The Art of Fighting Without Fighting.

“Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” –Sun Tzu

“It is useless to fight against people’s rigid ways, or to argue against their irrational concepts. You will only waste time and make yourself rigid in the process. The best strategy is to simply accept rigidity in others, outwardly displaying deference to their need for order. On your own, however, you must work to maintain your open spirit, letting go of bad habits and deliberately cultivating new ideas.” –Robert Greene

Imagine you are back in high school and a bully starts making fun of you in front of everyone. What do you do? Poke fun back? Cry? Run? Punch him in the face? What? The answer is none of the above.

The best way to deal with a bully who is making fun of you is to make fun of yourself better than the bully did. The worst way to deal with a bully is to retaliate. This is because retaliation perpetuates the bully’s agenda and leads to violence, whereas making fun of yourself uses self-deprecating humor to derail the bully’s agenda while forcing the bully into a confused psychosocial dilemma. It’s a power-play, and it’s all psychological. The bully expects you to poke fun back at him, or cry, or run, or throw a punch; anything but you making fun of yourself. And if you can do it better than the bully did, then bully for you. Pun intended.

Like Carlos Castaneda said:

“Feeling important makes one heavy, clumsy and vain. To be a warrior one needs to be light and fluid… Self-importance is man’s greatest enemy. What weakens him is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of his fellow men. Self-importance requires that one spend most of one’s life offended by something or someone… The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.”

Let’s shed the heaviness of self-importance and don the lightness of humor instead. Let’s feel “offended” but then let it go, like a sponge absorbs water and then squeezes it out. The key is not to linger with the pettiness of the offense but to transcend the offense through a humor of the most high. Be present with the offense, with the pain, with the shame, but then release it through laughter. Like Mark Twain wittily opined, “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

Boxers, MMA fighters, soldiers, martial artists, and any individual who gets their minds and bodies into peak condition: all of them are smart and healthy up until the point that they idiotically and unhealthily ruin everything they strived for by either egotistically, patriotically and/or greedily placing themselves into harm’s way, thus destroying everything they worked so hard to attain.

Almost every martial art philosophy can agree that the point of learning to fight is so that you don’t have to. But, sadly, almost every martial artist eventually gets seduced by ego, money, or both. Think about it. They are showcasing violence for money and ego glorification, inadvertently going against the very principles they stand (or once stood) for. Sad. You can’t even turn on the TV without seeing some idiot idiotically hitting another idiot with his/her idiot fists. Pathetic. But, hey, even Bruce Lee was victim of the ego glorification, money, and Hollywoodization of Kung Fu. Something I’m sure he would have learned to regret had he lived long enough. He was only 32 when he died.

One of the most important reasons for standing on the shoulders of giants is so that we can see further than they did. The “giant” in this case is Bruce Lee. The art of fighting without fighting was originally portrayed in his movie Enter the Dragon. The idea is simply based on outsmarting one’s “opponent” so that the fight never has to occur. It embraces the core principle of learning to fight so that you don’t have to, and it is inherently non-violent. Taken to the next level (that is seeing further than Bruce Lee did) and applying it broadly and philosophically, the idea is extremely powerful, and it’s a very effective tool for an amoral agent practicing the principles of non-violence.

“You haven’t yet opened your heart fully, to life, to each moment. The peaceful warrior’s way is not about invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability–to the world, to life, and to the Presence you felt. All along I’ve shown you by example that a warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is a warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death.” –Dan Millman

In the movie, Bruce Lee’s character “tricks” the other character in order to avoid fighting him. It’s not that he’s afraid to fight him, it’s that there really is no point in fighting him just to prove he can beat him. He knows he can beat him. But he would rather teach him a lesson. Hence the art of fighting without fighting requires tricking the situation somehow. It’s having the wherewithal to rise above the situation, using metamind. It’s not only having the capacity to outthink one’s opponent, it’s also the ability to out-reason one’s own emotions (i.e. rising above feelings of anger, jealousy, or revenge). It’s a kind of emotional alchemy one must master in the moment in order to get a grip on the situation before it escalates into violence.

Bruce Lee

Here’s the thing: Acting violently in a violent culture only perpetuates violence. Similarly, acting immorally in an immoral society just perpetuates immorality. Unhealthy acts beget unhealthy acts. Like Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Lest the whole world go blind, eventually someone wise enough must wake up, swallow their pride, think wisely instead of emotionally, and put a stop to the vicious cycle. One who implements the art of fighting without fighting is precisely the one who ends the violent and immoral cycle. The tactics and methods one uses in practicing this art can be myriad and far-reaching, and always depend on the situation.

The key is to find a middle ground. In a violent culture, the worst thing you can do is to react violently (violence should only ever be used as an act of self-defense, and even then used only as a last resort). The second worst thing you can do is to remain complacent and allow atrocities to occur. The best course of action is to be proactively non-violent through strategic and wise civil disobedience.

Similarly, in an immoral society, the worst thing is to be immoral and commit atrocities. The second worst thing is to remain too moral (goody-two-shoes, blind-faith, status quo junkies) and simply allow atrocities to occur. The best course of action is to react amorally through tactical civil disobedience against the immoral system, or by counting coup in humorous non-violent ways.

Civil disobedience is similar to “tricking” someone who wants to fight into not fighting. It’s outsmarting the bully, whether that bully is the schoolyard variety or an overreaching cop, or the State itself. Like Howard Zinn wrote, “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience.” We solve the problem of civil obedience by implementing the art of fighting without fighting on the powers that be. Humorously shaming the system (tricking it) into becoming healthier is far superior and moral to using fear tactics and violence which is inferior and immoral.

The non-violent, amoral agent practicing the art of fighting without fighting is the key to undermining both violence and immorality, because this particular agent is the one using the art of fighting without fighting like a surgeon’s scalpel to slice open the Achilles’ Heel of the violent and immoral system. Not by attacking or harming humans, but by attacking and harming the unhealthy infrastructure (both psychological and physical) that is holding up the violent and immoral system.

The art of fighting without fighting is a celebration of trickery and satire, not guns and violence. It’s the understanding that a violent person is almost always a symbol of failure. Violence is immature at best, and deadly at worst. True courage isn’t blowing up a hostile tank, it’s counting coup on your enemy in hilarious ways. It’s tricking your “opponent” into boarding a dingy so you can fight him on a nearby island, but then pushing the dingy away from the boat before boarding it. It’s making fun of yourself better than the bully did. It’s becoming the sponge, absorbing the worst the system can dish out, and then wringing it out in imaginative, paradigm crushing, comfort zone stretching, box-flattening ways. It’s mocking Power itself. It’s laughing at authority and using a sincere sense of humor to dethrone self-seriousness.

When confronted with violence, we’re conditioned to be violent. When confronted with war, we’re conditioned to want war. When teased by a bully we’re “supposed to” retaliate, or tease back, or run, or fight. But the art of fighting without fighting changes the name of the game. It turns the tables on the psychosocial dynamic being played out. It kicks the ego off its throne of nothingness by changing the way the game is “usually” played. It propels us into becoming infinite players playing the game of life, instead of finite players being played by the game. It is staring into the outdated mirror of the status quo and saying, “Don’t worry so much about supposed to,” and then doing whatever is necessary to bring tonality to an otherwise atonal world. Like E.E. Cummings said, “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

Brain Rhythms Sync to Musical Beat.

The human brain’s neurons fire in sync to music, and trained musicians are better at it than are amateurs
While listening to music, you might find yourself tapping your foot or bobbing your head to the beat. What you might not have expected is that as you listen to your favorite tune, the rhythms in your brain also follow along.
Brain rhythms arise when large groups of neurons fire together. Previous studies have shown that listening to someone talk can elicit such activity. Now research reveals that brain rhythms also synchronize with musical sequences. And musical training can enhance this ability. The study is in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Keith B. Doelling and David Poeppel, Cortical entrainment to music and its modulation by expertise].

Magnetoencelphalography, or MEG, is a technique that measures the tiny magnetic fields generated by brain activity. Researchers used MEG to compare the brains of musicians and non-musicians while the subjects tried to detect small changes in pitch during short clips of classical piano music by composers like Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. The trained musicians, not surprisingly, tracked the pitch changes better.

When it came to tempo, musicans and nonmusicians alike synched their brains to the music—when the music had more than one note per second. But when faced with slower tempos, only the brains of musicians synched up.

Because speech and music share similar brain networks, it’s possible that musical training thus could also improve linguistic abilities. So pick up your instrument of choice and play away—you might not feel it, but your brainwaves will dance along to your favorite song.

How the language you speak changes your view of the world.

Bilinguals get all the perks. Better job prospects, a cognitive boost and even protection against dementia. Now new research shows that they can also view the world in different ways depending on the specific language they are operating in.

The benefits of being bilingual start early

The past 15 years have witnessed an overwhelming amount of research on the bilingual mind, with the majority of the evidence pointing to the tangible advantages of using more than one language. Going back and forth between languages appears to be a kind of brain training, pushing your brain to be flexible.

Just as regular exercise gives your body some biological benefits, mentally controlling two or more languages gives your brain cognitive benefits. This mental flexibility pays big dividends especially later in life: the typical signs of cognitive ageing occur later in bilinguals – and the onset of age-related degenerative disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s are delayed in bilinguals by up to five years.

Germans know where they’re going

In research we recently published in Psychological Science, we studied German-English bilinguals and monolinguals to find out how different language patterns affected how they reacted in experiments.

We showed German-English bilinguals video clips of events with a motion in them, such as a woman walking towards a car or a man cycling towards the supermarket and then asked them to describe the scenes.

When you give a scene like that to a monolingual German speaker they will tend to describe the action but also the goal of the action. So they would tend to say “A woman walks towards her car” or “a man cycles towards the supermarket”. English monolingual speakers would simply describe those scenes as “A woman is walking” or “a man is cycling”, without mentioning the goal of the action.

The worldview assumed by German speakers is a holistic one – they tend to look at the event as a whole – whereas English speakers tend to zoom in on the event and focus only on the action.

The linguistic basis of this tendency appears to be rooted in the way different grammatical tool kits situated actions in time. English requires its speakers to grammatically mark events that are ongoing, by obligatorily applying the –ing morpheme: “I am playing the piano and I cannot come to the phone” or “I was playing the piano when the phone rang”. German doesn’t have this feature.

Research with second language users shows a relationship between linguistic proficiency in such grammatical constructions and the frequency with which speakers mention the goals of events.

In our study we also found that these cross-linguistic differences extend beyond language usage itself, to nonverbal categorisation of events. We asked English and German monolinguals to watch a series of video clips that showed people walking, biking, running, or driving. In each set of three videos, we asked subjects to decide whether a scene with an ambiguous goal (a woman walks down a road toward a parked car) was more similar to a clearly goal-oriented scene (a woman walks into a building) or a scene with no goal (a woman walks down a country lane).

German monolinguals matched ambiguous scenes with goal-oriented scenes more frequently than English monolinguals did. This difference mirrors the one found for language usage: German speakers are more likely to focus on possible outcomes of people’s actions, but English speakers pay more attention to the action itself.

Switch languages, change perspective

When it came to bilingual speakers, they seemed to switch between these perspectives based on the language context they were given the task in. We found that Germans fluent in English were just as goal-focused as any other native speaker when tested in German in their home country. But a similar group of German-English bilinguals tested in English in the United Kingdom were just as action-focused as native English speakers.

In another group of German-English bilinguals, we kept one language in the forefront of their minds during the video-matching task by making participants repeat strings of numbers out loud in either English or German. Distracting one language seemed to automatically bring the influence of the other language to the fore.

When we “blocked” English, the bilinguals acted like typical Germans and saw ambiguous videos as more goal-oriented. With German blocked, bilingual subjects acted like English speakers and matched ambiguous and open-ended scenes. When we surprised subjects by switching the language of the distracting numbers halfway through the experiment, the subjects’ focus on goals versus process switched right along with it.

These findings are in line with other research showing distinct behaviour in bilinguals depending on the language of operation. Israeli Arabs are more likely to associate Arab names such as Ahmed and Samir with positive words in an Arabic language context than in a Hebrew one, for example.

People self-report that they feel like a different person when using their different languages and that expressing certain emotions carries different emotional resonance depending on the language they are using.

When judging risk, bilinguals also tend to make more rational economic decisions in a second language. In contrast to one’s first language, it tends to lack the deep-seated, misleading affective biases that unduly influence how risks and benefits are perceived. So the language you speak in really can affect the way you think.

Fluoridated Water Can Calcify Arteries, Study Finds

Fluoride is put in your drinking water ‘for your teeth’ without your consent, but did you know that it could also be calcifying your arteries?

A few years ago, we reported on a study evaluating a new diagnostic technology that inadvertently revealed a link between fluoride exposure and coronary artery disease. Our report stirred up quite a lot of controversy and criticism, even leading one of the most respected figures in alternative medicine (deservedly so) – Dr. Russell Blaylock — to call us out on Infowars for our allegedly sophomoric interpretation of the following article: “Association of vascular fluoride uptake with vascular calcification and coronary artery following article disease.” As one can see, the study’s results revealed a hitherto largely unknown connection between fluoride exposure, coronary artery disease and cardiovascular events (e.g. heart attack).

Fluoridated Water Can Calcify Arteries

“There was significant correlation between history of cardiovascular events and presence of fluoride uptake in coronary arteries. The coronary fluoride uptake value in patients with cardiovascular events was significantly higher than in patients without cardiovascular events.”

The argument, at the time, was the study was simply about a new diagnostic technique and shouldn’t be ‘read into,’ and that, presumably, the increased fluoride uptake value observed in patients with a higher frequency of cardiovascular events was a an ‘effect’ of the heart disease itself and not in any way indicative of fluoride’s causative role as a cardiotoxic agent — despite the fact that fluoride’s cardiotoxicity has already been consistently demonstrated in the biomedical literature.

Now, a provocative study published in the journal Toxicology not only provides some vindication for our previous interpretations, but also raises serious concern over the cardiovascular complications associated with water fluoridation practices, showing for the first time that despite exhibiting an anti-calcification effect in vitro (cell model) fluoride exposure at levels found in people who drink fluoridated water exhibits artery-calcifying effects in the more important in vivo (animal) model.

Titled, “Effect of water fluoridation on the development of medial vascular calcification in uremic rats” the study opens with a description of the common medical justification for public water fluoridation:

“In order to improve dental health in the population, fluoride is included in tooth pastes and mouthwash solutions or is added to public water supplies at 0.5–1.5 mg/L (WHO, 2008), which has been a common practice in some countries since 1945.”

And yet, the study acknowledges that fluoride is a well-established toxicant that our body has to either incorporate into its tissues or excrete through the kidney’s to sequester or eliminate:

“More than 90% of ingested fluoride is absorbed through the intestine and quickly distributed between plasma/soft tissues and calcified structures, where it can be sequestered for years (Buzalaf and Whitford, 2011). When water is fluoridated at the WHO- recommended levels, the range of plasma fluoride concentration is usually 1–6 uM (Husdan et al., 1976; Singer and Ophaug, 1979). Fluoride is not under homeostatic control, and it is cleared from the plasma within few hours by the complementary action of calcified tissues and the kidneys.”

Those with chronic kidney disease have a harder time clearing the fluoride, which results in increased blood plasma levels, especially as the length of exposure increases.

The study noted that in healthy people, almost without exception, fluoride accumulates in the aorta, and in the elderly can exceed 100 ug/g [microgram/gram] tissue. Since atherosclerosis involves the gradual hardening and final calcification of the arteries with a form of calcium known as hydroxylapatite, fluoride’s role in replacing hydroxyls within hydroxylapatite crystals to form fluorapatite can be considered enhancing the cardiotoxicity of these calcium deposits due to the fact that fluorapatite is less soluble than hydroxylapatite and therefore more resistant to the body’s demineralization mechanisms (or de-calcification with natural substances such as magnesium, hawthorn or vitamin K2). The authors address this point:

“From a therapeutic point of view, this incorporation [of fluoride into hydroxylapatite as fluorapatite] may involve an additional problem, because these calcifications will be more difficult to eliminate, if at all possible.”

The report discussed how despite the observation that fluoride accumulates in the main arteries, “the effects on the vascular wall are not clear.” A brief review of the literature shows highly contradictory results, with some studies implying fluoride exposure actually reduces aortic calcification and others showing (as would be expected) deleterious effects on the cardiovascular system. This uncertainty was one of the main reasons they designed their study:

“The aforementioned divergent findings can be explained by the use of different procedures, including very high doses of fluoride, the duration of treatment, and the animal species, in addition to either an experimental or epidemiological setup. In this work, our objective was to clarify the effect of fluoride, if any, on the development and course of medial vascular calcification (MVC, Mönckeberg’s sclerosis) in uremic rats, using low, recommended concentrations in drinking water. Our rationale was that de novo calcified tissue in aorta should incorporate fluoride when exposure to this halogen is concomitant with the course of calcification, and subsequently the rate of calcium phosphate crystallization and/or mineralization should be altered, similar to the effects in tooth enamel or bone. We used two established experimental models of calcification, rat aortic smooth muscle cells incubated with 2 mM Pi, and rats with 5/6-nephrectomy [5/6th of their kidneys removed to model chronic kidney disease] and fed a Pi-enriched diet [Pi = Inorganic phosphate], in combination with low concentrations of fluoride (similar to that of public water fluoridation). Our findings have shown that the results are inverse depending on the experimental model, which highlights the need to carry out in vivo approaches when studying complex multifactorial processes, such as Mönckeberg’s sclerosis [a type of arterial calcification].”

The study found a striking contrast between the in vitro (cell model) and in vivo (animal model) results: within the former, fluoride prevented calcification, within the later, it enhanced medial [middle portion of the artery] vascular calcification in the arteries of animals whose kidneys were weakened. Keep in mind that they did not use ‘mega doses’ of fluoride in the animal study, opting for the administration of the World Health Organization’s recommended concentration of fluoride in public drinking water to ‘prevent cavities.’

The researchers determined that fluoride’s adverse effects on vascular function in the animal model were mediated by the inherent kidney-damaging properties of fluoride (nephrotoxicity). Whereas healthy individuals are not prone to significant or at least acutely discernible damage from low level fluoride exposure (though some functional damage and proteomic changes are observed at 5-8 ppm), those with chronic kidney disease (CKD), have impaired fluoride clearance, subsequent elevated plasma fluoride levels, which creates a vicious self-perpetuating cycle of fluoride-induced aggravation of their decline in kidney function.

The researchers summarized their main finding as follows:

“The main conclusion of our study is that CKD is aggravated even by low concentrations of fluoride, which in turn accelerates medial vascular calcification (MVC), thereby confirming and extending previous reports on fluorosis in CKD patients exposed to WHO-recommended fluoride concentrations in drinking water (Greenberg et al., 1974; Lyaruu et al., 2008).”

Their final comments are to call for a reappraisal of the risks/benefits associated with fluoridation of municipal drinking water:

“In summary, the effects of fluoride on renal function and vascular health are more complicated than expected. Our findings could help to decide whether the use of fluoride to improve the dental health of the population through indiscriminate practices, such as adding it to municipal drinking water, should be reconsidered and should be replaced by a fluoridation policy based on the health status of individuals.”

It should be noted that fluoride’s association with soft tissue calcification also extends to brain structures, including the pineal gland, which we documented in a previous article: Fluoride: Calcifier of the Soul, and that its neurotoxicity — especially as evidenced by lowered I.Q. — is well documented.

Researchers have designed a simple fusion reactor that could be running in 10 years.

Scientists at Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) in the US have designed a 6.6-metre-wide fusion reactor that they say could provide electricity to around 100,000 people. Even better, it could be up and running within 10 years, according to their calculations.

For decades, scientists have been trying to find a way to harness nuclear fusion – the reaction that powers stars – because of its ability to produce almost-unlimited energy supplies using little more than seawater, and without emitting greenhouse gasses. But despite many promising designs, finding a way to contain and commercialise the reaction on Earth has proven far more challenging than imagined. In fact it’s a long-running joke among scientists that practical nuclear fusion power plants are just 30 years away – and always will be.

But not only does the new MIT design promise to be cheaper and smaller than current reactors, it also provides hope that commercial nuclear fusion reactors could become a reality in our lifetime, with the team explaining that similar devices in size and complexity have taken just five years to build.

“Fusion energy is certain to be the most important source of electricity on Earth in the 22nd century, but we need it much sooner than that to avoid catastrophic global warming,” David Kingham, a UK-based nuclear fusion expert who wasn’t involved in the research, told David L. Chandler from the MIT news office. “This paper shows a good way to make quicker progress.”

To explain it very simply, nuclear fusion relies on fusing hydrogen atoms together at super-high temperatures to release enormous amounts of energy. This is different to the nuclear fission used in nuclear power plants, which is where scientists split atoms to generate electricity – a process that’s less stable and also produces large amounts of nuclear waste.

So why aren’t we already using nuclear fusion to generate ridiculous amounts of clean energy? Well, that’s because the reaction requires heating hydrogen atoms to hundreds of millions of degrees Celsius. And keeping that super-hot plasma together in one place for long enough for the atoms to fuse is a lot harder than it sounds.

Current fusion reactors use what’s known as the tokomak design to contain the plasma, which relies on a donut-shaped device to create a strong magnetic field. MIT’s new reactor, which they’re calling the ARC reactor, essentially works in exactly the same way, but it uses new commercially available superconductors to create coils with far stronger magnetic fields.

This means they can contain even more plasma in a much smaller space than previously thought possible, and increases the reactor’s fusion power by around a factor of 10 compared to current tokomak reactors. “The much higher magnetic field allows you to achieve much higher performance,” said PhD candidate Brandon Sorbom, who worked on the project.

In fact, the MIT team calculates that this reactor would produce roughly the same amount of power as the world’s most powerful fusion reactor, called ITER, which is currently being built in France. ITER is around twice the size of their design, and costs around US$40 billion – no word as yet on what the price tag on the ARC reactor will be, but the MIT news office claims that it’s a “fraction of the cost”.

Even more impressive is the fact that the ARC reactor will theoretically be capable of producing three times more electricity than it needs to run – which doesn’t sound like much, but will make it the first proposed fusion reactor to ever generate enough energy to break even.

Of course, the MIT design, which has been described in the journal Fusion Engineering and Design, is still very much in the conceptual stage for now. All of these calculations have been done using computer models, and they haven’t been put into practice just yet. But they do rely on existing technology and proven concepts. “We’re not extrapolating to some brand-new regime,” said lead researcher Dennis Whyte.

According to Kingham, the research is of “exceptional quality” and “shows that going to higher magnetic fields, an MIT speciality, can lead to much smaller (and hence cheaper and quicker-to-build) devices”.

“The next step … would be to refine the design and work out more of the engineering details,” he told MIT News. “But already the work should be catching the attention of policy makers, philanthropists and private investors.”

Earth Changes Accelerate As 12 Major Earthquakes Hit Chile Within The Last 24 Hours

Earth Globe Water Fire - Public DomainSomething strange is happening to our planet.  Over the past 30 days, there seems to have been much more “shaking” than normal, and this is particularly true along the Ring of Fire.  This afternoon I visited the official website of the U.S. Geological Survey, and I discovered that Chile had been hit with 12 major earthquakes within the last 24 hours alone.  The smallest was of magnitude 4.4, and the two largest both measured magnitude 6.9.  We have also seen dozens of volcanoes erupt recently, including the incredibly dangerous Mt. Popocatepetl in Mexico.  Fortunately we have not seen a major disaster that kills thousands of people yet, but many believe that all of this shaking is leading up to one.  In addition, the weather all over the world continues to get freakier and freakier.  Just today, Yemen was hit by a second major tropical cyclone in less than a week.  Any one of these strange disasters in isolation may not seem like that big of a deal, but when you start putting all of the pieces together it starts to become clear that something really significant is taking place.

So why are all of these things happening?  Well, some experts point to the sun.  In recent years there has been a tremendous amount of hype about “global warming”, but the truth is that evidence is starting to emerge that indicates that our sun might be heading into a period of “hibernation”

The sun will go into “hibernation” mode around 2030, and it has already started to get sleepy. At the Royal Astronomical Society’s annual meeting in July, Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University in the UK confirmed it – the sun will begin its Maunder Minimum (Grand Solar Minimum) in 15 years. Other scientists had suggested years ago that this change was imminent, but Zharkova’s model is said to have near-perfect accuracy.

And what did we see last winter?  It was a very cold, bitter winter that set new all-time records all over the planet.  Here is more from that same article

Solar cycle 24 – two cycles prior the cycle that’s expected to bottom out into a Maunder Minimum – was weak. In 2013-14 it reached its maximum far below average. Meanwhile extreme cold-weather anomalies have occurred around the world. Last year “polar vortices” slammed into the central US and Siberia as a third hovered over the Atlantic. All 50 US states, including Hawaii, had temperatures below freezing for the first time in recorded history. Snowfall records were broken in cities in the US, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and elsewhere. Southern American states and central Mexico, where snow is rare, got heavy snow, as did the Middle East.

This past summer the cold didn’t let up, with more temperature records across the US and rare summer snows seen in Canada, the US and China. Birds have migrated early in the last two years. Antarctic sea ice set a new record in 2013 and it was broken again in 2014.

Will this upcoming winter be similar?

Should we be anticipating a lot of cold and a lot of snow?

I have been watching stories like this for a couple of years.  Our sun has begun to behave very erratically, and yet very few people are paying attention.  But without the sun, life on earth would not be possible.  So the fact that the giant ball of fire that we revolve around is starting to act very strangely should be a huge news story.

And this is not something that scientists have just started noticing.  This has been going on for quite some time.  For example, the following is from a BBC article that was published last year

I’ve been a solar physicist for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” says Richard Harrison, head of space physics at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

He shows me recent footage captured by spacecraft that have their sights trained on our star. The Sun is revealed in exquisite detail, but its face is strangely featureless.

If you want to go back to see when the Sun was this inactive… you’ve got to go back about 100 years,” he says.

This solar lull is baffling scientists, because right now the Sun should be awash with activity.

Another thing that many scientists are watching closely is the possibility of a magnetic pole shift.  This has become such a concern that even scientists at NASA are talking about it.  A major news source in the UK recently published an article entitled “NASA: Earth’s magnetic poles are ‘switching’ with catastrophic consequences for humanity“, and the following was the most fascinating part of the story for me personally…

Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said when the switch does take place, the Earth’s magnetic field which prevents the Sun’s dangerous radiation getting through, would be neutralisedfor around 200 years.

He revealed the detail during an historic announcement about how Mars lost 99% of its atmosphere and its oceans that could have housed early life.

Mr Jakosky explained that Mars had been blasted by solar winds, which had stripped it of its atmosphere, for billions of years since the beginnings of our solar system.

He said: “When the polar shift happens the Earth will have no magnetic field for about 200 years.”

During that time the Sun’s solar blasts are expected to strip away at our atmosphere as they did on Mars billions of years ago.

That certainly doesn’t sound good.

How could humanity possibly survive if “the Earth will have no magnetic field” for 200 years?

Perhaps some would survive by living in underground facilities shielded from the sun.  But certainly most of humanity simply would not make it.

Meanwhile, as I have written about previously, scientists tell us that the entire universe is “slowly dying“.  Apparently the universe is only producing about half as much energy as it once did, and over time the level of energy being produced continues to fade.

Most of us just take for granted that our planet, our sun and our universe will remain stable and behave normally.

But what if we have entered a time when things start to change dramatically?

What if the years ahead are filled with earth changes of a magnitude that most of us cannot even possibly imagine?

What will that mean for our society and for the future of humanity?

An Evidence Review of Prehospital Spinal Immobilization .

A review of current literature suggests moving away from spinal immobilization on backboards.
A review of current literature suggests moving away from spinal immobilization on backboards. Photo courtesy Edmonton EMS

Approximately 2% of all injuries that present to EDs are spinal cord injuries (SCIs).1 While overall incidence may seem low, traumatic SCIs are a serious matter. In fact, one reason for adhering to strict immobilization assessment and guidelines is the extreme cost of missing the diagnosis of a spinal injury. This may be why practices for immobilizing a patient’s spine prior to hospital transport have been largely unchallenged for the last 30 years.

SCIs are measured either by morbidity rates or by degree of resulting impairment: motor, sensory or autonomic.2 Prehospital care by EMS personnel is part of the larger spectrum of care that SCI patients receive, but statistics suggest that up to 25% of SCIs may be worsened during extrication after a motor vehicle crash (MVC) when using the status quo for spinal immobilization. A study that used healthy volunteers and video motion-capture methods found the motion of cervical spine (C-spine) was greater when volunteers were extricated onto a spine board than when they were able to exit the vehicle on their own, wearing a cervical collar(C-collar) for stabilization.3

Evidence continues to show that it’s time for a change in field practice and that traditional stabilization methods are overused. In order to further evaluate current evidence-based practice of spinal immobilization and its relationship to SCIs, a literature search was conducted and is presented in this article.


Effective, time-tested practices of spinal cord immobilization are in place for a reason and supported by current literature. In 2013, researchers emphasized how improvement in the neurological status of patients with SCIs arriving in EDs is due to services that EMS provides. According to the authors, “Spinal immobilization is now an integral part of prehospital management and is advocated for all patients with potential spinal injury after trauma by EMS programs nationwide and by the American College of Surgeons.”4

Evidence does support the use of spinal immobilization techniques, just not applied to all cases in a routine way as has been done in the past.

Immobilization is defined in this study as use of a C-collar for neck immobilization along with lateral supports and straps and a spinal head immobilizer. The authors emphasize immobilization as an integral part of trauma patient care that also includes oxygen support, blood pressure stabilization and measured volume replacement.

However, the authors note limitations such as adverse effects of traditional immobilization techniques, including discomfort and application time that delays transport, as well as the impracticality of applying studies on healthy volunteers to patients with SCIs. They offer the vacuum splint device as a more comfortable alternative to the traditional rigid backboard, noting that vacuum devices aren’t recommended for extrications.

The authors also advocate the need for accurate triage at the scene of Level 2 and Level 3 potential spinal injury patients. Of nonfatal SCI cases in the United States, almost half are caused by MVCs, followed by falls, violence(primarily gunshot wounds) and sporting accidents.5


Literature reviews draw different conclusions as to why protocols haven’t changed. One notes fear of C-spine injuries because of the inherent risk of permanent SCI with potential life-threatening and -changing consequences.6

The influence of historically poor evidence is the primary reason for continuing the practice of C-collars, and researchers noted that current EMS protocols are based on historic practices rather than scientific evidence.7

When comparing the benefits of C-collars to the possible adverse effects of collar use, the latter includes an increase of intracranial pressure through jugular venous compression, compromised airway management, pressure ulcers and even the capacity to cause hesitancy in healthcare personnel to address necessary exams. Therefore, researchers recommend omitting routine collar application in all but specific extrication processes, suggesting instead the continued exploration of immobilization on spine boards with head immobilizers and straps while continuing to consider vacuum mattresses, as previously mentioned.7 This leads to other specific scenarios in which the benefit of spinal immobilization doesn’t outweigh risk.

Two articles identify a specific trauma population— gunshot wound victims—that doesn’t benefit from prehospital spinal immobilization.8,9 The difference in risk of death, which may be almost double, is attributed to the extra time it takes to stabilize the patient’s spine with a C-collar and strapping to a long board. In gunshot wounds, case time is the most critical aspect of care. A retrospective analysis of penetrating trauma patients in the National Trauma Data Bank lends further weight to the argument.10 Of the 45,284 patients studied, mortality rate was almost twice as high in the spine-immobilized patients, leading the authors to conclude that spinal immobilization may not be indicated for head, neck or torso injury in the absence of neurological deficit of complaint.

Clinical decision-making tools, like the Canadian C-spine rule (CCR), may provide an alternative to traditional mechanism of injury protocols such as the Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) protocol. A trial comparing adherence and effectiveness of three traditional EMS protocols, including the PHTLS protocol, suggests traditional protocol adherence leads to unnecessary stabilization while non-adherence leads to injuries being missed and thus creating a potential lose-lose combination.11

Various ways of supporting standards for change have been proposed. A performed analysis of physics, biomechanics and physiology involved in spinal trauma recommended not using hard backboards for transport, especially in the case of ambulatory, uncooperative or seizing patients, and not using C-collars except in specific injury types.1

An added benefit of eliminating unnecessary use of spinal immobilization will, in turn, decrease the time to definitive treatment. Empowering EMTs and paramedics to determine the need for immobilization during transport has shown promising results in clinical trials. In an effort to establish a clinical decision (or prediction) rule, a Canadian clinical trial on CCR designed to empower EMS personnel to decide whether to immobilize during transport was evaluated and revealed a significant portion (40%) of patients could be safely transported without immobilization when EMS personnel used an established standardized algorithm for decision-making in the field.12

The Northern Territory and Queensland Ambulance Services in Australia are excellent examples of an EMS service outside the province of Canada using the CCR spinal algorithm with similar results.


While spinal immobilization of trauma patients remains an integral part of prehospital care, alternate ways of looking at and applying techniques exist. As with any action performed, just because it’s always been done this way doesn’t provide sufficient reason to continue current practices.

The fact most trauma patients don’t have spinal instability nor benefit from spinal immobilization should be impetus for continuing to evaluate your agency’s current evidence-based practice for spinal immobilization.13

Evidence does support the use of spinal immobilization techniques, just not applied to all cases in a routine way as has been done in the past. One researcher aptly writes, “Hopefully we can move away from the forest of hard boards in the ambulance bays of our community hospitals and at the same time develop a saner policy for our patients.”14

More prudent policies may include EMS personnel being trained in the use of protocols based on decision rules rather than mechanism of injury approaches.10 Prehospital professionals can be appropriately trained to apply ruleout criteria for patients suspected of having a spinal injury.15 EMS personnel already perform this function, but better ways to do so may exist. Alternatives to long boards such as vacuum mattress/splint devices should be examined. Any increase in cost may be compensated by a decrease in adverse events and morbidity.

Figure 1: Canadian C-spine rule (CCR)

 Canadian C-spine rule (CCR)

EMS providers are an important part of a larger health stakeholder picture. According to the National Association of EMS Physicians and American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma position statement, “Protocols or plans to promote judicious use on long boards during prehospital care should engage as many stakeholders in the trauma/EMS system as possible.”16

This applies to any proposed change. Hospitals must also not be forgotten in regards to larger stakeholders, because they’re largely protocol driven and many EDs aren’t on the same page when it comes to how their EMS agencies conduct spinal immobilization in the field.

Alternatively, many EMS agencies also report that, although they and their medical director desire to modify their spinal immobilization protocols, their receiving hospitals continue to insist many patients be unnecessarily boarded in the field. Therefore, more joint education and sharing of literature is necessary to change attitudes and protocols.

It’s important to remember that there are perspectives and knowledge to be shared from every aspect of care and ED physicians currently have protocols in approaching SCI patients as evident in the literature.17-19

Advances in care are a great opportunity to ensure the best quality of life for SCI patients.20 This point is paramount for all emergency care stakeholders to keep in mind.

This unique drone can fly indefinitely and doesn’t need to land

Perpetual eyes in the sky.

If you’ve ever had a bit of a play with a consumer drone unit you’ll know that their power supplies don’t necessarily last all that long. After spending some time in the air, you need to keep an eye on your device’s battery levels (in addition to watching out for trees) to make sure things don’t come to an abrupt, ground-smacking end.

The PARC (Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications) from drone-maker CyPhy Works, doesn’t suffer that particular shortcoming, however. This uniquely powered drone can stay in the air indefinitely (although 100 hours is the maximum recommended operating time) thanks to its proprietary microfilament system, which is effectively a specialised power cord that extends from the ground to the airborne unit.

“It’s basically a robot with unlimited time-of-flight,” said Helen Greiner, the founder of CyPhy Works, speaking this week at the EmTech 2015 conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as reported by Will Knight at MIT Technology Review. “You send it up and it stays there.”

While the microfilament system means the drone is pretty much tethered in one location, for its intended use case that’s not so much of a problem: unlike free-ranging long-distance drones, the PARC is primarily designed as a long-term surveillance unit and has been used by the US military for this very purpose, where it can keep an eye over ground bases or monitor movement from afar.

This week however CyPhy Works announced it had received clearance from the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) allowing its customers to fly the device for commercial purposes. So, while you won’t see Amazon or Google using the PARC to deliver packages any time soon – the latter said recently it intends to begin drone deliveries as soon as 2017 – it’s quite possible you might see the unit operating for other sorts of outdoor surveillance and security tasks.

We can imagine TV networks would love the idea of a long-endurance drone that can monitor and film extraordinary incidents for hours or days on end without needing to land and swap batteries. Or building managers might be attracted to having some eyes in the sky for value-added security to complement ground-level cameras and security systems.

In addition to carrying electricity up to the drone to keep it operational in the air, the microfilament cable also acts as a data cable, ensuring that the PARC’s surveillance recordings (high-definition video, also recordable in night-vision mode) can securely and unhackably make it down to its ground level control station – not that the independent drone needs piloting (it’s fully self-sufficient in the air up to an altitude of 150 metres).

But what if the cable comes lose, severing the PARC’s power supply? Fortunately the unit comes equipped with an internal battery for just these very emergencies, meaning even if the drone gets unplugged, it can safely fly down to make an independent landing.

Joe Rogan and NASA Physicist: “We’re Living in the Matrix”

Joe Rogan and NASA Physicist Tom Campbell discuss the nature of reality. They explore the simulation theory of existence as well as the importance of creating goals for yourself, making a mental place holder for yourself in the future.

They most importantly touch on the capabilities of the emotion of love and how using love as our method of interacting with others, we can achieve connectivity and spiritual growth where as fear of others leads to loneliness and selfishness.

Information is at the core of our existence.

Watch the video. URL:


Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true.

Thought Mount Everest was the tallest mountain and coffee was made from beans? Think again…

From childhood we have been told that Mount Everest is the tallest mountain, we can’t have sweets because they will make us hyperactive and we should wear a hat if it is cold.

Now experts have dispelled these commonly held assumptions and revealed a list of modern life’s top misconceptions, or “faux facts”, as Ripley’s Believe It or Not! termed them.

The museum of curiosities in London’s Piccadilly Circus commissioned the study and compiled the list of myths.

Other misconceptions are that the Great Wall of China can be seen from space and sushi means “raw fish”.

A spokesman for Ripley’s said:  “If you’re told something enough times, you’re sure to start believing it.

“The misconceptions in this list are all pretty plausible, so it’s understandable that many Brits will have read it and been certain it’s true, with many of us being told these from an early age.

“Unbelievably, all of these commonly believed facts are in fact misconceptions.

“We’ve found this research really interesting as the whole Ripley’s attraction is filled with exhibits that have the ‘Believe It or Not!’ factor. As our founder Robert Ripley used to say, it is often the strangest things that are true.”

But no one should be ashamed to admit they have been caught out by one of these misconceptions as 82 per cent of UK adults have admitted they had believed one of the “facts” on the list.