Tag Archives: scientific discovery

Spring/Summer 2013 Newsletter

Welcome to Spring/Summer 2013 Newsletter!

Valladolid, Yucatan Pilgrimage, day 7

According to the cosmology of the ancients, we are now passing through the portal of a New Beginning – the Cosmic Dawn, the period between eras. This is a unique opportunity for radical personal and global transformation; a powerful time to usher in a new Universal Consciousness, known to the Maya as “I am you”. A vast stream of multifunctional, creative energy of Oneness is trans-piercing now Earth. It is working to raise our consciousness and transform our DNA. Using the priceless assistance of Places of Power of Yucatan, created by the ancients, we will be able to merge this evolutionary leap.

A group of practitioners led by Dr. Elena Loboda journeyed through ancient Mayan sites, powerful and sacred, hidden inside dense sub-tropical rain forest: beautiful, magical Merida, Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Balancanche Cave, Ek-Balam, Coba, Valladolid and finally Tulum. See beautiful photographs taken during the expedition and uploaded into few albums on Polar Light FB page.

Current Schedule

Retreat Spring 2013 West Coast:

May 15/17 – 20, 2013: Cazadero Hills, North Sonoma coast, CA
“Fasting with Purification and Retrieval of Fullness of the Soul.”
Let us awaken ancient knowledge of the Pure Soul – alive conscious energy of Self Essence. Purity of Soul cans return us to the fresh, clear, joyful perception of the world and expands consciousness. Human soul, awakened from mirages and hypnosis of society, reveals all its talents, all its best qualities. Interacting with the body, the Pure Soul heals and cleans it and opens the possibility of deep transformation of the body up to the restructuring of DNA. Through fasting the body becomes a portal to enter higher states of consciousness and connect to divine frequencies.
RSVP required: If you would like to participate, please register in advance. Upon registration you will receive a description of preparation, which is necessary to start a week before the retreat.

Travel Summer 2013:

July 20 – August 10, 2013: Russia
Journey to the Sacred North of the Russian Land – in Hyperborea
For thousands of years, on the vast expanse of Northern Europe and Asia (Siberia), there have existed various esoteric traditions – a heritage of Arktida, the continent under the Pole Star. A long time ago the physical continent of Arktida sank into the Arctic Ocean, but it still existed on the higher vibrational level of Gaya – planet Earth. This is the legendary Belovodie –Tule – Iriy. The Pure Land of the blessed, the Polar Haven, as it had been described by the wisdom keepers of many traditions. Ancient descendants of Arktida spread out on the vast expanse of Northern Europe and Asia and created Hyperborea –Aryanovea. The consciousness, power and knowledge of the members of that sacred ancient Northern tradition extended far beyond anything presently known. With help of Polar Iriy – Haven, Hyperboreans created a lot of Places of sacred Power in the North, which still existed until our time.
Note: Please check the Event page of website for the Itinerary. RSVP required!

Please visit the Calendar page of PolarLight.org for additional details, to view printable flyers and to register for workshops. All workshops are open to public. Do not hesitate to invite your friends, but please be mindful and let us know you are coming.

Light & Love,
PolarLight.org
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Newsletter

History and Celestial Time

By Walter Cruttenden

Author of the Lost Star of Myth And Time
 
This is one of the topics of conversation at the ‘Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge’ held on October 6-7, 2007 at the University of California, San Diego. Speakers include Graham Hancock, Walter Cruttenden, Robert Bauval, Robert Schoch, John Anthony West, Laird Scranton, Marie D. Jones, John Burke, John Dering and Richard Leviton. www.CPAKonline.com
Discoveries like the ancient Greek Antikythera computer (1500 years before the invention of precision geared devices) the Baghdad batteries (2000 years before Volta ‘invented’ the battery) or dental and brain surgery artifacts found in ancient Pakistan (8000 years out of historical sequence) appear ‘anomalous’ within our current paradigm of history. However, they are not unexpected according to the ancient cyclical view.
 
 
    
Antikythera Computer (left) and Baghdad Battery (right)
 
 
Giorgio de Santillana, the former professor of the history of science at MIT, tells us that most ancient cultures believed consciousness and history were not linear but cyclical, meaning they would rise and fall over long periods of times. In his landmark work, Hamlet’s Mill, Giorgio and co-author Hertha von Dechend, showed that the myth and folklore of over 30 ancient cultures around the world spoke of a vast cycle of time with alternating Dark and Golden Ages that move with the precession of the equinox. Plato called this the Great Year.
 
Although the idea of a great cycle timed by the slow precession of the equinox was common to multiple cultures before the Christian era most of us were taught this is just a fairytale; there was no Golden Age. However, an increasing body of new astronomical and archaeological evidence suggests the cycle may have a basis in fact. More importantly, understanding the cycle might provide insight into where society is headed at this time and why consciousness may be expanding at an exponential rate. Understanding the cause of precession is key to understanding the cycle.
 
The standard theory of precession says it is principally the Moon’s gravity acting upon the oblate Earth that must be the cause of the Earth’s changing orientation to inertial space, a.k.a. the ‘precession of the equinox’. However, ancient sources say the observable of an equinox slowly moving or ‘precessing’ through the twelve constellations of the zodiac is simply due to the motion of the solar system through space (changing our viewpoint from Earth).
 
 
 
 
Here at the Binary Research Institute, we have modeled a moving solar system and found it does indeed better produce the precession observable and resolves a number of solar system anomalies such as the uneven distribution of angular momentum within the solar system and the variable rate of precession. Beyond the technical considerations, a moving solar system might provide a logical reason why we have a Great Year with alternating Dark and Golden Ages. That is, if the solar system carrying the Earth actually moves in a huge orbit, subjecting the Earth to the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum of another star or EM source along the way, we could expect this would affect our magnetosphere, ionosphere and indirectly all life in a pattern commensurate with that orbit. Just as the Earth’s smaller diurnal and annual motion’s produce the cycles of day and night and the seasons (both due to the Earth’s changing position in relation to the EM spectrum of the Sun), so might the larger celestial motion be expected to produce a cycle that affects life and consciousness on a grand scale.
 
The hypothesis for how consciousness would be affected in such a celestial cycle builds on the work of Dr. Valerie Hunt, the former professor of physiology at UCLA. In a number of studies she has found that changes in the ambient EM field (that surrounds us all the time) can dramatically affect human cognition and performance. In short, consciousness is affected by immersion in EM fields. Consequently, the concept behind the Great Year or cyclical model of history, consistent with myth and folklore, is based on the Sun’s motion through space, subjecting the Earth to waxing and waning stellar fields (all stars are huge generators of EM spectrum), resulting in the legendary rise and fall of the ages over great epochs of time.
 
In Lost Star of Myth And Time, we looked at some of the ancient myths about rising and falling ages tied to the precession cycle, explored current precession anomalies, outlined a dynamic solar system model that better explains the
precession observable, and suggested a hypothesis for how a change in proximity to stellar-generated electro-magnetic fields might be the mechanism that induces cyclical changes on Earth. Here we would like to use this model as a guide to better understand where we have been in terms of consciousness and ancient civilizations in the past, and more importantly, where we are going in the future. As Graham Hancock stated, this ‘new – or very old – approach to the greatest problems of human history’ could be the ‘key to the mystery of the ages’.
 

Historical Perspective

Current theories of history generally ignore myth and folklore and do not consider any macro external influences on consciousness. For the most part, modern history theory teaches us that consciousness or history moves in a linear pattern from primitive to modern with few exceptions.
Some of its tenets include:
  • Mankind evolved out of Africa,
  • People were hunter-gatherers until about 5000 years ago,
  • Tribes first banded together for protection from other warring parties,
  • Written communication must precede any large engineered structures or populous civilizations.
The problem with this widely accepted paradigm is that it is not consistent with the evolving interpretation of recently discovered ancient cultures and anomalous
artifacts. In the last hundred years major discoveries have been made in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, the Asian plains, South America and many other regions that break the rules of history theory and push back the time of advanced human development. Specifically, they show ancient man was far more proficient and civilized nearly 5000 years ago than he was during the more recent Dark Ages of just a thousand years ago. In Caral, an ancient complex on the west coast of Peru, we find six pyramids that are carbon dated to be 4700 years old, a date contemporaneous with Egyptian pyramids and rivaling the time of the first major structures found in the so called ‘Cradle of Civilization’ in Mesopotamia. However, Caral is an ocean away from the ‘cradle’, and we find no evidence of any writing or weaponry, two of the so-called necessities of civilization. At the same time we do find beautiful musical instruments, astronomically aligned structures and evidence of commerce with distant lands. Clearly, such sites defy the standard historical paradigm. But what is stranger still is that so many of these civilizations seemed to decline en mass.
 
In ancient Mesopotamia, Pakistan, Jiroft, Iran and adjacent lands we see knowledge of astronomy, geometry, advanced building techniques, sophisticated plumbing and water systems, incredible art, dyes and fabrics, surgery, medicine and many other refinements of a civilized culture that seemed to arise from nowhere yet were completely lost over the next few thousand years. By the time of the worldwide Dark Ages every one of these civilizations had turned to dust or nomadic ways of life. Near the depths of the downturn there were ruins and little else to be found. And in some areas where larger populations still remained, such as throughout parts of Europe, poverty and disease were often rampant and the ability to read, write or duplicate any of the earlier engineering or scientific feats had essentially disappeared. What happened?
 
While records of this period are still very spotty the archeological evidence indicates consciousness, reflected as human ingenuity and capability, was greatly diminished. We just seemed to have lost the ability to do the things we
used to do. Ironically, this is just what many ancient cultures predicted. The world’s foremost Assyrianologist, Stefan Maul, shed light on this phenomenon in his Stanford Presidential Lecture when he tells us that the Akkadians knew they lived in a declining era; they revered the past and tried to hang on to it but at the same time lamented and predicted the Dark Ages that would follow. His etymological studies of cuneiform tablets show the ancient words for ‘past’ have now become our words for ‘future’, whereas their words for the ‘future’ have now become our words for the ‘past’. It is almost as if mankind orients his motion through time depending on whether he is in an ascending or descending age.
 
We find this principal of waxing and waning periods of time depicted in numerous bas-reliefs found in ancient Mithraic temples. The famed Tauroctany or bull slaying scene, is often surrounded by two boys, Cautes and Cautopetes. One holds a torch up on one side of the zodiac, indicating it is a time of light, the other holds a torch down on the other side of the zodiac, indicating it is a time of darkness. As the accompanying chart will show, these time periods correspond with the Vedic description of when the Earth goes through periods of rising and falling consciousness.
 
Jarred Diamond, the well-known historian anthropologist and author of Guns, Germs and Steel makes a good case that it is primarily local geographic and environmental advantages on the planet Earth that determine which group of humans succeeds or fails versus another. Those that have the steel, guns and bad germs win. While this helps explain many regional differences of the last few thousand years it does not address the macro trends that seemed to have affected all cultures (including China and the Americas) as they slipped into the last worldwide Dark Age. The cyclical or Great Year model overlays and augments Jarred Diamond’s observations giving a reason for the widespread downturn. It suggests that it is not just the geography and environment of man on Earth that determines his relative success but it is also the geography and environment of the Earth in space that affects mankind on a vast scale. Just as small celestial motions affect life over the short term so do large celestial motions affect us over the long term.
 
Understanding that consciousness may indeed rise and fall with the motions of the heavens gives meaning to ancient myth and folklore and puts anomalous artifacts such as the Antikythera device into an historical context that makes sense. It speaks to why so many ancient cultures might have been fascinated with the stars and it provides us with a workable paradigm in which to understand history. It could also help us identify the forces that propelled the renaissance and that may be accelerating consciousness in the current era. Myth and folklore, the scientific language of yore, provide a colorful look at consciousness throughout the different ages.

Character of the Ages

The Greek historian Hesiod tells us of the wonderful nature of the last Golden Age when ‘peace and plenty’ abounded. Hopi myths tell us of cities on the bottom of the sea. Typically ancient peoples broke the great cycle into an ascending and descending phase, each with four periods. For example, the Vedic or Hindu culture tells us that when the Autumnal Equinox moves from Virgo to Aires we go through the ascending Kali, Dwapara, Treta and Satya Yugas (the golden era) before slowly declining in reverse order as the equinox completes its journey. The Greeks and other early Mediterranean civilizations used like periods and labeled them the Iron, Bronze, Silver and Golden Ages. More distant cultures such as the Maya or Hopi used still other names such as ‘worlds’ or ‘Suns’, and labeled them ‘fourth or fifth’, to identify the recent epochs.
A relatively modern proponent of the cyclical system was the Sanskrit Sage, Swami Sri Yukteswar, author of The Holy Science. He taught that the position of our solar system relative to another star now indicates we are in recent transition from the lowest material age, the Kali Yuga, into the electrical or atomic age, the Dwapara Yuga.
 
 
 
 
In this period, it is said we begin to see the world as more transparent as we move from an awareness of self as a physical body in a strictly physical universe, to an awareness that we are something more, living in a universe filled with subtle forces and energies. The technological discoveries of the laws of gravity, electricity and magnetism just in the last few hundred years give this idea credence ñ and the trend is accelerating. In the last century it has even been discovered that physical matter is not really solid at all. We have found it is made of molecules and these in turn are made of atoms, which are themselves constituted of 99.9% empty space. The little bit of matter that does exist in the heart of the proton and neutron, is now thought to be principally vibrating energy, at least according to the latest String Theory. Indeed, reality is looking more and more ethereal just as the hoary Vedas predict.
 
Ages beyond the present are difficult to grasp because a lesser consciousness cannot behold a greater consciousness anymore than a cup of water cannot hold the ocean. So we tend to extrapolate the past material view of things when envisioning the future i.e. more gadgets and technology. But the Oriental teachings about cycles indicate this is just a passing phase. They say the real trend is towards a god-like state where the physical is but a manifestation of something from the netherworld. And so it seems when we read Greek mythology or pages of Vedic scripture.
The Silver Age or Treta Yuga, the third age (from the bottom) is the Greek ‘age of the demigods’, or to the yogis of India, the age of divine magnetism and the mind. While this is a difficult concept to grasp consider the story of Babel.
 
Supposedly before Babel (pre 3100BC in the last descending Treta Yuga) humanity spoke with one tongue and communed freely with nature. The Old Testament tells us mankind began to build ‘towers’ and then languages were ‘confused’ and people could no longer understand one another (Genisis 11:1-9). In the standard theory of history this story makes no sense but in the cyclical model it has great meaning. It would have occurred around the time of the first tower buildings in ancient Mesopotamia, probably between 3000BC and 3500BC. This is precisely around the time (3100BC) when according to Sri Yukteswar the world declined from the descending Treta yuga into the descending Dwapara yuga, a time when clairvoyance and telepathy were lost (see Chart). We learn from Paramahansa Yogananda, another proponent of the yuga cycle and the famed author of Autobiography of a Yogi, that this time will come again in the year 4100AD when we pass from the ascending Dwapara into the ascending Treta yuga. He tells us at this time there will once again be a ‘common knowledge of telepathy and clairvoyance’. Perhaps then we will better understand the meaning of the ancient myths.
 
The Treta Yuga is said to be the age of levitation, telepathy, a time of shaman and wizards of old, when tremendous physic and mental abilities were common, truly an ‘age of the demigods’. We have all heard stories
about mythical powers of saints and sages who have these gifts. Now seen as rare, the majority of people don’t take these reports seriously or realize that we too might
have this same latent ability in a higher state of consciousness. Yet, this is exactly what the ancients told us. In fact, Christ was quoting the far more ancient scriptures of the Old Testament when in the depths of the last Dark Age he said; ‘Is it not written that ye are gods,’ and he himself embodied this consciousness when he said, ‘These things that I do ye shall do also.’

Chart by Laurie Pratt, published in East West Magazine in 1932. The zenith of the Golden Age last took place in 11,502BC. The pit of the last Dark Age was in 498AD. 

 
 
The final stage in the cycle of time is the Golden Age or Satya Yuga. It is considered the highest time on Earth. If the Treta or Silver age is inconceivable to us today, then the Golden
Age must sound like a myth or a dream. The Greeks called it the ‘age of the gods’ and the myth and folklore of the Vedas and ancient Egypt hint that this was a time when gods literally walked the Earth and most of mankind lived in perfect harmony with nature and the heavens. While there now remains very little physical evidence of this long ago period, we do find that virtually every ancient megalithic construction prior to the year 1500BC seems to be oriented towards some astronomical or cardinal point. Going back further there are signs multiple structures may have been aligned to mirror constellations or the larger heavens. The Golden Age is said to be a time when we could perceive and communicate with astral or causal realms and directly know God without the intermediacy of any religion. Again, this sounds like little more than a fairy tale given our current state of consciousness, but it is a theme common to ancient peoples who spoke and wrote of the long lost higher ages.
Predictive Value
Admittedly, the higher ages sound incredible but we hope to show evidence at the next CPAK and through future papers, books and film that the cycle has a basis in fact, driven by the solar system’s motion through space. Just as the seasons of the year, caused by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, can be forecast in time (through calendars and various astronomical means) so can the seasons of the Great Year be calculated by the slow precession of the
equinox.
 
The cyclical model is not only precisely measurable (by monitoring the annual change in the precession rate, now about 50.29 arc seconds per year) but I believe it has predictive value. I am presently working on a new book showing changes we can expect over the next few decades to few thousand years as we progress through the Great Year. It is based on cross interpretations of myth and folklore, extrapolation of trends and interviews with futurists. During the current transition from the Kali age (of gross material consciousness) to the early Dwapara era (of an awareness of energy and finer forces) we are manifesting our heightened awareness and increasing ingenuity through an endless array of technology that allows us to annihilate the barriers of time and space. We can now fly just about anywhere on the globe within the time it takes the planet to make one spin on its axis. Likewise, we can instantly communicate with someone on the other side of the Earth and send them a picture or video of almost any event, real time. All these things were not only impossible but also unthinkable just a hundred years ago.
 
Underlying this trend there is actually a greater concern for nature. We will see, more and more, a return to living in tune with Mother Earth and it will be facilitated by greater understanding and thinner technology. As technology becomes something hidden in the background, we can expect some amazing changes. For example, while we currently still need antennas to transmit communications (and soon power) or silicon to compute or store information even these may be outmoded in the future. Physicist John Dering (a CPAK regular) has speculated that given the trend of compute power sometime in the not too distant future we will develop interface devices that allow us to pick up the wave forms captured by trees or the antennae of bugs, and we may be able to tap into and decipher all the information (waveforms) that have ever passed by a rock or any inanimate object in the landscape. Could it be that our ancient ancestors better understood the subtle qualities of stone? Another CPAK author, John Burke, has already shown that ancient cultures had a tremendous knowledge of electromagnetism as evidenced by the outer stones at Avebury where he has demonstrated all of the standing stones magnetic poles are identically aligned. He has also shown that some Indian Shaman in the American West can find areas of high electrostatic charge or geophysical discontinuities just by feel. They use these areas for healing purposes. Contemplating these ideas gives new meaning to the stories of our ancient ancestors. Understanding their wisdom may be key to understanding our future.
 

The Search For The Binary Star

Cruttenden frequently speaks to groups about the ancient mystery of the precession of the equinox. His talks explain how cutting edge scientific evidence challenges the current theory of precession. Due to the work of Cruttenden and others, interest in ancient knowledge and solar system theory is on the rise as more people become aware of the importance of our present Age and the potential it holds for humankind. Cruttenden founded the Galileo Awards to further stimulate research and interest in precession and help in the search for our Sun’s binary companion. Cruttenden was featured on several television and radio programs, including CNBC, CNFN, KOCE. Recently he has given talks at the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles, East-West Bookstore in Palo Alto, University of Virginia, University of Arizona, University of California at San Diego, Newport Film Festival and the Society for Scientific Exploration.

 

In 2004, Cruttenden founded and appeared at the
Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge (CPAK) in Vancouver, BC, Canada along with other authors and researchers: John Major Jenkins, John N. Harris, Karl-Heinz Homann & Uwe Homann. He sponsored and participated in the Second Annual CPAK conference in Sedona, Arizona in November, 2005 which included as speakers Graham Hancock, the author of Fingerprints of the Gods, geologist and author Robert Schoch, known for his work redating the Great Sphinx in Egypt, John Major Jenkins, author of Maya Cosmogenesis, and several other experts on ancient cultures. The 2007 conference is currently scheduled to take place in October in San Diego, California.

 
Copyright by Walter Cruttenden.
Presented with permission of
the author.
 

About the Author

Walter Cruttenden is an amateur theoretical archaeo-astronomer and author of the binary theory of precession. As Executive Director of the Binary Research Institute he researches the celestial mechanics of the precession of the equinox, as well as myth and folklore related to this phenomenon. He is the writer-producer of The Great Year, a PBS broadcast documentary film (narrated by James Earl Jones) that explores evidence of astronomical cycles of time known to cultures throughout the ancient world.
Most recently Cruttenden wrote Lost Star of Myth And Time, a book that provides an alternative view of history based on the solar system’s motion through space.
It is his belief that the myth and folklore depicting a repeating cycle of Golden Ages and Dark Ages may have a basis in fact, due to the alternating stellar
forces that affect Earth as our solar system moves in a 24,000-year binary (dual star) orbit.

Source: World – Mysteries

1 Comment

Filed under Environment, Spirituality

Buddha From Space – 1,000-Year-Old Artifact Made Of A Chinga Iron Meteorite

An ancient Buddhist statue which was first recovered by a Nazi expedition in 1938 has been analyzed by a team of scientists led by Dr. Elmar Buchner from the Institute of Planetology, University of Stuttgart.

The probably 1,000-year-old statue, called the “Iron Man,” weighs 10 kilograms, portrays the Buddhist god Vaisravana and is believed to originate from the pre-Buddhist Bon culture of the 11th Century. Geochemical analyses by the German-Austrian research team revealed that the priceless statue was carved from an ataxite, a very rare class of iron meteorites.

It sounds like an artifact from an Indiana Jones film: a 1,000-year-old ancient Buddhist statue which was first recovered by a Nazi expedition in 1938 has been analyzed by scientists and has been found to be carved from a meteorite.

The findings, published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science, reveal the priceless statue to be a rare ataxite class of meteorite.

The statue, known as the Iron Man, weighs 10kg and is believed to represent a stylistic hybrid between the Buddhist and pre-Buddhist Bon culture that portrays the god Vaisravana, the Buddhist King of the North, also known as Jambhala in Tibet.

The statue was discovered in 1938 by an expedition of German scientists led by renowned zoologist Ernst Schäfer. It is unknown how the statue was discovered, but it is believed that the large swastika carved into the centre of the figure may have encouraged the team to take it back to Germany. Once it arrived in Munich it became part of a private collection and only became available for study following an auction in 2009.

The first team to study the origins of the statue was led by Dr Elmar Buchner from Stuttgart University. The team was able to classify it as an ataxite, a rare class of iron meteorite with high contents of nickel.

“The statue was chiseled from an iron meteorite, from a fragment of the Chinga meteorite which crashed into the border areas between Mongolia and Siberia about 15.000 years ago. “While the first debris was officially discovered in 1913 by gold prospectors, we believe that this individual meteorite fragment was collected many centuries before,” said Dr Buchner.

Meteorites inspired worship from many ancient cultures ranging from the Inuit’s of Greenland to the aborigines of Australia.

Even today one of the most famous worship sites in the world, Mecca in Saudi Arabia, is based upon the Black Stone, believed to be a stony meteorite. Dr Buchner’s team believe the Iron Man originated from the Bon culture of the 11th Century”The Iron Man statue is the only known illustration of a human figure to be carved into a meteorite, which means we have nothing to compare it to when assessing value,” said Dr Buchner.

“Its origins alone may value it at $20,000; however, if our estimation of its age is correct and it is nearly a thousand years old it could be invaluable.”

Source: MessageToEagle

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Effect of the moon on man

Over the decades there have been many scientific reports for and against the effect of the moon on human behavior. The reports analyzed heightened mind activity, increased visits to general or psychiatric emergency departments and people complaining of higher levels of physical and mental distress.

The Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF) examined the effect of the moon on human behavior using spiritual research methodologies. In the spiritual research that we conducted to ascertain the effect of moon on human behavior the short answer was yes, it does have an effect. The following are the various aspects on how the moon affects our life.

continue to read from the source

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment, Spirituality

Science overturns view of humans as naturally ‘nasty’

(AFP) – Feb 20, 2012

VANCOUVER, Canada — Biological research increasingly debunks the view of humanity as competitive, aggressive and brutish, a leading specialist in primate behavior told a major science conference.

“Humans have a lot of pro-social tendencies,” Frans de Waal, a biologist at Emory University in Atlanta, told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

New research on higher animals from primates and elephants to mice shows there is a biological basis for behavior such as cooperation, said de Waal, author of “The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society.”

Until just 12 years ago, the common view among scientists was that humans were “nasty” at the core but had developed a veneer of morality — albeit a thin one, de Waal told scientists and journalists from some 50 countries.

But human children — and most higher animals — are “moral” in a scientific sense, because they need to cooperate with each other to reproduce and pass on their genes, he said.

Research has disproved the view, dominant since the 19th century, typical of biologist Thomas Henry Huxley’s argument that morality is absent in nature and something created by humans, said de Waal.

And common assumptions that the harsh view was promoted by Charles Darwin, the so-called father of evolution, are also wrong, he said.

“Darwin was much smarter than most of his followers,” said de Waal, quoting from Darwin’s “The Descent of Man” that animals that developed “well-marked social instincts would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience.”

De Waal showed the audience videos from laboratories revealing the dramatic emotional distress of a monkey denied a treat that another monkey received; and of a rat giving up chocolate in order to help another rat escape from a trap.

Such research shows that animals naturally have pro-social tendencies for “reciprocity, fairness, empathy and consolation,” said de Waal, a Dutch biologist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Human morality is unthinkable without empathy.”

Asked if wide public acceptance of empathy as natural would change the intense competition on which capitalist economic and political systems are based, de Waal quipped, “I’m just a monkey watcher.”

But he told reporters that research also shows animals bestow their empathy on animals they are familiar with in their “in-group” — and that natural tendency is a challenge in a globalized human world.

“Morality” developed in humans in small communities, he said, adding: “It’s a challenge… it’s experimental for the human species to apply a system intended for (in-groups) to the whole world.”

Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved.

Source: AFP – Google hosted news

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment, Health

All red meat is risky, a study finds

By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
March 12, 2012, 4:28 p.m.

Eating red meat — any amount and any type — appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death, according to a long-range study that examined the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 adults for more than 20 years.
For instance, adding just one 3-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat — picture a piece of steak no bigger than a deck of cards — to one’s daily diet was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying during the course of the study.
Even worse, adding an extra daily serving of processed red meat, such as a hot dog or two slices of bacon, was linked to a 20% higher risk of death during the study.
“Any red meat you eat contributes to the risk,” said An Pan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and lead author of the study, published online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Crunching data from thousands of questionnaires that asked people how frequently they ate a variety of foods, the researchers also discovered that replacing red meat with other foods seemed to reduce mortality risk for study participants.
Eating a serving of nuts instead of beef or pork was associated with a 19% lower risk of dying during the study. The team said choosing poultry or whole grains as a substitute was linked with a 14% reduction in mortality risk; low-fat dairy or legumes, 10%; and fish, 7%.

Previous studies had associated red meat consumption with diabetes, heart disease and cancer, all of which can be fatal. Scientists aren’t sure exactly what makes red meat so dangerous, but the suspects include the iron and saturated fat in beef, pork and lamb, the nitrates used to preserve them, and the chemicals created by high-temperature cooking.
The Harvard researchers hypothesized that eating red meat would also be linked to an overall risk of death from any cause, Pan said. And the results suggest they were right: Among the 37,698 men and 83,644 women who were tracked, as meat consumption increased, so did mortality risk.
In separate analyses of processed and unprocessed meats, the group found that both types appear to hasten death. Pan said that at the outset, he and his colleagues had thought it likely that only processed meat posed a health danger.

Carol Koprowski, a professor of preventive medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine who wasn’t involved in the research, cautioned that it can be hard to draw specific conclusions from a study like this because there can be a lot of error in the way diet information is recorded in food frequency questionnaires, which ask subjects to remember past meals in sometimes grueling detail.
But Pan said the bottom line was that there was no amount of red meat that’s good for you.
“If you want to eat red meat, eat the unprocessed products, and reduce it to two or three servings a week,” he said. “That would have a huge impact on public health.”
A majority of people in the study reported that they ate an average of at least one serving of meat per day.
Pan said that he eats one or two servings of red meat per week, and that he doesn’t eat bacon or other processed meats.
Cancer researcher Lawrence H. Kushi of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland said that groups putting together dietary guidelines were likely to pay attention to the findings in the study.
“There’s a pretty strong supposition that eating red meat is important — that it should be part of a healthful diet,” said Kushi, who was not involved in the study. “These data basically demonstrate that the less you eat, the better.”

UC San Francisco researcher and vegetarian diet advocate Dr. Dean Ornish said he gleaned a hopeful message from the study.
“Something as simple as a meatless Monday can help,” he said. “Even small changes can make a difference.”
Additionally, Ornish said, “What’s good for you is also good for the planet.”
In an editorial that accompanied the study, Ornish wrote that a plant-based diet could help cut annual healthcare costs from chronic diseases in the U.S., which exceed $1 trillion. Shrinking the livestock industry could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and halt the destruction of forests to create pastures, he wrote.

For more on the study and the reaction to it, read the following articles:

Risks: More Red Meat, More Mortality | The New York Times
No Surprise: Meat Is Bad For You | Mark Bittman
Red Meat is Killing Us All… or Not | Summer Tomato
Death By Bacon? Study Finds Eating Meat Is Risky | NPR


Leave a comment

Filed under Health

Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality

“This study was just routine,” said Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov, in what could end up as the understatement of this century. Surov and his colleagues set out to discover if Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) soy, grown on 91% of US soybean fields, leads to problems in growth or reproduction. What he discovered may uproot a multi-billion dollar industry.

After feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies. They also suffered slower growth, and a high mortality rate among the pups.

Read the article from the source.

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment, Health