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Neuroscientists Discover a Unique Link Between Breathing and The Brain

By Anna Hunt | Waking Times

The relationship between the breath and the brain is very powerful. We know that much. Yet, we’ve understood very little about the mechanics behind this relationship. Until now. In a new study, neuroscientists were able to identify exactly how breathing changes the brain.

Breathing and the Brain

Our ability to control the breath is one way we differ from other mammals. Most animals do not alter their breathing. Instead, activities such as running or resting are responsible for changes in breath patterns. Thus, human capacity to alter our breath volitionally, in addition to our ability to suppress thoughts and control emotions, makes our brain unique.

This extraordinary ability regarding breathing is the foundation for therapies that focus on and regulate the breath. For example, a common technique used during Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is square breathing. This method involves slowing and pausing the breath. Consequently, this exercise helps patient suffering from anxiety to relax.

Practitioners of qi gong, yoga and tai chi use similar breath exercises. They utilize the breath to improve physical health, as well as the mind. These practices have helped many people become calmer, healthier and happier. Yet, they offer little insight into what’s really happening in the physical body.

How Deep Breathing Affects the Brain

Post-doctoral researcher Dr. Jose Herrero, in collaboration with Dr. Ashesh Mehta, a renowned neurosurgeon at North Shore University Hospital in Long Island, took to exploring our unique ability to control the breath and its effects. Furthermore, they investigated how breathing can help us access and control parts of the brain that are typically inaccessible.

These scientists found that “volitional control and awareness of breathing engage distinct but overlapping brain circuits.” What does this mean? Basically, when we voluntarily control the breath, even if we just focus on the breath, we create additional access and synchronicity between different parts of the brain.

Dr. Herrero and Dr. Mehta’s study began by observing patients when they were breathing naturally. Then, they gave their patients a task of clicking a button when a certain image appeared on a computer screen. When they measured respiration during this exercise, the activity ensured that the patients were not focused on their breathing.

Next, the researchers told their patients to speed up the pace of breathing. They also asked the patients to count their breaths. The scientists discovered that during this exercise, the brain changed. Controlled breathing activated different areas of the brain. This included parts involved in both automatic and intentional breathing.

The findings provide neural support for advice individuals have been given for millennia: during times of stress, or when heightened concentration is needed, focusing on one’s breathing or doing breathing exercises can indeed change the brain. This has potential application to individuals in a variety of professions that require extreme focus and agility.

First-hand Look at the Brain

What makes this study unique is that it did not use imaging technologies such as the EEG to infer the neural activity. Instead, it involved monitoring brain activity using electrodes implanted in the human brain. This gave the researchers a rare opportunity to look directly inside the brains of their patients.

The study participants were patients undergoing treatment for epilepsy that doctors couldn’t control with medication. Thus, neurosurgeons surgically implanted electrodes in these patients’ brains to identify the location of seizure onset. These patients were kept in the hospital for days, with electrodes continuously monitoring their brain. Thus, the researchers were able to observe first-hand the relationship between breathing and the brain.

Final Thoughts

For a seasoned yogini like me, hearing that deep breathing alters the mind is nothing new. Personal experience has shown me that breathing can slow down my thoughts and help me relax during moments of overwhelm and stress. It’s exciting to see new research that gives a more tangible look at something that’s often very objective and personal. Please share if and how you have benefited from breathing exercises.

About the Author

Anna Hunt is the founder of AwarenessJunkie.com, an online community paving the way to better health, a balanced life, and personal transformation. She is also the co-editor and staff writer for WakingTimes.com. Anna is a certified Hatha yoga instructor and founder of Atenas Yoga Center. She enjoys raising her three children and being a voice for optimal human health and wellness. Visit her essential oils store here.

This article (Neuroscientists Discover a Unique Link Between Breathing and the Brain) was originally created and published by Awareness Junkie. It is reposted here with permission. 

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

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Why Scientific Proof is a Myth

By Alanna Ketler | Collective Evolution

Science has come up with many different theories to try and make sense of and explain various aspects of our lives, from how our bodies work and how we got here to the very purpose of our existence. Although these are often referred to as theories, such as The Big Bang Theory, The Theory of Evolution, and even The Theory of Gravity, we still generally accept them as fact because there is scientific evidence to support them. Yet there is scientific evidence to back up a lot of things, so why are some regarded as true and others are not?

s There Such Thing as Scientific Proof?

While substantial reasoning and logic can point us toward a specific answer, the fact remains that we use these to support our best guesses, not facts. To actually proveanything is impossible. Have you ever just thought to yourself, how the heck did they figure that out? Or, how do they know that? I know I have, and it’s pretty humbling to realize none of us really knows anything; scientists have merely gathered enough research, data, and evidence to support a particular viewpoint. What’s more, these theories and conclusions are only as good as the equipment being used to measure the data.

But we simply cannot observe and measure everything, so how does that impact what we’ve discovered about everything else we are measuring? There are so many variants to consider when trying to prove anything. We can speculate all we want, but how can we ever prove anything without a shadow of a doubt?

As Albert Einstein once said:

The scientific theorist is not to be envied. For Nature, or more precisely experiment, is an inexorable and not very friendly judge of his work. It never says “Yes” to a theory. In the most favorable cases it says “Maybe,” and in the great majority of cases simply “No.” If an experiment agrees with a theory it means for the latter “Maybe,” and if it does not agree it means “No.” Probably every theory will someday experience its “No”—most theories, soon after conception.

Regardless of what we think we know, we still have to remain open to new information, new knowledge, and new theories. Many scientists completely disregard evolutionary theory because certain pieces of the puzzle don’t add up, like the missing link, for example, but others become so attached to one theory they become blind to new evidence and argue  there is no need to question any further. But what are we missing out on by refusing to look at the pieces that don’t match up? Keeping an open mind is key, and it’s the cornerstone of good science.

When You Think You Have It All Figured Out, That’s Exactly When You Need to Take a Step back and Realize That in the Grand Scheme of Things, You Essentially Know Nothing

This is the most humbling thing that anyone, including scientists, can realize. When we look at the mysteries of the Universe, and the mysteries here on Earth, in reality, we don’t know anything, and anyone who claims they have it all figured out has a lot more learning to do. Maybe some of you can relate to this. I know when I first began to “wake up,” I was digesting so much information from so many different sources that I definitely felt, especially when compared to my peers,  I had all the answers, and everyone else had just been misinformed. Man oh man, I hadn’t even begun… I see this now and feel excited about everything I still have to learn. I can finally appreciate different perspectives and viewpoints and am willing to question my own.

In terms of scientific proof, there are a few other things to consider. Take scientific studies, for example — many are starting to realize these are often manipulated to generate a required outcome in order to please whoever funded the study. So just because something has proclaimed scientific proof to back it up, doesn’t necessarily mean it is accurate information. It is important to look at multiple sources and — as always — follow the money.

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Science Of The Whole: Integrating Matter and Spirit

By Chris Thomson | Waking Times

Science today is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it points towards a greater reality. On the other hand, it unwittingly blocks our direct experience of that greater reality. This needs a little explanation.

Ever since Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics in the 1970s, there have been books that draw striking parallels between the reality described by the new physics and the reality described by mystics. Both speak about interconnectedness, wholeness, the “dance of energy” and the critical role of consciousness. At the same time, science tends to block out certain types of reality because it limits itself to knowledge of the physical. It observes and studies only the physical aspects of the world and the human being.

Although some scientists have tried to take science beyond reductionism and into holism, science remains firmly rooted in the physical. It continues to claim that physical reality is the only possible reality. I suspect that this is at the root of our big limiting beliefs, for example that the universe began for no apparent reason, that life evolved by chance on this planet, and that we have no existence before conception and after death.

If, however, we were to extend the range of human faculties that we use in the pursuit of knowledge, knowledge itself would extend accordingly. If this happened, our beliefs about the nature of the universe and humanity would be transformed. This is significant because it is our beliefs that determine our lives – our economics, our politics, our education, our science, our culture, our relationships, our lifestyles, and much more. Change your fundamental beliefs, and your thinking and behaviour change. Meanwhile, let us examine why science today is effectively “science of the physical.”

Science of the Physical

Modern science was born when it became possible to observe and measure things much more accurately than ever before. The telescope and microscope played central roles, but just as important were accurate clocks, thermometers and weighing machines. Being able to do this brought many benefits, and science has changed our lives in important ways. But there was a price to be paid. It was only a short step from being better able to observe and quantify physical things to believing that if something was not physically observable or quantifiable, it was not really important, or might not even exist. At a stroke, a whole range of human experience was pushed to the margins.

Over time, science increasingly became science of the physical, because the knowledge that it generated was about the physical aspects of the universe, the physical aspects of our home planet and the physical aspects of the human being, to the virtual exclusion of all other aspects. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this. The problem arises only because most scientists – and, to be fair, much of the world – appear to believe that science is exploring all possible aspects of the universe, the world and the human being.

Although science undoubtedly tells us much that is useful about the world and ourselves, it does not and cannot give us the whole picture. It is “science of the part.” There are two reasons for this. The first is that scientific knowledge is always changing. Despite the claims of some that we are close to producing a “theory of everything” or to “knowing the mind of God,” it is helpful to remind ourselves that the history of science is littered with the corpses of “hard facts” that have had to give way to newer “hard facts” as we make new discoveries. This is well illustrated by our understanding of the nature of matter.

At one time we were convinced that matter consisted of tiny solid things that we decided to call “atoms,” because we thought there could be nothing smaller. This is what the word “atom” implies. This belief eventually had to give way when we discovered that atoms consisted of even smaller things that we decided to call “protons,” “neutrons” and “electrons.” For some time this was the scientific “truth” until it was replaced by yet another “truth,” that protons and neutrons are themselves constructed of even smaller things, which may not be things at all, but “probabilities” or “tendencies to exist.”

This process, of facts being replaced by newer facts, is unlikely to stop, and there is no reason to suppose that the facts of the early 21st century are more sacrosanct than those of any other period. If they were, we would eventually reach the point at which there is no more for us to discover and learn. That would be the ultimate stasis, the ultimate boredom. Quite apart from anything else, it just does not ring true, and it sits ill beside the daily diet of human affairs. If as a species we cannot even live in peace and harmony with each other and the planet, claims that we shall soon know nearly everything about almost everything sound hollow indeed. The likelihood is that what we currently know is greatly outweighed by what we do not yet know.

The second reason why science is a partial form of knowledge is because, as with all other forms of knowledge, science is the product of the means of acquiring it. And it is we who are the means! It is we who do the acquiring. Now, if we were to apply the whole of ourselves to acquiring knowledge in the pursuit of science, then science would reflect this. It would be science of the whole. However, if we apply only part of ourselves, then scientific knowledge will be correspondingly limited. It will be science of the part. Since we have applied, almost exclusively, only the physical and intellectual parts of ourselves to the pursuit of scientific knowledge, science reflects this. It is knowledge of the physical and the rational. If, however, we were to use parts of ourselves that are almost never used these days – such as other forms of consciousness – our understanding of who we are and what the universe is would change out of all recognition. Before I say something about this, it is worth dwelling for a moment on how influential science has become.

The Dominant Worldview

In theory, science does not have a worldview because it is supposed to be based on evidence only. In practice, it is fair to say that the core beliefs of science today are:

  • The universe and everything in it, ourselves included, is physical, and only physical. Scientists may talk about a universe that consists only of “energy,” but they leave little doubt that they believe this energy to be physical.
  • The universe, and everything in it, can usefully be thought of as a machine.
  • The universe has no intrinsic meaning or purpose. A lot of things just happen by chance.
  • Matter is primary, and consciousness is secondary.
  • Causation is upwards – in the sense that the “primary reality” is believed to be at the level of the smallest things, such as waves and particles.

This set of beliefs has become so influential that all metaphysical, religious and philosophical claims that contradict it tend to be rejected. The fact is these beliefs persist despite discoveries in physics and biology that suggest the universe is anything but a machine, that “chance” may lie only in the eye of the beholder, and that the universe is rich in intrinsic meaning. Yet if, as science continues to insist, the universe began suddenly for no reason (the “Big Bang”) and life on this planet emerged by chance, then the world that science wants us to believe in must be totally meaningless.

These beliefs are causing all kinds of problems. For example, they have pushed spiritual experience and the paranormal into a box labelled: “Interesting, but strange. I can probably ignore it.” However, what we believe strongly determines what we value. If our core beliefs are that the universe is little more than a highly complex machine, that it consists entirely of physicality, and that we, too, are little more than complex machines, then our values will reflect these beliefs. They will be mechanistic/material values, and this means that we will tend to give high priority to material things and technology. It can surely be no accident that shopping and new technologies are now the world’s main activities, and that financial pundits and technology experts are the new high priests.

I have used the term “physical” as if its meaning is self-evident. But perhaps some explanation is required.

The Physical

Something is physical if it can be perceived by one or more of our five physical senses (sight, hearing etc.) The thing might not be able to be perceived directly, because it is very far away (a distant galaxy), or very small (a microbe), or very subtle (a radio wave). However, we have created technological extension to our senses, to overcome this. We can perceive the very distant with telescopes, the very small with microscopes, and the very subtle with radar, radio and other devices. The point to note is that at least one of our five senses has to be involved if something is to count as physical. By definition, then, the non-physical is anything that can never be perceived by any of our five senses, with or without the aid of technology. I hope the distinction is clear.

It is because most scientists, and many others, do not normally admit to the existence of modes of perception other than the physical senses that they do not admit the possibility of other forms of reality, which can be generalised as “non-physical.” They continue to believe that the physical universe is one and the same as the whole universe. The mistake they make is to use their narrowly based “map” to interpret a world that not only far transcends the limitations of this map, but also far transcends the comprehension of any one of us.

Scientists have come to rely exclusively on one form of perception – their physical senses and extensions to these senses – to explore the world. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that if we use only one form of perception – the physical one – to view the world, the world will respond accordingly, by appearing to be physical, and nothing else. If we had used another form of perception, the world would seem different. This is analogous to viewing the world through different coloured lenses. If we look through a red lens, the world seems to be red. If we look through a blue one, it seems to be blue. Reality changes according to the “lens” we use to view it.

There can be little doubt that the physical “lens” has become the lens of almost universal preference in the modern world. I say “almost” because there are a few people who are able to use other “lenses,” in addition to the physical one. In other words, they have access to other forms of consciousness. The world they experience is richer and more extensive, because they experience the non-physical as well as the physical. But we have to ask why the physical “lens” has become the lens of universal preference today. I believe it is because, for the vast majority of people, the non-physical “lens” has become dormant, through lack of use over millennia. And I believe there are good reasons for this, but that is beyond the scope of this article. The fact is most people today probably do not know that such a “lens” even exists. However, what many people do have is the occasional fleeting glimpse of what it would be like to have the use of their non-physical “lens.” This happens when they have particular types of “extraordinary experience.”

Most of us have extraordinary experiences from time to time. It could be a vivid dream, or a powerful sense of being totally connected to the whole of creation, or a feeling of absolute certainty that we have just met the love of our life. Although each of these counts as extraordinary, they are not all that extraordinary, in the sense that they do not pose a threat to the prevailing worldview, the worldview of science. Science does not discount these experiences. On the other hand, there are very different kinds of experiences that many people have at least once in their lives. These include telepathy, precognition, distant healing, clairvoyance, a near death experience, or an out of the body experience. These cannot be explained by science. But it goes further than this. Science actively rejects them because it believes they are impossible, but also because they threaten the prevailing worldview. They are indeed impossible from the point of view of science, but that is only because science has become a restricted form of knowledge. It is because science today is the world viewed through the physical “lens.”

The Non-Physical

If we want to experience and understand the non-physical aspects of ourselves and the world, we first have to develop the means to do so. In practice, this involves developing and using forms of consciousness that are dormant in the great majority of people. The actual process of awakening and training this “additional consciousness” is not easy. There is a lot to it. It is as much a general character training as it is a specific training in being able to experience at will what we may have experienced only haphazardly and infrequently, in the form of an extraordinary experience. If we did go though such a training, the range of our perception would extend considerably, and I believe our lives would change as a consequence. I think it is worth trying to imagine some of the changes.

First, extraordinary experiences – such as telepathy and clairvoyance – would become a normal, accepted part of our daily lives. That alone would change much that we believe to be true and possible. And that, in turn, would almost certainly lead to changes in our behaviour and our lifestyles.

Second, we would learn about aspects of the universe and the human being that we are completely unaware of. What we think of today as indisputable scientific facts will turn out to be the product of restricted (physical) consciousness. That would change our understanding of who we are, as human beings, why we are here, and what we are capable of.

Third, we would have something very different to be serious about. What do I mean by this? At present, by far the biggest source of seriousness in the world is worrying about, or trying to solve, the huge problems that we keep creating for ourselves. Just think about the amount of time, money and energy devoted these days to trying to solve problems. The fact that a lot of people appear to derive their sense of meaning from having problems to deal with suggests there is a widespread, albeit unconscious, vested interest in having a reliable supply of problems to deal with for the foreseeable future. This must surely act against any serious attempts to solve our problems once and for all. If, however, we had the use of our inner senses, we would see there are very different things to be serious about, very different sources of meaning and purpose, which have nothing to do with problems. I believe that we would then cease to be a problem-creating race, and become a life-enhancing race.

Esoteric Knowledge

I should like to say a few words about “esoteric knowledge” because I believe that it will have an important role in a “science of the whole.” In essence, esoteric knowledge is a coherent description of the non-physical aspects of humanity and the world, with some guidelines on how to behave and develop on the basis of this description. Arguably the best known modern works are Occult Science by Rudolf Steiner, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire by Alice Bailey, and the works of Helena Blavatsky. There are others from other cultures, mainly India, Egypt and Tibet, but they are packed with metaphors and symbolism, whereas the three writers I mention attempt to describe the non-physical in modern concepts and language.

There is much that is useful to draw on in esoteric knowledge and the world’s spiritual traditions. But we need to take a fresh look at these. We need to be surer of our ground. We need to know which facts within these traditions are true, which are partly true and which are false. This implies that we need to find ways of ascertaining this directly for ourselves – hence the need to awaken and train our “inner senses.” When we do this, we will then be able to add to the body of non-physical (spiritual) knowledge, just as our body of physical knowledge (science today) is constantly growing. By doing this, that which science currently regards as non-measurable, or even impossible, will eventually be seen as measurable and possible.

A Science of the Whole

Although it is impossible to know exactly how a science of the whole will develop, it is possible to say something about its main “building blocks.” In my opinion, they will be:

  • Being open to the possibility that the universe and human beings have non-physical aspects, as well as physical ones.https://www.newdawnmagazine.com/subscribe_to_new_dawn
  • Being open to the possibility that all of us have dormant “inner senses” that, when awakened and trained, will give us direct access to the non-physical aspects of ourselves and the universe.
  • Being open to the possibility that esoteric knowledge – in the form of modern books (e.g. Steiner) and ancient traditions – describes and explains some features of the non-physical.
  • The willingness and ability to see connections between modern science (e.g. some insights in physics) and esoteric knowledge. Capra’s seminal work has been mentioned, but there has already been much exploration in this area.
  • New, wider concepts, which will be able to accommodate new, different forms of knowledge. For example, we will need to expand the meaning of “energy,” “universe,” “life” and “spirit,” to name but a few.

Conclusion

If we are to fill the spiritual vacuum created by what science has become, we need to evolve a quite different knowledge base – one in which ethics, values, human development and spiritual growth are central components. That said, it is important to state that science, despite the loss of its spiritual roots, remains a useful attempt to discover new facts and to authenticate existing ones. However, just as the scientists of today have evolved the tools to penetrate the secrets of the physical, so scientists of the future will evolve the tools to penetrate beyond the physical. This will mean developing as yet unused forms of perception – effectively, our “inner senses” – to the point at which they, too, will be as useful in the search for knowledge and understanding as our familiar five physical senses.

It is also important to acknowledge that neither physical science nor esoteric knowledge can on their own give us the whole picture. Each is a partial form of knowledge. But since they are both talking ultimately about the same universe and the same human being, albeit from very different perspectives and using different forms of perception, they are, by definition, complementary to each other. They therefore have the potential to enrich and enhance each other.

None of this is likely to happen soon. People do not easily give up the beliefs and habits of a lifetime, particularly if these are sources of status, income and security. That said, the conditions needed for the development and acceptance of a science of the whole are already beginning to emerge. They include:

  • Large numbers of people are reacting to the gross materialism of our time, and are looking for ways to live more spiritually and ecologically.
  • Personal development, in all its forms, is constantly growing in popularity. Many people engaged in this realise that it goes far beyond “success” or “life goals.” Personal development is ultimately about developing the whole of you, your whole potential, and this surely includes parts of you that you have not yet discovered, such as the non-physical parts.
  • For all its many achievements, science is unable to answer the big questions and provide deeper meaning. Many people feel this, and are searching for ways to go beyond the limits of science.

Although I cannot predict when a science of the whole will emerge, I am certain that it will emerge one day. When it does, our understanding of who we are, where we came from, and where we are going will all change fundamentally. And when that happens, life for all of us will be very different and much richer.

About the Author 

Chris Thomson has worked as a lawyer, economist, researcher in Chinese, and in think tanks in Scotland and the USA. Today he runs courses in intelligence and consciousness, and also acts a mentor and therapist. His book Full Spectrum Intelligence was published in 2014. Chris lives in Catalonia and gets to the mountains as often as he can.

If you appreciate this article, please consider a digital subscription to New Dawn.

The above article appeared in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 9 No 3

**This article was originally featured at New Dawn and is reposted here with permission. **

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New Research Shows Why You Should Never Go to Bed Angry

upset-couple-sleeping-separately-compressed

By Andy Coghlan | Prevent Disease

Don’t go to bed angry. Now there’s evidence for this proverb: it’s harder to suppress bad memories if you sleep on them.

The discovery could reveal new ways to treat people who suffer from conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, and reinforces an earlier idea that it is possible to suppress bad memories through sleep deprivation.

“The results are of major interest for treating the frequent clinical problem of unwanted memories, memories of traumatic events being the most prominent example,” says Christoph Nissen at the University of Freiburg Medical Center in Germany, who was not involved in the work.

In the study, 73 male students memorised 26 mugshots, each paired with a disturbing image, such as a mutilated body, corpse or crying child. The next day they were asked to recall the images associated with half the mugshots and actively try to exclude memories of the rest of the associated images.

Excluding Memories

The group were then directed to memorise another 26 pairs of mugshots and nasty images. Half an hour later they again thought about half the associated images and actively suppressed memories of the rest.

Finally, they were asked to describe the image associated with each of the 52 mugshots. The idea was to see if trying to suppress a bad memory works better before or after sleep.

The participants struggled most to forget the disturbing images they saw on the first day and then tried to suppress, hinting that sleep makes it harder to erase bad memories.

“We suggest that people try to get a bad memory out of their minds as soon as they can, not to think about it too much, and especially not to sleep on it,” says Yunzhe Liu, who worked on the study at Beijing Normal University in China, but is now at University College London.

A Spotless Mind

Scans of the students’ brains showed that different regions were involved in actively dispelling images from their minds before and after sleep. For instance, when they tried to forget the images they had learned just 30 minutes previously, the task relied mainly on activity in the hippocampi — the brain’s memory hub. After a night’s sleep, the task required activity in a much more diverse set of regions, including more evolutionary advanced “thinking” parts of the brain.

This implies that bad memories get consolidated across several brain regions during sleep, making them harder to erase. But it also suggests that sleep deprivation could be used to prevent bad memories from sticking around.

However, the key factor in the study may not be sleep, but the passage of time. “Future research is needed to disentangle mere time-dependent effects from sleep-specific brain activity for targeted forgetting,” says Nissen. He also says it would be useful to know whether the forgetting patterns are the same for good or neutral memories as they are for unpleasant ones.

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New Aerial Images Show Mysterious Lost City In The Middle Of The Pacific Ocean

By Rosie McCall | IFL Science

Nan Madol is an ancient and remote city that has long been out of reach for archaeologists. Now, new tech has given scholars unprecedented access to the site, which was once the seat of the Saudeleur Dynasty (1100 CE to 1600 CE).

The “floating” city sits on a coral reef in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the island of Pohnpei, the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia, 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) from Los Angeles and 2,575 kilometers (1,600 miles) from Australia.

In the latest episode of What On Earth? on the Science Channel, viewers can gaze at recently taken satellite images showing the archaeological site from above. As Dr Patrick Hunt, an archaeologist at Stanford University, points out, “Why would somebody build a city out on the middle of the ocean? Why here, so far away from any other known civilization?”

Nan Madol is a little smaller than New York, according to an article in Smithsonian magazine, and comprises of 90-something geometrically-shaped inlets constructed out of basalt and coral boulders. Archaeologists believe that each inlet served a specific purpose, such as canoe building or caring for the sick. They are linked by a network of canals, which is how the city got its nickname, “the Venice of Micronesia”.

“As amazing as this site appears from satellite imagery, coming down to ground level is even more astounding. There are walls which are 25 feet tall and 17 feet thick,” Dr. Karen Bellinger, archaeologist and founder of The Time Tribe, a game series based on real history and archaeology, explains in the clip.

On each of these inlets, there are the remains of temples, public baths, meeting houses, palaces, and residences built between 1200 CE and 1600 CE. The tallest building in Nan Madol is a royal temple called Nandauwas. This is surrounded by walls 7.6 meters (25 feet) high, roughly as tall as two giraffes.

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How Life Arose from Primordial Muck: Experimental Evidence Overturns Accepted Theory

Source: Science Daily

Life on Earth originated in an intimate partnership between the nucleic acids (genetic instructions for all organisms) and small proteins called peptides, according to two new papers from biochemists and biologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Auckland. Their “peptide-RNA” hypothesis contradicts the widely-held “RNA-world” hypothesis, which states that life originated from nucleic acids and only later evolved to include proteins.

The new papers — one in Molecular Biology and Evolution, the other in Biosystems — show how recent experimental studies of two enzyme superfamilies surmount the tough theoretical questions about how complex life emerged on Earth more than four billion years ago.

“Until now, it has been thought to be impossible to conduct experiments to penetrate the origins of genetics,” said co-author Charles Carter, PhD, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine. “But we have now shown that experimental results mesh beautifully with the ‘peptide-RNA’ theory, and so these experiments provide quite compelling answers to what happened at the beginning of life on Earth.”

The special attributes of the ancestral versions of these enzyme superfamlies, and the self-reinforcing feedback system they would have formed with the first genes and proteins, would have kick-started early biology and driven the first life forms toward greater diversity and complexity, the researchers said.

Co-author Peter Wills, PhD, professor of physics at the University of Auckland, said, “Compared to the RNA-world hypothesis, what we’ve outlined is simply a much more probable scenario for the origin of life. We hope our data and the theory we’ve outlined in these papers will stimulate discussion and further research on questions relevant to the origins of life.”

The two scientists are fully aware that the RNA-world hypothesis still dominates the origin-of-life research field. “That theory is so alluring and expedient that most people just don’t think there’s any alternative,” Carter said. “But we are very confident there is.”

Before there was life on Earth, there were simple chemicals. Somehow, they produced both amino acids and nucleotides that eventually became the proteins and nucleic acids necessary to create single cells. And the single cells became plants and animals. Research this century has revealed how the primordial chemical soup created the building blocks of life. There is also widespread scientific consensus on the historical path by which cells evolved into plants and animals.

But it’s still a mystery how the amino acid building blocks were first assembled according to coded nucleic acid templates into the proteins that formed the machinery of all cells.

The widely accepted RNA-world theory posits that RNA — the molecule that today plays roles in coding, regulating, and expressing genes — elevated itself from the primordial soup of amino acids and cosmic chemicals, eventually to give rise first to short proteins called peptides and then to single-celled organisms.

Carter and Wills argue that RNA could not kick-start this process alone because it lacks a property they call “reflexivity.” It cannot enforce the rules by which it is made. RNA needed peptides to form the reflexive feedback loop necessary to lead eventually to life forms.

At the heart of the peptide-RNA theory are enzymes so ancient and important that their remnants are still found in all living cells and even in some sub-cellular structures, including mitochondria and viruses. There are 20 of these ancient enzymes called aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs).

Each of them recognizes one of the 20 amino acids that serve as the building blocks of proteins. (Proteins, considered the machines of life, catalyze and synchronize the chemical reactions inside cells.) In modern organisms, an aaRS effectively links its assigned amino acid to an RNA string containing three nucleotides complementary to a similar string in the transcribed gene. The aaRSs thus play a central role in converting genes into proteins, a process called translation that is essential for all life forms.

The 20 aaRS enzymes belong to two structurally distinct families, each with 10 aaRSs. Carter’s recent experimental studies showed that the two small enzyme ancestors of these two families were encoded by opposite, complementary strands of the same small gene. The simplicity of this arrangement, with its initial binary code of just two kinds of amino acids, suggests it occurred at the very dawn of biology. Moreover, the tight, yin-yang interdependence of these two related but highly distinct enzymes would have stabilized early biology in a way that made inevitable the orderly diversification of life that followed.

“These interdependent peptides and the nucleic acids encoding them would have been able to assist each other’s molecular self-organization despite the continual random disruptions that beset all molecular processes,” Carter said. “We believe that this is what gave rise to a peptide-RNA world early in Earth’s history,” Carter said.

Related research by Carter and UNC colleague Richard Wolfenden, PhD, previously revealed how the intimate chemistries of amino acids enabled the first aaRS enzymes to fold properly into functional enzymes, while simultaneously determining the assignments in the universal genetic coding table.

“The enforcement of the relationship between genes and amino acids depends on aaRSs, which are themselves encoded by genes and made of amino acids,” Wills said. “The aaRSs, in turn, depend on that same relationship. There is a basic reflexivity at work here. Theorist Douglas Hofstadter called it a ‘strange loop.’ We propose that this, too, played a crucial role in the self-organization of biology when life began on Earth. Hofstadter argued that reflexivity furnishes the force driving the growth of complexity.”

Carter and Wills developed two additional reasons why a pure RNA biology of any significance was unlikely to have predated a peptide-RNA biology. One reason is catalysis — the acceleration of chemical reactions involving other molecules.

Catalysis is a key feature of biology that RNA cannot perform with much versatility. In particular, RNA enzymes cannot readily adjust their activities to temperature changes likely to have happened as the earth cooled, and so cannot perform the very broad range of catalytic accelerations that would have been necessary to synchronize the biochemistry of early cell-based life forms. Only peptide or protein enzymes have that kind of catalytic versatility, Carter said.

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New Study Backs Up Reports Of Near-Death Experiences, Claiming That Consciousness Continues To Work After The Heart Has Stopped

By Jayson Veley | Natural News

(Natural News) Imagine lying on a hospital bed, closing your eyes, and then being able to hear the doctors announce your own time of death. If this sounds strangely familiar to you, perhaps you’re thinking of the recently released remake of the 90s horror film Flatliners, which is about a group of young doctors who intentionally poison their hearts to find out what life is like after death. But in an eerie twist, it turns out that the movie may not be entirely fictional after all.

Scientists have discovered that even after a person’s body stops showing signs of life, their consciousness continues to work, meaning that in theory, hospital patients are able to hear the doctors announce their time of death.

A team of researchers from New York University Langone School of Medicine recently observed people who suffered cardiac arrest and then came back to life in order to find out more about what happens after we die. The studies author, Dr. Sam Parnia, explained the team’s findings to Live Science: “They’ll describe watching doctors and nurses working and they’ll describe having awareness of full conversations, of visual things that were going on, that would otherwise not be known to them.” Dr. Parnia added that the recollections were all verified by medical and nursing staff.

Doctors have traditionally defined death based on when the heart officially stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain. “Technically, that’s how you get the time of death – it’s all based on the moment when the heart stops,” Dr. Parnia explained. “Once that happens, blood no longer circulates to the brain, which means brain function halts almost instantaneously. You lose all your brain steam reflexes – your gag reflex, your pupil reflex, all that is gone.”

The idea that you remain conscious in the moments after death really is like something out of a horror movie, and it becomes even more terrifying when you put yourself in that situation. Imagine what it would be like to hear doctors talking about your death, but not being able to move or respond in any way; no longer living, but thinking as if you were. For these reasons, the revelation that consciousness continues after death is both unsettling and also a significant discovery for the scientific community that will no doubt have a large impact on future research. (Related: Consciousness survives after the body’s organs stop functioning.)

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Secrets of Sonic Levitation Behind the Building of the Pyramids and Other Seeming Miracles

By Jill Mattson | * www.jillswingsoflight.com

Graham Hancock Pyramid

Ancient manuscripts describe sound levitating heavy objects, perhaps aiding in the building of huge pyramids and monuments. Ancient texts, all over the globe, describe sound as an effective method to move and alter dense physical matter.

According to ancient wisdom, the power of sound increased with large numbers of participants singing or playing musical instruments. Each individual accessed energy that originated from the heavens. Two singers together created more energy than each singing separately, as if their combined voices increased energy logarithmically. Heavenly energy from large choirs constantly sang to make a country potent, almost invincible.

Author Bruce Cathie described an eye witness account of many Tibetan monks moving huge boulders with their voices and musical instruments. The exact location of the singers and musicians was crucial for the “anti-gravity sonic effects” to work.[1] Various ancient writings describe directional sounds as a source of mechanical power, as if sound was squirted out of a water pistol: aim was important.[2]

A  German article, by Swedish engineer Olaf Alexanderson[3] described sonic levitation: ‘We know from the priests of the far east that they were able to lift heavy boulders up high mountains with the help of groups of various sounds… the knowledge of the various vibrations in the audio range demonstrates to a scientist of physics that a vibrating and condensed sound field can nullify the power of gravitation.” Observations[4] only 20 years ago in Tibet from a civil engineer, Henry Kjelson, reported that a Swedish doctor, Dr Jarl, made a journey to Tibet in 1939 to visit a high Lama. This lama let him observe sonic levitation of huge rocks up a cliff of about 250 meters.

The task was accomplished by mapping out exactly where singers and musicians stood. They angled their sound to go underneath a huge rock and up it went. Details are given in Bruce Cathie’s free book, Acoustic Levitation of Stones.[5] In another example, Edward Leedskalnin, a man with humble financial resources and a fourth grade education, built a monument to his lost love who canceled their wedding one day before the ceremony. In this area of Homestead Florida the coral can be up to 4,000 feet thick. Leedskalnin cut and moved huge blocks of coral himself with only hand tools, yet each section weighed more than 58 tons.[6] Leedskalnin left the castle as proof that he could move large stones without equipment.

Leedskalnin claimed he knew how the Egyptians built their pyramids. He built Coral Castle by reportedly “singing” to large stones to lift them. Leedskalin placed his hands over a stone to be levitated. He sung a scale until his hands felt a response from the stone. (Each tone was sustained to detect a subtle vibratory response.) The sound that produced the strongest vibration was sustained for quite some time to give the rock a powerful dosage and the rock levitated.

In a high tech example, high powered sound can suspend and move objects in air. Yoshili Hashimoto of Tokyo’s Kaijo Corporation developed an acoustic levitation machine. The sound vibrates 20,000 times per second to keep a small silicon wafer hovering one millimeter above a surface.  Acoustic levitation experiments have been conducted in space as the absence of gravity make better conditions to observe just the impact of sound.

The wonders of sound… we have not scratched the surface of what this energy source can do – if properly harnessed. The future science of sound and vibrational energy will “rock” our world.

*This article is printed in its entirety with the permission of the author and was originally entitled: “Secrets of Sonic Levitation”

Jill Mattson is an award-winning and prolific Artist, Musician and Author. Check out her , including free mp3’s, a newsletter, and her beautiful music and paintings. at www.jillswingsoflight.com

Sources:

[1] Cathie, Bruce, Acoustic Levitation of Stones: Monastery Construction, Tibetan Style. See Appendix B.

[2] Theosophists, Brown, Neate, D. Leslie, Seth, Tom

[3] Implosion No. 13

[4] The Lost Techniques by Henry Kjelson

[5] https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/antigravityworldgrid/ciencia_antigravityworldgrid08.htm

[6] www.coralcastle.com

Robert O'Leary 150x150Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.

 




Scientists Are Questioning Everything They Thought They Knew About the Universe

By Carey Wedler | The Anti-Media

(ANTIMEDIA) — According to the latest research from Swiss scientists, the universe shouldn’t exist. Researchers at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, recently published their findings, which ultimately left them wondering why the universe hasn’t been destroyed.

All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, which is why the universe should not actually exist,” said Christian Smorra, a physicist at CERN’s Baryon-Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment (BASE) collaboration. Smorra, who co-authored the study, published in Nature this month, explained their confusion: “An asymmetry must exist here somewhere but we simply do not understand where the difference is.

Scientists have conducted various studies in their attempts to find the difference between matter and antimatter. They say one must exist to explain the reason antimatter did not destroy the universe at the beginning of time.

As Cosmos Magazine science writer Cathal O’Connell explained:

Antimatter is notoriously unstable – any contact with regular matter and it annihilates in a burst of pure energy that is the most efficient reaction known to physics.

He continued:

The standard model predicts the Big Bang should have produced equal amounts of matter and antimatter – but that’s a combustive mixture that would have annihilated itself, leaving nothing behind to make galaxies or planets or people.

Scientists have examined the possibility of a difference in mass or electric charge between matter and antimatter but so far haven’t come up with an explanation.

The latest test attempted to find a difference in the magnetism of matter and antimatter, but, once again, the scientists found they were identical in this respect, too.

Dr. Smorra and his team studied protons and antiprotons, an effort that took over a decade to facilitate, O’Connell explained. Because antiprotons are difficult to store since no physical container can hold antimatter, the scientists stored the antiprotons in a device called a Pennings trap.

But by using a combination of two traps, the BASE team made the most perfect antimatter chamber ever – holding the antiprotons for 405 days.

This stable storage allowed them to run their magnetic moment measurement on the antiprotons. The result gave a value for the antiproton magnetic moment of −2.7928473441 μN. (μN is a constant called the nuclear magneton.) Apart from the minus sign, this is identical to the previous measurement for the proton.

The Independent notes that the researchers hope to examine the antiprotons in even more detail in search of differences, while other ongoing investigations are currently exploring “the effect of gravity of antimatter – trying to answer the question of whether antimatter might fall ‘up’.

Creative Commons / Anti-Media / Report a typo

Read more great at Common Dreams.




How Your Thoughts Can Change the Structure And Function Of Your Brain

Electrical activity within the brain means that our thoughts can be read and understood .

Electrical activity within the brain means that our thoughts can be read and understood .

By Will Storr | Mosiac Science

For years she had tried to be the perfect wife and mother but now, divorced, with two sons, having gone through another break-up and in despair about her future, she felt as if she’d failed at it all, and she was tired of it. On 6 June 2007 Debbie Hampton, of Greensboro, North Carolina, took an overdose. That afternoon, she’d written a note on her computer: “I’ve screwed up this life so bad that there is no place here for me and nothing I can contribute.” Then, in tears, she went upstairs, sat on her bed, and put on a Dido CD to listen to as she died.

Related Article:How To Prime Your Brain To Achieve More (George Carlin Used This)

But then she woke up again. She’d been found, rushed to hospital, and saved. “I was mad,” she says. “I’d messed it up. And, on top of that, I’d brain-damaged myself.” After Debbie emerged from her one-week coma, her doctors gave her their diagnosis: encephalopathy. “That’s just a general term which means the brain’s not operating right,” she says. She couldn’t swallow or control her bladder, and her hands constantly shook. Much of the time, she couldn’t understand what she was seeing. She could barely even speak. “All I could do was make sounds,” she says. “It was like my mouth was full of marbles. It was shocking, because what I heard from my mouth didn’t match what I heard in my head.” After a stay in a rehabilitation centre, she began recovering slowly. But, a year in, she plateaued. “My speech was very slow and slurred. My memory and thinking was unreliable. I didn’t have the energy to live a normal life. A good day for me was emptying the dishwasher.”

It was around this time that she tried a new treatment called neurofeedback. She was required to have her brain monitored while playing a simple Pac-Man-like game, controlling movements by manipulating her brain waves. “Within ten sessions, my speech improved.” But Debbie’s real turnaround happened when her neurofeedback counsellor recommended a book: the international bestseller The Brain that Changes Itself by Canadian psychotherapist Norman Doidge. “Oh my God,” she says. “For the first time it really showed me it was possible to heal my brain. Not only that it was possible, that it was up to me.”

After reading Doidge’s book, Debbie began living what she calls a “brain-healthy” life. That includes yoga, meditation, visualisation, diet and the maintenance of a positive mental attitude. Today, she co-owns a yoga studio, has written an autobiography and a guide to “brain-healthy living” and runs the website thebestbrainpossible.com. The science of neuroplasticity, she says, has taught her that, “You’re not stuck with the brain you’re born with. You may be given certain genes but what you do in your life changes your brain. And that’s the magic wand.” Neuroplasticity, she says, “allows you to change your life and make happiness a reality. You can go from being a victim to a victor. It’s like a superpower. It’s like having X-ray vision.”

Related Article:Team Links Two Human Brains Via Internet For Q&A Experiment

Debbie’s not alone in her enthusiasm for neuroplasticity, which is what we call the brain’s ability to change itself in response to things that happen in our environment. Claims for its benefits are widespread and startling. Half an hour on Google informs the curious browser that neuroplasticity is a “magical” scientific discovery that shows that our brains are not hard-wired like computers, as was once thought, but like “play-doh” or a “gooey butter cake”. This means that “our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains” and that by doing certain exercises we can actually, physically increase our brain’s “strength, size and density”. Neuroplasticity is a “series of miracles happening in your own cranium” that means we can be better salespeople and better athletes, and learn to love the taste of broccoli. It can treat eating disorders, prevent cancer, lower our risk of dementia by 60 per cent and help us discover our “true essence of joy and peace”. We can teach ourselves the “skill” of happiness and train our brains to be “awesome”. And age is no limitation: neuroplasticity shows that “our minds are designed to improve as we get older”. It doesn’t even have to be difficult. “Simply by changing your route to work, shopping at a different grocery store, or using your non-dominant hand to comb your hair will increase your brain power.” As the celebrity alternative-medicine guru Deepak Chopra has said, “Most people think that their brain is in charge of them. We say we are in charge of our brain.”

Debbie’s story is a mystery. The techniques promising to change her brain via an understanding of the principles of neuroplasticity have clearly had tremendous positive effects for her. But is it true that neuroplasticity is a superpower, like X-ray vision? Can we really increase the weight of our brain just by thinking? Can we lower our risk of dementia by 60 per cent? And learn to love broccoli?

Some of these seem like silly questions, but some of them don’t. That’s the problem. It’s hard, for the non-scientist, to understand what exactly neuroplasticity is and what its potential truly is. “I’ve seen tremendous exaggeration,” says Greg Downey, an anthropologist at Macquarie University and co-author of the popular blog Neuroanthropology. “People are so excited about neuroplasticity they talk themselves into believing anything.”

For many years, the consensus was that the human brain couldn’t generate new cells once it reached adulthood. Once you were grown, you entered a state of neural decline. This was a view perhaps most famously expressed by the so-called founder of modern neuroscience, Santiago Ramón y Cajal. After an early interest in plasticity, he became sceptical, writing in 1928, “In adult centres the nerve paths are something fixed, ended, immutable. Everything may die, nothing may be regenerated. It is for the science of the future to change, if possible, this harsh decree.” Cajal’s gloomy prognosis was to rumble through the 20th century.

Although the notion that the adult brain could undergo significant positive changes received sporadic attention, throughout the 20th century, it was generally overlooked, as a young psychologist called Ian Robertson was to discover in 1980. He’d just begun working with people who had had strokes at the Astley Ainslie Hospital in Edinburgh, and found himself puzzled by what he was seeing. “I’d moved into what was a new field for me, neuro-rehabilitation,” he says. At the hospital, he witnessed adults receiving occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Which made him think… if they’d had a stroke, that meant a part of their brain had been destroyed. And if a part of their brain had been destroyed, everyone knew it was gone for ever. So how come these repetitive physical therapies so often helped? It didn’t make sense. “I was trying to get my head around, what was the model?” he says. “What was the theoretical basis for all this activity here?” The people who answered him were, by today’s standards, pessimistic.

“Their whole philosophy was compensatory,” Robertson says. “They thought the external therapies were just preventing further negative things happening.” At one point, still baffled, he asked for a textbook that explained how it all was supposed to work. “There was a chapter on wheelchairs and a chapter on walking sticks,” he says. “But there was nothing, absolutely nothing, on this notion that the therapy might actually be influencing the physical reconnection of the brain. That attitude really went back to Cajal. He really influenced the whole mindset which said that the adult brain is hardwired, all you can do is lose neurons, and that if you have brain damage all you can do is help the surviving parts of the brain work around it.”

Related Article: Scientists Are 99% Close to Creating a Human Brain

But Cajal’s prognosis also contained a challenge. And it wasn’t until the 1960s that the “science of the future” first began to rise to it. Two stubborn pioneers, whose tales are recounted so effectively in Doidge’s bestseller, were Paul Bach-y-Rita and Michael Merzenich. Bach-y-Rita is perhaps best known for his work helping blind people ‘see’ in a new and radically different way. Rather than receiving information about the world from the eyes, he wondered if they could take it in in the form of vibrations on their skin. They’d sit on a chair and lean back on a metal sheet. Pressing up against the back side of that metal sheet were 400 plates that would vibrate in accord with the way an object was moving. As Bach-y-Rita’s devices became more sophisticated (the most recent version sits on the tongue), congenitally blind people began to report having the experience of ‘seeing’ in three dimensions. It wasn’t until the advent of brain-scanning technology that scientists began to see evidence for this incredible hypothesis: that information seemed to be being processed in the visual cortex. Although this hypothesis is yet to be firmly established, it seems as if their brains had rewired themselves in a radical and useful way that had long been thought impossible.

Merzenich, meanwhile, helped to confirm in the late 1960s that the brain contains ‘maps’ of the body and the outside world, and that these maps have the ability to change. Next, he co-developed the cochlear implant, which helped deaf people hear. This relies on the principle of plasticity, as the brain needs to adapt to receive auditory information from the artificial implant instead of the cochlea (which, in the deaf person, isn’t working). In 1996 he helped establish a commercial company that produces educational software products called Fast ForWord for “enhancing the cognitive skills of children using repetitive exercises that rely on plasticity to improve brain function,” according to their website. As Doidge writes, “In some cases, people who have had a lifetime of cognitive difficulties get better after only thirty to sixty hours of treatment.”

Although it took several decades, Merzenich and Bach-y-Rita were to help prove that Cajal and the scientific consensus were wrong. The adult brain was plastic. It could rewire itself, sometimes radically. This came as a surprise to experts like Robertson, now a Director of Trinity College Dublin’s Institute of Neuroscience. “I can look back on giving lectures at Edinburgh University to students where I gave wrong information, based on the dogma which said that, once dead, a brain cell cannot regenerate and plasticity happens in early childhood but not later,” he says.

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Virtual Reality Tech Lets You ‘Teleport’ Back in Time

virtual-reality-compressed

By Jeanna Bryner | Live Science

The feeling you got when you first saw your newborn’s face. That glorious moment when the entire family was laughing over dinner. The epiphany you had when you reached the peak of your favorite mountain. If only you could travel back and experience those instances again.

Related Article: How Virtual Reality Can Change the World by Making Us More Empathetic Towards the Plight of Our Fellow Humans

A group of engineers is hoping to do just that with a virtual reality (VR) system that lets you take 3D videos with your phone and an accompanying virtual reality headset that lets you experience those memories again, whenever you want.

“Family started the idea,” said Justin Lucas, one of the technology’s creators. “Viewing 2D videos is how we look back at past moments. We wanted to create a more immersed feeling when viewing those favorite past moments.” [Best Apps for Virtual Reality Newbies]

Related Article: Where Virtual Reality Is Going

And they wanted to do it on the cheap.

“We wanted to create something affordable that anyone with a smartphone can use,” said Lucas, adding that current technology to take 3D videos and then experience them through VR already exists. However, that existing technology costs thousands of dollars, he told Live Science.

Related Article: Are we living inside a virtual simulation?

Called Teleport, the new system includes an aluminum 3D camera with two lenses, each of which acts like one of your eyes to capture the images from a slightly different perspective. Like your brain, the camera then combines these two views into a 3D picture.

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11 Year-Old Girl Wins ‘Top Young Scientist’ After Creating Amazing Water Testing Technology to Help Flint

Video Source: Gitanjali Rao

By Katie Kindeland | Yahoo

An 11-year-old girl inspired by the Flint, Mich., water crisis has been named “America’s Top Young Scientist” after she developed a device that can quickly detect lead levels in water.

“I had been following the Flint, Michigan, issue for about two years,” Gitanjali Rao told ABC News. “I was appalled by the number of people affected by lead contamination in water and I wanted to do something to change this.”

In Flint, elevated levels of lead were found in the city’s water supply after the city disconnected from Detroit’s water line as a cost-cutting measure and began drawing water from the Flint River in April 2014.

Gitanjali, a seventh grader, also saw firsthand how complicated it can be to test water for lead by watching her parents, Bharathi Rao and Ram Rao, try to test the water in their Lone Tree, Colo., home.

PHOTO: Gitanjali Rao, 11, works on her lead testing device at home in Lone Tree, Colo., in an undated handout photo. (Courtesy Bharathi Rao)
PHOTO: Gitanjali Rao, 11, works on her lead testing device at home in Lone Tree, Colo., in an undated handout photo. (Courtesy Bharathi Rao)

She said she found a way to help solve the problem while browsing the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering’s website, a site she said she checks weekly to see “if there’s anything new.”

The website featured an article on new technologies used to detect hazardous substances, which Gitanjali figured she could adapt to detect lead.

Gitanjali reached out to her parents, both engineers, her teachers and experts at local colleges and universities for help.

PHOTO: Gitanjali Rao presents her discovery to a panel of scientists and school officials at the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. (Andy King/Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge)
PHOTO: Gitanjali Rao presents her discovery to a panel of scientists and school officials at the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. (Andy King/Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge)

“We had to learn as she asked questions,” said Ram Rao. “Our first question was, ‘Is this what you really want to go after? Because it’s a sizable problem.’”

He continued, “Then you go one day at a time. There was no real expectation that she would necessarily finish, but the journey itself would be the learning experience. It turned out she had a lot more determination.”

Gitanjali spent months trying to convince local high schools and colleges to give her lab time to continue her experiment.

At home, Gitanjali worked on her project in the “science room” she asked her parents to create for her when they moved from Tennessee to Colorado.

PHOTO: Gitanjali Rao, 11, works on her lead testing device at home in the family's 'science room' in Lone Tree, Colo., in an undated handout photo. (Courtesy Bharathi Rao)
PHOTO: Gitanjali Rao, 11, works on her lead testing device at home in the family’s ‘science room’ in Lone Tree, Colo., in an undated handout photo. (Courtesy Bharathi Rao)

“I have a room with green walls and black polka dots and a huge white table for all my experiments,” said Gitanjali, who also plays piano, swims, fences and dances. “Most of my code was done there. Most of the spills and failures were made there.”

When Gitanjali was named one of 10 finalists in the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge earlier this year, she was able to partner with a 3M scientist to help develop her innovation.

The result is Tethys, a sensor-based device designed to detect lead in water faster than other techniques currently on the market.

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Get Into the Flow: 5 Performance-Enhancing Brain Chemicals

Source: Big Think

Video Source: Big Think

Steven Kotler explains the neurochemical changes during flow states that strengthen motivation, creativity and learning. “The brain produces a giant cascade of neurochemistry. You get norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, serotonin and endorphins. All five of these are performance enhancing neurochemicals.” Kotler discusses how each amplifies intellectual and cognitive performance. Read more at BigThink.com: https://goo.gl/O8uR




You Embody What Your Ancestors Experienced 14 Generations Ago

By Aaron Kesel | Natural Blaze

Researchers have discovered that environmental genetic changes (epigenetics) can be passed down for an incredible 14 generations in an animal – the largest span ever observed in a living organism.

A team led by scientists from the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in Spain took genetically engineered nematode roundworms called C. elegans that carry a transgene for a fluorescent protein. Which when activated, this gene made the worms glow bright under the ultraviolet light.

Then, they changed the temperature of their containers. Keeping the nematodes at (68° F), they measured low activity of the transgene – which as a result the worms hardly glowed at all.

Researchers then changed the control in the experiment moving the worms to a warmer climate of 77° F, they suddenly lit up like Christmas trees, which meant the fluorescence gene had become less dormant.

The scientists finally moved the worms back to cooler temperatures to see what would happen to the activity of the fluorescence gene.

Surprisingly, the worms continued to glow, suggesting they retained an “environmental memory” of the warmer climate scientist continued finding that the transgene was highly active.

That memory was shockingly passed on to their offspring for seven generations, none of which had ever experienced the warmer temperatures in their lifetimes. The scientists discovered that the baby worms had somehow inherited this epigenetic gene for the warmer climate through both eggs and sperm.

The researchers further pushed their results – keeping five generations of nematodes at 77° F and then isolating the other half of their offspring to colder temperatures – the worms still continued to have higher transgene activity. The study revealed that this continued for an incredible 14 generations, which roughly would take 50 days for the reproduction of the worms.

“We don’t know exactly why this happens, but it might be a form of biological forward-planning,” Adam Klosin from EMBO and Pompeu Fabra University, Spain said.

“Worms are very short-lived, so perhaps they are transmitting memories of past conditions to help their descendants predict what their environment might be like in the future,” co-researcher Tanya Vavouri from the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute in Spain added.

So how does this epigenetic inheritance research affect human beings?

“Inherited effects in humans are difficult to measure due to the long generation times and difficulty with accurate record keeping,” states one recent review of epigenetic inheritance according to scientists.

Numerous studies allege to show examples of epigenetic genes in humans showing all types of effects.

Biologists have long suspected that some kind of epigenetic inheritance occurs at the cellular level.

Studies have shown that both the children and grandchildren of women who survived the Dutch famine of 1944-45 were found to have increased glucose intolerance when they were older.

Other researchers have found that descendants of Holocaust survivors had lower levels of the hormone cortisol, which helps your body recover from a traumatic experience.

Another study by the North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee found that a “poorly trained” immune system could be inherited as well as past trauma and even nutritional deficiencies. These results were discovered after the examination of the skulls of the Cherokee Native Americans who were descendants of those who survived the Trail of Tears.

This is backed up by a number of other scientific reports by other universities one such is the CAS study, published in the journal Science by the University of Massachusetts Medical School. That experiment revealed that a single junk food-eating generation can pass on the metabolic disorders it gains from an unhealthy diet to the next.

As crazy as it sounds, even WiFi signals can potentially affect the epigenetics of childhood development according to Cindy Sage and Ernesto Burgio. 

Finally, BBC published a report in 2013 where scientist found that “transgenerational epigenetic inheritance” can even affect behavior due to events in previous generations influencing the current generation.

This article (You Embody What Your Ancestors Experienced 14 Generations Ago) appeared first on Natural Blaze and can be shared with this message, bio and links intact. 

Aaron Kesel goes by AK writes for Natural Blaze & Activist Post, and is the Director of content for Coinivore. He is an independent journalist and researcher you can check out more of his work on Steemit. Find Aaron on Twitter.

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Meditation Can ‘Turbo Charge’ The Brain By Synchronizing Two Key Regions

By Christina Sarich | Waking Times

Researchers from Boston University have figured out two areas of the brain which must be activated to ‘turbo charge” cognitive functioning.

Two brain regions – the medial frontal and lateral prefrontal cortices – control most executive function. It was found that by synchronizing these areas of our grey matter, participants in a study experienced better, faster brain functioning. De-synchronizing these areas resulted in the opposite – a slower brain.  However, if there is more to the story of our brain’s left or right brain dominance?

Using high-definition transcranial alternating current stimulation (HD-tACS) to synchronize oscillations between the medial frontal and lateral prefrontal cortices, resulted in faster neurotransmitter firing.

The synchronization of these two areas of the brain also resulted in better communication abilities and more control over the participants’ emotional reactions.

The Alarm Bell of the Brain

Robert Reinhart, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University and lead researcher for the study called the medial frontal cortex the “alarm bell of the brain.”

Reinhart explains“If you make an error, this brain area fires. If I tell you that you make an error, it also fires. If something surprises you, it fires.”

In healthy people, this region of the brain works hand in hand (or perhaps lobe in lobe) with a nearby region, the lateral prefrontal cortex, an area that stores rules and goals and also plays an important role in changing our decisions and actions. Getting them to work together more efficiently allows a more efficient correction of action, and thought.

The research, published October 9, 2017, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggests that electrical stimulation can quickly increase or decrease executive function in healthy people and change their behavior.

“The ability to control our behavior,” states the paper’s author, is “fundamental to the human condition, and is impaired in those with neurological disorders;” however, this ability to control our behavior has grown increasingly important as forces outside ourselves aim to gain control over it for us.

The Whole Brain Approach

This research is yet more proof that a “whole brain” approach to learning or problem solving is most effective.

It has long been understood that certain meditative practices increase whole brain functioning, and particularly, enhance the firing of neurons in the two brain areas mentioned in the Boston University study, but other areas of the brain are also enhanced.

For example, it was found that in long-time Buddhist meditators who focused on compassion, the anterior insula was activated.

“Every neuroscientist will have their favorite part of the brain,” says neuroscientist, Richard Davidson. Davidson is famous for running a series of MRI scans on Buddhist monks along with the Dalai Lama. The anterior insula is one of his favorites, because it’s where a lot of brain-body coordination takes place.  He states,

“The systems in the brain that support our well-being are intimately connected to different organ systems in our body, and also connected to the immune and endocrine systems in ways that matter for our well-being.”

Numerous additional studies confirm that profound changes occur in the brain – causing whole-brain synchronization, in long-term meditators.

Most of Us are Left-Brain Dominant

The average, non-meditating person is usually left or right brain dominant, with most of us in the Western world being left-brain dominant. This makes for studious, hard-working individuals, but may inhibit us from experiencing greater spiritual insights, required by right-brained, or whole-brained thinking.

Some would argue we were made this way, to be easily controlled – to create a slave race that was intelligent enough to follow orders, and to do the labor required of an elite class – but dumb enough not to strive toward the full realization of our coded DNA for conscious evolution, or enlightenment.

There is a large body of evidence presented by Graham Hancock, and other ancient historians which asserts that the human race, or Homo Sapiens Sapiens, was not, according to the Sumerian sacred literature, created by the God of all Universes, but by lesser Gods pretending to be the “Almighty” God (Infinite Intelligence) who came to earth after destroying their own planet, and desirous of creating a slave race which would serve them as they built their own civilization on earth.

Neuroscientist Experiences Bliss When Her Left brain is Silenced in a Stroke

For example, Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist at Harvard’s brain research center, only experienced the “bliss” described in enlightened yogis and shamans when she had a stroke, and the entire left lobe of her brain – responsible for ego, judgement, and analysis – was rendered temporarily mute.

In Closing

While the Boston study is significant in its findings, it only adds more credence to the importance of whole-brain synchronization (found easily via meditation) for overall performance, well-being, compassion, and control of our emotional processes – and yes, even the attainment of nirvana, and an inevitable escape from the left-brain-supported prison matrix.

About the Author

Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet, and her insights also appear in magazines as diverse as Weston A. PriceNexusAtlantis Rising, and the Cuyamungue Institute, among others. She was recently a featured author in the Journal, “Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and Healing Arts,” and her commentary on healing, ascension, and human potential inform a large body of the alternative news lexicon. She has been invited to appear on numerous radio shows, including Health Conspiracy Radio, Dr. Gregory Smith’s Show, and dozens more. The second edition of her book, Pharma Sutra, will be released soon.

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