Monthly Archives: July, 2009

Twelve New Rules

I came across this today while sitting in on a website review for a career workshop site. It struck me as pure gold. Here are the first few of the new rules:

1. No one owes you anything – not the government, your employer, your family, or your spouse. Although the world around you is less and less definite and predictable, it is no less valuable and mysterious. To rejoice in living you must invent your own future, entrepreneur your life, and expect surprises.

2. Global change is the major force in your life, and in the lives of everyone on earth. We are all in training for a new era for all humanity. Don’t whine about it. Take advantage of the expanding possibilities now available to you in our world of constant flow.

3. You have no ultimate safety, security, or guarantees, so don’t expect any. What you have are endless . . . [continue]

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How Great is This Coffeeholics?

No caffeine versus after caffeine.
New Studies Show Caffeine Markedly Reduced the Hallmark Protein for Alzheimer’s Disease in the Brains and Blood of the Mice

Coffee drinkers may have another reason to pour that extra cup. When aged mice bred to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease were given caffeine – the equivalent of five cups of coffee a day – their memory impairment was reversed, report University of South Florida researchers at the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

The image above shows that caffeine treatment removed the beta amyloid plaques from the brains of the Alzheimer’s mice.

Back-to-back studies published online today in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, show caffeine significantly decreased abnormal levels of the protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease, both in the brains and in the blood of mice exhibiting symptoms of the disease. Both studies build upon previous research by the Florida ADRC group showing that caffeine in early adulthood prevented the onset of memory problems in mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms in old age.

After you go get another cup of coffee, you can read the whole story here.

The Redirecting of the Brain

A friend of mine deplores the term retirement. Her thinking is that retirement is pretty much the equivalent of brain death. I agree.

I came across an interesting article this morning. The author begins by pondering the notion of retirement:

“Have you ever looked up the word “retirement” in the dictionary? Except for ads for retirement homes, the word definitely has negative connotations. Synonyms are: withdraw, resign, regress, recede, abdicate, depart, and on and on. There is no synonym to indicate anything upbeat or forward-thinking or optimistic.”

“In light of the profound social changes and medical advances that have taken place in American society, why has it taken so long for us to challenge the meaning of the word retirement, a period in life which now amounts to almost one-fourth of our potential lifetime? I asked people all over the country to come up with a substitute word for retirement, a single, acceptable, positive word to describe this segment of our lives. I found one that, for my present purposes, fills the need: The word is REDIRECT. Think about it: Isn’t redirection what most of us actually focus on when we leave the work force or change our style of living after some 60 years? “

Neuroanatomist Marian Diamond takes on the notion of retirement and the successful aging of the brain.

Her Stroke of Insight

My Stroke of Insight Book CoverThe first time I watched Jill Bolte Taylor’s presentation at a TED conference, I was stunned. At the age of 37, this Harvard-trained neuroanatomist experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain – she had a massive stroke – and remained conscious through the entire episode. When she realized what was going on, her reaction was: “Wow, I’m having a stroke. This is so cool!” Only a neuroanatomist could have a reaction like this. In her TED presentation, she tells an abbreviated version of the story and it is amazing. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Now I’ve just finished listening to her book, My Stroke of Insight. I’ve listened to it several times, in fact. If you are intrigued by her TED presentation and if you like audiobooks, get it. If you prefer to read, read the book. My Stroke of Insight contains a lot of good science and medical information about the brain and stroke, but in an entirely accessible way. Some critics of the book have complained that the ending is a little sappy. After reading it for yourself you may determine, like me, that this is very “left-brained” of them.

After listening to the book, I searched for more information about Bolte Taylor. I came across this interview she did with Oprah. While I’m not a huge Oprah fan, I did want to watch and listen further to Bolte Taylor talk about her experience. (Just an aside -I had better luck watching this in Internet Explorer than Firefox.)

Right now I’m right smack dab in the middle of part two of the interview. But I had to pause and take a little time to gush here hoping to encourage anyone with even the slight interest or curiosity about the enormous power of the brain to watch, listen, or read about this remarkable experience.

If you’re at all interested in brain stuff, another great book is The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge.

Now I’m headed back to the interview . . . .

Ignore Everybody and Other Good Advice

Credit: The Gaping Void

Credit: The Gaping Void

Hugh MacLeod has a new book that appears to be filled with good advice for just about everyone. The title: Ignore Everybody. MacLeod is famous for The Gaping Void. The ideas in the books aren’t exactly new, but they are great reminders about what it takes to go from dreams to reality.

I sure wish I had heeded these words of wisdom about four great ideas back…..especially those first two Ignore Everybody. I’m going to order his book right now. I might order it twice – one version for my Kindle and another in good old paper.

The Book

Stephen Hawking: “Humans Have Entered a New Stage of Evolution”

Finally.  If you’ve ever felt like humans might be in some sort of evolutionary phase, you may be right. Stephen Hawking makes an interesting observing concerning internally transmitted information – as through our genes – and externally transmitted information.

According to Hawking the internal record of information which is handed down through our DNA has not changed significantly.  “But the external record, in books, and other long lasting forms of storage,” Hawking says, “has grown enormously. Some people would use the term, evolution, only for the internally transmitted genetic material, and would object to it being applied to information handed down externally. But I think that is too narrow a view. We are more than just our genes.” Read more here….