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2 March 2006

ThinkingLikeAGenius - Wonderful page summarizing part of the book.

Only a small change and you have a future book title by Richard Dawkins: Thinking Like a Gene.

In a story about obesity in our children, someone in an email to CNN coined this phrase:

"No child left with a fat behind."

I watched a CNN piece on the mass starvation caused by an African drought. They showed tape of severely emaciated child dying. The footage really impacted me, watching this child waste away. As a footnote to the story, the reporter said that the child featured in the piece died one hour after they left the scene for another story.

On a similar theme, some weeks ago I found this story on Chocolate and Child Slavery. I never knew the connection. Very sad.

It's all sad. What can we do about this? I've been donating to the Red Cross a lot lately. Is that a good place for donations on this matter?

I'm working on a piece about a FatBurnPrinciple. Not sure I have it right, but I like the beginning of the piece.

WhatHappensWhenYouStunGunYourself - 'Nuff said.

3 March 2006

Reading through Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Hadn't picked it up in a long time. Brought up issues related to consciousness that I really like.

Ellen DeGeneres (paraphrased):

As kids we use our imagination to create new things to do. As adults we use our imagination to stop us from doing things.


Saw a piece on CNN about retiring in San Miguel, Mexico. The crappy search and IA on the CNN site make finding the report a pain (no success yet), but I did find this site InternetSanMiguel.com. It seems to addressed to people with that motivation. I wonder how this will change Mexico, this emigration of Americans retirees into Mexico. How will it will affect the value of the peso, the dollar, and the economies in general? How large will the exodus grow?

Add this to the fact people are going to India and other countries for cheaper medical care than they can receive in the U.S. Reminds me of the book The World is Flat. Drug companies take advantage of the high drug prices they can charge in the U.S., but savvy healthcare consumers with an airline ticket and passport can bypass those high prices. How will this practice affect health care costs worldwide?

High Achievers - What Price Are They Paying? - Fascinating article by a Harvard grad who is tapped to informally meet and evaluate Harvard undergrad applicants in his region. Quite insightful.

WalkTheLine - Outstanding movie! Finally saw it this evening, and WOW! What a performance by Joaquin and Reese. Can you say CHEMISTRY--but I'm not talking between the actors, but between those two characters on stage. WOW! Part of it was how tight most of the on stage scenes were shot...but also, they had to come across honest exactly because the shots were so tight. Hats off to Joaquin. He gave it all for that performance. Fantastic. And the fact they sang the songs themselves. Amazing. What an experience. Joaquin really looked like he got into Cash's psyche. I'm gonna watch it again. Fantastic stuff.

4 March 2006

My wife is very complementary about a book titled Food Addictions: The Body Knows. Here's a look at the FoodAddictionDietPlan. Very sensible, much like the diabetic diet, I think.

Was emailed these 33 Funny Musings of Steven Wright. What a funny and wonderful weirdo.

Here's a funny bit, The Engineer and the Manager. I've read other variations of this, I think. Found this version on http://www.minion.com/, another PmWiki site. I like what s/he's done with it.

7 March 2006

Godel-Escher-Blog - Looks like an interesting blog entry citing the amazing book Godel, Escher, Bach. Makes me want to go back and try to read the thing again. Here's a local copy of GodelEscherBlog in case the link dies.

10 March 2006

Here's something off of craigslist.org, a SocialWorkerFinallySnaps. Very, VERY sad--and the content is NOT suitable for children. Ugly stuff. But it does make a strong statement about the degenerates in our society.

When I was following the bird flu news and wrote my blog piece Why the Bird Flu Pandemic is NOT Predictable, I found this Flu Wiki site. It runs off my favorite wiki platform PmWiki, which runs this site. Seems well organized, with lots 'o information. A Wired article Flu Wiki Posts Alt Disease Info offers some critique of the site.

I'm getting pretty good, consistent traffic at my blog. I need to add more content, though I find that easier here, in this notebook.

Was sent and article Missed Tributes at the Oscars by Ben Stein. Basically, Stein points out at the Oscars...

...there was not one word of tribute, not one breath, to our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan or to their families or their widows or orphans...not one prayer or moment of silence for the dead and maimed.

Whoa. Got my attention.

12 March 2006

Watched a Tim Russert interview with former CIA Commander Gary Berntsen, who wrote a book Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA's Key Field Commander. VERY impressive man, who was a savvy, dedicated servant of this country (he retired from the CIA). He came off very well. Berntsen's account of how one denied request for 600 rangers allowed Bin Laden's escape is disheartening. Berntsen's team was actually talking to Bin Laden on a short range walkie talkie--they knew where he was. They could have blocked his escape but his request for troops to accomplish that mission was...denied. Very compelling stuff.

14 March 2006

I've seen a lot of interviews with Michael Brown, former FEMA director. Comes off very intelligent, experienced, well meaning. I'm sure he has faults, but he's doing a great job countering the less than favorable ascertians floated by...who?

Reading a bit of the Hofstadtler's tome Godel, Escher, Bach. What a fascinating book. He says he's writing about his religion. Interesting. His description of fuges and canon's is wonderful. And the endless loop, strange loop, recursive loop stuff...Godel's incompleteness theorm. Stellar stuff.

An old Reed buddy, Sara Schley, had a nice write-up on the Reed Quarterly. Here's Sara Schley's Blog. Sara is such a kick. What a wonderful and accomplished woman she has become. Go Sara!

16 March 2006

Watched A History of Violence. Interesting story, with good performances. But what I loved about the DVD was the documentary on making the film. Cronenberg directed. It takes each act, describing the process, and shares true documentary footage of the actors, director, cinematographer, set designer, etc. working out the scences. Precious, insider stuff on process (not gossip). The mini doc is about craft. Film making craft. Cronenberg doesn't storyboard, he works out the scene as they rehearse it the day they are shooting. So it's a spontaneous thing. Organic. Fascinating.

I heard the national debt limit was raised by Congress today. The new $9 trillion debt amounts to $30,000 for every American man, woman, and child. So my family owes $90,000 toward this debt. I don't have that much saved for retirement or my son's education. I'm scared. Between this and the medical insurance costs, what am I going to have left?

Have a look at the U.S. National Debt Clock.

The Mandelbrot set. Fractals. Here we are. The physical descriptions. The equation:

Z <=> Z2 + C

Iterative equation, where the result of Z squared plus C feeds into the next interation of Z squared plus C. Some iterative paths lead nowhere. Others create organic, infinite patterns. Order in apparent chaos.

The point is that a simple iterative equation Z <=> Z2 + C yields incredible (infinite?) complexity. Is there a similarly simple, interative equation for the mind. Is that something faith gets at. And do most iterative paths lead to nowhere (suicide). Others to a brilliant, happy life?

If there were such a formula, a simple formula...cognitive, perceptual approach. What would that quintessential, "theory of everything" psychological Mandelbrot formula.

18 March 2006

St. Patrick's day yesterday. Need to improve my eating and exercising habits. Need to explore more about a DietPlan.

Watched Frequency with Dennis Quaid and James Caviezel. Totally awesome flick. A murder mystery with a distorted timeline. Poignant, exciting, sentitmental, adventurious. Totally loved it. Very touching piece. Director was Gregory Hoblit, who did Hart's War, Fallen, and Primal Fear.

My investigation of Cholesterol and the various treatment and lifestyle (diet, exercise) options.

Richard Dawkin's Selfish Gene article

21 March 2006

Just found out that Charles Givens died -- in 1998! Reported from cancer. He was 57 or so. I wondered why I didn't hear much of him in recent years. His book SuperSelf was recommended to me. Strange to know he's dead. Too young. Don't know if he was a scoundrel or not, but I did learn a lot from his book Wealth Without Risk. I also remember seeing him interviewed by a reporter with a bone to pick. She kept saying the title was inaccurate, it wasn't about getting rich or something. Givens was not prepared for the attack. Still, the book helped me figure some financial stuff out, so I can't fault him. Givens was sued a lot, most notably by some guy how took Givens' advice about life insurance and something went wrong. Don't know details. As Colbert would say, "Don't confuse me with the facts." Anyway, another blast from the past.

Here's an interesting summary of Stephen Covey's book SevenHabitsOfHighlyEffectivePeople. That book is a perennial favorite of mine. So much profound advice--If only I would take it!

Interesting article by Marvin Minsky, Why People Think Computers Can't Think

22 March 2006

Interesting Jon Stewart interview with former Iraqi general Georges Sada. Sada was a high level advisor to Saddam Hussein since 1968 and has written a book about the experience, Saddam's Secrets: How an Iraqi General Defied And Survived Saddam Hussein.

Fascinating. Sounds like Sada was a true insider to Hussein, and claims he was able to be totally honest with Hussein about his opinions and investigations--not another "yes" man. He attained this priviledge by directly asking Saddam's permission to tell the truth. Furthermore, Sada asked that if the statements he made did not match Saddam's desires, Sada asked to have what he called "immunity" (basically asking Saddam not to kill the messenger, which was his practice). Saddam agreed, though his agreement meant little since others made the same request and were later slaughtered by Saddam anyway. Which is to say, Sada never felt safe during the entire time he was working with Saddam, a "very difficult boss." Just more comfortable being an honest advisor and not a "yes" man.

Sada also He says the WMD's existed in Iraq and were shipped to Syria before IWII (Iraq War II). He saw the weapons and, as leader (or number 2) in charge of the Iraqi airforce, he received reports from pilots transporting the materials to Syria. Is this the smoking gun Bush needs? Why hasn't Sada's testimony been sought by Congress? Is Sada trustworthy or just out to sell books?

28 March 2006

Received by email this humorous piece, NeverLieToYourMother.

Continent Diversity...I thought it read "Continent University." Interesting play on words. Got a Treo recently, and I'm hooked. Totally, absolutely hooked. What a blast to have Internet access on a phone. I've been loading software--after making the update to the Palm OS. Amazing abilities. I can take voice notes, sketch notes, text notes, make calls, use IM, send email, send a text message, surf the web...oh, and I can also make a phone call on this thing. Amazing.

I LOVE my Treo!