If Only 19th-Century America Had Listened to a Woman Scientist

Where might the US be if it heeded her discovery of global warming’s source? By Sidney Perkowitz November 28, 2019 Human-induced climate change may seem a purely modern phenomenon. Even in ancient Greece, however, people understood that human activities can change climate. Later the early United States was a lab for observing this as its [...]

Kindness is key to health and happiness, and it’s free!

Robby Robin's Journey

Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S. and, just as with Thanksgiving in Canada (which is a little earlier, when travel is more predictable), it’s a time for many people to consider all that they have to be thankful for and to be reminded that gratitude is good for our health. In fact it’s very good for our health. Just google “gratitude and health” and you’ll find out.

As it turns out, being kind to others is also good for your health, maybe even more so. You can google that as well! Engaging in kindness has all kinds of positive physical effects. Ongoing research shows that kindness can actually extend your life. It lowers your blood pressure, reduces anxiety and depression, and helps the immune system. Research shows that kindness can help you live longer and better, both in the giving of kindness and in being the recipient of kindness. And…

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An ode to the humble tui

Love the flora and fauna of NZ.

Matthew Wright

I have tūī in my back garden. Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae to scientists. There are at least three, possibly more, which live in the area and drop in every so often to snack on harakeke (flax) nectar. They also squabble and sing. Loudly. And all of that that is a great luxury to have in the back yard. New Zealand’s indigenous flora and fauna is unique in the world, and it’s been through some tough times. We were very much the ‘lost world’ of Professor Challenger, a snapshot of how things were in the last age of the dinosaurs. Sort of.

I managed to get this picture of a plump, noisy tūī in the harakeke in my back yard.

I have to say ‘sort of’ because, while a lot of the trees and plants are the ones that flourished in Cretaceous era Gondwanaland, the dinosaurs are what was left after the extinction…

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The One Reality

I can't believe it!

If you’re following the plot of my philosophically inclined posts you will see my dismissal of materialists as modern flat earthers. So what basic philosophical stance do I regard as more appropriate? In his book The Flip, Jeffrey Krittal suggest five possible perspectives, as follows.

  • Panpsychism. Everything has mind/ has some level of consciousness/ is alive.
  • Dual-Aspect Monism. Mind and matter are aspects of a single underlying reality.
  • Quantum Mind. Quantum mechanics applies at a level of real world objects; mind is an expression of the quantum wave function. (Alexander Wendt)
  • Cosmopsychism/ panentheism. All conscious subjects are partial aspects of the more fundamental whole.
  • Idealism. Mind is fundamental and matter is a manifestation thereof.

This is all very interesting as theory, and no doubt enthusiasts of the various viewpoints could spend many an hour debating their differences. But in essence, if you don’t…

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The ‘OK boomer’ revolution will not be televised

Johanna Schneller Special to The Globe and Mail Published 16 hours ago Updated November 24, 2019 Patricia Heaton's new vehicle Carol’s Second Act might as well be called OK Carol. Sonja Flemming/The Associated Press "OK boomer” is so ubiquitous a retort that at this point, even mentioning it is enough to elicit an “OK boomer.” [...]

New study shows the right workout routine can help fight dementia

Alex Hutchinson Special to The Globe and Mail Published 16 hours ago To understand why a new study from researchers at McMaster University’s NeuroFitLab is making waves, it helps to look back at one of its previous findings. In 2017, a team led by the lab’s director, Jennifer Heisz, published a five-year study of more [...]

Is Grassfed Meat and Dairy Better for Human and Environmental Health?

The health of livestock, humans, and environments is tied to plant diversity—and associated phytochemical richness—across landscapes. Health is enhanced when livestock forage on phytochemically rich landscapes, is reduced when livestock forage on simple mixture or monoculture pastures or consume high-grain rations in feedlots, and is greatly reduced for people who eat highly processed diets. Circumstantial [...]

Reflections on our climate emergency #1

This mirrors my angst in many ways.

Abigail Hopewell

Whoever we are, whatever we do, and wherever we live, every single one of us will be increasingly affected by anthropogenic climate change and the world’s unfolding sixth mass extinction.

My wake-up call

I remember being concerned about the health and wellbeing of planet earth from a relatively young age. My first proper wake-up call occurred in the late 1980s; as a pre-teen I learned about the escalating worries about the effects of CFC gases on the ozone layer, I cared deeply about the plight of endangered animals, I felt upset by humanity’s cruel and destructive actions on the planet and her inhabitants. Resolute that I had to do something, I joined Friends of the Earth, became a vegetarian, and got into politics. So began an interest and passion for the environment and natural world that has never really gone away, albeit has ebbed and flowed over the years.


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Think before you post.

The Dark Psychology of Social Networks Why it feels like everything is going haywire Mark Pernice Story by Jonathan Haidt and Tobias Rose-Stockwell Suppose that the biblical story of Creation were true: God created the universe in six days, including all the laws of physics and all the physical constants that apply throughout the universe. [...]

The Seabird’s Cry

It is disturbing to read but essential to read and to act now!

I can't believe it!

the seabird cryI’ve always enjoyed time spent by the sea, and particularly Britain’s cliffs and the plethora of seabirds to be seen there. Beeston Cliffs, St Abbs Head, South Stack, Duncansby Head, Summer Isles, cliffs of the South West of England and Wales, and more… So many places. Until recently I never questioned if these great massings of seabirds would ever not be there. Yet they are in perilous decline and danger, as are seabird colonies the world over. Industrial fishing, pollution and climate breakdown are presenting insuperable problems to many species. The spectre of multiple extinctions looms.

In his magnificent and illustrated book The Seabird’s Cry, Adam Nicolson takes us through the glory of common species of seabirds, the threats they face and the effects on populations, mostly declining. It is a story at the same time beautifully told, yet almost impossible to bear.

A few of my notes will…

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