Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 In Review and A Look Into 2013

I want to start off by saying what a year it has been. Both for the world as a whole and my own little personal slice of it. We've been witnessed to so many things this past year, its safe to say the year 2012 classifies as a doozey. When it comes down to the year in review, we've seen big, big changes across the board. Just to name a few:

In politics, there was an election extravaganza across the globe. We've seen the re-election of US president Barack Obama as well as notable shifts in power in France, Mexico, and Russia(more or less). Also worth noting, the do nothing congress of the United States has definitely earned its title this past year.

In sports, we saw London play host to another successful year of the Olympic games and the thrilling win of Denmark over Serbia in the European handball championship. We witnessed one of the most controversial sports drug scandals ever involving Lance Armstrong as well as the New York football Giants Hoisting the Lombardi Superbowl trophy over the New England Patriots.

In Science, we saw the greatest scientific discovery of our time with the Higgs Boson, Curiosity's arrival on Mars, The US government crashing two satellites into the moon(weird right?), Felix Baumgartner dropped from the edge of space setting the free fall world record, and we survived another apocalyptic prediction. Big year in science.

In Nature, hurricane Sandy hit devastated the New York/New Jersey area of the United States , and the trend of global temperature rise continues virtually unnoticed.

In my own world, this year I turned 24 and made the biggest change of my life so far. Moving from Atlanta Georgia to Melbourne Australia has been an exciting adventure as well as an enormous opportunity. Having such a big change in my life has given me plenty of things to reflect upon and I am profoundly grateful for that. 

Moving into 2013, my goals for are simple. I encourage you to make your goals simple because if the goals are simple, they should be easy to complete. When you consistently complete your goals you are setting a foundation for a successful and fulfilling life. This year I will be setting for myself at least one goal in each of the mind, body, soul categories and challenge you to do the same.

Mind: My goal is to read 5 books this year.

Body: My goal is to complete a half marathon this year.

Soul: My goal is to volunteer for a total of 25 hours and to stay mindful as much as possible this year. 

 If you feel inclined to set a few goals for yourself and need someone to keep you accountable, share your goals and progress with the BoldlyGrow community and we will support you however we can. If you don't complete every goal you set, go easy on yourself. We're all just doing the best we can with what we have.

I wish you all happiness and success in the new year, keep coming back, and as always- boldly grow in the direction of your dreams.   

photo credit 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Street Art Scavenger Hunt

Today is Christmas in Australia. Since I am away from my family and most of my friends, I decided to do something that was both challenging, and rewarding. I went on a scavenger hunt! I scoured the streets of Melbourne looking for the best street art I could find. What I found may shock and amaze you. Some of the pieces I found were/are incredible. Truly a feast for your ocular appetite. Since you can't all be in Melbourne Australia to see these, I figured I would bring them to you.

I wish I could give the respective credit for each piece, but unfortunately there is no way I can know whose is whose. If you know who created one of these phenomenal pieces of art please let me know and I will credit them accordingly. I will post a few here and if you like what you see and want to see more, click on the "Follow Me On Instagram" link on the left side of the blog. Now without further ado, and for your viewing pleasure; The spoils of my Christmas Day Street Art Scavenger Hunt.

There you have it. Some of Melbourne's finest and truly spectacular artwork. If you like what you've seen here, click the Instagram link on the left side of the blog to see more jaw dropping pieces. Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Toast To Life

I woke up this morning feeling inspired. That refreshing feeling of insight then turned into desire to share that inspiration with you good people.
Lets take this opportunity to make a toast to LIFE:

To your mystery and your elusiveness. To your ability to expand and develop individual perspective.


You educate us through experience and you compel us to grow in ways we didn't know were possible.

Here's to the paths we walk and the lives we lead. Here's to all the joys and all the pains. Here's to the friends we make and the relationships we build. Here's to all of those we love and all of those we lose.

Thank you for pushing us. Thank you for fear and the wisdom to know that fear is an over active defense mechanism and a construct of the mind. That most fears are nothing more than a set of beliefs we have set up holding us back from reaching our real potential-You sneaky SOB. Thank you for potential and all of its abundance.

Here's to the adventures you allow us to have and the deep suffering we will all inevitably face. Here is to celebrating you and all you've allowed us with every single breath.

We raise our glasses to you, LIFE.

We take the good, we take the bad, we take them both and there we have the facts of life....and all of the fucked up ways you keep us guessing.



Monday, November 26, 2012

Before I Die...

Credit: Candy Chang

  • Before I Die... I want to experience zero gravity.
  • Before I Die... I want to break a world record.
  • Before I Die... I want to give a speech in front of +1000 people.
  • Before I Die... I want to finish a triathlon. 
  • Before I Die... I want to write a book and publish it.
  • Before I Die... I want to live in another country 

These are a few of the intentions I have for myself. The Turkish call it "┼×imdi ya da Asla" which translates to 'Now or Never'. You may better recognize it as a 'bucket list', or a life list.

Do you have one?

Most people, at some point in their lives, have at least considered some things they would like to accomplish before they leave this world. What ever your dreams are, a bucket list is a great way to shed light on what is truly meaningful in your life. It is easy to get caught up in the noise of the 'day to day' with its increasing distractions from kids or work or school. It is important though that we find time to reflect on our own aspirations so that, as we learn and grow, we can continue to take advantage of this series of fleeting moments we call life. Write down your goals so you have a way to track your progress. It is by writing down your ambitions that you give your life purpose and it's by living with purpose that you make change in the world.

Neale Donald Walsch said it best "The deepest secret is that life isn't a process of discovery, but a process of creation. Don't ask who you are but rather who you want to be".

Go out and become the person you know you can be. Find what it is you are living for so that when your time comes to take that long nap you can say that you made the most of the time you had. Take life into your own hands, step out of your comfort zone, and as always boldly grow in the direction of your dreams.


Friday, November 23, 2012

10 Things to Know About Traveling Abroad

I had just gotten in to Vancouver Canada and was waiting to board the next plane toward Shanghai Pu Dong. What a cool experience. During that layover I came to a realization. Now that I am officially an international traveler why not share my experience and advice with the world? Are you ready world? Here goes nothing. 10 things to know about traveling abroad:

1. Print Out Your Itinerary.    
We'll start out with an easy one. This one is pretty self explanatory but be sure to have your travel itinerary printed out and available. This way you can check and double check your travel information so you can get where you need to go on time. 

 2. Be Early. 
When it comes to traveling, timeliness will save you from unnecessary stress headaches. Its not always easy to be on time but with your itinerary print out you should have less of a problem. Timeliness is also great because you'll often get boarding or seating priority for being early.

3. Keep Your Passport Out.
Have it out at all times! Or at least keep it easily accessible. If you get stopped by customs officers(which you will) they may ask to see your passport(often) and bombard you with questions(at length) so be ready.   

4. Make The Most of Your Layovers.
Whenever you have a layover, make the most of it. Walk around as much as you need, use the toilets, pick up some reading material and food just be prepared to pay the outrageous airport or train station prices.

5. Be Ready to Be Pushed.
Keep in mind while traveling anywhere, everyone is trying to get where they're going ASAP. That being said, many people tend to lose patience quickly an sometimes resort to bumping and pushing the lines forward. At least be ready to have your heels stepped on especially if you wind up in the Shanghai airport.

6. Expect Jet Lag.
Even if you don't think you will or can get jet lag, read on. Drink water, take vitamins, whatever you need to do to avoid getting sick. Jet Lag can be a pain to get over so take preventative measures.

7. Aisle Seats Baby!
Aisle seats can be your best friend especially if your trip consists of being on a plane for several hours. After sitting on an airplane for 23 hours I can safely say aisle seats are life savers. Aisle seats are great because you can stretch your legs into the aisle, you can also easily stand up and walk the aisles to un-cramp. Another bonus is being able to reach up into the overhead compartments if you need to access your carry on at any point.

8. Get Travelers Insurance.
It can definitely worth your while to get travelers insurance. If you end up paying a lot for your ticket, which traveling internationally you probably will, insurance is a smart investment. From personal experience I can tell you if you ever miss a plane or have to push your trip back a few days due to unexpected obstacles, insurance can be invaluable. it insures your trip in case of emergency and is a good idea to have.

9. Know Your Destinations Laws and Conditions.
When you go into a foreign country, you become subject to its laws and regulations. Be sure to look up and understand the laws in the countries you visit. No one wants to end up in a foreign jail for making the wrong hand gestures.

10. Have an Emergency Contact.
In case of emergency you should definitely have someone you can contact. Should you get sick or run out of money, or find yourself in any other kind of predicament you need someone to bail you out. For all you emergency contacts out there you have a big responsibility so make sure your dependents make it worth your while.

 So there it is. 10 things you should not leave home without. Traveling, especially internationally can be a lot of fun and can have lasting affect on how you see the world. Just remember fate favors the well prepared so be ready and have fun! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why I Hate Cars

I hate cars. Sure they look nice and get us from points A to B pretty quick but are they really that great? They cost a lot of money, they pollute the air, and they generate a lot of waste once they are out of commission. Okay, Okay, I'll admit I am a little bit biased as I have been plagued by motor vehicle issues ever since I can remember. What follows are variety of stories that should explain why I hate cars.

  • When I was 5 while riding in the car with my mom and sister headed through Nevada. We rode through construction and slid on loose gravel. My mom lost control of the wheel and we careened over the shoulder.  The car was in a barrel roll down the cliff and when we finally came to a stop the car had flipped three times and we landed on the hood. Nobody was seriously injured...but damn.

  • When I was 8 years old I was outside with my sister and her friends and when her friends went to leave they rolled over my foot with their car.

  • A couple of weeks after I got my drivers license I was driving to the local video game store for a Halo 2 tournament. As I pulled into the parking space I clipped the Escalade in the next spot over. Turned out to be an off duty cop's Escalade. The damage to the his ride-$1500, The look on his face when he came out of the store-Priceless.

  • When I was 16 I my mom let me drive to school one morning while she rode shotgun. Not two miles away from my house we came to a stop sign. I did like any safe driver would do and looked both ways  for on coming traffic. Once I saw an opening I slowly pulled out. Unfortunately it was still dark outside and when I looked both ways, I failed to see the oncoming car with their headlights off and SMASH.

  • Junior year of high school the last bell rang and I headed to the parking lot. My mom had been out of town and was letting me borrow her new pickup truck. I was considering going to the gym that day and since my friend lived close to school I figured I would drive over and see if he wanted to work out too. As I pull up in front of his house he comes running out. I rolled down my window to talk and my friend decided this was the official new Dukes of Hazard car. My friend comes flying at me through the driver side window, knocks me over into the passenger seat and off of the brake pedal. Before I could sit back up, the truck methodically rolls up over the curb and into the side of his house. My mom was beyond excited to see her new truck when she came home the next day.

  • One evening when I was 18 I headed to this new restaurant to meet up with a few friends. Being a prepared motorist; as I was leaving the house, I was sure to grab the keys, my wallet and directions to this new restaurant and shove them in my pockets. I was approaching the light for the freeway on ramp when I thought it would be a perfect time to check the directions. I glanced down for just a second and when I looked back up traffic had come to a complete stop and WHAM right into the back of a van. Now I was officially off my moms insurance.

  • Easter morning 2010 I was driving home from church. As I came of the off ramp for the freeway two studs snapped off the axle and my wheel and tire came free. It was extremely fortunate that I had made it off the freeway before it happened but still another car story. I ended up waiting an hour for the tow truck to arrive and when it did, it was the wrong type of tow truck. Since it was a rear wheel, the car couldn't roll down the street and needed to be hauled away on a flatbed truck.

  • When I was 22 I got a job transfer from Seattle to Atlanta but the SUV I had wouldn't make the trip. The tires were bald and it had been having electrical problems for a while. I took it to a dealership to make a trade and walked out with a new truck I didn't like with a $25,000 price tag. Have you ever had a time where you instantly regretted a decision you made? Well this was one of those times. I was short on time was desperate. Fortunately, my sister and brother in law helped arrange for me to bring the truck back and get my old SUV back.

  • Most Recently I got a job transfer to Australia and I need to sell my truck. I've been working on it the past few weeks to get it ready to sell. New radiator, new muffler, new oxygen sensors, the works. Again, time is a factor as try and sell this truck. I take it to a dealership only to find out that they cant appraise a vehicle with expired tabs. Did I know the tabs were expired? HELL NO! Apparently in the state of Georgia your tabs expire on your birthday which was a mere 3 months after I had previously renewed them. In order to renew the tabs, I'd have to get another emissions test. When I take the truck to get a smog test, does it pass? HELL NO! Now its crunch time folks. In one day I have to have the problem fixed, get a smog test, get new tabs, and sell the truck. The pressure is on.

I suppose I should be grateful to be born in a time where there are such things as cars, and that I've been fortunate enough to own as many cars as I have, and to have survived these stories. I am extremely grateful for those things believe me. But it still doesn't change the fact that I hate cars.

Do you have a crazy car story? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Until next time,

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Most Exciting Time In History

We are living in the most exciting time in history. We humans as a species are on a new frontier of creation and new frontier of evolution. We are rapidly approaching the "decommissioning" of natural selection as we know it.

Today, like never before, dreams however improbable they may seem are able to become reality with the emergence of new technologies. The level at which we express creativity is constantly growing. That level constantly expanding is bringing us to uncharted territory. As that level of creative expression develops, evolution itself is evolving. Consider the fact that we've created more technological innovation in the last 100 years than we have in the last 100,000 years and that change continues exponentially.

The first supercomputer was created at Stanford University in the 1960's. It cost 60 million dollars and was the size of a building. Now 50 years later we have these smart phones that are a million times cheaper, a million times smaller, and a thousand times more powerful being bought and sold by millions of consumers all around the globe. That's an enormous decrease of price and increase of performance and since there is no signs of slowing down that trend will continue exponentially. If you really think about it we are already developing early signs of telepathy. Telepathy is transmission of information between people without physical interaction so one could suggest that by installing WiFi on airplanes not only are we able to fly but also simultaneously communicate telepathically.

We have always been on the journey of expanding our sphere of possibility. From the first moment man picked up a stick and used it to knock down a piece of fruit from a really high tree we have used our tools to improve our lives. We developed the wheel, we developed written word thereby saving our conscious thoughts for later without the worry we would never be able to recall those thoughts again. We developed flight from wooden airplanes into flight to distant planets. We are using these tools to extend our reach and at the same time extending who and what we are. Even now as you sit in front of your computer or cell phone you are accessing this global community through the internet and learning things that before may have been out of reach. All these innovations have come from groups of people coming together and developing these works through shared passions. Now with the emergence of internet the distance and time between these minds becomes somewhat irrelevant.We are no longer bounded by our physical bodies to create these new ideas and innovations.

The levels of untapped potential that still exists amazes me. Five years ago I laughed at the the thought of a camera phone and now you can't find a phone without a camera (a nice one at that). The development of these new technologies is revealing never before experienced opportunity for creation and expression. Through all the trials of your everyday life keep in mind we are moving through the age of technology and into the age of intuition. There has never been a more exciting time to be alive.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Garbage In Garbage Out

Its Wednesday night. That's right-hump day, and with no one to hump, You sit at home bored. You've flipped through every app on your smart phone when the inevitable thought crosses your mind  "Huh. I wonder whats on t.v." After wandering around aimlessly for five minutes you find the remote wedged in the couch cushions right between the loose change and stale cheerios.You point the remote at the screen, depress the power button, and are suddenly wrapped in the warm glow of your 40' LCD screen. You start cruising through the channels-




Public access.....

"200 channels and nothing to watch" You think to yourself.

You click through a few more channels when you come across The Jersey Shore.
Rife with pointless drama, superficial assholes, and entirely to much tanning oil, the people of New Jersey  are really making America proud. I mean seriously, how many jacked and tan guidos can one person stand? And yet we keep watching. We are painfully aware of how ridiculous this show and several of its "reality" counterparts are and still we stay tuned. Like the car wreck or rather, the train wreck, you cant stand watching but cant look away. We are hooked by something hidden in the reality-based, vapid lives of these Jersey natives.

If you've ever heard the term 'brain food', then reality t.v. is like Twinkies for your mind. One or two Twinkies every now and then are okay to satisfy that guilty pleasure we get all get sometimes, but if all you consume are Twinkies, you're not getting the nutrients your mind needs and deserves. What you ARE getting is cream filled garbage. I know, I know you just watch them to feel better about yourself but you know what else would make you feel better about yourself? Learning something new. Whether its a new skill, or something from history or even learning something new about yourself. Lets be honest we could all stand to learn something new other than what Snookie's baby will look like.

I encourage you this week to spend that idle time wisely. Involve yourself in something that will add value to your life. Unplug and pick up a book or at least that E reader you got for Christmas but have yet to use.

Your brain will thank you.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What If You Got The Chance To "Talk to GOD"?

Talking to God...

I met god the other day.
I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did you know it was god?
Well, I’ll explain as we go along, but basically he convinced me by having all, and I do mean ALL, the answers. Every question I flung at him he batted back with a plausible and satisfactory answer. In the end, it was easier to accept that he was god than otherwise.
Which is odd, because I’m still an atheist and we even agree on that!
It all started on the 8.20 back from Paddington. Got myself a nice window seat, no screaming brats or drunken hooligans within earshot. Not even a mobile phone in sight. Sat down, reading the paper and in he walks.
What did he look like?
Well not what you might have expected that’s for sure. He was about 30, wearing a pair of jeans and a "hobgoblin" tee shirt. Definitely casual. Looked like he could have been a social worker or perhaps a programmer like myself.
Anyone sitting here?’ he said.
‘Help yourself’ I replied.
Sits down, relaxes, I ignore and back to the correspondence on genetically modified crops entering the food chain…
Train pulls out and a few minutes later he speaks.
Can I ask you a question?
Fighting to restrain my left eyebrow I replied ‘Yes’ in a tone which was intended to convey that I might not mind one question, and possibly a supplementary, but I really wasn’t in the mood for a conversation. ..
Why don’t you believe in god?
The Bastard!
I love this kind of conversation and can rabbit on for hours about the nonsense of theist beliefs. But I have to be in the mood! It's like when a Jehova’s witness knocks on your door 20 minutes before you’re due to have a wisdom tooth pulled. Much as you'd really love to stay… You can’t even begin the fun. And I knew, if I gave my standard reply we’d still be arguing when we got to Cardiff. I just wasn’t in the mood. I needed to fend him off.
But then I thought ‘Odd! How is this perfect stranger so obviously confident – and correct – about my atheism?’ If I’d been driving my car, it wouldn’t have been such a mystery. I’ve got the Darwin fish on the back of mine – the antidote to that twee christian fish you see all over. So anyone spotting that and understanding it would have been in a position to guess my beliefs. But I was on a train and not even wearing my Darwin "Evolve" tshirt that day. And ‘The Independent’ isn’t a registered flag for card carrying atheists, so what, I wondered, had given the game away.
‘What makes you so certain that I don’t?’
Because’, he said, ‘ I am god – and you are not afraid of me
You’ll have to take my word for it of course, but there are ways you can deliver a line like that – most of which would render the speaker a candidate for an institution, or at least prozac. Some of which could be construed as mildly entertaining.
Conveying it as "indifferent fact" is a difficult task but that’s exactly how it came across. Nothing in his tone or attitude struck me as even mildly out of place with that statement. He said it because he believed it and his rationality did not appear to be drug induced or the result of a mental breakdown.
‘And why should I believe that?’

Well’ he said, ‘why don’t you ask me a few questions. Anything you like, and see if the answers satisfy your sceptical mind?
This is going to be a short conversation after all, I thought.
‘Who am I?’
Stottle. Harry Stottle, born August 10 1947, Bristol, England. Father Paul, Mother Mary. Educated Duke of Yorks Royal Military School 1960 67, Sandhurst and Oxford, PhD in Exobiology, failed rock singer, full time trade union activist for 10 years, latterly self employed computer programmer, web author and aspiring philosopher. Married to Michelle, American citizen, two children by a previous marriage. You’re returning home after what seems to have been a successful meeting with an investor interested in your proposed product tracking anti-forgery software and protocol and you ate a full english breakfast at the hotel this morning except that, as usual, you asked them to hold the revolting english sausages and give you some extra bacon.
He paused
You’re not convinced. Hmmm… what would it take to convince you? May I have your permission for a telepathic link?
'Do you need my permission?'
'Technically, no. Ethically, yes'
Might as well play along I thought. 'OK - you have my permission. So convince me'
'oh right! Your most secret password and its association'
A serious hacker might be able to obtain the password, but no one else and I mean
knows its association.
He did.
So how would you have played it?
I threw a few more questions about relatively insignificant but unpublicised details of my life (like what my mother claims was the first word I ever spoke – apparently "armadillo"! (Don't ask…)) but I was already pretty convinced. I knew there were only three possible explanations at this point.
Possibility One was that I was dreaming, hallucinating or hypnotised. Nobody’s figured out a test for that so, at the time I think that was my dominant feeling. It did not feel real at the time. More like I was in a play. Acting my lines. Since the event, however, continuing detailed memories of it, together with my contemporaneous notes, remain available, so unless the hallucination has continued to this day, I am now inclined to reject the hallucination hypothesis. Which leaves two others.
He could have been a true telepath. No documented evidence exists of anyone ever having such profound abilities to date but it was a possibility. It would have explained how he could know my best-kept secrets. The problem with that is that it doesn’t explain anything else! In particular it doesn’t account for the answers he proceeded to give to my later questions.
As Sherlock Holmes says, when you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Good empiricist, Sherlock.
I was forced to accept at least the possibility that this man was who he claimed to be.
So now what do you do?
Well, I’ve always known that if I met god I would have a million questions for him, so I thought, ‘why not?’ and proceeded with what follows. You’ll have to allow a bit of licence in the detail of the conversation. This was, shall we say, a somewhat unusual occurrence, not to mention just a BIT weird! And yes I was a leetle bit nervous! So if I don’t get it word perfect don’t whinge! You’ll get the gist I promise.
‘Forgive me if it takes me a little time to get up to speed here, but it's not everyday I get to question a deity’
The Deity’ he interrupted.
ooh. Touchy!’ I thought.
Not really – just correcting the image
Now That takes some getting used to!
I tried to get a grip on my thoughts, with an internal command - ‘Discipline Harry. You’ve always wanted to be in a situation like this, now you’re actually in it, you mustn’t go to pieces and waste the opportunity of a lifetime
You won’t’ he said.
Tell you! That’s the bit that made it feel unreal more than anything else - this guy sitting across the table and very obviously accurately reading my every thought. It's like finding someone else's hand inside your trouser pocket!
Nevertheless, something (other than simply having given my "permission") made me inclined to accept the invasion, I had obviously begun to have some confidence in his perception or abilities, so I distinctly remember the effect of his words was that I suddenly felt deeply reassured and completely relaxed. As he had no doubt intended. Man must have an amazing seduction technique!
So then we got down to business…
‘Are you human?’
‘Were you, ever?’
No, but similar, Yes
‘Ah, so you are a product of evolution?’
Most certainly – mainly my own
‘and you evolved from a species like ours, dna based organisms or something equally viable?’
so what, exactly, makes you god?’
I did’
Seemed like a good idea at the time’
‘and your present powers, are they in any way similar to what the superstitious believers in my species attribute to you?’
Close enough. ’
So you created all this, just for us?’
No. Of course not’
‘But you did create the Universe?’
This One. Yes
‘But not your own?’
This is my own!
‘You know what I mean!’
You can’t create your own parents, so No
‘So let me get this straight. You are an entirely natural phenomenon.’
‘Arising from mechanisms which we ourselves will one day understand and possibly even master?’
subject to a quibble over who "we ourselves" may be, but yes
‘meaning that if the human race doesn’t come up to the mark, other species eventually will?’
in one.
‘and how many other species are there already out there ahead of us?’
surprisingly few. Less than fourteen million
‘And how many at or about our level?’
currently a little over 4 ½ billion
‘so our significance in the universe at present is roughly equivalent to the significance of the average Joe here on planet Earth in his relation to the human race?’
a little less. Level One, the level your species has reached, begins with the invention of the flying machine. The next level is achieved when a species is no longer dominated by or dependent upon it's own primary  – your Sun. They are able to prosper away from their own, or indeed any other, stellar system. Humanity is only just into the flying machine phase, so as you can imagine, on that scale, the human race is somewhat near the bottom of the level one pack
‘Do you mean we will one day control our own Sun like Kardashev and Asimov talk about?’
'quite the opposite. Those are the visions of an evolving mechanical species who imagine that bigger machines are better and stronger and that we will always need more and more energy to achieve mastery of the universe. The truth is the exact opposite. The more advanced we become, the less energy we require and the less impact we make on our environment. You manipulate matter, which requires enormous amounts of energy. We manipulate energy, which requires none. As a consequence, you would not, for example, even recognise a level two species as a lifeform unless it chose to let you '
‘ all these evolving species; they are your "children"?’
I like to think of them that way
‘and the point?’
at its simplest, "Life Must Go On". My personal motivation is the desire to optimise the intelligence of the Universe. In your own terms, I strive to maximise pleasure and minimise pain. A great deal of pleasure, however, arises from communications between separate entities. Once you’ve achieved my level,  we tend to cease to be billions of separate entities and become one ecstatic whole. A single entity that cannot die unless it loses the will to live. Advanced and self contained though I am, or perhaps, more accurately, because  I am so advanced and self contained, one of the pleasures we lose along the way is that simple joy of meeting new and unpredictable minds and either learning from or teaching them. Thus, in large part, the point of the exercise is to provide company. I am the first eternal in this Universe. I do not intend to be the last
‘so you created a Universe which is potentially capable of producing another god like yourself?’
The full benefit will be temporary, but like most orgasms, worth it.’
‘this being the moment when our new god merges with you and we become one again?’
don’t play it down, that’s the ecstatic vision driving us all, me included – and when it happens the ecstasy lasts several times longer than this universe has already existed. Believe me, it really is worth the effort.
‘Yes, I think I can see the attractions of a hundred billion year long orgasm’
and humans haven’t even begun to know how to really enjoy the orgasms they are already capable of. Wait till you master that simple art!
‘So it's all about sex is it?’
Sexual ecstasy is merely a reward for procreating, it is what makes you want to do it. This is necessary, initially, to promote biological evolution. However once you’ve completed that stage and no longer require procreation, you will learn that ecstasy can be infinitely more intense than anything offered by sex’
‘Sounds good to me!'
'How direct is your involvement in all this? Did you just light the fuse which set off the big bang and stand back and watch? Or did you have to plant the seeds on appropriately fertile planets?’
The first significant level of the intelligent self organisation of matter is the arrival of the organic chemistry which forms the precursor for biology and the first primitive life forms. That chemistry evolved, mostly, in deep space, once the stars had created enough of the heavier elements, and purely as a result of the operations of the laws of physics and chemistry which your scientists have already largely understood. All I did was to set the initial conditions which triggered the bang and essentially became dormant for nearly 5 billion years. That’s how long it took the first lifeforms to emerge. That places them some 8 billion years ahead of you. The first intelligent species are now 4.3 billion years ahead of you. Really quite advanced. I can have deeply meaningful conversations with them. And usually do. In fact I am as we speak
‘So then what?’
Do I keep a constant vigil over every move you make? Not in the kind of prying intrusive sense that some of you seem to think. Let's say I maintain an awareness of what's going on, at a planetary level. I tend only to focus on evolutionary leaps. See if they’re going in the right direction’
And if they’re not?’
‘Nothing. Usually
Usually species evolving in the wrong direction kill themselves off or become extinct for other reasons
There have been one or two cases where a wrong species has had the potential of becoming dominant at the expense of a more promising strain
‘Let me guess. Dinosaurs on this planet are an example. Too successful. Suppressed the development of mammals and were showing no signs of developing intelligence. So you engineered a little corrective action in the form of a suitably selected asteroid’
Perceptive. Almost correct. They were showing signs of developing intelligence, even co-operation. Study your Troodons. But far too predatory. Incapable of ever developing a "respect" for other life forms. It takes carrying your young to promote the development of emotional attachment to other animals. Earth reptiles aren’t built for that. The mammals who are, as you rightly say, couldn’t get a foothold against such mighty predators. You’ve now reached the stage where you could hold your own even against dinosaurs, but that’s only been true for about a thousand years, your predecessors didn't stand a chance 65 million years ago, so the dinosaurs had to go. They were, however, far too ubiquitous and well balanced with the ecology of the planet, and never developed technology, so they weren’t going to kill themselves off in a hurry. Regrettably, I had to intervene.
They were a beautiful and stunningly successful life form. One doesn’t destroy such things without a qualm.
‘But at that stage how could you know that a better prospect would arise from the ashes?’
I didn’t. But the probability was quite high.’
and since then, what other little tweaks have you been responsible for in our development?’
None whatsoever. I set an alarm for the first sign of artificial aerial activity, as I usually do. Leonardo looked promising for a while, but not until the Montgolfier brothers did I really begin to take an interest. That registered you as a level one intelligent species’
'If the sign is "aerial activity", how do you identify technological bird species?'
"Same way. Intelligent flyers rarely become technologists though. They tend to evolve into adaptors rather than manipulators but the few exceptions develop flying machines rather more quickly than species like your own because they have a natural understanding of aerodynamics."
'but why would a bird need a flying machine?'
'that's like asking why would your species need cars and other forms of mechanical transport. The technology lets you carry heavier loads, faster and for greater distances than just relying on your own physical abilities.'
OK, so what about our more famous "prophets"; Jesus of Nazareth, Moses, Mohammed…’
hmmm… sadly misguided I’m afraid.  I am not here to act as a safety net or ethical dictator for evolving species. It is true that anyone capable of communicating with their own cells will dimly perceive a connection to me – and all other objects in this universe - through the quantum foam, but interpreting that vision as representing something supernatural and requiring obeisance is somewhat wide of the mark.  And their followers are all a bit too obsessive and religious for my liking. It's no fun being worshipped once you stop being an adolescent teenager. Having said that, it's not at all unusual for developing species to go through that phase. Until they begin to grasp how much they too can shape their small corner of the universe, they are in understandable awe of an individual dimly but correctly perceived to be responsible for the creation of the whole of that universe. Eventually, if they are to have any hope of attaining level two, they must grow out of it and begin to accept their own power and potential. It's very akin to a child’s relationship with its parents. The awe and worship must disappear before the child can become an adult. Respect is not so bad as long as it's not overdone. And I certainly respect all those species who make it that far. It’s a hard slog. I know. I've been there.’
‘So, you’ve been taking more interest in us since the Montgolfiers, when was that? 1650s?’
Close. 1783
‘Well, if you’ve been watching us closely since then, what your average citizen is going to want to know is why you haven’t intervened more often. Why, if you have the  power and omniscience that goes with being a god, have you sat back and allowed us to endure such incredible suffering and human misery in the past few centuries?’
It seems to be necessary.
Without exception, intelligent species who gain dominance over their planet do so by becoming the most efficient predators. There are many intelligent species who do not evolve to dominate their planet. Like your dolphins and most of the intelligent flyers we were just talking about, they adapt perfectly to the environment rather than take your course, which is to manipulate the environment. Unfortunately for the dolphin, theirs is a dead end. They may outlive the human race but will never escape the bounds of planet earth, let alone your solar system - not without your help at any rate. Only those who can manipulate the world they live in can one day hope to leave it and spread their seed throughout the universe.
Unlike the adaptors, who learn the point of cooperation fairly early on, manipulators battle on. And, once all lesser species have been overcome, they are so competitive and predatory that they are compelled to turn in on themselves. This nearly always evolves into tribal competition in one form or another and becomes more and more destructive - exactly like your own history. However this competition is vital to promote the leap from biological to technological evolution.
You need an arms race in order to make progress.
Your desire to dominate fuels a search for knowledge which the adaptors never acquire. And although your initial desire for knowledge is selfish and destructive, it begins the development of an intellectual self awareness, a form of higher consciousness, which never emerges in any other species. Not even while they are experiencing it, for example, can the intelligent adaptors - your dolphins - express the concepts of Love or Time.
Militarisation and the development of weapons of mass destruction are your first serious test at level one. You're still not through that phase, though the signs are promising. There is no point whatsoever in my intervening to prevent your self-destruction. Your ability to survive these urges is a crucial test of your fitness to survive later stages. So I would not, never have and never will intervene to prevent a species from destroying itself. Most, in fact, do just that.’
‘And what of pity for those have to live through this torment?’
I can’t say this in any way that doesn’t sound callous, but how much time do you spend worrying about the ants you run over in your car? I know it sounds horrendous to you, but you have to see the bigger picture. At this stage in human development, you’re becoming interesting but not yet important.
'ah but I can't have an intelligent conversation with an ant'
‘hmm… as you know, most humans won’t like even to attempt to grasp that perspective. How can you make it more palatable?’
Why should I? You don’t appear to have any trouble grasping it. You’re by no means unique. And in any case, once they begin to understand what's in it for them, they’ll be somewhat less inclined to moan. Eternal life compensates for most things.’
‘So what are we supposed to do in order to qualify for membership of the universal intelligentsia?’
Evolve. Survive’
‘Yes, but how?’
Oh, I thought you might have got the point by now. "How" is entirely up to you. If I have to help, then you’re a failure. All I will say is this. You’ve already passed a major hurdle in learning to live with nuclear weapons. It's depressing how many fail at that stage.’
‘Is there worse to come?’
‘Genetic warfare for instance?
Distinct Possibility’
‘and the problem is… that we need to develop all these technologies, acquire all this dangerous knowledge in order to reach level two. But at any stage that knowledge could also cause our own destruction’
If you think the dangers of genetic warfare are serious, imagine discovering an algorithm, accessible to any intelligent individual, which, if abused, will eliminate your species instantly. If your progress continues as is, then you can expect to discover that particular self-destruct mechanism in less than a thousand years. Your species needs to grow up considerably before you can afford to make that discovery. And if you don’t make it, you will never leave your Solar System and join the rest of the sapient species on level two.’
’14 Million of them’
Just under’
'Will there be room for us?'
'it’s a big place and level two species don't need much space'
‘and, for now, how should we mere mortals regard you then?’
like an older brother or sister. Of course I have acquired more knowledge and wisdom than you have. Of course I’m more powerful than you are. I’ve been evolving much longer and have picked up a few tricks along the way. But I’m not "better" than you. Just more developed. Just what you might become’
‘so we’re not obliged to "please" you or follow your alleged guidelines or anything like that?’
absolutely not. Never issued a single guideline in the lifetime of this Universe. Have to find your own way out of the maze. And one early improvement is to stop expecting me - or anyone else - to come and help you out.'
'I suppose that is a guideline of sorts, so there goes the habit of a lifetime! '
'Seriously though, species who hold on to religion past its sell-by date tend to be most likely to self destruct. They spend so much energy arguing about my true nature, and invest so much emotion in their wildly erroneous imagery that they end up killing each other over differences in definitions of something they clearly haven’t got a clue about. Ludicrous behaviour, but it does weed out the weaklings.’
‘Why me? Why pick on an atheist of all people? Why are you telling me all this? And why Now?’
‘Why You? Because you can accept my existence without your ego caving in and grovelling like a naughty child. '
'Can you seriously imagine how the Pope would react to the reality of my existence?! If he really understood how badly wrong he and his church have been, how much of the pain and suffering you mentioned earlier has been caused by his religion, I suspect he'd have an instant coronary! Or can you picture what it would be like if I appeared "live" simultaneously on half a dozen tele-evangelist propaganda shows. Pat Robertson would wet himself if he actually understood who he was talking to.
Conversely, your interest is purely academic. You've never swallowed the fairy tale but you've remained open to the possibility of a more advanced life form which could acquire godlike powers. You’ve correctly guessed that godhood is the destiny of life. You have shown you can and do cope with the concept. It seemed reasonable to confirm your suspicions and let you do what you will with that information.
I can see you're already thinking about publishing this conversation on the web where it could sow an important seed. Might take a couple of hundred years to germinate, but, eventually, it will germinate.
Why now? Well partly because both you and the web are ready now. But chiefly because the human race is reaching a critical phase. It goes back to what we were saying about the dangers of knowledge. Essentially your species is becoming aware of that danger. When that happens to any sapient species, the future can take three courses.
Many are tempted to avoid the danger by avoiding the knowledge. Like the adaptors, they are doomed to extinction. Often pleasantly enough in the confines of their own planet until either their will to live expires or their primary turns red giant and snuffs them out.
A large number go on blindly acquiring the knowledge and don't learn to restrain their abuse. Their fate is sealed somewhat more quickly of course, when Pandora’s box blows up in their faces.
The only ones who reach level two are those who learn to accept and to live with their most dangerous knowledge. Each and every individual in such a species must eventually become capable of destroying their entire species at any time. Yet they must learn to control themselves to the degree that they can survive even such deadly insight. And frankly, they’re the only ones we really want to see leaving their solar systems. Species that haven’t achieved that maturity could not be allowed to infect the rest of the universe, but fortunately that has never required my intervention. The knowledge always does the trick’
'Why can't there be a fourth option - selective research where we avoid investigating dangerous pathways?'
'There is almost no knowledge which is completely "safe". As you can see from your own limited history, the most useful ideas are also, nearly always, the most dangerous. You have yet, for instance, to achieve the appropriate energy surpluses required to complete this phase of your social development. When you've mastered the relevant technology, it will eliminate material inequalities and poverty within a generation or two, an absolutely vital step for any maturing species. Your potential paths to this bonanza include the control of nuclear fusion - which you only began to explore in the context of potential mass extinction weapons and nano engineered solar energy harvesting or hydrogen cycling. And already your leading military scientists are looking for ways to develop equally dangersous weapons based on the same technology. And they will find them. You may not survive them.
Similarly, you will shortly be able to conquer biological diseases and even engineer yourselves to be virtually fault free. Your biological life spans will double or treble within the next hundred years and your digital lifespans will become potentially infinite within the same period: If you survive the potential threat that the same technology provides in the form of genetic timebombs, custom built viruses and the other wonders of genetic and digital warfare.
You simply can't have the benefits without taking the risks'.
‘I’m not sure I understand my part in this exercise. I just publish this conversation on the web and everything will be alright?’
‘Not necessarily. Not that easy I’m afraid. To start with, who’s going to take this seriously? It will just be seen as a mildly amusing work of fiction. In fact, your words and indeed most of your work will not be understood or appreciated until some much more advanced scholars develop the ideas you are struggling to express and explain them somewhat more competently. At which point some of those ideas will be taken up en masse and searches will be undertaken of the archives. They will find this work and be struck by its prescience. You won’t make the Einstein grade, but you might manage John the Baptist!
This piece will have no significance whatsoever if humanity doesn’t make certain key advances in the next couple of centuries. And this won’t help you make those advances. What it will do is help you recognise them’
'can I ask what those advances may be?'
'I think you know. But yes - although you are at level one, there are several distinct phases which evolving species pass through on their way to level two. The first, as we've discussed, is the invention of the flying machine. The next significant phase is the development of the thinking machine.
At your present rate of progress, you are within a few decades of achieving that goal. It marks your first step on the path of technological evolution. Mapping the human genome is another classic landmark, but merely mapping it is a bit like viewing the compiled code in a dos executable. It's just meaningless gibberish, although with a bit of hacking here and there, you might correctly deduce the function of certain stretches of code.
What you really need to do is 'reverse engineer' the dna code. You have to figure out the grammar and syntax of the language. Then you will begin the task of designing yourselves biologically and digitally. But that task requires the thinking machine'
‘You say you avoid intervention. But doesn’t this conversation itself constitute intervention – even if people alive now completely ignore it?’
‘Yes. But it's as far as I’m prepared to go. Its only effect is to confirm, if you find it, that you are on the right path. It is still entirely up to you to navigate the dangers on that path and beyond.’
'But why bother even with that much? Surely it's just another evolutionary hurdle. We're either fit enough or not…'
'In many ways the transition to an information species is the most traumatic stage in evolution. Biological intelligences have a deeply rooted sense of consciousness only being conceivable from within an organic brain. Coming to terms with the realisation that you have created your successor, not just in the sense of mother and child, but in the collective sense of the species recognising it has become redundant, this paradigm shift is, for many species, a shift too far. They baulk at the challenge and run from this new knowledge. They fail and become extinct. Yet there is nothing fundamentally wrong with them - it is a failure of the imagination.
I hope that if I can get across the concept that I am a product of just such evolution, it may give them the confidence to try. I have discussed this with the level two species and the consensus is that this tiny prod is capable of increasing the contenders for level two without letting through any damaging traits. It has been tried in 312 cases. The jury is still out on its real benefits although it has produced a 12% increase in biological species embracing the transition to information species.
‘Alright, so what if everyone suddenly took it seriously and believed every word I write? Wouldn’t that constitute a somewhat more drastic intervention?’
‘Trust me. They wont’
'and so it's still the case, that, should another asteroid happen to be heading our way, you will do nothing to impede it on our behalf?'
'I'm confident you will pass that test. And now my friend, the interview is over, you have asked me a number of the right questions, and I’ve said what I came to say, so I’ll be going now. It has been very nice to meet you - you're quite bright. For an ant!’ He twinkled.
‘Just one final, trivial question, why do you appear to me in the form of a thirty something white male?’
‘have I in any way intimidated or threatened you?’
Do you find me sexually attractive?’
‘er No!’
So figure it out for yourself…’

This post brought to you By Our Friends At RTP

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fallen and I Can't Get up

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."

Have you ever heard that?

I know of this one guy. He fell on hard times, dropped out of school, and his first business he started failed. he kept at it though and went on to build the global empire that is Microsoft.-Bill Gates

This one lady i know of had an abusive childhood, had career setbacks, and was told once she was unfit for t.v.. Now shes an ICON and one of the wealthiest, most successful women on the planet.-Oprah Winfrey

This other guy was fired from his first two jobs, failed to make a successful invention his first 1000 attempts, and was told once that he was too stupid to learn anything. Today his inventions have helped shape the modern world.-Thomas Edison

Now I don't present you with these examples to make you feel small or to tell you you're going to fail 1000 times. I present you with these examples because these people were once like you and I. The difference though is that when these people were told no, pushed down, and stepped on, they kept getting back up.

Did you ever notice how emotional struggles and falls in our lives reflect the physical act of falling down? when you take a spill, when you fall down (yeah some people might laugh) but how do you act? Maybe you cried? maybe you fell so hard you didn't think you'd be able to get back up but tried it anyways? maybe you blamed someone else for making you fall?

We all want to lead happy successful lives. The problem for most people though is that they allow themselves to be held down by circumstance. My question to you is, when times are tough, how do you react? when things seem like they cant get any worse (and sometimes things do get worse), how do you respond to that adversity in your life?

In order to have a successful life, whatever success means to you, you are going to have to arm yourself. Arm yourself with the understanding of what these obstacles really are, and the one simple tool that can be used to overcome and challenge.

Understand that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, tough times are inevitable and they may find you in abundance. Understand that life's obstacles are not designed to KEEP us down. These walls are there to let us prove how badly we want something. Only by contending with adversity that seems beyond your strength to handle will you meet your potential.

Finally, gratitude is the key. Simple appreciation is the single greatest tool you posses to get you through tough times. Be grateful you're alive. Be grateful for those you love and those who love you. Be grateful for the disappointments because they allow you to recognize more clearly the things that matter most.

Life get tough its no secret but by looking at the lives of those who came before us we can see clearly that the ability to take falls and keep getting back up is the mark of the spectacularly successful.

Given this knowledge maybe you wont live to do the things Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, or Thomas Edison have done. Maybe you'll live to do more.

The Road Not Taken

Its official folks,

In a few weeks time I will be moving to Australia! I've been truly blessed with this opportunity. I cant say thanks enough to the people in my life that have guided me and propelled me to this point. Its a season for new beginnings and with that in mind I want to take this chance to write a little about living to the fullest and chasing your dreams what ever they may be. 

Everyone views life through they're own eyes, and have their own perspective so I encourage you to follow your truth. Don't allow the hater's and naysayer's fear to become your fear. There will always be people throughout your life that tell you things you should and should not, can and cannot do. People in general fear what they don't know and wont condone things they've never seen or experienced themselves. Be careful because that fear will take hold of you if you allow it to. If inspiration hits you from someone or somewhere unexpected let it! Too often people ignore inspiration or guidance because it didn't come from where they wanted it to. Follow your dreams, take chances, and remember as always to boldly grow in the direction of your dreams.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 
Robert Frost

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Emergency Preparedness: Disaster Kit

Emergency Preparedness:
Disaster Kit - Pt 1/3

As far as emergency's and disasters are concerned, its less a question of IF but WHEN they will happen. Since the world may or may not end this year, its probably a good idea to put together a cheap and easy disaster kit. 
Many of these items are considered multi use items. Multi use items are great to have because they essentially give you more bang for your buck. 
As an eagle scout, 'be prepared',  has been my motto since I was about 10 and I encourage you to keep this motto in the back of your mind as well. This is the first of a three part series on BoldlyGrow for emergency preparedness. The following is a list of items to keep together in a disaster kit around your house.

1. Water

Water: Water is perhaps the most important piece of a disaster kit. you  can go days without food in an emergency but only hours without water. A gallon of water goes for ¢98 a gallon at the grocery store. You should have on hand 1 gallon per person, per day. Your standard disaster kit should keep you and your family prepared for at least 72 hours. Don't forget your pets.

 2. First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit: In an emergency you or your family could be cut or burned. Without proper cleaning, a wound can get infected very easily and become much worse quick. Keep a first aid kit on hand always. An extra bottle of hydrogen peroxide can come in handy to sterilize wounds. First aid kits run about $10.

 3. Fire Starter

 Fire Starters: Matches, Lighters, Flint and Steel are all great and sufficient fire starters. They are inexpensive and invaluable to have around.

 4. Flashlight

Flashlight: This ones a no brainer. In an emergency, once the sun goes down and you don't have a flashlight, your life is going to be way harder than it has to be. Make sure you throw one of these in your kit. A heavy duty flashlight like this runs about $4.

5. Knife/Multi-tool

Knife/Multi-tool: Pocket knives and multi-tools can be a crucial part of an emergency kit. Small and portable but very versatile. 

6. Duct Tape

Duct Tape: Nearly anything can be made out of duct tape. You name it and it has probably been made from this every-tape. Duct tape can also be used for repairs or emergency first aid. A roll goes for about $3 but can be priceless in a pinch.

 7. Notepad/Pen+Pencil

Notepad/Pen+Pencil: I recommend having pens and paper in your disaster kit. In an emergency you may have to make lists or leave notes for others that could be the difference in you and your family's safety.


Compass: If you've ever been lost you know how valuable it would be to have a compass around. This model is a digital compass from my scouting days but a digital compass is not completely necessary. A quality pocket compass goes for about $5. They are inexpensive and can save your life.

9. Wire/Twine

Wire/Twine: In an emergency, twine or wire can be used in many ways. They can be used as Fishing line or a snare trap to name a couple. Again, inexpensive and can mean the difference in your family's safety and survival.

10. Food
Although food didn't get a photo, food is right up there with water as far as importance in a disaster kit. Make sure your emergency food doesn't have to be refrigerated. Canned and shelf stable foods are ideal. Be sure to have enough set aside for 72 hours for you and your family. Don't forget your pets!

11. Extra Clothing
It is a good idea to have a rain coat and sweatshirts for each member of your family. In case of a power outage and there is no heat it is important to stay warm and dry. Hypothermia can set in fast if you don't stay dry so be sure to have extra clothing in your kit.

Bonus Items:
 The following items are not priority in a disaster kit but are handy to have around.

 1. Playing cards can be entertainment for you and your family in case of a power outage
2. Heavy duty trash bags can have many uses including rain ponchos. they don't take up much room and worth having in your kit.
3. Measuring tape can be used if you have to set up emergency shelter. This tool is not a priority but could be the difference in your success in an emergency.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Greatest Proposal Ever

 Greatest Proposal Ever

I found this video stumbling around on the internet last tonight. This guy goes to awesome lengths to set up this proposal to his girlfriend. The jerk sets the bar pretty damn high for every guy out there who will eventually get down on bended knee and ask his girl to spend the rest of their life with him. Still, I thought it was pretty cool and i think you'll like it too.


Well there it is. Arguably the best marriage proposal ever assembled, goes off without a hitch. Good luck topping this one guys. And if you do top it, you can count on it making onto this blog! Thanks for watching and see ya next time.