Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

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A Conversation With Sir Richard Branson

In the midst of their conversation on the TED stage, Richard Branson tells Chris Anderson a surprising fact: He’s dyslexic, and did terribly at school. The revelation from this entrepreneur and billionaire touches on a common TED theme: the many ways we can succeed, and the many ways there are to be educated.

Richard Branson: Life at 30,000 feet
When Richard Branson was at school, his headmaster predicted he would wind up either a millionaire or in jail. Since then, he’s done both. Here he
talks to TED’s Chris Anderson about the ups and the downs of his career, from his multibillionaire success to his multiple near-death experiences. Watch this talk >>

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Fishermen risk death by using kayaks in quest to catch sharks

Brave Stupid fishermen set a new world first when they went hunting for sharks using simple rods and paddling in kayaks [in the middle of a salmon run].

Fishermen risk death by using kayaks in quest to catch sharks | the Daily Mail

I’m not much for blood sport, but I have to admit this levels the playing field qu-i-i-i-i-i-te a bit.

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Tax Break For Gay Couples

Gay News Blog brings us the news that…

Domestic partners have the same right as husbands and wives to accept or inherit real estate from one another without big property tax increase, a state appeals court ruled today.  Read more on the blog… gay news blog: Tax Break For Gay Couples

It’s an economic issue, plain and simple. If the roughly 30,000,000 gays in the US got equal rights under the various marriage-related statutes and regulations, it would create havoc in the Federal and all subsidiary tax systems, the insurance industry, and dozens of other areas that depend on the higher rates and taxes that gay people are forced to pay.  The Christians are, once again, being led down the garden path by snakes who claim to know the will of the creator.

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U.N. revs up over global warming

UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. –  The annual summertime retreat of the Arctic icecap, greater this year than perhaps at any time during the 20th century. The nightmare of intensifying storms in some areas and extended drought in others, already taking place in developing countries of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

It is against this backdrop of almost daily news of what scientists describe as signs of advancing global warming that the United Nations holds Monday what may be the largest high-level international meeting ever on climate change.

Be sure to check and see how this is covered in the “liberal media.”

U.N. revs up over global warming |

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Dying Cancer Victim Gives Views — Video

Randy Pausch, Ph.D., a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon has advanced pancreatic cancer. Since his diagnosis a year ago, he has undergone surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, as well as an experimental pancreatic cancer vaccine treatment. But the cancer has metastasized to his liver and spleen. On September 18, he delivered a farewell lecture to a packed lecture hall. In this video produced by Greg Laub for MedPage Today, we present the highlights of that lecture.

Medical News: Words and Thoughts About Living from Randy Pausch, Ph.D. – in Gastroenterology, Pancreatic Diseases from MedPage Today

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Collective Lens – Photography for Social Change

Collective Lens uses photography to connect individuals to the social and humanitarian concerns of today’s world. By submitting photographs to promote awareness of various social causes, you can inspire others to become involved with important issues. Photographers may submit photos or contribute photo essays that help to educate the public, promote charitable acts or organizations, or showcase humanitarian needs.

Collective Lens – Photography for Social Change

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Cats Harbor Secret Plan to Turn Us Into Litter-Scooping Robots

I already have an automatic water dispenser for the cats, and I’m thoughtfully eyeing one of those elaborate automatic self-cleaning litter boxes that scoops, flushes and sprays its interior with the delicate scent of live mice, the better to make it not just a litter box, but a space to exist. It occurs to me that with the proper application of money and floor space, you can get machines to take on most of the duties incumbent upon the cat owner.

For instance, any number of electronic cat toys will whip a fuzzy thing around so you can watch Best Week Ever without having to move any part of your body. Better yet, they make actual electronic mice. When I get that time machine working, I’m going to go back to colonial times and explain to a farmer that in the future, we go to the store and buy artificial vermin. I’m sure he’ll enjoy thinking about that when he’s not busy watching locusts eat his crops or burying his children.   Continue reading…


Eighteen, Going On Sixty-three

I’m an alcoholic and addict. My name is Bill.

My last drinking and drugging was on the afternoon of September 14th, 1989 — eighteen years ago today.

I’m not bringing this up because I want praise. I’m due no praise; it was quit or die, and it seems I didn’t want to die badly enough. Nor am I writing about it because I want to proselytize about getting sober, and how wonderful it is to have a program of recovery, and the wonderful friends you make, yadda-yadda-yadda. All those things are true, but that’s not the point.

I had my first drink when I was eighteen, give or take a few days. I had my 45th birthday while I was in treatment for my addictions. But I’m not writing this to tell you about the chaos I caused in people’s lives, or the professional losses, or the depredations on the family fortunes, or the effects on my kids and my marriages, or the wasted time and potential, or any of that stuff. That’s water under the bridge, over the dam, and long in the past.

My reason is much simpler than that. It’s to tell anyone who might need to hear it that it really is possible to get sober, one day at a time. I did it. It’s worked for quite a while now. You can do it, too.

That’s all.

Thanks for letting me share.


Florida-Size Arctic Ice Melts in Week

Currently, there are about 1.63 million square miles of Arctic ice, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. That is well below the record of 2.05 million square miles set two summers ago and could drop lower before the final numbers are in.

ABC News: Florida-Size Arctic Ice Melts in Week

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Stories from the Heart of the Land

Ask some of the country’s best radio producers to tell their favorite stories about people and nature…and what do you get?

Stories from the Heart of the Land, a five-part radio series hosted by Jay Allison
that ranges across the world — from Australia to Newfoundland, Mexico
to Tibet — to capture the human connection to land and landscape. These
narratives include such amazing segments as:

Stories from the Heart of the Land – The Series

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Hackles rise as jeans droop

Adrian Bustamante hasn’t given much thought to a city proposal to ban baggy pants. Regardless of whether officials decide to impose a fine for anyone caught with their pants hanging below their rear end, he has no plans to change his wardrobe, which largely consists of oversize T-shirts, body jewelry and saggy pants with the crotch dangling at his knees.

“It would be a stupid law,” said Bustamante, a 21-year-old construction worker from suburban Norcross, Ga. “Young people like to be different than old people. Our clothes are an expression of who we are.”

For generations, teenagers have defied adults with their clothing. From zoot suits in the 1930s to hot pants in the ’60s, hip-hugger jeans in the ’70s and the latest trend of low-hanging pants–a style inspired by prison inmates–teenage fashion has drawn the angst of adults who either just don’t get it or simply don’t like it.

So.  Whaddaya think?  I think it’s knee-jerk over-reaction.  I remember back in the early 60’s when us greasers wore our jeans an inch above our pubes.  Everyone screamed and said we were going to hades in a shopping bag.  Guess who are the judges, city councilmen and Presidents now?  And Buddhist monks…

Cracking down: Hackles rise as jeans droop — South Florida

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Disgruntled Youth?

NEW YORK — A new poll, the result of a partnership between the Associated Press and MTV, seems to dispel the popular notion of the perpetually unhappy or rebellious youth.

This unique survey of Americans 13 to 24 finds, surprisingly, that a vast majority say that they are very or somewhat “happy” overall and in many specific areas of their lives — 64% say they “wake up happy.” Almost half consider a mother or father a “hero” in their lives.

Disgruntled Youth? Survey by AP and MTV Finds Them Generally Happy — With Favorable View of Parents