Bobbing Around Volume 16 Number 11

Every time I treated someone badly because of their race, religion or sexuality I was reminded of what it felt like when someone had done it to me… Fear and isolation are two of the most important ingredients in radicalising someone. If you are able to free someone from one or both of these constraints, you can interrupt the process of indoctrination.
Zak Ebrahim

Bobbing Around

Volume Sixteen, Number Eleven,
May, 2017

Bob Rich’s rave

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*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
50 years
Wish her well
Guardian Angel ready to fly

*Politics
Marches for science

*Environment
Humans are the only significant influence
Ice retreat, documented
Oil starvation coming
Mining out trees
Another deadline
The Permian extinction event
Waterfalls are beautiful — but not in Antarctica

*Good news
Three of four banks (may) see the light
Chicago galloping toward renewable energy
Blown away by Scottish record

*Inspiring people
Francis, again
6 year old science star
Climate change action –> contentment
Respond with love to outrage
Lawyer wins in the lion’s den
Inspiring speech from Angela Merkel
What sport should be about

*Technology
A brilliant watering system
Desalination without heat
An electric shopping trike
Plastic-eating grubs
10 things not to replace once they’re used up or broken
Edible bottles?

*Deeper issues
Compassion is challenging
Is the concept of past lives a bunch of baloney?
Is mindfulness just a tool?
Listen to Christine Milne
He got rid of stuff, and found contentment
The Buyerarchy of needs
Life in a degrowth economy
These little people have language

*Psychology
But where does the chemical imbalance come from?
Tests terrify me
My family all have a personality disorder

*Health
Food industry copies tobacco tactics
How to prevent fainting

*For writers
Book contest with big prize

*What my friends want you to know
Petition to Australian parliament: we are in a climate emergency
Médecins Sans Frontières needs your support in Iraq
Help improve healthcare’s ecological footprint
Ask a scientist
Autumn harvest celebration
Do You Have a Chase Scene in Your Story?
White American, by Sean Benham
Romantic poem about a tower
Hippy Days, Arabian Nights
Special offer for Bobbing Around readers

*Reviews
First 3 reviews of Guardian Angel
by Florence Weinberg
by Max Overton
by Gary Clough
Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life by Peter Godfrey-Smith, reviewed by Elle Hunt


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.


Our politics of hope, unity and love stands in stark contrast to the politics of fear, disunity and hatred and utter disregard for people and the Earth our home perpetrated by those who exploit that fear and hate for political gain.
Christine Milne, Australian Greens


Just because Pruitt and Trump want children to shut up and eat their pesticides doesn’t mean they have to.
Environmental Working Group

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.



From me to you

50 years
Wish her well
Guardian Angel ready to fly

 

50 years

On the 22nd of April, Jolanda and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. I STILL feel grateful she rescued me from being a lost puppy looking for a home all those years ago, and we are still friends.


Wish her well

Unfortunately, this happy occasion has been marred by injury: on Friday 31st of March, Jolanda fainted, and broke several ribs as she landed. After a week in hospital, she is now forced to play ladies, and I am mother.

While this is a labour of joy, it has had its problems, like a cake that turned into carbon, and buying the wrong brands of stuff in the supermarket, but we have been managing. The last time I spent more than a day or two in the kitchen was — 50 years ago, because Jolanda loves cooking, and who am I to deprive her of the pleasure? So, this has been a time of revision. She is perfectly well enough to instruct me, and relishes doing so.

It is a bit of a helpful coincidence that I’ve come across Dr Michael Greger’s article on how to prevent fainting.

PS My second major activity at the moment is renovating my house at Moora Moora. It is structurally sound, so it amounts to prettying it up, but that takes a lot of time and even some money.


Guardian Angel ready to fly

While I am STILL waiting for new cover art for Hit and Run, I finished another book. I’ve got lovely quotes to include in the description from three authors of historical fiction I admire: Margaret Tanner, Florence Weinberg and Max Overton. When I work out how to do it, I’ll submit this book to Amazon UK’s storyteller contest. I am hiring Publishing Push to well, help her to fly.

When the book is up, I will be grateful if you will buy a copy. I’ll make the price very minimal: 50 British pence, which is US 64 cents. Even I could afford that in order to help a friend. Once the book has taken off, I’ll increase the price to the equivalent of $5 Australian, which is still very cheap.

Then please read it, and submit a 5 star review (it’s worth it) as soon as possible.

The reward for anyone doing so will be an enjoyable reading experience.


Politics

There is a huge amount in the news about politics at the moment, and it makes me sick. If you feel like me, you won’t want to read about it in Bobbing Around. If you are interested, you’ll have read it yourself elsewhere.

 

Marches for science

Because of time zone differences, my part of the world has the honour to be the first in the mass expressions of support for science.

Please read this inspiring account in the Guardian.


Environment

Humans are the only significant influence
Ice retreat, documented
Oil starvation coming
Mining out trees
Another deadline
The Permian extinction event
Waterfalls are beautiful — but not in Antarctica

 

Humans are the only significant influence

Until the start of the industrial age, conditions on this planet were formed through the interaction of 1. astronomical forces like variations in the Earth’s orbit; 2. geophysical forces such as volcanic activity; and 3. evolutionary changes.

Two scientists have derived a mathematical formula that shows that these three forces now have negligible effects compared to human action. What we are doing is 170 times more powerful than all natural forces combined.

This means that, in principle, human action could reduce the problem. Unfortunately, global culture is still set in the first half of the 20th century.

Business as usual is guaranteed extinction, although the article didn’t give a time estimate.


Ice retreat, documented

An article in the journal of the Geological Society of America has used time lapse photography to demonstrate the rapid retreat of glaciers all over the planet.

I suppose this is a conspiracy of the UN: climate scientists spend their nights expelling hot air over glaciers.


Time-lapse photo couplets of glaciers revealing retreat.
(A–B) Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, retreat of ~550 m from 2007 to 2015.
(C–D) Solheimajokull, Iceland, retreat of ~625 m from 2007 to 2015.
(E–F) Stein Glacier, Switzerland, retreat of ~550 m from 2006 to 2015.
(G–H) Trift Glacier, Switzerland, retreat of ~1.17 km from 2006 to 2015.
(I–J) Qori Kalis Glacier, an outlet of the Quelccaya Ice Cap, Peru, retreat of ~1.14 km from 1978 to 2016.
Photo credits: (A–H) James Balog and the Extreme Ice Survey; (I–J) Lonnie Thompson.

Here is another example of the same thing, very spectacular: over a period of only 4 days, a river dried up because a huge Canadian glacier retreated so far that its meltwater is now swelling another river.


Oil starvation coming

This post by Mike Stasse is a very easy to understand explanation why humanity is in deep excrement.

It recommends a course of personal action: Fred Trainer’s “The simpler way,” which is what I have also advocated (and lived) for decades. Read my essay on the subject too.

It’s not a question of doom and gloom, but of understanding. Do read Mike’s post.


Mining out trees

Approximately 20,000 tree species are threatened with extinction. This is 30% of existing tree species.

Naturally, the main causes are deforestation, that is, clearing forest for other land uses, and looking at trees as commercial resources — mining them out.

Phytoplankton (aquatic plants) and trees produce most of the oxygen we breathe, by absorbing carbon dioxide. We are killing both.

You know my recipe for solving the problem. Live simply, so you may simply live. Stop consuming. Retail therapy is suicide.

Photo by David Davis


Another deadline

The 5th IPCC report, in 2014, gave us 30 years. A new, authoritative report gives us 10.

I think even that is hugely optimistic. Even if Trump and Kim don’t start a nuclear war…


The Permian extinction event

It was the worst (so far) in the history of earth. Due to huge volcanic action in what is now Siberia, incredible amounts of methane caused global warming that killed almost every living being. Surface sea temperatures became about as hot as a nice, hot bath.

This essay by geologist Margaux Le Vaillant explains the connection.

A mechanism she describes in some detail put a lot of nickel into the atmosphere. There is a marine microorganism but gets its energy by converting carbon to methane (like the microbes in your compost heap), and it needs nickel to operate. So, the excess nickel made it bloom worldwide, cooking us.

Until about a decade ago, all that methane was locked up. Now, we are releasing it in ever-increasing quantities.

Anyone for a nice hot bath — at the beach?

Credit: José-Luis Olivares/MIT


Waterfalls are beautiful — but not in Antarctica

There they are frightening. This one is 130 metres wide.


Good news

Three of four banks (may) see the light
Chicago galloping toward renewable energy
Blown away by Scottish record

Actually, I’ve noticed lots of other good things, but have been too busy as housewife and building renovator to take note of them.

For example, there was a note that Britain as a whole is now largely and increasingly relying on renewable energy.

 

Three of four banks (may) see the light

Four banks dominate Australia’s financial life. Testifying to a government review, three of them stated they are now factoring in climate change, for example looking at sea level rise when assessing mortgage risk.

They are getting rid of any carbon investments.

The fourth, Westpac, is still open to investing in disaster, such as in the disastrous Carmichael mine in Queensland.


Chicago galloping toward renewable energy

Every effort is being made to have the over 900 city-owned buildings on solar and wind.

They are wise. Anyone who has read my book Sleeper, Awake will know that Chicago is in one of the worst locations for climate-change-related disaster. It is the place where the highest mountain in the Americas will arise.

We can act locally, regardless of insanity at the top.


Blown away by Scottish record

Wind has powered 3.3 million homes in March in Scotland. Actually, according to this report, the electricity produced was over one-and-a-third times the domestic consumption.

And wind turbines look a lot more attractive then either oil rigs or open cut coal mines.


People who inspire

Francis, again
6 year old science star
Climate change action –> contentment
Respond with love to outrage
Lawyer wins in the lion’s den
Inspiring speech from Angela Merkel
What sport should be about

 

Francis, again

He is calling for a revolution of tenderness.

People who have read my recent books know that he and I are on the same team. Let us defeat hate, discrimination — and environmental destruction — not with an eye for an eye, but with an I for you.


6 year old science star

Nate Butkus is a cute little blond boy from Chicago. He is also the host of a science podcast that has been running for a year, with each episode getting about 4000 downloads.

He has interviewed highly qualified experts, and his show is genuinely informative.

Nate for President?


Climate change action –> contentment

Michelle Kovacevic is a young woman who has made reasonable changes to reduce her environmental impact. Read how she has done it, and apply her logic to your circumstances.

Her byproduct is feeling good about herself.


Respond with love to outrage

When hate-filled, demented people kill strangers, their aim is to get a reaction of hate for hate. Therefore, the all-too-difficult correct response is to refuse to buy into the game.

This is what thousands of wonderful Swedish people have done.

Love, compassion, metta is the strongest force in the universe. If all of us reacted like this, the hate-mongers would wither away.

Thank you, Sweden.


Lawyer wins in the lion’s den

Shannon Fisk is an attorney with Earthjustice.

He is responsible for having a huge coal-fired power station replaced with solar — in the heart of coal country.

This is an interesting article, well worth reading for more than a description of Fisk’s work.


Inspiring speech from Angela Merkel

I wouldn’t want Angela’s job. I think she is doing an amazingly well in an impossible situation. In this video, she talks about the benefits of us being Global Citizens.

It’s in German, but with English subtitles.


What sport should be about

A contestant in the London marathon was nearing the finish line, but noticed another man in difficulties. So, he stopped, and gave the man a shoulder to lean on.

No comment necessary.


Technology

A brilliant watering system
Desalination without heat
An electric shopping trike
Plastic-eating grubs
10 things not to replace once they’re used up or broken
Edible bottles?

 

A brilliant watering system

An Egyptian company is marketing the best watering device I’ve encountered.

This is “Clayola.” An earthenware pot is buried in the soil. The above-ground part is glazed to allow evaporation, while water seeps through the hidden part. A series of these is supplied from a reservoir, preferably with recycled water. The result is that there is zero water wastage, each plant gets exactly the amount of water it needs, and your job is to ensure the reservoir has water, and to admire the vegies grow.


Desalination without heat

Desalination of seawater is a desperate need, thanks to the global overuse of fresh water by humans. While solar is an option, most plants use fossil fuels to evaporate water, which is then condensed.

A new paper in Nature Nanotechnology reports the solving of a problem that has so far ruled out graphene filters. This means that large quantities of water can have salt filtered out, with low energy use.


An electric shopping trike


This new device is based on well-tried, old principles like Asian trikes, but an electric motor takes the grunt out of using it. Cost is about the same as for a good quality, ordinary bicycle. It can get up to 25 K/h (15 mph) and has a range of 50 Km (30 miles).


Plastic-eating grubs

I wasn’t sure whether to classify this as Technology or as Fun.

There is a little grub that eats beeswax. It’s a pest for bee keepers. But one amateur bee keeper is also a scientist. When she found that the little pests ate their way out of a plastic bag, she did the scientific thing.

Indeed, the wax worm produces an enzyme that dissolves polyethylene, the material most discarded plastic waste is made of.

Now, there are all sorts of ideas: flood garbage dumps with the grub? Synthesise the enzyme to use in waste disposal? Even develop genetically modified phytoplankton with the enzyme?

None of these seem like fun to me. They are all straight-line thinking that fail to consider the total system.

That plastic was made from fossil carbon. Having it around is an environmental disaster, and is adding to species extinction but having it degraded releases carbon dioxide.

The best technology is STILL to minimise use. If you don’t have it, you don’t need to dispose of it, safely or otherwise.


10 things not to replace once they’re used up or broken


This informative article by Melissa Breyer actually taught me a few things.

I approve of her list of things to stop using.


Edible bottles?

According to Avaaz, there will soon be more plastic than fish in the ocean. I can believe it.

An English startup is doing something about it. Their first product is a clear plastic-looking material that’s made from natural materials and is edible. Instead of packing a bit of water in a plastic bottle, it’s in a ball you pop in your mouth. The skin dissolves in your mouth, and you have your drink with no waste.

And it’s even cheaper to produce than plastic.


Deeper Issues

Compassion is challenging
Is the concept of past lives a bunch of baloney?
Is mindfulness just a tool?
Listen to Christine Milne
He got rid of stuff, and found contentment
The Buyerarchy of needs
Life in a degrowth economy
These little people have language

 

Compassion is challenging

Peace Paul has written another wonderful essay, this time about how to go about giving compassion.

Well worth a read.


Is the concept of past lives a bunch of baloney?

This is an empirical question. That is, it can be answered through observation, through using the scientific method.
On that basis, reincarnation is as well established as many other aspects of our world.
Here are links to two lines of evidence:
Peter Ramster had hypnotism subjects in Sydney, Australia make testable claims. These concerned past events in Germany, England and Scotland. He went with each client and looked for the evidence. In the German case, there was a large but not 100% overlap. In the other three, it was remarkably exact. I cannot think of any explanation except that these four people have lived those past lives.

The University of Virginia has had a research team on “odd” recalls and abilities of young children. When Dr Jim Tucker’s Life Before Life, 2005 was published, there were over 2500 cases in which the only possible conclusion was that this child had lived at least one previous life.

Reincarnation has nothing to do with religion. There are millions of people who don’t need any proof, because, one way or another, they have personal recalls of past lives.


Is mindfulness just a tool?

Please read this excellent essay about what mindfulness and meditation really are by Patrick Zeis.

It may encourage you to give it a try.


Listen to Christine Milne


We [the Australian Greens] have chosen to pursue political power, through the Green party, not for its own sake but to propose and implement solutions to the ecological emergency we now face. And to propose and implement the solutions to the insecurities that people feel in an increasingly unequal world of 7.2 billion people pushing up against the physical limits of our planet’s ability to support us.

Please listen to Christine’s inspiring speech to the Global Greens conference, or read the transcript.

The speech is full of other terrific quotable statements.


He got rid of stuff, and found contentment

Please read this brief but interesting essay by a Japanese man who agrees with me about possessions.


The Buyerarchy of needs


Along the same line is this excellent concept from Canadian artist Sarah Lazarovic. Her illustrations are well worth clicking on the link for, but they are copyright.

She says, in order of priority,

  • Use what you have
  • borrow
  • swap
  • thrift
  • make
  • buy

Her book, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy seems well worth checking out.


Life in a degrowth economy


Please read this essay by Dr Samuel Alexander.

I feel validated, and not alone. His prescription for survival is what my wife and I have been doing for 45 years, as explained in my essay, How to Change the World.


These little people have language


Photo by Hank Bentlage

Research shows that their communication describes a wide range of facts. For example, when a human approaches, they describe aspects like height, girth, colour of clothing and the like.


Psychology

But where does the chemical imbalance come from?
Tests terrify me
My family all have a personality disorder

 

But where does the chemical imbalance come from?

One of my on and off projects at the moment is a book about depression. A major job is to debunk Big Pharma’s myth that “depression is nothing but a chemical imbalance.” This implies that all you can do is to treat symptoms by buying their drugs, for the rest of your life.

This is nonsense. Naturally, changes occur in the brain in response to approximately everything. If you see a rose, there will be chemical changes in the visual part of the brain, in the memory and associative areas, and probably in the emotional areas. If you spend months learning something new, you will actually grow a new bump in a certain part of your brain (this has been observed with London taxi drivers). So yes, if you chronically experience low mood, this will be reflected in the brain.

But which comes first? Which is the cause, which the effect?

The conclusive study was published in 2004. I don’t expect you to read academic writing unless you’re that way inclined anyway, but in summary:

  • Their subjects were people who met the diagnostic criteria for unipolar depression, and were not on any medication.
  • Brain scans showed their brains to have patterns typically found for depressed people.
  • A course of cognitive-behavioural therapy was concluded to a satisfactory outcome.
  • Those subject who no longer met the diagnostic criteria for depression now had brains that didn’t have a “depressed” pattern.

Since then, there have been many variants, showing that whatever the reason for the remission/absence of depression, the brain patterns follow. Any effective therapy will do, not only CBT. Life experiences, work on yourself — whatever leads to better long term mood — will also change the brain.


Tests terrify me

I am a graduating student. I am a future teacher. My parents keep pushing me to aim a permanent job as a senior high school teacher. I am pressured because they took away money from me so that I will find a job. I am pressured right now and I am too stressed out because I am not yet ready to be a teacher. It is because I have not passed my license yet. I am very nervous because I have testing issues. I failed all my attempts for college entrance exam. I am worried that I will fail again and it will be humiliating for me because it will affect my alma mater’s pride. I am scared! Help please!

How should I overcome test taking?

How should I avoid belittling myself?

How should I develop my self-confidence?

Thks,
Danielle

Dear Danielle,

From your cry for help, it seems to me you have two problems: lots of anxiety, and worrying about what other people think of you.

This is not something we can overcome through a single email. You can fix these problems, but it will take work. If you can get someone to help you along the path, it will go easier. I expect that your college has a counselling service. Contact them, or find a psychologist privately. Somewhere between 4 and 20 sessions should help you to turn your life around. Even the upper end, 20 sessions, is less than 5 months, and has a good chance of making you feel strong, in control and confident for the rest of your life.

You will also benefit from reading my little e-book, Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias..

Read a few first-aid measures here.

If we were having our first face-to-face session, I’d listen to your story about yourself, then I would ask you to list all your GOOD points. Even in your short note, I have found several. See if you can find what a stranger would see as good things about you in your words, and start there.

The difficulty in tests does not lie out there, in the tests or in the situation, but in your reaction to them. This gives you power to change. “I have studied well, and know all the material. I know how to do this. So, it doesn’t matter what the result will be — I will just go in there and do my best.”

If you were not so worried about failing, you would easily pass, right? So, you can reduce your worrying by simply doing the test as if it was a practice session.

The great writer Rudyard Kipling wrote a story about an apprentice diamond cutter. He would graduate to master craftsman if he did a perfect job in cutting a rough diamond while blindfolded. His trainer blindfolded him, gave him something, and said, “This is a piece of glass to practice on.”

The boy did a perfect job. But the trainer had tricked him: it was on a diamond, not on glass.

This is the trick you need to play on yourself.

Have a good life (you can),
Bob


My family all have a personality disorder

I have twin sisters younger than myself by nine years, a brother that is two years older than me and a mother of 77. It would seem unfair to label them all with a personality disorder, but they are so very self-involved and undermine me very much. I am constantly put on the naughty step even though I have learnt to tip-toe around them all the time, I don’t seem able to say anything that doesn’t offend. I always seemed to have a more stable life than them, less upheavals and more resources, though they do dress and have better cars etc. than myself, so I’m not sure if there’s “sibling rivalry” at play. They appear to me to be completely false to other people — I’m very straight talking and don’t do the social butterfly thing, though I have a wide variety of friends, my relationships are deep and meaningful. They all have sexual misconduct in their pasts, my mother embarrassed me so much when she broke up a 50 year marriage 8 years ago. All have had affairs with married people — the one twin is in one now, but she’s also with someone 18 years her junior.

Because of the behavior, the way I’m reprimanded from a dizzy height for small transgressions, and am not spoken to for years on end, I’ve stopped taking the blame on myself and started looking at the similarities in their behaviors. My conclusion is that they have Histrionic Personality Disorder. How do I go about pointing this out to them and getting them help? It seems an insurmountable task, knowing that a mere suggestion from me will result in all out war.

My dear, you are 52 years old. You are describing a very long-standing issue that I have no doubt poisoned your life for many years.

Labelling them with a diagnosis isn’t going to change anything. It is actually not possible to properly assign such labels without contact between a person and a skilled therapist, who will use standard assessment techniques. And if you confirmed that the label was appropriate, would that reduce the conflict?

Also, I am sure the reality they see is different from yours. From their point of view, it’s probably all your fault.

I can offer you a choice between two courses of action:

1. I have encountered people who have divorced their families. They either simply cease contact, or let every relevant person know that, without blame, as a matter of incompatibility, you no longer consider them to be your relatives. I assume you do have people you get on with. Focus on them, and build networks of friendship and even love with them.

2. You may decide that, despite all the pain, these people mean something to you. In that case, the best trick is to stop judging them. They are not going to change at this stage in their lives. So, smile within your heart. Refuse to take on their judgments and actions, as you have decided to do. Ensure that everything you do and say is caring and positive, regardless of their words and behaviour.

Either of these courses of action promises to put peace into your life.

With best wishes,
Bob


Health

Food industry copies tobacco tactics
How to prevent fainting

 

Food industry copies tobacco tactics

This essay by Dr Michael Greger should be obligatory reading.

The tobacco industry killed millions of people through false advertising, suppressing research findings, buying politicians and similar tricks. As we know, the fossil fuel industry, the pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical industries are all doing the same.

It should be no surprise that the makers of unhealthy foods are also copying, but having it documented is useful.

The obesity epidemic, carcinogens in foods and the like are no accident. Guess who wins in a choice between your life and company profits?


How to prevent fainting

As I stated earlier, unfortunately my wife injured herself fainting, so this article by Dr Michael Greger has come in very handy.

He describes several preventative measures you can take, without the use of medications or expensive procedures. So, if you, or someone you care for, is occasionally at risk, you must read this.


Writing

Book contest with big prize

Amazon UK is running a contest with a 20,000 pound prize.

You have to enter it through the UK website, via Kindle Direct Publishing, and make it available through KDP direct. This means that people can “borrow” it, which sounds sus to me for an ebook.

Deadline for entries is 19th May, 2017.

All the same, I am going to give it a go.


What my friends want you to know

Petition to Australian parliament: we are in a climate emergency
Médecins Sans Frontières needs your support in Iraq
Help improve healthcare’s ecological footprint
Ask a scientist
Autumn harvest celebration
Do You Have a Chase Scene in Your Story?
White American, by Sean Benham
Romantic poem about a tower
Hippy Days, Arabian Nights
Special offer for Bobbing Around readers

 

Petition to Australian parliament: we are in a climate emergency

If you are an Australian, please sign this.

Well, I sign American and British petitions I approve of, so even if you’re a furriner, you can add your name by entering a 4 digit postcode. Start it with a 3.


Médecins Sans Frontières needs your support in Iraq

The patients we receive at our 24-hour trauma hospital to the south of Mosul, Iraq, are the ‘lucky’ ones. They have managed to escape the fighting and reach medical care.

Will you make a donation $50 today and help our teams provide urgent medical care to people in need? Your donation will support our work in over 60 countries, including malnutrition programs in South Sudan, maternal healthcare in Haiti or psychosocial support for Syrian refugees.

In Mosul, thousands of men, women and children are trapped in the middle of a violent conflict with limited access to medical assistance. Jonathan Whittall (pictured below) works in our trauma hospital to the south of the city, alongside a dedicated team of Iraqi and international staff.

There is nothing average about a day in this hospital. Every day we see the worst of the worst injuries inflicted by this war.

There is a near constant flow of patients and every single one comes with horrific stories: an entire family has been killed, with only one survivor; a father tells us his son has been shot by a sniper and has been treated at home for days before reaching our hospital paralysed; a baby arrives with a bullet wound.


Help improve healthcare’s ecological footprint
1-2 June, Melbourne, Australia

You’re invited to attend two one-day forums for people from diverse health backgrounds to learn, collaborate, network, raise challenges and share progress in the pursuit of environmentally sustainable healthcare operations.

Day One will help you prepare for the inevitable energy price hikes and market instability, while Day Two will provide practical skills and insights into how the healthcare environment can operate more sustainably with less impact on the environment.

What: Healthcare Sustainability Environmental Sustainability Forum
Where: Western Centre for Health Research and Education, 176 Furlong Road, St Albans, Victoria, 3021
When: Thursday 1st June and Friday 2nd June
Cost: $40 per day

Click here for more information on what to expect from these two engaging days, and to register.

We hope this Forum has something for everyone interested in addressing the environmental impacts of the health sector. You’re invited to attend for one or both days.


Ask a scientist

I heard there are 3 trillion trees in the world: Why do we need to plant more?

If there’s so much trash in the ocean, how come I don’t see it?

Science holds the answers to these questions — and to the bigger questions of how best to protect our environment and our future. That’s how my love of science began — searching for links between people and nature.

If you’ve ever dared to ask the big questions about how the world works, but weren’t able to satisfy your curiosity from a simple Google search, now’s your chance to get real answers.

Ask a Conservation International scientist your question now.


Autumn harvest celebration
12 May Yarra Junction


Do You Have a Chase Scene in Your Story?

This is one of the essays in the latest issue of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s monthly newsletter.

It makes excellent sense, and in fact mirrors the advice I regularly give to my editing clients.


White American, by Sean Benham


White American is a special slice of weirdness. Imagine that ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ had been written for ‘Heavy Metal’ magazine and you’ve got a good starting point for what to expect. It’s a classic coming of age story, turned on its ear and shoved to the ground.
Born into The United Prefectures of America, a colony doubling as an experiment in severe racial segregation, Billy Lopez was destined for a life of state-controlled mediocrity until he let the most benign element of his forbidden heritage slip. As a white teenager surreptitiously raised in an all-brown Prefecture, his cover has been blown. He has to leave the upper crust privileges of F Prefecture behind and make his escape into M, a dirt poor, bone white Prefecture. One that isn’t listed on any map.
Bizarre body modification, heartless colonialism, an obscene lottery, God gifted supernatural powers, Rooster Liquor, a track meet, toilet powder, Powerblonde Eterni-coifs… White American has a little something for everyone, and a whole lot of sci-fi goodness for those who like their fiction bizarrely inventive.

You can buy it here.


Romantic poem about a tower


The smooth words of seduction, agony, adoration and the burning love from whispering, lamenting souls. The story of Mohammed Helal’s romantic poem “Journey Through The Mist” explodes with the love, adventures, fantasies and heroic deeds of the mists, the winds and the CN tower in Toronto. The heroine Thia mist rises from the Lake Ontario being enamoured with love for the tower — the hero. Their love, however, doesn’t give them all the happiness but possesses enormous challenges and the consequences of errors.

The mode of this poem has originated from the sole purpose of displaying sparkling romanticism with an unexpected landmark — an element that exists in people’s daily lives, towering them with significance.

Order and rhyme of words, decorum, an epic battle, and a dominating and natural elegiac tone in this epic poem are developed with classical references, grandiosity and a manifestation of a spontaneous outburst of passion and emotion.”

To buy this book, click Journey Through The Mist: The Tower (A Romantic Poem).


Hippy Days, Arabian Nights

Hello!

My name is Katherine Boland. I’m a professional artist living in Melbourne and I just wanted to let you in on something I’ve been working on for a while.

After five intense, creative and productive years I have finished writing Hippy Days, Arabian Nights: from life in the bush to love on the Nile — a funny, moving and compelling memoir about a woman whose extraordinary life is without ‘could haves’, ‘should haves’ or ‘might haves’. And the best news is, Wild Dingo Press www.wilddingopress.com.au will be publishing it!

I have decided to run a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter.com.

My Kickstarter Campaign.

This will help me raise the funds I need for the first print run of Hippy Days, Arabian Nights.

I’m busting to share my incredible story with the world but I’m looking for some help to do it.

I’ve set a goal of raising $8000 in 30 days. In less than two weeks I’ve raised 70% of the funds! The campaign is really gaining steam. But there’s still a way to go before I reach my target.

I don’t expect money for nothing though. I’ve got some great rewards on offer in exchange for pledges. They include signed copies of Hippy Days, Arabian Nights, my beautiful Australian flora cards and art prints, and for those who would like the ultimate reward, one of my original paintings valued at over $2000. Claim your rewards now for the perfect gift for Mother’s Day!


Special offer for Bobbing Around readers
Elaine Calloway is running a writers’ bootcamp, for which the earlybird deadline was 2nd of May. Especially for Bobbing Around readers, she has extended the deadline until the 15th of May. Until then, the cost for you is $65.

You can check her out at her blog dedicated to helping writers self-publish their books. It has several on writing books, craft, villain POV, etc.

What’s Included in the Writer’s Bootcamp?

4 Weeks of My Proven Strategies to Get Your Book Written ($297 value).

Facebook Group Community ($97 value) — Check in with word count, get support, ask any questions.

2 Webinar Q&A Group Sessions with Elaine ($200 value) — Ask questions, check in, move past any points where you’re stuck, etc.

4 Bonuses ($197 Value):

Mental Focus Mini Course
Forming Good Habits Mini Course
Marketing for Writers Email Course (7-days)
30 Daily Inspirational Quotes & Graphics to Keep You Motivated


Reviews

First 3 reviews of Guardian Angel
by Florence Weinberg
by Max Overton
by Gary Clough
Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life by Peter Godfrey-Smith reviewed by Elle Hunt

 

First 3 reviews of Guardian Angel


Here is the assessment of my newest book from three beta readers. Max was one of my early readers, and gave excellent advice on a prior version. I sent him the final one.

I will post the link to the book, and circulate it to my subscribers, as soon as I work out how to upload it to KDP. I can never follow other people’s common sense!

by Florence Weinberg

Guardian Angel by Dr. Bob Rich pulls no punches. Set in the era of Queen Victoria, its major themes are two: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and, all human beings deserve equal respect and treatment regardless of sex, color of skin, age, wealth, or place of origin.

A highly superior being from elsewhere in the universe is assigned the task of leading human beings to the ideal state of perfect love. This being becomes Maraglindi, nicknamed “Mary” by the whites who cannot pronounce her name, a child of the dispossessed Aboriginal people of New South Wales. As she grows, she demonstrates to all who come in contact with her just what love and the Golden Rule can do. There is, however, one barrier to her ability to spread love, peace and understanding: the negative force of hatred and prejudice. She cannot prevail against a completely closed mind.

In and around a beautifully portrayed 19th-century village, the battle between ultimate good and evil plays out before us. There is much violence and bloodshed in this novel, but also much hope and goodness. Dr. Bob Rich’s powerful work, while set in the past, is deeply relevant today, as we witness hatred and prejudice spread by persons in powerful places, through the power of modern media. We need you, Maraglindi! Come, Guardian Angel!

by Max Overton

I recently had the privilege of reading Guardian Angel by Bob Rich again and found it even more enthralling the second time round. It is a novel of Australia, but the message within applies to all men and women everywhere and in every time. It is couched within the framework of Christianity, but it applies equally to any and all religions that preach a message of love and acceptance. Reincarnation is also a thread that runs through this story, and shows how our actions are not limited to one life, but reverberate through many incarnations as we strive to learn the lessons necessary for our spiritual growth.

The protagonist, a young Aboriginal girl, Maraglindi, is born of an act of hate, but she typifies Love in its most elemental form, and all who come in contact with her during her short life are touched by this love. It changes their behaviour for the better, and each one spreads this message of love to others, enveloping families and communities. But this is so much more than just a story with a message; it is a history. Guardian Angel is a story set against the backdrop of Colonial Australia, where we get to experience the lives of rich and poor, privileged and deprived, the white overlords and the downtrodden, dispossessed Aboriginal First People of this glorious country.

Guardian Angel is a book I would not hesitate to recommend, not just as a story that describes the racial discord of earlier times, but also as one that holds out a hope that things can be different. We live in times where hate is rearing its ugly head once more, so we need stories like this to remind us that hate can be overcome, not by violence and more hatred, but by love and acceptance.

by Gary Clough

I’m a builder: a simple bloke with no pretensions to high-faluting knowledge about anything much. So, I don’t know how accurate Bob Rich’s picture of the Victorian times is. All I can say is that he took me there. It was real.

Like, a 12 year old boy from a wealthy family was near death, and his parents couldn’t show him any love. It was NOT DONE. A poor convict servant could. This seems right.

I used to have Koori man work for me, and some of the stories he told me of the life of his family make me believe everything Bob Rich writes about things like “buck hunts” and casual rape of Aboriginal women, and then judging them as sluts.

But in a way, all this is background. The story told in that setting is powerful, unputtable-down, even makes you pass up on the shows on the idiot box. I spent much of a weekend just reading, till the end, which can only be described as beautiful.

Do yourself a favour and read this story when you have a chance.

I know Bob is working on the sequel, and I hope he hurries up about it.


Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life by Peter Godfrey-Smith
reviewed by Elle Hunt


I don’t usually post links to reviews in other places, but this review in the Guardian demands to be an exception.

Octopuses, cuttlefish and squids are smarter than most mammals. In their own environment, facing their own challenges, without doubt they are smarter than humans. They are even very good at the kinds of problems humans set them to solve.

At the minimum, read this entertaining review. If you can afford it, read the book.


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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2 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 16 Number 11

  1. Thanks for sharing. You are amazing!

    Never Give Up

    Joan Y. Edwards

    http://www.joanyedwards.com

    https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/

    Books

    Flip Flap Floodle, the little duck who never gives up on his song

    Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive

    Like

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