13 June 2004  


Habit is the assassin of experience. 


A one-point program for lifelong growth and spiritual enlightenment: Eschew thy comfort zone.


- Josh Mitteldorf


12 June 2004  

Warning of a Coming Epidemic

Symptoms of Inner Peace

Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy the moment

  • A loss of interest in judging other people
  • A loss of interest in judging self
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
  • An inability to worry (this is a very serious symptom!)
  • Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation
  • Frequent acts of smiling
  • An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than to make them happen
  • An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
  • A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears derived from past experience


If you have some or all of the above symptoms, please be advised that your condition of inner peace may be so far advanced as to not be curable. If you are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed only at your own risk.

- Saskia Davis

11 June 2004 

Do you enjoy interlocking-ring puzzles? Presented with a structure like this one, how would you pull it apart? Or, how could you assemble it out of 3 separate rings? Study the picture for a moment, and it's clear that it can't be done. The 3 rings are essentially interlocked, though no 2 of them are interlocked in the absence of the third. 

This structure was in the news this week, as chemists reported success in creating it out of atoms! The structure self-assembles out of 12 cleverly designed chains of C, H, N and O atoms.

Science news article

Research article

(Nineteen years ago, chemists first reported the discovery of a molecule shaped like a geodesic dome. It is a form of C60 , affectionately named a "buckyball", for the late Buckminster Fuller. Since then, they've learned to build these molecules around an un-bonded atom, which is locked inside the sphere.)


10 June 2004 


Colonel Stanislav Petrov had his finger on the button. His orders were to watch the radar over Siberia, and to launch a full nuclear retaliation against the United States should there ever be a confirmation of missiles entering Soviet air space. There were five blips on the radar screen. All available information confirmed that this was the real thing. If Col Petrov didn’t launch his missiles now, it might be too late in 15 minutes.

It was 1983, and tensions between the Soviet Union and the US were as high as they could be. But Col Petrov made a lonely decision to disobey orders.  He would not be responsible for starting World War III.

Much later, the signals indicating the presence of US missiles were determined to be a computer glitch.

Awesome responsibility in the hands of one man, who did the right thing.

Col Petrov was finally honored last month.


9 June 2004 


And if I drink oblivion of a day, 

So shorten I the stature of my soul. 


- George Meredith     

 Modern Love


8June 2004

Easy gene therapy

Gene therapy holds great promise to correct birth defects and genetically-based diseases, and possibly to improve our health in ways that go beyond this. Medical researchers have known this for decades, but the prospect of adding a gene to every cell in the body has been considered a major obstacle. The standard idea is to infect the body with genetically engineered viruses, designed not to create disease but to cure it. The technique is fraught with dangers.

Last week, Jon Wolf of the Med School at U of Wisconsin announced that it’s easier than anyone imagined to add functional genes to the body. He has had remarkable success with mice simply introducing DNA into the bloodstream with a standard intravenous injection. If this is borne out, it’s a medical bonanza for all of us.

How does it work? The technique involves making miniature loops of active DNA called plasmids, that lack the usual protective protein jacket. Without the protein jacket, plasmids slip right into muscle cells. In Dr Wolff’s experiments with mice, the genes persist in the target cells up to six months, and have been shown to be translated into proteins just as if they were in the mouse genome.

Link to article


7 June 2004

Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting over lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can do,  begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
  –  John Anster, paraphrasing Goethe's Faust *