Friday, February 29, 2008

The Man with the World's Best Memory

By Dinesh Ramde,
The Associated Press

For as long as he can remember, Brad Williams has been able to recall the most trifling dates and details about his life.

For example, he can tell you it was Aug. 18, 1965, when his family stopped at Red Barn Hamburger during a road trip through Michigan. He was eight years old at the time and he had a burger, of course.

"It was a Wednesday," recalled Williams, now 51. "We stayed at a motel that night in Clare, Michigan. It seemed more like a cabin."

To Williams and his family, his ability to recall events - and especially dates - is a regular source of amusement.

But, according to one expert, Williams' skill might rank his memory among the best in the world. Doctors are now studying him, and a woman with similar talents, hoping to achieve a deeper understanding of memory.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Prozac Doesn't Work, say scientists

By Sarah Boseley,
Health Editor, The Guardian

Prozac, the bestselling antidepressant taken by 40 million people worldwide, does not work and nor do similar drugs in the same class, according to a major review released today.

The study examined all available data on the drugs, including results from clinical trials that the manufacturers chose not to publish at the time. The trials compared the effect on patients taking the drugs with those given a placebo or sugar pill.

When all the data was pulled together, it appeared that patients had improved - but those on placebo improved just as much as those on the drugs.

The only exception is in the most severely depressed patients, according to the authors - Prof Irving Kirsch from the department of psychology at Hull University and colleagues in the US and Canada. But that is probably because the placebo stopped working so well, they say, rather than the drugs having worked better.

"Given these results, there seems little reason to prescribe antidepressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, unless alternative treatments have failed," says Kirsch. "This study raises serious issues that need to be addressed surrounding drug licensing and how drug trial data is reported."


Monday, February 25, 2008

Six-Minute Nap May Boost Memory

Source: BBC

Even the shortest of catnaps may be enough to improve performance in memory tests, say German scientists.

Just six minutes "shut-eye" for volunteers was followed by significantly better recall of words, New Scientist magazine reported.

"Ultra-short" sleep could launch memory processing in the brain, they suggested.

One UK researcher disagreed, saying that longer sleep was needed to have an impact on memory.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Is the Universe Dreaming Itself?

By Paul Levy

When you begin to spiritually awaken, it is like waking up inside of a dream and recognizing that everything you are experiencing is nothing other than a very convincing projection, or display of your mind. The boundary between inner and outer, between dreaming and waking starts to dissolve, and you begin to realize that the same dreaming mind that is dreaming your dreams at night is dreaming your life. You realize that there is a Deeper Dreaming Self that is having a dream and we are it!

This Deeper Dreaming Self is active in us at all times and is continually seeking to express it itself. If we recognize the dreaming process that is happening right now, we can step into it and help it unfold consciously. It will activate our own inherent process of awakening and reconnect us with ourselves.

It is as though there is a dream that is trying to be dreamt through each and all of us -- both individually and collectively. The universe is seen as a field not separate from and through which this deeper, dreaming process is continually expressing it itself.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Cure Within: Can the Mind Heal the Body?

By Gregory M. Lamb
Source: Christian Science Monitor

Americans who watched the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on TV and reported feeling anxiety afterward also experienced increased rates of various heart ailments in the following three years.

That's the conclusion of a recent scholarly article in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Such research, showing intriguing connections between physical health and states of mind, has come in a steady flow for decades. While some studies are challenged or discredited, others replace them.

Ordinary Americans seem more comfortable than medical researchers with the idea that thoughts can control experience. The idea is embedded in popular culture: In the 1950 musical "Guys and Dolls" the humorous song "Adelaide's Lament" tells the story of a woman whose frustration in not getting married brings on a cold.

But what exactly is the relationship between mind and body? How strong is it? How is it evoked and how does it work?


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Futurists Pick Top Challenges of Next 50 Years

By Alok Jha
Source: The Guardian

Reversing the effects of ageing, reprogramming genes to prevent diseases and producing clean energy are some of the biggest challenges for the next 50 years, according to a group of leading experts.

The pace of advances in technology means the rate of progress will be 30 times faster in the next half century, futurologists believe - and that opens up the prospect of innovation in many fields.

Better understanding of our genes could lead to more personalised medicines and longer, healthier lives; communication technology should get faster and cheaper; and we will hopefully find more sustainable ways of living in our environment.

The 18-stong team of scientists, entrepreneurs and thinkers was convened by the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to identify problems for technology in the 21st century that, if solved, would change the world.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Did 9/11 Alter the Content of Our Dreams?

By Josh Hill
Source: Daily Galaxy

Dreams have often been seen as untouchable by the world around us, often providing us with an escape, from the real world. No doubt our nightmares affect us, but often they are a portrayal of an entirely made up event.

However according to a new study published in the February 1 issue of the journal SLEEP, the traumatic and devastating events of September 11, 2001, have made an indelible impact on the dreams of American’s.

The study was authored by Ernest Hartmann, MD, of Tufts University and Newton Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Boston, Mass., who sought out peoples who had been recording their dreams. By posting notices on the website of the Association of Professional Sleep Societies and the International Association for the Study of Dreams, they were contacted by 44 people.

The subjects sent in 20 dreams each, 10 from before 9/11 and 10 from after. Of the 44, 11 were men and 33 were women, and none lived in Manhattan, or were related to anyone who had died in the attacks.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Top 10 Mysteries of the Human Mind

By Jeanna Bryner
Live Science

Much of what we don't understand about being human is simply in our heads. The brain is a befuddling organ, as are the very questions of life and death, consciousness, sleep, and much more. Here's a heads-up on what's known and what's not understood about your noggin.


If you were to ask 10 people what dreams are made of, you’d probably get 10 different answers. That’s because scientists are still unraveling this mystery. One possibility: Dreaming exercises brain by stimulating the trafficking of synapses between brain cells. Another theory is that people dream about tasks and emotions that they didn’t take care of during the day, and that the process can help solidify thoughts and memories. In general, scientists agree that dreaming happens during your deepest sleep, called Rapid Eye Movement (REM).

Slumber Sleuth

Fruit flies do it. Tigers do it. And humans can't seem to get enough of it. No, not that. We're talking about shut-eye, so crucial we spend more than a quarter of our lives at it. Yet the underlying reasons for sleep remain as puzzling as a rambling dream. One thing scientists do know: Sleep is crucial for survival in mammals. Extended sleeplessness can lead to mood swings, hallucination, and in extreme cases, death. There are two states of sleep—non-rapid eye movement (NREM), during which the brain exhibits low metabolic activity, and rapid eye movement (REM), during which the brain is very active. Some scientists think NREM sleep gives your body a break, and in turn conserves energy, similar to hibernation. REM sleep could help to organize memories. However, this idea isn’t proven, and dreams during REM sleep don’t always correlate with memories.

Phantom Feelings

It’s estimated that about 80 percent of amputees experience sensations, including warmth, itching, pressure and pain, coming from the missing limb. People who experience this phenomenon, known as "phantom limb," feel sensations as if the missing limb were part of their bodies. One explanation says that the nerves area where the limb severed create new connections to the spinal cord and continue to send signals to the brain as if the missing limb was still there. Another possibility is that the brain is "hard-wired" to operate as if the body were fully intact—meaning the brain holds a blueprint of the body with all parts attached.

Mission Control

Residing in the hypothalamus of the brain, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or biological clock, programs the body to follow a 24-hour rhythm. The most evident effect of circadian rhythm is the sleep-wake cycle, but the biological clock also impacts digestion, body temperature, blood pressure, and hormone production. Researchers have found that light intensity can adjust the clock forward or backward by regulating the hormone melatonin. The latest debate is whether or not melatonin supplements could help prevent jet lag—the drowsy, achy feeling you get when "jetting" across time zones.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

77 Brain Hacks to Improve Your Learning

Source: Online Education Database

If someone granted you one wish, what do you imagine you would want out of life that you haven't gotten yet? For many people, it would be self-improvement and knowledge.

New knowledge is the backbone of society's progress. Great thinkers such as Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and others' quests for knowledge have led society to many of the marvels we enjoy today.

Your quest for knowledge doesn't have to be as Earth-changing as Einstein's, but it can be an important part of your life, leading to a new job, better pay, a new hobby, or simply knowledge for knowledge's sake — whatever is important to you as an end goal.

Life-changing knowledge does typically require advanced learning techniques. In fact, it's been said that the average adult only uses 10% of his/her brain. Imagine what we may be capable of with more advanced learning techniques.

Here are 77 tips related to knowledge and learning to help you on your quest. A few are specifically for students in traditional learning institutions; the rest for self-starters, or those learning on their own. Happy learning.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Zen Is Boring

By Brad Warner
Source: Sit Down and Shut Up

Let's face it. Zen is boring. You couldn't find a duller, more tedious practice than Zazen. The philosophy is dry and unexciting. It's amazing to me anyone reads this page at all. Don't you people know you could be playing Tetris, right now? That there are a million free porno sites out there? Get a life, why don't you?!

Joshu Sasaki, a Zen teacher from the Rinzai Sect, once said that Buddhist teachers always try to make students long for the Buddha World, but that if the students knew how really dry and tasteless the Buddha World actually was, they'd never want to go.

He's right. Look at Zen teachers. Not a one of them has any sense of fashion. They sit around staring at blank walls. Ask them about levitation, they won't tell you. Ask them about life after death, they change the subject. Ask them about miracles and they start spouting nonsense about carrying buckets of water and chopping up fire wood. They go to bed early and wake up early. Zen is a philosophy for nerds.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Heal Yourself With Sunlight

By Andreas Moritz
Author of Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation

The time when one’s immediate natural impulse on the first sunny spring day was to get outside and enjoy it is long gone.

Only the very courageous or “careless” who defy the grim warnings from medical mandarins and cancer specialists, wholeheartedly endorsed by the sunscreen industry, dare to venture forth into the “dangerous” sun.

Unless they are covered head to toe with sun protection factor (SPF) 60, they gamble with their lives, or so they are made to believe, by those who serve their own vested interests.

Fortunately, this view is beginning to crumble in the blatant absence of scientific proof that sunlight causes disease. What is being discovered instead is that lack of sun exposure is one of the greatest risk factors for disease. Very few people know that not getting enough sun kills 50,000 people from cancer deaths every year in the US alone. As shown later, these are deaths that are easily preventable through the Vitamin D produced by the body in response to regular sun exposure.


Monday, February 11, 2008

What the Maharishi Gave Science

By Sharon Begley
Source: Newsweek

What the Hindu teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi gave the Beatles is the stuff of pop-music legend. During their otherwise disastrous stay in his ashram overlooking the Ganges River in northern India in the spring of 1968, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison experienced a creative surge unlike any they ever had before.

As biographer Bob Spitz recounted in his 2005 book “The Beatles,” the three retreated from the meditation sessions they had signed on for and instead spent their time writing dozens of songs. (Ringo Starr left after a week, saying he couldn’t stomach the spicy Indian food.) Many of those songs made it onto the White Album.

The other legacy the Maharishi, who died on Tuesday, gave the West is more controversial. In 1971 he founded Maharishi International University, in Iowa (now called Maharishi University of Management), which has become the center for studies of Transcendental Meditation (TM).

Almost immediately—research papers on the benefits of TM appeared as early as 1974—scientists there began researching how TM affects everything from job satisfaction to blood pressure to anxiety.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

What I Learned From Atheists

By Karl Moore,
CEO of Self Help Street

Sometimes, I admit, I lose faith.

I lose faith in goodness. I lose faith in humanity. I lose faith in God.

Sometimes, maybe, you do too.

As many of you know, I love discussing the exploration of space. To gain a perspective of where you are in the universe right now, just try watching the "zoom out" introduction to Contact.

But once you get beyond our current galaxy, you tend to disappear.

You're lost in a silent world.


Friday, February 08, 2008

The Enlightenment Machine

By Brad Warner
Source: Sit Down and Shut Up

I take back everything I said in my book and in this web page about the Zen process being long and difficult, requiring years of practice and a will to face the truth no matter how hard you may want to resist.

A guy who reads this webpage kindly sent me a copy of Andrew Cohen's magazine What Is Enlightenment? so I could check out their review of my book (they thought it sucked ass). And while leafing through the rag and chuckling over the dialogue between Andy and his pal Ken Wilber I came across an ad headlined "How to Meditate Deeper Than a Zen Monk!"

According to the ad, a powerful new audio technology called Holosync will allow you to reach the same rarified state of enlightened uber-consciousness as the great Zen monks of old in minutes. It's based, they say, "in part on Nobel Prize winning research on how complex systems (human beings, for instance) evolve to higher levels of functioning."

Wow. Nobel Prize winning research! Complex systems! Higher levels of functioning! "A precise combination of audio signals gives the brain a very specific stimulus that creates states of deep meditation." And here I've wasted decades staring at blank walls for hours on end when all I had to do was slap on a pair of headphones and "achieve super deep meditation at the touch of a button!" There's even a toll free number you can call to receive the tape for free (a $19.95 value!).


Scientists Discover Way to Reverse Memory Loss

By Jeremy Laurance,
Health Editor, The Independent

Scientists performing experimental brain surgery on a man aged 50 have stumbled across a mechanism that could unlock how memory works.

The accidental breakthrough came during an experiment originally intended to suppress the obese man's appetite, using the increasingly successful technique of deep-brain stimulation.

Electrodes were pushed into the man's brain and stimulated with an electric current. Instead of losing appetite, the patient instead had an intense experience of déjà vu. He recalled, in intricate detail, a scene from 30 years earlier. More tests showed his ability to learn was dramatically improved when the current was switched on and his brain stimulated.

Scientists are now applying the technique in the first trial of the treatment in patients with Alzheimer's disease. If successful, it could offer hope to sufferers from the degenerative condition, which affects 450,000 people in Britain alone, by providing a "pacemaker" for the brain.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Way of the Business Warrior

By David Cameron
Creator of The Wealth Fundamentals Pack

What is The Way of the Business Warrior? If business is your
game, get ready for the ride of your life.

First, let us begin with the obvious. In your business, you
either make the sale, or you don't. You do or you don't, there is no try. You get the customer or you don't, there is no try. Your business makes a profit or it doesn't, there is no try. There is no in between. Why? Why do things work this way?

There is an order by which all things arise and work. Every
moment is a moment of new creation. On and off states, called dualities, is what we experience in all of life, including business.

Here is a question for you. Do you think our moments arise
by accident or as an exactly perfect outcome of a series of natural laws? Remember, there is no middle ground. It is either all accidental or all perfection, but not a mixture of the two.

If it was all accidental, none of the laws of physics would work, biology would not work, nothing would work. Therefore, it is all a precise outcome of set laws. The Way of the Business Warrior is the one that gets you on the path to discovering the truth behind what happens in your business.

Now you can make your life a glorious adventure financially
by understanding the totality of experience and creation.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

'Beatles Guru' Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Dies

By Lily Koppel
Source: New York Times

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who introduced transcendental meditation to the West and gained fame in the 1960s as the spiritual guru to the Beatles, died Tuesday at his home and headquarters in Vlodrop, the Netherlands. He is believed to have been in his 90s. Steven Yellin, a spokesman for the organization, confirmed the Maharishi’s death but did not give a cause.

On Jan. 11, the Maharishi announced that his public work was finished and that he would use his remaining time to complete a long-running series of published commentaries on the Veda, the oldest sacred Hindu text.

The Maharishi was both an entrepreneur and a monk, a spiritual man who sought a world stage from which to espouse the joys of inner happiness. His critics called his organization a cult business enterprise. And in the press, in the 1960s and ’70s, he was often dismissed as a hippie mystic, the “Giggling Guru,” recognizable in the familiar image of him laughing, sitting cross-legged in a lotus position on a deerskin, wearing a white silk dhoti with a garland of flowers around his neck beneath an oily, scraggly beard.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Have an Average Day

By Michael Neill
Source: Catalyst Magazine

I once was talking to my friend and mentor Steve Chandler when he said to me, “Have an average day!” Taken aback, I asked him what he meant. Isn’t the idea to have great days, even exceptional ones?

He told me a story about one of his mentors, Lyndon Duke, who studied the linguistics of suicide. After receiving doctorates from two universities, Duke began analyzing suicide notes for linguistic clues that could be used to predict and prevent suicidal behavior in teenagers.

Duke came to believe that the enemy of happiness is “the curse of exceptionality.” When everyone is trying to be exceptional, nearly everyone fails because the exceptional becomes commonplace, and those few who do succeed feel isolated and estranged from their peers.

We’re left with a world in which a few people feel envied, misunderstood, and alone, while thousands of others feel like failures for not being good, special, rich, or happy enough.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Spanish Version of "Lots Of Money Fast" Now Available

By Stuart Lichtman
Author of "How to Get Lots of Money for Anything -- Fast!"

I'm extremely pleased to announce that, after over a year of work, we have now fully translated my complete "How to Get Lots of Money for
Anything - Fast" eBook system (the 226 page main book, 14 Bonuses, 6 Audio Seminar Segments and the complete free Minicourse).

The Spanish title is "Cómo Obtener Mucho Dinero Para Cualquier Cosa Que Usted Desee - ¡Rápidamente!"