It has been a long strange week. It has been an unusually difficult and tiring school year. This week was one of the most tiring yet. It must have something to do with the end of the term and all of the extra reporting that we had to do. Luckily that is behind us, now. And, I have a couple of significant things I’d like to report here in this space:
- We rescued a sparrow. On the walk home from school, I noticed a sparrow hopping out of our way on the sidewalk obviously unable to fly despite being big enough to do so. I picked it up and carried it home. We set up a box with food, water, and nesting material. It seemed happy enough in there, and we started to think of keeping it as a pet since it was pretty clear that it would never fly again. Unfortunately, it died on Friday. La Petite Fille is particularly upset by it because (a) she loves birds beyond anything else and (b) she feels hyper-responsible for most of the bad things that happen in her life or around her. I’ve told her and myself that we should take comfort from having provided her with a safe comfortable place to live out her last few days as she struggled to overcome her injuries.
- World Kindness Day. I finally have put the calendar to good use. Realizing that World Kindness Day was coming up, I organized our sixth grade classes into writing positive encouraging uplifting messages to one another. I wasn’t sure that the students would embrace the idea, but I figured it was worth a shot. You know how I feel about positivity whether it is genuine or not, right? It went really well. There were some very sweet notes written even for, maybe even especially for, the kids who struggle to a constructive member of our community, and, even better, some very frank conversations about our attitudes towards each other. They really did seem to get that everyone has positive traits and that we can focus on those. I was impressed that it came off as well as it did.
From the Blog Roll!
I’ve finally had a little free time later in the week to read some of my favorite blogs and find some new favorites.
From Neuroscience News
NeuroscienceNews.com has long been a reliable source of interesting digestible news of recent psychological findings and well worth an investment of time into it. This week, it did not fail us, but don’t take my word for it, have a look at some of my most astounding finds:
- ‘Orgasmic Meditation’ Alters Brain Function What will those damn yogis think of next?!? I don’t know, it sounds pretty scammy. A woman enters into a meditative state and someone stimulates her clitoris. Are you sure this isn’t just some scam? The fMRI’ed not only the female meditators but also the male, um, stimulators, and found some remarkable results. First, frontal lobe activity associated with intense focus and sensations of release or flow were observed. Second, parietal lobe activity associated with spatial representations of the self and spiritual sensations of connectedness and oneness were recorded. And temporal lobe and limbic activity associated with emotional, meditative, and sexual reactions were evident. There were distinct changes in the male and female brain, but also some overlap indicating benefits for both. People have long been aware of the connection between sexuality and spirituality and the scammy exploitation that can go along with it, so while we have some scientific support for it all, be careful of who you let stimulate your clitoris while meditating.
- First Ever Body Maps of Hallucinations Created Most of us cannot understand what it is like to be in a hallucinatory or psychotic fugue state. This research can really help us understand it better. It reminds me of the phantom text or phone sensations that I get when I carried my phone in my pants pocket. Every now and again, I’d get the sensation of my phone vibrating against my leg only there wouldn’t be a phone in my pocket. It was a complete hallucination. Imagine experiencing that but with a much wider variety of sensations and no associated causes over multiple body parts. It really must be very confusing and distressing.
- Exploring Psychosomatic Inflammation: How Perception and Memory Can Influence Illness While this is a basic study using mice, it is fascinating. In a nutshell, they induced inflammation of the bowel and used a technique to “capture” the neurons involved in the insular cortex (the brain region involved with monitoring bodily sensations). After the bowel inflammation resolved, they stimulated these same cells, and the bowel inflammation returned! More importantly, they were able to reverse the process. By “calming” the neurons in the insular cortex, the induced bowel inflammation resolved. Pretty phenomenal and strongly suggests that similar processes may be involved in higher order mammals like homosapiens.
There are, of course, numerous other blogs rolling through my WordPress Reader. Here’s a brief sampling:
- M+ museum offers stunning showcase for the arts, organisers play down censorship fears I really think it is worth our while to observe the changes taking place in Hong Kong closely since it is a democracy shifting to a single-party pseudo-democratic minority-rule authoritarian regime. They may continue to have nice things, but they can only be so nice and nice for only certain people. That’s our future. The Hong Kong Free Press may be the best place to do it at… at least in the English speaking world and for the time being.
- The Points Which the General Must Consider – Maurice Tiberius is a fascinating discussion of the military, diplomatic, and economic advice coming out of the Byzantine Empire after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It’s advice, much like that of Machiavelli and Sun Tzu, that is applicable to our fascinating modern era. The Strategic Book Club is a new find. One that I’m looking forward to reading much more of.
- Ever wanted to ride a bike through treetops? Well, if you ever find yourself on the sunny Mediterranean island of Majorca and tire of the nude beaches — I’m a juvenile at heart — you can go to Jungle Parc and do a treetop adventure as one of my favorite travel bloggers, Kids on Tour: Autism without Limits.
Friends of Ye Olde Blogge
- Over on Cabbages and Kings, Robert re-blogs a remarkable poem that resonates with Ye Olde Blogge on so many levels but primarily on our excessive anxiety and advancing age. Well worth your time, and let us know if it resonates with you in the comments.
- At Mock Paper Scissors, Tengrain continues his series on Zuckerberg and Metaberg with his usual aplomb and sarcasm. Oops,’ Said Faceberg (Part Infinity) makes the news that Republicans weaponized Facebook and now that Facebook is going all concealed carry, they’re pissed at the “censorship” but blame Facebook for being assholes, not themselves a little more palatable. I said a little.
- A recent post on Homeless on the High Desert, TenBears gives us another analogy to add to bread and circuses, beer and football that have describe the reasons empires past have fallen or the populace failed to notice as the empire plummeted past them, Crotch-shots on Fox.
- On Infidel753, Infidel leaves us with the uplifting message that civilization wins out over the forces of brutality, inhumanity, and darkness… eventually. Just look at Galileo’s fight with Pope whatzhisname over heliocentrism. Right? We all know Galileo and that the earth revolves around the sun, so what’s to worry about now? I feel better… sort of… don’t you? Let us know in the comments, especially if you read his post!
- Over at Fair and Unbalanced, Burr celebrates Veterans Day by reblogging one of his own about a Viet Nam War hero he met in the local library of all places. It is quite the story. Let me know if you agree… in the comments.
- Scottie’s Toy Box’s Scottie gives us one of those ICYMI stories detailing how Maddog Greene believes the gov’t is ready to be toppled if the GQP is ready to push hard enough to the shagrin of Steve Bannon who is one of the few on that side with enough sense to keep the quite parts quite at least in the obviously public sphere.
That’s about all we have words for — I try to keep these to around a 1,000 to 1,200 words, honest — so we’ll dispense with the review of the two posts we made this week, the anticipation of the posts to be made next week (I don’t know what they’ll be, anyway), and my constant moaning about the underpopulated calendar of events (the Cambodian Water Festival and Joe Biden’s Birthday).
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It’s the picture of the poor sparrow in its wool nest the morning it expired. It’s yours to use as you feel fit. Honest.