Archive for September, 2008

Twitter Updates for 2008-09-21

  • @Dassini Primeval: Temporal anomalies allow extinct animals into the present. A motley team tries to keep the world safe. Mayhem ensues. #
  • @Dassini Sorry to hear your tale. BTW, this says you can allow anyone to comment on your blog: Would be nice! #
  • Primeval, season 2, episode 3. Only so-so. The animations were kind of funky. Lacked the drama of the previous two episodes. #
  • I’m singing to myself. Maia gives me a look of profound sadness and says, “No, daddy.” #
Posted at 11pm on Sep 21, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Apropos of nothing

Buddhist blogs

This list is cribbed straight from Danny Fisher’s site. I’ve subscribed to most of these using Google Reader. So far it’s been relatively easy to keep up with the flow of articles — by which I mean that I can at least scan them and see if there are any articles I want to read.

Posted at 6pm on Sep 21, 2008 | 2 comments
Filed Under: Meditation & practice

Maia’s language development

MaiaShrijnana and I were wondering how Maia’s linguistic development compared with the average. I looked at a few websites and they all said things like, “A typical 22-month-old’s vocabulary consists of about 20 words, and most toddlers can also combine a couple of words to ask questions or make statements.”

We haven’t counted Maia’s active vocabulary, but it includes words like head, teeth, foot, toe, socks, shoes, piano, motorbike, airplane, car, cat, dog, door, outside, diaper, milk, bottle, tea, coffee, eat, toy, water, river, tree, sky, moon, blue, light, apple sauce, home, cup, wall, cheerios, peach, upstairs, stairs, down, up, picture, iPod, phone, keys, paper, come on, coming, slide, sand, bath, poop, pee, change, pretty, book, banana, dammit (a rather unfortunate one, that), spoon, fan, walk, jump, turn, yes, no, hi, hello, belly, knee, etc, etc , etc. I’d guess she knows well over a hundred …

Posted at 6pm on Sep 21, 2008 | 23 comments
Filed Under: Adoption/Family
Tags: ,

Twitter Updates for 2008-09-20

  • Lots of research today but not much actual writing. #
Posted at 11pm on Sep 20, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Apropos of nothing

Best video I’ve seen on McCain – please pass it on

A very effective video that sums up some of my main concerns about John McCain. It doesn’t go into his dishonesty or his foul-temper, but it does show how proud he is (or was) of being a part of the Bush regime.

Posted at 7pm on Sep 20, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics

Buddhists and politics

When I first started this blog I was wary when it came to posting about politics. I of course have political views, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I’m positively outraged by political developments and I feared I’d end up using my blog to rant. And the ranting season is now well under way.

I experience doubt about this: on the one hand I think Buddhists should be politically aware and politically active, but on the other hand I harbor the suspicion that I’m not very good at writing about politics in a very reflective, balanced, equanimous, considered and — dammit — “Buddhist” way. I keep thinking, maybe I’m just picking sides and letting my ego take over the keyboard?

I think it’s that awareness that has had me posting recently about the psychology of conservatism and liberalism (and I promise I will be writing shortly about some …

Posted at 12pm on Sep 20, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Politics

More on conservative psychology

Further to yesterday’s post, here’s one from the WaPo on how conservatives handle information that disproves their beliefs: yes, contradictory information only strengthens their existing convictions.

Political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler provided two groups of volunteers with the Bush administration’s prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. One group was given a refutation — the comprehensive 2004 Duelfer report that concluded that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction before the United States invaded in 2003. Thirty-four percent of conservatives told only about the Bush administration’s claims thought Iraq had hidden or destroyed its weapons before the U.S. invasion, but 64 percent of conservatives who heard both claim and refutation thought that Iraq really did have the weapons. The refutation, in other words, made the misinformation worse.

A similar “backfire effect” also influenced conservatives told about Bush administration assertions that tax cuts increase federal revenue. One

Posted at 12pm on Sep 19, 2008 | 2 comments
Filed Under: Religion & Society

Twitter Updates for 2008-09-18

  • Just led a class at Aryaloka – “What is Buddhism”. Lots of fun. #
  • Primeval season 2: Wow! They really cranked up the tension. The first and second episodes are really tightly plotted and executed. #
  • Douglas Henshall reminds me of Vimalavajra. #
  • Spending too much time reading a great article about the demise of the Neanderthals: #
Posted at 11pm on Sep 18, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Apropos of nothing

The psychology of conservatism and liberalism

An interesting article on the psychology of conservatism:

“[People displaying] measurably lower physical sensitivities to sudden noises and threatening visual images were more likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, pacifism and gun control,” the team wrote in its report, to be published in the journal Science tomorrow.

“Individuals displaying measurably higher physiological reactions to those same stimuli were more likely to favor defense spending, capital punishment, patriotism and the Iraq War.”

From: Conservatives Have Stronger Startle Reflexes?

This backs up other similar findings, such as those in this Psychology Today piece:

In 1969, Berkeley professors Jack and Jeanne Block embarked on a study of childhood personality, asking nursery school teachers to rate children’s temperaments. They weren’t even thinking about political orientation.

Twenty years later, they decided to compare the subjects’ childhood personalities with their political preferences as adults. They found arresting patterns. As kids, liberals had developed close relationships with peers

Posted at 9pm on Sep 18, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Religion & Society
Tags: , ,

Department of Homeland Stupidity

Even seven-year-olds can be held up for hours at airports because they’re on the terrorist watch-list. Perhaps the kid needs to change his name, since apparently that’s all you need to do to baffle our security forces.

Ms. Harris and her husband — who, she said, had asked that his name not be used because of concerns that he would be flagged himself on business trips — often travel with their twin sons, Alex and Julian. On two occasions, Alex and his family were kept in a holding room upon arrival at Kennedy International Airport from London because his name apparently matched a name on the list.

Alex was born in 2000.

On the Road – Mistakes on Terrorist Watch List Affect Even Children –

Posted at 9am on Sep 18, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Apropos of nothing

Twitter Updates for 2008-09-17

  • Sounds True publishing have just been talking to be about having me lecture in India next year. Very exciting! #
Posted at 11pm on Sep 17, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Apropos of nothing

The GOP’s 20% lie

Republican Representative Roy Blount is on board with the GOP fiction that Alaska produces 20% of the US’s energy (or oil — they can’t keep the story straight).

The fiction is important for the GOP to maintain because Sarah Palin has zero foreign policy or national security experience. Therefore energy production has to be touted as a national security issue in order to give her the credentials she lacks. Energy is of course related to the national security of the US, but there’s no logical connection between knowing about energy production and having any knowledge of or expertise in national security.

Palin was of course appointed in February 2003 to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to fill the seat “reserved for a member of the general public” (as opposed to those reserved for those with expertise in …

Posted at 2pm on Sep 17, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Apropos of nothing

Sloppy reporting in the NYT

I’ve become an addict of the new Ideas blog at the New York Times — a collection of brief “what we’re reading” posts by Tom Kuntz and other editors of the Week in Review. I’m a big fan. I love the blog.

But one post today was atrocious in its inaccuracy, and jumped on a bandwagon that caused a good man to lose his job.

The post reads:

United Kingdom Come

Religion | News from the land where Darwin appears on the 10-pound note: creationism is making a comeback in Britain, say its believers and critics. Witness the creationism museum in Portsmouth. More significant, the Royal Society — Darwin’s old crowd — now says creationism should be taught in science classes as a legitimate point of view. [London Times, BBC]

The “controversy” is a fake one. Professor Michael Reiss of the Royal Society had said this:

“Creationism has no scientific basis.

“However, when young

Posted at 9am on Sep 17, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Religion & Society

Twitter Updates for 2008-09-16

  • Maia walked up to a standing Buddha statue in abhaya mudra and high-fived him. I think we should call it the “high-five mudra.” #
Posted at 11pm on Sep 16, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Apropos of nothing

Miscellany at large

This just in: McCain invented the Blackberry (the e-mail device, not the fruit) — Makes a change from spurious claims that Al Gore said he’d invented the internet.

A Vegetarian Diet Shrinks the Brain — Oh, crap!

San Antonio is going green with sewage — Crap! But in a good way.

Bias: Andrea Mitchell (et al) — From a Buddhist blog, recently discovered by me thanks to the Rev. Danny Fisher.

Better late than never? Clergyman says church owes Darwin an apology — Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! Or is that nephew?

Posted at 7pm on Sep 16, 2008 | 2 comments
Filed Under: Apropos of nothing

Twitter Updates for 2008-09-15

  • One thing I enjoy about “Friends” is that they can all behave stupidly but still like each other. #
  • This morning when Shrijnana was getting Maia up, Maia said “Bye-bye my daddy.” #
Posted at 11pm on Sep 15, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Apropos of nothing

Arthur C. Clarke on Buddhism

Arthur C. Clarke, the famous science fiction writer, was notorious for being anti-religion, but he also had respect for Buddhism. I just came across the foreword he wrote to “The Buddha’s Teachings on Prosperity: At Home, At Work, In the World,” by Bhikkhu Rahula Basnagoda.

It’s an interesting evaluation of Buddhism by a religious skeptic.

Foreword by Arthur C. Clarke

I have to admit that there is some incongruity in a lifelong secularist like myself writing these words to introduce a book on the Buddha’s way to prosperity, wisdom, and inner peace. My views on religion have been widely publicized, and I believe all religions are a form of mind virus that affects otherwise healthy—and often educated—human beings.

Buddhism stands apart in being tolerant, accommodating, and pragmatic. Having lived for a half-century in Sri Lanka, I have seen how the Buddha’s teachings are applied by various groups in many different ways. Strange as

Posted at 8pm on Sep 15, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Religion & Society

Shrijnana’s birthday hike, with an emphasis on Maia

On Saturday we took a hike with some friends up Mount Major in order to celebrate Shrijnana’s XXth birthday. We took Maia up there in a backpack. Man, but she’s getting heavy! My back was aching on the way down. But it was a great day out and I was really happy to get Maia to the top of her first mountain.

Hiking picture
Me and Maia on the way up.
Hiking picture
Maia on the summit.
Hiking picture
Shrijnana and Maia on the summit.
Hiking picture
Maia sleeping on the way down.
Hiking picture
Me and Maia playing in the stream at the end of the hike.
Hiking picture
Maia throwing pebbles into the stream before we head off for ice cream.

Posted at 8pm on Sep 15, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Apropos of nothing

Buddhist-Themed/Relevant Blogs

The Rev. Danny Fisher has put together a list of Buddhist blogs and I’m looking forward to checking it out. Wildmind is there of course…

Posted at 6pm on Sep 15, 2008 | 2 comments
Filed Under: Meditation & practice

Twitter Updates for 2008-09-14

  • I notice I tend to do my recreational reading online during the day and save books for nighttime. Makes no sense. #
Posted at 11pm on Sep 14, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Apropos of nothing

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