Wednesday, June 29, 2005

New Scientist Breaking News - Why your brain has a ‘Jennifer Aniston cell’

this hilarious article is about the search for the Jennifer Aniston cell. Check it out.

Monday, June 20, 2005

homeless people have beemers

hey - i forgot to write this one down when i heard it -

Jessica and I were recently talking to a friend of mine about the privatization of social security. He's majoring in economics and day-trades for fun. Anyway, I mentioned the inevitability of some people losing on the stock market and how the lack of a safety net for themcould cause a huge rise in the number of elderly homeless.

He said that social security subsidizes beggars who make about $60/hr anyway. why should he pay their BMW payments? Jess and I were dumbstruck. We asked him why he thought beggars had beemers, and he said he knew they did. He claimed to have seen someone who had been begging get up, pick up their hat from the ground, pull out their keys and driveaway in a BMW.

I think that once you say something like that, it's hard to back down from it. Jessica and I were in shock, and maybe that made him cling tothat line even more.

I don't understand where this shit comes from. Is it Limbaugh or something?


the course on Consciousness started out a bit rough. Turns out the course has a pretty brain-sciencey/materialistic outlook. I wish that I could find a course that had the brain-science, but didn't come at it from the angle of "okay, now which dongle is the consciousness?".

Still, as folks have pointed out to me, it will be good for me to get some exposure to that side of this thing to flesh out my understandingof how this field works.

the discussion groups that are working from the texts we've been reading are pretty good though. People are coming from shockingly differentbackgrounds. Sometimes I can't tell if people are writing consumer-culture radically materialistic diatribes, or writing Buddhist social satire:

I don't understand this bit about "the state of waiting for a desire." I have lots of desires--I'm in a constant state of wanting and striving to get what I want. I couldn't care less if my desires are "authentic" or not. The only problem in life is getting--and the more I get the happier I am. If you have a problem conjuring up desires go to the mall, read travel brochures or look through the Sharper Image catalogue.
Okay, okay, this time it's pretty clear which... maybe the poster works for Sharper Image, or is in the travel industry?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

first "Consciousness: The Webcourse" posting

my intro to the course:

Hello! I'm really looking forward to this course, and to meeting all of you.

As for my background, I have a bachelors in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University, but in retrospect it was the wrong thing for me to have studied. Though I have interests in sustainable development technology, I'm no longer pursuing that seriously. For some reason I was trying to be practical with my education even though myinterests lay more in the arts and in the mind.

I've always had an interest in the internal world. Starting my last year of college, this interest became most salient, and I've been trying to re-prioritize around it since. i have a minor on-again-off-again personal meditation practice, though I have never studied any particular
form in depth. i was raised christian, but it never took with me. The Dao Te Ching became an important book to me in high-school, but I never went beyond that book into Taoism, although for the last few years I have been studying Tai Chi.

Tai Chi began the year after I graduated college, when i went to China to teach English for a year. When I returned home, I decided to try my hand at producing documentary videos. So far I haven't had any astounding success, but I'm getting by for now, and considering graduate school in either digital media art or consciousness studies. At present, I am working on an educational video for the PEAR lab at Princeton University.

Currently I have two goals for my interaction with the outside world. I would like to produce 2 kinds of media. The first is interactive installation art that provokes contemplation of consciousness. Some works that have inspired me in this direction are the light installations of James Turrell, and a piece by Anthony McCall called "a line describes a cone". The second goal is more related to "social issue documentary" - I would like to help produce popular media literacy materials to aid the faltering democracy of my homeland (step down from soapbox).

I'm recently engaged, so you could say I'm enjoying life, even if I'm drifting a bit as far as a "career path" or "financial stability" goes.

What else?

I am 28 years old.


part 2

My own interest in consciousness as a field of study has not been systematic in any way. I want to learn about how it is being studied, and where my interests lie in relation to the field. I am also considering graduate study in the area, so I need to understand my weaknesses and the gaps in my understanding, and where I could bestfocus in future study.

I'd like to get a grasp on the different approaches to the field and get some sense of the layout of the different schools I might attend in the near future.

I'm also pretty sure that I'll get a lot of inspiration from this course for art projects. lately I've been doing some tinkering in first-person storytelling/autobiographical video. I'm looking to develop that morewith this course.


Consciousness: The Webcourse

Hey there.

today the Webcourse begins. I'm really looking forward to it. I feel
like this interest is really going to blossom over the next few years,
and its going to be very productive for me.

A consciousness Diary begins today, probably as a mixture of text and audioblog posts.