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Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Living News’

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 7, 2014

Carolyn Gregoire

CREATIVITY

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

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 in a single person. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Your Earwax Says About You

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 19, 2014

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A new study suggests earwax is not the same between races, with some people having more odor-causing chemical compounds in their earwax than others.

The number of volatile organic compounds, which are molecules that often produce a smell, is generally higher in Caucasians than in East Asians, found researchers from the Monell Center.

“Our previous research has shown that underarm odors can convey a great deal of information about an individual, including personal identity, gender, sexual orientation, and health status,” study researcher George Preti, Ph.D., an organic chemist at Monell, said in a statement. “We think it possible that earwax may contain similar information.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Denmark Is Considered The Happiest Country. You’ll Never Guess Why.

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 24, 2013

Last month, Denmark was crowned the happiest country in the world.

“The top countries generally rank higher in all six of the key factors identified in the World Happiness Report,” wrote University of British Columbia economics professor John Helliwell, one of the report’s contributing authors. “Together, these six factors explain three quarters of differences in life evaluations across hundreds of countries and over the years.”

The six factors for a happy nation split evenly between concerns on a government- and on a human-scale. The happiest countries have in common a large GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy at birth and a lack of corruption in leadership. But also essential were three things over which individual citizens have a bit more control over: A sense of social support, freedom to make life choices and a culture of generosity.

“There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their well-being,” economist Jeffrey Sachs said in a statement at the time of the report’s release. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tweets From the Cosmos: Tune In

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 21, 2013

By Deepak Chopra

Deepak ChopraWhen Twitter first appeared, I responded to their idealistic side, which aimed to form a global community that could create change beyond national boundaries. Tweets are now used for a million reasons that don’t aim as high. But it occurred to me that tweeting might be an excellent way to test the shift in consciousness that has been long awaited and equally long pooh poohed.

Who is right, the skeptics who see no evidence that consciousness is rising on a mass scale or the futurists who foresee a completely altered humanity? It’s impossible to measure such a huge phenomenon, but I decided to start small. On a daily basis for the past two or three years I’ve tweeted about cosmic consciousness, mind outside the brain, the nature of reality, the failure of materialism to explain awareness, and other Big Ideas on the edge of acceptability by mainstream science.

To my surprise, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Each tweet starts a dialogue almost the instant the tweet starts circulating. Naysayers and skeptics also participate, but instead of dominating the conversation — or crushing it — which is what you’d find in official scientific circles, the main result is open, eager curiosity.

Here are the three most popular tweets from a day last week:

1. Photons have neither color nor brightness. The world is made manifest through the light of awareness.

2. Taking existence for granted & assuming that science or religion are the path to truth are the greatest impediments to awakening.

3. The perceived physical world is a representation of a perceiving physical brain. Both the world and brain are immaterial in their essence.

Although each one states my own viewpoint, the statements are broad enough to be good debating topics, and each touches on a mystery that needs exploration. Read the rest of this entry »

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Your Brain Is the Universe (Part 2)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 11, 2013

By Deepak Chopra, Co-author, ‘Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

Deepak-chopraWe all take the physical world for granted, with no doubt that it will still be here when we wake up tomorrow morning. But in fact the subatomic particles that construct the physical world aren’t “here” when they assume the state of a wave, and it appears that 96 percent of the universe is “dark” matter and energy. “Dark” may mean unknowable, since we seem to be talking about matter not based on atoms and energy not based on quantum interactions like electromagnetism.

In the first post we addressed the fact that the source of reality cannot be physical.  In fact, it is almost certain to be inconceivable.  Our brains are constructs of billions of years of hardware-building, known as evolution.  Even if you accept that the brain is a quantum device (please see our first post for an explanation of this notion), what the quanta spit out are thoughts, wishes, hopes, fears, dreams and science. A seemingly random jumble of processes happening at the very boundary of time and space gives birth to experience. Quarks are allowed to be “spooky,” as quantum physics declares, but not your car, orange juice, and armchair. The physical world, and how we think about it, is limited by time and space.  They are the foundation of our home. Asking the brain to understand where reality comes from is like asking a robot to dismantle itself to find out what it’s made of — you won’t have a machine after the dismantling is done, and therefore no answer.

Yet even if the source of reality is inconceivable, the uncanny match between your brain  and the world “out there” cannot be doubted.  Very well known is how the ring-like structure of benzene was discovered in a dream by Friedrich August Kekulé. More obscure is the fact that using no scientific data, the ancient sages of India made remarkable calculations recorded in the Puranas regarding the age of the universe and the distance to the Sun, to name two out of many. In the Western ancient world, Archimedes made an amazing calculation about the universe’s size in the “Sand Reckoner,” asking how many grains of sand it would take to fill the Greek Kosmos. He had to invent a new number system, since the ancient Greek system was woefully inadequate. When you convert the number of grains of sand that Archimedes found to protons, you come up with the actual number of particles in the universe, known as Eddington’s number. A “coincidence”? Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the Universe Is Our Home: It’s Not a Coincidence (Part 2)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 27, 2013

By Deepak Chopra, Co-author, ‘Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

Deepak-chopraAt the human level everyone would like to feel that life has meaning, which implies that the setting for life — the universe at large — isn’t a cold void ruled by random chance.  There is a huge gap here, and for the past century science hasn’t budged from its grandest assumption, that creation is ruled by random events. There was good reason for this adamant position. The mathematics of modern physics is a marvel of precision and accuracy.  No guiding hand, creator, higher intelligence or deity was needed as long as the equations worked.

Now there is a crack in the theory, tiny at first but opening into a fissure, that casts doubt on how science observes the universe. The fault isn’t that the mathematics was wobbly and loose. Quite the opposite.  The universe is too finely tuned to fit the random model.  God isn’t going to leap into the breach, although religion has reason to feel better about not accepting the so-called “accidental universe.”  The real fascination lies in how to match reality “out there” with the potentiality of the human mind.  Both are up for grabs.

In the modern era, Sir Arthur Eddington and especially Paul Dirac first noticed that certain “coincidences” in dimensionless ratios can be found. These ratios link microscopic with macroscopic quantities. For example, the ratio of the electric force to gravitational force (presumably a constant), is a large number (about 1040), while the ratio of the observable size of the universe (which is presumably changing) to the size of an elementary particle is also a large number, surprisingly close to the first number (also about 1040).   It is hard to imagine that two very large and unrelated numbers would turn out to be so close to each other.  Why are they? (For earlier examples of fine tuning, please see our first post, which gives some general background as well.)

Dirac argued that these fundamental numbers must be related. The essential problem is that the size of the universe is changing as the cosmos expands, while the first relationship is presumably constant, given that it involves only two supposed “constants.” Why should two very large numbers, one variable and the other not variable, be so close to each other?  (It’s like seeing a person’s vocal chords vibrating in all kinds of ways and yet discovering that each word he speaks is exactly half a second apart — even this image is a simplification compared to the actual problem, which spans similar ratios in terms of light years and time in the trillionth of a second.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the Universe Is Our Home: It’s Not a Coincidence

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 19, 2013

By Deepak Chopra,

D ChopraCo-author, ‘Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

It would be reassuring to most people to discover that the universe is constructed to favor life.  If the human race isn’t a freakish outcome of highly improbable chance events, we have every right to see the universe as our home. But this psychological reassurance strikes physicists and biologists as wishful thinking; the bulwark of modern science, from the most minuscule events at the quantum scale to the Big Bang itself, is the assumption that creation is random, without guidance, plan, mind or purpose.

Only very slowly has such a blanket view been challenged, but these new challenges are among the most exciting possibilities in science. We’d like to outline the argument for a “human universe” with an eye to understanding why the human race exists. This question is too central to be left to a small cadre of professional cosmologists and evolutionary biologists; everyone has a personal stake in it.

The most accepted theory of the large-scale structure of the universe is Big Bang cosmology, which has achieved impressive results. Yet when you try to model the universe, you can’t escape the problems surrounding what seems like a simple act: observing it.  Measuring the cosmos is intricately interwoven with limits imposed by the process of observation itself. As you go back in time or ahead into the future, as you reach so far into space that light takes billions of years to reach Earth,  any possible model encounters horizons of knowledge at some ultimate, faint observational limit. Beyond such a horizon, observation is blocked, and so are physics, mathematics and the human mind.

For example, with the Big Bang theory, light cannot be used to observe further back in time or across immense distances to arrive close to the very beginning itself. The first instant of the Big Bang remains forever hidden from the present. Knowledge about the early universe has to be inferred. We can examine the parts that scattered after the Big Bang, but we cannot grasp the whole. Thus, our observational limitations prohibit verifying cosmological theories to any degree of accuracy for any observational test. So the Hubble telescope, marvelous as it is for sending back photos of distant galaxies, can’t reveal reality independent of cosmological theory.  Theory cannot be verified with complete certainty, which means that important topics like the expansion of the universe and the evolution of galaxies are our own mental constructs; they reflect who we are as observers, not independent reality. Read the rest of this entry »

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7 Myths of Meditation

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 11, 2013

D ChopraBy Deepak Chopra, Co-author, ‘Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

In the past 40 years, meditation has entered the mainstream of modern Western culture, and been prescribed by physicians and practiced by everyone from business executives, artists, and scientists to students, teachers, military personnel, and — on a promising note — politicians. Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan meditates every morning and has become a major advocate of mindfulness and meditation, as he describes in his bookA Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit.

Despite the growing popularity of meditation, prevailing misconceptions about the practice are a barrier that prevents many people from trying meditation and receiving its profound benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. Here are seven of the most common meditation myths, dispelled.

Myth #1: Meditation is difficult.

Truth:  This myth is rooted in the image of meditation as an esoteric practice reserved only for saints, holy men, and spiritual adepts. In reality, when you receive instruction from an experienced, knowledgeable teacher, meditation is easy and fun to learn. The techniques can be as simple as focusing on the breath or silently repeating a mantra. One reason why meditation may seem difficult is that we try too hard to concentrate, we’re overly attached to results, or we’re not sure we are doing it right. In our experience at the Chopra Center, learning meditation from a qualified teacher is the best way to ensure that the process is enjoyable and you get the most from your practice. A teacher will help you understand what you’re experiencing, move past common roadblocks, and create a nourishing daily practice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Time to Get Real: The Riddle of Perception

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 3, 2013

By Deepak Chopra

Recent research has revealed that birds may migrate by translating the lines of the Earth’s magnetic field into visual information. Their retinas possess magnetic-sensitive cells (cryptochromes) that may do the trick. Bird migration has long been a mystery to science, and this theory can now be added to rival theories about navigation through smell, the sighting of landmarks or following food trails or the movement patterns of the stars, the sun and moon. In fact, it can be argued that bird migration is more closely tied to quantum phenomena than to everyday phenomena. All these theories depend on extrapolating from our sensory experience, yet there is no proof that the world that our brains bring us is the norm.

D ChopraWhen you give a red rose to your beloved on Valentine’s Day, you have every right to say, “I made this for you.” All the qualities that a rose possesses — its velvety texture, its lush red color, even its thorns — are real to us because our perception makes them real. Photons of light have no color, only frequencies and wavelengths. The point of a thorn has no sharpness. The scent of a rose isn’t sweet when seen merely as airborne molecules. The reality of these specific qualities is tied to us. The brain processes electrochemical signals sent from photoreceptors in the eye to “create” the color red. Skin-encapsulated mechanosensory receptors send electrochemical signals that reassure us of a solid “material” world, but the prick of a thorn is created by our brain. Indeed we now know that the brain takes into account a number of factors to choose how much pain to create; varying any one of these factors can affect how prickly the same thorn is.

There is no provable link between “this is what I see” and “this is real.” With a different brain comes a shift of perception, and everything about a rose would change. Roses exist in the world of snails that chew the leaves, aphids that suck the sap, moths that lay eggs in hidden crevices and cats that lurk underneath to wait for a bird to alight. But what these organisms experience is certainly not the rose for Valentine’s Day. As humans we have no conceivable way of entering the perceptual world of those creatures. We can only imagine a link, and then we take our imagined similarities for granted.

Recent research has revealed that birds may migrate by translating the lines of the Earth’s magnetic field into visual information. Their retinas possess magnetic-sensitive cells (cryptochromes) that may do the trick. Bird migration has long been a mystery to science, and this theory can now be added to rival theories about navigation through smell, the sighting of landmarks or following food trails or the movement patterns of the stars, the sun and moon. In fact, it can be argued that bird migration is more closely tied to quantum phenomena than to everyday phenomena. All these theories depend on extrapolating from our sensory experience, yet there is no proof that the world that our brains bring us is the norm. Read the rest of this entry »

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Depression Is Still a Mystery — We Need a New Model

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 3, 2013

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.

Depression-solution-blockThe magazine ScienceNews begins a recent article on depression with a blanket judgment: “A massive effort to uncover genes involved in depression has largely failed.” A general reader would probably not feel the shock waves that spread from thisassessment. Gene research is always going up and down. That doesn’t change the public’s general sense that depression is being handled pretty well. Billion-dollar antidepressants continue to flourish. Somewhere in the future, better ones will improve the situation even more.

Informed opinion on the subject is very different, however, because the model for depression that has been accepted for decades counts it as a brain disorder, and brain disorders are rooted in genetics. The failure to find the genes involved in depression strongly suggest — as more than one prominent researcher now concedes — that the genes of depressed people are not damaged or distorted compared with the genes of people who aren’t depressed. What follows from that is another false assumption. The most popular antidepressants supposedly worked by repairing chemical imbalances in the synapses — the gaps between two nerve endings — where the culprit seemed to be an imbalance of serotonin. But serotonin is directly regulated by genes, and some key research indicates that drugs aimed at fixing the serotonin problem either don’t work that way or that there wasn’t a serotonin problem in the first place.

The ScienceNews report doesn’t leave much wiggle room for a laissez-faire attitude on this point: “By combing through the DNA of 34,549 volunteers, an international team of 86 scientists hoped to uncover genetic influences that affect a person’s vulnerability to depression. But the analysis turned up nothing.” Nothing doesn’t mean something.

If the chain of explanation running from genes to the synapses and finally to the pharmaceutical lab is broken, a host of doubts arises. Is depression a brain disease in the first place, or is it — as psychiatry assumed before the arrival of modern drug treatment — a disorder of the mind? The latest theories haven’t gone back to square one. What we know isn’t black and white. There are many variables in depression, which leads to some fairly good conclusions: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Art Of Sleeping With The Enemy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 30, 2012

By Dr. Peggy Drexler, Author, research psychologist, and gender scholar

I have good friends. Call them Ed and Paula. They are in a mixed marriage: she’s a Republican, he’s a Democrat. Both take their respective affiliations seriously.

They’ve always made their union of political opposites work. But this season, there is coolness in the political air. They find themselves avoiding dangerous territory.

“It’s funny,” Paula told me. It’s just harder to talk about things in this race.”

Maybe they just reflect the country as a whole — the feeling that it’s a zero-sum game. From the left: Republicans are for the rich, and against just about everybody else. From the right: Obama will preside over America’s financial ruin.

Both those positions have likely been hardened by the current climate of Congressional polarization: “I’m OK. You’re the anti-Christ.”

Evidence of a hardening of positions is visible in a paper published in Public Opinion Quarterly. Stanford University professor Shanto Iyengar points to a 1960s study that found 5 percent of couples would be upset if their child married outside their political party. A study in 2010 put that figure at 40 percent. For the record, Republicans would be more upset — 50 percent to 30 percent.

How do couples cope? There are some visible examples that say it can work. Read the rest of this entry »

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From Quanta to Qualia: What Nature Is Really Telling Us

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 17, 2012

By Deepak Chopra, Author, ‘Spiritual Solutions’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

Co-written with Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.

What would it take to make the universe a living thing? What would it take to make it human once again, a secure home for us instead of a cold, meaningless place? What would it take to give God a future? As disconnected as these questions may seem, they are on the minds of some farseeing thinkers. And the deeper one looks, the more it appears that all three issues — a living universe, a human universe and a universe that holds a place for God — start to merge. If they actually do merge, nothing will ever be the same again. Not just science but everyday existence will be completely overturned.

There have been great physicists who were deeply religious, such as Sir Isaac Newton, or who had a religious feeling when confronting the universe, such as Albert Einstein, but God isn’t the right place to start with these huge issues. God, in fact, is a red herring. No matter who or what created the universe, it’s here now, and we have to relate to it. How? One of the oldest ideas, which can be found in every culture, holds that nature is a mirror. We relate to it by seeing ourselves, but not passively. Messages are constantly going back and forth about birth and death, about constant change and the bond between our life and nature itself. To the ancients a natural disaster — fire, flood or earthquake — showed that nature was angry. If nature was appeased, the harvest was good and the sun shone. It was unquestioned that the universe meant something, and usually it meant that a loving deity had created a special place for his children.

It’s astonishing how quickly a timeless worldview was utterly destroyed by science. The demolition project that included Darwin, Freud, Einstein and all the other quantum pioneers doesn’t need retracting. We relate to a completely mechanistic universe devoid of purpose, one that operates through random chance, perfectly meshed with evolution operating through random genetic mutations. The mirror has shattered. We no longer see ourselves, because there’s nothing meaningful to see, no purpose, no creator. Even more absurd is the notion that nature is sending us messages; from the collision of quarks to the collision of galaxies, nothing is happening “out there” to reflect human existence. Read the rest of this entry »

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From Quanta to Qualia: The Mystery of Reality

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 9, 2012

By Deepak Chopra

This piece was co-written with Menas Kafatos, Ph.D. and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.

Wherever reality leads, science follows. The two are inseparably linked, as they must be when science is our way of knowing reality. Reality shifts in ways that are unpredictable and strange. Time and space took very strange turns a century ago, for example, while cause and effect turned into a game of probabilities, and the solid physical universe dissolved into invisible energy clouds. Quantum theory had arrived, keeping pace with where reality led it. What Einstein called the “spookiness” of activity at the quantum level has only become spookier since.

Now it appears that reality is about to lead us into new, unexpected paths once more. A hint of the future was provided decades ago by one of the most brilliant quantum pioneers, Wolfgang Pauli, when he said, “It is my personal opinion that in the science of the future reality will neither be ‘psychic’ nor ‘physical’ but somehow both and somehow neither.” By using a word that science shuns, “psychic,” Pauli was pointing to a kind of ultimate mystery. The vast physical mechanism we call the universe behaves more like a mind than like a machine. To thousands of working physicists, the riddle of mind and matter doesn’t apply to their research. But the founder of quantum physics, Max Planck, had no doubt that mind would eventually become the elephant in the room, an issue too massive and obvious to ignore. Planck is worth quoting in full: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

The reason that mixing mind with matter disturbs many scientists isn’t a secret. Mind rules the subjective world, while matter is the basis of the physical world, and science is dedicated to gathering objective data from it. Subjectivity is fickle, individual, shifting, and prey to all kinds of bias, if not outright delusion. Consciousness therefore has been systematically excluded from scientific consideration; it’s simply a given that all of us are conscious, and a given doesn’t need to be factored into the equation. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Consciousness-Based Science

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 13, 2012

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Chapman University, and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)

The greatest mystery of existence is existence itself. There is the existence of the universe and there is the existence of the awareness of existence of the universe. Were it not for this awareness, even if the universe existed as an external reality, we would not be aware of its existence, so it would for all practical purpose not exist. Traditional science assumes, for the most part, that an objective observer independent reality exists; the universe, stars, galaxies, sun, moon and earth would still be there if no one was looking. However, modern quantum theory, the most successful of all scientific creations of the human mind, disagrees. The properties of a particle, quantum theory tells us, do not even exist until an observation takes place. Quantum theory disagrees with traditional, Newtonian physics. Most scientists, although respecting quantum theory, do not follow its implications. The result is a kind of schizophrenia between what scientists believe and what they practice. When we examine this hypothesis of traditional science, we find it more a metaphysical assumption than a scientific assertion.

How can we assert that an observer-independent reality exists if the assertion itself is dependent on the existence of a conscious observer? This raises the additional dilemma of who or what is the observer and where is this observer located? When scientists in general describe empirical facts and formulate scientific theories, they forget that neither facts nor theories are an insight into the true nature of fundamental reality apart from any observer. What we consider to be empirical facts are entirely dependent on observation, in agreement with quantum theory. The scientific observer in this case is an activity of the universe called Homo sapiens usually with a Ph.D. in physics. However, many scientists have never really asked the question “Who am I?”

Most neuroscientists who still don’t believe that quantum theory has anything to do with the brain would assert that “I,” the conscious observer, is solely an epiphenomenon of the brain, that consciousness is produced by the brain, just as gastric juices are produced by the stomach and bile is produced by the gall bladder. The problem with this of course, is that any neuroscientist worth his/her tenure will tell you that there is no satisfactory theory in neuroscience that explains how neurochemistry translates into conscious experience. How do electrochemical phenomena in the brain create the appreciation of the beauty of a red rose, the taste of garlic, the smell of onions, the feeling of love, compassion, joy, insight, intuition, imagination, creativity, free will, or awareness of existence of self and the universe? There is no physicalist theory based on classical physics to explain these subjective experiences. Nor is there any obvious means for coming up with one.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Egg Yolks, Smoking Clog Arteries Similarly, Says Study

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 19, 2012

By Meredith Melnick

Is a diet rich in whole eggs nearly as artery clogging as smoking? That’s the premise of a new study, published Aug. 14 in the journal, Atherosclerosis.

Dr. J. David Spence, a professor of neurology at Western University in Canada found a relationship between egg yolk consumption and the development of atherosclerosis, a condition that contributes to heart attack and stroke risk in which plaque accumulates along the walls of the arteries. The connection was similar to one between smoking and arterial plaque that was calculated in the same study, he and a team of researchers found.

Spence’s research team surveyed 1,231 middle-aged male and female patients who had been referred to a vascular prevention clinic at the London Health Sciences Centre’s University Hospital after suffering a stroke or a “mini-stroke.”

The team measured subjects’ carotid wall thickness, and compared that with answers about egg yolk consumption, smoking, exercise habits and other lifestyle factors. They did not have the data to look at overall dietary patterns, according to Spence.

The researchers calculated egg yolk consumption and cigarette consumption in the same manner, and found that the top 20 percent of egg consumers had narrowing of the carotid artery that was two-thirds that of smokers. The finding is particularly surprising, as cigarettes are known to cause immediate and profound damage to vascular health.

But some critics of the study are concerned with the comparison between egg yolks and cigarettes. While both are harmful, they cause harm in different ways.

“Smoking has a direct effect on blood vessels and development of plaque, whereas with eggs, it’s really an indirect effect: Eggs are part of the diet and the diet has an effect on overall blood cholesterol,” said Dr. David J. Frid, a staff cardiologist in preventive cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic. “A high level of blood cholesterol can lead to arterial plaque, but there are so many factors that can affect your cholesterol above eating eggs. There’s the rest of your diet, whether you’re overweight, whether you exercise, genetics.” Read the rest of this entry »

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