Health Update.

A reminder came on Monday last week to go to the Pathology Lab for more tests. My how time flies.

I went to the lab to bleed and pee on the very next day.

This afternoon I drove to Woodford to chat with the doc about the results. It was a pleasure to see the happy look on his face when he saw my latest weight and heard my recitation of all the things I’ve been doing in the cause of longevity.

Then he went through my test results with me. My BP is excellent. i knew that, because I monitor it myself. My kidney function has improved significantly. This was a surprise because the expectation was that the best I might do was prevent further deterioration. So that was Good News.

Some acid of concern ( I forget it’s name) in the blood is back to normal. My liver function has returned to normal. Sodium is normal. Other stuff is normal. Too much detail for an old codger. But if it’s ok, I don’t need to remember what it is. So I just keep on doing what I am doing. Take the pills, do the exercise and physio, stick to my dietary regimen, and drink copious quantities of water.

And finally, the itchy mole in the small of my back I was worried about is not melanoma.

In other news, I finally swam 3,000 metres this morning. It took me 2 hours, 47 minutes – plus or minus 30 seconds – It’s hard to see the second hand on my watch without my glasses. It was a sustained, non-stop swim. Breast stroke, mask and snorkel, no fins. Even with my limp and walking stick I could possibly have walked the distance in that time. Or maybe not. In any case, it was a milestone for me. I’ve decided I’m not going out to beat my time but to increase distance. I’m aiming to do 5 km (in one session) at least once a fortnight within a month. It’s the best cardio exercise I can manage, and it seems to be doing me good.

Having established to my own satisfaction that I can keep it up, I now have invested in a weekly concession rate of $11 a week for unlimited pool use. Up until today I have been on a $112 for 30 sessions rate. Tomorrow -or perhaps the next day – will be my thirtieth pool visit. I may have a rest day tomorrow. Unlimited entry starts on Thursday, which is the day they debit my account each week.

Little by little I’m settling in here.

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No Pain, No Gain.

I overdid the exercise yesterday. Too enthusiastic. Even with an electric motor assisting, the bones grind and the muscles strain. Swimming is one thing, pedalling another. I overestimated my ability and rode too far. I went to bed aching with shooting pains down my legs. I couldn’t find a comfortable position, even with a pillow between my thighs. For a long time I could not sleep and when I did finally, I had nightmares. I dreamed I came off my motorcycle. Not the one I have now, or even that I’ve ridden lately, but the Triumph Tigress 250cc scooter I rode for a while as a teenager. I was amongst a crowd of people I used to work with, but none of them would help me up.

The pain in my legs found its way into my dream, and my left arm was paralysed so that I could not move it at all. Sleep was not a surcease. I felt as if I was awake, which I clearly wasn’t, because of the weird things going on around me.

In the morning I could barely walk and after my usual coffee and light breakfast I crawled back to bed and spent most of the day trying to sleep while listening to my Spotify playlist.

It’s Fathers’ day here in the antipodes and I was hoping for a phone call, or a text, or a Facebook post, or something. I remembered to text my own Dad. I would have phoned you, Dad, but I didn’t feel that well today.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll swim and when I get back I’ll just pedal a short way down to the fish shop and back. I fancy some fish as I’ve been vegetarian for a while.

Barramundi, I think. The best fish available here.

This is just a setback. It will not stop me. No pain, no gain.

Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns

Land and water resources around the globe are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, threatening the ability of humanity to feed itself.

The report warns that climate change will exacerbate the dangers, as extreme weather threatens to disrupt and shrink the global food supply.

Food shortages could also increase a flow of immigration that is already redefining politics in North America, Europe and other regions. From 2010 to 2015, the number of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who traveled to the U.S. increased fivefold, coinciding with an unusually dry period that left many without enough food.

The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself.

The report, prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary form in Geneva on Thursday, found that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly. A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the report.

In Other Words, We’re Fucked.

Climate deadline more like 18 months instead of 12 years, some experts say

    We may think we have 12 years to curb climate change, but some Canadian climate experts say we likely have close to 18 months instead

    Climate scientist Ian Mauro from the University of Winnipeg says 2020 is the climate change deadline we should be eyeing.

    “We need to bring down our emissions and peak [in] 2020,” he said

Greenland’s ice wasn’t supposed to melt like last week until 2070

Article Source Here

During the past week, temperatures at the highest reaches of the Greenland ice sheet rose above freezing, melting snow at the Summit Station (10,550 feet above sea level) for the first time since July 2012 and perhaps only the third time in the last seven centuries

Across lower elevations around the margins of the ice sheet, bare glacial ice melted at an unprecedented rate, losing 12.5 billion tons of water on Thursday alone, with daily losses likely exceeding any point in at least the past 70 years. 

The Greenland ice sheet covers an area the size of Alaska with enough ice to raise global sea level by more than 20 feet. Greenland gains ice each winter from compacting snow accumulation and loses ice from melt water and icebergs discharged to the ocean. A dry, warm spring this year left a thin snow cover over bare glacial ice. Spring warming followed by a large melt event in June led scientist Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Greenland to predict record ice losses this year. The peak of the melt season passed in mid-July with more typical summer conditions, but the past week again saw a large increase in the area and intensity of melt across the Northern Hemisphere’s remaining ice sheet.

This latest heat wave was particularly unusual as a dome of warm air arrived from the east, associated with the remnants of the record-setting European heat wave last month. Most large melt events on Greenland involve warm, humid air masses arriving from North America and the western Atlantic Ocean. This surge of warm air started in North Africa, traveled north across Europe and then westward across the North Atlantic Ocean toward and across Greenland. Air masses originating over North Africa are known to reach Greenland — Saharan dust has been traced to the ice sheet— but this recent air mass was exceptionally warm. By following the path of the heat wave, scientists predicted the extensive melt several days in advance. Air temperatures at Summit hovered near or above freezing for more than 11 hours on Wednesday, which is nearly twice as long as the last melt event there in 2012.

Satellite data that I process for the National Snow and Ice Data Center showed more than 60 percent of the surface area of the ice sheet melting last Wednesday. While this is a smaller melt area than in mid-July 2012, the melt extent was second only to 2012 for late July. More detailed satellite images show that snow has melted from a large area along the western edge of the ice sheet, leaving more exposed ice than in 2012 in several areas. Numerous meltwater rivers and lakes, and dark, dust-encrusted ice reached areas higher on the ice sheet. Images comparing summer 2018 and summer 2019 show a larger area of bare ice and meltwater lakes this summer. Several of the Danish Meteorological Institute weather stations on the ice sheet have recorded greater melt rates in 2019 than in 2012.

In July 2012, the public watched video of melt water runoff raging down the Watson River, near Greenland’s main international airport at Kangerlussuaq. The flood waters destroyed the bridge’s approaches and prevented travel across the river, which have since been rebuilt. This past week, journalist Laurie Garrett recorded similar images of Watson River flooding. Meanwhile, further north near the U.S. Thule Air Force Base, less than 1,000 miles from the North Pole, scientist Pete Akers at the Institute of Geosciences and Environment in Grenoble reported temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, ice margin collapse, meltwater pouring into new channels and into the ocean.

While the ice losses on any individual day make only modest contributions to global sea level, the increasing frequency of heat waves and large melt events across Greenland during the past two decades contribute significantly to sea level rise. When the entire surface of the ice sheet melted in July 2012, climatologists and glaciologists told the public that these melt events will become more common in the future. While some recent years, such as 2017, have seen more modest melt seasons, we again witnessed record-setting losses from the ice sheet this summer. 

Mass losses from Greenland this past week were already approaching levels not expected until 2070 based on the best available models. It is still too early to tell if the ice losses for the summer will exceed the losses in 2012, but it is clear that the Greenland ice sheet is rapidly responding to climate change, even faster than many scientists expected. These rapid changes point to the necessity for action on climate change and for improved observing systems to monitor the ice sheet.

Thomas Mote is a distinguished research professor of Geography and Atmospheric Science at the University of Georgia. He has published research for the past 25 years on Arctic climate change and the use of regional climate models and remote sensing to monitor the Greenland ice sheet. He provides the processed satellite data for the Greenland Today website at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Changes.

At the end of the 1960s, and the mystical hippie dawning of the Aquarius age, we were all Still searching for meaning.

The big four philosophers when I was 18 were Hesse, Vonnegut, Brautigan and Tolkien.

Of course I read other influential writers, but at the time I really believed everything I needed to know about being a decent human being was in the works of those four, though it took me another 50 years to really begin to understand why.

There was another influential book I encountered.

In the course of exploring the world I came upon the I Ching. inevitably. It had a great deal of credibility amongst the hippies of my generation. Of course I looked into it. I still have, in my lock-up in New Zealand, a beautiful translation from Chinese through German to English, of the I Ching by Richard Wilhelm.

Yarrow sticks were hard to come by where I grew up, but I was a numismatist, and had in my collection several of those fascinating old Chinese coins with square holes. It seemed appropriate to use them. Having designated which side was heads and which was tails, I had a culturally acceptable method of obtaining a randomly generated hexagram, in accordance with the instructions accompanying the book.

My youthful, hopeful self was quite surprised to find how seemingly accurate and appropriate was the advice I gleaned from the wise words of the Tao. The last remnants of my Roman Catholic superstition we’re slowly fading at the time (now only the guilt remains) and I could possibly have easily fallen into the woo mentally of believing some spiritual power, something beyond myself, was guiding me, through the words of the book.

But I read something – I don’t recall exactly where – some scientific article, perhaps, that said our brains were hard-wired to look for patterns. We look for visual patterns, such as potentially threatening animal or human shapes hiding in the trees, and we look for patterns of events and try to make some sense, often wrong, of the coincidences and causality.

The evolutionary advantage of this pattern recognition behaviour is in the significance of the value of the false positive over the false negative.

If I see what looks like a lion lurking in the bushes, and run, the likelihood of staying alive is increased, whether it is a real or imagined lion. If I decide it’s a trick of the light, and ignore it, my chances of survival are decreased if I am wrong.

The same principle applies if we recognise a pattern of events that seem to coincide. Should it rain enough times after we ask nature politely for a shower to water the crop, we may come to believe that asking causes rain.

The downside of this, is that as there is, or was, an evolutionary advantage to being superstitious. We suffered from pareidolia. It became an affliction. We came to see those shapes and faces in the bark of trees, as beings, and ascribed to them powers and motives. We recognised patterns of events, some like the celestial movements, or the seasons, quite real. Then some smart arse recognised the patterns of our own behaviour, saw an opportunity for power and put himself forward as an intermediary between the common people and the spiritual world. And we got religion.

But I digress. I was speaking of the I Ching. I recognised that my brain was looking for patterns in the events of my own life. I was taking the words from an ancient book written in Chinese, translate first to German then to English, and gleaning valuable meaning from them. But this was not superstition. The advice the book was giving me was good. Why? Because it was written in such a way that it was inevitable that the reader would apply the general advice in such a way that it would most benefit him. Because the Tau was the way of the upright, it had to be good advice. For a few formative years the I Ching helped me make decisions that brought me to where I am now. I have few regrets.

These musings were inspired by coming upon this following little piece in one of the philosophical emails that turn up in my in-box from time to time.

After a few more hours swimming up and down the Bribie Island pool, I may have more to write on the subject.

The following is borrowed from Psychology Today.

Impact of the I Ching on Carl G. Jung & its implications

Jung, Taoist psychology, and cross-cultural communications

Posted Mar 01, 2017 

Although research has examined how world cultures (e.g., independent vs. interdependent ones) each uniquely shaped psychological experiences, few investigations focus on how cultures influence one another in the psychological domains. This issue is important, because cross-cultural information and knowledge exchange, contacts, and influences, though moderate in the past, have transformed all cultures, including the field of psychology. For example, Taoist psychology is one of the main cultural inspirations for Jungian psychology.

In May 1930, Jung gave the Eulogy at a memorial service in Munich for Richard Wilhelm. Jung integrated the Eastern philosophy into his principles of psychotherapy and human psyche through his study of Richard Wilhelm’s translations of I Ching (The Book of Changes), The Secret of the Golden Flower, and their frequent interactions that lasted from the early 1920’s until Wilhelm’s death in 1930 (Goulding, 2015; Karcher, 1999; Stein, 2005).

Jung said that Wilhelm “inoculated us with the living germ of the Chinese spirit and we found ourselves partaking of the spirit of the East as we experience the living power of the I Ching. It is capable of working a profound transformation of our thought.” Jung said that Wilhelm’s work was of such immense importance to him because it confirmed what he had been seeking in his efforts to alleviate the psychic suffering of Europeans. The book was both a carrier of human experience and a door to the energy of the archetypes. “I heard from him in clear language the things I had dimly divined in the confusion of the European subconscious. I received more from him than from any other man” (cited in Karcher, 1999; also see Goulding, 2015; Stein, 2005).

Jung expressed his deep gratitude for what he received from Wilhelm, because through his translations and teaching, Taoist psychology influenced Jung’s theoretical frameworks by facilitating the formation of his chief conceptions: synchronicity and individuation, in addition to confirming his views about the unconscious and nonlinear or circular psychological development for adult (Goulding, 2015; Karcher, 1999; Stein, 2005).

Jung’s comprehension of Tao is much deeper than the conventional translation “the way.” As he commented, Tao is the interaction between the mind and reality. The essential Taoist idea in I Ching suggests that all of the ingredients make up the observed moment. Understanding human experiences involves recognizing a special interdependence of objective events among themselves, as well as with the subjective (psychic) states of the observer or observers (Jung, 1967). In other words, according to I Ching, psychological experiences are determined by the interaction of the mind, time, space, situations, and action or non-action. The mind and reality interaction, rather than being an isolated or independent event, symbolically represents the person’s dialogue with a broad reality transcending a specific moment and space. It is the interactions that serve as the parameter for deciphering psychological experiences.

In short, Jung’s achievements in integrating the East and West demonstrate that psychological phenomena and principles are both cultural and universal.

References:

Goulding, J. (2015). The forgotten Frankfurt school: Richard Wilhelm’s China Institute. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 41:1-2 (March–June 2014) 170–186

Jung, C. G. (1967). Foreword. In The I Ching or Book of changes (C. F. Baynes, Trans.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Karcher, S. (1999). Jung, the Tao and the Classic of Change. Journal of Religion and Health, 38, 287-304.

Stein, M. (2005). Some reflections on the influence of Chinese thought on Jung and his  psychological theory. The Journal of Analytical Psychology, 50(2), 209-222. doi:10.1111/j.0021-8774.2005.00524

So, What Did You do While the World was Ending?

Just another day, really. I had the main pool to myself for almost an hour, which is good because I got lane one, with the steps. Starting early pays.

I swam for an hour and a quarter. In the first quarter hour I managed eight lengths of breast stroke in just over sixteen minutes. After that I settled down to a more easily maintained six lengths in around fourteen minutes. Every sixth length I switched to back stroke. I have learned that backstroke is much easier, much more efficient, but also burns much less energy. I want to burn energy.

I also learned it uses completely different muscles, or so it seems. I don’t get the lactic burn and could probably cruise all day doing it. So making every sixth length back stroke gave me a wee break from the building ache, and enough time to fill out the rest of each quarter-hour with some water-assisted step-ups on the pool steps, and some water-assisted chin-ups on the rail of the starting block.

Efficient.

There’s time to muse when swimming, I muse a lot.

It seemed the oddest form of synchronicity to find later the Guardian’s First Dog on the Moon cartoon today covered exactly what I was musing about. Hence my previous post. It should be depressing, but I am way past that. I really have reached a stage in which my philosophy is “Shit Happens, It Doesn’t Matter”.

Also, whilst swimming on my back and looking unfocused up at an overcast sky, I saw just how many floaters I have in my eyeballs. I named the biggest one Eric.

One of my earliest memories is of seeing floaters in my eyes at bedtime and trying to tell my mother what I saw. I must have been four or so. I thought there was snow in my bedroom. She thought I was silly and told me to go to sleep.

I then moved to the indoor therapy pool. I had that completely to myself. The water, at 33C seemed very hot at first, after the cooling swim and a wet walk through a chilly breeze. Half an hour of side stepping, squats and leg stretches and assorted joint mobility exercises a hot shower and shampoo, then off to Aldi to hunt for a kitchen seive. They didn’t have one. When it comes to stuff like that Aldi can be hit and miss.

What they do have is a really good range of good quality foods Fresh meat and really fresh produce at astonishingly good prices. Today for the first time I spent a while just looking around at what they stock. There seems very little need to shop elsewhere for staples or luxury foods.

Almost seems a shame to discover this just as the world is ending.