Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday Link Dump

aNot quite speedlinking, but here are a few links I had intended to blog about in the past couple of days but never got around to.

What Are the Four Yogas? -- "They placed people into four broad categories - those who do, those who feel, those who think, and those who experience. Jung’s four functions are comparable - sensation, thinking, feeling, and intuition. For each category, they developed a yoga whose emphasis catered to that category’s strengths - karma yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, and raja yoga. Karma yoga and bhakti yoga are especially suited for us as we go about our daily lives as members of economic society. Jnana yoga and raja yoga are especially suited to us when we have time without outside obligations."

Zen and the Art of Walking
-- "The reason traditions like Zen use walking, is that it can form a bridge between meditation and everyday life. Mindful walking is meditation in action. Like anything else, walking can be done either mindlessly or mindfully. It’s so easy to be mindless and drift away on thoughts and fantasies whilst living on autopilot."

Social Connections for Cognitive Fitness -- "We human beings are social animals. It seems intuitive (even for introverts!) that social contact has benefits. Obviously we need other people to fulfill basic needs such making sure that our genes outlive. Maybe less obviously we seem to need other people to maintain adequate levels of mental well being and motivation. Even less obviously, social contact may help us improve our brain functions…"

Review - The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better by Sandra Blakeslee & Matthew Blakeslee -- "But this is not an academic book, a philosopher's book, it is -- quite the contrary -- popular science. Unapologetically. And, indeed, in many ways thankfully so. The authors clearly possess a sense of wonder for the latest discoveries of cutting-edge scientific research, which (unlike academics) they are able to convey to their audience in a simple, highly readable prose. Further, the authors manage to generate and maintain the interest of the reader (unlike philosophers) with their captivating style as well as through numerous examples from real-life case studies."

Natural Trans Fats Have Health Benefits, New Study Shows -- "University of Alberta researcher Flora Wang found that a diet with enriched levels of trans vaccenic acid (VA) -- a natural animal fat found in dairy and beef products -- can reduce risk factors associated with heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Results indicated this benefit was due in part to the ability of VA to reduce the production of chylomicrons -- particles of fat and cholesterol that form in the small intestine following a meal and are rapidly processed throughout the body. The role of chylomicrons is increasingly viewed as a critical missing link in the understanding of conditions arising from metabolic disorders."

Biologists Take Evolution Beyond Darwin — Way Beyond -- "At the collective level, said Woese, bacteria exhibit patterns of organization and behavior that emerge suddenly, at tipping points of population variation and density called "saltations." Natural selection still favors -- or disfavors -- the ultimate outcome of these jumps, but the jumps themselves seem to defy explanation solely through genetic changes or individual properties. Such jumps don't just call into question whether evolution is capable of producing sudden rather than gradual change. That debate raged during the later stages of the last century, but has been largely settled in favor of what paleontologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould termed punctuated equilibrium. By contrast, Woese invokes yet-to-be-quantified rules of complexity and emergence. These, he said, may also explain other exceptional jumps, such as the transition from protein fragments to single cells and from single-celled organisms to multicellular ones."

~ COMMENT: This topic was covered quite well several years ago by Howard Bloom in Global Brain.

What We Miss if We Pass on Poetry (Hint: Not Poems) -- "We pay ourselves a disservice every time we dismiss poetry as a lump sum. Oh, I don’t like poetry. Really? None of it? It’s as strange a statement as saying you don’t like music (nope, not one note). But we don’t say strange things like that about music, because for the most part we’re equipped with sufficient acoustic literacy to recognize genres, make aesthetic judgments, and sort out what is pleasing from what is displeasing to our ears."

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