Lynn Margulis 1938-2011 “Gaia Is A Tough Bitch” | Conversation | Edge

Lynn Margulis 1938-2011

Lynn Margulis 1938-2011 “gaia Is A Tough Bitch” | Conversation | Edge.

Brockman writes:

Biologist Lynn Margulis died on November 22nd. She stood out from her colleagues in that she would have extended evolutionary studies nearly four billion years back in time. Her major work was  in cell evolution, in which the great event was the appearance of the eukaryotic, or nucleated, cell — the cell upon which all larger life-forms are based. Nearly forty-five years ago, she argued for its symbiotic origin: that it arose by associations of different kinds of bacteria. Her ideas were generally either ignored or ridiculed when she first proposed them; symbiosis in cell evolution is now considered one of the great scientific breakthroughs.

Margulis was also a champion of the Gaia hypothesis, an idea developed in the 1970s by the free lance British atmospheric chemist James E. Lovelock. The Gaia hypothesis states that the atmosphere and surface sediments of the planet Earth form a self- regulating physiological system — Earth’s surface is alive. The strong version of the hypothesis, which has been widely criticized by the biological establishment, holds that the earth itself is a self-regulating organism; Margulis subscribed to a weaker version, seeing the planet as an integrated self- regulating ecosystem.

Can the Occupiers return stronger?

Thrown out of their camps, can the Occupiers return stronger? | ‘Occupy’ movement News | The Week UK.

 

Cockburn writes:

“Then the police started swinging, brutally beating people’s chests, arms, knees, and backs. They were swinging to hurt. With the crowd behind and the police in front there was no way for people to leave even if they wanted to. A few people tried to escape in the narrow gap between the students and police. They were savagely beaten. Throughout what can only be described as a terrifying physical attack that has left many with serious injuries, the students stayed entirely non-violent.”

In an email to the campus, Chancellor Birgenou, who often likes to reminisce about his Freedom Rider days, defended the administration’s response by saying that it was necessary to remove the encampment for “practical” considerations of “hygiene, safety, space and conflict issues”. He remarked: “It is unfortunate that some protesters chose to obstruct the police by linking arms and forming a human chain to prevent the police from gaining access to the tents. This is not non-violent civil disobedience.”

So peaceful non-violent civil disobedience is not non-violent civil disobedience. Thanks for the update, Big Brother.

“To refuse students the chance to study A-levels after they passed 13 GCSEs is outrageous.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/girl-is-told-13-gcses-are-not-good-enough-for-her-schools-sixth-form-710440.html

“To refuse students the chance to study A-levels after they passed 13 GCSEs at the sort of grades Amy achieved is outrageous.”

Really? More outrageous than systematically dumbing down grades so that universities refuse A levels as an indicator?

“The college’s head, Nigel McQuoid, admitted that Amy’s rejection was a consequence of the common currency of GCSE A grades, which in some subjects no longer demonstrated A-level potential.

”In Amy’s case, he said, it would be “a cruel thing to raise confidence when the ability is not there”. Her technology A grade was not what it seemed as the leap to A-level was “enormous”. “Sixty per cent [of the GCSE mark] is on a piece of coursework. If you produce a good piece of work for that you are really flying. The A-level course demands high competence in electronics.”

“Mr McQuoid said the school had been “a victim of its own success” but denied school league table performance dictated his admissions policy.“

 

Yeah, right. Grade inflation: gotta love it.*

 

NOTE

*Irony, of course. just saying.

 

One set of rules for the rich, and another for the rest of us

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/amol-rajan-after-the-capitalist-banquets-its-time-for-humble-pie-6258945.html

”If corruption means anything, it means buying immunity from the law. The protesters occupying temples of capitalism around the world might be an incoherent bunch – more obviously against the present than in favour of a different future – but there is great solidarity with them in Western democracies, because it increasingly feels like it’s one set of rules for the rich, and another for the rest of us.“

I like Amol Rajan, more and more. This is the guy who started being an unofficial bus conductor (shouting ‘Room at the back!) because he was sick of bus drivers not letting people on because the sheep hadn’t ‘moved down the bus’.

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2010/07/20/the-moral-abdications-that-lead-to-empty-rush-hour-buses-and-my-big-society-solution

Observe this, unintended systemic consequence fans: one-man* buses not only increased unemployment by sacking conductors, but also made bus travel a nightmare of overloud iPods and misbehaving yoof with no one to police basic human niceness and give and take, but also – PAY ATTENTION BUS COMPANIES – reduced profit!

Capitalism might be the least worst system, as Amol says, but boy** is it dumb sometimes…

NOTE:

  • One -person operated, so sue me.

*** Yes I know, or person

“The Grass Is Closed”

“The Grass Is Closed”: What I Have Learned About Power from the Police, Chancellor Birgeneau, and Occupy Cal « zunguzungu.

Snip from a terrific long-read by Aaron Bady, aka zunguzungu, on his experience at the OWS-inspired “Occupy Cal” protests at UC Berkeley, after campus police violently attacked peaceful fellow student demonstrators (see video above).

found on  Boing Boing.

http://boingboing.net/2011/11/12/the-grass-is-closed-an-occupy.html

”At about 11:30 a.m. yesterday, a police officer told me and about eight other students that, and I quote, “the grass is closed.” We were going to sit under a tree and discuss things, and two police officers were watching us vigilantly to make sure we didn’t suddenly do something violent like try to put up tents. As we moved towards the tree, the first police officer stepped up and informed us that we could not walk from the broad concrete steps of Sproul Hall, where about a hundred people were sitting and talking, and sit on the grassy area just to the north of it. “The grass is closed,” she said.

“If you meditate on these words until they become a mantra, you will learn some profound things about how police authority works. What could it possibly mean to declare that “the grass is closed”? Who could have the authority to say so?“

”…/  At the far end of that grassy area, in fact, several people were actually sitting on the grass. But those people were sitting there eating lunch. Because we were part of the group which was sitting on the steps of Sproul Hall, clearly, the grass had been declared off limits to us.“

”To make things more interesting, it immediately transpired that the other police officer had, in fact, already given them permission to sit on the grass. And in an instant, the arbitrariness of the rule was made evident and undeniable.”

Mind-boggling.

If you tolerate this, your playwork will be next (let’s celebrate Auntie Bullying Week)

Are No-Bullying Zones Constitutional?

By WENDY KAMINER

”…/ It started on college and university campuses, where repressive speech codes have been teaching generations of students that they have no right to offend anyone who can claim membership in a growing list of presumptively disadvantaged groups. Now, this mindlessly censorious movement to force people to be nice to each other is encroaching on off-campus life: The Council of the District of Columbia is considering banning the “harassment, intimidation, or bullying” of students in public libraries and parks, as well as schools.“

Original article here, after annoying ad:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/11/are-no-bullying-zones-constitutional/247867/
Dont bother, she says, ” trying to figure out what this vague and verbose definition of bullying includes. Focus instead what it might exclude — not much. Virtually no speech or behavior that a student might consider insulting and that a petty bureaucrat might find offensive and disruptive is beyond the reach of this ban.“

”In addition to policing the everyday speech of anyone who frequents a public park or library, the bill creates a system of informants within specific agencies. Students, volunteers, or agency employees are required to report alleged bullying incidents to the “appropriate official” named in that agency’s mandatory anti-bullying policy. And the policy must allow for anonymous reporting. Forgive me for stating what should be obvious: this is not a prescription for fostering mutual tolerance and trust in an open and free society. “

…/ ”Art Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU’s D.C. affiliate, voiced concerns about the definition of bullying: “What does it mean by harming a student … Does that mean hurting a student’s feelings? If a student comes in and says I feel very harmed by the fact that so and so said I was a crappy athlete … that’s not bullying.“

She asks: ”Why not simply promulgate and enforce rules against harassment? Why devise new legal concepts and definitions of bullying? Because the Court’s definition of harassment was reasonably narrow and does not allow for expansive speech policing, which is a goal of anti-bullying advocates.” /…/ “The new civil rights/anti-bullying advocates have apparently forgotten, if ever they remembered, that freedom of speech, including the freedom to offend, has been essential to their own liberation movements. Women once deeply offended social mores merely by speaking in public. African-Americans surely offended segregationists by demanding equality. And if gay rights activists lacked the right to offend the “family values” crowd, gay pride parades would have been enjoined long ago. “

What’s going on is this, I reckon – if you can police speech you can prevent discussion of anything. Like this: we have a discussion. Any discussion worthy of the name will involve disagreement. You claim I dissed you, I didn’t, I say, I merely disagreed with your view, Voltaire-stylee. you claim bullying, and the discussion is shut down. All discussions can be shut down, and tents are deadly offensive weapons outside St Pauls.

And note this – we don’t even have the protection of a constitution and bill of rights, like what the Yanks* have.

But we do have Sean the Sheep, for real:

http://www.bbclic.com/shaun/pink-activities1.html
NOTE:

*Yanks? That’s offensive, coming from a limey. Substituting ‘being offended’ for ‘campaigning for equal rights’ – how’s that working in terms of the Equality agenda, going forward, at this point in time?

We all should be concerned about this ugly blame game over the M5 pile-up

The ugly blame game over the M5 pile-up | Tim Black | spiked.

Some extracts below. I hold no brief for the Spiked mob, their post-Marxist nihilism disguised as gung-ho responsibilism has more than a whiff of apolitical decadence to it; having said that, sometimes they locate a nail and hammer it all the way in. This is one such piece of stout carpentry:

“/… instead, it has been marked with a peculiarly contemporary impulse: a desire to blame, to find someone or something responsible. In the eyes of those willing to see something more than tragic misfortune at work, this was not an accident; it was caused by the contemporary equivalent of a bad spirit.Not that there was particularly compelling evidence for assuming that smoke from a fireworks display was the cause. As one Transport minister Mike Penning explained, the smoke that witnesses claimed to have seen at the time of the crash could just as likely have come from one of the several burning vehicles. Pyrotechnics experts have also been sceptical about the possibility of fireworks-related smoke travelling and then forming a ‘bank of smoke’ thick enough drastically to affect visibility. But then it doesn’t seem to have been evidence that informed speculation about the role played by a relatively small fireworks display 500 metres away. Rather, such blame-casting draws its force from the increasingly widespread antagonism towards fireworks, whether it’s kids getting their hands on them, or the supposed health‘n’safety implications that make Bonfire Night, in the words of one crash-related commentary, ‘the worst day of the year for air pollution’.”

Can I just interject here? Would any vaguely recycling conscious thrifty person actually want to ban bonfires because of air pollution? Why not ban people?  Well, some deep greens are happy to see us humans made extinct. Pah. Sorry, Captain Black, go on…

“/… In fact, there are all too many people willing to exploit a terrible accident in pursuit of those to blame. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a bonfire-less fireworks display being held responsible or lorries travelling at four miles under their 60 miles-per-hour speed limit: the search for the will-o’-the-wisp culprit, the reason for what steadfastly remains an accident, has paid no attention to what happened on Friday evening. Instead, that reality has been effaced in favour of what various campaigners and commentators want to believe happened.”

YES: AN ACCIDENT! Sorry, go on, Timbo…

“/… This unswerving conviction is marked by something almost medieval in sentiment. That is, there is a refusal to accept that no one or no thing is to blame for what happened. In other words, there is a refusal to face up to the fact that accidents, no matter how tragic, do happen. In place of the modern acknowledgement of sheer contingency, they revive a pre-modern belief in some animating spirit at work in the world. So just as a fourteenth-century village beset by bad harvests might hold the presence of a particular person responsible, so today’s willing blamers foist responsibility for a terrible accident on to a set of unwilling scapegoats, be they speed-happy motorists or a group of pyrotechnicians.

”One thing is for sure: while this cacophony of blaming may well result in the even tighter regulation of fireworks displays or a climate yet more inhospitable to motorists, it will do nothing to stop accidents from happening.”

LET’S REPEAT THAT: 

IT WILL DO NOTHING TO STOP ACCIDENTS FROM HAPPENING!

Grr.

FIGHT RACISM! Dress witches in pink, avoid white paper!

Dress witches in pink and avoid white paper to prevent racism in nuseries, expert says – Telegraph.

“Dress witches in pink and avoid white paper to prevent racism in nuseries, expert says

Teachers should censor the toy box to replace witches’ black hats with a pink ones and dress fairies in darker shades, according to a consultant who has issued advice to local authorities.”

Ooh, this one got them going!

Good advice to avoid white paper though: just wish local authorities and Michael Gove avoid white paper also.

Let’s just contextualise this: Nursery World magazine HAVE issued a guide on equality and diversity, free (as in falls out of when you open it) with the magazine. It IS written by this Anne O’Connor. The writer may well have advised local authorities. I’m sure the ‘guide’ does contain all sorts of advice like that pilloried by the Torygrapher. This advice is a magazine pull-out, not advice to local authorities, and not official government or local government advice, just a freebie in a magazine.

And, and, what happens to ‘pull-outs’ or ‘fall’outs’? Straight in the recycling, maybe via the gerbil cage floor.

Great ‘rantortunity’ though. Keep ’em coming.

BTW, the nursery world coterie is a perfect example of a SRSS (self-referential social system). for more details – ask me or read my book: ‘Navigating Complexity: the essential guide to complexity theory in business and management’. you can pay a lot second hand or wait for the soon-come reprint.


 

Not just an Ugly Logo » Penny Wilson…

Not just an Ugly Logo. » Penny Wilson.

PATH applied for funds to create a sort of Play Olympics – go read her item. Here’s a quote:

“The rejection feed back told us that, amongst other things, the ‘ non-competitive emphasis of the project was anti-Olympic.’

There you have it. The rhetoric is clear. This Olympic extravaganza is an elitist event. There is nothing that should not strive for a sort of eugenic supremacy. The Olympic park is where this excellence will be contained . The peripheries will stay as they are to heighten the contrast. There will be no legacy except that of a healthy reinforcing of the status quo. If we are all delighted that we do not need to be ‘The Best’ , if we are content to be ‘good enough’, not perfect or a failure but content and happy with ourselves and each other, then the Olympics becomes a meaningless pantomime.

”A ring of poverty is needed as a setting for the jewel.

“And we have that ghastly logo more and more rubbed into our faces.”

Ugly does as ugly looks, Pen.

 

Ugly tin-eared logo-choosing managerialist supremacist commodifying senior managers are hardly likely to choose sensitive beauty at this late stage.

Yet another warped adult play type, methinks, just like Spaghetti Junction is a dysplay of Scalextric deprivation in small boys growing up to be transport planners…

And the horror of that logo! it supposedly appeals to yoof, just like early learning primary colours appeal to babies. They don’t, but boy do they signify! They signify (warning outrageous over-the-top unforgiveable holocaust analogy alert – as Bill Hicks probably said – I make jokes about serious things and vice versa, doesn’t mean it’s demeaning or not serious) that the building on which they are emblazoned is a prison controlled by play destroying adults  – it’s as if they have a sign saying ‘Spielen Macht Frei’.

Grrrr.

One set of rules for the rich, and another for the rest of us…

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/amol-rajan-after-the-capitalist-banquets-its-time-for-humble-pie-6258945.html

“If corruption means anything, it means buying immunity from the law. The protesters occupying temples of capitalism around the world might be an incoherent bunch – more obviously against the present than in favour of a different future – but there is great solidarity with them in Western democracies, because it increasingly feels like it’s one set of rules for the rich, and another for the rest of us.”

I like Amol Rajan, more and more.

This is the guy who started being an unofficial bus conductor (shouting ‘Room at the back!) because he was sick of bus drivers not letting people on because the sheep hadn’t ‘moved down the bus’. Observe this, unintended systemic consequence fans: one-man* buses not only increased unemployment by sacking conductors, but also made bus travel a nightmare of overloud iPods and misbehaving yoof with no one to police basic human niceness and give and take, but also – PAY ATTENTION BUS COMPANIES – reduced profit!

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2010/07/20/the-moral-abdications-that-lead-to-empty-rush-hour-buses-and-my-big-society-solution/

Capitalism might be the least worst system, but boy** is it dumb sometimes…

 

NOTE:

  • Yes I know, One-person operated, so sue me.

** or person, if you prefer.

 

 

 

 

Teaching Kids to be Citizens, not Consumers

PlexusCalls – Teaching Kids to be Citizens, not Consumers – Plexus Institute.

 

I like the Plexus lot; they were onto complexity at the same time as me, back in ’95, and they beat me into print. They’re a sort of Kings’ Fund (NHS-related think tank thingy) for US Hospitals, doing what I attemprted to do for local government when I was at the LGMB.

 

And here they are, presumably unwittingly, recycling Mark Smith’s landmark youth work handbook’s book title (go find it).

Worth a look, even if you can’t afford the transatlantic phone call.

Ariel Dorfman and John Sutherland rejecting the texist pomo piffle of 50 years of lit crit (and plugging JS’ book)

Dorfman’s play ‘Death and the Maiden’ (filmed starring Ben Kingsley and Ripley out of ‘Alien’) might be read as pomo in that it leaves open the question of what do you when you met your torturer; yet pleasingly, Dorfman feels that the text is not king and that a ‘fuller appreciation’ of the work of art comes with knowledge of the author’s biography.

Gratuitous link to playwork: to criticise the pomo trappings of the idealistic and autistic towers of ivory is to elevate them absurdly. Simply put, you can’t do pomo until you have mo, and much of what we call ‘Modern’ is essentially (continued in a GCSE sociology class near you…) out of date pseudo-science, at best*.  The solution is to junk it all and only allow back in the stuff that playworkers attest actually really honestly helps them do their job. Can we afford intellectual affordances which do not afford?

Affordances – yet another new play type?

Playwork theory, if it grows up, will start to aspire to the condition of bad alchemy. Or if it wises up it may become the hedge-magic (see Pratchett) of the old witch healer.

There are signs that this is happening: I dubbed it ‘barefoot playwork’ earlier this year. There seem to be more witches abroad…

 

NOTE:

*As is some Nursing theory –   Rogerian nursing Science exposed as pseudoscience:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0AYN/is_4_24/ai_n18612961/

the original Raskin article is lost because his site has been hijacked.