Rocking beats for peace on an Israeli tank

At the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, heres a little reminder for peace. AT SUNDOWN today Rosh Hashanah begins. In Jewish liturgy its described as the day of judgment and the day of remembrance. During services there is a phrase repeated several times: On Rosh Hashanah it is written and on Yom Kippur it is sealed. I remember as a kid listening along and having the image of God basically searching through each persons deeds for the year as if written in a ledger. It seemed fucking terrifying.

Probably my clearest Rosh Hashanah memory though was of one year where our congregation seemingly forgetting we were in the sanctuary and not at an Atlanta Hawks game or something started vigorously applauding a particularly long blast on the Shofar. The look on the rabbis face, the way he shook his head to indicate total disgust at our congregational faux pas: it was powerful.
Anyway, Im not trying to make fun of Rosh Hashanah here. Its just that Ive always felt a lot of confus…

How meditation relates to happiness

Meditation leads to mindfulness Studies point out how valuable meditating can be to overall well-being. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN meditating for thousands of years, but it seems only recently that its gaining credibility by the scientific community. The shame is that many wont even give things a second thought unless some researcher or scientist proves its benefits, choosing to ignore the wisdom of experience. An article at Forbes discusses research done that correlates meditation and happiness.
First, a Harvard University study has shown that wandering minds are an attribute of unhappy people. 2250 volunteers (ages 18-88, from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and occupations) were used in the study they were contacted at random intervals by the researchers and asked what they were currently doing and what they were actually thinking about.
almost half of the time (46.9%) people were thinking about something else. They were then asked whether what they were thinking about was pleas…

Notes on transition

The leaves on the trees here are still green. The mountains are still green. But they wont be for much longer. I ARRIVED IN Nelson almost one year ago. It was early October, and when I flew here from Vancouver I crossed over a sea of reds, oranges, and yellows in the mountains. These same colours surrounded the town on all sides, fallen leaves scattered the sidewalks and streets. It was one of the most beautiful things Id ever seen.

MONET, Claude: "Veduta di Argenteuil con la neve", 1874 - Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, USA

I returned Sunday from what could have been the last camping trip of the season. The evenings were chilly. Beanies, long johns, and jackets were required around the campfire. Warm sleeping bags and cuddling bodies in the tent necessary to resist the cold air. Then the heavy rains came last night. Windows were shut, fans turned off, sweatpants worn to bed. The seasons are changing.
I often feel like that lone person in those time-lapse videos i…

Frankfurt: Back by Popular Demand: More Time-lapse and Tilt-shift Video on the Tarmac

We traveled to the city of Frankfurt (Germany) Frankfurt, apart from being the city of banks and money is a very beautiful city.

My family, it comes from there so I have the privilege to go from time to time. The people are very friendly and helpful. The only bad thing about this country is the weather. In winter you can see temperatures up to 25 ° with heavy frost and snow, but in summer it is fine weather although they are accustomed to reach a maximum of 20 °, so when we see the "guiris" coming from Germany try to take the most time Enjoying the good temperatures we have. The food is not as good as the one we have in Spain. Most of the food is pre-cooked, the meat is not as good as here, but the novelty is you can find! Coke of different flavors! Like cherry and vanilla. It has a lot of nature and has large fields. It is a good destination to travel!

Ray Kurzweil: The human-machine civilization is our destiny

Ray Kurzweil An interview with director Barry Ptolemy on his intimate portrait of futurist Ray Kurzweil and the coming Singularity. IN THE FUTURE, humans will live forever. This is the promise of the coming Singularity, as predicted by futurist Ray Kurzweil. The charismatic and prolific inventor has dedicated his life to accelerating intelligence. Called the rightful heir to Thomas Edison, he is also:the principal developer of the first CCD flatbed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.After reading his most recent book, The Singularity is Near, filmmaker Barry Ptolemy approached Ray to shoot a documentary on his life and the future of humanity. The result: Transcendent Man, a film spanning 2 years and…

When people ask about my Israel trip

IDF soldier in Tel Aviv. Photo by Or Hiltch When I say, I went to reconnect with family I mean, Im not joining your crusade. WHEN PEOPLE ASK about my Israel trip, I have to choose my words carefully. I walked around deserted streets on Shabbat evenings, befriended stray cats, stared at huge jellyfish washed up on the shore. An Apache helicopter flew over a miniature Coca Cola factory. A 17 year old boy in a daishiki who slept on the beach because his father brought home nightly mistresses bluffed his way through an earnest cover of Hallelujah. The usual travel vocabulary of micro-snapshots feels vapid and inadequate. The word Israel resonates with more political weight than I am comfortable with. It sends my anarchist friend on a rant about oppression and the injustice of settlements in Palestinian territories. It causes my aunt to swallow her civil dinner tone along with another gulp of wine and rail against about Obamas lack of support, or double standards in journalism. On both…

Whats going on in this Cuban church?

Photo: Francisco Collazo There are conflicting news reports and not much information about whats actually happening in Havana. ON SEPTEMBER 11, MatadorU lead faculty, Julie Schwietert, sent an email to the team. It contained the above photo, taken in Havana by her stepson. About it, she said:From what I understand, the photo is a procession of people who are carrying the Caridad de Cobre statue (Cubas patron saint), praying for the people inside.She also included an article from the Havana Times. It was reporting that a group of over 60 people were holed up in a Pentecostal church with their pastor, Braulio Herrera Tito, who was dismissed from his post in May 2010. It was speculated by BBC Mundo that dozens of Cuban believers are held upwaiting for a tsunami that according to their minister will cause mass destruction in these coming days. Police have barricaded access to the area and traffic has been diverted.The next day, in a report by CBS News, a top Cuban church official (no name w…