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Startup Geometry Podcast
71 minutes | 3 years ago
EP 043 Vinay Gupta on Survival and Enlightenment
I am, by temperament and experience, more sanguine about all of this than he is. I tend to think things will eventually work themselves out over time. My enlightenment experiences have been mild and pleasant; if mine had been as harrowing as his, I would probably feel as he does. As a technical note, there were some sound issues on our Transatlantic Skype call, which occasionally made it sound as though one of us was conducting the call while having a bath or as if we had ghost hunter-style EVPs from beyond the grave on the line. I apologize for these and hope they do not interfere with your listening enjoyment. Photo: Robin Hood Co-op Photo: Robin Grane-McCalla Show Notes and Links Vinay Gupta @leashless on twitter Mattereum Internet of Agreements The Gupta State Failure Management Archive Hexayurt re.silience Paul Wilson, The Calm Technique Ethereum Scott Nelson, Sweetbridge Healing Earth Resources Rocky Mountain Institute BKS Iyengar, Light on Yoga Nath tradition Gurkhas Yogiraj Gurunath Siddanath
70 minutes | 3 years ago
EP 42 Camelia Elias on Clear Sight and Clean Cuts
Camelia Elias holds a PhD and DPhil and spent the last twenty years as a professor of literature, most recently at Roskilde University in Denmark. Recently, she escaped academia to start an online school, Aradia Academy, where she teaches cartomancy (card reading); that is, how to read—yourself, someone else, books, pictures, films, the situation, the problem, or anything else—without belief, emotion, preconceptions or other obscurations getting in the way. She recently said, "Why is reading cards fascinating? Because their visual language allows us to bypass everything we know or think we know." Boiling our conversation down to the keywords, we talk about: interesting—curiosity—dullness—belief—vastness—strategy—one cut—the present circumstances—"and yet"—concrete—psychomagic—Jodorowsky—Freud—Boom! (L to R) Dr. Camelia Elias, Freya
60 minutes | 3 years ago
EP 041 Gary Lachman on the Lost Knowledge of the Imagination
Today, I talk with Gary Lachman about his latest book, The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination. We discuss the need to balance the analytic "survival mode" consciousness of the external world with an older way of thinking that prioritizes the inner landscape and the imagination. We also discuss the necessity of creative outlets to regulate how much of the sensory world we take in and process, to open the valve all the way for peak experience and dial it down so we remember to do the dishes. I spend a good bit of the interview groping toward, but never reaching, the concept of a gestalt as a shorthand mental representation of external or internal objects. Some events do not pack down well to a gestalt representation, while others form new gestalts on close examination. This process of gestalt analysis and synthesis runs behind the conversation we have here. Gary Lachman is the author of twenty-one books on topics ranging from the evolution of consciousness to literary suicides, popular culture and the history of the occult. He has written a rock and roll memoir of the 1970s, biographies of Aleister Crowley, Rudolf Steiner, C. G. Jung, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Emanuel Swedenborg, P. D. Ouspensky, and Colin Wilson, histories of Hermeticism and the Western Inner Tradition, studies in existentialism and the philosophy of consciousness, and about the influence of esotericism on politics and society. He writes for several journals in the UK, US, and Europe, including Fortean Times, Quest, Strange Attractor, Fenris Wolf, and his work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Times Educational Supplement, Guardian, Independent on Sunday, Sunday Times, Mojo, Gnosis and other publications. He lectures regularly in the UK, US, and Europe, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. He has appeared in several film and television documentaries and on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and is on the adjunct faculty in Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Before becoming a full-time writer Lachman studied philosophy, managed a new age bookshop, taught English Literature, and was a Science Writer for UCLA. He was a founding member of the pop group Blondie and in 2006 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lachman was born in New Jersey, but since 1996 has lived in London, UK. I apologize for the occasional gaps in sound quality. These newfangled trans-Atlantic fiber-optic cables are sometimes troublesome. Or perhaps Mercury is in retrograde.
47 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 040 Jason Fagone on Elizabeth Smith Friedman, Codebreaker
I used to see some amazing obituaries, often in British newspapers, detailing a remarkable life lived by someone who had worked undercover during WWII, escaped from Nazis, and gone on to live to a great old age. Frequently, these people were forgotten or never spoke of their adventures. Elizabeth Smith Friedman, the subject of Jason Fagone's new biography, The Woman Who Smashed Codes, is one of those rare people, though her story begins with a search for the true author of Shakespeare, runs through two world wars, includes a stint fighting gangsters and rumrunners (and the jealousy of J. Edgar Hoover) and the foundation of the NSA, and ends with more Shakespeare. It sounds like a whole series of detective novels rolled into one, yet Elizabeth was a real person with an amazing story.
61 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 039 Daniel Ingram on Meditative States, Paths, and Ethical Living
Daniel Ingram has a successful career as an ER doctor, but he's best known on the Internet for being a meditator and meditation teacher. He's the author of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha: an Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book, which I first read about over on Scott Alexander's blog Slate Star Codex here and here. Daniel made some waves in the dharma community by claiming to have attained enlightenment as an arahat. On today's podcast, we talk about the different ways to assess that claim, what states and insights may occur on the way to enlightenment, and what to do if you get yourself into a spiritual crisis of one sort or another. We also talk about some of my meditative experiences and how to use a candle flame as a focus for meditative practice.
64 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 038 Lynne Kelly on The Memory Code
Lynne Kelly is a teacher, science writer and anthropologist of oral and pre-literate cultures. Her most recent book is The Memory Code, which deals with the use of memory techniques including rituals, songs, dances, portable devices, and large-scale geographic features and built structures as memory aids. She has conducted a series of experiments to replicate memory techniques from the classical memory palace to handheld memory devices such as the Lukasa to rituals and storytelling. Today, we talk about how several early and modern cultures have used these memory techniques, why Stonehenge and Chaco Canyon may have been used as memory palaces, and why they were almost certainly centers for an oral culture's knowledge economy. As with our other conversations with anthropologists, it's helpful to remember the following guidelines: Do not confuse industrial technological advancement with intelligence. "Primitive" people, whether distant from you in space or time, were and are at least as smart as you. The less technology they had at hand, the more this is true. Fools die when times are hard, or as Lynne Kelly's colleague Nungarrayi said to her, "The elders are pragmatic old buggers. If they weren't, we wouldn't have survived." Most often, they are observationally correct even when they are theoretically wrong. We can identify the exact species of animals in cave paintings despite the fact that the artist didn't have a grip on modern biology. Just as any sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic, so does any technology sufficiently different from our own. People of almost all cultures have been given to humor, hoaxes, tall tales, and flimflammery. Sometimes, when they tell you (or each other) something, they're just having a laugh. Sometimes, they're both having a laugh and expressing something serious. Show notes and links may be found at: http://bottlerocketscience.blogspot.com/2017/09/ep-038-lynne-kelly-on-memory-code.html
2 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 037 Phil Stutz and Barry Michels Return to Talk about Coming Alive
This is an unpodcast episode, consisting of a transcript only. Read the full interview over at bottlerocketscience.net. Today on Startup Geometry, we're talking with Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, authors of the new book Coming Alive. Since we last talked to them, they've been keeping busy with their highly successful psychotherapy practices, where much of their clientele consists of Hollywood creative professionals; running multiday retreats and seminars; and writing their second book, which deals with Part X, the self-sabotaging part of ourselves, the devil inside. When we're able to overcome Part X, we become more engaged with life, more creative, and happier. As one might expect with a discussion about inner sabotage, we experienced technical difficulties with the audio version of this interview. We were able to recover almost all of the contents of the interview in the print version below. Special thanks go out to the members of The Tools Facebook Group, who asked some amazing questions about how the Tools can be used in very particular and challenging situations. Continue reading.
47 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 036 Eric Obenauf of Two Dollar Radio on Indy Publishing
Eric Obenauf founded Two Dollar Radio to publish daring, experimental fiction that wouldn't otherwise find its audience. On this episode, we talk about how indy and small press publishing works, the importance of having your own taste, and the art of branching out (Two Dollar Radio now makes films, and they're opening their new Headquarters store to be a hub for literature in the city and a cool place to hang out.
37 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 035 Stephen Buranyi on Science Culture, Bad Data and Scientific Publishing
Stephen Buranyi writes about science and the socioeconomic structure of the scientific research system in place today. We talk about the joys and sorrows of being a scientist who has escaped the academy, how to pitch ideas for articles for general audience news publications, intentional and unintentional bad data, and the incentive structures surrounding scientific publication. My apologies for the delay effect on Stephen's end of the conversation. I like to think that it's because we were using Mr. Bell's original transatlantic cable. Show Notes and Links Stephen on Twitter Stephen at The Guardian "The High Tech War on Science Fraud""Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?" Podcasts associated with both of these articles are available through The Guardian site. The Metaresearch Center at Tillburg University
47 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 034 Jon Taplin on Tech Monopolies and the Creative Economy
Jonathan Taplin is Director Emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. he was a Professor at the USC Annenberg School from 2003-2016. Taplin's areas of specialization are in international communication management and the field of digital media entertainment. Taplin began his entertainment career in 1969 as Tour Manager for Bob Dylan and The Band. In 1973 he produced Martin Scorsese's first feature film, Mean Streets, which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival. Between 1974 and 1996, Taplin produced 26 hours of television documentaries (including The Prize and Cadillac Desert for PBS) and 12 feature films including The Last Waltz, Until The End of the World, Under Fire and To Die For. His films were nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe awards and chosen for The Cannes Film Festival five times. (via jontaplin.com) Today, Jon talks about his new book, Move Fast and Break Things: How Google, Facebook and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy. It tells the story of how the Internet took a wrong turn from its early days as a source for innovation and wealth for individual creators and entrepreneurs, becoming a highly centralized set of monopolies and oligopolies that suck $50 billion a year in income away from content creators. This has hollowed out whole industries, leaving both producers and consumers less well off both economically and artistically. We discuss some of the history of the Net that led to this point, and some of the possible remedies for the problems we face.
77 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 033 Shava Nerad returns to talk politics
Public Service Announcement: This week, the Senate released their version of the AHCA, which would cause 25 million people to lose their health insurance. Access to individual health insurance markets enables entrepreneurs, among others, to take the risk of leaving full time jobs with large corporations to build companies of their own. Without full funding for Medicaid, the cost of delivering healthcare to everyone rises. Please contact your Senators and representatives to tell them your position on this important issue. Today on the podcast, Shava Nerad returns to talk about the ins and outs of political activism in the 21st century, how to make an impact as a technologically savvy organizer, and what you need to learn to be an effective citizen. Previously, Shava visited us to talk about her career as the founding Executive Director of the Tor Project and privacy activist.
74 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 032 Frederick Schilling on Chocolate and Growing Sustainable Businesses
Frederick Schilling loves chocolate. He is the founder of Dagoba Chocolate, AMMA Chocolate and Big Tree Farms. He's made a career out of launching products that are not only delicious and luxurious, but also environmentally and socially responsible. When he founded Dagoba, he launched the organic chocolate category. When he founded Big Tree Farms and AMMA Chocolate, he changed the lives of farmers on two continents. Today, we talk about: How he got interested in chocolate while a religion major at Ohio Wesleyan University. His first big breaks in product development, distribution, suppliers and media. Why cash and people are the scarce resources needed by any founder. Visionary experiences with the chocolate goddess. (The plants have an agenda, as Michael Pollan and Gordon White like to say.) Terroir of chocolate. Subtypes of cacao plants. Impact of witch's broom disease on the chocolate industry in Brazil. (see also the phylloxera pandemic that hit the wine industry) Breeds of cacao trees: Criollo, Forestro, Trinitario. How cacao spread with colonization. Coconut nectar/coconut sugar. How coconut sugar improves the lives of coconut farmers. Fair trade and organic designations as an essential business advantage.
58 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 031 Sid Kemp on Preparing for Success & Failure
Sid Kemp is a coach, consultant and the author of ten books on business success published by McGraw-Hill and Entrepreneur Press. Until a decade ago, Sid worked with top Fortune 500 companies, government agencies like the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and think tanks such as McKinsey Consulting and Deloitte Touche. Then he took their best practices and wrote the best seller, Entpreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to Project Management for Small Business. Today, we talk about the ins and outs of the consulting business, working with the inner and outer goals of the client, and planning for the equally challenging crises of wild success and disaster.
74 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 030 Ben Joffe on Tibetan Ngakpa, Tantra and Medicine
Ben Joffe is a scholar of Vajrayana Buddhism, currently finishing his PhD at the University of Colorado, Boulder. On this episode, we talk about his first career as a teenaged tarot reader, the question of how Vajrayana and tantra have been impacted by the Tibetan diaspora and encounter with the global monoculture, the role of the ngakpa (non-celibate yogi), and Ben's translation of Dr. Nida Chenagtsang's books on traditional Tibetan medicine. We experienced some technical difficulties during the recording of this episode. While the quality of the sound may be poor in some places, it is more than compensated for by the high quality of the guest.
59 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 029 B Alan Wallace on the Great Perfection of Dudjom Lingpa
B. Alan Wallace Today, I talk with B. Alan Wallace about his multiple careers as Buddhist contemplative and teacher, physicist and cognitive scientist, writer and translator. We discuss his road to becoming a monk and returning to laity, the meditative practices of Dzogchen, how to tell a good teacher (by the quality of their students), the remarkable career of Dudjom Lingpa, and how Buddhist contemplatives and neuroscientists can collaborate to effect a revolution in our understanding of the mind. Bio Dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D., continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind. Dr. Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted fourteen years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford. With his unique background, Alan brings deep experience and applied skills to the challenge of integrating traditional Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with the modern world. Show Notes Alan Wallace's website Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche Dudjom Rinpoche Gyatrul Rinpoche Dudjom Lingpa A Clear Mirror: The Visionary Biography of Dudjom Lingpa Neurophilosophy The "hard problem of consciousness"
43 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 028 Max Gladstone on Writing Wizards Like Lawyers
Max Gladstone Today, I talk with Max Gladstone, author of The Craft Sequence, in which a magical post-Apocalyptic society turns out to be not a terribly bad place to live, thank you very much. He describes his novels differently depending on who he's talking to. For businesspeople, lawyers, and consultants, he says, "It's just like your job, only with wizards." Like many writers, he's held a number of interesting and out-of-the-way jobs, as you can see from his bio below. Bio Max Gladstone is a two-time finalist for the John W Campbell Best New Writer Award, and a one-time finalist for the XYZZY Award. In July 2016 Tor Books published his most recent novel, FOUR ROADS CROSS. Other novels in the CRAFT SEQUENCE include, LAST FIRST SNOW, a tale of zoning politics, human sacrifice, and parenthood. LAST FIRST SNOW is the fourth Craft Sequence novel, preceded by THREE PARTS DEAD, TWO SERPENTS RISE, and FULL FATHOM FIVE. Max studied Chan poetry and late Ming dynasty fantasy at Yale; he lived and taught for two years in rural Anhui province, and has traveled throughout Asia and Europe. He speaks Chinese, can embarrass himself reading Latin, and is a martial artist, fencer, and fiddler. He’s also worked as a researcher for the Berkman Center for Internet and Policy Law, a tour guide for the Swiss Embassy, a go-between for a suspicious Chinese auto magazine, a translator for visiting Chinese schoolteachers, a Chinese philosophy TA, a tech industry analyst, and an editor. He has wrecked a bicycle in Angkor Wat, sung at Carnegie Hall, and been thrown from a horse in Mongolia. We recorded this conversation at pretty much the exact moment the Trump/Russia dossier hit the Internet. Before the conversation began, I asked Max if he'd like to discuss politics or current events. We ended up not talking politics until after we'd ended the interview. Missed opportunities. He's also written a volume in the Bookburners project, currently available for free here:
58 minutes | 4 years ago
EP 027 Mitch Horowitz and the Secret History of America
Mitch Horowitz Today on Startup Geometry, I talk with Mitch Horowitz, editor, voiceover artist, historian of alternative religion and the occult, and author of Occult America and One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life. We discuss the influence of experimental religions have had on American history, our favorite uncanny tourism sites, how the belief that "thoughts are causative" has affected the real world, and why having a Definite Chief Aim can help you achieve it.
67 minutes | 5 years ago
EP 026 Gordon White on Podcasting and Prehistory
Gordon White This week I talk to Gordon White, former "weird kid", proprietor of the popular Rune Soup podcast and blog. Gordon is also a documentarian, world traveler, digital strategist and practicing magician. He's the author of three books that came out in the last year or so: Star.Ships, which we discuss in this podcast; The Chaos Protocols, which takes a heterodox view of how to handle the post-financial crash economy; and Pieces of Eight, a personal history of the Chaos Magic movement. This interview has a twin over on Gordon's podcast, where he interviews me about the Bruno books.You can listen to that over on Rune Soup or on iTunes. Episode Outline, Notes and Links Being part of a traveling family, returning home to Australia "You don't go to London for the snorkeling.""A lot of people recycling Seth Godin's slides at conferences." Why podcasting is the new blogging: "It's a return to the real." Why "Were you a weird kid?" is a great first interview question. Being weird is the only way to break even in the global monoculture. Star.Ships discusses the prehistory of magical/religious/astronomical thought The Flood myth as a reflection of Southeast Asian post-ice age cultures How did they build Nan Madol on Pohnpei without modern technology? Materialism vs. Idealism Ancient aliens as a cultural mistake Gobekli Tepe as a "stone guitar" and early star temple Is it fair to compare modern animist hunter-gatherers to prehistoric ones? Yes, if prehistoric people were not stupid, which they weren't."Everything in a hunter-gatherer culture is valuable; they don't accumulate junk." Great Man Theory vs. Steam Engine Time Kenneth Ruthven, Critical Assumptions, on influence: Our understanding of literary ‘influence’ is obstructed by the grammar of our language, which puts things back to front in obliging us to speak in passive terms of the one who is the active partner in the relationship: to say that Keats influenced Wilde is not only to credit Keats with an activity of which he was innocent, but also to misrepresent Wilde by suggesting he merely submitted to something he obviously went out of his way to acquire. In matters of influence, it is the receptor who takes the initiative, not the emitter. When we say that Keats had a strong influence on Wilde, what we really mean is that Wilde was an assiduous reader of Keats, an inquisitive reader in the service of an acquisitive writer. Rupert Sheldrake's morphic resonance theory Gordon's website Gordon on Twitter Michael Witzel's The Origin of the World's Mythologies Graham Hancock Fingerprints of the Gods Alien megastructures (or just a dimming star) Kardasheff II civilization signal (or just a local one?)
71 minutes | 5 years ago
EP 025 Robert Pool on Peak Performance
Robert Pool is a mathematician, science writer, and, together with Anders Ericsson, the author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. Today, we talk about the use of deliberate practice to improve physical and mental performance, why the 10,000 hour rule isn't what you think it is, the relationship between talent and success (it's less important than you think, what good mental representations will do for you, and why taste is essential to the development of expert skills.
45 minutes | 5 years ago
EP 024 Cory Doctorow on the Copyfight
Cory Doctorow is a bestselling author of both science fiction and techno-sociological nonfiction, one of four editors of longtime popular weblog boingboing, and an activist and advocate for intellectual property rights, working extensively with the Electronic Freedom Foundation and others to put control of content back in the hands of the users like you and me. Photo credit: Jonathan Worth 2013 Today, we talk about the EFF's plan to defeat Digital Rights Management (DRM) as a business model of rent-seeking corporations. DRM is the set of digital locks on the content you buy--everything from eBooks to your car's computer have DRM embedded--and while it isn't impossible to break, it is highly illegal for you (or anyone) to do so. That means you don't have control of things that you bought. It also means that security flaws cannot always be researched or revealed. That's a big problem. We also talk about how he became a writer and how he gets his writing done despite a punishing travel and speaking schedule. Spoiler: 250 words a day, every day will result in a finished product very quickly. That's one page per day. You can do that, can't you? Show Links and Notes EFF The EFF on the DRM lawsuit Bunnie Huang on the DRM lawsuit boingboing Cory's website, craphound.com Flickr Twitter The flashbake version control tool Cory's books include: Little Brother Information Doesn't Want to be Free: Laws for the Information Age Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
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