Composing a Life

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Composing a Life (1989)

Mary Catherine Bateson

What happens when children choose a career path noone in their family might have gone down before? A path – like the new passages opening in the Antarctic with melting ice- which may not even have existed during the lifetime of their parents? A Turkish saying captures this well : “You can build a throne for your child, but you cannot build her destiny”. Parents work long years so their children can get a better education than they did, earn more money than they ever could, and in turn, live more comfortably than they did. If they succeed, their children start life one step ahead with many options to compose a life, which their parents never had.

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Winged Obsession

coverThe Pursuit of the World’s Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler: Winged Obsession (2011)

by Jessica Speart

This is the story of Yoshi Kojima, a criminal who gets his way  smuggling endangered butterflies and insects in and out of practically every country, whenever he pleases, because he works for National Geographic. Except he doesn’t. Collecting the rarest specimens from Central America to Madagascar to Papua New Guinea to the Grand Canyon, he eventually gets caught because of the sexual attachment he develops (over the internet) to the undercover US Fish and Wildlife  Special Agent Ed Newcomer; not because of his M.O. Lucky for the planet, Newcomer’s obsession with putting Kojima behind bars quickly surpasses Kojima’s obsession with possessing the rarest butterflies (and as many of them as possible).

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First day with the Olympus EM-1 system

I love photography. I also love the freedom and flexibility traveling light brings. Those two usually conflict. Very often I don’t have the heart to check my camera, lenses and the underwater housings when traveling, because they will get damaged or stolen. The hard cases they go in –even though they are cabin-sized– already exceed the  weight limits on most airlines before I put anything in them. Then I feel like an idiot paying excess baggage fees to airlines like Lufthansa that won’t give in to my bargaining skills. In addition, having too much luggage makes me vulnerable when traveling solo, not to mention ungraceful.

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Buddha’s Brain

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The practical neuroscience of Buddha’s Brain: happiness, love & wisdom (2009)

by Rick Hanson, PhD & Richard Mendius, MD

Whenever someone makes a reference to any religion, faith, or some divine power, I start looking for a way out of that conversation. So I would not have gone out of my way to pick Buddha’s Brains, if a yoga instructor reading this book hadn’t used a term that piqued my curiosity. She said to practice equanimity as we were trying to hold a challenging pose for five breaths. In the one second I diverted my attention from the pose to decide whether I had just heard a macroeconomics term or a Sanskrit one, I lost my balance. “Equanimity is a state of unshakable focus that cannot be distracted by pain or pleasure”, she said.

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