What is “synchronicity”?

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syn·chro·nic·i·ty  (sngkr-ns-t, sn-)
n.   pl. syn·chro·nic·i·ties

  1. The state or fact of being synchronous or simultaneous; synchronism.
  2. Coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related, conceived in Jungian theory as an explanatory principle on the same order as causality.

Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events which occur in a meaningful manner, but which are casually unrelated. Synchronous events, unlike coincidences, are related to one another conceptually, and happen far more frequently than is allowed by random chance.

The concept of Synchronicity:

The idea of synchronicity is that the conceptual relationship of minds, defined by the relationship between ideas, is intricately structured in its own logical way and gives rise to relationships which have nothing to do with cause-and-effect. Synchronous events reveal an underlying pattern, a conceptual framework which encompasses, but is larger than, any of the systems which display the synchronicity. The suggestion of a larger framework is essential in order to satisfy the definition of synchronicity as originally developed by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.

Carl Jung coined the word to describe what he called “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events.” Jung variously described synchronicity as an “‘acausal connecting principle'” (i.e. a pattern of connection that cannot be explained by direct causality), “meaningful coincidence” and “acausal parallelism”. Jung introduced the concept in his 1952 paper “Synchronicity €” An Acausal Connecting Principle”, though he had been considering the concept for almost thirty years.


For me, these definitions don’t actually mean a damn thing. Here’s one example of synchronicity: you happen to be browsing my blog or forum, and you notice that a lot of the posts are made by a person who calls himself ‘synchronicity’. You then go into google and type “what is synchronicity”, this page appears and you’re lead straight back here again! Given access to ~1 trillion internet pages, and you come full circle in only one loop… that’s what I call synchronicity!

Finding a needle in a haystack

Finding a needle in a haystack

I’m pleased to announce that I have recently become an official sponsor of www.pedaltheocean.com! As a part of the pedal the ocean team, my designiation is ‘Canary Islands support advisor’.

One of my current tasks is to help Greg Kolodziejzyk find a dedicated support boat + skipper to aid him on his -trans Atlantic quest. His aim is to break the Human Powered Boat record for crossing the Atlantic Ocean. I have already joined 3 or 4 online sailing forums to post this request. Here is the official message we would like to spread:

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Be part of a WORLD RECORD!

We are attempting to set a record for the fastest HUMAN POWERED Atlantic crossing and are in need of a support/safety boat for a December/January, 2008 attempt from the Canary Islands to the West Indies. We can pay your costs and provide some crew if required. www.pedaltheocean.com contact greg@pedaltheocean.com for more information.
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Lone cyclist in paradise…

The Irony of Social Inertia.

The Irony of Social Inertia.Consider this: a society is able to perform many tasks, share work, trade labour, food and everything else required to stay alive. A strong, interactive community obviously makes life easier than a loosely bound one. On the other hand, a solitary individual would face a tremendous challenge in facing the same environment alone.

So it could be said that social integrity worked to build united communities in the past, increasing the chances of survival. Hence, the members of a society generally collaborate where possible & do what the majority of its members collectively accept (otherwise there is a revolution, but even then there is a group of individuals involved in the same decision).

I’ve noticed that a general “social inertia” exists in modern society to prevent socially unaccepted ideas from germinating. Consider it a [Read more →]

Volume of CO2 emmissions compared to the total volume of our atmosphere:

Volume of CO2 emmissions compared to the total volume of our atmosphere:

As far as I’m concerned, anyone who thinks that our way of life doesn’t affect the environment (climate included) is an idiot. Sorry, but some people still continue believe that we can spew as much CO2 into the air as we want and it will have no long-term effect on the Earth’s climate. You only need to look at exactly how much CO2 is produced by man:

Since 1751 roughly 315 billion tons of carbon have been released to the atmosphere from the consumption of fossil fuels and cement production. Half of these emissions have occurred since the mid 1970s. The 2004 global fossil-fuel CO2 emission estimate, 7910 million metric tons of carbon, represents an all-time high and a 5.4% increase from 2003.

People talk of gas emmissions in terms of mass, which understates the quantity… Rolling Eyes But exactly how much space does 1 tonne of CO2 gas occupy? You only need to look at molar volumes of gases:

1 tonne = 1 million grams.
44g of CO2 = 1 mole = 24.5L of gas (at 25ºC and standard atmospheric pressure)
Therefore, just 1 tonne of CO2 gas occupies 557 thousand litres. (= 22.7 kmoles or 557 m3)

Taking the figure above, annual global CO2 emmission at 7910 million metric tons (7,910,000,000), multiply that by the volume occupied by one tonne (557,000), and we come up with 4.4 THOUSAND TRILLION LITRES OF CO2 GAS PRODUCED EVERY YEAR.

We spew 4,400,000,000,000,000 litres of CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere every single year.

We do not live in an infinite space, not in area, nor in volume. Yes, gravity sucks back all those CO2 molecules to planet earth. So I take the thickness of the atmosphere, from wikipedia:

Three quarters of the atmosphere’s mass is within 11 km of the planetary surface. 99.99997% of the atmosphere by mass is below 100 km.

And the Earth’s total surface area from another source:

The total area of the Earth is approximately 510 million square kilometers.

My ultra quick calculation of volume of Earth’s atmosphere, up to 100km (yes let’s include all of it) = 51 trillion trillion cubic metres or 51,000 trillion trillion litres. That includes the atmosphere, the stratosphere, the troposphere, the mesosphere -yes, the entire fucking quota.

It appears some people claim that we can produce that much CO2 gas, 4.4 THOSAND TRILLION LITRES EVERY SINGLE YEAR, and it no way affects the limited volume of ‘our own’ atmosphere (51,000 trillion trillion litres)!!! That’s equivalent to an increase of 86 parts per billion CO2 gas every single year.

A few points:

  1. Of course, much of these emmissions are recycled into oxygen by trees and plants during photosynthesis. But while we continue to cut those down that won’t help us with our CO2 problem!!
  2. The upper atmosphere, the stratosphere, is extremely low pressure & doesn’t actually “hold” much gas.
  3.  CO2 is 1.5 times denser than air.
  4. Using other estimates of the mass of the Earth’s atmosphere (5 quadrillion metric tonnes) used in the above calculation results in an increase in CO2 concentration of 1.6ppm per year!
  5. The world’s oceans can also dissolve some  CO2, acting like a large reservoir. But here again, there is a limit to how much seawater can take.

Do I even need to elucidate my calculations further????? People claim that our  CO2 production has no affect on our precious environment, not even cumulatively! And as an ex-research scientist, that mode of thinking enrages me. Evil or Very Mad

global average temperature last century

global warming predictions

Mission Impossible: Driving in Spain, a rite of initiation.

Learning to drive in Spain, the most difficult driving test in the world. Driving examination, driving test, spanish driving licenceIn many cultures, the passage of childhood through adulthood is defined by various types of initiation cermonies or “rites of passage”. In Vanuatu they exchange pigs, mats, kava, and other goods between a child’s father’s and mother’s families. In indigenous Australian and African tribes, they perform face painting rituals and circumcisions. Similarly, throughout Melanesia and Polynesia, tattoos are used to symbolise the same transition.

Here in Spain, that same journey is marked by the ability of an adolescent to endure the official vehicle licensing beauracracy. In a word, it can only be described as exasperating. Now I actually relish challenges, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into…

“There are few things in life as difficult or intimidating as getting a Spanish driver’s license,” says American expat Sal DeTraglia of Sal DeTraglia’s Virtual Tapas Bar. “It is a process akin to trying to solve Fermat’s last theorem while sitting on death row in a Texas prison. If you don’t believe me, just ask anyone who has been through it.”

[Read more →]

Exploring the Atlantic ocean with biomimetic submarine human propulsion.

A human powered submarineÂ

Ciamillo dropped out of engineering school in his third year, but that didn’t stop him from becoming an engineer in his own right. In his 6,000-square-foot cypress-framed workshop in Nicholson, Georgia, he and his staff develop and market a series of bicycle components using various CNC (computer-numeric controlled) machines. The 0G (Zero Gravity) TI, Ciamillo’s invention and the company’s signature product, is described as “a precision-crafted, superlight road braking system” that is produced from “superior materials, optimized geometry, and a patented cam lever system.”

As a machinist, Ciamillo has developed an interest in biomimetics, which is the study of mechanical devices that mimic the biological construction of animals. To design the propulsor of the Subhuman, his 15-foot-long human-powered submarine, he’s looking to the shapes and movements of aquatic creatures for inspiration.

Biomimetic submarine propulsion

Biomimetics (“mimicking biolog”) is a field that brings biologists and engineers together in a collaborative effort to incorporate nature’s wisdom into product design. Velcro is the most famous example of biomimetics in action. Velcro was developed when a scientist figured out how burrs stuck to dog fur. Today, engineer and machinist, Ted Ciamillo, and Dr. Frank Fish, professor of biology at West Chester University (West Chester, PA) are applying the principles of biomimetics to underwater propulsion. Their goal is to unlock and duplicate the secrets of fast-swimming whales and dolphins.

In addition to being a way to uncover the secrets of how swimming creatures move so seemingly effortlessly, Ciamillo is now incorporating the findings into the propulsion system of a human-powered submarine in which he will cross the Atlantic Ocean. [Read more →]

Pedalling across the Atlantic ocean. A new world record attempt.

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In Dec. of 2008, Greg is planning on pedaling his human powered boat “WiTHiN” 3000 miles across the Atlantic ocean in less than 43 days setting a new world record for the fastest human powered Atlantic crossing. Pedal The Ocean explores the limits of what is possible with human power.

2700 miles from Canary Islands to Barbados

Greg will start at the Canary Islands off of the West African coast. The Canary current is a southwestward flow that will take him onto the North Equatorial current which is a broad westward flow. It is fed by the Canary current and its waters eventually end up in the Gulf Stream system, via the Antilles current which should deliver Greg and WiTHiN to one of the islands near Barbados.

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The average distance that various ocean rowers covered over this route is 2700 to 3000 miles. Rowing times from the Canary islands to Barbados range from a record of 43 days by Emmanuel Coindre to over 100 days. Ocean Rowing statistics are here.

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Our modern sedentary lifestyle is putting our kids at risk of becoming the first generation that will have a life expectancy shorter than that of their parents. Worldwide, between 10 and 15% of our children are obese and 60% of the general population is overweight. Obesity in childhood often leads to obesity in adulthood. Most parents want the best for their children – including the chance to lead a long and healthy life. For obese children this goal is seriously threatened. The solution is education.

GREG’s MESSAGE:

3 million years of evolution has produced an animal whose natural environment probably consisted of walking the distance of a full marathon each and every single day*. Now take that animal (also known as a “human being”), and stick him in a small cage, rob him of natural sunlight, make him sit in a chair all day and feed him a steady supply of chemicals and refined foods.

Is it any wonder that 60% of North Americans are over weight? Described by the World Health Organization as an “escalating epidemic”, obesity is “one of the greatest neglected public health problems of our time with an impact on health which may well prove to be as great as smoking.” Being overweight leads to many serious medical problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other health related issues.

donate, donation, charity, obesity, north america, USA, children, epedemic, obesity crisis

An unnatural sedentary lifestyle causes chemical imbalances in our bodies which can lead to a host of psychological problems. Population studies have shown an inverse relationship between physical activity and depression, and there is evidence that active people who become inactive are more at risk of depression that those who remain active. According to a study from Duke University, aerobic exercise was MORE effective than antidepressant drugs in treating depressive symptoms in three study groups.

The cause of the obesity epidemic and skyrocketing rates of depression is obvious in my opinion. We need to become reacquainted with our “natural environment”. Break out of your cage. Get outside and get ACTIVE! Ride your bike, run, walk, swim, climb – whatever it takes.

Greg Kolodziejzyk

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http://www.pedaltheocean.com/

http://www.adventuresofgreg.com

The quest for happiness; is this the meaning of life?

The ultimate quest for happiness. What is the meaning of life? 

We live in a time like no other. We’ve essentially won the struggle for life and dominated the planet and now we wonder what the real purpose of life is. I could say that “the point of life is to live”. You may think that’s a bleeding obvious statement, but to succeed against all the odds in the fight for survival is essentially the point of life; it’s what gives us our happiness.

We are told from a very early age that to make it in the world, to get what you want will make you happy. Once you are ‘rich, successful and healthy’, you can then live happily ever after. Although clearly that isn’t always the case. Western cultures have the highest standard of living than ever before and the longest lifespans, but coincidentally, the same advanced societies also have the highest rates of medically diagnosed depression ever to be recorded. This begs the question: are we fundamentally happier as a result of the comfortable lifestyles we have attained for ourselves?

The actual pursuit of happiness is and always will be a relentless quest. Happiness is not a permanent state because our life struggle is in a permanent state of flux. To be alive & healthy, with a positive vision of future survival, is to be happy. So it recently occurred to me that the real meaning or aim of our lives is the search for happiness. Think about it. People pursue happiness above all else - it’s what motivates us. We intentionally make important decisions which we believe will in some way ultimately increase our happiness. You may confuse money with happiness, as the former is viewed as one measure of success, but don’t get distracted. Delving a little deeper [Read more →]

One for the Aboriginies: A formal apology from the new Australian Government!

This just in: a historic moment in Australian history -Priminister Rudd from the new Australian Government delivers a formal apology for the mistreatment of Indigenous peoples of Australia, in particular “the stolen generation”. Yes he actually uses the words “we apologise” and “we say sorry”!

TEXT of the formal apology to Indigenous Australians to be made in federal parliament by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at 9am (AEDT), Wednesday February 13.

“Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry. [Read more →]

Driving me insane; the legendary Spanish driving test.

Catch-22, bureacracy, red tape, patience, determination, spanish driving test, learning to drive in Spain

In case you hadn’t realised, this has turned into a 5 or 6 part series on getting your license in Spain.

Today I attempted the final driving exam for the first time (yes in Spanish). I just got back and I failed. This is despite completing over 3600 practise theory questions in Spanish and almost 30 hours of compuslory driving lessons. Before I continue, I feel that I should say that far from being a loser, for 10 years I have never failed anything I have attempted, but I’m not at all suprised I failed this one.

It’s nothing to do with ability to drive a car. Far from it. It’s more like seeing how well you cope with a national bureacracy.

Apart from that, one of the most difficult parts of the whole learning to drive experience (at least here in Tenerife) is that you are never permitted to use the handbrake, neither on hillstarts nor when parking on slopes (the only exception is when you immobilise the vehicle). I soon mastered that and was feathering that clutch from a standstill up 20% inclined slopes! No not 5 % or even 10 %, but a 20% gradient. Let’s see someone in Australia do that without using a handbrake.

Anwyay, over the last several weeks, I thought I’d come to learn all the ‘tricks’, but such is not the case. ‘Tricks’ you say? Yes they try their utmost to trick you in order to justify more expensive lessons (they tell me that the average is 20). Here is what I encountered over the course of my twenty driving lessons:

  • Faded/bent/non-existent “no entrance” signs.
  • Faded road markings
  • Inconsistent road markings
  • Stop signs obscured by tree branches
  • Pedestrians hidden and waiting behind large trash containers
  • Potholes which can’t be driven over at speed

Now they do their best to devise a circuit to ensure that you’ll encounter the most of the above situations. Of course when you naturally make a mistake, your instructor doesn’t hesitate in pointing it out to you. What that does is it makes you look like you aren’t capable of driving a car on your own yet.

If you travel down a street in 3rd gear, they advise you that you need to go slower in second gear to be prepared for obstacles. Go down the exact same street in 2nd gear the next day and they’ll tell you to change into 3rd to save petrol. Yes, you can follow their instruction for as long as you want, but whatever you do, until you’ve accomplished the unofficial ~20 lessons, no matter what you do, you’re generally fucked. [Read more →]

Downhill

Spanish driving lessons, a billion-dollar-a-year industry.

Spanish driving lessons, a billion-dollar-a-year industry. The driving test in Spain.

In Spain, if you want to get a driving license, official driving lessons are compulsory. There is no such thing as learning to drive with family members or friends. Not only that, but unlike the USA and Australia, learning to drive an automatic vehicle is also not an option. Furthermore, both the theoretical and practical driving standards that you need to reach before you are ready to attempt the final driving exam can only be described as “pedantic”. What this means is attending paid driving lessons, and plenty of them…

Over the past few months I’ve been regularly attending driving lessons with a local driving school in La Orotava. This started out a fairly nerve-wracking experience. Today, I just completed the 19th compulsory driving lesson, at a cost of 48.00 to 50.00 Euros each one -yes they had the nerve to put the price up half way through! This soon adds up to quite a sum of money: 950 Euros!!! I’ve come to regard these as some some pretty darn expensive ‘advanced’ parking lessons, and if you think that’s bad, when my partner was learning to drive, she had to take 60-something lessons, and then still failed the actual driving exam twice!

Now you may think “what kind of a clutz needs that many lessons?”. And I can tell you right there that I had already driven halfway across the state of NSW in Australia earlier in 2007, a distance of well over 500km. Not only that, but I hold a current full motorcycle driving license. So I already had plenty of experience driving on public roads in dense city traffic. Changing gears on my motorbike become second nature years ago. I’m saying that I was already fairly accustomed to driving on the road, albeit in Australia. In my opinion, I only needed some further instruction with the gears & clutch, which I was already getting the hang of by the end of the very first spanish driving lesson.

My point is: that great quantity of lessons is not really needed at all. It’s just an excuse to earn money. To prove my point, let’s look t the following numbers. There are now 45 million people in Spain. To quote some driving statistics, Spanish authorities  issued 698,128 new driving licences in 2003, bringing the total number of drivers in Spain to 20,301,418. Ususally, these figures increase with each passing year. Even so, if every one of those new drivers needed an average of 20 driving lessons at cost of 50 Euros each, the total cost per annum is 1 BILLION AMERICAN DOLLARS!

Who said humans couldn’t fly?

Predicting the weather, Canarian style.

Weather Prediction in Tenerife. Telltale signs.

As cyclists are exposed to the elements whenever we go for a ride, it’s vital that we possess some sort of weather prediction strategy. It is no fun being dressed inapprpriately and then freezing later on through inadequate knowledge & planning.

Here I’m going to attempt to demonstrate the ways in which local Canarian people are able to predict the local weather patterns reasonably well. Note that these observations are based from La Orotava, in the North of Tenerife:

  • General overcast conditions (stratus cloud cover) almost never produces rain, especially if you can see patches of blue sky directly above.
  • Clouds creeping over Mt Teide & Las Canadas from a Southerly direction (the mountain range behind Puerto de la Cruz) is not a good sign. When it is accompanied by heavy wind, together these are the attributes of a big storm – especially if the clouds are dark. Expect rain, lightning & snow above 2000m, and even heavier winds to come! Everyone is advised to stay out of Las Cañadas during a storm; the winds make it very dangerous. Don’t even think about cycling up there during a storm! Better to stay indoors – the conditions will usually improve within 24 hours. There are usually only a handful of heavy storms per year, most often occurring in the Winter season.
  • If you can see reflections of the clouds in the sea towards the North, and consistent/continous cumulus clouds rising above the ocean, then it is probably going to rain within a few hours.
  • If you can clearly see the island of La Palma from Tenerife, some say that rain is assured. (I’m yet to be convinced of this)
  • If there is dust in the air, a calima is present. Expect elevated temperatures during day and reduced temperatures at night. This phenomonen usually lasts 2-3 days but sometimes as long as one week. There will normally be a temperature inversion, meaning that the higher you go up the slopes of Mt Teide, the hotter it gets. Las Cañadas is particularly hot during a calima.
  • ‘White horses’ on the ocean and large waves breaking on the shore obviously means that it is (or will soon be) windy; this is often visible from 5 or more kilometres away!
  • Puerto de la Cruz is always sunnier than the rest of the La Orotava valley as the coastline juts out beyond the reach of the “sea of clouds”.

From personal observation, it seems that the weather slips into one of three weather patterns:

  1. Normal – overcast, but no rain. (telltale sign = stratus clouds between 1000-1500m)
  2. Calima – unusually hot and dry with no clouds present. (telltale sign = presence of dust suspension in the atmosphere, no clouds)
  3. Stormy – wind, rain, fog, snow, lightning. (telltale sign = heavy wind + cumulus clouds above 2000m)

I guess you could say that the periodic alternation between these three states is a normal chaotic weather pattern. Whenever there are 2 or more of these weather states present at the same time, that’s when the weather appears to be acting strangely. I could be wrong but the calima & storm weather patterns appear to be mutually exclusive.

Going Green.

how cartoons help the environment

Above all else, we strive for a minimal environmental footprint.

  1. While air is free, we don’t use disposable CO2 cartridges.
  2. We never pour oil or grease down the drain
  3. We avoid the use of plastic bags
  4. We don’t print anything unnecessarily
  5. We turn off equipment after use (computers, lights, etc)
  6. We use energy-saving light globes
  7. We recycle kitchen waste into compost
  8. Where possible, we buy locally grown food & other products made in Tenerife.
  9. We think small is beautiful. Contrary to what most people think, we don’t have a big petrol-guzzling van, just a small one.
  10. We reuse inner tubes by first repairing them. There’s a long lost skill in patching butyl innertubes. We continue patching them until the valve no longer functions or until they are deemed unsafe… then we either use 700c sized inner tubes like the two metre rubber hose they really are to tie stuff up with or we make rubber bands out of them!
  11. We recycle tyres into belts. (truth be told, we copied the idea from www.velo-re.com and we’re stockpiling them until we can find someone who can locally make a similar item). Chains & sprockets, etc will eventually be used to create one-of-a-kind metal sculptures.
  12. We ride bikes!

Pasatiempos Tinerfeños. Tenerife hobbies.

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– Reading newspaper obituaries daily.

– Sweeping terracotta tile floors.

– Sweeping tile floors in general.

Watching television.

– Cooking, and more importantly, eating. Books could be (and have been) written on the subject.

– Neatly arranging clothes outside on the line so that they dry quicker.  There’s some kind of advanced order or pattern that I can never figure out. All I know is that when I attempted to hang out the washing, people laughed at me and I’ve not been allowed to hang clothes on the line since that moment.

– Gossip. It’s claimed not to be, but it is. All Spanish people consider themselves expert judges of character. They relish talking about how people should be expected to interact and react. You only have to look at the spin-off series of Big Brother and whatnot… they’ll disect and then disseminate every aspect of a conversation that has taken place on national TV.

On with the business!

Creating a new business

I think the most important thing to know when contemplating new business ideas, isn’t whether you are actually capable of providing the service or not (because we all know that yes you could do it!), but weather it is economically feasible or not. At the end of the day, you invest ALL your time & energy setting up any successful business. The whole idea is that it’s a new way of life that is supposed to eventually pay for itself.

[Read more →]

‘entrar es fácil, lo difí­cil es salir’

I really really like this advert… it’s an anti drug campaign created by the program “twelve months twelve causes”, broadcast by channel 5 here in Spain. As the title of the program indicates, for each month of the year there is a new cause – awareness of an important issue.

In translation, the slogan that the man says is: “to enter is easy; it’s difficult to leave” (‘entrar es fácil, lo difí­cil es salir’). “For a youth without drugs” is displayed at the end of the advertisement (Por una juventud sin drogas). I think it speaks for itself: