Friday, December 29, 2017

Homographs & Heteromyms, 3

Do you wonder that English can be a challenging language to learn?

  • A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  • When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  • I did not object to the object.
  • The farm was used to produce produce.
  • The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  • We must polish the Polish furniture.
  • There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
Homographs: words that are spelled the same but that have more than one meaning
Heteronyms: Homographs that are pronounced differently

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Homographs & Heteronyms, 2

These types of words may contribute to making English a challenging language to learn for some individuals.

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  • The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  • Upon seeing the tear in the painting she shed a tear.
  • A row erupted when the row of paintings was uncovered and two patrons wanted the same painting.
  • It was my task to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Homographs: words spelled the same but with more than one meaning

Heteronyms: Homographs that are pronounced differently

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Homographs & Heteronyms

My mother reportedly read aloud for 30 minutes a day while I was incubating in her womb. The research wasn’t out yet about reading aloud and talking to the fetus on a regular basis—so I have no idea what prompted her to do that. Nevertheless, my brain’s opinion is all that reading (and talking and singing and playing the piano) resulted in a built-in love of words that accompanied me when I slipped out the chute. Consequently, I’ll finish out this year’s blogs with some fun words. As you probably know, Homographs are words that are spelled the same but that have more than one meaning. Heteronyms represent Homographs that are pronounced differently. Have fun with them.

  • To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  • The bass player credits his competence to his love of poached bass.
 More tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day

It’s Boxing Day and all through my place, the boxes are gone, both crate and case. This year instead of celebrating boxing day on December 26th (it used to be a big deal during my childhood in Canada), I varied that tradition by commemorating it in advance. I’ve never been particularly fixated on things, but since the 2014 earthquake and more recently all the fires in California, I’m more aware than ever that things are just things. What I truly value most by far are my connections with the brains and hearts of others. As some of you know, perhaps because of the Longevity Lifestyle Matters Program, I think it would be fun to live to be at least 122 years 165 days (a day longer that did Jeanne Louise Calment of Arles, France. And when it comes my turn to leave this planet, I am quite sure I will be thinking about the brains and hearts I have loved over a lifetime—not about things I have owned. If you’ve not already done so, you might want to make a list of treasured individuals and take this opportunity to tell them how grateful you are that they are in your life and how much you love them. Do it on Boxing Day or choose a Gratitude Day at another time of year. Just do it. Life is uncertain and you may be very glad you did. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Happy 25th

It’s the 25th and all through the house,
There’s gratitude brewingno fire to dowse!
My stocking hangs from the mantle with care,
Which means one foot is still going bare.

The sun peeking through a few drops of rain,
Makes hope for snowflakes somewhat in vane.
But the luscious smells of food on the air,
Carry great expectations for holiday fare.

Wherever you are and whatever you do,
I’m sending good thoughts to be with you.
Take time to add to your memory’s store,
With hugs and fun and laughter galore.

Remember that when all's said and done,
What really counts are the hearts you’ve won.
So from my brain and each little cell,

I wish you a very Happy Noel.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Altering Beliefs

According to Neurotheologians like Andrew Newberg, MD, even what constitutes a proof about something is itself a form of belief. Beliefs are susceptible to alterations especially in the presence of authoritarian as well as family and/or peer-group pressure. If the pressure becomes to great some “run away” from the environment. They may leave a specific culture behind for another part of the world or relocate in order to join a specific culture. The human brain, especially the left frontal lobe of the cerebrum, is always trying to come up with reasons for things and is very susceptible to deceptions and illusions. Studies have shown that neither child nor adult brains have a well-developed capacity to distinguish the accuracy of their beliefs; adults are particularly vulnerable in terms of maintaining self-deceptive beliefs. Therefore, in addition to identifying your beliefs, it is important to know your reasons for keeping, altering, or discarding a belief.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Health and Beliefs

Your biology (body) adapts to your beliefs, especially in relation to health. What you "believe" will happen (e.g., "I'm going to catch that cold!") often tends to happen. In fact, your beliefs may even impact your genetic potential. Estimates are that your genetic inheritance impacts about 30% of how well and how long you live—up to 70% of how long and how well you live is in your hands. Once embraced and acted upon, beliefs can take on a life of their own and run in the background, as it were, much like apps run in the background on your mobile phone. Although it can be a challenge to bring your beliefs to conscious awareness it is important to do so because you can manage (and maintain, change, or discard) only what you can consciously identify, label, and describe. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Brain and Beliefs, 2

According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, arguably the foremost current living authority on Epigenetics (how environment impacts your Genetics) and cellular memory, says that beliefs act like camera filters, changing the way you see the world. Some inclination for beliefs may be hard-wired into the brain and/or to cellular memory from biological ancestors. In addition, emotions bind your brain’s perceptions to your beliefs making them seem even more real. And depending on the specific emotion: joy, anger, fear, or sadness, they can lock that belief into cement, in a manner of speaking. Bill Wilson, creator of the 12-Step program for alcoholics said: “No one can make much of a life until self-searching has become a regular habit." Therefore it may be important to examine your beliefs—especially cultural, sexual, health, religious, and political beliefs. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Brain and Beliefs

Your brain may have adopted a belief for a variety of reasons:
  • You decide something is true because an authority figure said it was true (e.g., parents, teachers, clerics, politicians)
  • You adopted what your per group believes
  • You and your brain came to its own conclusion about something based on personal experience
  • You joined an organization because you liked the dogma or rules it espoused
  • You obtained additional education and information that gave you a different perspective
  • You were curious and joined a cult or militant organization and were “brainwashed”   
  • You allowed yourself to live in a state of anger about something you perceived as injustice (whether or not you could do something about it) and that gradually warped your perspective
  • You name it . . .

More tomorrow.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Brain and Origin of Beliefs

When I make presentations on Bias, Bigotry, and Beliefs, someone invariably asks: Where do beliefs come from? Your brain is thought to have created your mind and your brain also creates your beliefsfrom what you are taught and what you learn (which are often very different), cellular memory (a form of Epigenetics whereby memories of biological ancestors and their behaviors as far back as at least three or four generations are retained in your cells that have a nucleus. These subconscious memories may be filed on protein strands in the cell nucleus and may tend to push you toward specific behaviors although they don’t hold a gun to your head metaphorically to force you to embrace and exhibit the behavior(s). Your brain also creates beliefs based on the role-modeling of older siblings and of adults around you and within your environment; from the script you were metaphorically handed at birth, from what you watch on television and movies, and from your own life experiences and observations. More tomorrow.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Brain and Beliefs

On a recent television interview I was asked how many belief systems I thought there were on this planet. Since every brain is different and beliefs are a brain’s own opinion, then in a sense each brain has its own belief system, which means there are seven billion plus belief systems (give or take a few) on this planet. To put it another way, each brains only has its own opinion. People talk about soft science and hard science, for example, as if hard science, so called, comes from some absolute authority. Human brains planned every research project, analyzed the data, and developed a conclusion. Everything is filtered through someone’s brain . . . Therefore I often preface a statement by saying “My brain’s opinion is . . .” or “In my brain’s opinion,” because I am clear that’s what it is. No matter that it may be based on research or empirical observation and experience, my filters everything as does every other functional brain on the planet. More tomorrow.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Brain and Bias, 4

Since mismanaged brain bias can turn into beliefs—semi-automatic or automatic habits and responses to which you give little if any conscious or analytical thought—what is the definition of a belief? I view belief as a term or label for your brain’s opinion about something (e.g., politics, religion, culture, gender, or you name it). In a nutshell it is simply a state of mind in which you perceive the likelihood of something being true (with or without empirical—experiential or observational—evidence), which means that since every brain is unique every brain has different beliefs. The behaviors and practices you exhibit tend to be based on your beliefs—in combination with your values; what you personally deem to be of paramount importance to yourself personally and to your family, friends, school, work, country and so on. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Brain and Bias, 3

The human brain appears to come with some level of built-in bias designed to help keep you safe. Your brain’s bias (to paraphrase some definitions) might tell you that those who are more like you in gender, appearance, and age, are more likely to be “safer” as compared to those you do not know. Therefore, a healthy ability to discriminate based on healthy and functional bias assessments is likely to help keep you safe. Unmanaged bias, however, or a warped bias can turn into learned bigotry, racism, and prejudice—all of which can become ingrained beliefs that tend to prompt and influence all your actions and behaviors. In fact, your beliefs can become semi-automatic or automatic habits and responses to which you give little if any conscious or analytical thought. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Brain and Bias, 2

The brain appears to be born with a “built-in bias” related to safety. Some say this built-in bias constitutes the fastest decision the brain every makes. It appears that no brain is completely unbiased, notwithstanding that many brains claim they have no bias or are completely unbiased. Indeed it is what you don’t even know you don’t know that can cause you problems. When does the brain activate this bias? It makes a lightning fast decision about safety every time it encounters someone or something for the first time

If it is a person, the brain evaluates:

1.   Is this person like me? If “no,” what are the differences and am I SAFE?

If it is a thing, the brain evaluates:

2.   Have I seen this something before and am I SAFE?

More tomorrow.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Brain and Bias

Recently I’ve had several questions about “Bias” and how the brain manages it, prompted reportedly by the racial and gender unrest not only nationally but internationally. First of all, how do you define “bias?” Merriam-Webster dictionary describes the noun “bias” as a tendency to believe that some people, some ideas, etc., are better than others, which usually results in treating some people unfairly. Wikipedia puts it this way:  Bias is an inclination or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective, often accompanied by a refusal to consider the possible merits of alternative points of view. When the word bias is used as a verb, one definition puts it this way: to feel or show inclination or prejudice for or against someone or something. Interestingly enough, it appears that the human brain comes with a built-in bias. More tomorrow.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Bumper Stickers

  • I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
  • The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  • Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
  • Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.
  • I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
  • Money Isn't Everything... But it Sure Keeps the Kids Calling
  • You have the right to remain silent—anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.
  • I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
  • The bird’s not dead—but it is electroencephalographically challenged. 
  • Saw it... Wanted it... Threw a fit... Got it!... Now what?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Zoned Out – 3

In this recent study of cognitive lapses due to sleep deprivation, Dr. Yuval Nir, the study’s first author, reportedly said: “We were fascinated to observe how sleep deprivation dampened brain cell activity. Unlike the usual rapid reaction, the neurons responded slowly, fired more weakly and their transmissions dragged on longer than usual.” The cellular communication slowdown was one of the observed results, but overall brain wave activity slowed, as well. Professor Itzhak Fried, who led the study, said: “We discovered that starving the body of sleep also robs neurons of the ability to function properly. This paves the way for cognitive lapses in how we perceive and react to the world around us… Slow sleep-like waves disrupted the patients’ brain activity and performance of tasks. This phenomenon suggests that select regions of the patients’ brains were dozing, causing mental lapses, while the rest of the brain was awake and running as usual.” Bottom line conclusion? Inadequate sleep exerts a similar influence on our brain as drinking too much.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Zoned Out – 2

When the brain lacks sufficient sleep, processes in the brain interact in ways that slow what researchers call “slow behavioral performance” or cognitive lapses. Researchers studied program participants in a variety of situations including after a full night of sleep deprivation. The results showed that just before one of the so-called cognitive lapses (and fortunately none of the participants were driving a vehicle during the study!), “the selective spiking responses of individual neurons in the medial temporal lobe (MTL) are attenuated, delayed, and lengthened.” So no wonder that drivers don’t even realize at times that they are tired and yet can “zone out” enough to result in a vehicle accident. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Zoned Out

A article entitled “ Selective neuronal lapses precede human cognitive neuronal lapses in sleep deprivation” and published in the journal Nature Medicine, reported findings indicating that getting insufficient sleep influences the brain in much the same way as drinking too much. Most states have a “test” to identify when a driver has a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, but no test yet exists to identify drivers that are sleep deprived. Too bad, since sleep deprivation contributes to vehicle accidents and medical errors to say nothing of being linked to morbidity with widespread health effects. These effects include an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attack and stroke, depression, diabetes, obesity, heart attack, and stroke. More tomorrow.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Intellectual Humility, 10

Speaking of Thanksgiving, several reported that “Thanksgiving was awful this year. Once again, my aunt and brother went at it with tongs and pitchforks. I think next year we’ll have dinner at our house and it will be ‘by personal invitation only!’” Aside from politics, religion, and gender-relationships, most of the disagreements even related to interpersonal relationships, likely boil down to things that really do not matter. They reflect one’s own belief that our view of the situation is right and theirs is wrong. Brain function research indicates that each brain ONLY HAS IS OWN OPINION. Sometimes that is a unilateral view; sometimes it is a view that has been adopted from someone else. Several years ago I began using the phrase, “In my brain’s opinion,” or “My brain’s opinion is …” They were meant to reflect that no brain can “know” everything much less “know” what it knows with infallible accuracy. And what a brain doesn’t even know it doesn’t know can be lethal. In the light of this new research I have a new respect for this phrase: the words are meant to reflect personal Intellectual Humility . . .

Friday, December 1, 2017

Intellectual Humility, 9

It’s interesting to observe the presence—or absence—of Intellectual Humility in politics, religion, business, gender relationships, and families (to name just a few). Exacerbated and compounded no doubt (my brain’s opinion), by the presence or absence of high levels of EQ or Emotional Intelligence. One only has to notice the ancient and continuing animosity between evolutionists and creationists; the endless racial intolerance—even though human brains are all are the same color; the ongoing ecclesiastical disputes about the position of females in religion and the “ordination of women;” to say nothing of the rigid certainty that “marriage” must be between a 46-XX and a 46-XY chromosomal pattern only—despite the fact that chromosomal patterns ranging from 45 to 49 have been identified. More tomorrow.