Saturday, March 28, 2009

A bird beating his head against the window

This spring as birds are nesting there's been a Robin that seems to want to get through a small window in my wife's closet in an attempt to pass through the window into what he sees beyond. Many mornings I hear him pecking or flailing against the window - sometimes for what seems hours at a time.

At first I thought he'd eventually give up in more fruitful pursuits, but this continued day after day, and now many weeks later the bird's still doing the same thing. This morning I heard him doing the same thing - again for hours. My initial thought is "stupid bird" but then I got to thinking about the line between reasoned thought and hard-wired behavior, and perhaps how the lines between the two are blurred.

I say "blurred" because it seems many (most?) studies on the mind and consciousness seem to show that in many cases we have less control over thought and decisions than we think - - that our conscious mind seems to often rationalize that "it" has control when really the decisions/thoughts have already happened underneath in the compartmentalized and subconscious areas of the brain. (I don't have sources but with CATscan imaging scientists can even determine what decision a person will make before a person makes it - or at least before the person realizes his mind has already made a decision for him, and he hasn't consciously recognized it.)

In any event, at first glance beating your head against a wall for weeks on end for hours at a time isn't something you'd expect an advanced human mind to do, but in a different context is it really all that much different than all the counterproductive things we do in our lives. For example - all the bad habits we have? Are some of the things that people do really all that different from that bird beating his head against a window?

Addictions are some of the first examples that come to mind, but aren't there many more hard-wired things that we do - rationalized or not - that are not that much different than the robin at the window?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Earth Hour

A buddy at work made me aware of Earth Hour, at 8:30 SATURDAY (CORRECTION from previous post) where they're asking cities and individuals to turn off all excess lighting for an hour. The idea is to be more aware of the energy we use, and take appropriate steps to conserve.

Here's the Earth Hour website.

I initially asked what should I do during that hour, thinking that I couldn't internet, but apparently interneting is OK. Just turn down the extra lights in the house, and put in some compact flourescents if you haven't yet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Prostate studies

Studies cast doubt on value of prostate screenings, especially in the context of the impact of unnecessary treatment.

As I read it there's alot of confusion around the whole issue.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nacho Libre

Ok, I'm a fan of oddball movies, but would've never guessed that I would like this movie as much as I do. It was on TBS several times over the weekend and I watched it twice. It's a definite "must see" in my book - a great re-watch, with lots of good quotes. The story is just a simple one of a simple man wanting more out of life, but just needs someone to believe in him. But it's executed well.

One of my favorite quotes (read with heavy sarcasm).
Nacho is a monk in the monastery talking to the kids in the orphanage who are wrestling (from imdb quotes):

Nacho: Ok. Orphans! Listen to Ignacio. I know it is fun to wrestle. A nice piledrive to the face... or a punch to the face... but you cannot do it. Because, it is in the Bible not to wrestle your neighbour.
Chancho: So you've never wrestled?
Nacho: Me? No. Come on. Don't be crazy. I know the wrestlers get all the fancy ladies, and the clothes, and the fancy creams and lotions. But my life is good! Really good! I get to wake up every morning, at 5AM, and make some soup! It's the best. I love it. I get to lay in a bed, all by myself, all of my life! That's fantastic! Go. Go away! Read some books!

Here's a trailer

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Starry Night in 3D

building and walking through a 3D environment of one of the world's famous paintings. I found this very cool.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cheap Trick - I want you to want me

Cheap Trick's rock classic "I want you to want me" is one of the first real modern "rock" songs I remember when growing up. I grew up listening to mostly oldies and country so it was an ear-opener when I heard this song.

I can't remember the year, but my mom had one of those chart-topper cassette tapes they used to make (my guess is it had a disco song she was using for a dance class at school) and probably after listening to cassettes of the Statler Brothers, Beatles, Elvis, or the other stuff I had cassettes for, I probably put that cassette in to see what it was. I remember it had Foreigner's "Blue Monday" too which I thought had a cool sound, but this song took the prize. I still consider Cheap Trick's "I want you to want me" one of the all time rock classics. It holds up so well over time.