Archive for April, 2014


second chances (and more)

The question inevitably comes up: if a kid screws up his (or her) second chance, is another chance to be offered?

If you look to the real world for some guidance into what is natural, fair, and appropriate, whether you realize it or not, we are all presented with multiple “second chances” to either get it right or to do it better. Feedback loops are fundamental to continuous improvement programs in business and industry. Such opportunities are ever-present, endless, and perpetual.

The idea that opportunity only knocks once is at the root of countless human errors, repeated time and again. This is because cycles are everywhere in nature, at every different level.

Like most people, when I was young I was taught that time could be visualized as a straight line, the so-called “arrow of time,” and I believed it. For the longest time, a straight line was the only way I could imagine time.

The problem was, I could never seem to make much sense of why things happen in the world. Everything around me seemed so random and unpredictable. Almost everything seemed to me to be chaotic and a matter of chance and whim.

It was not until I was close to 40 years old that I discovered that my confusion was the result of a misunderstanding of time itself. Time does not proceed in a straight line, but in cycles which spiral through time from day to day and from one year to the next into infinity.

If you do not look for the repeating patterns of phenomena you won’t see them, and you will remain confused.

Then I discovered that there are seasons in each complete cycle of the spiral and that, just as we can predict the coming of winter and what the weather and climate will be like during that season, so we can anticipate and predict the seasonal conditions of anything in the world that’s affected by cycles.

human_life_cycle cropped.

What in the world—or in the Universe for that matter—is affected by cycles? The answer, in two words, is “absolutely everything!”

Everything in the Universe spins.

atomAtoms spin.


solar system 1Solar systems and planets (and moons) spin.


GalaxyGalaxies spin.


If we visualize everything spinning through time, the result is spirals.

african money 2.

Here on Earth, we see spirals everywhere in Nature. Geometric forms in plant growth is called Phyllotaxis, and they are said to be ubiquitous.

Some examples:






You can see spirals in the weather.


You can easily see spirals in the structure of some animal life forms, like this Nautilus shell.

nautilus- flopped.

It’s interesting that mathematicians see in the Nautilus a “Golden Proportion of Nature,” which they describe with a “Fibonacci Series” of numbers (named after a mathematician named Leonardo Fibonacci, who discovered the series and wrote about it over 800 years ago in 1202).


In this series of numbers, each one is the sum of adding together the previous two numbers as follows:

0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 etc.




2+3=5 and so forth.

Also, if you also divide any two numbers which are next to one another, the result is an amazing “Golden number.” For example:

34 divided by 55 = 0.618, and 55 divided by 34 = 1.618

This is probably more math than is appreciated by a general audience, but for now it is enough to know that cycles and spirals can be seen by mathematicians through analysis of many kinds of information about events which occur here on earth, in nature and human society.

For example, this chart depicts many of the events in which mathematical analysis shows an important 54-year cycle:

pg_0083 cropped.

The “Ideal Crest” is when different things such as worldwide shipbuilding, rainfall in England, copper prices in the US, and tree growth rings in Arizona timber are the greatest, the most numerous, or the highest.

If you study this chart, you will see two fascinating things.

First, the high-points of these diverse phenomena which have 54-year cycles tend to bunch into relatively narrow time-frames. What this means is that all these 54-year cycles are tending to spin together in unison.

Mathematical analysis shows the same thing happens with shorter and longer cycles, too.

Phenomena which have 100-year cycles tend to spin in unison.

Phenomena which share 30-day cycles spin in unison. Phenomena which have a one-second cycle spin in unison, too. It is like separate clocks in different places all reaching 12:00 at about the same time.

Second, an exception shown in this chart is that sunspots, which also have a 54-year cycle, tend to be most numerous when all the other 54-year cycles are at their lowest levels. Scientists and mathematicians say there is an “inverse relationship” between sunspot activity and, say, shipbuilding or tree growth.

Does this mean sunspots negatively affect shipbuilding, coal production, or warfare? It is easier to see how sunspots might affect tree growth or rainfall—but how can they possibly affect the numbers of ships built, tons of coal mined, or the number of battles fought all over the world?

It is a mystery no one can explain. All we can know for sure is that this coordinated spinning is making things happen in certain patterns. But no one knows why or how, only that It Just Is.

As I said earlier, I did not learn about this until I was almost 40 years old. Before, I was confused and saw everything in the world happening in random and chaotic ways. Yet after I learned about this, all at once I could see pattern in the timing of events. It all made sense to me.

To see the future provides a way to see more possibilities in every present moment. It allows you to be more creative and productive.

It helps you avoid mistakes and their sometimes painful consequences. It allows you to be more patient with the “learning curves” of others. If a young person fails to grab hold of the carousel as a particular pony passes by, by recognizing the cycles in things we know the pony will pass by again.

I wish I had known about cycles from the time I was a young boy. How different might my life have been—how much differently might I have lived the first three or four decades of my life—if I had only known?

If you are a young person—or at least younger than I was when I discovered the cyclic nature of time—you will have an opportunity which I did not. To learn about the underlying patterns which govern events in the world and Universe is a “head start” few people ever get.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Joni Mitchell performing “The Circle Game”


smoke rings



Groove of the Day

Listen to The Mills Brothers performing “Smoke Rings”



snakeskin 1.

snakeskin 2.

snakeskin 3.

snakeskin 4.

snakeskin 5.



Groove of the Day

Listen to Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson performing “Adam and Eve”


if l were a bell



Groove of the Day

Listen to Josie DeGuzman performing “If I Were a Bell


agua fria

agua fria 4Even people who are rather dim bulbs have probably noticed that I have been off my writing game for quite a few days now. Until this post, I haven’t drawn attention to it, but I have been sleeping about half-time lately, in 3- or 4-hour alternating periods of sleep and wakefulness.

Last night I complained about my low productivity to Lone Heron, but under her questioning, realized that I would not be sleeping so much if I did not need it… and anyway, what is the worst that can happen as a result? I am retired.

Today, instead of putting my nose to the grindstone, I spent the morning and early afternoon at Agua Fria, an area about 15 miles from Estrella Vista which is a place of extraordinary but severe beauty: it is arid, sparsely vegetated with Mexican buckeye, walnut, persimmon, desert willow, scrub brush, juniper, oak, chaparral, cacti, and grasses, and includes diverse topographic features that result chiefly from erosion and igneous intrusions and faulting.

agua fria 7One of the central features of Agua Fria is Terlingua Creek, a tributary of the Rio Grande which runs southeast for eighty-three miles to its mouth just east of Santa Elena Canyon. The stream is intermittent for the first fifty miles, so most of what we saw this morning was dry creek bed. Dry, except for a water hole famous in these parts for its year-round reputation as a place to sunbathe, swim, and cool off, even when daytime temperatures top the hundred-degree mark.

This was my first visit to the water hole, even though this is the place where several years ago Paul and Derek King saved an elderly couple from drowning. I was glad to finally see it.

My friend Ronnie drove me out there in his truck, and his mother provided a cooler with a simple lunch in it which was shared near a dramatic rock face of reds, whites, and greys.

I don’t know if it was the quality of the food, the scenery, the company, or simply being out-and-about, but I have not enjoyed a lunch so much for a long time. It was a rejuvenating experience, even though I had no trouble napping when Ronnie dropped me off at Estrella Vista around 1:30 pm.


Groove of the Day

Listen to The Sons Of The Pioneers performing “Cool Clear Water



blue savannah

blue savannah 1


Groove of the Day

Listen to Erasure performing “Blue Savannah


lead and crime

Says a reader of the Wandervogel Diary:

“I heard about this correlation in a podcast about six months ago.  The part of the story that is missing from the Daily Mail article (below) is what the podcast interviewee was talking about.
brain scans“As far as I can remember, his research was doing brain scans of murderers and finding that their scans showed marked differences between their brains and those of a control population.  Then he made the connection that their scans closely resembled those of people with lead poisoning.  His hypothesis was that the peak time for kids to be exposed to lead was playing outdoors in the 1950 and 1960 period, when car ownership was widespread and leaded gas was the only sort. That would overcome the complaint that correlation does not imply causation.
“What a tragedy if the whole ‘feral’ or ‘superpredator kids’ notion was a reaction to a physical cause.  We are suffering the effects of that superpredator notion even now.”


lead pollution 4

Has removing lead from paint and petrol reduced crime?

Toxin is linked to surges in theft and violent assault

by Ellie Zolfagharifard, The Daily Mail

April 23, 2014

Poverty, drugs and alcohol may seem like the obvious causes of crime–but some scientists believe we should add lead to the list.

For a number of years, researchers have been stating that the presence of toxic lead in the environment can damage a child’s brain, making them more likely to be violent later in life.

They claim that lead could be a factor in explaining the dramatic surge in crime in England and Wales in the late 80s, which peaked in 1993–and the fall in crime in recent years.

In a BBC radio 4 programme last night, Dominic Casciani revisited the theory by looking at how crime rose from the mid-20th century before peaking in the early 90s and then falling back sharply.

Previous explanations for this change include decline in the use of crack cocaine, the rise of zero-tolerance policing and even the legalisation of abortion.

For a number of years, researchers have been stating that the presence of toxic lead in the environment can damage a child¿s brain making them more likely to be violent later in life. When the amount of lead in the environment increased, this graph shows a corresponding rise in violent crime two decades later.

For a number of years, researchers have been stating that the presence of toxic lead in the environment can damage a child¿s brain making them more likely to be violent later in life. When the amount of lead in the environment increased, this graph shows a corresponding rise in violent crime two decades later.

But in the early 1990s, US economist and housing consultant Rick Nevin calculated the rise and fall of the presence of lead from petrol and he compared that curve to the modern history of violent crime.

When the amount of lead in the environment increased, Mr. Nevin showed a corresponding rise in violent crime two decades later.  When the amount of lead in the environment fell, violent crime reduced about 20 years later.

Tetraethyl lead was used in early model cars to improve performance and reduce wear. Due to concerns over health risks, this type of petrol was slowly phased in the 1970s.

Today, the most common way young children are exposed to lead is though contaminated household dust, ingested via normal hand-to-mouth activity as they crawl.

Heavily-leaded circa-1900 paint can deteriorate by “chalking”, causing lead dust hazards, and lead-contaminated dust from lead paint in older homes.

In Britain, males ages 12-14 in 1958, born as leaded gas use rose after World War II, had higher index crime "caution and conviction" rates than older teens born before that rise in lead exposure.

In Britain, males ages 12-14 in 1958, born as leaded gas use rose after World War II, had higher index crime “caution and conviction” rates than older teens born before that rise in lead exposure.

The leaded share of U.S. paint fell from nearly 100% in 1900 to 35% by the 1930s, but the country didn’t ban lead paint until 1978.

Lead-based paint in the United Kingdom was banned from sale to the general public in 1992, apart from for specialist use.

Lead can be absorbed into bones, teeth and blood and be devastating to the human body, inhibiting oxygen and calcium transport as well as altering nerve transmission in the brain.

Studies in the 1970s revealed that even low concentrations of lead in children can cause permanent damage including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, aggressive behaviour and shortened attention span.

Lead-based paint in the UK was banned from sale to the general public in 1992, apart from for specialist use.

Many cities in the U.S. removed lead from petrol in the mid-1970s and from paint a decade earlier.

At the same time violent crime began to fall in the 1990s and has continued to fall since.

Since then, the data for the lead theorists has become more detailed. Separate studies found a statistical correlation between lead levels and violence in Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego and other U.S. cities.

Researchers took other causes such as social, economic and legal factors into account, including drug use, poverty, policing effort and incarceration rates.

Mr. Nevin told the MailOnline: “My 2007 study shows the same relationship between lead exposure and both property crime and violent crime trends in the USA, Canada, Britain, France, Finland, Italy, West Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.

“Across all nine nations, the statistical best-fit time-lag for the impact of lead exposure was 18 years for property crime, 23 years for violent crime, and 19 years for overall index crime.

“The time lags are the same within each nation even though the rise and fall of gasoline lead occurred at different times in different nations.”

Professor Howard Mielke, of Tulane University in New Orleans, who has studied the effect of lead on children, said there was a “strong association” between criminal activity and lead in different parts of the city.

He added that police were even using the data on lead to target specific areas of New Orleans where they expected crime to be higher.

This would allow them to focus resources at particular crime hot spots where lead poisoning had been higher in the past.

Dr. Bernard Gesch told the BBC that the data now suggests that lead could account for as much as 90% of the changing crime rate during the 20th Century across all of the world.

But the BBC notes that this only remains a theory because nobody could ever deliberately poison thousands of children to see whether they became criminals later in life.



Groove of the Day

Listen to Sacha Lee  performing “The Music Made Me Do It”


the ebb and the flow

beached 7

Ebbing and flowing…
As it was,
As it is,
As it shall be evermore –
The ebb and the flow.

– Traditional Scottish adage



Groove of the Day

Listen to Ben Harper and Jack Johnson performing “High Tide or Low Tide”



spooky magic


Groove of the Day

Listen to The Cars performing “Magic


death’s heads

death head 66.


Totenkopf in Hand.

deaths head 3



deaths head 4.


deaths head 999.


deaths head 6.


Deaths Head




Groove of the Day

Listen to Ralph Stanley performing “O Death”