Tuesday Share for June 23, 2009

A little late with the post, this evening.  I had a lot going this weekend and hadn’t had time to write it up early, and free time seems to be scarce in these parts…  Anyway here’s this week’s odd collection of miscellanea from around the web.

The Atlas Obscura is a new website that has set out to catalog all the weird and bizarre places in the world that just aren’t mentioned in normal travel books.  This link is a short overview with more links talking about giant burning holes scattered about the globe.  I knew about the one in Centralia, PA, but didn’t know about the others, including one in Germany that has been burning continually since 1688!  Giant Burning Holes via Boing Boing.

I do some occasional cooking, my fiance loves it, so I keep my eye out for good cooking blogs and recipes that cross my path.  Annie’s Eats is a pretty good blog that always has a new recipe every day, just about?!  Most of them are baking or sweets, so I don’t pay too much attention.  I’m trying to maintain a decent weight not balloon into gross obesity. This recipe though for tinroof ice cream had to be looked over.  Chocolate, peanuts, fudge?!  Decadent and delicious sounding.  Summer is the perfect time to make ice cream and my next batch is sure to be this.

The index card is kind of ubiquitous. It has uses from the office to the kitchen, pretty much anywhere you look you’ll find them.  Their just so convenient and obvious, it’s hard to think that they had to be invented.  But they did and by the father of taxonomy to boot, Carl Linnaeus!  Mr. Linnaeus devised the card to help organize and manage a great deal of information.  Check out the entire story at Science Daily.

I don’t know what to call a link to a series of link?  Is there a word for that yet?  Anyway this short article is a quick summary by Phil Plait, of Bad Astronomy, of all the recent news stories that’ve been critical of alternative medicine and medical quackery claims and those who support them.  From Oprah to British Chiropractors, alt-medicine is taking a hit and hopefully losing credibility.

Michael Moorcock isn’t the most widely known science fiction author, but his creation, Elric has had a lasting effect on the fantasy and science-fiction genre, the music scene, and gaming.  With a new collection of his writings coming out Mr. Moorcock was interviewed by some of his lucky fans to help promote the book.  This is a lucky chance to get inside the head of  a real artist and arguably the most important British fantasy writer since J.R.R. Tolkien – The Readers of Boing Boing interview Michael Moorcock

I sometimes question of America has a culture at all, or if it’s been replaced by a marketable facsimile thereof.  The blind pursuit of profit purely for the sake of having more profit, is a poor goal for a person, organization, nation, or culture, but it seems that is what the United States has been reduced to at times, with considerations of family, community, meaning, a greater purpose to life having been discarded as unprofitable.  J.F.K spoke out against this most eloquently as has our current president Barack Obama, but this isn’t a partisan issue, or a Democrat one, every great teacher we know of from Moses, to Jesus, from the Buddha to Laozi has tried to humanity that life is not just the accumulation of items, but is instead a quest to understand ourselves and the community that sustains us.

The world’s rarest insect, Lord Howe Island stick insect, was thought extinct for the last 70 years until in 2001 30 individuals were found on Ball’s Pyramid.  The insect is now in a breeding program and scientists hope to one day re-introduce it to Lord Howe Island if the rats can be exterminated from the island.  Via Boing Boing, more info at the Australian Dept. of Environment.

The president of the Liberty University Democrats club is leaving the college behind… Liberty University, a fundamentalist christian liberal arts college, has had a history of controversy.  The most recent being the banning of the democrat club from campus.  I hope other students will be inspired and find other avenues of education and centers of higher education that respect a diversity of opinions and viewpoints.

Another link from Debunking Christianity, this time on the genealogies of Jesus, plenty to read over there so I’m not going to add to it.

That’s it for this week.  Expect an original post tomorrow or Thursday as well as some additional old stuff (Necrons, etc.)  The next part of my Camus saga will be this weekend or the beginning of next week.

Tuesday Share: June 9, 2009

This week’s eclectic share of stories

From the best aggregator of random cool stuff on the Internet, Boing Boing comes non-toxic metals that are liquid at room temperature!  I’ve played with Mercury and it is a great deal of fun but we we all know the risks of mercury poisoning (or we should) so finding cool metals to play with that won’t kill you is a plus.

No one doubts the huge effect Ronald Reagan had on the United States… I don’t know if it was all positive though.  The Right has lionized the man, making him into some sort of superhuman, but there are many things that Reagan did that were illegal and did not benefit Americans.  It is important to not lose all the negatives that Reagan brought us when we write the history – 20 things You Don’t Know about Ronald Reagan.

We’ve all heard the story of how the personal computer was going to create the paperless office, and here we are 20+ years later awash in boring, old, analog paper.  Paper still has many uses and does several things better than its digital counterpart.  Learn/review some of them at Dumb Little Man.

Continuing their 30 days to a Better Man project the Art of Manliness recommends that you update your resume.  My resume is already up-to-date and I’m thankfully gainfully employed in a relatively safe sector, but not everyone is or will be so lucky.  Best to be prepared for the worst and have an updated resume ready if the need ever arises.

For those of you interested in the procedure of politics there’s the unfolding story of the coup happening in the New York Senate!  The original story is here and an update can be found here.  While it seems the Republicans do have a numerical advantage their gaining control of the Senate depends on the rules of the Senate and how well both Parties know them and can use them to their advantage…  Procedure matters in these kind of events and a canny knowledge and use of them can allow a minority to stay in control for an extended period of time, As Willie Brown did in the California Assembly  circa 1995-96.

Finally journalists have found the courage to take on Oprah! This woman with no specialized knowledge on anything, besides appealing emotionally to a broad spectrum of American women, has used her television show for years to “Educate” her audience and launch careers of numerous people, some who deserved the attention, but many who don’t.  Especially egregious is her airing of loons like Jenny McCarthy and Susanne Somers who advocate for medical treatments (or lack of them) that endanger all of us.

Sustaining the Energy for Change

If you’re looking for direction, you’fe come to the wrong place. I’ve got no clue. I’m writing this as I’m thinking it out, muddling through it. I’d say this was an attempt at dialectic but there isn’t anyone here to respond to my questions. The name doesn’t really matter, I’m throwing out ideas as they come and we’ll see what sticks..

So there’s the question. How do you do it? How do you overcome the inertia of your life when you get a brilliant idea or you recognize areas of your life that you don’t like? The idea, the revelation, is easy enough it doesn’t take any energy or persistence. Ideas come all the time to everyone, acting on them, and then sustaining them that’s the difficulty. I have journals, txt files, scraps of paper, indez cards, stick-its, all full of great ideas, and I’m not bull-shiting you either. Some of these ideas are the kind that you can build a career, life, empire out of even.  I’ve even half-assed followed some of them through, laid part of the groundwork for something great. So what though, I’m not bragging here, telling you how great and smart I am, great ideas like that come to everyone, everyone. Sit in a coffee shop or diner for a day and take notes you’d walk out with enough great ideas to last a lifetime. My ideas are shit as long as they stay on all that paper.

See, there we are back at the problem, is it fear of failure? fear of greatness? fear of standing out of the crowd? I’ve started on some of these ideas, put some time and effort it, only to see myself lose the energy to follow through, lose interest in the idea, and I’ve sat and watched everything I’d worked on cave in on itself. So why looking back on my life so far do I only see lots of foundations, some even have the beginnings of a superstructure, there are no monuments though.

I’m going around the idea in my head, over and over, and perhaps that’s the problem. I sit here thinking about an idea so much that by the time I DO something about it I’ve already become bored with the idea. You can live a thousand lives in the blink of an eye, and see the actions of all your decisions in a heartbeat. Reflecting constantly on what the consequences of your actions will be so thoroughly so that, you no longer are even intrigued by those consequences can go a long way in killing any desire to act on them.

I’m not going to advocate acting on a thought or idea without any forethought on what it entails, that’s too irreponsible. I’m going to try and stop living so much in my head though, less time thinking just what and how I should do something and just try doing it… Maybe then it’ll stay fresh enough, I can sustain it long enough to see some of the change I want to see in my life, or not. I don’t know how thise thing works 😛

So talk back to me here, am I wrong? right?… Let’s go ahead and try that dialectic thing I talked about. It worked for Socrates and look where it got him……..Oh.

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