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Shedding Light in the Darkness

Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Limits of English to Express Happiness

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It turns out that English is a pretty poor language to express states of positive emotions. Other languages have hundreds of words associated with positive emotions, but many do not have a direct translation in English. University of East London psychology lecturer Tim Lomas has assembled some of the most striking non-English words about emotions in The Journal of Positive Psychology. Read more of this post

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RIP Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship

jeffslides2“Marty (Balin) and me are sort of like Rogers and Hammerstein in our own way,” Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner told me in an interview some years back. “There’s a nice love/hate tension that finds its way into our best songs.” Kantner, the pivotal co-founder of the iconic San Francisco-based psychedelic rock band, has sadly left us (bizarrely on the same day as original Airplane singer Signe Anderson), another musical great departing the planet in early 2016. Read more of this post

Spreading GMO Propaganda in Hawaii

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The Ecologist reports on the work in Hawaii of the pro-GMO lobby Cornell Alliance for Science at Cornell University. The Hawaiian Islands are a key focus of the biotech industry’s pro-GMO propaganda campaign. Read more of this post

The GMO Lies Campaign

gmowhether-or-not-it-is-safe-over-a-decade-and-a-half-with-mark-lynas-67-26-62In October 2015 former environmentalist Mark Lynas wrote an op-ed for the New York Times headlined Europe Turns Against Science.  “Call it the “Coalition of the Ignorant,” he wrote. “By the first week of October, 17 European countries — including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland — had used new European Union rules to announce bans on the cultivation of genetically modified crops.”

Lynas, who is the political director for the pro-GMO lobby Cornell Alliance for Science at Cornell University, hilariously suggested the move was analogous to “Europe’s prohibiting the printing press in the 15th century.” Read more of this post

The Healing Power of Music

music57758242_640Medical News Today last November featured a review of studies relating to music and health. A 2011 study for example, by researchers from McGill University in Canada found that listening to music increases the amount of dopamine produced in the brain – a mood-enhancing chemical, making it a feasible treatment for depression. Read more of this post

French Maritime Pine Bark Extract & Stress

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An extract of French maritime pine bark known as Pycnogenol improves cognitive function in individuals who have high levels of oxidative stress but are otherwise in good health, a group from Pescara, Italy, reported in the December issue of the Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences.  The 12-month study focused on the baby boomer population of individuals who currently range from 55-70 years of age. Read more of this post

America’s Drinking Water Crisis

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After the shocking news of extremely high levels of lead found in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, The Guardian reports: “Water authorities across the US are systematically distorting water tests to downplay the amount of lead in samples, risking a dangerous spread of the toxic water crisis that has gripped Flint.” Read more of this post

Watch Out For Titanium Dioxide “Whitener” in Food

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Last March, Dunkin’ Brands announced their powdered sugar donuts would no longer be manufactured with titanium dioxide, which is commonly used to whiten processed foods and personal care products. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration allows food products to contain up to 1% food-grade titanium dioxide without the need to include it on the ingredient label. So there’s a good chance we’re all eating it. There’s a problem. Read more of this post

David Bowie – We Lost a Genius

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The news of David Bowie leaving us came as a shock. He had been a recluse for quite a while, but we had no idea it was illness related. What is totally amazing is that in the last days of his life he produced a new album of fascinating, innovative music. It’s hard to imagine any other acclaimed artist accomplishing such a feat.

When I first heard the “Black Star” title song I was stunned. It sounded so unique and daring I couldn’t imagine any of his peers – Dylan, Prince, U2, the Stones etc. – releasing something so novel after so many years of creating music. It’s unparalleled. And it a arrived with a bizarre, sometimes disturbing long form video. Again no one but Bowie could have pulled it off.

I was lucky enough to see David before he became famous. When he fronted a soul band (playing Stax covers like “Land of a 1000 Dances”) Davy Jones and The Lower Third, he showed up at my UK school dance in 1966. It was fun, he was quite charismatic, even back then. Who knew he would become famous.

Some years later, living in Southern California I drove to LA to hear him in concert. Fabulous show of course. Pumped from the concert I was speeding home on the freeway jabbering to girlfriend when she says, ‘do you know you just did?’ No. ‘You just sped by a CHP car. Of course I was stopped. He was quite amused by my action. ‘We paint our cars black and white for a reason he informed me.’ I smiled. Sorry was just too excited. I still got a ticket, but who cares after seeing the great, incomparable Bowie in concert.we shared

Another memory, sitting with one of the head priests at a monastery in Kyoto in the early 1980s. Over tea we discovered we shared a mutual love for Ziggy.

He was always a brilliant showman, and what a way to for him to go out, right after releasing his latest album. Genius.

Campbell Soups Will Label GMO Ingredients

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The world’s largest soup maker, Campbell Soup Co, announced it will label all its U.S. products for the presence of ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms, becoming the first major food company to respond to growing calls for more transparency about contents in food.

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