Science

What Is Consciousness? Measuring Consciousness with EEG & fMRI – Meditation Article

May 19, 2020 We inherently know what it means to be conscious, yet we have a difficult time explaining it… so what exactly is consciousness?  Throughout history (and still to this day), philosophers and scientists have not fully understood human consciousness.  Back in the 1600s, philosophers believed that the mind was completely separate from the rest of the physical body, but since then large bodies of research have proven a deep connection between the mind and body.  According to the Canadian…

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What went right this week: a round-up of the latest good news stories – Positivity Article

Paris prepares to open world’s largest urban farm A culinary revolution is taking root on vacant rooftops in Paris, which are being transformed into the world’s largest urban farm. Delayed by coronavirus, the closed-loop farm is now set to open at the end of June and will, it is estimated, produce around 1,000kg of fresh food daily, to be used by restaurants and residents. “Our farms are great for biodiversity and efficiency, and they have a very low carbon footprint,”…

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I’m Too Smart To Be Happy: Debunking Depressive Realism – Self Improvement Article

One common belief I come across (especially in many truly smart and talented individuals), is the thought that “I’m too smart to be happy.” Many believe that there is a direct relationship between being too intelligent and being depressed. This is sometimes referred to as depressive realism, which is the idea that depressed people have a more accurate and rational view of the world. To people that have an “I’m too smart to be happy” mindset, they see their intelligence…

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Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant Reads Audre Lorde’s Poignant Poem “The Bees” – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

Bees hum the essential harmonics in the symphony of life — crucial pollinators responsible for our planet’s diversity, responsible for the flourishing of the entire food chain, responsible even for Earth’s resplendent colors. It is hardly a wonder that they have long moved poets, those essential harmonizers of human life, to rapture and reverie. Emily Dickinson reverenced “their velvet masonry,” Walt Whitman their “their perpetual rich mellow boom” and “great glistening swelling bodies,” and Ross Gay their murmured assurance, “saying…

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When Did Time Really Begin? The Little Loophole in the Big Bang – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

A pleasurable warping of the figuring faculty to contemplate what was there before the before. By Maria Popova “Time says ‘Let there be,’” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote shortly before her death in her splendid “Hymn to Time,” saluting the invisible dimension that pervades and encompasses the whole of life: “the radiance of each bright galaxy. And eyes beholding radiance. And the gnats’ flickering dance. And the seas’ expanse. And death, and chance.” But what does time say of the…

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James Baldwin on Keeping the Light Alive Amid the Entropic Darkness of Being, Set to Music – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

“Against this cosmic background the lifespan of a particular plant or animal appears, not as drama complete in itself, but only as a brief interlude in a panorama of endless change,” Rachel Carson wrote in her poetic, unexampled 1937 essay Undersea as she incubated the ideas that would awaken humanity’s ecological conscience. “There is grandeur in this view of life,” Darwin had written in the closing pages of On the Origin of Species in the middle of the previous century,…

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Stunning 19th-Century Illustrations from the World’s First Encyclopedia of One of Earth’s Most Vibrant and Delicate Ecosystems – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

While the German marine biologist Ernst Haeckel was salving his fathomless personal tragedy with the transcendent beauty of jellyfish, having enraptured Darwin with his drawings, his English colleague William Saville-Kent (July 10, 1845–October 11, 1908) was transcending his own darkness on the other side of the globe with the vibrant, irrepressible aliveness of the Great Barrier Reef and its astonishing creatures. Anemones from The Great Barrier Reef of Australia, 1893. (Available as a print.)By the end of his adolescence, William…

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What went right: a round-up of good news stories from the week just gone – Positivity Article

African tailors sewing face masks to halt coronavirus An initiative to provide free face masks to people living in the world’s poorest communities has been expanded to more African nations in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus. The WHO warned last month that Africa could be the next epicentre of the outbreak. African Masks, a non-profit supported by crowdfunding, employs tailors to sew face masks, which are distributed for free in impoverished communities in the Democratic Republic of…

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Elizabeth Gilbert Reads a Poignant Forgotten Poem About the Big Dipper and Our Cosmic Humanity – Brain Pickings – Personal Development Article

For as long as we have been raising enchanted eyes to the night sky — that is, for as long as we have been the conscious, curious, wonder-stricken animals recognizable as human — we have marveled at seven bright stars outlining the third largest constellation in the Northern hemisphere, and humanity’s most beloved one. Ursa Major — Latin for “the great she-bear” — has enraptured the human imagination since before we had the words to call it the Big Dipper…

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Rosanne Cash Reads Lisel Mueller’s Subtle Poem About Growing Out of Our Limiting Frames of Reference – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

We parse and move through reality as multidimensional creatures in a multidimensional world. The experience of dimensions, this living fact of spatiality, may be our most direct mathematical grasp of the universe — an understanding woven into our elemental sensemaking, into our language and our metaphors: We speak of our social circles, our love triangles, our spheres of influence, the depth of our feelings, the height of our intellect, the length of our lives. But we are also quite limited…

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Astronaut Leland Melvin Reads Pablo Neruda’s Love Letter to Earth’s Forests – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

“Today, for some, a universe will vanish,” Jane Hirshfield writes in her stunning poem about the death of a tree a quarter millennium after William Blake observed in his most passionate letter that how we see a tree is how we see the world, and in the act of seeing we reveal what we are: “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way,” he…

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Physicist Brian Greene on Mortality, Our Search for Meaning, and the Most Important Fact of the Universe – Brain Pickings – Personal Development Article

“Death is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love,” Rainer Maria Rilke wrote in letter to his grief-stricken friend, the Countess Margot Sizzo-Noris-Crouy, in 1923 — the year he published, after a decade of work, his miraculous Duino Elegies. Nearly a century after Rilke’s death, the theoretical physicist and mathematician Brian Greene — who is reading and reflecting on the ninth of Rilke’s ten…

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Amanda Palmer Reads “Einstein’s Mother” by Tracy K. Smith – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

The forces of chance that chisel reality out of the bedrock of possibility — this improbable planet, this improbable life — leave ghostly trails of what-ifs, questions asked and unanswered, unanswerable. Why do you, this particular you, exist? Why does the universe? And once the dice have fallen in favor of existence, there are so many possible points of entry into life, so many possible fractal paths through it — so many ways to live and die even the most…

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A Study For Novice Meditators – Meditation Article

March 10, 2020 A new study takes the first step in proving the long-standing belief that it doesn’t matter how long you should meditate for but how often. Imagine you have to give an oral presentation to a panel of interviewers. The panel gives you no feedback, and no encouragement, and at the end of the presentation? They ambush you with a math test. It sounds like a nightmare designed to create the maximum amount of stress— and that’s because…

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Full Show – Brain Pickings – Personal Development Article

Each spring, I join forces with my friends at Pioneer Works for an improbable idea that began in 2017 and has taken on a life of its own: The Universe in Verse — a charitable celebration of the science and splendor of nature through poetry. The third annual Universe in Verse at Pioneer Works. April 23, 2019. Photograph: Walter Wlodarczyk.With our sleeves rolled up and sweat-soaked in preparation for the 2020 virtual edition (“trailer” here), and with the world stunned…

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Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads Astronomer and Poet Rebecca Elson’s Stunning Cosmic Salve for Our Creaturely Tremblings of Heart – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

It is our biological wiring to exist — and then not; it is our psychological wiring to spend our lives running from this elemental fact on the hamster wheel of busyness and the hedonic treadmill of achievement, running from the disquieting knowledge that the atoms huddling for a cosmic blink around the shadow of a self will one day disband and return to the “aloof stars” that made them. If we still ourselves for a moment, or are bestilled by…

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The Difference Between Meditation and Sleep – Meditation Article

April 9, 2020 Admit it, sometimes when you’re meditating you think to yourself, “Why don’t I just go to sleep instead?” There’s no shame in that! In fact, that’s part of the point of meditation—to rest and relax the mind—but sleeping and meditating don’t affect the mind in the same way. Here’s a more in-depth look at what happens to the brain during sleep vs a meditative state. The Difference Between Meditation and Sleep The key difference between meditation and…

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White Matter VS Grey Matter – Meditation Article

April 1, 2020 The left and the right side of the brain are different. We only use 10% of the brain. Alcohol kills brain cells. Too much TV will rot your brain.  Did you spot the brain myths in that first paragraph?  We hear a lot about the brain, but how much do we really know about the mysterious organ that makes us who we are? There are a lot of myths about the brain, and the insidious “10%” is…

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Newton, the Plague, and How Quarantine Fomented the Greatest Leap in Science – Brain Pickings – Personal Development Article

In the 1650s, the penumbra of plague slowly began eclipsing Europe. Italy fell first, soon Spain, then Germany, then Holland. From across the slender cell wall of the Channel, England watched and trembled, then cautiously relaxed — for about a decade, some divine will seemed to be shielding the country. But the world was already worshipping at the altar of commerce and the forces of globalization had already been set into motion — with England’s economy relying heavily on trade,…

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The Story of the 1964 Alaska Earthquake and the Remarkable Woman Who Magnetized People into Falling Together as Their World Fell Apart – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

We might spend our lives trying to discern where we end and the rest of the world begins, but we save them by experiencing ourselves — our selves, each individual self — as “the still point of the turning world,” to borrow T.S. Eliot’s lovely phrase from one of the greatest poems ever written. And yet that point is pinned to a figment — our fundamental creaturely sense of reality is founded upon the illusion of absolute rest. On March…

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Not Your Average 8th Grade Science Project – Meditation Article

March 24, 2020 Our team at Muse received a request from one very bright 8th grader at Emery/Weiner School in Houston Texas. His name is Joshua Kaplan, and was in need of our help for his science fair project. Joshua’s curiosity lead him to investigate the effects of different lighting on states of stress and relaxation. We were lucky enough to have him write to us and ask for support! See below for Joshua’s post: My name is Joshua Kaplan,…

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How Ernst Haeckel Turned Personal Tragedy into Transcendent Art in the World’s First Encyclopedia of Medusae – Brain Pickings – Personal Development Article

“I hope you are able to work hard on science & thus banish, as far as may be possible, painful remembrances,” Charles Darwin wrote in the spring of 1864 to a young and obscure German correspondent who had just sent him two folios of his stunningly illustrated studies of tiny single-celled marine organisms — a masterwork that enchanted Darwin as one of the most majestic things he had ever seen. But Ernst Haeckel (February 16, 1834–August 9, 1919), who would…

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Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads Walt Whitman’s Stunning Serenade to Our Interlaced Lives Across Space and Time – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

How few artists are not merely the sensemaking vessel for the tumult of their times, not even the deck railing of assurance onto which the passengers steady themselves, but the horizon that remains for other ships long after this one has reached safe harbor, or has sunk — the horizon whose steadfast line orients generation after generation, yet goes on shifting as each epoch advances toward new vistas of truth and possibility. Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819–March 26, 1892) was…

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Josh Groban Reads Auden’s “After Reading a Child’s Guide to Modern Physics” and Tells the Inspiring Story of His Rebel Astronomer Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather – Brain Pickings – Personal Development Article

“How should we like it were stars to burn with a passion for us we could not return?” asked W.H. Auden (February 21, 1907–September 29, 1973) in “The More Loving One” — one of the greatest, most largehearted poems ever written. The son of a physicist, Auden wove science throughout much of his poetry — sometimes playfully, sometimes poignantly, always as a finely polished lens on the deepest moral and humanistic questions with which we live and for which we…

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Life, Death, Chance, and Freeman Dyson – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

In her stunning “Hymn to Time,” Ursula K. Le Guin observed how death and chance course through “space and the radiance of each bright galaxy,” through our “eyes beholding radiance” — death and chance meaning death and life, for each of us is a wonder of improbability made by an immense Rube Goldberg machine of chance: If the Big Bang had churned out just a little more antimatter than matter, if the ratio of hydrogen and helium in the baby…

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Stunning, Sensual Illustrations from the World’s First Encyclopedia of Octopus and Squid Wonders from the Ocean Depths – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

“While stroking an octopus, it is easy to fall into reverie,” naturalist Sy Montgomery wrote in her breathtaking inquiry into how Earth’s most alien creature illuminates the wonders of consciousness. “To share such a moment of deep tranquility with another being, especially one as different from us as the octopus, is a humbling privilege… an uplink to universal consciousness.” A century before her, and decades before the great marine biologist, conservation pioneer, and poetic science writer Rachel Carson invited the…

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Why Plain Language Is Better Than Complex Jargon – Self Improvement Article

“If you care about being thought credible and intelligent, do not use complex language where simpler language will do.” Daniel Kahneman Simple communication is often better than using complex language, especially if you are trying to reach out to the biggest audience possible. A new study published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology discovered that the use of complex jargon can often turn people off from learning topics like science and politics, even when specialized words are defined.…

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Physicist Brian Greene on the Poetry of Existence and the Wellspring of Meaning in Our Ephemeral Lives Amid an Impartial Universe – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

“Praised be the fathomless universe, for life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious,” Walt Whitman wrote as he stood discomposed and delirious before a universe filled with “forms, qualities, lives, humanity, language, thoughts, the ones known, and the ones unknown, the ones on the stars, the stars themselves, some shaped, others unshaped.” And yet the central animating force of our species, the wellspring of our joy and curiosity, the restlessness that gave us Whitman and Wheeler, Keats and…

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Home Remedies For Arthritis and Joint Pain – Self Improvement Article

Arthritis is one of the most chronic and common illnesses affecting millions around the globe. It is a disease that causes inflammation of the joints and considered a rheumatic condition. It doesn’t just harm the joints, but sometimes it can also affect the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones. If the condition spreads, it can also affect other internal organs and the immune system. The symptoms of arthritis include severe ache, pain, stiffness, and swelling in bones and muscles. Arthritis can…

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Gorgeous 19th-Century Engravings of Cacti – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

Among the oddities of my childhood in communist Bulgaria was my mother’s collection of cacti. Against the chipped grey concrete of our apartment building, these improbable emissaries of another climate from another world stood as spiked sentinels of a fantastical optimism at the portal to another life. Each winter, we brought the entire ensemble — dozens of them, all kinds of shapes and sizes and species — indoors; each summer, we carefully arranged them back on the tiny balcony overlooking…

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