2010.05.15 19:00 - Please Beware The Monkey

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Pema Pera. The comments are by Pema Pera.

    Pema Pera: Good evening, Blue!
    Pema Pera: *Bleu
    Bleu Oleander: how are you?
    Pema Pera: fine, well rested, quiet Sunday morning here in Kyoto
    Pema Pera: and how about you?
    Bleu Oleander: home sick with a cold :(
    Pema Pera: oh, sorry to here that!
    Bleu Oleander: almost always when we fly I pick up something
    Pema Pera: I hope you can take it easy, with not too many things-to-do
    Bleu Oleander: but did have a great trip to NYC
    This is one of the yearly trips Bleu's group makes to the East Coast; two years ago that's how we met in RL.
    Pema Pera: ah, yes, that was this month -- how did it go?
    Bleu Oleander: wonderful
    Bleu Oleander: had a great time
    Bleu Oleander: great weather too
    Pema Pera: where did you visit?
    Pema Pera: and whom?
    Bleu Oleander: we put some pics and links on our website
    Bleu Oleander: we met Yve-Alain Bois
    Bleu Oleander: he invited us to his home which was very beautiful
    Yve-Alain is a colleague of mine, in Art History, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
    Pema Pera: oh, lucky you!
    Pema Pera: and how nice of him
    Bleu Oleander: we met Barbara Olberg at Princeton, editor of the Thomas Jefferson papers
    Bleu Oleander: we met Rudolfo Llinas, NYU neuroscience dept chair
    Bleu Oleander: Michael Novacek, American Museum of Natural History
    Bleu Oleander: all great discussions!
    Bleu Oleander: we had a good group with us who were very engaged
    Bleu Oleander: I think that's key
    Bleu Oleander: and of course we saw some art
    Pema Pera: fascinating program! and you seem to have picked people who I am know :-)
    Bleu Oleander: went to Christies
    Bleu Oleander: really? who else do you know?
    Pema Pera: though I haven't seen Rudolfo and Michael for a few years
    Pema Pera: I met Rudolfo at a conference at Columbia where we both talked
    Bleu Oleander: he's facinating
    Pema Pera: and Michael I met while I was doing research at the planetarium
    Bleu Oleander: oh great
    Pema Pera: yes! What did you talk about with Rudolfo?
    Pema Pera: (and yes, your group *is* very engaged!)
    Bleu Oleander: some of the points from his book, i of the vortex
    Bleu Oleander: his ideas on consciousness and movement and his argument that sensory experience leading to movement by prediction as the ultimate reason for the existence of the central nervous system
    Pema Pera: yes, that makes a lot of sense
    Bleu Oleander: i thought so too
    This reminded me of another interesting person.
    Pema Pera: Another neuroscientist at Columbia whom you *have* to see next time is Stuart Firestein -- or did you visit him already?
    Bleu Oleander: no we haven't
    Pema Pera: He has been teaching a class on "Ignorance" for several years now
    Bleu Oleander: oh sounds great
    Pema Pera: though "teaching" is not quite the right word :-)
    Pema Pera: rather, most of his weekly classes feature a guest lecturere
    Pema Pera: I was one of them, in February
    Bleu Oleander: great
    Bleu Oleander: that must have been fun
    Pema Pera: every year he has been teaching it, attendence has doubled -- a hundred now; not sure what he will do next year
    Bleu Oleander: what is his draw?
    Pema Pera: http://firestein.bio.columbia.edu/ignorance/
    Pema Pera: his main idea is: for every little thing we gain in knowledge, we can ask many new questions, so we become aware in much more detail how ignorant we are
    Pema Pera: so ignorance grows faster than knowledge
    Bleu Oleander: looks great .... yes Rudolfo talked about that also
    Pema Pera: so with all of our classes on various bits of knowledge, it's time to teach on ignorance :)
    Pema Pera: ah yes, they're in the same department
    Bleu Oleander: he sounds like he would be good to visit for us
    Pema Pera: I'd be more than happy to introduce you -- should I do that now, or later, when you get closer to a visit date?
    Pema Pera: Hi Calvino!
    Bleu Oleander: that's so kind of you
    Calvino Rabeni: Good evening Pema, Bleu
    Bleu Oleander: we probably won't be going back to NYC until next spring
    Bleu Oleander: hi Cal
    Pema Pera: just let me know then, when I should write
    Bleu Oleander: thank you so much Pema!
    A brief discussion of a problem with our wiki.
    Calvino Rabeni: There's a glitch going on with the wiki right now Pema
    Pema Pera: Yes, I noticed that the PaB wiki is down
    Calvino Rabeni: I sent mail to the pab list
    Pema Pera: I wanted to post my Drop Day notes!
    Pema Pera: but then the wiki dropped as well . . . .
    Calvino Rabeni: I think you can still post
    Calvino Rabeni: The sub pages work, just not the main root page
    Calvino Rabeni: search does not work
    Calvino Rabeni: I'm not sure about log-in for the wiki user
    Pema Pera: ah, the sub pages work, so I can post my report?
    Pema Pera: but probably not reliably so
    Calvino Rabeni: The whole site can be accessed using the Google cache of the main page
    Calvino Rabeni: Posting the report - well I'd give it a try, but keep a text copy of what I put into it :)
    Pema Pera: will do!
    Pema Pera: let me try right now, takes only a minute -- you two keep talking :)
    Bleu Oleander: interesting article: http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0010564#pone.0010564.s005
    Bleu Oleander: is talking about more immersive virtual reality than sl, but interesting ideas
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, there's been various versions for a while, like the "rubber hand" experiment
    Calvino Rabeni: And the phantom limb experiments with the mirror
    Calvino Rabeni: the manipulate the brain's map of the body
    Bleu Oleander: yes, we met with VS Ramachandran in UCSD
    Calvino Rabeni: I remember your mention
    Pema Pera: (Calvino, can you please go to http://playasbeing.wik.is/index.php?title=Guardians%27_Contributions and check whether you can reach my contribution from there?)
    Calvino Rabeni: Today, 2010/5/15, I realized that I had never created a page here yet. Since today is our first "PaB Drop Day", I'm creating a top page here, to hang my Drop Day page off of.
    Calvino Rabeni: (quote, minus link)
    Pema Pera: ??
    Calvino Rabeni: That's your contribution page. I cllicked into http://playasbeing.wik.is/Guardians%27_Contributions/Pema/2010%2f%2f5%2f%2f15%3a_PaB_Drop_Day_Report_by_Pema
    Pema Pera: ah yes, thanks -- so you could read it?
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes
    Bleu Oleander: I was able to get both pages
    Quite a relief, to be able to post again!
    Pema Pera: great! so hopefully it will stay, but I'll keep the original of course
    Calvino Rabeni: I'd guess it's working normally
    Pema Pera: seems so, yes
    Pema Pera: btw, I haven't gotten a chance to ask you about your travel experiences, Calvino!
    Pema Pera: how was it?
    Calvino Rabeni: Oddly, the ways of knowing wiki doesn't have the same behavior
    Calvino Rabeni: It works ok
    Pema Pera: well, it was Drop Day today, so our home page dropped . . . .
    Calvino Rabeni: haha yes
    Bleu Oleander: :)
    Pema Pera: so how about your big trip?
    Calvino Rabeni: I have a way I like to do it - Travel As Being
    Calvino Rabeni: I enjoyed the trip
    Calvino Rabeni: One little story - I lost my hat - emblazoned with the familar letters IAS
    Calvino Rabeni: on the plane to south thailand
    Pema Pera: oh, we can get you another one, I'm sure :-)
    Calvino Rabeni: Two weeks later - inquired at the new bangkok airport
    Calvino Rabeni: Bangkok Airways - they are very well organized
    Calvino Rabeni: They sent it back up to Bangkok and I picked it up the morning of departure
    Calvino Rabeni: I liked the way it was handled
    Pema Pera: wow, very impressive!
    Calvino Rabeni: Another thing I did different - is leaving nearly all my luggage in the airport
    Calvino Rabeni: in a storage station called "Left Baggage"
    Calvino Rabeni: Then I traveled light - caught the city bus into BKK for very cheap, just scouted around for a hotel near the attractions I wanted to see
    Calvino Rabeni: FOr several days it was great to be unencumbered
    Calvino Rabeni: This was the first trip where I was "connected" - carried a tiny laptop and blogged / posted my pictures during the trip / probably made nearly as many PAB meetings as when not traveling
    Pema Pera: ah, that's how you did it!
    Calvino Rabeni: The world is - well, wired is not quite the word anymore - but encased in a radiosphere or noo-sphere
    Calvino Rabeni: http://picasaweb.google.com/WyldMedia/Thailand2#5465445709085299474
    Pema Pera: yes the name of the magizine "Wired" is a bit out of date :-)
    Calvino Rabeni: I find these semi-symbolic pictures and put some online
    Pema Pera: great picture, Calvino, hahaha -- the monkey is the self, right?
    Calvino Rabeni: :) exactly :)
    Calvino Rabeni: "Please Beware The Monkey"
    Hence the title of this session :-)
    Calvino Rabeni: Meanwhile, Kwan Yin watches all compassionately
    Calvino Rabeni: But we may be sidetracked on the way to the meeting
    Calvino Rabeni: Next time I go, I want to learn the actual procedures - I just do my version of the prayer at the shrines
    Calvino Rabeni: No one minds, of course
    Calvino Rabeni: There's something for everyone
    Calvino Rabeni: Kwan Yin, Buddha, Ganesha, etc.
    Calvino Rabeni: (well I didn't see JC around much)
    Calvino Rabeni: But I like the diversity and inclusivity
    Pema Pera: yes, it sounds wonderful!
    Calvino Rabeni: I also really like - the amount of new temple construction that is always happening there, and the ways it is done
    Bleu Oleander: i must sign off ... starting to fade! nice to talk with you Pema and Cal!
    Bleu Oleander: thanks for sharing your photos Cal
    Calvino Rabeni: Bye Bleu
    Calvino Rabeni: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: http://picasaweb.google.com/WyldMedia/Thailand2#5461767297876679890
    Pema Pera: bye Bleu!
    Bleu Oleander: bfn :)
    Pema Pera: hahaha, that is the eye opening ceremony for the statue?
    Calvino Rabeni: I think it will be a milestone yes
    Calvino Rabeni: http://picasaweb.google.com/WyldMedia/Thailand2#5461765269336727058
    Pema Pera: what about the political unrest?
    Calvino Rabeni: That shows a bell, with a prayer on it, next to the collossus
    Pema Pera: ah, very pretty
    Calvino Rabeni: Along with thousands of others, hung on trees, when the wind blows, all the prayers are vocalized
    Calvino Rabeni: That is how donations are accepted (among other ways)
    Calvino Rabeni: It makes people have a together feeling about the project
    Calvino Rabeni: About the political unrest
    Pema Pera: what a neat idea, sounds of prayers!
    Calvino Rabeni: There are lots of big bells to ring, to call the spirits
    Calvino Rabeni: As well as huge gongs
    Calvino Rabeni: and if you like, can buy firecrackers too
    Calvino Rabeni: to make a joyful noise, etc.
    What a nice idea!
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Calvino Rabeni: It seems healthy in a lot of ways to me, in that "sacred" and "silent" are not wedded so much
    Calvino Rabeni: More ways to pray
    Pema Pera: yes, more spontaneous and lively
    Pema Pera: hi Fael!
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi Fael
    Fael Illyar: Hi Pema, Cal :)
    Fael Illyar <-- awake due to hay fever.
    Fael Illyar: stubbornly no taking another pill :)
    Pema Pera: I sympathize with you, Fael!
    Calvino Rabeni: I have the illusion your virtual mascara is running a bit due to hay fever
    Pema Pera: :)
    Pema Pera: I'll have to take off
    Fael Illyar: have fun Pema :)
    Pema Pera: thanks, Calvino!
    Pema Pera: for helping with the wiki
    Calvino Rabeni: I have allergies - but they take time - years - to build up in each area
    Pema Pera: and you too, Fael!
    Pema Pera: bfn
    Calvino Rabeni: Good to see you Pema, be well
    Since I took off, I will leave the rest of the session uncommented.
    Fael Illyar: Ah, you mean it's like you've got a quota and once it's full, the allergy starts showing up?
    Calvino Rabeni: I think some allergies build slowly, at some point reaching a critical mass
    Calvino Rabeni: I noticed this by migrating - moving to a new area every 7 years or so
    Fael Illyar: I've only ever had hay fever in cities.
    Calvino Rabeni: When travelling, I'm usually clear
    Fael Illyar: countryside, no problem
    Calvino Rabeni: Odd, maybe it's some other environment nasty than plants?
    Fael Illyar: more like it's combination of plants and something else
    Fael Illyar: Hi Steve :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello
    Fael Illyar: as in, takes something else to tax me to the point that plants start having an effect
    Calvino Rabeni: That makes sense to me
    Calvino Rabeni: I think it's an unstudied medical frontier also
    Calvino Rabeni: When medical science "cures" or handles the simpler things - the single factor things, then the more complex ones emerge
    Calvino Rabeni: With multiple factors
    Fael Illyar: yes, a lot of medicines only treat symptoms...
    Calvino Rabeni: We probably all know people with difficult health issues that the medical establishment kind of doubts whether they are "real"
    Calvino Rabeni: Then the best the patients can expect is - This is a Syndrome, not a Disease
    Calvino Rabeni: IT is multifactorial
    Calvino Rabeni: here's a list of things that *might* help
    stevenaia Michinaga: a product that only treats symptoms has a much longer economic life
    Calvino Rabeni: At the worst, they get "it's all in your head"
    Fael Illyar: Steve, yep
    Fael Illyar: although, only as long as a product that actually heals the problem doesn't exist
    Calvino Rabeni: That's true, but also the methodology of science can't deal well with the complex ones
    stevenaia Michinaga: not much monay to be made with the smallpox vaccine anymore
    stevenaia Michinaga: *money
    Calvino Rabeni: I was amused recently - a big study concluded - no link between consumption of saturated fats, and heart disease
    Calvino Rabeni: So the "low fat diet fad" is unnecessary
    stevenaia Michinaga: until the next study does
    Calvino Rabeni: (refined sugars are still a no-no)
    Calvino Rabeni: The meta-studies indicate, whole classes of those other studies are dubious
    Fael Illyar: but that's a definite problem, that there's a monetary advantage to treating symptoms instead of healing.
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes it does have an effect
    Fael Illyar: Well, if you ask me, the best diet comes from paying attention to how you feel with eating different foods.
    Fael Illyar: both while and after eating
    Calvino Rabeni: I agree, and common sense and good self-observation are the keys
    Calvino Rabeni: and "after eating" could take a few days, it's not necessarily immediate
    Calvino Rabeni: that takes a lot of discipline
    Fael Illyar: yes, quite a longerm
    Fael Illyar: long term...
    Calvino Rabeni: To isolate one's own food allergy items is not as easy as it sounds
    Fael Illyar: rare for my keyboad to miss 2 keystrokes in a row
    Calvino Rabeni: Mine does frequently - part of lag / dropped characters
    Fael Illyar: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: The public dialog in the USA is quite confused - not sure whether this is true in other countries
    Calvino Rabeni: The code-word "healthcare" has nothing to do with health
    Calvino Rabeni: it really means - insurance
    Calvino Rabeni: So the debate is all about insurance, not health
    Fael Illyar: we've got publicly funded healthcare in Finland.
    Fael Illyar: Although, we do have health insurance offerings providing some extra coverage.
    Calvino Rabeni: but the word "health" covers up the realization that it is Big Money driving the politics
    stevenaia Michinaga: when insurance and healthcare became "for profit" things began t slide
    Calvino Rabeni: As in the US - the money issues you mentioned then have free reign
    Fael Illyar: in Finland, it's illegal to make profit from the insurance payments. But the companies are allowed to make money by having the money grow interest.
    Fael Illyar: and we've got this unusual form of company too that's kind of different. Many companies that are completely owned by customers with one vote per owning customer for company matters
    Fael Illyar: we've got banks, insurance companies and such using that form.
    Fael Illyar: even a grocery store chain
    Fael Illyar: those companies lack traditional owners. No stock prices to worry about.
    Fael Illyar: the companies are next to impossible to buy out also.
    Fael Illyar: would need acceptance from a majority of customers for the sale to proceed
    Calvino Rabeni: Interesting
    Calvino Rabeni: Have you heard of the Corruption Perception Index?
    Fael Illyar: Yes
    stevenaia Michinaga: I must be off, interesting conversation
    Calvino Rabeni: Finland is usually pretty high (on the not-corrupt end)
    Calvino Rabeni: Bye stevenaia
    stevenaia Michinaga: nice to see you again Fael, Cal
    Calvino Rabeni: Be well :)
    Fael Illyar: yes, although looking at the score, it's been steadily dropping
    Fael Illyar: was 9.9 year 2002
    Fael Illyar: now 9.0
    Fael Illyar: oh wait, 8.9
    Calvino Rabeni: Hmm, I wonder ..
    Calvino Rabeni: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrupt...ceptions_Index
    Calvino Rabeni: (for the log)
    Fael Illyar: but then, it is perceptions index
    Fael Illyar: perhaps corruption is just becoming increasingly difficult to hide
    Calvino Rabeni: It seems a kind of thing that could generate any number of sociological theses as well as controversies
    Calvino Rabeni: RIght transparency
    Calvino Rabeni: It's definitional I suppose
    Fael Illyar: 2007-2008 had a drop from 9.4 to 9.0 :)
    Calvino Rabeni: That is, if you are an American and you pay lots of money to your insurance company and get little for it, it'snot regarded as corruption, because it is an expected practice
    Fael Illyar: I think that's the time we got our DMCA equivalent law.
    Calvino Rabeni: But if you pay protection money to the mafia, it is called corruption
    Calvino Rabeni: When corruption is "legalized" it is no longer labeled as such
    Calvino Rabeni: (I first read about that in the Tao Te Ching) :)
    Fael Illyar: also, I'd be wary of labeling insurance as corruption though :)
    Fael Illyar: but it certainly can be similar.
    Calvino Rabeni: Functionally similar, different label
    Calvino Rabeni: For instance, in the US, pharmacists have a depth of knowledge close to physicians
    Calvino Rabeni: but all they are asked to do is count pills into bottles and serve as the drug enforcement agents
    Calvino Rabeni: In thailand, the pharmacist will give the knowledge to benefit people
    Calvino Rabeni: they need not go to the doctor to get the medicine
    Fael Illyar: ah, the roles are combined to some extent then
    Calvino Rabeni: In the US, it is going to cost lots of money, just to get the simplest medication
    Calvino Rabeni: Is that corruption?
    Calvino Rabeni: It is not considered as such
    Fael Illyar: it defintely is an inefficient way of doing things
    Calvino Rabeni: Because the powers that be - the money that pulls the politic strings - are the ones that define what is acceptable
    Calvino Rabeni: And thus the system is not capable of efficiency
    Fael Illyar: yep, when the powers that be plug their fingers too deep, inefficiency results
    Calvino Rabeni: A simple steroid cream would cost me $180 in the US, and $1 in thailand
    Calvino Rabeni: It's not an efficient market; there's no triage to decide what needs expertise and what doesn't
    Calvino Rabeni: Fael, sorry, gotta go - dinner calls
    Calvino Rabeni: BFN
    Fael Illyar: Have fun Cal :)
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