Archive for March, 2014

Sweet, funny penguin video

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Brain Processes Music Much Like Spoken Language, New Study Shows

Friday, March 28th, 2014

When jazz musicians let their creativity flow and start to improvise melodies, they use parts of their brains typically associated with spoken language — specifically, regions that help people interpret syntax or the structure of sentences, according to a new study.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine in Baltimore tracked brain activity as two jazz musicians played pieces from memory and then engaged in back-and-forth improvisation, creating something akin to a spontaneous musical conversation. They found that areas of the brain associated with syntax and language were very active as the musicians were improvising.


This could suggest there is a fundamental difference between how the brain processes meaning for music and language.

“Syntax has more to do with grammar and the structure of language — basically the rules of language,” Limb explained. “Semantics has more to do with the meaning of words. So, if music has semantics, it’s not processed in the way that is traditionally used for language.”


Psychiatric community care: Belgian town sets gold standard

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Hundreds of families in Geel take in psychiatric patients; people who suffer from schizophrenia, from obsessive compulsive disorder, serious mental illnesses. About half of “the boarders” as they are known, also have what is described as “a mild mental handicap.”

Families in Geel have been looking after mentally ill people for centuries. When the numbers were at their highest in the late 1930s, there were 3,800 psychiatric patients living with families in Geel, a town at the time of only 15,000. A quarter of the town was noticeably mentally ill.

The tradition continues today. A young woman dressed like some sort of ragged angel scurries past on the street; a few minutes later a man with a vacant gaze wanders by muttering to himself. No one bats an eye.

“We are known all over the country as the place where there are insane people.” says tour guide Alex Martens. “There’s also an expression instead of saying you’re crazy. You can say you belong in Geel.”

There really is nowhere on Earth quite like it. Geel has become the gold standard of community care of psychiatric patients, and it’s a model that others are starting to adopt.


Please help with dogs in desperate need here in Colorado

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT: I will donate 30% of all book sales from my page only to this cause. When you order be sure to mention this. click here

Here is a link to the page about this terrible situation: click here Here is one of Marshall’s posts. If you click on his name you can read more about these rescued animals. Some have died.

My friends and family, we need help and FAST!!
You may have noticed that I have not been on Facebook for a few days. We have been on a sceret mission to rescue 12 Afghans Hounds from a horrifying slow death!!! One sweet Grand Champion with many titles has died so 12 others may live!
PLEASE PLEASE DON’T ASK WHO THE BREEDER it is an on going unresolved issue! !!
Half of them are listed as a 1 out of a 10 from our vet so we need help and need it now!!
We need money with vet supplies and food. The rescue team has drove over 40 hours to rescue these poor babies from a cold dark basement with covers over their crates so they haven’t seen daylight for over three months and their coats matted to the skin with their own poop and pee!!
We have already spent 100 ‘ s of dollars to save them. Some are Grand Champions and other are just points away of being Champions.
We have got them all stable and on the way to recovery.
I am willing to donate my art work to those who will donate to help us save these babies!!!! Please whatever you can give.
The fastest and easiest way to help is to send it to my PayPal address.
You who know me, know i would never ask for help, but we can’t afford all of the expenses nor can we stand by and let them die!!!!
Thank you so much!!!!!

Sweet boy paid off school’s overdue lunch balance

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Cayden Taipalus, 8, came home from Challenger Elementary School feeling really upset after witnessing a friend foregoing a hot lunch because of a negative lunch account balance.

As an alternative, the school provided his friend with just a cheese sandwich. The third grader sat down with his mom and came up with a plan to help. They would collect plastic bottles and cans, collect money from family and friends and solicit donations so that they could pay off all the negative balances for the entire school.

After just one week, Cayden was able to cover about 150 lunches, and with the help of some media attention, Cayden’s kindness spurred others to act.


It’s tragic that we in the US can waste money on so many things that really aren’t important. We need to reform our priorities.

Boy With A Rare Muscle Condition And His 3-Legged Dog Have A Wonderful Relationship

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

It’s wonderful that the boy and dog found each other.  

Watch video.

9 Blind Spots Most Therapists Share

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

AlterNet / By Michael Bader

9 Blind Spots Most Even professionals forget that there are exceptions to the rules.

Does your therapist have a blind spot? Every therapist has to have a theory that guides his or her work. We can’t function without one. The problem with theories is that they can often obscure what people need rather than clarify it. Theories that are held too strongly create blind spots.

The reason is simple: Therapists forget that there are always exceptions to their rules. Most generalizations about how therapy is supposed to work, usually derived from theory and learned in training from cherished teachers, can be blind to the infinite differences among people. In order to be effective, therapists have to have an approach that allow for maximum flexibility. They have to have an open-minded intention to tailor technique to people’s special and idiosyncratic needs. Lastly, they have to subordinate theoretical allegiances to the only goal that matters in every session: therapeutic progress.


Personal note:

This is a good article. For the most part, I dislike labeling people I coach/counsel, though the system–insurance companies, hospitals, govt. agencies etc.–requires it. Sometimes it’s necessary. But often it further isolates the person labelled and reinforces the problems. We need to look for solutions instead.

Rescued Cougar Cubs Thriving After Being Orphaned By A Hunter (VIDEO)

Thursday, March 13th, 2014


Dog Brains Process Voices & Emotions Just Like Humans, Study Finds

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Sharing similar locations in both species, they process voices and emotions of other individuals similarly. Both groups respond with greater neural activity when they listen to voices reflecting positive emotions such as laughing than to negative sounds that include crying or whining. Dogs and people, however, respond more strongly to the sounds made by their own species. “Dogs and humans meet in a very similar social environment but we didn’t know before just how similar the brain mechanisms are to process this social information,” Andics says.

These striking similarities help clarify the timeline and stages of mammalian evolutionary history. Until now researchers had identified voice-sensitive brain regions only in humans and macaque monkeys, whose last common ancestor lived 30 million years ago. The last common ancestor of humans and dogs—a mammalian carnivore with a brain the size of an egg—existed around 100 million years ago. The canine finding thus suggests that the voice-sensitive brain regions in both species evolved at least that long ago, if not earlier. Other mammals on the same evolutionary branch as humans and hounds that also arose from that last mutual ancestor are likely share the same brain areas as well.

But dog owners might be most interested in what this study says about our special relationship with canine pets. Humans domesticated dogs somewhere between 18,000 and 32,000 years ago, and since then they have become people’s best friends, hunting partners, guards and even purse accessories. Andics thinks the parallel brain sensitivity to voices and emotions may account in part for our unique bond. “This similarity helps explain what makes vocal communication between dogs and humans so successful,” he says. “It’s why dogs can tune into their owners’ feelings so well.”



18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences.


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.