Years of Living Dangerously

April 13, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Posted in Economoney, Media, Science | Leave a comment

What does the Syrian war, destruction of Indonesian parks and Texas have in common?
The premiere of a new Showtime series, Years of Living Dangerously, unexpectedly on global warming.

Its 1 hour. And it’s a surprise.

The TED Controversy Continues

April 12, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Posted in Events, Internet, Media, Science | Leave a comment

A year ago, I summarised some of the events that had occurred as a result of 2 controversial talks at a TEDx event in England.

As the site Science Set Free illustrates, the controversy didn’t die off. (scroll down their page for the background) 251 PhDs and MDs have signed a petition that was recently delivered to TED, expanding on the original 16. There is also a petition still underway. They held a public rebuttal, though it looks  more like a press conference for the petition.

This article also came out, with more details about the West Hollywood event they pulled the plug on, 2 weeks before it was due to go. As the event was largely intact, they decided to go ahead anyway but Livestream inexplicably pulled the plug on them too. TED seems the only explanation. That created a rather large price tag for the shows producer. Reimbursement or support seems dubious at this stage of the game but it’s disturbing the apparent lack of integrity on TED’s part. As Science Set Free notes, TED “has become the central hub of cutting edge social and scientific thought internationally“. That’s disturbing if they’re being driven by radical atheists. Ironically their behaviour reinforces Sheldrake’s points.

The other TEDx event I’m aware of that lost TED support also went ahead, with a little more warning. Hosted by a small university, their original line-up had only one speaker mentioning the word “consciousness” in their talk title but there was a human potential theme. Ironically, that speaker was Kilby-award winning physicist John Hagelin who had spoken at TEDxWomen a few months prior. That talk is still present in the TED channel. The theme of that event? Fact & Faith.

Amusingly, the university conference is now being presented on-line under the banner “Consciousness Talks“. They set up a web site for it and have been gradually posting videos from that event this year. I posted an article on one of them by Dr. Pam Peeke: Hacked by a Cupcake, on Food and Addiction. One that should be on TED. I look forward to others.

Gravity Waves?

March 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Media, Science, Space | 1 Comment

Not sure what all the fuss is about in science circles these days? It’s the first direct proof of the inflationary model of the big bang. Here’s the idea explained – light evidence of gravity waves in a predicted pattern – and stronger than they expected.

The NY Times takes a crack at explaining it here. More detail, and how they kept it a secret, on Wired.


Promotion via Fakery

March 6, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Events, Hardware, Humor, Internet, Media, Science, Strange, Technology, Transportation | Leave a comment

A weird episode in Internet “marketing” this week. A real company, HUVr Tech, seeking funding  sought buzz. First, they faked up a Promo video for Hoverboards, complete with the famous and Back to the Future references. Note the 0 noise and that the video is named “belief” (on their web site). They apparently used the Back to the Future wire harness.

Second, an “apology” by Christopher Lloyd. He was tricked??   Then, one from Tony Hawk, the famed skateboarder. Wired comments.

Fake promotions and fake apologies? Lame. Pranks are funny only if you include the punchline. Has their home page been updated to reflect this? Nope. This is what they think of their possible customers?

Dark Matter = 0

February 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Science, Space | Leave a comment

I recently commented on Nassim Haramein’s take on Dark Matter. Here is more detail, from a recent comment.

In modern physics, field equations within the “standard model” predict that there is a certain amount of stuff (matter) out there in the universe. However, when looking for the predicted mass with telescopes and other advanced technology, it was realized that most of the mass that was predicted to be there was actually “missing”, not just a little bit of it… 96% of the matter was missing(!)

At this point you might expect a reexamining and consequential adjustment in the predictive model, instead, a new type of matter was invented “out of thin air” in hopes it could make all the equations work out. They needed to come up with a highly technical term for this new type of invented matter and since they couldn’t seem to find it anywhere they decided to call it…. “dark matter” and “dark energy”.

Perhaps the mass is “missing” because of another fundamental error in the standard model, one that that got rid of a rather incredibly large (approaching infinite) number that represents how dense empty space actually is. Most physics students are not even aware of this mathematical trick called “renormalization” where the density of space was effectively ignored despite the scientifically verified through experiment (the Casmir effect) density of space-time itself in peer reviewed and published laboratory experiments.

Perhaps we are getting closer to the point where the standard model realizes there is no such thing as “dark matter” and that the missing mass is in fact the energy within the structure of the space-time manifold itself, something that Nassim Haramein has predicted in his unified field theory model for many years.

more info

Wolves Change Geography

February 15, 2014 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Media, Nature, Science | Leave a comment

A short film about “trophic cascade“- the cascading consequences of changes in individual species populations – especially of top-of-the-pyramid predators.

After 70 years absence, wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in the United States. They restored balance to grazing populations. This created a cascading effect that allowed the natural restoration of plant life, improvements in bear and rodent populations, and better river flows. Wolves changed the geography.

Food and Addiction

January 24, 2014 at 11:46 am | Posted in Health, Media, Psychology, Science | 2 Comments

Although Food and Science are technically more applicable to a science blog, due to the psychological nature of our food relationships, I’ve tended to discuss the subject more over on my other blog. But in this case, I wanted to share it on both.

I’ve occasionally explored subjects like craving and food. Several articles have come up recently on the topic I thought interesting.

Firstly, in North America, research lead to an anti-fat movement in the 1960′s. We shifted to margarine and low-fat foods. Unfortunately, low fat meant low taste, so food producers replaced fat with sugar and salt and foods became increasingly processed. (we won’t go into artificial sweeteners)

After millions spent on research, they discovered the “bliss point” – the optimum level of sugar that triggered peoples pleasure centre. Sugar became the #2 ingredient in many foods.

Unfortunately, the high sugar content had several consequences. For one, people became habituated to it and expected it, even in baby food. For another, the body stores excess sugar as fat. High sugar levels lead to a much larger weight problem than the original fat content did. Further, the liver got overloaded and plugged up, leading to a lot of middle fat and a number of heath consequences.

As it turns out, the early research was faulty. Only certain types of fat are an issue. Healthy fats in a natural form are part of a balanced diet. But independent sugar research was not healthy for a food scientists career so there was a major lack of research for some years. The government food guides remain much the same.

A further issue that is less discussed is that sugar is addictive. Once we become habituated, the body craves it and our natural signals for “enough” or for specific nutrients are suppressed. Craving overwrites healthy eating habits. This becomes very clear if you’ve ever gone on a low carb diet or a fast. The first 3-4 days are often accompanied by craving and withdrawal symptoms. And once off a diet, most people easily re-engage their old habits again and step back into their addictions.

Don’t believe foods can be addictive? Scientists now have a scale called the “Yale Food Addiction Scale” from the Yale Rudd Centre for Food Policy and Obesity.

Further complicating the issue is that some people use sugar and carbs as “comfort” foods to soothe stress. Rather than finding healthy release such as in meditation or exercise, we reach for the candy drawer or ice cream.

For many, changing such behaviour becomes a contest of will which increases stress and drives up the craving. Personal failure doesn’t help. Or you play denial mind games with yourself much like an alcoholic.

(and yes, I did a juice fast last month and supported some others in a forum having struggles)

Here’s a Harvard Medical School article “Why stress causes people to overeat

I also noticed mention in the tech rags that Microsoft is experimenting with a bra to monitor stress levels so you can be notified when you may eat badly. But isn’t that like a new Pavlov’s signal? Get ready to eat!

The most immediate thing you can do is find a new outlet for stress. Maybe having a tennis ball in the drawer you can squeeze when a craving hits? Or a bit of fresh air? Change of scene? Just watch the feelings. They’re your flags for triggers.

The idea here is not to get into a fight with it or yourself but to deflect it. This is all about energy. Getting into resistance or a will battle will make it stronger and can add layers to the issue for you.

Also, this is not a long term solution – the motivators are still present. This is to get you started. And make healthy choices here – you don’t want to replace one bad behaviour with another. Shopping can also be addictive, for example.

In the talk below, they recommend introducing meditation. This introduces several benefits. For one, it is a great way to release stress. Secondly, it makes us more settled and peaceful. And thirdly, it makes us more conscious and self-aware. Another term for this is mindful. Then we can make better choices.

I talk here about types of meditation.

As you become a little more conscious, you become more aware of the process that’s taking place within you and you begin to catch your triggers. When the urge comes up, see if you’re settled enough to allow the feeling to arise and feel what it’s coming from.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna talks of the impulse to act. When we’re trying to change behaviour, at first we realize after the fact that we’ve done it again. We have a Doh! moment. When we’re less caught, we begin to recognize what we’re doing during the act. We begin to be a bit more conscious about it, maybe enough to make a new choice or to stop. But often then we get into internal battles over it. Finally, we can notice the impulse to act, the feeling, as it is arising. Then we have real choice – do we act or not? Do we let it go or fight?

That is also the point where we can find out what this driver is that’s arising. Instead of getting into a battle over choice, we can investigate the urge itself. What is the feeling or energy behind this urge? Big stuff like food can have layers. Early associations of food with mother, reinforced by sweets as rewards, adapted as a stress coping tool, and so forth. So similarly, we may have to resolve each layer to end it, most recent backwards.

If you can see your own dynamic, you can recognize it no longer serves and let it go. But that takes a little skill and practice. It’s usually easier to start on simpler things than chronic lifetime drivers. Food associations can be the deepest as they’re often programmed in early childhood.

But this is much more effective than deflecting (distracting ourselves) I mentioned above. We want to resolve the energy behind it to heal.

Finally, this 2 part talk by Dr. Pam Peeke: Hacked by a Cupcake. She talks about current science on the subject and solutions.

Part 1: The Science

It’s not just food addiction – it’s toxic lifestyle.
She talks about reward, food as a “science fair project”, and a lot of current research. The dopamine reward cycle and why it’s addictive. It’s not the consumption – it’s the cues. Decreased impulse control. Why the will doesn’t work.

Part 2: The Solutions

“Stress is the Achilles heel of addiction”.
Every choice changes gene expression which changes your destiny. We pass those epigenetic markers on to our children. By our lifestyle, we gift or condemn them.

Mind, Mouth & Muscle:
- eat whole foods
- move your body. Walking dampens the obesity gene.
- meditation, with initial research results.

Part 3: Q&A

Start with the mind, otherwise you fall off.
The importance of sleep. Coffee.

No Dark Matter?

December 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Posted in Science, Space | 1 Comment

Occasionally, I write on the subject of Dark Matter. To me, when the formulae don’t describe astronomical behaviour completely, it means something is missing from the formula. Or perhaps even the fundamental understanding behind it.

Physics however has decided that the formulae are right but something is missing from the array of known particles. That there must be unseen dark matter to explain the movements of the stars. In fact, 80% of the mass of the universe is this unseen, unknown stuff. That’s a pretty big discrepancy. Now, they spend millions to prove the idea rather than fix holes in the model. This seems a folly to me.

One physicist with a better idea is Nassim Haramein. He’s figured out how to put the spin back in Einstein’s field equations and come up with a model of the universe and an alternative Unified Field Theory. One that does away with the need for a lot of “extras” like dark matter.

As an independent (and somewhat eccentric) physicist, he’s struggled to get recognition in the physics community. But in the last few years he’s been able to publish several papers explaining the basis of his model.

In this article by Stephen Bard on the Large Underground Xenon Detector (LUX), he notes that they have yet to detect any dark matter. This suggests dark matter may not be what they imagined it to be.

The article goes on to explore the scaling law Nassim discovered with the inclusion of spin. This does not need dark matter to explain but rather is “magnetohydrodynamics driven by the structure of spacetime itself“.

the inclusion of torque and Coriolis in Einstein’s field equations is sufficient to explain the motion of large cosmological scale structures such as galaxies and galactic clusters, showing that it is unnecessary to resort to some new theoretical particle” such as dark matter.

He goes on to observe that Nassim has demonstrated that the strong force is gravity itself at that scale, with the correct results. He explains gravity. And the formulae work at both the atomic and cosmological levels due to the scaling law mentioned above. Quantum mechanics that works at galactic levels = Unified Field Theory.

The article includes links to the published papers and science articles on the LUX. The site has a number of interesting articles talking about current science.

I’d love to link to some models and video of it in action but didn’t find anything straightforward. But it is nested in a number of presentations he’s given on Youtube and such.

A refreshing take even a layman can get a sense of.

Ear Age

August 14, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Health, Media, Science | Leave a comment

As you may know, our ears loose their sensitivity to the outer ends of the audible spectrum with age. This can be exacerbated by noise extremes and loud music, such as I enjoyed in my youth playing drums in an acid rock band. As the principle goes, if your ears are ringing afterwards, you’ve done some damage. The longer the ringing, the more hearing you’ve blown off.

Here’s a little test for your ears, best done with headphones. Although they didn’t help in my case.  ;-)

Elon Musk

May 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Posted in Design, Economoney, Hardware, Media, Science, Space, Technology, Transportation | 1 Comment

Ever heard of Elon Musk? TED branded him a serial entrepreneur, but that’s an understatement. He is a practical visionary:

1 – the co-founder of Paypal

2 – the CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors. Their new all-electric model S has just been named by Consumer Reports as the highest rated car ever! It’s still a luxury car but it’s phase 2. Phase 3 is a mass production model. And the company has posted it’s first profit. That will keep it going.

The CBC talks about it here.
I wrote about the Phase 1 car here

3 – he’s involved with solar power company SolarCity

4 – and he’s the chief designer at SpaceX, a reusable rocket company. They’re already doing work for NASA and the space shuttle.

His TED talk from February this year:

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