Saturday, October 16, 2010

Coração Vagabundo - Gal Costa

Cabelo - Gal Costa (this one is for Jenna)

Cabelo, cabeleira, cabeluda, descabelada
Cabelo, cabeleira, cabeluda, descabelada
Quem disse que cabelo não sente
Quem disse que cabelo não gosta de pente
Cabelo quando cresce é tempo
Cabelo embaraçado é vento
Cabelo vem lá de dentro
Cabelo é como pensamento
Quem pensa que cabelo é mato
Quem pensa que cabelo é pasto
Cabelo com orgulho é crina
Cilindros de espessura fina
Cabelo quer ficar pra cima
Laquê, fixador, gomalina
Cabelo, cabeleira, cabeluda, descabelada
Cabelo, cabeleira, cabeluda, descabelada
Quem quer a força de Sansão
Quem quer a juba de leão
Cabelo pode ser cortado
Cabelo pode ser comprido
Cabelo pode ser trançado
Cabelo pode ser tingido
Aparado ou escovado
Descolorido, descabelado
Cabelo pode ser bonito
Cruzado, seco ou molhado

Via Progressive Rags:

American girl and geography

Via NPR: Barbara Billingsley, TV's June Cleaver, Dies Interview with the Beaver

RIP: A Journey in The Mandelbrot set [640x360]

Passing of Benoît B. Mandelbrot

Benoît B. Mandelbrot, a maverick mathematician who developed an innovative theory of roughness and applied it to physics, biology, finance and many other fields, died on Thursday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 85.

His death was caused by pancreatic cancer, his wife, Aliette, said. He had lived in Cambridge.
Dr. Mandelbrot coined the term “fractal” to refer to a new class of mathematical shapes whose uneven contours could mimic the irregularities found in nature.
“Applied mathematics had been concentrating for a century on phenomena which were smooth, but many things were not like that: the more you blew them up with a microscope the more complexity you found,” said David Mumford, a professor of mathematics at Brown University. “He was one of the primary people who realized these were legitimate objects of study.”
In a seminal book, “The Fractal Geometry of Nature,” published in 1982, Dr. Mandelbrot defended mathematical objects that he said others had dismissed as “monstrous” and “pathological.” Using fractal geometry, he argued, the complex outlines of clouds and coastlines, once considered unmeasurable, could now “be approached in rigorous and vigorous quantitative fashion.”
For most of his career, Dr. Mandelbrot had a reputation as an outsider to the mathematical establishment. >From his perch as a researcher for I.B.M. in New York, where he worked for decades before accepting a position at Yale University, he noticed patterns that other researchers may have overlooked in their own data, then often swooped in to collaborate.
“He knew everybody, with interests going off in every possible direction,” Professor Mumford said. “Every time he gave a talk, it was about something different.”
Dr. Mandelbrot traced his work on fractals to a question he first encountered as a young researcher: how long is the coast of Britain? The answer, he was surprised to discover, depends on how closely one looks. On a map an island may appear smooth, but zooming in will reveal jagged edges that add up to a longer coast. Zooming in further will reveal even more coastline.
“Here is a question, a staple of grade-school geometry that, if you think about it, is impossible,” Dr. Mandelbrot told The New York Times earlier this year in an interview. “The length of the coastline, in a sense, is infinite.”
In the 1950s, Dr. Mandelbrot proposed a simple but radical way to quantify the crookedness of such an object by assigning it a “fractal dimension,” an insight that has proved useful well beyond the field of cartography.
Over nearly seven decades, working with dozens of scientists, Dr. Mandelbrot contributed to the fields of geology, medicine, cosmology and engineering. He used the geometry of fractals to explain how galaxies cluster, how wheat prices change over time and how mammalian brains fold as they grow, among other phenomena.
His influence has also been felt within the field of geometry, where he was one of the first to use computer graphics to study mathematical objects like the Mandelbrot set, which was named in his honor.
“I decided to go into fields where mathematicians would never go because the problems were badly stated,” Dr. Mandelbrot said. “I have played a strange role that none of my students dare to take.”
Benoît B. Mandelbrot (he added the middle initial himself, though it does not stand for a middle name) was born on Nov. 20, 1924, to a Lithuanian Jewish family in Warsaw. In 1936 his family fled the Nazis, first to Paris and then to the south of France, where he tended horses and fixed tools.
After the war he enrolled in the École Polytechnique in Paris, where his sharp eye compensated for a lack of conventional education. His career soon spanned the Atlantic. He earned a master’s degree in aeronautics at the California Institute of Technology, returned to Paris for his doctorate in mathematics in 1952, then went on to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., for a postdoctoral degree under the mathematician John von Neumann.
After several years spent largely at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, Dr. Mandelbrot was hired by I.B.M. in 1958 to work at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Although he worked frequently with academic researchers and served as a visiting professor at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it was not until 1987 that he began to teach at Yale, where he earned tenure in 1999.
Dr. Mandelbrot received more than 15 honorary doctorates and served on the board of many scientific journals, as well as the Mandelbrot Foundation for Fractals. Instead of rigorously proving his insights in each field, he said he preferred to “stimulate the field by making bold and crazy conjectures” — and then move on before his claims had been verified. This habit earned him some skepticism in mathematical circles.
“He doesn’t spend months or years proving what he has observed,” said Heinz-Otto Peitgen, a professor of mathematics and biomedical sciences at the University of Bremen. And for that, he said, Dr. Mandelbrot “has received quite a bit of criticism.”
“But if we talk about impact inside mathematics, and applications in the sciences,” Professor Peitgen said, “he is one of the most important figures of the last 50 years.”
Besides his wife, Dr. Mandelbrot is survived by two sons, Laurent, of Paris, and Didier, of Newton, Mass., and three grandchildren.
When asked to look back on his career, Dr. Mandelbrot compared his own trajectory to the rough outlines of clouds and coastlines that drew him into the study of fractals in the 1950s.
“If you take the beginning and the end, I have had a conventional career,” he said, referring to his prestigious appointments in Paris and at Yale. “But it was not a straight line between the beginning and the end. It was a very crooked line.”

3 from Truthout

Saturday 16 October 2010

Stop the Anonymous Hit Men: Make Shadowy Campaign Money the Issue
Paul Rogat Loeb, Truthout: " We need to talk about the ads of all the front groups from the Chamber of Commerce to Karl Rove's American Crossroads and the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity. We also need to highlight the Republican justices who overruled a century of legislative precedent to enact Citizens United, and talk about how Republican senators have stood in unison to prevent requiring corporate interests to at least put their names on their ads."

Read the Article

Personally Invested in Mortgage Banks, House Republican Opposes Fixes for "Foreclosure-Gate"
Lee Fang, ThinkProgress: "Many lenders, like Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Ally Financial, have halted foreclosures, while Democratic lawmakers and a cadre of a bipartisan state attorney generals have called for a wider foreclosure moratorium and investigations into the banks' practices. However, most Republicans have balked at any attempt to seriously respond to the banks' fraudulent foreclosures. In particular, House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said last Sunday that he opposed any efforts to expand a moratorium on foreclosures. 'Now, come on, people have to take responsibility for themselves,' said Cantor."

Read the Article

Mileage: This Isn't Rocket Science. It's Auto Mechanics
Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang, Truthout: "This month, with traditional fanfare, Detroit is launching the new model year. More quietly, the Obama administration is preparing to help shape the cars we will be driving six years from now. In coming weeks, it will unveil the first draft of standards for fuel efficiency and emissions beginning with the 2017 model year."

Read the Article

Obama! A Modern U.S. President (musical spoof)

Via SacBee:

Academy Award-winning director James Cameron – whose movies have featured Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – on Friday pledged $1 million to oppose Proposition 23, a measure that would suspend the state's landmark climate change law. - Read More

Friday, October 15, 2010

Visit to the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace at the Kim Quang Temple - Sacramento

Via Truthout: The Myth of the Bad Teacher

Adam Bessie, Truthout: "In this political season of faux anti-establishment anger born of very real economic desperation, public educators have become the villain du jour, their reputations collateral damage in the war against 'big government.' In a remarkable slight of hand, the super rich who imploded the economy, manufacturing the recession which now enrages the public, have successfully misdirected the public's justifiable anger away from them and toward teachers."

Read the Article

Best Facebook Comic of Today

Via Avaaz:

Dear Avaaz community,

Make a Comment NOW! Avaaz is on fire, growing like never before and winning amazing victories across the world. From Canada to Brazil to Italy to South Africa, our community is not just speaking out, we're winning, time and time again. Click below to read more and join a global live-chat to celebrate and dream up what comes next:
Something serious is happening. Not only is our community growing by 100,000 people a week, taking more than 25,000,000 actions online, and causing a stir like never before. Not only is the level of enthusiasm and appetite we're seeing for Avaaz sky high.

We're also winning. Time and time again.

Often we're choosing impossible battles, with very little time to win. But the rush of sudden, overwhelming engagement of massive numbers of citizens is, issue after issue, making the difference between success and failure. From the Economist to Le Monde to Al Jazeera, the media is remarking upon our "spectacular successes" that are capable of ushering in "a political revolution". Here are some examples from just the last several weeks:
  • Canada (420,000 Avaaz members), we just took on an alliance of a media empire and a prime minister to subvert the independence of the country's media in their favour, and won. 
  • Brazil (730,000 members) we took a civil society movement online and drove an anti-corruption law through congress that is putting large numbers of corrupt politicians out of a job - widely hailed as a political revolution. 
  • Italy (240,000) we rallied opposition to the Prime Minister's bill to tie the hands of Italy's corruption investigators - commentators hailed the victory as the first time in Italian history online mobilization had shifted the parliamentary agenda.
  • Argentina (60,000) we surged to protect crucial glaciers from what looked like certain destruction by mining companies, and won. 
  • South Africa (70,000) we built a massive public outcry against sweeping new censorship powers over the press, forcing the government to alter its media regulation law.
  • Germany (480,000) thousands of last-minute phone calls from our members helped stop the government from drastically cutting its aid budget. 
See more details on these campaigns below this email, or click below to read more, see press clips, and leave a comment on our global live-chat tool:

These were just the victories - in the last several weeks Avaaz also responded within days to the tragedy in Pakistan by donating over $1.1 million and granting it to local organizations to provide nutritious biscuits and milk to 30,000 children for 2 months, and help provide safe drinking water to over 3000 families. In Europe, Avaaz members made history creating the first 1 million strong EU citizens initiative (a democratic mechanism in the new EU constitution) seeking to freeze all genetically modified crops pending further health and safety research.

All this in just weeks, and following other serious victories in 2010 on protecting the bans on whaling and ivory trading, establishing the world's largest ocean preserve and much more. It's all proof that, when citizens stick together and take smart, strategic actions, democracy works!

Gone are the days when we just voted at election time and then had to passively read the papers to see the results for the next few years. We're entering a new phase of national and global democracy, where citizens are constantly, powerfully engaged in setting the agenda and holding governments accountable. It's an exciting time, a promising time for all the problems we face.

It's also a responsibility. There's never been a community like ours -- we're almost 6 million citizens from every corner of the planet, able to mobilize at a moment's notice.  If we stick together, spread the word, and take more and more action, anything is possible. From corruption to the environment to poverty and more, what happens next, depends on all of us. 

With admiration for everyone's public service and hope for the future,

Ricken, Ben, Alice, Luis, Emma, Stephanie, Alex, Milena, Heather, Iain, Graziela, Paula, David, Ben, Pascal, Benjamin, Brianna, Veronique, Giulia, Parvinder, MariaPaz, Saravanan, Kien, Yura, Vladimir, Alma and the rest of our growing team :)

Scroll down for more detail on each of our recent campaign victories, as well as other updates. For a great recent feature article in the Economist magazine about Avaaz, click here: 

A victory in depth: Stopping “Crony-Media” in Canada

Canadian Avaaz members successfully protected their democracy this month by shutting down a bid to subsidize a new, biased news channel with close ties to the Prime Minister's office. 83,000 people signed a petition against special government handouts for Sun TV - a propagandistic TV channel set up by Prime Minister Harper’s former spin doctor, Kory Teneycke. The project was conceived after a secret lunch between Harper, Teneycke, and the infamous Rupert Murdoch, who ruthlessly exploits his vast media empire to manipulate political leaders of several major countries. Murdoch has spawned the radical right tea party movement in the US after being spurned by Barack Obama, employs 5 of the leading US Republican presidential candidates, and no UK government has won an election without his support in 30 years. Canadians were determined to stop Murdoch's "crony-media" style of subversion of democracy from being brought to Canada.

After Avaaz mobilized against SunTV, the media empire threw every big corporate tactic at us - smear pieces in a dozen of their newspapers, threats of lawsuits if we didn't immediately suspend the campaign, and even links to a criminal sabotage of our petition campaign. Avaaz members didn't scare and fought back with 83,000 petition signatures, 21,000 personal letters to the government's media commission, and over $400,000 donated to take on any lawsuits, fight the media battle and pursue a criminal investigation into the sabotage. The donations also allowed Avaaz to hire Canada's top lawyers and experts to help challenge SunTV's application to the government.

The result was a victory on all counts! Kory Teneycke was forced to resign, admitting he had "debased the debate" and SunTV abandoned its attempt to get its launch funded by a government handout. Murray Dobbin, a well-known commentator, wrote, “It is a huge victory for every Canadian who took time to write, email, phone or otherwise protest this grotesque plan to move Canadian political culture to the far right. And a victory in particular for Avaaz the on-line social movement that flushed Teneycke and his bully tactics into the open.”

Ficha Limpa: beating corruption in Brazil

A massive online campaign by the Avaaz community in Brazil won a stunning victory against corruption. The "clean record" law was a bold proposal that banned any politician convicted of crimes like corruption and money laundering from running for office. With nearly 25% of the Congress under investigation for corruption, most said it would never pass. But after Avaaz launched the largest online campaign in Brazilian history, helping to build a petition of over 2 million signatures, 500,000 online actions, and tens of thousands of phone calls, we won! The media has dubbed ficha limpa a "political revolution".

And so far, thanks to the Avaaz community and public awareness created by the campaign, the victory has been a lasting one: even as corrupt politicians push to repeal the law, we’ve tracked them every step of the way and foiled their plans.

Bavaglio: stopping the “gag law” in Italy

In an historic victory for people power in Italy, 340,000 Italians mobilised against the "Legge Bavaglio" or “gag law” -- which would have fatally curbed the power of the Italian legal system to fight crime and corruption, and would have imposed draconian penalties for editors and journalists who try to hold politicians accountable.

It was the first time in Italian history that public demonstrations were able to shift the parliamentary agenda. Prof. Stefano Rodotà, jurist and columnist of La Repubblica, said "A channel has been opened between politics and people, a distance that seemed to be unbridgeable for a moment has been bridged".

Argentina: protecting glaciers

For years mining companies have been destroying glaciers in Argentina, where they are relied on for 70% of the countries water. A bill was proposed that could protect them, but no one thought it would pass given the huge power of the mining companies. That was until Argentinean Avaaz members and our partners pushed so hard that they turned the tide.

Last week, the Argentinian Senate passed the bill to protect glaciers from the mining industry after Avaaz members flooded key senators with more than 8,000 messages prior to the vote and added their names to a petition supporting glacier protection, reaching more than 11,000 signatures in few days.

South Africa: preserving independent media

Over 30,000 South African Avaaz members signed a petition to protect the freedom of the press from widespread government interference. A proposed bill that would give appointed members of government control over media content across the country was amended and key offensive clauses removed in reaction to the groundswell of popular opposition. The movement to preserve the independence of the media in South Africa is ongoing and the Avaaz campaign is central to the struggle.

EU: 1 million oppose GMOs

Avaaz has built an unprecedented 1-million strong European petition to stop growing of genetically modified crops until solid research is conducted. The petition is the first EU citizens initiative -- which allows 1 million EU citizens to make official legal requests of the European Commission.

It was launched in response to the Commission's recent decision to allow genetically modified crops for the first time in 12 years. The decision was seen as a favour for the GM lobby, and a slight to most Europeans, 60% of whom believe solid research should be required before growing foods that could pose a threat to our health and environment.

Germany: securing crucial aid funds

In early October, observers warned that Germany planned to slash two thirds of its contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. But a well-timed wave of phone calls from German Avaaz members to their government helped turn the tide -- and Germany's government announced at the last moment that it would contribute its full promised amount, $600m over three years.

Pakistan: giving when and where it was needed most

As a humanitarian catastrophe of terrifying proportions unfolded in Pakistan with a fifth of the country under water, and millions of people homeless and desperately needing assistance, our community sprang into action.

Giving generously, Avaaz members donated over $1.1 million dollars in the crucial moments following the disaster -- funding much needed aid through efficient local organizations on the ground. Working through trusted international organizations (Oxfam, Plan, ActionAid) to identify the most effective local partners, we helped get essential food, shelter, and medicine to over 20,000 families.
Support the Avaaz community! We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way -- donate here. is a 5.5-million-person global campaign network
that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.).

VIA JMG: Academics

Water: Blog Action Day

So may people do not have access to clean drinking water... When I have traveled around Latin America or the USA, still people think that a river is a trash receptacle. Whet we need is a campaign of mindfulness... littering even if you throw or drop anything on street eventually washes into a storm drain, a creek, a river... someone has to clean it or it ends up contaminating our water supplies. Itis my hope that this blog action day goes towards raising our awareness that we are all part of the problem. A few ideas (petpevees):

1. it takes a full bucket of water for the hot water to get to our showers in our home.  Instead of letting it just run down the draine now save that water, and ether use it to flush the toilet or water plants in the garden.

2. asking people to not idle and turn off their cars - many students at my university sit in their car parking structures and run the car for the AC/heat and either nap or study, other folks leave the car running while they use the ATM. Its wasteful, and this pollution goes into damaging our lungs and the forests that protect our water supply.

3. Litter - discarding wrappers, cigarette buts, etc... not only is unsightly, its uncivilized. All this has to be cleaned by someone, and most cities and counties have fired those "someone's".  Please be mindful of the  litter you create, as things on streets end up in streams in rives and eventually the ocean.

These are three, really easy things everyone can do...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Via the Coffee Party Movement

Join the Coffee Party Movement Common goal for Team USA right now should be this: public and private sectors and all Americans must work together to create decent jobs for the unemployed and lift them out of poverty and debt. Remember, we are the tax payers who bailed out the big banks. Now the unemployed among us are being treated like a burden to our society that we can no longer afford. Listen up, Congress! The American People are too big to fail. Get your priorities straight.
CBS Evening News: Unemployed "American Voices" Speak Out in Ohio - For a New CBS News Series, Katie Couric Listens to Out-of-Work Voters in Cleveland

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind


"To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him." - Shuryu Suzuki

Via JMG: The View: Whoopi & Joy Behar Walk Off Stage During O'Reilly Interview

Vit Utne

Tired of single-issue crusades, citizens acknowledge we're all in this together.

Read More >>


We're unmasking the largest oil company you've probably never heard of on a Superscreen in the heart of Times Square. 

This short Superscreen video challenges Koch Industries (pronounced "Coke") for its record of environmental degradation, political influence peddling, Tea Party funding and climate change denial. Watch the video and read more about Koch's egregious track record here.
Every American should know about this company and what its owners stand for. 

Can you help by sharing our Koch slideshow with your friends on Facebook?
Koch Industries is not a household name, but in the world of right wing, anti-environment politics, Koch has become an uber-brand. Koch is the largest private company in the United States, a major polluter, and the principle funder of climate change deniers and the tea party. Recently, Koch made a $1 million contribution to California's Prop. 23, which would roll back the most comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions law in the nation. 

This week our redesigned also exposed another Prop. 23 funder, Texas-based Valero, for its price-gouging of California. You can read that report here.

The only way we're going to get the word out about Koch and Valero is if we do it together.
Thanks for all that you do,

Jamie Court
President, Consumer Watchdog

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The need for Speed

Via JMG: Pennsylvania School District Settles Webcams Spying Lawsuit For $610K

Remember the Pennsylvania school district that issued its students laptops and then remotely activated the machines' webcams to spy on its students in their homes? They've agreed to settle one student's lawsuit for $610,000.
The tracking software came to light when Robbins, a student at the high school, was allegedly called into the assistant principal's office and accused of taking drugs. The evidence was reportedly screen shots of Robbins from the school-issued laptop that appeared to show him taking pills. Robbins said he was actually eating candy. His parents filed suit against the school district in February. Several months later, Hassan was informed that the software on his computer had also been activated, capturing 469 pictures from the webcam and 543 screen shots over the course of several months. Since he was 18, Hassan then filed his own lawsuit. The $610,000 deal includes $10,000 for Hassan and a $175,000 payout that will be placed in a trust for Robbins. The district will also pay $425,000 in legal fees.
No charges were filed against the school district after prosecutors concluded there had been no "criminal intent."

(Tipped by JMG reader Paul)

reposted from Joe

Via Truthout: David Bacon | California's Perfect Storm

David Bacon, Rethinking Schools: "The United States today faces an economic crisis worse than any since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Nowhere is it sharper than in the nation's schools. It's no wonder that last year saw strikes, student walkouts, and uprisings in states across the country, aimed at priorities that put banks and stockbrokers ahead of children. California was no exception. In fact, other states looked on in horror simply at the size of its budget deficit - at one point more than $34 billion. The quality of the public schools plummeted as class sizes ballooned and resources disappeared in blizzards of pink slips. Fee increases drove tens of thousands from community colleges and university campuses."

Read the Article

Via SacBee / Bizarro:

Via Utne:

Graphic Designer Yanko Tsvetkov's cartography of bigotry paints a problematic picture of how countries view one another.

Read More >>

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