A Letter To Remember

When you get a school assignment, it can sometimes lead to something big. If you’re lucky, you’ll realize it instantaneously. But even if it takes years to reach the point of “OH MY GOD! I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!!!”, it’ll be worth the wait. Yes, school does have its moments, even if it takes you a while to realize it.

It looks like this kind of event happened for a group of high school students from  a NYC school, according to Reddit:

What a beautifully inspirational letter from KURT VONNEGUT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, you hear this a lot from this blog (and everywhere else), because I know what it’s like to hold in creativity for faaaar too long. But maybe if you hear this same sentiment from a world famous author, then you’ll think twice about just how important creativity is to our lives. This is really a letter to remember.

We’ve all got treasures like this that stoke our dreams. In my case, I have a signed picture from Chuck Yeager who blew jet streams into my love for flying. What’s your favorite thing that ties directly to your dreams? Whatever it is, keep it close to your heart. It’s THAT important!

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Sometimes, There’s TOO MANY ZOOS

I’ve been taking time off from posting because we all just need to decompress. Or else it’s because we all have too many things grasping for our attention. Or we still haven’t found the answers we’e searching for. You pick.

So, today, I thought I’d share a little enjoyable muscal R&R with the band Too Many Zoos. This video went up on Reddit and I couldn’t stop listening until the very end. Talk about lips and hands of steel…that’s what these guys have! This should put a smile on your face.

 

…and don’t forget to support them and the arts. It’s what inspires!

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When Did History Stop For You?

It should be a question that we ask of ourselves and others: When did history stop for you? At the very least, it would give pause to think whether our actions match our words. At the most, it would cause us to reflect on our own history to see if it’s something that not only would we be proud of, but so would others looking from the outside in. Sure, it’s an enormous request when we have to make momentous decisions every day of our lives. But isn’t that what life is about? Why are we here? What is my purpose? Am I living up to my best abilities that not only helps myself, but others around me?

The question of life is portrayed as a philosophical one, and yet it is the most important question of our lives. Our histories drive our thoughts, emotions, decisions, and actions. But we seem to overlook the fact that while history is extremely important for lessons learned, it is still just one tool that we use to help us live our lives.

So, again, when did history stop for you?

  • Was it when you lost something or someone much loved?
  • Was it when you choose to live the past, instead of moving forward with the experiences and lessons learned from that moment?
  • Was it when you picked a path that forces you to live the same everyday, without question and without judgment?
  • Was it when you actively pushed your belief on others, with the sole purpose to move that belief forward at the expense of everything else?

These type of questions can go on forever and should. Much like the needed social debate on topics that affect all of us equally. We tend to follow the path of least resistance. It’s a much easier way to live when life gets too hard to face. But when you find repetition to be constant, and knowledge to be receding, then isn’t it time to ask some other questions?

  • Are we just doing this because it’s always been this way, and there are no other alternatives?
  • When did “accepted” become “only acceptable”?
  • Why do some seem to have more decision power than all of us put together?
  • What does “we’re all in this together” mean to you?
  • Why should we just accept it because we’re told to?

History isn’t just about the telling of it. It’s also about the learning from it, so that we not only learn from it but also move forward while making conscientious decisions that make exact repetition less likely. If things are repeated as they’ve happened in the past, then what have we truly learned? If a path is less traveled, then why can’t we explore it to potentially change everything we know? Why are we so afraid to grow into the unknown, when the unknown is full of so much potential?

Partial map of the Internet in 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All around us, our modern times are showing how little forward momentum the collective society seems to desire. In contrast, the individual people living in these societies are not all quiet participants of status quo. Some want a future, any future, that is different and better than the present for all of us. Some of us understand that it’s important to remember the horrendous times, but do not wish to lift these moments themselves onto a pedestal. History isn’t just about the telling, but it’s also about the living. When you ignore the spirit to adhere to the letter, then you really don’t respect that important spirit that animates the letter. Letters combine into many options, and not all of them are good. The spirit is the intent of those combinations, and that is up to the individual who is acting upon it. So it can vary from person to person, in the same way that letter combinations can be twisted from their origin.

Good or bad? Right or Wrong? Loyal or disloyal? “Or” is a figment of our imagination. These are all up to us individually and collectively. Just like the world is made of both, so are the consequences of actions. No single person can predict every possible outcome. That’s why we have society: to debate with our own personal experiences so that we understand other perspectives. If we’re not allowed to debate, and if we’re forced to conform, then where does freedom even come into the light?

Things like surveillance may seem above your daily concerns, and something that only involves the state, but they are actually the foundation of how you can live your life. Once lost, things are harder to gain them back, especially freedoms. So, it’s vital that we recognize that the world is a very big place that involves each and every one of us to make it turn. You are what make history move forward. You are who stands against those who refuse to move past a moment in time. You are the potential new path that we all need.

History shouldn’t stop anyone. Because if it does, then our futures are in jeopardy. So, speak up when history requires you to.

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Learning and Sharing

Here’s a post that is brought to you by the After School Care Programs in Colorado. In particular, thanks to the members of Mrs. Nill’s awesome Computer Club. Their curiosity, stemming from learning about the history of computers and the Internet, led them to contact me with a suggestion when they stumbled on my Technical Links page.

Yep, this is what the Internet is capable of, and so much more. We not only learn from one another, but we also connect to one another by this modern miracle that so many of us around the world treasure! What grows from there is up to each and every one of us, and collaborating makes it that much more amazing.

Do you want to learn about the history of the WWW? Try The History of the World Wide Web page to find links to other bits of history that was behind our modern Internet, as suggested by the inspiration for this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curiosity is what drives us to learn. The world around us is a very big place, and the universe even bigger. But even they don’t compare to the curiosity level of our youth. And it’s always a welcome sight when you get to hear from some of those curious minds who want to not only understand the world around them, but also to share their understanding with others…maybe so that we can see the world with like minds?

I can remember how I first felt when I ventured onto the beginnings of the World Wide Web (WWW) back in the 80′s. I hadn’t been too fond of computers as I was learning how to program in BASIC. Looking for a single little period that broke my code down in the 300th line doesn’t feel inspiring. But I was still fascinated with computers. The thought that some simple key strokes would take me somewhere I’d never been to, and connect with another who is far from me, via a metal box and some wires seemed incredible.  Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury, Heinlein, and Wells were coming alive before our very eyes.

Want to learn a bit more? Here’s a video on the history of the Internet (thanks to Melih Bilgil):

 

And here’s a few words for those curious minds at Mrs. Nill’s Computer Club:

Thank you to Mrs. Nill’s Computer Club for their great link.  Not only do they have fun learning about the history of the computer and the WWW, but they also learn hands-on things such as basic programming and many more fun activities! Keep learning and sharing. We’re right there with you all. :D

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The War of Life WE Didn’t Choose

This is turning into a philosophical beginning to the new year for me, as it seems like it is for many others out there. Reading and watching the news makes the world feel like it doesn’t fit us. The one-size-fits-all view that we’re forced to accept completely ignores that individuality isn’t some catch word so that we can wear a button. If you think that your views can fit into the space on a button, then either: a) your views aren’t all that deep, or b) your back is going to hurt from the size of that button you’re trying to wear.

One word descriptives should come with a warning logo that states the actual size of this word isn’t the actual size you think you see in that rear view mirror (after all, not too many of us are all that forward looking, are we?). Liberal, communist, non-profit…words like this are aspirational but have been co-opted by talking points that don’t like the larger view the world requires. Conservative, pro-life, religious…these words have become defensive walls that many believe speak without listening.

Look at what’s happening at all of the large talks in places like Switzerland, and you’ll see a bunch of people that are used to being heard, but aren’t as good as they could be in seeing the world outside of their view, or listening for that matter. It’s leaders like these that have turned life into the war of life that WE (the rest of us) didn’t choose. It’s images like this that skew our own view of the world:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a sector of our world that believes that everything is not only measureable, but also easily labeled. And we all fall in line with this belief. Why? In reality, there is no spreadsheet big enough to take into account 7 billion+ separate points (yes, humans) with a innumerable list of individual characteristics that combine in unique ways. That’s not even including our surrounding nature and its own inhabitants that also impact life. Any spreadsheet that can keep track of each of these moving targets in the equation called life would redefine the word revolutionary. And in case some robot is looking at individual key words in this post, then I’m talking about the definition that means “constituting or bringing about a major or fundamental change”. Yeah, life doesn’t have to be a war. Most people are not even all that fond of fighting (unless you’ve got a reality tv show to keep alive).

Today’s local newspaper talked about a hospital that saved my life (can never be thankful enough) being in trouble because it’s way behind in making profits, so the owners are selling it along with other non-profitable institutions.

  • Where is the owner’s care for the greater good that is this hospital’s mission?
  • Why is it that institutions that make a difference in many people’s lives are not treated with the same respect as that of, I don’t know, our governments which have been batting “00″ and detrimentally affecting the people it was designed to serve?
  • Why is it that measureable, meaningless profits equate to the most meaningful factors that decide success or failure?
  • Who gets to choose in a world of 7 billion + people what is considered the most important points to this so-called success or failure ratio? Especially when those who currently make these decisions weren’t even chosen by the majority of the world.

Maybe we should be listening to a bigger authority called LIFE instead? After all, it’s life that is responsible for our very existence. Not in some religious or biological sense, but in the fundamental sense that the universe put everything into place so that we could come into existence as another factor in the on-going equation called life. Here’s my favorite inspiration, Neil deGrasse Tyson, giving the greatest sermon ever:

 

Life isn’t a war. It’s a wonder. Why are we so determined to make everything fit into our own independent, singular perspective, when it’s clear that all perspectives count in the true final equation that counts in life? It’s no wonder that we can never calmly talk to one another. We don’t even see one another.

just saying…

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Unintended Consequences

We’ve heard about equal and opposite reactions in science. We see the consequences in our lives on a daily basis. But sometimes we don’t SEE that our intentions have unintended consequences. Well, how about this graphic, found on Reddit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our intentions make us feel good. They drive us to continue a course of action that feels right to us. And when those actions are multiplied by the actions of thousands of people who feel just like you, that’s when the unintended consequences can rear its head in both good and bad ways. So, how do we use the results in new and better ways?

Research is a common activity that everyone uses in order to try to understand about history, so that we can predict the future. But just how easy can predicting be?

It turns out that if predictions were easy, we wouldn’t be all that interested in researching. Can you imagine a world that isn’t curious? A world that is so predictable that all of life has already been defined at the very beginning of its story?

The universe has a way of laughing at us when we make a prediction and react only to the things that we uncover. We tend to forget that we don’t know everything that there is to know. That would lead us to believe that we are greater then we truly are. At which time we would probably not be interesting in learning and growing so that we become better than we are. A cruel Catch 22 that doesn’t make the world a better place.

Did you notice anything about the image above? It didn’t just make a bigger boom, but it also changed colors. And the boom didn’t just have a central impact point, but it also had the trails at the edges that had a multitude of dependent reactions.

So, yes, believe in what you believe. But when you act upon those beliefs, remember that you’ll never figure out every potential consequence that could occur. And that’s because it’s not just you that’s involved. There are millions of us out there that will be doing our own independent actions that will lead to dependent new theories resulting from researching those pesky unintended consequences . That’s why we can never stop learning throughout our entire lifetime.

If you think that you know it all, take a look at the clip above. Did you catch every little nuance at the edges? If you didn’t then you’ve just discovered that you and the world around you are still works in progress. Information has a multitude of interpretations. Your interpretations aren’t all that can be. Just like you’re not all that you can be… until you realize that the need to keep growing requires that there’s still a lot to learn.

So LEARN from it all. Not just what impacts you, but what impacts others that aren’t you.

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A Hopeful New Year for 2014

It’s been a while since I wrote, and now seemed like a good time as any to catch up with you all. As usual, I want to thank you all for visiting, reading, and commenting. I still read your comments, though I still am not sure as to who is really wishing to connect and who just wants connections to win some game. I’m grateful for all who of you who are here, and will continue to write as a way to show my appreciation for your support.

A new dawn for a hopeful new year (image credit: Free Stock Photos)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that the new year is upon us, what are you wishing for? The world is in the midst of change, and such superficial things as wealth and fame seem too trivial a thing to ask for. Of course, we all need money to live, but there is more to life and we have been finding that out just by watching the world go by us.

After spending the past few days in the quiet mountains surrounded by snow and trees, what’s truly important becomes crystal clear. Re-watching a movie like Avatar doubles up on the realization:

I SEE YOU

Whether it’s a person, place, or thing, can you really see what you’re looking at? Do you realize all of what makes up that vision? Can you feel the connection? Because this is what we all typically miss. The emotions that create a close tie between you and that vision.

Hopefully, 2014 will bring more emotions into our connections. Perhaps these connections will create such powerful emotions that will help to create a strong foundation to build a new life upon. The nutrients that life needs from all of us include love, hope, dreams, and all of those magical things. Bringing magic back into a world that seems to have gone dark from a little too much of 1+1 = 2. Bringing forward a new definition of what is in 1.

1 isn’t a lonely number. 1 can make up a single species full of magical differences that create a single beautiful world. 1 can be a single emotion that evokes all of the hope for all that is bright and new. 1 comes in all shapes and sizes, and is only limited by our imaginations. 1 should never limit. It is limitless.

Here’s to 2014 being a hopeful year that will stretch your imagination to infinity. Nothing can limit you but you. Go forward and SEE. Go forward and FEEL. Go forward and LOVE.

 

Just go forward…

 

Happy New Year to you all. See you on the other side.

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Love Comes In All Forms

and for some reason my links to the original content disappeared when I posted, so I’ve updated.

It’s been a while since I shared something from Reddit. Life has just been so chaotic and not at all concerned with the good content that continues unabated there. But considering the joyous season that we are in, this particular video creation by Tom Teller is really worth sharing.

We all think that what we have should be perfect, especially if we spent money on it. But exactly what should be considered perfect? And why should money make it more meaningful than life? Harley looks pretty cute to me, and is definitely the sweetest fish I’ve seen. Sure, he may not look like the cute pet that most imagine, but then, are we really all that perfect? I know that I’m not.

Watch the video and be prepared for your heart to jolt. You’ll be rooting for all of the underdogs of the world after watching this. Seriously, anyone who can create these kinds of emotions through their work is really someone to watch and support. Because this is the kind of lesson that more of us need to remember.

Happy holidays to one and all!!

…and GO HARLEY!!!!

 

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Legacies Live On

RIP to a man who lived a life that we all wish to emulate (though few could have endured it as he did). Nelson Mandela was a leader like so few who walk with us in life. His trials and tribulations were so like and yet unlike ours. He lived them with the convictions that the world could be a better one, and showed us the change that we were capable of.

A poem that helped him survive his years of imprisonment which led to a change that we see too little of: freedom for a people.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

- Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Today, another great man left his earthly bonds, though he will never leave us. Nelson Mandela has been on our watch, as his frail body continued to remind us that our time with him and with this planet is finite.  I can’t claim to have known him, but have tried to learn from his courageous actions that stand as a shining example of hope in a world that is so often dark with intent. It’s examples such as his that remind us of our own destinies that await us  from our birth.

We are all searching for a raison d’être. We all hope that we will feel it like those few true leaders who understood what it meant to feel the meaning of our existence. They build themselves up by acquiring the tools needed to wield their dreams. But they do so with a humility that is so rare in those who choose to lead. It’s not about the power for them. It’s about the purpose of their lives. They don’t do things for golden accolades or fruitful treasures that build into thrones to their greatness. They do things because others need them to complete these actions. To remind us that we all have obligations to one another. To tell us that love is so much more powerful than fear or greed or selfishness.

When there are insurmountable walls that keep us from greater opportunities, there are ways to get around the barriers. Those true leaders we choose to remember understand that a helping hand builds a much stronger ladder that will scale these walls. They help us envision a land of wealth that has little to do with material things. They listen and they encourage. They acknowledge when others provide better examples. They give wind to our sails when there is no wind to be found. They argue against the norm when the norm becomes dangerous to the greater good. They have no problem being wounded if it means that others can be safe.

The legacies that live on are those that make us think twice about who we are and what we choose to do. In a world where emptiness in our souls yearn to be filled, those whose legacies serve as examples to the rest of us need to be exalted above the vacuous pageantry that dominates. The legacies that survive bring us together. The legacies that survive give us hope. The legacies that survive push us to be better. The legacies that survive deserve to live on in our hearts, minds, and souls. They live because they are alive in all of us.

Speaking upon his release (courtesy of CTNews01):

We need no reminder because we always remember those important to us. That is a true legacy.

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When Human Rights Gets a Voice

The whistle-blowing of information regarding out-of-control institutional global surveillance has finally brought some much needed conversation and thoughts to the important topic of increasing loss of human rights. And today, there’s finally a glimmer of hope that a few governments get what so many people are worried about. Yes, there is hypocrisy because everyone spies on others. But that doesn’t negate the fact that we all have basic rights that should not be taken away by selfish institutional interests that are increasingly taking over individual rights.

Meet the newest UN conversation brought out by Brazil and Germany, seeking to equalize global human rights in regards to privacy and freedom of expression:

 

And read about the latest attempts by certain “superpowers” who wish to continue business as usual:

UN surveillance Goes Ahead Despite Attempts to Dilute Language on the Guardian.

 

The people are finally getting their voices heard. And it’s up to us to keep up the pressure so that another’s economic and power windfalls doesn’t continue to dilute everyone’s basic human rights.

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