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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Monsanto paid American Council on Science and Health front group to hide evidence

Monsanto's new owner, Bayer, has been slammed with judgments in the first three Roundup lawsuits to go to trial. The verdicts, which have sided with plaintiffs in all cases so far, have found not only that Roundup herbicide caused the plaintiffs' cancers but also that Monsanto engaged in malice, oppression or fraud in their attempts to cover up Roundup's toxicity.1 Some of the evidence brought to light during the trials has been particularly eye-opening, including internal emails showing that Monsanto paid an industry front group for the favor of publishing pro-glyphosate media, right around the time the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined it to be a probable carcinogen.2 ...

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Free will is real

Philosopher Christian List argues against reductionism and determinism in accounts of the mind I can live without God, but I need free will. Without free will life makes no sense, it lacks meaning. So I'm always on the lookout for strong, clear arguments for free will. Christian List, a philosopher at the London School of Economics, provides such arguments in his succinct new book Why Free Will Is Real (Harvard 2019). I met List in 2015 when I decided to attend, after much deliberation, a workshop on consciousness at NYU. I recently freely chose to send him some questions, which he freely chose to answer. -John Horgan Horgan: Why philosophy? Was your choice pre-determined? List: I don't think it was. As a teenager, I wanted to become a computer scientist or mathematician. It was only during my last couple of...

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Women exposed to light during sleep at higher risk for weight gain

Sleeping with a cellphone, bright alarm clock on or a television next to your bed puts women at risk for weight gain, a new study found. Women who slept with a light or even the TV on were 17% more likely to have gained 11 pounds over the course of five years, according to the study, the results of which were published Monday in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Light coming in from outside the room was associated with more modest weight gain, researchers found. The study is the first to find an association between exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping and weight gain in women, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funded the study. ...

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Imagination can change perception of reality on a neural level

Imagining something into reality is probably a desire as old as imagination itself, but there might just be a slight bit more to it than mere wishful thinking. A new study reveals how imagining a scenario that takes place in an emotionally neutral place can change our attitude to that place in reality. To puzzle out how we learn from imagined events, researchers from Harvard University and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive Brain Sciences conducted an experiment, first in the US and then they replicated it in Germany. Participants were asked to provide a list of people they really liked, people they disliked and a list of places they had neutral feelings towards. Then, while lying in an fMRI scanner, they were asked to imagine meeting someone from their liked-list at one of their neutral places. ...

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