Debunking Fukushima’s radiation myths.

apan’s ongoing nuclear disaster is scary enough, but some rumours and hoaxes linked to it are alarming and persistent.

If public trust in major institutions is undermined, many people turn to social media to find information they deem more authoritative.

So, after a major event which may have a huge impact on public health, how can officials best communicate the risks of radiation exposure in an effective way?

Vincent Covello is an epidemiologist who runs the Center for Risk Communication in New York. Generally speaking, he said, about 50 percent of people respond favourably to “regulatory standards” – if, for example, they take a measurement of radiation and know that it falls within accepted boundaries, that is enough for them to feel safe. In this particular case, it should be noted that there is a lack of consensus on regulatory standards when it comes to radiation exposure.

Forty percent of people tend to place a greater priority on three main comparisons when assessing their safety. A temporal comparison makes people consider what they were exposed to before and after an incident. A geographical comparison considers exposure in the context of other locations’ exposure. Finally, a situational comparison allows people to draw frames of reference around more familiar experiences, such as how much radiation one is exposed to in a dental X-ray versus being in Fukushima.

“The bad news is that 10 percent of the population never believe what you have to say – and that is generally true for almost any type of issue,” said Covello.

“In today’s world of blogs and Wikipedia, being first is critical – in fact, we often find that you can typically have almost any question answered by a person claiming to be an authority within as little as four minutes of an event… which puts a premium on being first.”


In other words, being forced to wait months, or even days, for the release of information just won’t wash.

“We have to be prepared to respond in as little as four minutes,” added Covello. “Which is one of the reasons why a number of organisations have ‘dark’ websites,” or pages that hold crucial information needed in case of a major event or disaster. Sadly, such a site was not available after the Fukushima accident. It still isn’t – hence the steady whirl of the online rumour-mill.

Covello was among the experts speaking in Vienna at a recent International Atomic Energy Agency conference on Japan’s nuclear disaster. Al Jazeera caught up with a few more experts and asked their opinions on some of the wilder claims circulating the internet.

Giant squid

In a cartoonish turn – think of Peter Parker, bitten by a radioactive spider, or Godzilla empowered by nuclear fallout – the persistent myth of mutant sea monsters such as giant squid or mutant “fish-like snakes” persists.

“The radioactive leaks from the damaged plant will not cause an outbreak of mutant sea life,” said Carl-Magnus Larsson, chair of the UN’s Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

“There has been much concern over the very large, and unfortunately still ongoing, releases of radioactivity to the ocean, which means that fish and other marine life caught close to the damaged power plant can’t be marketed in Japan or elsewhere,” said Larsson, who is also CEO of Australia’s nuclear safety agency.

This, however, is not about to produce a race of sea monsters.

“The radioactivity is also being transported over very long distances with the ocean currents, but will at the same time be diluted to levels where there is no concern for harmful effects on sea life or for using, for example, the beaches along the North American west coast for recreational purposes.”

So if you see photos of mutant sea creatures on Facebook, marvel at the Photoshop skills, not the effects of radiation.

Radiation from Fukushima is frying California’s beaches

It wasn’t long after the March 2011 trifecta of disasters – earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown – that Americans started to worry about radioactive debris and water cluttering their coastlines and destroying their beaches.

That worry – along with videos of misunderstood measurements and wholly unscientific claims – still persist.

After one habitually alarmist blogger posted a video showing radiation readings on a California beach, Azby Brown, director of the Future Design Institute at Kanazawa Institute of Technology, and a volunteer for independent radiation monitoring group Safecast, said his group sprang into action.

“Immediately we questioned whether or not the readings on his radiation detector in the video were true or somehow manipulated,” said Brown.

“A brief web search turned up several scientific references dating back to the late 1950s indicating that it’s been known that many beaches in California have noticeable levels of natural radioactivity, so that was an indication that it was at least plausible that this was natural radioactivity.”

Safecast volunteers then took their own measurements and sand samples from the beach and found traces of thorium and radium, and “nothing from Fukushima. If it had been from Fukushima, we would have seen Caesium-137 and Caesium-134, and there was nothing”, said Brown.

This isn’t to say that minute levels of radiation from Fukushima has not reached the US – or many other countries – but it’s in “levels that are thousands of times lower than anything that has ever been demonstrated to cause health effects”.

Don’t consume Japanese rice, seafood, tea… or anything

Although Japanese regulators lowered the permissible level of radiation in food dramatically – from 500 becquerel/kg a year after the nuclear accident to 100bq/kg -the fear persists, and, now and again, there is panic over radiation being found in some food.


“People are much too afraid,” said Astrid Liland, a nuclear chemist with the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, in Vienna to give a talk on managing the food chain in the event of a nuclear accident.

“They have one of the most strict levels in the world right now,” said Liland. In Norway, the limit is 600bq/kg for staple foods.

“So, in my view, they’ve put a very, very strict limit which is not based on health risk, but based on other issues like consumer trust, trying to regain the public confidence, since they did a lousy job in the beginning, and the people lost a lot of confidence in the government,” she said.

“They also have very strict export control, so the food that is exported has to be below the same limit… in the European Commission, they decided to temporarily have the same limit for importing food from Japan, although the normal limit in the European Commission is 1,000bq/kg,” said Liland.

“The reason why they lowered it was, because otherwise, people would be speculating that food that was not safe for the Japanese was being exported, which is then not seen as socially acceptable.”

At these low doses, she said it’s difficult to perform epidemiological studies to see if foodstuffs carry increased risks, although studies are ongoing.

However, some foods tend to collect more radiation than others, so Liland does leave us with some parting words of wisdom: “Don’t pick wild mushrooms in the exclusion zone in the Fukushima area.”

We’re all going to die of cancer

That people were exposed to radiation above normal, pre-accident limits is not in dispute. Nor is the fact that it might take years to see if and how illnesses develop among those who were exposed.

But according to a talk presented by Malcolm Crick, secretary of the UN’s Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, “there were no radiation-related deaths or acute diseases among the general public and workers”.


Crick told Al Jazeera that there were two things that people should keep in mind when it comes to radiation and cancer.

“The first thing that people don’t realise is that radiation is natural. We are exposed to radiation from outer space… that radiation is there, it provides us with a background exposure as we live on this planet,” he said.

“If we take the Japanese population – the normal expectation is that there is a 35 percent chance that you’ll die of cancer,” said Crick. Cancer is largely “an old person’s disease”, said Crick, and we are, as a species, living longer.

Crick also defended the Japanese government’s response to the Fukushima accident, saying that the evacuations – seen as bungled and delayed by many – reduced radiation exposure.

“If you look at the total dose of radiation, it looks to us that they reduced the doses by a factor of 10, from doses where we probably would be concerned about increases in cancer to doses where any notional increased risk is small compared with this annual difference in the fluctuation in the background [radiation] rate.”

“So, no-one’s saying that this is a good thing, no-one’s saying that there wasn’t a notional risk,” said Crick.

“And there are some exceptions, and the most important one is the thyroid cancer issue, particularly in infants.”

Infants drink milk, and the thyroids of infants are very absorbent of iodine, which was present in the air and in food stuffs initially. Regulators tried to control what went on the market, and while the risk remains, he said it was “borderline as to whether there is one in a million [cases of thyroid cancer among infants] or twice as many, two in a million… and on this fluctuation, you will not be able to see anything… we can’t rule out whether we can find something, but it’s borderline”.

The contamination is never going away

Just how long it will really take to decommission the plant is up for debate, although the Japanese government estimated that it would take roughly 40 years. And that’s just the plant itself.


Some, however, believe that it’ll take closer to a century, if not longer, before the area is decontaminated.

To say that Fukushima will remain “contaminated”, said Volodymyr Berkovskyy of Kiev’s Radiation Protection Institute in Ukraine, is almost meaningless.

“It’s a technical term which means any presence of radioactivity – it has no connotations of safe or not safe. [That’s] a completely different story,” said Berkovskyy.

“If you can measure something, if it’s present, then someone can say that it is contaminated – but in such a case… we are contaminated… our bodies contain natural radionuclides such as potassium-40, so we are ‘contaminated’,” he said. “It’s completely natural and [has been around for] billions of years.”

What’s controversial, he said, is managing public expectation. “The public… probably expects something completely clean, with not one atom of caesium there, which is impossible,” said Berkovskyy, referring to the radioactive element caesium-137, present in the soil and water around the not entirely stable plant.

With some compromise, people can live and work – but it depends on where, exactly, and the “local constraints… but there is a range of possibility”.

“It’s completely achievable… and it’s not black and white,” said Berkovskyy. “Accidents can cause heavy damage, for sure.”

The exclusion zone that remain around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exists largely due to economic reasons, as “infrastructure is too expensive,” said Berkovskyy. “Also an issue is the availability of expertise throughout the decades it will take to decommission a plant and carry out decontamination plans.

“Concerning the time frame of decommissioning of the Chernobyl Unit 4, it is a trade-off between the level of workers’ exposure – many short-lived radionuclides disappeared with time – and the availability of expertise of experts who knew the plant before the accident.

“It’s completely feasible to decommission it [the damaged Daiichi plant] and put it in a safe condition – and it’s completely feasible to remediate the area – it is proven by Chernobyl.”

Migraine: Are they triggered by weather changes?

Some people who have migraines appear to be more sensitive to changes in the weather. Weather-related triggers include:

  • Bright sunlight
  • Hot or cold temperatures
  • High humidity
  • Dry air
  • Windy or stormy weather
  • Barometric pressure changes

For some people, weather changes may cause imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin, which can prompt a migraine. Weather-related triggers also may worsen a headache caused by other triggers.

If you feel your migraines are triggered by weather, you may be understandably frustrated. After all, you can’t change the weather. However, you can learn which weather changes start a migraine and take steps to lessen their effects:

  • Keep a headache diary, listing each migraine, when it happened, how long it lasted and what could have caused it. This can help you determine if you have specific weather triggers.
  • Monitor weather changes and avoid triggers if at all possible. For example, stay indoors during very cold or windy weather if these factors appear to trigger your migraines.
  • Take your migraine medication at the first sign of a migraine.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices — eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and keep your stress under control. These factors can help reduce the number and severity of your migraines.

Codex Seraphinianus: History’s Most Bizarre and Beautiful Encyclopedia, Brought Back to Life.

“You see what you want to see. You might think it’s speaking to you, but it’s just your imagination.”

In 1976, Italian artist, architect, and designerLuigi Serafini, only 27 at the time, set out to create an elaborate encyclopedia of imaginary objects and creatures that fell somewhere between Edward Gorey’s cryptic alphabets,Albertus Seba’s cabinet of curiosities, the book of surrealist games, and Alice in Wonderland. What’s more, it wasn’t written in any ordinary language but in an unintelligible alphabet that appeared to be a conlang — an undertaking so complex it constitutes one of the highest feats of cryptography. It took him nearly three years to complete the project, and three more to publish it, but when it was finally released, the book — a weird and wonderful masterpiece of art and philosophical provocation on the precipice of the information age — attracted a growing following that continued to gather momentum even as the original edition went out of print.

Now, for the first time in more than thirty years, Codex Seraphinianus (public library) is resurrected in a lavish new edition by Rizzoli — who have a penchant for excavating forgotten gems — featuring a new chapter by Serafini, now in his 60s, and a gorgeous signed print with each deluxe tome.





In an interview for Wired Italy, Serafini aptly captures the subtle similarity tochildren’s books in how the Codex bewitches our grown-up fancy with its bizarre beauty:

What I want my alphabet to convey to the reader is the sensation that children feel in front of books they cannot yet understand. I used it to describe analytically an imaginary world and give a coherent framework. The images originate from the clash between this fantasy vocabulary and the real world. … The Codex became so popular because it makes you feel more comfortable with your fantasies. Another world is not possible, but a fantasy one maybe is.




Playfully addressing the book’s towering price point, Serafini makes a more serious point about how it bespeaks the seductive selectiveness of our attention:

The [new] edition is very rich and also pricey, I know, but it’s just like psychoanalysis: Money matters and the fee is part of the process of healing. At the end of the day, the Codex is similar to the Rorschach inkblot test. You see what you want to see. You might think it’s speaking to you, but it’s just your imagination.



Undoubtedly one of the most intricate and beautiful art books ever created,Codex Seraphinianus is also a timeless meditation on what “reality” really is, one all the timelier in today’s age of such seemingly surrealist feats as bioengineering whole new lifeforms, hurling subatomic particles at each other faster than the speed of light, and encoding an entire book onto a DNA molecule.

Epigenetics of Regeneration.

Repairing damaged neurons relies on booting a histone deacetylase out of the nucleus so regeneration genes can be turned on.

To regenerate after injury, a nerve cell must turn on gene programs that have been silenced since development. Epigenetic modifications, important players in the activation and silencing of genes, may underlie the ability for a cell to rebuild. “At some level, some epigenetic change must occur globally to allow the neuron to reprogram itself,” says Valeria Cavalli of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 2012, Cavalli’s group showed that when axons are injured in peripheral sensory neurons, a wave of calcium ions courses from the site of the injury down the axon to the cell body. Subsequently, histone deacetylase 5 (HDAC5)—an epigenetic regulator of gene expression—accumulates at the tips of the damaged axons. There, HDAC5 deacetylates tubulin, destabilizing the microtubules, an event crucial for a growth cone to form and the axon to regenerate.

To learn where HDAC5 at the injury site comes from, Cavalli and her colleagues damaged peripheral neurons—either cultured dorsal root ganglia (DRG) cells or the sciatic nerves of four-month-old mice—by severing or crushing the cells’ axons.

Consistent with their earlier work, a wave of calcium ions propagated down the axon and resulted in the phosphorylation of PKCμ—an enzyme known to trigger the exit of HDAC5 from the nucleus in cardiomyocytes and hippocampal neurons. Just as in these other cell types, the team found that PKCμ activation in cultured neurons caused the transport of HDAC5 out of the nucleus. They also demonstrated that HDAC5 moved from the cell body to the axon tip in both the cultured DRG neurons and in the sciatic nerve.

Cavalli’s team showed that HDAC5’s movement out of the nucleus was essential for regeneration. Preventing nuclear exit of HDAC5 using a mutated form of the protein foiled regeneration in cultured neurons. HDAC5’s nuclear departure also correlated with a surge in histone H3 acetylation—an activity that turns on genes—and the transcription of genes essential for regeneration.

“The strength [of this work] is the mechanistic understanding” of how peripheral neurons repair themselves, says Hongyan Zou of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City who was not involved in the research. “Can we harness this mechanism in the central nerves?” she asks.

Peripheral neurons can regrow after damage, but neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) have little ability to do so. And Cavalli’s results showed that CNS neurons don’t respond to injury the same way peripheral neurons do: after damage to the optic nerve, retinal ganglion cells did not export HDAC5 from the nucleus, acetylate histone H3, or turn on the genes needed for regeneration. Whether scientists could induce the HDAC5 pathway in the CNS needs to be evaluated, Zou says.

Cavalli is now in the process of doing just that. “What we’re trying to do is manipulate the system, to see if we can improve axon regeneration,” she says.

Penn Study in Fruitflies Strengthens Connection Among Protein Misfolding, Sleep Loss, and Age

 Pulling an “all-nighter” before a big test is practically a rite of passage in college. Usually, it’s no problem: You stay up all night, take the test, and then crash, rapidly catching up on lost sleep. But as we age, sleep patterns change, and our ability to recoup lost sleep diminishes.

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, have been studying the molecular mechanisms underpinning sleep. Now they report that the pathways of aging and sleep intersect at the circuitry of a cellular stress response pathway, and that by tinkering with those connections, it may be possible to alter sleep patterns in the aged for the better – at least in fruit flies.

Nirinjini Naidoo, PhD, associate professor in the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology and the Division of Sleep Medicine, led the study with postdoctoral fellow Marishka Brown, PhD, which waspublished online before print in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

Increasing age is well known to disrupt sleep patterns in all sorts of ways. Elderly people sleep at night less than their younger counterparts and also sleep less well. Older individuals also tend to nap more during the day. Naidoo’s lab previously reported that aging is associated with increasing levels of protein unfolding, a hallmark of cellular stress called the “unfolded protein response.”

Protein misfolding is also a characteristic of several age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and as it turns out, also associated with sleep deprivation. Naidoo and her team wanted to know if rescuing proper protein folding behavior might counter some of the detrimental sleep patterns in elderly individuals.

Using a video monitoring system to compare the sleep habits of “young” (9–12 days old) and “aged” (8 weeks old) fruit flies, they found that aged flies took longer to recover from sleep deprivation, slept less overall, and had their sleep more frequently interrupted compared to younger control animals. However, adding a molecule that promotes proper protein folding – a molecular “chaperone” called PBA — mitigated many of those effects, effectively giving the flies a more youthful sleep pattern. PBA (sodium 4-phenylbutyrate) is a compound currently used to treat such protein-misfolding-based diseases as Parkinson’s and cystic fibrosis.

The team also asked the converse question: Can protein misfolding induce altered sleep patterns in young animals. Another drug, tunicamycin, induces protein misfolding and stress, and when the team fed it to young flies, their sleep patterns shifted towards those of aged flies, with less sleep overall, more interrupted sleep at night, and longer recovery from sleep deprivation.

Molecular analysis of sleep-deprived and PBA-treated flies suggested that PBA acts through the unfolded protein response. PBA, Naidoo says, had two effects on aged flies: it “consolidated” baseline sleep, increasing the total amount of time slept and shifted recovery sleep, after sleep deprivation, to look more like that of a young fly.

“It rescued the sleep patterns in the older flies,” she explains.

These results, Naidoo says, suggest three key messages. First, sleep loss leads to protein misfolding and cellular stress, and as we age, our ability to recover from that stress decreases. Second, aging and sleep apparently form a kind of negative “chicken-and-egg” feedback loop, in which sleep loss or sleep fragmentation lead to cellular stress, followed by neuronal dysfunction, and finally even poorer-quality sleep.

Sleep recharges neuronal batteries, Naidoo explains, and if a person is forced to stay awake, those batteries run down. Dwindling physiological resources must be devoted to the most critical cell functions, which do not necessarily include protein homeostasis. “Staying awake has a cost, and one of those costs is problems with protein folding.”

Finally, and most importantly, she says these results suggest — assuming they can be replicated in mice and humans – that it may be possible using drugs such as PBA to “fix sleep” in aged or mutant animals.

“People know that sleep deteriorates with aging,” Naidoo says, “But this might be able to be stopped or reversed with molecular chaperones.” Her team is now looking to determine if a similar situation exists in mammals and if better sleep translates into longer lifespan.

National Cancer Institute report admits millions have been falsely treated for ‘cancer’.

A significant number of people who have undergone treatment for cancer over the past several decades may not have ever actually had the disease, admits a new report commissioned by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI). Published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), this government study identifies both overdiagnosis and misdiagnosis of cancer as two major causes of this growing epidemic, which together have led to the needless treatment of millions of otherwise healthy individuals with chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.


The report drops a few major bombshells on the way that many cancers are diagnosed. Breast cancer, for instance, is sometimes not breast cancer at all but rather a benign condition such as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). However, untold millions of women with DCIS have been misdiagnosed as having breast cancer, and subsequently treated for a condition that likely never would have caused them any health problems. And similarly in men, high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), a type of premalignant precursor to cancer, is commonly mistreated as if it was actual cancer.

“The practice of oncology in the United States is in need of a host of reforms and initiatives to mitigate the problem of overdiagnosis and overtreatment of cancer, according to a working group sanctioned by the National Cancer Institute,” explains about the study. “Perhaps most dramatically, the group says that a number of premalignant conditions, including ductal carcinoma in situ and high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, should no longer be called ‘cancer.'”

Conventional cancer treatments once again shown to be a leading cause of cancer

These are shocking admissions, considering that NCI is a government-funded agency that tends to favor the conventional cancer diagnosis and treatment model, even when it is shown to be a failure. But even worse is the inference that untold millions of healthy people have been treated with poison and radiation for conditions they never even had, which likely caused many of them to develop real cancer and even die as a result.

As it turns out, the entire concept of “early diagnosis” itself is fundamentally flawed, since many of the methods used to diagnose fail to differentiate between benign and malignant cancer cells. This means that many people who are falsely diagnosed with cancer will end up developing cancer as a result of getting treatment for cancers they never had, a phenomenon that proves the absurdity of the entire model.

“[E]ven in the case of finding the tumor early enough to contain it through surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation, it is well-known that the minority subpopulation of cancer stem cells within these tumors will be enriched and therefore made more malignant through conventional treatment,” explains Sayer Ji

“For instance, radiotherapy radiation wavelengths were only recently found by UCLA Jonnsson Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers to transform breast cancer cells into highly malignant cancer stem-cell like cells,with 30 times high malignancy post-treatment.”

Cancer is really the body’s attempt to survive, not an outside ‘attack’

In Ji’s view, the underlying issue is that the conventional cancer model erroneously views cancer as some kind of outside attack on the body that must be aggressively fought with rigorous treatment, rather than the survival mechanism that it actually is. When the body is perpetually deficient in nutrients, for instance, or when it becomes overburdened by radiation, carcinogens and other toxins from the environment and food, cancer can develop as a response to this harmful onslaught.

“Our entire world view of cancer needs to shift from an enemy that ‘attacks’ us and that we must wage war against, to something our body does, presumably to survive an increasingly inhospitable, nutrient-deprived, carcinogen- and radiation-saturated environment,” adds Ji.

Sources for this article include:

10 Rules to Living an Endlessly Delicious Life.

“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” ~ Ruth Reichl

Life doesn’t always come to us the way we want. We get jammed in traffic, have a fight with our partner, get stuck in the longest line when we have just one item to purchase (have you been there?). And yet there are simple practices and daily habits that can help us shift from angst to peace at a moment’s notice. Today I’m sharing 10 rules to living an endlessly delicious life. Enjoy :)

1. Embrace acceptance

Have you ever resisted against the moment? When you resist against what is, it strengthens that moment. For example, if you are feeling angry at somebody, or something, and you start resisting that feeling, you actually keep that negative feeling around longer! The magical tool to help you dissolve those icky times is to practice accepting it. If you are angry at someone and you allow yourself to feel the anger, the anger will dissolve itself. What keeps the anger around is a resistance to the moment and thinking “I shouldn’t feel this way”. Through allowing the moment to be as it is, the moment will naturally complete itself. Instead of the moment overtaking you—overtake the moment simply by being present.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~ Lao Tzu

2. Be thankful

When life feels challenging, it is way too easy to get stuck in feeling bad, helpless, or lost. When something goes wrong in life, it has a potential to dampen our mood and shift our focus to the negative. This magnifies what’s wrong and how bad life is. The easiest dose of medicine you can give yourself to get out of a funky mood is to give thanks! The moment you think about that which you are grateful for, is the moment you shift your perspective from darkness to light. Through the practice of gratitude, your focus will shift to the good in your life. You can brighten the dark into lightness by focusing your mind on gratitude.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” ~ Cicero

3. Apply the brakes 

When something goes wrong there is often an immediate reaction. However, within a few seconds, you can choose to consciously apply the brakes. For example if a car cuts you off in traffic and you get really mad—the moment you become aware of that anger you can choose to apply the brakes and release the anger. Decide to let it go. That moment is over, that speed-racer is long gone, and you are only hurting yourself by keeping your mind and emotions in the anger. The next time you catch yourself re-hashing a fight in your mind, or remaining angry over an incident that’s long over, remind yourself that you can apply the brakes to the negative thoughts and move on. And the moment you catch yourself thinking about it again, just remind yourself“Oh yeah….brake time.” With continued practice this will become your new habit—your empowered way of releasing the past.

4. Pause frequently

As you go about your day, it is all too common for life to pass us by. As we run from one thing to the next, we miss out on so much of the beauty staring us in the face. Throughout your day, begin to practice pausing. This means as you are sitting at work and finding yourself distracted, take a moment to pause, take a deep breath, and become fully present by noticing how your body feels, what the room looks like, and what is happening in the moment. This simple practice is an easy way to ignite your energy and focus.

5. Add a dose of daily adventure

Adventure is the spice of life. Now you might be lucky enough to book a one-way ticket and head on an adventure to the jungles of Peru. But, you don’t need to wait, or take such a radical trip to live with adventure in your life. Make adventure happen every-day. It can be as simple as going to a new coffee shop and taking the risk of trying a new spot for your morning coffee. It could be walking a different route to work. Taking little detours along your regular route adds adventure, joy, and helps your mind think more creatively.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ~ Helen Keller

6. Spend time in nature

Nature has a naturally calming effect. Whether you live near a body of water, a park, or even your own backyard, going out to nature is an opportunity to put everything on hold, and receive the soothing effects nature offers. Nature is naturally healing, inspiring and empowering. Nature is a wise teacher and helps fill our spirits with peace, creativity, and vitality. The next time that you feel tired, confused, or seeking inspiration—go to nature and empower your spirit.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

7. The 5-minute miracle

Taking 5 minutes every morning to sit up in bed and follow the rhythm of your breath is a life changing practice. Some people call this meditation; I like to call it Daily Connection. Through spending the time every morning to start your day cultivating awareness and setting a foundation for clarity through taking time to practice stillness, is one of the fastest ways to live a more joyful and centered life.

Taking 5-minutes to focus on your breath, which helps to quiet your mind, is one of the most powerful ways to relieve stress and create clarity in your life.

8. Be compassionate towards yourself

Sometimes life events can trigger us so badly that in the moment we are not able to shift our focus as quickly as we would like. We may feel unable to apply the brakes as fast as our mind desires. Our emotions can take longer to resolve themselves than our mind, or intellect desires. These are the times to practice having compassion for yourself, and your experience. To know that it is OK when something really bothers you that it might take a little longer to resolve it. Practice compassion for yourself. Rather than say “Come on, you know better than this! Get out of your funk!” Remember, instead of reprimanding yourself for being in a bad mood—practice having compassion for yourself. Through the practice of compassion, your emotions and focus will shift to a more peaceful state. You cannot “trick” your mind into being compassionate just so that you will get over your upset state of mind faster. You need to earnestly send yourself some love and kindness, and through this, the situation turns around, and you find yourself moving into a more joyful and energized state.

9. Move your body

Movement is powerful. It is good for our health, mind, self-esteem, and elevates our energy. Create a plan that will get you moving every-day. You do not have to embark on an intense heart pounding workout every-day. But every-day you should integrate some movement. I suggest a few workouts that DO get your heart pumping and a few workouts that help you stretch and release tension. And remember to incorporate fun. That means if you love to dance—get shaking! And if you love sports or walking outdoors, these are the exact activities you should integrate. When you mix it up, you keep it fresh, creating more enjoyment. Plus, you will find that your workout gives you a break from your problems, sparks creativity and clarity. Even research has proven how exercise enhances our brain power! So get moving and enjoy all the benefits today.

“If you don’t move your body, your brain thinks you’re dead. Movement of the body will not only clear out the “sludge,” but will also give you more energy” ~ Sylvia Brown

10. Eat fresh

What you feed your body impacts your energy and mood. When you increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in your body, you substantially increase the amount of vitamins and minerals your cells receive. This helps you shine from the inside out. Your complexion will brighten, your organs will be thankful, and your mood will be brighter. In turn, you will feel more inspired, creative, and probably be more fun to hang out with! Seriously—if you don’t feel good physically, if you are full of toxins, or constantly on a teeter totter of sugar highs and lows, this will impact your mood and how you treat people. Food is powerful and it impacts our life on so many levels.

Atomic clocks detect physics shifts.

A new class of super-accurate atomic clocks may detect minuscule changes in the laws of physics and shed light on how and why life exists in the universe, Sydney physicists have found.

Andrew Ong and his collaborators at the University of New South Wales discovered that the clocks could detect potential changes in a fundamental constant that governs the interaction between electrically charged objects.

“A changing fine-structure constant could explain why the conditions of our universe are so finely-tuned for all life to exist,” says Andrew, who did the research as part of his PhD.

“The value of the certain physical constants have to fall within a narrow range in order for carbon to be produced in stars. Without this mechanism, there would be no building blocks for all carbon-based life on our planet,” he says.

Atomic clocks, which measure time via the frequency of atomic transitions, are about 100 times more accurate than existing clocks. They are used in GPS satellites and the definition of the standard second.

The researchers hope to measure the frequency change over a few years so they can collect enough data to reach a conclusion about whether the fundamental constants vary and the rate at which they might vary.

“If we could show that the physical laws are always changing, then we can say that life exists simply in the region of the universe where the conditions are just right,” Andrew says.