October 25, 2004
Video of the Moment
This video suggests that cats don't like Zero-G. Maybe borderline cruel, but I don't think it does any lasting damage...(via BoingBoing.net)
Article of the Moment
I know its been making the rounds already, but Wired had good coverage of the Mouse Neurons flying a virtual plane. I wonder what kind of feedback the the neurons are getting? It looks like right now the pseudobrain doesn't even know where the horizon is...and how do you motivate a bunch of neurons to "want" to fly straight and level, to select for that behavior over just random chaotic flying?
Ramble of the Moment
So I've been taking a yoga class for about a year and a half now, one run by my regular physician, which is actually pretty cool, and worth the hike into Wellesley on a weekly basis. I don't followup the class with practice during the week, except for some sun salutations, but still, it's been pretty good.
Last week I started going to an additional class run by some folks at my UU Church. It's not quite as intense, but in a positive way it talks more than my other class, and gets more into the spiritual implications of yoga.
So for the first lesson, they went over some of the history of yoga...probably the most important text was written by a guy named Patanjali around 2000 years ago, the Yoga Sutra. It describes the "eightfold path of yoga"...one of those parts (actually, one of the part of those parts) is "Santosha", which means contentment. The handout from the class described it as "To practice contentment with your life as it is." and said its practice is "Gratitude and joyfulness, develop equanimity around success or failure".
Now, I think of myself as a content guy in general--sometimes too content, in fact, a little too quick to adapt myself to my surroundings than to work to improve the situation of myself and others. But Equanimity Around Success or Failure...man, I am lousy at that. I wrote about that this summer, actually. I get so uptight when I lose at a game, so concerned and whiny when I'm losing, so ready to redefine the game so it doesn't matter. Even when the stakes are so low as to be wellnigh non-existent...well, sometimes. If I'm playing, say, a newbie at a game I know well, I often won't play as hard as I can. At least for a while. At least until I start to regularly lose! And while I like to win and get irritated when I don't, I also dislike when, say, EvilB comes up with some relentless strategy that's within the rules but seems like so much less fun for everyone...
So where does it come from? Well, some of it is this weird ego thing I have, where I don't want to be reminded that I'm not always the smartest guy in the room. Another part is the culture...as is pretty obvious with this town's joy at the Pats and Sox, our social darwinian cultural puts a big stake into winning. It's a very bipolar view of the world, there's winning, there's losing, if you enjoy the game hardly enters into it. Ashleigh Brilliant said "If you can't learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly" but, as a culture, we're not very good at that...
Anyway, just some thoughts. I don't think I'm going to become a full practioner of yoga, but I think there's a lot in the eightfold path that makes a ton of sense. It might be worth printing out and trying to adapt into day to day life...