Saturday, February 03, 2007

John Williams - Bach on Acoustic Guitar

Beauty, eh?

Via: VideoSift

Video: Moving Nature

A cool video with some nice nature footage.

Poem: Pablo Neruda

I've been reading Pablo Neruda again after having not done so for quite some time. I am consistently amazed at the brilliance of his imagery, the depth of his vision. Some of the Love Sonnets are a bit trite and reflect a traditionally acceptable degree of "merging" energy that is essentially unhealthy. However, others transcend the purely relative and approach the Beloved in much the same way Rumi might.

Come With Me, I Said, And No One Knew (VII)

Come with me, I said, and no one knew
where, or how my pain throbbed,
no carnations or barcaroles for me,
only a wound that love had opened.

I said it again: Come with me, as if I were dying,
and no one saw the moon that bled in my mouth
or the blood that rose into the silence.
O Love, now we can forget the star that has such thorns!

That is why when I heard your voice repeat
Come with me, it was as if you had let loose
the grief, the love, the fury of a cork-trapped wine

the geysers flooding from deep in its vault:
in my mouth I felt the taste of fire again,
of blood and carnations, of rock and scald.

What Your Dreams Mean

ABC News ran a brief article on the meaning of dreams, especially recurring dreams. While there is nothing extremely noteworthy about the article, it is somewhat refreshing to see a mainstream article on dreams that doesn't reduce dreaming to the random firing of neurons or some such crap.

Here is most of the text:

They can be startlingly vivid and real, or fragmented and bizarre.

Whatever form they take, dreams can reveal a lot about what a person really thinks.

"Dreams give us an X-ray of our unconscious. They show us, particularly when we're at life's passages or turning points, what's going on inside, what we're having trouble coping with," said Alan Siegel, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who has studied dreams for nearly 30 years.

* * * * *

Disturbing dreams often occur around major life events: moves, marriage, divorce, the death of a loved one or pressure at work.

Siegel believes stressful or upsetting dreams can be a sign of what's buried deep inside the mind.

"Dreams are important to survival. They are crucial to the balance of our psyche. … They help us work out conflicts that we're having every single day," he said. "They go to the cutting edge of what's stressful, what's bothering us and what we're working out in our lives."

Siegel said that dreams can provide guidance if people understand them. Psychologists recommend recording dreams in a journal so that they can be examined for clues later.

"The two best techniques are to focus on the emotion in the dream, and that's often the most important part, and just ask yourself what in my waking life feels like this," said Deirdre Barrett, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.

Barrett also recommends trying to connect details in the dreams to one another.

"You can just go through and associate detail to detail," she said. "This particular dark figure in the dream, did they look like anyone I've seen recently?"

Siegel and Barrett explained the meaning behind common dreams.

Being Stuck or Paralyzed

"This dream usually has to do with some form of emotional paralysis," Siegel said. "You're stuck in some way in your life and the dream is reflecting that in a metaphor."

Being Naked or Dressed Inappropriately

"These dreams seem to crop up when people are feeling some kind of social inadequacy," Barrett said.

Losing Teeth

"[This could be] a feeling of rejection, being fired, things not working out with a friend or colleague," Siegel said. "When you experience emotional or physical loss, that's when you tend to have the teeth falling out dream."


Nightmares often reflect an especially intense emotion or unresolved conflict. "The stronger the emotion in the dream, whether it's pleasure or fear, the more likely the dream is important," Barrett said.

The dime-store interpretation isn't really very useful for anyone who has worked with dreams, but it might inspire some people to begin paying more attention to their dreams. At the end of the article they provide a link to The International Association for the Study of Dreams.

Dreams can be a crucial form of shadow work for many of us. Much of what happens in dreams is generally below the threshold of consciousness, so bringing the dream material into the light of day can help us work out some of the material in shadow that is seeking our attention.

If you're new to dream work, you can find a great collection of links representing a variety of approaches at Dream Gate's Dream Library.

Holistic Relativity

Over at Deepak Chopra's Intent Blog, DK Matai has an interesting post on Holistic Relativity: Spiritual Planes and Consciousness.

Matai is presenting what appears to be an integral vision of consciousness evolution based in the Hindu tradition of Sant Mat. Here is a brief description from Wikipedia, although it would be beneficial to look at the whole article to really get a grasp of what this tradition is about.

The Sant Mat movement was not homogeneous, consisting mostly of these Sants' presentation of socio-religious attitudes based on bhakti (devotion) as described a thousand years earlier in the Bhagavad Gita.[3] Sharing as few conventions with each other as with the followers of the traditions they challenged, the Sants appear more as a diverse collection of spiritual personalities than a specific religious tradition, although they acknowledged a common spiritual root.[4]

The boundaries of the movement were likely not sectarian and were devoid of Brahmin concepts of caste and liturgy. The poet-sants expressed their teaching in vernacular verse, addressing themselves to the common folk in oral style in Hindi and other dialects such as Marathi. They referred to the "Divine Name" as having saving power, and dismissed the religious rituals as having no value. They presented that true religion was a matter of surrendering to God "who dwells in the heart" [3].

But his preliminary notes, which is how Matai views this post, also include several other systems of levels and planes, including Christianity. Here are a few of the graphics he employs in the post. [You can click on the images to see them in full size.]

Matai offers an explanation of some of the symbolism involved in these systems, referencing both the Hindu and Christian conceptions. He then provides his explanation of the seven levels, drawing multiple systems into the model.

The Systematic Symbolism of Seven Levels & Seven Colors

Level One – The Physical Body
Red in the spectrum, physically dense in form, temporal in duration.
In the labyrinth it is the outermost circle. In the mandala it is the foundation upon which the other levels are constructed. In this life the physical surroundings support and nurture its growth.

Note: Existence is holographic. Every color, every level, contains every other, and the juxtaposition of seven colors on seven levels and according to eight possible arrangements creates an infinite variety of visual effects which could even be called illusions.

Level Two – The Etheric Body

Orange in the rainbow spectrum, of a finer vibrational substance, only somewhat less temporal than its physical replica.

In the development of the personality its reference is to the early emotional environment and formative influences.

Note: Healing techniques such as Reiki and acupuncture recognize the interconnection between the physical and its energy pattern, here called the etheric.

Level Three – The Astral Body

Yellow in the spectrum, sometimes called the lower mental level, transitional and limited in endurance, a non-physical vehicle in which consciousness can move inter-dimensionally.

Its formative influences are a given culture’s secular, religious and educational institutions and how these shape the way we think.

Note: Physics is closing in on metaphysics as in laboratory experiments atoms and molecules are being transported.

Level Four – The Mental Body

Green in the spectrum, interfacing the temporal and the eternal, a transitional energy body that enables transformation.

In this life its purposes are achieved in relationship with others.

Note: Christianity begins according to Joseph Campbell is a fourth chakra process. God is in Christ reconciling the human and the divine.

Level Five – The Causal Body

Blue in the spectrum, sometimes called the transpersonal, it’s energy field is the repository of the soul’s enduring memories, influences and progress.

Its nature is volitional and its function is to empower the soul’s journey.

Note: This level is attuned to the inner voice of spirit. When Christ spoke of having ears to hear he referred to this level of consciousness. It is how one knows one’s own truth.

Level Six – The Diamond Body

Indigo in the spectrum, eternal in reality, the level of Brahmic or Christ Consciousness.

This is Aurobindo’s supramental field where thinking is superceded by an intuitionally received knowing.

Note: The step between five and six is from the transpersonal to the eternal. It is a conscious awareness St Paul called “the mind of Christ.”

Level Seven – The Celestial Body

Violet in the spectrum, visionary in function, this is the energy field in which the Self and the All are eternally One.

Note: Awakening to the Christ realization that “I and the Father are one,” is the goal of the soul’s the journey through and beyond physical life.

Much of this will be familiar to anyone who has read Ken Wilber and the other integral theorists. Matai finishes the post with some explication of how this model works, using computers as a metaphor (unfortunately).

The whole post is certainly worth a read. I didn't so justice to everything he tries to bring into the discussion. Still, I hope this will give you enough of a sense of what he is aiming for that you might check it out. The post is open to comments and it might be interesting if some Western integral thinkers could enter into dialogue with Matai.

Integral theory of all flavors could benefit from an exchange between cultures.

Friday, February 02, 2007

New Poem: Waking Up

Waking Up

Witness the full moon disappearing the stars,
ask yourself why we crave clarity of light.

Does it mean anything that two hands touch?
Each seeks comfort that only flesh conveys.

This, then, is the mystery, that a man and a woman
do not know the words, the secret incantation.

Witness the awkward fumbling toward awareness,
ask yourself what magic resides in the eyes of the other.

Are there any words that can decipher the morning?
Even then, tendrils of ivy restrain the new sun.

So much left unsaid in the fertile darkness . . .

Qlimax -- The Rave (NSFW)

I've been to a few raves in my day -- let's just say that the technology has changed. But I can definitely see the opportunity for mass tribal experience in an atmosphere like this one. Although, for me at least, the old school raves in abandoned warehouses were more intimate and, therefore, more expansive of personal boundaries. There's a lot to be said for DIY culture.

Via: VideoSift

Human Drama -- Fascination and Fear

Human Drama is one of my all-time favorite bands. This is from a very early album that has some great songs but has to be heard as a whole to be truly appreciated. The band has since broken up, but Johnny Indovina is still making music.

I battle a thought every second
For I don't feel as I was taught
I want to swim the river forbidden

I want to climb the mountain denied

I can almost feel your heart beating
See confusion in eyes so clear
The line between fascination
And fear

Cool Site: The Internet Sacred Text Archive

Found this cool site through linking to links that led me to links. Somehow, I think I've been here before and forgotten. But now I am back and bookmarking.
Welcome to the largest freely available archive of full-text books about religion, mythology, folklore and the esoteric on the Internet. The site is dedicated to religious tolerance and scholarship, and has the largest readership of any similar site on the web.
They are seeking donations to keep the site running. Seems like a worthy cause to me.

Here are some of the recent additions that have posted.
Notable Recent Additions

The House of the Hidden Places (1/9/2007)
The Satapatha Brahmana, Part IV (SBE 43) (12/19/2006)
Lives of the Saints (12/14/2006)
The Hieroglyphics of Horapollo (12/12/2006)
The Rosetta Stone (12/5/2006)
Devil Worship in France (12/3/2006)
Tractate Berakoth (12/2/2006)
The Satapatha Brahmana, Part III (SBE 41) (11/29/2006)
Nostradamus: The Man Who Saw Through Time (11/21/2006)
Proofs of a Conspiracy (11/18/2006)
Original Hebrew of a Portion of Ecclesiasticus (with the Alphabet of Ben Sira) (11/15/2006)
Tractate Sanhedrin (11/8/2006)
The Satapatha Brahmana, Part II (SBE 26) (11/5/2006)
Unveiled Mysteries (10/18/2006)
The Myth of the Birth of the Hero (10/16/2006)
The Satapatha Brahmana, Part I (SBE 12) (10/7/2006)
The Religions of South Vietnam in Faith and Fact (10/4/2006)
Karezza, Ethics of Marriage (10/3/2006)
The Comte de St. Germain (10/1/2006)
A Miracle in Stone: or The Great Pyramid of Egypt (9/28/2006)
The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise (9/18/2006)
The Brahan Seer (9/13/2006)
Noa Noa (9/6/2006)
The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ (8/30/2006)
History of Philosophy in Islam (8/27/2006)
It's nice to see they are covering ALL of the bases with this site. Please stop and check it out -- and help them out if you feel moved to do so.

IQ vs. Religion

[Click to enlarge]

I found this through one of the social networking sites.

The graph shown above relates the arithmetic mean IQ measured in various country's populations, to the fraction of each country's population that believes religion is very important.

The green diamonds represent individual countries; the yellow line is a linear regression (y = mx + b), calculated by the least squares method. The United States data point is circled in red.
There are many charts and graphs that go along with this post.

The religious attitude data is from a poll that was part of the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

The question wording used in the poll was as follows:

How important is religion in your life—very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?

The report available online only lists the percentage that said religion was 'very important'.

The IQ data is from IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen.
I don't know what this person's agenda is, and a little reverse linking took me to a simple homepage with no explanation of who it is or why it exists.

It all seems well researched, and if it is accurate, it is pretty useful information. The author does ask an important question regarding how this might relate to individuals:
The data shown above begs the question: what would be revealed by a survey that correlated IQ and religiosity on an individual basis? Within a given population, is religion more important to persons of high intelligence, or low intelligence?
Exactly. We all know very bright people who are religious. So there cannot really be a direct one-to-one relationship between IQ and religiosity. Even Sam Harris would concede that there is no direct relationship between IQ and religiosity, and his argument would benefit most from such a relationship.

At best we have a correlation, but that in itself is interesting.

Finally, the IQ tests used to assess intelligence among non-English speaking people are notoriously inaccurate, so what we really get with this information is the relative IQ compared to Western standards, not the inherent intelligence of the people being tested.

Scientists Offered Cash to Dispute Climate Study

Yesterday, Al Gore was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to stop climate change. Later in the day, this story popped up on The Guardian Unlimited, from the UK. The study in question is one of the most comprehensive, and from what I can tell, even-handed looks at climate change so far. It certainly is not conclusive, but it suggests that there is an incredible likelihood that human activity is contributing to the acceleration of climate change. It appears ExxonMobile would rather pay off people to oppose those findings than let the scientific process work on its own.

Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study

Ian Sample, science correspondent
Friday February 2, 2007
The Guardian

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.

The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft last year and invited to comment.

The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees.

The letters, sent to scientists in Britain, the US and elsewhere, attack the UN's panel as "resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work" and ask for essays that "thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs".

Climate scientists described the move yesterday as an attempt to cast doubt over the "overwhelming scientific evidence" on global warming. "It's a desperate attempt by an organisation who wants to distort science for their own political aims," said David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

"The IPCC process is probably the most thorough and open review undertaken in any discipline. This undermines the confidence of the public in the scientific community and the ability of governments to take on sound scientific advice," he said.

The letters were sent by Kenneth Green, a visiting scholar at AEI, who confirmed that the organisation had approached scientists, economists and policy analysts to write articles for an independent review that would highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the IPCC report.

"Right now, the whole debate is polarised," he said. "One group says that anyone with any doubts whatsoever are deniers and the other group is saying that anyone who wants to take action is alarmist. We don't think that approach has a lot of utility for intelligent policy."

One American scientist turned down the offer, citing fears that the report could easily be misused for political gain. "You wouldn't know if some of the other authors might say nothing's going to happen, that we should ignore it, or that it's not our fault," said Steve Schroeder, a professor at Texas A&M university.

The contents of the IPCC report have been an open secret since the Bush administration posted its draft copy on the internet in April. It says there is a 90% chance that human activity is warming the planet, and that global average temperatures will rise by another 1.5 to 5.8C this century, depending on emissions.

Read the whole article.

Damn, I knew ExxonMobile was shady, but this is pretty low even for them. When science can be bought, it is no better than mythic thinking.

Speedlinking 2/2/07

Quote of the day:

"Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life."
~ Herbert Henry Asquith

Image of the day:


~ U.S. Department Of Health & Human Services Partners With Ad Council And DreamWorks To Combat Childhood Obesity.
~ Exercise Can Help Prevent Erectile Disfunction -- Now if that isn't a good reason to get your ass in the gym, guys, you deserve what you get.
~ Approach To Treating Severe Malnutrition Still Fails Millions Of Children -- "Severe malnutrition is a major contributing factor in the deaths of 1.5 million children every year. The World Health Organization has said that, if its treatment guidelines are followed, the death rate in children admitted to hospital can be kept as low as 5%, but it is more common for 20% or over to die."
~ Kids' Soccer Injuries Analyzed -- "Study Says Girls' Injuries on the Rise -- but Less Serious Than Boys.'" Don't let anyone ever tell you that soccer isn't a contact sport -- I had far more injuries playing soccer than I ever did playing football.
~ Binge eating is major health problem: study -- "Out-of-control binge eating is the biggest eating disorder in the United States, more common than anorexia and bulimia combined and contributing to a rise in obesity, researchers said on Thursday."
~ Be Thinner, Healthier, More Productive: Go to Bed -- "Because Sleep Deprivation Can Have Dire Consequences, Getting a Full Eight Hours Is Important."
~ Muscles, not fat, strengthen bones -- "Researchers speculated that excess fat, which places more weight on the bones, may help build stronger bones in young people. However, a new study has found that this is not the case." OK, this falls into the really dumb theory category. It's all about the muscle people.

~ Functioning On Automatic Pilot -- "Walking while holding a conversation and writing a letter whilst thinking about its content: we perform many actions without even thinking about them."
~ Selenium loss linked to cognitive decline in aged -- "The results of a new study conducted by researchers in France suggest that selenium levels decrease with age, which may contribute to a loss of neurological abilities in the elderly."
~ Why she can't get no satisfaction -- "In her new book, Dr. Anita H. Clayton says women often sabotage their own sex lives." Sounds interesting because it's about taking responsibility.
~ While You Record, Life Passes By -- "Photography is a good example. Everyone has been to a party where there's someone flitting around in the background with their camera while never really taking part in what is going on. We've all done it in one way or another."
~ What is I.Q.? (An IQ FAQ).
~ Predisposed to PTSD -- "Some people bounce back after trauma more than others."
~ Recognizing Four Types of Abuse -- "Why emotional abuse is the hardest to spot; 11 warning signs that should tip you off."
~ Research Links Change in Brain with Addiction -- "A researcher at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) has found a change in the brain that occurs after drug use and that may contribute to drug addiction."

~ Initial Product RED Contributions To Global Fund Flowing To Africa, Financial Times Reports -- "According to Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem, Product RED has raised more than $10 million in the United Kingdom from February 2006 through September 2006 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/16/06). According to the Times, $5.25 million from the project has been directed toward HIV/AIDS programs in Rwanda, and $4 million has been directed toward programs in Swaziland."
~ US Issues Guidelines in Case of Flu Pandemic -- "Cities should close schools for up to three months in the event of a severe flu outbreak, ball games and movies should be canceled and working hours staggered so subways and buses are less crowded. . . ."
~ Richard Branson Launches Virgin Stem Cell Bank -- "Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson has launched a dual private and public blood bank of umbilical cord blood as a source of stem cells to help treat donors or their families and other people who might need it."
~ Tibet's refusal to be Chinese -- "Economic advance is not winning all that many hearts and minds."
~ Is Obama Black Enough? -- "Viewpoint: Joe Biden's comment was rooted in the misconception that Al Sharpton and 50 Cent - not Barack Obama - represent the "real" black community." Is this a load of crap or is it just me?
~ Hillary: "I Have to Earn Every Vote" -- "In an interview with TIME, the Democratic front-runner talks about her stance on the war, the prospects for universal health coverage - and chocolate milkshakes in Iowa."
~ 10 Things You Didn't Know About John Edwards -- Do you care? He leads in Iowa, but does he have shot?
~ Jamming at the Speed of Light -- "New P2P software lets musicians collaborate in real time on the web without the familiar digital hiccups of the past."

~ Breakthrough in nanodevice synthesis revolutionizes biological sensors -- "Yale Institute for Nanoscience and Quantum Engineering engineers have developed a novel approach to synthesizing nanowires using wet-etch lithography on commercially available silicon-on-insulator wafers."
~ Does evolution select for faster evolvers? -- "It's a mystery why the speed and complexity of evolution appear to increase with time. For example, the fossil record indicates that single-celled life first appeared about 3.5 billion years ago, and it then took about 2.5 billion more years for multi-cellular life to evolve."
~ No Big Bang? Endless Universe Made Possible by New Model -- "A new cosmological model demonstrates the universe can endlessly expand and contract, providing a rival to Big Bang theories and solving a thorny modern physics problem, according to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill physicists."
~ Fossils of "Most Primitive Primate" Found Near Yellowstone -- "Fossils of a 56-million-year-old mouse-size animal discovered in Wyoming could redraw humans' family tree, scientists say."
~ Deadly Superbugs are Talking About You -- "The chatter between bacteria may hold the key to developing drugs to fight off killer superbugs, scientists say."
~ Bacteria Cause Sea to Smell Good -- "That unique smell found near the sea comes from a gas produced by specific bacterial genes, according to a new study." And here I thought is was all the seagull shit and rotting seaweed. OK, yes, I like the ocean.
~ Global Warming Wakes Groundhogs Earlier -- "Balmy winter weather has snapped awake groundhogs and other hibernating animals too early, well before their food is available."

Speaking of which, Happy Groundhog Day!

~ Outside Integral over at Zaadz.
Alan Watts' Skepticism and Mine from Nagarjuna at Naked Reflections.
~ Discovering Sara from Fight The Misery Conspiracy.
~ Stephen Dinan: Taking Responsibility for Transforming Iraq, over at Integral Visioning.
~ Slow Motion Social Anxiety from Aaron at Anxious Living.
~ Groundhog's Day and Buddhism from MD at The Woodshed.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Nick Cave -- Into My Arms

For some reason, this struck me today as one of the most sadly beautiful songs I have ever heard.

"And I believe in Love
And I know that you do too
And I believe in some kind of path
That we can walk down, me and you
So keep your candle burning
And make her journey bright and pure
That she will keep returning
Always and evermore"

Al Gore Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Well, dang -- that's pretty cool. I'm sure there are other people deserving of nominations, but no one has done more to put the issue of climate change on the international stage than has Gore. No matter which side you are on in the so-called "debate," climate change is a serious issue that threatens the future of all of us.

OSLO, Norway - Former Vice President Al Gore was nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his wide-reaching efforts to draw the world’s attention to the dangers of global warming, a Norwegian lawmaker said Thursday.

“A prerequisite for winning the Nobel Peace Prize is making a difference, and Al Gore has made a difference,” Conservative Member of Parliament Boerge Brende, a former minister of environment and then of trade, told The Associated Press.

Brende said he joined political opponent Heidi Soerensen of the Socialist Left Party to nominate Gore as well as Canadian Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier before the nomination deadline expired Thursday.

“Al Gore, like no other, has put climate change on the agenda. Gore uses his position to get politicians to understand, while Sheila works from the ground up,” Brende said.

"I think climate change is the biggest challenge we face in this century," Brende said.

During eight years as Bill Clinton’s vice president, Gore pushed for climate measures, including the Kyoto Treaty. Since leaving office in 2001 he has campaigned worldwide, including with his Oscar-nominated documentary on climate change called “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Read the whole article.

Poem: Rainer Maria Rilke

Again And Again

Again and again, however we know the landscape of love
and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing names,
and the frighteningly silent abyss into which the others
fall: again and again the two of us walk out together
under the ancient trees, lie down again and again
among the flowers, face to face with the sky.

Six Drummers

If you like percussion, this is pretty damn cool.

Satire: Rex Grossman Purposely Doesn't Tell Family, Friends He's In Super Bowl

From The Onion:
MIAMI—Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman informed his teammates yesterday that he isn't going to tell his family and friends he's playing in Super Bowl XLI. "If I tell them, I know they'll watch, and that's just added pressure I don't need," said Grossman, adding that the last time he informed his parents he was playing in a football game, he threw three interceptions and posted a quarterback rating of 1.3 against the Minnesota Vikings. "If I do well, I can always send them a tape." Upon hearing that Grossman would not be using his standard allotment of tickets, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning reportedly inquired about purchasing them, saying he only needed five more to accommodate all of his 435 friends and family members.

Obama Gives Faux News the Boot

I posted a clip yesterday of Jon Stewart making fun of Faux News for running the "Obama went to a madrassa story," which was attributed to a leak from the Clinton camp. I think the unbalanced wingnuts over at Insight magazine made it up (this site is owned by the same freaks who own the Washington Times), personally, in an effort to derail the enthusiasm Democrats seem to be feeling for both candidates. Whatever.

So now the WaPo runs a story saying the Obama's people have kicked Faux people out of the room whenever the charismatic Senator is around. Serves them right. Dumbasses.
Sources tell The Sleuth that the Obama camp has "frozen out" Fox News reporters and producers in the wake of the network's major screw-up in running with the erroneous Obama-the-jihadist story reported by Insight magazine.

"I'm still in the freezer," one Fox journalist said, noting that the people at Fox "suffering the most did nothing wrong." (It was "Fox and Friends" host Steve Doocy who aired the Insight magazine piece, which reported that operatives connected to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) found out that Obama, as a child, was educated at a Muslim madrassah in Indonesia.)

Another Fox journalist called the network's airing of the story "unfortunate" for the network's journalists who have to cover Obama and who are being adversely affected despite not being involved in the incident.

Since the madrassah incident, Obama has given interviews to ABC, CNN, CBS and NBC -- pretty much every other network except Fox. Sources close to Obama acknowledged that they're not thrilled to play ball with Fox journalists, but they stopped short of saying they are freezing the network out.

Mark Lanegan Band - Resurrection Song (live)

Mark Lanegan is, without question, one of the best singer/songwriters no one has ever heard of. He performs live here with Queens of the Stone Age. Maybe some of you old-timers or Northwesterners remember Lanegan from The Screaming Trees?

Speedlinking 2/1/07

Quote of the day:

"We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh."
~ Agnes Repplier

Image of the day:

~ Most Comprehensive-Ever Survey Of Flavonoids In U. S. Foods -- "The U. S. Department of Agriculture's James M. Harnly and colleagues are unveiling new flavonoid data collected from the first systematic sampling of foods designed specifically to characterize flavonoids."
~ Concorde Grape Juice Has Heart-health Benefits Like Red Wine -- "A laboratory study, just published in the January 2007 issue of Cardiovascular Research, Concord grape juice worked in a similar fashion to red wine to promote healthy arterial function."
~ Exercise Does Not Increase Risk of Knee Osteoarthritis -- This is good news.
~ Major Link In Brain-Obesity Puzzle Found -- "A single protein in brain cells may act as a linchpin in the body's weight-regulating system, playing a key role in the flurry of signals that govern fat storage, sugar use, energy balance and weight, University of Michigan Medical School researchers report."
~ 100 Percent Juices Found As Beneficial To Health As Fruits And Vegetables -- "When it comes to some of today's health issues, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices do help reduce risk factors related to certain diseases.This conclusion is the result of a European study designed to question traditional thinking that 100 percent juices play a less significant role in reducing risk for both cancer and cardiovascular disease than whole fruits and vegetables."
~ Oils in bath products may enlarge boys' breasts -- "Lavender and tea tree oils found in some shampoos, soaps and lotions can temporarily leave boys with enlarged breasts in rare cases, apparently by disrupting their hormonal balance, a preliminary study suggests."
~ A Virtual Map to the Root of Diabetes and Other Metabolic Disease -- "Researchers have developed a "global human metabolic network" that could pave the way for new treatments aimed at disorders like diabetes and high cholesterol."

~ Left-handers 'think' more quickly -- "Connections between the left and right hand sides or hemispheres of the brain are faster in left-handed people, a study in Neuropsychology shows."
~ How the brain tells time (without a wrist watch that is) -- "A team of researchers from UCLA has created a model of how the brain could potentially tell time and has also tested a part of the model on human subjects."
~ Top 10 Things You Should Know About Antidepressants -- "Antidepressants are prescription drugs used to treat depression and a variety of other psychological conditions such as anxiety, panic, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Some depression drugs are also used to treat medical conditions (e.g. some tricyclic antidepressants are given for chronic pain).Here is a list of helpful information about antidepressants (not in order of importance)."
~ Why Can't You Tickle Yourself? -- "Scientific American has a "Ask the Expert" series, and someone asked why it was impossible to tickle yourself."
~ New Study Is First To Link Romantic Relationships To Genes -- "New research suggests that choosing a mate may be partially determined by your genes. A study published in Psychological Science has found a link between a set of genes involved with immune function and partner selection in humans.Vertebrate species and humans are inclined to prefer mates who have dissimilar MHC (major histocompatibility complex) genotypes, rather than similar ones." Awww, how romantic!
~ Autism's So-Called Epidemic -- "The rise in cases may be due to better diagnostic skills." Wow, an astute sense of the obvious.
~ New Center for Spirituality and the Mind at University of Pennsylvania.

~ Can The Severely Mentally Ill Thrive Within The Community? -- "With $2.5 million in new support from the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers from the Regenstrief Institute, Inc., Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Adult and Child Mental Health Center, Inc. are evaluating the effectiveness of Assertive Community Treatment."
~ Biden Unbound: Lays Into Clinton, Obama, Edwards -- "To hear him tell it, Hillary Clinton’s position is calibrated, confusing and “a very bad idea.” John Edwards doesn’t know what he’s talking about and is pushing a recipe for Armageddon in the Middle East. Barack Obama is offering charming but insubstantial fluff."
~ Then there's the whole "racist" statement from Big Joe: Biden says Obama is first 'bright and clean' African-American candidate.
~ Molly Ivins: 1944-2007 -- " Molly Ivins passed away this afternoon at her home. We send our condolences to family and friends, and a whole lot of love to Molly. We had planned on posting this in the morning, as a love note to her, before we learned of her passing, but it seems so appropriate a tribute to her kick ass spirit to post her own feisty words this evening."
~ Democracy-building is failing in Iraq. But it could work in Iran -- "In his book The Persian Puzzle, Kenneth Pollack aptly frames the problem of Iran as a "race between two clocks." One clock counts down the time until Iran enriches enough uranium to build a nuclear weapon. The other ticks off the hours remaining for its corrupt and dysfunctional clerical regime."
~ Is the Terror Threat Overhyped? -- "On Sunday the Los Angeles Times ran a piece by John Hopkins professor and New Republic contributing editor David Bell. It has generated a fair amount of controversy these past few days."
~ 1,500 Volunteers to Build 6 Playgrounds in One Day at New Orleans Schools. Cool.
~ Al Franken Will Run For The Senate -- Good luck with that.

~ Value-Based Insurance Design: Fiscally Responsible, Clinically Sensitive Approach To Making The Most Of Health Dollars -- "Like a one-size-fits-all shirt that doesn't fit anyone very well, American health insurance plans charge every person the same out of pocket cost for medical services - regardless of their effect on a person's health.So, whether your visit to the doctor is for life-threatening cancer, or just the common cold or a sprained ankle, you'll pay the same co-pay or deductible."
~ Air pollution 'raises risk of heart disease' -- "Air pollution might help cause heart disease and strokes in older women, United States researchers reported on Wednesday."
~ An Estimated Quarter Of Uninsured U.S. Residents Are Eligible But Not Enrolled In Public Health Insurance Programs -- "About one-quarter of the approximately 46 million uninsured U.S. residents qualify for government-funded health care programs but are not enrolled, the AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. Some people are unaware that they qualify for public programs, while others might have difficulty with long, complex enrollment forms or face delays in participation approval."
~ Investment in Clean Energy Surged 167% in 2006 -- "Venture capital and private investments in clean energy companies saw a huge leap in 2006, increasing by 167% from $2.7 billion to $7.1 billion."
~ Tales of the Self-Sufficient City -- "Somewhere at the intersection of New Urbanism, DIY culture, and the resurgence of gardening for self-sustenance, an active and growing community of artist-maker-activists is redefining urban survivalism."
~ Jeff Christian and the Zero-Energy House -- "Jeff Christian directs the Buildings Technology Center at the Oak Ridge National Labs. Over the last four years he has conducted research on five prototype houses that cost between 60 cents and one dollar a day in energy costs to operate."

~ From Sean at Deep Surface: Matrix Revolutions revisited.
~ In case you missed it: Announcement: 2nd Annual Blogisattva Awards Nominees.
~ Nonviolence and the Dharma -- From Al at Pursuit of Mysteries.
~ The Buddhist Geeks are on a roll: The Rise of the Technosattva. Part 1.
~ Even if you don't read the interesting post, go look at the pretty pictures: Second Life, weather magic, and other unlikely things.
~ From ebuddha: 60% of Integral Practice mystery solved!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Falwell and Robertson: Left Behind

I laughed my ass off at this short clip from Family Guy when I saw it Sunday night -- I was hoping someone would put it online.

Jon Stewart on Faux News Investigating Barack Obama

This is just plain funny. I'm sure this is old news, but I hadn't seen it.

Via: VideoSift

The Devolution of Microsoft Office 2007

Yikes! I think I'll skip this upgrade until the world, or some of the editors I work for, make me do it.

From Slate:
First reaction: They changed everything! Office 2007 deletes the old toolbars and menus at the top of the screen and replaces them with the Ribbon, an overlapping set of tabs that regroups each application's functions into graphical tools rather than text-driven menus. Still photos don't do the Ribbon justice. Watch this movie to see it in action. Even better, download a free 60-day trial of Office 2007—don't worry, it won't disable your existing Office software.

The Ribbon mimics the tabbed interfaces of the Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 browsers. It looks cool, but it took me most of five minutes to find, set, and test the Track Changes options my editor expects. As my deadline loomed, I panicked when I couldn't find the option to save in Office 2003 format. It was hiding behind a new jewellike logo in the upper left corner called the Office Button.

Microsoft's reviewer's guide makes clear that all of the keystroke commands you know and love are still here. That will assuage speed-typing accountants who might otherwise refuse to switch. But as nice as the Ribbon and other user-interface upgrades are, it's only natural that most users will react with annoyance rather than wonder when they find out they can't switch to some kind of "Classic mode" in order to finish a write-up that was due 20 minutes ago (like this one).

Read the whole review.

Cal Thomas Is a Moron

From a post over at RealClearPolitics:

The ideologically decrepit anti-war crowd returned to Washington last weekend for a reunion. The older among them abandoned hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Vietnamese to imprisonment, torture, death and re-education camps. Their demonstrations were encouraging to the communist Vietnamese, sending the message that America lacked the will to win. These aging hippies and their progeny now want to do the same to millions of Iraqis, who have democratically elected their leaders.

This is the sunset of the "Age of Aquarius." Yesterday, when they were young, they were the pampered generation that eschewed self-control for self-indulgence. They were (and are) so vain; they probably thought the world was about them. They were the redeeming generation that would save their parents from their sins by ending war, curing racism and cleaning the air and water. Their failure has long been obvious to all but them. To them, intentions, not success, are paramount. Because they believe their intentions are noble, they absolve themselves from the negative consequences of their actions.

Mr. Thomas seems to be ignorant of the fact that astrological cycles run 2,000 years. So in reality, the Age of Aquarius has only just begun. Not that I buy into any of that stuff.

But just for the sake of argument, let's pretend that I do. If we really want to talk about cycles of events, we need to take the long-term view of things, not the "only my lifetime has merit" approach of short-sighted people like Thomas -- and the Boomers he derides.

The 2,000 year cycle of the Age of Pieces saw the most amazing physical expansion of human capabilities imaginable. We literally went from a fragile agricultural existence to a post-informational, truly global people in that relatively short period of time.

The next 2,000 year cycle, in theory, will take that same enormous jump in complexity and expansion of power to the interior of human evolution. I'm sure we will continue to expand our complexity in the physical world as well, but the next revolution won't be televised -- it will be internalized.

From Wikipedia:
For Aquarius (also called "the Water bearer"), it is reported we have already been feeling influences - titled Orb of influence (the last ten degrees backwards of the Age of Pisces) - in the accelerated individual, social, cultural, scientific and technological development and globalization through the 20th century. This view is consistent with the popular notion of the New Age movement that regards current times as the "dawning of the Aquarian Age".

On the other hand, the Aquarian Age is thought to bring with it an era of universal brotherhood rooted in reason where it will be possible to solve social problems in a manner equitable to all and with greater opportunity for intellectual and spiritual improvement, since Aquarius is an airy, scientific, and intellectual sign and its ruler planet, Uranus, is associated with intuition (knowledge above reason) and direct perceptions of the heart; and on the mundane level it rules electricity and technology. It is generally described by astrologers that in the Age of Aquarius there will be a blending of religion and science to such a degree that a religious science and a scientific religion will be formed.

Really, Thomas is so far off the mark that he appears even more foolish than usual. I'm being a little tongue-in-cheek here, because I realize that Thomas is simply bashing the hippies that he hates so much. He doesn't understand the bigger picture possibilities, which is what makes his approach to policy so dangerous.

And that brings me to the real issue: Thomas believes that peace can be achieved through violence:
Peace doesn't result when America does nothing to confront evil. Peace comes through facing and defeating evil wherever and whenever we can. If freedom is not on the march against tyranny, then tyranny will be on the march against freedom. Neither is static. Peace doesn't "happen." To the extent peace can be attained on earth, it arrives through strength and willpower.
This is a Pieces Age point-of-view -- not to mention authoritarian and grounded in TruthForce.

Real peace comes through compassion and equality. It might require force on occasion, but it does not seek out conflict, nor does it make violence its primary weapon. This is the lesson that we must learn over the next 2,000 year cycle, a lesson we are only taking the first baby steps toward -- if you believe in that sort of thing.