Saturday, March 10, 2007

New Poem: Unconventional Love Sonnet #3

Unconventional Love Sonnet #3

Outside, the animals are pairing off
in the ardor of spring -- sparrows build
nests of small twigs and even the squirrels
give in to the brief passion of procreation.

Such an ancient ritual this mating dance,
a cellular fire propelling all creatures
toward polarity -- not simply to reproduce,
but to know the flame of pairing.

Yet, we seek no progeny, only the depth
of two bodies in communion, flesh
and blood and something unnamed.

All that remains is beyond our skin,
beyond our voices, a sacred mystery
binding two souls in union.

Sage Francis - 'Mullet' - Cool Hip Hop Spoken Word

Remember the mullet? I had one of those damned things -- sad to say.

Remember the mullet? Short on top for the fellas, long at the back for the ladies! Fan video for one of Sage Francis's best spoken word recordings.

This spoken word piece isn't just about mullets -- it's much better than that.

Via: VideoSift

Nine Inch Nails: Survivalism

The other day I linked to a track list for the new Nine Inch Nails album. This is the new video, Survivalism.

Dharma Quote: Primordial State

Snow Lion Publications' Dharma Quote of the Week
An inexpressible, self-arisen expanse
Without the names "samsara" and "nirvana."

Here, "self-arisen" means the primordial state. It is not something we can fully express with words or concepts. It's beyond words or concepts. The nature of all is not biased; it is not restricted to one or another. The nature of all exists in one identical state. That ground, that nature, does not have any name such as samsara or nirvana. That is the foundation, that is the ground. It is beyond samsara and nirvana. Not knowing the ground means wandering in samsara. If you recognize this ground, if you truly experience this ground, buddhahood is attained. That is the fruition. That is the result of our practice and our path.

...The ground, that fundamental state of simplicity, is the origin of all elaborations. This pure basic state is like a simple artist's canvas. We paint different images on this canvas. We can paint the image of a buddha, and it becomes very pure, beautiful, and inspiring to look at. We can also paint a devil on the same canvas, which can create our fundamental suffering, our basic pain. However, the basis of both is the same simple state of canvas that is completely pure and totally free from the images we project on it. It is totally free, whether that image is a buddha or a devil. That is the origin.

~ From Penetrating Wisdom: The Aspiration of Samantabhadra by the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, published by Snow Lion Publications.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Def Leppard -- Rock of Ages, Pour Some Sugar on Me

This is for J- . . .

Via: VideoSift

Reclaiming What Makes Us Human

There is an interesting article over at In These Times on the disappearance of group rituals and festivals in Western and large-scale societies. Here is a brief excerpt:

Ours is what the French theorist Guy Debord called the “society of the spectacle,” which he described as occurring in “an epoch without festivals.” Instead of generating their own collective pleasures, people absorb, or consume, the spectacles of commercial entertainment, nationalist rituals and the consumer culture, with its endless advertisements for the pleasure of individual ownership. Debord bemoaned the passivity engendered by constant spectatorship, announcing that “the spectacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep.”

But there is no obvious reason why festivities and ecstatic rituals can’t survive within large-scale societies. Whole cities were swept up in the French Revolution’s Festival of Federation in 1790, with lines of dancers extending from the streets and out into the countryside. Rock events have sometimes drawn tens of thousands for days of peaceful dancing and socializing. Modern Brazil still celebrates Carnaval and Trinidad preserves its Carnival. Recent nonviolent uprisings, like Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, invariably feature rock or rap music, dancing in the streets, and “costuming” in the revolution-appropriate color. There is no apparent limit on the number of people who can celebrate together.

Nor can the growing size of human societies explain the long hostility of elites to their people’s festivities and ecstatic rituals—a hostility that goes back at least to the city-states of ancient Greece, which contained only a few tens of thousands of people each. No, the repression of festivities and ecstatic rituals over the centuries was the conscious work of men, and occasionally women, who saw in them a real and urgent threat. The aspect of “civilization” that is most hostile to festivity is not capitalism or industrialism—both of which are fairly recent innovations—but social hierarchy, which is far more ancient. When one class, or ethnic group or gender, rules over a population of subordinates, it comes to fear the empowering rituals of the subordinates as a threat to civil order.

I'm not so sure about the Marxist conflict approach to this, although that most surely is an aspect of it. I think there is a bigger picture to this, a way to see it as part of an integral developmental model. And Barbara Ehrenreich does look at other elements of this topic:
But elite hostility to Dionysian festivities goes beyond pragmatic concerns about the possibility of uprisings or the seduction of the young. Philosophically, too, elites cringe from the spectacle of disorderly public joy. Hierarchy, by its nature, establishes boundaries between people—who can go where, who can approach whom, who is welcome, and who is not. Festivity breaks the boundaries down.

While hierarchy is about exclusion, festivity generates inclusiveness. The music invites everyone to the dance; shared food briefly undermines the privilege of class. As for masks, they may serve symbolic, ritual functions, but, to the extent that they conceal identity, they also dissolve the difference between stranger and neighbor, making the neighbor temporarily strange and the stranger no more foreign than anyone else. No source of human difference or identity is immune to the carnival challenge: cross-dressers defy gender just as those who costume as priests and kings mock power and rank. At the height of the festivity, we step out of our assigned roles and statuses—of gender, ethnicity, tribe and rank—and into a brief utopia defined by egalitarianism, creativity and mutual love. This is how danced rituals and festivities served to bind prehistoric human groups, and this is what still beckons us today.

From a Spiral Dynamics point of view, it would seem that the cool color Memes are the ones that might celebrate festivals in various forms -- Purple, Blue, Green, Turquoise. These Memes are more group oriented and focused on inclusion within the group (or exclusion from the group at the lower levels).

The warm color Memes (Red, Orange, Yellow), being more focused on the self, would probably not like festivals and public celebrations. These Memes might reject the group element as too threatening, both at the individual level and the societal level.

In reality, however, no person or culture is represented by a single Meme. So the author might have a point in the conflict approach -- this struggle between group dynamic and individual responsibility seems to be built in to most developed societies.

The author also mentions the Dionysian element of these festivals, echoing Nietzsche's ideas on the conflict of Dionysian and Apollonian energies in art and culture -- essentially a conflict between horizontal, sensual experience (Dionysus) and vertical, spiritual experience (Apollo). Still, I think this is contained within the SD model of conflict between group energy (Dionysus) and individual energy (Apollo).

I don't really have a point here, I'm just thinking out loud -- and it's early, so I might be rambling. Anyone have any thoughts on this article? I'd like to hear what others think.

Tom Hayes on "Bemes"

Most of us in the integral community are familiar with the concept of memes, a word/concept first introduced by Richard Dawkins back in the 1970s. Now Tom Hayes claims to be responsible for the introduction of the word/concept "beme":

A beme is a turbo-charged meme made possible entirely by the existence of the network effect. A beme can be impactful because it is lurid--a photo of a panty-less Britney Spears, or humorous--a whimisical video of the band OKGO on treadmills, or gut-wrenching--the sad tirade by comedian Michael Richards. A beme can cement an idea with the public in a way that cannot be legislated or regulated. No legal effort by Cisco to enforce a trademark, for example, will make the public unlearn that Apple produces the iPhone.

  • A meme is old media, a beme is new media.
  • A meme takes off by accident, a beme by design.
  • A meme can take years to surface, a beme hours.

Moreover, people who create and spread bemes (let's call them "bemerz")--people like Shel Israel, Robert Scoble, Glenn Reynolds, Doc Searls, Dan Gillmor, John Battelle, Duncan Riley, Aaron Brazell, Jason Calacanis and Dave Sifry are today's cultural icons. When they beme to the world, they can spread an idea faster than any people in history.

Is this an useful addition to the lexicon?

National Book Critics Circle Awards

As posted at The Millions:

The National Book Critics Circle winners have been announced. The big winner, of course, is Kiran Desai who follows up her Booker win with another big prize for her mantle. Here they are, with excerpts:

See also: More details at the NBCC blog.

The Cure -- Friday I'm in Love

A fitting song for a Friday . . . .

Cool Remote Monestary

I found this at Geek Army:
Taktshang Taktshang is the most famous of monasteries in Bhutan. It hangs on a cliff at 3,120 metres (10,200 feet), some 700 meters (2,300 feet) above the bottom of Paro valley.
Here are a couple of pictures -- there are many more at their site.

Speedlinking 3/9/07

Quote of the day:

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
~ Philip K. Dick

Image of the day:

~ Saturated Fat: Killer or Testosterone Booster? -- "We run articles about dietary fat on T-Nation fairly often, but do you truly understand fat, especially saturated fat? If you don't, you might be seriously shortchanging your health and your physique."
~ Going Deep With EDT: Your 10 Most Common Questions Answered -- "EDT is one of the simplest, most effective bodybuilding programs ever devised. If you're not familiar with it, here's your chance." From my experience, EDT is the most effective fat loss lifting program ever developed.
~ Speed up recovery with food -- "A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that eating any source of protein and sugar immediately after finishing a workout helps athletes grow larger and stronger muscles (November 2006)." Not new info, but worth repeating.
~ Health Benefits of Massage -- "Many people look upon massage as an indulgence that is simply not necessary, I have to admit that I enjoy getting a massage but was always wondering if long term massage was good for me. This way of thinking keeps them from experiencing the miraculous healing power a good massage can have. This form of therapy is not only very pleasant and relaxing but offers great health inspiring benefits."
~ Study Probes Odor, Sleep and Memory Link -- "Doctors have long advised that a good night's sleep is important for memory - but researchers now say a familiar scent wafting in the bedroom might help sometimes, too...."
~ Health Tip: Common Causes of Fever -- "Each of us has an internal thermostat in the brain that raises or lowers our body temperature. Fever occurs when the body's temperature is raised above normal."
~ Tai Chi Chuan may benefit type 2 diabetes patients -- "A new study suggests that participation in the Chinese martial art Tai Chi Chuan may help boost immune function and improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes."
~ Teens experimenting with steroids earlier -- "Adolescents are using muscle-building steroids at an earlier age, but most stop using these drugs as they grow older, according to more than 2,500 youth who were surveyed in 1999 and again in 2004."
~ Another Impact of Smoking During Pregnancy: Troubled Kids -- "Smoking During Pregnancy Has Long-Term Effects on Childhood Behavior, New Research Suggests."

~ Pain complicates depression treatment in elderly -- "By interfering with normal activities, chronic pain can impede recovery from depression in older adults, according to findings reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society."
~ Severe PTSD Damages Children's Brains -- "The researchers found that children with post-traumatic stress disorder and high levels of the stress hormone cortisol were likely to experience a decrease in the size of the hippocampus - a brain structure important in memory processing and emotion."
~ Web program may help ward off eating disorders -- "Young women showed less dissatisfaction with their weight and shape after participating in an Internet-based eating disorder prevention program, researchers from Germany found."
~ We can judge the emotional content of pictures in as little as 13 milliseconds (with more polls!) [Cognitive Daily] -- "Two days ago, we discussed research suggesting that the emotional qualities of images affect short-term memory for those images. When you watch a movie depicting a rapid sequence of images, you're more likely to remember images that have strong emotional content -- especially images that are arousing, whether they depict positive or negative things. Most fascinating of all: when we see images for a very short time, we're more likely to remember positive images, but when we view them for a longer period, we're more likely to remember negative ones."
~ Dopamine to the Rescue: The Binding Problem [Developing Intelligence] -- "The infamous "binding problem" concerns how a coherent subjective experience of the world can emerge from the widely-distributed processing of individual object characteristics (for example, object identity and object spatial locations appear to be processed by independent neural systems)."
~ Savants and us (An FAQ) -- "The prodigious savant Daniel Tammet was just profiled on 60 Minutes, sparking a provocative email from my brainy and combative step-uncle Stan; he wants to know how savant syndrome fits into, or conflicts with, my developing understanding of talent."
~ The Call of Solitude -- "How spending time alone can enhance intimacy." Yup.
~ How to Get Your Space -- "Are you suffocating in your relationship?"
~ Love Isn't Blind -- "How to form an enduring bond."
~ Panic Attacks & Panic Disorder -- "Panic attacks can be a terrifying part of panic disorder. Treatments of both panic attacks and panic disorder are usually necessary - and not too painful!"
~ The Psychological Uncertainty Principle -- "You can't know who a person is without relating to them, and once you do that, you irrevocably change them."
~ Are You a Lightworker or a Darkworker? -- "Asking this question is like asking whether you’re a black belt in karate or jujitsu. Most likely you are neither, since most people never make such a commitment in their entire lives. Lightworkers and darkworkers combined probably account for less than 1% of the population." More on the polarity topic.

~ Teenagers With Retail, Service Jobs At Risk Of Injury, Robberies, Sleep Deprivation -- "Despite federal regulations intended to protect them, many teenagers in the U.S. use dangerous equipment or work long hours during the school week, according to a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study."
~ Wisconsin Governor Rejects Federal Abstinence Education Funds -- " Cool.
~ The Evolution of Religion [EvolutionBlog] -- "With all the fuss lately about the atheistic books of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, it is easy to overlook another glut of books that tend to threaten religion. I am referring to the series of books intending to provide a scientific basis for the prevalence of religious belief."
~ Fall-out from Scooter Libby's conviction -- "Scooter Libby's conviction spells awful times for the Republicans, and for Dick Cheney in particular."
~ The battle epic 300 reviewed -- "If 300, the new battle epic based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynne Varley, had been made in Germany in the mid-1930s, it would be studied today alongside The Eternal Jew as a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war. Since it's a product of the post-ideological, post-Xbox 21st century, 300 will instead be talked about as a technical achievement, the next blip on the increasingly blurry line between movies and video games."
~ A Sense of Urgency -- "John Nichols writes that as the Democratic leadership seeks a way out of Iraq, what they most lack is a sense of urgency to put an end the carnage."
~ Q&A: What Americans Don't Know About Religion Could Fill a Book -- "With roughly 9 in 10 of its citizens claiming to believe in God or a Supreme Being, America is widely acknowledged to be the most religious of modern industrial nations. Yet when it comes to knowledge about religion, it ranks among the most ill-informed."
~ Clinton Announce "New GI Bill" -- "In a speech today at the Center for American Progress, Sen. Hillary Clinton announced a "new GI Bill of Rights," to include expanded care and physical and mental screening of soldiers going into war zones--and those returning as well." Popular sentiment supports this and it's politically expedient -- she's good.
~ Which Side Are We On? -- "In early February, President Bush told a group of Wall Street executives that "income inequality is real; it's been rising for more than 25 years. ... And the question is whether we respond to the income inequality we see with policies that help lift people up, or tear others down." It's ironic that this president raised the issue of income inequality because his own trickle-down economic policies have contributed to the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, a situation worse today than at any time since the '20s."

~ Scientists Call for Worldwide Warning: Be Wary of Eating Fish -- "I have been warning about the health risks associated with eating mercury-contaminated fish for some time, and now the world’s leading mercury scientists are calling for worldwide attention to this serious issue." It's not as dire as Mercola makes it sound.
~ Keeping Your PC in Tune With Daylight Saving -- "The sun will be rising a bit later next week, which is a blessing for some of us and a hassle for all. A hassle because your PC may need updating to understand that daylight saving time starts this Sunday, March 11, which is three weeks earlier than in the past. It also lasts a week longer into autumn."
~ Will Biology Solve the Universe? -- "Dr. Robert Lanza, famous for his stem-cell and cloning research, believes his ideas will lead to a unified theory of the universe. It's all in the biology."
~ Taking Climate Legislation to the Hill: Four Major Bills Battle for Congress' Support -- "The concern has prompted a flurry of legislative activity on Capitol Hill, with four major bills, soon to be five, vying for support and votes, and some measure appearing likely to pass. But it remains unclear how strong it will be, how far lawmakers are willing to go in restricting U.S. industry, and whether President Bush might veto a bill."
~ Madison, Wis., Named 'Most Walkable' -- "With the thermometer hovering at 22, and the wind ripping off a frozen Lake Mendota, Rink DaVee and his brother Jim decided to take a stroll."
~ Regardless of global warming, rising CO2 levels threaten marine life -- "Like a piece of chalk dissolving in vinegar, marine life with hard shells is in danger of being dissolved by increasing acidity in the oceans."
~ The Real Value of Solar Power for Your Home -- "A green house may be attractive to homebuyers and boost your home's resale price. And in the end, you just can't put a price on the future of our planet."
~ Nobel Winner Seeks Government Deeds to Match Words -- "A global campaign to plant a billion trees has highlighted a big gap between government aid pledges and action, African Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai said on Wednesday."

~ The Discovering Buddhism from Tyson Williams, a video.
~ Big Mind process and Kensho -- More on the Brad Warner controversy around Big Mind from Per at Mystery of Existence.
~ Identities as either/or, both/and, and none and also, Differentiating surrendering of idenitification, and changing content from Per at Mystery of Existence.
~ The Center for Sacred Sciences a link from Deep Surface.
~ Appropriate from Aaron at Anxious Living.
~ Big Mind? discussed at the Zaadz I-I pod. This is still more on the Brad Warner thing.
~ Vertical Magic and the Magic of Verticality -- Robert Godwin is as controversial as ever.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

How Rare Is Your Personality Type?

Your Personality is Very Rare (INTP)

Your personality type is goofy, imaginative, relaxed, and brilliant.

Only about 4% of all people have your personality, including 2% of all women and 6% of all men
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving.

The Wisdom of Surrender

Today's Daily Om is a good one.

The Wisdom Of Surrender
Relying On Others

Most of us pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency. We like to be responsible for taking care of ourselves and pulling our own weight in the world. This is why it can be so challenging when we find ourselves in a situation in which we have to rely on someone else. This can happen as the result of an illness or an injury, or even in the case of a positive change, such as the arrival of a newborn. At times like these, it is essential that we let go of our feeling that we should be able to do it all by ourselves and accept the help of others.

The first step is accepting the situation fully as it is. Too often we make things worse either by trying to do more than we should or by lapsing into feelings of uselessness. In both cases we run the risk of actually prolonging our dependency. In addition, we miss a valuable opportunity to practice acceptance and humility. The ego resists what is, so when we move into acceptance we move into the deeper realm of the soul. In needing others and allowing them to help us, we experience the full realization that we are not on our own in the world. While this may bring up feelings of vulnerability, a deep feeling of gratitude may also emerge as we open to the experience of being helped. This realization can enable us to be wiser in our service of others when we are called upon to help.

It takes wisdom and strength to surrender to our own helplessness and to accept that we, just like every other human being, have limitations. The gifts of surrender are numerous. We discover humility, gratitude, and a deepening understanding of the human experience that enables us to be that much more compassionate and surrendered in the world.

Speedlinking 3/8/07

Sorry this is so late today -- Earthlink was down all morning and just came back online in AZ.

Quote of the day:

"Nihilism is best done by professionals."
~ Iggy Pop

Image of the day:

~ Whole-Grain Breakfast Cereal Associated With Reduced Heart Failure Risk -- "Eating whole-grain breakfast cereals seven or more times per week was associated with a lower risk of heart failure, according to an analysis of the observational Physicians' Health Study." Fiber is good for what ails ya.
~ Osteoporosis Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency -- "Vitamin D deficiency is being recognized as a growing problem in people who are at risk for osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, over 60 million Americans, 41 million of them women, will have either osteoporosis or low bone mass by the year 2020."
~ Genetic Mutations Cause CoQ10 Enzyme Deficiency -- "Individuals with a deficiency in a protein known as CoQ10 can be grouped into different categories depending on their clinical symptoms. Primary CoQ10 deficiency, that is a deficiency caused by a genetic mutation, can be treated by dietary CoQ10 supplementation."
~ Diet Advice to take to Heart -- "Find out 6 ways to make your diet heart-healthy and lose weight."
~ A Specific Fat Type Can Protect Against Weight Gain And Diabetes -- "A new study from Joslin Diabetes Center may shed light on why some people can eat excessive amounts of food and not gain weight or develop type 2 diabetes, while others are more likely to develop obesity and this most common form of diabetes on any diet."
~ Prevent injury and improve performance by increasing the intensity of your warm-up -- "Warming up before you exercise helps to prevent injuries and lets you jump higher, run faster, lift heavier or throw further."
~ Erectile Dysfunction Drugs May Trump Nitroglycerin For Heart Protection -- "Erectile dysfunction drugs may be better than nitroglycerin in protecting the heart from damage before and after a severe heart attack."
~ Exercise slows decline in Alzheimer's patients -- "Nursing home residents with Alzheimer's disease who participate in a moderate exercise program have a significantly slower deterioration than those who receive routine medical care, researchers have shown."
~ It's true -- stress makes teens break out -- "Teen-agers who claim that stress makes them break out are telling the truth: The stress of taking an exam can make pimples worse, researchers reported on Tuesday." I'm guessing this applies to adults too.

~ Psychoanalysis effective for panic disorder -- "The findings from a clinical trial indicate that psychoanalytic therapy can be particularly effective for people suffering from panic disorder. Relaxation training is also helpful but it has a lower success rate."
~ Addiction: Why Can't They Just Stop? -- "New Book, Documentary Explores Brain Chemistry Behind Addictive Behaviors."
~ How to Cheer Up -- "When bad things happen, as they will, it's helpful to have an arsenal of useful interventions to raise your spirits and improve your attitude."
~ Antidepressants Improve Post-Stroke 'Thinking Outside The Box' -- "Antidepressant treatment appears to help stroke survivors with the kind of complex mental abilities often referred to as "thinking outside the box," according to a University of Iowa study. The antidepressants' effects on study participants' abilities were independent of any changes in depression. In addition, the improvements in complex mental abilities were not seen immediately but during the course of 21 months after the treatment ended."
~ Women are best at being buddies -- "A four-year study by sociologists at The University of Manchester has found that women are much more likely than men to make deep and lasting friendships.The investigation into social networks by the University's Research Centre for Socio-Cultural Change found that men are more fickle and calculating about who they should be friends with."
~ Why children love their security blankets -- "Every parent of a young child knows how emotionally attached children can become to a soft toy or blanket that they sleep with every night. New research, published today in the international journal Cognition, suggests that this might be because children think the toy or blanket has a unique property or ‘essence."
~ Findings may explain why omega-3s seem to improve mood -- "Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, are associated with increased grey matter volume in areas of the brain commonly linked to mood and behavior according to a University of Pittsburgh study."
~ Is Your Memory Erased While You Sleep? -- "Scientists have a new theory about what happens in the brain when you snooze."

~ The four unspeakable truths about Iraq -- "When it comes to Iraq, there are two kinds of presidential candidates. The disciplined ones, like Hillary Clinton, carefully avoid acknowledging reality. The more candid, like John McCain and Barack Obama, sometimes blurt out the truth, but quickly apologize."
~ Wikipedia to Seek Credentials Proof -- "Following revelations that a high-ranking member of Wikipedia's bureaucracy used his cloak of anonymity to lie about being a professor of religion, the free Internet encyclopedia plans to ask contributors who claim such credentials to identify themselves."
~ YouTube Banned In Turkey -- "A Turkish court ordered access to YouTube's Web site blocked on Wednesday, after a prosecutor recommended the ban because of videos allegedly insulting the founder of modern Turkey."
~ Clipping Cheney's Wings -- "John Nichols writes that the Libby trial revealed stunning details about Dick Cheney's aggressive efforts to attack his enemies and cherry-pick pre-war intelligence. Will Congress now conduct hearings to call the Vice President to account?"
~ Why Jews Should Care About the ‘Jesus Tomb’ -- "Our rabbi reflects on the claim that Christ’s tomb has been found."
~ Ann Coulter's the Paris Hilton of political coverage -- " Even among her most rabid red-state fans, she has become a cartoon character -- and journalists should treat her like one."
~ NBC/WSJ: Confidence on Iraq continues to fall -- "Almost two months after President Bush announced that he was sending more than 21,000 additional troops into Iraq, saying, “We can, and we will, prevail,” nearly seven in 10 Americans remain pessimistic about the war’s outcome, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds."
~ Nebraska Senator Hagel to announce 2008 plans -- Run, Chuck, run!

~ Global Polio Eradication May Take Time -- "WHO Says Global Polio Eradication Still Possible but Will Take at Least Another Year."
~ Global Fund to Help Buy Malaria Drugs -- "Health Experts Announce a Global Fund to Subsidize New Malaria Drugs."
~ More Ways Teflon Can Harm Your Baby -- "More than a year after the FDA urged companies to ban the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the chemical used in making Teflon, reports of new toxic side effects associated with your cookware and other products keeping on coming."
~ World Wide Divide -- "Globalization advocates and internet idealists may talk of a future without borders, but the world's not as connected as people think."
~ Love-making gets green light from adult stores -- "You've heard of green cars, green tourism and green weddings. Now Canadians should ready themselves for green sex."
~ Evolution Getting Faster Thanks to Germs, Viruses, Study Says -- "Evolution has gotten faster, and scientists think they know why: Microbes are swapping DNA from one species to another, giving the Darwinian process an added boost."
~ Time Change: Springing Forward Could be Bad For You -- "This Sunday, Daylight Saving Time starts ... three weeks earlier than in the past. It might save energy. It's sure to fuel depression."

~ Can Buddha Hit a Curveball?…and other questions of special powers -- "In this post I want to talk about special abilities and powers, which seem to always be discussed in terms of secondary by-products of one’s practice and realization."
~ From The Buddha Diaries: A Visitation -- "Well, yesterday, I chanced to look up from my writing and was greeted with the vision of a hawk. He was perched there, magnificent and imperious, on the lip of the upper bowl, no more than a few feet from where I sat."
~ From Ed Berge at Open Integral: No views is good views? -- "From my investigation of Nagarjuna and Derrida I’m coming to feel that indeed “no views is good views,” as the moment I take a position I immediately see my own negative projections–and the antithesis–built right into the very premise(s) of that view."
~ Three aspects of identities and freefall from Mystery of Existence.
~ From ~C4Chaos: The Secret, Steve Pavlina, and Stuff Called HOLONS. Also from ~C (an expansion of ideas in the first post): What the Hell? Is Steve Pavlina Turquoise?
~ Julian says what I have been thinking for quite a while now: Second Tier? Get Over Yourself. A Brief Righteous Vent.... over at the I-I pod at Zaadz. Even if you aren't a member, check it out. ~C4Chaos adds: Brad Warner: Big Mind™ is a Big Load of Horse Shit.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Daily Dharma: Our Suffering Stems From Ignorance

[image source -- click to enlarge]

Today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle:
Our Suffering Stems From Ignorance

Observing respiration is also the means for practicing right awareness. Our suffering stems from ignorance. We react because we do not know what we are doing, because we do not know the reality of ourselves. The mind spends most of the time lost in fantasies and illusions, reliving pleasant or unpleasant experiences and anticipating the future with eagerness or fear. While lost in such cravings or aversions, we are unaware of what is happening now, what we are doing now. Yet surely this moment, now, is the most important for us. We cannot live in the past; it is gone. Nor can we live in the future; it is forever beyond our grasp. We can live only in the present. If we are unaware of our present actions, we are condemned to repeating the mistakes of the past and can never succeed in attaining our dreams for the future. But if we can develop the ability to be aware of the present moment, we can use the past as a guide for ordering our actions in the future, so that we may attain our goal.

~ S.N. Goenka, in The Art of Living, from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book.

Definitive Top 200 Albums

According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Looks like the usual suspects, although there were some surprises in the list.
5 U2 -- JOSHUA TREE 1987
11 PEARL JAM -- TEN 1991
17 AC/DC -- BACK IN BLACK 1980
19 DOORS -- DOORS 1967
22 WHO -- WHO'S NEXT 1971
25 PINK FLOYD -- WALL 1979

Cool Site: Scribd

Via Tech Crunch:
Scribd, a site for sharing documents, is coming out of private beta this morning with a fresh Angel investment of $300K on top of their original Y Combinator nest egg of $12,000. Scribd is most easily described as a text version of YouTube. It is a social network that lets you tag, share, and comment on uploaded documents (.doc, .pdf, .txt, .ppt, .xls, .ps, .lit).

Scribd is not just a carbon copy of YouTube. They borrowed a lot of the basic design principles, but also took advantage of the written format by including flexible file formats for download and upload along with some interesting analytics tracking. Documents can be displayed and embedded as html or the under-utilized, and faster-than-a-pdf, Flash paper format. They can be downloaded as .pdf’s, .docs, .txt, and even .mp3 files. The mp3 version is created by Scribd’s text-to-speech package (powered by Nuance) that lets you listen to the text of your document in a quivering British accent (downloadable example here). People have uploaded all sorts of documents for the private beta, like this guide to dating and seduction for dummies, or this less than legal copy of Visual C++ in 21 days. Scribd also lets you “geek out” on all the analytics generated by documents you post, such as how many votes and views your piece gets, as well as geographic location and http referrer that brought the reader there.

Scribd looks like a cool idea for sharing documents. The layout is clean and it supports a range of formats.

Here are the top ten views from the mainpage:
Popular documents

1. Knife Throwing Techniques of the Ninja
2. What happens when you take a photo at the right angle? - A Slideshow
3. Creating Cool Websites with HTML, XHTML, and CSS
4. The case of the 500-mile email
5. The Scariest Car Crash Ever - A Slideshow
6. Dating And Seduction For Dummies
7. Falling Cats
8. R Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
9. PROMOTE SCRIBD!!!!!!!!!!!
10. It seems this essay was written while the guy was high, hilarious!
I'm guessing this site will end up like YouTube as a place for off-the-wall stuff, and not so much of the academic or educational material. Still, that could be fun, too.

Principles of Economics Translated

This is funny . . . .

Video blurb:
Yoram Bauman's presentation from the 2007 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Why they consider economics a science is beyond me.

Via: VideoSift

Satire: The Department of Faulty Intelligence

Andy Borowitz, posted at MSNBC/Newsweek:

The Big Lie Department

To collect more false leads and red herrings, the White House has created a new government agency in charge of faulty intelligence.

By Andy Borowitz

March 6, 2007 - In response to what he called a "significant increase in the amount of misinformation about our enemies," President George W. Bush today announced that he was establishing a new Cabinet-level agency devoted solely to faulty intelligence. By creating the Department of Faulty Intelligence, Bush said, "The United States will be able to respond swiftly and preemptively to false threats before they don’t develop."

The president said that while the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) had both collected faulty intelligence in the past, "there is simply too much misinformation out there for those two agencies to handle." Bush said that he hoped that the Department of Faulty Intelligence would not only increase the United States’ capacity to collect false leads and red herrings, but that it would also help coordinate the sharing of useless information among the government’s various spy agencies.

Bush used the announcement at the White House to introduce his nominee to head up the new department, James Frey, the author of "A Million Little Pieces." Frey spoke mainly in general terms about the goals of the new agency, but indicated that it would focus on "the gathering threat" posed by Belgium’s nuclear program.

In his brief remarks to the press, Frey said that he was uniquely qualified to head the new faulty intelligence department because of his "deep roots" in the faulty-intelligence community. "I will be bringing over four decades of experience to this job," said Frey, 37.

Elsewhere, a lunar eclipse occurred over the weekend when former Vice President Al Gore briefly stepped in front of the moon.

Speedlinking 3/7/07

Quote of the day:

"I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home."
~ Robert Orben

Image of the day:

~ What’s the best time for future athletes to start training? -- "A study from Sweden suggests that the best time for future athletes to start training is probably before they go into puberty, because strength training before puberty gives a person larger and stronger bones."
~ EPDS: 7 Causes and Cures -- "Extreme Performance Decline Syndrome (EPDS) sounds like a new social disease, but it really has to do with mid-set fatigue. Ever wonder why you can pump out 12 reps on the first set but then have trouble hitting 6 or 7 reps on the fifth set? Luckily, Joel Marion knows how to boost your performance."
~ U.S. study tips scale in favor of Atkins diet -- "A study of four popular diets found that women put on the one with the least carbohydrates -- the Atkins plan -- lost at least twice as much weight as those on the others, researchers said on Tuesday."
~ Early Life Growth Spurts Protect Against 'Bad' Cholesterol -- "Tall toddlers and rapidly growing teens are likely to find themselves with lower cholesterol, particularly the "bad" type, in later life, suggests research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.Conversely, piling on the pounds after the age of 15 boosted cholesterol levels, the study showed." I was 6' tall at 13 years of age, so this bodes well for me.
~ Walking helps shed post-baby pounds -- "New moms who take walks instead of watching TV may lose those post-pregnancy pounds more easily, according to researchers."
~ Eating Less Slows Muscle Cell Damage, Helps People Live Longer -- "People who eat less are more efficient at converting food into energy, which may help them live longer, a new study shows."
~ Transcendental Meditation Reduces Congestive Heart Failure, New Study Shows -- "A widely practiced, stress-reducing meditation technique significantly decreases the severity of congestive heart failure, according to a first-of-its-kind randomized study published in Ethnicity & Disease."
~ Fitness that functions like you do -- "Functional fitness is all about helping you perform better outside the gym."

~ Bingeing Is Most Common Eating Disorder -- "In the public eye, binge eating springs from a faulty sense of self-discipline rather than a diagnosable physical condition, but it is very much a clinical disorder, often occurring in tandem with major depression and anxiety."
~ Boost Your Body Image in the Bedroom -- "Self esteem expert Jess Weiner tells you how to get over issues so you can get the loving you deserve."
~ Happiness is more than chasing pleasure -- "Psychiatrist Dr. Donald Rosen speaks with about the connection between happiness and health."
~ Failure Analysis -- "Success education involves being aware of how your explanations affect your daily life, future plans, and interactions with others (attribution theory)."
~ Brain Works More Chaotically Than Previously Thought -- "The passing on of information from neuron to neuron does not, they show, occur exclusively at the synapses, i.e. the junctions between the nerve cell extensions. Rather, it seems that the neurons release their chemical messengers along the entire length of these extensions and, in this way, excite the neighbouring cells."
~ Research On The Color Red Shows Definite Impact On Achievement -- "The color red can affect how people function: Red means danger and commands us to stop in traffic. Researchers at the University of Rochester have now found that red also can keep us from performing our best on tests."
~ Polarity and Your Career -- "As a follow-up to the Polarity and Polarization articles, let’s explore some practical applications of polarity-based thinking with respect to your career choices."
~ The 4 Elements of Purpose -- "As I mentioned in the previous post, discovering your purpose in life can bless you with a life of passion, fulfillment and contribution. So how can you figure out what that purpose is?"

~ 60% Of U.S. Residents Say They Would Pay Higher Taxes To Fund Nationwide Universal Health Insurance System, New York Times CBS News Poll Finds.
~ The E Generation at 40 -- "BBC Radio 4 recently broadcast a documentary on the long-term effects of ecstasy (MDMA) now that the 'E Generation' are in their 40s."
~ Libby Convicted in Leak Case -- "The Vice President's former chief of staff is found guilty on four of five counts for his role in the Valerie Plame affair."
~ Clinton Pledges Alliance With Gays -- "Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton told the nation's leading gay rights group in an unpublicized speech that she wants a partnership with gays if elected president."
~ Giuliani Says Family Issues Private -- "Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani asked for privacy on Monday to deal with strained relationships within his family." As it should be.
~ The Administration Goes For Broke -- "It has become conservatives' equivalent of handshakes at a union hall. Professing aversion to government and venom toward taxes before the right-wing rank-and-file is a set piece of Republican presidential primaries."
~ Robert Naiman: Obama Voted to Protect Civilians from Cluster Bombs. Where Were Clinton, Biden, and Dodd? -- "If you have the good fortune to find yourself in one of those situations where you get to question one of the Democrats running for President - especially one of the sitting Senators - perhaps you'd like to ask some variant of the following: When you had a chance six months ago to protect civilians from being killed or maimed by cluster bombs, how did you vote? If you weren't in the Senate, how would you have voted? If you voted no, why did you vote no? Will you support such legislation now?"

~ Uninsured Children Admitted To Hospitals Are Twice As Likely To Die As Insured Children, According To Families USA Study -- "For the report, researchers led by J. Mick Tilford of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences analyzed government data from 2000 and 2003."
~ Microsoft researchers collaborate to change the world -- "Microsoft researchers from the software giant's labs around the world gathered on Tuesday to conspire on innovations intended to change the world."
~ Sound waves turn natural gas into liquid -- "Worldwide, 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas is wasted every year. Now, the Denver-based company Swift LNG aims to turn that gas into a usable liquid fuel with a thermoacoustic natural gas liquefaction technology just licensed from Los Alamos National Laboratory."
~ Honda Unveils 'Small Hybrid Sports Concept' -- "Honda Small Hybrid Sports Concept, a design study model, demonstrates a unique fusion of advanced environmental technology, exciting styling and fun-to-drive characteristics."
~ "Mafia Birds" Make Others Raise Their Young ... Or Else -- "Some cowbirds make other birds an offer they can't refuse, a new study says: Raise our chicks or we'll whack yours."
~ New Weapon Against Warming: "Flatulence Cards" Offset Dog, Human Emissions -- "While global warming is nothing to laugh at, an Australian company is providing some comic relief, selling carbon credits for flatulent pets and people." Hmmm. . . .
~ World's Longest Underground River Discovered in Mexico, Divers Say -- "Divers have finished mapping a twisting subterranean waterway that winds through 95 miles (153 kilometers) of the Yucat√°n Peninsula's limestone caverns."

~ Looking at knots from the emptiness and form sides -- "Knots are the whole complex of a belief in a story (as absolutely true), and the accompanying emotional and behavioral patterns. It brings identification into the content of awareness, and comes from and props up a sense of a separate self."
~ Gary doesn't like The Secret either.
~ Julian REALLY doesn't like The Secret, and he gets integral about it.
~ Metta from The Buddha Diaries.
~ Oi! Are You Looking at My Triangle? from Think Buddha.
~ Buddha Break 2007.03.06 -- some links from Sentient Developments.
~ Mahayana Buddhism and the Pre-Pomo Turn from Ghost in the Wire.