Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Why Do Addicts Keep Using Despite The Consequences? — Part 2

Previously we mentioned that the pleasure center is a portion of the brain over which we have no conscious control, and that it can be stimulated by a variety of chemicals — some of them produced inside our bodies and some that we introduce from outside.  We said that the pleasure center rewards us for activities that it interprets as contributing in some way to our survival, whether they be social interactions, exercising, or more prosaic things such as eating.  We also stated that these pleasurable feelings, when pursued too far or for too long can create problems.  Now we need to examine how that happens….

http://sunrisedetox.com/blog/2011/08/24/addiction-alcoholism-compulsion-2/


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Why Do Addicts Keep Using Despite The Consequences?

Early in human history, there were probably few alcoholics or addicts because the alcohol content available in fermented fruit was low, and plants that produced other intoxicating substances were relatively scarce. The development of agriculture made it possible to insure supplies of grain for beer production, and enabled organized farming of other plant producers of mood-altering substances. …

Read more at the Sunrise Detox Blog


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Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet [FREE]

These days the very concept of “Internet Safety” seems like an oxymoron.

In this FREE 99 page ebook I summarize popular articles from Ask Leo! covering the basics – the things you must do, the software you must run and the concepts you need to be aware of – to keep your computer and your data safe as you use the internet.

It’s not hard, and once things are in place it’s not even time consuming.

Excellent advice from an impeccably reputable source.  Don’t even think about not downloading and reading it!

The Puget Sound Software Store: Internet Safety – Keeping Your Computer
Safe on the Internet [FREE]


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On Making Friends With A Different Keyboard

I’m an addict — a creature of habit — and I don’t like change.  Little things are bad enough, but when it comes to something that’s such a big part of my life as the keyboard on my computer, I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the midst of the new experience.  So I’m writing this to get used to a different one.

I took a good look at those “netbooks” one time, and it only took a few seconds of typing on that 90% full-sized workspace to convince me that it wasn’t going to be a go.  For a man my size I don’t have especially big hands, but given the problems I had, I find it difficult to understand how anyone but a child or a small woman could possibly navigate around one of those things.  I stopped hunting-and-pecking more than 50 years ago, and I’m too old to relearn the process.  Having to do it on my Droid is bad enough — that’s why I love the voice recognition feature.  I’m willing to put up with the downside: improper punctuation and capitalization, and the occasional unrecognizable word that has to be entered from scratch, in order not to have to put up with either the onscreen or physical keyboard.

I learned to type on a 1938 model Remington Noiseless typewriter.  You know.  The kind where you had to push the keys down and actually make those things fly forward to strike the ribbon and imprint the letters onto the paper.  No spell checker, no copy/paste/delete.  No instant corrections.  What you got was pretty much what got sent out.  If you needed a copy, you used carbon paper — nasty, flimsy sheets with black stuff on one side that went between two sheets and transferred the key-strikes onto the second sheet for a (none-too-satisfactory) copy of the original.

At that, it beat writing by hand, especially the way I wrote back then.  When I got to college I discovered that many times I couldn’t read my own handwritten notes, so I finally taught myself to write neatly.  Took a lot of work, but it was worth the trouble.  So did learning to type, but my god!  When I think of the millions of words I’ve put on paper and screens since those days when I was made to sit and practice typing the way other kids practiced the piano, I thank my lucky stars that I was made to learn it.  I’ve since become mushy in the same sort of way about the people who forced me to learn good English, spelling, grammar and punctuation.  I know those skills have pretty-much fallen into disrepute with the younger crowd, and that’s not OK.  As you move up the ladder of life, kiddies, folks will judge you more and more on your ability to communicate according to the rules.  That’s what separates the men and women of business from the adolescents.

Well, so much for that.  I got a blog entry out of this, when all I intended to do was type “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” a few times.  You just never know.


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Teacher suspended for denying permission to build Wiccan altar in Shop class

Teacher suspended for denying Wiccan altar | desmoinesregister.com | The Des Moines Register

“Personally, I think it’s offensive to worship rocks and trees,” Halferty said of Wicca, a religion based on ancient beliefs and a reverence for the Earth. “I am just trying to be moral. I don’t know how we can profess to be Christians and let this go on.”

Deny it on the basis of separation of church and state? Maybe, although probably not in this case. As a matter of personal religious bias? Unacceptable.


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The Happiest People

Op-Ed Columnist – The Happiest People – NYTimes.com

What sets Costa Rica apart is its remarkable decision in 1949 to dissolve its armed forces and invest instead in education. Increased schooling created a more stable society, less prone to the conflicts that have raged elsewhere in Central America. Education also boosted the economy, enabling the country to become a major exporter of computer chips and improving English-language skills so as to attract American eco-tourists.


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William Safire’s Top 18 Rules For Writers

Mr. Safire, who for many years wrote the “On Language” column for The New York Times, died on Sunday, 09/27/09.  I learned a lot from reading his work over the years.  These 18 rules may be his greatest legacy.  Along with Strunk and White, they comprise most of the rules needed by a careful writer.

  1. Remember to never split an infinitive.
  2. The passive voice should never be used.
  3. Do not put statements in the negative form.
  4. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  5. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
  6. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  7. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  8. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.  (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
  9. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
  10. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences of ten or more words, to their antecedents.
  11. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  12. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  13. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixed metaphors.
  14. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  15. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  16. Always pick on the correct idiom.
  17. The adverb always follows the verb.
  18. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.

From How Not to Write: The Essential Misrules of Grammar, Safire, William, 2005.


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Climate Change and Conservatives

Climate Change and Conservatives | Bill McKibben | Orion Magazine

…some people believe libertarians and other conservatives have punted on climate change simply because they’re in bed with the fossil fuel companies—that they’ve taken lots of money from dirty energy and now do the bidding of their masters. This is undoubtedly true of plenty of individual politicians, but one hopes—fervently—that it isn’t true of the millions of thoughtful people and groups that need to be a part of a crucial debate. …


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Tibetan Monks and Nuns Turn Their Minds Toward Science

Tibetan Monks and Nuns Turn Their Minds Toward Science – NYTimes.com

DHARAMSALA, India — Tibetan monks and nuns spend their lives studying the inner world of the mind rather than the physical world of matter. Yet for one month this spring a group of 91 monastics devoted themselves to the corporeal realm of science.

Instead of delving into Buddhist texts on karma and emptiness, they learned about Galileo’s law of accelerated motion, chromosomes, neurons and the Big Bang, among other far-ranging topics.

Many in the group, whose ages ranged from the 20s to 40s, had never learned science and math. In Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries, the curriculum has remained unchanged for centuries….


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UC Riverside wants its Thai trove on the shelves

UC Riverside wants its Thai trove on the shelves – Los Angeles Times

“Every time I come down here, I can’t believe we own this stuff,” said McDaniel, a professor of religious studies, as he thumbed through a tattered 100-year-old volume of Buddhist children stories. “This is priceless.”

The books have doubled the size of the college’s Southeast Asian library on a campus that is now 40% Asian. …


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Dalai Lama moves to save FIU’s religion department

Dalai Lama moves to save US university’s Buddhism department – Tibetan Review

(TibetanReview.net, May 28) — The Dalai Lama has offered to make a personal donation of $ 100,000 as an effort to save the Department of Religious Studies at Florida International University (FIU), according to several local news reports May 25. The department is slated to be closed, along with several others, as part of the state’s $27 million budget cuts for the university.