Six in 10 Brits now sleep deprived because of smartphones and computers

11 April, 2014 at 07:53 | Posted in Body & Mind, health, IT and Media, Science | Leave a comment


By Sarah Knapton

The number of Brits reporting to be sleep deprived has jumped 50 per cent with many more now using smartphones and computers before bed which can disrupt sleep, the University of Hertfordshire has found.

The number of sleep deprived Brits has risen by 50 per cent in a year as people increasingly use smartphones and computers before bed.

Nearly six in ten people in Britain now get seven hours of less sleep a night putting them at risk of cancer, diabetes and heart attacks, it has been warned.

Academics at the University of Hertfordshire found that 80 per cent of people are making it worse by using technology before sleeping which exposes them to disruptive blue light.

Blue light is present in morning light so late night gadget use can trick the body into speeding up the metabolism and making sleep more difficult.

Read more: Six in 10 Brits now sleep deprived because of smartphones and computers – Telegraph

Amazing – Unlocking a car with your Brain

7 April, 2014 at 08:09 | Posted in beyond science, Body & Mind, Funny things :-), Science | Leave a comment

Professor Roger Bowley unlocks his car from various distances, using waves from his key, brain and a big bottle of water.

Crop Scientist Likens China’s Smog to Nuclear Winter

27 February, 2014 at 10:56 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, health, Science, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment

By Cassie Ryan
Epoch Times

New research shows that the extreme air pollution in China could severely impact agriculture and food supplies, because it is blocking out the light plants need for photosynthesis.

He Dongxian at China Agricultural University found that chilli and tomato seeds grown in Beijing took over two months to sprout due to pollutants reducing light levels in the greenhouse by about 50 percent. In comparison, seeds grown in the lab under artificial light took around 20 days to germinate.

If the smog continues, He told the Guardian her findings suggest Chinese agriculture will suffer conditions “somewhat similar to a nuclear winter.”

Describing the greenhouse plants, He said, “They will be lucky to live at all. Now almost every farm is caught in a smog panic,” according to the South China Morning Post.

“A large number of representatives of agricultural companies have suddenly showed up at academic meetings on photosynthesis in recent months and sought desperately for solutions,” she added. “Our overseas colleagues were shocked by the phenomenon because in their countries nothing like this had ever happened.”

This past week, nearly one-quarter of China has been enveloped by a thick haze, including Beijing, which is on an unprecedented orange alert, with red being the most dangerous to health.

The Yanzhao Evening News reported that a man in Hebei Province is suing local authorities for failing to deal with the smog, and also seeking compensation.

His lawyer refused to comment, because this is the first such case of a citizen suing the regime over air pollution, making it a sensitive issue.

via Crop Scientist Likens China’s Smog to Nuclear Winter » The Epoch Times

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Dog Breeds: What Does Your Choice of Breed Say About You?

23 February, 2014 at 16:49 | Posted in animals, Body & Mind, Funny things :-), Science | Leave a comment
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By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

Here’s a look at what your dog’s breed may say about you. Researchers at Bath Spa University surveyed 1,000 dog owners, compiling data about the owners’ personality traits and their dogs’ breeds.

The researchers presented their findings to the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in 2012.

Stanley Coren, a psychologist and author of “Why We Love the dogs We Do,” also discussed the connection between owner personality traits and dog breeds, in an interview with Modern dog Magazine.

Read more: Dog Breeds: What Does Your Choice of Breed Say About You? » The Epoch Times

More Talking To Babies Helps Their Brains

18 February, 2014 at 16:50 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Science | Leave a comment

By

WASHINGTON—Using videos that claim to teach toddlers, or flash cards for tots, may not be the best idea. Simply talking to babies is key to building crucial language and vocabulary skills—but sooner is better, and long sentences are good.

So says research that aims to explain, and help solve, the troubling “word gap”: Children from more affluent, professional families hear millions more words before they start school than poor kids, leaving the lower-income students at an academic disadvantage that’s difficult to overcome.

That gap starts to appear at a younger age than scientists once thought, around 18 months, said Stanford University psychology professor Anne Fernald.

And research being presented this week at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggests that it’s not just hearing lists of words that matters as much as rich, varied language with good grammar that trains babies’ brains to learn through context.

Instead of just saying, “Here’s an orange,” it would be better to say: “Let’s put the orange in this bowl with the banana and the apple and the grapes.”

“It’s making nets of meaning that then will help the child learn new words,” Fernald explained.

“The advice I give mothers is to have conversations with your babies,” added Erika Hoff, a psychology professor at Florida Atlantic University. “Children can hear lots of talk that goes over their head in terms of the meaning, and they still benefit from it.”

Income Word Gap

The research comes amid a growing push for universal preschool, to help disadvantaged youngsters catch up. But it also raises the question of whether children from low-income, less educated families need earlier intervention, such as preschool that starts at age 3 instead of 4, or higher quality day care or even some sort of “Let’s talk” campaign aimed at new parents to stress talking, singing, and reading with tots even before they can respond. That can be difficult for parents working multiple jobs, or who may not read well or who simply don’t know why it’s important.

Scientists have long known that before they start kindergarten, children from middle-class or affluent families have heard millions more words than youngsters from low-income families, leaving the poorer children with smaller vocabularies and less ready to succeed academically. Fernald said by some measures, 5-year-olds from low-income families can lag two years behind their peers in tests of language development.

Brain scans support the link, said Dr. Kimberly Noble of Columbia University Medical Center. Early experiences shape the connections that children’s brains form, and kids from higher socio-economic backgrounds devote more “neural real estate” to brain regions involved in language development, she found.

Language Quality Matters

How early does the word gap appear? Around age 18 months, Stanford’s Fernald discovered when she compared how children mentally process the language they hear. Lower-income kids in her study achieved at age 2 the level of proficiency that more affluent kids had reached six months earlier.

To understand why language processing is so important, consider this sentence: “The kitty’s on the bench.” If the youngster knows the word “kitty,” and his brain recognizes it quickly enough, then he can figure out what “bench” means by the context. But if he’s slow to recognize “kitty,” then “bench” flies by before he has a chance to learn it.

Next, Fernald tucked recorders into T-shirts of low-income toddlers in Spanish-speaking households to determine what they heard all day—and found remarkable differences in what’s called child-directed speech. That’s when children are spoken to directly, in contrast to television or conversations they overhear.

One child heard more than 12,000 words of child-directed speech in a day, while another heard a mere 670 words, she found. The youngsters who received more child-directed speech processed language more efficiently and learned words more quickly, she reported.

But it’s not just quantity of speech that matters—it’s quality, Hoff cautioned. She studied bilingual families and found that whatever the language, children fare better when they learn it from a native speaker. In other words, if mom and dad speak Spanish but aren’t fluent in English, it’s better for the child to have a solid grounding in Spanish at home and then learn English later in school.

Next, scientists are testing whether programs that teach parents better ways to talk to tots really do any good. Fernald said preliminary results from one of the first—a program called Habla Conmigo, Spanish for Talk With Me, that enrolls low-income, Spanish-speaking mothers in San Jose, Calif.—are promising.

Fernald analyzed the first 32 families of the 120 the program will enroll. Mothers who underwent the eight-week training are talking more with their toddlers, using higher-quality language, than a control group of parents—and by their second birthday, the children have bigger vocabularies and process language faster, she said Thursday.

via More Talking To Babies Helps Their Brains

Wi-Fi Could Harm Your DNA

17 February, 2014 at 07:46 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Environmental issues, health, Science, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

We are engulfed by electromagnetic fields all day everyday, and the fields are only getting stronger as technology progresses and spreads. The health effects are of increasing concern, as it has been shown they not only affect individuals, but also harm DNA passed along to offspring.

Wi-Fi routers, cell phones, cordless phones, baby monitors, electric blankets, alarm clocks—all of these devices are damaging, says electrical engineer and environmental consultant Larry Gust. He discussed the dangers and how people can protect themselves in a video presented by Electromagnetic Health this week.

Here’s a look at the health effects, recommended maximum levels of exposure, the levels most people are exposed to, and tips on how to protect yourself.

Health Effects Overview

Dr. Martin Blank, who studies the effects of electromagnetic radiation at Columbia University, pointed out in a 2012 lecture uploaded to YouTube that the damage to DNA disrupts normal cell growth and protein production.

He cited studies that have shown DNA damage causes cancer. Illustrating the impact of the field emanated from a simple daily device, he said it has been shown electric blankets greatly increase a woman’s chance of miscarriage.

Electric field health effects:
-Aggravated allergies
-Disturbed sleep
-Night sweats
-Heart palpitations
-Muscle and nerve pain
-Waking tired
-Daytime irritability
-Bed wetting in children

Radio frequency health effects:
-Headaches
-Irritability
-Memory problems
-Inability to concentrate

Electric, Magnetic Field Exposure

Recommendations for the maximum exposure in electric fields vary from about 3 volts per foot at the upper end of the spectrum to 1.5 volts or fewer per foot at the lower end. The typical bedroom has 3 to 9 volts per foot.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the maximum level for a magnetic field in a home should be 3 to 4 milliGauss.

In Marin, Calif., a 4-year-old girl had an 80 milliGauss field around her bed and in the play yard she frequented, recalled Gust. She was lethargic, had no appetite, and had rectal bleeding. As soon as the field was cleared, her symptoms vanished.

Maximum Recommended Levels of Radio Frequency Exposure

The BioInitiative Report was produced by a working group of doctors. Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University of Albany co-edited it. The Building Biology Report was released by the International Institute for Building-Biology & Ecology, a non-profit research and advisory institution.

Typical Radio Frequency Exposure Levels

via Wi-Fi Could Harm Your DNA

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Selfless Love Turns Off Brain’s Need for Rewards

15 February, 2014 at 07:01 | Posted in Body & Mind, Science, Spirituality | Leave a comment
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By Bill Hathaway
Yale University

Romantic love tends to light up the same reward areas of the brain that are activated by cocaine. But new research shows that selfless love—a deep and genuine wish for the happiness of others—actually turns off the brain’s reward centers.

“When we truly, selflessly wish for the well-being of others, we’re not getting that same rush of excitement that comes with, say, a tweet from our romantic love interest, because it’s not about us at all,” says Judson Brewer, adjunct professor of psychiatry at Yale University now at the University of Massachusetts.

As reported in the journal Brain and Behavior, the neurological boundaries between these two types of love become clear in fMRI scans of experienced meditators.

The reward centers of the brain that are strongly activated by a lover’s face (or a picture of cocaine) are almost completely turned off when a meditator is instructed to silently repeat sayings such as “May all beings be happy.”

Such mindfulness meditations are a staple of Buddhism and are now commonly practiced in Western stress reduction programs.

The tranquility of this selfless love for others—exemplified in such religious figures such as Mother Teresa or the Dalai Llama—is diametrically opposed to the anxiety caused by a lovers’ quarrel or extended separation. And it carries its own rewards.

“The intent of this practice is to specifically foster selfless love—just putting it out there and not looking for or wanting anything in return,” Brewer says.

“If you’re wondering where the reward is in being selfless, just reflect on how it feels when you see people out there helping others, or even when you hold the door for somebody the next time you are at Starbucks.”

Source: Yale University

Originally published on www.futurity.org

via Selfless Love Turns Off Brain’s Need for Rewards » The Epoch Times

Scientists With Controversial Views Speak of Blacklisting: How Free Is Science?

14 February, 2014 at 07:26 | Posted in Science | Leave a comment

‘Emotional reaction’ from peers when a scientist breaks from conventional thinking

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

1. Richard von Sternberg

Richard von Sternberg was an editor at the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. He published an article written by Stephen C. Meyer, which had been reviewed by three other scientists. The article mentioned intelligent design might be possible, Von Sternberg explained in the documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”

He said he was fired when his superiors “had a physical, emotional reaction.”

Meyer said: “I was viewed as an intellectual terrorist.”

2. Bill Donato, Archaeologist

Donato has been working for many years to prove that Bimini Wall, a structure off the coast of the Bahamas, was built by a prehistoric civilization, one that far out-dates any civilization thought capable of building the structure.

“I do not fear any professional repercussions, because I know what I’m talking about and they [skeptics] have typically done no investigations of any kind,” Donato wrote in an email to Epoch Times. He said his funding comes from like-minded people and he is confident in his findings, confident that truth will prevail.

“Though reductionism is useful, it also has decided limitations; you can’t build an automobile engine from only understanding a bolt,” he said.

Dr. Greg Little, a psychologist who has taken a keen interest in Bimini and has worked closely with Donato, wrote in a 2005 paper: “I have no expectation that any of the skeptics will actually change their views or even consider any alternatives to their beliefs. … All contradictions to their beliefs are probably perceived as a direct threat to them professionally and psychologically.”

“Skeptics invoke emotion-laden, ridiculing terms,” Little wrote. “For obvious reasons, mainstream archaeologists have avoided Bimini as if it was infected with a deadly virus. They have been convinced by reading others’ summaries of the early research—not by digesting the actual facts—that Bimini has to be nothing but natural beachrock and that a harbor cannot be there—therefore it is not there.”

3. Caroline Crocker, George Mason University

Crocker mentioned intelligent design in a couple of slides while lecturing at the university, she said in “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” She said she was nonetheless disciplined for teaching creationism and fired at the end of the semester. She said she was essentially blacklisted in the academic community for what she called her “science sin.”

4. Michael Egnor, Stony Brook University

Egnor is a neuroscientist at Stony Brook University who completed his medical degree at Columbia University.

He expected criticism for his support of intelligent design theories, but “what has amazed me is the viciousness and the sort of baseness of it,” he said in the documentary. He has, however, retained his position at the university.

Prof. Robert J. Marks II at Baylor University had tenure before expressing a belief in intelligent design. He said “I’m academically safe, but the young people, what has happened to them right now in America because of this scientific gulag is really terrible.”

5. Klaus Dona, Researcher, Exhibit Curator

Klaus Dona says advanced civilizations existed 100 million years ago. Conventional science holds that civilization only emerged some 6,000 or 7,000 years ago.

Dona has traveled the world to research artifacts that don’t seem to have any proper place in history. He toured with a collection of such artifacts to draw attention to what he says are pieces of evidence that our current understanding of history may be incorrect—pieces usually stuffed away in museum basements.

In an interview with Russell Scott on “West Coast Truth,” Dona spoke about his findings and also about researchers who have held similar views and have been penalized.

“They face real problems in their universities or in their communities.” He gave the example of William Brown, a theoretical biophysicist whose DNA research related to the human consciousness got him fired from his university position. He now works for the Resonance Project Foundation and Hawai’i Institute for Unified Physics.

“Scientists are scared to lose their jobs or … [have] problems if they give out some very, very unbelievable—but real—facts,” he said. “It’s not easy for a scientist to deal with these unbelievable things.”

6. Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, Iowa State University

When you say “intelligent design” in a room of academics “them is fighting words,” Gonzalez said in “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”

“People really get emotional about this.”

He feels certain that if he hadn’t spoken of intelligent design, he would have tenure. He says of scientists who hold controversial views: “If they value their careers, they should keep quiet.”


See Epoch Times article “10 Scientific Blunders That Could Shake Your Faith in Science” to read about scientists in history who have been shunned, but whose theories were later vindicated.

via Scientists With Controversial Views Speak of Blacklisting: How Free Is Science? » The Epoch Times

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Mysterious Viking Sword Made With Technology From the Future?

13 February, 2014 at 07:11 | Posted in archaeology, Culture, Science | Leave a comment

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

The Viking sword Ulfberht was made of metal so pure it baffled archaeologists. It was thought the technology to forge such metal was not invented for another 800 or more years, during the Industrial Revolution.

About 170 Ulfberhts have been found, dating from 800 to 1,000 A.D. A NOVA, National Geographic documentary titled “Secrets of the Viking Sword” first aired in 2012 took a look at the enigmatic sword’s metallurgic composition.

In the process of forging iron, the ore must be heated to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit to liquify, allowing the blacksmith to remove the impurities (called “slag”). Carbon is also mixed in to make the brittle iron stronger. Medieval technology did not allow iron to be heated to such a high temperature, thus the slag was removed by pounding it out, a far less effective method.

The Ulfberht, however, has almost no slag, and it has a carbon content three times that of other metals from the time. It was made of a metal called “crucible steel.”

It was thought that the furnaces invented during the industrial revolution were the first tools for heating iron to this extent.

The difference in purity is seen by the consistency of the Ulfberht steel, almost free of slag. (Screenshot/NOVA/National Geographic)


Modern blacksmith Richard Furrer of Wisconsin spoke to NOVA about the difficulties of making such a sword. Furrer is described in the documentary as one of the few people on the planet who has the skills needed to try to reproduce the Ulfberht.

“To do it right, it is the most complicated thing I know how to make,” he said.

He commented on how the Ulfberht maker would have been regarded as possessing magical powers. “To be able to make a weapon from dirt is a pretty powerful thing,” he said. But, to make a weapon that could bend without breaking, stay so sharp, and weigh so little would be regarded as supernatural.

Furrer spent days of continuous, painstaking work forging a similar sword. He used medieval technology, though he used it in a way never before suspected. The tiniest flaw or mistake could have turned the sword into a piece of scrap metal. He seemed to declare his success at the end with more relief than joy.

It is possible that the material and the know-how came from the Middle East. The Volga trade route between the Viking settlements and the Middle East opened at the same time the first Ulfberhts appeared and closed when the last Ulfberhts were produced.


via Mysterious Viking Sword Made With Technology From the Future? » The Epoch Times

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Butterflies in Your Stomach? Here’s Why

12 February, 2014 at 09:56 | Posted in Body & Mind, health, Science | Leave a comment
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via Butterflies in Your Stomach? Here’s Why

Toddlers’ Aggression Is Strongly Associated With Genetic Factors

11 February, 2014 at 07:03 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Science | Leave a comment
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By

MONTREAL—The development of physical aggression in toddlers is strongly associated genetic factors and to a lesser degree with the environment, according to a new study led by Eric Lacourse of the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital. Lacourse’s worked with the parents of identical and non-identical twins to evaluate and compare their behavior, environment, and genetics.

“The gene-environment analyses revealed that early genetic factors were pervasive in accounting for developmental trends, explaining most of the stability and change in physical aggression, ” Lacourse said. “However, it should be emphasized that these genetic associations do not imply that the early trajectories of physical aggression are set and unchangeable. Genetic factors can always interact with other factors from the environment in the causal chain explaining any behavior.”

Over the past 25 years, research on early development of physical aggression has been highly influenced by social learning theories that suggest the onset and development of physical aggression is mainly determined by accumulated exposure to aggressive role models in the social environment and the media.

However, the results of studies on early childhood physical aggression indicate that physical aggression starts during infancy and peaks between the ages of 2 and 4. Although for most children the use of physical aggression initiated by the University of Montreal team peaks during early childhood, these studies also show that there are substantial differences in both frequency at onset and rate of change of physical aggression due to the interplay of genetic and environmental factors over time.

Read more: Toddlers’ Aggression Is Strongly Associated With Genetic Factors » The Epoch Times

All Those Likes and Upvotes Are Bad News for Democracy

10 February, 2014 at 09:17 | Posted in Science, Society | Leave a comment

By Vincent F. Hendricks
University of Copenhagen

Human beings have long been easily influenced by the opinions of others but the social media networks that have come to dominate our lives may be making this “social proof” a problem.

A recent study in the journal Science, describing a randomised experiment on a social news aggregator platform, is testament to this phenomenon. The platform was set up to be similar to crowd-based sites such as Reddit and Digg, where content is displayed according to whether users vote it “up” or “down”. The researchers found that earlier ratings strongly affected future rating behaviour.

The study involved monitoring 101,281 comments made by users over a five-month period. These were viewed more than 10 million times and rated 308,515 times. In collaboration with the service, the researchers had rigged the setup in such a way that whenever a user left a comment it was automatically rendered with either a positive upvote, a negative downvote or no vote at all, for control.

They found that if a comment was given just a single upvote before publication, the likelihood of it receiving another upvote when the first user saw it was 32% higher than for the control group.

Overall, the comments that received an initial upvote came out with an overall rating of 25% higher than the control group, showing popularity really does breed popularity.

The researchers suggest results like these should make us think about the potentially dramatic consequences of the collective judgement phenomenon if it has spread to markets, politics or our health.

Upvoting the vote

It’s hardly news that we are susceptible to social information phenomena like herding, the lemming effect, cascades, bystander-effects and group-thinking. But as technology permeates every aspect of our lives, it has amplified the way in which social information processes distort truth, making us more vulnerable to err than ever and on a much larger scale.

The abundance of information driven by the internet has allowed us to increasingly side-step old methods of gathering the information we need, which seem cumbersome and time consuming now we can get what we need at the click of a button. This also means, however, that we are offered tempting avenues for by-passing traditional gate-keepers of correct information. Honestly, how many of us don’t just rely on what the internet says about some government ruling rather than looking at the original document?

Relying more and more on social media, crowd-based opinion generators and other online “democratic” rating, comment or information acquisition systems not only makes such side-tracking possible and more likely to occur; it also increases the numerical reach of the spreading of false beliefs, be that intentional or not. This is known as an infostorm.

In the eye of the infostorm

Infostorms may be generating a new type of politics: the post-factual democracy. Facts are replaced by opportune narratives and the definition of a good story is one that has gone viral. Politics is simply about maximising voter support.

The American presidential election of 2012 presented some striking examples of this new beast rearing its head. On August 29 2012, the Republican candidate for the vice presidency, Paul Ryan, made a speech that was later summed up by Fox News characterised in three words: “dazzling, deceiving, distracting”. According to the news outlet, Ryan’s address was “an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”

These included trying to blame the Obama administration for the downgrading of the US credit rating instead of the Republicans, who had played their own part when they threatened not to raise the debt ceiling. He likewise tried to pin the closing of a General Motors factory plant in Janesville, Wisconsin on Obama while the plant was actually shut down under George W Bush.

During the election, the Democrats also tried moves that were perpendicular to the narrow track of truth, when they hit out at Mitt Romney over off-shore accounts.

There are quite a few narratives like this out there and they can be very advantageous for a certain political agenda if they can be made to stick and become robust. The internet, and social media in particular, are excellent mediums for padding stories through “likes”, upvotes, comments, reads, threads and views. Over a relatively short period of time, this padding can turn into social proof and cause the narrative to go viral.

But what is viral is not necessarily true, and what is true is not necessarily viral.

But what is viral is not necessarily true, and what is true is not necessarily viral. Maximising votes does not require facts, but then again voter maximisation does not add up to robust democracy. If democracy doesn’t have access to reliable sources of information and instead relies on narratives and social influence then there is no way of distinguishing between junk evidence and facts. Without the ability to make this distinction we may be welcoming the post-factual democracy. Not a pretty picture.

Vincent F. Hendricks does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

via All Those Likes and Upvotes Are Bad News for Democracy » The Epoch Times

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We All Have at Least Three Eyes—One Inside the Head

1 February, 2014 at 07:12 | Posted in Body & Mind, health, Science, Spirituality | Leave a comment

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

The pineal gland in the human brain has the structure of an eye. It has cells that act as light receptors, as the retina does. It has a structure comparable to the vitreous—a gel-like substance between the retina and lens of the eye. It has a structure similar to a lens.

Scientists are still learning much about the pineal body, known in both Eastern spiritualism and Western philosophy as the seat of human consciousness. Eastern beliefs also hold that, on other plains of existence, eyes may be seen all over the body. Western science is slowly coming to understand the pineal body as a third eye.

For many years, scientists have recognized the similarities between the pineal body and the eyes. In 1919, Frederick Tilney and Luther Fiske Warren wrote that the similarities listed above prove the pineal gland was formed to be light-sensitive and possibly to have other visual capabilities.

More recently, in 1995, Dr. Cheryl Craft, chair of the department of cell and neurobiology at the University of Southern California, wrote about what she called the “mind’s eye.”

“Under the skin in the skull of a lizard lies a light-responsive ‘third eye’ which is the … equivalent of the bone-encased, hormone-secreting pineal gland in the human brain. The human pineal is denied access to light directly, but like the lizard’s ‘third eye,’ it shows enhanced release of its hormone, melatonin, during the night,”  she wrote. “The pineal gland is the ‘mind’s eye.’”

A bundle of nerve fibers connects it to the posterior commissure, another part of the brain that is not well-understood.

In the 1950s, researchers discovered the pineal body’s ability to detect light, and to produce melatonin according to the amount of light it detects. In this way, it essentially controls important rhythms in the body. It affects the reproduction and immune systems. The pineal body was previously thought to be vestigial, but this discovery showed it actually has an important function.

In May 2013, another discovery was made that could change the way the pineal body is viewed.

It was found that a rat’s pineal body produces N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). DMT has a widespread presence in organic beings that is not well-understood. Some people ingest DMT to induce psychedelic experiences often characterized as intensely spiritual.

Dr. Rick Strassman conducted U.S. government-approved clinical research at the University of New Mexico in the 1990s, injecting human volunteers with DMT. He calls DMT the “spirit molecule.”

The study that confirmed the presence of DMT in the pineal glands of rats was conducted at the University of Michigan by Dr. Jimo Borjigin and at Louisiana State University by Dr. Steven Barker. It was partially funded by the Cottonwood Research Foundation, which is headed by Dr. Strassman and which supports scientific research into the nature of consciousness. It was published in the journal Biomedical Chromatography.

via We All Have at Least Three Eyes—One Inside the Head » The Epoch Times

More: You Have an Eye Inside Your Head: What’s it For?

Meditators Can Affect Quantum Events

30 January, 2014 at 07:23 | Posted in Body & Mind, meditation, Science, Spirituality | Leave a comment

By Ben Bendig
Epoch Times

In quantum physics, one of the most enduring mysteries is known as the double-slit experiment, which renowned physicist Richard Feynman described as containing “the only mystery.”

So what’s so mysterious about it?

This requires a bit of setup: If you take a light-tight box, and inside shoot photons (basically units of light) through one slit onto photographic paper, you’ll see a pattern where it’s darkest right in the middle, and gets fainter as you move toward the edges. Basically, it’s what you would expect: most of the light hits the middle, and the rest of the photons get deflected to various degrees and stray from the middle in predictable ways.

If you change your apparatus and introduce a second slit, and shoot photons through it, you’ll now get an interference pattern—alternating bands of dark and light. What’s happening is the light is acting like a wave on its way to the photographic plate, and the two beams of light are interfering with each other. Sometimes they reinforce each other, and sometimes they cancel each other out.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting: if you shoot one photon at a time through the device, but don’t know which slit the photon goes through, you still get the interference pattern!

But if you shoot one at a time, and you know which slit it goes through, you’ll just get two clusters, like when there’s only one slit open, but in two places.

Numerous theoretical explanations have been offered to explain this mystery, some of which propose that the act of observation by a conscious entity—a mind—plays a crucial role. The act of observation, in effect, alters the state of matter at the quantum level.

This is controversial, probably because it doesn’t fit with the prevailing scientific worldview that matter and energy are primary, and consciousness is more or less something extra, and has nothing to do with the most basic constituents of the universe. If mind isn’t just as fundamental as matter, how could it affect matter at a quantum level?

There are problems with the view that matter is primary and consciousness comes later, but the best way to demonstrate that is probably with experiments, rather than philosophical arguments. (After all, such philosophical arguments have been going on for a long, long time.)

What if it could be shown experimentally that consciousness can affect the results of the double-slit experiment?

The Experimental Evidence

Enter Dean Radin and colleagues, who carried out a series of six experiments demonstrating just this.

Participants were first familiarized with the double-slit experiment by watching a 5-minute animation, then they were brought into an electrically shielded steel room, sat down a few meters from the double-slit apparatus, and were given instructions to try to influence the beam when told to do so.

During randomly assigned periods lasting from 15 to 30 seconds, participants were cued to relax or to try to influence the apparatus. Each session lasted about 15 minutes, not including instruction.

Radin and colleagues found that during those periods when participants were attending to the device, the interference pattern was significantly reduced, compared to when the device was active but no one was present. That means it looked more like when there’s knowledge of which slot the light passed through.

They controlled for various factors, such as electrical shielding, temperature, and vibration, but none of these could explain away the results: focused attention influenced the pattern of light.

And how good one is at focusing turns out to be an especially important factor. Participants’ amount of meditation experience made all the difference as to whether they could affect the pattern or not—those who did not practice meditation on average failed to show a statistically significant effect.

Somehow, those who regularly practice focusing their attention can have more of an effect on this quantum phenomenon.

This brings up a host of new questions: how does focused attention affect this or other phenomena? Are these meditation practitioners different than other people, or is it the meditation itself that produces the effects? If it is amount of practice, what exactly is it about meditation that produces this capability?

Regardless of the answers to those questions, these six experiments present strong statistical evidence that meditators are capable of influencing quantum events. To get these results by chance, you’d have to run the same set of experiments 150,000 times. In contrast, for most psychology studies, if you would arrive at a particular result by chance one out of 20 times, it is considered a valid effect.

Radin and colleagues also examined whether fluctuations in the Earth’s geomagnetic field might be responsible for the results, because previous studies have shown that these magnetic variations are linked to various phenomena related to human behavior, such as stock market activity, suicides, and cardiac health, as well as differences in performance on extra-sensory perception (ESP) tasks.

They found that the results of these experiments are not explained by these variations, but the variations contributed to how strong the effects were, thus further validating that both these geomagnetic influences and the effect on the double-slit experiment are real.

The study was published in Physics Essays, June 2012.

via Meditators Can Affect Quantum Events » The Epoch Times

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3 Amazing Coincidences in Our Solar System: What Could They Mean?

27 January, 2014 at 07:42 | Posted in astronomy, Science | Leave a comment

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

1. Ancient astronomy seems to predict knowledge of atoms only discovered in 1913

In antiquity, the planets were associated with seven known metals. The planets were also arranged in a traditional order.

In 1913, Henry Gwyn-Jefferies Moseley, discovered a way to measure atomic number, thus numbering the elements.

The traditional ordering of the planets, common thousands of years before Moseley’s discovery, corresponds to the order of elements Moseley discovered.


This coincidence is featured in the book “A Little Book of Coincidence in the Solar System” by John Martineau.

2. Patterns within the stars and galaxies appear to line up with the direction of our sun’s motion

Dragan Huterer, a physics professor at the University of Michigan and a theoretical cosmologist, explains in an Astronomy article how some patterns observed in the universe are either astounding coincidences or are signs of a structure beyond science’s current understanding of the solar system and the universe.

He looks at cosmic microwave background, which is a snapshot of the early universe.

Photons, protons, and electrons swarmed in a dense mass in the early universe. That mass was then released to travel through the cosmos. Huterer describes the cosmic microwave background as “a fog of microwave photons coming at us from all directions, filling the entire universe.”

An analysis of the warm and cool spots of this fog reveals basic patterns. These patterns show certain alignments that have less than a 0.1 percent likelihood of happening by chance, says Huterer.

Kate Land and Joao Magueijo of Imperial College in London have, for example, found some enigmatic temperature alignments within the cosmic microwave background and also alignments with the motion of our sun through space.

“They have humorously dubbed this odd alignment—apparently the same one we found—the ‘axis of evil,’” says Huterer.

He writes: “Many cosmologists find the various CMB [cosmic microwave background] alignments extremely unlikely to have occurred by chance. Moreover, nearly all the alignments point to the solar system’s motion or the orientation of the ecliptic plane. Is there a deeper explanation?”


3. Measurements correspond mathematically in strange ways

Radius of the Moon = 1080 miles = 3 x 360

Radius of the Earth = 3960 miles = 11 x 360

Radius of Earth + Radius of Moon = 5040 miles = 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 x 7 = 7 x 8 x 9 x 10

Diameter of Earth = 7930 miles = 8 x 9 x 10 x 11

There are 5280 feet in a mile = (10 x 11 x 12 x 13) – (9 x 10 x 11 x 12)

This coincidence is also featured by Martineau; the measurements were verified by Epoch Times.

via 3 Amazing Coincidences in Our Solar System: What Could They Mean? » The Epoch Times

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