Thursday, September 29, 2016

When Humans Left Africa

Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago with the use of fire, the beginning development of language and other modern behaviors. At this time, they continued the natural tendency of all prior hominid ancestors to migrate into new territories, which meant also migrating out of Africa previous to this time.

Those that migrated out of Africa before the Toba extinction event 75,000 years ago are referred to as the "first wave" (actually a series of waves). Those that migrated later are the "second wave". Though almost all the DNA from non-Africans today are traceable to the second wave, in New Guinea, 2% of their DNA is of the first wave.

Related video:
Super Volcanic Eruption 75,000 years ago drives modern humans close to extinction

Monday, September 26, 2016

If N. Korea Nuked S. Korea?!

This is a question I've been much concerned about. I've read a bit of Korean history and such, but nothing compared to the article provided by the following link:

An excerpt:
"..... It's unlikely South Korea would ask the U.S. to launch a nuclear counter-strike. It would be an all out conventional version consisting of missiles launched by SSN's, Cruisers along with naval and air bombers from the U.S.  and other allies. Even if there were multiple nuclear warhead detonations in the south, doing so in the north would mean there would be entire provinces all over the peninsula that would be uninhabitable. North Korean nuclear warhead technology is not considered as advanced as western technology. It's estimated that the largest nuclear device the North Koreans have built is a warhead with an approximate blast yield of 5 Kilotons, roughly 1/4 the destructive yield of a World War II era Mark III (Fat Boy - used to bomb Nagasaki, 21 kt) .  There would be no mercy shown as radiation poisoning would last 50+ years. South Korea would ask the U.S. to target Kim Jong-un and every government installation known in addition to military targets. And it would not end until the leadership was wiped out. China and Russia would probably not allow Kim Jong-un asylum and in fact, may arrest him if he attempted it and allow him to be put on trial for war crimes......"

Monday, September 19, 2016

4 Steps to Becoming a Better Person

"One of the most challenging and fulfilling things you can do is to better yourself. Everyone wants to be a better person, but not many people know how to become one.... it’s an uphill battle to fight against the habits, circumstances, and genetics that have shaped who you are. It can take a lot of patience, hard work, and understanding people who want to support your growth."

#1 Understand Yourself- 
"Learn about yourself and discover your negative qualities. It may sound easy, but it can be difficult to see yourself in an honest light. Sometimes we bury away traits we don’t see as strengths. Start by thinking about the people that annoy you. Have you ever asked yourself why they annoy you? The reason you dislike certain people is because you may have a lot in common — you both have similar negative qualities...."

#2 Step Back and Watch-
"Once you’ve discovered your faults, it’s time to acknowledge them. Maybe you always have to be right or are easy to anger. Whatever it is, a big step is realizing these faults, admitting them verbally, and acknowledging them in your daily life. You must be willing to make a change. Now that you’re aware of your issues, watch for these negative qualities as they come out in your life. Observe yourself without judgment and be gentle with yourself during this process of awareness. Remember you are not your emotions or your faults."
#3 Learn What Triggers You-  "When you are aware of your weaknesses and have detached yourself from them, it is time to find out what instigates them. What situations lead to these qualities coming out? What people bring this out in you? Once you’ve discovered your triggers you will have a better understanding of what situations and environments lead you to these bad behaviors."
#4 Regain Control-  "Once you’ve found your triggers, it’s time to make a game plan to control them. If you’re easy to anger at work, then you’ve developed a habit of venting your frustration to your employees or colleagues. Make a contingency plan to avoid this happening. Maybe go to the gym before work to get rid of steam or take a few moments in your office before you have to interact with a colleague. You’ll need to develop a plan to counteract or control these bad qualities and habits. These traits may always be something you struggle with, so make a plan to control them so they don’t take over your life."
My Comment: Be aware of your inner landscape (physical, emotional, mental thoughts and memories ( conscious, plus search for unconscious). Observe all these in action/interaction. Hold this "steady in the light". Sustained awareness without condemning or condoning will lead to transformation.
And remember, our karma is a feedback loop that keeps bringing us back repeatedly to the same points of tension in our life(s) because we still have yet to learn from what we have not earned. Karma is the gift that keeps on giving!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Global Warming: Let's Ignore Reality and See What Happens

Ayn Rand stated,"You can avoid reality, but you can't avoid the consequences of avoiding reality".

CO2 levels have doubled and are now at 400 ppm. Even if all fossil fuel consumption ended abruptly today, the rate of ice cap melting would remain constant, ocean acidification would not decrease, etcetera.  CO2 absorption by the ocean has slowed to the point that such can no longer cushion our excessive carbon dioxide release. The carbon dioxide in the air today will be there for a long, long time.

Currently, we are adding 2 ppm of CO2 yearly; but even if CO2 release levels remained constant, the percentage of atmospheric greenhouse gases will increase beyond that because it's no longer being readily soaked up in the seas. The only rational choice is to drastically cut fossil fuel consumption now, not later.

If the human race became very proactive suddenly, we could likely avoid "anthropogenic global warming", even though it's already too late to avoid a lot of the climate change effects. 

Suggestion: Plunk down $1 a day
to an environmental group of your choice.
[My choice is NRDC:]

Personal Dental Health Care

Some of us are not as blessed as others when it comes to dental health. As one of these people, I selected a very good dentist that I visit every six months. Additionally, I have developed a personal dental health care routine that has had surprisingly excellent results. The following is the description of my daily routine:

Upon arising, I rinse my mouth with water and then an oral rinse. After breakfast, I brush my teeth with normal toothpaste. Before lunch, I do oil pulling using sesame oil. After lunch, I brush teeth with baking soda and rinse with hydrogen peroxide (swish in mouth until oxygen release foaming ceases). Chew xylitol gum. After supper, I drink water and take apple cider pill to assuage desire for sweets as they occur. [In general, try to avoid refined flour and sugars.] Chew xylitol. At bedtime, use water pic (add bit hydrogen peroxide), floss and then use fluoride gel toothpaste (example: Gel Cam). Do not eat or drink anything to give fluoride a chance to set.

Though the above might seem bothersome, if you slowly implement the elements that make sense to you, then you'll be better off.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Almost Half Of Americans Are Young Earth Creationists

"Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God's guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process".

My Comment:
I'm shocked that such a high percentage of Americans think that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. I presume that this is the result of taking Genesis literally. I assume, also, that these same people believe in Noah's flood. I shudder to think what the level of thinking is in less developed nations. Maybe we should all just bend over and 'kiss it good by' right now, because it's going to take a considerably higher level of global consciousness than this to meet the challenges that "Homo sapiens" is now facing.

I believe that all life evolved with some divine guidance. That's because I believe that God is both the Creator and the Creation. I don't believe that God created fossils just to mess with us. And I don't believe that the entire Bible was written/inspired by God (it's too full of inconsistencies for that / for example: there are two creation stories in the very start of Genesis). Now, I love the Bible; but, it's a thinking man's collection of books that doesn't contain many sacred books that were purposely omitted when it was compiled.

Most Americans Take Bible Stories Literally

Despite the fact that it takes a few thousand years to form one inch of limestone, there are "creationist geologists" who believe that fossils that standard geology dates as 450 million years old were formed during Noah's Flood.

And then some people believe that the Grand Canyon took just days to form during Noah's flood, dinosaurs coexisted with humans and had a place on Noah's Ark, and Cain married his sister to people the earth, among other Biblical wonders. [To me, these people are scary.]

Meditation: At The Feet Of The Master by Krushnamurti

... meditation is the beginning of self-knowledge. Knowledge of oneself as one is, and not as one should be. The desire to be something else is a barrier to seeing yourself as you are. Meditation is awareness, without condemnation, of every thought, every feeling, and every word. The moment you condemn, you put into motion another thought process, and self-discovery ceases. After all, as I said, meditation is a process of self-discovery, and that self-discovery is without an end. Therefore, meditation is an eternal, timeless process. To understand that which is timeless, which is unknown, which is real, which cannot be put into words - to realize that, the thought process must be completely understood; and it can be understood, not in abstraction, not in isolation, but only in relationship. 

There is no such thing as isolation. A man who sits in an enclosed room, or withdraws to a jungle or a mountain, is still related, he cannot escape relationship. And it is only
through relationship that I am capable of knowing myself and therefore knowing how to meditate.

Meditation, then, is the beginning of understanding; meditation is the beginning of self-knowledge. Without meditation, there is no self-knowledge; without self-knowledge, there is no meditation. So, you must begin to know what you are. You cannot go far without beginning near, without understanding your daily process of thought, feeling and action. In other words, thought must understand its own working; and when you see yourself in operation, you will observe that thought moves from the known to the known. 

You cannot think about the unknown. That which you know is not real, because what you know is only in time. To be free from the net of time is the important concern, not to think about the unknown; because you cannot think about the unknown. The answers to your prayers are of the known. To receive the unknown, the mind itself must become the unknown. The mind is the result of the thought process, the result of time, and this thought process must come to an end. The mind cannot think of that which is eternal, timeless; therefore the mind must be free of time, the time process of the mind must be dissolved. Only when the mind
is completely free from yesterday, and is therefore not using the present as a means to the future, is it capable of receiving the eternal. That which is known has no relationship with the unknown. Therefore you cannot pray to the unknown, you cannot concentrate on the unknown, you cannot be devoted to the unknown.

All that has no meaning. What has meaning is to find out how the mind operates, it is to see yourself in action. Therefore, our concern in meditation is to know oneself,
not only superficially, but the whole content of the inner, hidden consciousness. Without knowing all that and being free of its conditioning, you cannot possibly go beyond the mind's limits. That is why the thought process must cease, and for this cessation there must be knowledge of oneself.
Therefore meditation is the beginning of wisdom, which is the understanding of one's own mind and heart.

This is a matter of life and death; because, if you understand what I have been saying, it will produce a revolution in your life, a devastating experience. But if it is merely verbal, a casual amusement instead of going to the cinema, then you can go on merely listening without disturbance. But if you know how to listen, you will be tremendously moved, and therefore a revolution is possible. So, Sir, please do not merely listen to the words, for words have very little meaning. But most of us are fed on words without any substance, we cannot think without words; and to think without words is "negative thinking", which is the highest form of thinking. That is not possible when words are important, when the word is the end. Take the word of God. When the word God is used you get very excited, you get psychologically thrilled, which means that the word is important, and not the thing the word represents. So, you are caught in the net of words. The man who is seeking the real does not confuse the word, the language, with that which it represents.

My Comment: We cannot think without words, yet "negative thinking" (thinking w/o words) is the highest form of thinking. This means, to me, that words are only the beginning.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Changing Other People's Minds

Changing Other People's Minds

"When we wish to correct with advantage, and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken, and that he only failed to see all sides. Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true."
"People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.
"Put simply, ...before disagreeing with someone, first point out the ways in which they’re right. And to effectively persuade someone to change their mind, lead them to discover a counter-point of their own accord."
“One of the first things you have to do to give someone permission to change their mind is to lower their defenses and prevent them from digging their heels in to the position they already staked out. 
If I immediately start to tell you all the ways in which you’re wrong, there’s no incentive for you to co-operate. But if I start by saying, ‘Ah yeah, you made a couple of really good points here, I think these are important issues,’ now you’re giving the other party a reason to want to co-operate as part of the exchange. And that gives you a chance to give voice your own concerns about their position in a way that allows co-operation.”
“If I have an idea myself, I feel I can claim ownership over that idea, as opposed to having to take your idea, which means I have to explicitly say, ‘I’m going to defer to you as the authority on this.’ Not everybody wants to do that..."

My Comment: If you are fair minded in the process, you may change your own viewpoint in the process as well. But, in either event, you can show appreciation where there is "right thinking" while withholding judgement where there are distortions and misconceptions.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"Don't Know Much About The Bible" by Kenneth Davis

This one of the best books I've ever read. I liked it so much that I even got an audio version and have listened to it repeatedly while driving over the years:

Stories of the Garden of Eden, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and many more of both the Old and New Testaments are highlighted with a historical backdrop that simply isn't given in biblical texts. Egypt, Canaan, Babylon and other nations and peoples are part of that backdrop. The symbology transmitted down through the ages is given deeper and clearer meaning. Not only that, it stimulates a greater interest in other biblical age texts that were not included in the bible but enhance the vision of biblical mysteries.

Someone else's summary:
"Nine out of ten Americans own a Bible, but how much do they know about the one book that has influenced human history more than any other? Don't Know Much About the Bible by New York Times bestselling author Kenneth C. Davis is designed to illuminate everything we need to know about the Good Book but never learned."
"With wit, authority, and intelligence, Davis brings the world of the Old and New Testaments to vivid life, setting the panorama of the Scriptures against the historical events that shaped them; clearing up misconceptions and mistranslations; summarizing Bible stories, parables, and miracles; and adding fresh new insights to the world's most owned, least understood book."
"Davis is uniquely qualified for the assignment. The creator of the bestselling Don't Know Much About series, which has more than 1.6 million copies in print, he now illuminates the bestselling book of all time using his inimitable question-and-answer approach and providing a key to the people, places, and "household names" we need to unlock "The Greatest Story Ever Told."
"Relying on up-to-date research and improved translations, Davis set out to uncover what the Bible says -- and doesn't say. Don't Know Much About the Bible is the result of his efforts and includes the following observations: There are two different Creation stories told in Genesis, but no apple in the Garden of Eden story. Noah invented wine and cursed the son who had seen him drunk and naked. There was no "coat of many colors" in the story of Joseph and his jealous brothers, but rather a long-sleeved robe. Moses didn't write the Torah and he didn't part the Red Sea in his escape from Pharaoh. The Sixth Commandment does not condemn all killing. Jericho's walls may have tumbled down because the city lies on a fault line. King David probably didn't kill Goliath and didn't write the Psalms."

Almost Unknown Bible Secrets:

Also: Symbology in the Bible

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Bear Your Karma Cheerfully

["Karma" (resulting manifestations from one's own actions in relation to the Absolute Law of Cause and Effect) and "dharma" (specifics of Cosmic Law), though implying a belief in reincarnation that Christians generally reject, nonetheless link to biblical concepts:

"You must bear your karma cheerfully, whatever it may be, taking it as an honor that suffering comes to you, because
it shows that the Lords of Karma think you worth helping. However hard it is, be thankful that it is no worse. Remember
that you are of but little use to the Master until your evil karma is worked out, and you are free. By offering yourself to Him, you have asked that your karma may be hurried, and so now in one or two lives you work through what otherwise might have been spread over a hundred. But in order to
make the best out of it, you must bear it cheerfully, gladly. Yet another point. You must give up all feeling of possession.
Karma may take from you the things which you like best- even people whom you love most. Even then you must be cheerful - ready to part with anything and everything.
Often the Master needs to pour out His strength upon others through His servant; He cannot do that if the servant yields
to depression. So cheerfulness must be the rule."    by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Friday, September 2, 2016

Dear Christian Soldier

...please understand that Jesus was and is the most glorious display of God's spiritual hierarchy on Earth. Angels, Archangels, Ascended Masters, Elohim and many more all salute and pay tribute to their Brother and His Majestic Presence that shines forth God's Eternal Light, Love and Power. Furthermore, remember that "religion is not a matter of ceremony alone. IT IS A MATTER OF DAILY, HOURLY LIVING. It is a matter of plain, ordinary common sense. It is a matter of discipline, self-control, contemplation. It is too, of course, the development of love and gratitude for life itself and for the God who has given that life and sustained your presence in the universe... hoping to fulfill through you a destiny WHICH CANNOT BE FULFILLED THROUGH ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL."

We are each a God particle (seed). And a seed must sprout before a bloom may come forth. You can never become anything other than yourself, and unless you become yourself you cannot be fully happy. Let no man or man's religious dictates come between you and your God-self. For we truly are created in God's image / just not the standardized portrait that religions issue.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Political Partisanship Promotes New STD: Zika

"Republicans were using the Zika bill to promote the Confederate flag, anti-contraception riders and exceptions to clean water laws."

"One of the scariest things about Zika is that it can be transmitted both by mosquitoes and by sex — vaginal, oral and anal. In the history of epidemics, it is unprecedented for a virus to be spread through an insect vector and sexually. It means that Zika could continue to infect people after the mosquitoes go away. My generation in particular should be concerned, because the devastating birth defects Zika causes are a threat to our ability to have healthy children."
"We need to think about this in terms of a new sexually transmitted disease, one that is especially hard to combat because 80 percent of infections don’t cause symptoms, and both men and women can carry the virus for months."

"Like HIV, Zika originated in central Africa, very rarely infecting human beings, and circulating among rainforest primates. Unlike HIV, Zika had the ability to fly, carried by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes from one monkey or human, to another."
"Since reaching Brazil in 2013, where it has spread explosively over the last 12 months, Zika has demonstrated capabilities not seen, or extremely rarely noted, with any other insect-carried microbes."

My Comment: It's now in the USA and will inevitably spread both via mosquitos and through sexual contact. It'd be wise to slow the spread. But, since when did we ever consistently live up to our species' name "Homo sapiens" (Latin: wise man).