An Embarassment of Miscellany

I must warn you that the following is a piecemeal collection of mentions I’ve made in another, less structured journal. I’ll be writing of one of my new favourite books tomorrow and hopefully tackling a backlog of album recommendations.

There’s a new social networking site around that some of you may wish to join. It’s called WAYN or Where Are You Now? and has a focus on travel (you can set up travel itinerary and see friends and other people in your current location). You can see my profile here.

Vacuuming the Lungs is a short but useful article on “how to breathe deeply when you’re nervous.” There’s a lot of benefit to breathing deeply, so it certainly can be helpful to know how to do so when one feels unable to.

Here is one of those “if it doesn’t kill you it’ll make you stronger” cases, a look at how resistance to the Great Plague could lead to a major advance in the battle against AIDS.

It appears that around 10% of people of European ancestry are unable to be infected by HIV. These individuals carry a genetic mutation that blocks the virus from entering cells. It appears that the source of this mutation was the Great Plague of the middle ages, which was not the bacterial bubonic plague, but was instead “a continuing series of epidemics of a lethal, viral, haemorrhagic fever that used the CCR5 as an entry port into the immune system.”
It remains to be seen whether this will assist with efforts to create an anti-HIV vaccine.
Via World Changing.

Here’s hoping that bit of evolution can lead to a wider immunity or cure.

I came across the following story unattributed. Does anyone know where it might have originated?

A grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt.
He said, “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart.
One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one.
The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.”
The grandson asked him, “Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?”
The grandfather answered, “The one I feed.”

There’s much truth in that story. We live by the aspects of ourselves that we cultivate (feed, in this case). Compassion is a responsibility and the driving force for all good actions. As the Dalai Lama has said,

“Your cultivation of love and great compassion should not be left in a state of mere imagination or wish alone; rather, a sense of responsibility, a genuine intention to engage in the task of relieving sentient beings of their sufferings and providing them with happiness, should be developed. It is important for a practitioner to work for and take upon himself or herself the responsibility of fulfilling this intention. The stronger your cultivation of compassion is, the more committed you will feel to taking this responsibility.”

In a closed journal I keep over at LiveJournal I took part in a meme that had my friends ask questions of me without having their identities revealed. I thought I’d share some answers as part of a dose of miscellany and perhaps give another glimpse into who I am.

My psychological low point is hard to pinpoint but it was no doubt between the start of my second year of university, as I was realizing the mistake I was making by taking a degree I had no passion for, and the following year, as I struggled to redirect my life and come to terms with the end of a romance. I entered into several depressions during that time that were easily lowest points for me psychologically. Thankfully, things have been improving in the time since. With some minor bumps it’s been up-and-up.

I was asked who I would date, given the choice of “any celebrity or common person on the entire face of this earth.” You know, I couldn’t imagine dating a celebrity. I’ve developed a philosophy of only being romantically involved with someone I already have a strong friendship with, so I can’t see myself with someone I don’t know well, and celebrities would fall into that category.
As for “common people,” I’m going to be likewise boring and philosphical. There are a few people I treasure the company of and find physically attractive that I’d be happy to be with, but without them having a similar interest in my I’d not want to date them. I don’t think there’s anyone out there among my closest friends who finds me attractive in that way so I wouldn’t impose anything.
My, what a gloomy and boring answer. Sorry for not giving you any juicy secrets.

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