Sunday, September 30, 2012

Double Rainbow: (downtown Austin, TX)

Late Saturday afternoon 9/29/2012, I was at my favorite coffee shop when, Lo and Behold, a most glorious sight appeared.

When you see a primary rainbow, you are seeing light that has been refracted and reflected through water droplets, however the red color does not come from exactly the same droplets of water as the violet color. If you were able to isolate one particular water drop that produced some of the red color you saw, the violet light from this drop would not meet your eyes - it would travel over your head.

A secondary rainbow is produced when there is one extra reflection of light within the water drop. As some light is lost each time it hits the edge of the drop, the secondary rainbow is fainter than the first. It appears higher in the sky because the light exits the drop at a larger angle (50-53 degrees) than the primary rainbow (40-42 degrees).

Understanding optics:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Psychosomatic: Interplay of Mind and Body

Generally speaking, psychosomatic illnesses are caused (or aggravated) by a mental factor such as internal conflict or stress because of the interaction of mind and body.

A psychiatric social worker told me the story of working with a client who had a psychosomatic illness. Once it was determined that it was a psychosomatic cause, they explained in specific detail how the mind and body work together. Once the client recognized and accepted the validity of what he was being told, his "illness" instantly disappeared. This encouraged him to accept that the root causes were emotional and thus became willing to pursue the counseling that he'd previously rejected. The followup psychological counseling was a success.

The key was accepting that the mind is distinct from the body. There's an interplay -- but they're not one and the same.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Countdown to Taxmageddon


Americans had approved government bond issues one after another for many years based on the popular premise of "growing out of debt". [Fancy talk for pushing the day of fiscal reckoning into the future. And why wouldn't we -- after all, that's the American infomercial way of going from rags to riches.]

Our nation is now running a $1 trillion annual deficit. The U.S. public debt is now up to 70% of the gross domestic product -- and growing. If the bubble doesn't burst, it'll be 200% in one generation. We need to reform entitlements and eliminate tax breaks. Otherwise our voters are no better than those in Greece.

My advice for individuals is the same now as it's always been:
Get out of debt no matter what it takes. Then learn to live within your means while saving 15% of your net income for emergency use only. A hillbilly living in poverty now is better prepared for "taxmageddon" than someone who's mortgaged to the hilt.

Taoistic Noninterference

Never force things to happen, but rather, let them happen naturally. Do not seek to interfere with or control nature; do not seek to interfere with or to control other peo­ple.

Appropriate action is taken only at the opportune moment and on the right occasion. For what at first sight appears to be good fortune may ultimately prove to be to our detriment; whilst what seems bad fortune at the outset, may eventually turn out to be to our advantage.

Taoism (pronounced Dowism) is an ancient Chinese religion founded in the third or fourth century B.C. by Lao Tzu. Taoism also is called the water course way, for it believes that life flows in much the same way as a river. And like the river, though we are able to have influence over our lives, we are never able to take total control.
The Taoist prefers to look at life events without judgment or interpretation. According to Taoism, the true significance of events can never be understood as they are occurring, for in every event there are elements of both good and bad. Furthermore, each event has no specific beginning or end and may influence future events for years or even centuries to come. An excellent example of the Taoist view of life is found in the following parable of the Taoist farmer.

 “The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgement.”
 Jiddu Krishnamurti

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Parking On A Hill: Engage Emergency Brake First

If you are parking a car that has an automatic transmission on a hill, apply the parking brake first -- thus allowing the brakes to do the job of holding the wheels in place so that the car does not push the "parking pawl" (ratcheting mechanism that locks the output shaft of the automatic transmission when it's engaged) ... to the point where it's difficult to disengage.  [I suggest first putting the transmission in neutral while holding your car in position with the main brakes using the right foot and only then fully engaging the emergency brake. Slowly ease up your right foot to test the holding power of the emergency brake. If it's holding the car firmly in position, then put the car in Park... ].

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Understanding The Road Ahead For Obamacare

The Affordable Healthcare Act was cobbled together to address two huge problems with our existing health care system -- 50 million Americans with no health insurance who rely on emergency room care (thus forcing others to assume the cost of that) & overall health care costs ballooning (driven by our "fee-for-service" system...

Also read: