in post

February 28, 2021


   Beautiful weather meant that the wood and fields around the village were full of weekenders coming out for picnics. Trees in a nearby almond grove are beginning to blossom. Cyclamen are in their prime, and the wild mustard are also starting up, with their prolific lemon yellow bloom. One of our neighbours was gathering some for his animals a couple of weeks ago and gave us to taste the stalks; a real mustardy taste. My son, his wife and kids, along with many other families from the village, spent most of yesterday and the day before out in a certain clearing in the woods that has become popular. Yesterday, they organized a collective meal cooked in a poyke, which, I learned, is a large South African iron pot for cooking over a fire. We walked over there yesterday, but today we had our younger son over, and the wife's mom. D made two lasagnas - one vegan and one vegetarian.

Links blog

★ Pakistan passes ‘historic’ bill banning corporal punishment of children
"Last month, an eight-year-old boy was beaten to death by his teacher for not memorising a lesson in a madrasa"

★ Saudi crown prince approved killing of Jamal Khashoggi, US report says | Jamal Khashoggi | The Guardian
"Friday’s release of the assessment was expected to be accompanied by further actions from the Biden administration, which are expected to be unveiled by the State Department."

'Bill Gates is continuing the work of Monsanto', Vandana Shiva tells FRANCE 24
by FRANCE 24 English on YouTube

I think YouTube suggested this one, based on my interests. I have been following her for a long time, and once attended one of her talks. She's a great speaker. I didn't know about the book that is the subject of this interview. The interview, on France 24, was less interesting than the one linked below. The interviewer appeared cold, unsympathetic, uninterested. I was wondering what she had to say about the farmers' protest, so went on to listen to the interview below, on Russia Today. The interviewer had done his homework, knew how to challenge her, and draw her out, though this sometimes led to long-winded explanations.

★ Dr. Vandana Shiva on India’s farmers protests: Indian farmers are victims of food imperialism (E976) — RT Going Underground

"On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to Dr. Vandana Shiva, the founder and president of the technology and natural-resource policy foundation Navdanya, who was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’. She discusses the recent avalanche in Uttarakhand, which has left hundreds missing, and the causes behind it. She also explains how the World Bank’s actions in 1991 were arguably the start of Indian farmers’ battle with global capitalism, and why India’s farmers are organising en masse to oppose Modi’s neoliberal farming laws. Dr. Shiva talks about multinational farming corporations and their war on India’s independent farmers, the history of the spread of GMO technology such as ‘Roundup’, why a transition away from industrial farming back to small-scale farming is needed to fight climate change, and much more!"

I went back to look on the web on how I could purchase that book on "Oneness and the 1%" It wasn't available for me in most of the places I checked. Kobobooks wouldn't sell it to someone in Israel. At the Book Depository it was out of stock. At The New Internationalist, it wouldn't give me a quote for shipping. Eventually I bought it from a US seller called Alibris. But that wasn't a good option. It will let me read the book only in my browser, or in a phone app called Bookshelf. I don't sign into Google, so can't order from the Play Store - anyway, now I've found the APK, so it should be okay for me.

★ Kremlin takes swipe at Navalny's reputation as he is sent to prison colony | Alexei Navalny | The Guardian
"At issue is whether a series of videos from the early 2000s produced by Navalny opposing migrant workers – as well as his refusal to apologise for them – should downplay the public campaign for his release from prison, which has been driven by his investigations into corruption and for leading protests against Vladimir Putin."

★ Lady Gaga's bulldogs returned unharmed after kidnapping | US news | The Guardian
"Dogs were dropped off at a police station in Los Angeles, while dog walker shot in the attack is recovering." So at least they are not being held for ransom.

★ Massacre in the mountains: How an Ethiopian festival turned into a killing spree - CNNMassacre in the mountains: How an Ethiopian festival turned into a killing spree - CNN

What a horrible incident. The conflict there never seems to die, like another conflict I know. I think there was activism around Eritrea when I was a student at Exeter in the 1970s.

★ The worldwide web as we know it may be ending - CNN
"A combination of rising nationalism, trade disputes and concerns about the market dominance of certain global tech companies has prompted threats of regulatory crackdowns all over the world. In the process, these forces are not just upending the tech companies that built massive businesses on the promise of a global internet, but also the very idea of building platforms that can be accessed and used the same way by anyone anywhere in the world."

Then there's this, an author with a sci-fi book about the actual end of the internet: "Infinite Detail", by Tim Maughan. I listened about half-way through a Zoom interview with him by Vijaya Lakshmi (poet and writer) and another fan of his books. The link was from @dust via Bob Mottram. Interesting.

★ People with extremist views less able to do complex mental tasks, research suggests | Psychology | The Guardian
“A key finding was that people with extremist attitudes tended to think about the world in black and white terms, and struggled with complex tasks that required intricate mental steps, said lead author Dr Leor Zmigrod at Cambridge’s department of psychology.”

That's amazing. They also find links between performance in these tasks and conservatism.

The photo - with an almond tree beginning to bloom - was taken a couple of weeks ago. They flower earlier when by themselves.