The Deepest Truth…

Neil DeGrasse Tyson offers his “most astounding fact” about us and the universe. In it are the roots of a true spirituality, a spirituality that isn’t blind to the sheer scope and wonder of life and nature and the universe itself, a spirituality that recognizes the importance of all things and a true understanding of their interconnections: science.

As above, so below.

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Depression

If you suffer from depression, you should watch the video below.

If you know someone who suffers from depression, you should watch it too.

The video is a lecture by Dr. Robert Sapolsky, a brilliant biologist (of the neuroendocrinologist sort) at Stanford. It’s less than an hour in length, and Sapolsky is a very engaging speaker who makes complicated topics very easy to understand.

I’ve suffered from depression for most of my life, been in therapy, read a book on it here and there….and in less than sixty minutes, Sapolsky gave me a much clearer vision of exactly what the hell is going on in my mind and soul. It’s enlightening, and somewhat terrifying.

I was particularly taken with his explanation about how nature (genetics) and nurture (trauma) can interact and literally change the way the brain functions. I already knew that emotional events could have lasting neurological effects, but now I understand how that probably happens. He explains very clearly how, say, a miserable childhood and possession of a certain gene can do crushing damage not just to a person’s psyche but to their brain chemistry. (Which reminds me of the Andrew Vachs column on emotional abuse I blogged about here).

You should watch.

The Long Weekend, Overstimulation, & Frogs With Pointy Teeth

I’m awake, and I’ve been lax of late with the blog, so I figured I’d type at you a bit.

As the last couple of entries indicate, this has been the weekend of both my big convention and my book festival debuts, at DragonCon (largest SF con in the world, I’m told) and the Decatur Book Festival (largest book fest in the US, right here walking distance from my front door).

It has been fun and exciting and stressful and exhausting, and I’ll revisit it in another post once it’s truly over (I still have a DragonCon panel at 4 pm tomorrow…uh, today. Monday.), hopefully with pictures from at least one of my appearances.

I’m not sure if it’s just the over-stimulation of it all, the public speaking, the meeting of cool new people, the armies of amazingly hot women in cool costumes, or lingering full moon energy, but I got maybe two hours of sleep so far tonight. And I have an earworm of Felicia Day’s lovely voice singing “Do you want to date my avatar?” over and over in my head.

Scanning the news as I sat here in my drawers, wishing I was a-slumber, I came across this headline from The Guardian: “Lost World of Fanged Frogs and Giant Rats Discovered in Papua New Guinea.”

Fanged frogs!

I already wrote about the discovery in the Andes of the world’s tiniest frogs a while back, indication that perhaps the evil Frogs of Doom were up to new tricks after their defeat by Spartacus Wilde and his kids (as chronicled in my novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom). And now this.

Fanged frogs. In a lost world.

They also discovered a species of rat as big as a cat, kangaroos that live in trees, and a fish that grunts. Among many other new critters.

See? There really is pulp in our world.

UPDATE: For another report on the lost world and its denizens, with several pictures, check out The Daily Mail here.

The Souls of Dogs

Travis 1995-2007

Travis 1995-2007

There’s a good short piece in the Seattle Times about the ethical/emotional lives of dogs. It’s not going to provide any groundbreaking insight to anyone who has ever lived with a dog, but it’s a nice break from the usual Cartesian philosophy that animals are guided entirely by instinct and have no emotions.

One thing I was very interested to find out:

“Dogs apparently laugh,” Page said. The same brain structures show the same activity in laughing humans and in dogs that are enjoying themselves. A dog’s laugh is a rhythmic pant.

I know that pant. You naturally know it means happy, but I had no idea it’s actual laughter, physiologically speaking.

Go here to read.