Sunday, May 29, 2011
By Deepak Chopra
December 02, 2009
Most of us have been depressed at one time during our lives, or know someone who is seriously depressed. When Prozac burst on the scene 20 years ago, it seemed that a major step had been achieved. More people responded well to the drug and fine-tuning it was easier than with past antidepressants.
Since then, taking antidepressants has become as normal as taking aspirin for a headache. Yet the ebullience of the Prozac generation was steadily undercut. Many patients didn't respond to the point that it is now conceded that more than half of depressed people may not benefit from any standard antidepressant. Along with alarming statistics about violence and suicide associated with these drugs, the treatment of depression has become increasingly shaky.
Now a major study has concluded that the entire approach of Prozac and related drugs has been wrong from the start. That's a very big "oops" on the part of pharmaceutical companies and the research they use as justification for their billion-dollar drugs.
Professor Eva Redei, who is a leading depression researcher at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, has just burst not one but two bubbles, in the form of long-held beliefs about depression.
What are the two widely held beliefs about the root of depression?
Belief #1: Depression is directly linked to stress.
In other words, if awful things happen to you, you will become depressed. Stressors include loss of a loved one, a failed job, bad relationship, tragic accident or major financial loss. We call these depressing events, but Redei found that the genes related to stress are totally different from those related to depression.
Belief #2: Depressed people have chemical imbalances in their brains.
For 20 years, researchers have repeated the mantra that low levels of essential messenger molecules—serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine—lead to depression. "My brain made me feel this way" seems so logical that antidepressants almost entirely work by manipulating levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. But Redei found no depletion of genes that produce these chemicals in depressed people.
It's a wonder, given the false basis of the theory, that any of these drugs work. And some researchers suggest that they don't, but depend, in fact, on a strong placebo response in the patients who are helped. To get back to square one, Redei suggests something that should have been obvious all along: Depression starts higher up than chemicals. It starts with the formation and functioning of neurons. To put it in layman's language, the brain cells in depressed people are adapted to express their depression. This takes the form of neural pathways that carry a message of sadness and hopelessness instead of those pathways that carry a message of happiness and optimism.
How can those suffering from depression get help?
Being a laboratory researcher, Redei takes her shattering conclusion and heads off in much the same direction as before: She wants to find newer, better drugs that will manipulate genes and neurons rather than manipulating the chemicals they produce. Yet there is a more logical way to proceed, which is to stop making depressed neural pathways and healing those that already exist.
How to do that? Current research is very optimistic, because it turns out that the positive lifestyle changes advised for such a long time actually change both genetic expression and neural pathways. In other words, your brain cells listen to your behavior and beliefs, and if those behaviors and beliefs are powerful enough, the brain changes. What this means is that therapy, spiritual practices, healthy relationships, love and compassion, avoidance of toxins, meditation and stress management aren't secondary. They are central to dealing with depression and anxiety.
The deep lesson emerging from Redei's new findings is that drugs will never be the way. The way is far more human, and therefore complicated. It would be nice if popping a pill improved your life, but only you can do that. The ball is back in the court of the human potential movement and its promise of higher consciousness as the road to health and wholeness. I for one view that as a great improvement over drugs, which can be saved for critical and chronic conditions when more human strategies have not worked.
Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXM, Channels 102 and 155.
Source: 1, 2
Friday, May 27, 2011
Apr. 7, 2011, 10:05am PT
Facebook has shared the nitty-gritty details of its server and data center design, taking its commitment to openness to a new level for the industry by sharing its infrastructure secrets much like it has shared its software code. The effort by the social network will bring web scale computing to the masses and is a boon for AMD and Intel and the x86 architecture. Sorry ARM.
At a news event today Facebook is expected to release a server design that minimizes power consumption and cost while delivering the right computer workload for a variety of tasks that Facebook does. Unlike Google, which is famous for building its own hardware and keeping its infrastructure advantage close to its vest, Facebook is sharing its server design with the world. Much of the approach mirrors the scaled-down ethos of massive hardware buyers that requires stripped down boxes without redundant power supplies that have hot swappable drives to make repairs and upgrades easier.
But Facebook has added some innovations, such as newer fans that are larger (the entire server is 50 percent taller than the traditional 1 u sized box) and fewer of them (a design tweak introduced by Rackable, which is now SGI). Those fans account for 2 percent to 4 percent of energy consumption per server, compared to industry average of 10 percent to 20 percent. Ready for more? Here are more key details on the server-side:
>>The outside is 1.2mm zinc pre-plated, corrosion-resistant steel with no front panel and no ads.
>>The parts snap together: the motherboard snaps into place using a series of mounting holes on the chassis, and the hard drive uses snap-in rails and slides into the drive bay. The unit only has one screw for grounding. It’s like Container Store does cheap servers and someone at Facebook built an entire server in three minutes.
>>Hold onto your chassis because the server is 1.5u tall about 50 percent taller than other servers to make room for larger and more efficient heat sinks.
>>Check out how this scales. It has a reboot on LAN feature, which lets a systems administrator instantly reboot a server by sending specific network instructions.
>>The motherboard speaker is replaced with LED indicators to save power and provide visual indicators of server health.
>>The power supply accepts both A/C and D/C power, allowing the server to switch to D/C backup battery power in the event of a power outage.
>>There are two flavors of processor with the Intel motherboard offering two Xeon 5500 series or 5600 series processors, up to 144GB memory and an Intel 5500 I/O Hub chip.
>>AMD fans can choose two AMD Magny-Cours 12 and 8 core CPUs, the AMD SR5650 chipset for I/O, and up to a maximum 192GB of memory.
But wait! There’s more. Facebook couldn’t just unleash its server plans to the market. The social networking site has also shared its data center designs to help other startups working at webscale build out their infrastructure in a manner that consumes as little power as possible. Yahoo has also shared its data center plans, with special attention going to its environmentally friendly chicken coop designs and Microsoft has built out a modular data center concept that allows it to build a data center anywhere in very little time.
Facebook has combined that approach in its Prineville, Ore. where it has spent two years developing everything that goes inside its data centers — from the servers to the battery cabinets to back up the servers — to be as green and cheap as possible. For example, Facebook uses fewer batteries thanks to its designs and to illustrate how integrated the whole compute operation is, the house fans and the fans on the servers are coupled together. Motion-sensitive LED lighting is also used inside.
The result is a data center with a power usage effectiveness ratio of 1.07. That compares to an EPA-defined industry best practice of 1.5, and 1.5 in Facebook’s leased facilities.
Some of the server design decisions allow the equipment to run in steamier environments (the Prineville facility runs at 85°F with a 65 percent relative humidity) which in turns lets Facebook rely on evaporative cooling instead of air conditioning. Other innovations are at the building engineering level such as using a 277 volt electrical distribution system in place of the standard 208 volt system found in most data centers. This eliminates a major power transformer, reducing the amount of energy lost in conversion. In typical data centers, about 22 to 25 percent of the power coming into the facility is lost in conversions. In Prineville, the rate is 7 percent.
In the waste not want not category, Facebook is using the warm air from the servers to heat the outside air when it’s too cold as well as the offices. In the summer the data center will spray water on incoming warm air to cool it down. It’s also designed its chassis and servers to fit precisely into shipping containers to eliminate waste in transport. The plan is to run those servers as hard as it can, so it doesn’t have to build out more infrastructure.
The social network has shared the server power supply, server chassis, server motherboard, and the server cabinet specifications and CAD files as well as the battery backup cabinet specification and the data center electrical system and mechanical specification. While not every startup needs to operate at webscale, the designs released by Facebook today certainly will give data center operators as well as the vendors in the computing ecosystem something to talk about. Infrastructure nerds, enjoy.
For more on green data centers check out our Green:Net event on April 21 where we’ll have infrastructure gurus from Google and Yahoo talking about their data center strategies.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Originally posted on 22 May 2011
The Global Conversation
For far too long the world’s discussion about God has been moving in only one direction, led in the main by those who say that we understand all there is that’s really important for us to understand about God, and who assert that humanity’s problems are not caused by human beings who fail to understand, but by human beings who fail to act on their understanding.
This is a popular notion, but it’s a misconception. Just the opposite has been true. It has been people who did act on what they understood about God who have caused many of our biggest problems.
These are people who thought they knew What God Wants.
It’s people who thought they knew What God Wants who created the 200 years of the Christian Crusades and the horrors of the Inquisition, seeking to win the world for Christianity.
It’s people who thought they knew What God Wants who told armies of Muslims to send marauders far and wide to conquer every land and culture and bring it under the Nation of Islam.
It’s people who thought they knew What God Wants who called themselves the Chosen People and reclaimed land they declared to be originally their own, ignoring the fact that history had caused it to be inhabited for thousands of years by others, and telling those others to now leave portions of that land, and to live when and how they are told to live, as second class citizens without equal rights in their own home.
It’s people who thought they knew What God Wants who hanged men and women in town squares, and burned others at the stake, holding up the Good Book and declaring them to be witches.
It’s people who thought they knew What God Wants who passed laws making it illegal for humans of differing races to marry, or for consenting adults to engage in certain sexual practices.
It’s people who thought they knew What God Wants who created cultural prohibitions forbidding people to sing or dance, draw pictures of any person, or play music of any kind except sacred songs.
It’s people who thought they knew What God Wants who said that it was not okay to even utter or write the name of G-D—but that it was okay to kill in G-D’s name.
And most recently it’s people who thought they knew What God Wants who said that The Rapture would come at 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time yesterday, producing an earthquake “so powerful it will throw open all graves.” This end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it prediction has been spread by Harold Camping, the 89-year-old operator of the Family Radio Christian Network who put up billboards all over the globe warning people. Those who believed his prognostication have quit their jobs, sold their homes, left family and friends and traveled for months now in caravans of vans painted with slogans and sayings about The Rapture, scaring people into thinking that, well, maybe they are right…what if they are right and yesterday everything was over…
Is all of this really What God Wants? All of this fear, all of this anger, all of this judgment, all of these prohibitions and rules and regulations and requirements and demands and behavioral codes and dress codes and eating codes and…stuff we have to do just to keep God from being mad at us??? Is this all really What God Wants?
Are we sure?
It is important to be sure, because we are not talking about a small thing here.
There is much that we have been taught about What God Wants. Are these teachings accurate?
In our very next entry, we’ll begin to take a look.
In the meantime, no one can seem to find Harold Camping today, to get his comment on why the world is still intact. Hmmm…
Stay tuned here. This is not over. This is just beginning. Come back here. Come back often. Every other day if you can. Invite your friends here. Tell them that Something Important in happening here. Tell them that we are writing a New Cultural Story for Humanity here. A cultural story without fear of God, but with a greater love for God than we have ever experienced before.
Watch this space. It is going to be redesigned in the weeks immediately ahead. There will soon be a space for YOU to create your own New Story for Humanity.
We intend to start a huge conversation here. We are calling this The Conversations Movement. It is about taking Conversations with God and moving it into the world. Stay with us. Join with us. Don’t let this happen without you. It’s….
THE GLOBAL CONVERSATION
Don’t let it happen without you.
(FROM THE NDW RESOURCES & INFORMATION TEAM: The commentaries here are being excerpted from the book What God Wants, by Neale Donald Walsch. To discuss, in person with Neale, the ideas presented here, you may wish to join The Messengers’ Circle, a subscription service at www.nealedonaldwalsch.com. In the Reader’s Forum at that location Neale is able to respond to postings individually, as there are generally far fewer of them. The Messengers’ Circle is a fee-for-service offering (a modest .30-cents a day) for persons who choose to commit the time, energy, and resources to become ongoing students of Conversations with God, and to interact with Neale in ways that will allow them to one day become Messengers in our world.)
Originally posted on Neale Donald Walsch's BeliefNet blog on Sunday 23 March 2008
Can you believe in your own perfection? Or do you believe that there is something you have to do in order to be perfect in the eyes of God?
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Sunday is Message Day on the blog. Monday through Friday we look at contemporary events and day-to-day occurrences at the intersection of Life and the New Spirituality…but on Sunday, we reserve this space for a specific teaching derived from the material in Conversations with God
Through the years I have given hundreds of talks and written scores of articles revolving around this material. Every seven days we will present in this space a transcript or reprint of one of those presentations. We invite you to Copy and Save each one of them, creating a personal collection of contemporary and uplifting spiritual thought which you may reference at any time. We hope you will find this a constant source of insight and inspiration.
This week’s offering: As above, so below
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I said here last Sunday that The Body, the Mind, and the Spirit all hold all the data of the universe. Indeed, they are all the data of the universe, compressed into one location.
That statement has profound implications. It means that there is nothing you have to know, nothing you have to do, and nothing you have to be except exactly what you are knowing, doing, and being Right Now.
It means that you are Perfect just the way you are in this instant. It means that your long journey to Perfection is over -- and that it was never even necessary.
The idea that you were somehow imperfect was a fiction, a conceit of your cultural story, a concoction of your religions, which would have you believe that you are the imperfect creation of a Perfect Creator.
This idea -- the thought of your own Perfection -- is theologically revolutionary. It eliminates the need to do anything at all to render yourself worthy of heaven, to prepare yourself to be reunited with God, or to elevate yourself to a place of higher consciousness wherein Nirvana and Bliss may be experienced.
This idea -- the thought of your own Perfection -- is startling in its implication and forms the basis and the foundation for a new kind of spirituality. A spirituality born not in sin but in celebration, not in redemption but in recreation, not in the need for salvation but in the invitation for the full expression and experience of Who You Really Are.
Life as we have been living it upon the earth has been, it turns out, a case of mistaken identity. We have been denying...
...our True Selves in favor of a story about who we are that leaves out all the crucial data and replaces it with an utterly fictionalized account of our relationship with All That Is.
All of the world's great Masters have been trying to tell us this through all the Ages of Man. The Buddha said that all we had to do was drop our utterly fictionalized account of our relationship to All That Is. Moses invited us to live in a new way, to rise up above the lawlessness and the hedonism of our primitive human culture and to live as gods. Jesus showed us what that looked like, then opened the door for us to have the same experience. Just do as he did, he said. Just follow his example, he urged. He pointed out that it was in the books of the Old Testament in which it was written, "Ye are gods."
Indeed, every spiritual teacher from the beginning of time has issued us an open invitation to step away from our primitive behaviors and to move into the expression of our own divinity, proclaiming it to be our true identity and the manifestation of Ultimate Reality. This is the essential teaching of Mohammed, who proclaimed that jihad was the war within, the internal struggle, the raging battle inside all human beings who intuitively know at some very deep level that they are more than this, more than merely human, more than primitive barbarians, and capable of behavior elevated to the level of the Divine.
Yet we have determined and decided to become Children of a Lesser God. By twisting and turning and misunderstanding and distorting the messages of our holiest teachers, we have convinced ourselves that we are born in sin, and that it is our job to return to holiness, to work our way to worthiness, to seek the merciful and compassionate forgiveness of a loving father by doing His Will and sublimating our desires to His Purpose for us.
Now along comes a holy dialogue called Conversations with God that boldly declares: "God's will for you is your will for you." Now along comes a New Spirituality that gently but clearly announces the Divinity of Humanity and declares that the very purpose of life is for humanity to know this, and to experience its True Identity.
Can we believe such a claim? Can we embrace such a notion? Can we possibly move into the living of such an idea? These are the questions laid before us in the first quarter of the 21st Century. Once again it is time for us to be led from the desert to the Promised Land. Once again it is time for us to follow the example of the Son of God, who said, "I and the Father are one." Once again it is time for us to heed the call of Mohammed to join in jihad -- the holy war within, the internal struggle -- to find, to express, and to experience a Higher Self.
I have spoken at length these past twelve years of this extraordinary and challenging process. Engaging the process can change your life. It can utterly alter your day-to-day priorities and completely shift your moment-to-moment reality. Things that were important before are important no longer. Things that caused you upset in the past now bother you not at all. Things that captured your attention and demanded your energies suddenly feel inconsequential and absolutely unrelated to your reason for being and your purpose in living.
We are talking here about the difference between the Little Self and the Big Self. The Big Self holds all the data of the universe. Indeed, it is all the data of the universe, compressed into one location The Little Self is the self that emerges from the data of the brain. The Big Self is the self that emerges from the data of Consciousness.
The struggle, the jihad, is about growth. It is about expanding from the Little Self to the Big Self. Then it is about moving back and forth freely between the two. For the Little Self was never meant to be abandoned, but merely experienced at will rather than by compulsion. The Little Self has a purpose. That purpose is to contextualize the experience of the sacred being that you are, so that you might know your self in the fullness of your True Identity. Every Master who has ever walked the planet has moved between the experience of the Little Self and the experience of the Big Self, enjoying and celebrating both in the wondrous and joyous and glorious expression called Life.
Life in the Realm of the Physical is what makes the fullest experience of the Little Self possible. Life in the Realm of the Spiritual is what makes the fullest experience of the Big Self possible. The experience of the Total Self is possible always, and these two realms allow for its True Identity to be experienced more profoundly. We therefore move from one of these realms to another in an endless cycle. This is called the Journey of the Soul. And in between these two realms lies the place where both are merged. This is the place where we both Know and Experience our Total Self. It is the place of pure bliss. It is the place of merging into oneness. It is Nirvana. Heaven. Paradise.
Yet even as we leave the arms of our lover, so, too, will we leave Paradise. We will emerge from the fullness of our Knowing and Experiencing so that we might Know and Experience our Total Self and our True Identity anew, and even re-create It. So that we might grow It and expand It.
It is growth and expansion of the Self that is the only desire of God.
It is the movement from Mergence to Emergence that produces the possibility of such growth. This is the breathing in and the breathing out of that which we would call Allah, Brahmin, Divinity, God, Lord, Jehovah, Yawey, and by many other names. This is the respiration of Life.
Many people have asked me through the years why we cannot stay in the state of pure bliss which we experience at the time of our union with All That Is. Why do we have to keep on journeying from the spiritual to the physical and back again? Why do we have to keep on meeting up with All That Is only to have to let go of it?
Now let those who have ears to hear, listen. This is the reason: growth. This is the purpose: expansion. This is the experience: ecstacy. The happiness and the wonder and the glory of re-creation. The joy of giving birth. To Ourselves. Once Again. In the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever we held about Who We Are.
As Conversations with God explained to us in the very first dialogue, this is the purpose of all of life. Each time we merge with The All and emerge once again, we enlarge the Self. This is something that has not been widely explained by our world's religions or deeply comprehended by our world's people.
Yet now we understand fully the Eternal Journey of the Soul, the Endless Cycle of Life, and the Will of God.
Amen, and amen.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Researchers at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada have cured cancer last week, yet there is a little ripple in the news or in TV. It is a simple technique using very basic drug. The method employs dichloroacetate, which is currently used to treat metabolic disorders. So, there is no concern of side effects or about their long term effects.
This drug doesn’t require a patent, so anyone can employ it widely and cheaply compared to the costly cancer drugs produced by major pharmaceutical companies.
Canadian scientists tested this dichloroacetate (DCA) on human’s cells; it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells and left the healthy cells alone. It was tested on Rats inflicted with severe tumors; their cells shrank when they were fed with water supplemented with DCA. The drug is widely available and the technique is easy to use, why the major drug companies are not involved? Or the Media interested in this find?
In human bodies there is a natural cancer fighting human cell, the mitochondria, but they need to be triggered to be effective. Scientists used to think that these mitochondria cells were damaged and thus ineffective against cancer. So they used to focus on glycolysis, which is less effective in curing cancer and more wasteful. The drug manufacturers focused on this glycolysis method to fight cancer. This DCA on the other hand doesn’t rely on glycolysis instead on mitochondria; it triggers the mitochondria which in turn fights the cancer cells.
The side effect of this is it also reactivates a process called apoptosis. You see, mitochondria contain an all-too-important self-destruct button that can't be pressed in cancer cells. Without it, tumors grow larger as cells refuse to be extinguished. Fully functioning mitochondria, thanks to DCA, can once again die.
With glycolysis turned off, the body produces less lactic acid, so the bad tissue around cancer cells doesn't break down and seed new tumors.
Pharmaceutical companies are not investing in this research because DCA method cannot be patented, without a patent they can’t make money, like they are doing now with their AIDS Patent. Since the pharmaceutical companies won’t develop this, the article says other independent laboratories should start producing this drug and do more research to confirm all the above findings and produce drugs. All the groundwork can be done in collaboration with the Universities, who will be glad to assist in such research and can develop an effective drug for curing cancer.
You can access the original research for this cancer here.
This article wants to raise awareness for this study, hope some independent companies and small startup will pick up this idea and produce these drugs, because the big companies won’t touch it for a long time.
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — A 45-year-old man now living in the Bay Area may be the first person ever cured of the deadly disease AIDS, the result of the discovery of an apparent HIV immunity gene.
Timothy Ray Brown tested positive for HIV back in 1995, but has now entered scientific journals as the first man in world history to have that HIV virus completely eliminated from his body in what doctors call a “functional cure.”
Brown was living in Berlin, Germany back in 2007, dealing with HIV and leukemia, when scientists there gave him a bone marrow stem cell transplant that had astounding results.
“I quit taking my HIV medication the day that I got the transplant and haven’t had to take any since,” said Brown, who has been dubbed “The Berlin Patient” by the medical community.
Brown’s amazing progress continues to be monitored by doctors at San Francisco General Hospital and at the University of California at San Francisco medical center.
“I’m cured of HIV. I had HIV but I don’t anymore,” he said, using words that many in the scientific community are cautiously clinging to.
Scientists said Brown received stem cells from a donor who was immune to HIV. In fact, about one percent of Caucasians are immune to HIV. Some researchers think the immunity gene goes back to the Great Plague: people who survived the plague passed their immunity down and their heirs have it today.
UCSF’s Dr. Jay Levy, who co-discovered the HIV virus and is one of the most respected AIDS researchers in the world, said this case opens the door to the field of “cure research,” which is now gaining more attention.
“If you’re able to take the white cells from someone and manipulate them so they’re no longer infected, or infectable, no longer infectable by HIV, and those white cells become the whole immune system of that individual, you’ve got essentially a functional cure,” he explained.
UCSF’s Dr. Paul Volberding, another pioneering AIDS expert who has studied the disease for all of its 30 years cautioned that while “the Berlin Patient is a fascinating story, it’s not one that can be generalized.”
Both doctors stressed that Brown’s radical procedure may not be applicable to many other people with HIV, because of the difficulty in doing stem cell transplants, and finding the right donor.
“You don’t want to go out and get a bone marrow transplant because transplants themselves carry a real risk of mortality,” Volberding said.
He explained that scientists also still have many unanswered questions involving the success of Brown’s treatment.
“One element of his treatment, and we don’t know which, allowed apparently the virus to be purged from his body,” he observed. “So it’s going to be an interesting, I think productive area to study.”
Volberding continued, “Knock on wood, (Brown) hasn’t had any recurrence now for several years of the virus, and that hasn’t happened before in our experience.”
As a result, at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation some are now using the word “cure” after so many avoided it for decades.
“You sort of felt like you couldn’t say ‘cure’ for a number of years. Scientists and clinicians and people with HIV alike felt that was a promise that was never going to be realized and it was dangerous to direct a lot of energy toward it,” said Dr. Judy Auerbach. “And now things have shifted.”
The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine is currently funding stem cell research in the Bay Area based on Brown’s case in the hopes of replicating his success for broader populations of people with HIV.
The institute said it plans to begin clinical trials next year.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )