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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Pursuit of Happiness

I'm basking in the first blizzard of the year which always makes me introspective; introspection always leads me to wonder if I'm making the best possible choices in life - am I as happy as I could be? what makes me happy?

List of things thats currently make me happy (in no particular order):
1. Hot Drinks
2. Time to pursue my own interests/whims
3. Taking photos
4. Yoga
5. Time with loved ones
6. Good Food
7. New blazing-fast Mac Book Pro
8. Laughing

In honor of #8 here is are some more Photos That Make Me Laugh (with links to more!)

From Awkward Family Photos (.com)

From Nietzsche Family Circus

From the best photo blog ever: Picture This (NSFW)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Earth Day Lash Back

My B.S. degree is in "Conservation" which included a variety of environmental science classes. But I now think conservation is the worst way to address our climatic/energy problems.

People suck at conserving - we're generally glutinous monsters which consume mindlessly and then are surprised when our resource dries up, and then quickly move on to the next consumable.

Its useless denying this instinct, its actually a very puritan technique - to deny our instincts - and you all know how successful that strategy has been

We need to develop sustainable ways of generating energy and encourage people to consume, consume, consume from those energy sources, so they will economically out-compete the fossil fuels.

What if we could develop methods of generating energy that actually cleaned the air, or the water, or had a net positive benefit? Wouldn't it be mind-blowing to have environmentalists telling you to leave your lights on and drive like a mad-man because the energy your using is good for the environment. That's a message I think most people could embrace.

Is This Really News?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ehow Article: How to be a Spiritual Atheist

I just wrote an article for eHow entitled How to be a Spiritual Atheist.

I'm sure many of you have thoughts on this! Please read the article and leave your comments!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tonight is Paper Craft Night!

This website is awesome! It has downloadable pdfs of papercraft deep sea creatures. I'm having a hard time focusing on working knowing what papery fun I'll be having tonight :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Diane Dances to Hell!

I wonder which one is Diane? Or are they all "Dianes"?

click for big

Friday, January 09, 2009

Christmas Tree Stream

Recently, Tim Boyle commented on one of my posts with a good-hearted passionate rant bemoaning the wonton wasteful tradition of christmas trees.

After some discussion and research we discovered that the environmental, cultural, and economic impacts of the christmas tree industry are unexpectedly tangled, with potentially an overall benefit to the environment. Keep an eye on Tim's blog as he may post a more comprehensive report of his findings.

This reminds me of a talk I attended a couple months ago by a researcher who partnered with major magazines to figure out where all their physical manufacturing materials come from and where they ultimately end up. This was the first literal translation of following a product from cradle to grave that I have come across. It was pretty interesting but left a lot questions, which I think could be answered by economists, paper making specialists, or psychologists.

For example, much of the wood for the paper was coming from great distances instead of using local wood. They use this wood because it is somehow cheaper, despite the transportation costs (perhaps an economist could explain this is due to international taxes or something, or a paper making expert might explain that the trees from the far location are superior paper pulp producers). He also discovered that the companies print and send an excess percentage (15% ? ) of magazines to vendors which never sell and end up in the waste stream (would a psychologist tell us that a larger stack of magazines makes them more desirable and more likely that someone will buy one?).

So, just like our discovery with the christmas trees the magazine biz is a wadded-up ball of economic, environmental, and social costs and benefits.

I think this means that there is benefit in being humble, observant, and flexible in forming our judgements and beliefs about life. I especially identify with this as an environmentalist. So frequently things are cast in black and white creating good and bad people, animals, products, businesses, or organizations. As a naturalist I was asked about almost everything, "is this good or bad?" when really the answer was neither and both.

Art Sled Rally

I'm so doing this!

The BYOS (bring-your-own-sled) workshop is Jan. 31s and sledding smackdown is the Feb. 7.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Coming to terms with Christmas

I just finished reading the Power of Myth a couple weeks before christmas. Its a great book that I recommend all atheists should read because it puts religion in perspective next to the original mythology. It has helped me become less cynical and more compassionate.

Unarguably, most atheists know more than most religious peeps regarding the similarities that all religions have. But what was cathartic for me was understanding archetypal principles that have popped up in mythologies (stories developed to help people with psychological difficulties: puberty, death, killing to live, etc ) and how those concepts were messed-up during assimilation by religions (organized by people for various types of power).

Concepts such as "god" is within us and therefore all things are holy and connected, and that death brings life - that all life relies on death. Are mythological concepts to help us live psychologically health lives. They are not literal - obviously there are not little gods living in each of us, but metaphorical - which is where religion often screws them up; by forcing a literal translation.

But parts of those healthy mythological stories can be found in modern religion. Like when I look at the Christmas Trees they use to irk me - I felt oppressed by the overtly religious symbol in so many public places. But now when I look at it I think about the cycle of life and death, and I think about the solstice, and the moon cycles. And the simple need for a happy celebration during a gloomy time.

So I don't know how clearly I've expressed myself here in this post. But the conclusion is that learning a little comparative mythology has freed me to be less of a grinch and more compassionate.

I'm curious to hear other's thoughts about the book or other similar or opposite experiences.