Newly Discovered Fossils Hint That All Dinosaurs May Have Had Feathers

photo credit: Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus in its lacustrine environment. Image credit: Andrey Atuchin

Over 30 species of non-avian dinosaurs have been confirmed to have feathers, either from direct fossilized evidence of feathers, or other indicators, such as quill knobs. Up until now, all of those dinosaurs were confirmed to be carnivorous theropods, like Velociraptor and the ancestors of birds. However, fossilized remains of a new type of herbivorous dinosaur indicate that all dinosaurs may have had feathers. The study was led by Pascal Godefroit from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural History in Brussels and the results were published in Science.

The fossils were discovered at the Kulinda site in Siberia, along the banks of the Olov River. The new species, Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, was discovered in 2013 and preliminary K-Ar testing estimates that the species lived about 169-150 million years ago. It was approximately 3 meters long, which is relatively small for a dinosaur. The bipedal animal had short forelimbs and longer hind legs with five digits. The description was made based on hundreds of incomplete skeletons, including six skulls.

The fact that the skeletons were not found intact could indicate that while the dinosaurs were alive, that environment had rivers. Upon the dinosaur’s death, the water likely transported the animal, causing portions of the skeleton to disassociate. These particular individuals were likely covered by sediment on the bottom of the river, protecting the carcass from scavengers, and allowing imprints from the feathers and scales to be preserved.

“I was really amazed when I saw this,” Godefroit stated in a press release. “We knew that some of the plant-eating ornithischian dinosaurs had simple bristles, and we couldn’t be sure whether these were the same kinds of structures as bird and theropod feathers.  Our new find clinches it: all dinosaurs had feathers, or at least the potential to sprout feathers.”

The fossilized feathers were sent to specialists who had previous experience with dinosaur feathers. The feathers discovered at the Kulinda site were in remarkable condition, allowing the experts to determine that the feathers were composed of filaments that connected at the base, rather than along a central shaft, like is seen in many modern birds.

“Developmental experiments in modern chickens suggest that avian scales are aborted feathers, an idea that explains why birds have scaly legs,” co-author Danielle Dhouailly added. “The astonishing discovery is that the molecular mechanisms needed for this switch might have been so clearly related to the appearance of the first feathers in the earliest dinosaurs.”

The researchers suspect that feathers were a common feature among dinosaurs, particularly smaller ones. They were likely used to insulate the animals, and evolved to aid in flight much later. Fossils have shown evidence of feathered dinosaurs over a 50 million year timespan, and it is possible that they first appeared 220 million years ago in the Triassic. Of course, it is a bit speculative to assume that every dinosaur could have had feathers, and a great deal of research will be needed to fully explore the prevalence of feathers among dinosaurs.



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New Method Actually Cuts HIV Out Of Human DNA

Researchers from Temple University School of Medicine have developed a method to target and snip out HIV-1 DNA from infected cells which not only successfully eliminated the virus in the lab, but also immunized uninfected cells against infection. The researchers believe this may be a step towards a permanent cure for HIV and could even be translated into an effective mechanism for controlling other viral infections. The study has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



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HIV/AIDS is one of the most devastating pandemics recorded in human history and continues to be a global burden. Since the dawn of this pandemic, it is estimated that around 75 million people have been infected with HIV and around 36 million have died as a result of infection.

Despite advances in knowledge and treatment, there is no vaccine and drugs are not curative. There are several reasons that therapies fail to eliminate the virus from the body, but one particular hurdle is the fact that HIV permanently inserts its genome into our own, a process called integration. The virus is then able to hide away in certain cells, creating what is known as a latent reservoir, replicating at very low levels. As soon as a patient stops taking drugs, replication is kick started. Furthermore, long-term use of toxic anti-HIV drugs can have health consequences. Therefore, in order for treatments to be effective, these reservoirs need to be permanently eliminated, which current regimens cannot succeed in.

In an attempt to tackle this problem, Temple scientists developed a two-stage system to snip out HIV-1 DNA from the host genome. HIV-1 is one of two types of HIV, the other being HIV-2. While both are important, HIV-1 is responsible for the majority of infections worldwide.

The researchers first targeted specific HIV-1 sequences called long terminal repeats (LTRs). These are repetitive DNA sequences located at both ends of the viral genome that are used to insert the HIV DNA into the host genome and also control viral gene expression. They did this by generating highly specific sequences of RNA called guide RNAs (gRNAs). They then used a bacterial nuclease enzyme called Cas9 which snips out the DNA between the two target sequences. This resulted in the complete excision of the HIV-1 DNA from the host cells with no off-target effects on the host genome. Host repair machinery then took over and stuck the DNA strands back together.

They found this to be successful in several different cell lines, including those that are the primary target for HIV. Furthermore, when the researchers added this system to uninfected cells it successfully prevented infection with the virus, indicating it could be used as a preventative measure as well as a treatment.

While the team has a long way to go before this can be used in humans, they believe this could lead to a valid method to cure HIV and are currently working towards preclinical studies. Furthermore, the approach could easily be personalized to suit the unique viral sequences of different patients, and maybe even developed to target other viruses.

New Element Confirmed

photo credit: OTNL. We can’t see the new element 117, but the berkelium used to make it is held between these tweezers

The periodic table has been extended, with the announcement of the confirmation of the yet to be named element 117.
In 2010 a US Russian collaboration announced they had produced atoms of an element with 117 protons, filling a gap that appeared when 118 was made four years earlier. However International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) insists on corroboration by two independent teams before it allows new elements to be added to the Periodic Table, although a temporary name of Ununseptium is in use until confirmation has been made. It has taken four years, but this appears to have finally arrived.
“Making element 117 is at the absolute boundary of what is possible right now,” says Professor David Hinde of the Australian National University, one of the authors of a paper published today in Physics Review Letters “That’s why it’s a triumph to create and identify even a few of these atoms.”
Hinde was part of a team at the GSI laboratory in Germany who fused calcium 48 and berkelium 249. This is not easy, because berkelium 249 is both hard to produce in substantial quantities and has a half life of 320 days. Less than half of any amount produced will still be around a year after it was made, which means transportation and purification can’t wait. The resulting product, like all atoms heavier than lead, was unstable. By watching the alpha particles emitted the team concluded that these were the product of two decay chains, both originating with 294117, that is an atom with 117 protons and 177 neutrons. One of the chains included the isotopes 270Db and266Lr, the latter adding four neutrons to the previous highest isotope of lawrencium.
In general large atoms have shorter half lives, that is decay more quickly through radiation, as their masses become greater. However, what are know as islands of stability exist, and the authors believe the one hour half life of 270Db “marks an important step towards the observation of even more long-lived nuclei of superheavy elements located on an “island of stability.’”
The manufacturing process was hardly efficient. More than 1019 atoms of 48Ca, not a common isotope in its own right, were fired at the berkelium to produce just four atoms of 117. Nevertheless, Hinde says, “On the basis of this paper it is likely that element 117 will be accepted.”
Element 117 is the most recent of six elements first announced by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia. Of these 113, 115 and 118 remain unconfirmed, although claims have been made for the first two.
Such a small sample does not allow us to learn much about the chemistry of element 117. Ununseptium’s position on the periodic table places it under the halogen gases such as fluorine and chlorine, but the strong capacity to capture electrons that makes these so reactive weakens as you go down the table, and in fact it is thought if one could ever produce enough to observe chemical interactions it would be more likely to lose electrons than gain them .
With a dozen new discoveries since he wrote The Elements, maybe it is time for Tom Lehrer to come out of retirement to add more lines to his song. Well we can hope.
Meanwhile Hinde has still greater dreams. “The big question is, how can we create elements 119 and 120?” To do this, however, a projectile heavier than 48Ca will need to be found. Hinde is working on identifying the best candidate.

Read more at http://www.iflscience.com/chemistry/new-element-confirmed#wUVwIg7zTuj7yBQ9.99

Found! First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support Life

For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-size alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an “Earth cousin” that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life.

 

This artist illustration shows what it might be like to stand on the surface of the planet Kepler-186f, the first-ever Earth-size planet to be found in the habitable zone of its star.

This artist illustration shows what it might be like to stand on the surface of the planet Kepler-186f, the first-ever Earth-size planet to be found in the habitable zone of its star. Credit: Danielle Futselaar 

The newfound planet, called Kepler-186f, was first spotted by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and circles a dim red dwarf star about 490 light-years from Earth. While the host star is dimmer than Earth’s sun and the planet is slightly bigger than Earth, the positioning of the alien world coupled with its size suggests that Kepler-186f could have water on its surface, scientists say. You can learn more about the amazing alien planet find in a videoproduced by Space.com. “One of the things we’ve been looking for is maybe an Earth twin, which is an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a sunlike star,” Tom Barclay, Kepler scientist and co-author of the new exoplanet research, told Space.com. “This [Kepler-186f] is an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a cooler star. So, while it’s not an Earth twin, it is perhaps an Earth cousin. It has similar characteristics, but a different parent.”

This artist illustration shows the planet Kepler-186f, the first Earth-size alien planet discovered in the habitable zone of its star.

This artist illustration shows the planet Kepler-186f, the first Earth-size alien planet discovered in the habitable zone of its star. Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-CalTech


exoearth-habitable-rocky-earth-kepler-186f-140416a-02

The rocky alien planet Kepler 186f is an Earth-size world that could have liquid water on its surface, and possibly even life. It orbits a star 490 light-years away.See the full details of alien planet Kepler-186f in this Space.com infographic. Credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist

Potentially habitable planet

Scientists think that Kepler-186f — the outermost of five planets found to be orbiting the star Kepler-186 — orbits at a distance of 32.5 million miles (52.4 million kilometers), theoretically within the habitable zone for a red dwarf. Earth orbits the sun from an average distance of about 93 million miles (150 million km), but the sun is larger and brighter than the Kepler-186 star, meaning that the sun’s habitable zone begins farther out from the star by comparison to Kepler-186. “This is the first definitive Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone around another star,” Elisa Quintana, of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center and the lead author of a new study detailing the findings, said in a statement. Other planets of various sizes have been found in the habitable zones of their stars. However, Kepler-186f is the first alien planet this close to Earth in size found orbiting in that potentially life-supporting area of an extrasolar system, according to exoplanet scientists. ‘An historic discovery’ “This is an historic discovery of the first truly Earth-size planet found in the habitable zone around its star,” Geoff Marcy, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley, who is unaffiliated with the research, told Space.com via email. “This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found. The results are absolutely rock-solid. The planet itself may not be, but I’d bet my house on it. In any case, it’s a gem.” The newly discovered planet measures about 1.1 Earth radii, making it slightly larger than Earth, but researchers still think the alien world may be rocky like Earth. Researchers still aren’t sure what Kepler-186f’s atmosphere is made of, a key element that could help scientists understand if the planet is hospitable to life.  [Kepler-186f: Earth-Size World Could Support Oceans, Maybe Life (Infographic)] “What we’ve learned, just over the past few years, is that there is a definite transition which occurs around about 1.5 Earth radii,” Quintana said in a statement. “What happens there is that for radii between 1.5 and 2 Earth radii, the planet becomes massive enough that it starts to accumulate a very thick hydrogen and helium atmosphere, so it starts to resemble the gas giants of our solar system rather than anything else that we see as terrestrial.”

This diagram shows the position of Kepler-186f in relation to Earth.

This diagram shows the position of Kepler-186f in relation to Earth. Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-CalTech

The edge of habitability

Kepler-186f actually lies at the edge of the Kepler-186 star’s habitable zone, meaning that liquid water on the planet’s surface could freeze, according to study co-author Stephen Kane of San Francisco State University. Because of its position in the outer part of the habitable zone, the planet’s larger size could actually help keep its water liquid, Kane said in a statement. Since it is slightly bigger than Earth, Kepler-186f could have a thicker atmosphere, which would insulate the planet and potentially keep its water in liquid form, Kane added. “It [Kepler-186f] goes around its star over 130 days, but because its star is a lower mass than our sun, the planet orbits slightly inner of where Mercury orbits in our own solar system,” Barclay said. “It’s on the cooler edge of the habitable zone. It’s still well within it, but it receives less energy than Earth receives. So, if you’re on this planet [Kepler-186f], the star would appear dimmer.” Exoplanet hunting in the future Kepler-186f could be too dim for follow-up studies that would probe the planet’s atmosphere. NASA’sJames Webb Space Telescope — Hubble’s successor, expected to launch to space in 2018 — is designed to image planets around relatively nearby stars; however, the Kepler-186 system might be too far off for the powerful telescope to investigate, Barclay said. Scientists using the Kepler telescope discovered Kepler-186f using the transit method: When the planet moved across the face of its star from the telescope’s perspective, Kepler recorded a slight dip in the star’s brightness, allowing researchers to learn more about the planet itself. Kepler suffered a major malfunction last year and is no longer working in the same fashion, but scientists are still going through the spacecraft’s trove of data searching for new alien worlds. “I find it simply awesome that we live in a time when finding potentially habitable planets is common, and the method to find them is standardized,” MIT exoplanet hunter and astrophysicist Sara Seager, who is unaffiliated with the research, told Space.com via email. The new research was published online today (April 17) in the journal Science.

Brazilian Inventors Produce Overunity Energy Generator Called ‘Earth Electron Captor’

earthelectrondevice-e1383699377356

Two Brazilian inventors, Nilson Barbosa and Cleriston Leal, claim to have invented a free energy device and are now selling this device to the public. The device is called the Earth Electron Captor Generator, or “GERADOR CAPTOR DE ELÉTRONS DA TERRA” in Portuguese.

Induction-Conductor-Interconnection-Element-Barbosa-Close-Up

They are presently only offering the device to people who live in the city of Imperatriz. However, they are working to license production with several manufacturing firms that will allow for online sales. Their website says they will update their page with distributor information when it becomes available. The rumor mill says global distributors will come online in January of 2014.

The device requires a small amount of initial input power to initiate the movement of a sensor, which then produces over-unity power. The device is small, which means it can be used to power vehicles, homes, and businesses.  The site claims the input power needed to run it is around 2% of its output power.

Evolusions-in-Energy_device_peq_401878915

They have several sizes of the generator. The smallest prototype they built is capable of generating 12.1 kw of power, with a load of 6000 watts, using only 21 watts input energy. The prototype unit weighs 1.5 kg measuring 20x30x15 cm. The average home needs around 15 kw of power.

The product looks legit. If this is for real, it will replace Dark Wallet as the second most important creation in the history of man, behind Bitcoin of course.  The petro-dollar will surely topple in the face of this invention.

Back in September, a Brazilian newspaper reported that the two inventors were arrested for supposedly receiving stolen goods. Apparently they had all of their equipment confiscated during the raid.  The report says they were found to have two energy meters that belonged to a Brazilian energy cooperative.

The two said they were given the energy meters by an engineer of the cooperative. Their lawyers said they were going to file a corpus delicti motion, which means they don’t believe any crime has been committed because they were freely given the meters to use, and the engineer who gave them the meters had even published a report on the internet about it. The two were released on bail. The rumor mill says “that everything is fine now.”  From the Peswiki notice, it appears that they are still in operation.

 

Here’s a video that apparently shows the device being used to power an industrial facility in Brazil.  This video was published on October 3, 2013, not too long after the device went on sale.  If this is a hoax, it’s a pretty damn elaborate one.

Update January 30, 2014:

PESN is reporting that one of their people witnessed the Captor in operation first hand, stating that, “Fernando Lins, witnessed the Captor produce 169 kW (797 A at 212 V) while being powered from a 12-V battery through a 2,000-Watt inverter that was providing the Captor with just 1,650 W (7.5 A at 220 V) — a gain of more than a hundred times!”

Related News (1/21/2014):  BlackLight Power Announces 10 Mega Watt Free Energy Device

Source

Website: http://energiauniversal.eco.br

Hundreds of New Exoplanets Validated by Kepler Telescope Team

A trove of 715 planets—all members of multiworld systems—joins the list of Kepler’s finds

 
kepler planets
The newly validated Kepler planets are all part of multiworld systems with numerous planets orbiting a single star.
NASA

A huge new haul of planets has joined the tally of alien worlds discovered by NASA’sKepler space telescope, scientists announced today. All of the new planets are members of multiplanet systems—stars with more than one orbiting satellite. Researchers used a new method for weeding out false signals from among the candidate planets found by Kepler, allowing them to add hundreds of “validated” planets to the count of Kepler’s finds. “We studied just over 1,200 systems, and from there we were able to validate 719 planets,” says Jason Rowe of NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., who led the research.* “This is the biggest haul ever.”Kepler launched in 2009 and stopped taking data last year after two of its stabilizingreaction wheels failed. Its relatively short lifetime, however, has already offered up a wealth of discovery, including more than 3,500 planetary candidates as well as 246 worlds confirmed by follow-up observations. The new harvest brings its tally of true planets to over 1,000.

Kepler searches for planets by measuring stellar brightness dips caused when a planet passes in front of a star, briefly dimming the star’s light. This technique, called the transiting method, is more than 90 percent accurate, but sometimes a nonplanet can fool the telescope. One of the most common reasons for a “false positive” is an eclipsing binary—a pair of orbiting stars that sometimes cross in front of one another from our perspective—lying along the same line of sight as the foreground star Kepler is studying. Eclipsing binaries dim when one star passes in front of the other, mimicking the dimming effect a planet would have.

Stars with a single planet can be hard to distinguish from eclipsing binaries. But multiplanet systems are far less likely to be frauds. “It happens, but it’s unlikely that you have two eclipsing binaries in the background of the same star,” says Francois Fressin of the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Mass., who was not involved in the study. “That simple fact tremendously increases the odds that they are bona fide planets.” It is also possible to have an eclipsing binary and a star with a planet lying right on top of one another, albeit extremely unlikely. “Based on that argument we started to get into the statistics to see if we can quantify that and see how many we can pull out and say with very good confidence they are validated planets,” Rowe says.

About 20 percent of the candidate planets Kepler finds inhabit systems with multiple worlds. Among this group, Rowe and his colleagues tried to weed out the small number that were likely to be false signals by examining the light signature of the candidate planets. The light from a single planetary system would be centered on one point, the parent star. An eclipsing binary in the background, however, would probably not lie exactly behind the main star, but would be offset by a small distance. When this binary blinks out as one star crosses the other, the center of the light in the field of view should shift over to the side, creating a signature called a moving centroid. “The moving centroids are the ones where we’re fairly sure they are false positives, and then we have a subset, the majority of them, that we are very confident are planetary systems and show no sign of blends,” Rowe says.

The idea that multiplanet systems are easier to validate is not new, and researchers have previously studied how to winnow out the small number of false positives. “I made this argument [in 2011] but now it has been worked out in careful detail,” says David Latham of the CfA. “Jason has done a really nice job.”

The new cache of planets is extremely unlikely to harbor imposters, but they are not “confirmed planets,” in the traditional sense. That requires measuring the parent star’s motion to determine how much the planets’ gravitational tugging causes it to wobble, revealing the planets’ mass. “Even though we can be very confident that these objects are real planets, the only information we have right now on their physical properties is their size (radius) and expected equilibrium temperature (which depends on the distance to their parent star, which is known),” says Guillermo Torres of the CfA.

Among the new trove of planets: a small, potentially rocky world; an odd binary star system where each star has planets of its own; and cramped systems where the multiple planets are each gravitationally tugging one another around. “Of course we have every type of planetary system in our validated set that people can think of, except the perfect Earth analogue,” Rowe says. For now, that remains Kepler’s holy grail.

*Editor’s Note (2/26/14): The tally of 719 exoplanet validations announced in the quote was restated as 715 by the Kepler team shortly after this story was posted.

The Theory That Water Has Memory

New research from the Aerospace Institute of the University of Stuttgart in Germany supports the theory that water has a memory, a claim that could change our whole way of looking at the world.

 

Does water have memory? Can it retain an “imprint” of energies to which it has been exposed?

This theory was first proposed by the late French immunologist Dr. Jacques Benveniste, in a controversial article published in 1988 in Nature, as a way of explaining how homeopathy works.

Benveniste’s theory has continued to be championed by some and disputed by others.

The video clip below, from the Oasis HD Channel, shows some fascinating recent experiments with water “memory” from the Aerospace Institute of the University of Stuttgart in Germany.

The results with the different types of flowers immersed in water are particularly evocative.

 

If Benveniste is right, just think what that might mean. More than 70 percent of our planet is covered in water.

The human body is made of 60 percent water; the brain, 70 percent; the lungs, nearly 90 percent.

Our energies might be traveling out of our brains and bodies and into those of other living beings of all kinds through imprints on this magical substance. 

300+ Mind Expanding Documentaries

mind expanding docs

I watch a lot of documentaries. I think they are incredible tools for learning and increasing our awareness of important issues. The power of an interesting documentary is that it can open our minds to new possibilities and deepen our understanding of the world. On this list of mind expanding documentaries you will find different viewpoints, controversial opinions and even contradictory ideas. Critical thinking is recommended. I’m not a big fan of conspiracy documentaries but I do like films that challenge consensus reality and provoke us to question the everyday ideas, opinions and practices we usually take for granted.

Watching documentaries is one of my favorite methods of self-education. If I find a documentary inspiring, I usually spend more time researching the different ideas and interesting people interviewed in the film.

I hope you find these documentaries as enlightening as I did!

If you notice that a link is broken, please let me know in the comments and I’ll update it.

Thanks to Kyle Pearce & DIY Genius for this awesome list!

[1] Life In The Biosphere

Explore the wonder and interconnectedness of the biosphere through the magic of technology.

1. Home
2. How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth
3. The Magical Forest
4. Ants: Nature’s Secret Power
5. Mt. Everest: How It Was Made
6. Mariana’s Trench: The Deepest Spot On Earth
7. Natural World: The Andes
8. Shining Mountains: The Rockies
9. Grand Canyon: How It Was Made
10. The Intelligence of Plants

[2] Creativity and Design:

Learn about all the amazing things that people create with their imaginations.

1. Everything Is A Remix
2. The Creative Brain: How Insight Works
3. Blow Your Mind
4. Design: The New Business
5. PressPausePlay: Art and Creativity in the Digital Age
6. Infamy: A Graffiti Documentary
7. Influencers: How Trends and Creativity Become Contagious
8. RIP: A Remix Manifesto
9. Design: e² – Sustainable Architecture
10. The Genius Of Design

[3] The Education Industrial Complex:

The modern school where young minds are moulded into standardized citizens by the state.

1. The College Conspiracy
2. Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk
3. The Forbidden Education
4. Default: The Student Loan Documentary
5. College Inc.
6. Education For A Sustainable Future
7. Networked Society: The Future of Learning
8. The Ultimate History Lesson With John Taylor Gatto
9. The Education System in Communist China
10. The War On Kids

[4] The Digital Revolution:

The Internet is now the driving force behind change and innovation in the world.

1. Download: The True Story of the Internet
2. The Age of Big Data
3. Resonance: Beings of Frequency
5. Life In A Day
6. Networked Society: On The Brink
7. Us Now: Social Media and Mass Collaboration
8. WikiRebels: The WikiLeaks Story
9. The Virtual Revolution: The Cost of Free
10. How Hackers Changed the World

[5] A New Civilization:

We are at the dawn of a new golden age of human inventiveness.

1. THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take?
2. Zeitgeist III: Moving Forward
3. Paradise or Oblivion
4. 2012: Time For Change
5. The Crisis of Civilization
6. The Collective Evolution II
7. The Quickening: Awakening As One
8. 2012 Crossing Over: A New Beginning
9. Collapse
10. The Awakening

[6] Politics:

Explore the politics of power and control and how it affects your life.

1. Owned and Operated
2. UnGrip
3. The Power Principle
4. The True Story of Che Guevara
5. Earth Days
6. Capitalism Is The Crisis
7. WikiLeaks: The Secret Life of a Superpower
8. The Putin System
9. The War On Democracy
10. Rise Like Lions: Occupy Wall Street and the Seeds of Revolution

[7] Biographies of Genius:

The biographies of modern geniuses who pushed humanity forward.

1. Isaac Newton: The Last Magician
2. Nikola Tesla: The Greatest Mind of All Time
3. The Unlimited Energy of Nicola Tesla
4. The Missing Secrets Of Nikola Tesla
5. Richard Feynman: No Ordinary Genius
6. How Albert Einstein’s Brain Worked
7. The Extraordinary Genius of Albert Einstein
8. The Biography of Albert Einstein
9. Da Vinci: Unlocking The Genius
10. Leonardo Da Vinci: The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything

[8] War:

War is history’s oldest racket for stealing from the powerless and redistributing resources to the powerful.

1. Psywar: The Real Battlefield Is Your Mind
2. The History of World War II
3. The Secret History of 9/11
4. Robot Armies in the Future
5. The Never Ending War in Afghanistan
6. Shadow Company: Mercenaries In The Modern World
7. World War II From Space
8. Why We Fight
9. The Fog Of War
10. The Oil Factor: Behind The War On Terror

[9] Economics:

Learn about the financial system works and how people and societies are enslaved through debt.

1. The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
2. Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis
3. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of The World
4. The One Percent
5. Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street
6. The Last Days Of Lehman Brothers
7. The Four Horsemen
8. Inside Job: The Biggest Robbery In Human History
9. Capitalism A Love Story
10. Money and Life

[10] Digital Entrepreneurship:

Profiles of the entrepreneurs who used technology to change the world.

1. The Life Of A Young Entrepreneur
2. Profile: Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin
3. Profile: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg
4. Starting-Up in America
5. The Biography of Bill Gates
6. Inside Google: The Billion Dollar Machine
7. Steve Jobs: One Last Thing
8 . Steve Jobs: The Billion Dollar Hippy
9. Elon Musk: Risk Takers
10. The Story of Twitter

[11] Sports:

Watch the inspiring stories of amazing athletes.

1. Fearless: The Jeb Corliss Story
2. Carts of Darkness
3. The Two Escobars
4. Usain Bolt: The World’s Fastest Man
5. Wayne Gretzky: The Life and Times
6. When We Were Kings
7. Mike Tyson: Beyond the Glory
8. Birdmen
9. The Legacy Of Michael Jordan
10. We Ride: The Story of Snowboarding

[12] Technology:

Find out more about the impact of exponential growth and the approaching Singularity.

1. Ray Kurzweil: The Transcendent Man
2. How Robots Will Change the World
3. Human 2.0
4. Tomorrow’s World: Life In The Future
5. Trance-Formation: The Future of Humanity
6. The Venus Project: Future By Design
7. Bionics, Transhumanism And The End Of Evolution
8. The Singularity Is Near
9. Car Technology Of The Future
10. Powering The Future: The Energy Revolution

[13] Origins of Religion:

Explore the original religious experience of mankind at the dawn of civilization.

1. Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within
2. Manifesting the Mind: Footprints of the Shaman
3. Ancient Egypt and The Alternative Story of Mankind’s Origins
4. The Hidden Knowledge of the Supernatural
5. Re-Awaken: Open Your Heart, Expand Your Mind
6. Shamans of the Amazon
7. The Root of All Evil: The God Delusion
8. Ancient Knowledge
9. The Naked Truth
10. Before Babel: In Search of the First Language

[14] Western Religion:

The fascinating history of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

1. Secret Quest: The Path of the Christian Gnostics
2. The Secret Gate of Eden
3. Forbidden Knowledge: Lost Secrets of the Bible
4. Banned From The Bible: Secrets Of The Apostles
5.  The Life of Prophet Muhammad
6. The Road To Armageddon
7. The Most Hated Family In America
8. Muhammad: The Legacy of a Prophet
9. A Complete History of God
10. Gnosis: The Untold History of the Bible

[15] Eastern Religion:

Expand your mind by also studying the entirely different religious worldviews of the East.

1. Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds
2. The Life Of The Buddha
3. The Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World
4. Mysteries of the Cosmic OM: Ancient Vedic Science
5. Where Science and Buddhism Meet
6. The Yogis of Tibet
7. Taj Mahal: Secrets To Blow Your Mind
8. Light at the Edge of the World: Tibetan Science of the Mind
9. Myths of Mankind: The Mahabharata
10. Ayurveda: The Art of Being

[16] Consciousness:

Learn about the basic unity of existence and the miracle of consciousness.

1. Athene’s Theory of Everything
2. Theory of Everything: GOD, Devils, Dimensions, Dragons & The Illusion of Reality
3. The God Within: Physics, Cosmology and Consciousness
4. 5 Gateways: The Five Key Expansions of Consciousness
5. Return to the Source: Philosophy and The Matrix
6. The Holographic Universe
7. DMT: The Spirit Molecule
8. What Is Consciousness?
9. Kymatica
10. Neuroplasticity: The Brain That Changes Itself

[17] Mysteries:

Indiana Jones-style explorations into the unsolved mysteries of the past.

1. Alchemy: Sacred Secrets Revealed
2. The Day Before Disclosure
3. The Pyramid Code
4. The Secret Design of the Egyptian Pyramids
5. Decoding the Past: Secrets of the Dollar Bill
6. The Lost Gods of Easter Island
7. Origins of the Da Vinci Code
8. Forbidden Knowledge: Ancient Medical Secrets
9. Secret Mysteries of America’s Beginnings: The New Atlantis
10. Secrets in Plain Sight

[18] Mass Culture:

Learn about how our thoughts and opinions are influenced by mass culture.

1. The Century of the Self
2. All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace
3. The Power Of Nightmares
4. The Trap: What Happened To Our Dreams of Freedom
5. Starsuckers: A Culture Obsessed By Celebrity
6. Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century
7. Obey: The Death of the Liberal Class
8. Motivational Guru: The Story of Tony Robbins
9. Bob Marley: Freedom Road
10. Radiant City

[19] Corporate Media:

Discover how the mass media and advertisers channel our irrational impulses.

1. Weapons of Mass Deceptions
2. Secrets of the Superbrands
3. Orwell Rolls in his Grave
4. The Esoteric Agenda
5. Propaganda
6. The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News
7. Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
8. Symbolism in Logos: Subliminal Messages or Ancient Archetypes
9. Edward Snowden: A Truth Unveiled
10. Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

[20] Art and Literature:

Explore the lives of famous artists and how art opens people’s minds.

1. Lord Of The Rings: Facts Behind The Fiction
2. Cosm: Alex Gray’s Visionary Art
3. Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop
4. New Art and the Young Artists Behind It
5. Salvador Dali: A Master of the Modern Era
6. How Art Made The World: More Human Than Human
7. The Day Pictures Were Born
8. Guns, Germs and Steel
9. Off-Book: Digital Age Creativity
10. This Is Modern Art

[21] Health:

Explore issues in health, how our bodies work and the incredible power of our brains.

1. The Human Brain
2. The Truth About Vitamins
3. How To Live To 101
4. America’s Obesity Epidemic
5. The War On Health
6. The Beautiful Truth
7. Food Inc.
8. The Truth About Food
9. Addicted To Pleasure: Sugar
10. The Living Matrix

[22] Drugs:

Documentaries on the effect of drugs — legal and illegal — on the body and mind.

1. The Union: The Business Behind Getting High
2. The Drugging Of Our Children
3. How Marijuana Affects Your Health
4. Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging
5. Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis
6. LSD: The Beyond Within
7. The War on Drugs: The Prison Industrial Complex
8. Are Illegal Drugs More Dangerous Than Legal Drugs?
9. The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
10. Run From The Cure: The Rick Simpson Story

[23] Environment:

Thought-provoking documentaries on the environmental movement and the growing threats to our biosphere.

1. Earthlings
2. Blue Gold: World Water Wars
3. Tapped
4. Shift: Beyond the Numbers of the Climate Crisis
5. All Things Are Connected
6. The Fight For Amazonia
7. Flow: For Love Of Water
8. Here Comes the Sun
9. The World According To Monsanto
10. The Story of Stuff

[24] Cosmos:

Expand your mind by exploring our indescribably large and beautiful Cosmos.

1. The Search for Planets Similar to Earth
2. Inside the Milky Way Galaxy
3. Cosmic Journeys : The Largest Black Holes in the Universe
4. Beyond The Big Bang
5. The Mystery of the Milky Way
6. Fractals: The Hidden Dimension
7. Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking: The Story of Everything
8. Pioneer Science: Discovering Deep Space
9. Carl Sagan’s Cosmos
10. The Strangest Things In The Universe

[25] Science:

The history of scientific discovery and how scientific instruments expand our perception.

1. The Complete History of Science
2. The Quantum Revolution
3. Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell
4. Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Time
5. Quantum Mechanics: Fabric of the Cosmos
6. The Light Fantastic
7. DNA: The Secret of Life
8. Parallel Universes, Alternative Timelines & Multiverse
9. What Is The Higgs Boson?
10. Infinity

[26] Evolution:

The story of our evolution and the emergence of self-aware human beings.

1. The Origin of Life
2. Homo Sapiens: The Birth of Humanity
3. Beyond Me
4. The Global Brain
5. Metanoia: A New Vision of Nature
6. Birth Of A New Humanity
7. Samsara
8. Ape Man: Adventures in Human Evolution
9. The Incredible Human Journey
10. The Human Family Tree

[27] Psychology and The Brain:

New research is shining a spotlight on how we can improve our brains.

1. How Smart Can We Get?
2. The Science of Lust
3. The Secret You
4. What Are Dreams?
5. A Virus Called Fear
6. Beyond Thought (Awareness Itself)
7. The Human Brain
8. Superconscious Mind: How To Double Your Brain’s Performance
9. How Does Your Memory Work?
10. Secrets of the Mind

[28] Modern History:

The story of the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the modern world.

1. The Entrepreneurs Who Built America
2. History of the World in Two Hours
3. The Industrial Revolution
4. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
5. The Adventure of the English Language
6. The French Revolution
7. Big Sugar
8. The Spanish Inquisition
9. The American Revolution
10. The Mexican American War

[29] Pre-Modern History:

The story of the Americas and European history in the pre-modern world.

1. America Before Columbus
2. The Dark Ages
3. Socrates, Aristotle and Plato
4. The Medici: The Most Influencial Family In The World
5. Rome: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire
6. History of Britain: The Myth of the Anglo-Saxon Invasion
7.  A History of Celtic Britain
8. The Crusades: Victory and Defeat
9. The Vikings: Voyage To America
10. Copernicus and the Scientific Revolution

[30] Current Events:

Become more informed about current events that are shaping the world.

1. Syria: The Reckoning
2. Empire: Putin’s Russia
3. The New Arms Race
4. The Killing of Yasser Arafat
5. Egypt In Crisis
6. Inside Obama’s Presidency
7. The Untouchables: How Obama Protected Wall Street
8. Behind The Rhetoric: The Real Iran
9. A History of the Middle East since WWII
10. Climate Wars

[31] Ancient Civilizations:

Fascination explorations into the ancient civilizations of our past.

1. When God Was a Girl: When Goddesses Ruled The Heavens and Earth
2. The Persian Empire : Most Mysterious Civilization in the Ancient World
3. What The Ancients Did For Us
4. What the Ancients Knew
5. Egypt: Beyond the Pyramids
6. Secrets of the Ancient Empires
7. Constellations & Ancient Civilizations
8. Graham Hancock’s Quest For The Lost Civilization
9. Atlantis: The Lost Continent
10. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

I hope you enjoy watching some of these mind expanding documentaries! If you have a personal favorite, please share it with everyone in the comments.

10 Mind-Bending Implications of the Many Worlds Theory

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In quantum physics—the scientific study of the nature of physical reality—there is plenty of room for interpretation within the realm of what is known. The most popular mainstream interpretation, the Copenhagen interpretation, has as one of its central tenets the concept of wave function collapse. That is to say, every event exists as a “wave function” which contains every possible outcome of that event, which “collapses”—distilling into the actual outcome, once it is observed. For example, if a room is unobserved, anything and everything that could possibly be in that room exists in “quantum superposition”—an indeterminate state, full of every possibility, at least until someone enters the room and observes it, thereby collapsing the wave function and solidifying the reality.

The role of the observer has long been a source of contention for those who disagree with the theory. The strongest competition to this interpretation, and probably the second most popular mainstream interpretation (meaning, a lot of incredibly smart people think it’s a sound theory) is called the Everett interpretation after Hugh Everett, who first proposed it in 1957. It’s known colloquially as the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI), because it postulates simply that the wave function never collapses; it simply branches into its own unique world-line, resulting in every possible outcome of every situation existing in physical reality. If you’re having a hard time getting your head around that statement (and the fact that it’s held to be correct by the likes ofStephen Hawking), allow us to spell out some of the implications for you—but first, you may want to plug your ears to hold your brains in.

10. THERE IS A MULTIVERSE, AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL PHYSICAL REALITIES

Multiverse-4You’re probably familiar with the concept of “alternate universes,” and if so, probably because you’ve seen it in fiction. After all, one of the very first instances of the concept appeared in DC comics, first touched upon in a couple of issues of Wonder Woman, but firmly established in a 1961 issue ofThe Flash. The fictional “Multiverse” concept established by DC, and taken further by Marvel, is simply the concept that there exists infinite alternate realities, each containing separate and unique versions of their characters, which exist outside one another and often cross over.

This is the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics in a nutshell (without the crossing over, so far as we know). It states that since the wave function never collapses, every possible outcome of any event is realized in a separate and non-communicating physical reality, which actually exists alongside our own. It is interesting to note that this seemingly coincidental use of alternate realities, perfectly describing MWI, was put forth in a fictional medium just four years after Everett’s initial proposal of the interpretation. If MWI is correct, it is certainly not a coincidence—for fiction may be more than just made-up stories, as we’ll see later.

At any rate, this means that there is a version of you whose car broke down this morning, forcing you to take the bus (or, if that happened this morning, then vice versa). There’s also a version of you who was attacked by a dive-bombing kamikaze bald eagle, for this doesn’t just apply to mundane stuff; as a necessary consequence of Many Worlds, it must hold that…

9. HIGHLY UNUSUAL, UNLIKELY EVENTS MUST HAPPEN

CreateproductthumbnailLet’s consider an NFL football game being played. Assume that every time the quarterback throws the ball, there is a gigantic invisible die being rolled, a die which contains an infinite amount of values. The most common, likely outcomes—receiver catches the ball and scores, catches the ball but gets tackled, ball is intercepted, and so on—are assigned to a very high number, perhaps billions, of values. Very unlikely outcomes—say, the ball bounces off of the sole of the sprinting receiver’s shoe as he is hit by a linebacker, is barely scooped up off the turf by a running back, who somehow eludes all the tacklers and scores—are assigned to a low number of values. But crucially, they are still assigned.

MWI concludes that all values are rolled in some timeline somewhere, even the most unlikely ones—and inevitably, the timeline where the low-probability value gets rolled will be ours. As evidenced by the play described above, which totally happened and decided the outcome of a divisional playoff game.
And there is no ceiling of improbability, other than physics—whatever could possibly occur.

We have no way of knowing whether or not even those physical laws remain consistent across all possible world-lines, because we unfortunately can’t communicate with or visit them to ask. So even when confronted with circumstances that appear to be impossible, like a glowing ball of light that shoots fireballs at a police helicopter, or a missing woman unknowingly standing in the background of a photo being taken of her family for a newspaper story about her disappearance, it helps to remember that nothing is impossible on a large enough scale—indeed, given an infinite number of chances, literally anything you can imagine is not only possible, but inevitable. And just as inevitably, the impossible or unimaginable—given billions upon billions of chances—will happen here in our world-line. Which leads to a couple of interesting observations about human nature…

8. YOU HAVE DONE AND/OR WILL DO EVERYTHING YOU COULD EVER CONCEIVE OF

Clones-CopyIf you find it impossible to imagine a man inexplicably killing a bunch of people for no reason, or someone surviving injuries that would destroy a normal person five times over, or a pilot managing to land an airplane with all controls restricted or disabled without incurring any major injuries, you may be finding it a little less impossible now—considering what we know about how probability works in a Multiverse. But as soon as we begin to apply this to ourselves personally, the implications threaten to become overwhelming; for there are billions of versions of you—all of which are undeniably you—but many of which are very, very different from the “you” of this world-line.

The differences between those versions are as staggering and vast as your imagination, and the reality of their existence forces us to examine human nature a bit differently. Of course, you would never kill anybody (we hope), but have you ever thought about it? There is a world-line where you did. In fact, there’s a world-line where you’re the worst mass murderer ever. Conversely, there’s another where your tireless efforts and dedication to the cause brought about world peace. Did you have a band in high school? That band is the dominant musical force on the planet, somewhere. Have you always kind of wondered what would have happened had you mustered the guts to ask out that one girl or guy that one time? Well, you get the idea.

This could actually explain a lot: strong feelings of deja vu, feelings of a close connection with someone you’ve never met, morbid fascinations with things that should repulse us, or even instances of people acting strongly “out of character” in our own worldline. For as we will see, some may have a degree of “resonance” with other world-lines or versions of themselves, which can bring about the knowledge that:

7. YOU’RE NO DIFFERENT FROM ANYONE

Ripples-In-PondHinduism, along with some other schools of religious and philosophical thought, teaches the concept of reincarnation—that we as human beings manifest physically on Earth multiple times, that we can learn from our past and future “lives,” and that such learning is in fact the purpose of our existence. This belief system can be seen as an intuitive understanding of the Multiverse; and given our previous assertion about you being a mass murderer, it can be comforting to know that the experience of all facets of human nature is an explicit part of our growth.

Of course, this is not to say that anyone should kill people or engage in any other immoral behavior—after all, the purpose of this continued cycle of learning (according to Hindu belief) is to eventually learn all that there is to learn, and transcend our physical existence. Ideally, we learned many lifetimes (world-lines) ago all there was to learn from indulging the dark side of our nature.
But the kicker here is that our experience is our experience (an idea we’ll get to in a little more detail shortly)—and that all of human experience must be realized by every one of us before we can move on to wherever it is we’re moving on to.

While some believe that our destination is a type of eventual godhood, wherein we all get to preside over a universe of our own creation, others believe that the cycle simply repeats—that once everything runs down and heat death results in the destruction of all realities, our accumulated knowledge will be used to restart the cycle and create the next Multiverse. Which, of course, means that…

6. ALL OF THIS MAY HAVE HAPPENED BEFORE (AND MAY HAPPEN AGAIN)

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 At 8.22.46 PmIf reality is a continuous cycle—along the lines of “Big Bang, expansion, contraction, collapse, Big Bang again”—then, given what we believe about the Multiverse and its infinite world-lines, you have existed before. In fact, all the infinite versions of you have existed before, and will exist again—and the same goes for all of us, along with every possible idea, creation and situation throughout all of our past and future, across all realities.

In one fell swoop, this concept explains instances of both deja vu and strong feelings of predestination. Even if deja vu seems meaningless and random, and the premonition turns out to be incorrect, these things are only true of our particular world-line—and it appears that some people (or all people, just to varying degrees) are able to achieve some degree of “resonance” with alternate world-lines—another concept that first appeared in comic books.

Indeed, one of the more common forms of deja vu involves experiencing an event which we recognize from having previously dreamed it. While seen by some as precognition, this really suggests resonance with alternate (or identical but previous) world-lines—especially when you consider that the“dream world” may be seen as an alternate world-line itself, and one just as real as the waking world.

Of course, if everything that exists or will exist has already existed, this leads to the conclusion that…

 5. THERE ARE NO NEW STORIES, SONGS, EVENTS OR ANYTHING ELSE

BookbirdsMany writers of storiessongs and other artistic types describe a feeling of the pieces that they craft already existing, fully formed, waiting for the artist to come along and excavate them like fossils. In an infinite Multiverse, this makes perfect sense, for this is exactly what the pieces are.

Art is a uniquely human endeavor, and one that strives to communicate aspects of the human experience that may be difficult or impossible to communicate by other means. While it is not possible to accurately describe in any language what love “feels like,” there are plenty of ways to communicate this in art—indeed, it is through artistic expressions that resonate with us (that word again) that many of us develop our first notions of the nature of love—and that’s only one example. How should it be possible for an artist to communicate effectively, through a story, song or painting, an emotion that the reader, listener or observer has never felt before?

In our Multiverse, this is explained by the fact that these expressions of human emotion, thought, and perspective have essentially always existed, for as long as the impulses that spawned them have existed. This very piece of writing, which has been written before in order to guide another version of you to knowledge that you already have, can stand as a perfect example.

For that matter, consider the possibility that stories aren’t just stories. The Marvel Comics Multiverse acknowledges the existence of our world-line, one where superheroes don’t exist but are merely stories in books and movies. It could very well be that—since physical laws may be very different in other world-lines—these are not stories at all, but actual people and events transcribed from other realities. This goes for anything ever “imagined” or “created”—there exist world-lines where Hogwarts School and Harry Potter, Camp Crystal Lake and Jason Voorhees, Gotham City and Batman, all exist in physical reality.

And if you’re thinking that this line of reasoning—everything exists, nothing is ever created—implies that nothing is ever destroyed, well.

4. YOU ARE TECHNICALLY IMMORTAL

BraingridcircuitboardThat is exactly what it implies. The fact of our immortality in a Multiverse can be illustrated in various ways. For one thing, the First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy (such as the electrical charges generated by your brain, or the heat your body produces) cannot be created or destroyed, but simply changes form—implying that the energy that powers your body must go somewhere when it leaves, and that consciousness cannot be destroyed, but is infinite. For another, consider the thought experiment known as Quantum Immortality.

In this experiment (preceded by “thought” for a reason; for crying out loud, don’t try this), an experimenter sits in front of a device which is programmed, with 50/50 probability, to either discharge a device which kills the experimenter, or produce a click (in which case, of course, the experimenter survives). In the second case, the experimenter and all observers experience the same outcome- a click, and nothing else. But in the first—since (assuming MWI is correct) it is not possible for the experimenter to experience termination of consciousness (because consciousness is infinite)—while any observers will see the experimenter killed, the experimenter himself will experience the first outcome, the harmless click, on another world-line. Said experimenter can never experience a different outcome, and thus—no matter how unlikely it becomes after repeated attempts—will always survive the experiment, from his point of view.

This means that while we will all experience dying, we will never experience death—the termination of our consciousness. How can this be? It calls into question the very nature of consciousness, which leads us to the very real possibility that…

3. WE ARE A PROJECTION OF OURSELVES

F7E51F07In the late 1970s, physicist David Bohm formulated a theory describing what he called the Implicate and Explicate orders of existence. This theory, which is consistent with MWI, states that there is an enfolded or “Implicate” order of existence which encapsulates all of consciousness, and that there is a corresponding “Explicate” order of existence which comprises all that we physically see and experience, and is the projection of the enfolded “Implicate” order.

Bohm arrived at the controversial conclusion (along with physicist Karl Pribram, who arrived at the same conclusion independently) that the entirety of observable existence is basically the mother of all holograms. Just as a laser filtered through an encoded film produces a hologram, our collective energy of the implicate order (the laser) filtered through our human consciousness (the film) produces the explicate, physical reality (hologram).

Michael Talbot’s excellent book The Holographic Universe examines this and many other aspects of Bohm and Pribram’s theories in detail, but the overarching and inescapable conclusion—which you have likely already drawn yourself—is that:

2. WE COLLECTIVELY CREATE PHYSICAL REALITY

Hinduism-Philosophy-GodIf the Explicate is but a “projection” of the Implicate, then we—our physical selves, and indeed all of physical reality—are a “projection” of our true, unfiltered consciousness. One that we all play a hand in creating, whether we know it or not, all the time.

This one notion explains practically everything that “can’t be explained” about the world we see. Supernatural phenomena, meaningful coincidences, psychic activity—literally anything and everything makes sense when one realizes that this reality is essentially a dream, dreamed by the most powerful consciousness imaginable.

If this is the true nature of physical reality—as suggested for centuries by Hindu scholars, intuited by generations of artists and philosophers, and articulated as well as possible by our most brilliant scientific minds—then there is only one statement left to be made. Probably not coincidentally, one that was made previously as a seemingly throwaway lyric in a 1967 song, by one of our greatest artists…

1. NOTHING IS REAL

Surreal-13Throughout the history of artistic and philosophical expression, one concept rises to the surface, especially in works that are particularly influential or have a great deal of longevity. From “Strawberry Fields Forever” to Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi’s butterfly dream, to Descartes’ assertion that “I think, therefore I am” to Bill Hicks’ great “Life Is A Ride” speech, and even inchildren’s nursery rhymes—life is but a dream. A powerful dream, and one containing an infinite number of lessons for us—but a dream nonetheless.

After all, if everything—Atlantis, Luke Skywalker, your neighbor Bill—is as real as everything else, then what is reality but what we perceive? And what is our perception, if not our creation?

I know that we have to process a lot here, but do keep in mind that there are almost certainly billions of versions of you mulling over the answer to this question; and that given billions of chances to find the answer, one of your versions eventually will—as will we all.

Source/Credits: Listverse

Impaired recovery from inflammation linked to Alzheimer’s disease

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[PRESS RELEASE 14/01/2014] New research from Karolinska Institutet shows that the final stage of the normal inflammatory process may be disrupted in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. A study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia shows that levels in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid of the molecules necessary for tissue recovery through the clearance of harmful inflammatory substances are lower than normal in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The study also showed association between the lower levels of these molecules with impaired memory function.

Marianne Schultzberg Photo: Bengt J Becker

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, eventually leading to neuronal death associated with an increasing degree of memory impairment. As with other neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s is characterised by an inflammatory process in the brain. Prolonged inflammation with the release of inflammatory and toxic substances can cause further damage and neuronal death. The inflammatory process normally ends in what is known as resolution. This is an active process regulated by certain molecules, so called specialized pro-resolving mediators, where the tissue is cleared from microorganisms, debris from dead cells via an uptake mechanism (phagocytosis), and where the release of growth factors stimulates tissue repair.

 

Together with colleagues in the United States, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now shown that the levels of resolution-regulating molecules in the brain and in the cerebrospinal fluid are lower in Alzheimer’s disease than normal. The researchers have also shown that the lower levels of these molecules correlate with a lower degree of cognitive function, that is, memory capacity. The results are based on analyses of cerebrospinal fluid from 15 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, 20 patients with mild cognitive impairment and 21 control subjects. The researchers also analysed brain tissue from 10 Alzheimer’s patients and 10 control subjects.

 

“Our hypothesis is that stimulation of resolution of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease may result in reduced neuronal death in the brain, and in turn have a beneficial effect in disease progression and cognition. This is an entirely new approach and provides the opportunity to develop new treatment principles for Alzheimer’s disease,” says Professor Marianne Schultzberg, who led the study at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society.

 

In ongoing studies, the researchers are now investigating how the pro-resolving molecules affect neuronal death in cell cultures, and whether treatment in animal experiments with these substances can prevent neurodegeneration and improve memory functions. The pro-resolving molecules identified so far are derivatives of omega-3 fatty acids, which constitute a popular food supple-ment that has been ascribed several health benefits, and have received attention for beneficial effects also on factors related to Alzheimer’s disease, in line with the new results described above. In previous studies, the researchers behind these new findings have shown that omega-3 also stimulates cells to take up amyloid-beta, a protein that kills neurons and occurs in the brain in the form of plaques in Alzheimer’s disease.

 

The research was funded with support, among others, from the Swedish Research Council, Swedish Brain Power, Stockholm Community Council, the Chinese Scholarship Council, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Stiftelsen för Gamla Tjänarinnor, Alzheimerfonden, the Gun and Bertil Stohne Foundation, the Petrus and Augusta Hedlund Foundation.