more than 15 states…and although the agency admits the herbicide blend is highly toxic, it is expected to bow to industry pressure and approve the use of Enlist Duo in even more states in the coming months.

We need your help right now to fight back. Make an urgent gift to help take on powerful corporate interests that will stop at nothing to put profits ahead of people and the planet.

More than 1 billion pounds of herbicides are being dumped onto U.S. crops every year–threatening your family’s health, drifting into the air, seeping into waterways, endangering farmworkers and threatening the survival of endangered species.

By coming together, we can stand up to powerful corporate interests and win. We’ve done it before.

Thank you for joining us,

Paul Achitoff
Managing Attorney,

Great Barrier Reef tour are organising a tour of the Whitsunday Islands. See what’s left of the Reef, before it all dies, thanks to coal mining.

Find out more or sign up to join us for the trip of a lifetime.

WHEN: 12 – 19 October 2016

WHERE: The Whitsundays, QLD

COST: Approximately $3,450 (excluding flights). Trip cost: $2,450 and 350 donation: $1,000.


  • Spend eight days exploring the iconic Whitsunday islands by kayak
  • Experience the marine life which inhabits the fringing reef and coral gardens
  • Learn from locals campaigning against the coal port expansion plans
  • Support Australia in our efforts to halt the climate crisis.

    Stopping the proposed Galilee Coal mines in Queensland is one of the most important fossil fuel fights on the planet. If the Galilee Basin was a country, it would be the seventh largest source of carbon emissions — it’s a veritable ticking carbon bomb.

    What’s more, this monstrous project would require a major expansion of Abbot Point port, which sits on the edge of our precious Great Barrier Reef just north of the Whitsundays. The expansion will see 1.6 million cubic metres dredged from the sea floor, in a region home to rare and endangered species like dugong and sea turtles.

    But by joining us on for Paddle for the Reef, you can help Australia to stop this and support our work to build a fossil free Australia and a healthy Great Barrier Reef!

    We hope to see you in October.

    Hit the dinosaurs in marginal seats

    As the election draws near, here’s the state of play.

    Malcolm Turnbull might be the Prime Minister, but it’s not him who’s calling the shots.

    Our country is beholden to a small group of right-wing power brokers hell-bent on holding us back. They orchestrate homophobic attacks on programs like Safe Schools, and they scheme to undermine renewable energy.

    We see their insidious influence infect our policies every day. They’re blocking us from action on climate change. From cracking down on corporate tax dodgers. From funding our public hospitals and schools.

    They are ably assisted by Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited empire, and are funded by mining magnates like Gina Rinehart. Their parties take huge donations from tax dodgers like Chevron.

    This handful of power-brokers have seats in our parliament and friends with very deep pockets. But we have something they’ll never have — people power.

    This election, we can take the power back from these politicians and corporations who don’t represent us, who aren’t building the Australia we want to see. But we have to band together.

    Check out our election strategy video to see how, and chip in to help take the power back for everyday Australians.

    These politicians and their backers are powerful, but they’re not invincible. In fact, a lot of them are in marginal seats. By pooling our time, voices and money, we can:

  • Put cut-through ads on the air, in the papers and on social media — our dominant social media voice, projected by more than 300,000 GetUp likers, sharers and influencers, will be a voice no collection of mining magnates and media moguls can silence.
  • Take our message door-to-door and phone-to-phone, with tens of thousands of conversations between GetUp members and the swing voters who will decide whether these out-of-step politicians stay in Parliament.
  • On election day, make sure voters in electorates across the country know where these candidates stand, so they know ‘how to vote’ on the issues that matter.

    With a July 2nd election nearly certain, there’s so much to do and we have to get started on picking just how many electorates we can go hard in — and just how much we can do.

    Can you make a small, regular donation to fund our biggest election effort yet?

    These guys and their corporate mates have million dollar ad budgets. But we have a million Australians who want our politics back. Who want a renewable energy future. Who want corporations to pay their fair share. Who want fully funded hospitals and schools.

    Together we can stop them from taking any more of Australia, and take back the power for ourselves.

    Let’s do this.

    Paul Oosting, for the GetUp team

    Investing in health

    The Climate and Health Alliance and Doctors for the Environment Australia have today launched a new joint report: Investing in Health, on the case for the health sector to divest from fossil fuels.

    Written by Dr Nick Watts, the lead author of the landmark Health and Climate Commission published by The Lancet in 2015, with a foreword from Prof Nicholas Talley from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, this report moves fossil fuel divestment into the mainstream as an ethical, healthy, economically responsible choice.

    The report says the health sector has an obligation to divest from any investments in coal, or oil or gas on ethical, health and economic grounds.

    It urges Australia’s Australia’s 600,000+ health workers to divest, along with health organisations and health super funds.

    It demonstrates the health of people everywhere is being harmed by fossil fuels, and positions renewable energy as a healthier, safer, investment.

    Joan’s elder care guide

    My friend Joan Edwards has worked long and hard on a book to help you to look after loved ones who can no longer manage. I’m reading the book now, so expect a review in the next issue.

    Other reviewers are welcome!

    Official Video Trailer for Joan’s Elder Care Guide

    Joan’s Elder Care Guide: PURCHASE ONLINE NOW

    4RV Publishing Paperback $15.99 includes shipping within the USA

    4RV Publishing Hardback $19.99 includes shipping within the USA

    Amazon Paperback $16.99

    Amazon Hardback: $20.99

    Barnes and Noble Paperback $13.14

    Barnes and Noble Hardback $16.24


    Racing Extinction — the movie

    This film will be an all-time classic. It will do for us about the 6th great extinction event on Earth what Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth has done regarding climate change.

    You can read more about it here.


    Thank you, Max Shub

    Little Johnny was in the classroom bored to the back teeth on a Friday afternoon, and the teacher decided to have a game for the kids to get them thinking.

    “Okay class. Now I’m going to say a famous quote, and the first person to tell me who said that quote, can have Monday off.” said the teacher.

    Who is credited with writing the phrase, ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’?” asked the teacher.

    Little Pham Lam Nguyen at the front of the class called out, ‘Shakespeare’.

    ‘Well done!’ said the teacher, ‘You can have Monday off.”

    ‘No thank you Miss. I am of Vietnamese origin and it is in our culture to study as hard as we can, so I will be here on Monday studying hard.’ said little Pham Lam Nguyen

    ‘Well okay,’ said the teacher.

    The next quote is, “I had a dream!”

    Little Fri Sum Kat, also at the front, yelled out “I bereiva it was Martin Ruther King!

    “Well done!” said the teacher. ‘You can have Monday off.”

    “No thanka you miss I am of Chinese oligin and we also do not take time offa school. Education is evelything to us, so I will be in on Monday studying hard too.” said little Fri Sum Kat.

    ‘Okay,’ said the teacher.

    Then she heard a voice from the back of the classroom, “F***ing Asians!”

    “Who said that?” yelled the teacher in an angry tone.

    “Donald Trump!” yelled little Johnny. “See ya Tuesday …”

    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, 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;
    • Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
    • Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
    • Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

    Submission Guidelines

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

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

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

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

  • 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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