October 31, 2007
A man out hunting in Iowa was shot in the leg after a hunting dog stepped on his gun, authorities said.
The accident happened after James Harris, 37, put his gun on the ground to retrieve a fallen pheasant.
One of a pack of hunting dogs following behind stepped on the trigger, and up to 120 birdshot pellets hit Mr Harris in the left calf at short range.
A local official told a news agency the injury was “not life-threatening, but will give him trouble for a long time”.
Alan Foster, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, told the AFP news agency it was not uncommon for hunters to be shot by their dogs.
“I hear about it a couple times a year,” somewhere in the country, he said.
“They’ll step on the trigger assembly and, if the gun for whatever reason wasn’t on safety, it doesn’t take a whole lot to trip a trigger.”
Mr Harris was treated at Grinnell Regional Medical Center and later transported by helicopter to University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City, following the accident in Poweshiek County on Saturday afternoon.
An investigation into the accident is under way.
Investigation ? What are they going to investigate? The dog’s motives?
“That’ll teach him to spay me!”
Do you think they’ll waterboard the bitch?
October 30, 2007
Posted by Madhava Gosh under Science Leave a Comment
Back a few days ago we were caught up on the topic of rust. Bhimasena commented that there is a very interesting iron pillar in Delhi. I put that on the list of potential things to blog about.
Unfortunately, most of the treatments of the subject I could come up with revolved around the phallic aspects of the whole thing, and the Ideal Me that fronts in this blog couldn’t get control of Real Me’s desire to devolve into earthy humor.
Here is a more suitable presentation of the idea:
Indian metallurgists have developed a type of corrosion-resistant iron that construction engineers would love. And vital clues for it came for Delhi’s famous Iron Pillar that has been standing tall for over 1,600 years.Developed by Ramamurthy Balasubramaniam and his former student Gadadhar Sahoo of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur, the iron contains phosphorus and shows remarkable resistance to corrosion, especially in concrete.
‘This is a significant first step in the possible commercial (large-scale) use of these irons,’ Balasubramaniam, better known as Bala, told IANS.
Most steels today contain small amounts of carbon and manganese. Modern steel makers avoid phosphorus because its segregation to grain boundaries makes the steel brittle.
But the IIT team successfully produced ductile phosphoric irons by driving the phosphorus away from grain boundaries through clever alloy design and novel heat treatment.
Ironically, Bala’s material is not new. It was being made by Indian ironsmiths centuries ago. Bala says he got the clue for developing this material from the six-tonne seven-metre tall Delhi Iron Pillar – a major tourist attraction in the Qutb Minar complex — that has been standing for centuries in the harsh weather of the capital without any corrosion…
‘As a metallurgist, I was intrigued,’ Bala told IANS. And his passionate quest to unravel the mystery that began in 1990s has now culminated in phosphoric irons.
The test samples developed by the IIT team remained fresh after three months of being immersed in solution, simulating the corrosive concrete environment, whereas the best commercially available steels got rusted. In another experiment, they embedded the samples in concrete to simulate actual conditions and obtained similar results…
‘The recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis has added new urgency,’ Welsch said in a congratulatory message to Bala. Seven people died when the bridge across the Mississippi river collapsed Aug 2, 2007…
Further studies and analysing rust from the pillar showed that phosphorus catalysed the formation of a protective passive film on the surface of the pillar that acted as a barrier between the metal and rust…
‘Certainly, we are not claiming that this is the end of our studies,’ admits Bala. ‘We have shown the usefulness of phosphoric irons for concrete reinforcement applications. Now it has to be taken up by more researchers for greater understanding.’Bala thanks his forefathers for the success. ‘I am of the firm belief that ancient Indian metallurgists had the empirical knowledge that high phosphorus content ores resulted in corrosion-resistant iron. They did not create this material by accident.’
October 29, 2007
Posted by Madhava Gosh under Thomas Merton Leave a Comment
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
sarva-dharman — all varieties of religion; parityajya — abandoning; mam — unto Me; ekam — only; saranam — for surrender; vraja — go; aham — I; tvam — you; sarva — all; papebhyah — from sinful reactions; moksayisyami — will deliver; ma — do not; sucah — worry.
Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.
“My own peculiar task in my Church and in my world has been that of the solitary explorer who, instead of jumping on all the latest bandwagons at once, is bound to search the existential depths of faith in its silence, its ambiguities, and in those certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety. In these depths there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to anything. It is a kind of submarine life in which faith sometimes mysteriously takes on the aspect of doubt when, in fact, one has to doubt and reject conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith.
On this level, the division between Believer and Unbeliever ceases to be so crystal clear. It is not that some are all right and others are all wrong: all are bound to seek in honest perplexity. Everybody is an Unbeliever more or less! Only when this fact is fully experienced, accepted and lived with, does one become fit to hear the simple message of the Gospel-or any other religious teaching.
The religious problem of the twentieth century is not understandable if we regard it only as a problem of Unbelievers and of atheists. It is also and perhaps chiefly a problem of Believers. The faith that has grown cold is not only the faith that the Unbeliever has lost but the faith that the Believer has kept. This faith has too often become rigid, or complex, sentimental, foolish, or impertinent. It has lost itself in imaginings and unrealities, dispersed itself in pontifical and organization routines, or evaporated in activism and loose talk.
Thomas Merton. “Apologies to an Unbeliever” in Faith and Violence. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968: 213-214.
Thought to Remember:
[A] faith that is afraid of other people is no faith at all. A faith that supports itself by condemning others is itself condemned by the Gospel.
Thomas Merton. Faith and Violence: 214
October 28, 2007
Posted by Madhava Gosh under Poetry  Comments
As more and more devotees are blogging, or on the verge of blogging, the following is a collection of quotes that may pertain, even with the more relaxed standards of blogging:
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.
– Mark Twain
By writing according to our realization we become more and more convinced and all doubts are destroyed.
- Srila Prabhupada, Letter to: Pusta Krsna — Hyderabad 23 March, 1973
Realization means you should write, every one of you, what is your realization. What for this Back to Godhead is? You write your realization, what you have realized about Krsna. That is required. It is not passive. Always you should be active. Whenever you find time, you write. Never mind, two lines, four lines, but you write your realization.
- Srila Prabhupada, Sri Brahma-samhita, Verse 32 Excerpt — Los Angeles, August 14,1972
Writing is the most disciplined form of thinking. It allows us to be precise, to stand back and examine what we have thought, to see what our words really mean, to see if they stand up to our critical eye, to see if they make sense and can be understood by others.
– Donald Murray
A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
~ William Strunk, Jr.
When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.
- Enrique Jardiel Poncela
Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.
- John Ruskin
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
- Mark Twain
A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
– Thomas Mann, novelist, Nobel laureate (1875-1955)
I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
- Oscar Wilde
A true yogi observes Me in all beings and also sees every being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized person sees Me, the same Supreme Lord, everywhere.
A novelist must preserve a child-like belief in the importance of things which common sense considers of no great consequence.
– W. Somerset Maugham
There is only one trait that marks the writer. He is always watching. It’s a kind of trick of the mind and he is born with it.
– Morley Callaghan
I hope you will continue this attitude and improve the quality and writing of Back To Godhead both nicely.
- Srila Prabhupada; Letter to: Rayarama — Seattle 15 October, 1968
There is no good writing, only good rewriting.
- Justice Brandeis
Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.
- Colette, Casual Chance
The wastepaper basket is the writer’s best friend.
– Isaac Bashevis Singer
One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.
– Hart Crane
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
– Anton Chekhov
First of all the jokers would talk in such a way that the Lord and His associates would enjoy their humor, which would refresh the morning mood.
– Krishna Book 70: Lord Krsna’s Daily Activities
When humor goes, there goes civilization.
– Erma Bombeck
Brevity is the soul of wit
October 27, 2007
Posted by Madhava Gosh under Poetry Leave a Comment
………..Fifty some times
It’s dawn!……………… It’s dawn!
………….It is not done
I am re: MEmbering again
The wind dons a mystery yet
October 26, 2007
Posted by Madhava Gosh under Science  Comments
With the brahmacari ashram becoming a novelty in ISKCON, and laxer standards for new brahmacaries, the reference in this post’s title may be too obscure for many, but the first generation devotees will recognize the old cliche. Perhaps the following article will shed some light on one causative factor:
Without sleep, the emotional centers of our brains dramatically overreact to bad experiences, research now reveals.
“When we’re sleep deprived, it’s really as if the brain is reverting to more primitive behavior, regressing in terms of the control humans normally have over their emotions,” researcher Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, told LiveScience.
Anyone who has ever gone without a good night’s sleep is aware that doing so can make a person emotionally irrational. While past studies have revealed that sleep loss can impair the immune system and brain processes such as learning and memory, there has been surprisingly little research into why sleep deprivation affects emotions, Walker said.
Walker and his colleagues had 26 healthy volunteers either get normal sleep or get sleep deprived, making them stay awake for roughly 35 hours. On the following day, the researchers scanned brain activity in volunteers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they viewed 100 images. These started off as emotionally neutral, such as photos of spoons or baskets, but they became increasingly negative in tone over time—for instance, pictures of attacking sharks or vipers.
“While we predicted that the emotional centers of the brain would overreact after sleep deprivation, we didn’t predict they’d overreact as much as they did,” Walker said. “They became more than 60 percent more reactive to negative emotional stimuli. That’s a whopping increase—the emotional parts of the brain just seem to run amok.”
The researchers pinpointed this hyperactive response to a shutdown of the prefrontal lobe, a brain region that normally keeps emotions under control. This structure is relatively new in human evolution, “and so it may not yet have adapted ways to cope with certain biological extremes,” Walker speculated. “Human beings are one of the few species that really deprive themselves of sleep. It’s a real oddity in nature.”
In modern life, people often deprive themselves of sleep “almost on a daily basis,” Walker said. “Alarm bells should be ringing about that behavior—no pun intended.”
Future research can focus on which components of sleep help restore emotional stability—”whether it’s dreaming REM sleep or slow-wave, non-dreaming forms of sleep,” Walker said.
Many psychiatric disorders, “particularly ones involving emotions, seem to be linked with abnormal sleep,” he added. “Traditionally people mostly thought the psychiatric disorders were contributing to the sleep abnormalities, but of course it could be the other way around. If we can find out which parts of sleep are most key to emotional stability, we already have a good range of drugs that can push and pull at these kinds of sleep and maybe help treat certain kinds of psychiatric conditions.”
The findings are detailed in the Oct. 23 issue of the journal Current Biology.
October 25, 2007
Posted by Madhava Gosh under Jokes  Comments
October 24, 2007
Bhimasena commented on the rust discussion with:
“When I visited Audarya they were building a very nice temple structure. Considering their substantial focus on the aesthetics, I was surprised to see that they were using a tin roof. The lead builder explained that the rusty tin look could be stylish as well as good long term roofing option. I imagine that the type of tin used on the barn is not the same as they were using.”
To which I replied:
“I have spent my whole life fighting rust in farm equipment, tools, fence wire and buildings. At one show Vidya does, the lady who set up next to her sells rusty metal and it goes like hot cakes.
“Boggles my mind the weird stuff city people find attractive. Of course, she is selling cutouts of animals and a lot of creative shapes but still — she DELIBERATELY oxidizes the pieces with acids to get the rusty look.
“So apparently it is stylish but I am hopelessly out of touch with trends.
“Another consideration is that in drier climes, the rust cycle is a long drawn out one and not as damaging.
“Here, is a wetter climate with acid rain, rust is much deadlier. I suspect the tin is the same but the environment is much different. California is much much drier.”
New Vrindaban is in the Rust Belt, which got its name for the high rate of oxidation that occurs here.
After I wrote this I clicked through on the link to the metal they used and see it probably really is a different metal.
Funny how rust, an manifestation of poverty in my mind, has become stylish. The irony of well to do people paying for something poor people have to endure is ironic. Work hard to buy rust, a means of inevitable destruction, Shiva in action.
“So we want to be attracted by Krsna. Just like a magnetic force and iron. Unless iron is rusty, it is automatically attracted by the magnetic force. Similarly, we are contaminated by material coverings. So we are trying to make it rustless so that immediately we shall be attracted. This is the program. Krsna is all-attractive. That is a fact. And we are attracted. But being covered with this rust, we are, instead of being attracted by Krsna, we are being attracted by maya.”
Room Conversation With Allen Ginsberg — May 12, 1969, Columbus, Ohio
To follow up on yesterday’s post, the rhino would be to spell out Hare Krishna on the roof at the barn in solar panels. That would be really cool.
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