Navigating the Shadow: Psilocybin Mushrooms and Transformation – Free Radical Media

You can also listen to the FRM podcast via Itunes.

In this episode, the Free Radical Media crew is joined by fellow Disinfonaut and host of the AttMind Radio podcast, James W. Jesso. Jesso and the crew discuss the psilocybin mushroom and its potential for transformation, whether that transformation be personal, spiritual, or cultural. Jesso discusses his personal history with the “magic mushroom” and other entheogens in a candid, fun conversation. We also talk about his first book, “Decomposing the Shadow,” as well as his upcoming work ‘The True Light of Darkness.”

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Inside Russia’s Troll Army

Have you noticed the vast number of “Kremlin Trolls” of late? BBC News reports on this latest scourge of the internet:

Over the past year, Russia has seen an unprecedented rise in the activity of “Kremlin trolls” – bloggers allegedly paid by the state to criticise Ukraine and the West on social media and post favourable comments about the leadership in Moscow.

Though the existence and even whereabouts of the alleged “cyber army” are no secret, recent media reports appear to have revealed some details of how one of the tools of Russian propaganda operates on an everyday basis.

Leaving comments about murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was described as a "technical task." Photo: Dhārmikatva (CC)

Leaving comments about murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was described as a “technical task.” Photo: Dhārmikatva (CC)

“Troll den”

The Internet Research Agency (“Agentstvo Internet Issledovaniya”) employs at least 400 people and occupies an unremarkable office in one of the residential areas in St Petersburg.

Behind the plain facade, however, there is a Kremlin “troll den”, an investigative report by independent local newspaper Moy Rayon (“My District”) suggests.

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Facebook’s Real-Name Hellhole: Part 1

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Shit is getting real at Facebook over what people choose to call themselves, but why the controversy has lasted this long leads to even stranger questions.

Native Americans have filed a class action lawsuit against the behemoth’s longstanding, but previously rarely enforced, “real-name” policy. In this case, Facebook suspending the accounts of Native American names that are not Anglicized enough to appear authentic. Over the legal name weirdness, activists like Dana Lone Elk are joined by what some might consider unexpected allies.

In Facebook’s home turf of San Francisco, after what are now being recognized as failed negotiations with the company, the LGBTQ community has redoubled its fight against the company for not only allowing users to go by their drag and trans names, but also for disregarding how their policy affects vulnerable individuals. The legal name policy not only stifles self-expression, but also puts users at risk of bullying, bigotry, or worse.… Read the rest

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Why & How you stop Arctic drilling…

#ShellNo

The drilling and spilling off both coasts weren’t enough. Now, according to Obama and friends, it’s time to take advantage of receding ice and drill, baby, drill in the Arctic – home to 15 billion barrels of oil, and oh you know animals, pristine water, clean air and negligible things like that. Eleanor highlights the efforts of those standing (and sitting) up to the cronies ready to destroy one of the few pure places on this planet, speaking with Bill Moyer of Backbone Campaign and George Edwardson, a leader of the native Inupiat tribe. Wherever you are, join in and say #ShellNO to Arctic drilling!

Click here to see the full episode of Act Out! 

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Can we unlearn social biases while we sleep?

Betsssssy (CC BY 2.0)

Betsssssy (CC BY 2.0)

Xiaoqing Hu, University of Texas at Austin

Your brain does a lot when you are asleep. It’s when you consolidate memories and integrate the things you’ve learned during the day into your existing knowledge structure. We now have lots of evidence that while you are sleeping, specific memories can be reactivated and thus strengthened.

We wondered whether sleep could play a role in undoing implicit social biases. These are the learned negative associations we make through repeat exposure – things like stereotypes about women not being good at science or biases against black people. Research has shown that training can help people learn to counter biases, lessening our knee-jerk prejudices, many of which can operate without our notice. We know from earlier studies that sound can cue the process of memory consolidation. Can this sleep-based memory trick strengthen newly learned information and in turn help reduce or reverse biases?… Read the rest

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The Last Mile: Inside San Quentin’s Tech Incubator

There’s a tech incubator popping up, but it’s not in Silicon Valley—it’s inside San Quentin State Prison. The Last Mile program teaches inmates entrepreneurship skills with the goal that each participant founds a socially conscious, tech-forward company. Award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner goes inside the innovative non-profit and follows inmates as they work to craft a business plan, pitch their ideas in front of venture capitalists, and then, transition back into society.

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Don’t Overthink It, Less Is More When It Comes to Creativity

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Amber Case (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Just in case you’re in a bit of a creative rut, Jessica Schmerier at Scientific American has some news on how to get the juices flowing: don’t force it. (Though, I can’t decide if this just makes things more difficult.) The new study calls into question the traditional “right-brained,” “left-brained” dynamic.

There is a scientific belief that the cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that “makes us human,” and that the two hemispheres of the cortex differentiate the creative thinkers from the logical thinkers (the “right-brained” from the “left-brained”). This has fostered the view that “neurological processes can be divided into “higher” cognitive functions and “lower” basic sensory-motor, functions,” says Robert Barton, an evolutionary biologist at Durham University in England who was not involved in this study—but the latest research calls that understanding into question.

Participants in the study were placed into a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine with a nonmagnetic tablet and asked to draw a series of pictures based on action words (for example, vote, exhaust, salute) with 30 seconds for each word.

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How to Become a Paranormal Investigator

TheGuyCalledDennis (CC BY 2.0)

TheGuyCalledDennis (CC BY 2.0)

Have you ever wanted to be a paranormal investigator? Well, Christos at Hiduth.com gives a breakdown of what it takes:

How to Become a Paranormal Investigator – Many people who have a strong interest in the paranormal often ask how to become a paranormal investigator. Read on to learn what it takes to investigate paranormal phenomenon like a professional.

Learning How to Become a Paranormal Investigator

Paranormal investigation is extremely popular as an amateur hobby among enthusiasts who have experienced strange and seemingly unexplainable phenomenon first hand. Unfortunately, the majority of these potential investigators have no scientific or research background.

However, if you are interested in becoming a professional paranormal investigator, there are several areas of training you can focus on to ensure that you conduct yourself as an authentic scientist in the field. Doing so, you will increase your chances of successfully identifying the true source of phenomenon.

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Morality requires a god, whether you’re religious or not

Moral commands are the commands of a unique, external, eternal agent. Chris JL

Moral commands are the commands of a unique, external, eternal agent. Chris JL

Gerald K Harrison, Massey University

I have no religious convictions. I am, or try to be, a man of reason, not of faith. Nevertheless, I believe a few simple arguments demonstrate that morality requires a god.

Take moral commands. It is trivially true that a moral command is a command. A command is a command, right? It is also true that commands (real ones, rather than apparent or metaphorical ones) are always the commands of an agent, a mind with beliefs and desires. My chair cannot command me to sit in it. And commands cannot issue themselves. It follows that moral commands are the commands of an agent or agents.

Many philosophers maintain that moral commands are commands of reason. They are right, I think. But the point still stands. Reason’s commands are commands. Therefore, reason’s commands are the commands of an agent or agents.… Read the rest

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