Monday, September 28, 2015

Why hunting for life in Martian water will be a tricky task

The risk of microbial contamination could prevent humans and even robots from visiting the most promising parts of the red planet.

Nature News doi: 10.1038/nature.2015.18450

from Nature News & Comment

from Grow your own

UC IPM’s urban program now on Facebook!

UC IPM's Urban and Community Program is now on Facebook! 'Like' us so you can be updated about new and updated resources, helpful tools, news stories, and other useful information to help manage pests around homes, gardens, landscapes, and structures.
And in case you didn't know, we are also on Twitter and YouTube! Follow, like, and watch us today!…

from UC Food and Agriculture Blogs Feed

from Grow your own

Is Social Media To Blame For Disloyalty?

Are humans truly meant to be together for life? Or are people always going to be tempted by outside desires, no matter the circumstances? We had psychotherapist and relationship specialist Lisa Brateman on the show to talk with us about the state of monogamy, obstacles to commitment in the modern age, and how we can work through issues of loyalty in our own relationships.

Easier to be disloyal?
Lisa doesn’t necessarily think engaging in online communication makes you disloyal, but it does make it “easy to be superficial”. The disloyalty doesn’t happen when you’re initially communicating, but it can happen “down the line”, especially if the thinking is “only about yourself.” But if you’re out of a relationship, or figuring things out about yourself, this type of communication can be productive.

Swipe right for happiness
Lisa deals with many clients who use Tinder, an effortless matchmaking app that links people by their geographic location. In the app, users decide whether or not to match with someone by swiping left or right, oftentimes basing their judgement on a split-second glance at a single photo. Lisa’s thoughts on this are similar to any sort of online communication- good and bad can come out of it, depending on the mutual expectations of the users. While certain people may be looking for meaningful relationships, others may be using Tinder precisely for its “spontaneous and superficial” qualities. And sometimes, this kind of interaction can be “more spontaneous than you might want.”

Click here to see the full interview with Dr. Lisa Brateman.

And follow Lisa on twitter for more relationship advice.

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from Healthy Living – The Huffington Post

from Grow your own

Study Finds Very Good Reason To Work Past Retirement Age

For those who still enjoy the fantasy of a retirement life that includes strolls on the beach, walking hand-in-hand with a silver fox, snap out of it. People who don’t retire are healthier, a new study found.

The University of Miami researchers, examining data collected on the National Health Interview Survey of 83,000 people post-65, found that the 13 percent who remained in the workforce were in better health than their counterparts who don’t work.

“Being unemployed/retired was associated with the greatest risk of poor health across all health status measures, even after controlling for smoking status, obesity, and other predictors of health,” the study authors concluded.

But the results don’t show whether working past retirement age is what made senior citizens with jobs healthier than their non-working peers. The study authors even acknowledged that the reverse is often true: Health problems force some people to drop out of the workforce.

The report was published Thursday in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The idea that working keeps you young isn’t a new one of course. Many studies have documented the link between involuntary unemployment of older workers and depression. Keeping your mind active is also an important part of aging well, studies have shown

So if your heart is set on that beach stroll, maybe take a crossword puzzle with you?

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

from Healthy Living – The Huffington Post

from Grow your own

The Truth About Governor Christie’s Weight

On September 22, news broke that governor and U.S. presidential candidate Chris Christie had given General Michael Cunniff, the leader of New Jersey’s 9,000+ national guardsmen, a weighty ultimatum. The general had 90 days to slim down — or he would face dismissal.

As it turns out, General Cunniff did not meet the military’s basic combat-readiness criteria, and the governor was the one who had to issue the command.

In response, Cunniff said: “Many people struggle with weight control — I am not immune from this.”

The irony, of course, is that Governor Christie himself has had his own share of weight struggles. In fact, in 2013, the governor had surgery — known as a gastric band procedure — to close off a section of his stomach. At the time, experts believed he weighed in at more than 400 pounds.

Many people pointed the obvious finger at Governor Christie, accusing him of hypocrisy.

But I think these people missed the whole point.

Whatever you think of their politics or positions, there is no doubt that both Governor Christie and General Cunniff are smart, motivated, successful men.

And therein lies the powerful enigma of obesity.

More than two-thirds of all Americans are overweight. And right now, more than 108 million Americans are on a diet. The average dieter makes four or five attempts each year. And less than one percent of these attempts actually result in long-term weight loss.

We hear these statistics all the time, but I think we’ve become numb to what they’re actually telling us. Is there any other sphere of endeavor where so many people try so hard with so little success? What would we think if fewer than 1 percent of people who enrolled in college ever graduated, while the other 99 percent spent billions dropping out and re-enrolling four or five times each year?

Many of life’s problems can be solved by an onslaught of intelligence, ambition, motivation, and perseverance. But for the vast majority of people, that just isn’t true for weight. So clearly our approach and commonsense understanding are flawed.

The fact is that, for most people, lasting weight loss takes a lot more than willpower or desire. According to recent research, it takes a fresh understanding of how the brain interacts with food.

Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson is a tenured psychology professor with a Ph.D. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. For 16 years she struggled under a torturous relationship with food. She dieted again and again, only to watch her weight balloon back up. She was clinically depressed, and, in her darkest hours, would lie in the fetal position and weep for a solution.

Finally in 2003, Dr. Thompson’s cognitive studies put her in the path of the answers she’d been seeking. She shrank from obese to slender in six months and today she’s among the top .01 percent of successful weight loss maintainers.

Now Dr. Thompson has created a program called Bright Line Eating to share what she’s learned about how the brain blocks weight loss and so far the results are promising. She reports that for the first 1,000 graduates, her program was three times more effective and seven times faster than Weight Watchers.

I asked Dr. Thompson if she had any insight into why Governor Christie and General Cunniff might be struggling to lose weight, despite intense scrutiny from the public and the threat to the viability of their future careers, not to mention their health.

She had this to say:

I don’t know them, of course, but my guess is that they’re both really high on the Susceptibility Scale. That’s the scale that measures how susceptible someone is to the addictive properties of refined foods. They’re not alone. Research shows that one-third of people are high on the Susceptibility Scale. It makes it nearly impossible to lose weight unless you understand what you’re up against. If you’re low on the Susceptibility Scale, indulging in a craving makes it go away. But if you’re highly susceptible, indulging just makes the craving stronger.

In evolutionary terms, Dr. Thompson explained to me, being highly susceptible was a good thing. But today we’re surrounded by cues to eat foods that have been refined to affect our brains exactly the same way as drugs do. We have a food industry that spends tens of billions of dollars every year marketing highly processed, highly sweetened, and highly addictive foods. In this context, being susceptible is seriously dangerous.

We live in a society that, all-too-often, blames overweight people for their suffering — as if they lacked willpower. But, according to Dr. Thompson, the problem isn’t at all a deficiency of willpower. The problem is that some of us are highly susceptible to food addiction — and have no roadmap to conquer it.

Fortunately, there are answers that can help. And Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson has developed something that appears like it could provide tremendous help to a lot of people.

Perhaps even Governor Christie and General Cunniff.

To find out how you score on Dr. Thompson’s Susceptibility Scale, take her free quiz here.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

from Healthy Living – The Huffington Post

from Grow your own

Mind Wandering

In a quiet place:


The sun is shining through a thin layer of grey. Lightening up my mood. Gently caressing everything it touches. The flowers, the sea, my hair.


On the hillside, I’m moving with the wind. Feeling a sense of awe.

Out of my awareness, my thoughts are turning inward. My mind drifting fast through space to the future and the past. It doesn’t matter which way I turn, an inner voice is commenting, analyzing, planning.


Right below, something else is going on. The crisp air is rustling on the ground.


Sounds and smells of autumn are catching my attention, allowing my mind to refocus. To come to my senses, back to the present moment.


Here, in nature, I am.

Letting my thoughts drift by like the wind.

Hiking Mt Saksa/ ├śrsta/ Norway, September 2015

This post originally appeared on the blog


HuffPost’s GPS for the Soul app is based on two truths about human beings. First: We all have a centered place of wisdom, harmony and balance within us. Second: We’re all going to veer away from that place, again and again and again. What we need is a great course-correcting mechanism — a GPS for the Soul — to help us find our way back to that centered place, from which everything is possible.

Because no one knows better than you what helps you de-stress and tap into that place of peace inside yourself, it’s important for you to create your very own GPS guide — a personalized collection of whatever helps you course-correct. Email us at and we’ll set you up with your very own HuffPost blogger account to share your guide on the site. If you’re already a blogger, we encourage you to upload your personal guide today. We can’t wait to see what you have to share.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

from Healthy Living – The Huffington Post

from Grow your own

Alchemical Sustainability: The Potential of Lucid Dreams


Over the years I have learned that tuning in to the present is an important step in negotiating and crafting the intersubjective fields of my dream state and awake state.

Scientific studies and research have already demonstrated that dreams are invaluable tools for instilling creativity, self awareness, personal development and problem solving.

Cultivating present moment awareness is a healthy exercise that offers unique benefits and insights. An avid dreamer, Carlos Castaneda once said, “If you enter a state of non-ordinary reality, it is only to draw from it what you need in order to see the miraculous character of ordinary reality. For me the way to live — the path with heart — is presence in the world.”

Living in the present moment with heart is the mantra of the Heart Math Institute. They are a team of scientists and doctors who through their Global Coherence Initiative (“GCI”) are spearheading an international effort to help activate the heart of humanity and promote peace, harmony and a shift in global consciousness.

Since 1991 GCI has conducted groundbreaking research on the interconnection between humanity and Earth’s magnetic fields and energetic systems. They are also conducting fascinating research on collective human consciousness and how it affects us on a global level. They are accomplishing these studies by mining data from strategically placed monitoring systems and sensor maps that are located across the globe and then analyzing the results of large numbers of people creating heart centered states of care, love and compassion.

One particular GCI initiative that caught my attention is their Global Care Room, where lucid dreamers from all over the world login to meditate and radiate love, care and compassion for everyone.

The potential for creating a more coherent world through lucid dreaming has never been more tangible. Today we possess the tools, props, technology and even virtual meditation rooms like GCI’s Global Care Room.

In order to help offset our current planet’s discord and incoherence, like Vice President Biden recently said at the Global Citizen’s event:

“It is within our reach.
We can change the world.
We really can.
You can.”

Indeed it starts with us. Today’s Global Citizens and dreamers for global good are co-creating a coherent world for all.

Dream it. Journal it. Do it!

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

from Healthy Living – The Huffington Post

from Grow your own