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December 2006 horoscope

December is hot, hot, hot. Should we blame it on global warming or the rush of six planets in feisty, fiery Sagittarius that heats up the cosmos? Don’t sit and chill. Go and melt a few snowballs.

Read your December 2006 horoscope by sign here.


Visualization Challenge

This link is to Science Magazine's 2006  Visualization Challenge winners. These winners are photographers who create such unusual photos such as a portrait of a cockroach (surprisingly beautiful) and flight patterns.

My favorite is a "landscape" of a letter E which started out as an effort to aid handwriting analysts.

According to independent media artist Curtis DuBois, "every individual has a characteristic way of using pressure in their writing," resulting in a unique pattern of pressure points. He used a 3D ray-tracing program to convert the shades of gray in a digitally scanned image of the handwritten letter "e" into variations in virtual altitude. By turning the darker spots into deeper areas in the image, DuBois was able to highlight the "hot spots" or pressure points and thus increase the amount of information available in the writing. He then added color and "atmospheric effects" for "aesthetic impact" of the image.

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Who would like to "read" this photo and tell me what the E means?


Poetry on Saturn Return

Correction to original post - apparantly this is a song by Tool . Sorry for the incorrect attribution and rock on!

Just found this great poem that was sent to me a while ago from Ronnie C. back in 2002. Resonates for anyone going through a Saturn Return. Thanks Ronnie!

The Grudge

Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity.
Calculate what we will or will not tolerate.
Desperate to control all and everything.
Unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen.

Clutch it like a cornerstone. Otherwise it all comes down.
Justify denials and grip 'em to the lonesome end.
Clutch it like a cornerstone. Otherwise it all comes down.
Terrified of being wrong. Ultimatum prison cell.

Saturn ascends, choose one or ten. Hang on or be humbled again.

Clutch it like a cornerstone. Otherwise it all comes down.
Justify denials and grip 'em to the lonesome end.
Saturn ascends, comes round again.
Saturn ascends, the one, the ten. Ignorant to the damage done.

Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity.
Calculate what we will or will not tolerate.
Desperate to control all and everything.
Unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen.

Wear the grudge like a crown. Desperate to control.
Unable to forgive. And we're sinking deeper.

Defining, confining, controlling, and we're sinking deeper.

Saturn comes back around to show you everything
Let's you choose what you will not see and then
Drags you down like a stone or lifts you up again
Spits you out like a child, light and innocent.

Saturn comes back around. Lifts you up like a child or
Drags you down like a stone
To consume you till you choose to let this go.

Give away the stone.
Let the oceans take and transmutate this cold and fated anchor.
Give away the stone.
Let the waters kiss and transmutate these leaden grudges into gold.
Let go.


Skeptical Eye

I found this on the internet recently. It is from the Skeptical Eye which purports to debunk psychic phenomena. At the time I had a live chat online program on The Washington Post website where I would answer all new age questions in real time. Their question and my response, was reported in their publication:

the write stuff - skeptical correspondence - Skeptical Eye Vol. 13, No. 1 2001

Question Posed to the Post’s On-line Astrologer...and her Answer

by Gary Goldberg Silver Spring, MD

Long ago you asked if the $1 million challenge for proof that astrology—or any “paranormal” phenomenon—still existed. I can tell you the offer is still good—see http://www.randi.org. Why haven’t other astrologers—or YOU—taken advantage of this offer to conclusively and objectively demonstrate what you claim to be able to do? Think of the good you could do with the money,even if you don’t want it!

Reply from Charlene Lichtenstein:

I guess you have not been reading my program intros each week. Tsk! Tsk! Each week in my intro I say “Astrology does not predict the future. We must make our own decisions based on the set of choices that life doles out. Astrology, however, can help us see the choices.” Astrology to me is a personal growth and enlightenment tool. Whether others try (successfully or not) to predict the future with astrology is of no interest to me. That’s not what it is for. That being said, I visited Mr. Randi’s site. It struck me that if Mr. Randi was truly interested in discovering the value of astrology he would read and recognize the work of Gallaquin and Jung, both of whom, in their quest to discredit astrology, found its immense value and became “believers.” Frankly, folks that offer suspiciously high rewards to debunk their own ingrained prejudices are not sincerely seeking the truth; they are seeking attention. A more extreme example is the Holocaust denier who offered $1million reward to anyone who could “prove” the Holocaust really happened. When the overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence came forward—from eyewitness testimony, photographs, films and even nazi paperwork—these supposedly objective “truth seekers” refused to accept the obvious and held onto their mythical million. Trying to convince folks who are not truly interested in seeking the real answer is a waste of time. ‘Nuf said!


mangosteens

Tim Manners From Cool News posted this interesting artilce on Mangosteens.

"This is like seeing a unicorn," says Sherry Yard, pastry chef at Spago Beverly Hills, reacting to the arrival of a shipment of mangosteens, a rare, "floral, sweet-tart" tropical fruit that some think has medicinal qualities, reports David Karp in The New York Times (8/9/06). The shipment was courtesy of the Puerto Rico-based Panoramic Fruit Company, which "hopes to be the first producer in decades to ship fresh mangosteens to the mainland commercially." Panoramic's founder, Ian Crown, has been working for more than ten years to raise a decent mangosteen crop, and he now has 10 acres bearing fruit. "I learned everything the 'two-by-four in the forehead' way," he says.

For starters, "mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is difficult to propagate by convenient methods like grafting, and when raised from seed it takes 8 to 10 years or longer to bear fruit." Half of Ian's first crop was wiped out because he didn't realize the weakness of the mangosteen root system, and didn't irrigate properly. Then, back in 1997, "local youths burned most of his plantings to the ground, and in 1998 Hurricane George swept through 'like a weed whacker combined with a vacuum cleaner,'" as Ian puts it. In addition, even though mangosteens have "thick rinds," they "can develop problems like gamboge, a bitter yellow resin that seeps into the pulp." In addition, they can get buggy, which is a key reason why you pretty much haven't been able buy mangosteens in America.

There actually is no shortage of mangosteens in Thailand, but their exports must be irradiated before they can be allowed into the United States. Previous attempts to export mangosteens from Puerto Rico -- going back to 1903 -- failed because the necessary fumigation made the mangosteens "susceptible to rapid spoilage." Ian thinks his competitive edge will be that his fruit will be fresher and not irradiated. And while he is enchanted by the "snow-white" segments of the mangosteen, he is not so enthralled with its supposed ability to battle "various ailments," including cancer. Another enterprise, called XanGo, is marketing mangosteen beverages through health food stores as a "fruitaceutical." For the moment, Ian Crown is just happy that he's managed to produce 200 pounds of mangosteen from 35 trees. He says that future yields "should increase exponentially."