Tag Archives | Nature

Magic Mushrooms and Natural Intelligence

Simon G. PowellIn a time when Artificial Intelligence is getting all the headlines, English author and film-maker Simon G. Powell is making the case for Natural Intelligence – the idea that life itself is intelligent and nature has solutions to problems we have yet to even understand. And it was a series of mushroom trips – “like insights into the essence of existence” – which initiated and propelled his work.

Powell describes these first revelatory experiences in the latest podcast from The Eternities: “I had a mystical experience, what felt like divine energy [was] pulsing through me. It was like I tasted something that most people don’t taste and it was absolutely astonishing. ”

Powell went on to write The Psilocybin Solution: The Role of Sacred Mushrooms in the Quest for Meaning (2011), which traced the history of the sacred psilocybin mushroom and discussed its visionary effects, also examining the current science and lasting spirituality that surround it.… Read the rest

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Want to Change the World? Read This First

260px-The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17Richard Heinberg writes at Common Dreams:

History is often made by strong personalities wielding bold new political, economic, or religious doctrines. Yet any serious effort to understand how and why societies change requires examination not just of leaders and ideas, but also of environmental circumstances. The ecological context (climate, weather, and the presence or absence of water, good soil, and other resources) may either present or foreclose opportunities for those wanting to shake up the social world. This suggests that if you want to change society—or are interested in aiding or evaluating the efforts of others to do so—some understanding of exactly how environmental circumstances affect such efforts could be extremely helpful.

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Consumer Reports Campaigns to Ban Use Of ‘Natural’ On Food Labels

"Botfly Larvae: An All-Natural Source For Your Recommended Daily Allowance of Nightmare Fuel" Pic - Geoff Gallice (CC)

“Botfly Larvae: An All-Natural Source For Your Recommended Daily Allowance of Nightmare Fuel” Pic – Geoff Gallice (CC)

Consumer Reports states that most people believe that products labeled “natural” are better for them. The watchdog organization would like to see the use of it banned.

The claim “natural,” which is stamped on countless food labels, is widely misunderstood by consumers, according to a new a survey of 1,000 people from the Consumer Reports National Research Center. Nearly 60 percent of people look for the term when they shop for food, probably because they think the products labeled natural are better for them than products without that claim.

About two-thirds believe it means a processed food has no artificial ingredients, pesticides, or genetically modified organisms, and more than 80 percent believe that it should mean those things.

The reality is that the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t developed a formal definition for the term.

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You Have Dormant Primal Powers. This Guy Can Unleash Them.

Via- Midwest Real

“You can blend respectfully and mindfully with your environment as you move. This is a high level of mindfulness requested here. In my opinion, this is a physical manifestation and experience of my spirit… I would even say it’s a spiritual experience of my body.”

Do me a favor- stand up. No problem, right? Now walk around. That’s pretty easy, huh? Next, smash the nearest wad of food into your mouth hole. Isn’t this fun? Ok, sit down, look at the screen, and you’re done! Sound familiar? I know to me it does. I practice that sequence of movements with devoutly religious regularity. I’m going to make a tremendously presumptuous leap and assume that you do the same. Isn’t it sad that the mediocrity of our physical habits is that god damn obvious? Yet, if you’re lucky enough to be a normal-ish, healthy-ish human being you’ve got some serious untapped potential.… Read the rest

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Hop Leaves Discarded in Brewing Process Could Fight Dental Disease

Pic: Dr. Hagen Graebner (CC)

Pic: Dr. Hagen Graebner (CC)

Another natural cure for a common ailment. Take note, though, beer drinkers: It’s the part of the leaves discarded in the brewing process.

Via Eureka Alert:

Beer drinkers know that hops are what gives the drink its bitterness and aroma. Recently, scientists reported that the part of hops that isn’t used for making beer contains healthful antioxidants and could be used to battle cavities and gum disease. In a new study in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they say that they’ve identified some of the substances that could be responsible for these healthful effects.

Yoshihisa Tanaka and colleagues note that their earlier research found that antioxidant polyphenols, contained in the hop leaves (called bracts) could help fight cavities and gum disease. Extracts from bracts stopped the bacteria responsible for these dental conditions from being able to stick to surfaces and prevented the release of some bacterial toxins.

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See Otter Kill And Eats Alligator in Amazing Series of Photos

Pic: US Fish & Wildlife/Geoff Walsh (PD)

Pic: US Fish & Wildlife/Geoff Walsh (PD)

Otters are cute and cuddly (and I’ll be damned if they can’t play a mean washtub bass), but they’re also voracious predators who use ambush hunting tactics to take down everything from fish to small birds… and apparently that includes alligators, too. Check out this amazing picture of an otter attacking and eating an alligator, and then see the rest at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

 

 

 

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The Biology of Altruistic Suicide

Pic: Neon_JA (CC)

Pic: Neon_JA (CC)

Kanina Foss writing at the University of the Witwatersrand:

The question of why an individual would actively kill itself has been an evolutionary mystery. Death could hardly provide a fitness advantage to the dying individual. However, a new study has found that in single-celled algae, suicide benefits the organism’s relatives.

“Death can be altruistic – we showed that before – but now we know that programmed cell death benefits the organism’s relatives and not just anybody,” says Dr Pierre Durand from the Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology and the Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience (SBIMB) at Wits University.

When Durand and his colleagues from the University of Arizona released the results of their first study on suicide in single-celled algae in 2011, they showed that when an organism commits suicide by digesting up its own body, it releases nutrients into the environment that can be used by other organisms.

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Why Ordinary Food Will be the Future of Medicine

Pic: GardenKitty (CC)

Pic: GardenKitty (CC)

T. Colin Campbell, one the featured scientists/doctors in the breakout documentary Planeat, writes at CounterPunch:

The Problem

Few issues have become so intensely debated and politically charged as the need to reform the health care system. This debate has resulted in the ObamaCare program (The Affordable Care Act), which aims to expand and improve health care, thereby reducing health care costs.

Presently, US health care costs constitute 18% of GDP, up from about 5% around 1970 (1). These costs are burdensome and many sectors of our society are paying the price. School programs are being scaled back because of the escalating costs of retiree health care benefit programs, as illustrated in Michigan where they are “laying off teachers, scrapping programs and mothballing extracurricular activities…[because of]…health care bills of retirees.“(2). About 60% of personal bankruptcies are now attributed to medical care costs (3) and these rising costs are eroding family incomes (4), among many other devastating outcomes.

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Pesticides Are Making Bees Smaller And Weaker

beesBut surely widespread pesticide usage wouldn’t have similar subtle effects on the growth and development of humans.Via the Guardian:

Bumblebees could be shrinking because of exposure to a widely-used pesticide, a study suggests.

Scientists in the UK conducted laboratory tests which showed how a pyrethroid pesticide stunted the growth of worker bumblebee larvae, causing them to hatch out reduced in size.

Pyrethroid pesticides are commonly used on flowering crops to prevent insect damage. The study, the first to examine the pesticides’ impact across the entire lifecycle of bumblebees, tracked the growth of bee colonies over a four month period.

Currently a Europe-wide moratorium on the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides is in force because of their alleged harmful effect on bees. As a result, the use of other types of pesticide, including pyrethroids, is likely to increase, say the researchers.

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