2010-10-12

Lee Hotz: Inside an Antarctic time machine




Science columnist Lee Hotz describes a remarkable project at WAIS Divide, Antarctica, where a hardy team are drilling into ten-thousand-year-old ice to extract vital data on our changing climate.

Julian Treasure: Shh! Sound health in 8 steps




Julian Treasure says our increasingly noisy world is gnawing away at our mental health -- even costing lives. He lays out an 8-step plan to soften this sonic assault (starting with those cheap earbuds) and restore our relationship with sound.

2010-10-02

Hans Rosling shows the best stats you've ever seen

You've never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called "developing world."


Hans Rosling: Let my dataset change your mindset

Talking at the US State Department this summer, Hans Rosling uses his fascinating data-bubble software to burst myths about the developing world. Look for new analysis on China and the post-bailout world, mixed with classic data shows.


Welcome to the TEDxChange Webcast + Hans Rosling on HIV: New facts and stunning data visuals

TEDx and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have teamed up for a very special TEDx project -- TEDxChange. TEDxChange marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the eight Millennium Development Goals set out by the UN to tackle global issues such as poverty, child mortality and disease. Convened by Melinda French Gates and featuring talks by some of the world's most inspired thinkers and doers, TEDxChange will look at what changes have taken place in the last decade, and what more needs to be done to ensure the health and well-being of future generations.







Hans Rosling unveils new data visuals that untangle the complex risk factors of one of the world's deadliest (and most misunderstood) diseases: HIV. He argues that preventing transmissions -- not drug treatments -- is the key to ending the epidemic.

Hans Rosling on HIV: New facts and stunning data visuals


Natalie Anne Merchant







Natalie Anne Merchant (born October 26, 1963) is an American singer-songwriter and musician.

She joined the alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs in 1981 and left it to

begin her solo career in 1993.


Biography

Early life

Natalie Merchant was born October 26, 1963 in Jamestown, New York, the third of four children of Anthony and Ann Merchant. Her paternal grandfather, who played the accordion, mandolin and guitar, emigrated to the United States from Sicily; his surname was "Mercante" before it was Anglicized.[1] Her maternal grandfather, a cartoonist, piano tuner and member of a barbershop quartet, was Irish.[1] Her parents divorced when she was eight years old, and her mother later remarried.[2]

When Merchant was a child, her mother listened to music (Beatles, Al Green, Aretha Franklin)[3] and encouraged her children to study music, but she wouldn't allow TV after Natalie was 12. "I was taken to the symphony a lot because my mother loved classical music. But I was dragged to see Styx when I was 12. We had to drive 100 miles to Buffalo, New York. Someone threw up next to me and people were smoking pot. It was terrifying. I remember Styx had a white piano which rose out of the stage. It was awe-inspiring and inspirational."[4] "She [her mother] had show tunes, she had the soundtrack from West Side Story and South Pacific. And then eventually... she'd always liked classical music and then she married a jazz musician, so that's the kind of music I was into. I never really had friends who sat around and listened to the stereo and said 'hey, listen to this one', so I'd never even heard of who Bob Dylan was until I was 18."[5] During 1988–1989, Natalie claimed she still didn't have a TV: "I grew up in a house where no one watched the news on television and no one read the paper. I've been discovering these things as I get older, and the news has affected me more than it ever has before."[6]

At 16, Merchant left high school and started working in a health food store.[2] In 1981 she started singing for a band called Still Life, which was to become 10,000 Maniacs.[2]

10,000 Maniacs

Merchant was lead singer and primary lyricist for 10,000 Maniacs, joining in its infancy in 1981 while she was a student at Jamestown Community College.The group recorded their album "Human Conflict Number Five" and performed a corresponding Music video at Group W Westinghouse studio in 1982. In 1993 she announced that she was leaving the group.[7]

Tigerlily (1995)

Merchant has said in interviews that after her split with 10,000 Maniacs she was so eager to begin writing her own material that she went home that very day and composed the song “I May Know The Word,” which was originally meant to appear on the soundtrack to the Tom Hanks movie, Philadelphia. The song was eventually cut from the soundtrack, but it would go on to appear on Merchant’s debut solo album, Tigerlily, which was released on the Elektra label in 1995. Merchant chose to name the album Tigerlily as she felt it captured the feel of the album, which she described as both “fierce” and “delicate.”

The third song on the album, "Beloved Wife", was featured as the first song in the trailer for the movie Message in a Bottle.

Seeking creative control, Merchant chose to fund Tigerlily herself, refusing the advance from the record company. She also wanted to work with a core-group of young musicians who she felt would be enthusiastic about the music. The group would consist of guitarist Jennifer Turner, bassist Barrie Maguire, and former-Wallflower and eventual boyfriend to Merchant, Peter Yanowitz, who played drums on the album and who continued to do so with Merchant until their abrupt split in 2000.

Tigerlily was a critical and commercial success, spawning her first top-ten hit in the single "Carnival", and achieving top-forty success with subsequent singles "Wonder" and "Jealousy". The album would go on to sell over 5 million copies, and continues to be Merchant’s most successful album to date. Merchant did extensive touring for the album and made numerous television appearances, including performances on SNL, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and all late-night talk shows. The media's immediate and critical impact on culture and cultural icons was of particular interest to Merchant. In "River", a song from Tigerlily, Merchant defends River Phoenix as she castigates the media for systematically dissecting the child actor after his death. Much of their emphasis was on Phoenix' suspected drug-using lifestyle. In "River," Merchant asks, “Why don’t you let him be / Give his mother and father peace.” Merchant’s anger is later replaced with quiet reflection, asking, “It was such a nightmare raving, ‘How could we save him from himself?’” [8]

Ophelia (1998–1999)

Three years passed before Merchant would release her second solo effort, Ophelia. While Tigerlily contained a lot of sparse instrumentation, the music on Ophelia featured plenty of lush symphonic arrangements composed and conducted by British composer Gavin Bryars. Merchant treated the recording of Ophelia as a series of workshops, where she would invite various musicians she had met over the years into her home studio to collaborate and record. In the end, 30 different musicians featured on the album, among them Brand New Heavies frontwoman N'Dea Davenport (with whom she duets on the song Break Your Heart), famed trumpet player Chris Botti, and the husband and wife duo, Don and Karen Peris, from the band The Innocence Mission.

While Ophelia is not a concept record in the traditional sense, the album-cycle saw Merchant flexing her creative muscles in surprising ways. The name of the album and the title track are a literary reference to Shakespeare's Ophelia, who in the play Hamlet becomes mad and eventually commits suicide when Hamlet remains non-committal and lost in himself. Merchant's Ophelia describes a series of women throughout time—women who dared question the patriarchal status quo and who were often castigated for doing so—and is a cry for women's rights and for more understanding of female archetypes beyond the scope of the "mother" and the "whore", both of which severely limit women and attempt to turn them into little more than chattel. The portrayal of the women in the song is a tribute to the non-traditional, the "too smart for her own good" type of woman who is often misunderstood by society. As a lyric to the title song cries: "Your common sense, your best defense, was wasted and in vain!" A reflection of women driven mad by social limitations, Natalie's tribute described Ophelia as being at once a "novice carmelite," a "suffragette," a "circus queen," a "demigoddess" and a "mafia courtesan." The album sleeve saw Merchant pictured in colorful and ornate costumes as each of these different characters. As a companion to the album, she also released a film where she portrays each of these different characters, with voice-overs used for the "novice carmelite," the "sweetheart" and the "courtesan" as they are Latin, German and Italian, respectively.

The first single off the album was a happy and uncharacteristically simple song called "Kind and Generous", which received massive airplay on VH1 and which solidified Merchant's role as a bona fide solo artist. That summer, Sarah McLachlan invited Merchant to co-headline the year's biggest music festival with her, Lilith Fair. The exposure from the tour helped the album reach Platinum status in just under a year, with subsequent singles "Break Your Heart" and "Life is Sweet" receiving moderate airplay on adult contemporary stations. No video was filmed for the latter, however, with a clip from Merchant's appearance on VH1's Storytellers being used instead. She would also go on to appear on PBS' Sessions at West 54th and VH1's Hard Rock Live before the year's end.

The Ophelia tour ended in 1999 with the final few shows being performed and recorded on Broadway. The performance would be released as the album Natalie Merchant: Live in Concert with a companion video of the same name. The performance was notable in that it featured numerous covers including songs by David Bowie, Neil Young, and the Breton-Welsh singer-songwriter Katell Keineg.

American Folk Music Tour (2000)

In 2000, Merchant embarked on a folk tour in the states with many shows being supported by alt-country band Wilco.

Merchant's next studio album on the Elektra label was Motherland, released in 2001. Motherland saw Merchant at her most experimental musically. Motherland achieved Gold on the Billboard charts after debuting at No. 30 on the Billboard 200 and No. 13 on the Top Internet Albums of 2001, respectively. Rolling Stone favored this album with 3½ stars, and also noticed a difference in Merchant's voice, which was more deep and gritty than her previous albums. Singles that were released from Motherland were Just Can't Last, Build a Levee and Tell Yourself.

Merchant embarked on a year and a half world tour to promote Motherland. The first leg of the tour started in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 17, 2001, trekking all over the United States, and then heading to Europe with some special acoustic shows in Europe. Merchant also participated in the Rock am Ring Festival and Rock im Park in 2002. In the summer of 2002, she was paired with Chris Isaak and both played at stadiums and arenas.

The House Carpenter's Daughter (2003)

After her contract with Elektra expired in August 2002, Merchant decided not to sign with them again, or any other major label.[9] Her next studio album, The House Carpenter's Daughter, was released in September 2003 on her own label, Myth America Records. To date this has been the only release on Myth America.

Leave Your Sleep (2010)

In October 2009, the official websites of Nonesuch Records and Natalie Merchant announced that she had signed with the label. Leave Your Sleep was released on April 13, 2010 [10] and is a compilation of five years of inspiration from a "conversation" with her daughter over the "first 6 years of her life." The album debuted on the Billboard Top 200 at No. 17, Billboard Folk Albums at No. 1, Amazon.com at No.1, and ITunes,

Personal life

Merchant is married to Daniel de la Calle and has a daughter named Lucia.[11] She likes gardening and painting.[12] Some paintings can be seen at her official website.

She has been a vegetarian since 1980,[13] save for the duration of her pregnancy when she temporarily resumed eating meat.[11] In 1997, she said: "The '60s aesthetic has never really appealed to me, the tie-dyed Deadhead running barefoot through the forest on LSD. I don't think that's really me. But I've been a vegetarian for 17 years and I consider myself an environmentalist in as much as I can be, considering the job that I have. I prefer living in the countryside rather than the city; I find it more sane and sustaining for myself..."



http://www.nataliemerchant.com/ 

N

nm

Parag Khanna maps the future of countries



Many people think the lines on the map no longer matter, but Parag Khanna says they do. Using maps of the past and present, he explains the root causes of border conflicts worldwide and proposes simple yet cunning solutions for each.

Carne Ross: An independent diplomat



After 15 years in the British diplomatic corps, Carne Ross became a "freelance diplomat," running a bold nonprofit that gives small, developing and yet-unrecognized nations a voice in international relations. At the BIF-5 conference, he calls for a new kind of diplomacy that gives voice to small countries, that works with changing boundaries and that welcomes innovation.

Natalie Merchant sings old poems to life



Natalie Merchant sings from her new album, Leave Your Sleep. Lyrics from near-forgotten 19th-century poetry pair with her unmistakable voice for a performance that brought the TED audience to its feet.

Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover



Today's math curriculum is teaching students to expect -- and excel at -- paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them. At TEDxNYED, Dan Meyer shows classroom-tested math exercises that prompt students to stop and think.

Kirk Citron: And now, the real news



How many of today's headlines will matter in 100 years? 1000? Kirk Citron's "Long News" project collects stories that not only matter today, but will resonate for decades -- even centuries -- to come. At TED2010, he highlights recent headlines with the potential to shape our future.

Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from



People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.

Derek Sivers: Keep your goals to yourself




After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it's better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them

Chris Anderson: How web video powers global innovation

Inge Missmahl brings peace to the minds of Afghanistan

2010-08-10

Cannabis-it’s time to stop the lies and start a rational debate







It doesn’t require a Leap of faith to support the growing calls for a radical rethink of policy on drugs and in particular on the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Leap doesn’t base its case on faith but on solid experience, hard facts and proven science.




Leap — Law Enforcement Against Prohibition — is a non-profit educational organization in the US, its membership drawn from former and serving police officers and other law enforcement agents as well as lawyers, including a number of retired judges.

Founded seven years ago by f
ive retired drugs officers, it now claims 10,000 members in a total of 38 states.

It runs a bureau supplying speakers to advocate the decriminalisation of drugs at conferences, rotary clubs, community groups, high school and college debates and so forth. Its director, Jack Cole, served 26 years in the New Jersey state police, including 14 in the narcotics bureau.

These are not left-over hippies or natural libertarians but former frontline combatants in the war on drugs who have learnt
that the war is unwinnable and doing more harm than good.

Leap defines its mission: “To reduce the multitude of harms resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the rates of death, disease, crime and addiction by ultimately ending drug prohibition.”

The emergence of Leap has been a factor in shifting the axis of argument over drugs policy in the US.

Facilities licensed to supply cannabis for medical reasons are increasingly and openly broadening their customer base to encompass an ever-widening range of ailments.

Additional evidence of changing attitudes came last month when the Denver Westword — a weekly with a 100,000-plus circulation — advertised for a critic to write a column, ‘Mile Highs and Lows’, checking out Colorado


’s hundreds of legalised cannabis dispensaries.

“The reviewer will be expected to rate the service, and ambience in the outlets, and help readers negotiate the often bewildering variety of marijuana products on sale,” explained editor Joe Tone.

Things to do in Denver if you’re dead lucky: get the job as pub-spy for pot-heads.

Meanwhile, evidence on this side of the Atlantic mounts — if evidence for a proposition which has already been conclusively proven can be said to mount — of the deadly dangers of alcohol, particularly to young people, c
ompared to the relative safety of cannabis.

Last month Professor Chris Hawkey, president of the British Society of Gastroenterology, introduced new research suggesting that the next decade will see 90,000 people dying prematurely in Britain as a result of |alcohol.

There seem to be no comparable specific figures for Ireland north or south, but we can reasonably assume a similar situation.

He added: “A third of patients on (gastroenterology) wards are alcoholics — and these days many are in their 20s and 30s.”

In contrast, the number of dea
ths attributed to marijuana in these islands last year was nil. Same as the year before. Same as this year will turn out.

A society seriously trying to get to grips with its drugs problem, especially as it affects the young, would be trumpeting this distinction between a safe and a killer drug.

Instead, day in and day out, teenagers and others are urged to believe that marijuana poses a grave danger, while alcohol, used ‘responsibly’, will make life fuller and more enjoyable.

People are being lied to. It is my experience that many here, including elected representatives, who publicly assert implacable opposition to the decriminalisation of marijuana, will concede in private that the ban makes no sense.

But, they go on to say that to call openly for decriminalisation is to ‘send the wrong message’. But it’s the fact that marijuana is banned which sends the wrong message.

When young people realise, as they will, that they are being lied to about marijuana, they are likely to believe that they are being misled about heroin, too. ‘Irresponsibility’ scarcely covers it.



There are powerful forces with vested interests in maintaining skewed attitudes to drugs, most obviously the alcohol industry. If a substance cheaper, less harmful and more enjoyable than alcohol were easily available, the profits of the booze business would be at risk.

In Northern Ireland, in this specific matter, paramili
tary organisations, too, have a compelling interest in stifling debate. For as long as communities can be spooked into believing that puffing a joint will lead to personal |catastrophe, for so long will hysteria about drugs persist and punishment shooters-and-beaters have a role.

Would the Derry-based outfit styling itself Republican Action Against Drugs be able to get away with dragging a man from his distraught family at Bluebellhill Gardens and maiming him with bullets in the public street if there was a rational debate under way about how to assess and to deal with the problem of drugs abuse?

The possibility of rational debate was hardly enhanced by the ignorant belligerence of Home Secretary Alan Johnston last week in sacking Professor David Nutt as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, not for expressing an opinion contrary to the Government’s but for voicing facts which the Government — and the main opposition parties — would rather not ackn
owledge.

Neither the Home Secretary nor anyone who has supported the sacking has challenged the accuracy of the professor’s statistics or the logic of the case which he has argued from the statistics. Who among our local politicians will be first to show respect for the people and speak the truth?

Cannabis-it’s time to stop the lies and start a rational debate







It doesn’t require a Leap of faith to support the growing calls for a radical rethink of policy on drugs and in particular on the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Leap doesn’t base its case on faith but on solid experience, hard facts and proven science.




Leap — Law Enforcement Against Prohibition — is a non-profit educational organization in the US, its membership drawn from former and serving police officers and other law enforcement agents as well as lawyers, including a number of retired judges.

Founded seven years ago by f
ive retired drugs officers, it now claims 10,000 members in a total of 38 states.

It runs a bureau supplying speakers to advocate the decriminalisation of drugs at conferences, rotary clubs, community groups, high school and college debates and so forth. Its director, Jack Cole, served 26 years in the New Jersey state police, including 14 in the narcotics bureau.

These are not left-over hippies or natural libertarians but former frontline combatants in the war on drugs who have learnt
that the war is unwinnable and doing more harm than good.

Leap defines its mission: “To reduce the multitude of harms resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the rates of death, disease, crime and addiction by ultimately ending drug prohibition.”

The emergence of Leap has been a factor in shifting the axis of argument over drugs policy in the US.

Facilities licensed to supply cannabis for medical reasons are increasingly and openly broadening their customer base to encompass an ever-widening range of ailments.

Additional evidence of changing attitudes came last month when the Denver Westword — a weekly with a 100,000-plus circulation — advertised for a critic to write a column, ‘Mile Highs and Lows’, checking out Colorado


’s hundreds of legalised cannabis dispensaries.

“The reviewer will be expected to rate the service, and ambience in the outlets, and help readers negotiate the often bewildering variety of marijuana products on sale,” explained editor Joe Tone.

Things to do in Denver if you’re dead lucky: get the job as pub-spy for pot-heads.

Meanwhile, evidence on this side of the Atlantic mounts — if evidence for a proposition which has already been conclusively proven can be said to mount — of the deadly dangers of alcohol, particularly to young people, c
ompared to the relative safety of cannabis.

Last month Professor Chris Hawkey, president of the British Society of Gastroenterology, introduced new research suggesting that the next decade will see 90,000 people dying prematurely in Britain as a result of |alcohol.

There seem to be no comparable specific figures for Ireland north or south, but we can reasonably assume a similar situation.

He added: “A third of patients on (gastroenterology) wards are alcoholics — and these days many are in their 20s and 30s.”

In contrast, the number of dea
ths attributed to marijuana in these islands last year was nil. Same as the year before. Same as this year will turn out.

A society seriously trying to get to grips with its drugs problem, especially as it affects the young, would be trumpeting this distinction between a safe and a killer drug.

Instead, day in and day out, teenagers and others are urged to believe that marijuana poses a grave danger, while alcohol, used ‘responsibly’, will make life fuller and more enjoyable.

People are being lied to. It is my experience that many here, including elected representatives, who publicly assert implacable opposition to the decriminalisation of marijuana, will concede in private that the ban makes no sense.

But, they go on to say that to call openly for decriminalisation is to ‘send the wrong message’. But it’s the fact that marijuana is banned which sends the wrong message.

When young people realise, as they will, that they are being lied to about marijuana, they are likely to believe that they are being misled about heroin, too. ‘Irresponsibility’ scarcely covers it.



There are powerful forces with vested interests in maintaining skewed attitudes to drugs, most obviously the alcohol industry. If a substance cheaper, less harmful and more enjoyable than alcohol were easily available, the profits of the booze business would be at risk.

In Northern Ireland, in this specific matter, paramili
tary organisations, too, have a compelling interest in stifling debate. For as long as communities can be spooked into believing that puffing a joint will lead to personal |catastrophe, for so long will hysteria about drugs persist and punishment shooters-and-beaters have a role.

Would the Derry-based outfit styling itself Republican Action Against Drugs be able to get away with dragging a man from his distraught family at Bluebellhill Gardens and maiming him with bullets in the public street if there was a rational debate under way about how to assess and to deal with the problem of drugs abuse?

The possibility of rational debate was hardly enhanced by the ignorant belligerence of Home Secretary Alan Johnston last week in sacking Professor David Nutt as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, not for expressing an opinion contrary to the Government’s but for voicing facts which the Government — and the main opposition parties — would rather not ackn
owledge.

Neither the Home Secretary nor anyone who has supported the sacking has challenged the accuracy of the professor’s statistics or the logic of the case which he has argued from the statistics. Who among our local politicians will be first to show respect for the people and speak the truth?

2010-08-02

Swedish Drug Policy In A Nutshell

Cannabisdebatt med Maria Larsson i SR

SVTs Godmorron Sverige om Smokefest

SVTs Rapport om Smokefest

Stockholm Smokefest 09

Susanne Eriksson talar om cannabis mot MS vid Stockholm Smokefest 2010

Alexander Bard talar vid Stockholm Smokefest 2010

Alexander Bard läser Louise Perssons tal vid Stockholm Smokefest 2010

2010-08-01

SONG OF A KIND 4


SONG OF A KIND 4

idiotjim | MySpace Music Videos

HOLY CLOUD - REMASTERED


HOLY CLOUD - REMASTERED

idiotjim | MySpace Music Videos

Buzzcocks - "Ever Fallen in Love?" (Live - 1978)

You stir my natural emotions
You make me feel I'm dirt
And I'm hurt
And if I start a commotion
I run the risk of losing you
And that's worse

Ever fallen in love with someone?
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with

I can't see much of a future
Unless we find out what's to blame
What a shame
And we won't be together much longer
Unless we realize that we are the same

Ever fallen in love with someone?
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with

You disturb my natural emotions
You make me feel I'm dirt
And I'm hurt
And if I start a commotion
I'll only end up losing you
And that's worse

Ever fallen in love with someone?
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with

Ever fallen in love with someone?
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with

Ever fallen in love with someone?
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with

Fallen in love with
Ever fallen in love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with

-The Buzzcocks

SOME STANDARD PLOINK

SMALL TERRIBLE

idiotjim THEME

SOME STANDARD PLOINK