Our new inspiration. I met Ms Neff at the PDF Conference. Here's a great manifesto/interview.
I've already linked to the first part of this useful posting. Someday I'll come back and try it all out. Really.
And here's Nerd Uno's page full of Mac Mini projects. I'm a bit old for Spring Break but I need some indoor projects while all the kids run wild in the East Village.
This finds few economic and social gains among indigenous groups in Latin America over the last decade, in spite of increased political influence.
We can hope.
New blog on my list thanks to Larry Lessig.
Good review of the arguments over the Montes Azules Reserve and the charges that there is bioprospecting by transnationals going on there. (click More to see the whole article)
Montes Azules Reserve at the Eye of the Storm
MEXICO CITY, May 18 (IPS) - Located in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve brings together an explosive mix of irregular human settlements, guerrilla groups, the logging and burning of forests, plundering of species, and opposing visions of how to manage this natural wealth.
The 331,200-hectare Montes Azules Reserve is at the centre of Mexico's greatest environmental conflict, and in its management the present and future challenges of other reserves around the world come into play, Julia Carabias, former Mexican environment secretary, told Tierramérica.
Carabias is one of this year's recipients of the United Nations Environment Programme's Champions of the Earth award.
The reserve and the surrounding Lacandona jungle constitute the most important humid tropical reserve in North America and contain the biggest supplies of freshwater in Mexico. They hold most of the country's tropical trees, as well as 33 percent of its reptiles, 80 percent of butterfly species and 32 percent of birds.
''The region is plundered by foreign companies and interests linked to bioprospecting, who say the indigenous people living there are a bother, and so they force them out,'' said Miguel Angel García, coordinator of Maderas del Pueblo del Sureste, a grassroots association working in the area.
But Carabias says those arguments are ''fallacious''.
They are accusations that ''use terms like biopiracy and bioprospecting, which cause a reaction, but they don't know what they're talking about,'' said the former environment secretary, now member of a non-governmental organisation that runs a research station in Montes Azules, where nature reserve managers are trained.
Reserve director José Zúñiga agrees: ''There is a great deal of (false or exaggerated information) about Montes Azules, while the results of the programmes under way and the crude and evident realities garner little interest.''
The official told Tierramérica that in the reserve 85 percent of the tree cover remains intact and that the process of relocation -- not displacement -- of the indigenous populations, who he says moved to the reserve without authorisation in the first place, is running smoothly, while the research programmes are regulated and conducted in a professional manner.
''There is no bioprospecting going on,'' he maintained.
Working in Montes Azules, declared a reserve in 1978 by the Mexican government, are various governmental agencies, along with a dozen NGOs, and there are research projects involving funding from the United Nations, European Union and foreign universities.
''There are very strong and unyielding viewpoints, and it is all a product of political posturing and diverse interests,'' a foreign researcher who works in the area told Tierramérica, requesting anonymity ''to avoid being attacked.''
Since the 1970s Montes Azules has withstood heavy pressures resulting from social, political and even religious problems, which are manifest in new human settlements, expanding unsustainable agriculture, and environmental destruction from fire and logging.
This year around 300 hectares of the reserve were burned when local peasant farmers lit fires to clear their plots of land.
Conflict in the area intensified in 1994 with the appearance in Chiapas of the leftist Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), led by the now famous ''Subcomandante Marcos''.
Some of the EZLN's social bases are in the Lacandona jungle, including Montes Azules, where they arrived after fleeing violence or were ordered there by EZLN leaders. But there are also indigenous peoples who oppose the Zapatistas and many have moved to the area simply looking for a plot of land to grow food for survival.
Environmentalists maintain that the pressures on the reserve and the Lacandona jungle, which together cover 500,000 hectares, are immense.
A century ago the jungle encompassed nearly two million hectares, and in that time the human population has grown from fewer than 20,000 to more than 600,000.
The reserve and the jungle area ''are losing their viability little by little,'' warned then-minister of environment Víctor Lichtinger in 2002.
Surrounded today by several military barracks that were set up following the emergence of the EZLN, the reserve also attracts interest from transnational pharmaceutical and seed producing companies.
''It also brings with it a serious and complex agrarian problem dating to the 1970s, when the government at the time handed over farmland to indigenous groups, with the only aim to plunder the timber in the forest'' they left behind, said Maderas del Pueblo's García.
According to Zúñiga, director of the reserve that until 2000 did not have an integrated management plan, there are 15,000 Chole, Lacandon, Tzeltzal, Tzotzil and Tojolabal indigenous peoples living in the area with legally recognised rights. There are also 500 people living there who are considered invaders.
He noted that thanks to negotiations with the invading indigenous groups over the past five years, half of them had left the reserve. Carabias attributed that achievement to the current environment secretary, Alberto Cárdenas.
The talks will continue in order to remove the more recent arrivals from the reserve, said Zúñiga.
As in most matters related to Montes Azules, there is no agreement on the numbers. García says that the people with recognised rights in the reserve number no more than 5,600, and that the other ''invaders'' total almost 2,000.
In his opinion, the so-called relocations of the indigenous peoples are in fact expulsions.
''There could be a reserve with people, and it could be left in their (the indigenous groups') hands,'' said the activist. But such a model contradicts the ''concept of biosphere reserves without people and against people, which is the approach of Montes Azules and was imposed by the developed countries,'' he added.
''Now biodiversity is converted into genetic banks, of great interest to the biotechnology, agro-food, and pharmaceutical industries, and for water bottling companies,'' said García.
When asked to name who he believes to be working for those interests and conducting the bioprospecting he denounces, García responded that it is difficult to do so, ''because the transnational firms hide behind local institutions and universities.''
On the official list of the reserve's director of the work and research being carried out in Montes Azules, there are no transnationals.
Ten projects are in motion, including flower species inventories, the habitat situation in cavern areas, the impacts of ''anthropological disturbance'' on mammals, a study of the diversity of vanilla plants, and others focused on birds and hunting in the area.
The institutions conducting this work are largely Mexican, although one of the registered groups is a university from the U.S. state of California.
(*Originally published May 14 by Latin American newspapers that are part of the Tierramérica network. Tierramérica is a specialised news service produced by IPS with the backing of the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme.)
I posted this week about the Times article on the work of Ambar Past and Bob Laughlin. Someone wrote a comment asking for information on ordering the new book.
Click "More" for her information on ordering. And take a look at their website:
Thank you for writing about Incantations by Mayan Women. and sorry about the delay in getting back to you! WE have received an avalanche of orders and we are filling them as soon as we can. Meantime, check out our web page www.tallerlenateros.com
If you are interested in buying a copy of the first edition, we still have a few copies left. We are expecting the book to sell out soon.
The first edition (200 signed and numbered copies) costs $200 plus $40 shipping by DHL from Mexico (3 days)...or $25 by MexPost (one week).
The second edition costs $100 plus $40 shipping by DHL or $25 by MexPost...
You can pay us by check, Western Union, Paypal, or direct wire transfer through your bank.
Here's how to pay by check:Send your check
(made out to JUDITH ELLEN PAST )
to Gloria Chacon
210 Riverside Avenue, Apt. A
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Please indicate your telephone number and mailing address, (if you want DHL shipping it must be a street address and not a PO box, please).
HOW TO PAY BY WESTERN UNION: Send a money wire for the book plus shipping to PEDRO Alvarez Moshon
Flavio A. Paniagua #54
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, 29230
How to pay by paypal: go to www.paypal.com and sign up for a paypal account (it is free, but you must have credit or debit card), or log in if you are already a member
-enter your total of books plus shipping and send to our account : email@example.com
-please send us an email to us at the same address that indicates
-your mailing address
-final amount of order
-confirmation/verifcation number of order
Direct deposit from your US bank account to our Mexican bank account:
-contact your bank and have the money order sent to our account at Banamex, S.A.
-Taller Lenateros S. De R.L. MI
Bank Code for International Transfer: BNMXMXMM
ADDRESS: Plaza 31 de Marzo Esq. Real de Guadalupe S/N
Col. Centro C.P. 29250
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
Tel. 01 52 (967) 678 0540
-please send us an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org that indicates
-your mailing address
-final amount of order
-confirmation/verifcation number of order
Please keep in touch. WE are certain you will be very excited by Incantations!!!
PS: here are some other books produced by Taller Lenateros:
La Jicara #8 $80.00
The shipping prices vary on these, depending on how many we can get into a box. Some of them are very light and so it costs next to nothing to send them in with other books...Incantations is heavy...over 2 kilos!
Thanks to the EchoDitto blog for this link. Open source project funding software from this site.
Congrats to Lucas Gonze must be in order.
DFNYC techs are great! They're turning me into a real geek. Thanks to Connie for this assignment:
The work of friends Ámbar and Bob is profiled in tomorrow's New York Times book review.
UPDATE: I've received many inquiries about buying the book. You can see Ambar's ordering information on this page:
(Full NY Times article below)
The Poetic Hearts of Mayan Women Writ Large
By DINITIA SMITH
Published: May 11, 2005
The Mayan women of the Chiapas highlands in southern Mexico are extremely poor, and many, especially the older women, are illiterate. The poorest own only a few blankets, articles of clothing and utensils. But what they do have is poetry, much to the surprise of Ámbar Past, an American-born Mexican poet who first encountered the Mayan women 30 years ago.
The poet Ámbar Past with a copy of "Incantations," a book of poetry by 150 Mayan women that she helped shepherd and which has been translated into English and Spanish.
Ms. Past, 55, came to Chiapas in 1973 as a self-described hippie and renegade housewife, escaping an unhappy marriage. She stayed with some Mayan women and taught herself Tzotzil, one of the local Mayan languages.
As she listened to the women, Ms. Past said she realized that they sometimes spoke in poetry, in couplets and in gleaming metaphors.
"I was so deeply moved hearing in these mud huts these breathtakingly beautiful verses, sometimes echoing verses and phrases spoken or written 500 years ago," she said. Some words resembled ones in the Popol Vuh, the Mayan creation story.
"They live with no comfort," Ms. Past said during a visit to New York in April. "Yet poetry is an essential part of their daily life."
Now after 30 years' work, 150 Mayan women from Taller Leñateros (Woodlanders' Workshop), a paper- and book-making collective founded by Ms. Past in 1975 in the Chiapas city San Cristóbal de las Casas, have produced what may be the first book of Mayan women's poetry created almost entirely by them, and translated into English.
The book, "Incantations," is a weirdly beautiful volume made from 295 pages of recycled and handmade paper with silk-screened illustrations. The cover is a three-dimensional rendering of the face of Kaxail, Mayan goddess of the wilderness, in recycled cardboard mixed with corn silk and coffee. Her eyes are excised and she stares out with an eerie power. (It was designed by Gitte Daehlin, a Norwegian artist living in the nearby state of Oaxaca.)
"Incantations" contains spells and hymns tape-recorded by the women and by Ms. Past, who transcribed and translated them from Tzotzil into Spanish and English. As members of a collective, the women share labor and profits.
Robert M. Laughlin, a curator of Mesoamerican and Caribbean ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution who has published two Tzotzil dictionaries, said of "Incantations": "There is very little publication about Mayan women's lives in their own language, and this gives a whole view of the culture that's been unknown before."(Mayan men in Chiapas also incorporate poetry into some of their formal and religious discourse, but that group has been well studied, Mr. Laughlin said.)
The Olmec and the Maya were among the first literate societies in the Western Hemisphere. Evidence of Mayan writing goes back to the first century A.D. Murals and ceramics from the height of Mayan civilization, A.D. 600 to 900, depict male scribes holding pens and brushes, making "Incantations" even more significant.
There are four surviving Mayan codices, bark-paper books that unfold like accordions, dating from the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century. Spanish bishops ordered other books burned.
Ms. Past first became interested in Mayan weaving, which is often highly symbolic, and in traditional natural dyes. She became aware of the women's poetry in 1975, when an epidemic swept through Magdalenas village, close to where she lived. She said that she went to San Cristóbal, the nearest large city, for help, but no doctors came. Many children died, she said.
In the cemetery, she said, she saw a woman carrying her dead baby lying on a board and wrapped in a shawl for burial. The mother offered her dead child a last sip of Coca-Cola and uttered a prayer, which Ms. Past still remembers:
Take this sweet dew from the earth,
Take this honey.
It will help you on your way.
It will give you strength on your path.
One reason "Incantations" took so long to create, said Ms. Past, who became a Mexican citizen in 1985 and has published 10 books in Mexico, is that some incantations last for days. She transcribed hundreds of hours of tape, from which she culled essential verses. In fabricating "Incantations," the women soaked recycled paper with palm fronds, making a pulp in a blender, dyeing it black with soot and campeachy wood. Mayan men helped with the offset printing.
The poems in "Incantations" incorporate ancient metaphors with the harshly contemporary. One poem, by Xpetra Ernándes, is "Witchcraft for Attracting a Man":
I want him to come with flowers in his heart.
With all his heart,
I want him to talk to my body.
I want his blood to ache for me
when he sees me on the way to the market.
Another, by Petra Tzon Te' Vitz , is "Lullaby":
Go to sleep little baby, go to sleep.
Your daddy's drunk
and if he hits me,
I'm running to the woods.
Tonik Nibak has an angry piece, "Hex to Kill the Unfaithful Man":
Let 13 Devil Women, 13 Goddesses of Death,
snuff out his name.
Let a wind that starts in his head, in his heart,
blow his candle out.
Let him die on the road.
Let him be run over by a car.
By a bicycle.
Break his leg.
If he dies, I'm going to be laughing.
The first edition of "Incantations," Tzotzil translated into Spanish, was in 1998.
So far, 1,850 volumes of the English edition are printed. The first 200 numbered copies cost $200 each, and half have sold, Ms. Past said. Another 1,650 are being bound, and will sell for $100.
The workshop also publishes a literary magazine, La Jícara (The Gourd), which, Ms. Past said, has been called "the most beautiful magazine in Mexico." The magazine is mainly in Spanish, but has an English section and always contains literature in Amerindian languages.
In 2002 the collective published "Mayan Hearts," two books of Tzotzil metaphors translated by Mr. Laughlin into Spanish and English. That book's thick black cover is made of agave fibers with a heart cut out to reveal red endpaper.
"I am in love/ My heart aches," one line reads.
"You perfume my heart/ you give me pleasure," says another.
Tropical wood certified by Rainforest Alliance in the Petén is favored by Gibson for their guitars. Much of this wood comes from community logging cooperatives. It promotes sustainable use of forest products.
Can it be done? Who knows?
Some tremors in the Mac world at the moment about whether Dashboard widgets in Tiger open the Mac to security problems. Last night I read the Slashdot post and the Zaptastic demo that occasioned it (warning: the latter installs a benign widget on your Mac if you use Safari, as a proof of the danger). Dori Smith offers a clear assessment of the risk and steps you can take.
ANDREW RASIEJ, ONE OF THE challengers to New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, has turned to the Internet to promote his candidacy in the Democratic primary this September.
If your eyes glaze over when Bush talks social security, wake up! Molly Ivins will shake you awake with some plain talk.
From Ginger Thompson, on today's front page.
And the consequences:
"In the first three years of the Bush administration, the United States dropped from 4th to 13th place in global rankings of broadband Internet usage. Today, most U.S. homes can access only "basic" broadband, among the slowest, most expensive, and least reliable in the developed world, and the United States has fallen even further behind in mobile-phone-based Internet access. The lag is arguably the result of the Bush administration's failure to make a priority of developing these networks. In fact, the United States is the only industrialized state without an explicit national policy for promoting broadband."
Looks like they co-opted the citizen journalism line then brought in the suits. As city council member Margarita Lopez said last night, no one else can empower you - you have to take it yourself.
Then there's Adam Curry moving to Sirius satellite radio. Good for him - he couldn't just keep mumbling around the house much longer. Dawn and Drew vs. Howard Stern.
But is it podcasting? Was pcasting just the audition for bcasting? Does anybody care?
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Wasn't MTV revolutionary in its day?
My favorite wireless news site has a post on the New Voices grants, including the one to the Girls Club grant for community podcasting. Good work, Sam! And thanks for the inspiration!