An uplifting news item, poem, thought or quotation each day.
Archive of past entries

10 April 2005

  • We should never despair, never give up. We should fight as hard as we can for what we believe in. This is fully engaged living.

  • We should accept the world just as it is, surrender and seek transformation within ourselves so that we may draw deep satisfaction from our world, just as it is.

How do we reconcile these two ideals?  Do we culture the wisdom to choose what we can change and what we must accept?  I propose that instead we need to do both all the time.  Draw sustenance from appreciating deeply and often the miracles of existence.

Do our utmost.  Give our all each day.  Never give up, never relinquish hope, and never stop thinking fresh about how to make our environment better how to make the whole world better.

At the end of the day, sleep well, knowing that you have done all that you can do, and given all that you have to give.

Josh Mitteldorf

9 April 2005

"Though I am often, still, politely informed that we will not win, those sentiments do not matter. We are in the right, anyone well informed about the matter agrees, and the specific gravity of our effort has been growing since the day it began."

- Jay Raymond

A student of art and of life, Jay Raymond is the last man standing in the people's movement to keep the Barnes Art Collection at its original location in Dr Barnes's Victorian home.

8 April 2005

"People's dreams are made out of what they do all day. The same way a dog that runs after rabbits will dream of rabbits. It's what you do that makes your soul, not the other way around."

- Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver, born this day in 1955

7 April 2005

ON the beach at night alone, 
As the old mother sways her to and fro, singing her husky song, 
As I watch the bright stars shining I think a thought of the clef of the universes, and of the future.

A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns,
moons, planets, comets, asteroids,
All distances, however wide,
All distances of time all inanimate forms,
All Souls all living bodies, though they be ever so different, or in
different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes the fishes, the brutes,
All men and women me also,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed, or may exist, on this globe or any globe,
All lives and deaths all of past, present and future,
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spanned, and shall forever
span them, and compactly hold them.

It's a tribute to the artistry of Ralph Vaughan-Williams that he was able to work the irregular cadence of these lines by Walt Whitman into his first symphony for chorus and orchestra, the Sea Symphony.

6 April 2005

"It is widely believed that 2000 million years ago the cyanobacteria oxygen eliminating photosynthetic prokaryotes that used to be called blue-green algae... effected one of the greatest changes this planet has ever known: the increase in concentration of atmospheric oxygen from far less than 1% to about 20%. Without this concentration of oxygen, people and other animals would have never evolved."
-Lynn Margulis and Karlene Schwartz, Five Kingdoms

The capacity to use oxygen in combination with sugars to produce electrochemical energy then became a very useful skill to have.  Bacteria with this metabolism infected many larger cells, and one victim was able to make peace with the intruders, co-opting their chemistry into an energy source.  Thus was born the grandmother cell for all animal life on earth.  The intruding bacteria evolved into mitochondria, the cells' energy factories.

"...the biosphere is a self-regulating entity with the capacity to keep our planet healthy by controlling the chemical and physical environment."
-James Lovelock, Gaia

Brig Klyce's page on Gaia

5 April 2005

"It is astonishing how often it happens that two musicians meet for the first time, coming together from very different backgrounds and traditions, and before they have exchanged two words they begin improvising music together that demonstrates wholeness, structure, and clear communication."

Stephen Nachmanovich, Free Play

4 April 2005

"Tantalising experiments that seem to have made human blood cells start producing insulin have raised the prospect of a new treatment for diabetes. Although the treatment has only been tried in mice so far, it might mean people can be cured with implants of their own cells.

"Juvenile-onset diabetes is caused by the immune system destroying the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas...

"[Bernat] Sorias team at the Institute of Bioengineering in Alicante, Spain, was the first to obtain insulin-producing cells from mouse ESCs [Embryonic Stem Cells] and is also working with human ESCs. Recently, together with Fred Fandrich of the University of Kiel in Germany, the team tried a different approach: exposing human white blood cells to the same growth factors it had applied to mouse ESCs. It worked. 'We convinced white blood cells to produce insulin,' Soria says...

"The next step is to find out if insulin-producing cells can be derived from the blood of people with diabetes, and if they will be stable after re-implantation. One great advantage of the approach, if it works, is that white blood cells are very easy to obtain."

from New Scientist