Thoughts in Egypt

Hope and optimism. Notes I wrote recently in Alexandria.

Low on time, pardon my not typing them all up. It starts with an adventure to a citadel and evolves into a story of a day’s conversations and realizations.

Something thoughtful about seeing real pen on paper.

alexandria_manifesto_1 Amy amy robinson
writing “Amy Robinson” in Arabic by a friend
alexandria_manifesto_2 Amy amy robins
a moment of thought

alexandria_manifesto_3 amy robinson alexandria_manifesto_2 Amy Robinson

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#lifebonus

What makes you excited to be alive?

Open-ended questions like the one above light me up.   I personally love it when people lay out the ideas they are passionate about and then explore how and why those ideas matter.  Would you like to be asked “What’s the most curious thing you have discovered recently?” more often?  I would. Hopefully this post will inspire you to surprise someone with a delightful chance to share who they are and enlighten you in the process. It’s relatively easy: ask a good question.

About 48 hours ago I sent the following email to a few friends:

Hey!  I hope you’re well!  This is for fun/how I’ve decided to keep Friday Fresh.

Reply inline and I will subsequently send fresh shit from my end.  It’s important to note that when you successfully answer these challenges you, friend, get a life bonus!!  Seriously, it will make your day rock.

– Most interesting thing you’ve discovered in the past 10 days (if it’s too hard to choose, share up to 3)
– Most beautiful image/video from past month
– Best meal or food from the past month
– Did you learn a new word in the past month?  Share.  If not, go find one.
– Funniest/most entertaining.  “Find out what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest” -Herman Hesse
That’s all.  You have 48 hours to reply.  Good luck!
For fun/inbox entertainment
Amy
This is more than inbox entertainment.  I think it actually helps me get to know a person along the lines of what’s important and how he or she spends free time.   What matters to you?
“Such as are your constant thoughts, such will be the character of your mind” Marcus Aurelius
From here on out, this post is crowd-sourced.  Every video, image, link, quote and fact was “recruited” by the above email.    I hope you enjoy this fresh broad collective perspective that materialized over the weekend.
  • Most Beautiful Image/Video

Creative tech

a story for tomorrow

Rediscovered classic

que bella

there and back: space

NASA releases epic panorama of night sky made from 18,000 images.

  • Most interesting thing you’ve learned/discovered

Nat Geo’s Friday Fact: A hurricane weighs as much as 160 million rhinos!

exp.lore.com

How to divide a square equally into 5 parts.

“Triggered by Brené Brown’s talk about shame I discovered some things about myself.
I discovered that fears and insecurities can be layered and that if you’ve successfully stripped away one layer you may discover another one underneath.
Unfortunately, I am not always aware which fears and insecurities I really have.”

“That the technology for taking a blood sugar reading on an iPhone is being developed.”

ChronoZoom beta is out!

Sexually rejected mice turn to booze.

“Offer a male fruit fly a choice between food soaked in alcohol and its nonalcoholic equivalent, and his decision will depend on whether he’s mated recently or been rejected by a female. Flies that have been given the cold shoulder are more likely to go for the booze, researchers have found. It’s the first discovery, in fruit flies, of a social interaction that influences future behavior.”

Wild lions up close with the Beetle Cam.

Shark teeth are essentially modified scales and evolved from skin, not bones (right, sharks are cartilaginous; they don’t have bones).

“No matter how much you plan, you’ll always face something totally unexpected.”

True.  Perspective on embracing the unanticipated with delight from a different person:

“I have no idea where I’m going, I’m totally conflicted and I’ve never been happier or more flipped out.”

  • New words

awesomeness 

bitumen – the pronunciation is awesome. It’s a synonym for asphalt.

buckram – 1. A coarse cotton fabric heavily sized with glue, used for stiffening garments and in bookbinding. 2. Archaic Rigid formality

coqui – teeny nocturnal frog 

dongleflump – “not sure about a new word but I make lots up, like this one.” Define for yourself, world!

entelechy -In the philosophy of Aristotle, the condition of a thing whose essence is fully realized

LTE – (4G phone network) means Long Term Evolution

pedantic – overly concerned with minute details or formalisms

plumbeo- (Spanish word)  sad, slow, opaque.  “It is like the colour of the sky in winter.”

sycophant – A person who acts obsequiously toward someone in order to gain advantage; a servile flatterer.

wish – “I had forgotten what it meant.  I know now.”

What is the last new word you learned?

  • Best recent nomnoms

I ate fruit roll-ups with a girl I had just net a few days before, she looked at me and smiled and I felt like a teenager.

mom’s chicken pot pie; a private restaurant in Bogota, Columbia; Portuguese food: Rice with octopus and red wine; dinner with Hans Rosling on Wednesday; sukiyaki; Silk City Diner pork tacos; pork chop at vinotinis; fish tacos at Tacombi NYC; some beef mince thing at a party (I have no idea what it was); oven roasted Red Drum fish fillet with kai lan; butternut squash, pasta and a preserved lemon saffron sauce; dinner at an Australian restaurant near Amsterdam; Brenda’s soul food; dinner in Philly two weekends ago on a pitstop before I came home to Switzerland.

Catching up with friends and sharing stories and challenging each other to think critically on a wide range of topics.

  • funny+entertaining

“Went to my grandmothers 80th birthday party, which for most 80 year olds means a nice little party with family and friends. Now for my grandmother, who happens to be the owner of 4 Gentleman’s clubs in NYC..her friends are well interesting.”

Demoreel for visual effects studio The Mill

“If camping outside is so great, then why are all of the bugs trying to get into my house. “- Jim Gaffigan

When was the last time you got this excited when you heard a new song? 🙂

“My kids listening to Toy Dolls”

Where’s _why?

Portraits imagining a baby’s future profession.

Books on Amazon:

That is all.  John Hodgman

The Fan“, Eric Bogosian (comedy)

  • anything else?

“48 days until I graduate from Penn State. No sure exactly what’s going to happen in the next 48, but I know it’s going to be crazy.”

What are you doing with the next 48 days of your life?

Try something different.  Do new.  Ask open-ended questions.  Instigate surprise.  Play.  Explore the world and minds around you. And feel free to answer the questions below or post your own question in the comments section.  Or tweet interestingnesses with the hash tag #lifebonus to @amyleerobinson.

– Most interesting thing you’ve discovered in the past 10 days (if it’s too hard to choose, share up to 3)
– Most beautiful image/video from past month
– Best meal or food from the past month
– Did you learn a new word in the past month?  Share.  If not, go find one.
– Funniest/most entertaining.  “Find out what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest” -Herman Hesse

Kudos to Antonella Broglia (Madrid), Jon Yeo (Melbourne), John Eberhart (Huntsville, USA), Dave Lim (Singapore), Marconi Pereria (Rio de Janeiro), Lisa Nicole Bell (Los Angeles), Steve Garaguilo (Zurich), Hugo Schotman (Zurich), Evan Grant (London),  Brad Garland (Huntsville), Philip Kovacs (Huntsville), Dylan Finelli (Boston), Zach Zimbler (Penn State), Lionel Felix (Austin TX), Dan Jacob (Toronto), Shreenath Regunathan (San Francisco), and Sean Gourley (San Francisco).  This post is friend-sourced.

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Google Body: the awesome report

Google Body is gone, ladies and gentlemen.  It was lost in a changeover from google labs.  “More wood behind fewer arrows,” says Google.  For now, what was google body is not available for use.  I hope the next version includes deep tissue zoom.

Google “google body” and you find Zygote Labs, the imaging and design firm that created the brain and heart below.

by Zygote 3D anatomy

Zygote is the company behind the 3D human anatomy displayed in Google Body.  As Google Labs winds down Zygote will move forward with Zygote Body.

A “searchable and interactive 3D model of human anatomy.”  Awesome.

I hope that interactive body3D incorporates agility.  I imagine that one could input a movement relative to neutral position and the digital anatomy moves as it were a human body and you can zoom into deep muscle layers etc and see which ones are flexing and how much etc.  zoom from whole body to biomolecular happenings.  I’m thinking.  It’s on now.

Imagination squared.

Notes on a blog:

This is individual reporting.  I think someday I will run these blog posts through a grammatical analytics platform and map the trajectories of my concentrated and directional ideas.  This post is a catalog, occuring over more minutes than you might think.

I’m looking around the Zygote/3Dscience website.  They have a curious program called Human Factors, which

“enables users to use anthropometrically accurate solid 3D male and female models within their SolidWork assemblies to visualize and evaluate …[one hopes musculoskeletal] interaction [of the human body] with the human body [are these hard to read?  I just wrote two varities of the incident sentence. As a reader of these thoughts some time in the future, I wonder what relevance the previous grammatical bifurcation might encourage.]”

$950 licensing fee.  Google body, you were free!  I think humanity is trending toward freedom of innovation.  I think it compounds when shared.  And the best part, action from ideas!

Welcome to my mind.  9:40 on a Tuesday evening. In between writing on this post I did 2 handstands.  Relevant?  Notes for future reference.  I am creating a book.

What else do I do.  What is a blog?

I ask questions.  They give life moguls and amplitude, and curious word combinations.  What does that mean, thinking differently?  Relative to myself, how do my neural networks change relative to how they used to be and where and how and with whom could I explore this?

I learned recently two cognitive curiosities:

  1. Every neuron in your brain has its own capillary.
  2. Dendritic spining is an integral part of your neurons’ function and evolution.
“The modification of synaptic connections between neurons is thought to underlie our ability to form memories and acquire new behaviors. The majority of excitatory synapses in the brain are formed onto specialized cellular structures known as dendritic spines that consist of a bulbous spine head that is separated from the remainder of the dendrite by a thin neck.”

Says Neurobiology Professor Bernardo Sabatini of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Neurobiology.  Dendritic spines seem to serve the purpose of spatially segmenting individual synapses such that signal transductions are not interfered with by neighboring synapses.  The volume of a spine is tiny at <1 femtoliter (one quadrillionth of a liter).  We have only recently been able to image them and observe their interaction in living tissue.  Here is the latest comprehension of how they work:

“spines are dynamic structures that grow, structurally reorganize, and sometimes disappear within tens of minutes and spine motility has been correlated with the ability of animals of reorganize their cerebral cortex..”

This spawns a plethora of thoughts in various directions which I will think more thoroughly through then communicate the most valuable aka curious ones to you, the internet and me, myself.  For now, on with the train of thought.

A blog is self notes.  I think of it as making my mind social.

How do I share how I think?  Is that what I actually think about?  When?  With most passion?  Curiosity?  Time?  How does what I do/what I spend time thinking about (and doing) vary over time?  It is in bursts.  What do I think about in my spare time?  Why do I suddenly experience shyness?

Finishing up, the awesome report: things interesting to me.  Think and discover and enjoy!

“Non-profit global collaborative experiment to collect health and lifestyle information and share it in an open and anonymous way.”

google chrome experimental

Google Experimental. I am testing Google Instant.

“Google is always experimenting with new features aimed at improving the search experience. Take one for a spin.”

Quora:  The Wikipedia of Questions

“A continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.”

New arXiv entries into the journal of Quantitative Biology.

Look at these categories!

  • molecular networks
  • neurons and cognition
  • subcellular processes
  • biomolecules
  • cell behavior

11:56 pm.  Final words, thoughts?  Exist mindfully and intensely.

Life is long if you know how to use it.

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Share your TEDx experience

I shared the below passage with the TEDx, organizer network on 11/14/2010.  Now I spread my appreciation to the global community of TEDx-ers and invite you to share your thoughts about attending a TEDx.  What surprised you?  What ideas meant the most?  What was your favorite part?   Did you meet other interesting TEDx attendees?  If you had to describe your TEDx experience in one word, what would it be?

(mine is marvelous)

***

Few things compare to hosting your first TEDx..

TEDxHuntsville was a week ago and I’m still beaming.  To the extent
that I am compelled to share this extraordinary excitement with you,
fellow TEDx-ers.  Isn’t it marvelous?!!

The feeling you get when you walk on stage and see a room full of
people waiting in anticipation of “TEDx”, not knowing what to expect..
(I was probably as nervous as they were).

Queuing the welcome video made it sink in for me.  The entire
experience was surreal.  I watched the crowd watching the video and
involuntarily smiled ear to ear.  TEDx was in my city!

What a rewarding, compelling, humbling opportunity, bringing together
hundreds of humans to explore thought through ideas worth spreading.

I am inspired.  Delighted is an understatement.  TEDx is an
extraordinary catalyst for passion.

Wow..what did I think after hosting my first TEDx?  To answer my own
question,

I thought:  humanity is a beautiful thing when reminded to thrive.

Thank you, TED, for extending TEDx to the world.  And thank you, TEDx
hosts, for inspiring me and setting the bar high.

Please share your first TEDx experience.  I am
excited to hear about it.

Cheers, to ideas worth spreading!

Amy Robinson

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www.tedxhuntsville.com

FYI – event summary:  our first TEDxHuntsville hosted a sold out crowd
of 275 people who traveled from 6 different states to experience four
hours of “Perspectives on Innovation.”  Presenters ranged from a
debut performance chronicling the evolution of jazz to next generation
space travel.  We explored what’s next in genomics, the transformation
of atmospheric physics, acrobatic dance, the mathematics of war, and
then took a break to conclude the first session.  I was amazed.

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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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