Thursday, November 16, 2006

Nationwide Police Blitz on Cannabis Farms

Operation Keymer was set up to target cannabis factories across the UK, focusing particularly on 'skunk' varieties. See Sunday's Observer.

Some of the raids which come up on a Google search on "cannabis farm" (where reported the discovery is mainly because of smell):
Yorshire in June
Bradford in July
Northumberland in August
Pic of WPC at Northumbria farm
Newcastle in September
Rochdale in September
Staffordshire in October
Middleton in October
Wythenshawe in October
St Helens in October
Aberystwyth in October
Aldershot in October (pay to read)
Preston in November

The Bust
Here's a Google video showing a cannabis farm bust in Salford -
Cannabis farm bust (5 minute video)

What's it all about?
Stoned Free Guide to Growing Cannabis (36 minute video)

'Stoned in Suburbia'
For some delightful relief from all that hassle above, here's a lovely film with mature stoners, including Howard Marks and George Melly, a lady who bakes cannabis, leek and potato pie for her and her friends, and another who spent a week's holiday in the Rif mountains - Stoned in Suburbia (43 minute video)

'And some wad eat that want it'

Whilst those who should be guiding the world play their greedy, dirty, deceitful games dealing death and destruction with 'shock and awe', and equally greedy people grab as much as they can get of the spoils, one child dies every five seconds of hunger.

There are 850 million chronically hungry people on the planet, and the number is growing by four million each year. Hunger kills more people than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

Wot u havin 4 dinna tonite?

Source and photos: World Food Day

"Some ha'e meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we ha'e meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit."
The Selkirk Grace, Robert Burns

Matchstalk Men

This slideshow with audio shows what happened when a group of teenagers in hoodies tried to get in to The Lowry Gallery in Salford, UK - Sunday afternoon at the Lowry

For my own amusement, I looked up the words of the UK No 1 chart hit from 1978, Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs, by Brian and Michael - these are them:
He painted Salford's smoky tops
On cardboard boxes from the shops
And parts of Ancoats where I used to play.
I'm sure he once walked down our street,
'Cos he painted kids who had nowt on their feet,
The clothes they wore had all seen better days.

Now they said his works of art were dull,
No room, old lad, the walls are full,
But Lowry didn't care much anyway.
They said he just paints cats and dogs
And matchstalk men in boots and clogs,
And Lowry said "That's just the way they'll stay."

And he painted matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs,
He painted kids on the corner of the street that were sparking clogs,
Now he takes his brush and he waits
Outside them factory gates
To paint his matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs.

Now canvas and brushes were wearing thin
When London started calling him
To come on down and wear the old flat cap.
They said "Tell us all about your ways
And all about them Salford days,
Is it true you`re just an ordinary chap?"

And he painted matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs,
He painted kids on the corner of the street that were sparking clogs,
Now he takes his brush and he waits
Outside them factory gates
To paint his matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs.

Now Lowry's hung upon the wall
Beside the greatest of them all,
And even the Mona Lisa takes a bow.
This tired old man with hair like snow
Told Northern folk "It's time to go,"
The fever came and the good Lord mopped his brow.

And he left us matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs,
He left us kids on the corner of the street that were sparking clogs,
Now he takes his brush and he waits
Outside them pearly gates
To paint his matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


'We' is a free documentary produced by an anonymous student in New Zealand. It was released for free on the Internet and first appeared at an Australian web site called

The webmaster of received the film anonymously in the mail one day with a simple note that read:
"Feel free to pass this on to others who you know will be interested in its relatively unique content and perspectives (either by copying this DVD, dubbing to VHS, by dissemination through internet download, holding private screenings etc). Using the technology of this information age you have the freedom to be as imaginative as you like in the different ways which you can choose to make this accessible to others."
'We' features Arundhati Roy making her 'Come September' speech, and a soundtrack with music by:
Curve, Massive Attack, Dead Can Dance, Amon Tobin, Faithless, Boards of Canada, Love and Rockets, Nine Inch Nails, Lush, Telepop, Placebo, and others.

See the video on Google Video: We, featuring Arundhati Roy.

Or choose another way of viewing and read all about the video at:
"This is an unusual kind of underground production. An anonymous sympathiser has edited a video recording of Roy’s speech over 64 minutes, interspersing an impressive array of archival footage to illustrate themes and specific historical events. Contemporary music overlaid throughout the piece shifts the mood and quickens the pace. The result is a visual essay rather than a traditional documentary, perfectly suited to its creator’s intentions, which is to spread the anti-imperialist, social justice politics of Arundhati Roy everywhere." (from

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance

To keep your mind open, first be aware of how closed it may be.
Cognitive dissonance: writer James Atherton calls it "a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation. It therefore occurs when there is a need to accommodate new ideas, and it may be necessary for it develop so that we become 'open' to them." It's that queasy feeling that rises often in your gut online and screams, "I DON'T BELIEVE THAT!"

It's what happens "if someone is called upon to learn something that contradicts what they already think and know - particularly if they are committed to that prior knowledge - they are likely to resist the new learning. Even Carl Rogers recognized this. Accommodation is more difficult than Assimilation, in Piaget's terms," writes Atherton.

"And - counter-intuitively, perhaps - if learning something has been difficult, uncomfortable, or even humiliating enough, people are less likely to concede that the content of what has been learned is useless, pointless or valueless. To do so would be to admit that one has been 'had,' or 'conned'."

Selective Exposure Prevents Dissonance

Festinger [investigator of cognitive dissonance] claimed that people avoid information that is likely to increase dissonance. Not only do we tend to select reading material and television programs that are consistent with our existing beliefs, we usually choose to be with people who are like us. By taking care to "stick with our own kind," we can maintain the relative comfort of the status quo. Like-minded people buffer us from ideas that could cause discomfort. In that sense, the process of making friends is an example of selecting our own propaganda.

Postdecision Dissonance

According to Festinger, close-call decisions can generate huge amounts of internal tension after the decision has been made. Three conditions heighten postdecision dissonance: (1) the more important the issue, (2) the longer an individual delays in choosing between two equally attractive options, and (3) the greater the difficulty involved in reversing the decision once it's been made, then the more the person will agonize over whether he or she has made the right choice. Sometimes referred to as "morning-after" doubts, the misgivings or second thoughts that plague us after a tough choice motivate us to seek reassuring information and social support for our decision.