• 2013-11-12–we travelled via tv to the arctic, first to watch an episode of A Park for All Seasons (‘Tuktut Nogait [‘young caribou’-pictured is the park’s hornaday river] offers a traditional land where caribou, bears and wolves roam among spectacular canyon vista’); then down the coppermine on Great Canadian Rivers (‘Flowing north from Lac de Gras to Kuglugtuk at Coronation Gulf on the Arctic Ocean, the Coppermine passes through dense spruce forest, Arctic tundra, low-lying mountain ranges, and the rolling hills of the barren lands’); then we watched African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross: (1897-1940: ‘The Jim Crow era, when African Americans struggled to build their own worlds within the harsh, narrow confines of segregation [is portrayed]. At the turn of the 20th century, a steady stream of African Americans left the South, fleeing the threat of racial violence, and searching for better opportunities in the North and the West…. The ascendance of black arts and culture showed that a community with a strong identity and sense of pride was taking hold in spite of Jim Crow. “The Harlem Renaissance” would not only redefine how America saw African Americans, but how African Americans saw themselves.’)
• 2013-11-13–the best chess player in the world, kasparov, was beaten by a computer in 1997, deep blue. as a former programmer, i know computers are very fast. deep blue beat kasparov with speed–explained in this nfb doc at about 12 minutes, though if you watch more, you’ll see that the film suggests strongly that the computer team cheated and actually beat kasparov not with computer-like speed but with secretive human flexibility. what amazes me are the billions of dollars and millions of people involved. afterall, as one buddy says, ‘it’s just a game.’
tonight we saw ginger & rosa, part of the hmfs. ‘A look at the lives of two teenage girls … growing up in 1960s London as the Cuban Missile Crisis looms, and the pivotal event [that] comes to redefine their relationship.’
• broke my glasses last night, everything’s blurry; so today [2013-11-14] sue and i changed our plans and went to the optician/optometrist. later, db came by; we agreed: what’s the sense of trying to predict the future (especially if you break your glasses)? still, we plan–d to mexico for 4 or 5 months. i to hibernate. later, sue and i watched suzuki’s personal search into alzheimer’s on the nature of things. we don’t plan to get alzheimer’s, but you never know….
In the UN Meditation Room, Dag Hammarskjöld ‘banned chairs and replaced them with benches; in the center of the room he placed a six-and-half-ton rectangular block of iron ore, polished on the top and illuminated from above by a single spotlight. This block, which was a gift of the King of Sweden and a Swedish mining company, was the only symbol in the Room. Mr. Hammarskjöld described it as “a meeting of the light, of the sky, and the earth…. It is the altar to the God of all.” ‘
• more people demand more energy. if you don’t get it from renewables such as wind and solar or reduce your needs through conservation, then you gotta get it from oil, gas, or nuclear. the call has gone out to protest tar sands expansion, but we chose not to drive to orillia or barrie, or even car pool, as that would burn oil, ironically. however, ‘at over 100 events across the country’, blackoutspeakout reports, ‘canadians are gathering in their communities to help build a united wall of opposition to more pipelines, reckless tar sands expansion, and runaway climate change.’ meanwhile, ecojustice reports that ‘a proposal to build new reactors in ontario was approved even though the corresponding environmental review failed to properly consider and address risks to the environment and ontarians.’ and ‘newfoundland and labrador put the brakes on fracking,’ reports the council of canadians, which ‘is calling on other provinces and territories to do the same.’ tamiko suzuki said, ‘It’s about our world, our future, our children, our children’s future. My children are really passionate about this. It’s given me a renewed sense of hope’. (thanks to sh) in the evening, we watched ‘lost sharks of easter island’ which showed the importance of science and politics working together to preserve pristine ecosystems, and hinted at the disastrous economic and social consequences if they don’t.
Listen to Autumn’s Here–just Hawksley Workman solo, singing and playing acoustic guitar. Here’s a totally different version, with a full band–just as beautiful. And here’s one of my favourites, No More Named Johnny. This time he sings and plays drums with Mr Lonely on keys only.
Paul McCartney, who 45 years ago composed Back In The USSR, wrote a letter to Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, joining millions in calling for the release of the Arctic 30. You can too. (thanks to mj)
• 2013-11-18 we watched ‘The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu‘ (pictured–timbuktu had ‘three “universities” and huge manuscript libraries founded some decades before Oxford and Cambridge’) and ‘The Agenda: So Long, Mister‘ (‘Great efforts have been made over the past few decades to rise the status of women. But has the rise of “Girl Power” devalued men?’).