Friday, November 17, 2006

Concentration Care

"He lives well who is well hidden"


The life and times of Rene Descartes, the 17th century French scientist and philosopher is an interesting one. Better known for his metaphysical musings ("I think, therefore I am"), than his early quite remarkable understanding of analytic geometry and mathematics, he lived outside of France for most of his life, and once buried in Sweden, was exhumed and re-buried several times back in France. As many came to later call him, "The Father of Modern Philosophy" had writings on both science and philosophy that are best understood in context together. Think about it. A scientist trying to prove the existence of God. No wonder they call it The Enlightenment. A New Yorker article sums up his life and a couple of new biographies.

Having a paper to deliver on mysticism in a couple of weeks, it has been an inspiration to read about him once again.

All kinds of little gems leaping forth from the digital domain recently, as well as from those sentient beings curious enough to be involved in my surrounding social architecture here in wonderful Aotearoa...

My friends within the Paradise Duck family are enjoying a wet spring here, which suits them fine,

and the young ones are now nearing the 50-60 day mark, where they are strong enough to fly on their own. Pa then hangs around a bit for the summer, takes off again, only to return late winter to enjoy the company of his lifetime mate and have another family.

They do alright.

More good news (really!) from the Auckland Regional Council which has announced a plan to create a wildlife sanctuary on Rangitoto and Motutape islands, the closest to Auckland, and between our island of Waiheke and the city. "Breathing new life into the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park", it will be significantly larger than any other of the sanctuaries in the country, and twenty times larger than Tiritiri Matangi, our closest wildlife sanctuary.

Typically, the Grey Lynn Park Festival in Auckland kicks off a summer festival season that this year will include WOMAD, a biennial cultural and musical extravaganza in New Plymouth. For the second year running, the weather has been very wet on the day, but at least they did not cancel this year, which was nice. We make the most of our summers here, and this one will be no exception. Lots of free music, dance and art for the adventurous.

As the BBC reports here, sometimes the low-tech and easy approach to solving problems may be the most effective. They are discovering how to capture and store rain water more effectively in Africa now, and use it where and when it is needed most.

Tastes great too, believe me. My tank is overflowing at the moment. I drink much more water than I ever have.

Now if they can just get some mosquito nets over there sometime in the near future, lives will be saved...

On a lighter note, NPR continues to deliver excellent quality and useful information to help navigate the digital world, this short audio file explaining quite clearly how to transfer those old vinyl and audiocassette tapes onto your computer for longevity and portabililty(they can then be downloaded to your Mp3 player if you so desire). Like much of the work in this area, it sounds easy. We'll see. I have a large collection of priceless audiotapes, and look forward to having them safely stored and backed up on my PC.

I think it's time to "go bush", as they say down here, and get away from all things digital, to enjoy some of the natural wonders of the South Island. Watch this space.

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