Creativity - Far More than Deliberate Practice

Tuesday, 19 April 2016 17:58 Written by
Creativity - Far More than Deliberate Practice

Speed of expertise acquisition may matter, but so do a whole host of other traits.  The "10-Year Rule" makes for a sensational TED talk; however, the idea that it takes 10 years to become a world-class expert in any domain is not a rule. Creativity doesn't have an expiration date. Creativity seems to happen when it's ready to happen.  While expetise or technique certainly contribute, talent and personality are very relevant to creative accomplishment. 

Ancient Egyptian Demons Found

Saturday, 16 April 2016 17:04 Written by
Ancient Egyptian Demons Found

A Belgium-based Egyptologist has discovered the oldest of ancient Egyptian demons -- demonic entities populated the ancient Egyptians’ imaginations as far back as 4,000 years ago.  The discovery, presented recently at the International Conference on Ancient Egyptian Demonology, these demons gripped their victims and cut off their heads.

Wael Sherbiny, an independent scholar who specializes in the ancient Egyptian religious texts, found two demons on two Middle Kingdom coffins presumed to be about 4,000 years old.  The third demon was identified in a 4,000-year-old leather roll the researcher had previously discovered in the shelves of the Egyptian museum in Cairo, where it was stored and forgotten for more than 70 years. This leather roll was the oldest and longest Egyptian leather manuscript.

LSD is Curative

Thursday, 14 April 2016 00:44 Written by
LSD is Curative

New studies given researchers an unprecedented insight into the neural basis for effects produced by one of the most powerful drugs ever created. One study could pave the way for LSD or related chemicals to be used to treat psychiatric disorders. Researchers suggest the drug could pull the brain out of thought patterns seen in depression and addiction through its effects on brain networks.

Amanda Feilding, director of the Beckley Foundation that helped fund the study said, said: “We are finally unveiling the brain mechanisms underlying the potential of LSD, not only to heal but also to deepen our understanding of consciousness itself.”  A study appearing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals how LSD reverses the more restricted thinking we develop from infancy to adulthood.

How to be Good

Sunday, 13 March 2016 01:53 Written by
How to be Good

An Oxford philosopher thinks he can distill all morality into a formula. Is he right?

The philosopher Derek Parfit believes that neither of the people is you, but that this doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that you have ceased to exist, because what has happened to you is quite unlike ordinary death: in your relationship to the two new people there is everything that matters in ordinary survival—a continuity of memories and dispositions that will decay and change as they usually do. Most of us care about our future because it is ours—but this most fundamental human instinct is based on a mistake, Parfit believes. Personal identity is not what matters.

Painkillers - Now Deadlier than Illegal Drugs

Wednesday, 09 March 2016 15:03 Written by
Painkillers - Now Deadlier than Illegal Drugs

It's a terrifying fact: More than 47,000 people in America died of drug overdoses in 2014 — in what's been widely called an epidemic. But the biggest killer of this epidemic isn't cocaine, meth, or even heroin; it's totally legal opioid painkillers. Here's how it happened:

Since the 1990s, doctors have been under more and more pressure to treat pain as a serious medical issue. Pharmaceutical companies took advantage of this desire, marketing opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin as a safe, effective solution to pain.

The result: Millions of Americans got hooked on the drugs, and tens of thousands have died from overdoses. In 2014, nearly 19,000 died from overdoses linked to opioid painkillers.

Fasting Diets Are Gaining Acceptance

Tuesday, 08 March 2016 20:41 Written by
Fasting Diets Are Gaining Acceptance

In a culture in which it’s customary to eat three large meals a day while snacking from morning to midnight, the idea of regularly skipping meals may sound extreme. But in recent years intermittent fasting has been gaining popular attention and scientific endorsement.

Across the world, millions of people fast periodically for religious and spiritual reasons. But some are now looking at the practice as a source of health and longevity. Valter Longo, the director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, initially studied fasting in mice that showed that two to five days of fasting each month reduced biomarkers for diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The research has since been expanded to people, and scientists saw a similar reduction in disease risk factors.

Predestination - A False Doctrine

Sunday, 06 March 2016 15:32 Written by
Predestination - A False Doctrine

Predestination is a bit of a thorny thicket for theologians.  Today, strict predestinarianism (to include double predestination) is a minority view.  Among the broad theological community, predestination is widely understood to be heresy.

Why?

As this paper will illustrate, that free will does not exist (the premise of strict predestination) is simply not supported in scripture and in many places directly contradicts scripture.  Then there is the notion of paradox.

The doctrine reduces the eternal salvation of the elect as well as the eternal damnation of the reprobate to one cause alone -- namely to the sovereign will of a Higher Power, Being, or God.  It thereby denies and excludes the free co-operation of man as a secondary factor in bringing about a happy or unhappy future in the life to come.

Predestination and Wicca

Sunday, 06 March 2016 15:17 Written by
Predestination and Wicca

The juxtaposition of predestination with the exercise of free will is as old as human thought itself.  Prior to Western civilization, the disperse pagan world, at times, (conveniently) embraced the idea of predestination and, at other times, (conveniently) rejected the idea of predestination.  It was widely believed that certain Pagan gods actively meddled in the affairs of human lives and human events.

Today, however, most Wiccans don’t believe in predestination (or other kinds of determinism, not inclusive of broadly accepted (loosely defined) karma).  The idea of a predestined elect was a gnostic idea.  That said, most Wiccans honor and revere a Goddess and God, there is a strong knowing among practitioners that they are free souls with full control and responsibility for their individual lives, actions, and consequences. The rational Wiccan, whether a believer in Transmigration of Souls or not, sees each new life as a tabula rasa, a clean slate, and shuns all beliefs that smack of predestination.

Ray Tomlinson, RIP

Saturday, 05 March 2016 23:59 Written by
Ray Tomlinson, RIP

A computing legend has died. The inventor of email, Ray Tomlinson, suffered an apparent heart attack on Saturday, according to reports. He was 74 years old.

Tomlinson sent the very first email back in 1971; at the time, he was working in Boston at Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN), a company that was instrumental in the development of a very early version of the internet, called ARPANET. As an employee, he was "looking for problems [ARPANET] could solve," Tomlinson said in a 2012 interview.

Global Buddhist Monks Call for Tackling Climate Change

Buddhist monks from around the world gathered at Thailand's ancient Ayutthaya city on Thursday for the last day of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) during which they laid emphasis on actions to tackle climate change.

"What is exciting is that we heard a lot of young voices coming up with their ideas on how we should spread the message. I think it's novel for us to hear that people are talking about Facebook, about internet, about tablets, iPads, new methods of communications, how to raise funds. Totally different from the traditional, you know, view point of Buddhist leaders who talked about sermons," said Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian diplomat and founder president of Kalinga Langka Foundation.

Half Earth

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 03:22 Written by
Half Earth

Unstanched haemorrhaging has only one end in all biological systems: death for an organism, extinction for a species. Researchers who study the trajectory of biodiversity loss are alarmed that, within the century, an exponentially rising extinction rate might easily wipe out most of the species still surviving at the present time.

The crucial factor in the life and death of species is the amount of suitable habitat left to them. When, for example, 90 per cent of the area is removed, the number that can persist sustainably will descend to about a half. Such is the actual condition of many of the most species-rich localities around the world, including Madagascar, the Mediterranean perimeter, parts of continental southwestern Asia, Polynesia, and many of the islands of the Philippines and the West Indies. If 10 per cent of the remaining natural habitat were then also removed – a team of lumbermen might do it in a month – most or all of the surviving resident species would disappear.

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