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From me to you
Happy birthday, Natalie
When my oldest child was 4 years old, she absolutely refused to go to kindergarten, but wanted to go to school. Indeed, by that time, she’d been able to read for half her life. So, we found a private school that’d take her. I remember seeing the class line up, in order of size. There she was at the end of the line, a head shorter than the next smallest child.
A project in high school was to assess the employment prospects for various professions. She found that the computer industry and accounting had full employment and high demand. She said, “I’m not interested in computers,” and developed a passionate fascination with accountancy. She got a prize for the top results at the end of her degree.
I retired for the first time at 35 years of age. Of course, she had to do better, and retired at 30. Instead of working as an accountant, she established a small business as a bookkeeper, with a lower income, but far more satisfaction. In effect, she is a counsellor to the owners of small businesses, and is revered and loved by most of her clients. She always does more than what they pay her for. She has saved clients from bankruptcy, dishonest employees or customers, and the effects of the vagaries of fate and legislation. Nothing is too much for her clients.
Indeed, that’s the way she is in all her dealings with all people. She finds it natural to look out for ways to help others, including strangers. We would have a good world to live in if everyone was like Natalie.
As I wrote about my other two kids a couple of months ago, I feel honoured she chose me as her father. She is a mature soul, who is my role model.
Mac alarm clock
I am writing this on Friday 1st of July. Tonight, I need to go to my local high school, where I am in charge of the Australian Greens’ polling booth effort. I’ll be tying up bunting, putting signs in place, and so on. Then, I need to guard my efforts to discourage competing parties from ripping them off.
I’ve been told this is a real danger. The dinosaur parties, with their greater resources, have teams of guys go around the polling booths by truck to set up their stuff. And if they see Greens signs in place they might well destroy them. So, I’ll wait in my car and smilingly, politely discourage them from doing any vandalism. When both teams are gone, I’ll go home for a few hours of sleep, then return to start handing out how to vote cards from 8 am.
I have one little old alarm clock in my house, which I have set for 7 a.m. My mobile phone can act as an alarm — but that’s in Sydney, looking after my wife who is looking after our grandbabies.
I have now worked out how to use my Mac as an alarm clock. With luck it’ll wake me by starting to play one of the Brandenburg concertos at 1 a.m.
Very clear, explicit instructions by Paula DuPont made this possible.
Thank you, Paula.
A little following problem
An increasing number of readers “Follow” Bobbing Around instead of being on my subscription list. This means that they receive an automatic email copy.
One little problem is that the email version has formatting inaccuracies, at least on my computer, while the web version is fine. So, if this is the case for you, the best trick is to click on the heading (in this case, “Bobbing Around Volume 16 Number 2”) and read the online version.
Ban fracking in Victoria, please
There has been a years’ long campaign by Friends of the Earth and other groups to stop exploration for gas in Victoria. The opposition to this has been funded by vested interests, but all the same, we have been winning. The current government was about to impose a permanent ban.
Then, there was a change of ministers. The new minister, quite properly, decided to investigate matters before making a decision. FoE has encouraged its members to write to him. Here is my effort:
Congratulations on your new post, and I am pleased and impressed that you take the matter of a proposed ban on drilling for gas seriously.
I do hope that you will make the right decision for the people of the State, and indeed for our planet. Any gas found must stay in the ground. As a matter of extreme urgency, we need to significantly reduce all energy use, and generate what we do use from sustainable sources, not hydrocarbon fuels.
Brown coal is the most polluting, but methane is also incredibly damaging. I hope you will prove to be Minister FOR the environment.
Sincerely, and with best wishes,
Debating in the local paper
7th July, 2016
The elections are over, but it’s still worthwhile to discuss philosophy, and to correct untruths. Mr Terry Draper responded to my earlier letter, with essentially with two statements about the Greens: that this party is economically irresponsible, and that it would have Australia overrun by “queue-jumping illegal immigrants.”
In my letter, I encouraged people to look up the policies of the various parties. Were Mr Draper to do so for the policies of the Greens, he’d need to apologise.
The Greens have a responsible, fully costed economic policy, which has been found to be revenue-neutral by the Parliamentary Budget Office. However, there is a more important point. When you have destroyed nature, you can’t eat your money. We are now in the 6th extinction event of Earth, with an estimated 200 species going extinct every day. Climate change is only part of the causes of this. When humans have unravelled the web of life, we will fall through the hole.
The major parties are acting as if we can go on indefinitely as we have. I support the Greens because they are the only political party that goes even partway toward striving for a future for my grandchildren.
Second, I assume by “queue-jumping illegal immigrants” he means asylum seekers. They are not. When you are fleeing terror, torture, war, it is legal for you to seek asylum. Those poor boat people have broken no law. Rather, Australia’s governments since John Howard have broken international laws we are signatories to.
When I was a child, there was similar prejudice against Greeks and Italians. I remember a man saying to an Australian-born boy with Greek parents: “I fought for this country, now you wogs are coming to take it over!” Yet, people of Mediterranean origins have fully become part of Australia, and we are richer for their presence.
When Malcolm Fraser admitted Vietnamese boat people, they faced similar prejudice. That’s all disappeared. Now, it’s Muslims. They are just people, and if allowed, will contribute in the same way, and enrich our culture too.
The Greens propose admitting 50,000 asylum seekers a year, which is a drop in the bucket for our country. Tiny Holland has admitted 250,000.
There are illegal immigrants to Australia. They come by plane, on tourist and student visas, then overstay. But the boat people Libs and Labor torture in offshore concentration camps are not among them.
But there is no need for despair
I occasionally add more evidence for this essay. I have added to it again. The link is to an interesting picture and a fascinating video.
The arctic methane is coming to get you!
Responses to previous issues
I cannot imagine where you find the time to produce a fascinating journal like Bobbing Around and a blog and write novels as well. Please keep sending me everything you produce.
Florence is a retired professor of English, and my ultimate source of grammatical truth. For fun, she has written many gripping, fascinating historical novels, several of which are also mysteries.
Enjoyed your latest bobbing around. I was moved by the college student returning the Nestle scholarship and was emotional reading about the N. Carolina judge. Refreshing to know there are still incredible judges out there. Thanks for inspiring stories.
Amanda is a friend who takes awesome portrait photographs, teaches people to make handcrafted cards and things, and has a job as a researcher for a national mental health organisation.
Thanks Bob! I do follow you but like getting notifications too! Global Warming is an issue people have been ignoring for far too long, along with overpopulation, and pollution. I like those who bring thoughtful attention to any of these problems.
George Marshall on why Britain voted to leave the EU
I wasn’t sure whether to classify this powerful essay as “politics” or “philosophy,” or perhaps even “psychology.” It is all three.
George is an expert on attitude change, and is a very active worker in moving people toward accepting and understanding the fact of human-caused climate change. You can read my review of his book on the subject, Don’t Even Think About It.
In this essay, he shows that Brexit was based on the same communication strategies as climate change denial.
I found it fascinating reading, and you might want to apply his logic next time you need to convince someone of something.
What do you do with a dead nuclear reactor?
The Hinkley Point nuclear reactor project in Britain is hopefully dead.
In Australia, there are businessmen and politicians keen to import nuclear waste from other countries, and dump the stuff on the lands of Aboriginal people who have lived there since the beginning of humanity. They would also poison groundwater over a large area, perhaps including part of Adelaide’s water supply.
But current news focuses on another little problem with the nuclear industry. A great many nuclear reactors are now past their use by date, or rapidly approaching it. So, what do you do with them?
According to an article in New Scientist, you scratch your head and say, “Duh!”
Costs of decommissioning are ginormous. There is basically nowhere to put the radioactive stuff (would you want it in your backyard?). And a great many reactors are heading toward the end of their useful life.
Strike 3 in Australia
There has been quite a bit of reporting about the die-off of the Great Barrier Reef. More recently, the ecologically essential giant kelp forests that surround southern Australia were reported to be severely suffering.
The third strike is a huge die-off of Austrlia’s northern Mangrove forests.
I don’t know how people can deny climate change.
All these are massive ecological havens for many species. This is Australia’s contribution to the 6th extinction event that is killing us.
If all humans could combine and act together to forget self-interest, greed and aggression, we would have a hope.
I’ve placed this item under “Politics,” because in Australia it is. Both the major parties are very committed to talking about looking after marine ecosystems — as long as doing something about it doesn’t interfere with the interests of the coal lobby.
Photo by Professor Norm Duke, the article’s author.
Sunspot activity and climate
This issue is the latest false controversy denialists are using to stir the pot with. Please read my separate post on this issue.
You can read an excellent, plain language explanation of the difference between natural climate variation and what’s happening now at the blog of Sven Aake Bjorke.
What happens when you heat a gas?
Everybody knows. It expands. The part of the atmosphere closest to the ground is expanding upward. Its top layer is now higher (as well).
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “This boundary has likely changed because heat-trapping gases accumulate in the lower atmosphere and that atmospheric layer expands as it heats up (much like warming the air in a balloon).”
This means that the bits of atmosphere above the divide are now cooler — so will have shrunk.
If increases in global temperature were due to changes in the energy coming from the sun, both layers would have been warmed, and this differential expansion would not have occurred.
RIP Bolivian lake
This report in the New York Times is worth looking at for the amazing graphics alone.
The content is tragic. Bolivia’s second largest lake has completely dried up, killing millions of fish, displacing birds — and destroying the entire lifestyle of the local people. They are now climate refugees.
More evidence we’re killing nature
I sometimes hear people say, “It’s fair enough for humans to race toward extinction, but Earth will survive.” Well, yes, the rocks and waters and things will still be there, but we are attacking complex life of all kinds. This new report in Science demonstrates that across 65% of land, biodiversity has fallen below an internationally accepted safe limit. In those areas, nearly two-thirds, nature is at risk of dying, now.
This was a large scale, thorough overview, using over 2 million records for nearly 40,000 terrestrial species.
How many planets do we have?
A just-released UN report states that consumption of minerals, biomass and fossil fuels has tripled since 1970.
Unfortunately, we haven’t increased the number of available planets by three.
Charles Lamb told a story about how the Chinese invented roast pig. A house burnt down with a pig in it, and the villagers really liked the taste of the poor pig who was killed as a result. So, they kept burning down their houses, in order to have roast pig.
Isn’t that what humanity is doing?
You can eat local, in Chicago
Mayors to the rescue
Oakland puts people ahead of coal
Uttar Pradesh plants nearly 50 million trees in a day
Small countries showing the way
Chukchi Sea safe
Philadelphians for a future
You can eat local, in Chicago
At least two companies have started a quiet revolution: they grow food locally. One has a huge rooftop greenhouse, the other uses “vertical farming:” racks of plants illuminated by LED lights.
Apart from the benefit of reduced transport, such systems don’t need to use pesticides. However, they still rely on artificial fertilisers. All the same, they offer a big environmental and health benefit over the usual chemical factory farming.
Mayors to the rescue
The mayors of thousands of cities, representing about 600 million people, have formed an alliance to combat climate change.
All these warmist conspirators share a determination to cut the greenhouse emissions of their cities, and to work for a sustainable future.
This is in Philadelphia, Penn., one of the participating cities.
Oakland puts people ahead of coal
In order to protect the health of its citizens, Oakland has banned the transport of coal within its boundaries. This torpedoes a $250 million project to ship coal from Ohio to Asia.
Well done, people of Oakland.
Photo credit paulv2c
Uttar Pradesh plants nearly 50 million trees in a day
They are fighting climate change by entering the Guiness book of records. The previous record was by Pakistan, with 847,275.
This is the kind of international conflict I like.
Small countries showing the way
The Pacific Islands are among the worst affected by sea level rise. They are doing something about it.
There is a pacific forum, which used to have 16 member countries. They have kicked out Australia and New Zealand, which have been less enthusiastic about making changes (in Australia’s case, it’s more like running the other way). The 14 other countries have agreed to phase out all fossil fuel use by 2018, and are taking urgent action immediately.
If all humanity followed their lead, we might have a chance.
Chukchi Sea safe
Earthjustice is a voluntary association of lawyers who defend nature from the ravages of big business. They have won a victory for us: there will be no exploration for oil and gas in the Chukchi Sea, which is a huge part of the Arctic Ocean between Alaska and Russia.
They do depend on crowdfunding, and are one of the most worthwhile targets for your spare dollar.
Philadelphians for a future
They are determined to stop fracking, get us off fossil fuel addiction, move toward justice, decency and environmental responsibility.
The article has several inspiring photos. Have a look.
Go home, lobster, with blessing
A bunch of Buddhist monks bought a huge number of lobsters, destined to be boiled alive, and carefully, thoughtfully, released them back into the sea.
They don’t want to change what anyone else does. They are just doing their best to awaken compassion for all living things for those who don’t think about such issues.
How to use tropical soil
One of the ways modern agriculture is wrecking the earth is by clearing tropical rainforest, and replacing it with factory farming. This is temporary because the lateritic soils soon become infertile and hard as rock.
At last, some soil scientists decided to have a look at traditional farming practices in these areas. These result in what has been termed “African black soil.” The arrogant western experts put this down to a soil type that just happens to be in some places. No, it’s the result of what you probably do in your home vegie garden. For hundreds of years, people have buried food and agricultural wastes, and also charcoal and ashes from their fires. This simple composting procedure, surprisingly to the experts, has maintained and increased soil fertility.
It is also one of the best ways of storing away carbon, reducing human contribution to climate change.
Why all the violence?
Has humanity gone crazy?
There is organised violence: wars carried out by various countries, civil wars, coup attempts, terrorism.
There is individual violence: people brooding for years, then killing as many strangers as they can, for no apparent reason. Remember the pilot who deliberately crashed a plane full of passengers? The various loners who used assault rifles and/or bombs to kill?
Hardly a day goes by without reports of some crazy person or group going on a murderous rampage, and much of it is NOT Islamic.
What’s going on?
A man in the 1960s predicted exactly this. He was John Calhoun, who studied the effects of population density on rats. What we now have is exactly what he wanted to prevent through his research.
His work was dismissed as an oddity. Sadly, it was valid, and apt, and relevant to humanity as well as to other mammals (perhaps other animals).
At very high population densities, male rats reacted in one of three ways.
One reaction was to give up. These rats submitted to aggressive ones, stopped trying to find mates, simply existed and waited to die. There are people like that, but for humans, reactions like drug, alcohol and other addictions like gambling are the same thing. Anything we do to get out of reality because that’s too painful is based on the unthought message: “Nothing can work. I’m getting off this planet.”
The second reaction was insane aggression. Some males became so territorial that they killed their own mates and young. Males formed gangs, and fought to the death.
But there was a third reaction. Some males stayed with the normal rat behaviour pattern. They chose to be unaffected.
Rats are not very good at changing each other’s minds. Perhaps we can do better?
This is what has motivated my writing for the past several years. It’s the message of Ascending Spiral. How to do it — the power of Love — is the theme of my soon-to-be-published book, Hit and Run. (I am looking for advance reviews, so you can read this book for free.) And it is the theme of my current work, the Doom Healer series.
Wanting to do something about it, saving a future for my grandchildren, is behind almost everything I do.
Please join me.
Sterilisation at 20: right or wrong?
The Guardian gives a fairly positive report of a program in India that offers payment for sterilisation. A young woman goes through the procedure after having her second child, and is happy with the outcome.
India has too many young people, which means its population is guaranteed to further increase, and it’s the second highest on the planet now. This young woman has made a choice that will benefit her two children, her community, and humanity as a whole. And the only sign of the tubal ligation is a tiny, almost invisible scar.
This is far better than India’s past attempts at tackling the problem: force.
I followed up the links and came across a much more critical viewpoint in an Indian newspaper. Not all recipients of the service have been as lucky. Many improvised sterilisation clinics have been butcher shops leading to botched surgery, infections, and deaths. “Government figures show 1,434 sterilisation deaths between 2003 and 2012, with 2009 being the worst year with a maximum of 247 deaths. On an average, 12 deaths occurred every month over the last 10 years.”
Also, in some places, the program is voluntary in name only. It is never right to sacrifice individuals for the common good.
So, my assessment is, the concept is excellent. Its execution is not, and must be revised. When it is entirely voluntary (even if in response to receiving payment), and is as safe as in a fortunate country like the USA or Australia, then it will be a good thing.
Oh good, a school day!
When my Anina was little, she answered the question “What would you like to be when you grow up?” with “A schoolgirl!”
The typical school experience soon bashes such enthusiasm out of almost every child. But here is a school that maintains the excitement.
This planet would be a happy place if it was run along the lines of this German school.
Ancient wisdom explained…
…so that even I can understand it.
I’ve always found the Tao Ching to be puzzling rather than illuminating. This amusing and well written explanation has helped me to make sense of it, and to realise that it’s very close to other philosophies I have studied.
There is only one Truth, and many mirrors to it.
Ted Trainer on the tech fix
Readers of the Doom Healer books will know that I am a fan of Ted Trainer. Mike Stasse has reprinted one of Ted’s essays. It is rather long, and academic-style writing, but spot on.
In one sentence, technology cannot fix our world. Only using less has a chance.
How to defeat terrorism
In my soon to be published novel, Hit and Run, Sylvia says, “Only love can defeat hate.”
Retaliation, punishment, hostility only pushes a person further into the mindset that leads to hate, the desire to strike.
The police in a Danish town have successfully stopped young Muslims from their slide toward extremism through realising this. The case study described is of a boy who became embittered and with a need to strike because of a hostile police investigation. His path toward decency started with a heartfelt apology from one of those policemen.
Please read this.
After writing this little piece, I entered “love defeats terrorism,” in a search engine, and got a surprising number of hits. Try it.
After watching this bird solve a problem, you might wish you had a birdbrain.
Rejecting diagnostic categories: a better approach
I have long said that the approach of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association) is a work of politically motivated science fiction.
Here is a senior person in psychology who is offering a positive alternative: focusing on the person, and instead of putting people in boxes, classifying the kinds of concerns a person seeks help for.
Dr Jeffrey Rubin is to be congratulated.
Working with schizophrenia is not part of my specialty, though I have helped several clients with that problem. My understanding has been that the standard antipsychotic drugs are helpful, despite their nasty side effects.
This PDF document by Robert Whitaker has changed my mind.
In his very thorough review of the evidence, he has shown that these drugs may relieve symptoms in the short term, but then actually make matters worse. They change the brain in ways that increase the problem.
Well worth a read if you or your loved ones are affected by schizophrenia.
I’m being abused at work
I work hard in life. I got many rewards in high school and college and now I am a vet.
I am doing well in my job but I am not being respected. My boss and the workers call me a faggot. I have been waiting for this job ever since I was a little boy. What do I do ?
Peter, workplace bullying is against the law. At a minimum, research what legal avenues you are able to take. If you’re smart enough to qualify as a vet, you’re smart enough to work out how to use that as a weapon, even if you don’t choose to actually make an official complaint.
You should quietly gather evidence, for example abusive emails, text messages, phone calls. You can line up witnesses who can bear out the fact of abuse.
Second, you worked very hard to become a vet. You did not aim for just this one job. Quietly check out what else is available, and start sending applications. Once you are ready to move, you can put my previous suggestion to use. Make an official complaint, get them to experience the consequences of their actions, and also protect other recipients of abuse from these people. It is not all right, and you can be an agent in social change. Because you are already on the way to leaving, they won’t be able to make your life even worse.
Your new grandfather,
Another mass murderer
I am 19, very, very bored. Stuck in a mental institution for a month once before.
I have been thinking about killing somebody for a while. Quite frankly, I’d like to murder somebody. Not just mentally breaking them down, but picturing somebody on their knees begging for their life is very satisfying to think of. Or mass genocide. Yes, that’s quite thrilling too, awful lot of fun, having people die in confusion, in despair. Or you could just kill off a small area with a shotgun. You see, if you can mentally break someone down, you’ll know how fun, thrilling, satisfying it is. There’s a nearly orgasmic feeling. But I do consider, the consequences, what would make up for the satisfaction. You see, but I don’t want to be jailed. How can I sort this out? I’m not ready to face the dire consequences. I have been handling some heroin and meth to keep me as calm as possible.
Real life killing is not like in a computer game. Ask almost any person who has been a soldier in a war. Ask any experienced policeman who has seen death, both from the point of view of the killer, and from the point of view of the victim and the victim’s family/friends.
An important question is, why do you feel this way? You’ve said, you are bored. I think there is more to it than that. I am guessing that your life is empty, meaningless, perhaps lonely. Also, I am guessing that you’ve had horrible things happen in your past, probably when you were a little boy, and now you want to hit back at the world.
So, if I am right, you are suffering, and imagine that if you could make others suffer, your problem would ease. One way of feeling good about ourselves is to put someone else down.
But this is not the best way. From your name, I am guessing that English is not your first language. If that is true, then you are intelligent, because you have expressed yourself very well and thoughtfully. Intelligence is a tool for solving problems. Your problem is not whether to kill people or not. Your problem is how to change your life into one of meaning, purpose, happiness, joy. If I gave you a magic wand, and said you could make a wish, would it be what I’ve just said, to get a life of meaning, purpose, happiness, joy, or would it be to be soon forgotten as “just another crazy mass murderer?”
If it is to build a GOOD life for yourself, then you can do that.
If you want to go on with working toward something good instead of toward becoming a murderer, then please email me back, and we can do it together. I am willing to be here for you. I’ve done that with many other teenagers who wanted to kill people. They have stayed on as my honorary grandchildren. You can too.
There is one more thing: using heroin and meth. That’s the LAST thing you should do. Without doubt, some of the horrible thoughts of wanting to hurt others come from the drug use. Particularly, meth makes many people aggressive. I hope you are not addicted yet. If you can, go for a medically supervised detox. Many people find vigorous physical exercise such as running, cycling or swimming to be helpful in fighting off drugs. Eat well, and start treating your body as if your health mattered. Because it does.
Have a good life. You can.
My daughter hates me
My grown married with 4 children daughter whom I love with all my heart finds nothing but fault with me. I’m not patting myself on the back but have been advised by many to just ‘let her go’, which I just can’t. She really hates me and makes sure I know it every chance she gets, via email or text or phone, etc. I have taken her verbal abuse (she also hit me once on the top of my arm really hard & left her handprint) for around 15 years now. I do not have much longer to live (she does now know this) and I would like to put this all behind me.
Should I just leave things the way they are?
Should I set myself up for another disappointment?
I’m tired and very weak and don’t think my body can take another cheap shot from her. Also she loves to see me suffer and said that some day when I am in a wheel-chair that she can’t wait to pinch me.
No person has the right to abuse another. Even if she is your daughter, she doesn’t.
You love her, and I am sure love your grandchildren and want to have them in your life. Being able to love someone regardless of what the other person does is a sign of a high level of spiritual development. It is what the Bible (and the other great religions) tells us to do, but most people find it difficult. So, know that you are an exceptional person.
You say you don’t have much longer to live. Have you been diagnosed with a terminal illness? If so, that may be the tool for changing the situation. You could write her a letter, telling her this, and saying, whatever went on in the past, it would be good to part in peace. At the best, she becomes your friend. At the worst, things continue as now. There is nothing to lose.
I have no doubt that she justifies her behavior to herself by hanging on to some real or imagined hurts in the past. She doesn’t realize that the person she is damaging the most is herself, not you. It would be really good to lead her out of this way of behaving, but, she is an adult and responsible for her own life. All you can do is the best you can do.
But here is what I think may be a new way of looking at things for you. Suppose that, before you were born, you decided that you needed to learn a particularly difficult lesson as the crowning achievement of your life. So, with help, you organized a situation to give you the opportunity to learn this lesson. The situation is a hating daughter.
I think you have learned the lesson, and passed the test. You have turned the other cheek, and regardless of how much hurt she has caused for you, your only wish is to love her.
Whether you live for only a few months, or for many years yet, you have passed through this trial, and it has honed you into a better person.
Abortion can be the real pro-life action
Please read this inspiring essay on how Leonel Briozzo, a doctor-turned-politician in Uruguay, has led many other poor countries to reduce fatalities and improve many lives.
Alcohol and cancer: the evidence is in
Alcohol is part of the causes of at least 7 forms of cancer. There is a “dose-response relationship,” which means that the more you drink, the more the risk increases. Even moderate regular drinking puts you at risk of cancer in the breast, liver, lowest bits of your digestive tract, and the parts where you swallow and breathe.
Is addiction a disease?
I have reviewed David Norman’s book Alcohemy, in which he shows how you can beat a lifetime alcohol addiction.
He has had a great deal of trouble getting experts in the addiction field to even READ his book, never mind to review or endorse it. Without even looking at what he has to say, they know to dismiss it, because it goes against their preconceptions that addiction is a disease: once you’re addicted, it’s for life.
I find it encouraging for Dave, therefore, that British neuroscientist Marc Lewis has published a book that supports Dave’s approach with research evidence.
Preparing Your Goodreads Marketing Timeline
This article is useful advice to authors awaiting publication. It is focused on Goodreads, but the ideas should be applied more widely.
Joan Edwards on getting reviews
My friend Joan Edwards has set out 11 ways you can get reviews for your book.
Visit her blog and read it for yourself.
What my friends want you to know
Darrell and I live on different continents, and have never met, but we’ve been mates since 1999. Currently, he is suffering a great deal of spinal pain, but is forcing himself to write, and to market his books. Such courage and determination deserve support, besides his books are exciting reading. I’ve reviewed many of them.
He sent me this:
A new Bainstorming Blog covering the dates from May 30 to Jul 9 is now live at www.darrellbain.com. Subjects covered in this blog: Horrible painful month, Books to other Publishers, Promotion I couldn’t help with, Spinal injection, Books out of Print, Books available for new publishers, Handy hint, Amazon Author’s Page, Wonderful Betty.
I have signed this petition to the Australian parliament. It demands treating today’s climate situation as what it is: a global emergency.
If you’re in Australia, you must sign it. Even if you’re unlucky enough to live elsewhere, please sign it anyway.
Not that the dinosaur government will listen, but every little push in the right direction helps to change what is “common sense.” At least, the previous Minister for Destroying the Environment has been replaced with a new one (with the nickname “Mr Coal”), who has publicly stated that he knows climate change is real, and caused by humans.
Help WWF buy safety for a bit of sea
This is big, Bob. We’ve just launched a crowdfunding campaign to save 10,000 Queensland sharks in the next 12 months. I’m really excited to be sharing this with you.
Here’s what’s happening: On the Great Barrier Reef there are five licences for 1.2 kilometre nets, which are mostly used for shark fishing. These are the largest nets allowed on the Reef. (Yep – you read that right; 1.2 kilometres).
While they’re only meant to capture certain fish, these nets capture pretty much everything in their way; putting at risk turtles, dugongs and dolphins. Once they’re entangled they can drown in minutes.
One of these licences, in one of the most pristine areas of the Great Barrier Reef, has come up for sale. So we put a down payment on it.
By buying this licence, we’ll keep the net out of the water, saving thousands of sharks from being caught each year and removing the risk to dugong, turtles and dolphins. That means we can ensure safe passage for all sea creatures.
We’ve been blown away by your support! So, great news — we’re increasing our target so we can buy two licences. That’s two nets off our Reef forever.
Great news! A group of supporters who care about sharks, turtles, dugongs and dolphins have pledged to match every dollar you donate.
This means your donation will go twice as far toward taking the licence off the market and one of these very large nets off our Reef forever.
Contest closes 15th August, 2016
For more details and to enter, go to http://changetheworldwithyoursong.com/about/
Spring vision quest, October, Victoria
Claire Dunn has been a campaigner for the Wilderness Society, and runs Vision Quest. She calls herself nature’s apprentice.
“I’m excited to be offering a 3 day Spring Vision Quest in Victoria during October. Spring is the perfect time of year to enter into the wilds for a solo, clearing out the cobwebs of winter, and emerging with renewed clarity, energy and commitment. If you are in transition, or feel it’s time for a stronger commitment or deepening of your life experience, I encourage you to get in touch about Vision Quest.”
The Final Battle
reviewed by Gary Clough
I now have the pleasure of being one of Bob Rich’s beta readers. This means, I can read his new books before anyone else. I’m only a plain builder, now some intellectual, so it surprises me that Bob actually pays attention to my ravings. In the Doom Healer series, he goes to great trouble to make sure each book can stand on its own, and he put in this intro bit at the start of the second one, You Can’t Escape Destiny. I told him it was a bit boring, and not needed, and hey, he cut it out!
But I’m writing about the third book. First up, it’s exciting, edge-of-the-seat reading. You see, there is this bloke who’s been around for 10,000 years, his aim being to drive us to extinction, with as much suffering as possible along the way. His name for Bill Sutcliffe, our hero, is The Wretch, because they’ve butted heads many times in the past. In this book, he uses every means possible to murder Bill, and doesn’t mind causing him grief in other ways either, like having a go at his closest friends.
But one of Bob’s strict instructions to me was not to do a spoiler, and give away the contents. So, all I’ll say is, wait for the book to be published, or get onto Bob’s beta reader list.
Great reading, right, but also the Doom Healer books are a life changer. Bill tells people: “Above all, do no harm. When you can, do good. When you can’t, change the situation so you can.” You know what? I’ve been doing this, and not only does this make life better for my long-suffering family and friends, but for myself too. You should give it a go.
About the series as a whole, so far: When I was a kid, my brother forced me to read the Dune series. He had to force me, because I found the first book BORING. But when I finished the third one and re-read the first, it was fascinating: full of little hints that made sense later on. The early Doom Healer books are anything but boring. They are exciting, and keep giving me a laugh in the most unexpected places, but also, they are full of the same kinds of little hints. Something in volume 3 is fine by itself, but it’s a POW because of something in volume 1. And Bob tells me he didn’t do this on purpose. He wrote that little item in volume 1 because it seemed right at the time, not necessarily as, he puts it, a seed to be planted for later.
I know Bob is now writing the 4th volume. How you can have more story after the final battle is something I am impatiently waiting to find out.
Tinker Bee by Erin Beth Liles
If you want one word to describe this little book for very young children, it’s “charming.” The storyline is simple, the words age-appropriate for preschool children, and for those just learning to read. It will hold their interest, and the colorful illustrations will do so in their own right.
So many children’s books are, basically, nonsense. There is no point to reading them beyond momentary entertainment. However, like all good books, “Tinker Bee” is educational. It subtly presents accurate information about the lives of bees, mixed in with the fairytale.
There is also a more subtle message: that interfering with nature has multiple unintended consequences.
So, if you have a little person in your life, this book will make a wonderful gift.
There really is such a website, but don’t look it up unless you approve, because they count the clicks.
These geniuses have disproved Einstein’s E=mc-squared, among other things.
My darling granddaughter in Sydney had a school project: to select a poem about insects to recite in class.
Her mother Anina approached me. Here are the poems I sent her, occasional scribblings of a flighty mind.
The aardvark of the African plains
Travel around in buses and trains
To find the termites that eat the wood,
For aardvarks eat termites, as they should.
(They also eat ants, and delicious bugs,
and deep in their burrows drink coffee from mugs.
Against each other play computer games,
And call each other Great Lords and Dames.)
The sad fate of boy bees
The story of bees has a sting in the tail.
Did you know, all useful bees are female?
The gentleman bees, well, just hang around
Until a queen flies above the ground.
Then one of them mates — and all the boys die —
I’d rather be human, and that’s not a lie.
I like little lepidopterous people
Frantically flittering past my face
Following fractal paths of fun.
I know they are joyful
Because looking at them makes me joyful.
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