Tuesday, December 31, 2013

TNS#85: Everything About 2012 with author Mark Heley

TheNextStep show #85 was taped 4/26/12 and featured bay area author Mark Heley, talking about his book The Everything Guide to 2012. Mark's book covered a wide range of topics and so did our discussion... ranging from the beginning of time in Mayan calendrics to the center of the Milky Way! In preparation for the show I reviewed my whole stack of 2012-themed books, which included The Mayan Factor/Arguelles, Maya Cosmogenesis 2012/Jenkins, The 2012 Story/Jenkins, 2012 and the Galactic Center/Page, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl/Pinchbeck, and 2012: Science or Superstition/Bruce. BTW, Mark's book is the best of the lot in breadth and clarity. Let's see, by way of summary, for starters I was just trying to clarify what the proper terminology for the end of the 13th baktun on 12/21/12 should be called. Each baktun is 5125 years, and the 13th baktun was described as -- somewhat like an IP address! -- but so does that mean 12/20 was since the Mayans used a base-20 vigesimal number system? Well, the answer to that was not forthcoming. The other topic I tried to clarify was the idea that this end of the 13th baktun was somehow coincident with our solar system crossing the central plane of the Milky Way, an idea that John Major Jenkins writes about at length. That topic didn't get much traction either, although I'd refer the reader to the Doomsday 2012 Fact Sheet prepared by astrophysicist David Morrison, which he prepared for his talk on 2012 at SETI.org in Nov 2012. When asked, he did confirm that we believe our solar system cycles above and below the galactic plane, on a very long time scale that he wasn't very clear about w/r actual numbers. My comment was that, really, there was no way the Mayans could've even known about the galaxy we're in! Unless of course the extra-terrestrials told them. Yes, that's probably it... I liked Mark's recent article http://realitysandwich.com/215394/what-actually-happened-on-december-21-2012/ and his comment that "By the time we actually reached 2012, it had become very clear that the semantic battle for assigning meaning to this date had been steamrollered (at least in the western media) towards the ‘end of the world’." Indeed! I thought his best quote was this: "The December 2012 solstice has become a focal point for ideas about planetary change... A unique opportunity exists to harness this attention into a global event that celebrates the essential unity of humanity and the power of positive intention." Good summary Mark! BTW he continued the theme by being one of the organizers of peace2012.net which was a global day of peace on 12/21/12, and the unify.org World Spirit Day on 12/21/13. The show has been posted here: http://blip.tv/the-next-step/thenextstep-85-everything-about-2012-6200103

Monday, March 18, 2013

TNS#84: Spirits in Spacesuits, with Father Sean O'Laoire

TheNextStep show #84 was taped 2/23/2012 and featured a wide-ranging discussion on spiritual topics with Father Sean O'Laoire. Fr. Sean is the author of various books including Spirits in Spacesuits: A Manual for Everyday Mystics (2003), Souls on Safari (2006), and A Sensible God (2008). What a delightful discussion!

From my notes: "All world religions are merely cultural articulations of the same basic archetypal human search for God"... "reality is an artifact of consciousness"... "the real object of science is to awaken the cosmic religious experience" (Einstein quote)... A 'thin place' is where the veil between the seen and unseen is diaphanous so that one can see thru... "we see things as WE are"... "Resurrection is about recognizing the face you had before your parents were born"... "God cannot forgive, because cannot develop a grudge"... "Children are god's way of reminding adults that we are spirits in spacesuits". "May you discover the mystic within you"!

From Father Sean's website Spiritsinspacesuits.com: Father Seán ÓLaoire was born in Ireland and was awarded a BSc degree (major in Math) from the Nat'l. Univ. of Ireland. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1972 and subsequently spent 14 years working among the Kalenjin people of East Africa. He is multi-lingual. Dr. ÓLaoire has an MA and a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology and is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with a private counseling practice in Los Altos, California. He lectures and conducts scientific research on the effects of prayer. Fr. Seán is a co-founder and Spiritual Director of Companions on the Journey (COJ), a spiritual community which seeks to recognize the God/divinity within each of us and among all of us. COJ is an independent, non-hierarchical Eucharistic community dedicated to aligning itself with God and healing the separations between us. Each individual's spirituality is seen as derived from his/her own experiences of God, immanent and transcendent, and is illuminated by the teachings of Christ and the wisdom of other spiritual traditions.

The show has been uploaded here: http://blip.tv/the-next-step/thenextstep-84_fatherseano-laoire-6098654

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

TNS#83: Steve Jobs Retrospective, with John Draper

TheNextStep show #83 was taped 10/27/2011 and featured John "Cap'n Crunch" Draper recounting stories about how he got started with phone phreaking and how he was instrumental in getting Woz and Jobs up to speed with how to use a blue box to make free phone calls. This was Woz and Jobs' first business venture, without which (as Steve Jobs once said) there would have been no subsequent Apple Computer. Our discussion is intercut with a slideshow of photos of Steve Jobs, and video clips of his iconic "One More Thing..." product introductions. The episode has been posted here: http://blip.tv/the-next-step/thenextstep-83_stevejobsretrospective-6549719

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

TNS#82: 9/11 Revisited: The Experts Speak Out

TheNextStep show #82 was taped 9/22/2011 and took a look at the new film from ae911truth.org titled “9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out” for the tenth anniversary of 9/11/2011. Joining me were two people featured in the film, metallurgist Kathy McGrade and structural engineer Kamal Obeid. The film was produced by Richard Gage, founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (ae911truth.org), who was featured on the show back in Jan 2008. The film consists primarily of in-depth interviews with 2 dozen professional architects and structural engineers, all with solid credentials, who all make compelling arguments that WTC towers 1 & 2 could not or would not have fallen as they did short of controlled demolition... and of course then there's WTC 7 the nearby 47-story tower which also came down that day and was not hit by any plane. When it comes to rare complex events like high-rise towers failing it seems one has to pretty much take the word of experts, like these presented here. They do not get into the questions of who did it or why or how, other than to say it was undoubtedly done by means of thermite or nano-thermite, consistent with the way any such large buildings would be brought down by controlled demolition. The last part of the film shifted to the theme of cognitive dissonance, with various psychologists talking about how common it is for people to completely reject information that conflicts with their world-view. A very appropriate way to conclude the presentation! I showed a number of clips from the film during the show. It's been uploaded now and can be viewed here: http://blip.tv/the-next-step/thenextstep-82_911-expertsspeakout-6316256

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TNS#81: The Transition Movement

TheNextStep show #81 was taped 8/25/2011 and featured Transition movement activist Julia Bystrova, who's been involved with transitionsebastopol.org. The Transition movement grew out of the ideas in the book The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience by Rob Hopkins, in which Rob does a great job documenting the activities of many 'transition towns' in the UK where he lives... chiefly Totnes UK (www.transitiontowntotnes.org). The Transition movement seeks to cultivate community resilience in response to the challenges of resource depletion, climate change, and economic instability. Rob's book starts out with a contemplation of what the future trends are in view of climate change and post-peak-oil, and manages to present an inspiring optimistic vision of how local communities can build resilience. Julia's blog is at julfire.wordpress.com. Thanks for coming down for the show Julia! The show is now posted online here: blip.tv/the-next-step/thenextstep-81-the-transition-movement-6274379 From the transitionsebastopol.org website: (loved this disclaimer!) About US - Cheerful Disclaimer: Just in case you were under the impression that Transition is a process defined by people who have all the answers, you need to be aware of a key fact. We truly don't know if this will work. Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale. What we are convinced of is this: * if we wait for the governments, it'll be too little, too late * if we act as individuals, it'll be too little * but if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time. Everything that you read on the transition town http://transitiontowns.org site is the result of real work undertaken in the real world with community engagement at its heart. There's not an ivory tower in sight, no professors in musty oak-paneled studies churning out erudite papers, no slavish adherence to a model carved in stone. This site, just like the transition model, is brought to you by people who are actively engaged in transition in a community. People who are learning by doing - and learning all the time. People who understand that we can't sit back and wait for someone else to do the work. People like you, perhaps...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

TNS#80: The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide

TheNextStep show #80 was taped 7/19/2011 and featured local author James Fadiman PhD talking about his new book The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide. A very enjoyable conversation with a long-time consciousness pioneer! I was flattered that James asked for a copy of my show notes listing all the passages I liked in the book. The show has been uploaded here: http://blip.tv/the-next-step/thenextstep-80-psychedelic-explorer-s-guide-5605889 James' website: www.jamesfadiman.com... the book is www.psychedelicexplorersguide.com From the book's website: "Jim Fadiman's manual offers helpful and well-informed guidance for those who seek 'the divine within' through sacred plants and psychedelic substances." - Daniel Pinchbeck, author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl and Breaking Open the Head "This is some of the most thoughtful, wise, heartfelt, and essential instruction for the use of sacred medicine." - Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

TNS#79: The Maker Faire & Maker Revolution

TheNextStep#79 was taped 6/23/11 and featured 4 guests all involved with the Maker movement in some way... the show was inspired by the highly successful 6th annual MakerFaire in San Mateo in May2011 (makerfaire.com). Joining the panel were Alex Peake founder of PrimerLabs.com and CodeHero.org, Joe Mathes co-founder of Hack the Future, Laurence Miotto Dir. of IT for the Museum of Art & Digital Entertainment (themade.org), and Antonio Gussenhoven of CodeHero.org. Lively show, thanks, guys!

At the 2011 Maker Faire I was particularly inspired by Nolan Bushnell's talk about his new online highschool initiative Speed-To-Learn, with curriculum to be provided via the Apple AppStore; and by Massimo Banzi's talk about how he was motivated to start the Arduino project. (The Arduino is a wildly successful open-source single-board microcontroller design that now has hundreds of compatible plug-in boards and thousands of shared code files; it's been especially popular with students and do-it-yourselfers.)
The show has been uploaded here: