Aug 22, 2014
by Nicholas West
There has been much speculation about what could be achieved in the area of human brain-to-brain transfer of information.
A series of studies have intimated at the possibilities:
- Brain-to-Brain Control Established Between Humans and Animals at Harvard
- Remote Controlled Humans Via Internet Now a Reality
- New Mind Reading Research Aims to Synchronize Humans
Now an international team is declaring a successful brain-to-brain data transfer between a person sitting in India to a receiving person in France.
The evolution of civilization points to a progressive increase of the interrelations between human minds, where by “mind” we mean a set of processes carried out by the brain . Until recently, the exchange of communication between minds or brains of different individuals has been supported and constrained by the sensorial and motor arsenals of our body. However, there is now the possibility of a new era in which brains will dialogue in a more direct way . … Pioneering research in the 60′s using non-invasive means already demonstrated the voluntary control of alpha rhythm de-synchronization to send messages based on Morse code . Over the last 15 years, technologies for non-invasive transmission of information from brains to computers have developed considerably, and today brain-computer interfaces embody a well-established, innovative field of study with many potential applications–. Recent work has demonstrated fully non-invasive human to rat B2B communication by combining motor imagery driven EEG in humans on the BCI sidewith ultrasound brain stimulation on the CBI-rat side . … Here we show how to link two human minds directly by integrating two neurotechnologies – BCI and CBI –, fulfilling three important conditions, namely a) being non-invasive, b) cortically based, and c) consciously driven (Fig. 1). In this framework we provide the first demonstration of non-invasive direct communication between human minds. (emphasis added)
The method used was Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, which has shown the most promise in directly accessing the brain and “thought.”
The intensity of pulses was adjusted for each subject so that a) one particular orientation of the TMS-induced electric field produced phosphenes (representing the “active direction” and coding the bit value “1”), and b) the orthogonal direction did not produce phosphenes (representing the “silent direction” and coding the bit value “0”). Subjects reported verbally whether or not they perceived phosphenes on stimulation.
This resulted in online data transfer from mind to mind to mind – telepathic e-mail, essentially:
On March 28th, 2014, 140 bits were encoded by the BCI emitter in Thiruvananthapuram and automatically sent via email to Strasbourg, where the CBI receiver (subject 3) was located. There, a program parsed incoming emails to navigate the robot and deliver TMS pulses precisely over the selected site and with the appropriate coil orientation. A similar transmission with receiver subject 2 took place on April 7th, 2014. In both cases, the transmitted pseudo-random sequences carried encrypted messages encoding a word – “hola” (“hello” in Catalan or Spanish) in the first transmission, “ciao” (“hello” or “goodbye” in Italian) in the second. Words were encoded using a 5-bit Bacon cipher  (employing 20 bits) and replicated for redundancy 7 times (for a total of 140 bits). The resulting bit streams were then randomized using random cyphers selected to produce balanced pseudo-random sequences of 0′s and 1′s (for subject blinding and proper statistical analysis purposes in addition to providing word-coding). On reception, de-cyphering and majority voting from the copies of the word were used to decode the message.
All of this is a technical way of saying that, for the first time, not only has there been a signal transfer representing data, the potential has opened up for the transmitting of emotions – a mind-to-mind transfer, not merely brain-to-brain.
Do you speak more than one language? If so, you could be less likely to suffer from age-related cognitive decline, as reported by recent research. If you don’t speak another language, don’t worry; it’s never too late to learn!
According to a new study published in the Annals of Neurology, knowing more than one language can help protect your brain from decreased performance later in life. And the evidence says you can even reap the benefits if you don’t learn the language until later in adulthood.
“Our study is the first to examine whether learning a second language impacts cognitive performance later in life while controlling for childhood intelligence,” said lead researcher Dr. Thomas Bak of the Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.
The Music Industry Is Literally Brainwashing You to Like Bad Pop Songs — Here’s How — video included
Canadian Awareness Network
Aug 13, 2014
By Tom Barnes August 4, 2014
Last summer it was “Blurred Lines.” This summer it’s “Fancy.” Every year, there’s a new song that we all hate until we don’t anymore (see: playcounts). And it turns out that’s because we were brainwashed to like them.
Research suggests that repeated exposure is a much more surefire way of getting the general public to like a song than writing one that suits their taste. Based on an fMRI study in 2011, we now know that the emotional centers of the brain — including the reward centers — are more active when people hear songs they’ve been played before. In fact, those brain areas are more active even than when people hear unfamiliar songs that are far better fits with their musical taste.
This happens more often than you might think. After a couple dozen unintentional listens, many of us may find ourselves changing our initial opinions about a song — eventually admitting that, really, Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” isn’t as awful as it sounds. PBS’ Idea Channel‘s Mike Rugnetta explains, it’s akin to a musical “Stockholm syndrome,” a term used originally by criminologist Nils Bejerot to describe a phenomenon in which victims of kidnapping may begin to sympathize with their captors over time.
Oh, Great: Robots Are Set to Conduct National Security Clearance Interviews
Written by STEPHEN BURANYI
July 22, 2014 // 01:32 PM EST
Advancing a career in the US government might soon require an interview with a computer-generated head who wants to know about that time you took ketamine.
Psychologists at the National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA) are developing an interview system that uses a responsive on-screen avatar for the first stage of the national security clearance process.
Initial screening for a variety of government jobs currently requires applicants to fill out a form disclosing past drug use, criminal activity, and mental health issues, which is then reviewed during an interview—with a human.
But a recent NCCA study published in the journal Computers and Human Behavior asserts that not only would a computer-generated interviewer be less “time consuming, labor intensive, and costly to the Federal Government,” people are actually more likely to admit things to the robot.
The study used US Army basic trainees as volunteer subjects for a mock national security clearance interview. The trainees were not told that the questions would be asked by a robot. After being hooked up to electrodes for cardio graphic and electrodermal (heart and skin) responses the volunteers were told that the interview would be with a computer avatar, and were left alone in a chamber with their on-screen interrogator.
The program used for the study was capable of responding to vocal cues and taking multiple conversation paths depending on the subject’s answers. The researchers were hoping to leverage the power of presence: the idea that people recognize another sentient being in the environment, and are more responsive as a result.
The bot is racially ambiguous and looks like a sort of cross between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Clean-shaven and all business, the bot asks you to divulge your most embarrassing personal mistakes in the name of national security and trustworthiness.
And apparently these computer-generated heads had a lot of presence. Volunteers in the study were significantly more likely to disclose alcohol use and mental health issues to the avatar than to the questionnaire. Responses for drug use and criminal charges were about the same.
Using the avatar also allowed the researchers to measure pauses in conversation and take advantage of questions that would seem out of place on a paper form. At the end of each interview section the computer-generated interviewer asked the volunteers “if there was anything at all” they wished to discuss—with over 10 percent then responding with more information.
The researchers concluded, in so many words, that national security clearance interviews can totally be outsourced to a computer-generated agent. That’s not an empty recommendation: The NCCA grew out of the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute and is still responsible for “lie detection” training for all branches of government. It’s also tasked with developing new technologies for credibility assessment.
In other words, when “Blade Runner” is an actual job, they will likely be trained at the NCCA headquarters in South Carolina.
The NCCA predicts a bright future for its virtual agents. The study notes that computer-generated interviewers might help mitigate the gender and culture bias that affects human interviewers. It also recommends using avatars with distinctive physical characteristics and “culture-specific utterances.”
The interviewer isn’t quite a sentient AI; it relies on a dialogue tree similar to telephone customer service: tell the computer all the simple things, then press 0 for a human to explain the story behind your streaking arrest.
Still the idea of a computer conducting national security clearance interviews, even with human oversight, is bound be unsettling for some. But depending on the system’s effectiveness and the potential cost savings, we may see national security screening being done by a screen in the very near future.
Read More Here
Green Med Info
August 4, 2014
What if the very GM agricultural system that Monsanto claims will help to solve the problem of world hunger depends on a chemical that kills the very pollinator upon which approximately 70% of world’s food supply now depends?
A new study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology titled, “Effects of field-realistic doses of glyphosate on honeybee appetitive behavior,” establishes a link between the world’s most popular herbicide – aka Roundup – and the dramatic decline in honeybee (Apis mellifera) populations in North American and Europe that lead to the coining of the term ‘colony collapse disorder‘ (CCD) in late 2006 to describe the phenomena.
The researchers found that concentrations of glyphosate (GLY) consistent with the type of exposures associated with standard spraying practices in GM agricultural- and neighboring eco- systems reduced the honeybee’s sensitivity to nectar reward and impaired their learning abilities – two behavioral consequences likely to adversely affect their survival abilities. Moreover, while sub-lethal doses were not found to overtly affect their foraging behavior, they hypothesized that because of their resilience, “..forager bees could become a source of a constant inflow of nectar with GLY traces that could then be distributed among nest mates, stored in the hive and have long- term negative consequences on colony performance.”
A Deeper Look at the New Study: Roundup Interferes with Bee Appetite and Learning
Roundup herbicide is a ubiquitous toxicant, with an accumulating body of research now showing it is a common contaminant in our air, water, rain, soil and food, and in physiologically relevant concentrations (even the part-per-trillion concentration range demonstrates endocrine disruptive and potentially carcinogenic properties) to microbial, insect, animal and human life.
When Roundup herbicide was first evaluated for toxicity to the honeybee, the focus was on acute toxicity of the ‘active ingredient’ and not sub-lethal and prolonged exposure effects; and certainly not the amplified toxicological synergies present in glyphosate formulations like Roundup, which when the so-called ‘inert’ adjuvant ingredients (e.g. surfactants) are taken into account, have been found to be at least 125 times more toxic than glyphosate alone. By only taking into account acute toxicity – as measured by the so-called LD50 (lethal dose, 50%) – on the ‘active’ ingredient, government regulators approved glyphosate as relatively harmless to honeybees prematurely.
The researchers expanded on the topic:
“Glyphosate [GLY] toxicity tests on Apis mellifera for product approval did not consider sub-lethal nor prolonged exposure effects. Studies were only focused on obtaining LD50 (lethal dose, 50%) as a measure of the effect of an acute exposure, but nevertheless, they were carried out on the basis that honeybees might in fact be exposed to GLY in their natural environment, either through the consumption of contaminated resources or through a direct exposure as a result of inadvertent spraying (Giesy et al., 2000). Even though LD50 results seem to indicate that GLY is not harmful for honeybees, the fact that honeybees are potentially exposed to GLY motivated us to pursue further analysis and to address the lack of chronic studies.”
The authors of the new study set out to test whether doses of glyphosate bees would realistically encounter in the field (field-realistic doses) could affect their feeding behavior (appetitive behavior) in a deleterious manner.
They exposed honeybees to field-realistic doses of glyphosate chronically and acutely, and observed: “a reduced sensitivity to sucrose and learning performance for the groups chronically exposed to GLY concentrations within the range of recommended doses,” as well as significant decrease in elemental learning, non-elemental associative learning, and short-term memory retention, when exposed to acute GLY doses.
Roundup Already Identified As Likely Cause of Colony Collapse Disorder
This latest study is not the first to link glyphosate to the vanishing honeybee.
Extensive research on the topic performed by Dr. Don D. Huber and summarized in an article published last year titled, “Is glyphosate a contributing cause of bee colony collapse disorder (CCD)?,” lead him to conclude that the 880 million pounds of glyphosate released into the environment worldwide has been contributing to the collapse of the honeybee. The paper revealed the following six ways that glyphosate could contribute to CCD:
- Glyphosate chelates minerals, lowers nutrients in plants: In CCD, Malnutrition is universally present.
- Glyphosate acts like an antibiotic to beneficial bacteria: In CCD, loss of Lactobacillus and other critical beneficial bacteria for digestion is commonly observed.
- Glyphosate is a neurotoxin: In CCD, honeybees experience neurological changes associated with disorientation.
- Glyphosate causes endocrine hormone & immune disruption: In CCD, immunity and other hormonal variables are altered or suppressed.
- Glyphosate stimulates fungal overgrowth: In CCD, the fungal pathogen Nosema increases.
- Glyphosate persists and accumulates: High environmental exposure, including glyphosate residues present in honey, nectar and other plant products, make honeybees susceptible to continual toxic challenge — which is believed to be a primary underlying cause of CCD.
Other Factors Contributing to Colony Collapse
While it is now increasingly acknowledged that many agrochemicals pesticides — especially neonicotinoids — are toxic to honeybees, there are other factors that likely play a role as well:
It should be pointed out that the last factor listed – infectious organisms – are likely more a symptom than a cause of honeybee morbidity and mortality. In other words, following electromagnetic, agrochemical and dietary assault, the immune system of the honeybee – and the collective immunity of the hive – weakens, leading to greater susceptibility to opportunistic infections.
One USDA study published in 2013 discussed the role of fungicidal contaminants in pollen leading to increased probability of Nosema fungal infection in bees who consumed pollen with a higher fungicide load.
This linkage between chemical exposure > immune suppression, > opportunistic infection, is especially poignant when it comes to Roundup herbicide, which profoundly alters the makeup of the beneficial flora in exposed organisms, leading to the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. A 2012 PloS study found that lactic acid bacteria living in the crop (the part of the bee’s alimentary canal that stores food prior to digestion) of bees are vitally important for the health of honeybees, with some strains suggesting a history of association with bees stretching over 80,000,000 years ago. Various chemical are capable of damaging this vitally important locus for the honeybee’s immunity and digestion, and are likely exerting their adverse effects through sublethal, hard to detect mechanisms.
Why Does Monsanto Own Beelogics, ‘The Guardian of Bee Health Worldwide’?
On Sept. 28th, 2011, Monsanto announced that it was acquiring the company Beeologics, whose explicit goal is to become “the guardian of the bee health worldwide,” including finding ways to address CCD.
Here is their mission statement:
“Beeologics LLC is an international firm dedicated to restoring bee health and protecting the future of honey bee pollination. Beeologics’ mission is to become the guardian of bee health worldwide. Through continuous research, scientific innovation, and a focus on applicable solutions, Beeologics is developing a line of RNAi-based products to specifically address the long-term well being of honey bees, including the control of parasites and how they’re involved in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).”
A classical problem-solution approach, Monsanto creates a problem – a systemic herbicide intended to ‘save the world’ from hunger as part of its GMO Roundup-ready proprietary production system that actually destroys the pollinators required to maintain our global food supply – and then capitalizes on a GM solution on the backend, with patented RNA interference ‘solutions’ intended to, again, ‘save the world’ from hunger.
 Dennis van Engelsdorp, Diana Cox-Foster, Maryann Frazier, Nancy Ostiguy, and Jerry Hayes (5 January 2006). “Colony Collapse Disorder Preliminary Report”. Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium (MAAREC) – CCD Working Group. p. 22. Retrieved 2007-04-24.
 Peng Han, Chang-Ying Niu, Antonio Biondi, Nicolas Desneux. Does transgenic Cry1Ac + CpTI cotton pollen affect hypo pharyngeal gland development and midgut proteolytic enzyme activity in the honey bee Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera, Apidae)? Ecotoxicology. 2012 Nov ;21(8):2214-21. Epub 2012 Aug 7. PMID: 22868904
 Jeffery S Pettis, Elinor M Lichtenberg, Michael Andree, Jennie Stitzinger, Robyn Rose, Dennis Vanengelsdorp. Crop Pollination Exposes Honey Bees to Pesticides Which Alters Their Susceptibility to the Gut Pathogen Nosema ceranae. PLoS One. 2013 ;8(7):e70182. Epub 2013 Jul 24. PMID: 23894612
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
Contributed by Sayer Ji of Green Med Info.
by Lily Dane
The Daily Sheeple
April 4th, 2014
If you needed another reason to avoid taking your children down the cereal aisle at the grocery store, here it is: insidious cereal box characters seem to be trying to make eye contact with your kiddos.
While it’s no surprise that marketing techniques like product package design and placement in stores are used to attract buyers, some methods are more exploitative than others. Directing advertising to adults who understand marketing tactics and have the ability to make informed decisions is quite different than employing psychology-based tricks designed to lure innocent kids into brand loyalty.
According to the American Psychological Association:
Most children under age 6 cannot distinguish between programming and advertising and children under age 8 do not understand the persuasive intent of advertising. Advertising directed at children this young is by its very nature exploitative. Children have a remarkable ability to recall content from the ads to which they have been exposed. Product preference has been shown to occur with as little as a single commercial exposure and to strengthen with repeated exposures. Product preferences affect children’s product purchase requests and these requests influence parents’ purchasing decisions.
Cereal companies know this, and they have long exploited that vulnerability through the use of charming and engaging cartoon characters in their commercials and on their packaging. They are the third biggest food marketer to children – and they spend millions trying to entice children to buy their products, according to a 2012 report by The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity:
Companies spent $264 million in measured media on kid-targeted cereals last year, up 34% from 2008, according to the report, which analyzes the nutritional content and advertising habits of 16 brands the center determined to be aimed directly at children. General Mills, which accounted for eight brands in the report such as Lucky Charms and Trix, spent the most at $142 million, a 27% increase from 2008, according to the report. Kellogg Co. hiked spending by 47%, shoveling $108 million into five kid-targeted brands, including Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops. Post Holdings increased spending by 17% to $13.8 million on its two child-targeted brands, Pebbles and Honeycomb.
Researchers at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab conducted a study to examine the influence of cereal box spokes-characters. The results of that study were published earlier this week, and the findings were interesting.
The Daily Sheeple
April 4th, 2014
The health benefits of chocolate are many—soothing a broken heart, celebrating a promotion, or commemorating a birthday. Oh, and the health benefits are impressive too. Originating in Central America, where they were believed to have even magical and divine benefits, cacao beans are now processed into thousands upon thousands of delicious creations, the best of which could help keep your heart healthy.
The cardiovascular benefits of chocolate come largely from its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It’s loaded with flavanols like quercetin and theobromine.
It’s these flavanols that were credited in a recent study for providing better coronary artery protection than coffee and green tea. An ongoing study, according to NaturalNews, is looking at the preventative effects of cacao’s flavanols and polyphenols on coronary heart disease.
by Heather Callaghan
Jul 30, 2014
Recently, I wrote about findings showing that the brainwaves of people viewing the same movie are ‘synched.’ Some people thought this was great news, suggesting that it meant more connection and intimacy. But people who feel more disengaged or isolated by spending time with people watching media would probably doubt that suggestion very much.
Building on that discovery, researchers are testing brainwaves to forecast public response to television programming. Of course, this has questionable implications.
And, now, it only takes a few people to accurately predict the mindset – via brainwaves – of the masses. Is that how far the “culturing” of culture has come along?
Having a reliable method to forecast response from the general population harnesses incredible power to the media, marketing and public relations industries. If a new study done at the City College of New York (CCNY) in partnership with Georgia Tech is accurate, only a few individuals are needed to provide strong predictors that represent “the masses.”
The authors analyzed the brainwaves of 16 people as they watched mainstream television content. Researchers were able to accurately predict the preferences of large TV audiences, up to 90 percent in the case of Super Bowl commercials. The findings appear in a paper entitled “Audience Preferences Are Predicted by Temporal Reliability of Neural Processing,” which was just published in the latest edition of Nature Communications.
Why use various brain graphs to discover this instead of other methods like questionnaires?
Lead author, Jacek Dmochowski said:
Alternative methods such as self-reports are fraught with problems as people conform their responses to their own values and expectations.
They wanted to use electroencephalography (EEG) because, in principle, it alleviates this shortcoming by providing immediate physiological responses immune to such self-biasing.
Our findings show that these immediate responses are in fact closely tied to the subsequent behavior of the general population.
It kind of sounds like the viewers do not realize the messages they are getting – nor their perceived responses.
Senior author Lucas Parra, Herbert Kayser Professor of Biomedical Engineering at CCNY explains the previous researcher on the synched minds of movie goers:
When two people watch a video, their brains respond similarly – but only if the video is engaging. Popular shows and commercials draw our attention and make our brainwaves very reliable; the audience is literally ‘in-sync’.
Study participants watched scenes from The Walking Dead TV show and several commercials from the 2012 and 2013 Super Bowls. EEG electrodes were placed on their heads to capture brain activity. The reliability of the recorded neural activity was then compared to audience reactions in the general population using publicly available social media data provided by the Harmony Institute and ratings from USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter.
Brain activity among our participants watching The Walking Dead predicted 40 percent of the associated Twitter traffic. When brainwaves were in agreement, the number of tweets tended to increase.
Brainwaves also predicted 60 percent of the Nielsen ratings that measure the size of a TV audience.
The study was even more accurate (90 percent) when comparing preferences for Super Bowl ads. For instance, researchers saw very similar brainwaves from their participants as they watched a 2012 Budweiser commercial that featured a beer-fetching dog. The general public voted the ad as their second favorite that year. The study found little agreement in the brain activity among participants when watching a GoDaddy commercial featuring a kissing couple. It was among the worst rated ads in 2012.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they found evidence that brainwaves for engaging ads could be driven by blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) activity in visual, auditory and attention brain areas.
Matthew Bezdek of Georgia Tech said:
Interesting ads may draw our attention and cause deeper sensory processing of the content.
The main, openly stated applications are marketing and film, and perhaps to predict the effectiveness of online educational videos by measuring how engaging they are. However, in their summary, they explain more…
The “one” and the “many” are synthesized
From their summary:
Our findings suggest that stimuli which we judge favourably may be those to which our brains respond in a stereotypical manner shared by our peers.
Predicting the behaviour of large groups is inherent to such diverse processes as forecasting election results, anticipating the reception to upcoming films, and foreseeing the effects of changes to laws or policies.
Here we ask whether the neural activity of multiple individuals may collectively predict the behaviour of large groups.
Indeed. It’s not really about individual interest but predicting mass behavior that already appears to be highly linked up.
Recent posts by Heather Callaghan:
by Johnny Green
The Weed Blog
Jul 23, 2014
I like to exercise, especially playing basketball. Physical fitness is something that I have always tried to take seriously, although admittedly, I take it more serious at certain times compared to others. Currently, my physical fitness is not where it needs to be, but I’ll try to get that figured out sooner than later. A question I have received at TWB from time to time is ‘does marijuana help you exercise?’
I have lifted weights and played basketball after getting high, and it seems to put me in a zone that I don’t get into when sober. I feel more focused, and more in touch with my body. Marijuana doesn’t necessarily motivate me to workout, but once I’m at the gym, it helps me get a better workout, if that makes sense. Leafly recently published an article that talks more about marijuana and exercise. A few excerpts are below:
“It’s not news to the medical community that the human body stores tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), the main psychoactive in cannabis, in fat. However, a study put out this August in Drug and Alcohol Dependence has shown that this storage process can give exercisers an extra boost, even up to 28 days after consumption.”
“Yet, contrary to popular thought, it’s not just the endorphins (the compounds which make you feel excited after activities such as exercise and sex) that make physical activity so great. A 2003 study found that exercise actually activates the endocannabinoid system in the same way that the cannabis plant does. The endocannabinoid system is a group of lipids (types of fats) and cell receptors that cannabinoids (compounds like THC and CBD) bind to inside the body. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for easing pain, controlling appetite, and influences mood and memory. ”
“A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine has found that regular cannabis consumers have fasting insulin (insulin in your body before eating) levels 16% lower than non-consumers. The study also found that cannabis consumers had 17% lower insulin resistance levels and lower average waist circumferences.”
Next time, before you hit the gym, try getting high first. If that’s not your thing, then by all means don’t do it. But if you are looking to see how marijuana affects your workout, give it a try. Scientific studies suggest it could help you out!
by Elizabeth Renter
Jun 13, 2014
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts are relatively common vision problems in older adults. Often it’s just assumed that we will suffer from some vision loss as we age due to conditions like these, but that’s not always the case. You can prevent eye disease and keep your vision healthy.
The following 4 foods may be able to help stave off vision loss while promoting overall eye health.