• More on mindfulness and technology Paid Member

    More from the New York Times on how the overuse of technology can be counterproductive: The technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas. Read the rest of “Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime.” In related news, the second Wisdom 2.0 Conference has been announced. From their website: There is little question that most of us will live "connected" to technology ... More »
  • China's pollution worsens, prominent Tibetan conservationist arrested Paid Member

    Four years ago, China overtook the US to become the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide. Now International Energy Agency (IEA) has announced that China tops the list as the biggest energy consumer in the world. What does all this mean? Lots and lots of pollution. A report in yesterday's New York Times painted a dispiriting portrait of China's environmental problems: More »
  • “Forest bathing” keeps you healthy Paid Member

    Studies show that spending more time in natural settings—forests, parks, and places with trees—improves the immune system. According an article in the New York Times, this is due to both stress reduction and chemicals that plants emit to protect them from rotting and insects called phytoncides. Exposure to phytoncides appears to lower blood pressure, pulse rate, and cortisol (a stress hormone), among other things. Many of these studies are taking place in Japan, where the practice of visiting nature parks for therapeutic effect is called Shinrin-yoku. More »
  • Buddhist meditation boosts concentration skills Paid Member

    According to a recent study published in the July 2010 issue of Psychological Science Buddhist meditation can boost concentration skills. The study, conducted by psychologist Katherine A. MacLean, PhD, and associate researchers from the University of California, Davis, focused on a group of 60 participants with an average age of 49. The participants were sent on three-month retreats where they studied meditation techniques with Buddhist scholar and co-researcher Alan Wallace, PhD, of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies. All the participants had been on meditation retreats before, but this time they were taught to concentrate and asked to complete concentration tests. From WebMD: More »
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    Actual Tomatoes Paid Member

    I'm growing tomatoes on my balcony. The latest development is actual tomatoes! This one got redder and was joined by two others. There are several in various stages of green-orangeness. The main problem with the overall plant's growth is lack of superstructure. Next summer I'll get one of those green wire fences to give the vines something to cling to (see the wooden stake, found on the street downstairs, as part of a feeble attempt to provide same.) More »