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The desire to protect ourselves is what stands in our way of being fully able to respond.
~ Patrick Cassidy

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Memory and Forgiveness in Humans and Computers

Memory and Forgiveness - I'm reminded of the book The Singularity Is Near, where author Ray Kurzweil forecasts that computers will match the processing power of the human brain by mid-century or 2050.

Kurzweil predicts we will be able to "download" skills, as represented in The Matrix. Think of that. But will it be any better than our current approach? Will we forget the skill as we do now and require multiple "downloads" to keep it up? Or is one download enough? I suppose it depends on the process of forgetting...and our process of storing information...So many questions.

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Madonna Magdalene by Kim Garcia


Madonna Magdalene

Madonna Magdelene Poetry - Kim Garcia, a dear college friend, has recently published a book of poetry titled Madonna Magdalene. I just ordered my copy and will report later on my impressions. In the meantime, my anticipation is teased by these reader comments...

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Get the Most From Your Statin

Get the Most from Your Statin - Everyday Health reports that when and how you take your statin can influence its effectiveness and absorption.

  • Mevacor - Take with food. This almost doubles the amount of medication absorbed into bloodstream.
  • Mevacor, Pravachol, Zocor, Lescol - Take with your evening meal. These statins block a one of the liver's key cholesterol-making enzymes, and that enzyme is most active at night.
  • Crestor, Lipitor - Take at any time, as these statins stay in the body and bloodstream long enough that you can take them any time.
  • Pravachol - If on other medications, try Pravachol, which is less likely to interact with other medications than other statins.

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Torture and Collateral Damage - Jonathan Glover

In modern war, what is most shocking is a poor guide to what is most harmful.
~ Jonathan Glover

I read that quote by British philosopher Jonathan Glover in Sam Harris' book The End of Faith. Glover and Harris expose a moral oddity or failing. They argue that while our conscience is repelled by the torture of one person, that same conscience can somehow accept when a "precision bomb" causes "collateral damage." Yet the harm caused by the bomb is much greater than the harm caused by torture of one individual. How do we accept or discount that greater harm? Why do we focus on pain torture causes an individual? Surely, the pain, suffering (not to mention death) caused to the innocent by the anonymous bomb exceeds that of any torture chamber. Both acts are abhorrent. Why does our moral compass fail us?

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Best Photo of the Moon


Click image for larger view

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Unhappy Meals

Unhappy Meals by Michael Pollan Excellent article on nutrition, the food industry, and journalism...A recipe for poor health.

Food advice can be summed up:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

  • By food it means whole fruits, vegetables.
  • By not too much it means eat until you're 80% full -- control your portions and never stuff yourself.
  • By mostly plants it means eat more leafy vegetables and less grains and seeds--but focus on diversity.

Some helpful corollaries:

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Juggling Videos

Amazing Juggling Finale
Absolutely astounding--and he did it all on stage, live, in front of an audience. Well done, Chris Bliss!

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Ice Skater Michelle Kwan Withdraws from 2006 Winter Olympics


Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan 2006 Olympics - How sad is this, on so many levels? One, for Emily Hughes, who could have been preparing for her Olympic appearance, but now gets pulled into the games as a last minute replacement for Kwan. And for Kwan, jeez! The girl won't be getting her gold, though, to be honest, her chances were slim. She's had such an impact on skating, but it surely hurts in her marrow that she doesn't have an Olympic Gold medal.

Jim Lampley, the NBC Sports anchor, put it this way:

If her contributions to the sport, her ability to face disappointment with perspective and grace counts for anything, then Michelle Kwan is, and always will be, a champion.


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Ear of My Heart - Most Inspirational Blog

Ear of My Heart - Most Inspirational Blog - This is my wife's blog, and as her worst critic, I can honestly say it contains among the most inspirational writing I have ever read. As an avid reader, that's saying something. Just look at her comments from other (less biased?) readers. LaRonda's Ear of My Heart blog is awesome!

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What Movie Rating Would You Give Your Life?

What Movie Rating Would You Give Your Life? - If you had to assign a movie rating to your life, what would it be? Is your life R rated? G rated? Do priests live G rated lives?...I guess some have NC-17 sins.

As recipes for life, the movie rating system takes on a whole new meaning...

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Pope Benedict Encyclical - Spe Salvi - In Hope We Are Saved

Pope Benedict
Pope Benedict

Document posted by Vatican is difficult to read with the fancy background. Here's Pope Benedict's encyclical Spe Salvi in a more readable format.

ENCYCLICAL LETTER
SPE SALVI
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
BENEDICT XVI
TO THE BISHOPS
PRIESTS AND DEACONS
MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS
AND ALL THE LAY FAITHFUL
ON CHRISTIAN HOPE


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What I've Learned by Homer Simpson

What I've Learned: Homer Simpson
Nuclear-power-plant safety inspector, 39, Springfield
Interviewed by John Frink and Don Payne

When someone tells you your butt is on fire, you should take them at their word.

There is no such thing as a bad doughnut.

Kids are like monkeys, only louder.

If you want results, press the red button. The rest are useless.

There are some things that just aren't meant to be eaten.

My favorite color is chocolate.

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Maple Tree in Fall 2006


Fall Colors - This gorgeous shot was taken at the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon--our old stomping grounds. Happy Fall Harvest everyone!

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Spielberg's Munich


Ayelet Zorer

Recently watched Steven Spielberg's Munich with Eric Bana. It's a long film, about 2 hrs. 45 min. Eric Bana was great, as were all the other actors, but I was particularly mesmerized by the woman who played Bana's wife, though she was in only a few scenes.

Turns out she's a very well respected Israeli actress. I get it. She was perfect, communicating the whole/soul of her character in seconds. Her name...well, she seems to go by a few. The movie credits her as Ayelet Zorer, but I've seen Zurer and variations of Ayelet too. Her middle name seems stable and is "July." Maybe it was because she was one of the few women who appeared in the film, but I found her performance right on, rich and textured. All in probably less than five or ten minutes of screen time.

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Great Photography Means Going To The Edge

While watching Creative Outdoor Photography (a photography workshop DVD by outdoor photography masters Galen Rowell and Frans Lanting), I was reminded where images for great photography are found.

Galen Rowell only touched on it in the workshop, but I think it was actually a strong part of his life philosophy (Rowell died in a plane crash in August 2002). If you want to create great photographs, you have to go to the edge.

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Domino Movie - The Domino Harvey Story?


Domino Harvey - Bounty Hunter

Domino - Watched Tony Scott's film Domino and was thunderstruck. From a cinematography perspective, this was a huge risk. Lots of experimentation with film processing, hand cranking the camera, double exposures, etc. From DVD extras, it sounds like poor Director of Photography Daniel Mindel lived in fear every day that footage would be lost in the experiments.

But those risks in cinematography reflect the risks of the story and its main character, the real-life beauty, model, and bounty hunter Domino Harvey, portrayed by Keira Knightley.


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Wade Davis TED Talk - Worldwide Web of Belief & Ritual - Video


Wade Davis TED Talk - Riveting talk by anthropologist Wade Davis about the "worldwide web of belief and ritual." Davis is such passionate advocate for all cultures, maintaining that no culture is a "failed attempt at modern life." Instead, each is a unique, creative expression that strives to answer life's questions of why? and how? If anything, Davis considers these ancient and ongoing cultures (Mayan, Inuit, etc.) as much richer and complex than the culture(s) of our modern industrial age. After hearing Davis' talk, he certainly has good reason to feel that way.

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb - IBM Talk

Nassim Nicholas Taleb joined a discussion at IBM about his book The Black Swan. Here are my notes from the discussion. I've added my own comments and explanations (based on his books).

As an author, Taleb tries to be universal and not customize his message to the audience. (I think he's talking about the ideas he's espousing, not the method of communicating. Your communication style HAS to consider the audience or your won't be heard.)


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Andrew Henry's Meadow - by Doris Burn


Andrew Henry's Meadow - My favorite book from early childhood. Doris Burn's illustrations are seared into my memory. Fond feelings swell in me whenever I pick up my old, tattered copy--which I still read after so many years.

Just found out they re-released the book--a 40th anniversary edition--so it's available at Amazon.com (link below). I may have to pick up a copy...for another young boy.

Andrew Henry's Meadow by Doris Burn

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South Beach Heart Health Revolution - by Agatston - Notes

Calcium score - Also called Agatston score, measures the amount of calcified plaque inside the coronary arteries. Higher the calcium score, the higher the chance of heart attack. Excellent predictor of future heart attack risk.

Computed tomography (CT) or electron beam tomography (EBT) - used for imaging heart. Scans provide a calcium score?

Atherosclerosis - When artery walls gradually filled with plaque (cholesterol, inflammatory cells, scar tissue). Different kinds of plaque. Heart attack caused when soft cholesterol rich plaque bursts, resulting in blood clot. Blood clot blocks blood flow to heart. News to me. I thought plaque, not a blood clot, that caused artery blockage and heart attack. But this clot model makes sense, given sudden nature of heart attack. A slowly developing plaque blockage should give the heart time to grow collateral vessels.

Better model of heart attack - Heart attack not caused by plaque blockage in the tube of the vessel (old school). The culprit is plaque depositing in the inner lining of vessel walls, like pimple filled with cholesterol. When pimples bursts, an injury site is created. To heal the injury, a clot will form. If the clot is big enough, it blocks the artery, causing heart attack.

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