Archive for July, 2014

These Pets Interrupting Yoga Prove Annoying Can Be Adorable

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Watch our compilation above and see why every yogi should own a pet for the ultimate yoga challenge.

I’m beginning a new book: By a Thousand Cuts

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Some women murder their children at birth. Some kill them over a lifetime.

Many of us came from dysfunctional families. I knew mine was that, but have been realizing more and more just how seriously dysfunctional it is.

When people extol their mothers I have long kept my mouth shut, partly because I believed the dominant view that my dad was the primary bad guy. And partly because many folks become upset at negative comments about someone’s mother. Even more than fathers, mothers are supposed to be sacred, givers of life and unconditional love, who would never destroy their entire family line to protect one of their children.

Humans Will Learn Languages ‘By Taking A Pill’

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Founder of the MIT Media Lab Nicholas Negroponte says that humans will “soon” be able to learn languages — or any information — by taking a pill.

In a new TED talk the famed futurist and innovator essentially played a highlights reel of all the times he’s been right about the future over the years.

Thane he got to the meat of his new prediction — that within 30 years humans will be able to literally “ingest” information.

More.

Why Heterosexuality Didn’t Really Exist Until the 19th Century

Monday, July 21st, 2014

[Hanne] Blank mentions her personal story at the beginning of her provocative new history of heterosexuality, “Straight,” as a way of illustrating just how artificial our notions of “straightness” really are. In her book, Blank, a writer and historian who has written extensively about sexuality and culture, looks at the ways in which social trends and the rise of psychiatry conspired to create this new category in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Along the way, she examines the changing definition of marriage, which evolved from a businesslike agreement into a romantic union centered on love, and how social Darwinist ideas shaped the divisions between gay and straight. With her eye-opening book, Blank tactfully deconstructs a facet of modern sexuality most of us take for granted.

More.

This Is How You Can Get People To Make Better Decisions For Future Generations

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Albert Einstein once said: “Nothing truly valuable can be achieved except by the unselfish cooperation of many individuals.” Alas, when it comes to joining together to conserve Earth’s resources and protect our planet for future generations, we humans have proven to be a decidedly uncooperative lot.

“There has been a great deal of work on how people cooperate with those they see every day –- their colleagues or friends,” Dr. Martin Nowak, professor of mathematics and biology at Harvard University, said in a written statement. “But an open question is how people cooperate with future generations. How do you make altruistic decisions today that benefit people tomorrow?”

For those who worry that we’ll never come together to protect our planet, a provocative new study involving game theory, conducted by Nowak and a colleague at Yale University, offers a glimmer of hope.

More.

People grieve because they love.

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

From the Forever Family Foundation. I agree.

Traditional therapies are oriented to disconnect the bereaved from the ones they have lost, yet inside, that love tells them not to let go.

Could this be because our loved ones are still with us?

Frostie, Baby Goat Who Ditched His Wheelchair For Dancing, Is Cutest Thing To Hit The Internet

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Read article and watch video.

I recently read that Frostie has died. Poor thing. His short life was good toward the end.

Gardening: from Gary Scott’s 26 May newsletter

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Words of wisdom from Gary A. Scott (http://www.garyascott.com/):

Many readers cannot abide exercise for the sake of exercise itself. This becomes really boring to them. They have to find ways to exercise that have a context beyond reinforcing limberness, stamina and good health. They need a motivation and a reason to perform the exercise. I fall into this category and this is one reason I love gardening and our micro agri businesses.

Working in the garden provides fresh food as it eases stress, keeps a person limber, as the process refreshes the mind.

A Dutch study shows that gardening is one of the best ways to fight stress.

Two groups of people were instructed to either read indoors or garden for 30 minutes. Afterward, the group that gardened reported being in a better mood than the reading group. The gardeners also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

The human mind has a boundary called limited channel capacity. The brain can only take in limited amounts of information at a time. Passing the limits creates irritability, increased errors, distractions, stress, decreased efficiency and less productivity.

University of Michigan researchers found that the capacity can be renewed by engaging in “involuntary attention,” an effortless form of attention such as planting, pruning, mowing, digging and other forms of gardening.

The senses become balanced when we are in a natural environment. Easy, repetitive, action are sources of effortless attention.

A Norwegian study found that over half the people studied with depression and other emotional and mental disorders experienced a measurable improvement in their symptoms after spending six hours a week growing flowers and vegetables for three months. The benefits continued three months after the gardening program ended.

Part of the benefits may be based on the chemistry of gardening. Mice injected with Mycobacterium vaccae, a harmless bacteria commonly found in soil, had an increases in the release and metabolism of serotonin in parts of the brain that control cognitive function and mood — much like serotonin-boosting antidepressant drugs do.

The theory is that modern living reduces the amount of friendly bacteria in the system and this reduces the effectiveness of the immune system. Gardening helps put the bacteria back.

Gardening introduces fresh air, sunshine and requires many different movements that provide flexibility and stamina as excellent forms of low-impact exercise.

Two separate studies that followed people in their 60s and 70s for up to 16 years found, respectively, that those who gardened regularly had a 36% and 47% lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners, even when a range of other health factors were taken into account.

Plus food from the garden is the freshest of all!

Loss Group forming

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Starting a group for people who’ve lost their animal and/or human companions and need help dealing with it. Denver. Please spread the word. 303-650-0610

7 Ways Books Can Change Your Life

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Himay Zepeda Often times, during a dark hour or an idle point, a book has changed my life. There are countless books that have pointed me in a different direction, or taught me a lesson. There are also many books that have helped me articulate my own emotions or thoughts, helped me find a voice. If it weren’t for the books I’ve read, I’d be a very different man today…I’d even argue I’d be less of a man.

Books, especially good ones, have that sort of power. If you let them, they can change your life, serve as another compass or guide, or give you a lift when you need it most. I’m sure you can think of at least one book that fundamentally changed you as a human being.

For all of us who’ve felt this transformation, or for anybody who hopes to find that in a good book, this is for you. Here are some of the ways reading a book can change your life.

More.

Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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