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Scientific Psychic
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Primates - Man, Bonobo, Chimpanzee

Bonobo - the gentle ape

I recently watched a re-run of a PBS NOVA special about bonobos.[1] For some time, scientists have known that chimpanzees and bonobos share about 98% of their DNA with humans. Current research has shown that bonobos can use and understand language.[2] Analysis of the behavior of the two apes indicates that chimpanzees are bullies, fighters, and murderers who dominate by force, whereas bonobos are peace-loving, social, and sometimes join peacefully with non-related groups of bonobos. Researchers think that unity between the high-ranking bonobo females and year-round social sexual encounters between all members of the bonobo group help to reduce conflicts.

Humans have aggressive traits as well as social traits. The NOVA program tried to imply that the personality of humans may be closer to bonobos than to chimpanzees because we aggregate into social groups, we are very sexual, and we have some altruistic traits. However, as a background to the story, the program mentioned the regional war that spread through the Congo which is the native habitat of bonobos. The researchers studying the bonobo were detained as spies and were lucky to survive the ordeal. The war brought great misery to the area when food became scarce and thousands of people lost their lives through aggression, starvation, or disease.

There is great irony in trying to find good qualities in mankind when there are so many conflicts around us. The lessons of the great world wars have been largely forgotten. Words like Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, Gaza, Sudan, and Abu Ghraib evoke images of chaos, destruction, famine, and new forms of torture like "waterboarding". We may be closer to chimpanzees than we would like to admit.

[1] Nova Special on the Bonobo

[2] Linguistic Capabilities of the Bonobo

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The Calorie Restriction Paradox

Calorie Restricted Mouse
CR mice weigh only half as much as non-restricted mice

Calorie Restriction is well established as a method for increasing the average life span of many experimental animals. If after weaning, you feed mice 40% less that what they would normally eat, the mice virtually stop growing in size. At maturity, the calorie restricted mice weigh only half as much as the mice fed a normal diet. The following chart shows the weight gain of the normally fed mice and the almost constant weight of the restricted mice:
weight gain of mice

The non-restricted mice eat F grams of food per W grams of body weight (F/W). The restricted mice eat 0.6 grams of food per 0.51 grams of body weight (0.6 F/0.51 W).[1] However, 0.6/0.51 is 1.18 F/W which corresponds to 18% more food per unit of body weight.

This is the paradox: How can a rodent that, on a body weight basis, eats proportionally more than the control accrue the benefits of longevity?
Learn more about the Calorie Restriction Diet

[1] Mattson, et al. "Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effects of dietary restriction on glucose metabolism and neuronal resistance to injury from calorie intake", Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2003 May 13; 100(10):6216-6220.

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Love, Sex, and Health

Auguste Rodin - The Kiss
Auguste Rodin - The Kiss

Last week I ran across two statistics that indicate that the United States is dropping its guard against sexually transmitted diseases. All the political talk about sexual abstinence and emphasis on family values is producing a country with record numbers of venereal diseases. Something is not working.

For political reasons, middle school children are not getting adequate sex education. Meanwhile, television and cable channels have an increasing number of shows with sexual content, and the internet has an abundance of pornography. The result is predictable. Half of the children in the United States have lost their virginity by age 16 and many of them don't know about the risks of pregnancy or venereal diseases. The worst thing is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that about 19 million sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were recorded in the United States during 2006, half occurring among people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Charles Koop, the Surgeon General of the United States during Ronald Reagan's presidency, made many Republicans unhappy by advocating teaching sex education in schools starting as early as the third grade, and expanding the curriculum in higher grades to teach about the use of condoms to combat the spread of AIDS. New appointees to the office of Surgeon General have kept a low profile rather than battle diseases that a large segment of the American public believe to be punishments from God for immoral people.
Learn about Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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Keeping track of our fitness with a scale

Antonio Zamora - Age 65Antonio Zamora - Age 65

We have been conditioned to think that we will gain weight as we get older. This is only true if we do not adjust our diet for the reduced number of calories that our body uses as it ages. A good bathroom scale is our best friend. A scale will not tell us that our double chin or the bulge in our midsection makes us look better -- it just shows our weight. We should be thankful for the honesty of the scale.

Using a scale regularly, we can keep our weight fairly constant. If our weight goes up by a few pounds and it stays up for several days, we know that it is not just water retention. We are getting fatter! It is time to eat less. We have to choose nutritious foods that will satisfy our hunger and provide all the nutrients that our body needs.

I am thankful to my sister for having pointed out several years ago that I was getting fat. Who? Me Fat? I weighed myself and calculated my Body Mass Index, and sure enough, I was overweight! We change so gradually that we do not notice the small increases of weight that add up to many pounds over the years.

So, here I am, 65 years old and at the same weight that I had when I was in my twenties. I have had to learn a lot about nutrition and exercise to achieve this. It is hard for me to believe that I am now officially on Medicare insurance. I am going to continue to try to stay in good health in order not to use it.

Calculate your Body Mass Index

Comments »

Mike J said,
2007-11-16 @ 12:05:23

Hi Antonio.

You look great. Keep up the good work.

Quick question...

Can you provide an example of a typical day, in terms of diet? ( lunch, breakfast, dinner, etc... )


Administrator said,
2007-11-16 @ 15:48:17


Please look at the "Menu Ideas" section of the Nutrition page.


Gypsy girl said,
2007-11-26 @ 17:16:18

Hey Antonio
Great photo. You are an inspiration!!!
My husband and I are also in our 60's. We have always been health and fitness nuts. growing our own organic veggies, eating whole, natural food, etc. Always reading about health and fitness, which is how I have just found CRON diet (which is basically our diet nutrionally, but with fewer calories), so we can now take our fitness and health to a new level!!
Thanks for the great website and such good information.
keep up the good work
I wish you peace, love and laughter

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Logical Arguments and Fallacies

The formulation of valid logical arguments is one of the pillars of the Scientific Method. An argument consists of one or more premises and one conclusion. A premise is a statement that is offered in support of the conclusion. Premises and conclusions are statements that may be true or false. A valid logical argument presents true premises that logically lead to a true conclusion. Arguments may be either deductive or inductive. The premises in deductive arguments provide complete support for the conclusion, whereas for inductive arguments they provide some degree of support, but not complete support. Fallacies are arguments that are defective because the premises do not provide the proper support for the conclusion. These are the most common fallacies:

An Ad Hominem fallacy is an argument which is used to discredit what a person said by attacking the person rather than by disproving the statement. An Ad Hominem fallacy is invalid logic because the character, circumstances, or actions of a person are not relevant to the truth or falsity of the claim being made. For example, in the argument "President Bush is a bad president because he goofed off in college", the conclusion that President Bush is a bad president may be true, but the statement that he goofed off in college which may also be true does not provide enough support for the conclusion.

An Appeal to Authority is an argument where the premise references an authority to support the argument. Appeals to authority may be wrong when the authority is not a reliable reference for a particular subject, for example: "President Bush said that our mission in Iraq was accomplished therefore it must be true".

Appeal to Ridicule is a fallacy in which ridicule or mockery is used in the premise as a justification for the conclusion. For example, "Copernicus said that the Earth goes around the sun. He is crazy!" Ridiculing Copernicus does not disprove that the Earth goes around the sun.

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Why can't Science give us Absolute Answers?

Our modern world is full of engineering marvels crafted with great precision. Science seems to have the answer to everything, but at a fundamental level, science cannot give us absolute answers.

Science is the systematic study of natural phenomena. The scientific method, which is the foundation of science, is an iteration towards perfection without ever achieving it. The scientific method has basically four steps consisting of 1) observation and description, 2) formulation of a hypothesis to explain the observation, 3) use of the hypothesis to predict other phenomena, and 4) perform new experiments to verify the predictions. This is a never-ending cycle that gets us closer and closer to the truth.

The reason that science cannot give us absolute answers is that there are limits to what we can observe and measure. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is a mathematical formulation that describes the limits of our ability to perceive. The inability to measure with absolute precision means that science cannot give us absolutely precise answers. Another obstacle to our pursuit of absolute answers is that the scientific method only applies to reproducible events. Events for which it is not possible to formulate a hypothesis will forever remain outside the domain of science.

The scientific method, which has its origins in the 17th century, has served mankind well. Our modern civilization would not exist without it. Modern humans have been around for around 60,000 years, but the greatest advances in science have been made only in the last 400 years as logical thinking has gradually replaced mysticism and obscurantism.
Learn more about the Scientific Method

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Akashic Records, Collective Consciousness, and Remote Viewing

Overactive Imagination Overactive Imagination

Akashic Records, whose name is derived from the Sanskrit word "Akasha" meaning "space", are supposed to contain all knowledge from all human experiences in the Universe. The Akashic Records are frequently described as a library that is constantly updated whenever any person anywhere thinks a thought. The mystic Edgar Cayce (March 18, 1877 - January 3, 1945) claimed to be able to answers questions about health, astrology, and reincarnation by accessing the Akashic Records when he was in a state of self-induced trance. The Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) based in Virginia Beach, offers a variety of therapies in keeping with the spirit and philosophy of the Edgar Cayce readings. Edgar Cayce Centers are now found in 25 countries and each year attract thousands of curious people, scholars, researchers, philosophers, and even health care professionals.

Interest in mysticism and paranormal phenomena seems to fulfill a human need for absolute knowledge which science cannot provide. Some companies are running very profitable businesses by encouraging people to explore the power of their subconscious by tapping into the Universal Energy which is within the reach of enlightened individuals. There is a web site that for $98 Dollars will sell you six cassette tapes to teach "remote viewing", a technique to access subconscious and universal mind information in space and time so that present, past, and future events are revealed.

Akashic Records, Collective Consciousness, and Remote Viewing are philosophies for which there is no proof and which cannot be scientifically verified. Remote viewing (the current version of "clairvoyance") is a fancy way of doing thought experiments, or brainstorming about something that you know nothing about. Any findings produced through remote viewing or access to Akashic Records without physical observations or background knowledge cannot be much better than wild guesses. We can have a greater awareness of our surroundings and can even make some insightful predictions by paying close attention to our perceptions and by using our power of deduction.

One Million Dollar Challenge:
The James Randi Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit organization which was established in 1996 to promote critical thinking, offers a prize of one million Dollars to any person who can demonstrate any psychic, supernatural or paranormal ability of any kind under mutually agreed conditions. To date, the prize remains unclaimed.
A Scientific Psychic Workbook

Comments »

Alessandra said,
2007-12-12 @ 23:45:55

Hello! I need a help! Can akashic records be an infinite library?
Can I find what i want there?
Thank you

Administrator said,
2007-12-13 @ 04:57:52

Unfortunately, akashic records are a figment of somebody's imagination. While in theory they are infinite and contain everything, you cannot get anything out of them.

You are better off searching the Internet for answers to your questions.

Cherry Sage said,
2010-01-15 @ 18:11:05

Well this is the most interesting site in the context of the metaphysical and learning about it through objective study. Nothing wrong with that. But I do object that paranormal activity or experiences are nothing more then fantasies. Many real and documented studies and videotape evidence has been objectively studied and verified from a scientific point of view. And although it is most challenge to quantify data based on psychic ability or paranormal phenomenon (real or imagined), there is enough empirical data to support that in many cases (not all) there is no scientific explanation or objective data to quantify an experience and make it valid in scientific terms. Still doesn’t mean it’s not real. Just not verifiable to those who need scientific data to prove the existence of that which eludes them.

If we had proof of the infinite then there would be no need to search for the Truth during our brief journey in the physical world. The quest for truth is a part of life itself and by that we find the meaning of life as well as the afterlife. The two are intimately intermingled, what limits our perception of it can be explained by virtue of the limitations of the physical body itself. Overcoming physical reality as it merges with spiritual attainment is the never-ending purpose of the human soul.

Administrator said,
2010-01-15 @ 18:52:04

Cherry's comment describes the typical dichotomy between the "spiritual" and "real" that must be considered in trying to prove or disprove something in a scientific way. Since science does not recognize the existence of "afterlife" or "soul", there cannot be any meaningful scientific dialogue about these concepts or their implications.

julio said,
2011-01-27 @ 06:02:38

Administrator, I like your comment "You are better off searching the Internet for answers to your questions." I don't know why the one million dollars prize remains unclaimed... if we can go to akashic and know the future...

Sherry Andrea said,
2011-05-13 @ 01:35:27

Nice article. I don't have a problem with anyone saying that don't believe in something that can't be proven... if I did that would point to a problem within myself not outside of myself. Clairvoyance is utilized in the act of remote viewing but they are not one and the same. Similar to how telepathy could manifest via clairaudience or clairsentience. I have read many remote viewing readings and many also will pick up things with their clairsentience.

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Wild-life Painter Clementina Rivera

Clementina Rivera - Wild-life painter
Clementina Rivera

Clementina Rivera, noted for her realistic paintings of coastal sea creatures, visited the Washington, D.C. area recently. Clementina has won many artistic awards for her portrayal of wild life along the East shore of the United States. Her studio in Rockport, Texas is located just minutes from the sea and provides magnificent opportunities to observe the migration of birds and the activities of the local fishermen.

Pelicans - Painting by Clementina Rivera
Click here to see Clementina Rivera's Paintings

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The Mystery of Silhouettes

Silhouette of a Lady
Is this a front view or a back view of the lady?

Silhouettes and shadows are two-dimensional images that can confuse us. We live in a three-dimensional world which provides us with depth-perception clues that disambiguate what we see. Much of our visual input today comes from movies, television, and computer screens that give us just a two-dimensional focal plane that can result in ambiguities which cannot be resolved by our brain.

Ever since fire was invented, we have used the shadows formed on walls for entertainment. Here are some books that show you some simple tricks.

Discover how your eyes play tricks on you

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Antibiotic-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteria

Coccus bacteria
Coccus Bacteria

Unwittingly, mankind has created a superbug that is hard to kill. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that drug-resistant staphylococcus bacteria are causing over 94,000 serious infections and 18,600 deaths each year. This figure now surpasses the 12,500 estimated deaths from AIDS in 2005.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) became prevalent by surviving a multitude of antibiotics that doctors prescribed indiscriminately for many years. It was not uncommon for a doctor to prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, which are unaffected by these drugs, as a prophylactic measure to prevent co-occurring bacterial infections. The resistant bacteria have proved capable of surviving exposure to what were once powerful antibiotics. The rise of MRSA illustrates the principles of Darwin's Theory of Evolution very clearly.

Staph germs occur commonly on human skin. Pimples and minor abrasions are frequently infected with Staphylococcus. Severe infections are usually treated with penicillin derivatives such as methicillin or amoxicillin, but these treatments are ineffective against the resistant bacteria. Drug-resistant bacteria are turning up more frequently in institutional health-care centers, prisons, and sport facilities where people are in close contact. The term "Nosocomial Infection" is used for infections that are acquired as result of treatment in a hospital and which usually appear more than 48 hours after hospitalization. Hospitals are addressing the problem by forbidding doctors from wearing ties and jewelry that can harbor bacteria, and by disinfecting commonly touched surfaces more frequently. The most effective technique for reducing hospital-acquired infections consists of identifying reservoirs of MRSA through culture of nasal swabs and treating and isolating the carriers.
Learn about viruses, bacteria, and parasites

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