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Intervention By Bystanders Helps Put A Stop To Bullying

With new national anti-bullying ads urging parents to teach their kids to speak up if they witness bullying, one researcher has found that in humans’ evolutionary past at least, helping the victim of a bully hastened our species’ movement toward a more egalitarian society.

Humans have evolved a genetically-controlled drive to help weaker individuals fight back against a
bully. The drive to help the weaker group members led to a dramatic reduction in group inequality and eventually enabled humans to develop widespread cooperation, empathy, compassion and egalitarian moral values, according to the paper which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences.

The findings appear to support prior research showing that more egalitarian societies, such as in Scandinavian countries, appear to keep bullying in check. In one of the earliest cross-national studies on bullying in
schools by professor Dan Olweus, who pioneered anti-bullying programs worldwide beginning in the early 1980s, the behavior was found to occur at lower rates in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. These findings are supported by additional, more recent studies by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health
Organization.

Using a mathematical model, the paper’s author Sergey Gavrilets showed that differences in fighting abilities cause hierarchies to emerge where stronger individuals take away resources from weaker individuals.
However, when individuals realize greater benefits can occur if they prevent the transfer of resources from weaker individuals, a particular, genetically controlled psychology evolves that causes individuals to intervene on behalf of the victim. While intervening carries some risk, the helping pays off in the long term, ensuring that everyone’s resources remain equal, Gavrilets finds.

“Based on the results, helping the victim then is the evolutionary ‘right’ thing to do, not only from a victim’s point of view or a societal point of view but also the helper’s point of view. As such, I’d speculate that this is
also a psychologically rewarding thing to do in spite of the risks potentially involved,” said Gavrilets, who is the Associate Director for Scientific Activities at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis
and a professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

With almost one in five U.S. students reporting having been bullied sometimes or more often and a recent spate of teen suicides linked to bullying, the Obama administration has vowed to make anti-bullying a national priority and has endorsed the national ad campaign.

medicalnewstoday.com

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2012 in News Article

 

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Saving My Soul

This Labor Day Weekend we went to visit St. Augustine, Florida. If you haven’t been there, St. Augustine is a great place to stay if you are interested in pirates, ghosts, art, culture and history. It is one of the oldest cities in Florida and practically guarantees you a fun time.

We were walking down St. George Street, which is very narrow and closed to vehicles. A variety of shops line both sides of the street and it is filled with people of all races, sexes and ages. A great many were eating ice cream in a vain attempt to shield themselves from the heat. Most of the children had chocolate ice cream smeared around their mouths and hands. Just one glimpse of the sun made the cream melt away faster than the small tongues could lap it up.

Near an intersection there were a group of men handing out cards. Off to the side I could hear one, “don’t spend the rest of time in enteral hell. God forgives, don’t live in sin.” He ranted on as I groaned, automatically tuning him out.

The first guy went to hand me a card and I simply said, “No, thanks.”

The fellow on the other side of the intersection was pushing his cards on people. “Come to church and be saved. God forgives.” He pressed the card into my hand.

Normally I would just carry on, but this time I stopped. “Why should I join you congregation?” I asked, genuinely curious.

“To be one with the Lord Jesus Christ, He will forgive you of your sins.”

I handed him the card back, the other guy was still hollering about hell. “I can’t see why anyone would want to join your Church if everything you say is so negative. I believe in Jesus too, but to me He is a positive being, full of life and energy. He is a light of love and compassion, he emits peace and joy.”

The guy looked at me and blinked like a startled owl. “The Bible says-”

“Stop!” I held up my hand. “Please don’t quote me verses from the bible. I’m not interested, in joining your congregation.” I handed him the card back.

“The Lord will save you when God strikes the earth with his anger! He will strike us for allowing homosexuals to defy the sanctions of marriage, just as he made Hurricane Isaac submerge New Orleans in water to rid them of the evil way they choose to live.”

I was ready to walk away until he mentioned the word ‘homosexual’. I stopped in my tracks and looked at this poor man who really believed what he was saying. How could a religion become so corrupt in evil and spew such misinformation. How could any religious group continue to spread hate? For a group that claims to be such good people, they teach an awful lot of hate and discrimination.

I looked the man in the eye. “For your information, sexual orientation is decided in the womb. Nobody has a choice in who they love. That is a scientific fact. And since God created all life, then He created homosexuals as well! All you are doing is mocking him by teaching people to hate what he created.” Without realizing it the volume of my voice got louder and louder. The poor man was backing away from me as if I were the devil.

“Instead of quoting from the bible, why don’t you put as much time into learning as you do in hurting people? You people are great at twisting things around and ignoring the facts. I really pity you people, how unhappy the lot of you are. All through the centuries you find evil in everything and spread lies about innocent people. You kill in the name of God because you believe people are witches, then you banish people that are left-handed, then point fingers at people that are black, then at interracial couples, and at gays. What you all need to do is get a life and leave the rest of us alone!”

I turned and walked away. “I will pray for the Lord to save your soul!” He cried.

“And I will pray that God will show mercy for all of you who mock his teachings.” I walked away, seething. I tire of the pure stupidity of religious thinking. I know religion is important for many people, but I have no tolerance for teaching people to hate. I have no patients for the lies and bigotry.

Can’t they just accept scientific fact and admit they were wrong? Why does religion have to be so negative? And why do they always try to put fear into people? If you do this you will go to hell. If you do that you will go to hell. This is sin and that is sin.

Jesus! By the time they’re done you can’t do anything except breathe and pray! Didn’t God put us here to learn and grow spiritually?

Saving my Soul! My soul doesn’t need any saving. I truly believe that I know God better than the Pope does. At least my God isn’t negative.

Thinking of God and praying makes me feel happy and peaceful; isn’t that what God is about?

Who the hell would pray to a God that demands you fear Him? It just isn’t logical.

I think I’ll save my soul for the positive, kind God.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in gay

 

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Abortion Rights?

Abortion.

Just one word, it doesn’t need any verbs or modifiers. It is a word that stands alone and instantly stirs conflicting emotions in people the moment they read it. It is also a word that has been involved in the political arena for as long as I can remember. The first time I heard the word had to be in the late seventies and my association with it was images on the news about a bombing at an abortion clinic. I do remember asking my mom what an abortion clinic was, but honestly cannot remember her answer.

The second time was also associated with images. But this time it was a movie, some type of American Western and may have had Clint Eastwood in it, although I’m not 100% certain about that. But I do recall the scene. A woman (madam) coming down the rickety stairs with a red-stained coat hanger, and informing the people below that she didn’t make it. I was old enough at the time to form a very vague hypothesis of my own.

Throughout my life I have learned more about the word, its meaning, implications, and religious ramifications. But I am a creature that is always categorizing things in my head and somehow stumbling onto new ideas, or learning new things to add to the ever growing file cabinet in my mind. I do know that women have been using forms of birth control and ways to abort an unwanted or difficult pregnancy dating back to a time many millennia before the church’s existence.

In fact, the earliest recorded account is from the Middle Kingdom of Pharaonic Egypt and is dated around 1800 BC! This is a medical papyrus manuscript written by the Egyptians. However, abortion and birth control may date back as far as the early Homo Sapiens. Their knowledge of plants and medical botany was extensive. Even I know of eight plants that I can turn into a tea for controlling conception to prematurely aborting a fetus. An excellent source of information on early humans, can be obtained by reading an enjoyable series of books belonging to The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M. Auel. She has done extensive research on this era and the books are full of facts.

So for thousands of years, women have been in control of pregnancy. I firmly believe that women kept most of the information regarding birth control and abortion from men. Not because they had something to hide, but because from conception to birth, women helped women. Men would have no way of knowing what to do, or how to help unless they were a healer or a medicine man; and most men in those sacred positions were homosexuals as they were believed to encompass both the male and female spirits which provided them with powers beyond the everyday people.

For open-minded people this makes sense, especially when you look at the earliest known legal ban on abortion. The 11th century BCE Code of Assura imposes the death penalty on married women who procure abortions without the permission of their husbands.

So there you have it.

This brings me to my view on the matter, and we can skip all the rest of history as nothing has changed since the 11th century. It was men that wrote into law that an abortion could not be done, unless it was with their permission. Abortion at one time was considered un-sinful if performed by the 16th week. Regardless, it was men that added text to the bible regarding abortion as there was absolutely no mention of it in the original bible.

Although I am a man, I firmly believe that men created this law so they could continue to maintain dominance over the female species. I’m sure on a certain psychological level the men knew this was wrong, so the next logical step was to pin the blame on someone else, which just happened to be God. So they incorporated abortion as sin with the penalty of spending eternity in hell if a woman received an abortion.

Today’s politicians are no different. This is not about religion, this is about control. A man has no right to impose restrictions on a woman’s right to her own body. And rape. How appalling to have an elected official state that legitimate rape does not create conception because a woman’s body knows how to defend against such an intrusion.

Are you for real!

The Republican Party is set to change the United States Constitution to make abortions illegal even in cases of rape and incest! So if a woman is raped, not only does she have to bear the painful emotional scars for life, but has to carry the pregnancy for nine horrible months! Nine months of a constant reminder of the rape-night. Nine months of torcher. The physiological implications of this will be devastating to the human mind.

My God! How evil can man be? Why punish a woman like this? Would you really want to see your daughter be tortured like this? Have you no heart? Where is your compassion?

Okay, so now we must face the music and the religious backlash.

First of all, I’m a very spiritual person and know without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt that a supreme being exists. I have seen Him twice in my life. The first encounter I explain on my page: A Spiritual Wonder. I also crossed-over once and had a second encounter in heaven. I know what the Lord is like and what heaven is like, and I can tell you from personal experience that if you believe in God, you have to believe from within. Trust me, it is easier said, then done.

The bible? Well, it was written by man. It was edited by man. Whole sections have been inserted by man, like in the abortion reference above. The original story of love, compassion, joy and enlightenment has been lost. Too many people use it as a way to wield hate and shackle us with sin. To think of God as a static being totally undermines Him. How can the Creator of all life, of the whole universe and everything in it be static? God changes as everything He created changes, nothing stands still, not even in space. The whole point of us being here on Earth is to grow spiritually, to learn lessons to better our spirit for the next level of existence. You need to learn to know God from within!

Enough about religion. I am not here to change your belief. But understand it is your belief, so please spare me pages of comments about how anti-Christian, or anti-Catholic I am for saying the things I’ve said. I do not need bible quotes and verses. I know them all, and they mean nothing to me because I Know God’s Greatness.

My only hope in writing this Blog, is to explain how wrong it is to allow a small percentage of people to take away a woman’s right to obtain an abortion. This does not mean I believe that woman should get abortions just for the heck-of-it, because life is sacred, it is one of the greatest miracles. We need to educate our children on ways to prevent pregnancy safely. We need to teach them the fundamentals of safe-sex. Which, by the way, is NOT an act of sin (I honestly don’t know where they came up with this stuff), sex is a natural part of love and humanity, regardless of gender or orientation, just as it is in the animal kingdom.

Finally, if this Republican Constitutional Draft becomes closer to reality (shudder), I propose a counter measure to insure woman will never get raped again, or have forced incest encounters. Ready? I propose that all men be implanted with a chip or chemical that will not allow them to have any sexual desire unless they first go to a clinic and document who they wish to have sex with and when. The clinic can then allow the chip or chemical to hibernate for X amount of hours. I feel it is only fair to take away a man’s right if he is so willing to take away a woman’s right.

In closing, I wish to say my view on abortion is my view. I am not here to change your political or biblical views as you are free to believe whatever it is that makes you happy, just don’t impose it on the rest of us. This was not written with any intention to offend anyone, so if you are offended I am sorry, but life in can be offensive if you are unwilling to change or be open-minded.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Only Time Will Tell

My name is Harold Kenneth Jacob, they boy with three first names. I guess my parents thought they were comedians. Ha! Most likely they were stoned. A few hours after I was born, they tossed me onto the ice-crusted steps of St. Jude’s Catholic Church with a note pinned to my thin blanket that stated my name and date of birth. In their good humor they tucked a joint into the corner of the frayed blanket.

Naturally, I spent most of my youth in an orphanage; it seemed no one wanted a kid with three first names that was squeezed out of a birth canal laced with toxic barbiturates. It hurt seeing other kids being accepted by smiling couples, being adopted by people who wanted them. After awhile I stopped making friends, preferring to spend more and more time cloaked in my own miserable world of neglect.

For ten years my days were filled with school, bible study, chores and reading. Books were my friends; I especially loved science and how things worked, but I read almost anything I could find if it was non-fiction.

Life for me took a sudden change on a bright sunny day in May. Lucky for me the government changed a few laws about who could be foster and adoptive parents.

I was sitting in my normal spot on the second step from the top of the stairs alternating my attention between watching the kids playing kickball and reading the human anatomy and medical plants.

Two ladies came out of the door followed closely by Sister Anne. She wore her normal frown as she waddled to catch up to the ladies. She led them down the stairs and began to point out the children playing in the field.

The shorter lady with the soft glowing complexion and short blonde hair turned to the other woman to say something when our eyes locked. I remember thinking that I’d never seen someone with eyes that green. Sister Anne turned and scowled at me. I quickly scrambled to my feet and dashed inside.

For the next few weeks Susan and Kim began to visit me on a regular basis. Then they began taking me on short trips; to the movies, a theme park, dinner and some parks. It was the happiest summer of my life! On my eleventh birthday they asked if I would like to be adopted by them. I cried so hard that I couldn’t answer them, I could only cling to them a cry tears of joy.

Several months later the courts approved the adoption papers and sealed the day as the happiest day of my life. The pure joy I felt that day of finally being part of a family, of having two loving parents that didn’t just have me because of a sexual mistake, but who “wanted” me for who I was, made me feel so special that I just kept looking at them all day and thinking: “My Two Moms! I am the luckiest kid in the world!”

That was in 2005. I am from the year 2013. More like I was from the year 2013. At nineteen years old I find myself chiseling, yes chiseling, this story onto the wall of a cave. Behind me are half a dozen people crouched around a fire I made for them. They are a curious bunch. I am not sure what they think of me as I am still learning their language.

I’m still not sure what happened, but the event took place almost four months ago. Three hours after purchasing a motorcycle. Neither mom cared much for my choice of transportation but it was the cheapest form of travel I could afford. I tried to explain to them that I wanted to do this on my own, that they had given me so much over the years that I needed to prove to them and to myself that I could be independent.

Anyway, I was barreling down a desolate country road, enjoying the feel of the wind on my face. I say barreling, but I was doing the speed limit, not wanting to pinch my wallet dry by receiving a speeding ticket.

Ahead of me I could see a blanket of mist. Morning fog is very common in the country. But this fog looked funny, even from a mile away I could see that it shimmered in the early light. As I approached the strange mist I throttled back, afraid that a car might not see me if one happened to emerged from the mist. The farms scented the air with their smell of freshly turned soil and cow manure, but I smelled another odor. Like that of ozone, it stung my sinuses.

I approached the mist at thirty miles an hour. It ate my front wheel, then sucked me in. The air suddenly turned icy cold and the sun winked out. Complete and utter darkness surrounded me. I sucked in a terrified gasp of air and began to cough. There was nothing to breathe! The air was gone. I remember choking.

Suddenly the ground vanished beneath me and I was falling. It seemed I fell forever. I slammed into something solid and the breath literally whooshed out of me.

When I woke, I found myself in a forest of enormous trees. My motorcycle lay twisted at the base of a mammoth-size tree. All around me I could hear animals going about their business in the woods. A LOT of animals, more than what I was used to hearing.

The road, farms, and cows were gone. Sitting up made me feel like I was spinning. With a groan I fell back and darkness.

The next time I woke I found myself surrounded by a very curious bunch of people. In less than a second I knew something extraordinary and frightening happened to me. Somehow I managed to drive into a vortex of time, which it seems, took me back to prehistoric times.

The band of people around me, they were very early Homo Sapiens!

After four months among them I have had plenty of time to speculate on many scenarios. Based on the environment and population, I have estimated that I traveled almost 100,000 years into the past. Since I am not sure if going back is possible, I need to carefully think of my position among these people in this time period. Every action I make will be like a ripple effect, changing some aspect of my future.

I could literally change the future of the entire race!

Perhaps that is why I am here? Maybe God selected me to be the person to help make the future better for all people. What better place to start than in the distant past?

Luckily, I have consumed a vast amount of knowledge about science and understand the basic principles of how many things are made and how they work.

I have decided to teach these people many things to make their lives a lot easier. I am going to make them a peaceful people. No wars, no prejudices, no discrimination. People that care about people. They will not learn to hide behind a book and claim to be one thing while they deliberately do the opposite and justify their cruelty it in the name of an eternal being.

No. These people will learn that it is okay to be different. Being different is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Being different is what makes us human, it keeps us humble. We are unique; no two alike, not even twins are the same. They will learn not to hate, as hate is really the result of something that you don’t like about yourself.

No more wars. No more nuclear bombs. No more senseless hate. We will finally be one with the universe and with ourselves. I am sure my thoughts are already reshaping the future. Only time will tell.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Fantasy, Sci-fi, Short Story

 

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Social Media Discover’s New Species

What an amazing story this is. Researchers were recently scanning through photos posted on Flickr when they stumbled upon this image of a previously unknown species of lacewing. Lacewings are soft-bodied insects that are known for their very sheer and light wings.  This photo was snapped in a forested park north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, by an amateur photographer.

What are odds of a researcher scanning through photos and finding something this unique? It has to range somewhere as being a near miracle! It was the pattern of veins in the insect’s wings, the black markings and two white spots that captured the eye.

Sometimes being different pays!

Before this discovery can be officially entered, scientists need to collect a specimen. Since the photographer released the insect after taking the photo, researchers will have to visit the area, however, they did report this find online in ZooKeys. The new species scientific name is Semachrysa jade, named after the researcher’s daughter, not the insect’s color.

So thanks to the amateur photographer and all the other amateurs in the world that takes the time to post their beautiful photos online for the world to see.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Nature, New Species, Science

 

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Vending Machine Takeover

I grew up watching The Jetsons. I loved the way they zipped from one place to another in their sky-cars. For me, growing up I always pictured that we would have flying cars in the year 2000. We all know that didn’t happen.

The other thing that impressed me was their food dispenser. Yeah, my priorities are right. Flee and eat! Anyway, they would just walk up to the machine and tell it what they wanted and Zippo! Food served, hot and fresh with no mess. “Look, Ma! No dishes!”

We had vending machines in those days for candy, snacks, drinks (mostly soda), and coffee. The coffee machine always impressed me the most because it MADE you the mixture you wanted: Black, cream, sugar, etc.

A month or two ago they announce a beer vending machine, my first thought was: “what about a Vodka and cranberry!”

Seriously, the next wave of future gadgets and gizmos will probably be more advanced vending machines. We already rent our movies this way and buy other merchandise this way, so why not fresh cooked food?

Man, why did it have to be my favorite food? I love pizza! I can eat it every day and not get tired of it. What is fascinating is this machine actually mixes the flour and water, kneads the dough, adds the sauce and topping. It then cooks the pizza for about three minutes, drops it into a 10.5” box and spits it out to the awaiting hungry person (that would be me).

I sincerely hope it tastes good. The problem. . .I love pizza so much I’d find myself passing a machine and ordering a ‘pie and sooner or later my middle will start looking like a pie!

 

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Can Melting Antarctic Permafrost Help Push Global Warming?

How did ancient global warming occur and are we heading that way again? First, let’s just state the obvious and not carp on is it or isn’t it true. Our Earth goes through its own life-cycles, and it does grow warm and cool depending on so many variables that we, humans, can’t yet contemplate. Our scientists do the best they can with the information they can “see”, but there are so many other factors that play a part in these Earth changes. One example is the tilt of our Earth. Every twenty-thousand years or so, the earth wobbles in its orbit; this wobble tilts the Earth just right and wham! The Sahara Desert is now a tropical oasis. I was so excited when I first learned this, but we have at least another fifteen thousand years to go before the next ‘wobble’.

So is there a global warming. You bet there is. But, I do not believe it is caused just by humans, although we may play a small role in it, I honestly think we are entering one of Mother Earth’s changes. Such an event took place some fifty-five million years ago. During that change the world abruptly warmed by 5 degrees Celsius and turned the oceans acidic.

But how? That is the question scientists have been working on for over fourteen years, and may finally have an answer. The green-house gases needed may have gushed into the atmosphere from thawing permafrost in an ice-free Antarctica. Although this is still a theory, it is possible that extremely large stores of methane hydrates, created by rotted plants stored in coal, the mud in oceans and lakes and in soil can freeze and become huge storage vaults. As the permafrost melts, the gas is released.

So as we thaw permafrost today, it is releasing these greenhouse gasses back into the atmosphere. Once the tipping point is met and substantial melting occurs you can have a sudden explosion of methane gas gushing into the atmosphere.

The problem with this theory, just like any other, is how do you prove it.

 
 

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