Tuesday, July 29, 2008

News of the Day: It's Fun to WORRY!

(Unless You Can't Stop)
By Seven Jaini

We are coming to the end of an age (2012). Or are we? Upheaval and change are life, inextricably entwined. If it were not so, there would be little impetus to seek an escape from our conditioned woe. Nirvana stands in contrast to the impermanent, unsatisfactory, and impersonal state of things. The Buddha's final advice was:

"All conditioned-things are hurtling towards destruction, so work out your own salvation with diligence"
(Mahaparinirvana Sutra)
"Earthquake rocks Los Angeles"
LOS ANGELES (Robert Jablon, AP, July 29, 2008) - A strong earthquake shook Southern California on Tuesday, causing buildings to sway and triggering some precautionary evacuations. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The jolt was felt from Los Angeles to San Diego, and slightly in Las Vegas.

The 11:42 a.m. quake was initially estimated at 5.8 but was revised downward to magnitude-5.4, said seismologist Kate Hutton of the U.S. Geological Survey office at Cal Tech in Pasadena. More than a dozen aftershocks quickly followed, the largest estimated at magnitude-3.8. The quake was centered 29 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles near the San Bernardino County city of Chino Hills, and the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the quake was about 8 miles below the earth's surface.... "It was dramatic. The whole building moved and it lasted for a while," said Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore, who was in the sheriff's suburban Monterey Park headquarters east of Los Angeles.... California is one of the world's most seismically active regions. More than 300 faults crisscross the state, which sits atop two of Earth's major tectonic plates, the Pacific and North American plates. About 10,000 quakes each year rattle Southern California alone, although most of them are too small to be felt.

"Israel Has Uneventful Day!"
JERUSALEM (WQ, date unknown, still waiting) - In an odd lull, no US-armed Israeli soldiers killed protesting Palestinian rock throwers; no self-styled martyrs bombed marketplaces in retaliation; no homes were destroyed by paramilitary bulldozers; no homes erected on disputed lands; no massive East Berlin style wall ("security fence") was put up; Knesset meets and concludes its business amiably; Hamas vacations in Jordan as joyful preparations are made for pilgrimage to Mecca; and no territory was usurped or disputed. Olives ripened in ancient groves, water flowed plentifully from wells, and celebrants prayed to a compassionate, forbearing, omnipotent deity. Of course, everyday can be like this even before an accord is reached (see livingthefield.com*).

"Bennigan's Files for Bankruptcy!"
Bennigan's, Steak & Ale; Mervyns file for bankruptcy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters, July 29, 2008) - The company that runs Bennigan's and Steak & Ale chains filed for one of the largest restaurant bankruptcies ever on Tuesday and closed several hundred restaurants, costing thousands of workers their jobs. Mervyns says files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today. NEW YORK (Reuters) - Department store chain Mervyns said on Tuesday that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection "due to the state of the economy and difficult operating environment for our industry."

"Oil hits 7-week low on demand worries, dollar gain"
Oil prices tumble to 7-week low as demand worries grow, US dollar strengthens
NEW YORK (Stevenson Jacobs, AP Business, July 29, 2008) -- Oil prices tumbled more than $2 a barrel Tuesday, finishing at their lowest level in seven weeks as a stronger dollar and beliefs that record prices are eroding the world's thirst for energy sparked another dramatic sell-off. The drop -- which surpassed $4 a barrel at one point during the day -- was a throwback to oil's nosedive over the past two weeks and outweighed supply concerns touched off by a militant attack Monday on two Nigerian crude pipelines. It was oil's seventh decline in the last 10 sessions.

"Experts: Indian police struggle to halt bombings"
AHMADABAD, India (Matthew Rosenberg, AP, July 29, 2008) - It's a cycle India has seen repeated 13 times in nearly three years: Bombs are planted where they can kill as many people as possible. Investigations follow, memories fade and months later, bombs explode in another city. But with 552 people dead since October 2005, security forces remain chronically undermanned and ill-equipped, and the political elite appears unwilling to take the sweeping action experts say is needed to stop the bloodshed. "What has been done between the last attack and the latest atrocity to augment our ability to stop terrorists, to root them out? Nothing," said Ajai Sahni, a former chief of India's domestic Intelligence Bureau. He called India's police forces and its intelligence agencies "hideous and hidebound" and noted that in a country where hundreds of millions of people worry every day about finding enough food to eat, "every politician knows that security issues don't win or lose elections." On Saturday, 22 explosions tore through the centuries-old city...

"Giant chunks break off Canadian ice shelf"
OTTAWA (David Ljunggren, Reuters, July 29, 2008) — Giant sheets of ice totaling almost eight square miles broke off an ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic last week and more could follow later this year, scientists said on Tuesday. Temperatures in large parts of the Arctic have risen far faster than the global average in recent decades, a development that experts say is linked to global warming. The ice broke away from the shelf on Ward Hunt Island, an small island just off giant Ellesmere Island in one of the northernmost parts of Canada. "Antarctic Ice Shelf ‘Hanging by Thread’: European Scientists" PARIS (July 11, 2008) - New evidence has emerged that a large plate of floating ice shelf attached to Antarctica is breaking up, in a troubling sign of global warming, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Thursday. “Since the connection to the island… helps stabilize the ice shelf, it is likely the breakup of the bridge will put the remainder of the ice shelf at risk,” it said.... Read more

"Ten Things Not to Worry About"
NEW YORK TIMES (John Tierny, NYT Science, July 29, 2008) - For most of the year, it is the duty of the press to scour the known universe looking for ways to ruin your day. The more fear, guilt or angst a news story induces, the better. But with August upon us, perhaps you’re in the mood for a break, so I’ve rounded up a list of 10 things not to worry about on your vacation. Now, I can’t guarantee you that any of these worries is groundless, because I can’t guarantee you that anything is absolutely safe, including the act of reading... Killer hot dogs, cellphones, plastic bags, plastic drinking bottles, global warming's missing ice, missing mass in space... Read full story

Of course, we are a Judeo-Christian society. And the Bible's injunction is slightly different from the Buddha's final advice to be mindful of impermanence and diligent in uprooting the mental hindrances that obstruct compassion, insight, and liberation. Instead, as Westerners, we're more apt to be influenced by the current zeitgeist arising from this biblical quote. (John Wesley explains as "fear and trembling" as "with the utmost care and diligence").

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"
(Philippians 2:12-13 NKJV)

*The Intention Experiment (livingthefield.com)

Jill Calder (jillustration.blogspot)

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