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 on: Oct 31, 2014, 02:26 PM 
Started by Angie - Last post by Angie
Thank you all so much!  I am putting my DVDs on hold and have started on Pluto I.  I love it.  Smiley

 on: Oct 31, 2014, 06:11 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
New Russian Boldness Revives a Cold War Tradition: Testing the Other Side

OCT. 30, 2014

WASHINGTON — When the White House discovered in recent weeks that its unclassified computer systems had been breached, intelligence officials examined the digital evidence and focused on a prime suspect: Russia, which they believe is using its highly sophisticated cyber capabilities to test American defenses. But its tracks were well covered, and officials say they may never know for sure.

They have no doubt, however, about what happened this week on the edges of NATO territory in Europe. More than two dozen Russian aircraft, including four Tu-95 strategic bombers, flew through the Baltic and Black Seas, along the coast of Norway and all the way to Portugal, staying over international waters but prompting NATO forces to send up intercepting aircraft.

Taken together, they represent the old and the updated techniques of Cold War signal-sending. In the Soviet era, both sides probed each other’s defenses, hoping to learn something from the reaction those tests of will created. In 2014, cyber is the new weapon, one that can be used with less restraint, and because its creators believe they cannot be traced and can create a bit of havoc without prompting a response.

In this case, the response was that the White House shut down use of some of its networks for lengthy periods — more an inconvenience than anything else, but a sign of the fragility of the system to sophisticated attacks.

But in both, divining the motive of the probes and the advantage, if any, they created is far from easy.

The Russian aircraft exercises were part of a broader escalation: NATO has conducted more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft this year, its officials report, far more than last year, before Russia annexed Crimea and began its operations in Ukraine.

“This is message-sending by Putin, and it’s dangerous,” one senior defense official said Wednesday, noting that in many cases, the Russian aircraft had turned off their transponders and did not reply to radio calls to identify themselves. In response, Germany, Portugal, Turkey and Denmark sent aircraft aloft, along with two non-NATO nations, Finland and Sweden. They were particularly struck by the use of the Tu-95 bombers, which Russia usually keeps clear of Europe.

But what’s new is the sophistication of Russia’s cyberespionage campaigns, which differ somewhat from China’s. The Chinese attacks — like those led by Unit 61398 of the People’s Liberation Army, whose members were indicted earlier this year by the Justice Department — are aimed chiefly at intellectual property theft. The Russians do a bit of that, too, but the attacks also suggest more disruptive motives.

Last year, security researchers at several American cybersecurity companies uncovered a Russian cyberespionage campaign, in which Russian hackers were systematically hacking more than one thousand Western oil and gas computers, and energy investment firms. The first motive, given Moscow’s dependence on its oil and gas industry, was likely industrial espionage. But the manner in which hackers were choosing their targets also seemed intended to seize control of industrial control systems remotely, in much the same way the United States and Israel were able to take control of the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz when it attacked its computer systems with malware through the summer of 2010, disabling a fifth of Iran’s centrifuges at the time.

In the case of the attack on the White House’s unclassified computer system, officials say no data was destroyed. “The activity of concern is not being used to enable a destructive attack,” Bernadette Meehan, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said Thursday. She would not say which country or hacking group was suspected of being behind the attack.

But there is evidence that the internal alarms at the White House were not set off — a sign of the sophistication of the attack. Instead, the United States was alerted by a “friendly ally,” one official said. That suggests the ally saw the results of the attack on a foreign network, perhaps picking up evidence of what data had been lifted.

Armond Caglar, a cybersecurity expert for TSC Advantage, a consultancy in Washington that focuses on these kinds of attacks, said the motive could be “to test what the security culture is, or to get valuable information about the security posture at the White House.”

But that posture is quite different for classified systems. He also said it could be to “prepare for more graduated attacks” against better protected networks, including SIPRnet, the classified system Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, entered to turn over hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks in 2010.

Russian hackers — those working for the government and those engaged in “patriotic hacking” — are considered particularly stealthy. In several cases, security researchers have found evidence that hackers were probing the very core of victims’ machines, the part of the computer known as the BIOS, or basic input output system. Unlike software, which can be patched or updated, once the BIOS of a machine is infected with malware, it often renders the machine unusable.

Researchers have also found that the hackers were remarkably adept at covering their tracks, using encryption to cover their tools, but their digital crumbs left no doubt that they were Russian. Their tools were built and maintained during Moscow working hours, and snippets of Russian were found in the code. Though researchers were unable to tie the attacks directly to the state, they concluded that Russian government backing was likely, given their sophistication and resources.

Since researchers uncovered the campaign last year, they say the attacks have become more aggressive and sophisticated.

Early last month, security researchers uncovered a separate Russian cyberespionage campaign that used a zero-day vulnerability — a software bug that had never been reported in Microsoft’s Windows operating system — to launch cyberattacks on a long list of Russian adversaries. Among them: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European governments, the government of Ukraine, academics who focused on Ukraine, and visitors of the GlobSec conference, an annual national security gathering that took place last May in Slovakia and was largely dominated by the situation in Ukraine.

Then this week, researchers at FireEye, a Silicon Valley firm, released their work detailing a similar campaign by Russian hackers that also targeted NATO, and a long list of victims that included the governments of Georgia, Poland, Hungary, Mexico, Eastern European governments and militaries, and journalists writing on issues of importance to the Russian government.

“This is no smash-and-grab, financially motivated Russian cybercriminal,” said Laura Galante, the threat intelligence manager who oversaw the research at FireEye. “This is Russia using their network operations to achieve their key political goals.”

 on: Oct 31, 2014, 06:07 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Thermal expansion and melting ice: Troubling research explains what’s causing sea level to rise

John Abraham, The Guardian
30 Oct 2014 at 13:15 ET   

There have been a number of studies that have come out recently on ocean warming and sea-level rise. Collectively, they are helping scientists coalesce around an emerging understanding of climate change and its impact on the Earth. Most recently, a study by scientists Sarah Purkey, Gregory Johnson, and Don Chambers was published. This team was responsible for a 2010 paper that was groundbreaking in that it quantified very deep (abyssal) sea warming. This latest paper is, in some respects, a continuation of that work.

The researchers recognized that changes to the sea levels are mainly caused by thermal expansion of ocean waters as they heat, changes to the saltiness of water, and by an increase in ocean waters as ice melts and flows into the sea. The total annual sea level rise is about 3 mm per year – the question is, how much of that is from expansion and how much is from melting?

The researchers used a few tools to answer this question. One tool was ocean bottom pressure measurements. If you can measure changes to ocean pressure, you can deduce how much water is in the ocean. Another tool is through an inventory approach. This inventory method quantifies how much glaciers retreat, polar ice melts, and changes to water storage on land. The paper reports that both methods agree with each other. They conclude that increased water in the oceans is causing about 1.5–1.8 mm per year of sea level rise. The actual value depends, in part, on which years are under consideration.

The authors don’t just consider the ocean as a whole. They break the ocean regions into seven different sections. The reason for this subdivision is that the change to ocean levels is not uniform. In some reasons, waters are rising quickly, in other regions, the rise is much slower or zero. One reason for regional variability is that the Earth’s gravity is changing.

For instance, there is so much ice in Greenland and Antarctica that is melting and flowing into the ocean, the mass of these two regions is being reduced; therefore, the pull of gravity toward Greenland and Antarctica is changing. As a result, we expect water levels near Greenland and Antarctica may actually fall as those ice sheets melt.

But, ocean levels elsewhere, particularly the USA coastlines, will rise more than average because of this same effect. I have a paper in press with Ted Scambos on this very topic that should be published in a few weeks. Another reason sea level rise isn’t uniform is that there are local changes to heat and salt which can increase or decrease water density in certain regions, causing local changes to sea level. A third reason is that changes to wind patterns can slosh water around, causing it to build up in one area, fall in another.

In each of the seven ocean regions, the researchers collected temperature and salt measurements at carefully distributed sections. These measurements allowed them to calculate how much of the ocean rise is due to heat/salt effects. They compared the expected sea level rise to actual satellite measurements. The difference between expansion sea level rise and actual sea level rise is the contribution by melt water which flowed into the ocean. This method they call the residual measurement.

Then, the collected measurements from special satellites (GRACE) which measure local fluctuations in ocean mass. They compared the GRACE results with the residual measurement. It turns out they were in near perfect agreement; 1.5 mm per year of sea level rise is from added mass to the oceans. The rest is from expansion. Not only did the two methods agree, but they agreed region by region. They showed, for instance, that the South Atlantic and the South Indian/Atlantic Oceans are rising very rapidly. The North Pacific, South Pacific, and Indian Oceans are rising modestly. The southern Pacific is falling modestly and the North Atlantic is basically constant.

Next, they calculated the relative sea level rise for waters from the surface down to different depths (300, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, and 6000 m) to determine which layers make the largest contributions to sea level rise. The authors report that the deeper we go into the ocean, the less heating has occurred (this is expected and well known). Interestingly, they find that every water layer, even the deepest waters, have contributed some to sea level rise. They also report that the sea level rise contribution from the layers 300-2000 meters is much more than previously reported.

Dr. Johnson summarized their results,

    We find a small but measurable contribution from deep-sea warming to the global sea level budget (and hence global energy budget) from 1996–2006. The ocean warming is estimated directly from highly accurate, full-depth, oceanographic temperature data. The magnitude of the deep warming contribution to sea level below 2000 m is about 13% of the total contribution of the mass trend below 2000 m for that same time period.

I asked how this paper agrees or disagrees with a recent paper that reportedly showed the deepest ocean waters are not heating. He replied that the two studies actually agree with each other. They both show that the deepest ocean waters are likely contributing only a small fraction to the overall ocean energy/water rise. On the other hand, the uncertainty is large because the deepest waters just don’t have a history of sufficient measurements to close the uncertainty range. He also stressed the importance of a proposed fleet of deep-water measuring devices (Deep Argo).

It is sometimes said that “global warming” is really “ocean warming”. Given the importance the oceans have on our past and future climate, you can be sure scientists around the world are working to better understand how much heat is going into the oceans, where the heat is going, and what will happen in the future. The recent publications are helping us close the uncertainty range and improve our knowledge. This is what progress looks like. © Guardian News and Media 2014

 on: Oct 31, 2014, 06:03 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Infection That Devastates Amphibians, Already in Europe, Could Spread to U.S.

OCT. 30, 2014

An emerging infection similar to one that has caused the extinction of hundreds of frog and toad species around the world is killing salamanders in Europe and could easily spread to the United States, with disastrous effects, scientists reported Thursday.

Writing in the journal Science, an international team of 27 researchers blamed the spread of the disease on “globalization and a lack of biosecurity” and said the importation of the fire-bellied newt in the pet trade with Asia was the likely cause.

The lead researcher, An Martel of Ghent University in Belgium, said in an interview that Europe and the United States needed to start screening amphibians in the pet trade.

“When animals are traded, they should be screened,” Dr. Martel said. “It should involve the world.”

Other scientists agreed. “We need to pay attention to this paper,” said Vance T. Vredenburg of San Francisco State University, one of the scientists who has sounded the alarm about the extinction of hundreds of frog and toad species worldwide over the last four decades.

“We need to think about biosecurity not just in terms of humans and food that we eat and crops that we grow,” he said. “We need to think about functioning ecosystems.”

Dr. Vredenburg is a co-author of a 2008 paper that described the disappearance of frog species as a prime example of what some scientists call the sixth extinction, a mass death of species going on now caused by humans.

In the frog disappearances, the culprit, a fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, was not identified until decades after the extinctions had begun. Where it originated is still not known.

The effects of that fungus, Dr. Vredenburg said, represent “the worst case in recorded history of a single pathogen affecting vertebrates,” causing an “extinction rate 40,000 times higher than in the last 350 million years for amphibians.”

The fungus killing salamanders and newts, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, is in the same genus, and it also kills animals by infecting the skin. But this time, Dr. Vredenburg said: “We found it early enough to have a chance. The Titanic knows there’s an iceberg out there.”

The United States, as yet untouched by the infection, has the greatest biodiversity of salamanders in the world, and many of its species are already threatened or endangered.

The animals are seldom noticed but are an integral part of forest and aquatic ecosystems, as predators and prey.

A recent study suggested that their decline could affect climate change because the proliferation of some of the creatures they eat could cause a greater release of carbon into the atmosphere.

Dr. Martel and other scientists first identified the fungus a year ago, and described its role in the deaths of fire salamanders in Europe. In the new paper, they investigated its origin and presence around the world and the susceptibility of different species to it.

In the lab, the researchers infected 44 species of salamanders and newts (salamanders live on land, newts in water). Forty-one, they wrote, “rapidly died.” It did not affect frogs and toads.

Several Asian species were resistant, and molecular biology studies of DNA suggested that there may be a reservoir of the fungus in Asian newts popular in the aquarium trade.

The study found evidence of the fungus in amphibians in Vietnam, Thailand and Japan, where the animals were not affected, and in the Netherlands and Belgium, where it killed numerous populations. Dr. Martel identified the shipping of live newts for the aquarium trade as the way the fungus spread.

James Collins, at Arizona State University, who has studied the spread of fungal disease in frogs, said that further study was needed to prove that the pet trade was the culprit in the disease’s spread because it was possible that the fungus was wind-borne, or spread by migrating birds.

But, Dr. Collins said, it was clear that the fungus and the lack of screening in the shipping of live animals posed a major threat to salamanders in the United States and Europe. Disease screening exists for threats to agriculture, he said, but not for animals in the pet or aquarium trades.

“When something like Ebola emerges,” he said, international and federal agencies like the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can act. “Something like that is needed,” he said.

Karen R. Lips at the University of Maryland, one of the authors of the Science paper, met on Thursday with Fish and Wildlife Service officials to talk about the new fungus. She said there were now bills in Congress that could enable the agency to screen for infected wildlife.

“If Congress wanted to, they could take action,” she said.


Salamander’s Hefty Role in the Forest

APRIL 7, 2014

If someone asked you to name the top predator in North American forests, you might think of bears, or maybe great horned owls. But here’s another answer to think about: woodland salamanders.

These skittish, slippery amphibians literally live under a rock, or a log, or any convenient dark and damp forest habitat. As apex predators go, they are mainly small, a few inches long and weighing well under an ounce.

But they are hugely abundant — and very hungry. On an average day, a salamander eats 20 ants of all sizes, two fly or beetle larvae, one adult beetle and half of an insect called the springtail. And in doing so, they collectively affect the entire course of life in the forest — and perhaps far beyond.

According to a new study in the journal Ecosphere, salamanders play a significant role in the global carbon cycle. If flatulent cattle are among the black hats of climate change (the livestock industry emits 14.5 percent of human-associated greenhouse gases), then salamanders may just be the white hats, helping to stave off climate disaster. If no one has noticed this before, well, this is how it goes when you live under a rock.

The study — by Hartwell H. Welsh Jr., a herpetologist at the United States Forest Service’s research station in Arcata, Calif., and Michael L. Best, now at the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif. — notes that salamanders’ prey consists almost entirely of “shredding invertebrates,” bugs that spend their lives ripping leaves to little bits and eating them.

Leaf litter from deciduous trees is on average 47.5 percent carbon, which tends to be released into the atmosphere, along with methane, when the shredding invertebrates shred and eat them.

If there aren’t as many shredders at work and the leaves remain in place, uneaten, they are covered by other leaves, “like being trapped under a wet blanket,” as Dr. Welsh put it. The anaerobic environment under those layers preserves the carbon until it can be captured by the soil, a process called humification.

At least in theory, having more salamanders in a forest should mean fewer shredding invertebrates and more carbon safely locked underground. The researchers tested this theory in a forest in northwestern California, laying out a series of 16-square-foot enclosures, like containers for raised-bed gardens.

Some of the enclosures had salamanders, others didn’t. Each enclosure was joined to its neighbors by low, screened openings, so invertebrates could move freely back and forth, but the salamanders had to remain in their enclosures.

The presence of salamanders resulted in a significant decrease in shredders: fly and beetle larvae, adult beetles and springtails. In the plots with no salamanders there were more shredders, and they consumed about 13 percent more of the leaf litter. Almost half of that lost weight was carbon, released into the atmosphere.

“It’s more than just a curious phenomenon,” Dr. Welsh said. “It’s real.”

The authors calculate that woodland salamanders at the density in their study would send 179 pounds of carbon per acre of forest down into the soil, rather than up into the atmosphere. Extrapolated to the huge numbers of woodland salamanders and other predators working in the leaf litter of forests around the world, that is enough to affect global climate.

Another factor is that many salamanders have no lungs. About 70 percent of all salamanders belong to a single family, the Plethodontidae, which in effect breathe through their skin. (A pulsing flap of skin under their throats, called the gular fold, lets in just enough air for a sense of smell.)

The process requires much less energy than breathing with lungs, enabling salamanders to “be really small and exploit really tiny things that are not calorically sufficient for birds or mammals,” said John C. Maerz, a salamander specialist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the Ecosphere study. While humans, with their relentless metabolism, burn off most of what they eat, salamanders store large amounts of carbon, nitrogen and other nutrients in their own bodies, or in the form of abundant offspring.

This low-key lifestyle makes them the hidden masters of the forest — “the vacuum cleaners of the forest floor,” as Dr. Maerz put it.

But he and the Ecosphere authors do not entirely agree about what that means for the larger significance of salamanders.

Dr. Maerz thinks the effect on the carbon cycle may apply in wet conditions, but not when the weather is too dry for humification. He also worries about trying to apply what happens “in these little square meters” on a larger scale.

His own studies have demonstrated that stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in leaves end up, via shredding invertebrates, stored away in the flesh of salamanders — like “a standing crop of nutrients,” he said. But climate heroes? Dr. Maerz prefers to think of them simply as a dominant driver of the forest energy cycle.

Shahid Naeem, an ecologist and climate scientist at Columbia University, agreed that “temperature, rain and other nonbiological factors probably explain more about the carbon cycle than salamanders.”

But he added:  “What’s nice about the study is the elegant quantification of how a change in a food web has consequences — something a lot of people know when it comes to the big, visible species, but not when it comes to the smaller, less visible, ones.  Lose the salamanders, and there are effects that ripple through the system.”

The notion of losing something as abundant as salamanders is not all that far-fetched. Another new study, in the journal Global Change Biology, compares present-day salamanders with some of the 180,000 specimens collected across the United States by the herpetologist Richard Highton, now retired from the University of Maryland. Dr. Highton, who began collecting in 1957, thought he saw a decrease in salamander size and abundance beginning about 1980.

When Karen R. Lips, an amphibian specialist, came to the University of Maryland a few years ago, she decided to follow up that hunch. She and colleagues revisited many of Dr. Highton’s research sites, concentrating on relatively unchanged habitat in national parks and forests from Tennessee to Maryland. Their results showed that salamanders had shrunk in size by 8 percent in 55 years — about 1 percent per generation.

That is “one of the largest and fastest rates of change ever recorded in any animal,” Dr. Lips said. Worse, salamanders were disappearing; even the abundant and widely distributed red-backed salamander was often absent.

Dr. Lips, who had done pioneering research on the chytrid fungus pandemic devastating frog species, thought at first that it might be spreading to salamanders. But her team found almost no trace of chytrid in the salamanders they collected, nor could they attribute the changes to logging, acid rain or overcollecting by biologists.

Instead, the study concludes that salamanders, which were mostly small to start with, are becoming even smaller as a way to adapt to warmer weather and reduced rainfall. If so, they may well rank as both heroes and victims in the fight against climate change — with unknown consequences for the fate of the forests themselves.

 on: Oct 31, 2014, 04:01 AM 
Started by Angie - Last post by Skywalker
Hi Angie and welcome to the MB.

Linda made great suggestions. I second her suggestion to read the Pluto books and the glossary, it has a lot of technical information that is priceless.

Relative to understanding and applying EA, one has to try and not be too mental or logical in the process of understanding how it all applies. Using our right brain, intuition, to let the chart come alive, is very important relative to chart analysis, once some rules and principles have been understood. The base of EA is the Scorpio approach of questioning the WHY behind the action, to uncover the motives behind why the person is this way or that way, or in any given circumstance in their life.

I suggest to all people who study Astrology to OBSERVE and CORRELATE what they observe. For example many people can easily see the selfishness that a Leo Sun can exhibit or the possessiveness of a Scorpio Sun.
The same should be applied to planetary positions and transits and so on. Thru learning the archetypes and observing them in action we get a real understanding of how Astrology works. So I suggest to look into specific Astrological configurations such as house positions (Sun in  the Eleventh house for Example) or planetary aspects (Moon conjunct Pluto) and observe how it manifests or what it correlates to in this persons and that persons life. And to observe transits, what happens when transiting Saturn is on a natal planet? What is its archetypal meaning and how can it translate in the real world? Why is it different for this person and that person?

And don´t be intimidated or afraid to ask questions if you feel the need to, that is what people are here for, to help out as we all learn and grow.

All the best

 on: Oct 30, 2014, 02:01 PM 
Started by Angie - Last post by Linda
Hello everyone!  I'm totally new to evolutionary astrology, and astrology in general, really.  I am really enjoying the material and am halfway through Part 1 of the DVDs.  Problem is, I'm a bit overwhelmed with the material and feel intimidated.  Grin.  Right now I'm just focusing on being present with the lectures and reading along with the book, but it is hard to keep up because it seems that the school was geared toward people with a base knowledge in astrology and the related archetypes.  I have ordered the Pluto books, part 1 and 2 and will go back and read those when I complete the courses, but I would like to know what you all would recommend as a starting point to really get the basis of astrological archetypes so I can assimilate this information better.  I am also hoping that as I go along with the DVDs, things will start to make sense when we start doing chart interpretations. I'm excited about learning this wonderful methodology and look forward to hearing your advice on feedback for this newbie.  

Hello Angie!

Welcome to the EA message board.

Believe you me, we all started out just like you. It may seem that everyone else is more advanced, but that is not necessarily the case. Newbies are coming in all the time. You are not alone.

Problem is, I'm a bit overwhelmed with the material and feel intimidated.

Many of us felt like this, however it is just a matter of applying yourself. It may seem like you are progressing at a snail's pace, but only through effort will you ever get there. Just keep at it, slow and steady, take it all in. It will all start to fall into place, but it will take some time. A great saying we have around here is:  "The value is in the effort."

. . . it is hard to keep up because it seems that the school was geared toward people with a base knowledge in astrology and the related archetypes.

Much of the base knowledge is repeated throughout the message board and all the study materials ... for your benefit.  You will also benefit directly from more advanced discussions of EA.

I have ordered the Pluto books, part 1 and 2 and will go back and read those when I complete the courses . . .
 . . . but I would like to know what you all would recommend as a starting point to really get the basis of astrological archetypes so I can assimilate this information better . . .

It is recommended that you BEGIN with reading Pluto Vol. 1 - The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul by Jeffrey Wolf Green. This is where we all began. This book will lay the foundation for your ongoing studies. This is the book we all fell in love with ... so enjoy!

Here are a few more offerings...

Deva Green, Jeffrey Wolf Green's daughter, is giving Monthly Phone Classes for all who are interested in learning and discussing the core principles of EA. These phone classes will be a forum in which we can discuss and apply the main principles of Evolutionary Astrology as an interactive group (study/practice group).  The next class is scheduled for 11/8/14  at 10-11 am PT.

Astrology with Ari Moshe Wolfe
Free resources:
Also, check out Ari Moshe's Events page.

Guiding Stars Radio with Kristin Fontana, Wednesdays, 10-11 am PT

Facebook Page and Groups

EA Books

The EA Glossary by JWG
Hyperlinked format to give you direct and quick access to questions and answers about EA.

EA message board Q & A
Most importantly, this message board is here for you to ask any questions you may have along the way. Don't be shy!  Grin  



 on: Oct 30, 2014, 01:18 PM 
Started by Angie - Last post by Angie
Hello everyone!  I'm totally new to evolutionary astrology, and astrology in general, really.  I am really enjoying the material and am halfway through Part 1 of the DVDs.  Problem is, I'm a bit overwhelmed with the material and feel intimidated.  Grin.  Right now I'm just focusing on being present with the lectures and reading along with the book, but it is hard to keep up because it seems that the school was geared toward people with a base knowledge in astrology and the related archetypes.  I have ordered the Pluto books, part 1 and 2 and will go back and read those when I complete the courses, but I would like to know what you all would recommend as a starting point to really get the basis of astrological archetypes so I can assimilate this information better.  I am also hoping that as I go along with the DVDs, things will start to make sense when we start doing chart interpretations.

I'm excited about learning this wonderful methodology and look forward to hearing your advice on feedback for this newbie. 



 on: Oct 30, 2014, 07:23 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad

Flying car approaches liftoff as most advanced prototype yet is unveiled

Creators say AeroMobil’s Flying Roadster 3.0 could become regular mode of transport for commuters

Philip Oltermann in Vienna
The Guardian, Wednesday 29 October 2014 16.22 GMT      

With its sportscar cockpit and dragonfly wings that fold in neatly behind the cabin, it looks like something straight out of the Batcave or Q’s secret laboratory. But the creators of AeroMobil’s Flying Roadster insist their innovation is more than just a boy’s toy dreamt up by science fiction fans. The time of the flying car, they announced at Wednesday’s unveiling of their most advanced prototype, has come.

Speaking at Pioneers festival, a two-day entrepreneurship and digital technology conference in Vienna, AeroMobil’s chief designer, Stefan Klein, and CEO, Juraj Vaculik, said their innovation could “change personal transport on a global scale”. Their flying car, Vaculik said, could eventually become a regular mode of transport for commuters and middle-distance travellers, especially in countries with underdeveloped road infrastructure.

The Flying Roadster 3.0 prototype has a top groundspeed of 124mph and a flight travel range of 430 miles or up to four hours – enough to reach Aberdeen from London.

The length of a luxury saloon car, the vehicle can be parked in regular parking slots and fuelled at normal petrol stations – though once in gliding flight mode it is more energy-efficient than road cars.

AeroMobil admitted the vehicle was unlikely to live up to the flying car’s ultimate sci-fi promise. With at least a 50m strip of land required for landing and 200m for take-off, even flying cars can get stuck in traffic. A vertical take-off, even if physically possible, would instantly use up half the fuel.

But Klein insisted that his invention did not require an airport or even a concrete runway. In spite of the car’s low centre of gravity, he said, the Flying Roadster could land on stretches of lawn or even farmland.

If scepticism about AeroMobil’s vision persists, it is partly because the flying car has been part of visions of the future for so long that it almost feels retro. A first patent was registered in 1903, and Waldo Waterman’s “aerobile” went on its maiden flight in 1937. In 1940, Henry Ford prophesied that “a combination of airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come”.

Rapid advances in modern technology and relaxation of regulations in the sport aeroplane aviation industry have recently given the idea a new lease of life. US company Terrafugia has had a flying prototype of a “roadable plane” for five years, yet the wait has continued. Terrafugia CEO, Carl Dietrich, told the Guardian that it would be “probably another two to three years” until there was a controlled launch, with a ballpark price tag of $279,000 (£172,000). AeroMobil, likewise, remain vague on when the car will be production-ready.

The European version of the flying car does have an added emotional value. Former sculptor Klein started experimenting with his father on a prototype in their garage in communist Czechoslovakia more than 25 years ago – an undertaking which, as he later found out, had been monitored by the state intelligence service.

In 2010, he teamed up with entrepreneur Vaculik, a former theatre director and student leader in Czecheslovakia’s Velvet Revolution, in order to find ways to commercialise the concept. The current prototype was built over ten months, with a team of 12 people, including Klein’s 20-year-old son.

The dream of overcoming borders, said Klein, had always motivated his work on the vehicle: “In the Czechoslovakia, we got very good training as pilots, but we didn’t have the freedom to go anywhere. Nowadays I can use an app to check in my flight on the way to the airfield and I’m in Croatia in ten minutes. For me the freedom to move is really in the DNA of this project.”

The dream of door-to-door travel by flying car, he said, also hinged on Europe sticking to the principle of free movement. The reintroduction of border checks in the Schengen area would route all inter-state flights via airports.

In the long term, Europe’s first flying car may have a better chance of success outside Europe. While building roads remains expensive and air is still free, countries with less developed infrastructure but less tightly regulated airspace, such as Africa, China or Russia, are more likely to take a punt.

Click to watch:

 on: Oct 30, 2014, 07:21 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad

A walled paradise: a history of Iranian gardening

Iran was built on the vision of a garden that held every type of plant and flower and protected its habitants within its walls. Touraj Daryaee takes nostalgic look back at a ‘paradise’ many are now eager to escape

Touraj Daryaee for Tehran Bureau, Thursday 30 October 2014 11.42 GMT   
Parks and gardens are attested in the land of Iran from the sixth century BC, when the Greek historian Herodotus tells us that the Persian kings liked gardening. Their gardens held every sort of plant and flower, irrigated by running water, a most precious commodity for the inhabitants of the plateau. The streams crossed at certain point to divide the gardens into four separate green spaces, which if we are to follow the famous archaeologist of Iran, David Stronach, would mean the first chahar bagh in history. This chahar-bagh model of landscape design was later to be exported to the rest of the world, to such places as Agra in India and Andalusia in Spain.

The Persians called these gardens, marked as a walled enclosure, a paradaida. The Greeks borrowed the term and used it in their language as paradisos. By the time the Bible was translated into Greek, the term already meant “a heavenly place,” a paradise, for those who responded to God’s commands. Iran had many of these paradises and the ancient Persians not only cherished them, but also used the concept as part of their ideological empire building. According to Bruce Lincoln, one of the great scholars of the history of religions, the Achaemenid Persians in effect meant to conquer the entire known world in the name of establishing paradise on earth.

By the late ancient period, Iran itself was imagined as a garden, where all of its good people lived. There was plenty of good earth and people, and hence civilization. The Iranians of the Sasanian period built a wall around Iran so as to protect the land and its people from the outsiders who sometimes were depicted as monsters and the unwanted. Huge walls in the north protected the Iranians from the nomads, be it Huns or the Turkic people, and in the south from the Bedouin Arabs. The seas protected the rest and provided defense to Iran which as a whole was imagined as a garden.

One of the greatest rulers that Iran has ever seen in its history, Khusro I, known as Anushirvan, has left a wonderful speech about Iran as a garden and its walls. These wise words are captured in the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi (Khaleghi-Motlagh viii: 345:275-82 ):

Iran is like a lush Spring garden

Where Roses ever bloom

The army and weapons are the garden’s walls

And lances its wall of thorns

If the garden’s walls are pulled down

Then there would be no difference between it and the wilderness [beyond]

Take care not to destroy its walls

And not to dishearten or weaken Iranians

If you do, then raiding and pillaging will follow

And also the battle-cries of riders and the din of war

Risk not the safety of the Iranians’ wives, children, and lands

I think every ruler should read the Shahnameh as it was done so until a century ago and take heed of what Khusro Anushirvan has said. However, the walls did come down and Arabs, Turks, Mongols and others came into Iran. Still, Iran remained a garden and all these conquerors may have at first had a hand it its defilement, but then they themselves continued to build the garden. Even the actual walls were kept up to and this tradition went beyond the medieval period.

Iran or Persia, as it was known, remained a wonderful land of gardens, poetry and mystics. The Chahr-Baghs of Isfahan made that city one of the most wondrous in the world; the great poet Hafez is said to have been hardly able to leave his beloved Shiraz with its many garden; the great mystic Jami tell us that every fortunate person who enjoys these blooming trees, the shade, or the fruit he consumes, should act according to the laws of righteousness. So Iran as a garden lived on and Iranians lived in it and rarely left it, unless they had to.

There was a time that people stayed in this garden. Young men and women used to go abroad, but always came back to their home and tended the garden. Some of us now have left that garden. To many for whom the walls once protected the garden from the outsiders, now seem like the walls of a prison. More and more young people want to leave this garden and its walls. Many of them will leave and make their home abroad and become successful, famous or rich.

Still, they will always become nostalgic for that garden which they left. I, like many who are away from Iran, still wish well for that garden. We hope to again go back to that garden and tend its plants. But now I am are far away. Instead, I have built a little garden in my home to remember Iran that was once my garden.

 on: Oct 30, 2014, 07:17 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad

Dilma Rousseff has a second chance to invigorate Brazil’s foreign policy

The South American giant needs to live up to its ideals on the global stage, and civil society activists have a role to play

The Guardian

After an election campaign that was more unpredictable and nerve-wracking than Brazil’s popular soap operas, President Dilma Rousseff will lead the country for another four years.

Brazil’s government has defined its foreign policy as “active and prominent”. This is a legacy of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who wanted to lead Brazil towards greater autonomy and relevance in the global order. He wanted Brazil to contribute to a more democratic and multipolar world; diversify its partnerships – with particular focus on countries in the global south and the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa); and promote South American integration.

However, these initiatives were not without their tensions and contradictions. Rousseff appeared to give less priority to foreign policy and some of the achievements of Lula’s administration stagnated under her. What should she focus on now the election is out of the way?
Regional integration

The global economic crisis played a major role in slowing moves towards strengthening regional bodies such as the Union of South American Nations and the Common Market of the South.

Given its size and influence, Brazil should seize the opportunity to be both a political and economic engine to trigger a different and more collective answer to crisis and strengthen the region in the face of an increasingly globalised and volatile economy (for example, Russia increased food imports from Brazil as a result of Europe’s sanctions over its actions on Ukraine). Moreover, its initiatives need to go beyond economic integration and promote people-centred integration.
Development financing

While Brazil should continue to pressure the US Congress to approve the changes negotiated over five years ago with the G20 on a larger voting quota at the IMF, it needs to move beyond traditional sources of finance available from the Bretton Woods institutions. The Brics development bank, announced in July, is one obvious space in which to do this.

Brazil’s record has been unimpressive in relation to similar initiatives such as the IBSA Fund and the Bank of the South. If it truly aspires to alternative approaches to development, and hopes to challenge this northern-dominated sector, Rousseff’s administration will need to make this a priority.
South-south cooperation

One area in which Brazil has been prominent politically is south-south cooperation, promoting collaboration on politics, economics, society, culture, the environment and technology. However, there have been persistent challenges. Brazil’s budget for cooperation initiatives has decreased significantly since 2010, while there have been concerning trends blurring the boundaries between cooperation, trade and investment. The ProSavana project in Mozambique is a perfect example, where the Brazilian government has been accused of exporting domestic contradictions.

Brazil needs a strong agency to coordinate its efforts; ways to ensure transparency; and spaces for civil society to be involved. Rousseff has to prove that south-south cooperation really is different from north-south cooperation, as both she and Lula have declared.
Democratising foreign policy

Civil society has been calling for foreign policy to be more democratic by creating a participatory council linked to Brazil’s foreign ministry. This is in the context of a wider effort to incorporate social participation across government, and has even been agreed, in principle, by foreign minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo. However, negotiations reached a standstill.

Brazil’s foreign policy in the past 12 years has taken a new turn. The country has gained a place at the global table. It has played its cards as both a southern and a rising power. It is Rousseff’s responsibility to lead a public dialogue to define which identity better fits the wakening giant.

• Bianca Suyama is executive coordinator at ArticulaçãoSUL and adviser to the Brazil and the South Observatory. Gonzalo Berrón is director of projects at FES-Brasil. Both are members of the International Relations Reflection Group

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