Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Roundup of Recent Whatnot on September 18, 2007

Today, I've posted Whatnot - blogs that are new to me, developments and non-developments. Interesting stuff I'm eager for you all to know about.


Scott Mitchell’s “the Buddhoblogosphere” is still in beta mode. The august August 10 launch has us in version 0.9 [public beta]. Scott tells me v. 1.0, “the re-visioned site,” will be online sometime in the upcoming week.

An earlier post on the MetaBlog [Scott's blog about "the Buddhoblogopshere"] tells us that ideas were aswirl in Scott’s head, aided by users’ suggestions, on what the Buddhoblogosphere is to become. Will it continue as a Buddhist hub and directory as it is in version 0.9? or become “del.icio.us meets Facebook with the simplicity of Craigslist. For Buddhism.”? We’ll see. But somewhere along the line Scott will need to gather a large contingent of Buddhists to contribute to and participate in what he is building. Crowds have not participated in v. 0.9. I guess "if you build in, they will come" is only guaranteed to work in the movies.

The big ideas Scott has for his webspace may have outgrown the limitation suggested by its title. Scott’s not saying, but don’t be surprised if there is a name change in store for the Buddhoblogosphere.

UPDATE 9/18 12:15pm: Scott has delivered his re-visioned webspace. Now called DharmaRealm, and moved to dharmarealm.com, "its mission of documenting everything in the Buddhist web" has been "re-imagined as a social bookmarking site."


Justin (aka Shonin) of Ordinary Extraordinary has started a new group blog, titled Progressive Buddhism. The blog’s goal is, as expressed at the top of its sidebar, “… looking at Buddhism in the light of modern knowledge, free from over-attachment to ancient dogmas; looking at the best ways to integrate Buddhism into Modern/Western societies; discussing and encouraging an empirical or scientific approach; seeing insight and awakening as a living tradition not just a historical one.”

Another Justin (aka, Buddhist Philosopher) who solo blogs American Buddhist Perspective; Nacho of WoodMoor Village Zendo and Shikimyo are attached to the project. In Justin/Shonin’s announcement nearly a month ago, seeking group members, he wrote that he has high hopes of adding a few prominent Buddhists to the team of bloggers at PB. Stephen Batchelor and Susan Blackmore are named.

It would be a 500-1 longshot for Justin to snag Batchelor [q.v. wiki] for the group. And Batchelor's no prize. His latest post to his blog at the Tricycle website was ten months ago. Prominent Buddhists are typically lousy bloggers, often blogging rarely when prompted to do blogging duty and usually blogging overtly self-promoting words. Batchelor is wonderful in many of his books, is a brilliant wordsmith, but doesn't get 'out of himself' enough to blog decently, IMOO [ie, in my overt opinion].

Sue Blackmore [q.v. wiki] is far the more interesting possibility for PB. She regularly blogs articles in areas of her expertise for the UK Guardian's comment is free. But it's not really blogging, and it's surely not free; it's paid-for op/article writing. It would be a coup to get Blackmore for Progressive Buddhism. Perhaps she'd do it for the opportunity to express herself in more purely Buddhist terms than she's done for the Guardian. But she likely would not be willing to give away for free what she can do for pay when writing is basically her job, what she does to put bread on the table. That is, unless Justin has an in with her.

Here’s a blog that is new to me - and an excellent one it is, too: Zen Traveler. A pretty interesting and exciting life blogger Eric has with an occupation that you have to believe is an unusual one for a Buddhist. He’s a bodyguard who works in the most troubled regions of the world - and that very much includes Iraq and its capital, Baghdad. Eric puts up a short post nearly every day which usually includes one of his wonderful photographs.

The last few days, Eric has been in close proximity to the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki at The Palace. See his posts “Interview at the Palace” and “Interview at the Palace, the Aftermath.” Another recent post remarks on the resilience of Iraqi children. It includes a heart-warming picture of three smiling kids.

BTW, Eric does not work for Blackwater, which is a security provider just ousted from Iraq, according to an article on the front page of the New York Times yesterday.


TMcG of TMCG is delighted by the work of the trio that present the Buddhist Geeks podcasts. She links to the most-recent interview by the “superpowerful Buddhist Geeks,” and then writes, “So many great interviews being done by the Geeks these days. Great job.”

But that most-recent episode, called What did Jessica Alba Eat for Breakfast?, is a monologue for more than the first half of its 23 ½ minute running time. When Gwen Geek finally engages, things get better.

[The cutesy title of this subsection mocks Buddhist Geeks episode-title silliness. It comes from something Gomez Addams said to Morticia. In Addams Family-speak it means some essential element is missing from something that could be great. We all like an egg in our martini, right? Gomez's full quote was "Can you imagine a roast aardvark without an apple in its mouth? It's like a martini without the egg."]


Another Buddhist blog I want to tell y’all about is Simra.net, blogged by Robert A. Sim, a high-powered scientist with a doctorate of some sort, keen on Buddhism with an occupation that has him working on cutting edge robotics. Hopefully, he'll be the first to develop a robot that can sit for hours and hours without wobbling. Sorry. I'm sure there was a joke in there, I just didn't find it.

Recent posts have been on surge-o-nomics, health/diet, science, robotics, happiness -- and in a post a month ago, Robert jumped into a discussion that began over at The Buddhist Blog on the wisdom of teaching religion to kids. James of TBB had endorsed atheist writer Richard Dawkins's view firmly against indoctrination of kids into any religious view. Wrote Robert, "My two cents on this debate are that, speaking as a parent here, you can't help but rub off some impression of your worldview on your kids. Dawkins is unrealistic to suggest that kids shouldn't be taught religion but he knows that in a hypothetical universe where that link is broken there are likely fewer suicide bombings and deaths-by-exorcism. (Fewer divorces, too, as the stats play out). I mean, what exactly does he suggest we do in order to prevent any 'worldview transference'? In any case, I'm as much against the teaching of fanaticism and intolerance to kids as Dawkins or any other reasonable person but I think the argument is lost because it is impractical."

Robert is also in the great habit of periodically posting what he is grateful for that day. Very IOC.