The basics: How to raise competent kids in an incompetent world

It's probably no surprise that the young people of today aren't particularly independent. Not only does the "education" system take great pains to mold them into a bunch of terrified, follow-the-herd automatons, society, in general, doesn't force them to do much for themselves either. I'll never forget when my oldest daughter came home for summer vacation after her first year of college. She told me that her younger sister, age 13 at the time, was much more mature and competent than many of the kids in her student apartment building. "I had to show a bunch of them how to do laundry and they didn't even know how to make a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese," she said. Apparently they were likewise in awe of her ability to cook actual food that did not originate in a pouch or...

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Pop Spirituality: The commodification of spirituality and simulated desires

ˈspɪrɪt/ noun the non-physical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character. the prevailing or typical quality, mood, or attitude of a person, group, or period of time. "A moment of enlightenment is of no use to someone who needs a good week of it." ~Idries Shah We may need more than a week of enlightenment, yet in our modern cultures all we get are bite-sized Youtube-compatible fleeting moments. The prevailing mood of our times is one where the 'spirit' is like the radio-friendly three-minute pop song. It is a digestible burst that we can chew on without it giving us indigestion. We have literally thousands of online videos showing us how to improve almost every aspect of our lives by breathing, body postures, mental exercises, visualizations, and the good old self-to-mirror pep talks. We are...

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Russian shaman aims to capture really big evil spirits (and a record) as she crafts dreamcatcher the size of Soviet block

Russia's Lake Seliger has probably become much safer from evil spirits after a 13-meter-wide dreamcatcher appeared on its shores. The massive shaman-made talisman is slated for the Guinness Book of Records. Bibigul Mamaeva, an ethnic Kazakh shaman who boasts of being a "direct descendent" of Genghis Khan, has been working tirelessly for almost a week to create the enormous amulet on the shores of the lake, located some 380 km northwest of Moscow. In a bid to break the record, Mamaeva has created a dreamcatcher 12.63 meters in diameter, using brushwood for the hoop and strained yarn, decorated with beads and feathers, placed on the inside. For comparison, a typical 5-story Soviet block of flats of the Khrushchev era is 14-15 meters high on average. "I want the world to really start changing. There are a lot of angry people...

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SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Self-Help Without The Shallowness: The Hidden Depths of Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits

It's the book you've heard about for years, but probably never read - especially if you have an aversion to shallow self-help books promising success, influence, power and money. But Stephen R. Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is no shallow self-help book. It's actually a book about virtue - the development of character, and the timeless principles governing true success in life for as long as there has been history. Today on MindMatters we discuss some of the overall themes of the book, Covey's unique but universal worldview, and some of the great stories he shares to really make his points hit home. Running Time: 01:20:33 Download: MP3 — 73.7 MB ...

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David Berlinski in conversation with ID-friendly Muslims

I had the following dream last night. In it, mathematician and Darwin skeptic David Berlinski was stretched out on a red couch, schmoozing entertainingly with a couple of ID-friendly, C.S. Lewis-quoting Muslim chaps. Dr. Berlinski stretched out so far that the pair of interviewers were confined to one distant end of the couch, though they didn't seem to mind. They cracked up at all his jokes, as I did, too. Dr. Berlinski held a cane with a golden head which he used to illustrate points, and he appeared not in his usual splendid attire but, much more casually, in a cut-off jean jacket over a t-shirt. It was quite a fun dream and went on for about 45 minutes or so. I'm kidding, actually: it wasn't a dream, though there is arguably an element of the surreal. It was a...

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People with anxiety may strategically choose worrying over relaxing

Relaxing is supposed to be good for the body and soul, but people with anxiety may actively resist relaxation and continue worrying to avoid a large jump in anxiety if something bad does happen, according to Penn State research. In a new study, the researchers found that people who were more sensitive to shifts in negative emotion — quickly moving from a relaxed state to one of fear, for example — were more likely to feel anxious while being led through relaxation exercises. Michelle Newman, professor of psychology, said the results could help benefit people who experience "relaxation-induced anxiety," a phenomenon that occurs when people actually become more anxious during relaxation training. ...

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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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