Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kompletely Kabbalist: Hell just froze over Siberian Rivers

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need

Trans-Siberian Railway: a view from Moscow to Vladivostok – a photo essay Guardian 

The Young Ballerino Dancing His Way From The Slums To The Stage

Joel Kioko “grew up in Nairobi’s Kuwinda slum and took his first dance class five years ago in a public school classroom, with bare walls, no barre and no mirror, the desks and chairs pushed outside.”

Quick, Where’s The World’s Oldest University? (Not Where You Probably Think It Is)

No, it’s not in Paris or Bologna; it’s not even in Europe. Or Asia, for that matter. What’s more, this university was founded, almost 1,200 years ago, by a woman
Although many people would imagine that the oldest university in the world is in Europe or China, it’s not. The oldest standing university on Earth is in Morocco. Founded in 859 AD, Al-Qarawiyyin is recognized by UNESCO and the Guinness World Records as the oldest existing, continuously operating university, as well as the first institution to issue educational degrees. The University of Al-Qarawiyyin is located in the city of Fes, once a leading spiritual and educational center of the Muslim world. A fact that makes Al-Qarawiyyin all the more unique is that it was founded by a woman, Fatima al-Fihri, a young princess from Tunisia. 

What Is The Speed Of Human Thought?

“Human thought takes time to form, and so the ‘right now’ that we’re experiencing inside our skulls is always a little later than what’s going on in the outside world. .l. So, in a sense, the future has already happened – we’re just not aware of it yet. To make things even more complicated, the different senses operate at different speeds.”

“Perhaps your fear in passing judgment on me is greater than mine in receiving it.”
What 'Cosmos' Got Wrong About Giordano Bruno, the Heretic Scientist 

Israeli Ambassador Mocks ‘Expert at Fiction’ Ben Rhodes

Giant cell blob can learn and teach, study shows Science Daily

Charles Dickens on Seeing the Poor Conversable Economist

A Season of Consequences The Archdruid Report

5 Ways the Soviet Union Could Have Won the Cold War (Or at Least Survived It) National Interest 

Open Knowledge International Blog: “We are pleased to announce a new research series investigating how citizens and civil society create data to drive sustainable development. The series follows on from earlier papers on Democratising The Data Revolution and how citizen-generated data can change what public institutions measure. The first report “Making Citizen-Generated Data Work” asks what makes citizens and others want to produce and use citizen-generated data. It was written by myselfShazade Jameson, and Eko Prasetyo. The report demonstrates that citizen-generated data projects are rarely the work of individual citizens. Instead, they often depend on partnerships to thrive and are supported by civil society organisations, community-based organisations, governments, or business. These partners play a necessary role to provide resources, support, and knowledge to citizens. In return, they can harness data created by citizens to support their own mission. Thus, citizens and their partners often gain mutual benefits from citizen-generated data. provides a public HTTP API for software developers to search the geolocation of IP addresses. It uses a database of IP addresses that are associated to cities along with other relevant information like time zone, latitude and longitude. You’re allowed up to 10,000 queries per hour by default. Once this limit is reached, all of your requests will result in HTTP 403, forbidden, until your quota is cleared. The freegeoip web server is free and open source so if the public service limit is a problem for you, download it and run your own instance.”

An Old Man 
At the noisy end of the café, head bent
over the table, an old man sits alone,
a newspaper in front of him.

And in the miserable banality of old age
he thinks how little he enjoyed the years
when he had strength, eloquence, and looks.

He knows he’s aged a lot: he sees it, feels it.
Yet it seems he was young just yesterday.
So brief an interval, so very brief.

And he thinks of Prudence, how it fooled him,
how he always believed—what madness—
that cheat who said: “Tomorrow. You have plenty of time.”

He remembers impulses bridled, the joy
he sacrificed. Every chance he lost
now mocks his senseless caution.

But so much thinking, so much remembering
makes the old man dizzy. He falls asleep,
his head resting on the café table.

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard
bighorn_sheep_300 Morning Sea
Here let me stop.  Let me too look at Nature for a while.
The morning sea and cloudless sky
a brilliant blue, the yellow shore; all
beautiful and grand in the light.

Here let me stop.  Let me fool myself: that these are what I see
(I really saw them for a moment when I first stopped)
instead of seeing, even here, my fantasies,
my recollections, the ikons of pleasure.
Translated by Daniel Mendelsohn

"Kabbalah gets dismissed as a fad—with its chic red string bracelets, “blessed” water, and star convert Madonna—but the practice has changed some of Hollywood’s biggest egos into, well, nicer people. The problem lies at the rapidly expanding Kabbalah Centre, whose leaders seem to be turning faith into a business."

In his book Becoming Like God, Michael Berg spells it out in giant pink capitals: “IT IS NOW POSSIBLE FOR LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE TO ESCAPE THE PRISON OF PAIN, SUFFERING, AND DEATH.”
The real secret of a happy and fulfilled life, revealed by renowned Kabbalist Michael Berg, author of the acclaimed and bestselling book, The Way. Containing a simple truth, simply explained through moving tales, this book cuts across religions and has a powerful and inspirational message -for the whole of humanity. Like a jewel that has been painstakingly cut and polished, The Secret reveals life's essence in its most concise and powerful form. It is a saying that Berg's teacher, the late Rav Ashlag, learned from a mysterious stranger who became his own teacher, years ago in Jerusalem:
"The only way to achieve true joy and fulfilment is by becoming a being of sharing." Our destiny is to experience joy, not suffering, if we know how to connect with the Secret. Michael Berg shows us how our everyday understanding of our purpose in the world is literally backwards. Whenever there is pain in our lives - indeed, whenever there is anything less than complete joy and fulfilment - this basic misunderstanding is the reason. The strength and significance of this simple truth unfolds through the sheer inspirational power of the stories and insights from the greatest sages of Kabbala. The Secret is a guidebook for applying the principles of Jewish mysticism to everyday life with a universal truth, whatever your religion.
New translation of Jewish mystical text for a new audience

Kabbalah, which means “to receive,” traces its roots to medieval Provence and Spain. In those days, it existed on the far fringes of Jewish mysticism, which, in its broadest strokes, was about seeking a closer, more immediate relationship with God, as opposed to the traditional, legalistic approach of Orthodox Judaism. The aim of Kabbalah was to explain no less than the inner workings of the soul and the divine world, and to end humanity’s separation from God, which occurred at the moment of creation. Deeply complex, dangerous even, Kabbalah was reserved for married Orthodox Jewish men over 40. As a prerequisite, they had to have mastered the entire rabbinic literature. Once they joined the ranks, they routinely fasted and rolled around naked in the snow in the name of self-abnegation before God. “It was esotericism par excellence,” says Allan Nadler, director of the Jewish Studies program at Drew University, in Madison, New Jersey. “It was the equivalent of a truly elite monastery somewhere in the middle of nowhere.”