Stanford campus photo from above

1/30/2003

Well, I've been delving deeper inside recently and thought I'd share the results. heh heh.

Call me vain . . . yet another image of me, from the inside. :) Aren't I beautiful?

1/27/2003

Reading "A People's History" as well as a few other brief histories has given me some perspective in these troubling times of US unilateralism, Sharon looking to get re-elected, etc, etc name your favorite problem on down the line. For the moment suspending any possible spiritual views of the necessity of duality in the universe, yes, the world is incredibly fucked up and in the near term doesn't seem to be getting much better. but it's always been that way, seems change on a civilization scale is veeerrryyy gradual, but as I should in this case be quick to return to my non-dual thinking roots and to quote the buddhists, "everything changes". check out this quote from a People's History:

"If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, occasionally to win. I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past's fugitive moments of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare."

- Howard Zinn

1/26/2003

Last month, Iraq delivered to the United Nations a
12,000-page report denying it had weapons of mass destruction. Knowing
President Bush does not have the attention span to read 12,000 pages,
the Iraqis also provided an executive summary written in the style of
the president's favorite author, Dr. Seuss. A source of mine obtained
a copy of this document from an anonymous source deep inside Vice
President Dick Cheney's secret hideout. The complete text follows.

I am Saddam.
Saddam I am.

I am the ruler of Iraq,
The country that you would attack.

You are Bush.
Bush you are.
The fame of you has spread afar.

You do not like me, Bush, I know.
You would not like me in a show.
You would not like me in the snow.
You simply wish that I would go.

You say I used to slaughter Kurds.
You say that I use naughty words.

You say I have an evil stash
Of weapons of destruction (mass),
Of bombs and missiles, germs and gas.

You say I tried to kill your Pop.
Oh, how I wish that you would stop!

I promise you I have no stash
Of weapons of destruction (mass).

I do not have them near or far.
I did not hide them in my car.
I did not hide them in a bar.

I did not hide them in a hole.
I did not hide them up a pole.

I did not hide them in a grave.
I did not hide them in a cave.

I did not hide them in a dish.
I did not hide them in a knish.

I did not hide them in my coat.
I did not hide them in a goat.

I did not hide them in a trunk.
I did not hide them in my bunk.

I did not hide them anywhere.
In short, they simply are not there.

The inspectors came and looked,
And looked, and looked, and looked, and looked.

They looked high and they looked low,
Every place that they could go.

They looked in every hole and crack,
Each drawer and closet, bag and sack.

They found nothing in a trunk-or
Even in my private bunker.

They did not find a single stash
Of weapons of destruction (mass) ...
And STILL you won't get off my a**!

I've done all that I can do.
The rest, dear Bush, is up to you.

Please don't be angry, don't be sore.
We don't need to have a war.

Let's go back to the good old days
When your dad and Reagan sang my praise.

I was your faithful ally then.
Why can't we be friends again?

I say, let's let this whole thing drop.
(My best regards to your dear Pop.)


Mary-Lou Leiser Smith
Coordinator, Coalition for Peace with Justice
Chapel Hill, NC
tel. (919) 967-5181
ans. machine (919) 967-0829
Now this is fascinating. What's really going on here? Who is starting these and why? Is it better to just be having cyber war and let the computers fight each other? Or does this lead to real war? An attack on the US economy? Economic battles?

Fresh warning over cyber attack
home pc user
The attack targeted Microsoft database software
Experts are warning that a malicious computer code which disrupted the internet may resume its attacks on Monday.

In South Korea, which was badly affected by the attack, systems engineers are racing to repair internet networks amid fears Monday would bring new outbreaks as businesses switch on their computers for the new working week.

The problem is not completely resolved and we will have to have more of a sense of the importance of security

Lee Sang-Chul
S Korea's Information Minister
The South Korean Information Minister, Lee Sang-Chul, said he believed the problem was hiding, rather than fully resolved.

Computer experts said the code, known as a worm, had affected nearly a quarter of a million computers worldwide on Saturday.

The attack, which targets internet servers and does not infect home computers, slowed systems for several hours, affecting web browsing and e-mail delivery.

The attack was detected by the FBI shortly after it was launched on Saturday, limiting the damage.

Asian slowdown

Computer experts said the effect was similar to that of the "Code Red" virus, which brought internet traffic to a halt in the summer of 2001.

Companies need to take applying patches against new security threats seriously

Graham Cluley
Expert at anti-virus company Sophos

At least five of the internet's 13 major hubs were targeted in Saturday's attack.

Internet surfing in Asia was particularly slow.

In South Korea, the world's most wired country where almost three-quarters of the population have internet access, services shut down nationwide for hours on Saturday.

Users and news media also reported outages or slowdowns in Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and India.

In the US, Bank of America customers were unable to withdraw money from the company's 13,000 ATM machines, while the attack also disabled some trans-Atlantic internet and phone service.

Not a virus

The worm known as SQL ("sequel") Slammer targeted a known weakness in Microsoft's software to shut down powerful server computers around the world and can knock websites off-line.

Unlike viruses, the worm exists only in memory, so it cannot be detected by traditional anti-virus scanners.

The Microsoft website has a fix for the vulnerability, which companies can download.

"Companies need to take applying patches against new security threats seriously," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at the anti-virus company Sophos.

"If you don't, then stopping new worms and viruses is as easy as catching smoke in a butterfly net."
And then sometimes you've just got to take that and throw one of these in there (just to keep it interesting:

What with all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the
moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person
which almost went un-noticed last week.

Larry La Prise, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey" died peacefully at
age 93.

The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin.


They put his left leg in - and then the trouble started...

1/25/2003

Greed Is Not Enough
By W. Robert Connor

Campus Gargoyle

I must speak to you about something that I can only formulate as the soul of the university. I begin, moreover, with a litany that may not seem entirely appropriate to this edifying setting: Enron. Arthur Andersen. Dynegy. Qwest. Tyco. Adelphia. ImClone. WorldCom. RiteAid. Xerox.

What went wrong? Those ten names, and the frauds associated with them, account for a loss of a half-trillion dollars in investment value, more than the gross national product of all but a dozen countries on our planet. That's not the whole story. In 1981, three U.S. companies found it necessary to restate their earnings; between 1997 and 2000, 700 companies had to. And clearly a lot more are doing so this year.

The problem goes far beyond fraud in a few highly visible companies, or the criminal behavior of "a few bad apples," or the half-truth that perverse incentives have led some CEOs to greedy behavior.

Look at another well-known corporation, GE, or specifically the perks a compliant board of directors lavished on the most admired CEO in America. Now, I believe Jack Welch when he says that he could have negotiated cash payments that would have cost more than all the wine and flowers and groceries and sports tickets and free newspapers he got from GE. Was he greedy? Sure, but why? The problem goes beyond greed: Jack Welch didn't see that he was disgracing his name and that of GE by seeking these trivial status markers.

We have become a culture not of greed, but of excess; that is, a society in which status is conferred by lavish consumption and display. In such a culture, greed is not enough; it's just a way of getting status. But status comes at a price: alienation from friends, neighbors, communities, and nature.

None of this would surprise the early Greek writers, who were convinced that there was a sequence in human affairs, expressed through three personifications. Koros, "satiety," really means having a full belly. Hybris, "overweening pride," is the feeling that you can do what you want and get away with it, even if it's arrogant or violent. And Ate-- blindness about who you are and where you are--will lead you to ruin.

Silly Greeks, to think such personifications represent a universal process. Silly, but I fear we may soon see that they were right. In a time of bloat, we think we can get away with things, and sooner or later we get blindsided. That applies to each of us as individuals, and, I fear, to our nation.

This situation would not seem surprising to these Greeks, nor to William Wordsworth, who, almost 200 years ago, saw what we are talking about quite clearly--affluence, alienation from nature, the inability of traditional cultural norms to inspire restraint, and, not least, blindness to what is around us and what could sustain us. It's all in his sonnet: "The world is too much with us, late and soon,/Getting and spending we lay waste our powers/Little we see in Nature that is ours;/We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!"

When you set foot on a college campus, do you ever feel that you are stepping onto sacred ground, into a place that has been set aside for something beyond getting and spending? Sometimes I even think that I am back in classical Athens: glorious buildings are rising up (perhaps not the Parthenon, but a much-needed parking deck), leadership is at a pinnacle with Pericles in command, intellectuals from all around the world are giving lectures, the fundamental nature of matter is being explored as atomic theory is formulated, everything is there--except one funny-looking old guy: Socrates.

Where is he in today's university, on this campus? Is he out there, buttonholing young people, challenging them to think through their assumptions, cross-examining them about the values that will shape their lives, teaching them the vocabulary and the techniques they need to be effective moral agents, and convincing them of that one ineluctable Socratic truth--that the unexamined life is not worth living?

Where is he? Is he locked out, sneered at as "irrelevant," or "impractical," ostracized into some remote curricular corner, asphyxiated with pedantries, forced to drink hemlock lest he corrupt the minds of the young with his incessant questioning and challenging of society's unexamined values? Or does his insistence on the examined life live on, not in a few courses, but in the heart and soul of the place, as the spirit that infuses greatness into a university?

Where is he in this university, and this country of ours, endangered as it is by the drive for status, greed, and bloat, and in danger of being blindsided? Where is he if our graduates, affluent, influential, well-intended, on some September morning look up, see those planes, watch those buildings crumble, breathe that smoke, and realize then that they need to rebuild their lives and have neither the words nor the tools to do the job?

Walking one afternoon, Socrates converses with his young friend Phaedrus about the things that really matter--inspiration, knowledge, madness, and, above all, love. But then, Socrates turns the talk to wealth, in a self-mocking, tongue-in cheek prayer:

Pan, my friend, and all the other gods who dwell here, make me beautiful--inside. And as for the externals, let them be compatible with what I have within.

Help me to remember that it's the wise person, and only the wise one, who is really rich.

May I have a pile of gold, but no more than a sensible man would try to carry around.

He turns to his young friend and says, "Is there anything else we should ask, Phaedrus?" Phaedrus says, "Just include me in your prayers, for friends have everything in common."

Socrates must have smiled. Phaedrus got it. He saw that he was not an isolated individual who looked after only his own wealth, status, or self. He was a friend, part of that wider community to which he was returning--just as we here today are friends, bound together by our devotion to an institution that has a special place in our hearts, a special heritage from its founders, and a special duty to perform. That's why we are here. Once we understand that, we can move forward.

And Socrates turns to Phaedrus and says, "Let's go."

-Connor is director of the National Humanities Center at Duke University. These remarks are excerpted from his Founders' Day address.

1/19/2003

I'm auditing a class on the economics of innovation. It's really interesting. One statistic that I just came across in the book we're reading . . .

"Edwin Mansfield has been a leader in investigating the social and private returns to R&D. In a recent paper, he summarized his own work and that of others. His principal study of a group of specific innovations found a social rate of return of 56 percent and a private rate of return of 25 percent. He also looked at the private return to one of America's largest companies and found a private rate of return of 19 percent and a social rate of return of at least twice the private rate."

Now my question for our professor the next time we meet, the obvious question, is HOW is he measuring the 'social rate of return'???

1/12/2003

Erin Cummings is in town today and we just finished working on our course syllabus for the TIP course we are co-teaching this summer at Duke.

The courses are titled "Thinking the Unthinkable" and "Going Mental".


Going Mental: Revised Syllabus and Description.
Instructors: Chuck Eesley and Erin Cummings

The objective of the course was to investigate perception and perspective in order to reach a deeper understanding of how each contributes to the other in our mental and behavioral lives. This broad objective was pursued through lectures, readings (both philosophic and literary), discussion, projects, writing, film, and field trips. Lectures were largely philosophic and theoretical in nature: topics included Cartesian skepticism, empiricism, Kantian philosophy, feminism, the question of narrative recuperation, structural principles of photography, the nature of selfhood, Foucauldian post-structuralism, the relationship between discourse and power hierarchies, and Baudrilliard and post-modernism. Writings that accompanied these investigations included texts from Borges, Kafka, Asimov, Dennett, Butler, Joyce, Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio, Owen Flanagan, and Lydia Davis. Again, some of these writings were works of fiction, while others articulated philosophic arguments, and still others presented psychological studies and findings. Students completed two photo projects: one examined basic principles in shooting and editing, the other involved using photography to depict narrative. Both projects involved a gallery presentation followed by an in-class critique. Students also completed independent projects on topics germane to issues surrounding perspective and perception. These projects were then given to the entire class in a 15-20 minute oral presentation. Films viewed included The Matirx, Last Year at Marienbad, and Memento. Field trips were taken to Duke’s Brain Imaging and Analysis Center as well as to the North Carolina Museum of Art. In the end, students received an overview of methods for pursuing questions regarding the way in which each of us has her/his life shaped by the perspectival point s/he occupies and the perceptions each of us have as bound by and constructed from that point of view.


Thinking the Unthinkable

Texts: (whole class):
Think on These Things, by J. Krishnamurti
Celestine Prophecy by James

(library):
Derrida for Beginners by Jim Powell
Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James Loewen
God’s Debris by Scott Adams
Looking at Philosophy by Donald Palmer
The Legacy of Luna by Julia Butterfly Hill
The Book by Alan Watts
A Tear and a Smile by Kahlil Gibran

Supplemental materials:
Coursepack
Films: The Color of Fear and Tough Guise
Students should bring a journal and a favorite piece of music

Instructor: Chuck Eesley
TA: Erin Cummings

Overarching Goal: To facilitate the students’ exploration of the inner process of converting raw experience into thoughts and words as well as the philosophical and experiential boundaries of rational thought.

"The unexamined life is not worth living."
- Socrates

" Ninety percent of the world's woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves." - Sydney J. Harris

"We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness, which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world."
Marcel Proust

"If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we wanted to get out of life that we give to the question of what to do with a two weeks vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days."
- Dorothy Canfield Fisher, American author and essayist

"It is the individual who knows how little he knows about himself who stands a reasonable chance of finding out something about himself." - S.I. Hayakawa

In this course we will delve into the mysteries, insights, and depths exploration of the inner process of converting raw experience into thoughts and words as well as the philosophical and experiential boundaries of rational thought. No rock will be left unturned in our interdisciplinary quest to know ourselves. Psychology, Eastern and Western philosophies, poetry, literature, as well as our own stories are all fair game in our journeys inside.

The class explores our assumptions through the angle of how raw day to day experience becomes filtered through the lenses of our minds and personalities into words, thoughts, and ideas. It is only through knowing ourselves, our assumptions, and the particular lens through which we see the world that we will ever truly be able to understand others and society. If you can get through the roadblocks that you yourself have created, you can begin to understand where others are coming from. With this aim in mind we will also be looking at the aspect of constant interaction of self and society, as it is inherent in our understanding and knowledge.

Social competencies involve awareness of others. They may include empathy, political awareness, the ability to understand others' emotions. However, no one can begin to understand others until one begins to become aware of one’s own most basic assumptions about the world and how those opinions then shape how one acts and the rest of the structure of knowledge one begins to build on top of that foundation.

The first week of the course will focus on beginning the process of becoming aware of our own beliefs, assumptions about the world, and opinions. Students will begin to define the term self and explore what makes up our sense of who we are in society. We will begin to explore philosophical, cultural, as well as psychological views of who we are as well as what each of our unique perspectives are on the world. Towards the end of the week we will look more closely into the complexities of how it is that we can come to understand people who have significantly different perspectives.

The second week of the course will build on the first by introducing more of the famous thinkers and theories around these issues, such as philosophers Derrida, Alan Watts, Bell Hooks, Sartre. The class will begin to explore how our assumptions, which we looked at during the first week are influenced by the media and advertisement becoming the roots of how we live and act within the world. The students will begin forming groups and thinking about what aspects of our discussion they would like to pursue more in depth in the individual projects and presentations during the third week.

During the final week of class, we will begin to tie everything we have covered together by beginning to look towards the future, with an eye to learn from the past. The class will spend time reviewing all previously covered material as we look towards applying what we have learned to our culture and the responsibilities we have towards understanding the fellow members of our society. Students will present the research topic, which they began during the second week to the rest of the class. Homework will not be assigned, however, students are expected to keep up with readings and journal writing. To complement our interdisciplinary approach, the class will be taught with multiple strategies from lecture, to small group discussions, to large group discussions, group projects, and time for individual reflection and writing.


Week 1:
Introduce ourselves and the class
Consensus format and use to create class guidelines
Mafia / Ice breaker
Trust game
Introduce Celestine Prophecy
J. Krishnamurti – What is wisdom/knowledge/intelligence?
Nature of Perspective – article from a sociologist
Subjective Cartography
Watch "Einstein, Bill Gates, and the Buddha"
Theatre exercise
Lacan
New Perspectives through music/movement
Derrida
Feminism / Beauty Myth
Tough Guise

Week 2:
Racism
Alan Watts
Buddhism
SKS intro meeting
Violating social norm introduction
Conformity example
Ads as a block / creating conformity
Nouminal vs. Phenomenal (Kant)
Bell Hooks
Start Independent Projects
Sartre
Activism

Week 3:
Review
Individual Projects
Wisdom Scriptures
Possible field trip to retirement center
Roast and Toast

1/05/2003

Trying to organize and simply my life this weekend. Should be done in a couple hours. ;) Yeah, right!

Erin's coming down tomorrow and we're going to work on planning our TIP course. Watched Magnolia last night. Good movie.

Joseph Campbell's Power of Myth video documentary is on the agenda for tonight.

Saw Madadayo by Kurusawa over the weekend, I really recommend that too. Excellent movie.

1/02/2003

Question of the day:


If knowledge is power,
and power corrupts, with absolute power corrupting absolutely,
then is studying hard being evil???


Question 2:


What are the overall effects of increasing technological development on a society?
Like Byron, Shelley and the other poets he immortalized, Hazlitt recognized that it was right to reject the premise of the loyal - and bureaucratic - opposition in favor of an opposition that is capable of posing a genuine challenge to the corrupt and corrupting status quo. Reason, and passion, demanded no less.

"Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be," Hazlitt wrote.

In 2003, as in 1803, the future will be defined not by those who accept the way things are, nor by those who would perfect what is. The future belongs, as Hazlitt argued, to those who abide by a radical faith in what ought to be.

1/01/2003

Happy New Year! Spent New Year's in Wilmington with Ana Viego and friends. Here are a couple pictures from that night. And a bunch more pictures from the next day.

Chris cooked some great food, we toasted, and partied and then just before midnight we went downtown to try and see the fireworks. We parked the car and walking down the alley I see some guy peeing behind this corner. We get down to the river and have no idea what time it actually is. Gunai calls her mom on her cell phone and her mom tells her that a minute ago it turned 2003! So, via cellphone we brought in the new year! And I think I was probably watching a guy take a piss as the ball dropped! We headed to a party and then back to the house for some cake. The next day we woke up and went to the beach as you can see in the pictures.
Overall, it was a fun time!