Cluster Map

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pollyanna is back with you

Pollyanna would like to share with you something from the Syrian children in the refugee camps. While she shares the general distress over what is happening, here and around the world, she would like to find a ray of hope in the basic optimism that these children show.

“It’s a very small drawing but it has a big meaning. This tree represents me. The wind, the lines to the right of the tree, represent the things that keep me from who I want to become in life. While this wind can blow the leaves from my branches, you see them here falling to the ground, it cannot knock me over. The soil and the roots of the tree keep me from being knocked over.”

Pollyanna is back and hopes that all our Muslim friends had an Eid Mubarak despite the dreadful times. She  is extremely distressed by the ongoing war.  The Hamas are firing rockets from sites near and in civilian facilities and homes   and we are forced to respond by bombing and shelling. The Hamas are also infiltrating through a system of tunnels which our army failed to deal with over the years.
IDF soldier in Gaza tunnel, July 25, 2014
An Israeli army officer gives journalists a tour, Friday, July 25, 2014, of a tunnel allegedly used by Palestinian militants for cross-border attacks, at the Israel-Gaza Border. Photo by AP

 The result is a ferocious spilling of blood on both sides of the border and a firming of the attitudes that will diminish any hope for a peaceful settlement. In addition, there is in Israel a wave of suppression of dissent.
Left wing protest in Tel Aviv against the military operation in Gaza (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Left wing protest in Tel Aviv against the military operation in Gaza (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

 Joe McCarthy is alive and well in Israel. A professor who expressed humanistic sentiments in a message to students was reprimanded. In the wake of a recent demonstration in Tel Aviv in which left/liberal people called for a cessation of hostilities, participants were set upon in the street by right wing thugs. Indeed it is becoming difficult to be a liberal Zionist and it has become more difficult in the wake of the war.   Nonetheless, we have no choice but to stand up for the ideals in which we believe and which we regard as essential for Israel to have a positive future.   As Gideon Levy says so well, we are on our way to a society that sings in unison, a Red Army choir of a public.  We seem to think that we are able  "to conquer Gaza, bomb Iran, piss on international law, throw out the Arab members of Knesset, all the Arabs of Israel, all the left-wingers. " Indeed, as long as the big money from Jewish  casino  operators and worse is available to bribe the members of the US Congress, it might even be true.  Have a nice day everyone. Gideon himself is not going back to Ashkelon soon.

Pollyanna points you at something that we can do. She refers you to the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights action blog. Over a year has gone by without Miriam and 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 choose a charity. Her choice is the Ebola relief fund set up by GlobalGiving.
 Ebola Epidemic Relief Fund
There is no cure and little treatment for the deadly virus, which has killed at least 660 people in several African countries. Please open the link and open your heart to the suffering people of West Africa. The virus is spreading and will wreak havoc if not stopped.

In many places in the world the killing of women is regarded as a norm in patriarchal societies. In Mexico the sheriff of Juarez, when reproached about the lack of prosecutions for murder of women, replied that there is no reason to punish a man for destroying his own property. This week Pollyanna asks you to join the outcry of women in Turkey who are calling on their parliament to address the impunity granted to femicide by the government and male-dominated society. AWID calls upon all to support the demands of Turkish women.  We quote from the petition:"Women are killed by men every day as they attempt to make decisions regarding their own lives. The persistence of these killings is evidence of the patriarchal nature of the state, as the latter fails to take the necessary precautions to prevent them. Meanwhile, the existing legal system legitimizes and in fact encourages these acts of femicide. While the male violence we are subjected to goes unpunished, and new policies condemn us to remain increasingly at the mercy of the institution of the family, we women are being killed each and every day. If six men had been killed by women within the span of two days, the state would have sprung into action, meeting expectations that it take emergency measures.Yet women are being killed in Turkey every single day." Please support these women, it is only a single instance of what is happening in too many places around the world.


More than one million Syrian children have been forced to flee their war-torn country. Of these young refugees, one in every three is between the ages of 12 and 18. This is the generation that will be tasked with rebuilding Syria. And yet, they are consistently missing out on critical life milestones like building social skills, developing confidence and getting an education.

In order to develop effective support strategies for this vulnerable group, the Mercy Corps conducted a research study in host communities in Jordan and Lebanon. The new report of the findings, Advancing Adolescence, describes the obstacles facing Syrian refugee youth and ways to prevent their becoming a lost generation. The art of these children and youths show in the post speaks for itself.
“I wish I could go back to my house and the place I lived in, so I drew a mountain, trees and a house.”
Pollyanna calls your attention to a petition to the Spanish government against oil drilling near the Canary Islands and for the establishment of a cetacean sanctuary in the region. Please join the call.


New evidence has been discovered that shows that the asteroid impact that knocked out the dinosaurs, thus creating a viable niche for mammals (here we are), just happened to arrive at a time when the creatures were particularly vulnerable to extinction because of a fall in biodiversity. If the impact had taken place a few million years earlier or later they might well have survived. In that case, we would not be and maybe the planet would have been better off.

A few years ago, July 23, 2012, the Sun emitted a huge Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that fortunately missed the Earth.

A less threatening solar storm on the Sun
A less threatening storm on the Sun. Photograph: Nasa/AP
If it had hit, it would have caused huge damage to our society and  civilization. It was detected and observed in detail by the two Stereo spacecraft that monitor the Sun and the solar wind environment. Here is a short film from NASA that gives you an idea of what happened and what might have happened.

Again we were lucky. An event of even greater magnitude in 1859 caused some damage, but nothing compared to our present degree of vulnerability.

Science is full of ups and downs and what seems like an exciting discovery can evaporate when further observations are made. Such is the case for the two planets around the star Gliese 581. One of them was thought to be in the so-called Goldilocks zone where water can exist in liquid form. New observation indicate that the fluctuations that were originally interpreted as evidence of two planets are intrinsic to the star itself and the planets do not exist. C'est la vie. Astronomers will continue to search for possible abodes of life as we know it.

We have not presented a book review in a while. Pollyanna calls your attention to a study by Mary Beard of humor in ancient Rome.
Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling, and Cracking Up (Sather Classical Lectures) Hardcover – University of California Press, 319 pp., $29.95 June 25, 2014
by Mary Beard. 
It is reviewed in the New York Review of Books by Gregory Hays. If the NYRB does not open for you, there is an equally good review in the New Statesman. Humor was a serious business back then.
Illustration by John Leech from The Comic History of Rome, 1852

What If? asks What’s the fastest way to get a hand-written letter from my place in Chicago to my mother in New Jersey? —Tim. The answer is fun.

Snake Facts


Dilbert Cartoon for Jul/29/2014


Barney & Clyde Cartoon for Jul/27/2014

Barney & Clyde Cartoon for Jul/29/2014

Wizard of Id Cartoon for Jul/25/2014

No comments:

Post a Comment