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Buddhist related films

cookies and the U.S. Government

India watch

top carbon dioxide emitters

movie previews on the web

infotech is #1 U.S. industry

genetically engineered & organic?

food villain: hydrogenated oil

CitiVision is coming!

paper use survives the net

ATM will read your eyes

Bill Zimmerman & medical marijuana

U.S. screws up on landmines

PGP: not so private anymore

NYT and food irradiation

Nintendo on TV causes seizures

choose your energy provider

Greenpeace vs PVC toys

Greenwashing Award!

Buddhist related films
now with Martin Scorcese's film about to come out,
and Seven Years in Tibet in theatres, there is more
interest in Buddhist or Buddhist related films.
the following exchange appeared on a Buddhist
discussion group:
>Does anyone know of any films that have Buddhist
themes, have characters >(as opposed to actors)
who are buddhist, or which are directed by
>Buddhists? > >I'm aware of Siddhartha and 'The
Little Buddha', and vaguely remember a >film about
a Buddhist missionary coming over to London - it
may have been >called something like 'Wild
The Little Buddha was interesting, although
choices for starring roles still make me wonder...
For Buddhist films, you gotta go to Buddhist
countries...and countries influenced by Buddhism.
The recent Chinese film Temptation of a Monk is
superb, as is the Korean Why bodhidharma went to
the West.
My listing of Buddhist films is mostly from Japan.
Of them, I hear rumors of a subtitled version of
KUKAI; I have it in Japanese only. KUKAI
introduced vajrayana, zen and other things to
Japan in the early 9th century. He remains the
greatest architect, calligrapher, poet,
mystic...in short, you name it...of Japanese
history. Kukai's theme music is by Stomu
Yamashita, available on his album "Iroha"...a pure
tantric tone poem, with choral passages performed
by Shingon monks. This film has to be seen to be
believed; too bad the guy who did Little Buddha
hadn't seen it to understand how to weave myth and
normal reality into a tantric tale...especially
for doing miracles on screen. It's two video
cassettes, roughly three hours long...and not a
yen was spared in telling this tale.
On the lighter side is The Funeral, a comedy about
a buddhist funeral. Beth Harrison of University of
Arizona uses this film for teaching a semester's
worth of Japanese culture. By the same director
who does the Taxing Woman series. Having been a
kyoshi of nishi honganji for 25 years, this film
does more for me than others since lots of what
happens happens, isn't explained on screen. Well
worth watching.
The Harp of Burma. A Japanese film about the
awakening of a Japanese soldier turned priest in
Burma during World War II.
Rikkyu. The famous tea master tormented then
forced to commit seppuku by Hideoyoshi, the war
lord. Fantastic film.
Look through the Japanese section of video stores
with healthy foreign sections. Be sure to boycott
Blockbuster since they have punitive policies
towards "pagans". Those Japanese sections will
often yield buddhist film. For example, there's
one I can't remember the name of dealing with a
zen priest who came to kyoto in the 1950's, became
so disgusted with the politics and hierarchy that
he set a very famous temple on fire. again, worth
watching. Lafcadio Hearn's book Kwaidan (strange
stories) was turned into film several decades ago,
and seems to always be in public library
collections. It contains buddhist stories set to
film (like the guy who has the heart sutra painted
all over himself to ward of menacing demons, but
they forget to do his ears!!! always reminds me
to put on sun screen on the ears).
If you haven't seen the Silk Road series, look for
it. Filmed as a joint project of the governments
of Japan and the PRC in the seventies (hint:
Kitaro's Silk Road Suite is the theme music),
those magnificent buddhist cave temples of
Dunhuang are featured in about three episodes.
Those caves were hewn from cliff faces between the
3-9th centuries, then sealed over when barbaric
Islam came across the desert then; only in this
century have they been rediscovered. If laid out
linearly, they would extend for thrity miles!!!!
worth seeing.
I find buddhist themes in western film, and have
used such film for Dharma gatherings/discussions.
Included are the obvious Ground Hog Day (samsara),
Captain Ron (bodhisattva), and Birdie.
source: BUDDHA-L the Buddhist Academic Discussion
here is a comprehensive list of films and shorts
about Tibetan Buddhism


The nonprofit organization OMB Watch says that three
federal agencies (Veterans Affairs, FEMA, and NSF)
have been collecting information about online
visitors to their sites by setting "cookies" to
automatically retrieve personal data from a user's
hard drive without letting the user know they were
doing so.  After the release of the draft report
by OMB Watch, all three agencies ceased setting
cookies.  (Government Technology Oct 97)

India Watch nice story on Varanasi by FELICIA CLARK for Wanderlust in Salon and India watchers will also enjoy a new zine on India which includes a sendup on the contemporary lure of Buddhism by Sylvia Khan
the four big emitters: The International Energy Agency reports that four countries produce almost half of the Earth's overall carbon dioxide emissions. - the countries are: the U.S., China, Russia, and Japan.
movie previews on the web there's a new site on the web that will excite moviegoers. from it you can find all the trailers and electronic press kits of upcoming releases. i often download a new trailer while doing my morning email. in the case of most movies, the trailer is sufficient, but when it sizzles, the film may be worth looking at more deeply. it seems the only true way to enjoy being a moviegoer in this time of record volumes of high budget schlock is do do your movie homework carefully beforehand. check out Trailer Park ------- also... did u know you can search the web for pictures? have fun but don't forget to ask permission if you use any images.
infotech is #1 U.S. industry A study based on Commerce Department data and sponsored by the American Electronics Association (AEA) and the Nasdaq stock market says that the field of information technology (including both computing and telecommunications) is now the nation's largest industry, ahead of construction, food products, and automobile manufacturing. And the AEA's president took the occasion of the study's release to urge lawmakers to learn more about technology: "Whether we like it or not, high-technology issues are going to be front and center in Washington and in state capitals during the next few years. At the state and national level, policy makers have a lot of positive impressions about the high-technology industry, but often very little knowledge of it. The biggest public policy threat to the high-technology field is the ignorance of technology and of how these industries work." (New York Times 18 Nov 97) from Edupage, written by John Gehl (gehl@educom.edu) & Suzanne Douglas (douglas@educom.edu). Telephone: 770-590-1017. To subscribe to Edupage: send mail to: listproc@educom.unc.edu with the message: subscribe edupage your_name
Genetically engineered & organic?
In 1997, a wide variety of genetically engineered
foods will be placed, unlabeled, on supermarket
shelves. Thousands of products-including nearly
all non-organic processed foods-will soon include
some genetically engineered ingredients. Two
dozen biotech foods and crops have already been
approved for use in the US, and millions of acres
of biotech crops will be harvested this fall.
The proposed federal regulations would allow the
NOSB to propose "organic" labeling for certain
individual genetically engineered products on a
case-by-case basis. Those approved would be
passed on to the USDA, which would make the final
But NOSB members are appointed by and
subject to the authority of USDA officials. USDA
Secretary Dan Glickman is a vocal supporter of
genetic engineering as well as factory farming.
"We must fight against an 'unfriendly takeover'
of the organic food movement by Monsanto and the
giant food cartels," says Ben Lilliston of the
Environmental Education Group. "We must not allow
the destruction of organic standards by
Washington bureaucrats and Corporate America."
Every food co-op, natural food store, buying club
and organic farm must become a center for
activism-mobilizing members, workers and customers
to send letters, faxes, emails and phone calls to
elected officials. Unless the USDA and Washington
feel the heat, they could destroy a vital
alternative food system that has been laboriously
built up over the last 30 years.
--Ronnie Cummins/Pure Food Campaign
Contact the Pure Food Campaign, 1130 17th St. NW,
no. 300, Washington, DC 20036 (202) 775-1132,
fax (202) 775-0074


food villain: Hydrogenated oil BOSTON (AP) - Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, the stuff that makes doughnuts and french fries taste good, has jumped to the top of the list of dietary evils, beating out even butter in the bad-for-your-heart category. The case against this kitchen staple has been building for several years. But new research from the Harvard School of Public Health, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers some of the clearest evidence yet, calling it the worst artery clogger of all. The real villain is something called trans fat, which makes up as much as 10 percent of the calories in a typical diet. While ordinary stick margarine is probably the most obvious example, people actually consume most of it hidden in crackers, cookies, pastries and deep-fried fast foods. The most common source of trans fat is partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, such as margarine, shortening and the hardened fats used for deep frying. Hydrogenation is a process used to make liquid vegetable oils turn solid and resist spoiling. Generally, the harder a margarine or cooking fat is, the more trans fat it contains. Researchers said it's even worse for the heart than saturated fat, though both should be avoided. ``The worst type of fat appears to be trans fat,'' said Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard school. ``That's still unknown to most consumers.''
CitiVision is coming! Slamming the homogeneity of network news, media maverick Barry Diller last week sketched a plan for a loose nationwide network of alternative TV news. Eleven new stations - currently referred to as CitiVision - would aim to unravel the conventions of TV, fashioning a more woolly variation with homegrown talent, opinionated news, and programming organized like sporting events, sprawling out of its time slots as necessary. "Hopefully, what we'll do is aggressively get what's going on in that community," said Diller. "It wonít appeal to 78 percent of the audience, but we'll get 10 percent of true, real audience." In the spirit of public access with a professional gloss, the stations will be a direct attack on the conformity of most programming. "Most TV is McTV - pre-processed fast food coming out of national networks from 3,000 miles away," said Doug Binzak, executive vice president of broadcasting for Home Shopping Network subsidiary Silver King Broadcasting, which is producing the channels. "Weíll be doing true local broadcasting with a sense of place." CitiVision will debut in Miami in March, with a roll-out in 10 other markets, including Chicago, New York, Dallas, and Boston, every other month thereafter. The channel will be available without cable and will bump the Home Shopping Network, which currently runs in the broadcast spectrum, into cable. The Miami pilot will feature eight to 12 hours of original programming, including news, talk shows, sporting events, and even some forays into semi-dramatic series. from: ''Diller Plans War on Perfectly Coiffed TV News'', by Austin Bunn for Wired News, Wired Ventures, September 15, 1997
paper survives the net Recalling a 1967 Forbes magazine article that predicted the paperless society ("Gone forever will be the boring task of writing and mailing checks to pay monthly bills"), economist Robert J. Samuelson notes that in 1966 Americans wrote about 20 billion checks, whereas 30 years later they wrote roughly 64 billion. "Paper's obituaries proved wrong for two reasons. The first is technology and economics. Over the years, paper has become cheaper, easier to use and more versatile. Therefore, people use more of it. The check survived because it adapted. Even in the 1960s, many checks were sorted by hand. What prevented terminal choking was the machine-readable check, with magnetic coding. Processing machines sort 50,000 to 80,000 checks an hour." And the second reason? Paper imposes "a crude order on the information glut. Paper helps distinguish between information that's important, relevant and durable and information that isn't." (Washington Post 26 Nov 97) from Educom To subscribe to Edupage: send mail to: listproc@educom.unc.edu with the message: subscribe edupage Sigmund Freud (if your name is Sigmund Freud
ATM reads your eyes Reporter Gordon Fairclough for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL recently reported that a bank card company has just released a program for using photos of the iris in people's eyes as a biometric ID to replace people's PIN codes for ATM / credit cards. How do they planto implement it? As people use the ATM, they are photographed. (Every ATM has a security camera.) Over time, as people use the ATM, the security camera images are composited to produce a high-quality image of their irises, which is coded and placed in their account information. Once this is accomplished, when a card is inserted into the ATM and the securi ty camera gets an iris image that matches the account sufficiently closely, the user can conduct transactions without entering the PIN code. If Mr. Drury, chief executive officer of Sensar Corp., and his colleagues have their way, this eye-scanning technology will become standard equipment on ATMs around the world. It is being tested by NCR Corp. and Citicorp, among others. Of course, given the fact that ATMs have had cameras from the start, this theoretical eyeprint database could already be under construction [in many banking systems]. --from cypherpunks listserv via the e$pam mailing list ------ also this just in from Wired News (12/3/97): Iris scanner verifies ATM customers' ID: Consumers will soon be offered a greater variety of ATM services, such as check cashing and loan-application processing, thanks to iris-scanning verification technology. Sensar says the system will scan customer's eyes with a standard video camera and special lighting, and compare their digitized iris to a record kept on file. Iris scanning is currently used in corporate security and corrections, but has not been widely used in the consumer marketplace. Sensar claims that the technology is "virtually fraud-proof," and expects that it will eventually replace PIN numbers altogether.
Bill Zimmerman and medical marijuana interesting story on Bill Zimmerman, the campaigner behind California's new medical marijuana laws in the new Rolling Stone site.
U.S. screws up on landmine ban over 120 nations are signed the international treaty to ban land mines. The catch is that the signatures of major powers China, Russia, and the US are conspicuously absent.
PGP: not so private anymore PGP encryption software, has been bought for $35 million by Network Associates (NA), a company which actively promotes key recovery. Privacy advocates and cryptophiles, a paranoid bunch at the best of times, are now worried that future versions of PGP will no longer be trustworthy should NA make secret deals with law enforcement to incorporate stealthy key recovery
the NYT and food irradiation THe NYT trumpeted the FDA approval of food irradiation for meat as if it were spoon fed the story by the radiation industry. here's our letter to the NYT (which they will not print, of course): To the Editor: Carol Tucker Foreman's exhortation that nuking meat is no substitute for better sanitation in the meat industry, like the coverage before it in the front pages of NYT in the past week, adequately waves only one of the red flags to the newly FDA approved practice of radiating red meat(Op-Ed, Dec 5). I'm surprised that your coverage has not revealed numerous others, NOT including the possible myth that eating radiated food isn't healthy. In fact, the tone of the NYT coverage to date has sounded more like a press release from the radiation industry than a balanced and critical look at a very complex issue. Nowhere do we read of concerns about how the transportation of radioactive materials across the nation on a regular basis to support this practice might raise the risks of being on the nations highways. Nowhere do we read about how nuclear facilities, suddenly having buyers for hot storage, may be released from promises to clean up their potent messes. Nowhere do we read about the possibility that in these new ways of making legitimate eternally dangerous wastes, we may be slowly making their production more acceptable and reversing the healthy trend away from reliance on nuclear industries. It's possible that the damage done by radiating food will have less to do with the dinner plate, and more with the added burden it may create in the struggle to live lightly and sustainably on the Earth in the years ahead.
Nintendo on TV causes seizures Officials in Japan say almost 600 children in Japan suffered epileptic-like seizures last night while watching a scene in a television cartoon. - the scene contained an explosion followed by a the strobe- light-like flashing of a character's eyes. --from 12-17-97 THE DAILY BRIEF from INTELLIGENT NETWORK CONCEPTS, INC. follow up in Wired News: NINTENDO: SALES WON'T BESTRICKEN BY SEIZURES Reports that a cartoon based on the Pocket Monsters videogame triggered seizures in hundreds of children in Japan isn't expected to slow holiday sales, the gamemaker says --from Japan broadcaster NHK: "It gave me a headache. Lights kept flickering in my eyes, then I felt sick,'' Hiroshi Kobari, 14, was quoted by the national Mainichi newspaper as saying. "It was like getting a carsick.'' 729 people had been taken to hospitals, with about 200 remaining hospitalized. The show, "Pokemon,'' a Japanese rendering of "pocket monsters'' is based on characters in a game produced by Nintendo Co. The weekly show has been broadcast on 37 TV stations nationwide since April and has the highest ratings in the Tokyo area in its 6:30 p.m. slot.
choose your energy provider
From: "VitaminB"<VitaminB@bionomics.org>
Vitamin B: Your Daily Dose of Bionomics
As of January 1st, California energy customers
will be able to choose their energy provider. In
the coming years, however, we might even be able
to choose not to have an energy provider at all,
and instead provide ourselves with our own energy.
No, we aren't talking about cold fusion, we're
talking about microturbine generators.
Companies such as Sundstrand Corporations's Allied
Signal Aerospace unit, Elliot Energy Systems and
Capstone Turbine Corporation will be introducing
commercial microturbine generators in 1998 or
early 1999. What makes microturbines special is
that they promise to be safe, efficient, quiet,
reliable, low-maintenance and low-cost generators
of electricity at the point of use (i.e. at your
place of business or residence). They're also
designed for a variety of fuels, including diesel,
unleaded gasoline, natural gas and, something that
will make environmentalists happier, alcohol. Oh
and did we mention they were innovative? The
Allied Signal model employs a lubricating system
of air, not oil, and has only one moving part.
These microturbine generators will initially be
targeted at a wide range of businesses, from
restaurants to dry cleaners, but the home market
will soon follow. And considering the high cost of
power in places like Hawaii, Alaska, New York,
California, Arizona, and Maryland, promise to be
more than competitive price-wise in those areas.
As with all innovations, these early years are
just the tip of the iceberg and we are really
looking forward to the future of this fledgling
Source: Investors Business Daily, December 15,

Greenpeace vs PVC toys ROME, Italy, December 16, 1997 (ENS) - Solvay and European Vinyls Corporation, two giant chemical corporations have accused Greenpeace of slander, boycott and economic damage. On Monday the companies filed suit for 45 thousand million Lire (US$27 million) damage compensation. The lawsuit is an attempt to prevent Greenpeace from carrying on its international campaign against PVC in toys what are soft. Greenpeace claims that the PVC leaches out of the toys when children suck on them, and the children ingest harmful polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Despite the industry action, Monday morning bright and early, Father Christmas accompanied by ten Greenpeace activists entered the Ministry of Health carrying boxes full of PVC toys and singing Jingle Bells. Four other activists climbed on the balcony of the building and displayed an Italian and English banner reading "Bindi (the Minister of Health): Stop PVC toys!" The demonstration came as a result of the Italian government not taking action to ban soft PVC toys. Last September, Greenpeace released a report showing that soft PVC toys for children, such as teethers, contain up to 40% by weight of softening chemical additives known as phthalates. Laboratory tests conducted on animals show that phthalates are toxic, with health effects ranging from liver and kidney damage to reproductive abnormalities. 12/17/97 -- EnviroLink News Service <newsdesk@envirolink.org>
Greenwash Award! The new Corporate Watch's GREENWASH AWARD goes to the U.S.-based chemical company, Monsanto.