Thursday, October 28, 2004



Recreational Mythologies and Reality

"Hobbit" Discovered: Tiny Human Ancestor Found in Asia

Hillary Mayell
for National Geographic News
October 27, 2004

read the whole article here

Scientists have found skeletons of a hobbit-like species of human that grew no larger than a three-year-old modern child (See pictures). The tiny humans, who had skulls about the size of grapefruits, lived with pygmy elephants and Komodo dragons on a remote island in Indonesia 18,000 years ago.
Australian and Indonesian researchers discovered bones of the miniature humans in a cave on Flores, an island east of Bali and midway between Asia and Australia.

Scientists have determined that the first skeleton they found belongs to a species of human completely new to science. Named Homo floresiensis, after the island on which it was found, the tiny human has also been dubbed by dig workers as the "hobbit," after the tiny creatures from the Lord of the Rings books

The skeleton was found in the same sediment deposits on Flores that have also been found to contain stone tools and the bones of dwarf elephants, giant rodents, and Komodo dragons, lizards that can grow to 10 feet (3 meters) and that still live today.

Homo floresienses has been described as one of the most spectacular discoveries in paleoanthropology in half a century—and the most extreme human ever discovered

"To find that as recently as perhaps 13,000 years ago, there was another upright, bipedal—although small-brained—creature walking the planet at the same time as modern humans is as exciting as it was unexpected," said Peter Brown, a paleoanthropologist at the University of New England in New South Wales, Australia.

"Homo floresiensis is an addition to the short list of other human species that lived at the same time as modern humans. I think people will be surprised to learn that not so long ago, we were not alone," said Brown.

This is fascinating stuff for me, which is why I'm studying anthropology. I find it interesting that when Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings has was using his imagination as inspired by folklore, but ACTUAL human history is really not all that different from Middle earth.

We so easily entertain ourselves with fiction through mtv, movies, sitcoms, video games, but "reality" is oh so much more amazing.

Monday, October 25, 2004

A Like Minded Individual

This writer crystalizes my feelings about politics and faith. I've posted the entire article below.

read the article

Published on Monday, October 25, 2004 by
No Longer a Christian
by Karen Horst Cobb

These words rise past my lips with a retching pain and agony unlike any horror I have ever known. The word Christian I was told in Sunday school means to be Christ-like but the message I hear daily on the airwaves from the “christian ” media are words of war, violence, and aggression. Throughout this article I will spell christian with a small c rather than a capital since the term (as I usually hear it thrown about) does not refer to the teachings of the one I know as the Christ. I hear the church goers call in to radio programs and explain that it was a mistake not to kill every living thing in Fallouja. They quote chapter and verse from the old testament about smiting the enemies of Israel. The fear of fighting the terrorists on our soil rather than across the globe causes the vibrato in their voices to increase as they justify the latest prison scandal or other accounts of the horrors of war . The words they speak are words of destruction, aggression, dominance, revenge, and fear and arogance. The host and the callers echo the belief in the righteousness of our nation’s killing. There are reminders to pray for our “christian” president who is doing the work of the Lord: Right to life……2nd amendment…….sanctity of marriage…….welfare reform, war, kill, evil liberals so much to fight …… much to destroy.
Let me tell you about the Christ I know. He was born poor to an unmarried women. He was not born into a family of privilege. He was a radical. He said “it was said an eye for and eye and a tooth of a tooth (old testament) but now I say (a whole new plan) love your enemies bless those who curse you.” …He said “blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted…blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth…Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” (matt 5: 3-9) He said “all those who are called by my name “(aka the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) will enter the kingdom of heaven. He said people will know true believers if they have the fruit of the spirit which is: “love, joy , peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control. “ He said “I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink, sick and in prison and you visited me.” He knew he would be lead like a sheep to the slaughter. He responded with “Father forgive them…….. “ A sad and angry friend cut off the ear of a guard and Christ picked it up and healed it. He explained that in Christ there is neither Jew nor gentile, slave or free male nor female. He explained that even to be angry is akin to murder. He said the temple of God is not a building but in the hearts of those are called by his name - the Prince of Peace. He was a radical! His final days were spent in prayer that he could endure what was set before him. Not how he could overpower the evil government of that day. When they came for him he was lead away and didn’t resist even the cross.

This is a stark contrast to the call of the religious christian right who vote for war and weapons, suggest towns and villages be leveled ironically to bring freedom and peace to the people. Proudly boast this country’s superiority suggesting it is because God has blessed our nation. Today as I listened to a popular christian news network I was reminded that in the last days even God’s elect will be deceived. (II Tim 3:13) When the religious media moguls who preach prosperity spout their rhetoric I am reminded of the difficulty that Jesus described so vividly of a rich man’s ability to enter the kingdom of God. (Matt. 19: 24) Some who believe they are fighting evil will say Lord Lord and he will say “I never knew you“ (Matt. 22). They will have a form or godliness but will deny the power (II Tim. 3:5) the power to move mountains through prayer. (Matt. 17:20) . Jesus explained that he has not give us a spirit of fear but power and love and a sound mind. (II Tim. 1:17) I wonder if the innocent moms and dads and brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and grandmas and grandpas who were the victims of US military weapons (the never reported collateral damages we are protected from in the “liberal” nightly news) felt the love of Jesus with the shock and awe. I wonder if the surviving family members now understand His radical love and realize that because the US has destroyed many of their towns and villages and they have lost family members to war and their historical sites have been unprotected, looted and destroyed they no longer have any need for weapons.

I can’t begin to understand the statements and lifestyle of Jesus. What would he say to evil dictators? I suspect he would say what he has said to us all. But, the dictators do not kill in the name of the God who is revealed in the New Testament. This God would not justify 15,000 or more deaths. Even the wrathful jealous God of the old testament spared whole cities for a few righteous souls. For christians to support the killing of many as a way to prevent the fear of future deaths is not at all like Christ. He would not say when I am talking about war I am really talking about peace like the self professed christian President proudly states. Who but God has the right to determine what price a people should pay for their freedom. The religious leaders on the airwaves today respond to the voices of the few brave pacemakers who dare to speak out. They say that pacifism is insane, it doesn’t make sense, not biblical and illogical…….What is forgotten is that if logic was all that was necessary then there wouldn’t need to be faith. The horrors of September eleven, the rising terror alerts, the scary chatter on the internet are all reminders of one very clear statement that Jesus made. “Perfect Love casts out fear.” (I John 4:18)

The solutions to the social issues which the “religious right” use to manipulate good decent people to vote for the party of perpetual war as means for perpetual peace have no resemblance to how Jesus responded to the social concerns of his time. He never once mentioned the “right to life” even though the year he was born king Herod ordered all the babies be killed. (Matt 2:16) Anthropologists and sociologists report that abortions have been practiced throughout history. He knew that passing laws does not change the heart. As a follower of his teaching I believe in the right to life for everyone including children in Iraq who stumble into land mines, cross the street at the wrong time, or who are still snuggly tucked within the warm bellies of their wounded or grieving mothers as the US fighter jets fly over head. These are living breathing children whose neural networks are fully formed, Have taken that first deep breath that was breathed in tAdam. They feel all the pain and horror just like you or I. The killing of these little ones are never even reported and the ones who tax dollars paid for the bomb never even acknowledge the tragic loss.. Jesus said if you harm even a hair on there head you shall face judgement. I believe in the right to life for those in the United States who are unwanted and who have the sicknesses of poverty. I believe in the right to life of the naive kid who was promised by the recruiter they could choose a desk job and still get their education paid., or could see the world or could accelerate their life or could play a very realistic video game from a cockpit.

I know first hand the reality of unwanted children as a worker in a shelter home for the unwanted in a large Southern city (a shelter that was supported financially by several churches with members together totaling more than a thousand) I know the reality of this right wing rhetoric when week after week I begged and pleaded with people to give up only one night every three months to sit with these unwanted living children for a few hours while the overworked house parents had a night off. Of the few I found many changed their minds when they discovered that they would need to wear rubber gloves to change the babies diapers. These “believers” stand on the street corners holding right to life signs and then vote against medical assistance for the mothers and their unwanted children creating an impossible existence for them. The few of these abortion activists who might adopt some of these unwanted children generally want the white and the healthy and then only one. The ones with hydrocephalous, tracheotomies, emotional/ mental problems and communicable diseases along with their life long medical expenses are someone else’s problems.

So I cringe as many “christians“ vote for policies that deny help to the poor in our own county, support the war, military strength assuring the latest weapons are developed and that the heavens will be dominated by the military of the United States. The nation many say is founded on Christian principles While we export nuclear weapons into the heavens and develop electromagnetic weapons to shatter skulls , split the earth ( and silently destroy a body as a thief in the night. Studies are even now searching for the frequencies to override the freewill. These unbelievable technologies are a reality and DNA specific weapons can or soon will target a specific nationality. Some will be taken and the others left and the tax dollars funding the business of war and drug companies whose lobbyists have hood- winked the Christians by the shell game of politics.

I weep as the waters Jesus walked on become contaminated with uranium and fear. I grieve as the missiles fly through the atmosphere on the continent where Jesus rose into the sky defying death and the grave and where the Holy Sprit first descended. . I cry out at the horrors of war and the indignity of the war time prisons so close to where He took captivity captive . So I am no longer a christian if Christianity has become what is presented to us by most of those on talk radio, broadcasts of the mega churches, TV Christian clubs and the example of our christian president. I cannot support the right of the United States and Israel to develop and use the most heinous weapons ever imagined because of a few verses in Biblical law which Jesus declared were fulfilled at his death long ago. (Romans 8:13-15) I want no part of a temple built on the blood of the innocent. Just as many did not recognize the Messiah because he came as a baby many may not recognize the New Jerusalem as it approaches. The sheep have been lead astray by the teachings of prosperity and misinterpretation of the final battle between good and evil. Many no longer can recognize the voice of the good Shepard.

While all this is going on the many churches across United States are filled with christians who work for companies who have contracts with the military.

Some “good christians” even work at weapons facilities. It is not a stretch to say that a women who tightens a last rivet on a shiny new missile just off the assembly line on Friday afternoon might be the same women who licks the gold star on the Sunday school attendance chart on Sunday morning. The missile could be launched by the kid in the youth group who often reads the invocation and it will find it’s destiny at a “target of interest” which might or might not have been a result of good intelligence. So the collection plate circulates and the spring ground breaking of the new Sunday school wing continues on schedule . There they can keep teaching the children to love their enemies and bless those who curse them, about Peace, and love, and kindness, and the radical message of Jesus.

I believe in the example of Jesus and his admonition to love your enemies bless those who curse you . Do I understand how this works on the global scale? Do I know what Jesus would say to all the world’s leaders? No. I don’t understand how the example of Christ’s life and his well communicated message of love, compassion and peace works in the world today- that’s why I need faith! Am I always correct in my assessments and actions? No - that’s why I need grace. Am I brave and unafraid? No - that’s why I need the perfect love that casts out fear. Some trust in Chariots and some in horses but I will remember the name of the lord our God (aka the Prince of Peace) Perhaps politics has no place for imitators of Christ.

Who will show the face of Christ to the world? Who will speak His radical message. I hear from these so called imitators of Christ that the pacifist’s are a collection of kids, hippies, socialists and communists who haven’t got a clue. Some of us however have come to our beliefs as a result of careful and prayerful study of the scriptures and admonishment from our elders. Many are Mennonite, Amish, Quaker and other Anabaptists whose ancestors did not resist their torturers and were drowned, burnt at the stake and flogged for their pacifist stand. They truly followed the example of Christ and their resistance against what they knew were the catastrophic effects of the merging of church and state cost them a great price. But churches today have signed on to the government plan and have agreed to look the other way in exchange for tax free privileges. The true message of Christ still exists to some degree in the quiet of the land…..the peacemakers but sadly even these good people have been deceived by the loud angry words from a righteous sounding religious media majority broadcasting in cars and trucks and tractors all over our land ironically preaching the “good news of war for peace“ and convincing 24 hours a day 7 days a week that the press is “liberal“ . I suspect there are many who share my sorrow at the loss of the meaning of what it means to be like Christ but our voice is seldom heard and the blaring rhetoric drowns out the still small voice of the mighty God. . Peace used be the opposite of war, Conservative used to mean the tendency to conserve resources. Liberal used to mean kind and generous, and Christian used to mean like Christ.

So I am no longer a christian but just a person who continues trying to follow the example of Christ. I’ll let him call me what he wants when I see him face to face. Until then I will pray that some day people like me will be able to reclaim the meaning of Christ’s identity and the world will see the effects of the radical message of Christ‘s love- the perfect love that casts out fear.

Karen Cobb is a freelance writer and artist in Santa Fe, NM and can be contacted at

Thursday, October 21, 2004

And now for something completely different...

Posted by scatamousche on KLF.

An old farmer owned a large farm with a nice pond in the back forty. It was fixed up nice: picnic tables, horseshoe courts,and some apple and peach trees. One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over. He grabbed a five gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond. He made some noise so the women would be aware of his presence, and they all went to the deep end of the pond. One of the women shouted to him, "We're not coming out until you leave!" The old man frowned, "I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked."

Holding the bucket up he said, I'm here to feed the alligator."

"Women in Kabul"

Barbara Walters, of 60 Minutes (USA), did a story on gender roles in Kabul, several years before the Afghan conflict.

She noted that women, customarily, walked about 5 paces behind their husbands.

She returned to Kabul, recently, and observed that women still walk behind their husbands, but now seem to walk even further back and are happy with the old custom.

Ms. Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, "Why do you, now, seem happy with the old custom that you used to try and change?"

"Land mines," said the woman.

A man staggered home late after another evening with his drinking buddies. Shoes in left hand to avoid waking his wife, he tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs leading to their upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the bottom step in the darkened entryway. As he caught himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung around and he landed heavily on his rump.

A whiskey bottle in each back pocket broke and made the landing especially painful. Managing to suppress a yelp, the man sprung up, pulled down his pants, and examined his lacerated and bleeding cheeks in the mirror of a nearby darkened hallway, then managed to find a large full box of Band-aids and proceeded to place a patch as best he could on each place he saw blood. After hiding the now almost empty box, he managed to shuffle and stumble his way to bed.

In the morning, the man awoke with searing pain in head and butt and his wife staring at him from across the room. She said, "You were drunk again last night." Forcing himself to ignore his agony, he looked meekly at her and replied, "Now, hon, why would you say such a mean thing?"

"Well", she said, "it could be the open front door, it could be the glass at the bottom of the stairs, it could be the drops of blood trailingthrough the house, it could be your bloodshot eyes, but,'s all those Band-aids stuck on the downstairs mirror!"

Thursday, October 14, 2004

on Consciousness (part II)

Over the last several months I've been settling down into my new suburban lifestyle. My wife and I rent a house with a huge backyard and a tight cluster of trees in one corner. It's heaven. I've seen and heard some amazing things concerning the natural wildlife in my backyard: highways of ants, "fighting" butterflies, arguing cats, dogs barking codes to each other at night... the list goes on and on.

One afternoon I was studying on my back porch (area) and found a little black spider wandering across the seat of a chair next to me. With my finger I made a poking motion towards it, and it ducked behind the edge of the seat. A few seconds later, it peeked out, waited, and then climbed back onto the seat. I promptly poked at it again. It responded by ducking back behind the edge of the seat. We did this one more time, before it finally determined that I wasn't a threat and descended down to the surface of my porch.

My porch consists of a slab of millions of tiny pebbles in concrete. Once the spider dropped onto the porch, it hopped, pebble by pebble, towards the side gate of my back yard which opens between two brick walls. I watched the tiny black spider island hop between flat surfaced pebbles, avoiding the uneven or sharp edged pebbles. If it came to a large area of exposed concrete, it would walk across, and then mount another flat pebble and continue along it's hopping way.

During this time, I caught a brief flash of motion between the black metal of the gate and the brick surface of the wall. I watched closely, but saw nothing more.

Finally, the spider reached the side gate. It crawled onto the smooth concrete surface of the gate threshold, and skittered through the middle. Then, out of nowhere, a chameleon stood in the spider's place, and the spider was no where to be seen.

The cameleon paused, froozen in an attentive stance. The edge of its tongue slid out from between its lips, and then promptly slid back in. As quickly at it arrived, the chameleon jumped onto the far brick wall and scurried away.

That's life for ya!

Recently, my wife and I went to the Austin zoo. I had to go to observe primate behavior for my anthopology class. My prof instructed us that the primates don't like eye contact, so in order to observe as objectively as possible, refrain from eye contact disturbance.

I knew what she meant, and it's true, even for us humans. Ever try looking a complete stranger in the eye nonestop? Neither have I, but I digress.

After completing my assignment I wandered around the primate cages to observe all the exibits. My wife and I made our way to a cage of Capuchins monkeys. I approached them with some hardcare eye contact, and I got an interesting response from one individual. She (he) held my gaze. She didn't look away, or loose interest. She held my eye contact. Then, she started lightly tapping her chest. For fun, I imitated her jesture. She continued holding my eye contact and tapped her chest again. I repeated. She tilted her head sideways, and I mirrored her. For the next several minutes I mirrored her every action, and she was transfixed by what I was doing. I could see her mumbling under her breathe in her Capuchin language. Her two other Capuchin neighbors ignored my wife and I, but this one had establish cognitive contact with us, and it knew it. My wife tapped her head, and briefly, the Capuchin imitated her. The whole time this communication was going on, I kept wondering, "what does this poor little thing think about us?"

Eventually, my wife and I left. As we were backing away from our curious Capuchin, two ladies approached the same cage. One of them noticed that the Capuchin was watching us, and made a comment that it wanted our water bottle.

No, it was so much more than that.

Consciousness is still a mystery to us humans, at least for those who care to look. I think we can find degrees of consciousness in all forms of life, and I think it's important to recognize this because it puts us in our place.

Life is precious. We shouldn't take it for granted.

Why I Am Not Voting For George W Bush

Bush "flip flops":

-says he's a "compassionate conservative." He's pro-death penalty, pro-war, and pro-debt. Nothing compassionate about that.

- says he's a Republican. He simultaneously created America's largest deficit and America's largest government.

- said he wouldn't be a nation builder, now he is.

- said he would be a uniter, not a divider. Ooops.

- said he's pro life,ALL LIFE, and then he says he's a
"war president". How can you be both? (for you Bible
people this beggs the question can a man serve two masters?)

- said he would be a good leader. Come on, everybody knows who pulls the strings in the White House. Bush is just a face, a facade, a "likeable personality". He relys on the decisions of his cabinet members to shape his policy, probably because the man never shows any profound thought agility of his own. Besides, the Lemming that leads all the other lemmings off a cliff is ALSO a "good leader." Let's be smarter people.

Bush Says:

The Terrorists "hate freedom"-Do you know why Usama "hates freedom"?
- because when terrorists kill 3,000 freedom
loving Americans we respond by killing 12,000
to 15,000 Iraqi civilians (conservatively speaking). What makes things worse is that the Israelis do it too, WITH U.S. Apaches and firearms.

Saddam possessed "weapons of mass destruction"
This is perhaps the greatest conundrum in the history American foreign policy. Where did they go? Hmmm? Oh well, so, Bush's "Intelligence" was flawed. Who would've guessed? At least the world's second largest oil reservoir is open to the global (aghem, AMERICAN) markets!

Jesus is his favorite philosopher
- and Dr Seuss is his favorite author. If Jesus is his favorite philosopher than who is his favorite theologian, Machiavelli?

I got a "tax cut" (which is false, I got shit, but that's another story...)
- I would've gotten a little over $300. Nice. What did Bush tell me to do with my tax cut? Buy a DVD player. According to Bush, this stimulates the economy by encouraging consumer spending, which is the heart and soul of capitalism. Most of my "well spent" $300 would've gone right back into the pockets of the wealthy elite. An intersting thing about the demographics of capitalism: the upperclass saves and spends to impress, the middle class spends and saves to break even, and the lowerclass fails to save and becomes locked in consumer addiction. Of course, anyone in America can work hard, save money, and climb the ranks of social class, but they can't teach this in schools, otherwise our economy would undergo a paradigm shift (i.e. depression). Gotta keep the consumers spending! (i.e. addicts)

Democracy is alive in a new way in America. New voters are registering like it's going out of style. Political movies and DVDs are crawling out of the Hollywood underbelly like cockroaches on a moonless night. Unprecedented millions watched the Presidential debates, and even the Vice Presidential debate was juicey. I would say the air is thick with excitement, but this would be untrue. The air is thick with anxiety. On November 2nd, the entire world will be watching America to see what happens. Who will win? Will it be Kerry? Will it be Bush? Will it be the Terrorists?

It doesn't matter who wins in November, somebody is going to be pissed. No matter who wins in November, somebody is going to cry foul. No matter who wins in November, the American people are losing.

We've lost America to the special interest groups. Those with a disproportionate amount of money have greater resources, greater access, and greater influence over the legislators in Washington than do we non-corporate entities.

George W Bush has lead our country into a dark age where Americans hate Americans, while in other parts of the world it is "cool" to hate Americans. In other parts of the world it is honorable to strap a bomb to your chest and blow yourself up in a diner. In other parts of the world it is morally acceptable to fill your car with explosive material and drive it into a group of American soldiers feeding candy to children. Terrorism is a relative word. Terrorism = guerrilla warfare without the first person perspective. Terrorists exist because our gluttonous consumption of oil has driven American foreign policy to secretly pull the strings of Middle East politics, and now, the natives are restless. They want their independence from western secularism, and they're willing to kill in any way possible to get it. George Bush has only perpetuated THOSE VERY SAME SYSTEMS which motivated a group of CIA trained radical Islamic fundamentalists to fly two commercial airliners into the World Trade Center.

Bush doesn't get it. He says the economy is good, yet, the monthly reports are typically disappointing. He says Iraq is on track, yet he's never mentioned the potential reality of civil war. He says he's the best man to win the fight on terror, yet, he clearly doesn't get it.

In my opinion, four more years of this guy would be worse than an Al Qeada attack, especially when I think about the future of American prosperity.

So, this November, I am voting NOT BUSH, which means I'm voting for Kerry. Thanks to our wonderful democracy I can choose between the lesser of two evils.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Children Of Earth

Dear Children of Earth,

Don't listen to what the "grown ups" tell you. They'll tell you to tell the truth, but then they distort or distract from the truth (at best) to benefit their self-centered agendas.

Don't listen to what the "grown ups" tell you. They'll tell you to not use drugs, and then they'll promote a drug pushing industry designed to hook people on their "medical" and "leisure" products to inflate their capital profits.

Don't listen to what the "grown ups" tell you. They'll tell you to love your neighbors, and then they'll stigmatize, attack, or destroy anyone who thinks "differently."

Don't listen to what the "grown ups" tell you. They'll tell you that you are free, and then they'll censor your perspective of the world and enslave you through consumer debt.

Don't listen to what the "grown ups" tell you. They'll tell you that they know what they are doing, but then they are surprised at what the future holds.

Don't listen to what the "grown ups" tell you. They'll tell you that life is precious, and then they'll promote unnecessary war.

Don't listen to what the "grown ups" tell you. They'll tell you to sell your life to "higher education", and then they themselves will make uneducated, short sighted, and unintelligent decisions.

Don't listen to what the "grown ups" tell you. They'll tell you to follow the rules, and then they'll find any way they can to bend those rules.

Don't listen to what the "grown ups" tell you. Learn for yourself. Synthesize your information, free your mind, and glimpse the vast potential of human reality.

The world is what we make it...