23 Jan 2011

What’s going on? Two days without going out. Well, one trip out to the bathroom, down to Room 7 while the new tiles set in ours. Just four days left of the yoga course, day 23’s practice, focussing on leg poses, on getting up around 10. So quite a bit of reading, watching, listening and browsing today, along with sleeps whenever I’ve needed to.

24 years later, a video continuation of Fight for Your Right to Party starring Frodo and Seth Rogan. For real. Coming soon.

Got a spare hour and twelve minutes? Of course you haven’t. But if you have, this is a good watch, if just for the guided meditation at 20:00. He’s even talking about choiceless awareness at one stage. So many good lines in this speech by Jon Kabat-Zinn, talking at Google HQ no less. I have a lot of respect for the Mindfulness bunch. They always have the assumption of a witness, an entity beyond or above all this ‘small self’ stuff, but as far as it goes, this is excellent.

Came across George Watsky’s work. Rapper, poet, actor as far as I can tell. The rap stuff is kind of Geek Rap but not quite, and it’s very listenable. For sure not your average kind of rapper. “The ghost of Gandhi loves me”

He sure can rap fast (while stroking a cat):

Cities going bust:

$2tn debt crisis threatens to bring down 100 US cities

Overdrawn American cities could face financial collapse in 2011, defaulting on hundreds of billions of dollars of borrowings and derailing the US economic recovery. Nor are European cities safe – Florence, Barcelona, Madrid, Venice: all are in trouble

And a little old Frenchman writing about resisting the system that’s causing this mess, is breaking publishing records with his little red book:

Take a book of just 13 pages, written by a relatively obscure 93-year-old man, which contains no sex, no jokes, no fine writing and no startlingly original message. A publishing disaster? No, a publishing phenomenon.

Indignez vous! (Cry out!), a slim pamphlet by a wartime French resistance hero, Stéphane Hessel, is smashing all publishing records in France. The book urges the French, and everyone else, to recapture the wartime spirit of resistance to the Nazis by rejecting the “insolent, selfish” power of money and markets and by defending the social “values of modern democracy”.

The book, which costs €3, has sold 600,000 copies in three months and another 200,000 have just been printed. Its original print run was 8,000. In the run-up to Christmas, Mr Hessel’s call for a “peaceful insurrection” not only topped the French bestsellers list, it sold eight times more copies than the second most popular book, a Goncourt prize-winning novel by Michel Houellebecq.

If you like presidents and hams, look no further. This is indeed proof that Obama is NOT a muslim.


How about this? 33 Classic album covers redesigned by artists:


And these are just the credits… imagine what the film is like… Enter the Void (at your own risk)

And finally did you know salads make you happy? They sure do. No joke.


22 Jan 2011

An indoors day. Watching several episodes of Everest: Beyond The Limits. Why is it the only thing climbers think to say is: “There’s no one higher than me in the world!” “Top of the world, baby!” Such long queues going up and down, with gridlock at the Hilary Step, the last technical climb before the summit. People are leaving earlier and earlier to get ahead of the crowds. In Into Thin Air, they were leaving around midnight, and now some climbers leave around 21:00, meaning its still dark when they summit. Ummmm, a bit daft really.

The afternoon, researching tents with Caroline. I have a The North Face tadpole, a little green 1-2 man which isn’t so comfortable for two-man car-camping. On other trips we’ve borrowed one of the school’s, but we wanted one of our own. After looking around, fixing a price and checking reviews, we went for an Outwell Nevada M. This is a family tent, so loads of space. We got a deal that included a footprint groundsheet, floor blanket and front extension. As soon as it gets a bit warmer we’ll try it out, maybe on the Isle of Wight. It’s kind of both our birthday presents.

Otherwise, apart from the daily yoga, some browsing of the horror and the humour…

How not to streak:

The possible use of synthetic biology to clean up the Gulf oil disaster:


Toxic crude oil and gas can be changed, altered, or eliminated by microbes. Natural microorganisms in all the oceans, such as bacteria, have been known to do this over time, usually lasting decades and beyond. It’s a slow natural process. Yes, natural biology can do the job, but under continual flow conditions there is no possible way all the hydrocarbon-hungry microbes in the entire world can eliminate that much oil and gas fast enough. Time is the critical factor.

For the past decade, synthetic biology has been the new science realm. We now have engineered genetic biology that synthetically creates RNA and DNA sequences for both viruses and bacteria.

In the 1980’s, the fad was designer jeans. Now, we have designer genes.

Soon after the Deepwater Horizon inferno, U.S. government scientists – with grant funds supplied by British Petroleum – started giving us solid clues as to what they were doing with all that crude oil and gas. In May 2010, National Geographic quoted Dr. Terry Hazen from the U.S. government’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who said,

“…we could introduce a genetic material into indigenous bugs via a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria – to give local microbes DNA that would allow them to break down oil. Either that, he said, or a lab could create a completely new organism that thrives in the ocean, eats oil, and needs a certain stimulant to live…”

The robots to replace you:

Between the global economic downturn and stubborn unemployment, the last few years have not been kind to the workforce. Now a new menace looms. At just five feet tall and 86 pounds, the HRP-4 may be the office grunt of tomorrow. The humanoid robot, developed by Tokyo-based Kawada Industries and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Sciences and Technology, is programmed to deliver mail, pour coffee, and recognize its co-workers’ faces. On Jan. 28, Kawada will begin selling it to research institutions and universities around the world for about $350,000. While that price may seem steep, consider that the HRP-4 doesn’t goof around on Facebook, spend hours tweaking its fantasy football roster, or require a lunch break. Noriyuki Kanehira, the robotic systems manager at Kawada, believes the HRP-4 could easily take on a “secretarial role…in the near future.” Sooner or later, he says, “humanoid robots can move [into] the office field.”

Incredible night time LED-lit surfing:

Mark Visser Rides JAWS at Night! from Fortrus Sports on Vimeo.

Chase No Face the mutant kitteh.

And, the funniest expression as this Weimaraner sniffs a fart:

The joys of solitude

As someone who relishes solitude, I enjoyed this article today. An extract:

I asked a few friends when they had last spent 24 hours without human company. “That’s a tough one,” one 40-year-old woman said. “A whole day, you mean?” No, a whole day, evening and night. “I simply couldn’t!” She has a young son, which would make things difficult right now, but what about before he came along? “Twenty-four hours, without seeing anyone at all? It's never happened to me.” Elsewhere, a few people suggested that, they guessed, it might possibly, perhaps have occurred a decade or two ago, when they were living on their own, or sharing with friends who had pushed off for the weekend. They were definitely ill, or they’d have invited someone over, or gone a-visiting.

Are people uncomfortable with solitude because they so rarely experience it, or do they so rarely experience it because they are uncomfortable with it? What is clear is that most of us persist in equating aloneness with loneliness, and company with companionship, despite a lifetime of evidence to the contrary. “We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers,” is how Henry David Thoreau put it after two years as the sole inhabitant of a house he had built in the Massachusetts woods. You’re never more alone than when you're in a crowd. A cliche, perhaps, but most of us recognise the truth in it.

Before moving to the back of beyond, I spent almost 40 years ­surrounded by people, first as one of five children, then in shared houses, and finally in a succession of London flats. I had girlfriends, a daughter, flatmates, people to the left of me, people to the right of me, people in front, behind and, in the more pleasant moments, under or on top of me. I sometimes feel unloved now, but I sometimes felt unloved then. Doesn’t everyone?

via The joys of solitude | Life and style | The Guardian.

Daily Digest for September 21st

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Daily Digest for September 20th http://tinyurl.com/l6hf6u [#]
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@rob_fitzpatrick Thanks for the Richter tip. Top drawer on the left. [#]
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Levis were originally made from hemp for gold prospectors. The rivets enabled more ore-carrying capability. #fb [#]
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The Bulls of Brick Kiln Farm (226/365) http://tinyurl.com/lm8y56 [#]
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Why does almost everything have to have sugar in it? Soon I may stop eating out altogether #fb [#]