Bush and Indian Journalists: Evenly Matched

The most powerful man in the world is an average moron. Considering that average Americans voted him into office — not once but twice — tells you that the average American is a moron. So how does the US economy do so well if the majority are stupid, you may wonder. They do so well because the minority are so bloody bright that they create stuff of such great value that in the aggregate, despite the stupidity of the majority, it is positive.
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Storm over the Amazon

I am continuing to read E. O. Wilson’s The Diversity of Life and recently I quoted from it. Today I continue to quote some more.

The best of science doesn’t consist of mathematical models and experiments, as textbooks make it seem. Those come later. It springs fresh from a more primitive mode of though, wherein the hunter’s mind weaves ideas from old facts and fresh metaphors and the scrambled crazy images of things recently seen. To move forward is to concoct new patters of thought, which in turn dictate the design of the models and experiments. Easy to say, difficult to achieve.

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Dancing at the Edge of the World

The world of technology is magical. There are not enough hours in the day to even begin to scratch the surface of what amazing things that exist today, leave alone what is going to come down the technology cornucopia which is beyond imagination. You do get brief glimpses of tomorrow, occasionally. For instance, check out this Crazy Multi-input Touch Screen video clip. (Wait, don’t click on the link before you read the entire entry.)
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The Diversity of Life

The great entomologist E O Wilson’s The Diversity of Life (Harvard University Press, 1992) should be required reading for all who care to understand the complex web of life that we all are part of.

What is urgently needed is knowledge and a practical ethic based on a time scale longer than we are accustomed to apply. An ideal ethic is a set of rules invented to address problems so complex or stretching so far into the future as to place their solution beyond ordinary discourse. Environmental problems are innately ethical. They require vision reaching simultaneously into the short and long reaches of time. What is good for individuals and societies at this moment might easily sour ten years hence, and what seems ideal over the next several decades could ruin future generations. To choose what is best for both the near and distant futures is a hard task, often seemingly contradictory and requiring knowledge and ethical codes which for the most part are still unwritten. (page 312)

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Thoughts Without a Thinker

Many years ago I had read a book by Mark Epstein called Thoughts Without a Thinker, which is about psychotherapy from a Buddist perspective. I enjoyed the book immensely of course, but there is something in the first chapter that I cannot resist quoting in full.
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Thoughts on Freedom of Expression

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” — George Bernard Shaw

Here is a thought experiment. Imagine yourself in a commercial jetliner cruising at 500 knots 37,000 feet above the earth’s surface. Who on earth created the contraption which gives you the ability to do something so awesome? Humans. And out of what? Stuff that came out of the earth. You can trace every bit of that plane to its origin, the earth. The metals, the glass, the plastics—you name it—every bit of that aircraft was once in the earth. The raw material has been around for billions of years but only in the last few centuries have humans developed the ability to work the raw materials into sophisticated shapes and forms that extend the reach of humans in unimaginable ways.
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A Letter from a Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Worshipper

I expressed the idea that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is not a supreme being endowed with the power of the Almighty God in my article titled “Is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar a Con Man?” I concluded that he is doing very useful work and as evidence I pointed out that he has very large numbers of followers who are willing to pay good deals of money for his guidance. But that rubs his worshippers the wrong way. Fortunately, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a Hindu and therefore his followers are not in the habit of calling for the murder of those who hurt their feelings. When SSRS’s followers feel slighted by my not considering SSRS god incarnate, they merely write letters protesting my view.
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The Brain of the Minister of State for Haj

In my last post, we met the Uttar Pradesh Minister of State for Haj, Mr Muhammad Yaqoob Qureshi, who has announced a $11.5 million reward for the murder of Danish cartoonists and has asked the Indian government to server dipolomatic ties with the US. Here is how his brain works.

Indian Minister Announces Reward for Murder

I am not surprised. Indian Minister Offers Bounty reports the website Arab News.

NEW DELHI, 19 February 2006 — A minister in India’s Uttar Pradesh state government has offered a reward of $11.5 million to anyone who would kill any of the cartoonists who drew the images of the Prophet Muhammad …

Muhammad Yaqoob Qureshi, minister of state for Haj and Minorities Welfare in the Uttar Pradesh government, told a rally in Meerut, 65 km east of New Delhi, after Friday prayers that he would give “the avenger” 510 million rupees ($11.5 million) and his weight in gold.

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The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity

The prime directive that the Buddha gave to humanity was as simple as it was wise: First do no harm; then try to do good. Easy enough to state but it is astonishingly hard to follow for the average human being. Granted that the average human has occasional flashes of genius, but those are rare and therefore shine brightly against a backdrop of all-pervasive darkness of the general stupidity of humanity at large. No one, present company included, is quite exempt from moments of supreme stupidity and random acts of senselessness. Stupidity is as much part of our human condition as our much vaunted rationality. Which is why it is so difficult to follow the Buddha’s directive: we are just not smart enough.
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