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Archive for May, 2010

Southern Cross

Southern Cross
The Southern Cross, Crux is commonly known as the Southern Cross, is the smallest of the 88 modern constellations, but nevertheless one of the most distinctive. It is surrounded on three sides by the constellation Centaurus, and to the south lies Musca. Ancient Greeks originally considered Crux to be part of Centaurus; however, the precession of the equinoxes gradually lowered these stars below the European horizon, and they were eventually forgotten. (At the latitude of Athens in 1000 BC, Crux was clearly visible, though low in the sky; by AD 400, most of the constellation never rose above the horizon for Athenians.

Southern Cross

(c)2002 by Jason Webley

Hey, do you know where you’re going?

Have you noticed its snowing,

Although it is June?

They, said your weakness was growing,

That your rapture was showing,

Just a little too soon.

But under these mountains,

The nights and the shadows grow long.

The stars up above you feel wrong.

This is not your sky.

Pray, to a strange constellation.

Thank God for your isolation,

This forever goodbye.

Dawn, throws its light on the covers.

In this bed there’s another,

Asleep at your side.

Gone, the embrace of a lover,

And the fire you discovered,

Already has died.

Her body recoils,

As your hand goes to touch her again.

She’s a temple that won’t let you in.

At her side you’re alone.

On her back is the same constellation,

Confirming your alienation.

No this flesh is not home.

You, carry a vague conviction,

This life rose from an eviction,

Out of your homeland.

True, but it’s also addiction,

To this soft crucifixion,

Under these foreign hands.

And like all Christs before you,

You kneel down beneath the night sky,

To look into your father’s eyes,

And only feel lost.

Crucified to a strange constellation,

A new king awaits coronation,

But there will be no great revelation,

Your journey is your destination,

And discomfort could be your salvation,

Here, under the Southern Cross.

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Jherek Bischoff: bass

Avondland – Koos Kombuis

South African Memories.

Koos Kombuis (born André le Roux du Toit, November 5, 1954) is a South African musician, singer, songwriter and writer who became famous as part of a group of anti-establishment maverick Afrikaans musicians, who, under the collective name of Voëlvry (directly translated meaning “Free as a bird”; in Afrikaans “voëlvry” is synonymous to the word “fugitive”), toured campuses across South Africa in the 1980s, to “liberate Afrikaans from the shackles of its past”. Fellow musicians of this movement were Johannes Kerkorrel and Bernoldus Niemand (James Phillips). They were a younger generation Afrikaner who didn’t believe in apartheid and didn’t toe the ruling National Party line. This movement coined the term Alternative Afrikaner for themselves. Kombuis is somewhat of an icon among certain South Africans who consider him the guru of Afrikaans rock music and father of non-conformist Afrikaans culture.

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Avondland – Koos Kombuis

(Video hosted on Youtube.)

oos Kombuis is a humorous stage name as well as his pen name. Koos (pronounced “koos” sounding like “kwis”) is a shortened version for the common name “Jacobus” / “Jakobus”, but is also Afrikaans slang for a chamber pot. Kombuis means “Kitchen” in Afrikaans. His childhood nickname was “Koos”, and he got his last name from a time when he squatted in the kitchen of former drug-dealer and author Al Lovejoy. The name also alludes to the Afrikaans language derogatorily being known as “Kitchen Dutch” in its early years.

Du Toit started out as a poet and novelist in the early 1980s writing under the name André Letoit, (a non-intentional anagram for “toilet”) but wanting something more colloquial-sounding for his musical career, settled on Koos Kombuis.

He has introduced an A in his stage name, now being Koos A. Kombuis. The A is for Andre, formed part of his first stage name, Andre le Toit. He claims the fact that the spelling of his initials, K.A.K (“shit” in Afrikaans), is purely coincidental.

Ons is gesoute reisigers
Deur dop en lied, deur klank en vers
Ons is ballings uit `n paradys
Orals bekend, maar nêrens tuis.
Agter elke grens `n vreemde taal
In elke stad sy katedraal
Maar waar jy ook al sing of vra
Jou toekoms bly in Afrika

Ik ben onthecht en statenloos
Geen vlag, geen grens die ik geloof
Het noorden kwijt, het westen moe
Zo ging ik naar het zuiden toe
Geen vaderland, geen moedertaal
Geen binnenstad, geen kathedraal
Nu sta ik op het Bloubergstrand
Maar mijn hart ligt in het avondland

Hoe lank moet jy nog aanhou soek
Deur kaart of Bybel, gids of boek?
By watter herberg teen die wind,
In watter stal jou heiland vind?
Onder watter ster of noorderlig
Bly ons strompel, blind en sonder sig.
Slegs die Suiderkruis wag lankal daar
Ons toekoms is in Afrika

Ik droom kastelen langs de Rijn
In de de eeuwen die vervlogen zijn
Het continent van ijdelheid
Waar elke weg naar Rome leidt
Ik ben voorbij de Swartbergpas
De hel was mooier dan ik dacht
Nu sta ik hier aan deze kant
Maar mijn hart ligt in het avondland

As die nag finaal sy mantel gooi,
As die son verdoof van wit tot rooi,
As die stede stil word, mense bang,
In die woude niks meer voëlgesang.
Sal ons wat weet, ons voete wend
Terug na die donker kontinent.
Die laaste lente volg weldra,
Maar ons toekoms wag in Afrika

Als ik ooit alles achterlaat
Mijn taal, mijn stad, mijn huis en haard
Dan is er nog een deel van mij
Dat in het noorden achterblijft
Al heb ik hier het leven lief
Al is mijn oude wereld ziek
Zelfingenomen, arrogant
Toch ligt mijn hart in het avondland
Toch ligt mijn hart in het avondland

Want gister was ons kinders daar
Nou reis ons weer saam na Afrika

Al weet ik dat het vuur hier brand
Toch ligt mijn hart in het avondland

Want gister was ons kinders daar
Nou reis ons weer saam na Afrika

Rajasthan Ride

From the cackle of its colour-charged cities to the luminous splendour of its sun-kissed desert, Rajasthan is romantic India wrapped in gaudy royal robes. Here the fearsome Rajput warrior clans ruled with gilt-edged words, plundered wealth and blood-thick chivalrous codes.

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(Kum Kum Pagle Maadi padharo re/ Dholida Dhol Vagad/ He mano garbo)

(Video & Image copyright to Mazalien.)

vast and wonder-laced state with treasures more sublime than those of fable, the Land of the Kings paints a bold image. Compiling a must-see list in Rajasthan can cripple the fussy traveller: Meherangarh looming over bright blue Jodhpur, the giant gold sandcastle at Jaisalmer, the palaces and pageantry of Udaipur, Pushkar’s reverent yet carnival charm, the storybook whimsy of Bundi and the havelis (traditional, ornately decorated residences) sprinkled through Shekhawati – see them all, and you’ll see a month fly by faster than the express bound for Pakistan. Like a microcosm of Mother India, there’s also abundant wildlife and warm people, glitz and camels, soulful music, glittering saris, tottering turbans and a surprisingly rich cuisine. Rajasthan Tourism is unequaled in the world for its sun kissed Thar Desert, heritage hotels, safaris, mystic forts and glorious palaces, various tourist destinations, huge open-air museum, lush green forests with its wildlife, arts and crafts, pilgrimage centres, fairs and festivals. Rajasthan India, the land of princes offers inexhaustible historical forts with brilliant architecture. Some of the famous Rajasthan Forts Tours are Chittaurgarh Fort, Jaisalmer Fort, Junagarh Fort, Mehrangarh Fort, Amber Fort and Golden Fort etc.

Rajasthan is romantic India wrapped in gaudy royal robes.

Rajasthan - India

The state, covering an area of 342,239 square kilometers, is dotted with marvelous palaces and forts. Rajasthan had been a part of the republics of Saka Satraps, Hunas, Arjunyas, Malavas, Yaudhyas, Kushans and Guptas and was also a constituent of the Mauryan Empire. The forts and palaces sprawled across the territory bear the rich imprints of the past rulers.

Rajasthan was inhabited by the Rajput clan in the 8th century. The waning of their power led to the emergence of Jats, Nath, Ahirs, Gujars, Bhils and Meenas, who established their dominance in the different districts of Rajasthan. It is noteworthy that these clans largely influenced the culture of Rajasthan.The 12th century heralded the rule of the Muslims, who were followed by the Mughals. The people, culture and architecture of Rajasthan largely owe to the Mughal Empire. Tourists can get a glimpse of the Mughal architecture at different forts and palaces situated at various parts of Rajasthan.

A Universe From Nothing – Lawrence Krauss

Lawrence Krauss gives a talk on our current picture of the universe, how it will end, and how it could have come from nothing. Krauss is the author of many bestselling books on Physics and Cosmology, including “The Physics of Star Trek.”

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A Universe From Nothing – Lawrence Krauss

(Video hosted on Youtube.)

awrence is Professor of Physics, Professor of Astronomy, former chairman of the department of Physics, and director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics, at Case Western Reserve University. He is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of all mass in the universe. A public intellectual who has won many prizes for his science and for his writings, he is author of over 200 scientific publications and numerous popular articles and books, including Quintessence: The Mystery of the Missing Mass; The Physics of Star Trek; Atom: An Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life and Earth and Beyond; and Hiding in the Mirror; The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions from Plato to String Theory and Beyond (an exploration of our fascination with the idea of extra dimensions, in art, literature, and science). In February 2000, he was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s 1999-2000 Award for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology. Lawrence writes a regular column for New Scientist and has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, narrating Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Here is how Lawrence responded to the question, posed by The Templeton Foundation, Does the Universe Have a Purpose? UNLIKELY. Perhaps you hoped for a stronger statement, one way or the other. But as a scientist I don’t believe I can make one. While nothing in biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, or cosmology has ever provided direct evidence of purpose in nature, science can never unambiguously prove that there is no such purpose.

Lawrence Krauss

Lawrence Krauss

As Carl Sagan said, in another context: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Of course, nothing would stop science from uncovering positive evidence of divine guidance and purpose if it were attainable. For example, tomorrow night if we look up at the stars and they have been rearranged into a pattern that reads, I am here, I think even the most hard-nosed scientific skeptic would suspect something was up. But no such unambiguous signs have been uncovered among the millions and millions of pieces of data we have gleaned about the natural world over centuries of exploration. And this is precisely why a scientist can conclude that it is very unlikely that there is any divine purpose. If a creator had such a purpose, she could choose to demonstrate it a little more clearly to the inhabitants of her creation. One is always free, as some people do, to interpret the laws of nature as signs of purpose, as for example Pope Pius did when Belgian physicist-priest George Lemaitre demonstrated that Einstein’s general theory of relativity implied the universe had a beginning. The Pope interpreted this as scientific proof of Genesis, but Lemaitre asked him to stop saying this. The big bang, as it has become known, can be interpreted in terms of a divine beginning, but it can equally be interpreted as removing God from the equation entirely. The conclusion is in the mind of the beholder, and it is outside of the realm of scientific theory and prediction. Finally, even if the universe has a hidden purpose, everything we know about the cosmos suggests that we do not play a central role in it. We are, as a planet, cosmically insignificant. Life on Earth will end, as it has probably done on countless planets in the past, and will do in the future. And all the stars and all the galaxies we see could disappear in an instant and the universe would go on behaving more or less as it is doing right now. Nature seems as uncaring as it is unyielding. Thus, organized religions, which put humanity at the center of some divine plan, seem to assault our dignity and intelligence. A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.

Aubrey de Grey – Must We Age?

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Jim Croce – Time In A Bottle

Aubrey de Grey may be wrong but, evidence suggests, he’s not nuts. This is a no small assertion. De Grey argues that some people alive today will live in a robust and youthful fashion for 1,000 years. Life expectancy is increasing in the developed world. But Cambridge University geneticist Aubrey de Grey believes it will soon extend dramatically to 1,000. Here, he explains why. Aubrey de Grey, an elaborately bearded scientist at Cambridge University attracts almost universal derision among the ‘ageing community’ for his thesis that a ‘solution’ to old age is just around the corner, probably consisting of a cocktail of drugs and genetic therapies that will counter the effects of free radicals and other harmful metabolic processes that weaken the bones, make our skin brittle and cause our organs to slowly fail. The attacks on de Grey are motivated by rational scepticism, but also, by that puritan morality that states that life extension is a place where science has no place going.
A true maverick, Aubrey de Grey challenges the most basic assumption underlying the human condition — that aging is inevitable. He argues instead that aging is a disease — one that can be cured if it’s approached as “an engineering problem.” His plan calls for identifying all the components that cause human tissue to age, and designing remedies for each of them — forestalling disease and eventually pushing back death. He calls the approach Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS).

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(Video hosted on Youtube
Aubrey de Grey, photographed at San Francisco’s airport,
created the Methuselah Foundation to support scientific research into
extending the life span, oh, 900 years.

early all scientists who study the biology of aging agree that we will someday be able to substantially slow down the aging process, extending our productive, youthful lives. Dr. Aubrey de Grey is perhaps the most bullish of all such researchers. As has been reported in media outlets ranging from 60 Minutes to The New York Times, Dr. de Grey believes that the key biomedical technology required to eliminate aging-derived debilitation and death entirely—technology that would not only slow but periodically reverse age-related physiological decay, leaving us biologically young into an indefinite future—is now within reach.

In Ending Aging, Dr. de Grey and his research assistant Michael Rae describe the details of this biotechnology. They explain that the aging of the human body, just like the aging of man-made machines, results from an accumulation of various types of damage. As with man-made machines, this damage can periodically be repaired, leading to indefinite extension of the machine’s fully functional lifetime, just as is routinely done with classic cars. We already know what types of damage accumulate in the human body, and we are moving rapidly toward the comprehensive development of technologies to remove that -damage. By demystifying aging and its postponement for the nonspecialist reader, de Grey and Rae systematically dismantle the fatalist presumption that aging will forever defeat the efforts of medical science.

Aubrey de Grey may be wrong but, evidence suggests, he's not nuts. This is a no small assertion. De Grey argues that some people alive today will live in a robust and youthful fashion for 1,000 years.

Aubrey de Grey

Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey (born 20 April 1963) is an English author and theoretician in the field of gerontology, and the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Foundation. He is editor-in-chief of the academic journal Rejuvenation Research, author of The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (1999) and co-author of Ending Aging (2007).De Grey’s research focuses on whether regenerative medicine can thwart the ageing process. He works on the development of what he calls “Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence” (SENS), a tissue-repair strategy intended to rejuvenate the human body and allow an indefinite lifespan. To this end, he has identified seven types of molecular and cellular damage caused by essential metabolic processes. SENS is a proposed panel of therapies designed to repair this damage.

An article about SENS published in the viewpoint section of EMBO Reports by 28 scientists concluded that none of de Grey’s therapies “has ever been shown to extend the lifespan of any organism, let alone humans”. De Grey argues that this reveals a serious gap in understanding between basic scientists and technologists and between biologists studying ageing and those studying regenerative medicine. The 15-member Research Advisory Board of his own SENS Foundation have signed an endorsement of the plausibility of the SENS approach.

De Grey is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the American Aging Association, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and an adviser to the Singularity Institute. He has been interviewed in recent years in a number of news sources, including CBS 60 Minutes, the BBC, The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, The Washington Post, TED, Popular Science and The Colbert Report.

See also:
* Immortality….
* Living forever….
* Read more….: The Tibetan book of the death.
* Read more….: Cryonics.
* Read more….: Near Death Experiences (NDE).
* Read more….: Immortality.
* Read more….: The mystery of life.

Further readings:

Chapter Three “Can i live forever please?” page 56, from 10 Questions Science Can’t Answer (Yet) A Guide to the Scientific Wilderness Michael Hanlon First published 2007 by
Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS and
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y. 10010
Companies and representatives throughout the world
ISBN-13: 978–0–230–51758–5 hardback
ISBN-10: 0–230–51758–7 hardback

Abrey de Grey.

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Alphaville – Forever Young
Video hosted on Youtube.

See also:
* “Human regenerative engineering – theory and practice”, Humanity+ UK 2010 London, April 24, 2010
* Aubrey de Grey speaks at The Scientific Society at Trinity College, Oxford University, 2010
* Aubrey de Grey appears on CNN, 2009
* Aubrey de Grey speaking at Cass Business School, London, February 12, 2008 “Prospects for extending a healthy life – a lot”], 2008
* Why we age, and how we can stop it — Discussions on Advancing Regenerative Therapies — April 21, 2008
* Unconventional Wisdom — Thinking Digital — May 23, 2008
* Understanding Aging: Biomedical and Bioengineering Approaches — June 27-29, 2008
* Defeating Aging — NASA Ames Research Center — August 7, 2008
* A True Cure for Human Aging – Culture and Convention Centre, Lucerne, Switzerland — October 27, 2008
* Prospects for defeating aging altogether – Changing the World Conference — Convocation Hall, Toronto — November 15, 2008
* Edmonton Aging Symposium presentation (28:45) — Took place March 30-31, 2007
* Google TechTalk Video (1:01:06) — 1st Appearance (May 2007) entitled “Prospects for extending healthy life – a lot”
* Google TechTalk Video (1:13:10) — 2nd Appearance (June 2007) entitled “WILT: taking cancer seriously enough to really cure it”
* Prospects for extending healthy life — a lot. — Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley — October 2, 2007
* Google TechTalk Video (1:02:26) — 3rd Appearance (December 2007) entitled “Aging of the Other Genome: A Decisive but Ambitious Solution”
* Our Right to Life: A talk advocating a pro-life stance by de Grey, 2006
* Tomorrows People Forum 2006: Longer? (2:00:58) The “Longer?” lecture (Presentation 3) for the Tomorrows People Conference Forum 2006 that took place on the 14-17 of March 2006 at the Saïd Business School at Oxford.
* TED conference 2006 – Fixing Humanity’s worst problem (23:05) Presentation at the Technology Entertainment Design TED Conference 2006.
* The unfortunate influence of the weather on the rate of ageing (10:35) Excerpt of talk at CR-IV (2006 Calorie Restriction Society Conference), held April 6-9, 2006, in Tucson, Arizona, United States.
* Immortality Institute conference presentation (29:49) Presentation at the Immortality Institute’s conference in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, 2006.
* An interview for meettheauthor.com filmed in November 2007
* GoogleTechTalks: Aging of the Other Genome (Dec. 2006, 62 minutes) On mutations of mitochondrial DNA and de Grey’s MitoSENS
* Defeating aging – held July 2005 in Oxford, England – TED (conference) (29:59) longer version with interview.
* Presentation at Popular Technology conference Poptech (45:06), 2003.

Ending Aging

Ending Aging

Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime (Hardcover)

In Ending Aging, Dr. de Grey and his research assistant Michael Rae describe the details of this biotechnology. They explain that the aging of the human body, just like the aging of man-made machines, results from an accumulation of various types of damage. As with man-made machines, this damage can periodically be repaired, leading to indefinite extension of the machine’s fully functional lifetime, just as is routinely done with classic cars. We already know what types of damage accumulate in the human body, and we are moving rapidly toward the comprehensive development of technologies to remove that -damage. By demystifying aging and its postponement for the nonspecialist reader, de Grey and Rae systematically dismantle the fatalist presumption that aging will forever defeat the efforts of medical science.
– Hardcover: 400 pages
– Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; 1st edition (September 4, 2007)
– Language: English
– ISBN-10: 0312367066
-ISBN-13: 978-0312367060

In Pursuit of Longevity.

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(Video hosted on Youtube
In Pursuit of Longevity.

ubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist based in Cambridge, UK, and is the Chairman and Chief Science Officer of the Methuselah Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity dedicated to combating the aging process. He is also Editor-in-Chief of “Rejuvenation Research”, the world’s only peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. His research interests encompass the etiology of all the accumulating and eventually pathogenic molecular and cellular side-effects of metabolism (“damage”) that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and/or obviate that damage. He has developed a possibly comprehensive plan for such repair, termed Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which breaks the aging problem down into seven major classes of damage and identifies detailed approaches to addressing each one. A key aspect of SENS is that it can potentially extend healthy lifespan without limit, even though these repair processes will never be perfect, as the repair only needs to approach perfection rapidly enough to keep the overall level of damage below pathogenic levels. de Grey has termed this required rate of improvement of repair therapies “longevity escape velocity”.

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  • "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It's the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead."
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