Bobbing Around Volume 15 Number 12


Today, twice as much land in Canada is being devoured by fires as in the 1970s — and that will double or quadruple again in the decades to come.
Martin Lukacs

The amount of ice lost each year from all of Antarctica’s ice shelves has increased 12-fold between 1994 and 2012.
Douglas Fox

Bobbing Around

Volume Fifteen, Number Twelve,
June, 2016

Bob Rich’s rave

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

*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
Two of my babies
My next book is accepted!
Update to But there is no need for despair
Pestering the press

*Responses to previous issues
Margaret Goodman
Joan Edwards

*Politics
Brilliant satire: Stop the Votes!
Heart-rending reply to cruel ignorance
Richard Flanagan takes a stand
600 American writers against Trump
Understanding Trump

*Environment
Passion from Bill McKibben
2016: Blue Arctic?
Open letter to Charles Koch
Solomon Islands swamped
April record high by record jump
UN: We’re killing ourselves, and not taking necessary measures
Ten year anniversary
Join the Kids’ Party!
Censoring science!

*Good news
Young climate champions WON!
And Massachusetts follows!
Evolution may be helping polar bears
Portland goes with the facts

*Inspiring people
Oscar-winning actress for refugees
Dude making a difference
Naomi Klein wins Sydney Peace prize
Black is beautiful — again
I agree with Francis

*Technology
Sprout pencils
On driverless cars
You too can cook with the sun
Saving the world, one plastic bottle at a time
Peeling hardboiled eggs
Roads to glow with solar energy?

*Deeper issues
Refugees: it’s happened before
Following Fermi: can the world house its refugees? From Thomas Stace
Forest wisdom
Jobs and growth

*Psychology
Mindfulness-based CBT
Free internet-based meditation course
Schizophrenia and substance abuse

*Health
In praise of preventative screening
Another reason for breaking free from chemical agriculture

*For writers
How to start a book
Minimising rejections

*What my friends want you to know
Ecovillage course in Tasmania
Why should authors work for free? from Alisha Webster
Faithful America to resist Trump
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Solar supercharge video available
Sufficiency Thinking: Thailand’s gift to an unsustainable world
Stopping coal in Newcastle

*Reviews
Breakout from Sugar Island, by Seamus Beirne
Sufficiency Thinking: Thailand’s gift to an unsustainable world
Persian roulette, by Oscar King
Joan’s Elder Care Guide
You can’t escape destiny, reviewed by Dita Skalic
The Greatest Force in the Universe, reviewed by Seamus Beirne

*Fun
A modern parable
But this story is the truth


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.


We would have set an all-time global temperature record [in 2015] even without any help from El Nino.
Professor Michael Mann, Director of Penn State Earth System Science Centre


From me to you

Two of my babies
My next book is accepted!
Update to But there is no need for despair
Pestering the press

 

Two of my babies

My son Rob had his birthday on the 30th of May. Anina’s birthday is on the 5th of June.

AninaRob1978
Here they are when we’d just moved up to Moora Moora.

I admire my kids. I feel immensely grateful that they chose me as their father. Both these lovely people are among my best friends. They are intelligent, adaptable, honest, loving… I could fill a page with a list of their good qualities.

I’d like to be like them when I grow up.

Happy birthday, both of you.


My next book is accepted!

I am delighted to let you know, Writers Exchange publishers have accepted my novel, Hit and Run.

Fourteen year old Chuck hates everyone, would blow up the whole planet if he could. So, he goes out to kill someone, anyone, and ends up driving over six little children and the crossing supervisor. He narrowly misses 84-year-old Sylvia.

That night, he appears to her through a process neither understands, cursing and abusing her. At the victims’ memorial service, someone wishes for vengeance. Sylvia responds, “Hate begets hate, vengeance only leads to vengeance, violence feeds on itself. Only love can stop the endless cycle. Only love can turn hate into love.”

The boy’s very name is an abusive joke against him, so Sylvia insists on calling him Charlie. He gradually accepts her support when she takes an interest in his little brother, Tommy, taking him to visit Charlie in prison. He decides to model his behaviour on her. Meanwhile, a gang attacks Charlie, who kills their leader, adding manslaughter to charges of murder. Sylvia’s speech has inspired the local community, resulting in a team to support Charlie and Tommy, including bereaved parents.

Charlie keeps growing in decency and wisdom through several other crises. He accepts his jail term. Sylvia knows that her final task is over. After her final contact with Charlie, her son finds her dead, with a smile on her face, and the record of the remarkable nine months completed. This book is that record.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO READ THIS BOOK FOR FREE?

Bobbing Around readers have that chance, until publication date, because I want to accumulate 100 reviews, to be posted all at the same time, when the book appears at sales venues like Amazon.

Please email me for your copy.


Update to But there is no need for despair

Once more, I have added evidence to my essay, But there is no need for despair.

A very well-documented blog at Arctic News demonstrates that global temperatures are skyrocketing.


Pestering the press

With the Australian elections in full swing, I’ve started writing letters to the editor. That’s not to say my offerings are necessarily published, because I am one of thousands. Still, here are a couple of my offerings:

My local paper

There is a Federal election coming. You owe it to yourself to make an informed vote: to use your power in your best interest.

All the publicity is about people, but actually, it’s policies that count, not politicians. I don’t care about a bus driver’s personality, only the safety and reliability of his driving. The same is true for politics.

The Liberal Party has just updated its policies, which you can inspect at www.liberal.org.au/our-policies.

Labor’s new set of policies are at http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/.

The third force is the Greens. They also have a well thought-out, comprehensive range of policies. http://greens.org.au/policy.

So, you can plan your vote, based on what’s important to you.

If you want a humane society based on compassion and decency, look at asylum seeker policies. The Greens have a workable proposition that avoids the cruelty and illegality of the other two.

If you want politics free from the scandals of big money, check out the Greens.

If you want a future, made possible by keeping coal in the ground, forget the hype but look at policies.

Thanks to preferential voting, you can lodge a protest vote by giving 1 to Greens candidate Dr Elissa Sutherland, then your second preference to the major party you least disapprove of.

Sincerely,
Dr Bob Rich

To the Melbourne Age

Malcolm Fraser forced the then Labor government to adopt a compassionate refugee policy for people escaping from Vietnam, and he implemented the same when he was Prime Minister. He was internationally effective in ending apartheid in South Africa.

He was a Liberal.

Bob Menzies rescued huge numbers of refugees who sought asylum after the Second World War, and in later conflicts such as the Hungarian revolution. I am one of the people grateful to him.

He was a Liberal.

Australia’s current treatment of desperate refugees is cruel, against international law, and immoral. If you are a Liberal (or Labor) supporter who is disgusted by this, then give your first preference to the Greens, the only party with policies like those of Fraser and Menzies.


Responses to previous issues

Margaret Goodman
Joan Edwards

 

Margaret Goodman

Bob,

Thank you for the latest Bobbing Around. Congratulations on your 49th wedding anniversary! I learned a great deal from the Dilma article and the article on how to interact with people who are grieving.

Still feeling the Bern for Bernie Sanders, and hoping that Australia protects the Great Barrier Reef,
Margaret Goodman

About Margaret:
Life has been one of many changes. 1962 M. S. in mathematics from Stanford University, Stanford, California. Lived in six states, had 27 addresses, held 17 jobs (mostly computer programming), affiliated with two major religions (Roman Catholicism first, then Judaism), and am with third husband. Always liberal!


Joan Edwards

Dear Dr. Bob,
I don’t know how you do it. You cover so many topics in a great manner in your Bobbing Around!

Thanks for sharing with me.

Dream! Love! Laugh!
Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards

Joan’s blog has a large following, with reason. She has just published her book on how to care for old people. Like everything he does, it’s full of practical love.


Politics

Brilliant satire: Stop the Votes!
Heart-rending reply to cruel ignorance
Richard Flanagan takes a stand
600 American writers against Trump
Understanding Trump

 

Brilliant satire: Stop the Votes!

tomballard
Even if you’re not in Australia, you will enjoy Tom Ballard’s poke at the cruelty of this country’s two major parties.

Have a laugh.


Heart-rending reply to cruel ignorance

Australia has an illegal, immoral, and very expensive procedure for dealing with asylum seekers. Better alternatives exist.

One result is that people locked up in these hellholes break, and then self-harm in acts of desperation. One Somali lady was brought to Australia for medical treatment. Then, at 3 a.m., they got her. She was grabbed by arms and legs, and screaming, taken to the airport, and flown back to Nauru. Her response was to set herself on fire, suffering burns to 70% of her body.

The responsible minister’s response: refugee advocates are to blame, for inciting such acts.

Sarah Smith is one of those refugee advocates. Wherever on the planet you live, please read her response.
nauruasylum

And here is a reasoned, equally powerful analysis of the problem, which demonstrates that this evil policy is not even necessary.


Richard Flanagan takes a stand

rflanagan
He is a writer with a high, well-deserved reputation.

Read his passionate explanation for voting against the current Australian government.

His reason: they are deliberately destroying Australia’s book industry, and with it, the creative activity of writing. This is in parallel with doing the same to science. A dumbed-down population is easier to control, isn’t it?

I agree with Richard. Put Libs last.


600 American writers against Trump

Trump supporters won’t care. But 600 of America’s best have signed an open letter, with very realistic warnings about the possibility of Trump as president.

I want Bernie.


Understanding Trump

My friend Mohammed Helal has written an insightful and well researched book: Trump And US Politics. I edited it for him, so know the contents.

Interestingly, although Mohammed is Muslim, he is far more moderate in his reactions than I am.

Whatever your reaction to Trump, you need to understand him.
helaltrump


Environment

Passion from Bill McKibben
2016: Blue Arctic?
Open letter to Charles Koch
Solomon Islands swamped
April record high by record jump
UN: We’re killing ourselves, and not taking necessary measures
Ten year anniversary
Join the Kids’ Party!
Censoring science!

 

Passion from Bill McKibben

Please read this call to action. If we all act together, maybe it’s not too late.

Wherever you live, put pressure on governments and businesses to keep carbon in the ground. And, as one commenter said, it’s at least as powerful to minimise your personal use. The best way to sabotage the fossil fuel industry is to use as little of their products as possible. You CAN redesign your life to do so. If you don’t, you mightn’t have a life.
billmck


2016: Blue Arctic?

Mike Stasse has surveyed the evidence: this northern summer will probably see an ice-free Arctic. Only a few years ago, that was predicted for 2080 or beyond.

This is another of the dreaded tipping points, because water absorbs more radiant energy from the sun than ice does.

So what? Wherever you live on the planet, YOUR local weather will be affected, because of changes in the global air currents.

As I write, here in Victoria, Australia, there is a storm with 100 Km winds coming this way. That may not be much for people in cyclonic storm areas (hurricanes, typhoons), but is extreme weather for here.
bluearctic
Photo from Marine Science, which has an excellent description of the Arctic Ocean.


Open letter to Charles Koch

mbrune
This letter from Michael Brune is terrific. I just hope Charles Koch reads it.


Solomon Islands swamped

Today, it’s five islands in the low-lying Solomon Islands. How long before it’s Boston, Amsterdam, St Louis, Brisbane?
solomons


April record high by record jump

2014 was the hottest year ever, until 2015 capped it. 2016 is already beating that. October, November and December, 2015; January, February, March, and now April, 2016, have been the hottest for that month, ever.
april
Here is the official source: NASA.

There are STILL people who deny climate change. Which of course means they are doing nothing about their contribution to it.

Oh well, that’s what Buddhist equanimity was invented for.


UN: We’re killing ourselves, and not taking necessary measures

I wish official information disagreed with what I’ve been saying for years. Instead, it confirms my opinions. UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) has published a major study, titled Rate of Environmental Damage Increasing Across the Planet but There Is Still Time to Reverse Worst Impacts if Governments Act Now.

The title does say it all. I’ve been saying it for 40 years, except it’s not only governments that need to act. Every one of us must do so.


Ten year anniversary

Dear Bob,

This May marks the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking documentary An Inconvenient Truth, featuring former Vice President Al Gore, the film that forced the issue of climate change into mainstream culture and raised global awareness of the crisis like nothing before.

After the film’s release, people everywhere began talking about the climate crisis — to their friends, family, and everyone in their lives — sparking a new kind of movement with millions demanding action all across the planet.

That’s why today we’re asking you to help shine light on the 10-year anniversary and tell us how An Inconvenient Truth affected you. Maybe the film inspired you to talk to your community or school about climate change. Maybe you paid more attention to the news every time the issue came up and started writing your elected officials letting them know it was time to act.

Whatever it was, we want to hear your story. Use the hashtag #ait10 and share your story on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or in a video capturing how An Inconvenient Truth inspired you to do something about the climate crisis.


Join the Kids’ Party!

libbyMy name is Libby, I’m twelve years old and I want you to join a party. It’s called The Kids’ Party and it’s for people who care about all the natural things. It’s not a real political party because kids can’t vote, but we can have a say, with your help.

When I was seven years old, I visited the Great Barrier Reef. I went snorkelling every day I was there and I remember the water was a terrific shade of blue and the corals were all really pretty colours, and there were lots of amazing fish. I also saw turtles hatching on the beach, then making their way to the ocean, which was magical.

I loved all the creatures, but my favourite was the lionfish.

But this week scientists said we could lose the Great Barrier Reef within five years if we don’t stop global warming.

The Reef could be gone before I turn 18!

It made me feel horrible because the creatures that live there would lose their home if the Reef were to die. Just thinking about it makes me feel terrible.

The Reef could be gone before I — and other kids — can even vote. So a bunch of us decided to have our say now, and we’ve started our own *not real* political party, The Kids’ Party! Will you join our party and help make our voices heard?

Kids have a lot to say, but I don’t think that our politicians listen to young people as much as they should. We have different ideas and sometimes, politicians, they need a bit of a refresher. So we’re showing them how it’s done.

I’d like to tell our leaders to pay attention to the bad stuff that’s happening to the Reef, and to do as much as they can to stop it from happening — like decreasing the number of ships that they send through the Reef, or decreasing our dependency on coal to try to stop global warming.

I joined The Kids’ Party because I wanted to help all of the creatures that live in the Reef, and to do as much as I can personally to stop the Reef from potentially dying. But we need lots of kids and lots of people to support us to really make a difference!

I know our leaders are very busy people, and probably protecting the Reef isn’t one of their priorities, but it should be. So we’re collecting as many names as possible and will deliver them to the next leader for the environment to show them how many people want to save the Reef.

Maybe I’ll be Prime Minister of Australia one day, but until then I hope that all the governments make the right decisions, and they make sure that all the natural things in the world get taken care of.

I hope you’ll join us!
Libby, age 12, Sydney
For The Kids’ Party


Censoring science!

wills
Dear Bob,

Today (27th May, 2016) it was confirmed that Australian government officials pressured a prestigious international body to silence the truth about the risks of climate change for the Great Barrier Reef.

I was one of the scientists they tried to silence.

Here’s the story: last year I was asked to review an international scientific report on the impacts of climate change on World Heritage sites and tourism. I reviewed a case study on the Great Barrier Reef, focussing on the increasing risks to tourism from climate change. The report was authored by UNESCO and the International Union of Concerned Scientists. It promised to alert the world to the escalating risks that climate change poses for some of the most beautiful and valuable places on Earth.

Overnight the report was released — but mysteriously, the Great Barrier Reef had been cut completely. I was astonished, given we’ve just witnessed the worst coral bleaching event in the Reef’s history.

Australian officials have now confirmed to The Guardian that they asked the report authors to remove any reference to the Great Barrier Reef, or any Australian world heritage site. No sections about any other country were removed.

As a scientist, I’m angry. As an Australian, I’m disgusted. As a Climate Councillor, I’m now asking for your help.

Today you will hear me on the TV and radio-waves as we ask the government to answer these allegations.

Information is the currency of democracy. When governments attempt to suppress or pressure scientific information, we must speak up. To me, this is about more than one report, and more than the Reef.

Sadly, we can’t just rely on governments to provide independent scientific information. We experienced that first hand when the Climate Commission was abolished by the Abbott Government.

Because of people like you chipping in, we were able to keep going as the Climate Council. Because of you we are able to speak out on days like today.

A strong, independent voice for science is more important than ever. If you believe the public deserve to hear the facts; if you believe the government has no right to silence scientists, then please help fund the Climate Council’s ongoing work.
The Climate Council receives no government funding. We exist because Tony Abbott abolished the Climate Commission, and thousands of Australians who thought that was a bad call kicked in their own funds to enable us to continue.

Since then, we’ve seen increasing attacks on science — gutting funding for CSIRO climate research, renewable energy investment and more.

If you’re as disturbed by all this as I am, let’s all chip in to keep standing up for science.

Thank you,
Professor Will Steffen
Climate Councillor
Emeritus Professor, ANU

PS: Does this whole incident sound familiar? You might remember last year the Australian government spent half a million dollars sending senior officials to at least 11 countries, in a lobbying frenzy to stop UNESCO from declaring the Great Barrier Reef as ‘World Heritage in danger’. Now they’ve moved to pressure UNESCO and its scientific team to omit ALL information on the impacts of climate change on Australia’s World Heritage sites.


Good news

Young climate champions WON!
And Massachusetts follows!
Evolution may be helping polar bears
Portland goes with the facts

   

Young climate champions WON!

I’ve previously reported that a group of children in Washington State sued their government regarding inaction over climate change. Well, it’s their future, they said.

They’ve won!

The judge has imposed strict requirements on the state government to take action on climate change, by specified dates.
washingtonwin
Here are 5 of them, with their lawyer. Photo credit: Our Children’s Trust.


And Massachusetts follows!

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that the State’s Department of Environmental Protection has neglected its duty to protect the State from climate change.

Here also, the plaintiffs were kids. Go future power!


Evolution may be helping polar bears

Animals are moving as the north of our planet warms about twice as fast as the rest. Grizzly bears are moving north, while polar bears are forced to abandon ice and move onto the land. The result has been the emergence of hybrids between the two.

So, don’t worry about the survival of polar bears as such. They may outlast us.


Portland goes with the facts

Textbooks used in Portland public schools will now be required to present climate change, and its human causation, as fact.


Inspiring people

Oscar-winning actress for refugees
Dude making a difference
Naomi Klein wins Sydney Peace prize
Black is beautiful — again
I agree with Francis

 

Oscar-winning actress for refugees

The United Nations has appointed Cate Blanchett as its newest advocate for refugees.
cateb

She joins Angelina Jolie, who has also been passionate about this terrible issue.

Cate’s appointment follows a lot of on-the ground action she has already done, visiting refugee camps, and doing her best to make us see them as people in trouble, instead of invaders or potential terrorists.

Maybe she should speak to Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton. When two people in one of Australia’s concentration camps were so desperate they set themselves on fire, this fellow publicly blamed refugee advocates. You see, he is saving lives by having people in such conditions that they see suicide as the only way out…


Dude making a difference

Rob Greenfield is my kind of young man. I’ve admired him for years.
robg
Read his inspiring description of how he decided to change the world, and is doing it. He has now written a book, and is donating 100% of the proceeds to environmental nonprofit organisations.


Naomi Klein wins Sydney Peace prize

This wonderful lady is battling for all of us.
Please take her words on climate change inaction seriously.
naomiklein


Black is beautiful — again

This time it’s Kevin Morton, Jr. When he was a college student, he was shot in an armed robbery. As a result of this trauma, he decided to train as a surgeon. He is now working at the hospital where his life was saved.

He is doing what we should all do: paying it forward.
kevinm


I agree with Francis

Pope Francis calls those who exploit poor people bloodsuckers. I couldn’t agree more.
francisexploit

He was drawing attention to the callous mistreatment of modern slaves: domestic workers, sweat-shop “employees,” migrant workers in inhumane conditions, etc.


Technology

Sprout pencils
On driverless cars
You too can cook with the sun
Saving the world, one plastic bottle at a time
Peeling hardboiled eggs
Roads to glow with solar energy?

 

Sprout pencils

Carolyn Howard-Johnson drew my attention to a little product that is now said to be selling at the rate of 450,000 globally. This is a pencil with herb seeds at the top, instead of the usual little eraser. When you’ve used it, plant it to get vegetables, herbs or flowers.
sproutpencil

When I checked, I found them to be way to expensive for my chosen lifestyle, but if you can afford them, the various reviews are very positive.


On driverless cars

I fully agree with this essay in the Guardian: public transport is “driverless cars,” and far better for the environment. We need to redesign society to eliminate the need for private transport.


You too can cook with the sun

It is pollution-free, has zero running costs, and you can make your own, or buy once, use thousands of times.

Years ago, my daughter Anina and I won a contest run by the Alternative Technology Association (of Australia) with our entry in their “great untapped energy source” contest. Our suggestion was HIG (human intestinal gas). The prize was a solar cooker we used for decades.

This article will be very useful if you want to acquire your own solar cooker.
solarcooker


Saving the world, one plastic bottle at a time

Read the story of how one young man’s disgust with plastic waste on a Borneo beach has led to a flotilla of boats in Amsterdam, made from plastic waste.

If we all do our little bit, locally, our efforts become an unstoppable tide.
mariussmit


Peeling hardboiled eggs

Here is a trick to make this annoying job easier.


Roads to glow with solar energy?

When I look at a city in the distance at night, I get upset with all that unused energy just radiating up to the dark sky. Lights in mostly empty streets can use up something like 25% of a city’s energy bill.

A Mexican bright spark has invented a solution.
glowroad

He is José Carlos Rubio, a professor at the University of San Nicolas Hidalgo, who has taken 9 years do develop cement that absorbs solar energy, and re-radiates it as light in the dark.

Brilliant.


Deeper Issues

Refugees: it’s happened before
Following Fermi: can the world house its refugees? From Thomas Stace
Forest wisdom
Jobs and growth

 

Refugees: it’s happened before

Please read this fascinating essay about the Goths.

They were refugees, trying to save themselves from the Huns. Initially, the Roman Empire took them in, but mismanaged the situation. The result is, well, history.
goth


Following Fermi: can the world house its refugees?
From Thomas Stace

tomstace
Read an entertaining and illuminating analysis of how we can solve the global problem of asylum seekers.

Nothing like a bit of basic mathematics. It’s entertaining reading, and spot on logic.


Forest wisdom

treewisdom


Jobs and growth

Mike Stasse has reblogged an op ed I completely agree with. This is a must-read.

The Australian elections were called on the excuse that the Senate refused to re-establish an authority to police the building industry, yet the conservative government has not mentioned this issue since. Instead, they are flogging “jobs and growth.”

Harry, the author, shows the idiocy of this. What we need is to transform society into one where growth in the GDP is no longer necessary. We need to SHRINK the economy.

As I said, do read it. It’s relevant, wherever on this mudball you live.


Psychology

Mindfulness-based CBT
Free internet-based meditation course
Schizophrenia and substance abuse

 

Mindfulness-based CBT

Read this article if depression is spoiling life for you or someone you love. It presents recent evidence confirming what I’ve known for many years, and have used in my therapy.

Check it out.
mindful


Free internet-based meditation course

bgeeks
I can recommend Buddhist Geeks, and would be an enthusiastic participant if it wasn’t so US-centred. The time zone differences get me.

Therefore, I welcomed this self-paced video course they are offering.

This just has to be the most convenient way of learning meditation.


Schizophrenia and substance abuse

There is a valuable and accurate essay that explores the link between these two sets of problems. You will benefit from reading it if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

I only disagree with one statement in the article, that there is no effective treatment. This is what I wrote to the author:

    I have found one form of therapy very effective for people suffering from symptoms of schizophrenia. Two examples will explain it:

    1. A fellow frequently saw an angel, who told him to do things. Typically these were benevolent actions, like “Help that old lady struggling with that parcel.” The problem was that then he would insist on helping, even if the old lady declined. He would then be seen as pushy and aggressive.

    Often, he would hold conversations with his angel, and this eventually lumbered him with the diagnosis.

    Successful therapy was to join him in his reality. I agreed with him that this was not a hallucination like all the doctors said, but a real angel, guiding him. Only, I explained, in our skeptical, crazy culture, people don’t believe in angels, so, in order to stop harassment, he merely needs to keep her a secret. Second, I coached him on how to do his good deeds without causing harm, and to be able to accept a no.

    2. 16 year old boy often heard his mother give him instructions on the TV, whether that was switched on or not. He invariably did his best to obey. One day, mother said, “Your brother is so up himself. Go trash his room to teach him a lesson.” He of course did.

    At a later time, mother said on the TV, “That poor old dog has cancer. He is suffering. Put him out of his misery.”

    The boy was horrified and answered (aloud), “Oh, I couldn’t kill him! Anyway, how?”

    “You know there is that big hammer in the garage? Use that to bash his head in.”

    “Right. Big hammer in the garage. Bash his head in.”

    He turned from the TV toward the door, and brother stood there, face as white as snow.

    Our boy got committed for inpatient care. He saw people on high doses of psychoactive drugs and was horrified at the side effects. Even though his dose was quite low, he held the tablets in his mouth and spat them in the toilet. At home, he refused to take them, and posted a cry for help on the internet. I give pro bono replies to such things, and answered. I involved the family. His father was particularly supportive.

    I got him to understand that mother’s voice on the TV was actually his inner thoughts, projected as if they came from outside. So, it was OK to listen to mom on the TV, but he still needed to make up his own mind. If mom told him to do something he was doubtful about, he knew it was his own worse side, so he was allowed to “disobey.” He would defer the action till dad came home from work, and consult with him.

    This worked perfectly.


    Health

    In praise of preventative screening
    Another reason for breaking free from chemical agriculture

     

    In praise of preventative screening

    I can now tell you.

    My wife Jolanda received a bit of a nuisance in the mail: a mass screening test kit. You take a minute faeces sample, and post it off. Two weeks later, we got back a positive result, because there was blood in the sample.

    Another nuisance: she now needed a colonoscopy. It’s a lot of nonsense, or course, and clearing yourself out in advance is days of discomfort, but “I suppose we have to go through with it.”

    Two polyps were cut out. Of course they won’t be malignant.

    The surgeon, Mr Frank Chen, phoned personally: cancer cells were detected in one of the polyps. He made an appointment for us, and I think it was 15 minutes before his usual start, to fit us in. he explained the choices, and made his recommendation: a second colonoscopy, to cut out a bit more.

    We went ahead.

    We just got the phone call: no cancer detected. No worries.

    I would like to pay public tribute to Mr Chen. He has been at it since the 1980s, and must have done this procedure for many thousands of patients. All the same, we felt personally cared for, respected, treated with compassion and decency. I wish all people were like him.
    frankchen

    If it hadn’t been for the mass screening, we wouldn’t have known about the start of what can end up fatal, or at least disfiguring.

    Thank you Bowel Cancer Australia. Thank you Frank Chen.


    Another reason for breaking free from chemical agriculture

    Pesticides in food, air and water, and the breakdown of the soil, have been my main reasons for opposing the current dominant model of factory farming. However, a new study in Geophysical Research Letters reports on another major impact. Large scale use of nitrogen-based artificial fertilisers, and factory farming animal husbandry, result in clouds of aerosols that combine with vehicle exhaust gases when blown over urban areas. This is a major cause of severe respiratory health problems.

    The study points to alternative practices that would actually increase food production while cutting down on nitrate aerosols. Guess what, it’s organic farming.


    Writing

    How to start a book
    Minimising rejections

     

    How to start a book

    chrisklim
    Christopher Klim has written an excellent article at The US Review on how not to start a book.

    Strangely, this involves the advice to avoid an epilogue. In my dictionary, that comes at the end, not the start. However, Christopher’s advice is excellent.


    Minimising rejections

    vickihinze
    If you are hawking a novel around to agents and/or publishers, you should read this excellent essay by Dr Vicki Hinze.

    Even if you are self-publishing, you’ll find it very useful, because the things that turn publishers off are also likely to turn prospective readers off.

    Five of my books have won awards, I judge writing competitions and am an editor, and yet I learned from reading this article.


    What my friends want you to know

    Ecovillage course in Tasmania
    Why should authors work for free? from Alisha Webster
    Faithful America to resist Trump
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    Solar supercharge video available
    Sufficiency Thinking: Thailand’s gift to an unsustainable world
    Stopping coal in Newcastle

     

    Ecovillage course in Tasmania

    Hi all lovers of community,

    The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) Australia is excited and pleased to run a week long EDE style course at the Tasman Ecovillage in Tasmania on the 5 November 2016.

    This course will be an amazing in depth week looking at sustainable community design and living drawing on the principles of the Ecovillage Design Education curriculum offered by Gaia Education.

    World class facilitators including John Talbot and John Seed as well as Australia’s best community lawyer combined with facilitators from Findhorn Ecovillage, Scotland will ensure this course will be a deep journey of learning, exploration and fun.

    Participants will be immersed within Tasman Ecovillage Community and all it has to offer within the beautiful Tasman Peninsula for the whole week, with wholesome food and warm accommodation.

    Limited to 25 people

    Please forward to your networks or people you may think are interested.

    Thank you so much

    Booking.

    Link to flyer.


    Why should authors work for free? from Alisha Webster

    I’m a blogger in the indie book community. It’s no secret that there would be no indie book community without our authors. They’re the glue that holds it all together. In recent months, I’ve read multiple complaints from authors that people are reading and returning their books. Some of these people even have the nerve to tell these authors that they did it because they felt .99/2.99 was too much for ebooks.

    This insanity has to stop! They’re blatantly stealing from authors and Amazon is sitting on the sidelines pretending it isn’t happening. This is a huge problem when these indie authors are depending on these sales to pay their bills, or using them to fund other books. We need to prevent the return of books read past 15% along with refusing returns after a few days. We can’t allow this theft to continue.

    By signing this petition you are not only supporting the indie book community but preventing the theft from more of our wonderful authors’ pockets.

    Alisha Webster


    Faithful America to resist Trump

    Donald Trump’s nomination is a moment of political crisis for America, but it’s also a spiritual crisis for the church.

    Millions of self-described Christians have flocked to an authoritarian leader preaching violence, hatred, and fear.

    The time has come for Christian leaders to break their cowardly silence and forcefully condemn Trump’s vision for America as fundamentally incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    We’ve spent the last few weeks preparing for the likely possibility that Trump will be the Republican nominee. Now it’s time to get started on an emergency campaign mobilizing widespread Christian opposition and resistance.

    That means raising at least $10,000 immediately. Can you chip in?

    Donate to Faithful America.

    Here’s what we’re planning:

    1) Organize a grassroots groundswell of local Christians and churches speaking out against Trump’s xenophobic and racist platform. Imagine hundreds of sermons, prayer services, and other local events.

    2) Hold Christian leaders like Jerry Falwell, Jr. accountable for endorsing Trump. No one who enables Trump’s campaign of hate should continue to hold a leadership position in any Christian church, school, or organization.

    3) Demand that Catholic bishops choose Pope Francis over Donald Trump. In the past, too many bishops have all but endorsed the Republican nominee — this time, we can’t let that happen.

    It’s an ambitious plan, and there are no billionaires, political parties, or even churches ready to fund a campaign like this. That means we need hundreds of grassroots donors to step up right now.

    Thanks,
    Michael


    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

    Imagine arriving in a foreign country far from everyone and everything you know. You barely speak the language, you don’t have any money and for a period of time you aren’t allowed to get a job.

You’re completely alone. 

When Shaibu arrived, he knew no one. He was forced to live in a car for three years, not knowing the ASRC and how we could help him.

    Please watch the video.

    This is life for 24,500 people seeking asylum in Australia, right now.

    Some have waited in limbo for the last four years, waiting to be invited to apply for asylum and be recognised as a refugee by our government.

    While they wait, they have limited access to a financial safety net and community support. This is an appalling situation for people who have already endured unimaginable trauma.

    Help us, as caring people, create an Australia where we treat refugees and people seeking asylum with dignity.

    We need your help to stand up for those who deserve better. 

In 2014-15, we provided 17,394 nights of shelter to 115 people who had nowhere else to turn. We need your help to continue giving shelter and safety to thousands of people who have left their country seeking exactly that.

  • $60 = three weeks free from hunger for a family.
  • $125 = safe housing for a family for one week.
  • $200 = legal assistance to 10 people so they can lodge their claim.
  • $504 = five weeks of safe accommodation for a family.

    Please support our work.

    In solidarity,
    Kon Karapanagiotidis
    CEO


    Solar supercharge video available

    In February 2016, solar champions from across Australia converged on Brisbane for Solar Supercharge: a three-day national action summit for a clean energy future. It was a game-changing event, packed full of workshops, expert speakers and conversations between like-minded solar lovers.

    We know you were interested in attending, but couldn’t make it. Luckily, video of all the panels and plenaries are now available to watch on Youtube.

    Be sure to share the videos with any friends and family who missed out too!

    Yours for sunshine,

    Claire
    National Director, Solar Citizens


    Sufficiency Thinking: Thailand’s gift to an unsustainable world

    Edited by Gayle C. Avery and Harald Bergsteiner

    gaylecover
    Our world is under pressure, with growing inequalities in wealth and access to food and clean water. We depend too heavily on polluting fuels and diminishing natural resources. Traditional cultural practices are being swamped by global popular culture.

    The Thai model of sufficiency thinking aims to transform the mindset of a whole population to achieve the seemingly impossible: enriching everyone’s lives in a truly sustainable way.

    Innovative management practices developed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand have been applied across Thailand in agriculture, education, business, government and community organisations for over two decades.

    In this book, chapters written by eminent Thai scholars explain sufficiency thinking and review its implementation in different sectors including community development, business, agriculture, health care, schools, and even in prisons.

    Is Thailand unique in having discovered the holy grail of a more responsible form of capitalism? No, it is not, but it is the first country whose government has adopted this kind of thinking as national policy.

    Paperback available from Book Depository www.bookdepository.com | ISBN: 9781760292911

    Ebook available from Kindle www.amazon.com | ISBN: 9781952533228


    Stopping coal in Newcastle

    “Whatever coal industry leaders think of the protests, they must realise that their industry is losing its social licence.” — The Newcastle Herald, 8th May 2016

    Something incredible happened at the world’s largest coal port.

    As Malcolm Turnbull called a Federal Election in Canberra, 2000 people from all walks of life joined together for the “biggest anti-coal protest in Newcastle’s history” to shut down Australia’s biggest contributor to climate change.

    Hundreds of colourful boats, led by indigenous Australians and Pacific Islanders, took to the water to stop coal ships leaving the harbour, whilst dozens of people blocked the main rail line into the port and several people stopped coal loaders. Sixty-six people were arrested for putting their bodies on the line to stop coal in its tracks. This incredible day of resistance to fossil fuels was part of the largest globally coordinated wave of civil disobedience actions in the history of the climate movement.

    Together, everyday people sent a powerful message to our leaders and the industry wrecking our climate: it’s time to break free from fossil fuels so we can all have a liveable planet.

    Check out this powerful video about the day:
    newcastle

    For many of the people who took action on Sunday, this was their first protest. As journalists interviewed them about why they were taking action and getting arrested, they all had a common message: the risks posed by climate change are far greater than the risks of arrest.

    It feels as though Sunday might just be part of a turning point for our movement.

    As the climate warms to dangerous levels, the Reef bleaches and fires and floods ravage local communities, people are banding together in unprecedented ways, doing things they’d never have thought to do, all so we can have a safe future.

    As the temperature rises, so do we. As we shut down the world’s largest coal port, thousands of people around the world are also shutting down some of the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects, from the coal mines of Wales and Indonesia to the oil fields of Turkey, Nigeria and the United States.


    Reviews

    Breakout from Sugar Island, by Seamus Beirne
    Sufficiency Thinking: Thailand’s gift to an unsustainable world
    Persian roulette by Oscar King
    Joan’s Elder Care Guide
    You can’t escape destiny, reviewed by Dita Skalic
    The Greatest Force in the Universe, reviewed by Seamus Beirne

     

    Breakout from Sugar Island, by Seamus Beirne

    I read this book because my Ascending Spiral is set in part during the late 18th Century. Breakout from Sugar Island covers events only about 20 years before that. From my research I could tell: Mr. Beirne has also done meticulous research. This story has the stamp of accuracy.

    Any story about the Irish in the 18th century just has to be grim. It was a grim time, leading up to Wolfe Tone’s rebellion of 1798. The English overlords treated the Irish worse than they treated animals, and as the book shows, slavery was rampant. An Irish slave was actually worth less than an African one. In the colonies, they were worked to death, and kept in line using casual terror.

    Lest this puts you off, let me say that I found Breakout from Sugar Island to be easy reading. It has sufficient humanity, humor and interesting action to get the reader through the terrible bits. The dramatic start instantly got me in. By the end of two short chapters, time and place were live, and the character of a person who had to be the villain was sketched in: someone who smiled at the thought of people dying of starvation.

    The hero, Michael Redferne, is an admirably faulty character, no saint by any means, but with a heart, morality, and intelligence. You will enjoy his adventures, in Ireland, Barbados and back in Ireland. I am happy to give this book five stars.


    Sufficiency Thinking: Thailand’s gift to an unsustainable world
    Edited by Gayle C. Avery and Harald Bergsteiner

    I had the honour of editing this book, through several iterations, and so became familiar with its contents. In the process, I became an admirer of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who advanced these concepts at his coronation, when I was still only a little boy, and has developed them further, with the aid of many Thai scholars, some of them involved in some way with this book’s production.

    “Sufficiency Economy Thinking” has been applied to many fields within Thailand, and it is now officially government practice. Unfortunately, during the many turbulent years of this country’s recent history, mostly it’s been followed in words, ignored in action.

    In a way, that is powerful support for the concepts. The book is full of case studies that convincingly demonstrates that, when it is applied, it works. It would be an interesting sequel to examine Thai history through the lens of “Sufficiency Economy Thinking,” to show why the failures occurred.

    “Sufficiency Economy Thinking” is Buddhist economics. If the world economy were reshaped according to its guidelines, we might have a future. It is powerful, effective, and as this book shows, field tested and showed to work.

    Politicians and economists everywhere should read it, and better, take its concepts on board.

    Paperback available from Book Depository www.bookdepository.com

    Ebook available from Kindle www.amazon.com


    Persian roulette, by Oscar King

    This is not my usual kind of book. When I was approached for a review, I accepted because of the uniformly positive opinion of other reviewers, and because my writing currently involves the Middle East.

    I am glad I did accept. It was a very enjoyable read, giving me many laughs, and admiration for the nicely arranged coincidences and plot twists.

    In a technical sense, the novel surprised me from the start. Writing wisdom is to avoid telling and concentrate on showing; for the author’s voice to be invisible instead of explaining things; to keep points of view distinct. This book violates all three of these rules. Even when describing horrific events like an assassination and pistol whipping, the tone is one of distant, Olympian amusement. There is continuous head hopping. This could have distanced me from the action and personalities, but has instead been a lubricant that induced me to slip right in.

    Also, one of the attractions for most readers is likely to be that it’s set in the high life: big money, expensive cars, beautiful women. An Iranian porn dealer and real estate shark finds himself in opposition to the Russian mafia. Such things don’t interest me, because I consider them to be symptoms of a sick society. However, again, despite this, I was drawn in, and enjoyed my reading experience. This is a compliment to the author’s skill of characterisation, inventiveness and sense of humour.


    Joan’s Elder Care Guide

    joanbook
    This book is a no-frills, very well-researched self-help guide on how to help. The language is simple, saying what Joan wants to say and no more.

    What is particularly impressive is the logical, step by step way Joan analyzes each problem, so that without talking down to the reader, she presents a guide even a kid could understand and follow.

    Second is the unfailing positivity. In a way, the book is disguised therapy for inner strength and self-confidence.

    While the links and information provided are specific to the USA, the concepts and advice can be adapted to the peculiarities of other countries.

    I have worked both as a psychotherapist, and as a nurse in nursing homes. My wife cared for her mother for many years, with me on the sidelines. From this personal experience, I can recommend Joan’s Elder Care Guide as accurate, helpful and even inspiring.

    Joan Y. Edwards is an author, illustrator, and retired teacher in North Carolina. Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive is published by 4RV Publishing. She wrote and illustrated picture book, Flip Flap Floodle, and self-published it with BookSurge in 2004. She is currently working on illustrations for her chapter book, Larry, the Terrifying Turkey.

    Her Never Give Up blog has over 340,000 views and 350 subscribers. She encourages writers, illustrators, and others to never to give up. Her website has a multitude of Gospel-based devotionals, puzzles, and skits.


    You can’t escape destiny
    reviewed by Dita Skalic

    Bill is really a lovable boy who wants the best for everyone and people on his team are very good souls, too. They have a good but tough mission and an interesting alien friend, which makes the story exciting so it keeps attention, especially that of science fiction lovers. Since there are so many people with different backgrounds, most readers should be able to recognise themselves or someone they know.

    In their adventures, readers can learn much about current problems of humanity and also about psychology. Bill keeps warning about climate change, extinction, poverty and hate, all of which are ruining the planet. People also get to feel that whatever you do to others will return to you.

    Some solutions are offered in many places. Unfortunately, they often involve Aurora and we currently know no person like her so we could not implement all. But we need no aliens or advanced technology to live simply and love everybody!

    There are also some disappointments. Given their values, I expected Bill and his team to do certain things differently. For example, while they encourage nice treatment of animals and plants, they are not opposed to breeding and killing animals for human food because life feeds on life. Promoting vegetarianism would be reasonable for a movement that wants to preserve environment and save lives.

    Technology is usually used in positive ways there but replacing a real person with a robot is, in my opinion, not ethical. Apart from dangers of artificial intelligence, it is not nice to fool people with something that just looks and behaves like their family member but has no feelings.

    Bill’s talks with bullies teach an important lesson: not all people who do bad things are bad persons in themselves. Many are just under pressure or have problems that they try to solve or forget by causing problems to others, like Damien, who is jealous of Bill’s popularity, or Enemy’s servants that come from the bottom of their society and would therefore do anything for better life they are promised. However, this ability to reform others sometimes goes too far. Most of Bill’s opponents become good people just because he unconditionally loves them, while in real life, many do not react to that.

    Another nice thing about the novel is integration of different religions. Religious texts and founders like Budha or Jesus are often mentioned and their common message of compassion is emphasized. This could motivate religious people to do good as well as challenge some readers’ prejudice against other religions.

    »Ability« also shows that prayers and miracles are not necessary incompatible with science. People make wishes come true just by thinking and they can explain that with scientific laws.

    Even two taboo topics, death and sexuality, are not avoided. Bill’s friends die there and while the team grieve for them, they acknowledge that death is not the worst thing that can happen. They believe that soul never really dies and also never leaves its loved ones.

    Renata shows Bill and readers how beautiful making love can be — as long as it really is love. On the other hand, another couple in the story is an example of an unhappy marriage that results when someone takes advantage of another person.

    To conclude, I liked the novel although I wish it was more realistic in some places and mentioned more issues. I hope it will inspire many leaders like Bill.


    The Greatest Force in the Universe
    reviewed by Seamus Beirne

    Whether readers live in Australia, America or Ireland, they will recognize the universal themes in this novel. It poses questions that are as old and intractable as man himself: are we alone in the universe? and how do we stop humanity sliding toward the dark side?

    Dr. Bob Rich addresses the latter by providing an answer to the former. The unlikely hero of this sci fi tale is a young teenage boy, Bill Sutcliffe, plucked from rural Australia by a superior alien intelligence that manifests itself through a computer named Merlin. Although this is a work of science fiction, it mines the Biblical story of the Messiah coming to save mankind in a new and interesting way. While the Biblical Messiah, Jesus, gets his divine power from the God of the Old Testament, Bill gets his extraordinary powers from the extraterrestrials Merlin and Aurora.

    His mission: “Make this planet a good place for everyone.” Using the superior gifts bestowed on him, he sets out on a crusade of reformation–reversing physical impairments, healing the sick, repairing damaged psyches, melting the hearts of the hard-hearted, and the biggest challenge of all, reshaping attitudes towards climate change. But as Jesus had to contend with the devil, Bill has to deal with an evil force called “the man who is not a man,” spreading hate and dissension.

    I liked the book both for its optimistic spirit and the scope of the historical, economic and medical research that undergirds it. But it is also depressing in the sense that it lays bare mankind’s herculean challenge to save itself from its worst impulses. In a sense, isn’t all that the meat and potatoes of fiction, be it historical or sci fi?

    Although the hero, Bill Sutcliffe, has been transformed into a super human, he is still real in his relationships with others which draws the sympathy of the readers and keeps them turning pages. I give this novel five stars.


    Fun

    A modern parable
    But this story is the truth

     

    A modern parable

    For the elucidation of foreigners to Australia, the two named people are Australia’s current Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.

    An old priest lay dying in a hospital in Canberra where he had served the locals for many years. He motioned for the nurse to come near. “Yes, Father?” the nurse asked. “I would really like to see Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten before I die” whispered the priest. “I will see what I can do” said the nurse. The nurse sent the request and both men said they would be delighted to visit the old man.

    As they were driven to the hospital, Turnbull commented “I don’t know why this old priest wants to see us, but it certainly will help our images and may even help our re-election prospects,” to which Shorten agreed.

    When they arrived at the priest’s room the priest took Turnbull’s hand in his right hand and Shorten’s hand in his left. There was complete silence and a look of serenity on the old priest’s face. Finally the old priest slowly whispered: “I have always tried to pattern my life and behaviour after that of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” “Amen” said both men.

    The old priest continued: “Jesus Christ died between two lying thieving bastards and I would like to do the same”.


    But this story is the truth

    A wonderful lady died of cancer in Virginia. She was a nurse before retirement, and even after was a caring person who got joy from giving and caring.

    Her obituary starts with: “Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday.”
    maryannn


    About Bobbing Around

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

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

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

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

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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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3 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 15 Number 12

  1. Dear Dr. Bob,
    How sweet of you to put my comments in your Bobbing Around! And it was very kind of you to put a review of Joan’s Elder Care Guide in it, too. I appreciate you very much.

    Do something fun today!
    Never Give Up
    Joan

    Like

  2. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Well, Joan, and I appreciated the wisdom in your book. When someone starts needing to care for me, I’ll insist they read it first.
    🙂
    Bob

    Like

    • Dear Dr. Bob,
      I do hope you have wonderful people to care for you when you need it. I do hope they will be able to use some ideas from my book to keep you perky and them perky, too. You deserve the best care because you have helped so many in your lifetime.

      Sincerely,
      Joan

      Like

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