December 7th, 2009


Transparency in Science

This article concerns transparency in science.  I've personally witness enough climate change to be confident of its veracity regardless of the "dubious emails," but I'm generally in favor of more transparency.  Transparent science is good.  Transparent government is good.  Secrecy tends to invite misbehavior.  So maybe something good will come out of all this.

"Climategate": Leaked Emails Push Scientists Toward Transparency
Peter N. Spotts, The Christian Science Monitor: "As delegates for climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, prepare to craft the outlines of a new global-warming treaty, a controversy over the hacked e-mails of some climate researchers is triggering calls for greater transparency in the UN body that provides governments with scientific advice on the issue. The e-mails have raised questions about the credibility of some climate researchers' work and revived criticism from those who say global warming is exaggerated. Though most scientists insist the e-mails don't undermine climate-change theory, several call for greater transparency in the field."

Poem: "The Festival of Lights"

This poem came out of the December 1, 2009 poetry fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from beetiger and sponsored out of general funds.  You can read more about the five days of Divali and the masnavi form online.

The Festival of Lights

– a masnavi

On Danteras, Hindus shop for gold
To praise Lakshmi and her wealth untold.

Choti Divali is small and sweet;
Rice powder draws the goddess’s feet.

Lakshmi-Puja is the moon-dark night,
Welcoming Lakshmi with candle light.

For Annakoot, one hundred and eight
Types of food are laid on Krishna’s plate.

On Bhai Duj, each sister makes her mark,
Keeping her brothers safe from the dark.
Fly Free

Poem: "Books of the Dead and the Living"

This poem came out of the December 1, 2009 poetry fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from natasiakith.  This is actually the extra freebie poem you get when someone new participates in the fishbowl; sorry it's late.  New prompters this month were natasiakith, Anthony Barrette, Doug Edwards, and probably the Anonymous person.  The liturgies mentioned in the poem are colloquially called "The Egyptian Book of the Dead" and "The Tibetan Book of the Dead."  I have instead used the best translation of their original names that I could find.  These are real texts and should be treated with respect.

Books of the Dead and the Living

The Egyptians wrote a book of the dead,
Spells of Going Forth by Day,
scratched out on papyrus scrolls,
illustrated in gold leaf
and tucked into sarcophagi beside the slain.

The Tibetans wrote a book of the dead,
Great Liberation Through Hearing,
describing the passage through the intermediate state,
past the buddhas and dakkis and dakinis
into rebirth once more.

The Americans write books for the living,
not for the dead,
and then wonder
why the dead hang around
lost in the liminal mists between here and There.


EDIT 12/14/09: The 2009 Holiday Poetry Sale is now CLOSED. Thank you for your support!

This year I'm trying something new, suggested by my partner Doug: a holiday poetry sale.  Today through Sunday, my remaining fishbowl poems from 2009 are half price.  Especially check out the epics; many of these are under $20 now and the highest one is only $36, so if you've been yearning for an epic of your very own, now's the time!  For those of you with just a few dollars to spend, there are lots of poems in the $2.50 and $5 range.  If you want to buy a poem as a gift for someone, let me know; I can dedicate it to anyone you wish.

Here is a PayPal button for your convenience, or you may contact me for other options.

Your poetry choices include the following...
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Most Popular Topics 12-7-09

According to the "Manage Tags" feature, the topics most often appearing in this journal are:

Writing -- 758 posts
Networking -- 701
News -- 544
Reading -- 532
Poetry -- 499
Politics -- 468
Cyberfunded creativity -- 441
Science fiction -- 402
Fishbowl -- 325
Economics -- 318

The only change this month seems to be that Fishbowl rose above Economics.

Suction Cups for Wreaths

For those of you interested in feeding the birds, I recommend that you watch for those giant suction cups intended for hanging wreaths and other heavy holiday decorations.  They work quite well for holding birdseed bells, suet cages, etc.  I found a palm-sized suction cup at Wal-Mart for $2 and used it to attach a birdseed bell to one of the kitchen windows.  Today I got another one and attached it to the north window of my office.  If it's still stuck tomorrow morning (I have terrible luck with suction cups; they usually fall off) then I'll hang a suet cage there.