News & Submissions 12/02/2010

December 2nd, 2010 by sivodd

Can Green Visionaries and Eco Realists Coexist?
When I wrote about the UK government’s apparent redefinition of ‘zero carbon homes’, an anonymous commenter noted how amusing it is “when governments figure out that it’s much harder to actually do something, than to say you’re going to do it.” And that got me thinking—given the urgency of climate change, peak oil and resource depletion, we need radical visions and bold plans to create a better world. But then we also need people who can actually help get us there. Unfortunately, being visionary and being realistic are often seen as mutually exclusive. Read full story from treehugger.com

Starry Starry Starry Night: Star Count May Triple
The universe may glitter with far more stars than even Carl Sagan imagined when he rhapsodized about billions upon billions. A new study suggests there are a mind-blowing 300 sextillion of them, or three times as many as scientists previously calculated. That is a 3 followed by 23 zeros. Or 3 trillion times 100 billion.

The estimate, contained in a study published online Wednesday in the journal Nature, is based on findings that there are many more red dwarf stars — the most common star in the universe — than once thought.

But the research goes deeper than that. The study by Yale University astronomer Pieter van Dokkum and Harvard astrophysicist Charlie Conroy questions a key assumption that astronomers often use: that most galaxies have the same properties as our Milky Way. And that conclusion is deeply unsettling to astronomers who want a more orderly cosmos. Read full story from npr.org

It is wrong to deny that yoga has its origins in Hinduism
A 2002 survey of Americans showed that more than half the population expressed an interest in practicing yoga, and a 2004 news report claimed that there were nearly 15.5 million yoga practitioners in the country. Nearly 77% of the practitioners of yoga are women, and half of the yoga enthusiasts have a college degree.

In the small college at which I teach in rural Virginia, at which participation in at least one form of physical education is required, yoga classes are the first to fill up – not aerobic dance, not fitness walking, and certainly not weight-lifting. Yoga Journal, the most popular magazine for yoga enthusiasts, now has a paid circulation of 350,000 and a readership of more than 1,000,000. Yoga has indeed been embraced by Americans. Read full story from guardian.co.uk

Slainte! Ireland’s Viking Heritage
One day while searching for I can’t remember what in my foot-thick Webster’s, which has been my word go-to since high school, I stumbled upon a most interesting linguistic factoid. Every single question word in the English language (who, what, where, when, which, and why, plus whose, whither, whence, whom and even how) has a Viking origin. It makes sense.
Picture this: a Viking raiding ship has just dropped anchor and hordes of bloodthirsty marauders have come ashore. They chase down one poor fellow and bombard him with questions. Who are you? What place is this? Where is your leader? When did he leave? Which way did he go? Why won’t you tell us where the gold is? And the clincher: How many men are hiding in the forest?
It doesn’t take much to imagine the scene, especially since Hollywood has done us the favor of putting it up on the big screen countless times. Huge, helmeted Viking warriors wreaking havoc on a sleepy pastoral setting provide spectacular action footage and big box office returns. However, it was not so entertaining a scenario some twelve hundred years ago in Ireland. Read full story from irishcentral.com

The hidden cost of Christmas
In Bangkok the shopping centres already have their indoor and outdoor plastic Christmas pyramids out, the jingles emanate from the Starbucks and skywalks, strings of lights hang from the trees along walkways and windows of bakeries are spray-painted with counterfeit frost. Aggressive Christmas cheer, over a month early, is everywhere. The popularity of the Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus, though, is hard to reconcile with the fact that less that 1 percent of Thailand’s population is Christian – unless you consider that it has always been more of a cultural and seasonal celebration than a religious one, and that commercialisation and economic potential are business values that are easily globalised. And yet, beyond making tourists feel at home, what is the relevance of Christmas to Thailand? Read full story from bangkokpost.com

Conservative Christians blast Apple decision to discontinue app
A coalition of conservative Christian leaders blasted Apple on Wednesday for discontinuing an app the group had created because the technology giant said the app was offensive.

The Christian leaders had created the app to promote a document that urges opposition to abortion and gay marriage and support for religious liberty, among other positions. Read full story from cnn.com

Deep Water Corals Dead and Dying; Gulf Oil Spill to Blame (Video)
While the news coverage has died down, the lingering impacts on wildlife of the Deep Horizon oil spill are still being uncovered. That includes what’s going on far under the surface of the water to deep sea corals. Researchers from Penn State have discovered that seven miles southwest of the disastrous wellhead is a huge bed of dead and damaged corals, and it is suspected that the damage is thanks to the spill. Read full story from treehugger.com

Tibet and Buddhism: Dalai Lama won’t exit any time soon
Dharamsala, Nov 26 (IANS) — In any case, the Tibetan spiritual leader is bound to discuss his retirement plan with the Tibetan parliament-in-exile which is based here, they say.

Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at the Dalai Lama’s office, told IANS: “His Holiness only told (a) journalist that he is considering the feasibility of retirement from public life.”

According to Tibetan sources, the entire process of retirement for the Dalai Lama is likely to take around one year. Read full story from religion.info

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