Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Those at the Groton school may have been trying to help the victim of bullying in this case. But here are Barbara Coloroso's thoughts on the school suicide of an alleged bully:

“Expulsion is not the way to go; it’s harmful,’’ said Barbara Coloroso, a specialist on bullying and author of a number of books, including “The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander.’’ “Instead of coming down heavy, they need to come up with a decent plan that holds bullies accountable, holds bystanders accountable, and keeps the targets safe.’’

Coloroso said schools should institute “restorative justice,’’ which supports victims and helps them stay safe while teaching bullies about the impact of their actions and giving them “the opportunity to make right what they’ve done . . . to own what you did and then attempt to fix it.’’

Monday, November 29, 2010

Inuit throat singing

is called kattajaq and


while the singers on Hokkaido, in Japan have basically had their tradition erased from the historical record

So anyway, Bjork has it on 2004 album, called Medulla, an there's one particular song on there called Vespertine

and I can't wait to check it out.

I haven't watched Atarnajuat, the Fast Runner, and its on my list of things to do before I disappear into the Hills. Hopefully its as good as Rabbit Proof Fence, which is an Australian back bush miracle, a story of love and hope and challenges to triumphal freedom.
From Mathaba.net, one hour ago:

Western Australia has 26 community gardens and another 14 are under construction but Christina believes we could be doing a lot more to encourage collaborative sustainable agriculture.

“I realised while in the US that the potential for community gardening in Australia is largely untapped,” she said.

“Although many city councils in Australia are beginning to promote community gardening, I think there is so much more potential that could be tapped into. I think it is very important to create strong collaborations between community, government and businesses to provide opportunities for growth and expansion.

“I think it is very important that gardens are accessible and inclusive, so that all members of our community (including marginalised members) can participate in them and be involved in the community in meaningful ways.”

The Child

what is there to say

about a girl

a wee uan

who is seven years old today?

except three things?

1/ she is sick, and her doctors think she will die before christmas
2/ her fears are that that she will be forgotten?
3/ she looks forward to 'everything'

her name is mikayla francis, and whatever you do, wherever you go, remember that you
once were six, and the world nourished your small soul

she has said to her father
if you have another child,
will you tell her about me?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Antipodean Lost

To lose hale young men in the prime of life here is a sad thing. May God bless the poor families of the miners, and keep them in our hearts.

Long wait for miners' families

Brigid Glanville reported this story on Friday, November 26, 2010 12:34:00

SHANE MCLEOD: The board of the Pike River Coal mine in New Zealand has met to discuss the recovery of the bodies of 29 miners from its mine near Greymouth and to discuss the future of the mine.

Equipment brought in from Australia has arrived at the site and will be put to work as soon as possible to dispel toxic gases from the mine so it becomes safe to enter.

Our reporter Brigid Glanville has been at the media conference with the board of the company this morning. She joins us now.

And Brigid now that the equipment has arrived from Queensland is there an update on when the company thinks it will be safe to retrieve the miners bodies?

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Shane the company is still saying it will probably be weeks before the bodies can be retrieved.

Now that this large piece of equipment that's designed basically like a big massive fan that sprays water vapour throughout the mine to inert the toxic gases, that could be up and running within a day. But it may be a few days because of course they are still really assessing how close they can get to go into the mine.

The other thing that did happen during the press conference is, Shane you may remember after the first blast which is actually a week ago this afternoon they sent in a robot and the robot shows picture of a conveyor belt that was about a kilometre into the mine and that was intact.

After the second blast on Wednesday they sent in a third robot. And today those pictures have shown a very violent blast. It was described as devastating. That conveyor belt is completely in pieces, barely recognisable.

So it sort of really brought home to the families just how bad that second blast was and reaffirmed to some of them that there is absolutely no way that anyone could have survived that second blast.

SHANE MCLEOD: And Brigid there are plans I understand for a national memorial service in New Zealand for next week. What can you tell us about that?

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Yes next Thursday at two o'clock in Greymouth there will be a memorial service. Up to 5,000 people are expected to attend.

John Key the prime minister yesterday said they were going to hold that service probably in Christchurch at the cathedral. But after calls from the families and of course the community of Greymouth they wanted it here so it will be held at the racecourse.

This afternoon at exactly 3.44, that is one week since the first blast, Pike River Mine, miners, emergency services will hold a minute's silence up at the actual mine site.

For the first time since the blast many of the families have been able to go up to the mine. Peter Whittle the CEO said today they had about 400 families, many extended families that have flown in were at the mine sites. They are able to get much closer to the gate.

Of course the families would like to get near the portal, right near the whole area to go where the miners would go down but that's not possible as yet.

SHANE MCLEOD: And how are support services, carers, how are they coping in looking after these family members?

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Well the community has definitely been rocked and shaken. It's a very sort of sombre town at the moment. Quite a sort of strange feeling in many ways.

And there are a number of support services here for the families. And as far as from what we have been told that some of the families have taken up those counselling services; others haven't.

I actually went to a Catholic Church mass today where there was probably about 100 people in that and that was very moving. Everyone, there's still many candlelight vigils around the place. So it is of course still very raw.

They've got a yellow ribbon that people are wearing in support and condolence for the miners. And you see a lot of yellow ribbons as you are walking around town.

And of course being a town of 10,000 people, 29 miners, everyone knows someone. So everyone is still greatly affected. But from what they're saying they are appreciative now of the daily updates that Pike River Mine is still giving to the families.

SHANE MCLEOD: Our reporter Brigid Glanville at Greymouth on New Zealand's South Island.
The case for Russian honey bees. They may actually be more resistant to the Colony Collapse Disorder.
When people look at Putin they probably don’t think about cows. Putin thinks about cows, at least sometimes. They are in one of the national “priority projects,” aimed at developing the country’s agriculture (the other three are about education, health and housing). It focuses on animal husbandry and tries to get young people into the countryside, much of which is a social disaster area. The social part of it is interesting, but let’s put that aside for now - this is a food blog, and if all that money budgeted for the project does anything it’ll have a serious influence on what Russians eat.

Russians are quite innocent about food. Grocery shopping here was at first a disorienting experience: imagine walking into a library confident in your knowledge of the Dewey decimal system and finding that all the books are simply alphabetized by title: novels, fine art albums, legal texts, bible commentaries… Russian foods don’t come with half the category labels that American ones sport. There’s no organic. No cage-free. No grass-fed. No kosher. No low carb. No stories of how one’s grandma used to make this yogurt from the milk of a brown cow called Daisy. Food choices are about taste and wallets and waistlines - not identity, values, policy.

There is certainly an understanding of what good food is, but the goodness is not on the label. The best food is perhaps one without a label at all - it’s the stuff grown by the family itself, by friends and relatives, by someone’s grandma on a quarter-acre or land an hour out of the city by electric train, and sold out of a canvas sack next to a tram station. The second-best, if one ended up in a store, is Russian. Russians fervently believe that their chickens, vegetables, even sausages and yogurt are better - safer, less processed, “cleaner” of antibiotics, pesticides, artificial flavorings and preservatives, grown in a purer environment.

This food patriotism surprised me - it somehow arose out of profound suspicion of foods Soviet and unquestionable preference for foods imported, and I don’t know when the switch took place. But it’s often justified. Russian chickens get fewer antibiotics. Russian cows eat more grass (although nobody would put it in these terms). Fewer pesticides are applied to Russian fresh fruit and vegetables (and sometimes they look awful because of it) and fewer ingredients are added when preserves are made out of them. A fair amount of Russian agricultural land is effectively organic, although only a tiny percentage is certified as such under European or American regulations. (Whether Russian sausages still contain more cellulose than meat I don’t know - but I’m suspicious and don’t buy them.)

All this goodness is not the result of conscious environmental and agricultural policy. Antibiotics, pesticides, artificial flavors, and industrial feed for cows are expensive to import and Russia doesn’t make a whole lot. The cleanliness of Russian food is dumb luck, a fortunate side effect of unfortunate years of agricultural mismanagement, which also led to deplorable rural poverty. Now that the government is trying to do something about it - as it should - the food quality is also coming under threat. All the more so because it’s simply not an issue. Russian carrots are assumed to be organic, not certified as such. Russian chickens are trusted to be free of antibiotics, but no-one would be responsible if that trust is broken because there are no explicit claims. Some producers used to label their stuff “ecologically clean” (the closest Russian has to “organic”) but instead of regulating what the term must mean the Russian government simply forbade its use.

This stuff can be successfully marketed, and Russians will even pay extra for the quality assurance. The Alexeevsky collective farm outside of Ufa, which now operates several brick-and-mortar stores as well as stalls in all the farmers’ markets is a good example. It does not advertise itself as organic, but earns trust simply by being a no-nonsense local producer who stakes its name and reputation on every carrot it sells. The produce is basic: tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in summer, cabbages, radishes, and carrots in winter, fresh herbs in little pots all year round, dairy and smoked lard - and the stuff is good. Good enough that I gladly put up with brusque service, waiting in line (they have lines!), and the need to bring my own plastic bag.

If you can sell it at profit to price-conscious Russians, you can certainly sell it abroad, where “organic” premiums are much higher. And there’s growing demand for certified organic at home, and organic stores and restaurants are appearing in Moscow. Ironically, they have to import their goods as Russian products do not carry the requisite certifications.

It would be unrealistic to expect all Russian agriculture to become organic - if nothing else, the government is also trying to develop domestic fertilizers industry and compete with cheap imported meat from Eastern Europe. But Russia should take advantage of its agricultural backwardness, and start labeling things and letting consumers make more informed and conscious choices.
This is a fascinating article about the organic movement in Russia, from RIA Novosti.

Every weekend I go to my local market. My usual path is like this: First, I’ll go to the Lipetsk farmer for dairy products, then on to the Tambov farmer for meat and poultry; I buy honey from people I know in Volgograd; the fruit and vegetables I like best are those that are in season. Of course all this can be bought much more cheaply at the supermarket, but the taste of a chicken that has been running around a farmyard is completely different from that of a chicken that has spent its short and unhappy life imprisoned in a cage at a factory farm. And organically grown apples smell completely different from those that will keep for half a year.

It turns out that I share these preferences with many of my compatriots. According to a recent survey carried out by the research company Romir, 39 percent of Russians believe that high-quality produce and Russian produce are one and the same. This surge of culinary patriotism is easily explained. In the early 1990s, when the Russian market was flooded with imported produce, their foreign origin alone was seen as a guarantee of quality, but it gradually transpired that this was a simplistic view. After it became known that much foreign produce was genetically modified, enthusiasm for it cooled off completely. This is a good example of Russian backwardness being one of the country’s assets: Thanks to the fact that the progressive feats of Western bio-engineers were never applied to Russian agriculture (due to lack of funds), Russian produce has retained its natural taste.

According to the survey, 37 percent of Russians are willing to pay more for produce free from genetic modification and 41 percent would spend more on organic produce. In the early 2000s, the first organic food shops began to open in Russia. Their proprietors were counting on the Russian public being willing to pay more for quality food, but nearly all of these enterprises folded within a short time. The people who set up these shops approached it from the wrong angle; ninety percent of the produce in these shops was imported from outside Russia, so it was much more expensive to buy food in these organic shops than in the most expensive supermarkets, let alone at local markets. The owners of these organic shops blamed their failure on the ignorance of the Russian public, but in my view, common peasant savvy also played a role. City dwellers from even the biggest Russian towns have not forgotten their peasant roots, and every one of them has either a dacha in the area or relatives who live in the countryside. The result is that Russian city-dwellers still remember the taste of true local, organically grown food. As a result, they could not justify paying the price for imported, certified organic food from special shops when they could get quality food at a better price at the market.

There is no official organic produce in Russia, but this is because organic standards have yet to be developed, and it does not mean at all that organic produce doesn’t exist. In fact, state regulations on food production are already quite strict. Russian health authorities recently banned the import of chicken drumsticks from the United States because they had been treated with chlorine. According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, the United States uses 11 times more mineral fertilizers than Russia, and China uses 23 times more. Pesticides are also used much less frequently. All this is a result of Russia’s relative poverty, which could unexpectedly be turned to its advantage as the market for organic food continues to grow.

And now, major suppliers of organic produce are Russian farmers. A year ago, Alexander Konovalov ran a big web marketing company. Now he owns a farm where he grows vegetables and raises pigs, sheep and chickens. One of his latest plans is to start breeding rabbits. His daughter Nastya, a graduate of Moscow State University, said that at first she was embarrassed to tell her friends that she worked on a farm. But when her friends came to visit, tasted the farm’s products, and began to regularly order food from the farm, her initial concerns disappeared. Although their products are twice as expensive as those from a conventional supermarket, the organic farm already has a regular client base. Their produce cannot be officially verified as organic because there are no standards in place, but Konovalov’s customers trust him and for them, the quality of the food speaks for itself. I also trust the farmers at my local market even though their produce has no “organic” label. The difference is plain to taste.

In communist times there was a very popular anecdote. An Englishman asks a Russian: “When do you start selling strawberries in your country?”
The Russian answers, “In June.”
“And in England,” says the Englishman, “we start selling them at six in the morning.”
Today, strawberries are sold all year round in Russia and that’s a good thing, but you cannot dispute the fact that strawberries in January have a very different taste from strawberries in June. I prefer to wait until June, and for the winter, I have three kilograms of cranberries already prepared that can be turned into a really tasty jam.

Bella Akhmadulina

I watched the day begin breaking some time past nine;
it was a drop, a black light shining absurdly
onto the window. People dream that they heard
a little toy bell-ringer ringing the bell on the tree.

The day as it downed was week, not much of a sight.
The light was paler than pink, pastel, not harsh,
the way an amethyst shimmers on a young girl's neck.
All looked down, once they had seen the sad, humble cross.

And when they arose, reluctantly opening their eyes,
a trolley flew by through the snowstorm, gold trim inside it.
They crowded the window like children: "Hey, look at that car!
Like a perch that's gotten away, all speckled with fire!"

They sat down for breakfast; they argued, got tired, lay down.
The view from the window was such that Leningrad's secrets
and splendors brought tears to my eyes, filled me with love.
"Isn't there something you want?" "No, there's nothing."

I have long been accused of making frivolous things.
Frivolity maker, I look at those here around me:
O Mother of God, have mercy! And beg your Son, too.
On the day of His birth, pray and weep for us each.

From today's NYT

“Wars will be started very easily and with minimal costs” as automation increases, predicted Wendell Wallach, a scholar at the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics and chairman of its technology and ethics study group.

Civilians will be at greater risk, people in Mr. Wallach’s camp argue, because of the challenges in distinguishing between fighters and innocent bystanders. That job is maddeningly difficult for human beings on the ground. It only becomes more difficult when a device is remotely operated.

This problem has already arisen with Predator aircraft, which find their targets with the aid of soldiers on the ground but are operated from the United States. Because civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan have died as a result of collateral damage or mistaken identities, Predators have generated international opposition and prompted accusations of war crimes.

*--article by John Markoff

Saturday, November 27, 2010

People Are Looking up, up, up..

Cannot quite believe this... there is war in Afghanistan but climbing in Jordan. Spain helped them with a franchise:) So the questions remain: How can other developing countries work with people to get such fabulous facilities in those places, too? And congratulations to Jordan! Amazing step in maintaining the country as an exciting and dynamic place to be!

Amazing News

Over here at Northernwitch, we absolutely LOVE the idea of funding for grassroots sport. We hope to see much more of the same in the furure, and also wish that Canada would get on board. According to surfing sources, millions of dollars have been poured into surfing, and especially for programs specifically targeting aboriginal and white youth, and for an international headquarters of surfing sport. A perfect ten.

Sports benefit from new govt funding
Ian McCullough and Laine Clark
November 26, 2010

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Netball World Champs 2011


World Championship Netball 2011 Follow Diamonds & NZ Ferns.


Cricket, AFL, netball and gymnastics are among the big winners in the federal government's announcement of an $11 million increase in funding for sport participation.

Cricket, AFL and tennis will each receive $750,000 - the highest amount given to any individual sport.

And the success of world gymnastics champion Lauren Mitchell, has been reflected in a rise of almost $400,000 in funding with netball also benefitting to the tune of $700,000.
Advertisement: Story continues below

Gymnastics Australia chief executive Catherine Clark said the increased funding would allow a range of participation programs and new initiatives to be rolled out nationally.

"Gymnastics is much more than just the elite end and we have over 500 clubs who are ready to open their doors to increased participation opportunities across our Gymnastics for all program," Clark said.

"And importantly this will include strategies and resources to engage schools and school-aged participants."

Netball Australia CEO Kate Palmer also welcomed the announcement and said it would be a huge injection for a sport that relies so much on the help of volunteers around the country at grassroots level.

"This funding allows us to initiate programs that will pave the way for the continued growth and health of our game," Palmer said.

The funding changes are a result of the Crawford Report released earlier this year.

Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib said sports participation was critical to the country's future and would help reduce obesity rates.

"Young people have so much to gain from regular exercise and playing in organised sport," Arbib said.

"This option is going to 29 national sporting organisations to assist them to get more parents playing sport, it's also going to improve their coaching, improve administration and supporting volunteers.

"The selection was done on a bid process through the Australian Sports Commission, the national sporting organisations put together some competitive bids."

Football ($700,000), hockey ($500,000), surfing ($500,000) and basketball ($500,000) have also benefitted.

Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark said the new significant funding increase would revolutionise the sport nationally.

"This new money is the single biggest opportunity surfing has ever had to really make a difference and progress the sport in the areas of grass roots participation development right through to high performance," Stark said.

"We look forward to now taking our sport to new heights Australia-wide through this new funding initiative."

However, there were some losers in the announcement with athletics handed a negligible increase of just $3,600, while boxing, rowing and canoeing were among a clutch of Olympic sports to receive no funding.

© 2010 AAP
Everyone should be a part of the golden circle, or have a chance to be.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Editor's note: CNN Heroes received more than 10,000 nominations from 100 countries, and a Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year. Voting for the CNN Hero of the Year continues through November 18 (6 a.m. ET) at CNNHeroes.com. The winner will be announced at "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," which airs Thanksgiving night, November 25, at 8 ET.

(CNN) -- Anuradha Koirala is fighting to prevent the trafficking and sexual exploitation of Nepal's women and girls. Since 1993, she and her group, Maiti Nepal, have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 12,000 victims.

Below are her thoughts on being chosen as a Top 10 CNN Hero.

Q: Where were you when you got the call that you'd been selected as a Top 10 CNN Hero?

Anuradha Koirala: The day I found out that I'd been selected as a Top 10 CNN Hero, I was in Delhi, India. I'd had meetings with Indian and Nepalese government officials, police officers and [nongovernmental organizations] that are partnering with us regarding rescue and repatriation of Nepali girls. I also went to meet Nepali girls at a government remand home in Delhi.

We had four girls rescued last week, so I was talking to all the children. The police officers were very positive, but one lawyer was acting very "smart" [about not wanting the girls to return home to Nepal]. I said to him: "We are all working for the benefit of the children. So legal things are one part, but when there are girls, you have to send the girls back to their own country. That is all I want." So the whole morning and afternoon, I had been fighting.

I was very excited and thankful to get the news. I have a big family, about 2,000 children and girls. This was a moment for us to cry, hug and remember how we started, what we have gained and where we are today.

Q: What does it mean to you to have been selected by the Blue Ribbon Panel?

Koirala: It means they have given priority to this heinous crime against humanity. We have to fight against this crime and protect the children from this.

Q: What do you want people to know most about the importance of your work?

Koirala: I would like to urge all the human beings around the world: Please close your eyes and imagine these girls are your daughters, and you will feel the pain of being trafficked.
The Art of Recovery art classes, sponsored by Northern Lakes Community mental health. I wish more communities offered programs like this, with less reliance on psychotropic drugs :)
PETA says Canada is no friend to animals
Spokesperson Alka Chanda points finger at vivisection and lab experiments
By Simona Giacobbi

Alka Chanda with Sally, who was adopted by a colleague at PETA.
What happens in laboratories where animal testing goes on? What are the rules that regulate the treatment of experimental lab animals?
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the most outspoken organization in launching heavy accusations against Canada. There is no federal law in our country, according to the well-known animal rights organization, regulating the treatment of animals in labs. The responsibility falls on individual provinces with the exception of British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec which PETA charges with inhumane testing and unspeakable cruelty to animals.
So begins a Corriere Canadese/Tandem inquest on basic animal rights, not so much to raise public awareness – there are numerous animal rights organizations for this, like PETA, the best-known and loudest-spoken organization, founded in 1980 – but to analyze and clarify that fine line between useful animal testing in the field and cruel exploitation and useless suffering inflicted on experimental lab animals.
The PETA philosophy is clear. It appears on the Internet site between an anti-McDonald’s blurb denouncing the manner in which chickens are tortured, killed, and turned into nuggets and chicken sandwiches, and a blurb against IAMS – a company that manufactures animal food after restricting dogs and cats to crammed cages in tropical-like temperatures. The 10-month long investigation was done between 2002 and 2003 at the Sinclair Research Center in the U.S.
PETA’s investigative department is always ready to do battle. Alka Chanda of PETA’s Laboratory Investigation Department in Virginia, U.S., was contacted by phone. She openly discusses the organization’s investigations.
“Volunteers who clean out cages, armed with tiny cameras, or researchers who successfully got onto the medical teams that perform the experiments.”
It was not very difficult for them to discover what happens in the three Canadian provinces lacking controls – the animals are treated cruelly and savagely – whether they are mice, monkeys, cats, or dogs.

“We simply read some documents that are public domain,” explains Chanda, “published by some lab techs from these universities. In particular, in the ‘Methods & Materials’ section, we found details on which species of animals are used and on the nature of testing, such as the type of operation. Then there’s always a note on which institutional commission revised and approved the experiments, the Animal Care Committee, and where they are held. If an animal dies during an operation, that isn’t necessarily reported in these documents, but is registered in veterinarians’ files. Those initial documents however, give us an idea of the experiments that are effectuated in research centres.”
The treatments reserved for some Canadian experimental animals have been defined by PETA as “cruel, useless, and totally superfluous.”
The photos sent to Corriere Canadese/Tandem speak for themselves. Powerful images. Images that show how, in British Columbia, monkey skulls are drilled and in which toxics are injected that damage the brain. Or of injuries caused by electro-convulsive shock. And kittens raised in the dark for eyesight experiments. Chanda then describes what happens in Alberta. Scientists inflict cerebral-spinal damage to cats which are then forced to walk on conveyor belts to study their movements and if they’re able to avoid and sidestep obstacles with their back legs.
“The author of this document,” explains Chanda – who sent Corriere Canadese/Tandem extracts from these publications – had already written another similar piece explaining the same procedures on cats in labs at the University of British Columbia (UBC). We became interested in this university when some of the province’s students and activists contacted us to launch a campaign to stop these atrocities.”
Researchers at McGill University in Quebec have also recently been subject to numerous criticism and condemnation by animalists for tests on mice, which are injected with noxious chemical substances in their abdomens, legs, and paws. They are then placed on hot slabs and operated on without painkillers being administered.

Sikh Fact

The Amritsar airport in India is being named after Guru Ram Dass :)