Bobbing Around Volume 16 Number 6

No matter how you measure it, a mass extinction has arrived… human civilisation relies on biodiversity for its very existence.
Bill Laurance and Paul Ehrlich

Most people would be skeptical of a tobacco company that simultaneously claimed it supported efforts to curb smoking while building a new cigarette factory. Yet Australia’s politicians say they want to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions while planning to build new coal mines — and they go largely unchallenged.
Richard Denniss

Bobbing Around

Volume Sixteen, Number Six,
December, 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 chances to win a free book
Hit and Run
Doom Healer series
Pestering a senator about refugees

*Politics
A good explanation of Trump
Naomi Klein on what to do
Karl Kofoed has it right
Staci Sprout on rape culture
Decarbonise!

*Environment
I keep shouting about extinctions
There is no doubt: We are cooking ourselves
How to communicate about the effects of climate change
Geoengineering pie in the sky
Heatwave in the Arctic
Sense from Noam Chomski

*Good news
Antarctic sanctuary
San Francisco disses Chevron
British universities divesting
Coal-free countries coming

*Inspiring people
She makes the planet a better place
Doctor with a big heart on a little island
I’ve made a new friend
Teenager is a world leader

*Deeper issues
Faithful America on false idols
And a compassionate take
Can you get mindfulness wrong?
Zero waste lifestyle
Do onto others…
George Monbiot on political promises

*Psychology
George Monbiot on the power of kindness and connection
Do psych drugs drive you mad?
Anxiety and addiction, from Jessica Campbell
She stole my son from me
I can’t stand being bullied anymore

*Health
Pennsylvanian doctors against fracking
Part of their evidence is this Yale study
Feeling sick? Relax!
Disability resources

*For writers
Fear of plagiarism, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Selling books in Britain? Support Hive
How to write a review
Avoid Rejection… An Editor’s Checklist by Dee Lloyd

*What my friends want you to know
Prejudice census
Please sign to destroy Australia’s concentration camps
Fire in Indian market is a disaster for Tibetans
Reduce food waste and train unemployed people
New SF book from Bill Parker
Sharing with writers…
Invitation to a new writers’ forum
Support Medicins sans Frontieres
Bainstorming
The Death of Liberal Democracy? by Joe Zammit-Lucia and David Boyle

*Reviews
Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult
Prince Preemie, by Jewel Kats
Dark Seed, by Lawrence Verigin

*Fun


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.

Old age is horrible in the body and lovely in the head.
Anna Jacobs

One of the greatest economic mistakes of recent times has been the so-called free market, which is the freedom of multinationals over countries.
Cindy Sutcliffe, in The Final Battle


From me to you

Two chances to win a free book
Hit and Run
Doom Healer series
Pestering a senator about refugees

 

Two chances to win a free book

Until the 15th of December, 2016, one person who comments on my interview with Carolyn Howard-Johnson will receive a free copy of her latest helpful book for writers, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

You can read a brief extract from this book in the writing section of this Bobbing Around.

Second, I’ve had a lot of fun responding to a set of interview questions from Rita Lee Chapman.

The interview is here. I think my answers will give you a few laughs, and people who don’t know me all that well can improve this deleterious state of affairs.

Rita only has her guest posts up Monday to Monday, so HER version will disappear on the 5th of December. Also, her web platform doesn’t allow comments.

To fix the second problem, I have created a blog page right here. Please visit, read and comment. One person who does so will then have the right to select a free copy of one of my books.

I am also fixing the second problem. Once a new person has replaced me at Rita’s site, I will extend my page, and reproduce the interview there.

So, you can continue to send people to read it. The deadline for comments that enter the draw for a free book is the 21st of December.


Hit and Run

My next book is having its cover designed. If the artist presents me with a few choices, I’ll put them up at at the book’s prepublication page, and offer a $10 Australian gift voucher to one person who helps me to select.

In the meantime, you can still request a free copy for review.

According to Alfredo Zotti, who has read all the books I have written this century, this one is my best so far.


Doom Healer series

The writing is not complete yet, but I’ve been forced to do a revision already. This is because the story started in 2015, and current events are changing so rapidly that some of the things I’ve written are already obsolete. My solution has been to advance the start to 2022.

I am open to having additional people join my team of beta readers. That means, you get a free copy of each book in its current form, and I carefully consider your feedback, good or bad.


Pestering a senator about refugees

Please stop this government’s cruelty

Dear Senator Collins,

I was a refugee. When I arrived in Australia, I couldn’t even read the street signs. All the same, over nearly 60 years I have done a great deal to repay my adopted country for its generosity.

The same will be true for today’s refugees, if they are given a chance.

When I was a boy, Greeks and Italians were treated with hate and disdain. I remember a man saying to a boy born in Australia to immigrant Greek parents, “I fought for this country, now you bloody wogs are taking it over.” Later, Vietnamese were vilified in the same way.

Now, it is Muslims, who happen to worship the same God in a slightly different way. They are just people.

The way to stop homegrown terrorism is to treat marginalised people with compassion, decency and friendship. What we send out we get back. This is not only common sense, not only the message of all the great religions, but is supported by a great deal of psychological research.

Please use your influence to have the ALP stand up to this cruel, unfeeling government. The overwhelming majority of the people in Australia’s concentration camps have been found to be genuine refugees. They deserve a decent life, and they deserve to have it in Australia.

Sincerely,
Bob Rich, PhD


Politics

A good explanation of Trump
Naomi Klein on what to do
Karl Kofoed has it right
Staci Sprout on rape culture
Decarbonise!

liberty

 

A good explanation of Trump

liamk
Professor Liam Kennedy’s analysis of Trump’s success is excellent.


Naomi Klein on what to do

naomiklein
Naomi Klein explains the rise of neo-fascism everywhere including Trump, and she makes sense. The cause is what Occupy Wall Street and Bernie Sanders oppose: the obscene concentration of wealth. She says, Hillary lost because she is part of that crew.

We need Bernie’s New Revolution to continue.


Karl Kofoed has it right

What I’m wondering about is: The many stories of voter manipulation. Ignored. What about Trump’s trial for raping an underage girl (dropped by her because of death threats), his bankruptcies, not paying vendors, fraud connected with Trump University, using Chinese steel and imports in his buildings, racism, xenophobia, bragging about groping women and walking in on Miss Teen America contestants while they were dressing?

What about, “I know more about ISIS than the generals… believe me!” And what about the generals that have vowed to quit if he’s elected? Not a word in the TV media.

What about the millions of dollars worth of free advertising the broadcast media gave him during the last year… and Trump says the media is against him and it’s rigged? Now he doesn’t even say “Sorry” and now we’re supposed to forget all that and honor our new president like all of it never happened?

Hell no! The TV media must think Americans are idiots. Well, maybe half of us are if they voted for Trump.

K.B. Kofoed


Staci Sprout on rape culture

stacis
Staci Sprout and I share membership of organisations that care for the victims of childhoods wrecked by sexual abuse. She is a highly qualified and experienced professional. Please read her essay in the Huffington Post on the election of a sexual predator to the White House.

It is brief, well argued and spot on.


Decarbonise!

A group of very high-profile people including an ex governor general have told the Australian government to wake up. They have a specific plan to get coal out of electricity supply.

The trouble is, it would be bad faith on the part of politicians to betray their owners. Better widespread extinction, including humans, than to let down those who pay you.


Environment

I keep shouting about extinctions
There is no doubt: We are cooking ourselves
How to communicate about the effects of climate change
Geoengineering pie in the sky
Heatwave in the Arctic
Sense from Noam Chomski

 

I keep shouting about extinctions

All readers of Bobbing Around know: one of my cliches is: when we unravel the web of life, we fall through the hole.

It’s happening.

I have read the PDF of a report from the World Wildlife Fund, but the page has disappeared, sorry.

And here is a later summary of the evidence from Bill Laurance and Paul Ehrlich.

But even they are being too optimistic. We need to combine this information with the unrelenting push for what is called economic growth, which is growth in GDP. It used to be said, you cannot have unlimited growth in a finite world. The extinction event changes this. Now we want unlimited growth in a shrinking world.


There is no doubt: We are cooking ourselves

I have an intelligent friend who is convinced that climate change is a hoax, and a UN conspiracy. I find this beyond belief, but we have agreed to disagree.

And yet, the evidence is pouring in. Here is the latest assessment of what is happening to Australia’s climate. The same data and logic apply to the whole planet, including your backyard.

The work was done by two government organisations. Of course, they are part of the conspiracy, although the Australian government in power at the moment is run by a bunch of denialists.
co2smoke


How to communicate about the effects of climate change

sophiel
This is an excellent, easy to understand essay by Sophie Lewis about explaining the link between a specific extreme weather event and climate change.

She introduced me to a new branch of climate science, with its first publication in 2003, that investigates the attribution of climate change to the causation of specific weather events. This is now really possible, with strong implications for legal responsibility, insurance, prevention and adaptation.

She has specific recommendations:

  • Lead with what the science does understand and save the caveats and uncertainties for later. For example, start by explaining the impact of global warming on heatwaves and then discuss the specifics of an individual event.
  • Use metaphors to explain risk and probabilities. For instance, discussion of global warming as “loading the dice toward more rolls of extreme events”, or “stacking the deck” in favour of extremes, are examples of accessible language.
  • Avoid loaded language like “blame” and “fault”.
  • Use accessible language for conveying uncertainty and confidence. For example, scientists often use the word “uncertainty” to discuss the envelope of future climate scenarios, but to the public, “uncertainty” means we just don’t know. Instead, use the word “range”.
  • Try to avoid language that creates a sense of hopelessness. For example, rather than calling further increases in some extreme weather “inevitable”, we can discuss the choice we face between a future with increases in extreme weather, and one with less.


Geoengineering pie in the sky

A new report by the UN agency Convention on Biological Diversity has examined currently possible bioengineering techniques, and has found them wanting.

In case you don’t want to wade through a long, technical PDF document, Climate News Network gives a brief plain-language summary by Alex Kirby.

The best that can be said about any of these techniques is that they need more research. They all have dangers of unintended consequences that could be far worse than the problem they address.

This is, yet again, validation of the 1970s Club of Rome work that showed that technical solutions may solve any one problem, but only by making other problems worse.

The only solution is to use less. Live simply so you may simply live.
livesimply


Heatwave in the Arctic

Right now, the Arctic should be freezing up. Some areas don’t see the sun at all. However, this article in the Washington Post summarises new evidence. Air temperatures in the Arctic are 20 degrees Celsius (36 degrees F) above normal.

Who cares about the Arctic? It’s the engine house of global climate.

Please read this informative essay.
seaice


Sense from Noam Chomski

I wasn’t sure where to classify this interview, or really, essay in which Noam Chomski sets out the implications of Trump’s victory. It could be politics or philosophy, but rightly, Noam focuses in on the deadly environmental consequences.

This is a long read, but well worth it. Here are some powerful quotes:

“The most important news of November 8 was barely noted, a fact of some significance in itself. On November 8, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) delivered a report at the international conference on climate change in Morocco (COP22), which was called in order to carry forward the Paris agreement of COP21. The WMO reported that the past five years were the hottest on record. It reported rising sea levels, soon to increase as a result of the unexpectedly rapid melting of polar ice, most ominously the huge Antarctic glaciers. Already, Arctic sea ice over the past five years is 28 percent below the average of the previous 29 years, not only raising sea levels, but also reducing the cooling effect of polar ice reflection of solar rays, thereby accelerating the grim effects of global warming. The WMO reported further that temperatures are approaching dangerously close to the goal established by COP21, along with other dire reports and forecasts.”

“The… Republican Party, has become the most dangerous organization in world history… The Party is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand.”


Good news

Antarctic sanctuary
San Francisco disses Chevron
British universities divesting
Coal-free countries coming

 

Antarctic sanctuary

Hi Bob,

I have big news and I wanted to thank you for helping us make it happen. Last week, in Hobart, Tasmania, the world’s largest marine reserve was secured. This momentous outcome means safer seas for whales, penguins, and seals. The protection of the Ross Sea in the Antarctic Southern Ocean has been a long time coming.

This special place is home to a wealth of biodiversity. As well as being an important habitat for killer whales and migrating humpback whales feeding in Antarctic summer, it’s also home to: one third of the world’s Adélie penguins; one quarter of all emperor penguins; one third of all Antarctic petrels, and over half of all South Pacific Weddell seals.

Click here to see a gallery of these awesome creatures and help pass on the good news.
humpie


San Francisco disses Chevron

The City of San Francisco owns land used by Chevron to extract oil. They have decided to withdraw permission, noting that a solar array on that land would reduce contribution to climate change while actually generating more revenue.

“San Francisco and other cities can help lead this country into the clean energy future we need and resist the catastrophic policies our president-elect has proposed. The fact that we can make as much revenue from solar as we do from oil just reinforces that it’s time to keep dirty fossil fuels in ground and transition to a renewable-powered economy.” John Avalos.
kern


British universities divesting

43 universities in the UK have pledged to get rid of any investments in fossil fuels, and put the money into renewables.

This makes both environmental and financial sense. Actually, every source of finance, all over the planet, should do the same.
oxdivert


Coal-free countries coming

Finland is one of the colder countries of the planet. All the same, only 8% of its current energy supply is from coal, and that will be phased out as well.

Canada is doing its bit too.

And so is Britain, despite having a conservative government.

It’s good to see that some countries take the Paris accord seriously.


People who inspire

She makes the planet a better place
Doctor with a big heart on a little island
I’ve made a new friend
Teenager is a world leader

 

She makes the planet a better place

Sabihe (Sabi) McDonald is “only” an interpreter. Read the story of why she received an award.

Over 40 years, she has been the human face and rescuer in a complex foreign, incomprehensible system for Iranian refugees in Australia.
sabi


Doctor with a big heart on a little island

Please read the fascinating story of Dr Pietro Bartolo, who has been caring for refugees from Africa for much of his life. Now, he is swamped, but still doing his life’s work.

Some of the commenters would like to recommend him for a Noble Prize. I agree.
pietrob


I’ve made a new friend

He was Doug Rose, but now goes by the name Tenzin, which is of course the Dalai Lama’s given name. In 1985, he organised Massachusetts for Africa Month, which was actually adopted by the State’s governor, and mentioned in Congress. He then lived in a cardboard box, and went around the state, to draw attention to the plight of the homeless.
giraffeaward
Please visit his web site Fearless Puppy and buy his two books.


Teenager is a world leader

He raises lots of money to benefit other kids in need, is working for compassionate action everywhere and is an inspiration to all of us.

Meet Kye Masino.
kyem


Deeper Issues

Faithful America on false idols
And a compassionate take
Can you get mindfulness wrong?
Zero waste lifestyle
Do onto others…
George Monbiot on political promises

 

Faithful America on false idols

Today is a difficult day to be a Christian in America.

Donald Trump won among both protestants and Catholics. His strongest support came from white evangelical protestants, by a whopping 81-16 margin.

The sad reality is that tens of millions of our fellow Christians have flocked to a false messiah preaching a gospel of hatred and scapegoating.

Of course, scripture and church history are full of stories of how God’s people have become fearful and turned to false idols. God never abandoned them, and God will not abandon us now.

But following Jesus has never been easy, and in President Trump’s America it will require even greater courage.

Some among us, and some of our neighbors, may soon find their safety under particular threat — especially Muslims, Latinos, immigrants, and the poor.

Following the examples of the saints and martyrs who came before us, we must be prepared to risk our own safety and wellbeing to defend those whom Jesus called the “least of these” from violence and degradation.

We don’t know exactly what a Trump administration will bring. But each of us must now commit, prayerfully and intentionally, to resisting – in the name of Christ — any and all attacks on the most vulnerable among us.

If you’re ready to take that step, please click here to let us know.

We’ll keep a count of how many of us are stepping up, and we’ll keep you posted on how we can act together in the weeks and months to come.


And a compassionate take

druo
This Canadian blog post, titled “How to build a better world with Donald Trump in the White House: A partial list,” is impressive in its reaction. Instead of fighting back, the author, Dru Oja Jay, outlines ways of mutual support and caring.


Can you get mindfulness wrong?

Read this interesting essay in the Huffington Post by Australian psychologist Kellie Edwards.


Zero waste lifestyle

You can read the reasons, and a number of tips for reducing or even eliminating trash from your home.

It works. You can make a difference.
laurenb


Do onto others…

doonto
From the Norman Rockwell museum. Thanks Karl Kofoed for forwarding it.


George Monbiot on political promises

In this powerful essay, George demonstrates that politicians who promise jobs and prosperity don’t know what they are talking about. The jobs of the past are not in the future, and increasingly disappearing from the present.

He also shows how this inevitably leads to conflict, within and between nations. War is coming, within his lifetime, he says.

He is right. This is exactly what John Calhoun’s research in the 1960s showed.

The fighting in the Middle East; Brexit; the millions who voted for Trump — these are symptoms of perceived overcrowding in a world that is running out of resources. George is right. One of the predictable reactions is war.
coalwar


Psychology

George Monbiot on the power of kindness and connection
Do psych drugs drive you mad?
Anxiety and addiction, from Jessica Campbell
She stole my son from me
I can’t stand being bullied anymore

 

George Monbiot on the power of kindness and connection

monbiotI have enormous admiration for George, but this is the first time I’ve come across his work in mental health. In this Guardian article, he compares official government underfunding and neglect of mental health with voluntary work with a real impact.

You’ve got to read this, not for the specifics that only apply to Britain, but for the principles he draws from his observations.

And as always, George is magic with words.


Do psych drugs drive you mad?

There is ever-increasing evidence that they can. A recent report about the work of Dr. Yolande Lucire indicates they lead to increased levels of violence and more suicides among young people. Unfortunately, the report doesn’t cite the original research, so I haven’t read that, but I find the summary perfectly unsurprising. Muck around with a complex system, and you’re asking for trouble.

Human suffering is very rarely the result of brain malfunction. Rather, thoughts, emotions and actions change the brain. So, therapy should be the primary approach.
stopdrug


Anxiety and addiction
from Jessica Campbell

Anxiety is widely considered one of the leading causes and contributing factors to alcohol addiction. Considering that, resources for managing and treating anxiety are crucial for helping individuals overcome or prevent addictions.

A guide written by the former Public Health Advisor of SAMSHA, Kaitlyn Motley is a fantastic collection of the latest research on the relationship between anxiety and alcoholism, as well as the best practices for treatment. It is written and designed specifically to address the most common concerns of individuals seeking help and their family members. It is both highly accessible and well-researched, including visual illustrations and citations of authoritative organizations.

Best regards,

Jessica Campbell
Director, Communications & Public Outreach
Recovery.org
PO Box 3204 – Santa Monica, CA 90408


She stole my son from me

I am a 57 yr. old mom. I have been married for 20 yrs., to a single dad, whose twin boys I adopted. We are Christians. We are not perfect, and have battled issues, but I feel like God is always with us.

I recently lost my brother, a 64 yr. old man who had a bad drinking problem. He shot himself in the head, and everyone was shocked.

Neither of my sons live close. My husband works offshore, and was out when this happened. He is gone a month at a time. The son who is furthest away called 2-3x a day, asking if I was OK. I was very comforted by his calls.

The other son only lives 1 1/2 hr. away, and has not called. He texted me the morning of the memorial, to say he couldn’t get out of classes, as he goes to college. It was only 3 weeks before that he had married, and went out of country, for a week for honeymoon!

I have been hurt so much by his non-actions. He married a girl who lied to him for a year and a half, and didn’t tell him that she had a 5 yr. old daughter!!

He would come see me, and for 2-3 hrs. vent about her. Then 2 months after he had broke up with her, after finding out all her lies, he brings her to see us, and tells us they are married!!! We were shocked!

I don’t know what to do. I fear he is drinking socially, and she does, too. I fear tho, that it is a lot of social drinking, and know from his brother, it has even affected his college grades. It is REAL hard for me to accept her, knowing she lied like she did! She never told him the truth, he found out by accident from someone else! And now he is avoiding us, completely. What do I do? Please help.

Jean my dear,

Your sadness is understandable. Not only have you lost your brother to suicide, but you feel as if one of your two sons didn’t love you anymore, and has betrayed the family and its values for this young woman you strongly disapprove of.

Clearly, you are a Christian. The Bible has the answer for you. There is the story of the prodigal son…

And Jesus’ message was that of unconditional love.

In our crazy culture, unconditional love is confused with ignoring and excusing people’s actions. That is not so.

This girl lied. She drinks, and has led him to drink. It is OK for you to disapprove of what she does. It is OK for you to disapprove of his actions, too.

At the same time, I can see why he is staying away from home. Suppose I was a teenager with the habit of making a mess everywhere in my parents’ home. My mother tries to get me to correct my behavior, and to tidy after myself. She is right, I am at fault — but all the same, my reaction will be to stay out of her way. If I can, I’ll spend time anywhere but at home, because I feel that she is nagging at me.

My guess is that he feels something like that. When he talks with you, he may very well pick up that you disapprove of his (now) wife, and of his lifestyle. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, he has committed himself to her. So, he is in a difficult position: having to take sides between mother and wife — and he has just married her, so she is guaranteed to win, for now.

If you are right about her, then the marriage won’t last. For now, all you can do is to make sure he knows that you love him, regardless. As far as you can, do your best to accept the young woman, and love her little daughter, who is an innocent caught up in other people’s problems. Accept her as your granddaughter, and in fact that’s the best way of trying to make friends with your daughter-in-law.

If the young woman ever becomes friends with you, you could be the good influence, and lead her to decency. She is just as likely to grow and change as any of us. That’s what life is about.

However, none of this is going to happen if they feel judged and found wanting. You can stick to your principles, and refuse to accept behavior that’s contrary to them, but without making them feel judged and rejected, and from a position of love for all.

The first practical step may be to send a lovely Christmas present to the little girl, with an invitation that she is welcome to spend time with you.

With love,
Bob


I can’t stand being bullied anymore

I have been bullied for about 3-4 years but over the past 7 weeks it has gotten worse. I have started to hate myself I have started to think about what the world would be like if I was just not here. I am going to speak to the nurse and maybe a professional about depression. I can’t handle it anymore. When I wake up I think to myself it’s going to get better, but It never does.

I would say I get 200 jokes made about me and my lifestyle my family and other stuff a day, maybe more. I’ve started to get stressed I can never focus I can never keep working as I am always waiting for the next joke to be made. My life is a mess. I haven’t told anyone that it has gotten this bad.

I can’t tell people. I feel weak. I feel like I am being sad but I need help. I can’t believe that it has gotten this bad. On the surface I am so confident but on the inside I am dying piece by piece. My life is a mess. I get mad at everything because I am stressed I suffer with anger management but I stopped going to my sessions because people took the piss all of my extracurricular activities seem to be funny to them I can never just be normal.

They find it funny, so I laugh it off. There are times when I have flipped grabbed and pushed people because mainly I can’t take it. My life is a mess. I am insecure. I feel like I would be better off dead.

I have never spoken to people because I never thought they would care but right now I need help. Today it was so bad before lessons I got taken the piss out off 20-30 times I couldn’t take it. I came home and I cried and I cried because my life is a mess.

My parents don’t know about this, and I don’t want them to because I don’t want them to worry. My life is a mess. I need help and I need it soon before it’s to late. I have self harmed before and the way I see it there is no more options.

Dear Dan,
Welcome to my group of grandchildren. I am here for you.

One of the main reasons I became a psychologist is that I also was severely bullied when I was young. If I could use the hell as a spur to build a good life for myself, and to do good for many other people, then you can too.

The first thing to get clear is that you do not deserve punishment. There is no need to harm yourself, and you certainly have done nothing that deserves the death sentence. So, before anything else, realize that you are a good person. Look in a mirror and say, “I deserve a good life. I will build a good life for myself.” Do this, over and over. Then it will come true.

Second, you must get help. OK, you now have me, but that’s only email. I strongly recommend that:

1. You tell your parents all about it. If you can’t do it any other way, let them read your cry for help, and my answer. They need to know, otherwise how can they help you? You’ve been protecting them. I am sure they are strong enough to put up with it, and you need them on your team.

2. One or both of your parents, and you, need to have a talk with the school principal. Bullying is against the law, and I am sure it must be against school policy. When those kids no longer have you to pick on, they will find another victim. And because they can get away with it now, they will grow into the kind of people who cause harm wherever they go. So, you owe it to other potential victims, and even owe it to the bullies, to officially report the abuse.

3. Yes, a few sessions with a good psychologist who works with teenagers is essential. The school may have a counselor, or your parents may find someone.

4. Start learning a suitable martial art. This is not so much that you can physically fight, but to build inner self-confidence. My sport was judo, and it has been immensely helpful to me. Other suitable sports are karate, kung fu, tai kwan do, Brazilian ju jitsu, and aikido (although that one is best as a follow-on from another type).

5. Chances are that it will be impossible to change the attitudes of this particular bunch of kids toward you, because it has gone on for so long that they think it normal. So, I strongly recommend a change of school, if that is at all possible.

With the Christmas break coming, you have time to rebuild your self-confidence and inner strength. So, if next year you start in a new school, you can begin your life there in a way that will attract friends rather than bullies.

Your new grandfather,
Bob


Health

Pennsylvanian doctors against fracking
Part of their evidence is this Yale study
Feeling sick? Relax!
Disability resources

 

Pennsylvanian doctors against fracking

This state has been proud of its marriage to unconventional gas drilling. It’s a gift from heaven and all that. But its medical association has stood up at last. The facts are simply too obvious, too well proven, to be ignored.

Not only does fracking cause earthquakes, but it poisons water supplies, and sickens people in a dozen ways.

Not much use having extra money if you have to spend it on medical expenses and funerals.
pennfrack
Photo of Pennsylvanian protestors by Adam Hasz.


Part of their evidence is this Yale study

“An expansive new analysis by Yale School of Public Health researchers confirms that numerous carcinogens involved in the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing have the potential to contaminate air and water in nearby communities.”

Typical careful, conservative scientific language. In a court of law, that’d mean “guilty.”


Feeling sick? Relax!

A Norwegian study assessed the health anxiety of a group of people, then examined the health of their hearts 10 years later. Their hypothesis was that people who worry about health will look after themselves better.

Instead, they found that those who worry about health are more at risk of later heart problems. It’s the anxiety that’s killing them, not the diseases they look up on the internet.

The past is history. The future is a mystery. I give you a PRESENT. Relax, enjoy what good there is in Now, accept what bad there is, because change is the only constant.


Disability resources

I received the email below from Caroline Hampton. Since the delightful little story concerned Down syndrome, while her links didn’t necessarily, I queried her. No, she has no connection with the organisations she is referencing, but just wants to be helpful to as many people as possible.

Thank you, Caroline.

Hi Bob,

My cousin Sara, who has down syndrome, catches me off-guard with her charmingly unique observations sometimes. My most recent favorite:

“The sky looks so soft today, I wish I could just lie in it all day!”

She helps me look at the world differently and find beauty in new ways. I love spending the day with her and hearing her thoughtful insight into life and the universe.

So often “disability” has a negative connotation, but it has been a wonderful gift for my family. Yet despite the fact that nearly 1 in 5 Americans has a disability, Sara and her family have repeatedly told me what a challenge it is to find relevant information and support for their needs. I want to change that. I hope you’ll support my cause by sharing these helpful, modern disability resources on your website.

Disability Accommodation Cost Guides

Personal Finance Guide for People with Disabilities

8 Steps for Learning Disabled Students Who Want to Go to College

34 Great Jobs for People with Disabilities

Autism and Addiction: Coping with and Treating Your Dual Diagnosis

Travel Tips for Workers with Disabilities

The Guide to Securing Life-long Accommodations for Adult Children With Special Needs

Types of Service Dogs

Thanks for your support!

Sincerely,
Caroline

Caroline Hampton


Writing

Fear of plagiarism, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Selling books in Britain? Support Hive
How to write a review
Avoid Rejection… An Editor’s Checklist by Dee Lloyd

 

Fear of plagiarism

An extract from Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s How to get great book reviews frugally and ethically

Fear of plagiarism is a topic of discussion among the writers I meet on the Web, in my critique groups, in my classes, or wherever authors get together to further their careers. Some writers are crippled by fears of all kinds but this fear is more damaging than most others.

It’s this fear that keeps some from sending their manuscripts to publishers and agents, from trusting professional editors and teachers to advise them, and from seeking spotlights that might assure the success of their books.

Of course, you should take precautions, but worrying about plagiarism or giving away an idea instead of focusing on the joy of sharing your talent with others can be destructive to both your creativity and to the business of building your career in the publishing world. I would rather have a million people read one of my poems in a Dear Abby column credited only as “Anonymous” than have it read not at all. Having our voices heard is more important than selling books. Having our voices heard is sharing our souls. I fervently hope more writers will come to share this view.

The kind of plagiarism that authors worry about is quite rare. It’s hard to steal an idea. For one thing, there are no truly new ideas in the world. If you don’t believe me, read Joseph Campbell’s works (which you should do anyway). He divides all of literature from Greek plays onward into a few categories with a few basic elements. It’s unlikely your work is so unique that it doesn’t fit into one of them.

Further, ideas cannot be copyrighted. A recent court case reaffirmed this notion. If it had not, much of Shakespeare’s works would be considered plagiarism and, because science fiction writers often borrow theories from those who win Nobel prizes in physics, that genre could no longer exist as we know it.

Many kinds of borrowings are not plagiarism but the result of the similar way our brains function. You’ve probably heard the story of monkey colonies on one island who take up the same habits of monkeys on another island with no understandable way for them to have communicated.

You should know that anyone who uses your idea — including a prospective reviewer — would surely write a different book than yours. Bolster your confidence by trying this exercise: Ask three writers to pen a piece using a very specific subject — maybe even something you’ve considered writing yourself. My critique group used a story about how, as a child, one of our members sneaked into a neighbor’s house and ate frosted strawberries out of the fridge. We then set a lunch date and read each work aloud. In spite of the similar plot lines, the voices, characters, and details were so different we wondered why we had been concerned about a fellow writer stealing an idea. Usually, a writer won’t be interested in writing someone else’s stuff, anyway. Most writing, after all, is about self-expression.

Often when a case of plagiarism occurs among those who have the public trust, it gets lots of press. However, by the time the perpetrator is found innocent, the case has lost its news value, and we never hear about the accused’s exoneration. Thus, authors feel bombarded with reports of plagiarism-that-never-happened.

Plagiarism is most rampant in academia. If you need proof, google “plagiarism.” Yep, a few famous cases and lots more stories about kids trying to make the grade at school. We cannot condone such theft, but we authors should not allow the idea of plagiarism to doom the progress of our writing careers. Generally it is only the poor young schmuck who grabbed down someone else’s work who suffers — whether or not he is caught.

Another consideration. If someone should swipe a few of your words or an idea, his chances of becoming rich, famous, and envied because of them are no better than yours. If he should, that sets him up for legal action worth pursuing. If he doesn’t get rich on your work, you have the satisfaction of knowing he didn’t and won’t need to bother your talented head about chasing after a pauper. You might even benefit. The publicity surrounding such a case could be the lucky stroke that makes you the rich, famous, and envied author.

Simply put, you take precautions. You copyright your work at the Library of Congress site (loc.gov). When you are researching the reviewer you hope will review your book, you check a couple journals or Web sites where she publishes the reviews she writes. Don’t worry too much. This process is more about getting a handle on whether your book will actually be reviewed and will be published somewhere — a prestigious journal or online at Amazon, Goodreads, or the reviewer’s own blog. If you’ve done even rudimentary research, your chances of being plagiarized or wasting a good book on someone who was only fishing for a freebie will be reduced even more.


Selling books in Britain? Support Hive

If you buy and/or sell books in Britain, there is an excellent alternative to Amazon. They support actual, physical bookshops.

Check them out.
hive


How to write a review

A review is a recommendation from a reader. It gives your assessment of the worth of the book for its intended purpose. An instruction manual should be an effective teaching device. An inspirational book should inspire. A novel should entertain. People sometimes tell me, “I have no qualifications for writing a review. Wouldn’t know how to go about it.” Others do write something, but put in all sorts of unnecessary and even counterproductive details, while leaving out essentials. The qualification for writing a review is that you have read the book. That makes you a reader, and a review is a reader’s opinion. So, you qualify.

What should go into a review?

  • Enough facts about the book to demonstrate that you have in fact read it.
  • How well it fits to your expectations, given its genre or type. For example, if it was a detective novel, did the detective become a real person? Were there cues that in retrospect should have enabled you to solve the crime? Did the ending surprise you?
  • Unexpected aspects that enhanced your reading; or ones that spoiled it. For example, an otherwise inspiring story may have descended into cruelty and savagery that put you off.
  • Was there some way that reading this book has improved your life, made you think differently, taught you skills, gave you new understanding?
  • Did the book have annoying aspects, such as poor spelling, grammar or punctuation, awkward sentences, two-dimensional, stereotyped characters, endless description, dialogue without a setting (word ping-pong)?
  • Above all, did you enjoy the experience? What were the best things that gave you enjoyment? What if anything got in the way of it?

     
    What should not go into a review?

  • A review is not a synopsis. You should not have an account of “what happened,” merely enough snippets to show you’ve read it.
  • Spoilers. If there are elements in the book meant to surprise the reader, it is bad manners for you to disclose them.
  • Criticism that applies to all books of this type or genre. If you don’t like romances, then it’s unfair to be negative about a book because it is a romance.
  • Content irrelevant to the book, for example a plug inserted to promote your writing.

     
    In today’s publishing world, writers depend on having their work reviewed. So, please, when you’ve enjoyed a book, post reviews in places where it will benefit the author. If that’s one of my books, I’ll happily print your review in Bobbing Around, and send you a list of other places. And I’ll thank you with a free copy of one of my other titles.


    Avoid Rejection…
    An Editor’s Checklist by Dee Lloyd

    Please read this excellent, brief bit of advice. It is exactly right.


    What my friends want you to know

    Prejudice census
    Please sign to destroy Australia’s concentration camps
    Fire in Indian market is a disaster for Tibetans
    Reduce food waste and train unemployed people
    New SF book from Bill Parker
    Sharing with writers…
    Invitation to a new writers’ forum
    Support Medicins sans Frontieres
    Bainstorming
    The Death of Liberal Democracy? by Joe Zammit-Lucia and David Boyle

     

    Prejudice census

    In the world that’s emerging, prejudice and discrimination are increasingly major facts of life. So, it’s important to understand what prejudice means.

    You can help in this by completing a survey run by a research team at the Australian National University.

    You can be anywhere in the world to participate. Please have a go, and spread the word.


    Please sign to destroy Australia’s concentration camps

    The people of Norway don’t know that they are financing the Australian government’s criminal actions in its offshore gulags for asylum seekers.

    Please sign an open letter from the Australia Institute to Norwegians. Anyone in the world is welcome to participate.
    naurucamp


    Fire in Indian market is a disaster for Tibetans

    tibetfire
    In early November, a massive fire engulfed Meena Bazar in Delhi, India, destroying 138 Tibetan stalls in the market. This market is known for selling winter wear and Tibetan refugee families from all over India set up shops for a period of around four months to earn an income. The families watched as their livelihood was ravaged by the fire, leaving nothing behind but ashes. The leader of the Tibetan Market Association estimates an approximate loss and damages of around $200,000 worth of goods.

    “Winter sweater selling is the only source of income for majority of Tibetan refugees in India. Entire family members, including grandparents, put their heart and soul to earn a decent living. Almost all of them borrow money from banks and Indian merchants for this seasonal business. This calamity may doom the future wellbeing of these families if timely help is not offered.” — Lobsang Nyandak, Executive Director, The Tibet Fund.

    Your support is necessary to help rebuild the lives and businesses of these seasonal traders, whose only source of livelihood and income have been ravaged by the massive fire in matter of hours.

    Please act now to bring relief and hope for the Tibetan refugee families who currently face hopelessness and uncertainty due to this tragedy.

    To donate please click to support Tibetan Markets in Delhi.


    Reduce food waste and train unemployed people

    As we approach nearly 5 years of advocacy and collaborative work to reduce wasted food and hunger, we want to remind you that our trail of accomplishments has not happened by itself. YOU, yes YOU, Food Shift friends, allies, volunteers, partners, quiet supporters, loud supporters — all of you – have made this increasingly important work possible. Thank you!

    Together we are exploring solutions that mend the cracks in a broken food system and use the power of food to strengthen community and provide economic opportunity. This year we launched the Alameda Kitchen, a social enterprise that provides culinary workforce training and employment to jobless adults. Food in the kitchen is transformed into nutritious meals and sold to local businesses and distributed free-of-charge to agencies who feed people in need.

    Whether during the holiday season or any other time of the year, no one should go hungry in a society where we still grow — and waste — more food than we need.

    Please consider supporting Food Shift with a tax-deductible gift.


    New SF book from Bill Parker

    Zep Tepi, Book Six of the Five Moons Series by Bill Parker

    Before the time of man, according to the ancient legends, the gods walked the earth. The Egyptians had a name for this time. They called it ‘Zep Tepi’ — the First Time. That time is where this story began. Zep Tepi picks up the story ten thousand years later…

    It all started with an emergency call from a world at the farthest edges of explored space.

    “You are our only hope,” they tell Dallas Blake and the crew of the Five Moons. A deadly virus will kill them all if the Five Moons doesn’t get the vaccine to them right away. But, like every other mission the Five Moons has taken on, this was but the tip of the proverbial iceberg. One thing was certain – someone very evil tried to kill these people.

    But the Five Moons was the Nexus of Fates. It had chosen each member of the crew for a reason. Then it chose Star, but it wasn’t done with them yet. Its next choice would become a light, shining into the darkness.

    Find out more here.


    Sharing with writers…

    …is Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s monthly newsletter (except when she is too busy finishing a book, as she says in our interview.

    This is a resource well worth visiting.


    Invitation to a new writers’ forum

    Dear friends and fellow writers,

    I have created a new forum for writers to gather. Right now, it is but a
    humble, simple forum. I will do my best to change that, but I need your
    support. Please tell your fellow writers to at least come and take a look.
    I am just learning my way forward with this, so this new forum will only get
    better.

    Please come and visit.

    Bill Parker


    Support Medicins sans Frontieres

    Despite worsening weather and winter fast approaching, people continue to risk crossing the Mediterranean Sea to seek protection in Europe.

    An estimated 4,200 people have died crossing the Mediterranean this year, making 2016 already the deadliest year on record.

    Please consider making a donation $50 today so we can continue to provide urgent medical care to people in need.
    rescue1


    Bainstorming

    My friend Darrell Bain is not one to waste words. All the same, he has 50 books in print, and is a powerful writer who has won many awards.

    Check out his latest news.

    Subjects this issue: Bad month of September, Bad month of October, Next books available, Outlook Express, Halloween.


    The Death of Liberal Democracy? by Joe Zammit-Lucia and David Boyle

    The ‘liberal elite’ had it all to themselves. Over the past fifty years the hegemonic dominance of liberal democratic values was largely unchallenged. And it seems that it has now failed. Brexit, Trump, Le Pen and similar movements in Austria, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, the Netherlands and elsewhere are rising and gaining ever more traction. What went wrong? Are the days of liberal democracy as we know it — open, tolerant, environmentally conscious supporters of open borders and free trade — over? Will nationalism and more autocratic rule be the new order of the day?

    These are the questions addressed in “The Death of Liberal Democracy?” by Joe Zammit-Lucia and David Boyle. It is a book that could not have come at a better time. The authors argue that liberal democratic values took many wrong turns and have failed to evolve with the spirit of the times. They provide some ideas as to how those of us who consider ourselves to be ‘liberal’ can re-capture the initiative from the forces currently dominating political debate.

    The ideas put forward are radical and innovative. The authors argue that there is no future in sticking doggedly to the old mantras that are clearly failing. Liberal democracy must renew and reinvent itself in a new form.

    This book is a must read for anyone who wishes to understand the increasing divergence between contemporary culture and liberal values and who cares about finding new ways to meet the extremist challenge that is evident everywhere.


    Reviews

    Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult
    Prince Preemie, by Jewel Kats
    Dark Seed, by Lawrence Verigin

     

    Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult

    This is perhaps the most unusual book I have ever read.

    First, there are the elephants. I am aware of a lot of research showing that other mammals exhibit the emotions and cognitive abilities many arrogant humans think only apply to us. At the end of this book, there is a long list of references regarding elephants, showing impressive research backing the picture Jodi has painted of them, as — people. She and I clearly see them as our equals, although of course very different from us.

    I was amused at one of the reviewers at Amazon, who said she’d found the elephant bits to be boring. I feel immensely sorry for that person. No. They are fascinating, and their part in the story offers a tour de force into the mentality of these huge people humans have long shared the planet with. Also, the protectiveness elephants show for youngsters, even for youngsters of other species, and their ability to love, are central to the story.

    The human part of the book is equally unusual, but here I am at a handicap. I can’t disclose the aspect I found most wonderful without a spoiler, which I won’t do. There is the surface story of a girl on the cusp of teenage, her mother who has either disappeared or died, an alcoholic private investigator, and a spiritual medium whose ability has left her. Young Jenna is admirable, lovable and wonderfully annoying, and engages in pranks like going on an interstate bus trip without a ticket. But, as the story advances, it becomes clearer and clearer that things cannot be as they seem.

    Who was the woman killed ten years ago? Why did the elephant trample her? Had a human killed her before the elephant’s attack, and if so, who?

    But above all, there is the ending, the twist in the tale. It’s wonderful, and I am not going to tell you about it. Read for yourself.


    Prince Preemie, by Jewel Kats

    The arrival of a premature baby into the family can be the cause of a great deal of anxiety, confusion and misunderstanding for a young child. By switching the problem to a delightful dog kingdom, Jewel Kats has created a teaching tool that normalizes the situation. The problem is not that the puppy prince is premature, but that the crown that would indicate his royal status is not yet ready.

    Claudia Marie Lenart’s illustrations look cuddly. I can’t imagine a child who wouldn’t love them, and be drawn into the story even without the words.

    If your preschool child has just become big sister or brother to a preemie, you NEED this book.


    Dark Seed, by Lawrence Verigin

    That stuff you put in your mouth… it’s nourishment, food, right? Maybe that’s not all it is. Maybe it’s designed to make you sick.

    Sound ludicrous? It’s happening in the real world. “Dark Seed” is fiction, a thriller with the baddies chasing, torturing and killing goodies, but it’s also a well-researched exposé of what multinational corporations are doing to your food, Big Pharma is doing to your health. I can completely believe that the descendants of people who experimented on human beings in the Nazi concentration camps still have the same mindset.

    That’s the message Lawrence Verigin has for you, but it’s sugar-coated in an excellent thriller with likable heroes, hatable villains and continuing tension with crisis after crisis.

    The protagonists are well-rounded, realistic characters with faults that make them real, although I found the baddies to be rather two-dimensional. They do their job all the same.

    There is excellent description of location, surroundings and people, which doesn’t slow the pace. I did find some of the plot to be somewhat hard to believe, but overall, the story carried me along, and I was thoroughly involved.

    I can honestly recommend this book as an excellent read, and something that’ll make you think, and perhaps change your eating habits.


    Fun

    The only joke for the month of November has been that Americans elected Donald Trump. That has somewhat removed laughter from my life, sorry.


    About Bobbing Around

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

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

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

    Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to decline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

    • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
    • Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
    • Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
    • Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

    Submission Guidelines

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

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

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

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

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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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