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Archive for February, 2020

I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere I needed to be.
  – Douglas Adams
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On This Day In (Leap Year):
2016 Or Try To, Anyway…
Circles Within Circles
2012 Stingray – TV Series Review (This is my most popular post since starting my blog – hands down! It still draws hits almost every week. The hits seem to come mostly from Central Europe. I guess the show must be in syndication there. //  2020 update:  While this is still my all-time, most popular post, it is no longer being viewed every week – or even month.  I guess the show is no longer in syndication.)
A Single Thread

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I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.
  –  Edith Sitwell
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On This Day In:
2019 Creative Prayer Time
ADF: Day 9:5
2018 #DumbDonald: Start With Hearing What You Don’t Want Said
2017 The Press Is NOT The Enemy
2016 It Ain’t Easy
(Leap Year 29th) Or Try To, Anyway…
(Leap Year 29th) Circles Within Circles
2015 A Series Of Funerals
2014 And Your Point Is?
2013 Infinitely Care
2012 In My Room
(Leap Year 29th) Stingray – TV Series Review (This is my most popular post since starting my blog – hands down! It still draws hits almost every week. The hits seem to come mostly from Central Europe. I guess the show must be in syndication there.)
(Leap Year 29th) A Single Thread
2011 Lyrical Mixture
Teaching = Translating

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In real life, the hardest aspect of the battle between good and evil is determining which is which.
  –  George R. R. Martin
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On This Day In:
2019 Were You Saying Something?
2018 Ethics Lesson
2017 May I Have Some More, Please?
2016 A Little Lost
2015 This High Place
2014 Elected Madness
2013 Well Written
2012 Related Parts
2011 The King Is Oscar
Better Reputation?

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I was applying to colleges in high school and I already knew I wanted to study the universe at age seventeen because I knew at age nine.  So my applications were dripping with the universe.  I was accepted at Cornell, and it’s time to decide what school you go to, and a set of other schools as well.  The admissions office, unknown to me, sent my application to Carl Sagan.  He was already famous.  He was already on Johnny Carson, Tonight Show.  To get him to just comment on it.  Carl Sagan then sent me a letter, hand signed, saying, ‘I understand you’re considering Cornell.  If you come by and visit I’d be happy to show you the lab.’  And I said, ‘Is this Carl Sagan?’  I showed it to mom, dad, I said, ‘Could this be?’  And it was.  I wrote back and I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll go up in two weekends.’  He met me on a Saturday morning in the snow, gave me a tour of his lab.  I’m in his office, he reaches back, pulls out one of his books, signs it to me.  It’s time for me to leave, he drives me to the bus station, snowing a little heavier.  He writes his home phone on a sheet of paper, says, ‘If the bus can’t get through, call me, spend the night at our place.’  And I thought to myself, who am I?  I’m just some high school kid.  And to this day, to this day, I have this duty to respond to students who are inquiring about the universe as a career path, to respond to them in the way that Carl Sagan had responded to me.
  —  Neil deGrasse Tyson
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On This Day In:
2019 From My Sullied Prison
2018 In My Room (2)
2017 Pretending
2016 And Songs Too…
2015 On The Road To Failure
2014 Each Moment
2013 Conversation
2012 4 Down, 11 Done (At Last)
I’m Not Afraid
2011 Who’s Risk Is It, Anyway?

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Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
   –  Cyril Connolly
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On This Day In:
2019 I’m Actively Irresponsible
2018 I Will Love You… Forever
2017 Pebbles In Your Shoe?
2016 Resolute Will
2015 Absorbed And Civilized
2014 Relax And Lead
2013 Location, Location, Location
2012 Are You Really Good?
2011 Relatively Objective, Anyway

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All You Can

Live all you can – it’s a mistake not to.  It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life.
  ––  Henry James
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On This Day In:
2019 No Wall And Not One Dollar
‘Cause It Makes Me Scratch
2018 Mirror, Mirror
2017 Keep On Keeping On
2016 Reflections
2015 Is It Time Yet?
2014 Ask Any Follower
2013 Cornered Or Surrounded?
2012 Escape
2011 Achievement
Not Unreasonable Enough

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We’re in very bad trouble if we don’t understand the planet we’re trying to save.
We’ve arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology.
We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.
  —  Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2019 The Deep Center
2018 Oh, Heaven (Too)
2017 Now Pausing Makes Sense
2016 Just Spicy
Only One Part
2015 Positive Acts Of Creation
2014 One Thing Is Clear
2013 Corrections
See Greatness
2012 Gemutlichkeit
2011 Back On The Asphalt

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The Science of Yoga”  —  book review
Today’s book review is for “The Science of Yoga” (2012©), written by William J. Broad.  Broad is a science reporter for the New York Times newspaper.  He has received multiple awards in his career including two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting.  Broad is also a yoga practitioner for over three decades.  Broad’s basic job is explaining science to the masses.  As such, he writes in a “friendly” style without any actual references to formulas or analysis of data.  When he uses “hard” numbers at all, it’s of the “two studies” with “about half” or “mostly women / men” variety.  This is not a criticism, per se, as this is pretty much the deepest level of science / math one can reasonably expect in a “science” report for the masses.
I am not a “serious” or even moderately proficient yoga practitioner.  I have had an interest in yoga since my early teens and have gone through the normal flexibility phases most athletes and wanna-be athletes go through every decade or so of my life.  I have also been interested in yoga for breathing and meditation and, so, also had (brief) periods where I “practiced” yoga for those purposes.  My point being, I am neither a devotee nor a complete novice in my understanding of yoga.  I picked up the book at a steep discount purely by serendipity when my local “Half Price” bookstore closed to relocate.  I paid $10 for a bag you could load with as much as it could hold.  I managed to get over 30 books – which I considered to be exceptional value.  This book was one of those.
Anyway, the book is broken down as you would expect for an academic report rather than popular reporting.  There’s a prologue, seven chapters, and an epilogue.  There are also a number (4) of introductory sections (lists of illustrations, main characters, styles of yoga and chronology of yoga) and a similar (5) number of end sections (further reading, notes, bibliography, acknowledgements and index).  The chapters deal with health, fitness, moods, healing, sex and “muse” (stimulating creativity).  Not counting the before and after, the book (my hardbound copy) is 222 pages in length and it is a quick read.
The book is sub-titled: “The Risks and the Rewards“.  The “risks” are that you can hurt yourself if you don’t know what you are doing, go to an instructor who doesn’t know what they’re doing, and / or if you push yourself too hard – too fast.  So far, that’s all pretty much common sense…  By hurt yourself, the author means, have a stroke or a serious muscle / tendon tear, etc.  The rewards are “perhaps” a longer life span, a extended period of healthier life, increased flexibility / mobility, relief from depression, less stress, faster healing, better (longer and more) sex, and you may also end up being more creative in work and in your personal life.
Is Broad convincing?  No.  Not really.  There have been some studies done on yoga.  Are they scientific?  Some.  And, kind of.  Better than nothing and better than purely anecdotal.  Broad ends the book asking which direction is likely for yoga: will it be religious and mysterious, or will it be examined under scientific conditions and thereby aid in the general health and welfare of society.  He clearly favors the second option.
Final recommendation: strong.  If you are interested in the history of yoga and “some” of the risks and rewards, this book is a FAR better introduction than most of the “Illustrated” and “For Dummies” books you’ll find at your bookstore.  It will help you manage your expectations of what you may get out of yoga practice.  It is, however, not a “starter” book at all as there are very few illustrations or explanations of postures / poses.  If that is what you are looking for, this book is definitely NOT for you.  Having said all that, I really did enjoy reading this book.  The topic (yoga) is of interest to me and it was interesting to have someone else to the work of researching the history, styles and players in the field.  It was also interesting to find yoga described with common sense supported by a lack of contradictory evidence, i.e. no levitation, no stopping your heart and still living, no surviving indefinitely without food or water (or breathing).  There is a saying that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.  This is a refrain which struck me over and over as I read this book.  Broad doesn’t flat out say none of the yoga “miracles” are impossible; he just states that on review of the available literature, there is no proof.  At the edges of yoga accomplishments, that is the science of yoga.
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On This Day In:
2019 #LyingDonald’s Problem With The News And Truth
2018 Oh, Hell
2017 No Welcome Mat Here
2016 Making It Up
A Missed Beat
2015 We Are All Explorers
2014 Still Trying To Cope
2013 Dear Diary (A good chuckle!)
2012 Conveniently Sequential
2011 King’s Speech Number Four
Rational Probability

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My dog (Shiva) has been watching too many Usain Bolt videos on YouTube…
Actually, it’s what happens when you get your tummy scratched “just right“…
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On This Day In:
2019 #LyingDonald’s Problem With The News And Truth
2018 Oh, Hell
2017 No Welcome Mat Here
2016 Making It Up
A Missed Beat
2015 We Are All Explorers
2014 Still Trying To Cope
2013 Dear Diary (A good chuckle!)
2012 Conveniently Sequential
2011 King’s Speech Number Four
Rational Probability

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Hatred is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated.
   ―  George Bernard Shaw
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On This Day In:
2019 What Do You Want?
2018 Wakanda Forever
I’d Be Happy With Another Score (Or So)
2017 In Defense Of A Free Press
2016 Lost Opportunity
2015 Are You Listening Ladies?
2014 Practice, Practice, Practice
2013 A Fist Full Of Confusion
2012 Teaching Faith
2011 The Heart Of Terror
The Proportion Of Gravity And Probability

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Why, look at me.  I’ve worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.
  ―   Groucho Marx
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On This Day In:
2019 Three Beliefs
2018 He Found Them On-Line
2017 Maybe In A Future World
2016 Largely A Mystery
2015 Tools And Weapons
2014 Likes And Dislikes
2013 Pillars Of Learning
2012 Another JCoM Review
Move It
2011 Expected Value

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The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
  ―  Ralph Waldo Emerson
[The only country we can ever become is the one we decide to support and then vote for.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Aware Some
2018 Know Any Christians?
2017 The Only Thing I Can Give…
2016 Wiser But Less Cocksure
2015 Not Today
Wicked
2014 …Am Too
2013 Credible?
2012 Both
2011 Risking Hidden Linkage

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You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.
  —  Warren Buffett
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On This Day In:
2019 Missing Failure
2018 Praise God
2017 Necessary Gaps
2016 Nor My Dogs
2015 Say What?
I’m A Dog, Too!
Beginnings
2014 Astonishing Choices
2013 Three Hard Tasks
2012 The Only Remains
2011 Personal Capability
What Price Failure?
Both Of W’s Elections
Tea (Baggers) Anyone?

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The new information technology…  Internet and e-mail…  have practically eliminated the physical costs of communications.
  —  Peter Drucker
[Many years ago, I was unemployed and looking for work.  I was applying (electronically) to a (local) company for jobs in specific fields in which I was very experienced.  After multiple attempts to contact the company to determine the status of my application and confirm the receipt of my resume, I got through but was advised it would be extremely unlikely I would be considered for the openings.  All resumes were processed by an automated system which looked for keyword matches (between the solicitation and responses) and my resume would not clear this hurdle.  I asked why as I had over 15 years hands-on experience (with both breadth and depth).  I was advised they were only considering computer science graduates with multiple years of experience in specific skills.  When I pointed out a couple of the skill sets they listed did not exist for the length of time they were requiring, the response was they were receiving numerous applications and were confident they would get highly qualified candidates.  I was told they announcement was good (open) for two weeks and they were receiving (on average) 2,000 applications per day.  When I asked how they hoped to work through 20,000 resumes in any reasonable time period, that’s when I was told about the automated system.  The HR person would ask “the system” for ten (or twenty) well qualified applicants and the system would spit out the first ten which were matches.   I pointed out that while they might get 10 “qualified” persons, there was mathematically almost zero (.0005) chance they would get the “best” person because their methodology did not even request all “qualified” candidates – only the first ten.  The response was that given the volume of the responses, this was the only way they could be fair in their hiring process.  Oh, and please don’t call us directly again – we’ll call you.
Needless to say, I didn’t get an interview for the position.
This hi-lighted (for me) the lowered cost of job application (no printing or mailing costs), resulted in a corresponding flood of applicants who were applying “for free”.  Years later, when I was working with HR staff responsible for hiring I saw the flip side of this process.  Because the cost of applying was zero, the hiring staff had to make multiple system requests for resumes, because keyword matches did not mean qualified (at all).  It only meant the applicant was able to pull the requisite words from the announcement and include them on their application / resume.  In fact, in multiple instances, the applicants were including cover letters to other companies or for other positions.  Yep, “perfect” candidates…
From watching TV and movies (sitcoms and rom-coms), I have a feeling this is the same situation / set of circumstances with on-line match making and speed dating services…  For every one (relationship) that works out (and I’m sure there are a few which do), there are probably gazillions which don’t.   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 A Little Magic
‘Cause It Makes Me Feel Happy
The Mark Against Your Name
2018 Nice To Meet You
2017 All Nations & Religions
2016 Given The Choice
Why Is He Wearing Red?
2015 Within The System
2014 None But…
2013 Obviously Longer
2012 A Childhood Poem
Who Are You Callin’ Leather-Faced?
2011 In No Particular Order
The Need For Proof

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My wife loves to putter in the front and back yards.  She claims it’s because she’s English, but I think she just likes to add little touches of her personal beauty to the world – or at least to our small part of it…
In addition to the “normal” daffodils we have in our front yard (as shown in prior posts), we have a couple of plantings of “minis” and, most recently, a little purple “something” (she’s forgotten the name of) which are located in our back yard.  We are expecting the neighbors’ cherry (and other fruit trees) blossoms any day now…

Image of Mini-daffodils

Mini-daffodils

Image of two daffodils with their respective turtle guards

Two daffodils with their respective turtle guards

Image of purple flowers

Small purple flowers…

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On This Day In:
2019 Sunlight Stream
2018 Wars Without Taxes
2017 Multiplication And Division
2016 I Went To The Woods…
2015 I’ve Got To Run
2014 Which Is It?
2013 Making You Stronger
2012 Sick Of Being Sick
Greater Than Power
2011 Clear, Specific And Measurable
2010 The Runner’s High
Into The Dark…

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