The Ukrainian political tug of war between Russia and the US is far more important than most realize. The ramifications of which could foreshadow trouble for all concerned.

Originally posted on Family Survival Protocol - Microcosm News:

What Is Happening In Ukraine Is Far More Important Than Most People Realize

Violence During The Ukraine Revolution - Photo by Mstyslav ChernovWhat the people of Ukraine are being put through is absolutely horrible.  They are caught in the middle of a massive tug of war between the East and the West, and they are paying a great price for it.  Ultimately, Ukraine will end up either being dominated by Russia (a bad outcome) or by the EU and the United States (another bad outcome).  Most Ukrainians just want to be free and want to be able to build a better future for themselves and their families, but it is extremely unlikely that they will be able to escape the specter of foreign domination.  Meanwhile, the violence in Ukraine is planting the seeds for a potentially much larger conflict down the road.  The days of “friendly relations” between the United States and…

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Somewhere Over The Colors Of The Rainbow

All morning long now, I’ve had the John Muir quote, “The mountains are calling & I must answer” flitting and floating through my head but in a slightly modified manner…

The colors are calling & I must answer…” 


“Grief In The Light Of Day”
©R.McFarland 2014

I’ve got that itch, that urge…I look over beside me and think, “Do I really only have 99 bottles of paint (on the wall) to choose from?” Damn, that just won’t do…it won’t be enough paint to reach all the scratchy places in my head or spirit. Ah well…Just look at that stack of wood scrap Steve so generously brought home for me! The pieces are practically screaming - not merely calling – to be fulfilled; to have all of the blank spaces filled in with the colors swirling around in my brain, searching for a crack to bust open and spill out of. 

So…the paints & wood are calling & I am going to take a short blogging leave and go answer them. I’ll return once the colors have been satisfied and I can manage to keep my head on this side of the rainbow and actually focus on words, rather than swirling colors…


Elderly Nun Sentenced To 35 Months In Prison For TN Nuclear Break-In

EarthFirst! – “A U.S. judge sentenced an 84-year-old nun, Sister Megan Rice, on Tuesday to 35 months in prison for breaking into a Tennessee military facility used to store enriched uranium for nuclear bombs.

Two others accused in the case, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, were sentenced to 62 months in prison. The three were convicted of cutting fences and entering the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in July 2012, embarrassing U.S. officials and prompting security changes.

“(Rice) does not have the extensive criminal records the others have. Her crimes are minimal in comparison to the others,” U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar said.

The three were also sentenced to three years of supervised release after leaving prison and ordered to pay restitution for the damage they caused.

Rice asked the judge not to take her age into consideration when handing out the sentence.

“To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest honor,” the nun said in court. “I hope that happens.”

Rice and the others admitted to spray painting peace slogans and hammering on exterior walls of the facility. When a guard confronted them, they offered him food and began singing.

The three were convicted by a federal jury last May of damaging national defense premises under the sabotage act, which carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years, and of causing more than $1,000 of damage to U.S. government property.

Prosecutors contended the break-in at the primary U.S. site for processing and storage of enriched uranium disrupted operations, endangered U.S. national security and caused physical damage.” Full Story on Earth First!

South Africa’s Youngest Doctor

At only 20 years of age, Sandile Khubeka is South Africa’s youngest doctor.
He’s completed Bachelor’s degrees in medicine and surgery and will receive his certificates in April.

Newcastle Advertiser - “His sisters jokingly call him South Africa’s Doogie Howser. While he is familiar with the name Doogie Howser, Dr Sandile Kubheka admits that he doesnt even know what the leading actor looks like, having never watched a single episode of the 90s sitcom that aired its final season the year he was born.

“I guess I have to do a Google search and find out,” he laughs.

Like Doogie (a child genius who joins the medical fraternity played by Neil Patrick Harris), Sandile excelled academically and was subsequently promoted to Grade 7 after spending just three months in Grade 6 at Jobstown Primary in Masondeza in Madadeni, Section 7.

He matriculated at Siyamukela High School in Madadeni, Section 2, at the age of 15 and went on to study towards a Bachelors degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Nelson Mandela School of Medicine.

“In high school, I enjoyed helping people and I also really liked computers. My teachers said I would be better in medicine, but I still applied for a qualification in computer engineering just in case I wasn’t accepted for medicine. When I started doing medicine, I enjoyed it so much that there was nothing else I wanted to do. It felt like this was the only thing I could have done,” said Sandile.

“In my first year at university, I was teased a lot for being the baby in the class. My peers called me ‘the neonate’ (a newborn). In my second year, they called me ‘the infant’, but I acted mature and I made friends and eventually I was selected for the Good Fellowship Award and received a bursary for compassion, empathy and caring shown to other students over the previous five years. In the end, people actually felt sorry for me because I was the youngest in the class and really went out of their way to help me. During the finals, someone had stolen my laptop and all my work was gone, but everyone was so supportive, offering to help and asking if I needed assistance with the typing to catch up on assignments.”

At age 20, Sandile is South Africas youngest medical practitioner and has been employed by Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.” Full Article

How Multinational Philips Profited From Illegal Cannabis Farms

Corporate Cannabis: The corporation that made millions from the illegal drug trade…

JourneyMan Pictures- “When Philips, a huge multinational company, started supplying lamps to the cannabis industry it wasn’t breaking the law. Growing is illegal, supplying lamps isn’t. But it was supporting a €1bn criminal network.

“I think his revenues are €5 to 6 million on Philips products alone. Philips is THE brand in the industry”, an insider says of the intermediary that Philips sold their lamps to the cannabis industry through. Nothing was put on paper with this intermediary and they were careful to filter their operations through a wholesaler, but his lawyer attests to his partnership with Philips and shows us an email in which Philips gave him advice on how the lamps were best used for growing cannabis. As criminologist Frank Bovenkerk points out, while it may not have been illegal, the morals are certainly questionable. “It is absolutely clear that a number of serious criminal organizations are dealing with this business. Very unpleasant people.” Now that the law is changing to outlaw the supply of lamps to the growing industry, Philips has changed its policy and left its intermediary badly in the lurch, but many say it is too little too late. “They’re in a position that is conductive to crime, often organised crime.” A fascinating look at how large companies make money at the fringes of the law and a warning of the kind of industries that can grow up around Cannabis legalisation.”

Philips stops selling lamps to cannabis growers: employees threatened at home

HortiDaily Publication date: 2/4/2014 - “Staff of Philips Netherlands are daily harassed and threatened by a buyer of the greenhouse lamps, used for cannabis cultivation. Philips stopped supplying these lamps and the buyer is not amused.  The harassment and threats have been going on for months now and aren’t only addressed to the company buildings. Some employees are even being harassed at home.

The electronics group announced this news in a broadcast of the Dutch news program, Brandpunt. This broadcast revealed that Philips earned a lot of money by supplying lamps for cannabis cultivation. Two years ago, the company says, they  stopped the supply of lamps when there were suspicions that the lamps would not be used for greenhouse horticulture, but for cannabis cultivation.

Legally it isn’t forbidden to supply to the weed industry. Currently a legislation to criminalize this is in the making.

Japan’s Abandoned Nuclear Refugees

Fairewinds - “The real victims of the Fukushima Daiichi triple meltdown have become invisible to Japan’s power brokers. Homeless, running out of money, with the fabric of their village society and culture destroyed, they sit in under-heated makeshift dwellings unable to move forward to a new life or return to the old life destroyed by ever present and unhealthy levels of radiation. Join Fairewinds Energy Education in our ongoing effort to help the people of Fukushima, Japan. Listen to Fairewinds’ Board Member Chiho Kaneko and Arnie Gundersen as Ms. Kaneko describes her recent trip to Japan and the stories of those who have been abandoned in the wake of this tragedy.”

Arkansas Families File Lawsuit Over Earthquakes

Fourteen families in central Arkansas have filed a lawsuit in connection with a series of earthquakes in Faulkner County.

Houston CBS -”The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Saturday that the lawsuit is against Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Operating Inc. and Billiton Petroleum LLC alleges that natural-gas disposal wells resulted in thousands of earthquakes in Arkansas in 2010 and 2011.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday says the earthquakes damaged the plaintiff’s homes and caused the market value for the houses to decline.

Billiton, which purchased Chesapeake’s Arkansas assets in 2011, did not immediately return a phone call or email seeking comment.” More

The Breathing Lands

The Elders of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation say the water flows through their blood and their bodies are built of the trout that swim in these clean rivers and lakes. Taking care of their watershed is a relationship at the core of who they are as an Indigenous Nation, it is a responsibility handed down to them from the Creator through the teachings of their Elders.

Also known as Big Trout Lake First Nation or KI for short, is a First Nations community in Northwestern Ontario.

Source -”The Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) people have governed and cared for their Indigenous Homeland — Kitchenuhmaykoosib Aaki — since time before memory, passing on their way of life from one generation to the next. Human remains found in Wapekeka have been carbon dated from over 7,000 years ago. Similar remains found within the KI village were dated to be over 5,000 years old — evidence that Indigenous peoples have occupied these exact village sites for over 350 generations.

But things are changing rapidly in KI and the elders are struggling to prepare the youth to meet these challenges. KI is located at a relatively high latitude, which means they are likely to experience the impacts of global climate change early and more severely than most other places. The close connection of the KI people to the land and climate means that the disrupted weather patterns and increasing incidents of extreme weather will hit particularly hard on the people of KI.

KI’s territory is also rich in minerals and precious metals, which has attracted various mining and exploration companies who have attempted to operate on KI lands without the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the community. The elders feel that passing on their traditional knowledge to the younger generations is vital to providing them with the tools to adapt to the ongoing social and environmental changes they see happening around them…” 

Riots & Abuses At Papua New Guinea Immigration Detention Centers

One dead, 77 hurt in riot at PNG immigration centre

AFP — One person was killed and 77 injured as tensions boiled over during a second night of violence at an Australian immigration detention centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, officials said Tuesday.

Thirty-five asylum-seekers broke out of the same facility on Sunday evening, with several hurt, as unrest flared about their fate under the Australian government’s hardline policies.

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said there had been a rolling series of largely peaceful protests, starting a few weeks ago, that culminated in the violence of the last two nights.

Monday’s unrest began when detainees pushed down internal barriers in the camp and the riot “escalated quickly with several hundred transferees” rushing to dismantle external fencing.

Security staff used shields to push back the mob while PNG police mobilised to capture those who had escaped, firing at least two shots, Morrison said, before order was restored.

“The news of a death is a great tragedy,” he said, adding that the man died from a head injury en route to hospital.

“This is a tragedy but this was a very dangerous situation where people decided to protest in a very violent way and to take themselves outside the centre and place themselves at great risk.”

…Manus Island is one of two remote Pacific camps used by Canberra in its punitive offshore detention policy.

Under the scheme, aimed at deterring people-smugglers, any asylum-seeker arriving by boat or intercepted at sea is transferred to Manus or Nauru for processing.

If they are judged to be genuine refugees, they will only be offered permanent resettlement outside Australia.

The United Nations refugee agency has condemned the camps as “harsh” facilities that “impact very profoundly on the men, women and children housed there”.

Morrison said that despite the unrest, the immigration centre had not been destroyed and was still operating.

Fled For Their Lives

Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition said tension with groups of locals, who oppose the camp, had been building throughout the day. He said the attacks began after power was cut to the detention centre.

He alleged the perimeter fences were breached, after staff were evacuated, by locals armed with machetes, pipes, sticks and stones who carried out “savage attacks”.

“If there are asylum-seekers outside the perimeter fence it’s because they’ve fled for their lives late last night from those attacks,” Rintoul told ABC television.

“It must be clear now that asylum-seekers cannot live safely on Manus Island. They should never have been taken there. Asylum-seekers must be brought to Australia,” he added.

This account was denied by Morrison, who said it “is not consistent with the reports I have received”.

He added that security contractor G4S “have advised that there was no one who came from outside and sought to disrupt or attack people on the inside which led to the perimeter fence being breached.” Full Article From AFP

Manus Island: One dead, 77 injured

ABC footage of a riot inside the Manus Island detention centre on Sunday night. A second, ‘more serious’ incident occurred on Monday night., Tuesday 23 July 2013

Nauru riot was inevitable, say Salvation Army staff

“Since the opening of the Nauru Regional Processing Centre [NRPC] there have been incidents of unrest that have re-occurred in escalating seriousness. Salvation Army staff in Nauru have been predicting such a tragedy for a long time,” the statement says. Continue reading

Eye-tracker Technology Watches Your Reading

In tests on volunteers wearing infrared eye-tracking glasses, his team found that their software could count the number of words read with an accuracy of about 94 per cent, and tell how fast you were reading, purely by looking at the movement of the eyes. By asking their volunteers to read different types of materials – novels, fashion magazines, newspapers, research papers and textbooks – they have shown that these various media can be discerned near perfectly from the way readers’ eyes move around their telltale layouts.

What’s catching your eye?

NewScientist - “ADDICTED to the Mail Online’s infamous celebrity tittle-tattle and not spending enough time in Hemingway’s company? A new breed of device could soon be logging everything you read, letting you see for yourself whether your reading habits need revamping.

The “quantified self” movement has spawned wearable gadgets like Fitbit and FuelBand, which monitor physical fitness, telling you how far you’ve walked or how many calories you’ve burned. How about logging how much you read on screens instead? Like a Fitbit for the mind.

A “cognitive activity tracker” developed by Kai Kunze at Osaka Prefecture University in Japan can tell how many words we read, how often and how fast we read, and even whether we are skim reading or actually concentrating on the content. It could also generate summaries of documents as you read them by logging which passages your eyes dwell on.

Such detail about what we look at, whether on a screen or on paper, is being made possible by the emergence of gaze-trackers – devices that monitor our eyes to analyse where we are looking. Swedish firm Tobii Technology is leading the way in commercialising the technology. It has developed a $99 system that uses infrared cameras trained on the cornea to watch for the eyeball’s movements. These cameras can be built into a headset, such as Google Glass, or clipped to the top of a computer screen or tablet…” Full Article on NS

“Google’s recently filed patent for a Gaze Tracking System is a big deal and could one day revolutionize the advertising industry, the industry upon which the company has built its empire. In this theoretical pay-per-gaze scheme, advertisers are charged when a passerby actually looks at their ad. The gaze tracking system would initially need to be paired with a headset like Google’s forthcoming Glass to track your eye movement, but could eventually be applied to any consumer simply walking down the street…”