margonaut blog archive (2004-2014)

29Mar/071

props to one of my heroes

Here is part of why I love Jon Stewart and would love to talk media with him someday. He obviously knows a thing or two :)

Jon Stewart: Journalist or Comedian?
http://www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?ID=1591
Nearly one in four adults aged 18 to 29 get their election news from watching “The Daily Show” or NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” Young people who watched “The Daily Show” scored higher on a campaign knowledge test than network news viewers and newspaper readers. All late-night comedy viewers scored higher than network viewers. “Daily Show” viewers scored higher than both.

“Literally no one upheld the honor better of what remains of the media than did this ‘fake news’ comedian. He is our leader. How pathetic is that?”
Eric Alterman for The Nation

Filed under: politics 1 Comment
29Mar/071

lunar influence

The study referred to below found that the moon does in fact affect human behaviour, though they're not fully sure why or how.

I've talked to people who have worked in emergency rooms that claim Full Moon nights are generally more eventful than others. There is much anecdotal evidence out there that seems to say something is definitely going on.

How the Moon Rules Your Life
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/article2171687.ece
For eons, folklore has blamed the Moon for everything from lunacy to bad luck. And, for the last few centuries, scientists have scoffed. Now, according to new research they're not so sure. The Moon may not be made of cheese, but it seems to influence a lot more down on Earth than we previously thought.

Filed under: miscellaneous 1 Comment
27Mar/074

Speaking Circles

A wonderful woman in my local Toastmasters club invited me to another public speaking skills development group called Speaking Circles.

While Toastmasters is largely about giving feedback and evaluating each other, Speaking Circles focuses on cultivating "relational presence" with one person at a time while one is talking and dropping all evaluation, especially evaluation of oneself. They recommend talking to and really conecting with one person at a time, even when speaking to large audiences.

The experience made me realize how I often shy away from eye contact and drift off mentally with other people even though I talk about "cultivating present moment awareness" (I'm aware that I have more cultivating to do.)

It was definitely good practice and made me realize there is really no reason for me to be shy anymore!

Speaking Circles
http://www.speakingcircles.com
Speaking Circles® focus on the essential first step missing in traditional public speaking programs - the connection between speaker and listeners. This relationship-based approach provides a supportive listening environment where you learn to express yourself confidently and naturally without performance techniques.

Filed under: miscellaneous 4 Comments
22Mar/072

how do these people sleep at night?

According to this report, the US Government has outsourced the job of reviewing whether a chemical causes birth defects to someone that works for the same company that makes and sells the chemical...

Chemical Industry Consultant Runs Federal Reproductive Health Agency
http://ewg.org/issues/bisphenola/20070228/index.php
The Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR) — an agency under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health — is actually run by Sciences International (SI) of Alexandria, Va. EWG found that Sciences International has collaborated with Dow Chemical Co., a major manufacturer of a widely used industrial chemical the agency will evaluate next week, and has also worked for the tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds.
...
BPA is a heavily used industrial chemical that is integral to the production of hard plastics and is found in the liners of metal food cans and in hard plastic containers. More than 200 animal studies show that BPA is toxic at very low doses, while the Centers for Disease Control has found BPA in 95 percent of people tested at levels that raise health concerns.

20Mar/072

change is the only constant

Here's the written out version of my latest Toastmasters speech.

What I end up saying in front of an audience never comes out quite like what has been written down. I generally memorize the outline and go from there rather than memorizing something word for word.

Enjoy.

Coping With Quantum Novelty

Change is happening all around us. From geopolitical shifts to population growth to technological development, we are living in a period of rapid change never seen before in any previous time in history. I like to playfully call this exponential acceleration of everything “quantum novelty.”

How can we best learn to cope with such unprecedented change? Here are a few tips:

Perhaps most obvious tip for learning to adapt to quantum novelty is to expect the unexpected. Even those who live very routine lives day in and day out, and perhaps who like to use the acronym SSDD (“same s@#% different day) will eventually have their world shaken up and it will become obvious that ideas of stability and security are illusions. Expect and prepare for the unexpected. Every day, anything could happen.

The second tip for adapting to quantum novelty is to embrace uncertainty, or, to love the unknown. A palpable shift happens in life when we change our attitude from fearing the fact that we don’t know what’s going to happen next to truly accepting and appreciating the fact that reality is uncertainty. We can wake up every morning worrying or we can say to ourselves, “Wow, I wonder what’s going to happen today!” When we change our attitude, we make space for more interesting and auspicious circumstances in our lives.

The third tip for adapting to Quantum Novelty is to meet everyone as perpetually new. Just as circumstances and situations change, so do people. If someone didn’t say hi to you, if they forgot your name, or even directly insulted you, let it go and the next time you see them, meet them again as a new person. Even if you have been through a long, protracted drama with someone realize that having gone through that drama has changed them and they are now new. You never know when someone is going to do a complete 180 degree shift and change their ways, giving up whatever it is you have been judging them for.

Though you may choose to not lend money or go into business with someone based on their past behaviour, releasing any animosity, anger, contempt, or other negative attitudes towards others and practicing perpetual “instaforgiveness” is liberating. It opens up opportunities for connections and friendships with people you may have otherwise written off. When a group of people all practice meeting each other as perpetually new, it truly transforms group dynamics and individual happiness for the better.

The fourth tip for adapting to quantum novelty is to cultivate present moment awareness, or to be here now. This concept has been explored in many books and philosophical systems through the ages, and there are several reasons that it is important.

Present moment awareness allows us to focus on doing our best on whatever it we are doing in this moment. The ongoing present moment is our place of power, and the only place where action and change can happen. It could be said that the present moment is really the only time that exists.

Practicing present moment awareness when we are spending time with other people allows us to make deeper and more meaningful connections because when we are paying attention and truly fully being with someone we communicate and express feelings with more clarity and depth. This is what “quality time” is all about.

Learning to be here now also helps us to relax. When we put aside worries about the future and regrets about the past, everything that happens around us goes more smoothly and we are happier. In the book The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle writes that the intensity of our pain “depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment.”

No one can maintain an aware, worry free state 100% of the time, however if we are gentle on ourselves when we lapse and work on simply coming back to our centre again and again as best we can, it gets easier and easier with time.

Deepak Chopra writes in the Seven Laws of Spiritual Success that “the search for certainty and security are actually an attachment to the known.” Loosening up this attachment and learning to accept and flow with change (instead of using up all of our energy clinging to the metaphorical riverbank) will be among the most valuable survival skills we can carry into an increasingly uncertain future.

19Mar/071

visionary science

There is no need for science to be opposed to spirituality. In fact, the most influential scientists in history found inspiration in their research through dreams, meditation, and visions!

Mysticism As A Key To Scientific Breakthroughs
http://www.infinitebeing.com/0406/mysticscience.htm
Mystics are visionaries. That’s what gives them the edge in scientific research.

Newton, Faraday and Einstein were all examples of mystics. Most of their research occurred, not in a laboratory, but within their visionary consciousness.

Filed under: science 1 Comment
15Mar/071

feeling change in the air

This quote affected me today.

Again and again I therefore admonish my students in Europe and America: Don't aim at success -- the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run -- in the long-run, I say! -- success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.

~ Viktor Frankl, Man's Search For Meaning

14Mar/071

blogvertising

Product reviews and recommendations on the Internet are suspect because often they're written by representatives of the companies that make said products.

Here's an example of how advertisers have realized that YES people do actually read blogs: paying bloggers to post favourable things as hidden advertising.

I do admit to pushing books from time to time but I will never participate in any of the "opportunties" this company offers...

Pay Per Post
http://payperpost.com
Advertisers create an account by making an initial deposit via credit card or PayPal. After your account is created, you are free to create "Opportunities" in our system. Think of an Opportunity as a posting on a bulletin board specifically for bloggers who are willing to be paid for posting content.

The Opportunity you create tells the blogger what you want him/her to post about. You can require the blogger to add photos to their post, write about experiences with your product; the possibilities are up to your imagination.

Filed under: miscellaneous 1 Comment
13Mar/072

free salad

It's that time of year when the newest dandelion leaves make a tasty and nutritious alternative to other greens in salads and in cooking. I'll be throwing some in the juicer for a vitamin and mineral boost.

Make sure you pick them from land that hasn't been sprayed and isn't super close to exhaust fumes...

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Filed under: miscellaneous 2 Comments
12Mar/072

feel the pain (don’t feed it)

I had a wildly emotional day full of self-critical thinking and though I did my best to be the observer of my emotions, it was one of the more challenging days I've experienced in awhile.

I got through it and a session on the drums helped a lot.

Later I read my horoscope and it said, "Disliking your emotions is the problem, not the emotions themselves."

Bam! Epiphany du jour.