Nature of Reality Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Nature of Reality Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
It’s one of the great assumptions underlying modern democracy that an informed citizenry is preferable to an uninformed one. Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. “The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.” There is a substantial body of psychological research showing that people tend to interpret information with an eye toward reinforcing their preexisting views. If we believe something about the world, we are more likely to passively accept as truth any information that confirms our beliefs, and actively dismiss information that doesn’t. This is known as “motivated reasoning.”
The Deepwater Horizon disaster is not just an industrial accident – it is a violent wound inflicted on the Earth itself. It lays bare the hubris at the heart of capitalism. This Gulf coast crisis is about many things – corruption, deregulation, the addiction to fossil fuels. But underneath it all, it's about this: our culture's excruciatingly dangerous claim to have such complete understanding and command over nature that we can radically manipulate and re-engineer it with minimal risk to the natural systems that sustain us. But as the BP disaster has revealed, nature is always more unpredictable than the most sophisticated mathematical and geological models imagine. In the arc of human history, the notion that nature is a machine for us to re-engineer at will is a relatively recent conceit. In her ground-breaking 1980 book The Death of Nature, the environmental historian Carolyn Merchant reminded readers that up until the 1600s, the Earth was alive. Europeans – like indigenous people the world over – believed the planet to be a living organism, full of life-giving powers but also wrathful tempers. There were, for this reason, strong taboos against actions that would deform and desecrate "the mother", including mining. [But] with nature now cast as a machine, devoid of mystery or divinity, its component parts [can] be dammed, extracted and remade with impunity.
Note: For illuminating insights into the nature of reality and the reality of nature, click here.
Prahlad Jani, an 82-year-old Indian yogi, is making headlines by claims that for the past 70 years he has had nothing -- not one calorie -- to eat and not one drop of liquid to drink. To test his claims, Indian military doctors put him under round-the-clock observation during a two-week hospital stay that ended last week, news reports say. During that time he didn't ingest any food or water – and remained perfectly healthy, the researchers said. But that's simply impossible, said Dr. Michael Van Rooyen, ... the director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative – which focuses on aid to displaced populations who lack food and water. Van Rooyen said he's clearly getting fluid somehow. Jani, dubbed "the starving yogi" by some, did have limited contact with water while gargling and periodically bathing, reported the news wire service AFP.
Note: Military doctors had this man under 24-hour observation for two weeks, yet doctors not involved with the investigation claim it's impossible. How sad that many scientists can't accept the possibility of miracles.
Youďż˝re not likely to hear about this from your doctor, but fake medical treatment can work amazingly well. For a range of ailments, from pain and nausea to depression and Parkinsonďż˝s disease, placebos--whether sugar pills, saline injections, or sham surgery--have often produced results that rival those of standard therapies. As evidence of the effectďż˝s power mounts, members of the medical community are increasingly asking an intriguing question: if the placebo effect can help patients, shouldnďż˝t we start putting it to work? In certain ways, placebos are ideal drugs: they typically have no side effects and are essentially free. And in recent years, research has confirmed that they can bring about genuine improvements in a number of conditions. An active conversation is now under way in leading medical journals, as bioethicists and researchers explore how to give people the real benefits of pretend treatment. But any attempt to harness the placebo effect immediately runs into thorny ethical and practical dilemmas. To present a dummy pill as real medicine would be, by most standards, to lie. To prescribe one openly, however, would risk undermining the effect. And even if these issues were resolved, the whole idea still might sound a little shady--offering bogus pills or procedures could seem, from the patientďż˝s perspective, hard to distinguish from skimping on care.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on important health issues, click here.
Scientists are just beginning to understand the effect lifestyle choices and other environmental factors have on altering gene behavior, a rapidly emerging field called epigenetics. Your life story depends upon a combination of the DNA you're stuck with plus your environment, including all the little choices and events that happen over that lifetime. But in recent years, researchers have discovered that, while DNA lays out the options, many of those life experiences — the foods you eat, the stresses you endure, the toxins you're exposed to — physically affect the DNA and tell it more precisely what to do. The cause: a kind of secondary code carried along with the DNA. Called the "epigenome," this code is a set of chemical marks, attached to genes, that act like DNA referees. They turn off some genes and let others do their thing. And although the epigenome is pretty stable, it can change — meaning lifestyle choices such as diet and drug use could have lasting effects on how the body works. "The thing I love about epigenetics is that you have the potential to alter your destiny," says Randy Jirtle, who studies epigenetics at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Jirtle compares the system to a computer: The DNA is the hardware — set and unchanging — and the epigenome is the software that tells it when, where and how to work.
Note: For a fascinating article by DNA researcher Bruce Lipton delving into the intriguing finding that our DNA can be altered by our life choices, click here.
Indian military scientists are studying an 82-year-old who claims he has not had any food or drink for 70 years. Prahlad Jani is being held in isolation in a hospital in Ahmedabad, Gurjarat, where he is being closely monitored by India's defence research organization, who believe he may have a genuine quality which could help save lives. He has now spent six days without food or water under strict observation and doctors say his body has not yet shown any adverse effects from hunger or dehydration. Mr Jani ... is regarded as a 'breatharian' who can live on a 'spiritual life-force' alone. He believes he is sustained by a goddess who pours an 'elixir' through a hole in his palate. His claims have been supported by an Indian doctor who specializes in studies of people who claim supernatural abilities. So far, Mr Prahlad appears to be standing up to scrutiny. He has not eaten or drunk any fluids in six days, and similarly has not passed urine or a stool in that time. He remains fit and healthy and shows no sign of lethargy. According to Dr Sudhir Shah, who examined him in 2003, he went without food or water for ten days in which urine appeared to be reabsorbed by his body after forming in his bladder. Doubts were expressed about his claim after his weight fell slightly at the end of the trial.
Note: To read an intriguing BBC News article about the 2003 study of this remarkable man, click here.
A 13-year-old Croatian girl who fell into a coma woke up speaking fluent German. The girl, from the southern town of Knin, had only just started studying German at school and had been reading German books and watching German TV to become better, but was by no means fluent, according to her parents. Since waking up from her 24-hour coma however, she has been unable to speak Croatian, but is able to communicate perfectly in German. Doctors at Split's KB Hospital claim that the case is so unusual, various experts have examined the girl as they try to find out what triggered the change. Hospital director Dujomir Marasovic said: "You never know when recovering from such a trauma how the brain will react." Psychiatric expert Dr Mijo Milas added: "In earlier times this would have been referred to as a miracle, we prefer to think that there must be a logical explanation – its just that we haven't found it yet. There are references to cases where people who have been seriously ill and perhaps in a coma have woken up being able to speak other languages – sometimes even the Biblical languages such as that spoken in old Babylon or Egypt – at the moment though any speculation would remain just that – speculation – so it's better to continue tests until we actually know something."
A strange discovery by quantum physicists at the University of California [at] Santa Barbara means that an object you can see in front of you may exist simultaneously in a "parallel universe" -- a multi-state condition that has scientists theorizing that traveling through time may be much more than just the plaything of science fiction writers. And it's all because of a tiny bit of metal -- a "paddle" about the width of a human hair, an item that is incredibly small but still something you can see with the naked eye. UC Santa Barbara's Andrew Cleland cooled that paddle in a refrigerator, dimmed the lights and, under a special bell jar, sucked out all the air to eliminate vibrations. He then plucked it like a tuning fork and noted that it moved and stood still at the same time. That sounds contradictory, ... but it actually happened. It's a freaky fact that's at the heart of quantum mechanics. Sean Carroll, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology ... accepts the scientific basis for the multi-verse -- even if it cannot be proven. "Unless you can imagine some super-advanced alien civilization that has figured this out, we aren't affected by the possible existence of other universes," Carroll said. But he does think "someone could devise a machine that lets one universe communicate with another."
Researchers at the University of Florida have combined RFID, microchips and printed nano-particle antennas to make pills that communicate with cell phones or laptops to tell doctors whether patients are taking their medicine. Still a prototype, the inventors hope their tattletale technology can be applied commercially to a range of medications in clinical trials and in treatment of patients with chronic diseases in which it is essential that the doses are taken and taken on time. The pill is a white capsule with a microchip embedded and with an antenna printed on the outside with ink containing silver nanoparticles. A device worn by the patient energizes the microchip via bursts of low-voltage electricity. The chip signal confirms the pill is in the stomach and the device sends a signal that the pill has been swallowed. The messages can go to cell phones or laptops to inform doctors or family members.
Note: For lots more on microchips from reliable sources, click here.
A U.N. report says Afghanistan, the world's biggest producer of opium, is also a "major producer of cannabis" and "the world's biggest producer of hashish." The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime issued its Afghanistan Cannabis Survey on [March 31], documenting large-scale cannabis cultivation in half of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. "While other countries have even larger cannabis cultivation, the astonishing yield of the Afghan cannabis crop -- 145 kilograms per hectare of hashish, the resin produced from cannabis, as compared to around 40 kilograms per hectare in Morocco -- makes Afghanistan the world's biggest producer of hashish, estimated at between 1,500 and 3,500 tons a year," said Antonio Maria Costa, UNODC's executive director. The report says money "is one of the main reasons" for large-scale cannabis cultivation. "The gross income per hectare of cannabis (US $3,900) is higher than from opium (US$ 3,600)."
Note: What almost no media reports point out is that in 2000, the year before the US invasion, the Taliban had virtually eradicated opium and hashish. Is it a coincidence that under US control Afghanistan has since regained its status as top producer of these drugs? For powerful evidence suggesting rogue elements of government profit greatly from the drug trade, click here.
MIT scientists have shown that they can alter our moral judgments simply by magnetically interfering with a certain part of the brain. Studies have shown that the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) lights up with activity when we engage in moral judgments like evaluating the intentions of another person, indicating the region is important to making moral decisions. But while we like to think we're very consistent in our morality, the MIT team showed that an electromagnetic field applied to the scalp impairs our ability to evaluate the intentions of others, leaving us with little by which to hand down a moral judgment. The study relied on non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to interfere with the right TPJ, temporarily impeding the normal firing of neurons in that region. Control subjects were able to evaluate the harmfulness and morality of characters' intentions, whereas those exposed to TMS made judgments based purely on outcome. For example, one common question asked whether or not it was morally permissible for a man to allow his girlfriend to cross a bridge he knows is unsafe, even if in the end she makes it across safely. Control subjects found the intention to do harm morally impermissible, but those exposed to TMS largely based their judgment solely on the outcome.
Note: For more on this interesting research, click here.
Some might think that controlling the weather sounds a bit like science fiction. But military pilot Alexander Akimenkov doesn't think so. He has seeded clouds over Moscow on important state holidays for many years. He says the Russians use two different methods to try to drive the rain away. "Either there's a special machine that spits out silver iodide, dry ice or cement into the clouds, or a hatch opens and a guy with a shovel seeds the clouds manually," he explains. "As soon as the chemicals touch the cloud, a hole appears. It becomes bigger and bigger, and it either rains right there and then or, if the clouds aren't very dense, they disperse without any precipitation." The Russian government has used rain prevention methods since Soviet times, seeding clouds for major celebrations three times a year - Victory Day, City Day and, more recently, Russia Day. There are also private companies that for some $6,000 per hour say they can guarantee sunshine on your wedding day - or for any other private party. But when Moscow's mayor Yuri Luzhkov suggested the technique could shift the winter snow outside the capital - and therefore save more than $10m in snow-clearing costs - many felt the city authorities were going a bit too far.
Note: Weather modification may be much more advanced and frequently used than most would suspect. For a great resource on weather modification with links to dozens of key documents, click here.
"The Game of Death" has all the trappings of a traditional television quiz show, with a roaring crowd and a glamorous and well-known hostess urging the players on under gaudy studio lights. But the contestants did not know they were taking part in an experiment to find out whether television could push them to outrageous lengths, and which has prompted comparisons with the atrocities of Nazi Germany. "We were amazed to find that 81 percent of the participants obeyed" the sadistic orders of the television presenter, said Christophe Nick, the maker of the documentary for the state-owned France 2 channel. "They are not equipped to disobey," he added. The game: posing questions to another "player" and punishing him with up to 460 volts of electricity when he gets them wrong -- even until his cries of "Let me go!" fall silent and he appears to have died. Not knowing that the screaming victim is really an actor, the apparently reluctant contestants yield to the orders of the presenter and chants of "Punishment!" from a studio audience who also believed the game was real. Nick said 80 percent of the contestants went all the way, zapping the victim with the maximum 460 volts until he appeared to die. Out of 80 players, just 16 walked out. "When it decides to abuse its power, television can do anything to anybody," said Nick. "It has an absolutely terrifying power."
Note: For more on this powerful and disturbing phenomenon, click here.
A 50-year mystery over the 'cursed bread' of Pont-Saint-Esprit, which left residents suffering hallucinations, has been solved after a writer discovered the US had spiked the bread with LSD as part of an experiment. In 1951, a quiet, picturesque village in southern France was suddenly and mysteriously struck down with mass insanity and hallucinations. At least five people died, dozens were interned in asylums and hundreds afflicted. For decades it was assumed that the local bread had been unwittingly poisoned with a psychedelic mould. Now, however, an American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD as part of a mind control experiment at the height of the Cold War. One man tried to drown himself, screaming that his belly was being eaten by snakes. An 11-year-old tried to strangle his grandmother. Another man shouted: "I am a plane", before jumping out of a second-floor window, breaking his legs. He then got up and carried on for 50 yards. Many were taken to the local asylum in strait jackets.
Following the Supreme Court decision implicitly granting corporations the right to free speech (by determining that political spending is a kind of speech), a corporation has decided to take what it believes to be “democracy’s next step”: It is running for Congress. With more than a twinge of irony, Murray Hill Incorporated, a liberal public relations firm, recently announced that it planned to run in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.
Note: To watch the company’s first “campaign” ad, click on the link above.
A cat [named Oscar] with an uncanny ability to detect when nursing home patients are about to die has proven itself in around 50 cases by curling up with them in their final hours, according to a new book. Dr. David Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor at Brown University, said that five years of records showed Oscar rarely erring, sometimes proving medical staff at the New England nursing home wrong in their predictions over which patients were close to death. Dr Dosa first publicised Oscar's gift in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007. Since then, the cat has gone on to double the number of imminent deaths it has sensed and convinced the geriatrician that it is no fluke. When nurses once placed the cat on the bed of a patient they thought close to death, Oscar "charged out" and went to sit beside someone in another room. The cat's judgement was better than that of the nurses: the second patient died that evening, while the first lived for two more days. Far from recoiling from Oscar's presence, now they know its significance, relatives and friends of patients have been comforted and sometimes praised the cat in newspaper death notices and eulogies, said Dr Dosa. "People were actually taking great comfort in this idea, that this animal was there and might be there when their loved ones eventually pass. He was there when they couldn't be," he said.
AE911Truth will hold a press conference on Friday, February 19, at 11:00 AM at the Marines Memorial Club and Hotel in San Francisco. We will announce and honor the milestone of our achievement of obtaining 1,000 architects and engineers petitioning for a real investigation into the destruction of the 3 World Trade Center skyscrapers. The press conference will include a large-screen scrolling display of all 1,000 A/E's; statements by Richard Gage, AIA, founder of AE911Truth and several petition signers; and a short ten-minute presentation of "9/11: Blueprint for Truth" – the explosive evidence for the engineered destruction of the 3 World Trade Center skyscrapers. A press kit including the AE911Truth DVD will be made available to all attendees. We will also be inviting various leaders in the 9/11 Truth movement to this milestone event. We are working with We Are Change and other 9/11 Truth organizations to deliver hardcopy petition evidence press kits to every member of Congress. Join us on February 19 in San Francisco to honor this remarkable achievement and meet some of those who have made AE911Truth one of the most respected voices in the 9/11 Truth movement.
Note: For a powerful 10-minute video clip by the founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, click here. WantToKnow team member, Dr. David Ray Griffin, and Dr. Steven Jones will deliver keynote speeches at the press conference luncheon at noon.
Is there life after death? Radiation oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Long says if you look at the scientific evidence, the answer is unequivocally yes. He makes the case for that controversial conclusion in a new book, Evidence of the Afterlife. He talked to TIME about the nature of near-death experience. [TIME:] How do you respond to skeptics who say there must be some biological or physiological basis for that kind of experience, which you say in the book is medically inexplicable? [Dr. Long:] There have been over 20 alternative, skeptical "explanations" for near-death experience. The reason is very clear: no one or several skeptical explanations make sense, even to the skeptics themselves. Or [else] there wouldn't be so many. [TIME:] You say this research has affected you a lot on a personal level. How? [Dr. Long:] I'm a physician who fights cancer. My absolute understanding that there is an afterlife for all of us — and a wonderful afterlife — helps me face cancer, this terribly frightening and threatening disease, with more courage than I've ever faced it with before. I can be a better physician for my patients.
Note: For a deeply inspiring online lesson presenting incredibly powerful near-death experiences, click here.
A clinical psychologist, [Mary Jo] Rapini had long worked with terminal cancer patients. When they told her of their near-death experiences, she would often chalk their stories up as a reaction to their pain medication. But in April 2003, she faced her own mortality. She suffered an aneurysm while working out [in] a gym and was rushed to the hospital. She was in an intensive care unit for three days when she took a turn for the worse. “All of a sudden [doctors] were rushing around me and inserting things into me, and they called my husband,” she [said]. “I looked up and I saw this light; it wasn’t a normal light, it was different. It was luminescent. And it grew. I kept looking at it like, ‘What is that?’ Then it grew large and I went into it. I went into this tunnel, and I came into this room that was just beautiful. God held me, he called me by name, and he told me, ‘Mary Jo, you can’t stay.’ And he said, ‘Let me ask you one thing — have you ever loved another the way you’ve been loved here?’ And I said, ‘No, it’s impossible. I’m a human.’ And then he just held me and said, ‘You can do better.’ ” While Rapini’s account may seem far-fetched, [Dr. Jeffrey] Long [in his book Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences] says her recollections mirror nearly all stories of near-death experiences.
Where did humankind come from? If you’re going to ask Zecharia Sitchin, be ready for a “Planet of the Apes” scenario: spaceships and hieroglyphics, genetic mutations and mutinous space aliens in gold mines. It sounds like science fiction, but Mr. Sitchin is sure this is how it all went down hundreds of thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia. Humans were genetically engineered by extraterrestrials, he said, pointing to ancient texts to prove it. [He] has spent his life arguing that people evolved with a little genetic intervention from ancient astronauts who came to Earth and needed laborers to mine gold to bring back to Nibiru, a planet we have yet to recognize. Mr. Sitchin has been called silly before — by scientists, historians and archaeologists who dismiss his theories as pseudoscience and fault their underpinnings: his translations of ancient texts and his understanding of physics. And yet, he has a devoted following of readers. His 13 books, with names like Genesis Revisited and The Earth Chronicles, have sold millions of copies and been translated into 25 languages. Starting in childhood, he has studied ancient Hebrew, Akkadian and Sumerian, the language of the ancient Mesopotamians, who brought you geometry, astronomy, the chariot and the lunar calendar. And in the etchings of Sumerian pre-cuneiform script — the oldest example of writing — are stories of creation and the cosmos that most consider myth and allegory, but that Mr. Sitchin takes literally.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.