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Showing posts from September, 2009

(Facebook) status anxiety

Someone (if you want to be credited, let me know) on Facebook recommended the book Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton to me on my profile, saying, "It is the perfect book for the recession. It deals with our secret (and shameful) yearning to be loved by the world and our anxiety about what others think of us, irrespective if we choose to be capitalist pigs or bohemians writing poetry in ivory towers. Do read!"

I responded, "I avoid reading as best I can. But de Bottom is not de Only position to take. One could say that it's not Status Anxiety but Angling, Beckoning, Bruising, Bouncing, Coasting, Ducking, Enthusing, Entertaining, Flirting, Flouting, Fingering, Grinding, Hinting, Hounding, Howling, Insulting, Journeying, Luring, Musing, Nixing, Ousting, Posing, Quoting... Read More, Reminding, Sounding, Sharing, Tousling, Using, Vaunting, Whetting, (eek give me one), Zapping. I have put on my rose colored glasses and had another look at that glass with the water in it.…

Fielding criticism

don't use You statements, use I statements - "You never kiss me!"; "I like it when you kiss me."
apply tolerance before you speak, remember things are not right or wrongaccept differences, even if they are fundamentalbe specific about what is a End Type Issue, with yourselfuse the word feedback (bletch! I can translate people!)don't attack during times of stress, wait for the right momentif someone criticizes you, say "Let me think about that, I will come back to you about that."oversensitive people may be hiding from their weaknesses, confident people are more likely to take criticism in their stridetreat criticism like an opportunitythe criticiser has to put effort into How they criticize
engage the help of the criticizerSource: 702

Bill Maher interviews Richard Dawkins

The God Delusion
tired of people forcing their imaginary friends down your throat (Bill Maher phrase)scale of 1 to 7 of atheismDawkins says he is a 6 - definitely is a very tall statement to make, unscientific, how can they KNOW there is a godMaher: religion's stories are rediculous, the talking snake religious scientists have some ideas about religion but don't believe in all the detailsDawkins says readers will be atheists when they put it down
Source: Dawkins Foundation

Susan Blackmore on memes and "temes"

Susan Blackmore studies memes: ideas that replicate themselves from brain to brain like a virus. She makes a bold new argument: Humanity has spawned a new kind of meme, the teme, which spreads itself via technology -- and invents ways to keep itself alive
Darwin's ideas explain all design, not just biologicalif, if, if, then - the evolutionary algorithmdesign must happen if there are algorithms, you don't need an original creatorDarwin didn't know about genesDawkins' the selfish gene gets copied and doesn't care about the consequenceslanguage is another replicator - another example - it has no conscious design, it just wandersmeme - that which is copied from person to personthe reason why they are copied is irrelevant, good, bad, intriguing, funthe pointy fold on a loorollmemes use us as mememachines, copying machinesgenes are a kind of memecopy the useful things and the not-useful mimetic drive - making a bigger brain that can copy more memeslanguage is a parasite …

Brain searches for structure in absurdities

New research suggest that exposure to bizarre, surreal storylines such as Kafka's "The Country Doctor" can improve learning. Apparently, when your brain is presented with total absurdity or nonsense, it will work extra hard to find structure elsewhere.

"People feel uncomfortable when their expected associations are violated, and that creates an unconscious desire to make sense of their surroundings. That feeling of discomfort may come from a surreal story, or from contemplating their own contradictory behaviors, but either way, people want to get rid of it. So they're motivated to learn new patterns," said Travis Proulx in the September issue of the journal Psychological Science.

Source: Science Daily

Dan Dennett's response to Rick Warren

the purpose-driven life (book)
there's existing and livingthe stewardship of affluence - leadership is stewardship
TED - ideas worth spreading

suggests that religions of the world should be taught like any other subjectprohibitions, requirements, symbolism, texts, known leadershas been called totalitarian despite seeming libertarian flavor of his ideasTED - ideas worth spreading

Richard Dawkins on science is queerer than we can suppose

Biologist Richard Dawkins makes a case for "thinking the improbable" by looking at how the human frame of reference limits our understanding of the universe.if you think you understand quantum theory you don't understand quantum theoryit is likely that we ingest molecules of pee, unchangedare there things ungraspablewe have given preference to things that TED - ideas worth spreading

Julia Sweeney on letting go of God

Julia was asked by young missionaries, "Do you believe that God loves you.?" Who then went on to explain their religion which sounded very strange. She realises that if she were hearing the story of Jesus and the virgin birth it would sound just as strange as what they were telling her about their faith. She realises that she feels God's love in dawn, in helpfulness, in love. "I feel God's love often, but I wasn't so sure I believed what I so clearly felt."

TED - ideas worth spreading

Richard Dawkins on militant atheism

Dawkins has become outspoken in his atheism, coining the word "bright" (as an alternate to atheist), and encouraging fellow non-believers to stand up and be identified.
intelligent design is creationism redressedcreationists are right that evolution is hostile to evolution
statistical improbability of the complexity of design - intelligent designbut the intelligent designer wouldn't have made such a hash - why would the designer be bothered with disapproving of our sex lives, favor our side in the warDawkins suggest rocking the boat - attack religion as a wholetaboo of speaking ill about religion - Douglas Adams said, sacred ideas at the heart of religion, holy cows, you can support any operating system you want, but the challenge of religious ideas is off limitsscience and religion are corrosive to each other - religious explanations are trivial and improbably, teaches people to accept authoritarianism takes the example of famous scientists and imagines them saying, Haw…

Transgender, some comments

Anonymous: I read an amazing article a week or so ago, about why civilized humans resist that which is the other eg animals, gay people, people of different faiths, disabled people and how this is completely contrary to evolutionary principles, because diversity actually benefits evolutionary progress.

Anonymous: everyone is full of shit. Some more than others it's such a complex thing; sex is part of that very deep core of the brain; it does not exist in the cortex with logical thinking; just as people dont have control over; what they find sexy, neither do they; have control over the emotions they; feel over differences. maybe a bit like religion; maybe people's sexuality is so closely linked to their identity and self worth that when they see someone doing something that they cannot identify they feel as though their own sexuality is being violated? BUT sexuality, altough important, is only one facet of our existence. I dont know why people make such a big deal of it. Attac…

Condom machines in the bathroom

sex ed to start from age 5 - not to say show them a porn movie, but start introducing notions
doesn't make kids have more sexmakes them more likely to use condoms when they doby taking opportunities to address sexuality out of the public sphere it puts the onus on parents to guide their children's sex decision makingoften children aren't even thinking sex when we think they are thinking sex - Sexpo billboard - often our reactions put things in their mindsSOLUTION FROM LISTENER: teach kids how to be parents before you teach them about sexthe consequences of sex is not pregnancy it is pleasure, fear tactics don't workdon't just talk to children about sex, talk about relationships, love, age-appropriate sex (underage sex could land you in jail), guidance about how loving should happen, HIV education
no guilt tripping, no coercionif they do something 'wrong' sexually, work through it with them so that they know how to do it better, no punishment (! recognise tha…

Disobedience notes

co-opt others to throw out the old waysthe necessary radicalness of disobedience in communicationresponsibility to be visibly disobedient to draw others to our rooms (concept they used to focus where disobedience can take place - labeled pages as Bed-Room and other symbolic keywords of disobedience optionswe put our names down on the page and met in the symbolic space to throw ideas aroundthe space names were familiar - nursery - but there we found seeds of changes, trees of stabilitythese were foci of things you might want to changedo the things that children do to enter into the state of mind of a childsingle words are evocative - thanksmeet the dragon and absorb the hero

How to speak in public

start with a bangpose a bullet list of the topics you will cover that expose the overview of your argumentdon't pose alternatives - present them as possibilitiesrepeat the conclusion at the beginning of every section of your talk, explain your bullet points
establish the relevance, what is the audience thinking about the topic - faith, reason, problem, solutionmultimedia - draw examples from movies, tv, newspapers, booksdefine important termswhat are the broad streams of thought about the topicstrangers are in two separate worlds - how, why, mechanism, meaning, sciencePowerpoint slides - don't read of the slides, but if you are going to read quotes have them on the side; have phrases from your point on the side of the slide concerning the point; names of people you are quoting write in full on screen.real world examples of your hypothesis, your point, your expositionbe within your allotted timeinvite questions and then try to draw their points inclusively into your argumentintr…

Documentary: Wordplay

Wordplay is a fantastic documentary on crossword puzzles called Wordplay. Fantabulous! Extraordinary! Stunning! Beautifully done. Interviews all sorts of people - celebrities, puzzle makers, New York Times public editors, a guy who decided to make an annual event for the people holed up in their rooms to get out and meet like-minded puzzlers. The competitiveness! Worth keeping. The Indigo girls - and a brief shot of a concert - a sea of dykes. Heaven.

Movie: Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel was kinda nice, great cinematography - or shall I say, it wasn't linear but it was a bit been there done that. Her long-time lover was badly cast. But I loved the woman who played her, and there were great notions. Coco was wonderful.

Movie: District 9

I love scifi, and I live in South Africa, 50 kms from where they made the movie. Our local film industry is very sad, but District 9 was great! Very very very very violent, very very very pointed about apartheid. Some hard bits to see, which made it great! But I could never see it again. Way too hectic. We South Africans are very gritty. I was just saying to one of my international pals on Facebook that we don't use the word nice here in South Africa - it would be too anomalous, too weird, too freaky, to unfitting. There are no nice situations here. It's hectic! No one is emigrating to South Africa.... unless they are transferred or living in a place where their limbs are getting hacked off because they don't fit in their social groups!

Why did feminim become a movement?

I was reading a manist's blog (Pelle Billing) and responses to his suggestion that there should be a masculist movement was met by comments that that would just be repeating the mistakes of feminism - that equality should be part of the liberal agenda and not start pitting factions against each other. I was thinking that the desire for a masculist movement is reactionary. To his credit Billing took the criticism and agreed with the point.

He is prolific, try this Google search.
Here is Pelle Billing's blog.
Here is Pelle Billing's website.

Would feminism ever have become a movement had there not been opposition to it?

Women had to find a name for the thing they were standing up to support. And men had to find a name for the thing they wanted to rail against.

At the time when feminism started did it have a name? A movement with no name. All movements start nameless.

The early feminists were women who knew they were being coerced and raped and were no more than indentured s…