Antarctica – A year on ice – movie by Anthony Powell – review


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“What’s it like to live in Antarctica?” Anthony Powell’s movie “ANTARCTICA – A YEAR ON ICE” gives us a vivid video view and a wonderfully emotional exposure to a unique reality that makes you feel deeply that you wish you had lived there, but also thankful you didn’t experience a whole year there in person. The warmth of the people doing important but routine work is balanced with nature’s piercing cold, terrifying winds, embalming darkness, and overpowering majesty. Powell aims, and succeeds, at capturing, “the true feeling of this vast and important place.” From his video’s opening scene (time mark 0:00:47) he states he grew up in an idyllic dairy farm setting near lat/lon -39.5 174.2 (Enter these coordinates in Google Earth and click the photo to see that location).

Visually sensitive people will revel in the eerie time-lapse videos of the vast variety of forms and movements that nature’s water can take when frozen. Water can become an infinity of solid gargoyle shapes, or when blown high it can become flowing nacreous clouds of spirit vapors. Below are some still photos taken from his movie, but these are stills frozen from Powell’s mysterious moving things pulsing with their unique forms of energy. They are similar to living things, but so different from our DNA form of life that each of these energy forms seems like it should have its own taxonomic designation enfolding within it Linnaeus’ tree of life. I would base this phylogenetic system on methods of energy usage of the fundamental forces of nature. Note below nature’s usage of energy and light.

Wind blow ice sculptures

Antarctic ice formations by Anthony Powell

Antarctic Moonscape with clouds

Nacreous clouds and the Moon over McMurdo, Antarctica, by Anthony Powell

View of twilight sky from Antarctica

The constellation Orion is seen standing on his head in Antarctica, by Anthony Powell

To live in Antarctica they say, “To be tolerant is very important.” “You may get to see some fun stuff, but the main thing you are down here for, is to work.” “I still love that there are places in the world you can go, and there is no one out here, and there is absolute silence.” (0:15:35) They say, “The women of Antarctica? … The odds are good, but the goods are odd.” (0:20:22)

Powell returns from the purposefulness and boredom, violence and tranquility of Antarctica to the scattered busyness of Christchurch,  for a melancholy overview of modern civilization and cities.

Christchurch, New Zealand

View of the city Christchurch NZ by Anthony Powell from lat/lon -43.582 172.725

A year on ice will open your spirit to understand more soulfully where you now live.


Dome Argus in Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth.


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Storing seeds for ten thousand years without human intervention is the goal of The EarthArk Project. If living seeds are kept very cold they can maintain their viability for tens of thousands of years. Many sites have been considered for EarthArk storage, and many rock-solid mountain tops have been identified where EarthArks can be precisely located far into the future. A cheaper option is to collect seeds in mini-EarthArks made of jars or small barrels and place them on local mountain tops. These could be placed in temperate and tropical mountain tops where seeds may last for centuries. The advantage of mini-EarthArks is they can be done by a single person at small personal expense, and they can be placed in ways that will remain totally hidden until they erode out of the soil of the mountain. That method prevents theft and intentional destruction by those seeking economic control of DNA. The advantage of the primary EarthArks located high in Antarctica is they are remote from intentional predation. They will be stored at very cold temperatures without any human intervention; and they can be secured so they can be found much later when the seeds are needed to replant otherwise extinct species.

The Argus Dome in Antarctica has temperatures thought to be the coldest on the surface of the Earth. Wikipedia – Dome A (Dome Argus) says, “Temperatures at Dome A fall below −80 °C (−112 °F) almost every winter, while in summer it rarely exceeds −10 °C (14 °F).” The highest point of the ice sheet (4,093 m (13,428 ft or 2.54 miles) above sea level) by GPS survey is at 80°22’S 77°21’E (-80.367 77.352). Measurements have shown that this huge dome of ice doesn’t flow like a glacier, but builds and compresses downward and flows slowly outward. As the center ice doesn’t move in geographical location, an EarthArk placed there would be discoverable thousands of years hence. The darker blue areas are where the ice flow is less than 1 meter per year and yellow is more than 100 meters per year.

Antarctica Ice Flow showing the Argus Rize

Antarctica Ice Flow showing the Argus Dome is between 80-82 S and 76-78 E. Click bigger

This area of Antarctica is very flat, so it would be easy to smooth an airfield for easy importation of materials. Ridge A with a valley located 89 miles southeast of Argus Dome is possibly even colder and thus better for an EarthArk; it is where the atmosphere descends smoothly into shallow valleys and will sit there quietly radiating even more heat into deep space. NASA video at Washington Post:

The coldest air on Earth

The cold air, in blue, drains from Dome A and Ridge A to form a cold pocket.

Perhaps a stadium-sized bowl could be scooped out to get even colder temperatures at a black-coated bottom. A radio telescope would work well there.

I made another overlaid composite map of Antarctica showing the ice flow. The white areas within dark blue are moving at less than one meter per year. Probably an EarthArk placed near the center of the Argus dome could be easily found in a thousand years.

18 white areas of slow moving ice shown in Antarctica

An Antarctica ice flow chart with non-moving areas shown in white. Altitude lines are in meters.

There are several other very slow moving ice areas nearer the South Pole besides Argus that are stable, but they are at a lower altitude and not as cold. The Argus Dome seems best as it has been tested and appears to be stable on a ten-thousand-year basis. I am hesitant to say precisely where the EarthArks should be located, because the local factors should be checked carefully. However, the EarthArks are designed to be transported to their locations, and they should be easy to move later when the need arises.

The EarthArks can save millions of species, but they must be in place to do it.


The Tao Teh Ching – #12 – Revealed by Lao Tzu – Rendered by Charles Scamahorn


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The artists’ colorful works make your eyes too sensitive;
The musicians’ melodic notes make your ears too delicate;
The gourmets’ succulent flavors make your tongue too refined.

By contrast, horse racing, chasing and hunting
Will turn your heart toward violence;
And gold, and jewels, and treasure
Will turn your mind toward intrigue.


A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Evil


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A Dictionary of New Epigrams


My Stoic persona accepts the total Universe as it is, because there is nothing I can do about what is past, so I choose to be content with it; with all of it.

Evil isn’t inherent in Nature, it just behaves as it does and evil requires conscious intent.

Evil is in the motivations of humans who willfully choose to injure people or other living things for personal pleasure.

Evil is a relaxation of constraints on a person who has an anger at being punished unjustly and it is expressed in passing the pain on to someone else, anyone else.

You may identify a person prone to evil when you see them reveling in other people’s suffering.

Like Shakespeare’s Iago, the evil actions may require careful preparations, and well-developed suggestions for appropriate behavior, that bring on pain to the other person.

Truth can be a screen behind which an evil intention hides, as in William Blake’s Poisoned Tree.

You don’t root out evil by snipping at its branches.

An evil intent brings forth evil results.

Avoid people who seek revenge, for it is the root of much evil.

To see evil, and hear evil, prepares you to do evil. Often the best response to evil is to ignore it and quietly walk away, and seek out kind actions. For where kindness is found there is a loving person.

You can hear evil from afar in the raucous cackle of people knowingly violating other people’s obedience to reasonable behavior.

Life is a rare event in the universe, but the death of all things that were once living is a common event; realizing this we may celebrate our moments of living for their uniqueness and eternal death for its commonality.

Even a dog feels guilty when it has behaved badly, and if we accept that humans are smarter than dogs, then we must accept that humans know when they behave badly.

Do not resist evil people. If they are human they know they are behaving badly, and resisting them will only serve to make their evil ways more entrenched.

Exposing evil acts may bring those actors’ evil actions back at you.

Evil is the opposite not of good but of kindness, as many good and bad actions are simply habits and these can be wholly unconscious, but evil acts and kind ones are intentional volitional behavior.

Evil actions cultivate a habit of evil and these feed back on the doer of evil for the rest of his life. Evil thoughts make him suspicious, depressed and miserable. The reward of an evil action is personal pain.

Doing a conscious evil act to another strikes back at the doer a hundred times over.

Evil loves negative emotions and thrives on pain.

Evil habits can never be totally eliminated, but with effort they can be covered over with friendlier habits.

The belief that a cruel action can bring about a good result leads to a cruel act.

Evil destroys itself as well as kindness promotes itself.




Do a quicker and easier EarthArk before it’s too late.


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I keep trying to make saving the world simpler and more doable. The Life Haven Project was intended to save all the plants and animals of the world from extinction. That’s most easily done by constructing a hotel-like site for storing supplies on Pitt Island, lat/lon -44.29 -176.23, and more quickly done with a loaded cruise ship being docked at Adams Island, lat/lon -44.29 -176.23. An easier thing is to save all the plant species of the world with The EarthArk Project by giving people all over the world a pre-addressed envelope into which they could place wild seeds of their local area and mail them to the EarthArk. They would be sent via Palmer Station, Antarctica, to the top of mountains in Antarctica near the South Pole and stored at the local temperature of below minus forty degrees. The very closest exposed rock to the South Pole seems to be at lat/lon -87.375 -149.373 with an altitude of 9200 feet. It is desirable to attach the EarthArk containers to solid rock to prevent them being swept away by glacial flows.

Each of those projects is technically doable, but they all require some cooperation from various bureaucratic authorities. What I am about to propose here requires little cooperation from anyone except the person actually placing a MiniArk container in a cold place. The easiest way of doing this is to collect seeds from a local area, place them in a permanent container, such as a glass jar, or a standard plastic seal-able bucket. Then find some local mountain climbers who are intending to climb some mountain and ask them to carry the container to a good shady spot near the top. This process could be broken into easily done parts. For example, some students could collect seeds as a class project, then others could take the containers to some easy collection site, such as a sporting goods store where mountain climbers go. Then getting some of them to carry the containers to the base of a mountain where another collection site might be arranged. From there climbers could take the containers stored there up some portion of the way to the top. This could be divided into easy carries to designated stations until the container reached the top where it would be buried, marked and mapped with identifying photographs. The containers would be buried with the top a few inches below the surface. They would be invisible and thus would not disturb the local ecology in any way, but there would be markers on maps so they could be easily found, and the maps distributed world-wide on the internet. The maps from around the world could be stored both electronically and physically at many sites. The unused backs of gravestones could be used for very permanent marking of the map locations and for giving the locations chiseled into the granite tombstones.

Start your personal EarthArk today, by putting seeds in a bucket.

Humanity must survive its dangerous moments to continue existing.


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The downside of Darwinian survival of the fittest is that the application of the concept fittest is always based on the now instant of time. The fittest members of a species are those who have always survived every instant, especially when these individuals are in competition with the other members of their species for identical resources. Almost all the time there is a reasonable supply of resources, and a species’ members live in a protective harmony with each other by defining personal territory, but with most species there will be occasions, perhaps seasonal, where there is a short supply of resources, and then there will be a struggle among the species’ members, and a taking of the others’ personal resources. Sometimes the stressor on the species is a lack of food, sometimes a predator, or a disease, or a natural disaster, or in the case of humans a war or an economic shortfall. In all of these cases it is only those who physically survive the occasional momentary disasters who are alive to reproduce themselves. If the total species population is small, such as the human population of only a few thousand, as it was after the Mt. Toba eruption seventy thousand years ago, then the total genetic diversity will be small and homogeneous. Humanity can now survive these events with planning and preparation, even if they can’t predict the timing of their occurrence. There is always a large element of luck in these animal population reductions, but in the case of humans that is not always so true.

Humans have the capacity to store the valuable resources essential to their survival. That is usually measured in terms of ownership of property, and that is usually measured in money. However, as Machiavelli wrote in The Prince, “Men, arms, provisions and money are the sinews of war, and of these men and arms are the most valuable, for men and arms can always acquire money and provisions, but money and provisions can not always acquire men and arms.” That was written in 1516 AD, and is still true in short-term organized combat situations. However, up to a crisis situation those with stored resources are able to purchase and store those men and arms in the form of armies; thus it will be the richest people who will tend to survive. Of course there is another category of supplies that is available to forward-thinking people, and that will be found in the Life Havens and the EarthArks. In the grander scale of nations these genetic storage depots will cost almost nothing, but they will provide a source of human survival and the survival of many other species, too.

The main point here is that the human survivors of the future will be derived from those people who survived every instant of death-delivering environments between now and then. Back in the riots of the mid-1960s I created the slogan, “In a riot, the absence of body is superior to presence of mind.” However, I still reflexively follow Sir Francis Drake’s command to his flotilla of ship’s captains, “Steer for the sound of gunfire,” because that is where the pivotal changes that will affect the future are happening. Of course when you see the battle going on, try really hard not to get killed, or you won’t be one of the surviving fittest.

You and humanity must survive every deadly instant before your offspring can exist.

Potential enemies of the EarthArk project


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I have been trying to save life on Earth, and that includes the human species, and I thought everyone would consider that a positive goal, with the exception of a few suicidal and genocide-inclined people. My efforts have mostly been thought experiments written up as blog posts, but with the goal of finding workable ways to actually save the Earth’s species. But a new problem has come about because in the last few years it has become technically feasible to directly modify animal and plant DNA directly.

Unfortunately, there may be a category of people who are not insanely depressed or evil that may be hostile to my goals of saving all life forms, because they can make money by controlling these living things. These are the profit-minded people who want to bring all life forms under their personal control, using DNA manipulation techniques, so they can make money. At the moment they claim they seek to control only crop seeds, domesticated animals, and life forms that can create useful drugs. But where does their ambition end? There are presently huge  legal struggles to capture patent rights over various parts of Jennifer Doudna’s discovery of CRISPR technology for direct and precise coding of DNA. This technology puts every living thing under direct genetic control by these profit-minded humans. It creates the possibility of creating entirely new categories of living things, perhaps even beyond the Kingdoms of plants, animals, and viruses.

At the other end of the problem of creating new life is the goal of saving as many of the old living species as possible. The continuing loss of current living species through extinction has brought about The EarthArk concept which is designed to save the plants of the world by putting their seeds into permanent deep-freeze containers atop high mountains near the South Pole. Saving animals is more difficult, because they must be kept alive to reproduce to survive through generations. LifeHavens are multipurpose farms that may be scattered around the world with living examples of as many species and families of animals as possible. To maximize genetic diversity these LifeHavens would be saving a large variety of the smallest animals of each family, and thus mice would be preferred over elephants from the family of mammals, and cats over tigers. With members of Families available it might be possible to reconstruct species in the future from cryogenically frozen embryos, eggs and sperm from a species of that Family. These procedures would be difficult or possibly impossible, but the current unstoppable trends are headed for the extinction of many living things from which there will be no recovery, so this new plan has some merit.

The EarthArk and LifeHavens are specific locations that will be well known to everyone and easy to locate on a map, but for their own protection they are generally difficult to get to. Even so, they may be targeted for destruction by corporations intending to control all living DNA. That is unlikely in the immediate future, but quite possible in the not distant future. To make it sure future life can reestablish itself in a local area we can place a great variety of local seeds in a glass bottle and bury it in a local mountain. Because the bottles are hidden inside a mountain or a glacier they will be impossible to discover, but will reveal themselves many years in the future. To create this living time capsule we can choose a location such as the top of a local glacier so the bottle would come out of the glacier many years later and be broken in the river flowing out of the glacier. That would spread the seeds into the land below, and revivify it to that area’s present condition. A longer time delay could be done by placing the bottle in a high frozen part of the mountain itself and as the mountain is eroded away the seeds would come out when the bottle was broken and come down the hillside. Most seeds would be lost by this procedure, but some would survive, and some is better than nothing. And nothing is exactly what the current destructive trends will provide.

A variation for saving local seeds is to place a good quality barrel near the top of any mountain where later traveling climbers could drop seeds from all over the world. When the barrel was full, it could be buried nearby and marked for later recovery. Many mountains of the world have cold tops that could store seeds for a very long time without any human supervision or maintenance. These could be called Mini-Arks.

A photograph of a rainbow, moon and rainy street.



The Bend photographers’ meeting Wednesday was focused on The Coming of Spring. I hadn’t taken any pictures with that subject in mind, but last Saturday, on my way to an 8 AM discussion I noticed the Moon and a rainbow were close together. Everything about this was transient, and moving, so I pulled over to the side of the road and took this picture out the open window.

The Moon and rainbow

The Moon with a rainbow and a wet Oregon street at 8 AM

There was a lot of negative discussion about this photo. The distracting power lines, the meaninglessness of the image, the poor cropping of the photo, and all sorts of distractions. But they did agree that it was a good image of springtime in Bend. Actually, when I took the picture, my total stopping time was about ten seconds, and I assumed I would crop it, if I ever bothered to do anything with it.

A photo of the Moon with a rainbow

Rainbow and Moon on Oregon street, at 8 AM in Bend, Oregon

Well, I suppose it still isn’t much of a photo, kind of a journey around a bend in search of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, with the Moon aiding in pointing the way, and a Druid-like pine tree leaning into the undefined confusion. It was an overly abstract story for a camera club that talks a lot about cropping and blurry backgrounds, and almost never about the message, mood, or artistic challenge to conventional thinking.

Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences


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This is an update on the Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences (ACE versus PCE). This new chart adds numbers to each test’s items, one through ten. It also reformats the page so the two tests align each item for item, which makes it easier to compare a negative experience with its positive one. To achieve that effect it was necessary to change the positive definitions slightly to fit the new format. Each test was given a title line above it, which aids clarity. A bit of brief comment was added to the conclusion. The aim of this presentation is to clarify the types of behaviors that adults would use to raise a child in a way that would bring about a happier adult.A printable PDF file – ACE-PCE test

Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences (ACE versus PCE)

Give thanks to Gravity.


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Many humans give prayerful thanks to various unseen gods, or to a singular God, and some to visible Nature. It would be a considerate thing for us to go to our ultimate source of being and give thanks to The Four Fundamental Forces of Nature. They are gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear. These fundamentals are not affected by human confirmation biases, and thus a projection of our hopes onto reality, but are actual things that can be observed with the right tools, like the ones at CERN.

It is a reasonable behavior to give an occasional thank you to the realities we live within, not because they can perceive our thanks, but that we may form a more responsible relationship with them. Doing this would help us to live more honest and comfortable lives. These prayers could be similar to this one to gravity:

May my thoughts, dreams and habits be in agreement with the fundamental forces of Nature; and as gravity is always present for me, let me accept it as a key component of my reality, and choose to live within it and willingly respect its behaviors. Thank you, gravity, for being so consistent and dependable.



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