Archive for the ‘Scientists’ category

Neil Degrasse Tyson❤and the Science of Fitness with Terry Crews

October 31, 2017

I seriously loved this interiew by my favorite astrophysicist who has also trained alongside Terry Crews. I love Neil. Anyone who doesn’t think fitness is critical in improving both the personal and professional life should think again.

Inducing Strength: The Musical Drug

January 15, 2015

I’m ten minutes away from driving into the gym parking lot. The music is pushing through my overly used iPod connector, through my overly used car stereo, into my soon to be deaf ears, and then into my hell bent mind. Lucky the windows on my runner are tinted because anybody who saw me on my way to the gym would surely think I have lost it! This week, all I needed to hear from the time I left work until the time I left the gym floor was “All is Fair in Love and Brostep.” Skrillex did the trick…flipping me out…getting me loc…putting me into that fiery zone.

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The zone. It’s that place where I become unapproachable. It’s the place where music makes chills course through my body and mind like one thousand steeds. I feel powerful and in complete control. I feel strong. I look angry, but it is the happiest time of my day. If there was a hidden camera in my vehicle, you could see me making tough faces and roaring to psych myself out for the iron. It works. I actually don’t need pre-workout supps. Only music. Tonight I discovered that it is indeed a biochemical reaction that I’ve been using to my advantage for years. The reactive chills make me push it harder.

For several years, scientists have published papers in scholarly journals such as Current Biology and Nature Neuroscience on this very topic. Why am I not surprised that there is science behind my reaction to sound? MasHerrero, Zatorre, Rodriguez-Fornells, Marco-Pallares, and Salimpoor have been studying the heck out of music. I wonder what they actually listen to? They are researching the effects of music on our bodies and minds. Their latest studies are reward based, but these researchers have actually documented and graphed how music can change us in mysteriously scientific ways!

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The biochemical mechanisms at play (no pun intended) really trigger a curious high with a release of dopamine. Dopamine is the lovely neurotransmitter which is pleasure based and is associated with food, drugs and sexual arousal. Salimpoor says that “dopamine is important because it makes us want to repeat behaviors. It’s the reason why addictions exist, whether positive or negative.” No wonder I keep on wanting to bench press a car ha!? Haha… He also said “it’s not the music that is giving us the ‘rush.’ It’s the way we’re interpreting it.” I love music and can’t live without it!!

And so…I leave you with this tune that gets me super pumped. “All Is Fair in Love and Brostep” features the Ragga Twins. The song was produced by Skrillex and was written by Sonny Moore, Trevor Destouche and David Destouche. Pure awesomeness!!! It’s all about “da energy an de powa.” Turn it up and feel it!

Houdini, Meteorites, and Airbursts: Oh My

January 9, 2015

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~Dr. Boslough and Felicia~


I found myself wondering how many people with a scientific Ph.D. surrounded me in a room of at least 500 people tonight. It is so much more interesting for me to spend the night learning, writing or crafting then doing something completely mindless. I learned so much from the lecture of Dr. Mark Boslough, a physicist and New Mexico’s “expert on planetary impacts and global catastrophes.”

Dr. Boslough’s lecture was titled “2013 Chelyabinsk (Russian) Meteorite and Other Stories of Destructive Impacts and Airbursts on Earth.” It was very interesting and we walked out in amazement. On Valentine’s Day here in the United States in 2013, an asteroid “descended at about 19 kilometers per second exploding at high altitude in a momentary flash brighten than the sun and generating a shock wave that injured over a thousand people.” It was both scary and amazing to learn about because these things can be “more damaging than a nuclear explosion” and can generate more than enough heat (1800°C) to literally melt the Earth.

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~Yes...I took notes and looked at stars.~

The lecture was sponsored by the New Mexico Academy of Science, which was founded in 1902. The academy was proud to host an event for Dr. Boslough who received his doctorate from CalTech. What did I find most interesting? Learning about the geologic origins of Libyan desert glass was rather cool. It was awesome to find out that King Tutankhamun had a chest plate which featured a scarab beetle carved from this desert glass. What a beautiful piece!!

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~King Tut's breast plate with a scarab beetle carved from Libyan desert glass.~

Dr. Boslough has been featured on BBC, NOVA, PBS, and the Discovery and National Geography Channels. He even had an asteroid named after him (73520 Boslough, 2003 MB1). Super cool for a man who focused his career on geophysics right? He was very happy to report (he seemed star struck, but who could blame him) about his recent presentation in the Canary Islands with the notorious Stephen Hawking. Dr. Boslough showed us a piece of a meteorite that Hawking felt there. It seemed like he wanted to say “I’ll never wash this thing!”

Of course I had a question at the end… “What software do you use to render models and create simulations?” He stumbled around, but finally said they use Houdini. He also knew all about metadata!!! At first I thought he was joking by saying he used Houdini, because he was kind of comedic. At the end, Gail leaned over and whispered in my ear… “Have you heard of Houdini?” I told her no, but that I would look it up. I checked it out tonight and the physicist wasn’t kidding. Houdini is real. It runs in a Windows based system and is a 3D animation application software developed by Side Effects Software of Toronto. Maybe that was the other thing I found most interesting!

Unique Identifiers: A Closer Look at Biometric Technology in New Mexico

December 3, 2014
Biometrics_by Felicia Lujan_December2014

|Biometrics~ A digital composite by Felicia Lujan. This composite is composed of 13 layers, 8 masks, 3 color overlays, and a Gaussian blur. The composite includes images of binary code and components of ocular, palm vein, and voice recognition scans.|


**NOTE: This research was
not intended to promote or
renounce the use of biometric
systems, though I do find the
technology extremely interesting
and useful in most cases. I
understand that the use
of this technology is considered
controversial by some. I intend
to continue my exploration into
how biometric technology is
being used around the world
for the greater good.

________________________________
I am an archivist with a deep love of technology, which is one reason I pursued a masters level certification in digital information management. A little over a week ago, I was in a meeting that reignited my interest in biometrics. I must admit that I was naïve in my assumption that my state was not a pioneer in this industry. First off, I didn’t know that the central nervous system of New Mexico state government (aka the State Data Center at the Department of Information Technology) utilizes biometric technology as a method of security. After that meeting I came home curious about how involved New Mexico is when it comes to biometric research and implementation. The writer, the researcher, the analyst, the special agent in me took over and that night I added biometric engineer to my list of dream jobs that I would love to have. So…what type of education does a biometric engineer need? Most commonly, a biometrics engineer has: a computer science degree; a computer language certification like Java or C++; and good problem-solving, people, and technical skills.

I found an informative link online titled “Become a Biometrics Engineer: Education and Career Roadmap.” Hum? Well, according to this plan, there are only 7 “popular schools” specializing in advancing a career in biometrics. The page said that “biometric technologies include complex equipment designed to analyze personal identification markers unique to each individual, such as fingerprints, ear lobes, vein patterns, voices, and iris shapes.” Through this research, I discovered that the technology is not limited to “individuals” or people here in New Mexico. I did know that biometric engineers were software developers, but there was a lot that I didn’t know before I embarked upon this research over the Thanksgiving break. Ear lobes? Veins? Hum? Didn’t know those were used as unique identifiers? We are all well aware of the TV shows touting the sexy use of biometrics, like CSI and most recently my beloved Scandal, but that’s just on TV right? A dead guy’s index finger couldn’t possibly be used to confirm his identity? Could it Shonda? Maybe I should ask Chien Le?

The most information dense white paper I discovered was written by Chien Le of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Washington University in November of 2011. Le wrote A Survey of Biometrics Security Systems and his research introduced biometric security systems. It also outlined application fields for biometric technologies, solutions, middle-ware and software, advantages and disadvantages, acronyms, and the future uses of biometrics. Damn! Chien Le beat me to the punch didn’t he?! Here it was…all laid out for my thirsty mind. Le’s paper says there are “seven basic criteria for biometric security systems.” These are “uniqueness, universality, permanence [hummm?? Do I hear digital preservation?], collectability, performance, accessibility and circumvention.” I don’t completely understand some of the criteria, but it was very useful to read over the types of biometric solutions outlined by Le. Current technologies include: facial recognition detectors, fingerprint readers, voice recognition, iris scanners, vein recognition, DNA biometric systems, and 2D barcode scanners, among others.

This technology can have good uses, but there are many privacy advocates who are against the use of any biometrics. In December of 2013, Scientific American published Biometric Security Poses Huge Privacy Risks by Oliver Munday with a byline which read “without explicit safeguards, your personal biometric data are destined for a government database.” The article starts with the sentence “security through biology is an enticing idea.” Yeah it is. Is that all it is though? An idea? I think not. Maybe I’m not worried about privacy as much as I should be? The article is basically a call to United States Congress for “lasting protections against the misuse of biometric data.” Munday quoted an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who seems to fear that biometric data will be used genetically to test for criminal predisposition. I’m actually not sure that’s a bad thing? I guess my only concerns at this point would be relative to health information and insurance coverage. When it comes to physical security and data security, personally, I think that biometric technology is necessary. It is a way to uniquely protect data, which in the end equals the preservation of knowledge and heightened security.

Over the weekend I started whittling through what I found. I read a great deal of articles and a few white papers before I started to look at projects going on closer to home. The more I researched this topic, the more information I found. I was most interested in how biometric systems actually work, so I focused my mind on the technical aspects. I had questions like…what are the major components of a biometric system? Who uses these systems? One of my questions was answered in Le’s paper. I have a sore throat now, so last night I wondered…what if a person needed to use voice recognition and something was wrong with their voice? How is that accounted for in designing a successful system? According to Le, there was no solution. A voice recognition system will not recognize a hoarse voice wave. So now that we have some background on the basics of biometrics, let’s take a look at what I found going on right here in my state. I was able to locate information on at least ten concrete areas where biometric technology is being used in New Mexico from at least 2003-2014. I’m sure there are many projects I missed, but frankly, this could be a thesis and maybe even a dissertation. This is just a quick look at highly visible projects I came across over the last week.

We will start with the New Mexico Department of Information Technology (DoIT) since it is a meeting with this office that rekindled my interest in this technology. DoIT is “responsible for infrastructure IT services provided 24x7x365 which includes: the State’s telecommunications system, two-way public safety radio, digital microwave, the State’s core data network and internet connectivity, and the State’s Data Center.” It is here, in the State Data Center where biometric technologies are being used for data security. I felt impressed with my state when I learned that and tomorrow I will get a tour of the center. “The State’s Data Center provides a secure facility with redundant power and cooling which houses many of the State’s critical IT systems including the State’s mainframe and agency servers. This division also provides enterprise system services which include the State’s consolidated email system…” It will be interesting to see what type of biometric security the agency is using as of late. I am guessing a finger or palm scanner?

The two strangest projects I found information on were tied to the use of biometrics on kids and animals in New Mexico. On April 3, 2013, there was a news release put out by KOAT (channel 7) titled Los Lunas School Offers Biometric Scans at Lunch. What? Seriously? Yes. Seriously. The school apparently tried to implement a palm vein scanner in the lunch room instead of good old meal tickets or cards. Parents were not happy about the suggestion of using infrared wavelengths (electromagnetic radiation) during the lunch hour to ID their children. The parents fought off the proposal which would have allowed scanners to recognize a unique vein pattern in the child’s palm and they won. I wasn’t sure which seemed stranger…scanning kids or scanning animals? I also read about how the New Mexico livestock industry is using Retinal Vascular Pattern (RVP) for livestock identification. RVP is the pattern of blood vessels at the back of the eye. It’s is being called the new way of branding animals. I wonder how ranchers feel about that since they must prefer the old burn and freeze methods? What’s a brand without cowboy symbology right?

I discovered that the national labs and the air force bases are also using biometrics. Of course, this was no surprise. I read a white paper Chris Aldridge prepared for Sandia National Laboratories and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in June of 2013. Sandia Report No. SAND2013-4922 is titled Mobile Biometric Device (MBD) Technology: Summary of Selected First Responder Experiences in Pilot Projects. This report was concentrated on the use of MBDs to enroll individuals in databases and perform “identification checks of subjects in the field area,” for “military, law enforcement, and homeland security operations.” The report was a multi-agency/multi-state project with 3M Cogent Systems and involved: Iowa, Colorado, California, D.C., Texas, Washington (Seattle), Arizona, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Idaho. I think the most interesting part of this study used a “mock prison riot” for first responders out of West Virginia. We all know how critical that information is given New Mexico’s prison riot history. Many of the agencies studied for this report are using “Fusion devices.” Fusion was developed by 3M Cogent Systems for the Department of Defense. A large part of studies in this field are tied to law enforcement, but currently the technology trend is leaning towards cyber security.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) says biometrics are important because they: secure facilities, protect access to computer networks, counter fraud, screen people at our borders, and fight crime. The NIST says this technology is used to manage identities for: first responders at the scene of a natural disaster, border patrol, soldiers in theater, and police officers on the street. It makes sense that the following projects are closely related to the projects cited in the Sandia report. In New Mexico, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) to support criminal justice DNA databases. The National DNA Index System or NDIS is part of CODIS. The FBI uses biometrics to analyze data from DNA databases and for latent print analysis. Holloman Air Force Base is using the 49th Security Forces Defense Biometric Identification System which is comprised of hand-held scanners. The scanners are used to screen people entering the base to verify the access authorization. Identity is established using barcode technology and fingerprints. In February of 2011, it was announced that Santa Fe County was using biometrics to “remove aliens convicted of a crime.” It can also be noted that between 2003 and 2005, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) researched the use of biometrics in handgun grips while working with a New Mexico biometrics company. The NAE was interested in developing biometric grip sensors, but a 2005 report declared the tests a failure.

I also located evidence of the health care systems in New Mexico using biometric technology. The University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) offers Biometrics Screening Services as part of Employee Health Plans. These screenings are said to align with recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Ommmm…Maybe this is where my privacy fears rest? In 2013, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine released a Joint Consensus Statement on Biometric Health Screening for Employers. According to the “statement,” the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines biometric screenings as “the measurement of physical characteristics such as height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood glucose, and aerobic fitness that can be taken at the worksite and used as part of a workplace health assessment to benchmark and evaluate changes in employee health status over time.” I am a fitness freak, but that seems crazy? What if something is wrong with me and I don’t know? The statement outlines the “purpose of screenings” and I found it kind of scary. What if they find out I experience shortness of breath or I’m genetically predisposed to cancer? Will they drop me from my insurance plan?

In New Mexico health circles, I also located a “Fingerprint Techniques Manual,” which was prepared by the New Mexico Department of Health. The manual had very interesting graphic illustrations on the fundamentals of fingerprints. This training tool covered from patterns to arches to loops to lines to deltas to cores to whorls to scars of the fingerprints. The machines can read all these intricate things. The Division of Health Improvement uses this technology as part of the Caregivers Criminal History Screening Program. Makes more sense than the biometric screenings. I feel comfortable with this use. This type of use can protect people from abuse or other forms of criminal activity. I was rather impressed with the 36 page manual. It reminded me that about 15 years ago I applied for a finger print technician position with the Department of Public Safety. I was crushed to learn that these people don’t make very much. I don’t know…I guess you have to be a biometrics engineer to make it out there!? What I do know is that I found a great deal of information about how New Mexico is actively participating in the biometric industry.

I gained useful knowledge through this research into biometrics and then regurgitating what I learned. My son just asked me what I was writing about and when I told him he looked at me with the curiosity that I love and see in myself. I told him “I’m writing about biometrics. Do you know what that is?” I explained with words and then decided it was easier to show a nine year old a catchy tech video with visual candy. Together we learned about the future of biometric systems. Between October and November of this year there were several videos on the use biometric technology. The National Science Foundation released information on a project by a young man studying the use of ocular biometrics in the video game industry for disabled people. In October the Telegraph out of the United Kingdom released a video declaring that we would simply kill passwords with biometrics and CBS news declared that biometric palm scans will help keep hospitals secure.

The future of biometrics is here. It is everywhere and happening all around us. Biometrics is about identifying who we are and not who we say we are. Tonight I learned that the most accurate method for a biometric reading is the heartbeat or an electrocardiogram (ECG). Makes sense ha? It’s symbolic actually. Symbolic because the heart is at our biometric core. It is the giver of life. The heart represents how we feel and who we are. That beat is indeed is a unique identifier.


Sources:

News release, Santa Fe County and All New Mexico Now Benefit from ICE Strategy to Use Biometrics to Identify and Remove Aliens Convicted of a Crime, released on ice.gov, February 15, 2011

White paper, A Survey of Biometrics Security Systems by Chien Le, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Washington University, November 28, 2011

News release, Los Lunas School Offers Biometric Scans at Lunch, released on koat.com, April 3, 2013

White paper, Mobile Biometric Device (MBD) Technology: Summary of Selected First Responder Experiences in Pilot Projects by Chris Aldridge, Sandia Report No. SAND2013-4922, prepared by Sandia National Laboratories and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, June 2013

Article, Biometric Security Poses Huge Privacy Risks by Oliver Munday, released on scientificamerican.com, December 17, 2013

Publication, Fingerprint Techniques Manual, prepared by New Mexico Department of Health, Division of Health Improvement, Caregivers Criminal History Screening Program, no date

Various internet searches for basic information in articles and videos

Fog: Mysteriously Scientific

November 18, 2014

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~Fog by Felicia Lujan. The digital composite includes 4 images, 10 layers, 2 masks and 1 screen.~

The Fog
by Mary Meixner

Seurat would have gone forth
on such a night
walking the mist-hung streets
dour silence
wrapping his world
in thin recessions
immediate
frames of form.
How he would chew this vapor
like a food
tasting distinctions
when all cats are grey
already in his hand, the touch
veiling in layered chalk
this passing woman
as a monument.
Each windowed structure lost
in a broad stroke
that makes perfection
of the mood of home
cubic, irradiated,
finding more truth
the more that it obscures.
_______________________

A couple of weeks ago on my drive into work, the fog was thick. I wanted to stop and take a photograph, but I didn’t. Fog rarely visits Santa Fe, but when it does, it is beautiful and eerie and magical and mysterious all at once. I started wondering what people thought about fog centuries ago when they didn’t understand what it was. I started wondering things like… What is fog exactly? What causes fog? Why does the smoke-like cloak evoke such contradictory feelings in me? Tonight I explored historic and contemporary research about the science of fog. I can’t possibly cover everything in one night. In the coming weeks, I would like to learn more about fog.

The earliest scientific account of fog I could find was published in an 1889 volume of Science. The article was titled Fogs, and the piece wasn’t very scientific in my opinion. That year in January, there was an anniversary meeting of the Royal Meteorological Society. The president of the society, Dr. W. Marcet delivered a keynote address about fog which was laced with “interesting lantern-slides.” Apparently, the address declared that “fogs and clouds are one in the same thing.” The article goes on to say “a cloud is a fog when entered into; and a fog seen from a distance, suspended in the air, becomes a cloud.” Isn’t that so scientific? No…not really.

While I didn’t get much from the article in that volume, a few months later, a very interesting piece was published in Letters to the Editor. On May 24, 1889, H.A. Hazen (love how that surname is perfect for a study of fog) sent a letter to Science. It opens… “A great deal of discussion has recently taken place on the properties of fog and its causes.” This letter delivered some concrete facts about the composition and causes of fog. He or maybe she calls theory “entirely inadequate” and noted percent, degrees, height, and weight measurements. Hazen says “fog, it is admitted, is simply cloud composed of water-dust or solid minute spheres of water from 1/7000 to 1/1000 of an inch in diameter.”

So how did Hazen conclude the letter written from Washington, D.C.? I was curious as I read on. Hazen concluded by outlining the circumstances surrounding the formation of fog.

“The cause of fog is briefly as follows: 1. It is essential that there be no wind. I do not mean that the wind does not blow the fog right after it is formed, but there must be little or none while it is forming. 2. The sky must be clear. We often notice a cloudless sky after a fog is dissipated. On weather-maps, “fog” is entered as “fair,” for, through not a particle of sky is visible, yet it is almost a certainty that the sky is clear. 3. The air must be saturated, or nearly so. It is very surprising how rarely the last condition occurs at inland stations. A relative humidity of 95 per cent has been noted in the air, in which rain is falling, and had been falling continuously for seventeen hours. This condition almost always can occur only to the south, south-east, or north-east of a storm. At nightfall, whenever these conditions combine, there is a rapid radiation from the earth to the sky, which speedily supersaturates the overlying air; and after that, radiation from the upper surface of the fog continues the process, and extends the fog upward until the action ceases with the rising of the sun.”

The letter was a very interesting read. Will you notice any of the things Hazen pointed out next time you encounter fog? I will. I find pleasure in the fact that one thought or maybe a few thoughts can spur my mind into a foggy haze! Hazen seemed to take some of the first concrete steps to define fog scientifically.

What about what can’t be defined scientifically like the emotions and feelings associated with fog? How do writers and artists use things like fog as a tool to evoke a feeling in the reader? I have a little bit more research to do and then you will see a part two with a focus on my interest in the mystery of fog.

Sources:

The Fog [Poem] by Mary Meixner
Art Journal, Vol.25, No.1, Pg.25 (Autumn 1965)

Fogs
Science, Vol.13, No.315, Pg.116-117 (February 1889)

Fog
Science, Vol.13, No.330, Pg.429-430 (May 1889)

Trust in Health

September 4, 2014
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~Evil fast food worker LoL~

This recent research has been all over the news since late August because it is so interesting! For the normal peeps who need easy reading, there is this article published on Science 2.0~Mom Was Almost Right: Junk Food Will Spoil Your Appetite, Except Permanently.

If you aren’t scared of scholarly words, check out the real journal article published by Frontiers in Psychology. This is what all other articles are based on. Cafeteria diet impairs expression of sensory-specific satiety and stimulus-outcome learning by Reichelt, Morris and Westbrook is an informative read.

Yes…maybe some people can justify the “new school” diet methods which allow the consumption of junk food to grow abs. I’m not saying getting abs eating greasy shit and cake isn’t possible. In the end, the “old school” way is indeed best. Eating junk food will make you sick, lower your energy level, make you moody, and clog your heart and veins.

Organic whole foods are always best for your body and mind! Premium fuel baby! Trust me…it’s organic.

Power Hour: Find A Cure or Chain Me

September 2, 2014

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My central nervous system is so very stimulated after every workout and sometimes I think it would be best if I were chained and silenced for at least an hour after I leave the gym. It would be better if I could keep the beast quiet, hidden and calm. I love the feelings that I get after a workout, but some of them are likely better off boxed. Lifting weights gives me the illusion of the control of myself when there is none.

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When I leave the gym, I’m like a piping hot kettle ready to implode and explode all at once. I feel super cocky, strong, tough, happy, unstoppable and sexy. My true feelings are impossible to hide. Honesty is not always what people want, though you may think otherwise. Once the power hour is up, it is way easier for me to camouflage my emotions again.

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If I couldn’t move a muscle or type a word, or speak my mind for at least one hour…I would be good once I turned human again. Damn that oxygen to my brain, blood to my muscles and the cerebral metabolic activity of my neurotransmitters. F’u beta endorphins and dopamine and serotonin and norepinephrine and acetylcholine!! I hate loving you!!

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A Ph.D. with the University of New Mexico (UNM) who is an author, educator, researcher and exercise scientist explains things for us in Exploring the Mysteries of Exercise. Len Kravitz (the Ph.D. not the rock star~ haha) is a smart dude out of ABQ who is taking a closer look at what a somewhat smart chick out of SF calls “Hulkish syndrome.” Wonder if smart dude actually benches? Damn it Dr.K! Find a cure or chain me!!!

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In his paper, Dr. Kravitz says…

Currently there are several theories which try to explain how exercising the body can affect the mind. One theory states that physical training gives people a sense of mastery or control over self and their environment. This control becomes associated with a sense of well-being that enhances the self-concept, self-efficacy, reduces anxiety, and positively affects other personality variables (Greist et al., 1978) . Morgan (1980) hypothesizes that physical exercise provides a distraction or diversion for anxiety provoking cognitions. A similar hypotheses is that exercise is a form of meditation which precipitates an altered state of consciousness that may relieve depression and anxiety (Van Andel, 1986) . Folkins and Sime (1981) hypothesize that fitness training enhances a person’s ability to adapt and cope with the environment. Increases in fitness reduces the excitation of emotion-provoking stimuli by slowing autonomic responses (i.e. heart rate, blood pressure) thus decreasing somatic (pertaining to the body) “turmoil.” Although no cause and effect relationship has been found, there is a growing body of research that describes biochemical induced changes to mood following exercise. Regular physical exercise stimulates the central nervous system which increases the transport of oxygen to the brain as well as cerebral metabolic activity of various neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine. Endurance running has also been shown to produce immediate increases in beta endorphins in the blood after training.

Death by Curare: A Love of Blowguns

April 24, 2014

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~“Blowing Poison in the Amazon” a digital rendering by Felicia Lujan~

For some time I have been fascinated with blowguns. These low tech tools or weapons used mostly by indigenous peoples in the rainforest are also referred to as blowpipes or blow tubes. A blowgun is traditionally made of a long tube of organic material such as bamboo. The tube is used to fire poisoned darts or other projectiles by blowing air by mouth into the tube.

I first became intrigued with the blowgun when one of my all time favorite fantasy films was released in 1985. I was a ten year old girl with a wild imagination. In Legend, a poisoned blowdart was used by the evil goblins to kill a unicorn in a dark fairy tale which I favor. I now own that movie and still watch it often. The blowgun made such an impression on me that I authored a poem titled “Blowdart” in February of 2013.

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~The talking book and player on the chair in my office.~

For the last few days, I have been listening to a talking book while I work. This book along with a book my son and I read on poison dart frogs, made me want to research further into the history and use of the blowgun. After listening to my talking book, and doing some research, I am more fascinated by not only blowguns, but by medicine men.

Listening to Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice has been so interesting. The book was read and written by Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D. Dr. Plotkin is a famous ethnobotanist who searches “for new medicines in the Amazon Rainforest and said “everytime a shaman dies, it is as if a library burned down.” This is a very sad realization. There is so much oral history to be lost with death.

Dr. Plotkin spent an amazing amount of time studying the shamans of the northeast Amazon and his book is indeed mind blowing. There is something about actually listening to him tell the story. I could hear his love and enthusiasm for the Amazon, nature and research in his voice. I was particularly struck by his interest in the indigenous use of blowguns.

The indigenous peoples of the Amazon, South and Central America, and South East Asia utilize blowguns as do the Native Americans of North America. These people have used both round projectiles as well as handmade darts for ammunition. I tend to favor those cultures which lace the tips of their darts with poison. This is done to cause paralysis and death.

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~A Poison Dart Frog~

The type of toxins used on tipped darts to cause paralysis and death vary from culture to culture. Indigenous peoples use curare, a plant based extract or the frothy secretions of toxic frogs to tip darts. Native Americans have been known to extract toxins from the Golden Poppy. The amount of poison used, and the level of penetration seem to play key roles in the life or death of the receiver.

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~The Golden Poppy~

On September 17, 1864, London’s Illustrated Times published a short piece titled “The Woorali Arrow Poison.” This historic news article says “from the fact that this poison, introduced into the system by the blood vessels, causes paralysis and death in the course of a few minutes, it has been erroneously inferred that death by curare is perfectly free from pain of any kind.” Dr. Claude Bernard’s experiments with curare showed that “one limb after another becomes gradually paralyzed…” He assumed death by curare was not painless as an animal retains intellect during the course of paralysis, which “gradually extended to the respiratory organs” causing suffocation.

On September 16, 1993, the Indiana Gazette ran an article on Dr. Plotkin by Nita Lelyveld, a writer with the Associated Press. He is truly an amazing man. The article was titled “Scientist Learns Healing Secrets from Rain Forest’s Medicine Men.” In this piece, there is a photo of the handsome scientist discussing “blow gun poisons with an En-Yeh-Pah Indian in central Venezuela.” What a great image! It was awesome to read this story. I’m in love with this ethnobotonist. Again, Dr. Plotkin’s professional passion was evident.

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~The handsome ethnobotanist discussing “blow gun poisons with an En-Yeh-Pah Indian in central Venezuela.” ***Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press~

At the time of that article and the release of his book (1993), Dr. Plotkin was working with Conservation International. He is still on a conservation mission. That is commendable. Today he is president of the Amazon Conservation Team. His team is working with indigenous peoples in order to protect our magical rainforests. He is a very special man with a love of poisoned darts, blowguns, and medicinal cures.

When I first became intrigued with the blowgun, I was just a girl. I had and still have a wild imagination. As a young girl I could never understand the importance of conservation and preservation. If it were not for experts like Dr. Plotkin and the late Dr. Bernard, people like me would never learn about some things. I can only imagine what it is like to be a scientist studying in the rainforest. It must be an empowering, humbling and fulfilling experience.

I am not a scientist, but I am a writer. Through writing I can mentally experience those things I may never be able to do. Through writing, I can spread Dr. Plotkin’s message. Through writing, I can shoot a blowgun. Through writing, I can extract toxins and make curare. Through writing, I can become a poisoned dart. Through writing, I can administer death by curare.

Galileo the Heretic: Science and Scripture

December 30, 2013

Yesterday I watched a movie I checked out at the LaFarge Library about Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). The movie is based on the book Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel and is titled Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens. I came away feeling so sad for this unbelievable man. He was constantly at odds with religious officials with regard to his pursuit of knowledge, still he remained a pious and obedient Catholic.

Galileo was considered a heretic in his day. For at least three decades he risked his life to study our universe. He was actually a hero of knowledge who continues to inspire contemporary scientists and freethinkers. The dictionary defines a heretic as a “person believing in or practicing religious heresy.” Was he really a “nonconformist,” a “nonbeliever,” a “pagan,” or a “heathen?” Maybe some think he was?

image

During the 17th century and even later, freethinking was really frowned upon. You could be burned at the stake for partaking in scientific, mathematical, and other studies! Galileo lived in a time when a book of banned books was kept. It makes me sad. I have to be thankful that I am alive today. I can express my opinions openly. My century is far from perfect, but I am in a much better place than Galileo was in relation to my consumption and sharing of knowledge.

The movie I watched was perfectly titled Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens. I found myself wondering if God could really frown on the discoveries made by Galileo? Though he was basically haunted by the Holy Office for several decades, he never turned his back on the church and at times was even apologetic for being smart. The movie touched on: his career as a professor/mathematician at the University of Pisa (1589); his explanation of the tides (1595); his experimentation with a pendulum/natural accelerated motion and balls/inclined planes (1602-1604); his observations and sketches of the lunar craters and mountains of the moon (1609); a demonstration of one of his telescopes (1609); his discovery of the four moons of Jupiter (1610); and his research on sunspots (1612).

The secret archive of the Vatican dates back to 1612. I realized how close this was to some of the most important discoveries made by Galileo when I looked back at a post I wrote last year. In 2012, I wrote about the religious archive and the trial documents of Galileo in a post titled 400 Year Old Archive: Secrets of the Vatican. At that time, romereports.com stated that the Vatican secret archive contains 50 miles of shelving. Now I am curious how much of those documents are related to Galileo’s studies of the heavens?

image
~~~~~~~~~~
Galileo facing the Roman
Catholic Inquisition in a
painting by Cristiano Banti
(1857).

~~~~~~~~~~

For at least 30 years, the Holy Office/Inquisition had a firm hold on one of the most intelligent men to ever walk the Earth. From 1611 until his death in 1642, poor Galileo was muffled by religious officials. Why? It is hard for me to understand and frankly, it makes me feel embarrassed to be Catholic. I think religious groups still suppress knowledge to some extent for if we have wings, we can fly. I can only imagine what his unhindered soul could have become?

By 1616, the Inquisition believed Galileo’s theory that the sun centered the universe was “absurd in philosophy and formally heretical.” He was summoned to Rome by Urban VIII in 1632 and was told that if he didn’t appear he would be “arrested and brought to Rome in chains.” In April of 1633, the formalities of the Inquisition were in full force and the “father of science” was detained by the Inquisition for close to 20 days. At the end of that detainment, Urban VIII decided that Galileo would face imprisonment for an undeclared amount of time. He was threatened with torture, and eventually sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his life.

It is unbelievable that Galileo was forced to endure physical suffering while he was under house arrest!! In 1634, the genius was suffering from the pain of a hernia and asked the Holy Office for permission to leave his home to visit a doctor in Florence. His request was denied and he was told that if he asked again, he would be imprisoned once again. Even after he went completely blind in 1638, the Inquisition did not return Galileo’s freedom. He was granted permission to attend church on Catholic holidays if he didn’t speak to anyone. So sad.

At 77 years old, Galileo became seriously ill. The year was 1641 and a heroically smart man was silenced and blind. He died in 1642. With his death came the loss of a heavenly mind. I believe in God. I believe I am a good person. I believe in Heaven. I find it really hard to believe that God saw it right to prosecute a man who only treasured knowledge. I understand that his pursuit of scientific knowledge was contradicting scripture, still I find it hard to believe that my God accepted the things which were done to Galileo. Maybe I will never understand??

**Additional reference used~ The Galileo Project/Galileo Timeline/Rice University.

*Celebrate Geek Week*

August 8, 2013

***Celebrate Geek Week***

Smart people rock!!!

~~~YouTube Geek Week~~~
August 4~10, 2013

I took the YouTube Geek Test and it said my
IQ was 187! I’m killin’ ’em wit’ the 187!
No pun intended.  😉

It’s official!” I’m a geek.

The results of my YouTube Geek Test!

The results of my YouTube Geek Test!

 Check out the
My Voyage Through Time
YouTube Page
and the vidz of some
of the geeks I adore below!

Geek Week Promo

David Ferriero
Archivist of the United States

Neil deGrasse Tyson
Astrophysicist and Science Communicator

Stephen Hawking
Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist, Author

Natasha Trethewey
United States Poet Laureate

Boris Vallejo
Fantasy Artist

Consciousness and Brain Waves

November 27, 2012

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
I really liked this article. Of course it was published online by my favorite~ Psychology Today. Dr. Brogaard and the researchers at MIT and Boston University ​ are exploring the intersection of the mind and consciousness.
I love this!
*F
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Brain Waves as Neural Correlates of Consciousness

by Berit Brogaard, D.M.Sci., Ph.D
November 23, 2012

When we are thinking, thoughts flicker in and out of our minds. What does that mean on the level of the brain? Recent research, conducted by researchers at MIT and Boston University, suggests that when thoughts are in our minds, corresponding groups of neurons are oscillating in synchrony in a high frequency range, around 30 or higher, whereas thoughts that are no longer in our minds oscillate at lower frequencies. When several, distinct thoughts are held in mind simultaneously, several oscillating bundles are out of sync with each other.

The normal waken brain has brain activity that fluctuates between 8 and 100 Hz. An alert and active brain will tend to have neural oscillations, roughly, in the 40 Hz range in at least some parts of the brain. These brain waves are also known as gamma waves. Alpha waves—oscillations in the 8 to 12 Hz frequency range—and beta waves—oscillations in the 12 to 30 Hz range—become more prominent when you are inactive, for example, when you are passively watching television. Brain dead people and coma patients can have oscillations that approach zero. And in seizure patients the brain oscillates even faster and more regions of the brain vacillate in the same frequency range. In a grand mal seizure large areas of the brain flicker in synchrony at extremely high frequencies.

To find out how neurons oscillate when we think or perform tasks, the research team, led by Earl Miller, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT​, first identified two groups of neurons in monkeys that encode specific behavioral rules by oscillating in synchrony with each other. The research animals were trained to respond to objects based on either their color or orientation. When the animals switched between the tasks encoded by the rues, the researcher measured brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, where working memory is located. The researchers found that the neurons associated with orientation oscillated in synchrony at higher frequencies when the monkeys were completing the orientation task, whereas the neurons associated with the color took over when the animals switched from thinking about orientation to thinking about color.

The team also found that the brain uses lower-frequency brain waves to inhibit neurons when they are not needed. For example, when the monkeys engaged in the color task, the neuron group corresponding to the orientation task would oscillate at a lower frequency, in the lower alpha range. This would inhibit these neurons sufficiently to enable the moneys to engage consciously in the color task.

It appears, then, that consciousness associated with working memory, the ability to keep a few pieces of information in mind at a time, correlates with groups of neurons oscillating at a high frequency but out of sync with each other. Its the brain’s ability to keep bundles of neurons simultaneously oscillating at 40 Hz that determines how much information you can hold in mind at any given time.

The findings, published in the November 2012 issue of Neuron​, are consistent with the so-called 40 Hz theory of consciousness. British molecular biologist and neuroscientist Francis Crick​, better known for his co-discovery of the structure of DNA, argued that consciousness arises when certain brain regions fire in synchrony in the 40 Hz frequency range. The researchers didn’t locate gamma-range activity in the moneys during task completion, but this could be because different frequencies are required for consciousness in humans and monkeys.

This 40 Hz theory of consciousness explains some of our findings in the St. Louis Syn Lab​. In our lab we have worked with several people who developed special abilities as well as obsession as a result of traumatic brain injury​ (TBI). TBI occurs when the brain is injured by an external force. TBI can occur either as a result of blunt force trauma or shock waves from a blast. In both situations, the inside of the accelerated skull comes into contact with one side of the brain, generating a secondary shock wave throughout the soft tissue. If the force is strong enough, it can cause the brain to “bounce” off the other side of the skull, resulting in another shock wave. The waves emanating through the brain twist and pull on the connections between neurons, tearing them apart, causing damage to different areas. Depending on the severity of the shock wave, TBI can be very extensive, and multiple TBI incidents can have compounding effects. It is a particularly devastating problem for soldiers who repeatedly sustain mortar shell attacks at close to mid range. Many of them report memory coordination problems years later.

Physical force to the head triggers a centralization of brain activity in local areas, causing a concussion. During a concussion the nerve function of several distinct brain regions become paralyzed as a result of the brain bumping into the skull as it shakes inside the head. When this happens, positively charged potassium ions inside the nerve cells rush outside the nerve cells and calcium ions replace them inside the cells. This shuts down the neuron’s internal engine preventing the nerve cells from burning energy sources (primarily glucose) and giving rise to huge uncontrolled release of neurotransmitters, which bombard or “frag” neighboring neurons. This neuronal fragging causes the affected neurons to die off, leading to scar tissue, whereas other affected neurons gradually regain normal function.

Though we don’t yet fully know the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury, it is possible that the uncontrolled release of neurotransmitters from dying neurons massively enhances brain activity in neighboring brain regions, giving rise to syncronized brain oscillations in the gamma frequency range, and that the brain activity in these regions remains abnormally high on a more permanent basis.

Visual imagery is far the most common way for the brain to represent the world. So it is unsurprising if brain waves in the high frequency range were to yield visual images corresponding to the hyperactivity. After being beaten up Jason Padgett experienced visual images are complex mathematical patterns, and Derek Amato experienced visual images of black and white musical notes after the impact with the pool floor. The visual images appear to make it possible for the two unschooled geniuses to act on excessive brain activity in ways that would not otherwise be possible.

October 5, 2012

This is absolutely amazing!!!!
I love this… ~F

HR 5987- A Bill to Establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park

July 30, 2012

The Oak Ridger published this article online today. This project plays an interesting part of New Mexico history in conjunction with the Los Alamos National Laboratory. This publication comes out of Oak Ridge, Tennessee where the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is located.

___________________________________________________________________

Continuing the summary of the testimony I was privileged to be asked to give at the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on H. R. 5987, a bill to establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. The full text of the testimony can be viewed at the following: http://www.oakridger.com/columnists/x1655031678/Ray-Smiths-testimony-on-the-Manhattan-Project-Natl-Park-bill

In addition to the three government sites, covered last week, the city of Oak Ridge has assets that will contribute to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The Guest House/Alexander Inn is among the most historic structures in the Manhattan Project. It is in a sad state of disrepair now, but has been included in the latest draft of a memorandum of agreement for historic preservation of the K-25 site at East Tennessee Technology Park as an alternative historic preservation initiative complimentary to the other historic preservation actions.

Other portions of the historic city of Oak Ridge may well serve as integral parts or guided tour portions of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, such as the Chapel on the Hill (first church), alphabet houses, Midtown Community Center, Jackson Square Town Site, the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, the Oak Ridge Public Library’s Oak Ridge Room and Center for Oak Ridge Oral History and the especially appropriate American Museum of Science and Energy.

The museum has been the mainstay of Oak Ridge Manhattan Project and other related history exhibits since March 19, 1949, when the secret city of Oak Ridge was opened to the public for the first time as the gates to the main roads were removed. That same day, the American Museum of Atomic Energy, as it was known until 1978, opened its doors for the first time and welcomed visitors.

When the museum moved to its present location it also changed its name to the American Museum of Science and Energy and expanded its mission for exhibits and focus to a broader energy related theme. However, it kept its role as a primary source of Oak Ridge history.

Today, the museum is the hub of tourist activity in Oak Ridge, being the first stop for most visitors and a must stop for all visitors. The museum’s Oak Ridge Room is the place where visitors first understand the unique history of the people who were notified first through a phone call from their Senator Kenneth McKellar to the Oliver Springs High School principal telling him to tell the students to go home and tell their parents about the coming changes in their neighborhoods. Lester Fox, still living today, swears that is the way the 3,000 people living in New Hope, Robertsville, Elza, Scarboro and other small communities in this area first learned that 60,000 acres would be used for the Manhattan Project that would become Oak Ridge.

Virtually Pop Your Top

July 24, 2012

A virtual collection of electronic records which can be sorted using your fingers and a touch screen the size of a movie screen. The data can also be manipulated in various ways to improve collection control. This image was taken at the 2012 E-Records Forum in Austin, Texas. An Open House at the Texas Advanced Computing Center’s Visualization Lab was apparently a “highlight” of the forum.


As promised, it is time to mention the most interesting person I had the chance to talk with at the NAGARA/CoSA Conference in Santa Fe last week. I guess when you ask the right questions “they” will come! By they I mean the smart people… 🙂 After one of the sessions, Mark Conrad an Archives Specialist working with the Applied Research Division (Office of Information Services) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approached me. He said “aren’t you the one asking about open source solutions?” But of course I was the one! I was so excited to here that NARA is going there!!! I also had the chance to attend a session titled ISO 16363 Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories. The session was delivered by Mark and Technology Specialists from Kentucky. This “Archives Specialist” slash technical guru immediately started rattling off a list of tools and projects that I should take a closer look at. Using his tricked out iPad he started prompting his screen to pop my top. Mark works in the Center for Advanced Systems and Technologies (NCAST). In his position with NARA, he works with computer scientists and engineers from all over the world “to leverage new theories, knowledge, methods, and techniques to advance the lifecycle of electronic records.” Part of the mission of his division includes looking into “emerging technologies.” I must say I about did a back flip when Mark pulled up images of a Visualization Lab in the works. Simply mind blowing! There it was— a virtual filing cabinet. As an archivist, I would be able to process or arrange and describe electronic records by using my fingers and a touch screen. Yes- a touch screen- a virtual system used to arrange collections and sort data- with color codes and all. The volume of records in a particular series is proportional to the amount of data within a particular sector of the collection. In January of 2011, the web administrator of NARAtions: The Blog of the United States National Archives interviewed Mark Conrad. She asked him what he was working on and he said “with the assistance of 17 student interns, I am collaborating on a number of projects. For example, many of the students are currently loading large numbers of files into a testbed that is being used by the computer scientists working on the CI-BER project. The purpose of the project is to provide insights into the management of very large data collections. As the number of files and bytes in a collection goes up some of the systems used to manage the collection break down. This project will help us to identify some of the bottlenecks and look for better ways to build systems that don’t break down as the volume picks up.” He also said he was working with the “Department of Energy, NIST, Naval Sea Systems Command, Army Research Lab, and other Federal Agencies on ways to share information about current and emerging practices for managing and preserving engineering data for as long as it is needed.” Sometimes I am glad that I ask a grippa questions— if I didn’t care about open source solutions, I would have never met one of the most interesting archivists with a technical background ever.

Smoke and Mirrors: My First Lucid Dream

April 20, 2012

This morning it was very hard for me to get out of bed. The second I opened my eyes, I could feel an indescribable ache in my head. I couldn’t understand why I felt so horrible? In my moment of contemplation, I realized that I was smoking in my dream. I am not a smoker, but yet I was blowing smoke like my first name was Puff (yes the Magic Dragon). But it was just a dream? Wasn’t it? I laid around for awhile. I tossed, I turned, I debated calling in to work because I literally felt sick. When I finally got out of bed, I rushed over to the bottle that I felt would give me some hope for the day. I popped an 800 mg Ibuprofen, washed it down with some caffeine, and then convinced myself that the headache would disappear. By the time I darted out the door for the day, my headache was gone. I thought about it all morning… I mean how strange is it to have a headache from smoking in my dreams? I did dream about many other things, but I knew the smoke caused my head to ache. As the day progressed, I wondered… Did I ever really have a headache at all? Or was it all in my head? No pun intended! I know in my waking life any kind of smoke often causes me to get real headaches, but can it cause a headache in the dream world as well, or did last night mark my first concrete proof of a mind-body connection?

Let Me Dream- Bookplate of Anita Herriman Vedder (ca 1870-1923)- Item No. LC-DIG-ppmsca-15533- Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

The more the day went on, the more I believed that my experience was purely metapsychological. Now I know that I was likely still asleep when I believed I awoke with a headache. I know that I had the first lucid dream that I can actually recall. It was a lucid dream with something that is called a false awakening. Metapsychology is basically the psychological connection between mind and body. Many say that metapsychology is “beyond what can be studied,” but am I not studying it right now? “Meta” is derived from the Greek word for transcendence and/or going beyond something. For example… Have you ever had a dream where you were doing anything physical and then really woke up with soar muscles? Apparently I am not the only person who has experienced this type of phenomenon. There are some extreme cases out there. Some people wake up with scratches, bruises, and other serious injuries. Just look for yourself, and follow some of the subject threads available online. Since I am a woman who prefers well rounded research, I prefer to look at four things to make my own conclusion. Those four things are: my personal experience; the experiences of everyday people; scholarly approaches; and scientific studies.

In lucid dreaming, the person dreaming can control what they do in a dream. The dreams are often realistic, but are still fluid enough to be influenced by the dreamer. Maybe because I love writing and being creative, I am able to control some of the data which infiltrates my mind (to some degree)? If I was indeed having my first identifiable lucid dream, then it is highly likely that I experienced a false awakening from that dream. If this is the case then it makes total sense that I was in my own room when I opened my eyes and discovered I had a headache. During a false awakening, the dreamer almost always thinks they are awake because they are in the exact place where they originally drifted off to sleep. Some scholars would say that if I had a lucid dream last night, it would make sense that I was not even awake when I thought I woke up! I probably actually woke up just seconds before I actually got out of bed.

A Study in butter the dreaming Iolanthe- butter sculpture of sleeping woman by Caroline S. Brooks (c1878)- Item No. LC-USZ62-93747- Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

In 2007, the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association published a white paper by Peter Fonagy and Mary Target. The paper examined Theory and Psychoanalytic Thought, and was titled The Rooting of the Mind in the Body: New Links Between Attachment. Fonagy and Target studied “the relationship between psychoanalysis and attachment theory” and they described that relationship as “complex.” The scholars researched the “whole idea of the mind comprehensively expressing itself exclusively through bodily referents,” and state that this expression derives from Sigmund Freud’s studies of the “ego” and “body-ego.” According to the paper, “any separation between cognition and physical manifestations at the level of brain, bodily sensations, or actions is an artifact of the cognitivists’ computer metaphor, which implies that cognitive processes can be independent of the body, just as software exists more or less independent of hardware. In general, it is the link of brain and body that generates mind and consciousness. Emotion, mood, and motivation act in concert with cognition, primed by evolution to ensure the survival of the person as a whole.”

Dr. Donald DeGracia published his study in 1997 out of Wayne State University titled Paradigms of Consciousness During Sleep. In his study, Dr. DeGracia attempts “to conceptualize conscious sleep experiences.” His paradigm research confirms that “the most common conscious sleep experience is dreaming.” The paper goes on to say that “dreams are a form of conscious awareness during sleep, and that “when we dream, we are consciously aware of visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic and emotional content, as well as thought (both cognitive and metacognitive) and to lesser extents smells, taste and pain.” Hum?? Very interesting. This PhD has discovered that “in a lucid dream, the brain undergoes some kind of change that gives the dreamer metacognitive access to their waking memories. Hence, it may be that a lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer can compare their present condition with their waking life. It is this ability to compare the dream experience to waking experience that really appears to distinguish lucid dreams from nonlucid dreams.”

The dream of Pilate's wife by Alphonse Francois (c1879)- Item No. LC-DIG-pga-01296- Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

So here is my conclusion… I am 99.9% sure that I had my first recognizable lucid dream. Amazing… It seems that I may have been dreaming I had a headache because I was tapping into latent memories of my experiences with things that cause my head to ache! I had a headache because my mind caused my body to believe it should. I would even go as far to say that muscle memory could have been at work here. I can thank the long gone love of my life, Sigmund Freud for a few things today. Some of those things include: his beautifully sexy brain; the ability of his once lively mind to spark my contemporary mind; his amazing breakthroughs in 1895 relative to the philosophical study of the relationship between the body and the mind; and his still unmatched 1899 study on the Interpretation of Dreams.

Sources:

Theory and Psychoanalytic Thought,
The Rooting of the Mind in the Body:
New Links Between Attachment (2007)
Peter Fonagy and Mary Target
Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association

http://apa.sagepub.com

Paradigms of Consciousness During Sleep (1997)
Donald J. DeGracia, PhD
Wayne State University
www.med.wayne.edu/degracialab/metaphysics/paradigms.pdf



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