TED Talks you should watch, second edition

A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter,” by Mark Bezos (4 minutes)

Blue is a river” by Natalie MacMaster and Thomas Dolby (5 minutes)

Weekly photo 10

Week 10, March 25, 2011:

Village church in India, 12/2009

Gone for a bit

I’m leaving in a couple days for a volunteer trip in India. It’s the second time I’m going, and I’m muy excited. I’ve been quite busy so I’ve only scheduled a couple posts to appear while I’m gone, but I’ll post about it when I get back.

TED videos you should watch, first edition

The sound the universe makes” by Janna Levin.

If I should have a daughter” by Sara Kay.

Kenichi Ebina’s magic moves.”
MacMaster and Leahy play the fiddle.”

Weekly photo 9

Week 9, March 19, 2011:

Fushimi Inari Temple complex, Kyoto, Japan, 3/2010

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

(Warning: this post is not PC related, and is mushy-feelings and stuff, and probably a bit melodramatic. Sorry.)

I want to talk about fear, because just the word makes me cringe a little. Fear is so incredibly powerful. Of course, we all know that. But with the recent events here in Japan, I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

The power it has over us is stronger than just about any other feeling. Fear can keep us from doing something; make us do things we don’t want to do; lead us to decisions we know are wrong; even cause us to hurt others. We feel powerless.

The earthquake that rocked Japan and the ensuing tsunami that engulfed it have killed thousands, and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Now, the nuclear reactors are barely on the edge of control. I’m on the other side of the country. I felt a couple minutes of swaying, then went back to my life. I didn’t even realize how bad it was until over three hours later. That scares me. I didn’t even try to find out if the quake was worse elsewhere. Can I trust myself to ensure my own safety if it doesn’t even occur to me to get information?

I’ve been lucky to live a life relatively free from fear. I can count on one hand the number of times I thought my safety might be in danger and I didn’t have much control. It’s impossible for me to truly understand the fear, panic, and suffering people on the east coast are dealing with.

And it makes me wonder, what would I do? How would I react? My instinct says I’d stay, knowing that things would get better soon. But how can I really know? I think it’s mostly true that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. My fear, I suppose, is losing control – my mind not doing what it needs to take care of me, and the situation then slipping beyond my control. I’m more afraid of that than an earthquake or tsunami, when the tsunami is really where my fear should center. But I can’t help it.

Sorry, end of my self-serving silliness.

Japan – how you can help

If you’re in Japan, there are donation collections happening all over the place – Hearts supermarket is accepting things, a lot of community centers are accepting goods and money, combinis are accepting donations, Second Harvest Japan is now accepting boxes, etc. As soon as trucks can get into the area, food, blankets, toiletries, etc will be delivered – right now transportation is pretty limited, but it will be getting better soon as they repair the infrastructure.

Also, anyone in Japan please try to keep travel (especially in the east) to a minimum, and limit your electricity consumption to help ease the loss of those reactors. There are daily blackouts scheduled for the next two months in a large portion of eastern Japan.

Most of you, though, are not here. So if you want to do something, try donating to the Red Cross’ relief fund.

Please keep the people in the Tohoku region and surrounding areas in your thoughts!