Sunday, March 30, 2008

BYBS: The Raw Power of Ignorance

Last week, in addition to making a cryptic statement about what "living in the now" means, I made an uncharacteristically sound decision: I waited, I contemplated and I researched instead of taking action immediately. As it turned out, this was a good move.

I won't bore you with the details but, assuming the USA does not completely dissolve in this latest "financial crisis," it involves the world of low finance. Basically I'm trying to ensure that, when it comes time to retire, I have a nice cardboard box to call my own and some reasonable tasting cat food to eat.

So this guy was trying to get me to buy into some whack-a-doodle mutual fund and left a few key details like "yeah there's this little fee you pay when you get into it that (gosh) you don't have to pay if you invest with anyone else." And "sure this compares well to some index, but for some strange reason the usual standard for comparison is left out of the analysis."

Being the highly informed, well-education person that I am, I had no clue. At all.

But with the power of the phrase "I am clueless!" comes the freedom to learn something. So off to the internet I went and researched the stuff. For several tedious hours. I asked around and proclaimed my ill-informed state to anyone that would listen. And then I listened. And I learned.

I wont claim that I have turned over a new leaf, or that this is the opening of a new chapter in my life…mostly because I doubt I would get away with it. But I did learn something this week. Thanks to being clueless.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

BYBS: Today

Yesterday I realized something about today: I wasn't living it.

While I might value today, or the past, if I don't let it go, I cannot experience today.

This was of course, yesterday. Which makes tomorrow today. That sort of sounds confusing, but, oh well.

At any rate, I decided to let today be today and let yesterday be yesterday. So here I am. Today.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

BYBS: Science News

Science News is a weekly publication about (wait for it) news in the scientific community! I'm a fan of this sort of thing because it's usually good news. So much of the news I hear is about very bad things: how people are being killed in places like Iraq or Darfur, how the US leads the developed world in infant mortality, our elected officials have approved yet another abomination, etc. News about a scientific development, even when it's about something like global warming, demonstrates that we're smart, that we can work together, how there's hope.

I like Science News in particular because it's short, timely and approachable. Unlike Scientific American, the thing is about 15 pages long. If we're only counting article pages, then it's down to 8 to 10 page. If you read every single page in an issue it would probably take 2 hours, tops. If you're like me, and just read the stuff that sounds interesting, it takes less than an hour.

Science News is also about recent developments. Its articles are about stuff that's happening now, as opposed to things that happened a year ago. The articles are written for a general audience. Everyone's work is gibberish to most other people, so the writers make no assumptions about the reader.

The icing on the cake is that, as a not for profit, many of the articles are available for free on the web. is where you can take a look if you are interested.

I tells ya, life doesn't get much better than this :-)


Sunday, March 02, 2008

BYBS: Sanity

For a good part of my life I was convinced I was going to die in a nuclear war. The US and the USSR had thousands of weapons pointed at each other. One misstep, one mistake could cause the end of the world.

To me, this was humanity's ultimate demonstration of stupidity, paranoia and insanity. It was what was wrong with us. Why we deserved to become extinct.

But then something happened. More specifically nothing happened. Even more specifically, the US and the USSR did not obliterate each other.

I'm not sure how this affected anyone else, but for me, it was a life changing event. I was so used to being cynical, so set in the belief that there was no hope, that nothing could be changed. The knowledge that we as a race could avoid the choice of destruction for any reason was an option that simply did not exist in my world.

This was something whose benefits I still feel today. The more obvious is that I'm alive, but the more subtle is that now I'm not quite so cynical about people. I give them the benefit of the doubt. I have hope.