PODCAST: The Joshua Bell Experiment, part II -- "World-class musicians aren't supposed to be street performers. But that is just what violinist Joshua Bell was in a recent impromptu performance in a subway stop in the American capital city. The reactions of the commuters were ... interesting, as documented by the Washington Post.
For us as working artists, this experiment raised many questions: Why didn't more people in the station slow down and listen? Do we have sensory overload, and no mental space for music like Bell's? Why did every child in the subway want to stop to listen?"
* * * * *
Quote of the day:
"I have an existential map. It has "You are here" written all over it"
~ Steven Wright
Image of the day:
~ Iron Levels Boosted More Efficiently By Different Type Of Iron Supplement -- "Fortifying cereals with a different type of iron supplement reduces anaemia, iron-deficiency anaemia and general iron deficiency in children in developing countries, and boosts three major iron status indicators, conclude authors of an Article published in The Lancet. Sodium Iron EDTA (NaFeEDTA) was found to be much more effective than electrolytic iron, despite the electrolytic form being the most frequently used iron supplement in flour." And of course, no iron for adult males or post-menopausal women.
~ Real Fast Fat Loss -- "This is a no bullshit fat loss article. There will be no motivational tips, no psychological analysis, no complicated nutritional plan, and no puny-ass exercises. In fact, just one of the exercises in this plan is probably more demanding than your entire, out-dated fat-loss training program. And that's a good thing."
~ Researchers Find Room For Improvement In Substance Beneficial To Blood Flow -- "Walk in to any health food store, and you'll see new products claiming to contain nitric oxide."They don't," said Jack R. Lancaster, professor of anesthesiology at UAB. "Nitric oxide is a toxic gas."The recent interest in nitric oxide stems from a 1987 discovery that the body naturally produces a harmless amount of the substance, which is essential to a number of bodily functions." Nitric Oxide supplements are useless, so don't waste your money.
~ Extent Of DNA Repair Army Revealed By Analysis -- "Cells have the remarkable ability to keep track of their genetic contents and -- when things go wrong - to step in and repair the damage before cancer or another life-threatening condition develops.But precisely how cells monitor the integrity of their genomes, identify problems, and intervene to repair broken or miscoded DNA has been one of nature's closely held secrets."
~ The immediate benefits of quitting smoking -- "Within minutes, your health starts to improve as your blood pressure drops. In as little as 8 hours, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood will drop by half and oxygen levels will normalize. Within two days, you'll have cut your risk of a heart attack. It really is amazing how quickly your body responds to the absence of cigarettes."
~ Growth Factors And Environment Combine To Increase Brain Maturation -- "A new study showing that growth factors and the environment combine to increase brain maturation appears in the May 30th issue of the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE."
~ Dissociation to Integration: Reconstructing the study of memory [Developing Intelligence] -- "While the "modal model of memory" is still widely taught and accepted as a general theory, an enormous amount of recent research has focused on how short-term memory enables higher cognitive processes like those involved in planning, goals, and executive functions. Yet this research has revealed surprisingly intricate links between short- and long-term memory. Increasingly, it appears that interactions among prefrontal areas (traditionally thought to be important for short-term memory) and medial temporal lobe areas (traditionally thought to be important for long-term memory) are important for understanding a wide variety of behaviors."
~ Why people believe in bad ideas [Pharyngula] -- "There is a must-read article at Edge by Paul Bloom and Deena Skolnick Weisberg—it's an attempt to explain why people resist scientific knowledge that takes a psychological view of the phenomenon."
~ Psychology Quotes -- "Some funny psychology quotes - and some serious quotations about mental illness, neurosis, psychoanalysis, and shock treatment from Hemingway, Freud, and Jung."
~ Six Steps to Anger Management -- "Instead of reacting with rage, take a sacred pause and transform your life." By Lama Surya Das.
~ Fishing for Personalities -- "Theoretical biologists demonstrate how an aggressive personality might make evolutionary sense."
~ That Highest Candle -- American Religious Poems, ed. by Harold Bloom and Jesse Zuba. The Library of America. $40.00 -- "This anthology appears at an interesting moment in cultural history. America is now widely considered to be the last bastion of religious belief in the developed world. Whether or not this is true—the influence of American culture on immigrants and on global culture is widely assumed to be secularizing—there are those who assign the failings of the country to its lapse from traditional religion, and there are those who assign our failings to the obdurate persistence of traditional religion." I own and love this book.
~ Revising Sherman Alexie -- "Alternately heartbreaking and wondrous, Sherman Alexie's first novel in ten years tells the story of an orphan careening through foster homes until finally, not long after we meet him, he walks into a bank and comes unstuck in time. Gritty, intense, and especially timely, it's a lightning-fast read besides." Alexie acknowledges the debt to Vonnegut in his premise.
~ The Religious Left is Left Out by the Commercial Media -- "A new study by Media Matters for America shows that when the topic is religion, the media looks disproportionately to hard-line right-wingers for comment."
~ Edge #211 is up -- lots of good reading.
~ Fred Thompson Almost Announces That He'll Announce -- "Whispers Editor Paul Bedard reports today that former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson has decided to toss his hat in the ring and run for the Republican nomination for president and will make the first formal moves next week, which will allow him to begin raising money."
~ The pleasure of hating Kobe Bryant -- "On Wednesday, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant demanded a trade. His beefs: The team didn't tell him that it would be trying to rebuild rather than contend for championships, and the front office has repeatedly planted rumors that he pushed to get rid of Shaquille O'Neal. Last May, Sam Anderson cataloged his hatred of Bryant. The short version: "I hate Kobe Bryant's rotten and derivative soul." The entire story is reprinted below." I was a die-hard Laker fan until the Kobe & Shaq era began.
~ Mark Regnerus' Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers -- "A 19-year-old virgin walks into a bar. He's got his lucky cross in his pocket and his best jersey on. Please God, he says to himself, let this be the night. He spies a girl sitting at a table—blonde, wholesome-looking, just his type. He sidles up closer to the girl, who is chatting with some friends. Over the din, he can make out snippets of her conversation: at Bible study the other night … Pastor Ted says … saving it for marriage. Discouraged, he walks away in search of a more promising target."
~ Too Much Information: Blogs Have Ruined My Dating Life -- "Gone are my days of lazily unwrapping new prospects like birthday presents, asking intrusive questions as seductively as possible over brunches and lengthy drinks. Nope. These days, you can't swing a cat in this town without hitting a boy with a blog . . . "
~ Communication Tools: Make Them Simple and Ubiquitous or They Won't Be Used -- "As part of my current work contract, and in some of my blog posts, I've grappled with the ineffective and inappropriate use of the various communication tools that are available in the workplace. I've developed a variety of 'tool choosers' -- decision trees and charts that identify the criteria for use of different tools."
~ The deer departed -- "And the ones that will remain while the National Park Service conducts a controversial mammal birth-control experiment at Point Reyes National Seashore."
~ Galaxy cluster takes it to the extreme -- "Evidence for an awesome upheaval in a massive galaxy cluster was discovered in an image made by NASA`s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The origin of a bright arc of ferociously hot gas extending over two million light years requires one of the most energetic events ever detected."
~ Why Are Galaxies without Black Holes Uncommon? -- "Recent calculations indicate that when two galaxies, and the supermassive black holes that lie at their centers, merge, these galactic 'marriages' frequently produce gravitational forces strong enough to kick the new combined black hole right out of its merged galaxy. However, so far, none of the many 'empty nest' galaxies predicted by such calculations have been found."
~ Emissions trading could misfire, economists warn -- "With the report of the Prime Minister`s Task Group on Emissions Trading due to be handed to Prime Minister John Howard tomorrow, environmental economists from The Australian National University have warned that an emissions trading scheme could misfire if it is poorly designed or captured by interest groups."
~ CBS Buys Last.fm for $280 Million Cash -- "CBS Corp. said Wednesday it is buying Last.fm, a music-focused online social network, for $280 million in cash in a bid to attract younger viewers and listeners across its businesses."
~ MySpace Parent to Buy Photobucket Site -- "A Web site that enables its users to store photos and video for inclusion in MySpace profiles will become a part of the popular online hangout." Damn, can't use photobucket anymore.
~ The Flesh Colored Crayon of Reality -- "When it comes to interpreting life, we tend to color our experiences with the tools we have. It makes sense, really. Afterall, we can’t use something we don’t have and we can’t use information we don’t know. That is an over-simplified explaination of postmodernist view on science and philosophy."
~ a plea for a pluralist metaphysic -- A look at the Amidist view of Christianity.
~ The Courage to Call 911 -- "Today I received a lesson in understanding other people’s perspectives. In general I think that if you are non-judgmental and compassionate toward other people suffering than you have an understanding of their perspective."
~ Inquiry: I need to make a good impression -- "Statement: I need to make a good impression. Is it true? Yes, feels true sometimes." Cool post.
~ Integral means connecting the human aim of liberation -- "Integral means connecting the human aim of liberation (the search for liberation from suffering) with the embrace of the given (the body and the transient cycles of existence). At a minimum, it means embracing a path of transcendence such as Zen with a path of immanence (such as psychoanalysis)."
~ Integrative Spirituality -- "There's nothing revolutionary in this post, as it's mainly an attempt to clarify my own thoughts. Not being a native English speaker, I only aspire to provide an excuse for some fine discussion. I will deliberately avoid any lingo, or a specific religious framework. Without imposing on readers an inclusivistic platform, this is a deliberately fragmented record of what came to mind, a smorgasbord of sorts."