Sunday, July 19, 2009

April 10 - A frenzy of inactivity

At times I feel like this possum looks - stunned and frozen.

It comes about when I overwhelm myself with things that MUST be done by yesterday. I get into a mode that I can only describe as a 'frenzy of inactivity'. With a thousand things calling for my attention I find I can't do anything at all and descend into this quagmire of fast-set glue and DO NOTHING at all.

Sometimes in my state of feeling guilty about doing nothing I fill my time by playing Solitaire on my computer. Spider Solitaire is best because it takes longer to play. (Sigh)

The best solution I've found for this is regular meditation because I feel more relaxed and in that case am able to focus better on the important things, although this is no guarantee that I won't get myself into this frenzy in moments of weakness and inattention.

As a fallible human being I have to accept that I'll continue to have good times and bad times. Hopefully the bad times will arrive less and less as I get better at my meditation practice.

April 9 - singularity university

I listened to an interesting article on Future Tense about a new university that's based at NASA's Ames Research Centre in California.

Singularity is a scientific term that refers to a point in time in the development of something when there is a jump to exponential growth and the outcome becomes unpredictable.

Singularity University has been set up to research developments in technology and to prepare the population for the implementation of these developments. The concern that brought about its establishment was that today technology is advancing at an exponential rate and there's a need to keep up with this and create bridges between disciplines.

An example of this growth rate is the Human Genome project. It was initially predicted that the genome would take 30 years to map but it only took 8 years because of the development of faster computers.

The university doesn't have to look too far in the future for ideas to follow up because of the rapidly-advancing current technologies. The profile of the ideal student for the university is one who already has an in-depth knowledge of a particular scientific field so they can work on cross-disciplinary projects with other students.

It certainly sounds like a great idea to me!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

April 8 - Into conflict

I've just come across some information about an Australian figurative artist called George Gittoes. His work encompasses many forms of media: painting, photography, film making among them. He's based in Surry Hills and spends time visiting war regions to collect material for his work and sometimes making Bollywood-style docos about them.

From his website,, I copied this comment "Gittoes acknowledges his journey is one into the heart of human darkness. He has become a witness. “ I believe there is a role for contemporary art to challenge, rather than entertain. My work is confronting humanity with the darker side of itself.”"

To find out more about this amazing artist, visit his website.

April 7 - Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys (pronounced "peeps") was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for his diary. This is his entry for this day 346 years ago -

"Tuesday 7 April 1663
Up very betimes, and angry with Will that he made no more haste to rise after I called him. So to my office, and all the morning there. At noon to the Exchange, and so home to dinner, where I found my wife had been with Ashwell to La Roche’s to have her tooth drawn, which it seems aches much, but my wife could not get her to be contented to have it drawn after the first twich, but would let it alone, and so they came home with it undone, which made my wife and me good sport. After dinner to the office, where Sir J. Minnes did make a great complaint to me alone, how my clerk Mr. Hater had entered in one of the Sea books a ticket to have been signed by him before it had been examined, which makes the old fool mad almost, though there was upon enquiry the greatest reason in the world for it. Which though it vexes me, yet it is most to see from day to day what a coxcomb he is, and that so great a trust should lie in the hands of such a fool. We sat all the afternoon, and I late at my office, it being post night, and so home to supper, my father being come again to my house, and after supper to bed, and after some talk to sleep."

Today is also a Tuesday. Interesting coincidence.

Monday, July 6, 2009

April 6 - Craft

On LifeMatters today Richard Aedy interviewed Pip Lincolne about a new craft movement that's happening possibly as a consequence of the current financial crisis.

There's a general trend back to the old crafts as more people seek simpler and more economically effective life choices. Sewing machines are back in vogue and there's an increasing interest in knitting and crochet and other craft skills.

Pip has a blog that's worth checking out. It's at

My mother is a tailor and taught my sisters and me to sew when we were very young, so sewing and craft have been in my blood all my life. It's pleasing to me to see so many people discovering craft as a worthwhile activity. It's such a big part of my life that I couldn't imagine my life being any other way.

April 5 - Simple Living

I listened to Future Tense with Antony Funnell. He was interviewing a woman on the Sunshine Coast who has decided to live more simply and considers lifestyle decisions from a sustainable living perspective.

Her name is Rhonda Hertzel and her blog is well worth a look. Since starting the blog she's attracted followers from around the world. Her original idea was to write a book but when she was turned down by publishers she decided to set up a blog instead. Now that she's become popular through the blog she's been approached by a potential publisher.
Check it out at

April 4 - Green Gestures

I listened to a PODcast of yesterday's LifeMatters discussion on ABC radio where Richard Aedy was asking the question whether gestures like Earth Hour can make a difference.

Earth hour was started in Sydney in 2007 by WWF and there was so much enthusiasm for the idea that it went global the following year. This year the support was even greater and many captial cities worldwide joined in.

The experts felt that gestures like Earth Hour can only make a difference if the politicians are actually listening and realise how many people are concerned enough to do something about it. Generally, there was a feeling of skepticism among the participants so I did some research for myself on the issue.

One of the common threads in the discussions I read seemed to imply that the unused excess power gets grounded anyway and doesn't make a difference but this was refuted by an electricity generation technician. He said that generating systems are very responsive and can be adjusted according to demand, so it does make a difference when a lot of people switch off their lights.

Well done to the WWF for this initiative. It has given individuals an opportunity to make a positive statement about their concern for the environment. I'm going to put some thought into how I'll personally respond to the Earth hour project in 2010.