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Finding solitude in an era of perpetual contact


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UCLA study endorses yoga to reduce Alzheimer’s risk

Special to Earthpages.org

University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) “study finds that yoga and meditation can help minimize cognitive impairment”, according to UCLA release issued on May 10.

To reduce risk for Alzheimer’s, skip Lumosity (games claiming to improve memory, etc.) and get onto the yoga mat, this study by UCLA-led team of neuroscientists and funded by the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, adds in the release.

It further says: “If you or your relatives are trying to improve your memory or offset the risk for developing memory loss or dementia, a regular practice of yoga and meditation could be a simple, safe and low-cost solution to improving your brain fitness.”

Rajan Zed called the UCLA looking into the usage of multi-faceted yoga to combat Alzheimer’s “a step in the positive direction.” Zed urged all major world universities to explore various benefits yoga offers.

Yoga, referred to as “a living fossil,” is a mental and physical discipline for everybody to share and benefit from, says Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism. He says yoga can be traced back to around 2,000 BCE to the Indus Valley civilization.

Zed further added that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, is a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga is a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to a recently released “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image.  Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.

UCLA claims to be “known worldwide for the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletics programs.”


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Artificial Intelligence will have to learn like the rest of us

Interesting idea in the tweeted article:

It would take far too long to program every speech thread required for normal human conversation, so machines will have to ask the right questions when faced with uncertainty, and learn from the human answers.

That sounds great. But what about morality. Can a machine learn right from wrong? Or decide whether or not to save a child or a bumblebee from a natural disaster? I’m not sure. Part of the answer, I think, depends on whether or not AI would have some kind of soul or higher consciousness that transcends its circuits. Before we say that it doesn’t, it’s probably best to just say “we don’t know” and leave it there.

Myself, it seems like our car and computers have a personality of their own. Sure, I’m probably just projecting my own thoughts and feelings onto the machines… but … they are just organized energy… and so are we. So can we really be sure?

Something for future philosophers and, perhaps, social rights activists to ponder down the road.

–MC


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Interpretation stage of science eclipsed by the wonders of new tech?

Don’t get me wrong. I am the first to champion the elimination or, at least, alleviation of unnecessary suffering. The problem with “gee-whiz” stories like this, however, is that the interpretative aspect of data observation is often dealt with inadequately. If we start screening and medicating young people who statistically deviate from the norm, might we be blotting out future Einsteins or van Goghs for the sake of some kind of contented stagnation?

And who is to say that human evolution might not require some genetic variation? Pre-doping people into conformity for a given historical period seems a bit short-sighted to me, no matter how well-intentioned.

–MC


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“Brainprints” the new thing?


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Ethics, embryos and the petri dish


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ETs – We are not alone… or are we?

I think the biggest problem with stories like this is that they assume ET life would be like ours… both in terms of (1) chemical makeup / physical needs and (2) means of communicating.

Many psychics, introverts and mystics claim to be in contact with ETs. The biggest problem with THAT idea is that we can’t really confirm nor deny their claims. They are probably sensing something. But is it their imagination? Or might they be deceived by unfriendly spiritual powers (along the lines of the Christian notion of the discernment of spirits)?

The more I listen to popular talk shows about ETs, the more some sound like cheesy fronts or covers to me. Or maybe just sheer entertainment hucksterism. I can’t be sure, of course, but it seems like the same old types of somewhat clever/somewhat goofy characters keep reappearing on these broadcasts and podcasts, telling the same kind of kooky stories: Long-winded tales about cattle mutilations, bright overhead lights on the highway, etc.

I think ETs could exist. But not necessarily in the anthropomorphic way they’re often portrayed.

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