Vegetable Currency – My Kind of Sustainable World!

No money? No problem. We accept tomatoes (Flickr Martin Cathrae)

Ever wished money grew on trees? Now it does

… Or at least it does in northern Italy, where an enterprising restaurant is now accepting fruits, vegetables, handicrafts and other useful items as payment. The proud patrons of L’e maiala in Tuscany are hoping to create a new type of dining experience – one more like a grandmother’s kitchen.

How will all this work – and why would a business owner would ever consider such an unusual idea? Treehugger explains all:

The traditional Tuscan dishes served at L’e maiala will feature the food they get, and others that have been grown locally.

In deciding to accept fresh greenery in place of cold hard cash, owner Donella Faggioli hopes to open up her restaurant to those who might not otherwise be able to afford a meal out, especially in these difficult times.

“With the crisis that we’re all living through today, we’ve met those, who in times of hardship, think they cannot afford dinner – but we counter that by offering the option to pay in goods instead of real money,” Faggioli tells Corriere Fiorentino.

Cucumbers as the new global reserve currency? Not yet. But if L’e maiala catches on, maybe one day they will be.

If you’d like to see more of this type of inspiring enterprise, share this with everyone you know.

From: http://en.avaaz.org/810/ever-wished-money-grew-on-trees-now-it-does

Treatise on Energy I

Energy flows one way in nature – from east to west. one must become aligned with the natural flow if one is to become the highest that one, indefinitely, is. Within all humankind there is a natural tendency toward the divine, for being of the divine, we yearn to return from whence we have come. It is a natural truth that, being so hidden and now mostly forgotten, is feared by most who now dwell hither. Ere the coming of the new ages of this world, The Ancient Ones beheld the movement of energy in great awe, but they were not afraid of it and knew that it, the energy, underlying all things was there too for them to make use of. This knowledge and understanding has been lost largely within the spheres of all the cultures of this world. Even to those few to whom this arcanum is now held, they possess not the wisdom of begetting their true forms – of utilising this energy, and many who know not of it or understand it not, must receive the effects of its wrath in accordance with the Foundational Law of Balance.

The Law of Balance dictates that all change in the universe must interact such that it minimises effects – change must, like energy its begetter, flow and meet little or no resistance. It also means that, all things in the universe must change in such away that the totality of the universe’s energy remain balanced. This is why universal changes take a long time to happen, though the effects be great; but man, in haste and in fear for his mortality, delves into immediate use and destroys and cultivates, imbibes and imbues. For every positive that exists, there must be a negative. It is for this reason, that The Ancient Ones, the Great Teachers of the world, taught that balancing energy was more important than doing good things. Doing what is right is more important than doing what is good. Indeed, this is still true even though the terms “right” and “good” have become jumbled and are now regarded as identical in meaning. However, to do what is right, means that when the action is complete, it flows into the direction of the universal energy flow and as such, minimises latent effects in the total energy system of the universe. In other words, doing what is right means that the “Domino Effect” no longer has weighting on the actions or inactions of the universe.

All things in nature mirror this effect – that in change, they naturally flow in the manner of least resistance. This is most easily observed with water, that does not allow obstacles to impede its flow, but gracefully meanders around it or carves a new path – whichever possesses the least resistance. However, the “Domino Effect” accumulates Karmic Energy that would seek to balance all action and inaction in the universe. It is a stringent two-fold rule that alternates in waves creating negative and positive reactions in its wake.

That which is right takes upon itself its own action, like a river flows into the ocean taking with it naught but itself. This flow carries one to the Divine Realm. What is called “good” is defined by man based on what he has learned and on what he has been told, but only that which is right is ordained by God and can carry one to the realisation of Immortality in the Kingdom of the Divine One.

Copyright © 2012 SKLADUM. All rights reserved.

Venus the Two-Faced the Cat – a Mystery

Venus‘s face is split evenly into two colors.
Photograph courtesy TODAY Show/NBC

Katia Andreassi

National Geographic News

Published August 31, 2012

Venus the two-faced cat is currently the most famous feline on the planet.

The three-year-old tortoiseshell has her own Facebook page and a YouTube video that’s been viewed over a million times, and appeared on the Today Show last week.

One look at this cat and you can understand why: One half is solid black with a green eye—the other half has typical orange tabby stripes and a blue eye.

How does a cat end up looking like that? Leslie Lyons, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who studies the genetics of domestic cats said she’s never seen a cat exactly like Venus.

“She is extremely, extremely rare,” Lyons said. “But you can explain it and you can understand it.”

Is Venus a Chimera?

Many reports about Venus refer to the cat as a “chimera.” In mythology, a chimera is a mishmash monster made up of parts of different animals. A feline chimera is a cat whose cells contain two types of DNA, caused when two embryos fuse together.

Among cats, “chimeras are really not all that rare,” Lyons said. In fact, most male tortoiseshell cats are chimeras. The distinctively mottled orange and black coat is a sign that the cat has an extra X chromosome.

But female cats, said Lyons, already have two X chromosomes so they can sport that coat without the extra X. That means Venus is not necessarily a chimera.

To find out would require genetic testing, said Lyons. With samples of skin from each side of the cat, “we can do a DNA fingerprint—just like on CSI—and the DNA from one side of the body should be different than the other.”

Cat’s Blue Eye Another Mystery

If Venus isn’t actually a chimera, then what would explain her amazing face?

“Absolute luck,” Lyons said. One theory: perhaps the black coloration was randomly activated in all the cells on one side of her face, while the orange coloration was activated on the other, and the two patches met at the midline of her body as she developed.

Cat fanciers who are transfixed by Venus’s split face may be missing the real story: her single blue eye. Cat eyes are typically green or yellow, not blue.

A blue-eyed cat is typically a Siamese or else a cat with “a lot of white on them,” she explained.

Venus appears to have only a white patch on her chest, which to Lyons is not enough to explain the blue eye.

“She is a bit of a mystery.”

From: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/08/120831-venus-two-faced-cat-genetics-animals-science/

 

Maya “Doomsday” Calendar Explained

A painting of everyday life in a Maya village.
Illustration by H. Tom Hall, National Geographic

John Roach

for National Geographic News

Published December 20, 2011

It’s remotely possible the world will end in December 2012. But don’t credit the ancient Maya calendar for predicting it, say experts on the Mesoamerican culture.

It’s true that the so-called long-count calendar—which spans roughly 5,125 years starting in 3114 B.C.—reaches the end of a cycle on December 21, 2012.

That day brings to a close the 13th Bak’tun, an almost 400-year period in the Maya long-count calendar.

But rather than moving to the next Bak’tun, the calendar will reset at the end of the 13th cycle, akin to the way a 1960s automobile would click over at mile 99,999.9 and reset to zero.

“We, of course, know that really means a hundred thousand [miles] and not zero,” said William Saturno, an expert on Maya archaeology at Boston University.

“So, is [the end of Bak’tun 13] a large period ending? Yes. Did the Maya like period endings? Yes,” Saturno said.

“Would this have been a period ending they thought was wicked cool? You bet. The biggest period endings they experience are Bak’tun endings.”

But “was it predicted to be the end the world? No. That’s just us.”

Instead, for the Maya, the end of the long count represents the end of an old cycle and the beginning of a new one, according to Emiliano Gallaga Murrieta, the Chiapas state division director of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.

“It is like for the Chinese, this is the Year of the [Rabbit], and the next year is going to the Year of the Dragon, and the next is going to be another animal in the calendar,” Gallaga said.

Maya Prophecy for End of the World?

Written references to the end of Bak’tun 13 are few. In fact, most Maya scholars cite only one: a stone tablet on Monument 6 at the Tortuguero archaeological site in Mexico’s Tabasco state. (Take a Maya quiz.)

What exactly the tablet says, though, is a mystery, because the glyphs in question are partially damaged.

Nevertheless, scholars have taken several stabs at translations, the most prominent in 1996 by Brown University’s Stephen Houston and the University of Texas at Austin’s David Stuart.

Houston and Stuart’s initial interpretation indicated that a god will descend at the end of Bak’tun 13. What would happen next is uncertain, although the scholars suggested this might have been a prophecy of some sort.

This 1996 analysis was picked up “on many New Age websites, associated forum discussions, and even a few book chapters” as evidence that the Maya calendar had predicted the end of the world, according to Stuart.

Houston and Stuart, however, independently revisited the glyphs recently and concluded that the inscription may actually contain no prophetic statements about 2012 at all.

Rather, the mention of the end of Bak’tun 13 is likely a forward-looking statement that refers back to the main subject of the inscription, which is the dedication of Monument 6.

In an October blog post about his conclusions, Stuart makes an analogy to a scribe wanting to immortalize the New York Yankees‘ 1950 sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies in that year’s World Series.

If this writer were to use the Maya rhetorical device thought to be in Monument 6’s inscription, the text might read:

“On October 7, 1950, the New York Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series. It happened 29 years after the first Yankees victory in the World Series in 1921. And so 50 years before the year 2000 will occur, the Yankees won the World Series.”

Written this way, Stuart notes, the text mentions a future time of historical importance—the 50-year anniversary of the victory—but it does so in reference to the event at hand, i.e., the 1950 game.

“This is precisely how many ancient Maya texts are structured, including Tortuguero’s Monument 6,” Stuart writes.

2012 Apocalypse Just Poetic Flourish

According to INAH’s Gallaga, this structure of Maya texts is what has confused modern minds, given our penchant for literal, straightforward reading.

Even if the Monument 6 inscription refers to a god coming down at the end of Bak’tun 13, it isn’t a statement about the end of the world, he said.

“They are writing in a more poetic sense, saying, Well, on the 21st of December 2012, the god is going to come down and start a new cycle and the old world is going to die and the new world is going to be reborn—just to make it more poetic.”

(Read about the rise and fall of the Maya in National Geographic magazine.)

Saturno, the Boston University archaeologist, agreed that the reference to a specific date is clear in Monument 6, but added that “there’s no text that follows and says, Herein will be the end of the world, and the world will end in fire. … That’s not anywhere in the text.”

Rather, Saturno said, the hype around 2012 stems from dissatisfied Westerners looking to the ancients for guidance, hoping that peoples such as the Maya knew something then that could help us through difficult times now.

In any case, even if the ancient inscriptions explicitly predicted the end of the world, Saturno wouldn’t be worried, given the Maya track record with long-range prophecy.

“They didn’t see [their] collapse coming. They didn’t see the Spanish conquest coming.”

From: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/12/111220-end-of-world-2012-maya-calendar-explained-ancient-science/

Men and Women Really Do See Things Differently

Men trail women in discerning shades of blue, yellow, and green, a new study says.
Photograph by Pasieka, Science Photo Library/Corbis

James Owen

for National Geographic News

Updated 1:11 p.m. ET, September 7, 2012

Men and women really don’t see eye to eye, according to a new study.

Females are better at discriminating among colors, researchers say, while males excel at tracking fast-moving objects and discerning detail from a distanceevolutionary adaptations possibly linked to our hunter-gatherer past.

The study, led by Brooklyn College psychology professor Israel Abramov, put young adults with normal vision through a battery of tests.

In color experiments the men and women tended to ascribe different shades to the same objects. The researchers think they know why.

“Across most of the visible spectrum males require a slightly longer wavelength than do females in order to experience the same hue,” the team concludes in the latest issue of the journal Biology of Sex Differences.

Since longer wavelengths are associated with “warmer” colors, an orange, for example, may appear redder to a man than to a woman. Likewise, the grass is almost always greener to women than to men, to whom verdant objects appear a bit yellower.

The study also found that men are less adept at distinguishing among shades in the center of the color spectrum: blues, greens, and yellows.

Where the men shone was in detecting quick-changing details from afar, particularly by better tracking the thinner, faster-flashing bars within a bank of blinking lights.

The team puts this advantage down to neuron development in the visual cortex, which is boosted by masculine hormones. Since males are flush with testosterone, in particular, they’re born with 25 percent more neurons in this brain region than females, the team noted.

Evolution at Work?

The vision findings support the so-called hunter-gatherer hypothesis, which argues that the sexes evolved distinct psychological abilities to fit their prehistoric roles, the team says. (See “Sex-Based Roles Gave Modern Humans an Edge, Study Says.”)

Noting that men in the study showed “significantly greater sensitivity for fine detail and for rapidly moving stimuli,” the researchers write that their hunter forebears “would have to detect possible predators or prey from afar and also identify and categorize these objects more easily.”

Meanwhile, the vision of female “gatherers” may have become better adapted recognizing close-at-hand, static objects such as wild berries.

John Barbur, professor of optics and visual science at City University London, noted that females are often “worse off in terms of absolute chromatic [color] sensitivity than males.”

But when it comes to noticing subtle differences among shades of a color, women do tend to come out on top, as they did in Abramov’s experiments, said Barbur, who wasn’t part of the new study.

“If you’re not dealing with the absolute sensitivity for color detection but the way in which colors are judged—such as the ability to describe a color, or what that color means, and so on,” he said, “I’d say that females are definitely much better than males.”

From: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/09/120907-men-women-see-differently-science-health-vision-sex/