Tony Robinson presents a series examining some of history’s least pleasant employment opportunities. He begins in the first millennium, trying his hand at everyday tasks including back-breaking mining by ancient Roman methods, and Saxon ploughing using wooden implements and oxen. He also enters the world of the Viking egg collector, which involved scaling cliff faces in search of guillemot eggs.
Margie Goold, who suffers debilitating arthritis, bought a new walker.
Lance Dingman, who lost his right leg to a chronic bone disease, is no longer running out of groceries by the middle of the month.
Wendy Moore, who has been homeless for almost two years, is looking for an apartment.
The three Hamilton residents are part of the first wave of participants in Ontario’s experiment with basic income, a monthly, no-strings-attached payment of up to $1,400 for people living in poverty. Those with disabilities receive an additional $500 a month.
The three-year pilot project, which began in the Hamilton and Thunder Bay areas last summer and in Lindsay last fall, is testing whether unconditional cash support can boost health, education and housing for people on social assistance or earning low wages.
Information gleaned from the three test sites will guide future provincial policy on how to better support all Ontarians living in poverty.
The province is among several areas in the world experimenting with the idea of a basic income, including Finland, which began a two-year pilot last January.
After couch-surfing for almost two years, Moore, 60, is using her basic income payment to look for stable housing.
“My biggest focus is getting my own place and giving poor John his apartment back,” said Moore, who has been sleeping on her friend’s living room sofa for about a year.
Before joining the program in October, the single mother of six and grandmother of 12 was “barely surviving” on $330 a month in basic needs allowance from Ontario Works, the province’s welfare program for people without disabilities.
Her total income for 2016 was $4,247.
Because Moore was homeless, she was not eligible for a shelter allowance that would have brought her monthly Ontario Works payment to just over $700.
But under the basic income experiment, Moore receives $1,416 a month, an amount that remains constant no matter where she lives.
“It is giving me back my independence,” she said. “I don’t feel so backed into a corner. If I want to eat, I can afford to buy something instead of going to a food bank or a soup kitchen.”
Moore and the others are among almost 3,000 people enrolled so far in the test sites. The province hopes to recruit 6,000 participants, including 4,000 who will receive a basic income, fill out surveys and participate in focus groups as part of the study.
A further 2,000 won’t get the monthly payments but will be paid to complete surveys and tracked as a control group.
Thunder Bay heating and fireplace installer Taras Harapyuk, who hasn’t worked since 2015 when he fell lifting a ladder out of his truck, signed up for the pilot project last September. He learned last week that his application was randomly selected as part of the control group.
“I was very disappointed to hear I wasn’t chosen to get the extra money,” Harapyuk said. “But I will fill out the surveys. I am happy to help.”
Adults in the three test sites age 18 to 64 with after-tax incomes under $34,000, or couples with incomes under $48,000, are eligible. The income cut-off for individuals with disabilities is $46,000.
If participants find employment or get a better job, their basic income payments are reduced by 50 cents for every dollar earned until they are no longer financially eligible. But unlike social assistance, which is adjusted monthly, basic income payments are calculated once a year, based on the participant’s previous year’s income tax return.
Project administrators can make mid-year adjustments if participants lose a job or go back to school, change a living arrangement or become disabled.
After a slow start last summer, enrolment topped 2,544 at the end of January and the project is on track to be fully enrolled by the summer, the government says.
“We are on well on our way to reaching full enrolment of participants into the pilot and have the measures in place to ensure this study is conducted with the utmost integrity, rigour and ethical standards,” said Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek and Housing Minister Peter Milczyn, the government’s co-chairs for the pilot project.
“What we learn from this pilot will help inform our longer-term plans to better support people living on low incomes,” they said in a joint statement.
Goold, 60, who has a developmental disability and suffers from severe arthritis, was receiving about $1,400 a month from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) before her first basic income payment arrived in October.
Since then, her monthly income has increased by 28 per cent to $1,806.
In addition to being able to buy a new walker “with all the bells and whistles” for about $500, the extra money allowed her to take her husband, Don, to the Keg for his 65th birthday this month.
“It’s nice to be able to celebrate a milestone like everybody else,” she said.
Fellow Hamilton resident Alana Baltzer, 28, traded her $722 monthly ODSP benefit for a basic income of $1,915 in October.
It meant Baltzer, who had previously shopped only at thrift stores, was able to take advantage of Black Friday sales in November to buy her first new winter coat.
“It has certainly come in handy with the cold weather,” she said.
Apparently, Canadians love weed. According to a new survey, the number of people who consume cannabis in Canada has risen steadily over the past 30 years or so. Now, as Canadian cannabis consumption doubles, the country must figure out how to finally make good on its promise to legalize weed in 2018.
Statistics Canada published the report. In it, the agency looked at a number of health surveys from 1985 through 2015 in an effort to identify trends in cannabis use. Who are the biggest consumers? Teens? Moms? Everyone in between?
Researchers found that in 1985, around 5.6 percent of Canadians 15 and older consumed weed. That number had more than doubled in 2015, climbing to as high as 12.3 percent.
Along with these numbers, the report highlighted other important trends. For example, although the surveys used in the new study included everyone 15 years old and up, cannabis use among young people has remained more or less stable.
More specifically, cannabis use among men aged 15 to 17 stayed the same between 2004 and 2015. During that same time, consumption actually dropped among women in the same age group.
Similarly, fewer people between the ages 18 and 24 smoked weed during those 11 years. It was adults 25 and older that drove the spikes in overall cannabis use.
It’s important to note that although weed still hasn’t been legalized in Canada, the years included in this report were marked by a growing acceptance of cannabis. This included a number of provinces and cities working to decriminalize and in some cases legalize weed.
But despite this growing acceptance of weed, there has not been a change in the numbers of teens who consume it. This could be important data since one of the arguments most often made by those who oppose legalization is that more lax weed laws will lead to skyrocketing use among young people.
Recording stray thoughts, private conversations, newspaper headlines, and even an amorous act in the bedroom, Ulysses functions as a super-catalog of the mundane. Joyce’s approach—a persistent surveillance of events in Dublin on the date of June 16—implies that a larger story remains hidden in a plain sight, an explanation that might finally make sense of the world, lurking in the data of everyday life. We just need to capture and record that data.
Joyce allegedly had larger ambitions than merely crafting a novel. According to his friend, the writer and artist Frank Budgen, Joyce wanted Ulysses to be so exhaustively detailed that it might operate as a kind of literary hologram. In his own words, “I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the Earth it could be reconstructed out of my book.” It is literature as 3-D point cloud: a total model of the metropolis and an infinite archive of everything that takes place inside of it.
There are other ways to capture a city. In 2009, the U.S. military revealed the use of a new surveillance tool called Gorgon Stare. It was named after creatures from Greek mythology that could turn anyone who made eye contact with them to stone. In practice, Gorgon Stare was a sphere of nine surveillance cameras mounted on an aerial drone that could stay aloft for hours, recording everything in sight. As an Air Force major general explained to The Washington Post at the time, “Gorgon Stare will be looking at a whole city, so there will be no way for the adversary to know what we’re looking at, and we can see everything.”
If a car bomb were to detonate in an outdoor market, for example, the accumulated footage Gorgon Stare had captured from that day could be rewound to track the vehicle to its point of origin. Perhaps it could even follow the car backward in time, over several days. This could reveal not only the vehicle’s driver but also the buildings the car might have visited in the hours or days leading up to the attack. It is instant-replay technology applied to an entire metropolis instead of a football field—a comparison made unnervingly literal by the fact that the same company that supplied instant replays for the National Football League began consulting with the Pentagon to bring their technology to the battlefield.
Unsurprisingly, militarized replay technologies such as Gorgon Stare caught the eye of domestic U.S. law enforcement who saw it as an unprecedented opportunity to identify, track, and capture even the pettiest of criminals—or, more ominously, to follow every attendee of a political rally or public demonstration.
The larger promise of Gorgon Stare, however, was a narrative one: Its capacity for total documentation implied that every event in the city could not just be reconstructed but fully and completely explained. Indeed, James Joyce and the U.S. military would seem to agree that the best way to make sense of the modern metropolis is to document even the most inconsequential details. Urban events as minor as a Dubliner out for an afternoon stroll—let alone something as catastrophic as a terrorist attack—can be rewound, studied, and rationally annotated. Gorgon Stare is Ulysses reimagined as a police operation: a complete, time-coded, searchable archive of a person’s every act. The police can go back days, weeks, or months; if they have enough server space, years. Should they wish, they could produce the most complex, novelistic explanations imaginable simply because their data pool has become so rich.
This sort of persistent surveillance no longer requires drones, however, or even dedicated cameras; instead, people have willfully embedded these technologies into their daily lives. The rise of the so-called smart city is more accurately described as the rise of a loose group of multisensory tracking technologies. Gorgon Stare, we might say, is the metropolis now.
February 23, 2018
During a Greek holiday in 2002, a Polish paleontologist found what he thinks are the oldest human-like footprints in the world. Thus began a vicious fight over a discovery that raises new questions about our evolution.
Gerard Gierlinski’s trip to the Greek island of Crete in 2002 was meant to be a romantic getaway for him and his girlfriend. But it ended up becoming considerably more momentous than that — leading to a discovery that could dramatically alter the story of the human race.
It was Gierlinski’s first time on the island, a popular holiday destination for Poles like himself. He and his partner, Beata Piechik, were there to walk the sandy beaches, swim in the Mediterranean Sea and enjoy food and wine in the quiet tourist village of Trachilos, which is dotted with small houses and a handful of hotels.
“It’s an amazing, beautiful area,“ Gierlinski recalled in his Polish-accented English. But being a paleontologist at the Polish Geological Institute, Gierlinski was also prepared to record any discoveries he might make.
“I always carry — even on vacation — a hammer, a camera and a GPS,” he said.
So when he spotted an odd imprint in a rock along the beach, he was ready.
Gierlinski has studied dinosaur tracks and recognized the indentation as a footprint. And there were others. It was around noon, and the sunlight was too harsh to enable him to see the full details of the impressions — but he could immediately tell that they weren’t dinosaur tracks. He took a number of photographs of the imprints (including one with Piechik sitting on the rock). And, crucially, he captured the GPS co-ordinates, so he could find the place again.
‘This was like a shock for me.’
They eventually headed back home from their idyllic holiday, but Gierlinski couldn’t get those prints out of his head. For eight years, he wondered about them. In 2010, he found a good deal on an all-inclusive package and went back to Crete — and felt compelled to return to that spot. (By this time, he had broken up with Piechik.)
It was almost evening when he revisited that flat slab on the beach, one that tourists often sit on as they drink and gaze out at the sea. This time, the long shadows clearly revealed the outline of the footprints — prints that clearly resembled the shape of his own foot.
“This was like a shock for me,” Gierlinski said.
He eventually brought in other experts from Poland, as well as from Sweden, Greece, the U.S. and England, to help him analyze the footprints and the sediments surrounding them. Together, they determined the tracks were left by ancient human relatives 5.6 million years ago. That would make them the oldest human-like footprints in the world — two million years older, in fact, than the oldest found in Africa, long considered the “cradle of humankind.”
Gierlinski said it could suggest an unexpected and untold part of the story of where humans came from. “It’s a new frontier in the study of our ancestors,” he said.
The footprints have suffered a number of indignities since the discovery — from being sprayed with graffiti to being chiselled from the rock and stolen. But the bigger scandal may be the reception Gierlinski and his colleagues faced after they first reported their find.
No pre-human fossils that old have ever been found in Europe, and Gierlinski’s claim generated vicious criticism and disbelief from other scientists in a field where most influential researchers are committed “Africanists.”
Per Ahlberg, a researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden, was the member of Gierlinski’s team who took responsibility for getting the research published, and described the process as “six and a half years of sort of living hell.”
Gierlinski’s find casts a light not only on the often chance nature of scientific discovery, but the sometimes fierce conflict among the humans in the scientific community, who often bristle when their beliefs are challenged by new ideas — especially ones that may be ahead of their time.
Gierlinski is no stranger to astonishing discoveries. In the past, he found the feather imprints from a dinosaur’s belly that had rested on the mud millions of years ago in Massachusetts. He was also one of the co-authors of a study of footprints that suggested dinosaurs “danced” to attract mates, in much the same way some modern birds do. Those discoveries piqued people’s interest, but didn’t cause much controversy.
But when Gierlinski saw the Trachilos footprints for the second time and recognized their human-like shape, he realized that he had found something extraordinary.
After returning to Poland, he looked up the age of the sediments in Trachilos and was amazed to learn they were from the Miocene era. In layers of rock and sediments, the start of the Miocene is marked by a deposit left when the Mediterranean Sea temporarily dried up about 5.6 million years ago.
That was before a group of human-like footprints were left in volcanic ash at Laetoli, Tanzania. The 3.66-million-year-old Laetoli footprints have long been regarded as the oldest human-like footprints in the world.
The Miocene also predates Ardipithecus, a fossil hominin with an ape-like foot that lived in modern-day Ethiopia 4.4 million years ago and is thought to be part of the human lineage.
After his second visit to Trachilos, Gierlinski felt he urgently needed to go back a third time to further study the prints, and he needed other experts to assure him that what he thought they were was true — in other words, that he wasn’t crazy.
After a party in Warsaw several weeks after his second visit, Gierlinski showed pictures of the prints to two fellow researchers, Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki and Andrzej Boczarowski. He was going back to Crete in a few days — did they have time to come? They jumped at the chance.
When they arrived in Trachilos in November 2010 and began cleaning the surface of the slab of rock, they realized that it was embedded with not just one or two but dozens of fossil footprints — shallow impressions left in sand long ago that later hardened into rock.
Niedzwiedzki had recently started a postdoctoral fellowship with Ahlberg at Uppsala University and got him involved in the project. Ahlberg, in turn, suggested it would be a good idea to involve Greek researchers and the Greek Ministry of Heritage and Culture, and get permits before proceeding further.
Since the researchers initially involved in the project were experts in animal rather than human tracks, the team also got help from Matthew Bennett, a researcher at Bournemouth University in the U.K. who had studied the Laetoli footprints.
The Trachilos footprints are quite small, the largest no more than 23 centimetres long — roughly the size of a women’s size six shoe. The team found that “in the front, the toes are very human-like,” Gierlinski said. But the heel is narrower, like that of a chimpanzee or gorilla.
Ahlberg agreed that the toes were “remarkably human-like,” except that the creature’s big toe seemed more mobile. “They can wiggle it around a bit more,” he said.
The prints clearly belonged to creatures that normally walked on two feet. They kept their feet close together, like humans, rather than waddling, as chimpanzees do.
“What’s also very telling is we have no palm prints … nor are there any knuckle prints,” Ahlberg said.
He also noted that based on the orientation and placement of the tracks, the creatures didn’t seem to be going anywhere in particular. “The impression you get subjectively is of a little troop of these guys just sort of hanging out, just doing their thing in that sort of vaguely disorganized way that a troop of chimpanzees might do.”
The researchers think the creatures that made the prints could potentially be part of the human family tree. Or, they could potentially have been from another branch of upright-walking ape that happened to have developed similar feet — something they think is less likely.
Gierlinski said it was the most extraordinary find of his career. These are “the oldest human-like tracks in the world, unexpectedly found in Europe, not in Africa,” he said. “Obviously, it’s very important.”
In 2011, the researchers were ready to share these exciting findings with the world. And that’s when the trouble began.
What happened next provides a window into the world of scientific publishing, where discoveries must run a gauntlet of all-too-human gatekeepers before becoming official and public.
The team started submitting the research to peer-reviewed journals. Since this appeared to be something extraordinary — the oldest human-like footprints in the world — they started with high-profile publications such as Nature.
Since the editors of scientific journals aren’t experts on every topic, they typically send submitted manuscripts to expert peer reviewers to evaluate the quality of the research.
Many of the reactions to the Trachilos discovery were negative, to say the least. Ahlberg has been publishing papers since 1989 — including in Nature and Science — and had never experienced anything like this before.
“We got ferociously aggressive responses saying this couldn’t possibly be true and these can’t be footprints at all,” said Ahlberg. “In every round [of reviews], there would be at least one, and sometimes several, reviewers who were in the first instance savagely hostile. They would just flatly deny that these would be human or hominin footprints. They would say almost anything — they’re bear or monkey [tracks] or whatever.”
Ahlberg shared some of the reviews with CBC, and they appeared to match his descriptions, but warned that they could not be reproduced for confidentiality reasons.
One sarcastic reviewer referred to them as “mystery artifacts” and said the manuscript should be buried. Another reviewer, who claimed to approach the research with an open mind, alleged the prints showed only two features of hominin footprints — two features that Ahlberg pointed out never appear together in any group of animals except hominins.
The researchers addressed any criticism they could with further measurements, but the rejection letters continued to pile up as the researchers moved from one journal to the next.
Ahlberg alleged many of the reviews accused the authors, who were mostly experts in ancient footprints, of incompetence in interpreting tracks. But the reviewers provided no evidence to support their criticisms.
“Basically, it wasn’t a true peer review process at all,” he said. “They were just trying to shut us down.” One editor rejected the paper even though two out of three reviews were positive, which is unusual.
Gierlinski said he doesn’t blame the reviewers, as he often reviews papers himself and “sometimes I am not so nice also.” But he said he was frustrated with the journal editors who rejected the paper outright in response to the reviews, instead of giving the researchers the chance to make changes in response to the criticism.
Peer review is supposed to be a confidential process and researchers are not supposed to share unpublished work that they’re reviewing. But Ahlberg said he and his colleagues “began to hear on the grapevine that the paleoanthropological community was abuzz about our work — work that had never been presented anywhere.”
With just two and a half minutes to midnight, someone is about to push the button…
China has warned the United States that its wrong policies on North Korea could seriously undermine cooperation between Beijing and Washington to contain Pyongyang’s weapons program.
China’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement Saturday calling new US sanctions on North Korea part of “mistaken actions” that could further complicate the stand-off in the Korean Peninsula.
“We have already lodged stern representations with the U.S. side about this issue, and demand the US side immediately stops such relevant mistaken actions to avoid harming bilateral cooperation in the relevant area,” said the ministry.
The statement comes a day after the US authorities said they were imposing their largest package of sanctions aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs.
China, a major ally and of North Korea and its neighbor, has complied with previous international sanctions on North Korea, with many of its companies reducing or cutting their lucrative trade and business with Pyongyang.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry highlighted the fact that the coordinated international action on North Korea was enough and warned that extra actions by Washington could undermine China’s trust.
“China resolutely opposes the US side enacting unilateral sanctions and ‘long-armed jurisdiction’ in accordance with its domestic law against Chinese entities or individuals,” said the statement.
The US has engineered some unprecedented and crippling international sanctions on North Korea since July when Pyongyang intensified its tests of long-range missiles and nuclear bombs.
The new sanctions announced Friday by the US Treasury Department cover one person, 27 companies and 28 ships, many of them operating in mainland China or on Taiwan and Hong Kong.
On Sunday, February 17th, I was surprised to see in the reliably neoconservative newspaper, New York Times, an ‘opinion’-article headlined with the distinctively non-neoconservative title, “Russia Isn’t the Only One Meddling in Elections. We Do It, Too.” But, then, I got to the neocon core, in the article itself:
But in recent decades, both Mr. Hall and Mr. Johnson argued, Russian and American interferences in elections have not been morally equivalent. American interventions have generally been aimed at helping non-authoritarian candidates challenge dictators or otherwise promoting democracy. Russia has more often intervened to disrupt democracy or promote authoritarian rule, they said.
Equating the two, Mr. Hall says, “is like saying cops and bad guys are the same because they both have guns — the motivation matters.”
That’s just a typical neocon lie — reality turned upside-down, black-is-white and white-is-black.
When the CIA hired Iranian mercenaries to rebel against and overthrow the progressive democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh in 1953 and installed there a dictatorship (which lasted till 1979); and did the same to overthrow and replace the progressive democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz in 1954; and, more recently, in 2009, helped Honduras’s aristocracy to overthrow that country’s progressive democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, and to cement and make permanent their new and fascist regime; and, in 2014, perpetrated a brutal coup in Ukraine overthrowing that country’s democratically elected but corrupt (like all prior post-communist Ukrainian Presidents were) President Viktor Yanukovych — even the Soviets (including the pre-1991 and pre-independent Russians) weren’t that bad; and a 1992 classic BBC documentary about the CIA’s having set up in Western Europe during the Cold War numerous deadly terrorist incidents which were designed so as to be blamed on ‘communists’, makes clear, that the US CIA is a spiritual implant into the US Government, of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi (but now American) Gehlen Organization — a darling of the CIA Director Alan Dulles, and which is still today the CIA’s spirit.
But, even that hypocrisy misses the essentially fascist nature of America’s secret-police agencies, because America’s Presidents are now reliably pro-fascist, and on many occasions are even pro-racist-fascist, or pro-“nazi” (standing out to defend the nazi ideology itself). At the U.N., both President Obama and President Trump have stood America up publicly as being one of only three countries (in Obama’s case) and then of only two countries (in Trump’s case) publicly defending nazism. Furthermore, on one day (31 October 2015), twice in close succession, the U.N. Secretary-General publicly criticized Obama, though not by name, for opposing and insisting on blocking, democracy in Syria. Whereas Russia insists upon a democratic and united — instead of ethnically broken-up — Syria, and polls amongst Syrians consistently show that the vast majority of Syrians insist upon the same thing, the US Government not only does everything possible to block it, but has the gall to deny the blatant fact that it’s seeking to replace Syria’s secular non-sectarian Government, by a fundamentalist-Sunni Government that will do the Sauds’ bidding (and the bidding of America’s oil-giants).
However, that February 17th New York Times article is deceptive not merely on account of its holier-than-thou admission of the CIA’s supposedly ‘past history’ of badness and its presumption of today’s Russia being almost as bad as was the Soviet Union. Actually, the article includes several other lies, such as are exposed in these three articles about how American billionaires systematically robbed Russia during the 1990s:
Those articles offered at least some of the explanation as to why America’s billionaires (at least the ones who care about this matter at all) hate Vladimir Putin: they had loved Boris Yeltsin because he allowed them to rape Russia, but Putin put a stop to it.
So, while millions of Americans, who subscribe to the New York Times, will learn the lie, that (and here is the regime’s basic message) internationally ‘we’re the good guys against the bad guys’, there’s no more reason to trust that, than there was when the same lies came from Joseph Goebbels’s shop, at which time, the US itself was a progressive country, heading in progressive directions, under President FDR. Bill Clinton and the post-Clinton Democratic Party have repudiated that direction for their Party; and, now, in international relations, the US is solidly fascist, in both Parties. The CIA lies, as usual, indistinguishably differently when it’s run by a Democratic President and Congress, than when it’s run by a Republican President and Congress. In international relations, it’s the same regime, regardless: full of the same lies. And that historical fact, and ongoing but unpublished news, is not to be found to be accepted in the Times’s masthead-lie, “All the News That’s Fit to Print” — or else the truth itself, just isn’t “Fit to Print.” It’s fit to print here (and without paying a subscription), but how many people even read here? This explains how the regime protects itself, against democracy — by hiding what’s essential.
Syria’s prolonged conflict and misery going into its eighth year is no accident. It is by design. American imperialist design.
First though, we note the increasing reprehensible absurdity in this conflict.
Turkey, which invaded Syria nearly a month ago in violation of Syria’s sovereignty, this week accused Damascus of “terrorism” after the Syrian government sent forces to defend the northern area near Afrin under assault from Turkey.
Meanwhile, US forces, again illegally occupying Syria in violation of international law, claim to be fighting terrorist militia. Yet more often than not, the Americans are affording protection to various terrorist groups. Then when Syrian state forces advance to clear the terror groups, the US claims it is acting in “self-defense” by massacring whole units of the Syrian army.
Further absurdity is due to France, which has been bombing Syria illegally along with the US and Britain, warning Iranian militia, who are legally present in Syria owing to Damascus’ approval, that they have to withdraw from the country.
As if the situation couldn’t get any more bizarre, Israel has carried out more than 100 air strikes on Syria, claiming that the aggression are “acts of self-defense”.
The Syrian government of President Assad is the sovereign authority of the country, as recognized by UN resolutions. It has the right to defend its nation and to reclaim areas which have been usurped by illegally armed groups. Virtually all of these insurgents are foreign-backed proxies who have been waging a war for regime change according to the designs of their foreign sponsors.
The only armed forces legally present in Syria are those of Russia, Iran and associated militia who have been requested legally by the Syrian government to assist in defending the state from a foreign-backed war.
It is within the sovereign right of the Syrian government to take back all areas, including the suburb of East Ghouta near the capital Damascus. The district has been held under siege by foreign-backed extremists going by the name of Jaysh al Islam who are affiliated with internationally proscribed terror groups Al Nusra Front and Islamic State.
The impetus to liberate East Ghouta has come about because the militants have been firing mortars at nearby Damascus with deadly results.
Not only are Western states violating international law by militarily hampering the Syrian army and its allies in rescuing the country from foreign insurgents, the Western governments and media are mounting a propaganda campaign in an attempt to tie the Syrian state forces’ hands behind their backs by distorting their legal duty as “barbarism”.
Out of the half million people who have died in the past seven years of war in Syria, it is estimated that nearly half of that total were members of the Syrian army.
Added to the Western calumnies over Syria are claims that Syrian state forces have been using chemical weapons on civilian populations. The evidence points in fact to the Western-backed so-called jihadists who have been stealthily using these weapons for false-flag propaganda stunts.
To understand the chaotic conflict in Syria, we must refer to the decades-old imperial designs that the US and its allies have had towards the country. The Americans and the British governments going back to Eisenhower and Churchill in the 1950s wanted to destabilize and subjugate the Arab republic – a former French colony.
In 1996, a new generation of imperialists in Washington led by Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and other neoconservatives formulated the “Clean Break” strategy. The strategy in conjunction with Israel sought to destabilize and “roll back” Syria because of its alliance with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
More widely, the neoconservatives in Washington openly declared their aim of balkanizing the entire region in order to, in their calculation, make Israel more secure. Syria and Iraq were top priorities for US-imposed chaos.
Significantly, the Clean Break strategy designated Turkey as a key partner to the US and Israel for implementing this plan.
The same American neoconservative planners went on to occupy key positions at the Pentagon and State Department during President George W Bush administrations. There is every reason to believe their stratagem of organized chaos – as a way of exerting hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East – continues to be the guiding, albeit tacit, policy of the US government under President Trump.
Russia, Iran and Hezbollah largely helped Syria bring the war to a close at the end of last year with the widespread routing of foreign-backed insurgents. However, a subsequent peace process
brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey has lost momentum. The violence in Syria appears to be re-igniting.
The increasingly overt military presence of US and Turkish forces, as well as Israeli incursions, is the clearest factor in the resurgence of conflict. More than ever, the US and its allies are operating on a brazen imperial design to dismember Syria and its territorial integrity.
This is nothing short of criminal aggression by Washington following a deliberate plan for regional domination. This imperialist intrigue should be called out for what it is by the United Nations. But rather than upholding the UN Charter, the body’s senior figures are joining
in the Western chorus of condemning Syria for defending its national rights.
The UN is appearing like the ineffectual League of Nations in the 1930s when it pandered to Nazi and fascist aggression. What the US and its allies are doing now in Syria is a repeat – fanning the flames of wider war in the Middle East.
Laws and sovereignty are being smashed at will and yet the Western media and UN are blind to the aggression. Indeed, they are turning reality on its head, by blaming victim-states for the aggression.
The straightforward bottom line is that the US, Turkey, Israel and other NATO powers must withdraw from Syria. Respect Syria’s sovereignty and desist from criminal intrigues for regime change. This is a minimum of abiding by international law.
If these protagonists persist in their criminal schemes, the region is heading for a conflagration sparing no-one.
Dr. Mary Newport, desperate after orthodox medical attempts failed her husband’s dwindling dysfunction from Alzheimer’s, discovered coconut oil and rescued him from having to be put away in a special home.
His remarkable recovery went viral on the internet and Dr. Newport wrote a 2011-12 bestseller, Alzheimer’s Disease: What if There Was a Cure?
Both the Internet’s coverage and her book started an international grassroots movement of folks with very early dementia, even just brain fog and senior moments, trying themselves or helping relatives diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Thus creating a wave of success reports and testimonial videos.
However successful those reports were, mainstream medicine wasn’t recognizing coconut oil as an efficacious aid for Alzheimer’s or any type of dementia. Even the Alzheimer’s Association and other similar groups still won’t recommend or mention coconut oil to Alzheimer’s sufferers simply because there are no peer reviewed studies.
But somehow, a recent peer reviewed study has been completed and published with another in progress with positive results.
This clinical trial was conducted in Spain, which explains why the study was done to begin with. Spain and other EU nations and middle eastern nations, including Israel, seem less restricted with what they can study without pharmaceutical funding. Spain and Israel have done considerable research and human studies on cannabis’ medical applications, for example.
The Spanish clinical trial involved following Alzheimer’s patients of varying ages and genders with and without diabetes diagnoses to determine if coconut oil consumption had any effect on reducing their Alzheimer’s mental dysfunction.
They used cognitive testing before and after the clinical trial to determine changes. The intervention group was fed 40 ml of coconut oil daily, which comes to 2.7 tablespoons. Three tablespoons or more daily is recommended by experts, depending on dementia severity and coconut oil digestive tolerance.
The researchers noted “a statistically significant increase in test score … and therefore an improvement in cognitive status, improving especially women’s, those without diabetes mellitus type II, and severe patients.”
The Spanish researchers concluded, “this study, although preliminary, demonstrated the positive influence of coconut oil at the cognitive level of patients with Alzheimer’s, this improvement being dependent on sex, presence or absence of diabetes and degree of dementia.” (Source)
Another clinical study, supported by private funding of course, on the effects of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s has been underway in Florida. It was started in 2013 at the University of South Florida’s Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, located in Tampa, Florida.
Publishing for that study is expected in 2016. But word on the street is that there has been a high success rate.
First, let’s clear the air on the outdated coconut oil saturated fat issue. Clean saturated fats that are not hydrogenated or otherwise adulterated are necessary for overall and brain health. They are not the source of obesity and heart disease.
The notoriously faulty Ancel Keys Seven Countries Study, which was accepted whole cloth by the medical establishment, media, and the processed cooking oil and margarine manufacturers in the 1950s. It gave Crisco and others the platform to pitch their unhealthy processed hydrogenated oils containing trans-fats to replace coconut oil, palm oil, and butter.
It’s been determined that hydrogenated and semi-hydrogenated oils containing trans-fats are more responsible for obesity, heart disease, and various autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis.
Refined carbohydrates, added high sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), have added to the rise in obesity with heart problems remaining at the to of disease morbidity despite the no or low fat mania of several decades.
So far, not one pharmaceutical drug designed for Alzheimer’s has been successful with anything but creating adverse side effects. That’s why Alzheimer’s is considered “untreatable”. Big Pharma has nothing to offer so nothing exists from the AMA perspective.
One study discovered that many with high cholesterol counts live to well into their 80s. Ironically, blockbuster Big Pharma revenue statin drugs cause more by doing what they claim, reducing cholesterol counts.
From Dr. Stephanie Steneff: The brain represents only 2% of the body’s total mass, but contains 25% of the total cholesterol. Cholesterol is required everywhere in the brain as an antioxidant, an electrical insulator (in order to prevent ion leakage), as a structural scaffold for the neural network, and a functional component of all membranes. Cholesterol is also utilized in the wrapping and synaptic delivery of the neurotransmitters. It also plays an important role in the formation and functioning of synapses in the brain.
Coconut oil differs from most other saturated fats, essentially fats that remain solid at room temperature, because it contains medium chain triglycerides or MCTs. Unlike the more common long chain triglycerides (LCTs), MCTs are easily digested by the liver and converted to energy in the form of ketones.
Long chain triglycerides or fatty acids don’t get readily converted into ketones that can be used by cells for energy. Much of LCTs or LCFAs wind up getting stored as fat.
Brain cells that have difficulty utilizing insulin for glucose wind up starving to death. Whole sections of the brain become useless as from the lack of energy caused by decreased glucose utilization.
This similarity to diabetes 2 with it’s cellular inability to process insulin, or insulin resistance, that is a major reason why Alzheimer’s or any similar dementia is considered diabetes 3.
The solution for diabetes 3 is ketones derived from the liver’s processing coconut oil MCTs. The ketones furnish brain cells with what they need regardless of insulin resistance that hampers glucose cellular metabolism. Ketones also increase blood circulation in the brain, a nice byproduct.
But ketones are easy come easy go. One needs to maintain a steady diet of healthy virgin coconut oil at the recommended pace of three or more tablespoons daily to maintain the cells energy levels.
The building blocks of brain matter are made from cholesterol. Coconut oil supplies that as well as the ketones that provide the brain energy despite insulin-glucose issues. With coconut oil, one gets the benefits of better brain structure and increased energy capacity.
Click here for a guide that cuts through the confusion of choosing coconut oil.
Paul Fassa is a contributing staff writer for REALfarmacy.com. His pet peeves are the Medical Mafia’s control over health and the food industry and government regulatory agencies’ corruption. Paul’s contributions to the health movement and global paradigm shift are well received by truth seekers. Visit his blog by following this link and follow him on Twitter here
Photo Credit: Sergei Babenko / Shutterstock
Those ratings that castigate Afghanistan and some other poor countries as hopelessly “corrupt” always imply that the United States is not corrupt. This year’s report from Transparency International puts the US on a par with Austria, which is ridiculous. All kinds of people from politicians to businessmen would go to jail in Austria today if they engaged in practices that are quite common in the US.
While it is true that you don’t typically have to bribe your postman to deliver the mail in the US, in many key ways America’s political and financial practices make it in absolute terms far more corrupt than the usual global South suspects. After all, the US economy is worth over $18 trillion a year, so in our corruption a lot more money changes hands.
1. A sure sign of corruption is an electoral outcome like 2016. An addled nonentity like Donald Trump got filthy rich via tax loopholes a predatory behavior in his casinos and other businesses, and then was permitted to buy the presidency with his own money. He was given billions of dollars in free campaign time every evening on CNN, MSNBC, Fox and other channels that should have been more even-handed, because they were in search of advertising dollars and Trump was a good draw. Then, too, the way the Supreme Court got rid of campaign finance reform and allowed open, unlimited secret buying of elections is the height of corruption. The permitting of massive black money in our elections was taken advantage of by the Russian Federation, which, having hopelessly corrupted its own presidential elections, managed to further corrupt the American ones, as well. Once ensconced in power, Trump Inc. has taken advantage of the power of White House to engage in a wide range of corrupt practices, including an attempt to sell visas to wealthy Chinese and the promotion of the Trump brand as part of diplomacy.
2. The rich are well placed to bribe our politicians to reduce taxes on the rich. The Koch brothers and other mega-rich troglodytes explicitly told Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan in 2017 that if the Republican Party, controlling all three branches of government, could not lower taxes on its main sponsors, there would be no billionaire backing of the party in the 2018 midterms. This threat of an electoral firing squad made the hundreds of bribe-takers in Congress sit up and take notice, and they duly gave away to the billionaire class $1.5 trillion in government services (that’s what Federal taxes are, folks, services–roads, schools, health inspections, implementation of anti-pollution laws–things that everyone benefits from and which won’t be there any more. To the extent that the government will try to continue to provide those slashed services despite assessing no taxes on the people with the money to pay for them, it will run up an enormous budget deficit and weaken the dollar, which is a form of inflation in the imported goods sector. Inflation hits the poor the worst. As it stands, 3 American billionaires are worth, as much as the bottom 150 million Americans. That kind of wealth inequality hasn’t been seen in the US since the age of the robber barons in the nineteenth century. Both eras are marked by extreme corruption.
One sign of American corruption is the rapidity with which American society has become more unequal since the 1980s Reagan destruction of the progressive income tax. The wealthier the top 1 percent is, the more politicians it can buy to gather up even more of the country’s wealth. In my lifetime the top one percent has gone from holding 25% of the privately held wealth under Eisenhower to 38% today.
3. Instead of having short, publicly-funded political campaigns with limited and/or free advertising (as a number of Western European countries do), the US has long political campaigns in which candidates are dunned big bucks for advertising. They are therefore forced to spend much of their time fundraising, which is to say, seeking bribes. All American politicians are basically on the take, though many are honorable people. They are forced into it by the system. The campaign season should be shortened to 3 months (did we really need 2 years to get an outcome in which a fool like Trump is president?), and Congress should pass a law that winners of primaries don’t have to pay for political ads on tv and radio.
When French President Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated in 2012, soon thereafter French police actually went into his private residence searching for an alleged $50,000 in illicit campaign contributions from the L’Oreale heiress. I thought to myself, seriously? $50,000 in a presidential campaign? Our presidential campaigns cost a billion dollars each! $50,000 is a rounding error, not a basis for police action. Why, George W. Bush took millions from arms manufacturers and then ginned up a war for them, and the police haven’t been anywhere near his house.
American politicians don’t represent “the people.” With a few honorable exceptions, they represent the 1%. American democracy is being corrupted out of existence.
4. Money and corruption have seeped so far into our media system that people can with a straight face assert that scientists aren’t sure human carbon emissions are causing global warming. Fox Cable News is among the more corrupt institutions in American society, purveying outright lies for the benefit of the fossil fuels billionaire class. The US is so corrupt that it is resisting the obvious urgency to slash carbon production. Virtually the entire Republican Party resists the firm consensus of all respected scientists in the world and the firm consensus of everybody else in the world save for a few denialists in English-speaking countries. This resistance to an urgent and dangerous reality comes about because they are bribed to take this stance. Even Qatar, its economy based on natural gas, freely admits the challenge of human-induced climate change. American politicians like Jim Inhofe are openly ridiculed when they travel to Europe for their know-nothingism on climate.
5. That politicians can be bribed to reduce regulation of industries like banking (what is called “regulatory capture”) means that they will be so bribed. Scott Pruitt, a Manchurian candidate from Big Oil, has single-handedly demolished the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of polluting industry. This assault on the health of American citizens on behalf of vampirical corporations is the height of corruption.
6. The US military budget is bloated and enormous, bigger than the military budgets of the next twelve major states. What isn’t usually realized is that perhaps half of it is spent on outsourced services, not on the military. It is corporate welfare on a cosmic scale. I’ve seen with my own eyes how officers in the military get out and then form companies to sell things to their former colleagues still on the inside. Precisely because it is a cesspool of large-scale corruption, Trump’s budget will throw over $100 billion extra taxpayer dollars at it.
7. The US has a vast gulag of 2.2 million prisoners in jail and penitentiary. There is an increasing tendency for prisons to be privatized, and this tendency is corrupting the system. It is wrong for people to profit from putting and keeping human beings behind bars. This troubling trend is made all the more troubling by the move to give extra-long sentences for minor crimes, to deny parole and to imprison people for life for e,g, three small thefts.
8. The National Security Agency’s domestic spying was a form of corruption in itself, and lends itself to corruption. With some 4 million government employees and private contractors engaged in this surveillance, it is highly unlikely that various forms of insider trading and other corrupt practices are not being committed. If you knew who Warren Buffett and George Soros were calling every day, that alone could make you a killing. The American political class wouldn’t have defended this indefensible invasion of citizens’ privacy so vigorously if someone somewhere weren’t making money on it.
9. As for insider trading, it turns out Congress undid much of the law it hastily passed forbidding members, rather belatedly, to engage in insider trading (buying and selling stock based on their privileged knowledge of future government policy). That this practice only became an issue recently is another sign of how corrupt the system is.
10. Asset forfeiture in the ‘drug war’ is corrupting police departments and the judiciary. Although some state legislatures are dialing this corrupt practice back, it is widespread and a danger to the constitution.
So don’t tell the global South how corrupt they are for taking a few petty bribes. Americans are not seen as corrupt because we only deal in the big denominations. Steal $2 trillion and you aren’t corrupt, you’re respectable.
The recently patented ‘nanodrops’ developed by a team at Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Bar-Ilan University’s Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials improved both short-sightedness and long-sightedness in tests on pigs.
If the drops are found to improve human vision when clinical testing begins later this year, the nanoparticle solution could eliminate the need for eyeglasses, according to the Jerusalem Post, citing ophthalmologist Dr. David Smadja, leader of the research team.
Dr. Smadja revealed the breakthrough when speaking at Shaare Zedek’s second biennial research day on Wednesday. Held in the Jerusalem medical center’s Steinberg Auditorium, the conference is attended by some of its 350 physicians and nurses.
Smadja says the new concept could revolutionize ophthalmological and optometry treatment of patients with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and other refractory conditions, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Prospective patients would use a smartphone app to scan the eyes, measure their refraction, create a laser pattern, and then apply a “laser corneal stamping” of an optical pattern onto the corneal surface of their eyes. While the synthetic nanoparticle solution has been found to correct vision problems, the doctor did not specify exactly how often the drops would have to be applied in order to replace glasses entirely.
Welcome to Gothic, Colorado—one of the coldest places in the United States. This ghost town has been abandoned since the 1920s, but there is at least one person who still calls it home. For more than 40 years, current resident Billy Barr has lived in a small cabin, recording data about the snow pack to pass the time. In this short film, Morgan Heim of Day’s Edge Productions profiles the legendary local who inadvertently provided scientists with a treasure trove of climate change data. Winner of the Film4Climate competition organized by the Connect4Climate Program of the World Bank (film4climate.net).
More than 40 South Sudanese officials may have committed crimes against humanity, the United Nations has said.
A report on Friday by investigators from the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan said the officials – including military generals and state governors – may be responsible for the rape and murder of civilians and recruitment of child soldiers.
The officials were not named in the report.
“Children have been recruited by all sides in the conflict and forced to kill civilians; in many cases they have watched loved ones raped or killed,” the report said.
“The scale of the hunger and destruction inflicted on the country by its political and military leaders defies description.”
South Sudan plunged into civil war in 2013, two years after gaining independence from neighbouring Sudan, when conflict broke out between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and others allied to his former deputy, Riek Machar.
Machar and Kiir signed a peace deal in August 2015 and formed a unity government the following April. It broke down three months later, and fighting has continued.
The report – based on interviews with hundreds of witnesses, satellite imagery and nearly 60,000 documents – will be used as evidence in future war crimes trials, due to take place under the terms of the 2015 peace deal.
According to the agreement, South Sudan’s government will create a hybrid court with the Africa Union to try people accused of atrocities.
Andrew Clapham, one of the report’s commissioners, called for the court to be set up without further delay.
“Holding those in charge in South Sudan accountable for the intentional suffering they inflict on their own people is crucial to stemming this humanitarian catastrophe,” Clapham said.
“The African Union should immediately move with South Sudan to establish the Hybrid Court.”
The UN estimates nearly four million people have been displaced by the fighting in South Sudan, around half of whom are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.
Individuals indicted for war crimes cannot hold or stand for office in South Sudan, according to the terms of the peace deal, Yasmin Sooka, chairperson of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, said.
“Ultimately this is the only way to stop the rampant devastation of millions of human lives by South Sudan’s leaders,” she said.
Mawien Makol, South Sudan’s spokesperson for foreign affairs, told Reuters news agency the government would prosecute anyone found guilty of committing crimes.
“This is a responsible government,” she said.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera News
In the event that the entire economy collapses and food and become scarce, billionaires are looking for high-end places to hold out and await the new world order. Many billionaires are now preparing for the apocalypse, and their survival plans don’t include anyone outside the global elites.
Peter Thiel, the billionaire behind PayPal, is among those tech giants who see New Zealand as a good place to go in the event of an apocalypse. New Zealand is seen as a particularly safe place for billionaires in the event of an apocalypse. In fact, Thiel has bought a $13.5 million 193-hectare section on the shores of Lake Wanaka, although the only building there at the moment is a barn (that can be seen).
According to the Mirror, plans show he is fitting a panic room in another property he owns in the country and he has been granted New Zealand citizenship in a streamlined process not available to normal (non-global elitists) members of the public. A rough and ready description of the attraction of New Zealand came last year in The New Yorker magazine, with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman suggesting the country had become shorthand for apocalypse insurance in Silicon Valley.
In 2011, Thiel declared he’d found “no other country that aligns more with my view of the future than New Zealand”. The country is more relaxed in terms of government than many places, has ample drinking water, and some of the world’s cleanest air.
“Saying you’re ‘buying a house in New Zealand’ is kind of a ‘wink, wink, say no more’,” Hoffman said. “Once you’ve done the Masonic handshake, they’ll be, like: ‘Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] silos, and they’re nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in.‘”
“Billionaires are going ‘bunkers’ over the apocalypse if you will,” says Joe Joseph with The Daily Sheeple.
“Here’s the thing, folks: to make a long story short, the actions of preppers are vilified,” says Joseph. (Who hasn’t been called a ‘crazy tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist’ for having extra cans of food and some dried jerky meats around?) “You look at people who store non-perishable foods, who store fuel, medical supplies…they get laughed at. But these billionaires are doing the exact same thing and in haste! So you have to wonder, what is the sense of urgency with these people of means that they’re willing to go that far, to buy 98% of an island and their own airline to get there…for there to be that much of a sense of urgency.”
“We, society, is institutionalized. When you go to school, it’s cool to be stupid, it’s cool to run with the crowd, if you run outside that crowd, if you’re a ‘black sheep’, you’re a nerd…it’s a toned-down version of prison culture…but it bleeds over to the outside, so when you do your due diligence and your research, and you say ‘holy cow! All of these billionaires are buying up these bunkers and these properties and they’re putting away food and medical supplies and alternative energy…if they’re focused on that, maybe I should do it!’ And what happens? Well, because you’re an outlier because you don’t go with the crowd, you’re vilified and looked at as a ‘black sheep.’
Billionaires are showing an increased level of urgency; perhaps we should too. “They [the billionaires and elite globalists] see something coming that we don’t. It’s all over the news: whether it be an economic collapse, whether it be a pole shift, whether it be Yellowstone; you name it….they see something most don’t, although the truth is right in front of us,” Joseph says.
If you need help prepping, or don’t know where to begin, please check out the book below. It’s full of useful information on how to prepare for many apocalyptic scenarios.
“Silence is the perfectest herault of joy. I were but little happy if I could say how much.” – Shakespeare
The word noise comes from a Latin root word meaning, “pain,” or “distress.” Noise is something we’ve become accustomed to, even if we are keenly aware of its ability to cause multiple forms of anguish. Even if we live in “decibel hell,” we can find moments of silence to reduce our pain. We can intuitively observe that silence, in contrast, reboots our ability to think straight, and offers us a profound feeling of peace.
Silence also allows us to get to know our deepest truths in an undeniable way. It is in complete silence that the thoughts we shelter from others come to the surface.
But what else happens to us when we take a break from the deafening sounds of modern life? Aside from the metaphysical benefits of sitting in silence, there are staggering physiological changes which take place throughout the body: notably in the brain.
Scientists have studied the effects of silence on the brain for several decades, but a few studies are paramount in their importance if we are to understand just how vital silence is for a human being.
One study, published in the journal, Brain, Structure, and Function observed mice under the influence of noise and silence. The way the study was structured, silence was expected to be the control (identifiable or observable fact meant to minimize the effects of independent variables in a study). However, mice exposed to two hours of complete silence daily developed a peculiar side effect – they started to develop brand new cells in the hippocampus of the brain, the area which is associated with learning new things, retaining memory, and processing emotion. Though new brain cells don’t always directly translate into better health, one of the researchers, Imke Kirste, says that these new cells appeared to become functioning neurons.
“We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons and integrate into the system.”
There are many brain areas associated with emotional sensitivity and empathy. Particularly, the right supramarginal gyrus, is an imperative brain region for the development of these traits. If this brain region doesn’t function properly on a regular basis — or when we need to make particularly quick decisions — our ability to execute empathy is dramatically reduced.
One study, published in JAMA measured the effects of silence on sleep. Though it was used to test mindfulness meditation, the essence of the meditation is to observe the thoughts, silently. Those who spent just twenty minutes practicing “silence” had a measured increase in sound sleep and no longer suffered from insomnia.
“You throw thorns, in my silence they become flowers.” – Gautama Buddha
Another important study has found that the brain processes information very differently when we allow it to be in silence. When the brain is at rest, meaning, it is not exposed to new stimuli via sound, it can take both internal information (learned things) and integrate them more seamlessly with external information.
In other words, instead of reacting to external stimuli, including things that would normally trigger us to behave in a less-than-conscious way, we can quickly determine how to integrate experiences with people, circumstances, and more.
Although we can’t impose a quiet environment in our own minds, and always calm our personal thoughts, it seems that a quiet external environment allows the famous “gap” in our thinking which Daoists, Buddhists, and others have hinted at. This gap is a split second of calm which allows us to choose our reaction to the world, instead of acting out old habits.
As Nietzsche once said, “Silence is worse, all truths that are kept silent become poisonous.”What better way to see the world as it truly is, and not as we’ve erroneously imagined it, then by getting a daily dose of silence?
Even two minutes of silence can release built up tension in the brain and the body.
Multiple studies that measured changes in heart rate, respiratory rates, carbon dioxide levels, cerebral-artery flow, and other concrete physical changes, found that just a few moments of silence change how our bodies respond to the world.
Preliminary studies even indicate that silence can help us to overcome childhood trauma, PTSD, and other serious conditions of the heart and mind. The amygdala — associated with memory formation and emotion — is activated when we hear “noise” leading to the release of stress hormones. Conversely, silence activates the release of oxytocin, GABA, and serotonin – all hormones which reduce stress.
Silence is much more important to our brains than we’ve previously thought. All profound internal progress – our a-ha moments – are preceded by silence.
Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet, and her insights also appear in magazines as diverse as Weston A. Price, Nexus, Atlantis Rising, and the Cuyamungue Institute, among others. She was recently a featured author in the Journal, “Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and Healing Arts,” and her commentary on healing, ascension, and human potential inform a large body of the alternative news lexicon. She has been invited to appear on numerous radio shows, including Health Conspiracy Radio, Dr. Gregory Smith’s Show, and dozens more. The second edition of her book, Pharma Sutra, will be released soon.