Sunday, June 27, 2010

Links of the day

Weekends are, for me, highly variable in their effectiveness in unplugging me from the pressures of the work week. This weekend, though, is turning out nicely. Yesterday was a "getting things done" day - bill paying, grocery shopping, laundry, all that stuff I either can't or won't do on weekday evenings. Today is a "recharge" day. It opened with a few hours of reading (the New Yorker, the Sunday New York Times, the comics), followed by food prep for this evening and the upcoming week while listening to the radio.

From the The New Yorker came A Man of Letters, a fascinating look at the neurology of reading and writing. In the summer of 2001, the novelist Howard Engel suffered a stroke that destroyed his ability to read - but left him otherwise essentially unimpaired. Curiously, his ability to write was not affected - though he was incapable of reading what he had just written! 

Then, as I puttered around the kitchen cooking, I listened to Speaking of Faith. SoF is variable in quality, but this week it's outstanding. Krista Tippets' guest is physicist and professor Arthur Zajonc, and the explore the relationship between science and meditation. Zajonc points to meditation as a powerful tool for focussing attention - a crucual skill for a scientist. He also muses about the increasingly large gap between the complexity and inner working of everyday objects (such as cell phones and computers) and the understanding most people of them.

Checking out the web page for the broadcast too me to this great little (3 minute) TEDtalk about our increasing online availability, and its effect on our face-to-face relationships.

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