The Sniffer, Feb 23rd, 2013: Trends in Smart Appliances and Meditation Software

On this edition of The Sniffer, Nora Young talks about all the buzz around Nest, the design-y, smart thermostat. On one hand, it's a great example of how smart design can get people to buy into energy efficiency. On the other, given that it's actually way more energy efficient just to live in an apartment or a small condo, there's something about the idea of furnishing your fancy house with a sustainability tool that seems a wee bit 'greenwashing' - what do you think? I have to admit, it is pretty cool! Interesting profile of the Nest guys and what the future may hold at Technology Review. Meanwhile, Cathi Bond flags this neat Kickstarter campaign to provide software that teachers can use to teach mindfulness meditation techniques to students. What do you think of it? Nora loves the idea of teaching mindfulness, but the particular use of 'mindfulness messages' as part of it seems a bit Stuart Smalley-esque.

3 responses to “The Sniffer, Feb 23rd, 2013: Trends in Smart Appliances and Meditation Software

  1. Thanks for another good podcast.

    I hate to be a harbinger of a byte of bad news, but an American couple in San Diego are suing their school district for 'infringing on their religious freedom' by teaching yogic stretching and breathing to the children.

    It's an opt-out program in the first place, but they don't care and are insisting it's a violation of their right to religious freedom. The end goal is to suspend the yoga indefinitely.

    Hysteria, indeed.

  2. Hey Cosmic K! Gosh I love your name. Your name sounds coolio. Mine sounds lameyoooo….I do go by mondobondo upon occasion.

    Now, onto your depressing update from Santa Diego. I mean no offense here, as in, I come in peace and respect for all religious beliefs, but is it the more evangelists complaining or is it the "NO FAITH NO HOW NO WAY AT SCHOOL" group?

    While I understand that yoga and mindfulness at root are primarily Eastern religious practices (now health as well) I feel that they are also fantastic guides as to how to calm ourselves down etc. And where better to learn than when you're young and your brain is more fluid?

    It's got to be like learning language, wouldn't you say?

    I shall shuteth my gibs and let you flap yours for a while if you are so inclined. Nora and I are very happy that you're enjoying the podcast.

    c

  3. Hiyo!

    Thanks: honestly I don't entirely remember where the moniker came from! I felt the universe was sending me a big wave at the time, and I liked the name so it stuck… I wouldn't disparage your own, though, if I were you: 'Cathi Bond' sound trés classy, in my opinion: a good mix of iamb and spy culture!

    You raise a good point about the San Diego story. I'm so used to the religious 'outrage' I read about coming out of the States being veiled Evangelical cries of imaginary oppression (really, no offence meant to the faithful), it didn't occur to me that it may instead have been encroaching on the No Faith No Where attitude. The original news article is pretty murky when it comes to the actual intentions of those making the complaint; however, their lawyer is from the National Center for Law and Policy, who are known for their fights against abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and the like, so I'm unconvinced it's the 'separation of church and state' that they're truly concerned with.

    I entirely agree about getting the young-uns to learn how to calm themselves and find internal quiet when they're most adapted to get it in deep, yes very much like a language — especially given the frantic sensibility of the contemporary world they (and we) inhabit. A friend of mine just finished yoga studies in Mexico, and insists that a huge part of yoga is just training for spirituality/meditation: 'If you're going to be sitting still for long stretches, your body had better be ready to do it!' With all the physical training in school geared towards competitive, highly-active, team-oriented sport (from my memories of it), it's lovely to think of young students learning about breath, centredness, and the sense of their own bodies engaged in active repose. It seems like it's a situation in which nobody loses!

    Thanks for the space to open my own gibs.

    I enjoy the podcast utterly, all the time. The conversation is lovely to listen to, and the trend-casting is enlightening. I always look forward to it, and thank you for continuing to podcast.

    'And so I say unto you, flap on!'

    – TCK

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