Saturday, May 19, 2007

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week


Dalai Lama Quote of the Week from Snow Lion Books:

We feel money and power can bring happiness and solve problems, but they are not definite causes of those desired states. If that were so, it would follow that those who have wealth would necessarily have happiness, and those who do not have wealth would always experience suffering. Money and power facilitate, but it is clear that they are not the primary causes of, happiness and solving our problems. It is justified for us to make material and financial development for building our nation and providing shelter, etc. for ourselves; we need to do that. But we also need to seek inner development. As we can see, there are many people who have wealth and power who remain unhappy, due to which their health declines, and they are always taking medicines. On the other hand, we find people who live like beggars but who always remain peaceful and happy.

Therefore, in our daily life a certain way of thinking makes us happy, and a certain way of thinking makes us unhappy. In other words, there are certain states of mind which bring us problems, and they can be removed; we need to make an effort in that direction. Likewise, there are certain states of mind that bring us peace and happiness, and we need to cultivate and enhance them.

~ From Generous Wisdom: Commentaries by H.H. the Dalai Lama XIV on the Jatakamala translated by Tenzin Dorjee edited by Dexter Roberts


What Is Your Power Bird?

Your Power Bird is a Vulture

You are always changing your life and the lives of those around you.
You aren't afraid to move on from what holds you back.
Energetic and powerful, you have a nearly unlimited capacity for success.
You know how to "go with the flow" and take advantage of what is given to you.


Well, not really, but vultures are cool.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Daily Dharma: Opening Our Hearts [Updated]


Today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle:

Opening Our Hearts

We shield our heart with an armor woven out of very old habits of pushing away pain and grasping at pleasure. When we begin to breathe in the pain instead of pushing it away, we begin to open our hearts to what’s unwanted. When we relate directly in this way to the unwanted areas of our lives, the airless room of ego begins to be ventilated.

-Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are

From Everyday Mind, a Tricycle book edited by Jean Smith

This is beautiful advice.

When my last relationship ended, even though it was the right thing, I felt a lot of pain and sadness. But I worked hard to allow that pain into my heart -- to actually feel my feelings instead of trying to run away from them. The result was that my heart opened even wider.

When I got involved with someone new earlier this year, I felt a new openness and capability to love that I had never felt before. My ego was no longer the center of my world -- I found myself caring more for the well-being of the woman I loved than I did for my own feelings.

This was all new to me. But it never would have happened if I had not let myself embrace the pain of my past. I firmly believe that we have to be willing to open our hearts to pain in order to create the space for happiness. It isn't fun, but it works.


Speedlinking 5/18/07

Quote of the day:

"The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth."
~ H. L. Mencken

Image of the day:


BODY
~ Latest Health Breakthroughs that Could Save Your Life -- "Here's the full report on the latest medical breakthroughs."
~ Stresses and stressors -- "There has been a lot of talk recently about "overtraining" and "over-reaching". For the puropses of my wee blog I'm not going to get into definitions but let's define it as some form of additional work that results in a regression as opposed to progression."
~ A drink (or two) may cut kidney cancer risk -- "Having a drink or two per day appears to modestly decrease the risk of developing kidney cell cancer, new research findings suggest, regardless of the type of alcoholic drink that is consumed."
~ Tomatoes fail as prostate cancer preventive -- "A new study suggests that eating lycopene-rich tomatoes offers no protection against prostate cancer, contrary to the findings of some past studies. In fact, the researchers found an association between beta carotene, an antioxidant related to lycopene, and an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer."
~ Papillomavirus Vaccine Could Reduce Rate Of Vulval And Vaginal Cancers -- "Administration of a quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has proven effective in preventing high-grade vulval and vaginal lesions that can lead to cancers in those areas, conclude authors of a Article published in this week's edition of The Lancet."
~ Broccoli wards off cancer, except in England (AFP) -- "You can steam it, stir fry it, micro wave it or eat it raw, but for heaven's sake don't do what the English do, don't boil that broccoli to death."


PSYCHE
~ De-Stress for Success -- "Are you digging for the doctor’s number more often lately? Aches and pains forcing you to miss workouts? If you suffer from nagging injuries it may be more than just a streak of bad luck holding you down; it may be your state of mind."
~ Feeling unfairly treated may make you ill -- "People who report a sense of being unfairly treated face a greater risk of suffering a heart attack and are in worse overall physical and mental health, researchers from the UK and Finland report."
~ How doctors think, but psychiatrists still a mystery -- "Dr Jerome Groopman has written a book on the psychology of medical decision making called How Doctors Think but interestingly, he specifically excludes psychiatrists, as he says their thought processes are too complicated to understand."
~ Fishing for a Good Mood -- "A diet high in omega-3s beats the blues."
~ Solve Tough Problems with a Brain Reboot -- "I'’ve spent a lot of time looking into different methods for solving problems and boosting my creativity. I’'ve come to the conclusion that meditation isn’’t just for the monks. You can use meditation for finding solutions to difficult problems, taking control of your emotions or rebooting your brain."
~ Lower Brain Serotonin Responsiveness In Childhood Predicts Antisocial Personality Disorder -- "Lower serotonin responsiveness in the brain during childhood predicts the development of antisocial personality disorder in early adulthood, according to a new study. Low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, have been associated with several disorders, including increased aggression and depression."
~ Mind Metaphors [Mixing Memory] -- "Some of you who are interested in the history of psychology or philosophy of mind might find this paper interesting."


CULTURE/POLITICS
~ Gonzales No Confidence Vote Sought -- "Two Senate Democrats said Thursday they will seek a no-confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales over accusations that he carried out President Bush's political agenda."
~ The GOP shouldn't silence Ron Paul -- "Some Republicans are angry at Ron Paul, the libertarian presidential candidate, for his forthright stance at the Republican debate earlier this week. When George W. Bush repeatedly asserts unpopular opinions in the face of withering criticism, it's seen as a sign of strength and resolve. But when Paul asserted unpopular opinions in a debate, his remarks became the grounds for derision and threats."
~ Immigration Reform: Still A Band-Aid -- "Viewpoint: The latest deal on immigration policy addresses some of the problems - but won't change much."
~ Drama at Landis Doping Hearing -- "It came courtesy of Landis' fellow American Tour de France champion Greg LeMond, who disclosed he had been sexually abused as a child and received a call Wednesday from Landis' manager who threatened to reveal the secret if LeMond showed up to testify."
~ SCOTT HORTON—The Assault on Comey Begins -- "We’ve seen the pattern–with Richard Clarke, Paul O’Neill and a dozen others. They come out and reveal some unpleasant truth about the inner workings of the Bush Administration. They have broken the most sacred law of the “Loyal Bushies,” the law of omertà. So out comes the hatchet. . . ."
~ But Who Was Right -- Rudy or Ron? -- "Ron Paul is no TV debater. But up on that stage in Columbia, he was speaking intolerable truths. Understandably, Republicans do not want him back, telling the country how the party blundered into this misbegotten war." This may be the first time in my life that I agree with Pat Buchanan.


HABITATS/TECHNOLOGY
~ Uruguay Children Try Low-Cost Laptops -- "Big smiles spread across the faces of the 160 pupils at a public elementary school in this rural South American hamlet: Each sat gawking at a brightly blinking laptop computer given them days earlier."
~ Combating Climate Change: Building Better, Wasting Less -- "Drafty buildings, inefficient appliances and mountains of waste will all need to be transformed to control global warming."
~ Google Keeps Close Eye on Open Source -- "Q&A: Chris DiBona, a programs manager for Google, talks about how the company uses open-source software and what it contributes to the open-source community."
~ The Surprising Truth Behind the Construction of the Great Pyramids -- "A strange phone call leads Michel Barsoum to cast doubt on leading theories."
~ Shipwreck Yields $500 Million in Coins -- "Divers recovered 17 tons of silver and gold coins from a 400-year-old wreck."
~ Americans Discover the Allure of Off-Grid Living -- "A growing number of Americans are shunning power lines, choosing to live "off the grid," without commercial power -- and still enjoying their computers and large-screen televisions."
~ Study Finds 25 Countries Block Web Sites -- "At least 25 countries around the world block Web sites for political, social or other reasons as governments seek to assert authority over a network meant to be borderless, according to a study out Friday."


INTEGRAL/BUDDHIST
~ Being Buddha, Being "a" Buddha -- "Another nice find, both in terms of a blog and particular blog content, comes in the form of BuddhaDharma Mum and specifically the post on The Supreme Identity which features a video of a talk by the late Brother Wayne Teasdale. The format is an interview with Ken Wilber."
~ Buddha and the World (Part 1) -- Deepak Chopra -- "Is violence an aspect of human nature that can be cured, or are we caught in an endless cycle of violence that will never end? One of the most optimistic answers to that dilemma came from Buddha more than two thousand years ago. In the light of what he taught, I wanted to post my thoughts about the Buddhist solution and what it means for you and me as we seek to live in a troubling world."
~ The Integral Christian -- "Integral Christian is a new blog founded by Joe Perez. The blog’s focus is on advocating and practicing an integrative Christian spirituality."
~ Integral Design -- "In The Oxford Handbook of Science and Religion (Oxford University Press, 2006), edited by Philip Clayton and Zachary Simpson, there's an integral chapter written by Sean Hargens and Ken Wilber, called "Toward a Comprehensive Integration of Science and Religion: A Post-Metaphyhsical Approach". The chapter concludes the methodological Part IV of the book, which contains contributions by Owen Flanagan, David Ray Griffin and others."


'Malcolm X - Make It Plain' -- Documentary

I saw this a while back, and now it's online. If Malcolm X had not been killed, he may have surpassed Martin Luther King, Jr as the most important civil rights leader. He was evolving throughout his career, which may have been what got him killed.


Via: VideoSift

Political philosopher and visionary, husband and father, dynamic orator and militant minister. In his lifetime, Malcolm X was many men. Born Malcolm Little, he later became "Detroit Red" and "New York Red" -- a hustler, drug pusher, pimp, con man and the head of a Boston robbery ring. After spending time in prison, he emerged as Minister Malcolm -- Malcolm X, the fiery, eloquent spokesman for the Nation of Islam. Finally, he became El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, an internationally recognized leader and advocate for oppressed peoples. He was both loved and despised, revered and feared-- until an assassin's bullet cut him down at age 39.

American Experience marks the 40th anniversary of his death with "Malcolm X --- Make It Plain." This in-depth film portrait goes straight to the heart, mind and message of one of the modern era's most complex figures. Actress Alfre Woodard narrates the special.

This film chronicles Malcolm X's remarkable journey from his birth on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, to his assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City on February 21, 1965. His compelling story is told through the memories of people who had close personal and working relationships with him: prominent figures such as Maya Angelou, Ossie Davis and Alex Haley; Nation of Islam associates, including Wallace D. Muhammad, the son of Elijah Muhammad; and family members, including his wife, Betty Shabazz, and his oldest daughter, Attallah Shabazz. Included is extensive archival footage of Malcolm X, speaking in his own words at meetings and rallies, and in media interviews.

At a time when black civil rights leaders preached harmony and integration, Malcolm preached a militant gospel of self-defense and nationalism that terrified many whites and disturbed, yet also inspired, black Americans. After his travels to Africa and Mecca, he returned with a deeper understanding of Islam and a new willingness to accept white allies. "The white man and the black man have to be able to sit down at the same table," he said in his last year. "Then they can bring the issues that are under the rug out on top of the table and take an intelligent approach to getting the problem solved."

In 1965, under attack from the Nation of Islam and under surveillance by the FBI, Malcolm X was assassinated while delivering a speech. Who killed him and why remains a mystery to this day, 40 years after his assassination.

Stephen Colbert Interviews Howard Dean

I found this at News Bloggers:
Last Night Stephen Colbert Interviewed Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean. They discussed the recently held Republican debate, where the crowd infamously applauded torture.





Satire: Idaho Legislature Declares English Only Language They Know

From The Onion:

Idaho Legislature Declares English Only Language They Know

May 18, 2007 | Issue 43•20

BOISE, ID—The Idaho Legislature passed a unanimous resolution Monday declaring English the only language the elected assembly knows how to speak, write, or understand.

"We're putting into law a general feeling that everyone here has had for years: English is the only language we know, and English is the only language we want to know," Lt. Gov. James E. Risch said during a press conference outside the State Capitol building. "It's a good language, serves us well in matters of communication, and we can't think of any good reason to go around knowing some other language that we have no use for."

The legislature is expected to pass a separate resolution later this week officially declaring out-of-towners "suspicious."


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Speedlinking 5/17/07

Quote of the day:

"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
~ Unknown

Image of the day (David Winston):


BODY
~ Lower Risk For Diabetes Associated With Grain Fiber And Magnesium Intake -- "Higher dietary intake of fiber from grains and cereals and of magnesium may each be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a report and meta-analysis in the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.Projections indicate that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes worldwide may increase from 171 million in 2000 to 370 million by 2030, according to background information in the article." It's the fiber, not the grains -- you can get good fiber in vegetables as well.
~ Muscle Mythbusters: The 2007 ASEP National Conference -- "The American Society of Exercise Physiologists meets to bust up some myths and our Dr. Lowery was there. Find out why warm-ups may be worthless, how lactic acid may actually be good for us, and how weight lifting burns a lot more calories than we thought. All that and a whole lot more."
~ Insulin May Affect Response to Type of Diet -- "In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (abstract free, full study requires subscription), researchers have found a link between insulin concentration and response to diets. Individuals with high insulin secretion levels may lose more weight by following a low-glycemic diet." Most obese people secrete A LOT of insulin.
~ Exercise May Lead To Improvement In Patients With Parkinson's - USC Study On Dopamine Effects Shows Potential Benefits In Balance And Stability -- "A new study from researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) shows that treadmill exercises may benefit patients with Parkinson's Disease and those with similar movement disorders. The study is led by USC neuroscientist Michael Jakowec, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology and appears in the May 16 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience."
~ Testosterone May Help Men With Multiple Sclerosis -- "A small pilot study suggests that testosterone treatment is safe, well tolerated and may reduce symptoms, slow brain degeneration and increase muscle mass in men with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, the most common form of the disease, according to a report in Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals."
~ Lower Risk Of Age-Related Macular Disease And Higher Intake Of Fish And Vitamin D Levels Linked -- "Individuals who have higher dietary intake of foods with omega-3 fatty acids and higher fish consumption have a reduced risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration, while those with higher serum levels of vitamin D may have a reduced risk of the early stages of the disease, according to two reports in the May issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals."
~ The Benefits of a Gluten - and Casein - Free Diet -- "Research has proven the importance of a GFCF diet (gluten-free and casein-free) for many of the following conditions: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Celiac, Depression, Weight-Loss, Psoriasis, Migraines, Multiple Sclerosis, Chron’s Disease, Schizophrenia, Ulcerative Colitis, Chronic Diarrhea Cystic Fibrosis."
~ Lipoic acid explored as anti-aging compound -- "Researchers said today they have identified the mechanism of action of lipoic acid, a remarkable compound that in animal experiments appears to slow down the process of aging, improve blood flow, enhance immune function and perform many other functions."


PSYCHE
~ The Benefits Of Social Contact -- "Have you ever wondered why people surrounded by friends or family appear happier and healthier? University of Virginia psychologist James Coan will set out to answer this question when he addresses the Association for Psychological Science's annual convention in Washington, DC, May 24th-27th."
~ Rare risks and irrational responses -- "Security guru Bruce Schneier has written an insightful article for Wired about rational precautions for rare risks, and why the typical response after a rare catastrophe is usually psychologically satisfying but practically irrelevant."
~ 'Might Have Been' Key In Evaluating Behavior -- "'What might have been' or fictive learning affects the brain and plays an important role in the choices individuals make - and may play a role in addiction, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers and others in a report that appears online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."
~ New Research Probes The Context For Conflict In Conversation -- "A simple request, when placed in a certain context, has the potential to create conflict. This is epitomised in the phrase - 'does he take sugar"' - an approach society has learned to avoid when speaking about a disabled person. New research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) seeks to better understand the ways in which people strive to avoid disagreement in every-day conversation."
~ Positive self-esteem in youth can pay big salary dividends later in life -- "Believing in yourself may be good for the soul, but it can also be good for the bank account, according to a new University of Florida study that finds self-confidence can translate into earning hundreds of thousands of dollars more over a lifetime."
~ Emotions -- "Another simple minded look at a topic that comes up for me… emotions. Some of the ways I use to explore emotions." This is good stuff -- anything but simple.


CULTURE/POLITICS
~ India bans sex ed to preserve culture -- "Banning sex education on the grounds that it offends Indian sensibilities puts young lives at risk and jeopardizes the fight against AIDS, a senior health official said."
~ How to impeach Gonzales -- "The evidence uncovered in Gonzales' Senate and House testimony demonstrates that he fired Iglesias not because of a policy disagreement or a management failure, but because Iglesias would not misuse the power of the Department of Justice in the service of the Republican Party. To fire a U.S. attorney for refusing to abuse his power is the essence of an impeachable offense."
~ Hirsh: The Problem with Bush's New War Czar -- "Bush's new war 'czar' is nominally the president's man. But in reality, Doug Lute is fated to be powerless and can only preside over a worsening state of paralysis in Iraq."
~ Bush/Cheney/Addington/Yoo: "Fuck the 4th Amendment. Seriously! Fuck It! Bush Is Above the Law." -- "The growing speculation is that what Comey's testimoney revealed had to do with the Bush administration's complete and total disregard for the 4th Amendment in the institution of its spying policies."
~ Books & the Arts: Stop Making Sense -- "Colin Fleming uncovers a lost Russian literary movement that celebrated experimental narratives and absurdism."
~ Multiculturalism, citizenship and national identity | Tariq Modood -- "The idea of multiculturalism has faced a wave of criticism from voices who blame it for accentuating social division, reinforcing Muslim separateness and undermining national identity. But a developed view of multiculturalism can complement democratic citizenship and nation-building, says Tariq Modood."


HABITATS/TECHNOLOGY
~ Applebee's Nixes Trans Fat Frying Oil -- "Applebee's No Longer Using Trans Fat Frying Oil at Its Domestic Restaurants."
~ Improving on Wikipedia? -- "A new project called Digital Universe aims to make information on the Web better organized and more authoritative."
~ Study warns deepsea mining may pose serious threat to fragile marine ecosystems -- "Undersea habitats supporting rare and potentially valuable organisms are at risk from seafloor mining scheduled to begin within this decade, says a new study led by a University of Toronto Mississauga geologist."
~ Adaptive optics pinpoints 2 supermassive black holes in colliding galaxies -- "Astronomers have discovered the exact location and makeup of a pair of supermassive black holes at the center of a collision of two galaxies more than 300 million light years away."
~ Vital Ocean 'Carbon Sink' Nearly Full -- "Antarctica's Southern Ocean may soon reach its CO2 limit."
~ Environmental Groups Sue U.S. Navy Over Sonar Exercises off Hawaii -- "Five environmental groups is suing the Navy over sonar exercises off the coast of Hawaii that they say harm whales. Earthjustice filed the lawsuit in federal court in Honolulu on Wednesday, citing studies saying Navy sonar can 'kill, injure, or significantly alter the behavior of whales and dolphins.'"


INTEGRAL/BUDDHIST
~ The next Buddha will be a collective, part two -- "Yesterday’s contribution by Mushin was based on an earlier contribution by Helen in her Zaadz blog (a platform I normally dislike because of its explicit endorsement of capitalism) and I would like to reproduce some significant excerpts of her thoughts on the matter above."
~ Changing content or not? -- "This is a topic that has come up in conversation a few times recently… usually when I describe a pattern I notice in own experience, and the other saying something along the lines of “don’t try to change the content of experience”. It is good advice, but also a little too general and simplistic."
~ Is "The Cup" Half Empty or Half Full? -- "The Cup is a story inspired by true events. An unconventional film by a Buddhist director about Buddhists, it offers a glimpse into the clash of the "ancient" with the modern. Seen through the lives of young exiled Tibetan monks in India, it is a story of East meets West, of how the boys, who were supposed to have renounced the worldly, encounter and embrace the world through the microcosm of 1998's World Cup."
~ The Teacup and the Skullcup -- "I had a new book arrive today, The Teacup and the Skullcup: Chogyam Trungpa on Zen and Tantra. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for a while. This book is a drawn from two seminars that Trungpa did on Zen and Tantra in 1974, early in his teaching career."


Appreciating Each Other


This is inspired by a post at The Art of Intimacy.

"The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated."
~ William James

I think this is very true, especially in relationships. How often do we take our partners for granted? How often do we fail to consider their feelings, leaving them feeling ignored and discounted?

These are sure ways to destroy love.

But how simple it is to show our appreciation. It doesn't need to be extravagant -- it can be as simple as a hug and a tender word. Sometimes it means stopping for a moment to consider how the other person might feel, but with a little practice it gets easier and easier to do this.

I've been horrible at this in the past -- and I learned my lessons the hard way -- through loss.

But I did learn. If things work out eventually in my present situation, she will never be able to doubt that she is loved and appreciated. She will always know that I value her as a person and a partner.

The most profound things can be so simple.


Sidney Blumenthal: All Hail the King

Over at Salon, Sidney Blumenthal takes a harsh look at Bush's imperial presidency. Now that things are falling apart, his loyal servants are being tossed to the lions, with a few exceptions.

Key quote:

Loyalty to Bush is the ultimate royal principle of the imperial presidency. The ruler must be unquestioned and those around him unquestioning. Allegiance to Bush's idea of himself as the "war president," "the decider" and "the commander guy" is paramount. But the notion that the ruler is loyal to those loyal to him is no longer necessarily true. While he must be beheld as the absolute incarnation of kingly virtue, his sense of obligation to those paying homage has become perilously relative.

Those who feel compelled to tell the truth rather than stick to the cover story are cast in the dust, like McNulty. Those Bush defends as an extension of his authority but who become too expensive become expendable, like Wolfowitz. And those who exist solely as Bush's creations and whose survival is crucial to his own are shielded, like Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Read the whole thing.


Chistopher Hitchens on the Death of Jerry Falwell

Hitchens has a go at Falwell on CNN and doesn't hold back. Anderson Cooper seems helpless to slow him down. Not sure I agree with Hitchens on many things, but I agree that people like Falwell and Robertson are not representative of Jesus' love and tolerance.




Are you the favourite person of anybody?

This a sad little short film, but I found it moving.


Via: VideoSift


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My Life: An Update

The woman I love ( as much as it pains me, I can no longer call her my girlfriend) and I saw a therapist tonight -- he's very good, and comes highly recommended by a friend of mine. The session was uncomfortable in a multitude of ways. But it was decided that she will she will see him for a while, and if at some point she wants to include me in the sessions, as a means of saving our relationship, then I will do some sessions with her.

At this point, my primary concern is her happiness, and I think that Bob (the therapist) can help her with that. I have to trust that she will find her own way through this difficult time in her life. If I am to be a part of that, I would be extremely happy. If not, I have to trust that Bob will help her find a path to her own happiness.

This is challenging for me in so many ways. I am sure I know what the right path is, but there is nothing I can do to make her choose that path.

I'm trying to practice equanimity, but it's hard.


Speedlinking 5/16/07

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM POLYSEMY: PODCAST: The Joshua Bell Experiment, part 1 -- "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: What exactly is this an experiment in? Is the audience response a sign of widespread cultural decline? Is Joshua Bell no better than the average rock band just starting out? What is a "venue", anyway? Join us as we explore these and more questions in this first podcast of a several part series. " This is very cool, and I'm sorry I was unable to join the fun -- please check it out.

Quote of the day:

"Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions."
~ Albert Einstein

Image of the day:

BODY
~ Muscles for Athletes, Part II -- "This article contains so many training concepts and ideas that it'll likely keep your workouts fresh and productive for months to come. This is one you'll want to print out and save."
~ Whole Grain Rehash -- "Yes, we've heard this before: The people who eat the most whole grains have lower risk of heart disease than those who eat the least. Keep in mind that the people who eat the least whole grains aren't likely eating a lower carb diet, they're eating lots of refined grains. So again, saying those who eat the most whole grains have the lowest risk of heart disease isn't necessarily true. It could be, but I'd also bet that people eating the least amount of grains overall have a lower risk of heart disease compared to those eating the most refined grains."
~ Most People Cannot Raise Their Metabolism with Exercise -- "Many people believe that exercise controls weight by increasing your metabolism so you burn extra calories all day long. A review of the world's literature from the University of South Australia in Adelaide shows that you have to be in very good shape to exercise vigorously enough to increase your metabolism."
~ Low-Dose CoQ10 Supplements Won't Ease Parkinson's (HealthDay) -- "Low doses of an antioxidant called coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), sold as a dietary supplement, do not appear to improve Parkinson's disease symptoms, a German study finds."
~ Hair Loss In Woman - Causes And Treatment -- "Since the beginning of time, long, luxurious hair has been associated with female beauty. This stereotype puts great pressure on women to achieve this trait. Hair loss, although prevalent in men, is not rare in women. Most often hair loss in women has been concealed with wigs or weaves."
~ Study Shows Lifestyle Changes Are Effective For Reducing Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors When Discontinuing Hormone Replacement Therapy -- "Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been shown to reduce many cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, but many women have stopped using HRT due to reports from the Women's Health Initiative that HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease."
~ Gentle yoga may aid migraine sufferers -- "A combination of yoga poses, breathing exercises and relaxation may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines, a new study suggests."


PSYCHE
~ QBI Neuroscientists Edge Closer To Decoding Brain Repair -- "Neuroscientists at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) have revealed two major discoveries, edging them closer to harnessing the brain's inherent powers of self-repair and regeneration. In findings announced in the Journal of Neuroscience, QBI neuroscientists have identified the stem cell population responsible for production of neurons, and the mechanism which drives this process."
~ Push to achieve tied to Asian-American suicide rate -- "When Eliza Noh's sister killed herself, Noh set out to find out why young Asian-American women have such a high suicide rate. On "Paula Zahn Now" tonight at 8 ET, medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen examines why depression afflicts so many Asian-American women and the cultural stigma against getting help."
~ Which Culture Most Controls Their Facial Emotions? -- "According to some research it's Russians! And the least control over facial emotions? Americans. These are just two relatively new findings to emerge from studying cultural differences in nonverbal behaviour."
~ 12 month olds, but not 6 month olds predict other people's actions -- "No, this is not like voodoo prediction where they will know what will happen 12 years hence."
~ The Self Fulfilling Prophecy -- "We humans seem to prefer that other people behave as we expect them to, and we will modify or distort reality until it conforms to our expectations. And we can do this without even being aware we are doing it!"
~ Dear Oprah, please stop promoting The Secret -- "Oprah, it's time to come clean about The Secret."
~ New Study Examines 'Brain's Own Marijuana' -- "A researcher at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) is investigating the "brain's own marijuana" -- called endocannabinoid -- in the regulation of stress, stress-related behavior and anxiety."
~ Treating Longtime Partner Like a First Date Can Boost Morale and Well-being -- "The quickest way for longtime couples to rekindle romance may be to pretend they`re strangers, according to a University of British Columbia psychology study."


CULTURE/POLITICS
~ Darwin’s letters go online -- "The Darwin Correspondence Project is a database of 5,000 letters written by and to the great naturalist Charles Darwin. The database, which was compiled by researchers at the University of Cambridge, has just gone online."
~ Campaign Matters: Hillary's New YouTube Video -- "Hillary Clinton is asking voters to choose her campaign theme song."
~ Theocons of the World, Unite -- "D’Souza’s thesis is that America’s cultural left brought 9/11 upon us—not, as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell infamously suggested shortly after the event, by inviting the wrath of God, but by inviting the wrath of Muslims. How? Mainly by fostering 'a decadent American culture that angers and repulses traditional societies' and by 'waging an aggressive global campaign to undermine the traditional patriarchal family and to promote secular values.'"
~ The Need to Know: Justice vs. White House -- "The scene that former Deputy Attorney General James Comey described before a Senate panel yesterday was pure pulp: high-ranking officials from the White House duking it out with their counterparts at the Department of Justice at the hospital bedside of an ailing attorney general."
~ The Republican Debate Report Card -- "Missed the debate? The long shots threw some jabs and the favorites played defense. Mark Halperin grades all of their performances."
~ Military Cuts the Cord, Bans MySpace, MTV, YouTube -- "Just two weeks after the Army restricted troops from blogging, on Friday the Department of Defense announced that social networking is now off limits."
~ National Satisfaction Level Dips to 25%, One of Lowest Since 1979 -- "The latest Gallup Poll finds just 25% of Americans satisfied with the way things are going in the United States, one of the 20 lowest readings Gallup has obtained on this measure first asked in 1979. The Iraq war is again mentioned as the nation's top problem, as it has been each month for over three years now."


HABITATS/TECHNOLOGY
~ City goes on a diet — and it worked -- "The whole city of Somerville went on a diet to curb childhood obesity. And researchers say it worked."
~ Google revamps its Internet search -- "Google went live Wednesday with a revamped Internet search engine that integrates video, books, maps and news into "universal" results to online queries."
~ Antarctica Yields New Life -- "A "treasure trove" of new species is discovered in Antarctica's dark depths."
~ West Nile Decimates Suburban Birds -- "Robin and bluebird populations have been devastated by West Nile Virus."
~ Researchers Store Data in Bacteria DNA -- "These days, data get stored on disks, computer chips, hard drives and good old-fashioned paper. Scientists in Japan see something far smaller but more durable - bacteria."
~ Investigating coral reefs to help understand past and future climate change -- "Increasing Earth temperatures and rising sea levels. Both of these are effects of climate change. The current concern is that human activity is changing our climate at a rate well above the natural climate cycling. Understanding how the Earth's climate system works and responds to human impact is therefore of uttermost importance."
~ Inexpensive 'nanoglue' can bond nearly anything together -- "Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to bond materials that don`t normally stick together. The team`s adhesive, which is based on self-assembling nanoscale chains, could impact everything from next-generation computer chip manufacturing to energy production."


INTEGRAL/BUDDHIST
~ The Dharma Drug: Buddhism as a Psychoactive Agent -- "The Buddhist and psychedelic paths share some certain commonalities in the expansion of consciousness in both theory and practice. Both philosophies can serve to make one a more compassionate, sentient being. Practice in Buddhism's mindfulness, as do well-planned and intentioned sessions with psychedelics give people the power to overcome habitual behaviors and attachments."
~ Free Preview Night for SeattleIntegral's Shamanic Breathwork weekend in June...and Big Love -- "Tuesday, May 22nd, Seattle Integral will be sponsoring a Free preview evening all about the upcoming Shamanic Breathwork(TM) Process weekend happening in June."
~ Right Speech -- "Hurt feelings are part of being a living, breathing, AWAKE human being. I don't try to avoid hurting people's feelings as a goal. I try to communicate information in a way that is likely to be most useful to that person, as far as I can discern."
~ Tweaked stories and gridlock -- "When there is a belief in a separate self, however subtle it may appear to be, any other story is filtered through this core story. Any other story, whether told to others or oneself, is tweaked just slightly to make this separate self look either a little better or worse than the rest of the world (as what it used to be, could have been, may be, what others are, and so on)."
~ Taking and Sending -- "In practice, tonglen is a frontal assault on the defenses of the ego-self. Ego is a tenuous construction of thought, and therefore vulnerable to thought. Because of its contrived nature, ego can’t allow even the slightest doubt to threaten the credibility of its own self-view, sustaining itself by a more or less constant vigilance against the mental infiltration of discordant thought."


Christian Science Monitor: Web 2.0 meets Campaign 2008

An interesting article -- certainly, sites like YouTube are going to change the face of election campaigning. In fact, it already has with the anti-Hillary Apple 1984 video.

Web 2.0 meets Campaign 2008

Podcasts and videos are among the features found on the interactive websites of US presidential candidates.

Go to www.YouTube.com/emergencycheese and click on the video "Congressman Ron Paul Visits My Dorm Room." There, according to Georgetown student James Kotecki, viewers will see the first-ever interview with a presidential candidate from a college dorm room. They can hear Mr. Paul present his libertarian take on foreign policy, economics, and the Constitution. In the background, the clutter of toiletries atop Mr. Kotecki's dresser adds to the "just dropping by" feel.

To Kotecki, college senior and political video junkie, his YouTubed interview with Paul is what the marriage of Web 2.0 and Campaign '08 should be all about: interactivity. Candidate-to-voter communication should be a two-way street, he says, not just one-way pronouncements.

(Graphic)
Click to enlarge
Source: Alexa.com/Rich Clabaugh – Staff

Of course, most voters aren't going to have half-hour, one-on-one chats with presidential candidates. And chances are Kotecki, who aggressively courts candidate attention via YouTube, will find it much harder to land interviews with top-tier hopefuls like Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) of New York or former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R). If nothing else, a dorm-room drop-by probably doesn't fit the presidential image they're trying to project. But there's no doubt that interaction with voters – aided and amplified by still-unfolding Web innovations – is the name of the game in the 2008 presidential race.

Peter Daou, Internet director for the Clinton campaign, has watched the trajectory up close for years; he ran online outreach for John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004. Interactivity "was important then, obviously," Mr. Daou says. "What has changed is the mechanisms to do it have become far more robust, more commonplace, more popular."

Onetime Democratic candidate Howard Dean's cutting-edge use of the Internet four years ago, as a way to raise big money fast, organize volunteers, and communicate with supporters, now looks downright quaint. And, analysts note, Mr. Dean's ultimate flameout as a presidential contender early in the 2004 primaries shows that success on the Web does not guarantee actual votes.

The same may hold true today. Sen. Barack Obama (D) of Illinois, at least, hopes not. He blew away the competition in both parties by raising $6.9 million from 50,000 contributors online during the first quarter of 2007.


Read the rest
.


Pink Floyd - Welcome to the Machine

The original animated video -- I had forgotten how dark this song was.


Via: VideoSift


Satire: Hallmark Scientists Identify 3 New Human Emotions

From The Onion:

Hallmark Scientists Identify 3 New Human Emotions

May 16, 2007 | Issue 43•20

KANSAS CITY, MO—Scientists at Hallmark Cards' Center for the Research and Development of Sentiments announced Monday that they had discovered three previously unknown emotions that can be experienced by human beings and captured on a folded piece of card stock.

Enlarge Image Hallmark Scientists

Exploring The Human Psyche

Dr. Susan McMurrough has spent years analyzing the deep, unexamined feelings of thousands of test subjects in order to discover new, marketable emotions.

"These new Hallmark-brand feelings will fill a void that has too long persisted in the consumable pleasantries market," said Hallmark president and CEO Don Hall, Jr., speaking to reporters in front of a watercolor backdrop of tulips beside a pond. "They will add a whole new level of complexity and nuance to the way we humans relate to one another, and will fill in any gaps left by our 'Thinking of You' and 'Just Because' categories."

The first emotion the project successfully isolated was "requiapathy," the combination of relief and guilt that comes with the sudden realization that you no longer miss a dead loved one. That discovery quickly led to the uncovering of "seprudity," the feeling of appreciating a coworker's dedication without fully understanding his or her job function, and "trepatiousness," a synthesis of rage and jealousy, though more muted and often accompanied by a sensation of weight-lessness.

"[Trepatiousness] appears to be a very rare emotion, almost exclusively experienced while in a dream state," said principal investigator Dr. Susan McMurrough, a leader in the field of keepsake science best known for her work on the revolutionary "Blank Inside" line of cards. "The only way to activate it during waking hours, in fact, is with a combination of reds, oranges, and drowsy beagles in top hats."

The three emotions represent the latest discovery in the center's ongoing Emotions Mapping Project, a $42.4 million effort to identify and codify all of the mental and physiological states generated within the human psyche that are not currently covered by Hallmark's extensive line of greeting cards and collectible ornaments.

Enlarge Image Hallmark Cards

A prototype of one of the new cards, which will be available at Hallmark stores in time for Father's Day.

In 2002, McMurrough monitored the MRI activity of nearly 10,000 test subjects between the ages of 25 and 40 as they described all emotions they had experienced in the past six months and rated each for its intensity, duration, and whether it would be conveyable to others by mail. To identify targets of further study, McMurrough's team referenced that data against a matrix of all possible combinations of the neurotransmitters that catalyze human emotion.

"Until now, millions of people worldwide were forced to express their sincere and heartfelt requiapathy, seprudity, and trepatiousness with clumsy words and gestures," Hall said. "Our colorful and succinct messages will spare them countless hours of inconvenience and potential misunderstandings."

After a second group of Hallmark scientists successfully replicated the initial study's results, the sentiments were immediately submitted to the U.S. Patent Office and rushed to Hallmark headquarters, where writers, illustrators, and graphic designers interpreted the new emotions in warm, concise verse; inoffensive, ingratiating humor; and reassuring pastel watercolors.

"This research is not only groundbreaking—it's inspirational," said Mallory Jefson, a writer for Hallmark's Best Wishes department, who added that the emotions have led them to creative heights not reached since Secretaries Day became Administrative Professionals Day in 2000. In a single day of brainstorming, Jefson and her colleagues developed 15 seprudity-based card concepts that incorporated cats in sunglasses, and 22 new coffee mugs featuring the tart-tongued, post-menopausal character Maxine expressing requiapathy.

The Hallmark laboratories have been at the forefront of the greeting card sciences since the '40s. Their work has led to the creation of eight federally recognized holidays, the specification of a time frame in which someone ought to get well, and over a dozen flower and cursive-font combinations that, sales figures show, have effectively conveyed the complex emotional and psychological states of an estimated 185 million Americans.