What I learned in 2016.

And today’s big update which is all over the news anyway.

What a stupid, stupid man. I know it’s not “politically correct” to say that. But quite frankly, I don’t care. Because it just so happens to be true.

Honestly, do you remember when you were in school (you did finish school didn’t you?) and your teachers told you about “the curve”. The bell curve.

That taco-bell shaped curve that plots intelligence as a function of the population. In the middle, you have the average person’s intelligence, see. That fat part of the curve, where most people lie. The people like you (I hope you’re at least that smart) and me. Because I’m really just average. I’m not naturally smart. I have to try just as hard as anybody else to score highly on any test. And I know there are loads of people way smarter than me.

Then, usually on the right hand side of that graph, you have a much lesser proportion of geniuses, whiz-kids and ultra-hard core nerds. Who score something like 95 to 99.98% on their tertiary entrance rank. Often the asian kids and, well, all the other “important people”.

Then on the other side you have the, ahh, people with “somewhat lesser intelligence level”. Okay, as the author of this website, I try not to beat around the bush. So let’s just say it like it is. Call a spade a spade. On the left hand side of that graph, are, the people with below 100 IQ. For want of a better term, are “the dumb people”. There. that’wasn’t so hard, was it? No.

What did I learn in 2016? Well I’m convinced that these are the very same people who voted Trump in. The dumb ones who simply don’t get how the world works. And by that I don’t mean “how money runs the world”. I literally mean “how the world works”. How atoms and molecules and other particles interact with eacother; how crystal structures form.

So I know I’m repeating myself here. But it’s an important message and it bears lots of repition.

Climate change is *not* some big hoax put out by the chinese government (or whatever). It’s a real concern by scientists (you know, the clever people), that our current way of life is just not sustainable.

I am actually suffer chronic depression because of this. Every month I see a psychologist.

I can tell you one thing though. I am personally not going to sit idly by for the next four years in silence. I’ve already made up my mind. I just can’t do it. I know too much.

As one of the few designers out there to actually have a background in science, I am going to make a stand. If the coal or oil industry wants yours truly to design them a new logo, it’s going to cost them… wait for it… 800 million dollars. That’s my buyout price. That’s the price I’m willing to settle for. For that price you get the logo and a style guide. That’s it.

For that price, yes I can design any oil company the loveliest of logotypes. But more importantly, I can reinvest 799 million dollars out of that amount of money into simply buying up . Because that’s what I think the ultra rich should be doing. Instead of wasting it on diamond-encrusted mobile phones and whatnot.

Why? Well, because, unlike most designers, I know why the true “cost to society” of oil isn’t reflected in it’s current market value — in it’s real price.

The value of NAT and ENV shares on the the global stock exchange.

Here’s the kind of thing you see when you hang out on LinkedIn for a while:

RECAP FOR THOSE I LALA LAND THE MARKET HAS BEEN ON FIRE BECAUSE OF TRUMP UP 2500 POINTS IN 6 MONTHS MOST IN THE FIRST 60DAYS NOW OMG DOWN 200 BECAUSE OF THE SPIN OF WORDS BY THE MEDIA…THE TRUE AMERICAN ENEMY IS BLM OBAMA CLINTONS AND THIS F… UP MEDIA GIVE TRUMP A BREAK AND SUPPORT HIM STOP WASTING HIS TIME DEALING WITH THE STUPIDEST PEOPLE ON THE PLANET AND THERE BS STOP THE HATE NOW WE ARE ONE AMERICAN Mike Pienciak

And here is my response to that:

Did you see the stock price for NAT shares though, since Trump got in? NAT shares are down. Way down. And when I say NAT, I don’t mean “Nordic American Tanker Ltd” on the NYSE. I mean NAT, on the global stock exchange, the GSE.

ENV shares are down too! Once again, I don’t mean “Envestnet Inc”. I mean ENV, on the global stock exchange, the GSE.

And isn’t it telling of business today that NYSE:ENV and NYSE:NAT do not represent nature or the environment? Quite the opposite. In actual fact they represent gas pipelines and supermax oil tankers, respectively.

Every time the Nasdaq, the S&P, the Dow jones go up, GSE:NAT and GSE:ENV invariably go down1. Way down. I think it’s because we don’t know any other way.

Maybe the only reason the stock market “is on fire” is because Mr. Trumpet wants to abolish the EPA? Maybe it’s very telling of business today. That while stock markets are, as you say, “on fire”, the Earth is figuratively burning up also.

The trouble is this: when GSE:NAT and GSE:ENV go down, all other stocks will soon follow. This should be like a law already.

It’s not all about the stock market. Do you know WHY there is not stock market on planet Mars or planet Venus? Because there is no breathable atmosphere. So maybe “business at all cost” types should consider that before their next next trade? You know, invest in something other than money?

If you could measure the worth, the market capital of GSE:NAT and GSE:ENV, it would put the rest of the worlds’ stock exchanges to shame. If we had to pay for these services, humanity would be bankrupt. Bankrupt I tell you! Bankrupt!

Traditional economic stock markets are all but a meaningless evaluation. All of them incorrectly report the true value of the Earth’s assets. If our environment cannot even be maintained, then one must ask the next logical question: just how ‘sustainable’ are “sustainable business models”?

 

By the way, I’m not here to make friends. I’m not here to get more connections. Or leads. Or clients. I’m here to make people think. Clients will always be there, biodiversity won’t. 2c

Oh and it is ‘their’. The word you are looking for is their, not there.

Is the human race a plague?

Of course modern man is a plague. When did man become a plague?

Probably with the rise of the industrial revolution, when we were able to affect our environment on a grand scale. We invented pollution and toxic chemicals. We use those toxic chemicals to kill off other species on purpose and we only ever do things for our own direct benefit.

The population has reached a crisis point. We’re on every continent on the planet. We are not really meant to last longer than about 35-45 years old, but better nutrition has pushed us to live 90+ years. So instead of one generation merely replacing the next, you have 3 or 4 generations of humans alive at the same time.

We know it’s not at all sustainable yet the first thing we do is congratulate someone when they give birth to another child. Congratulations. For what exactly? Doing what comes naturally? Doing what every single one of their ancestors did?

How about congratulating people for not having a child?

We destroy everything in sight and call that “urbanisation”. When we do plant stuff it is common green grass. We then try to keep that under control by mowing it all down rather than letting things grow naturally by themselves.

We still don’t value nature’s functions yet we cannot live without them.

Some people are so obsessed with conquering everything that they even want to travel in to outer space to spread the plague even further.

Native American Indians, Australian Aborignies and many other indigenous tribes lived in mutual harmony with their natural environments. In the case of Australian Aborigines, for 40,000 years.

Their materials and tools were biodegradeable. The valued art and music more than we do in our culture. In our culture it seems we value consumerism. A sad fact.

So I think we can learn a lot from their values.

The true value of soil

Food practically grows all by itself on planet Earth.
Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown. © 2015. All rights reserved.

Let me ask you something: do we actually ‘make’ our own food? Do we? The answer is “no we do not make our own food”. We just throw pre-existing seeds in the ground and make sure most of them get enough water to sprout. We don’t make it from first principles; it grows all by itself from the soil! We simply harvest that food (once it has already grown).

Let me ask you the next question: do we humans ‘make’ soil? Not can we make it, do we make it? Again, no. Bacteria, worms and insects do that for us. Sure we might put organic matter such as apple cores, banana skins and orange peels onto the old compost pile and think we’re making

loads more soil. We might even throw things like paper and cardboard onto our compost as well and think we’re creating heaps and heaps and heaps of soil.

But are we? What are we really doing? Once gain, where did that apple core come from? Where did that banana skin come from? Where did that paper come from? Where did those trees come from? The chances are you’ll find that most of it wasn’t hydroponically produced (using liquid fertilisers and zero soil). Was it? No. It was mosty farmed, from pre-existing soil. And I’m guessing that that soil, ladies and gentlemen, took thousands and thousands and thousands of years to form.

And so you might say: “well okay, I know people that actually eat 100% hydroponically-grown foods, I’ve seen it”. And again I ask: but the people who made the hydroponic setup, did they also get all of their food from hydroponically grown plants? What about the people who made all that fertiliser? What about the people who built the whole darn fertiliser setup? What about the people who transported all of the above? And what about the people who built the vehicles so that all of that lot could be transported? Did they all eat hydroponically grown food too?

Is everyone in that hydroponics industry only eating 100% hydroponically-grown foods? Short answer? No. So my point is that at the moment, even if we can hydroponically grow a bunch of food, it’s being heavily, massively subsidised by nature.

Do you know how many apple cores, banana skins and orange peels it takes to make just one kilogram of soil? The answer is: I don’t know, because I lost count. What I can tell you is that I have been throwing ALL of my organic scraps, and those of a second person, into one giant green 400L bin for the past two years. Everything from my hair to my paper offcuts. And it has never filled up. But how much soil did all that organic matter take to produce in the first place, for two people? I’m willing to bet that it was WAY more than just 400 litres.

So is it any wonder that farmers commit suicide, when they tell us that the quality of soil is falling?

We certainly tend to the plants. We avoid flooding unless we’re growing rice. But what I think humans really do is collect, store and distribute food. If we had to do all of that for 7 billion people, for 7 million people, for even 7 thousand people, with no air, no water and no soil to begin with, I think you’d see scientists really starting to scratch their heads. Can’t be done! It just can’t be done.

In other words, we’re not somehow magically separated from nature. Scientists are never really able forget this. If seven, eight, nine or ten billion people want to live on this planet for more than a few centuries into the future, then we’re going to have to re-evaluate our values and our priorities. I think it’s time we refocus our efforts on Earth (even Carl Sagan’s last book, pale blue dot was as much about Earth as deep space and look how ‘into’ deep space adventures he was).

Putting trophy hunters in their place

This is a mile long rant in response to a trophy hunter on Quora. You’ve been warned.

Your ‘answer’ has been downvoted. What a bunch of self-righteous CRAP. Practically everything you say is complete rubbish. The most ridiculous arguments I have read all year.

  1. I just did an IUCN campaign on carnivorous plants, okay. many of which are endangered through poaching. So that invalidates that argument… just because you don’t see other campaigns as frequently, doesn’t mean that people don’t care about other strange and less-well known animals.
  2. No. Just no. First off, I don’t eat meat. Even so, there’s no way in hell that chickens, cows and sheep were ever in danger of going extinct. So that’s part of it. Lions used to roam by the 100,000. Furthermore, Cecil apparantly suffered for 40 hours. Average factory animals don’t suffer tha long at the time of slaughter.
  3. You can’t compare Lance Armstrong with Walter Palmer. My gosh that you are clutching at straws there. Yes it is ‘unsportsmanlike’. Just take a look at this fat bastard Michael Robinson. Notice I didn’t say fat ‘rich’ bastard? I know it’s not Walter Palmer, but don’t tell me that he’s a great ‘sportsman’. In my eyes, trophy hunting will never be deemed a sport, even if you can tally up a ‘score’. It’s basically going around murdering other creatures! How the féck is that sport? I suppose you think ISIS are sportsmen too do you? Same. They behead their victims too.
  4. Yes the giraffe is more beautiful than the stupid women that kill them. I’m sorry you don’t seem to understand that. If Kendall Jones was the last woman on Earth, okay, and she pulled that shit in front of me, I’d still rather cook the woman up and eat her flesh than procreate with her in order to save humanity.I don’t find rhinos to be particularly ‘beautiful’. They’re big. Cute maybe, but not beautiful. And if she killed a rhino instead of a giraffe, I’d *still *rather cook the woman up and eat her flesh than procreate to save humanity. Got it?  So beauty alone has nothing to do with it.

    It’s about having empathy, compassion and respect. Of course, you were probably indoctrinated as a child to think that that humans are above all other creatures.

  5. I don’t care how rich or poor Walter Palmer and others are. That has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with it. He could be homeless and I’d still react the same way! He could be a billion dollars in debt and I’d still react the same way!
  6. Actually what’s fasinating is how shocked some hunters are when you talk about killing and treating humans in EXACTLY the same way as the animals they themselves slaughtered. There is no difference between a human and an animal. No difference! We are all animals. That’s where trophy hunters go wrong. They see themselves as superior.

In fact, as I’ve said before, if there are 7,000 of one species, and 7,000,000,000 of the other, guess which I appreciate and value more? That’s right, the rarer breed. Not to say that I wish the average Joe on the street harm. Just the ones that threaten the rarer species.

Doesn’t have to be critically endangered. A statue such as ‘threatened’ or “least concern” is enough for me to show empathy, compassion and respect. Especially if it has faced dwindling numbers or near extinction (like for example blue whales, fin whales).

Yes, some animal lovers really do hate some humans. What’s wrong with that? I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

Are you bothered by the fact that some animal lovers have a million times more respect for an ‘animal’ than a human? I think so. I think this fundamentally distrubs some hunters and their visions of other human beings. Or are trophy hunters so naive that they think that all animal lovers are all-loving, all-caring ‘nice’ people incapable of real and negative emotions? We’re just as capable of anger and revenge. The thing is, we would be more inclined to consider Walter Palmer’s family before doing anything stupid. Not to mention jail time.

What, trophy hunters think that animals lovers can’t get mad or violet? Wrong!

I think more surprising is the typical shocked reaction of pro-trophy hunters when the barrage of death wishes arrives. What, do you think trophy hunters are respected by their fellow humans? Wrong. They’re completely reviled, and it has nothing to do with any of the 5 or 6 points you make.

I can assure you that more people would wish them dead, except that they can’t speak out for fear of being “politicially incorrect”. They may not send a death threat or wish any suffering upon another being, but I bet they sure wish trophy hunters would simply vanish completely off the face of the Earth…

It’s not that Cecil was famous. That was just the icing on the cake… it was really the last straw. It’s really what made people aware that this is still going on after decades.

So I have a message to trophy hunters, don’t think that the rest of the world is at peace with you slaughtering African animals that aren’t ‘famous’. That’s just being igorant.

It’s that people the world over are fed up with both trophy hunters and poachers. People don’t want to see some fucktard grinning with overly whitened teeth mounting a majestic but dead lion on their wall. Most people want nothing to do with it. Don’t even compare it to ‘sport’.
Yes in Cecil’s case it’s probably the fact that that lion had a name. So people could empathise with it more.

But it’s not 1916. Or 1816 for that matter. It’s 2016. Maybe in 1980 Walter could’ve gotten away without being doxxed. But not today.

So. If you trophy hunters don’t want to be the victim of a barrage of hate, I suggest the following:

  • don’t ever take a selfie with a dead or a dying animal, especially not wearing makeup and smiling like a jackass and NEVER I repeat NEVER lying down next to them pretending theat they are still alive and just sleeping.
  • don’t ever kill anything outside your own country. Because that’ll never be seen as ‘good’ — even if it’s under the guise of “population management”. Why not? Because your fucking carbon footprint flying over there and back again just prevented you from being at all ‘sustainable’, that’s why.
  • don’t ever say that you are trophy hunting for ‘conservation’. Because if you are, why not simply donate the money straight to an environmental charity of your choice?

Combine all three points aboce and you have a sure fire recipe to be on the receiving end of that barrage of hate I was talking about earlier.

The true value of biodiversity.

Without insects, it has been said that most of humanity would die within a few months. Without trees and phytoplankton and thousands of other species with chlorophyll, we would all die.

Knowing that, I just can’t understand why billionaires such as Bill Gates are so intent on alleviating poverty in the 3rd world above all else. They make that their priority. In my opinion, it makes more sense to me ot protect nature first, and then when we have that sorted, let’s see if this planet can comfortably support more than 7 billion people.

So I think that environment should definitely be funded first. And then people. I have always thought that. Why do I think that? It’s not because I am cruel. It’s not because I don’t like people. It’s because people do not live in isolated bubbles. People depend on nature.

I think most people don’t appreciate this, but there’s another angle to valuing biodiversity (besides being fundamental for our own survival).

And it’s this. We still don’t really know how embryos form and develop. Sure we can characterise each of the stages of blastulation. We can draw little pictures of each step along the way. But it’s a lot harder to know how and why embryonic folding occurs. So what are there are underlying reasons that each stage of development occurs when and where it does?

I mean, it’s not really a ‘miracle’. Scientists don’t accept ‘miracles’ as answers. There are chemical and physical reasons why cells spontaneously split into two halves. A cell doesn’t just split into two because it feels like it. And there are chemical and physical reasons why this occurs. And from what little I have read on the subject in the book “How the leopard changed it’s spots”, it’s not due to the DNA molecules alone. In actual fact, the first splitting of a cell is caused by a concentration gradient that is set up inside the cell’s plasma. And according to this book, it’s due to flluctuations in calcium concentrations within that first cell.

Okay. Now we are getting somewhere. You might then ask, “Well what causes those fluctations then?“. Most likely, I would say, gravity. Because gravity is a force that acts in one direction relatively to a cell. So there are underlying reasons as to how embryos proceed to develop and they are not always to do with DNA alone.

And those are the real answers that science seeks. It’s not good enough to ask “which genes cause which traits?”. A real scientist wants to know how genes work. How do the chemical variations in a strand of encoded DNA produce the morphological changes? Now, I’m only talking very basically about this subject. It’s an extremely superficial discussion. And so if you’re a developmental biologist or a genetic engineer and you’re reading this, you’re probably laughing at me.

Where am I going with this? Well, until we know *exactly* what causes a rhinos eye to form where it does, or what causes a tiger’s stripes, or the forces that shape an elephant’s tusk, well, I think we owe it to nature to protect all of these things. Because they are a vault of information that can unlock life’s secrets. If we knew the answer to that, then we’d have at least earned the title of cleverest species.

Imagine if we could ‘program’ certain trees genetically to display a road signs such as a speed limits with differently coloured bark. Imagine if you could reprogram the tree to automatically change its bark pattern and display a different speed zone at differnt times of the day? That is all possible.

sustainable morphogenesis.

And I don’t simply mean “what genes are found in a rhino or a monkey”. I mean, what is it about those genes that controls protein folding? If we could create our own strand of DNA, could we predict what the resulting organism looks like?

From what little I have read on the subject, it’s not just DNA. The patterns and shapes seen in nature are caused by physical and chemical forces. Because one day it might be possible to make whatever shape we want at the mere press of a button. Imagine if we could simply grow an organic skyscraper. Right now I don’t think we are ready for that.

Just today, I learned that biology may even be taking advantage of quantum effects.

Even then, all these species are beneficial to us in terms of mental health. We also owe it to this world not to simply destroy everything in our path.

What is the true value of our the world’s oceans?

So I came across this little illustration recently, put out by the WWF:

df5cae97-7d76-4b7e-af89-d134cdba9ced-original

The ocean puts food on the table and underpins trillions of dollars of economic activity worldwide. It does all this freely. But not for long. The ocean is heading for a collapse.

Because the ocean belongs to everyone – and to no one – too many have taken too much. Centuries of overuse and neglect threaten to leave us with a vast blue desert. It is time to change the way we see the ocean – from a place where we take what we want and dump what we don’t, to a shared resource of immense value.

WWF is working to generate a new wave of support for sustainable seas. We will show leaders how a healthy ocean fosters economic development. We will celebrate and scale up the work of coastal and fishing communities to protect the resources they depend on. And we’ll give everyone the opportunity to speak out for our blue planet. Join us.

I think you’ll find that someone has drastically underestimated the value of the ocean + atmosphere here. It’s more like QUADRILLIONS of dollars. Why? Well, think about it, if we had to live off world, how much would it cost us? Eh? In a big space ship. Because that’s what some people are saying the alternative is. And without nature, that’s essentially what we’d have to do. We’d literally “be on our own”.

For example, how much are the first thousand lettuce leaves grown on Mars essentially going to cost to produce? Well, they are going to cost 1.5 BILLION dollars each lettuce leaf, aren’t they? So when you place the value at ‘only’ $24 trillion for all the fish in the sea (and more), I laugh. It ain’t anywhere near high enough. The information contained in the genetic material alone is priceless.

Value of natural ecological services

What this scientist thinks of NASA’s 2035 mission to Mars…

The 2035 Mars space mission is said to cost an estimated US$1.5 trillion.


What are my thoughts on this? That sounds like an aweful lot of money to me — to keep four to six people alive on another planet— in my view it’s money that could be put to far better things, like keeping 7 or 8 billion alive on this one.

To put things into perspective, it’s the equivalent of spending 94% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product… for what? A dozen or so people to have the trip of a lifetime… at the most? That’s one hell of an expensive postcard!

If I personally had US$1.5 trillion dollars to play with and I wanted to ENSURE the future surivial of the human race, why, do you know what I’d do? I’d buy up all the wilderness areas up in poorer countries. I’d abandon that silly space mission. That’s what I’d do. And this is coming from someone that liked reading Carl Sagan’s cosmos… [Read more…]

“There are no accidents”

We assume that true “randomness” exists. But is there really such a thing as a purely random event or thing?

I think we only use the word random to describe things that we can’t fully explain. I think that the events which first appear to be random are actually be very structured and organised. It’s easier to say “it’s entirely random” than to explain the myriad of intricacies of any particular system…

Picture several hundred people moving at a train station or crossing a busy intersection. At first glance it looks purely random. But there is really nothing random about it. Each of the people has a distinct set of reasons for being there. Maybe some of them are going to work, or coming home from night shift or meeting a friend for a coffee. They are doing what people do: shopping, socialising, travelling, working, playing, walking, seeing, doing and a multitude of other things that other people do to make themselves feel happy. None of that is random.

“There are no accidents” — Master Oogway

[Read more…]

High definition destruction

It always amazes me how all of these latest technologies showcase *nature*. I find that quite ironic. I find it ironic because we get the copper and other elements that are contained within electronics from mines. And it is frequently places like the forests in Papua New Guinea that are mined to get these elements.

What is the point of high-definition television, holograms, visual special effects, if we are just going to watch the destruction of nature in ever-greater detail? Or fake representations of nature? I can go outside and see it in higher definition than any screen will be able to display. It’s called “atomic resolution”. I.e. real life.

I don’t understand people. Watching nature makes us happy. As we distance ourselves further and further from nature, we think that we can live separate from it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yet most of us carry on our daily lives almost in fear of the natural. We go on poisoning it. Controlling it. Dominating it.

What is the point of faster or more comfortable airlines if the destinations are not as pristine as they used to be?

What is the point of creating high definition televisions, sharper lenses and ever-more megapixels, if we’re only going to witness the destruction of nature in ever-greater detail and clarity?

A common observation is that nature provides much inspiration even for 3D models. So I encourage people to donate to environmental charities instead of buying the latest technologies all the time. Half the reason we are in so much shit with the planet is because we have forgotten how to give back to nature. We are always taking and never giving back. So I encourage you to stand up, speak up . That way, you might *truly* feel better about ourselves, our civilisation, instead of feeling this ‘guilt’ for what we are doing.

The truth is, unfortunately we do not value nature as much as we should. We do not see the work that it does for us. Trees create oxygen for us for free. If we had to extract our own oxygen from carbon dioxide, how much do you think that would cost us?

 

The whaling debate

I think part of the trouble is that migratory species of animals do not ‘belong’ to any one individual country. Countries will always have differences of opinion; therefore all migratory species should be off-limits to hunters.

Whales don’t technically belong to Iceland, Australia, New Zealand or anyone else. And that’s just one of the reasons that they should be spared… because if Icelandic whalers can claim that the whales are ‘theirs’ to do with as they please, then Tongans too can claim that whales are born in Tongan waters and are therefore more ‘Tongan’ than ‘Icelandic’.

I’ve noticed that Icelanders keep referring to chickens, goats, cows and pigs. But none of those animals really migrate, do they? No. They do not cross vast oceans from one side of the planet to the other. Here’s my second point and it doesn’t have anything to do with factory farming, killing chickens, fish, goats, cows or pigs. Let’s forget Iceland for a moment for this analogy to be a bit more objective…

Can you see how if any country (X) started to hunt Japanese cranes in ‘Japanese’ air space that that would annoy Japan? As you know, migratory cranes are endangered. They are also very special to Japanese people in their culture and believed to bring good luck. They have a tradition of folding 1000 cranes. Now just imagine that country X goes there and kills a lot of them. The poor birds take a long time to die and suffer immensely at the time of death. Now imagine that ALL the other countries were totally against country X hunting cranes but they still kept doing it. And now just imagine that country X says to Japan: “no, but it’s okay, we’re hunting them sustainably, we only catch 333 per year.” [Read more…]

Overstimulation, ADHD & physical exercise.

Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) simply an extreme degree of hyperactivity, brought about by many complex contributing factors? We’re stimulated (visually) by television and seemingly limitless internet possibilities. Outwardly, we appear to have adapted in various ways to this fast pace of life. But what happens to our brain when we stop all this fast-paced internet work and shutdown our computers and gaming consoles? Our brain continues to run wild at this high pace. Our minds continue to race overtime; not accustomed to stagnating, we dwell & obsess over the tiniest of problems merely for “something to do”. Is this something we have control over?

Could a lack of excercise combined with overchoice & overstimulation actually compound certain mental disorders in the early phase of development? In an ever-increasingly stressful world, we’ve simultaneously reduced the amount of exercise we receive! We drive everywhere, use mobile devices, remote controls, pre-packaged “lazy foods”, etc. Although most of us still continue to defer exercise. This is a recipe for disaster. Could this be a simple link to many of today’s current mental disorders?

Certainly, advanced brain research will help diagnose mental disorders such as ADHD, for example. But while scientists are busy studying brain chemicals and neurotransmitter activity, do they pay much attention to the initial reasons behind why those chemicals are different? I for one think its better to understand the true reasons or causes behind something, not merely their symptoms, consequences or effects. What’s the difference? Well, a few simple observations and tests might show that there is an insufficient level of dopamine in the brain in ADHD patients, for example. Some would argue that that essentially is the disease. At the very least it reveals the reason for the occurrence of some of the disease’s symptoms. However, since the disease is usually characterised by its symptoms, what’s actually stopping us from labelling this an “in vivo symptom”?

Knowing the concentration of dopamine in the brain of a patient with ADHD doesn’t really help us initially, other than to ask the follow-up questions, “how can we now change this value?”. Researching a potential cure in this manner will never prevent this disease, only reduce its symptoms. What we really want to know is “Why has this value changed of its own accord?”. One possible reason is that the child doesn’t perform sufficient exercise, and this in turn affects their brain chemistry. I.e. we should ask the question “why is this value different?” in the first place. In my humble opinion, the latter type of research is far more valuable than the former.

In my opinion, we are biological beings and physical exercise is highly important if not crucial to our overall health. It’s like oxygen -we can certainly get by with less, but we’re better off with the correct amount. If I attempt to breathe in an oxygen-depleted environment and begin to exhibit symptoms of asphyxiation, I’d want to receive a healthy dose of oxygen before I die. I certainly wouldn’t wait around for biology research to cure my condition. I’m sure they could come up with all sorts of cellular “reasons” as to why I’m failing to respire adequately while all the the cells in my body are turning blue. But like I said before, if I can’t breathe properly, the real reason is that I need to inhale more oxygen molecules. At this stage, it’s best to give me what I need -air- not try to substitute it with something else in the form of a pill.

Biologists can argue all they want about it. Take for example an earlier phase of depression I experienced. My depression wasn’t initially caused by an imbalance in my brain chemicals, that was the end result which severely affected my mood. The real cause was a hundred other factors out there in the real world to do with relationships, life, money, worries, disappointment, stagnation, pity, etc, which I didn’t realise until after being diagnosed. It was cured, in part chemically, by prozac, but also by a lot of hope, positive thinking and inspiration.

Doctors haven’t done many definitive studies about exercise and ADHD, says David Goodman, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. But Goodman says it makes sense that working out would help people cope with the condition. Studies show that exercise increases levels of two key brain chemicals (dopamine and norepinephrine) that help people focus.

If kids could exercise strenuously three to five times a day, they might not need medications at all, says John Ratey, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Ratey is so intrigued by the question that he’s writing a book about how exercise can reduce symptoms of ADHD or at least help patients cope.

Studies show that children today are far more sedentary than they were a generation or two ago, a trend that has contributed to increasing childhood obesity rates. “You could speculate that one reason for the increasing rates of ADHD is that kids are exercising less,” says James Perrin, a professor of pediatrics at Boston’s MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

Researchers have looked at other habits to explain the rise in ADHD rates. But experts note that there isn’t much research to clearly link lifestyles with attention problems.

More than a few parents and teachers suspect that sugary snacks €” with their artificial colors, flavors and preservatives €” contribute to the problem. Others suggest that vitamins might reduce hyperactivity. But most controlled trials show these substances have no effect on ADHD, according to a July review in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Many parents also wonder whether television, computers and video games make it harder for children to concentrate. A study in 2004 found that infants and toddlers who watch a lot of television are more likely to have trouble concentrating in their early school years. Every extra hour of TV raised the odds of having attention problems by 10%, according to the study, which was published in Pediatrics. Source

– See more at: http://www.tenerife-training.net/Tenerife-News-Cycling-Blog/overstimulation-adhd-physical-exercise/#sthash.QrqMXj4c.dpuf

Why humans are stuffed.

Many people consume so much more than they really need to make themselves ‘happy’. Worse, we all know this and we all just keep on buying more stuff anyway, don’t we? As if somehow our world can be fixed by purchasing something else. The cycle is like watching a depressed alcoholic try to cure his problem with more even more alcohol…
Photography by Kate Betty Smith
Photography by Kate Betty Smith

No matter what anyone tells you, half of the bloody reason we are in so much shit in the first place is because [Read more…]

Racism vs culturism

Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown. © 2015. All rights reserved.
Illustration by Leslie Dean Brown. © 2015. All rights reserved.
CULTURES are different, by their very definition. Anyone who has travelled extensively has surely witnessed that. But it just so happens, that many –not all– cultures are divided by geographical barriers, national boundaries known as a countries. And that’s when the generalisations begin…

I T’S generally fair to say that the majority of Japanese people are very reliable & punctual. Likewise, if I were to say that Tongan people are very friendly, stress-free & relaxed, that comment would also be acceptable to most people. Why are these statements accepted? Because they’re positive cultural observations. [Read more…]