Subject Lines

Subject lines of emails.    Here are some I sent during July.

  • “newton, darwin, franklin, ted .. (rethinking)”
  • “no longer a futgitive”
  • “PS- the most exciting thing in the world”
  • “Remember to set up the future”
  • “Penn and Tesla”
  • “Beer, Alabama, Prologis”
  • “Mind blown yet?”
  • “Americans are a strange breed”
  • “when a little knowledge really is dangerous”
  • “the travel bug is the only sickness I welcome”

One of these was sent to me, the rest are sent from me.  Which would you guess?  (answer)

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The TEDy Awards

Chris Anderson on the TEDGlobal 2010 stage. afromusing Flickr

The future is a beautiful progression when seen through the lens of TED.  From cognitive neuroscience to middle eastern stand up comedy, the range of ideas worth spreading knows no bounds.   Nor does the way we audience members choose to convey our interpretation of the conference to the rest of the world.

It is my humble opinion that no description does justice to such human immensity as experienced at TEDGlobal.  How then to expresses the grandiose of thought..  Bright lights and a red (TED) carpet.

I give you The TEDys.

We start off with a bang.  The triumvirate.  Technology, Entertainment, and Design.

  • TECHNOLOGY.  Tan Le, Co-found of Emotiv‘s EPOC, a device that unfolds the cortical structure of the user’s brain to read what he or she is thinking.  Watch the jaw dropping demonstration.
  • ENTERTAINMENT.  Maz Jobrani.  This headliner in the former Axis of Evil Comedy Tour dazzles with jokes that unite the middle east with the rest of the world through the most connective medium of them all:  laughter.
  • DESIGN.  John Hardy.  Co-founder of Bali’s Green School, a soon to be off-the-grid holistic and sustainability education center featuring one of the world’s largest bamboo structures and one of only two hydro-vortex power turbines (that generates 8,000 watts of electricity daily).  Our future is in the minds of our offspring.
  • Runner Up.  Eben Bayer.  Co-inventor of Ecocradle and Greensulate: organic, compostable packaging and insulation, respectively, that is literally grown from agriwaste.
  • Runner Up.  Iain Hutchinson.  Founder of Saving Faces with the Facial Surgery Research Foundation, an organization that furthers the bounds of facial research and restores underprivelaged patients’ sense of well being through reconstructive surgery.  See the gallery here.
  • BEST SCREENPLAY.  David McCandless.  Leave it to David to incite oohs and ahhs with the statistics of health supplements (below) or a breakdown of multi-billion dollar expenditures.  Infographics are the wave of the future, making data not only more exciting, but easier to interpret by “combining the language of the eye with the language of the mind”.

  • MOST INSPIRING / MS CONGENIALITY.  Jessica Jackley.  Founder of Kiva, the microlending powerhouse that to date has linked entrepreneuers with lenders to the amount of $150 million (on loans averaging $200 each).  Check out Profounder, her newest venture.  Jessica’s passion to help her fellow man is nothing short of legendary; visible through the tears she shed on stage under her fervent declaration that “life is beautiful.”
  • PERSPECTIVE.  Chris Anderson.  Curator of TED.  Chris spreads the idea of “crowd accelerated innovation.”  The next global community is a matrix of teachers and students that is bounded only by its capacity to integrate great ideas into new discovery and creation.  Interesting.  See this post.
  • RETHINK.  Conrad Wolfram.  Remember those math courses where calculators were banned?  Conrad proposes an overhaul of mathematics, refining both the order and manner that schools impart information.  Scrap tradition and re-frame the future.
  • GREEN.  Johan Rockstrom.  Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Johan informs and inspires us to make a difference in this crunch time for the climate.  The next decade is an exciting and challenging opportunity for great minds to create the solutions that will shape the future of our world.
  • GIANT.  Stephen Berlin Johnson.  An idea is an evolution.  The “eureka” represents a process, a collaboration and influx of thoughts and inputs over time.  “Chance favors the connected mind.”  Cheers.
  • HONORABLE MENTIONS.
  • Tom Chatfield.  Virtuality is Dazzling.
  • Sheena Iyengar.  Choice isn’t always the optimal option.  Watch the TEDtalk here.
  • Eric Berlow.  Ordered networks encourage us to look at the nature of our questions.
  • Sugata Mitra.  Children function as self-teaching systems.
  • Joseph Nye.  Multi-polar global challenges are best surmounted with soft power.

CLASS FAVORITES (a bit of fun)

  • Best Dressed.   David Rowan.  Editor of WIRED.  Sunny Bates.  Networker extraordinaire, social crème brulée.
  • Visual Delight.  Jamil Abu-Wardeh. Producer of middle eastern comedy, including Axis of Evil Tour.  Elif Safak.  Writer, global citizen. Watch her TEDtalk here.
  • Stage Presence.  Anne Lennox.  Recording artist, social and political activist.
  • Triple Latte Energy.  Rives.  Poet, host of TEDActive, energy bomb.  June Cohen. Executive producer of TED Media, host of TEDUniversity, wit and smiles galore.  Sunny Bates.
  • Best Dancer.  Peter Eigen.  Founder, Transparency International.  Exposer of international bribery and champion of anti-corruption; great at the Tango.

Who would you give a TEDy?

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Einstein on Newton

The other day while flipping through some books in my library I noticed that my copy of Isaac Newton’s Optics has a foreward written by Albert Einstein.  It’s a 1950’s edition I purchased from Abe Books.com.  I  continually find treasures within treasures at used book shops, this being no exception.  Einstein on Newton, fantastic!  I’ll share with you:

FOREWARD

“Fortunate Newton, happy childhood of science!  He who has time and tranquility can by reading this book live again the wonderful events which the great Newton experienced in his young days.  Nature to him was an open book, whose letters he could read without effort.  The conceptions which he used to reduce the material experience to order seemed to flow spontaneously from experience itself, from the beautiful experiments which he ranged in order like playthings and describes what an affectionate wealth of detail.  In one person he combined the experimenter, the theorist, one mechanic and, not least, the artist in exposition.  He stands before us strong, certain, and alone:  his joy in creation and his minute precision are evident in every word and every figure.

“Reflexion, refraction, the formation of images by the lenses, the mode of operation of the eye, the spectral decomposition of the different kinds of light, the invention of the reflecting telescope, the first foundations of colour theory, the elementary theory of the rainbow pass by us in procession, and finally come his observations of the colours of thin films as the origin of the next great theoretical advance, which had to wait, over a hundred years, the coming of Thomas Young.

“Newton’s age has long since passed through the sieve of oblivion, the doubtful striving and suffering of his generation has vanished from out ken; the works of some few great thinkers and artists have remained, to delight and ennoble us and those who come after us.  Newton’s discoveries have passed into the stock of accepted knowledge:  this new edition of his work on optics is nevertheless to be welcomed with the warmest thanks, because it alone can afford us the enjoyment of a look at the personal activity of this unique man.”

ALBERT EINSTEIN

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Diary of Ambidexterity

A musician at TEDxAtlanta taught himself to play guitar with his left hand after a nerve affliction made it impossible for him to continue playing with his right.   Becoming ambidextrous is a monumentally difficult undertaking.  I know because I have taught  myself to do it as well.

Just days before the conference I wrote the following pages, pictured at  the bottom of this post.  I shared them with Billy after his final performance.  Years I have practiced to reach this moderate level of dual articulation.

I am vibrant with life and curious and intrigued to the nth degree.  The notes convey this so I have decided to transcribe their contents for you:

Page 1:  LEFT HAND.

“13 April 2010.  Existing here fawning over reality.  Is this life real?  It is, silly rhetorical question.  What I mean to imply is a sense of wonder regarding what the world brings to the table.  Human beings are astonishingly wonderful creatures.  They recognize and respond to passion.  It moves and compells the interesting lot of us into curiosity.  I am driven beyond measure and comprehension in directions that seem at the whim of creative impulse.  Where does it come from?  How does curiosity exist?  It fuels me.  That’s a potential book title.  Tangents.  What is to be said of them?  This ambidextrous endeavor in attempt to expand utilization of this one body with two hands, one typically the malnourished sibling of its dominant counterpart.  I have two hands, I should be able to use them with equal finesse.  This page has taken about thirty minutes to write.  It is my finest specimen of left-handed writing to date.  Indeed, my left hand, forearm, and fingers feel exhausted, like my legs when I run a 10K.  Intriguing relativity.”

Page 2:  RIGHT HAND.

“13 April 2010.  I compose this page after writing the one to the right with my left hand.  Look at these scripts.  Hell, even check the speed.  I will take a photo of these two pages.  Looking now it seems as though the next page was composed by your author under drugs or a bumpy road.  I attest I have not left my bed and that both are by the same human being.  It took so much more attention, focus, concentration, a stronger grip on both the pen and task at hand.  I recall my first attempts at ambidexterity.  Frustration was the word.  I read in Gray’s Anatomy that most people have a lateral curvature of the spine – to the right – and reverse in left-handed specimens.  Fuel for the fire of achieving perfect alignment.  Posture, balance, skeletal frame refinement – these are paramount in my scale of importance.  It is one of those “still in my head will be conveyable to rest of world in due time.” An underlying structure ties in – the systemic approach to energy’s interaction with itself – and passionate inquiry meets curiosity once and forever again, taking me endlessly into realms unknown.  Beautiful. (This page – five to ten minutes).”

This is the first time I have directly shared my personal notes with the public.  Enjoy this glance into my thoughts to myself.

I wonder what our taking on of difficulty says about who we are.  I wonder what the degree to which you laboriously follow passion in pursuit of the difficult says about who you are.

Be Inspired,

Amy

Notes
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Grilling over Rosemary Wood

I was jogging the other day and ran by a rosemary bush a meter tall thrown out with trash.

I replanted it and the bush is today pronounced deceased.  So now I have some Rosemary wood to grill with.  It is a perennial herb with 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick limbs .  And once it dries out a bit we are going to cook over it.  Hickory smoked food tastes good.  Rosemary smoked food..oh man sounds amazing.  I will let you know how it goes.

Side note related to life and the outdoors, I have been taking photos of a specific garden since early April. It is turning into somewhat of a masterpiece of photographic flow series.  First every two weeks and now it seems every couple of days new greenery bursts into vibrant bloom.  From barely broken winter ground to a four foot tall mesh of life.  Changing bright and soft colors and hues and depth of green. Green into POW! white, yellow, purple, burgundy.

What does life do to an area of Earth that it inhabits?  A hydrologic system (of organisms) mediates a bit of air and soil [look into that statement].  It changes the chemical composition of its environment, making complex molecules and a variety of by-products that themselves fuel an evolving, increasingly complex biosphere.

Periodic cycles of ebb and flow in energy availability drive a dynamic system to “produce” (that is, exist).  The structure of the affecting cycles effects the overall ecology, which itself incorporates the functions which affect its description.  I find this intriguing.  I think about this subject in many ways, striving for pure curiosity and inquisitiveness.

Along the way I end up with systems affecting (or as an effect of – or both -) my thought process.  Such is the case in my deciding to document the growth of a garden.  Here, it is so that I can look back and see, differently.  It’s a pseudo-experiment that tests the hypothesis that the end product will inspire something new.  Which could be just some photos.  Conversely, it might aid thoughts about evolving ecological systems.

As great books inspire ideas, thoughtful intrigue can incite literature recollections and research collaborations that happen to arise alongside the stimulus.  The stimulus of instantaneously re-seeing a garden grow from bare to bearing.  It falls under a nameless category of curiosity to which I ascribe the sentiment of “Hm, that’s interesting”.   I nurture many off-the-wall undertakings with this principle.  Now then, you have wasted minutes reading my eccentric labors and musings.  Go along and pursue your passion, no matter the obscurity. Remember that gravity was considered ridiculous when Galileo first thought of it.

Here is one photograph I have taken along the way.  Sharing enthusiasm for life’s subtle details.  -Amy

Aquilegia (also called Columbine) blooms in mid-April 2010
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Natural Capital Complexities

Say what I think. Does this incite solidifying one’s thoughts? I wonder how opportunity arises. When it does, the “how did this happen” might have appeared from thin air, because it is overshadowed by an actual outplay of events with high yield.

The caliber of my choices plays in incredible role on what future choices I will get to make. I am compelled to share some details on what I do. What is is to proceed with conviction?

“Develop an integrated, dynamic model of ecological and economic systems to more comprehensively evaluate ecosystem services and their value. ” – A

“Scientific understanding of ecosystem production functions is improving rapidly but remains a limiting factor in incorporating natural capital into decisions, via systems of national accounting and other mechanisms.” – B

“Indicators are tools for measuring and communicating progress. They provide evidence of the magnitude, distribution, pace and direction of change in defined parameters.” – C

“Biodiversity and ecosystem service indicators are needed at various scales for various uses.” – D

“performance has been undermined” by “poor cross-sector collaboration”, among a range of other improvable malfunctions. –E

Would you pay for something “valuable” if it was hidden behind a curtain? What if it was in plain sight? Science helps bring reality into focus and leads people to make their own wonders of the world from hazy details that new discoveries often illuminate.

Learning alongside surprise creates wonder.

Wonder spreads curiosity and curiosity fuels innovation. Thus the advancements of science coupled with innovative new applications represent a system of future technology.

Scientific advances are made possible in part by contributions of capital. The goal of science is to create knowledge and understanding; the goal of investment is to create a return. How can these be aligned? Apart from grants serving the needs of initiative or policy development, environmental investors seek new “green tech”. What if the tech is an understanding of a system, rather than a thing itself? What if, to use the words of Stephen Wolfram, a new kind of science looms over the horizon that integrates the fundamental concepts of a broad array of natural sciences?

What do you make of it, Watson?

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“Book about the variety of the world”

The title is quoted from a hero of mine, Marco Polo.

First allow me to give thanks that it only takes 8 hours to travel from America to London.

Second, thoughts about travel’s influence over time.  This globe has little ships drawn on it noting significant  navigator voyages:  Vasco de Gama, Magellan, Charles Darwin, Zheng Ho.  Pardon?  I Googled this explorer.

Marco Polo’s Travels comes to mind and I vaguely anticipate what to expect of the Ming Dynasty‘s Admiral of the Treasure Fleet (for real?!).  Awe and inspiration ensue and I get excited enough to share.

  • In the fall of 1405 a trading party of 28,000 men set sail under Admiral Zheng Ho.
  • The ~62 flagships that chaired this moving nation measured approximately 400 feet long by 160 feet wide (122 m x 50 m) and carried ambassadors and the national trade of China.  The escort was an additional 190 ships.  Compare this to modern day feats of marine lavishness.  In 2009, 600 years after Zheng Ho, the largest yacht in the world measured 531 ft (162 m).   Head down the list and look at the size of #6.  You guessed it.  400 ‘.

Zheng He’s ships relative to those of Columbus

  • This flagship two year journey took the crew from the mouth of the Yangtzee, in North-East China trading from Vietnam to  Java before finally reaching Calicut, West India, their destination.   Zheng Ho loaded up on more than just imported items; foreign ambassadors traveled back onboard the troupe as well as on their own accord.
  • The fleet (over 300 ships and 28,000 people acompanying the tradeable wealth of China and serving as early forms of dignitaries) eventually takes six more voyages (early evidence of exploration as a profitable investment), venturing to the Persian Gulf and south along Africa’s coast.  During each trading expedition, new diplomats are brought to Nanjing and old ones ferried home.

Imagine what commerce I take for granted.  Pre-imagine internet or email – instantaneous information distribution – international trade facilitates the dispersion of ideas beyond borders, what a revolution.  Globalization infancy!

From warfare (hello, gunpowder and The Prince) and culture, to goods and services, communication has profoundly enhanced the development of the human race.  A day in the life of 2010 can incorporate a globe full of cultures and ideas.  We sometimes forget, in this world of quickness and connectivity, the extraordinary relativity of when in time we live.  Forget 2 months to cross the Atlantic..what if it was not even an option?  The beauty of exploration.

May you always remember that the world has more to discover.  If you don’t, someone else will get to have all the fun!

Amy

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Ladies and Gentlemen

About a year ago I moved into the lovely house I still call home. Three days after I unpack, in comes another new mate. Suddenly, I live with two guys.

I cordially invite you to my musings about life with these men.

First, let me introduce you to the other two thirds of Chadwell House: Ben and Daniel. Benny owns the house and Izzy, our crazy Weimaraner. He brokers corporate insurance and co-hosts our pool parties with me. Daniel plays pro baseball for Germany. He’s been in Huntsville for the off season and heads back in a month.

1. There is no such thing as “your” beer, or vodka, or cognac. Think community supply.

2. Three foods Always in stock: peanut butter, spagetti, milk.

3. “clean up” = put in sink.

4. Four different girls in one week is no longer an anomaly. And if you’re still up at 4am after a night out, better turn up the music to drown out a different kind of singing.

5. “Handyman” is shenanigans. Ad asking for help? Doubt it. Case in point: last winter we didn’t turn on the fireplace once. Ben thought it was broken. Turns out he just didn’t know how to light the pilot.

6. ESPN and HBO might as well be the only channels.

7. Sarcasm, lightheartedness, and laughs are a dime a dozen. Drama is virtually non-existant. My perception of “lewd” has been drastically modified; in stead of responding with “dear God..animals!” when I hear guy to guy exposés I can usually laugh along. Bypassing shock lets me see the entertainment value.

Ben and Daniel are both great frends, they’re like the big brothers I never had. Crude, hilarious, wild and strange, the world of men will always be somewhat of a mystery to me. Living with you two has really opened my eyes to what I can see when I’m beyond passing judgement. Love y’all!

Kid Sis A

Our backyard during summer

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