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Dr. Julienne B. Ford "yogi" (Wales)

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Resilience Imperative
Resilience Imperative
by Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Thinly disguised self-interest, 10 Aug. 2015
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This review is from: Resilience Imperative (Paperback)
I was more than half way through this and feeling increasingly uneasy about it. Many of the descriptions of actual projects are airbrushed and the real agenda seemed to be more akin to Allinsky and others who evangelise about the promotion of a new "class" of professionals who think of themselves as "community organisers". Well I have a lot of experience of such people in the UK doing such things as persuading commoners (those with grazing rights to ancient commons) to turn themselves into so-called coops to facilitate the expansion of leisure industries backed by AONBs , Heritage Lottery grants and other public funding ( such as the LEADER PROCESS). They completely destroyed the ecology of a fabulous SSSI turning it into a facsimile of another one, and all this by avoiding and gagging the actual local community. These people's first concern is their own salary. They operate through networks of so-called coops, CICs and other non-profits tied together by consultancies which are profit making limited companies.

By strange coincidence one of my African graduate students pointed me to John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hitman and this clarified everything, making me realise I was neither mad nor paranoid. Read Perkins book instead: it has been out for more than a decade and I am ashamed that I had not come across it before.

AIPTEK MobileCinema D10 DVD Projector
AIPTEK MobileCinema D10 DVD Projector

44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good enough for me, 7 Dec. 2010
I've never had a tv and don't want one but, predicting a gloomy winter, I fancied a way of watching DVDs. Seemed daft to buy a tv just as a screen for a DVD player and a few attempts at watching films on a computer screen frustrated me. "I wish you could PROJECT a dvd onto a wall", sez me. People told me that such a projector would be a four figure sum. I found a previous projector on amazon and read the reviews which tended to be slightly snooty. This one was so new no-one had reviewed it. I took the risk and am delighted.

Ok the definition is not like HD (whatever that is) but as my 14 year old neighbour said "quite good enough for an old person like you". I can read the subtitles. It is completely idiot-proof ( even in the dark with fumbling old fingers) and the sound quality is good enough too.

This is the first brand new product I have purchased in a decade and I don't regret it all.

The only snag is that the transformer gets very hot and might not be up to a three or four hour run. I will ask someone to make me a new one and hope I can get years of pleasure from this lovely toy cinema.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2013 12:59 PM BST

Energy Beyond Oil: Could You Cut Your Energy Use by Sixty Per Cent?
Energy Beyond Oil: Could You Cut Your Energy Use by Sixty Per Cent?
by Paul Mobbs
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the bees knees, 24 Oct. 2009
This book is still the bees knees. Though it was published in 2005, and there have been literally dozens of other books purporting to cover similar territory published since, this remains the text of choice for anyone serious about the resilience of humanity. Without resort to manipulative cults, or spurious middle-class group-think, this book explains the simple physics and its relationship to culture and economics. Once you have grasped the First Law of Thermodynamics ("in any closed system the total amount of energy of all kinds is a constant") the rest follows by disciplined common sense. Mobbs explains how the reliance of global capitalism on artificially cheap energy (courtesy of imperial history), within a paradigm of exponential growth, has set in motion the destructive spiral that has wasted our natural resources and put our planet on an almost irreversible trajectory for catastrophe.

Straightforward explanations with flow diagrams and graphs explain the reliance on oil, WHERE the energy is used/wasted, WHY and WHEN oil extraction has peaked, and HOW this relates to climate change. He proceeds to examine energy policy and energy use before going on to discuss the mooted alternatives such as nuclear ( a dangerous chimera ) so-called "low carbon sources" ( which need to be considered in relationship to the key variable of time as well as the social and economic context) and renewables. In each case he explains the technology (heat pumps, wind , wave and CHP etc) does all the sums and presents the information in a way that anyone who can be bothered to concentrate can understand, constantly reminding us of that intransigent First Law and concluding correctly that there are no technical fixes that can cheat it. In his inspiring final chapter he points out that the solutions are the resilience that comes from living more consciously both rejecting profligacy and waste in our personal lives and, more effectively, rejecting the capitalist machine that is driving us towards mass suicide.

Like The Limits to Growth,The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind,The Silent SpringSilent Spring (Penguin Modern Classics)and The Clever MoronClever Moron this is a book which will never go out of date and will shine with wisdom and inspiration long after self-regarding so-called environmentalists like Lovelock and Bellamy have reverted to obscurity. It should be on every household bookshelf, in every school and every library.

Learn at Home:Fun with Phonics: Reading Pack (Watch and Learn)
Learn at Home:Fun with Phonics: Reading Pack (Watch and Learn)
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.85

25 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars time-wasting con, 28 Sept. 2009
I simply can't believe this rubbish is still being promoted. There are so many things wrong with it.

First, researchers have shown time and time again that reliance on picture clues is extremely counterproductive - it is a version of the "guess what is in teacher's head" method of "instruction" which has taken over since the 1970s. Do these people have no grounding in the psychology of perception?
Do they not know that to connect a stylised line drawing with a real-world object amounts to learning a language of representation just as much as learning the correspondence between letters and sounds is learning language. Of course children can learn to memorise this tawdry junk but it doesn't mean they are learning to read.

Secondly it is a serious mistake to assume that learners need to master all "42 main speech sounds" before moving to proper stories. The concept of single-phoneme decoding has long since been transcended by more logical methods which enable much younger children to progress to books with more interesting content at a considerably faster rate.

Thirdly, why on earth are so-called educators promoting television as a means to reading? It is obvious that reliance on televisual communication leads to shrinking attention spans and the demise of the written word.

If you really want to give your child the best start then look at a decent scheme.
Use proper books and let the child hold and read them herself. But start with graded real phonics story books appropriate to the level of phonic understanding. For example Jescott Bodkin's lovely illustrated books start at the point where the child has mastered only the first 22 letter-sound combinations producing real stories which only employ words which can be spelled with hard consonants and short vowels . At the next stage the books introduce combination sounds highlighted in a diffferent colour within the words ( a bit like Dr Seuss but not requiring adult assistance).

These are neither prescriptive (like Cbeebies) nor lazy and moronic ( never leave a young child alone in front of a tv set!!!) give them a well-planned book that they can actually read. Have a look at Bodkin's On Robin Hill On Robin Hill: A Red Level ELF Book (ELF Books) the scales will fall from your eyes.
Comment Comments (14) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 6, 2012 12:15 PM BST

Cry / Swans
Cry / Swans
by Frederick Lightfoot
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars echoes, 9 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Cry / Swans (Paperback)
This is writing that hangs around in the mind long after one has passed the book to a friend. It is quite as good as anything Lightfoot has done so far, even his brilliant first novel, Migrants.

In both these stories, CRY and SWANS, an original, family-locked transgression reverberates across time and generations. People play out patterns almost as if they have no sovereignty in their own domains. Yet each character speaks in a unique voice resisting type-casting and somehow sloughing off the effectiveness of the perspective afforded by the Freudian sensibilities of the psychiatric professionals who are themselves determined by the micro-myths in which they, too, are essential players.

These are mysteries in which disappointment, fear and incomprehension are not mere omens of horrors to come, for the worst has already happened. In both stories the outcomes are better than could have been imagined by any of the participants, or by the reader - yet somehow there can be no cause for celebration. The survival of all the characters (and of the social relationships which define them) is not so much miraculous as bathetic: a kind of mundane endurance that disturbs without creating significant change.

Lovers of authentic literary fiction will recognise these two stories as mature works which repay repeated reading, echoing each other and our own inappropriate certainties.

Spokes: Stories from the Romani World
Spokes: Stories from the Romani World
by Janna Eliot
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gypsy Genius, 21 Oct. 2008

These are stories for reading aloud, or simply for absorbing and retelling. They are not shallow or prurient entertainment or fashionable tropes, nor are they mere vehicles to showcase the writer's style. Indeed the genius of Janna Eliot's writing is its simplicity and unpretentiousness. If we set aside the moral strength and elegant structure of the stories in order to analyse the actual writing itself we notice short, strong sentences in powerful paragraphs. There is an almost total lack of adjectives except for essential quantifiers to do with size and shape - and the sudden, arresting colour-words, not fancy ones but simple primaries: red, blue, green, dancing out from the grey world of the gadge.

These stories shine with the colours of the Gypsy nation, with the humanity and vibrant creativity of a people for whom both the genocide of the holocaust and the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe have all but put the tin lid on centuries of oppression and exclusion, alternating with equally destructive phases of enforced assimilation to a global default culture which is rapidly destroying both our humanity and our planet.

In these beautiful tales the Gypsy consciousness rises to a new life like a phoenix from the ashes of the Old fire. There is so much to be learned from them, not just for the young people for whom they were written but for everyone tired of superficial emotionalism and trashy consumerist "aspirations".

Last of the Guardians: A Story of Burma, Britain and a Family
Last of the Guardians: A Story of Burma, Britain and a Family
by David V. Donnison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vital background to current disater in Burma, 6 Dec. 2007
Anyone interested in what is going on in Burma would do well to bone up on the history by having a look at this wonderful personal account by one of Britain's top social scientists. You may have felt empathy and solidarity with the Buddhist monks standing up to the brutal authoritarian regime and then checked yourself when finding that none other than George W Bush was also criticising the Myanmar government. Who is Aung San Suu Kyi? Why has she been under house arrest or imprisoned for the best part of her life? How does all this relate to the British role in Burma and has OIL got anything to do with it?
Read this moving and detailed account of the rise and fall of the British empire and then get Aung San Suu Kyi's own books and find out why this might be the first time you don't disagree with Bush though you may still be suspicious of his motives.
This is a tour de force, exposing aspects of colonial history of universal importance. Very highly recommended.

by Mike Driver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Collection, 20 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Concrete (Hardcover)
Nowadays, unless they are Irish or African, short stories tend to pass most people by, but this is a most extraordinary collection which it would be a shame to miss. The nine stories and two novellas are all written from the perspectives of very different narrators yet somehow (apart from COURAGE, the devastating factual piece on pre-invasion Iraq) all have a distinctly Borgesian feel. I don't think this is intentional - although Driver's writing is ornamented with plenty of literary references (Shakespeare, Balzac, Proust etc. and Yeats - the long-sought childhood friend "slouching towards Ulster be born"). Rather I think it is because both write in intellectual traditions which prefigure postmodernism: the relationship between the narrative content and the structural and emotional position of the teller of the tale is the real focus of both Borges and Driver. But where Borges' writing locates itself within an abstract universe of ambiguity condimented with nuance and style, taunting the appetite but never satisfying the hunger it arouses, Driver has no use for the mere passing of time. He writes as a consummate materialist and as a dialectician always conveying more than a mere story, always transcending the particular to reveal the concrete structure which the modern anarchist archaeologists ( eg in Shukaitis and Graebner) have detected under the concrete base of the economic structure, still wrapped in the original Grundrisse pages. I speak, of course, of the GENERAL INTELLECT otherwise depicted as DEFAULT CULTURE (Gdala) or CULTURAL DEFAULT SETTINGS (Gilroy).

There are themes and images which recur throughout the collection, the ball on the pyramid, the Buddhist soldier, the long-ago friendship/ love affair perpetuated in the everyday changing reconstructions of the imagination, and particularly the act of autobiographising , almost fetishised in the second novella, THE SEA which strikes me as a superb intellectual antithesis to that awful popular self-help book so beloved of middle-aged wives-manque called "My Year by the Sea".

But the absolute jewel of Driver's magnificent collection is the first novella, BETRAYAL. This is an utterly stunning tour de force, impossible to put down once you have embarked on it, and impossible to ignore when you have finished reading it.

Unmitigated congratulations to Mike Driver for this lovely contribution to the literature of the universal class - and to his publishers for having the foresight to put it in the hands of readers like me, and all the people who will be getting it from me as a special gift.

Thinking from the Edge
Thinking from the Edge
by Alan R. Gawith
Edition: Perfect Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Christianity expanding to infinity, 2 Dec. 2006
THINKING FROM THE EDGE is written from the edge by an octogenarian who has braved that edge all his life, from his time as a conshie Quaker ambulance officer in the concentration camps at the end of the War, to his ministry in the Church of England. It represents the strand in Christian theology which unites Tielhard de Chardin with Leonardo Boff and the Anglican Ubuntu ethic of Desmond Tutu, at the same time drawing on the religious epistemology of Karen Armstrong to assert that blind and literalistic ( fundamental) belief must give way to a better story, a story in which we all take responsibility for our parts in the telling.

The kind of belief that is formulated as an unchanging creed whose statement defines the denomination of the utterer is a closing of the mind , a shrivelling upon itself and a spiky defence from the challenges of a changing world - a hedgehog. Such an attitude results in the absurdities of certain readings of Bible passages ( eg particularly parts of Leviticus and the Pauline epistles ) leading to blatant sexism and homophobia. Rather, this couragaeous cleric speaks from the pulpit on the edge of faith in the guise of a fox: far from a "God-shaped hole" in our genetically determined cognitive apparatus set there by some narcissistic Intelligent Designer, our human longing for meaning is like the vacuum of a Big Bang drawing in knowledge and experience, learning ,trusting, cooperating and learning more, so that the understanding of God that we create is ever-expanding - growing eternally in that infinity of compassion, that finds different names in the different faiths, and no name at all in Buddhism.

In my view a vicar who takes Luke 4 :17-21 as a "mission statement" quoting it three times in a book of only 90 odd pages has got the priorities right. Alan Gawith has certainly done that. Like a Muslim he believes that diversity is a sign of the bounty of Allah; like a Rasta he reasons that Jah is manifest in warm flesh and blood; like a Shaker or a whirling dervish he is off with the Lord of the Dance, and like a New Ager he thinks this metaphor of the dancing deity may just as well be female. I think there are a lot of people who are going to read this book and want to give its brave author a great big loving hug.

Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth/Healing the Mind (Sierra Club Books Publication)
Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth/Healing the Mind (Sierra Club Books Publication)
by Theodore Roszak
Edition: Paperback

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In place of dualistic hubris, 25 Aug. 2006
This is a lovely collection. Roszack has always been at the forefront of the synthesis behind the practice of Revolutionary Love. Here he and his coeditors collect together essays by leading thinkers and practitioners showing how the "endarkenment" split between human consciousness and the world itself ( between logos and psyche) is the terrible alienation that deprives us of our true nature, our planet and each other. Together with the work of Gregory Bateson, and Engels unsurpassed dialectics of materialism, this reader provides a complete course in revolutionary epistemology.

The collection is over a decade old now and none of it is out of date, indeed it ( including the ecofeminist insights and the shamanism ) becomes more relevant ( and more mainstream!)everyday.

My only qualm is about the widerness experiences used to wake people up to their alienation. Though they do emphasise low impact practices nonetheless they incorporate many things today's dubscouts (see would avoid - commercial trading of the trips, air travel , and the use of professional leaders.

Nonetheless an excellent volume to place beside Alistair McIntosh's Soil and Soul.

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