#COVID19 / #Coronavirus Updates and Info Sources

#COVID19 / #Coronavirus Updates and Info Sources

As some of you know, my mom (almost 88, but mostly healthy) and I (65) live in St. Louis County, Missouri, USA, which just “confirmed” its first case of the #Coronavirus. It exists in a young woman who was allowed to return from ‘studying abroad” Italy last week unencumbered (!?!). She went to a hospital that is and therefore must live very close to us.

Who knows where she went, who else she contacted/infected, who her people are, etc.? No other info was made available, so I am feeling very cautious locally for the first time.

My mom, however, is in huge denial and refuses to cancel her four-times weekly mah jong gatherings/games with 4 – 5 elderly women (she is one of the youngest!) this week (3/8/20).

I, however, after reading up on all this, am beginning to ‘stockpile” toilet paper (not too much), tissues, non-perishable or less-perishable food, and put out the Hydrogen Peroxide spray and paper towels for her to use when she returns each day, to wipe down the handles of her cart and/or walker.

We are also going to cleanse her mah jong tiles each afternoon after she returns.
They eat lunch there twice/week, and use the bathroom frequently; plus, others use the same space (the condo’s “clubhouse”), so who the hell knows what anyone is carrying and/or shedding??). I begged her to demand that her friends to WASH THEIR HANDS every time they leave the table for any reason, before returning to play. She is pooh-poohing that request (so far).

I finally decided: if this is what kills her, so be it. At least she’s having fun. Not kidding. I’m a Buddhist, so we take a common-sense approach to everyone’s inevitable demise.

Not wishing death on anyone any time soon, but since these articles and stats are likely to be correct, we are ALL going to lose friends and loved ones, or our own lives, before this is “finished,” if it ever is…. Buckle up.

And, if you’re not sure if what you’re sneezing, coughing, or aching about is this virus, check here:
corona_virus_symptoms

So, FYI: Some great sources, in detail, below, and links, first, for more info.

Please make sure the info you “follow” is reliable, accurate, and trustworthy!

Stay safe and well. In case you are thinking: Oh, don’t be such an alarmist, read this, of the CLOSING DOWN of main population centers in Italy this weekend (3/7/20): https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51787238?fbclid=IwAR2yMGdBkvhyn8Kyae9Xt6P_dSqebjXWGbsN31Ut8EZuRTaL5GQ8MFs06qM

When/if you are self-quarantined or hospitalized and want to read utopian, romantic, non-violent sci-fi, buy my 3 ebooks and/or paperback books! Give them as gifts. Why not? http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners

Sally Ember, Ed.D. (NOT A DOCTOR OF MEDICINE)


A) One excellent ongoing and frequently updated source, here, is Germ Info, http://germinfo.org  which is excellent. Read and share from there and/or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/germinfo/permalink/2311603802276736/

B) A little light in the tunnel, for this horrible time, from Stanford University Labs: a faster and soon-to-available corona virus test kit for USA use: https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/article240974406.html

WHO-coronavirus-infographic-1

    C) This is a cogent list of info and tips, from a public health expert (Malia Jones, PhD, MPH), who posted the main part of this on Facebook and Google Docs.
******Anyone planning to travel in the next two-three weeks, or even 6-7 weeks from 3/8/20, read number 5!!!******
*************Keep reading, and share!
“What I think about COVID-19 this morning”
“March 5, 2020”
“Maybe I’m the closest thing you personally know to an infectious disease epidemiologist. Maybe not–I’m not an expert on this virus by any stretch, but I have general knowledge and training from studying epidemics that is applicable, so here are my thoughts.
“First and foremost: we are going to see a tremendous increase in the number of US cases of COVID-19 in the next week. This is not because of some new pattern in the spread of the disease, but rather due to a major change in the requirements to be tested. Until yesterday (3/4/20), if you had flulike illness but had not recently traveled to China, Italy, South Korea, or Iran, you could not be tested. This is just the way healthcare works, you get tested if you meet the case definition and the case definition included travel.
“As of yesterday (3/4/20), you can be tested if you are sick and have a doctor’s order to be tested. So expect things to feel a lot more panicky all of a sudden. We will see hundreds or thousands of new cases as a result of testing increases.
“Second: is that panic legitimate? Sort of. This is not the zombie apocalypse. The death rate of 30 deaths per 1000 cases is probably a wild overestimate. (The denominator is almost certainly wrong because it is confirmed cases–and we only confirm cases when we test for them). That said, even at 3 per 1000 cases, this would be a big deal. A very big deal.
“By way of comparison, the death rate for influenza is between 1 and 2 in 1000 cases. So, yeah. Roughly 0x to 30x worse than a bad seasonal flu year? That’s a problem.
“Unlike flu, COVID-19 is not *particularly* dangerous for children, so that’s some happy news. It is dangerous for older adults and those with lung conditions, so we need to be extra careful to protect those populations from exposure.
“Also, for millions of Americans, getting any serious illness requiring a hospitalization is a major problem because they can’t pay for it. And our health care system is probably going to struggle to keep up with it all. And with China basically closed, our global economy is going to take a huge hit and we’ll feel the shockwaves for years. Those are real concerns.
“What can we do? Our focus should be on *slowing down the spread* of this disease so that we have time to get caught up. Here is my advice:
“1. Wash. Your. Hands. Wash them so much.
The current best guess is that coronavirus is transmitted via close contact and surface contamination. A very small study came out yesterday suggesting that the virus causing COVID-19 is *mostly* transmitted via contact with contaminated surfaces.
“I have started washing my hands each time I enter a new building and after being in shared spaces (classrooms especially), in addition to the standard practice of washing after using the bathroom and before eating. Soap and water. Hand sanitizer also kills this virus, as does rubbing alcohol (the main ingredient in hand sanitizer).
“There is no need to be obsessive about this. Just wash your hands. A little bit more effort here goes a long way.
“2. Don’t pick your nose. Or put your fingers in your mouth, on your lips, or in your eyes. Surface contact works like this: you touch something dirty. Maybe it’s an elevator button. Virus sticks to your hands. Then you rub your eye. Then you touch your sandwich, and put the sandwich in your mouth. Now there is virus in your eyes and mouth. See?
“You may be thinking, ‘but I don’t pick my nose because I am an adult!’ An observational study found that people sitting at a desk working touched their eyes, nose, or lips between 3 and 50 times per hour. Perfectly normal grown-ups, not lowlifes like my friends.
“2a. There was one note that came out suggesting that face masks actually promote surface contamination because you’re always adjusting them–i.e., touching your face. I don’t know if that’s true. But face masks should not be worn by the public right now, unless you are the person who is sick and you’re on your way to or actually at the doctor’s office. The mask’s function is to prevent spit from flying out of your mouth and landing on things when you cough or sneeze. It flies out of your mouth and is caught in the mask instead. If you are the person who is sick and not on the way to the doctor, go home. Let the people who really need them have the masks. Like doctors.
“[ETA on 3/6/2020 honestly people I am getting so much push back on the mask recommendation!! The world is running low on masks. If everyone wants a mask so they can feel ok about keeping their Daytona Beach Spring Break plans and then hospitals in India can’t buy them anymore, shame on us.]
“Coronavirus does not appear to be airborne in the sense that doesn’t remain floating around freely in the air for a long time, like measles does. You are probably not going to breathe it in, unless someone is coughing in front of you. If someone is coughing in your face, feel free to tell them to get their ass home and move 6 feet away from them. (Yeah I know, if you have a toddler, you’re screwed.)
“3. Sanitize the objects you and lots of other people touch, especially people outside your family–like door handles, shared keyboards at schools (brrr), salad bar tongs, etc. Best guesses are that the virus can live on surfaces for 2-48 hours, maybe even longer, depending on the surface, temperature, and humidity.
“Many common household cleaning products will kill this virus. However, white vinegar solution does not. You can make your own inexpensive antimicrobial spray by mixing 1 part household bleach to 99 parts cold tap water. Spray this on surfaces and leave for 10-30 minutes. Note: this is bleach. It will ruin your sofa.
“4. “Social distancing.” You’re going to get so sick of this phrase. This means keeping people apart from one another (preferably 6 feet apart, and sanitizing shared objects). This public health strategy is our next line of defense, and its implementation is what will lead to flights and events cancelled, borders closed, and schools closed.
“For now, you could limit face-to-face meetings, especially large ones. Zoom is an excellent videoconferencing option. If you spend time in shared spaces, see #1. Ask your child’s school about their hygiene plan, if they haven’t already told you what it is. If I were in charge of a school setting, I’d be hand sanitizing the s*** out of the kids’ hands, including in and out of each space, and taking temperatures at the door. I am planning to email our school nurse right after this to ask if they need my volunteer help cleaning surfaces.
“If you can telecommute, do that a little more. If you are someone’s boss and they could do their job remotely, encourage them to do that.
“Avoid large gatherings of people if at all possible, especially if they are in an area with cases OR places that lots of people travel to. If you attend group events and start to feel even a little bit sick within 2 to 14 days, you need to self isolate immediately. Like for a tiny tickle in your throat.
“5. All your travel plans are about to get screwed up. If you are considering booking flights right now, get refundable tickets. ETA: most trip insurance will not cover cancellations due to a pandemic. Look for “cancel for any reason” trip insurance.
“Considerations for risks related to that trip you’re planning: how bad would it be if you got stuck where you are going for 3 to 6 weeks? How bad would it be to be isolated at home for 2-3 weeks upon your return? Do you have direct contact with people who are over 70 and/or have lung conditions? If those seem really bad to you, rethink your trip, especially if it is to a location where there are confirmed cases.
“6. If you are sick, stay home. Please! For the love of all that is holy. Stay at home. Your contributions to the world are really just not that important.
“7. There is a good chance some communities will see school cancelled and asked to limit non-essential movement. If someone in your family gets sick your family will almost certainly be isolated for 2-3 weeks (asked to stay at home). You could start stocking up with essentials for that scenario, but don’t run out and buy a years’ worth of toilet paper. Again, not the apocalypse. 2 weeks’ worth of essential items. Refill any prescriptions, check your supply of coffee, kitty litter, and jigsaw puzzles.
“8. I do want to remind everyone that when public health works, the result is the least newsworthy thing ever: nothing happens. If this all fizzles out and you start feeling like ‘Wah, all that fuss for nothing??’ Then send a thank-you note to your local department of public health for a job well done. Fingers crossed for that outcome.
“9. Look, I think there are some positives here. All this handwashing could stop flu season in its tracks! We have an opportunity to reduce our global carbon footprint by telecommuting more, flying less, and understanding where our stuff comes from. We can use this to think about the problems with our healthcare system. We can use this to reflect on our positions of privilege and implicit biases. We can start greeting each other using jazz hands. I’m genuinely excited about those opportunities.
“There is a lot we don’t yet know about this virus. It didn’t even exist 90 days ago. So stay tuned, it is an evolving situation. The WHO website has a decent FAQ. Free to email or text with questions, and you can forward this to others if you think it’s useful.
“May the force be with you.
Malia Jones, PhD, MPH
“I’m an Assistant Scientist in Health Geography at the Applied Population Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I study social contact of humans, and spatial patterns of infectious disease, among other things.”
“P.S. The number one question I am getting is, ‘did you really write this?’ Yes. I wrote this.”
“I didn’t write it for professional purposes, so I didn’t put my work email on it. It was really just meant to be an email to my friends and family in advance of what I expect to be an escalation in the panic level. But it was apparently welcome information and went viral on FB. I’ve decided not to edit out the swears, even though I wrote this with a much smaller audience in mind.
“Thanks for checking your facts! Go science!”

D) More good info about what to expect regarding the USA and global experiences of the #COVID19 pandemic (and a bit less discouraging in some places; more, in others), from Juliana Grant, MD, MPH:

“Coronavirus: an email to my family”
[not mine; this woman–info, below–who is a public health expert]

“Notes: I originally wrote this to share with my family and close friends. It’s now getting passed around so I’m posting it publicly. I have revised the language slightly a few times. This is the most current version.”

“Hi folks,

“A number of you have asked me what I think is going to happen with coronavirus (COVID-19) and what we should be doing to prepare. I have a few thoughts about what’s likely to happen and what you can do about it. For those of you who don’t know me well, I am a preventive medicine physician and infectious disease epidemiologist. I graduated from the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service and have over 17 years of experience in the field, most of that with CDC.

“Wishing everyone good health,

“Juliana”

—“Who[m] should you listen to?”

“The CDC and your state health department are your best place for information about COVID-19. (Listen to them before you listen to me.) Be cautious about other sources of information – many of them will not be reliable or accurate.

—“How bad is this going to be?”

“It’s possible that COVID-19 will be similar to a bad flu year but there are a number of indications that it will be very much like the 1918 Flu Pandemic. To put that in perspective, the 1918 flu did not end civilization as we know it but it was the second-deadliest event of the last 200 years. It is likely that people you know will die from COVID-19.

“However, there is one critical difference between COVID-19 and the 1918 flu – the 1918 flu virus hit children and young adults particularly hard. COVID-19 seems to be most severe in older adults. Children and young adults generally have mild infections and we are grateful for this.

—“What can we expect?”

“This is not the zombie apocalypse. Core infrastructure (e.g., power, water, supermarkets, internet, government, etc.) will continue to work, perhaps with some minor disruptions.

“There will be significant economic disruption: a global recession is very possible and there will probably be significant shortages of some products. The healthcare system will be hit the hardest. The number of people who are likely to get sick is higher than our healthcare systems can probably handle.

“Daily life will be impacted in important ways. Travel is likely to be limited and public gatherings will probably be canceled. Schools will probably be closed. Expect health departments to start issuing these orders in the near future, especially on the West Coast.

“The acute pandemic will probably last at least for several months and quite possibly for a year or two.

—“What can we do?”

“We can’t keep COVID-19 from being a global pandemic but the more we can do to slow the spread of the disease, the less severe the impact will be. With that in mind, here are the things you can do:

—–“Stay calm but take it seriously. This will likely be bad but it’s not the apocalypse.

—–“Stay home if you’re sick or someone in your house is sick.

—–“Leave medical supplies for healthcare workers. You shouldn’t be stockpiling masks or other medical supplies. They are needed in hospitals to keep our healthcare workers healthy.

—–“Wash your hands. Get in the habit of frequently washing your hands thoroughly and covering your cough.

—–“Minimize your exposure. Now that we’re seeing community transmission in the U.S., it’s probably time to start cutting back on your exposure to other people. Depending on your circumstances, consider:

——-“Canceling non-essential travel

——-“Avoiding large-scale gatherings

——-“Working from home if possible

——-“Minimizing direct contact with others including hand shakes and hugs

——-“Reducing your trips out of the house. If possible, shop for two weeks of groceries at once or consider having your groceries delivered. Stay home and cook instead of going to a restaurant.

——-“Remember, keep calm and prepare. This is likely to be bad, but if we respond calmly and thoughtfully, we can handle it.

“Feel free to share this [email] as you see fit.”

from: https://www.julianagrant.com/blog/2020/2/29/coronavirus

E) If you’re ready for very sobering stats about the trajectory of this, that we are all facing NOW and soon:

“I am sharing this with you because many people have not yet started preparing. For schools being out. Work being out. No parties. No restaurants. No gatherings. No Uber. No eating out. This may make you panic or worry a lot. This is what I see happening. In 6 weeks from now. Not only in America. In every country.

“That’s why I tell you to cancel all you travel plans. Cancel any parties you are going to or organizing. I want you to protect your family. The only way to get ahead of this is to minimize human to human contact until we have diagnostics, vaccines, medications. I believe all schools should close soon. Very soon. Do not read if you are already panicked!”

“From Liz Specht on Twitter, @LizSpecht

“‘I think most people aren’t aware of the risk of systemic healthcare failure due to COVID19 because they simply haven’t run the numbers yet. Let’s talk math. Let’s conservatively assume that there are 2,000 current cases in the US today, March 6th. This is about 8x the number of confirmed (lab-diagnosed) cases. We know there is substantial under-Dx due to lack of test kits; I’ll address implications later of under-/over-estimate.

We can expect that we’ll continue to see a doubling of cases every 6 days (this is a typical doubling time across several epidemiological studies). Here I mean *actual* cases. Confirmed cases may appear to rise faster in the short term due to new test kit rollouts.

‘*** We’re looking at about 1M US cases by the end of April, 2M by ~May 5, 4M by ~May 11, and so on.

‘*** Exponentials are hard to grasp, but this is how they go. As the healthcare system begins to saturate under this case load, it will become increasingly hard to detect, track, and contain new transmission chains. In absence of extreme interventions, this likely won’t slow significantly until hitting >>1% of susceptible population.

‘What does a case load of this size mean for healthcare system? We’ll examine just two factors — hospital beds and masks — among many, many other things that will be impacted.

‘The US has about 2.8 hospital beds per 1000 people. With a population of 330M, this is ~1M beds. At any given time, 65% of those beds are already occupied. That leaves about 330k beds available nationwide (perhaps a bit fewer this time of year with regular flu season, etc). Let’s trust Italy’s numbers and assume that about 10% of cases are serious enough to require hospitalization. (Keep in mind that for many patients, hospitalization lasts for *weeks* — in other words, turnover will be *very* slow as beds fill with COVID19 patients).

‘By this estimate, by about May 8th, all open hospital beds in the US will be filled. (This says nothing, of course, about whether these beds are suitable for isolation of patients with a highly infectious virus.) If we’re wrong by a factor of two regarding the fraction of severe cases, that only changes the timeline of bed saturation by 6 days in either direction. If 20% of cases require hospitalization, we run out of beds by ~May 2nd. If only 5% of cases require it, we can make it until ~May 14th. 2.5% gets us to May 20th.

‘This, of course, assumes that there is no uptick in demand for beds from *other* (non-COVID19) causes, which seems like a dubious assumption. As healthcare system becomes increasingly burdened, Rx shortages, etc, people w/ chronic conditions that are normally well-managed may find themselves slipping into severe states of medical distress requiring intensive care & hospitalization. But let’s ignore that for now.

‘Alright, so that’s beds. Now masks.

‘Feds say we have a national stockpile of 12M N95 masks and 30M surgical masks (which are not ideal, but better than nothing). There are about 18M healthcare workers in the US. Let’s assume only 6M HCW are working on any given day. (This is likely an underestimate as most people work most days of the week, but again, I’m playing conservative at every turn.)

‘As COVID19 cases saturate virtually every state and county, which seems likely to happen any day now, it will soon be irresponsible for all HCWs to not wear a mask. These HCWs would burn through N95 stockpile in 2 days if each HCW only got ONE mask per day.

‘One per day would be neither sanitary nor pragmatic, though this is indeed what we saw in Wuhan, with HCWs collapsing on their shift from dehydration because they were trying to avoid changing their PPE suits as they cannot be reused. How quickly could we ramp up production of new masks? Not very fast at all. The vast majority are manufactured overseas, almost all in China.

‘Even when manufactured here in US, the raw materials are predominantly from overseas… again, predominantly from China. Keep in mind that all countries globally will be going through the exact same crises and shortages simultaneously. We can’t force trade in our favor.

‘Now consider how these 2 factors – bed and mask shortages – compound each other’s severity. Full hospitals + few masks + HCWs running around between beds without proper PPE = very bad mix. HCWs are already getting infected even w/ access to full PPE. In the face of PPE limitations this severe, it’s only a matter of time.

‘HCWs will start dropping from the workforce for weeks at a time, leading to a shortage of HCWs that then further compounds both issues above. We could go on and on about thousands of factors – # of ventilators, or even simple things like saline drip bags.

‘You see where this is going. Importantly, I cannot stress this enough: even if I’m wrong – even VERY wrong – about core assumptions like % of severe cases or current case #, it only changes the timeline by days or weeks.

‘This is how exponential growth in an immunologically naïve population works. Undeserved panic does no one any good. But neither does ill-informed complacency. It’s wrong to assuage the public by saying “only 2% will die.”

‘People aren’t adequately grasping the national and global systemic burden wrought by this swift-moving of a disease. I’m an engineer. This is what my mind does all day: I run back-of-the-envelope calculations to try to estimate order-of-magnitude impacts. I’ve been on high alarm about this disease since ~Jan 19 after reading clinical indicators in the first papers emerging from Wuhan.

‘Nothing in the last 6 weeks has dampened my alarm in the slightest. To the contrary, we’re seeing abject refusal of many countries to adequately respond or prepare.

‘Of course, some of these estimates will be wrong, even substantially wrong. But I have no reason to think they’ll be orders-of-magnitude wrong. Even if your personal risk of death is very, very low, don’t mock decisions like canceling events or closing workplaces as undue “panic”. These measures are the bare minimum we should be doing to try to shift the peak – to slow the rise in cases so that healthcare systems are less overwhelmed.

‘Each day that we can delay an extra case is a big win for the HC system. And yes, you really should prepare to buckle down for a bit. All services and supply chains will be impacted. Why risk the stress of being ill-prepared?

‘Worst case, I’m massively wrong and you now have a huge bag of rice and black beans to burn through over the next few months and enough Robitussin to trip out. One more thought: you’ve probably seen multiple respected epidemiologists have estimated that 20-70% of world will be infected within the next year.

If you use 6-day doubling rate I mentioned above, we land at ~2-6 billion infected by sometime in July of this year. Obviously I think the doubling time will start to slow once a sizeable fraction of the population has been infected, simply because of herd immunity and a smaller susceptible population.

‘But take the scenarios above (full beds, no PPE, etc, at just 1% of the US population infected) and stretch them out over just a couple extra months. That timeline roughly fits with consensus end-game numbers from these highly esteemed epidemiologists. Again, we’re talking about discrepancies of mere days or weeks one direction or another, but not disagreements in the overall magnitude of the challenge.

‘This is not some hypothetical, fear-mongering, worst-case scenario. This is reality, as far as anyone can tell with the current available data.

That’s all for now. Standard disclaimers apply: I’m a PhD biologist but *not* an epidemiologist. Thoughts my own. Yadda yadda. Stay safe out there.'”

 

F) What about a vaccine? Israel claims to be able to have one ready near the end of April, or by mid-May, 2020, but “Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (N.I.A.I.D.) [in the USA], spoke up. ‘A vaccine that you make and start testing in a year is not a vaccine that’s deployable,’ he said. The earliest it would be deployable, Fauci added, is ‘in a year to a year and a half, no matter how fast you go.’”
https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-long-will-it-take-to-develop-a-coronavirus-vaccine

Trials/testing take more than a year, but this just got released (3/8/20):

“Coronavirus vaccine ready for clinical trials in Seattle”

“Researchers seek 45 participants to help gauge the immune response of a new vaccine for 2019 novel coronavirus….
The goal of the first phase of the study is to learn about the vaccine’s safety and see how the immune system responds to it….
“Researchers said this vaccine is similar to vaccines developed for Zika virus and human metapneumovirus….
“Kaiser Permanente said participants will receive $100 for each of the in-person study visits….
“People who complete all visits will receive $1,100….
“[Participants must be] healthy adults between 18 and 55 years old. The participants can’t have certain health conditions, such as medical conditions that impact the immune system or be taking medications that affect the immune system….
“Participants must come to 11 in-person study visits in downtown Seattle and have four phone conversations over 14 months. Over the course of the visits, participants will be injected with the vaccine twice.”
FMI or to sign up:

https://www.king5.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-vaccine-clinical-trial-recruitment/281-a33490a2-e3e4-4911-94fc-60473c2d4fe7?fbclid=IwAR2h3B_6dEOPQUUBNV8EMntFJKuup3IkAubxVlpc0uYlo3yKpMqjGyBD1aE

 

#MacArthur Foundation 26 Newest Fellows 2019: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

#MacArthur Foundation 26 Newest Fellows 2019: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

“The MacArthur Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential.”

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:

  1. Exceptional creativity
  2. Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
  3. Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Meet the newest crop of very fortunate creative sorts, this year’s MacArthur Fellows, who will each receive $125,000/year for 5 years to do WHATEVER THEY WANT!

“From addressing the consequences of climate change to furthering our understanding of human behavior to fusing forms of artistic expression, this year’s 26 extraordinary MacArthur Fellows demonstrate the power of individual creativity to reframe old problems, spur reflection, create new knowledge, and better the world for everyone. They give us reason for hope, and they inspire us all to follow our own creative instincts,” — MacArthur President John Palfrey.

2019 McaRTHUR fELLOWS

For bios, specific info on each Fellow, and more about the Program and the Foundation, check out their website: https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/

Imagine: There are no outside or public applications or nominations. The process for selection is so secretive and unknown that very few people (no one outside the Foundation, supposedly) even knows who the nominating and selection committees’ members ARE each year!

“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”

In the Foundation’s favor, this year—for the second time since I’ve been tracking it, which is many years—the female-appearing Fellows outnumber the male-appearing Fellows: 11 seeming males, 15 seeming females. The Fellows process has been great on “diversity” and varying geographic locations (but still too many are from the coasts) for quite a while. You can check out the stats on their site any time.

Again, very cool!

My fave recipient this year: cartoonist and activist, Lynda Barry. Love her work (“Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” and many other writings/graphic contributions)!

Favorite recipient’s displayed quote…
Ocean Vuong: “Language, like people, can be perpetually in flux. Words are, in a sense, bodies moving from one space to another. Our very cells, too, are always moving. They are just overflowing, and dying, and being reborn. What is seemingly so static is actually constantly in motion. Literature, then, is movement—but it is also the measure of movement in our species’ thinking and feeling. To participate in that great migration, as a writer, is the ultimate gift.”

You can view ALL recipients of this Genius Grant (all Fellows): https://www.macfound.org/fellows/search/all

The 2019 #TED Fellows and Senior Fellows Are Amazing!

Unlike the “genius grants” recipients selected annually by the MacArthur Foundation, the #TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Fellows and Senior Follows are culled from many countries, not just the USA.

Fantastic and exciting group of many types of innovators, scientists, artists, creators of such talent and skill! Fabulous!

ted2019fellows_blogheader
image from http://blog.TED.com

These grants and this program “support extraordinary, iconoclastic individuals at work on world-changing projects, providing them with access to the global TED platform and community, as well as new tools and resources to amplify their remarkable vision. The TED Fellows program now includes 472 Fellows who work across 96 countries, forming a powerful, far-reaching network of artists, scientists, doctors, activists, entrepreneurs, inventors, journalists and beyond, each dedicated to making our world better and more equitable.”

if you live nearby and/or want to go, there is a conference in which they will all appear: TED2019, April 15-19, in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Check them out, here: https://blog.ted.com/meet-the-2019-ted-fellows-and-senior-fellows/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Got balls? Or, know someone who does? READ AND SHARE! #medical #testicular #testicle #cancer #surgery

Got balls? Or, know someone who does?
READ AND SHARE!
#medical #testicular #testicle #cancer #surgery
A youngish (aged 38), white, employed man—one with great health insurance in the USA—first noticed a pea-shaped/-sized nodule in one testicle while doing a manual self-exam over 10 years ago. At that time and for each subsequent year, he kept having that testicle checked by his doctor.
He noticed that that testicle had felt and looked different from the other one almost right away. During these 10 years, that testicle kept shrinking (and he never took steroids, which are known to cause shrinking balls), but otherwise, it didn’t change much.
shrunken testicle
Every doctor he saw told him that this shrinking testicle problem was “nothing to be concerned about.” Some diagnosed it as something like a “varicose vein” problem (varicocele); others said it was a “dysfunctional” or “atrophied” testicle. No one seemed concerned.
NO ONE suggested, nor did this young man know to request, an ultrasound, which is what SHOULD have happened, right away.
The major change that occurred about 6 months ago (over 10 years later) was that this shrunken testicle began to grow, to swell and to hurt. He said it felt as if he had pulled a groin muscle. It also looked even more different from his other testicle, on the outside of the scrotum.
When he went in to his doctor, he was having trouble walking because he was in some pain, but he still thought he may have pulled a groin muscle. That internist again did not suggest an ultrasound and only gave him the most cursory manual exam.
The doctor told him: “If it hurts more or changes again, I’ll refer you to a specialist.”
Six months later, in early November, those types of changes happened: more pain, even more swelling. This time, the young man knew that this was not a pulled muscle.
When he called his doctor, he was referred to and then quickly scheduled an appointment to be seen by a urologist.
why see a urologist
That doctor did a much more thorough manual and visual examination, asked a lot more questions, spent more time. This doctor concluded without hesitation that this testicle was a problem and ordered an ultrasound, to occur a few days later.
The ultrasound (which was painful and that pain lasted several days, BTW), confirmed that the testicle had “multiple masses” internally, something no man wants to hear.
ultrasound testicles
NOT this man’s ultrasound, but similar; from http://www.ceessentials.net/article42.html
The urologist explained the possibilities (none great) and then immediately scheduled for that testicle’s contents to be removed one week later. This inguinal (through the lower abdomen) surgery was to be done in order to find out, by removing and sending the contents for pathological analysis, whether or not these masses were cancerous (probably were), and, if so, what kind.
The surgery took about one hour. Luckily, everything went fine.
Cross-Sectional Diagram of Inguinal Surgery Procedure to Remove Testicular Mass
inguinal surgery for testicular cancer
Post-surgery, the urologist seemed optimistic about the “containment” or “encapsulation” of these masses within the scrotum (best possible outcome). The urologist mentioned that, by his observations of the scrotal contents’ look, color and texture, the masses were likely to be seminomas (also known as pure seminomas or classical seminomas).
Seminoma is “a germ cell tumor of the testicle or, more rarely, the mediastinum or other extra-gonadal [outside the scrotum] locations. It is a malignant neoplasm and is one of the most treatable and curable cancers, with a survival rate above 95%, if discovered in early stages.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seminoma

Seminoma “is a slow-growing form of testicular cancer found in men in their 30s, 40s and 50s. The cancer is in the testes, but it can spread to the lymph nodes. Lymph node involvement is either treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Seminomas are very sensitive to radiation therapy.”  https://medlineplus.gov › Medical Encyclopedia
seminoma-morphology-n
However, the man had to wait for pathology (to be available five – seven days later or sooner) to hear if he had to have any “next steps” (e.g., radiation or chemotherapy), or if he’s “clear” (presumed to be cancer-free).
If he’s presumed to be cancer-free at this first checkpoint,  he and his doctor are on “watch and report frequently” duty, which means that, for about 10 years, the man is to:
1) continue doing monthly self-exams of the other testicle and the empty scrotum and
2) schedule visits for ultrasound or CAT scans every 3 – 6 months.
If, at any time, post-surgery, the cancer seems to have spread or MAY have spread, a treatment regime is proposed, agreed to and then started. This could include radiation, chemotherapy, and/or more surgery, depending upon what is detected.
For THIS man, his story has this “outcome” (for now):
This man’s blood tests were clear: no tumor cancer markers, but the surgeon said there was some “leakage” outside of the testis. There were no signs of any other masses.
The urologist  ordered CT scans to determine if any of these masses had spread (metastasized. which everyone always hopes cancer does not do). he told this man that getting the scans was “not urgent,” but should be done “soon.”
The surgeon also referred him to an oncologist (cancer specialist), who would go over all these results with him and help him understand his options and decide how to proceed at that point. [I will update this saga after all that has occurred.]
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NOTES TO ALL HUMANS between the ages of 15 – 50 who have testicles, DO THESE THINGS:
Self-exams (manual and visual) are crucial (which is the way this man first found the nodules);
testicle self exam
the above graphic and the video, below, were posted by: Justin Birckbichler on Twitter:

—Get better-informed internists, so that early detection via ultrasound is routine.
If you know a or you are a human under 50 with testicles (self-identified as “male” or not), spread the word!
ANY nodules, masses, pain, changes in size or texture of a testicle MUST be reported to a doctor AND that doctor should refer to a urologist and/or should request immediately to have an ultrasound, for diagnostic purposes. 
Unless scans can prove a mass/nodule is only a fluid-filled cyst (epididymal cysts, which are quite common, painless and harmless), the affected testicle will probably be emptied out from within (an inguinal surgery, which this man, above, had), or the testicle itself is to be removed completely, ASAP.
This surgery generally works very well and urologists do it frequently, so they have the procedure down. This does involve having general anaesthesia and cutting, and, therefore, has associated risks, but most do fine with this procedure.
The surgery is usually done as an “outpatient” procedure, meaning, the person goes home that same day/night.
Depending on several factors—the general health of the person and the type of surgery done as well as the pathology results—full recovery may take 4 – 6 weeks or longer. During this time, the recovery may have restrictions (no heavy lifting or pulling, no airline travel, limited sitting, lots of rest vs. work or ordinary schedule) but walking and other non-strenuous exercises are encouraged right away.
Success and recovery rates for this type of cancer are quite high:
99% if the cancer has not spread;
96% if it has.

STILL: early detection is key.

 

testicular-cancer-prevention

FMI: 

Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include:
  • A lump or enlargement in either testicle.
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
  • A dull ache in the abdomen or groin.
  • A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum.
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum.
  • Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts.
  • Back pain.


There are several causes of testicular lumps and swellings:

  • varicocele – caused by enlarged veins in the testicles (may look like a bag of worms)
  • hydrocele – a swelling caused by fluid around the testicle
  • epididymal cyst – a lump caused by a collection of fluid in the epididymis
  • testicular torsion – a sudden painful swelling that occurs when a testicle becomes twisted (this is a medical emergency and requires surgery as soon as possible)
  • epididymitis – a chlamydia infection in the epididymis can cause inflammation, swelling and tenderness inside the scrotum (ball sack); a few men will notice that the whole of the scrotum is red and tender (this is called epididymo-orchitis)
  • testicular cancer – an estimated 4 in 100 lumps are cancer, so this is an uncommon cause of lumps

Types of testicular cancer

The different types of testicular cancer are classified by the type of cells the cancer begins in.
The most common type of testicular cancer is “germ cell testicular cancer,” which accounts for around 95% of all cases. Germ cells are a type of cell that the body uses to create sperm.
There are two main subtypes of germ cell testicular cancer. They are:

  • seminomas – which have become more common in the past 20 years and now account for 50 to 55% of testicular cancers
  • non-seminomas – which account for most of the rest and include teratomas, embryonal carcinomas, choriocarcinomas and yolk sac tumors

Both types tend to respond well to chemotherapy.
Less common types of testicular cancer include:

  • Leydig cell tumors – which account for around 1 to 3% of cases
  • Sertoli cell tumors – which account for around 1% of cases
  • lymphoma – which accounts for around 4% of cases
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Think you or someone you know needs a monthly reminder to do a self-exam?
If you/they have a texting phone, show them this:
Text 81010 to @selfexam to receive a monthly text message reminder!
self-exam reminder text
checking balls app

Our Ball Checker mobile app provides a few facts every guy and girl should know about testicular cancer as well as how to do a testicular self exam. If you have testicles or know someone that does, then you should get this app.

With early detection testicular cancer is almost 100% survivable but lack of awareness leads to late diagnosis and unfortunate outcomes. The lack of awareness and education is one of the biggest challenges we have in the fight against testicular cancer.

Make sure you and the men in your life have the knowledge that could end up saving their life.

A Moment of Awkwardness Could Save A Lifetime. Talk About Testicular Cancer.

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Best of luck and good health to you all!
****************************************
Some other info and worst-case scenarios information:

“Dr Turnbull and her team uncovered new genetic mutations in testicular germ cell tumours, which make up the vast majority of testicular cancers. They found new chromosome duplications and other abnormalities that could contribute to the development of this cancer, as well as confirming a previous association with a gene called KIT.

“Their study also found defective copies of a DNA repair gene called XRCC2 in a patient who had become resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy. They were able to support the link between XRCC2 and platinum resistance by sequencing an additional platinum-resistant tumour.

“’Although generally testicular cancer responds well to treatment, resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy is associated with a poor long-term survival rate,’ explains Dr Turnbull. ‘The repercussions of these findings could be significant for men suffering with this disease. In the future, men who are destined to fail platinum treatment— currently around 3% of cases—could be identified before they endure courses of chemotherapy and be offered different treatments, more suited to their particular type of tumour.’”

from: https://www.icr.ac.uk/news-features/latest-features/understanding-why-some-men-still-die-from-testicular-cancer

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“If the cancer has spread, the patient may get treatments like radiation or chemotherapy. The cancer will come back in about 15% to 20% of patients, most often as spread to lymph nodes , but if it does, radiation or chemo can still usually cure the cancer.”
*************

Seminomas

Stage I

“These cancers can be cured in nearly all patients. You first have surgery to remove the testicle and spermatic cord (called a radical inguinal orchiectomy). After surgery, you have many treatment choices:

“Careful observation (surveillance): If the cancer has not spread beyond the testicle, the plan most experts prefer is that you be watched closely by your doctor for up to 10 years. This means getting physical exams and blood tests every 3 to 6 months for the first year, and less often after that. Imaging tests (CT scans and sometimes chest x-rays) are done every 3 months for 6 months, and then once or twice a year.

“If these tests do not find any signs that cancer has spread beyond the testicle, no other treatment is needed. If the cancer has spread, you may get treatments like radiation or chemo. The cancer will come back in about 15% to 20% of patients, most often as spread to lymph nodes , but if it does, radiation or chemo can still usually cure the cancer.

“Radiation therapy: Radiation aimed at para-aortic lymph nodes is another option. These nodes are in the back of your abdomen (belly), around the large blood vessel called the aorta. Because seminoma cells are very sensitive to radiation, low doses can be used and you’ll get about 10 to 15 treatments over 2 to 3 weeks.

“Chemotherapy: An option that works as well as radiation is 1 or 2 cycles of chemotherapy with the drug carboplatin after surgery. Many experts prefer chemo over radiation because it seems to be easier to tolerate.”

Survival by stage

“There are no UK-wide statistics available for testicular cancer survival.

“Survival statistics are available for the different stages of testicular cancer in one area of England. These figures are for men diagnosed between 2002 and 2006. They don’t provide information about the type of testicular cancer or tumour marker level.

“The [data] below are for 4 stages of testicular cancer. Your doctor may use a different system that only has 3 stages.

Stage 1

“Almost all men survive their cancer for five years or more after diagnosis.

“Stage 1 means the cancer is only in the testes.”

Stage 2

“Almost 95 out of 100 men (almost 95%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

“Stage 2 means the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.”

Pure seminoma

“Pure seminoma means that there are no teratoma cells in the tumour. You will have normal Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) marker levels if you have pure seminoma.

“There are two categories of outlook for pure seminoma testicular cancer – good prognosis and intermediate prognosis. No one with pure seminoma is classified as having a poor prognosis.”

Good prognosis

“Almost 90 out of every 100 men (almost 90%) survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

“Most men have a good prognosis. Good prognosis means that the seminoma has spread only to the lymph nodes or the lungs. It has not spread anywhere else.”

Intermediate prognosis

“More than 70 out of every 100 men (more than 70%) survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

“Intermediate prognosis means that the seminoma has spread beyond the lung or lymph nodes to other parts of the body, such as the brain or liver.”

Survival for all stages of testicular cancer

“The outlook for testicular cancer is one of the best for all cancers. Nearly all men survive their disease.” [NOTE: in the 1970s, this statistic was almost the opposite: 90% DIED from it!]

“In England and Wales:

  • almost all men will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed
  • almost all men (98%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis

“Unlike some other cancers, it is rare for testicular cancer to come back more than 5 years later.”

from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicular-cancer/treating/by-stage.html

and from:
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“First Targeted Cancer Drug Approved Based on Mutation Rather than Tumor Type”
Please read and share this detailed, informative article about new ways to treat cancer, especially unusual types, particularly in those individuals with specific mutations.
from:

#MacArthur Foundation 25 Newest Fellows 2018: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

#MacArthur Foundation 25 Newest Fellows 2018: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

“The MacArthur Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential.”

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:

  1. Exceptional creativity
  2. Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
  3. Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Meet the newest crop of very fortunate creative sorts, this year’s MacArthur Fellows, who will each receive $125,000/year for 5 years to do WHATEVER THEY WANT!

Working in diverse fields, from the arts and sciences to public health and civil liberties, these 25 MacArthur Fellows are solving long-standing scientific and mathematical problems, pushing art forms into new and emerging territories, and addressing the urgent needs of under-resourced communities. Their exceptional creativity inspires hope in us all.

MacArthur Fellows 2018

For bios, specific info on each Fellow, and more about the Program and the Foundation, check out their website: https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/

Imagine: There are no outside or public applications or nominations. The process for selection is so secretive and unknown that very few people (no one outside the Foundation, supposedly) even knows who the nominating and selection committees’ members ARE each year!

“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”

In the Foundation’s favor, this year—for the first time since I’ve been tracking it, which is many years—the female-appearing Fellows outnumber the male-appearing Fellows: 10 seeming males, 13 seeming females, and two gender-free. The Fellows process has been great on “diversity” and varying geographic locations (but still too many are from the coasts) for quite a while. You can check out the stats on their site any time.

Very cool!

#Science for Fun! The 2018 Ig Nobel Prizes (reblogging)

Scientific studies on the cleaning power of spit, a lone fruit fly’s ability to spoil wine, and cannibals’ caloric intake garnered top honors at the 28th Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. The seriously silly citations, which “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then think,” were awarded on Sept. 13 at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre. […]

via 2018 Ig Nobel Prizes — It’s Interesting

“10 Newly Discovered Species for 2018”! #scienceforthewin

“10 Newly Discovered Species for 2018”! #scienceforthewin

How fun and fascinating?

These 10 (plus many more) newly discovered species are found in video form and with more textual details in the link, below. Here is the shortened list:

  1. Xenoturbella churro = a new marine worm that resembles…yes, a churro (Mexican, sugared, fried, oblong snack, kind of like a doughnut in cruller shape, usually dipped in sauces), that is kind of large, “between 4 and 10 inches,” and carnivorous: it “feeds off mollusks like clams.”


    Xenoturbella churro, image from https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/churro-marine-worm-discovered-scripps-scientists-one-top-10-species-2017

  2. TO BE NAMED: a new, bright blue tarantula, discovered by some random guy (maybe it will be named after him, which would be “Andrew Snyder”?). It is the “first blue tarantula found in South America” because they’re usually in “Southeast Asia, and secondly, this one was living in a colony, which is very unusual for spiders.”
  3. Deadly Fruit is actually not new; been known for over 50 years. Named by Australian 7th-graders due to its characteristics. This “obscure relative of the tomato…when cut open, the flesh of the fruit changes from whitish green to blood red and then matures into a dry, white bony state.”
  4. The Devil Orchid aka Telipogon diabolicus, is said to resemble the “head of the Devil” (?), but what I found fascinating is its hermaphroditic status, because it is said to be “a fusion of male and female flower parts.” Found, but may soon be lost, in Columbia’s reconstruction zone.
  5. NOT YET NAMED, a new gecko, astonishing because it can elude predators by completely shedding its overlapping scales, then regrow them within a few weeks.
  6. Plenaster craigi is a newish species of abyssal sponge, actually discovered in 2013 but confirmed in 2017, in The Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), the East Pacific Ocean near Singapore. It survives in total darkness and eats “metal-rich nodules.”
  7. Arcella gandalfi is a kind of single-celled but large freshwater amoeba—“quite big, measuring 81 micrometers in diameter and 71 micrometers in height”—found in Brazil. Yes, it vaguely resembles the hat worn by the character, Gandalf, as seen in the trilogy of films based on the J.R.R. Tolkein books, The Lord of the Rings.
  8. Pink Floyd pistol shrimp is “a new species of snapping shrimp found in the waters off the Pacific coast of Panama.” Besides its neon pink claw, this predator is LOUD! It “can kill its prey with noise! The snap of that giant claw is loud and powerful that it creates cavitation bubbles, which then burst into the prey, either stunning them or killing them. The sound reaches levels of 210 decibels, which is louder than a gunshot!”
  9. UNNAMED SO FAR, an ancient giant sloth fossil (up to 500 lbs, estimated) was found “in an underwater cave in the jungle of the Yucatán in Mexico.” Notable both for its huge size and the location (most fossils decay rapidly in this area of high humidity). No live ones spotted, though.
  10. NOT YET NAMED a hermit crab with a sea anemone fastened onto its back is a new dual species found in South African, only about 2 – 3 inches long.

All quotes and info, above, are from this page, below, has the “top 10,” plus 11 more, plus even more and more links to other new-ishly discovered species:
https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/top-10-newly-discovered-species-for-2018/

My Notes, Thoughts, Resources and Recommendations for “Trauma-Informed” Education/Care and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

My Notes, Thoughts, Resources and Recommendations
for “Trauma-Informed” Education/Care
and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

For those of us old enough to remember or who have studied sociology, psychology and/or education prior to 2000, there were precursors to this research: Risk Factors, which ACEs are a subset of, as well as Protective Factors and Resilience. For more about this important research, go here or https://youth.gov/youth-topics/youth-mental-health/risk-and-protective-factors-youth:

Relevant to ACEs are the Common Risk Factors for Childhood and Adolescent Problems, by Level of Influence


image from Devereux Center for Resilient Children

  • Environmental Risk Factors Factors
    —Laws and norms favorable to antisocial behavior
    —Poverty and economic deprivation
    —Low economic opportunity
    —Neighborhood disorganization
    —Low neighborhood attachment
  • Interpersonal and Social Risk Factors Factors
    —Family communication and conflict
    —Poor parent–child bonding
    —Poor family management practices
    —Family alcohol and drug use
    —School failure
    —Low commitment to school
    —Rejection by conforming peer groups
    —Association with antisocial peers
  • Individual Risk Factors Factors
    —Family history of alcoholism
    —Sensation-seeking orientation
    —Poor impulse control
    —Attention deficits
    —Hyperactivity
  • Adapted from Fraser et al., 2004; Jenson & Howard, 1999; and Hawkins et al., 1998
    from https://us.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/5975_Chapter_1_Jenson_Fraser__I_Proof.pdf

    Some heart-wrenching causation connections between childhood stress and adult medical problems have already been made:
    —“…[M]ost adult women with fibromyalgia [emphasis mine]… have had stressful childhoods as reported by the journal, Stress and Health in 2009….The early chronic experience of stress appears to exert a much larger influence in contributing to the pain of fibromyalgia than any current stressful life event, as a 2006 study reported in the journal, Psychoneuroendocrinolgy. from http://medicalhealthnews.info/fibromyalgia-linked-childhood-stress-unprocessed-negative-emotions-2/

    The relationships between childhood experiences (“nurture”) and adult health have long been the subject of research. One precursor to ACEs research, for almost thirty years, the information derived from the biannual Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBSS) has been instrumental in determining what communities’ needs were, what prevention areas to focus upon, and how prevalent certain risky behaviors were over time because the USA government, in conjunction with state and municipal authories and school systems, began administering the YRBSS in 1990 and continues to this day, in odd years. Much of the data from the YRBSS overlaps with data needed and gathered about ACEs. See below.

    The YRBSS (https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/overview.htm) was developed in 1990 to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. These behaviors, often established during childhood and early adolescence, include

    • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence.
    • Sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection.
    • Alcohol and other drug use.
    • Tobacco use.
    • Unhealthy dietary behaviors.
    • Inadequate physical activity.

    In addition, the YRBSS monitors the prevalence of obesity and asthma and other priority health-related behaviors plus sexual identity and sex of sexual contacts.

    From 1991 through 2015, the YRBSS has collected data from more than 3.8 million high school students in more than 1,700 separate surveys.

    ACEs research and subsequent work are building on all of these studies their data to help us advance in our understands, prevention, intervention and mitigation of trauma. The ACEs researchers began with this survey and its 10 categories (see below).

    The 10 ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are, in summary form:


    image from https://cdv.org/what-is-cdv/adverse-childhood-experiences/

    If you want to have each category be more fully defined (and some of them do include aspects you might not usually consider, so I recommend reviewing these if you haven’t, yet), go here, where you can actually “fill out” the survey at the same time:
    https://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/Finding%20Your%20ACE%20Score.pdf

    However, if you find all this obvious, so is your score: you get one point for each of the ACEs that occurred in your childhood (before age 18 years old). The total of these = your ACEs score.

    This ACEs number is important for examining the likelihood (statiscally speaking) of your having adverse consequences later in life (see below). The stats have three sections:
    —> 0, 1 or 2 ACEs
    —> 3 – 7 ACEs
    —> more than 7 ACEs

    The statistics tended to group in these ways in recognition of what types and how many negative consequences were most likely to occur for those with those ACEs numbers. Below is a description of the original study.

    The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Original Research:

    “From 1995 to 1997, Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic, in collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, implemented one of the largest studies ever conducted on the origins of risk factors that have negative health and social consequences and the cumulative incidence and influence of psychological and physical abuse including: neglect, sexual abuse, witnessing violence, exposure to substance abuse, mental illness, suicidal behavior, and imprisonment of a family member (independent variables) on dependent variables that were measures of both mental health (depression, suicidality) and physical health (heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures, liver disease, obesity) and health-related behaviors (alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking, high numbers of sexual partners) and poor self-rated health (Felitti et al. 1998).

    “The ACE questionnaire was constructed using selected questions from published surveys (American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2017). Prior to the survey there had been little study of the relationship between early childhood adverse experiences and adult medical problems and behaviors (Felitti et al. 1998).

    “The ACE survey data was collected by mail from two waves of a sample of 17,000 adult members of Kaiser’s Health Maintenance Organization in San Diego, California between 1995 and 1997. The sample size itself was impressive. The release of the study findings was shocking to many when they showed the extent to which adverse childhood events negatively shaped future social and physical health outcomes, including life expectancy.

    “Perhaps less surprising, the findings showed that the more negative events a child experienced the higher the likelihood s/he had as an adult of suffering an array of health and behavior problems including alcoholism, chronic pulmonary disease, depression, illicit drug use, liver disease, adolescent pregnancy and many more (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2014a, b). Further, adults with the highest level of ACEs had a life expectancy 20 years less than those without high levels of ACEs. The study sample did not consist primarily of low-income minority adults, a demographic often found to be “at risk.” It was mainly comprised of white, middle and upper income employed people; people who might be expected to have had more stable childhood environments because of parents’ employment and income.

    “The original ACE study has generated more than 70 scientific articles, scores of conference presentations, and has shaped the design of research and as well as social programs. It is beyond the scope of this article to present a comprehensive review of the studies of the ACE survey, but ACEs Too High (2017) provides a list of ACE studies by year.

    “Studies using the ACE questionnaire have expanded beyond Kaiser’s sample of white, HMO patients to include, for example, special populations such as children of alcoholics (Dube et al. 2001), and children with an incarcerated parent (Geller et al. 2009) and have found higher prevalences of ACEs than in the original Kaiser sample.

    “ACE Studies of justice-involved populations (Baglivio et al. 2014; Messina and Grella 2006; Miller and Najavits 2012; Reavis et al. 2013) including juvenile justice-involved youth (Dierkhising et al. 2013) are raising awareness of the association of early childhood trauma and offender behaviors and needs, as are studies of justice-involved samples that include a focus on childhood trauma without using the ACE questionnaire (Wolff and Shi 2012). The studies consistently find elevated rates of childhood trauma in incarcerated populations and offender groups. For example, the Reavis et al. study (2013) of incarcerated males found ACE scores above 4 to be four times higher than in a normative male population.

    “By bringing attention to the powerful impact that negative childhood experiences have on future health and functioning, the ACE study demonstrates the importance of gathering information early in the lives of children and their families and designing early intervention programs that target violence and neglect. It also points to the importance of collecting trauma histories from clients and highlights the essential role of prevention in program design. A particularly important contribution the Ace survey has made to offender and incarcerated groups is to emphasize the importance of trauma-targeted interventions in jails and prisons as well as in diversion programs.”

    FMI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409906/

    More about How ACEs Operate in Our Lives

    This is a depiction of ACEs and their impacts in the form of a “pyramid of bad consequences”: if 3 or more ACEs form our lives’ “foundation,” we are much more likely to have a lot of other problems, including physical and mental health issues, suicidal ideation, criminal tendencies to the point of incarceration, and possible early death in our futures.

    Even having 1 or 2 ACEs can wreck a person’s life and/or health if enough mitigating factors aren’t present, especially when the adverse experience was
    —horrific,
    —happened at a formative time, and/or
    —was prolonged/repeated.


    image from https://www.communitycommons.org/2014/08/aces-adverse-childhood-experiences/

    This excellent 2014 TEDMED talk on ACEs from a health care perspective
    is on video, with presenter, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, MD

    Burke offers the best summary of the study, its origins and findings, and their immediate and long-term applications for health care and other professionals as well as anyone affected by multiple ACEs.

    “Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain.

    “This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.”

    Worth your time to watch: https://www.ted.com/talks/nadine_burke_harris_how_childhood_trauma_affects_health_across_a_lifetime

    ACEs High Scores Linked
    to Adult Emotional and Physical Health Problems

    There is a cycle regarding ACEs that usually occurs. Learning about how this cycle works is first. Then, figuring out how to intervene, interrupt and contravene the impacts can occur next.


    image from https://dribbble.com/shots/2214296-Adverse-Childhood-Experiences-infographic

    Know that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are common

    In case you were wondering about the prevalence of ACEs, here are some recent statistics from a small but supposedly representative sample and their source.

    Of the 17,337 individuals surveyed, here is the prevalence of each possible adverse experience, from most to least, represented as a percentage:

    —Physical abuse towards the child – 28.3%
    —Substance abuse in the household – 26.9%
    —Parental separation/divorce – 23.3%
    —Sexual abuse toward the child – 20.7%
    —Mental Illness in the household – 19.4%
    —Emotional neglect towards the child – 14.8%
    —Domestic violence in the household – 12.7%
    —Emotional abuse towards the child – 10.6%
    —Physical neglect towards the child – 9.9%
    —Imprisoned household member – 4.7%

    ACEs are linked with a greater risk
    of many problems in later life

    These include:

    • Alcohol abuse and dependence
    • Early smoking initiation and current smoking status
    • Illicit drug use
    • IV drug abuse
    • Obesity
    • Suicide attempts
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Hyperactivity
    • Sleep Disturbances
    • Hallucinations
    • Eating disorders
    • Suicide attempts
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Conduct disorder
    • Teen or unintended pregnancies
    • Intimate partner violence
    • Improper brain development
    • Impaired learning ability and general cognitive difficulties
    • Attention and memory difficulties
    • Visual and/or motor impairment
    • Lower language development
    • Impaired social and emotional skills
    • Poorer quality of life

    Nikki Gratix offers more links and stats about ACEs and long-term effects, with our first glimmers of hope (link is below the text, here):
    “Another long-term study indicated that approximately 80% of young adults who had previously been abused qualified for at least one psychiatric diagnosis at the age of 21 (Silverman, Reinherz & Gianconia, 1996).

    “Neglected or abused children are also
    —59% more likely to be arrested during their childhood,
    —28% more likely to engage in criminal behaviour as adults, and
    —30% more likely to engage in violent crime as an adult (Widom & Maxfield, 2001).

    “Abuse and neglect during childhood can also negatively impact the ability of individuals to effectively establish and maintain healthy romantic adult relationships (Colman & Widom, 2004). As relationship warmth and social connection are key protective factors for long-term health and happiness, many of these greater risks could at least be partially explained by the greater risk of interpersonal conflict, disconnection and isolation.

    “Individuals who have had negative experiences during their childhood can still grow and flourish as adults, and can also be more resilient as a result of learning how to overcome significant challenges when they are younger.

    This diagram, below, depicts the Risk Factors, Protective Factors and Resilience interactive model clearly:


    image from https://www.slideshare.net/PreventionWorks/bc-pc-december-13-2012, The InterdisciplinaryScience of Prevention Bernalillo County DWI Program Planning Council Meeting December 13, 2012 Frank G. Magourilos, MPS, CPS, ICPS Prevention Works

    “A major longitudinal study even found that what goes right during childhood is often more important than what goes wrong [emphasis mine], and having even one safe, stable and nurturing figure in a child’s life can reduce the later risk of psychological and physical health problems [emphasis mine] (Vaillant, 2015).

    “Creating safe, stable and nurturing environments (SSNREs) is the key to having a positive impact on reducing ACEs going forward.”

    LINK to the above: https://www.nikigratrix.com/silent-aces-epidemic-attachment-developmental-trauma/

    FMI: “Steps to Create Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments,” 2014, https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/essentials_for_childhood_framework.pdf

    4 Quadrants/Types of Attachment:

    I found this set of connections (below) to be a very helpful rubric for understanding the ways trauma impacts our ability to choose appropriate partners/friends, even colleagues and form positive relationships when we suffer from many ACEs because it brings in the main principles of John Bowlby‘s attachment theory quite intelligently.

    • secure = consistent, responsive early care
      = low anxiety, low avoidance
      = positive views of self and others; comfortable relying on others, easily comforted
    • preoccupied = inconsistent early care
      = high anxiety, low avoidance
      negative view of selves but positive views of others; emotionally dependent, negative affects, hyper vigilance, low self-esteem
    • dismissive = early unresponsive care
      = low anxiety, high avoidance
      positive view of selves (see selves as resilient and not needing others), but negative views of others; uncomfortable with closeness, denial of attachment needs, avoidance of closeness, intimacy, dependency or close relationships; high self-reliance and independence
    • fearful = frequent rejection/abandonment by early caregivers
      = high anxiety, high avoidance
      seek social contact but inhibited by fear of rejection; approach/avoidance behavior in relationships; high negative affects and poor self-esteem

    INTERVENTIONS & SOLUTIONS:
    Trauma-Informed Care vs. Ordinary Care

    As mentioned previously in this post, Protective Factors contribute to Resilience, and both are great predictors of how well a child or adult will do when affected by ACEs (or any other Risk Factors). The basic formula is that when any of the Risk Factors is present (and the higher the number, the worse the situation is for that person), increasing the number and types of Protective Factors for that person is very likely to increase their Resilience, which, in turn, decreases the likelihood that the person will succumb to peer pressure or inner motivation to engage in risky behaviors or fall victim to other risks and those consequences.

    Similarly to Risk Factors (see above), researchers have divided Protective Factors into three categories: Individual, Family and Community

    Researchers are also discovering that these same Protective Factors, particularly those that arise from within the Community and Individual (since Family is presumed to be the source/cause of the ACEs) can increase that person’s tendency toward Resilience, which then can mitigate the effects of ACEs as well.

    Individual Protective Factors include:
    —Positive physical development
    —Academic achievement/intellectual development
    —High self-esteem
    —Emotional self-regulation
    —Good coping skills and problem-solving skills
    —Engagement and connections in two or more of the following contexts: school, with peers, in athletics, employment, religion, culture

    Family Protective Factors include:
    —Family provides structure, limits, rules, monitoring, and predictability
    —Supportive relationships with family members
    —Clear expectations for behavior and values

    Community (School, Neighborhood, and Community) Protective Factors include:
    —Presence of mentors and support for development of skills and interests
    —Opportunities for engagement within school and community
    —Positive norms
    —Clear expectations for behavior
    —Physical and psychological safety
    from: https://youth.gov/youth-topics/youth-mental-health/risk-and-protective-factors-youth

    Some researchers have further divided these Factors into three age groupings: Early Childhood (ages newborn – 5 or 6 [school-age]), Childhood (ages 5 or 6 – 11 or 12 [ending before middle school or junior high school age]), and Adolescence (middle/junior high school and high school ages, 11 or 12 – 18). This classification is used to study each sector and period of a youth’s life more closely.


    image from http://buncombeaces.org/

    “Once you know your ACEs score and its impact, there are personal strategies and community resources that exist to help you. Asking for help, developing trusting relationships, forming a positive attitude, and paying attention to your instincts and feelings are ways to improve your life. These can assist in breaking the cycle of ACEs in your family.

    Reaching out to a trusted member of your community such as a doctor, a counselor, a teacher, or a church or spiritual leader is another way to get help [emphsis mine]….Using these suggestions, both early in a child’s life and as an adult, can lessen the impact of ACEs on you and your family.”

    10 Key Components of Trauma-Informed Care:


    image from https://www.chcs.org/resource/10-key-ingredients-trauma-informed-care/

    “Trauma-Informed” (for educational settings, care, caregivers, institutions, youth programs, prisons, juvenile detention centers, court and police officers, etc.) is the newest way to describe what we MUST create and strengthen given our understanding of ACEs and the impacts of trauma throughout one’s lifetime. When society has better methods for prevention, we hope this won’t be as necessary. Until then, we are in dire need of more training, better programs, and more awareness.
    https://www.rchc.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Trauma-Informed-Care-slides.pdf

    Research confirms that a person’s ability to Cope with trauma (and the neurodevelopmental effects) is rooted in the presence or absence of these circumstances and factors:

    Frequency – Single vs. repeated trauma (obviously, even one trauma is terrible, but more often is worse)
    Age when trauma occurred or began (the younger a person is, the worse off the person is likely to be)
    Agent – natural vs. human (weather disasters, earthquakes and fires are horribly traumatic, but war, interpersonal and domestic violence (being the victim OR the witness), and other human-inflicted harm are WORSE than “natural” causes of trauma when it comes to effects on the victims)
    Nature of the trauma – accidental vs. purposeful (particularly when the perpetrator was supposed to have been trustworthy and purported to “love” the victim, intentional harm is the worst type of trauma for a child)
    Environmental supports – Innate Resilience (there is some evidence in the fairly new field of epigenetics that some of us are “naturally” more resilient, particularly when it comes to resisting or lessening the effects of ACEs in the forms of bad health/diseases. Let’s find out WHY!)

    A lot of research on what contributes to resilience is happening NOW and recently.

    From 2017, we can read: “Epigenetic Embedding of Early Adversity and Developmental Risk,” from Marla B. Sokolowski, PhD, F.R.S.C., W. Thomas Boyce, MD, Co-Directors of the Child and Brain Development Program, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), Canada, who discovered: “[T]he embedding of adversity-related epigenetic marks is associated with increased susceptibility to compromised development and mental health….

    “[A]dverse conditions in early childhood affect the number and placement of epigenetic marks on the DNA sequence. The developmental and health effects of early exposures to adversity and stress are socioeconomically partitioned, with children from the lower ranks of social class sustaining greater and more severe threats to normative development. Epigenetic processes that affect gene expression almost certainly have an impact on adversity-related, maladaptive outcomes….

    “Adverse early childhood experiences can leave lasting marks on genes that are involved with stress responses, immunity and mental health, underscoring the importance of creating an optimal early childhood environment for each and every child.”

    Other researchers created two categories of children to show the differences in fragility, “‘orchid children’…are more sensitive to both negative and positive environmental factors than their more resilient counterparts, called ‘dandelion children,'” which the above researchers utilized in their studies.
    http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/epigenetics/according-experts/epigenetic-embedding-early-adversity-and-developmental-risk

    A great podcast/radio show, On Being, with host, Krista Tippett, provides many informative, entertaining and important audio experiences. This one is very relevant, here: RACHEL YEHUDA talks about “How Trauma and Resilience Cross Generations.”

    “The new field of epigenetics sees that genes can be turned on and off and expressed differently through changes in environment and behavior. Rachel Yehuda is a pioneer in understanding how the effects of stress and trauma can transmit biologically, beyond cataclysmic events, to the next generation. She has studied the children of Holocaust survivors and of pregnant women who survived the 9/11 attacks.

    “But her science is a form of power for flourishing beyond the traumas large and small that mark each of our lives and those of our families and communities [emphasis mine].”

    Read the transcript and/or listen to podcast: https://onbeing.org/programs/rachel-yehuda-how-trauma-and-resilience-cross-generations-nov2017/

    If you have more time and prefer the video format, Bruce McEwen, Ph.D., talks about “The Resilient Brain: Epigenetics, Stress and the Lifecourse,” at Cornell University in 2017.

    For science geeks, this study is awesome! “Epigenetic modulation of inflammation and synaptic plasticity promotes resilience against stress in mice”: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02794-5

    “Three key neuroscience concepts are recommended for inclusion in Trauma-Informed Care programs and practices in ways that can enrich program design and guide the development of practical, Resilience -oriented interventions that can be evaluated for outcomes.

    “A Resilience -oriented approach to TIC is recommended that moves from trauma information to neuroscience-based action with practical skills to build greater capacity for self-regulation and self-care in both service providers and clients.”

    Another source of info about ACEs comes from this report, below (audio-only, with some text), from my former home-town public radio station, KRCB, in the North Bay, San Francisco Bay Area, California:


    image from http://radio.krcb.org/post/educating-fellows-counter-adverse-childhood-experiences#stream/0

    Individual Protective Factors and Professional Training and Environmental Factors that Assist with Coping with ACEs are:
    —Social support
    —Supervision and consultation
    —Resolution of one’s personal issues
    —Strong ethical principles of practice
    —Knowledge of theory
    —On-going training
    —Emotional intelligence/regulation
    —Awareness of the potential and impact of Violent Trauma (VT).

    https://damonashworthpsychology.com/2017/09/14/the-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study/

    Then, of course, we have Oprah weighing in (finally) a few weeks ago:

    Oprah’s 60 Minutes segment on ACES, 3/11/18

    image from https://www.chcs.org/project/advancing-trauma-informed-care/

    Oprah (and others) talk about how we need to shift our focus from “What is wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” with all traumatized individuals.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oprah-winfrey-treating-childhood-trauma/

    This video also mentions two important area of research about the brain and mental health related to ACEs or positive experiences. Good to know, but I’m still wanting more about what HELPS post-ACEs. Here we go!

    “Winfrey speaks to Dr. Bruce Perry, a psychiatristand neuroscientist who authorities have consulted on high-profile events, such as school shootings. She also visits two organizations that treat their clients with the so-called “trauma-informed care” approach shaped by Dr. Perry. Both the agencies, SaintA and the Nia Imani Family Center, are in Milwaukee, where Winfrey spent part of her youth and experienced her own instances of childhood trauma.”

    So, we know that chaos, threats, inconsistency, uncertainty, neglect, violence each constitutes a kind of traumas for children, and experiencing even one of these increases vulnerability in later life to many types of issues (academic, physical and mental health, interpersonal difficulties, employment problems).

    That is the reason we need to move from focusing on consequences to preventing/mitigating early traumas/wounds.

    One main “movement” is to bring in more institutions that provide “trauma-informed care.” Installing these changes is the best way to transform education, social and human services programming and treatment.

    ACEs and I

    I have written about ACEs before, disclosing that I have a very high ACEs score (9.5 out of 10). By the statistics reported since the early 1990s (see below), I should be in prison, institutionalized, or already dead. But, I’m not. Why is that?

    Again, we need to ask “what happened?” rather than “what’s wrong?” to/with a child. Then, we need to build on strengths rather than focus on deficiencies or problems.

    Why do some of us not have PTSD after many ACEs? Our reactions seem to be proportional to the numbers and frequency of whatever positive, protective, nurturing relationships we have had in early life. I am an example of an unusual case. See below.

    I decided to look more deeply into this topic: what fosters Resilience? How do children and youth with high trauma scores not be completely unhealthy or miserable as adults? My discoveries are in this post and will keep coming.

    Please comment on my site, on this post, regardless of where you’re reading this. The post is available starting 4/11/18: http://www.sallyember.com/blog or https://wp.me/p2bP0n-27w

    Other Resources

    Alice Miller‘s work = relevant because her main recommendation and research evidence are in alignment with ACEs’ researchers and therapists: it only takes ONE significant adult in a traumatized child’s life to greatly mitigate and even ameliorate the effects and later consequences of the trauma. I can attest to that truth.


    Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller

    Here is a great post about this book and Miller‘s work: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/suffer-the-children/201206/the-drama-the-gifted-child

    Some local/regional resources (near both USA coasts), and more on their site, from CHCS (Center for Healthcare Strategies):

    Center for Youth Wellness, San Francisco, CA, will implement adverse childhood experiences (ACE) screening, care coordination, and data management strategies to further its integrated care approach for addressing the physical and behavioral health needs of families with ACE exposure.

    Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, Newark, NJ, will establish care coordination, trauma screening and treatment, professional development, and data integration practices.

    Montefiore Medical Group, Bronx, NY, will train all staff within its 22-practice outpatient ambulatory care network in trauma-informed approaches to care using a multi-disciplinary train-the-trainer model including patient representatives.

    San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA, will develop a leadership model, learning community, and collaborative work group that will infuse trauma-informed systems’ principles and practices into public health and other child-, youth-, and family-serving agencies.

    Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, Philadelphia, PA, will train all staff to adopt a standard approach to collective mindfulness practice and use an integrated mind-body treatment model in working with patients who have experienced trauma.

    Women’s HIV Program at the University of California, San Francisco, CA, will develop a formal service integration partnership with the Trauma Recovery Center at San Francisco General Hospital to address the effects of lifetime trauma on adults.

Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes Show Abnormal Brain Activity (reblogged)

“The harrowing conclusion from the study authors is that even young, healthy adults with type 1 diabetes [born with the disease rather than “acquired” it later in life; often called “juvenile diabetes”] ‘already have aberrant neural processing [emphasis mine] relative to their non-diabetic peers, employing compensatory responses to perform the task, and glucose management and duration may play a central role.’

“What would be the findings among type 1s who keep their A1c in non-diabetic range, one might wonder? This study suggests it is likely that elevated blood sugar over time is what changes the brain activity [emphasis mine]. These effects are possibly compounded over time in those with comorbidities like obesity and high blood pressure.”

Having diabetes may affect the way our brains work. Research is taking place to find out exactly how this occurs. In a recent study, researchers describe how tying diabetes to cognitive impairment is tricky because many people with diabetes have other conditions like high blood pressure and obesity, which also affect cognition. That’s why they […]

via Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes Show Abnormal Brain Activity — SOMEONE SOMEWHERE

#TEDtalk #neuroscience DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) breakthroughs

As usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. Surface-level brain stimulation. The delivery of an electric current to the part of the brain involved in movement control, known as deep brain stimulation, is sometimes used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease, depression, epilepsy and obsessive compulsive disorder.…

via A noninvasive method for deep brain stimulation, a new class of Emerging Explorers, and much more — TED Blog

At Least 5 Reasons NOT to get a #Flu Shot This Year (or any year)

At Least 5 Reasons NOT to get a #Flu Shot This Year (or any year)

Yes, you can find hundreds of articles that tell you that everyone between 6 months and 100 years old MUST get a flu shot. But, if you read the references for those articles, they are clearly paid for and written by those who work for the mainstream medical/pharmaceutical industries.

Here are some that are NOT from those sources, but are nonetheless reliable, factual and important to read before deciding to get a flu shot this year (or any year).

BTW: If you’re reading this on January 1, 2018, it is almost officially too late in most of the world to have a flu shot be effective (it takes 2 – 3 weeks to work, IF it works; flu season is generally thought to be over by the end of January).

Some good reasons:
—There is little proof the flu vaccine is effective.

—Vaccines contain harmful adjuvants and preservatives, and possibly viral proteins.

—Influenza is not a serious threat.

from: Why Not To Get the Flu Shot
http://www.sophiahi.com/why-not-to-get-the-flu-shot/

And, more or similar reasons:
—Studies Consistently Show Flu Shots Don’t Work

—There has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent today.

—The flu vaccine was no more effective for children than a placebo.

from: Why You Should Not Get the Flu Shot
https://www.drdavidwilliams.com/why-you-should-not-get-the-flu-shot

These are my favorite reasons, here:
—It’s not effective for children under age 18 or for adults over 65.

—Between ages 18 to 65, it is only 30-50% effective in an average year (which means it fails between 50-70% of the time) and up to 80% in a perfectly matched year (a much lower number than most vaccines). THIS iS NOT a “perfectly matched year” by anyone’s reckoning (2017-18).

—There is no decrease in flu transmission rate or hospitalization rate for people who have gotten the flu vaccine.
from: Why Smart Doctors Don’t Get Flu Shots
http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/smart-doctors-dont-get-flu-shots/

IF YOU DO GET A FLU SHOT, do not get it too “early,” since it is only effective (IF it is effective that year) for about 2 – 3 months.
ALSO, do not wait too long (since it takes 2 – 3 weeks to “kick in,” IF it is even for the current strain of flu that year (which it often is not).
THESE facts are from the CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL.

Good luck, drink lots of fluids, wash your hands and cover your coughs.

#Nobel Prize Winners 2017: Why we need scientists, peace activists, writers more than ever

#Nobel Prize Winners 2017:
Why we need scientists, peace activists, writers more than ever

Thanks to these scientists, researchers, activists and one writer, we can now enjoy advances and new inventions very soon in a variety of areas.
—With the “dumbing down” of the USA and many other places due to climate science-deniers, creationists and other cretins, we are indeed fortunate that scientific advancements are still being honored, supported and achieved around the world.
—Living in our current dystopian reality, we desperately need creative writers to help us understand where we went wrong and how to improve things before it’s too late.

This year, unfortunately, the winners were all men (big surprise, there) and one group. Check out their accomplishments!

2017 Nobel Prize Winners

  • Literature
    Kazuo Ishiguro: “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”

    Kazuo Ishiguro

    Kazuo Ishiguro is probably best known to USA citizens because he wrote the book, The Remains of the Day, which was turned into an award-winning movie (starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson) in the early 1990s. He refers to this process of creating Hopkins’ character and much more here, when he delivered his Nobel Lecture, “My Twentieth Century Evening – and Other Small Breakthroughs,” on 12/7/17 at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm. Watch/listen to it here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2017/ishiguro-lecture.html
    Or, read it, here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2017/ishiguro-lecture_en.html

    My favorite parts:

    I could suddenly see an exciting, freer way of composing my second novel; one that could produce richness on the page and offer inner movements impossible to capture on any screen. If I could go from one passage to the next according to the narrator’s thought associations and drifting memories, I could compose in something like the way an abstract painter might choose to place shapes and colours around a canvas. I could place a scene from two days ago right beside one from twenty years earlier, and ask the reader to ponder the relationship between the two. In such a way, I began to think, I might suggest the many layers of self-deception and denial that shrouded any person’s view of their own self and of their past.

    and, I can relate to this next part very strongly, myself:

    I should say here that I have, on a number of other occasions, learned crucial lessons from the voices of singers. I refer here less to the lyrics being sung, and more to the actual singing. As we know, a human voice in song is capable of expressing an unfathomably complex blend of feelings. Over the years, specific aspects of my writing have been influenced by, among others, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Emmylou Harris, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Gillian Welch and my friend and collaborator Stacey Kent. Catching something in their voices, I’ve said to myself: ‘Ah yes, that’s it. That’s what I need to capture in that scene. Something very close to that.’ Often it’s an emotion I can’t quite put into words, but there it is, in the singer’s voice, and now I’ve been given something to aim for.

    and, also:

    …all good stories, never mind how radical or traditional their mode of telling, had to contain relationships that are important to us; that move us, amuse us, anger us, surprise us….[I]n the end, stories are about one person saying to another: This is the way it feels to me. Can you understand what I’m saying? Does it also feel this way to you?

    Best of all, and making my own points so well:

    It’s hard to put the whole world to rights, but let us at least think about how we can prepare our own small corner of it, this corner of ‘literature’, where we read, write, publish, recommend, denounce and give awards to books. If we are to play an important role in this uncertain future, if we are to get the best from the writers of today and tomorrow, I believe we must become more diverse. I mean this in two particular senses.

    Firstly, we must widen our common literary world to include many more voices from beyond our comfort zones of the elite first world cultures. We must search more energetically to discover the gems from what remain today unknown literary cultures, whether the writers live in far away countries or within our own communities. Second: we must take great care not to set too narrowly or conservatively our definitions of what constitutes good literature. The next generation will come with all sorts of new, sometimes bewildering ways to tell important and wonderful stories. We must keep our minds open to them, especially regarding genre and form, so that we can nurture and celebrate the best of them. In a time of dangerously increasing division, we must listen. Good writing and good reading will break down barriers. We may even find a new idea, a great humane vision, around which to rally.

    Thank you, Kazuo Ishiguro, for your insights, emotional authenticity, creativity and ongoing contributions to our literary and emotional lives.

  • Peace
    International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN): “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”
    ICAN is needed more than ever, it seems. Sigh.
    Find out more, here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2017/ican-facts.html

    ICAN logo

  • Physics
    Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss, and Barry Barish: “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”
    Following up and proving one of Albert Einstein’s more “wacky” theories (about the existence of gravitational waves), these scientists and their teams have done some extraordinary work, here.

    Kip Thorne

    Rainer Weiss

    Barry Barish

  • Chemistry
    Jacques Dubochet, Richard Henderson, and Joachim Frank: “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution”
    So, freeze stuff and we can see it better. Cool.

    Jacques Dubochet

    Richard Henderson

    Joachim Frank

  • The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; Economic Sciences
    Richard Thaler: “for his contributions to behavioural economics”
    In addition to being brilliant and innovative, Thaler is very funny! Check out some of his humor, here: https://quotefancy.com/richard-thaler-quotes
    Like, “The assumption that everybody will figure out how much they have to save and then will just implement that plan is obviously preposterous.”
    And, “I’m all for empowerment and education, but the empirical evidence is that it doesn’t work. That’s why I say make it easy.”
    For sure, this: “I think the people who’ve been the most overconfident in our business in the last decade have been the people that called themselves risk managers.”
    My favorite: “When an economist says the evidence is ‘mixed,’ he or she means that theory says one thing and data says the opposite.”

    Richard Thaler

  • Physiology or Medicine
    Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young: “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”
    If it helps people sleep better, I’m all for it!

    Jeffrey C. Hall

    Michael Rosbash

    Michael W. Young

Get more info here:
https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/lists/year/?year=2017

All info, above, from: http://Nobelprize.org Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 11 Dec 2017.

2017 #MacArthur Fellows: 24 Creative, Genius, Unique Leaders Who Inspire

2017 #MacArthur Fellows: 24 Creative, Genius, Unique Leaders Who Inspire

Let’s celebrate extraordinary and amazing and beneficial and FUN people! I first heard about these annual awards when they were only about $200,000 and they were called “Genius Grants.” The stipend for the MacArthur Fellowship is currently set at $625,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years.

The cool thing about this award is that the group of people who nominate and select these individuals every year are ANONYMOUS and it is apparently impossible to discover their identities. This protects the process from corruption, one would hope.

Their FAQs page states: “All of the participants in the selection process—–nominators, evaluators, and selectors—–serve anonymously, and we keep their communications confidential. Anonymity protects them from being inundated with unsolicited requests. In addition, our experience shows that people readily provide frank impressions if they have an assurance that their responses will not be disseminated beyond the program staff and Selection Committee.”

I’ve heard that each recipient gets a phone call “out of the blue,” since they don’t even know they’re being considered, to announce that they are selected and about to receive one of our highest honors and a huge cash award.

The idea behind these awards is that the Fellows can then “quit their day jobs” or work less for money while living on the investments/cash they get/accumulate from this award. That award liberates Fellows to pursue their genius ideas even further! YEA!

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:
—Exceptional creativity
—Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
—Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Again, from the FAQs: “The MacArthur Fellowship is designed to provide seed money for intellectual, social, and artistic endeavors. We believe that highly motivated, self-directed, and talented people are in the best position to decide how to allocate their time and resources. By adopting a ‘no strings attached’ policy, we provide the maximum freedom for the recipients to follow their creative vision, whether it is moving forward with their current activities, expanding the scope of their work, or embarking upon an entirely new endeavor. There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, and we impose no reporting obligations.”

I also love that they make a concerted effort and usually succeed in finding obscure, diverse, interesting and helpful people to whom to give this important award each year. Check out the 2017 cohort!

Anybody a fan of the CMT TV series, Nashville, as I have been? One of the recurring roles has been being played in 2015-2017 by one of this year’s recipients, Rhiannon Giddens, a gifted “Singer, Instrumentalist, and Songwriter,” who won for: “Reclaiming African American contributions to folk and country music and bringing to light new connections between music from the past and the present.”

Sometimes, though, they do not pick the “thought-leader” in a particular area, but one who is using others’ work in new ways or places. I wish they’d give credit to the originators of this recipient’s work: Betsy Levy Paluck uses the thinking and program components of Community MattersSafe School Ambassadors program’s creators, Rick Phillips, John Linney and Chris Pack. I know this because I worked for/with them and helped write the book they created about their anti-bullying work over 10 years ago. Oh, well. Can’t win them all!

Spread the word! Read about these people and their projects to youth and adults to inspire us all to be better! There is no upper age limit on recipients, either!

This year’s recipients include artists/designers, social scientists/humanities scholars, physical scientists/mathematicians, writers, community leaders/ strategists/ activists, and more.

There are, as usual (2016 was an exception), fewer female (9) than male (15) recipients. Most are under 50 years old, but a few are older.

However, more than usual (15) are people of non-Caucasian/ non-Western European ethnicities. Click on this link for an interactive map showing each of the recipient’s place of birth or location at the time of their award: https://www.macfound.org/maps/2/

A few are academics or work in other large organizations, but most are independent owners/operators or work in small businesses or in the nonprofit sectors.

Want to know more? Check out these myth-busting responses: https://www.macfound.org/press/commentary/five-myths-about-macarthur-genius-grants/

2017 MacArthur Fellows: 24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

The MacArthur Foundation named the 2017 MacArthur Fellows this week (10/10/17). Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

“From transforming conditions for low-wage workers to identifying internet security vulnerabilities, from celebrating the African American string band tradition to designing resilient urban habitats, these new MacArthur Fellows bring their exceptional creativity to diverse people, places, and social challenges. Their work gives us reason for optimism and inspires us all.”

Visit the MacArthur Foundation website for Fellows’ bios and more info about each recipient as well as videos, the lists and descriptions/bios of previous years’ recipients, and the remaining FAQs/Answers:

https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/


Some New #Books for Your “To-Read” List for 2017-18 and Beyond

Some New #Books for Your “To-Read” List for 2017-18 and Beyond

I can’t afford to buy books and almost never buy fiction because I never re-read it. BUT, I am a life-long, semi-weekly borrower from public libraries and frequently request purchases, which they often honor, so I do my part.

I used to read upwards of 8 books a week, plus magazines, newspapers and other materials; more when I was getting my Master’s and doctorate degrees. But, after not reading at all during my first 6-week meditation retreat, other than assigned excerpts from the Buddhist text our teacher was using, I lost the habit. For a while, I didn’t read much fiction at all and mostly read short articles or Buddhist non-fiction.

In the early 2000s, I gradually began to read fiction, but I no longer read a lot of it and often do not finish books. I have no interest in or patience with stories whose plot or characters I do not care about, or those that display bad writing or poor editing (FAR too many, even from trad publishing houses).

Also, I mostly don’t care about the topics that many authors and publishers are obsessed with: too much violence, too many billionaires seducing women, etc. Life is already too dystopian for me to want to read “for pleasure” most stories of disasters, diseases, dysfunction and/or defeat. Furthermore, I am refusing to read any more addiction pseudo-bios, cancer or other “survival” or “elegant death” scenarios (lost too many friends and relatives to those already), chronic illness depictions (same), “can’t have a baby” stories, adultery fantasies, or glamorizations/gritty details of endless wars (look around!). I also won’t pick up a series anywhere but the beginning, so mid-series installments of series I haven’t read are out.

I won’t even pick up, much less read, many of the books listed on the original pages of Bookish.com‘s site. Therefore, the abbreviated list I am sharing, here, has books I do plan to read. But, recognizing many readers do not share my limited tastes, I’m including the links to each category’s page so you can make your own choices. There are many other lists, too, so look around.

What’s on YOUR “To-Read” list? Comment here: http://www.sallyember.com/blog on this post!
LINK to Bookish.com main page of lists: https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-2017/

The following suggestions and review snippets are mostly gleaned (I add others, too) from the lists compiled by Bookish.com and are in categories of their design with which I do not always agree and from which some are missing (e.g., historical fiction, graphic novels and short stories are combined with Fiction; some novels whose main character is a teen are NOT listed in either category of YA; there are no art books; there are no Indie authors), but here they are.

FICTION
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-fiction-2017/

I mostly do not read “modern” fiction, any more. So, only one of these made my list:
1) Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan (already the recipient of one Pulitzer Prize)
The main character is “Anna Kerrigan, a child living in New York City in the 1930s” whose “father disappears…. [Y]ears later when she encounters an old business acquaintance of her father’s…she more fully comprehends what his life must have been like.” (quotes are from the review on Bookish.com)
Available October 3, 2017

NON-FICTION
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-nonfiction-books-2017/

I like books about many science topics, Buddhism and a few other non-fiction subjects, so I was hoping some new books would capture my attention. Alas, none did, from THIS list.

I am looking forward to the next books from Mishio Kaku, though, or Brian Green, Lisa Randall and other quantum physicists/futurists, so I’ll keep you posted on those!

Meanwhile, check out this list of new #physics books, from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA USA): http://libguides.mit.edu/c.php?g=175935&p=1158686, where I found this gem:

2) Quantum Weirdness, by William J. Mullin
Apparently, this book “focuses on some of the more bizarre aspects of quantum mechanics.” He begins with a discussion of “classical waves,” then goes right into the “latest ideas and experiments , e.g., quantum Bayesianism, weak measurements.” He tries to make it accessible to those of us without doctorates in physics, since he “uses basic high-school mathematics (algebra and trigonometry) to explain quantum mechanics”and employs a “gradual build-up of concepts” (quotes are from the book’s blurb).
Available now (September, 2017).

MYSTERIES/THRILLERS
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-mysteries-thrillers-2017/

I don’t read most “thrillers” (too violent or stressful for me), but I do like bloodless mysteries, especially with female protagonists who are smart, courageous, witty and quirky. Some romance is also all right in these books, for me.

I also used to be a John le Carré fan and heard an interview recently on NPR with him about this new book, so it’s now on my list. I may skip some parts, but will probably read it.

3) A Legacy of Spies, by John le Carré
His often-used main character, George Smiley, appears in this novel, for the first time in 25 years. “Smiley works with the British Secret Service (or Circus, as some call it). Smiley calls a retired member of the Circus, Peter Guillam, when the specter of Guillam’s past involvement in the Cold War resurfaces” (quotes from Bookish.com’s review). Apparently, le Carré brings in many familiar characters from previous works, so it could be fun for long-time fans.
Available now (September, 2017)

YA/SCI-FI/FANTASY
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-young-adult-fantasy-science-fiction-2017/

4) The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Phillip Pullman
How fun! A prequel to His Dark Materials, set in the same world!
“Set ten years before The Golden Compass, this new trilogy will explore how Lyra Belacqua came to live at Jordan College. The tale begins with an 11-year-old boy named Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta. Malcolm is living with his parents near Oxford when he hears that the nuns in Godstow Priory are housing a baby, and he decides to take his boat, La Belle Sauvage, across the Thames to investigate” (from Bookish.com’s review).
Available October 19, 2017

YA CONTEMPORARY
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-young-adult-2017/

5) Moxie, by Jennifer Matthieu
This sounds fun. Love the title, too. This could have been my biography, if I had been born 50 years later than I was!
“Vivian Carter never thought she’d be the leader of a movement. She’s always preferred to sit back and go unnoticed, but one day something within her snaps and she decides to take action. Drawing from her mom’s Riot Grrrl zines of the 90s, Viv creates Moxie, an anonymous zine that she begins to distribute around her school, calling out her school’s sexist dress code and preferential treatment of football players. Soon Moxie becomes a movement and begins connecting girls from diverse cliques and backgrounds” (from Bookish.com’s review).
Available September 19, 2017


Read any of these or want to recommend others, especially those from Indie/Self-Published authors? PLEASE read my standards before making suggestions; then, please send them along to the comments section of this post: http://www.sallyember.com/blog, post from September 12, 2017. Thanks!


Also, check out the three ebooks and POD paperbacks in my sci-fi/romance series for YA/NA and adults, The Spanners Series: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners First ebook, This Changes Everything, is permafree.

1 out of every 8 USA adults has 4 or more #ACEs (Adverse #Childhood Experiences)

It is estimated that 1 out of every 8 USA adults has 4 or more #ACEs (Adverse #Childhood Experiences); MOST people have at least one out of 10 ACEs. “An ACE score is a tally of different types of #abuse, #neglect, and other hallmarks of a rough childhood. According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, the rougher your childhood, the higher your score is likely to be and the higher your risk for later #health problems,” including #cancer, #hepatitis, #heart disease, #diabetes, #hypertension, mental illness, frequent sicknesses of other kinds (e.g., “auto”-immune diseases), COPD (obstructive breathing problems), #addictions and #allergies, and many other problems.

These effects are due to the bodies’ stress response system’s being on overload, chronically and continuously (adrenalin, cortisol), which can screw up one’s immune system. The symptoms can show up immediately (childhood #asthma, skin #rashes, #ADHD and other “behavior” issues, including #eating disorders) and throughout one’s life, especially after age 40.

Children who live with/are exposed to conditions that put them under extreme #stress, repeatedly, have our brain structures altered forever, developing abnormal #hormonal and #immune systems, and affecting the ways one’s DNA is read and transferred (so, ACEs influence current AND future generations).

More facts and anecdotes are in this podcast, Hardwired, including info about the genetic connection to personality traits and other significant science about our biology’s and environment’s interdependent influences. Listen to that and more here–the same page as other archived shows is linked to: http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/archive

Want to see or take the ACEs quiz? http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean


I responded “yes” for 9 out of 10 ACEs.

Unsurprisingly, my health has been “compromised” or difficult all my life. Oddly, though, I consider myself “a healthy person with particular problems that are /have been mostly under control,” mostly because they haven’t completely prevented me from many types of success.. Some problems have gotten worse after I suffered a TBI/concussion 3.5 years ago (which we know now also adversely affects one’s immune system, among other consequences. I have many blog posts about this in 2014 – 2015, at http://www.sallyember.com/blog). Some ongoing health issues have been worsening with age (I am well over 40). I have, however, never been addicted to anything even though that “runs in my family.”

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The majority of the people who have scored over 7 out of 10 ACEs have been/are still incarcerated, living with severe mental or physical illnesses, or are already dead by my age. I am one of the few luckier ones who isn’t in the worst situations.

This “luck” is probably due to my having had many positive conditions, some self-selected:

  • 1) since age 17, been meditating daily;
  • 2) always making sure I have regular exercise;
  • 3) many positive older teens and then adults were in my life during the most stressful years;
  • 4) lots of individual and group counseling/ therapy during and since undergraduate years in college;
  • 5) access to thousands of books (Yay to public libraries!) and excellent, advanced education and training (including in self-care and mental/social health);
  • 6) some good family support;
  • 7) education/experiences with music, the arts, summer camp;
    and,

  • 8) great friends.

For more information about resources and prevention as well as the original research on ACEs, visit the USA’s CDC (Center for Disease Control)’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/index.html

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Sixth Installment (FINAL)

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Sixth Installment (FINAL)
JULY 28, 2016 to JULY 30, 2016

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the sixth and FINAL installment. Look for others starting August 8, 2016: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

For any terms or concepts I don’t define or which I define poorly, please refer to: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/glossary.html

I don’t have any more than what I’m posting, here. Physicists: please add, comment, correct, elaborate, explain! Thanks!

NOTE: the superscripted and subscripted numbers and letters won’t copy/paste correctly here; sorry.


Session XV, Chad Orzel, Ph.D.
Quantum Applications

A. “Photons are their own anti-particles” Does that mean they are their own “worst enemies”?

B. 10 to the 120th power Dark Energy pushes things apart, which means “empty space” expands and “empty” isn’t “empty.”

C. Matter waves as opposed to gravitational waves or electromagnetic waves or light waves

D. intrinsic spin

E. because of Quantum Physics applications (specifically, supercooling), we have GPS satellites guiding us by triangulation of time, location and three readings

F. 1 foot per nanosecond is the speed of light in American measurement

G. atoms can act like frequency references or time references

H. Cesium‘s behavior (is heavy and moves slowly, was abundant and easy to detect in the 1950s) was used to create measures of time

I. time is defined by how long a second is, which is the number of oscillations in a microwave in the transition between two spin states of Cesium (see H, above) = 9,192,631,720

J. Foundation Clock in which cold atoms launched UP through a microwave cavity (atoms are laser cooled /supercooled)

K. Dopler shift is low when atoms are moving slowly (because cold)

L. Optical lattice clocks use Strontium

M. Relational Geodesy recognizes the local variations in Earth (or any orb)

N. better living at lower elevations: our hearts beat more slowly and we age more slowly than those at higher elevations (Einstein’s Relativity application)

O. Earth is slowing down in its orbit and rotation, both, adding leap seconds periodically to the standard time setting for the atomic clock

P. interstellar navigation clocks won’t match Earth’s, which can cause problems, but traveling at light or Faster-Than-Light (FTL) speeds causes more problems(for sci-fi writers, here)

Q. Fine Structure Constant (FSC) determines the strength of electromagnetism “energies of atomic states,” “energies of electron orbits” in neutrons or energies
= about 1/37 = α
AKA Sommerfeld’s constant = α

R. Fine = Formula 1
Hyperfine = Formula 2

S. exotic physics changes (alpha, or α)

T. Astronomical Constraints absorption of emission lines from far away, moving away from ours = redshifted

U. Australian Dipole
when the FSC is smaller in the past, going toward “west”
when the FSC is larger in the past, going toward “east”

V. Dimensionless number

Formula FSC is α = 1/4πEsubscript0 * e squared/ħc which is about 1/137 OR 4πεsubscript0 * ħcα = e squared

FMI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-structure_constant

where c = the speed of light
ħ = h/2π
h = Planck’s constant
E zero subscript = electric constant = permittivity of free space;
e = electromagnetic coupling constant

W. “each multiverse could have slightly different FSCs because the size of atoms could vary”!

X. anthropic principle = “we” all wouldn’t be “here” if not for the fact that the FSC “here” is 1/137

Y. Do ice skaters in spins create a magnetic field?

Z. electrons aren’t actually “orbiting” or “spinning,” but seem to be and therefore, can be measured by their angular momentum and the magnetic fields they create

A’. spin = 1/2 when there is “odd” behavior under rotation
= spin up when it rotates 360 degrees, which does not take it back to the start, though (-1 rotation)
= spin down which then rotates it another 360 degrees and DOES bring it back to the starting position (2 rotations)
Change in spin occurs when a particle is bombarded with light or emits light

B’. Pauli Exclusion Principle = no two electrons (fermions) can be in the exact same state, which explains the Periodic Table of all elements, each with its unique position
Chemical bonds determine if some element is a “conductor” or “insulator” as a solid object or liquid or gas

C’. state of electron in a small area or in the same quantum system = the location + charge
every electron is in a wavefunction in this universe; if one changes, ALL of them change (“imperceptibly”)

D’. When the wavelength is about the same distance as the distance between electrons, changing one changes all “perceptibly”

E’. Spooky Action at a Distance, George Masser;
Black Hole Blues, Janna Levin (2016)

Session XVI, Bill Phillips, Ph.D., NIST, LIGO & JQI, Nobel Prize Winner (one of three on team), 1997, for invention of laser cooling techniques still used today
Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics

A. meter = a measurement based on the amount of space light can travel in certain amount of time (about 39 inches)

B. quantum measurement

C. wave-particle duality

D. Alan Aspect (pronounced as a French name, “au” at the end) proved that QM (Quantum Mechanics) is as weird as we have heard it is.

E. Local Reality says that nothing exists independently of a measurement (John/Bill’s inequality)

F. “think globally” = nonlocality comprehension

G. “real” is what we call objective reality, in which something has properties that are knowable prior to measurement

H. “extra stuff” are all the hidden variables of existence

I. “reality is deterministic”

J. most physicists would “give up” “reality” if a forced choice between that and “locality” were to be made

K. “photography ‘traps’ a moment”

L. our microscopic world, as measured, doesn’t conform to perceptions of our macroscopic world: why?

M. Hugh Everett (1958) posited that “relative states” lead us to understand that there are “many worlds” in 1968 and the multiverse in the 1970s.

N. decoherence means we can’t detect other outcomes in the multiverse, only the ones we can observe directly (measure)

O. John Kramer’s sci-fi books used “transactional” interpretations, showing that waves go back & forwards in time

P. decoherence says that we lose our ability to know how something is moving because there are too many factors and entanglements (things go from QM to classical probability)

Q. Block Vector

R. Absolute value is written with straight lines before and after a number to show that it is positive or negative, but still retains that number’s value (e.g., the Absolute Value of -1 or 1 is 1).

S. “most of physics’ definitions are in a relation to humans”: what we can know, measure, understand, observe vs. actual (objective) entities, qualities, truths, that are “independent of human interaction”

T. “all we have is knowledge of the systems, not the actual data of the systems’ existence”

U. a quantum measurement occurs when something sufficiently complicated encounters the object or event and it has an irreversible effect by becoming entangled

V. cavity —— atom
photon (which can go either way)

W. “the size of a system is inversely proportional to its reversibility”: the larger the system, the less reversible any effects are

X. quantum “back-action”

Y. 2012 Nobel prize involved experiments on single atoms and single photons (not in pairs or groups)

Z. we can’t have a classical physics world/universe

A’. we can’t have a non-quantum world, either

B’. Faster-Than-Light (FTL) travel creates causality problems and affects many other beings, events and circumstances (for sci-fi writers, FYI)

C’. special relativity = before and after are constructs, and therefore, no causality can ever occur


END OF ALL Sessions


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
Chad Orzel, Union College
Emily Edwards, JQI
Steve Rolston, JQI

Organizing Institutions
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Sponsoring Institutions
This workshop was made possible by a Public Outreach and Informing the Public grant from the American Physical Society (APS) and support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Location
Joint Quantum Institute
2136 Physical Sciences Complex
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
USA

How did I get to go?
I applied in March and was accepted in April!

The Schrödinger Sessions II was the second of two (first was 2015) three-day (2.5 days, really) sets of seminars, Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, offering a “crash course” in modern physics for non-scientists who utilize physics and other sciences in our work and wish to do it better. It was held at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), one of the world’s leading research centers for the study of quantum mechanics. [The organizers kept their promises to] introduce participants to phenomena like superposition, entanglement, and quantum information through a series of lectures by JQI and NIST scientists and tours of JQI laboratories. [They most certainly DID] inform and inspire new stories [and sharing information, like this] in print, on screen, and in electronic media, that will in turn inspire a broad audience to learn more about the weird and fascinating science of quantum physics and the transformative technologies it enables.

The workshop was held at JQI from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30, 2016. Participants were housed locally at a university dorm with breakfast offered at a dining commons near the dorm and lunch provided at the workshop, which was at the Physical Sciences building. Evenings were free to allow participants to explore the Washington, D.C. area (but I was much too tired at each day’s end to do any exploring).

Participants were selected on the basis of an application asking about personal background, interest, and publication history. [Organizers worked] work to ensure the greatest possible diversity of race and gender as well as type of media (print, television, etc.) with an eye toward reaching the broadest audience. Applications were accepted online from March 1 through March 20, 2015, and acceptance decisions were made around April 15, 2015.

FYI: Next year, 2017, JQI plans to offer a similar seminar for a different professoinal group, Physics for Journalists, and then, pending funding, re-offer this same session as I attended, Physics for Sci-Fi Writers, in the summer of 2018.

Watch this space for more of my notes, reactions and ideas catalyzed by these great seminars, after 8/8/16! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Fifth Installment

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Fifth Installment
JULY 28, 2016 to JULY 30, 2016

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the fifth installment. Look for others starting August 8, 2016: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

For any terms or concepts I don’t define or which I define poorly, please refer to: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/glossary.html

I don’t have any more than what I’m posting, here. Physicists: please add, comment, correct, elaborate, explain! Thanks!

NOTE: the superscripted and subscripted numbers and letters won’t copy/paste correctly here; sorry.


Session XII, Professor Fred Wellstood, Ph.D.
Superconductivity and Nanophysics

A. zero resistance, persistent currents, flux quantization, Meissner effect, penetration depth, critical field, magnetic levitation to be covered, here

B. zero resistance to electric current

C. persistent currents Faraday’s Law = changing magnetic flux causes voltage (current)

D. Lenz’s Law = current generates a field that opposes changes in the applied field

E. “trapped current never decays if kept cold”

F. MRIs have superconducting magnets

G. flux quantization quantum flux flattens out the waves because the flux is “quantized” when trapped current produces a trapped magnetic field which creates the flux quantum integer

H. flux = inductant x current

I. perfect conductors do exist

J. Meissner effect = expulsion of the magnetic field because it is cooled and becomes perfect diamagnetism

K. London penetration depth = the surface current keeps the magnetic field on the surface

L. magnetic levitation they did several demos of this with magnets and supercooled substances that kept the magnets floating around, going around on a kind of marbles’ maze track, but above it

M. magnetic fields can be too small or too strong/have too large of a magnetic field, and then they are no longer superconductors

N. several types of superconductors exist

O. Type 1 superconductor is the most commonly used
Type 2 superconductor is the most commonly found

P. Type 2 superconductors can get their magnetic fields “trapped” inside and hang suspended and fly around the rollercoaster of the magnets (saw demos!)

Q. Absolute Zero = -459◦F

R. H2S is Hydrogen DiSulfide
H3S is Hydrogen TriSulfide
both are superconductors

S. Columb repulsion electrons repel other electrons and attract positive ionic lattice (crystalline). The lattice stretches and becomes composed of phonons

T. another electron travels close to the lattice (see above) because it is attracted by a free electron‘s positive charge in the lattice (the stretched phonons) and so it “pairs up” with that electron

Session XIII: Steve Eckel, Ph.D. NIST & JQI

A. cold/ultracold neutral atoms

B. did demos with liquid Nitrogen (ultracold)

C. dry ice is about -100◦F (made of CO2)
liquid Nitrogen is about -300◦F, or 77◦K

D. Absolute Zero is 0◦C
room temperature is usually around 300◦K

E. outer space is about 1◦K

F. the Joint Quantum Institute‘s labs have materials kept (through laser cooling) at about 10 to the -100 billions of 0◦K

G. laser cooling technology is what three professors here won the Nobel Prize for (one is presenting later in these seminars)

H. e = the excited state
g = the ground state
of an atom’s energy

I. evaporative cooling is the technique used

J. inertial navigation

K. GPS devices will have clocks that use cold atoms, soon

L. “atomic” clocks already do (see K, above)

M. atom laser is the same as a photon laser in that both have a monochromatic phase with coherent emissions

N. interfering laser beams can create crystalline lattices to simulate quantum problems

O. chirality = the direction current is flowing in a spiral (4 types of chirality: down, counter-clockwise; up, counter-clockwise; down, clockwise; up, clockwise)

P. the number of spiral arms is the winding number of superfluidity substance/atoms

Session XIV, Raban Sundrom, Ph.D.
Theoretical Physics

A. Photon vs. phonon
when discussing gravitational waves, which are they?
GW have to be photons because they are traveling through no medium (outer space)

B. didn’t discuss wormholes (but I wished that someone had!)

C. massless neutrinos also travel at the speed of light

D. magnetic statics are at an equilibrium because of the reliability of waves of electromagneticism as slower than the speed of light

E. “dancing” electromagnetic waves

F. without time, “physics is merely space and locations of objects,” statically

G. dynamics means that things change, can be predicted and retroactively understood because of time
if we add the square root of negative 1 (an imaginary number, i) to time, all the physics equations suddenly “work”!!

H. a medium exists if the particles/waves possess observable/measurable rest frame. If “yes,” then “yes.”

I. anti-matter must exist as a corollary of quantum mechanics and relativity; quantum vacuum
a worldline oi a body’s locations over time, which can be observed by measuring /connecting “dots” and then collect all the worldlines as its “history” (e.g., an object starts somewhere at 9 AM; go to 5 PM; show every location for that object in each minute, then connect those dots into one “line” = that object’s day’s worldline)

J. if we do that with matter and then show that anti-matter meets up with the matter again at 9 AM by “time-traveling,” that is the object’s annihilation point, when the past “self” meets up with the future “self” and they collide

K. energy cost is represented by Einstein’s General Relativity equation E = mc2 (squared) where E is energy, m is mass and c is the speed of light, squared.

L. positron is an electron with positive charge because it goes backward in time (!?!)

M. bariogenesis (“heavy starts”) is posited to be the origin of matter

N. quantum vacuum: photons are their own anti-particles, but positrons and electrons are the lightest mass anti-matter/matter pair that exists (briefly) and shows that space isn’t “empty”

O. [I had to leave at this point….He continued for about one more hour. Anyone have notes?]


END OF DAY TWO


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
Chad Orzel, Union College
Emily Edwards, JQI
Steve Rolston, JQI

Organizing Institutions
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Sponsoring Institutions
This workshop was made possible by a Public Outreach and Informing the Public grant from the American Physical Society (APS) and support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Location
Joint Quantum Institute
2136 Physical Sciences Complex
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
USA

How did I get to go?
I applied in March and was accepted in April!

The Schrödinger Sessions II was the second of two (first was 2015) three-day (2.5 days, really) sets of seminars, Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, offering a “crash course” in modern physics for non-scientists who utilize physics and other sciences in our work and wish to do it better. It was held at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), one of the world’s leading research centers for the study of quantum mechanics. [The organizers kept their promises to] introduce participants to phenomena like superposition, entanglement, and quantum information through a series of lectures by JQI and NIST scientists and tours of JQI laboratories. [They most certainly DID] inform and inspire new stories [and sharing information, like this] in print, on screen, and in electronic media, that will in turn inspire a broad audience to learn more about the weird and fascinating science of quantum physics and the transformative technologies it enables.

The workshop was held at JQI from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30, 2016. Participants were housed locally at a university dorm with breakfast offered at a dining commons near the dorm and lunch provided at the workshop, which was at the Physical Sciences building. Evenings were free to allow participants to explore the Washington, D.C. area (but I was much too tired at each day’s end to do any exploring).

Participants were selected on the basis of an application asking about personal background, interest, and publication history. [Organizers worked] work to ensure the greatest possible diversity of race and gender as well as type of media (print, television, etc.) with an eye toward reaching the broadest audience. Applications were accepted online from March 1 through March 20, 2015, and acceptance decisions were made around April 15, 2015.

FYI: Next year, 2017, JQI plans to offer a similar seminar for a different professoinal group, Physics for Journalists, and then, pending funding, re-offer this same session as I attended, Physics for Sci-Fi Writers, in the summer of 2018.

Watch this space for more of my notes, reactions and ideas catalyzed by these great seminars, after 8/8/16! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Fourth Installment

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Fourth Installment
JULY 28, 2016 to JULY 30, 2016

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the fourth installment. Look for others starting August 8, 2016: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

For any terms or concepts I don’t define or which I define poorly, please refer to: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/glossary.html

I don’t have any more than what I’m posting, here. Physicists: please add, comment, correct, elaborate, explain! Thanks!

NOTE: the superscripted and subscripted numbers and letters won’t copy/paste correctly here; sorry.


Session IX, Professor Shelby Kimmel, Ph.D.
Quantum Algorithms (QA)

A. computers collapse into black holes if continuous storage exponentially occurs (Lloyd, Nature, 2016)

B. algorithm = a set of instructions on how to behave

C. can create quantum cryptography, but we haven’t, yet

D. thermal rate constant = the rate of chemical reactions (measured by the amount of heat emitted)

E. writing algorithms is like engineering waves’ sizes and location on a beach: even though it’s all visible, it’s very complicated (many variables and factors influence waves’ locations at any given moment)

F. superposition and destructive or constructive interference led to the need to create QA

G. running each QA many times is needed to validate each one

H. functions

ʄ(x) = 2x squared – 3

I. quantum query complexity refers to the number of times needed to use a classical computer to ask about the variables in the functions, above

J. even parity refers to an even # of some certain outputs

K. initializing means starting back at zero, or cooling back down to the lowest temperature of the object/particle

Session X: all present

A. discussed the phenomenon of physicists’ personifying their objects/particles in speaking about their behaviors (see Day 2, Session 2, N)

B. anthropomorphic language leads to phrases like “breaking isolation” for taking a measurement/observing, and “preferences” for natural propensities, using “like”

Session XI, Professor Gretchen Campbell, Ph.D.

A. Isotopes are lighter and have less density and mass than regular elements because they have fewer neutrons

B. Ground state is the ground energy of the element (when it’s supercooled)

C. lighter atoms have larger wavelengths which makes them behave more quantumly (superposition-like)

D. superfluids conduct heat 500 x better than metals (e.g., copper, the best one) and flow without resistance

E. viscosity (thickness) of a liquid goes away when an element is supercooled

F. this supercooling occurs at 2.17K (Kelvin) which is called the transition temperature

G. temperature travels in waves

H. some of the 4 He (Helium isotope) does not become a superfluid and stays ordinary, which creates temperature gradients (differences within the fluid) and waves

I. “any state should be identical if we precisely exchange two particles” (there is no “handedness” of bosons or any two particles)

J. bosons are identical

K. bosons bunch together

L. anti-symmetrical particles (which do have “handedness,” e.g., right, left, top, bottom “spin”) are called fermions (anti-identical)

M. fermions “avoid” and “repel” one another because they “can’t be in the same place at the same time” unless they are supercooled

N. neutrons (when individual, single) are fermions because they are “energy barriers”

O. 4 He is a boson

P. 3 He (another Helium isotope) is a fermion

Q. odd numbers of bosons become fermions while even numbers of fermions become bosons

R. particles that comprise atoms (protons, neutrons, electrons) are all fermions in their behavior (e.g., repelling each other) unless they are supercooled, then they become bosons in their behavior (clustering, e.g.)

S. photons are bosons (they bunch)

T. Bose-Einstein Condensates (BECs) are superfluids and are bosons and have integer spin

U. fermions are odd and have 1/2-integer spins

V. sometimes fermions pair up and behave like bosons (why? when?)

W. superfluids “can’t leave the lab” (can’t stay supercooled “out in the world”), so they are not much “use,” yet

X. “dilution refrigerator” is the mixture of 4 He and 3 He and does the supercooling action


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
Chad Orzel, Union College
Emily Edwards, JQI
Steve Rolston, JQI

Organizing Institutions
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Sponsoring Institutions
This workshop was made possible by a Public Outreach and Informing the Public grant from the American Physical Society (APS) and support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Location
Joint Quantum Institute
2136 Physical Sciences Complex
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
USA

How did I get to go?
I applied in March and was accepted in April!

The Schrödinger Sessions II was the second of two (first was 2015) three-day (2.5 days, really) sets of seminars, Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, offering a “crash course” in modern physics for non-scientists who utilize physics and other sciences in our work and wish to do it better. It was held at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), one of the world’s leading research centers for the study of quantum mechanics. [The organizers kept their promises to] introduce participants to phenomena like superposition, entanglement, and quantum information through a series of lectures by JQI and NIST scientists and tours of JQI laboratories. [They most certainly DID] inform and inspire new stories [and sharing information, like this] in print, on screen, and in electronic media, that will in turn inspire a broad audience to learn more about the weird and fascinating science of quantum physics and the transformative technologies it enables.

The workshop was held at JQI from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30, 2016. Participants were housed locally at a university dorm with breakfast offered at a dining commons near the dorm and lunch provided at the workshop, which was at the Physical Sciences building. Evenings were free to allow participants to explore the Washington, D.C. area (but I was much too tired at each day’s end to do any exploring).

Participants were selected on the basis of an application asking about personal background, interest, and publication history. [Organizers worked] work to ensure the greatest possible diversity of race and gender as well as type of media (print, television, etc.) with an eye toward reaching the broadest audience. Applications were accepted online from March 1 through March 20, 2015, and acceptance decisions were made around April 15, 2015.

FYI: Next year, 2017, JQI plans to offer a similar seminar for a different professoinal group, Physics for Journalists, and then, pending funding, re-offer this same session as I attended, Physics for Sci-Fi Writers, in the summer of 2018.

Watch this space for more of my notes, reactions and ideas catalyzed by these great seminars, after 8/8/16! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Third Installment

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Third Installment
JULY 28, 2016 to JULY 30, 2016

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the third installment. Look for others starting August 8, 2016: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

For any terms or concepts I don’t define or which I define poorly, please refer to: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/glossary.html

I don’t have any more than what I’m posting, here. Physicists: please add, comment, correct, elaborate, explain! Thanks!

NOTE: the superscripted and subscripted numbers and letters won’t copy/paste correctly here; sorry.


Session VI, Professor Ian B. Spielman, Ph.D.

A. gauge field

B. Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) is an extreme (cold/ultra cold) quantum matter

C. because of size of /mass of/temperature of objects, we can’t see uncertainty/superpositions

D. ion trap

E. harmonic trap potential energy

F. superconducting circuit
meander lines
degrees of freedom

G. probability amplitude and distribution are the measurements of wavefunction (psi, ψ)

H. Phase and amplitude
affect velocity and position

I. Solid, liquid, gas, plasma = phases of matter
plasma = partially ionized gas
the BEC is another phase of matter

J. “frustrate the particles’ ability to get close together” means to prevent the liquid and solid states from occurring, always maintaining substances as gases (keep their density low)

K. 10-12 is one picometer = pm

L. three-, four- or five-body collisions cause/allow atoms to form closeness and become liquids and solids (again)

M. ultra-quantum atoms lose their individual identity and can’t be distinguished individually any longer

N. events on temperature scale go from room temperature to 102 = 300ₒ Kelvin (K = Kelvin)

FORMULA: BEC = 1 nanoK (nK)

O. extreme heat is the same as extreme cold, behaviorally (atomically) and lead to indistinguishability among atoms (see letter M, above)

P. neutronium is a superfluid and is under the surface of neutron stars

Q. each BEC can only be kept intact for about 1 minute, then it falls apart

R. entanglement is not a property of a quantum wavefunction unless we know where and when the substance/particle is

S. rubidium has 37 electrons and 37 protons, is deepest red (the name means that) due to laser cooling it becomes a BEC in its isotope form, which represents the # of neutrons
85Rb and 87Rb are most used

T. xamon (sp?) zamon (sp?) : slower neutrons gets them supercooled and creates the BEC form

U. shadow imaging measures the cooling and velocity

V. Stern-Gerlach effect is used every day

W. evaporative cooling is the supercooling method most used (accomplished via lasers)

Session VII Professor Peter S. Shawhan, Ph.D.

Joint Space-Science Institute and UMD Physics Department, works with LIGO–Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory– (Livingston, LA, and Baton Rouge, LA, and Richland, WA [ Hanford] are the centers) detecting gravitational waves 7 total sites planned worldwide for future

A. multi-messenger astronomy works with 10-21 -size objects

B. GR = General theory of Relativity in formulae and references

C. spacetime is curved by mass or energy which creates gravity

D. wave solutions travel at the speed of light (c) but variations in the spacetime metric show us the effective distance between points in space

E. tesseract (Madeline L’Engle’s word, Wrinkle in Time scifi series, 1960s) probably came from the incipient understanding of the stretching and shrinking, alternately, that occurs in spacetime

F. wormholes didn’t get to hear about these!

G. gravitational waves travel through a Dune (Frank Hebert’s scifi creation) sandworm-like, connected rings, undulating

H. neutron stars and black holes orbit tightly near each other in pairs, often

I. dimensionless strain
a single number may suffice to describe the strain, and therefore the strain rate: a long and uniform rubberband is gradually stretched by pulling at the ends so we can see that the strain can be defined as the ratio between the amount of stretching and the original length of the band

FORMULA: h = ∆L/L

that “h” is NOT Planck’s constant

J. binary pulsars can be 2 neutron stars or 1 neutron star and one black hole or 2 black holes in close orbit to each other and Earth. The orbit “decays” over time and then the stars get closer and closer to each other, creating a black hole when they collapse into each other

K. gravitational waves carry away energy and angular momentum

L. “decay” of the orbit is “inspiral

M. when 2 orbiting neutron stars get too close to each other a black hole is formed in about 300 million years

N. constructive interference which generates bright output
vs.
destructive interference which generates dark output

O. high frequency vibrations make it so that suspended objects don’t shake

P. interferometers are at LIGO centers

Q. quantum noise comes from photons in laser beams at LIGO centers

R. DOF = Degrees Of Freedom

S. squeezed light happens in a vacuum because a vacuum has fluctuating EMFs (ElectroMagnetic Fields)

T. squeezed light has 2 quadratures: length and intensity; both can be measured

U. positrons and electrons are anti-particles but positrons only exist “momentarily”

V. metallicity of a star is the # of elements above Helium in the periodic table that are metals in its composition

W. “spacetime is very stiff”

X. Gravitational waves (GW) that were recently detected arrived from 1.3 billion years ago!

Y. nonzero spin

Z. black holes emit gravitational waves as they stabilize or if something “falls” into one

A’. heavier-than-iron elements come from supernovas and binary black holes (neutron star mergers)

B’. slowing down a GW could allow travel between waves (!!)

C’. cosmic inflation allows objects to exceed lightspeed

D’. event horizon is the inside of a black hole from which nothing “escapes” that we know of (yet)

E’. effects of GW on human-like bodies are unknown at this time. We adjust to resonant frequencies lower than our own as long as they are ≤ 3/10% (.003). More than that could shatter humans’ bones.

Session VIII, Professor Chris Monroe, Ph.D.
Quantum Communication

A. Moore’s Law from the 1940s information theory says that the density of computer chips grows exponentially when bits are 0s and 1s

B. now there are about 10 billion transistors, which is almost the peak of what can be stored

C. transistors are getting smaller, but they are capped at about the year 2020 for what can be shrunk

D. “granularity of matter” “you can’t shrink things indefinitely without running into atoms.”

E. build circuits out of atoms to get “smaller” spaces for storing information, which creates “quantum computers”

F. “quantum information science” is of the 21st century

G. NAND gates use Boolean logic and have to do with input and output, what is flipped and what is not (Not + And = NAND) so that A or B or both are “negated” between input and output

H. Quantum Mechanics (QM) rules: there are two
1. Quantum objects are waves AND can be in superposition
qubit = quantum bit
} = in a quantum state (symbol)

FORMULA: │ψ} = a│0} + b│1}

2. to keep rule #1, “Don't look!” meaning, don't “observe” or “measure” anything

I. each orbit is a bit, and one electron has 2 orbits, 0 and 1

J. Hamiltonion = H = energy function

K. the observer “breaks isolation” vs. not introducing molecules at all into the experience of a particle or an object in a quantum state

L .multiverse theory allows both QM rules to co-exist

M. “observing” = interacting with the environment (changing the object’s experience)

N. in physicists’ talk:
mathematical or natural preferences = “like”
“knows” = “makes a decision”
“sees” = “knows”
“personality” = “expressing a preference”
“we didn’t care about or don’t know” sweeps anything “under the rug” when physicists use probabilities to deal with anything

O. quantum parallel processing allows for exponential storage options

P. measurement gives random and useless results, sometimes

Q. waves of existence can create “beats” via simple interferences

R. everything vanishes except 1 or 2 answers = quantum algorithms

S. if we tap other universe to store information, then we won’t run out of space in ours for quantum data (qubits) because qubits accumulate data at exponential rates (do we lease, rent or buy space? Steal it?)

T. 10,000 times something occurs in laboratory experiments = “knowing” to a 1% (99%) probability

U. 1/2-way flip a qubit application = the square root of a NOT gate

V. quantum 1st flips, 2nd flips = XOR gate the first is dependent on the second

W. superposition happens from the XOR gate and goes into entanglement

X. teleportation is quantum communication using entanglement

FORMULA: │0}+│0}+│1}+│1}
red blue red blue

Y. Fred Alan Wolf, Taking the Quantum Leap

Z. teleportation destroys the original and creates a replica in a new location

A’. a human has 10 to the 27th atoms


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
Chad Orzel, Union College
Emily Edwards, JQI
Steve Rolston, JQI

Organizing Institutions
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Sponsoring Institutions
This workshop was made possible by a Public Outreach and Informing the Public grant from the American Physical Society (APS) and support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Location
Joint Quantum Institute
2136 Physical Sciences Complex
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
USA

How did I get to go?
I applied in March and was accepted in April!

The Schrödinger Sessions II was the second of two (first was 2015) three-day (2.5 days, really) sets of seminars, Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, offering a “crash course” in modern physics for non-scientists who utilize physics and other sciences in our work and wish to do it better. It was held at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), one of the world’s leading research centers for the study of quantum mechanics. [The organizers kept their promises to] introduce participants to phenomena like superposition, entanglement, and quantum information through a series of lectures by JQI and NIST scientists and tours of JQI laboratories. [They most certainly DID] inform and inspire new stories [and sharing information, like this] in print, on screen, and in electronic media, that will in turn inspire a broad audience to learn more about the weird and fascinating science of quantum physics and the transformative technologies it enables.

The workshop was held at JQI from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30, 2016. Participants were housed locally at a university dorm with breakfast offered at a dining commons near the dorm and lunch provided at the workshop, which was at the Physical Sciences building. Evenings were free to allow participants to explore the Washington, D.C. area (but I was much too tired at each day’s end to do any exploring).

Participants were selected on the basis of an application asking about personal background, interest, and publication history. [Organizers worked] work to ensure the greatest possible diversity of race and gender as well as type of media (print, television, etc.) with an eye toward reaching the broadest audience. Applications were accepted online from March 1 through March 20, 2015, and acceptance decisions were made around April 15, 2015.

FYI: Next year, 2017, JQI plans to offer a similar seminar for a different professoinal group, Physics for Journalists, and then, pending funding, re-offer this same session as I attended, Physics for Sci-Fi Writers, in the summer of 2018.

Watch this space for more of my notes, reactions and ideas catalyzed by these great seminars, after 8/8/16! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Second Installment

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Second Installment
JULY 28, 2016 to JULY 30, 2016

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the second installment. Look for others starting August 8, 2016: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

For any terms or concepts I don’t define or which I define poorly, please refer to: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/glossary.html

I don’t have any more than what I’m posting, here. Physicists: please add, comment, correct, elaborate, explain! Thanks!

NOTE: the superscripted and subscripted numbers and letters won’t copy/paste correctly here; sorry.


Session III, Chad Orzel, Ph.D.

A. What is “waving”?
pilot wave: the guiding particle of a group of particles

B. wave-particle duality
[BOOK: Leonard Susskind & Art Friedman, Quantum Mechanics]

C. superposition: prior to measurement/observation of any kind, objects (particles or whatever) can be in multiple states/locations simultaneously (the famous dead/alive cat in the box)

D. for probability, square the wavefunction to add waves in the double-slit experiment

E. Heinsenberg’s Uncertainty Principle: we can’t know both where we are and how fast we’re moving simultaneously

FORMULA: [‑ ħ2/2m∆2+V]ψ = iħ∂/∂t*ψ

the part before the = sign is the energy of the particle
the trident ψ is psi, which represents the wavefunction, the fundamental object in QM (Quantum Mechanics)
the italicized “i” is the square root of -1, an imaginary number
the part after the second ħ represents change over time
* shows multiplication happens between these two portions
/ shows a fraction (division) line

F. epistemic statements are about our knowledge of a system that necessarily are actual

G. ontological statements are about real physical objects changing over time, and many use the humorous ψ-ontologists, “psi-ontologists,” or “ontic” thinking as that description

H. duality occurs when we attempt to get something to “behave” as both a particle and a wave simultaneously

I. there is a 100% probability that a particle is in a particuar position at any given time until it is observed/measured

J. wavepacket add two waves together (differing wavelengths) and beats are created. Square these, like the square of a sine wave, to get the complex conjugate, or curve formula

K. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

FORMULA: ∆x*∆p ≥ ħ/2

x is the position
p is the momentum (both of these can never be zero)
is delta, or change
ħ is always h/2π (because all physicists are inherently lazy and don’t want to write the same thing multiple times if they can use a shortcut)

L. physicists like to use closed systems, educated guesses and thought experiments rather than actually accept paradoxes and the unknown

Session IV Professor Steve Rolston, Ph.D.

A. Welcher Weg = “which way,” in German
if, in principle, I know which way the particle went, there is no interference

encoded via spin within atoms

B. quantum eraser changing the observation or measurement “afterwards”

C. wavefunction collapse all probabilities disappear upon being measured/observed, because the object (wave/particle) now has a known/fixed position

D. polarization light has both vertical and horizontal oscillation, so polarizing eliminates one or the other. This allows for 3-D glasses, sunglasses and other glare-reduction lenses to work by blocking one set, or vector, of waves with a lens

E. Decoherence theory: collapse occurs through interaction with a larger system (an observer, the environment, the “measurement”)

F. measuring device is anything that interacts with the outside world for that object

G. there is “no need to introduce consciousness” to have an observer

H. “entanglement is continuously destroyed”

I. quantum Bayesian(sp?) (Qubism)

J. The “many worlds” perspective / theory originated with Hugh Evert in 1957, but it was Dr. Bryce Seligman DeWitt, Ph.D., who said: “Everything is always everywhere,” and Richard Bach, among others, who said “Everything that can happen is happening now.”

K. measurement just generates correlations (entanglement)

L. In The Spanners Series (my sci-fi/romance series) timulters allow parallel worlds’ objects/people to communicate with one another

M. “the wavefunction is a mathematical description of humans’ knowledge of nature, not of a physical entity.”

N. theories are not “laws” and most cannot become “laws”

Session V Professor Alan McDowell, Ph.D.

A. measurement is quantification

B. feedback leads to an altered strategy based on the results of measurement

C. radiometry is an “absolute” source

D. blackbody: a kiln/oven with a uniform temperature and 1 opening generates temperature then leads to radiance

E. physicists need to get out more; they are hard up for entertainment (they like to play with rotating polarized lenses)

F. 0 and 1 box game, with three columns and three rows of possible positions, in which the columns must add up to “even” numbers and the rows must add up to “odd” numbers, doesn’t work: the final box can never be filled in correctly

G. low efficiency yields small subsets, not large enough to be a scientific sample

H. random number generators are important for many functions


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
Chad Orzel, Union College
Emily Edwards, JQI
Steve Rolston, JQI

Organizing Institutions
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Sponsoring Institutions
This workshop was made possible by a Public Outreach and Informing the Public grant from the American Physical Society (APS) and support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Location
Joint Quantum Institute
2136 Physical Sciences Complex
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
USA

How did I get to go?
I applied in March and was accepted in April!

The Schrödinger Sessions II was the second of two (first was 2015) three-day (2.5 days, really) sets of seminars, Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, offering a “crash course” in modern physics for non-scientists who utilize physics and other sciences in our work and wish to do it better. It was held at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), one of the world’s leading research centers for the study of quantum mechanics. [The organizers kept their promises to] introduce participants to phenomena like superposition, entanglement, and quantum information through a series of lectures by JQI and NIST scientists and tours of JQI laboratories. [They most certainly DID] inform and inspire new stories [and sharing information, like this] in print, on screen, and in electronic media, that will in turn inspire a broad audience to learn more about the weird and fascinating science of quantum physics and the transformative technologies it enables.

The workshop was held at JQI from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30, 2016. Participants were housed locally at a university dorm with breakfast offered at a dining commons near the dorm and lunch provided at the workshop, which was at the Physical Sciences building. Evenings were free to allow participants to explore the Washington, D.C. area (but I was much too tired at each day’s end to do any exploring).

Participants were selected on the basis of an application asking about personal background, interest, and publication history. [Organizers worked] work to ensure the greatest possible diversity of race and gender as well as type of media (print, television, etc.) with an eye toward reaching the broadest audience. Applications were accepted online from March 1 through March 20, 2015, and acceptance decisions were made around April 15, 2015.

FYI: Next year, 2017, JQI plans to offer a similar seminar for a different professoinal group, Physics for Journalists, and then, pending funding, re-offer this same session as I attended, Physics for Sci-Fi Writers, in the summer of 2018.

Watch this space for more of my notes, reactions and ideas catalyzed by these great seminars, after 8/8/16! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science -Fiction Writers, First Installment

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, First Installment
JULY 28, 2016 to JULY 30, 2016

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the first installment.

For any terms or concepts I don’t define or which I define poorly, please refer to: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/glossary.html

I don’t have any more than what I’m posting, here. Physicists: please add, comment, correct, elaborate, explain! Thanks!

NOTE: the superscripted and subscripted numbers and letters won’t copy/paste correctly here; sorry.


Session I, Professor Steve Rolston, Ph.D.

A. Measuring diameter by diffraction
the smaller the diameter of the hair, the greater the distance from the hair to each point of diffraction, and therefore, light is a wave

B. electrons eject from light and become collectible as charged particles when light bounces off a hard (metallic) surface, becoming photoelectric or photovoltaic

light color shows the frequency, so “yes” = blue”; “no” = red

materials also cause variations in the number of electrons emitted, so light is particles/ photons (corpuscles, in old language)

C. frequency = the inverse of wavelength

Planck’s constant is usually written as “h,” but if the reference/formula already includes h/2π, then the “h” represents that and gets a diagonal bar across its stem, “ħ” and is called “h bar

FORMULA: 6.626 * 10-34 m2 kg/s = h
(VERY SMALL number)

this refers to frequency at varying temperatures

E. a micron = 1 millionth of a meter; a human hair is about 30 – 80 microns in width

F. Lasers are usually emitting a single color of light at 10K watts, brightly focused
an incandescent light bulb is emitting about 100 watts and many colors, so this is called incoherent light

G. photons could be interacting but physicists can’t measure, observe or predict any of their interactions (yet), so physicists say that photons “do not interact”

Session II, Professor Chad Orzel, Ph.D.

A. http://dogphysics.com = his website
he handed out diffraction slides (grading)

B. Energy per photon depends on frequency

FORMULA: E*photon = hv

C. Particles have wave nature (atoms, molecules, photons, electrons, neutrons, positrons)

D. Excited gases are heated or electrified to move more quickly

E. every element emits and absorbs light uniquely, which is one way to identify them, even when they are isotopes (missing one or more electrons, and therefore “charged ions”)

F. there is a simple mathematical pattern to all light on the known spectrum (each color makes discrete “lines”)

G. Rutherford effect: scattering/deflecting pattern, “back-scattering,” occurs when using “alpha” particles, e.g., heavy atomic particles
light atomic particles, e.g., nucleus of Helium, do not have this

H. Use the Planck constant to explain energy differences between frequencies of light

FORMULA: hf = E1 – E2

I. mass (m) * velocity (v) = linear momentum

J. angular momentum = spinning or orbiting

FORMULA: MeVeR = n * h/2π

R = orbit; n = an integer; M = mass

K. electrons emit X-rays

L. wavelength, from de Broglie, λ = an object and this formula shows how to calculate its angular momentum

FORMULA: λ = h/p

M. Electron waves = the way electrons wrap around the atom’s orbital pattern

N. Standing waves = peaks and valleys of or a bit that is repeated and fixed, from start = finish
if number of peaks are high enough, then these can create a pattern

O. stringed instruments’ pitch is created by the frequency of standing waves, and are adjusted by changing the start or finish point (loosening or tightening one end of the string’s attachment pin)

P. electrons as particles behave as waves when there are high enough numbers create a pattern

Q. random numbers can be generated/derived from background radiation, which are the decay patterns of the atomic isotopes

R. molecules behave like waves, as do all other particles, even those without mass
electrons, protons and neutrons have mass
photons have no mass and always move at the speed of light (c)

S. Stanford University has an interferomoter

T. bigger objects have smaller wavelengths (a dog running has wavelengths to its running pattern of about 10-35

U. wavelength graphs become blobs because peaks of waves are touching on the paper/surface we use to show them

V. everything physical vibrates/oscillates

W. even when separated by ½ a meter , very large atoms resume wave behavior when reunited (there is no permanent divorce possible within an atom’s parts)


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
Chad Orzel, Union College
Emily Edwards, JQI
Steve Rolston, JQI

Organizing Institutions
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Sponsoring Institutions
This workshop was made possible by a Public Outreach and Informing the Public grant from the American Physical Society (APS) and support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Location
Joint Quantum Institute
2136 Physical Sciences Complex
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
USA

How did I get to go?
I applied in March and was accepted in April!

The Schrödinger Sessions II was the second of two (first was 2015) three-day (2.5 days, really) sets of seminars, Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, offering a “crash course” in modern physics for non-scientists who utilize physics and other sciences in our work and wish to do it better. It was held at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), one of the world’s leading research centers for the study of quantum mechanics. [The organizers kept their promises to] introduce participants to phenomena like superposition, entanglement, and quantum information through a series of lectures by JQI and NIST scientists and tours of JQI laboratories. [They most certainly DID] inform and inspire new stories [and sharing information, like this] in print, on screen, and in electronic media, that will in turn inspire a broad audience to learn more about the weird and fascinating science of quantum physics and the transformative technologies it enables.

The workshop was held at JQI from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30, 2016. Participants were housed locally at a university dorm with breakfast offered at a dining commons near the dorm and lunch provided at the workshop, which was at the Physical Sciences building. Evenings were free to allow participants to explore the Washington, D.C. area (but I was much too tired at each day’s end to do any exploring).

Participants were selected on the basis of an application asking about personal background, interest, and publication history. [Organizers worked] work to ensure the greatest possible diversity of race and gender as well as type of media (print, television, etc.) with an eye toward reaching the broadest audience. Applications were accepted online from March 1 through March 20, 2015, and acceptance decisions were made around April 15, 2015.

FYI: Next year, 2017, JQI plans to offer a similar seminar for a different professoinal group, Physics for Journalists, and then, pending funding, re-offer this same session as I attended, Physics for Sci-Fi Writers, in the summer of 2018.

Watch this space for more of my notes, reactions and ideas catalyzed by these great seminars, after 8/8/16! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

What Matters

What Matters

As I approach my 62nd birthday (August 22), I reflect on the news stories I see/hear almost daily, now, that corroborate and validate most of my life’s choices, values and beliefs. Sharing, now, so you don’t all have to re-invent the wheel. Mostly I/we were right. Get with it.

Interactions matter. Treating all humans with respect and meeting humans needs (food, clothing, shelter, meaningful and well-paid work, safety) properly are right. Equality, egalitarianism, acceptance, compassion, kindness and respect are the right ways to greet, treat and live with all others, regardless of perceived or actual differences among us and changes in circumstances. Ending oppression, discrimination, bias, prejudice and all forms of subjugation must occur.

RespectKindness
image from http://www.tomvmorris.com
Respect

Government and economics matter. Democracy (when it works) and socialism are right: we must listen to and take care of each other.

Conflict resolution matters. War is wrong, especially war that only makes profits for a few corporations and individuals and ruins land, kills/maims people and destroys economies for everyone else. All the “police actions”/wars the USA has engaged in since World War II (and some of our actions during World War I and World War II) were/are horribly wrong. Millions have been harmed or died for NOTHING except to enrich a few. We must learn to communicate better, de-escalate, use diplomacy, engage in dialogue, compromise and yield.

Give-peace-a-chance-no-more-war1-e1442090350987
image from http://www.popularresistance.org
Peace

Health matters. Eating healthfully and organically is right: better for us, better for the farmers, better for the environment. Contact sports that cause head injuries must end: change the rules or close down those sports completely for children and teens and give adults information that allows them to make educated choices about participation. Sugary foods and drinks, salty and fatty snacks and other negative-impact foods should be made less available and/or taxed very highly so fewer people can eat/get them so readily.

Other beings matter. Treating animals with respect at all times if we are going to use, eat (which some would argue is wrong), imprison and otherwise subjugate them (less stress and pain during and before slaughter, while being raised and during captivity of all kinds) is right.

Consumers’ choices matter. Choosing to purchase items that are made by people who are paid well, treated well and free to come and go is right. Choosing to purchase items whose production (harvest/manufacture/acquisition) does not harm or destroy the planet, the economy, or the people involved is right.

you-can-make-a-difference
image from http://arabedrossian.org
Healthy planet

Parenting requires time, effort, knowledge, education and support to be done well. Childcare can be a positive aspect of young children’s lives as long as they also have good parenting.

Minds and bodies matter. Meditation, yoga, stress management, play, listening to each other better, being outdoors more and learning/listening to music/making art all help families, businesses, schools and individuals in every possible way. Beauty, nature and gratitude are important. Learn/include and do these. Drink a lot of clean water. Sleep more and in better conditions.

healthy body and mind
Healthy choices

Reproductive freedom and rights are integral to a woman’s dignity and independence and are the business of no one else besides each woman and her chosen medical team.

Religions whose leaders or principles restrict the freedom or impinge upon the safety of or intend to demean anyone, inspire divisiveness or hatred, or foment disrespect for non-believers or some members of their own sects because of gender, age, sexual orientation or other characteristics are not to be tolerated any longer and must be ended.

BigotryLifestyle550
image from http://www.patheos.com
Civil and personal rights

Facts are not subject to opinions. No one cares what anyone thinks about facts. Facts are not optional. People who misunderstand, misuse or misguide themselves or others regarding any facts (about the impacts of climate change, the dangers of fracking, etc.) are not to be given any credibility or listened to by anyone with even moderate intelligence.

Tyson quote
Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, Ph.D., facts quote

Play time matters. Violence begets violence: video games, TV shows and films, music lyrics that demonstrate/engage users in repeated and frequent incidents of violence (personal, sexual, group) desensitize the viewers/players and generate much more violence overall in the culture. Games/shows that degrade women/girls and depict members of particular ethnic or other groups as “the enemy” or the objects of degradation cause users/viewers to adopt these perspectives and behave badly towards these individuals in actual encounters. Children’s and teens’ time using these games or watching these shows must be curtailed. Bring back more outdoor play, longer and better equipment for recess play indoors and outside. Sports and games that encourage coaches/leaders to discriminate among, exclude or otherwise demean participants or activities in training or play that cause players harm must be changed or stopped.

recess
Play

Excellence matters. Skills, talents, education and intelligence are not all equally distributed or acquired. We are not all the same even though we are to be treated with equal respect. Not everyone wins. Everyone is not equally good at everything. Not everyone can earn an “A.” 49.9% of any group is below average, by definition. Get used to it.

Collaboration matters. Governments, organizations/groups of all types and businesses of all sizes operate more successfully when they utilize collaborative, inclusive engagement rather than hierarchical, exclusionary dominance do better economically, have higher morale, have lower attrition/crime rates and better attendance/participation.

collaboration-background4
image from http://www.cptwebs.com
Collaboration

I could have provided a lot of research URLs to back up each of these claims, but I don’t need to, any longer. They are all true. YOU do the research.

Stop Using #Antibiotics Unnecessarily: You’re killing us all!

Stop Using #Antibiotics Unnecessarily: You’re killing us all!

Antibiotics-2-1
image from http://www.wellbeingart.com

Articles about the dangers of the overuse of antibiotics (in pills/oral, suppository, topical/ointment, hand soap and sanitizer forms) are becoming as prevalent as the bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics:

A) “‘Dangerously high’ antibiotic resistance levels worldwide: WHO [World Health Organization]” http://news.yahoo.com/dangerously-high-antibiotic-resistance-levels-worldwide-112717705.html
November 16, 2015
“Antibiotic resistance, which can turn common ailments into killers, has reached dangerous levels globally.”

More than 90% of ear infections are viral. Stop giving/taking antibiotics for them. They don’t help and they harm.
All colds and ‘flus are viral. Same thing.

antibiotic resistance graphs
image from http://www.primardiales.com

B) “The Dangerous Side Of The Antibiotics That No One Will Tell You”
http://www.explorehealthyfood.com/the-dangerous-side-of-the-antibiotics-that-no-one-will-tell-you/
October 24, 2015
“Bacteria increasingly become immune to the drugs designed to kill them. Some antibiotics simply don’t work any longer, and some will stop functioning soon….The more often we use it, the more we enable mutating of the bacteria that multiply.”

MRSA is on the rise. It eats your skin, muscles, bones. Need to know more?

MRSA info
image from http://www.slideshare.net/eviedawson22/skin-staph-infection-mrsa

C) “Antibiotics fed to wholesome livestock dangerous to youngsters”
http://www.salemstandard.com/antibiotics-fed-to-healthy-livestock-harmful-to-children/12742/
November 16, 2015
“…[U]sing the drugs in healthy animals meant for food has reduced their ability to treat infections in humans — posing a potentially serious health crisis….Most of the use involves the addition of low doses of antimicrobial agents to the feed of healthy animals over prolonged periods to promote growth and increase feed efficiency or at a range of doses to prevent disease….These nontherapeutic uses contribute to resistance and create new health dangers for humans….Children under 5 are especially at risk for such infections because of their immature immune systems…”

More reasons to stop eating meat, chicken, pork, any other animals, if you can, or stop eating those who are fed antibiotics during their lives and stop feeding them to your family.

D) “9 reasons to avoid antibiotics for life”
http://www.naturalhealth365.com/side-effects-of-antibiotics-1620.html
October 29, 2015

[Read article for full explanations of each of these reason]

“1. Antibiotics treat symptoms, not causes.”
“2. Antibiotic use has been linked to cancer.”
“3. Deadly allergic reactions.”
“4. Development of antibiotic-resistant ‘super bugs.’”
“5. Overpopulation of candida albicans [yeast, ringworm, jock itch].”
“6. Chronic fatigue syndrome.”
“7. Disruption of intestinal bacteria.”
“8. Weakening of the immune system.”
“9. Nutrient loss and mineral deficiency.”

topical antibiotics
image from http://www.iconii.com

E) “ALMOST HALF OF ALL ANTIBIOTIC USE IS UNNECESSARY”
http://fqresearch.org/are-antibiotics-necessary
November 15, 2015
“…[A]ntibiotic use is supposed to be reserved for confirmed bacterial infections, [so] the only infections that antibiotics work for, any prescribing of antibiotics outside of a confirmed bacterial infection, is considered inappropriate.”

And, while we’re on the subject, STOP USING HAND-SANITIZERS!

F) “5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Hand Sanitizers!”
http://kupdates.com/health-wellness/5-reasons-stop-using-hand-sanitizers/
November 16, 2015

[Read article for full explanations of each of these reason]

“1. It Adversely Affects Your Skin”
“2. It Can Lead To The Development Of ‘Superbugs'”
“3. It Contains Unknown [to most people] And Possibly Dangerous Chemicals”
“4. It Can Increase Your Skin’s Absorption Of BPA [very dangerous chemical found in plastics, receipts, tickets, more]”
“5. It Isn’t Even That Effective”

G) “New “Superbug” Gene Found in Animals and People in China”
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-superbug-gene-found-in-animals-and-people-in-china/
November 19, 2015
“A new gene that makes bacteria highly resistant to a last-resort class of antibiotics has been found in people and pigs in China — including in samples of bacteria with epidemic potential, researchers said on Wednesday….
“‘One of the few solutions to uncoupling these connections is limitation or cessation of colistin use in agriculture….Failure to do so will create a public health problem of major dimensions.'”

Don’t be frightened and passive: CHANGE YOUR WAYS!

What to do instead of using antibiotics? Prevention and Home Remedies!

H) “We’ve been fighting morning breath all wrong”
http://www.sciencealert.com/we-ve-been-fighting-morning-breath-all-wrong
November 18, 2015
“…Streptococcous salivarius K12…[could be] the bacteria strain [that] could soon be put into a lozenge or spray and used as a probiotic, or beneficial mix of bacteria, to knock out the bad bacteria that causes bad breath….[A]ntibacterial solutions like mouthwash and hand sanitiser are being overused to the point where they could be doing more harm than good.”

I) “New Study Shows Ginger is 10.000x Stronger Than Chemo (and only kills cancer cells)”
http://www.healthnutnews.com/new-study-shows-ginger-is-10000x-stronger-than-chemo-and-only-kills-cancer-cells/
November 2, 2015
“…[G]inger has been found to be more effective than many cancer drugs at treating cancer, including chemotherapy. There is mounting evidence of some cancer drugs being ineffective and actually accelerating the death of cancer patients.”

turmeric ginger garlic
image from http://www.amazon.com

1) Strengthen your immune system with natural additions and supplements: Add/increase turmeric, garlic, oregano oil, echinacea, ginger, Vitamin C; eat a balanced diet; consume less sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

benefits of oregano oil
image from http://www.diyorganic.com

2) Gargle with salt water or hydrogen peroxide (diluted) whenever you notice/feel a cold or ‘flu symptom or have been exposed to a virus or bacterial source.

3) Wash your hands for longer (sing “Happy Birthday” slowly twice while washing) AND with hot water and non-antimicrobial/antibacterial soap), every time you touch public spaces/objects, and more frequently.

4) If you are particularly sensitive/at risk, wear a face mask and thin gloves when in public or around people.

5) Drink more fresh water (up to 8 cups [64 oz or about 2 litres]) per day.

6) Sleep longer and better (don’t use electronic devices before going to sleep; turn off all electric devices near bed; don’t watch TV to fall asleep).

7) Exercise at least 3 times/week for 45 minutes each.

8) Meditate daily, at least 15 minutes.

9) Start/continue doing yoga.

10) Play music more often.

transfer-factor-and-our-immune-system-5-728
image from http://www.amazingforlife.com

11) Sing, laugh, breathe deeply many times per day.

12) Smile more.

IF you are actually infected with a BACTERIA (not a virus!!!), check with your doctor for the least-invasive, least-intensive way to eliminate it (fewest number of days for lowest dose of antiobiotic medication) AND take acidophilus or other pro-biotics while taking a course of ANY antibiotic to maintain/restore the “good” bacteria in your digestive tracts.

Excerpt from This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III, The Spanners Series, CHAPTER INTERLUDE THIRTEEN, “Relationships and Off-Planetary Travel: Worm Holes and Quantum Entanglement”

Excerpt from This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III,
The Spanners Series

CHAPTER INTERLUDE THIRTEEN, “Relationships and Off-Planetary Travel: Worm Holes and Quantum Entanglement”

by Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Copyright 2015 Sally Ember, Ed.D.
St. Louis, MO

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July 14, 2017

Spanners - volume 3 cover final

CHAPTER INTERLUDE THIRTEEN

“Relationships and Off-Planetary Travel: Worm Holes and Quantum Entanglement,”
Speech at “Pandemonium Day” Celebrations given by Dr. Steve Jasny, M.D., Trainer at the Excellent Skills Program, and Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., Earth’s Chief Communicator

BRANON: Thank you for inviting us to visit with you all on the ‘verseweb and in person here in old California at our Campus for Pandemonium Day. They say: “Chaos, madness and unexpected surprises abound on Pandemonium Day, when nothing can be predicted and everything can go wrong.”
JASNY: Let’s hope we’re not part of “what goes wrong,” Clara!
BRANON: If we are, we are, Steve! A little chaos is good for everyone! And, nobody can be prepared for everything, can we? Even when we timult…!
JASNY: True enough. Let’s get right into it. How does this all work, many ask, referring to off-planet travel, usually. Let’s explain a bit.
BRANON: By the end of The Transition, all Earthers with an iD and the ability to Access items on the ‘verseweb can choose to understand enough about the science. We all can know what is behind the ways we and others can travel across space-time so quickly. Every school kid across the globe, online or at home, can easily name the main components: quantum entanglement, worm holes, black holes, Dark Matter, Dark Energy.
JASNY: Yes, and we know movement occurs within a few zeptoseconds because the Higgs-bosun subatomic particles exist for approximately one zeptosecond—a thousandth of a billionth of a billionth of one second.
BRANON: Talk about “chaos”: how can we even conceive of such small amounts of time, especially when all time is simultaneous, what we call timultaneity? It’s mind-boggling.
JASNY: We learn by memorizing and then contemplating, same as we learn almost anything conceptual.
BRANON: Right. I’m proud to say I create this, so we have something even small kids can recite: “Every electron in the multiverse knows about every other electron.” We teach our kids to say this even before they all understand what an electron is.
JASNY: Quite clever, that. Get ’em young, right?
BRANON: The changes come so quickly, we have to have a way to assimilate them all.
JASNY: What is science-fiction for Einstein and others in the 20th and early 21st centuries on Earth becomes science fact in the 20teens, via the MWC’s willingness to share tech and knowledge with invited planetary members even before we completely join.
BRANON: Yes. First, they show us that magnetic worm holes allow objects and information to travel faster than the speed of light, which we previously believe is not possible. I keep hearing that song from the musical version of Cinderella, the one the Fairy Godmother sings, “Impossible.”
JASNY: We are now all those “zanies and fools, who don’t believe in sensible rules,” are we not? Once we learn that quantumly entangled particles are connected by little worm holes and that all subatomic particles are quantumly entangled, we understand something profound: anything, anywhere can move about the multiverse using worm holes.
BRANON: Many spiritual and religious people say this well before we ever meet The Band, before The Transition, Steve: “Everything is connected.” Interbeing. Interdependence. We learn to utilize these links.
JASNY: Precisely. We access worm holes to find that they transmit information among themselves at incredible speeds. Once we harness them, so to speak, it turns out that WE are some of that “information” they can transmit, which spawns the development of technology for off-planet travel for any Earthers.
BRANON: It’s so “romantic,” in the space opera sense. Any being who so desires can go far, far away quickly AND return, having aged hardly at all.
JASNY: Depending on who you are and when you’re reading or listening to this or having it wired directly into your learning or entertainment receptors, perhaps this information comes as no surprise to you. Or, perhaps every sentence we speak reverberates in you as something shocking. Or, you are somewhere in between: are you amused, fascinated, bored, faintly interested?
BRANON: Regardless…
JASNY: It’s all true.
BRANON: What isn’t as easily comprehensible for many, especially humans, is the coinciding link to interpersonal or interspecies relationships.
JASNY: We have to keep reflecting on this: EVERYTHING (meaning, EVERYONE) is connected, and not just by going through five or six other “degrees” of connection, either. We are all immediately, inextricably intertwined.
BRANON: Let that sink in for about a year or so. Then, ponder: quantum chromodynamics (QCD), which describes the strong interaction (one of the four fundamental forces of nature; the others are gravitation, electromagnetism and the weak interaction). QCD is responsible for binding quarks [subatomic particles] together. The strong force is carried by particles called gluons, so inside any particle held together by the strong interaction there will also be gluons. And in addition to the main quarks and gluons are “virtual” pairs of quarks and antiquarks (the antimatter counterpart of quarks) which continuously pop into and out of existence.
JASNY: Just like the holograms of The Band.
BRANON: Exactly. But before we enter into collaboration with the Many Worlds Collective, many of the most brilliant Earth physicists and mathematicians are frustrated. They can’t figure out how to calculate mass estimates of QCD, even when using our most powerful supercomputers running complex simulations, because our tech’s ability to calculate is so limited.
JASNY: We aren’t completely ignorant, by any definition, though. We do claim discovery of the baryons, called Xib’ and Xib* [pronounced zi-b-prime and zi-b-star] and we know that both particles contain one beauty, or b, quark, one strange quark and one down quark. We even know what differentiates these particles from one another and from one other conglomeration of the same three types of quarks. We understand this to be the arrangement of the quarks’ spins. Then, there are the elusive pentaquarks… topic for another day.
BRANON: Still, Earth scientists are stuck because, on our own, we are certain that the standard model is insufficient. It does not account for Dark Matter. We know this is key, and we finally do find out why. But, Dark Matter is also a topic for another day.
JASNY: Due to the MWC’s assistance, we know that when quantum particles are entangled, they cannot be described individually because they form a single quantum object, even if they are located far apart. The MWC helps by providing their measure for the amount of entanglement in a quantum system, called “entropy of entanglement.”
BRANON: When scientists here publicize their findings and add in the MWC’s info, we are all stunned to find out that what we perceive as three-dimensional is actually the image of two-dimensional processes throughout the multiverse, constantly changing and moving. In fact, everything is a hologram, including Earth, the Milky Way, the universe as we know it. This leads to holographology and holographysicists.
JASNY: We also find out that worm holes are everywhere: huge, medium, small, microscopic. EVERYWHERE. “Shocked” isn’t a strong enough word to describe how we feel when we learn that worm holes are usually microscopic channels between and among particles all around us.
BRANON: I know I feel creeped out, As if there are parasites of all kinds living in and on me. Ewwwww!
JASNY: A wormhole is like a tunnel between two parallel sheets of spacetime, connecting the multiverse timelines, locations in space, beings, objects: whatever can be connected. Nothing is eating you, though, Clara.
BRANON: Glad to hear it. As much as I love science, though, I’m more interested, as I’m sure many listening are, to find out how this all affects our interpersonal/interspecies relationships?
JASNY: Imagine this: entangled quark-antiquark pairs seem to be in ordinary 3D space, then rush away from each other, approaching the speed of light. This makes it seem impossible for this pair to pass signals from one to the other. The 3D space where the quarks reside is a hypothetical boundary of a 4D world. In the 3D space, the entangled pair is connected by a kind of conceptual string [yes, the proverbial strings of string theory] that, in 4D space, becomes a wormhole.
BRANON: Picture your pair of quarks, above, as both a string and a wormhole. Imagine that this quark-antiquark pair pops into existence in a strong electric field which then sends the oppositely charged particles accelerating in opposite directions. The entangled particles in the 3D world are connected by a wormhole in the 4D world.
JASNY: Confused, yet? We’re just getting started.
BRANON: What Earthers propose in the 20teens becomes possible via MWC tech: teleporting energy over long distances, because of quantum entanglement.
JASNY: Our scientists who play with the properties of squeezed light or vacuum states that should allow for the teleportation of information throughout an energy state are beside themselves with glee at this charmed (pun intended) side benefit of membership in the MWC.
BRANON: They are chomping at the bit, like racehorses at the Kentucky Derby who strain to be let out of the gate and start racing around: “Beam me up, Scotty” is ON!
JASNY: Well, not precisely like that. This type of teleportation can occur because whenever a change happens to one particle, the same change happens to the other. Hence, the impression of teleportation is actually an exchange of information, as I mention, above, via worm holes.
BRANON: But, as I also indicate: WE beings are sometimes that “information” that gets “exchanged.”
JASNY: Increasing the uncertainty of one value decreases the uncertainty of the value of others—–a sort of squeezing effect, which, when applied to light, leads to more pairs traveling together through a vacuum, which in turn leads to more of them being entangled, which allows for teleporting energy over virtually any distance.
BRANON: How does all this relate to physical movement to other planets? We become able to perceive ourselves’ being in two places at once. It isn’t that movement is involved, always, but that perception becomes more flexible.
JASNY: Scientists learn to create a quantum vortex, first in a lab, then anywhere. Earth experimenters also learn to generate dark solitons, which are relatively long-lived compared to other solitons.
BRANON: The bridge to relationships, to love, to interaction, is attraction.
JASNY: We know this from personal experience, don’t we, Clara? Some attractive interactions could stably exist, but only up to a certain critical atom number. Beyond this critical number, the attraction overwhelms the zero-point energy of the harmonic confining potential, causing the atoms to collapse in a burst reminiscent of a supernova explosion, where an implosion comes first, then an explosion. Too much of a “good thing,” right?
BRANON: In simpler terms: strong attraction can cause explosions and implosions, micro and macro.
JASNY: Yes. They sure can. Then, scientists find that there is a “reversible flip” from attraction to repulsion, that stems from quantum interference which behaves as waves. Love can turn to hate all too quickly, can’t it?
BRANON: That flip, as you call it, from attraction to repulsion, happens all too often in human relationships, as we know. Where is the switch, I want to know! How can we flip it back to attraction?
JASNY: When scientists raise the magnetic field’s strength, the atoms suddenly revert to attraction. But, they immediately implode and shrink, beyond detection. Rapidly, they then explode, expelling about two-thirds of the combined 10,000 or so atoms. About half of the atoms seem to disappear from the experiment altogether, not visible either in the cold remnant or the expanding gas cloud.
BRANON: What? When we try to flip repulsion back to attraction the object of our affection disappears? So unexpected. [Laughter]
JASNY: The energy state of an atom near absolute zero should not be enough to cause an implosion.
BRANON: Meaning, when we try to seduce or re-attract someone who is wavering, that should not send them heading for the hills, if we keep them warm enough. Where are they hiding, anyway? Are they really gone forever?
JASNY: The MWC informs us that the atoms that seem to disappear still exist: they form molecules of two bonded atoms.
BRANON: Oh. Of course. When our desired ones leave us they immediately find someone new to be attracted to and bond with the new one. Sure. How is that a good thing, Steve?
JASNY: The energy gained by making this transition, flipping the atoms from attraction to repulsion and back again, imparts a velocity sufficient for them to leave, i.e., to travel, without Earth scientists’ picking them up via our usual methods of observation.
BRANON: Our relationship problems, our entanglement issues, lead to breakthroughs? That does happen. Don’t we usually garner important personal insights from every break-up, Steve?
JASNY: We certainly hope so, Clara. And, thanks to the MWC, these experiences lead us to move forward in science as well. We learn to teleport “information” between two clouds of gas atoms and to carry out the teleportation––not just one or a few times, but successfully every single time, by means of laser light.
BRANON: The light and gas become entangled, which means they establish a quantum link––they are synchronized.
JASNY: The MWC continues throughout The Transition to enlighten us further. Their tech info confirms many of our suspicions: gravity is a superfluid, consciousness is actually a type of matter, and Dark Matter is everywhere, permeating and comprising everything that seems to exist.
BRANON: But, Dark Matter, as with all those worm holes, is not impinging on our illusory existence in any way, right, Steve?
JASNY: Right, Clara. We are, holographically speaking, whole and unharmed.
BRANON: Time for questions, Steve?
JASNY: Sure. Put them up on the ‘verseweb. We plan to go over them and respond quickly.
BRANON: But not instantaneously! Thank you all for your kind attention. We wish you well in all your entanglements!
JASNY: And, when you go off-planet, enjoy the ride!


Spanners - volume 3 cover final

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back in Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, of The Spanners Series. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them to make difficult choices across multiple timelines, continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact?

If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do YOU do with wanted/unwanted changes?

Sci-fi/romance/utopian/multiverse/psi/paranormal for adults, new adults, young adults, now in ebooks and paperbacks, Volumes I, II, III:

PAPERBACK on CreateSpace: Volume III, $19.99 https://www.createspace.com/5844474

PAPERBACK on CreateSpace: Volume II, $19.99 https://www.createspace.com/5844431 

PAPERBACK on CreateSpace: Volume I, $17.99 https://www.createspace.com/5837347 

Ebook of Volume III is $3.99:
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/588331
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0177Z1KRM

final cover print

Ebook of Volume II is $3.99:
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

Ebook of Volume I is PERMAFREE:
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8   
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

And on ibooks, Kobo, nook: look right, scroll down for all links for Volumes I, II, III, interviews, book trailers, reviews, more:
http://www.sallyember.com

logoAuthorsDen

All art for The Spanners Series by WillowRaven
http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

“Crowdcreators” wanted: Research Topics Included in the The Spanners Series

logoAuthorsDen

Below is a somewhat complete list of the research topics included in my sci-fi/ romance/ utopian series for Youth, New and older Adults, below.

I plan to include some excerpts from already-published Volumes that relate to many of these topics over the next several months as I keep writing (working on Volume IV of X right now).

Will this entice some collaborators for Volumes VIII and IX, I hope? I’m experimenting with “Crowdcreating” these two Volumes!

Volume VIII (YA-oriented: youth writers and those writing for youth) Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Youth Speak [expected release, June, 2019]

The Many Worlds Collective (MWC), a consortium of planet and star systems all around the multiverse, includes Earth in probationary membership (The Transition) since December, 2012, and full membership since January, 2018. Over a thirty-year, increasingly utopian period, Earthers who survive are adapting and adjusting. Although many changes in politics, climate, government and safety are obvious, the most important and significant changes are within each individual Earther, human and non-human.

Volumes VIII and IX share the individual stories of “everyone”―–ordinary people, primates, cetaceans and cephalopods―–as they learn to live in this forever-transformed and transforming multiverse.

Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Youth Speak focuses on stories from young Earthers (ages 11 – 25).


Volume IX (NA/Adults: New and older Adult writers and those writing for NA/Adults) to “Crowdcreate” those two Volumes with me.
Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Adults Speak [expected release, Dec., 2019]

The Many Worlds Collective (MWC), a consortium of planet and star systems all around the multiverse, includes Earth in in probationary membership (The Transition) since December, 2012, and full membership since January, 2018. Over a thirty-year, increasingly utopian period, Earthers who survive are adapting and adjusting. Although many changes in politics, climate, government, and safety are obvious, the most important and significant changes are within each individual Earther.

Volumes VIII and IX share the individual stories of “everyone”―–ordinary people, primates, cetaceans and cephalopods―–as they learn to live in this forever-transformed and transforming multiverse. Those who barely avoid Sequestering are possibly the most interesting of all.

Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Adults Speak focuses on stories from Spanners (ages 26-over 100 years old).


Deadline for responding to me about wanting to write, co-write, or contribute to a Chapter or more in either or both Volumes is January 31, 2017.

Research Topics Included in the The Spanners Series.
What are you particularly interested in or know a lot about already? Comment here: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

Alternate/Parallel Universes and Timelines
Anthropology
Archaeology
Astronomy
Black Holes
Buddhism
Christianity
Cognitive Dissonance
Cosmology
Cultural Anthropology
Dark Energy
Dark Matter
Death/Afterlife
Dreams
Epigenetics
Exoplanets
Gender Identity
History
Human Biology
Judaism
Materials Science
Meditation
Morphic Resonance
Multiverse
Mushrooms
Mysticism
Neurobiology/Neuroscience
Neuroplasticity
Neuroscience
Nonlocality
Ontology
Physical Anthropology,
Political Science
Postcognition
Precognition
Psionics
Psychology
Quantum Physics and Entanglement
Reincarnation
Relationships
Sexual Orientation Identity
Social Change
Sociology
Sono-pictography
Space Travel
Sufism
Telekinesis
Telepathy
Teleportation
“The Butterfly Effect”
Wormholes
Xenobiology

#Health Myths Busted: #Gluten Sensitivity is Mostly A Fad, Not Actual Gluten Intolerance

#Health Myths Busted: #Gluten Sensitivity is Mostly A Fad, Not Actual Gluten Intolerance

Celiac disease poster
image from http://nugonutrition.com

According to many researchers and recent research in both the UK and the USA, fewer than 6%, and many say closer to 1% of the general population actually suffer from #Celiac disease, which does make humans unable to digest gluten. In fact: “Ninety-nine percent of individuals [this doctor sees] who report gluten sensitivity, however, do not have celiac disease….”

Research like this utilizes a method called “double-blind,” which means not only do the test subjects not know, but the researchers do not know, either, whom is receiving the “treatment” or substance being tested and whom is receiving the fake, or placebo substance, until after the research period has ended.

What did they discover about self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity?

“The placebo effect is much greater for subjective symptoms (such as those of patients with self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity) than is appreciated. It is seen in 20% to 40% [of] individuals. That is, of patients who report an improvement in symptoms by eliminating gluten, 20% to 40% are NOT improved. They THINK they are improved….[A]lmost all have had their symptoms return or continue with reduced severity despite continuing the [gluten-free] diet.”

noncoeliac_gluten_sensitivity
image from http://allergiesandyourgut.com

Back and forth we go, with individuals making great claims at parties, schools, family dinners and restaurants about their inability to digest gluten despite not having been diagnosed formally with Celiac disease. People around them are getting frustrated, with good reason.

“[A]fter years of debating the existence of nonceliac gluten sensitivity, a scientifically rigorous study has been done that sheds light on the issue. In this study, 37 patients with self-reported gluten sensitivity, well-controlled on a gluten-free diet, were studied….[T]he group of patients with self-reported gluten sensitivity were not gluten-sensitive when tested.”
[all above quotes from link, below]
http://www.medicinenet.com/nonceliac_gluten_sensitivity_intolerance/article.htm

What are we to do, then, we who want to support our loved ones and help them be healthy, feel good, not feel negatively judged by us?

This is a dilemma, because it is difficult to determine what is causing these people’s symptoms when they do not have actual Celiac disease or wheat allergies. A number of causes could be in effect, in varying combinations, some of which cannot actually be proven to exist in each person other than through dietary trial-and-error, which, as we have seen, often fails to provide factual data due to psychological interference.

“Unlike wheat allergy and coeliac disease, gluten sensitivity does not have a known set of biomarkers — doctors can’t tell if a patient is suffering from [gluten sensitivity] by examination (although there is a blood test, it doesn’t give accurate results for many patients). So [gluten sensitivity] can only be diagnosed by first ruling out other diseases and then trying out a gluten-free diet.”

Okay. So, we tolerate our friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors as they attempt to figure out what is causing their discomfort, bloating, gas, pain, etc., but our patience is wearing thin, isn’t it? We may think that their self-diagnosed gluten problems are just the latest in a string of dietary and health fads that cause attention-seekers to become obsessed and challenging to be around, for the rest of us, don’t we?

Maybe these people mostly want to lose weight? Wrong method, though.

foods with no gluten
image from http://www.livestrong.com

Similar to the “fat-free” trend, which caused many to over-eat the so-called “fat-free” foods while clearly gaining weight due to ingesting extra calories, not in the form of fats and oils, but still getting a lot of carbs and sugars, gluten-free is no solution to weight problems, either.

“‘If you go on a gluten-free diet, taking substitutes like gluten-free beer, pasta, cookies and so on, if anything, you gain weight. If you take a regular cookie, it’s 70 calories. The same cookie, gluten-free, can go as high as 210 calories. You have to substitute gluten with something that makes that cookie palatable, so you have to load it with fat and sugars. Just consider that. A gram of protein is four calories, a gram of fat is nine.’

“But, [Fasano] adds, it may be possible to lose weight on a gluten-free diet by choosing natural products like fresh fish, meat, vegetables and fruit.”

To add insult to injury, gluten-free products are pricier than ordinary versions of the same foods.

Maybe the answer, for weight loss, is to eat foods that are both fat-free and gluten-free. Of course, those are also likely to be taste- and flavor-free. Take away the MSG, too, and you may as well drink water or eat cardboard.

[above quotes from link, below]
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33486177

Summary
Should we or shouldn’t we eat gluten-free, then?

First, how difficult is it to eat gluten-free? VERY, but getting easier.

“To avoid gluten, you have to stay away from all wheat-based foods and ingredients, from white and whole-wheat flours to kamut, spelt, semolina, and wheat bran and germ.

“That means no bread, pasta, couscous, cookies, cakes, muffins, pastries, cereals, crackers, gravies, or beer. Less obviously, it also means no soy sauce, bouillon cubes, candies, food starch, fried foods, or even oats if they’re processed in the same facility as wheat.”

Second, who benefits from a gluten-free diet, besides those with verified Celiac disease and/or wheat allergies?

gluten-free-label-uk-008
image from http://www.theguardian.com

“[T]here is some evidence to suggest gluten-free eating patterns can also improve symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and psoriasis.”

However, they may be getting relief from their symptoms not because of avoiding gluten, but because of avoiding FODMAPs.

“[P]eople who say their symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet may actually be reacting to another set of carbohydrates in wheat called called FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). In other words, it’s not the gluten that’s bothering people, but other sugars found in wheat.”

Third, be cautious. There is evidence that people who follow this diet who do not need to be on it and who do not track the supplements they’re missing out on and replace them could be doing themselves more harm than good.

“‘People who follow a gluten-free diet may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets.’ These include iron, calcium, fiber, and folate. ‘Along with fruits and vegetables, the most common sources of dietary fiber are whole-grain breads and cereals, which contain gluten,’ the University of Washington’s gluten-free primer states. ‘Many people on gluten-free diets tend to eat inadequate amounts of fiber, which may lead to constipation.'”

Also, we now know that we need certain types of bacteria to flourish in our guts/intestines, and when they do not, we can suffer greatly everything from indigestion to depression, many worse problems than bloating. “Going gluten-free may also reduce the amount of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which has implications for immune system function.”

[above quotes from link, below]
http://www.vox.com/2015/4/30/8517749/gluten-free-diet-nutrition-celiac-disease

grain facts
image from http://lifeonmanitoulin.com

How I use Science Research in my Science-Fiction Writing for The Spanners Series

How I use #Science #Research in my #Science-Fiction #Writing for The Spanners Series

First, Some #Tech History

Typewriters to Word Processors
I am old enough to remember learning to type on a manual typewriter whose action was so “hard” or difficult that I had to slam each finger onto the keys to get them to hit the ribbon with enough force to get sufficient ink to mark the typing paper. If I were trying to make carbon copies, I had to hit the keys even harder or the copy wouldn’t be impressed with the keys enough for the carbon paper to work properly.

Luckily, I was already a piano student (from the age of 9) by the time I started typing (age 10) and I took my only formal typing class the summer I turned twelve. By then, my fingers were very strong. I do not know how others learned to type and made it work without being pianists. Even with my hours of piano playing every week, I still found it tiring and challenging to type with enough force on these typewriters to make the keys impress the carbon paper, especially when making more than one copy.

manual typewriter
Keys on a Manual Typewriter

The first revolution was the IBM “Selectric” (invented in 1961, but got to me and my part-time jobs in St. Louis, MO, in the late 1960s and early 1970s), which had a spinning ball rather than key action. This made the typing of the letters cause the ball to spin, putting the typed letter in contact with the ink ribbon without having to use as much force. My days of a typewriter jam were almost over (I became an extremely fast typist, but the machine could not keep up!).

The early 1970s brought further great relief from typewriter drudgery with the electric typewriters (soft-touch, less force-required) and then the amazing automatic carriage return. Remember that lever we had to yank on at the end of every line? Gone!

typewriter_jam
Typewriter Jam
image from http://ecocatlady.blogspot.com

Finally, the best invention for writers and secretaries: the correction key, which worked by back-space-erase-retype action. Before this functional key existed, typists had to use special typewriter erasers (those round ones with the feathery ends so we could brush off the eraser dust from each part of the page) and carbon paper erasers for any mistakes, OR (usually) retype the entire page for one mistake! For larger mistakes or the carbon copies, we newly could use “Liquid Paper” or “Wite-Out”(THANKS, Bette Nesmith Graham, who invented this in her kitchen in 1956!), which also was a revolution in making typed pages appear mistake-free even when they were not.

Liquid_paper_products_Womens_Museum
Liquid Paper display at the Women’s Museum
image from http://en.wikipedia.org

Card Catalogs and Index Cards
Along with these trips down memory lane for typists, which brought us to word-processing/computer-like typewriters and, finally, word-processing software for home computers (the BEST!), we have the trajectory across the last fifty years for researchers. Remember those little pencils that were ubiquitous in libraries for use near the card-catalogs?

I used to spend hours or days or weeks cross-referencing, by hand, with my fingers and tired eyes, to find authors, titles, types of printed works, or microfiche/ microfilm copies of materials. Then, some were not allowed to be “checked out,” only used “in-house.” Or, some had to be requested via Interlibrary Loan, which could take months.

The photocopier was an electrifying (LOL) invention that allowed us to take home pages we wanted to study or read. We could mark them up and use them to take further notes on when items couldn’t be taken out of the library, but they cost a lot per page for my budget. I invented my own shorthand to take copious notes very quickly, a system I learned to use in lecture classes as well. I could quickly crib information from precious materials I couldn’t afford to make copies of in the large numbers of pages I needed for a project.

I am a speed-reader, fast note-taker, and quick thinker. Still, this type of research was slow and laborious since I had to read each page to determine what I wanted to notate, photocopy or ignore. Every resource also had long lists of their own resources which I usually had to follow-up on (and was grateful for the “trail”), but many items were one-of-a-kind and not available when I needed them.

Index cards, notebooks, looseleaf binders, photocopies, smudged ink and so much paper, paper, paper: I was drowning in it. We had to ORGANIZE: color coding, use of tabs, physically taping-moving-retaping the cards or notes on large pieces of paper or a bulletin board, wall or floor. It is at this point I would notice the gaps and have to trudge back (often through snow and ice; not kidding) to the library.

floor outlining
Floor Outlining
image from http://fairfieldwriter.wordpress.com

I was SO excited to use removable tags and “post-it” notes when they came into our lives: 1968, serendipitous discovery by Dr. Spencer Silver at 3-M, of the reusable glue; and Arthur Fry, mid-1970s for the mass-market applications, like “post-it” notes and removable tabs. If I only could keep it all straight and remember my own process. For example, was I using blue for my thoughts or quotations…?

Art Fry oppfant Post-it-lappene og forandret måten vi kommuniserer på. Gul lapp på pannen med lys idé tegnet .
Arthur Fry, inventor of the “Post-It” note
image from http://en.wikipedia.org

Research Access and Writing, First Major Innovations
Fast-forward to the 1990s and (thanks to Al Gore…), the World Wide Web, or as it’s now known, the Internet. At first, not a lot was available to “laypeople.” Research didn’t change for me much during my graduate schools years (1991-96, for my Master’s and doctorate). The scanning interfaces were horrible: grainy and hard to read, with many odd mistakes and quirky formatting problems. Plus, most items weren’t scanned in and scanners were still prohibitively expensive and large, so not widely utilized. Professional journals, esoteric sources and other materials still needed to be found and used at libraries or in person.

The biggest boon and the one I still praise daily is the word processing personal computer. Best parts of that: copy, cut and paste functions. Gone forever are the days of using actual scissors (although I love that the “cut” icon is a pair of scissors). I no longer use sticky tape or post-its to move text around and it’s easy to create outlines that I can change quickly.

First-time, ever: specialized software programs that allowed us to create bibliographies as we write, using sources freely in our properly-positioned footnotes and endnotes, all automatically formatted to the chosen “style” guide, if we were clever enough to input the data correctly. Incredible!

endnote foot note dialogue box
Endnote/Footnote Dialogue Box

Using Science Research in my Science-Fiction Writing

A Researcher’s Paradise!
Now, in the mid-20-teens, the Internet is alive, well, thriving and chock-full of information. Google, Yahoo, MSN, Wikipedia and other -pedias, specialized news sources and wikis along with nonprofit organizations’, professional associations’ and corporate websites populate the web with more facts than anyone could gather. I can capture and bring them to me via my home computer’s browser with the entry of a few simple search terms.

I am now overflowing with science breakthroughs, breaking news and older sources, with accompanying images, data and video/audio files. I am in a researcher’s paradise!

Word-Processing Software’s References and Resources
We have our own dictionary and thesaurus right within our word processing programs, with grammar and spell-checking functions operating within our own preferences and parameters. We can change these, add words and terms, personalize it all at will.

We can also become completely autonomous as bloggers, authors, producers of content of all sorts. We can independently research, write, edit and format an entire book in electronic or print format from our homes or offices: this is the true revolution of “desk-top publishing.”

My Evolving Research and Writing Process
Best part, for this sci-fi writer: science information on any topic, any time, at my fingertips. I have changed the way I write because of what is available and how I can use it in my books. I used to be an avid outliner (remember the notecards and color-coded tabs?), but usually, now, I mentally sketch out what I want to write about and what characters to include.

Then, throughout the year, I gather tidbits of information that I believe I may want to use. I get links to articles from organization’s or group’s pages’ and friends’ posts on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and other social media sites.

When something piques my interest, I don’t have to go anywhere to read it. I don’t have to take notes or pay to copy the entire article. I don’t have to carry backpacks filled with heavy books, research journals and articles home.

Oh, no; I do not!

Instead, with a few “clicks,” I travel online to the site to copy and paste part or all of the article and its URL to a word processing document. It is then stored in my research folder with a specific title and date. I review it in its entirety or portions of it later, usually on the day I plan to consider using it.

Screenshot (28)
Screenshot of my research folder’s contents

When I’m ready to write, I begin to mine my research folder for its gold and other ores. When I find something I may want to use (for its facts, explanations, ideas or announcements), I copy and paste parts or all of each article right into my story or book draft. Sometimes, early on in my writing a book for The Spanners Series, I’m not sure what I’ll use, exactly, so I paste them all “at the end.”

When I’m ready to place items by subject somewhere in the chapters set-up, I move the paragraphs or entire articles to that chapter, by topic. As I write, I read more carefully to learn from the parts I’ve captured.

BUT, I am careful NOT to not use these authors’ exact words or do much paraphrasing. Instead, these snippets become my “notes,” acting like outlines, as guides. The sections I’ve pasted show me where I want to take my characters, my plot, or even my series by providing me with the science and facts to back up the next part of the world I’m building and the story I want to tell.

Once I’ve utilized this chapter’s store of ideas and facts (of course, attributing and giving credit in my Appendices when I use any part more literally than conceptually), I put each accessed article into my “USED” folder in my computer. Then, as I write, I delete the “notes” from the copied-pasted nonfiction/research articles’ sections of the draft.

All that is left in each chapter are my own ideas, in my words, with my characters, my plot. I then move on to another source or chapter section.

Summary of All the Changes: Pros and Cons
This process sometimes wreaks havoc with daily word counts, but I’ve learned how to distinguish consistently the “notes” sections separately from the written portions. What I love about this evolving process is how time- and resource-efficient and budget-friendly it is. There are only a few steps, with nothing to photocopy or borrow, no handwritten notes and bits of paper to misplace, fewer or no pieces of paper.

Plus, when I find out I’m missing something crucial or want to go in a new direction, I can open a browser tab and find a new information source in about one minute on my computer, from where I am already sitting. When inspiration strikes, I can “scratch” my creative “itch” immediately. Right away, I can find out if my new idea is feasible by setting the data up right within my draft, look it over, consider it all, then resume writing.

I can easily and quickly re-arrange entire sections, chapters, and themes, distributing ideas and information among my draft volumes as I write each one of my 10-book Spanners Series. For each of the three Volumes I have completed and the one I’m currently midway through, I have re-organized the chapters multiple times. I have changed sections, moved paragraphs and altered the events in timelines (my series includes multiple timelines) so that the chapter sequence changes almost weekly for a while.

I keep track of all these events, data and movement by using header dates for each chapter. I list them in my series’ spreadsheet by chapter and title. I also include some of the chapter’s content, characters and its current Volume number in the cell.

Screenshot (27)
The Spanners Series’ timeline spreadsheet, screenshot

Given the fluid nature of ebooks and self-publishing, it would not surprise me to find out, years from now, that I want to re-arrange the sequence within or of the Volumes I’ve already published significantly! Doing that wouldn’t even be difficult, since self-publishers can withdraw and resubmit Volumes for distribution whenever we want.

Of course, there is one big problem: too much sitting! I have to remind myself to take breaks, get up, walk around, go swimming 5 – 6 times each week, take naps, go outside and walk around. The temptation to stay inside and keep working is so much greater than in the past because everything I need is “right here”!

I also have to be careful not to have another incident of RPI (Repetitive Stress Injury) to my arms, fingers, hands and wrists, which I had severely in my first semester of graduate school. I learned exercises, ways to sleep, the use of ice and NSAIDs to avoid overusing my home computer as I transitioned from relying on an electric typewriter. When there is no paper to load, no carriage level for returns, no ribbon to change and no carbon paper, we don’t move around physically enough.

We have to remember: raise our eyes to look out a window to change our eyes’ focus from near to far, remove our hands from the keyboard to stretch our arms, shoulders, necks, backs, fingers. We need to get up and actually (HORRORS!) leave the keyboard and screen for frequent breaks, or we will ruin our bodies.

Many (like my son, not pictured, but his set-up is similar) now use standing desks and ergonomically designed keyboards with vertical access to prevent the worst harm and future injuries. However, exercise and frequent “away” periods are the best ways to avoid physical problems from developing due to computer overuse.

ergonomic desk set up
Ergonomic Desk and Keyboard Set-up
image from http://www.instructables.com

However, I would not trade the convenience of this era for all the manual typewriters and liquid paper in the multiverse. Thanks to all the inventors, developers, creators, scientists, researchers and writers who made/make this all possible for the rest of us!


This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., Permafree

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks
Volume I cover

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are.

Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. 

In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

Are YOU ready for the changes?
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8 </a
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., @$3.99

final cover print
Volume II cover

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

How would YOU do with the changes?
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., planned pre-orders 11/1/15 – 12/7/15 @$1.99; planned release 12/8/15 @$3.99; Cover Reveal 10/26/15!

logoAuthorsDen
The Spanners Series logo

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. To join, Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, continuing as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them each to make difficult choices across multiple timelines while continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact? If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do you do with wanted/unwanted changes?


LINKS

http://www.sallyember.com  main website
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW  author page
https://www.twitter.com/sallyemberedd Twitter: @sallyemberedd
https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber Spanners Series’ page on FB
https://www.facebook.com/sally.ember
http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember
http://goo.gl/tZKQpv Spanners Series’ page on Google+
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SallySueEmber/about/p/pub Sally Sue Ember on Google+
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w/videos
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7237845.Sally_Ember  

More purchase/free links on Kobo, ibooks and nook as well as reviews, book trailers, author interviews and readings, blog posts, research, series updates and more on Sally’s website: look right, scroll down. http://www.sallyember.com

Cover art and logo by Aidana Willowraven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

Part III: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up

Part III: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up

[All three posts in this series have the same introduction, but I choose info from each of the four science compilation sites separately for each post. This post focuses on gleanings from Cosmos Up]

INTRO: I should have been a research scientist. I love science. I’m extremely intelligent, determined, creative, and organized. I coulda been a contenda for a Nobel prize. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Why am I not a scientist? I had a series of misogynistic (one of my teachers hated the four girls in my advanced science class so much he would pith [paralyze] the frogs by holding them in the air directly in front of one of us so that each frog would urinate on our blouses), anti-Semitic (another one wore his “John Birch Society” pin to school every day, displayed prominently on his lapel; there were three girls in my class and he insulted each of us daily), incompetent (in an lab accident at his “real” job, this poor man had lost most of his sight and drive and spent each class time mostly ignoring all of us) and otherwise horrible science teachers in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.

With better teachers in those critical years, my life could have turned out very differently. Those terrible teachers turned me so far off science I only took one more “hard” science course (because it was required, in undergraduate college), despite many more years of education, through getting a doctorate.

As an adult, I became enthralled with quantum physics, health/anatomy, nutrition, child development/learning and the multiverse/astrophysics, so I read. A lot. I also watch documentaries. I am not even close to understanding some of the physics stuff, but the rest I got quite adept at utilizing. To “keep up,” I subscribe to many science-oriented blogs and curation sites.

My favorites are: Science Alert, Serious Wonder, Brain Pickings Weekly and Cosmos Up. I will excerpt from some of the “best of the best” of what I’ve recently perused.

Part III is all from Cosmos Up, which means this month’s offerings are all astronomical! I hope you enjoy! Go subscribe!


CosmosUp.com

Cosmos Up logo

Astrophysics and Quantum Physics/Mechanics
1. Jan 11, 2015, “NASA Reveals Three Amazing Travel Posters for Earth-Like Planets”
http://goo.gl/gfZgB1
“NASA has marked the discovery of potentially habitable worlds by its Kepler space observatory with a poster series imagining the ‘out of this world’ holiday options they may one day offer. Drawing inspiration from travel billboards of the 20s, 30s and 40s, the posters are the brainchild of NASA visual strategists Joby Harris, David Delgado and Dan Goods.”

NASA travel poster 1
and

NASA travel poster 2
and

NASA travel poster 3
“These posters are even available online and can be downloaded for free via JPL’s website. There are additional exoplanet posters in the works, NASA said.”

  1. January 14, 2015, “Rare Phenomenon In The Solar System, What Has Cassini Photographed?”
    http://goo.gl/EiDpnM
    “Cassini…captures a strange hexagonal formation present at one pole of Saturn. The diameter of the ‘hexagon’ is 30,000 miles. This formation is present at the north pole of the planet. Inside the formation…the wind blows up with a colossal speed [of] about 322 kilometers per hour. The center of this strange formation is actually a very powerful storm. Scientists say that…it isn’t present on any other planet in our solar system.”

    Cassini photo Saturn hexagon

  2. January 27, 2015, “Oldest Star System in Galaxy Discovered by NASA ‘could Point to Extremely Advanced Alien Civilisations’”
    http://goo.gl/kJG1Ue
    “’There are far-reaching implications for this discovery [of a sun-like star with 5 orbiting planets ranging in size from Mercury to Venus],’ lead researcher Tiago Campante said in a statement. ‘We now know that Earth-sized planets have formed throughout most of the Universe’s 13.8 billion year history, which could provide scope for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy.’
    “’Planetary systems around stars have been a common feature of our galaxy for a long, long time.’”

    Kepler 444 and 5 planets

  3. February 11, 2015, “New Crazy Theory: The Universe has ‘No End and No Beginning’”
    http://goo.gl/t7HUkr
    “They showed that quantum particles can never meet or cross paths.’As far as we can see, since different points in the universe never actually converged in the past, it did not have a beginning,’ Professor Saurya Das said.”

  4. April 14, 2015, “New Map Reveals Distribution Of Dark Matter At Cosmic Scale”
    http://goo.gl/8uIp6G

  5. April 15, “NASA: No Signs Of Advanced Alien Civilizations In 100000 Galaxies”
    http://goo.gl/DNhEEy
    “Either they don’t exist, or they don’t yet use enough energy for us to recognize them.”

MY VIEW: Or, they don’t use energy in the form we expect them to be using it, which is “high levels of mid-infrared radiation.” Why do earth-based scientists presume that signs of alien “intelligence” will be recognizable to humans from great distances or at all? We could be looking for “life” in all the wrong ways.

  1. July 7, 2015, “There Are Millions Of Hidden Supermassive Black Holes In The Universe, Scientists Says”
    http://goo.gl/A97g4h
    The closest supermassive black hole to Earth is V4641 Sagitarii which is 1,600 light years away.
    “Astronomers have spotted five monster black holes previously hidden by dust and gas in space and they suggests that there might be millions more of them lurking around our universe.”

Look for Part I, published on June 1, which focused on info gathered by Alert.

ScienceAlert.com

Science Alert logo

Part II was published June 30, with info from Serious Wonder

SeriousWonder.com

SeriousWonderLogo

and Brain Pickings Weekly.

Brain pickings logo

Part II: Science Alert, Serious Wonder, Brain Pickings Weekly and Cosmos Up

Part II: Science Alert, Serious Wonder, Brain Pickings Weekly and Cosmos Up

[All three posts in this series have the same introduction, but I choose info from each of the four science compilation sites separately for each post. This post focuses on gleanings from Serious Wonder and Brain Pickings Weekly]

INTRO: I should have been a research scientist. I love science. I’m extremely intelligent, determined, creative, and organized. I coulda been a contenda for a Nobel prize. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Why am I not a scientist? I had a series of misogynistic (one of my teachers hated the four girls in my advanced science class so much he would pith [paralyze] the frogs by holding them in the air directly in front of one of us so that each frog would urinate on our blouses), anti-Semitic (another one wore his “John Birch Society” pin to school every day, displayed prominently on his lapel; there were three girls in my class and he insulted each of us daily), incompetent (in an lab accident at his “real” job, this poor man had lost most of his sight and drive and spent each class time mostly ignoring all of us) and otherwise horrible science teachers in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.

With better teachers in those critical years, my life could have turned out very differently. Those terrible teachers turned me so far off science I only took one more “hard” science course (because it was required, in undergraduate college), despite many more years of education, through getting a doctorate.

As an adult, I became enthralled with quantum physics, health/anatomy, nutrition, child development/learning and the multiverse/astrophysics, so I read. A lot. I also watch documentaries. I am not even close to understanding some of the physics stuff, but the rest I got quite adept at utilizing. To “keep up,” I subscribe to many science-oriented blogs and curation sites.

My favorites are: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up. I also subscribe to Brain Pickings Weekly, which I include in the Serious Wonder post. I will excerpt from some of the “best of the best” of what I’ve recently perused. Part II is all from Serious Wonder.

I hope you enjoy! Go subscribe!


SeriousWonder.com

SeriousWonderLogo

Astrophysics and Quantum Physics/Mechanics
1. 9/11/14, Your Cosmic Address, BY STEPHEN P. BIANCHINI of Serious Wonder

When you were younger, didn’t you sometimes write your “return” address in a similar way? Well, now you have a more exact way to locate yourself…In case you send mail to aliens, for example.

“…[T]his is the cosmic address you may want to use: Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster, Laniakea,” in case someone not from this planet needs to know.

What/where the heck is “Laniakea,” and why do we not already know about it?

Astronomers informed us recently about “the large-scale structure of the Universe” which has “…four huge areas identified so far: Laniakea, its neighbouring Perseus-Pisces supercluster, and two other superclusters, Shapley and Coma, on the far side of the universe.”

Elmo Temple from Estonia explained: “‘[The name Laniakea]… is taken from the Hawaiian words lani, which means heaven, and akea, which means spacious or immeasurable.'”

So, time to re-do those multiverse business cards, eh?

http://goo.gl/9wPLOJ

  1. 2/1/15, The Absurdity of Infinity: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Explains Whether the Universe Is Infinite or Finite in Letters to Her Mother, by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings Weekly

It is so illuminating for the rest of us when highly intelligent, inquisitive people ruminate on deep questions and share their thoughts with us, isn’t it?

“In 1998, while on the cusp of becoming one of the most significant theoretical cosmologists of our time, mathematician-turned-astrophysicist Janna Levin left her post at Berkeley and moved across the Atlantic for a prestigious position at Cambridge University. During the year and a half there, she had the time and space to contemplate the question that would eventually become the epicenter of her career — whether the universe is infinite or finite. What began as a series of letters to her mother, Sandy, eventually became an unusual diary of Levin’s ‘social exile as a roaming scientist,’ and was finally published as How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space (public library) — a most unusual and absorbing account of the paradoxes of finitude.”

From Levin’s book/letters: “‘We’re all intrinsically of the same substance. The fabric of the universe is just a coherent weave from the same threads that make our bodies. How much more absurd it becomes to believe that the universe, space and time could possibly be infinite when all of us are finite.'”

Levin concluded: “‘I welcome the infinite in mathematics, where … it is not absurd nor demented. But I’d be pretty shaken to find the infinite in nature. I don’t feel robbed living my days in the physical with its tender admission of the finite. I still get to live with the infinite possibilities of mathematics, if only in my head.'”

Where do you stand on the multiverse as infinite-not infinite subject? I tend to veer way from her inescapable logic into the infinite possibilities of the multiverse, but where each of the versions of the universe so conceived is probably finite.

http://goo.gl/p6ucpj

Child Development/Learning
3. 9/11/14, Telepathy is now a Thing, Thanks to Technology , BY B.J. Murphy of Serious Wonder

It warms my telepathic heart-mind when tech geeks prove what the rest of us with E.S.P. already know!

“As experiments like the one above show, telepathy is a very real concept which need be aided by our own innovations – the creation of techno-telepathy.”

“Could you imagine what our world will transform into when our predominant means of communication is via thought? Everything will change fundamentally, from our markets to our governance.”

Then they have to go and ruin it, with scare tactics….

http://goo.gl/IIblvE

  1. 3/8/15, This Idea Must Die: Some of the World’s Greatest Thinkers Each Selects a Major Misconception Holding Us Back, by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings Weekly

I ADORE this book, which “Edge founder, John Brockman, collected by posing his annual question — ‘What scientific idea is ready for retirement?’ — to 175 of the world’s greatest scientists, philosophers, and writers,” and the accompanying article/review. So inspiring!

Here is my favorite excerpt, based on the responses from one of my favorite scientists, biological anthropologist, Helen Fischer, “…who studies the brain on love….[She] points to romantic love and addiction as two concepts in need of serious reformulation and reframing — one best accomplished by understanding the intersection of the two. Fisher argues that we ought to broaden the definition of addiction and do away with science’s staunch notion that all addiction is harmful. Love, she argues, with a wealth of neurobiological evidence in hand, is in fact a state that closely resembles that of addiction in terms of what happens in the brain during it — and yet love, anguishing as it may be at times, is universally recognized as the height of positive experience. In that respect, it presents a case of ‘positive addiction.’…'[B]esotted lovers express all four of the basic traits of addiction: craving, tolerance, withdrawal, and relapse.’”

And, even though this excerpt belongs in my post’s section on quantum physics and the astrophysics, above, I had to put it here, since it comes from this article:

“Science writer, Amanda Gefter, takes issue with one particular manifestation of our propensity for oversimplification — the notion of the universe. She writes: ‘…[T]here’s my universe and there’s your universe — but there’s no such thing as the universe.'”

An expansion of many of my own thoughts on a variety of subjects and more than I could ever have thought of on others await me. Gotta get this book!

http://goo.gl/7Z5Weo

Anatomy/Biology/Zoology and Gender
5. 4/18/15, AIR SHEPHERD: ANTI-POACHING DRONES SEEK CROWDFUNDING, BY B.J. MURPHY of Serious Wonder

I’m not a fan of drones (given most of their current uses, but this is a great idea! To protect elephants, rhinos, and other endangered species: “‘We fly drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that have infrared cameras and GPS on them and can send back thermal images of animals . . . and poachers.’ – Air Shepherd.”

Air Shepherd‘s crowdfunding campaign deadline has passed (April, 2015), but the goal was not met and they would appreciate donations at any time: https://goo.gl/hfi9u1 for the IndieGogo page and more info, including http://www.AirShepherd.org for the website itself.

http://goo.gl/uaqlMu

  1. 3/8/15, The Best LGBT Children’s Books: A Sweet and Assuring Celebration of Diversity and Difference, by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings Weekly

As a parent, a bisexual, a feminist and a long-time educator, I am extremely committed to enlarging perspectives, particularly for young children. This list of excellent children’s books on gender, sexual orientation and other related “differences” whose authors embrace diversity in all its guises makes me very happy since it helps many who work with and raise children to find great reads on these important topics.

Plus, who doesn’t love Maurice Sendak’s books, regardless of your age and politics? We lost one of the 20th Century’s greatest writers for children (and adults) when he passed recently.

Books in this list were published in the 1990s and afterwards and range to one about gay penguins, a grandmother who speaks about lesbians to a granddaughter who asks, a prince seeking a spouse (not a bride, as it turns out), a gay human father and more. Each has excellent illustrations, demonstrates acceptance values, and provides the types of dialogue and storylines adults will be glad to read and re-read to the young children until they can read them on their own.

You might think this list of children’s books doesn’t belong in a post about “science,” but science includes advances in social and emotional health, right? Include these books in every library, school, daycare facility, summer camp and home and we’ll see a huge rise in the mental health of LGBT youth and a great increase in the number of LGBT Allies as well.

http://goo.gl/BNr6qJ

Health and Nutrition
7. 2/1/15, How Playing Music Benefits Your Brain More than Any Other Activity, by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings Weekly

I am a musician. I come from a family of musicians. My son and his father are musicians. Many of my lifelong and new friends are musicians. I am currently helping two kids (ages 7 & 11) learn about music and to play the piano. I have been a paid accompanist, musical director and songwriter. To say I believe in the value of music would be a vast understatement, but this article about the health benefits of music encourages and uplifts me enormously, particularly since I am in the unexpectedly long process of recovering from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)/concussion which occurred over a year ago.

According to the latest research: “…[P]laying music benefits the brain more than any other activity…[and] it impacts executive function and memory…” which are two of the areas most affected in me by my recent TBI.

I love the way musician/author, Glenn Kurtz, explains in his book, Practicing, exactly in what ways playing (not just listening to) music improves our brains: “‘Because making music also involves crafting and understanding its emotional content and message, musicians also have higher levels of executive function — a category of interlinked tasks that includes planning, strategizing, and attention to detail, and requires simultaneous analysis of both cognitive and emotional aspects.

“‘This ability also has an impact on how our memory systems work. And, indeed, musicians exhibit enhanced memory functions — creating, storing, and retrieving memories more quickly and efficiently. Studies have found that musicians appear to use their highly connected brains to give each memory multiple tags, such as a conceptual tag, an emotional tag, an audio tag, and a contextual tag — like a good internet search engine.'”

http://goo.gl/aF3y3z

Brain pickings logo
Brain Pickings WeeklyBrain Pickings Weekly


Look for Part I, published on June 1, which focused on info gathered by Alert.

ScienceAlert.com

Science Alert logo

Next, look for Part III in late July, info from Cosmos Up.

CosmosUp.com

Cosmos Up logo

Part I: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up

Part I: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up

I should have been a research scientist. I love science. I’m extremely intelligent, determined, creative, and organized. I coulda been a contenda for a Nobel prize. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Why am I not a scientist? I had a series of misogynistic (one of my teachers hated the four girls in my advanced science class so much he would pith [paralyze] the frogs by holding them in the air directly in front of one of us so that each frog would urinate on our blouses), anti-Semitic (another one wore his “John Birch Society” pin to school every day, displayed prominently on his lapel; there were three girls in my class and he insulted each of us daily), incompetent (in an lab accident at his “real” job, this poor man had lost most of his sight and drive and spent each class time mostly ignoring all of us) and otherwise horrible science teachers in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.

With better teachers in those critical years, my life could have turned out very differently. Those terrible teachers turned me so far off science I only took one more “hard” science course (because it was required, in undergraduate college), despite many more years of education, through getting a doctorate.

As an adult, I became enthralled with quantum physics, health/anatomy, nutrition, child development/learning and the multiverse/astrophysics, so I read. A lot. I also watch documentaries. I am not even close to understanding some of the physics stuff, but the rest I got quite adept at utilizing. To “keep up,” I subscribe to many science-oriented blogs and curation sites.

My favorites are: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up. I will excerpt from some of the “best of the best” of what I’ve recently perused. Part I is all from Science Alert.

I hope you enjoy! Go subscribe!


ScienceAlert.com

Science Alert logo

Astrophysics and Quantum Physics/Mechanics
19 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/TRtzJD
“For the first time, scientists in Australia have detected a gigantic burst of radio waves from outside our galaxy in real time. Called blitzars [also known as ‘fast radio bursts’ (FRB’s)], these bursts generate as much energy as the Sun does in a day, but they do it in mere milliseconds….The source of these ‘blitzars’ has so far remained a mystery….[T]hey’ve calculated the blitzar to be up to 5.5 billion light-years away from Earth.”

22 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/v6Q8S4
“Researchers have found that have found that quantum mechanics can cause more than two optical systems to become entangled, potentially across large distances….[Q]uantum entanglement states that two particles can be implicitly linked and can seemingly influence each other no matter how far apart they are….[Q]uantum entanglement exists and forms the basis of teleportation and quantum cryptography. [In 2014], researchers from the University of Geneva managed to teleport a photon across a distance 25 kilometres….[This new experiment] provides an important step towards validation of mesoscopic quantum mechanics. Mesoscopic refers to the discipline of physics that deals with matter in between micro and macroscopic.”

10 Feb 2015 http://goo.gl/v9nm44
“New model suggests the Big Bang never occurred. Instead, the Universe has simply been going forever….A new quantum equation suggests that the Universe has no beginning or end, and it could also account for dark matter and dark energy.”

05 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/BAKoZa
“The LHC [Large Hadron Collider]…the monstrous underground atom smasher that hurls particles at near light speed, has been restarted….Here’s how it could change physics forever! ”
“The hunt for dark matter is on.”
These new LHC experiments may also resolve as-yet-unanswered questions regarding supersymmetry, antimatter, gravity and dark energy as well!

08 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/i8yQw4
“NASA’s chief scientist predicts we’ll find signs of alien life by 2025: ‘I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years,’ NASA chief scientist, Ellen Stofan…
“‘It’s definitely not an if, it’s a when,’ said Jeffery Newmark, NASA’s interim director of heliophysics….
“‘[O]bservations by NASA’s Kepler space telescope suggest that nearly every star in the sky hosts planets – and many of these worlds may be habitable,’ says Mike Wall at Space.com.”

16 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/jdGFtQ
“Big news: Dark matter may not be as dark as we originally thought. Astronomers have found the first evidence that dark matter interacts with forces other than gravity.”

Child Development/Learning
05 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/5POY6W
“If you want to sure up your child’s communication and problem-solving skills, chatting…to your baby about nothing in particular while you’re getting ready or doing work around the house…can be even more important than reading to them, new research suggests….[R]eading is great for young kids, but… on its own, it’s not enough to shore up their cognitive development.”

Anatomy/Biology/Zoology and Gender
09 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/60Zmfi

butterfly_480
“Is it a male, or female? This unusual butterfly, apparently, couldn’t decide on its sex, resulting in beautiful and starkly different sets of wings….[I]t was a Common Archduke (Lexias pardalis) butterfly, with a condition known as bilateral gynandromorphy…[which] also been reported in crustaceans, such as lobsters, as well as in birds….”

23 Mar 2015 http://goo.gl/aQyTet
“Scientists have found a drug that makes people more compassionate. It turns out altering people’s brain chemistry can stop them from being selfish jerks….The drug, called tolcapone, prolongs the effect of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, a region involved in the regulation of complex thought and our emotions. And early tests suggest that it encourages people who take it to be more fair-minded when it comes to money.” I posit the biological bases for better or worse humans, particularly regarding behavior and selfishness, in my sci-fi ebooks, The Spanners Series.

09 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/ED8UKh
“Brain ‘gender’ is more fluid than originally thought, research reveals….[C]ontinual Dnmt [DNA methyltransferase (Dnmt), an enzyme that usually silences certain genes] exposure is necessary throughout development to ensure that a brain turns female.”
“Scientists have managed to neurologically switch newborn rats from female to male….Not only did their behaviour change dramatically, but the rats’ brains also structurally transformed.”
In the 1990s, I conducted my doctoral research and wrote my dissertation on the mutability of both gender and sexual orientation identities with the factors of interpersonal safety and connection being pivotal in how frequently, fluidly and diversely each individual’s identities might fluctuate, inventing a term for this contextualized fluctuation: differential authenticity. http://goo.gl/IOcCWJ
“‘”It was thought that once established, sexual differentiation could not be undone,’ Nugent told PBS. ‘Our work shows that sex differences in brain and behaviour are epigenetically regulated, meaning that sex differences are not hardwired in our DNA but programmed during development.'”
I would add: and identities could change throughout life, regulated by circumstances and experiences.

21 May 2015 http://goo.gl/oSpB7e
“Octopuses are able to ‘see’ with their skin, new research finds….[T]he same kind of skin perception might be happening in other cephalopods, too. In other words, these creatures can feel changes in light as well as see them.”
Cephalopods are featuredin my sci-fi ebooks, The Spanners Series.

Health and Nutrition
05 Feb 2015 http://goo.gl/RFcvRZ and https://goo.gl/2HhO4z [with two videos from ASAP Science]
“Want to know how to decrease your odds of developing a cold by 58.8 percent, and if you do get one, how to shave 1.5 days off the length of it? The latest episode of AsapSCIENCE has got all the – scientifically approved – answers.” The two accompanying videos provide tips and advice and then debunk 6 common myths about how to behave/what to do/not do/eat/not eat when getting sick or already sick with a cold.

18 Mar 2015 http://goo.gl/iU4jW4
“The longer you’re breastfed, the higher your IQ and adult earnings, study suggests, but not too long, or the benefits become disadvantages….And the difference was pretty huge. If a child had been breastfed for an entire year, they scored on average four more IQ points, had almost another year of formal education, and earned an extra 341 reais a month – which is about about a third more than the average income level in Brazil – than those who had breastfed for less than a month. But beyond 12 months, and the benefits in later life dropped off significantly – in adulthood, these people were on average poorer, and less educated.”

08 April 2015 http://goo.gl/1ImN59
“Amazing chart shows the planet’s longest-living animals. See how your puny human lifespan compares.” Humans don’t even make the top 10! The longest-living (an ocean quahog [an edible clam, pronounced in Massachusetts, USA, “co-hog”] exists for over 400 years! Eight of the top 10 longest-lived animals are all sea-dwelling creatures; the other two are land tortoises. I guess living on land shortens our lifespan considerably. Humans should have stayed in the sea.

LongestAnimals_web_480


Look for Part II in late June, focusing on info gathered by Serious Wonder.

SeriousWonder.com

SeriousWonderLogo

After that, look for Part III in late July, info from Cosmos Up.

CosmosUp.com

Cosmos Up logo

#Astrobiology, #Electrochemistry: Yes! These are #Scientific Fields of Study

If you have any interest in #microbiology, #astrobiology, #electrochemistry, #alien life, general #science, check out these excerpts and then read the entire article.

MIND BLOWN! Amazing scientists! Excellent article. I LOVE THIS!

Electric Bacteria
image from http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net

Dr. Shelley Minteer, Ph.D., electrochemist, University of Utah

Shelley Minteer

discovered that mitochondria—–the power-generating units inside the cells of all complex cellular organisms, including humans—–can interact electrically with surfaces outside themselves. That fits with a well-accepted theory that mitochondria evolved as free-living bacteria that later merged with other cells, forming a permanent partnership. Even after a billion years, mitochondria may retain some of the capabilities they had in their days of independence. It is possible, then, that we all have a smidgen of electric alien behavior locked away inside us.

Dr. Kenneth Nealson, Ph.D., University of Southern California

kenneth-nealson

discovered that Shewanella oneidensis can deposit electrons directly on minerals—”breathing” a solid substance—via tiny chemical wires.

Shewanella
image from techportal.eere.energy.gov

Dr. Annette Rowe, Ph.D., a postdoc researcher in Nealson’s group, ‘… isolated a whole slew of electrode-oxidizing bugs,” she says—roughly a thousand strains in total. So far, she’s identified 30 of them, all previously unknown….Six of Rowe’s new bacterial strains can live on electrons alone.”

“The vast majority of Rowe’s strains must be grown on a cathode, not in a petri dish. And they indicate an immense and largely alien ecosystem here on Earth. The National Science Foundation calls it the ‘dark energy biosphere’ and is funding Rowe to learn more about this parallel microbial universe.”

Because Geobacter metallireducens can eat waste and produce electricity, the bacteria could prove useful in microbial fuel cells.

Dr. Moh El-Naggar, Ph.D., also at USC, created a series of videos showing

electric nanowires stretch from the outer membranes of Shewanella oneidensis bacteria….[H]e [shot] a series of mind-boggling movies in which you can watch Shewanella reach out to an electrode in search of a place to deposit electrons. Sometimes the bacteria will link up with one another, possibly fobbing off electrons on cells that are able to accept them. [link to one video in original article, below]

moh-el-neggar

How does this all fit together? Maybe this helps you….

Astrobiology chart
image from http://astrobiology.nasa.gov

Or, just enjoy this:

cartoon of geobacters at work
image from http://biobasedpod.blogspot.com

The article’s author wrote: “Their Earth seems to be a world built on cooperation and sharing, a far cry from the more familiar world of cutthroat Darwinian competition. ‘Unless I miss my bet, that’s what we’re going to see when we get to the subsurface: little pockets of life with a socialist community, all working there together. But I won’t tell that to my Republican father because he won’t like it,’ Nealson says.”

Inspired by and drawn from HAVE WE FOUND ALIEN LIFE? MICROBES THAT EAT AND BREATHE ELECTRICITY HAVE FORCED SCIENTISTS TO REIMAGINE HOW LIFE WORKS—ON THIS PLANET AND OTHERS, by Corey S. Powell, in February, 2015, Popular Science, pages 32-39 http://www.popsci.com/have-we-found-alien-life

#Buddhism and #Science: the Facts, the Yogis, the Practices

A repost from 1/30/14 from my own blog.

quantum-buddha-side

The above image is entitled “Quantum Buddha,” and it captures the essence of this post: the intersection of Buddhism and modern science. Meditation as medicine, mindfulness for many purposes, research data to support their usefulness seem to be in the headlines almost daily. Some links are below to articles like that.

http://ideas.time.com/2014/01/17/we-need-to-take-meditation-more-seriously-as-medicine/

Being called The Third Metric, and The Way of the Future for politics, leadership, business and family life, mindfulness is now almost mainstream.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/third-metric_n_4612396.html

Will meditation cure your depression? Your cancer? Your diabetes? Your stress?

http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2014/01/heat-the-body-heal-the-mind

What are the facts? What is true? What is correct? How do you know?

Einstein and Buddhism

There was recently a forum on meditation led by the actor, Goldie Hawn, at a World Economics conference!

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-20/at-davos-rising-stress-spurs-goldie-hawn-meditation-talk.html

You decide, after learning to meditate, researching via personal experience as well as reading and watching videos, attending conferences and talking with others, what YOU believe. The Buddha would want you to do that. Really.

reject buddha Dalai Lama

When you have time and want to learn a lot more, watch this amazing documentary. Yogis of Tibet.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DctQTDm-HdU

“Fever-reducing drugs may help spread flu”: People End Up With More Virus In Their Bodies

reblog from post from a year ago: VERY USEFUL TO KNOW during ‘flu season.
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/fever-reducing-drugs-raise-spread-flu-study-article-1.1588812

I and my “alternative health” friends and practitioners have been saying for decades (centuries): FEVER is helpful. Let the accompanying fever do its thing, which is to kill the virus/bacteria, unless a fever is dangerously high.

IMPORTANT: Stay away from people throughout the fever period and for at least 24 hours after fever passes: then, you’re no longer contagious.

This and That

View original post

Young Blood Fixes Old, Reversing the Aging Process: The End of Independence

In one video clip of an annual summary of scientific discoveries for 2014, the narrator calmly stated this astonishing description and conclusion from research conducted this past year (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjrt0hcv4Qk), using the headline Young Blood Fixes Old:

Scientists stitched [!?!] two [living] mice together, one young, one old, connected their circulatory systems. The connection rejuvenated the brain and the muscle of the older mouse. It appears young blood contains a factor that can turn back the clock on the aging process.

stem-cell-aging-info
image from http://www.regenexx.com

Exactly how long do you think older, wealthier humans are going to wait before purchasing, enslaving and continuing to exploit younger humans in even more ways, including keeping them STITCHED to their bodies just to utilize their young blood to reverse their own aging???

I am nauseated.

Oh, sure. Scientists could isolate this “factor” and package only that.

But, where will this blood-borne factor be obtained? Exactly how legal, voluntary and frequent (or ongoing!?!) will the processes be for arranging for the young blood donors to fulfill ever-increasing requests for portions (how much?) of their blood?

We already have illegal and questionably-legal markets and practices for:

  • organs that can be transplanted, in whole or in part, preserving the donor’s life or not;
  • fertilizable human eggs;
  • gestational wombs;
  • siblings conceived to be organ donors for a needy sibling;
  • sexual surrogates (underaged or legal-aged sex slaves of both sexes).

Are you shuddering at the implications of this research, yet? Young people on this planet who have less power and wealth to protect them than those elders who wield power and money like weapons already, should RUN!

mouse-effect-circulation-young-blood
image from http://scitechdaily.com

Read Susan Young Rojahn’s May 9, 2014, article, Can Compounds in Young Blood Fix Aging?
Animal studies on the revitalizing power of young blood suggest new drug targets for treating conditions like dementia and heart disease
, which summarizes several research studies and their implications, then read the quotes, below.
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/527146/can-compounds-in-young-blood-fix-aging/

Based on Wagers’s new and previous results, the Boston-area venture capital firm Atlas Venture has started a still-unnamed company. Wagers’s previous findings caught the eye of the VC firm in 2013, and the new results “increased the excitement for the role of GDF11 in aging,” says partner Peter Barrett. “Now it’s the blocking and tackling of trying to understand what would be the best therapeutic approach to make this a commercial product.”

The wealthier, more powerful of the elders will soon be able to co-opt young blood to keep them from aging. What will stop them?

One of the Stanford researchers, Tony Wyss-Coray, has cofounded a biotech company called Alkahest to test the therapeutic potential of his group’s findings.

bring me blood
image from http://imgur.com

If you’re not terrified, you’re not paying attention.

#Meditation Rebuilds #Brains: #Harvard’s Research Offers Proof!

#Meditation Rebuilds #Brains: #Harvard’s Research Offers Proof!

The methodology and research conclusions from this recently published study are astonishing for several reasons that matter a lot to me. Some of you know that I fell last April, breaking my nose and causing a concussion which has impaired my cognitive processes AND affected my ability to meditate enormously. I am all for finding out more about what helps brains heal and work better in us all.

My descriptions and opinions are in this post, linking this research to another recently revealed study on brain functionality. Links to original articles, below.

Test subjects taking part in an 8-week program of mindfulness meditation showed results that astonished even the most experienced neuroscientists at Harvard University.

Researchers found that remarkable positive outcomes can occur after only 8 weeks of being in this meditation course, even though, for about half the time, the learners barely knew how to meditate at all. Individuals meditated for an average of “about 27 minutes per day.”

What were they learning? How could such a brief experience and small lifestyle change have such tremendous impacts?

Simple mindfulness sharpens one’s ability to focus. Increasing the skills related to paying attention, following one’s thoughts or one’s breath are the easiest types of meditation to learn. These are also the most basic and accessible forms of meditation for Westerners because the current version contains nothing religious, almost nothing that feels “cultural,” native to the Eastern countries from which these techniques originated.

mindfulness meditation

image from http://www.theguardian.com

In most mindfulness classes (which are not the same as many meditation classes), participants and leaders do NOT bring Eastern “forms” into the experience.

Most mindfulness groups do NOT:

  • light candles
  • burn incense
  • prostrate or bow
  • chant syllables (mantras) in Sanskrit or other foreign languages
  • pray
  • wear special clothing or colors
  • call the teacher by an unusual title (“Lama,” “Rinpoche,” “Guru”)
  • treat the instructor as a spiritual guide or leader
  • use photos or statues of Eastern figures or past teachers
  • discuss “lineage”
  • set up a shrine or altar.

If mindfulness groups use music or musical instruments (drums, bells, horns,”ambient” recorded music), they use them as part of the meditation experience, to set a mood, mark the time or start/stop a session.

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and many others from the Vipassana/Insight Meditation centers have distilled the essence of these beginners’ meditation practices into palatable, sanitized chunks able to be digested in fewer than two months by even the most resistant Western learner. There are now hundreds of books and thousands of resources and settings that you can find that include or teach mindfulness, from the family to corporations, schools, businesses, government and hospitals.

Pain clinics, anxiety/panic and addiction rehabilitation programs, trauma recovery centers and many more segments of the medical and therapy community have been teaching mindfulness without even using the word “meditation” for decades, bringing these techniques to the populations most needing to learn how to deal with strong pain (physical or emotional or both. These participants have been shown (in previous research) to have benefited enormously from mindfulness meditation classes.

What they discovered is brand-new evidentiary proof of the positive effects of mindfulness on the meditator’s brain! Prior to this study, meditation researchers had “found structural differences between the brains of experienced meditation practitioners and individuals with no history of meditation, observing thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration” but couldn’t prove these resulted directly from meditation, until this project.

hippocampus-300x227

image from http://meditation-research.org.uk

The MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imager) scans showed “before” and “after” films of these meditators who used “mindfulness exercises” for less than half-an-hour daily. Just utilizing this small amount of beginning meditative techniques achieved: “a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection.”

If such results can be seen in merely 8 weeks, with beginners, doing the minimum amount of basic mindfulness, imagine what experienced meditators who use more advanced techniques and who meditate for an hour or more per day can accomplish in effecting changes to our brains and therefore, our self-awareness, compassion and introspection?

A related and recent study conducted by Dr. Abigail Marsh of Georgetown University, http://college.georgetown.edu/collegenews/why-do-strangers-help.html , used fMRI scans (functional MRI), which involved asking research participants questions while the scan is operating. She then looked at the differences in the amygdalas in the brains of diagnosed psychopaths (those who have little or no reaction to others’ pain and no moral inhibition against causing others pain) compared to social/community altruists (in this case, those who had volunteered to donate a kidney).

Amygdala Altruists

image from http://www.vox.com

Marsh’s fMRI scans showed that there were marked differences in the size and functionality of each group’s amygdalas, the part of the brain associated with processing emotion, inhibiting aggression and encouraging “helpfulness.” Altruists have larger, better formed and functioning amygdalas.

That altruists would have more compassion, less aggression and more helpfulness can’t be surprising. That their/our brains are physically different is now proven but still kind of awe-inspiring, to me.

fMRI psychopath altruist

image from http://journal.frontiersin.org

The logical next steps from a social change standpoint are to find out if engaging in regular meditation of any type could result in psychopaths’ being deterred/cured, AND if we can foster/enhance the development of altruists as well. What part could mindfulness play?

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, if you already know how to meditate in any way, DO IT! Even 5 minutes per day or more short sessions sprinkled throughout a day matter a lot to our well-being, especially to the gray matter of our brains.

If you do not yet know how to meditate, there are hundreds of ways to learn mindfulness and other forms of meditation: online courses, in-person classes (some are offered for credit at secondary schools, community colleges and universities; some are free), workshops, audiobooks, CDs, online forums or chat rooms abound with opportunities.

If you suffer from a medical or psychological condition that could be improved or managed better by the application of meditation techniques, such as mindfulness, many medical facilities now offer classes such as the one mentioned in this study AND many types of insurance now pay for these classes! Ask your doctor or counselor.

Mindfulness for Psoriasis

image from http://www.mindfulnesscds.com

Also, many religious groups already have been providing and now offer more types of group learning and individual counseling that include meditation instruction even when the religion is “traditional.” So, if you’re a practicing Christian, Jew, Catholic, Muslim or other mainstream religious adherent, ask your religious community where you can learn to meditate.

BREATHE

meditation at college

image from http://iup.collegiatelink.net

Link to full article about Harvard research quoted in this post: http://www.feelguide.com/2014/11/19/harvard-unveils-mri-study-proving-meditation-literally-rebuilds-the-brains-gray-matter-in-8-weeks/

Link to original article first seen by me on Wildmind‘s site: http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/news/harvard-unveils-mri-study-proving-meditation-literally-rebuilds-the-brains-gray-matter-in-8-weeks

Latest News in #ParallelUniverses and/or the #Multiverse, According to #Science in 2014

A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. –Max Planck

What is the latest News in #ParallelUniverses and/or the #Multiverse, According to #Science in 2014?

I’ve been collecting “Google Alerts” on these topics for the entire year. In this post, I will curate/annotate/collect some of the best of the news so you can decide what to think about it all. Or, if you’re older and entrenched in old thinking, keep right on going like that to your grave.

Those of us ready to embrace new thinking will ignore you! The Tractor Beam has become an actuality, too, and has got us all, so just relax and let it suck you in.

tractor-beam

image from http://physicsworld.com

We are finding out almost daily that what we know is limited, biased and incomplete, at best, and flat-out wrong, at its worst. Whether or not you adhere to the tenets of a particular religion or faith or consider yourself outside of all that, science is blowing most ontological beliefs out of existence. I am excited, interested and thrilled by the latest discoveries.

I’m psyched! We’re getting more into White and Black Holes, Dark Energy and Dark Matter, Quantum Physics, Astronomy, Cosmology, Ontology and so much more! Can’t even do more than skim the surface in a blog post curating so much content, but here are some great tidbits.

Parallel Universes

How many of YOU can exist, and where are YOU all? Not just one “twin,” and not just an “evil” one, but infinite versions of every part of existence must exist somewhere. That is what physicists conclude after studying for decades. Whatever can happen is happening, many times, in every possible way, even ways we can’t even conceive of, to paraphrase many of them.

Most humans do not have direct knowledge of these alternate versions of ourselves, our world, the universe we inhabit. Some get the occasional “déjà vu” experience or dream. A few have psychic or extra-sensory perception understandings of a variety of futures or pasts. But, usually, what we live in is what we know.

parallel universes image 1

image from http://www.rdanderson.com

Posted on November 2 by Talha’s Physics Academy on Google+ was a summary of some research conclusions that confirmed the existence of Parallel Universes. Here are some excerpts, below, and the link to the source material.

“Academics at Griffith University have published a paper stating that not only are there infinite parallel universes, but those worlds actually interact with each other all the time — and that interaction is what makes everything else not make sense.

“Yeah.

“parallel universes

“The Many Worlds theory was first proposed in 1957 by Hugh Everett, who said that the ability of quantum particles to occupy two states seemingly at once could be explained by both states co-existing in different universes. Instead of a ‘waveform collapse’ in which quantum particles ‘decide’ to occupy one state or another, they actually occupy both, simultaneously. And a new branch opens up every time such a ‘decision’ is made.

“This theory has risen in popularity since being initially dismissed, and while it’s still a subject of intense debate, a new paper seeks to move the theory on.

“In a new study, published in the Physical Review X, Professor Howard Wiseman and Dr. Michael Hall from Griffith’s Centre for Quantum Dynamics, and Dr. Dirk-Andre Deckert from the University of California, argue that parallel worlds aren’t just a bizarre get-out clause for why quantum mechanics is so strange. They argue that their existence itself explains quantum mechanics.

“They argue that parallel universes are able to repel each other with a subtle force. The interaction of these Newtonian worlds creates a more complex quantum substructure.

“‘In the well-known “Many-Worlds Interpretation,” each universe branches into a bunch of new universes every time a quantum measurement is made,’ said Wiseman to Phys.org via Griffith University.

“All possibilities are therefore realised – in some universes the dinosaur-killing asteroid missed Earth. In others, Australia was colonised by the Portuguese.

“But critics question the reality of these other universes, since they do not influence our universe at all. On this score, our ‘Many Interacting Worlds’ approach is completely different, as its name implies.’

“He argues that our world is just one among many, but that the repulsion between them leads to the very quantum mechanics that so confuse physicists.

“‘The beauty of our approach is that if there is just one world, our theory reduces to Newtonian mechanics, while if there is a gigantic number of worlds, it reproduces quantum mechanics'” said Hall.

“He suggests that physicists might even be able to test for the existence of these other worlds—and that by modelling their existence we might be able to explore new forms of maths and physics, potentially with practical implications.”

Summary from: talhaphysicsacademy.blogspot.com
Original source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/10/31/parallel-universes-exist_n_6080934.html

Proof seems to be what 2014 is filled with, so far.

The Multiverse

Multiverse Theory: Avoiding Evidence of Design was posted Youtube on Jan 30, 2014, an 8-minute lecture (podcast with no video component) by David Boze. Boze supports the “Bubble Multiverse” theory and avoids supporting “intelligent design” or “God” as either is currently configured.

The intro offered: “Which requires more faith: a belief in multiple universes or a belief in the intelligent design of our universe? On this episode of ID The Future, host, David Boze, explores the ideas found in a recent Harper’s Magazine article by MIT physicist and author, Alan Lightman. Some physicists attempt to side-step the intelligent design implications of our finely-tuned universe by suggesting that ours is merely one of countless universes, each with its own laws and constants.

Then, Lightman is quoted as saying: “‘If the multiverse idea is correct, then the historic mission of physics to explain all the properties of our universe…is futile, a beautiful philosophical dream that simply isn’t true.'”
http://youtu.be/iM6nMiDMKNU

More like this from: http://www.idthefuture.com

multiverses by Max Tegmark

image from http://space.mit.edu, The 4 Multiverse Theories of Max Tegmark

Then, the BIGGEST news (pun intended) of the year came in mid-March: “Big Bang discovery opens up possibility of multiverse” with this quote that reverberated across the globe: “…scientists announced this week that they found evidence of cosmic inflation, or the rapid expansion of the early universe, it supported the Big Bang theory. It also opened up the possibility of the existence of the multiverse — the idea that universes other than our own exist.”

This video from the article provided this evidence: “‘It’s hard to build models of inflation that don’t lead to a multiverse,’ said MIT theoretical physicist, Alan Guth (yes; the same Alan Guth who predicted inflation in 1980!). ‘It’s not impossible, so I think there’s still certainly research that needs to be done. But most models of inflation do lead to a multiverse, and evidence for inflation will be pushing us in the direction of taking [the idea of a] multiverse seriously.'”

A great summary statement: “The existence of other universes could also explain many of the weird astral phenomena scientists have witnessed.”

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/03/21/Big-Bang-discovery-opens-up-possibility-of-multiverse/2011395411235/

Another article about similar topics later in the same month offered this insight about scientific experimentation: “The null result of the experiment should in no way color our perception of these tests as a failure; they are simply veils of ignorance being pulled away from the truths of the Universe.”
http://beforeitsnews.com/science-and-technology/2014/03/comments-of-the-week-4-from-null-results-to-the-multiverse-starts-with-a-bang-2684654.html

Cosmic-Inflation-Discovery

image from http://consciouslifenews.com

Then, on April 1, Katia Mosvitch posted that a Middle Ages’ mathematician/scientist/philosopher and Catholic Bishop, Robert Grosseteste, had written De Luce, which was recently translated from Medieval Latin into English. In it, Grosseteste posited the existence of the Multiverse mathematically and scientifically, using many astronomy facts not known in Medieval times but since proven true.

Upon learning of this early astrophysicist’s genius, one modern UK physicist, Richard Bower, stated: “…in future centuries, a new generation of physicists will look back at how we understand the universe today, and think, ‘How could they not see that?’ Bower said. “‘Modern cosmology is a grasping towards a more complete understanding of creation, but we do not yet see the full picture.'”
http://www.space.com/25301-multiverse-concept-middle-ages-grosseteste.html

This story, of the middle ages scientist’s having first heralded what is now a recent discovery, continued to spread across the globe via the internet and print journalism for many weeks.

Making an excellent connection to my sci-fi novels in The Spanners Series, especially Volume I, This Changes Everything, I have to mention that I “solve” problems of and offer explanations of seemingly out-of-sequence knowledge-holders by listing previously unrevealed dream-time or hologram visitations by our benevolent aliens from the Many Worlds Collective.

How would YOU explain these time warps? How could we know what we know before we seem to have been able to know it?

a-stubbornly-persistent-illusion-albert-einstein-56432

image from http://xi4.com

On 4/2/14, Marcelo Gleiser posted on the Cosmos and Culture blog of NPR (National Public Radio in the USA) using this title: What Universe Is This, Anyway? and this description of the multiverse and our place in it: “…an eternally replicating cosmos, filled with bubbles within bubbles. Ours would be but one of them.”

He went on to pose and then not answer some key questions: “…how common is our universe and its laws among the myriad universes belonging to the multiverse[?] Are we the exception or the rule? The problem is that we have no way to tell.”

Why is there “no way to tell” what is typical or common? Because of this quandary: “How are we to establish what is normal when, in the realm of the infinite, everything is possible?”

Sit with that for a while.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2014/04/02/297853038/what-universe-is-this-anyway

many realities

image from http://customerthink.com

Here is a 4/3/14 piece from a fun site with a great name and tagline: Exponential Times: THE FUTURE COMES FASTER THAN YOU THINK, posted by filmmaker and physicist, David Kaplan. The short video he narrates includes the transcript of it: Multiverse and Particle Fever. Kaplan asks basic questions, such as: “Is all the information we want…accessible? …Is it in our universe?”

He plainly states the ongoing scientific dilemma: “We are biased by what we measure by the fact that we are here measuring it” in reference to his team’s discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle (“The ‘God Particle'”) via the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Kaplan and others repeatedly remind us that some of the most intelligent, creative, knowledgeable scientists in our generation can only know what we know and only know it the way we know it, but there is infinitely much more to know.

http://www.exponentialtimes.net/videos/david-kaplan-multiverse-and-particle-fever?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+exponentialtimes+(Exponential+Times)

level-ii-multiverse

image from http://richarddawkins.net

On 4/4/14, the creationists (Darwin/evolution-deniers, recently re-branded as “natural scientists” and/or “intelligent design” proponents) weigh in on the multiverse revelations (pun intended). Their website is unironically named “Evolution News.” Fabulous.

The author, Bruce Gordon (“Dr. Gordon is a Senior Fellow with the Center for Science & Culture and Associate Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at Houston Baptist University. He is the co-editor with William Dembski of The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2011″), makes many wild claims, surrounding them with complicated sentences intended to make him sound smart, but succeeding only in obfuscating the points he wants to make. Here is my favorite: “… taken seriously, the inflationary multiverse proposal completely undermines scientific rationality.”

This lengthy, pseudo-scientific post concludes with this punchy statement: “…it’s intelligent design all the way through and all the way down and that theophobic scientific materialists, once they get past knee-jerk denials, must come to terms with what is, for them, a worldview-defeating fact.”

I love how the author decides to allude to the infinite regression fable of creation—“nothing but turtles, all the way down”—making me laugh even more at his ridiculousness.

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/04/a_matter_of_con084001.html

Posted on 11/1/14, scientists revisited the same questions we started with back in early 2014 and before in a debate hosted in late October by Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY, USA, entitled: “An infinite multiverse: a bad idea or inescapable? Two areas of physics say there may be another you in a different universe.” They invited this trio to discuss/debate these topics:

Janna Levin, a mathematician and theoretical cosmologist who declared herself agnostic about the multiverse, acted as a moderator. Arguing in favor was Max Tegmark, a cosmologist at MIT. His MIT colleague, Frank Wilczek, (winner of the Nobel for his work on the strong force) took the opposing position.

What did this conversation offer? John Timmer wrote the summary. I quote from him above and here:

“Levin pointed out that some infinities are bigger than others, so we’re not sure whether there really is enough universe to produce infinite copies of us.”

“But Tegmark countered that if there are a finite number of ways to arrange quarks–—and some indications are that this is the case–—then ‘in that case, a small infinity should work to get us all the possibilities.'”

“But Wilczek’s issue wasn’t so much one of whether this form of infinite universes is likely to exist. He made it clear that he privileges the reality that we can interact with, and thus do science with. Even if multiple universes are a necessary outcome of the physics we discover in this one, he’d still rather focus on what goes on here.”

http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/11/an-infinite-multiverse-a-bad-idea-or-inescapable/

What do you think? And, which you is thinking it, when and where?

many yous

CONTROVERSY: #Buddhists and #Organ Donation at #Death

As some of you know, I have been a practicing #Buddhist in the #Tibetan #Vajrayana #Nyingma tradition since 1989, informally, and since 1996, formally (in this life, anyway…). These traditions, as taught to me originally by the late His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and by many of the Western Lamas he ordained, including my current teacher, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu (Lama Drimed, as he is known), include very specific preparations for death which we do as a part of our daily practices as well as recommendations as to how we want others to handle our dying and death processes and manage our dead bodies.

CTR

H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

In fact, packets and instructions have been sent to students detailing what to give loved ones, friends, medical professionals and hospice workers–anyone attending our dying process and death event—so that, if we are unable to verbally convey our last wishes, everyone will know what we want to happen (and not happen). These written instructions, which each person can modify to their choosing, have been very comforting and useful for the friends and sangha (Buddhist community) members who have faced this while dying or being around meditators who are dying or who have just died.

Because Buddhists in our tradition (and many others) believe that a recently deceased person’s consciousness stays in or around the body for many days after death (up to 49, but certainly the first 3 – 7, for meditators), most directions talk about not moving or even touching the body (or touching it only in specific places, avoiding touching the bottoms of the feet, for example) in order to help the deceased meditators maintain the meditation and move our consciousness intentionally onward while we are are “in” this bardo period (between place/time, rough translation).

Buddhists have special rituals, such as Sur and P’howa, taught and practiced daily or weekly, which involve visualizations and prayers. We also usually include “offerings” of incense or other burnt substances (as in Sur) and music, such as the clanging of the tingshas (small, heavy ritual cymbals) or ringing of bells, and chanting specific mantras to honor, assist and “feed” the recently deceaseds’ wandering spirits during this time.

To commemorate someone’s death, we also light butterlamps (oil lamps or candles suffice), release animals from captivity who were marked for death (bait fish, worms and prey animals in pet stores, for example), dedicating the merit of these actions to their passing more positively while in the bardo and when entering into their next lifetime.

fish release saving lives

“Taiwanese Buddhists release catfish into a river during a ‘mercy release’ ceremony in Taipei.” image from http://www.telegraph.co.uk

With all of this attention to maintaining the dignity and meditation of the dying and dead person, how/when could one donate organs? Sangha members posed these questions to Rinpoche before he passed and to living teachers, with mixed responses. Some indicate that if you want to be an organ donor, you have to choose to give up your chance to do these practices during and after dying/death. Personally, I think this view is an opinion that could be challenged. However, it is widely circulated.

So far, I don’t know of any sangha members who died who also donated their organs, and several have died in the last ten years whom I knew personally and well. I decided to be an organ donor before practicing Buddhism in this life and I have signed up in every state I’ve lived in since, including my most recent move to Missouri, whenever I get a new driver’s license.

I believe in organ donation because it’s the right thing to do, in my mind. Also, six people I know and love received life-saving organ and/or bone marrow donations. I was tested (but not selected) to be one of those donors about twelve years ago.

Jaye Laughing

My dear, recently departed friend, Jaye Alper, enjoying her extra years because of a donated kidney.

How do I reconcile being an organ donor with being a serious meditator who does these time-of-death practices? Like this: None of these pre-modern-science meditators ever faced these decisions and dilemmas, so how could they have prepared for, much less taught about how to make organ donation choices?

Points to consider:

  • Our consciousness does not reside in this body; we use it for a while and then our consciousness moves on. We Buddhists all agree on that, yes?
  • This existence is all illusory, including being in this body.
  • The highest act of generosity anyone can make is to give one’s body. We visualize this in Chöd practice and other meditations daily; why not DO it? Actually GIVE our body parts!
  • At my time of death (and right before, if I’m brain-dead but not physically dead, yet), the most useful thing I can do is to donate my organs so that others may live, see, breathe, etc., by using them.
  • I certainly won’t be needing my organs any longer at that point.
  • If my commitment to meditation practice is strong and steady, it won’t matter where my consciousness “is” when this body is dying and dies. How could it? How much can it really matter where and how this body is moved or touched, then?

Also, and I don’t mean to sound condescending, I believe that a large portion of Buddhist tradition and thought, particularly that which comes from Tibet, is steeped in the superstitions, fears and other unsupportable beliefs that pre-dated Buddhism, such as those from Bön. Furthermore, indigenous Shamanic traditions rooted in many Buddhist cultures share these older views.

However, our commitments to practice generosity, be less selfish, try to make others happy, and our motivation to save lives and alleviate suffering are supposed to triumph over fears for all of these faiths. I hope we can agree on donating organs in these modern times.

Most Motor Vehicle Bureaus have a organ donor registration as part of the license-getting or -renewal process. if you don’t drive, find a way to become listed as an organ donor. Get tested to be a live donor by participating in the Bone Marrow registry as well.

organ_donor_card_

We are all going to die. We meditate on impermanence, on death, every day. We get used to it, as meditators. Let’s do more than become accustomed to death: let’s use it for benefiting others.

Death-meditation

image from: http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com

How great it is to live in a time that allows us to gift others with our body parts and help them live better, healthier, longer lives? As we get closer to the USA celebration of Halloween and the Mexican commemoration, El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead), 10/31, how fitting is it to consider death in productive ways?

Click below to sign up and become a registered donor. Pass this on, please.

http://www.transplants.org/become-organ-donor

Lead Lipsticks, Folliculitis with MRSA from Hair Removal, and other Deadly “Beauty” Choices

Deadly Lipsticks

Hold on just a minute: what are you putting on your lips? What are you kissing on someone else’s? LEAD, if you use commercial lipsticks these days, and other poisons.

lipstick-lead

image from: http://rosearden.blogspot.com

Don’t believe me?

“[Researchers in 2013 and earlier found that] women who apply lipstick two to three times daily can ingest a significant amount—–20 percent of the daily amount that’s considered safe in drinking water or more—–of aluminum, cadmium, chromium, and manganese. Depending on the lipstick, in some cases women who slathered it on (14 times a day or more) were meeting or surpassing the daily recommended exposure to chromium, aluminum, and manganese.”

How many ways does the “beauty” industry despise, disrespect and want to murder women? It’s enough to make anyone sick.

Here are some lipstick facts.

Lead in Lipsticks inforgraphic

As of 2007, Burt’s Bees, owned by Clorox but which claims to be a down-home, “natural” product company, had lead in its chapsticks and did not respond to Mother Jones‘ inquiries as of 2013 asking what they had done to eliminate lead. This does NOT just affect adult women: children and men use Burt’s Bees’ lip balms.

Not to single out Burt’s Bees, but I’m hitting that company harder than others because of its atrocious pretense to “natural” ingredients. FRAUD.

Instead of getting the lead out, lipsticks tested in 2007, 2009 and 2013 got WORSE over those years, with products made by Maybelline, Cover Girl, L’Oreal, Revlon, Stargazer, and others, including Burt’s Bees, all selling popular colors/brands of lipstick containing lead.

“Lead, a metal that humans should avoid exposure to entirely, was detected in 75 percent of the samples.”

What if you are lucky enough to have a lipstick that does not have lead? Are you safe, then?

Oh, no, you’re not.

“…[L]ead isn’t the only toxin lurking in your lippy—–a new study finds cadmium, aluminum, and other heavy metals, too.”

The research showed that only a few companies, notably Wet n’ Wild, Bobbi Brown, and Shiseido, had zero lead in their lipsticks as of 2012. However, these companies’ products are not necessarily “healthy” for you, just not deadly.

To learn know more about the toxic and disease-inducing effects of these chemicals when they are ingested by humans (not to mention getting into our water system when wearers wash their faces and hands), please read the article.

(Original article is By Maggie Severns | published 5/6/13 in Mother Jones magazine. Read it!
Lead in your Lipsticks link:
http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/05/study-lead-metals-lipstick-top-20)

You want to cover/decorate your lips, anyway?

Please use healthy, all-natural, proven and tested as well as beautiful products: lip glosses, tinted “shimmers” and balms from Badger. Badger Balm‘s products and the company itself are winning significant “green” and “B” Corporation awards annually. ALL Badger products are completely safe, mostly organic, and never tested on animals. They have hair oils, a line of products for men, skin products and much more than lip treatments.

Please check them out: http://www.badgerbalm.com

badger-logo

Now, what about that “extra” hair? If you insist on removing it, how to remove body hair safely?

Hair Removal is Causing Infections: Folliculitis with MRSA and others that can Kill

First, some definitions:
Folliculitis

Folliculitis is an inflammation and infection of hair follicles, the tiny openings in the skin from which hair grows. Folliculitisis due to an invasion of bacteria that enter the follicles and cause a bacterial infection. Folliculitisis most commonly the result of an infection of staphylococcal bacteria. This causes inflammation and a red rash that is bumpy and itchy. The rash can occur anywhere on the skin or scalp.”

How does one get Folliculitis? Let me count the ways…

Folliculitisis often caused by an infection that occurs after shaving, waxing, tweezing and other types of hair removal methods.” (The above info is from: http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/f/folliculitis/intro.htm)

The ONLY method that does NOT lead to Folliculitis is mentioned, below. I still do NOT recommend removing unwanted hair, though. Just my personal preference: cut it.

MRSA
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus = MRSA is basically a “staph” infection that is resistant to treatment/cure by most/conventional antibiotics, which means MRSA is much more dangerous and can be deadly. Some have called MRSA a “flesh-eating” bacteria, but that is a misnomer. MRSA can erode flesh, but not any more often or thoroughly than other untreated bacteria in the staph family.

MRSA ninjas

image from http://www.research.ibm.com

Let’s say you’re a “modern” female or male who wants to get rid of some (or all!?!) of your body hair who doesn’t want infections that maim or kill. Picky, picky. What to do?

First of all, WHY do you have to remove body hair? I haven’t used a razor since 1978 and I am quite happy with that choice. Misplaced vanity and age inspire me to cut my chin hairs, but trimming is very different from actual removal (and completely harmless).

Unless you suffer from a disorder that covers your face, arms, legs and other parts with hair and you are NOT okay with that, I just don’t understand why anyone “needs” to remove hair. Don’t send me comments explaining, though: I am not interested in your rationales. I just want you to do it more safely.

Let’s go on to safe(r) hair removal methods.

HOW are you going to engage in /have you already been doing removal of YOUR body hair? What will result from your chosen method(s)? Are you DIY or do you go to a “salon” or “spa” or other commercial establishment and have them do the removal?

BEWARE!

MRSA, HIV, Hepatitis B, STDs and other infectious/contagious diseases lurk in public spas/salons, worldwide!

“No matter how posh or pricey a salon or spa is, if it isn’t keeping up with health and safety standards, it can easily be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and germs. Be sure that all non-disposable instruments used are sterilised in an autoclave, a medical-grade device that uses superheated steam to sterilise. It’s the only way to be sure that infectious organisms have been destroyed.”

The article I am quoting, here, was published in India, but the safety recommendations and problems it researched apply everywhere. Not only women are affected, either.

“Men need to make sure that disposable razor blades are used to trim their hair (shaving) so as to avoid hepatitis B and HIV.” This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many men go to barber shops to get haircuts and never ask if the razors used to shave their NECKS (which is part of providing all “short” haircuts) have been sterilized or used prior to their shaves without having been replaced. This warning applies to electric as well as manual razors.

man-holding-a-blue-razor-in-hand

image from http://www.wisegeek.com

What is required to keep hair removal equipment safe? More than some shops do.

“Dipping the instruments in some solution is not going to kill bacteria and fungi. The place should use either a proper disinfectant or an autoclave for sterilising the instruments. Check the labels. Spa or salon disinfectant should be EPA-registered hospital-level liquid that is virucidal, bactericidal and fungicidal that is 10 per cent bleach; 70 per cent or higher isopropyl or ethyl alcohol.”

Think about ALL the re-usable instruments/tools that come into contact with your body in commercial establishments. I’ve had a pedicure and manicure occasionally in recent years, but I have never asked these questions or checked out these procedures.

I will NOW! This article is worth reading (link below).

Let’s talk about waxing safety measures, since waxing is currently THE most popular and commercialized hair removal method, especially for younger women and most men.

“Body hair removal techniques like waxing sometimes can cause redness, breakouts, severe infections, irritant reactions and ingrown hair. Always check if salon staff doing waxing are using a fresh wax jar and maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation. Confirm that there is no double-dipping (putting an earlier used tool back into the wax) and no double-using (reusing wax) policies to avoid product contamination.”

Re-using wax? Ewww. That is truly disgusting to contemplate. How do they remove all the hair from the wax? Yuck.

There are so many ways for hair removal methods to be done sloppily that I shudder to consider them all, especially due to the severity of the potential outcomes.

“…[If] hygiene and sanitary measures during waxing (especially bikini waxing) go haywire, then there is a risk of getting infected by viruses like herpes, molluscum contagiosum and genital warts, which, otherwise in adults, are sexually transmitted. These can be transferred from an infected client to a healthy customer specially while getting waxed in and around bikini and gluteal areas.”

Picture this: a woman (or man) goes in to get her hair removed. Waxing ensures. All seems to go well UNTIL a few weeks later, s/he develops herpes or warts in the groin area. These diseases are incurable, painful, contagious and recurring. For the rest of the victim’s LIFE and possibly any future partners’ lives.

Don’t even get me started on what imbalance or illness has developed in a modern girl’s or woman’s self-regard that makes her believe her vaginal area is supposed to be almost or completely hairless (making it resemble a pre-pubescent girl’s) or for males to believe that a hairless chest or back (again, relegating “attractiveness” in adult males to pre-pubescence) is all their partners will accept. These cultural constructs make me both sad and furious.

I like hairy, adult, male chests? Am I the only one left who remembers Sean Connery as James Bond, hairy chest exposed, with great affection and attraction? Ahhh.

Sean Connery

Are the so-called benefits of waxing worth the risks?

I say not.

Read on. Please regard and share these extra and specific cautions, below.

Other wax warnings:

  • Do not wax over an area that has had a botox injection for at least 72 hours.
  • Do not wax if you have protruding varicose veins, diabetes, skin eczema or infection.
  • Do not wax if you are using any anti-ageing or acne creams that may contain a retinoid, as skin will be extra susceptible to getting burned and peeled off.

Read full article here:
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140727/spectrum/fitness2.htm

Deciding you may want to keep your “unwanted” hair rather than acquire even more seriously unwanted problems? Good choice!

Or, if you INSIST or removing hair, try lasers! These are expensive if you buy one for your home or get treatments at dermatologists’ offices, BUT laser removal methods are considered safer than other methods because laser removal “damages the hair follicle at its root without damaging the surrounding skin tissue.”

I usually ignore or deride Fox “NEWS,” but this article quoted above and below seems well-researched and the info corresponds to many others I read. (Credit goes to Julie Revelant (who is a freelancer and does NOT work for Fox NEWS), published 8/29/14: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/08/29/4-hair-removal-methods-that-really-work/ ) for the following list (and she gives more info) about SAFE HAIR REMOVAL methods, to date.

  • 1. Diode laser hair removal (GETS MY VOTE)
  • 2. Sugaring (THIS IS STILL WAXING, though)
  • 3. Threading (STILL too much like TWEEZING)
  • 4. Electrolysis (STILL too much like TWEEZING)

If you want to know more about these methods, please go read her article. (Julie Revelant is a freelance writer and copywriter specializing in parenting, health, healthcare, nutrition, food and women’s issues. She’s also a mom of two. Learn more about Julie at http://revelantwriting.com)

I’m sticking with my Badger Balm lip balms and lip shimmers and my hair-cutting scissors for my errant chin hairs.

hair scissors

Meanwhile, I plan to visualize that everyone gains more positive self-esteem, higher self-acceptance and an expanded view of “beauty.”

Also, I wish you all the best, whatever you choose.

#Love According to #Psychology and #Biology

I was going to write an entire post on the biology and psychology of love, but I realized many have already done so and several have collected/written great books on the subjects. There are even videos. So, instead of adding my less-than-expert two cents’ worth, I compiled what I believe to be the best of these and guide you to them, here.

If you, as I do, feel mystified, bamboozled, defeated and enraptured in our lives by love, you WILL find answers, explanations, reasons and perhaps excuses in these researchers’ contributions to the subject. You can find ideas that help you choose better (or refrain from choosing) when deciding how to proceed in your relationship life.

You will not, however, get that person to love you, find a way to get over a broken heart any faster, or make yourself more lovable by reading these books. In fact, if you do read/review all of this material, you’ll probably be a royal pain in most people’s behinds as you quote from them. But, so what? Would you rather be informed or falsely loved?

Okay, okay: that’s a false choice. So, read away, but don’t spout too much from your research.

falling in love sign

image from http://twistales.com

Here is the selection, numbered but not in any priority order:

1. Molecules of Emotion:The Scientific Basis Behind Mind-Body Medicine, the late Candace Pert, Ph.D., pharmacologist and biologist

2. A General Theory of Love, Thomas Lewis, Ph.D., Fari Amini, Ph.D. and Richard Lannon, Ph.D., psychologists

3. Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose, social psychologist and researcher, Ayala Malach Pines

4. Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher

5. Biology of the Mind: Helen Fisher, Ph.D., biologist, video from TEDxEast

http://youtu.be/fW6AndSUByo

6. Why We Love: 5 Books on the Psychology of Love by Maria Popova, including some of the above with more info about them, on:
http://www.brainpickings.org/2011/04/18/5-must-read-books-on-love/

7. The Science of Love, from Your Amazing Brain‘s site
http://www.youramazingbrain.org/lovesex/sciencelove.htm

In case you thought falling in love was so special, check this out, from the above article: “York psychologist, Professor Arthur Arun, has been studying why people fall in love. He asked his subjects to carry out the[se] 3 steps and found that many of his couples felt deeply attracted after the 34-minute experiment [below]. Two of his subjects later got married.”

how to fall in love:

  • Find a complete stranger.
  • Reveal to each other intimate details about your lives for half an hour.
  • Then, stare deeply into each other’s eyes without talking for four minutes.

And, this:

Dr Donatella Marazziti, a psychiatrist at the University of Pisa advertised for twenty couples who’d been madly in love for less than six months. She wanted to see if the brain mechanisms that cause you to constantly think about your lover, were related to the brain mechanisms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

By analysing blood samples from the lovers, Dr Marazitti discovered that serotonin levels of new lovers were equivalent to the low serotonin levels of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder [OCD] patients.

8. What Is Romantic Love? on The Anatomy of Love site:
http://theanatomyoflove.com/what-is-love/what-is-love/

Providing this list of usual “symptoms” of “falling in love” makes one wonder why ANYONE would want to do so and why, once we do, we aren’t immediately taking psychotropic medications to help us get over it!

Behavioral traits of early stage romantic love:

  • Special meaning: the romantic partner is the center of the world, and you like anything they like
  • Intense energy and it’s hard to sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Separation anxiety
  • Craving
  • Intense motivation for emotional union
  • Possessive[ness]
  • Intrusive thinking

Sure; fall in love. Just don’t get too attached….

#Nobel Prize Winners 2014: Why we should pay attention and be grateful

#Nobel Prize Winners 2014: Why we should pay attention and be grateful
Thanks to these scientists, researchers, activists and one writer, we can now enjoy advances and new inventions very soon in a variety of areas. This year, two women (one quite young) and several men (big surprise, there) were honored by these esteemed prizes. Check out their accomplishments!

  • Literature, Patrick Modiano: “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”
    Wikipedia tells us: “Patrick Modiano …previously won the 2012 Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the 2010 Prix mondial Cino Del Duca from the Institut de France for lifetime achievement, the 1978 Prix Goncourt for Rue des boutiques obscures, and the 1972 Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française for Les Boulevards de ceinture. His works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have been celebrated in and around France, though only a few have been in circulation in English by the time he was awarded the Nobel Prize.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Modiano

    Anybody read any of his books? Not I (yet).

    -

  • Physiology or Medicine, Edvard Moser, May Britt Moser, John O’Keefe: “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.” Their combined research reveals the ways the brain understands its location even when underwater, upside down, without gravity and without visual cues.

    Edvard Moser, May Britt Moser, John O'Keefe

    for ground-breaking research on “The Brain’s GPS: how the brain knows where it is.”

  • Physics, Shuji Nakamura, Hiroshi Amano, Isamu Akasaki: “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.” We will soon have inexpensive, “green” light sources widely available, thanks to these scientists/inventors.

    Light source

    for inventing/discovering “a new, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly light source” image from http://www.theguardian.com/science/live/2014/oct/07/nobel-prize-physics-2014-stockholm-live

  • Peace, Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan) and Kailash Satyarthi (India): “for their struggles against the suppression of children and for young people’s rights, including the right to education”

    Malala Yousafzai

    Malala Yousafzai is the young woman who was almost fatally shot while trying to get to school in Pakistan. During and after her recovery, she has become a vocal and well-respected advocate for girls’ rights to be educated in countries that oppress women and girls. She is also the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Kailash Satyarthi

    Kailash Satyarthi is a globally recognized hero for rescuing children from forced labor, sexual exploitation and slavery and working to prevent these from occurring image from http://www.myhero.ws

  • Chemistry, W.E. Moerner, Stefan Hell, Eric Betzig: “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy” which “brings optical microscopy into the nanodimension.” We can now SEE the extremely tiny stuff even better than ever. Wow!

    super-resolved fluorescence microscopy

    “A network of filaments in a mammalian cell revealed by fluorescence microscopy. Photograph: Stefan W Hell/Division of Optical Nanoscopy/German Cancer Research Center” image from http://www.theguardian.com

Get more info here:
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/lists/year/?year=2014