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Exposing the Big Game

Hey hunters, here’s a question for you: On a scale of 0-3, how strongly do you agree with this statement “Seeing an animal injured or in pain doesn’t bother me in the slightest.” If your answer was 3, do society a favor and get yourself fitted for a straightjacket and a Hannibal Lector hockey mask, because that was one of the top questions from the “How-to-tell-if-you-are-a-psychopath” quiz.

On a similar note, I just came across a September 3rd 2009 article by George Wuerthner with the no-brainer question for a title: “Are Hunters Stupid?” The article’s subheading, “The Unintended Consequences of Wolf Hunting,” was more in keeping with his point, since Wuerthner is a hunter and former hunting guide who probably doesn’t really consider himself stupid.

He starts his article out by telling about Daryl, a co-worker of his at the Bureau of Land Management in Boise, Idaho. At a…

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On the Iranian detention of Sarah

Open Letter from Sarah Shourd

11/29/10  Curated by Stillmind
Photo: schani

Sarah Shourd, one of the three American hikers who was detained and imprisoned by Iranian authorities, was released in mid-September; the other two hikers remain in Evin Prison. This letter was sent by Sarah to supporters of Free the Hikers in late October. She has given Matador permission to reprint the letter in its entirety here.

I came out of prison feeling frozen. I put up walls inside walls because if I stayed tender for 13 months in prison I would have exposed myself to too much pain; because there wasn’t enough beauty in a day to ward off the long, spiritual winter; because I needed them to stay sane.

More than anything I’m grateful to finally be sitting here writing about prison in the past tense.

Yet, for Shane and Josh, prison is still locked in the eternal present.

I am one of the only people in the world that has their voices still fresh in mind. They were truly joyful to see me go free. Tightly grasping my hands in theirs they said, “We believe in you, Sarah, no one is more ready and capable of jumping into the free world and fighting for us than you are.”

“Free-life offers new challenges and very different obstacles than I faced in prison. I have reentered a world of fear and uncertainty…and also of great hope.”

Free-life offers new challenges and very different obstacles than I faced in prison. I have reentered a world of fear and uncertainty…and also of great hope. Now I know first-hand what our families and all of you have been experiencing all along.

I learned patience and perseverance those long months and it’s those lessons more than anything that are serving me now.

The most important thing that I can offer you are the words of Shane and Josh. What they want to say to you, more than anything else, is “Thank you.” Not even a message as basic as that has been able to fly from their lips, suspended by tender air currents and carried into your ears, for all these months.

“Thank you.”

Since the day I stepped off that plane into Muscat, Oman I’ve met with three presidents, numerous foreign ministers and ambassadors. Not one of them means any more or less to me than one of you.

I fervently believe that everyone’s efforts led to my freedom, everyone’s belief that the world contains as much goodness, and as much justice, as we create and put into motion. Not an ounce more or an ounce less.

I want this freedom, this justice for Shane and Josh, with every morsel of my being. Every breath I take, every time I open my eyes in the morning and every time I close them at night, I see them. I know them and I love them.

“Since the day I stepped off that plane into Muscat, Oman I’ve met with three presidents, numerous foreign ministers and ambassadors. Not one of them means any more or less to me than one of you.”

I want to ask you to please, look to the positive, feel the power and the strength of what you’ve done. Help us give one, last, huge push!!!

I’ve asked the world to redouble its efforts. But what does that mean? It means do what you do best, whatever it may be. Do what you do best for Shane and Josh. We need fundraising for legal expenses, translation and travel. We need t-shirts and jewelry sold. We need prayers and we need action. We need more people to visit the website and sign the new petition. Make a “Free All Three” banner and hang it up in the most visible spot you can find. We need you to mobilize and be ready for the next step when it comes.

We have all been changed and continue to be changed by this experience. Thanks to all the love and support I’ve felt in the last month I’m slowing thawing out, but sometimes it feels like a glacier in there, waiting for thousands of years for just enough sun. When Josh and Shane get out they will help me figure it out. No one knows me as well as they do. When the three of us are together and free, I know we will heal.

“Do what you do best, whatever it may be.”

Prison is not heaven or hell. Nothing in life made us ready for this experience, but Shane and Josh are coping. They are as strong as they need to be. They will walk out unbroken.

One of my students once said to me, “A part of me is yours forever” because I was there to help him get through a difficult time in his life. I want to say the same to all of you on behalf of myself, Shane and Josh, “A part of us is yours, forever.”

“Thank you.”

When Josh and Shane are free we will all be able to exhale collectively, pause and then ask, “Who’s next” There are millions more lined up, waiting to get free. “What’s next?” There are countless changes that devoted, committed people like ourselves can band together and fight for. I’m looking forward to the day. I’m hoping that Shane and Josh will soon be standing with us, asking these questions and finding answers.

-Sarah Shourd


On Facebook and Etiquette

Etiquette values on FB

A post by Stillmind

via the Web

Let’s face it.  Etiquette is a lost art.  Forget “interruption marketing” for a minute and think about how people interact on a regular basis.  New technologies change that behavior as people seek to leverage the convenience they provide.

  • When the phone was invented, an etiquette had to evolve on how to greet a new call, what’s an appropriate time to call, how to converse without interruption.  (Lots of room to improve here still – I can’t understand why politicians don’t have to follow the “do not call” list rules, but that’s another story).
  • Email etiquette arguably doesn’t exist – in a business context, companies have a culture around when people turn to email and when they don’t.  Email between friends and family has a broad range of what’s “socially acceptable,” but over time people at least develop a sense of when people will reply and why.
  • Two years ago, no way I’d tell you that it would be acceptable to converse via text message/SMS with grandparents.  Same with instant messaging.

In each of these small examples, the communication is mostly 1:1.  Email can be broadcast 1:many, but it’s deliberate who the communication goes to – you select email addresses to include.  Enter the world of  Facebook, where the communication paradigm is different.  We have 1:many as the default – post once and share with many, who consume the content (status updates, photos, videos, links) at their leisure.  Forget that most people don’t have a common understanding of  what they see in the News Feed and why.   The barrier to communication is low – it’s easy to share a picture or post given so many ways to share, from mobile to desktop.

Sometimes people forget that the communication medium isn’t important – the content of the message is, along with the dynamic.  Is it something that should be shared 1:1 or OK to share 1:many?   Making that choice with the context to understand the medium is crucial in relationship building – for businesses or individuals.

I recently asked some folks on Twitter and Facebook about etiquette, and heard many bizarre stories.  From the unexpected sonogram photo to first hearing of a family death, people are choosing Facebook for the wrong type of communication at the wrong time.   Have an example to share?  Do you thing Facebook etiquette is a lost art or a lost cause?

Time to find riches & ….

How to Get Started Geocaching

Posted by Rene Volpi & Stillmind via Morgan deBoer

Image by rdmott9

A beginner’s guide to treasure hunting, for grownups.

Geocaching, or treasure-hunting for waterproof boxes with mini prizes inside, has been around since 2000. If you’ve got a GPS, a little time, and want a puzzle to solve somewhere in the great outdoors, geocaching is an easy hobby to get into.

Here’s how a basic geocache breaks down:

Get a GPS (or a smartphone) and choose your Geocache

Sign up on a website or download an app likeGeoBeagle to have access to coordinates of caches all over the world (including in Antarctica).

You’ll want to plug the latitude and longitude of the geocache into your GPS to create a waypoint, and write down and any other information available on where the treasure is hidden. Some apps make this step easy, they provide info on the cache, work as a GPS, and allow you to view and update field notes all in the same program.

This all sounds easy, I know, but it won’t be as simple as just walking to where your waypoint leads you. There’s X painted on the ground, friend.

Find it!

Your GPS will only take you so far: these babies are hidden, and well at that. Sometimes your geocache (this term is used for the physical treasure chest or waterproof container) will be in a hole in a tree, sometimes it will be in a hole under a tree, or hidden under a rock. Be creative, and keep looking.

Image by Samuel Mann

Sign the logbook and make a trade

All geocaches should at least contain a log book and a pen or pencil. Write down your name and how your adventure went, and be sure to date it. Many geocaches will also have small items inside that you can swap out for something of equal value; make a note of the trade inside the log book.

There are lots of very creative people who have createdmulti-step and otherwise very complicated geocache hiding places. For your first time, try to tackle something not marked as “expert,” as some caches can be quite tough to reach. Also keep in mind that some of these will require you to take a long hike, pay a museum entrance fee, or spend some time splashing around in a stream.

Enjoy! …and remember me if you get loaded rich!

Prominent thinkers

Socrates – a man for our times

Posted by René Volpi on Oct 22nd, 2010

from an article by Bettany Hughes

He was condemned to death for telling the ancient Greeks things they didn’t want to hear, but his views on consumerism and trial by media are just as relevant today.

The Death of Socrates, 1787, by  Jacques Louis David
The Death of Socrates, 1787, by Jacques Louis David. Photograph: World History Archive / Alamy
Two thousand four hundred years ago, one man tried to discover the meaning of life. His search was so radical, charismatic and counterintuitive that he become famous throughout the Mediterranean. Men – particularly young men – flocked to hear him speak. Some were inspired to imitate his ascetic habits. They wore their hair long, their feet bare, their cloaks torn. He charmed a city; soldiers, prostitutes, merchants, aristocrats – all would come to listen. As Cicero eloquently put it, “He brought philosophy down from the skies.”

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3 great blogging platforms

Amplify, Posterous, Seesmic;  Out of these three great platforms, and according to you,  which one deserves the higher honor?  We all know that WordPress has the big crown, but who’s next in your opinion?

(Results are confidential but they will be picked up by Google Docs anonymously)