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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Toxic air blocks out the sun in Beijing

Toxic air blocks out the sun in Beijing

Monitors at the United States Embassy in the suburb of Liangmaqiao, in Beijing's inner east, said the concentration of airborne PM 2.5 particulates reached 886 micrograms per cubic metre at 8pm on Saturday night, believed to be the highest since it began measuring in 2008. 

"I can tell you the machine is working properly," confirmed US Embassy spokesman Nolan Backhouse. 

A concentration measure of 500 corresponds with an Air Quality Index of 500
Bushfire-strength
An AQI reading above 300 is classed as "hazardous", according to US environmental standards, but the AQI does not compute concentrations above 500, which in developed countries is normally associated with bushfires.

PM 2.5 particulates, 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller, are considered the most harmful to health because they can penetrate easily into human tissue.

Last month a Lancet study said a record 3.2m people died worldwide from air pollution in 2010, four times the number in 1990, with 1.2 million of those deaths in East Asia including China.

This ranked pollution for the first time in the world's top 10 list of killer diseases, mostly because of vehicle exhaust.

The US Embassy pollution monitor is published on a Twitter feed, which is blocked by censors in China, but which is picked up and placed on several popular Chinese websites and iPhone applications.

Beijing temporarily improved its air quality for the 2008 Olympics including by improving vehicle emissions standards, banning coal stoves and shifting heavy industry to poorer parts of the country. 

Much of those gains appear to have been offset by an explosion in the numbers of cars on the roads.

Most major cities were required to report standardised PM 2.5 readings from January 1.

Previously the Chinese Government measured but refused to release the data, publishing only the larger and less dangerous PM 10.

Concentrations of PM 2.5 particulates at an official monitoring station at Xizhimen, in Beijing's inner west, hit a staggering 993 at 7pm Saturday, according to an online report by the Beijing News,.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

State Suspends Handgun Carry Permit Of Tactical Response CEO: said he would "start killing people" should President Obama take executive action on gun control.

5 Ways To Turn Fear Into Fuel

5 Ways To Turn Fear Into Fuel

 
Uncertainty. It’s a terrifying word.
Living with it, dangling over your head like the sword of Damocles, day in day out, is enough to send anyone spiraling into a state of anxiety, fear and paralysis.
Like it or not, though, uncertainty is the new normal. We live in a time where the world is in a state of constant, long-term flux. And, that’s not all. If you want to spend your time on the planet not just getting-by, but consistently creating art, experiences, businesses and lives that truly matter, you’ll need to proactively seek out, invite and even deliberately amplify uncertainty. Because the other side of uncertainty is opportunity.
Nothing great was ever created by waiting around for someone to tell you it’s all going to be okay or for perfect information to drop from the sky. Doesn’t happen that way. Great work requires you to act in the face of uncertainty, to live in the question long enough for your true potential to emerge. There is no alternative.

When you find the strength to act in the face of uncertainty, you till the soil of genius.
Problem is, that kills most people. It leads to unease, anxiety, fear and doubt on a level that snuffs out most genuinely meaningful and potentially revolutionary endeavors before they even see the light of day. Not because they wouldn’t have succeeded, but because you never equipped yourself to handle and even harness the emotional energy of the journey.
But, what if it didn’t have to be that way?
What if there was a way to turn the fear, anxiety and self-doubt that rides along with acting in the face of uncertainty–the head-to-toe butterflies–into fuel for brilliance?
Turns out, there is. Your ability to lean into the unknown isn’t so much about luck or genetics, rather it’s something entirely trainable. I’ve spent the past few years interviewing world-class creators across a wide range of fields and pouring over research that spans neuroscience, decision-theory, psychology, creativity and business.
Through this work, a collection of patterns, practices and strategies have emerged that not only turbocharge insight, creativity, innovation and problem-solving, but also help ameliorate so much of the suffering so often associated with the pursuit of any creative quest.
Here are 5 starter-strategies to help get you going:
1. Reframe.
We tell ourselves stories all day long. I’m skinny. I’m fat. I’m talented. I’m stupid. This is genius. This is awful. I will succeed. I will fail. I’m terrified and anxious. I’m confident and proactive. It turns out, the storylines we create around a particular circumstance are far more determinative of success than the circumstance itself. They affect not only our willingness to act, but the quality of our ideas and solutions.
If you create a story that empowers action and innovation, that’s great news. Unfortunately, our brains have a strong bias toward negativity, leading most of us to create stories around circumstances that require action in the face of uncertainty that are more likely to paralyze and stunt creativity than fuel action.
Reframing is a process that asks you to suspend negative storylines, explore if the story you’re telling is the only one and, if not (which is inevitably the case), construct or frame a new storyline that empowers you to experience an uncertain circumstance not as a prime for failure and inaction, but as a signpost for meaning and opportunity.
For example, if you’re disabling storyline is around the risk of failure, instead of just asking “what if I fail?” and creating a doomsday scenario, you also ask “how will I recover, what if I do nothing and what if I succeed?” Then build new stories around those questions.
2. Practice Mindfulness.
Reframing is an immensely powerful tool in the quest to lean into the unknown. But it also requires a certain equanimity; the ability to pull back and see what’s really going on, re-center, then breath into that uncomfortable place long enough for amazing things to bubble up. Over time, a daily mindfulness practice goes a long way toward equipping you to do just that.
Plus, it cultivates the sense of persistent grounding that makes living and acting in a world where there is no new normal far more enjoyable. And it trains you in the practice of dropping thoughts, among those, destructive, limiting-beliefs.
3. Exercise Your Brain.
We’ve all seen the research on exercise and health, weight loss and disease prevention. But, did you know that certain approaches to exercise also have a profound effect on your brain?
Daily cardiovascular exercise, for example, especially with high-intensity bursts mixed in can improve mood, executive function, decision-making and creativity and decrease anxiety and fear. The latest research even reveals the possibility that exercise can grow new brains cells, something that until only a few years ago, was thought to be impossible. It’s also strongly correlated with decreases in anxiety and increases in mood, which are directly connected to improved creativity and problem-solving.
4. Singletask.
Multitasking is out. Turns out this badge of honor from the ’90s is more fiction than fact. Our brains don’t multitask, they just rapidly switch between tasks, sometimes fast enough for us to believe we’re doing many things at once. Problem is, every time we switch, there is a “ramping cost” in your brain, it takes anywhere from a few second to 15 minutes for your brain to fully re-engage. This makes you feel insanely busy, but simultaneously craters productivity, creativity and increases feelings of anxiety and stress.
Multitasking also requires you to hold a lot of information in your working memory, which is controlled by a part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex (PFC). But the PFC is also responsible for will-power, and for keeping fear and anxiety in check. Multitasking increases the “cognitive load” on the PFC, overwhelming it and effectively killing it’s ability to keep fear, anxiety and the taunt of distraction at bay.
Simple solution–just say no. Do one thing at a time in intense, short bursts.
5. Get Lean.
Instead of creating in a vacuum, explore the possibility of bringing a “lean” or “agile” approach to your creative process. Focus on maximum learning, create the simplest version of your idea possible, then bring a select group of those who’d potentially enjoy it into the process earlier in name of soliciting and integrating input into the next iteration. This not only minimizes waste, it changes the psychology of creation by adding more certainty earlier in the game and encouraging consistent, incremental action.
These five strategies and practices can change the way you experience the creative process in a profound way. They’ll not only allow you to tap a reservoir of previously hidden creativity, they’ll also allow you to experience any creative endeavor with a far deeper sense of equanimity and joy.

FUNNY Whitehouse Response: construction of a Death Star by 2016

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Calisthenics Military Workout

“Of all the tasks which are set before man in life, the education and management of his character is the most important"

“Of all the tasks which are set before man in life, the education and management of his character is the most important, and, in order that it should be successfully pursued, it is necessary that he should make a calm and careful survey of his own tendencies, unblinded either by the self-deception which conceals errors and magnifies excellences, or by the indiscriminate pessimism which refuses to recognize his powers for good. He must avoid the fatalism which would persuade him that he has no power over his nature, and he must also clearly recognize that this power is not unlimited.”

-The Map of Life, William Edward Hartpole Lecky

You?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013