Homeless folks have real solutions to the housing crisis


via The People’s Record.

February 27, 2014

Homeless folks have real solutions to the housing crisisFebruary 27, 2014<br />When Bill de Blasio took office on January 1, he inherited a broken, bloated and expensive homeless shelter system that cost almost $1 billion to operate in 2013. He also inherited neighborhoods dotted with vacant buildings and lots that represent both potential housing and jobs. For New York’s homeless, there is a Kafkaesque paradigm where so-called affordable housing is in fact unaffordable due to the federal government’s Area Median Income guidelines.<br />Those who can’t afford housing are the same unemployed, or low-wage workers, seniors, disabled and just poor New Yorkers in the shelter system. On bitterly cold nights this winter, the shelter-industrial complex housed more than 50,000 adults and children — enough to fill Yankee Stadium. That didn’t include those using the domestic violence shelter system and the untold numbers of homeless folks sleeping in churches, mosques and synagogues. Nor does it include the thousands sleeping in trains, public transit facilities or parks. It doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands doubled or tripled up with friends and family hoping for a break so that they don’t have to go into the shelter system.<br />Real Roots of the Problem<br />Homelessness has been framed as the result of individual dysfunction and pathology. “Oh, they’re mentally ill, or they need to get a job,” — this mantra has been repeated by politicians and media for two decades. Picture the Homeless encourages the de Blasio administration to look at the big picture, to take into account rising rents and stagnant incomes at the bottom of the wage scale. Forces like gentrification, property warehousing and disinvestment in effective housing programs such as Section 8 have led us to where we are today.<br />The bottom-line cause of homelessness is the high cost of housing. Real estate development here has been geared to business interests, hotels and high rises, offices and office towers. When there is new housing construction, it’s for the super rich. Banks and landlords keep buildings empty while they wait for neighborhoods to gentrify, and to get rid of protections on rent-stabilized apartments.<br />Mayor Michael Bloomberg took away the homeless priority for permanent housing solutions like Section 8 and public housing, replacing them with time-limited rental subsidy programs (first Housing Stability Plus and then the Advantage programs) that were doomed from the start.<br />Past administrations have cried poverty when asked why they don’t prioritize housing for homeless people, but that’s a lie. The money’s there, it’s just being wasted on a politically connected shelter-industrial complex. A billion dollars a year could house a lot of people. Most shelters get two to three times as much money per month for each homeless household as it would cost to pay their rent.<br />In 2011, we partnered with the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development to devise and execute a replicable methodology for how the city could conduct a vacant property census. We found enough empty buildings and lots to house up to 200,000 people, and that was just in one-third of the city. But the city doesn’t keep track of vacant property and the little bit of money that is out there is being used to house people in shelters.<br />Every homeless person is different, and it’s true that mental illness and substance abuse play a role in some people losing their housing, but plenty of very wealthy people have issues of substance abuse or mental illness. The root issue is poverty. Public policy needs to address the systemic causes of homelessness. No mayor or president can implement a policy to stop people from having mental illness or losing their jobs, but they can make it so that everyone can afford housing.<br />There are numerous factors that contribute to record levels of homelessness, like how people coming home from jail with a record are excluded from housing, so there’s nowhere for them to go. Banks are still redlining in certain communities. Institutional racism is also a huge problem — over 90 percent of homeless families in shelters are African-American and/or Latino. Predatory lending has been targeting people of color. Ninety-nine percent of the people who go into housing court get no legal representation, so many of them end up losing their homes.<br />There’s no cohesive overall plan between government agencies that serve low-income people, and that adds up to a lot of resources being wasted. There’s no unity or collaboration between housing courts and the welfare and shelter systems. HRA, DHS, NYPD — it’s a whole lot of alphabet soup that doesn’t add up to anything.<br />People say homeless people should go get jobs — but people have jobs! The pay just doesn’t match the rental market. Very low wages, including social security and other income forms for folks who aren’t working, plus inadequate income supports, plus high rents, equal homelessness. It’s simple math.<br />Making Demands<br />At Picture the Homeless, we don’t just complain about problems. Homeless people know what’s not working, and they know what needs to change. That’s why our organizing campaigns have concrete policy demands of the new administration.<br />For starters, it’s unacceptable that the city has no idea how much property is currently vacant. We have to have conduct an annual citywide count of vacant buildings and lots, so we know what kind of resources are out there to develop new housing — and who’s keeping housing off the market. Legislation that would empower the city to do such a count was stalled for three years in the City Council under Christine Quinn. We were heartened to see it identified as a necessary solution on Bill de Blasio’s campaign website, as well as a priority for the City Council’s Progressive Caucus.<br />The new administration could immediately utilize a small portion of the Department of Homeless Services’ (DHS) shelter budget (even just 1 percent would be almost $10 million!) and create permanent rental subsidies so homeless people can get out of shelters. That funding could also support a pilot project for innovative housing models like community land trusts, which have the potential to create permanently-affordable, democratically-controlled housing for folks at all income levels, as well as supporting small businesses and incubating jobs that pay a living wage.<br />The city should take all the property whose owners owe taxes on water or violations, and put it into a land bank and develop it for those who really need it. Property that the city acquires through the Third Party Transfer program should be prioritized for nonprofit housing developers, including community land trusts. And the city should create and expand community land trusts that will be permanently affordable to the people who live there.<br />The new administration could also limit what is considered “affordable housing” to the city of New York. Right now, “affordable housing” can go to folks making upwards of $80,000 a year, because it’s based on Area Median Income calculations that factor in affluent parts of Westchester and Long Island.</p><p>Full article

When Bill de Blasio took office on January 1, he inherited a broken, bloated and expensive homeless shelter system that cost almost $1 billion to operate in 2013. He also inherited neighborhoods dotted with vacant buildings and lots that represent both potential housing and jobs. For New York’s homeless, there is a Kafkaesque paradigm where so-called affordable housing is in fact unaffordable due to the federal government’s Area Median Income guidelines.

Those who can’t afford housing are the same unemployed, or low-wage workers, seniors, disabled and just poor New Yorkers in the shelter system. On bitterly cold nights this winter, the shelter-industrial complex housed more than 50,000 adults and children — enough to fill Yankee Stadium. That didn’t include those using the domestic violence shelter system and the untold numbers of homeless folks sleeping in churches, mosques and synagogues. Nor does it include the thousands sleeping in trains, public transit facilities or parks. It doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands doubled or tripled up with friends and family hoping for a break so that they don’t have to go into the shelter system.

Real Roots of the Problem

Homelessness has been framed as the result of individual dysfunction and pathology. “Oh, they’re mentally ill, or they need to get a job,” — this mantra has been repeated by politicians and media for two decades. Picture the Homeless encourages the de Blasio administration to look at the big picture, to take into account rising rents and stagnant incomes at the bottom of the wage scale. Forces like gentrification, property warehousing and disinvestment in effective housing programs such as Section 8 have led us to where we are today.

The bottom-line cause of homelessness is the high cost of housing. Real estate development here has been geared to business interests, hotels and high rises, offices and office towers. When there is new housing construction, it’s for the super rich. Banks and landlords keep buildings empty while they wait for neighborhoods to gentrify, and to get rid of protections on rent-stabilized apartments.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg took away the homeless priority for permanent housing solutions like Section 8 and public housing, replacing them with time-limited rental subsidy programs (first Housing Stability Plus and then the Advantage programs) that were doomed from the start.

Past administrations have cried poverty when asked why they don’t prioritize housing for homeless people, but that’s a lie. The money’s there, it’s just being wasted on a politically connected shelter-industrial complex. A billion dollars a year could house a lot of people. Most shelters get two to three times as much money per month for each homeless household as it would cost to pay their rent.

In 2011, we partnered with the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development to devise and execute a replicable methodology for how the city could conduct a vacant property census. We found enough empty buildings and lots to house up to 200,000 people, and that was just in one-third of the city. But the city doesn’t keep track of vacant property and the little bit of money that is out there is being used to house people in shelters.

Every homeless person is different, and it’s true that mental illness and substance abuse play a role in some people losing their housing, but plenty of very wealthy people have issues of substance abuse or mental illness. The root issue is poverty. Public policy needs to address the systemic causes of homelessness. No mayor or president can implement a policy to stop people from having mental illness or losing their jobs, but they can make it so that everyone can afford housing.

There are numerous factors that contribute to record levels of homelessness, like how people coming home from jail with a record are excluded from housing, so there’s nowhere for them to go. Banks are still redlining in certain communities. Institutional racism is also a huge problem — over 90 percent of homeless families in shelters are African-American and/or Latino. Predatory lending has been targeting people of color. Ninety-nine percent of the people who go into housing court get no legal representation, so many of them end up losing their homes.

There’s no cohesive overall plan between government agencies that serve low-income people, and that adds up to a lot of resources being wasted. There’s no unity or collaboration between housing courts and the welfare and shelter systems. HRA, DHS, NYPD — it’s a whole lot of alphabet soup that doesn’t add up to anything.

People say homeless people should go get jobs — but people have jobs! The pay just doesn’t match the rental market. Very low wages, including social security and other income forms for folks who aren’t working, plus inadequate income supports, plus high rents, equal homelessness. It’s simple math.

Making Demands

At Picture the Homeless, we don’t just complain about problems. Homeless people know what’s not working, and they know what needs to change. That’s why our organizing campaigns have concrete policy demands of the new administration.

For starters, it’s unacceptable that the city has no idea how much property is currently vacant. We have to have conduct an annual citywide count of vacant buildings and lots, so we know what kind of resources are out there to develop new housing — and who’s keeping housing off the market. Legislation that would empower the city to do such a count was stalled for three years in the City Council under Christine Quinn. We were heartened to see it identified as a necessary solution on Bill de Blasio’s campaign website, as well as a priority for the City Council’s Progressive Caucus.

The new administration could immediately utilize a small portion of the Department of Homeless Services’ (DHS) shelter budget (even just 1 percent would be almost $10 million!) and create permanent rental subsidies so homeless people can get out of shelters. That funding could also support a pilot project for innovative housing models like community land trusts, which have the potential to create permanently-affordable, democratically-controlled housing for folks at all income levels, as well as supporting small businesses and incubating jobs that pay a living wage.

The city should take all the property whose owners owe taxes on water or violations, and put it into a land bank and develop it for those who really need it. Property that the city acquires through the Third Party Transfer program should be prioritized for nonprofit housing developers, including community land trusts. And the city should create and expand community land trusts that will be permanently affordable to the people who live there.

The new administration could also limit what is considered “affordable housing” to the city of New York. Right now, “affordable housing” can go to folks making upwards of $80,000 a year, because it’s based on Area Median Income calculations that factor in affluent parts of Westchester and Long Island.

Full article

Who’s afraid of BDS? | SocialistWorker.org


via Who’s afraid of BDS? | SocialistWorker.org.

A movement to expose modern-day apartheid has pushed Israel onto the defensive.

February 27, 2014

BDS protesters march to build the movement

THE MOVEMENT calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to grant basic rights to Palestinians has suddenly moved from the margins to center stage.

Scarcely a year ago, knowledge that a BDS movement even existed was mostly confined to people who have spent years engaged in solidarity campaigns that were largely shrugged off by the mainstream media and the Israeli political establishment. When activism did take place, it was often in reaction to Israel’s repeated military assaults and acts of repression.

But as 2013 drew to a close, the controversy swirling around a lucrative marketing deal between SodaStream, which produces a home carbonation machine in an illegal West Bank settlement, and Hollywood superstar and Oxfam ambassador Scarlett Johansson captured some headlines for the movement.

Then the American Studies Association (ASA) voted to honor the Palestinian call for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. The ensuing backlash against the ASA, including denunciations by high-profile university presidents and an ill-conceived attempt to punish the ASA, proposed and then abandoned by the New York state legislature (and now revised and reintroduced), gave the BDS campaign its highest profile yet and uncorked a fierce debate about academic freedom and Palestine.

There was more to come: Secretary of State John Kerry warned his Israeli counterpartsthat they needed to get serious about “peace” negotiations or risk facing a growing global boycott movement. On January 31, the New York Times ran an opinion article by Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement and one of its ablest spokespeople, breaking the Times’ longstanding embargo against significant articles by BDS proponents.

In February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with three of his top cabinet ministers, including ultranationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, to discuss strategies for containing the boycott threat. Pointedly, however, Netanyahu didn’t invite two ministers–Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid–who have echoed Kerry’s remarks.

In the U.S., a schism is likewise emerging between Israel’s most reactionary defenders, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, and a more confident network of liberal Zionists who are sounding the alarm about the refusal of Israel’s hardliners to make even token concessions that are fully within Israeli interests.

The arrival of BDS as a factor in the geostrategic calculations of American and Israeli policymakers is, in itself, a major accomplishment for this young movement. The call from Palestinian civil society for a global BDS campaign was issued in 2005, less than 10 years ago.

Everyone involved–from pro-Israel political leaders to the activists of the BDS movement–know full well the impact of the last solidarity campaign against an apartheid system. The divestment movement against South Africa’s racist regime began in earnest in the 1970s and played an important part in galvanizing international sentiment and undermining the legitimacy of white rule. The fall of South African apartheid was a long time in coming, but it did fall.

Today, the BDS movement is poised to become the anti-apartheid movement of a new generation, capable of inspiring people around the world to speak out for justice for a historically dispossessed people–and in so doing, learn how to better speak out for themselves.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE DEBATE inside Israel about how to contend with the challenge posed by the BDS movement has revealed fault lines within the political establishment that present opportunities for advocates of Palestinian liberation.

From the moment Israel and the Palestinian Authority entered the 1993 Oslo “peace process” to negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, Israel’s political leadership sought to indefinitely postpone implementation of any plan, and make a viable Palestinian state a practical impossibility. Instead, Israel expanded its illegal settlements and moved ever-larger numbers of citizens into the West Bank, in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Twenty years later, the in-your-face racism of Avigdor Lieberman stands as the purest expression of the drive to destroy Palestinian society altogether. This strategy has two faces–one is the effort to brand Israel as a tolerant and liberal society, brimming with high culture, fine art, and cutting-edge industry and technology. At the same time, Israel has carried out a series of massacres and war crimes, using its overwhelming military superiority–courtesy of the U.S.–to rain down terror and death on Palestinians.

The goal of these right-wing Zionists is to colonize all of historic Palestine–and that requires finding a pretext at some point to finish the job of ethnically cleansing those Palestinians who remain.

The liberal Zionist objection to the right-wingers is that the strategy of using naked force to seize an ever-larger share of historic Palestine has run its course. Instead, they propose to safeguard Israel from its critics, both internal and external, by ending the direct occupation of the West Bank, and perhaps loosening the siege of Gaza. “Jews,”wrote New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, “[can’t] keep their boots on the heads of the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank any longer.”

Cohen and his co-thinkers haven’t suddenly been converted to a free Palestine–and they don’t like BDS, either. They are willing to grant a Palestinian “statelet” in a shard of historic Palestine, and they even manage to convince themselves that such a “solution”–an economically devastated and geographically shattered West Bank–is an expression of their liberal generosity.

But what the liberal Zionists can’t tolerate is the comprehensive nature of equality that the BDS movement seeks. “I do not trust the BDS movement,” explains Cohen. “Its stated aim is to end the occupation, secure ‘full equality’ for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and fight for the right of return of all Palestinian refugees. The first objective is essential to Israel’s future. The second is laudable. The third, combined with the second, equals the end of Israel as a Jewish state. This is the hidden agenda of BDS, its unacceptable subterfuge: beguile, disguise and suffocate.”

Consider what Cohen is saying here: Sure, we’ll cede to the Palestinians the most hardscrabble desert lands in the West Bank, shorn of the water resources that Israel has already diverted into its municipal infrastructures. And yes, it’s a worthy goal–at some point–to grant Palestinian citizens of Israel equal rights with Jews. But if Israel complies with international law, it’s finished.

In other words: Equality and respect for international law threaten the very core of the Zionist enterprise.

Here is Omar Barghouti’s response to Cohen’s column:

Anyone who argues that Palestinians must continue to be denied their basic rights under international law, including the right to full equality and the inalienable right of refugees to return to their homes, in order to preserve Israel’s ‘right’ to exist as a racist state, as a regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid, is a bigot, not a liberal.

Israel, as the most respected Israeli historians agree, is responsible for ethnically cleansing a majority of the indigenous Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba to create an ethnocentric, exclusionary state. Depriving Palestinians of their UN-stipulated rights to maintain the ‘ethnocracy’ that was created as a result of this crime of ethnic cleansing is immoral, illegal and most certainly illiberal.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE BDS movement presents Israel with its worst nightmare: a nonviolent movement, basing itself on the principle of equality and international law, that can bring together activists in the streets, at workplaces and on college campuses.

Israel can no longer afford to ignore its BDS critics, but whenever it tries to answer them, it inevitably ends up having to explain how the “Middle East’s only democracy” is based on an apartheid logic that would shame all but the most intransigent racists.

The growing movement in solidarity with Palestine is finding form in many ways. In countries around the world, for example, activists will again participate in Israeli Apartheid Week in March.

Many BDS campaigns are local, which gives them the capacity to touch people where they live, work, study and eat. At George Mason University, to take one instance,student activists organized a walkout during a graduation speech by Shari Arison, a billionaire Israeli businesswoman who profits from Israeli apartheid. They also succeeded in getting food services to provide alternatives to hummus made by Sabra, a brand with ties to the Israeli military.

There are also many opportunities to forge ties with other social justice causes, especially since the tactics of boycotts and divestment are familiar from many other struggles in history–the U.S. civil rights movement comes to mind.

It was precisely when the South Africa regime could no longer defend its legitimacy that it was clear that apartheid’s days were numbered. The BDS movement is hastening the arrival of those same days for Palestinians, eager to live as equal citizens in their indigenous land.

Scientists create virus that could move undetected between Wi-Fi access points


via Scientists create virus that could move undetected between Wi-Fi access points.

By Ben Coxworth

wifi virusWe all know to look out for viruses that can be spread over the internet, or by sharing files between computers. Now, however, scientists at the University of Liverpool have shown for the first time that special viruses could move between wireless access points using existing Wi-Fi networks – as efficiently as the common cold virus spreads between people through the air.

The team computer-simulated an attack by a virus known as Chameleon, which they created. Although the virus didn’t affect the functions of the access points (APs) or users’ computers, it was able to access and report the credentials of all the people who were using those APs at the time. Some APs were impregnable due to encryption or password protection, but in those cases Chameleon would just move on to other more vulnerable access points.

Due to the fact that existing anti-virus software is only designed to look for viruses in computers or on the internet, the virus itself remained undetected.

The simulated attack was set in London and Belfast. Just like the cold virus spreads quicker in crowded cities, Chameleon spread faster in situations where multiple APs were located in close proximity to one another.

“Wi-Fi connections are increasingly a target for computer hackers because of well-documented security vulnerabilities, which make it difficult to detect and defend against a virus,” said Prof. Alan Marshall, who took part in the study. “It was assumed, however, that it wasn’t possible to develop a virus that could attack Wi-Fi networks, but we demonstrated that this is possible and that it can spread quickly. We are now able to use the data generated from this study to develop a new technique to identify when an attack is likely.”

Source: University of Liverpool

Orproject proposes huge sealed Bubble of clean air for Beijing


via Orproject proposes huge sealed Bubble of clean air for Beijing.

By Stu Robarts

bubbles 001

According to a report by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, environmental conditions in China’s capital are so bad as to be “almost unfavorable for human living.” Officials have recently passed new laws and set aside billions of yuan to try and curb air pollution in Beijing, which has been recording some of its worst smog levels ever. Architecture firm Orproject has proposed the construction of a sealed canopy filled with clean air. Bubbles would cover a park and botanical garden, providing a healthy, temperature- and humidity-controlled oasis.

bubbles 002 bubbles 003 bubbles 004 bubbles 005 bubbles 006 bubbles 007In addition to providing locals with a clean, green sanctuary, Orproject suggests that surrounding buildings could also be connected to Bubble’s “controlled air system.” Apartments, offices, retail spaces and, in particular, medical facilities could all benefit from the idea, were it created.

“The geometry of the light-weight structural system has been generated using an algorithm that simulates the development of veins in leaves or butterfly wings,” says Orproject on its website. “The heating and cooling of the air is done through a ground source heat exchange system. Electricity for the project can be generated by solar cells integrated into the canopy surface.”

Orproject says its project is made feasible by using ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) as a construction material. ETFE is a transparent, lightweight and strong material that can be made into panels. It is used in this way at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK.

“The concept for bubbles was developed as a theoretical proposal,” Orproject’s Rajat Sodhi tells Gizmag. “Orproject has developed research in venation systems and the use of this geometry for large-span structures. Bubbles is a confluence of these ideas and the need for clean air in polluted cities across the developing world especially in countries like China and India.”

Sources: OrprojectSSAP

Einstein’s Lost Theory Uncovered


via Einstein’s Lost Theory Uncovered – Scientific American.

The famous physicist explored the idea of a steady-state universe in 1931

Feb 25, 2014 |By Davide Castelvecchi and Nature magazine

Credit: Yousuf Karsh

A manuscript that lay unnoticed by scientists for decades has revealed that Albert Einstein once dabbled with an alternative to the Big Bang theory, proposing instead that the Universe expanded steadily and eternally. The recently uncovered work, written in 1931, is reminiscent of a theory championed by British astrophysicist Fred Hoyle nearly 20 years later. Einstein soon abandoned the idea, but the manuscript reveals his continued hesitance to accept that the Universe was created during a single explosive event.

The Big Bang theory had found observational support in the 1920s, when US astronomer Edwin Hubble and others discovered that distant galaxies are moving away and that space itself is expanding. This seemed to imply that, in the past, the contents of the observable Universe had been a very dense and hot ‘primordial broth’.

But, from the late 1940s, Hoyle argued that space could be expanding eternally and keeping a roughly constant density. It could do this by continually adding new matter, with elementary particles spontaneously popping up from space, Hoyle said. Particles would then coalesce to form galaxies and stars, and these would appear at just the right rate to take up the extra room created by the expansion of space. Hoyle’s Universe was always infinite, so its size did not change as it expanded. It was in a ‘steady state’.

The newly uncovered document shows that Einstein had described essentially the same idea much earlier. “For the density to remain constant new particles of matter must be continually formed,” he writes. The manuscript is thought to have been produced during a trip to California in 1931 — in part because it was written on American note paper.

It had been stored in plain sight at the Albert Einstein Archives in Jerusalem — and is freely available to view on its website — but had been mistakenly classified as a first draft of another Einstein paper. Cormac O’Raifeartaigh, a physicist at the Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland, says that he “almost fell out of his chair” when he realized what the manuscript was about. He and his collaborators have posted their findings, together with an English translation of Einstein’s original German manuscript, on the arXiv preprint server (C. O’Raifeartaigh et al. Preprint athttp://arxiv.org/abs/1402.0132; 2014) and have submitted their paper to the European Physical Journal.

“This finding confirms that Hoyle was not a crank,” says study co-author Simon Mitton, a science historian at the University of Cambridge, UK, who wrote the 2005 biography Fred Hoyle: A Life in Science. The mere fact that Einstein had toyed with a steady-state model could have lent Hoyle more credibility as he engaged the physics community in a debate on the subject. “If only Hoyle had known, he would certainly have used it to punch his opponents,” O’Raifeartaigh says.

Although Hoyle’s model was eventually ruled out by astronomical observations, it was at least mathematically consistent, tweaking the equations of Einstein’s general theory of relativity to provide a possible mechanism for the spontaneous generation of matter. Einstein’s unpublished manuscript suggests that, at first, he believed that such a mechanism could arise from his original theory without modification. But then he realized that he had made a mistake in his calculations, O’Raifeartaigh and his team suggest. When he corrected it — crossing out a number with a pen of a different color — he probably decided that the idea would not work and set it aside.

The manuscript was probably “a rough draft commenced with excitement over a neat idea and soon abandoned as the author realized he was fooling himself”, says cosmologist James Peebles of Princeton University in New Jersey. There seems to be no record of Einstein ever mentioning these calculations again.

But the fact that Einstein experimented with the steady-state concept demonstrates his continued resistance to the idea of a Big Bang, which he at first found “abominable”, even though other theoreticians had shown it to be a natural consequence of his general theory of relativity. (Other leading researchers, such as the eminent Cambridge astronomer Arthur Eddington, were also suspicious of the Big Bang theory, because it suggested a mystical moment of creation.) When astronomers found evidence for cosmic expansion, Einstein had to abandon his bias towards a static Universe, and a steady-state Universe was the next best thing, O’Raifeartaigh and his collaborators say.

Helge Kragh, a science historian at Aarhus University in Denmark, agrees. “What the manuscript shows is that although by then he accepted the expansion of space, [Einstein] was unhappy with a Universe changing in time,” he says.

The ancient art of honey hunting in Nepal – in pictures


via The ancient art of honey hunting in Nepal – in pictures | Travel | theguardian.com.

The Gurung tribespeople of Nepal have been collecting honey from Himalayan cliffs for centuries, but now their lifestyle is under threat from commercialisation and tours offering visitors a chance to ‘join a honey hunt’. Photographer Andrew Newey spent two weeks living with the Gurung in central Nepal, documenting the risks and skill involved in this dying tradition

theguardian.comThursday 27 February 2014

gurung 001 gurung 002 gurung 003 gurung 004 gurung 005 gurung 006 gurung 007 gurung 008 gurung 009 gurung 010

Sunset Broken Pier – Ocean City, New Jersey by Lightvision [光視覺] on Flickr


via Sunset Broken Pier – Ocean City, New Jersey by… – Chronicles of a Love Affair with Nature.