Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Misallocation of Attention

" It's not dark yet,
But it's getting there

-Bob Dylan

It had to happen. Just as the current backlash on religious fundamentalism has produce pundits from all corners of the atheistic spectrum; we now have internet entrepreneurs saying the offerings of the last couple of years ( commonly referred to by those in the tech world as "Web 2.0") have led to "digital narcissism" and are wrecking our culture.

Eh? It is what it is. The internet simply reflects that in a quicker, wider and more visual manner.

I have not yet read the book, but Andrew Keens The Cult of the Amateur, How Today's Internet is Killing our Culture and Assaulting our Economy, has received mixed reviews, with most claiming it to be a rant too far. MySpace and YouTube may have lots of students blogging on their frat parties or making silly attempts at directorial stardom, but it still is a creative outlet that has transformed the way we relate to each other. Some say to the worse. I think it is still too early to say. Stay tuned.

Bad News Weekend in Aotearoa: Two teenagers get run over at a party in Christchurch, a toddler gets shot dead in a drive by gang shooting, and a P Lab blows up, killing the drug baron-to-be. That's just last weekend. These are all things that make New Zealanders think hard about what kind of society we are living in now. It may be commonplace in other countries, but it puts a shudder up the collective spine of this one. Young people are such a source of energy. Losing them such a waste.

There is more to life than living,
There is more to death than dying.

The Icelandic Diva Bjork live (right) will send anyone into a spin with her eclectic and experimental mix of vocal and instrumental explosions, a recent live recording in New York is here courtesy of NPR.

And while you are using up some bandwidth, and only have time for one good interview all year, don't miss Bill Moyers chatting with Jon Stewart about what is (and isn't) journalism, what is (and isn't) happening in America, and generally looking at current events from a different perspective. From Moyers' new PBS show. Brilliant.

The Hippies were Right is an interesting article from SF Chronicle columnist Mark Morford. Since Green has become the new chic, then maybe the hippies were on to something all those years ago. I kind of enjoyed living in a teepee. My carbon footprint was more of a charcoal smudge, but it was living lightly!

Speaking of greenies, and hippies (not!), Prince Charles features in the Vanity Fair Green issue, in an article entitled A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Throne. Apparently he has received an Environmental Global Citizen Award that he jetted in to pick up earlier this year. For the Prince everyone likes to make fun of, and who has been "talking to plants" for awhile now; it is clear he was on to it in the early days, pushing organic farming and sustainable land management. Still hounded by the press in all his causes both personal and otherwise, the saavy Prince is finally seeing his message get through. A big hit in environmentally conscious California, that is for sure.

His Duchy Originals boasts 200 plus mostly organic products, generating over $2M for charity. His latest idea is Accounting for Sustainability, a method of "accounting for the green costs" in products, in order to let consumers make informed choices. This has been put forward before, by Paul Hawken in his groundbreaking book Natural Capitalism with Amory Lovins, but maybe its just a little sexier now.

If that doesn't get you going, then a new study out by Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin, states quite boldly that meditation is and excellent way of achieving prolonged states of concentration. This prevents the brain from "blinking", thereby losing attention at perhaps a crucial point. When things happen too fast, it is claimed, consciousness is supressed, and well, where are those damn car keys anyway? He calls attention a "flexible and trainable skill", which is groundbreaking stuff in the world of neuroscience.

Get those brain watchers and mystics together for a bit of a sit down, I say.

Michael Moore's new doco, called Sicko will no doubt take an unmerciful look at the Healthcare system in the U.S., where average annual health insurance premiums are more than what worker on the minimum wage makes in a whole year. wage. Any wonder there are 30+ million uninsured? Premieres at Cannes this month.

Gotta get down to the local Rocky Bay Hall for my weekly Qigong workout. The grapes are in, the olives as well, Winter green manure cover crops are sown, and pretty much had the last swim for the summer. (ouch!) Time for some inner work.

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