Saturday, January 22, 2022


 "We all live under the same sky, 
but we don't all have the same horizon"

Konrad Adenauer  

        Coming across that quote this week, I thought we don't all have the same reality either, or language skills. 

       My reality was tweaked when I was in on a brief by Dr. Catherine Marsh former chief scientist for CIA's directorate of Science and Technology and now Director of  IARPA-Intelligence Advance Research Projects Activity. IARPA is the Intelligence Community version of DARPA. They are about finding and funding future technologies, systems and frontier new realities. 

       How about filing data using DNA? Maybe advanced polymorphous sequencing to increase security and save space. Server farms are energy hogs, take enormous physical space and have awful carbon footprints. DNA is tiny and tidy.
       Tech companies evangelize the Metaverse, maybe just a  buzzword. Still, we've entered a dimension where media called social is a battle ground and war zone that has polarized and  destroyed truth and fact.
        We live with it. Some can't live without it. Some kill themselves because of it. Privacy has vanished because of it.
        Who is doing something about it? 
        Meta data volume builds, and builds, and builds and flows to manipulators.

        IARPA is looking to protect algorithms, defend artificial intelligence, counter "deep fakes" and more they can't talk about.
        Imagine walking through any city or village in the world, seeing and hearing all that is going on, but doing it remotely. Our tax dollars are looking for a way.

        Mixed reality.
        Some recognize global challenges. 
        Some believe lies while others see the challenge to the American way and they respond.

        Words matter more than we may realize.

     A study published by the National Academy of Sciences finds the societal balance between emotion and reason has shifted back to what it was 150 years ago.
    Scholars from Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands and Indiana University studied word and language use since 1850. They discovered the shift from reason to emotion began in the 1980's and has accelerated since. 
    Truth, facts, and science have a hard time being heard in a climate where emotion trumps reason. The voices of our better angels have competition.

    Words have power and evoke a vision. 

        Journalist Ari Berman, a voting rights specialist, reported the 48 Senators who voted to reform the filibuster represent 182 million Americans, that is 55% of the population. The 52 Senators who upheld the filibuster represent 148 million Americans, only 45% of the US population.


        After that vote Republicans shook Senator Sinema's hand, glad to have a nominal Democrat join the new Jim Crow movement. Any doubt about that?  Here's a quote from Republican leader Mitch McConnell "African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."  
        Mitch, you said that out loud.

          Sinema is a play for pay grifter/grafter girl.  She took big money from big pharma and voted against legislation to control medicine costs. She took hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporations and voted against increasing their taxes. You have to wonder who got to her on voting rights. 

        Reality: By their actions the Republican party is anti-majoritarian and anti-democratic.  

    As David Remnick wrote, "it has become a party less focused on traditional policy values and more on tribal affiliation and resentment."

     They may have short term gains, but a truth spoken by the greatest Republican consigns them to the ignominy of history, in a pile of those without value, the dishonored. Sinema and Manchin have their own asterisk on that list. 

"We cannot escape history. We of this congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves...the fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation."

Abraham Lincoln

       My bet is Americans will be pushed back, watch rights be stripped away, and oppressed only so long before the great majority rises up against the tyranny of a minority and hand out prostitutes like Sinema and Manchin. 

            There's a lot of dread, justifiable too. Climate, nature and resources are in trouble. It maybe unrecognizable to this generation, but human civilization will find ways to live, adapt, innovate and find destiny.

        As IARPA, DARPA, Bio tech labs, medical discoveries, exploration, discovery and all kindred renaissance thinking invent the future, the human will and spirit will protect itself. 

        It's safe to conclude there will be awful tolls, and maybe so, but I think it would be great to live 50 to 100 years from now, just to see the reality, the fixes, adjustments, innovations and all the new realities we humans create. And, to meet the people as exotically different as we are from those who survived earlier plagues and wars and human catastasis.

        I'm also curious about where artificial reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, genetic design, cyborging, algorithmic cascade, DNA data files, and more take us. 

        But before we go too deeply into the future, I wonder what becomes of the house cleaning mother of five who is exhausting herself with work and worry, trying to keep her family fed and housed. Or the emigres stuck between working to make their dreams reality in the US and an inconsistent and ill defined policy and attitude about immigrants. Or the millions of other working poor facing inflation, already out of control housing costs, and lack of insurance and health security. Or those around the world, victims of war, starvation, authoritarian  regimes. Or those growing numbers of humans displaced by lack of water, resources and a changing climate.

        Wonderous things are indeed coming. I wonder if they will help us with compassion, caring, equity and fairness. It is hard to hear our better angels in the din of word wars and social media combat. Will we listen to each other? To wisdom?

        Do you think we'll learn to take care of the garden?  

        Do you think we'll be closer to having the same horizon?

        Stay safe.
        See you down the trail. 


Monday, January 10, 2022

Loving Your Neighbor? Really!


        Shiny 2022 is putting a headlock on a lot of folks and forcing some tough questions about deep matters. 

    There's already enough "put up or shut up" vibe in the air.  All the  talk about a civil war makes these days even more twisted. 

    Let's put that all that on hold while we offer a dose of California winter from the central coast. New vistas are helpful when winter sinks deep into your heart.


Old growth, awaiting new life...

...the linearity of wine country is always appealing...

...the vastness of the Pacific blue puts things in perspective

...snow is rare on the central coast...but we celebrate rain, when it puddles in our forests....

...and when the earth celebrates and activates a life web....

    We are pretty much like mycelium, connected, though presently our relationship troubles puts America in a dark passage.
    The daughter of a life long friend, a precious young woman we have watched grow under the tutelage of her loving and pacifist parents has enrolled in a concealed weapons program.
     A friend, an Army vet is adding a second 9 mm pistol to his car.
    Liberals talk about building a network of "defender" cells, militia like, to counter the well armed and belligerent right wing militias who have made plenty of news and trouble. 
    And on and on and on...

    People steeped in the values of the Abrahamic faiths have committed murder in their hearts. How many of you have been with friends, or in communication where someone talks about wishing Donald Trump and his ilk would be assassinated? Maybe you have.

    Historians say the last time we were like this was before the civil war. 

    We should all cry. We should cry not only for the divide, the differing views of truth, the seemingly irreconcilable differences between us and because of the dangerous stooges who bask in media's reckless light. We should cry for what we are destroying, for the democratic republic that was the world's best hope, before it was broken and now dissed by some of its own, including power players who know better. 

    We need not simlply cry, we should fear the evil we are raising. We should fear the rise of a chimera of hate, violence and destruction we breed in our hearts. 

    We're under a low ceiling. We have forgotten what our better aspirations are. We've lost sight of the wisdom spoken by men and women through all cultures and ages, the wisdom that, like light in a dark time, pushes us to be enlightened, and  leads us to evolve.
    One may sneer at the ancient axiom to love your neighbor as yourself, but look at the results of not doing so.

    Stay safe. Be well.
    See you down the trail. 


Friday, December 31, 2021

A Parting Shot and The Rising Storm

     Poster children for the unvaccinated enjoying the fog and drizzle between rain storms that have left us with 12 inches of rain in two weeks while our brethren and sisters up in Sierras are buried under record snow.
    We take the good where we can find it and we'll be tightly gripping our "cup of kindness" as we limp more deeply into the '20's. 
    We've wandered many a weary foot children, so drink up the cup and remember the good old times, stingily parsed these last couple of years. The trusty hand of a friend is a companion wise on the rough road ahead.

    Maybe it just me, but there's something regal here.

    Sunny and Hemingway making the best of it, on a rare moment to be in fresh air, as crises of nature and the human kind beat the old year to a pulp. 
    Another variant, bad behavior and now our precious care givers are beset again. Putin is up to little dictator games, and it's suddenly election year in America. Pass me another cup of kindness there and then I'm headed for safety.

        Whoops! Well, any box in a storm! 
    I've been paying attention the animals around here because people are either disgusting, or they are my friends, who I rarely see except on Zoom or masked, or at social distances and they too are worried about the rise of the disgusting. My tennis pals are an exception as we can put all human foibles out of mind as we rock and roll on the court-except two weeks of rain have stopped that. 
        So Auld Lang Syne 2021. You were supposed to be the year of healing and normalcy. Do you think humanitie's karma is catching up with us?

        So I've been looking up, as the storm clouds clear, and I can't stop from trying to make my phone work like a telescope.
        These are meager offerings especially when we have some genuine astrophotographers living in these parts, but they point you in a good direction. We can celebrate the launch of the Webb telescope this month. That will do more for human knowledge than all of the weasel heads in congress, all of the unmasked, and unvaccinated combined.
        Grasp this, Voyager 1 and 2, launched in 1977 are still moving through the heavens. In about 14 thousand Years V 1 will be leaving the Oort cloud. Give it another 280 thousand years and it will be approaching our next nearest star, still in our galaxy of course and we just don't know how many billion galaxies there may be. So there's a perspective to apply to 
the life and times of planet earth in these days of uncertainty. 

        A friend who worked on the Hubble telescope, one of the brightest scientific minds around said often as he aged, "you've got to have a sense of humor in this life." Frank was frequently bemused when it came to how the inhabitants of this planet conducted themselves. 
        So let's take a right good draught for auld lang syne and for the good old days to come.


    See you down the trail. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

And so it is that time again...

       The spirit and proclamation of Dickens' Tiny Tim encapsulates the potency of this time of year.

        It's a season of tradition, celebration of light, spirituality, and festive celebration. The longest night has broken and for at least 5000 years we take note and undertake rituals.    

     Something we do at Light/Breezes is visit the twinkle shop.

        So we come to the nexus of these "happy holidays" of Christmas, a birth. 

        A boy born to an unmarried Hebrew couple in primitive conditions in a small and unimportant town was a birth that has changed the world for 2 thousand years.

    George Bernard Shaw wrote, "No nation has ever outlived the loss of its gods."
    The Abrahamic faiths on this planet are in trouble. Beset by fundamentalism, theological rifts, and loss of interest. Christians, Jews and Muslims can be their own worse enemy. The other beliefs and faiths on this planet suffer their own frailties. 

    Here, generations have come to learn Christmas means holiday commercials, decorations, merry making, a seasonal play list,  sweaters and all the rest. The illegitimate child of Bethlehem gets lost in the sweep. The tenets of his life of teaching, are rarely considered.
     Observant Christians, however, recall and celebrate the beginning of a life and ethic that would try to move the world to love, peace and joy. 
      There was a time when even those who did not observe or believe gave the notion a thought. 
      People of faith are a minority and the origin of this Christmas idea gets further marginalized each year and its ancient Gods become lost to the majority of a nation.

      Kay, an Irish friend, sent a Solstice link so I could watch the livestream of the sunrise at Bru na Boinne, or New Grange. 
      I have posted here of the 5000 year old transit tomb and archaeological wonder built with astronomical precision. Older than the Pyramids, and Stonehenge, Bru na Boinne could be the oldest building on the planet. Whatever other mystery it holds, it observes the return of the light.
    I had the privilege of being in the inner chamber and seeing extraordinary light activated symbols and inexplicable vision. I can't explain the palpable spirituality of the moment, but 5000 thousand years ago the civilization along the Boyne River was up to serious observant and faithful behavior. Humans seek understanding and connection. It is our nature. 

      Humans also have always been getting into deep and dark troubles where the future appears bleak. We work our way back by returning again to our beliefs.

      To those of you who seek to walk the path of the Prince of Peace, Emanuel, I wish you His peace and light. I share these thoughts from a friend who has spent her life in service to the faith. Look out to nature and see the face of the Divine. Look up to the stars and universe and see precision and science. Look inward and wonder where do we get power to reason and know?  Where do we get our sense of right and wrong? We cannot explain ourselves apart from the Divine.

       To all I wish happy holidays; comfort, peace, well-being and Good Will. 

See you down the trail.