Monday, March 19, 2012

Oh yeah!

I'm exhausted and I need to get away from home for a while. I've known this for some time now, but my husband needs me for almost everything and I've felt that I can't leave. I have to follow him to the hospital for tests, I have to follow him to the dentist, I have to help him with everything he used to be able to do for himself. It's draining. He's by my side 24/7 and he's always on my mind, even when I'm resting or sleeping. Is he OK, can I heard him breathe? 

Yesterday my best friend came to visit and I complained about it, as I sometimes do friend to friend. I thought that my husband was sleeping and that he didn't hear us talk. I was wrong. This morning he told me to go. He's fixed it, our oldest son will follow him instead. 

Now I'm hurrying to make plans and figure out where to go and what to do. I'd like to leave tomorrow, but that might be too soon. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Safe and Sound

Watching the news often bring people down. The world is so full of disasters and suffering. My best friend is among those who think the increase in crimes in the world today is a sign that the end of the world is near. I feel sorry for her, but nothing I say can change her mind. It doesn't matter how many times I point out what a wonderful world we live in.

While it is a fact that millions of humans suffer in this world because of one thing or the other, it's also a fact that billions are safe and sound.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Witch Hunt

I strongly dislike how people see "famous" people as fair game for a witch hunt by today's standards. People are no longer executed for their "crimes" but they are hunted and tormented. What's worse is to see how people think it's OK, that they somehow deserve it. It makes me sick. That someone's name is well known by a larger mass of people does not automatically give the world the right to probe into their private lives and spread information, lies and misinformation about them.

Today it's the guy who's behind the Kony 2012 video. I saw the headlines but I never read the whole story. I don't need to. It's none of my business. I dislike the misinformation in the video he made and I doubt the message it sends, but it's not personal. The video does not attack another person on a personal and private way, nor does it attack me as a private person. Because of that there's no need to fill the headlines with his private business.

The headlines, and those who *like* and spread them says more about them than the person it is about. The people that think that such witch hunts are OK are made of the same material as bullies. I don't like bullies either.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I really need to get organised

All my online accounts and "stuff" is in disorder and it doesn't get better in my computer. It's a massive amount of text, images and other info that I need to find an easy way to sort and organise. I fear it's a hopeless task.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Red Deer People

Image by Peter Schouten
This is very interesting to me. I've always wondered about the Out of Africa theories. Not because I doubt they are well founded, but because I can't help but wonder if there is all there is to it. Why did those groups of humans or "humanoids" leave Africa and not others? Why have evolution turned us into who we are in such a "uniform" way? Why isn't there more diversity?

That Homo sapiens and Neanderthals interbred was not surprise to me and probably many others too. That  Homo sapiens and Denisovans interbred was interesting news, I had never heard of them before and it pretty much fits my way of thinking. (Yes, I know, science is not to make facts fit your own theory, but it's still interesting to see.) We also have Homo floresiensis (the Hobbit) that evolved from Homo erectus.

Now we have the Red Deer People. Much younger than the Neanderthal and Denisovans and they don't seem to have interbred with Homo sapiens. Or, maybe they did? Right now there are several theories, they are primitive early Homo sapiens isolated from other Homo sapiens, they are hybrids, they are a distinct Homo species that evolved in Asian. Either way it's interesting to see and I'm looking forward to seeing where this ends.

I think there is much more for us humans to find out about our ancestors, the other "Homos" that have existed and who we are related to or not.

Preparing for the End of the World

I've always wondered what happens to the people who we see preparing for the end of the world on a certain date. Where do they go when the date have come and passed? What do they do? Perhaps most important of all, how do they feel? Something they believed in so much that they changed their life and spent lots of money on it, did not happen.

What happened to the Canadian man who buried old school buses and made bunkers of them to prepare for the end of the world in 1999, or was it the end of the world in 2000?
A quick Google search lets me know that he's still at it. His name is Bruce Beach and he's American but moved to Canada. He's got a very amateurish looking web pages such as this and this one, have published two books and is still preparing for the end of the world. He's even been featured on Penn & Teller's Bullshit.

Cult leader Harold Camping have changed his tune, finally, and is admitting he was wrong. How the people who believed in him and emptied their bank accounts feel now, we can only guess.
The Russian sect leader Pyotr Kuznetsov has been ruled as schizophrenic and is under compulsory psychiatric treatment. Two of his sect members died before they left the cave where they were waiting for doomsday.

There are many others that I don't remember enough detail about to find again. It's a shame, it would be interesting to see what happened to them.

Now it's time again. The 2012 Mayan Doomsday Prophesy hoax have put focus on 2012 and people are once again preparing to save themselves from the End of the World (as we know it). Bruce Breach is on the bus, and so is Patrick Geryl.
So far, Patrick Geryl estimates he's already spent more than $130,000 on his survival preparations.
Geryl plans to survive the turmoil in a small wooden bunker far from the nuclear radiation in South Africa, where he can live off the grid for about a year and rebuild a community with other survivors. In order to do so, he has spent years stocking up on nearly 100 survival essentials, including guns and ammunition, water purification tablets, waterproof matches, a drafting table for charting stars in the sky -- even condoms to use for carrying water. (Source)
I feel mostly sorry for them. It's insanity and no one is trying to cure them and stop them from causing emotional and/or financial harm to themselves. Then again, this is also a freedom that we as humans have. We have the right to do things, no matter how idiotic they are. Smoking comes to mind when comparing to this.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

No way! =O

Facebook admits to having millions of fake users. I'm baffled. No, not really, I'm sarcastic.

All sites I've ever belonged to have had fakes as well as doubles on them. This far I've never encountered a "safety system" that assures that people don't create fake accounts. Not even the sites who demands credit card information or your social security number can say that they have no fakes on it. Signing up to Facebook is as easy 1-2-3 and there are no demands on you to verify your identity, of course there will be fakes.
The company (Facebook) admitted that 5 percent to 6 percent of the accounts on its social network were fictitious or duplicative, amounting to about 42m of its 845m monthly active users.
Facebook has made a virtue of requiring people to use their real names and identities on the site, winning advertisers by providing access to real people.
I don't use my real name online but I still have a Facebook account. I created it yesterday because I needed a Facebook account to get some free stuff from a company. (Not impersonating someone else, just making something up.) Reading today about how Facebook "require people to use their real names" made me smile. That said, I refuse to believe that the Facebook company really thought that they had no fake accounts. A Google search for "Facebook Fake Profiles" turns up over 3million hits and among them you'll find Facebook's own pages about how to report fakes. 

Landscape and movement art

Andres Amador
I've never built sand castles, not that I can recall anyway, mainly because I don't want to see the work destroyed. Because of this I've never understood sand artists and the art they create. It's beautiful, amazing and ... gone. All that's left are photos and the memory of making it. That doesn't mean that I don't admire their work though, especially the work of those who are really good at it.

Andres Amador is one of them an a visit to his Earthscape Art Gallery and Art Site is well worth the effort.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Adolf Hitler ca. 1915
I was reading about Hitler's time as a soldier in WW1 and I came across this photo of him. It's not how we usually see him but that's not the uncanny part, it's the fact that he looks like my ex. (Or is it my ex that looked like him?)

The similarities doesn't end there,they were both manipulative, domineering and opted for the suicide solution in the end. Hitler was diagnosed as a psychopath (during WW1) and my ex deserved the same diagnosis though he never got it (to my knowledge).  Both also had a skill when it comes to not "getting their hands dirty" and letting others take the fall.

I know, that description fits a lot of people, but that photo gave me nightmares. It reminds me of the beast I once knew.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Krásna Hôrka and Yida

Krásna Hôrka
The images of the castle Krásna Hôrka burning shook me in a way I hadn't expected. I've never heard of the castle before and have no emotional ties to it what so ever, still I felt like crying. It's a large piece of history that went up in smoke, only because two kids wanted to try smoking.

I was already emotional though. I've been reading about the refugee camp in Yida South Sudan. There are Swedish journalists that are in the area looking into an oil company and the wars that the oil in the area have caused. This is a topic for more urgent than the "Kony 2012" video that has gone viral, yet it's difficult to find anything to read about it.

Other than the article in the Swedish news paper I've been this:
A blog called Ruya Blog. Ru'ya is a non profit organisation that mainly work with Nuba women in the South Kordofan region.
Claire Budd, a journalist's site on the topic. In one article you can read this; "The UN has predicted a famine, saying the area will reach a level four emergency by March 2012 – famine is level 5." This is happening now, right now as I type this down.
And the Sudan Tribune.

Like all conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan there is no easy way to take it all in. The oil is a major part of the conflict, but it's not as easy as it being the only reason. The conflict ties into the Darfur conflict and many other factors too. 

Some days when what I read is too complex I throw my hands up and think; "Do I really need to know this?". I keep coming to the same answer, "Yes". I have to know what happens in the world around me. We can't change the world if we don't know what's happening in it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Political Correctness =)

Herr Gårman
I remember reading about those who wanted to change the crosswalk signs since it's a man on the sign and no woman years ago. I labelled it "idiotic" and filed it in the loony bin.

Today I was browsing through and I was reminded of it again because there is a continuance to the story.

First of all, the sign name. It's generally called "Herr Gårman", and that's a Swedish word game. Directly translated it's "Mr Walkman", but through the word game it means "here you walk". The female version of the sign is called "Fru Gårman" (Mrs Gårman) and that kills the word game effectively.
"Perky" vs "original"

The female version of the sign have been put up in Uppsala, however, something seems to have gone wrong. The original version of the sign have been replaced by a new one with short skirts and "perky" breasts.

"The 2008 unveiling of the 'Fru Gårman' signs was preceding with a great deal of publicity after several designs were rejected for being “too feminine” and for not following the regulations that a new road sign may not erected if it could be confused with an existing design.
The Fru Gårman signs featuring the rejected design have now been taken down around Uppsala, even though there have been no official complaints from the residents. (Source)
Political correctness gone wrong gave me a well needed smile today, and an Google image search kept me smiling. =)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oops they did it again...

Aymeline Valade 
H&M Commercial
H&M have been criticised in the past for using models that are sickly skinny, and their commercials have been reported to "reklamombudsmannen" a foundation that works to raise the ethics in advertising and marketing communications.

Each time it happens H&M say something in the lines of; "We will take that into consideration in the future". However each time they turn around and do the exact same thing again.

This time it's French model Aymeline Valade that's their model and the critique is the same old song. She's too skinny, she looks unhealthy and some even say that she looks as a corpse. No one blames the model though and a quick Google search turns up loads of photos where she looks healthier.

Aymeline Valade 
by Benjamin Alexander Huseby 
Now the question is why H&M prefer to use sickly looking models over those who look healthy. They even seem to specifically make the models look that way. What's wrong with their minds?
How can they justify that they are selling "anorexia" to young women year after year.

This time their spokes person Charlotts Nemlin says:
"It is certainly regrettable if anybody has taken offense. This is an important topic that we are constantly discussing internally, we apply the criticism and will continue to discuss this for future campaigns."

Yeah, right... it's not like we've never heard that one before.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Who do you believe?

Joseph Kony
We all make choices each day about who we believe in when we pick our sources for information. I have scientific magazines, some newspapers and a number of journalists that I believe in most of the time. Are they always right? No. However, they admit it and publish their apologies when they are wrong. I admire that and to me it makes them more believable.

My spider senses always rise red flags when I come across sentimental "propaganda" from online sources. Such things are published with an intent and they will twist the facts to fit their picture, not necessarily the truth. Their intents are often good, but they do it the wrong way, or the effect of what they do is ... strange. As an example I can name Zeitgeist that attempted to make people think about what they believe in and why, but only managed to gather a mass of mindless followers.

Today Kony 2012 is all over the news. I watched the video and immediately got that tingly feeling from my spider senses. It's sentimental, playing on our feelings. It provides a "group" mentality and encourages you to spend money. All this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it needs to be put into context.

  • Invisible Children ask for money, so how do they spend that money? According to Visible Children they spend 32% of the money on direct services. The rest of the money goes to other things. It's not a reason to not giving them money but it's worth to look up what they spend the money on and what it does.
  • Invisible Children support the Ugandan military and are connected to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, both being accused for rapes, looting and violations against human rights. (Source)
  • The video does not mention that Joseph Kony and the LRA has not operated in Uganda since 2006 nor that his army now consists of 400 mostly adult soldiers. It doesn't mention that the number of 30000 child soldiers spans over 30 years. It doesn't make Kony less bad in any way, but such facts should be provided IMO.
  • There are images of fugitives from Gulu, a phenomena that stopped in 2004, and the war in northern Uganda ended in 2005. (source) Is it morally correct to use images that don't show the reality of today? I don't think so.
  • Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire points out that: "Northern Uganda is not about war or catching Kony anymore, it is about rebuilding. Invisible Children neglects that. They campaign for the Ugandan children from 2005, not the current ones suffering in Congo." (Source)

People who "like" Invisible Children on FaceBook, should know that they "like" an extremist organisation that is willing to support groups who rape women and children as well as ignore human rights. They want to protect the "Invisible Children" by causing potential harm and death to other people.

Who do I believe today? The critics of course.
Yes it's horrible that children suffer, in any nation and at any time, but I don't think that supporting the "lesser" evil will ever turn out to be a good thing. (Just look at what happened when Saddam Hussain got support.) Giving military support to people who rape women and children to get to a man that kidnap and abuse children, a man that's not in the same nation as the first group, is illogical to me. No, it's more than illogical, it's insane. There has to be another way to help the children that are in need of help, and at the same time help those women and children.

A Norwegian journalist very kindly called the video makers "uneducated". I don't see it that way. I think they knew exactly what they were doing, that they twisted information and left things out to make it fit their agenda. This is extremism, their agenda doesn't have to be sane of logical, what matters is how much they believe in it.

And there it is again, belief. What do you believe? Does the means justify the end?

Even More Amazing Art

White Tigers Steven Michael Gardner
I know I'm repeating the theme here but it's that good. =)
This time it's Seven Michael Gardner and his animal hidden picture art. At his gallery you can also play games trying to find the hidden images.

More Amazing Art

Buddha Octavio Ocampo
Today it's Octavio Ocampo another artist that I've seen the art of but never the name. Many of his paintings can be found on sites with optical illusions and hidden image sites.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day

Two things I've read this year stand out when I think of women and equality. Both pointed out that, yes, women are more equal then ever before, however, it's on the terms of men.

Equality to me is about being allowed to be oneself, being different and doing things differently. We are all individuals and we are not meant to live our lives as others want us to. We are supposed to live our lives in a way that fits us as individuals. This is not a gender issue, it's an issue that concerns us all.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Amazing Art

Spirit of the mountain - Sandro Del Prete
Every now and then I come across the name of an artist that I've admired for years. The internet is strange that way, art spread like wild fire but people fail to spread the name of the artist together with it. Sandro Del Prete is one of those artists. His optical illusions and hidden image art can be found in many places, but it's difficult to find out who made it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Blues for blue days

Music just isn't the same any more. Today's music is mixed and mastered to a point where everything sounds the same way.
In this case the video is new but it still gives a 20's feeling that I like.
This is Blind Willie Jones - Trouble will soon be over.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Under the Weather

Two weeks of poor sleep is really making me feel down. It's a down spiral where one thing lead to the other. No sleep - more pain. More pain - getting less done. Getting less done - poor diet. Poor diet - feeling sick. Feeling sick - feeling depressed. Feeling depressed - more stress. More stress - no sleep.
I miss my old painkillers most of all. They cut the pain effectively and allowed me to sleep and rest. Less pain also meant getting more things done and that meant better diet and less stress. *sigh*

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The wonderful world in numbers

In 1990 the UN decided that the extreme poverty in the world should be cut in half by 2015. Last week the World Bank Group announced that the goal has been met 5 years earlier than planned. It's amazing news but you won't find it in the headlines.

Maternal mortality have dropped by 30% since 1990.
Illiteracy has been cut in half since the 70's.
Deforestation rates are dropping world wide.
The Global Hunger Index numbers drop each decade.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hunting for Commercials

Yesterday I heard something that made me wonder if I heard what I thought I heard. Now I'm hunting for commercials to find out.

This is what happened. I was listening to the commercials on the TV while playing games on my laptop and a phrase stood out. I think I heard the McDonald's commercial use the phrase "So that children get to be children" (rough translation) or something close to it. Why it bothers me is because I'm certain I've heard it before. There was a commercial where a charity organisation were looking for people to sponsor poor children and I'm certain they used the exact same phrase.

If I'm right then McDonald's have hit an all time low.

Many things about McDonald's irritate me. Putting a box with organic milk by the hamburger in the commercial doesn't make it healthier or better in any way. Nor does showing pictures of Swedish farmers.
The list of things they do is long but the point is that they create a false picture of themselves. It's common in commercials and I dislike commercials because of it, but McDonald's are among the worst. Their food is junk, no commercial can ever change that.

Their commercials are so sneaky and slimy that it won't surprise me if I find that they are using the phrase from the charity commercial intentionally. The memory of the starving children from the charity commercial is stuck in the minds of parents and the solution is not to give money to charity but to buy their kids junk "food" from McDonald's. It's sickening.

Friday, March 2, 2012

What a wonderful world this is.

Last year I ended up in a discussion about the Arabian spring. My friend saw it as horrible and negative while I saw it as something revitalizing and positive. Yes, people suffer and die, but they do it for freedom and a change that will hopefully be for the better. Seeing the world as my friend did means that it's "better" if suppressed people all over the world shut up and suffer in silence. Segregation, suppression, discrimination, persecution and torture are all "good" things as long as she doesn't have to hear about it.
My friend did of course see how illogical her emotional response to what she saw in the news was when I pointed it out to her.

It's not something she's alone about. We all have emotional responses to the information we get through media. It's horrible to see death, suffering and destruction. This is why we need to step back and look at the larger picture. It's horrible to see starving children, and they do deserve to get all the help that we can give, but it doesn't mean that the world is worse than before. That we see them means that they can get help, something that's impossible if no one knows that they suffer.

I subscribe to the Sceptic newsletter and in the last letter Michael Shermer wrote a review on Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. I think the review and the books he mention clearly shows how our "emotional mentality" colours our opinions on the state this world is in. Do take the time to read it.

Two examples from the review (source):
  • Poverty: The number of people living in absolute poverty has fallen since the 1950s and has dropped by more than half. At the current rate of decline it will reach zero by around 2035.  
  • Expenses: Groceries today cost 13 times less than 150 years ago in inflation adjusted dollars. 
The average person don't know this. It's not what you see in media. Prizes are going up, everything costs more and there are more poor people than ever, if you look at the news.

Our minds are powerful tools. If we are negative then the world is horrible, but if we are positive then the world will be wonderful. Why not make the choice to live in a wonderful world.