Blogging from Asheville, NC circa Feb. 2003, when we were dorks.

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Even in absurdity, sacrament.
Even in hardship, holiness.
Even in doubt,
faith.
Even in chaos,
realization.
Even in paradox,
blessedness.

jay's books:

Digging the Immaterial Rainbow Over Crossroads One for the Nameless

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Sat 24 Mar 12

How Beer Saved The World

Who can argue this?

Beer Saved The World
Created by: Online Bachelor Degree Programs

filed under: a great cacophany of topicality blogged: 02.14 Sat, 24 Mar '12

Sat 22 Dec 07

Miscellania

*Scientists Discover Human Cells have Internal Electric Fields as Strong as Lighting Bolts
*6 Steps to Deflate Self-Defeating Fears
*Look Homeward, Angels: The Homing Pigeons of New York
*They're Made Out of Meat!
*Evolution And The Hive Mind
*Brain 'irrelevance filter' found
*Our tendency to persecute others is as alive today as in medieval times
*Synthetic DNA on the Brink of Yielding New Life Forms
*Stanislav Grof: The Current Global Crisis and the Future of Humanity
*Nasogenital reflex theory: From the nose to the genitals and back again
*Device Taps Sunshine to Convert CO2 Into Fuel
*Japan government spokesman says UFOs do exist
*New property found in ancient mineral lodestone
*10 Habits of Highly Effective Brains
*A State of Belief is a State of Being
*Pagan Orgies to Human Sacrifice: The Bizarre Origins of Christmas
*The Planet's Other "Intelligent" Species: Do Dolphins Have a Sense of the Future?
*Time is running out - literally, says scientist


filed under: a great cacophany of topicality blogged: 14.28 Sat, 22 Dec '07

Mon 14 May 07

Monday Combo Platter

I'm working at a maddening pace from home. This will be fast and cheap:

  • No address, but not directionless: A City of 2 Million Without a Map
  • "A glamourbomb ... is an anonymous act that causes people to feel brushed by the divine, the supernatural, or the realm of faerie, and plants in their minds the sense that maybe there is more to the universe than meets the eye."
  • A man and his dog discuss quantum physics
  • Bang: Solar System Is "Bullet Shaped"
  • Mafiosos love their mamas
  • Some articles on particular heresies
  • Parasites, nasties, evil worms: not made by a benevolent creator
  • Tar Heel State continues to demonstrate it's glaring intellect by further slashing mental health funding [via]


    Finally, please enjoy some David Attenborough and the cleverness of crows

    filed under: a great cacophany of topicality blogged: 12.45 Mon, 14 May '07

  • Thu 26 Apr 07

    A series of monosyllabic grunts disguised as blog post

    What an exhausting roller coaster of intracranial melodrama and emotion the past 48 hours have been, as we watched the flames rise through the already condemned building that is our state's mental health safety net. Someone threw a bucket of water on our proverbial fire this morning, which released a cloud of steam in a sigh and, for now, there's hope that this fire will be brought under control.

    Oh, and late last night, a plane touched down in Asheville and delivered Joshua and Robin safely to home, which roused great relief and thankfulness deep in my soul. Everyone who knows me knows I missed them terribly/happily. Joshua had an awesome out-of-Mists-of-Avalon mystical experience in an abandoned church, and I anticipate that will be a moment that will color the rest of his intensely curious life.

    So, high highs and low lows in such a brief spate [what is a spate, really?] of time have left me spent, weary, and with a severely limited vocabulary. I need a few hours in the hammock to watch the bumblebees flit about thoughtlessly before I can even try to go into work. Yet, even as I collect my various bodyparts flattened by an emotional steamroller, I love my work and I am honored to have made an impact in the lives of these kids and families.

    Well, that's about as much as I can peck out of this coffee-stained keyboard. Here's some linkee about even more injustice to fight:

  • Fascist America in 10 easy steps
  • Cyber hit squad of a desperate White House exposed.
  • Remember the 9th Amendment? You should.

    filed under: a great cacophany of topicality blogged: 09.40 Thu, 26 Apr '07

  • Mon 23 Apr 07

    Monday Combo Platter

    Happy International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day.

  • 15 things Kurt Vonnegut said better than anybody. So it goes.
  • An angry soldier tells it like it is to the Fox munchers.
  • Was Timothy Leary right? Duh.
  • George Bush wants to know when you take your meds. We'd like to know the same.
  • When you send a Barbie head to this Smithsonian, this is what you get in the mail.
  • A proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder
  • If every time you, well, you know, God kills a, well, one of those, is there a mathematician there to prove it?
  • I really like Daytrotter.
  • The TOPZEKRIT White House Communication System (laughable)
  • Can Newton's 2nd Law be Violated on Earth?

    filed under: a great cacophany of topicality blogged: 12.40 Mon, 23 Apr '07

  • Mon 16 Apr 07

    Monday Combo Platter and NC Stupidity Update

    First off, my colleague Screwie Hoolie has done a bang-up job in summarizing the latest NC Mental Health crisis, and what we can do about it:

    Spin: “In the months following [implementation of the services], DHHS identified a rapid growth of Community Support that far exceeded the budgeted use.”

    Fact: Other services, such as Community Behavioral Support and Case Management, were stripped, leaving only one service, Community Support, to fill the needs of hundreds of thousands of mental health recipients. The state budgeted far too little, ensuring the service would overrun the estimate.

    Spin: “We also identified concerns that the service was being delivered in a way that was a disservice to consumers”

    Fact: The Division of Medical Assistance, now using Dep. Director Mark Benton as its mouthpiece, surveyed only those providers who were abusing the services. They did this by identifying the outliers. That is, the providers who were billing more than anyone else were the only ones surveyed. Other providers who volunteered for the survey and who are providing the services appropriately were ignored...

    Spin: “Failure to act would have jeopardized not only the overall funding of the Medicaid program that supports 1.5 million recipients in North Carolina, but also the integrity of all the new service definitions critical to treating people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services.”

    Fact: Surprising professional private providers with a retroactive rate cut on the Thursday afternoon before Easter weekend had a decimating effect on services. Providers immediately began suspending services and deciding whether to go out of business or remain in business and go bankrupt. The service definitions can’t be met without providers. Hooker Odom’s inference that cutting rates will somehow improve services is absurd on its face.


    [more on Scrutiny Hooligans]

    This stupid, stupid decision is already impacting thousands of consumers as several agencies have already shuttered their doors. Counties can only bail out so many before their emergency mental health money is spent. The State, in its apparent impulsive, reactive and sociopathic maneuver, has created (not abated) another mental health crisis, this time one that disproportionately affects kids. As an adult, I'm used to the state throwing obstacles on the road to collective happiness, but it is so hideously unfair to kids that should this ghastly plan succeed, a generation of North Carolinians will be terribly unprepared in coping with their mental illness and will even further compound the system. Shame on a governor I helped to elect who allegedly stood for these very values now being vacated in the name of the ever ambiguous "reform" buzzword. Shame on those legislators considering a pay raise on the backs of our most vulnerable. Shame on a $220 million+ plan to renovate a mental hospital without thinking that, perhaps, some proactive spending would perhaps thwart the need for one in the future.

    Anyway...

    Here's other goodies to chew on:

  • Sometimes, when we kill innocent kids in Iraq, the Pentagon will drop some "sorry" cash. Many times, we won't.
  • Could the ubiquitous cell phone and related EMF play a big part in Colony Collapse Disorder?
  • Quantum scientists scale down and cool off in an attempt to observe strangeness in real time.
  • When the world's got you down, know that there's a kitty who hops a bus to the shops on a daily basis.
  • "Everything in the Bambuti life is centered on the forest because that is what sustains them and they believe that it is a sacred place." But logging companies had the gall to swindle the world's second largest forest for about $100.
  • As I've said before, Judas was told to do it. "The newly discovered Gospel of Judas suggests that Judas was, in fact, the favorite disciple, the only one Jesus trusted to carry out his final command to hand him over to the Romans." Take that, Pat Robertson et al.
  • Mapping a whale's journey from Antarctica to Cost Rica.
  • Scientists recreate primordial soup, bring your own crackers.
  • Dain Bramage, Evolution, and the Future of Morality.
  • Human evolution finally hitting the accelerator again.

    filed under: a great cacophany of topicality blogged: 07.33 Mon, 16 Apr '07

  • Mon 09 Apr 07

    Monday Combo Platter & Long Distance Friendship Tribute

    First off, despite a three day weekend (calendar-wise) I'm not caught up on the hamster wheel of things to do. So, I've got to be brief... yet there's a steaming platter of fresh linkage and a video which serves as a tribute to my best friend Joshua and equally fab-oo Robin, who are now happily gallivanting around the Emerald Isle on their first international trip. Tonight, I'm going to a concert in Charlotte by VNV Nation, a powerful, soul-invigorating German techno band that Joshua turned me on to. The song, Beloved, is an anthem that brings up some deep emotion in both of us.

    UPDATE: Here they are, at the Guinness store in Dublin!

  • Our anger is being ironed out of us: It is an ideology which views human beings as selfish, mistrustful, isolated individuals who are seen, and have come to see themselves, as simplistic beings who can be understood and directed through the application of scientific techniques, especially through the application of mathematics, numbers and targets that can tell them what they are expected to achieve, what is normal and how they should feel. This diminished view of the self might have been of use in countering communist tyranny but it was a ‘trap’ and it has left us with ‘no positive vision in the face of all the reactionary forces’ that it has in fact helped to awaken around the world...
  • The Climate Divide; Rich nations find it easier to adapt: Over the last few decades, as scientists have intensified their studies of the human effects on climate and of the effects of climate change on humans, a common theme has emerged: in both respects, the world is a very unequal place. In almost every instance, the people most at risk from climate change live in countries that have contributed least to the atmospheric buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases linked to the recent warming of the planet. Those most vulnerable countries also tend to be the poorest. And the countries that face the least harm - and are best equipped to deal with the harm they do face - tend to be the richest.
  • Sociable Darwinism; Evolution for Everybody: The constant give-and-take between me versus we extends down to the tiniest and most primal elements of life. Short biochemical sequences may want to replicate themselves ad infinitum, their neighboring sequences be damned; yet genes get together under the aegis of cells and reproduce in orderly fashion as genomes, as collectives of sequences, setting aside some of their immediate selfish urges for the sake of long-term genomic survival. Cells further collude as organs, and organs pool their talents and become bodies. The conflict between being well behaved, being good, not gulping down more than your share, and being selfish enough to get your fair share, “is eternal and encompasses virtually all species on earth,” he writes, and it likely occurs on any other planet that supports life, too, “because it is predicted at such a fundamental level by evolutionary theory.”
  • The Epic Collapse of the Bush Administration: The three big Bush stories of 2007--the decision to "surge" in Iraq, the scandalous treatment of wounded veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys for tawdry political reasons--precisely illuminate the three qualities that make this Administration one of the worst in American history: arrogance (the surge), incompetence (Walter Reed) and cynicism (the U.S. Attorneys).
  • Neuroplasticisty; Rewiring the Brain: This rigorous mental training drives neuroplasticity in ways that awe many of the scientists studying it. Brain scans reveal that the neural activity of highly trained monks is off the charts, relative to meditation novices, in circuits that involve maternal love (caudate), empathy (right insula), and feelings of joy and happiness (left prefrontal cortex). Even when these monks are not meditating, their brains bear the imprints of their psychic workouts. The latter two structures, for instance, are anatomically enlarged. Based on results like these, Begley holds out hope that our emotional lives and personalities, far from being carved in stone by our genes and early experiences, will prove as sculptable through mental training as our bodies are through physical training.
  • How we learned to stop having fun: The disease grew increasingly prevalent over the course of the 20th century, when relatively sound statistics first became available, and this increase cannot be accounted for by a greater willingness on the part of physicians and patients to report it. Rates of schizophrenia, panic disorders and phobias did not rise at the same time, for example, as they would be expected to if only changes in the reporting of mental illness were at work. According to the World Health Organisation, depression is now the fifth leading cause of death and disability in the world, while ischemic heart disease trails in sixth place. Fatalities occur most dramatically through suicide, but even the mild form of depression - called dysthemia and characterised by an inability to experience pleasure - can kill by increasing a person's vulnerability to serious somatic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Far from being an affliction of the famous and successful, we now know that the disease strikes the poor more often than the rich, and women more commonly than men. Just in the past few years, hundreds of books, articles and television specials have been devoted to depression: its toll on the individual, its relationship to gender, the role of genetic factors, the efficacy of pharmaceutical treatments. But to my knowledge, no one has suggested that the epidemic may have begun in a particular historical time, and started as a result of cultural circumstances that arose at that time and have persisted or intensified since.
  • New voice for the oldest song ever: "The Prayer of an Infertile Woman" goes back further than doo-wop or rockabilly and is even older than Peter, Paul and Mary put together. Inscribed in cuneiform symbols on a clay tablet, this tune is, in fact, 1,200 years older than Jesus. The singer was Dr. Theo J. H. Krispijn, an accomplished vocalist who has appeared on Dutch television. He also is a professor in Assyriology at Leiden University in the Netherlands, and, in that role, brought back - after 3,200 years of silence - the plaintive cry of the infertile woman beseeching the moon goddess, Nikkal, for a solution to her problem.

    Beloved ~ VNV Nation

    It's colder than before
    The seasons took all they had come for
    Now winter dances here
    It seems so fitting don't you think?
    To dress the ground in white and grey

    It's so quiet I can hear
    My thoughts touching every second
    That I spent waiting for you
    Circumstances affords me
    No second chance to tell you
    How much I've missed you

    My beloved do you know
    When the warm wind comes again
    Another year will start to pass
    And please don't ask me why I'm here
    Something deeper brought me
    Than a need to remember

    We were once young and blessed with wings
    No heights could keep us from their reach
    No sacred place we did not soar
    Still, greater things burned within us
    I don't regret the choices that I've made
    I know you feel the same

    My beloved do you know
    How many times I stared at clouds
    Thinking that I saw you there
    These are feelings that do not pass so easily
    I can't forget what we claimed as ours

    Moments lost though time remains
    I am so proud of what we were
    No pain remains, no feeling
    Eternity awaits
    Grant me wings that I might fly
    My restless soul is longing
    No pain remains, no feeling
    Eternity awaits

    My beloved do you know
    When the warm wind comes again
    Another year will start to pass
    And please don't ask me why I'm here
    Something deeper brought me
    Than a need to remember

    My beloved do you know
    How many times I stared at clouds
    Thinking that I saw you there
    These are feelings that do not pass so easily
    I can't forget what we claimed as ours

    Moments lost though time remains
    I am so proud of what we were
    No pain remains, no feeling
    Eternity awaits
    Grant me wings that I might fly
    My restless soul is longing
    No pain remains, no feeling
    Eternity awaits

    Moments lost though time remains
    I am so proud of what we were
    No pain remains, no feeling
    Eternity awaits
    Grant me wings that I might fly
    My restless soul is longing
    No pain remains, no feeling
    Eternity awaits

    Moments lost though time remains
    I am so proud of what we were
    No pain remains, no feeling
    Eternity awaits
    Grant me wings that I might fly
    My restless soul is longing
    No pain remains, no feeling
    Eternity awaits

    filed under: a great cacophany of topicality blogged: 09.44 Mon, 09 Apr '07

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    "Aut Viam Inveniam, Aut Faciam." - Seneca