"Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day."
~ Bertrand Russell
Image of the day (Mark Simms):
~ Discoveries -- "Short snappy synopses of scientific studies for the synaptically short-changed. Don't want to read lengthy, boring, studies? We've distilled them down to one or two lines. Get up to date on the latest science, quick!"
~ I’m Addicted To Overeating, NOT Food -- "This article by Rudd Sound Bites was about Thanksgiving, but it gave me a moment of revelation that I have never imagined before."
~ Overweight Teenagers More Likely To Die Of Heart Attack As Young Adults -- "A new US study has projected that overweight adolescents face alarming increases in the risk of heart disease and premature death as young adults."
~ Groundbreaking Fertility Diet Boosts Pregnancy Chances -- "You know that diet and lifestyle choices affect your health and lifespan. But no credible science (only old wives' tales) has ever shown that diet affects the chances of getting pregnant - until now."
~ Pine Bark Naturally Reduces Osteoarthritis Knee Pain -- "Affecting more than 10 million Americans, Osteoarthritis of the knee (OA) is one of the five leading causes of disability among the elderly. While OA mainly affects most people over 45, it can occur at any age."
~ Scientists Strike Blow In Superbugs Struggle -- "Scientists from The University of Manchester have pioneered new ways of tweaking the molecular structure of antibiotics - an innovation that could be crucial in the fight against powerful super bugs."
~ One Day Miracle Diet -- "The biggest advantage with one day cholesterol lowering diet programs is that the person undergoing dieting will not suffer any muscle loss. This is partially because of the high protein and low calorie content of the wafers, and partially due to the fact that the dieting person actually in fact is not completely severed from his/her eating habits. He/she can have any food he/she wants the every next day." I've said it a thousand times -- the only way to get healthy is to make healthy eating a lifestyle. Diets are only short-term solutions that seldom last.
~ Increased Longevity From Herbal Extract -- "The herbal extract of a yellow-flowered mountain plant indigenous to the Arctic regions of Europe and Asia increased the lifespan of fruit fly populations, according to a University of California, Irvine study. Flies that ate a diet rich with Rhodiola rosea, an herbal supplement long used for its purported stress-relief effects, lived on an average of 10 percent longer than fly groups that didn't eat the herb." I'll believe it when I see human studies.
~ New Years Resolutions: The Only Three Things That Matter -- "There are three things, and three things only that determine a persons success or failure in terms of their fat loss goals this New Years."
~ The Hidden Workings of Our Minds -- "What is true of great scientific and artistic leaps of imagination is also true in everyday life. When people are asked why they chose one career over another, one partner over another or one flavour of ice-cream over another, the same problems emerge. Often, people's answers are unconvincing or they just don't know."
~ Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychopharmacology, 4th ed. -- "Each edition of this book, beginning with the first in 1991, has received much use while sitting on my office shelf. The editions have spanned the modern era of child psychopharmacology and, along with the works of S. P. Kutcher, have offered practical clinical guidance in choosing and monitoring medications in children and teenagers while also providing an overview of the literature that supports child psychopharmacology."
~ Increase in Bipolar Diagnosis in Youth Prompts Debates and Calls for Research -- "A recent analysis that found a 40-fold increase in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in youth has highlighted diagnostic dilemmas and prompted calls for more research studies."
~ Everything Has a Reason: Live Your Life with Confidence -- "Life would be difficult if we think that things just happen at random. If we have such mindset, when something goes wrong we may lose heart and do not know what to do. It won’t be easy either to stay grateful and positive when something bad happens. Things will be much easier if we believe that there is a reason behind it and that it’s a part of our life’s picture." I make this argument with friends, but the reality, I think, is that we need to make meaning and will find a way to do so -- and it's crucial that we do.
~ Is Sadness Good for Us? -- "If you never feel sad, it is because you have never become attached to someone, and that is a very lonely way to be.
~ How to Move Forward Once You Achieve a Big Goal -- "What do you do once you achieve your big goal and make it to the top? This can become a big problem if it looks like the only way you can go is down. Professional athletes and aging celebrities all face this issue. The problem can be one of maintaining the position if this is what you want or figuring out where to go next while avoiding a big let down."
~ Meditation Techniques for the Busy or Impatient -- "If you are reading this then you probably recognize some value in meditation, in slowing down, and reducing stress. At the same time you probably struggle with fitting meditation into your daily routine. The good news is that establishing a daily meditation practice is easier than you may have thought."
~ Almost perfect -- "The New York Times has a short article on mental health and perfectionism, the tendency to measure success and self-worth by the completion of often unrealistic goals."
~ Review - Freud: Inventor of the Modern Mind by Peter D. Kramer -- "I did not expect Kramer to pull it off, and, when a friend wrote me that this book was full of new and intriguing material about how Freud had not really been what he has seemed to be -- my first reaction was that it could not really be new material, or perhaps it was only new to those who had not read the work of those honest critics of Freud, who belatedly (decades after Freud's death) but not too recently (the honest critique of Freud began in the 1960s) had revealed what there was to know."
~ Aristotle and Beyond -- "The question is not: how do we know that thinking about something, or wanting it, does not affect it and that melting it does do so? – as though perhaps we cannot be sure of this. I am going to assume that we are able to distinguish correctly between affective and non-affective operations. The inquiry is simply into the formal features that constitute them one or the other."
~ The Shakespeared Brain -- "I have always been very interested in how literature affects us. But I don't really like it when people say, "This book changed my life!" Struggling with ourselves and our seemingly inextricable mixture of strengths and weaknesses, surely we know that change is much more difficult and much less instant than that. It does scant justice to the deep nature of a life to suppose that a book can simply "change" it. Literature is not a one-off remedy. And actually it is the reading of books itself, amongst other things, that has helped me appreciate that deep complex nature."
~ Going Down -- "Democracy once seemed ascendant in many East and Central Asian countries. Not so much anymore."
~ The original political vision: sex, art and transformation -- "Dissent and emancipation were holy for William Blake. He could teach our prime minister so much about how to be radical." Obviously a UK article, but a good look at Blake.
~ Civilisation is safe -- "The American nationalist right - and now an obscure Tory MP - would have us believe that Christian traditions are under threat. I don't think so."
~ Jon Soltz: Three Days, Three Changing Stories on NIE from the White House -- "Another day, another explanation of what the President knew and when he knew it with the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran."
~ Two Views: Editors: Mormon in America -- "We suspect that most people who watched the speech were impressed, sympathetic, and sometimes moved." OR -- Peter Montgomery: The Speech: Romney Still No JFK -- "Mitt Romney's speech on religious liberty and the role his faith would play in his presidency - the long-discussed "JFK speech" -- included some Kennedy-esque rhetoric about the fundamental importance of religious liberty, but it was a far cry from JFK's ringing endorsement of church-state separation."
~ Grammy's Winners and Losers -- "Kanye West leads the pack of nominees in a year when the Grammy committee was even more clueless than usual."
~ House passes energy bill but Bush set to veto -- "The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed an energy bill that would boost vehicle fuel economy requirements by 40 percent by 2020, raise ethanol use by five-fold by 2022 and impose $13 billion in new taxes on big energy companies." Of course he'll veto it -- it would cost his buddies a lot of money.
~ How our ancestors were like gorillas -- "Research published in this week’s Science journal shows that some of our closest extinct relatives had more in common with gorillas than previously thought. Dr Charles Lockwood, UCL Department of Anthropology and lead author of the study, said: “When we examined fossils from 1.5 to 2 million years ago we found that in one of our close relatives the males continued to grow well into adulthood, just as they do in gorillas. This resulted in a much bigger size difference between males and females than we see today."
~ Whatever Happened To... the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis? -- "Human beings and nonhuman apes inhabit neighboring branches on the tree of life, but there are differences. Humans have less hair and perpetually enlarged mammary glands, and unlike other apes, we sweat a lot. In 1960, to explain these differences, marine biologist Sir Alister Hardy posited a water-dependent species that preceded human beings. Hardy pointed out that only aquatic mammals like walruses and hippopotamuses have naked skin and subcutaneous fat—human traits not shared by other apes."
~ Environment: Internet Behemoth Google Throws Down Green Energy Gauntlet -- "More corporate green-washing, or is Google ahead of the curve?"
~ Images of Saturn's Small Moons Tell the Story of Their Origins -- "Imaging scientists on NASA's Cassini mission are telling a tale of how the small moons orbiting near the outer rings of Saturn came to be. The moons began as leftover shards from larger bodies that broke apart and filled out their "figures" with the debris that made the rings."
~ Team to chemically transform carbon dioxide into carbon-neutral liquid fuels -- "Using concentrated solar energy to reverse combustion, a research team from Sandia National Laboratories is building a prototype device intended to chemically reenergize carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide using concentrated solar power. The carbon monoxide could then be used to make hydrogen or serve as a building block to synthesize a liquid combustible fuel, such as methanol or even gasoline, diesel and jet fuel."
~ Online Library Gives Readers Access To 1.5 Million Books -- "The Million Book Project has completed the digitization of more than 1.5 million books, which are now available online. For the first time since the project was initiated in 2002, all of the books, which range from Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" to "The Analects of Confucius," are available through a single Web portal of the Universal Library, said Gloriana St. Clair, Carnegie Mellon's dean of libraries."
~ IBM using light instead of wires for building supercomputers-on-a-chip -- "Supercomputers that consist of thousands of individual processor "brains" connected by miles of copper wires could one day fit into a laptop PC, thanks in part to a breakthrough by IBM scientists announced today."
~ The Hero's Journey -- "Are humans a failed species? Is it what some Natives Americans have said, "very shrewd but no wisdom?" When we look around the biosphere we see that most other species devote much of their life energies to birthing, raising and protecting their progeny. In this respect, civilized humans are a failed species."
~ Ripple effects -- "We usually have an idea of some effects of some of our actions, mostly on those in our daily life. But we rarely know the ripple effects, including the indirect ones on people we have never met. To be honest, I probably don’t know most of the effects on people in my daily life."
~ Ken Wilber on Evolution (Reloaded) -- "Ken Wilber explains his understanding of evolution on his blog. Check it out. Below are some key quotes and my commentary."
~ Warner vs Genpo: The One-Sided Fight -- "If you cruise the same sites and blogs I do, you are aware of the ranting Brad Warner, Zen punk extraordinaire. I find the whole "controversy" about Big Mind so sticky that I am compelled to jump into the fray. Silly me." I like Warner, but he has repeatedly made his point about Genpo Roshi -- it's getting tiresome.
~ Search for Origins of Buddhism -- "The land of Pakistan is blessed with the vast treasure troves of the world and one of the most important treasures is the glorious civilization of Buddhism flourishing in the North Western areas of Pakistan. The mountains of these areas are witness to one of the highly creative ideology springing fromBuddha, taking refuge in the mountains from Karakurums in Chilas to Pir Panjal Mountains near Taxila."
~ This Journey Has No Gaps -- "In many ways, I feel right now like I'm marinating in life. This long-held desire I've had to "do" something noteworthy with my brief existence on our shared Pale Blue Dot hasn't gone away. But that pressing, throbbing feeling that often accompanies it has."