On the most basic level, evil is running from pain.
At the deepest level, evil is running from joy.

JackZen on Zen principles

Surprise quote

“Today it is easier to acquire treasures
than it is to give them the time they deserve.”

world’s most popular blogging anesthesiologist, bookofjoe

paused for paw

My sunset with LuckyMy springer spaniel Lucky endured his first ‘boo-boo’ this morning.

He’s four but never been hurt in a fight or accident or abuse ‘cept for dumb things like bumping his head on a tree or the refrigerator door.

He leaped into a ditch in south Eureka, California and cut a pad on his front paw. Of course he hurts. Evident in his limp.

As we carried on toward the motel, I studied calm heredity. Our task seemed so matter-of-fact. Limp. Yes. Stop. Lick. Attend. Clean. Yes. But walk.

I thought of our thousands of years with dog, sparking a glimpse into the millions of miles along our companion path.

Pursuit of truth and beauty

Few during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used. The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives. –Albert Einstein

How To: Compelling Executive Summary

By now, you’ve probably already read several articles, web pages—even books—about writing the perfect executive summary. Most of them offer a wealth of well-intended suggestions about all the stuff you need to include in the executive summary. They provide a helpful list of the forty-two critical items you should cover, and then they tell you to be concise.

Most guides to writing an executive summary miss the key point: The job of the executive summary is to sell, not to describe.

Still in ruins

The Katrina reconstruction project is estimated to cost $200 billion – or more. Adding salt to the wound, Hurricane Rita caused another $5 billion in damage. Insured damage ranges widely from $35 billion to $60 billion. More than 2000 dead. Tens of thousands of homes await reconstruction in low-lying New Orleans.

  • no clear political framework
  • no decision makers
  • nobody driving the process

“Everybody knows what they want to do, but they are busy trying to figure out who is in charge.”, Phil Bernstein, vice president of AutoDesk.

Memo to a nation’s heart:
Can you believe that our social framework, our community, our essential structure as a people, fails such an obvious and defined task? Do you then trust that we correctly respond to other needs? We must look each other in the eye.

The causes of crime

Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman points out, to be a successful consumer now defines what it is to be “normal”.

Therefore to be “abnormal” is to be a failed consumer. The lot of the failed consumer is miserable.

This new poor may be better off in absolute terms than the poor of previous generations, but in the world of the turbo-consumer what you have means nothing – it’s what others have and therefore what we must have next that counts. On these terms the new poor are falling far behind in an age when keeping up is everything.

The failed consumer suffers not just from exclusion from normal society but isolation. The poor of the past had each other in a community of poverty. Misery could be shared and countered through class solidarity and the hope of a different life. The new poor lick their wounds alone.

The final ignominy of today’s poor is that they don’t want to overthrow the rich to create a new order, they just want to be like them. So they are denied even the satisfaction of anyone to hate – just B-list celebrities to envy and copy.

So if you want the causes of crime then look no further than the impulse of the poor to belong and be normal. So strong is this urge that the failed consumer will lie, cheat and steal to “earn” the trappings of success.

Canada joins the EU?

Europeans believe that the free market should be tamed by values of social justice, solidarity and inclusiveness, realised through a strong welfare state. We don’t have capital punishment. We believe that military force should only be used as a last resort and with the sanction of international law. We support international organisations. We love multilateralism and abhor unilateralism. We tend to think that men and women should be able to live more or less as they please with whomever they please, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation. We pride ourselves on our diversity. Check, check, check. Welcome to Canada.

A perfect member for the EU

…why doesn’t the European Union invite Canada to join at once?

In most respects it would be a much easier fit than Ukraine, let alone Turkey.

It effortlessly meets the EU’s so-called Copenhagen criteria for membership, including democratic government, the rule of law, a well-regulated market economy and respect for minority rights (Canada’s a world-leader on that).

Canada is rich, so would be a much-needed net contributor to the European budget at a time when the EU has been taking in lots of poorer states.

One of Europe’s besetting weaknesses is disagreement between the British and the French, but on this the two historic rivals would instantly agree. English-speaking Canada would strengthen the Anglophone group in the EU, Quebec the Francophone.

Global biocapacity

worldchanging posted this graph, from the Footprint Network, [that] pretty handily sums up the whole situation.

The Earth’s biologically productive area is about 11 billion hectares.

That’s 1.8 global hectares per person.

Humanity’s demand is 2.2 global hectares per person.


post and comments at worldchanging

d’value d’nation

“…a lack of face-to-face interaction leads people to devalue themselves and others and this leads to some wacky personal and social behavior on their part.

For example, war and other kinds of violence become easier for these folks to accept because they don’t have the empathy that comes with face-to-face interaction. Politicians and businessmen also get away with more because, if they are concerned about politics at all, people focus on broad political and social issues and virtual protest and not on the face-to-face social interaction required to really solve political and social problems.

Finally others suffer when face-to-face interaction is minimized. Kids are a good example. They need solid, loving personal interaction to grow into confident, effective, successful adults. That interaction doesn’t happen when one or both parents and maybe even the kid are almost constantly preoccupied with tantalizing electronic emanations from the Web and other media.”

Who Designed This Crap?
The Dark Side of the Internet

The Internet is a wondrous place that some misuse in a way that can be especially devastating for us all.

It seems its designers didn’t take account of the fact that it imposes a kind of level of abstraction – a depersonalization screen that removes us from the face-to-face interaction we might otherwise have with people.

Come to the dark side.

Be sure to read pages 4 and 5. Page 4 focuses responsibility for Internet misuse on a target that may surprise you. Page 5 is some cool feedback from a reader who sees things very differently.

“Thiefs” in the feifdom

Tim Berners-Lee starts a blog post: “When I invented the Web, I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission. Now, hundreds of millions of people are using it freely. I am worried that that is going end in the USA.” That freedom is now under threat. He says:

Let’s see whether the United States is capable of acting according to its important values, or whether it is, as so many people are saying, run by the misguided short-term interested of large corporations.

There’s a comprehensive account of Network neutrality at Wikipedia. There’s also a Save The Internet campaign.

via The Guardian

Listen. Proof of evolution.

Blues Evolution May Be For You If You Enjoy:

» Atlantic/Stax » Robben Ford » Bobby Bland » Van Morrison
» Ray Charles » Dr. John » Boz Scaggs » Larry Carlton
» Steve Winwood » Joe Cocker » BS&T » Gregg Allman
» Leon Russell » Eric Clapton

BE is the title of the debut CD by Blues Evolution — listen to Mp3 song samples from BE.

It’s Killing Me

If you think you’ve got it bad wait and see
When you lose all you have
Then you can talk to me
When you think you got troubles
And there ain’t no relief
Just watch where you’re walking
When you’re walking in the street
If you think you got it bad
It’s killing me.

A customer is a customer

A customer is a customer – they are all the same aren’t they? Wrong! They are all different but some of them might have things in common and that is useful for a business to know.

Knowing your Customers – Who are the Customers?

Customers for a business are anyone who is willing to pay a price to acquire a good or service from a business. You might recognise customers as people milling around the supermarket but you might not think about them in the same way that a business might.

Some customers have many different wants and needs – some simple and some very complex. For example, when you go into a McDonald’s what your needs are tends to fairly straight forward – you want your food quickly, of reasonable quality and cheap.

A chemical company might have a customer that requires highly volatile chemical substances. They might want particular delivery dates, specific times of delivery, specific types of packaging, detailed advice and instruction manuals for use and care of the chemicals and the products made to very high quality specifications!

Get hold of a Yellow Pages or a Thomson’s Local Directory for your area. Identify 20 different businesses and then write down what type of customers these businesses might have.

I’m not pitching to angels,

…if I enter data into a computer I expect a computer to know where it goes.

form building
building form market
form market available
form building market available

market available
market building available
form building market available

This is a business plan I can dig.

Seth on silk sheep

Retailers that spend on real estate, win.

The most expensive real estate in my county is a mall filled with stores. And those stores are jammed with shoppers. Almost none of them fold, none of them appear to be struggling. Almost all of them are expensive.

Two blocks away, independent stores, stores that cheaped-out on their real estate investment, those guys are struggling.

Well, you’re not in retail, maybe, or you’re virtual, so what difference does this make to you?

Question: what’s your “real estate”?

For most of us, it’s people.

Expensive people are just like expensive real estate. If you invest in them, you may just find they pay off. Some businesses work as hard as they can to pay people as little as they can (witness the fights over the minimum wage). What sort of growing business wants the minimum wage? If your business is people-based, as opposed to machine-based, why wouldn’t you want people who command more than the minimum?

A lesson learned at the mall

Virtual Developing Country

This site introduces you to many of the issues and ideas that are of interest in the field of development economics. You can take a series of virtual field trips throughout Zambia visiting a number of places and people, gaining access to key data and economic theory. Field trips including aid, wildlife and agriculture.

Cancer surgery causes cancer?

“Over half of all relapses in breast cancer are accelerated by surgery.”

Dr. Zajicek, who is Professor of Experimental Medicine and Cancer Research at The Faculty of Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote, “My studies of this phenomenon revealed that it appears in all cancers. Please check my site for a detailed explanation.”

more at bookofjoe

Face it. Forums fail.

Charlie Brooker in the Guardian says,

There’s no point debating anything online. You might as well hurl shoes in the air to knock clouds from the sky. The internet’s perfect for all manner of things, but productive discussion ain’t one of them. It provides scant room for debate and infinite opportunities for fruitless point-scoring: the heady combination of perceived anonymity, gestated responses, random heckling and a notional “live audience” quickly conspire to create a “perfect storm” of perpetual bickering.

via Frank Paynter’s Listics

Gee whiz.

Americans are more socially isolated than they were 20 years ago, separated by work, commuting and the single life, Duke University Professor Lynn Smith-Lovin reported on Friday.

Nearly a quarter of people surveyed said they had “zero” close friends with which to share or talk over issues.

What is happening? What are humans for?

More than 50 percent named two or fewer confidants, most often immediate family members.

[story at Reuters]

One train hauls one tree

Logging Redwood in northern California 1890

Excelsior Redwood Company locomotive’s pull eleven foot diameter giant redwood logs.

Link to gallery of sunny Fortuna near northern California’s majestic redwoods.

Link to the special collection in the Humboldt Room at Humboldt University.

Something built every day

“A country, after all, is not something you build as the pharaohs built the pyramids, and then leave standing there to defy eternity. A country is something that is built every day out of certain shared values…”
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada;
active from the late 1960s until the mid-1980s.

Trapped by beauty

scientific beauty checkEach pixel of this face has been calculated by scientists using a specialized software program.

It has been altered in a special way in order to make people think this is an attractive face.

Find out
why some faces are more beautiful than others.

Learn how scientists help unravel the mystery of beauty and the dangerous relationship between a beautiful body and social power.

“We are trapped by the simple false conclusion: what is beautiful is also good”.

“All this shows that we judge people and ourselves on a totally unrealistic basis. We compare ourselves with the most beautiful faces of the world which seem to be omnipresent in the media. They are integral parts in movies, in music video-clips, in commercials, they are on the title pages of magazines, on posters and so on. But the most absurd thing is that these “natural” faces the way they are depicted do not exist in reality either. Most of them are at least partially “artificial”. Their digital images are increasingly optimized by modern image processing software. By doing so faces are generated with attributes that are unreachable for even the most famous super models.”

SymFace lets you see how your face would look if it was perfectly symmetrical

For we are smothered in the revelation of beauty,
as awakening to each day within these stars must surely be.