Deep Thinking about Lab Grown Brains

Written by Ethan Engel on . Posted in Arts

images-1Have you heard heard about the: Miniature ‘human brain’ grown in laboratory? This train has left the station, but you can still get on for the ride...Read more...
"The organoids they just made are, for one thing, really small. They reached a maximum diameter of about 4 mm....But, then again, 4 mm across isn’t all that much smaller than the brain of a mouse...So the funny thing is, doing this kind of research is probably the only way we’ll ever work out whether it’s ethical or not."

Falling Awake: an emloyee meditation at Google, 6 years ago

Written by Ethan Engel on . Posted in Arts

Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at U Mass, and he's highly regarded for his role in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine. He's also an illuminating and speaker on the ways that mindfulness meditation can improve health and reduce stress.
"a huge piece of this video will feature an oblique view of a 63-year-old man's face as he speaks quietly with his eyes shut. But, who knows? Maybe that's just the thing you need today. If you're looking for a refreshingly nonsense-free introduction to mindfulness and meditation, I think you'll find this one's very much worth your time." - Merlin Mann, 43 Folders

Mindfulness Training for Children and Adults

Written by Susan Kaiser Greenland on . Posted in Arts

mom and child meditatingChildren learn largely by example.  Use "about to" moments in daily parenting to your advantage. 

Have you ever noticed a funny feeling in your body the split-second before doing something you later regret? Maybe the funny feeling is a tightening in your chest, or a flush of heat rushing to your face, or a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. These funny feelings can take place in what Western meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein calls the "about to" moment. This moment is the split-second before you speak or act.

We can train ourselves to identify the "about to" moments in our lives, and notice when a funny feeling accompanies them. By paying attention to the physical sensations that sometimes accompany an "about to" moment, we have an opportunity to pause before acting and reflect on what we're about to do or say. This is a chance to ask ourselves: "Why choose to act in this way?" "How does it make me feel?" and "Will what I'm about to do or say lead me and my family closer to, or further away from, genuine happiness?"

 0:31  How she defines mindfulness
1:28  Why it's important to teach mindfulness to children
2:12  How you can start practicing with your child
2:52  Special considerations for teenagers
3:32  A touching example of how this practice has worked for Susan's own children
4:32  How mindfulness can help a child manage strong emotions
6:17  Whether or not you should have your child adopt a formal meditation practice
7:24  Current research about how mindfulness affects children
8:08  The Inner Kids Program and how it works
8:50  Special advice for parents and professionals who are expanding their own mindfulness practice

susanSusan Kaiser Greenland is a former corporate attorney who began to practice meditation when her children were young as a way of coping with a family crisis. As she developed mindfulness awareness through this practice, not only did she survive the crisis, but she learned that it is possible to access inner peace and stillness, even when the world seems out of control.

She began teaching these practices to her children with success and is now the author of the book, The Mindful Child, which aims to help other parents and professionals teach mindfulness awareness practices to children. Susan is also the co-founder of the Inner Kids Foundation, a program dedicated to bringing mindful awareness practices to inner-city and underserved communities in Los Angeles. She blogs regularly for The Huffington Post and the book has been heavily covered in the media, including The New York Times, National Public Radio, and CBS News, among others. For more information visit

Tips to Stay Mindfully Aware of Your Environment

Written by Carsten Knox on . Posted in Arts

mindThe word sustainable sounds to most people like survival, the bare minimum. That doesn’t get most people excited. Obviously, survival is important but we weren’t put here just to survive, we were put here to create. What if we could begin to imagine a nature-rich future with new kinds of cities, homes and neighborhoods? New kinds of workplaces? If we don’t aim much higher than sustainability, we’ll never reach it. An experience in nature is super-important in making us mindful of who we are and where we are in the moment.                
Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle


Pathways to Wellness

Written by Mental Health America on . Posted in Arts

MHM2013 Pathways to Wellness Logo webWellness—it’s essential to living a full and productive life. We may have different ideas about what wellness means, but it involves a set of skills and strategies that prevent the onset or shorten the duration of illness and promote recovery and well- being. It’s about keeping healthy as well as getting healthy.

For more than 60 years, Mental Health America and affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. This year's theme is Pathways to Wellness.

Wellness is more than an absence of disease. It involves complete general, mental and social well-being. And mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being. The fact is our overall well-being is tied to the balance that exists between our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health. Whatever our situation, we are all at risk of stress given the demands of daily life and the challenges it brings—at home, at work and in life. Steps that build and maintain well-being and help us all achieve wellness involve a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a sense of self-worth, development of coping skills that promote resiliency, emotional awareness, and connections to family, friends and the community.

These steps should be complemented by taking stock of one’s well-being through regular mental health checkups. Just as we check our blood pressure and get cancer screenings, it’s a good idea to take periodic reading of our emotional well-being. One recent study said everyone should get their mental health checked as often as they get a physical, and many doctors routinely screen for mental health, which typically include a series of questions about lifestyle, eating and drinking habits and mental wellness. But a checkup doesn’t necessarily require a special trip to the doctor. There are also online screening tools you can use. While conditions like depression are common—roughly 1 in 5 Americans have a mental health condition—they are extremely treatable.

Fully embracing the concept of wellness not only improves health in the mind, body and spirit, but also maximizes one’s potential to lead a full and productive life. Using strategies that promote resiliency and strengthen mental health and prevent mental health and substance use conditions lead to improved general health and a healthier society: greater academic achievement by our children, a more productive economy, and families that stay together.

Ignorance defined

Written by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on . Posted in Arts

ignoranceAvijja, the Pali word for ignorance, is the opposite of vijja, which means not only "knowledge" but also "skill" — as in the skills of a doctor or animal-trainer. So when the Buddha focuses on the ignorance that causes stress and suffering, saying that people suffer from not knowing the four noble truths, he's not simply saying that they lack information or direct knowledge of those truths. He's also saying that they lack skill in handling them. They suffer because they don't know what they're doing.

The four truths are (1) stress — which covers everything from the slightest tension to out-and-out agony; (2) the cause of stress; (3) the cessation of stress; and (4) the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress. When the Buddha first taught these truths, he also taught that his full Awakening came from knowing them on three levels: identifying them, knowing the skill appropriate to each, and knowing finally that he had fully mastered the skills.


Talk of Thirsty Trees

Written by Elizabeth Howell on . Posted in Arts

By Elizabeth Howell, OurAmazingPlanet Contributor:

treeLike a person gasping for air when it's in short supply, living trees make noises when they are running out of water, and a team of French scientists is a step closer to pinpointing the noises.

Lab experiments at Grenoble University in France have isolated ultrasonic pops, which are 100 times faster than what a human can hear, in slivers of dead pine wood bathed in a hydrogel to simulate the conditions of a living tree.

Researchers exposed the gel to an artificially dry environment and listened for the noises that occurred as air bubbles built up, similar to what occurs to trees during droughts....

Air bubbles form when a tree is trying to suck moisture out of dry ground during droughts. As leaves on a tree collect carbon dioxide, they open their pores, a process that leaves them vulnerable to water loss.

Evaporation from the leaves pulls water up the trees in a state of tension. The tree vacuums up water from the ground through its root system, pulling it up through tubes. There are thousands of them in a typical tree, connected by pit membranes (sort of like a two-way valve). Tension in the xylem tubes increases in times of drought, then cavitates.

Douglas firs and pine trees can repair this damage as frequently as every hour, said Katherine McCulloh, a plant ecophysiologist at Oregon State University.