Learning is not a competition

Education

Date: September, 2018

Source: The Straits Times Singapore

Singapore has removed ranking of students last September, 2018 for all primary and secondary schools. No more first honor, second honor or being last in the class. The Minister of Education, Ong Ye Kung, addressed 1,700 school leaders:  “I know that ‘coming in first or second’, in class or level, has traditionally been a proud recognition of a student’s achievement. But removing these indicators is for a good reason, so that the child understands from young that learning is not a competition, but a self-discipline they need to master for life.”

All theosophical schools do not have ranking or competition among students ever since they were established. Ranking is deemed harmful to students because students tend to think that the way they are measured for their achievement is based on their competitive position or ranking in school. They lose sight of the real purpose of education.

Quantum Atmospheres’ May Reveal Secrets of Matter

Physics

Date: September, 2018

Source: Quanta Magazine

Theosophical literature postulated that physical matter has additional states to the three commonly known (solid, liquid, and gaseous) before Science came to make this discovery. These higher states were generally called “etheric.” According to clairvoyant research by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater published in their book Occult Chemistry, these etheric states are the result of breaking down atoms into the more fundamental particles that compose them. In modern Science, this is the field of research of quantum physics. The article below presents a new scientific theory proposing that the quantum properties of an object extend into an “atmosphere” that surrounds the material. This sounds remarkably similar to the Theosophical idea of the “etheric double,” and some scientists are now trying to develop ways to measure this “quantum atmosphere” in different objects.

A Cometary Catastrophe

Earth Sciences

Date: Feb, 2018

Source: The Journal of Geology

Less well known is the discovery that fragments of a disintegrating ~100km-diameter comet collided with the Earth some 12,800 years ago in what is known as the Younger Dryas period (named after a signature Arctic flower). The collision triggered a rapid return to glacial conditions which lasted about 1,400 years, interrupting the gradual warming of the planet after the Last Glacial Maximum around 20,000 years ago. In a recent two-part publication, Wolbach (and 31 co-authors) presented a detailed analysis of evidence of this most unusual climatic episode gathered over the last decade (Wolbach et al. 2018, Jour. Geology, v 126: 165-184; 185-205). Data was gathered from ice-cores in Greenland, Russia and Antarctica as well as from lake, marine and terrestrial sediments. Contemporaneous layers of charcoal and dust in these geographically dispersed cores confirm this cosmic impact event. These specific layers are enriched in platinum and other impact-related elements. They also contain glassy spherules and nano-diamonds, and are anomalously high in ammonia, nitrate, and other compounds that represent a major period of extensive biomass burning. Sea levels rose a few meters due to major melting of the North American Ice Cap and this surge of fresh water disturbed the oceanic circulation that began a period of cooling.

 

Evidence points to numerous fragments of a disintegrating comet detonating above and/or colliding with ice-sheets, oceans, and land on at least four continents centered on North America. The radiant and thermal energy from multiple explosions triggered extensive multiple wildfires that are estimated to have burned about 10% of the planet’s biomass, considerably more than that accompanying the meteorite impact that caused the demise of the dinosaurs. The burning created long-lived atmospheric soot, blocking most sunlight and creating an impact winter and acid rain. The reduced vegetation caused a major crisis in the ecosystem that may have contributed to many megafaunal extinctions including mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths and American horses, along with many birds and smaller mammals. Human population declined for about a thousand years and the demise of the Clovis hunters ensued. This synchronicity of multiple events makes the Younger Dryas interval one of the most unusual climatic/ecological episodes during the last two million years. It also raises the importance of supporting the Near Earth Asteroid Survey in defense of future serious impacts on our planet.”

Quantum Weirdness Replaced by Classical Fluid Dynamics

Physics

Date: March, 2014

Source: Hawai Institute for Unified Physics (HIUP)

A new interpretation of Quantum Physics, in line with Louis de Broglie “pilot wave” theory, and David Bohm causal interpretation, which may give a deterministic approach of quantum physics, using classical fluid dynamics. This is paving the way for a unification of fundamental forces. Even entanglement, this so weird “spooky instantaneous interaction at a distance”, may have a realistic substantiation via wormholes (Maldacena/Susskind – https://arxiv.org/abs/1306.0533).

Modern Science (Theoretical Physics) is based, since the 1920’s, on the Bohr’s interpretation of Quantum Physics which does not provide with an intellectually sustainable paradigm for the representation of Reality. Most physicists use quantum theory as a tool for calculating results and “leave it to the philososhers” to wonder what’s really going on behind the mathematics. This has leaded to the loss of causal interpretation of phenomenon (cause -> effect). Einstein always disagreed wit it : “God does not play dice“. The new interpretation quoted here is in line with Einstein, de Broglie, Schrödinger, Bohm, Bell,…

 

New Giant Viruses Further Blur the Definition of Life

Biology

Date: March, 2018

Source: Quanta Magazine

Defining the boundary between living and non-living organism is a difficult matter in science. Conventionally, viruses are regarded as the boundary between the two because although, they have nucleic acids (DNA or RNA), they are very simple and unable to survive outside a host (infected cell). However, scientists have now discovered viruses that are far more complex, which makes them able to do many of the functions attributed to living organisms. This discovery is interesting because it blurs the supposed line separating living from non-living, and may point to the idea that life is an intrinsic property of matter.

 

 

Gallup Poll Surveys Which Countries Are Perceived as Greatest Threat to World Peace

Social Sciences

Date: Jan, 2014

Source: Huffington Post

In 2013, Gallup Poll and Worldwide Independent Network made a survey of 66,000 people around the world and ask them questions such as their preferred home and the greatest threat to world peace. Twenty four percent identified the United States as the greatest threat, followed by Pakistan at 8%, China at 6% and Afghanistan at 5%. At the same time, it is noteworthy that the survey found the United States was also the country that they  wanted most to move to.


In the survey, Americans considered the US was the third greatest threat to world peace after Iran and Afghanistan, and tied with North Korea.

 

 

Sprawling Maya network discovered under Guatemala jungle

Archeology

History

Date: Feb, 2018

Source: BBC

Archaeologists have discovered a large network of Mayan structures in the jungles of Guatemala that would alter our understanding of Mayan civilization. Using a laser technology called Lidar (light detecting and ranging), the researchers were able to see 60,000 ruins beneath the forest canopy.

 

“I think this is one of the greatest advances in over 150 years of Maya archaeology,” said Stephen Houston, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at Brown University.

 

“Lidar is revolutionizing archaeology the way the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionised astronomy,” said Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Tulane University archaeologist. “We’ll need 100 years to go through all [the data] and really understand what we’re seeing.”

 

The Mayan civilization ​is believed to have attained its peak 1,500 years ago, and was estimated to have five million people. “With this new data it’s no longer unreasonable to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there,” said Mr Estrada-Belli, “including many living in low-lying, swampy areas that many of us had thought uninhabitable.”

 

 

Note: The Secret Doctrine refers to the work of Auguste le Plongeon “Sacred Mysteries among the Mayas and the Quiches, 11,500 years ago”,​ who shows the identity between the Egyptian rites and beliefs and those of the people he describes.The ancient hieratic alphabets of the Maya and the Egyptians are almost identical.
H.P.B. suggests that there was an ancient connection between the Central American peoples, the Mayas and other races, and the Egyptians by means of a connecting Atlantis.

Creating Babies with no Egg or Sperm

Biology

Health and Medicine

Date: April, 2018

Source: New Scientist

A number of discoveries and researches have opened up the possibility of making babies without the use of egg or sperm from the parents. A bioengineer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yue Shao, published in 2017 his findings when he was still at the University of Michigan that the cells he was working with seemed to have assembled themselves into what appeared to be early-stage human. A year before that, Japanese researchers in Kyoto University were able to produce mice babies from eggs that were made from adult skin cells.
 
This has important implications on the possibility of having babies for people who are infertile. Coupled with growing research on the possibility of letting the fetus grow outside the body using artificial sacs, a new way of reproduction seems no longer remote.
 
Hank Greely, a bioethicist and lawyer at Stanford University in California, said, “My guess is this would be a major way of having babies 100 years from now.” 
 
​Source: New Scientist, April 14-20, 2018;​

Yoga and Mindfulness Improve Emotional Health of Third-Graders

Psychology

Education

Health and Medicine

Date: December, 2017

Source: Science Daily, Psychology Research and Behavior Management

A study made by Tulane University showed that third graders who manifest anxiety were helped in their well-being and emotional health after practicing yoga and mindfulness activities.

A group of 20 students underwent special yoga practice while a control group of 32 students underwent the usual school care including counseling. The yoga practice included breathing exercises, guided relaxation and yoga postures. The researchers used two instruments to assess the change in the students: the Brief Multidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale-Peabody Treatment Progress Battery version and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory.

“The intervention improved psychosocial and emotional quality of life scores for students, as compared to their peers who received standard care,” said principal author Alessandra Bazzano, associate professor of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health. “We also heard from teachers about the benefits of using yoga in the classroom, and they reported using yoga more often each week, and throughout each day in class, following the professional development component of intervention.”

Sources:

  • www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180410100919.htm
  • Alessandra N Bazzano, Christopher E Anderson, Chelsea Hylton, Jeanette Gustat. Effect of mindfulness and yoga on quality of life for elementary school students and teachers: results of a randomized controlled school-based studyPsychology Research and Behavior Management, 2018; Volume 11: 81 DOI: 10.2147/PRBM.S157503

4 days after death, hundred of genes still active

Biology

Health and Medicine

Date: June, 2016

Source: Science Alert; Science

A team of researchers from the University of Washington found that genes continue to be active in mice and zebra fish even days after their death. This research was triggered by a previous finding that genes in human cadavers were still active more than 12 hours after death. What they noted was that the gene activity after death was not sputtering but rather they became more active after death. In the case of zebra fish, “548 genes retained their function for four whole days after the animals had died before showing any signs of winding down.” This finding raises the question on when really is the time of death. It also has implications on the state of the organs after death when they are being considered for transplant.

What surprised researchers was the fact that the genes which were activated after death were those which were active during the formation of the embryo and which become inactive during one’s lifetime.

Sources:

Restrictions on religion

Religion

Social Science

Date: April 13, 2017

Source: Pew Research

Brazil and Japan Least Restrictive Towards Religions; Russia and Egypt Most Restrictive

In a study by Pew Research Centers among the 25 most populous countries in the world, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Ethiopia and the Philippines were the countries with the least restrictions and social hostilities towards religions. The survey was based on 2015 data. Russia, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Nigeria on the other hand, had the most restrictions and social hostilities.

“In India, for example, some state governments restricted religious conversion and others ban cow slaughter,” says the report.

image1.png

Source: Pew Research Center, April 13, 2017; http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/13/religious-restrictions-vary-significantly-in-the-worlds-most-populous-countries/

More Americans say they are spiritual but not religious

Religion

Social Science

Date: September,  2017

Source: Pew Research

In a survey conducted April 4-June 4, 2017, The Pew Research Center found that there are more Americans who consider themselves spiritual but not religious. 27% regarded themselves this way as compared to 19% in 2012. 48% think of themselves as both religious and spiritual, this group decreased from 59% in 2012. 18% consider themselves neither religious nor spiritual, Up from 16% in 2012.

Source: Pew Research, Sept. 6, 2017; href=”http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/09/06/more-americans-now-say-theyre-spiritual-but-not-religious/