September 2005

“It seems that the breeding behind the huge variety of roses and other ornamental flowers now available has also inadvertently diminished the flowers’ scents. In an excellent Science News article, Ivan Amato examines why today’s ornamentals don’t smell as good as they once did. He also discusses how flower scientists are looking at ways to resurrect lost scents and even engineer new ones. From the article:
“Pigment compounds are derived from the same biochemical precursors [as scent compounds are], so it makes sense that if you make more of one you get less of the other,” notes floral-scent biochemist and geneticist Eran Pichersky of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Floral scent may be dwindling because breeders for the $30 billion ornamental-flower industry pay scant attention to this most emblematic attribute of flowers. “In order of [commercial] priority, color is number 1 through 10,” says Alan Blowers, head of flower biotechnology for Ball Helix, a biotech company in West Chicago, Ill., devoted to the ornamental-plant industry. Beyond color, breeders have been targeting improvements in flower longevity, shape, size, disease resistance, and other traits likely to improve the growers’ bottom lines.

Fragrance is different. It’s invisible, and its sensory impression is as subjective as taste.”

Link to Complete Article

“George Harrison: Surely isn’t it like flowers? If somebody may prefer roses and somebody may like carnations better… Isn’t it really a matter for the devotee, that one person may find Hare Krsna is more beneficial to his spiritual progress, and yet somebody else, some other mantra may be more beneficial? Isn’t it like just a matter of taste? Like judging a flower. They’re all flowers, but some people may like one better than the other.
Prabhupada: But still, there is distinction. The rose flower is considered better than simply a flower without any flavor.
Yoko Ono: In that case I can’t…
Prabhupada: Just try to understand this flower example.
Yoko Ono: Yes.
Prabhupada: It is all right. You are attracted by some flower, I am attracted by some flower, but amongst the flowers there are distinctions. There are many flowers which has no flavor and many flower has flavor.
Yoko Ono: Is that flower that has flavor better than…
Prabhupada: So therefore attraction for any flower is not the solution of the question. That is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham [Bg. 4.11]. Krsna is Supreme Absolute. Anyone wants Him in any way, He also presents Himself in that way. Just like the same example. If you want a yellow flower, never mind whether there is any scent or any flavor or not, so that flower is there. It is for you. That’s all. But if anyone wants rose flower, Krsna gives him rose flower. But when you make a comparative study which one is better, then rose will be considered better. (chuckling)”

Room Conversation With John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and George Harrison — September 11, 1969, London, At Tittenhurst

(I will be gone a couple of days so no use checking back in until Monday.)


Between 1955 and 1963, approximately 160 nuclear bombs were detonated aboveground in the United States. With the signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963, nuclear testing in the United States, Great Britain and Russia moved underground and atmospheric concentration of C14 have since been dropping exponentially due to radioactive decay and atmospheric diffusion.

Nuclear Tests Leave Mark in Teeth, Reveal Age

By Ker Than
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 14 September 2005

Aboveground testing of nuclear bombs during the 1950s and 1960s produced large amounts of radioactive carbon that diffused around the globe. One of the places this radioactive element ended up is in our teeth, a new study reports.

Carbon 14 (C14) is a radioactive form of carbon that makes up approximately 0.001percent of the total amount of naturally occurring carbon on Earth. Beginning in 1955, the global concentration of C14 in the atmosphere spiked due to increased nuclear bomb testing taking place in various countries worldwide, including the United States.

C14 acts just like regular carbon and can react with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. Plants incorporate the radioactive carbon dioxide by photosynthesis. By eating plants and the animals that feed on plants, the C14 concentration in the human body closely parallels that in the atmosphere at any given time.

One place in the human body where carbon is incorporated is in the teeth, where it makes up approximately 0.4 percent of the hard outer covering of the tooth known as the enamel. During childhood, the enamel forms at different times depending on the tooth and is laid down only once. The final formation of enamel occurs at age 12 in a child’s wisdom teeth. This means that the C14 concentration found in the enamel of the tooth reflects the amount of C14 that was in the atmosphere when the enamel formed.

Between 1955 and 1963, approximately 160 nuclear bombs were detonated aboveground in the United States. With the signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963, nuclear testing in the United States, Great Britain and Russia moved underground and atmospheric concentration of C14 have since been dropping exponentially due to radioactive decay and atmospheric diffusion.

One Morbid Use

This knowledge is proving particularly useful for forensic scientists because it provides them with a new method of determining a person’s age at death that is more accurate than traditional methods.

In their study, the researchers were able to determine the ages of 22 individuals to within 1.6 years by comparing the amount of C14 in their teeth to the known concentrations of C14 in the atmosphere.

Currently, the most commonly used method for determining an individual’s age at death is to look for signs of wear in the individual’s teeth or in the skeleton, said Jonas Frisén, a biologist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and principal investigator of the study. In adults, however, this method is only accurate to within 5-10 years.

Because scientists know that teeth generally grow from the front to the back of the mouth, they can figure out whether an individual was born before or after 1963—the peak of nuclear testing—by comparing the concentration of C14 in the newer teeth versus that of the older teeth.

Because atmospheric C14 concentrations began to rise only in 1955, the technique does not work for individuals born before 1943—twelve years before worldwide levels of C14 began to increase—since all their teeth would already have formed by this time.

Frisén told LiveScience that the method has been used to by the Swedish police to determine the age of some of the victims if the recent tsunami in Southeast Asia.

The method should work for people living all around the globe, regardless of race or ethnicity, since atmospheric diffusion should have evenly distributed C14 around the globe. While it’s conceivable that differences in diet or in local conditions might lead to variability in the amount of C14 incorporated into tooth enamel, other studies suggests this is unlikely.

Frisén believes the method should be useful for several more decades since global atmospheric concentrations are decreasing only slowly and C14 measurement techniques continue to improve

3 men went to a hotel. The desk clerk said the room was $30, so each man put up $10 and went to the room. A little while later the desk clerk realized the room was only $25, so he sent the bellhop back to the 3 guy’s room with $5. On the way to the room the bellhop couldn’t figure how to split the $5 between the 3 guys so he just gave each one of them $1 and he kept the other $2. That left the 3 guys paying $9 each for the room. 3×9=27+ the 2 that the bellhop kept =$29. WHERES THE OTHER DOLLAR??????

Now don’t be lazy. Try to actually figure this out.

“If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?”

“Don`t think that you`re thinking. If you think that you’re thinking you only think that you’re thinking.”

“If a train station is where a train stops, what is a workstation?”

Sorry, just a little filler in there so if you have any regrets about giving up so easily and really do want to take some more time figuring out where that dollar went, the explanation won’t be right there to ruin the last opportunity to think for yourself.

Unfortunately, the $30 “logical” approach to spiritual life doesn’t work, and those who get caught up in it usually end in sectarian bickering. If you want to use logic, then at least study it and apply it correctly.

Unfortunately, much of what passes for intelligent dialogue in so-called spiritual circles is the $30 “logic” as seen herein, or what seem to be the devotees favorite logical fallacies: the Red Herring , the Ad Hominem, and the Strawman.

Incidentally, the answer is the three men paid three x nine = twenty-seven, of which twenty five went to pay for the room and the other two went into the bellhop’s pocket.

Overcoming Procrastination

by Ramona Creel is a good quick look at how to organize yourself to be more productive. Sample section:


    Start with a written plan of action to avoid getting distracted
    Keep your plan simple and straightforward
    Start with the one thing you must get done today to feel productive
    Should be a manageable item you can complete in 10-15 minutes
    Break the day up into a number of “action sessions” for other tasks
    Balance the time spent planning with time spent creating or doing
    Avoid over-planning — another method of procrastination
    Before ending your day, spend 10 minutes reviewing your progress
    Take time to plan your actions for the next day

Other Section Headings:

    Be vision-directed
    Bite-sized pieces
    Decide to schedule it
    Good enough is good enough
    Just do it
    Plan around interruptions
    Remember to make it fun
    Staying motivated

Echoes of a Bagpipe

You can learn when pipes are played,
immerse yourself in bagpipe history,
study the details of its construction
and research where to buy one.

A bagpipe can be seen in pictures
played by a full dress, lone
piper or in a multitude
marching down Fifth Avenue.

Someone who has heard
the pipes can describe the droning
sound, it can be reproduced
on CDs, in movies…

Yet nothing prepares
you to hear a bagpipe live,
the melody of “Black Island”
echoing off the ridge on the far
side of Wheeling Creek,

piercing the rationalization
of how it’s Nature’s way,
piercing the comfort, cold,
of theological idealism,

piercing the dull routines
and the flimsy shell of denial,
louder than ever imagined –
at the funeral of an old dear friend.

To all the assembled vaishnavas: I sincerely wish I could physically be with you on this auspicious day. Please know that I am with you in spirit as we honor and celebrate the remarkable life of Mary Lou Sherwood/Sister Piety/Madhavi Shakti devi dasi. She touched many hearts and lives and left a positive impression on each of us. She had flair and a charismatic persona that was hard to miss. Her generous, outgoing personality effortlessly filled whatever space she occupied.

My earliest memories of Mrs. Sherwood are from the mid 1980’s when she became a teacher to the older children in the New Vrindaban Community. She taught English at the house across the street from the Palace. In gurukula, Mrs. Sherwood was undoubtedly the best academic teacher I ever had. I say this for a couple of reasons. First, she really was a good teacher. It was a talent she had perfected throughout her career. She knew how to encourage and motivate her students. She took a personal interest in each of her students and pushed us to do our very best. Second, she actually took her service as a teacher seriously. At that time in New Vrindaban other activities were given precedence over education. Often Kirtanananda Swami would take the older teenage boys out of school to work on various construction projects around the Community. When this happened it was generally understood that any classes we missed would be overlooked. Mrs. Sherwood, in her amiable yet firm way, told Kirtanananda Swami she would have none of that. She informed him that the students had to come to her class, participate in the lessons and turn in all assignments or she would not pass them. For the most part Kirtanananda Swami agreed. Her calm persuasion changed the educational dynamics in the Community for the better.

Mrs. Sherwood also encouraged me to continue my education and go to college. She did this during a time when the prevailing mood was that “worldly” education was considered “mundane,” “materialistic,” and so on. I took her words to heart. At times when my college studies got tough I would think back on her words and they would inspire me to keep moving forward. For this I am forever grateful to her. Please know that Mrs. Sherwood’s joyful spirit lives on through the lessons she shared with her students.

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Adams

In closing, I offer my love and prayers to Krpamaya, Krsna Bhava, Krsna Priya, Krsna Balarama and the rest of her wonderful extended family. Hare Krishna.

Seeking the essence,
Chaitanya Mangala dasa (aka Chaits)

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