Sunday Surfing 28/02/16

Greetings on this day of Sun/Neptune conjunction…I am totally claiming that as the reason this is hours late getting out. Lets warm up with an easy one; can you see Saturn in Sagittarius in this…

Ancient cultures aren’t that different from us, says [space archaeologist Sarah] Parcak. People told mother-in-law jokes in Mesopotamia, and have been posting cats on walls since ancient Egypt. Parcak sees herself and her fellow archaeologists not as adventurers looking for objects, but as spokespeople for the people and cultures who came before. “The most important thing that we do as archaeologists is acknowledge that past people existed and lived lives worth knowing,” she says. “I wish for us to discover the millions of unknown archaeological sites across the globe. By creating a 21st century army of global explorers, we’ll find and protect the world’s hidden heritage, which contains humankind’s collective resilience and creativity… A hundred years ago archaeology was for the rich, 50 years ago it was mainly for men, now it is primarily for academics. Our goal is to democratize the process of archeological discovery and allow anyone to participate.”

Why does gravity wave and why does it matter? Great questions and a great primer on this latest scoop.


This is just so good, no matter who you are or what you’re doing: Dr. Bradberry shares research from the queen of happiness.

‘The breakthrough in Dr. Lyubomirsky’s research is that you can make yourself happier—permanently. Lyubomirsky and others have found that our genetic set point is responsible for only about 50% of our happiness, life circumstances affect about 10%, and a whopping 40% is completely up to us. The large portion of your happiness that you control is determined by your habits, attitude, and outlook on life.’

The article goes on to list some examples of lifestyle that might be draining your personal kool-aid and I found I can be guilty of two. How ’bout you?


Mathematics and certain basic theories can be and must be validated by experiments as “fact”. However, interpretation of what it all “means” usually is a map masquerading as a territory. And unfortunately, that happens continuously, and is communicated to the less knowledgable public which does not have the means to understand the errors.  Edgar Mitchell (7 April 2000) in correspondence with Cynthia Sue Larson

Yes, we are letting our inner geek out for some air. But from a philosophical point of view, I can see Mitchell’s sentiment applying across all social strata…it’s HUGEly important not to confuse the map with territory on the journey of living. The map is helpful, for sure, but it’s a tool, not REALITY. Continuing our geek-out right along this theme…

‘(Sir Arthur) Eddington imagined a team of scientists investigating ocean life. They throw a net, with gaps two inches wide, into the water. Each time they retrieve their catch, they find it full of creatures that have two basic characteristics. Each creature has gills and is more than two inches long. Eddington then asks which is a fundamental property? Are see creatures all larger than two inches or do they all have gills? By analogy, we retrieve from the sea of knowledge only what the mesh of our methodology allows. Our methodology could retrieve a sea creature without gills on the next try, but a net two inches in size will never catch creatures less than two inches. Hence team of scientist would conclude a two inch creature size is a fundamental property of the ocean world. Since all knowledge is filtered through our Brain, which by analogy has characteristics, such as a two inch net spacing, it is very likely that some of its characteristics are inadvertently assigned to the reality we are trying to measure. Therefore interpretations of experimental results can project properties onto the real world that are actually unrecognized artifacts of the methodology we use to perform experiments.’

That’s part of an essay by Wolfgang Baer, Research Director, Nascent Systems Inc, Formerly Associate Research Prof. Naval Postgraduate School. There are more great (though sometimes somewhat heavy) geek-out essays in that link. I recommend. 🙂 


Benjamin Franklin: I wish it were possible… to invent a method of embalming drowned persons, in such a manner that they might be recalled to life at any period, however distant; for having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence, I should prefer to an ordinary death, being immersed with a few friends in a cask of Madeira, until that time, then to be recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country! But… in all probability, we live in a century too little advanced, and too near the infancy of science, to see such an art brought in our time to its perfection.
—Letter to Jacques Dubourg, April 1773

Well, there is nothing wrong with wishing. And now I recall the saying, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ ha ha

And in closing…

‘Historically, the music industry has run on hunches. John Hammond is the archetype of what later became known as A&R (artists and repertoire) – the business’s talent scouts. Being an A&R man in the industry’s heyday was a dream job: you were paid to go to gigs and hang out with musicians eager to win your approval. If you spotted more than one or two successes, you were said to have good ears, and handed a fat salary. But the ears of A&R now compete with algorithms.’ Data vs. Hunch



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