June 19, 2008

MetaLinking 2008/06/19


Managing the Self – “We all want to be seen as competent and likable. But sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves and are in danger of maintaining that very image. We all have a social persona—the way we've chosen to represent ourselves in the world. It's automatic, and it doesn't take much effort to maintain. It feels comfortable.”

6 Iconoclastic Discoveries About The Brain – “Neuroscience, like all other branches of science, is fraught with dogmatic ideas about its subject matter. A number of principles have emerged, principles that have been regarded as fundamental to our understanding of brain function.

The Psychology of Forgiveness – “The TED.com staff's favorite psychology research blog, the BPS Research Digest, reports on a study on forgiveness from the University of Sussex and the New School for Social Research. The study examines how groups which have committed atrocious acts against one another come to break the cycle of resentment and forgive.”

Insight Into Clinical Disorders Characterized By Low Serotonin Level – “New research by scientists at the University of Cambridge suggests that the neurotransmitter serotonin, which acts as a chemical messenger between nerve cells, plays a critical role in regulating emotions such as aggression during social decision-making.”

11 Definitions of Mindfulness – “Mindfulness definitely has exciting applications for use in psychotherapy. Depending on how you conceptualize it, there are certain commonalities between states induced and fostered by both mindfulness and psychotherapy. But what is mindfulness? Here are eleven definitions of mindfulness, mostly from cognitive psychologists, but also from a few Buddhist meditators.”

Wisdom Comes With Age, At Least When It Comes To Emotions – “Scientists have identified brain patterns that help healthy older people regulate and control emotion better than their younger counterparts. The study identified two regions in the brain that showed increased activity when participants over the age of 60 were shown standardized pictures of emotionally challenging situations.”

Podcast: “On Intelligence” – “Episode 38 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Jeff Hawkins, author of On Intelligence.. Since he published his bestseller On Intelligence, he has devoted his work to his passion for neuroscience. His current company Numenta is developing software that models the hierarchal structure of the neocortex. In this interview we talk about the ideas in Hawkins book and how he is applying them to develop a computer model of cortical function.

The Power of Being Yourself – “Each individual brings a unique light into the world, however, often that light remains buried below the surface of the person others see in us. Discovering that light and letting it shine is one of the fundamental steps each individual must take to become a more whole person.”

Mindfulness: How is it Relevant to Psychotherapy? – “Why is mindfulness, as it has been conceived by Westerners, useful in psychotherapy? One compelling reason may be that it represents a new mode or vantage point, for most Western psychologists, from which to view their experience and the experience of their clients.”

Symmetry Of Homosexual Brain Resembles That Of Opposite Sex – “Swedish researchers have found that some physical attributes of the homosexual brain resemble those found in the opposite sex.”


God vs. Science: Keeping Creationism out of School – “This summer, the Texas Board of Education gears up to possibly consider whether biology classes should include the "strengths and weaknesses" evolutionary theory — known as creationism to some. Biology professor and textbook author Kenneth Miller discusses the debate.”

New Media, New Voices – “This morning's session at the MIT conference on the Future of Civic Media focuses on new voices and new media. I'm giving the closing talk in the session, talking about the 10 projects that currently comprise the Rising Voices effort of Global Voices. It's a good fit, as our work on Rising Voices is precisely about figuring out ways that new media can allow new voices to reach a local and global audience.”

Are Friendships Based More on Proximity or Shared Values? – “Rather than picking our friends based on intentional choice and common values and interests, our friendships may be based on more superficial factors like proximity or group assignments. As reported in a recent issue of Psychological Science sitting in neighboring seats as a result of randomly assigned seat numbers when meeting for the first time led to higher ratings of friendship intensity one year later.”

Is Religion Really Such a Powerful Social Force? – “Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Wheaton College English Professor Alan Jacobs argues that religion is overrated as a social force. My SciBling Razib has already written a lengthy response.”

The birth of the computer: George Dyson on TED.com – “Historian George Dyson tells stories from the birth of the digital computer -- from its 16th-century origins to the hilarious notebooks of the first computer engineers. Dyson, a dedicated archivist and crate-digger, has found some stories that haven't been told for 50 years.”

Ken Wilber’s Foreword to Sex, God, and Rock and Roll, by Stuart Davis –“A new foreword has been uploaded to the Writings section of KW.com--be sure to check it out! And if you haven't already, notice that all pdf's can now be downloaded from the site, by simply right-clicking the arrows next to each title.”

God And Religion: Is It All In Our Heads? – “Science will never be able to prove or disprove the existence of God or any higher power. Isn’t this the cornerstone of faith, after all: a belief that needs no proof? Or perhaps, maybe the proof has been in our brains the whole time.”

Resource: Digital Research Tools Wiki – “My Rice Colleague Lisa Spiro (whose blog on digital scholarship rocks) and others have put together a fantastic wiki of digital research tools, including lots I have yet to try out and many that have been mentioned here, especially in light of the discussion about edupunk…”

Religious Case Against "Belief"? – “I recently came across a new book by that title (but without the italics and quotation marks). Here's the link at Amazon. The author is James Carse; he's a professor emeritus, of religion, from NYU. I found the title (and the idea it reflects) intriguing, so I picked it up and glanced through it, and later I looked it up on Amazon to see what the reviewers were saying.”

VIDEO: Bank of Common Knowledge - knowledge generation and transmission among citizens – “I discovered this scintillating project on the WMMNA blog by Regine Debatty, which provides an overview of sensitive and promising practices emerging from Platoniq’s work with volunteers in Spain.”


The Origin of Life on Earth: New Research – “Darwin-like god ponders what the nature of life will be like. From Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. The origin of life presents a number of fundamental difficulties to science. One of these is the seemingly irreducible complexity of life itself. For instance, DNA codes for the molecules that are essential to life. Some of these molecules, however, are the very enzymes that help DNA code for molecules. It is difficult to imagine DNA works without these enzymes, but the enzymes exist in a cell because, in part, of the activities of DNA.”

Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs – “The website from which this video is taken is Health Freedom. I believe the topic is important enough for those of us who value freedom of choice in natural healing and alternative medicine and nutrition. The Codex Alimentarius is a threat to the freedom of people to choose natural healing and alternative medicine and nutrition. Ratified by the World Health Organization, and going into Law…”

Medical Research On Ice: Antarctic Study Will Measure How Humans Physically Adapt To Extreme Environment – “New medical equipment recently delivered to the Antarctic station Concordia will help understand how our bodies physically adapt to this extreme environment -- knowledge which could help prepare for a future human mission to Mars. ESA is currently looking for a candidate with a medical background to support projects at the research base”

Lander returns close-up pictures of Martian dust – “The Phoenix lander has returned the highest-resolution pictures ever taken of dust and sand on the surface of another planet as it prepares for its primary mission of searching for signs of life on Mars, NASA scientists said on Thursday.”

Sustainability and development require participation – “Achieving sustainability without participation is an impossibility!! One of my key arguments regarding an eventual transition to a new form of society that is based on peer to peer as its core logic, which I consider a ‘conditional inevitability’, is a hypothetical but hopefully likely attempt, to a new global reform towards a green/natural capitalism. My general argument is that such an attempt at sustainability, is precisely what will create room for more participation, and therefore, for a maturation of peer to peer processes and mentalities, until that time as they are ready to become the dominant logic themselves, with the market (but not infinite growth capitalism), as a subsystem.”

The Nexus of Peak Oil, Climate Change and Infrastructure – “The creation an efficient, effective and fair U.S. climate policy is utterly important, and overdue. But, argues Dynamic Cities Project founder Bryn Davidson, unless we take Peak Oil into consideration, we may end up in a situation that pits energy security against climate change concerns.”

Environment day calls for end to carbon addiction – “The United Nations urged the world on Thursday to kick an all-consuming addiction to carbon dioxide and said everyone must take steps to fight climate change.”

Largest City Solar Initiative gets greenlight in San Francisco – “San Francisco has made solar energy a top priority with the passage of the Solar Energy Initiative Program - the largest solar energy subsidy program of any city in the United States.

Global Impact Of Urbanization Threatening World's Biodiversity And Natural Resources – “A new study has examined the effect of staggering urban growth on nature and people that finds if we don't improve urban planning now, we may lose some animals, plants and natural resources for good.”

Life, Liberty, Water – “As climate change and worldwide shortages loom, will people fight over water or join together to protect it? A global water justice movement is demanding a change in international law to ensure the universal right to clean water for all.”

VIDEO: Child Labor in Mexico, Beyond – “The World Day Against Child Labour raised awareness of the plight of child laborers around the world -- most of whom are impoverished and have no chance for a formal education.”

U.N. Officials Visit Darfur to Assess Security – “Members of the U.N. Security Council are in Sudan's Darfur region Thursday for a first-hand look at the conflict there. Five years of fighting have killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.”

Israel and Hamas agree to Gaza truce – “An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip that could ease a crippling Israeli blockade of the coastal territory will begin Thursday, Egypt and Hamas said.”

From refugees to ‘envirogees’? – “Scott Thill at Alternet has published an article on the social impact of climate change. The article goes as far as coining a new term: ‘envirogee’. The implication seems to be that ‘refugee’ has a certain amount of baggage, being intrinsically associated with political persecution. We are entering an age, mainly due to climate change, but also because of other cheery current/future phenomena such as peak oil, in which the traditional definitions of refugee will need to change to retain relevance. The article is certainly polemic in tone, but I think it does the job of provoking thought on what the world is going to look like in the not too distant future and how our understandings of human movement, human rights, national boundaries and so on.”

Zimbabwe suspends aid groups and detains diplomats
– “Zimbabwe indefinitely suspended all work by aid groups on Thursday and police held a group of U.S. and British diplomats for several hours after they visited victims of political violence ahead of a presidential vote.”

Activists Hijack Train In U.K. – “According to the UK Guardian, climate change activists boldly stopped and boarded a train loaded with coal that was on its way to Britain’s largest power plant (the above link to the article also contains video footage).”

Accused 9/11 mastermind welcomes death penalty – “The accused al Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks stood in a U.S. military court on Thursday, sang a chant of praise to Allah and said he would welcome the death penalty”.
Highest Ever Levels Of Post-traumatic Stress Found In Uganda - Uganda has the highest rate of post-traumatic stress and depression ever recorded, following extremely high of civilian exposure to violence and poor healthcare, a study published in BMC Psychiatry says today.

President says EU force closing eyes to Chad rebels – “Chadian President Idriss Deby on Monday accused the European Union protection force (EUFOR) in eastern Chad of "closing its eyes" to the killing of civilians and refugees by advancing anti-government rebels.”

Karzai Threatens Troop Buildup on Pakistan Border – “Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that he may send soldiers into Pakistan to fight militant groups operating on the border separating the countries. His comments are likely to heighten tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

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