There’s A Choice We’re Making

If You Love Your Robot, Set It Free

It may not rival Disney’s WALL-E, but NASA’s Mars Rover Spirit just might be the most popular real robot in the solar system. And that popularity only increased when it became mired in loose, sandy soil on May 1.

Soft soil exposed when wheels of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit dug into a patch of ground. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University.

But soon Spirit may make a break for it.

While NASA made the most of the situation, using Spirit’s cameras and other instruments to examine the soil immediately around it, the engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have made a mock-up of the Martian ground where the robot is stuck. Their plan is to take NASA’s test rover — an exact twin of Spirit and its rover sibling Opportunity — and put it in the rig, then see how it reacts to various commands. The goal is to learn how to get Spirit to shake itself loose and get back to its journey across the Martian landscape.

The operation is being called Free Spirit, and Steve Squyres, the lead scientist at the Mars Exploration Rover Project, told that they anticipated starting the first test on June 30.

At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory website, a video featuring rover project manager John Callas gives a detailed account of just how engineers are going about this escape plan. In the background you can see someone working on the faux Mars landscape, which looks like nothing quite so much as a big sandbox.

When It Comes To Your Bra, Go Wireless

Ask a dozen women what they think of their bra, and you’ll likely get a dozen answers. What began as a humble foundational garment is these days more likely to be sold as a sexual aid, and modern bras can also be considerable feats of engineering.

Is Your Bra Unhealthy? Photo credit:

Now some doctors say they could be something else: A health hazard.

Specifically, the wire in underwire bras could serve an unintended function by cutting off circulation, according to Dr. Christiane Northrup in an article. Dr. Northrup, the author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, says that women who wear underwire bras run the risk of the wire cutting off the circulation of both blood and lymphatic fluid to the breasts and chest wall.

Another physician, Dr. John McDougall, wrote in his book The McDougall Program for a Healthy Heart that “constricting bras have also been implicated in the rise of benign (non-cancerous) but often painful breast cysts and lumps.”

Warnings also come from Dr. George Goodheart, who is a leading practitioner of applied kinesiology, who says long-term contact with metal can impact the body in many ways. It can be positive, as when metal beads are placed on acupuncture points to increase the effects of treatment. But, as he notes in the article, “Underwires in the underwire type of bra are directly on two very important neurolymphatic reflexes, which may inhibit normal processes.”

And Dr. Joseph Mercola is cited as warning back in his May newsletter that “Wearing metal on your body is something you generally want to avoid, and since many women wear their bras for the better part of the day, it would be sensible to find a healthier alternative to your metal underwire bras.”

So what’s a gal to do? The article suggests replacing metal underwires with plastic, or looking into either traditional wireless bras or modern models made with new materials.

International Rivals or Squabbling Spouses?

An internationally known spiritual counselor and a musician with deep roots in South Asia — Deepak Chopra and Salman Ahmad — have offered a somewhat unconventional take on the troubled relations between Pakistan and India.

How Similar We Are! Photo by Rahat Dar.

Take these nuclear powers to a relationship counselor.

In a Washington Post essay entitled “Couples Counseling for India and Pakistan,” Chopra (who is Indian-American) and Ahmad (a Pakistani-American) peer deeper into the long-simmering (and occasionally boiling) conflict between these two ancient nations. Noting that economic and social forces have already exerted new influence upon both governments, the authors believe further introspection is required before a breakthrough is made in peace efforts.

They write: “Both countries need to test if a deeper shift in consciousness has taken place. Family feuds make for the bitterest wars. Behind the facade of nationalism, Delhi and Islamabad have been acting like battling exes in a never-ending divorce dispute.”

Like a couple whose relationship is falling apart, these two nations need to move beyond the endless recriminations and focus on healing each other, and themselves. Chopra and Ahmad recommend a greater exchange of citizens and cultural heritage, as well as rejection of violent extremists. And perhaps most difficult, India and Pakistan must stop fighting over the disputed region of Kashmir and agree to let international mediators find the solution.

Taking note of the ongoing struggle for change in Iran, where the people have been protesting election results in the face of brutal government oppression, the authors urge their homelands to seize the moment: “Given the right signals, beleaguered Pakistanis and Indians will recognize and embrace a sincere, open approach toward conflict resolution. This may take a leap of faith on both sides, but the time is ripe. Iran isn’t unique. Change is in the air everywhere.”




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, July 3, 2009, #773 – BY PRIYA KALE

Aries (March 20-April 19)
You can be quite the idealist, but the time now has come to be real honest and in no denial whatsoever of deepest beliefs. You have resources you need to make a dream a reality, but at what cost to you? It may feel like a sacrifice but if this is ultimately what benefits the greater good, you know it’s a worthy investment. Just watch that you don’t fool yourself into a get rich quick scheme — there is no such thing. If you can rely on your core values and be guided by an intuitive knowing you can turn a corner towards manifesting something of great value not only to the world but for you personally. Pay attention in any conversations surrounding love and money and be careful not to project mistrust — there is a message coming through showing you the way forward to freedom.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
I would advise you to be gentle now with yourself and with your closest partners. There are complex emotions arising within and around you that you may not yet fully understand. Even more so your impulsive emotional reactions, never get you further down the road you know in your heart is the way forward. There may be some painful truths to wake up especially regarding a relationship, but if you can reach for honesty and lead the way to your destiny towards a common dream you share which ties into your larger role in the world. Be in no denial of this or the gifts you have to offer simply by being yourself. Be compassionate towards someone else’s mistrust which is something they have to work through themselves to resolve. You can only be yourself — Speak gently and truly, your words are not just words, but come from the deepest wisest part of yourself that knows the exquisite pleasure and pain of awareness.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)
Currently you are working with layers of hidden potential and your ability to unearth these riches will depend entirely on you being honest about your deepest values and highest aspirations. Pay heed to your doubts, but work towards overcoming raging fears that are unfounded in reality and only hold you back like dead weight. Be willing to ride the waves over the coming weeks; you are on a journey of diving to rediscover unknown depths within yourself. What you learn will not only comfort you but has the potential to open your world in a whole new way once you realize just how much you have to offer. There is a sweet breeze blowing into your world now with the unmistakable whiff of destiny. Now if only you could trust it, but then what do you have to lose?

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Things are heating up no doubt and I suggest you be extremely transparent within all your personal and financial partnerships right now. There may be a sense of woundedness you are struggling with but recognize your pain comes more from an attachment to the way things used to be and a fear of the unknown future. You can take the time to nurse those wounds but don’t base your choices in them. You are at the start of a significant phase in your journey of self-discovery and an important conversation if you are honest will be a hugely liberating force in your world. Let go of ideas based on who you used to be — this is about who you are today. If you can trust that what is real and unchanging will never leave you, you can focus on a sweet dream coming through showing you your innermost desires regarding the kind of intimacy and trust you need with your closest partners especially when it comes to sharing your heart and resources.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
Be honest now about which direction you want to take when it comes to your most important relationships and an important professional opportunity. There may be a sense of disillusionment you are struggling with that you would do well to acknowledge; your greatest fears regarding your reputation are in some way tied into this. But if you give in to wounded pride you are more than likely to cheat yourself of important opportunities coming your way. If you can keep rooted in faith rather than fear, the resources you need will come reminding you of your depth and the immeasurable value of what you are trying to manifest in the world. When it comes to love or money, there is a sweet breeze of destiny blowing through your world and some one you consider a friend may hold the key to your freedom. Welcome him/her with open arms and an open heart.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Just when you begin to get back in the flow of things, you may find something comes along making you doubt and question your beliefs all over again. This is no doubt a confrontation of all your old ideas and attachments to being able to being in control of your life. Indeed it may feel like you are being asked to dive off a cliff into raging rapids below. But I suggest you be gentle, honest and resolve your own fears that something is not possible. Be steady and realistic as you find your faith in your most noble aspirations. It may mean you have to re-write a few rules but if you can go with the flow, you are only re-routing the river to ease the flow of abundance. Find your courage this week as well as your deepest integrity. You are about to receive recognition for your selfless devotion to a dream of healing for your community. Remember you are a healer and it is in your giving you receive.

Libra (Sep. 22 – Oct. 23)
There may be a painful wound you are nursing now, but you are also learning how your fears if not dealt with can project shadows of mistrust on your most important partnerships. Only by being completely honest, can you keep awareness of what is your “stuff,” what belongs to someone else and what is truth. You’ve been undergoing a transformation and as scary as this may have been this week you reach a vantage point. Trust your perspective and wisdom that allows you to see the road ahead while others are still struggling with their clouds and demons of doubt. This may be a re-birth of perspective, or a new adventure beckoning you to your destiny but if you can be open minded you can find the deeper understanding you’ve been seeking to guide you forth.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Careful now that you are being honest with yourself about your how much you project your past experiences and wounds on your current relationships. Your search for belonging has been the burning question in your life, but about more than your geographical location or just financial security. This is about your heart and your soul, what makes you feel safe and at peace on the deepest level. You’ve been through your share of ups and downs within a relationship and now comes your moment of truth. An intimate, personal or financial partnership has an important message for your future. This may dredge up old fears, but if you can focus on what you know is stable and real and not project mistrust, your future need not be a repetition of the past. What someone is suggesting may seem like a risk, to surrender and dive deeper into a connection while the monkey mind fills you with fears of drowning. But if you can trust your sense perspective to help you keep your head above water, you are only being invited home to your destiny.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22)
Be extremely transparent in all your negotiations this week, especially when it surrounds an aspect of your daily life or a project you’ve been working on. This is about a greater vision you’ve held for a while but perhaps have been unable to find the resources for. You may wonder if all your effort has been in vain, but have faith in something you’ve worked passionately towards. You are entering a phase of important negotiations with partners which require you to dig deep to find your own worth. If you can be realistic and willing to question assumption as you present your vision, you can find the words that will get someone on board. You are gifted (and cursed) with the ability to see beyond the impossible and it is your courage and honesty that leads others to support you with the financial and emotional resources you need.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
Watch yourself and your most possessive tendencies this week, especially when it comes to wanting to control partners to mold to your will. It may not be a conscious effort on your part but if you can allow space for someone’s changing emotions, while being honest about your own desires you could save your self a lot of energy. You’ve been learning valuable lessons about your heart which if you’ve been truthful are setting you on the path to truly being able to enjoy your life on a daily basis. Find the courage to say what you feel but be gentle about it. Partners are listening but any self-deception on your part will only come back to haunt you. Your ability to be true to your passion and move in awareness of your wounds is what will bring you closer to expressing how you feel, and getting the understanding you need in return.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
Be extremely honest with yourself now about a close personal situation. It may be easier to remain in denial and lull yourself into a false sense of security, rather than deal with your own wounds and fears of isolation or rejection. But even you know this is something that you can only ignore at your own peril. You may doubt your inner strength at times, but it is what keeps you steady as you take the risks you do and still land on your feet. What others see as magic is your ability to break through your own limits keep discovering new levels of creativity and passion within your self. Something that feels like an emotional or financial risk now is actually pulling you closer to your destiny. If you can find your inner trust, what happens now can change how you perceive your world in an instant.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
You’ve been learning your potential to manifest word and thought into your tangible reality. Move in deep awareness now of your wounds as well as at anytime that you are tempted to conceal the truth. Its not that you are deceptive but there maybe deeper fears that you need to confront and voice even if they are painful to admit. And any pain you feel now is more likely attached to the loss of illusions than a ‘real’ loss of any kind. Encourage transparency in all your conversations especially in relationships where what you are trying to build is trust. You may fear that a partner may not be able to handle the truth, but if you speak gently and with courage the truth can only set you free. This is more than likely to open the road to you feeling like you are on the right track emotionally and financially, towards a future you can feel more comfortable dreaming of.

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