Source: Wikimedia commons Lysenko (extreme left) with Stalin (extreme right) Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (1898-1976) had little scientific education, and was promoted thanks to a post-revolutionary program of positive discrimination in favor of peasants in the early days of the USSR. Set the task of acclimatizing beans in Azerbaijan, Lysenko got promising results, thanks to the mild winter of 1925-6. In 1927, a journalist on Pravda publicized Lysenko as “the barefoot professor” whose discoveries would save the peasants of Azerbaijan from starvation. Despite a total lack of scientific evidence, Lysenko went on to orchestrate a noisy press campaign in favor of his belief that plants could be “educated” to grow in adverse climates. According to him, plants were indivisible organisms, without separate hereditary or environmental influences. He attributed what amounted to free will to plants, which could not only select food, but also enter into “love … [Read more...] about The Lasting Lesson of Lysenko
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Even though I’ve been treating my Zuni-made animal necklace with great care, the central turquoise figure, the eagle, has lost a wing. At the same time, I’ve been feeling highly anxious about the status of the planet and wildlife with all the bad news evidence coming out showing steep declines in every sign of ecological wellbeing—just reported is the unexpectedly high temperatures of the oceans. I am taking the broken wing as a symbol of the increasing brokenness in the world. Reading about how life used to be for most societies only a few centuries ago, like the Ohlone on the west coast of what is now California, deepens my sadness. Here are quotes from a new book, A People’s History of Silicon Valley by Keith Spencer cited here: “The Ohlone lived off acorns from all the different varieties of oaks, blackberries and gooseberries, chia, shellfish and the roots of many plants. They hunted squirrels, rabbits, elk, bear, whale, otter and seal. They did not … [Read more...] about Broken Eagle Wing: Mending Worldview
Google images: free to use or share The vacuum cleaner was a big, upright model, heavy and awkward. On my first day, I had trouble steering it and got sweaty and irritated. After a lot of yanking, shoving, and banging it on people’s doors, I wrestled the vacuum cleaner back into its closet and forgot about it. The rest of the day was calm and peaceful. But late that night, I awoke with a sharp pain in my right shoulder. I didn’t understand the source of the pain until after breakfast, when it was time to vacuum again. Mindfulness means paying attention to whatever is happening in the present moment, with an attitude of friendly curiosity and nonjudgmental acceptance. On a retreat, the goal is to be mindful of whatever you’re doing throughout the day. Participants are called yogis (a yogi is a student of meditation) and the housekeeping tasks are called yogi jobs. This means that the vacuuming, like everything else in retreat life, is an opportunity to practice … [Read more...] about Mindful Vacuuming
Buy Your Wife a Vacuum Cleaner for Christmas I bought my wife a vacuum cleaner for Christmas this year. I’ve been warned many times that this is not an appropriate gift. I disagree. From the dawn of the electrical appliance era and even from the dawn of time, people have been fanatically searching for ways to make their lives easier. With each new invention, people labor less and consequently have more leisure time. In times past, the search for more leisure time was concentrated in two major areas, the workshop and the kitchen. With each new invention, additional leisure minutes were harvested. With each minute saved, both men and women rejoiced because they could spend more time with their families and on their individual pursuits. Life was good and getting better. Look back at advertisements in newspapers and magazines at the turn of the last century. Nestled under Christmas trees were electric toasters, coffee percolators, and, yes, a vacuum cleaners. The woman portrayed … [Read more...] about Buy Your Wife a Vacuum Cleaner for Christmas
Thomas Kaufman for Les Cardes de Belville Despite the report this week in the Daily Mail regarding the increasing risk of STDs among those over 50 as demographic has more sex than ever -- there was good news reported at the Gerontological Society of America, the 64th Annual Scientific Meeting in November noting "Sex A Significant Predictor of Happiness Among Married Seniors." Are seniors enjoying sex more than the rest of us? It looks as if we are equal on that score. This report seems to underscore what we learned in 2007 that despite bothersome sexual problems, "sexually active Americans aged 57-85 have sex as often as those aged 18-59." "The findings come from a nationally representative sample of 3,005 U.S. residents. They show that sexual intimacy remains an important part of most people's lives as they age, says researcher Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, of the University of Chicago." Sex and the Older American - WebMD The new findings on sex and happiness Seniors … [Read more...] about Are Seniors Enjoying Sex More Than the Rest of Us?