13 Oct 2017 Mustard Seed

Hello to you this Friday evening.  I hope you’ve had a good day from whatever point in your timeline you are at when you visit here.  I know it’s weird for me to talk like that to you but that’s how I think of this blog.  It’s a connection point between multiple dimensions.  Mainly mine and yours.  I think of each of us as walking, talking….living and breathing dimensions all overlapping each other.

The example I always use to illustrate this concept is thinking of when Kyle goes to work and I am here.  Unless I tell him what happened here while he was gone, he has no way of knowing what actually happened.  Unless he tells me what happens at his work, I have no way of knowing that either.  Even when we are both here at home,  even sitting in the same room, we are still recording unique perceptions of reality into our memory.   We are worlds within worlds!

Todays drawings weren’t spectacular but lead me to a particular passage from the Bible I’ve always thought was beautiful; the one about having faith as small as a mustard seed.

Matthew 17:20New International Version (NIV)

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

There are certain passages from the Bible, that even if I no longer participate in organized religion, have always resonated with me.  This particular passage is just such a one.  Revisiting passages like these gives me strength during times when I need it the most.  For me, that is what the Bible or any sacred text ought to be used for.  A resource to help, not a weapon to harm.

I hope that through all these billions of lines of wires, cables, electrical signals, dirt, ocean and sky….through all that is between my dimension and yours that this post helps make the moment you are in just a little better.

*I found this video to share, thought it might be interesting to you.  I didn’t know that Canada was the largest grower of mustard seed!

From a Tiny Mustard Seed

Published on Jan 29, 2015

Ever wondered where mustard comes from? Follow the production of mustard from seeding to harvesting.
Learn more about mustard at http://www.saskmustard.com.

*I found myself craving rhyme tonight and wanting more of the coolness of fall we got a brief taste of the other day.  It was 93 degrees here today!  Anyhew, I looked at several poems before finding this one.  I chose it because it spoke to me for some reason.  If you go to the actual site, you can hear each of the poems read out loud either by a person or computer  person.

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/autumn-friends-2/

Autumn Friends – Poem by Sandra Fowler

If one could bridge the distance with a word,
A journey would become a pilgrimage.
Elegant letters slant across the page.
My leaf has found a home upon your coat.

My kind critic, I think it is our fate
To meet in stanzas of my poetry.
Simile and metaphor must be our bond
Until autumn blows one of us away.

Our rare rapport is irreplaceable.
Old moods glimmer on sills like fallen stars.
My little leaf says thank you every day.
It comforts me to know it traveled safe.

‘With my compliments to Mukund Dave for
all his eloquent reviews’

 

 

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1 Oct 2017 The Texas State Fair

Hello to you.  It’s Sunday as I write from the dimension I share with Kyle to you right now.  How are you?  I hope this finds you well at whatever point in your personal history you are arriving here.

So it’s finally feeling like fall here in North Texas, at least this morning.   The chill, crisp and coolness is like drinking a fine wine to me!  Delicious!  I just love it!  It seems we have reached a stalemate with the fire ants.  I don’t know for how long but we will embrace it for as long as it lasts lol.  I surrounded a huge mound by our oak tree Yolie after we got home last night with the remaining bag of Diametrious earth stuff.  Showing their solidarity and ability to show me just how much they don’t give a damn about my feeble attempts at containing them, this morning a new mound, not as large, has appeared outside the perimeter of the  one I surrounded!  Fuck you Jackie, fuck you….so sayeth the ants.

We don’t want to kill these seemingly brilliant beings….just move them away from and keep them out of our house.  They are essentially doing the same thing we do with what tools Mother Nature has given them.  We all seem to be fighting for our territories these days don’t we?  As it is above, so it is below!  Each layer of existence on this planet just a descending micro-version of itself.  I can even envision particles we can’t see with any sort measuring device battling it out for a piece of the cosmos!

So yesterday we joined Kyle’s family in spending a day at the Texas State Fair in Dallas TX (https://bigtex.com/).  Kyle’s Dad had the great idea of us taking the train to get us to  Fair Park (entrance to the Fair) and I highly recommend doing that!  I had never been on one of these trains here before and it was a fantastic experience and we will likely use them again in the future: http://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/index.html.   We parked the car in Fort Worth and just rode it all the way to the Fair.  Doing this reminded me of how much I enjoyed riding the trains when we traveled in Europe – so relaxing!  It’s the sort of experience I imagine having being in a driverless car some day.  Everyone being able to enjoy the travel experience without stressing out about distracted drivers and all the other hazards we face on American roadways these days!

We were all pretty beat by the end of the day (over 6 miles walked according to my mother-in-laws pedometer) and the train ride home helped give us time to rest and rehash the experiences of our day.

Ok, what I’m going to do now is brainstorm for you impressions we got of our experience yesterday – both good and bad.

1) The currency of Fair was primarily the coupon system.  You spend x amount of money and are given a certain amount of coupons to buy food, play games and ride rides.  The coupons idea is good but I can see how quickly you could lose track of how much money you are spending.  We spent $20 and got 40 Food coupons.  After buying just two bacon wrapped hotdogs we were left with 4 coupons!  No drink, no special sides, just hotdogs….$9 hotdogs.  This was the tone of the day.  I would say food vendors is probably the biggest source of income for the Fair.  With great difficulty, I passed on the fried Reese’s Peanut butter cups.  If you have the money for it, you could literally kill yourself with food and drink there was so much of it!  I bought a small leather fanny pack (been looking everywhere for one of these to replace the one I wore out!), with cash for $10….yeah….definitely the better, less calorie laden choice I made for the day!

2) I think the Fair is doing recycling but we couldn’t get a definitive read on the matter.  From what I could see from watching staff cleaning up as we went through the day, it looked like all the trash was being mixed together.  I wish it were possible for them to bring in a water filtration systems to make drinking water available to the public and totally eliminate the sale of plastic bottled water.  Can you imagine how much plastic wouldn’t happen if they did that?!    It would much healthier too!

3) We went into a “free” stuff area and were given a free sample of a coffee flavored yogurt Dannon was trying out.  All of us and I mean all of us except may be Kyle’s Dad took one bite and threw it in the trash.  Dannon if you want a survey on how well that flavor would do on the main market, just ask the people emptying the garbage cans about all of the uneaten free samples!  GROSS!

3) I loved seeing the amazing array of crafts, photographs, paintings and other hand-made things people have received awards for this year and in years past.  I would have been content to just sit in that building and help the pie baking contestants clean up….oh those pies looked and smelled amazing!

https://bigtex.com/creativearts/handbook/

4) I loved the aquarium and so did my brother-in-law Cole.  We both have the same sorts of problems with being around large groups of people, loud noises etc. so going in there to be with so many beautiful, sentient and well cared for fish beings was very soothing for us.  Highly recommend it!

5) I had a very hard time in a couple of the livestock areas.  When you have a bacon wrapped hot dog to start your day at the Fair and then go to a building full of the beings these products come from, many of them prized family pets…..well….it fucks with your head if your somebody like me and rightly so!   I also had a hard time because they had roofs overhead and were in tightly enclosed areas which didn’t allow for much diffusement and or ventilation of the very mixed human and animal energy being generated.

6) We enjoyed watching one of the many interactive activities they had for children.  The event we watched was kids competing against each other by pedaling toy tractors with weight attached to them.

5) We got to walk around in examples of something I’ve been thinking about and hearing a lot about lately – tiny homes  (https://www.tinyhomes.com/).   Kyle and I have about half a house more than the two of us need even with two dogs and I have been envisioning it would be nice to have a family with human children be able to enjoy it.   Neither of us enjoy, are very good at or have the vast financial resources required for a lot of the DIY projects this house needs and doing yard work isn’t as enjoyeable as it once was.  Kyle has allergies and doesn’t want to do it and as I’m getting older, it’s not so easy to do it even when I want to.  So I have imagined us down-sizing but we just don’t have anywhere to go for more than one reason right now.  So hence the tiny homes interest!

It seems to be a “thing” that I’ve noticed we do to acquire even a small slice of a bigger dream.  When I was a young girl I was fascinated with Hello Kitty but couldn’t afford much of anything they were selling.  So I would settle for any little thing I could afford just so I could have it!  I see this sort of behavior with myself and many adults these days lol!   We do a lot of “settling” for less quality or smaller versions of things we really want.  Are we just that inpatient.  Speaking for myself….yeah….patience is not one of my stronger virtues!

I think most people want to be able to purchase a regular sized homes on a regular sized lot but can’t get enough money together to do it or what they are looking for just doesn’t exist in very large quantities.  I read recently (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/23/baby-boomers-resist-selling-homes-helping-keep-prices-high-and-inventory-low.html) Baby Boomers aren’t transitioning out of their homes like in times past because there aren’t enough smaller places for them to down-size into that aren’t apartments.  I’ve lived in many apartments through my life and it can be an absolutely miserable experience if you like any sort of quiet and solitude!  So these tiny homes and what used to be just outdoor sheds happen.  A lot of states won’t allow you to put a tiny home on a regular lot in a city or town so something like this would have to go on to an existing lot or a plot of land purchased more off the grid I guess.

6) We walked through the new car and mostly truck displays and had to laugh when we got to the far end of it and a tricked out, much higher end version of our Ford Fiesta was being used as a space to take a rest by a bunch of people.  Most were swarmed around the “Fast and Furiousy” type sports cars and trucks that fully loaded were going for about at much as our house…$75,000?!!

7) We found out there is a government agency called the Veterans Land Board (http://www.glo.texas.gov/vlb/index.html) which might be a way, if it comes down to it, for us to get help if we need it to take care of this house or may purchase land if we decided to go the tiny home route!

The Texas Veterans Land Board provides low interest loans to Veterans of Texas.

Land Loans: Veteran/Military Interest Rate: 7.25%
Home/Home Improvement Loan Base Rate: Veteran/Military Interest Rate:3.70%
Home/Home Improvement Discounted Rate: 3.20%

Land Loans

The VLB Veterans Land Loan Program is the only one of its kind in the country—giving Texas Veterans the opportunity to borrow money to purchase land at below-market interest rates while only requiring a minimum 5% down payment.

Find Out More

Home Loans

In 1983, the Legislature created the VLB Veterans Housing Assistance Program to assist Texas Veterans in purchasing a home. Through this program, eligible Texas Veterans have an opportunity to purchase a home with an unbeatable, low-interest loan with little or no money down.

Find Out More

Home Improvement Loans

As part of its commitment to veterans, the VLB can help a veteran buy a home, then help pay to improve it through the Texas Veterans Home Improvement Program (VHIP). This program was introduced in 1986 to provide below-market interest rate loans to qualified Texas veterans for home repairs and improvements to their existing homes.

Find Out More

What all of my experience yesterday boils down to is right here:

7) The highlight of my day, hands down – being with ALL of my familyBeing with Kyle’s family and all the folks we were surrounded by and interacting with during the day….all family.  I mean from the folks running the trains, the folks that greeted us and doing security, the cops keeping a watchful eye but still having beautiful smiles on their faces, the vendors, the people selling coupons and all the folks just there to enjoy themselves.  For anything I could possibly write here, be it positive or negative, the one thing this fair showed me is hope for humanity!  This is what I wish the entire world could be.  Every single walk of life no matter how they are different spending time together in one place peacefully!  All of us just family enjoying a day out together. 

 

 

CoupCCoCCCCC,mandff

 

 

 

 

29 Sept 2017 Maria (heroine in Puerto Rico nursing home), Bugs scent tracking me in my dreams and Painted Rocks of Kindness

Hello there….how are you doing in your time and place as you visit me here? I hope you are well. I honestly don’t know how I’m doing these days but trying to get back to a hostility-free heart center! It’s hard for me these days! I am comforted to see some of my recent, very loud, prayers kind of being answered. For example, I mean kind of answered by seeing reports that our government is actually more aggressively trying to help Puerto Rico.  Unfortunately,  the stuff is just sitting on the tarmac in containers and not getting to those in need now! Hopefully the General our President has sent to deal with it can get some stuff moving.  This story from ABC News was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes.  It was of nursing home worker Maria doing everything she can to take care of people in her care after the storm, ironically bearing her name:

Nursing home worker not giving up on her patients :

So apparently my recent and on-going battle with the ants trying to take over our house has seeped into my sub-conscious…dreams.  Yeah, the diametrious earth project didn’t work as well as we hoped after all!  Doesn’t seem to work on ants as well as other insects it seems.  I’m about to give up chalking on the patio because of ants and mosquitos biting me! I have to wonder, is this God’s answer to my prayer about what to do with my art?! May be the God of my understanding has a fucked up sense of humor too!

Yesterday we had the blessing of rain.  I had to wait for the patio to dry out before I could go out and draw. Well when I did, the ants just started coming for the house again. I saw a bunch of them even start gathering behind me when I wasn’t looking! When they attacked the laundry basket, they primarily went after my clothes. Am I being scent tracked by these bastards lol?! Is it the Lithium or something else? Do we have an ant version of the movie Mimic in the process ?! ZOMG! I don’t wanna be an ant queen lol!

Mimic: The Director’s Cut – Trailer

Anyhew….I had a couple pretty vivid and creepy dreams about this!

The first dream started out pleasant. I was in some beautiful nature spot with my Mom Dianne. From what I remember we were on a beach with white sand. All the sudden we heard explosion sounds and saw white plumes of smoke in the sky. The second time, when we looked in the clear blue sky, the smoke was in the shape of the fruit of life and then there was dust blowing in our eyes.  (the other day I broke apart the fruit of life I had made with dirt balls and kicked it into the yard in anger….hmmmm…almost forgot I did that but apparently my subconscious didn’t!)

30 Aug 2017 Jackie Wygant Fruit of Life from grass mud and water Alvarado TX

There was a brief dream about worm and or larvae type creatures with mouths a lot like creatures you might see in an Aliens movie chasing me! Gross! (this is from me going to empty our bio waste bucket and finding two small larval worms in it!)

The one I remember the most, just before waking, was of going into a Veterinary type clinic. There was an aquarium with two cats floating in it, alive, getting some sort of wierd treatment. Then I was talking to a man at this place and for some reason I had brought one of my pillowcases with me and it was laying on the counter. All the sudden these bugs started going into the pillowcase and when I tried to shake them out, it got swarmed by a bunch more! I threw the pillowcase on the floor in fear and when I did, a bunch of all sorts of insects started to attack the pillowcase. I took off running outside. I was able to put my flying/floating dream skills to work and floated off of the ground….afraid to touch anything for fear of more attacks like with the pillowcase. People in cars were looking at me in shock as I floated above the ground past them.  (This is obviously from the laundry basket invasion experience!  I’ve had other waking experience with insects swarming the house since we’ve been here and when I was growing up in South Dakota.  One day we had an invasion of army caterpillars that took over the yard and started climbing all over our house!)

12 Sept 2017 – to include the side of the house and the ants found the small gap where we missed with the baking soda

1 Oct 2016 – this is a walnut caterpillar and the reason I have black poop pellets all over, a stripped and very sick pecan tree

Changing gears……Sorry about that, but blogging is part of my therapy, remember that! Read with caution lol! 

My friend and pen pal Lesley wrote to us yesterday….thank you so much! Her letters and those I get from my Mom are so precious to me for many reasons. A reason that occurred to me most recently is the knowing that after Les and my Mom are no longer here on this earth, I probably won’t get “real” letters anymore! Sad but true in our current times!

So in this letter, Les included a newspaper story about a new craze that is going on that I didn’t know about. As an act of random kindness, people painting rocks and hiding them in plain sight for others to find – kind of like the letters only more resilient of course.

The ironic thing about this suggestion? Is other people have also suggested I do this sort of thing through the years! They have encouraged me to put my art on rocks but I haven’t done it for several reasons. Financial reasons, my intimidation of paints and not having the rocks and supplies. I’m going to have to give this some more thought….there are few coincidences in such things!

Source: Internet – this is definitely what I want to see every morning when I wake up. We have a long way to go, but I can at least try to work on peace in myself and in my own home…the places I walk in my little circle of this world.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/communities/northeast/article/Painted-rocks-fad-meant-to-bring-happiness-12207358.php

In the mid-’70s, Americans bought into the pet rock fad, which disappeared about as quickly as it arrived.

A different kind of rock is creating a buzz, and hundreds of Metrocom residents are part of a new rock craze: painting rocks and leaving them in various public places.

Nearly 700 members of the Rocks-Cibolo, Schertz, UC, Marion, LO Texas Facebook group paint designs on the rocks and then place them out in public for others to find. The painted rocks range in designs from a simple red circle to sports team logos and popular movie themes. Rainbows, flowers and more intricate designs have also been used.

Leslie White and her son Toby, 6, were at the Schertz Public Library late last month, hiding a handful of rocks she had recently painted. While placing their rocks in various spots in the library courtyard, Toby found one that someone else had left, making the day a special outing for them.

White said she’s relatively new to the art form, having painted about a dozen since getting involved this summer.

“I paint anything that looks beautiful. I love color, so whatever makes me smile is what I think someone else would like,” said White, who started painting rocks after joining a community Rock page on Facebook.

“It’s a stress reliever,” she said. “It gives families something to do. It’s getting people moving, spending time painting rocks with their families.

“There’s so much negativity and hate going on right now, and it may seem like just a ‘stupid rock’ to some people. But maybe someone had a bad day and they go pick up this rock and … it brightens their day. It puts a smile on someone’s face.”

White and her son have designed and hidden almost a dozen rocks, which she said take anywhere from an hour to two hours to design and paint.

“On the rock group (Facebook page), we actually give hints to where we post,” she said. “We put clues. I usually take a close-up of where it’s at, and Toby likes to pose next to the rock. It’s a lot of fun for the kids.”

White said they share the excitement when someone posts a photo on the page of a rock they painted and hid, although most rocks are placed in plain sight, so they can be found and hidden again.

“Yes, we do get excited when someone finds a rock we painted. And I will post, ‘Hey, that was one I painted,’” White said, laughing.

jflinn@express-news.net

http://thekindnessrocksproject.com/home

What is The Kindness Rocks Project….

Goal #1: Inspire others through randomly placed rocks along the way…

Goal #2: Recruit every person who stumbles upon it to join in the pursuit of inspiring others through random acts of kindness

28 Sept 2017 It is about race or Russian trolls?! (the NFL kneeler debate continues)

Hello to you today.  It’s 8:32 am as I write to you.  I hope you will bear with me on my subject choice again today.  After seeing Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died (RIP Hugh!),  I saw the headline about Russian hacker trolls behind the NFL Kneeler debate and felt myself get so frustrated!  What you have here as a final product is definitely not what I started off with…far fewer expletives in my narrative here lol!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/lawmaker-russian-trolls-trying-to-sow-discord-in-nfl-kneeling-debate/2017/09/27/5f46dce0-a3b0-11e7-ade1-76d061d56efa_story.html?utm_term=.72996fda22d6

Lawmaker: Russian trolls trying to sow discord in NFL kneeling debate

“Russian Internet trolls are trying to gin up even more controversy over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, a senator said Wednesday — warning that the United States should expect such divisive efforts to escalate in the next election.

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) made the assertion in a hearing with the heads of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center.”

This new headline feels like an attempt  to try and bury more of the embarrassing things going on in this country.  All of what is so eagerly being dismissed to Russian hacker trolls was here well before we even had the first computer!  Many Americans, who aren’t out burning football jersey’s on You tube, are really embarrassed about the direction this country is being steered into….back to.

 

Newspaper clipping about Grandpa Harold Becker and voter registration in Mississippi

 

As a prior Air Force Veteran of 16 years, someone who had a Grandfather who risked his life to help minorities register to vote and someone who has always cared about all people, I realize this whole thing goes way deeper than about a flag or a song.  Yes it’s not just about race and probably a lot about how unhappy many people are with President Trump and our government, but it is still about race and so much more shitty stuff going on in this country!

My SrA Below the Zone picture, United States Air Force

A segment of this debate, many of them living Veterans like myself,  want to say that these players kneeling during the National Anthem is offensive and disrespectful to our flag, our fellow Veterans and our country.  I would like to remind these offended folks that many of the people buried in Arlington National Cemetery and so many other graveyards like it all over the world are filled with people who died in combat believing at some point we wouldn’t even be having these sort of debates!  They died hoping we would finally have peace on this earth!  For the love of God, WHY CAN’T WE GET PAST THIS SHIT?!    Can we please evolve?!

*Does a Capt Jean Luc Picard Manuever and adjusts shirt……..

I saw this mentioned in a video recently – Capt Picard was always adjusting his shirt just before some shit was about to go down lol!

I am reminded, and it is easy to forget, that my fellow Veterans did not die to free anyone from the sting of condemnation or ridicule for exercising all the rights we have today…seem to have…hope we still have?  Anyhew….I digress.  It’s important to acknowledge to yourself that if you make the choice to kneel in protest, don’t be surprised or too hurt if your jersey goes up in flames on You tube.  If you fly a Confederate flag in your front yard or in the cab of your pickup truck, go right ahead!  Just don’t get butt hurt when your neighbor, who may be black, doesn’t want have coffee with you anymore afterwards.

All of this is cause and effect…..an action causes and opposite reaction – especially in polarizing debates like this one!  When you make a choice in one direction, chances are someone or something will come at you with one from the opposite direction.

Source Internet: Arlington National Cemetery

You can only offend people who choose to be offended.   

Being offended is a choice you  make anytime you interact with people who are different than you are….that you don’t agree with.  Being the kind of person I am with the kind of upbringing I had and living where I do now….not easy being me (or Kyle who shares a lot of my views on things).   I am originally from Sioux Falls South Dakota,  my family is comprised of conservative, Roman Catholic and or Christian white people who fall also into the Trump demographic.  My Dad, who is about the same age as our President, served in the Navy and is a Trump supporter.  This is hard for me but I have had to learn to accept it.  It’s his right to do and think whatever the hell he wants as long as he doesn’t try and impose it on me and he doesn’t.   We just don’t talk about it!

In my family and with some friends we do a lot of agreeing to disagree to keep the peace between us.   There are many subjects so heated we have decided it’s better if we don’t discuss them at all which is frustrating (mainly for me) but that just the way it is.  My parents are Baby Boomers who came from upbringings where you just don’t talk about politics, religion or other controversial things if it means there will be a fight.  Apparently our President didn’t get that generational memo.

A saying my Mom taught me and I have to remind myself often of it when doing this blog, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t fucking say it! Bite your tongue!”  Sometimes, and my Mom knows this about me, I go for the jugular and say what nobody else will say.  She taught me that too!  She is my sensei for the art of  brutal honesty!

During one of my recent visits with my parents that’s what we discovered about ourselves.   When they did part of their winter birding at our place, I had exclaimed, “Well what can we talk about that we actually agree on?!”  Turns out we could agree on was eating meat lol!  We agreed most anything else (media, religion and especially politics) is just off limits!  So we just duke it out playing cribbage lol!

I have thought recently it would be so cool if we could just get Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jon Un  in a video game simulator and duke it out like they did in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.  This way they, and the rest of us, would be so much happier and safer lol!   Imagine what the world could be like if we agreed to settle all our real world differences like that?!  That’s why a lot of gamers  like Player Vs. Player.  You can K.O your opponent over and over but the real person you are fighting with is still left alive to fight another day and no planet is destroyed for it!

6 Jan 2017 – Dad and I playing a hand of cribbage. He beat me but Kyle came back and avenged me lol.

So, yes,  may be we’ll find out it’s true the Russians have exploited yet another weakness in our country (besides knowing we like to elect television celebrities for President) and are using it to their advantage.  That doesn’t change the fact that what these men are kneeling about is still going on in 2017!!!   We still have people donning white hoods and robes for the KKK, we still have people  murdering people who aren’t white and heterosexual and using God’s word to justify it (read about yet another transgender man murdered just yesterday: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/joey-steinfeld-transgender-teen_us_59cbd381e4b05063fe0e7183), we still have people worshipping Adolph Hitler and we still have people segregating themselves because of race, color, creed, gender and sexual orientation….America’s got a long ways to go to be even o.k. again trolls or not! 

These videos have some good points on this debate:

 

 

Even if this Russian hacker trolling is really going on, even if Trump is President,  it doesn’t change what all of this is really about:  

http://www.dictionary.com/e/star-spangled-banner/the 3rd verse of our country’s national anthem which most,  like me probably until recently didn’t even know existed: 

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

and statistics like this – a disproportionate number, based on population, of black people are being killed with lethal force in police involved shootings: 

https://thesocietypages.org/toolbox/police-killing-of-blacks/

 

Updated September 25th, 2017

Data as of September 25th, 2017 according to the Washington Post

So far in 2017 (as of Sept 25th), unarmed blacks make up 31% of those that were unarmed and killed by police. However, according to the latest US Census estimates, blacks make up only 13.3% of the population.

In this case, “unarmed” is defined as no weapon of any kind. The good news is that the use of lethal force by police on those that are unarmed seems to be declining. However, blacks remain a disproportionate number of the victims.

 

Data source for figures above: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings-2017/

When comparing complete data of 2016 to 2015, those that were unarmed (no weapon of any kind) that were killed by police continued to be disproportionally black, relative to the population size. However, the black/white racial discrepancy in the portion of the population compared to the portion of those that were unarmed when killed by police has decreased.

Below is a look at the percentages by race under all conditions (armed with a gun, knife, unarmed, etc.) when police used lethal force comparing 2015 and 2016.

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-5-02-57-pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While whites makeup the greatest number and largest percentage of victims of lethal force by the police in the US, it remains important to compare the rates to the distribution in the general population. As is evident in the figure above, there was a slight increase in the percentage of victims of police use of lethal force that were white and slight decrease in the percentage that were black. However, relative to the percentage of the general population, blacks are still over-represented as victims of the police use of lethal force under all conditions (see below). Whites and Asian/Pacific Islanders are under-represented relative to their portion of the general population.

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. . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The police killing of blacks has been splashed across the headlines for over a year and a half now and for much of the time we lacked data to decipher any trends.

Data is a crucial part of constructing sociological theory and empirical research.

Arguably, it should be a greater part of public debate and a greater influence on public policy decisions. In the last year and a half, the media coverage of, public concern about and social movement mobilization around the police killing of blacks has greatly increased. Several cases received particular media attention, in large part because of either the video coverage of the death (Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald, and others) or the subsequent protests (Freddie Gray in Baltimore and Michael Brown in Ferguson).

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The police seem to be disproportionally using lethal force on Black citizens. The best data available in 2015 and 2016 on this topic was from the Guardian newspaper out of UK. Due to the lack of any other systematic data collection on how many people police kill, the Guardian started a project they call, “The Counted”. Through police reports, their own investigation and readers tips, they have assembled this data and made it publically available. Click here to access the Guardian’s “The Counted” website. On the site, you can also access more news stories about each death and sort the data by state and other characteristics. The Washington Post continues to track this data in 2017.

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When teaching this topic, any topic really, it is important to demonstrate to students how sociological conclusions come to be through empirical data, not the opinion of the professor or the view of select media outlets. Below I have generated several tables and figures analyzing data from “The Counted”. You can also download an Excel file of the data and use it in class. I use it for introductory Excel exercises in my Quantitative Research Methods course. The tables and figures below would also be good for the race section of any Introduction to Sociology course, a social problems course, a criminology class and/or a race and ethnic relations course. I hope you find it useful.

. . .

When police kill a suspect or innocent bystander, does race matter?

Which racial or ethnic group in the US is the most frequent victim of deadly force from law enforcement officers? On the surface, the answer is clear, whites. You can see in the chart below that in 2015, in the US, 578 whites were killed by police. This is nearly double the number of blacks at 301. However, we need to compare these rates to the rates of each group in the general population. Of course (non-Hispanic) whites are the most frequent victims, they are the largest portion of the population – 62.2% in 2014 according to US Census estimates. If we lived in a society where one’s race had no impact, then we would expect to see the portion of each racial/ethnic group killed by police equal to that of the portion in the general population. That is not what is evident from the 2015 data.

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Whites make up a disproportionally smaller portion of those killed by law enforcement compared to their portion of the general population – 11.3% less. Blacks, on the other hand, make up a disproportionally larger portion of those killed (26.5%) compared to the general population (13.2%) – 13.3% more or double!

Hispanics make up victims of lethal police force at about the same rate as they are in general US population, as do Native Americans. The data distinguish Arab Americans, but the US Census data does not. Asians made up a much lower portion of those killed by police relative to the portion of the general population (2.1% vs. 5.6%).

The same data as the table above is presented in column chart below. Here is visually evident the disproportionally higher percentage of blacks killed by police relative to population.

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Being a law enforcement officer is a dangerous job. There are certainly times when lethal force by an officer is justified. When a suspect has a firearm, the police and any others in the area are at much greater risk and under most of these conditions it is at least understandable why deadly force is used. The table and chart below show the armed status of the victims in 2015. Just under half, 48.6%, of those killed by police were in possession of a known firearm. Meaning, it was visible during the interaction with the police. Almost a third had something other than a firearm. This included knives, vehicles, non-lethal (BB) guns, etc. However, US police still killed 223 people in 2015 alone that were completely unarmed. That is nearly a fifth of all those killed.

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Most, 95.2%, of those killed by police in 2015 were men. The pie chart below shows that only 4.8% of the victims identified as anything other than male.

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How were people in the US killed by police in 2015? Mostly by gunshots. The table and pie chart below shows that 89.1% of the people killed were killed by the officer(s) using their gun. Tasers, which are designed to be non-lethal, killed 49 people or 4.3% of the total. Forty-one people, or 3.6%, died in custody and 2.9% were struck by a vehicle (intentionally or on accident).

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In 2014, 12-year old Tamir Rice was shot on site by Cleveland police as he played with a toy gun. While the person who called 911 told the dispatcher that the gun was probably fake, she failed to pass that along to the officers. The officers pulled up within feet of Tamir and killed him within seconds. How many others who were in possession of a nonlethal firearm (toy, BB gun, etc.) were killed by police in 2015? Thirty-seven. In the table below we see that blacks were disproportionate victims under these conditions.

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If we just look at those that were unarmed, does the racialized pattern that disadvantages blacks continue? According to the data and shown in the table and chart below, unarmed whites continue to make up a smaller percentage of victims than their portion of the population, while unarmed blacks make up about two and a half times the portion of the unarmed victims compared to their portion of the general population.

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The average age of those killed by law enforcement officers in the US in 2015 under all conditions was 37. The age distribution is surprisingly broad with a range of 6 to 87 years old. Just over 30% of the victims were between the ages of 18 to 29. Another 28% were between the ages of 30 to 39. Nineteen of those killed were minors under the age of 18. Surprisingly, 214 people who were killed by police in the US in 2015 were 50 years old or older! This accounts for nearly a fifth of the victims. The most prevalent age was 24 with 46 victims.

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Through the analysis of this data a pattern emerges. Compared to their portion of the overall population, blacks are disproportionally the victims of lethal force by law enforcement officers, even when they are unarmed. While most of those killed by police were white, the portion of white victims is lower than the portion of whites in the general population, more than 10% lower. The vast majority of those killed by police were men and most died from gunshots. Only about half of the victims were armed with a gun themselves. The victims in 2015 varied widely in age, but most were between 18 and 39 years old. This data further solidifies the concerns and demands of the Black Lives Matters movement; there is a pattern of police using deadly force disproportionally on blacks that needs to be addressed by policy makers and police departments across the nation.

Here is an attempt at documenting all the unarmed people of color killed by police from 1999-2014

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27 Sept 2017 This town needs an Enema….

Hello to you.  It’s 6:45 am as I write this part of my note to you.  I’ve been on here for awhile compiling headlines etc.  It’s therapeutic and gives me a false sense of having some sort of control I type laughing uneasily to myself lol.  What is a word I use a lot when I am feeling the way I am, the all-purpose one….

Episode #12 – Using Proper English – The Many Uses of the F word

Some headlines that caught my eye and I am not happy about most of them…..just scratching the surface.  Yesterday I found myself so angry and bitter….just 9 months and all of “this.”  I know and love so many people who don’t see anything wrong with what is happening and I wonder almost daily why I am the one with labels, in therapy and taking medication!

This town needs an enema…….take it away Ben and Jimmy…….

Mad Lib Theater with Benedict Cumberbatch

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/in-battered-puerto-rico-governor-warns-of-a-humanitarian-crisis/ar-AAssMWv?OCID=ansmsnnews11

I hope these folks get relief soon.  It sounds like our government is trying to do something but in some ways it seems like they are being treated much differently than Texas or Florida.   

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/interior-secretary-ryan-zinke-fracking-is-proof-gods-got-a-good-sense-of-humor-and-he-loves-us/article/2635573 

It is disturbing to me that our Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke presumes to think evidence of God’s sense of humor is the highly destructive HUMAN activity of fracking….does he even know what fracking is?!  I think his God has a seriously fucked up sense of  humor if fracking is funny.  Ask the people who are losing their drinking water and their homes if fracking is funny!  As a homeowner who in both those categories, fracking is not a joke!  Facepalm! 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/26/politics/health-care-republican-senate-vote/

“In the end, three Republicans had publicly opposed the bill: Sens. John McCain, Susan Collins and Rand Paul. ” — THANK YOU!!!

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/09/26/coffee-sold-in-california-could-carry-cancer-warning-labels.html

https://dailycoffeenews.com/2013/11/15/acrylamide-in-coffee-what-roasters-should-know/

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday released a consumer warning on acrylamide, a naturally a chemical found in cooked foods — including coffee — that is known to cause cancer in animals.”

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/head-of-drug-enforcement-administration-to-leave-alluding-to-dismay-over-trump/ar-AAsvc2E?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Another conscientious objector…….it’s starting to feel very “1984” around here — has anyone else noticed how inundated the headlines are with news and pictures of the President?  I’m surprised someone hasn’t posted a picture of him on the toilet Tweeting some random bullshit yet. 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/saudi-king-issues-decree-allowing-women-to-drive-state-media/ar-AAsuWkC?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Yes, a positive headline that I hope truly manifests.  You go Saudi King Salman!

I am ashamed (something actually worth being ashamed of) as a lifelong American citizen to just have recently found out there are two more verses to my countries national anthem and after learning what they are, can see why NFL players and their owners are taking a knee at games now:

http://www.dictionary.com/e/star-spangled-banner/

The Forgotten Verses of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Do you know all the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner”? Many people have difficulty memorizing the lyrics of the first verse of this song, which is commonly performed at sports events and other public gatherings. But did you know that there are three additional verses that we almost never hear?

In 1814, the poet and lyricist Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” originally known as “Defense of Fort M’Henry.” During the War of 1812, Key witnessed the attacks on Baltimore and wrote the words based on his experiences this night. These lyrics were printed in local newspapers and set to the tune of an existing song called “Anacreon in Heaven,” and then officially arranged by John Philip Sousa. Key’s famous lyrics entered the world as a broadside ballad, or a song written on a topical subject, and printed for wide distribution.

More than a century later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order designating “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem, and in 1931, the US Congress confirmed the decision. The tune has kicked off ceremonies of national importance and athletic events ever since.

While the first verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is widely known by the American public, the last three verses are generally omitted in performances. Here are all the four verses, as they were written 200 years ago by Key:

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream, ’Tis the star-spangled banner—O long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore, That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion A home and a Country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation! Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I was curious, following this professional sports line about the statistics regarding getting into the ranks of professional sports and as I suspected….many are drafted but only a few remain.   Young people honestly need to know these odds before putting all their hopes and dreams into such a course:

http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/estimated-probability-competing-professional-athletics

Estimated probability of competing in professional athletics

More than 480,000 compete as NCAA athletes, and just a select few within each sport move on to compete at the professional or Olympic level.

The table presents of how many NCAA athletes move on to professional careers in sports like basketball, football, baseball and ice hockey.  Professional opportunities are extremely limited and the likelihood of a high school or even college athlete becoming a professional athlete is very low.

In contrast, the likelihood of an NCAA athlete earning a college degree is significantly greater; graduation success rates are 86% in Division I, 71% in Division II and 87% in Division III.

Download the 2017 Probablility of Competing Beyond High School Figures and Methodology

NCAA Participants Approximate # Draft Eligible # Draft Picks # NCAA Drafted % NCAA to Major Pro* % NCAA to Total Pro^
Baseball 34,554 7,679 1,206 695 9.1%
M Basketball 18,684 4,152 60 44 1.1% 19.1%
W Basketball 16,593 3,687 36 35 0.9% 4.9%
Football 73,660 16,369 253 251 1.5% 1.9%
M Ice Hockey 4,102 912 211 51 5.6%
M Soccer 24,803 5,512 81 75 1.4%

Percent NCAA to Major Pro figures are based on the number of draft picks made in the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL and MLS drafts only.  See methods notes for important details on the definition of NHL draftee in men’s ice hockey.  Column percentages were calculated as (#NCAA Drafted) / (Approximate # Draft Eligible).

Percent NCAA to Total Pro takes the number of pro opportunities from the “% NCAA to Major Pro” calculation and adds in some additional professional opportunities that we were able to quantify.  So, for football, this calculation includes NFL, Canadian Football League and Arena League slots available to first-year professionals.  For men’s basketball we accounted for NBA, NBA D-League and international opportunities.  For women’s basketball, we assessed WNBA and international roster slots.  See methods notes for details on these calculations.  Data on full-time international professional opportunities available in baseball, men’s ice hockey and men’s soccer were not analyzed here.

Methodology and Notes

General

  • College participation numbers are from the NCAA’s 2015-16 Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report.  These college numbers account for participation in college athletics at NCAA-member schools only.
  • To estimate the number of NCAA student-athletes in a sport eligible for a particular year’s professional draft, the total number of NCAA student-athlete participants in the sport was divided by 4.5.  This figure was used to provide a general estimate of the number of student-athletes in a draft cohort (single draft class) in a given year, accounting for redshirting, degree completion delays due to transfer, etc. that extend the average time to graduation to just beyond four year in all sports.  In other words, we observe a year-to-year departure rate (whether due to graduation, dropout or departure for a professional sports opportunity) of just below one-quarter of the total number of student-athletes in each sport.  Because the sports examined (M/W basketball, football, baseball, men’s ice hockey and men’s soccer) have dramatically different rules for draft eligibility, these calculations should be treated as estimates only.
  • Data on available professional opportunities are described below for each sport.

Baseball

  • MLB draft data from 2016.  There were 1,206 draft picks in that year; 695 of those picked were from NCAA schools (source: MLB Draft Tracker 2016).  Of the 695, Division I student-athletes comprised 595 of those chosen, Division II provided 80 and Division III had 20.
  • Percent NCAA to Pro calculated as number of NCAA student-athletes taken in the draft (n=695) divided by the approximate number draft eligible.  Not all of the student-athletes drafted go on to play professional baseball and many draftees fail to reach the Major League.

Men’s Basketball

  • NBA draft data from 2016.  There were 60 draft slots in that year, but only 44 went to NCAA players (others chosen were international players not attending U.S. colleges).  Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 44 NCAA selections. Since 2006, 12 international players have been drafted on average each year.
  • On 2016-17 opening day NBA rosters, former NCAA players filled 80% of roster spots (all were from Division I schools).  (Source: Jim Sukup, College Basketball News).
  • Data on other professional opportunities in men’s basketball were collected by NCAA staff with the assistance of Marek Wojtera from eurobasket.com.  Tracking 2016-17 international opportunities for the 2016 draft cohort, it was determined that an additional 751 former NCAA student-athletes played internationally, in the NBA D-League, or in the NBA as undrafted players (535 from Division I, 181 from Division II and 35 from Division III) after leaving college; this includes international players who attended NCAA institutions (previous versions of this document did not include these players).  These numbers were combined with the NBA draftees to calculate an approximate NCAA to Total Professional opportunities figure (calculated as [44 + 751] / 4,152 = 19%).
  • We estimate that 3.6% of draft-eligible Division I players were chosen in the 2016 NBA draft (44 / 1,216).  However, in total, 48% of draft-eligible Division I players competed professionally (NBA, D-League, or internationally) in their first year after leaving college (calculated as [44 + 535] / 1,216). Approximately 14% of draft-eligible players from the five Division I conferences with autonomous governance (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) were drafted by the NBA in 2016 (32 / 225), while 74% played professionally somewhere in their first year post-college (calculated as [32 + 134] / 225).

Women’s Basketball

  • WNBA draft data from 2016. There were 36 draft slots in that year’s draft, 35 of which went to NCAA players (other selection was an international player not attending a U.S. college).  All 35 NCAA selections came from Division I colleges. Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 35 NCAA selections.
  • Data on international professional opportunities in women’s basketball were collected by NCAA staff with the assistance of Marek Wojtera from eurobasket.com, and are limited to the 2016 draft cohort.  It was determined that an additional 146 former NCAA student-athletes from the cohort played internationally in 2016-17 (131 from Division I, 14 from Division II and 1 from Division III).  These numbers were combined with the WNBA draftees to calculate an approximate NCAA to Total Professional opportunities figure (calculated as [35 + 146] / 3,687 = 4.9%).
  • We estimate that 3.2% of draft-eligible Division I players were chosen in the 2016 WNBA draft (35 / 1,110).  However, in total, 15% of draft-eligible Division I players competed professionally (WNBA or internationally) in their first year after leaving college (calculated as [35 + 131] / 1,110). Approximately 12% of draft-eligible players from the five Division I conferences with autonomous governance (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) were drafted by the WNBA in 2015 (24 / 203), while 28% played professionally somewhere in their first year post-college (calculated as [24 + 33] / 203).

Football

  • NFL draft data from 2016.  There were 253 draft picks in that year’s draft, 251 of whom were former NCAA players.  NCAA to Major Pro figure calculated using these data.
  • NCAA divisional breakdown of the 251 NCAA players selected in the 2016 NFL draft: Division I FBS (228), Division I FCS (20), Division II (3).  The five football conferences with autonomous governance accounted for 189 of the 251 NCAA draft picks (SEC=51, Big Ten=47, ACC=33 [includes Notre Dame], Pac-12=32, Big 12=26).
  • Data on Arena League and Canadian Football League opportunities were collected by NCAA staff via rosters on each organization’s website (sources: cfl.ca and arenafootball.com) in March 2017.  Due to the timing of each league’s season, the 2015 draft cohort was used to estimate unique playing opportunities in the Arena League, while the 2016 draft cohort was used to track CFL rookies. It was determined that an additional 57 former NCAA student-athletes from those draft cohorts were listed on a roster (28 in the CFL, 29 in the Arena League).  Across these two leagues, there were 29 former Division I FBS players, 14 from Division I FCS, 13 from Division II and 1 from Division III.  These numbers were combined with the NFL draftees to calculate an NCAA to Total Professional opportunities proportion (calculated as [251 + 57] /16,369).
  • We estimate that 3.9% of draft-eligible Division I players were chosen in the 2016 NFL draft (248 / 6,307).  Limiting this calculation to subdivision, 6.7% of FBS players were estimated to be drafted (228 / 3,404), as compared to 0.7% of FCS players (20 / 2,902).  Narrowing further to the five Division I conferences with autonomous governance (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC), we estimate that 11% were drafted (189 / 1,747).  Accounting for Arena League and CFL opportunities, the NCAA to Total Professional figures are estimated as 4.6% for Division I ([248 + 43] / 6,307), 7.4% for FBS ([222 + 29] / 3,404) and 12% for the five autonomous conferences ([189+ 19] / 1,747).

Men’s ice hockey

  • NHL draft data from 2015 (source: hockeydb.com).  There were 211 draft picks in that year.  Only 7 players from NCAA rosters were selected in that draft (all from Division I teams).  However, this is not indicative of the likelihood of going from a college team to a professional team due to the nature of the NHL draft, where players are typically selected prior to turning college-aged.
  • In examining the subsequent hockey pathways of 2015 draftees (hockeydb.com), it was determined that 51 of the 211 (source: collegehockeyinc.com) attended an NCAA college for any period of time through February 2017. These numbers, although not fully comparable to those used in the other sports examined, were used to calculate an approximate NCAA to Major Pro percentage.  Note that only a small subset of players drafted ever play in an NHL game.  Undrafted college players may go on to sign contracts with NHL teams after completing college (those numbers are not part of the current NCAA to Major Pro calculation).
  • In 2016, 30% of players on active NHL rosters played college hockey (all in Division I), up from about 20% in the year 2000 (source: collegehockeyinc.com).  71% of former college players in the NHL played at least three college seasons, and 36% played all four. Thanks to Nate Ewell at College Hockey, Inc. for providing these data.

Men’s soccer

  • MLS SuperDraft data from 2016.  There were 81 draft slots in that year, but only 75 players were selected (all from NCAA schools).  Of the 75 picks, 72 were NCAA Division I student-athletes, two were from Division II and one was from Division III.  Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 75 NCAA selections. (Source: mlssoccer.com).
  • These calculations do not account for other domestic (e.g., NASL, USL) or international professional soccer opportunities.

Last Updated: March 10, 2017

and finally, this was sobering.  We only have 4 major airline carriers to choose from now?!  So basically we are back to fewer choices but not for a good reason.  It was very disheartening to find out a product brand Tom’s of Maine I bought, thinking it was a small company, is actually owned by Colgate-Palmolive!  You really have to pay attention anymore to not end up buying products and supporting companies you are trying to boycott! 

Tom’s of Maine was founded by Tom and Kate Chappell in 1970 with US$5,000. The company is based in Kennebunk, Maine, USA and is currently a division of multinational conglomerate Colgate-Palmolive. Tom’s of Maine has approximately 150 employees.

Tom’s of Maine – Wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom’s_of_Maine

Corporate Consolidation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

17 Sept 2017 First thoughts…the microplastics problem

Hello to you. It’s 6:53 am on this Sunday morning as I begin to write to you. How are you doing? I slept some last night….not a restful sleep though. As I contemplated getting up, some thoughts came to me. I wrote them down and after reading them, I realized they were so negative and nearly apocalyptic in nature I didn’t want to give them complete power by sharing them here!  I hope you will read on and not allow yourself to get depressed about this or just throw up your hands and give up…get informed!

These were the first thoughts…. “Where does it all go? The sweet, the sour, the toxic? The same place…to “her” and back to us.” It got darker from there.

The microplastics problem troubles me because of how difficult of a problem it truly is.   This stuff is in my own household! Plastic to contain water, food, cleaning supplies and just about everything else!  The sobering reality that has hit me is we will all probably become plastic Lego pieces before we can solve this problem! Even if the world did a global moratorium on the production of any more plastic or we did a better job of recycling it, I don’t think it’s really going to matter…..it’s here to stay.  Even if it gets cleaned off of beaches and strained out of waterways, it’s got to go somewhere after it’s collected!  Chances are, what has been collected will eventually end up right back in the water, soil, air or all three!

Here’s an ironic  personal story for you about this.  What did I recently use to collect plastic bottles I found near a fishing spot down the street?  A plastic bag I found near the plastic bottles!  I put it all in our recycling bin but now I’m questioning if all I did was just relocate a problem!

http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-microfibers/good summary of just part of this tangible micro-particles problem.  Very short video, less than 3 minutes so I hope you’ll watch it.  I love these folks way of simplifying very complicated environmental issues. 

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/04/24/designing-for-the-circular-economy/ – What do you do with a toaster when you no longer want it? Until recently, no one thought about that question until the toaster was ready for the scrap heap. Today, designers at the London-based Agency of Design are turning that practice on its head. As advocates of a circular economy, they believe that the best time to address end-of-life issues is when a product is first being designed and that items like your toaster should be thought of not as a disposable appliances but as products with value worth preserving. Read on to learn how these designers helping to keep products out of landfills even before they fly off the shelves

So naturally my mind started grasping for some positive spin….a way out. Sadly the best there was for me was thinking about Creation itself. These thoughts came: “Creation means vision beyond short-term gain…profit.  The true “cost” and resulting evidence of most human creation now litters our homes, our businesses, our streets, our fields, our waterways, the skies and the bellies of our children.”

My thoughts then turned to a creator with the gift of being able to work through the entire life-span of a creation in his mind before even putting a pencil to paper, Nikola Tesla. There are inventions he put through his mental process that never made it to reality because he knew if they, did they could cause harm. It is so important when creating things, and I have to do better with this too, “Think it all the way through or don’t bother to make it at all. ” 

Anyhew….if your interested this is a great read about his mental processes for creation:

29 March 2017 – Kyle could tell who this was from a distance! I drew this strictly from memory – Nikola Tesla

https://teslauniverse.com/ – fantastic resource for information about Nikola Tesla

https://teslauniverse.com/nikola-tesla/articles/miracle-mind-nikola-tesla

Fate

July, 1949

Page numbers: 52-56

Type: Magazine

The Miracle Mind of Nikola Tesla

by J. Harold Byers

Nikola Tesla needed no model to test his inventions; they appeared before his eyes as functioning realities that he could stop and start as though they were really there.

Contemporary with Edison was another inventor, not so well known, but of the two the more spectacular. This was Nikola Tesla whose life and works have been enthrallingly described by John J. O’Neill in his book The Prodigal Genius:

“He was aware as a boy that he was not like other boys in his thoughts, in his amusements and in his hobbies. He could do the things that other lads his age usually do, and many things that they could not do. It was these latter things that interested him most, and he could find no companions who would share his enthusiasms for them. This situation caused him to isolate himself from contemporaries, and made him aware that he was destined for an unusual place if not great accomplishments in life.

” … practically all his life he experienced a peculiar reaction when breathing deeply. When he breathed deeply he was overcome by a feeling of lightness, as if his body had lost all weight; and he should, he concluded, be able to fly through the air merely by his will to do so. He did not learn, in boyhood, that he was unusual in this respect.

“A strange power permitted him to perform unusual feats in mathematics. He possessed it from early boyhood, but had considered it a nuisance and tried to be rid of it because it seemed beyond his control.

“If he thought of an object it would appear before him exhibiting the appearance of solidity and massiveness. So greatly did these visions possess the attributes of actual objects that it was usually difficult for him to distinguish between vision and reality. This abnormal faculty functioned in a very useful fashion in his school work with mathematics.

“If he was given a problem in arithmetic or algebra, it was immaterial to him whether he went to the blackboard to work it out or whether he remained in his seat. His strange faculty permitted him to see a visioned blackboard on which the problem was written, and there appeared on this blackboard all of the operations and symbols required in working out the solution. Each step appeared much more rapidly than he could work it out by hand on the actual slate. As a result, he could give the solution almost as quickly as the whole problem was stated.

“Tesla’s powers of memorizing were prodigious. A quick reading of a page gave him a permanent record of it; he could always recall before his eyes a photographic record of it to be read, and could study at his convenience. Study, for Tesla, was a far different process than for the average person. He had no need for a reference library; he could consult in his mind any page of any textbook he had read, and formula, equation, or item in a table of logarithms would flash before his eyes. He could recite scores of books, complete from memory. The saving in time which this made possible in research work was tremendous.”

In an interview with M. K. Wisehart, published in the American Magazine of April 1921, and in Mr. O’Neill’s book, Tesla describes his faculty as follows:

“See!” exclaimed Tesla. “How beautifully it works! Watch me put it into reverse … Watch it. It is not marvelous how it goes both ways?” But his friend saw nothing.

“During my boyhood I had suffered from a peculiar affliction due to the appearance of images, which were often accompanied by strong flashes of light. When a word was spoken, the image of the object designated would present itself so vividly to my vision that I could not tell whether what I saw was real or not. . . . Even though I reached out and passed my hand through it, the image would remain fixed in space.

“In trying to free myself from these tormenting appearances, I tried to concentrate my thoughts on some peaceful, quieting scene I had witnessed. This would give me momentary relief; but when I had done it two or three times the remedy would begin to lose its force. Then I began to take mental excursions beyond the small world of my actual knowledge. Day and night, in imagination, I went on journeys — saw new places, cities, countries, and all the time I tried hard to make these imaginary things very sharp and clear in my mind. I imagined myself living in countries I had never seen, and I made imaginary friends, who were very dear to me and really seemed alive.

“This I did constantly until I was seventeen, when my thoughts turned seriously to invention. Then to my delight, I found I could visualize with the greatest facility. I needed no models, drawings, or experiments. I could picture them all in my mind . . .

“By that faculty of visualizing, which I learned in my boyish efforts to rid myself of annoying images, I have evolved what is, I believe, a new method of materializing inventive ideas and conceptions. It is a method which may be of great usefulness to any imaginative man, whether he is an inventor, businessman or artist.

“Some people, the moment they have a device to construct or any piece of work to perform, rush at it without adequate preparation, and immediately become engrossed in details, instead of the central idea. They may get results, but they sacrifice quality.

“Here in brief, is my own method: after experiencing a desire to invent a particular thing, I may go on for months or years with the idea in the back of my head. Whenever I feel like it, I roam around in my imagination and think about the problem without any deliberate concentration. This is a period of incubation.

“Then follows a period of direct effort. I choose carefully the possible solutions of the problem I am considering, and gradually center my mind on a narrowed field of investigation. Now, when I am deliberately thinking of the problem in its specific features, I may begin to feel that I am going to get the solution. And the wonderful thing is, that if I do feel this way, then I know I have really solved the problem and shall get what I am after.

“The feeling is as convincing to me as though I already had solved it. I have come to the conclusion that at this stage the actual solution is in my mind subconsciously though it may be a long time before I am aware of it consciously.

“Before I put a sketch on paper, the whole idea is worked out mentally. In my mind I change the construction, make improvements, and even operate the device. Without ever having drawn a sketch I can give the measurements of all parts to workmen, and when completed all these parts will fit, just as certainly as though I had made the actual drawings. It is immaterial to me whether I run my machine in my mind or test it in my shop.

“The inventions I have conceived in this way have always worked. In thirty years there has not been a single exception. My first electric motor, the vacuum tube wireless light, my turbine engine and many other devices have all been developed in exactly this way.”

Tesla’s mightiest invention was his alternating current motor. It is difficult to overestimate its value. It was really the invention of a principle — the principle of the rotating electric field. For, once that principle was conceived, the motor and a multitude of other practical applications of the alternating current practically invented themselves. It was a master invention that created the electrical power era, the foundation of our modern industrial system.

While studying electrical engineering at the Polytechnic Institute, at Gratz, Austria, Tesla saw for the first time a machine that would operate either as an electrical motor or as a dynamo. As was the case with all motors of the eighteen-seventies it was supplied with current through a commutator-brush system. When operated it sparked heavily at the commutator.

This sparking of course was a defect; it wasted energy; and corroded the contacts. The typical professional attitude toward any idea, machine, or person, which has arrived or been accepted is enthusiasm. “It is inherent in the machine,” said Prof. Poeschl, an instructor in the Institute. The typical inventor’s attitude is critical. The defect in the motor annoyed Tesla. He suggested that the commutator be abolished and, of course, was told that such step was impossible. The rebuff bothered him not at all for he suddenly knew that not only was a motor without a commutator possible but that the solution lay in some application of the alternating current. What application he could not at that time foresee but “he felt an overpowering assurance that he could solve the problem.” Prof. Poeschl devoted an entire lecture to a discussion of reasons why Tesla’s idea was impossible of attainment. Tesla had little more to say in the face of so authoritative opposition. But the idea that had come to him flowed back, shall we say, into his subconscious mind. From time to time he would take it out and mull it over. Then he would forget it.

Several years later Tesla was walking in the city park of Budapest with a friend when in a flash he solved the problem. The following is Mr. O’Neill’s description of the occasion:

“Suddenly the animated figure of Tesla snapped into a rigid pose as if he had fallen into a trance. Szigeti spoke to him but got no answer. Again his words were ignored. The friend was about to seize the towering motionless figure and shake him into consciousness when instead Tesla spoke.

“‘Watch me!’ said Tesla, blurting out the words like a child bubbling over with emotion: ‘Watch me reverse it.’ He was still gazing into the sun as if that incandescent ball had thrown him into a hypnotic trance.

“Szigeti recalled the image from Goethe that Tesla had been reciting: ‘The glow retreats. . . . It yonder hastes, new fields of life exploring,’ a poetic description of the setting sun, and then his next words — ‘Watch me! Watch me reverse it.’ Did Tesla mean the sun? Did he mean that he could arrest the motion of the sun about to sink below the horizon, reverse its action and start it rising again toward the zenith?

“‘Let us sit and rest for a while,’ said Szigeti. He turned him toward a bench, but Tesla was not to be moved.

“‘Don’t you see it?’ expostulated the excited Tesla. ‘See how smoothly it is running? Now I throw this switch — and I reverse it. See! It goes just as smoothly in the opposite direction. Watch! I stop it. I start it. There is no sparking. There is nothing on it to spark.’

“‘But I see nothing,’ said Szigeti. ‘The sun is not sparking. Are you ill?’

“‘You do not understand,’ beamed the still excited Tesla, turning as if to bestow a benediction on his companion. ‘It is my alternating-current motor I am talking about. I have solved the problem. Can’t you see it right here in front of me, running almost as silently? It is the rotating magnetic field that does it. See how the magnetic field rotates and drags the armature around with it? Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it sublime? Isn’t it simple? I have solved the problem. Now I can die happy. But I must live, I must return to work and build the motor so I can give it to the world. No more will men be slaves to hard tasks. My motor will set them free, it will do the work of the world.’

“Szigeti now understood. Tesla had previously told him about his attempt to solve the problem of an alternating-current motor, and he grasped the full meaning of the scientist’s words. Tesla had never told him, however, about his ability to visualize objects which he conceived in his mind, so it was necessary to explain the vision he saw, and that the solution had come to him suddenly while they were admiring the sunset.”

Undoubtedly Tesla was very unusual. He possessed a special gift that enabled him to accomplish more in the field of mechanical invention than he would have been able to accomplish without it.

Other inventors have had to a greater or lesser degree this power of visualization — to see in the mind’s eye, or on the wall of the bedroom, or upon an imaginary blackboard, a complete diagram or image of a layout or machine. But while this ability may be in some way connected with inventive ability, it is not essential. As a matter of recorded fact, visualization aided Tesla to work out the details, rather than to make the invention. It cannot be said that the power to invent is simply the power to visualize.

The quality that Tesla’s inventiveness shared with that of other inventors was the quality of instantaneousness. While thinking of something else, while walking, dreaming, listening to a lecture or a sermon, suddenly the invention is there. There is no effort.

 

12 Sept 2017 Link news (human drugs being prescribed to animals) and Homeownership blues (the fight with nature)

Hello to you.  It’s 11:03 am on this Tuesday morning as I start to write to you.  I’m happy to report Link is doing better after his battle with we aren’t sure what.  He had blood work done for organ function, fecal matter testing and pancreatic tests which all came up negative for any nasties.  There is a possibility that he got himself stressed out when we were out of the house more frequently than normal (box car derby)….hard to say.  What I wouldn’t give for the ability to do a mind-meld with my dogs to figure out what the heck is going on in their heads sometimes!

12 Sept 2017 – Link this morning – feeling better!

 

Sunday night I was up most of the night with him but we did manage to get a few winks on the couch in the living room.  I ended up having another one of those vivid dreams where it’s hard to tell if you are sleeping or in a dream.  I was looking out our front windows and it was dark.  I saw flashing blue lights like the ones on top of police cars.  There were lights on in the house.  After I saw the flashing lights, all the sudden all the lights in our house started going out, the last one was in the bedroom and I yelled, “They EMP’d us!” and woke up.  Weird thing to dream on another anniversary of one of the worst days in world history….9/11.

So anyways….as I write this morning, Link is feeling better.  Poor Spot was a basket case with Link being so sick.  When we brought him to the vet and came home without him, she just moped around, got very clingy…smelling my clothes where he had been.  Then when we brought him home from the vet yesterday afternoon, she was so happy!  He was happy to see her too and even gave her a kiss lol!

12 Sept 2017 – Links special girl Spot, who was pretty tired too this morning.

They prescribed the antibiotic Metronidazole, which is yet another drug intended for humans being passed off to our dogs and cats.  When I read about it, I was not happy.  Ironically it’s a drug to help with diarrhea with a possible side effect of causing diarrhea!  Insanity!  The other, more concerning side effect can be neurological problems!  For me, as the nurse-maid having to administer the drugs, is getting him to actually take them without a heavy “disguise” of burying the pill in meat or some other food product just so he’ll eat the pill.  Why the hell hasn’t the animal pharmaceutical industry formulated a drug like this that is specifically for dog and cat biology, will appeal to said dog or cat and not have such horrendous side effects?!  Probably for the same reason they haven’t done it for humans….sigh.

For human use info:

Metronidazole is the generic form of the brand name drug Flagyl, which is used to treat bacterial infections of the skin, vagina, stomach, joints, or respiratory tract. The drug is sometimes used with other medicines to treat stomach ulcers. Metronidazole is an antibiotic, which works by killing bacteria in your body.

http://www.petsmart.com/dog/pharmacy/rx-medication/metronidazole-tablet-generic-to-flagyl-5274505.htmlWe use Banfield Pet Hospital which is located inside of Petsmart in Burleson TX.  I’m glad I decided to find and share this, as the vet didn’t tell us that crushing the tablets could cause drooling! 

Product highlights

Metronidazole can help to resolve susceptible anaerobic bacterial infections, protozoa, and other inflammatory conditions in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract plus anaerobic bacterial infections in the mouth when used as directed by your veterinarian.

What is Metronidazole?This is an oral medication that helps to kill susceptible anaerobic bacteria and protozoa including Giardia. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract so it can be helpful in the treatment of diarrhea as a result of multiple causes.

What are the benefits of Metronidazole?

  • Effective against many cases of diarrhea.
  • Helps with intestinal and periodontal infections plus other susceptible infections.
  • Treats Giardia.

Formulated for:primarily cats and dogs but may be useful in other species.
How is this medication given?Use exactly as directed. Always follow the instructions your veterinarian gives you for your individual pet. If you have questions about how to use Metronidazole correctly, contact your veterinarian.
How does this medication work? Susceptible anaerobic bacteria and certain protozoa are killed most likely as a result of inhibition of DNA synthesis within the affected organism. Metronidazole also works to reduce inflammation in the GI tract so it can be help in the treatment of diarrhea.
What results can I expect? Your pets infection or condition should improve when you use Metronidazole as prescribed. Some conditions respond with a short course of treatment. Other more chronic conditions may require several weeks or more before they are resolved. If your pet seems to be worsening or is not improving after all required medication has been given, notify your veterinarian.
What form(s) does Metronidazole come in? Metronidazole is commercially available as a tablet.
Generic Name:Metronidazole (Common Drug Name)
Common Brand Name:Flagyl
Dose and Administration:Give orally according to your veterinarians exact directions. Give a dose as soon as you remember if you miss a dose but skip the dose if it is time for the next one. Never share this medication with other pets in the household. Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions regarding the proper use of Metronidazole.
Uses: Metronidazole works to treat susceptible bacterial and protozoal infections including Giardia. It can also help to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Possible Side Effects: Nausea, loss of appetite, and vomiting are the most commonly reported side effects. Other problems such as diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, blood in the urine, head tilt, stumbling, and liver disease are also possible but less likely.
A true allergic reaction may occur if your pet is allergic to Metronidazole. Other side effects are may occur.
Your pet may salivate or drool if tablets are crushed or chewed.
If your pet appears sick in any way while taking Metronidazole, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Drug and Food Interactions: Discuss all other medications or supplements your pet is taking with your veterinarian before giving Metronidazole. Interactions are possible with anticoagulants, cimetidine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, and some sedatives/tranquilizers. Other drug interactions may occur.
Precautions:Pets who are allergic to Metronidazole or its derivatives should not take this medication. Do not give this medication to pregnant and lactating females. Debilitated animals or those with liver disease should be given this medication with extreme caution only as prescribed by a veterinarian.
Storage:Store at room temperature in a safe place.
A prescription from your veterinarian is required to purchase Metronidazole.

Changing gears…..
This morning I had a bit of a break down with Kyle after I finished taking care of the yard.  It’s probably because I’m tired after all that has been going on in our home and beyond.  I told Kyle I feel like we are having to fight nature to keep this house…almost to the point to saying fuck it!   I know, I should just be grateful and I am most days!  The list for what we need done to and for this house is growing beyond our financial resources and it’s overwhelming at times.
We have a huge cottonwood tree in our neighbors yard that has roots that go all the way to my next door neighbors house.  It feels like the soil around our house is non-existent….just powder.  Even if we were watering regularly, there isn’t enough dirt to water and the city water is very expensive. We have probably five ant colonies and a couple of them have been launching campaigns to get inside the house.  They were successful in breaching the garage, which spurred me having to move May back into the room she and Amber used to share.  We’ve tried baking soda, bleach, baking soda and vinegar and this morning Kyle went and picked up some Splenda packets to try.  Apparently Splenda originally came about from insecticide origins and can kill ants.
Does Splenda kill ants?
Splenda is an Ant Poison. Splenda is a molecule of carbon and hydrogen with attached chlorine atoms. Its molecular structure is similar to that of DDT. It was discovered accidentally while trying to create a new insecticide. It is no surprise, then, that Splenda kills ants.
We are trying as non-lethal of approaches as we can without hiring an exterminator.  We know from past experience, those services don’t work for long either.  Just like with weeds, the ants and other insects we are trying to kill with poisons are adapting resistances to what we are coming up with.   Whatever we do to them, we do to ourselves and our pets.  Kind of like with us humans when we make contact with something that makes us sick….adapt or die. We are considering ripping out a lot of stuff to include the two gardens in the back that the cottonwood root systems have almost completely infiltrated – try to make the place simpler to care for.  Where is my magic wand LOL?!!!  POOF perfect yard!
Interesting article about they why behind insects developing resistance to pesticides which is what I thought – like humans, some survive exposure to the poison and then past on this resistance to their gene pool:
How pesticide resistance develops

Excerpt from Fruit Crop Ecology and Management, Chapter 2: Managing the Community of Pests and Beneficials by Larry Gut, Annemiek Schilder, Rufus Isaacs and Patricia McManus

The role of population genetics

An individual organism’s genes determine its physical and behavioral traits. When individuals reproduce, they pass along unique combinations of genes to their offspring. Different environments favor individuals with different physical and behavioral traits. Individuals with genes that improve their survival will be more likely to pass along these genes compared to the rest of the population. The mix of genes in a population is called the gene pool. The composition of the gene pool continually changes over time through a process called natural selection.

With the help of plant breeders, fruit growers have taken advantage of the gene pool’s natural variability in a process known as artificial selection. The first step in this process is to identify desirable traits, such as flavor, color, tolerance, or resistance to a pest. Once desirable traits are identified, these can be incorporated into new crop varieties through conventional breeding or genetic engineering. For example, apples have been bred to create a few varieties that are resistant to apple scab. Even without specific breeding efforts, fruit crop varieties display a natural range of resistance to various pests and diseases. When monocultures of single varieties are planted, efficiency of production is traded for diversity of resistance to pests.

Effects of pesticide selection

Repeated use of the same class of pesticides to control a pest can cause undesirable changes in the gene pool of a pest leading to another form of artificial selection, pesticide resistance. When a pesticide is first used, a small proportion of the pest population may survive exposure to the material due to their distinct genetic makeup. These individuals pass along the genes for resistance to the next generation. Subsequent uses of the pesticide increase the proportion of less-susceptible individuals in the population. Through this process of selection, the population gradually develops resistance to the pesticide. Worldwide, more than 500 species of insects, mites, and spiders have developed some level of pesticide resistance. The twospotted spider mite is a pest of most fruit crops and is notorious for rapidly developing resistance to miticides.

diagram of how resistance develops

Some plant pathogens have also become resistant to pesticides. Among fruit producers in North America, apple growers perhaps have faced the most significant problems with pesticide resistance. Examples include streptomycin resistance in the fire blight bacterium and benomyl resistance in the apple scab pathogen. Although the precise genetic and ecological factors differ among pests that have become resistant, in all cases resistance is driven by one process—selection.

Insecticide resistance

Selection for resistance can occur if a small proportion of the insect population is able to survive treatment with insecticide. These rare resistant individuals can reproduce and pass on their resistance to the offspring. If an insecticide with the same mode of action is repeatedly used against this population, an even greater proportion will survive. Ultimately, the once-effective product no longer controls the resistant population.

Fungicide resistance

Single-step pesticide resistance arises suddenly in the field. A single gene or physiological function changes so that an individual becomes highly resistant to the pesticide. With just one or two sprays of the pesticide, the population shifts from mostly sensitive to mostly resistant individuals. This is the process by which populations of streptomycin-resistant fire blight bacteria and benomyl-resistant apple scab bacteria rapidly developed in commercial orchards.

Multi-step pesticide resistance arises slowly in the field over many years. Rather than having distinct groups of sensitive and resistant individuals, the population consists of individuals with a range of sensitivities to the pesticide. With each pesticide application, those individuals at the more resistant end of the spectrum survive and reproduce. Over the years, the proportion of the population that can survive a pesticide spray increases, until that pesticide eventually becomes ineffective. This process is underway in apple orchards where the sterol inhibitor (SI) fungicides have been used extensively to control scab. The shift toward resistance leads to a gradual erosion of control.

Resistance management

Growers can help delay the development of resistance by applying pesticides only when they are needed, by rotating between different chemical classes, and by using rates of pesticides within the labeled range. Integrating non-chemical approaches such as pheromone mating disruption and cultural controls can also help delay resistance.

 

 

 

25 Aug 2017 Food boredom and ladies in chalk drawings

Hello there!  It’s Friday morning, 10:54 am as I write.  How are you doing right now in your time and place?  Hopefully well.  I’m running pretty low today.  Got up at about 2 this morning as the Baron’s pizza we had for dinner last night decided to burn through me….twice.  We should know better than to eat such things, but sometimes nothing sounds good and that’s what ends up getting served!  Kyle got groceries today and bought a bunch of potato chips to spice up meals….sigh.  I’m grateful he did the shopping, but not happy to have 4 containers of fat pills in the pantry!  We are going through another blah phase with food….obviously if potato chips are a spice lol.   Despite these feelings, I’m trying to stay in a space of gratitude…at least we have the money to buy food!  It’s the little things right?!

Well the lady with red hair I shared yesterday was washed away within an hour or so after I completed her, so I replaced her with a retro looking lady with blue hair and this morning my subject has a little face paint.  I’m on a bit of pretty ladies with curls kick I guess!  Thinking about trying pin-up styles or something next.  We’ll see what the muses inspire!  Many hugs, love and light through these wires and on the winds blowing between us.

29 July 2017 FFXIV wedding today, chalk drawing and dreams

Good morning to you – it’s Saturday here at 9:09 am as I write to you.  Hoping for rain but our chances are pretty slim for today.  The trees in our backyard are shedding leaves and the cottonwood next door dumped a huge branch in our yard.  This climate change is the hardest on the beings that are stuck outside in it – especially the trees.  I watered everybody this morning before the sun was fully awake…..not sure if it helps but I do put loving intention into the effort.  I suspect I would have to leave an open tap and almost flood out the yard to really get the trees the amount of water they really need.

We have a double wedding to attend this afternoon — online lol.  Some friends of ours are taking advantage of some bennies (special stuff) that comes with getting married in FFXIV (online MMORPG) we play.  If we get some pictures I’ll try to share them.   If you get married in-game and pay $10 real money per person, you get a special duel passenger mount, a ring that allows you to teleport to wherever your partner is (wouldn’t that be SO COOL to have in real life?!), special wedding gown and or tuxedo and special haircuts.  We’ve been teasing our friends about them about only getting married to get a double mount…..yeah we can be perverts sometimes LOL!  Unlike in much of our current world, it doesn’t matter “what” you are, people are just happy for you when you get married.   http://www.finalfantasyxiv.com/ – link to website for game.

This chalk drawing managed to happen in spite of all the mosquitos and gnatsies that were trying to bite me and the ants who for some reason just have to be on our patio instead out in the yard.  I got to thinking as I was flinging errant ants away with my broom that this must be what’s it like to be famous.  Your trying to do your job and people (ants) just keep interrupting you for selfies!  “Fuck off you ants I’m working here!!!” Lol….yeah that’s why I’ll never be famous.  Anyhew….I like her hairstyle and color.  Kind of like Rachel from Blade Runner but neon colors instead.

 

 

I’ve started keeping a dream journal and have been doing better about remembering my dreams again:

The first one was the coolest as I got to go jewelry shopping without spending any real money lol.  I found this gold ring with a large round bezel set diamond in it.  I couldn’t decide on what facet style I like the best and to my amazement I didn’t have to choose!  The stone changed facets (diamond cuts) as I held it!  I jumped in and out of the dream it startled me so much lol.  I shopped around and saw other more inferior colored gemstone rings etc. but came back to the first one even with it probably being so expensive.  Can you imagine how cool that would be?  A sentient diamond?!  This dream may have been triggered by my admiration of the crystal work of Jack Storms.  He recently had a new sphere on his Facebook page: https://jackstorms.com/

Source Internet: jack-storms-glass-cube

The next dream was creepy.  I dreamt I was cleaning a house and there was so much dust everywhere – especially up the walls.  Pretty realistic to our house with two humans and three furry pets.  Anyways, the creepy part was when there was a skeleton of an old lady in a bed and I dusted over her too!  My Mom’s brother, Butch, was there for some reason too!  No idea what was going on there.

The last dream I remember was something out of a horror movie.   I am wondering if it was my minds way of putting together thoughts I have about each of us being fragments of each other.  I was in like this hotel or something and there were these chefs that were in separate pieces and then came together for the day – their parts slid together and stacked on top of each other.  At night they were in separate body pieces again and packed away in a closet….like zombies I guess?!  One of them yelled at me and was very disgruntled.  They said it was hard to have pieces of others that were billions of years old!  Yeah…very bizarre.

*ran out of picture space again….have to delete some stuff I guess.

1 June 2017 Streams in the Desert Reading in honor of my Dad’s birthday and Sleeping Enough to be Truly Awake (Daily Good feature article)

Good morning to you, it’s 5:00 am here as I start to write to you.  I hope this finds you well wherever and whenever you are in time.  Todays message from the Streams in the Desert devotional was visited by me 2 years ago and I revisited it again last night in honor of my Dad’s 74th birthday.  It is a beautiful message for my Dad who served in the in United States Navy as a young man.

8 May 2016 – My Dad Larry, Mom Dianne and Kyle and I at DQ Alvarado TX

(I ate at DQ yesterday in honor of this moment)

May 31

“Like a shock of corn fully ripe.” (Job 5:26.)

A gentleman writing about the breaking up of old ships, recently said that it is not the age alone which improves the quality of the fiber in the wood of an old vessel, but the straining and wrenching of the vessel by the sea, the chemical action of the bilge water, and of many kinds of cargoes.

Some planks and veneers made from an oak beam which had been part of a ship eighty years old were exhibited a few years ago at a fashionable furniture storeon Broadway, New York, and attracted general notice for the exquisite coloring and beautiful grain.

Equally striking were some beams of mahogany taken from a bark which sailed the seas sixty years ago. The years and the traffic had contracted the pores and deepened the color, until it looked as superb in its chromatic intensity as an antique Chinese vase. It was made into a cabinet, and has today a place of honor in the drawing room of a wealthy New York family.

So there is a vast difference between the quality of old people who have lived flabby, self-indulgent, useless lives, and the fiber of those who have sailed all seas and carried all cargoes as th eservants of God and the helpers of their fellow men.

Not only the wrenching and straining of life, but also something of the sweetness of the cargoes carried get into the very pores and fiber of character. – Louis Albert Banks.

When the sun goes below the horizon he is not set; the heavens glow for a full hour after his departure. And when a great and good man sets, the sky of this world is luminous long after he is out of sight. Such a man cannot die out of this world. When he goeshe leaves behind him much of himself. Being dead, he speaks. – Beecher.

When Victor Hugo was past eighty years of age he gave expression to his religious faith in these sublime sentences: “I feel in myself the future life. I am like a forest which has been more than once cut down. The new shoots are livelier than ever,. I am rising toward the sky. The sunishine is on my head. The earth gives me its generous sap, but Heaven lights me with its unknown worlds.

“You say the soul is nothing but the resultant of the bodily powers. Why, then, is my soul more luminous when my bodily powers begin to fail? Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. I breathe at this hour the fragrance of the lilacs, the violets, and the roses as at twenty years. The nearer I approach the end the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me. It is marvelous, yet simple.”

Whenever catching sight of others, look on them with an open, loving heart. Patrul Rinpoche

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/05/31/sleeping-enough-to-be-truly-awake/

Sleeping Enough to Be Truly Awake

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1615/matt-walker-sleeping-enough-to-be-truly-awake-awakin-call-editors/http://www.dailygood.org/story/1615/matt-walker-sleeping-enough-to-be-truly-awake-awakin-call-editors/

May 31, 2017— “Human beings are the only species that deprives themselves of sleep. No other species that we see will do this… And what that means is that evolution has never faced the challenge of insufficient sleep since the dawn of time. As a consequence, Mother Nature has never had to solve this problem of insufficient sleep — so there is no safety net [to bank on when it comes to sleep loss.]” In this Awakin call, guest Matt Walker, a professor of Neuroscience at UC Berkeley and director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory, describes the critical importance of good sleep for learning, memory, creativity, emotional regulation, cardiovascular health, and healthy aging. Calling the global sleep loss epidemic “the greatest public health challenge we now face in the 21st century,” Matt examines the impact of sleep loss on the human brain function. In this lively discussion, Matt also answers several pertinent questions from participants on issues ranging from the use of electronic devices during bed time to working late-night shifts to napping during the day to long-term use of sleeping pills — and helps demystify this fundamental biological drive. (5172 reads)

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep. –E. Joseph Cossman

Matt Walker: Sleeping Enough to Be Truly Awake

–by Awakin Call Editors, May 31, 2017

“The evidence is overwhelming, it is irrefutable. Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body health each and every day,” — Matt Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory.

Calling the global sleep-loss epidemic “the greatest public health challenge we now face in the 21st century,” Walker examines the impact of sleep on human brain function in healthy and clinical populations. Through his work at UC Berkeley, he has been at the forefront of sleep research. He has linked sleep deprivation to psychiatric disorders, obesity, risky behavior, post-traumatic stress disorder, learning, and memory loss in old age. And recently, his research demonstrates that a poor night’s sleep may also hinder one’s ability to accurately read the emotions of others – an impairment that may have wide-ranging consequences for our social interactions. “Few things come unhinged as quickly and profoundly as our emotional stability…when we are not getting enough sleep,” What follows is the edited transcript of an Awakin Call interview with Matt Walker, moderated by Aryae Coopersmith.You can read or listen to the full version of the interview here.

Aryae Coopersmith: Would you start off by talking a little bit about what is sleep and the different issues and ways we deal with sleeping?

Matt Walker: “What is sleep?” That is such a critical question. I think many of us believe that we lose consciousness, and our brain is dormant and our body gets a little bit of rest, and gets some recharging, and then we wake up. So what is the harm if we short change our sleep by going to bed late or waking up a little too early with an alarm clock?

Sleep is not a dormant state. It is an incredibly active state in the brain and body. There are some parts of your brain that are up to 30% more active in some stages of sleep relative to when you are awake.

There are two principal stages of sleep that we cycle through when we are asleep that many people might have learned about. One of them is non rapid eye movement sleep or non-REM sleep. The other is rapid eye movement sleep or REM sleep, which is commonly associated with dreaming.

You ebb and flow through a cycle of REM to non-REM sleep every 90 minutes. You will replay that 90 minute cycle every 90 minutes throughout the night. It is an incredible cerebral war that is won and lost between these two stages of sleep.

What is interesting is that although that 90-minute cycle of non-REM to REM is stable across the night, the ratio balances of REM to non-REM sleep changes as you move across the night. So in the first half of the night the majority of those 90-minute cycles is comprised of that deep non-REM sleep.

As you push through the second half of the night, now that seesaw balance actually changes. And instead much more of those 90- minute cycles are composed of rapid eye movement sleep and a lot less deep non-REM sleep.

If you go to bed a little bit too late—perhaps an hour or two hours later than you normally would and you asked, “How much sleep have I lost compared to a normal eight hours?” You might think you have lost 25% of your sleep since you have gone to sleep 2 hours later than normal. I am going to wake up at the same time, so I only got six hours of sleep rather than eight. But that is not true. You didn’t just lose 25% of your sleep. You have probably lost up to 60 to 70% of your deep sleep. And it works the same way on the backend, too. We can’t afford to burn the candle at either one of those ends based on how sleep plays out throughout the night in terms of this canonical structure.

Over the past 10 years, through an explosion of the most wonderful science, we understand that there is no single process within your brain, and there is no single physiological process within the body, that is not powerfully enhanced when you get sleep or demonstrably impaired when you don’t get enough.

So now we’ve been forced to up-end the question in a way. Rather than asking “What is the function of sleep?”, we’ve been forced to ask, “Is there anything that does not benefit from sleep?” And the answer is no.

Aryae: The complexity of this is very interesting. I know that my own habits tend to be I’ve lost an hour or two of sleep tonight, so I’ll sleep an hour or two extra tomorrow night. My understanding of what you’re saying is that this will not catch me up?

Matt: No, this is one of the myths that are so critical for people to recognize and embrace. We’ve found no evidence that you get back all of the sleep that you lose. What I mean is that sleep is not like the bank. You cannot accumulate at debt and hope to pay it off at a later point in time.

Human beings are the only species that deprives themselves of sleep. No other species that we see will do this without biological gain. And what that means is that evolution has never faced the challenge of insufficient sleep since the dawn of time. As a consequence, Mother Nature has never had to solve this problem of insufficient sleep, so there is no safety net.

Aryae: What is the difference between sleep in a younger person and sleep in an older person?

Matt: There are two interesting questions there. When is and how is sleep different across the lifespan? And the second is how do older and younger adults deal with insufficient sleep?

In terms of sleep across the lifespan, there are just dramatic changes. Some of the most dramatic changes happen in the first 18 to 24 months of life. Your sleep structure changes and you begin to stabilize. You start to have longer regular bouts of sleep. And then you start to have different types of sleep. An infant seems to have predominately rapid eye movement sleep and very little deep sleep. That seems to be common across almost every single mammal that we have studied. Then non-REM sleep starts to develop later in life. And we’re not entirely sure why. Why is it that REM sleep dominates early in life? There’s a theory that it’s actually a critical igniter of brain development. That REM sleep or dream sleep sparks all of these neural pathways and makes them flourish. It is like an internet service provider in the brain that populates the brain with all of these high-speed broadband connections.

Then there’s another dramatic change that happens in our sleep. And it happens right around adolescence. What we see is that sleep time preference changes. What I mean by that is that when you are a younger child, you want to stay up late, but it is nearly impossible. You fall asleep early and much to the chagrin of your parents, you wake up early. Once you hit adolescence a dramatic shift happens in what we call the 24-hour biological clock rhythm, or your circadian rhythm. What that means is that you now want to go to bed later and wake up later. And there is nothing you can do about it. No amount of parental ranting and raving is going to make you fall asleep as a teenager at 9 o’clock because you have to wake up at 6 a.m. the next morning to catch the bus. And that is one of the most profound tragedies of society in industrialized nations right now—the brute forcing of adolescent teen sleep against its biological natural tendency. And this is doing our youth a terrible disservice.

Then we maintain this regular sleep pattern in our mid-to-late twenties. But then, sadly, the great sleep depression comes—somewhere between your thirties and forties. If you were to come into my laboratory, we could measure the decline of your deep sleep quality. So even by the fourth or fifth decade of life, sleep starts to deteriorate.

By your seventies/eighties, it’s actually really difficult for us to pick up really deep sleep. We’ve actually done work in the last five years to explore why. And it is even more profound in diseases like dementia, particularly in Alzheimer’s disease. Very recently we’ve discovered that these two things that we very commonly associated with aging—poor memory or poor cognitive function and poor sleep—they aren’t simply coincidental. They are, in fact, significantly interrelated. And the destruction of deep sleep in later life is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated factors that are contributing to what we call cognitive decline, and now it seems Alzheimer’s disease as well.

So it is very difficult with aging. All signs point to the fact that sleep need remains just as high, but sleep-generating capacity is eroded and declines. In other words, the older adult brain cannot produce the sleep that it nevertheless still needs. We are now desperately trying to find innovative new ways to restore sleep in the elderly. It is one of the moonshot goals in my laboratory. Can we give back and boost and amplify deep sleep in older adults? And in doing so can we salvage aspects of learning and memory function? And can we start to fight back against disorders like Alzheimer’s disease? That is the very real hope now.

Aryae: Would you tell us a little bit about the work that you’re currently doing in the lab? And how is it helping you discover some of these new things about sleep?

Matt: The research that I perform in my lab has many different programs. Some of them are clinical. I’m not an M.D. by the way, and I don’t pretend to be one or play one in the public forum. I am a Ph.D. But we do work with clinical populations and psychological populations and patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. But we also do a lot of basic science research. We’re still trying to uncover all of these nutritional benefits that sleep provides to the brain and body.

The explosion of research and understanding about sleep has been driven by technology. We have these new methods of brain science to explore sleep in ways that we never could before. We can measure patterns of brain wave activity during sleep. And we can also peer deep into the brain with things like MRI scanners as people are sleeping. We can look to see which parts of the brain are switching on and switching off. And we can also sort of decompose these brain wave patterns, and really understand their individual parts, like a prism where you’re beaming white light and you can break it apart into its component shades and hues. By doing this we are able to speak in the currency of the brain which is in oscillations and brain waves and patterns of brain activity and networks of brain activity. And we are able to explore the body and find out more detail than we ever could before. We can look at genetics now through genetic screening—we can do blood draws; we can do measurements of heart rate and cardiac function, and we can start to unite all these things together. We can get a holistic view of the human while they sleep. And then we can see how that predicts the same set of measurements while they are awake. And then pattern match those two and then understand so much more about sleep. So it’s been this revolution of new science and technology that allows us to understand these living organisms and live homosapiens included.

Aryae: Is there a particular focus of your research currently for this year—a particular direction that you are going?

Matt: We have several different areas at work that we are doing. For example, one of them is working with aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Right now, based on work that is coming out of my lab and some other labs around the world, insufficient sleep across the lifetime is becoming one of the most important lifestyle factors determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease. This is an incredibly hot topic now. And it is bi-directional. What we now understand is at night during deep sleep the brain actually cleanses itself of toxins that have been building up during the day. It is important that people realize that wakefulness is low-level brain damage. And I don’t mean to be an alarmist in saying that. It is simply a scientific fact. From all of this metabolic combustion and activity that happens when we’re awake inside of the brain you build up excretory products just like in the rest of your body.

This system in your body, the sewerage system, is called the glymphatic system. At night is when that glymphatic system kicks into high gear. One of the things that this system clears out at night is this toxic protein called beta-amyloid, which is one of the leading factors that we believe causes Alzheimer’s disease. Now we realize why insufficient sleep can set you on a trajectory path towards Alzheimer’s. Because if you’re not getting the deep sleep that you need throughout your life, you’re not cleansing the brain of that toxic protein. Then we made a discovery that where that toxic protein builds up is not just in random places all over the brain. The Alzheimer’s protein amyloid will actually develop in some parts of the brain and not in others. Now we understand that if you don’t get that deep sleep at night, that toxic protein builds up in these deep sleep areas so you can’t generate the deep sleep even if you allow yourself the chance to get it. So more of that toxic protein builds up and prevents us from getting the deep sleep that we subsequently need. And through this sort of spiral, it leads to what we know is an accelerated trajectory. That is one of the areas that is exciting for us right now.

Of course, one of the other features of that discovery is that there is a silver lining—in making this discovery that sleep is a new missing piece in the puzzle about Alzheimer’s. Yet it’s not the only one. Please don’t think that. There are many factors we know that contribute to Alzheimer’s. But sleep seems to be one unlike many of the other factors—changes, for example, in the blood flow dynamic of the brain or the chemistry of the brain—sleep is a particularly treatable target. We can actually do something about sleep. It is very difficult for us to change blood flow in the brain right now. Modern medicine doesn’t have the technology to do that. But we do have some new methods to change sleep, and one of the ways that we’re exploring is by electrical brain stimulation. We’ll try very small amounts of electricity in the brain. But if you pulse that electricity in time with those deep sleep brain waves I was describing, almost as if you’re singing in time with the natural rhythm of the brain, in young healthy adults you can amplify the size of those deep sleep brain waves. And you can almost double the amount of memory benefit that you get from sleep as a consequence.

So the question now is—can we translate the same techniques into older adults and those with dementia and give back that sleep?

Sleeping pills are not advised for the long term, and in fact, they are not advised as the primary method for treating poor sleep. Sleeping pills do not produce naturalistic sleep. If I were to show you the electrical read out of your brain while you are taking sleeping pills verses natural sleep, they are not the same. Those sleeping pills have been commonly called the sedative hypnotics and for good reason. Sedation is not sleep. Now I’m not going to argue that when you take those sleeping pills that you are awake at night. You are not. But to suggest that you are in naturalistic sleep is equally a falsehood. And now there’s some quite damning evidence of the use of sleeping pills and increased risk of mortality and increased risk of cancer.

There is hope here. There’s a new method called cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia. It is just as effective, if not more effective, than sleeping pills. You work with the therapist. It doesn’t require drugs. But better still its much longer lasting than sleeping pills. One of the problems with sleeping pills is that you start to use them and if you stop you have what’s called an insomnia rebound effect which is that you not only go back to having the poor sleep that you had before but your sleep is even worse due to drug tolerance and drug expectation.

So we’re looking at non-pharmacological ways to cure sleep in the elderly. We are not using drugs because right now the evidence isn’t strong enough to prove that they are beneficial. If we can find a drug that does improve sleep, and we can scientifically prove that, I will support it.

Mila from the UK: What’s one thing that we can do to salvage that lack of sleep in our older age? And why is it that some people have dementia and Alzheimer’s and others don’t? Does it mean that those who do have it have lost valuable sleep in their lifetime?

Matt: Two great questions. Firstly, in terms of sleep as we get older, there are several things that we can do. These are things that we call sleep hygiene.

Firstly, you can try to help regulate your rhythms. As you get older you actually start to regress back to childhood in terms of your sleep preference. You want to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.

The other thing that older adults commonly do, which is a mistake is to fall asleep in the afternoon and evening. Here is the problem with that behavior. During the day when we are awake we build up something called sleep pressure. There is a chemical that builds up. The chemical is called adenosine. The longer you are awake, the more adenosine builds up. The more adenosine that builds up, the sleepier you feel. And after about sixteen hours of continued wakefulness, you are usually so sleepy that it’s time to go to sleep. And you fall asleep naturally and easily.

When we sleep at night it is like a pressure valve on that cooker. We release and remove all of that adenosine. We clear it out. And then we wake up the next morning feeling refreshed, because we’ve removed those adenosines—that sleep pressure.

And here is now the problem. If you stay awake during the day like all us adults, and you’re building up all this sleep pressure and ready to get a full night’s sleep, and then you fall asleep on the couch or you go to the movies and you fall asleep, now you’ve released that sleep pressure or some of that sleep pressure. Even just a couple of minutes can relieve that sleep pressure. So no wonder then you find it difficult to fall asleep at night or stay asleep throughout the night. So be really mindful of unplanned napping. And falling asleep on the couch is napping.

The three final things I would say for elderly individuals: firstly, when you go out in the morning, get lots of bright light and try not to wear shades. Make sure you have sun protection. Get lots of light. Suppress your hormone called melatonin. It signals darkness to your body, and when you block it with light which is what happens—daylight helps put the brakes on melatonin—it makes your body realize that it’s no longer darkness, and it wakes you up so that you feel good and alert in the morning. But then what we need to do is decrease our light exposure throughout the afternoon and evening. So if you go out for a walk in the afternoon now is the time to put shades on. People with televisions in their bedrooms tend to sleep worse than those who don’t. People who use iPads or iPhones an hour before bedtime tend to have considerably worse sleep than those who don’t.

Secondly, avoid caffeine after midday. That is critical.

The last thing for older adults is medications. Some medications that older adults take for hypertension, for example, actually prevent sleep at night.

Parniti: Often sleep is compromised by other people—sleeping with our partner—is there a biological or evolutionary benefit to sleeping or to not sleeping alone? Also, I have a difficult time adjusting to Daylight Savings Time. Do you have any tips on adjusting to the time change every six months?

Matt: So how are we supposed to sleep as a species? If you look at cultures that are untouched by electricity, many of them are actually co-sleepers. They sleep as a community or group. We shouldn’t necessarily adhere to that sort of classic hominid curtain. And the reason is this. Firstly, the frequency of sleep disorders in industrialized nations is astronomical. About seventy million Americans now suffer from some sleep disorder. And there are over a hundred types of sleep disorders.

If you look at these cultures that are not affected by electricity those rates of sleep disorders are usually less than 1%. What that means is that when sleeping as a group, the group tends to sleep largely at the same time. They are driven by dusk, by the sun, and by dawn. So everyone has a much more stable regular common sleep pattern. Now that is not true in industrialized life. First, we have higher rates of sleep disorders and people are going to bed at different times for different social and professional reasons. As a consequence, having a partner in your bed who is off your schedule and sleeping at a different time and/or has a sleep disorder—snoring, sleep apnea, tossing and turning with insomnia—has a profound impact on your sleep, too. And we now know that between some 40% and 60% of couples will either not sleep in the same room or they will start sleeping in the same room but then end up sleeping in different locations, either on the couch or in a guest room. So now there is a revolution, largely unspoken of because of the stigma, which is called the wonderful sleep divorce, where people are deciding to go to sleep in different rooms where they sleep better. And the stigma around this of course is that it signals that you’re not having a healthy relationship if you are not sleeping in the same bed then perhaps you are not having a physical relationship. In fact the opposite is true if you look at the data. People who get more sleep are more physically engaged in their relationships than people who are not getting sufficient sleep in part because it regulates many of our hormones and our energies that are critical to that side of nurturing physical relationship. So that’s a big topic, and I think we’ll see a continued recognition and acceptance of it in the community.

Coming onto Daylight Savings Time, it is a problem. It is very hard on the body when it shifts between time zones. It cannot make up time zones as quickly as we can now travel with on a jet airplane. It causes a mismatch between the biological clock and the new clock time in the time zone. That mismatch causes what we call jet lag. Every day that you are in a new time zone your biological clock; your circadian rhythm, adjusts by about 1 hour of time. So if I fly back to the United Kingdom, which is 8 hours ahead of us, it is going to take me 8 days to catch up an hour each day. Now for Daylight Savings Time: what that means is it’s going to take a little bit of time to catch up. The best way to try and deal with Daylight Savings Time is to use an alarm to gradually titrate. It is almost like coming off a drug. You’re at full dose and you come down to 80% dose and then you come down to 60% dose. If you were in the springtime where you are losing an hour sleep, and we’ll have to wake up an hour early, in the weeks before, try to start waking up 10 minutes earlier then 10 minutes earlier the next day and 10 minutes earlier the following day.

Aryae: You talk about the global sleepless epidemic as the greatest public health challenge that we are now facing, and hearing what you are now saying, it makes a lot of sense. Before the call, I was curious and Googled public health challenges and I got all kinds of lists. Here is one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that was published in March 2017. They have on the list alcohol-related harms, food safety, healthcare-associated infections, heart disease/strokes, HIV, motor vehicle injuries, nutrition, physical activity and obesity, prescription drug overdose, teen pregnancy, and tobacco use. They do not have sleep on their list. So what do you say about that discrepancy?

Matt: What is fascinating is that almost every one of those large public health concerns is directly related to insufficient sleep. So, for example, we know that insufficient sleep is tied to high rates of cardiovascular disease, the calcification of the coronary arteries, hypertension, and stroke. We also know that sleep loss is causally related to obesity. Sleeplessness has a profound impact on your immune health and in fact you can go to so many of the classic immune disorders even the common cold. People who get six hours of sleep or less are between 50% or 60% more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep more.

Cancer is now strongly related to insufficient sleep. That includes cancer of the bowel, cancer of the prostate, and cancer of the breast. So much so that in fact the World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified any form of nighttime shift work as a probable carcinogen. Set jobs that disrupt your sleep wake rhythm are cancer-inducing, that is how strong the evidence is right now.

We now know that drowsy driving causes more accidents on our roads then either drugs or alcohol combined. And yet we spend a fraction of 1% of our public health policy budget on educating people about the dangers of insufficient sleep.

Risk-and-reward behaviors are intimately tied to insufficient sleep, from risky behavior to drug addiction and drug-taking and teenage pregnancy. We’ve done a lot of work in this area, too, particularly on adolescent youth. You shorten their sleep; they become much more risk-taking and sensation-seeking. They engage in behaviors that are high-risk behaviors.

Every one of the conditions on that list has a link to insufficient sleep! So why sleep is not on that list is so desperately sad and striking to me. That is why people like me needed to become much better sleep ambassadors. We need to go to places like Capitol Hill. We need not just go there waving our hands saying look at this problem. We need to come up with 21st century new visions of solutions. And that is one of the things that I speak about in the forthcoming book. And is one of the things that I am trying to now push very hard with a number of quick advocacy policies. We need to change society for the better. We need to reorient and prioritize!

Aryae: How is the way any of us might be getting a night’s sleep affected by where we live, by our cultural background, by a socioeconomic status?

Matt: I’ve spoken a lot about how and why we sleep from a biological angle or from the physiology of our brains and our body. Of course they are strong determinants. Our biology is a big determinant of how we sleep. But sleep is also determined socially. It is a social construct. Just think about it. Like who are you? What is your social standing? And do you think that makes a difference with how you sleep?

For example, take someone who is of a low socioeconomic status. What is their sleeping condition like? Do you think that social status changes their opportunity to get good night’s sleep? And the answer is of course is yes. There are different factors that play out pressure on sleep in low socio-economic classes. There’s a deep sleep disparity right now. But it is not just biologically caused. It is socially caused. Firstly, one of the principal reasons is your sleeping situation. If you live in a neighborhood where there is high crime, for example, then that psychological threat of danger will prevent you from getting a full and normal night of sleep. And this we know from lots of good studies—that psychological weight of danger if you’re in the neighborhood where there is constant violence or there is constant threat of burglary or home intrusion, imagine how well you would sleep at night. Not particularly well, I’m sure.

The other thing is how work pressures sleep and grabs sleep like a vice grip and squeezes it from top to tail. What I mean by that is a lot of low-paying, low socio-economic employment is in the service industry right now. Service industry jobs tend to start very early in the morning. And as a consequence, people from low socioeconomic families also often don’t have a car, so they are taking public transport which can sometimes start at 5 or 6 in the morning, they may have to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning to get to those jobs. And then when they come home sometimes they may have two jobs–one that goes from the afternoon into the evening. Often these are families that have just one parent. You have this huge burden of child care in the evening and then you are waking up at 4 o’clock the next morning to get to your job again. So there is an economic and employment disparity that forces poor sleep in these communities.

Amit: We have a lot of interest from people around the world. Isabel from Germany says, “I’m one of those people that are sleeping less and less and can that be reversed? I’ve done this for years. Is there any benefits to changing now rather than in my late sixties?”

Matt: There is always benefit. And one should always hold out hope to try and obtain the very best sleep that your brain in that time of life is capable of. As I said some of these sleep hygiene principles–you can just Google sleep hygiene–should really help your biology at this stage of life, which is about finding the best chance of producing the best quantity and quality of sleep that you can have. So I think there is usually always room for improvement.

Kozo (a caller): Hi Matt. Thank you for this wonderful information. I was really struck by when you said that sleep and bad sleep patterns can actually cause disease. I’m wondering if you know if there’s any research being done on sleep being a therapeutic for disease. So let’s say you are diagnosed with cancer, is there any research being done where they require people to sleep in a certain way for a certain amount of time and then check and see if that affects the disease? Also, is there any movement or any research being done on sleep and hospitals, because it seems to me like you said sedation is not sleep? And in a hospital environment it seems like sleep is almost impossible. They come in and check on you. You have a roommate. They are moving things around. They have lights on. I’m just wondering if that is causing more disease or causing more mortality?

Matt: So the answer to both of those questions is an emerging area but the movement isn’t really in full swing right now. The evidence is concrete. We have good evidence and clinical studies in animal models that suggest that if you bi-directionally perturb sleep you can accelerate or retard certain diseases. A good example of this is cancer. If you are fighting a battle against cancer and not getting sufficient sleep, we now know that the cancer will grow more aggressively and more quickly. So people are now trying to think about prioritizing sleep as an agent that will aid in in the fight against cancer. Some really powerful and quite disturbing animal studies are out there showing that if you are short changing animals who have cancer of sleep, that cancer can increase in its speed and size and growth by 200%. So the evidence is that sleep is causal and bi-directional. It has forced people like me to try and advocate to medicine and doctors that we need to start prescribing sleep. Not prescribing sleep medication but prescribing sleep as the elixir of life, as a panacea for good health, and perhaps one of the best Archimedes levers that we can think of for actually brute forcing health under the attack of disease. And we will see more of that in the future.

In terms of sleep in the hospitals, you are absolutely right. There’s now a slow but growing recognition that it is a major problem. The place where I would argue you need a good night’s sleep the most is perhaps the last place that you get it, which is a hospital. And one of the things that I write about in the forthcoming book, is why don’t we do what we do on transatlantic flights. We give people a free eye mask and a free pair of earplugs. Add a small cost and it would help significantly with improving sleep. Now we’ve even seen evidence in neonates in the Intensive Care Unit that if you regularize the sleep they will exit out of the Neo Intensive Care Unit in half the time. It’s a dramatic improvement in health.

Albert from Oakland: Thank you so much. So, what I’m hearing is that a nap during the day is not really encouraged, which is contrary to a lot of older stories of certain cultures that may have benefited from the tradition of a siesta. Or if you take a look at children for example napping is encouraged for them for brain development. So is there a shift that happens at a certain age where it is no longer required or needed?

Matt: Let me be very, very clear about naps and their use. Firstly, children should be napping. Children very early in life are what we call Polyphasic sleepers, which means they have many phases of sleep. Then they become biphasic, which means they have an afternoon nap and then they sleep at night. If you do look at cultures that are touched by electricity, many of them are biphasic. They will sleep six and a half or seven hours of sleep at night and then they will have a siesta-like phase in the afternoon. We may be in modern-day societies not sleeping in the way we are naturally programmed. And I think there’s good evidence for that. But here’s the problem. Most people are not able to regularly nap. And it is in that context that sleep medicine now advocates against napping.

So if you can regularly nap during the day, day after day in a very stable manner and you can do so early in the afternoon, then napping is advantageous only under the condition that you are not having problems falling asleep at night. But if you cannot nap regularly then it is not advisable. Secondly, it is not advised that you nap later in the day. And finally, for older adults, if you are napping and having problems with sleep at night it is strongly advocated against that you don’t nap during the day and that you try to just push all of that sleep pressure into getting a good night’s sleep throughout the night.

So children—great to be napping. It is natural. Human beings, innately, we may be biphasic. We may be born natural nappers throughout our adult life. It is just that in modern day society very few people can nap regularly and if you can’t then it can be problematic especially late in the day.

Amit: Do natural supplements support sleep like calcium and magnesium or melatonin?

Matt: Sadly the evidence isn’t particularly strong in clinical trials. If you are in a severely nutrition deficient state then that can have an effect on your sleep and I want to be clear about that, but many of the homeopathic medications and even melatonin—and this is melatonin in the context of once you’re in a new time zone and you’re stable and you’re not suffering from jet lag—homeopathic medicines and melatonin for the most part have not held up under clinical trials to be any more efficacious than a placebo. If you are taking melatonin or some kind of a homeopathic medication and you feel as though it helps you sleep, my recommendation is keep taking it. The reason is that the placebo effect is the most reliable effect in all of pharmacology. What that tells us is that there is such a thing as mind over matter, and science is now grappling with this. It is acknowledging the placebo effect and we should take advantage of it.

Caller: Hello my name is Suzanne. Our new president (President Trump) concerns me in that he stays awake tweeting all night Is he going to be able to judge adequately not sleeping?

Matt: Great question. And it strikes at the very heart of one of the biggest problems with sleep. The answer is no he’s not going to be able to judge based on the scientific evidence. The fact is this your subjective sense of how well you are doing when you haven’t been sleeping enough is a miserable predictor of objectively how poorly you are doing with insufficient sleep. What I mean by that is you don’t really know that you’re sleep deprived when you’re sleep deprived. The analogy is a drunk driver at a bar who has had five or six shots of vodka and a couple of beers and who may pick up their keys at the end of the night and say, “I am fine to drive home.” And your response is, “No, no, no, I know you think you’re fine to drive, but trust me you are, objectively speaking, certainly not.” It’s the same with sleep deprivation, and we’ve got great data demonstrating this. That’s the reason why people will say to you, “No I’m actually one of those people who can survive on 6 hours of sleep or less.” That is sadly not true based on the scientific data of about 17000 studies; the number of people who can survive on 6 hours of sleep or less without measurable impairment rounded to a whole number and expressed as a percent is zero.

Mish (a caller from New York): I am now questioning the benefit of my sleep pattern after listening. I’m a senior, I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow and I sleep straight through for about 4 hours. I wake up between one and three times for a few minutes, go back to sleep right away each time, and then wake up as soon as my feet hit the floor. Is there any quality to the sleep pattern?

Matt: You’re worried about the waking up throughout the night— is that your concern?

Mish: Yes.

Matt: As long as you are finding that you’re able to fall asleep quickly after those awakenings without a problem, and secondly during the day if you are feeling restored by your sleep and you’re not feeling as though you’re nodding off, or you’re lacking in energy, then the chances are that the sleep you’re getting is sufficient. But if it’s not, or you’re concerned and don’t think your sleep is sufficient, definitely do go and see your doctors and let them know about those sleep problems. But from the sounds of it, it doesn’t seem like you’re suffering one of the two forms of insomnia. One of them is called sleep onset insomnia which is having trouble falling asleep and the other is sleep maintenance insomnia which is trouble staying asleep where you wake up throughout the night and find it difficult to fall back asleep. It sounds like you do wake up, but you’re able to get back to sleep.

Amit: I’m going to go to one of our online questions: “Do you have any recommendations for getting smartphone apps for monitoring the quality of our sleep? Have you heard of things like motion eggs and are there techniques for getting dream sleep and non-dream sleep?

Matt: It’s a little bit of a mixed bag out there in terms of these sleep assessment tools, and I should also mention that I work with a start-up company up in San Francisco as the Scientific Advisor. But I think right now the apps that track your sleep are perhaps not particularly accurate. I think we’ll get there very soon, and in the next 2 to 3 years, we will have good sleep-tracking devices, and I’m excited about that because right now technology is one of the biggest enemies in the bedroom for sleep. But I think it’s going to be technology that is our salvation. And the reason is this, there’s a common adage in medicine which is, “What gets measured gets managed.” And for so many of us for so many decades we’ve never really had a handle on how we are sleeping because we couldn’t measure it apart from our subjective sense of what time we turn the lights off and what time we woke up–and that’s not a very accurate rendering of our sleep. I’m very hopeful that soon we will have wearable technology or technology in the bedroom that accurately tracks our sleep. And once we take control of our sleep we will be able to better manage our sleep, and I think that’s fast going to happen and it will only be good for society.

Pranidhi (a caller) What do you think of advocacy for institutional change in this realm?

Matt: There is just no way to cheat the brain and body out of sleep. One way or another it will catch up to you whether it’s chronic sleep deprivation across a lifetime, leading to chronic disease and ill-health, or it’s the tragedy of mortality and this brings us back to road traffic accidents. When you are not sleeping, you are having micro-sleeps at the wheel. Sometimes your eyelids will partially close. Now at 65 miles per hour if you have a micro sleep that usually lasts just for 1 or 2 seconds, at 65 miles per hour that means you’ll drift from one lane to the next. So at that moment for those 2 seconds there is a one ton missile traveling at 65 miles per hour and no one is in control. And that can lead to fatal consequences not just for you but for those around you on the road. There’s sadly no way to short change it. It’s non-negotiable; it’s a life support system. It’s a biological necessity, and it’s Mother Nature’s best effort yet to counter death.

Alissa (a caller): I work sling shift so I do have an odd schedule but I try and keep my sleep regular. And this is for all the people who can’t do what you describe and go to bed an earlier time—is that still okay as far as maintaining your sleep regularly but working at odd, different times?

Matt: Right now shift work is a real problem and working at different times of day causes that normal window of sleep to slide across the 24 hour clock face. That really isn’t an optimal way to be falling asleep. Right now the advocacy in shift work is, if you’re on a shift, try to maintain that shift for long durations of time, and then come off and have a long period of recovery, and then go back on that stable shift. The biggest problem with shift work is having shift work that is inconsistent. Now technology is going to help try to limit the burden some, but people still make that sacrifice for us and we need to make it better for them and this is one of the ways that seems to be best. If you do need to do shift work, maintain that stable shift; that off normal natural rhythm shift, for a long period of time and once that shift ends give yourself a long period of recovery before you have to go into that same shift again.

Unfortunately if you give yourself eight hours of sleep during the day versus eight hours of sleep at night, the sleep you get during the day is not the same that you get at night; it is more fragmented, and it’s not as deep quality of sleep. It doesn’t necessarily contain the same stages of sleep. The reason is that biologically you’re not designed to sleep during the day. However, other species are. We’re not nocturnal species; we are a diurnal species. And so the recommendation is make sure you do give yourself 8 hours, that’s critical, but do realize that it’s probably not going to be as good a quality as 8 hours of sleep during the day as it would be 8 hours at night.

Just a little bit of a caveat on that: everyone has their own circadian preference, the fancy name is pronotype which means some people are owls, and some people are larks. Some people like to go to bed late and wake up late. Others like to go to bed early and wake up early. It’s a natural variation and it’s determined by genetics. It also changes across the lifespan, of course. If you’re one of those people who like to go to bed late and wake up late then the schedule of going to bed at 2 am and waking up at 10 am, may actually be fine. It fits perfectly with your biological rhythm. But if you’re someone who is a lark then you would like to go to bed at 10 o’clock and wake up at 6:00, then going to bed at 2:00 am and waking at 10 is not going to be optimal for your biology.

Amit: This is a very hot topic. We really appreciate you coming to share with us today. As a community how can we support your work?

Matt: I think I would just ask people to propagate the good work. And rather than necessarily support my work try and learn more about sleep and advocate more the critical thing for us to do as a society is to get rid of the stigma of sufficient sleep. This is one of the major problems right now that we face is in the civilized world is that we have associated getting sufficient sleep with this thing called laziness. That we think people who get 8 hours are slothful, and they’re not productive and the opposite is true. So as a society we need to be proud of our sleep; we need to reclaim our right to a full night of sleep without embarrassment and without that terrible stigma of laziness. And in doing so, we may all feel what it’s like to be truly awake during the day. So please don’t chastise others for getting sufficient sleep. As parents we shouldn’t chastise our children because that parent-child transmission of sleep neglect is powerful and it is problematic. That’s the only support I would ask for.

***

Join an Awakin Call this Saturday with dedicated yoga-teacher and innovative gift ecology practitioner Pranidhi Varshney. More details and RSVP info here,

This interview was edited by Lisa Clayton. Awakin Calls is a weekly interview series and community podcast that highlights the work and inner journeys of individuals who are transforming our world in large and small ways. Each call features a moderated conversation with a unique guest. Past interviewees include a calligraphy artist, a path-breaking neurosurgeon, an evolution biologist, a pioneering venture capitalist, and a socially conscious hip-hop rapper. Awakin Calls are ad-free, available at no charge, and an all-volunteer-run offering of ServiceSpace, a global platform founded on the principle of “Change Yourself. Change the World.”

 

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