Saturday, October 06, 2007

Integral Theory for Psychologists

This morning's session presented an integral model -- or several of them, actually -- for use by therapists. While some people were very open to the information, and some actually had knowledge of Spiral Dynamics or Robert Kegan or Ken Wilber, many others found the whole idea of a hierarchy of development very disturbing. Clearly some mean Green meme energy, as Wilber might say.

What I found really useful was the mixing of a lot of different maps -- Wilber, Kegan, Beck, Fowler, Gilligan, Kohlberg, and so on. And more importantly, we didn't waste time on the higher levels (subtle, causal, non-dual) because none of us are really seeing people with any awareness of these levels, let alone any experience of them.

The session helped me clarify how integral is useful to me in my work, and how I use it to relate to people's "parts." I spend a lot of time trying to relate to people's firefighters and managers.

This afternoon I get to learn how to be really, really, REALLY good at using the IFS model. Uh, yeah, OK. Sure.

2007 Ig Noble Prize

Yearly award for strange research:

The 2007 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

The 2007 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded on Thursday night, October 4, at the 17th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, at Harvard's Sanders Theatre. The ceremony was webcast.

MEDICINE: Brian Witcombe of Gloucester, UK, and Dan Meyer of Antioch, Tennessee, USA, for their penetrating medical report "Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects."
REFERENCE: "Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects," Brian Witcombe and Dan Meyer, British Medical Journal, December 23, 2006, vol. 333, pp. 1285-7.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Brian Witcombe and Dan Meyer

PHYSICS: L. Mahadevan of Harvard University, USA, and Enrique Cerda Villablanca of Universidad de Santiago de Chile, for studying how sheets become wrinkled.
"Wrinkling of an Elastic Sheet Under Tension," E. Cerda, K. Ravi-Chandar, L. Mahadevan, Nature, vol. 419, October 10, 2002, pp. 579-80.
"Geometry and Physics of Wrinkling," E. Cerda and L. Mahadevan, Physical Review Letters, fol. 90, no. 7, February 21, 2003, pp. 074302/1-4.
"Elements of Draping," E. Cerda, L. Mahadevan and J. Passini, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 101, no. 7, 2004, pp. 1806-10.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan, and Enrique Cerda Villablanca's sister Mariela.

BIOLOGY: Prof. Dr. Johanna E.M.H. van Bronswijk of Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, for doing a census of all the mites, insects, spiders, pseudoscorpions, crustaceans, bacteria, algae, ferns and fungi with whom we share our beds each night.
"Huis, Bed en Beestjes" [House, Bed and Bugs], J.E.M.H. van Bronswijk, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, vol. 116, no. 20, May 13, 1972, pp. 825-31.
"Het Stof, de Mijten en het Bed" [Dust, Mites and Bedding]. J.E.M.H. van Bronswijk Vakblad voor Biologen, vol. 53, no. 2, 1973, pp. 22-5.
"Autotrophic Organisms in Mattress Dust in the Netherlands," B. van de Lustgraaf, J.H.H.M. Klerkx, J.E.M.H. van Bronswijk, Acta Botanica Neerlandica, vol. 27, no. 2, 1978, pp 125-8.
"A Bed Ecosystem," J.E.M.H. van Bronswijk, Lecture Abstracts -- 1st Benelux Congress of Zoology, Leuven, November 4-5, 1994, p. 36.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Dr. Johanna E.M.H. van Bronswijk

CHEMISTRY: Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Center of Japan, for developing a way to extract vanillin -- vanilla fragrance and flavoring -- from cow dung.
REFERENCE: "Novel Production Method for Plant Polyphenol from Livestock Excrement Using Subcritical Water Reaction," Mayu Yamamoto, International Medical Center of Japan.
PRESS NOTE: Toscanini's Ice Cream, the finest ice cream shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, created a new ice cream flavor in honor of Mayu Yamamoto, and introduced it at the Ig Nobel ceremony. The flavor is called "Yum-a-Moto Vanilla Twist."

LINGUISTICS: Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, of Universitat de Barcelona, for showing that rats sometimes cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards.
REFERENCE: "Effects of Backward Speech and Speaker Variability in Language Discrimination by Rats," Juan M. Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, vol. 31, no. 1, January 2005, pp 95-100.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: The winners could not travel to the ceremony, so they instead delivered their acceptance speech via recorded video

LITERATURE: Glenda Browne of Blaxland, Blue Mountains, Australia, for her study of the word "the" -- and of the many ways it causes problems for anyone who tries to put things into alphabetical order.
REFERENCE: "The Definite Article: Acknowledging 'The' in Index Entries," Glenda Browne, The Indexer, vol. 22, no. 3 April 2001, pp. 119-22.

PEACE: The Air Force Wright Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, USA, for instigating research & development on a chemical weapon -- the so-called "gay bomb" -- that will make enemy soldiers become sexually irresistible to each other.
REFERENCE: "Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals," Wright Laboratory, WL/FIVR, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, June 1, 1994.

NUTRITION: Brian Wansink of Cornell University, for exploring the seemingly boundless appetites of human beings, by feeding them with a self-refilling, bottomless bowl of soup.
REFERENCE: "Bottomless Bowls: Why Visual Cues of Portion Size May Influence Intake," Brian Wansink, James E. Painter and Jill North, Obesity Research, vol. 13, no. 1, January 2005, pp. 93-100.
REFERENCE: Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, Brian Wansink, Bantom Books, 2006, ISBN 0553804340.

ECONOMICS: Kuo Cheng Hsieh, of Taichung, Taiwan, for patenting a device, in the year 2001, that catches bank robbers by dropping a net over them.
REFERENCE: U.S. patent #6,219,959, granted on April 24, 2001, for a "net trapping system for capturing a robber immediately."
NOTE: The Ig Nobel Board of Governors has attempted repeatedly to find Mr. Hsieh, but he seems to have vanished mysteriously. [Breaking news: Mr. Hsieh reportedly has seen a news account of the Ig Nobel ceremony, and contacted the news agency. Details soon.]

AVIATION: Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek of Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina, for their discovery that Viagra aids jetlag recovery in hamsters.
REFERENCE: "Sildenafil Accelerates Reentrainment of Circadian Rhythms After Advancing Light Schedules," Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 104, no. 23, June 5 2007, pp. 9834-9.

Daily Dharma: Knowing What to Do

Daily Dharma from Tricycle:

Knowing What to Do

I like that the point of convergence of liberation theology, Islamic mysticism, and engaged Buddhism is the sense of love that leads to commitment and involvement with the world, and not a turning-away from the world. A form of wisdom that I strive for is the ability to know what is needed at a given moment in time. When do I need to reside in that location of stillness and contemplation, and when do I need to get up off my ass and do whatever is needed to be done in terms of physical work, or engagement with others, or confrontation with others? I'm not interested in ranking one type of action over the other.

~ bell hooks, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review Fall 1992 (Vol. II, #1); From Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Dharma Quote: Thubten Chodron

From Snow Lion Publications:

Dharma Quote of the Week

(Each day before breakfast the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey, Thubten Chodron, gives a morning motivation for residents and guests. We were moved by these inspiring words, and hope you will be, too.)

Morning Motivation

Let's recall our motivation in the morning and think that today, the most important thing I have to do is to guard my body, speech and mind so that I don't harm anybody through what I do with my body, through what I say, or even through what I think. That's the most important thing, more important than anything else today.

The second most important thing is, as much as possible, to be of benefit to others. Thoroughly cultivate that as your motivation simply for being alive today. Our purpose for being alive isn't just to keep this body alive, to eat and sleep, and have pleasure. We have a higher purpose, a higher meaning: to really work for the benefit of living beings. If the purpose of our life is simply to keep the body alive and have pleasure, then at the end of life, we have nothing to show for it. The body dies and all the pleasures, like last night's dream, have gone. But if we work for a higher motivation, a higher purpose, to really do what's beneficial for all living beings, then there's happiness and benefit now.

At the end of the life, the benefit that we've given to others continues, as do all the imprints of the attitude of kindness, the attitude of care towards others. All the imprints of having generated that positive mind go on with us into the next life. So even at the time of death, that kind heart brings incredible benefit and carries through into the next life.

And then let's also generate a third motivation--a really long-term motivation--to become fully enlightened. In other words, to have the wisdom, compassion, and skill so that in the long term, we'll be able to be of the greatest benefit to all living beings, even being able to lead them on the path to enlightenment. That's our really long-term purpose.

As we change and develop a kind heart, that influences every single living being we encounter in a positive way. Then, through the influence on them, it spreads out to all the people they know. So, just spending one day with a positive, long-term motivation may seem like a small thing, but when we think of the ripple effect it has now, and the benefit it has in future lives and for progressing along the path to liberation and enlightenment, we see that even one day spent with this motivation of kindness, directly and indirectly benefiting sentient beings, has tremendous outcomes--many, many good results.

~ Thubten Chodron is the author of many books, including her latest work, Guided Meditations on the Stages of the Path, published by Snow Lion Publications

Friday, October 05, 2007

Gartitude 10/5/07

I am grateful today for a stimulating experience at the IFS conference, and for a wonderful dinner with Matthew and Hannah Dallman and their family and Dan Allison. It was especially nice to meet these people I have known for years online and get to know them in person. That alone was worth the trip here.

Tomorrow should be another wonderful day of sessions at the conference.

What are you grateful for today?


Marion Jones Admits Steroid Use

Another idol has fallen. The New York Times has the story, but I wanted to present this quote from Victor Conte, the man who provided the drugs, and the commentary by the author of the article.

“Marion wasn’t doing anything the others weren’t doing,” Conte said. “Was she on performance enhancers? Yes, but she was the superior athlete. You don’t just take performance enhancers and win gold medals.”

The problem with this rationale is that not everyone she ran against has been caught or even implicated. In a sport that bestows glory and wealth by virtue of eye blinks, would Jones have been America’s golden girl on the strength of her own natural gifts? Ben Johnson couldn’t prove he was the real deal after Seoul, South Korea. Neither can Jones — too late and too bad.

The chance for Olympic greatness may come once in a lifetime. Jones was 24 in Sydney, in the prime of her sprinting life. More than anything, she cheated her own potential. She is reported to have said in her letter that she lied to the agents because she panicked, but it sounds like that was also the case when she started using the clear in 1999.

In Sydney, she became the subject of suspicion when Hunter, her husband at the time and a former world champion shot putter, was revealed to have failed a drug test. At a news conference now immortalized by time and place and those in attendance (Conte and the renowned lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, among them), Jones stood by Hunter, the way she would later stand by a boyfriend, Tim Montgomery, another of the track tainted who bore witness to Jones’s inability to choose well.

For all of his expressed sympathy, Conte dogged her by volunteering revelatory information whenever he could. That he was right makes him no more a hero in any of this than the baseball steroids snitch José Canseco. It is just more evidence of what happens when an infestation comes under attack.

Conte is a weasel, not for creating the drugs (I'm not opposed to drugs, only to using them without medical supervision), but because he took every opportunity over the past few years to cast doubt on Jones' claims of innocence - and he knew better than anyone else that she was using drugs.

He took advantage of the situation to keep his name in the news, to make money from the tabloids (this is speculation, on my part). If he had any integrity, he would have kept his mouth shut and let things play out on their own.

I'm not opposed to drug use by athletes
. One thing Conte is right about is that all the top athletes are using. Jones made the mistake of associating with men who were obviously using -- her first husband, C. J. Hunter, and former boyfriend Tim Montgomery. Guilt by association had already been dogging her, and that may be how she got tripped up in her lies. If drugs were legal, just like any other performance enhancement tool, this wouldn't even be an issue.

I feel bad for Jones, not that she got caught but that she used drugs in the first place. When she won in Sydney, she was so far superior to the other women that it's clear (to those who know that the drugs could provide only a few hundredths improvement at best) that she didn't need the drugs. The author is right -- she panicked.

Emerson Quartet -- Shostakovich, String Quartet 3, Mvmt 3

Found at Conversational Reading:

Shostakovich's Third String Quartet has always been one of my favorites of his, and this is a stirring passage from the third movement. It's being played here by the Emerson String Quartet, which is a wonderful ensemble. If you're into Shostakovich, string quartets, or just plain good music, I highly recommend listening to Emerson's recording of all 15 of Shostakovich's quartets. These are very good recordings, and it's criminal that they'll only set you back $24.

Shinedown - "Save Me" (live, in studio)

The nineties are back.


Satire: Third Amendment Rights Group Celebrates Another Successful Year

From The Onion:

Third Amendment Rights Group Celebrates Another Successful Year

October 5, 2007 | Issue 43•40

WASHINGTON, DC—The National Anti- Quartering Association, America's foremost Third Amendment rights group, held its annual gala in Washington Monday to honor 191 consecutive years of advocating the protection of private homes and property against the unlawful boarding of military personnel.

Enlarge Image The National Anti-Quartering Association

"This is a proud day for quarters-owners everywhere," said the organization's president, Charles Davison, in his keynote address. "Year after year, we have sent a loud and clear message to the federal government and to anyone else who would attack our unassailable rights: Hands off our cottages, livery stables, and haylofts."

The NAQA was created in 1816 in response to repeated violations of the Third Amendment during the War of 1812. The organization quickly grew in influence and cites its vigilance as the primary reason why the amendment has only been litigated once in a federal court since the Bill of Rights was ratified. The organization is also arguably the country's most powerful political lobby; every politician elected since 1866 has fully supported Third Amendment rights.

"The framers of the Constitution provided the American people with the right to have their homes free of troops unless Congress mandates otherwise during a time of war," Davison said. "Thanks to our tireless efforts, six generations of civilians have never known the cruelty and duress of quartering unruly foot soldiers."

Davison recalled the "dark days" of 1982, when the federal case of Engblom v. Carey threatened to strip Americans of their fundamental Third Amendment freedoms. The ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that the State of New York had indeed violated the Third Amendment rights of the plaintiffs. The case, according to Davison, was "a chilling reminder of how even an established 200-year-old right hangs by a slender thread."

"I don't think people fully understand how close we came to completely losing such a basic right," Davison said. "If the Second Circuit had ruled otherwise, we'd be living in a world in which soldiers would be quartering amok upon our very hearthstones."

Davison expressed pride in the NAQA's grassroots involvement at the local level, citing the association's direct-mailing campaigns and its fully staffed regional centers where citizens can report Third Amendment rights abuses. The NAQA also holds quartering-safety seminars for citizens interested in learning how to effectively defend their households against U.S. troops seeking shelter.

Davison reiterated the organization's promise to oppose pro-quartering legislation should any ever be proposed.

"Keep the fat hands of soldiers out of America's larders!" Davison said to rousing applause. He was quoting the NAQA's familiar slogan, which can be found on T-shirts, bumper stickers, and other merchandise sold on the group's website.

Davison ended his address by warning of the dangers of the NAQA resting on its laurels.

"Pro-quartering advocates are waiting for just the right moment to stick a bunch of troops in our homes," Davison said. "Well, I say to them that we will never allow this to happen. You can count on the true patriots of the NAQA to ensure that no chickens and livestock will be appropriated, and private stores of salt, brandy, candles, and vinegar will stay firmly where they belong: in civilian hands."

The NAQA is known for its quick and aggressive mobilization when it believes Third Amendment rights are at risk, and has rushed to the defense of homeowners it believes are being illegally coerced into housing American soldiers. Last month, 200 NAQA members marched on a private residence in Fairfax, VA after receiving a tip that the owners were being victimized by three Navy seamen demanding prolonged quartering. They ended their demonstration, however, when it was discovered that the sailors were brothers on shore leave visiting their parents.

Davison, 49, has headed the NAQA since January, replacing longtime president Lawrence Frost. Frost, 58, left the organization to chair the Citizens Committee for the Right to Drink, a 21st Amendment rights group committed to the continued legal status of alcohol for Americans of drinking age.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Gratitude 10/4/07

My body is still on Tucson time and I need to go to bed soon so I can workout early, but other than that, there is much to be grateful for:

1) That my life allows me to go to cool conferences like this one. I don't take that for granted because I lived a long time without these options.

2) Exit row seating. Love the leg-room.

3) Free Wi-Fi at Tucson International Airport -- makes early flights a little less rough if I can log on for free in the airport.

4) Room service. I could get really spoiled. Fortunately, I only do this once a year.

5) Luck. I got lost coming out of the airport, but managed to find my way to the right freeway without much wasted time. Maybe I'm not as navigationally challenged as I thought.

What are you grateful for today?

The Self in Internal Family Systems

I'm here in the burbs of Chicago for the annual Internal Family Systems conference. On the way here, I was rereading the book on the plane. It's been a while since I've read the book, so I thought a refresher was a good idea.

One thing that struck me, and I'm not sure why, is Schwartz idea of the Self. Here is a section titled "Particle and Wave" that interests me from an integral perspective.

By now, the reader may have noticed that I have described the Self in two different ways: as an active, compassionate inner leader, and as an expansive, boundaryless state of mind. How is it possible for the Self to be both? Some models reconcile this dilemma by differentiating between a "higher Self" and a more mundane, executive Self, or ego. My clinical experience argues against this dichotomy -- the Selves of my clients that interact with their parts are the same ones who, when leaving the parts and going up on the mountain, gradually stop thinking and enter a transcendental state. Thus, I believe that the Self is both an individual and a state of consciousness, in the same way that quantum physics has demonstrated that light is both a particle and a wave. That is, photons that make up light sometimes act like particles -- like little billiard balls -- and other times like waves in a pool of water. They have both qualities (Zohar, 1990). Likewise, the Self can at one time be in its expansive, wavelike state when a person is meditating (fully differentiated from his or her parts) and then shift to being an individual with boundaries (a particle) when that person is trying to help the parts or deal with other people. It is the same Self but in different states.

When in the wave state, a person feels more connection not only to the universe, but also to other people. It is as if, at that level, people's waves can overlap, creating a sense of ultimate commonality and compassion. Thus, helping people differentiate the Self not only helps them harmonize their inner worlds, but also decreases the feeling of difference or isolation among people and builds connectedness. (pg. 38)

This sounds nice, and I am big fan of the project to get people differentiated from their "parts" so that they can be Self-led in their inner life. But, this passage seems to me to be talking about one Self in two different states -- not wave and particle (although those are nice descriptive words), but centaur and subtle. Maybe?

As quoted, on the Centaur, at Kheper:

As consciousness begins to transcend the verbal ego-mind it can… integrate the ego mind with all the lower levels. That is, because consciousness is no longer identified with any of these elements to the exclusion of any others, all of them can be integrated: the body, the persona, the shadow, the ego- all can be brought into a higher- order integration. (The Atman Project)

Then many years later, here is Wilber on higher states of consciousness:

Briefly, the psychic state is a type of nature mysticism (where individuals report a phenomenological experience of being one with the entire natural-sensory world; e.g., Thoreau, Whitman. It is called "psychic," not because paranormal events occur--although evidence suggests that they sometimes do--but because it seems to be increasingly understood that what appeared to be a merely physical world is actually a psychophysical world, with conscious, psychic, or noetic capacities being an intrinsic part of the fabric of the universe, and this often results in an actual phenomenological experience of oneness with the natural world [Fox, 1990]). The subtle state is a type of deity mysticism (where individuals report an experience of being one with the source or ground of the sensory-natural world; e.g. St. Teresa of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen). The causal state is a type of formless mysticism (where individuals experience cessation, or immersion in unmanifest, formless consciousness; e.g., The Cloud of Unknowing, Patanjali, pseudo-Dionysus; see Forman, 1990). And the nondual is a type of integral mysticism (which is experienced as the union of the manifest and the unmanifest, or the union of Form and Emptiness; e.g., Lady Tsogyal, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Hui Neng [Forman, 1998b]).

My sense is that Schwartz conflated various states of Self into a single entity. An easy error to make. If Wilber is correct -- and based on the available reading, I'd have to lean that way -- then IFS can be greatly enriched by bringing an integral understanding of Self to the table.

Either way, I like the idea of greater distinctions. The Self is a complex thing, capable of many states of consciousness.

Jon Stewart & Chris Matthews - The Book Interview from Hell

Funny stuff . . .


Glenn Gould: Contrapunctus 1 from The Art of Fugue


An intense and dramatic performance by Glenn Gould of the first fugue and main theme from "The Art of Fugue" written by Bach in the final years of his life.

The video extract is from The Glenn Gould Collection, entitled "The Question of Instrument."


4 Non Blondes - In my dreams

For some reason, I like Linda Perry's voice.


Satire: Viewer Voices: Where We Respond To The Opinions Of Our Uninformed Viewers

From The Onion News Network:

Viewer Voices: Where We Respond To The Opinions Of Our Uninformed Viewers

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Gratitude 10/3/07

On vacation for the next few days, for which I am infinitely grateful. Will blog as time allows.

Things will probably be quiet for the next few days.


Speedlinking 10/3/07

[An abbreviated speedlinks today -- and the last one this week.]

Quote of the day:

"If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time."
~ Edith Wharton

Image of the day:

~ At what intensity should endurance athletes train? -- "One question that some endurance runners ask themselves is how much of their training they should be dedicating towards higher intensity runs and how much of their training is better off at low intensity."
~ 5 Things That Drive Me Nuts -- "Speedskater Eric Heiden had 28-inch thighs, yet he only squatted 205 pounds. Of course, he squatted it for 300 reps! Maybe lifting heavy isn't always necessary, but that's just one of the things that drives Scott Abel nuts."
~ Know Five to Stay Alive -- "Learn the top 5 ways to help prevent 5 common health conditions such as breast cancer, colon cancer and heart disease."
~ Creatine Combined With Resistance Exercise Boosts Strength In Older Adults -- "If you are an 'older adult' and take creatine as well as doing exercise you may well enjoy greater benefits than just doing the exercise, say researchers from McMaster University, Canada. One of the common consequences of growing older is an increase in body fat and lowering of muscle mass, say the researchers. You can slow down the loss of muscle mass by doing exercise, say the scientists." This is true for ALL adults. In fact, men over 60 need creatine to support weight training.
~ Dietary Calcium Could Possibly Prevent The Spread Of Breast Cancer To Bone -- "A strong skeleton is less likely to be penetrated by metastasizing cancer cells, so a fortified glass of milk might be the way to block cancer's spread, according to researchers at the ANZAC Research Institute in Concord, Australia. Using a mouse model of breast cancer metastasis, the researchers found that a calcium deficiency may increase the tendency of advanced breast cancer to target bone."

~ Chocolate Craving When Depressed: A Personality Marker -- "People who crave chocolate when they are depressed are more likely to have a 'neurotic' than an 'introverted' type of personality, a new study from Australia has found. Over half of the depressed people surveyed reported food cravings, nearly all of them specifically craving chocolate. More women than men craved chocolate when depressed."
~ What is Wrong with the Psychology of Decision-Making? -- "In psychology textbooks, decision-making figures most of the time in the last chapters. These chapters usually acknowledge the failure of the Homo economicus model and propose to understand human irrationality as the product of heuristics and biases, that may be rational under certain environmental conditions."
~ Feeling Fat Thinking Thin -- "Stop comparing your body to the next person."
~ All-Day Vitality: How to Fight Fatigue Morning, Noon, and Night -- "You’re so predictable. Every day, you run out of steam, lose juice, or otherwise hit the wall at nearly the exact same times. And it happens to everyone. In fact, it’s like clockwork, which actually makes sense, because your body clock is part of the problem — when your internal chronometer is out of whack, you feel wiped out."
~ 7 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure -- "The fear of failure is perhaps the strongest force holding people below their potential. In a world full of uncertainty, a delicate economy, and countless misfortunes that could happen to anyone, it’s easy to see why most people are inclined to play it safe."
~ 5 Things I learned about Personal Growth by Moving -- "Did you ever have a learning experience after a major change in your life that made you realize you could have learned that same lesson without having gone through the major change?"

~ New contender for world's worst poem -- "William McGonagall is under the direst threat today in his apparently unassailable position as author of the world's worst poem."
~ War on Iraq: Blackwater: The U.S.'s Trigger-Happy Guardians -- "Why did the U.S. State Department tolerate -- and pay to conceal -- the wanton murder of Iraqis committed by Blackwater?"
~ Soldiers Hunt Dissidents in Burma -- "Soldiers announced that they were hunting pro-democracy protesters in Burma's largest city Wednesday, and the top U.S. diplomat in the country said military police were pulling people out of their homes during the night."
~ Inuit Culture on the Brink -- "While their land melts underfoot, Arctic natives look to save their traditions and make their voices heard."
~ The Notion: The Moral Dangers of Adventure Tourism -- "One travel writer weighs the ethics of peddling faux thrills in "exotic" destinations to his affluent American readers."

~ Is a 'naked singularity' lurking in our galaxy? -- "Could a naked singularity, the bare core of a black hole, be sitting at the centre of our galaxy? A new study shows how astronomers could detect such a brazen object – which is so dense it would shred the known laws of physics."
~ Tobacco: An Environmental and Occupational Drag -- "Before smokers ever light up, tobacco has already wreaked havoc on the environment and damaged workers' health."
~ Tasmanian devils face extinction -- "Australian scientists say the ongoing fight to save Tasmanian devils from extinction may be doomed."
~ U.S. urges using compact fluorescent bulbs -- "The U.S. Department of Energy launched its "Change a Light, Change the World" 2007 campaign Wednesday during a Salt Lake City ceremony."
~ Black holes, galaxies young and old visible in massive mapping of the night sky -- "Color images documenting the past 10 billion years of galactic evolution were distributed online this week as part of the first public release of data from a massive project to map a distant region of the universe that combines the efforts of nearly 100 researchers from around the world, including the University of Pittsburgh."

~ No Expectation & No Arrival -- "Lately, the practice of meditation (and really in every activity) has become quite subtle. There is a sense of an empty watcher or witness simply observing the birth and death of identity. The watcher turns back in on itself at times, but mostly it is simply resting in the empty flow of reality, which isn’t so much a flow."
~ Experience a New, Integral and (R)evolutionary Form of Relationship Meditation in Just Minutes! -- "There really is something (r)evolutionary under the meditation sun. It is called Integrative Relationship Meditation (IRM.) It can be used in same denomination or mixed denomination groups of meditators. Because some things are just “too good not to share” and our organization forwards an open source version of an integral spirituality please find below our first release of 'How to do Integrative Relationship Meditation.'"
~ Expectations and Disillusionment -- "If we have a job, we expect to have a job tomorrow. If we have a relationship, we expect that relationship will continue as it has been going (whether good or bad and usually somewhere in between) and that our significant other will act the same way tomorrow as he or she did yesterday. But life has a way of throwing curve balls."
~ Abandon any Hope of Fruition -- "I thought I'd just share this teaching from Pema Chodron on one of the slogans of the 7 Point Mind Training. This one cuts really deep for me, and has had a profound influence on my practice."
~ Announcing the Integral Life Award scholarship program! -- "The Integral Institute is very proud to offer the Integral Life Award, an annual merit-based award of $10,000 for new students in either the Integral Theory Certificate or Master's programs at John F. Kennedy University or Fielding Graduate University."

Daily Dharma: The True Nature of Happiness

Today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle comes from the Dalai Lama:

The True Nature of Happiness

Lack of understanding of the true nature of happiness, it seems to me, is the principal reason why people inflict sufferings on others. They think either that the other's pain may somehow be a cause of happiness for themselves or that their own happiness is more important, regardless of what pain it may cause. But this is shortsighted: no one truly benefits from causing harm to another sentient being. Whatever immediate advantage is gained at the expense of someone else is shortlived. In the long run, causing others misery and infringing their rights to peace and happiness result in anxiety, fear, and suspicion within oneself. Such feelings undermine the peace of mind and contentment which are the marks of happiness.

True happiness comes not from a limited concern for one's own well-being, or that of those one feels close to, but from developing love and compassion for all sentient beings. Here, love means wishing that all sentient beings should find happiness, and compassion means wishing that they should all be free of suffering. The development of this attitude gives rise to a sense of openness and trust that provides the basis for peace.

~ The Dalai Lama, from The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness, edited by Sidney Piburn;From Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

The Secret Life of Plants

So now it seems plants communicate with each other and form "communities," possibly even demonstrating "family values." Does this mean vegetarians will have to stop eating altogether?

From The Daily Galaxy:

Plant "IM"—Scientists Begin to Unravel the Secret Communication of the Green Kingdom

Green_world_im For most of history scientists and mankind in general considered plants to be passive organisms just with no reason or means of communicating with one another. But new research has revealed that many plants actually ‘chat’ quite a bit over their own networks, which may also indicate that your aunt isn’t quite as crazy as you thought. You know, the one that talks to her petunias and expects an answer.

Researcher Josef Stuefer at the Radboud University Nijmegen found that one purpose for plants having their own “chat systems” is to warn each other, leading scientists to conclude that plants are not quite as boring as once supposed. In fact, many plants form internal communications networks and are able to exchange information efficiently. Herbal plants such as strawberry, clover, reed and ground elder naturally form networks. Individual plants remain connected with each other for a certain period of time by means of runners. These connections enable the plants to share information via internal channels in a manner very similar to computer networks. So what kind of things do plants tell each other?

Stuefer and his colleagues were the first to demonstrate that clover plants do indeed warn each other via these network links if enemies are nearby. For example, if one of the plants is attacked by caterpillars, it will warn the other members of the network via an internal signal. After receiving a warning, the other intact plants will strengthen their protective chemical and mechanical resistance so that they are less attractive for advancing caterpillars. This early warning system allows the plants to stay one step ahead of their enemies. Experimental research has revealed that this communication significantly limits the damage to the plants.

It is also known that plants have “family values”, with new research revealing they have the ability to recognize close relatives in order to help each other survive. The ability to tell family from strangers is well known in the animal kingdom, which allows us to cooperate and share resources. However, it is a relatively new concept that plants also possess the social skills of being able to recognize and communicate with relatives. Even plants that are not connected seem to have the ability.

Earlier this year, Susan Dudley and Amanda File of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, demonstrated for the first time that plants can recognize their kin. Their research showed that though lacking cognition and memory, plants are nonetheless capable of complex social interactions.

"Plants have this kind of hidden but complicated social life," Dudley said.

Their study found plants from the same species of beach-dwelling wildflower, for example, grew aggressively alongside unrelated neighbors but were less competitive when they shared soil with their siblings. Some researchers speculate that plants must communicate through their roots, identifying themselves using tiny chemical signatures specific to each plant's family. But just how the plants determine which of their neighbors are siblings remains a mystery, Dudley said. While learning and memory are important factors for kin recognition in animals, there has to be an alternative explanation for plant recognition, she noted.

This research, along with other emerging plant studies, is revealing that our current concept of plants is probably a poor reflection of reality. Scientists are eager to discover in what ways, and to what extent, plants communicate with each other.


Eric Clapton & Lenny Kravitz - "All Along The Watchtower"

Cool . . . .


Dr. Z’s 20 Hints About Resisting Unwanted Influences

Philip Zimbardo is the Standford psychologist who conducted the infamous "Stanford Prison Experiment." He released a new book this year called The Lucifer Effect, and this is from the website promoting the book.

Seems like pretty good advice in general.

Dr. Z’s 20 Hints About Resisting Unwanted Influences On You

(Here is a set of general advice that I typically offer to students at the end of my courses at Stanford University, whether the course is Introduction to Psychology, Mind Control, or Exploring Human Nature. They cut across the different varieties of influence and are really generic recommendations of how to become more influence savvy.)

  1. Do not maintain an illusion of “personal invulnerability” – If it can happen to them, then it can happen to you too.

  2. Be modest in self-estimates – it is better to perceive yourself as vulnerable and take necessary precautions than to go “where angels fear to tread.”

  3. Engage in life as fully as possible, yet be mindful and aware, attuned to the moment, and prepared to disengage and think critically when necessary – people are generally good and trustworthy, but others make their careers as “influence professionals” who try to get you to do what they want.

  4. Be aware of Cialdini’s contexts and principles of compliance; when you sense you are operating on one of the principles, look to the relevant context being manipulated on you and pull back; where the context is obvious, expect the principle to be activated.

  5. Be ready to say the three most difficult phrases in the world: “I was wrong”, “I made a mistake”, and “I’ve changed my mind.” Cut bait, accept immediate loss of money, face, etc. that could lead to bigger long term losses – Dissonance and consistency then go limp in the face of such self-honesty.

  6. Separate your ego from your actions; maintain a sense of positive self-esteem, that is independent form the occasional failure and your stupid actions at times (Laugh at yourself once a day. This is especially true for shy folks.)

  7. Separate messenger from message in your mind, process each systematically not heuristically, be aware of being tired, a “cognitive miser,” wanting simple short cuts, giving in to non-verbal tricks. There are no free lunches and no quick and dirty paths to anything worthwhile – sloth and greed breed gullibility.

  8. Insist on a second opinion, a delay in signing contract while thinking about it away from the situation; never immediately sign on the dotted line.

  9. Develop ‘Discrepancy Detectors,’ alerting mental and intuition systems that stem from vague feelings of something wrong, something in the situation or the story you are being handed that does not fit to analysis to counteraction -> dissent -> disobedience.

  10. Try playing devil’s advocate, be the deviant, to assess the reactions against you and that position, when the influence agent says he/she is only doing X for your good.

  11. Avoid ‘Total Situations’ where you lose contact with your social support and informational networks (cults and the most powerful forces of social influence thrive there), you do not want all your reinforcers to come from these new sources.

  12. In all authority confrontations: be polite, individuate yourself and the other, make it clear it is not “your problem” in the process, or situation; describe the problem objectively, do not get emotional, state clearly the remedy sought, and the positive consequences expected – hold off on the threats and costs to them or their agency as last resort.

  13. When in some situation of authority encounter, you are being challenged – ask for identification, demand to see it, get person’s name (write it down) and all details about the encounter.

  14. Never allow yourself to be cut off emotionally from your familiar and trusted reference groups of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers – do not accept putdowns against them.

  15. Remember all ideologies are just words, abstractions used for particular political, social, economic purposes; be wary taking actions proposed as necessary to sustain that ideology – always question if the means justify the ends, and suggest alternatives.

  16. Think hard before putting abstract principles before real people in following other’s advice to act in specific ways against what they represent.

  17. Trust your intuition, gut feelings when you sense you are becoming a target of influence, put up your counter-arguing mentality, and dig down for sources for resistance.

  18. Rules are abstractions for controlling behavior and eliciting compliance and conformity – challenge them when necessary: ask, who made the rule? What purpose does it serve? Who maintains it? Does it make sense in this specific situation? What happens if you violate it? Insist that the rule be made explicit, so it cannot be modified and altered over time to suit the influence agent.

  19. When developing causal attributions for unusual behavior – yours or others – never rush to the dispositional, always start by considering possible situational forces and variables that are the true causal agent, and seek to highlight them and to change them where possible.

  20. Imagine Dr. Z as your conscience, your personal Jiminy Cricket (from Pinocchio) sitting on your shoulder and saying be cool, be confident, be collected—to avoid becoming a Jack Ass.

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St. Germain: So Flute

Interesting animation in this St. Germain video.


Satire: New Heart Device Allows Cheney To Experience Love

This is less satire than wishful thinking from The Onion:

New Heart Device Allows Cheney To Experience Love

October 3, 2007 | Issue 43•40

WASHINGTON, DC—Recovering from minor heart surgery Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney stunned both the medical and political establishments when he mysteriously began to experience love for the first time in his life, sources reported Tuesday.

Enlarge Image Cheney

A replaced defibrillator is having unexpected effects on the vice president, as this photo taken Monday reveals.

It is believed to have been the first recorded incident of Cheney exhibiting compassion for his fellow man.

Calling the vice president's sudden ability to love "mystifying" but a possible medical breakthrough that could aid other Americans who suffer from acute mulishness and generalized misanthropy, Dr. Jonathan Samuel Reiner, Cheney's cardiologist, said in a press conference at George Washington University Hospital that the vice president exhibited a series of unexpected side effects almost immediately after regaining consciousness following his surgery.

"The vice president broke free from the straps that secured him to the bed and lurched at me as he customarily does following a heart procedure," said Reiner. "But instead of trying to strangle me, he wrapped his arms around me in a hug."

According to Reiner, Cheney left the hospital under his own power, but returned minutes later complaining of unfamiliar chest palpitations and sensations of warmth for others regardless of political affiliation or income. A test of the replacement defibrillator showed that the device was functioning properly, and an examination of Cheney revealed no physical abnormalities.

"The vice president's eyes had an unfamiliar gleam in them, and he didn't sound like his usual self at all, so we checked for signs of a stroke, but found none," Reiner said. "His voice was atypically soft, and his hands felt warm to the touch."

Enlarge Image Cheney and Reid

Cheney with "new BFF" Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) at the Capitol Tuesday.

Lynne Cheney, wife of the vice president, told reporters that her husband was "doing fine" upon release from the hospital, but acknowledged that he had exhibited some peculiar traits.

"When he came home, he did not characteristically stomp into the house and grumble about how the 'stupid American people should just be shot,'" Mrs. Cheney said. "Instead, he bent down to scratch the dog behind his ears instead of kicking him, and kissed me off-camera for the first time in 10 years."

Mrs. Cheney added she has not ruled out the possibility that her husband's blood- thinning medication may have been switched, unintentionally or not, with a CIA mind-control drug.

Over the past two days, various White House and Capitol Hill sources have also reported bizarre behavior by the vice president. Cheney was back at work Monday, and, according to incredulous eyewitnesses, greeted each of his staff members by name. Later that afternoon, he canceled his regular weekly meeting with Halliburton executives, then kicked off his shoes, rolled up his pants, and strolled around barefoot on the White House lawn.

Attending a Monday evening GOP fundraiser at the Washington Convention Center, Cheney was accompanied by David Gillian, 6, a young boy he had previously crippled, and by a small fawn who had followed him to the event. Mounting the podium as the featured speaker, he told supporters he had cast aside his planned speech on the counterinsurgency in Iraq's Anbar Province in order to "tell the real truth."

"If the events of Sept. 11 have taught us anything, it is this: We need to learn to love one another," Cheney said. "We are all entwined in an unbreakable braid of human brotherhood. Each of us has something good and special to offer. If we work together, we can make the world into a most wonderful place where we can turn our attention to the truly important things, like snuggling."

During a C-SPAN-televised appearance at the Senate Tuesday, Cheney, in his role as Senate president, announced he had brought doughnuts for everyone, and encouraged the legislators to be more sensitive to one another's feelings.

"I've wasted so much of my life on a mindless quest for power and outright destruction," an increasingly emotional Cheney said. "What about all the sunsets I've missed?"

"What are these things you call 'tears'?" added Cheney, as Senate ushers politely escorted him from the chamber.

Despite his miraculous turnaround, doctors are calling Cheney's condition unstable and, if left untreated, possibly fatal. On Friday, Cheney will return to George Washington University Hospital to have the defibrillator removed, as it is feared that prolonged exposure to love could overwhelm his already shrunken and ulcerated black heart.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Gratitude 10/2/07 - Choosing Peace

Today I am grateful for this teaching from Pema Chodron in the current Shambhala Sun:

Choosing Peace

If we want to make peace, with ourselves and with the world at large, we have to look closely at the source of all of our wars. So often, it seems, we want to “settle the score,” which means getting our revenge, our payback. We want others to feel what we have felt. It means getting even, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with evenness at all. It is, in fact, a highly charged emotional reaction.

Underlying all of these thoughts and emotions is our basic intelligence, our basic wisdom. We all have it and we can all uncover it. It can grow and expand and become more accessible to us as a tool of peacemaking and a tool of happiness for ourselves and for others. But this intelligence is obscured by emotional reactivity when our experience becomes more about us than about them, more about self than about other. That is war.

I have often spoken of shenpa, the Tibetan term for the hook in our mind that snags us and prevents us from being open and recpetive. When we try to settle the score, we cover over our innate wisdom, our innate intelligence, with rapidly escalating , highly charged, shenpa-oozing emotionality. We produce one hook after another.

What are we to do about that? We could say that this emotionality is bad and we have to get rid of it. But that brings other problems, because it's really the same approach as getting even with other people. In this case we're basically saying that we have to settle the score with ourselves, as it were, by ridding ourselves of emotionality.

Since this approach will not work, what we need to do is to neither reject nor indulge in our own emotional energy, but instead come to know it. Then, as Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche taught, we can transmute the confusion of emotions into wisdom. In simple terms, we must gain the capacity to slowly, over time, become one with our energy instead of splitting off. We must learn to use the tools we have available to transform this moment of splitting in two. Splitting in two is the moment when peace turns into war, and it is a very common experience.

Let's say you're having a conversation with someone. You're one with the whole situation. You're open and receptive and there and interested. Then there is a little shenpa pulling-away, a kind of uneasy feeling in the stomach -- which we usually don't notice -- and then comes our big thought. We are suddenly verbalizing to ourselves, "How am I looking here? Did I just say something stupid? Am I too fat? That was a stupid thing to say, wasn't it, and I am too fat. . . ."

Some thought or other causes us to split off, and before we know it we're completely self-absorbed. We're probably not even hearing the words of the person we're conversing with, because we have retreated into a bubble of self-absorption. That's splitting off. That's dividing in two.

The Buddha taught about this basic split as the birth of dualism, the birth of self versus other, of me versus you. It happens moment after moment. When we start out, we are "one-with." We have a sense of our interconnectedness, though we might not that fancy word. We're simply listening and there. And then, split! We pull back into our own worry or concern or even our own elation. Somehow we're no longer together. Now it's more about me and self, rather than them and other. By contrast, being "one-with" is neither about other nor about self. It's just totally open, present, there.

What are you grateful for today?

Speedlinking 10/2/07

Quote of the day:

"Red meat is NOT bad for you. Now blue-green meat, THAT'S bad for you!"
~ Tommy Smothers

Image of the day:

~ Yardwork yields muscle gain -- "As the seasons change, your yardwork does too. If you’re a regular homeowner, you’re probably going to do more raking, shoveling, closing the pool, cleaning gutters and splitting wood. A recent article from Read Express says that what seems like a pain, is actually good for you!" If nothing else, it's good cardio.
~ 50 More Tips for Serious Athletes -- "A grab bag of bad-ass tips for bodybuilders, strength athletes, football players, MMA fighters, hacky sackers, and even Amish rake-fighters. Regardless of your sports calling, you're guaranteed to find something useful in this article."
~ Secrets to Dealing With Comfort-Food Cravings -- "Find out how to cut calories off your favorite comfort foods."
~ Wine and berry pills to aid fight against cancer -- "Pills made from rice, berries and red wine could soon be available to help prevent cancer. British scientists are pioneering the use of food compounds to protect against tumours in the breast, colon and prostate."
~ Your Home Is Your Gym -- "Working out at home may yield better results than you'd get at the gym." True for beginners maybe, but not advanced lifters.
~ Weight issues plague heavy, thin teens alike -- "Many teenagers are dealing with weight issues, from obesity to eating disorder symptoms, and these problems seem to have some causes in common, new research suggests."
~ 5 healthy food trends worth following -- "If you want to know where American food traditions are headed, look back. Many of today's most healthful eating trends bear a strong resemblance to yesterday's: Nearby farms offering nutritious, peak-of-season produce; slow-cooked dinners that foster leisurely family meals; an emphasis on meatless dishes and minimally processed foods."
~ Premature Birth Linked To Low Maternal Cholesterol -- "Pregnant women who have very low cholesterol may face a greater risk of delivering their babies prematurely than women with more moderate cholesterol levels, a team led by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), reported today."
~ Goji berries: What you need to know about this superfood -- "Goji berries, goji juice, and snack bars and other products containing goji berries have become increasing popular over the past two years or so."

~ What Is Intelligence? -- "Flynn's research has now provided the strongest answer. The amount by which IQ test performance has improved for whole nations exceeds the IQ difference between blacks and whites in the United States or other groups in other countries."
~ Marital Spats, Taken to Heart -- "A study of nearly 4,000 men and women from Framingham, Mass., asked whether they typically vented their feelings or kept quiet in arguments with their spouse. Notably, 32 percent of the men and 23 percent of the women said they typically bottled up their feelings during a marital spat."
~ Personality Trait Linked to Risk of Developing Alzheimer's -- "A neat orderly mind augmented by a conscientious personality tends to resist Alzheimer's disease, researchers here found."
~ Moved to tears -- "Sometimes exercise may release a surprising slew of pent-up emotions, according to fitness instructors and psychotherapists who have seen or heard about clients crying during yoga, Pilates or other mind/body classes." Yep -- that's why I want to combine talk therapy and exercise.
~ Burning Leaf Therapy -- "Raking a pile of the leaves as they keep falling, bringing some kind of order to them, is an endless task if you are a perfectionist. They can’t all be gathered, because they keep right on falling, and they won’t make neat piles. But they do make big, unruly piles, and then they catch fire, flaring up in a split second like fireworks, a billow of smoke underneath, making you catch your breath. "
~ Attachment Parenting -- "The most important relationship we have in life is probably the first one, with our primary caretaker, usually, although not invariably, the mother. It is in this first relationship that we get our first taste of how to exchange love, care, pleasure, comfort, nourishment, in which we learn whether the world is a safe place that responds to our needs, or not."
~ Just Do It! -- "When I started studying self-improvement I often thought about a few of the little catchphrases I have heard throughout life. I thought about well, how kinda stupid they were."
~ A Deeper Sleep -- "How the brain works by day and sleeps at night."
~ Things to Consider Before Getting Married -- "After 7 years of marriage I can honestly say that I would do it again. I'd marry the same woman without changing a thing. Well, maybe we would have spent our money a little more conservatively but as far as the the decision on marriage - it was a perfect one (no, I am not saying this because she reads Dumb Little Man!)."

~ The Targets of Aggression -- "When an individual suffers pain, he most often responds by passing it on to someone else. When possible, that "someone else" is the perpetrator, the original source of the pain. But if this cannot be achieved, then others are liable to be victimized, regardless of innocence."
~ A Revolution is Just Below the Surface -- "Computers, desktop publishing is now much cheaper than big publishing, and of course the internet. So the new technologies are giving opportunities to overcome the effects of capital concentration, which has a severe impact on the nature of media and the nature of schools and everything else. So, there's revival, and actually the major battle that's going on right now is crucial, as to who is going to control the Internet."
~ Yusef Komunyakaa: War and Jazz -- "Komunyakaa is known for infusing his poems with jazzy rhythms and for writing autobiographical pieces which deal with subjects such as his time in Vietnam and to his childhood in Bogalusa, Louisiana."
~ Halo 3, reviewed -- "One of the strangest quirks of video-game reviewing is the emphasis on length. Size matters to video-game players, or at least to video-game reviewers. Games that take a fortnight of work weeks to complete—40, no 60, no 80 hours of gameplay!—get praised for their epic scale, while an overlong film or book might get panned for its self-indulgence."
~ House Moves on Troop Withdrawal Plan -- "The House takes up legislation today that would require President Bush to submit a plan for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq."
~ Carter, Tutu Urge Darfur Peace Deal -- "A group of elder statesmen, including former President Carter and Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu, urged all sides in Darfur's bloodshed to reach a peace deal."
~ Mental Help for Mets Fans -- "The New York Mets just finished the worst collapse in baseball history. How should sports fans deal with disaster?"

~ Agency Studies Restoration at Ind. Lake -- "Restoration could begin soon on the ecosystem of a northwestern Indiana lake that has been polluted for decades with sewage and stormwater filled with fertilizer from farm fields."
~ Nanotechnology: not just for geeks -- "Say “nanotechnology,” and geeks imagine iPhones, laptops and flash drives. But more than 60 percent of the 580 products in a newly updated inventory of nanotechnology consumer products are such “un-geeky” items as tennis racquets, clothing, and health products."
~ Top 100 Alt Search Engines, October 2007 -- "AltSearchEngines has just released its latest Top 100 Alternative Search Engines list. ASE tracks over 1,000 "alts" in all, so choosing the top 10% is a pretty big deal."
~ Quakes Sweep Endangered Turtles Overseas -- "Strong currents deliver dozens of Indonesian turtles to Malaysian shores."
~ How To Save 375 Million Gallons Of Gas A Year -- "Amazingly, American cities did it last year. Did the economy collapse? Did the world end? Nope. The way forward just got a little easier to navigate. So reports the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The work was done by Clean Cities, a network of approximately 90 volunteer coalitions developing public/private partnerships to promote alternative and advanced vehicles, fuel blends, fuel economy, hybrid vehicles, and idle reduction."
~ Those greenwashing Chevron ads -- "Those greenwashing ads are really starting to bug me. "It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil. We'll use the next trillion in 30." And you're proud of this fact -- proud of your role in bringing about the wholesale destruction of this planet's climate?"

~ Chased by our wholeness -- "I read about the hoop snake of North American folklore, which seems to have fascinated generations.The hoop snake bites its own tale, as the ouroboros, to form a circle and then roll down a hill like a wheel towards a hapless victim, who is then skewered on its tail."
~ Entrance ticket: being willing to appear foolish -- "There is a threshold where we must be willing to appear foolish, to others and ourselves."
~ On Haidt -- "So C4 awhile back called out integral thinkers to put their two cents on another round of the New Atheist dustup. This one comes from Jonathan Haidt, himself an atheist in Edge. It’s an excellent article in many ways. Michael Shermer agrees. Shermer at least is honest that even if religion were expunged, human violence would still be rampant. That religion is used as a tool for violence."
~ Thoughts on being a ‘multidisciplinary’ artist -- "As an artist, I’ve always worked in many different media/disciplines (drawing and painting, writing, music, film/video, and recently acting). This, like anything, is a strength as well as a weakness; a strength in the sense of being able to cross-fertilize artistic ideas, and a weakness in the sense of being an artistic jack of all trades, master of none."
~ Theology = Study of Leprechauns -- "Theology is comparable to the study of leprechauns. That is according to the ballsy Richard Dawkins. For Dawkins, Theology has no place in a University."
~ Integralism - Protestant Work Ethic In Effect! -- "Well, our main integral theorist, Kenny Boy, the Kenster, Kenarooni, it's pretty clear this is one thing that permeates the practice arising from his theory - the Work Ethic."
~ Neither Here Nor There: Is Non-Duality the Key to Business Success? -- "The sticky substance that holds this, and other businesses, together? Connection (love?). And recognizing that the person in the “PR Department” is working just as hard as you, wrestling with the same questions and clients. In the case of SW you look across the room and see that this is the case. You see that they’re not so different from you."