Her sætter jeg spørgsmålstegn ved sandheder og accepterede fakta. Her hælder jeg vand ud af ørerne, lufter mine lommefilosofiske betragtninger, og stiller nye spørgsmål. Her giver jeg alt det videre, der inspirerer mig, fortryller mig og berører mig – alt sammen i håbet om at det vil have samme virkning på dig…
Here I question truths and accepted facts. Here I speak at length without getting serious, air my “pocket” philosophical views, and ask new questions. here, I pass on everything that inspires me, enthralls me and touches me – all in the hope it may affect you like it does me…
— — —
A famous young medium, when asked about it, said that when people have passed over, what they can relate of the “situation” they are in after passing, is that they are very aware of the learnings from their lives, and the effect they had on other people (relatives?) while they were still among us. For me, it would be most appropriate if we started thinking of those specific things while we’re still alive. And not only THINK about these things, but DO something constructive about them. Like acknowledge the learnings we perceive, take them to heart, and consider our behavior towards other people, not just relatives, but everyone.
New knowledge of viking DNA
In the largest genetic study of Viking DNA ever, scientists have found that Vikings — and their diaspora — are actually much more genetically diverse than we may have thought and were not necessarily all part of a homogenous background.
Sequencing the genomes of over 400 Viking men, women, and children from ancient burial sites, researchers found evidence of genetic influence from Southern Europe and Asia in Viking DNA dating back to before the Viking Age (750 – 1050 A.D.).
The authors also note that individuals not related to Vikings genetically, such as native Pictish people of Scotland and Ireland, sometimes received traditional Viking burials — suggesting that being a Viking was not so much about specific family roots but about a sense of internal identity.
In the study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers reports findings from their six-year-long study of 442 human remains from burial sites that date back between the Bronze Age (2400 B.C.) to the Early Modern period (1600 A.D.)
When comparing the genetic material of these ancient samples with 3,855 present-day individuals from regions like the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden, and data from 1,118 ancient individuals, they discovered more intermixing of genetic material than they’d originally imagined, lead author and director of The Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre at the University of Copenhagen, Eske Willerslev, said in a statement.
“We have this image of well-connected Vikings mixing with each other, trading and going on raiding parties to fight Kings across Europe because this is what we see on television and read in books — but genetically we have shown for the first time that it wasn’t that kind of world,” explains Willerslev.
“This study changes the perception of who a Viking actually was — no one could have predicted these significant gene flows into Scandinavia from Southern Europe and Asia happened before and during the Viking Age.”
The maritime expansion of Scandinavian populations during the Viking Age (about ad 750–1050) was a far-flung transformation in world history. Here we sequenced the genomes of 442 humans from archaeological sites across Europe and Greenland (to a median depth of about 1×) to understand the global influence of this expansion. We find the Viking period involved gene flow into Scandinavia from the south and east. We observe genetic structure within Scandinavia, with diversity hotspots in the south and restricted gene flow within Scandinavia. We find evidence for a major influx of Danish ancestry into England; a Swedish influx into the Baltic; and Norwegian influx into Ireland, Iceland and Greenland. Additionally, we see substantial ancestry from elsewhere in Europe entering Scandinavia during the Viking Age. Our ancient DNA analysis also revealed that a Viking expedition included close family members. By comparing with modern populations, we find that pigmentation-associated loci have undergone strong population differentiation during the past millennium, and trace positively selected loci—including the lactase-persistence allele of LCT and alleles of ANKA that are associated with the immune response—in detail. We conclude that the Viking diaspora was characterized by substantial transregional engagement: distinct populations influenced the genomic makeup of different regions of Europe, and Scandinavia experienced increased contact with the rest of the continent.
Masser af sprit er én af de nye anbefalinger i henhold til afholdelse af fester i disse Corona tider. Den er jeg med på. Lad os straks køre nogle genstande ned i en fart
Jeg lægger øjeblikkeligt ud med en 30 år gammel Old Tawny Port som smager himmelsk…
Windows 10 “update” 6 Sep. 2020
1. Changed my settings to image files being opened by Windows Image Viewer although I always use MSPaint
2. Tried to install Dropbox even though it was already up and running
3. Uninstalled my Classic Shell (A Start button like in Win 7)
4. Changed my settings so my OpenOffice docs were opened by WordPad
5. Changed my standard browser to Edge even though I have prevented it from being installed
6. My calculator no longer works, and I cannot re-install it from the Microsoft support pages, so I’ve had to install a 3rd party calc app.
7. Who knows what else? (that I never saw…)
I spent about an hour with a support person from Microsoft, and another 2 hours reinstalling the entire operative system (without affecting my apps and docs), and it seems ok, except for the calc app.
Situwuka and Katkwachsnea 1912
– and I who am opposed to advertising
The Ibex defies gravity
I love to listen to music, and I have a great sounding hifi system. Today I have had to accept the great level of service and support from my hifi-shop, as my beloved Accuphase amplifier refuses to work with my DAC. The shop sent a nice guy, who spent an hour listening to some of my music, and trying to determine if I had accidentally made bad decisions in the settings. I hadn’t, so he drove away with it, forwarding it to the repair shop asap.
Nice service, as the box with the amp weighs over 60 lbs, and I am old and have a lot of injuries and other defects in my body. He also delivered it in the first place, and promised to deliver it again after the repair. I like that, although I hate to have to listen to a mid-level amplifier set in the meantime, but bad sound is better than no sound, so… patience…
While my Accuphase gear is being repaired, I am playing music (and TV sound) over an old Parasound amplifier set (PHP-850/HCA-1000), discontinued in 1996 and 2002. Before I purchased my Accuphase amp and DAC, I was very satisfied with this Parasound set, but now… wow, the difference is more than remarkable, it’s huge. Listening to this amp set is like being set back to 1985, soundwise. I still prefer it to no sound of course, but dang, I miss my Accuphase already.
Transferring data from my old genealogy website
Things are moving fast, and they have to, because soon the old Google sites that I used to use for my genealogy, will shut down and become the “new Google Sites”. That design is useless for genealogy, and there’s not so much you can do with it. It’s too simple.
I still need to transfer a number of pages, mostly Family Charts, but I work tirelessly to get it done asap.
I am quite thankful that I don’t have to rely on FTP, as it was something entirely different from WordPress which I am using now, just like so many others do. FTP required quite a lot of knowledge to the HTML protocol, but WordPress is much easier to use. No knowledge required, except getting used to it. I like the result, and am rather proud of it.
Rødhåret, og hvad så?
De fleste rødhårede oplever smerte på en anden måde end resten af befolkningen.
Den røde hårfarve skyldes en mutation i hudens receptorgen melanocortin-1 (MC1R), som muligvis “uforvarende aktiverer” lignende receptorer i hjernen, der bearbejder angst og smerte, siger Anthony G. Doufas fra forskningskonsortiet for klinisk anæstesi, Outcomes Research Consortium.
Rødhårede er sværere at bedøve
Man har længe ment, at rødhårede var sværere at bedøve. Konsortiet afprøvede påstanden og fandt, at der skulle 19 % mere anæstesigas til for at lægge de rødhårede testpersoner i fuld bedøvelse.
De er desuden mere følsomme over for varme og mere modstandsdygtige over for lokalbedøvelse. Ikke overraskende beretter den amerikanske tandlægeforenings tidsskrift, at der er mere end dobbelt så stor sandsynlighed for, at rødhårede er bange for tandlæger.
Har du nogensinde drømt, at du skrev på computerens tastatur?
Hvis du har, lagde du så mærke til, at dine fingre i drømmen faktisk bevægede sig fuldstændigt som de gør når du skriver i vågen tilstand?
Det må jo betyde, at den del af hukommelsen, som er ansvarlig for at huske hvor tasterne sidder, er aktivt involveret i drømmen. Det synes jeg er højst mærkværdigt.
Der er mange skeptikere i verden, og en “militant” hardcore skeptiker kan sagtens finde på at hævde: “Hvis det ikke kan måles eller vejes, eksisterer det ikke!”
Prøv da at spørge om han nogensinde har været forelsket. Svarer han ja, bed ham om at bevise det.
TV-udsendelser jeg gerne vil se:
1) Nak en jæger!
2) Hvor fed kan du blive på 1 år?
3) FBI files: Skyd først og spørg bagefter!
4) The Island (leave the whole bunch of idiot narcissists there, and never return)
20 Sept. 2013
After 36 years of space exploration and months of heated argument among scientists, NASA officials confirmed Thursday that Voyager 1 had indeed crossed into interstellar space more than a year ago. The final piece of evidence that led scientists to conclude the spacecraft had crossed the historic threshold arrived in the form of an other-worldly radio transmission recorded on Voyager’s vintage eight-track tape recorder this spring. “It’s the first spacecraft to reach interstellar space,” said Ed Stone, a Voyager project scientist at California Institute of Technology and former chief of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, where the craft was built. “Think of that. It’s really something that’s mind-boggling.” Proof of the feat was published Thursday in the journal Science, and focused on two very distinct vibrations that were picked up by Voyager’s 30-foot whip antennas. In what scientists described as a double-stroke of good luck, the antennas were able to convert the density of surrounding space plasma into audio signals — along with the help of two immense and well-timed solar flares.
“We literally jumped out of our seats when we saw the data,” said lead study author Don Gurnett, a University of Iowa space physicist and Voyager project scientist. “It was clear that we were in the interstellar medium.” Gurnett and his colleagues concluded that Voyager left the heliosphere — the bubble-shaped region of space dominated by the sun’s gusting solar winds — on or around Aug. 25, 2012. It is now 11.6 billion miles from Earth. Some scientists have referred to the edge of the heliosphere as the boundary of the solar system. But technically speaking, NASA scientists said the solar system extends out to the Oort Cloud, a distant spherical shell that is believed to be the birthplace of many comets. Voyager 1 will not reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud for another 300 years, and it could take as long as 30,000 years to exit it, according to NASA.
Scientists have been vigorously debating Voyager’s whereabouts since March, when it became clear the probe was being bombarded by an increasing number of galactic cosmic rays while the number of high-energy particles emanating from the sun had plummeted. Stone and other NASA scientists, however, said they could not be certain Voyager had entered interstellar space until the magnetic fields surrounding the craft had changed direction. After waiting for that change for more than a year, Stone conceded this week that Voyager had yet again proved scientists wrong. “It’s a big surprise, and it’s another mystery,” Stone said. “This is not what our models were telling us.” Confusion over Voyager’s whereabouts has a lot to do with the failure of a specific piece of equipment known as the plasma science experiment, or PLS. The device, which was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, measures the electron density of space plasma — ionized gas that is ejected from the sun, as well as from other stars. Cool plasma, the product of stars that exploded millions of years ago, populates interstellar space. It has a high density of about 100,000 electrons per cubic yard of space, Gurnett said. Super-heated plasma, like the solar wind that flows from our sun, fills the heliosphere. It is much less dense, with only about 1,000 electrons per cubic meter. A functioning PLS would have been able to sense the density change as Voyager exited the heliosphere. “The instrument failed in 1980, so the spacecraft is sort of instrument-challenged,” Gurnett said. “That’s one of the major failures we’ve had. There really aren’t that many.” Voyager does have two functional plasma wave antennas that stretch from its base and form a wide “V.” The antennas detect the vibration of excited plasma particles and convert that motion into an audible ringing that is stored on the 8-track tape.
The frequency of the ring is associated with a specific density of plasma. The higher the frequency, the denser the plasma. The only trouble is, something has to excite the plasma to get it to “ring” — something like a large solar flare or coronal mass ejection. Waiting for such a solar event can take years. And when it does occur, it can take as long as a year for the shock wave to reach Voyager. Fortunately for Voyager scientists, the antennas picked up two long-lasting oscillations in the past year — one in October and November of 2012 and another in April and May of 2013. In both cases, the frequency suggested that the plasma was cold and dense. Voyager was in interstellar space. “It was key evidence,” Stone said. “We really needed to measure plasma to know if we were inside or outside the heliosphere. Everything else is more of a proxy.” Gurnett and his colleagues arrived at the crossing date of Aug. 25 by extrapolation.
Plasma density was increasing in a linear fashion as Voyager moved further into interstellar space. The frequency measured in the fall of 2012 was 2.2 kilohertz, and by the spring of 2013 it had risen to 2.6 kilohertz. Previous research told Gurnett that the frequency at the crossing point should be 2 kilohertz. By plotting each point on a line, he was able to arrive at a date. It’s no small coincidence that it was the exact date given in March by Bill Webber, a professor emeritus of astronomy at New Mexico State University. Webber, another Voyager project scientist, was the first to break from the official line and publish a paper suggesting the probe had left the heliosphere. A media frenzy ensued. Marc Swisdak, a space plasma physicist at the University of Maryland, also argued that Voyager had entered interstellar space more than a year ago. In a study published last month in Astrophysical Journal Letters, he presented a theory to explain why the craft hadn’t noticed a change in magnetic fields. Swisdak, who was not involved in the most recent study, said the new evidence looked “fairly conclusive.”
“Density measurement is not quite a smoking gun, but it’s pretty close to it,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that we’ve crossed some sort of boundary.” Scientists are hoping that many gaps in their understanding will be filled in by Voyager 2. The sister spacecraft, which was also launched in 1977, is nearing the edge of the heliosphere via a different path and is expected to encounter interstellar space sometime within the next several years. Unlike Voyager 1 however, Voyager 2 has a fully functioning plasma science instrument and has been sending back density readings throughout its journey. “I think it’s going to teach us even more,” Stone said. “We’ve entered a new era of exploration.”
(c)2013 Los Angeles Times
Primater der primært lever af græs – Gelada bavianerne
Man skulle ikke tro de var planteædere, når man ser deres 5 cm lange hjørnetænder. Kindtænderne viser det derimod tydeligt, siges der.
På nuværende tidspunkt er det kun den øverste kilometer af bjergene, de har at leve på, og området bliver stadigt mindre i takt med, at etiopiske bønder på grund af den globale opvarmning, bliver i stand at dyrke den frugtbare jord på højereliggende arealer, end tidligere. Så drengene bliver afgrødernes beskyttere med deres dødbringende stenslynger.
Men den enes død, den andens brød. 1 meter høje gribbe tager sig af kødet på enhver Gelada-bavian, der bliver dræbt af en sten fra en stenslynge. Ørne og store kragefugle renser kadaverne for de sidste trevler af kød, og til sidst ankommer lammegribben. Den tager knoglerne højt op i luften og lader dem falde fra 200 meters højde, ned på klipperne, igen og igen, indtil den kan sluge knoglerne. Den er det eneste dyr på jorden, hvis kost består af 95% knogler. Naturen er fantastisk…
Sølv som medicin
Silver used as a type of antibiotic thousands of years before discovery of microbes
— Thousands of years before the discovery of microbes or the invention of antibiotics, silver was used to protect wounds from infection and to preserve food and water.
The alluring metal — which was fashioned into a multitude of curative coins, sutures, foils, cups and solutions — all but vanished from medical use once physicians began using anti-bacterial drug agents to fight sickness in the 1940s.
But now, as bacteria grow increasingly resistant to these medications and new pathogens invade hospitals, some doctors are turning once again to the lustrous element that Hippocrates prescribed for patients in ancient Greece.
In a study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, researchers found that by adding trace amounts of silver to common antibiotics, the medications became up to 1,000 times more effective in fighting infections in mice.
Also, study authors said they were surprised and excited to find that the silver-antibiotic combo was able to “re-sensitize” bacteria that had developed a resistance to the drugs. It even extended the effectiveness of the commonly used antibiotic vancomycin to a class of bacteria that was previously immune to its effects.
“We went from basically no killing to substantial killing,” said senior author James Collins, a professor of microbiology at Boston University.
The study is one of the first comprehensive examinations of the ways that silver affects bacteria that are known as Gram-negative. These bacteria are equipped with an extra protective membrane that prevents antibiotic drug molecules from penetrating and killing them.
In a series of experiments, Collins and colleagues from BU and Harvard University examined the effects of a simple solution of silver nitrate salt on Gram-negative bacteria like Escherichia coli.
What they found was that even small amounts of silver ran roughshod over some of the toughest bacteria around.
“It did two things,” Collins said. The positively charged silver ions degraded the bacteria’s protective layer, giving the antibiotics easier access to the pathogens’ innards. It also messed with the bugs’ metabolism and their ability to manage their iron levels.
The second effect led to the creation of molecules that can kill bacteria, including oxygen molecules that are prone to chemical reactions that can damage cells, Collins said.
In one experiment, researchers induced peritonitis in mice by injecting them with E. coli cells. Of the mice treated with silver and vancomycin, 90 percent survived.
Mice treated with just silver or just vancomycin fared much worse. Half of the mice that got silver died, along with 90 percent of the mice treated with antibiotics.
The researchers also observed that silver was effective against biofilms — colonies of slime-protected bacteria that create stubborn infections on medical implants, heart valves and hospital equipment.
Although experiments combining silver and antibiotics have yet to be performed on humans, the study suggests that the metal may become a powerful helper in the fight against multi-drug-resistant microbes.
Researchers who were not involved in the study said it was timely, given the rising concern over the dwindling power of antibiotics. The World Health Organization warns that “many infectious diseases risk becoming untreatable and uncontrollable.”
“This is exciting data and should help pave the way for clinical trials into the use of silver,” said Wilmore Webley, an assistant professor of microbiology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “The investigators covered a lot of ground.”
While the precise mechanisms by which silver kills germs remain something of a mystery, the element’s medicinal and preservative qualities have been recorded throughout history.
Silver has been used variously to treat skin ulcers, compound fractures and even bad breath.
In his “History of the Medical Use of Silver,” Dr. J. Wesley Alexander wrote that North American pioneers routinely dropped silver coins into vessels of drinking water during long journeys to ward off infection. In addition, privileged families benefited from using silver eating utensils that often caused “a bluish-gray discoloration of the skin, thus becoming known as ‘blue bloods.’”
Argyria, an irreversible condition in which the skin turns blue or gray due to the build-up of silver particles, is the result of consuming silver solutions or flecks of the metal over long periods of time.
While the quantity of silver solution used in the study was very small, Webley said repeated use of the metal to treat stubborn infections would be a potential concern for patients. He also noted that there have been reports of bacteria eventually developing resistance to silver.
The study authors acknowledged that much more testing needs to be done before the solution is used on humans. But they envision a day when antibiotics might be coated with silver or otherwise combined with the metal, perhaps in the form of nanoparticles. (Some studies have found similar qualities in copper and zinc, though Collins and his colleagues did not test those metals.)
By using small doses of silver in combination with drugs, the researchers said they hoped to reduce the speed in which bacteria would develop resistance to the treatment.
“Bugs will develop resistance to anything that’s causing damage to them,” Collins said. “Anybody who says otherwise is either not informed, or yanking your chain.”
(c)2013 Los Angeles Times
The importance of being autistic
Temple Grandin nursed a half-cup of black coffee in the corner of a dim hotel restaurant, combing a newspaper for details with the mind that she calls her search engine.
She wore her customary starched cotton cowgirl shirt — black, its boxy shoulders embroidered in turquoise roses and leafy filigree. A Jersey cow smiled from a lacquered blue brooch in the shape of a puzzle piece, the emblem for autism customized with her other lifelong preoccupation: cattle.
The woman who can visualize how cows comprehend the world, who once was prone to rhythmically rocking and fits of screaming, calmly tucked her white scarf between snaps on her shirt. She had been waiting, 35 minutes now. Anyone else might have left, but Grandin ordered a coffee, a plate of sliced fruit, whipped cream on the side, and five bacon slices.
“I love bacon,” she said when the order came, as if it would explain that she was, at least in this, like most everyone else. The neurotypicals.
Temple Grandin is anything but neurotypical. She has eight brain scans to prove it. Her cerebellum, which controls motor coordination, is 20 percent smaller than that of the neurotypical brain. The left side of her brain is so long it has pinched down the region that handles short-term memory. No wonder she can’t follow several steps of written directions, or pass algebra.
Her visual circuitry extends well beyond where neurotypicals’ circuitry stops. Grandin is wired for long-term visual memory. She is sure that one day, autism will be explained by neurobiology. Her new book, “The Autistic Brain,” outlines that quest.
I offer her apologies and blame my delay on the massive reconstruction of the 405. It is a lame excuse. The mention of a construction project widens Grandin’s light-blue eyes — a feature she shares with Claire Danes, who played her in the 2010 HBO biopic that has made Grandin famous enough that a man who describes himself as “Allen, a Ph.D. mathematician,” soon will walk over and tell her how much he admires her.
I have touched off the rapid-fire slide show in Grandin’s brain, and now we will talk about abstract math, the meltdowns of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactors, the faulty batteries that grounded the Boeing Dreamliner, Bill Gates and, finally, why the autistic brain probably could fix that construction on the 405.
Grandin has a doctorate in animal science. She never passed algebra in high school but she can design a cattle processing plant in her head. So she worries that the current rush to adopt a curriculum heavily focused on science, technology, engineering, math — STEM — will fail people like her.
“My kind of mind isn’t going to graduate, and you need me,” Grandin says. “Because my kind of mind is the one that would say, ‘Hey, if you put the generators for the emergency backup for the Fukushima power plant in the non-waterproof basement, you’re going to be in trouble.’ I can’t design a nuclear reactor, but there’s no way I would’ve put those generators there unless I had reinforced walls, submarine doors you crank shut.”
Grandin sees the plant layout as she speaks, adding the hand-cranked submarine doors gleaned from war movies, the pumps from every stockyard and farm she’s seen since she was a child.
“I gotta have a small, medium and large sump pump,” she says. “I gotta have two sets of them. I gotta have three different sizes of sump pump.”
Her mind instantly sorts through scenarios like this. Take the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, grounded because of a fire hazard from its lithium-ion batteries. Her search engine would have pulled up images she had stored of cargo planes burning on the tarmac. Boeing should have had somebody with autism on the design team, she concludes.
Silicon Valley, she says, is practically run by “Aspies,” as she calls those with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism defined mostly by social deficits. Grandin sees Aspies everywhere — Allen, the Ph.D. mathematician, she guesses, may be one.
Grandin knows she does not have a Silicon Valley mind. In 1968, she signed on to the same teletype machine that gave a young Gates access to a main-frame computer. The young Grandin stared at it, unable to write a line of code.
This is when she chokes up and cries.
Then Grandin moves on.
At 65, Grandin has learned many of the social cues that people with autism often miss, though her behavior is still rough-edged. She averts her eyes regularly. She is blunt. Her voice can grow loud.
She rambles, by her own admission, looping back to topics that interest her. STEM education comes back nine times; Fukushima comes up half a dozen; Boeing Dreamliner gets several encores.
“You take out some social circuits and get geek circuits, and that seems to be what happens, because the core deficit in mild autism is face blindness, which I have,” she explains. “I don’t recognize faces until I know people well.”
Would she recognize me if she saw me again?
“If I had said, ‘OK, dark-rimmed glasses, longish brown hair,’ I would probably recognize you in here. But if I saw you in the street I might not.”
Then again, she wouldn’t remember this restaurant, either. It’s just not interesting enough.
“OK, give me a key word — something really interesting, but not house, dog, car or cat, or something like that.”
“Pipe wrench,” I offer, my neurotypical mind landing on my weekend battle with a broken kitchen faucet.
She looks down at the table.
“Pipe wrench — well, I’m seeing a pipe wrench and it’s, the way it was jointed, when I was young I had a hard time figuring out how to work that,” Grandin says. This was the 1960s, when autism was listed in the psychiatric handbook as an aspect of schizophrenia, and leading thinkers still blamed the disorder on emotionally distant “refrigerator moms.”
“I’m now seeing a pipe I tried to screw with pliers that I totally wrecked because I didn’t use a pipe wrench. Now I’m in pliers. Now I’m in my tool box going through other tools that I have. … It’s a plywood toolbox that I built, a brown plywood color.”
Grandin holds an imaginary spiral ratchet screwdriver that turns when the handle is pushed down. She jabs it into the table, right beside the whipped cream. Then she sees the bar in Chile where she had the flu, and wanted a screwdriver so she could go to sleep, and had to point to the orange juice (she lifts her left arm toward an imaginary bar) and the vodka (she lifts her right arm), and how she yelled, “SCREWDRIVER!” in English, which she also does now, drawing the gaze of nearby diners. Her eyes dart sideways.
“So you see, that’s how I got from pipe wrench to my tool box to screwdriver, to a drink of a screwdriver.”
There is a place for this kind of visual thinking, Grandin says. If she can find one — designing cattle-handling facilities to be more humane — this generation of autistic people can too. She is sure of it.
Grandin’s prescription for children with autism, though, may not sit well with parents. Maybe it is the ranch upbringing, or her strict “1950s parents” who pushed her out of her comfort zone, but Grandin does not suffer the slightest hint of dwelling on autism.
When she takes the lectern at downtown’s Central Library that night to speak about her book, she is greeted like a star. But the audience, dominated by stressed mothers of autistic children, alternates between awkward silence and jittery laughter when she gets around to their questions.
One mother asks about her teen’s hypersensitivity to sound. Grandin turns to the girl, sitting beside her mother.
“What about exercise?” she asks.
“I’m fine with the exercise I get; she’s not,” the girl replies.
“How much exercise do you get?”
“Not enough,” the mom says.
“I walk!” the girl says.
“You have to do something that works you harder than that,” Grandin says. “I do a hundred sit-ups every night on the bed.”
“Thanks a lot!” the girl says.
“Every single night, and if I didn’t do them I wouldn’t sleep.”
A fidgety boy comes down from the balcony to take the microphone.
“I have something I want to give you,” Hunter Dotson says, a piece of paper shaking in his hand. “Remember when you said we needed more Internet access for the students? I have like a really simple fix for that.”
“How would you fix that?”
“Build a GPS satellite that could provide WiFi anywhere on Earth.”
“Well, why don’t you grow up and build that?” Grandin interrupts. “I’d much rather have you figuring out how to do something like that than talking about autism or something like that.”
Uneasy laughter rises from the audience.
“You see, autism is an important part of who I am, and I wouldn’t want to change a thing and get cured, but being a college professor comes first. So go out and make that GPS WiFi system.”
Grandin queries Hunter about math. He launches into video games. Grandin hates them, and laments a generation of autistic kids who she fears will collect Social Security and play games.
“You look old enough where you can start doing the grown-up stuff,” she says.
“Well, I’m 10.”
“You’re 10? You’re old enough to do that. If you were living in Silicon Valley, you would be doing your parents’ job already.”
Laughter erupts again.
While signing books, Grandin again confronts Hunter, who says he has been banned from his school.
“What did you do?!”
He averts his eyes.
“I got mad,” he says. “I threatened someone.”
“You can’t say some things,” says Grandin, who was kicked out of school for throwing a book at a girl who called her retarded. “You can’t shout fire in a crowded building. That’s one. And you can’t say you’re going to kill someone.”
Next time, Grandin says, go somewhere and have a good cry — like she did, many times, in the macho world of cattle. “Geeks can cry,” she advises.
Guards herd the last stragglers out of the closed library. Grandin is escorted out a side door onto 5th Street, where neurotypicals are heading home, leaving the darkening street largely to the homeless.
The turquoise embroidery of her shirt stands out in the street lights. The woman with the small cerebellum walks awkwardly in my direction, the escort beside her. I stop a few feet from her and say hello. I want to thank her for her time that morning.
“Ms. Grandin,” I say. She takes my proffered hand, but says nothing.
“It’s me — Geoff,” I say. “From this morning?”
Grandin pauses. “Oh,” she says. “Yes.”
Then she moves on.
(c)2013 Los Angeles Times
Distributed by MCT Information Services
About learning from life
Why do people experience loss, suffering, evilness, sorrow, trials and tribulations?
Everything we experience in life is a lesson. We are constantly being “trained” with the sole purpose, to achieve complete and total control over our thoughts, -patterns, speech, -patterns, actions, reactions etc.
This is not about becoming a successful salesman, bricklayer or priest, but about becoming not only a successful student, but a PERFECT student.
In our daily life, we constantly meet people who – subconsciously – act as teachers for us, and who – often metaphorically – provide us with valuable universal lessons. (One of those teachers is actually our own self.)
The “crux of the bisquit” here, is the fact that we, sadly, obstruct ourselves from learning anything at all from the lesson. This is mainly because we are biased, stubborn, locked in a certain thought-pattern, and often no less than utterly convinced that “we know better than them”.
The truth about it is, that we know nothing of importance. Nothing at all.
Take an old grandpa clock, and take it apart. Find the smallest cogwheel inside, and compare it to the rest of the universe. The universal significance of you is no bigger than that of the cogwheel compared to the rest of the universe.
As a wise old Chinese man once said: “If you wish to know your own significance, stick your finger in a glass of water, and measure the hole afterwards.”
Det bliver hele tiden mere og mere klart for mig, hvad formålet med mit liv er her på Jorden. Jeg ved ikke om jeg er i gang med en åndelig udvikling, eller om jeg er i kontakt med én eller anden bevidsthed, som forsøger at fortælle mig noget.
Min klare overbevisning er, at jeg skal udvikle min tankegang og mine handlinger henimod et empatisk mål. Forstået på den måde, at jeg skal udvikle min tolerance, indfølingsevne, glæde, tilfredshed, taknemmelighed, sympati, venlighed og hjælpsomhed.
I virkeligheden er jeg fuldstændigt klar over, hvor priviligeret jeg er, hvor nemt livet er for mig, og hvor taknemmelig jeg skal være. Jeg føler også selv, at jeg har flyttet mig en del de sidste 10-15 år, men også at jeg skal fortsætte på denne vej, og aldrig standse op.
Jeg tror fuldt og fast på, at der findes noget der er større end os selv, Gud, en altomfattende kraft, en superior kærlighed og livgiver. Jeg er lige så overbevist om, at vi kommer til at stå til regnskab for vores tanker og gerninger. Ikke sådan at forstå, at vi bliver straffet; det tror jeg ikke, men sådan at vi bliver “sat tilbage til START”, og skal igennem en lignende tur én gang til.
Vi er skabt i Hans billede, står der. Med det tror jeg ikke der menes noget med udseendet, men med potentialet. Der er i mit sind ingen tvivl om, at vi kan udrette utrolige ting. Jeg håber – og arbejder videre på – at nå meget længere end jeg er nået nu. For, hvad er det egentlig vi stræber efter, hvis man går helt ind til kernen i spørgsmålet? Er det succes, penge, et langt liv? Ikke for mit vedkommende; jeg stræber efter en tilstand af guddommelig væren. Det er nok ikke sandsynligt, at jeg nogensinde når dertil, men er det en grund til ikke at stræbe efter det?
Når jeg sidder og lytter til oldies på min Youtube kanal (http://www.youtube.com/feed/playlists) bliver jeg ked af at jeg ikke kan dele alle de følelser, der svømmer ind over mig, med andre mennesker. Jeg er selvfølgelig godt klar over, at den særlige nostalgi er helt min egen, fordi den har at gøre med den type musik, som ubevidst startede min interesse for musik, men alligevel…
Utroligt, men sandt
Man har fundet bakterier på havets bund, der lever i tusindvis af år, og muligvis evigt.
Føderessourcerne er ekstremt sparsomme dernede, så disse bakteriers stofskifte er 1 million gange langsommere, end de bakterier vi kender. Dette kunne være grunden til at de lever så længe. De deler sig heller ikke, for det behøver de ikke, netop fordi de lever så længe.
De allermest mærkelige ved dem er, at deres dna er anderledes end al anden kendt dna på jorden. Forskerne mener deres dna er en slags ur-dna.
Researcher finds life flying high above
Jan 6, 2013
SEATTLE — For years, scientists have been tracking pollution that travels across the jet stream from Asia and measuring how much of it winds up in Northwest air.
Now new work from University of Washington researchers shows it’s not just specks of heavy metals or gases that make the long journey here from China or Russia. Some of the world’s smallest life-forms, including bacteria and fungi, do as well.
That phenomenon will help scientists better understand how some life-forms survive what may well be the planet’s most extreme environment.
“It’s fun finding life in unusual places,” said study author and former astrobiologist David Smith, who left the UW in December to take a job with NASA. “Something big is happening here. The biggest gap in the planet (the Pacific Ocean) is not big enough to prevent the regular exchange of biota.”
Using a research station high on Oregon’s Mount Bachelor, Smith and several other UW researchers for the first time were able to extract enough DNA to trace more than 2,100 different microbial species that had traveled on two separate dust plumes to the Northwest from Asia.
Most of those microorganisms were species typically found at ground level, and arrived dead. Some were marine life commonly associated with hydrothermal vents near Japan. Others were extremely common in soil. None were harmful to humans.
But some were of a type that form spores or protective covering that might allow them to travel well at high altitudes.
“People shouldn’t be paranoid that there are bugs up there,” said Noah Fierer, a microbial ecologist at the University of Colorado. “We’ve known for a long time that they are there. There’s nothing bad or scary about it. But we need to do a better job of figuring out how organisms get into the atmosphere and where they are coming from.”
Researchers more than a century ago could capture bacteria from the atmosphere on petri dishes. But only in the past five years have scientists really begun to understand the diversity of microbes in the atmosphere and the factors that influence what is found there.
In fact, the upper atmosphere may well be the least understood ecosystem on Earth — if, in fact, it’s an ecosystem at all. At 20,000 feet it’s exceptionally dry and temperatures can reach 40 degrees below zero. Ultraviolet radiation is extensive.
“It appears, based on our evidence, that almost everything in the atmosphere is dormant,” Smith said. “It’s persisting and enduring, but it’s not ‘making a living’ — it’s not replicating, harvesting nutrients or growing because it’s so cold, so dry and so irradiated. Everything just shuts down. Is that an ecosystem? It’s an argument about semantics.”
Dan Jaffe, a professor at UW-Bothell, has been tracking high-altitude transport of pollution from Asia for years, and has been able to follow atmospheric patterns and see changes over time.
Some pollutants, like ozone, have crept up regularly since 2004 with the explosive industrial growth in China.
“The amount of anthropogenic pollution is increasing very fast, so much of it is being observed here,” said Hilkka Timonen, a scientist working with Jaffe’s group. “Climate change is also probably changing the transport patterns of air masses.”
But it’s not at all clear how much, if any, of what Smith observed is new.
Certain bacteria and fungi likely have always traveled to the Northwest from Asia. Have growth and development on the other side of the globe increased the transport of such bacteria?
Could a global population boom, climate change or other human-sparked changes mean that disease-causing viruses or other harmful microorganisms someday will arrive in the Northwest via the jet stream?
It is far too early to tell.
“We live on a microbial planet; microbial diversity is enormous,” Smith said. “There’s no comparison: There are more types of microorganisms than there are any other type of life-form. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of unique species. Every day we discover new species, and we understand only a few that are out there.”
In the meantime, Smith and other researchers will use this work to help boost science’s understanding of life beyond traditional views of the earth, sea and sky.
“NASA’s interest in this is in trying to understand life in harsh environments,” Jaffe said. “Why did one bug up there survive when others died? What kills one thing and not another? Can we use this as a model to better understand Mars?”
(c)2013 The Seattle Times
My comment: Please, PLEASE don’t tell the Russians and the Chinese…
Slægtstræet vokser stadig…
Andreas Justesen Oppenhagen, f. ca. 1692 i Fredericia, g.m. Gedske Hermansdatter
Just Andreasen Oppenhagen, f. 3 sep 1734 i Fredericia, g.m. Catherine Dorthea Hoffreuter
Catherine Dorthea Justdatter Oppenhagen, g.m. Jeppe Severin Brinch Hansen
Andreas Oppenhagen Hansen, f. 1795 i Fredericia, g.m. Bodil Kirstine Gregersen
Severin Oppenhagen Hansen, f. 1834 i Vejle (Udvandrede til USA), g.m. Eleanor Louise Dröhse
Otto Severin Hansen, f. 1870 i USA, g.m. Ellen B. Johnson
James Wallace Hansen, f. 1913 i USA, g.m. Mary Margaret Thompson
Mary Helen Hansen, f. 1946 i USA, g.m. Bob
Catherine Dorthea Justdatter Oppenhagen giftede sig med Jeppe Severin Brinch Hansen. De fik foruden Andreas Oppenhagen Hansen en søn ved navn Just Hansen. Just Hansen giftede sig med Anna Catharina Margrethe Sørensen, og de fik Johann Eduard Julius Just Hansen, som giftede sig med Marie Sophie Elisabeth Grelle. De fik bl.a. Edmund Marius Severin Hansen, som giftede sig med vor oldemor, Marie Petersson.
Mary Helen Hansen, som jeg har fået kontakt til, har 20000 personer i sit slægtstræ. Hendes farbror William George Hansen havde en søn ved navn Otto Eugene Hansen, som giftede sig med Elsie Vernice McGarrah. Elsie’s mor var delvist Cherokee fra Georgia. Flere af Hicks forfædrene var Chiefs, og andre former for ledere i Cherokee-samfundet, og det på trods af at de rent faktisk var hvide mænd, som i flere tilfælde giftede sig med fuldblods Cherokee-kvinder. Så man kan sige at vi på en måde – dog ikke blodsbeslægtet – er beslægtet med Cherokee indianerne i Georgia, USA.
Da dette indlæg stammer helt tilbage fra 2013, er der naturligvis kommet mere “kød” på slægtstræet. Vi skriver nu 3. sept. 2020, og der er 11797 personer i træet. Nyeste tilføjelser er Emmertsen familien fra Veng Sogn, Hjelsmlev Herred, Skanderborg Amt, som for en stor del emigrerede til Utah, og gjorde deres bedste for at udbygge mit og andres træ. En 3. cousin i USA er også dukket op…
I årevis har jeg ønsket mig en rigtig vamset dun-vinterjakke a la Helly Hansen. Sådan én man rigtigt kan putte sig i.
På vej hjem fra far i går, opdagede jeg at centeret i Herlev Bymidte havde åbent, og jeg gik ind for at ose lidt. Hos Tøjeksperten hang der tilfældigvis en Henri Lloyd parka coat, som jeg fik pruttet 500 kr. ned. Den købte jeg, og hvor er den bare dejlig! Vandtæt, åndbar, flot og gennemført lækker…
Some studies question safety of genetically modified foods
Though the balance of evidence supports the idea that genetically modified foods are safe to eat and don’t harm the environment, a few reports have suggested otherwise. Here are three of them.
French scientists reported in September that rats fed a lifelong diet of Roundup-resistant corn developed more tumors and died earlier than rats fed conventional corn. The widely publicized study, published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, was conducted by Gilles-Eric Seralini, the scientific head of an independent institute opposed to genetically modified foods.
Geneticists, statisticians and other researchers broadly panned the research for its small sample size and other methodological problems. It was reviewed and dismissed by the European Food Safety Authority, Germany’s risk assessment agency and France’s six scientific academies.
A 1999 study in Nature by Cornell University scientists found that monarch butterfly larvae fed milkweed covered with pollen from genetically altered corn died in greater numbers than ones exposed to nonengineered pollen. The corn had been modified with a gene from a soil bacterium so it made a natural insecticide.
In five follow-up analyses published two years later in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers concluded that caterpillars would have to be exposed to more than 1,000 grains of engineered pollen per square centimeter of leaf surface to suffer harm and that the highest levels of altered pollen they are exposed to comes nowhere close to this. The exception was one strain of modified corn, Bt176, that caused growth delays at lower concentrations.
Bt176 was never popular with farmers and is no longer sold in the U.S. But that was dumb luck, said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, a senior scientist with the Pesticide Action Network in Oakland — and that experience makes the case for more stringent oversight, she said.
A study this month by Chuck Benbrook of Washington State University reported that since 1996, when genetically modified crops were first planted in U.S. fields, rates of herbicide use — notably, Roundup — have risen steeply, though insecticide use fell. Benbrook, who conducted this research while he was the chief scientist at the advocacy group the Organic Center, documented a net pesticide increase of 404 million pounds per year.
Other scientists acknowledge that Roundup use has climbed as weeds developed resistance to the herbicide. But they say the report fails to factor in benefits: Roundup is less toxic than the herbicides it displaced and its use allows farmers to leave fields untilled, reducing soil erosion. Analysts wrote that Benbrook’s report, in Environmental Sciences Europe, is at odds with other studies and contains assumptions and missing data that combine to overestimate herbicide use for engineered crops.
(c)2012 Los Angeles Times
Vejskilt hacket i Portland, Oregon
Spasmagere har hacket et elektronisk vejskilt i USA, så teksten kom til at lyde “Warning Zombies Ahead!”
Vejskiltet skulle egentligt advare bilisterne om vejarbejde forude, så Politiet ser meget alvorligt på sagen, og kalder spasmagerne “forbrydere” og tilføjer: “Det er ikke legetøj!”.
Vejskiltet tilhører vejvæsnets underleverandør, og det vides ikke, hvordan det har kunnet lade sig gøre at hacke elektronikken.
“Enhver der frivilligt opsøger en psykiater, burde have sit hoved undersøgt.”
“Myretuen” i Store Magleby
Der er åbenbart ingen ende på børn, søskende og forældre i Hollænderbyen. Nu indeholder stamtræet over 1500 personer, hvoraf størstedelen er af hollandsk afstamning.
De har sjove navneskikke: Hvis f.eks. Pieter Pietersen Schout fik en søn og en datter, kunne de få disse navne:
Niel Pieter Pietersen Schouts
Anders Pieter Pietersen Schout
De har i det hele taget nogle ret særprægede navne:
Pigenavne: Agth, Ehm, Niel, Zire, Marchen, Martjen, Sass, Tekla, Trein m.fl.
Drengenavne: Raijer, Teunis (Tønnes), Thijs (Teis), Willum, Wijbrandt, Zibrandt m.fl.
Efternavne: Valentijn, Theijs, Major, Blaes, Skriver, Smed, Glad, Brouwer, Geertsen, Dirchsen, Ijsbrandtsen, Buur, Capitain, Zibrandtsen, Jans, Jansen m.fl. Mange af disse navne er almindelige på Amager den dag i dag.
De kom oprindeligt til Amager omkring 1621-22, og talte nogle få hundrede på det tidspunkt. Christian 2. flyttede da hele Store Maglebys befolkning til andre fæstegårde, og gav hollænderne hele byen med en del jord til. Bagtanken (muligvis fra Mor Sigbrit) har nok været, at de kunne indføre bedre dyrkningsmetoder m.m. end vi var vant til herhjemme, og samtidigt forsyne kongens spisekammer med rødder, løg, fisk osv.
De hollandske bønder (dvs. hele byen) ejede jorden sammen, og betalte ikke skat før 1717. De havde deres eget “styre”, og bestemte selv hvordan jord o.a. blev fordelt. De var derfor et meget lukket samfund, der ikke gerne lukkede danskere eller andre ind i deres samfund, da de så kunne risikere at gårde og jord endte på fremmede hænder.
Jeg har i øvrigt fundet ud af, at Anne’s og min oldemors svoger, Holger Hansen, som var fyrpasser på Stevns fra 1916 til 1926, også var skibstømrer. Han giftede sig med en Store Magleby-pige ved navn Niel Schmidt, og via hende er der kommet mange nye aner i stamtræet. Blandt andet nogle af Dirch Passer’s aner, som vi åbenbart har til fælles. Som dette skrives, er der næsten 600 personer i stamtræet (i Sept. 2020 er der 11700).
“Tilløberne” medregnet er der tyskere, østrigere, svenskere, hollændere, amerikanere, en enkelt engelskmand og selvfølgelig os mennesker …
Og så glemte jeg endda jyderne, lol
P.S. Der er tilsyneladende ingen ende på antallet af hollændere på Amager. Det lader også til at de alle er i familie med hinanden på kryds og tværs. Som dette skrives, søndag d. 24 juni 2012 kl. 04:14 indeholder stamtræet 874 personer, og jeg er langt fra færdig med at indføre navne.
Slægten blev udvidet…
Endelig er det lykkedes mig at opspore vor oldemor Charlotte Louise f. Høyer, med forældre og søskende, samt et hav af øvrige slægtninge. I den forbindelse fandt jeg ud af, at hendes mor Juliane var født Falkenstjerne, en forholdsvis kendt slægt i kredsen af slægtsforskere. Julianes brødre var spillemænd, og hoboister (oboblæsere) i Livgarden. Falkenstjerne’rne kom fra Fredensborg, men stammer egentligt fra Sverige. Historien om den første person med dette navn er spændende. Han hed oprindeligt Jost Hansson, og var bogholder i Halland, tror jeg. Han må have været dygtig (enten til bogholderi eller at slikke sine overordnede i bagen), for senere blev han bogholder for hele Sverige (Økonomiminister? Kammarråd?) i Stockholm, og blev tildelt retten til at pryde sin familie med navnet Falkenstierna, et navn der gav ham lavadels-privilegier. Han blev åbenbart fristet over evne. I hvert fald opkøbte han gods og andre ejendomme i eget navn, men for statens penge. Det blev naturligvis opdaget, og han blev dømt til døden for sine dumheder. I 1642 fik han i hvert fald bøddelens økse at mærke, og det midt på torvet i Stockholm. Så kunne han lære det… men navnet overlevede, og findes den dag i dag.
Viaduc de Millau
Jeg har lige set en TV-udsendelse om verdens højeste vejbro, Millau-broen i Frankrig. Et stykke fantastisk ingeniørarbejde.
Alle pylonerne har forskellig højde, og man benyttede en særlig GPS-teknik for at sikre, at alle pylonernes toppunkter var nøjagtigt på linie med hinanden, indenfor en margin på højst 2 cm.
Den højeste pylon er over 240 meter, og dækket, som er over 2,5 kilometer langt, blev fremstillet af 2200 stålplader á op til 90 tons, som blev skåret til med plasmaskærere (28.000° C). Det ville blive for dyrt og for vanskeligt at hejse dækket op på plads. Det blev derfor svejset sammen, og skubbet ud over pylonerne fra begge sider, og sænket ned på dem ved hjælp af en sindrig teknik med to modsatte teflonbelagte kiler, som skiftevis blev trukket/skubbet først den ene og derefter den anden vej, hvorved man løftede, flyttede og sænkede det enorme dæk. Til sidst blev dækstykkerne svejset sammen på midten, så hele vejbanen er ét langt (kurvet) stykke. Da de to dæk mødtes, var fejlmarginen 1 cm.
Stagene holder en serie kabler, som skulle bære et brostykke på 342 meter med den ene ende frit svævende i luften, mens man skubbede de kurvede dækstykker ud over pylonerne. Hvad gør man når kablerne skal udskiftes? Jo, kablerne er ikke hver især ét tykt kabel, men mange tyndere kabler, som kan udskiftes ét efter ét. På den måde overbelaster man ikke noget. Genialt.
Dækket udvider sig ret voldsomt igennem hele sin længde, men da det er fæstnet på alle pylonerne, måtte ingeniørerne finde en løsning, så pylonerne ikke knækkede når dækket udvidede sig. Man benyttede en teknik, som keltiske bådebyggere har opfundet for flere århundreder siden: Man “flækkede” den øverste del af hver pylon, så man faktisk kunne får betonen i pylonerne til at bøje sig uden at knække, når den 2,6 km lange vejbane udvidede sig i varmen. Hver pylon har nærmest en Y-facon på denne måde, og derfor kan de give sig 10 gange så mere i broens længderetning end helstøbte pyloner. Imponerende.
Vejbanen har form som en omvendt flyvinge for at kontrollere dens bevægelser i den stærke vind i dalen. Man demonstrerede dens utrolige styrke ved at parkere 28 lastbiler som tilsammen vejede 900 tons præcis midt på broen – imellem to pyloner. Vejbanen gav sig 26 cm, men broen holdt.
Recalibrate Your Reality
Wish you were better/smarter/stronger/faster?
Sure, hard work helps, but the truth is, your self perception may be getting in the way. We all form our own realities, and those realities aren’t perfect. Your self perception can be very limiting, and shaking up your notion of the world can do wonders for your productivity, creativity, and happiness. Here’s how to recalibrate your reality.
Remember the last time you lost confidence after your boss was disappointed in your work—or maybe you were stood up by a friend? You second-guessed yourself after that, and ultimately your work or personal life suffered. The idea behind recalibrating your reality is pretty simple. When you get locked into a view of the world you get stuck in routines and you lose sight of different viewpoints. Recalibrating that view can help you solve problems, win arguments, and even be happier. But how do we actually do it? We’ll take a look at a few of the different methods you can use to recalibrate your perception of the world and yourself, but first, we have to understand how we perceive the world to begin with.
The Basics of How We Perceive the World
To get a grasp on how we perceive the world, I talked with David Eagleman, neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain and Timothy Wilson, psychologist at the University of Virginia and author of Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Chance.
In a literal sense, you can’t perceive much more of the world than you already do. You only perceive what you really need in order to survive. David Eagleman explains:
We open our eyes and we think we’re seeing the whole world out there. But what has become clear—and really just in the last few centuries—is that when you look at the electro-magnetic spectrum we are seeing less than 1/10 Billionth of the information that’s riding on there. So we call that visible light. But everything else passing through our bodies is completely invisible to us.
Even though we accept the reality that’s presented to us, we’re really only seeing a little window of what’s happening. There’s so many examples of this, but one that’s interesting to third-graders, but also neuroscience is optical illusions. [Illusions demonstrate] that these really simple things that you think are going on in front of you are not actually representing physical reality but instead your brain is constructing something.
Our construction of reality shapes and alters our view of the physical world. It also limits our cognitive ability because we weigh our views more importantly than others. Mr. Wilson explains:
A lot of this happens unconsciously. We don’t know how much we’re interpreting. The world presents itself like it’s reality and we don’t know how much we’ve already filtered that. There’s a psychologist name Lee Brosan who calls this naive realism. We perceive the world as real, but we’re doing a lot of spinning as the information comes in. He talks about it as a real impediment when we’re in an argument because each person sees the world as real and thinks the other must be crazy or deliberately trying to destroy things when in fact they’re just trying to bring their own expectations and facts to the table.
Recognizing this limited view is the first step. David Eagleman describes this as the umwelt: the assumption that our reality is the only reality out there. He suggests the first thing we have to do is recognize our umwelt.
The key is when you appreciate the umwelt it gives you intellectual humility. You realize that even though you assume this is reality, there is so much you’re not seeing and so much that’s a part of other people’s reality. The usefulness is recognizing this humility when making a hypothesis.
Recognizing our own umwelt can help us recalibrate our version of reality and start looking at the world in a new and different way. Most of us can’t do this by flipping a switch and require some exercises to get our brains into the habit of looking through other perspectives before making choices. Let’s look at some of the ways you can utilize and act on this idea.
How to Alter Your Larger Outlook
One of the biggest reasons to recalibrate your reality is to attempt to expand your world outlook outside of yourself to help you become a better communicator and expand your problem solving ability. This is easier said than done. Let’s look at ways you can actually implement it in your day.
Wait Five Minutes Before Your Respond
One regret most of us have is our stupid responses during debates or heated arguments. To help cure that and give yourself time to think, 37signals author Jason Fried suggests a simple approach: give it five minutes. He describes a situation where he was arguing with a speaker at a conference who eventually offered him this advice:
He said “Man, give it five minutes.” I asked him what he meant by that? He said, it’s fine to disagree, it’s fine to push back, it’s great to have strong opinions and beliefs, but give my ideas some time to set in before you’re sure you want to argue against them. “Five minutes” represented “think”, not react. He was totally right. I came into the discussion looking to prove something, not learn something.
Many arguments don’t offer the luxury of a five minute response, but others, like email, social networks, or even conferences, give you plenty of time to formulate your response and recalibrate your reality before you say something stupid. Simply letting ideas settle in will inevitably force you to reconsider your own viewpoints, weigh them against your own, and give you an opportunity to come up with a better response.
Force Yourself to Think from Alternate Points of View in Monotonous Situations
It’s not all about making yourself better at arguing a point. It can also be used as a form of stress relief for daily annoyances. In his commencement speech given to the graduating class at Kenyon University in 2005, author David Foster Wallace talked about the dangers of self-centered worldview and the importance of disrupting our “default setting” and views of the world by considering other options.
His suggestion is pretty simple. When you get annoyed at a situation or another person, think about why you would do what they’re doing. For example, if you’re in the checkout line and a woman smacks her kid, consider how you would end up in that situation. Alternately, if someone cuts you off in traffic, imagine why (or even when) you’ve done the same thing. Putting yourself in that mindset can change your view of a situation. As Wallace points out, doing this on a regular basis disrupts your default-setting and makes you more conscious of the world around you.
Write Out Your Day From Another Point of View
In his book, Mr. Wilson talks about the importance of writing things down as a means to understand different perspectives and one way to do that is to take a look at your day—whether that’s work, your creative life, or happiness—from the third person. He explains:
Some researchers have developed a method where they say, if something is nagging at us, write about it in the third person so we can look at it as objectively as we can as opposed to immersing ourselves in a negative experience. That kind of distance can be really helpful to change our story and to look at it in a new way and give new meaning to it. I think I try to do this sometimes. I remind myself that my interpretation of something is just that—an interpretation. It’s not the only way. Sometimes it’s good to to look at a situation the opposite way as an exercise.
It might make you feel a little weird for a minute, but writing out your day from a different point of view will give you a unique perspective of your situation and can help you pinpoint where a problem is.
This isn’t just about altering your view of the rest of the world though, it’s also useful to recalibrate your perception of yourself. Let’s see how you can do it.
Alter Your Perception of Self to Expand Your Notions of the World
As we’ve seen above, we see the world through our own set of filters, but changing and recognizing those filters isn’t too difficult. More difficult is editing your self-perception in order to change how you view the world. It’s a bit difficult to imagine changing your own view, but here’s a few ways you can do it.
Edit Your Own Story
One of the central themes in Mr. Wilson’s book is the idea that you unconsciously form your own narratives that frame the world and shape your sense of reality. Like any story, these narratives can be edited with a technique he calls story-editing.
The goal of story-editing is to change your personal interpretations of yourself and the social world to make yourself happier. One way Mr. Wilson suggests doing this is using the Pennebaker Writing Exercise. The process is pretty simple.
- Find a quiet, private place to write.
- Commit to writing about a problem for fifteen minutes a day for three consecutive days.
Each time your write about a stress or problem, you reveal more and can subsequently edit your version of the story and understand it more. It’s the same premise as the five minute idea mentioned above. The writing exercise creates a self-assessment of your view and helps you consider other sides of a problem. This helps you interpret yourself differently in the social world and can provide insight into how you umwelt affects your decisions, creativity, and productivity.
Change How You Present Yourself
New research from Northwestern University suggests that you may be influenced by how you present yourself. The researchers call this “enclothed cognition” and theorizes that clothes have an effect not just on how you’re seen by the world, but also how you see yourself. Basically, you can alter your self-perception and subsequently your reality by wearing different clothes.
The research doesn’t prove anything yet. Instead, it suggests that our clothes have an impact on how we view ourselves. As an experiment on yourself, outfit yourself differently for a day and take note of how people perceive you how you perceive yourself. Does wearing a tie make you feel like more of an adult? Does a uniform change the way you view work? When your self-perception is changed, so is your view of reality.
Try on a Different Personality for an Hour
The idea of trying on a new personality might seem a little strange if you do it around friends and family, but doing so on a short flight or even in with a random conversation on the bus is an experience that completely alters your reality. It’s also surprisingly easy to do. Mr. Wilson offers his experience:
The idea of trying on a new self can be a fun exercise. So, you’re on a train or a plane and you’re chatting with the person next to you and you just try on a new personality. For example, I tend to be a bit more on the introverted side and I often wish I was a little more talkative and socially skilled at parties and things. And that’s something you can change if you practice it. So sometimes I’ll just say, I’m going to be an extrovert. And you know, I’ll never be Mr. Extrovert, but it’s amazing how easy it can be if you just try to adopt a different trait.
I tried this idea myself. As a bit of an introvert, I tried on an extrovert hat while doing some work in a coffee shop one night. To my surprise, simply telling myself, “I’m an extrovert for the next two hours,” actually made me more forthcoming to the person who was clearly trying to ignore me at the next table. It also gave me an idea of the difference in perception between an extrovert and an introvert. Where I typically would go to a coffee shop to work quietly in the corner, I took a seat closer to someone and actually engaged with them. I did this all automatically after I decided I was an extrovert and it wasn’t until I looked back on it that I realized my seating choice and disposition was influenced by the conscious choice I made earlier.
Create Hiccups in Your Physical Reality to Recalibrate Your Views
One of the problems of falling into a set notion of the world is that we stop being mindful of the world around us and that closes our perception even more. In a lot of ways it’s a good thing, because it’s a great boon to productivity to not have to give cognitive thought to a lot of our daily actions, but it’s still good to change your world slightly now and again. It’s easy to do and can have a surprising effect.
Rearrange Your Home Environment to See New Things
Rearranging your home is an oddly relaxing way to explore your own dwelling and take a good look at the reality you form. Over years of living in an apartment or house, objects get hidden away, pictures you meant to hang get stuffed in storage, and you get so relaxed in the world you create that you don’t spend any time paying attention to it.
You don’t have to completely redo your living room or go out and buy anything. It is as simple as taking down the art on your walls and rearranging them in new places. You could even consider flipping a room to offer a different perspective. The goal is to provide that cognitive bump in the road so that when you walk into your house you’re forced to reassess the situation slightly and take the time to actually think about what you’re seeing.
Take Different Routes and Find New Areas to Explore
Like the rearranging of your furniture, taking alternate routes is about expanding your reality into something larger and breaking your routine enough to cause you to pause. This doesn’t mean you have to take a new way to work every day, but it might mean taking a different street to the grocery store or jogging along a different path. When you break your routine, you move away from your reality and take in another section of the world.
The end goal of recalibrating your reality is to expand your perception so you can make your life better and more interesting. The above methods can be used to work through creative blocks, problem solve issues at work, and even to deal with minor traumatic events. Once you recognize the umwelt and the embrace the idea that your perception is limited, it opens up all types of new ideas. Do you do things to recalibrate your notion of reality?
These ideas seem great, but there are too few (or no) examples on how to actually do several of the changes mentioned above. Let me give you an example from my own life. At a certain point in my life, I used a lot of energy getting annoyed by fat, sweaty persons filling up 1½ seat on the bus. Mentioning the bus, I got downright angry when the bus didn’t arrive on time. Mentioning this, I got really pissed if it was raining while I waited. So here was 3 things that made me use a lot of energy on nothing at all, except making my day worse, and perhaps even the day of somebody else too.
One day, I decided I wasn’t going to spend that energy any longer on things outside my control. I don’t know from where I got that notion, but I made the decision. During the next 5-6 weeks, I fell back on my previous habit several times, but caught myself in the act every time, and thought: Hey! I have stopped doing this! Before 2 months had passed, my new pattern of thinking had become my new habit, and it actually changed my entire life. I saw everything in a new and refreshingly bright light, and that has stayed with me ever since.
It seems to me, it’s only a question of having the personal surplus at the time of making the decision, and sticking with the decisison itself. Less that 2 months, and your life takes on a new dimension, and its’ a much better one…
“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” Galileo Galilei (1564)
Det forekommer mig besynderligt, at nogle mennesker har svært ved at acceptere andre som de nu engang er, mens de selv forlanger at blive accepteret som DE nu engang er.
Mener de at “deres måde” er den eneste rigtige, og at det derfor er ok at gøre andre opmærksom på at de “pågældendes måde” ikke er acceptabel? Er det mon fordi de førstnævnte ikke forstår, at vi alle har brug for at blive accepteret, eller fordi de synes det er vigtigere at netop DE bliver accepteret? Er det fordi de tror de kan ændre andre mennesker? Hvornår lærer mennesket, at man kun kan ændre på sig selv, og at det ikke er vores opgave at lave om på andre?
Researchere har fundet ud af, at man kan lave sand om til sandsten ved hjælp af en bakterie, Sporosarcina pasteurii (tidligere kendt som Bacillus pasteurii) og væske, f.eks. urin. Dette er naturens egen opskrift på bjergarten sandsten.
Ved hjælp af denne naturens egen teknologi kan man skabe et grønt bælte tværs over f.eks. Afrika, og på den måde hindre Sahara i at “æde” sig 600 m sydpå hvert år. Der plantes bevoksning i denne struktur, og derudover er der mulighed for beboelse i de skyggefulde huler der kan udgraves i dette bælte. Man kan endda opsamle kondensvand og skabe naturlig ventilation i hulerne, næsten på samme måde termitter gør det.