Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Big Beautiful Bugs

Wow. Just Wow.  I LOVE stories like this! And now, yes, I'm in love with this amazing insect. (I really could have been a happy entomologist.)

And yes, I'm ready to plan a trip to Lord Howe Island, if they get rid of the rats and re-introduce the bugs :D

I'll stop by New Zealand and pick up my long-coveted wheel while I'm down there.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Old theory - no one likes getting anything shoved on them (ideas, ideology, politics, religion, sexual orientation, learning, etc. etc.) (clearly there are some exceptions). anyway insomnia seems to be trapped energy wanting out somehow. brain cells swim around, knock into each other, wake the others up, like a bunch of kids in barracks. once enough get shoved onto the floor, i'm up. wth.

Lately, martial arts has been a group of cells kicking around in the cerebellum. Like East Side Story, snapping their fingers, looking for a fight.

Tai chi has been great the last few weeks - remembering an old love, and discovering a new "form". i still can't really tolerate yoga - for one it's too slow for me, monkey mind being what it is. Remember i didn't even see the value in sitting still until a few years ago. Meditation was like another planet.

Since tai chi is an "internal form" and there are "external" forms, (read: violent - at least in movement if not intent), I could use the balance of adding a form. I've always thought it would be fun, engaging, interesting to try, so going to start looking into where i can learn.

There is something that is pissing me off about getting into the workout routine again. First, I had to accept that I can't do normal gym workouts. My mind devours me. The sociologist, the academic, the "omg am i really going to walk in one f-cking spot for half an hour and lift these stationary sliding weights when i could be building a house!?" self just wins too often.

Second, I'm pissed that I can't just throw myself into it. I have to start in a rational fashion, building endurance, stretching, etc. The good news is I didn't throttle the ballet teacher who wasn't prepared to teach adults. (she was sweet, and cute, and young, so that saved her. Plus I don't know karate yet.)

But other workouts do work for me:  swimming is meditational, like tai chi, moving meditation. I can do that.  Good at it. Less likelihood of sudden injury :)

Walking practice is slowly taking root; not easy - it's cold and monkey mind is way too strong, but making progress. Dance : restarting this is freakin great and also hard to fit in, esp when i love West Coast Swing, and have not my Main Man to dance with regularly; but tried 2 different styles of class, have a third in mind.

Plans to hit biking this Spring. Starting to thaw out a bit and get a little psyched. May have found a biking partner.

Biking is sheer fun even here in IL with no hills (who woulda thought I'd ever miss them??) and no half-assed teachers. (ok there was another dance class with a mediocre teacher - I've done too much of this to tolerate lazy instruction).  Should be some good local rides when the earth gets tilted back to "warm". SO looking forward to that!

Karate or Kung Fu or Tae Kwon Do or Whatever the flavor is - looks like fun. Part of the energy that threw me out of bed was Pissed Off Mojo. So maybe good to give that gal something to do. Keep her away from the keyboard, you know?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Enjoyed reading this release from Dahlai Lama on religious harmony.

"I always say that every person on this earth has the freedom to practice or not practice religion. It is all right to do either. But once you accept religion, it is extremely important to be able to focus your mind on it and sincerely practice the teachings in your daily life. All of us can see that we tend to indulge in religious favouritism by saying, "I belong to this or that religion", rather than making effort to control our agitated minds. This misuse of religion, due to our disturbed minds, also sometimes creates problems. 
I know a physicist from Chile who told me that it is not appropriate for a scientist to be biased towards science because of his love and passion for it. I am a Buddhist practitioner and have a lot of faith and respect in the teachings of the Buddha. However, if I mix up my love for and attachment to Buddhism, then my mind shall be biased towards it. A biased mind, which never sees the complete picture, cannot grasp the reality. And any action that results from such a state of mind will not be in tune with reality. As such it causes a lot of problems. "

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Crossed Stars?

Watched the movie Bright Star the other night. Very well done. Made me look up a bit more on the history of Keats and Fanny.  Not surprised that she was blamed for his emotional state. Of course they imposed bleeding and starvation diets on tuberculosis patients too... ugh. Such a lovely romance and barbaric period of history. Don't let the quaint fool you. But the poetry is outstanding.

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Internet Protection

My sincere hope is that the internet can push forward a new age of public service and accountability and common sense (of the people, by the People and for the PEOPLE) in our government and democracy around the world. It's a tool we cannot afford to lose.

The danger, however, is not past.

Read this article about SOPA/PIPA and international agreements that loom.

Swings, Ebbs and Flows

Heard something on This American Life the other week about how, once someone is convinced that global warming is a theory, that it is very, very difficult to change their minds, even with widely accepted facts (Act Two. Climate Changes. People Don't). The show was fascinating and vaguely horrifying. 

The most interesting sociological moment was the exchange between a scientist, trained to teach kids about global warming, and a teenager who knew her own mind. Somehow the producers managed to convey the chasm that opened, seemingly before our eyes, between the two. The science did seem to become misty, ideological, while the teen stood firmly, arms metaphorically crossed, on ground we have hallowed as a nation: Question Authority.

So we are left with an impasse. Deep and threatening, no matter how far back we would like to stay from the edge.

What do you do when falsehoods, repeated over and over, seem to erode fact? How DO you reach people once they have decided your, or the entire scientific community's, or the government's, or the church's, or the parent's credibility is shot?

It doesn't escape my attention that growing up includes being able to see the world from more and more various points of perspective. Like a cool camera trick where the videographer spins in place, providing a 360 degree view, then suddenly the image shifts to circling something - the room, the "person" whose view started us. Surely it always makes us dizzy to do that shift, from "helio" or earth or personal-centric to spinning from the outside looking in.

I imagine this is why growing up is so damn difficult - not to mention that those frontal lobes (or whatever part of the brain it is) aren't fully developed yet. 

But just like women's brains are different from men's and our hormones deeply affect how we see things and how we think about them, so do children and kids have a great deal to offer in how we grapple with an essential (imnsho) question:

How do we "grow up" as a society without gutting all the staid, safe, reasonable institutions that we have carefully constructed over millenia? How do we not get caught up too much in the "old order" and outdated modes of thinking, while not cutting our collective nose off to spite our face(book)? lol.

There is still plenty of confusion promoted, I think, by persistent internet rumours and "urban legendesqe" (read: misleading) emails. There is also the far right's - oops, no, edit that. There is the radical's blatant interest in a misinformation 

Enter the Age of the Moderate. 

My new theory is that societies and humankind have to go thru these strange periods of vicious, vitriolic, vituperative battles of ideology - an epic clash of Beliefs.  It's Jews and Pagans, it's Greeks and Jews, it's Christians and everyone, it's Inquisitions and Renaissance, it's science and religion, it's industrial and agrarian, it's government and religion, it's communism and socialism and democracy, it's science and religion, it's conservatives and liberals, it's institutions and upstarts, it's radicals and moderates.

I know who I'll vote for :)

Anyway, this is a cool excerpt, on the topic of science and global warming:
We know that the rise in temperatures over the past five decades is abrupt and very large. We know it is consistent with models developed by other climate researchers that posit greenhouse gas emissions — the burning of fossil fuels by humans — as the cause. And now we know, thanks to Muller, that those other scientists have been both careful and honorable in their work.
Nobody’s fudging the numbers. Nobody’s manipulating data to win research grants, as Perry claims, or making an undue fuss over a “naturally occurring” warm-up, as Bachmann alleges. Contrary to what Cain says, the science is real.
from Review of the science by a skeptic who changed his mind 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Susan G Komen Foundation

letter re: SGK pulling funding from Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening, $1 mil

Dear Board of SGK - really? How incredibly short sighted. I thought better of your organization, tho I wonder if it isn't just a huge over-reaching smoke screen for thousands of advertisers - millions of dollars that *could* be spent on breast cancer research OR better yet! Breast Cancer *prevention*. But that is a letter for another day. Please reconsider a colossally bone-headed move. Don't cut out Planned Parenthood, one of the best places for all women to get healthcare, and especially low income women and families. I have used their services off and on over the last 31 years. They are always amazing. Moreover, please reconsider politicizing the SGK organization. To this day I refuse to purchase Dominoe's pizza, because 25 years ago they supported "right to life" groups. I've sadly stopped eating at Chik Fil A. And I will pull my donations and general support from SGK in a *flash* - mostly for the board's stupidity, but also because I love Planned Parenthood.
Really really really ticked off. And happy to take action against an organization that doesn't *really* have improving women's health care as their primary goal.