Archive for March, 2015


Posted by Alice Yoo

Aakash Nihalani, the artist known for his playful masking tape illusions, has just sent word that he’s completed a new body of work called Projections. In this exciting new series, cubic designs are projected onto a white wall, becoming an interactive canvas for the viewer. Using coding and motion software, a sensor picks up the viewer’s hand movement on the projected design and, in real time, changes the overall look of the piece.

As he describes it, “This exchange between the artwork and the viewer is essential in order to illuminate the underlying personality and sculptural quality of the work. The result is an infinite variation in composition, as unpredictable and original as the viewer. As with my street installations, these works not only invite human interaction but cannot fully exist without it, ultimately revealing as much of the individual as the piece itself.”

Aakash has created the works in gif form so that we can see them all in action. Watch as the works transform, revealing bright colors underneath or taking on whole new shapes and forms. Mesmerizing!

Aakash Nihalani’s website

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/aakash-nihalani-projections-real-time-interactive-art

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Have Some GMO Easter Candy Little Girl

by

I’ve always thought those giant Easter bunnies that walk around the mall were sort of creepy. I remember once when my oldest daughter was a toddler her absolute terror when one such mascot bent over her stroller and asked, “Want some candy, little girl?”

Well, it seems that her instincts were right. Now that I know what’s in the “treats” that they push, I’m positive that taking candy from strange rabbits is a terrible idea.

Today, I’m here to “ruin” Easter for you by telling you exactly what’s in that adorable little basket that pretty much everyone in America gives to their kids. Because, you know, nothing says “Happy Easter” like a beautifully decorated basket full of prettily packaged GMO high fructose corn syrup, dye, processed GMO sugar, and chemical flavoring. (Don’t worry, though. I’ll also “save” Easter with some non-toxic treat suggestions too!)

The contents of the average American Easter basket are so genetically modified, it’s a wonder the Easter Bunny hasn’t sprouted an extra ear and a couple of tumors. While they look absolutely adorable, with their marshmallow peeps, chocolate rabbits, mini-eggs, and colorful jelly beans, the ingredients are mostly synthetic, highly processed, and very high on the GMO scale. Here’s a closer look at what is lurking within those cute little candies.

Without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at what is lurking within those cute little candies.

Jelly Beans: GMOs and Beetle Juice

Jelly beans used to be my favorite candy. That is, until I learned about how nasty the ingredients are. Don’t be fooled by label that tout “natural” ingredients. Just because it’s derived from nature doesn’t mean it isn’t gross to eat.

Here, let me ruin jelly beans for you, too.

Ingredients:

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch Modified, Caramel Color Natural, Flavor(s) Natural, Flavor(s) Artificial, Color(s) Artificial (Yellow 6, Blue 1, Titanium Dioxide, Red 40, Yellow 5, Red 3) ,Carnauba Wax, Beeswax, Confectioner’s Glaze (Edible Shellac)

Here’s the breakdown:

Sugar: Frequently (and by frequently I mean more than 95% of the time) made from GMO sugar beets and is horrifically processed. (Learn more about processed sugar).

Corn syrup and corn starch: At least 85% of the corn grown in America is GMO (learn more about corn.)

Carnauba wax: It has not been proven toxic by the FDA (snort) but it is also found in shoe polish, automobile wax, and surfboard wax…so if you want to eat “food” that has been shined up like your car or your kitchen floor you should head straight for the jelly beans.

Banned-in-Europe Food Dye: Red #40 and Blue #1 are banned in Europe, but hey, they’re apparently fine for American children.

Shellac: A picture is worth a thousand words. Shellac is made from the mating secretions of the female lac beetle. That sure gives a whole new meaning to “beetle juice”, doesn’t it?

Chocolate Bunnies: GMOs and Cockroach Bits

I like bunnies and chocolate as much as anyone else, and melding the two into a cute piece of delicious candy was simply brilliant from a marketing perspective. The trouble is, standard American chocolate is just garbage. Before we even get into the ingredients in a chocolate bunny, let’s talk for a moment about the chocolate itself.

You know how experts tell you that you should eat some chocolate each day, that it’s actually good for you? Well, they do NOT mean the icky “milk chocolate” sold at every gas station checkout counter in the country. And “white” chocolate? Forget it – that’s not even chocolate.

Here is the nifty thing about the cheapo chocolate sold across the country. It has a secret ingredient – one so secret it isn’t even on the label.

Cockroach parts.

I am not making this stuff up. I couldn’t. They’d sue me.

Those wonderful guardians at the FDA have actually ruled that as long as your chocolate bar contains less than 60 – SIXTY – cockroach parts, it’s perfectly fine to eat. But don’t worry – the average chocolate bar only contains 8 cockroach parts. You can read more of the FDA’s ruling, delightfully entitled Chocolate & Chocolate Liquor – Adulteration with Insect and Rodent Filth.

Let me just reinforce that statement.

If a chocolate bar contains less than 60 cockroach parts, the FDA says that is just fine.

Anyhow, back to chocolate bunnies. If you aren’t deterred by the roach parts, perhaps the other ingredients will slow you down a little…

more…

http://www.nutritionalanarchy.com/2015/03/29/want-some-gmo-easter-candy-little-girl/

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Piore_BREAKER5

Photo by Jacques de Vos

The amazing underwater athletes are rewriting the science of the body.

The then-33-year-old, South African, former acting student knew the feat would require rigorous training and commitment. But Prinsloo felt at home in the water. She’d grown up on a dusty, 200-hectare horse farm outside Pretoria, chasing her sister from dam to stream to swimming pool and back and dreaming of becoming a mermaid. So in the spring of 2011, Prinsloo packed a bag and traveled to an ashram in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. She spent a month meditating and practicing Vinyasa Yoga.

After six weeks, it was off to Dahab, Egypt, an isolated Bedouin Village hemmed in on one side by the Red Sea, and the Sinai Mountains on the others. On dive days, Prinsloo and fellow diver Yaniv Keinan hopped in a 4×4 and bounced past tourists on camels down a rutted desert track until they reached the water. They waded 50 feet through knee-high water out to the edge of a sinkhole, about 400 feet deep, known as the “Blue Hole.”

As Prinsloo floated on her back above the hole and prepared to dive, the mood was every bit as solemn as at that Ashram back in India. Quiet and still, Prinsloo focused on the oxygen moving in and out of her lungs, becoming aware of her heartbeat, trying not to think. When she moved, she did so in exaggerated slow motion, as if in a trance.

At a depth of 200 feet, she opened her eyes in the translucent water. “It was like a blue glow,” she said. “The way light would look to a moth.”

Prinsloo’s slow, deep breaths ensured the maximum oxygenation of her blood, and the opening up of any constriction in the airways of her lungs. She needed her lungs loose and relaxed, able to expand to store the maximum amount of oxygen when she dived. After five minutes, Prinsloo reached a deeply meditative state. “As you drop down, the perfect dive is where you don’t have a single thought,” she said.

Prinsloo dove with her eyes closed, alternatively focusing on kicking and equalizing the pressure between her ears by pinching her nose and blowing. As she descended, her body underwent an amazing transformation. Her heart rate and metabolism slowed dramatically. The arteries in her limbs constricted, pushing oxygen-rich blood back to her body’s vital organs. The walls of her lungs shrunk in volume, while at the same time filling with extra blood and hardening to counteract the increasing pressure at depth.

About 60 feet down, Prinsloo reached “negative buoyancy.” Her now dense body gave gravity the upper hand over buoyancy. She surrendered and let gravity pull her down, falling as the water pressure closed in on her with a soft embrace. It was almost as if Prinsloo had found a way to achieve her childhood dream. She had transformed, if not exactly into a mermaid, than into a centered, aquamarine version of herself. At a depth of about 200 feet, she opened her eyes in the translucent water. “It was like a blue glow,” she said. “The way light would look to a moth.”

What free divers are capable of “is amazing,” said Peter Lindholm, a group leader for baromedicine and human physiology in extreme environments at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. “But there’s nothing magical about it. You can explain it if you know physiology.”

In recent years, the feats of free divers have forced Lindholm and other scientists who study physiology to explain not only what humans are capable of underwater, but how much control we have over the speed of normal metabolic functions. Free divers, they say, may push evolutionary buttons honed in a simpler epoch. A time, perhaps, before obstetricians, when it was paramount to slow down to survive a perilous passage through a birth canal that restricted blood flow. It was a time when natural selection, for whatever reason, favored traits that allowed us to downshift our biological systems into a slow gear we are only beginning to rediscover. It can be a dangerous process, physiologists say, but available to us all…

more…

http://nautil.us/issue/22/slow/the-impossible-physiology-of-the-free-diver

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But she later tried a new scanner that searches for proteins that are a marker for Alzheimer's, and discovered she didn't have it

But she later tried a new scanner that searches for proteins that are a marker for Alzheimer’s, and discovered she didn’t have it

  • Because there is no definitive test for dementia, mistakes are made
  • Dr Keith Souter looks at conditions that often get mistaken for the disease
  • Read on for the second part of our major Good Health series on dementia

Being diagnosed with dementia can come as a devastating and life-changing blow. As well as getting the right treatment, the patient’s future plans have to be rethought – and often those of their nearest and dearest, too.

Yet because there is no definitive test for dementia, inevitably mistakes are made. Some people may be told they have dementia when, in fact, they are stressed or depressed, and vice versa.

Checking for these conditions is vital because their diagnosis – and proper treatment – can often reverse symptoms that are much harder to tackle in true dementia.

Today, in the second part of our major Good Health series on dementia, we look in detail at the conditions that often get mistaken for this cruel degenerative brain disease. And when dementia is correctly diagnosed, we show you the best current treatment options.

The symptoms of dementia can vary widely, depending on which type is involved and which part of the brain is affected.

They include problems with short-term memory, difficulty concentrating and communicating, behaviour or personality changes and depression.

But these symptoms are a common feature of other conditions…

Depression

This is a surprisingly common problem among the elderly. Around 15 per cent of the over-65s suffer from depression; among the over-75s, that rises to 30 per cent. The problem is that elderly people do not tend to complain about their depression to family and friends.

Outwardly they may give the appearance of being content, even though they are not.

At the same time, other depressive symptoms such as irritability may be put down to old age.

Many older people will display the typical symptoms of depression, such as low mood and struggling with concentration. There may be tearfulness, problems sleeping, a loss of interest in hobbies and problems with their memory.

However, while in younger people all these might obviously be signs of depression, in older people the default diagnosis may be dementia.

Spotting the difference: There is much cross-over in the symptoms between depression and dementia, but there are key differences.

Elderly people with depression may feel apathetic and lack motivation, but they will not have the cognitive problems suffered by people with dementia.

If someone knows the people around them and the date, time and year, they are probably not suffering from dementia.

Also, while many people with dementia will be depressed, with just depression it’s common to have diurnal variation – they tend to feel more depressed at the start of the day, but their mood improves as the day goes on. Someone with dementia will not normally display this cycle.

A lack of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, found naturally in meat, eggs and dairy, is vital to the metabolism of monoamines – chemical messengers released by nerve cells in the brain which are thought to play a crucial role in cognition.

B12 deficiency is more common after the age of 60 because, as we age, the stomach produces less of the acid needed to absorb this vitamin from food.

Once levels fall below 500 pg/ml (picograms per millilitre – the normal range is 500 to 1,000), the brain starts to deteriorate, making memory loss more likely.

Being deficient in B12 can also lead to delirium or even a psychotic state.

It is most likely to be found in those with poor diets and older people, and can be reversed with injections of B12. Recovery should follow in up to four weeks.

Spotting the difference: If someone is not just having memory problems, but is tired and feeling weak and unwell, it could be a B12 deficiency. A blood test by your GP can reveal this.

Underactive thyroid

With this condition – also known as hypothyroidism – the thyroid gland in the neck doesn’t pump out enough of the hormone thyroxine. This can be the result of the immune system attacking the thyroid gland, for example, or as a side-effect of medication such as amiodarone, used to treat heart rhythm disorders…

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3018713/Dementia-victims-just-depressed-low-vitamins-Continuing-series-patients-told-s-Alzheimer-s-real-problems-easily-cured.html#ixzz3Vz9km53g
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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GMO

by: J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Using financing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ivy League Cornell University’s Alliance for Science has launched a multi-million-dollar broadside against a small food-oriented public interest group as a means of pushing genetically modified organisms to new markets around the world — and all in the name of advancing the welfare of Mankind.

The group being targeted is called U.S. Right to Know, and its mission, according to the organization’s website, is to “expose what the food industry doesn’t want us to know.” The group was founded by Gary Ruskin, a long-time anti-GMO advocate.

As reported by Corporate Crime Reporter, the Cornell Alliance for Science is using a $5.6 million Gates Foundation grant to “add a stronger voice for science and depolarize the charged debate around agricultural biotechnology and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)” — or, more correctly, “defend GMOs on behalf of the agrichemical and food industries against all critics,” the website reported.

One of the Right to Know’s first orders of business is to identify, and then publicize, professors at public colleges and universities around the U.S. and elsewhere who have ties to groups, corporations and other entities that push GMOs.

We deserve to know the details

Corporate Crime Reporter further noted:

Earlier this year, Ruskin’s group filed for correspondence and emails to and from professors at public universities who wrote for the agrichemical industry’s PR website — GMO Answers.

The GMO Answers website was created by Ketchum, a corporate public relations firm.

“We taxpayers deserve to know the details about when our taxpayer-paid employees front for private corporations and their slick PR firms,” Ruskin said. “This is especially true when they do work for unsavory entities such as Ketchum, which has been implicated in espionage against nonprofit organizations.”

At GMO Answers, the site portrays the growing of GM crops as part of “modern agriculture.” Further, the site attempts to pass GMOs off as harmless and beneficial.

“The biotech industry stands 100 percent behind the health and safety of the GM crops on the market today, but we acknowledge that we haven’t done the best job communicating about them — what they are, how they are made, what the safety data says,” the site notes. “Join us. Ask tough questions. Be skeptical. Be open. We look forward to sharing answers.”

Right away, GMO Answers appears ready to provide the answers that the biotech industry wants to put out.

In the meantime, U.S. Right to Know has filed public records requests regarding correspondents to and from professors who work at publicly funded academic institutions and biotech companies like Monsanto, as well as to and from PR firms like Ketchum and Fleishman Hillard, and others, and to and from trade groups like the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Council for Biotechnology Information. The requests are not aimed at obtaining personal information or academic research involving the professors.

Terrorists and GMOs

But the requests, which were sent in February to 14 scientists at four universities, appeared to irritate corporate-minded directors at Cornell Alliance for Science; they have sponsored a petition, Science 14, in which signatories pledge to help fight “anti-science bullying,” which is how U.S. Right to Know’s effort is being portrayed.

“These scientists need the support of allies like you to protect scientific freedom,” the petition says. “Please join the fight for academic freedom by signing our letter to support the scientists under attack and urging them to stand strong in the face of anti-science bullying.”

An assistant dean at Cornell University recently drew the ire of millions of Americans when he said that terrorist fighters belonging to ISIS would be welcome on the campus.

Cornell has a history with GMO promotion, thanks to funding from the Gates Foundation. It began its push to “depolarize” the GMO “debate” last fall.

Both efforts — that of wanting to placate terrorist organizations and of mercilessly pushing GMOs for corporate interests — are harming the country.

“This use of surrogates is par for the course with the biotech industry,” wrote Tim Schwab of Food & Water Watch in September. “Sometimes called the soft lobby, corporations routinely engage neutral-appearing scientists and impartial-sounding front groups to help advance their political and economic agendas.”

Cornell, he said, has been a longtime producer of “science for sale,” citing a large amount of research that has been generated by “our public land-grant universities” in a 2012 document called, “Public Research, Private Gain.”

This is what tyranny looks like

We further reported then:

Earlier this year, a Cornell economist, William Lesser, accepted payment from what Schwab described as a “biotech front group,” in exchange for producing a highly suspect analysis indicating that GMO labeling would be a huge cost for consumers. And while Lesser said the study contained his personal observations rather than those of Cornell, GMO backers nevertheless began to refer to his findings as “the Cornell study” in their efforts to stave off initiatives by states to force food makers to include labeling of GMO ingredients in their products. At the same time, Schwab noted, independent studies have shown that GMO labeling would not increase food costs by much, if at all.

The Alliance for Science site, then, is essentially Cornell’s GMO propaganda instrument…

more…

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/049193_Cornell_University_GMOs_Bill_Gates.html#ixzz3VxmIHWkL

 

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The Next-Generation Weapons That Russia Will Use Against The United States In World War III

The Russian military is in the midst of a sweeping modernization program

by Michael Snyder

The Russian military is in the midst of a sweeping modernization program, and it is currently developing some incredibly impressive offensive and defensive next-generation weapons that are designed to be used in a future war with the United States. The key to winning World War III will be to strike hard and to strike fast, and the Russians understand this. Meanwhile, the U.S. military has totally shifted gears from a “Cold War mindset” and is now completely focused on fighting smaller regional wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. As a result, U.S. strategic forces have suffered. There has been very little effort to modernize, and many of our nuclear missile silos are using technology that is ridiculously outdated. For example, CBS News has documented that eight inch floppy disks are still being used in many of our missile silos. And don’t expect things to change any time soon. At this point, the U.S. military plans to keep Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles that were originally deployed in the 1960s and 1970s in service until 2030.

What all of this means is that the Russians are feverishly preparing to fight World War III and we are not. The following are just a few of the next-generation weapons that Russia will use against the United States during the next great global war…

The Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

Most Americans have heard of the infamous SS-18 “Satan” intercontinental ballistic missiles. But these are now being replaced by the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile

The Sarmat (also known as Sarmatian) is a Russian liquid-fueled, MIRV-equipped, super-heavy thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missile in development as of early 2015, intended to replace the previous SS-18 Satan and carry extensive counter-missile defense measures. Its large payload would allow for up to 10 heavy warheads or 15 lighter ones, and/or a combination of warheads and massive amounts of countermeasures designed to defeat the anti-missile systems. The Sarmat is expected to be ready for deployment around 2020, but other sources state that the program is being fast-tracked and it could comprise up to 80 percent of Russia’s land-based nuclear arsenal by 2021.

As you can see below, these missiles are extremely huge…

Sarmat

The Borey Class Nuclear Submarine

Of even greater concern than the Sarmat are the new Borey class nuclear submarines that Russia is building. The following is from an article about the launch of one of these new submarines, the Vladimir Monomakh, in 2013

Russia recently launched its near silent nuclear submarine following several years of development.

The Borey Class submarine, dubbed Vladimir Monomakh, has a next generation nuclear reactor, can dive deeper than 1,200 feet, and carries up to 20 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

Each of these “Bulava” ICBM’s can carry ten detachable MIRV warheads, what they call “re-entry vehicles,” capable of delivering 150 kiloton yields per warhead (luckily, tests of the warheads only yielded 11 “successes” out of almost 20 attempts). Which doesn’t mean they aren’t a concern, MIRV’s are what shook the Cold War to its foundation when they first appeared in the 1970s.

One of the primary things that has U.S. military planners worried is how quiet these subs are. In fact, according to an RT article these subs are supposed to be “almost silent”…

It belongs to a class of missile strategic submarine cruisers with a new generation of nuclear reactor, which allows the submarine to dive to a depth of 480 meters. It can spend up to three months in autonomous navigation and, thanks to the latest achievements in the reduction of noise, it is almost silent compared to previous generations of submarines.

So why is that a problem?

Well, imagine a scenario where Russian nuclear subs approach our coastlines completely undetected and launch a barrage of missiles toward our cities and military bases. We could be wiped out before we even knew what hit us.

If you don’t think that this could ever happen, just consider the following excerpt from a Fox News article published back in 2012

A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks and its travel in strategic U.S. waters was only confirmed after it left the region, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

It is only the second time since 2009 that a Russian attack submarine has patrolled so close to U.S. shores.

If we can’t detect them, how are we going to defend against them? Here is a look at one of them in the water…

Borey Class Russian Submarine

The Bulava Submarine-Launched Nuclear Missile

The Borey class submarines are going to be carrying Bulava submarine-launched nuclear missiles. The Russians have had some difficulties with the development of these missiles, but most of those difficulties now appear to be ironed out. The following is a description of these missiles from globalsecurity.org

The Bulava (SS-NX-30) is the submarine-launched version of Russia’s most advanced missile, the Topol-M (SS-27) solid fuel ICBM. The SS-NX-30 is a derivative of the SS-27, except for a slight decrease in range due to conversion of the design for submarine launch. The SS-27 has is 21.9 meters long, far too large to fit in a typical submarine. The largest previously deployed Russian SLBM was the R-39 / SS-N-20 STURGEON, which was 16 meters long. Russian sources report that the Bulava SS-N-30 ballistic missile can carry ten warheads to a range of 8,000km. Other sources suggest that the Bulava might have a range of 10,000 km, and is reportedly features a 550 kT yield nuclear warhead. Apparently up to six MIRVs can be placed at the cost of offloading warhead shielding and decoys.

The Bulava is specifically designed to avoid interception, and each warhead is independently maneuverable to help ensure that they reach their targets intact. The following was written by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Tom Spahn

more…

http://www.infowars.com/the-next-generation-weapons-that-russia-will-use-against-the-united-states-in-world-war-iii/

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How to love yourself and others

by Thich Nhat Hanh

Metta meditation is a practice of cultivating understanding, love, and compassion by looking deeply, first for ourselves and then for others. Once we love and take care of ourselves, we can be much more helpful to others. Metta meditation can be practiced in part or in full. Just saying one line of the metta meditation will already bring more compassion and healing into the world.

To love is, first of all, to accept ourselves as we actually are. That is why in this love meditation, “Know thyself” is the first practice of love. When we practice this, we see the conditions that have caused us to be the way we are. This makes it easy for us to accept ourselves, including our suffering and our happiness at the same time.

Metta means “lovingkindness” in Pali. We begin this with an aspiration: “May I be . . . ” Then we transcend the level of aspiration and look deeply at all the positive and negative characteristics of the object of our meditation, in this case ourselves. The willingness to love is not yet love. We look deeply, with all our being, in order to understand. We don’t just repeat the words, or imitate others, or strive after some ideal. The practice of love meditation is not autosuggestion. We don’t just say, “I love myself. I love all beings.” We look deeply at our body, our feelings, our perceptions, our mental formations, and our consciousness, and in just a few weeks, our aspiration to love will become a deep intention. Love will enter our thoughts, our words, and our actions, and we will notice that we have become “peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit; safe and free from injury; and free from anger, afflictions, fear, and anxiety.”

When we practice, we observe how much peace, happiness, and lightness we already have. We notice whether we are anxious about accidents or misfortunes, and how much anger, irritation, fear, anxiety, or worry are already in us. As we become aware of the feelings in us, our self-understanding will deepen. We will see how our fears and lack of peace contribute to our unhappiness, and we will see the value of loving ourselves and cultivating a heart of compassion.

In this love meditation, “anger, afflictions, fear, and anxiety” refer to all the unwholesome, negative states of mind that dwell in us and rob us of our peace and happiness. Anger, fear, anxiety, craving, greed, and ignorance are the great afflictions of our time. By practicing mindful living, we are able to deal with them, and our love is translated into effective action.

This is a love meditation adapted from the Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification) by Buddhaghosa, a 5th-century systematization of the Buddha’s teachings.

To practice this love meditation, sit still, calm your body and your breathing, and recite it to yourself. The sitting position is wonderful for practicing this. Sitting still, you are not too preoccupied with other matters, so you can look deeply at yourself as you are, cultivate your love for yourself, and determine the best ways to express this love in the world….

more…

http://www.tricycle.com/new-buddhism/mental-discipline/cultivating-compassion

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Onto movement, Mr Abash said ‘movement is the area in which the inferential nature of reality really shines through.’ For this example he used an illusion (pictured) that causes what’s known as a motion after-effect (MAE). It is caused when visual neurons react to moving objects or stimulus
  • Comments were made by Michael Abrash, chief scientist from Facebook-owned Oculus at the social network’s annual F8 conference
  • He said we only infer the real world ‘based on the ‘sparse’ data we receive
  • This is proved by the way optical illusions trick our senses
  • As a result, he said virtual reality ‘done right’ can be observed as reality

Classic science fiction film The Matrix depicts a future in which humans experience the world in a simulated reality.

But if Facebook has its way, this fiction could become fact.

Michael Abrash, chief scientist from Facebook-owned virtual reality (VR) experts Oculus said The Matrix provides the best sense of what virtual reality could someday be like.

And he used optical tricks to prove that we are merely ‘inference machines’ and the world we see now is already an illusion.

The comments were made at the social network’s annual F8 conference in San Francisco.

‘While science fiction novels gave me the conceptual framework for thinking about VR, it was The Matrix that made me believe in it,’ Mr Abrash said.

‘Even though it was based on technology that won’t exist for decades, if ever, The Matrix gave me a deep sense of what VR could someday be like.

‘Not only how real it could be, but also how exciting it would be to bend and stretch that reality.’

In particular, he quoted a speech made by character Morpheus.

Summing up what’s truly unique about VR, the character, played by Laurence Fishburne, says: ‘What is real? How do you define real?

‘If you are talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.’

‘Unlike Morpheus, I’m not offering you a choice,’ said Mr Abrash. ‘No matter what choice you pick, we’re all headed down the rabbit hole together.’

‘While science fiction novels gave me the conceptual framework for thinking about VR, it was The Matrix that made me believe in it,' Mr Abrash said. He quoted Morpheus (played by Laurence Fishburne centre) who said in the franchise: ‘What is real? 'Real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain’

‘While science fiction novels gave me the conceptual framework for thinking about VR, it was The Matrix that made me believe in it,‘ Mr Abrash said. He quoted Morpheus (played by Laurence Fishburne centre) who said in the franchise: ‘What is real? ‘Real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain’

‘Unlike Morpheus, I’m not offering you a choice. No matter what choice you pick, we’re all headed down the rabbit hole together,' Mr Abrash said. This made references to pills offered to Neo in The Matrix. He used the illusion (pictured) to show that our brain already infers what's real based on the limited data it receives

‘Unlike Morpheus, I’m not offering you a choice. No matter what choice you pick, we’re all headed down the rabbit hole together,’ Mr Abrash said. This made references to pills offered to Neo in The Matrix. He used the illusion (pictured) to show that our brain already infers what’s real based on the limited data it receives

The red and blue colours in the previous image are simply what a viewer's brains perceive, based on the rest of the information around them. The pills are actually grey (pictured). And Mr Abrash said that even when a person knows the pills are grey, they still see them as red or blue

The red and blue colours in the previous image are simply what a viewer’s brains perceive, based on the rest of the information around them. The pills are actually grey (pictured). And Mr Abrash said that even when a person knows the pills are grey, they still see them as red or blue

This refers to the pills offered to Neo in The Matrix. If he takes the blue pill the story ends and he is told he will wake up in his bed and ‘believe whatever he wants to believe’.

Taking the red pill means he stays in The Matrix.

Mr Abrash continued that most people focus on the ‘virtual’ in virtual reality, but we should be focusing on the latter.

‘Morpheus made two critical points with his sentence: our conscious minds never actually interact with the real world and that we interact with sensors on our eyes, ears and tongue, and throughout our body. This is just a very small subset of the real world.’

He gave the example of vision. Humans only have three colour sensors, we can’t see infrared or ultraviolet and we have a blind spot in each eye.

‘Our visual data is actually astonishingly sparse and even if we were able to accurately record and process every photon that reaches our eyes, we’d still have too little data to be able to reconstruct the world accurately,’ he said.

He used the recent black and blue/white and gold dress as an example.

This illusion was repeated with a Rubik’s Cube in which the blue tiles on a yellow background were highlighted alongside the yellow tiles on the blue background (pictured)

This illusion was repeated with a Rubik’s Cube in which the blue tiles on a yellow background were highlighted alongside the yellow tiles on the blue background (pictured)

The true colours of the tiles is shown. ‘Your visual system isn’t interested in whether the photons coming from a tile on a random image are red or blue or grey.'Knowing that didn’t keep anyone from being eaten by lions on the Savannah. What it is interested in is identifying potentially relevant features, in the real world'

The true colours of the tiles is shown. ‘Your visual system isn’t interested in whether the photons coming from a tile on a random image are red or blue or grey.’Knowing that didn’t keep anyone from being eaten by lions on the Savannah. What it is interested in is identifying potentially relevant features, in the real world’

‘Our visual system takes its best guess and sends that to the conscious mind,’ he continued.

‘The way that the brain compensates for the limited data it receives is by maintaining a model of the real world that it constantly updates as new data comes in.

HOW THE MOTION AFTER-EFFECT ILLUSION WORKS

The motion after-effect (MAE) can be explained by changes in visual neurons that respond in certain ways to moving parts within an image.

In the brain, there are cells are tuned to respond to different features and directions of an image or stimulus.

For example, there are cells in the brain that are sensitive to motion in a clockwise direction, but there are also cells that are sensitive to motion in the opposite direction.

When there is no movement within an image, these cells produce roughly the same response.

But, in the case of a simple MAE illusion, as the circles spin in a clockwise motion, the cells that are sensitive to this direction use energy and become tired.

When the spinning stops, the cells sensitive to motion in an anti-clockwise direction take over and become active – in a bid to restore the balance.

This causes even stationary items to look like they’re moving in that opposite direction for a short time.

‘And it is that model, not the real world, that you experience and trust implicitly. We are inference machines, not objective observers.

‘The fact that reality is whatever your mind infers from the nerve impulses sent to sensors, based on the model of the world, is at the heart of what makes VR different and more powerful than anything that has ever come before.’

He then gave three examples that demonstrate how this inference models breaks down.

The first showed a red and blue pill on hands that were shown on a yellow background.

He used this to reveal that the colours of the pills are the same shade of grey, and the red and blue colours that people see are simply what their brains perceive, based on the rest of the information around them.

And even when a person knows that the pills are grey, they still see them as red or blue.

This was repeated with a Rubik’s Cube in which the blue tiles on a yellow background were highlighted alongside the yellow tiles on the blue background.

‘Your visual system isn’t interested in whether the photons coming from a tile on a random image are red or blue or grey.

‘Knowing that didn’t keep anyone from being eaten by lions on the Savannah.

‘What it is interested in is identifying potentially relevant features, in the real world, under a variety of conditions.

‘Your visual system constantly corrects for the colours in the scene. It is reverse engineering reality rather than just recording it. The colours seen are your brain’s “best guess.”’

Welcome to the rabbit hole’…

The documentary was screened in America on Sunday evening and is based on Lawrence Wright's book

The documentary was screened in America on Sunday evening and is based on Lawrence Wright’s book

  • Going Clear documentary claims to reveal secrets of Scientology religion
  • It alleges the church has a ‘blackmail file’ on John Travolta from auditing sessions and members are thrown into ‘The Hole’ to confess their crimes and vie for places by playing musical chairs to Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Sylvia ‘Spanky’ Taylor, who once acted as the intermediary between the church and John Travolta, said people were punished with 30 hours labour
  • Scientologists rejected allegations saying they are from ‘admitted liars’

Scientologists hold a ‘blackmail file’ on John Travolta to stop him leaving the faith, which includes ‘damaging material’ from his sessions with auditors at the church, it has been claimed.

A documentary investigating the religion and its secret California-based headquarters features a number of allegations about how members are threatened and tortured in prison-style camps and cut off from their family if they decide to leave Scientology.

Others belonging to the most senior order of the faith have been forced to play musical chairs to the sound of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in a fight to secure a chair to stay in the church, it was claimed.

The allegations featured in ‘Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief’, a documentary shown on HBO in America on Sunday evening.

The claims have been disputed by the Church of Scientology who have branded those who featured in the show – many former senior members – as ‘admitted’ liars and perjurers and ‘professional anti-Scientologists.’

Directed by Alex Gibney, Going Clear aimed to expose the secrets behind the mysterious faith followed by thousands of people including film stars John Travolta and Tom Cruise. It included interviews with former senior members and officials who made explosive claims about punishments endured by members and how followers have been manipulated.

These included descriptions of a ‘prison camp’, revealed by former member Sylvia ‘Spanky’ Taylor. People put into this camp are forced to do around 30 hours of hard labour, broken up by three hour rest breaks.

Spanky was once the point of contact between the Church and Travolta and said she was sent to this ‘prison camp’, known as the Rehabilitation Project Force which, she claims, is where members are ‘reindoctrinated.’

The documentary also claimed Scientology chiefs hold a ‘black PR package’ on Travolta, with all the disclosures he made during auditing sessions. During these sessions a trained auditor asked pointed questions such as ‘What are you willing for me to talk to others about?’

Travolta is said to have requested that his sessions were not filmed, but secret cameras were allegedly installed anyway.

As well as the claims about Travolta, former senior members of the faith told documentary makers about the various forms of punishment meted out by leaders.

Another form of punishment involved members of the highest ranking order within the Scientology church, Sea Org, whose members are said to be punished by being thrown in ‘The Hole’.

As well as beatings in ‘The Hole’, they are allegedly also subjected to demeaning tasks including mopping up the floor with their tongue to force t them to confess their crimes against the Church.

Others are apparently ordered to play musical chairs to the sound of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody – fighting each other for chairs which allow them to remain in the church, with losers being expelled.

Being expelled from the Church of Scientology comes at a high price, because all friends and family that are still with the religion are forced to cut any ties with departing members.

Scientology is believed to be one of the reasons behind the breakdown of Tom Cruise’s marriage to Katie Holmes because he was understood to have wanted to send their daughter Suri to Sea Org, according to reports at the time. In an interview with the New Yorker in 2012, Scientology spokesmen denied the claims.

This strictest order of Scientology is run with rigid rules, with members being paid just $50 a week and being forced to leave if they have children. Members must pledge their allegiance to the faith for a billion years.

It has also been claimed that the church helped Cruise find a new girlfriend when he opened a new site in Spain and was single.

Officials are said to have found scientologist Nazanin Boniadi and had her braces removed, spent $20,000 on clothes and had her hair dyed to Cruise’s liking, the Huffington Post reported. The relationship soon ended.

Former senior executive Mark ‘Marty’ Rathbun was also interviewed for the documentary and made claims about the church’s tax requirements. Rathbun was a senior aide to the current leader of the Church of Scientology, and alleged the church’s goal was to be recognised by the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) in order to be made a fully tax-exempt religion, which it achieved in 1993.

Members are said to have filed dozens of lawsuits against IRS and employed private investigators to dig for information in a bid to get the church recognized…

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3017714/Scientology-documentary-claims-reveal-shocking-secrets-celebrity-religion.html#ixzz3VtTR0vKE
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