An uplifting news item, poem, thought or quotation each day.
Archive of past entries

24 October 2004

Embedded in the sands of unconscious habit are bright seeds of insight. What can we do but savor the insights and nurture their growth? Meditation is the alliance of will with insight. Gradually, we create new habits, embedded each day with a little more consciousness.
  -Josh Mitteldorf

23 October 2004

Hypatia of Alexandria

Letters written and addressed simply to the philosopher were delivered to her. She taught mathematics and natural philosophy. She is credited with the authorship of three major treatises on geometry and algebra and one on astronomy. She invented several tools: an instrument for distilling water, an instrument to measure the specific gravity of water, an astrolabe and a planisphere.

She wrote that

All formal dogmatic religions are fallacious and must never be accepted by self-respecting persons as final.
Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.

22 October 2004
"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." Robert F Kennedy

In March of 1968, the tragedy in Vietnam had begun to unfold, but most of the losses of war were still in the future. Robert Kennedy thought he could help his nation avoid them. Already America’s most famous Senator at 43, he had a promising career ahead of him, if he would be patient. But he risked his career to oppose Lyndon Johnson, a fellow Democrat and current president, in his own party’s primary. RFK gave his life for this decision, and the war continued seven more years.

21 October 2004
Next year, your laptop computer could run on diesel fuel. David Arnold and Mark Allen (working at Georgia Tech) have built a microscopic generator out of silicon, using the same laser etching technology that is used to make computer chips. Their thought is to pair this with the microscopic jet engine already demonstrated by Stuart Jacobson at MIT.
The jet engine burns fuel to spin a turbine. The spinning will be transferred to Arnold and Allen's electric generator. The combination will replace batteries with a fuel tank that is ten times smaller. The biggest remaining challenge: how to cool the jet exhaust so you can actually carry this thing in your pocket. (Article from New Scientist )
20 October 2004

          Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man

It is common knowledge to every schoolboy and even every Bachelor of Arts,
That all sin is divided into two parts.
One kind of sin is called a sin of commission, and that is very important,
And it is what you are doing when you are doing something you ortant,
And the other kind of sin is just the opposite and is called a sin of omission and is equally bad in the eyes of all right-thinking people, from Billy Sunday to Buddha,
And it consists of not having done something you shuddha.
I might as well give you my opinion of these two kinds of sin as long as, in a way, against each other we are pitting them,
And that is, don't bother your head about sins of commission because however sinful, they must at least be fun or else you wouldn't be committing them.
It is the sin of omission, the second kind of sin, 
That lays eggs under your skin.
The way you get really painfully bitten
Is by the insurance you haven't taken out and the checks you haven't added up the stubs of and the appointments you haven't kept and the bills you haven't paid and the letters you haven't written.
Also, about sins of omission there is one particularly painful lack of beauty,
Namely, it isn't as though it had been a riotous red-letter day or night every time you neglected to do your duty;
You didn't get a wicked forbidden thrill
Every time you let a policy lapse or forgot to pay a bill;
You didn't slap the lads in the tavern on the back and loudly cry Whee,
Let's all fail to write just one more letter before we go home, and this round of unwritten letters is on me.
No, you never get any fun
Out of things you haven't done,
But they are the things that I do not like to be amid,
Because the suitable things you didn't do give you a lot more trouble than the unsuitable things you did.
The moral is that it is probably better not to sin at all, but if some kind of sin you must be pursuing,
Well, remember to do it by doing rather than by not doing.

- Ogden Nash

19 October
"The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life."

Jane Addams is known foremost for creating a "settlement house" in 1889. Immigrants from diverse parts of Europe were served with housing, day care, education, a library, art, concerts and theater. Hull House in Chicago transcended the notion of charity to become a teaching community for tolerance and international brotherhood.

When World War I broke out, Addams became a prominent advocate for peace, and was founding president of Womens’ International League for Peace and Freedom.

18 October 2004

Jack Lalanne turned 90 last month. He still works out in the gym from 5 to 7 each morning.
Lalanne was the original TV diet and fitness guru, urging a mass audience to more physical activity since 1951. He studied anatomy before others had the good sense to combine science and fitness, and was an early advocate of weight training.

Lalanne attributes his long long life and health to (1) swimming, (2) vegetables, and (3) handfuls of supplements each day.