Human language builds on birdsong and speech forms of other primates, researchers hypothesize in new research. From birds, the researchers say, we derived the melodic part of our language, and from other primates, the pragmatic, content-carrying parts of speech. Sometime within the last 100,000 years, those capacities fused into roughly the form of human language that we know today.
The expressive layer and lexical layer have antecedents, the researchers believe, in the languages of birds and other mammals, respectively. For instance, in another paper published last year, Miyagawa, Berwick, and Okanoya presented a broader case for the connection between the expressive layer of human language and birdsong, including similarities in melody and range of beat patterns.
Birds, however, have a limited number of melodies they can sing or recombine, and nonhuman primates have a limited number of sounds they make with particular meanings. That would seem to present a challenge to the idea that human language could have derived from those modes of communication, given the seemingly infinite expression possibilities of humans.
Shigeru Miyagawa, Shiro Ojima, Robert C. Berwick, Kazuo Okanoya. The integration hypothesis of human language evolution and the nature of contemporary languages. Frontiers in Psychology, 2014; 5 DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00564
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to show the brain at work, they have observed the same regions activated in a similar pattern whenever a person remembers an event from the past or imagines himself in a future situation. This challenges long-standing beliefs that thoughts about the future develop exclusively in the frontal lobe.
Remembering your past may go hand-in-hand with envisioning your future! It's an important link researchers found using high-tech brain scans. It's answering questions and may one day help those with memory loss.
For some, the best hope of 'seeing' the future leads them to seek guidance -- perhaps from an astrologist. But it's not very scientific. Now, psychologists at Washington University are finding that your ability to envision the future does in fact goes hand-in-hand with remembering the past. Both processes spark similar neural activity in the brain.
"You might look at it as mental time travel--the ability to take thoughts about ourselves and project them either into the past or into the future," says Kathleen McDermott, Ph.D. and Washington University psychology professor. The team used "functional magnetic resonance imaging" -- or fMRI -- to "see" brain activity. They asked college students to recall past events and then envision themselves experiencing such an event in their future. The results? Similar areas of the brain "lit up" in both scenarios.
"We're taking these images from our memories and projecting them into novel future scenarios," says psychology professor Karl Szpunar.
Most scientists believed thinking about the future was a process occurring solely in the brain's frontal lobe. But the fMRI data showed a variety of brain areas were activated when subjects dreamt of the future.
"All the regions that we know are important for memory are just as important when we imagine our future," Szpunar says.
Researchers say besides furthering their understanding of the brain -- the findings may help research into amnesia, a curious psychiatric phenomenon. In addition to not being able to remember the past, most people who suffer from amnesia cannot envision or visualize what they'll be doing in the future -- even the next day.
How can you get anything done when your tasks turn into competing preoccupations In this age of distraction it's all about monotasking.
We all know multitasking is inefficient. A classic 2007 study of Microsoft workers found that when they responded to email or instant messaging alerts, it took them, on average, nearly 10 minutes to deal with their inboxes or messages, and another 10-15 minutes to really get back into their original tasks. That means that a mere three distractions per hour can preclude you from getting anything else done.
Then there’s the relationship “inefficiency” that comes from multitasking. You can spend hours rebuilding the good will torched by a single glance at your phone during an inopportune time. We know this, yet we keep doing it.
Inspiring extracts from Christa Mackinnon's book UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1848190816 USA:... (Inspiring extracts from my acclaimed book 'Shamanism and Spirituality in Therapeutic Practice' on facebook.
As far as we know, life began on Earth roughly 3.5 billion years ago. The leading theory on how life begun is abiogenesis — that life spontaneously formed from organic compounds, which themselves spontaneously formed. What we don’t know is whether abiogenesis occurred here on Earth, or whether it occurred elsewhere in the universe and then was deposited here via a meteorite (exogenesis/panspermia). Now, according to the findings of Steven Benner of The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology in Florida, conditions here on Earth would’ve made it impossible for these organic compounds to make the leap to life — while the conditions on Mars would’ve been just right.
Basically, Benner postulates that RNA — the single-stranded, non-helical version of DNA that was probably the first building block of life — could only have been created in the presence of highly oxidized molybdenum and boron. Boron minerals could’ve helped early organic compounds to form into carbohydrate rings, and oxygenized molybdenum could’ve acted as a template for forming those carbohydrates into ribose, and thus RNA.
According to Benner, three billion years ago, back before Earth had an oxygen-rich atmosphere, this form of molybdenum wasn’t available. Likewise, Earth was completely covered in water, and boron is currently only found in extremely dry places. On the other hand, four billion years ago — long before life is believed to have started here on Earth — we believe that Mars had an oxygen-rich atmosphere, and dry areas where boron could form in high concentrations. If simple RNA-based organisms did actually form on Mars, then it wouldn’t be too hard for it to hitch a ride to Earth on a meteorite.
This theory, if it’s correct, raises an interesting question: If life started on Mars, where is it now? Mars once had an atmosphere and surface water, but lost both a long time ago. We know that life is incredibly rugged, though, and capable of surviving in some of the most inhospitable environments imaginable, such as the vacuum of space or in darkness under miles of ice. If life did form on Mars, it’s entirely possible that it’s still there. Unfortunately, our current crop of rovers, such as Curiosity, aren’t outfitted with microbe-hunting gear — but the next rover, due to land on Mars in 2020, will have a microscope and other tools to search for fossils and other biosignatures.
Many researchers believe that physics will not be complete until it can explain not just the behaviour of space and time, but where these entities come from.
“Imagine waking up one day and realizing that you actually live inside a computer game,” says Mark Van Raamsdonk, describing what sounds like a pitch for a science-fiction film. But for Van Raamsdonk, a physicist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, this scenario is a way to think about reality. If it is true, he says, “everything around us — the whole three-dimensional physical world — is an illusion born from information encoded elsewhere, on a two-dimensional chip”. That would make our Universe, with its three spatial dimensions, a kind of hologram, projected from a substrate that exists only in lower dimensions.
This 'holographic principle' is strange even by the usual standards of theoretical physics. But Van Raamsdonk is one of a small band of researchers who think that the usual ideas are not yet strange enough. If nothing else, they say, neither of the two great pillars of modern physics — general relativity, which describes gravity as a curvature of space and time, and quantum mechanics, which governs the atomic realm — gives any account for the existence of space and time. Neither does string theory, which describes elementary threads of energy. Van Raamsdonk and his colleagues are convinced that physics will not be complete until it can explain how space and time emerge from something more fundamental — a project that will require concepts at least as audacious as holography.
But, where is the evidence that there actually is anything more fundamental than space and time? A provocative hint comes from a series of startling discoveries made in the early 1970s, when it became clear that quantum mechanics and gravity were intimately intertwined with thermodynamics, the science of heat. In 1974, most famously, Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge, UK, showed that quantum effects in the space around a black hole will cause it to spew out radiation as if it was hot. Other physicists quickly determined that this phenomenon was quite general. Even in completely empty space, they found, an astronaut undergoing acceleration would perceive that he or she was surrounded by a heat bath. The effect would be too small to be perceptible for any acceleration achievable by rockets, but it seemed to be fundamental. If quantum theory and general relativity are correct — and both have been abundantly corroborated by experiment — then the existence of Hawking radiation seemed inescapable.
A second key discovery was closely related. In standard thermodynamics, an object can radiate heat only by decreasing its entropy, a measure of the number of quantum states inside it. And so it is with black holes: even before Hawking's 1974 paper, Jacob Bekenstein, now at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, had shown that black holes possess entropy. But there was a difference. In most objects, the entropy is proportional to the number of atoms the object contains, and thus to its volume. But a black hole's entropy turned out to be proportional to the surface area of its event horizon — the boundary out of which not even light can escape. It was as if that surface somehow encoded information about what was inside, just as a two-dimensional hologram encodes a three-dimensional image.
In 1995 then, Ted Jacobson, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park, combined these two findings, and postulated that every point in space lies on a tiny 'black-hole horizon' that also obeys the entropy–area relationship. From that, he found, the mathematics yielded Einstein's equations of general relativity — but using only thermodynamic concepts, not the idea of bending space-time. Ted's result suggested that gravity is statistical, a macroscopic approximation to the unseen constituents of space and time.
In 2010, this idea was taken a step further by Erik Verlinde, a string theorist at the University of Amsterdam, who showed that the statistical thermodynamics of the space-time constituents — whatever they turned out to be — could automatically generate Newton's law of gravitational attraction. In separate work, Thanu Padmanabhan, a cosmologist at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India, showed that Einstein's equations can be rewritten in a form that makes them identical to the laws of thermodynamics — as can many alternative theories of gravity. Padmanabhan is currently extending the thermodynamic approach in an effort to explain the origin and magnitude of dark energy: a mysterious cosmic force that is accelerating the Universe's expansion.
Did you know that the perfect temperature for happiness is 13.9C Adjust your thermostat then check out these 10 quick tips for maximizing mirth.
1. Exercise more—7 minutes might be enough 2. Sleep more—you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions 3. Move closer to work--a short commute is worth more than a big house 4. Spend time with friends and family--don’t regret it on your deathbed 5. Go outside--happiness is maximized at 13.9°C 6. Help others--100 hours a year is the magical number 7. Practice smiling--it can alleviate pain 8. Plan a trip--but don’t take one 9. Meditate--rewire your brain for happiness 10. Practice gratitude--increase both happiness and life satisfaction
Huffington Post Bali Spiritual Experience: Making Choices Huffington Post This morning, just past dawn, when my coffee and I walked out of my villa here in Bali, a huge grey egret was standing by the pool.
CHICAGO: Swami Mukundananda, world-renowned teacher of spirituality, yoga, and meditation is presently on his annual tour of the US to promote the message o (Well-known teacher of #spirituality #universal #love and #peace coming to Chicago
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