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Neko

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It looks like low-fat diets do NOT protect against disease 


From the "The Top 13 Medicine Stories of 2006" section of the January 2007 issue of Discover magazine comes the following (asterisks are mine):


"Low-Fat Diet A Bust?

The largest-ever experimental study examining whether a low-fat diet can prevent cancer and heart disease brought discouraging results. After following 48,835 postmenopausal women for eight years, scientists concluded that cutting fat from the diet doesn't significantly reduce the incidence of breast or colorectal cancer, heart disease, or stroke. Results of the $415 million trial, part of the National Institutes of Health's Women's Health Initiative, were reported in three papers in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Revised ideas about the role of fat in disease could help explain the murky data, notes Michael Thun, who heads epidemiological research for the American Cancer Society. For example, women in the study cut their total fat intake rather than specifically targeting saturated fats and trans fats, which are now known to contribute to heart disease risk. Cancer researchers are also starting to focus more on risks from obesity. 'The evidence base has become very strong that ****it's being fat rather than eating fat that's associated with risk,'**** Thun says."


How many times have *I* made that final point? It's nice to see science catching up with me, or rather with common sense; fat is contained in many foods that are part of our natural diet, and by definition the things that we evolved to eat are NOT bad for us... if the eggheads had kept that inarguable fact in mind for the past 40 years or so we could've been spared all the ridiculous phases we've gone through where various harmless foods, or components thereof, were demonized as "bad for us," only to be sheepishly admittedly years later to be perfectly ok to eat.

Even in the case of that mega-boogeyman, saturated fat, the pendulum is swinging inexorably back, in part because it's come to light that big business was behind the push to declare saturated fats unhealthy in order to market vegetable oils, which means that we should discount much, if not all, of what we've previously been told. And, studies are finding, for example, that the saturated fats in nuts, and in the most reviled fat-bearer, coconut oil, might be GOOD for you... which the much-healthier-than-us cultures who've traditionally consumed them in large amounts could've told us years ago.

And what about the saturated fat in animal products? Dairy is NOT part of our natural diet, as primitive humans didn't consume the milk of other animals (much less turn it into cheese or ice cream), so don't be surprised if the fats and/or other aspects of dairy foods turn out to be honestly unhealthy; dairy is so nutritious, though, with its easily-absorbed calcium (easily absorbed IF digested with FAT, that is) at the top of the list, that a case can be made for eating a modest amount until we know the full story. The fat in meat, the most derided of all, WAS part of the diet of primitive humans, and, since no other creature whose natural food includes meat is harmed by animal fat, it's silly to think that WE are harmed by it. Eggs were also part of what primitive humans ate, BUT, they only ate them when they were naturally available, in early spring, so there MIGHT be a problem with eating them year-round; since the traditional American breakfast used to include eggs every day, though, and they didn't seem to suffer for it, I wouldn't worry too much about having them a couple of times a week.

The trans fats in processed foods, on the other hand, are manmade and thus NOT part of our natural diet; they supposedly adversely affect both the "good" and "bad" cholesterol, but even if they're wrong about that, as they've been about so much else in the "science of fat," we're eating ALOT of this stuff, and as best as I can determine its safety was never tested much less proven, so there's every reason to be cautious about it... luckily, plenty of companies are rushing to produce trans-fat-free products. If ANY fat ends up eventually being proved to be bad for us, my $'s on trans fats; it's also possible that it'll turn out that NO fat is intrinsically bad for us, and that, as the article suggests, obesity is what's problematic, not what fats we eat.

Yes, most obesity comes from excessive consumption of fatty foods (it's hard to get overweight from eating lettuce), but that doesn't mean that the fatty foods themselves are bad, any more than water is bad because drinking excessive amounts of it can cause water intoxication and death; you become obese from over-eating and from being a slug, it's not a magic effect because you ate fat. Obesity has been shown to cause or worsen almost every known ailment (our bodies just don't know how to cope with all that adipose tissue); why do we have this need to believe that something in the fat we eat is ALSO to blame? It is of course possible that eating HUGE amounts of fats of one kind or another might have bad effects other than weight gain, since primitive humans didn't have the ability to drown themselves in fat the way modern people can and so we didn't evolve to handle that... but then again, we didn't evolve to eat the massive amounts of CARBS that obese people consume, either, so to be rational we'd have to study BOTH of those things if we really believed the "excessive consumption brings about bad effects other than weight gain" idea... and have YOU ever heard of any studies about the possible negative health effects of too many CARBS?

In order to PROVE that fat of any variety has a negative health impact beyond obesity, they'd have to do a study comparing people who eat "acceptable" kinds and amounts of fat with the genetically-blessed people who stay thin despite eating mountains of high-fat foods, adjusting for exercise, smoking, etc, and see if those whose ONLY difference from the control group is higher fat consumption have more health problems... and until they do that, none of their conclusions as to the possible harmful effects of fat count for anything, because they're comparing obese, inactive people to "normal" people, which does NOT give scientifically valid results, not by a long shot.

We don't need intensive analyses of every bite of food to prevent heart disease and such, any more than they did 100 years ago, so why do we keep doing it? Because we Americans want an easy, lazy way to live long, healthy lives, so that we can just eliminate something from our diets and then eat what we want and be couch potatoes and not get fat or sick. The hard reality is that you have to make the commitment to quit pigging out and work up a sweat regularly or accept that you'll have poor health sooner or later, probably sooner; either way, stop agonizing over which foods or components thereof are supposed to be good or bad for you THIS year, because it's still the big picture that decides your health, not how many grams of X you ate today.


Friday, January 26, 2007

FINALLY: How/Why evil people are shielded from karma 


This post was originally intended to be about how the karma of evil people affects those around them. I started with their souls (or lack thereof), but before I could segue into their karma it hit me: Although it seems clear that evil types aren't tied into the tapestry of karma in the normal way, the mechanism of it had always eluded me, leaving me with the unsatisfying partial explanation that, since souls, which are made of karmic energy (aka the energy of thought and emotion), are our link to overall karma, SOMEHOW evil people's lack of normal souls prevented them from being "linked"; then, tonight, when I was writing about what sort of "soul-ish" things the evil might have, that line of thought crashed headlong into the understanding that all the energies involved are natural forces, and so should act in similar ways to other natural forces, and... an answer appeared on the screen, with me barely aware of having typed it. I was so stunned to FINALLY see a way for these energies to get the result they do that I got up and walked away from the computer to let my whirling brain settle down. I stumbled to the door of my husband's study and attempted to tell him what I'd come up with; not very coherently, I'm afraid, but he grasped the concept that I was trying to describe an aspect of karma in a way that paralleled the behavior of known forces of nature, and instantly came up with a DIFFERENT explanation that was so much simpler that, using Occam's Razor as my guiding principle as always, I immediately accepted it over mine.

So here's what I've done; I've left the post as originally written untouched, and then after it I've added what HE said and my analysis thereof, so you can see the actual path of the spiritual progress I made tonight. Here it is:


A couple of nights ago, I had a dream with a familiar theme; I was back in school (it's usually high school, but this time it was college), I was nearly done with whatever # of quarters/semesters I inexplicably needed to be there for in order to "re-graduate" (specifically, within a couple of weeks of "the end," which is a common timeframe), and I needed to get to a class, but there was a problem... mostly it's that I can't find my schedule, and need to go to the front office (high school) or the registrar (college) to get a copy, but in this instance it was that I needed to find my campus map to locate the building the class would be in... a class called "The Truth About the Soul."

If the symbolism got any heavier it'd flatten me, lol.

Not coincidentally, I've been giving a great deal of thought to what kind of warped, stunted souls evil people might have, if any, and, if our intuitive perception of them as soulLESS is correct, would the energies they emit form a pseudo-soul, in other words a cohesive "field" that would give some sort of direct, although limited, connection to the engine of karma, or do the - energies of their ugly thoughts and feelings just form a poison cloud around them, ready to envelope anyone who stays near long enough... or both? There's no way to know for sure. The only certain thing is that, while karma does a good job of sending negative energy in return for negative energy in normal people (even in the unfortunate cases of those who radiate - energy from sickness, pain, fear or grief), the ABnormal, those whose brains are "broken" in ways that make them evil, don't seem to suffer as much as they should, or at all; granted, because of their "brokenness" they can't feel the joys of love and friendship and such even when those things are foolishly offered to them, and that in itself is a big punishment even if they don't feel any dismay because of it, perhaps even a big enough punishment to even out the scales, but that'd still leave open the question of why they're not drawing huge amounts of - energy in response to what they're putting out, or perhaps it's that the energy can't quite get to them because their own cloud of - energy acts like the - pole of a magnet and repels it... hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

Since karma is a natural force, it can reasonably be assumed to function in ways analogous to any of the other natural forces, including magnetism; what if, just as light can be a wave or a particle depending on what hoops you make it jump through, the karmic energy of our thoughts and feelings might attract like energy (+ for +, - for -) when "controlled" by a normal soul, and REPEL like energy, as a magnet does, when "controlled" by a warped or pseudo-soul, strongly or weakly depending on the degree of evil... and since they're generating little or no + energy it wouldn't make much difference if some or all of the + that came in response to it was also reflected... that literally just came to me as I was writing this... give me a moment to ponder it... wow...


Ok, that was the original, unfinished post. What my husband gleaned from that final point was "energies not organized in the expected harmonious way," so his comment was; "It's like noise." And suddenly, it was so simple and clear; brain scans show that abnormal brains produce abnormal patterns of energy, so why wouldn't the energies of thought and feeling emerge from such brains in abnormal forms as well, which would be the karmic equivalent of "noise"... static, in other words. In the same way that we can pick out little or nothing from a staticky radio or TV broadcast (depending on the degree of static), the engine of karma might not be able to make anything out of the distorted energies an evil person produces, leaving it unable to match + with + and - with - in any effective way... and THAT would explain why evil people all too often don't get the - karma they so richly deserve.

I still think that the "pseudo-souls" and/or "clouds of - energy" produced by evil people are interactive with karma rather than being inert (since none of the other energies that are part of karma are inert), and I'll be giving a great deal more thought to that, with the magnetism and particle/wave ideas being angles from which I'll approach the problem, but I think my husband's "noise" idea is going to be just about unbeatable as the "how and why" of evil people's "disconnection" from the wheel of karma.

I've made more spiritual progress already this year than I did all last year; 2007 is really shaping up nicely.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Purse-onal eBay story 


I know, bad pun-sorry. It occurred to me that I hadn't chronicled my adventures on eBay for a while, so I'll fill you in on what SHOULD have been a short and simple search; my attempt to find a purse.

Why had I been reduced to looking on eBay for something that every department store has hundreds of? My mother is to blame for that; thanks to her training, my purse contains every item I could possibly need when away from the house... including folding scissors (for dangling threads), a mini tape measure (so I can determine the sizes of furnishings that might fit in my mostly-unfurnished home), and a little calculator (to figure out tips at restaurants). Because of the sheer volume of stuff I carry, I can't use a small purse, but, because I'm not using my purse as a gym bag, lunch box, briefcase or receptacle for kids' stuff (other than the occasional thing for my husband, lol), a tote-type purse doesn't suit my needs either; this wouldn't be a problem if they made purses in the full range of sizes, but for the most part they DON'T... it's like how in the Army everything comes in 2 sizes, too big and too small.

Furthermore, because I don't want to be digging for an hour to locate whatever I need, looking like an idiot and wrecking my nails, I can't use a purse that's just a "sack," I need pockets and dividers; although lots of purses used to be designed that way, virtually none are these days, presumably because it's cheaper to not include those features... but even super-pricey purses don't have them for the most part, so go figure.

Fashion is working against me as well; shoulder bags seem to be far less popular than they used to be, although why anyone would want to have to clutch a purse handle all day is beyond me, and since I like to have my hands free, and wouldn't dare have a heavy purse exerting strain on my wrists with my borderline carpal tunnel issues, I'm excluded from the majority of bags in this way too.

And; although purses used to just discretely carry women's necessities, and were kept until they fell apart, nowadays they're trendy items meant to be eye-catching and cool for a few months and then tossed, which means that basic purses have gotten harder to find... which wouldn't be so bad, since *I* don't care if a PURSE is the current style or one from 3 (or 30) years ago, except trendy ones are usually small and without pockets, not to mention "too young" for me (hearts, fringes etc). On the other end of the spectrum, stashed in the back of most stores' purse displays are bags presumably meant for VERY conservative types; dead-plain rectangular blocks with nothing but a little clasp to decorate them, if that... I'd have to be on the verge of carrying my junk in a paper bag before I'd buy one.

AND; those pitifully few purses that're within the realm of usable for me almost always have exterior cell phone pockets, which are not only useless to me (I'll NEVER get a cell phone) but seriously ugly as well... which, combined with the other issues, eliminates 99.999% of all purses sold in the United States, such that it literally takes me YEARS to find a workable one (it's a good thing I treat my stuff so gently, and that the last time I found a purse I got 2 of them-I'm currently using that 2nd purse and have been for ages).

After endless frustration with trying to find a purse in my city, it finally occurred to me to look for one on eBay; with about 120K purses available there at any given time, you'd think it'd be a snap to find what I wanted... but it wasn't:

It turns out that an insane # of people are selling USED purses; I can see doing that if it's a designer bag that's worth something, but other than that who on Earth wants to buy a used purse, however cheap? Anyone so poor that they can't afford a new one can go to a thrift store and get a used one without having to pay shipping, and without any guesswork as to HOW used the purse is, so...? I eventually discovered that eBay DOES have an option to look at only new purses, but bags that're used but allegedly "like new" show up in that search because their sellers marked them that way to increase their chances of selling them (some of them MIGHT still be like new, but I wouldn't count on it-eBay sellers are notoriously blind to flaws and signs of wear), and purses whose sellers didn't bother to "officially" label them as new because they included "new" in their titles or descriptions do NOT show up; like everything else on eBay, it's somewhat of a free-for-all.

Since I had no intention of risking a used purse, I had to depend on people who had bought purses on sale intending to re-sell them for a profit or gotten them as unwanted gifts; apparently, the sort of purse I need doesn't attract the attention of potential re-sellers or gift-buyers, because even with purse auctions numbering in the 6 figures it took a couple of MONTHS of diligent searching to find anything. I wish that was a hyperbole, but it's not; all the problems I've always had with purse-finding went double on eBay.

It's not just the scarcity of acceptable purses that bothered me, of course; it was also the stupidity of the sellers (you knew THAT was coming, right?), which made my daily searches take 10X as long as they should have. Their unwillingness to properly indicate whether their purses were new or used was just the tip of the iceberg; purses can be expensive, and you'd think that this would lead to people who want to sell them striving to give accurate representations of them to encourage buyers and reduce - feedback... but if you thought that, you'd have to be unfamiliar with eBay, sigh.

The worst problem was with the photos; some sellers didn't have ANY on their pages, which is just ridiculous... there was even an auction for an alleged Chanel purse whose opening bid was $500 that didn't have one. When they DID have a photo, it was often either postage-stamp sized or they'd tried to shoot a dark purse against a light background without knowing how to correct for it and ended up with a detail-free dark rectangle or an overexposed one with very little detail... what kind of a moron puts a photo on an auction page that doesn't show what the item looks like? And then, an astounding # of sellers hadn't chosen the option (which shouldn't even BE an option, it should be a requirement) to have a thumbnail photo appear in search listings; the lion's share of my search time was spent bringing up pages for auctions that I could've dismissed at a glance if there'd been a pic to check out... especially in the astonishingly numerous instances where a seller called a purse with handles big enough for a reasonably slender arm to be pushed through them a "shoulder bag" (many of which auctions had photos of women wearing the bags jammed into their armpits, as if this proved that they WERE shoulder bags rather than proving that they weren't).

And finally, there was the legendary inability of eBay sellers to give complete descriptions: A purse is a 3-dimensional object, so for the body of the purse there needs to be THREE measurements, NOT 2 (and certainly not ZERO)... it was disheartening each time I got hopeful about a purse only to hear back from the seller that the belatedly-supplied 3rd dimension was 2", which meant that it was too small. (How does ANYONE manage to use one of those flat purses? Don't they carry hairbrushes or sunglasses anymore?) The other necessary, and often neglected, measurement was the length of the strap, or alternatively the length of the "drop" from shoulder to purse; since I don't want to go around with my arm held out at an angle because a purse is under it, I need to be sure that the strap is long enough to place the body of the purse at about hip level... which few straps are long enough to do, naturally. And then, there's the all-important description of the pockets/sections of the purse, if any, which possibly isn't crucial to anybody but ME these days but is part of the features and should still be included; as I discovered with the purse I eventually got, even when asked the seller can't manage to... yes, I DID finally get a purse, and it came today!!

Out of desperation, I bid on a purse that, based on what the seller told me, seemed kinda iffy, but had a super-low opening bid so I went for it; she made it sound like it was a "sack" but with 3 pockets around the inner wall that she said were deep, so I thought that in a pinch I could stuff them with the little doodads and put the big ones in the main compartment, plus there was a zippered back pouch for my keys... but what it actually is is a 3-sectioned purse with a zippered pocket on the middle section, and a pocket in FRONT as well as on the back, which is the ideal design. Even better; for a really cool new with tags genuine leather purse, I paid less than $7 including shipping... and that's not a typo.

SUCCESS!! :-)


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Odds and ends 


Believe it or not, I have ANOTHER karma-related post forming in my mind; while this is FAB after last year's spiritual dry spell, out of respect for those readers who aren't into that sort of thing I'll toss out some other stuff to give 'em a break:


I did a new tech thing for the 1st time in ages: When viewing sites via BlogMad (click the image with the goofy eyes in the sidebar if you want to join), if I get distracted and just click on a link rather than opening it in a new window, there's no way to get back to the page I came from (the back arrow will take me to the blog BEFORE that one); this is a bummer, since after I go look at whatever they recommended I usually want to post a comment about it. On one such occasion, I started wondering how, on some sites, when you click a link it opens in a new page, and wouldn't that be a good thing to have for MY links so that BlogMad users could click on them to their heart's content and still be on my blog... so I did some code checking, and figured out how to do it. To keep Blogger from seeing the code as attempted html, I'll use () instead of <>, which gives us:

(A HREF="your URL here" target=_blank)

Sometimes "_blank" has single or even double quotes around it, but my husband says that's only necessary if you have "weird characters" as part of a command, so not to worry about it; whichever way you format it, it seems like a good idea even if you don't use BlogMad or some other surfing service (although it might aggravate some folks who're attached to tabbed browsing)... you don't want your links to send people away from your site, just to add other goodies to their experience therewith.


We're still getting raccoon visitors, and it appears to be 3 different ones; 2 I've verified as male by the vaguely unsavory but necessary step of laying down on the carpet and looking under their tails to see their little testicles... my husband has started referring to this as "up-fur," a play on the fetish of "up-skirt," a form of voyeurism in which men get a thrill by seeing up women's skirts (usually without their knowledge). The 3rd coon just seems too big and goofy-looking to be female, so we're assuming he's male... but we've been faked out before, so I'll keep an eye on him and see if I can spot anything anatomically definitive.

In other critter news: My husband had blocked the hole the rats had chewed into the attic with a glue trap, insisting that the super-stickiness would prevent them from breaking through; when I heard them in the attic again, he checked the trap... and found that they'd pulled one side out, and covered JUST the part of the glue that their fur would brush against as they went through the hole with little wood shavings. Is it just me, or are they acting more and more like something out of a horror movie? (Note to self; don't walk around alone at night barefoot and in my underwear.)


My husband brought home an amazing DVD, a documentary about the struggles of gay people in the Orthodox Jewish community; it's called "Trembling Before G-d"

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0278102/

and it's eye-opening, educational, fascinating... and of course heartbreaking at times. The special features, all of which are top-notch, include something as wonderful as the movie; clips of a series of rabbis speaking at length on the topic... including one who is himself gay. One of these eloquent gentleman told a story to illustrate how urges that would typically be met with disapproval if acted upon can turn out to exist for a valuable reason; a man he knew who'd had the overwhelming urge to steal everything he saw for his entire life found himself in a Nazi officer's office during WWII, and, when the latter went out for a moment, he saw that on the desk there were several hundred passports of Jews who were going to be deported and sent to camps... and he listened to his instinct just that once, grabbed them all and saved those people's lives. The man believed that God had given him the burden of that urge to bear so that he could be there and take action with a speed that no normal person could; WAS it God, or was it fate, coincidence, or perhaps karma drawing an "instinctive thief" to things that needed to be stolen? Geez, I can't even post about a movie without getting metaphysical, lol; the important point here is, I highly recommend that you watch this DVD.


The day after watching that DVD, the site I usually use to view the listings for my numerous digital cable channels

http://www.zap2it.com/

was down, and I had to use the much harder to read backup

http://www.excite.com/tv/data.jsp?nl=1

via which I found a movie that looked interesting; while I was watching it, an ad was shown for a movie with a gay theme, which seemed odd because the movie I was watching had a gay major character... how often does THAT happen? The channel I was watching didn't seem familiar, which isn't that noteworthy because I've got hundreds, but I started to wonder... and then an ad came on for "Queer as Folk," and I eagerly brought up the URL that was shown with the station identification

http://www.logoonline.com/

and discovered that, without my cable company having bothered to tell me, I've acquired "Logo," a really cool LGBT channel. (Did they not inform the customers on purpose, so that no one could protest?) If you're familiar with so-called "alternative" movies, you know how creative, brilliant and cutting edge you can expect much of their programming to be; check and see if you've got Logo and just didn't know it... and if you do, check it out.


I've found a couple of interesting URL's; if you want to find the cheapest gas in your area, go here

http://www.gaspricewatch.com/new/

and, if you've wondered what the, um, "big deal" is about the Tommy Lee/Pamela Anderson sex tape, and don't mind EXTREME close-ups of genitals, and, er, piston-and-cylinder type action, you can download it free here:

http://rapidshare.de/files/33214506/Pam_Anderson_and_Tommy_Lee.zip


And finally: The doctors have now decided that my mother must have blood clots in BOTH lungs, not just one, AND that she might have pneumonia too, just not a bad case (YET). On the + side, the test they did to check for markers in her blood that would indicate that cancer had taken hold somewhere new came back clean; for now, she appears to be cancer-free. Let's hope that this is the last cancer-related post I ever have to make about her.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

The karmic algebra of charity + prejudice 


My husband told me about the following story (the asterisks are mine):


"PARIS - A top French judge ruled that an extreme-right group cannot serve pork soup to the needy, saying the charitable handouts aim to discriminate against Muslims and Jews who don't eat pork because of their faith.

Judge Christian Vigouroux of the Council of State, the country's highest administrative body, said late Friday that such giveaways by the far-right group Solidarity of the French threaten public order.

His ruling approved a decision by Paris police to refuse permits to the group on the grounds that such handouts could spark angry reactions.

France is home to more than 5 million Muslims and some 600,000 Jews. Both Islam and Judaism prohibit eating pork, and Vigouroux said the group had shown 'a clearly discriminatory goal' with its charity.

Solidarity of the French was just one of several far-right groups that began distributing pork soup across France over the last four years.

Critics contend the giveaway of pork soup is a far-right ploy to draw support for their efforts to defend against perceived threats to European culture.

Far-right groups defend the soup as nothing more than an age-old staple of the rural heartland from which all the French, at least in the national imagination, are said to spring.

'Pork-fat soup is traditionally the soup of the poor because it provides complete nourishment,' said Bruno Le Griel, a lawyer for the group.

Le Griel argued that no needy Jew or Muslim was forced to consume the pork soup. But the judge said the group's Web site indicated it was a policy to ***refuse dessert to anyone who did not eat some soup first.***"

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,242208,00.html


Despicable!! Disgraceful!! Utterly horrifying that any group anywhere would use hungry people as a way to display their prejudice and evil!!

My husband agreed with my outraged reaction, and then asked, "So what's the end karmic result of this combination of charity and discrimination, Karma Girl?" (He'll deny all belief in karma if asked directly, but tries to figure out what's good or bad karma and acts accordingly where applicable-he's sort of an unwilling acolyte, lol.) With widespread condemnation causing hordes of people to send out negative thoughts and feelings about this, it's no trick to see that the net karma for the miscreants is - NOW... but how about BEFORE everyone got up in arms about it?

When someone takes action that causes a hungry person to be fed, the resurgence of energy they feel, and the shift of their thoughts and feelings from ones of misery to contented ones, generates + karma... even if it's a scumbag that's providing the food. No, it doesn't seem "fair" that anything done by an evil person or with evil intent could have a + karmic result, but karma's NOT fair, any more than gravity or any other force of nature is "fair"; fairness requires some sort of sentient mind making judgments, and karma's just blind energies interacting. The gratitude of those being fed also generates + karma for as long as they feel it; sadly, human nature is such that people are steadily less grateful for what they're being given over time, and eventually will most likely take it for granted and feel NO gratitude, which is another example of how karma doesn't always reward do-gooding like we assume it "should." For the situation under discussion, some of those being fed might have felt contempt for the providers once they knew what was going on, but were too hungry to spurn the soup; I'm betting that the net karma of feeding each such person was -... but, before the truth came out, undiluted gratitude would have been the only energy flowing back from them to the benefactors, leading to + karma.

Hungry Jews and Muslims who discovered that they couldn't eat the soup, and that they couldn't have any dessert either, would have been furious and upset, and this would be powerfully - karma to those who planned it that way; since there were presumably far more people who CAN eat the soup than can't, though, the combined karma would still be +, although obviously less so.

The biggie in the karmic equation is what the mindset of the perpetrators was; are they crazy, sociopathic, self-righteous, or ugly types enjoying the pain they've caused? Based on the noteworthy ability of psychos and other rotten types to avoid suffering anything like the amount of grief they cause, it seems inescapable to me that we're being totally accurate when we describe these people as soulless; just like every other area of a human body can work improperly, not work at all, or even be partially or totally absent (some of these variations are of course deadly), the part(s) of the brain that allow the energies of thoughts and feelings to form the soul can fail to do so, leaving a person with a stunted, warped or nonexistent soul... and since our souls connect us to karma, such a person would have little or no connection to karma's "engine," such that, grim as it is to contemplate, they could do as they please and only have to deal with the direct results of their actions, not with karma. What that means in this case is that if the architects of this scheme are crazy or amoral/sociopathic, they could be "shielded" from the - karma flowing back to them in response to their actions... it turns my stomach to say that, but I don't see any way around it. The good news is that the + karma coming from those they fed would ALSO be blocked, but that's small consolation.

If, instead, these turds are just self-righteous @ssholes who think they're doing a good and noble thing, they WILL get all the karma, + and -, that their actions lead to, but because they're thinking pleased, proud thoughts, which are + and call forth further + energy, rather than ugly (-) ones, they almost certainly had a net + result earlier on despite doing something immoral... yeah, that sucks, but at least they'll get a karmic butt-kicking now that the sh*t has hit the fan and thousands of people are thinking hateful, enraged thoughts about them.

What we should hope for is that the Pork Soup Gang are mean-spirited types who were thrilled when they thought of a way to stick it to non-Christians and hide it under a pious mask of charity, and were rubbing their hands and chuckling gleefully at the brilliant scam they pulled off... because then, not only will all their well-deserved - karma find and surround them like a cloud of doom, but the negative energy from their loathsome thoughts and feelings will draw even more - karma to them. Granted, pure cause and effect will likely do them plenty of harm without karma's help, because with so many people ticked off at them some direct action is bound to be taken to their detriment eventually, but every bit helps.

And what would their net karma have been BEFORE it became widely known what they were doing? By what equation can we add their ugly musings (- karma) to the + karma from those they fed and the - karma from those they turned down? There isn't one, obviously, but one scary thing is clear; since this is supposed to be a small group, and there were undoubtedly many homeless who asked to be fed, the vast majority of whom could eat the pork... with more people generating + feelings/thoughts than - ones, the net karma to the scumbags would have been +.

This is why it's so important for each of us to make it our responsibility to pay attention to what's going on around us, analyze it correctly so that we recognize evil when we see it and don't confuse the evildoers with the victims, and then condemn the former and support the latter, not just in our heads and hearts but loud and clear so that everyone knows about it and can join in... because we can't always count on karma to "punish" wrongdoing, but we CAN count on ourselves to do so if we CHOOSE that path. And what would the karma to us be of that choice? That's a whole 'nother essay...


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Beware List, Part 6 


The Beware List began when I had a major epiphany a few years back; that the evil, the manipulators, and the socially clueless depressives all follow the same patterns, give the same hints about their true natures and intentions, and even use the same lines, and that this makes it possible to figure out what they are, and what they're up to, BEFORE it's too late... BEFORE they screw you. Below is the latest installment from the list; to read entries 1-50, see my posts of 5-31-06, 7-6-06, 8-31-06, 10-6-06 and 11-19-06. Beware of anyone who:


51) Defends some ugly thing that they or someone you’re fighting with has said by invoking “free speech,” especially if their subtext is that YOU are somehow the bad guy if you “try to impede free speech” aka demand an end to the ugliness.

The invocation of "free speech" is a BIG red flag; good people rarely use it to defend what they've said (as they have VALID reasons they can use instead), and NEVER use it to excuse bad behavior... only rotten types think that "free speech" excuses abusive comments, or that it's somehow wrong to suggest that people spewing venom should button their lips.


52) Based on their comments about a "fight" involving you and them and/or their friend(s), seems to think that everyone should have unfettered “free speech” EXCEPT YOU... especially if they're allegedly your friend.

This person is NOT your friend; no matter how angry we get, we NEVER think that our friends should be denied free speech... and a decent person doesn't think ANYONE should be denied free speech (keeping in mind that free speech does NOT confer the right to say any nasty thing you want about a person-laws against libel and slander exist for a reason). To use this particular strategy, the person has to dislike you, either be an idiot or think YOU'RE one (because they believe you won't notice that you've been singled out to lose your right to free speech), be a dirty fighter, and probably feels threatened by your intelligence or strength, which they counteract by trying to "handicap" your ability to fight.


53) Has a friend that they badmouth to you constantly, but who they are mysteriously still VERY involved with.

Either they're BS-ing you about their feelings for the other friend in order to manipulate you, or telling the truth and are so sick they can't let go of that person, or telling the truth and sticking by that person because they're using them or intending to; whichever is the case, they're scum, and it's only a matter of time before they play YOU that way.


54) Steadily reduces the amount of effort they're willing to make for you as time goes on and/or generally seems to make much more effort for strangers than for people with established places in their lives.

This person is either a depressive or just totally lacking in social skills; they have no idea what friendship is, or how to BE a friend, and the concept that you're supposed to be willing to do MORE for someone the deeper your relationship with them gets is utterly foreign to them. They cold-bloodedly "bribe" people into befriending them by doing favors and giving gifts because it's the only thing they know how to do that ever makes anyone act interested in them; once a prospect starts treating them as a friend, they revert to their normal behavior, which is to not even make the expected minimum level of effort, much less more... and when the friend finally gives up and bails, they brand them as "bad" and will tell everyone how that person abandoned them for no reason.


55) Becomes furious with, or ends a relationship with, someone out of the blue and for trivial reasons (or none).

This is either a seriously sick person who lashes out at random (or as the result of having twisted things around in their heads and convinced themselves that an innocent person is their enemy), or a master manipulator who treats anyone who fails to grovel sufficiently (or shows too much independence of thought) in this manner in order to frighten their other hangers-on into catering to their every whim so as not to receive the same treatment.


56) Has a significant alteration of their behavior and/or personality (beyond the normal decline in formality and gradual revelation of quirks) once they get to know you.

This is an obvious one; they faked you out, either by pretending to be more like you, or like what they thought you want, than they really are to fast-track them to your approval, or by pretending to be "normal" when they're far from it (in a BAD way) to keep from scaring you away. This person is either a manipulator setting you up for a fall or has major mental health issues; nice people don't try to trick you, and emotionally healthy people don't feel the need to play games to be liked.


57) You read old emails or IM histories from and realize that they seem like a TOTALLY different person then than now.

Similar to the previous one, but far worse; only a master manipulator is capable of changing their behavior so subtly that you don't notice when they eventually bear no resemblance to who you originally thought they were... and they're NOT doing all that for your benefit. (I recommend that anyone having such written records for a friend or lover go back to the earliest ones and re-read them.)


58) Thinks that only THEY have the right to get mad or complain.

This person is NOT your friend, and is either a clueless depressive, a manipulator trying to make you walk on eggshells, or really doesn't like you and is trying to drive you away... and if you call them on it, they'll inundate you with melodramatic proclamations to distract you from pursuing the issue.


59) When they’ve been caught in wrongdoing, accuses you of “laying blame,” as if that were somehow not appropriate, and as if you were somehow “bad” for doing so.

This person has mastered the concept of "the best defense is a strong offense"; by changing the subject to YOU and YOUR actions, they neatly duck the butt-kicking they so richly deserve... if you fall for it, that is. All decent people understand that a wrongdoer should expect to be blamed, and DESERVES to be blamed, and so don't have a problem with blame being laid as long as it's done in response to actual wrongdoing... only a bad, or totally amoral, person objects to being blamed for things they've done, or thinks that anyone who blames them is "bad."


60) Wants you to be a Yes-Girl (or -Boy) instead of being honest, and thus becomes angry if you point out that any aspect of their behavior is less than optimal, even if you’re trying to help them achieve their goals or avoid problems by telling them.

This person doesn't want REAL friendship, which includes the giving of feedback on a variety of things including behavior, and is probably incapable of giving it; they just want non-stop and unquestioning approval from you, although they have no intention of giving it TO you... OR, they don't really see you as a friend and so don't want the sort of help from you that they'd accept with reasonable grace from those they DO consider real friends... OR, they're so immature that they're still rebelling against anyone "telling them what to do." In any case, they're a bad relationship bet.


I hope this stuff helps prevent you from getting dissed. Remember: They can only get you if you LET them.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

The karma of rescuing 


Last Saturday, I heard a BANG on the kitchen window; despite my having hung so many suncatchers on it that it barely lets in any light, the birds still fly into the bare spots pretty frequently, so this didn't alarm me at 1st... until I looked up from the computer to see a little tweetie lying motionless on the air conditioner. I lunged to the sliding glass door to see if he was moving; usually they're just stunned and fly away after a few minutes, but sometimes they don't recover before it gets dark and have to be put up in a tree so they don't spend the night on the ground (at least until the cats show up). This bird did something I'd never seen before; he slowly rolled over onto his back with his feet in the air. Shrieking in dismay, and ignoring my husband's admonition that he was a goner, I yanked open the door, dashed out and tenderly scooped the tweet up; I saw no injuries or blood, neither his head nor his wings were at funny angles, and his eyes were open and blinking, so, with relief, I called out that he wasn't dead and probably not injured, just badly stunned. I cradled his tiny body in my hand, petted him with one finger and talked soothingly to him; he didn't struggle or peck, and looked up at me with no sign of distress.

It was early evening, and if I hadn't been there the bird would have just laid on the cold metal with the air around him getting colder and darker, and might easily have slipped from being heavily stunned into death... at best, he'd have recovered too late to fly away, and, with nowhere to hide, been dinner for the 1st cat (or raccoon) that showed up. Luckily for him, though, I WAS there, and I stood on icy tiles in bare feet, shielding him from the chilly breeze with my jacketless body, while he snuggled into my warm palm and showed no indication of wanting to leave; after about half an hour, when it had darkened to the point that I was getting really concerned that he wouldn't be able to see well enough to fly, he finally stirred, and, when I flattened my hand, flew onto the patio cover, and then off to his nighttime roost... and I dragged my half-frozen body (I'd lost most of the feeling below my knees) back into the house, suffused with the happy glow that comes from helping, and probably saving, a little wild creature.

Early the next day, I was in my study when I heard a bang at the kitchen window... followed by 2 MORE bangs, at which I vaulted from my chair and sprinted to the glass door, envisioning a dazed bird flying repeatedly into the glass that'd have to be trapped before it bashed its brains out. What I saw, with a creepy sense of deja vu, was a tiny avian form lying on the air conditioner; before I could even determine if he appeared injured, there was a sort of blink, and the bird was GONE, as if by some malign magic... and then my brain decoded what I'd seen, which was an evil hawk that had swooped in with unbelievable speed and snatched the poor tweetie as it lay there stunned and helpless. I was frozen in horror for several moments, and then I heard an agonized wail... it was me. My husband, who'd still been asleep, came staggering out to see what I was screaming about, but I was inconsolable; one of my beloved birdies had been taken away to endure a hideous death, which could have been averted if I'd been in the family room where I'd usually be at that time and seen the hawk chase the bird into the window... I'd have been out the door and grabbed its intended victim before it had time to circle back to pick it up.

It seemed especially cruel to have had to witness that while still feeling pleased from having rescued a bird; even worse, what if it was the SAME bird? My husband tried to reassure me that the one I'd saved would have remembered its accident the day before and avoided the window, but it could hardly be expected to do an in-depth analysis with a hawk chasing it, and would likely still be weak and groggy from what was probably a concussion and thus be the slowest of the flock and the easiest prey, so... :-(

To distract my grieving mind from imagining gory ends for the tweet I'd been petting less than 24 hours before, I tried to sort out the karma of the situation: Clearly, bringing a reasonably highly developed creature back from death or danger would generate + karma, as its thoughts and feelings would change from - to +, and, in the former case, the resurgence of its life force would also be +. When I asked myself what the long-term karmic effect would be, I recalled the concept I outlined in my post of 2-18-06

"When you take an action that affects others, it's as if you handed each of them a long string that you've got one end of, along which the karmic energy you created by that action travels to them, and along which THEIR karmic energy in response to your action flows back to you... not just then but at every future time that they take action or otherwise produce energy (ie via thoughts or feelings) because of your action."

and it seems clear that, since saving a person (from death or major danger) is about as big of an effect on their life as you can have, doing so would tie their karma to yours, and permanently too, because the action of having saved them would affect them every moment forever; could this not apply to most animals as well, so that when you save one you get karma from it, not just at the time but for the rest of its life? And therefore; if a person or animal that you saved did bad things, would that - karma not then flow back to YOU? What if a person you save murders someone? What if a stray dog you save gets rabies and kills a child? What if the black widow spider you piously relocate away from the garage floor (instead of squashing it as SHOULD be done to all vermin) bites your neighbor and he dies? Is there any way that the - karma from those events could fail to flow back to you? Is this why in some so-called "primitive" cultures if you save someone you're responsible for them forever... is it for your own protection?

Now, a little bird could never do anything harmful, so there's no worry there, but... what if I saved the bird from an easy death, where it would just have gone to sleep and never woken up, only to have it die by being torn apart by a hawk instead? What's the karma of THAT? Did the extra few hours of life make up for the worse death? What if the hawk had grabbed the bird just as it flew away from me? Would its pain and fear have been greater than the + feelings it had had when I took it from cold metal to a warm hand, making the net karma to me -? Your instinct might be to deny that, because we see saving a bird as doing a good deed for which we should be rewarded, but karma does NOT pass moral judgments or give rewards, it's just mindless flows of energy, so you could easily do something morally and ethically right, something everyone would agree was good and kindhearted, and still end up with - karma. No, that isn't fair, but that's because karma's NOT fair; that's the biggest thing that people don't understand about it, because we humans persist in the idea of some force being out there that sees us as a parent sees children, a force that shares our morality and acts accordingly... there may well be such a force (I can't prove there isn't), but karma isn't it.

The final karmic concept here is; getting karma "forever" from a creature/person you save really just means "for as long as they live"... and so the amount of + karma you could get from the continuing life force of who/whatever you saved isn't a fixed amount, but depends how long the rescue-ee lives. Thus, if the hawk took the bird I saved, that ended my + karma from the saving, whereas if the bird had lived out its normal lifespan I'd have gotten another few years of it... and if I'd saved a member of some species of parrot instead, I could have had a century of + karma from it, assuming *I* lived that long. Again, this isn't "fair," but you can't get karma from a dead person/animal, so I don't see any way around it.

That's my 1st spiritual insight of the year, the 1st in far too long; I'm going to keep pushing myself to figure out the karma of different situations, and hopefully the next epiphany will be along soon.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Am I crazy, or is Google updating PageRank RIGHT NOW? 


(I guess those 2 things aren't mutually exclusive, huh, lol?)

Update, 1-10-07: *** I WAS RIGHT!! *** A well-known Google employee admitted on his blog today that PR IS currently being updated... and *I* figured it out almost a WEEK ago!! Yay me!! :-)

I've done every kind of search I can think of, checked every site, blog or otherwise, that I can find that deals with Google issues, and can't find any mention of an update. Many people have estimated an update for this month, most for the end of the month but a couple for the 1st week, and 1 even referred to odd behavior from Google going back a couple of weeks that they thought was indicative of a rapidly-approaching update, but no one that I've seen has said that it looks like an update is underway... so I'm tossing out an extra post to alert you to the following:

If you query Google's data centers about a URL, you normally get the same PR # back from each one; if you get DIFFERENT #'s for the same URL, that's supposed to mean that a PageRank update is in progress... and I've checked a bunch of URL's on several different sites that show all the data center results, such as this one

http://livepr.raketforskning.com/

and most of them are showing 2 different PR results. And, I've encountered some anomalous 0's, and when a data center reports a 0 for a URL with non-0 PR it can be an indication that that center is being reset, which also happens when PageRank is being updated. AND, the % of data centers reporting each of the different PR #'s for the URL's I've been repeatedly testing is varying quite a bit, thus causing the total PR to vary, which is ALSO typical of updating going on. So; either there's an update in progress, OR, Google is up to something else pretty major that I've never read about that does the same thing to the data center results.

Either way, why can't I find any other references to this? Is it possible that I'm the 1st one who saw it? SOMEONE has to be 1st, but...??!!


Update: It's been over 17 hours since I posted the above, and I STILL can't find any mention of the data center issues ANYWHERE. However, having spent WAY more time than I should have on searches, I've found a few mentions on forums going as far back as 12-30-06 proclaiming that various Google changes were occurring that meant that a PageRank update has begun; I also found a much greater # of posts in that timeframe where some poor guy would say that his toolbar PR had changed, and did that mean that PR was being updated, and every pompous @ss on the forum would slam him about the meaninglessness of toolbar PR, and that nothing mattered except when the data centers started showing changes... and the one time the victim replied that he'd checked his site with the data centers and saw wildly differing PR's, the pompous @sses replied that THEIR sites didn't show any changes and so the victim's data was somehow meaningless (no one pointed out that this was hypocritical and insane of course). I've also seen a few mentions of search engine results and backlinks changing, and CSS pages being intensively crawled, with no mention of what this might mean for PageRank; maybe if all those folks got together and compared notes, they'd see a pattern and reach a conclusion? Or maybe ONE person within the Google-watching community will check the data centers and report about it, so the "experts" can tell us if it's an update or some other serious Google change?


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

*** It's my 3 year blog anniversary!! :-) *** 


Happy New Year!! I hope that this will be the best year ever for you and your loved ones. I found a hilarious e-card for the occasion:

http://www.hallmark.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ecard|10001|10051|143940|-102001;11441;-102178||P1R7SO|ecards

I think the 3rd "resolution" is the funniest... and the most like something that'd happen to ME. I'm feeling encouraged about the coming year, because TWO of the raccoons that we haven't seen for months showed up tonight, which my husband and I choose to see as a good omen... if nothing else, it got us started off on the right paw, er, foot.

It's hard to believe that it's been THREE YEARS since I started this blog, knowing absolutely nothing about the blogosphere, never having had a personal site of any kind before, and with only a sprinkling of html commands to get me started on battling with the template. I wish I'd thought to take a screen cap of how the blog looked then, with an empty sidebar, that 1st couple of tiny posts, and of course my nifty flaming counter... yes, I knew enough to get a counter right off, but that was ALL I knew about what would be useful (or fun) to have on a blog. It looked so intimidating then, with all those zeros; even a 1000 hits seemed like a distant dream, as how on Earth would I ever find that many people to read my oddball posts... and a couple of months ago I passed 150K hits and barely noticed. Pretty wild.

What makes this special is that, because I blog anonymously, none of my readers are loved/liked ones from my "real life" here to see what I'm up to between phone calls and visits; everyone who comes here is doing so for just one reason... to see what I have to say. I'm not gonna go all falsely modest and pretend like I think I'm boring or anything, but even the most intellectual of my friends wouldn't want to be subjected to in-depth analyses as often as my regulars read them here; it's surprising, but very happy-making, to know that there ARE folks out there who like to think things through out to 10 decimal places like I do, or at least to read topics covered more in-depth than the standard couple of paragraphs. And; when someone comes here to read, they're not doing so in response to my looks, my net worth, my achievements or my force of personality, they're just here for my ideas, and how they're presented... and that purity of appreciation for what's in my head means more than I can say.

The other thing that continues to blow my mind is how many people from other countries come here; 45% of my visitors are non-American, and, while it's no surprise that the largest #'s of them come from Canada, the UK and Oz, right behind them is, not another Western nation like you'd expect, but SINGAPORE... what about my essays appeals so much to the citizens of that exotic land I have no idea. I've had visitors from 169 countries so far, many of which I couldn't find on a map when I 1st encountered them and some of which I'd never even heard of before coming online; it's always exciting when a new one shows up on the geo-locater (usually a tiny island nation at this point) and I look it up and learn what sort of place it is. There's a grim side to all this geo-locating, though; judging from the display of the last 20 cities visitors came from in my sidebar, I used to have several regular readers from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, but since earthquakes devastated that area in May

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_2006_Java_earthquake

I haven't seen a single hit from there... and I've had the sad thought many times since then that I need to HOPE those missing readers are just too busy for blogs now because they're helping to re-build, rather than the all too likely reality that they've been left homeless or destitute... or worse. Although painful, this illustrates what may be the best thing about blogging for me; it makes me think more globally... cities and countries that were just names on a map 3 years ago feel "personal" now when I hear of disasters there, or see a movie or TV show that's taking place there, and I care about the people in distant places in a much more concrete way than before, when all I had was the abstract way we love all humankind (and I hope that that enhanced caring is happening to lots of other bloggers as well, for the obvious reasons).

Another good thing about blogging is that it forces me to ponder important topics in more depth than just thinking about them, or even talking in person to people about them, ever would; this has led to my getting a boatload of new ideas, especially in the spiritual zone (although not much of THAT last year, sadly, but I've followed through with my resolution to start seeking out new spiritual epiphanies rather than waiting for them to appear as I used to be able to do, and have already come up with a new one that'll be covered in my next post). This may not sound like much to some, but for me it's the equivalent to if you discovered that by doing origami with your $ you could make it multiply... wouldn't that make you value origami pretty highly? As I've said before, I could be a brain in a bottle without missing the physical world much as long as I had internet access (DSL and a computer with telepathic controls, maybe?); I've had more new thoughts in the past 3 years than during any equal time period of my life, including college, and blogging is why.

When I started this blog, I truly intended for it to only have analytical posts, not personal ones or, worse, blogging about blogging, which has always seemed vaguely masturbatory to me; 2006 was such a train wreck in some ways, though, that my perceptions were dulled and my eagerness to pursue new info weakened, leading to far fewer "intellectual" essays than in the previous years. In 2007 I'm hoping to get back to discussing "Science, the unknown, and the human race" most of the time; however, since people seem to like my personal posts, and blogging-related posts are part of what links bloggers together, I'll concede that those things have a valid place here too, and you'll still be able to hear about my husband's foul-ups, the antics of critters on my patio, and my latest battles with sidebar doodads and the sites that provide them.

Oh, and useful URL's, too: If you haven't been pinging, or have been but have been dismayed by the problems some of the "broad spectrum pinging" sites have been having, try this one, which hasn't dropped the ball yet:

http://www.ping.in/

If you ping every time you post, it'll really help your traffic; don't ping more than every half hour, or when you HAVEN'T added new posts, though, because that'll get your site ignored or banned. You should also ping here

http://blogsearch.google.com/ping

to be sure that Google has you in their blog search database with all your posts... they invite you to ping every time your blog changes, but I think a little caution for non-stop posters is a good idea here, too.

Since this is a new year, it's time to back up EVERYTHING: template, archives, files, cookies, bookmarks... make sure every sort of data you've got online also exists on your own computer (don't trust ANY website to never lose your stuff), and everything on your computer should be backed up on a secondary computer, an external hard drive, or, to be fully circular, one of the websites that allows you to store a bunch of files. This might seem like a bit of a pain, but it's NOTHING like the pain you'll feel if your computer dies and takes all your stuff with it, or Blogger (etc) wipes out your blog and you can't reconstitute it.

And finally: Thank you to all my readers, especially my blog buddies, and double-especially those who've been with me for a long time... without you, I'd just be another geek doing a blogging version of one hand clapping. Here's to another 3 years!! xo





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