Spotlight: Urban Paradise Guild

UPG Sends Seeds To Families In Haiti

by Carl Kruse
The Urban Paradise Guild (UPG) headed by Sam Van Leer is a nonprofit group based in Southern Florida working to bring back natural habitat and make our urban environment more green and livable.   The group introduces more native plants into local areas, organizes clean-ups, engages in coastal remediation, operates three tropical nurseries that supply fruit trees and other plants to the  community, conducts seminars,  and does all other goodness.

Since 2008, UPG has been sending seeds and plant cuttings to Haiti, to help small villages feed themselves and recover from several natural disasters. These seeds include native plants for reforestation, and edibles, such as fruit trees and vegetables.

This weekend the UPG is working on packaging seeds for 10,000 people in Haiti. The seeds are of 20 types of heirloom vegetables for each family. UPG volunteers need to calibrate the weight-to-volume measurements to select the right sizes of scoops for each package — tiny seeds, such as tomato and eggplant, weigh as little as 250mg per family package, while group seed packages can weigh up to 5 ounces.

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Seed packets for Haiti – Photo by Carl Kruse

For this ongoing work they need a precision scale that costs $645. If you can help in any way, no donation too small, please head over to http://urbanparadiseguild.org/donate/   This is a small project that could have a big impact. I like it. Thanks for taking the time to read and for any help.

Scale used for seed measurement
Scale used for seed measurement

If you have some extra time and would like to roll up your sleeves and help the UPG with its work, please contact Sam at http://urbanparadiseguild.org.

Thanks again!
Carl Kruse
http://carlkruse.org

For another Miami-based organization working to help  better understand and improve our natural environment check out the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens.  I wrote about them in an earlier blog post.

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From Carl Kruse: Help SETI@HOME

SETI Project  Can Use Our Help

by Carl Kruse

One of my favorite nonprofit groups is the SETI Institute, which is the world’s top organization that is looking for life elsewhere in the universe. I love SETI because it’s the chance to get involved in answering one of humanity’s last remaining big questions – Is there anyone else out there? And while we have yet to find anyone, it’s an exciting time as new discoveries, such as those of the Kepler mission, paint a universe larger than we once imagined. The odds look good that what happened on Earth, which is to say life, also happened elsewhere.

Assuming there is intelligent life out there, it is could be that it has developed radio or similar technologies whose use would send electromagnetic signals in all directions through space at the speed of light, and over time travel vast distances.  One SETI project is to tune in and see if we can “hear” any of this. The movie Contact was inspired by such work, and the protagonist played by Jodi Foster is a character based on Dr. Jill Tartar, formerly head of research at the SETI Institute.

In 1999, a SETI team at the University of California, Berkeley, launched a project called SETI@HOME. The idea was that anyone with a computer could download a screensaver so that whenever their computer was idle the software would get data from the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico and analyze it for extraterrestrial signals. Combining small computers to perform a large task is known as “distributed computing” and SETI@HOME today is the largest distributed computing project in human history.  Lassoing thousands of personal computers together brings computational power  surpassing that of even advanced supercomputers, and today this approach has extended from SETI to other projects, such as weather predicting and cancer research.

I write about all of this because I recently received a letter from the Berkeley team of SETI@HOME seeking help. And before sharing the letter I had wanted to explain my involvement with SETI.

Now the letter from SETI@HOME:

“In recent years it’s become clear that planets are common about stars in our galaxy and the number of possible abodes of life number in the billions. The number of civilizations that inhabit our galaxy is still unknown, but thanks to SETI@home anyone can help search for them using their home computer or mobile phone. But SETI@home still needs your help.

It’s been an exciting year for SETI@home. In addition to our ongoing search for extraterrestrial radio signals at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, we’ve started analyzing data collected by the “Breakthrough Listen project” at the Green Bank Observatory, the largest fully steerable radio telescope in the world. “Breakthrough Listen” will soon start collecting data at the Parkes Radio Telescope, the largest steerable radio telescope in the Southern Hemisphere, and SETI@home could analyze these data. To do so, SETI@home needs two things. First, we need you and your friends. The current flood of data requires more processing power than SETI@home volunteers currently provide. Please spread the word about SETI@home.

Second, SETI@home needs the funding to obtain hardware and develop software required to handle this new data source. SETI@home has only obtained one third of the $450,000 in funding needed for this coming year. If SETI@home doesn’t meet these funding goals, expansion to new telescopes may not be possible. I’m hoping that you will give generously.

Together we can reach the stars. Happy Holidays!

Eric Korpela,

Director of SETI@home

P.S. Donors contributing $250 or more will receive invitations to the Berkeley SETI Research Center Holiday Party to be held December 16 in Berkeley, CA. The event will feature behind the scenes tours of our labs, talks on the latest developments in the search for advanced life from BSRC Researchers and special guests. There will also be giveaways of one-of-a-kind souvenirs of Berkeley SETI history. Those unable to attend in person will be given access to an exclusive online question and answer session with BSRC Researchers.

The University of California is a nonprofit educational and research organization governed by Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law for residents of the United States and Canada. (Your tax situation may vary – please consult your tax advisor – Carl Kruse ).

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I have had SETI@HOME on my computers since its inception, and I hope anyone reading this can lend a hand to a project that does so much with so little. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is one of the great remaining questions facing humanity and speaking from experience, I think anyone getting involved — even if just downloading the free SETI@HOME software — will feel enriched, joining part of a grand quest.

Many thanks!
Carl Kruse

See also Carl Kruse Take On SETI

Kruse: The Electoral College

One More Voice Calling For The End Of The Electoral College
by  Carl Kruse

For whatever reasons it was established way back when, and whatever benefits it might have today, that the Electoral College in the U.S. contravenes the will of the people is a great blow to Democracy.

The winner of the votes in any election should win.

If the Electoral College contravenes this, as it has done in two of the last five U.S. elections, then it’s time for the Electoral College to go.  Fairness calls for it.

The benefit argued for the Electoral College today: smaller states will not be forgotten by candidates who in theory would only target large population centers because that is where all the votes are. But, it’s a complete failure in this regard. Because of modern U.S. demographics — as opposed to those in 1787 when the Electoral College was instituted — many states vote predictably- for example, California and New York always vote Democratic, Texas and Utah always vote Republican, and so forth. What this means is that every U.S. election comes down to the SWING STATES – those states that are not predictable, such as Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and a few others. What we now see today is a tyranny of the swing state. California and Texas, the two largest and arguably most important states in the USA, receive precisely zero presidential visits or attention, while the 50,000 residents of Cayuga County, Ohio are showered with money and visits. Does this make sense?

By the way, not only are the big states short-changed by the Electoral College, the small ones, which the Electoral College was designed to shelter get screwed as well. You see, few small or rural areas get attention either- Montana, Alabama, the Dakotas, Idaho, Alabama, Mississippi. They get nothing also. So who gets attention? Only the swing states. Insanity, And why? Because of the Electoral College.

Why would a politician campaign anywhere where the vote of that state was predictable? Why would either side waste time in California? Or New York? Or Alabama? Or in any of the states where they had no chance? They wouldn’t. And they don’t. Because of the Electoral College.

And so the fate of the entire nation is often held in check by benighted areas of Ohio or Florida all because of the Electoral College.

This institution was hatched in 1787. Back then there were 13 states. And these included New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware — today some of the smallest (the smallest?) in the union. There was slavery. A black person was legally counted as 3/5 of a person. Women could not vote. And in 1787 the USA did not even have a president. George Washington was voted in on 1789. We are in 2016. A few things have changed since 1787. Let’s change too.

Carl Kruse

http://carlkruse.org

Carl Kruse Stands With Kazhir Khan

Jumping into the fray I’ll say Kazhir Khan’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention was a beautiful lesson in ethics, civics, loss, honor and sacrifice. A speech of power and raw emotion. I cried during it and I don’t remember crying in a long time over a speech.

Shortly after he finished, the shameless Ann Coulter had the following to say and in a few words made clear that the divide in the USA isn’t just about politics.

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I know race-baiters roam freely everywhere but how does this woman  have a following in the U.S.A.?  A national commentator. Can simple troll-ism generate such popularity?  Are we still such a hive of racism? Have we so much further to go?

Donald Trump fueled the fire by suggesting Khan’s wife stood silently next to her husband during the presentation because of Muslim strictures on women being silent before men, yet later she explained that she stood silent because of grief, discomposure and being unused to standing before a large audience.

Is it America that fuels the Ann Coulters and Donald Trumps or is it the other way around? Or is it symbiotic?  Whatever gives their ideas ground to flourish is disheartening and a diminishment of us.  Sure,  many people quickly voiced the opinion that they would rather live in Mr. Kahn’s America rather than Trump’s (or Coulter’s) but the reality remains that retrograde ideas remain vibrant and alive and that people like Coulter and Trump continue enjoying a large measure of popularity.

Martin Luther King wrote, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

For now we’re a far ways off from Mr. King’s sentiments.  And Coulter and Trump would happily take us backwards. But here’s hoping that MLK will have the final word.

Carl Kruse

http://carlkruse.org

Carl Kruse is based in Miami, Florida.

A Memorial Day Wish

A Memorial Day Wish From Carl Kruse

This weekend the U.S.A. celebrates Memorial Day, a time the country honors those who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

People often forget the myriad sacrifices of those in uniform, which includes writing a blank check for “up to and including my life”.

As I do every Memorial Day, I take a moment to reflect on war and death, wishing that in some future — which today seems distant — we no longer see brave men and women of any country killed in war, and that we see an end to wars themselves. Until that unforeseen and far-off day my wish (and hope) is that leaders place the lives of soldiers in harm’s way sparingly, only in the utmost of need and for the highest purpose. Perhaps one day we could also create a Memorial Day saluting those who move humanity forward in peaceful and cool ways, a completely tangential thought on what also might be good to honor during this moment of reflection.

Carl Kruse

Carl Kruse Dot Org

Carl Kruse Dot Org Profiles “No More Tears”

Carl Kruse remains on break but his friend Daniela Frewa would like to tell you about “No More Tears,” a non-profit organization that aids victims of domestic violence, most who tend to be disproportionally women and children. The person who founded No More Tears, Somy Ali, is an amazing woman who has dedicated her life to helping others. Nobody in the organization makes a salary, and 100% of all funds go directly to the programs that help victims. These programs include the cost of doctors, immigration lawyers, rent, food, basic needs products, and often English lessons, driving lessons, and courses to help with job placement.

This year Daniela (Carl Kruse ‘s friend) has decided to organize a large event to raise funds for No More Tears to take place in September. Until then, the organizing committee is focused on promotional event opportunities that will help spread the word about this cause.

The first event will take place Thursday, February 28th at Jimmy Choo, at the Shops at Merrick Park in Miami. Somy will give a short speech about No More Tears and Jimmy Choo ( Miami )has agreed to donate a percentage of all purchases to No More Tears.  So if you were thinking of getting some bling-bling shoes now is the time to do it and help a great organization at the same time.

The committee is tasked with bringing a great crowd to this event, it’s possible that Jimmy Choo will want to do more events with No More Tears which would be a wonderful opportunity.

Aside from hoping that you can join us, it would be great if you could share this invitation with any friends/clients/acquaintances that might be interested in shopping at Jimmy Choo. If they don’t want to come to the event or can’t make it, they can still shop (any day until the 28th) and mention No More Tears or show the invitation and the percentage will still be donated.

If you cannot attend, or have limited interest in Jimmy Choo, it would be great if you could consider a direct donation to No More Tears.  No amount is too small.

Many thanks!

Carl Kruse – Supporting people doing good stuff

Poems – Carl Kruse Dot Org

Carl Kruse is taking a break.  This is from the Carl Kruse Dot Org archival clutter.

During the summer of 1988 Tammy Kaup shared a short poem by Roger Shattuck which has stayed with me all this time, at times being more salient, only to fade away and then later reappear.  As 2016 begins this short poem returns anew.  Fresh.  As if encountering it for the first time.  Isn’t a classic that which stands the test of time? I have never been able to find it in a web search and the only copy of it is the scribbled note Tammy left me in New York back during that summer of ’88.

Our future depends

on an endangered species of love-intensive persons

willing to walk not drive

the second mile

to use their naked hands to touch

the quick of things inside

their packages.

I yearn for these love-intensive persons,  willing to walk not drive the second mile and who use their naked hands to touch the quick of things inside themselves, as the poet alludes to. We need more of them.

Another scribbled note emerged from the archives, which likewise I could not find on the web but is attributed to Dianne Young of McLean, Illinois, talking about Route 66.  Well it’s talking about more than Route 66.  What makes for the best roads?

All the good roads lead nowhere.

They aren’t a direct route or a shortcut to anyplace,

and they hold no attraction for those bent on making time.

These byways, instead wander far over the map,

meandering through the mind,

not stopping till they

arrive at the heart.

Some view stashed away papers as clutter, perhaps as  the antagonist of clear thinking and tidy souldom.  But when long forgotten writings yield beauty and wonder I happily forgive  the clutter that contain them.

What might lie in your cluttered corners?

Carl Kruse

http://carlkruse.org

To Martin Luther King From Carl Kruse Dot Org

Carl Kruse is on break.  This is a guest post from Brent Harrison.

Some time ago I got together with a friend on Martin Luther King Day and to honor the man we read together his “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” in which King answered his critics who called his activities “untimely and unwise” with one of the best justifications for civil disobedience found anywhere.  As King urged local authorities in the South to obey federal anti-discrimination laws but at the same time encouraged violation of local ordinances that were discriminatory, e.g., he advocated following the law on one hand but breaking it on the other, he found the need to reconcile both actions and does so in his letter.

King also wrote here about the need to act sooner rather than later,  what makes for just versus unfair laws, and ruminates on the interconnectedness of all of us in a beautiful discussion of ethics found in few other modern American letters.

In what has now become something of a tradition,  on every Martin Luther King Day I re-read his “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” and encourage everyone who can to do so.

The link below is provided courtesy of the University of Pennsylvannia.

http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

Happy Martin Luther King Day in the U.S.

Carl Kruse

http://carlkruse.org

carlkrusemlkOriginal rough draft of “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” by MLK

Carl Kruse Recommends Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

“What’s a great place to visit in Miami that has nothing to do with partying,” ask several friends arriving in the city.  I send one and all to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG). There are few places like it.  Exotic plants A to Z.   A research and education facility.  A festival venue.  A laboratory.  Conservation inspirer.  Home to the world’s largest palm collection.  An oasis.  A uniquely Miami institution that serves the world by studying and encouraging conservation of tropical plants. It’s one heck of a place to spend an afternoon.  And more.
Just walking the 83 acres, if you did nothing more, is a beautiful experience, at once invigorating and contemplative. You love plants?  Multiply what I just said by ten.  You don’t like plants?  You will still love Fairchild.
There are four ways to take in the gardens. I like them all.

 

My first suggestion is to catch the guided tram tour, a docent-driven, train-like vehicle that spirits you around all the while regaling you with what’s afoot at Fairchild. It is a great way to get an overview of the place, its history, layout and of some of the more interesting features, such as the rain forest, butterfly garden, Window To The Tropics as well as an introduction to its landscape architecture.

 

Another way of exploring is to take a guided walking tour accompanied by an experienced staff member.  Here you get up close with a deeper look at the gardens.  I have taken the tram and walking tours many times, each time learning something new.

 

A third way of seeing Fairchild is on a self-guided tour.  Here you are on your own and I suggest doing this only after a guided tour with a docent.  And as I am invariably asked, Carl Kruse, can’t you simply visit the gardens diving in solo sans guide?  Yes of course, which is the last of the ways I suggest visiting.

 

Going at it alone is still great given the majesty of the place, and if just to be surrounded by beautiful flora is all you need and a break from the city, this will do fine.  You will see why so many people choose to get married here, and hey, while you are at bring a picnic, a bottle of wine, settle in, and see if you catch a glimpse of the local iguanas at play. But do try one of the guided tours if you can for your own enrichment.
There’s just so much goodness. Say hello to  unique treasures such as sausage trees, banyan trees, chicle trees, baobab trees, ylang-ylang trees (whose essence provides the oil for Channel #5 perfume), more palms than you can shake a branch at,  and the world’s largest cycad collection, which are themselves time machines to prehistory as some of them lived in essentially unchanged form when dinosaurs roamed the planet.  And if you time your visit right you might encounter some seriously unique specimens such as the Sumatran Titan Arum, a six-foot tall plant straight from Little Shop of Horrors that rarely blooms but when it does smells like a dead animal. Nicknamed Mr Stinky, back in 1998 it became the first of its kind to bloom in the U.S. in decades, doing so at Fairchild.

 

kruse-mrstinkyAmorphophallus titanum, a.k.a, Mr Stinky

Some exotic specimens serve as more than curiosities of the natural world. For example, there are more Haitian Kowos palms (Attalea crassipatha) at Fairchild than are found in the wild in its native Haiti, of which probably less than three dozen remain in what is perhaps the most endangered palm on the planet.  Researchers at Fairchild are studying ways to breed the Kowos and of possible re-introduction to its native home, generating some serious good karma for Fairchild.

Kowos Palm- KruseThe Haitian Kowos Palm at Fairchild (Photo: Carl Kruse)

Locally, Fairchild has helped reintroduce some 20 endangered species of native South Florida plants, from the Sargent’s Cherry Palm to the Broad Halberd fern, and in the process help reclaim habitat from non-native invasive species.  More good karma.

If you live in Miami or nearby, and love (and have space) for plants, consider checking out the yearly Plant Sale, where plants grown by Fairchild staff are sold to members during one weekend a year, usually the first week in October.  This is no normal plant affair.  And those doing the selling are not your typical horticulturists. You have to be a member to attend but becoming a member is a good idea as it gives access to the gardens all year around for free, among other goodies.  Examples of plants sold in previous sales include the exotic Bailey Palm (Copernicia baileyana) from Cuba, whose trunk looks like a concrete column, and the Silver Palm (Cocothrinax argentata), native to the Bahamas and South Florida, whose leaves have a silverish underside. You won’t find these plants anywhere near a commercial nursery, and certainly not at Home Depot.  At my house several Baileys grow in the backyard, courtesy of the Fairchild plant sale.  Serious goodness and life improvement. And a continuing accumulation of good Karma for Fairchild.

 

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Bailey Palms at Fairchild (Photo: Carl Kruse)

Besides the punch it packs as a botanical garden and world-class research center, Fairchild knows how to let its hair down.  It is home to several festivals, such as the Mango Festival, the Chocolate Festival, and the Orchid Festival. During Valentine’s Day, it organizes a dinner and concert guaranteed to warm any lover’s heart and throughout the year hosts a number of art exhibits, concerts and other goodness. And at any time there are lectures, chats and classes given by experts in such fields such as botany, painting, photography and such.  I will say it again – I like this place.

I ( Carl Kruse ) have been a member of Fairchild going on 25 years and there are few institutions I am more proud or happy to be associated with.  It is one of my favorite nonprofit organizations anywhere, combining heart, purpose, beauty, fun, knowledge, discovery, and showcasing the best of South Florida and elevating all of humanity.  Who said Miami was just about partying?

Carl Kruse

Happy Winter Solstice

Since before anyone kept records we have been celebrating Winter Solstice, the shortest day (and longest night) of the year. In prehistoric times people were afraid the sun would not return and performed elaborate rituals to encourage it back. In Roman times Saturnalia took place around December 25th, the date of the solstice in the Julian calendar, later adopted by the early Christian church as the alleged (but probably unlikely) date of the birth of Christ, leading to the celebration of Christmas.  And because other celebrations such as Hannukah and Kwanza arguably arose from the large-scale popularity of Christmas, we can thank the ongoing influence of the midwinter equinox for the host of celebrations taking place as the year comes to an end.

The word solstice comes from the Latin words for sun, “sol,” combined with the word “stitium,” which is to stop.  In our modern calendar Winter Solstice takes place this year December 22, which is today.  Any reason to celebrate is good so let’s continue humanity’s long tradition of merry-making and celebrate. Here we will do so with a chewy-velvety glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and some time thinking on things we are grateful for, like our friendships, our family, and that even though much seems awry in the world, we remain hopeful for a better future.  Happy Solstice all from Carl Kruse Dot Org.

Carl Kruse

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Moon over the Bremen cathedral

The Best Aquarium In The World

Carl Kruse Dot Org Profiles: The Monterey Bay Aquarium

In California there is an aquarium that makes you feel all other aquariums should be modeled after it, in spirit, and in outlook. Transformed from an abandoned cannery on water’s edge at Monterey Bay, it is at once beautiful and imposing. Steinbeck once wrote of this area and of its sardine industry in his novel “Cannery Row,” though today it is touristy restaurants and well-tended souvenir shops that hold court. The sardines were fished out years ago, never returned and with their departure went the canneries. But today there is the aquarium.

When I hear the word “aquarium” my first thoughts are to Seaworldesque shows and schlocky exhibits. But all is good in Monterey. Researchers pursuing knowledge of the oceans and its denizens. A center for conservation. People trying to make the world a better place. A visit is an uplifting experience.

There’s much to like. From its design, which incorporates elements of the former cannery, to the staff, to its mission of understanding the bay that is its home and of inspiring conservation of oceans everywhere. It is a special place of which we could only hope more could exist in the world.

VorAquarium Entrance (Photo: Carl Kruse)

A quick overview of its aquariumish traits. The facility is a quasi-extension of the ocean biosphere, accomplished by pumping 2,000 gallons of seawater directly from the bay every minute into the exhibits, allowing the keeping of wildlife such as giant kelp, which normally do not survive in regular aquariums. The kelp do nicely here with the influx of nutrient-rich seawater, growing several inches a day and this was the first aquarium in the world to exhibit these giant plants as it was the only one for some time that could provide the right environment. You can espy the top leaves of wild kelp peering from the ocean surface about 100 yards out in the bay but here you see them, top to bottom, as if they had emerged from a Jack-And-The-Beanstalkish fairy tale.

carlkruse2Giant Kelp (Photo: Carl Kruse)

While the kelp are magical, few wildlife exhibits anywhere are as captivating as the jellyfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Equal parts informative and artistic, mesmerizing and contemplative. A visitor enters a u-shaped, dark corridor to encounter softly lit tanks that border on the psychedelic. Here Sea Nettles, Comb Jellies, Moon Jellies, Box Jellies, Blubber Jellies, and other esoteric relatives enthrall everyone with ethereal movements. I say everyone because everyone is enthralled. Some of the jellyfish live at incredible depths — and corresponding pressures — and only survive in special tanks. During one of my visits I sat before an exhibit quite some time, oblivious to the clock, carried away by the dim light, the softness, the jellyfish. One of the staff members approached and told me he also falls into quasi-trances sometimes when watching these creatures and suggested I get a DVD from the gift shop that features the jellyfish. Unsure whether he was pulling my leg, I went ahead and got a copy, later purchased more as gifts, and years later (and upwards of a dozen presents to others) it is now my favorite ambient video. If you can find it get a copy. I reviewed it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/review/R26ULP9I1ETMSL

carlkruse4carlkruse1Jellyfish (Photos: Carl Kruse)

There are other unique exhibits such as the beloved sea otters, sharks and sunfish, and other delights, but I do not want to write a blow-by-blow description of the aquarium leaving it to you to visit.

As aquariums go, this one delivers everything anyone could expect (and more) from a place hosting aquatic exhibits.

aftAquarium From The Back (Photo: Carl Kruse)

But what makes the Monterey Bay so special is its pursuit of knowledge and its mission to help conserve oceans everywhere.   This is not simply a place with beautiful aquatic exhibits. The organization carries out important research and works with officials to promote the protection of fragile species, to tackle threats to sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and to address issues affecting coastal communities, including global warming and pollution.

In helping conserve oceans and fisheries, the Monterey Bay Aquarium believes the most important act we make is with the type of seafood we purchase. To this end, the aquarium publishes a seafood guide under its “Seafood-Watch” program, which helps people choose seafood caught or farmed in ways that support healthy oceans, especially for the future. The guide highlights seafood selections as “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives,” and which are best avoided.  Check it out at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/conservation-and-science/our-programs/seafood-watch.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a nonprofit organization worthy of support as it tries to make the world a better place for all of us. It is my hope you will take a moment to learn more about its work and efforts.

Carl Kruse

We Are The Music Makers, The Dreamers Of Dreams

Already immortalized by the time Willy Wonka re-immortalized it, Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s ode resonates beautifully with those sure they are the music makers, the dreamers of dreams, the movers and shakers.

And wouldn’t that be all of us?

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties,
we build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story,
we fashion an empire’s glory.
One man, with a dream, at pleasure
shall go forth and conquer a crown.
And three, with a new song’s measure
can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying,
in the buried past of the Earth,
built Nineveh with our sighing
and Babel itself with our mirth.
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
to the old of the New World’s worth.
For each age is a dream that is dying,
or one that is coming to birth.

-Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy, “Ode” from his book “Music and Moonlight,” 1874

 

CARL KRUSE

SoBe Arts: An Artistic Beacon in Miami

There’s a small arts organization in Miami that does so much with so little to make the city’s cultural life glow brighter.

SoBe Arts fuels new music, music-theater, modern opera, and other new creative arts and aims to create an environment for contemporary artists to produce new works. It holds music competitions, provides management services, workshops and lectures.  It is led by renown composer, conductor and artistic director Carson Kievman.

Sobe Arts also teaches students of all ages – regardless of money – how to play an instrument. How to act. How to dance. They put on first-rate performances — gratis – for all. They bring internationally renown performers to their stage. It’s a small beacon of light in the midst of Miami Beach and one of the most successful at cultivating new audiences for the fine arts.  SoBe Arts is an official Cultural Anchor of the City of Miami Beach.

Folks in the Miami area looking to support a nonprofit organization that delivers such a beautiful bang for so few dollars deployed should look at “SoBe Arts.”

I served on the board of directors of SoBe Arts between 2010- 2014 and can speak firsthand of Carson’s dedication to bringing beautiful art to Miami.

Along with many other nonprofit groups, SoBe Arts has seen its share of government funding and grants dramatically reduced due to budget cuts. The organization could use your help in meeting its financial requirements. I have helped raise money for SoBe Arts with fundraisers at my home and by canvassing friends and introducing them to the work of the organization.  See: Kruseville Welcomes SoBe Arts

It’s one of my favorite small arts organizations anywhere.

For more information on SoBe Arts please visit http://www.sobearts.org

Carl Kruse

(What would we be without ordinary people attempting great things?)

 

 

 

Carl Kruse Dot Org Review: The SETI Institute

“Are we alone?” is a question all of us have wondered about. The SETI Institute has done more than wonder,  listening now for more than 30 years for any radio signals in space for signs of alien intelligence. Radio signals propagate far and wide and any advanced society will have likely communicated with radio signals or might even be transmitting now.  Dr. Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute was the inspiration for Ellie Arroway, the plucky scientist who searched the airwaves for alien signals in the 1997 film adaptation of Carl Sagan’s novel “Contact.”

Unlike what many believe, and what Hollywood loves to show us, there is no evidence today for the existence of intelligent aliens. Some would argue SETI efforts have come up empty-handed but there are reasons aplenty to believe many alien civilizations are out there given the vastness and age of space, and the laws of chemistry and physics being the same everywhere (we think). The building blocks for life as we know it are found everywhere and the probability of what happened on Earth – the evolution of intelligent life — is likely to have happened in many other places. There’s too much space out there.  And so much time has passed. And we have barely done much listening or searching.  Furthermore, our tools for the search — computing technologies — are still increasing at geometric rates in line with Moore’s Law, so that the number of radio frequencies researchers can analyze dramatically rises every few years.  We may soon finally hear that signal from an alien intelligence, confirming that we are not alone after all.

This optimistic view has been further stoked by the discoveries of the Kepler Mission, which finds the Milky Way filled with many Earth analogues, and our galaxy, with its billions of stars, is one of 100-400 billion other galaxies in the visible universe, each with hundreds of billions of stars and an astoundingly large number of planets.

So the odds of intelligent life out there are high.  Positive confirmation of it would be one of the major discoveries of human history.

Carl Kruse Dot Org invites you to  join the important work of the SETI Institute (http://www.seti.org) as it tries to answer the question, “Are We Alone?”

Carl Kruse

Carl Kruse Dot Org Review: Responsible Charity

RESPONSIBLE CHARITY IN INDIA

During a 2008 trip in India, my friend Hemley Gonzalez volunteered with a world famous charity in Kolkata and experienced first-hand the deplorable conditions that people were subjected to under the care of this well-known organization. Disheartened and shocked by the experience, he started working directly in the Kolkata slums where he felt his efforts might directly change the lives of the disadvantaged families he came into contact with.

After returning home to the U.S.A, he began a campaign to raise awareness on what he had experienced and thus Responsible Charity was born. A homegrown network of friends, family and volunteers provided the backbone for this new nonprofit organization.

Unlike some groups that have no realistic plans to empower people out of poverty, Responsible Charity strives to make  advances in areas that have a significant impact on people in poverty: education, planned parenthood, self employment.

I invite you to join and support this humanist charity founded by Hemley. His vision is fueled by compassion and guided by Gandhi’s famous maxim  that together we should be the change we wish to see in the world.

Responsible Charity, Corp is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit corporation and donations are deductible to the full extent of U.S. tax law.

Responsible Charity focuses on the following areas:

EDUCATION: Offering children a preparatory curriculum in their center and once graduated, guaranteeing private school enrollment for children living in the slums. Responsible Charity pays for tuition cost, books, uniforms, shoes, bags and supplies.

ENGLISH CLASSES:  In addition to a regular education program, Responsible Charity also offers dedicated evening English classes to young adults and their parents as well as special tutoring sessions for  children already enrolled in its schools.

FAMILY ASSISTANCEHomes rebuilt in slums and villages; stoves, fans, trunks, home repairs and more.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT: Mothers who are not producing breast milk are observed by Responsible Charity’s volunteer nurses or doctors, examined and then trained to handle baby formula which is provided to them on a monthly basis if needed. Government hospitals usually rush mothers out the moment their babies are born as these facilities are understaffed, overcrowded and short on beds. People line up outside waiting to be admitted, sometimes lying on the street for days. There is no postpartum consultation about nutrition, no examination of a mother’s well-being, or follow up visit scheduled; many new mothers consider themselves lucky to have given birth in a hospital in the first place.

BIRTH CONTROL AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD: One of Responsible Charity’s commitments is to educate young mothers on birth control. Both husbands and wives receive information and decide what is appropriate for them. Parivar Seva Sanstha is the medical NGO with which Responsible Charity currently works with. They are professionally managed, highly reputable, in existence for more than 30 years. The organization provides a range of quality, affordable reproductive health services and products in 21 states.

MEDICAL RESPONSE: Responsible Charity brings volunteer nurses and doctors to the slums for regular and basic check ups and diagnosis of common ailments such as fevers, stomach infections and minor issues; R.C. also refers patients to hospitals for consultation and further testing and or treatment which the organization covers financially when available funds permit it to do so.

SPECIAL MEDICAL CASES: Responsible Charity has several special medical cases which are evaluated on an ongoing basis and assists as funds are available, as well as emergency cases which are brought to its attention. In the past R.C. has successfully assisted in the financial coverage of complicated as well as regular and less invasive procedures for children, women and men in dire need of these services.

CLOTHING DONATION PROGRAM: Responsible Charity teams up with students from different schools, colleges and universities in Kolkata and collecting any unwanted clothes and other items from them, their friends and families and bringing them directly to the children, women and men living in the slums. It’s one of the many ways we’re trying to involve Indians directly in our efforts to bridge the gap of caste and social difference, leading ultimately to the ongoing commitment of Indians helping Indians out of poverty.

MICRO LOANS: Responsible Charity often authorizes and issues micro-loans for families who are looking to establish small businesses to sustain themselves with dignity. These involve the initial investment necessary for small shops or vegetable/fruit stands, common income generators throughout India. Additionally R.C. develops a co-pay program for items which aren’t affordable for many families.

SUSTAINABLE LIGHTING: Responsible Charity is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to bring sustainable lighting to families living in poverty in places where electricity is either cost prohibitive, inconstant, or in some cases not available at all.

Carl Kruse Dot Org encourages everyone to have a look at the work of Responsible Charity ( http://www.responsiblecharity.org) and the good they do in improving the lives of the most needy in the slums of Kolkata, India.  In our small ways we help as we can, such as the Carl Kruse Blanket Distribution In Kolkota  and with raising money for Hemley’s annual charity event at the Kruse residence.  Just a little  done by many makes the impossible possible.

  • Carl Kruse