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Bee rescue

26 Jan




A Short Lesson on Sub Rosa Capitalism.

8 Aug

Humanity under what is known as modern capitalism can be divided into three groups that overlap each other:
the producers, the grifters, and the marks.

The producer is anyone that makes something out of nothing or out of raw material – artists, teachers, shoe makers, canned goods producers. etc.

The grifter makes a living by exploiting producers and marks alike. The grifter is the middleman, the investor, the banker, etc. The most pernicious of all is the politician, who does not even pretend to give you anything for your money. He just sweet-talks it out of your pocket.

The mark is sometimes a producer and at times an aspiring grifter. Most of the time he is a consumer. This comical economical model is sustainable as long as the producer is a substantial part of the equation. Without the producer the mark will be plucked bald by the grifter, who will, by the process of elimination or survival of the wiliest, perish and disappear after the last mark has been plucked clean.

House Plants Care made easy (real easy)

12 May

Often people are discouraged from keeping house plants after a plant dies soon after purchase. It is really un fortunate because these folks that get upset over the death of a plant are ultimately the better stuarts of house plants, if given the opportunity to do it right.
Over watering is the leading cause of the demise of plants. We often love our plants too much, since we can not interact with plants as we do with animals we have the tendency to water them to show our love and caring, it is a mistake more often then not.
Drainage is as important as judicial watering. When watering it is important to see water darning from the bottom of the pot, for two reasons; the first is it indicates that the soil was hydrated top to bottom, the second is it indicates the plant roots are not siting in water.
Plants have a way of communicating with us. When a plant shows yellow leaf or two, it is ether over watered or under watered, to find out we need to check the soil; if the soil is wet, the plant is over watered if the soil is dry it is under watered. Plants are cyclical beings and watering them on the same day every one or two weeks keeps them happy and healthy. A good rule of thumb is; well lit plants require more water then plants in low light, because the plant needs the light in order to metabolize the water.
Fertilizing is very important as well, giving a plant only water is like inviting someone to diner, placing in front of them a plate and silverware but no food. Water is only a vehicle to transport nutrition. Plants that are in low light need less food and over fertilizing will saturate the soil with minerals and it can become a problem in the long run.
House plants very a great deal as far as light conditions, temperature, and the humidity of the soil. The location of the plant vs. the window, the cold draft coming from the A/C or proximity to a fireplace can be the deciding factor for the well-being of a particular verity of a plant.

First step: selecting the right plant.
Here are two very affordable plants that need almost opposite conditions for thriving in doors: The Pothos and the Cordatum.
The Pothos is a hearty hard to kill plant that likes well lit room and damp soil (it does not respond well to going dry in doors) When it gose dry it will show yellow leaves as well when it gets to much water.
The Cordatum is a little more finicky, it can handle low light and going dry on occasion does not seem to hurt it. It will show yellow leaves and actually wilt when is over watered. (Both of the above plants can be toxic to pets and human, as are other house plants.)
Second step: buying the plant.
Choose a well developed plant, great deal of leaves will indicate a well developed root ball that is very important for thriving in low light conditions.
It is important to inspect carefully the plant at the nursery. Even a reputable nursery may carry a plant that has a pest.
Fungus gnats are common and difficult to get rid of and will infect other plants near by. To check for them you need to rustle the plant gently with your fingers as near to the soil as possible. If the gnats are there they will take of and start flying around. DO NOT take that plant home. In fact other plants at that location may be infected.
Mealybug is another common pest that can be difficult to rid of. When inspecting a plant  look for small white cotton like deposits, especially on new growth. If you find it, shop elsewhere or come back at a later date. This pest will spread easily to the other plans in your house. Be sure to wash your hands well with soap and water to prevent the contamination of your home.
There is a very simple setup of indoor plants that professionals use in public places like lobbies in commercial buildings.
The setup:
It is often the case that one will bring home a plant from the nursery and remove it from the original inexpensive plastic container and put it in some other (nice looking) pot. You and the plant are better of not to do that. The original pot has holes at the bottom that insure drainage and in fact this very holes can be used to irrigate the soil. Here is how:
Items you need to have;
•A potted plant in its original nursery container,
•A wick, a strip of cloth (almost any cloth will suffice)
the strip needs to be roughly 2″ wide and as long as the pot is tall.
•A sealed at the bottom container (this is the nice looking one), plastic or ceramic,
•A piece of Florist foam or a flat rock roughly 2″ tall and wide enough to keep the nursery pot leveled and stable.
•Some Spanish moss.
Take the strip of cloth and push it through one of the holes at the bottom of the pot about half way in the soil, use a pencil or screw driver to do it. FIG 1

Put the Florist foam (or rock) at the bottom of the sealed container. FIG 2

Place the potted plant that has the weak all ready in, on top of the florist foam, making sure that the strip of cloth is reaching the bottom of the sealed container.FIG 3

Now place some of the Spanish moss no top of the soil, use plenty to cover the plastic container.FIG 4

The pot is ready to be placed where you choose. It is a good idea to place a plate or a flat tray of cork under a ceramic container to prevent damage to furniture or floor due to seepage of moisture trough the bottom of the pot.

Watering: If the soil is dry you must water the soil in the pot but you have to make sure of two things; the water is draining in to the reservoir under the pot, the water level is not above the bottom of the nursery pot. As the plant consumes the water and also some evaporation occurs the wick will deliver water from the reservoir to the soil trough capillary action. Every two weeks you need to check the reservoir and you will discover that some times all you need to do is ad some water to the reservoir.
NOTE if the soil is wet and all is needed is to augment the water level in the reservoir, do it directly to the reservoir, DO NOT water the soil, but if the soil is dry you must water the soil to get the capillary action going. If the wick is wet out side but dry inside it will not do its job.
That is it, you now have a plant that you will need to be deliberate in order to kill it. I know because I am a reformed plant killer.

In short; choose a plant that is compatible with your home environment and be sure it is healthy when you buy it.
Water and feed it judiciously and cyclically.

Women Unite

10 May

Please feel free to download this image and print.

Calling on all women!

15 Mar

Calling on all women! It is time for the women of the world to realize their power. Isabel Allende has sounded the battle cry, and Bunker Roy has laid out the ground work. On a TED talk Allende talks of the passion that inspires action, and Roy tells how the power of women in the so called developing world has transformed entire villages in rural India and other places through grass roots, high tech training. It is a must see at TED talks. (The links are at the bottom.)

This world, with its male dominated religions and political systems, is at the brink of destruction. We are closer than ever to nuclear annihilation that will begin in the Middle East. Men are just not inclined to really live in peace–too much ego and alpha-male complex combined with wanderlust.

It is not to say that men are evil, they are misguided. That is to say men are led by other men, which is like the blind leading the blind. Worse, it is often the ethically blind leading the ethically ignorant. Men are capable of great feats when pointed in the right direction. The cliché that states that behind every successful man there is a woman is basically accurate.

The terrible state of this “man’s world” is a very good reason to  seriously consider women’s points of view and work with them in leadership positions.

Unity is powerful. Take note, each one of the fingers on the palm of the hand can be bent easily and even broken, but when the fingers curl tightly into a fist, there is invincible strength. So all together now ladies (and gentlemen). The time to act is now. Start a conversation: locally; on line; through demonstrations; write to your Congress person; make yourself heard; get involved.

Please take the time to watch the TED talks, which will take only half an hour for both presentations. It will be time well spent.

Open Letter to Arne Duncan

6 Mar

Dear Mr. Duncan,

I am an idea man with an out-of-control compulsion to tell people how to do whatever they do better, and I have what I think are some good ideas that could be easily implemented in America. They involve a “soft touch” cultural shift in how we educate our children. I believe we must look both forward and backward to adjust our attitudes about what constitutes a good education. We need to look forward to find an optimal use of media and technology, and backward to revive what has long been a part of a classical education.

TV, as you well know, is a very powerful tool to influence people. At present, it is possibly the most squandered resource in our country. This is where we need to softly glide into the living rooms of Americans with solid educational content that fits into existing popular formats. How about SpongeBob-the-chemist, biologist, oceanographer or mathematician? All one needs to do is change the scripts just a little.
Even the most lowbrow “reality” show could be used to teach just about anything, with an educator on board directing the script. Is there a way Washington could work with the networks through funding and an appeal to their patriotism? Think about it: the audience and the distribution network are in place. Complement TV with Internet interactivity, and the set is complete.

It has been my observation, since my arrival in this country thirty-two years ago, that Americans in general lack problem-solving skills. In days long gone the affluent and powerful made sure that their offspring learned some very basic skills: Latin, fencing, and chess. And for good reason. Latin opened a keen understanding of the written word, including Scriptures and Poetry. It taught etymology and thereby grew vocabulary skills.

Fencing helped to develop an agile mind and body, much like the game of Tennis does today (without the cost and space constrictions of the courts); it teaches kids to be quick thinkers and self-reliant individuals, unlike the over glorified game of Football (sorry).

Chess is the foremost problem-solving exercise, and that is not just a matter of opinion. Students may partake in activities such as chess and fencing without the pressure of a grade. Just learning how to play and use the rules to advantage will sharpen their minds and help them slough off the languor of mindless marketplace media. More than half a century of TV in the control of marketeers has brought the U.S to its current educational dilemma, lagging behind much of the world in ethics and the skills needed to compete in a rapidly changing environment.

Dear Sir, it is you and President Barack Obama (whom history will deem as one of the greatest American presidents) who have the opportunity and duty to significantly change our broken educational model. If you don’t, the next president may lack the vision to institute real change. Content standards are fine, but school is not a factory.


Amnon Mintz

About Women

28 Feb

Being a male I will not presume to have the depth needed to understand women. In general they are complex and multifaceted human animals. Observation, however, has its merit. After long (and pleasant) observation of the womenfolk around me, I have come to the conclusion that women (in general) view the world as one big fixer-upper, and when they can they will improve upon whatever is in front of them. Here are some simple examples: no matter how attractive a woman thinks she is, she will put on makeup or at least lipstick; she will walk into a new house or a room, and, first thing, a curtain will be hung, the yard/garden will be weeded or even replanted, in business and politics she is an innovator and a reformer.

This is a great trait. And then a man comes into her life. He fits the bill. Everything she wants a man to be, he indeed is; but there is room for improvement like everything else. Now, if the guy is interested in evolving and growing, he will not find a better partner for the journey. The tenacity and support he will get from the woman in his life will be unmatched. However if he is a stubborn know-it-all, or a narcissist, as men sometimes are, the clash of the titans will ensue. His stubbornness will be met with her tenacity; his knowing it all will clash with her common sense, and the narcissism will be incomprehensible to her all together.

I truly believe that we men need to pay a great deal of respect and attention to the ladies in our life, listen to their opinions and advice. It will benefit us all and the world will be a better place.