Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Scientists Discover Plants That Can Learn and Remember

New research from a team of scientists at the University of Western Australia will change the way you think about the difference between plants and animals. Mimosa pundica plants, they found, can learn and remember, despite not having a brain. Those active little fern-like things always did seem sort of smart, though, didn't they?

Ganja Yoga: Marijuana plus Meditation

By David Silverberg / Globe and Mail

They chat away breezily between vaporizer tokes, sometimes veering off into conspiracy theories about the government or discussions of the healthiest way to smoke marijuana. Then the 12 yoga lovers extend their arms and breathe deeply. Yoga mats cover the floor. A guitarist strums chords as incense weaves its tendrils across the room.

As the light haze of pot smoke dissipates in the downtown Toronto living room, the ganja yoga session begins.

“When you’re high, you can focus better on your breath,” says Dee Dussault, who runs a monthly session of “cannabis-enhanced yoga” at her home dubbed Follow Your Bliss.

She says smoking marijuana in small doses before a yoga class also makes students more receptive to the poses and philosophies behind the activities. “For some people, it makes them uninhibited and open to the idea of the heart chakra, for example.”

Heart chakras aside, ganja yoga has the THC whiff of being the latest yoga fad, following on the heels of hot yoga, circus yoga, pre- and postnatal yoga, acro yoga (acrobatics), even hip-hop yoga. While cannabis has been deeply entwined with spiritualism over the centuries, some yoga practitioners say that a pure body is ideal for the exercise and that smoking pot could cause an unwieldy imbalance. As one online-forum commenter opined: “Why should we try to purify our body and soul through yoga if we later intoxicate it again with marijuana or other substances?”


Monday, April 28, 2014

Is Non-conformity a Mental Illness?

Modern psychiatry has become a hotbed of corruption, particularly the kind that seeks to demonize and declare mentally ill anyone who deviates from what is regarded as the norm. This is abundantly evident in the latest installment of the industry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, which dubs people who do not conform to what those in charge declare to be normal as mentally insane.

The so-called "condition" for why a person might choose to resist conformity has been labeled by the psychiatric profession as "oppositional defiant disorder," or ODD. The new DSM defines this made-up disease as an "ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior," and also lumps it in alongside attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, another made-up condition whose creator, Dr. Leon Eisenberg, admitted it to be phony on his death bed.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Salesman's Guide to Manipulating Your Friends

By Alex Mayyasi / Source: Priceonomics Blog

A common convention used when pricing a product is to offer 3 different prices - a premium option, a normal option, and a budget option. Even if you would prefer to offer just one product at one price, the three tier option is usually better.

Why? Because when it comes to making decisions based on prices, people are easily manipulated. Here is a good example that summarizes an experiment from the book Priceless:
"People were offered 2 kinds of beer: a premium beer for $2.50 and a bargain beer for $1.80. Around 80% chose the more expensive beer.
"Now a third beer was introduced, a super bargain beer for $1.60 in addition to the previous two. Now 80% bought the $1.80 beer and the rest the $2.50 beer. Nobody bought the cheapest option.
"Third time around, they removed the $1.60 beer and replaced it with a super premium $3.40 beer. Most people chose the $2.50 beer, a small number the $1.80 beer and around 10% opted for the most expensive $3.40 beer. Some people will always buy the most expensive option, no matter the price."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How to Read the Mind of a Coma Patient

"Imagine you wake up, locked inside a box," says Adrian Owen. "It's only just big enough to hold your body but sufficiently small that you can't move.

"It's a perfect fit, down to every last one of your fingers and toes. It's a strange box because you can listen to absolutely everything going on around you, yet your voice cannot be heard. In fact, the box fits so tightly around your face and lips that you can't speak, or make a noise. Although you can see everything going on around the box, the world outside is oblivious to what's going on inside.

"Inside, there's plenty of time to think. At first, this feels like a game, even one that is strangely amusing. Then, reality sets in. You're trapped. You see and hear your family lamenting your fate. Over the years, the carers forget to turn on the TV. You're too cold. Then you're too hot. You're always thirsty. The visits of your friends and family dwindle. Your partner moves on. And there's nothing you can do about it."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

8 People Who Got Superpowers From Brain Trauma

Most of us have wished we might suddenly wake up richer, taller, thinner or better-looking at some point. But Jason Padgett really did wake up a changed man.

Previously a school drop-out who worked in his dad's furniture shop and was the life and soul of the party, at the age of 31 he was left a maths and physics genius overnight after being hit on the head during a mugging.

Diagnosed with acquired savant syndrome, in which brain injuries turn previously normal people into experts in maths, art or music, Jason, 43, is one of few people in the world who can draw fractals by hand. The images are repeated geometric patters and can take him weeks – if not months to finish.

He's in good company. While a head injury is undoubtedly a traumatic experience, for some it provided an unexpected epiphany, too.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to Become A Master of Life

By Stuart Goldsmith, Author of The Midas Method

Do you sometimes feel stressed and fed-up with life? Want to be happy? Joyful? Well I wonder if joy really is the state to aim for... Is it even possible?

When you think about it, intense happiness and joy are, by their nature, short lived. Note the use of the words 'by their nature.' This implies that you cannot artificially sustain joy, say by maintaining or increasing the stimulus which produced it.

You know those Amazonian insect-eating plants? Once an insect has triggered the plant to close, no amount of further stimulation will have the slightest effect for several hours. You can put that plant on a lead and take it for a walk through a swarm of flies, and its lips will remain stubbornly sealed.

Our 'joy' mechanism is similar.

Once triggered, it activates, and then a certain time period must elapse before it can be triggered again. It is has filled its purpose; I will explain what that is in a moment.

The same is true of intense happiness. We feel this fleeting, wonderfully positive response when one of our needs starts to be met.

Carefully note those last words.

I did not say 'when one of our needs is fully met.' Joy or intense happiness is our reward to ourselves for taking good care of the organism, just a pain is the opposite.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Interview with a Time Traveller

As someone who has personally known the author of Seven Secrets of Time Travel: Mystic Voyages of the Energy Body for more than twenty years, I can vouch for Von Braschler's really profound comprehension of practical spirituality. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his latest book, which is not some New Age, airy-fairy attempt at wish-fulfilment. 

Rather, from his grasp of classical philosophy and science, he has developed a convincing methodology for transcending time, not via a device or machine, but through the agency of human consciousness. It is not some futuristic technology, but present-day technique, Von Braschler demonstrates, that allows us to cross the time barrier.

Read the full story here...

Can a Simple Switch in Your Brain Make You Happier?

By Janice Mawhinney
Source: Toronto Star

Can you learn to be a happier person by repeatedly visualizing two tiny parts of your brain and imagining yourself tweaking them?

Colorado teacher and musician Neil Slade says you can.

Slade has developed brain exercises, described on http://www.neilslade.com, aimed at lifting your spirits and calming your fears. The website has become something of an underground sensation, attracting an average of 750,000 hits a month through word of mouth alone.

Slade suggests visualizing part of the primitive brain called the amygdala, commonly described as the seat of emotional experience. The two amygdalae, each about the size and shape of an almond, are located on either side of the head, between the eye and ear, about an inch in. Studies have shown the amygdalae have a part to play in everything from memory storage to anxiety.

Slade recommends locating your amygdalae in your thoughts, and visualizing a switch on each one, with the click-back position turning on the fear feelings, and the click-forward position turning on feelings of pleasure. Picture yourself purposefully clicking the switch forward.


Friday, April 18, 2014

FREE Cosmic Energy Secrets Program

I've got a very special free gift for you today that I'm sure you'll find very useful.

It's called "Cosmic Energy Secrets" and you can download it for free here.

If you're interested to:
- Master an ancient secret that will enable you to manipulate the most powerful force in the universe to attain incredible health and well-being.
- Accelerate any healing process of yours through a long forgotten oriental art.
- Eliminate common ailments and start finding inner peace and serenity in your life.
- And lots more.

If you answered yes to any of the above...then you'll definitely want to download your FREE copy of "Cosmic Energy Secrets" here...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How to Destroy Your Best Excuses

I didn't have any money so couldn't start a business. And even if I started one, I didn't have an office, or clients, and I was too shy to cold-call clients. I didn't have connections or rich parents or anything for that matter.

I didn't have talent. I just got lucky. Nobody will hire me. I don't have the right equipment. I couldn't write a book because I had no publisher. I couldn't do stand-up because I was afraid people would heckle me. I'm afraid to write a blog post often because what would people think?

All of my excuses turned out to be blessings in disguise. There's always a gap between "what I have now" and "what I would like."

The gap is all of your excuses. All it takes to close the gap is to be creative and work your way through the excuses. I repeat: this is ALL IT TAKES.

Your excuses are simply the roadmap that takes you from "here" to "there". Good luck on your travels.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Get Your Next Exorcism Through Your Smartphone

One weekend in February, Archbishop Isaac Kramer got called to a home in Parma, Ohio, for what began as a simple house exorcism and turned into a real trial—the possessed 19-year-old growled, spoke in Latin, and even threw his friend across the room.

"Where the [possessed] man was standing, all the snow melted under and around his feet, and he was barefoot and acted like it didn't even bother him," said Isaac, who is the primate of the Anglo-Catholic Church, a branch of Protestantism that borrows heavily from Catholicism.

"When I started doing the blessing of the house, he would run out of the room I was in. He wouldn't want to be in there. All of a sudden, he was running around without a shirt on, and there were red rashes all over his chest… Then he would begin growling at me."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to Prime Your Brain for Optimum Performance

Inside your skull is a massive supercomputer. You own it free and clear. With its 100 billion neurons, and with a typical neuron linking to 1000 to 10,000 other neurons, your highly networked brain is incredibly powerful and capable.

Pick up a simple object nearby like a pen or a spoon, and look at it. Turn it upside down. Spin it around. Notice that your brain is able to recognize the object no matter how you position it. You can change the lighting by putting the object in shadow. You can obscure part of it from view. You can bend or break it. And your brain still recognizes that object simply and easily. Even a child can do this.

But what's happening under the hood? Your visual cortex, consisting of about 538 million neurons, is doing an enormous amount of parallel processing on the signals it's receiving from your eyes. Your visual cortex detects edges, evaluates color, tracks motion, interprets reflection, and more — all in real time.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Meditation for Students: Top 10 Ways Meditation Boosts Your Brain & Body

As the semester draws to a close, many college students are starting to feel the pressure of completing projects, writing final papers, giving presentations, and of course, studying for finals. 

Add to that holding down a job and you've got a perfect storm of stress. How to calm your mind? Meditation may be the answer.

Scientific studies are increasingly revealing some pretty amazing benefits of regular meditation practice, both for the general public and students in particular.
Meditation can help you better deal with stress and may make your life as a student healthier and happier overall, a great tradeoff for just a few minutes of mindful thinking a day.

Read on to learn about some of the latest and most telling studies on student meditation to learn the amazing benefits it can offer you this finals season and beyond.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Virtual Heroin: Are Video Games Our Next Hard Drug?

So video games are addictive—this we know.

It comes down to dopamine, one of the brain's basic signaling molecules. Emotionally, we feel dopamine as pleasure, engagement, excitement, creativity, and a desire to investigate and make meaning out of the world. It's released whenever we take risks, or encounter novelty. From an evolutionary standpoint, it reinforces exploratory behavior.

More importantly, dopamine is a motivator. It's released when we have the expectation of reward. And once this neurotransmitter becomes hardwired into a psychological reward loop, the desire to get more of that reward becomes the brain's overarching preoccupation. Cocaine, widely considered the most addictive drug on the planet, does little more than flood the brain with dopamine and block its reuptake (sort of like SSRI's block the reuptake of serotonin).

Video games are full of novelty, risk-taking, reward-anticipation, and exploratory behavior. They're dopamine-production machines dressed up with joysticks and better graphics. And this is why video games are so addictive.

Friday, April 04, 2014

The Billionaires Who Want to Live Forever

Of all the things money can't buy—love, happiness, time machines—immortality is one we sure pay a lot for. According to the market-research firm Global Industry Analysts, the anti-aging industry generates more than $80 billion per year. All this despite the fact that there are no proven ways of extending human lifespan.

In the past decade, longevity research has become a legitimate academic pursuit for molecular biologists. Scientists are trying to untangle the basic mechanisms that underlie aging, and the idea is catching on that growing old isn't just a fact of life but rather a disease that can be cured through medical interventions. Some of the biggest proponents of radical life extension also happen to be billionaires. There's something about amassing more money than you can ever possibly use that naturally makes you hunger for ways to stay alive longer—if not forever.

Read the full story here...

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Hypnotist Robbers Strike in Germany

At least two thieves have been reported as hypnotizing women in Elmshorn and robbing them of their jewelry and other items — then temporarily leaving them without memory of the thefts.

Cops in Elmshorn, Germany, are on the lookout for robbers who allegedly hypnotize their victims before taking their valuables.

The two women, believed to be Russian, allegedly targeted a 66-year-old in front of a store in Elmshorn, Schleswig-Holstein, last Monday.

And police believe there have been other victims who may not even know they've been hit.