Wholeness and Virtual Communities

“The Jewel Net of Indra…Imagine a vast net: at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels. In the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom. Every jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight in every other jewel.”

– Stephen Mitchell

Upwardly Mobile

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Email is not immediate enough for a new generation.

“Social networking Web sites such as MySpace.com, which will soon go mobile, could become key applications driving data usage on new 3G wireless networks. Within the last year social networking and community Web sites on the fixed-line Internet have really taken off, especially among teens and twentysomethings, who spend hours online creating profiles and sharing photos, videos and blogs. MySpace, the most popular of the social networking sites, has more than 67 million members, and it adds roughly 250,000 members every day. MySpace is ranked as the second-most visited Web site on the Internet in terms of unique users, after Yahoo, according to ComScore Media Metrix. Last year Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bought the company for $580 million…For years, mobile operators, which have spent billions of dollars to upgrade their networks to 3G wireless technologies, have tried to get customers to do more than talk on their cell phones.”



Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Remember how Americans used to be afraid of falling behind the Japanese?

“South Korea, perhaps more than any other country, is transforming itself through technology. About 17 million of the 48 million South Koreans belong to Cyworld, a Web-based service that is a sort of parallel universe where everyone is interconnected through home pages. The interconnectivity has changed the way and speed with which opinions are formed, about everything from fashion to politics, technology and social science experts said…Two years ago, after the opposition-led National Assembly impeached President Roh Moo Hyun, a consensus began forming on the Internet that the move was politically motivated — two hours after the vote took place, Mr. Chang said. “That quickly led to mass demonstrations,” he said. “That kind of thing had never happened in Korea before. Everyone is connected to everyone else, so issues spread very fast and kind of unpredictably.”


Tip of the NeuroHat to Steve Solomon for the pointer.


Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Another grid computing project.

“Finding the incredibly tiny interstellar dust impacts in the Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector (SIDC) will be extremely difficult. Because dust detectors on the Ulysses and Galileo spacecraft have detected interstellar dust streaming into the solar system, we know there should be about 45 interstellar dust impacts in the SIDC. These impacts can only be found using a high-magnification microscope with a field of view smaller than a grain of salt. But the aerogel collector that we have to search enormous by comparison, about a tenth of a square meter (about a square foot) in size. The job is roughly equivalent to searching for 45 ants in an entire football field, one 5cm by 5cm (2 inch by 2 inch) square at a time!”


Pangea Cinema

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Pangea? I thought it was Gondwanaland.

“In her moving acceptance speech, TED Prize winner, Jehane Noujaim described her wish for using film to bring people together in a more meaningful way. Jehane is the award-winning filmmaker behind Control Room and Startup.com. Jehane’s wish is to create a worldwide cinema event for one day each year with programming that highlights the themes of unity, the common ties that bind us into a global culture, a film festival called “Pangea Cinema, the day the world comes together.” “Pangea” refers to the single land mass that broke up millions of years ago to create the disparate continents we know today.”


Grid Acquisition

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Grid computing technology provider Kontiki purchased by Verisign to power Verisign’s entry into entertainment video delivery. Seems funny to me that a premier security company does not have all the business it can handle in homeland security. Further, like the West Corp. acquisition of Intrado, I’m not sure Verisign is a company with an appreciation of the revolutionary nature of the core competence of the business they are acquiring. But I guess in both cases, the value is evident, if maybe a little subconscious.

“VeriSign, a provider of network infrastructure services, said on Monday that it will pay $62 million to acquire Kontiki, a Silicon Valley-based provider of managed peer delivery systems for video, software and digital content. VeriSign said that Kontiki’s system will form the cornerstone of its platform to enable the delivery of rich media, with far greater efficiency and lower costs than traditional media distribution services.”



How Do You Get to Be a Professional Visionary??

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Inventor and, well, “visionary” Ray Kurzweil offers some predictions that are interesting in the context of a developing noosphere. Putting near term dates on things is a good marketing move, but don’t put money on ’em.

“Computer visionary Ray Kurzweil examined the effects of accelerating growth of technologies on the present and future of human technological innovation during a speech at the ninth annual CRN Industry Hall of Fame, held Tuesday in Santa Clara, Calif…By 2010, Kurzweil said, computers will begin to disappear, instead becoming embedded in the environment and into materials such as clothing and eyeglasses. Images will be written directly on human retinas, said Kurzweil, adding that the military uses this technology today in modeling virtual reality environments. “Search engines of the near future won’t wait to be asked for information,” he said.

“2029 is where technology really gets interesting because we’ll have had all of this exponential growth taking place over the next 25 years,” said Kurzweil. By this time, computation will move from the device and become Web-centric. “There is going to be a worldwide mesh consisting of tiny devices, nodes in clothing and in the environment, each sending and receiving their own messages, as well as passing on other peoples’ messages,” Kurzweil said. Organization on the massive worldwide mesh will be much like that of the traditional Internet, in terms of being self-organizing and every device being a node, he added.


The Grid Contemplates Itself

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Grid computing (interconnected computer processing, thinking if you will, directed at a common goal) continues to grow. The technology is proving out, and large scale projects appear to be the classic “benefit to mankind” applications. Of course, the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security can probably afford all the CPUs they need.

“World Community Grid’s mission is to create the largest public computing grid benefiting humanity.” Projects include the Human Proteome Project, mapping the proteins made from the genes mapped by the Human Genome Project. Partners donating computing resources include IBM and the Semiconductor Industry Association.


Grid.org is a single destination site for large-scale, non-profit research projects of global significance.


This last one is interestingly self-reflexive, the Internet studying itself. Self-consciousness is said to be the defining characteristic of the human.

“DIMES is a distributed scientific research project, aimed to study the structure and topology of the Internet, with the help of a volunteer community (similar in spirit to projects such as SETI@Home). The DIMES project is part of EVERGROW – a research consortium comprising more then 20 universities and research institutes from various countries. The DIMES headquarters are situated in Tel-Aviv University ‘s EE-Systems department.”



Wholeness and Virtual Communities

I love the fact that there is now such a thing as “Christian content partners”. Praise Jesus, babe.

“FaithMobile, a cellular service for Christians in the US and the UK, has been launched by Good News Holdings LLC and The Barna Group. The service provides faith-based content created specifically for cellular phones including Bible verses, ringtones, and inspirational audio and video mobisodes.”


The Dalai Lama on Neuroscience

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

I guess I’m getting philosophical at this time of year. Here’s a recent speech by the Dalai Lama to the Society of Neuroscience. Buddhism is one of the models of wholeness that I point to in my book, and for which I’m seeking empirical evidence in the world of technology.

“…in the Buddhist investigation of reality, at least in principle, empirical evidence should triumph over scriptural authority, no matter how deeply venerated a scripture may be…Since the primary motive underlying the Buddhist investigation of reality is the fundamental quest for overcoming suffering and perfecting the human condition, the primary orientation of the Buddhist investigative tradition has been toward understanding the human mind and its various functions.

… Whatever the truth about the final nature of consciousness – whether or not it is ultimately reducible to physical processes – I believe there can be shared understanding of the experiential facts of the various aspects of our perceptions, thoughts and emotions.

…If it turns out, as the Buddhist tradition implies, that mental practice can effect observable synaptic and neural changes in the brain, this could have far-reaching implications. The repercussions of such research will not be confined simply to expanding our knowledge of the human mind; but, perhaps more importantly, they could have great significance for our understanding of education and mental health. Similarly, if, as the Buddhist tradition claims, the deliberate cultivation of compassion can lead to a radical shift in the individual’s outlook, leading to greater empathy toward others, this could have far-reaching implications for society at large.

…Rather, I am speaking of what I call “secular ethics” that embrace the key ethical principles, such as compassion, tolerance, a sense of caring, consideration of others, and the responsible use of knowledge and power – principles that transcend the barriers between religious believers and non-believers, and followers of this religion or that religion. I personally like to imagine all human activities, including science, as individual fingers of a palm. So long as each of these fingers is connected with the palm of basic human empathy and altruism, they will continue to serve the well-being of humanity. We are living in truly one world.”


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The Intangible Neurosphere

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Here’s another effort toward building a Neurosphere without benefit of wires. These are wonderful thoughts, but I’m trying to track in this web site trends that are a little more, uh, concrete. But maybe I’m just not sensitive enough – just because I can’t perceive it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

“Dear Don, Thank you for taking part in the IONS Monthly Intention Program. You make a difference by setting these intentions for world change on the first of each month. By being a part of this program, you are connecting with a group of powerful people who are all generating strong intentions.

December Inspiration: In many traditions and cultures, the darkest time of year is the time for drawing inward towards family and celebrating the light in its many manifestations –with decorative lights, fires, and celebrations of holy days. Light is often used as a metaphor for consciousness itself. So one way to approach December (at least in the northern hemisphere) is as a time to re-ignite our own consciousness and reconnect with whatever we hold sacred. This re-connection with light runs throughout much of the fanfare, ritual, parties, and present-giving of this time of year. All can be seen as ways to re-activate our conscious nature, celebrate our connection with others, and revitalize our being after an active year of work in the world.”