Saturday, May 06, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

Designing Your Mind - an essay from This Will Make You Smarter

For Christmas I received the book This Will Make You Smarter.  Published in 2012, it consists of about 150 responses to the question “What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody’s Cognitive Toolkit?”  The responders are scientists, doctors, journalists and other interesting people with a connection to science.  The essays are short, three or four pages on average.  All of them had a valuable point.  Several jumped out at me, particularly this one.

Designing Your Mind – Donald Tapscott

I only discovered this person in the past year.  Donald Tapscott is a Canadian business person, about my age, who has followed, examined, and written about how the digital world is changing us, affecting how we do business and what will come about in our world because of it.  He and his son are now exploring and publicizing about the blockchain and alternative digital currencies.  In my opinion, 2017 will be the year that everyone becomes aware that this will revolutionize our financial transactions and in addition that it will affect our lives in ways not yet  conceived.  I’ve enjoyed several YouTube Videos by him.

His short essay is titled “Designing Your Mind”.  He states that

“Given recent research about brain plasticity and the dangers of cognitive load, the most powerful tool in our cognitive arsenal may well be design.  Specifically, we can use design principles and discipline to shape our minds.”

In brief, he provides evidence that our brains are sufficiently plastic that we can, by how we use our brains, effect physiological changes for our benefit.  We can re-wire our brains. 

“Results from studies like these support the notion that even among adults the persistent, concentrated use of one neighborhood of the brain really can increase its size and presumably its capacity.”

He cites Stan Kutcher that

“There is emerging evidence suggesting that exposure to new technologies may push the Net Generation [teenagers and young adults] brain past conventional capacity limitations.”

But not just the young can do this, even an oldster like myself can do it too.  Ways to accomplish this include mental rehearsal, memorizing, and practice.  By doing these things, we are taking an active role in designing our minds.  This is especially pertinent to me because at 66 I recognize my mind is not as sharp and quick as it used to be. This gives me hope that there is still a chance for improvement in certain ways and that I can remain useful to my loved ones and society.  



This Will Make You Smarter, J. Brockman ed;     ISBN-13:  9780062109392

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Scientists of Other Faiths and No Faith



Interesting and beautiful sentiment expressed in this quote by Stacy Transacos in an interview over at the Biologos website.

When I worked as a scientist, I collaborated with people in labs around the world, many of whom I never met face to face and most of whom were people of other faiths or no faith. That’s the beautiful thing about science. It can unite us like a good meal can unite diverse people around a table. 
I feel the same way.  I've always enjoyed meeting other scientists and engineers from here and abroad.  Am thankful for the people I've met and from whom I've learned.

See more at: http://biologos.org/blogs/brad-kramer-the-evolving-evangelical/science-on-the-wings-of-faith-an-interview-with-stacy-trasancos#sthash.Mz60HCBw.dpuf

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Bulrushes - The Bongos









 One of my favorite eighties groups.  They were kind of like American punk, softer and more melodic than the British version.  This particular song to me has a sixties feel like a combination of the Beatles and the Shadows of Night.  It was filmed purposely to emphasize that.




Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Regarding: Drink Bad Coffee and Change the World

Jonathan Storment posted this article titled Drink Bad Coffee and Change the World.  Jonathan is describing and honoring a book by Richard Beck titled Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for  Doubters Disenchanted


I particularly liked this quote.

"The church is a laboratory of love, a place where material care, sharing, hospitality, and mutual honoring are practiced and lived out…."



Saturday, August 06, 2016

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Thought for July 7, 2016

From my Kindle copy of Meditation As Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love
- Highlight Loc. 46-48 | Added on Sunday, May 15, 2016, 03:01 PM Arthur Zajonc quotes:


Simone Weil put it well when she wrote,“To love truth means to endure the void and, as a result, to accept death.Truth is on the side of death.”* Something dies in us every time we change.To make space for the true, familiar well-worn habits must give way.


* Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, trans. E. Crawford and M. von der Ruhr (New York: Routledge, 2002), p. 11.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Thoughts on the Nature of Consciousness Summer 1978



Some notes I found in the attic from the aged 27 me.  It was the summer of 1978.  I've wrestled with the nature of consciousness for a long time.  Also note the opening three lines I'm writing for myself three lines of a piece of music by Yes- Starship Trooper.

"Does consciousness begin?
Does it have an end?

What is feeling?  What is sensation? What is sight?
How can they exist where there is nothing to feel, see, or hear?

If there are no objects to touch, no sound waves for the ear, no light for the eyes, what would there be to be conscious of?
Is it possible to be conscious without these?  Is consciousness involved only in this existence?

Conscience exists now, does it have to end?  

Why does feeling, like sensation have to end?  Why death?
What is soul?

( knowledge
  sensation)       Whats the relation between them?
Is it possible to think without thinking in worldly terms?

Is that why we're here?  To experience, feel, touch?  Perhaps these don't exist on the other side?  Perhaps the structure of language will not permit talk of the other side.  The other side is untranslateable."




Monday, June 27, 2016

Bret Victor's Personal View of "What Can A Technologist Do About Climate Change?

I've just discovered a remarkable blogger, Bret Victor.  Plan to spend some time going back through his work.  A late 2015 article discussed what can be done technologically for addressing climate change. I highly recommend this.  A careful once-through reading is not enough, there are so many links, graphs, and models for the reader to come back to for further understanding and depth.  I'm learning a lot from it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Save the World by Using the Blockchain

Skype founder Jaan Tallinn proposes saving the world using Blockchain technoloy

http://bravenewcoin.com/news/skype-founder-jaan-tallinn-proposes-saving-the-world-using-blockchain-technology/

In an interview with the Telegraph, Tallinn says that he is “compiling a research paper on ways of using blockchain to create more co-ordination mechanisms,” that can be used to save humanity from possible resource-based problems, “from crime and corruption to deforestation and over-fishing.”

“The interesting thing about blockchain is that it has made it possible for humanity to reach a consensus about a piece of data without having any authority to dictate it,”
 - Jaan Tallinn




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