Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Na Floresta Brazil 2011

I know I have kind of lacked these days keeping up the blog. During the winter I spend two months visiting  an eco-community way outback in Brazil -- double click some of the photos.

mata atlantica
termite shaped h o r n o
together inoculating mushroom cultures : shitake & oyster
baking in sao paulo with claudio lorenzo at his masaria
before the rains came in from the amazon

horse finds shelter from the rain in the daime temple

 Brazil exudes a kind of self-confidence these days, and people love ex president Lula. Why ?

Whereas in the USA, within the last eight years, 20 million people sank into abject poverty and the middle class is destroyed, and the "Uber class" has become even smaller and wealthier, in Brazil  it can be argued that Lula is the most responsible person for lifting 20 million Brazileiros out of poverty --also within the last eight years.
What a difference a mind makes....One Mind makes the difference....

a new dawn in brazil
the auracaria that towers now....

was planted by the green man

creation: the oneness of water and spirit

the amazon rains have arrived...for days on end.... floresta....
the night twilights...
and full moon nestles in auracaria tree blessed are we....
 After coming back from Brazil, I noticed that the world had changed at jaw breaking speed. Everything is different now. I have found it hard to say anything about such a fluid situation, language falls short when events are moving so fast.... as if the Entity at the End of Time is casting its shadows back in time.....

In the coming entires I will examine some of the profound developments in the Middle East and also in the Nuclear arena.

Things are shifting, we have to procure courage, and realize that there is a 'martial advantage' in reading the signs.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Araucaria in Brazil: Ancient Trees for the Future

Once, some 150 to 200 million years ago, Brazil was covered in Araucaria forests, and now only 2 % is left. Yet in the South of Brazil the Araucaria tree is playing a new role in reforestation of what was until recently pastureland mainly for cows. Along the roads, the Araucaria tree is being used as a soil stabilizer and as scout for newly colonizing forest vegetation and birds.  It is fascinating that one of the older species of trees is now being used in these new strategies of 'Agro-ecologia de Montanha'.

                                 petrified Araucaria cones from a long long time ago

You can see that this tree wanted to develop defenses against large herbivores such as the Argentino-Saurus living in the neighborhood and probably devouring everything in its way to sustain its 80 to 100 ton body. This is a nice example of what the Buddhist call "interdependent co-arising".
Not only are the 'leaves' sharp, the the actual trunk has also developed woody spikes to deter any easy munching. This is perhaps the reason why the tree is also known as the Monkey Puzzle tree -- even monkeys will have a hard time to scale this tree. Yet despite its obvious aggressive resistance to obliteration, this holdover from Jurassic times, is actually really generous.
Through its cones the Araucaria produces copious amounts of 'pinhao', kind of an edible pinion nut but about 5 times as big. This delicious and protein rich nut provides ample nutrition for animals and humans alike. If planted correctly ('up') with fresh pinhao, it will grow rapidly and is tolerant to high moisture conditions. This combo of aggressive defense and generousity has proven to be a worthy survival strategy for the Araucaria species --it is still around while the dinosaurs are long gone.
Within 20 years it will grow into a large tree, inviting so many other species to also colonize and inhabit a new area. Biodiversity is the key to survival.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dear Readers,

Thank you for taking note of my writing. I cannot tell you what immeasurable pleasure it is to know that so many of you from all over the world are reading my work.
Today I am off to Brazil, and I will document as much as possible --I am bringing my camera. I hope to publish some from there as well. Please also see Vortex Politico forthe most complete update (also my political entries) at all times. There is a link to that in the right hand column on this page or you can click here.
To stay in close touch please consider being a follower of both blogs, you will be notified of new entries.

Willem Malten

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The New Tower of Babel (under construction)

There is a new monument being built in New Mexico that will be on par with the Taj Mahal, as the spokeswoman of NM senator Jeff Bingaman announced. It is called the CMRR and it will be coming to our neighborhood soon in so many ways...
This project, gone largely unnoticed by the public and national media, would require 24.000 cement trucks to careen up “the hill” (Los Alamos) to dump their precious and carbon intensive rare cement earth mixtures to erect a very specialized edifice of worship, able to withstand a magnitude 7 earthquake right under its footings. Or an incoming missile for that matter.

Though its secretive mission seems to be a mystery to all, yet in a kind of religious frenzy no talent nor sacrifice will be spared for its creation. The initial costs were estimated to be about 600 million, but that was just a start. After consultation with the ‘higher priesthood’ in Washington in concert with their corporate sponsors (Bechtel in particular) cost estimates have skyrocketed to about 4.5 billion going on 5 billion, outdating all previous NEPA studies and Environmental Impact Statements, -- and yet those costs may still just be a start. As of now that one LANL (Los Alamos National Laboratory) assembly is estimated to cost about 6 times the Golden Gate Bridge. Completion date is projected somewhere deep into the future -- opening not before 2022.
The exact role CMRR may play is veiled in the fog of Kafka-esque political maneuvering -- to hide its true purpose to commoners and nations alike. After all, it is meant to only serve a small elite of insiders, who can truly fathom the essence of its nihilistic Thanatos worship, and control its bitter fruits.

Once completed, the new building with the acronym CMRR (Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement ) will be a blunt boxed monstrosity devoid of any imagination. Though, as I mentioned, compared by the spokeswoman of senator Jeff Bingaman to the Taj Mahal, it will actually be a basic bunker about 10 times the size of a large supermarket or 270.000 sq. feet. Mostly this space is taken up by large vaults, utilities ( no less than 71.500 sq. feet of utilities) and walls, but there remains a small inner sanctum for the priesthood of nuclear weapon development. About 8% of the total foot print or 22.500 sq. feet will be dedicated to highly secretive plutonium laboratories.
This stark isolation is meant to provide a conducive environment for a new generation of weaponeers, who are encouraged to do their black magic, and visualize new strategic uses for new designer nuclear weapons..... smaller, with multiple warheads and more accurate targeting, new delivery systems, deeper penetrating, etc., etc..
The CMRR is rapidly becoming the bargaining chip for signing on to the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty). What a terrible price to pay for a largely symbolic treaty, that already has been signed and endorsed by the chief executive branch (Clinton).
Obama’s solemn declarations about a nuclear free world in Prague will soon begin to sound hollow. This late spring, during a fresh round of the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) hearings at the UN in New York, representatives from all over will start hearing about the newly planned CMRR, the largest new investment in nuclear weapons worldwide. American citizens too will start to question how come, in this time of restraint for most ordinary citizens, this time of pressing priorities of job creation, global warming and green conversion, etc. come, the Nuclear Weapon Laboratory (LANL) can count on a 22 % budget increase, primarily to fund the CMRR ? What is the logic?
Regardless the possibility of scaling down the quantities of weapons in the arsenal and regardless of the possible signing of the CTBT, the message that America sends with the construction of the CMRR is clear: the CMRR allows the production of new types of nuclear weapons through pit production of 80 up to a maximum capacity 200 per year. That is a clear message. The go-ahead of the CMRR building sends a strong signal about the depth of commitment the USA will have to a nuclear weapon future, where nuclear weapons will still be the very spear point of global super power. This is exactly what CMRR is intended to do militarily: spread fear and thus destabilize.

Locally for New Mexico, the enlarged and ever increasing scope and costs of the CMRR project requires a whole new NEPA study and environmental impact statement. New elements in the design have come forward that will impact the whole region, and haven’t been examined properly or not at all. The climatological impact of CMRR will likely involve certain environmental laws that prohibit its progress.
Any political and diplomatic advantage that may come from building down the nuclear arsenal to let’s say 311 nuclear warheads, as was recently proposed by some prominent US Air-force strategists would dissipate in light of the very existence and capacity of the CMRR facility. Building the CMRR would not just damage the reputation of Obama, it would damage the credibility of the US and its role in the world. Perhaps most importantly, it would damage a growing military chorus that wants to adopt a strategy of increased security through non-proliferation, and a de-emphasis of the role of nuclear weapons. CMRR is the opposite of that approach. It is the incarnation of everything that is wrong with continued proliferation and the societal detriment and sacrifice that it brings. This will be a church to the “Idol of Hubris".
There is a whole host of questions surrounding the CMRR project, but most importantly, its mission itself needs to be clarified.
The tower of Babel, was never completed because the builders became so confused about its purpose that they could no longer understand each other. They became scattered all over.

That, I predict to you, is the most likely fate of the CMRR. It will never be completed......

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Silence in the Snow

I was standing on the roof of my bakery in Santa Fe as I saw a man approaching in the snow, dressed in a long black robe, a little black cap with a red cross embroidered on it. Long white beard, old, but obviously full of live/light. After I had descended from a narrow and long ladder, I learned that his name was Father Elias, living as a hermit of a Greek Orthodox Monastery in Northern New Mexico, south of Abiquiu lake.

He was collecting some of the day old Cloud Cliff bread, even monks go hungry these days...I gave him what was on hand, and then he asked me for a little bit of the sourdough 'mama' culture from which all the Cloud Cliff artisano nativo breads come forth. The sourdough culture is about 35 years old now, and it goes back to my own days living as a lay monk in the Tassajara Zen Monastery, the place where I started to understand bread baking. Without further thinking I gave him some of the sticky and moist live mother dough.

A few days later I started to worry. In a way, a 'self-made' healthy sourdough culture consisting of at least 5 different micro-organisms (some say it is more like a hundred or so), that lives on for many years (as long as it is nourished properly) is the most prized possession for a baker. Inadvertent destruction of the culture is nothing less than a disaster.

I wanted to make sure that my brief instructions for the care of the mother dough, the 'Levain', en francais, were clear enough, so I tried to call Father Elias, and when that was unsuccessful, I impulsively announced that I would make the trip up North and bring some supplies for baking bread, in particular rye, and of course, inspect the mother dough.

Shortly after I arrived at the tiny Greek Orthodox chapel --about 2 hours north of Santa Fe in an intimate New Mexican valley with a year round river, Indian ruins, cattle and forests -- it began snowing..... hard.
Meanwhile in the comfortable guest kitchen, Father Elias and Father Cristian, and myself were addressing the fine points of bread baking. In a glass jar, the sourdough mama seemed happy, bubbly and very alive. I had been worried for nothing.

My car couldn't make it out somehow -- it just went up a little ways on this frozen incline and then it would slide backwards, towards the monastery entrance. There were a few other distractions that I won't go into here, but to make a long story short.... I got stuck two days.

Over time I gathered all kinds of excuses.... to see some beautiful Greek Orthodox Icons and to find silence in the snow.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Coral: Bones of the Ocean

Stay Posted, I will do some entries about my experiences on the Heraclitus Explorer Ship in the Carribean soon.

I found some coral on an island beach (Mustique) and was fascinated by its structures. I took a series of photographs of the inner stuctures of coral with up to 200 times magnification.  Corals are the bones of the ocean:  they give shape to habitat for so many diverse trees...

Oh Oh, a lot of Morgellons here --whatever they may be... look for them on the close ups: they look like hairs, long fibrous strands of filament, sometimes black, sometimes white, or even rust colored. It is very unlikely that my samples here were contaminated by hairs --so what are they?
I found these filaments as well in the closeups of my mycelium and mushroom footage. Any ideas ? 
Let me know.

I used a rare track by Madredeus --enjoy!