And to continue with our regular Halloween programming, here’s something from VBS.tv which goes into both the scientific and supernatural backgrounds on the Nzambi or zombies.
The series takes on the history of the zombie fascination and its roots in Haitian culture. VBS also featured some stories of real people believed to have undergone zombie-fication (if such a term and process exists).
Do click the link! And oh, no need for sunflowers on this one. You will be watching it from the comforts of your homes. Just watch the yard once in a while though.
Good is power, that is the portion of today’s homily which caught my ear. Fr. Raymond Arre of UP’s Parish of the Holy Sacrifice said that…
good has the capability of making people better.
Arre stressed out that in forgiving others and giving them a chance to change themselves, it is important that we put faith in their committment to change and not set conditions for their renewal. To set conditions actually only mean to pressure the person supposedly asking for forgiveness, and the desire for renewal is nothing but a result of external factors and not based on the personal desire to change.
Arre’s lines sound Gandhi-esque don’t they? And I must admit that what he is asking would be something very difficult to do. But what he stressed is in effect a cornerstone of the work of missionaries, development workers, non-government organizations, and non-violent activists all over the world.
Although there have been exceptions in some organizations engaged in working with and for the disadvantaged, much of the work of NGO’s, development workers, and non-violent activists have been done in the belief that good given brings out good from those receiving. NGO work is afterall founded on the principle of effecting change through the power of good.
While there may be organizations desiring change through violent means, these organizations eventually fail in the long run and their exploits are only perpetrated with the further use of terror and violence. The only way to effect genuine change is in the belief and the promotion of good as a transformational converter of people to become good.
Arre’s lines reminded me of one of my favorite lines from Bapu which have always been something I used against some friends who advocate change through revenge and violence:
There is no exclusive right to privacy. Many Supreme Court judges have interpreted the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 9th Amendments to include clauses that grant rights of privacy.
The terms “separation of church and state,” “separation of powers,” and “checks and balances” do not appear in the Constitution. However, the functions of each are specified in Articles 1, 2, and 3, and in Amendment 1.
The word “slave” (or any variation thereof) is used only in the 13th Amendment, section 1: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
There is no specification for the number of Supreme Court judges.
There is no specification or a single mention of marriage.
The word “god” does not appear in the Constitution nor does it appear in any of the Amendments.
Article 1 describes the powers of the legislative branch and both houses of Congress, Article 2 describes executive powers, and Article 3 describes judicial powers.
3/4 or 38 states are needed to amend the Constitution. 2/3 is needed to propose an Amendment.
There are only 27 Amendments to the Constitution. The last one was ratified May 7, 1992 and states: “No law varying the compensation for the services of Senators and Representatives shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”
Representatives of Congress must be at least 25-years-old (Article 1, Section 2) and Senators must be at least 30-years-old (Article 1, Section 3).
The phrase “no taxation without representation” does not appear. Immigrants and federal convicts are not granted the privilege to vote but are still required to pay various taxes.
The Constitution does not guarantee the right to bear arms, only that it shall not be infringed upon in total. The Supreme Court has also determined the 2nd Amendment to apply only to individuals, not to groups or militias.
Reblogging, just in case I might need this should I decide to go back to law school. Yes, being a former US colony, we are saddled with the obligation to know the US Constitution and some of the landmark decisions of the US Supreme Court. It was they after all who built much of our judicial and legal systems.
I’ve been sitting on this and just decided to publish it now. For kicks and giggles. And that way I can now proceed to fill my tumblr with fun Halloween stuff.
At the heart of superpower foreign policy of the 20th century was the unassailable assumption that the world must conform to unilateral modes of policy formation. Close to home, the US grand experiment with the Philippines is an example of this. In their approach to the country, they believed that what existed was wrong, what they brought was God-given. At the heart existed this unshakeable belief that the American Way was the superior way. In some instances, this conceit was correct. Though the methodologies used to push conformity to American needs left much to be desired: either through military, cultural, ideological or economic forms of imperialism. In the case of the Philippines. you can add educational and religious as well.
The preferred evolution in global politics and aid will be towards a true multilateral understanding of the needs of developing countries, as well as industrialized partnerships. An inadvertent by-product of the desire to push ‘civilized’ forms of culture has been the creation of tensions between the foreign and the local. This is seen quite clearly in areas like the arts, education and government policies. This is why organizations like UNESCO focus so much on advocacies like education in mother tongues, developing local arts and culture and so on. I constantly talk about it, but nationalism is local, and globalism must be as well.
If that shift in rebuilding world views from local to global, and accepting and enhancing local culture, is not made the future becomes even more dubious. The Age of Unilateralism is coming to an end. The question is, will humanity follow?
I share your views on the decline of US unilateralism sir! And for those who are into politics and international affairs, you should read this post from @iwriteasiwrite!
The post actually had me looking for Henry Bamford Parkes' The American Experience. And it was comforting to know that my copy of the book was buried underneath a pile of other books rather than with someone I lent it to and can no longer recall (that happens a lot to me).
Parkes said that…
A nation’s foreign policy is always a reflection of its internal institutions; and if American policy during the postwar years has too often seemed to have only negative objectives, being motivated by the fear of Communism rather than by any positive ideals (as shown particularly by its willingness to give military aid to any dictator who is sufficiently anti-Communist), it is because Americans have been uncertain and confused about their own values and beliefs.
While the US emerged out of the Second World War in the position of respect and influence it had long hoped for, the prestige and power slowly wore off as the US became embroiled in the Cold War. I think the decline of US unilateralism is the long-term side effect of the American Republic’s obsession with fighting Communism. This blinded view of international affairs and politics later resulted to the US government being associated with repressive dictators like Pinochet, Noriega, the Shah, and our own Marcos, since these allies eventually became receivers of huge economic, military, and in some cases, even political assistance.
By giving military aid to questionable regimes, the US earned the ire of some of the countries in Europe, cracking the alliance which was inconveniently shaped by the last World War. The post war years eventually showed that while the politicians of several European countries maintained ties with the US, the younger generation in these countries harbored anti-US feelings. This was largely due to the military and political involvements America had in the developing countries and the Middle East during that period e.g. Vietnam, Nicaragua, and Iran.
At that time though, the US had a counter hegemony in the USSR, whose sole motivation was also to aid any group which would be willing to overthrow Western capitalist influence. Like the US, the USSR also became obsessed with the Cold War and funded almost every guerrilla organization from Castro and Guevara to the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades. The adventures of the USSR eventually led them to finance independence movements in the third world and the Middle East. The however met the dead end in Afghanistan. Eventually, as you well know, the USSR imploded, leaving the US as the lone super power.
I think the War on Terror started pounding the last two nails on US unilateralism. This struggle to avenge the deaths of 9/11 started polarizing the US’ allies. This was later aggravated with the Bush administration’s experiments in democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Experiments which have caused serious political backlash in the countries which have supported the US. The Bush administration probably thought they could repeat the unilateral action of the Spanish-American War. They thought wrong.
And then there was the recession. The collapse of the US economy, and along with it the economies of several countries, have also placed the US in a precarious position. The immediate reaction of other countries was to insulate their economies from the effects of the recession, and this meant disassociating their markets with US firms and the acceptance of new firms from China, Burma, and India. I think the Arroyo administration’s shift to the Chinese government and Chinese firms was also a result of US recession (although the terms of the agreements with the Chinese firms also may have been very enticing).
Eventually, the one-two punch on the US brought it to its knees and making it step out of the ring for some time. And this is shown in how the US has been conducting the War on Terror in Afghanistan int he recent years; and in the “on-the-dot” withdrawal of troops in Iraq. The Obama administration has also started to focus more on domestic concerns rather than foreign political and defense policies and geopolitics. Although once in a while we hear a statement or two on China, Iran, or North Korea, we don’t hear the US threatening “evil” countries as much as it did during the Bush years.
Maybe they’ve finally grown tired of carrying the White Man’s burden.
I will end this with excerpts from Parkes which said that…
The average twentieth-century citizen continued to believe that men in America were more free and more nearly equal than in Europe, and to take pride in the material achievements of his civilization;
But it was no longer possible to define with any clarity what American civilization stood for; liberal idealists in other countries were now inclined to see America, no longer as an inspiring example of freedom and equality, but as a horrifying specimen of capitalist domination.
Parkes’ book by the way was originally published in 1947. My copy though was a reprint in 1959.
Since I have already posted much about Latin America, Liberation Theology and the Jesuits, I might as well share some thoughts from Jon Sobrino, SJ in his bookNo Salvation Outside the Poor. Here are some excerpts from the book, which I think speak much of the kind of society most “democracies” now have become:
Regarding spirit and values, this civilization (of wealth) is fundamentally oriented—and offers a spirit that clearly leads—to dehumanization. It is the civilization of the individual, of success, of the selfish good life. And the spirit is suffocated even more when the West that produced it understands itself not only as an achievement of talent and noble effort—which are very real in part, accompanied by a secular, gigantic historical depredation—but as the fruit of a kind of predestination similar to the age-old religious self-understanding of chosen peoples.
Let us focus on the United States, which behaves with all the naturalness and arrogance of those who follow a “manifest destiny.” This nation is justified as an empire, considers itself sent into the world as missionaries of the wealth-god, and expects to be appreciated as a generous benefactor. People may say that there are also reactions against that self-understanding, but they are few and far between. And I do not know how willing such people are to give up the benefits of the civilization of wealth. This is true, in varying degrees, everywhere in the First World. This arrogant spirit is dehumanizing. By nature it tends to provoke contempt in some, and servility or irrational violence in others.
Whatever improvements are made in reducing poverty, I personally do not see what meaning they can have in a world where equality and brotherhood are not among the guiding values of development. They can have no meaning if they constantly reenact the parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Lazarus—without narrowing, only widening the separation between them, as the UN Development Program (UNDP) reports every year.
Democracy has grave limitations: it expresses the political version of the civilization of wealth, and it can be manipulated, which is not surprising because it is created, as the theologians say. But if that manipulation is massive, if it leads to enormous cruelty, if it necessitates the institutional lie in the media and international forums, if it is practiced by the United States—the greatest and best expression of democracy—and above all if it keeps on happening, then the manipulation of democracy cannot be considered a mere accident; it seems to belong to the historical essence of democracy as it is practiced in the West, and more specifically, in relation to the poor majorities on the planet. We may well say that it also brought good things to the old colonies, or that it is the “lesser evil,” but we should not ignore its great historical potential for dehumanization.
From a social viewpoint, it follows that any society that claims to be truly “democratic” or egalitarian must be conceived and organized on the basis of the rights of the disadvantaged.
But that is not enough. We need a new axis, around which the diverse elements that shape a society can revolve in human ways. The civilization of poverty, which comes fundamentally from the spirit of the poor—and the spirit of Jesus—generates values that, together with the most genuine civilizing traditions of the past and present, can create such a new axis. This would require us to reverse the dogma that the world only revolves around wealth. It is hard to say what that axis, filled with a new spirit, might be, but perhaps the following may be elements of that spirit:
a. Being in reality, overcoming the docetism of living in unreality, in islands of affluence, alienated, detached from the poor and oppressed majorities.
b. Honesty toward reality, overcoming the lie and the cover-up with the will to truth, giving names to the millions of victims and martyrs, honoring their memory which nourishes us.
c. Compassion for the suffering of the great majorities, prophetically denouncing the injustice that produces it.
d. The demand for freedom by and for everyone, and understanding one’s own freedom in a way that does not enslave, that does not prevent the doing of good.
e. Bearing the burden of history, every day until the end.
f. The joy of recognition that we are all brothers and sisters, which may lead to suffering but cannot be overwhelmed by sadness, and the celebration of that joy.
g. Caring for nature and all creation, within which we become a greater unity.
h. The utopian hope for a new heaven and a new earth.
i. Openness to an ultimate mystery in reality—and for some, coming out of ourselves, as in the prayer of Francis of Assisi, and giving a name (Father, Mother) to that mystery, without making God any less ineffable and mysterious.
Sobrino is a Jesuit who became one of the leading figures in Liberation Theology. He spent more than 50 years in El Salvador and he was there during the turbulent years of the government’s counter-insurgency efforts. But unlike his fellow Jesuits who were also involved in promoting Liberation Theology among the poor, he was in Thailand for a theological conference, when the US-trained and funded El Salvadoran Army massacred Jesuits Ignacio Ellacuria, Ignacio Martin-Baro, Segundo Montes, Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, Juan Ramon Moreno, Amando Lopez, their employee Elba Ramos, and her daughter Celina.
The massacre of the Jesuits became a huge black eye on US-backed counter-insurgency efforts in El Salvador. And it became an embarrassment for the US campaign against communism. The US Congress would later be pressured by the international community, as well as by its own constituents, to end military assistance to the repressive El Salvadoran government. Eventually, the withdrawal of US support would pave the way for peace talks between the government and the Farabundo Marti para la Liberation National.
Morricone: The Mission - Gabriel’s Oboe by Yo-Yo Ma
One of my all-time favorites of Morricone, from an amazing movie at that.
I may have posted this a while back but this is an auto-reblog. And this is also my favorite among Morricone’s works. The song, as well as the movie, will always be my anchors to what the intention of my academic accumulation is.
Although the song and the movie came out earlier, I cannot but always associate these two with the massacred Jesuits of El Salvador. To my mind, these are the most fitting tributes to them. AMDG
One of the clearest indicators for me is the acceleration in species extinction in the last 50 or so years.
What irritates me a little is how, in developed nations, the issue of man’s impact on the environment has become highly politicized. There should be no doubt that certain practices have a negative impact on the environment, you can quibble with regards to how influential it is on a global scale, but when you evaluate impact on a localized environmental level you can see there is a severely negative impact. Hell, just look at the die offs in the Philippines from illegal logging and fishing.
I agree sir! While advocates of the adverse view may always say that the planet has its natural evolving process (to which I also agree), we cannot also discount the fact that the widespread use of fossil fuels, chemicals, and natural resources by industries have also devastated much of the natural environment. The unlimited appetite for consumer goods and luxuries fuels the “need” for industrialized items and products, which further drives the factories and plantations to expand and produce more.
And then there is the inexplicable greed of humanity coupled with the permissible social structures which aid illegal activities against natural resources, eventually contributing to climate change.
I remember back when I was still in Cagayan de Oro, I had a story where we joined the local Department of Environment and Natural Resources officers on an anti-illegal logging raid in Bukidnon. The raid was conducted in an area at the foot of Mt. Kitanglad and even as we were still on our way to the area where the illegally-cut logs were being kept, we could already see some cut trees. The cutting was indiscriminate. You could see new trees cut along with the old trees. And they also didn’t mind if the species were protected or not.
When we arrived at the area, there was a make-shift sawmill with hundreds if not thousands of flitches of varied wood. There were Narra, Lychee, Mahogany, and several types of wood which were supposed to be protected under Philippines laws. This does not even yet take into account that the location, being part of Mt. Kitanglad is supposed to be a protected area.
I thought that it was supposed to be a huge bust and that the DENR officers would be closing down the sawmill, arresting its workers, and seizing the flitches. Instead, they got into technicalities with the caretaker, who said that they had a permit for the sawmill which, by the time of the raid, had already expired. He quickly added that they were already processing a new permit and it was already with the DENR office in Cagayan de Oro.
Someone in the DENR team then told us that there was nothing they could do since the sawmill had a permit (although technically it did not) and pending its renewal, it should be allowed to operate. And on the protected species which they had cut, the caretaker merely apologized and said they won’t do it again. Yeah, just the proverbial “I… Am… Sorry…”
I tried to ask for answers from the DENR team on why the caretaker and workers shouldn’t be arrested, but Paping, who was my cameraman at that time, told me that it would be best to just raise the issue with the regional director back in Cagayan de Oro. It was also the same advice I got from the environment advocate who was with us. Rather than starting a fight then and there with the fully-armed DENR team, I forced myself to wait for the opportunity to raise the issue back in CDO.
And so the illegal sawmill, which was illegally-cutting protected tree species in a protected area, would be off the hook and will continue to do its work at the foot of Mt. Kitanglad. We later raised the incident with the regional director and the only thing he told us was that it was already under investigation.
Months later, the municipal council member who had accompanied us in the raid, the same person who also reported the operations of the illegal sawmill, was ambushed by armed men as he was driving on the way home from Cagayan de Oro. He survived the ambush but had to stay in the hospital for several weeks. By then I was already re-assigned to Cebu and I only heard about the incident from contacts back in CDO.
For those among us who view climate change, illegal logging, and illegal fishing from the confines of our homes in the city, it is always easy to dismiss such things as mere phenomenon which have gone on for years. And it is this belief which reinforces the idea that climate change is just a myth. But what most people in the cities do not see is that beyond the skyscrapers and condominiums, beyond the malls and the signboards, the hills and mountains have slowly been cleared to fuel the need of those who are in the population centers.
There is no denying that the planet may be undergoing changes, but there is also no denying that the excessive lifestyle of humanity has also taken its toll on nature and aggravated and distorted the changes that are supposed to be naturally occurring in the planet’s ecosystem.
We should not deny the fact that the forest cover in this country has rapidly deteriorated over the past 100 years. We should not lie to ourselves and say that there were no rice fields, rivers, swamps, and beaches which have been reclaimed and made into subdivisions. We should not deceive ourselves into believing that the quality of the air that we breath is clean enough that we do not have to cover our noses. And we should not lie to ourselves that the seasons have become very irregular, the weather unpredictable, and the typhoons more violent.
By now, we should have at least learned that climate change is here. Ondoy should be enough to prove the point.
Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz and Jeffrey Dahmer have more in common than just being serial killers. These three murderers are also connected by the fact that each of them tortured and/or killed animals during their childhoods. Researchers as well as FBI and other law enforcement agencies nationwide have linked animal cruelty to domestic violence, child abuse, serial killings and to the recent rash of killings by school age children.
Some children are cruel to and torture animals to impress their peers, but future serial killers usually torture animals purely for their own enjoyment. Animal abuse is a recognized sign of a mental disorder. If a child hurts animals it should be a red flag and immediate action should be taken. While there are many factors that contribute to someone becoming a serial killer, the one constant they share is animal abuse.
Jeffrey Dahmer showed an intense interest in dismembering animals as a child. As an adult he was charged with murdering and dismembering at least sixteen people. Dahmer is just one example of this. As a matter of fact, most people who are on death row for murder admit to abusing animals as children. A study done by North Eastern University and the Massachusetts SPCA found that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to abuse humans than people who do not. Albert Schweitzer said it best when the wrote that “Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives”.
A recurring theme in Criminal Minds. I must say though, despite the lack of cases involving serial killers in this country, the law enforcement agencies should consider having behavioral analysis as part of crime suppression and prevention. It would be a huge help not only in solving murder and homicide cases, but also robbery, theft and even corruption cases.
A thanatophile is a person fascinated by death and death related subjects such as true crime stories and murder mysteries.
I don’t know if I can actually be called this since my fascination of death and related subjects was a result of covering crime stories and not being able to get over dubious conclusions in some of the cases.
A few days ago, a man was found dead in Gulf Air flight to the Philippines. Apparently the man had committed suicide in the toilet using the drawstring of his jacket, which was found tied around his throat. Incidentally, this was the same Gulf Air flight where a month ago, a newly-born baby was also found in the toilet.
What struck me was not that it was the same plane was where the baby and the dead man was found, but how the man committed suicide. But that would not be the first odd suicide story for me. Back when I was still covering crimes, I had my share of suicides. And I can at least recall some of those which up to this day, I found strange.
A few years ago in Cagayan de Oro, I covered a story about a laborer from the Caraga region who had committed suicide after he found his sweetheart in the arms of another man. The laborer was head over heels with the girl, whom he met in a videoke bar. He had drawn out plans for the both of them. His co-workers even told me that he had saved up money for something which he planned to do with the girl. And everything was supposed to be revealed to the girl come Valentine’s Day.
On the evening of the Day of Hearts, the man went to the establishment where the girl was working as a guest relations officer, and there, to his heart’s dismay, he found the girl of his dreams, the woman to whom his future was to be entwined, in the embrace of another customer, giggling and enjoying the moment.
With his heart bleeding and his inspiration snatched from his hands, he went back to his place of work, where he also stayed. In the next few days, according to his co-workers, he did not eat anything. He was silent and often would keep to himself. And after some time, his co-workers found him dangling from a guava tree with a rope around his neck, and his feet just a few inches off the ground.
I did not know if the man immediately died because we aired the story before the final report from the forensics experts came out. But I kept on wondering what it must feel like to be hanging from a tree with your feet barely touching the ground. He must have intentionally fought against his instincts considering that the natural impulse of a person is to survive in a life-threatening situation, whether it is caused by suicide or external factors. In short, he chose to die.
I don’t know if you would agree with me but human beings have the natural tendency to fight for survival. When encountered by a life-threatening situation, it is the normal and immediate reaction of the human being to fight or exert some effort to preserve his or her own life. The only way by which a person can die by his or her own hands is if the person has felt a sense of desperation and hopelessness and see only death as salvation. And when the person is at the point of death, the commitment to the extinction of life must be greater than the instinct to live so that the suicide will be consummated.
A couple of years later I covered another suicide story in Cebu City where a septuagenarian was found hanging from a ceiling beam by his family. He was already dead when his daughters and grandchildren found him. What made this case unusual for me was that the man’s feet were also almost touching the sheets of the bed over which he was hanging. Like the man I mentioned earlier, this grandfather was also committed to die. And I did think that like the other man, he also controlled his instincts after he felt the noose tighten around his neck. Like the man from Caraga, he must have also fought off the instinct to stay alive.
When I asked the family members what could have triggered the suicide, they told me that the man had been suffering from depression, especially after his wife had died months earlier. His eating habits have changed and he seldom talked with them anymore. Most of them time they said, he was by myself. They thought that his depression was normal considering that he had lost his wife. What they may have failed to see was that the effect on the old man was more than the usual. For him, it was not only a wife that died but a whole part of him which had been there for decades. He probably felt that he has lost the person with whom he spent the finest years of his life with. He no longer had his refuge, comfort, his life. And having lost all reasons for living, he probably thought that he had outlived his purpose and so decided to take his own life.
But while the other two stories had been about love and loss, the other case of suicide which I can quickly recall is one still shrouded in my mind with questions. Questions on what could have motivated the victim to commit suicide and how or why did he die the way he did.
We responded to a call on the police frequency that night in Cagayan de Oro. And the call said suicide. When we arrived at the scene, there was already a huge crowd of onlookers milling about the crime scene. The scene of the crime operatives had arrived late and so by the time they did, it was already difficult to put a police tape around the crime scene, which in this case was actually in the living room of an abandoned house.
The victim was a man in his early to middle twenties, naked from the waist up, on his butt, and tied by his neck with a shoestring onto a door knob. Yes, a shoestring was around his neck, and the other end of it was on a door knob, which was actually just a little over three and a half feet from the floor. And this guy was I think a little over five and a half feet.
The precinct cops and onlookers were saying that it was a suicide, and the forensics guys were also concluded the same. But I found it weird that someone would commit suicide using a shoestring, making a noose out of it and tying it, of all things, on a doorknob which was just a few inches from the floor. Imagine how that must have felt like, the string around your neck, tying the other end to the door, sitting down, and slowly motioning yourself against the pull of the string until you pass out and die. Wouldn’t that be weird?
I am no forensics expert and my knowledge of suicides and crime scene investigations are based on readings, pop culture, and of course covering forensics guys doing their work, but I really found the shoestring case unusual. I even theorized that the man must have had some altercation with someone earlier; the same person strangled him with the shoestring, dragged him into the abandoned house, and then to keep him from getting away, tied the other end of the shoestring to the door. That would make more sense to me. But then again, who am I to question the findings of the members of the police forensics. I am just a journalist.
My thoughts were later reinforced when I found out that the man was considered by many in the neighborhood to be mentally unstable. And that he would go around harmlessly heckling the people within the area. I then thought that it was possible that the man got somebody so pissed off that that person was overwhelmed with rage enough to kill him. Then again, if that is so, then why use a shoestring? And where did the shoestring come from when the victim was wearing slippers? Could it be from the killer? Also, did I mention that the abandoned house had no signs of forced entry? Like what I said earlier, the case still leaves me with a lot of questions.
I have also covered other suicides using rope nooses, Malathion, wrist-slashes, firearms and other means. But these three, though they may seem trivial, are what remains in me to be those which have many questions. Questions on why people commit suicide, how firm were they on their decision to die, and if they were really suicides.
I know the family of the man who allegedly committed suicide on the Gulf Air plane also has questions on the circumstances of the incident. Of course, like those I have gathered in the cases I covered back then, those questions would never be answered. And no matter how many times the authorities and the experts declare such incidents to be suicides, the family, and those observing these incidents would always wonder if the loneliness was so great that they would end their life? Or was it they themselves who ended their own life in the first place?
I just came across your post about climate change. I think the reason some academics doubt climate change might be because they are taking in the LONG view of global climate. Recent weather patterns may seem abnormal in the context of a single human lifespan, but weather patterns change over time - perhaps the world has gone through these "intense" patterns before and the earth is just moving into a different phase of a normal cycle. There has been a lot of research - a lot of CONFLICTING research - about whether this might be the case. Is the weather really abnormal right now, in the greater context of ancient Earth? If so, is it because of humans?
I am pretty uninformed on these matters and I freely admit my ignorance as far as ground breaking research goes. I do believe the climate has been affected by our profligate use of fossil fuels and such, but I see how one could argue the other side. Not being a meteorologist, I leave the debate to the informed (and of course, the unabashedly ignorant).
Anyway, thanks for the interesting read. If you write a response, please do leave a message in my Ask inbox and I will come check it out!
Random Tumblr Person. But you can call me Eric as well. :)
Thanks for the kind words Eric and thank you also for taking the time to read the post. I really do appreciate it!
Yep, some academics really do believe that what is believed to be climate change is just the normal shifting of the Earth’s environmental system into another system which is supposed to accommodate the changes that have occurred over the past centuries. And yes, there are those who also think that climate change needs to be seriously addressed.
I think that the long view of climate change advocates is correct in saying that the planet is actually going through changes. I do agree with that, but like you, I also think that the excessive use of natural resources brought about by consumerism and greed has seriously affected the threshold of the natural environment. Humanity’s use of fossil fuels, wood products, livestock, and even aquatic resources have increased so suddenly in the recent years that the natural environment finds it difficult to sustain itself. Added to this is also the lack of regard for the disposal of plastics, nuclear waste, and toxic chemicals.
Like you, I am not a meteorologist and I must admit that some of my views are biased being that I grew up to a decade where “reduce, re-use, recycle” was the favorite catchphrase and I later got involved with Greenpeace. But my views too are the result of my worries over what has happened in my country and what can happen in the years ahead. I hope those who hold adverse views indulge me.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read the post and hope to hear more of your views in the future. By the way, call me Kim :)
Checking news today, I just found out that Tropical Cyclone Giri has also hit Burma last Friday. That’s the problem with news on Burma, you hardly get it on time because the Junta censors it. Anyway, the United Nations says, that 70,000 people were left homeless by the cyclone. According to CNN:
Giri slammed into the country Friday with wind speeds of up to 155 mph, tearing up roads and knocking out telephone lines.
More than 175,000 people were impacted by Giri and 70,795 people remained homeless, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report.
A combination of strong thunderstorms, followed by violent and destructive winds, will make for one of the Midwest’s most dangerous storms in 70 years.
The severe storms are expected to sweep into the area between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. Tuesday, coming in the form of a squall line, which often means strong straight-line winds. The storms will be at their heaviest during the Tuesday morning rush.
The winds will maintain a sustained speed of 35 to 40 mph, and may gust to 55 mph or more. They will be most severe north of Interstate 88, particularly along the Wisconsin border, Kleist said.
The abnormal weather patterns over the past couple of years, the frequency and increase in intensity of storms, typhoons, and cyclones in Asia, Europe, and the US are indicative of the greater intensity of adverse weather conditions. If those are not effects of climate change then I don’t know what is.
I may not be a professional meteorologist but I do know an abnormal climate when I experience one. And what the country has been experiencing over the past couple of years has shown a change from the climate patterns of those in my childhood years. You don’t need to be a scientist to notice that.
We should come up with a Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo version!
Oh my God, I appreciated this Philippines reference so much.
I couldn’t resist it Cuyler. They just share a lot of things:
Their terms (2001-2009)
Accusations of electoral fraud
Obsession with the War on Terror
Massive human rights violations accusations
It’s funny to note though that Gloria Arroyo was Bill Clinton’s classmate in Georgetown. And yet they differ in so many ways. Probably Arroyo wasn’t paying attention to the lectures Clinton was taking notes on.
I must say that most Filipinos are relieved to see Arroyo go. A feeling which I think most Americans also felt when Bush finally waved goodbye from the White House.