September 3, 2011
By Daily Mail Reporter
Viewed at a magnification of over 250 times real life, tiny grains of sand are shown to be delicate, colourful structures as unique as snowflakes.
When seen well beyond the limits of human eyesight, the miniature particles are exposed as fragments of crystals, spiral fragments of shells and crumbs of volcanic rock.
Professor Gary Greenberg who has a PhD in biomedical research from University College London said: 'It is incredible to think when you are walking on the beach you are standing on these tiny treasures.
Magnified:The grains are shown to be delicate, colourful structures each as unique as a snowflake.
Colourful: The miniature particles are exposed as fragments of crystals, spiral fragments of shells and crumbs of volcanic rock.
'Every time I look through my microscope I am fascinated by the complexity and individuality created by a combination of nature and the repeated tumbling of the surf on a beach.'
Prof Greenberg, who searches through thousands of tiny rocks with acupuncture needles to find and arrange the most perfect specimens, then uses a painstaking technique to create his images.
He has spent five years searching the globe for remarkable sand grains like these to photograph.
He said: 'Extreme close up photography normally gives a very shallow depth of field so I had to develop a new process to make the pictures that I wanted.
'I take dozens of pictures at different points of focus then combine them using software to produce my images.
'Although the pictures look simple each grain of sand can take hours to photograph in a way that I am happy with.
'The beach nearest my lab is Haiku, Hawaii but my pictures show sand from all round the world from Japan to Ireland.'
Gary's pictures are available from his website sandgrains.com and his book 'a grain of sand' which is available on Amazon.
Incredible: We are walking on 'these tiny treasures'
HOW SAND IS MADE
Sand is tiny fragments of rock that have been worn away over thousands of years.
Contrary to popular belief, sand is made as rocks crash and break in rivers and streams on their way to the sea, rather than the ebb and flow of the tides.
Deposits left by breaking rocks in the sea turns to silt and is much lighter so is dispersed over a much wider area out to sea, rather than on the shore line.
Some of the rock is soluble, but other bits remain and as they are slowly rubbed down over time they get smaller and smaller until they become what we know as sand.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
September 3, 2011
By Brandon Smith
Is freedom a place, or an idea? A state of society, or a state of mind? Does it begin around us, or within us? In today’s world of the all-you-can-eat sensory buffet, where every facet of life is a bit and a byte and a radio wave and a laser beam, most of humanity looks for all of its answers to such questions in the grand ether of the tumbling data stream. We see changes in the tapestry of cultural interaction as the final measure of national progression, or regression. We confuse forward sounding language with forward moving political transformation. We are mesmerized by the illusion of environmental appearance, and forget that the indelible root of all things outward is nurtured by that which lay within.
In America, in the midst of economic crisis and government driven moral hazard, millions of people are scrambling for “solutions”. The term is used rather haphazardly and often without proper context. There are, indeed, very evil men out there in the dark precipices of global infrastructure, and, these men often instigate very bad events. However, “doing away with them” is NOT a solution. It is NOT a plan. It is merely a goal. A solution requires more than an end result; it also involves the steps necessary to achieve said result. The Liberty Movement, as it is commonly called, tends to run into so much frustration and angst, I believe, because it consistently attempts to skip to the end of the story without traveling the rest of the very necessary journey.
End the Fed! Sue the Fed! March on Washington! Vote the bums out! Take up arms! These are not actions, but reactions triggered by the confusion of the moment. Not only are they single minded responses that lack the strategy and logistics inherent in a successful counter-offensive, but such cries ignore the other devious culprit responsible for our national heartache; ourselves.
Yes, the world must change, and soon, if our principles are to survive. But, for this to happen, we must change first. Instead of looking up, down, and all around us for some magical all encompassing answer, we have to question our very assumptions and world views. No weapon of steel or of law will ever undo the tragedy we live in day to day while we lack the conviction to confront our own biases and failings. We have always been the greatest obstacle to a truly freedom based society, not the elites, who are nothing but parasites feeding off our willfully perpetuated inadequacies.
Working methodologies for combating globalization and centralization do exist. State nullification, for instance, is a significant tool for defusing obtrusive federal authority, but without the organizational willpower and perseverance to take back the now thoroughly corrupt election process county by county, state by state, while producing viable liberty minded candidates and grassroots activist groups, nullification is impossible. Survival preparation is essential for anyone who wishes to decouple from the collapsing mainstream system, but without the determination to make prepping a reality, we are left with nothing but a bunch of hungry, desperate nobodies huddled on the sidelines of the war for truth. Barter networking and alternative markets require extensive patience and unerring dedication, along with constant self education on the processes of sound money and private trade. Safe Haven and Free State Projects push us even harder, requiring us to uproot from everything we have been conditioned to accept as normal and comfortable, and travel, perhaps long distances, to begin anew in a place likely unfamiliar. All of these things involve an internal finality of purpose, a clear and unwavering path unhindered by regret. Those who undertake the above initiatives do so not because they were “told to”, but because they know, above all else, that what they are doing is right. They no longer stand in their own way, and thus, the possibilities become infinite.
For others, the endless circular battle between action and apathy continues. Below, are some of the most frequent excuses uttered by those aware of the burgeoning dangers of a disintegrating culture but who are incapable of taking the first steps of inward freedom needed to do anything about their predicament…
1) I know things are getting bad in this country, but I only have time to focus on my own problems right now…
Your immediate problems are certainly yours to solve, but they are also very likely an aftereffect of the wider problems of the world around you. Ironically, only by taking personal responsibility for the problems of the world can we alleviate the incredible pressures of our microcosmic existence. That is to say, by taking action against the trespasses of global economic and socio-political despotism, you are doing yourself and your private life a big favor.
2) I believe that a collapse (social and economic) is possible, but just can’t imagine things ever going that far…
What you can’t “imagine” is generally pretty irrelevant when considering the FACTS of any given situation. Educating one’s self on the history of modern economic and political instability is a step that many seem to overlook before drawing conclusions on the state of America today. Without a point of reference to refer to, these people are left completely in the mire as to the very real threats that lay ahead. Many of them actually avoid learning the background details of similar crises like those in Weimar Germany, Soviet Russia, Argentina, Zimbabwe, etc., because doing so would mean room for denial would disappear. Yes, our country will see darker days ahead, perhaps pitch black. Refusing to prepare for the worst will not stop the worst from happening. Never, ever, assume a disaster will “blow over”.
3) I just don’t have the money to get into survival prepping right now. Maybe I will start when I get some savings in order…
In some cases (very few) this excuse is acceptable. But, in many others it is complete nonsense. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve run into that make this claim while continuing to spend money on non-essential luxuries. Do you still have cable T.V.? Get rid of it! It stinks anyway. Do you buy a new computer every six months? Well stop! The gigs and ram you have now are probably more than adequate. Do you pour money into personal vices like drugs, cigarettes, or beer? Quit! There will be no room for them post collapse anyway. There is always money for prepping, even if it’s a little every month. The obstacle is not funding. The obstacle is your unwillingness to sacrifice certain comforts for more important investments.
4) I would delve into sound money, but it all seems too complicated…
I’ll make this simple; buying gold and silver is NOT complicated. In fact, it is very easy. If something feels “complicated”, then simply uncomplicated it by educating yourself using the numerous resources still available on the internet or your local library. Knowledge is (at this time) everyone’s prerogative. Liberty starts not with the words in an article or a book, but the decision to actually sit down and read that article or book with an open mind. Make that decision now!
5) I feel isolated, and would like to move to a safe haven with more like-minded people, but am afraid of not finding work, or leaving behind that which is familiar…
Safe Haven relocation is not for everyone, but many can at least admit that they probably live in an unstable and violence prone environment sensitive to economic unrest. Many can also admit that they do not have the support network required to survive such an event. This choice ultimately comes down to priorities. When the survival of yourself and your family is on the line, does it really matter if you are “familiar” (i.e. comfortable) with your current location? In a crumbling marketplace, is it better to take your chances with a job that you know will soon no longer exist, or to take your chances in an alternative market with increasing growth? Is it better to wait until doom is ringing the doorbell? Or, is it more practical to take measures now to insulate yourself from the storm? Learning to prioritize means learning to set aside what we want in the face of what we need.
6) I would like to become more of an activist, but isn’t it better to “keep a low profile”, and avoid retribution from the power elite…?
Fear is the most repressive internal obstacle of all. Tyrants do not conquer countries; fear conquers countries. As I have said before, when the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, they did not sign it “Anonymous”. It is every free man’s duty to stand behind his own convictions. Holding them quietly in the corner of the room gets us nowhere. This is not to say that all our thoughts and activities should be made public, but if you can’t build up the gumption to speak the truth in the wake of a lie then you aren’t of much use to anyone, especially yourself. There is nothing illegal about organizing against corruption, and even if there was, it wouldn’t matter. Fighting for freedom means being audacious, and sometimes unconcerned about the supposed “consequences”. While we speak often of safety and preparedness, these things at bottom are also only important so far as they support our ability to put ourselves on the line for the future of our ideals. There is no room for apprehension here…
The purpose of the above is not to “shame” those in the movement who remain inactive, but to clear the fog that tends to surround any new and powerful movement against the rush of the totalitarian wildfire. We continue to look for white-knight leaders, short cut slapdash solutions, and even miracles to somehow save us from doing what we dread most; facing the fact that we are the greatest prognosticators of our own fates. We are the ones who choose freedom, or slavery. In the soft light of fading glory, only those who blaze their own trails will see the road ahead. To each man awaits a multitude of perils and rewards, all of which depend upon his inner resolve; a quality which stands upon the summit of the soul, against the wind, and the unrelenting cold.