The mindfulness conspiracy

Mindfulness has gone mainstream, with celebrity endorsement from Oprah Winfrey and Goldie Hawn. Meditation coaches, monks and neuroscientists went to Davos to impart the finer points to CEOs attending the World Economic Forum. The founders of the mindfulness movement have grown evangelical. Prophesying that its hybrid of science and meditative discipline "has the potential to ignite a universal or global renaissance", the inventor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabat-Zinn, has bigger ambitions than conquering stress. Mindfulness, he proclaims, "may actually be the only promise the species and the planet have for making it through the next couple of hundred years". So, what exactly is this magic panacea? In 2014, Time magazine put a youthful blonde woman on its cover, blissing out above the words: "The Mindful Revolution." The accompanying feature described a signature scene from the standardised course teaching...

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Jessica Biel joins anti-vaccine activist RFK Jr. to lobby against California pro-vaccination bill

On Wednesday, actress Jessica Biel came out as an "anti-vaxx activist," as The Daily Beast put it, joining anti-vaccination crusader Robert Kennedy Jr. at the California legislature to lobby against a bill that would make it harder to opt out of vaccinating children for medical reasons. This wasn't an activity Biel's publicist highlighted. Comment: Funny that in the next paragraph RFK describes Biel as "for safe vaccines and for medical freedom," yet the first line of the piece calls her "an anti-vaxx activist". Talk about hyperbole. ...

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Hollywood dystopia? Sir Peter Jackson and James Cameron team up to promote meatless future

The bromance between two Hollywood heavyweights has led to a project that could change the future of Kiwi farming. Avatar director James Cameron and Hobbit director Sir Peter Jackson have joined forces to create a "plant-based" food business. Rumours about the secret venture have swirled for two years, but the pair has remained tight-lipped until now. ...

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First Canadian case of insect resistance to genetically engineered corn discovered

Farmers in Nova Scotia have found that the European corn borer has developed resistance to the GM trait designed to kill it In Nova Scotia, corn farmers are observing that the European corn borer, an insect pest, has developed resistance to the genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) trait designed to kill it. This is the first report in the world of the European corn borer (ECB) developing resistance to a genetically engineered trait used to confer insect resistance. It is also the first report in Canada of any insect pest developing resistance to a genetically engineered trait. The development of resistance in other insect pests targeted by Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) traits in corn has been observed in the US, South Africa and Brazil.(2) Additionally, in the US and other countries, some cotton pests have also developed resistance to Bt...

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Science says silence is much more important to our brains than we think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing 'product'. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan "Silence, Please". A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, "No talking, but action." Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: "We decided, instead of saying that it's really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let's embrace it and make it a good thing". Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world...

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SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: The Triumph of Irrationalism and the Death of Metaphysics

Between hysteria, censorship, endless war and climate catastrophe it seems the world has fallen victim to chaos and irrationality. On today's show we take a hard look at the origins of this madness and what to do about it, utilizing a work by one of our favorite philosophers, R.G. Collingwood. Collingwood, an English philosopher, archaeologist and historian, passed away in 1943. But just three years before he passed he published An Essay on Metaphysics and left the world a rigorous defense of truth, ethics, and metaphysics, as well as a warning as to what would happen if these 'ancient sciences' were neglected or cast aside by future generations. On today's show we utilize the work that he left behind in order to understand why the world is the way it is, and to explore what it takes to be rational...

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Statin Nation: How the ‘most profitable drug ever created’ is damaging the health of millions

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, a general practitioner in Cheshire, England, is the author of three books. I've previously interviewed him about "Doctoring Data: How to Sort Out Medical Advice From Medical Nonsense." Here, we discuss his latest work, "A Statin Nation: Damaging Millions in a Brave New Post-Health World," which addresses the challenges with this conventional approach to heart disease prevention. This is his second book on the topic of cholesterol. In the first one, "The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It," published a decade ago, he addressed the basis behind the cholesterol controversy. "A Statin Nation" is basically a follow-up to that book, as many things have changed over the past 10 years. ...

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For health and well-being, spend two hours a week in nature

Spending at least two hours a week in nature may be a crucial threshold for promoting health and well-being, according to a new large-scale study. Research led by the University of Exeter, published in Scientific Reports and funded by NIHR, found that people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature a week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological well-being than those who don't visit nature at all during an average week. However, no such benefits were found for people who visited natural settings such as town parks, woodlands, country parks and beaches for less than 120 minutes a week. The study used data from nearly 20,000 people in England and found that it didn't matter whether the 120 minutes was achieved in a single visit or over several shorter visits. It also found the...

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The hippies were right: It’s all about vibrations, man!

Why are some things conscious and others apparently not? Is a rat conscious? A bat? A cockroach? A bacterium? An electron? These questions are all aspects of the ancient "mind-body problem," which has resisted a generally satisfying conclusion for thousands of years. The mind-body problem enjoyed a major rebranding over the last two decades and is generally known now as the "hard problem" of consciousness (usually capitalized nowadays), after the New York University philosopher David Chalmers coined this term in a now classic 1995 paper and his 1996 book The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. ...

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Breakfast cereals marketed to kids are loaded with glyphosate, says new report

The Environmental Working Group has released findings of research showing "troubling levels of glyphosate, the cancer-causing ingredient in the herbicide Roundup" in food products including children's breakfast cereals. The Washington, DC-based advocacy group said in a statement released June 12 that the chemical, was detected "in all 21 oat-based cereal and snack products sampled in a new round of testing." Furthermore, all of the products but four were found to contain levels higher than EWG's safety threshold for child consumption, which is 160 parts per billion (ppb). The products "Cheerios" and "Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch" were found with the highest glyphosate levels with 729 ppb and 833 ppb respectively. The findings follow two previous research studies conducted with independent labs conducted last year. Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, was acquired by the German agro-chemical giant Bayer in 2018. "The...

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