Monday, February 28, 2011

And the Oscar Goes to...

 
 "The King's Speech" - 2011 Oscar for the Best Picture

Whether you like it or not...

83rd Academy Awards Ceremony took place on the February 27th, in Los Angeles. This year's winners are listed below in alphabetical order:

Actor in a Leading Role

    Colin Firth in “The King's Speech”

Actor in a Supporting Role

    Christian Bale in “The Fighter”

Actress in a Leading Role

    Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”

Actress in a Supporting Role

    Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”

Animated Feature Film

    “Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich

Art Direction

    “Alice in Wonderland” Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara

Cinematography

    “Inception” Wally Pfister

Costume Design

    “Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood

Directing

    “The King's Speech” Tom Hooper

Documentary (Feature)

    “Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

Documentary (Short Subject)

    “Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon

Film Editing

    “The Social Network” Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Foreign Language Film

    “In a Better World” Denmark

Makeup

    “The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Music (Original Score)

    “The Social Network” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Music (Original Song)

    “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3" Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Best Picture

    “The King's Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers

Short Film (Animated)

    “The Lost Thing” Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann

Short Film (Live Action)

    “God of Love” Luke Matheny

Sound Editing

    “Inception” Richard King

Sound Mixing

    “Inception” Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick

Visual Effects

    “Inception” Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

    “The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

Writing (Original Screenplay)

    “The King's Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler

Friday, February 25, 2011

What Is Crystal Therapy?



Crystal therapy is an alternative healing method that uses gemstones and crystals to induce healing. Critics of crystal therapy consider it to be a pseudoscience that uses unscientific methods. Healing, if any at all, is attributed to the placebo effect. Proponents of vibrational medicine, however, regard crystal therapy as a powerful, yet subtle, healing method that utilizes crystalline structures of various minerals to alter the energy patterns within the human body.

Crystal therapy takes a holistic approach to health and disease. Any disturbance of energy flow within the body results in disease and must be corrected. When balance is restored, healing occurs not only on the physical, but also on the emotional and spiritual planes.

Gemstones and crystals fascinated humans in most ancient cultures. Their beauty had a magical appeal. Their rarity elevated them to the symbols of wealth and status. In most ancient cultures they were used in magic rituals, in divination, for healing, and for protection of the living and the dead. They were offered to the gods, used as gifts or as currency, and worn as jewelry.

The first known written reference to the healing properties of crystals, however, comes form an ancient Egyptian papyrus that dates back to around 1550 BC. Lapis lazuli, malachite, and red jasper were to be placed around the neck of a sick person so that the disease could pass through the crystals and then dissipate.

Crystals were mentioned in the Old Testament. The High Priest Aaron wore a breastplate that was adorned with various jewels. They were the symbols of wisdom and were worn for protection.

Sumerians, ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and the Romans, learned how to use gemstones and crystals in magic formulas and for healing. Gems, especially the green jade, were used by the Chinese thousands of years ago. Around 400 BC, the Indians began using crystals in Ayurveda. Their healing properties were also known to the Hopi Indians, the Inuit, and to the Hawaiian Islanders. Australian Aborigines and New Zealand Maoris, Aztecs and the Maya, all used crystals for healing. Interestingly enough, all these cultures attributed similar properties to the same gemstones.

In Europe gemstone therapy was popular during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. A number of medical treatises extolled the healing properties of various gems and crystals. Hildegard of Bingen, Sir John Mandeville, and Arnoldus Saxo used gemstones together with herbs. This practice was forgotten with the onset of the Age of Reason, but revived in the 19th century with the ascent of Spiritualism and the revival of ancient esoteric traditions.

The efficacy of crystal therapy is based on the premise that every living organism constitutes a complex energy system which includes meridians, chakras, and the electromagnetic field known as aura.

Every crystal or gemstone has a different crystalline structure with atoms placed on the crystal lattice in a particular order. The atoms oscillate forming a specific energy pattern. These patterns resonate with the vibrational energies of somatic cells, thus tuning and re-balancing the energy flow in the entire body. A balanced energy flow is a sign of perfect health. Because energetic re-balancing takes place on cellular level, healing is gradual and may take longer periods of time depending on an individual condition.

During a healing session, gemstones and crystals are placed on a body in a special configuration. They work in synergy to enhance the energy flow and to open the energy blockages. More than one session is necessary, especially when energy imbalance manifests itself as a physical symptom or a disease.

The stones can also be placed in homes and other spaces, and carried in pockets or worn on the body during the day for a continuous exposure to the subtle energy of the healing stones. 

The practice of wearing gemstones or placing them on various parts of the body is only one form of therapeutic application of crystals. Preparation of gem elixirs is another.

Gemstone elixirs can prepared to heal wide range of ailments. Cleansed, mostly raw, unpolished gemstones and crystals are placed in a jar of purified water and left for a designated period of time. The water is then consumed for enhanced energetic balancing and detoxification. Elixirs not only use the energetic properties of crystals, but they also take advantage of their mineral content.

Traditionally, pulverized gemstones and crystals were also added to ointments and applied on areas that needed attention. To this day, the Chinese use pulverized pearls in their skincare products.The famous Pearl Cream is believed to have almost miraculous anti-aging properties.

The human body has an incredible potential to heal itself. Vibrational therapies such as chakra balancing or the crystal therapy may not yet be scientifically confirmed, healing effect is considerable when such methods are applied to correct energetic imbalances in the body. And although the possible placebo effect does not necessarily discredit these healing methods, a caution is advised. 

By Dominique Allmon

         

*This article was written for educational purpose only and is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fear of Suffering



Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams… - Paulo Coelho


Monday, February 21, 2011

Iranium



Iran’s radical regime, which has long posed a serious threat to international security, is now approaching a nuclear weapons capability. What are the implications of the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism attaining one of the world’s most terrifying weapons? How dangerous would a nuclear Iran be, even if it never detonates a weapon? What are the guiding principles of Iran’s radical Islamic  leadership? To what lengths would the regime go to carry out its agenda? Why have American leaders failed to gain the upper hand in relations with Iran during the past thirty years? These and other burning questions are answered in a new documentary called Iranium.

Iranium is a powerful documentary film that reports on the many aspects of the threat America and the world now face, using rarely before seen footage of Iranian leaders and interviews with twenty five leading politicians, Iranian dissidents, and experts on Middle East policy, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation. Produced by the Clarion Fund, Iranium reviews the growth of Iran’s nuclear threat and outlines various scenarios that the greater Middle East and the Western world may face should Iran cross the nuclear threshold.

Iran's nuclear program presents a threat to international stability. Yet successive American administrations - Republican and Democratic alike - have misread the intentions and actions of the Iranian regime.

In approximately 60 minutes, Iranium powerfully reports on the many aspects of the threat America and the world now faces using rarely-before seen footage of Iranian leaders, and interviews with twenty five leading politicians, Iranian dissidents, and experts on: Middle East policy, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation.
  • Iranium documents the development of Iran's nuclear threat, beginning with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the ideology installed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini.
  • Iranium tracks Iran's use of terror as a tool of policy, beginning with the 444 day seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, through Iran's insurgent actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Iranium details the brutal nature of the Iranian regime to its own citizens, and the Iranian people's desire to rejoin the international community.
  • Iranium outlines the various scenarios the greater Middle East and the Western world may face should Iran cross the nuclear threshold.

Article source here & here
Click here to watch the movie trailer  
Image source here


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nutrition for a Healthy Heart



The heart is the body's strongest muscle which is not bigger than its owner's clenched fist. It sits in the middle of the chest cavity, between two lungs, well protected behind the breast bone.

A healthy heart contracts and relaxes something between 70 and 80 times per minute. Each heartbeat delivers fresh blood through the four chambers of the heart.

This small organ works without respite, beating approximately 100,000 times a day or about 40 million times a year. It supplies the body with oxygen and nutrients, clearing away, at the same time, all harmful waste.

A strong and healthy heart is absolutely vital for our well being and longevity. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles often have detrimental effects on this organ. Stress, smoking, alcohol abuse, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, and obesity are the major factors contributing to heart disease.

Statistics show that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the industrialized world. Heart disease is also on the rise in the third world countries.

Heart disease includes various conditions affecting the heart, such as the coronary heart disease, heart attack, congestive heart failure, rheumatic heart disease, and congenital heart disease.

People who were diagnosed with heart disease or who have multiple risk factors for developing it, should have their blood tested at least twice a year to monitor their condition. A comprehensive blood test should measure levels of blood lipids, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, fibrinogen, and other important blood markers. Regular blood pressure monitoring is also necessary.

Like many other diseases, heart disease is preventable. Interestingly enough, even the smallest changes in lifestyle reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. While it is not always easy to change long established eating habits, paying attention to what we eat may be life saving. It is a well established fact that foods high in saturated fat and sodium, contribute to heart disease. Replacing such foods with healthier options and adding fresh fruit and vegetable, whole grains, legumes, fish and poultry, will help reduce the risk of developing hart disease.

Among others, heart health protocol should address factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blood clothing, high blood levels of homocysteine, and vascular inflammation.

Heart healthy diet should include:
  • Salmon - excellent source of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and the abnormal blood clotting
  • Oats - good source of cholesterol lowering beta-glucans
  • Olive oil - well known for its ability to reduce low density lipoprotein or the "bad cholesterol"
  • Pomegranate - known to protect the arteries
  • Dark leafy green vegetables - excellent source of vitamin K and folic acid. Vitamin K helps decrease calcification of the arteries, while folic acid helps reduce blood levels of the toxic amino acid homocysteine
  • Tomatoes - rich in lycopene which is well known for its antioxidant properties
  • Garlic - rich in allicin, a compound known for its blood thinning properties
  • Whole grains - rich in dietary fiber known for its ability to lower the bad cholesterol
  • Apples - rich in flavonoid quercetin which helps reduce inflammation and prevents blood from clotting
  • Red wine - source of powerful antioxidant resveratrol
  • Almonds - good source of magnesium which regulates the heart rhythm
  • Green tea - helps lower the bad cholesterol and relaxes the arteries 

Cardiovascular protocol should also include nutritional supplements that are known for their heart protecting properties:
  • Coenzyme Q10 - helps deliver fatty acids into the heart cells thus ensuring proper cell function
  • L-carnitine - an amino acid which helps deliver energy sources into the heart cells for proper functioning of the heart muscle
  • L-arginine - an amino acid which facilitates the production of nitric acid in the body. Nitric acid enables the muscles in the arterial walls to relax
  • L-taurine - an amino acid which helps fortify the contraction of the heart thus enhancing the blood flow from the heart
  • Lecithin - helps reduce arterial plaque and lower blood pressure
  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids - necessary to reduce the inflammation in blood vessels
  • Magnesium - helps relax heart muscle and regulate heart rhythm, prevents angina and controls blood pressure
  • Vitamin B6 - necessary for the reduction of the toxic, heart- and blood vessels damaging amino acid homocysteine
  • Hawthorn - a clinically tested herb that has the capacity to increase blood flow to the heart and calm the nervous system

Adding the above mentioned foods and supplements to one's diet and increasing overall physical activity are the first steps to a better cardiovascular health. Overweight people will notice some initial weight reduction and should consider further steps to bring their weight to an optimum. People who smoke should seriously consider quitting the heart damaging habit. Those who drink alcohol should reduce their alcohol consumption and consider drinking small amounts of red wine. The pinot noir variety is especially rich in life prolonging and heart saving compound resveratrol. In addition, stress reduction is absolutely necessary if one wants to avoid heart disease.

By Dominique Allmon

*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.

    

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Nutrition for a Healthy Heart by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Healing Properties of Rose Quartz


 A rare rose quartz crystal from Minas Gerais, Brazil

Rose quartz is a translucent, often turbid, coarsely grained variety of quartz found mostly in pegmatite rock formations. Its color ranges from pale pink to rich rose red. The origin of this color is not well understood. For a long time mineralogists suspected that it is a result of titanium, iron, manganese or even colloidal gold impurities present in a crystal structure of quartz, but the most recent X-ray diffraction tests suggest the existence of yet unknown, fibrous mineral causing the pink hue in massive rose quartz.

Rose quartz occurs Brazil, USA, South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar, Germany, Sweden, Japan, India, and Australia.

Rose quartz forms solid masses,veins, druses, granular structures, and, very seldom, euhedral crystal structures which are then classified as pink quartz.

Not much is known about the historical use of rose quartz. Some beads that date back to 7000 B.C. were found in archeological sites of Mesopotamia (present day Iraq). Assyrians used rose quartz to make jewelry. Romans took advantage of the gem's hardness and made seals of property out of it. In the Middle Ages rose quartz was used to decorate royal insignia. It was also appreciated for its magical and healing properties and was regarded as a symbol of gentle love and beauty.

Nowadays, rose quartz is considered to be the stone of love and self-love. It is supposed to gently remove all negativity and self-doubt. It quiets the emotions and brings peace of mind. It gives courage and heals traumatic emotions and emotional wounds. It also reduces stress and soothes the nerves. It brings calm and clarity and restores harmony after chaotic emotional experiences. It may reduce aggression and resentment and bring forgiveness. It can help develop tolerance and restore self-esteem.

This gem is associated with the heart chakra which is the seat of our emotions. It can be used to clear and balance this energy center. It may help us establish emotional connection with others, develop trust, feel empathy, and allow us to experience love and self-love, especially when we think that we do not deserve to be loved.

In esoteric circles rose quartz is used to attract love. Because of its capacity to dispel fear, it is also used to ease the transition of new born babies into their new lives and to aid the dying so that they can peacefully let go of attachments and enter the new realm at the end of their earthly existence. 

Like other quartz varieties, rose quartz is characterized by high conductivity. This quality makes it a perfect and powerful healing stone. It is often used to strengthen the heart and improve blood circulation which helps detoxify the body and has an overall rejuvenating effect. The gem can help heal scars and improve complexion. It is also believed to energize the gonads and increase fertility.

Rose quartz can be used in crystal therapy, worn as jewelry, or taken as a gem elixir. It is attractive enough to adorn spaces. Its peaceful energy helps fortify and heal relationships and dispel negativity from areas where people interact. The gem is believed to clear electromagnetic radiation and should be placed near computers and TV sets. It must, however, be cleansed and recharged very often since it absorbs negativity. 

By Dominique Allmon

*This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or heal a disease.

         

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Healing Properties of Rose Quartz by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Saint Valentine's Day!



I love you. I am who I am because of you. You are every reason, every hope, and every dream I've ever had, and no matter what happens to us in the future, everyday we are together is the greatest day of my life. I will always be yours. - Nicholas Sparks 
 

Happy Saint Valentine's Day! 



         

Friday, February 11, 2011

Patience and Determination



Only bad things happen quickly... Virtually all the happiness-producing processes in our lives take time, usually a long time: learning new things, changing old behaviors, building satisfying relationships, raising children. This is why patience and determination are among life’s primary virtues. - Gordon Livingston

Life is a process that unfolds gradually as we move through time and space. And yet, in today's fast-paced world we expect things to happen quickly. Patience is the forgotten virtue. As soon as we get what we want we are already chasing after another experience. Instant gratification is like a disease that makes us blind to the real world out there. How can anyone with such an affliction expect to be genuinely happy? 

Dominique Allmon

Image source unknown but greatly appreciated

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sensual Gifts for Saint Valentine's Day



Every year people all over the world celebrate St.Valentine's Day on the February 14. This is a day when we tell friends that we love and remember them. This is a day when relationships get infused with new romantic passion. This is the day on which we celebrate love. The whole industry was created around this innocent celebration and millions of greeting cards, chocolate boxes, red roses, and other gifts exchange hands on this day.

Many people call St.Valentine's Day a Hallmark Holiday, but the tradition of St.Valentine's Day is much older than a Hallmark company. It is believed to have originated from the pagan customs of the third or fourth century B.C., where Lupercalia Festival was celebrated in Ancient Rome in mid-February. At this time young men underwent their rites of passage rituals. This was also a time when young boys and girls who normally lived separately, were brought together. Celebrated by the Victorians, St. Valentine's Day went into oblivion for quite some time and was later revived by the Hallmark company. So, at least, the story goes... The holiday is well placed in the middle of winter to warm up our spirits and celebrate a little. Friends and lovers exchange greetings and love tokens and from time to time some of them look for a very special and original gift. So, what to give this year?

Red roses

Red rose is a symbol of passion and desire for love. Most women love the idea of receiving flowers and few dislike roses. Roses are very versatile and can be used in many ways to excite the senses. Try something different this year. Spread rose petals from the entrance to a beautifully decorated dinner table. Cook a saffron risotto with shredded fresh rose petals or spice your meat stew with a mixture of dried rose petals, nutmeg, dried orange peel, black pepper, and cloves. Mix spices together adding generous portion of rose petals and grind the mixture to a coarse powder. Make a rose petal ice cream for dessert. Use organically grown flowers if you can. Decorate your bedroom with rose petals marking the way from the entrance to your bed or prepare a sensual bath for two with rose petals and the essential rose oil. Do not forget the candles, but be careful not to add to much of the rose scent all at once. 

Chocolates

Chocolate is known to have aphrodisiac properties and was used as such since the ancient times. Already the Aztec king Montezuma sought help in a cup of spiced cocoa before embarking on his amorous adventures with his consorts. There are many different kinds of chocolates on the market. Chose those that are spiced with exotic spices and use them with your partner to explore the olfactory and gustatory sensations that chocolate and spices bring out. What can come out of it is left to your own imagination.

Dinner for two

Saint Valentine's Day is a perfect occasion to indulge. Some fine restaurants offer a special menu for lovers and a fine wine to go with it. Candle light, fine china, romantic music, and foods that not only will excite your taste buds, but are intended to heat your passion as well. Go easy on the wine as it may numb your senses and this is not what you want on St. Valentine's night. Those who want to combine their passion for cooking with a passion for a partner will probably prefer to stay at home and prepare the dinner themselves. There are countless libido enhancing recipes. Some of the most exciting ingredients are:
  • oysters
  • asparagus
  • arugula
  • Perigord truffles
  • dark chocolate
  • ginger
  • nutmeg
  • real vanilla
  • figs
  • raspberries
Use your cooking talent to create a lasting sensual experience. Address all the senses but leave some space for imagination and naughtiness. Create sensual ambiance that will allow intimacy to unfold, especially when you and your partner live under the same roof. The element of surprise adds a new accent into your relationship. 

Night out

You might want to do something different this year. Here comes an extravagant idea, that may change your relationship forever. If your budget permits, book a hotel room in advance and let your sweetheart know that you plan something very special on St. Valentine's Day. Ask her or him not to plan anything for that evening, but do not reveal your secret. Check with the hotel their room service menu and find out if they have any special arrangements for that day. Have the hotel prepare the dining table for the occasion. Find out if they have bathrobes in the room. Pack some toiletries and everything else you both may need that night. Keep a bottle of organic lotion for a sensual massage ready in the room. There is no better way to connect with the person you love after a day of work than through a gentle, relaxing, loving massage.

Check in to the hotel as early as you can and decorate it with scented candles. Put the champagne bottle into an ice cooler. Leave a rose petal trail between the entrance and the bed. Pick up your sweetheart from work and take him or her straight to the hotel. Call the room service to deliver the prearranged menu and enjoy your time. An intimate evening away from home may have an unexpected impact on your love relationship. It will be greatly appreciated and not lightly forgotten.

Saint Valentine's day gives a great opportunity to revive relationships or to add more passion to the daily routine. Very often we forget that love is something very precious and special. Sometimes we take our relationships for granted and wonder where did all the excitement go. It should never be difficult to show our partner that we love him or her. Celebrate love as often as you can. Add more passion to your life. It does not have to be St. Valentine's day to have a romantic breakfast in bed.
 
By Dominique Allmon

         

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Sensual Gifts for St. Valentine's Day by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Global Government


 Maman by Louise Bourgeois in the collection of National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa
 Maman by Louise Bourgeois in the collection of National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa

By Maura R. O'Connor

In an era when the problems facing humanity, such as terrorism, AIDS, global warming, and weapons proliferation, defy the borders of nation-states, the hot topic in academia and international affairs is global governance. How can nations cooperate with one another to handle these catastrophes? What models of governance will be able to encompass the unprecedented complexity that defines international affairs in the twenty-first century? The United Nations’ inability to implement effective policies in a timely manner and the Security Council’s breakdown around the Iraq War have created a vacuum in which more and more scholars, political scientists, and leaders are attempting to plant their own models of a sustainable future. 

One such model is that of Brookings Institute scholars Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay. Unveiled last year in The American Interest, Daalder and Lindsay’s proposal is called a “concert of democracies” and would entail the world’s sixty democratic nations pooling their common interests to create a voting bloc in the UN and the World Trade Organization. Together, the “D-60” would work for human rights and issues of global security and would be overseen by a secretariat and advisory board of “elder statesmen” who can “deepen cooperation.” The board would include such leaders as Nelson Mandela, Václav Havel, Carlos Menem, Bill Clinton, Junichiro Koizumi, and Manmohan Singh.

Daalder and Lindsay’s proposal of an international advisory board strongly echoes Jakob von Uexkull’s concept of a World Future Council. Launched in 2004, the WFC is designed to fix what von Uexkull sees as a crucial flaw in international institutions: a lack of trust between their leaders and the general public. It will be made up of one hundred outstanding leaders in human rights, science, the environment, economics, and religion so as to create a trusted moral authority that can weigh in on international issues and come together in support of specific policies. Recently, von Uexkull reported that the first fifty members have been chosen, and the city of Hamburg has agreed to fund the launch and initial phase of the council. Indeed, over the next three years, the city will donate 2.5 million euros to the project as well as permanently host its secretariat. 

Yet another new model of global governance is that of the International Simultaneous Policy Organization (SP), created by British businessman John M. Bunzl. Bunzl has been inspired by his readings of integral philosophy and is using its principles to create a system that he believes could “transform the international economy such that it operates in harmony with the global natural environment.” Bunzl’s ambitious model hinges on the theory that if international leaders implement policies at the same exact time, fears of putting their respective countries at a competitive disadvantage will dissipate and nations could begin to cooperate with one another as a genuine community. Bunzl’s proposed policy changes for the first year of SP implementation would include increasing the regulation of international financial markets, canceling Third-World debt, banning and dismantling all nuclear weapons, and halting genetic engineering and its application in agriculture, industry, and medicine. Bunzl himself recognizes that “persuading all countries to adopt SP sounds like an incredibly tall order, and indeed it is.”

Can such a tall order realistically be fulfilled? One argument against SP is that just because policies are implemented simultaneously doesn’t necessarily mean competitive disadvantages disappear. In 2002, for example, the Bush administration proposed a policy similar to SP in regard to trade tariffs. The United States would agree to eliminate all U.S. tariffs on manufactured goods by 2015, thereby opening American markets to unprecedented levels of foreign imports, provided that other WTO members would also eliminate theirs in the same time frame. The proposal stalled almost immediately, mostly because other countries, especially in Europe, generally have higher tariffs than the United States does and would experience greater disadvantages. So, despite widespread agreement that tariffs, especially agricultural tariffs, are keeping Third-World countries in poverty, the initial competitive disadvantage proved too great, even though it would have helped millions of people.

Perhaps one of the largest obstacles in the way of global governance is that people tend to see such ideas as idealistic and accused advocates of neglecting to consider the legitimate self-interest nations naturally seek to protect. Other opponents believe that less government should be the goal of the future, not more in the form of an all-encompassing super-government. In his forthcoming book Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution, Steve McIntosh addresses these two concerns by pointing out that even if the world doesn’t like the idea of global governance, increasing globalization is demanding it. According to him, it can actually happen once the levels of “integral consciousness” among the most developed peoples of the world evolve to higher levels. What is integral consciousness? McIntosh defines it as a worldview beyond postmodernism that recognizes the legitimacy and “evolutionary necessity” of the many different stages of development in consciousness, cultures, and individuals around the world today.

When enough people begin to adopt this worldview, McIntosh sees the possibility of a “world federation” emerging whose objective is to “harmonize the needs of the modern and postmodern developed world with the needs of the traditional third world.” The constitution of this federation would be modeled on the American form of democracy, with legislative, judicial, and executive branches. However, each branch would have a three-part structure representing populations, economic interests, and nations, respectively. McIntosh’s vision of how these branches would operate is at times quite creative. For instance, he proposes that each of the three executive branches could have its own “cabinet of consciousness,” a committee of advisors that would represent different stages of development in the world. These cabinet members would lobby for their constituents’ rights and seek to protect their livelihoods and environment. Membership in the federation would be determined according to the mean levels of consciousness of the individuals in a nation-state. Traditional cultures that were not democratized would be probationary members, able to receive the protection and privileges of the federation but not full membership until they became more democratized. If the system sounds inequitable, keep in mind that the UN Security Council is structured with similar imbalances of power.

Opponents of global governance might say that McIntosh is a naïve idealist. It’s a common criticism of those who believe there is a possibility of a community of nations working together as a global democratic authority. McIntosh, on the other hand, sees himself as a practical realist and his world federation model as merely the natural outcome of evolutionary pressures such as terrorism and AIDS, which are demanding that the world move forward to the next stage of development in consciousness. It’s an inspiring vision and one it seems the world needs more than ever before.

About the author:
Maura O'Connor was an associate editor for What Is Enlightenment? from 2003 to 2007 and authored several dozen articles and reviews for the magazine on topics that include everything from politics to modern design to the esoteric teachings of Kabbalah. Her writing has highlighted the social and spiritual work of her contemporaries, such as Buddhist teacher Noah Levine, environmental visionary Ocean Robbins, and business entrepreneur Brian Johnson. She has also interviewed a variety of religious scholars and leaders, including Daniel Matt, Ph.D., Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, and Mother Antonia.

She attended Simon's Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where she studied the liberal arts before earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art History from Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. Her senior thesis drew on Ken Wilber's integral philosophy and the social evolutionary theories of Spiral Dynamics to critique the postmodern milieu, making a case for the need to reinstate a hierarchy of values into art and art criticism. In May 2008, she received a Master of Science degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she focused on newspaper reporting and international affairs. She is currently an intern with Agence-France Presse at their United Nations bureau in New York City.

Article source here
Image source here

      

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ronald Reagan - 100th Birthday Anniversary

 
 
President Ronald Reagan in Germany, 1987
"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" - President Ronald Reagan on June 12, 1987 in Berlin, Germany

Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, was born in Tampico, Illinois on the February 6th, 1911.

Reagan entered politics after an acting career. He first served as the 33rd Governor of California and was elected to Office in 1980. Reagan served two terms between 1981 and 1989 and survived an assassination attempt in March 1981. 

As president, Reagan implemented sweeping political and economic reforms. His policies that were later dubbed "Reaganomics" advocated reduction of tax rates to incite economic growth, control of the money supply to reduce inflation, deregulation of the economy, and reduction of the government spending. Reagan took a hard line against labor unions, completed the deregulation of the airline industry and ordered military actions in Grenada. 

He was reelected in a landslide election in 1984. His second term was primarily marked by foreign policy concerns, such as the relationship with Russia, military action against Libya, and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair. 

Like no other president before him, Reagan was determined to fight communism and end the Cold War. He publicly called the Soviet Union an "evil empire" and supported anti-communist movements worldwide.

Reagan left office in 1989 and was diagnosed later with the Alzheimer's disease. 

In 2007, Polish President Lech Kaczyński posthumously awarded Reagan with the highest Polish distinction, the Order of the White Eagle. Reagan inspired the Polish people to work for change and mobilize against the oppressive regime. Together with Pope John Paul II, Reagan backed Poland throughout his presidency and supported the anti-communist Solidarity movement. 

Today, many conservative and liberal scholars alike, agree that Reagan has been the most influential president since Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was a man of a great charisma who left his imprint on American politics, diplomacy, culture, and economics. He rehabilitated conservatism, turned the nation to the right, and practiced a pragmatic conservatism that balanced ideology with the constraints of politics. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Year of the Rabbit!


 Year of the Rabbit

On February 3rd Chinese people all over the world celebrate the beginning of a Lunar New Year - the Year of the Rabbit. As every year geomancers and fortune tellers are busy devising fortunes for countless clients who want to make sure that everything goes according to the laws of Heaven and Earth.

The Chinese believe that people born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbits are also admired, trusted, and are often very fortunate.

 The year of the Rabbit is traditionally associated with home and family, artistic pursuits, diplomacy, and peace. 2011 is expected to be a much calmer year than 2010.

Individuals will become more introverted, secretive, family oriented. Nations will become more insular and increasingly protect their borders against the unwanted "intruders". 2011 will also bring amazing creativity in all areas of life, notably in business and in arts.

People born in the Year of the Rabbit as well as people compatible with the Rabbit sign - those born in the years of the Sheep, Dog and Pig - will experience great financial and professional success. People born under other signs may have a bit more difficult ride in 2011. Everything depends on their flexibility and the ability to adopt to ever changing circumstances. 

But no matter what your fortune for the Year of the Rabbit may be, remember that you are the master of your fate. 

Wishing everyone a Happy and Auspicious Chinese New Year  - Dominique


新 年 快 樂 !


The image above is a photograph of a Canadian postage stamp that was inspired by the traditional Chinese embroidery. The image of two rabbits chasing each other in an endless circle is based on a traditional Chinese robe medallion design. The stamp uses gold foil to mimic the metallic gold thread in the embroidered design. Gold is used symbolically here. It signifies that this is the Year of a Metal Rabbit, which occurs every 60 years in a Chinese cyclical calendar.

         

Image source here