Wednesday, February 28, 2007

the sentencing

I don't want
anything to hold me
except for in joy

anything will scold me
but is fruitless
employ

resistance ain't futile
'gainst a senseless
new toy

ohhh
elucidation
it's a nominal ploy

forgetful impermanence
I'd much rather create
than destroy

so here's to play
and grieving though sound
here's to living
the freedom
to learn,
teach, confound
here's to nirvana
and heaven
and peace
here's to the sentence
by which I've been bound
life's not forever
so here's to right now

I let go
a long time ago
it's time to get comfortable with it

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sometimes I Don't Know-oh . .

Here is the crux of my self-concept.

Here is where I falter, regardless of the nature of my soul.

"Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak."
~ Thomas Carlyle


Consistency. Whatever anyone else sees, I struggle with an abundance of it in parts of my life I want dampened, muffled, salved or healed. I want consistencies elsewhere in my life. In mental movements which reach into the future and adjust my path as I go, instead of being drawn along by pathmaking entities which I fail to appreciate, much less want to understand.

I feel like I'm made of mush. Mind so often in the same sort of flux as the water in a wave ride, my body has formed an ugly sack of mostly water which is too disoriented from any singular purpose, that I bounce from familiar, comfortable wall to wall. My intentions dislodged with every new decision and the very passing of time.

Lyving with me is a maelstrom of nothing making matters momentous seem small, and personal anticipations, enormous.

Let sleep
drown me tonight
In solitary
confinement which
a self-imposed slight

Where no where can
distract my plans
and take from me the light
It's wonderful
to lose it all
when nothing makes it right

But I'm wonderin'
can I get it all inside
Is it happenin'
am I arisen from the night
And still I'm just not sure
there's too much in my sight

Enjoy...

Monday, February 26, 2007

. . I think I can. Of course I can't. I think I can. Of course I can't . .

Everyone's got their bug-a-boos. Well, here's perhaps my biggest one when it comes to my "performance" on the stage of Life.

Best Supporting? Maybe Not.
By Shankar Vedantam


--snip--

Paradoxically, people invariably felt they did better than they had when they had a supportive audience -- even though they did worse -- and felt they had done worse when the audience was hostile -- even though they had done better. The support of a friendly audience made people feel good about themselves, and that feeling tricked them into believing they had actually performed well.

[And the winner is . . . ]
Mine is a long boring story, and one which I've told in bits and pieces on these pages often enough.

Lemme just say that my goal is to be my own critical yet supportive judge.

I'll let ya know if that ever happens, eh. . .

{-;

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Yes Virginia, There Is a Reason . .

. . to apologize for our fore-bearers cultural norms. They were sometimes utterly despicable and immoral, some of them without any remotely redeeming characteristics. For such parts of our pasts, just setting them aside isn't nearly enough to repair the damage they caused.

And if we can't admit that our ancestors were often horribly wrong, well, it's no wonder so many folks still have such a difficult time admitting they were wrong only recently.

This is good to read if you're having trouble finding any o' that hope we've been discussing.
Virginia 'sorry' for slavery role

Virginia's General Assembly has adopted a resolution, expressing "profound regret" for the role the US state played in slavery.

The resolution was passed by a 96-0 vote in the House and also unanimously backed in the 40-member Senate.

Although non-binding, the resolution sent an important symbolic message, its sponsors said.

Lawmakers also expressed regret for "the exploitation of Native Americans" in Virginia.

Saturday's resolution was passed as the state was preparing to mark the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, where the first Africans arrived in 1619.

[Welcome to the 21st Century!]

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Congress Critters Apparently Excepted

If Bush says the sky is blue, people feel compelled to look up and check it out for themselves.

Ted Rall via Common Dreams


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More Gore-Obama '08

To be clear; what little I know about Barack Obama I do like. He's just politically immature, unseasoned. If dude were ribs, he'd still be needing a couple more hours on the BBQ before even bein' ready for the final saucing.

But from the pool of quotes from his book and the way he's responded to some of the inevitable stereotyping proffered from across the Demned-Thugs aisle, he appears politically adept, lucid concerning many of the problems facing our modern world o' homo, and he's got charisma akin to, if not quite on a par with that of Slick Willie.

All of which makes him a particularly excellent Vice Presidential candidate.

Gore's record and contributions speak for themselves, and HuffPo's Bob Cesca re-introduces a leading reason Gore is first thing, in the middle and at the end of the day, the most well qualified candidate for the job.

It's A Dirty Job But You Have To Run, Mr. Gore

----

Since the beginning of this tangential timeline in which Biff Tannen pilfered his way to becoming the phony redneck monarch of Hill Valley, a plate was set for the next president in which no single issue would ever really take priority -- however meaningful. Even Biff himself is powerless do anything about his other pet issues, like destroying Social Security and guarding his precious Sports Almanac, all due to the truckload of shit he willingly fishtailed into. In 2008, Al Gore has another chance to correct our national course and make the future right.

The catch, though, is that President Al Gore would have to dig out before anything positive could be done on the climate crisis. Conversely, as Private Citizen Al Gore, he can move forward unhindered on this issue while, say, President Hillary Clinton or President Obama or President Brownback (try not to scream) did all of the heavy shoveling that is guaranteed in the presidential job description of 2009.

All of that said, we need a president who will make the climate crisis his or her number one priority.

--snip--

Sure it's a dirty job, but for Gore to withhold his voice from the race would be to forgo what appears to be his era of convergence. His time. And for us, without Gore leading the free world, we face the potential for a continued path of ignorance -- a dark ride through an alternate reality in which global warming and the survival of humanity as we know it is allowed to slip beyond the zero barrier.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

"We Tried"

Oy Caramba!!

As if the C.I.A. "rendering" human beings isn't vile, reprehensible, repugnant and sadistic enough, Rupert Murdoch has "boldly" bragged about his News Corp's complete lack journalistic integrity during the WEF in Davos over two weeks ago. Yet this is the first I've heard of it.

I'll take a bit o' the blame for that. I do tend to ignore some of the more popular bloglines, checking them out as a result of some interesting bit which one of my usual faves have posted.

Ok. Here's what I'm talking about.
From News Corpse:

(T)here was a more shocking exchange that took place that ought to have caused more of a stir amongst professional journalists and all freedom loving people. It was an exchange that revealed something that most conscious beings knew, but which I have never seen explicitly articulated.

Murdoch was asked if News Corp. had managed to shape the agenda on the war in Iraq. His answer?

“No, I don’t think so. We tried.” Asked by Rose for further comment, he said: “We basically supported the Bush policy in the Middle East…but we have been very critical of his execution.”

Let me repeat this: “We Tried!
How has this NOT been front-page news ever since? This man, who monopolizes a tremendous swathe of what used to be The News, just said he has no interest in providing reality unless he can spin it for the reaction he wants!

Sincerest thanks to Ethel, one of 2 wonderful Women on the Verge.

Now to go see how I managed to miss C&L's or HuffPo's takes on this insanity. . .

This Is Our Country Too

It's sickening to see what we're getting away with in the name of our "war against terror." Who is going to protect the rest of the world from us?

I was never a fan of the Dixie Chicks' genre so, while I was impressed by the vocalist's remonstrance of teh Decider, I never really followed the story beyond to know the obvious; that a hekkuvalot of ignoramic sheople gave the band a ridiculously predictable hard time about the whole thing.

Well I just saw this video for the first time about 15 minutes ago on Steve Gilliard's "The News Blog". . .

Wow. . . She speaks for herself as well as I could ever hope to manage.

You might also find, as I did, that their song is a perfect accompaniment to the piece by the Editorial Board of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Happy Sunday and Keep Your Hopes for Peace Alive.

namaste y'all.



Sunday, February 18, 2007

War On Terrorism: Protect them from us

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD

It sounds like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel -- one minute, you're walking down the street, the next, you're bound and blindfolded in a van, taken on board a private jet by a "Removal Unit" and flown to another country where you're held prisoner and tortured.

This isn't the work of a nefarious Eastern Bloc government, nor is it the plot line of a futuristic novel. It's the handiwork of our very own Central Intelligence Agency. It's called the "extraordinary rendition" program, and some reports indicate that Jeppesen Inc. (motto: Make Every Mission Possible), a subsidiary of our very own Boeing, made those flights possible.

Although the story broke nearly two years ago in The New York Times, you don't hear much water-cooler talk about it in these parts. Perhaps the details of the story seemed too creepy or outlandish to be considered (flying saucers, anyone?). Overseas, our rendition program has become an issue. European countries, many of which have cooperated with the CIA, have been vocal about it. On Wednesday, the European Parliament adopted a report accusing 15 countries, including Britain, Germany, Portugal and Turkey, of either helping or turning a blind eye to the CIA's practice of moving alleged terrorism suspects.

For example, Switzerland allowed the CIA to use its airspace while transporting an Egyptian Muslim cleric abducted in Italy (where 26 CIA Americans and six Italians are set to be tried for the kidnapping). Poland and Romania also were mentioned as countries where secret prisons held the suspects. Human rights violations, anyone? No, not here. What we like to do is to ship our potential torture victims overseas. That way, our hands remain clean. In place prior to Sept. 11, the program's scope expanded substantially after the 2001 attacks. There's no exact count of how many people have been taken in this manner, although Amnesty International's estimates run into the 100's, with 25 specific cases being known.

It's sickening to see what we're getting away with in the name of our "war against terror." Who is going to protect the rest of the world from us?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Oh Man! I hate when that happens!



A hundred bucks on it at 45,000 to 1 retires me in an Orbital assisted living community, don't ya know.

First Class. Window condo.

Comprehensive Health Care included.
Asteroid threat demands response, experts warn

---

Kamchatkans and Venezuelans beware. A 20-million-tonne asteroid could be heading your way. Californians have even more reason to worry - the asteroid is more likely to hit the Pacific Ocean, triggering a tsunami that could devastate the west coast of North America.

These are among the scenarios projected for asteroid Apophis, which researchers now say has a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting Earth on 13 April 2036. Calculations show it would strike somewhere along a narrow track that stretches eastward from Siberia to the west coast of Africa.

Compared to earlier estimates, the new figure represents a further reduction in the threat posed by Apophis (see Risk of asteroid smashing into Earth reduced). But the threat is real enough, experts argue, to merit a United Nations protocol for dealing with the problem.

[Funny like a crutch.]

I, umm, can't wait.

As long as they actually plan for it. It's a great drill for higher odds of Impact in the future.

Memorables

Back in my early twenties, when I was doing 12 Step Triage, I was in a group with a guy who claimed to remember being sexually abused throughout his adoptive pre-toddler infancy. Regardless of the nature of his memories, this was the first person I'd ever heard claim they had any memories at all from such an age.

Due to the nature and rules of the particular style of group, I not only managed to swallow my normally automatic call of "bullshit" regarding such claims, but I even allowed myself to consider, for a time, that he might actually be remembering such events, and not, as I've learned is far more likely and does so commonly occur, formulating painfully detailed fantasies to explain the misfortunes through which I have no doubt he actually did exist and suffer so early in his life.

I've always been curious and open to talking with anyone about anything, but I never did take anytime to ask him about those memories, even though we did hang out a little and talk 'bout other group-related and personal stuff. I just didn't want to end up calling this guy a Liar, even if in not so many words, when I sure as hekk didn't have any better knowledge 'bout his story nor about how to prove or what to do with such recollections.

I can't really tell if this synopsical recommends or refutes my old bud's beliefs about his infancy. Hell, it's been so long since I've talked with him, I've no way of knowing whether he still thinks that way or not!

Either way, the report that babies can remember, but simply forget a lot more of their experiences at that stage in their development, neither surprises nor perplexes me in the least.

Infants form memories, but forget them

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer

-----

Researchers have long speculated that babies' brains were simply unable to form memories, but Bauer said new research indicates that is incorrect.

While rates of memory development vary among infants, all babies are extremely intelligent, added Lisa M. Oakes of the University of California, Davis. "The task they have before them is overwhelming."

Infants are very good at extracting information from their environment, said Oakes.

The ability to form memories depends on a network of structures in the brain and these develop at different times, Bauer said. As the networks come together between 6 months and 18 months of life, researchers see increased efficiency in the ability to form short- and long-term memory, she said.

From age six months to two years, memory increases from about 24 hours to a year, she said.

But, noting that children, like adults, forget, she compared the brains of infants and adults to colanders used to drain food. The adult colander has small holes, for draining something like orzo or rice, while the infant colander has larger holes, such as for draining large penne pasta, but allowing more information to flow out.

Adults' earliest memory of childhood tends to be of emotional events, either positive or negative, she added.

"Our lives completely depend on being able to remember the past," Bauer said, and that matures during the first two years of life.

Bauer said infants were tested by using objects such as cups and blocks. In one test a baby would be shown two cups, a block would be put into one, the other cup would be put over the top and the group would be shaken to form a rattle.

This is something children don't do instinctively, she explained, but once they see it they can copy it, and researchers can see how long they remember when given the same objects.

Oakes said she studied infants by watching how long they would look at something. Babies will look longer at something new than something they are familiar with, she said, which allows researchers to calculate how long the baby remembers something.

[Take a little longer look. . .]

And now to make some new memories by sharing some old memes.

Stardust has tagged me with a Five Favorite Quotes Meme.

Ahhh. . . There really are just so many worthy quotes which remind me of things important to me, things which, did I practice them more intensively (if not quite more religiously, eh,) I think would help me shut off the doubts and second-guessing with which I am constantly confounded.

"Argue your limitations and, sure enough, they are yours."
Richard Bach in Illusions


This has always been one of the tougher concepts for me. My limitations are what they are, regardless of whether or not I "argue" for them. The trick here, which I so often forget in frustration, is to accept where I'm at, even while practicing whatever it is I need to do to get over it.

Everyone is entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

This quote appears in various forms throughout the worldwide network of tubes, but this variation is how I heard it once relayed by a former U.S. representative whose name I don't recall, but who is leading the fight to overturn my state of Ohio's archaic, irresponsible and constitutionally insufficient system of Educational funding. According to that gentleman's talk on the local NPR station, Moynihan delivered the line to an assembly of newly elected Congress critters.

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!
Pink Floyd - The Wall

Hhm... I don't know. Double entendres not with-standing, I think it's a good rule of thumb, but not the kind o' thing one ought to let control their life, don't ya know. {-;

This is perhaps my favorite quote of all. It's not just the phenomenally dubious existence of a God which requires me to

"Shake off all the fears and servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." --Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1787. ME 6:258 Papers 12:15

The message there is HUGE for me because, although I'm quite consistently good at detaching from my emotional state when academically discussing impersonal politics, business or scientific discoveries, with way too much frequency have the reasons for my personal decision making been so emotionally charged that Reason itself could simply not be brought to bear. It's been tough for me to learn how to back off from people or situations which produce either enormous hope or tremendous fear depending upon how they relate to my personal desires.

That is the reason I post those Daily Zen quotes so often. The topics I cover on Silly Humans are certainly wide-ranging and often of relevance to any animal walking on two legs and calling itself Human. Sometimes though, and regardless of whether or not anyone else "gets it", I'm only posting exactly what it is that I think I need to get me through another day in Paradise.

♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫

I remember frequently playing this song (sans video) on a loop for hours at a time, but as Groucho said,
"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
So you go ahead. Giver her a listen. I've heard enough of it for now.

Here's to letting go of the obsession, so that the disappointments may fade away naturally, leaving room for happiness today.

namaste

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gore-Obama '08

Shakespeare's Sister banner

Pandagon banner

Better Belated


Here's a better, though belated, valentine's pic.

The story isn't very in-depth yet. From the sound of it, they might not make it anymore so, either.

Strange.

February 13, 2007In what's been called a Valentine's Day gift to Italy, archaeologists today excavated two interlocked Stone Age skeletons—leaving their "eternal embrace" intact and making it easier to analyze the double burial.

Discovered last week during construction not far from Verona, the setting of Romeo and Juliet, the roughly 5,000-year-old couple has already become an icon of enduring love to many.

Like Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, the prehistoric twosome appear to be young, as evidenced by the condition of their teeth. But that's about all that is known about them so far. They could just as easily be two brothers.

How sweet.

{-;

Firefox Rulz!!!1!1`


Ya hear that, BG?

Every other Browser can only dream of being the Best.

:-p

{-;

Happy Thursday Kiddos...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

" When Everything's Made to be Broken . ."



Found this wicked cool version of Iris by following an interesting looking link on my Site Meter (apparently someone got to me via the NextBlog button.) Just look at all that rain and see how much fun these cats and the crowd are so obviously having!

That's how I used to dream that I'd make a living when I was oh-so-much younger.

Happy 4th of July!

{-;

Finding Balance

It's that "inner radiance" that's so hard to find without the rest, but inevitable whenever I've got thoughts and actions in sync.

I'm keeping working on it, eh.

Namaste

The Heart of the Anti-Matter


Well, it's not like throwing money at my life's loves has ever done me a whole lotta good.

And y'all seem to appreciate at least some of the silly grotesqueries I like presenting here, so a Happy VD to all yous blogosophers, blogophiliacs and blogodytes. May no penicillin be required as a result of your romances!

Thanks for gettin' my morning goin' great, you-know-who-you-are. '-}

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Erie is 95% froze over (it just gets worse)

This is an edited version of an email which a very cool co-worker sent around.

I'm fairly certain that the last pic is today.

Jan 25, 2007

Jan 26, 2007

Jan 29, 2007

Feb 06, 2007

Feb 13, 2007

Happy Boating!

QotD

In "honor" of the MSM's coverage, last week and throughout the Bush 43 presidency.

Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization.
--George Bernard Shaw


Or maybe it should be the headline of the Common Dreams opinion piece on which it leads.

Stop It Now


I support the House resolution opposing the surge in troops in Iraq as a preamble to that legislative body's announcement of Impeachment proceedings to commence within the next 35 days.

The crimes for which President Bush should be charged are sundry known and discussed daily and openly outside of the mainstream media. The whole of our nation deserves the opportunity to assert our Constitutional rights against our antagonist, Especially one who was elected by our tallied votes.

Bring the issues of American guilt, embarrassment and fear into the Light of rational discussion on Capital Hill. Impeach our President so that he might express himself more honest and truth-fully. Do not be afraid of what the results of your investigations might mean.

The majority the President's Reasons for the invasion of Iraq have been well documented as False and Misleading, and his War Strategies have been inept because them. To continue this course... That would have the same effect as Treason.
Sincerely.

L8

Monday, February 12, 2007

Uuhhhg! It Makes Me Feel Sick

but it is the House of Representatives. There a lot of various opinions on what constitutes criminality for a U.S. President.

Congress critters. . . Freakin' aristocratic leftovers of political melting pots gone past. Descendants of both Bush's British Snobbery and Clinton's Southern down home Hospitality. Only Shrub's gone and pulled out a big chunk o' something from this pot, and that's all that represents his America

$Chi+Ching!$

But is Society getting the right reimbursement? Dream on Americans. Dream on until he's done turning up the heat on the rest of the pot. Burning off everything that his Historically typical* kind of mind doesn't consider a part of his America.

House Democrats Propose Iraq Resolution
By BRIAN KNOWLTON
Published: February 12, 2007

---

Crafted carefully to draw the broadest support possible, it states that Congress "disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush” to send more than 21,500 additional combat troops to Iraq.

But it also states that “Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States armed forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq."

The resolution avoids divisive issues — such as a call for interim troop redeployments, or a threat to cut off financing for the war — that helped scuttle efforts by Senate Democrats last week to bring forward a more muscularly worded resolution.

But House Democratic leaders see it as a symbolic first step toward ending a war that has grown steadily more unpopular.

With each of the 435 House members to be given up to five minutes to speak when debate begins on Tuesday, the back-and-forth is expected to continue, morning-to-midnight, through late Thursday.

Patience... patience grasshopper. They're very afraid, as they seem to be all too often, and need to move slowly back towards reason. {big*sigh}

Faith like Shrub's destroys pride in conscience within conscious minds as certainly and effectively as many a hard core street user's addictions. Eats it away until the behavior, the drug, the faith has to be there in order for Life to make sense. It's a religious devotion to an idea, separated from available reality, that consoles as it confuses a stricken homo brain.

For ever and ever.

RAmen.

Well, at least until he decides to bend. Which is why the "house of lords" should have voted to censure. Those critters are at least his equals - but never his betters. Queen Mother says so - which means he'd 'ave thrown a fit, but his actions would at least change a little.

Probably not nearly enough though.


* Note that I didn't suggest Adolph. Circumstantially, BushCo's crimes are still not nearly as heinous as the outright butchery and sadism we are supposed to have learned from and left behind us.

Hey! Pay Attention to Your Mother . .

. . otherwise you might never evolve.



{-;

The Great Emancipators - February 12

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Today we commemorate the births, lives and contributions of two of our recent History's greatest men.

Charles Darwin, who helped free humanity from the walls of ignorance and superstition with which we'd lived throughout our evolution on this planet,

and Abraham Lincoln, whose wit and wisdom showed spectacularly just how much a dedication to knowledge and justice could do towards effecting Liberty and Justice for all human beings.

"doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood pursue"
Darwin

"Tell Tad the goats and father are very well -- especially the goats."
Lincoln
In honor of these two human beings of humble beginnings and diligence in their struggles to live and thrive in the world of homo, emancipate yourself today. Let your passions push the edge of whatever envelope is defining the limits of your freedom.

Be grateful that we live in a future which would have been culturally impossible to imagine had it not been for the passion and dedication of these two fantastically wonderful silly humans.

Be free and be glad.

Namaste

Sunday, February 11, 2007

"--a word game that provides no insight."

The Mystery of Consciousness
Friday, Jan. 19, 2007
By Steven Pinker
-----

WAVES OF BRAIN (5 of 7)

CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE BRAIN CAN BE TRACKED NOT JUST IN SPACE but also in time. Neuroscientists have long known that consciousness depends on certain frequencies of oscillation in the electroencephalograph (EEG). These brain waves consist of loops of activation between the cortex (the wrinkled surface of the brain) and the thalamus (the cluster of hubs at the center that serve as input-output relay stations). Large, slow, regular waves signal a coma, anesthesia or a dreamless sleep; smaller, faster, spikier ones correspond to being awake and alert. These waves are not like the useless hum from a noisy appliance but may allow consciousness to do its job in the brain. They may bind the activity in far-flung regions (one for color, another for shape, a third for motion) into a coherent conscious experience, a bit like radio transmitters and receivers tuned to the same frequency. Sure enough, when two patterns compete for awareness in a binocular-rivalry display, the neurons representing the eye that is "winning" the competition oscillate in synchrony, while the ones representing the eye that is suppressed fall out of synch.

So neuroscientists are well on the way to identifying the neural correlates of consciousness, a part of the Easy Problem. But what about explaining how these events actually cause consciousness in the sense of inner experience--the Hard Problem?

TACKLING THE HARD PROBLEM

TO APPRECIATE THE HARDNESS OF THE HARD PROBLEM, CONSIDER how you could ever know whether you see colors the same way that I do. Sure, you and I both call grass green, but perhaps you see grass as having the color that I would describe, if I were in your shoes, as purple. Or ponder whether there could be a true zombie--a being who acts just like you or me but in whom there is no self actually feeling anything. This was the crux of a Star Trek plot in which officials wanted to reverse-engineer Lieut. Commander Data, and a furious debate erupted as to whether this was merely dismantling a machine or snuffing out a sentient life.

--Snip--

(6 of 7)
No one knows what to do with the Hard Problem. Some people may see it as an opening to sneak the soul back in, but this just relabels the mystery of "consciousness" as the mystery of "the soul"--a word game that provides no insight.

Many philosophers, like Daniel Dennett, deny that the Hard Problem exists at all. Speculating about zombies and inverted colors is a waste of time, they say, because nothing could ever settle the issue one way or another. Anything you could do to understand consciousness--like finding out what wavelengths make people see green or how similar they say it is to blue, or what emotions they associate with it--boils down to information processing in the brain and thus gets sucked back into the Easy Problem, leaving nothing else to explain. Most people react to this argument with incredulity because it seems to deny the ultimate undeniable fact: our own experience.
Whilst I know that "mind over matter" or relaxed concentration are Directives I can consciously give my mind, whether or not they're followed out depends on my brain's habitual responses (ie, what wave I am on.) Dennett was the first scientist I'd heard posit that there is a silliness inherent in our framing of the Hard Problem, and I immediately fell in love with his work.

The Hard Problems are just hard because we don't think in the ways they work. They become Easy after lots of experimenting and the inevitable Good Luck accompanying ever larger accumulations of Data. When the risks of "guessing" are diminished by knowledge and experience, our intuitions have more leads to help us get at solid evidence.

Before the advent of MRI technologies, all we had were rough guesses about electrical patterns and now we have corresponding pictures of brain activities building a database to show what folks, and less communicative critters, are actually thinking when we measure their thoughts.

Just knowing that my thoughts exist in physiological places makes me much more hopeful about my "chances" of changing some long-term habits of thinking.

Even though it's still two steps forward and one step back for me, progress is wonderful!

And of course it doesn't mean I'm gonna leave all my sillinesses behind . . .

C'mon Cavs!!!

{-;

A tip o' my hat to Kenneth and, as is so often the case, Carol for the link.

Friday, February 09, 2007

N' N' N' N' N' No body's fault but mine . . .

He should be a younger guy though, to be fair. This guy, assuming he lives another 35 years, will mostly just have to deal with refugees.

Well, unless he retires in south Florida.

On the plus side, rising sea-levels should reinvigorate the Everglades.

Got A Map?



Thursday, February 08, 2007

We Have Shrinkage!

And, believe it or don't, that's a Good Thing.

You Are 50% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!


OK. I'm not as weird now as I was in July. So that's progress, but is it a plateau? Do I want it to be?

I do try to be Progressive.

namaste y'all.

;-}

Now That's a Presidential Pucker


I really don't know what's going to come of that Unity '08 outfit about which I've written, but I'd sure as all that's good love to see Gore be their nominee.

That's no matter whom the Democrats nominate. . .
Gore: Nations must take lead in warming
By DANIEL WOOLLS,
Associated Press Writer Wed Feb 7, 11:49 PM ET

MADRID, Spain - Emerging economies such as China are justified in holding back on fighting greenhouse gas emissions until richer polluters like the United States do more to solve the problem, former Vice President Al Gore said Wednesday.

-snip-

Chinese officials said they would act after industrial countries such as the United States and others make changes themselves, Gore said, addressing a conference in Madrid on global warming.

"They're right in saying that. But we have to act quickly," said Gore, who was nominated last week for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in drawing attention to global warming.

"China's reaction to the scientific report last week was disappointing, but it was instructive," Gore said.

The United States is the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gas and has refused to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing such emissions. President Bush contended that it would slow the U.S. economy intolerably and that it should have required reductions by poorer but fast-growing nations, such as China and India.

[On American Planetary (ir)Responsibility]
Just imagine how relevant would be the Debates if they include Edwards, Gore and McCain all talking relevantly about things that matter to Life, Limb and Liberty of the world's populations, and not just the using buzz words and catch phrases to ensnare the ignorant and pre-occupied masses.

Imagine having a President who believes the American Dream might still be evolving and - better yet! - still should be available to any who wish to live it.

Imagine a Chinese Market for American manufactured products!!!

That isn't gonna happen unless China's working class folk can afford to buy them. American poor do need Health Care more than anything else, but they're spending more on Entertainment products than anything else because that is what has replaced the Dream of personal success in this country.

Electing a President who has his priorities straight would go a long way towards alleviating the stresses endured and perpetuated by folks who are just trying to get by whilst keeping up with Joneses.

No matter which country those folks call home.

Competition works best when only One Side can win. That's the realm of Sport. In Politics Cooperation has to be the guiding principle. Winner-takes-all is simply too damned deadly and contagious.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Larry Hughes. Point Guard?

First, let's get this out there. As Floridacracker said earlier at the Morning Martini,
"From Hillary on down they knew exactly what the authorization was about and they voted for it because they care more about polls and staying in power than standing on principal.

It's ludicrous to say, "If I knew then what I know now."
Apparently though, as we've seen so often, ludicrous pays some nice bills, eh.

Speaking of which . . .
Now I see it. America failed in its attempted conversion to the metric system because It failed to teach Teh Coach.

Duuuhhhh...

OK. So Larry Hughes has got to develop a 20' jumper from anywhere on the court at any angle or approach to the basket. From 20 feet. Anywhere round the hole. Knock down 47% of those and - damn man! - You can get Gold and the Title.

Then Mike Brown's couching skills would be just enough for the Cavs to smoke the West after shreddin' in the Eastern finals. Because then they'd have their point guard, and it wouldn't be freakin' Lebron James.

Oh, and hitting 80% from the line wouldn't hurt either, Hughes. Ya know? You salary has been one huge utilization of capital resources with no equivalent returns. Don't sweat the inside rebound. Get position outside and unguarded for the 3 off the board. Make 34% of those and there's some million$ earned on more than just payday$. Very nice path to a long and lucrative career.

You just can't stay skinny and drive the lane; not without gettin' busted up for 3-5 months at a time. So point guard make it, eh Larry? Eh Coach Brown? Eh Danny? Ain't it the truth.

Hughes gets 5 or 8 assists a night, and Lebron'll be knocking down 35, 40 a night without gettin' winded on most nights and still giving 5 to 6 dishes. Then there'll be no more OIC, baby. No more OIC.

Very, very, very nice.

I'd sure like to see that happen, but I wonder who they'll trade him for?

Maybe,

possibly,

hopefully,

-

-

-

a point guard?

C'mon CAVS!!!

In Peace Love and Understanding

You blogged. You voted. You were elated to see the Democrats sweep through the elections of '06 and Hope sprang anew in your breast.

Then the First 100 Hours came and went and - what the effin' heck?! - despite some significant domestic priorities changing course, you see that we're still no closer to resolving America's continuing role in the escalation of violence and despair in the U.S. occupied, Civil War enshrouded, once-sovereign nation of Iraq.

What gives?

You've written your Congress Critters, now here's your chance to talk to rest of the Boyz on the Hill.

Tell 'em what you're thinking in your own words. You know I did.
Whatever else the President's schemes in Iraq have represented, they have never been the wisest, most recommended approach to resolving America's problem with Terrorism.

Please leave your political partisanship aside in order to do the rational And moral thing and support our troops, our nation and our world by debating our country's misbegotten - and illegal by the terms of our agreement with the U.N. - war on its merits alone.

Since you know it has very few to contrast with its demerits, you will be helping to strengthen our nation and protect your constituents' rights and lives.

In Peace Love and Understanding




Here's a version by someone who's requested that embedding not be shared. I don't know who he is but really love this low-key and laid-back rendition. Maybe he's someone I should recognize, or maybe he's just being a great example of what I'm talking about: we can all make a difference.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

On Notice!

That should be "Bazaar", as in "to the highest bidder Health Care", but it took 4 tries to get that picture saying who and what it is that I want to put On Notice.

Thanks and Forgive me, Blue Girl. I never did fill out that form the first time. As a recovering Catholic, I'm afraid that this means extended time for me in purgatory. If I make it through that (reincarnated as a priest no doubt) I might just be a better Islamo-Luvin' Hippie Anti-American Librul Feminazifascistfagatheist Demonspawn*.

Koz help me.

Besides, I suffer enough with the Cavs being mediocre enough to bring down one of teh top three ballers in the Association. Maybe I should move to a Bigger Town. Then I'd not have to suffer from Teh Curse!

OIC baby. OIC. Surely I suffer enough?

Not that I'm superstitious or anything, but here's my penance.
(I had to speak in code if I'm to stay unrendered, or avoid becoming disappeared.
[my part in this whole mess, which is really fairly small but seems like the whole universe from my perspective.])


RAmen

{-;

--
-
* Check out the writing over "my" shoulder. "Merry Xmas kids!"

Play Ball!

There's no particular reason for me to be posting this one. The title caught my eye, then the electron micrograph sparked my imagination. Thus do I share it here.

Enjoy

Missing Link Found in Ancient Embryos
By Ker Than
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 23 January 2007
12:10 am ET

The discovery of spherical fossils that resemble tiny baseballs could reveal how the earliest known egg-laying organism developed from embryo to adulthood.

In 1998, researchers discovered thousands of 600-million-year-old fossilized embryos in the Doushantuo Formation, a fossil deposit in South China. Two years later, the same team unearthed fossils of a tubular coral-like animal, called Megasphaera ornata, which appeared to be grown-up versions of the embryos discovered earlier.

The case for a relationship between the two fossil types now has been strengthened by the recent discovery of about 80 intermediate-stage fossils that have traits in common with both groups.

The finding, to be detailed in the February issue of the journal Geology, could provide the missing link between egg and adult versions of one of Earth’s earliest animals.

[Enough warming up. You're up!]

Monday, February 05, 2007

It's Religion -v- Reality

Is all I'm saying. I'll often joke that cheering on my town's professional sports teams is my Religion. That's simply because it's the exactly same type of belief system and I totally let m'self become quite emotionally tied-up in the outcomes of their games. The difference being, I have no problem acknowledging how silly my beliefs in this regard really and empirically are.

Since the religious beliefs with which I was raised showed just as much efficacy in providing a good life pour moi and, in fact, did a whole lot more towards stripping away my natural ability to earn and feel confidence and self-respect, I was lucky enough to be able to let those go.

Intellectually anyhow . . .

The Sports beliefs? Meh. . . I shed 'em when I'm sick of my teams' abundance of poor performances, then I welcome them back when it looks like there's an empirically decent chance that those teams have done their prep-work and are actually gonna make a run for being, on the Scoreboard, what they are in my heart and mind: the Best.

A Game of Magical Thinking Leaves Reality on the Sidelines
By Shankar Vedantam
Monday, February 5, 2007; Page A02

-snip-

A sports event such as the Super Bowl is a perfect venue to examine a phenomenon that influences many aspects of life: Large numbers of people regularly display signs of magical thinking -- they believe they have influenced distant events or can sense connections between things that have no known physical connection.

Have you ever told yourself that something you want very much would happen if the next three traffic lights turned green as you drove down the road? Have you ever forgone a warranty on an expensive new electronic gizmo and then worried about whether your decision would cause the gizmo to fail? Have you ever worn a lucky shirt to a big game?

Many people, of course, explicitly believe in the paranormal, but that is not what we are talking about. What interests psychologists such as Pronin is that people hold fast to beliefs in magical powers even as they explicitly say the beliefs do not make sense.

"It points to the question of how we can be of two minds," said Jane Risen, a social psychology graduate student at Cornell University who has conducted experiments on magical thinking. "You believe something is true even as you know it is false. When you invoke a rational mind-set, you know one thing, but we still have these intuitions that lead us to something very different."

When it comes to sports, magical thinking is merely funny. We implore the TV set to do our bidding and mightily exert our will to get an opposing team to make a mistake. But such thinking is less funny elsewhere in life: Magical thinking gets people to waste money on unnecessary insurance -- buying expensive warranties on products that are unlikely to fail because they believe not buying insurance will make it more likely that the product will fail. And once people buy insurance, magical thinking prompts them to handle it carelessly because they believe they are unlikely to face a problem.

[To read the rest, repeat 3 times: "Open Sesame!" (or just click here, eh...)]

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Come on people, now! Gotta Get Together on This One

It is our planet, after all. Everyone's and more.

Now, I don't think it's speciest to make decisions for the nematodes, chilopoda, herd beasts and our brethren thinking animals such as chimps, dogs, birds, horses, whales, dolphins, not to mention the plants whose raison d'etre is --- non-existent? Seems that way anyhow.

Let's just make sure they're the right decisions, for All the right reasons.

From the CSM.
But beyond detailing current and projected effects of warming – including sea-level rise, vanishing alpine glaciers, and increases in severe-weather events – the report hints at the need for a conscious control over the environment and a unity of purpose that humans have yet to achieve on such an enormous scale.
Emphasis mine, because, well, it's long been obvious if in only the abstract to most folks. It's a choice we now know we have between Social Survival of the Fittest or Simply Survival of the Species.

Flip a coin, eh. Whadda you care once you're "in Heaven", right?

It doesn't necessarily mean we can outlive this catastrophe of our own consequence, but it certainly offers the only hope we have of doing so.

In case you're not paying attention, Congress. Your unaddressed business begs your prompt and Constitutionally recommended attention.

And in Washington, the report is likely to add considerable momentum to various bills in Congress aimed at reducing US CO2 emissions using a mandatory cap-and-trade approach – something that has been anathema to the Bush White House. Although the issue earned a brief mention in his State of the Union address as a serious problem, the president made no mention of the IPCC report or of global warming in general in a radio address Saturday.

[Warming? What warming? Laura, turn up the heat, will ya?]

Despite the Decider's decision to not mention the only issue more important to America than his personally realized catastrophe in Iraq, there are things we can do now, as an entire nation, via sound policy. Starting last decade was the advisable choice of times to git it, but it's not too late to salvage 3 centuries from now so our descendants don't have to live on Waterworld.
Setting emissions targets isn't enough, he says. With a firm target that means something from the atmosphere's perspective, policymakers are in a better position to determine the technological path countries will need to follow, as well as put a firm economic value on carbon dioxide so the costs and benefits of mitigation – and of delay – can be more accurately assessed.

In other words, there's a hell of a lot money to be made by everyone in the long run, just as long as we provide for there being a long run.

Hey Now


Yo y'all. Sorry I've been quiets lately. Battlin' the blues and attemptin' some risky social networkin'. Least ways, whatever I try in that regard feels risky. Is hard to tell cuz I'm such a silly human and be feeling so much about it.

No worries. I'm really just trying to be normal, as it were. 'Snever been "smooth sailing" for me, eh.

I'll be 'round and commenting on yous' blogs and posting more again in a few I'm sure.

Just sayin'...

L8

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I just found this at Blueberry's Texas Oasis and really think its important to pass it on.

Stop the Escalation. Let your Congress Critters know you mean it.

Whence Cometh Wikipedia?


Did you ever wonder where Wikipedia came from? How it *bang!* appeared on the internets as a trusted source for knowledge varied and, relative to much of what you'll find in your average web-search, comprehensive and relevant, not to mention linked to the gills?

Well New Scientist just posted an interview with the founder of the online encyclopedia, Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales. The following is a snippet about his background and you can click this post's title, "Profile" or the blue insert (from the NS site) for the brief but very interesting interview.
Profile

After attending a tiny school run by his mother and grandmother in Huntsville, Alabama, Jimmy Wales took a degree in finance at Auburn University and completed part of a PhD in finance at the University of Alabama. From 1994 to 2000, he was a research director with a futures and options trader in Chicago. He soon noticed that computer programming was making megabucks for outfits like Netscape, and after making some money of his own he jacked his job in to work on internet ventures.

“Raise more hell.” Molly Ivins: 1944 - 2007

Two years younger than both my parents and now she's gone.

But WOW! Completely Unforgettable.

From the Texas Observer

Syndicated political columnist Molly Ivins died of breast cancer Wednesday evening at her home in Austin. She was 62 years old, and had much, much more to give this world.

She remained cheerful despite Texas politics. She emphasized the more hilarious aspects of both state and national government, and consequently never had to write fiction. She said, “Good thing we’ve still got politics—finest form of free entertainment ever invented.”

----

Molly, being practical, used many of her most prestigious awards as trivets while serving exquisite French dishes at her dinner parties. Her awards include the William Allen White Award from the University of Kansas, the Eugene V. Debs award in the field of journalism, many awards for advocacy of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the David Nyhan Prize from the Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy School at Harvard.

Although short, Molly’s life was writ large. She was as eloquent a speaker and teacher as she was a writer, and her quips will last at least as long as Will Rogers’. She dubbed George W. Bush “Shrub” and Texas Governor Rick Perry “Good Hair.”

Molly always said in her official résumé that the two honors she valued the most were (1) when the Minneapolis Police Department named their mascot pig after her (She was covering the police beat at the time.) and (2) when she was banned from speaking on the Texas A&M University campus at least once during her years as co-editor of The Texas Observer (1970-76). However, she said with great sincerity that she would be proudest of all to die sober, and she did.

[For the rest . . . ]


Tip o' my hat to Midniter for the sad news.

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Lest we take the Conservative view that Racism is a thing of the past. . .

Lets not confuse Progress with Perfection, eh. Especially since such is generally only done by hard-core Conservatives when in full duplicity mode.

Lighter skin makes for heavier pay packets
* 01 February 2007


Lighter skin leads to heavier pay packets, according to a survey of US immigrants.

Joni Hersch, who researches law and economics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, analysed a 2003 US government survey of just over 2000 recent immigrants whose skin tones were rated on an 11-point scale during face-to-face interviews.

After taking into account differences in English-language fluency, education and occupation, she found that immigrants with the lightest skin earned an average of 8 to 15 per cent more than those with much darker skin. Each extra point of lightness on the scale was roughly equivalent to one extra year of education in terms of salary increase.

"There are well-known differences in salary based on race and country of origin, but I was surprised that, even after accounting for these, skin colour still had an independent effect," says Hersch. The findings could support the growing number of lawsuits brought on the grounds of colour, rather than racial, discrimination, she says. At present such cases rarely succeed.

Hersch also checked for correlations between salary and height. "There's a common saying that all US presidents are tall, and immigrants tend to be shorter on average than Americans," she explains. She found that taller immigrants indeed earn more, with 1 per cent more income for every extra inch of height. Hersch will present her research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in San Francisco on 19 February.