Saturday, June 09, 2007


Such a hopeful song . . .

Kinetic Sculptures - Theo Jansen

Who says art has to be useful? This guy's work is amazing - and it may even be useful at some point.

Via: VideoSift

Here is the info that accompanies this video over at YouTube:

"For the past fifteen years, Theo Jansen has been creating (growing?) "beach animals" made from commonly available tools like plastic tubing, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, hose, tape, and all sorts of other stuff. Wired News did a pretty good article on Jansen earlier this year:-

Jansen is evolving an entirely new line of animals: immense multi-legged walking critters designed to roam the Dutch coastline, feeding on gusts of wind. Over the years, successive generations of his creatures have evolved into increasingly complex animals that walk by flapping wings in response to the wind, discerning obstacles in their path through feelers and even hammering themselves into the sand on sensing an approaching storm.

It's hard to know where to begin in talking about what's so cool about Jansen's beach animals. They're evolved for one thing; he worked out the optimal 11-piece leg using evolutionary algorithms on a computer but now prefers to race his animals on the beach and "breed" the most successful ones together, taking the best bits from each to make their offspring better. His animals have legs, muscles (pneumatic pistons within the plastic tubing), stomachs (plastic bottles for storing air), and nerves (collections of on/off values that work pretty much like logic gates)."

BTW - the first clip is a current BMW ad. - I deleted their tag as it seemed pointless. Theo Jansen is currently working on a movie - sketchy details on his site . More info at

"Theo Jansen, artist, studied science at the University of Delft Holland. The first seven years being a artist he just made paintings. Then he starts a project with a big flying saucer, which could really fly. It flew over the town of Delft in 1980 and brought the people in the street and the police in commotion. Since about ten years he is occupied with the making of a new nature. Not pollen or seeds but plastic yellow tubes are used as the basic matierial of this new nature. He makes skeletons which are able to walk on the wind. Eventualy he wants to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives."

Animation Artworks: "Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase"

Amazing animation by Joan C. Gratz featuring a veritable history of modern art.

Via: VideoSift

Anima Mundi - Godfrey Reggio

This is pretty damn cool if you love nature and animals. Here is the info posted at Video Sift:

Anima Mundi is a film about animals. It contains no actors, has not plot and has no script. Anima Mundi was created by Godfrey Reggio who also created Koyaanisqatsi.

Anima Mundi was commissioned by the Italian jewelery company Bvlgari, for the World Wide Fund for Nature which used the film for its Biological Diversity Program. The breathtaking images of nature where intended to make the viewer feel that they where part of the natural world. Philip Glass provided the musical score in Anima Mundi, as with all of Godfrey Reggio's films.

The concept of the term Anima Mundi is that the order and beauty of nature are made of the almost endless species and varieties of animals, elements and beings that make a balanced whole. All of the shots in Anima Mundi relate to this though, rather than just being images of animals that one might find in a BBC documentary.

The footage in Anima Mundi is made up of existing and newly shot footage. Only the finest existing footage was considered for the film. The score provides a good accompaniment to the animal scenes. Philip Glass often provides an unusual score, as is the case with Anima Mundi. However the sounds and rhythms complement the film well.

Via: VideoSift

Friday, June 08, 2007

Speedlinking 6/8/07

Quote of the day:

"There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love."
~Bryant McGill

Image of the day:

~ Taking Vitamin D may reduce cancer risks in women -- "The four-year study out of Creighton University in Nebraska found that women who regularly took vitamin D3 had a 60 per cent reduction in cancer infections compared to a group taking placebos."
~ Flexible Training Templates -- An interesting article on program design from Charles Staley.
~ Makeover Your Grocery Cart -- "Find the best foods for your diet whether you want low-fat, low-cal, low-carb or vegetarian."
~ Women's midlife weight key to future diabetes risk -- "People carrying excess weight who aim to ward off diabetes should try to lose the pounds before they reach middle age, Australian researchers suggest."
~ Current activity affects bone density in men -- "The more time young men spend engaging in high-impact physical exercise, the greater their bone mineral density, a new study of medical students shows."
~ Sugary drinks tied to extra pounds in preschoolers -- "Preschool children who are regularly given sugary drinks between meals are more likely to be overweight than their peers, new study findings suggest."
~ Surefire Way to Reduce Your Appetite -- "Do you eat too much? Exercising after meals boosts appetite-suppressant hormones, according to research published in the Journal of Endocrinology."

~ Blogging on the Brain: 6/08 [Developing Intelligence] -- Lots of links.
~ Media Messes with Men's Minds Too -- "Body image in the minds of men."
~ Don't Stand So Close to Me -- "Here's a weird study that sometimes gets a mention in ethical discussions about psychology, and it's not hard to see why. Middlemist, Knowles & Matter (1976) designed an experiment to test how the speed and flow of men's urination in a public lavatory was affected by invasions of personal space."
~ Can You Spot These 10 Thinking Sins? -- "Let’s take a look at 10 common ways that negative thinking emerges (there are many more, of course) — get good at spotting these patterns, and practice replacing them with positive thinking patterns. It has made all the difference in the world for me."
~ Deconstructing 'Psychobabble' -- "My clinician colleagues might look askance at the above title. Some would raise a condescending eyebrow. But my professional field, mental health counseling or psychotherapy, is plagued by the same barriers to clarity as the legal profession."
~ "Disconnect" Doesn't Have to Be a Bad Thing -- "As a therapist, I know the importance of building quiet, reflective time into our insanely hectic schedules. It's a key component of my own mental and physical well-being. So I should know better, right? I emphasize this to my patients all the time, especially if they are experiencing high levels of stress and/or anxiety."
~ Know blood, know the brain -- "The Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism publishes cutting edge scientific research on brain scanning and blood flow, and it's just put a collection of some of the key papers from the last few years online, for free."
~ Put a Stop to Your Anxiety with These 8 Simple Tips -- "Now what I’m talking about here aren’t anxiety attacks or anything that serious. I know very little about such problems and possible solutions. But the following tips have helped me handle the lower levels of anxiety and worrying that most of us experience from time to time."

~ Is Al Jazeera about to Become Al-Foxeera? -- "Sources inside Al Jazeera confirm that there is an internal struggle underway that may dilute Al Jazeera's independence and steer it in a more pro-western, pro-US direction."
~ Democrats May Subpoena NSA Documents -- "Senior House Democrats threatened Thursday to issue subpoenas to obtain secret legal opinions and other documents from the Justice Department related to the National Security Agency's domestic wiretapping program. If the Democrats take that step, it would mark the most aggressive action yet by Congress in its oversight of the wiretapping program, and could set the stage for a constitutional showdown over the separation of powers."
~ Google spies on America -- "As Google grows older, it's becoming that kid who brings an M-80 to the neighborhood barbecue. While everyone else is goofing off with sparklers, Google blows up a trash can and freaks out the entire block. The latest explosion is Google Street View. The free-sushi-eating Googleheads dreamed up the idea to send a camera-equipped van to take 360-degree shots around the streets of San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, Denver, and Miami. Cool, right? Then the service launched last Tuesday, and Mary Kalin-Casey discovered that she could see her cat Monty in the window of her apartment."
~ Anglicanism in Crisis -- "Can the Archbishop of Canterbury lead his flock back from the brink of a rancorous schism over homosexuality?"
~ We'll always hate Paris -- "The public outrage over Paris Hilton's early release from her L.A. prison cell may be justified -- but why are we expending so much energy protesting the antics of a spoiled media whore?"
~ Why Michael Moore Helped Save Enemy Site -- "When the founder of the Web’s most popular anti-Michael Moore Web site ran into financial trouble because of medical bills, a very unlikely guardian angel came to the rescue."
~ Poems & Particulars -- "I’m mainly a poet, but lately I’ve been reading fiction. A couple of weeks ago I woke up at 3:30 in the morning to finish Ian McEwan’s Atonement. I loved it in the way I loved books when I was ten: in a fully-absorbed, can’t-wait-to find-out-what-happens, dream-about-it way."

~ Ticks challenge climate theory -- "As key players in the spread of disease ticks aren`t exactly man`s best friend but, according to Oxford University scientists, they may offer a vital clue that climate change is not to blame for an upsurge in many human diseases."
~ Amazon founder says still 'day one' for e-commerce -- " founder Jeff Bezos said Friday he thinks it's still "day one" for e-commerce, but if he was just starting out as a young entrepreneur he might be putting his money elsewhere."
~ Scientists propose the kind of chemistry that led to life -- "Before life emerged on earth, either a primitive kind of metabolism or an RNA-like duplicating machinery must have set the stage - so experts believe. But what preceded these pre-life steps?"
~ 10 Ways to Green Your Home -- "Positive actions to tread more lightly on the planet."
~ Chimps Pass On Culture Like Humans Do -- "Chimpanzees readily learn and share techniques on how to fiddle with gadgets, new research shows, the best evidence yet that our closest living relatives pass on customs and culture just as humans do."
~ U.S. drought spreading in South and West -- "Drought now covers more than a third of the continental United States and is spreading, it was reported Friday." Especially here in Arizona.
~ Scientists reveal how supermassive black holes bind into pairs during galaxy mergers -- "Picture the Milky Way galaxy-a disk of stars and gas, a stellar spheroid and an enormous halo of dark matter. It spirals around a black hole that is supermassive-about three million solar masses. The Milky Way's total mass is about 100 billion solar masses-enormous to us but average among galaxies."
~ U.S. Religious Leaders Assert Need To Act on Climate -- "Episcopal, Catholic, Jewish and evangelical Christian -- agreed Thursday on the need to confront global warming, while other faith representatives questioned the climate change threat."

~ The Integral Psychograph, A Personal Journey -- "The following article was written in response to a conference call in January 2007 concerning the Integral Psychograph with Integral Institute’s David Zeitler, and organised by Joanne Rubin of the Integral Psychology Affinity Group. While I have done my best to represent the material from the call when used, it does not necessarily represent the views of David, or any of the participants."
~ Comment: integral sex and gender studies -- "One of the most trenchant problems in terms of moving forward with a more integral view of sex and gender relations is the current view held by many postmodern feminists that history is replete with men dominating or oppressing women en masse, in a way analogous to the way that whites dominated blacks or indigenous cultures, for example."
~ Spiritual Altitude, Politics & Interpreting Art -- Updated from yesterday.
~ The Great Confluence -- "This week on Integral Spiritual Center...."
~ Integral Institute's Failure to Provide Cogent Analysis -- "Is now clearly on display. More silly Paris Hilton obsessions."
~ Winning the Integral Game? -- "I just read an excellent essay called Winning the Integral Game? by Scott Parker over at Integral World. After reading it this morning, I felt Scott was writing my exact experience with the work and world of Ken Wilber. What Scott describes as the transition from Wilber “fan” to Wilber “critic” is very similar to my own experience and description of the stages of Wilberism."
~ Big Love Integral, Module 2 -- "If you're in Seattle, or close by, and you don't already have plans, Saturday is Module 2 of my developing workshop, Big Love Integral, A Participatory Exploration of Conscious Romantic Relationship In An Integral Context."

Daily Om: Importance Of Forgiveness

Wise words in Wednesday's Daily Om:

An Empowered Perspective
Importance Of Forgiveness

When someone has hurt us, consciously or unconsciously, one of the most difficult things we have to face in resolving the situation is the act of forgiveness. Sometimes it feels like it's easier not to forgive and that the answer is to simply cut the person in question out of our lives. In some cases, ending the relationship may be the right thing to do, but even in that case, we will only be free if we have truly forgiven. If we harbor bitterness in our hearts against anyone, we only hurt ourselves because we are the ones harboring the bitterness. Choosing to forgive is choosing to alleviate ourselves of that burden, choosing to be free of the past, and choosing not to perceive ourselves as victims.

One of the reasons that forgiveness can be so challenging is that we feel we are condoning the actions of the person who caused our suffering, but this is a misunderstanding of what is required. In order to forgive, we simply need to get to a place where we are ready to stop identifying ourselves with the suffering that was caused us. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, and our forgiveness of others is an extension of our readiness to let go of our own pain. Getting to this point begins with fully accepting what has happened. Through this acceptance, we allow ourselves to feel and process our emotions.

It can be helpful to articulate our feelings in writing over a period of days or even weeks. As we allow ourselves to say what we need to say and ask for what we need to heal, we will find that this changes each day. It may be confusing, but it is a sign of progress. At times we may feel as if we are slogging uphill through dense mud and thick trees, getting nowhere. If we keep going, however, we will reach a summit and see clearly that we are finally free of the past. From here, we recognize that suffering comes from suffering, and compassion for those who have hurt us naturally arises, enhancing our new perspective.

Lewis Black -- Creepy Google

Lewis Black on The Daily Show talking about Google Street View, and other things.

TED Talks: Robert Thurman

As if simply being the father of Uma Thurman weren't enough, Robert Thurman has been one of the leading figures in introducing Tibetan Buddhism to the West. He is by far one of my favorite authors and teachers.

Natasha Dantzig, at TED Talks, was very kind in alerting me to this new posting on their site. The video is just under 14 minutes. Enjoy.

In our hyperlinked world, we can know anything, anytime. And this mass enlightenment, says Buddhist scholar Bob Thurman, is our first step toward becoming Buddha. When we can know everything, we can see how everything is interconnected -- and we can begin to feel compassion for every living being.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Facing My Fears

Today I made a decision that may cost me someone I love very much. But it's the right decision. Still, in doing this, I am forced to face my fears -- the greatest of which is losing the people I love.

I know where the fear comes from -- I was thirteen when my father died. Every major loss since then has been a replay of that original loss in one way or another. In the past, I have allowed the fear to dictate my decisions, but no longer.

I have often stayed in unhealthy situations out of fear. This has been bad for me and for the other person involved. Sometimes I need to distance myself from these kinds of situations, and until now I haven't known how to do it. Still, there is no comfort in knowing I have made the right decision for my life.

But there is a sense of empowerment from having faced down one of my darkest fears. It will be a daily struggle to stick with my decision, but I am committed to being healthy and whole. And this choice offers me (and her) the best chance at having that.

Speedlinking 6/7/07

Quote of the day:

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be."
~ Kurt Vonnegut

Image of the day:

~ Double Trouble Hypertrophy -- "Most of us poor slobs have jobs so we don't have the luxury of doing two-a-days, but we figure since it's summer there are a bunch of feckless college students out there doing one bong hit after another who just might be able to take advantage of this program."
~ Metabolic Syndrome Points To Heart Health -- "Typified by high blood pressure, weight gain around the waist and problems regulating blood sugar, metabolic syndrome may also be associated with compromised heart structure and function, according to a paper published in the online open access journal BMC Cardiovascular Disorders."
~ Hormone That Signals We Are Full When Eating Also Curbs Fast Food Consumption And Tendency To Binge Eat -- "The synthetic form of a hormone previously found to produce a feeling of fullness when eating and reduce body weight, also may help curb binge eating and the desire to eat high-fat foods and sweets. The findings on fast food consumption and binge eating tendencies are based on a 6-week research study of 88 obese individuals."
~ Young gymnasts show high bone density -- "The high-impact tumbling of gymnastics may boost young girls' muscle mass and bone density, according to a small study."
~ A Little Something for all The Gentlemen… -- "Today is the monthly theme day here at the b5media Science and Health Channel. The theme for this month is men and our army company poorly paid militia of bloggers has cranked out some good stuff." Links a plenty.
~ Healthful Diet: Include Lots of Seeds -- "Seeds have been the staple of the human diet for millions of years. Humans and other animals who can gather and store their food have an advantage over those who can only graze. Our ancestors found that the easiest, most abundant foods to gather, carry and store are seeds."

~ New brain cells may revive old neurons -- "The brains of adult mammals are slowly, constantly churning out new brain cells. Previously scientists assumed the fresh neurons acted simply as replacements for old and dying cells."
~ Scientists Discover Brain Area That Helps To Suppress Unconscious Actions -- "New research led by scientists at UCL's Institute of Neurology and Cardiff University has found that the brain's so-called 'supplementary motor regions', located in the medial frontal cortex, play a key role in suppressing unconsciously-triggered actions which occur when we encounter familiar objects and situations."
~ Religious nominalism & cognitive opacity [Gene Expression] -- "I am a proponent of nominalism when it comes to religion. Or, to put it another way, instead of a religion being a Platonic category with precise and specific boundaries, I think a more accurate model is a distribution of ideas and sentiments in the minds of human beings which is always in flux."
~ Taking Positive Psychology to Work: The Reframing Skill -- "Taking Positive Psychology to work means being realistic about what is going on and then taking charge of what one can control – in particular one’s own response. It does not mean glossing over the negative and pretending it does not exist."
~ Sports Psych -- "The competitive edge in the rink."
~ Learning field sense -- "Wired has an article on 'field sense' - a sportsman's ability to infer seemingly unknowable information from subtle perceptual cues."
~ Why You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks: Cognitive Lock-In -- "The ability to learn from experience is of central importance to human existence. It allows us to acquire many of the skills we need to complete a wide variety of complicated, multi-step tasks in an efficient manner. It also creates habit - a critical, if often overlooked factor in the product and service choices consumers make."
~ Origin of Deja Vu Pinpointed -- "Brain's hippocampus may play big role in causing bouts of deja vu."

~ Congress passes stem cell funding bill -- "Congress has passed legislation to ease restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research." See also: Bush vows repeat veto of stem-cell bill.
~ India giving out condoms at porn theaters -- "Health officials in western India are distributing condoms outside cinema halls screening illegal pornographic films, to promote safe sex and curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS."
~ Grading the GOP -- "The press has given its take on the latest GOP debate this week. Now let's see what the base thought. Our partners at played selected scenes from the CNN debate for 396 Republicans and independents. Watch the video to see how they responded to the clips in real time."
~ Doctors dissect Dr. Death -- "After eight years in prison, Jack Kevorkian—the self-styled Rosa Parks of assisted suicide—is making the rounds on the talk show circuit again. Our partners at asked 560 medical doctors of different religions to watch Dr. Death's appearance this week on Larry King Live. Click below and you'll see how the doctors responded in real time to clips of Kervorkian's appearance on King. For extra insight, their responses to his pro-euthanasia message are broken down by religion."
~ Bill Gates Goes Back to School -- "Harvard's most famous dropout returns for his diploma, 30 years late. His final exam: Can he save the world?"
~ The New Atheists -- "An outspoken community of atheists and agnostics is tired of being marginalized, insulted and ignored, writes Ronald Aronson."

~ Search for life in space getting closer -- "Scientists in Britain say they are making remarkable advances in the search for life in other solar systems, though results are more than a decade off."
~ Excitons play peek-a-boo on carbon nanotubes -- "In the quantum world, photons and electrons dance, bump and carry out transactions that govern everything we see in the world around us. In this week's issue of Science, French and U.S. scientists describe a new technique in nanotechnology that allowed them to zoom in -- way in -- and observe those quantum transactions on a single DNA-sized carbon molecule called a nanotube."
~ Cigarettes Top Trash List at Waterways -- "An international coastal cleanup clears 7 million pounds of debris."
~ Margin for profit in petrol prices no error, says economist -- "A University of Western Sydney economist says there is no doubt who benefits from any increase in petrol prices - especially when it comes to long weekends."
~ Birds, Bees, and Moths Drive Flower Evolution -- "Flowers evolve in a predictable fashion to match the mouthparts of pollinating birds and insects, rather than engaging in a gradual "arms race" between flower and pollinator, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis and the University of California, Santa Barbara."
~ Two Heftiest Stars Found in Milky Way -- "The stars are the heaviest ever recorded at 83 times our own sun's mass."

~ Work in Progress: Spiritual Altitude, Politics &Interpreting Art -- "The concept of a "worldview" is a fascinating one - Altitude helps us to think about the different lenses that human beings use to look at reality." This will be updated and expanded.
~ Washing Bowls -- "Among the forty-eight koans recorded in the Gateless Barrier is an exchange so simple that one might pass easily by it, were it not that its very simplicity draws to it a certain curiosity and wonderment. A monk said to Chao Chou, “I have just entered this monastery. Please teach me.” Chao Chou said, “Have you eaten your rice gruel?” The monk said, “Yes, I have.” Chao Chou said, “Wash your bowl.” The monk understood."
~ Great Artistry -- "Great Artistry requires the ground of disciplinary study. In my case, for example, Great Artistry begins when I commit deeply to my discipline of music composition. It is traditional to use the organizing principle of the Trivium to understand disciplinary study. The Trivium consists of Grammar (the rules), Dialectic (the relationships) and Rhetoric (the representation). So for the discipline of music composition, there exists the Grammar of tone, the Dialectic of harmony, and the Rhetoric of orchestration."
~ BLOG: Listen to Ken LIVE Friday, June 8th, at 1PM MST -- "Just a heads up to let you all know that Ken will be an exclusive guest on a program called "Of Consuming Interest", hosted by our good friend Jim Turner, on the Progressive Radio Network. The show is being aired live at 1PM MST, and you can tune in for free by simply clicking here."
~ Empty News Reporting - Integral Analysis? -- "Which brings up, of course, the clear emptiness of current news reporting. Entertainment, rather than worthwhile news. What entertains, rather than what informs. It would be interesting to see an integral analysis of this."
~ BLOG: Integral Leadership Review Interviews Robb Smith -- "In a fascinating interview published just today, Keith Bellamy from Integral Leadership Review (an online publication of integrally informed approaches to leadership) speaks with Robb Smith, the newly appointed CEO of Integral Institute. They discuss Robbs own perspective of what it takes to be an integral leader, as well as some of the unique challenges and opportunities that come with trying to bring a company like I-I to a new level of organizational development."
~ Lyin’, Cheatin’ Buddhists -- "During a recent conversation with a close friend that might call herself a recovering Buddhist (and I’ve met more than one) the subject of the importance of a teacher “practicing what s/he preaches” arose. As a teacher qualified to teach both English and yoga I hesitate to write this post, because I risk undermining my “authority,” but I also see the necessity in doing so. This is meant as a head’s up. A kick in the ass to those that would put a teacher, of any subject, on a plane higher than themselves."
~ Open Source Religion -- "I’m not militant about Open Source, but at the same time, I like the ethos of the Open Source and Open Access movements. So I was very pleased to hear this morning about Yoism, which claims to be the world’s first Open Source religion."

EDGE: Don't Know Much Biology

An essay by Jerry Coyne in response to Senator Brownback's statements about science, faith, and evolution.

Whether he knows it or not, Brownback's forthright declarations, denying any possibility that empirical matters of fact might differ from those assumed by his creed, amount to nothing less than a rejection of the whole institution of science. Who is "we", and where did "our" conviction and certainty come from? Would Brownback believe these "spiritual truths" if he hadn't been taught them as a child, or brought up in the United States instead of China?

According to Brownback, we should reject scientific findings if they conflict with our faith, but accept them if they're compatible. But the scientific evidence says that humans are big-brained, highly conscious apes that began evolving on the African savannah four million years ago. Are we supposed to reject this as "atheistic theology" (an oxymoron if there ever was one)?

By Jerry Coyne

JERRY COYNE is a professor in the department of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, where he works on diverse areas of evolutionary genetics. He is the author (with H. Allen Orr) of Speciation.

Jerry Coyne's Edge Bio Page

Read the article.

Satire: Second Life Makes Dream Of Owning Fictitious Coffee Shop Come True

From The Onion:

Second Life Makes Dream Of Owning Fictitious Coffee Shop Come True

June 7, 2007 | Issue 43•23

HAILEY, ID—As a teenager, Kerry Jarrett never thought she would have the opportunity to own and operate a completely fabricated coffee shop and performance space. But thanks to Linden Lab's popular Second Life digital world, Jarrett, 31, has turned her dream into a virtual reality.

"As long as I can remember, I've pictured myself owning a multipolygonal 3-D representation of what a coffee shop might be in the real world," said Jarrett, who has invested hundreds of real dollars and thousands of actual hours in Never Bean, her digital pseudo-business in Second Life's popular Scurfield district. "Since I've never been too interested in inventory tracking, accounting, or interacting with people except inside a complex computer simulation, running this simulated coffee shop has been the greatest experience of my life."

Jarrett's shop is popular among Second Life regulars for its atmosphere, its 24-hour availability, and its location between the T-Mobile dealership and the 10,000-foot glowing green penis.

The Mind's Big Bang - PBS Nova

The PBS promo text:

Anatomically modern humans existed more than 100,000 years ago, but with crude technology, no art, and primitive social interaction. By 50,000 years ago, something happened which triggered a creative, technological, and social explosion—and humans came to dominate the planet. This was a pivotal point in our evolution, the time when the human mind truly emerged. This program examines forces that may have contributed to the breakthrough, allowing us to prevail over other hominids, the Neanderthals, who co-existed with us for tens of thousands of years. The film then explores where this power of mind may lead us, as the culture we create overtakes our own biological evolution.

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

Part Five:

Part Six:

Take a minute to listen to the Earth. literally

Nice NPR story on the "music" of the aurora borealis and other electromagnetic phenomena of the Earth's magnetosphere. You can get more info on the origin of this video at YouTube.

Via: VideoSift

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Speedlinking 6/6/07

Quote of the day:

"When you look at yourself from a universal standpoint, something inside always reminds or informs you that there are bigger and better things to worry about."
~ Albert Einstein

Image of the day:

~ Progress Toward A Healthier Form Of Starch For Processed Foods -- "Scientists in Indiana are reporting progress toward development of low glycemic and slowly digestible starch, a form of starch that would be less apt to cause the spike in blood sugar - and perhaps sharp hunger pangs - that many individuals experience after eating bread, baked goods, and other high-carbohydrate foods."
~ Pilot Ginseng Study Shows Reduction In Cancer-Related Fatigue -- "North Central Cancer Treatment Group (http://ncctg/) (NCCTG) researchers, based at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have generated preliminary data suggesting that a form of American ginseng provides greater improvements in fatigue and vitality in patients who receive the highest doses tested, compared to lower doses or no treatment."
~ Turbulence and the time machine -- "I recently sat down with the founder of Turbulence Training Craig Ballantyne and grilled him... Turbulence Training is a very time efficient, short workout program that builds muscle and burns fat without you having to spend hours in the gym. But how would Craig design a "last minute" fat loss program -- when we really do have no time ......"
~ Get Flat Abs Fast -- "Flatten your abs just in time for bikini season."
~ Avoiding Overuse Injuries And Burnout: Taking A Break Is A Winning Move For Young Athletes -- "Too much of a good thing can be harmful, especially when it comes to children playing sports. As more children and adolescents participate in organized and recreational sports, pediatricians are seeing an increasing number of children and adolescents with overuse injuries caused by too much training and not enough rest." This goes for adults too.
~ Low Testosterone Could Kill You -- "Low Levels of Male Hormone May be More Dangerous Than Previously Thought."
~ Anti-Inflammatory Effects Of Adiponectin In The Circulation -- "Adiponectin is a protein hormone excreted into the bloodstream by fatty tissue and it plays a role in the suppression of inflammation-associated metabolic disorders that may result in type 2 diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerosis. In the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Rosario Scalia and colleagues from Thomas Jefferson University studied the vascular protective actions of adiponectin in mice."

~ Study Shows That Being Judgmental May Increase Risk of Anxiety -- "A recent study performed by researchers at the University of Vermont’s Department of Psychology explored possible links between anxiety and mindfulness skills."
~ Good news you may want to forget -- "It will come as a relief to many that forgetfulness is a tool the brain employs to avoid overloading with repetitive information."
~ Get Ahead of Summer Stress -- "To help prevent those small stressors from becoming big problems, Professor of Integrative Medicine at Portland State University and single mother of three, Claire Michaels Wheeler, M.D., Ph.D has authored a book called, 10 Simple Solutions to Stress."
~ Motivated Cognition in Relationships, or How Motivated Cognition Can Save Your Marriage [Mixing Memory] -- "In what ways is motivated reasoning used in relationships? I'm glad you asked. Let's start with attributions. Fincham and Bradbury4 conducted a 12-month study involving 130 couples in which the effects of different types of attributions on marital satisfaction were measured. They found that when participants attributed positive behaviors by their partners to situational factors, and negative behaviors to the partners themselves (as opposed to situational factors), their relationship satisfaction was significantly lower, 12 months later, than for participants who attributed positive behaviors to their partners, and negative behaviors to the situation."
~ Happy or Just Not Depressed? -- "How to survey your mood."
~ The Paradise Paradox -- "Happiness really does start inside."
~ Is feeling better as easy as ABC? -- "Below is an outline of the ABCDE method for disputing your thoughts. The idea is that your thoughts can generate your feelings. So, if you take active control of your thoughts, you are in turn taking active control of your emotions (Reivich & Shatte, 2003)."

~ A Blog Is a Little First Amendment Machine -- "With blogging, an awkward term, we designate a fairly beautiful thing: the extension to many more people of a free press franchise and the right to publish your thoughts to the world."
~ Genes for Language -- "You would think that language as a general phenomena in the human species is genetically prescribed, but the peculiarities of individual languages -- such as whether a people uses a particular phoneme or not -- is the result of historical or geographical factors."
~ Can the religious left sway the '08 race? -- "Democratic presidential candidates are speaking openly about faith, competing for 'values voters.'"
~ What you missed while watching "Deal or No Deal" -- "Salon watches the third GOP debate so you don't have to: God frowns on Giuliani, Romney does weird math on Iraq, Thompson proposes a Bush morality tour, and more." See also: Republican Debate Report Card.
~ Newspaper War? Burkle vs. Murdoch -- "Ron Burkle is dipping into a possible challenge to Rupert Murdoch's bid for Dow Jones. It's not the first time the two titans have met."
~ The end of Bush's kangaroo courts? -- "The dismissal of two cases in Guantánamo Bay dealt a rightful blow to the administration's quasi-justice system for alleged terrorists."

~ Best Places to Get Free Books - The Ultimate Guide -- "When we were reviewing 10 of the best online resources for free books, we had a LOT of readers chime in with their own favorites as well. Thank you for all your helpful contributions!"
~ The Universe, Expanding Beyond All Understanding -- "Our successors, whoever and wherever they are, may have no way of finding out about the Big Bang and the expanding universe, according to one of the more depressing scientific papers I have ever read."
~ Study: Hurricane Surge 'Normal' -- "Global warming may not be to blame for the recent surge in hurricane activity."
~ 3 Teams Report Stem Cell Progress -- "In a leap forward for stem cell research, three independent teams of scientists reported Wednesday that they have produced the equivalent of embryonic stem cells in mice without the controversial destruction of embryos."
~ A miniature robot for keyhole neurosurgery -- "Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a miniature image-guided robot for use during keyhole neurosurgery. The MiniAture Robot for Surgical Applications (MARS) was designed and developed by Leo Joskowicz and his colleagues at the Hebrew University’s Computer Aided Surgery and Medical Image Processing Laboratory."
~ Cold Case Closed: 'Iceman' Mummy Bled to Death -- "Mummy scientists have determined the cause of death of the 'Iceman.'"
~ Nanomedicine opens the way for nerve cell regeneration -- "The ability to regenerate nerve cells in the body could reduce the effects of trauma and disease in a dramatic way. In two presentations at the NSTI Nanotech 2007 Conference, researchers describe the use of nanotechnology to enhance the regeneration of nerve cells."

~ The magic of void -- "When there is an identification with content of awareness, with stories and their objects such as this human self, then void is not something that looks particular attractive. I am something, and object in the world, and void means an absence of that. It means death."
~ Karma and infinite causes -- "Karma, as anything else, can be filtered through a sense of a separate self, or an absence of identification with stories, and so also a separate self."
~ All in Your Head -- "Ross Laird, “interdisciplinary scholar and creative artist,” shared his notes from a recent presentation he gave to a panel at the conference of The Writers’ Union of Canada. With the panel being titled All in Your Head, he spun an eloquent and passionate call for artists to focus on psychological development, awareness and our Source that can be found whispering our original name in everything we somehow forget is our Self."
~ Buddhism: From Depression to Happiness -- "A local order member from Friends of the Western Buddhist Order often teaches a class here called, "Moving from dukkha to shraddha" (or from suffering to confidence). I haven't taken the class, but I know it highlights a pivotal point in the Buddhist path; a revolution of sorts from aimless pathlessness to spiritual progress."
~ My Q & A with Ken Wilber -- Part 2 -- "In January I participated in a conference call with Ken Wilber on Integral Spiritual Center, in particular the chapter on the shadow. The second part of the dialogue is 30 minutes of just he and I speaking about the shadow (posted under Media, 5/25/07)." [Subscription required.]

Daily Om: The Real Thing

This was Monday's Daily Om, and a good piece of advice. Too bad so many of us are too wounded to have this kind of pure experience of love -- but it IS something we can work toward.

The Real Thing
Love Should Feel Good

Often in our lives, we fall prey to the idea of a thing rather than actually experiencing the thing itself. We see this at play in our love lives and in the love lives of our friends, our family, and even fictional characters. The conceptualizing, depiction, and pursuit of true love are multimillion-dollar industries in the modern world. However, very little of what is offered actually leads us to an authentic experience of love. Moreover, as we grasp for what we think we want and fail to find it, we may suffer and bring suffering to others. When this is the case, when we suffer more than we feel healed, we can be fairly certain that what we have found is not love but something else.

When we feel anxious, excited, nervous, and thrilled, we are probably experiencing romance, not love. Romance can be a lot of fun as long as we do not try to make too much of it. If we try to make more of it than it is, the romance then becomes painful. Romance may lead to love, but it may also fade without blossoming into anything more than a flirtation. If we cling to it and try to make it more, we might find ourselves pining for a fantasy, or worse, stuck in a relationship that was never meant to last.

Real love is identifiable by the way it makes us feel. Love should feel good. There is a peaceful quality to an authentic experience of love that penetrates to our core, touching a part of ourselves that has always been there. True love activates this inner being, filling us with warmth and light. An authentic experience of love does not ask us to look a certain way, drive a certain car, or have a certain job. It takes us as we are, no changes required. When people truly love us, their love for us awakens our love for ourselves. They remind us that what we seek outside of ourselves is a mirror image of the lover within. In this way, true love never makes us feel needy or lacking or anxious. Instead, true love empowers us with its implicit message that we are, always have been, and always will be, made of love.

Satire: Audience Calls Candidates Back On Stage For Debate Encore

From The Onion:

Audience Calls Candidates Back On Stage For Debate Encore

June 6, 2007 | Issue 43•23

MANCHESTER, NH—A sold-out crowd at St. Anselm College refused to leave after the Republican presidential debate came to a close Tuesday, loudly clamoring for the 10 candidates to return for an encore.

"I wanted to hear Ron Paul's position on immigration so bad—hell, that's why I came all the way from North Conway," said 37-year-old father of three Greg Schaefer, echoing the sentiments of many hardcore "debateheads" in the crowd who have followed the prospective nominees since their first debate at the Reagan Library in May. "Ron's stance on the issue was a definite showstopper. Probably the best 45 seconds of my life."

Though many were pleasantly surprised by the encore—the first of the campaign season—political junkie Leonard Buck, 38, said he "totally saw it coming as soon as the stagehand came out and replaced the mic on John McCain's podium."

Very Cool Picture - Really

You have to check this out -- click and drag the mouse up and down to zoom in or zoom out.

Lewis Black - What Were They Thinking? [NSFW]

On being asked to perform at the Congressional Correspondents dinner . . .

Via: VideoSift

More Lewis Black . . .

Via: VideoSift