Archive for October 21st, 2012

October 21, 2012

Luminous Mind

Citta

Luminous mind (‘brightly shining citta’) is a term attributed to the Buddha in the ‘Nikayas’ (Bhuddist scripture); the mind is said to be ‘luminous’ whether or not it is tainted by mental defilements.

The statement is given no direct doctrinal explanation in the discourses, but later Buddhist schools explained it using various concepts developed by them.  There are two major sects in Buddhism, the older and more conservative Theravada and the larger, more modern Mahyana.

read more »

October 21, 2012

UEFI

uefi

The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is a specification that defines a software interface between an operating system and platform firmware. UEFI is meant as a replacement for the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware interface, present in all IBM PC-compatible personal computers. In practice, most UEFI images have legacy support for BIOS services.

It can be used to allow remote diagnostics and repair of computers, even without another operating system. The original EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) specification was developed by Intel. Some of its practices and data formats mirror ones from Windows. The BIOS is limited to a 16-bit processor mode and 1 MB of addressable space due to the design being based on the IBM 5150 which used the 16-bit Intel 8088. In comparison, the UEFI processor mode can be either 32-bit (x86-32, ARM) or 64-bit (x86-64 and Itanium).

read more »

October 21, 2012

Hiccup

mr hiccup

A hiccup is a contraction of the diaphragm that may repeat several times per minute. In medicine it is known as ‘synchronous diaphragmatic flutter’ (SDF), or ‘singultus,’ from the Latin ‘singult,’ ‘the act of catching one’s breath while sobbing.’ The hiccup is an involuntary action involving a reflex arc.

Once triggered, the reflex causes a strong contraction of the diaphragm followed about 0.25 seconds later by closure of the vocal cords, which results in the classic hic sound. At the same time, the normal peristalis of the esophagus is suppressed. A bout of hiccups, in general, resolves itself without intervention, although many home remedies are often used to attempt to shorten the duration. Medical treatment is occasionally necessary in cases of chronic hiccups.

read more »

October 21, 2012

Sociocybernetics

Sociocybernetics is an independent chapter of science in sociology based upon Systems Theory (a framework to analyze a group of objects that work in concert to produce some result) and cybernetics (the study of control and communication systems in animals and machines). It also has a basis in Organizational Development (OD) consultancy practice and in Theories of Communication, theories of psychotherapies, and computer sciences. The ‘International Sociological Association’ has a specialist research committee in the area, which publishes the (electronic) ‘Journal of Sociocybernetics.’

The study of society as a system can be traced back to the origin of sociology when the emergent idea of functional differentiation was applied for the first time to society by Auguste Comte. From his viewpoint, the principal feature of modern society was the increased process of system differentiation as a way of dealing with the complexity of the environment. This is accomplished through the creation of subsystems in an effort to copy within a system the difference between it and the environment.

read more »

October 21, 2012

Cognitive Surplus

Clay Shirky

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age’ is a 2010 non-fiction book by Clay Shirky. The book is an indirect sequel to Shirky’s ‘Here Comes Everybody,’ which covered the impact of social media. The book’s central theme is that people are now learning how to use more constructively the free time afforded to them since the 1940s for creative acts rather than consumptive ones, particularly with the advent of online tools that allow new forms of collaboration.

It goes on to catalog the means and motives behind these new forms of cultural production, as well as key examples. While Shirky acknowledges that the activities that we use our cognitive surplus for may be frivolous (such as creating ‘LOLcats’), the trend as a whole is leading to valuable and influential new forms of human expression. He also asserts that even the most inane forms of creation and sharing are preferable to the hundreds of billions of hours spent consuming television.

read more »

Tags:
October 21, 2012

Here Comes Everybody

Internet activism

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations’ is a 2008 book by Clay Shirky, which evaluates the effect of the Internet on modern group dynamics. The author considers examples such as ‘Wikipedia’ and ‘MySpace’ in his analysis, and says his book is about ‘what happens when people are given the tools to do things together, without needing traditional organizational structure.’

The title of the work alludes to ‘HCE,’ a recurring and central figure in James Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake.’ In the book, Shirky recounts how social tools such as blogging software like WordPress and Twitter, file sharing platforms like Flickr, and online collaboration platforms like Wikipedia support group conversation and group action in a way that previously could only be achieved through institutions.

read more »

Tags:
October 21, 2012

Beast Cancer Overemphasis

 

pink ribbons inc

Compared to other diseases or other cancers, breast cancer receives a disproportionate share of resources and attention. In 2001 MP Ian Gibson, chairman of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom all party group on cancer stated ‘The treatment has been skewed by the lobbying, there is no doubt about that. Breast cancer sufferers get better treatment in terms of bed spaces, facilities and doctors and nurses.’

Breast cancer also receives significantly more media coverage than other, equally prevalent cancers, with a study by Prostate Coalition showing 2.6 breast cancer stories for each one covering cancer of the prostate. Ultimately there is a concern that favoring sufferers of breast cancer with disproportionate funding and research on their behalf may well be costing lives elsewhere. Partly because of its relatively high prevalence and long-term survival rates, research is biased towards breast cancer. Some subjects, such as cancer-related fatigue, have been studied in little except women with breast cancer.

read more »

October 21, 2012

The Closing of the American Mind

american mind by Viktor Koen

The Closing of the American Mind is a 1987 book by American philosopher Allan Bloom. It describes ‘how higher education has failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today’s students.’ He focuses especially upon the ‘openness’ of relativism as leading paradoxically to the great ‘closing’ referenced in the book’s title.

Bloom argues that ‘openness’ and absolute understanding undermines critical thinking and eliminates the ‘point of view’ that defines cultures. According to Bloom: ‘Education in our times must try to find whatever there is in students that might yearn for completion, and to reconstruct the learning that would enable them autonomously to seek that completion.’

read more »

Tags: