March 2013




By Meg Cichon, Associate Editor,
New Hampshire, USA — Just one year after Greenpeace called out Apple for its use of fossil fuels in its “How Green Is Your Cloud” report – which graded Apple no higher than a “D” in four categories consisting of energy transparency, infrastructure siting, energy efficiency, and renewables and advocacy – Apple announced that its data centers are now powered by 100 percent renewable energy. In fact, renewables contribute to 75 percent of its entire corporate operations energy needs, according to its website.

The 2012 report cites Apple’s planned expansion into “iDataCenters” to support its booming iCloud services, which at the time were thought to be powered mostly by fossil fuels. Apple was given poor rankings due to its apparent lack of initiative in clean energy and efficiency. Due to this lack of commitment,  “Apple [was] finding itself behind other companies such as Facebook and Google who are angling to control a bigger piece of the cloud. Instead of playing catch up, Apple has the ingenuity, on-hand cash and innovative spirit to Think Different and make substantial improvements in the type of energy that powers its cloud,” according to Greenpeace.

Shortly after the report was released — and Greenpeace hosted several colorful protests — Apple announced it would power its three new data centers in North Carolina, Oregon and California would be fully powered by renewable energy. Its Maiden, NC facility includes two 20-MW solar PV installations, with its remaining power to derived from a 10-MW biogas plant, fuel cells and renewable power purchased from local and regional sources — which are all set to be up and running by the end of 2013. It is locally sourcing wind power for its Newark, Calif. center and will do the same with a mix of renewable sources at its Prineville, Ore. center. Its next data center in Reno, Nevada will be powered by onsite geothermal and solar sources.

Apple is standing by its commitment to be powered entirely by renewables company-wide. According to its Environmental Footprint Report, “The implementation of our energy strategy results in an energy supply mix unique to each location. In all cases, though, Apple’s goal is to meet our energy needs with 100 percent clean, renewable energy that reduces GHG emissions and other environmental impacts.”

Greenpeace acknowledged Apple’s swift turnaround in a statement: “Apple’s announcement shows that it has made real progress in its commitment to lead the way to a clean energy future. Apple’s increased level of disclosure about its energy sources helps customers know that their iCloud will be powered by clean energy sources, not coal.”



(Image: Gianni Sarcone, Courtney Smith & Marie-Jo Waeber)

At first, it looks like a pensive face in a Venetian mask (see photo above). But take a closer look at its features and you’ll see that it conceals a couple kissing. Aptly named Mask of Love, the illusion was created by Gianni Sarcone, Courtney Smith and Marie-Jo Waeber from Archimedes’ Laboratory in Genoa, Italy, after discovering the blurry photograph.

But why are we more likely to see one face rather than the kissing duo? According to Sarcone, our visual system tends to group objects by how we expect to see them. The contours of the mask’s ornate headdress together with the background make most observers overlook the kiss. Once you detect the two faces however, your brain will typically alternate between both versions of the mask. Ambiguous figures cause fluctuations in visual awareness because they offer alternative and contradictory interpretations.

Being  strung out on meth required funding much of which came from sales of LSD. As LSD was only a couple of dollars a hit at that time in Long Beach, but was still $10 in Minneapolis, I soon arranged a trip back there. My partner was sending me the drugs and I was selling both retail and wholesale until I got busted.

I actually got busted twice. The first time I was walking down the street after having done some retail sales and the cops grabbed me up. Searching they found meth and LSD. They said there had been a robbery in the neighborhood and that the perp was wearing clothes like mine.

After spending a couple week in jail I had my public defender get the charges dropped on the basis of illegal search and seizure. At that point I should have left town but was too covered over to realize the cops once on a scent weren’t going to just shrug their shoulders and move on.

A few weeks after getting out I was sitting with my girlfriend in our kitchen rolling a joint to take the edge off the side effects of speed when the front door was kicked in and several cops with guns pointed at us burst in. A second or two later the kitchen door was kicked in as well. I don’t know if no knock warrants were legal then but that is how this one was executed.

Looking back it is interesting how your life ‘s course can be dramatically changed by a split second decision and reaction. My girlfriend, hearing the first crash, grabbed the marijuana and leapt towards the toilet and got it flushed using the one second delay before the second crash to get it done.

This mattered because at that time in Minnesota possession of LSD and meth were still only misdemeanors. Later the law caught up and changed them to felonies as they maybe should be but at the time they were a lesser crime.

Marijuana on the other hand was a felony carrying 20 years, hence a much more serious  crime and  life changing. Not just a stone changing the course of a river but a landslide of boulders completely altering the range of options available henceforth.

This time I was a guest of the Hennepin County Jail for 80 days. That experience will be another post.

I was eventually offered a plea deal referred to in jail house parlance as a floater. If I plead guilty and agreed to go back home to the farm in North Dakota they would give me probation for a year. If I behaved for a year they would drop the charges. Which happened.

As my friend Bobo in jail would often recite, “Always cop to the misdemeanors”  I took the deal. At the sentencing the judge said,”You hate me now but later you will thank me.” He was right on both counts.

When I would recounted this story to my sister and pointed out that if I hadn’t been busted I would have been dead. The poster and widely circulated saying at the time “Speed kills.” Which even though you could see it happening around you, you didn’t care. And it is killing me, 45 years later through the effects of hepatitis C.

I told her God saved me by getting me busted and she said how my family had been praying for me the prodigal son.

What was one thing I learned from this? The following most likely will shock you but within the context of my demographic at the time was quite romantic.  If you want to give your girlfriend a gold plated 26 gauge needle for her 18th birthday, don’t buy a used one and don’t share it. Needle sharing is a known transmission vector for hep C.

Not that that was only needle I shared but certainly the most memorable. Needle sharing was not at that time known to be dangerous and even the AMA, the medical establishment, didn’t know and reused needles which was why such things existed to be gold plated.

I would also like to note that my girlfriend was strung out before I met her — I didn’t drag her down.

Going back home to the farm and a loving Christian family did give me the perspective to realize there was no future in meth and I have never gone back to it. Although I still had a substance abuse problem with marijuana that would take joining the Hare Krishnas to kick at least a future with possible options was now open to me.

Occasionally he wakes, finds
the cool cube of his room
delirious with colors: blaring
daffodils and rigid roses,
petals a soft, translucent red

like the inside of an eyelid.
By the window, a clock’s
expressionless face near glossy skins
of magazines, a telephone
the color of frozen milk

or silence, the color of old.
He is melting, his bones
grown paper-light, they travel
over the bed’s pale hills, the woman
who’s come to wash him.

The ceiling is a landscape
bleeding white as he floats
through the muted winter sky,
a boundless symbol of nothing.
The woman draws the blind.

From the New York Times
Published: April 27, 2009

There was a time when red meat was a luxury for ordinary Americans, or was at least something special: cooking a roast for Sunday dinner, ordering a steak at a restaurant. Not anymore. Meat consumption has more than doubled in the United States in the last 50 years.

Yarek Waszul

Now a new study of more than 500,000 Americans has provided the best evidence yet that our affinity for red meat has exacted a hefty price on our health and limited our longevity.

The study found that, other things being equal, the men and women who consumed the most red and processed meat were likely to die sooner, especially from one of our two leading killers, heart disease and cancer, than people who consumed much smaller amounts of these foods.

Results of the decade-long study were published in the March 23 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine. The study, directed by Rashmi Sinha, a nutritional epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute, involved 322,263 men and 223,390 women ages 50 to 71 who participated in the National Institutes of HealthAARP Diet and Health Study. Each participant completed detailed questionnaires about diet and other habits and characteristics, including smoking, exercise, alcohol consumption, education, use of supplements, weight and family history of cancer.

Determining Risk

During the decade, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died, and the researchers kept track of the timing and reasons for each death. Red meat consumption ranged from a low of less than an ounce a day, on average, to a high of four ounces a day, and processed meat consumption ranged from at most once a week to an average of one and a half ounces a day.

The increase in mortality risk tied to the higher levels of meat consumption was described as “modest,” ranging from about 20 percent to nearly 40 percent. But the number of excess deaths that could be attributed to high meat consumption is quite large given the size of the American population.

Extrapolated to all Americans in the age group studied, the new findings suggest that over the course of a decade, the deaths of one million men and perhaps half a million women could be prevented just by eating less red and processed meats, according to estimates prepared by Dr. Barry Popkin, who wrote an editorial accompanying the report.

To prevent premature deaths related to red and processed meats, Dr. Popkin suggested in an interview that people should eat a hamburger only once or twice a week instead of every day, a small steak once a week instead of every other day, and a hot dog every month and a half instead of once a week.

In place of red meat, nonvegetarians might consider poultry and fish. In the study, the largest consumers of “white” meat from poultry and fish had a slight survival advantage. Likewise, those who ate the most fruits and vegetables also tended to live longer.

Anyone who worries about global well-being has yet another reason to consume less red meat. Dr. Popkin, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, said that a reduced dependence on livestock for food could help to save the planet from the ravaging effects of environmental pollution, global warming and the depletion of potable water.

“In the United States,” Dr. Popkin wrote, “livestock production accounts for 55 percent of the erosion process, 37 percent of pesticides applied, 50 percent of antibiotics consumed, and a third of total discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus to surface water.”

Finding a Culprit

A question that arises from observational studies like this one is whether meat is in fact a hazard or whether other factors associated with meat-eating are the real culprits in raising death rates. The subjects in the study who ate the most red meat had other less-than-healthful habits. They were more likely to smoke, weigh more for their height, and consume more calories and more total fat and saturated fat. They also ate less fruits, vegetables and fiber; took fewer vitamin supplements; and were less physically active.

But in analyzing mortality data in relation to meat consumption, the cancer institute researchers carefully controlled for all these and many other factors that could influence death rates. The study data have not yet been analyzed to determine what, if any, life-saving benefits might come from eating more protein from vegetable sources like beans or a completely vegetarian diet.

The results mirror those of several other studies in recent years that have linked a high-meat diet to life-threatening health problems. The earliest studies highlighted the connection between the saturated fats in red meats to higher blood levels of artery-damaging cholesterol and subsequent heart disease, which prompted many people to eat leaner meats and more skinless poultry and fish. Along with other dietary changes, like consuming less dairy fat, this resulted in a nationwide drop in average serum cholesterol levels and contributed to a reduction in coronary death rates.

Elevated blood pressure, another coronary risk factor, has also been shown to be associated with eating more red and processed meat, Dr. Sinha and colleagues reported.

Poultry and fish contain less saturated fat than red meat, and fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked in several large studies to heart benefits. For example, men who consume two servings of fatty fish a week were found to have a 50 percent lower risk of cardiac deaths, and in the Nurses’ Health Study of 84,688 women, those who ate fish and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least once a week cut their coronary risk by more than 20 percent.

Ties to Cancer

Choosing protein from sources other than meat has also been linked to lower rates of cancer. When meat is cooked, especially grilled or broiled at high temperatures, carcinogens can form on the surface of the meat. And processed meats like sausages, salami and bologna usually contain nitrosamines, although there are products now available that are free of these carcinogens.

Data from one million participants in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition trial found that those who ate the least fish had a 40 percent greater risk of developing colon cancer than those who ate more than 1.75 ounces of fish a day. Likewise, while a diet high in red meat was linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer in the large Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, among the 35,534 men in the study, those who consumed at least three servings of fish a week had half the risk of advanced prostate cancer compared with men who rarely ate fish.

Another study, which randomly assigned more than 19,500 women to a low-fat diet, found after eight years a 40 percent reduced risk of ovarian cancer among them, when compared with 29,000 women who ate their regular diets.

I did a freshman year in high school in North Dakota then got a scholarship to the Phillips Exeter Academy, a boarding school in New Hampshire where I attended 2 and one half years. I connected to the scholarship through a program run by the Minneapolis Tribune, a newspaper I delivered.

Exeter has a lot of famous alumni, probably the most well known to the younger generation would be Mark Zuckerberg who got the idea for Facebook at Exeter.

When I went to Exeter I repeated the grade. The cut off in ND at that time for what grade you were in was Nov. 1st and I was just a few days shy of that so young for my grade and I had taken Shop and an Agricultural course  which didn’t translate well into Exeter academics hence the repeat.

Which meant that the kids I grew up with were graduating in 1967 while I was Exeter ’68. That wasn’t the only reason I dropped out, there was also a lot of teenage angst going on, as well as the fact that at that time Exeter was still an all boys school. I was also starting to realize that the war in Vietnam was a huge mistake.

I went back home mid year and by the following fall I was in Concordia College. Needless to say, after 2 1/2 years of living in a dorm , college life wasn’t as exciting to me as it was to a lot of the wide eyed incoming freshman. As a matter of fact, I found myself hazing them like I had been hazed years before.

The academics weren’t as challenging as I was used to  and I basically put little effort into them.

That summer I took a job in Minneapolis at a Whirlpool factory assembling ice cube making machines. We built them for 6 different companies, including Sears brand Kenmore, the only difference being which tag we put on at the end of the line.

By mid summer I had tired of that and quit. I then met Duke. Duke was a 30 something from Harlem who had a cool convertible and  made his living hustling, a character right out of some novel.  He would go out at night and come back with a pocketful of dollars. He had been a pimp in San Fransisco but got into some trouble there and was looking for a port in a storm. We gave him a place to stay until he go on his feet which he did quickly.

My roommate and I were smoking pot thus already on the illegal side of the law so when he introduced us to meth  it wasn’t a hard sell. Once started  meth quickly became the dominant feature of my life and the very reason for existing.

After about a month Duke hooked up with another tough and robbed a gas station for money to travel back to the West Coast. We read about the robbery in the newspaper.

We gave up the apartment so I traveled to SF to find Duke. I never did find him and somehow ended up living in Long Beach, California. I used to travel a lot and considered if I had spent a month or more in a single place that I had lived there.

While there I took a day trip to LA and ended up in Griffith Park on a week end day. Music was going on in three different areas. One was a bunch of guitars jamming and another was about 40-50 drummers doing a drum circle, quite impressive.

The third was devotees doing hari nama. Fortunately for me, I must have had some small attraction. After I got out of jail later, I remember going music store to music store, trying to find karatals, the small hand cymbals devotees use. No one had them of course and I didn’t hear them again until years later. Somehow or another the crystal clear sound penetrated the cloak of ignorance I was tightly wrapped in and connected with my soul.

So some attraction was there, maybe not for the Holy Name itself but for some portion of the sound vibration. Of course I was so strung out, and probably on the 3rd or 4th day of not sleeping so I was incapable of just leaving that behind and joining the movement at that point but the seed had been planted.

I think Krishna saw the predicament I was in and that I had even a nano amount of attraction and interest and set in motion the events that would save me.

So any devotee who reads this and was in Griffith Park fourth quarter of 1968 doing hari nama, public chanting of God’s names, thank you.

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