MonthSeptember 2008

The Power of Negative Thinking

(Picture via LOLFed)

“GREED – and its crafty sibling, speculation – are the designated culprits for the financial crisis. But another, much admired, habit of mind should get its share of the blame: the delusional optimism of mainstream, all-American, positive thinking. As promoted by Oprah Winfrey, scores of megachurch pastors and an endless flow of self-help best sellers, the idea is to firmly believe that you will get what you want, not only because it will make you feel better to do so, but because ‘visualizing’ something – ardently and with concentration – actually makes it happen. You will be able to pay that adjustable-rate mortgage or, at the other end of the transaction, turn thousands of bad mortgages into giga-profits if only you believe that you can.

Positive thinking is endemic to American culture – from weight loss programs to cancer support groups – and in the last two decades it has put down deep roots in the corporate world as well. Everyone knows that you won’t get a job paying more than $15 an hour unless you’re a ‘positive person,’ and no one becomes a chief executive by issuing warnings of possible disaster.

The tomes in airport bookstores’ business sections warn against ‘negativity’ and advise the reader to be at all times upbeat, optimistic, brimming with confidence. It’s a message companies relentlessly reinforced – treating their white-collar employees to manic motivational speakers and revival-like motivational events, while sending the top guys off to exotic locales to get pumped by the likes of Tony Robbins and other success gurus. Those who failed to get with the program would be subjected to personal ‘coaching’ or shown the door.”

(via The New York Times)

(One good piece of advice that I’ve heard lately is to check your bank’s rating. You can check it for free on Bankrate.com. One to three stars are sound. Four to five; move your money.)

For rent: Reversible Destiny Lofts

reversible destiny

More pics: Pink Tentacle

Mad Science: Nine of the oddest experiments ever

I’m sure we can all think of some far madder experiments than these:

1. Dogbot meets real Dog
2. The psychonaut
3. Psychology’s atom bomb
4. Holidaying in a draught
5. Remote control bullfight
6. The 28-hour day
7. A year in bed
8. The Doctor Fox Effect
9. Urine in the web

Full Story: New Scientist

(via Disinfo)

Here’s the “Psychonaut” one:

To find out what would happen if the brain was cut off from all external stimuli, scientist John Lilly built the first sensory deprivation tank in 1954. Floating in warm water for hours in complete darkness and silence, Lilly began to experience vivid fantasies.

“These are too personal to relate publicly,” he reported later. The hallucinations of his test subjects were similarly difficult to categorize scientifically. This was one reason why his research did not take off.

Lilly later gave up scientific research and founded the firm Samadhi Tanks, which manufactured tanks for domestic use. Having became something of a New Age guru, he died in 2001.

One of the few scientific experiments honoured by Hollywood, Lilly’s work was the model for the 1980 film Altered States. To no one’s surprise, the real experiments were done with much less flashy equipment than that shown in the film. Lilly sometimes had to switch off the light himself and then climb, in complete darkness, into a tank, which was little more than an outsize bathtub.

Portable Backyard Nuclear Reactors Ready to be Installed by 2013

backyard nuclear reactor

Back in August the news broke that Hyperion Power Generation had found someone to buy the first of its portable nuclear power units. While I’m sure many doubts about this technology remain in people’s minds, a recent interview with Hyperion CEO John Deal sheds some more light on the whole notion of portable nuclear power. Here are some highlights from Techrockies.

Full Story: Treehugger

(via Grinding)

“In Case Of Civil Unrest…”

london graff

(via Wooster)

Y’know, maybe the NESERA people are onto something after all…

waiting for nesara

Reading all the bailout news lately, it just occured to me that suddenly the NESERA people don’t seem so crazy after all.

Stem cell breakthrough: Scientists Find Way to Regress Adult Cells to Embryonic State

Scientists are reporting today that they have overcome a major obstacle to using a promising alternative to embryonic stem cells, bolstering the prospects for bypassing the political and ethical tempest that has embroiled hopes for a new generation of medical treatments.

The researchers said they found a safe way to coax adult cells to regress into an embryonic state, alleviating what had been the most worrisome uncertainty about developing the cells into potential cures.

Full Story: Washington Post

(Thanks Nick!)

Technoccult TV: Cult of Zir interview

Nolon Ashley, aka Cult of Zir, talks about his music, Portland, the OTO, and the Voudon Gnostic Workbook.

Large Hadron Collider Down Until 2009

On Sept. 18, the news from CERN, the organization that runs the LHC, was that an electrical problem involved with a cooling system caused a helium leak that would keep the mammoth particle accelerator out of commission for a day or so. A couple of days later, the estimate had stretched into two months: The machine would need to be warmed back up, which will take three to four weeks, before a full investigation could be done.
Now the outlook is even more bleak for eager physicists, who have already waited decades for the giant collider to come to fruition, after only a week of tantilizingly successful beam operations.

Full Story: Wired

Chinese Say They’re Building ‘Impossible’ Space Drive

Chinese researchers claim they’ve confirmed the theory behind an “impossible” space drive, and are proceeding to build a demonstration version. If they’re right, this might transform the economics of satellites, open up new possibilities for space exploration — and give the Chinese a decisive military advantage in space.

To say that the “Emdrive” (short for “electromagnetic drive”) concept is controversial would be an understatement. According to Roger Shawyer, the British scientist who developed the concept, the drive converts electrical energy into thrust via microwaves, without violating any laws of physics. Many researchers believe otherwise. An article about the Emdrive in New Scientist magazine drew a massive volley of criticism. Scientists not only argued that Shawyer’s work was blatantly impossible, and hat his reasoning was flawed. They also said the article should never have been published.
“It is well known that Roger Shawyer’s ‘electromagnetic relativity drive’ violates the law of conservation of momentum, making it simply the latest in a long line of ‘perpetuum mobiles’ that have been proposed and disproved for centuries,” wrote John Costella, an Australian physicist. “His analysis is rubbish and his ‘drive’ impossible.”

Full Story: Danger Room

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