Buddhist Geeks podcast

29 05 2007

Buddhist Geeks 21: Buddhism is Something that Old Folks Do

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running through rain

26 05 2007

Found the very interesting student film silent beats at running through rain a blog devoted to personal development.





The Living World is Amazing

25 05 2007

Discovery of fungi that uses radioactivity as an energy source @ Medical Science News

“The fungal kingdom comprises more species than any other plant or animal kingdom, so finding that they’re making food in addition to breaking it down means that Earth’s energetics in particular, the amount of radiation energy being converted to biological energy, may need to be recalculated,” says Dr. Arturo Casadevall, chair of microbiology & immunology at Einstein and senior author of the study, published May 23 in PLoS ONE.





short story: East is West by Olaf Stapledon

24 05 2007

An alternate history tale with a post-imperialist Japan and the expanding empire of an ambitious English monarch, Her Most Pure and Invincible Majesty, Godiva, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Christian Faith, Protector of the Holy Roman Empire, Queen. Still very appropriate for today’s world.

Her Majesty continued. “Oh, Great White Peoples, since that war, much has happened. Through all those years I have striven to be worthy of the task which the ensworded Christ has set upon me, the delivery of Europe. For let us remind ourselves of well-known truth. In all our churches, our divine and most courageous Captain hangs crossed upon the blade and hilt of the Sword. That same Sword, when he had risen from the dead, he himself grasped, and wields today, leading the Faithful. He came not to bring peace. And I, though till today I have besieged my just aims by parley, am his lieutenant. Though it was by parley and fine machinations that I and my counsellors defted the Japanese from all their treaty ports, it was the springing strength of my army and navy and my aerials that rendered those pacific arguments convictive. But now, today, argument has failed; and I am here to call upon you, all White Peoples, to take arms in earnest. For the hour has come when we must constrain New Nippon to disgorge her rapine, or else betray irrevocably the cause for which we stand together.”

“The whole force of New Nippon and of the Chinese Republic, and haply of Japan also, will be oppugned against us. Nothing can save us now but crazy hardihood.”

“They gave us opium. They have tempted our coupling lovers with filthy lore to prevent the sacred burden of motherhood, hoping thereby to thin our numbers.”

Read it.





Rational Mysticism

23 05 2007

Sam Harris at Council for Secular Humanism

It is an empirical fact that sustained meditation can result in a variety of insights that intelligent people regularly find intellectually credible and personally transformative. The problem, however, is that these insights are almost always sought and expressed in a religious context. One such insight is that the feeling we call “I”—the sense that there is a thinker giving rise to our thoughts, an experiencer distinct from the mere flow of experience—can disappear when looked for in a rigorous way. Our conventional sense of “self” is, in fact, nothing more than a cognitive illusion, and dispelling this illusion opens the mind to extraordinary experiences of happiness.

Read it.





Spiritual Atheism and the False Comforts of Faith

23 05 2007

David Gleeson in American Chronicle

Many religious faiths, including the big three Abrahamic faiths, teach that humans are central to the universe and God’s Plan. It is indoctrinated in us from childhood, so much so that it becomes a mantra: we are special; we are unique; we are created in God’s image; the universe exists solely for us. How can naturalism, with no guarantee of eternal life and no preferred position at the right hand of God, possibly compete with its ego-massaging and death-defying religious counterparts?

Read it.





Fruit Flies Have Free Will

23 05 2007

Fruit flies have free will. Even when deprived of any sensory input to react to, the zigs and zags of their flight reveal an intrinsic, non-random – yet still unpredictable – decision-making capacity.

Fruit Fly