Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Venus Project (documentary)

The Venus Project proposes an alternative vision of what the future can be if we apply what we already know to achieve a sustainable new world civilization. It calls for a straightforward redesign of our culture in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but as totally unacceptable

. Anything less will result in a continuation of the same catalogue of problems inherent in today's world. Today many people believe what is needed is a higher sense of ethical standards and the enactment of international laws to assure a sustainable global society.

Even if the most ethical people in the world were elected to political office, without sufficient resources we would still have many of the same problems we have today. When a few nations control most of the world's resources and the bottom line is profit the same cycle of events will prevail. If we really wish to put an end to our ongoing international and social problems we must eventually declare Earth and all of its resources as the common heritage of all the world‘s people. Earth is abundant with plentiful resources.

Our practice of rationing resources through monetary control is no longer relevant and counter productive to our survival. Today we have access to highly advanced technologies. But our social and economic system has not kept up with our technological capabilities that could easily create a world of abundance free of servitude and debt for all. This could be accomplished with the infusion of a global, resource-based civilization.
Simply stated a resource-based economy utilizes existing resources rather than money and provides an equitable method of distribution in the most humane and efficient manner for all the world's people. It is a system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money credit, barter or any other form of debt or servitude. The aim of this new social design is to encourage a new incentive system, one that is no longer directed towards the shallow and self-centred goals of wealth property, and power. These new incentives would encourage the people toward self-fulfilment and creativity both materially and spiritually.
How do we get from here to there? No government has ever advocated social change. The established order tends to perpetuate itself. Unfortunately it may take an economic breakdown and people becoming disillusioned with their leaders to have them seek an alternative social direction. The Venus Project is an organization that proposes a feasible plan of action for social change, one that works towards a peaceful and sustainable global civilization. It outlines an alternative to strive toward where human rights are no longer paper proclamations but a way of life. 

INSIDE JOB (narrated by matt damon-full doc)

From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson ("No End In Sight"), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists
, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia. Narrated by Academy Award® winner Matt Damon, INSIDE JOB was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.

You’ll need a clear head to follow this impressive and angry American doc about the financial meltdown, as it races through late-twentieth-century American economic policy in an effort to pinpoint the roots of the recent crisis – which director Charles Ferguson attributes to an unholy alliance between politics, academia and big business.

Inside Job (12A)

Ferguson is an academic and IT entrepreneur in his fifties who only turned to filmmaking in the past decade. His film about the Iraq war, ‘No End In Sight’, was his first, and for this new hot potato he draws on a roll-call of 42 interviewees, from George Soros to a prostitute who often served high-rolling investment bankers. That’s a lot of boardrooms, bookcases and views over the Hudson, but Ferguson tempers these scenes with slick photography, some of it exterior, aerial shots of Manhattan or rural Iceland.

You’ll need these interludes to counter the rush of facts and figures. Ferguson take us from deregulation in Wall Street in the 1980s and ’90s to a series of later calamities that the government failed to act on, from the 2001 dot-com crash to the collapse of Bear Stearns. He argues that the government ignored the warnings of academics, many of whose peers were pro-deregulation and rewarded by other jobs. He laments, too, that Obama is still surrounded by the same advisers, such as Timothy Geithner, who shepherded Bush through the mess of 2008.
Inside Job from dunyagercekleri on Vimeo.

Ferguson’s style is to let his interviewees do the talking, with a sober voiceover from Matt Damon, but there’s a touch of Michael Moore in later scenes, when he insists on pinning down Glenn Hubbard, an economic adviser under Bush and Dean of the Columbia University Business School, on the cosy relationship between academia and government. ‘You have three more minutes,’ growls a man not used to being taken to task. ‘Give it your best shot.

DMT the spirit molocule (full doc)

 The general group of pharmacological agents commonly known as hallucinogens can be divided into three broad categories: psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants. These classes of psychoactive drugs have in common that they can cause subjective changes in perception, thought, emotion and consciousness. Unlike other psychoactive drugs, such as stimulants and opioids, the hallucinogens do not merely amplify familiar states of mind, but rather induce experiences that are qualitatively different from those of ordinary consciousness. These experiences are often compared to non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as trance, meditation, conversion experiences, and dreams.

Psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants have a long history of use within medicinal and religious traditions around the world. They are used in shamanic forms of ritual healing and divination, in initiation rites, and in the religious rituals of syncretistic movements such as União do Vegetal, Santo Daime, and the Native American Church. When used in religious practice, psychedelic drugs, as well as other substances like tobacco, are referred to as entheogens.

DMT occurs naturally in many species of plants often in conjunction with its close chemical relatives 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin (5-OH-DMT).[9] DMT-containing plants are commonly used in several South American shamanic practices. It is usually one of the main active constituents of the drink ayahuasca[2], however ayahuasca is sometimes brewed without plants that produce DMT. DMT occurs as the primary active alkaloid in several plants including Mimosa hostilis, Diplopterys cabrerana, and Psychotria viridis. DMT is found as a minor alkaloid in snuff made from Virola bark resin in which 5-MeO-DMT is the main active alkaloid.[9] DMT is also found as a minor alkaloid in the beans of Anadenanthera peregrina and Anadenanthera colubrina used to make Yopo and Vilca snuff in which bufotenin is the main active alkaloid.[9][10] Psilocybin, the active chemical in psilocybin mushrooms can also be considered a close chemical relative[11] for the psilocybin molecule contains a DMT molecule at the end as with other close chemical relatives

The psychotropic effects of DMT were first studied scientifically by the Hungarian chemist and psychologist Dr. Stephen Szára, who performed research with volunteers in the mid-1950s. Szára, who later worked for the US National Institutes of Health, had turned his attention to DMT after his order for LSD from the Swiss company Sandoz Laboratories was rejected on the grounds that the powerful psychotropic could be dangerous in the hands of a communist country.[12]
DMT is generally not active orally unless it is combined with an monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as a reversible inhibitor of monoamine oxidase A (RIMA), e.g., harmaline. Without a MAOI, the body quickly metabolizes orally administered DMT, and it therefore has no hallucinogenic effect unless the dose exceeds monoamine oxidase's metabolic capacity (very rare). Other means of ingestion such as smoking or injecting the drug can produce powerful hallucinations and entheogenic activity for a short time (usually less than half an hour), as the DMT reaches the brain before it can be metabolised by the body's natural monoamine oxidase. Taking a MAOI prior to smoking or injecting DMT will greatly prolong and potentiate the effects of DMT. If DMT is smoked, injected, or orally ingested with a MAOI, it can produce powerful entheogenic experiences including intense visuals, euphoria, even true hallucinations (perceived extensions of reality).[13]
Inhaled: If DMT is smoked, the effects last for a short period of time, usually 5 to 30 minutes (dependent on dose). The onset after inhalation is very fast (less than 45 seconds) and peak effects are reached within a minute. In the 1960s, some reportedly referred to DMT as "the businessman's trip"[14] due to the relatively short duration of vaporized, insufflated, or injected DMT. Although the smoke produced is described as harsh by some, it can be mixed with cannabis or one of many smoking mixtures and be used in a pipe, a waterpipe (popularly known as a bong), or a vaporizer. This helps to improve the smoothness of the smoke, ultimately making the substance easier to ingest.
Insufflation: When DMT is insufflated, the duration is markedly increased, and some users report diminished euphoria but an intensified otherworldly experience.
Injection: Injected DMT produces an experience that is similar to inhalation in duration, intensity, and characteristics.

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Stress, Portrait of a Killer - Full Documentary (2008)


Why do humans and their primate cousins get more stress-related diseases than any other member of the animal kingdom? The answer, says Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, is that people, apes and monkeys are highly intelligent, social creatures with far too much spare time on their hands.
"Primates are super smart and organized just enough to devote their free time to being miserable to each other and stressing each other out," he said. "But if you get chronically, psychosocially stressed, you're going to compromise your health. So, essentially, we've evolved to be smart enough to make ourselves sick."The bottom line, according to Sapolsky: "If you plan to get stressed like a normal mammal, you had better turn on the stress response or else you're dead. But if you get chronically, psychosocially stressed, like a Westernized human, then you are more at risk for heart disease and some of the other leading causes of  "death in Westernized life."

In addition to numerous scientific papers about stress, Sapolsky has written four popular books on the subject—Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, The Trouble with Testosterone, A Primate's Memoir andMonkeyluv. Many of his insights are based on his 30-year field study of wild African baboons, highly social primates that are close relatives of Homo sapiens. Each year, he and his assistants follow troops of baboons in Kenya to gather behavioral and physiological data on individual members, including blood samples, tissue biopsies and electrocardiograms.
"We've found that baboons have diseases that other social mammals generally don't have," Sapolsky said. "If you're a gazelle, you don't have a very complex emotional life, despite being a social species. But primates are just smart enough that they can think their bodies into working differently. It's not until you get to primates that you get things that look like depression."
The same may be true for elephants, whales and other highly intelligent mammals that have complex emotional lives, he added.
"The reason baboons are such good models is, like us, they don't have real stressors," he said. "If you live in a baboon troop in the Serengeti, you only have to work three hours a day for your calories, and predators don't mess with you much. What that means is you've got nine hours of free time every day to devote to generating psychological stress toward other animals in your troop. So the baboon is a wonderful model for living well enough and long enough to pay the price for all the social-stressor nonsense that they create for each other. They're just like us: They're not getting done in by predators and famines, they're getting done in by each other."
It turns out that unhealthy baboons, like unhealthy people, often have elevated resting levels of stress hormones. "Their reproductive system doesn't work as well, their wounds heal more slowly, they have elevated blood pressure and the anti-anxiety chemicals in their brain, which have a structural similarity to Valium, work differently," Sapolsky said. "So they're not in great shape."
Among the most susceptible to stress are low-ranking baboons and type A individuals. "Type A baboons are the ones who see stressors that other animals don't," Sapolsky said. "For example, having your worst rival taking a nap 100 yards away gets you agitated."
But when it comes to stress-related diseases, social isolation may play an even more significant role than social rank or personality. "Up until 15 years ago, the most striking thing we found was that, if you're a baboon, you don't want to be low ranking, because your health is going to be lousy," he explained. "But what has become far clearer, and probably took a decade's worth of data, is the recognition that protection from stress-related disease is most powerfully grounded in social connectedness, and that's far more important than rank."
Coping with stress
What can baboons teach humans about coping with all the stress-inducing psychosocial nonsense we encounter in our daily lives?
"Ideally, we have a lot more behavioral flexibility than the baboon," Sapolsky said, adding that, unlike baboons, humans can overcome their low social status and isolation by belonging to multiple hierarchies.
"We are capable of social supports that no other primate can even dream of," he said. "For example, I might say, 'This job, where I'm a lowly mailroom clerk, really doesn't matter. What really matters is that I'm the captain of my softball team or deacon of my church'—that sort of thing. It's not just somebody sitting here, grooming you with their own hands. We can actually feel comfort from the discovery that somebody on the other side of the planet is going through the same experience we are and feel, I'm not alone. We can even take comfort reading about a fictional character, and there's no primate out there that can feel better in life just by listening to Beethoven. So the range of supports that we're capable of is extraordinary."
But many of the qualities that make us human also can induce stress, he noted. "We can be pained or empathetic about somebody in Darfur," he said. "We can be pained by some movie character that something terrible happens to that doesn't even exist. We could be made to feel inadequate by seeing Bill Gates on the news at night, and we've never even been in the same village as him or seen our goats next to his. So the realm of space and time that we can extend our emotions means that there are a whole lot more abstract things that can make us feel stressed."
Pursuit of happiness
The Founding Fathers probably weren't thinking about health when they declared the pursuit of happiness to be an inalienable right, but when it comes to understanding the importance of a stress-free life, they may have been ahead of their time.
"When you get to Westernized humans, it's only in the last century or two that our health problems have become ones of chronic lifestyle issues," Sapolsky said. "It's only 10,000 years or so that most humans have been living in high-density settlements—a world of strangers jostling and psychologically stressing each other. But being able to live long enough to get heart disease, that's a fairly new world."
According to Sapolsky, happiness and self-esteem are important factors in reducing stress. Yet the definition of "happiness" has less to do with material comfort than Westerners might assume, he noted: "An extraordinary finding that's been replicated over and over is that once you get past the 25 percent or so poorest countries on Earth, where the only question is survival and subsistence, there is no relationship between gross national product, per capita income, any of those things, and levels of happiness."
Surveys show that in Greece, for example, one of Western Europe's poorest countries, people are much happier than in the United States, the world's richest nation. And while Greece is ranked number 30 in life expectancy, the United States—with the biggest per capita expenditure on medical care—is only slighter higher, coming in at 29.
"The United States has the biggest discrepancy in health and longevity between our wealthiest and our poorest of any country on Earth," Sapolsky noted. "We're also ranked way up in stress-related diseases."
Japan is number one in life expectancy, largely because of its extremely supportive social network, according to Sapolsky. He cited similar findings in the United States. "Two of the healthiest states are Vermont and Utah, while two of the unhealthiest are Nevada and New Hampshire," he noted. "Vermont is a much more left-leaning state in terms of its social support systems, while its neighbor New Hampshire prides itself on no income tax and go it alone. In Utah, the Mormon church provides extended social support, explanations for why things are and structure. You can't ask for more than that. And next door is Nevada, where people are keeling over dead from all of their excesses. It's very interesting."
Typically, observant Mormons and other religious people are less likely to smoke and drink, he noted. "But once you control for that, religiosity in and of itself is good for your health in some ways, although less than some of its advocates would have you believe," Sapolsky said. "It infuriates me, because I'm an atheist, so it makes me absolutely crazy, but it makes perfect sense. If you have come up with a system that not only tells you why things are but is capped off with certain knowledge that some thing or things respond preferentially to you, you're filling a whole lot of pieces there—gaining some predictability, attribution, social support and control over the scariest realms of our lives."
New research
From a neuroscience perspective, Sapolsky pointed to several exciting new areas of research. "It's becoming clear that in the hippocampus, the part of the brain most susceptible to stress hormones, you see atrophy in people with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression," he said. "There's a ton of very exciting, very contentious work as to whether stress is causing that part of the brain to atrophy, and if so, is it reversible. Or does having a small hippocampus make you more vulnerable to stress-related traumas? There's evidence for both sides."
He also cited new studies suggesting that chronic stress causes DNA to age faster. "Over time, the ends of your chromosomes fray, and as they fray your DNA stops working as well, and eventually that could wind up doing in the cell," he said. "There are now studies showing that chromosomal DNA aging accelerates in young, healthy humans who experience something incredibly psychologically stressful. That's a huge finding."
According to Sapolsky, the most important new area of neuroscience research may be the effort to understand differences in the way individuals respond to stress. "This gets you into the realm of why do some people see stressors that other people don't, and why, in the face of something that is undeniably a stressor to everybody, do some people do so much worse than others?" he said. "Genes, no doubt, have something to do with it, but not all that much. However, there is evidence about development beginning with fetal life—prenatal stress, stress hormones from the mom getting through fetal circulation—having all sorts of long-term effects.
"We're now about 70 years into thinking that sustained stress can do bad things to your health. The biggest challenge for the next 70 years is figuring out why some of us are so much more vulnerable than others."
In the meantime, Sapolsky suggested that people do whatever they can to reduce stress in their daily lives. "Try stress management, change your priorities or go into therapy," he said. "It takes work. Some people clearly never can overcome it. But the same things that make us smart enough to generate the kind of psychological stress that's unheard of in other primates can be the same things that can protect us. We are malleable.

Universe as a brain

The idea of the universe as a 'giant brain' has been proposed by scientists - and science fiction writers - for decades. But now physicists say there may be some evidence that it's actually true. In a sense. According to a study published in Nature's Scientific Reports, the universe may be growing in the same way as a giant brain - with the electrical firing between brain cells 'mirrored' by the shape of expanding galaxies. The results of a computer simulation suggest that "natural growth dynamics" - the way that systems evolve - are the same for different kinds of networks - whether its the internet, the human brain or the universe as a whole. A co-author of the study, Dmitri Krioukov from the University of California San Diego, said that while such systems appear very different, they have evolved in very similar ways. The result, they argue, is that the universe really does grow like a brain. The study raises profound questions about how the universe works, Krioukov said. "For a physicist it's an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works," he told The team's simulation modelled the very early life of the universe, shortly after the big bang, by looking at how quantum units of space-time smaller than subatomic particles 'networked' with each other as the universe grew. They found that the simulation mirrored that of other networks. Some links between similar nodes resulted in limited growth, while others acted as junctions for many different connections. For instance, some connections are limited and similar - like a person who likes sports visiting many other sports websites - and some are major and connect to many other parts of the network, like Google and Yahoo. No, it doesn't quite mean that the universe is 'thinking' - but as has been previously pointed out online, it might just mean there's more similarity between the very small and the very large than first appearances suggest. (from huffington post)