"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious" ~ Albert Einstein

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dynamite Fudge

This is one of my favorite sweet-tooth superfood treats.  I don't know if you ever watched the 70's sitcom called Good Times, with Jimmie Walker and his infamous "Dyno-mite!!" line.  I guarantee when you taste a piece of this dynamite fudge you will have an uncontrollable urge to cry out "dynamite!" just like Jimmie Walker in the video below.  Yes, indeed ... it's that good!!





This fudge hosts several superfood powders, including the anti-oxidant powerhouses Maqui Berry and Cacao.  It also uses Lacuma powder, which is naturally sweet, without any sugar content.  The Mesquite powder also adds an interesting flavor I can't really describe, but fits the name.



This is another one those delicious Julie Morris recipes, which can be found in her book, Superfood Kitchen.

The full list of ingredients goes like this:

  • 2 tablespoons Maqui Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Maca Powder
  • 1 tablespoons Mesquite Powder
  • 6 tablespoons Lacuma Powder
  • ½ Cacao Powder
  • ¼ cup Palm Sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • ¼ cup Maple Syrup (or Agave Nectar)

The maple syrup and agave nectar both provide distinct flavors to the fudge.  I personally like the maple syrup better, but will sometimes make them with the agave nectar, just to mix it up now and then. Either way, the outcome is ... dynamite!

Put all those ingredients in a food processor and mix until they're combined well.  Check the consistency and try adding a little more coconut oil, if it seems too dry.  Once everything seems good, pour the mixture onto some plastic wrap and mold the fudge into a 1-inch high square/rectangular shape.  Fold it up and place in the refrigerator for about an hour, to let it solidify more.  Then, take it out and ...

Enjoy!

With  ¼ cup Palm Sugar and ¼ Maple Syrup, you do want to eat these sparingly to keep it healthy.  Everything in moderation, right?

At least that's what I told myself right before eating half the batch of fudge I made!





Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Eben Alexander, Esquire Update

Anybody who follows parapsychology knows there is a consistent back and forth between proponents and skeptics.  Every time a new story comes out, the skeptics go hard to work to shut it down and an incessant debate rages between the two sides.  It's been called the Culture War.  I normally try and steer clear of all this, because it gets kind of old after awhile.  However, there has been a recent ruckus over an Esquire article put out on Eben Alexander - the neurosurgeon who had an Near Death Experience and whose story went "viral". Since I put up a post on Eben not too long ago, I feel a bit responsible to post an update, because the Esquire article has been shown to be inaccurate, at best, or possibly a deliberate hit-piece against Eben, at worst.  I want to help set the record straight, because Eben's story has been an inspiration to many people and it deserves to be shown in the right light.  Although, perhaps this is exactly how one gets sucked into the Culture War, with no hope for return.  I'll have to be careful, hehe!

The link below is for the Esquire article about Eben Alexander.  As you  follow the link, you'll notice Esquire decided to make people pay for this article, which was written by Luke Dittrich.

Esquire - The Prophet

It basically consists of two arguments: (1) against Eben's reputation as a doctor, and (2) another against the validity of his NDE.  Both parts were essentially an attack on his character, in attempt to make him appear untrustworthy.




A couple weeks ago a full rebuttal to the Esquire article came out  from the International Association of Near Death Studies.  It was written by NDE researcher Robert Mays.  It covers pretty much everything from the Esquire article in relation to Eben's NDE, or point (2).  It's a pretty informative read.

IANDS - Esquire article on Eben Alexander distorts the facts

I'm going to focus on a key aspect of Part (2), because I think it's the main sticking point, as far as the validity of Eben's NDE.  Eben says his coma was brought on by the bacterial meningitis and was persistent throughout the week.  Dittrich claims his coma was mainly chemically induced by hospital staff and that Eben was occasionally awake and delirious throughout the week.  Dittrich then makes the argument that Eben's brain was not "off-line" and the NDE was a vivid hallucination.

It would seem Dittrich's main reason for claiming this was from his interview from Dr Laura Potter, Eben Alexander's ER physician.  However, when Dr. Potter learned of the article she gave out the following statement:

"I am saddened by, and gravely disappointed by the article recently published in Esquire. The content attributed to me is both out of context and does not accurately portray the events around Dr. Eben Alexander’s hospitalization. I felt my side of the story was misrepresented by the reporter. I believe Dr. Alexander has made every attempt to be factual in his accounting of events." — Dr. Laura Potter

Also, in the back of Eben's book was a statement by Scott Wade who was his main doctor during his illness.  It says:

" .... Despite prompt and aggressive antiobiotic treatment for his E.coli meningitis, as well as continued care in the intensive care unit, he remained in a coma six days and hope for recovery faded (mortality over 90%), Then, on the seventh day , the miraculous happened - he opened his eyes, became alert, and was quickly weaned from the ventilator.  The fact that he went on to have a full recovery from this illness after being in a coma for nearly a week is truly remarkable."

In his book, Eben did talk about making guttural groans and thrashing around in his bed, but this is apparently normal for a person suffering from bacterial meningitis. This was also discussed in the IANDS article, where they quote from Eben's book.

"Contrary to Luke Dittrich's assertion, Eben Alexander did disclose the use of sedatives in a 'chemically induced coma':  'At times, early in the week, I would move. My body would thrash around wildly. A nurse would rub my head and give me more sedation, and eventually I'd become quiet again... By the end of the week these occasional bursts of motor activity had all but ceased. I needed no more sedation, because movementeven the dead, automatic kind initiated by the most primitive reflex loops of my lower brainstem and spinal cord—had dwindled almost to nil'"

I suspect it is this part of what Dr Potter said, that Dittrich distorted.  The funny thing is, I actually thought this strengthened Eben's case.  This showed that not only had the meningitis attacked his cortex, which was where the infection started, it had actually progressed to the point that it was attacking deeper, more primitive, brain structures.  How can one have a hyper-real lucid experience via higher brain functions within the cortex, when the brain isn't even capable of putting out primitive reflexes?  More along these lines below.

In addition, there are a couple of other pertinent points.

(1)  There seems to be a mistaken assumption out there that one has to have zero brain activity to have an NDE.  This is just not true. NDEs have been reported from people with little, to zero, brain activity with severe trauma, to folks with no injury in the waking state but faced with an imminent and deadly threat.  This means even if the Esquire article was correct and Eben's coma was chemically induced, it is still hard to explain away an NDE on this basis alone.  Also, whether his coma was chemically induced, or not, seems to do little to explain the other problem I talked about in my earlier post, quoted here for convenience:

" .... this leaves skeptics open to claim it happened during a reboot of the brain as he came out of the coma.  Here's the problem with that explanation, though.  Patients who fall ill with bacterial meningitis, or similar conditions, do indeed end up going through a sort of reboot process.  As the brain comes back online and the various areas start to communicate again, patients typically go through a very confused state of affairs, which is called ICU psychosis.  Dr. Alexander remembers going through this and confirmed he was pretty far out of it, as to be expected.  However, he also remembers his NDE, as a hyper-real, crystal-clear lucid experience, with near-prefect memory recall.  Why would the brain be able to produce a hyper-real, crystal-clear lucid experience at an earlier time, during coma, when it was even more impaired?  You wake up from a coma because the brain has presumably healed itself enough to regain "waking" consciousness, but it's still not a fully-functioning consciousness at that point in time.  It is disconnected, to say the least, which is why one goes through ICU psychosis.  So, how did he have an ultra-real, lucid experience when his brain was even more impaired than this?"



(2) Again, it's hard to argue that Eben's brain was not severely impaired.  I covered some details of that in this blog post, but I also thought the IANDS article gave another good summary, which I will quote here.

"Eben Alexander had developed a severe case of bacterial meningitis. There were lots of measures of how serious his condition was: the very quick onset of his symptoms, persistent seizure (status epilepticus), the presence of E. coli bacteria in his cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), the high white blood cell count and high protein level in his CSF, the very low glucose level in his CSF, and the CT scans of his brain that showed diffuse edema, damage in all eight lobes of his cortex and widespread blurring of the gray-white junction

And there were several specific neurological exams showing severe alterations: abnormal posturing indicating damage to the cortex and thalamus, florid papilledema indicating elevated intracranial pressure, fixed pupils indicating brainstem damage, and no vestibulo-ocular reflex also indicating brainstem damage. Alexander's motor response declined further to "no motor response to noxious stimuli," indicating widespread cortical and brainstem damage."

As mentioned, rich and complex NDEs (with veridical components) have happened in cases with less apparent brain trauma than what we have here.  It's always a stronger case if you can show there was zero, or close to zero, brain activity, as far as showing consciousness can exist independent of the brain. But, Eben's NDE never was generally considered one of the better NDEs, as far as providing solid evidence along these lines.  But, it certainly shouldn't be dismissed as "just a hallucination", either.

I think its been shown the Esquire article was an unfair representation of what really happened.  It may even have been an intentional hit-piece meant to damage Eben's story.  It wouldn't be the first time something like this went down, that's for sure.  In fact, the damage is done.  Esquire has a larger reading base than IANDS.  Even with a solid rebuttal, anybody who wants to be skeptical will just go back and reference the Esquire article and confidently proclaim:  "NDE debunked!".  If folks don't want to dig deeper to see what really happened, that's what they'll walk away with.  All too often, that's how it seems to work.

However, it's hard to silence the truth, especially when it comes in the form of an inspirational story like Eben's.  I'm sure we'll learn more, as time goes on.  And, this won't be the last time something like this happens.

UPDATE:  Skeptiko had an interview with Robert Mays, author of the IANDS article.

Esquire Proof of Heaven Expose Debunked, Dr. Eben Alexander Prevails


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Supernormal by Dean Radin


I recently enjoyed reading Dean Radin's new book.   Since my intention with this blog post is to mainly share some of the information I found fascinating, think of this entire blog post as being covered by one gigantic footnote, referencing Dean's book, which is also linked by the image above.*

I really liked the angle Dean took in this new book.  It seems like some folks interested in parapsychology, or psychic phenomenon (psi), don't seem to have a desire to learn about mythology, or even seem to have an aversion to religion altogether.  I can't say I blame them, as many modern Western religious groups have an aversion to psi.  It's really too bad, because psi is mentioned in many ancient texts in the East and amongst more mystical traditions in the West, even in modern-day times.  In fact, even fundamentalist Christians acknowledge the existence of psi, but it's only allowed to happen in one person - Jesus.  Jesus performed remote healing, telepathy, mind-over-matter and other "miraculous" acts, very much in accord with what is talked about in modern day psi research, albeit at a far lower level of manifestation.

The religious text that most explicitly talks about psi is probably the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali.  Held to be written approximately 2000 years ago, perhaps 2nd century BC, the oral traditions are believed to go back much, much further.  Images of figures in a yoga posture have been found on archeological artifacts dating back much further, as well.  Within the Yoga Sutras, certain abilities are outlined in rather explicit detail, which one is said to gain via concerted mental efforts.  These abilities are called Siddhis and they correspond very well with modern day psychic abilities, such as telepathy, mental healing, clairvoyance, psychokinesis and others.

I appreciate Dean Radin tying modern day psi research back to these ancient traditions.  I feel it adds credence to the overall psi phenomenon when what is being validated by modern scientific method today has been talked about for thousands of years.  The more robust and consistent an observation, the more likely it is a real phenomenon.  In addition, our materialistic cultures seem to have lost some of the mental apparatus for gaining psychic ability, so these ancient traditions can tell us how great our potential is.  In fact, the cycle of progress often seems to take the form of re-gaining something of old in a new, more powerful form.

Anyhow, Dean Radin isn't likely to win a Pulitzer Prize in literature anytime soon, but his books are always insightful and an entertaining read.  He is one of the leading psi researchers in the field and his books typically have some of the latest and greatest research mentioned, as well.  So, I plan to just cover some of the more interesting tidbits mentioned in his book.  Hopefully, these tidbits will be tantalizing to others, as well.  I'll also cover a small selection of the experiments covered in the book that I found especially interesting.  A link to a longer list of published studies can be found at the bottom of this blog post.

Yoga Sutra 1:12

Early on in the book, Dean talks about how stories are found in the lore of every culture about a repeatable human experience, often called the mystical experience, where one attains to an experience of the Divine, or a direct knowing of something that is ineffable, which is later identified as the ground of all being.  Aldous Huxley called this Perennial Philosophy, which later became the title of his well known book.  Dean quotes Alan Watts, who also noted this

"... single philosophical consensus of universal extent.  It has been held by men and women who report the same insights and teach the same essential doctrine, whether living today or six thousand years ago, whether from New Mexico in the Far West or from Japan in the Far East"

I recently spoke about an aspect of this experience in my Middle Way blog posts Part I and Part II, though mostly talked about in Part II.

After discussing this common experience, Dean mentions William James' definition of the mystical experience, which I hadn't heard of before, but found rather insightful.  He says a mystical experiences is comprised of the following four elements, or qualities:

(1) Ineffability, which means the experience is beyond something that can be put into language, or words.  It is only through having the experience, that one can truly understand.

(2) Noetic, which means the experience is one of a state of knowledge, or illumination, or a revelation.  One has a greater awareness of reality after the experience, than before.

(3) Transiency, which means the experience transcends time.  The experience may only literally happen over a few minutes, but may seem far longer, or even vice-versa. 

(4) Passivity, which means the state may have been brought about via efforts of the experiencer, whether through meditation, or some other discipline, but once the experience begins, it proceeds as if the experiencer is no longer in control, at least not completely.  After all, how can one control the contents of a revelation?

Dean also gets into the discussion of why psi is taboo and on the possible reasons for such intense skepticism, even though psi has been demonstrated to be real to modern scientific standards.  Even Richard Wiseman has admitted that all psi phenomenon meet the usual standards for a normal claim.  However, I'm going to avoid talking about most of that, except for a new angle I hadn't heard of before and how it relates to funding for psi research.

You may have heard of the Myers-Briggs personality type test.  As it turns out, people that are more creative, or likely to have a psychic experience, or even being open to having a psychic experience, typically are a type called NFP - N for intuitive, F for feeling, and P for perceiving.  However, 99% of top executives are what you might call the opposite type, or STJ - S for sensing, T for thinking, and J for judging.  These are the types that are less oriented towards "touchy-feely" kind of experiences like psi, so there is potential for bias right from the start.  Since these folks predominantly control the power and funding, this bias affects not only psi, but also other areas like alternative medicine, which suffer from similar taboos.

Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

Since psi is a small effect that is typically not under conscious control of the test subjects, its existence is validated to a large extent by statistical analysis.  However, this is not at all unusual in science.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post here, the Higgs particle recently discovered at the LHC was not directly detected.  It was only by analyzing a large enough amount of data that gave odds against chance of 1 million to 1 that the result was a statistical fluke, which finally gave scientists the confidence to proclaim an "official" discovery.  Even Aspirin was released to the market for its heart benefits on similar statistical grounds.  Anyhow, try and remember that 1 million to 1 figure!!

Before we dig into some of the modern-day experiments confirming the existence of Siddhis, we need to define a few terms.  The first two are technical terms dealing with statistical analysis.

Meta Analysis: a type of analysis useful for systems that are complex, variable and/or subtle, to such a degree that it is very difficult for a single experiment to provide persuasive evidence that a consistent phenomenon, or effect, is occurring.  Instead, a strictly defined set of methods is used to combine data from many studies, making the statistical equivalent of one single, gigantic study.  Meta analysis helps us to gain high confidence in small effects found within large, complex and variable systems.

Effect Size:  more, or less, determines how "big" an effect is.  A small effect size means that only a tiny fraction of the observations can be explained by the effect in consideration.  Small effect size does not at all imply a certain phenomenon is any less real.  Statistical analysis like the above mentioned meta analysis can help us pin down the uncertainty of a small effect size, giving us a high degree of confidence the effect is real, albeit small.  An example provided by Dean of a real, but small effect size, comes out of the pharmaceutical industry.  The effect size of the relationship between tamoxifen ( a breast-cancer drug) and clotting is only 0.01, meaning only 1% of folks taking this drug may experience a blood clot.  However, the downside of an occurrence is so catastrophic for the patient, this tiny effect size is taken very seriously.

The next four terms deal with terms used in the Yoga Sutras.

Dharana: is essentially concentration, but a steady, sustained form focused on a single object, or concept

Dhyana: is essentially meditation, consisting of prolonged levels of concentration, with higher levels of absorption and awareness.

Samadhi:  is a state where the object being concentrated on and the subject doing the concentrating merge in mystical absorption, or a state of unity, which is a hyper-aware, blissful state.  The absorption of subject/object and seeming loss of individual identity is usually viewed as a loss by an ego-bound personality.  However, for those that can break free and achieve this state, it is described as a state of incredible richness and activity, to which normal waking consciousness cannot begin to compare.

Samyana:  a combined effort of the Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, resulting in inner transformation.  When one can practice Samyana on certain objects, or concepts, it is here that the Siddhis are gained - but, not to be experienced just transiently, as a fluke, but to be used at will in full strength.  However, it should be stated that within Yoga it is advised to ignore the Siddhis, as they can be become stumbling blocks by re-inflating the ego.

One can now perhaps appreciate why psi is very subtle in the laboratory and is often considered a small effect.  Few people are capable of keeping their mind focused for 10 mintues, let alone practice Samyana at will for indefinite lengths of time.  Imagining the amount of concentration required is enough to give most folks a head ache just thinking about it.  Therefore, it is very difficult to find subjects that can perform Siddhis (psi) at will in any appreciable way.  What modern day experiments seem to be finding is that this potential does exists in all of us at a mostly unconscious level and shows up as a small effect in the world at large.

Precognition

Now that we got those definitions out of the way, let's look at some experiments.  The first few will deal with precognition, which correspond with Sutra 16, in Book III, of the Yoga Sutras, which basically says one can gain knowledge of the past and future by practicing Samyana on the changes in Samskara, or mental impressions.

Zener Cards

Perhaps the most simple type of precognition experiment are the forced-choice experiments.  The classic example is among one of the first major psi experiments, which was conducted by Joseph B. Rhine and colleagues at Duke University.  The experiment basically consists of card "guessing" using a set of 5 cards called Zener cards (named after psychologist Karl Zener).  Of course, if the participants were really just guessing, we would expect an outcome from the experiment that matches chance expectation.  With 5 cards, they would only get a right answer 20% of the time.  The larger, and larger, the data set taken the more the results would converge upon 20%, with greater and greater confidence.  What one finds instead is something above chance results, telling us that the participants are getting hits, or correct "guesses", more often than they should based on chance alone.  In fact, a meta analysis of 309 forced-choice experiments showed odds against chance of 10^25, or ten million billion billion to one!

Another kind of experiment along these lines are called "free-response" experiments, which basically test whether, or not, an individual can foretell the future like in the force-choice, but here they are allowed to freely report an impression they receive, which are then matched to a hit/miss.  One example of this kind of test was performed by Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory.  The "percipient" was separated by 2,200 miles from an "agent" who would travel to a randomly selected location, which the percipient would try to determine beforehand. Without getting into the details, many free-response precognition experiences have been done, but the bulk come from two large sources.  The first source is a partially declassified government program involving Sciences Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Standford Research Institute (SRI).  The second source was PEAR.  The 770 free-response tests conducted at SRI resulted in odds against change of 300 million to 1.  At SAIC, 445 tests resulted in odds against chance of 1.6 million to 1.  Finally, at PEAR, a total of 653 sessions resulted in odds against chance of 33 million to 1.

Another precognition experiment and one of my favorites is the presentiment tests that have done utilizing skin conductance, or even reactions within the eye, such as pupil dilation, spontaneous blink rate and simple eye movements.  In one example, test subjects are shown a series of randomly selected images.  Some of the images are calming scene, while others are of a more stimulatory nature, either erotic or violent.  In between each image is a set of time called a cool-down period where the reaction from the previous images can come back to equilibrium.  There is a definite an obvious spike in skin conductance from the erotic and violent images, which is entirely what one would expect.  What is surprising is that a pre-stimulus response is found before the image is actually shown!  It appears as though the test subject is unconsciously responding to a shocking stimulus before actual sensory perception.  One particular test involving 47 participants contributing to a total of 1400 trials and odds against chance of 2500 to 1.

A certain flavor of Quantum Mechanics called Time Symmetric Quantum Mechanics is a bit suggestive of precognition, in that it seems to allow a type of retro-causal influence to travel backwards in time (without violating causality, mind you!)  You can be read more about this in the following Discovery article.

Dean covers several other types of precognition experiments and also mentions a meta-analysis of 26 studies showing odds against chance ranging from 17 million to 1 to 370 billion to 1. The 17 million figure corresponds to a conservative estimate, which assumes the presentiment effect varied randomly from one experiment to the other (probably more realistic), while the 370 billion did not.

Overall, this all shows robust evidence in favor of the Siddhi mentioned in Sutra 16, in Book III, of the Yoga Sutras, to be a real effect.


Telepathy

Telepathy is a mind-to-mind connection, or communication, without the assistance of the 5 senses, and potentially over great distances.  This is a another Siddhi mentioned in Sutras 19-20, in Book III, of the Yoga Sutras, which says through another practice of Samyana one can gain knowledge of other's minds.

Test Subject in a Ganzfeld Experiment

Perhaps, my favorite example of this is the Ganzfeld set of experiments.  Dean talks about this at some length and I have also talked about it on a previous blog post, which I will quote here for convenience:

"Probably the most popular and perhaps the most conclusive experiment, or set of experiments, showing this effect is called the Ganzfeld.  Essentially, two people are separated in two different chambers that are electromagnetically shielded.  One is the receiver, one is the sender.  The receiver is in a dark reddish-light, with eyes covered and wearing headphones that apply white noise (i.e. they are sensory "starved").  The sender is given an image, which is part of a set of 4 visually disparate images, all randomly selected via computer from a large database of images. This is done in a double-blind fashion so nobody knows what the image will be beforehand, even the experimenters.  The sender mentally sends the image and the receiver is instructed to tell what impressions he/she is receiving.  Later, an image is chosen from the four visually disparate images that fits the impressions recorded.  If there was no effect and this was due to random chance, one would expect a hit rate of 25%.  The value being converged upon after performing a meta analysis of many replications across different labs is 32%, indicating more correct choices than random chance would predict. That doesn't sound like much, but it turns out to be a highly statistically significant result ...

.....  the meta-analysis for the Ganzfeld indicates roughly a 6-sigma significance.  To be a bit more precise, the Storm (2010) meta-analysis indicates approximately 46,948,356 to 1 with outliers removed and 8,695,652,173 to 1 without outliers, that the 32% hit rate is due to random chance, which implies rather strongly something real is happening.  This is an order of magnitude stronger than the data for the Higgs, at the time of their original announcement "

Dean goes on to talk about other telepathy experiments that once again provide evidence for the Siddhi mentioned in Sutras 19-20, in Book III, of the Yoga Sutras, to be a real effect.


Psychokinesis

Psychokinesis is basically an interaction of mind over matter, whereby mind can effect matter, on either a micro-scale or a macro-scale.  Psychokinesis is mentioned across several Siddhis.  I'll talk mainly about the experiments that correspond closest to Sutras 44-45, in Book III, of the Yoga Sutras, which involves mastery over the elements. Dean talks about the others in his book.

A rather extreme, albeit mythical, example of PK: Moses parting the Red Sea!

An experiment of Dean's that always intrigued me was setup to determine if the results of the famous double slit experiment could be effected via mental influence.  This is, or at least has the potential to be, related to the quantum measurement problem.  Quantum entities, like a sub-atomic particles, do not seem to posses definite properties before the act of measurement.  Rather, they seem to exist in a superposition of potentialities, which is represented mathematically by the wave function.  For example, an electron may exist in a superposition of spin up and spin down, and it is only upon the act of measurement that forces the electron to choose one, thereby collapsing the wave function to that specific value.  Quantum Mechanics says all we can know is the probabilities of obtaining each possible result, which is encoded within the wave function and can be experimentally confirmed by measuring an ensemble of identically prepared systems.  This has been done to very high degrees of precision.

In the interest of brevity, I won't get into the details, but Quantum Mechanics presents a mystery when it comes to the relationship between this collapse of the wave function and the observer.   It was once a semi-popular idea that consciousness itself may cause the collapse.  This seems to be too simple of a picture these days, but the observer still plays a profound and deep role in the reality presented by QM, which we still don't understand today.

The double-slit experiment is a simple example of the quantum weirdness involved with measurement.  Basically, what we think of a single particle. like an electron, appears to go through both slits at the same time, as if it were a wave, as long as "nobody is watching".  This is where the famous concept of wave-particle duality comes from.  However, if one obtains any which-path information, which is another way of saying attempting to gain knowledge on which slit the particle goes through, the particle collapses and goes through a specific slit. An example would be putting a detector at one slit to "spy" on the electron.  It would seem like any attempt made by an experimenter (a conscious being) to obtain which-path information always effects the way the a quantum system behaves.

Dean's experimenter put a twist on this.  He aimed to see if mental influence over a distance could effect the results of the quantum double slit experiment.  He had trained meditators try to mentally push more photons through one slit than the other.  A group of non-meditators was used as a type of control group for comparison.  A series of experiments were performed and each time the meditators achieved results with odds above chance to a significant degree, while the non-meditators were typically close to chance results.  Now, this could imply consciousness causes collapse of the wave function (for the photons used in the experiment), or it could just mean that this is a simple PK effect, whereby photons are somehow manipulated.  Either way, it does seem to indicate that mind can effect matter at the quantum scale, which is truly astonishing!



Another experiment Dean talks about is the Global Consciousness Project, which I have already talked about in another blog post, which I will quote for convenience here:

"The Global Consciousness Project is a global-wide experiment which demonstrates the interconnected nature of consciousness and the physical world.  A series of around 80 continuously monitored electronic random number generators have been placed throughout the world.  The experimenters seek to find whether these random number generators are effected (i.e. go non-random) during time periods where many minds are focused on a common cause, or event.  In other words, can consciousness "reach out" and effect the physical world?  To a highly statistically significant degree it would appear this is very much the case."  In fact, the overall results of the Global Consciousness Project show odds against chance of 284 billion to 1!

Dean talks about several more PK studies that again seem to provide robust evidence that several of the Siddhis (38, 39, 42, 44-45) mentioned in book III of the Yoga Sutras are indeed referencing a real effect.

Probably some of the most remarkable phenomenon in this category are the Siddhis and modern-day experiments that deal with mental influence over another person's mood, behavior and even physical body, such as energy healing.  Dean talks more about these in his book.

Jesus is reported to have performed many miraculous healings, a form of PK

Well, I don't want to spoil too much of the book, but if you liked some of the material presented here, there is much more to be found in Dean's book!  As promised, here is a link to Dean Radin's web page that contains a compilation of some of the published evidence for psi:

Selected Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications on Psi Research

Also, here are several recent podcasts with Dean talking about his new book:

Skeptiko - Dean Radin

The Other Side of Truth - Dean Radin

Mysterious Universe - Dean Radin

Lilou - Dean Radin

 References

* Radin, Dean, Supernormal, Crown Publshing, 2013

** Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Integral Yoga Publications, 1990

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vegan Tacos, Chia-Seed Gaucamole, Salsa, and Vegan Margaritas, Huh?!

Well, I'm currently down and out with the ankle again, so Rebecca and I took a weekend off from the Sierra.  We realized how long it's been since we had fun cooking a meal together, so it started to sound pretty good the more we thought about it.  We decided on these Vegan tacos we had a little ways back.  What makes them Vegan, you ask?  Instead of beef, they have a "meat" made of lentils and walnuts.  Those Vegans are sneaky, I tell you.  We also made some Chia seed guacamole and a fresh, homemade salsa.  Now, I don't know if Jose Cuervo is technically considered Vegan, but the rest of the ingredients in some yummy whole-citrus-fruit Margaritas we made would classify.

The salsa was pretty easy.  We had several types of fresh tomatoes: orange, yellow, and red heirlooms.  The only other ingredients were cilantro, red onions, black pepper and a bit of lime juice.   We just kind of put them together in whatever proportions looked tasty.



There really wasn't much different about the guacamole than your standard kind, other than the Chia seeds, which add a little superfood kick.  Chia seeds are a great fiber/protein source and high in Omega 3s.  They're also real easy to digest and are detoxifying, which is good since Jose Cuervo was hang'n with us that night.

The recipe comes from Julie Morris on Navitas Naturals.

First, put these in a small glass container and let the Chia seeds soak up the juice for 10-15 mins.  Julie says to put it all in a food processor, but we found just chopping up the tomato worked better for us.  Just make sure to get the tomato juice in the container too.

  • 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 Very Large Tomato
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

While you're waiting for that, go ahead and get the rest of the ingredients out:

  • 1 Large Avocado
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp Onion Powder
  • ¼ cup Red Onion (Julie calls for White, but we like the Red)
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro
  • Pinch of Salt

Mash the avocado up with a fork in a bowl of the proper serving size and mix in the remaining ingredients.  Once the 10-15 minutes is up, add in as much of the tomato/chia mix as you want.  We always end up with some extra.



These tacos are a lot easier to make than I might have expected.  It's really all about the "meat", but that only has a few ingredients.  Rebecca got the recipe from Oh She Glows.

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 1 ⅓ cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 1 cup bean medley (we used black beans and pinto beans)
  • Taco Seasoning

You just have to cook the lentils in the veggie broth for 30-40 minutes.  A little less broth than the recipe calls for might be good.  We just "toasted" the walnuts in a pan.  Once the lentils are done, combine everything in a food processor and lightly process with small pulses adding a teaspoon of taco seasoning at a time, until it tastes right.  Don't over process, because a little texture makes it seem "meatier".

Here's what we used for the taco seasoning.

  • 4 parts chili powder
  • 2 parts cumin
  • 1 part paprika
  • 1 part oregano
  • 1 part onion powder
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part salt
  • ½ part black pepper

Then, it's just a matter of some fresh lettuce, tomato, onions, avocado and some vegan, or as I like to call it, stinky cheese.


We experimented around and had a couple different kinds of Margaritas, but the one that turned out best went something like this.

  • 1 Whole Lemon
  • 1 Whole Cara Cara Orange
  • 1 Whole Lime
  • 2 oz Triple Sec
  • 4 oz Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila
  • Maybe 2 cups of Ice 

Just put the whole fruits (peeled, of course) in a blender with the triple sec, tequila and ice - blend till smooth and enjoy!

With these, I had fun trying out the color-accent feature on the Canon G15 (our new camera).  You basically pick a color in the scene and then tell the camera how much it should bleed out other colors.  Makes some neat looking photos.







Pip-Squeak Spire (13,268') and Our New Canon G15

On July 16th, Rebecca and I backpacked to Chicken Spring Lake and climbed Pip-Squeak Spire the following day.  We were excited to try out a new camera we purchased recently - the Canon G15.  I can definitely say we were not disappointed!  It takes great pictures and has some really fun features.  It was a nice trip.

Walking Around Long Lake

Chicken Spring Lake

Our Camp Above Chicken Spring Lake
Flowers by the Lake

View From Cox Col
Rebecca Scrambling Her Way To Pip-Squeak Spire

Looking Back At Bear Creek Spire

Pip-Squeak Spire Summit Block, I Didn't Have The Cajones To Stand On The Tippy Top ;-)