|Starting Point for First Timers|
|to rat haus reality, ratical branch|
Welcome to rat haus reality. This branch of the electronic world library began in 1995 on the September Equinox. To all visiting for the first time or who are unfamiliar with the lay of this land, the following furnishes an introduction to assist in the navigation and understanding of the organization of this corner of the virtual stacks.
Today the internet is primarily described as electronic commerce. Before 1995 it was lauded as a so-called information superhighway. rat haus reality is guided by the paradigm of web-as-library. It seeks to implement a collection of library reference materials to assist students in the classroom of life and our world.
rat haus reality is the electronic manifestation of rat haus reality press. We endeavor to be mindful of people with lowest common denominator systems and environments (eg, either older, slower machines and/or modems that constrain low-bandwidth access). In this spirit the majority of pages are crafted to be "light-weight" and load quickly enabling access to as wide an audience as possible.
Ratical's mission statement and guiding vision draws inspiration from our single, precious human family. Oren Lyons speaks of the power of the good minds, William Commanda of honour, respect and responsibility for The Sacred Instructions, Elisabet Sahtouris of how the principles essential to the health of living systems are empowered participation of all parts and continual negotiation of self-interest at all levels of organization, Laurens van der Post's expressions of how the pattern of the individual in service of a self that is the manifestation of the divine in man was built into life at the beginning and will not leave him and the earth alone until it is fulfilled, John W. Gofman's lifetime of devotion to the physician's oath, "first do no harm," and his urging that People of goodwill need to look closely at the aggregate consequences of individually small risks, William Pepper's extraordinary vantage point describing how, For the first time under oath in any assassination's case in the history of this country ... there is the complete picture of how Martin Luther King was killed.... For history more than anything else, David Korten's understanding that "we be clear that our goal is not to reform global corporate and financial rule -- it is to end it" and that The publicly traded, limited liability corporation is a pathological institutional form and financial speculation is inherently predatory, Rosalie Bertell's affirmation that along with the requisite massive non-cooperation we need to come together in, it's going to have to be basically people-to-people networks built on trust because you're trusting the future and you're trusting your life, Paula Underwood Spencer's awareness of things like The Rule of Six to foster keeping a floating attitude toward life, as well as rebecca lord, Krishamurti & David Bohm, Bruce Johansen, Richard Grossman, Mae-Wan Ho, Joseph Chilton Pearce, John Judge, Ward Churchill; through their devotion to honoring and serving life's needs, these people and others nurture the light each of us carries by right of birth.
Definition of Terms
rat haus reality employs labels and terms not commonly found on other web stations. The following list provides an equivalence for terms used here:
rat haus other sites last modified = what's new limelight on = site highlights jumpdoors = links tree = site map stats = file requests statistics ASCII text = text only ratitor = editor
The last modified page presents what's been added recently and contains the complete record going back to 1995. Always check here first for more recent items as it may be the only place something is listed after it's initially published. (It takes more time to update all the internal subsections that ideally will cite a given work.)
The limelight listing highlights some especially significant materials. The most recent of these entries is on the main rat haus reality page directly beneath the last modified link.
Jumpdoors is a word inspired by Frank Herbert's story, Whipping Star. It provided a form of transit without physically traversing the space between the begin and end -points. The basis of the web is the hyperlink. It enables passage to other places in a way similar to the imaginary jumpdoor.
Navigation: tree traversal
Imagine an upside-down tree with the root at the top and the branches extending down beneath this base. This is a way to picture the structure of the rat haus. The following is a partial representation with some of the "branches" extending down 3 levels from the "root" (www.ratical.org) directory (or folder):
The above directory (or folder) names are all live links. Move the mouse over one and the path to its location will be displayed at the bottom of most web browser window's outer frame. Moving over "RMP" shows: <www.ratical.org/radiation/CNR/RMP/> .
Moving up or down this hierarchal tree structure automatically orders content. The root directory (folder) presents content in the most generalized form. Going down from the root moves into more specific areas with each passing level: The Health Costs of Low-Level Ionizing Radiation (radiation) is a major collection, the Committee for Nuclear Responsibility (CNR) is part of this collection, and the book, Radiation from Medical Procedures in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease: Dose-Response Studies with Physicians per 100,000 Population is a recent publication of CNR (RMP).
At the top and bottom of each page is a navigation bar made up of a line of links showing where one is in the tree. The RMP directory displays the following:
back to CNR | radiation | rat haus | Index | Search | tree
In any other file inside this directory there is additionally a link to RMP to return to the generalized directory listing:
back to RMP | CNR | radiation | rat haus | Index | Search | tree
In the above, after travelling back up to the root (rat haus), three additional links encompass the whole rat haus. The Index is a card catalog providing six lenses through which to view all the haus' contents: By Title, By Author, By Type (periodicals, books, transcripts, etc.), By Hierarchal Tree, By Date (last modified), and By Popularity (most requested files per month).
Multiple formats may exist for a given file (page). Along with hypertext (aka "html," meaning hyper text markup language), alternative formats can include PDF, ASCII text, and PostScript. In recent years the first two formats are the most common alternate formats.
PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is a print-ready, page-based representation providing an optimal print-out of the html file. To view a PDF file requires Adobe Acrobat.
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) text, also called "dumb text", is an elemental representation with no formatting beyond skipped lines, block-indents, and bulleted lists. It is extremely light-weight and can easily be sent through e-mail.
PostScript is a printing language that predates software like Adobe Illustrator. Some files include this format to give technically proficient computer users another print-ready alternative to PDF.
These alternate formats are listed beneath a hypertext file's top navigation bar. (Older files don't have this. Their alternate formats are only listed in the Card Catalog's By Title, By Author, and By Type.) In the html version of the Model Legal Brief to Eliminate Corporate Rights are links to PDF, MSword and ASCII text format versions. (This is the only MSword file on ratical due to the historical significance of this file.) Witness to a Last Will of Man provides links to PDF, gzip'd PostScript, and ASCII text. (See the description of gzip in the viewing notes for more on this file compression utility.)
Yet, in a perverse way, our predicament makes life simpler. We have clearly lost what we have lost. We can give up our futile efforts to preserve the illusion and turn our energies instead to the construction of a new time.
It is this willingness to walk away from the seductive power of the present that first divides the mere reformer from the rebel -- the courage to emigrate from one's own ways in order to meet the future not as an entitlement but as a frontier.
How one does this can vary markedly, but one of the bad habits we have acquired from the bullies who now run the place is undue reliance on traditional political, legal and rhetorical tools. Politically active Americans have been taught that even at the risk of losing our planet and our democracy, we must go about it all in a rational manner, never raising our voice, never doing the unlikely or trying the improbable, let alone screaming for help.
We have lost much of what was gained in the 1960s and 1970s because we traded in our passion, our energy, our magic and our music for the rational, technocratic and media ways of our leaders. We will not overcome the current crisis solely with political logic. We need living rooms like those in which women once discovered they were not alone. The freedom schools of SNCC. The politics of the folk guitar. The plays of Vaclav Havel. The pain of James Baldwin. The laughter of Abbie Hoffman. The strategy of Gandhi and King. Unexpected gatherings and unpredicted coalitions. People coming together because they disagree on every subject save one: the need to preserve the human. Savage satire and gentle poetry. Boisterous revival and silent meditation. Grand assemblies and simple suppers.
Above all, we must understand that in leaving the toxic ways of the present we are healing ourselves, our places, and our planet. We rebel not as a last act of desperation but as a first act of creation.
--Sam Smith, Why Bother? Getting A Life In A Locked-Down Land,
Feral House, November 2001