LAST NIGHT OF THE LEONIDS
No moon. The pines like black wind
brushed the tips of stars.
Horses stood in their corral,
carved as if outside of time.
You said, “They are sleeping.”
But suddenly one horse
at full gallop
ran toward us, a rift in the dark.
The other horses never stirred.
They slept, eternal statues. Only he
shot through heavens
like a marble flame.
stopped breathing, struck
with pure rhythm,
muscle and mind —
that shining horse waking up —
then standing still,
the frost of stars
braiding his tall outline —
And we too stood still,
in the shivering starlight.
~ Oriana © 2015
HEALTH AND SCIENCE
Science starts with puzzlement. The Middle Ages had all the answers: if steam went upward and a heavy thing fell down, that was due to things seeking their proper place. If certain things repelled or attracted each other, that was due to their mutual antipathy or sympathy. It was Galileo who realized that we didn’t have any answers. (Was it Chomsky who said it?)
Not just another pretty face: the fungus carried in sloth fur shows promise in the treatment of cancer.
ALZHEIMER’S IS AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE THAT MIGHT BE TREATED WITH NASAL IBUPROFEN
“Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely and successfully employed to treat autoimmune inflammatory disease and dramatically relieve symptoms. Moreover, oral NSAIDs consistently reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, although they have been totally ineffective as a treatment in multiple failed clinical trials. A basis for this failure might well be that the brain dose after oral administration is too small and not sufficiently early in the pathogenesis of the disorder. But NSAID brain dose could be significantly increased by delivering the NSAIDs intranasally.’
Ibuprofen (but not other NSAIDs) also lowers the risk of Parkinson's, which likewise is most likely an autoimmune disease.
Immunosuppressive drugs have been successfully tried in the treatment of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Since those drugs are immensely lucrative, I expect more developments. Meanwhile, let's remember the two most important preventive measures: ibuprofen and physical exercise. Socializing also helps. Now if only we could get rid of the idea that preventing Alzheimer's depends on doing crossword puzzles . . .
FLUORIDATION SHOWS NO BENEFITS, HAS RISKS
Practically all European countries have dropped fluoridation. Rates of dental decay have not gone up but have continued to decline (for reasons we don’t quite understand, they had been in decline even before fluoridation began).
Just the fact that the body does not fully excrete but partly retains fluoride, a toxic, mutagenic compound, is a huge red flag.
BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF INTROVERSION/EXTRAVERSION
"Several decades ago, German psychologist Hans Eysenck came up with a more biologically based model for E/I. According to Eysenck's theory, the behaviors of introverts and extroverts are due to differences in cortical arousal (the speed and amount of the brain's activity). Compared with extroverts, introverts have naturally high cortical arousal, and may process more information per second.
This means, essentially, that if you put introverts into an environment with a lot of stimulation, such as a loud restaurant, they will quickly become overwhelmed or overloaded, causing them to sort of shut down to stop the influx of information. Because of this fact, introverts tend to avoid such active environments. Extroverts, on the other hand, are only minimally aroused, so they seek out highly stimulating environments to augment their arousal levels.
Other theories for E/I also exist. One prominent idea stresses the involvement of people's brain reward systems, suggesting that extroverts' brains are more sensitive to rewards — such as those inherent in social interactions — than introverts' brains. This sensitively leads extroverts to gravitate towards certain situations and events.
Given that some theories behind E/I invoke a neurobiological explanation, scientists have long tried to find experimental evidence for these theories. And let's be clear: There have been tons of neuroscience studies conducted on E/I over the years, many of which show that the brains of introverts and extroverts really are different.
Back in 1999, scientists measured the cerebral blood flow of introverted and extroverted people with positron emission tomography (PET) scans while they thought freely. They found that the introverts had more blood flow in their frontal lobes and anterior thalamus — brain regions involved with recalling events, making plans and solving problems. Extroverts had more blood flow in brain areas involved with interpreting sensory data, including the anterior cingulate gyrus, the temporal lobes and the posterior thalamus. The data suggested —as Jung believed — that the extroverts' attention focused outwards and the introverts' attention focused inwards.
Various studies have supported Eysenck's arousal model of E/I — the research shows that the reticular activating system (RAS), which is responsible for regulating arousal, has higher basal activity for introverts than for extroverts. Interestingly, the "lemon juice experiment" also lends credence to the arousal theory. The RAS responds to all types of stimuli, including food — because introverts have increased RAS activity, they salivate more in response to lemon juice.
Scientists have found numerous other behavioral traits that are influenced by E/I. In 1990, a study suggested that extroverts wear more decorative clothing, whereas introverts are more practical in their clothing choice. More recently, researchers found that unlike introverts, extroverts tend to go for immediate gratification and pass up on potential future opportunities.
Perhaps one of the most important (and consistent) findings in E/I research is that extroverts are overall happier than introverts, and this increased happiness lasts for decades. Scientists have struggled to pinpoint the cause of extroverts' happiness, though they are certainly not without ideas.
Researchers have proposed that extroverts may feel greater happiness than introverts because they are more sensitive to rewarding social situations (as seen above). On the other hand, others have suggested that extroverts are happier because they engage in more social activities. Some scientists think that extroverts' perpetual happiness stems from their greater mood regulation abilities. Or maybe they're happy because they hold on tightly to all of those good memories.
At the same time, however, scientists have questioned whether extroverts really are happier, or if they're just more declarative with their feelings. There's also the issue of how, exactly, you define and measure "happiness." Whatever the case, extroverts and introverts likely benefit from different happiness increasing strategies, given the inherent differences in the personality types.”
ANYTHING BUT AN ANGEL
If after our death they want to transform us into a tiny withered flame that walks along the paths of wind — we have to rebel. What good is eternal leisure on the bosom of the air, in the shape of a yellow halo, amid the murmur of two-dimensional choirs?
One should enter rock, wood, water, the cracks of a gate. Better to be the creaking of a floor than a shrill and transparent perfection.
~ Zbigniew Herbert (tr. John and Bogdana Carpenter)
“The promise of paradise has been an even greater disaster for humanity than the threat of hell.” ~ me, thinking about ISIS
In Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, Minos was widely known to be a portrait of the papal master of ceremonies, Cardinal Bagio da Cesena (1463-1544). Bagio alienated Michelangelo by criticizing the amount of nudity in the Last Judgment, saying the fresco was more suitable for a tavern. Michelangelo gave him donkey's ears to indicate stupidity. Bagio complained to the pope, who replied that he had no jurisdiction over hell, and the portrait would have to stay.
And here is the fuller scene of the cruise to hell
VONNEGUT ON “NO ATHEISTS IN THE FOXHOLES”
Most interesting Facebook comment on religion: The greatest mistake was the invention of a god who created the universe (Matt Flumerfelt, paraphrase). Yes, a sexless Superman figure tries to impose tyrannical human order and emotions on nature. The Greeks had everything emerge from primordial Chaos. Then the Earth gave birth to the first gods. The religion wasn’t alienated from nature and the body.
It’s interesting to ponder the fact that the Greeks didn’t have a creator god, no superman absolute dictator. Perhaps that did have something to do with Athens having had the first democracy ever.
In Hesiod’s version, one of the first deities to emerge was Eros. Eros means “longing.” It’s an interesting choice — Eros, and not Logos. In the beginning it was Eros, not Logos.
80% of death-row inmates share the same basic life story — starting with being born into a dysfunctional family. Free will, anyone?
SELF-DOMESTICATION happens when animals self-select for less aggression. This usually requires levels of stress to be low. Example: Bonobos, as opposed to the super-aggressive chimpanzees. But I think the most outstanding example is Homo sapiens. Yes, we domesticated ourselves, though the male of the species remains less domesticated than the female, which presents a constant threat to the continuation of civilization.
THE DISCOVERY OF CHILDHOOD
~ “Traditionally, for Christians at least, humans were thought to be born with corrupted souls and harbored within them the nastiest and meanest of instincts. Childhood, as a time of innocence, is a modern creation. As pointed out by French historian Phillipe Aries, in Centuries of Childhood, before the 17th century children were thought to be merely small adults, possessing the same qualities and natures as grownups. Children weren't little darlings or cute cherubs, as we often refer to children today. Rather they were fallen angels, like Lucifer.
[As the feudal system crumbled] a person as a being defined externally by inherited and static roles gave way to an understanding of the person as an individual. And just as a change in the structure of houses allowed for the newly discovered value of privacy, a change in the political economy made it so that it wasn't any longer necessary for small children to be sent out to work away from the home. Out of this conjunction of events childhood was born. People could now look at children as never before. What they saw and how they understood them had altered. Children weren't any less egotistical in the 18th century. It was a shift in perspective on the part of adults. Along with an emphasis upon the self came a respect for other people as such. Children could now be seen as people, not as little monsters waiting to be made into human beings.” ~
I hurried to the greenest spot
among the lilies, followed
the shiny trail of water back
to the ancestral boulder:
from underneath the vertical face,
water as pure as inner stone
pulsed forth to braid with light.
In the newborn stream,
deep fur of moss covered the rocks.
Moss! I was so used to desert, drought,
the gray-beige hillsides where I live
spiky with thorn-brush, chaparral,
thirsty, armored survivors —
Here I stood among the moist
corn lilies greener than green:
I will give you living water to drink.
I looked at the living water,
its endless giving of itself,
and memory of my younger self
pulsed in me, my onward will.
If it were the fertile north,
this shining brook
could become a great river —
not perish in the desert,
the monotonous miles
in the rain shadow of the Sierra.
Then I thought: They also serve
who perish in the desert.
~ Oriana © 2015