Property, things, stuff, shit… However you call them, consuming makes you more miserable than you realize.

But I don’t have to write anything more. All the important points have already been made. Two videos for you today.

The Story of Stuff: a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns.

You can find more info, including the annotated script here

Here is a the comic side of the story, said by George Carlin back in 1986!

Cometery Panspermia!

Fossil diatom

Ovoidal-shaped ribbed structure embedded in the rock matrix

Fossil diatoms in a new carbonaceous meteorite
N. C. Wickramasinghe, J. Wallis, D.H. Wallis, Anil Samaranayake

We report the discovery for the first time of diatom frustules in a carbonaceous meteorite that fell in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka on 29 December 2012. Contamination is excluded by the circumstance that the elemental abundances within the structures match closely with those of the surrounding matrix. There is also evidence of structures morphologically similar to red rain cells that may have contributed to the episode of red rain that followed within days of the meteorite fall. The new data on “fossil” diatoms provide strong evidence to support the theory of cometary panspermia.

You can find the pdf of the entire study here.

I am so excited with these news! Spread the word! It’s a huge win for science 😀


Friday, 11 January 2012. Aaron Swartz commits suicide in New York. He was 26 years old.

A great loss for everyone.
He was and always will be an inspiration for me.

If you don’t know about him, please read:
Aaron Swartz, Coder and Activist, Dead at 26
Aaron Swartz
Prosecutor as bully


I’ve been hearing about the benefits of meditation for quite some time now and I was considering it. However I’ve never actually done anything so far. But I just read about these studies from TED blog and their results convinced me to try it. Read on 🙂

For years, meditation fans have said that the practice keeps them healthy. But a new study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes in November 2012, actually tested this. For the study, 201 people with coronary heart disease were asked to either (a) take a health education class promoting better diet and exercise or (b) take a class on transcendental meditation. Researchers followed up with participants for the next five years and found that those who took the meditation class had a 48% reduction in their overall risk of heart attack, stroke and death. It’s an initial study, but a promising one. [Time]

Is meditating a good way to increase creativity? Maybe, but it depends on what kind. Researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands looked at the way two types of meditation — focused-attention (for example, focusing on your breath) and open-monitoring (where participants focus on the both the internal and external) — affected two types of creative thinking — the ability to generate new ideas and solutions to problems. In a study published in April 2012 in Frontiers in Cognition, they revealed that the participants who practiced focused-attention meditation did not show improved results in the two creativity tasks. However, those who practiced open-monitoring meditation did perform better at task related to coming up with new ideas. [Meditation Research]

Researchers at UCLA wanted to study the brains of people who had been meditating for years, versus those who had never meditated or who had only done it for a short period of time. They took MRI scans of 100 people — half meditators and half non-meditators. They were fascinated to find that long-time meditators showed higher levels of gyrification (a folding of the cerebral cortex that may be associated with faster information processing). In a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in February of 2012, they shared that, the more years a person had been meditating, the more gyrification their MRIs revealed. [UCLA Newsroom]

Distractions are everywhere. But can meditation help a person better navigate through them? A computer scientist at the University of Washington teamed up with a neuroscientist at the University of Arizona to test this. The pair recruited 45 human resources managers, and gave a third of them eight weeks of mindfulness-based meditation training, a third of them eight weeks of body relaxation training and a third of them no training at all. All the groups were given a stressful multitasking test before and after the eight weeks. In a study published in the Proceedings of Graphics Interface in May of 2012, they showed that the mindful-mediation group reported less stress as they performed the multitasking test than both of the other groups. []

Taken from 4 scientific studies on how meditation can affect your heart, brain and creativity. Check it out, because Andy Puddicombe’s talk is also worth seeing.

If you are reading this and are already meditating, I would love to hear about your experiences.