Relax: It’s Good For Your Genes

In the current study, Benson and his colleagues studied 52 people, half of whom had meditated for four to 20 years using relaxation techniques and half of whom were novices. Both groups had their blood taken and analyzed before and after a 20 minute relaxation session in which they used a CD for guidance. The new meditaters agreed to participate in two relaxation sessions; in the first, they listened to a CD that provided general health information unrelated to stress, which served as a control. That way, the researchers could compare any molecular changes captured in their blood after they learned deep breathing, mindfulness and mantra practice, which involved focusing their mind on a single repeated word while ignoring distractions.

Hyperlapse Road Trip

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Inspirational Geek

This is brilliant to watch.  Hit full screen, put your feet up and cruise to some very cleverly manipulated images woven together from Google Street View by the brilliantly creative folks at digital agency Teehan+Lax.

You can even make your very own hyperlapse (good fun!) using their very clever JavaScript here.

Via Good.

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Technological Roads

I was completely amazed that we somehow spend billions on the design and R&D of cars but somehow the roads – which actually determine the way our landscape looks like – are completely immune to that process. They are still stuck in the Middle Ages, so to speak.

The first, and perhaps most obvious, upgrade to our roads is to use a phosphorescent paint for the road markings. Inspired by deep sea jelly fish it fuels the idea of a energy-neutral street, as the paint “charges up” during daylight hours and then glows throughout the night. This is ideal in rural areas where existing street lighting is minimal, and perhaps one day even removes the need for any altogether.

Following on from that idea, in the colder months temperatures can drop quickly leaving drivers unaware about looming icy and inclement conditions. The use of a dynamic temperature-sensitive paint would provide a simple alert system to drivers by ghosting up snowflakes on the road to act as a warning system when the tarmac becomes cold enough for ice to form.

Inspirational Geek

This has been on my blog to-do list for a while now, and have been prompted again to post it having seen the same subject on the BBC site yesterday.

With the technology of cars advancing impressively to include all manner of smart sensors, “green” electric motors, parking assistance, and even driverless cars, none of this really matters if we don’t have suitable roads to drive on.

Roads.  Just a bit of tarmac laid down (relatively) smoothly with some painted lines, right?  Well, yes, but why can’t we incorporate some technology into them.  Improving them to adapt to traffic and weather, making them more sustainable, making them safer.

Well that’s exactly what Daan Roosegaarde of Studio Roosegaard thought when he set about designing technological advances to our roads as part of a Smart Highways project.

I was completely amazed that we somehow spend billions on the design…

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A Boy And His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie – @IBM

Image representing IBM as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

You’re about to see the movie that holds the Guinness World Records™ record for the World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film (see how it was made at The ability to move single atoms — the smallest particles of any element in the universe — is crucial to IBM‘s research in the field of atomic memory. But even nanophysicists need to have a little fun. In that spirit, IBM researchers used a scanning tunneling microscope to move thousands of carbon monoxide molecules (two atoms stacked on top of each other), all in pursuit of making a movie so small it can be seen only when you magnify it 100 million times. A movie made with atoms. Learn more about atomic memory, data storage and big data at

The Worldwatch Institute “Estado del mundo al 2013” – thnxz @genea_consultor

El agua es uno de los recursos más escasos y también más difíciles de obtener de manera sostenible. Imagen: Melinda Nagy. Fuente: PhotoXpress.

El agua es uno de los recursos más escasos y también más difíciles de obtener de manera sostenible. Imagen: Melinda Nagy. Fuente: PhotoXpress.
Cuba, pese a su pobreza, puede ser el ejemplo a seguir en algunos aspectos, en concreto el medioambiental. 

Así lo sostiene el presidente del think tank estadounidense The Worldwatch Institute, Robert Engelman, en la guía State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible (Estado del mundo 2013: ¿Es posible todavía la sostenibilidad?), en el que expertos de distintos sectores y de todo el mundo advierten de la urgencia de las medidas que se ocupen del medio ambiente. 

En un artículo que cierra la publicación, Engelman repasa los últimos datos sobre el cambio climático, pero subraya que hay “mejores respuestas que hacer acopio de productos enlatados y armas”·.Vía

Rediseñar la educación ambiental 

“Una manera de prepararse es rediseñar la educación ambiental”, para preparar a las nuevas generaciones para los conflictos que lleguen, y “también debemos considerar maneras de actualizar el diseño del movimiento ambiental para que no se limita a responder a las amenazas inmediatas, como la contaminación atmosférica, sino que ayude a crear una cultura sostenible y a poner las bases para que la forma en que vivimos y pensamos estén más profundamente conectadas con la realidad ecológica”. 

El experto advierte contra las tácticas ilegales en la resistencia ecológica, y defiende la desobediencia civil no violenta. También se muestra escéptico con las técnicas de geoingeniería, como el cemento de captura de carbono, que son “parches rápidos”, y que tienen “efectos impredecibles” y “riesgos geopolíticos graves”. 

“Si las circunstancias superan a nuestros mejores esfuerzos, puede haber un poco de consuelo en las lecciones aprendidas de la decadencia de Cuba. Llevada al borde de un colapso por la Unión Soviética, Cuba sufrió un período de ajuste duro, pero ha encontrado una cultura que deja una huella ambiental pequeña y niveles notablemente altos de bienestar no material, incluyendo tasas de mortalidad infantil mejores que su vecino del norte”. 

Engelman concluye citando al escritor de ciencia ficción Kim Stanley Robinson, que dice que la verdadera pregunta no es “¿Es demasiado tarde?” sino “¿Cuánto vamos a salvar?” Y eso dependerá de la rapidez y audacia con que actuemos ahora, afirma.

Artículo Completo 🙂