Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Answer to World Peace Is Spiritual Practice

(I have had the opportunity to participate in many yagyas and pujas - fire ceremonies - that help to cleanse karma and invoke healing at many different spiritual levels. This article by Yogi Cameron Alborzian reminds us all about the value of Spiritual Practice. - Lori)

[Huffington Post] Living part of the time in a small village in the forest in India, with a very powerful temple next door isn't something usual. The experiences I have on a daily basis by doing my spiritual practice there are also not very common. They are more profound on all levels because of my environment and having access to rituals that help elevate the mind to higher consciousness and broader states of meditation.
Sahasra Chandi is one of these rare powerful gatherings that catapult our spiritual consciousness into levels previously unknown -- helping the mind to ascend to higher levels of awareness. The ceremony is a combination of using heat and sound, performed through fire rituals and chanting of sacred mantras that create vibrations very conducive to elevating into the inner chamber of the soul where the origin of true knowledge exists. (Atma)
For thousands of years sages have been doing these rituals (Yagnas) to induce a state of consciousness so subtle that man could go beyond his limited mind and break through the sheaths that stand between him and his creator. Holy men perform this ritual to help man open a door that is usually locked within himself and to enable the earth to purify herself from all the pollution she has to endure.
When I am sitting in front of the homam performing Yagnas my body becomes so light and my mind so still that I am seeing the outer world but looking with my inner spiritual eye. There are no words to describe this kind of experience except lightness, mindlessness and spiritual harmony. The result is a feeling of no self-interest, service to all and a view of life as the most natural and beautiful expression of God through this body. In other words fear is non-existent as we are no longer in thought.
When sitting in such an environment with 150 holy men chanting the sacred verses of the Vedas, repeating them continuously thousands of times over 10 days, the energy created goes through all the chakras of the body and arrives at the crown of the head (sahasrara), to the point our gaze turns inwards and a universe beyond our grasp becomes known to us. As the scent of all the sandalwood, ghee and herbal medicines burning together enters our body and the atmosphere around us, an intoxication of the mind takes place and a purification of the land, all the way out into the universe. The vibrations of the sound and smell continue around the globe, bringing with it cleansing and bountiful gifts of healing. Read More

Drones Sacrificed for Spectacular Volcano Video

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Al Roker: Extreme Snow Storms Are Due To Climate Change

Sustainable agriculture — Plants without dirt? Sounds weird. But not to Tree of Life Organics

[Idaho State Journal] POCATELLO — Scott Richardson can grow organic strawberries in the dead of an Idaho winter — without dirt.
The Pocatello business man’s secret is the science of aquaponics.
Richardson, the founder of Tree of Life Organics, is starting construction on a 15-by-80 foot greenhouse in the Arbon Valley that will eventually be able to grow “whatever, whenever.” Come late spring, he aims to sell his first crop of organic strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes and herbs to local families and restaurants. After a year in operation, Richardson will be able to grow most fruits and vegetables regardless of the season.
“The goal is a sustainable Pocatello,” Richardson said.
The $80,000 system is entirely soil-less. Inside a greenhouse, plants dangle their roots into small rivers while tilapia fish swim below. The excrement from the fish fertilizes the plants while the plant roots clean the water for the fish. The whole operation is sunk about 8 feet into the earth where temperatures are controlled by natural geothermal, with a little help from a heating system on those especially cold winter nights. Any electricity will be provided by wind and solar systems, making the whole thing self-sustaining. 
An eight-month pilot project in Pocatello proved that the setup worked wonders on a small scale. Richardson was able to produce 500 heads of lettuce on 50 square feet using less than 10 percent of the water normally needed for farming. Now, he aims to expand.
“Our community has a lot of interest in sustainability,” Richardson said. “We want food that is more locally produced, we want to know where our food comes from.”
It’s community interest, rather than big bank lenders, that Richardson hopes will fuel the financing for the project. The Pocatello man needs to raise $120,000 to build what he is calling his Ag “Earthship Vertical Aquaponic Smartfarm” or EVAS in the Arbon Valley. More than $3,000 in startup costs have already been raised through an effort on
“We want this to belong to the community,” Richardson said.
The complex system was the brainchild of the insatiably curious former physics student. Read More

Earth's Dashboard Is Flashing Red—Are Enough People Listening?

[National Geographic] Scientists are having trouble convincing the public that people are changing the climate.
A Pew Research Center survey, released last week as part of a broader report on science and society, found that only 50 percent of Americans believe that humans are mostly responsible for climate change, while 87 percent of scientists accept this view. This 37-point gap persists even though thousands of scientists during the past few decades have been involved in publishing detailed reports linking climate change to carbon emissions.
Evidence of a human role in climate change keeps piling up. Recent studies of record-breaking temperatures, rising sea levels, and high levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere all point to an Earth under stress from a rapidly expanding human presence.
We are burning record levels of coal, oil, and natural gas to fuel modern society. As a result, we are producing record levels of greenhouse gases that warm the atmosphere, melt the planet's ice, and cause the oceans to become more acidic-threatening marine life.
And as our numbers and appetites keep growing, we also keep cutting down tropical forests to expand cropland and decimating native ocean fish populations with industrial-scale fishing. We pollute waterways and coastal regions with nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer runoff from those croplands.
Scientists say it's as if the gauges on Earth's environmental dashboard are flashing yellow and red as we put the planet under increasing stress.
It's Getting Hot
In mid-January, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA reported that 2014 was the warmest year in the past 135 years of record-keeping. Globally, land and ocean temperatures were 1.24°F (0.69°C) higher than the average for the 20th century-passing previous highs set in 2005 and 2010.
Temperatures have been rising for several decades, and with the exception of 1998, the ten warmest years since modern record-keeping began in 1880 have all been since 2000. The last time the Earth set an annual record for cold, according to NOAA, was 103 years ago in 1911.
"This is the latest in a series of warm years in a series of warm decades," said Gavin Schmidt of NASA. "While the ranking of individual years can be affected by chaotic weather patterns, the long-term trends are attributable to drivers of climate change that right now are dominated by human emissions of greenhouse gases." Read More

Monday, February 16, 2015

Why science is so hard to believe

This is a compelling article that may explain the on-going polarity we are all experiencing during the Time of Change. Be sure to click onward to the Washington Post website and read the author’s insights on Climate Change. – Lori

[Washington Post by Joel Achenbach] There’s a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s comic masterpiece “Dr. Strangelove” in which Jack D. Ripper, an American general who’s gone rogue and ordered a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, unspools his paranoid worldview — and the explanation for why he drinks “only distilled water, or rainwater, and only pure grain alcohol” — to Lionel Mandrake, a dizzy-with-anxiety group captain in the Royal Air Force.
Ripper: “Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation? Fluoridation of water?”
Mandrake: “Ah, yes, I have heard of that, Jack. Yes, yes.”
Ripper: “Well, do you know what it is?”
Mandrake: “No. No, I don’t know what it is, no.”
Ripper: “Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?”
The movie came out in 1964, by which time the health benefits of fluoridation had been thoroughly established and anti-fluoridation conspiracy theories could be the stuff of comedy. Yet half a century later, fluoridation continues to incite fear and paranoia. In 2013, citizens in Portland, Ore., one of only a few major American cities that don’t fluoridate, blocked a plan by local officials to do so. Opponents didn’t like the idea of the government adding “chemicals” to their water. They claimed that fluoride could be harmful to human health.
Actually fluoride is a natural mineral that, in the weak concentrations used in public drinking-water systems, hardens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay — a cheap and safe way to improve dental health for everyone, rich or poor, conscientious brushers or not. That’s the scientific and medical consensus.
To which some people in Portland, echoing anti-fluoridation activists around the world, reply: We don’t believe you.
We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge — from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change — faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. There are so many of these controversies these days, you’d think a diabolical agency had put something in the water to make people argumentative.
Science doubt has become a pop-culture meme. In the recent movie “Interstellar,”set in a futuristic, downtrodden America where NASA has been forced into hiding, school textbooks say the Apollo moon landings were faked.
The politics of the vaccination debate(2:41)
The debate about mandated vaccinations has the political world talking. A spike in measles cases nationwide has President Obama, lawmakers and even potential 2016 candidates weighing in on the vaccine controversy. (Pamela Kirkland/The Washington Post)
In a sense this is not surprising. Our lives are permeated by science and technology as never before. For many of us this new world is wondrous, comfortable and rich in rewards — but also more complicated and sometimes unnerving. We now face risks we can’t easily analyze.
We’re asked to accept, for example, that it’s safe to eat food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) because, the experts point out, there’s no evidence that it isn’t and no reason to believe that altering genes precisely in a lab is more dangerous than altering them wholesale through traditional breeding. But to some people, the very idea of transferring genes between species conjures up mad scientists running amok — and so, two centuries after Mary Shelley wrote “Frankenstein,” they talk about Frankenfood.
The world crackles with real and imaginary hazards, and distinguishing the former from the latter isn’t easy. Should we be afraid that the Ebola virus, which is spread only by direct contact with bodily fluids, will mutate into an airborne super-plague? The scientific consensus says that’s extremely unlikely: No virus has ever been observed to completely change its mode of transmission in humans, and there’s zero evidence that the latest strain of Ebola is any different. But Google “airborne Ebola” and you’ll enter a dystopia where this virus has almost supernatural powers, including the power to kill us all.
In this bewildering world we have to decide what to believe and how to act on that. In principle, that’s what science is for. “Science is not a body of facts,” says geophysicist Marcia McNutt, who once headed the U.S. Geological Survey and is now editor of Science, the prestigious journal. “Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.”
The scientific method leads us to truths that are less than self-evident, often mind-blowing and sometimes hard to swallow. In the early 17th century, when Galileo claimed that the Earth spins on its axis and orbits the sun, he wasn’t just rejecting church doctrine. He was asking people to believe something that defied common sense — because it sure looks like the sun’s going around the Earth, and you can’t feel the Earth spinning. Galileo was put on trial and forced to recant. Two centuries later, Charles Darwin escaped that fate. But his idea that all life on Earth evolved from a primordial ancestor and that we humans are distant cousins of apes, whales and even deep-sea mollusks is still a big ask for a lot of people. Read More

Buried in Boston? Blame it on climate change -- maybe

[USA Today] Boston is used to snow, but not like this — nearly 6 feet in two weeks, including the biggest two snowstorms since records began after the Civil War.
And two more storms carrying a foot of snow each are forecast in the next week.
Massachusetts has already removed enough snow to fill the Patriots' Gillette Stadium 90 times, and Gov. Charlie Baker called the situation "pretty much unprecedented."
What's going on? Although no individual storm can be directly linked to climate change, Boston's snowy winter could point to weather patterns affected by global warming.
"The environment in which all storms form is now different than it was just 30 or 40 years ago because of global warming," said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
Higher temperatures warm the oceans and allow the atmosphere to hold a greater amount of water vapor, said Brad Johnson, a meteorologist with the University of Georgia. "Both of these factors, among others, contribute to stronger storms in general," he said.
Johnson also said scientists are not able to attribute just a single storm or series of storms directly to climate change.
In the future, due to climate change, snowfalls will increase because the atmosphere can hold 4% more moisture for every 1-degree increase in temperature, Trenberth said. As long as temperatures stay just below freezing, the result is more snow — rather than rain, he said.
Several of the Northeast's biggest snowstorms on record hit in the past 15 years — and two of Boston's 10 largest snowstorms on record occurred in the past two weeks, according to the National Weather Service. Read More

Off the Grid: Preserving the tradition of reindeer herding in Scandinavia’s Sami culture

[Washington Post] The harsh Arctic climate of northern Scandinavia is home to one of the oldest seminomadic indigenous populations in the world. This region is known as Sapmi and covers the Arctic area of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia’s Kola Peninsula. The Sapmi region is inhabited by the Sami people, whose ancestral lifestyle is integrally related to the seasonal migration of the reindeer they herd. The Sami’s unique intertwining of culture and environment has yielded a profound connection to and understanding of nature that continues to be passed down from generation to generation. Although only about 10 percent of the Sami practice reindeer herding, it remains at the heart of their culture and is central to their celebrations and traditions. Photojournalist Elisa Ferrari fell in love with the tranquil region and its lifestyle in 2012 and set out to document how reindeer herding continues to affect the Sami way of life.
When did you start “The Sami Way,” and what compelled you?
I first visited Sapmi in December of 2012. Aside from being a photographer and wanting to travel to beautiful places, my background in ethno-musicology and family’s indigenous roots in Argentina inspired my interest in learning more about the Sami and their way of life. As I gained exposure and learned more about the Sami’s cultural history and current political situation, including land rights issues and losing reindeer to climate change, I decided to set up a few interviews with professors, activists, reindeer herders and community leaders. After my first visit, I quickly fell in love with the area and developed a strong desire to learn more about its people. I stayed in Sweden for 10 months and made several trips to Sapmi. Read More