Pollyanna notes that Thanksgiving and the first day of Hannuka coincide this year for the first time ever. It will happen again in 7,000 years. Enjoy Thankgivukka! When you sit down to your turkey and latkes, appreciate the blessings in your life.
For starters, let us refer you to the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights action blog. Now that a year has gone by without Miriam, we continue to realize what we have lost. She got us into the human rights struggle. Please act on behalf of people who are so much in need of support in their trials and tribulations at the hands of oppressive regimes and corporations.
This week it is Pollyanna's turn to promote a charity. She puts everything aside in the wake of the devastation caused by super typhoon Haiyan. She offers a link to a list of ways to donate to the aid of the victims.
|Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan react after not being allowed to board an
evacuation flight from Tacloban Airport in Tacloban, Philippines,
November 12, 2013.|
As you all know Pollyanna rants about matters concerning women and girls. She is very upset over the blaming of girl victims of sexual abuse for the actions of their abusers. In Israel, a famous pop singer is being investigated for the statutory rape of underage girls and already people are feeling sorry for him. While Eyal Golan was allegedly having sex with 15 year olds, his father is alleged to have done the pimping. The prophet Amos in this weeks Prophet reading refers to the practice:
as on the dust of the ground
and deny justice to the oppressed.
Father and son use the same girl
and so profane my holy name.
In this context Pollyanna calls your attention to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November. The Reform Movement in Israel is devoting this Shabbat on which the Torah reading describes two acts of violence inside a family to the elimination of such violence. The two incidents are the selling of Joseph by his brothers and the abuse of Tamar by her father in law, Judah. For the Hebrew readers, Pollyanna provides a link to the special prayer composed for this Shabbat.
IN MEMORIAM DORIS LESSING 1919-2013
|Doris Lessing with her prize insignia of the 2007 Nobel prize in literature. Photograph: Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images|
JFK ASSASSINATION 50 YEARS ON
|John F Kennedy. His life and death have been the subject of thousands of books, documentaries and Hollywood movies. Photograph: PA|
SURROGACY AS AN INDUSTRY
BBC HardTalk raised the question of the surrogate reproduction industry in India. On one hand, it provides children for childless couples and money to poor women who rent out their wombs. Poverty is so endemic in India, especially for illiterate women, that they are easily recruited. We link you to an interview with Dr Nayna Patel, who is a pioneer in the field. She says it is a "positive experience" for surrogate mothers but HardTalk asks her in a radio interview if she is exploiting poor, sometimes illiterate, women? Pollyanna thinks the latter. You may listen to the interview and form your own opinion and if you wish, tell Pollyanna what you think.
SOME NICE THINGS
Pollyanna wishes to congratulate Mr. Shai Nitzan on his appointment as State Prosecutor of Israel and hopes that he will make a major contribution to restoring public confidence and to affirmation of the rule of law. We agree with the editorial in Haaretz that he faces major challenges, some of them of his own making.
|Shai Nitzan. Photo by Emil Salma|
A FEW NOT SO NICE THINGS
In addition to the rant, Pollyanna is not at all glad about the acceleration of the deforestation of Brazil. The sacrifice of the rainforest to greed is something that will come back to haunt all of us.
|Last year’s massive weakening of the Forest Code in the Brazilian Congress lead to a massive increase in deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon.|
WELCOME COMET ISON
Comet ISON s now plummeting fast toward its late November encounter with the sun –its perihelion, or closest point to the sun – on November 28, 2013. At perihelion, it’ll be lost in the sky’s glare. It’s getting closer and closer to the sunrise now. If it survives its passage near the sun, it’ll return to our skies in early December, and, indeed, early December may be the best time to try to see the comet. So get ready! The Comet ISON Observing Campaign had these encouraging words about ISON this week(Nov. 20):
For those of you who remember C/2011 W3 Lovejoy’s beautiful sungrazing passage in December 2011, Lovejoy had an estimated total magnitude of about mag 10 when it was eight days before perihelion, and went on to reach approximately mag -3 at peak. ISON is now eight days from perihelion and is estimated to be around magnitude 4.5. I’m not going to speculate on what that means for its peak brightness, but note that ISON is about 100 times brighter than Lovejoy was at about the same distance!
|This stunning portrait of Comet ISON was captured by John Nassr on Nov. 15 from his Stardust Observatory in Baguio City in the Philippines. Nassr used a Nikon D7000 digital SLR camera coupled to his custom-built 16-inch f/4.5 Newtonian reflector to record the sungrazing comet’s intricate tail. The image is a combination of five 1-minute-long exposures at ISO 6400.|
|SPACE ROCKS This 570-kilogram meteorite was recovered from Lake Chebarkul on October 16.|
EXCITING PALEONTOLOGY FROM AN ANCIENT SKELETON
DNA studies of a 24,000 year old skeleton of a boy from Russia indicate that nearly 30 percent of modern Native Americans' ancestry came from this youngster’s gene pool, suggesting First Americans came directly from Siberia.
|Remains of 24,000 Year-Old Mal’ta Boy. Photo courtesy of State Hermitage Museum in Russia|
OFF TO MARS
The MAVEN, Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, spacecraft is off to the Red Planet. It may give us an answer to the riddle of what happened to the dense atmosphere that Mars must have possessed in the past. Bon Voyage!!
EVOLUTION OF MURPHY AND OTHER DOGS
Dogs, the authors argued, evolved from a now extinct species of European wolf that followed bands of nomadic or semi-nomadic humans who were hunting woolly mammoths and other large prey. Initially, the wolves sought out the carcasses and scraps of meat left behind by man, the authors suggest. Over time, these hang-around wolves began to fill a special role in human hunter-gatherer society, researchers say. Read more.
BIG BANGERS GET AROUND
We are delighted that the Big Bang Theory sitcom is back with us. It is also nice that the actors are negotiating for a living wage.
Pollyanna finds it amusing to note that the off screen lives of the actresses who play Penny and Bernadette have attracted attention and they both have been interviewed in Maxim, a sexist magazine aimed at the horny male segment of the population.
A new biography of the writer Norman Mailer has come out,
Norman Mailer, A Double Life, by J. Michael Lennon Simon and Schuster, 947 pp., $40.00.
It is reviewed in the New York Review of Books by Edward Mendelson. We have long admired Mailer's work, fiction and non-fiction and we recommend the review. You would also do well to read something by Mailer and the biography gives you a long list from which to choose.
What If? The question-What is the furthest one human being has ever been from every other living person?
Were they lonely? Bryan J. McCarter; Interesting this time.
Letitia experiences the joys of stepmothering.
Elections are coming up in Emek Hefer, our little corner of the world, the rural area of Israel from which this nonsense emanates. This is how it works:
We had occasion to peek and even post indirectly at a blog site that deals with questions of dating and social life for people who are no longer young. It is obviously not easy to sell yourself.