Monday, December 10, 2007

Meditation and evolution

I have a theory that meditation is an evolutionary step.

For one thing, with meditation, you are slowing down your brain and examining your actual process of thinking, which puts you in control of whatever impulses you were born with as a descendant of an ape. The more practiced you become with it, the less likely you are to give in to anger, and the more developed is your sense of compassion. If everyone meditated a lot, there might be no war, and war would become a brutish thing of the past.

For another, people who become very serious about meditation become monks and nuns, and often don't have children. This helps with the population problem. The more people who devote their time to meditation, the less resources are used.

Thirdly, in psychic theory and some Eastern religions that use meditation, beings float in and out of lifetimes, each time gaining more knowledge and compassion, with the ultimate goal of achieving Nirvana, or a state of heavenly perfection. At that point you don't have to come into a life to suffer anymore. If you subscribe to this theory then you are trying to be the best person you can be in this lifetime, ultimately bringing the human race a step towards positivity.

Finally, meditation puts you in touch with alternate states of consciousness, which may be necessary to develop further inventions and, I believe, to possibly communicate with alien forms of intelligent life. Meditation helps people have out of body experiences and get in touch with their sixth sense, which is nothing more than perception science is not yet able to define.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Hidden Messages in Water

The Hidden Messages in Water

I just picked up this book, the New York Times bestseller and featured in that movie What the Bleep? That movie left something to be desired, but the book is great.

A Japanese scientist took photos of water from mountain springs, and found that it formed crystals. Water from the tap forms no crystals.

He found that water exposed to the words "thank you" form lovely crystals, but water exposed to the word "Satan" forms an ugly, curdled pattern. Same for angry words.

His point is that because human beings are 70 percent water, we are directly affected on a physical level by what we say to each other.

A nice message about giving each other pats on the back.

Monday, August 6, 2007



I joined a blog group on Myspace called Tesla Tech.

At Burning Man in the year 2000, I saw a man use Tesla Technology by jumping up between a bolt of electricity between two Tesla coils, wearing a metal suit, and having the electricity hit him.

Apparently Tesla invented a source of free energy in the early part of the 20th century, which would not use nonrenewable resources. But his idea was shut down because nobody could make money off of it.

I'm having trouble believing that his idea actually works. Why are there no blueprints we can replicate? Can someone elaborate?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How water boils

A pot of water is held in the shape of a pot because the surface of the pot is solid and the water is liquid. Liquid takes the form of an empty solid.

The water begins almost entirely as liquid.

The temperature rises slowly, aggravating the H20 molecules to bounce around more quickly.

When any part of the water reaches 100 degrees Celsius, 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the hydrogen and oxygen atoms begin to split, and the substance becomes an expansive air. Tiny bubbles on the surface of the water, within the water, and between the surface of the water and the pot, appear.

The bubbles rise because they weigh less than the water, and the force of gravity doesn't pull on them as much. They are round because the air inside the bubbles is pushing out due to heat expansion, while the denser pressure of the water pushes in and holds its shape. The bubbles rise despite the water on top wanting to push down on them.

As the water continues to boil, more and more bubbles appear, rising to the surface and popping. The bubbles pop because the surface of the water on top of a bubble at the top of a boiling pot of water is much weaker than the heat expansion of the air inside, and the heat wins and pops the bubbles.

More and more bubbles appear, transferring the H20 into oxygen and hydrogen, until all the water is gone. I don't know where the hydrogen goes.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Suze Orman, the famous financial expert, advocates giving away a little bit of money each month in order to keep the money flowing in.

It's not a bad idea, and I'm going to try doing it, maybe just $5 a month to various organizations. I'm leaning towards health care, and I recently made a donation to Planned Parenthood, the wonderful organization that combats unwanted pregnancy and STDs among the young, the poor and the uninsured.

I am also leaning towards the local mental health center, and Doctors Without Borders, an international organization that provides volunteer medical services.

I can't wait to see Sicko, the new Michael Moore film. There is a scene in which the audience finds out that the U.S. ranks 37th in the world for health care. That's about what it feels like.

It's these nonprofit organizations that save so many people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford health care.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Movies and Masculinity

I was talking to my friend the other day who said that high school movies and romantic comedies from the 80's and 90's influenced the way Gen X men think about dating.

Say Anything, Better Off Dead, Can't Hardly Wait and the Wedding Singer all follow the story of sweet, sensitive men down on their luck and striving after a really pretty girl. The women are usually dating some sort of jockish, jerky dude, and then at the end of the movie, they fall for the sensitive one.

So men have been programmed to think that if they just act as the sympathetic friend with the listening ear, they'll win the girl.

But that's not how women work, my friend pointed out. These movies delude because women are more often going for men with spines. Sad but true.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the Westerns and other movies from the 40's and 50's. These usually feature some dude who's so dominant that he's kind of a jerk. But the women go for him anyway.

These movies present masculinity in a way that seems almost exotic today, because it's not featured in the media.

Last night, I saw the Magnificent Seven. When the young gun first meets the Mexican girl, he picks her up, throws her over his shoulder, and demands to know where the other girls are. These old movies feature a kind of brutality that you don't really see today. It might not even be permitted in the movies today.

Duel at Sunset, another Western, features the same type of character. Gary Cooper won't marry the girl, won't take her seriously, but she loves him anyway, then at the end of the movie, they shoot each other to death.

Old Westerns are fascinating to watch if you want to get into the psyche of the female mind.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Press releases

Every week, I slog through 100 press releases or so.

As an editorial assistant, I write briefs for each issue that look like this:

InfoPrint Solutions Co., the Boulder-based joint venture printing company announced earlier this year by IBM Corp. and Ricoh, has begun operations with 1,200 employees around the world. The company was formerly IBM's Printing Systems Division.

If you want to get through to newspapers, study exactly how their news looks, and format your releases accordingly, or sign up for PR Newswire. Too many people try and do it by themselves, to disastrous effects:

(made up example)
Hundreds of thousands of old people die alone. 50 percent of old women have only their cats to keep them company. 75 percent of Baby Boomers will be divorced by the time they are 60.
Nonprofit X works to help old people transition from a life of solitude to one of great joy by connecting them with elephants that know sign language. Since its founding in 1998, Nonprofit X has appeared at 200 senior center functions, bringing elephants for the seniors to talk to.

(many paragraphs later)
By the way, we hired a new executive director.

By far the best person who sends my newspaper press releases is Boulder's Best Organics, a company that puts together organic gift collections. They write just one or two sentences, because they understand that we have a section of briefs that are just one or two sentences long.

If you want to get through to people like me, make it really easy for us to understand the information in just a few seconds.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Data harvesting

The Central Penn Business Journal, a Harrisburg, Pa. publication, conducts a quarterly survey of businesspeople in the area, gathering their thoughts on the state of the economy. Then, they send the results to economists who analyze their opinions.

They use the same basic data tool that my newspaper uses, a tool that dozens of business journals across the country use. But most of us just collect facts--revenues, names, e-mail addresses. This was a brilliant use by Central Penn of a customizable survey format to collect the nuances of public opinion, and create economic indicators out of that.

Data services is, I think, a fairly new field, and the other companies in my area who do it, Umbria and Collective Intellect use complicated math to monitor blogs and other new media, and sell public opinion on trends for a high price.

Our surveying format has nothing to do with math. But it makes me realize that with a little effort, you can also collect public opinion and turn it into statistics.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Truth fallacy in journalism

I have a bit of a conundrum regarding facts.

There's a Boulder company, Domino Inc., that I'm putting into the Business Report's database, and I can't tell if its an Inc. or an LLC. In our recent issue, we published it as an Inc., but their Web site says its an LLC.

Many things could have happened,

a) one of our writers assumed it was an Inc.
b) it really is an Inc., but the company hasn't updated its Web site
c) the person who put together the press release is at fault.

It makes me wonder how much of what's published is true, and how close we can really get to the truth.

It happens with much bigger things, too. You might ask a public company for their revenues, and they quote 8.5 billion dollars, while, the trusted source for information on public companies, quotes 8.2 billion.

How close can we get to the truth in everyday life, who is responsible for the truth, and is there such a thing?

I am posing this as a question that has both journalistic and philosophical implications.

Does anyone know of what this phenomenon is called in philosophy? The truth fallacy, or something?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hybrid rentals

The Associated Press put out an article on rental car companies adding hybrid cars:

and it's a good thing, but I was dismayed at how few cars it is. Hertz is adding 3,400 hybrids and Avis is adding 1,000. They're only appearing in certain locations, like airports and Earth-friendly metropoles like Portland, Ore.

I'm surprised they don't think the demand is high enough across the U.S. to add them at every location.

Hertz is paying a pretty penny for its fleet, $68 million dollars, but not a lot compared to last year's revenues of $8 billion

I imagine the cost will be passed on to the consumer, and the companies will totally earn back their investment. I have heard that all of these new environmental incentives companies are taking--carbon offset credits, solar panels, etc., eventually pay off, and so I wonder which companies care about the environment and which are doing it for PR.

Well, let's all ask for hybrid cars the next time we rent--it will increase the demand. There may only be one or two per location, though.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Visual Blogs

My friend, Jess Gonacha, a young artist in Boulder, has a blog that is quite visual.

She might post ten things she wants to do, like visit Iceland, and each thing has a beautiful picture attached. Or, for nine days in a row, she created one piece of art per day, and put it on her blog. One of the art pieces is a drawing of the relationship between an owl and an egg.

To see what a well-crafted, image-laden blog looks like, visit her blog at You can also get a sense of what young artists are creating and interested in today.

I'm quite new to the blogosphere, but I'm realizing that it mimics the traditional media. My blog, which will probably be mostly writing, is like a newspaper. Jess' blog is like a design magazine. Then there are some which blur the lines between advertising and newswriting, like another Boulder guy who reviews products from all over the country,

Friday, June 15, 2007

Crocs Stock

Crocs Inc., the Colorado-based public company that made rubber shoes so famous, just split their stock in half, making the value go from about $90 a share to $45 a share. It also doubles the amount of stock they have, to make it more accessible to investors.

I'll be curious to see how much longer this stock can go up.

At this point, if I don't buy clothes for two months, I can afford about two shares of Crocs, and then if I'm lucky they'll go up in value, and then I can buy two months worth of clothes and a week's worth of lattes.

I'm pretty new to following the stock market, but because I work at a business newspaper, I can't help but notice the economy's doing pretty well. But how much longer can this ugly shoe company go up in value?

They did just release a line of high-style, high-heeled shoes due to their acquisition of an Italian shoe designer, and it actually makes me want to put the things on my feet.

They're thinking of everything. They realized that not everyone wants to put hideous pink clogs on their feet, so now they're appealing to the urbanites with this new line, I think it's called YOU.

My big fear is that I'll slide a pair on my feet and turn into one of those people that wears them everyday with socks.