1 Briefly Describe The Uses For Antibiotics In Food-Producing Animals Ear Infections and Homeopathy

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Ear Infections and Homeopathy

As I am sitting at my desk, writing this very article, the phone rings. I had just finished referencing some recent medical journal articles (see below) which conclude the worthlessness of, and harm from, treating most childhood ear infections with antibiotics. There is a man on the line inquiring if I can help with his child’s ear infections. It seems his 14 month old daughter gets an ear infection about once per month. She has received multiple courses of antibiotics, all to no avail, and now their pediatrician wants to put her on a six month course! “This can’t be good for her,” he says to me. “So I am trying to find out if there is something else we can do.” These calls come all to often, usually after yet another failed antibiotic prescription or just after being told by the pediatrician that “If this doesn’t clear up soon we’ll need to do surgery to put tubes in Johnny’s ear.” Sound familiar? If not, yours is a very unusual child indeed. Earache is the single most common reason for bringing a child to a pediatrician. Three quarters of all children will have had at least one earache by the time they’re three years of age, and about a third will have had more than three episodes. Over the past 20 years the incidence of childhood ear infection has increased, occurring both more frequently and beginning at an earlier age.

Ear infections, or otitis (oto=ear, -itis=inflammation) can involve any part of the ear. Most commonly are infections of the outer ear or the ear canal called otitis externa, and the middle ear and ear drum, called otitis media. Of the two, otitis media is the more serious and the one most often referred to when your doctor diagnoses an “ear infection.” How the middle ear becomes infected is fairly straightforward. Why is not always so. There is a small tube, called the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear and the throat. It’s purpose is twofold. One is to open and close to allow fluid produced in the ear to drain out and into the throat and prevent other fluids from backing up into the ear. It’s second function is also to open and close for the purpose of normalizing air pressure. When we travel to a higher altitude and our ears “clog.” Swallowing causes them to “pop” because that action opens the eustachian tube allowing the pressure inside and out to equalize. Ear infections may develop when the eustachian tube does not open and close properly, allowing germ-laden fluids from the throat, along with secretions produced in the nose, to back up into the middle ear and not drain out. Colds and allergies may produce inflammation in the area and can be another cause for the eustachian tube to not function properly. As the immune system does it’s job to fight the infection, dead bacteria and white blood cells form pus which puts pressure on the eardrum as it builds up. The eardrum, or tympanic membrane, bulges outward under this build up, becoming painful as it is stretched. An older child will be able to tell you that there is something going on with their ear. With younger children you may notice them tugging at the ear or behaving differently, becoming either particularly irritable or perhaps very clingy. Fever may or may not accompany an ear infection and can be low or quite high. Occasionally the thin tympanic membrane tears, producing an alternative route for the pus to drain out. If this happens you may notice a discharge coming out of the ear. Don’t become alarmed if this happens. The body has rid itself of unwanted infected material and a torn eardrum will usually heal by itself rather quickly.

But why do some children seem to have one ear infection after another and others not. As mentioned above, the inflammation produced by a cold may ultimately lead to an ear infection. The more colds a child gets the higher the risk of frequent ear infections. Allergic reactions, especially to certain foods, are also associated with an increased incidence of ear infections. The top offender seems to be milk, and dairy products in general. In addition to being a very common allergen, dairy also increases mucous production, making bodily secretions thicker and harder to drain away. Other commonly associated allergens are wheat, as well as other gluten-containing grains such as rye, oats and barley. Eggs, corn, oranges and nuts may also be suspect. Diets high in sugar and fruit juices should also be looked at.

Two interesting studies have implicated both pacifiers and second hand smoke. A Finnish study published in the September, 2000 issue of the journal Pediatrics implicated pacifier use with an increased risk of ear infection in infants, as well as higher rates of tooth decay and thrush. The study found that children who used pacifiers continuously had 33% more ear infections than did those who never used them or used them only when falling asleep. A report on a Canadian study in the February, 1998 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine showed that children residing with two smoking parents were 85% more likely to suffer from frequent ear infections than those who lived in smoke-free homes.

Another possible influence are childhood vaccinations. Although there is much controversy as to whether or not there is a direct relationship, a significant body of evidence suggests that there may be. From a homeopathic point of view, though, there are certain categories (called constitutional types) of people who, due to inherited influences, are more susceptible to vaccine reactions.

Serious complications of middle ear infections are rare but can and do occur. These include mastoiditis, an infection of the part of the skull bone just behind the ear, and meningitis, an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of mastoiditis may include swelling, redness, pain and tenderness in the bony area behind the ear. Symptoms of meningitis are severe headache and stiff neck. Vomiting, mental dullness and mood changes may also be involved. If evidence of either of these two complications are seen, a doctor should be consulted immediately. By far the most common complication of middle ear infections are the chronic ear problems that often follow. Serous otitis media, commonly known as “glue ear,” is an accumulation of non-infectious fluid in the middle ear. It can cause problems with hearing as the fluid interferes with normal motion of the eardrum.

So now that we know what it is and how it got there, what should be done about it? As is evident from the opening paragraph of this article, conventional western medicine treats this problem with antibiotics. And shouldn’t they? This is an infection, right? And infections have to be treated with antibiotics, don’t they? If not, who knows what could happen! This couldn’t be further from the truth. The purpose of this article is not to debate the pros and cons of antibiotics. No one argues that, used appropriately, they can save lives. But they have not been used properly. They have been over-prescribed and wrongly prescribed. So much so that an article in the New York Times on June 13, 2000, reported that “The World Health Organization, taking its first comprehensive look at drug-resistant diseases, concluded in a report released today that the effectiveness of antibiotics had been so eroded globally that some diseases that were once easily treatable are now often incurable. Misuse of antibiotics, including over prescribing, and their use to increase animal growth have made treating illnesses as diverse as ear infections, tuberculosis and malaria much more difficult, said the report from the health agency, part of the United Nations.”

A paper published in the July 23, 1997 issue of the British Medical Journal reproached doctors for prescribing antibiotics routinely for ear infections in their pediatric patients. It reported on an analysis of existing studies relating to such treatment and concluded that not only is the practice a waste of time and money, it appears to be harmful. Antibiotics don’t speed recovery (in fact, at least one previous study suggests that they lead to more recurrences) and promotes proliferation of stronger, drug-resistant bacteria. The British researchers estimate that 97 percent of physicians routinely prescribe antibiotics for ear infections. An editorial in the November 26, 1997 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the largest medical journal in the world, citing this same study, encouraged physicians to stop all antibiotic use (except in very severe and recurrent cases) for this most commonly treated infection in childhood.

The RAND corporation’s Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC), conducting research for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, discovered some interesting facts regarding the management of acute ear infections. They found that nearly two-thirds of children with uncomplicated ear infections are free of pain and fever within 24 hours of diagnosis without antibiotic treatment, and that over 80% recover completely within 1 to 7 days. 93% of children treated with antibiotics recover within that same 1 to 7 days. The researchers also found that the newer and more costly antibiotics, such as cefaclor, cefixime, azithromycin, or clarithromycin, provided no additional benefit to children than amoxicillin. Amoxicillin caused fewer side effects than the other antibiotics as well. The EPC also found no evidence that short-duration (5 days or less) versus long-duration therapy (7-10 days) made a difference in the clinical outcome for children over 2 years of age. More than 5 million cases of acute ear infections occur annually, costing about $3 billion. The report points out that in other countries otitis media is not treated with drugs at the first sign of infection. Rather, in children over the age of 2 years, the norm is to watch and see how the infection progresses over the course of a few days. The report notes that in the Netherlands the rate of bacterial resistance is only about 1%, compared with the US average of around 25%.

The conventional western medical treatment for children who develop chronic otitis media is a surgical procedure called a tympanostomy. This involves the insertion of small tubes into the ear drum to drain away the fluid build up. The rationale behind this approach is that the reduced hearing caused by the condition may lead to long-term speech and hearing problems, and even behavioral and intellectual impairments. What I often hear from parents is that they have been told their child will go deaf if the procedure is not performed. Again, the current research does not bear this out. A study published this year (April 19, 2001) in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that children with persistent otitis media who get the tubes inserted immediately do not show measurable improvements in developmental outcomes. And this procedure is, by no stretch of the imagination, without it’s risks. The editorial which accompanied the NEJM article stated that “The tubes often lead to long-term anatomical changes in the tympanic membrane, especially tympanosclerosis [hardening of the ear drum,] retraction, and changes in mobility. What happens, for example, to hearing and the mobility of the tympanic membrane in middle-aged persons who had tubes inserted in childhood?” Not to mention that in any procedure requiring anesthesia, there is always the possibility of death!

Now that we have an understanding of what causes this all too common problem and know how not to treat it, let’s talk about what to do. As with any illness, first and foremost is prevention. And the best preventative for any infection is a strong immune system. For infants and small children, the best way to build their immune system is breast feeding. Breast milk is by far the most nutritious food for your child. For a more detailed discussion of this, and for alternatives for women who cannot or will not nurse, I refer the reader to Sally Fallon’s wonderful book, Nourishing Traditions, 1999, New Trends Publishing, Washington, D.C. Of course, prevention also means avoiding the various risk factors already discussed, such as providing your child with a smoke-free living environment, limiting the use of pacifiers, identifying and eliminating food allergies, limiting or removing sugar and fruit juices from the diet. If your child has already taken antibiotics, the use of probiotics, or “friendly bacteria,” is essential. Antibiotics destroy not only the “bad germs,” but also the good ones which reside in our gut. These bacteria are an important part of our body’s natural defense. A study published in the January, 2001 issue of the British Medical Journal showed that the addition of probiotics reduced both the number of recurrences of, and complications from, otitis media.

Now, to the active treatment of acute otitis media. A well known alternative medicine practitioner and columnist, Dr. Joseph Mercola, advocates putting a few drops of breast milk (your own or, if you’re not lactating, someone else’s) into the ear every few hours. He claims that this will clear up most ear infections within 24-48 hours. While the thought of clearing up a case of otitis media in one to two days using only breast milk may sound great, for me this is still way too long for a child to suffer. The well selected homeopathic remedy will act gently and very quickly, often within minutes (see cases below.) But there are so many homeopathic remedies that are useful in treating ear infections. In fact, a search in my repertory (the book homeopaths use which list all symptoms and which remedies are associated with them) under ear pain shows 326 remedies, 114 specifically under middle ear pain and another 65 under inflammation of the middle ear. Obviously then, different remedies are needed to treat the same symptoms in different people. For the average person, choosing the right remedy from this list can seem a daunting task. An important point to understand is that homeopathic remedies should be taken one at a time. Taking several remedies at once (as is found in combination remedies sold in stores for this ailment or that) can be confusing to the body and is not recommended. If you don’t know what remedy to take it is better to consult with an experienced homeopath, who will know how to elicit the necessary information in order to make an appropriate remedy choice. If your child has already been prescribed a constitutional remedy (a remedy which covers your general constitution and not just the symptoms of a particular illness) that will be you first and best remedy choice in any acute situation, earache or otherwise. For chronic problems, including chronic otitis, a constitutional remedy becomes a necessity. However, it has been my experience that for most cases of acute, uncomplicated middle ear infections, just remember “ABC.” “ABC” stands for the homeopathic remedies aconitum, belladonna and chamomilla. Following is a brief description of each.

Fear and anxiety are the main feature of aconitum. The aconitum earache is notable for it’s sudden onset, often being brought on by exposure to the elements, especially a cold, dry wind. The pain is intense and there may be a high fever. The child will be restless and thirsty, and the ear may appear bright red.

The belladonna earache has severe pain. The ear will be red, hot and throbbing, as will be the eardrum, as seen with an otoscope. More often than not, the belladonna earache will be right-sided and worse at night. These may be brought on by changes in temperature, with the child getting chilled or becoming overheated.

With the chamomilla type earache, the pain seems unbearable in a child who is already the oversensitive type, especially to pain. The child who will respond well to chamomilla will be quite irritable and seemingly inconsolable, except when held or carried.

D.W., a 2 year old girl, could be heard screaming in the background of the message her mother left on my answering machine. “She’s got a terrible ear ache. She keeps tugging at her ear. I don’t know what to give her.” (The mother, a patient of mine, had a well supplied homeopathic medicine kit.) “Oh, we’re supposed to leave for vacation in 15 minutes.” When I returned the call a few minutes later I got their machine. Hoping they hadn’t left yet I asked several questions. A few minutes later there was another message back with the answers. “Right ear, red and hot to the touch.” I called back, only to get the answering machine again. A very frustrating game of phone tag. “Belladonna,” I said. About an hour later I received a call, this time from the car phone. There was silence in the background. “I gave her the belladonna just before we got into the car. Within five minutes she stopped crying and the redness and heat left her ear. She’s been sleeping ever since.”

A.B., a 3 year old boy was brought in by his parents. He had a persistent ear infection in both ears. He had already been on three different antibiotics. A ear specialist put him on steroids, but still the tympanogram ( a devise that measures the mobility of the ear drum) showed little improvement. The specialist suggested “the tubes.” On examination his left ear drum was looking not too bad, the right was red and bulging from behind with fluid. A homeopathic consultation with a child this young not only requires finding out as much as possible about the child, but also about the parents. I prescribed chamomilla ( which seemed to be his constitutional type) in a liquid potency to be given on a daily basis, along with some probiotic products. I also performed a special cranial procedure to open the eustachian tubes and help the built up fluid to drain out of the middle ear. He was symptom free by the next morning. When I saw him five days later both ears were perfectly clear, with no redness or sign of fluid at all. A follow-up tympanogram by the specialist a few days later was normal.

Homeopathy and Childhood Ear Infections

Think “ABC”

by Stuart H. Garber, D.C., Ph.D.

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1 Army Soldier Taking Arrows And Fire Inspirational Picture Animated The Whole Marvelous Super Ultra Cosmic Magical Comic Book Universe

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The Whole Marvelous Super Ultra Cosmic Magical Comic Book Universe

The forge of creativity & business that was Marvel Comics was a synchronic chord sounded by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and all the authors and artists and inkers and colorists who worked there. It all started during the early 1960’s when the Fantastic Four and Spider-man and the X-men (The Uncanny X-Men) were formed from the imagination of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

X-men was a box office smash last summer. I’m sure you also remember the highly successful Hulk TV show.

The earliest X-men consisted of Jean (Marvel Girl) Grey (who later became the extremely popular Phoenix), Professor X (Xavier), Cyclops (Scott Summers), the intelligent Beast (Hank McCoy), and Iceman (Bobbie). Mutants born with special “super-mutant” abilities.

Later came the New Mutants with younger characters possessing mutant powers that sometimes seemed to possess them (the only type of comic book story I don’t like).

These characters from X-men including (Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Storm, Banshee, Kitty) evolved with the advent of the creativity of John Byrne (starting in issue #108 of X-men) and Chris Claremont (Giant Sized X-men #1 and Uncanny X-men #94 now valued at $500. up in “mint” condition. The most popular character was the main star in the X-men film–Wolverine. There is sure to be a sequel for this box office smash.

X-men Comics taught kids that prejudice is evil. People who live in fear and thus greed try to destroy that which they don’t understand.

Interesting that both the most recent Star Wars film and X-men film took a hard look at politicians (Congress). If power corrupts absolutely is it possible our system is absolutely corrupt? The Senator in the X-men film learned his lesson a little late.

Spider-man–the new Marvel film in the works–is about a kid who with usual teenage angst (bullies beating him up, not getting any babes, acne and so forth is mild stuff compared to today’s school experiences–such as not getting shot & killed while going to or attending school or being seduced by a deadly drug or infected by a killer disease) is merely bitten by a radioactive spider (radical stuff for the early 1960’s).

This gives Peter Parker super powers–insect powers–if amplified a man could lift a truck and carry it 20 miles as ants do. (Don’t get me started talking about Henry Pym the Antman who became Giant Man in the Marvel’s Avengers ((Capt. America, Thor the Thunder God etc.))). Add to that Peter Parker was also a brilliant student who was able to invent a web shooter and other great inventions. And Spider-man was born as a bi-product of the bi-product known as radioactive material (which Science still doesn’t know how to get rid of). (Try telling that to the Bush administration). Everything is energy! Remember Tesla coils.

But Marvel was not the only place parading superpowered characters.

D.C. Comics (Time Warner), too, utilized mythology and stories of Biblical proportions to entrain, energize and excite generations of teenagers, kids and adults from the 1940’s to present.

Some characters such as Superman, Atom, Flash, Batman, Green Lantern, JLA and others & even D.C.’s version of Capt. Marvel may have been inspired by spiritual literature which told of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and even Biblical personages who could stand in fire etc.

Scripts & Wit

Super Heroes: originating through human imagination and from literature, mythology, religion.

Though probably comic creators just made up their wondrous stories.

Once when I interviewed Gerry Conway for the Comics Journal he admitted to me that he had researched some of the comics he wrote. Conway’s friend partner Roy Thomas no doubt researched Conan and Thor and other material while writer & editor at Marvel. They worked together on the great animated Fire and Ice film. (Ralph Bakshi/Frank Frazetta).

And initially Thomas got the Conan property over to Marvel from Edgar Rice Burroughs in Tarzana, CA. (Tarzana–Tarzan…get it? Yep, it too is a comic.)

Older folk know and love the countless Films and TV shows and serials featuring these and other favorite colorful characters: Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Commander Cody (which may have inspired the Rocketeer comic and film).

COMIC BOOKS — Born by the sheer exhurberance of the Universe itself through the vehicle of the Human Being!

The Comic Industry is a metaphor for life. A cosmic drama unfolding. But not to put old wine into new bottles: Many times in the past Marvel and D.C. have teamed to do specials that benefits the play of creativity. I first met Stan Lee while I was the manager of a Comic Book Store in Studio City, California in the 1970’s.

Or, more accurately, I met him through his works at Marvel Comics — his extraordinary scripts & wit in 1961.

Very clever interaction with the fans through clubs and letter columns in the good old days made one feel as though one was a part of something. With Merry Marvel “we belonged.”

Stan Lee’s stories contained real life character’s, complete with dilemmas and the germ of great new ideas and principles for living a good life.

As when Spider-man didn’t stop a Burglar — the same Burglar who later killed his kind Uncle–Peter Parker (Spider-man) got the message — serve mankind. With great power comes responsibility.

And responsibility is the ability to respond.

Exciting fictional stories full of adventure and excitement with morals. Illustrated profusely.

Marvel Super characters were at first looked on by society as bad guys. Even after saving human butt thousands of times.

J. Jonah Jameson (cheap Editor of the Daily Bugle newspaper) has hated Spider-man for over 30 years. Jameson actually tried to destroy Spider-man by becoming a super villain.

Daredevil (blind Attorney yet Batman-esque in abilities & physical strength and agility–but with heightened senses) the Man without fear was often branded a villain too at first.

As was the ever popular Incredible Hulk — first immortalized as a comic book during the 1960’s. Who ranged from dull and stupid to near genius depending on the decade in which this enduring character is read.

What we fear we often regard as evil.

Comics have tried to teach us that the means are as important as the ends they produce.

What we do along the way determines the end result we will get. Comics are published because a word sounds good to the publisher. But some of these new young independent publishers need to know more about the meaning within these words (and so do their customers). But more power to these enterprising youngsters.

What is Yoga, Meditation, Tai Chi, Mantra? What is Zen? (One young upstart publisher of “Zen — intergalactic Ninja” had never heard of Alan Watts — great promoter of Zen until I told him Alan Watts was a famous and popular theologian turned beatnik Philosopher & Author (one of many) responsible for introducing Eastern Religions to the spiritually starved West–often heard on KPFK radio. Alan Watts is possibly the foremost promoter of Zen. Watts’ book ” The Wisdom of Insecurity,” mentions, of all things, Comic Books. What are Chakras? The Tao means what? When kids grow up and learn about Meditation will they be tainted by our stupidity and greed?

Buzz words usually lower consciousness and cause confusion. Of course when I use to publish stuff as a youngster I made up names that sounded good but had little or no meaning such as: Beyond Infinity, Eon the Magazine of Graphic Illusions. I know less now than I did then. What is craft, art, Love, Truth?

I held several autograph parties with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I threw over 50 successful autograph parties with many wonderful comic book artists and writers. I’d host the event, provide refreshments, do all the advertising, graphic art, press releases, etc. It was an exhilarating experience. It was fun to interact with pros and fans. I gave away a lot of free promo stuff.

Ninth Nebula’s first autograph party was held with Stan Lee, publisher of Marvel Comics. For ten years my shop endured in North Hollywood, CA next door to the world’s oldest Science Fiction Club (a built in audience of friends and fans and computer fiends).

The Stan Lee event evoked long lines of Comic Book fans of all ages drooling for Stan’s signature on the splash page of their old and new comics. Nowadays professionals sign comics on the cover of their title en mass which I don’t approve of. (But who listens to me).

Comics forms are often abused by aspiring young publishers who use several unnecessary full page splashes when the effect could be achieved in a tiny panel — waste of money, ink and paper if you ask me. Unlike the good old days when Steve Ditko gave us our money’s worth in the form of about 6 panels per page — he in his way was like a Zen Master — the precision of his work rivaled the art of Chinese Calligraphy (see his unique style in old Atlas Comics from the 1950’s). Some of the recent experimentation’s by Frank Miller & other talents have all done exceptionally creative work too.

Stan Lee’s arrival in a Limosine exemplified the style and pizzazz in which he lived his life. He was the spokesperson, promoter and Publisher of Marvel Comics at the time.

Stan has more energy than many men half his age. Did you catch the Hitchcock-like cameo in the awesome recent excellent X-men film where he was a Hot Dog vendor (on the beach).

Ninth Nebula was a context for many things but few know it was my 2nd book shop. My first store was opened in 1978 in the Santa Monica area and was called Beyond Illusion: New Age Book and Comic Shop. But comic books paid the rent even back then.

From 1985 through most of 1986 I threw over 19 successful mini Comic book Conventions (the San Fernando Valley Comic Book Convention). This show allowed me to open Ninth Nebula–the Complete Comic Book Store. Small in size, yet packed with all the best stuff.

Jack Kirby appeared at one of my autograph events too. Kirby was Lee’s partner on all the important Marvel titles in the early 1960’s when they were formed such as Fantastic Four, (Strange Tales) Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hulk, X-men, Daredevil, Avengers, Journey Into Mystery) Thor, (Tales to Astonish) Ant-Man, (Tales of Suspense) Iron-man, Capt. America, etc.

Around 1961 Amazing Fantasy #15 was issued which is the first appearance of Amazing Spider-man and if in perfect shape could fetch $20,000 or more. Check your price guides.

Comics were serious business until the Death of Superman (and then it exploded further) which created new problems and opportunities as the comic industry began new birth pangs in 1993.

I gave 100% service & attention to all my customers at all times. I had to become innovative since often the store became overflowing and I could not mention all the new titles. I’d push a button on my tape recorder when people said “what is new.” Then the many fans and readers would get an audible list of every last detail of the new comics that had just come in. I was busy ringing sales with other customers so this made it possible for me to sell more comics. When shipments were bumped due to mail I’d say put my comics in some coffins — I need ’em now (Capital City never did). When I lived on the premises I had a buzzer so I was the first 24 hour comic store that I know of.

As a kid I’m proud to have collected and owned several complete mint sets of every Marvel Comic Book (1961 to present).

In fact I feel the Lee, the Ditko and the Kirby are three awards the Comic Industry should create (I said this loudly prior to 1984). Though as often as I try to turn him into one of his characters (such as Doctor Strange the occult master of mystic arts) Stan remains a human being — a man, down to Earth — courageous and kind. But I’m sure it was Stan’s business savvy that made and kept Marvel such a colossal success for many years.

Long may Vishnu (Hindu God of preservation) bless the best that the “Comics Industry” has brought forth in creative inspiration down through the decades.

With comics you get to read and enjoy them over and over again and someday they will be worth something. Sure the overproduced over hyped stuff may be valueless, but if you buy what you enjoy you can’t lose.

Comics have proven themselves over the last 60 years as a legitimate American art form. Comic Book audiences are growing faster than in any other hobby form including electronic games & virtual reality. It isn’t over yet. In fact, one could say we are at the beginning.

(“He who knows, knows, they who say they know, don’t.” –Lao Tsu). Like Meditation, you won’t know what it is unless you try it.

There are many Star Trek and Star Wars Comics from Marvel and D.C. that have been issued and I collected in the past all of which are very popular. These use to be issued by Gold Key in the 1960’s. Shatner co-created TEK comics. Spielberg and Lucas were influenced by the Comic Book genre. Roger Corman is cashing in with his Cosmic Comics. Even Leonard Nimoy has a successful Comic out. Other comics sport logos from deceased Isaac Asimov & Gene Roddenberry.

In the 1960’s, Underground Comix & Fanzines made the scene. One could say this was the beginning of the Independent line of comics. Vaughn Bode’ (Cheech Wizard) kids have emulated this sadistic character through their Graphitti on the walls of washes in the past for years) Rick Griffin, George Metzger are but a few of dozens of innovative Philosopher/Artists whose work not only represents the 1960’s but whose originality rivals the Will Eisner’s (The Spirit), Harvey Kurtzman’s (MAD ), Milton Canniff (Steve Canyon), AL Capp (Lil Abner) of their day. Though sex and drugs were the order of the day, during the 1960’s, Underground’s did not and do not represent mainstream comics–which are clean and not usually politically or spiritually sophisticated. Though political cartoonist Ron Cobb punched the unrightous right wing in their gut when necessary during the 1960’s.

If you know where to look one can find incredible literary treasures in this unique American art form–The Comic Book, now worldwide in acceptance, popular in every country (indeed, as a teaching tool one could learn other languages).

Fanzines and Underground’s contain some of the earliest and most bizarre art by today’s seriously great Comic Creators.

A successful new film has been released a few years ago about the life of Robert Crumb creator of Fritz the Cat. Robert Crumb also created Zap and Mr. Natural (I’ve seen original Mr. Natural artwork prominently displayed framed on my best friend’s Fathers’ wall. (A Psychiatrist by profession in the early 1970’s).

Gerber’s four volume Photo Journal Guide To Comics is a masterpiece chronicling comics history with full color photos of the covers of old back issue comics from the 1940’s–1970’s loved by many generations of people who wished their mother hadn’t thrown them away so they could retire in style today. I explain it is never too late to begin again as gems are published weekly and the selection is enormous.

Many Doctors, Lawyers, Film People, Teachers, Musicians, Computer Experts, Politicians, Artists & Authors people from all walks of life still all read comics & or collect them. I’ve sold comics to Clint Eastwood and his son. Robin Williams once roller skated into my first Comic Store in 1978 and bought Art Books & material related to the Comic Book genre. My friend reminds me that when I threw a mini comic con Leo DiCapprio worked for me briefly (I bought Underground comics from his Dad George).

Social Relevance

Comics indeed, teach art and story writing skills by their very nature. And are used by storyboard artists in making films, doing animation and more.

At my suggestion Marvel and D.C. issued Hunger Awareness comics in the late 1970’s with proceeds going to charity. Various talents offered their artistic skills as a donation. Marvel and D.C. have done other promotional activities for charities protecting wildlife, anti-drug campaigns etc.

Other social issues Marvel has utilized in their Comics: Scientist/Inventor Tony Stark wrestled with his own inner demons as an alcoholic with heart problems who is kept alive by his suit as Iron Man (see the new film coming up).

The blind Daredevil fought the (Kingpin) Mafia & Crime with his supersenses. Radioactivity and a spider created Spider-man.

A nuclear test created the Hulk.

As I read Dr. Strange (one witnesses a 30 year battle with Dr. Strange that sadly and finally ends as the villain Baron Mordo dies of Cancer–fully forgiven by Dr. Strange all the evil rendered unto him.

World War two vet Nick Fury (Secret Agent) dies just after his creator Jack Kirby passes away.

I discovered new worlds in micro dimensions and negative zones in the Fantastic Four (Human Torch lives) back in the early 1960’s.

Marvel Lee/Kirby even created the Black Panther at the same time as Black Panther’s were active in America–and this tie in with history and comics is not an unusual thing. This version of the Black Panther was a Chief from Africa with super powers of a sort.

In the 1980’s Aids Awareness comics were issued (Ninja high School). And a major character also died from Aids in Marvel’s (Canadian Mutants) Alpha Flight.

Some Comic Books teach Science or even other languages. Ms. Mystic by Neal Adams and Green Arrow by Mike Grell and Hawkmistress by yours truly (ask to see the script) often tackled environmental issues. Am I preaching to the converted.

Kids like to read & try their hand at creating comics. Classes (including Distance Learning internet classes on comics and other themes are available around the nation. In other words people can get credit and training without leaving their homes.

Comics are a safe addiction for the whole family.

Big Little Books (short thick early one page comics, every other page just text–hardbound, from the beginning of this century) are a form of early comic books.

Violence in any form is wrong (physical, emotional etc. or against Nature). Scape-goat-ism / facism of an economic, political, militaristic, religious, talk show, judicial, prison or from any source is wrong.

Other comics explored the murders of JFK, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Most comics are not humorous. And History can effortlessly be learned, through the enjoyment of comics.

Capt. America and the Human Torch fought Hitler & fascism in Captain America comics during the 1940’s, for example.

Comics can be better than film or TV when done right. Though few have translated to the screen all that well so far except for X-men and a sleeper called Unbreakable (as of June/July 2001 it’s extremely hot at the video stores). (A great film! But it seems the comic industry is attacking itself? with this sort of material.)

There are comic books as high in vibrational quality as classical music. E.C. comics Weird Fantasy, Incredible Science Fiction, Weird Science & Weird Science Fantasy & others from the 1950’s (regarding art and story) & certain comics from Marvel & D.C. and other companies may sometimes be likened unto the much higher vibration of John Lennon or Vivaldi (quality wise). (See Dreyfus in Mr. Holland’s Opus to understand what I am saying or even Finding Forester with Sean Connery). Because of the level of story and rendering of art back in the 1950’s when issued. These were projects of love and survival.

The new way to sell comics is Ebay, Amazon.Com and Yahoo auctions. Among others. eBay is the most successful so far.

Keeping track of your collection is a full time job. There is now inventory software for organizing Comic Collections.

I’ve enjoyed watching a few good “Electronic” or internet Comics at DC, stanlee.net and elsewhere. But animation is still better (as far as I am concerned). Beast Wars is a really well done 3-D cartoon originating from talents in Canada. Beast Wars is probably the best animation being produced these days.

Store owners didn’t mind the plethora of first issues until around 1996 when new people took over at Marvel and elsewhere. Comics are a viable art form no one should take advantage of. But retailers and fans feel they have been used. And we resent it.

One funny footnote, Frederick Wertham, the much hated Psychiatrist blamed for the demise of E.C. Comics and other companies during the 1950’s paranoid Senate subcommittee hearings where he testified against the “violence in Horror & Crime” Comics actually found something in Comics of value a little later in his life and began publishing Comic Book Fanzines. Yes Wertham got into Comics Fanzines and self publishing!: Wertham complemented Fanzines as a good that came out of Comics.

Fanzines are of many types from Science Fiction to Comic Book from art-zines to zines that specialize exclusively in one genre: Dr. Who, Star Trek, mainstream Science Fiction books etc. There are pro-zines (published by professionals in the comic industry) and zines that are “self published” by fans.

Censorship is wrong unless it is self imposed.

D.C.’s Elseworld’s stories are extremely creative and good and take comics to the next level. Putting Superman or Batman in a unique setting in time and space isn’t a new idea but the way DC executes these tales with details is usually innovative and exciting.

Where does one classify the classic Cerebus the Aardvark by Dave Sim, Reed Fleming Milkman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Hate Comics?

Classics Illustrated (classic literature illustrated) helped many people with time constraints pass a book report.

Black & white Warren Magazines (Vampirella, Creepy, Eerie) from the 1960’s often contained some of the best art & story for any time. Some fans are reeling still from the talent of Richard Corben (Den, Nevermore), Mike Ploog (Frankenstein), Jim Starlin (Warlock, Dreadstar), P. Craig Russell (Night Music, Elric.) Great work hidden in Tower Comics (Wally Wood) and Charleton Comics (Ditko) too.

The unacknowledged older audience pray that Marvel and D.C. maintain as high a standard of quality as possible.

New talent should not copy from other people’s work. Draw from life and photos. Regardless of what misinformation you may get.

Stan and Marvel literally saved the Comic Industry from extinction during the last 35 years I feel.

Eventually fans may focus on Silver Age and Golden Age comics from the 1940’s–1960’s. Or the E.C.’s from the 1950’s as I did at age 15 after acquiring every Marvel and D.C. issued during the 1960’s. But one really can’t outgrow comics. Once it is in your blood it will always be in your blood. New or now-agers would say I’m “too attached” to my possessions (comics). Possibly so. But a really well written nicely illustrated comic is better than watching Disney’s Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 in an Isolation float tank isn’t it.

Remember when I said one felt part of something with Marvel in the early days — “The Merry Marvel marching Society” etc. This is very true. People want to participate in an active way in their lives. This is one reason costuming is so successful at Comic and Science Fiction conventions. And one reason why Toys and Magic the Gathering and the internet comics, where you get to direct the outcome of the adventure, are so viable as hobbies. Because instead of watching TV one gets to enter in and play to be active and to participate.

Good art and stories are essential. Stan use to say “put it out there and see if someone salutes.”

When we were kids, of course, comics cost just.10 cents to.12 cents each. The first.02 cent raise meant we had to cut back a certain number of comics. Today Action Comics #1 (where Superman first appeared in 1938) goes for $175,000 in near mint in auctions but was onJy $400.00 when I was a 15 years old kid.

I was selling Joe Kubert original Hawkman art to people on Military bases back then and then buying more comics with the profits. (See how Comics taught business, indirectly).

When comics were released I was the kid waiting to cut the plastic strip off the piles of new D.C. and Marvel comics before the manager got around to it back in 1961 at Thrifties so I could get the newest releases before anyone & pull out the most pristine “mint” issue each and every Tues. and Thurs. year after year.

Actually I was just trying to get the next issue to read and collect as soon as it was issued. Then in 1986 when I started Ninth Nebula I started air freighting the new comics to my shop and had 500 regular weekly customers. I also gave generous discounts.

We grew up, married, had kids, started our own comic stores.

More & more “readers and collectors” abhor this wanton greed and unfairness in the comic book marketplace to their pocketbooks and sense of right. They want quality not just quantity.

In a way this is where OLD Marvel really succeeded. Marvel taught its readers to think for themselves.

Most real long term retailers find nothing wrong with investors investing in Comics or Marvel Stock, and everyone made short term money with D.C.’s two first editions of the Death of Superman. Retailers made out quite well on Superman’s Death–especially the Black Bagged version. As did Newsstands who bought them from retailers and resold them at higher amounts. Copies sell at around $25.00 now for the “black bagged edition.” The day this issue was released copies sold from $5.00– $50.00 each. Reports went as high as $250.00 for a single issue. But there are so many titles produced that since comics are not returnable to the distributor the amount of left over inventory with any “real store” will be immense and costly. Profits for shops are not as high as you may think.

Another super successful comic, Astro City by the author of Death of Superman and the Painted Marvel’s, Kurt Busiek, was published by Image Comics. Demand rivals that of the D.C.’s acclaimed winner The Watchmen (a story of some out of shape Super Heroes who try to prevent New York and the world from getting blown up, written by English Author Alan Moore). My favorite comic lately is the Spectre which began in the 1940’s. I also love various issues of Hellblazer and Swamp Thing. Tastes vary and so do types of comics. When one says Archie or Casper or Disney or Richie Rich that might be the only frame of reference a novice has about what is available. Great or unique art draws me into reading the comic. Quality matters.

At Ninth Nebula our customers were 30-50 years old and spent $30.00 or more each week all year long. They’d get 30 comics all totally different from all publishers. Most customers still focus on Marvel and D.C. but Independent publishers are here to stay.

Mad Magazine was originally a smaller size E.C. Comic. At issue #24 Mad became an entirely black and white magazine in a larger format. The ever popular talented humorous generous Sergio Aragones has been on TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes and other shows and is co-creator of Groo the Wanderer (with writer Mark Evanier) started with Mad many years ago. Their Groo the Wanderer at Marvel literally had me laughing hysterically on the floor after I fell off my chair.

If you are just exploring comics for the first time be sure to check out stores that carry old and new issues.

Direct Market is strange now because there is only one real main stream distributor of comics today. Diamond. If you want to start a shop don’t order randomly–find out what your customers will buy. Use their order form. There are small publishers too from whom you might be able to order directly and internet subscription services.

Other material to check out when you get into Comics reading and collecting: Comics Values Monthly (think it still exists in some form), Wizard, The Comics Buyer’s Guide and The Comics Journal (Published by Fantagraphics. Opinionated Gary Groth is the editor). And of course the price guide Overstreet. Which should be used as a guide but not as the bible. My famous saying remains: “Buy what you enjoy–if it goes up that is an added bonus.”

This “industry” will endure for all those with faith who work hard and make wise choices in ordering: Marvels, D.C.’s and Independents.

New is no longer so sacred a word. But together we can make it so when it again deserves it. We are moving in the correct direction. Thanks Stan, you helped give the “Comic Book Generation” the ability to think, better than schools ever could. And the desire to keep on learning.

Remember we’ve moved from a you or me world to a you and me world. These aren’t just words but lifestyles millions of people adhere to now. And we are not the “fringe.”

I share this Truth as a service to the Comics Industry: “Wider is not better.” (Except for the car & luxury industry). Give us quality and we will give you our money, time and attention.

As King Arthur and Stan Lee might say: “Excelsior! ” Or as I might say: “Where’s my Digel.”

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1 According To Victor How Is Man Different From Animals Teddy Roosevelt, the Matterhorn, and Costa Rica Eco Tourism – The Beginnings

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Teddy Roosevelt, the Matterhorn, and Costa Rica Eco Tourism – The Beginnings

Like so many of the world’s great success stories, it began with a simple observation from an extraordinary man.

The man was Theodore Roosevelt.

Twenty years before he became one of America’s greatest presidents, Roosevelt had traveled to Europe to climb Switzerland’s famed Matterhorn. What he found or, more accurately, what he didn’t find distressed him enormously.

The mountain was nearly lifeless. Where once there had been many animals, there were no longer bears, wolves, goats, mountain sheep, or other wilderness creatures.

Though the term didn’t enter the lexicon for nearly a century more, Roosevelt was the world’s first eco-tourist and, I would say, the person most responsible for conservation in America. Based in part of his Matterhorn experience, he recognized the need to set aside vast tracts of wilderness to save them for future generations.

When he became President, over objections of vested interests, mining and timber companies, and robber barons, he set aside an extraordinary 230 million acres as wilderness, parks, and refuges.

His vision led to the discovery that the American public loved going to national parks and seeing wildlife. Sustainability proved more profitable over time than exploitation.

But, that was America’s experience. What about Costa Rica, a place that in 1519 its Spanish Governor called “the poorest and most miserable Spanish colony in all Americas”?

By the middle part of the 20th century, most of its forests had been cut or burned to make farm land. The country had become dependent upon the export of bananas and coffee for its economic life and when the world coffee market crashed in the 1970s, its future looked bleak.

But, in an unlikely alliance, conservationists joined with business interests and convinced the government to set aside large tracts of land for sustainable development In just three decades, Costa Rica set aside nearly 25% of the country for parks and preserves.

By any measure, the results have been stunning. While many countries were slashing, cutting, and burning their forests, Costa Rica chose to reforest and today jaguars, peccaries, and other wildlife are returning to places where they hadn’t been seen for more than a generation. With the animals came the tourists and prosperity.

Today, Columbia and Yale researchers rate it in the top five of all environmentally sensitive countries on the planet and, from “the poorest and most miserable Spanish colony in the Americas” in 1519, it has vaulted into the #1 position on the Happiest Place in the World Index.

Somewhere in the heavens, Theodore Roosevelt is smiling in delight.

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1 According To The First Know Your Greeks Animation Aristotle Teaching Earth Science – Its Challenges and Rewards

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Teaching Earth Science – Its Challenges and Rewards


Knowledge in earth science is very vital in nation building. Almost everything we do each day is connected in some way to Earth: to its land, oceans, atmosphere, plants, and animals. The food we eat, the water we drink, our homes and offices, the clothes we wear, the energy we use, and the air we breathe are all grown in, taken from, surround, or move through the planet. According to American Geological Institute (AGI) Foundation, by 2025, eight billion people will live on Earth. This number of people will undoubtedly continue extracting resources to maintain a high quality of life. As we benefit from all the resources we get from the Earth, then we, as individuals and citizens, need to know more about our planet – its processes, its resources, and its environment. And only through Earth Science education can students understand and appreciate our complex planet. In this present time, the old and the young must join hands and help one another in the serious task of nation-building, the young to learn from the wisdom and experience of the elders, the elders to recognize the impatience of the youth. In contrast, not all young students are willing to cooperate in order to acquire the needed knowledge, attitudes and skills essential for a secure future. It is then a burgeoning task for the teacher to facilitate learning so that quality education will be acquired by the students. This paper will discuss the different challenges faced by the teacher in imparting knowledge about Earth Science in public secondary school, likewise it will also discuss the positive aspects in learning the subject.



My first experience in teaching earth science was on September 2005 in one of the public secondary schools in Davao Oriental, specifically in District 1. I can still remember the first day when I entered the class of more than fifty (50) students crowded in a classroom. Some of them were busy chatting with their classmates, some were busy doing different tasks in their seats, etc. The first question that popped into my mind during that moment was: how can I get the attention of the students? As I introduced myself to them as their new science teacher, I saw different emotions reflecting on their faces. There were emotions of excitement, worries, anxieties, happiness, etc. I am not really sure if they were prepared to take new lessons in earth science. What I did was to let them get a piece of paper and let them write in there: their names, favorite subject, subject they hate most and why they love/hate a certain subject, and their expectation/s of the subject. I did this just to know whether they have interest in the subject or to know what subjects they liked best and the reasons why they love the subject. From that, I learned that out of more than fifty (50) students, only four (4) said that they like science subject. When I asked them why they do not like science as a subject, the common answer was: “Science is a difficult subject”. From that experience alone, I got an insight that students will have difficulty in learning a subject if they do not like the subject. Indeed, teaching Earth Science to undergraduates or high school students could be difficult “if the students are not motivated or if they are not interested in the subject”.

There are several ways of motivating the students to be interested in Earth Science. In my own experience, I used songs as part of my lessons – songs which are easy to learn and frequently heard by the students. I used the tune of a particular song and changed the lyrics so that it will fit with the topic I am discussing. There are also songs introduced to us during seminars that are very helpful because students would find it easier to memorize certain science concepts by just singing the songs over and over again. Example of these songs are: “We’re the Scientist” – in the tune of “Ako’y Isang Pinoy”; “Sistemang Harana” – in the tune of “Harana” as popularized by Parokya ni Edgar, this emphasizes the importance of scientific method in solving problem; “Super Science” – in the tune of “Superman”, stressed on the contributions of science in enhancing our lives; and a jolly song – “Youngsters Love Science”. After introducing these songs, I found them useful in memorizing scientific terms, concepts, and processes. With this, I feel happy when I heard some of my students singing those songs and sharing them with their friends.

There are different ways of motivating students to learn Earth Science. Teachers should bear in their mind that flexible approaches and connections to other subjects is the key to success in a classroom for motivating student interest. It was proven true with my personal teaching experiences. One should not stick to one option if it doesn’t work. Here are the motivating techniques which have been proven to work well with most students:

1. Relate local or national or international news items to some aspect of Earth Science. One may choose from a variety of items from the news. Some of the older news items and their impact on social/political life may also be of interest to students. Any news items relating to the following are generally welcomed by most students for class discussion: Earthquakes; Volcanoes; Tsunamis; Floods; Meteor Showers; and news items related to disasters – present or from past.

2. Pick a topic of common interest to most of the students, such as social or political problem that they are familiar with: nuclear power plants, illegal logging, global warming, consequences of urbanization; and mining. In my case, I used illegal logging, illegal fishing and mining as my point of focus because these issues are really happening in our locality.

3. Historical or biblical or religious locations and the geology associated with it: the Chasm at Delphi and the Apollo Temple in Greece and the vapors that emanates from the location; the geology of biblical areas such as the ones in Middle East; the Taj Mahal in India; the Pyramids in Egypt; the Great Wall of China; Niagara Falls and Grand Canyon in USA; Stories of Precious stones and gems; and any other similar ones.

4. Anecdotes from the scientific discoveries/contributions of great men/women of the past and present: Aristotle; Eratosthenes (measurement of the circumference of the earth); Ptolemy; Copernicus; Tycho Brahe; Johannes Kepler; Archimedes; Newton; Einstein; James Hutton; Charles Lyell; N. L. Bowen; Alfred Wegener; Harry Hess; and many more names that are worth mentioning in Earth Sciences.

5. Space exploration always fascinates students: anecdotes of Lunar exploration; Mars missions and life on Mars; Jupiter and its clouds and moons; discovery of new stars and other galaxies outside our own; and other similar explorations.

6. There are several facts that intrigue and fascinate most Earth Science students: a. Deepest mine in the world b. Deepest bore hole in the world c. Comparison of the above numbers with the radius of the Earth This can show them how little we know about the earth through direct observation. d. Compare these distances with the distance to the Moon These numbers can raise questions like “how come we did not go too far down inside the earth” and “how come we went almost quarter of a million miles to the moon”. e. Latitude and longitude and their use in navigation and the time zones f. Deep sea drilling and the mid-fifties project to drill past Moho into the mantle g. The election of President John F. Kennedy and his pledge to land a man on the moon h. The theory of continental drift and the evidence for it i. The fascinating new theory of Plate Tectonics and its development

I used some of the items stated above and they worked for me in classrooms. Good general knowledge coupled with interest and knowledge of a variety of items in Earth Sciences “can help the teacher in getting the students enthused in the subject”. As teacher, we should always bear in mind that Earth Science poses questions that are exciting as well as practical to children and adults alike.

Comprehension of the English Language

Provided that the students are well motivated in learning the subject, another problem comes in – how they will understand the instruction with the use of English language? It is an inevitable fact that most of my freshmen (first year) students do not understand spoken or written English. Those that can fairly understand belong to the first section but there are also students in the first section that cannot speak or write in English language correctly. This is really a problem because teaching Earth Science should be in English and all the references are written or published in English. It is also a known fact that English is the “Universal language of Science”. Therefore, in imparting knowledge to students, teachers should use English as a medium of instruction. I must also admit that I am not perfect in terms of elaborating concepts with the use of English so what I did was use the vernacular in some part of my discussion. To maximize understanding of a certain concept, I translated some scientific terms into the students’ vernacular so that they can fully understand what am I talking or explaining about.

In our school it was really noted that non-readers or readers with poor comprehension pull down the performance of the school during achievement test (Division, Regional or National). To partly solve the problem, if not totally eradicate, an Informal Reading Inventory (IRI) was conducted. This will gauge the reading level of the First Year students so that the school, especially the teachers can identify who among the students are non-readers or has poor reading comprehension. After the inventory it was found out that there are students with reading ability that is of Grade I level and there are really non-readers. So another burden is given to English teachers because aside from teaching their usual subject loads, they will do remedial classes for those students identified as non-readers or with poor reading comprehension. It is not only a burden for the English teachers but for other teachers as well who taught subjects with English as a medium of instruction. It should also be noted that poor or substantive English background slows down the process of scientific development because it is hard to understand scientific concepts while at the same time learning English language – this is learning two things simultaneously.

Discipline Inside the Classroom

In a classroom of more than fifty students or in some classroom sixty students, it is really important that discipline should always reign for maximum learning. In my first year of teaching, classroom discipline is really an issue for me. I easily got irritated by students who were noisy, always going outside the classroom without valid reasons, and students yelling or fighting with each other. But through reading books and attending seminars about classroom discipline, this problem was slowly been elucidated.

A well managed classroom will give the students rich opportunities for mental growth and development. Good classroom discipline produces favorable working conditions conducive to good learning and makes school work enjoyable and interesting. One aspect of the teacher’s role under the concept of discipline is to help students practice self-control and to develop standards of individual values and activities that will be carried on regardless of whether the teacher or parent or someone else in authority is around or not.

The concept of discipline when I was still in my elementary years is really different as compared with modern concept of discipline which is based on democratic principles. A good discipline is one that develops self-direction and self-discipline rather than discipline based on compulsion and obedience. In addition, he laid emphasis on becoming familiar with the cause of violation of discipline in order that such causes may be minimized, if not prevented, and offenses may be more satisfactorily diagnosed and treated.

As facilitator of students’ learning in Earth Science I should always bear in mind that classroom discipline is really one of the vital tools so that learning could be attained. It is an inevitable fact that the teacher can be an effective facilitator of learning only when there is discipline and proper classroom management in teaching-learning.

Making Use of Technology

The use of textbooks alone in imparting science concepts and processes is not enough. Any ordinary classroom on Earth is not the best place to observe interactions ranging in scale from solar system to the components of a cell. With just pure lectures, often learners are forced to create their own mental images to understand situations they cannot view directly. In many instances the result has been a misconception that takes on a reality of its own inside the students mind. Standard textbooks have been ineffective in changing these deeply rooted misconceptions. Students remain confused about topics involving basic spatial relationships such as the reason for the seasons. To solve this problem, there is persistent call for a teacher to be creative in his teaching and maximize the technology present.

To keep pace with the advancement of Science and Technology, teachers need to have creative and inquiring minds. Such thoughts and ideas “conceived by the inquiring minds” inspire and challenge the teacher to be creative. In connection with the call of being creative and to equate myself with the evolving technology, I constantly visit the World Wide Web so that I can make my lessons updated. This was not easy for me because the place where I’ve been teaching has no internet connection and only during weekends that I can browse the Internet for topics that need further elaboration through videos or flash animations. In addition, I used PowerPoint in order to make my lessons interactive to the students and I’ve found out that their interest in my lessons was elevated with the use of computers. Moreover, I was happy because our Principal really encouraged the use of PowerPoint in classroom instruction. In fact he proposed and spearheaded the implementation of Computer Aided Instruction (CAI) in the Division of Davao Oriental.


Students’ Achievement

The first person that would feel happy in the achievement of students in terms of learning Earth Science is the teacher. I personally beam with pride when my students perform well during exams or on the top rank during contest related to Earth Science. It was remarkable for me when my two contestants for the 2008 Division Science Quiz held in San Isidro National High School ranked second and third respectively. I felt that this is my reward for exerting effort in reviewing students about science concepts not only through books but also from the information retrieved from the internet and by helping and teaching them how to use the computer in exploring the Encarta Encyclopedia. I also felt fulfilled when I see my students embraced positive attitudes in learning the subject. With this, I established in students’ heart the love for Earth Science that could be very helpful in learning other sciences like Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. A course in earth sciences can provide to students an introduction to subject matter in all other sciences that illustrates their relevance and connections. With a strong foundation in Earth Science, students will no longer find difficulty in learning other sciences.

My Contribution in Nation-Building and for the Future

As a teacher in Earth Science, I can say that I have a great role in building a nation — a nation that maximizes its resources but does not sacrifice the future. Our lives and civilization depend upon how we understand and manage our planet. Earth processes affect us all. Weather patterns influence the availability of water resources and the potential for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, and floods can kill large numbers of people and cause millions or even billions of pesos in property damage. If our students are well informed about those processes affecting our lives then they would be cautious in every actions they will do like cutting trees, burning too much fossil fuels, the use of aerosol sprays, etc. Every lesson in Earth science will somehow connect students to the past, as well as challenging them to think about the future.


Teaching Earth science in secondary school is not an easy task. A lot of challenges must be surmounted so that teaching-learning could be a pleasant experience for both the teachers and students. My first three years experiences in teaching the subject have really shaped my knowledge and attitudes towards the subject. Since my elementary years as a student, I still bring the passion and love in understanding the complex world of science. And now that I’m in the field, then it is my turn to permeate my enthusiasm in learning science subjects to my students especially during their first science subject in secondary education which is the earth science.

The earth sciences provide the best all-around introduction to science. The earth sciences integrate concepts from all other major disciplines of science, including biology, chemistry and physics. Thus, teaching of earth sciences throughout the elementary and secondary schools will promote scientific literacy in general.

As teachers we should always keep abreast of the technology so that our knowledge in the subject matter will be updated from time to time. We should always let our students view science as part of their everyday lives so that they will not feel alienated from it.

Lastly, we should always bear in our minds that an understanding of the earth sciences is critical for a secure future. When we emphasize Earth science education, everyone benefits.

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1 According To Descartes How Do Humans Differ From Animals Does a Mind Really Need a Brain?

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Does a Mind Really Need a Brain?

Does a Mind Really Need a Brain? The Beastly Echinoderm (sea urchin) thinks, yet it doesn’t have a brain!

What is a mind? In order to engage in a meaningful discussion of the applicability of the concept of mind to the brainless sea urchin, a consensus must be reached as a general-definition of two non-synonymous terms, brain and mind. For purposes of this writing I define ‘brain’ as a nerve ganglia consisting of a soft, convoluted mass of gray and white matter that serves to control and coordinate mental and physical actions. And further, for this writing, I define ‘mind’ as the res cogitans of Descartes, a mental process, presumably generated by the brain, rather than a physical substance, i.e., the mind is a mental state of thinking. We might wonder if there is some way to explain the business-like workaday life of that little beast, the sea urchin, that without even a semblance of the nerve ganglia that we call a brain; lives an existence that requires cogent decisions (without a brain) to meet its perilous sea-floor environment. To explain this paradox we might ask if there is an explanation other than in terms of grey and white physical substance. Further, how might these two approaches, given their entirely differing ontological nature, possibly relate to the mind-body problem of that little beast, the sea urchin, having thoughts?

I wonder, is attributing thoughts to a sea urchin being anthropomorphic? Anthropomorphism! What a word! Only a few years ago it was a sin to attribute human characteristics to nonhuman things. Certainly, it was condemnation aplenty to even utter the words “animal mind.” Nowadays, however, people even title books with those words. What has been happening? To answer the question, only a few years ago to ask, “What do you imagine happens inside the brains of animals?” would divide scientists into two groups. The comparative psychologists, behaviorists, and (to a large extent) ethnologists would enthusiastically describe rigid, inflexible mechanistic goings-on — like the automatons of 1950s movies. The other group of scientists — and really everybody else, scientist or not — would reply: “Simple thoughts, I suppose, but I don’t see how we’ll ever know.”

How were these professionals so sure of their answers? They weren’t sure, of course, but they were carefully following the rule that science is supposed to abide by: accepting the simplest hypothesis until there is strong evidence of something more complex. Since evidence was minimal, the automaton theory won out, thus committing the fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam, arguing that something is true because no one has proved it to be false.

Donald Griffin set the ball rolling, leading to today’s interest in animal minds. In 1976 he wrote a book, “Animal Minds – Beyond Cognition to Consciousness,” cataloging animal behaviors that are not rigid and inflexible, actions that look suspiciously like our own, challenging readers to consider the possibility that not all animal behavior is mindless. Sometime later James and Carol Gould wrote, “The Animal mind,” showing cases that look as if they would be hard for an automaton to cope with — animals acting in ways that look conscious.

In this writing I propose to take the reader a step further, suggesting that there are certain animals that can act in ways that seem to imply some aspect of mind without the benefit of a brain. The brain being defined as physical, a part of a nerve system where the mind functions.

Consider the sea urchin as a case in point; each one is formed from a hard shell. The shell has five narrow sections, laid out like a star, pierced with what appears to be an infinity of channels through which pass moving organs, called “ambulacra,” which act as extensions in a system of suckers. The creature stretches them out and retracts them at will quite nimbly in order to move and roll along the sea floor.

This nectarine shaped shell is enveloped and bristly with moving spines — fine mauve-green daggers — that give it protection against the formidable and menacing jaws and pincers that wander around in the currents, hidden among the underwater shadows.

Sea urchins are potentially attractive settlement sites for barnacles and seaweeds and other sessile organisms. But surprisingly these small beasts, the sea urchins, can clean themselves, and no doubt there are plenty of marine vermin that would be delighted to take shelter if not sustenance from the sea urchin, however it manages a process of active antifouling that should be the envy of any yachtsman. The body surface between the spines is dotted with thousands of tiny beaks on stalks that bend over to snap at anything foolish enough to tickle its surface.

Next time you find yourself feeling uncharitable about the spines, don’t simply smash every sea urchin in sight, but prize one gently off the rocks and put in a bowl, with enough water to cover it. Beg or preferably steal a lens (a jeweler’s loop is good), and view the surface of a sea urchin, it is a truly wondrous sight. Even without a lens you should be able to see that there is a lot more to a sea urchin than a mass of spines. Long, thin, snakelike tube feet extend between the spines and stick to the glass or to the bottom of the bowl. This is how sea urchins hang on to the rocks, and how they move about. Each tube foot is water filled, hollow and extended by pressure from within. It can bend, and wave to and fro until a contact is made, whereupon the end of the “foot” pulls in to make a minuscule sucker that grips the rock while the foot contracts and pulls. The pull of several hundred tiny feet can hold the urchin tight to the rocks, even in the wave surge of a gale.

The sea urchin’s mouth is on the lower side, directed toward the ground and armed with five protruding teeth, known as “Aristotle’s lanterns,” which serve as much for tearing apart prey, mollusks, or branches of kelp, as for digging its shelter on the sea bottom.

The intriguing problem with the sea urchin is that as soon as it starts to move about, is how the activity of several hundred tube feet can possibly be coordinated, for the animals have no detectable brain. Instead, a network of nerve cells is more or less concentrated along the underside of the five radii that define the symmetry of the urchin. The five radii converge on a ring of nervous tissue around the mouth of the animal. But that is all. No ganglia, no central control point as we are used to finding with more orthodox animals. So how is coordination achieved? How does a sea urchin decide which way to go off for a browse today, let alone find its way home afterwards?

One can get a mesmeric inkling of some of its functions from simple experiments while one has the beast in a bucket. Poke the surface of the urchin gently, but repeatedly, with the tip of a toothpick. The little snapping beaks and then the spines turn towards the point touched. Carry on and the effect gradually spreads, farther and farther over the surface of the sea urchin. These are local, reflex actions of course, but wait… soon hundreds and hundreds of tiny feet will be set in motion, and like a regiment of soldiers will march the beast away from the source of annoyance. One might reasonably conclude that there was some sort of brain in the mouth region giving orders, but even microscopic examination fails to reveal anything remotely resembling a brain.

So… we can conclude that a sea urchin functions as a democracy of reflexes (the older text books talk of a “republic of reflexes”), and it works! From this I further conclude that the sea urchin’s actions are governed by a republic of the mind. The nature of the sea urchin’s response to events in his life certainly suggests the function of mental properties and consciousness. I recognize that my conclusions give rise to difficult problems and questions. In this writing I merely attempt to suggest a little broadening the definition of the word “mind,” and also to suggest some questions to which I won’t attempt to provide answers.

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1 1 8 4 Blade Broadheads For Big Game Animals Hunting Non-Exportable African Lions – The New Norm?

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Hunting Non-Exportable African Lions – The New Norm?

I think that most serious hunters have entertained the idea of hunting the African lion. The lion is a challenging and dangerous animal to hunt and is possibly the most iconic game animal on Earth. Hunting him will test the hunter’s skills and mental fortitude. Due to recent changes in import regulations which have an effect on hunt prices, a lion hunt is more affordable than ever.

Due to current US law, the vast majority of lion hunting opportunities for Americans are hunts where it is impossible to import the skin and skull back to the United States. That does not mean that hunters should not hunt lions. Hunt prices are at a place where they have become as affordable as a plains game hunt for someone wanting to hunt a non-exportable lion. And the experience of the hunt is the same.

There is an internal debate hunters inevitably go through when considering to hunt an animal they cannot legally import back into the United States. Mounted animals and skulls act as a reminder of the hunt and bring honor to the creature so worthy of pursuit. However, laws are laws and some animals cannot be imported despite the fact that there are sustainable enough populations that necessitate hunting.

Ultimately, the hunt is about the experience. On a non-exportable lion hunt, the hunter can still memorialize the hunt through pictures. Nothing is different about the actual hunt. My encouragement to hunters is simple: go and hunt lion. Live the dream you’ve been dreaming. The experience of a lion hunt is like no other, and the opportunity to even hunt African lions is never guaranteed in the future. Although it seems paradoxical, hunting lions is something that will help sustain the populations for generations to come.

When hunters travel to pursue lions, they are actively contributing to their conservation. When hunters spend money on a lion hunt, whether it is a free range hunt or not, it gives lions value. Without value, lion populations reduce or disappear. Africa’s human population is exploding and there is a finite amount of space on the continent. Lions have huge home ranges and require a lot of space. There is a fragile coexistence at best in places where lions live near humans. Lions are dangerous to humans and destructive to wildlife and domestic stock. It is difficult for Westerners to understand the constant danger one lives in when living in the presence of lions. Having travelled to over 20 African countries and spent a lot of time with locals, it is not uncommon to meet people who have been maimed by lions or have had family members or friends maimed or killed by lions.

However, in Africa, if it pays it stays. Hunting dollars from lion hunts make lions worth something to those who live in close proximity to them. In places where hunting is not allowed and there is no market for photographic safaris either, lion populations are low or nonexistent.

It is unfortunate that our own USFWS has become so political in its decision making rather than using scientific data to drive their decisions. Recently, however, USFWS has finally recognized what African countries and hunters have always known. In an October 20, 2016 announcement, Director of US Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe stated that, “sport hunting of wild and wild-managed lions does contribute to the long-term conservation of the species in South Africa.” He also stated that, “lions are not in trouble because of responsible sport hunting.” However, USFWS has still made laws that make importation of lions very difficult, and in many cases, impossible.

Law Changes on Importation of Sport Hunted African Lions

On December 23, 2015, USFWS announced it would restrict trophy hunted African lion imports through a permit system administered under the US Endangered Species Act. The law went into effect on January 22, 2016. Before this date, lions would be imported without an import permit as long as they had the proper CITES export permit from the host country.

The USWFS ruling did a couple of things. First, they split African lions into two scientific subspecies. They categorized Panthera leo melanochaita as East and South Africa lions and designated them as threatened. They designated Central and West African lions as the same subspecies of Asiatic lions, Panthera leo leo, and put them on the endangered list. This part of the ruling pretty much ends importation of sport hunted lions from Central and Western African countries. However, it did not completely shut down trophy hunted imports from East and South Africa, and because their designation is considered “threatened,” they applied rule 4(d) from the Endangered Species Act. This states that import permits for lions will only be given when it can be proven that “the importation of sport hunted P.l. melanochaita trophies will ensure hunting contributes to the survival of the species in the wild.” While USFWS gave examples of some of the things they would look for in permit applications, it was and currently remains ambiguous as to how they will decide which permit applications pass muster.

On October 2016, USFWS ruled that it would not allow imports of lions from South Africa that were not free range (captive reared.) They left the door open to the rest of the East and South African subspecies to possibly be imported, but ultimately they will decide whether or not to grant importation permits on an individual basis.

Rifles for Hunting Non-Exportable Lions

While it is possible to kill a lion with a lesser rifle, hunting laws across Africa generally prohibit using a caliber smaller than a.375 H & H. This is a good thing. It is better to have more than enough power for dangerous game. A.375 is sufficient for the job at hand and anything larger is a bonus. Shots are usually between 30-60 yards, so you can use your judgment on whether or not to use a scope. Ideally, a scope of 1×4 power is best because it allows you to find the lion in the scope quickly in the event of a charge. Open sights are adequate (and quite possibly preferred) but only if you are proficient with them. Use quality expanding bullets (softs) and not solids.

Some outfits allow you to rent a rifle if you do not own a dangerous game caliber rifle. Because shots are usually close, this is not as poor of an option as it seems. It is nice to use a rifle you are familiar with, but it comes down to affordability in the end, and some hunters hate traveling with a firearm.

Bow Hunting Non-Exportable Lions

Lion hunting is conducive to bow hunting because they are usually shot at close range. With the proper equipment, the killing power of a well-placed arrow is irrefutable. However, in the event of a charge, you may as well throw sticks at the lion because (1) you won’t be able to draw in time and (2) even if you could, an arrow does not have any reliable stopping power.

If you are a die-hard bow hunter, it is definitely doable. Any set up that you would use for elk will be sufficient. That being said, use of a 2 blade single bevel broadhead is a good idea to insure penetration through the shoulder bone if the shot is not perfect. Again, it’s better to have more penetration power. Broadside or quartering away shots are what you want, but this is not always easy because if the lion knows your there he will likely be facing you. If you take a head on shot, beware of the mane because it is easy to shoot too low. You do not want to wound a lion. The danger factor is multiplied ten-fold if you do not put a good killing shot on him and he makes his way to the thick stuff.

Equipment for Hunting Lions

On a lion hunt you will be doing a lot of walking and it will likely be hot after the early morning. Make sure your boots are broken in and your clothes fit well enough that they do not get in the way when raising your rifle.

Binoculars are important. Whatever you use for plains game will work fine, but ideally 8 power binoculars are a better choice than 10 power. You will be glassing small clumps of brush for a bedded lion and not trying to estimate the horns of a duiker 300 yards away, so the wider field of view is more important than magnification.

Hunting Methods for Non-Exportable Lions

Lions are generally tracked or baited. If you choose to hunt non-exportable lions, South Africa is the most likely destination due to abundance of lions and the affordable price of the hunts. Most lion hunts in South Africa take place in the northern part of the country in the Kalahari Desert. It is beautiful country and the terrain is conducive to tracking, which is what makes this type of hunt so exciting. The ground is sand covered and holds a lion track very well.

If tracking is the hunting method you will cover miles and miles in a bakkie (truck) through the sand trying to find a track fresh enough to follow. You may also hike to find a track, depending on what your PH thinks is best. When a track is found, the PH and tracker will determine if it is a male or female track. (In some places, female lions can be hunted as well as males.) Next, depending on the layout of the roads in the area you are hunting, your PH may try to box the lion in. This means he will attempt to circle around in the direction the lion is headed and see if he crossed a two track road. Then he may repeat this until he has an idea of where the lion is. This gives you a better chance of catching up to the lion before it gets dark.

Depending on the moisture and density of the sand, you may or may not even see an actual pad mark and toes in the lion tracks. The tracker is mainly looking for the stride of the cat. Felines have a distinctive stride that sets them apart from the ungulates and other predators in the area. If there is a little moisture in the sand, you may see a pad, but rest assured that your tracker knows exactly what he is looking at regardless. Not only will the tracker use the size of the cat’s stride to determine the sex, he will also be looking for clues to help him age the track. This depends on the condition of the sand as well as the wind and sun. It also includes a plethora of other factors trackers use that I am simply not qualified to write about because I am not an African tracker. They are masters of their craft who have learned from past generations and honed their skills through a lifetime. Part of the magic of the hunt is watching the tracker do his work. While tracking in the Kalahari is not as challenging as the rocky and hard ground of the Zambezi Valley, it is still incredible to watch. You will understand the challenge better when you see your tracker spot a lion track from the back of a moving truck amongst an uncountable number of other divots in the sand left by the other game in the area.

When you begin to follow the track, your tracker will be in the lead followed by your PH and then yourself. Although it is tempting to want to have your head down looking at the tracks, it’s important to be alert and looking ahead for the cat. This is your job. The excitement of tracking lies in the fact that you never know where the lion is. He could be miles ahead… or he could be hunkered behind the next bush watching and waiting.

Many lions have no fear of humans and view them as either food or a nuisance rather than a threat. This makes the hunt very different than hunting most other game. While your lion may scamper off as soon as he sees your hunting party approaching, he may simply stand his ground. If he runs off, you keep tracking until the next confrontation. With each confrontation, the lion has less and less patience for your intrusion. If he stands his ground, the confrontation will be unnerving. They are incredible big, especially when viewed face to face on the ground. I can assure you that the confrontation will be like none other you’ve experienced hunting and the memory will last a lifetime.

It is not uncommon for a lion to charge the party, even unwounded. You must be ready in that situation and always be aware of where people are in your hunting party because your rifle bullet is just as deadly as the lion. If possible, the proper way to deal with a charge is to take a knee. This puts you on the same level as the oncoming lion and makes it less likely you will shoot behind him. I have not had such an experience, but have gotten this advice from several dangerous game PHs.

African Lion Hunting Summary

Lion hunting is dangerous. There is no way around this. As Robert Ruark wrote: “You get the lion, or the lion gets you.” A male may weigh 450 pounds. His favorite food is Cape buffalo which can weigh 1500 pounds and he has no problem killing one. While maulings are not common because Professional Hunters are usually very good, the propensity for danger is there and it is very real. It is not called dangerous game for nothing. It is the potential for danger that makes the hunt something very unique and special for those who have not experienced it. A Zimbabwean PH once told me that you hunt dangerous game with different pieces of yourself. He told me you hunt elephants with your legs, leopards with your brain, and buffalo with your guts. Lions, he said, you hunt with your heart.

True conservationists hope that the opportunity to hunt African lions does not end, regardless of importation law status. However, it is possible that in the not so distant future many hunters will wish they would have booked a lion hunt, exportable or not, because the opportunity is not guaranteed.

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