Tuesday 30th of September 2014

the usual suspects .....

the usual suspects .....

Homo sapiens may have been responsible for butchering Neanderthals in the Stone Age. Evidence for this theory has been found on a jawbone in France. The bone was covered in cut marks similar to those found when humans stripped the flesh from animals.

Neanderthal man evolved in Europe around 300,000 years ago. It's believed that they survived several ice ages and interglacial periods before dying out around 30,000 years ago, at almost the same time as human beings arrived on the continent from Africa. Some scientists believe Neanderthals couldn't compete with Homo Sapiens for the scarce resources of the times, whereas other researchers believe that Neanderthals were more susceptible to the impact of climate change.

However, a recent discovery at Les Rois in south-west France has provided some evidence for a compelling and controversial argument that has been published in a study in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences. The discovery was a Neanderthal jawbone that seems to have been butchered by modern humans. The leader of the research team, Fernando Rozzi of Paris's Centre National de la Récherche Scientifique, believes the flesh was eaten by humans and the teeth used for a necklace.

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/272709


Gus: Of course the creationists who have mutated into "intelligent design" adherents would have understood the notion of holy competition, with cannibalism to boot ...

Gus still pushes to his grand theory that our individual consciousness - born from the original soup of enzymes evolved into RNA, then DNA - is greater than that of the entire universe. The universe cannot see us, we have cognition of the universe ...

It is a powerful state of being that we muck up daily with our petty squabbles -  squabbles that we started with our cousins, the Neanderthals ... and we're still destroying our other natural companions, most of whom have cognition of place and environment, but we deny them the right. We're the only species with the tools and the stupidity to destroy our space and that of the others ... when will we ever grow up?

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Since the article above was published, other hypothesis were made, such as the possibility of inter-"species" copulation that eventually led to the disapearance of the Neanderthals, and modern humans may all have a bit of Neanderthal genes by the process... Who knows. But humans have evolved from the ape ancestors nonetheless.

Sapiens in the mist

(This is part of an unedited chapter in the "The Age of Deceit" project with some annotations referring to other comments on this site, to be inserted at a later stage.)

The image above is obviously wrong, deliberately. So is the original by Michelangelo.

God isn't a gorilla. God even isn't.

Perusing through the scientific record, there is strong evidence that other species of sapiens have trodden the earth. There is a strong chance too that we, the sapiens of sapiens, managed to make them disappear with our rat-like breeding and our avaricious needs... Unless they vanished from lack of survival skills in changing habitats... unless they were wiped out by disease or other accidental events.
And in the paradigm of evolution, the hominid ancestor — the precursor of the apes — would have given ape-lines characteristics to gorillas (as gorillas), and to sapiens in various formats, as non-cross-breedable cousins. As mentioned before I believe Homo sapiens (meaning "wise") sapiens (twice wise) — us, humans— was (and is) a weak species that had to become more astutely cunning to survive... (In my humble opinion our second "sapiens" should actually be "tellingporkiensis")

In regard to other hominids, The "hobbits" or the extinct short people of Flores in Indonesia show signs of being sapiens. Not so bizarre. I remember vividly, although my imagination and memory could be playing tricks, when I was a kid, being taken to a circus where "short people" where exhibited. They did not show any form of dwarfism such as bigger heads, nor were they "kids"... yet most of them were about three foot tall with Leonardo's ideal body proportions and talking like you and me — in their own language... possibly a weird east european lingo... Spooky, I was all but four feet tall.
May not have been a different species but different in size. We know that our species comes in different colours and characteristics (called races) — all stemming from our genetics history of breeding, degrees of separation and the influence of environmental factors, such as dietary supply. No "racism" here. Just plain fact. I lived in Africa for a few years and the people were of a different color than me. No racism here. Just facts.

In Australia though, in the Lake Mungo area, there are bones that could suggest that another species of Homo had reached the inside of this country/continent. Presently, anthropologists categorise the two sets of different remains as robusts and graciles. Only the gracile survived. Their descendants are the aborigines of today.

going back to the root of the tree, says a link:

"The hominid family originated between 10 and 5 million years ago, with a single species of bipedal ape. As usually happens with newly established mammalian lineage: The 1st species gave rise by stages to a range of descendants, producing a relatively luxuriant evolutionary bush. Individual branches were pruned away from time to time as species became extinct and new ones were added. Eventually, the hominid bush was reduced to just Homo sapiens."

Some modern nomenclature add sapiens again, (Homo sapiens sapiens) to diferentiate with Homo sapiens neanderthaliensis...

But some of our extinct cousins survived quite late in the history of hominids. Neanderthals (also sapiens) only disappeared completely about 24,000 years ago, possibly about the same time at which the robusts disappeared from Australia. Much of the Lake Mungo conjecture about the two skeleton types present some arguments about who came first. While some scientists argue that robusts must have come first, present record shows that gracile were here first, but one has to consider that this is by no way a complete record.

So, this condensed-soup exposé about hominids presented here, was to succintly explain our Homo sapiens earthly grounding... and to show that the continuum of humanity isn't a set value of "churchial" dogmas but a true line of evolution gone gangbusters, on heat for some stems of the hominids, while other branches died off.

As humans evolved, culture which defined interaction between individuals and groups also evolved.

I call this the "stylistic" development of our species in which "entertainment" becomes our concern number one. In most societies, survival of the individuals is "assured" by the structure of the group and eventually there is "free time" to share — time during which communication still developed but had no other use than maintaining or creating a relationship, eventually permeating and fusing with all activities, imbuing them with "knowledge" and fairy dust.

And this "entertainment" which now includes religions, money and stand-up comics relies heavily on telling stories in which lies become ingrained to sustain a storyline that often does not stack up against evidence and/or scientific investigation. Actually, stand up comics tend to tell the truer truth with an elastic twist and this is why we laugh. Other dogmatic entertainment are quite serious about their porkies and we pray for forgiveness.

So, how much do we have to accept to maintain our evolutionary integrity versus our need to lie to maintain our beliefs' continuum?

And how do we maintain our relative evolutionary continuum (that idea we never understood) in times of rapid environmental change and antiquated beliefs systems?

Since we humans started to manage our affairs, we have created groups, communities and organisations that claimed to be the keepers of the cultural continuum (the stylistic "entertainment") — even in the simplest form of social structures. Presently, we have countless organisations from churches, mosques, unions to governments and secret societies all geared up to maintain their specific gamut of ideas in the cultural domain — more or less powerfully, mostly designed to take us away from our evolutionary continuum understanding.
As mentioned before on this site, I profess life's purpose is the continued necessary stealing of some other creature's proteins...

But dreaming/talltelling/porkying in our entertainment stylistic side of the world we often fail to connect to other humans as humans. We connect as catholics and muslims, as buyers and sellers, as conquerors and vanquished, as left or right, etc.
Since our birth we are indoctrinated into belief systems that at some stage or another will clash with other belief systems. Some of us get immerse in our endoctrinating beliefs ... But should we realise that our beliefs are wrong at some stage — usually in our adolescence but not exclusively when we see the wider world as it is, with all its flaws, pains other joys and weird offerings — some of us may be confused and unable to adjust. This is why most belief systems place "blinkers" on the mind of their followers to stop them see the proper reality. And these blinkers are dismissive of other interpretations, especially that of our earthly origins.
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Faith schools free to preach against homosexuality

Government plans include sex education for all pupils
Catholic schools welcome clause on teaching 'values'

Polly Curtis, education editor
The Guardian, Tuesday 28 April 2009

Sex education is to be made compulsory in all state schools in England but faith schools will also be free to preach against sex outside marriage and homosexuality, under government proposals.

The plans to make personal, social and health education (PSHE) compulsory from the age of five, published yesterday, include a clause allowing schools to apply their "values" to the lessons and another allowing parents to opt their children out on religious grounds.

It means that all state secondaries in England - including faith schools - will for the first time have to teach a core curriculum about sex and contraception in the context of teenagers' relationships, but teachers in religious schools will also be free to tell them that sex outside marriage, homosexuality or using contraception are wrong. Sexual health campaigners warned that such an approach could confuse teenagers, but Catholic schools welcomed the move.

The government-commissioned review by Sir Alasdair Macdonald, headteacher of Morpeth school in east London, on how to make PSHE compulsory, concludes that schools will be legally obliged to teach pupils about health and nutrition, safety, drugs and alcohol and sex education.

For the first time pupils will be taught how to stay safe - from tackling cyber-bullying to resisting pressure to join gangs - and how to manage their bank accounts.
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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/us/27atheist.html?em=&pagewanted=print
April 27, 2009
More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Two months after the local atheist organization here put up a billboard saying “Don’t Believe in God? You Are Not Alone,” the group’s 13 board members met in Laura and Alex Kasman’s living room to grapple with the fallout.

The problem was not that the group, the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, had attracted an outpouring of hostility. It was the opposite. An overflow audience of more than 100 had showed up for their most recent public symposium, and the board members discussed whether it was time to find a larger place.

And now parents were coming out of the woodwork asking for family-oriented programs where they could meet like-minded nonbelievers.

“Is everyone in favor of sponsoring a picnic for humanists with families?” asked the board president, Jonathan Lamb, a 27-year-old meteorologist, eliciting a chorus of “ayes.”

More than ever, America’s atheists are linking up and speaking out — even here in South Carolina, home to Bob Jones University, blue laws and a legislature that last year unanimously approved a Christian license plate embossed with a cross, a stained glass window and the words “I Believe” (a move blocked by a judge and now headed for trial).

They are connecting on the Internet, holding meet-ups in bars, advertising on billboards and buses, volunteering at food pantries and picking up roadside trash, earning atheist groups recognition on adopt-a-highway signs.

They liken their strategy to that of the gay-rights movement, which lifted off when closeted members of a scorned minority decided to go public.

“It’s not about carrying banners or protesting,” said Herb Silverman, a math professor at the College of Charleston who founded the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, which has about 150 members on the coast of the Carolinas. “The most important thing is coming out of the closet.”

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http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1894025,00.html
Monday, Apr. 27, 2009
Forget Math. Women Lag in Becoming English Profs!
By Laura Fitzpatrick

So much for the theory that maternity leave and childrearing are responsible for slowing women's climb up the employment ladder. Despite increasing efforts to mint more female professors in recent years, a new report from the Modern Language Association of America shows that women take longer than men to get promoted from associate professor to full professor — regardless of whether they are married or have children.

The report, based on a March 2006 survey of 401 English and foreign-language professors, finds that women take between 1 and 3.5 years longer than men to attain the rank of professor, depending on the size and nature of their school, with the largest gap at private colleges and universities. "That's a staggering difference," says lead author Kathleen Woodward, an English professor at the University of Washington. Worse, the lag time is getting longer. Women now earn more doctorates than men and make up a greater proportion of associate professors, but they're rising through the ranks more slowly than they used to: women promoted in the 1990s took an average of 7.4 years to become full professors, while those promoted after 2000 took an average of 8.8 years. (See pictures of female soliders in Iraq.)

Admittedly, the relatively small sample size of this pilot study and the narrow range of respondents' fields makes generalizing the results tricky. But the fact that women are lagging behind in the languages — often considered academia's female-friendly fields — suggests that the fight to get more women established in male-dominated math and science might be even more of an uphill battle than we expected. According to the new study, whether women were single, married, divorced, with children or without, they lagged behind their male counterparts in every demographic. Married women took an average of 8.8 years to become full professors, compared to 6.8 for married men. And among single or divorced faculty, promotions took 7.7 years for women and 6.0 for men.

Interestingly, among respondents with kids, women reported spending more time (31.6 hours) caring for their children than did men (17.4), but that didn't make those women rise slower than their childless peers — just the opposite. Married moms moved up in 8.2 years, compared to 9.4 for married women without kids. "Women become highly focused when they have so many different things to do," says Woodward. "When I was an associate professor and had just had a baby, I knew when I had four hours to work on a project, I was really going to work on that project." (This theory of parenthood leading to more efficient multitasking also applies to fathers, who in the survey reported getting promoted in less time than childless, married men.)

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8020301.stm
Many women-only sports clubs and gyms in Saudi Arabia face closure under a government clampdown on unlicensed premises, Saudi media have reported.

Women's gyms have become popular in the ultra-conservative Muslim country where the sexes are heavily segregated.

But only clubs linked to medical groups can get licenses and others will be closed, the Arab News newspaper said.

Saudi women were reported to have launched on online campaign in protest called Let Her Get Fat.

Government departments are not allowed to issue licenses for commercial gyms and sports clubs for women, unlike facilities for men, the newspaper reported.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7358448.stm
Saudi women are being kept in perpetual childhood so male relatives can exercise "guardianship" over them, the Human Rights Watch group has said.

The New York-based group says Saudi women have to obtain permission from male relatives to work, travel, study, marry or even receive health care.

Their access to justice is also severely constrained, it says.

The group says the Saudi establishment sacrifices basic human rights to maintain male control over women.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.

Saudi clerics see the guardianship of women's honour as a key to the country's social and moral order.

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Food riots are a real threat in some developing and emerging countries unless funds for agricultural research are increased, says a UK scientist.

Prof Douglas Kell says investment in the UK alone needs to be increased by £100m if farmers are to produce sufficient food to meet global demand.

"This is happening now," he told BBC News. "Last year, in Indonesia and Mexico, there were food riots."

Prof Kell leads the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

He envisages further unrest if there is not a major effort to develop agricultural science.

"This makes it sound rather dramatic but if I have to choose between 'yes' and 'no' - the answer is 'yes'".

Professor Kell's warning follows a statement made by the UK government's chief scientific adviser, Professor John Beddington, in which he said that demand for food and energy would jump 50% by 2030 as the population topped 8.3 billion.

Changing temperatures and rainfall patterns resulting from climate change would mean that farmers had to grow different, possibly completely new, varieties of crops, he argued.

He also warned that a changing climate could lead many crop-eating insects to migrate. At present, 30-40% of all crops are lost due to pest and disease before they are harvested.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8020589.stm
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Tell me why is global warming coming on? Because we consume too much and we are too many humans on the planet? So we're going to increase this consumption by another 50 per cent just becasue... because... there are too many of us?

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MOHRI PUR, Pakistan — The elementary school in this poor village is easy to mistake for a barn. It has a dirt floor and no lights, and crows swoop through its glassless windows. Class size recently hit 140, spilling students into the courtyard.

But if the state has forgotten the children here, the mullahs have not. With public education in a shambles, Pakistan’s poorest families have turned to madrasas, or Islamic schools, that feed and house the children while pushing a more militant brand of Islam than was traditional here.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/04/world/asia/04schools.html?_r=1&ref=global-home&pagewanted=all

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Climate chaos predicted by CO2 study

World will have exceeded 2050 safe carbon emissions limit by 2020, scientists say

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

Thursday, 30 April 2009

The world will overshoot its long-term target on greenhouse gas emissions within two decades. A study has found that the average global temperature will rise above the threshold that could cause dangerous climate change during that time.

Scientists have calculated that the world has already produced about a third of the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that could be emitted between 2000 and 2050 and still keep within a C rise in global average temperatures.

At the current rate at which CO2 is emitted globally – which is increasing by 3 per cent a year – countries will have exceeded their total limit of 1,000 billion tons within 20 years, which would be about 20 years earlier than planned under international obligations. "If we continue burning fossil fuels as we do, we will have exhausted the carbon budget in merely 20 years, and global warming will go well beyond C," said Malte Meinshausen of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who led the study, published in Nature.

"Substantial reductions in global emissions have to begin soon – before 2020. If we wait longer, the required phase-out of carbon emissions will involve tremendous economic costs and technological challenges. We should not forget that a C global mean warming would take us far beyond the variations that Earth has experienced since we humans have been around."

It is the first time scientists have calculated accurately the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that can be released into the atmosphere between 2000 and 2050 and still have a reasonable chance of avoiding temperature rises higher than C above pre-industrial levels – widely viewed as a "safe" threshold.

The scientists found the total amount of greenhouse gases that could be released over this time would be equivalent to 1,000 billion tons of CO2. This is equivalent to using up about 25 per cent of known reserves of oil, gas and coal, said Bill Hare, a co-author of the study.

The study concluded that the world must agree on a cut in carbon dioxide emissions of more than 50 per cent by 2050 if the probability of exceeding a C rise in average temperatures is to be limited to a risk of 1 in 4.
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/climate-chaos-predicted-by-co2-study-1676411.html


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These are only a few example of the conflicting thrusts and focuses of organised thoughts within systems and organisations of individuals.
Some organisations are changing, some are dwindling, some are growing and taking over... And most organisations are sneaky enough to inculcate the sense of privilege and exclusivity into their followers — using various psychological pressures of fictitious carrot and of cosmic fear... But the earthly "substance" is often taking a battering. As mentioned before on this site, we are "killing" the earth...

Most organisation are geared to put brakes on change and on the greater understanding of nature, or on the proper variety of temporal ideas — as change, even in the earth mechanics, is rarely predictable and likely to go awry with the ordered establishment.
For example when an earthquake striked the middle of Italy, most of the population (catholics led by the pope) believed it was an act of god testing human resolve —in that region and country. When a tsunami striked Indonesia, most of the population (muslim) believed it was to make them pay for their sins... To the atheistic humanist, these events are no more than near-unpredictible earthly events, part of the evolution of the planet at this point in time. As mentioned previously on this site, geological studies have revealed where the cracks are on the earth's surface and should one be living on or near these cracks, one is likely to be hit by a Krakatoa at some time to various degree. No more no less.

In the past, social changes happened nonetheless in various forms, from wars — designed to steal or defend against someone stealing — revolutions, revolts — designed to liberate from overbearing institutions — to industrial adaptations — these latest to advance personal and social comforts for certain classes of citizen. Now, with mass-produced decent goods (non-exclusive market) reaching most people in order to provide a greater base profit for the top of the social pyramid (exclusive market), as well as providing some comforts acting as pressure-valve relief..

There are other quieter shifts in which the power of one organisation is dwindled out and overtaken by another, in the sheer number of adherents, or buyers.

Thus, unless one controls the changes — especially on the technological side, via marketing, propaganda and other advertising manipulations, including preaching (all forms of telling porkies of various dimension) — one can loose the alleged "common" (relative to what one has to sell) purpose which is dictated by the majority in charge, with it's own sphere of control, using the controlling tools of some partnered faith organisations... If change there must be, organisations do narrow the focus of belief and, like new electronic systems, and, to some extend, agree to the bandwidth in which a new gizmo is going to be "universal". Universality becomes one tracked-mind convenience instead of being rich in chaotic near-useless diversity.

Most of my life, I've been fighting the restrictive brainwashing from whatever organisation it came from. Chaos with unpredictability is my nature. My memory and my analytical imagination won't let it be any other way... But in the end, it's a hard battle, and non-faith humanism is the only general back-stop position to secure a proper existence with the greater understanding of life in hand, while sharing this relativist concept with others.

Otherwise, sadly, we could be on our mad lonesome. I tend to be very bombastic about this, mainly to ward off the illuminated bible-bashers with glossy brochures about impending doom and salvation, while we could do something about the way we treat the earth.

In the end, much of human business centres on sex, either in the control of it, forbidding of it, making money from it, using it as a catch to sell saucepans and cars, or as entertainment of our fluttering senses... And, lets not forget, to procreate: make more of us like randy rabbits without the calitris virus.

Nature provided humans and most other animals (some are hermaphrodites) and plants this strange differentiation in which we find pleasure, pain, joy and sometimes confusion. But sex under the control of a dogma can become a power-tool for fending against other dogmas, for keeping the flock on the straight and narrow, for victimising the "other" sex and for defeating other organisations by sheer resultant output: more of us imprisoned in one dogma, versus less people in another: the war/invasion by numbers.

Most organisations rely on the docile dependency of people — all demanding their illusionary rutualized lolly to quelsh their cosmic uncertain angst — dependency either to the organisation or to the greater group in which these organisations have strong influences. Daily we get slanted information from these organisations that make us stay within the rest of the group so we do not stray too far from mainstream thinking — making sure that we're not living on our own terms.

So despite what we, freethinkers, like to think we're still attached by various umbilical cords, including democracy, to the "others".

Nothing wrong will all this, except the techniques employed by the powers-in-charge to create dependency use fear, illusions and fictitious rewards to keep us on the straight and narrow, while we'd be perfectly happy to be ethical, thoughtful and naturally errand human... The faith indoctrination also rely on manipulating our memory with the ritualization of decided purpose, and reinforce the mantra we should not understand the cosmic reality of where we are.

All this process of course has let to polarization of groups and cultures — and the justification of wars to steal from the other — that we declare "infidel" "gentile" or "terrorist" to give us the moral ground to do what is really a bad deed, in whichever creed...: kill other humans.

Our justifications have no bounds. We don't do torture when we do. Our armies are geared for war, for killing others and we use the threat of armed superiority to create "peace" by protecting "our" space... We generally create hatred and resentment from other creeds.

But the planet as we barely know it is in peril. We're "killing" it. We're torturing it...

What we've done, and are still doing to other groups, mostly unkindly, we've been doing to the planet for yonks... It's like as if we've declared war on the planet: nature is being vanished, banished, destroyed, modified even at the core of own genetic make up in our relentless expansionism, stemming from greed and faith. I cry to see another Eucalyptus regnans (the tallest trees on earth, some more than 100 metres tall, after the sequoia redwood) being felled for timber or for woodchips. The merchants hide this fact by giving it different names to its timber from Tassie oak to Mountain ash... Sure we are replanting something like radiata pines, but a virgin forest is more than a few trees. It is a microcosm of natural life. And we hate nature... Sure we go on vacation to see a natural landscape to "refresh" our connection with nature, but when we come back to our little hole, we piss on it. We may not realise it but we do. And the sheer number of humans is compounding the destruction.

But I digress... So, on one side we have the grand priests of most religions telling us go and multiply like rabbits, under the watchful eye of their anti-condom bishops — or in some other form of brainwashery, tell women to hide their identity behind a head-to-toe veil — and on the other side, the planet is warming up, becoming overcrowded and being crapped on, as we demand more energy and more food. And it's not going to stabilise sustainably soon.

On another coin, we also have the grand economic priests stuffing the financial system with galloping booms and bailed-out busts, demanding growth at most times in order to pay dividends. In opposition to this premise, the planet can only support so much growth without loosing its major natural integrity including its atmospheric balance. In my book, we've passed the safety mark long time ago. In the comments on this site I refer to 1996 as being the tipping point and 2032 as being the crunch. I stand by these dates.

Unfortunately, our excessive demands are not going to diminish, despite the present financial regression that is slowing our wants somewhat and despite our "emission reduction" pitiful efforts. We are so confident that with our technological prowess, we can create solutions for developing more needs of comfort — all by consuming more, nonetheless... I am repeating: we are not doomed. We are modifying the nature of the earth. Some of its reactivity to the changes might be beneficial, most will be detrimental to its own ability to regenerate properly. Some changes will be traumatic for some of us. Dramatic. I might post one day an unpublished children book I wrote and illustrated in the 1980s. It's called "Who Needs the Elephant?"... You see my drift. It you don't, I've lost you long ago...

Under these pressures of multiplying like rodents and creating more and more new billionaires and adherents to whatever beliefs, we're disturbing our precious space. By the year 2030, the earth resources will have to support about 8 billion people, all with augmented (and still growing) needs and accelerated wants by a ratio of three times what it is now. By the year 2050, the number will be 9.2 billion and by 2100, which in human history is only about three and a bit generations — when the kiddies of today are grannies and grandpas — the population will be bursting at the seam by a whopping 12 billion. Nearly twice as many people on earth as what there is now.

As we're already struggling to cut down on emissions, farts and belching included, the demands then on food and energy, will be at least six times that of now. Thus our present dream of cutting energy emission by 20 per cent by 2020, which we have buckleys chance of reaching anyhow, represent peanuts in the reality of our massive impact on nature. Our earth is going to be warming up by three times what our worst predictions are.

But the mix of faith-based beliefs by 2050 or 2100 may not be the same, and I'm afraid the green humanists, the only real protector of the natural earth, will be the greatest losers of all, despite being the only ones with the proper scientific pulse on the heart of this sickened planet.

This human expansion by 2100 of course will only be achieved by taking over at least 70 per cent more of the earth surface than what we occupy now, even if we allow for more high rise inhabitation. This expansion will include the sea, already changing or dying, even in the small protected pockets. Seventy per cent more space than we're using now, for lodgement, agriculture and husbandry, transport and mining, and whatever else, including our own pleasure to observe nature dying or being robbed of its naturalness— I mean contained in zoos — or shrinking prison-like reserves, with culling, poaching and unavoidable extinction...

Many of the precious few wild landscapes remaining on earth that we know now will be mutilated beyond recognition. Some will be affected "not by much", but all it takes is a telephone communication tower or a jetty to load gas on and off (see the Kimberleys), to muck up the greater outlook of landscapes in an entire region... Despite politicians (spruikers for "democracy") telling us that the best "environmental considerations" will be taken in the developments, damage is done, a little bit at a time or a lot at a time — constantly, relentlessly crunching more and more of the natural beauty and naturalness of this little planet — taking incremental chunks until not much is left. Until nothing is left. The too hard mountain might not be exploited, although by 2200 and a human population of 24 billion, who knows, a touristic five star hotel at the top of Mount Everest coming your way is feasable.

And not only we're stealing from other species' habitats, we're also crapping big time in "our" and "their" space too.

Religions abhor our earthly origins. They make us believe we're aliens that have conquered this little forsaken corner of the universe — after having been stranded by accident or by sin. The little green men from the scientologists are no more bizarre than the angels and demons of christianity. They are no worse nor better than the umpteen virgins at Allah's table reserved for the good selfless suicidal muslim. Although what happens to muslim women in paradise is anyone's guess...

In the three major Abrahamic beliefs, humanity began in paradise with Adam and Eve — barely wearing fig-leaves to hide their you-know-what... and that is the trumpeted erroneous common continuum steering us into an oblivious destructive future, under the pretense of salvation.

Under these faiths, this mortal life has little value, except as a expiatory gauge for the next, one we've never seen but is spruiked constantly by MEN in various robes.

What a lot of rot... The various books that have been written about the almighty sending various enlightened lunatics have split the believers' troops in strong warring factions, still warring... I guess it makes life interesting so to speak for a bored out of its freekin' mind god, doesn't it?...

And it gives control to men over women, by using power as well as sexual inhibition and restrictions.

All this control makes people develop a sense of focused tightened restrictive belonging rather than enjoy freedom of thought, doesn't it? And this sense of belonging is carefully cultivated to create the warriors who give their life to the whichever cause. Be it a crusade, a raid or a suicide bombing...

The Earth?... The earth has lost our respect — not because the earth does not deserve our respect but because we've idiotically decided not to give it nor care and our skewed faiths we decided to ignore its creative value apart from what it can supply for our increasing crazy wants... So we believe the planet is ours for the picking, plundering, raping, mulching digging, killing.... destroying. Were doing it. Massively.

We classify other animal life useful or useless to us. At the push of a spray button, we decide to wipe out 99.9 per cent of small organisms, when 99 per cent of them are inoffensive or beneficiary, under the guise of getting rid of the nasties. The following inevitable chain of events is one where insects, birds and other animal life forms shrivel down, under the over-used antiseptic assault.

So, we're changing the moire of the earth with unnatural chemicals, with atomic explosions reminiscent of primal earth being formed, with rubbish and by also deliberately mutating some plants and animals to suit our avaricious needs of growth, growth growth growth...

Not that the earth never changed but some of its changes were part of its own cosmic evolution in time. And some changes were quite "dramatic". The present small contretemps in the world financial structure should be a time for a major international reflection on what we're really doing to ourselves and the planet... But no. Most if not all of our performances are designed to restore the all consuming passions so we can bugger the planet some more till it really hurts. It already hurts. The studies are there: the extinction of species, the pollution, the quality of the air. The warming of the air, the melting of the ice caps. What do we need? a memo in triplicate? More complete destruction until there is nothing left to lament upon. Is palm oil so needed as for its cultivation destroy entire rain-forests, leading to the slow decimation of orang-utan habitats? May be we don't give a damn...

Thus we'll carry on lying to ourselves under various dogmas, in order to maintain the sanctified breeding like rabbits with strict rituals under the doonas so all the glory of the lies can be perpetrated in whichever cultural medium we're born under, a medium we rarely choose, yet might fight for, nonetheless.

Welcome to the future.

We will have to build bigger temples for our rituals, bigger cenotaphs for our remembrances, bigger warehouses for our excesses, bigger dormitories for our slaving consumers-selves and a myriad of theatres, from small entertaining phones to huge amusement centers... and lets not forget the surgical theaters of war, in which a chosen few will be immolated. But the population proportions will still be tilted. As some of us see the sustainable future with a managed reduction of population, other tribes see it as an opportunity to shift the center of influence. Result?: same difference. Population climbing, earth warming, legacy moving into the hands of the extremists, most likely.

I note that Sarkozy is already planning his mausoleum-ish legacy by extending the perimeter of Paris with new suburbia and new metro-lines, for the glory of France and growth. By the time his project is finished it will be already too small as one would have had to bring hordes of foreign workers, most escaping increasing traumas in their lands (traumas created by our meddling in their affairs), then illegally living in subclass conditions, then becoming fully blown citizen with their own dogmas after riots and compromises. Growth there will be, at any cost, traumatic shift when secular laws will slowly adopt various sharias till the shift is complete, barely once democracy equation of 50 per cent plus one is achieved...

In many prime ministers', presidents' and economists' minds alike, anti-growth from most free respectable thinkers and greens is like promoting the anti-Christ. Anathema. Blasphemous thought. But the true respectable freedom thinker only promotes sustainable living with sustainable changes if needed for improvement, without footprint, not greed... Yet the present rulers of humanity believe we can fix things anyway on the hop, resourcefully, always walking with jackboots on...  Thus comes a time when things cannot be fixed anymore, without hurting the thin surface we live on. Species are vanished, Climate is modified, Cultural porkies remain ritualised to suit the fairies. We have understood nothing. Nothing. Nothing...

The continuum is only preserved in the formaldehyde of our calcified hopeful thoughts. We are alive but we're strangling our life-support system. When is the crunch time? who knows... It's already there like a molass-marass in which we slowly get more and more sunken in.

And we lie to ourselves in the value of the illusionary after life. It's the only thing we believe that could save us in our own idiocy of being mad, while raping our own mother. The only monster left in Pandora's box is hope. A monster it is when we should be more present.

In fact, due to the white noise of our orderly beliefs system, we have not realised our ephemeral personal individual consciousness is greater than that of the universe.

We can fathom the universe but the universe cannot fathom us. It's the paradox I referred to in an earlier comment on this site. We are born from the universe, accidentally.

Our atoms may eventually be used in other living creatures but our singular being/consciousness is not eternal. Not even our existence as a species is eternal. We appeared on this planet via a multitude of evolutionary steps from the continuum of DNA which itself appeared on this planet more than 4 billion years ago from the soup of chaotic cosmic changes... enzymes, proteins, multiplicity... life.

Our "soul" is limited to the temporal if we must believe in souls. We forget though we are far more important to ourselves by living now than hanging on to the hope of being reincarnated several times because we've been a good Buddhist, or to spend the rest of our delirium in heaven because we've been good and poor... Life is more important than such fantasies. Life's necessary importance is that it exists. Beyond that, nothing matters...

Yet the longer relative continuum is not for the individual. It is left open for the hereditary cultural-next while the person who isn't afraid of death after a life of positive awareness can feel good in the knowledge of having been, despite vanishing forever... That is the notion that is bugging us, isn't it? The fact that we have a glimpse of the universe for only a few short years and then nothingness?... Too tragic? Too painful for some of us. So we invent a future...

We destroy the true high relative value of the planet for grubby moneys and rabbitus coitus dipped in implausible faiths — destructive thoughts that are strongly ingrained in our rituals since childhood. We've understood nothing. We don't really like this planet, that's why we're trashing it even if we claim we love it and go touring about, demanding our comforts wherever in the wild we go.
What wild, you may ask... Not much left, is there? And when we hit the wall in 2032, the presently absent sun spots would have returned, the CO2 levels would have gone through the roof and we would still be on heat to rabbitize our faith-based multiplicity out of existence...

One of the major failings in our multi-cultural societies is the false belief coming from many directions that culture equates faith. Thus elements of faith that conflict with established protocols of law and of long established freedom are let in to be accepted, destroying the very fabric of freedom — as, in a rule, draconian restrictions of sorts often come in with faith. Then our "generous secular facilities" of freedom can quickly become instruments of restriction and victimisation by default.

In doing so we allow the pervasive influences of weird beliefs to taint what should be our own secular culture, albeit a culture that has evolved from a Christian framework, but mostly secular nonetheless... and more secular in its recent evolution...
Yet our societies operate in a sphere of numbers where a slim majority can rule with absolute power. So influences in regard to faith schooling can become a major part in slowly dismantling the more enlightened freedoms of secular humanist and scientific rigor with major brainwashing and restriction of mind. We have broken most of the shackles from our christianity in our governments yet if we think we can control or avoid the Muslim influence within our mist by letting it develop as if it was only a leap of culture, we're wrong. Many Muslim are moderate, yet most are very dogmatic and some are extremists in their desires. And the powerful extremes often draw from the dogmatic moderates, patiently building numbers and influencing localities towards a full-on change...

There are strange school of thoughts that a faith education is more liberal than a public one. For example, one could argue taking on the study of evolution in parallel with creationism in whichever form (catholic bible study, muslim quoran study or whatever) is "enlightening, while public school will not dab in creationism, thus "restricts viewpoints. But the religious studies of evolution are always slanted towards their faith and the first proposition will often lead to even smart people fall into the trap of the "intelligent design" escape-hatch — a form of sugar-coated creationism, still designed by the priests of godly control to send the populace on the wrong track in understanding our world, including overpopulating at all costs... In some faith schools, the conflict does not arise as only religious studies are allowed, supported with a strong brainwashing component. No evolution idea there.

Some culture and most religion are often mixed to give the bottom berth to women in the prison of ignorance. In some countries, if a woman is raped, she is often found guilty for being in a situation where she could be raped. The rapist is somewhat glorified for pointing out the errant of the woman... In some "cultures" an educated woman is a curse. Too many women around the world have fought hard to gain equal rights (although many do not get it at all levels) to let this equality falter. Not so strangely, some privileged women might even fight "feminism" or poopoo it, often not realising that they are damaging women rights, unless they do it deliberately to maintain their own privileges.

Thus the purpose of life is hyped beyond being. We invent the purpose of life. And so we should for ourselves, but we should do better than pixies and fairies, better than angels and demons. We are creative. so why do we stick to old rubish ideas? We can do better, individually and as groups.

In one of my previous "incarnations" I have written about our "creative mind" in relation to being depressed or being happy...:
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The potential of a creative mind
What is a creative mind? Over millions of years of evolution, we have acquired the power to deal with survival in a less instinctive way than other animal species. We have even developed the ability to minimise our time spent on survival and to increase time spent on activities which have more to do with the style of living we seek, such as entertainment. Many other animal species have this ability, albeit very limited and mostly linked to a reactive adaptation to their environment. In this context, our mind can compute ideas and concepts of stylistic purpose rather than from necessity.
We create new ideas and concepts without having the pressure of a full-bore survival situation. We are able to comfort our animal consciousness with relatively unimportant interpretations and activities through what we believe rather than what we should react to.
    This ability is our very powerful creative mind which has developed in parallel with our dexterity and our communicative skills.

...
Some of us obsessively push creativity to the edge of personal ability, while others are too timid to explore much of its realm. We thus intensively explore the limits of our world for our-self, or we stick to the beaten track of collective beliefs and activities. On the whole, we are all creative to various degree, yet it does not mean we have to create anything. We can enjoy life without full bore creativity and plod along nicely, yet creativity can be a multiplying factor in exhilarating happiness. But failure to create when we seek it is very distressful, while absence of motivation is depression for the creative mind. There are numerous factors which lead to our creative mind becoming dysfunctional, such as conflicts between our social conventions and our animality. In general, the more creative we can be, the more we become exposed to the vagaries of failure, unless we take precautions and prepare fall-back positions. Not to do so is like being a pole vault athlete who decides to do away with the thick foam on the other side of the bar. Injury is inevitable.
    Depression can be more devastating for the more intensely creative person because the tumble is from a greater height of stylistic activity, with less provision for survival—a provision somewhat regarded as a hindrance to creativity. When there is no natural necessity to creativity, we often forget the general necessity of survival.

The persistence of depression
Most of us have had the blues. It goes away after a few hours or days and life gets back to normal. When we suffer from long lasting depression it is hard to know what to do about it. We are lacking energy, we have no motivation and we are quite withdrawn. We appear tired, moody or a ‘bit emotional’. In extreme cases, we can lose cognition. For non-depressed people the solution is obviously too simple: forget your troubles and get on with life. For the depressed person the process of eliminating depression is difficult as depression is self-sustaining.
    Everyday, using our creative mind, we deal with numerous conflicts which require making decision—from small tasks to more important issues— conflicts which we have learned to manage with a reflex-like efficiency and decisions. In certain circumstances we struggle to find a proper solution, yet in the end we are successfully creative. We recognise and acknowledge success, consciously and subconsciously.
    When this normal active/reactive ability to generate or recognise success diminishes, we are on the way to become depressed. Vice verso, when we get depressed, our ability to generate or recognise success—and in particular survival—diminishes. Depression becomes self-sustaining in this process. In fact depression reduces our ability to be active and a reduction of activity can induce depression.
    The active/reactive creative mechanics of the mind which help us solve problems and deal with events—are part of the natural chemistry of the brain. In fact, biomechanics create our behaviour far more than we would like to admit to it, and is integral to our creative ability. This is why depression modifies the chemical balances in our brain and vice verso, some chemical imbalances in our brain can induce depression.
    Medicinal drugs used in the treatment of depression can artificially restore some chemical balances, but many of them such as painkiller hide the problem. These latter chemicals, to their credit, can break the self-sustaining effect of depression by eliminating headaches or other painful related symptoms. Drugs are like taking the bus when our fast car is at the garage, being fixed. Some drugs, such as alcohol in a very small quantity, can induce temporary relief but alcohol used beyond this tiny critical amount will increase depression rapidly. Drug-use has also many side-effects such as addiction without solving the original problem.
    In most cases, a well-targeted personal behaviour modification to restore our active/reactive ability, aligned with physical exercises and an improved diet for better health is more beneficial. Expressed in a simple way, we need to care better for our self.
    Counselling, psychiatry, shock therapy are specifically designed to modify our personal reactive behaviour, and, while providing good treatment, results depend on the skills and ethics of the carers. Yet these treatments can lead to false memory syndrome, can take a long time to be effective, can be doubly expensive as money is often an inductor of depressive conflicts, and use little of the very beneficial ‘I did it my way’ factor.
    Getting rid of depression using our creative mind can be difficult and traumatic and we need to gauge how far and how fast we can naturally push it. Family and a few good friends usually provide a safe environment in which we can speed up the process.
        Understanding the mechanics of depression is recommended to help see oncoming symptoms, for prevention. Managing the basic tools of self-care—from physical exercise to happier memory self-manipulation—will help in the elimination of depression. It is not unnatural to be depressed, it is not unnatural to be happy.
    This mechanical non-faith based concept can offend beliefs — as it offers solutions to depression from the evolution of reactive naturalness into a stylistically creative mind, rather than from spiritual influences of an outside source. Although spirituality can provide comfort, it mostly dulls creativity by limiting our stylistic curiosity — including science — through dogma. We should not fix our problems by painting them pretty with esoteric beliefs, but we should fix the natural mechanics gone wrong in our own mind. Doing so, words—as stylistic expressions of our revised activities—should take stronger meaning and carry more decisive power than those of our old habits including our beliefs. We analyse our position and synthesise a new point of view. Performing this from a depressed state is not easy, yet not impossible. Even in extreme cases, somewhere buried in the rubble of our collapsed stylistic stack — our depression — our natural survival instinct still burns like the pilot-light of a water-heater. Had that light gone out, we would be dead. We are not. So we can rekindle the full potential of our creative mind, in time. As we go along we create safe fall-back position. At first, we do it bit by bit and we reinforce our success by decisive acknowledgement of our successes. Progressively, we should discover a pathway to personal happiness we never knew existed or had forgotten was possible to be had, based on our natural ability to feel good, now extended to feel stylistically better...
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Happiness is the next part of this dissertation...

Our primal survival is guided by hunger that we manage with two life forces.

This results in relative success or failure. We need food. That is our basic need.

 

more to come...

little green men in the box...

The Church of Scientology is set to go on trial in France, accused of organised fraud.

It will be the first time the church has appeared as a defendant in a fraud case in France. Previous court cases have involved individual Scientologists.

Books and medication

The woman at the centre of the case says she was approached by church members in Paris and offered a free personality test, but she ended up spending all her savings on books, medicines and the electronic metre that is part of the paraphernalia of Scientology.

Her lawyers will argue that the church systematically seeks to make money by means of mental pressure and the use of scientifically dubious "cures".

A lawyer for the church, Patrick Maisonneuve, told AFP news agency: "We will contest every charge and prove that there was no mental manipulation."

Scientologists called as witnesses by the defence are expected to argue that they espouse a belief system like any other.

Scientology was founded in the United States in the 1950s by science-fiction writer L Ron Hubbard.

In Germany last year, it was declared unconstitutional by government minister.

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If you can be bothered, read comment above this one and see cartoon at top....

the pursuit of happiness

This section in no particular order, lifted from another Gus' reasonably large work about depression (1994-unpublished), to be added to the first comment Sapiens in the mist on this line of thoughts related to "the Age of Deceit" project... by Gus Leonisky.

...

 

Preliminary exploration of happiness

Happiness is a dynamic complex emotion which derives from our acknowledgement of successful activities and reactivities. It is generated as we experience some accidental encounters, random events, sought-after results and cultural participation—all of which involve basic animal contentment. Although success at work and monetary gains can help generate happiness, it is usually the perceived quality of our attitude in our relationships, including the one with our self, which capitalise our successes into greater long-lasting happiness.

For the human species, life has developed way beyond mere survival. We have generated many social identities, as groups and sub-groups, using many concepts and tools in which we believe, including languages, religions, cultural traditions, technologies, sciences, money, arts and many more. These are stylistic interpretations of life.
    It is through style rather than survival that we have modified natural reactivity into activity. Human stylistic interpretations are adaptive extensions of our complex memory in reaction to the environment. We make a stylistic choice when faced with several solutions presenting equal satisfactory result. 
    This is why stylistic interpretations do differ between groups of people and also why they can conflict within one single group. In short our ability to make an active stylistic choice is the most important part of human evolution. Yet choices can be influenced by many reactive factors, some relevant some not. This why we have to learn how to make the best active choices, and recognise the value of some reactive choices in certain situations.
        Like our other stylistic interpretations, happiness is a strong stylistic enhanced emotion, towards sublimation, of animal contentment, which in itself is the resultant of successful survival. This is why, as humans, there are many ways in which we can discover, feel or express happiness.
         Not-surprisingly, many points of views about happiness have been expressed in contradictory, obscure and comparative manners... For example in some religious beliefs, while it is not a sin to be happy, pain and suffering are better rewarded, in a glorified after-life, than contentment. This has led to strange behaviours such as self-flagellation, auto-mutilation and martyrdom. Contrary to natural reactive balances of pain and pleasure, these beliefs encourage suffering, and distance us from care in our natural environment.

    Here are a few points of view which have defined happiness:
    Content is happiness.
    Children and fools have merry lives
    It is comparison that makes men happy or miserable
    Sadness and gladness succeed each other
    Ignorance is bliss
    Happiness is in the mind
    Happiness comes not until sorrow is gone
    Money does not buy happiness
    Happy go lucky
    Happy like a pig in shit


We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
                            THOMAS JEFFERSON

    Not in Utopia—subterranean fields,—
    Or some secreted island, Heavens knows where!
    But in the very world, which is the world
    Of all of us, —the place where in the end
    We find our happiness, or not at all!

                            WILLIAM WORDSWORTH


The object of government in peace and in war is not the glory of rulers or of races, but in the happiness of the common man.
                            WILLIAM LORD BEVERIDGE


Oh! How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes.
                            WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Happiness is a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.
                            JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU

As naive and crude as the last quote appears, Jean-Jacques Rousseau expresses an interesting view of happiness. Applied to a modern society, happiness is reached on three interactive fronts: first when we are wealthy—a good bank account, second when we are aware of the importance of others, in Rousseau’s case—his cook, and third when we are in good health, in his words—a good digestion...



Healthy, wealthy and relating wisely
Indeed health and wealth provide two sound platforms for happiness, but acting life through reciprocated caring relationships — including the relationship with our self, appreciating the fact that we exist as we are—is the multiplying factor of happiness. We value our relationships with our self, our family, friends and partners more than anything else. We get hurt when these relationships falter for whatever reason.
        Made of flesh born of its environment, we react to it. For example, love and compassion can be magnified by physical contact such as touch, cuddles and embraces. The reciprocity of sexual experience greatly surpasses personal gratification, yet personal gratification is not unnatural. Ultimately our mind is the place where acceptance happens. A great part of creativity is acceptance, including acceptance of diversity, existing as well as un-expressed yet. A ‘soul partnership’ generates with minimum effort because the stylistic interpretations of respective partners are at similar level of understanding—in some cases, even with cultural differences—in genetically constructed compatible framework. The combination includes intelligence (our ability to capture stylistic interpretations of life) as well as smell, voice and appearances. In a word, we click. Any further relationship developments still need to be creatively managed.
    In the management of health, wealth and relationships, we are influenced by our genetic trends, our perceptions, our sense of discovery, the uncertainty of events such as accidents, other people's behaviour, our expectations, our habits, ultimately, our creative decisions—all part of, or relating to, our stylistic interpretations.
    In our childhood we learn basic stylistic interpretations in a mostly empirical dictatorial manner. Should we be depressed, now is the time to refocus or modify these interpretation through new tooling processes which include deliberate curiosity and tricks, which have made some of us more successful than others.

To self-care or not to self-care...
Relatively wealthy, we care by eating the right food and by being active such as training at the gym (Walking is better, though)... We also enjoy great relationships. We are making the right decisions while being alert to dangers and valuing what we have and create. We are on top of the world.
    Some of us are not happy because we go through life like driving through fog. We have no clear understanding of what we have or who we are. We rely on habits to survive. We are lucky if we do not get hurt. We should realise that our stylistic interpretations of life are too weak to provide us with anything greater than basic contentment, but usually cultivate disenchantment.
    Some of us are somewhat happy while being ignorant. We don’t want to know. Knowledge can be painful if it is not well managed. Thus happiness is hemmed in by reality or destroyed by traumatic events. We need to know more by becoming creatively curious.
    Some of us have not cared much, considering the risks we take. We have not cared much about any one, except on our own terms—for ownership, for status or for sexual gratification. Power is gained by physical strength, deceit or tactical authority rather than by care.
Love, trust and respect generate form caring reciprocity in relationship. In order to be caring, we do not have to abandon risk taking, nor do we have to wilt from the difficulties of competition, but we adapt and modify our attitudes to enjoy improved relationships. We need to be aware that stylistic interpretations of life inevitably contain illusions—self-delusions or socially engineered illusions—which make us react rather than act.
    Creatively, we do not have to perform at warp speed at all time to generate permanent happiness. Happiness happens and is maintained incrementally. There are times for maximum thrust in creation, yet there are times for rest, peace, reflection and recreation in order to avoid burn out and losing track of the multi-faceted reality.

A short-cut manual
Experiencing happiness from a distressed or depressed position needs some effort. Here are 36 simple study points that can help us refocus our motivation to achieve and maintain happiness:

Where are we at now?                   
        1.    have we made the decision to seek happiness?
        2.     assess our present and past position
        3.    know self-assets including talents
        4.     formulate or re-create goals, revalue dreams

Tuning the engine
        5.    manage bio-mechanical influences on mental states
        6.    maintain and improve health
        7.    eliminate depression, avoid distress     
        8.    minimise fear, guilt and grief    
        9.    be in tune with sexuality, personal and in partnership

Consolidating bases
        10.    secure financial and psychological fall-back position
        11.    evaluate risks, recognise dangers, avoid accidents
Awareness
        12.    make the decision to be conscious of reality
        13.    avoid drugs of addiction which modify consciousness
        14.    be curious, seek discovery
        15.    cultivate memory and foster imagination.
        16.     be creatively active

Self-management
        17.    avoid turning motivation into negative stress
        18.    enhance analysis and synthesis skills for problems solving
        19.    be adaptable to change
        20.    increase success rate
        21.    value success, own and that of others
        22.    know when to control and when to let go
        23.     be strongly focused without being destructively obsessive

Relationships, partnerships or marriages
        24.    be alert to manipulations of others and of our own
        25.    be aware of responsibilities, impact of decisions and choices
        26.    be aware of individuality
        27.    care for others, value compassion and justice
        28.     eradicate violence without eliminating aggressiveness
        29.    be receptive without submission
        30.    improve relationships with women and men
        31.    maximise reciprocal bonding between self and partner

A life in the universe
        32.    be demonstratively assertive through personal attitude
        34.    discover and appreciate natural events and patterns
        35.    develop stylistic creativity without prejudicial beliefs.
        36.    enjoy life

nor angry nor rabid...

What primarily seems to motivate atheists isn't rationalism but anger – anger that the world isn't perfect, that someone forced them to go to church as children, that the Bible contains apparent contradictions, that human beings can be hypocrites and commit crimes in the name of faith. The vitriol is extraordinary.

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Gus: Strangely enough, this article by Charlotte Allen, the author of The Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus and a contributing editor to the Minding the Campus website of the Manhattan Institute,. smells mildly of sulphur...

Atheists are not angry nor rabid.

Well, some of us may be but not all and most of us have gone far beyond the revolt against the church of whatever kind that ruled our life in our youth. We do not do proselytism with vigour but we do not mind being heard from time to time, swimming against a tidal torrent of creationism, intelligent designs, angels and demons, gods divided in son-father-and-holy ghost... a god who did a stint as a human to save us from a rotten apple...

Yes, we, the godless lowlife, have to fight vigourous stories of Adam and Eve, with fig-leaves on their-you-know-what, with chaotic fighting for survival iffy evolution etched in scientific facts. Sure the religious fanatics will start talking about mysteries, interpretations and will lead us up the garden path with eternal salvation...

As mentioned before on this site, we, humans as well as most animal life on this little planet, have an individual consciousness that is greater than that of the entire universe. It is the paradox of life. We can fathom the universe, the universe cannot see us. The universe has no purpose in seeing us particularly — or in being itself — and strangely enough too, we do not have a purpose to see the universe, except to satisfy our evolved being, that gained its present power through curiosity and invention over millions of years...

The rest is a strange stylistic song and dance, with the convenient invention of sin to codify the good side of our human behaviour in its evolution till now. The religion illusion in many of its forms — from the god of the door in Roman antiquity to the bearded druids in the Europeans forests — has served humanity reasonably well apart from creating idiotic wars, sadistic inquisitions, making the poor pay for the rich, all imbedded in shimmering theatrics called rituals.

May peace be with you.

and see toon at top... read comments below it.

giving an undeserved bad name to neanderthals...

AFL boss Andrew Demetriou has attacked former Carlton president John Elliott over claims the club paid hush money to women to cover up sexual assaults.

Mr Elliott said the money was paid to the women in the 1980s and 1990s.

He has been interviewed by detectives over his claims, which include that the assaults were carried out by then Blues players.

Police will assess the information given to them and have appealed for anyone with details about the alleged assaults to contact them.

Mr Demetriou says Mr Elliott's comments are appalling.

"I find his comments abhorrent," Mr Demtriou said.

"They are from an age that I don't understand, they are from an age that is a bygone area.

"We've done everything we can, and will continue to do everything we can, to rid the industry of those sort of neanderthal attitudes."

......................

I have it on good authority that Neanderthals never paid hush money...

the memory of life...

There is a push to make the bible more friendly to modern "ignorant" people. See this story from the independent :

Britain 'knows little about Bible'

By Lewis Smith
Monday, 29 June 2009
The public is widely ignorant of the stories and people who provide the basis of Christianity, a survey has found, despite 75 per cent of respondents owning a copy of the Bible.
The National Biblical Literacy Survey found that as few as 10 per cent of people understood the main characters in the Bible and their relevance.
Figures such as Abraham and Joseph were a source of puzzlement and it was rare to find anyone who could name the Ten Commandments.

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Gus: I will add that even in this down-under corner of this little forgotten planet, the Jehovah Witnesses daily traipse the door to door trail to ask people about the relevance of the bible in the 20th Century. Or is it the 21st? A few decades of illumination would not make that much difference, would it?
So it appears that the British people are Bible Ignoramus despite being somewhat iffy God-Jesus botherers. In pommy politics, the momentum of the religious past still spins ritually amongst the queens and princes, as well as maintaining the ruling class of the lords — while in the subconscient of the populace, religion secretly demands the right to fill the void of uncertainty. Most people accept their place in the order of class: toil because one is born a toiler...

In America, Bible classes are a must if one wants to be a politician as the religious-right and to some extend the religious-left control one's destiny of success in that most devious game of politics. Teaching evolution in the US is still  like skating on the thin ice of the flat-earth theorists. And the more righteous one claims to be, the higher fake pedestal one falls from into the deepest abyss of true deceit —especially when sex is involved. From pastors to politicians, the most vociferous god-lovers put their foot (or their between-the-leg tool) in the "wrong" place in relation to their "beliefs". Nothing new here, Blaise Pascal expressed this viewpoint  when he bet god's existence odds were way below one thousand to one but would bet on it anyhow as it would cost nothing but demand a bit of human rectitude... which of course one would fail to adhere to.

For thousands of years, religion has ruled the rulers of the world, even in greek and roman times when the emperors chose to pay attention to "the gods" in order to launch an invasion... Of course all this faith was part of grabbing more power with the best opportunity, giving them the reason for discounting the harm about to be done as if it was the gods will. Now this unfortunate trend is growing again, after a few years when secularism won a few steps in the humanistic fairness arena. President Bush was a nightmare at this level, full of moralisationing designed to show good faith when he was really behaving badly. He set the politcal porkie escape hatch as a model of virtue, and now secularism is being put out to drought-affected pastures:
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In the name of the father - MPs flock to Jesus

Mark Davis National Editor
AUSTRALIAN politicians, unlike their US counterparts, have traditionally been reluctant to bring God into politics.
But a new study shows federal MPs are invoking Christian beliefs with increasing frequency to justify their policies and articulate their personal values and visions for the nation.
The research shows that the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has been the politician most likely to cite his Christianity in public speeches, followed by the former treasurer Peter Costello and the current Treasurer, Wayne Swan.
A Melbourne University politics researcher, Anna Crabb, analysed a sample of 2422 speeches by 60 prominent federal politicians - the leaders and senior frontbenchers of the three main parties - between 2000 and 2006 and found the use of religious language had increased over the period.

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and furthermore:
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Robert Fisk's World: The jury is out on the Iranian model of religion and politics

So what of the famous revolution? Was it a return to the basic values of Shia Islam?

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The most nauseous photograph to come out of the Iran tragedy was not the bloodied demonstrators in Tehran, but a Reuters picture of former Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, "fighting back tears" in Washington as he declared that Neda Agha Sultan, the young woman shot dead by Ahmadinejad's thugs a week ago, "was now for ever in my pocket". I bet she is, by God! "I have added her to the list of my daughters," the son of the brutal and merciless late Shah, told the world.

Needless to say, the son of the Light of the Aryans did not add the many thousands of equally young and innocent women tortured to death by his father's sadistic secret police to his "list of daughters". Back in 1979, I met a man who had tortured and killed a woman by scorching her on a metal rack over gas burners. His name was Mohamed Sadafi, by profession a weightlifter. "You killed my daughter," the poor girl's father shrieked at Sadafi in front of me. "She was burned all over her flesh until she was paralysed.

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Sad world where religion is the main tool of oppression. In some African country young girls are maimed and tortured too for being "witches" — which of course they're not — under the auspice of skewed Christian beliefs.

So I warned the good man at the garden gate — a man possibly from Mormonia — that: "No point talking to me, I'm an atheist — a committed atheist..."

Instead of going on his merry way, the  man replied "Have you been an atheist all your life?"

Good question I thought.
But the answer is quite irrelevantly mundane and bathed in staggered evolution of thought — once one is out of the opiated circular and narrow cocoon... Even in the early 20th century, one did grow up in a mostly strong religious environment despite all the wars and useless killings going on around... Love and hatred were paired by preachers who never humanly loved. God and demons were equal opponents in which god could only win the last battle, ultimately, via our own exemplary behaviour. As if we were that humbly important... Sin was of the flesh but redemption of the soul was on offer for a few Hail Marys... All this was regularly given like milk to the spirit, feeding a belief's cultivated addiction, even in times when cow's milk and bread was war-rationed for growing bodies. And like one becomes lactose intolerant, one could become god weary for the tragedies and silliness contained in "his" world — all beyond the concept of pain — although the preachers were good at twisting the useless tragedies by transforming them into tests of our faith from god. Other religions never had a look in... But usually on abandoning the faith, one had to go cold turkey. Open the door to uncertainty so to speak —and embrace the world as it is. Thus, as one analyses reality and the grand illusions from the bible, one finds they do not fit. The earth is not flat. Galileo Galilei.. The earth is not the centre of the world. One would have to reconcile the non-meshing vapours of scientific rigour with the walls of Jericho. Like mixing oil and water. Like making fairy tales fit the hard grub of real history, back to the prehistory of this planet. So I answered "more or less, eventually..." which was a soft option.

But the man from Mormonia wanted to probe more, including compare the value of his good book versus my probably skewed understanding. Thus I made sure he knew I "owned" such a good book — possibly the biggest bible I ever saw and might have been used in a big church somewhere before being dumped by the hippy living across the road, before his crumbling squat was about to be demolished. I tend to rescue anything from bits of wood to books, steel bars to bricks in dumpsters — anything structural... And I have a very very small bible too, a tiny pocket book with a golden grasp catch, printed in the early 1800s. Nothing wrong with me being a rabid atheist and owning a couple of bibles. I might have a Qur'an somewhere too... Shhhh. Tell no-one...
I said: "The bible is..." I hesitated, thus he added pre-emptively "full of contradictions?" In the early seventies I did say "full of shit..." when I was fighting the creationists, but on this occasion I agreed with him. "full of contradiction and silly stories..."
"And genesis?" I added "...does not make sense..."
He was ready for this one and mentioned that the "days" of creation can be interpreted... God's "days" can be longer than human "days" and the progression of event described in Genesis generally fit the general scientific chronology; "the earth was created before the animals, for example..." He said...  One does not need to be Einstein to guess that one. But I replied:
"Mate, we're animals... Our genetic make-up is very close to that of the chimps... from our common ancestor, etc..." He stood the monkey onslaught, but when I convincingly proposed that "our individual consciousness is greater than that of the entire universe..." He flinched and admitted it was the first time he'd heard "that one"...
At this level there is more consciousness in the brain of an ant than there is in the sun. We can see or probe the universe. The universe cannot see us. That's a fantastic paradox. That's Gus' paradox...  Anyway, why would the universe (often analogised with god) care about dust-mites on a peeble? Haven't we got thick ankles or what?

One can see where politicians come from on the subject of religion. One may appear quite vulnerable and unconvincing try to live life when one sees a finality in it, while the other sides — be it Muslim or Jewish or Bigotan — claim immortality. How can we fight this eternal hydra when we're not blessed with the forever gift  ourselves? Thus we believe the same shit and fight, with the similar spirit of great inflated ego —with fake humility of being the chosen people in whatever Babelian format — the silliest of fights in which we don't care if we die. Some of us, like suicide bombers, will die with that intent. But the clever Jewish trick in this contest of dare is to be the last one standing...

It is my secular duty to put a mortal stop to all this gloriously deceitful illusion.

Over the years on this site I have brought you some quite candid comments (with annotations) such as :
— Life's purpose is to steal something else's proteins...
— the universe needs flaws to exist...
— Our individual consciousness is greater than that of the entire universe...
— Our life is limited to our existence on earth. Beyond that, and before that, we do not exist.
A few more such comments were unfortunately wiped out when the site moved service provider...

I don't write or say all this out of glibfeist.
These are strong powerful concepts that expose the mechanical rules of our environment —our life.

But try to sell this hard heavy cold paramecium broth... when on the other table, the fluffy warm lie of eternity is on offer!...
Thus I sometimes weaken to think that the "god delusion" is essential for some people. They would not cope, they could not be enslaved with purpose, they would be feral and stylistically unsettled or unguided. They could fall easily into meaningless depression or blissful ignorance. But "new" people could learn to live well, without the illusion of faith.

The pay-back of course is that when one is an atheist, there is no other purpose to life that what we choose to make of it, limited only by our relative abilities — abilities that we can improve to great extend in the environment we interact with. Our choice also is to follow or not society's rules and regulations  Our options become part of this purpose to let live — as comfortably as our animal can be — and as stylistically aware as we can be. With this we may choose to care about others, and care for our environment, either out of altruism or for reciprocal recognition, or/and comfort — even choosing not to destroy the planet... No more demons, no more enemies... Strangely, these are the most difficult concepts to let go, as we try to become free to be, relatively.

In my book (unpublished) on managing depression for a creative mind, I have written many chapters that deal with the mechanics that can let us enjoy life fully without the illusion of eternity. It allows us to do far more than wait... Please note this book was written nearly 20 years ago.

For example here is the simplified mechanics of reactivity (99 per cent of what we do is reactive). Yet our stylistic learning (religion, behaviour, interaction with others) has a powerful effect :

The Engine Room

THE MEMORY OF LIFE
Bio-mechanics of consciousness and behaviour

We usually do not need to know how a washing machine works, only how to operate it. Should it break down, it needs to be repaired, unless we decide not to use it any more. If we believe the machine operated magically, we won’t be able to make it work again. On the other hand, we may know enough to call for a plumber, unless we decide to fix it ourselves, knowingly or by studying its mechanics.
    Unlike a washing machine that we buy or rent, we are the builder of our own self. As a creative mind we thus should know how we personally operate. What makes us tick? ... Experiencing depression, we should investigate the bio-stylistic mechanics of behaviour, to eliminate its effects and its recurrences.

The debate between the concepts that behaviour is genetically generated or generated by learning highlights the controversy of the subject, especially as some of us also believe in divine intervention. Tests done on twins tend to encourage the genetic point of view with more than fifty percent probability.
    In this book we see human behaviour as an extension of evolutionary social skills in which mind-memory, developed through stylistic learning, can become the stronger generator of behaviour ahead of the genetic imprint, which carries aggressiveness and receptivity influencing our basic reactivity. The more creative and aware we are, the less influence our genetic imprint has. Through stylistic learning, we can, and we do, create and manage our behaviour so that our reactivity and activity are more rewarding while we are more aware, within our environment. Stylistic learning makes us in control of what we do. Stylistic learning is more than acquiring knowledge of events. Applied Stylism gives us the ability to create new structures from these events. Yet we can’t deduct that all stylistic learning, and application, is right in its intensity or content. This is why there are many possibilities of conflicts. For example, what we learn can conflict with our genetic trends and our addictions can conflict with our learning. Cultural differences can create conflicts.
    Stylistic conflicts are more at the source of depression than genetic imprint. Stylistic learning, differentiated from reactive learning, is the source of awareness within and beyond the cultural environment that implements it. Yet making choices in stylistic learning and stylistic behaviour are still biotic processes of memory which influences and modifies its self. We can therefore influence our bio-self by choices of stylistic value.
    With the correct choices we can influence our bio-self to react more positively and less negatively to events. The more aware we are of this fact, the more we can eliminate depression. The process modifies memory into a more positive memory, rectifying down-turn energies into positive events of learning—keeping fully aware of the reality in order to avoid delusions.

Very Old Living Creatures
Our body is the generator and the entity of the self. We pamper it, we groom it, we abuse it, we develop it, we ignore it and we feed it regularly. We are a resilient, complex organically active chemical reaction that can last on average 75 years, but, as a continuum of gene creation, is coming from more than three and a half billion years of evolution, through DNA molecules in our genes. Genes are the memory of life.
    The DNA that induces our existence and development has an very close relationship with the DNA of all other life-forms. More than 98 per cent of our DNA is the same as that of the chimpanzees and more than 60 per cent the same as that of plants.
    Genetic studies have identified specific portions of DNA molecule linked to trends that affect our health, therefore our survival status.
    Our body is made of billions parts and about 70 per cent water, the lot being assembled in mazes of pipes, filters, structural fixtures, control units and power-plants. It grows and self-maintains from the gene code, constantly processing fuel (food) to sustain activity—while unusable parts are discarded—until its bio-reaction doesnot sustain its original genetic integrity and decays.
    We are hosts to a great number of other species, from fungus to microbes, bacteria and worms, some beneficial and some harmful.

The Memory of Life
From genes, all parts of our body possess memory. This memory duplicates and variegates the cells, maintaining the survival of the DNA code. Cells develop a secondary memory, from inter-relationship with the immediate environment in which they survive—such as neighbouring cells and fuel supply—and a tertiary collective memory of activity for a structured assemblage of cells.

Superior adaptation of memory
In complex cellular organisations, an extended greater memory gathers into a networked bio-structure that encompasses sensors (to light, sounds, touch, etc.) and a series of specialised processors—the various parts of the brain which extend back through all the body as command channels. Experiencing environmental factors through the sensors, the brain `learns’ to differentiate, and eventually choose, between safe and unsafe factors for the body to survive.
    Discreet modifications to the genes due to environmental factors (food quality, abundance, temperature, etc) or accidental modification —either in quantum steps or in continuum—lead to variegation, a feedback mechanism leading to Evolution (successful feedback creating species differentiation) and to Extinction (feedback unable to match the speed of environmental change).
    Adaptive survival is achieved on three main fronts: First, through adapted genetic characteristics, second, through the development of a resilient species which does not need to modify genetic material to survive, and third, through development of a social memory (memory of adaptation to environmental factors through communication between individuals rather than personal experience).  The sources of adaptation lead to various quality of survival in each of the individual of a species.
    Apart from copulation, many animal species have social skills (nest building, courtship, parenting, playing with the young, teaching, searching for food, observing) in order to maintain the momentum of their existence and that of their offspring. These skills come from being aware of their own species’ behaviour and their genetic trends (instincts) to survive. That many animal species can be taught tricks or self-create differentiated social skills to suit environmental factors is part of the complexity of achieving survival within the full range of a genetic map in a specific environment.
    For example, specific behaviour and appearance characteristics will be bred in dogs, yet dogs are all descendant from wolves. The behaviour characteristic of dogs—agressivity or receptivity—can be manipulated by training and breeding—training being stylistic learning grafted on a genetic imprint. Homo sapiens’ great ability to perform and adjust is reflected in the cultural diversity that includes communicative differentiation of memory through languages and traditions. At a social level, the memory of life is maintained and improved through specific learning which conditions each individual belief-system to belong to the particular group. The divergence between groups, is only a step of Homo sapiens’ evolution through its genetic and stylistic interpretation of its environments.

A Mind Field
Our brain stores the information incoming through its sensors for survival reference. The stored information is biotic—complex chemical patterns of associations that modify through comparison with former information. A tree is not known as a tree unless we are able to refer to our stored information. We learn to recognise the shape, the smell, the feel of a tree and although we know thus a tree is a tree, it is only a spoken and written symbol other people will know as arbre, aber, etc. A tree in our mind is a network of memory bio-links. This is the most important point in understanding the processes that create a mind. The language of learning is part of the creating processes and influences our ability to adapt, by restricting or encouraging aspects of our behaviour.
    Having analysed information, we respond through various form of reactivity/activity, striving for survival then for stylistic success.
    Pain is the relative gauge of failure, physically and mentally.

Processing Information
Mental activity only develops from interaction with information, how simple this information is. Even as a new born baby, being fed milk is an event which develops our responses. Were we not fed, we would suffer from hunger pains, spurring our primal fear. This manifests in cries and uncoordinated movements, until the pain disappears as we are fed, or until we die from lack of support and abandonment from our species. It is probable that, even in the womb, a baby is alert to environmental factors and develops responses.

Dysfunctions in the control system
Many forms of mental problems are due to defects in the complexity of the system. Not only the physical brain can be defective but our sensors can be of mediocre aptitude in providing information (need glasses to see for example). The brain for some reason or another can limit the amount of information processing (‘retardation’), can lose its memory (Alzheimer’s) or be unable to properly communicate learned reflexes (Parkinson’s). On the other hand some functions may be enhanced such as greater memory retention (‘Rain Man’) and greater logic (Einstein). Links between sensors and brain and motors can be damaged (Multiple Sclerosis) where the nerves leak messages from the brain to the wrong motors—the muscles—creating spasms.
    And last, most importantly, information that has created our belief stack controlling our responses (habits) may be erroneous, in which case our dysfunction stems from the ‘programming’ of bio-memory rather than the hardware. Yet the construct between the programming and the hardware is indivisible. Through targeted stylistic learning, we can thus modify bio-habits, including addictions.

Survival
The diagram below [no diagram inserted on this blog — will post separately] shows the basic elements of the memory of life, including survival (fitness) and its basic indicators (pain, fear and contentment) from which active/reactive mode stems from—creating personality trends, emotions and behaviour when applied in memory.

Procreative Platform
Procreation is the primary memory motivator of life, encoded in the DNA. It gives individuals the ability to duplicate themselves, in various ways. over billions of years of duplication, the procreative ability has become very sophisticated in variegation and duration of species, yet the life of individuals as a procreative platforms is rather limited. Mortality, so far, is a necessary condition for life to diversify and modify.

Fitness
Fitness to survive is the defining quality of the procreative platform  and includes hereditary factors. In much of the animal world an unfit individual perishes and is often rejected by its own parents. In our species, due to much advancement in fitness control (medicine) and management of other environmental factors (stylistic viewpoints including morality and ethical grounds), there are many levels of fitness—including genetic disorders and poor health other than the natural optimum—at which we can survive.
   
Pain
Pain is the primary indicator of fitness. Pain measures our level of fitness. Pain is the mechanical part of our genetic map that indicates that our survival is threatened. Pain related to information creates many inhibitors and emotional responses, including fear.

Fear   
Fear should be viewed as the memory of pain. Whether fear is genetically encoded (instinctive) or not, it appears to be the first reactive component of learning from painful events and uncertainty in environmental factor status.

Contentment
Contentment is the acknowledgement of successful survival in the same manner as fear is the memory of pain. Should our fitness falls below a certain level, our mind experiences pain, generating a reaction to redress the problem, such as a search for food when experiencing hunger. From analysing perceived environmental factors, the mind eventually bypasses pain and reacts directly to the environmental factors to achieve contentment (survival success) while avoiding pain and fear (the memory of pain).
    In many animals species, fear shows up soon after the beginning of life or at the first encounter of unsafe environmental factors inflicting pain (shock to sensors) without destruction. These early encounters have a great influence in the development of behaviour for future survival.

Environmental factors
These factors are the reality of who we are in where we are. They act upon us as what we see, feel, smell, hear. Environmental factors include formal eduction and accidental events, all of which demand responses, as well as our bio-fitness (internal environment). These factors are generally of two kinds: safe factors which do not present threats to survival—factors that sometimes appear as beneficial—and unsafe factors which do present threats.
    Not only environmental factors provide essential ingredients for physical survival, such as oxygen and food, our interaction with them shapes learning, as relative interpretations of these factors into stylistic and reactive knowledge.

Consciousness
Consciousness is the status of personal active/reactive memory of life, at the present moment. Totally dependant on memory, consciousness cannot exist without past, how immediate or small the past is—the flux creating the notion of time. Consciousness can be of high or low degree of awareness, depending on our understanding of the environmental factors, and whether we are awake or asleep.
    We share consciousness with other creatures, although genetic and stylistic evolution has led humans to a more extensive use of tools, such as communicative and dextrous skills, and to a mental processing potential never reached, setting our species in a class of its own.

The energy of life
Energy=mc2. this most famous equation gives an elegant stylistic interpretation of the relationship between matter and energy. Life is part of this relationship and uses very precise chemical modifications of molecules (matter) to provide energy (heat, motion, thoughts).
    We need to consume matter to stay alive. We need to process events to be conscious. Even during meditation, sleep or coma, our mind is not arrested, as the mind processes information from within itself, subconsciously.
    In deep depression, the mind is still operative, although it seems disengaged from aggressiveness and receptivity to some degree. It feels sluggish and awareness is very low. Nothing matters because we could not care less. In high degree of serenity and intense meditation, the mind can also disengage but awareness is very high. Nothing matters because we know we cannot be affected by events.
    These opposite polarities of the mind between depression and sublimation reside in the control of aggressiveness and receptivity—the two core activities of life.

Control of the activities of life
In depression we have foregone activity. In order to get out of depression we need to reactivate our aggressiveness or our receptivity, or both simultaneously, while minimising stylistic conflicts. We can do so by choosing a very simple activity that we can perform successfully—success that we acknowledge. We reward our self. By doing so we empower our self to be motivated and the primary challenge of survival becomes how far can we go while avoiding self-destruction. The secondary challenge is to re-arrange our stylistic interpretations in a less conflicting manner. We may have to give up some ideas and adopt new ones. The short cut manual to stylistic happiness near the beginning of the book can help us formulate better concepts. In the longer term we empower our self with the natural energies of life that we can manipulate to our, and others’, advantage through relationships. We reinvent for our self the notion of love, caring and compassion with the full awareness of their stylistic meaning and integration with natural energies.

A matter of life and death
Death occurs when subconsciousness ends. This delicate notion is difficult to establish without reasonable doubt as a body can survive without consciousness, and the assumed death of a structure does not necessarily mean the instant destruction of cells or groups of cells.  The notion of death is an issue for organ transplant. A heart could still be beating and subconsciousness totally gone.
    Our social codes and cultures have interpreted the concept of death in many ways, giving hope through the belief of after-life. Consciousness—the knowledge of one own existence—has made many of us develop a need to believe it cannot end, We do not often accept death as a terminal event.
    Death is a natural process for life to continue. Like other life-forms, we grow from very little (a minuscule genetic map), spend energy on survival and stylistic activities, allocate time to reproduce our species with a generation overlap so the continuum is unbroken. Eventually our chemical reaction reaches its end by simple decay, unable to sustain its own momentum, although we often attempt to slow the decay by many means.
        Death, procreation and adaptation create the variegation of life.

A Mind Of its Own
Slow in developing survival skills, our processing of the environment factors is very complex, and our survival depends on an enormous collectivist memory (albeit several versions of) which influences our perceptions and understanding of the environmental factors.
    Similarly to individuals of some other species removed from the collective, we show signs of distress at not knowing what to do, unless we are taught and cared for, until we have learned from our peers the basics of individual survival.
    Should we lose part of our physical self, we will lose some of our consciousness in proportion to the amount of information stored in the part (including muscle tissues). Under the influence of drugs we are modifying the physical self, thus altering our consciousness.

Control of the biotic processes
The simplified diagram* below illustrates the basic interaction between the elements of the mind’s biotic process and the environment.
    The osmosis between fear and contentment creates the caring mode of the self—itself a composite of aggressiveness and receptivity, the two core activities of life—which is a necessary tool for survival (at species and individual level). The status of the caring mode for the self versus the state of the environmental factors creates our state of mind. The shift of the caring mode from one state of mind to another creates our emotions. Caring for the self measures how much we desire to achieve survival. Caring for life start with caring for the self.

Aggressiveness and receptivity
These core activities of life control our reactivity as we experience fear, pain or contentment. Aggressiveness and receptivity relate to hormonal levels and other chemical patterns including those of learned behaviour. Studies have shown chemicals such as cholesterol can influence aggressiveness. Cholesterol is an important component of brain cells and low level of cholesterol decrease serotonin in the brain that leads to more aggressiveness. Research also show that people on drugs to lower cholesterol levels are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety than those not on the drugs.
    Aggressiveness and receptivity are essential activities for living creatures to feed and to defend themselves if under threat from environmental factors. Even in its simplest form, feeding is aggressiveness through taking over the content of another being—animal or plant—and at the same time is receptive for the sheer necessity of processing the captured food into survival energies.
    For humans, our very complex stylistic learning is used to balance aggressiveness versus receptivity in order to limit the damage we can do to others and to ourselves, at individual and species levels. The challenge is not to lose control at individual and social level.

Basic stages of the mind
The mechanisms of biotic activity, from which develop our conscious thoughts, are of course tremendously complex, are always in a flux and evolve as we grow. Five basic stages of the mind can be defined although they overlap in the complex multiplicity of activities. These five important stages are the Contented State, the Traumatic Stage, The Passive/Delusive State, The Traumatic/Delusive State, and the Depressed State.


CONTENTED STATE: contentment is achieved by controlling our aggressiveness and receptivity to a survival position within a known safe environment. We are successful and we are aware of this status through our caring active mode.

TRAUMATIC STAGE: the response to unsafe environments factors is fear as we gauge elements of threat to our survival. We usually do not like lingering through this stage, which often has a surprise element from the environmental factors. With our caring mode, we modify our relative position to, and/or alter, the threatening environmental factors, to return to a contented state.
    Our average daily activities usually span between mild traumatic stages to mildly contented states as we find solutions to low level unsafe environmental factors (small conflicts, small danger, problems, etc.). Most of our reflexes operate in the traumatic stage of mind.
    In a traumatic stage, the bigger the conflicts and dangers, the more fear and distress we feel, until a solution (shift of position) or comfort (dangers have passed) is found, and the emotional drag has gone.

PASSIVE/DELUSIVE STATE: our contentment is maintained while faced with unsafe environmental factors. This lack of discernment leads to dangerous situations (accidents). This state of mind can comes from misjudgement of environmental factors (lack of knowledge) and can be due to mental disorders stemming from defective fitness (angel disease, hormone imbalance, slow learning ability). Social safety nets should protect us from early destruction.

DELUSIVE/TRAUMATIC STATE: our state of mind is locked in primal fear while operating within safe environments. This undesirable reactivity in safe environment can come from a lack of knowledge, from mental disorders (created by a trauma inducing persecution feelings, hypochondria, phobias etc.) stemming from our inability to control fear at this point in time.

DEPRESSED STATE:
The active/reactive caring mode weakens, and can disappear totally during deep depression. We are now in an inactive mode, unresponsive to safe or unsafe environmental factors. We do not care.
    Long-time memorised influences of environmental factors, which have been in conflict and could have induced distress, have now minimised our caring mode (aggressiveness and receptivity) because we were unable to find a way to achieve contentment. Without the caring mode, we can lose cognition (memory reactivity, such as linking perception of a tree to the stylistic word ‘tree’).
    The trigger that induces changes from a traumatic stage to a depressed state can be the old conflict itself, but usually it is an insignificant event which reduces our ability to control our caring mode below a critical level. This state can also be induced by our interpretation (rather than reality) of failure at providing satisfactory solutions for our own survival. This is a typical chaotic situation in which an increasingly strong stress factor is not sufficient to induce a terminal event. Yet a very small secondary event can spark it. An increasing amount of explosive being stored in one place is under control until a small event, a trigger,  such as the use of a detonator or a cigarette butt blows the whole lot.
    In the depressed state, we often lose the acquired relationship between contentment and safe environments (reward), we lose the relationship between fear and unsafe environments (danger). We are in a conscious state of limbo with no thrust. On all account this is a very stable state. The biotic results of that state will be fatigue, dour headaches, difficulty in controlling bodily functions such as tears and lack of cognition. The stylistic results will be indecision, lack of motivation and loss of comprehension.
    It is important to proceed slowly with care when emerging from depression. We need to create small events of actively caring for our self and re-link contentment to safe environment factors. Emerging from a depressed state through a traumatic stage can lead to stronger distress, deeper depression or suicide.
        One cannot overstates the importance of the control of our caring mode (learning to manage aggressiveness and receptivity) in relation to depression. It is in this field that most of our success to fight depression comes from.
    The role of  peers, family or counsellors is paramount to provide a safe environment to re-operate in. They protect us from physical dangers that we cannot see, provide a roof over our heads and contribute temporarily to our physical survival such as supply of food, money, compassion emotional support—all provided without asking for payback, nor enforcement of prejudicial beliefs.
    The rest is mostly left to us.

Flexibility/roundness
The mind is a bio-system with many leaks, overflows and bypasses which make it very complex and impossible to map with exactitude. The varied genetic trends, as well as the combinations and intensity between pain, fear and contentment, the shifts between the states of mind, the elasticity of the stylistic learning. all give it roundness, flexibility and flux, which provide adaptability and resilience, but can also be at the source of mental disorders.

Reversal of a depressed state
As we emerge from depression we can be subconsciously unsettled by the instability of such a system, and/or frightened by its imprecision, complexity and lack of obvious direction. Having lost our motivation, we suffer from an inability to concentrate or decide. We could then drift into a semi-surrealistic mode of internalisation, the source of which is not controlled, is meaningless and delusive. By-passes such as this are part of our ability to deny reality.
    We should see depression as a negative energy. In order to change it we need to rectify it like alternative current is rectified into direct current. In reality, rectified direct current is not constant, unlike a true direct current from a battery, yet rectified current will flow only in a positive direction. We slowly raise the minimum point at which we can accept being generally negative, until we are in a generally positive mood no matter what, because we make the effort to invert the negative energies.

What does this mean for the depressed
The goal is to change a negative energy into a positive energy. Several techniques can be used. Principally we need to establish a relationship between the aggressiveness and receptivity of our caring mode. We do it by acting relationships between success and reward, from little events we create, increasing the complexity as we progress. The rewards need to be physically satisfying, such as a sweet. Eventually the reward can become stylistic, such as creating hope or being mentally pleased. We enact a feeling of happiness by reinforcing the connection between activity and success, sometimes through a deliberately controlled small amount of fear and pain, and then actively acknowledging success when we eliminate them.

Creating a strong inhibitor against negative energy
From the time we are born, we mostly learn our social behaviour through moralistic filters, applied as rewards and punishments. Not too strangely for a creative mind, the many dos and don’ts do not provide protection against negativity because of our exploring curiosity. If we want to avoid depression and maintain our curiosity we have to deliberate self-create an inhibitor of negative energies. This inhibitor modifies our reactivity to events into a positive trend towards believing that we are in control of our stylistic interpretations, without becoming deluded. This becomes self-confidence from a decidedly personal choice, rather than from a moralistic cause and effect. The results may appear similar, yet the personal choice is more enlightened, more aware and eventually more powerful than any other stylistic concept we can apply for our self. We become fully active rather than reactive. Eventually we create a memory of positive action rather than reuse our old memory of positive/negative reaction. This process does not happen overnight because of memory persistence and can be unsettling until we raise the intensity of decision. As soon as we feel negative energies, we deliberately stop our activities and modify our point of view in order to carry on from a positive perspective. We inhibit our self from negativity. In the long run, we positively stylistically develop our self rather than being the product of someone else’s manipulation. We do not need doctrine dependence. We can increase our receptivity without becoming submissive and we can control our natural aggressiveness without being violent. The flow-on for our health are the removal of negative stresses and all the health problems negative stress can induce. We become assertive, positive, motivated and dedicated without being overpowering. As a creative mind, we are rolling at decisive speed in which we accept the responsibility of the choices we make but do not become burdened by it. We lighten up. We can improve relationships, including that with our self, without fear, using the core natural activities of life—aggressiveness and receptivity—to care for our self and others.

see toon at top...

aliens VS clones and golf balls...

Each of us has at least 100 new mutations in our DNA, according to research published in the journal Current Biology.

Scientists have been trying to get an accurate estimate of the mutation rate for over 70 years.

However, only now has it been possible to get a reliable estimate, thanks to "next generation" technology for genetic sequencing.

The findings may lead to new treatments and insights into our evolution.

In 1935, one of the founders of modern genetics, JBS Haldane, studied a group of men with the blood disease haemophilia. He speculated that there would be about 150 new mutations in each of us.

Others have since looked at DNA in chimpanzees to try to produce general estimates for humans.

However, next generation sequencing technology has enabled the scientists to produce a far more direct and reliable estimate.

They looked at thousands of genes in the Y chromosomes of two Chinese men. They knew the men were distantly related, having shared a common ancestor who was born in 1805.

By looking at the number of differences between the two men, and the size of the human genome, they were able to come up with an estimate of between 100 and 200 new mutations per person.

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As I have mentioned on this site before, to develop evolution, life has to have discreet modification to its genetic map when "duplicating". Evolution can be successful or not (extinction by inability to adapt)

So-called genetic engineering is gene corruption that does not exists in nature (a bit like plutonium does not exist in a natural state). Cloning, on the other hand, goes against the natural survival necessity of change in a changing environment, especially for complex species. Thus we have some need —and the possibility — for "mutations".

More than thirty years ago when my imagination was running wild (still is mind you), I was writing for myself the story line for an Opera alla Romeo and Juliet where the families came from different evolved human mutant lines, that, like many subspecies , could not interbreed... I tend to be scatterbrain though and went on other projects before finishing it, especially when I had to use an old mechanical typewriter... that soon mutated into an electric IBM golf ball typewriter... The young gen would have no idea of this... Hey... at school we used real slate and stone scribers to write on... and spit to wipe...

e-v-o-l-u-t-i-o-n....

The conventional view of human evolution and how early man colonised the world has been thrown into doubt by a series of stunning palaeontological discoveries suggesting that Africa was not the sole cradle of humankind. Scientists have found a handful of ancient human skulls at an archaeological site two hours from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, that suggest a Eurasian chapter in the long evolutionary story of man.

The skulls, jawbones and fragments of limb bones suggest that our ancient human ancestors migrated out of Africa far earlier than previously thought and spent a long evolutionary interlude in Eurasia – before moving back into Africa to complete the story of man.

Experts believe fossilised bones unearthed at the medieval village of Dmanisi in the foothills of the Caucuses, and dated to about 1.8 million years ago, are the oldest indisputable remains of humans discovered outside of Africa.

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I believe this woman is Eve. Because she looks like she's got a pea brain and will fall for any tricks — including that of a poisoned apple presented by a sneaky snake devil... And say that between 1.8 million years and now there has been a few ice ages and global warming events... My memory is fuzzy on this one. I think it was 4 ice ages but this morning I'm too lazy to go and find a reference for this number...

So, since global warming and ice ages are occuring naturally... why worry about the looming global warming, I hear you ask...?

Well, my dear Senator f-i-s-k-a-l Fielding, according to the trends of records and of sun activity and other stuff, we should be going into an Ice Age... Much of the science till the 1940s predicted this... Instead, we're galloping at a hundred miles an hour towards a global warming event to which most scientists have no clue as to where it's going to go.

But hot it's going to be.

And the analysis? Well, the serious sientists are placing this reversal of trend to the way WE, humans, are stuffing up the carbon cycle... It took eons (millions of years) to sequester a lot of the carbon into the earth, in coal and petroleum, and it's taking humans about a hundred years to dig it all up and turn it mostly into CO2. Boom. You have it. And CO2 is an influential greenhouse gas. The PPMs are increasing. After the "warmest winter on record" in Australia we might experience a cool September, but may not be as cool as "usual"...

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The UK may have to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 90% by 2050 so the aviation sector can continue to grow.

That is the warning from the government's official climate advisers, the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

It would mean even bigger cuts than the 80% drop on 1990 levels already planned for households and industry in Britain.

But the committee also says global aviation emissions should be capped during the forthcoming Copenhagen climate talks.

The committee was asked by government to advise on what should be done about emissions from aviation.

In a letter to the Transport Secretary Lord Adonis and the Climate Secretary Ed Miliband, the committee says the aviation industry will have to cut emissions from planes back to their 2005 level by 2050.

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Good luck to us all... remember 2032...

Ardipithecus ramidus

An ancient human-like creature that may be a direct ancestor to our species has been described by researchers.

The assessment of the 4.4-million-year-old animal called Ardipithecus ramidus is reported in the journal Science.

Even if it is not on the direct line to us, it offers new insights into how we evolved from the common ancestor we share with chimps, the team says.

Fossils of A. ramidus were first found in Ethiopia in 1992, but it has taken 17 years to assess their significance.

The most important specimen is a partial skeleton of a female nicknamed "Ardi".

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see toon at top and read blogs below it....

the wrong blame...

A government minister has blamed Indonesia's recent string of natural disasters on people's immorality.

Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring said that there were many television programmes that destroyed morals.

Therefore, the minister said, natural disasters would continue to occur.

His comments came as he addressed a prayer meeting on Friday in Padang, Sumatra, which was hit by a powerful earthquake in late September.

He also hit out at rising decadence - proven, he said, by the availability of Indonesia-made pornographic DVDs in local markets - and called for tougher laws.

According to the Jakarta Globe, his comments sparked an angry reaction on the internet, particularly among those who followed him on social networking site Twitter.

Why focus on public immorality when there was so much within the government, one respondent reportedly asked.

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In one of the comments on this site, probably above, I mention that religious chiefs often blame natural dsasters on the sins of people... Let be clear about this, there is NO RELATION between sin and natural disaster — apart from living in areas that are prone to natural disasters... see toon at top...

belated welcome...

THE human family has a new member.

A previously unknown type of ancient human, who lived about 40,000 years ago, has been identified using DNA from a finger bone found in Siberia.

The extraordinary find brings to four the number of human species thought to have roamed the earth at that time.

Six years ago only two were known: Neanderthals and modern humans. Then, in 2004, scientists announced the discovery of a hobbit-sized species of extinct human on the Indonesian island of Flores.

"Forty thousand years ago, the planet was more crowded than we thought," said Terence Brown, of the University of Manchester.

A team led by Johannes Krause, of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, discovered the finger – thought to be a "pinky" – in a cave in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia. Dr Krause said the DNA it contained was different to that of both Neanderthals and modern humans.

He carried out extensive testing to confirm the mitochondrial DNA, passed from mothers to their offspring, was authentic and had not been contaminated by DNA from other sources.

"[It] was from what seemed to be a new hominin lineage," said Dr Krause, whose findings are published in the journal Nature.


http://www.smh.com.au/world/science/meet-digit-the-new-type-of-human-20100325-qx2i.html

See toon at top and read articles below it. Please note that a "new" theory explains the "extinction" of the Neanderthals — not on having been hacked to death by superior Homo sapiens (sapiens) — but to "having been mated" with Homo sapiens, thus diluting the Neanderthal gene into all of us... Considering how some of us behave, there is no proof on which side provided the dangerous aggressive cunning mad traits of many humans... Who knows, the Neanderthals may have been very gentle and submissive, adding to our poetic nature.

meanwhile red cousins are pushed to extinction...

http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/files/po/b-index.html

see toon at top here... read the articles below it...

orang-utans and chocolate bars...

Mr Philibert's film does not ignore the moral issues involved in keeping wild animals in captivity. A poetic, concluding voice-over by a French actor, Pierre Meunier, draws attention to the deep scratches torn in the cage walls by the orang-utans, "apparently in frustration at their captivity". Is Nénette's moroseness and boredom, Mr Meunier asks, natural to orang-utans or the product of her unnatural surroundings?

The film-maker Mr Philibert, while shunning simple conclusions as usual, says that he was surprised to find that even Nénette's keepers were critical of zoos. "Her principal carer told me that there was no more anti-zoo person in the world than himself ... It is a complicated issue but people like him have helped to push zoos from being mere collections of captive animals to helping to preserve threatened species," he said.

Orang-utans are a very threatened species. They are the only type of ape which is found exclusively in Asia. Their remaining habitat, constantly reduced by logging, is in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. "We are exterminating them by cutting the forests to make room for intensive agriculture, especially to produce palm oil for creams, beauty products and food," said Mr Philibert. "Every time you buy a bar of chocolate from Nestlé you are contributing to the demise of the orang-utan."

The ants on the hill...

from Paul Sheehan at the SMS

...

The underlying message in Anthill is humanity has reached a point where it is at war with all other species by consuming so much of the planet's resources. When this happens in nature, there is a crash. There must be a crash.

This Easter, a time of reflection turned into yet another celebration of consumption, Wilson has sent forth tiny messengers with an enormous message.

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Gus: Since I was a toddler, I have been gawking at ant colonies — basically a one individual  supported by infertile clones from itself... I usually don't agree with what Paul Sheehan writes but on this one I approve... But, really, someone else wrote "anthill"... and in relation to human population, one should look at

Interesting Facts about Population Growth Mathematical Models  

the hollowbrain epoch...

Mankind leaves mark on the planet with the end of the 12,000-year Holocene age


Landmark in the Earth's 4.7bn-year history as geologists hail dawn of the 'human epoch'

 

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

 

 

Biologists have their principles of evolution, physicists have their laws of thermodynamics and chemists have their periodic table. For geologists, perhaps the most hallowed reference source is the Geological Time Scale, a complex timeline depicting the entire history of the Earth as a series of distinct periods, epochs and ages, from the birth of the planet 4.7 billion years ago to the present day.

The Geological Time Scale is quite literally set in stone. As geologists dig down through the different sedimentary layers of rock, they go back in time to periods when prehistoric humans with stone tools hunted mammoths, to an earlier time 100 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the land, and even to a distant era 3.8 billion years ago when life first arose in the ancient oceans of a more primitive world.

Changes to the Geological Time Scale resulted from natural events, whether it was the mass extinction of life from a giant asteroid impact, or an ice age resulting from changes to the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. Now, however, geologists are about to consider whether humans themselves have started to influence the geological history of the world.

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Gus: we dig, we build, we pollute, we exhale CO2 via car exhausts... our contribution so far to the geological ages is only a thin veneer of muck, slowly destroying the thin veneer of life... But we know through the geological record that changes can happen with just a layer of dust or ash... See toon at top and read all comments below it.

mother and son...

From the NYT

Matthew held in his hands the ancient remains of a 4-foot-2 boy who had been just a few years older than Matthew himself. Dr. Berger, with the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and his fellow researchers have since found much more of the boy’s skeleton, including his extraordinarily well-preserved skull, and three other individuals. South Africa’s children will compete to name the boy.

In a report being published Friday in the journal Science, Dr. Berger, 44, and a team of scientists said the fossils from the boy and a woman were a surprising and distinctive mixture of primitive and advanced anatomy and thus qualified as a new species of hominid, the ancestors and other close relatives of humans. It has been named Australopithecus sediba.

The species sediba, which means fountain or wellspring in the seSotho language, strode upright on long legs, with human-shaped hips and pelvis, but still climbed through trees on apelike arms. It had the small teeth and more modern face of Homo, the genus that includes modern humans, but the relatively primitive feet and “tiny brain” of Australopithecus, Dr. Berger said.

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see toon at top...

altering consciousness...

From the NYT

Nothing had any lasting effect until, at the age of 65, he had his first psychedelic experience. He left his home in Vancouver, Wash., to take part in an experiment at Johns Hopkins medical school involving psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient found in certain mushrooms.

Scientists are taking a new look at hallucinogens, which became taboo among regulators after enthusiasts like Timothy Leary promoted them in the 1960s with the slogan “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Now, using rigorous protocols and safeguards, scientists have won permission to study once again the drugs’ potential for treating mental problems and illuminating the nature of consciousness.

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From Gus, twenty years ago:


ESCAPE FROM REALITY
Altering consciousness

Addictions are physical needs for substances, such as drugs, or events such as gambling. Events and drugs modify our consciousness by stylistically or chemically manipulating our bio-reactivity, many inducing strong delusions in a contented state of mind. Should the need not be fulfilled, the body endures strong withdrawal symptoms while the mind becomes distressed then enters a depressed state until the next shot. Being addicted is not a problem per se, although many drugs lower the perception and judgement of environmental factors, induce depression after elation and distress, as well as modify our stylistic survival by placing our existing wealth and wealth creative ability under threat, due to the cost of acquiring drugs or gambling.
    Unless treated, many addictive substances demand increasingly stronger doses to achieve the desire results until the amount become poison or is destructive, reducing our health and our status—leading to death by overdose or suicide through inability to cope with losing wealth beyond our own. Addiction are not readily shaken and are one of, and the source of, many social problem. Memory resistance to change is integral to memory retention bio-need, but some drug-modifying consciousness create a memory bio-need for the drug, leading to addiction which is a strong resistance to change.


Drugs
We cannot deny the existence of consciousness modifying substances called drugs. We may decide the enjoyment of being under their influence is worth ignoring their negative effects. We can develop habits or addictions in using the substances. A habit can be interrupted with little trauma if a decision to stop is made. An addiction is much harder to stop as the drug has modified bio-pathways within the brain and other organs, now in need of the substance to perform. Should we stop the use, the body experiences various degrees of trauma, called withdrawal symptoms. Some drugs are extremely addictive and destructive. Some are very costly to be acquired. 
    Most societies place inhibitors on the use of, or dealing in, drugs, ranging from drink-driving penalties to imprisonment for possession of some substances, in order to reduce the chance of accidental trauma and to control dangerous behaviour.
    Drugs are chemical substance which at first induce mostly pleasurable multi-faceted stylistic illusions by modifying our reactive  bio-chemical patterns of contentment and fear in the brain. In many instances, the drug-affected bio-chemical pattern loses its natural flexibility and become permanently modified and the drug becomes a necessary agent of performance. The flow-on from a few successive intake is often physically and stylistically traumatic.

Alcohol
It has not been uncommon for cadet print journalists to be sent early in the morning to the local liquor shop to grab slabs of beer for reporters, while some scribes also kept flagons of wine in the bottom draw of their desk. The main office of many journos was the local pub. Beer, wine, cigarettes and coffee combined as a doping cocktail to get through the depressing load of bad news, disheartening hacking technique of writing and the pressure of tight deadlines. Many journalists succumbed to lung cancer, liver failure and depression, although they often kept this latter problem at bay by cultivating a giant cynical attitude (delusive state of mind). The dynamics of modern journalism has changed somewhat.
    Alcoholism and the effects of alcohol are not new. It is mentioned in the first testament as Noah gets pissed by drinking fermented juice after the big flood. Legend or true, this story indicates that alcohol has had a long relationship with humankind. Grape, apple, potato, rice, barley, pineapple, in fact many fruit, grains and roots can be turned into alcoholic beverages. Even the bread we eat ferments in our stomach, producing a little amount of alcohol too.
    There are many arguments to the effects of alcohol, but traditions of taste and usage has played a big role in its social acceptance despite the problems it creates when abused. Alcohol is a legal drug in many countries, but in some like Singapore or Norway, prohibitive prices are used as deterrent. There are countries, such as Saudi Arabia, where alcohol is illegal and tough penalties are enforced if people are caught. By and large, alcohol is widely used—with the blessings of governments that collect enormous amounts of revenue from it.
    Alcohol in moderation can defuse tensions in a social environment by lowering the strength of personal inhibitors—increasing contentment in receptivity and aggressiveness. Alcohol thus can reduce stress. But even in small quantity, alcohol decrease our reactive speed and lowers our analysis ability and decision making. Ingestion of a greater quantity of alcohol increase aggressiveness and receptivity beyond control, disengage our consciousness from our reactivity, and cause sudden death by shock or choking, or slow death by debilitating alcoholism.
     Restrictions is not solely based on quantity. In the mid-nineteenth century, the French government forbade the growing of the Noah grape, for the wine made from its fruit permanently damaged the brain. People drinking its wine stayed mad, days after having drunk it, due to a particular combination of alcohol's and esters. The symptoms were madness, stupor, sometimes blindness and usually a quick death. Similar problems was induced by real absinth.
    I enjoy wine and beer, and far from me to prevent anyone from using alcohol or other drugs. I am only pointing out the traumas it can bring beyond non-measured usage. By lowering the strength of our inhibitors, it reduces our will to control of our state of mind, and often affect our relationships, starting and helping the degradation of our daily stylistic behaviour. Alcohol also magnify our raw thoughts and primary reactions. We may become more loving, more angry, more aggressive and even dangerous depending on the orientation of our underlying trends of character. Using alcohol or other drugs is mostly a choice, until addiction takes place and we become deluded away from our cognitive power and self-control. To some of us, alcohol leads to a depressed state we counteract with more drinking or other drug intake which deepens the depressed state. We are the drunk who now drinks to forget that he/she is drinking. Some of us will hallucinate, pass-out or not remember.

A few memorable drunks
Walking on a back road to school, I saw a drunk, unsteady on his bicycle, fall into the gutter and split his scull right in front of me. No cries of pain, just a few slurred words which made no sense. He made a dismal attempt at climbing back on the bicycle and stopped moving, knocked out either by the alcohol, the fracture or an important lost of blood. Being the only person around I had to stop a passing car to alert the police and an ambulance to take care of him.
    Another piss-pot used to entice a crowd to persuade him, in return for a bottle of plonk, to jump in the murky water of the harbour. He could hardly swim, but always managed to make his way back to one of the steel ladders that lined the pier. We often passed this spot to watch the fishing boats back from a day at sea, but one day he came back slowly to the surface, face down and our mother made us quickly pass the scene, without a word. He was dead. In those days just after the war, drinking was heavy duty. Former sea-dogs had nothing else to do than share stormy yarns and stiff drinks from early in the morning. By nightfall, they collapsed in front of doorways, on park benches or at the foot of trees. These drinker, seemingly of congenial temperament, often had the blues during heavy sessions. They had a permanent inability to perform anything and could not care anyway.
    During a rainy night, I was driving slowly when a black silhouette crossed the road. The car in front had no time to stop and ran over the man. I stopped just before rolling over him myself. I left the headlights on and from the boot I got a blanket that I spread on him as he stayed motionless on the wet road. I stopped people trying to move him. He had a very badly broken leg, probably a broken spine and severe concussion. He was barely breathing. An ambulance arrived swiftly. The paramedics splinted his open wound broken leg without changing his general position. They tried to keep him alive but he died on the road. Without hurry, they loaded him on board the ambulance which took off slowly and silently. A most poignant part of the event was to see the trauma and despair of the driver who had run over the man. Poignant as well, was the non-cognitive behaviour of the dead man’s friend, who was also in a terrible state of inebriation on the pavement. Drunk, the first man had not been able to control an urge of crossing the road while paying no attention to traffic—a simple task we learn when we are very young.

Group therapy
There are conflicting view point on the use of group therapy, here raised in regard of ‘Something Anonymous’. Group therapy can be beneficial as we discover we are not alone in our quest for solution to a problem, as we share our experiences and as we commit to a particular protocol of abstinence. The process is like confession to a priest, except we are not here to be judged but to find a solution. On the downside, group therapy may not give us the opportunity to minimise our problem towards its extermination as we are constantly in contact with it and of the permanent solution to keep it at bay. It can reinforce belonging to a group which latently cultivates problem by thinking about them, then destroys them forthwith, over and over again. Becoming aware of the stylistic self-manipulation on a long term can help us manage outside of the group and reduce our problems influence, while helping newcomers to start the process. On the upside, group therapy can be better for newcomers who are in desperate need of help and are discovering they are not alone.

Smoking
Like alcohol, nicotine can be addictive and its by-products undeniably fill hospital wards with cases of emphysema to lung cancer. Smoking having been a legal activity for a long time, our society has had to create awareness of the health risks involved, including the risk of passive smoking. Confined public places are now non-smoking, and there are many private smoke-free areas. Law-suit against manufacturers of tobacco-related products have only succeeded because the known addictive nature of nicotine had been concealed from users. While some smokers give up, with difficulty or with the help of patches, more young people are taking up the habit.
    Four friends of ours died in one single year, from smoking related diseases, all in their early forties. One of them was a journalist who had beaten alcoholism, and brought new members to AA meetings, but unable to shake his nicotine addiction. Deprived of cigarette for more than an hour he would become agitated, until he was dangerously uncontrollable unless supplied with a smoke. Around Christmas time, he developed bronchitis, but did not stop smoking. Before Easter he was in hospital and could hardly breathe. The surgeon who opened him up could not save him. One of his lungs had gone to cancer while the other was three-quarter inoperative. He died within hours.
    Relatives can suffer from depression and hardship when a drug-user partner who had been the bread-winner dies. One of my aunts has had trouble seeing the good side of life since her chain-smoking husband died young from a smoking-related brain tumour.

Petrol fumes
Sniffing petrol and similar organic compounds can result in blindness, mental dysfunction, brain damage and death. Although it is not common, it is practised more by children than adults because of its availability, in communities where entertainment facility is lacking.
    With mind-altering properties, petrol sniffing provides a poor  temporary escape from boredom, a sense of belonging to a group as it is often practised in group behaviour defiant of hierarchy. In the long run its devastating effects on the body and mind reinforce a depressed state at the source, and/or the result, of boredom—and kills.

Medicinal drugs
Medicinal drugs often have influences on behaviour. For example, Mr X was cranky, rude to his wife and whenever he came to spend time at his son’s home, sonny had to move back with mother because father was always in a terrible mood. One day, Mr X ran out of blood pressure tablets and could not go to the doctor for a repeat order because of a long weekend. Soon after his pills had ran out, his behaviour improved remarkably. He became courteous to his wife, watered the garden while he had never have touched the flower beds beforehand. His crankiness was directly related to the pills he had been taking daily. Not only was he becoming distressed and depressed, he was sending everyone else around nuts.
    It is hard to specifically know how the drugs, or combination of drugs worked but one could not deny the effect. The drugs could have been too effective at reducing the levels of cholesterol—a necessary chemical for the brain to function, or the drugs, while lowering his blood pressure, gave him a low level of pain somewhere in his body, making him irritable.
    Treating depression by solely using drugs is burying one’s head in the sand—as most drugs create unsatisfactory dependencies. Valium is well-known to be used amongst many women who have problems coping with traumas or boredom in daily life and although it can reduce distress, it is an inductor of depressed state and is addictive.
    Behaviour modifying drugs such as Prozac, can provide a greater level of awareness and drive. However, there are users who claim the opposite effects. The drug can react differently with different people’s physiology or the combination of this drug and other drugs such as alcohol. It is also possible that greater awareness, still void of goals towards happiness, may increase distress. It is claimed that up to 1000 suicides have been attributed to Prozac, while there are more than ten million users worldwide.
    The manufacturers of Prozac are warning against the use of the drug by persons others than deeply depressed as the drug has some important side-effects, from loss of libido (sexual drive), insomnia, heart beat irregularities, drowsiness and other.  
    Phamarceutical companies have a vested interest in encouraging the use of pills rather than natural therapies including improvement of status, because they have to sell products in order to maintain profitability. This is not to say that medicinal drugs are not good but we often use them beyond the necessary. Bio-treatment, such as orange or lemon juice as a source of vitamin C instead of pills, often preserve the integrity of the active ingredients which often are a living combination of substances rather than a singular chemical.

Steroids
Steroids increase performance of the body, but can decrease life-span, interfere with general health such as inducing liver disease, alter parameters of behaviour, as well as modify sexual organ. Steroids occur naturally in the body in discreet quantities. By increasing levels of steroids coupled with exercise, muscles ‘beef-up’ and increase power ability. Other side-effects of steroid use range from inducing violent behaviour in males to developing masculine traits in women. Although these performance enhancing drugs do not induce depression per say, it has been documented that the changes in behaviour can be stressful. These substances are banned from sport.

Coffee
Caffeine is one of the most addictive, one of the less regulated and one of the most used drug throughout the world. Caffeine increases blood flow, induce excitement and alertness but can bring forward a burn- out. Its use has also been banned from competitive sport. A caffeine addict will feel drowsy and tired without the drug. Some of the side-effects of caffeine use are feverishness, dizziness and fatigue confusion.

Marijuana and some other hard drugs
Many drugs are seen as destabilising agents of social fabric because of their effects on the mind of users, and of the enormous amounts of money involved in their distribution. Robbery, murders and addiction is often linked with drug use as addicts have to find huge sums of money to sustain their needs. Research also shows that about five per cents of marijuana users become psychotic or schizo-affected by the drug. It is hard to evaluate whether the drug induces or only enhances the psychotic state in these particular cases. The fact is that suicides of persons under the influence of any drugs, including alcohol and prozac, have been recorded.
    There are many other consciousness modifying drugs, from LSD to cocaine, and some of these drugs, such as morphine, have legal uses for patients suffering from constant pain.
    Heroin is one of the most addictive drug. Heroin use can lead to ruin because of its market price once we are hooked. Dosage is somewhat irregular in purity and soon begs for stronger doses until a dose is fatal. The uncertainty of the meaning of life, the search for consciousness-modified experiences, distress from many causes, fashion, peer pressure can lead to the use of drugs. Social conscience is highly non-supportive despite some pressure to create safe injecting room to minimise the amount of deaths by overdose and reduce the usage of the drug. Tough laws are weak deterrents as many people still get hooked including women. A staggering eighty per cent of women in prison are on drug related charges.

An unreal solution to reality
Many substances alter our state of mind and are addictive, not only because of their own properties which induce a physical need, but we use then often because we are afraid of being confronted by reality. Problems, we try to hide or avoid by drug taking, do not go away. These problems often take us rapidly to depression as we are unable to find solutions under drug influences. The recovery from this depression will largely depend on the amount of damages made on our memory-processing by the drug, our original problem, and the decision to care for our self and the care we receive. Strong stylistic decision need to be made to arrest addiction because of the pain and the torment of the withdrawal process. Until we are prepared to say no while we are in a safe environment away from supply lines—which are often dangerously criminally related—we have little chance of eradicating addiction. Replacement drug therapy can lead to other addictions. The best options, although still painful is to create a stylistic desire to be without drug. We have the power within to stop usage despite the pain and distress withdrawal can cause. This desire to stop can be inspired by a relationship we desperately want to make work, including the relationship with our self. Different drugs demands different length of time for being clean of drug-induced or withdrawals symptoms. In all cases of addiction, the process of elimination demands total abstinence in order to avoid the memory groove of our former addiction. We are still addicted but not suffering from pain.
    Instead of using drugs as a provider of unreality which soon pops like a soap bubble and leaves us depressed, we should use our creative mind a lot more—our stylistically developed ability to manipulate our hopes, delusions and perception to manufacture imagination that we can channel into visions, goals, activities and success until the pain and need for drugs is gone.
    In regard to drinking wine and to minimise the possibility of addiction, nearly every year, I set aside about three alcohol-free months during which I reset my habit of living well, without alcohol, and also set strict maximum amount of intake at other times.

From the tree of nature to the forbidden fruit...

neanderthals

godly2

 

The story so far...

...

A relatively small group of people then left the continent to populate the rest of the world between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago.

While the Neanderthal genetic contribution - found in people from Europe, Asia and Oceania - appears to be small, this figure is higher than previous genetic analyses have suggested.

"They are not totally extinct. In some of us they live on, a little bit," said Professor Svante Paabo, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

Professor Chris Stringer, research leader in human origins at London's Natural History Museum, is one of the architects of the Out of Africa theory. He told BBC News: "In some ways [the study] confirms what we already knew, in that the Neanderthals look like a separate line.

"But, of course, the really surprising thing for many of us is the implication that there has been some interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans in the past."

---------------------

Gus: see all articles on this line of comments and toon at top...

After our ancestors had it off with the Neanderthals (or could it be the other way around?) — at religion central, the representative of the prophets, of the human gods and of the holy lands make a roaring trade at victimising women,  at raping nature, at making golden hats and at stuffing up reality...

rainforests, back to the '80s...

Stars Sing to Save Rain Forests (and Maybe Redeem the ’80s, Too)

By JON PARELES

Camping in the rain forest got a new meaning on Thursday night at Carnegie Hall. It was the annual benefit for the Rainforest Foundation that features Sting and is produced by his wife, Trudie Styler. The foundation supports the preservation of rain forests worldwide and the rights of their indigenous peoples. The camp was in this year’s lineup — including Elton John, Lady Gaga and the diva of James Bond movie scores, Shirley Bassey — and some wry production numbers.

------------------------------

Gus: aaah... could we travel back in time to the 1980s, when there was twice as much rainforest than now or to the 1930s when there was twice as much rainforest than in the 1980s, or to the time before the building of the Spanish Armada that decimated all the oak forests of spain... And never make the same mistakes again...

eco-friendly palm oil...

Nestlé, the world's biggest food manufacturer, says it will make the palm oil in its best-selling chocolate bars more eco-friendly, after a guerrilla campaign against it on the internet.

The Swiss confectionery-to-coffee giant said it was inviting a not-for-profit group to audit its supply chain and promised to cancel contracts with any firm found to be chopping down rainforests to produce the vegetable oil, which it uses in KitKat, Aero and Quality Street.

The concession followed a three-month campaign by the environmental group Greenpeace, which led to Nestlé being attacked on social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube. One million people watched Greenpeace's spoof advert for KitKat, despite its being taken off YouTube temporarily after a legal threat.

As well as illustrating the vulnerability of multinational companies to new media campaigns by NGOs which can galvanise individuals in a way that was impossible before the creation of the internet, the campaign also illustrated the intense environmental controversy surrounding palm oil.

Thousands of hectares of rainforests in Malaysia and Indonesia have been cleared to make way for oil palm plantations, depriving tribes of ancestral lands, increasing climate change emissions and killing rare animals such as the Sumatran tiger, sun bear, clouded leopard and pangolins. Campaigners have particularly stressed the damage done to orangutans, a close relative of man which lives only on the heavily deforested islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

---------------------------

Gus: one has to keep an eye on the "eco-friendly" factor, nonetheless...

All this reminds me of the "war" between News limited and the little club of South Sydney, when Rupert under "dubious criterias" (I can explain how the complex set-up worked) had decided to boot it out of the league's competition. The local backlash was severe. Most people south of Sydney decided not to buy any of Murdoch's papers. That put a big dint in newspapers sales and qudos, to the point at which the paper was distributed in that area for nearly "free" (nominal price of 20 cents). Most were returned untouched, I think. Many people were proud not to read any of it as they wore the club's badge with pride.

Beyond that, Murdoch had set up "the back lot" — an entertainment complex in the Fox Studios at Moore Park. Many of the "customers" for this entertainment complex would have come from the "South Sydney" area. The locals boycotted the amusement park to the point it was loosing money hand over fist. When the dust settled and the club was reinstated in the league, things improved for the Murdoch "back lot", but since then the name was changed to dispell the bad fumes that could lurk there, I believe...

People can be powerful when we put our mind to it, but it's often a slog and some leaders of people often place their own lives at risk... And our own information channels can be polluted by the porkies from those who opiniate the news to us...

chimps away...

Wild chimpanzees are learning how to outwit human hunters.

Across Africa, people often lay snare traps to catch bushmeat, killing or injuring chimps and other wildlife.

But a few chimps living in the rainforests of Guinea have learnt to recognise these snare traps laid by human hunters, researchers have found.

More astonishing, the chimps actively seek out and intentionally deactivate the traps, setting them off without being harmed.

The discovery was serendipitously made by primatologists Mr Gaku Ohashi and Professor Tetsuro Matsuzawa who were following chimps living in Bossou, Guinea to study the apes' social behaviour.

-------

See toon at top and read ALL comments below it...

a prehistoric boy...

The first Australian exhibition of a prehistoric boy is expected to reignite passionate debate about evolution.

An international team of scientists announced in April that they had found the fossilised remains of a male and female near Johannesburg in South Africa

The discovery triggered debate amongst researchers and church groups over whether the species is a direct precursor to humans.

Researchers from Queensland's James Cook University were involved in the discovery and are displaying a replica of the 12-year-old's remains at the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra.

Professor Paul Dirks says displaying the 2 million year old bones is likely to reignite the discussion.

"Bringing out the bones, it is something very special because even though they are casts it makes a connection with our own ancestors," he said.

"There will be a lot of people that will be fascinated to see it.

"It is the first time these fossils - even as casts - have come to Australia. I think it is important, and I think it goes well beyond science for science sake."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/23/3019545.htm?section=justin

see toon at top and read articles below it...

and god created the anthropoid....

Writing in the journal Nature, the experts said they believed migration from Asia to be the most plausible theory.

Lead researcher Dr Christopher Beard, from the Carnegie Museum of National History in Pittsburgh, US, said: "If our ideas are correct, this early colonisation of Africa by anthropoids was a truly pivotal event - one of the key points in our evolutionary history.

"At the time, Africa was an island continent; when these anthropoids appeared, there was nothing on that island that could compete with them.

"It led to a period of flourishing evolutionary divergence amongst anthropoids, and one of those lineages resulted in humans.

"If our early anthropoid ancestors had not succeeded in migrating from Asia to Africa, we simply wouldn't exist."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/human-ancestors-colonised-africa-from-asia-2118208.html

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see toon at top and all articles below it...

the tipping point...

The key moment in the history of life on Earth – the tipping point at which there was enough oxygen in the atmosphere to support the evolution of complex animals and plants – occurred about 400 million years earlier than previously thought, a study has found.

Geologists studying rocks in Scotland believe that oxygen – the vital element for energy-hungry life forms – began to rise to useful concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere about 1.2 billion years ago rather than 800 million years ago, which was suggested by previous studies.

The discovery pushes back the point at which complex organisms could have begun to evolve from the simple microbes that had inhabited the planet for much of its history. But it raises the question: what was the ultimate spark that ignited the evolutionary explosion of life, leading to the immense diversity of species today?

Although the earliest fossil evidence of life on Earth goes back 3.8 billion years, for about 3 billion years of this time, living organisms consisted of simple microbes no more complex than "green slime". It was only relatively recently – less than 1 billion years ago – that life began to evolve into symmetrical, multicellular organisms with complex body plans.

"Our geochemical analyses have provided a clear signal that levels of oxygen in the atmosphere had increased to levels critical to the evolution of complex life – from which we ourselves emerge – much earlier than has been previously proven to date," said Adrian Boyce, of the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre in Glasgow.

"This opens the door to a new understanding of the evolution of our planet's atmosphere and the life it sustains," he added. The study, published in the journal Nature, analysed the chemical signatures of bacteria found in rocks near Lochinver in the north-west Highlands of Scotland, which showed that oxygen levels must have increased 1.2 billion years ago to allow certain sulphur-using microbes to exist in high numbers.

"Investigations revealed that these bacteria, which on a basic level use sulphur to obtain energy, were also using oxygen in a much more complex and efficient chemical reaction in order to generate their energy and survive," said Professor John Parnell of Aberdeen University, who led the research team.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/the-secrets-of-evolution-unearthed-in-highlands-2130786.html

at home with the denisovans...

For over 150 years the name "Neanderthal" has been household property.

And it has become associated with dim-witted, ape-like brutes that scurried across vast ice-covered wastes waiting for the day when our ancestors - the intelligent and modern humans - would wipe them from the face of the Earth.

Now, we have discovered the Denisovans and I wonder what image we will choose to give them.

But there are already hints that suggest that the status quo will prevail and we will find reasons for making these people a little bit less clever than our direct ancestors.

The irony is that the scientific community is going to have to come round to the acceptance that the Denisovans and the Neanderthals also belonged to the species which we call Homo sapiens.

The Denisovans, for that is how we must know them (for now as the authors of a recent paper in Nature have preferred not to give them a scientific name), lived in southern Siberia.

We do not know how much further their range extended but it seems highly unlikely that they were confined to this region alone.

The site in which their remains were found seems to have been occupied over two periods, one older than 50,000 years ago and the other between 30,000 and 23,000 years ago.

It seems that it is not possible at this stage to determine whether the Denisovans occupied the site in one or other period, or both. Either way they must have lived close to Neanderthals or our own ancestors, depending on which time period they lived in.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12093345

see toon at top and all articles below it...

another bottom false premise...

Fear of ecological destruction causes us to pity and protect nature rather than oppose it, says Alain de Botton

The environmental dangers that now face mankind put non-scientific philosophical types like me in an awkward situation. We have to acknowledge that we can have precisely nothing interesting to say on the two most important questions in the air right now, namely: "What is going to happen to the human race?" and "What should we do about it?" It is not from a philosopher that you stand to be enlightened.

Nevertheless, maybe there is still a point in trying to reflect on, rather than simply solve our ecological dilemmas. It remains valid to try to fathom what the idea of planetary abuse has done to our minds. We may ask what the awareness of the environmental crisis has done to our inner landscape, how it has altered the human psyche.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12241405

Alain, we don't pity nature... Some of us try to protect it poorly or dilligently, some try to destroy it, some want to rule over it... The process is only awkwards to people who think too much with the wrong end of the brain...

the anthropocene...

Human civilisation developed in a cosy cradle.

Over the last 11,700 years - an epoch that geologists call the Holocene - climate has remained remarkably stable.

This allowed humans to plan ahead, inventing agriculture, cities, communication networks and new forms of energy.

Some geologists now believe that human activity has so irrevocably altered our planet that we have entered a new geological age.

This proposed new epoch - dubbed the Anthropocene - is discussed at a major conference held at the Geological Society in London on Wednesday. Yet some experts say that defining this "human age" is much more than about understanding our place in history. Instead, our whole future may depend on it.

The term, the Anthropocene, was coined over a decade ago by Nobel Laureate chemist, Paul Crutzen.

Professor Crutzen recalls: "I was at a conference where someone said something about the Holocene. I suddenly thought this was wrong. The world has changed too much. No, we are in the Anthropocene. I just made up the word on the spur of the moment. Everyone was shocked. But it seems to have stuck."

But is Professor Crutzen correct? Has the Earth really flipped into a new geological epoch - and if so, why is this important?

Back to the beginning

Dr Jan Zalasiewicz of the University of Leicester is one of the leading proponents of the Anthropocene theory. He told BBC News: "Simply put, our planet no longer functions in the way that it once did. Atmosphere, climate, oceans, ecosystems… they're all now operating outside Holocene norms. This strongly suggests we've crossed an epoch boundary."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13335683

see toon and articles at top...

the rights to life, liberty, and protection....

from Peter Singer

In 1993, Paola Cavalieri and I founded The Great Ape Project, an organization dedicated to the idea of recognizing that great apes have a moral status befitting their nature as self-aware beings who are capable of thought and have rich and deep emotional lives.

At a minimum, they should have the rights to life, liberty, and protection from torture that we grant to all members of our own species, regardless of their intellectual abilities.

In the intervening years, that idea has made steady progress. Since 2010, the European Union has essentially banned the use of great apes in experiments. Experiments on great apes are now either banned or severely restricted in New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

In the United States, a bipartisan group of members of Congress is supporting legislation to end the use of chimpanzees in invasive research. In Spain in 2008, a parliamentary resolution urged the government to grant some basic legal rights to great apes, but the Spanish government has yet to implement it.

Perhaps the release of these two very different films will lead to a further push to bring great apes within the circle of beings with moral and legal rights. In that way, our closest relatives could serve to bridge the moral gulf that we have dug between ourselves and other animals.

Peter Singer is professor of bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. His books include Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, The Ethics of What We Eat, and The Life You Can Save.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/08/10/3289848.htm

 

See toon at top and articles below it... and other articles referring to apes on this great site...

no to invasive chimpanzee research...

Stop Using Chimps as Guinea Pigs


By ROSCOE G. BARTLETT

 

Washington

BEFORE I was elected to Congress, I was a physiologist at the Navy’s School of Aviation Medicine. For our successful missions to transport men to the moon and return them safely to Earth, I invented a series of respiratory support devices, which we tested on primates, including Baker, a squirrel monkey. Before humans were rocketed into space, Baker was the first primate to survive a trip into space and back; Able, her counterpart on the flight, died from an allergic reaction to an anesthetic during a procedure shortly after the landing.

At the time, I believed such research was worth the pain inflicted on the animals. But in the years since, our understanding of its effect on primates, as well as alternatives to it, have made great strides, to the point where I no longer believe such experiments make sense — scientifically, financially or ethically. That’s why I have introduced bipartisan legislation to phase out invasive research on great apes in the United States.

Today is the start of a two-day public hearing convened by the Institute of Medicine, which is examining whether there is still a need for invasive chimpanzee research. Meanwhile, nine countries, as well as the European Union, already forbid or restrict invasive research on great apes. Americans have to decide if the benefits to humans of research using chimpanzees outweigh the ethical, financial and scientific costs.

The evidence is mounting that they do not. For one thing, many new techniques are cheaper, faster and more effective, including computer modeling and the testing of very small doses on human volunteers. In vitro methods now grow human cells and tissues for human biomedical studies, bypassing the need for whole animals.

Such advances have led to a drop in primate research. Many federally owned chimpanzees were bred to support AIDS research, but later proved inferior to more modern technologies. As a result, most of the 500 federally owned chimpanzees are idling in warehouses. Ending chimpanzee research and retiring the animals to sanctuaries would save taxpayers about $30 million a year.

We also know more about the consequences of invasive research on the animals themselves. Biomedical procedures that are simple when performed on humans often require traumatizing restraint of chimpanzees to protect human researchers from injury, as chimpanzees are five times stronger than humans. For instance, acquiring a blood sample from a chimp can require a “knockdown,” or shooting it with a tranquilizer gun. If you’ve seen video of a knockdown, you know it is clearly frightening and stressful.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/11/opinion/stop-using-chimps-as-guinea-pigs.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=print

 

see image and stories at top...

between the jaws of evolution...

Diet has shaped human jaw bones; a result that could help explain why many people suffer with overcrowded teeth.

The study has shown that jaws grew shorter and broader as humans took on a more pastoral lifestyle.

Before this, developing mandibles were probably strengthened to give hunter-gatherers greater bite force.

The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This is a fascinating study which challenges the common perception that there has been little recent change in the morphology of humans," said anthropologist Jay Stock from the University of Cambridge.

Many scientists have suggested that the range of skull shapes that exist within our species is the result of exposure to different climates, while others have argued that chance played more of a role in creating the diversity we see in people's profiles.

The new data, collected from over 300 skulls, across 11 populations, shows that jaws shortened and widened as humans moved from hunting and gathering to a more sedentary way of life.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15823276

 

See image at top...

vale Lynn Margulis...

Lynn Margulis, Evolution Theorist, Dies at 73


By

Lynn Margulis, a biologist whose work on the origin of cells helped transform the study of evolution, died on Tuesday at her home in Amherst, Mass. She was 73.

She died five days after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke, said Dorion Sagan, a son she had with her first husband, the cosmologist Carl Sagan.

Dr. Margulis, who had the title of distinguished university professor of geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, since 1988, drew upon earlier, ridiculed ideas when she first promulgated her theory, in the late 1960s, that cells with nuclei, which are known as eukaryotes and include all the cells in the human body, evolved as a result of symbiotic relationships among bacteria.

The hypothesis was a direct challenge to the prevailing neo-Darwinist belief that the primary evolutionary mechanism was random mutation.

Rather, Dr. Margulis argued that a more important mechanism was symbiosis; that is, evolution is a function of organisms that are mutually beneficial growing together to become one and reproducing. The theory undermined significant precepts of the study of evolution, underscoring the idea that evolution began at the level of micro-organisms long before it would be visible at the level of species.

“She talked a lot about the importance of micro-organisms,” said her daughter, Jennifer Margulis. “She called herself a spokesperson for the microcosm.”

The manuscript in which Dr. Margulis first presented her findings was rejected by 15 journals before being published in 1967 by the Journal of Theoretical Biology. An expanded version, with additional evidence to support the theory — which was known as the serial endosymbiotic theory — became her first book, “Origin of Eukaryotic Cells.”

A revised version, “Symbiosis in Cell Evolution,” followed in 1981, and though it challenged the presumptions of many prominent scientists, it has since become accepted evolutionary doctrine.

“Evolutionists have been preoccupied with the history of animal life in the last 500 million years,” Dr. Margulis wrote in 1995. “But we now know that life itself evolved much earlier than that. The fossil record begins nearly 4,000 million years ago! Until the 1960s, scientists ignored fossil evidence for the evolution of life, because it was uninterpretable.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/25/science/lynn-margulis-trailblazing-theorist-on-evolution-dies-at-73.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

my cousin chimpy...

Elevation of the Chimp May Reshape Research


By

When Dr. Francis S. Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, announced Thursday that the government would halt all new grants for research on chimpanzees, it was, in one sense, a familiar Washington moment.

He was responding to the report of one committee by announcing that he would set up another committee — a working group — to figure out how to put in effect the recommendations of the first committee. And as anyone in Washington, or Bethesda, knows, there are as many ways to carry out the ideas of experts as there are experts’ ideas.

In another sense, however, this was a profound step. The N.I.H. is the source of a river of money that flows into labs around the country where animals in the millions are, to misuse the words of an old Arlo Guthrie song, “injected, inspected, detected, infected” and a few other things, all in the cause of increasing knowledge and alleviating human suffering, of course.

Here was the person who presides over this cash torrent talking about lab animals as if they were about to join an N.I.H. committee. “Chimpanzees are our closest relatives in the animal kingdom,” he said, and as such deserve “special consideration and respect.” It sounded almost as if he were talking about a treaty with another nation rather than a decision on an effective way to use a “resource,” which is the language often used to describe lab animals, chimps included.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/20/science/recognition-of-chimps-as-relatives-may-reshape-research.html?src=dayp&pagewanted=print

 

see toon and story at top...

ancestors of us...

Decoded: The Mystery of Human Migration


 

A new study aims to analyse modern DNA to track how man spread across the globe. Steve Connor persuades a series of high-profile figures to take the test – with fascinating results

Saturday, 31 December 2011

It is the greatest journey in history, and now the story of how the first members of our species walked out of their African homeland to colonise almost every corner of the world is being told by reading the DNA of their living descendents.

Click here to see the graphic 'The maternal journey of OF mitochondrial DNA'

Half a million people from around the globe are participating in an ambitious project to reconstruct some of the ancient migratory routes that took Homo sapiens from their ancient African homelands to the relatively new territories of Asia, Europe, Oceania and America.

Hidden within the genetic makeup of people alive today is the encoded story of how their ancient ancestors made this epic journey, which covered many thousands of miles over many tens of thousands of years to complete.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/decoded-the-mystery-of-human-migration-6283445.html?printService=print

statin warning

 

THOUSANDS of Australians could be taken off cholesterol-lowering medications because of mounting evidence they increase the risk of diabetes and dementia.

Australian health authorities are reviewing their advice after US regulators announced statins will now carry warnings they could increase the risk of diabetes and cognitive impairment.

Statins are the most commonly prescribed drugs in Australia, with about 2 million people thought to be taking them to reduce their heart disease risk.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/miracle-drugs-put-thousands-at-risk-20120229-1u3ia.html#ixzz1noBejH00

 

 

 

In a blog above (copied from a chapter I wrote nearly 20 years ago — altering consciousness), I wrote this:

Medicinal drugs
Medicinal drugs often have influences on behaviour. For example, Mr X was cranky, rude to his wife and whenever he came to spend time at his son’s home, sonny had to move back with mother because father was always in a terrible mood. One day, Mr X ran out of blood pressure tablets and could not go to the doctor for a repeat order because of a long weekend. Soon after his pills had ran out, his behaviour improved remarkably. He became courteous to his wife, watered the garden while he had never have touched the flower beds beforehand. His crankiness was directly related to the pills he had been taking daily. Not only was he becoming distressed and depressed, he was sending everyone else around nuts. 
    It is hard to specifically know how the drugs, or combination of drugs worked but one could not deny the effect. The drugs could have been too effective at reducing the levels of cholesterol—a necessary chemical for the brain to function, or the drugs, while lowering his blood pressure, gave him a low level of pain somewhere in his body, making him irritable. 

the neanderthal percentage...

from Carol Zall

I recently had a genetic test to find out more about where my ancestors came from. The results confirmed what I already knew - I am from a family of European Jews. But there was also a surprise - a Neanderthal forebear.

In many families, there seems to be one person who is interested in genealogy. In my family, it's me.

When I was 11, I conducted my very first interview with my grandmother, Ray Zall, who graciously answered all my questions about her childhood in Belarus.

The recording, which I still have, begins rather grandly: "This is Carol Zall interviewing Ray Zall, my grandmother, or 'Bobe' in Yiddish. Now Mrs Zall, could you tell me about your childhood?"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17527318

see toon at top and all stories below

the viral percentage...

 

Traces of ancient viruses which infected our ancestors millions of years ago are more widespread in us than previously thought.

A study shows how extensively viruses from as far back as the dinosaur era still thrive in our genetic material.

It sheds light on the origins of a big proportion of our genetic material, much of which is still not understood.

The scientists investigated the genomes of 38 mammals including humans, mice, rats, elephants and dolphins.

The research was carried out at Oxford University, the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Centre in New York and the Rega Institute in Belgium.

It is reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

One of the viruses was found to have invaded the genome of a common ancestor around 100 million years ago with its remnants discovered in almost every mammal in the study.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17809503# 

We also supect that the mitochondrion in cells has a similar — but much much earlier — origin...

see toon at top...

 

the laughing planet in a humourless universe...

From Unleashed ABC

...

The pagan cosmos had its predetermined fates, its necessity. But at bottom it was fickle, changeable, imperfect. The pagans laughed at the pretense of transcending this; they laughed at men, gods and themselves.

The Jews and Christians were unable to laugh because their god was exactly this vice: an attempt to find some fixed point in a cosmos of process. Likewise for the fundamentalist followers of Allah, who threaten cartoonists, comedians, critics: a horror of mockery.

This Abrahamic optimism, founded on an omniscient, omnipresent, infallible god, is a denial of comedy. Jehovah laughs at men, never at himself – yet, for pagan minds, he is the perfect joke.

Damon Young is an Australian philosopher, writer and the author of Distraction. View his full profile here.

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Quite a funny article, by Damon Young, that misses a few points (may be, by not being as brutal as Gus... Damon is more subtle...)

See toon at top and read all articles below it...

thick as blood...

 

Researchers studying Oetzi, a 5,300-year-old body found frozen in the Italian Alps in 1991, have found red blood cells around his wounds.

Blood cells tend to degrade quickly, and earlier scans for blood within Oetzi's body turned up nothing.

Now a study in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface shows that Oetzi's remarkable preservation extends even to the blood he shed shortly before dying.

The find represents by far the oldest red blood cells ever observed.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17909396#

--------------------

 

Meanwhile in the fast lane:

Humans are subject to the forces of natural selection just like any other species, say scientists.

A popular misconception is that humans stopped evolving when they took up farming and embraced monogamy.

 

 Humans are subject to the forces of natural selection just like any other species, say scientists.

A popular misconception is that humans stopped evolving when they took up farming and embraced monogamy.

But evidence from detailed church records of almost 6,000 Finns born between 1760 and 1849 suggests this is not so.

Researchers analysed data on economic status, births, deaths and marriages to examine four key natural selection factors: survival to adulthood, mate access, mating success, and fertility.

They found that the Finns' natural selection opportunities were on a par with those seen in the wild.  

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9236924/Humans-are-still-evolving-scientists-find.html

 

I expected nothing less... One of the problem is some of us evolve while others go down the tube... That's evolution... see toon at top and articles below...

 

 

 

 

detailing the recent human evolution...

Elsewhere, humans definitely arrived ahead of schedule. Sensitive new radiocarbon-dating techniques show that the first modern humans reached Europe thousands of years earlier than was thought, implying a lengthy coexistence with Neanderthals there (see page 27). And the picture of big-game hunters following an inland route from Asia to the Americas 13,000 years ago has been obliterated by a barrage of reports of older sites. Archaeologists are studying DNA, ancient and modern, for clues to when and how the first Americans arrived (see page 30).

The most dramatic change, however, concerns the archaic peoples whose world we inherited. In the past two years, ancient-DNA researchers have deciphered the full genome sequences of Neanderthals and a hitherto unknown group called Denisovans, then compared them with modern human genomes. The startling upshot: genetic traces of our vanished cousins live on in people today (see page 33). Just where and how the ancient trysts took place is yet to be revealed, as researchers continue to unravel the human story.

http://www.nature.com/news/special-issue-peopling-the-planet-1.10561

RIP lonesome george... and his species...

Lonesome George, the last remaining tortoise of his kind and a conservation icon, has died of unknown causes in Ecuador's Galapagos Islands.

The giant tortoise was found in 1972, and was thought to be about 100 years old.

Lonesome George was a symbol of Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, which attracted 180,000 visitors last year.

The head of the Galapagos National Park, Edwin Naula, says "his life cycle came to an end" on Sunday (local time).

"This morning the park ranger in charge of looking after the tortoises found Lonesome George, his body was motionless," he said.

Lonesome George was the last member of a species of giant tortoise from La Pinta, one of the smallest islands in the Galapagos.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-25/galapagos-tortoise-lonesome-george-dies/4089848

fuzzy memories...

When you disagree with a sibling about your shared past, there can be the sense that the other is playing fast and loose with the cherished facts of your own life. What right does this competitor for parental affection have for rewriting your autobiography as they go? A particular kind of memory betrayal can happen when a sibling claims for him or herself an event that actually happened to you.

A study conducted in New Zealand showed that such memories are not at all uncommon. The researchers focused on adult twins, predicting that disputes over memory ownership would be particularly common in siblings who were more likely to look similar and share personality features, as well as being of the same age and thus presumably having shared more life experiences than ordinary siblings.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/mind-bending-why-our-memories-are-not-always-our-own-7939049.html

---------------------------

See the memory of life above... This is not new... As a human social species, we have to create and accept A SOCIAL MEMORY  that sometimes (often) taints our own personal memory with "other people's" memory... See articles from top...

red-nosed science about rudolf...

Our ancestors lived alongside at least two other types of primitive human, say researchers


LAST UPDATED AT 15:50 ON Thu 9 Aug 2012

THE DISCOVERY of three fossils in Kenya dating back almost two million years appears to confirm that Homo erectus, the forefather of modern man, lived alongside at least two other species of primitive humans. The news could mean we have to revisit accepted ideas of human evolution.

A team of palaeontologists has concluded that the fossils, found east of Kenya's Lake Turkana between 2007 and 2009, belonged to a distinct species of hominin, the ancestors of humans. Their research has now been published in the journal, Nature.

As National Geographic puts it "the fossils confirm that at least three different human species inhabited the same Kenyan neighbourhood at the dawn of humanity".

The new species is known as Homo rudolfensis. Its existence was first mooted by palaeoanthropologist Richard Leakey in the early 1970s after he unearthed a single skull at Lake Turkana. Now a team, led by his wife Maeve and daughter Louise, claims the recently discovered fossils, a face and two jaws, prove he was right.

Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/health-science/48411/new-species-human-prompts-debate-mankinds-evolution#ixzz237OulGO1

not at all useless...

I guessed that much a long time ago:


Bits of Mystery DNA, Far From ‘Junk,’ Play Crucial Role By

Among the many mysteries of human biology is why complex diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and psychiatric disorders are so difficult to predict and, often, to treat. An equally perplexing puzzle is why one individual gets a disease like cancer or depression, while an identical twin remains perfectly healthy.

Now scientists have discovered a vital clue to unraveling these riddles. The human genome is packed with at least four million gene switches that reside in bits of DNA that once were dismissed as “junk” but that turn out to play critical roles in controlling how cells, organs and other tissues behave. The discovery, considered a major medical and scientific breakthrough, has enormous implications for human health because many complex diseases appear to be caused by tiny changes in hundreds of gene switches.

The findings are the fruit of an immense federal project involving 440 scientists from 32 labs around the world. As they delved into the “junk” — parts of the DNA that are not actual genes containing instructions for proteins — they discovered it is not junk at all. At least 80 percent of it is active and needed.

The result is an annotated road map of much of this DNA, noting what it is doing and how. It includes the system of switches that, acting like dimmer switches for lights, control which genes are used in a cell and when they are used, and determine, for instance, whether a cell becomes a liver cell or a neuron.

The findings have immediate applications for understanding how alterations in the non-gene parts of DNA contribute to human diseases, which may in turn lead to new drugs. They can also help explain how the environment can affect disease risk. In the case of identical twins, small changes in environmental exposure can slightly alter gene switches, with the result that one twin gets a disease and the other does not.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/science/far-from-junk-dna-dark-matter-proves-crucial-to-health.html?_r=1&hp&pagewanted=print       

 

Evolution is not completely useless as it gives us extra bits we don't know what they're for... All it means is that our brain is missing some "knowledge"... that's all folks, let's work on this.... and with knowledge, I certainly and necessarily exclude "beliefs"...

meanwhile, having sex with other species...

 

In 2008, Russian archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of Novosibirsk, working at the site of Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia, uncovered a small bone fragment from the fifth finger of a juvenile hominin, dubbed the "X woman" (referring to the maternal descent of mitochondrial DNA,[8]) or the Denisova hominin. Artifacts, including a bracelet, excavated in the cave at the same level were carbon dated to around 40,000 BP.

A team of scientists led by Johannes Krause and Swedish biologist Svante Pääbo from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, sequenced mtDNA extracted from the fragment. Because of the cool climate in the location of the Denisova Cave, the discovery benefited from DNA's ability to survive for longer periods at lower temperatures.[3] The average annual temperature of the cave remains at 0°C, which has contributed to the preservation of archaic DNA among the remains discovered.[9] The analysis indicated that modern humans, Neanderthals, and the Denisova hominin last shared a common ancestor around 1 million years ago.[4]

The mtDNA analysis further suggested this new hominin species was the result of an early migration out of Africa, distinct from the later out-of-Africa migrations associated with Neanderthals and modern humans, but also distinct from the earlier African exodus ofHomo erectus.[4] Professor Chris Stringer, human origins researcher at London's Natural History Museum and one of the leading proponents of the recent single-origin hypothesis, remarked: "This new DNA work provides an entirely new way of looking at the still poorly understood evolution of humans in central and eastern Asia." Pääbo noted the existence of this distant branch creates a much more complex picture of humankind during the Late Pleistocene.[8]

Later in 2010, a second paper from the Svante Pääbo group reported the prior discovery, in 2000, of a third upper molar from a young adult, dating from about the same time (the finger was from level 11 in the cave sequence, the tooth from level 11.1). The tooth differed in several aspects from those of Neanderthals, while having archaic characteristics similar to the teeth of Homo erectus. They again performed mitochondrial DNA analysis on the tooth and found it to have a different but similar sequence to that of the finger bone, indicating a divergence time about 7,500 years before, and suggesting it belonged to a different individual from the same population.[10]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denisova_hominin

------------------------------------

I don't know what Senator Bernardi would make of this since "homo denisova" IS A DIFFERENT SPECIES to "home sapiens"...

 

But it is postualted by conclusive scientific evidence that "homo sapiens" had sex with homo denisova (as well as with homo neanderthalis)... The gene analysis is very clear and as well as genes from homo neanderthalis, we, humans,  carry two to six per cent of homo denisova genes — except African races who "never" mixed with neanderthals nor with denisovans... The race with the most denisovan genes is shown to be the aborigines of Australia... Personally, remembering what I already mentioned in this column (somewher near the top), one has to go back and check the record of "graciles" versus the "robusts" genes of skeletons found at Lake Mungo... 

 

See also:

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3593813.htm


 

the ancient history of cancer...

 

Cancer involves a breakdown of the covenant between germ cells and the rest. Malignant cells disable apoptosis and make a bid for their own immortality, forming tumours as they start to overpopulate their niches. In this sense, cancer has long been recognised as a throwback to a "selfish cell" era. But recent advances in research permit us to embellish this picture. For example, cancer cells thrive in low-oxygen (even zero-oxygen) conditions, reverting to an earlier, albeit less efficient, form of metabolism known as fermentation.

Biologists are familiar with the fact that organisms may harbour ancient traits that reflect their ancestral past, such as the atavistic tails or supernumerary nipples some people are born with. Evolution necessarily builds on earlier genomes. Sometimes older genetic pathways are not discarded, just silenced. Atavisms result when something disrupts the silencing mechanism.

Charles Lineweaver, of the Australian National University, and I have proposed a theory of cancer based on its ancient evolutionary roots. We think that as cancer progresses in the body it reverses, in a speeded-up manner, the arrow of evolutionary time. Increasing deregulation prompts cancer cells to revert to ever earlier genetic pathways that recapitulate successively earlier ancestral life styles. We predict that the various hallmarks of cancer progression will systematically correlate with the activation of progressively older ancestral genes. The most advanced and malignant cancers recreate aspects of life on Earth before a billion years ago.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/18/cancer-evolution-bygone-biological-age

And let's not forget the role played by enzymes in this process... Our artificial and industrial use of various enzymes (bio-catalysts) can and will facilitate these ancient innate cancer genetic pathways. I postulated in 1963 that some enzymes were the inductors of most cancers. I still hold this view. As well, some people are more genetically inclined (weaker genetic material) to be cancer affected than others. Gus.

Paul Davies — a great thinker. Check : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Davies

 

See toon and articles at top.

In sapiens in the mist I make a reference to Lake Mungo... There, two distinct sets of ancestry to the Aboriginal people seem to be recorded. More recently some discovery in Russia has led to the hypothesis of another humanoid (homo sapiens denisova?) the descendance of which is more prominent in Aboriginal people that in any other race. It would be scientifically interesting to know if the "robust" race recorded at Lake Mungo had also far more Denisovan ancestry that present Aboriginal people. See article above.

anti-depression drugs side effects...

 


Something fishy going on... Antidepressants contaminating rivers make perch antisocial

 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Drugs used to treat anxiety and depression are contaminating rivers and streams where they are building up in concentrations that can affect the behaviour of wild freshwater fish, scientists have found.

Significant amounts of a benzodiazepine drug called Oxazepam, which is widely used to treat anxiety, are being flushed into rivers from sewage works. The concentrations are too low to be considered a health risk to humans but a study has shown they can still affect fish.

Benzodiazepines, such as Valium, are one of the most widely prescribed groups of drugs. They can be excreted from the body intact and persist in the treated effluent water released from sewage works into rivers, scientists said.

A study carried out in Sweden found that the relatively low concentrations of benzodiazepines commonly found in rivers throughout Europe, including Britain, can significantly affect the behaviour of the European perch.

The scientists found that perch exposed to extremely small concentrations of Oxazepam, as low as a fraction of a microgram per litre of water, were less sociable, bolder and ate faster than fish that were not exposed to the drug.

The scientists believe the subtle behavioral changes seen under experimental conditions indicate how the wider freshwater ecology could be affected by this kind of hidden environmental pollution.

They said that pharmaceutical compounds released into the aquatic environment might pose a greater problem than hitherto realised and that more should be done to degrade the chemicals before being released in the treated effluent water from sewage works.

“The solution to this problem isn't to stop medicating people who are ill but to try to develop sewage-treatment plants that can capture environmentally hazardous drugs,” said Jerker Fick of Umeå University in Sweden, who was part of the team.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/something-fishy-going-on-antidepressants-contaminating-rivers-make-perch-antisocial-8495075.html#

 

 

Meanwhile after having been probed, lobotomised, drugged, bled and tested:

 

 

A study has shown that anti-depressants can be used to help former lab chimps combat depression and trauma.

Researchers say that the treatment should be considered for hundreds of other chimps that have been used in scientific research.

The finding comes as a US funding body thinks about retiring the more than 300 chimps it uses for medical research.

The study was presented in Boston at the at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting.

Dr Godelieve Kranendonk, a behavioural biologist leading the study at AAP, a rescue centre for animals in the Netherlands, told BBC News that the results had been astonishing.

"Suddenly, [the chimps] woke up. It was as if they were zombies in their enclosures and now they are happy, playing with each other. They are chimps again - that was really nice to see," she told me.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21299657

 

Frankenstein solution? Turn the lab perch into genetically modified lab chimps... See toon and stories from top...

 

avatar of pre-history...

 

A study of Neanderthal skulls suggests that they became extinct because they had larger eyes than our species.

As a result, more of their brains were devoted to seeing in the long, dark nights in Europe, at the expense of high-level processing.

By contrast, the larger frontal brain regions of Homo sapiens led to the fashioning of warmer clothes and the development of larger social networks.

The study is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Neanderthals are a closely related species of human that lived in Europe from around 250,000 years ago. They coexisted and interacted briefly with our species until they went extinct about 28,000 years ago, in part due to an ice age.

The research team explored the idea that the ancestor of Neanderthals left Africa and had to adapt to the longer, darker nights and murkier days of Europe. The result was that Neanderthals evolved larger eyes and a much larger visual processing area at the backs of their brains.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21759233

-------------------------------------------

The big eyes theory sounds plausible, but not quite right in my book...

Even if there were no provable sexual interaction between species of hominids — homo sapiens sapiens and homo sapiens neanderthalis — the point here is that homo sapiens sapiens is a really cunning bastard.

But apparently there is a bit of Neanderthal genes in most of European and Asian populations. The survival of homo sapiens sapiens (us, humans) may have been mostly due to an underlying aggressive sociopathy (a mild form of psychopathy) in individuals — individual aggressiveness kept in check by necessary emerging social arrangements for the survival of the group in which the desire to be top dog would have been part of the process... The fact is that Homo sapiens Neanderthalis could still have thoughts, ideas and social constructs like ours, but possibly so with less bullshit.

This aggressive reactive trait of our species that we keep under constant check with "values" and "punishment" would have also led to battling it out with the "cousin" species. The ability to copulate and bear offsprings with the said species would also have lead to the progressive demise of the Neanderthal, by dilution of species characteristics as well as being killed.... I would propose that lesser cunning and lesser ruthlessness in the Neanderthals than in humans, would have had far more impact in the devolution of the species than the size of their eyes. Neanderthals may not have understood what was happening to them while our species may have invented more social excuses and blame for the deed, as we still do now on a grand scale, to justify our many suspect dealing with other humans whose "culture" does not fit our views.

Until we are able to extinguish our ability to justify aggression, we will carry on destroying the planet and other species beyond their survival — while the battles we have with each others at various level strength, are not our best feature.

 

Though in the end, it seems that bullshit wins more often than not. See toon and stories from top....

 

the darwinian arm throw...

 

... And humans developed an upper arm bone that twists, allowing a thrower to reach back at an almost unnatural angle and store energy for the throw. When all that stored energy is unleashed, it whips the upper arm forward at 9,000 degrees per second in a professional pitcher, the fastest motion the human body is capable of producing, the study said.

To study their theory, the scientists recorded 20 hard-throwing baseball players at Harvard University with three-dimensional motion capture equipment. Then they put the ballplayers in stiff braces that limited their range of motion.

“What we wanted to do there was push the hard throwers back in time,” Roach said in an interview from Loyangalani, Kenya, where he is conducting fieldwork.

The study is not the first to look at the human throwing motion or its impact on hunting and evolution. Charles Darwin long ago noted that humans’ unique ability to throw was made possible when our ancestors stood up on two legs, freeing their arms and turning foragers into hunters.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/that-chimp-wont-hunt-but-early-humans-might-have-when-they-learned-to-throw/2013/06/26/cc16e01e-dcdf-11e2-9218-bc2ac7cd44e2_print.html

 

See toon and stories from top....

 

blame the neanderthals...

A gene variant that seems to increase the risk of diabetes in Latin Americans appears to have been inherited from Neanderthals, a study suggests.

We now know that modern humans interbred with a population of Neanderthals shortly after leaving Africa 60,000-70,000 years ago.

This means that Neanderthal genes are now scattered across the genomes of all non-Africans living today.

Details of the study appear in the journal Nature.

The gene variant was detected in a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) of more than 8,000 Mexicans and other Latin Americans. The GWAS approach looks at many genes in different individuals, to see whether they are linked with a particular trait.

People who carry the higher risk version of the gene are 25% more likely to have diabetes than those who do not, and people who inherited copies from both parents are 50% more likely to have diabetes.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25506198

Read articles from top.

a penis bone and a fat cigar...

 

Have you ever come across an image of a fat Jesus? Granted, he lived in a time that wasn't exactly overflowing with high calorie junk foods, but Jesus is almost always portrayed as upright, lean and muscular.

The media are routinely blamed for our cultural obsession with thinness, but Christian images and ideas profoundly influence how we perceive our bodies today.

Christianity, like most religions, has all kinds of rules that govern food and sex: what goes in and out of women's orifices, in other words.

If the slim Jesus is a persistent image, his antithesis is Eve. But rather than her corpulence, it's her appetite for forbidden fruit that frames how we see female bodies today.

Eve's transgression led to the downfall of humanity, and that original sin is the original source of our mistrust of bodies, especially female bodies. 'There's still that residual symbolic connection between women's appetites and sin that harkens back to this large collective myth,' says Michelle Lelwica, author of The Religion of Thinness.

Early church fathers like Augustine interpreted Eve's appetite as unruly and sexual, which contributed to the suspicion of women's fleshy desires. According to Lelwica, the early church leaders claimed that Adam was too intelligent to readily give in to carnal urges, so Satan picked on Eve. These ideas laid the foundation for western culture's deeply ingrained association of women with their bodies and men with their minds.

From Plato to Freud to Jenny Craig, the message has been that bodily urges are suspicious because they are base, and that we should suppress them with our higher faculties—the mind or the spirit. The mind is seen to be quite separate from the body today, and the most suspicious of bodies is female.

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/encounter/5319178

 


Gus: I have not seen a fat Jesus, but plenty of pictures of his "fat daddy" as a bearded old sod. But this was a subject I wrote about in a simplified religious history of the world:

 

The Fall

Now the hippopotamus was more crafty than any of the animals the Good Goddess had made. The hippopotamus said to the woman, “Did the Good Goddess really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the hippopotamus, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but the Good Goddess did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the hippopotamus said to the woman. “For the Good Goddess knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will grow as smart and as fat as me.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree did not do much for the dumb animal, though pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining weight, she decided to go on a diet. 

Then the woman and her husband heard the Good Goddess as she was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Good Goddess among the trees of the garden. But the Good Goddess called to the woman, “Where are you?”

10 The man answered first, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And the Good Goddess said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “no... The woman — she decided not to eat the fruit... but the giraffe pointed out that my block and tackles were ungainly hanging out. ”

13 So the Good Goddess said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The hippopotamus told me the trick. You eat the nice forbidden fruit and you grow a big fat arse. Not for me, thank you...”

14 So the Good Goddess said to the hippopotamus, “Because you have revealed my intent to tempt these two dorks, you went against the script of the original sin I had plotted since the first day of eternity"... so:

“Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will live with your belly in mud
    and you will eat water-lilies
    all the days of your life.(plus ça change, plus c'est le même chose... thought the hippo)

15 And I will put scientific curiosity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
She will study your bone-head,
    and you will take a weedy meal.”

16 To the woman Good Goddess said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing less severe;

with epidural injection, you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband and a bit of tennis,
    and he will obey you.”

17 To Adam the Good Goddess said, “Because you listened to your wife and did not eat the fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of your obedience;
    through boring toil 9 to 5 you will eat food from it
    or until I give you a tractor.
18 It will produce bounties of GM crops for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field and become obese.
19 By the smile on your brow
    you will also be entertained by comedians
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for lust you are
    and to lust you will return.”

20 Eve named her husband Adam, because she would become the mother of all the living (including the incestuous, the loonies, the poor, the warriors, murderers, the rich, the middle class and the politicians).

21 The Good Goddess made garments of lovely tight leopard skin for Eve and a rag bag for her husband. 22 And the Good Goddess said “The woman has now become a smart-arse, knowing a good bod from a fat one. She must not be allowed to reach out her hand and take also from the tree of healthy-life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Good Goddess banished mum from the Garden of Eden to tell hubby to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After the Good Goddess drove the pair out, she placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life, preparing a fire that was the precursor of global warming. The Good Goddess knew that eventually the dorky humans would enjoy the comfort of carbon and cook themselves to death... This was the original sin, still being prophetised by scientists.

 

 

Remember that the only bone missing in humans (and only a few other mammal species)  is the penis bone...

 

a different species of sapiens...

 

Scientists have concluded that neanderthals were not the primitive dimwits they are commonly portrayed to have been.

The view of the Neanderthal man as a club-wielding brute is one of the most enduring stereotypes in science, but researchers who trawled the archaeological evidence say the image has no basis whatsoever.

They said scientists had fuelled the impression of Neanderthals being less than gifted in scores of theories that purport to explain why the Neanderthals died out while supposedly superior modern humans survived.

Wil Roebroeks at Leiden University in the Netherlands said: "The connotation is generally negative. For instance, after incidents with the Dutch Ajax football hooligans about a week ago, one Dutch newspaper piece pleaded to make football stadiums off-limits for such 'Neanderthals'."

The Neanderthals are believed to have emerged roughly between 350,000 and 400,000 years ago, their populations spreading from Portugal in the west to the Altai mountains in central Asia in the east. They vanished from the fossil record when modern humans arrived in Europe.

The reasons for the demise of the Neanderthals have long been debated in the scientific community, but many explanations assume that modern humans had a cognitive edge that manifested itself in more cooperative hunting, better weaponry and innovation, a broader diet, or other major advantages.

Roebroeks and his colleague, Dr Paola Villa at the University of Colorado Museum in Boulder, trawled through the archaeological records to look for evidence of modern human superiority that underpinned nearly a dozen theories about the Neanderthals' demise and found that none of them stood up.

"The explanations make good stories, but the only problem is that there is no archaeology to back them up," said Roebroeks.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/apr/30/neanderthals-not-less-intelligent-humans-scientists

 

See image at top and read all articles below it...

 

intelligent great apes, like us...

“In the minds of the European anthropologists who first studied them, Neanderthals were the embodiment of primitive humans, subhumans if you will,” Fred H. Smith, a physical anthropologist at Loyola University, told Smithsonian Magazine in 2003. “They were believed to be scavengers who made primitive tools and were incapable of language or symbolic thought.”

But new research suggests this is a profound misunderstanding of the Neanderthal.

According to a study recently published in Plos One that examined the 11 most common Neanderthal hypotheses, there is no evidence to support that Neanderthals were stupider than anatomically modern humans or that such intellectual inferiority spurred their demise. In fact, the study said, inbreeding and assimilation may be the reason they vanished.

“The disappearance of the … Neanderthals is routinely explained in terms of ‘superiority’ of modern humans, who had developed in Africa the ability to evolve complex cultural traditions and had become equipped with cognitive capabilities which allowed them to expand globally and replace all others,” stated the study, co-authored by researchers Paola Villa of the University of Boulder and Wil Roebroeks of Leiden University in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, “inferiority … has been at the core of many explanations for the demise of the Neanderthals,” they wrote.

That presumption, which spurred countless studies, may be baseless. “The evidence for cognitive inferiority is simply not there,” Villa said in a university press release. “What we are saying is that the conventional view of Neanderthals is not true.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/04/everything-you-know-about-the-neanderthal-is-wrong/?tid=hp_mm&hpid=z3

now for the USA to follow in my dreams...

 

According to Huffington Post, the UK government has banned the teaching of creationism as science in all existing and future academies and free schools.

Creationism cannot be taught as a valid scientific theory in any free school or academy, the government has said.

The British Humanist Association with “Teach evolution, not creationism” campaign, has been advocating for the change since 2011.

They released a new set of funding agreements in a little noticed document last week, including clauses which specifically prohibit pseudoscience.

Creationism is rejected not only by the scientific community but most mainstream churches like Church of England and the Catholic Church.

"It does not accord with the scientific consensus or the very large body of established scientific evidence; nor does it accurately and consistently employ the scientific method, and as such it should not be presented to pupils at the Academy as a scientific theory," the agreement states.

It then adds: "The requirement on every academy and free school to provide a broad and balanced curriculum in any case prevents the teaching of creationism as evidence based theory in any academy or free school."

It is a significant victory for those seeking science classrooms free from religion.

http://atheistalliance.org/regional-reports/western-europe/897-teaching-creationism-as-science-now-banned-in-all-uk-public-schools

 

See image at top and articles below it...

 

still caring...

Depression will effect one in seven Australians at some time in their lives.

Debate over the best way to treat depression often centres around the pros and cons of medical intervention versus lifestyle factors such as exercise and social connection.

Visiting US psychologist Lisa Miller argues that scientific studies prove that a high personal connection with spirituality can be a protective factor against major depression.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/can-spirituality-help-prevent-depression/5659048

-------------------------

There are several ways to fight against depression... If you are a believer, then spirituality might work for you... Though you might question the why and therefore of your predicament. I did not like the arguments presented by Lisa Miller on this show.

For an atheist, spirituality does not exist. Spirituality is an illusion — alien to the present environment — which should you realise spirituality's illusory value, it could drive you further into depression.

For most artistic minds, the best way to manage depression is through positive anger. It's natural to be angry and it provides motivation for action. Through our stylistic manipulations of moods we can control and avoid the damage or the destruction that anger can do and spin it into a very strong positive force, which, by the end of its travail, leads to caring about our self and caring about others... This in itself is a very strong purpose for living.

See: caring about ourselves and others...

natural hybridisation of species for survival...

Along the eastern coast of Australia, where a warm ocean current has expanded southward in recent years, scientists have found shark hybrids, first- and second-generation offspring from an Australian blacktip species adapted to tropical waters and a wider-ranging blacktip. Offspring from the Antarctic blue whale, the largest animal ever, and its smaller, warmer-water pygmy cousin recently showed up in Antarctic waters south of Africa.

Stranger still has been the appearance of first- and second-generation hybrid offspring from Antarctic minke whales and minke whales in the North Atlantic. The two whales’ feeding ranges lie thousands of miles apart, near the top and bottom of the globe. The northern minke whale diverged from the southern minke some five million years ago — roughly when what became the human lineage diverged from that of chimpanzees. But southern minke whales were found to be crossing the Equator in the late 1990s.

It’s possible, of course, that this sort of interbreeding has always occurred and that we’re detecting it only now because we possess the tools to do so. But newly minted hybrids may also be a sign of warming temperatures, overfishing, whaling, shifts in the food web and so on.

By no means should we regard hybrids as an ecological panacea. The flexibility they can provide depends on the continued existence of at least two parental species, after all — hardly a given for many creatures. But the growing evidence of productive hybridization does seem to call for a reconsideration of how we think about species.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/magazine/should-you-fear-the-pizzly-bear.html 

As the side-summation of the article says: One lesson of hybridization might be anthropomorphized thus: When times are tough, it’s better to mate with someone — even the wrong one — than with no one at all.

It is an indictment of who we are and whom we procreated with, including the Neanderthals. Read articles from top.

The changes of the wild that we are inflicting on the environment may not be salvaged by hybridisation or interbreeding... Some of it works and most of it does not... So it can be the end of the line for many species, especially at the rate at which we're decimating them through our usage of poisons and destruction of habitats. We are a caring careless species that is awakening through science to all of the deed we have performed on nature out of our ignorant arrogance born from the uncertainty of our meaning...

living with neanderthals...

Far from wiping out Neanderthals overnight, modern humans lived alongside their shorter and stockier cousins in Europe for thousands of years, confirms a new study.

The study, published in the journal Nature, is the most accurate timeline yet for the demise of our closest relatives.

Using new radiocarbon dating techniques, a team of international scientists show Neanderthals overlapped with present-day humans in Europe for between 2600 and 5400 years before disappearing about 40,000 years ago.

The findings overturn previous theories that suggest late-surviving groups of Neanderthals lived in places such as Gibraltar later than 40,000 years ago.

Pinpointing how and when the Neanderthals became extinct has been tough because the mainstay process of radiocarbon dating is unreliable for samples that are more than 30,000 years old, due to contamination.

The latest six-year project used modern methods to remove contaminants and accurately date nearly 200 samples of bone, charcoal and shell from 40 important archaeological sites across Europe.

The data shows that Neanderthals vanished from Europe between 39,000 and 41,000 years ago -- but rather than being replaced rapidly by modern humans, their disappearance occurred at different times across sites from the Black Sea to the Atlantic.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/08/21/4071724.htm?site=science&topic=latest

psycho-monkey

 

Monkeys at the top and bottom of the social pecking order have physically different brains, research has found.

A particular network of brain areas was bigger in dominant animals, while other regions were bigger in subordinates.

The study suggests that primate brains, including ours, can be specialised for life at either end of the hierarchy.

The differences might reflect inherited tendencies toward leading or following, or the brain adapting to an animal's role in life - or a little of both.

Neuroscientists made the discovery, which appears in the journal Plos Biology, by comparing brain scans from 25 macaque monkeys that were already "on file" as part of ongoing research at the University of Oxford.

 

 

read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29013592

 

There we are, with more eugenics to look into — not so much based on race and breed, but on ability to "lead" or be ruthless to stay on top... In fact this reflect favourably with my discreet analysis of our ability to be socio-psychopath (or psycho-sociopath which is the same here with a possibility of slight variation in intensity). The monkey who leads needs to be sure of himself and bash pretenders by caring less about them in this situation, though the study did not say much about females (whom I guess are there to submit). It seems that in most monkey groups, the dominant is a male with big balls, bad temper and a small shitty brain. The same goes with humans, except that, as well, dominant males have a small dick and are devious. My empirical observations of politicians who lie under oath or for an election and then dismantle the social fabric for their own advantage and that of their mates. In the case of Uncle Rupe and Abbott it difficult to distinguish between the master and the organ grinder... but both qualify for the top award of lying ape. 

 

Read articles from top.