People who will talk about the universe

Back in 2014 my family took a vacation together. We spent thousands of dollars doing all sorts of different things, but in the end, my favorite part was sitting on a couch one evening in Santa Fe with my niece and watching cooking shows. In small part this was because my sisters were angry with each other, and it was nice to get away from that tension and just relax with a nice person who had no agenda.

When I saw this image last night it reminded me not of the negatives of that vacation, but of the positives of spending time with people who have no agendas other than the wonder of the universe, and of how I’d like to spend the time I have here on Earth.

Make a game of active mindfulness meditation

The best advice I’ve gotten for practicing mindfulness meditation while not sitting in meditation – i.e., in active meditation – is to make something of a game of it. When I wash the dishes it’s like, “How deep can I get while I wash these dishes?” Or when talking to another person, you both put down the cellphones and think, “Okay, we’re both here right now, how much can we focus only on each other and be here in this moment while we talk? How deep can we go?”

I was reminded of this when I read this line recently: “Finally, I got it! The menial tasks I had been assigned to around the temple were meant to be an exercise in meditation. Whatever I was doing, my job was to try to stay in samadhi.”

(That quote comes from the book, The Science of Meditation.)

I realize that most inventions fail not because ...

“I realize that most inventions fail not because the R&D department can’t get them to work, but because the timing is wrong‍ — not all of the enabling factors are at play where they are needed. Inventing is a lot like surfing: you have to anticipate and catch the wave at just the right moment.”

~ Ray Kurzweil

How ‘magic angle’ graphene is stirring up physics alvin January 14, 2019 - 4:00pm has a great article, How ‘magic angle’ graphene is stirring up physics (Misaligned stacks of the wonder material exhibit superconductivity and other curious properties).

Jacob’s Ladder electrical arc device

After watching the movie Powder and hearing an electrical arc device referred to as Jacob’s Ladder, I looked into it and found this Jacob’s Ladder page on the Popular Science website (where this image comes from). I was familiar with the term in a religious context, but I didn’t know that’s what the name for this device is.

The intensity of a monk’s meditation states befuddles science

“While his brain was probed by the fMRI, Mingyur (a Buddhist monk) followed the instruction to engage compassion. Once again the minds of everyone watching in the control room felt as though they had stopped. The reason: Mingyur’s brain circuitry for empathy rose to an activity level 700 to 800 times greater than it had been in the rest period just before.”

“Such an extreme increase befuddles science; the intensity with which those states were activated in Mingyur’s brain far exceeds any that had ever been seen in ‘normal’ people. The closest resemblance is for epileptic seizures, but those episodes last brief seconds, not for a full minute. And besides, brains are controlled by seizures, in contrast to Mingyur’s display of intentionally controlling his brain activity.”

~ from a story about brainwave tests of a monk in 2002