Victor MacGill DragonStirs Mandelbrot Set
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February 2010

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Welcome

This month I have not moved far from home. I had a weekend trip to Christchurch to see Avatar in 3D and to meet up with the Christchurch Theosophical Society. It was great to catch up with friends too. I have started a new programme at work, which is always good. It has been great during January having a whole month without evening meetings to catch up on everything. My flatmate went home during the university holidays, but he will be back soon.

I found the software I had been using to send out these emails has had a problem and did not always sent messages out. I have changed my software, so I hope it runs smoothly now.

Interesting Websites

The TED videos I have written about are extending the range of videos they have. They have now started a  "Best of the Web", where they collect not only their own videos, but other outstanding talks available on the Internet. One good one was JK Rowling talking to new graduates at Havard University about the benefits of failure. Ted.com have also joined with TEDMED, to give a more full range of talks on medical topics. Well worth a look!

Russel Ackhoff talking on the BBC introducing a systems perspective on business management.

3D Mandlebrot SetThere is a youtube version of a BBC TV programme called the Secret Life of Chaos featuring  Jim Al Khalili's giving an excellent overview of Chaos theory. You will note that Jim also wrote the book, "Quantum", which is reviewed below.

Just on the Wikipedia site for the Mandelbrot Set, I came across this three dimensional version of the Mandlebrot Set as shown on the left. How's that for a mathematically generated graph that looks more like a pine cone!

Robin Dunbar write on his Social Brain Hypothesis  He interestingly notes that our brain and its capacities, among other things, mean we as humans tend to gather in groups of around 150.

More books...

ILPIntegral Life Practice by Ken Wilber, Terry Patten, Adam Leonard and Marco Morelli

As we decided to put together a weekend workshop linking Ken Wilber's and the Integral Institute's Integral Life Practice with Theosophy, I bought the book. The book is a well thought out guide to living a rounded, full life of spirit. It recognises nine aspects that make up a human being: physical, mind, spirit, shadow (these being the four core aspects), ethics, work, relationships, creativity and soul. We need all of these to be strong and regularly practiced in our life, and they must be balanced. The muscle builder who only concentrates on the physical or the absent minded professor focusing on the mind will be unbalanced and will not reach their full potential.

Some of the names of the additional aspects change especially when you also look at the web sites etc., which can get confusing, but in some ways the names are just labels and we could spend years quibbling over what goes where. Overall, it is an excellent, practical book.

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Books I read this month


Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed by Jim Al-Khalili

Jim Al KhaliliJim Al Khalili

is a professor of theoretical physics, who is very good at presenting science in a way that is  easy to understand. He has plenty of great metaphors to help make sense of quantum physics, which is pretty weird at the best of times. This is a good book to help you get your head around some strange concepts
 

Be rational, get real


 








 I found this little cartoon I really liked

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