To my friends in Alabama, Doug Jones is running a classy campaign with great humility. He’s happy to let his strong values and distinguished record as a pillar of the community speak for itself. Take a good look.
— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) November 22, 2017
Toyota has announced the its latest humanoid robot, the T-HR3.
The third generation in a series that Toyota has been developing for many years, the new robot has the ability to mimic human movements, perhaps taking us closer to the world of Japanese mecha science fiction.
The THR-3’s 32 axes and 10 moveable fingers can be controlled by a human operating its chair-like Master Maneuvering System. The force feedback-enabled system includes a head-mounted display (HTC Vive), “data glove,” and multiple torque servos (there are 16 torque servo modules in the MMS chair along with motion and force sensors at the feet, and 29 further torque servo modules in the robot’s joints.) These allow the operator to to control the robot with instant responsiveness so that it flexibly and smoothly maps the human motions and force to an impressive degree of accuracy. The robot can move forward or laterally, and has superb balance control. For example, even if it collides with something, it is able to maintain balance and not fall over.
Measuring 1.5 meters (5.1 ft) and weighing 75kg (165 lbs), the THR-3 robot is still at the prototype stage, but the implications for its real-time remote operation in supporting disaster relief, rescue and construction tasks are immense.
The T-HR3 will be on show at the International Robot Exhibition 2017 in Tokyo from November 29th to December 2nd.
President Trump didn’t pardon the whole turkey, just the white meat.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) November 21, 2017
Thanksgiving is over, and now we turn our thoughts to the next holiday looming over our heads.
Don’t know what to wear to your next festive office gathering? These ugly holiday rompers are just what you need.
Suit up in these numbers and no one will dare double-cross you at the dinner table.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanaka, Get On Fleek has a romper suitable for you. These are printed front and back with short sleeves, attached collar, button top, and zipper fly below. All rompers are double-stitched for your comfort and peace of mind.
And if rompers aren’t your thing, check out the ugly Donald Trump-inspired holiday sweater. It’s equally unique.
Find the rompers here.
Via Get On Fleek
Looking to adopt a new pet? This set of Bioluminescent Plankton is a very tempting, low-key option.
This is definitely a step above a fish tank or Sea Monkey set-up.
Here’s how it works. Order the set online. When it arrives in the mail, open the pouch of dinoflagellates and pour them into the glass tank. Add water and wait. The tank will be teaming with the little guys in no time.
How do you get the globe to glow? Gently swirl the container and watch as thousands of dinoflagellates glow for you.
Via Bio Pop
Article provided by: Dea @ I Nourish Gently
I have to admit when I saw this recipe, my heart started pounding.
I won’t believe it if you say you’re looking at the image right now and NOT salivating… A LOT!
I’ve always said I’m all about simplicity, but once in a while recipes like this one deserve the time and effort needed to put them together.
I am a huge fan of roasted veggies, and when they intermingle beautifully with lasagna sheets and creamy, cheesy sauces in a richly delightful recipe like this one, my excitement just goes over the top!
I won’t go into further detail as to how AMAZING this tastes, because you just have to try it yourself (and come back to tell everyone else in the comments below).
4 red or yellow bell peppers (about ¾ pound)
4 large zucchini (1½ pounds), sliced on a diagonal about ¼-inch thick
1 large Italian eggplant (about 1 pound), sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
1 large onion (about ½ pound), sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the grill pan
6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped from the stems and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Herb Ricotta (recipe follows)
2 cups Basil Pesto (recipe follows)
Puttanesca Sauce (recipe follows)
1 pound lasagna noodles, cooked in boiling salted water just until al dente, then drained, and rinsed (I use gluten-free)
10 ounces soy mozzarella, preferably Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet, shredded (4 cups)
1. Put each pepper directly on a gas burner over high heat and char, turning periodically with tongs, until the skin is wrinkled and blistered on all sides, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can roast the peppers using a broiler, turning them occasionally. Put the peppers into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let them steam for about 10 minutes to loosen the skins.
2. Pull out the cores of the peppers and remove the seeds. Pull off and discard the blackened skin. Dip your fingers in water as you work to keep the charred bits from sticking. Cut the roasted peppers into ½-inch-wide strips and put in a large mixing bowl, along with any juices that have collected. Add the sliced zucchini, eggplant, and onion, tossing to combine.
3. Combine the oil, basil, thyme, garlic, and shallot in a small bowl or measuring cup, season with salt and pepper, and whisk to blend. Pour the marinade over the vegetables, tossing to coat evenly. Set aside for 10 minutes so the vegetables can soak up the flavour.
4. Preheat an outdoor grill and coat with oil, or coat a grill pan with oil and put over medium-high heat. Alternatively, preheat the broiler.
5. Arrange the peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and onion on the grill or grill pan (if using a grill pan, you will have to do this in batches) and grill, turning the vegetables once, until they are tender and lightly browned and have released most of their moisture, about five minutes per side. Or, if using the broiler, arrange the vegetables in a single layer on two nonstick baking sheets and broil in two batches. Set the vegetables aside.
6. Mix together the herb ricotta and 1 cup of the basil pesto in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Once you have the sauce ready, the vegetables grilled, and the filling made, you can start assembling the lasagna. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
8. Ladle about 1 cup of the sauce into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, to just cover the bottom. Slightly overlap six lasagna noodles crosswise so they completely cover the bottom of the dish, with no gaps. Top the noodles with one-third of the ricotta-pesto mixture, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle 1 cup of the soy mozzarella over the ricotta. Shingle one-third of the roasted peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and onion in an even layer on top. Repeat the process, layering sauce, lasagna noodles, ricotta-pesto, soy mozzarella, and vegetables two more times. Finally, top with the remaining six lasagna noodles and sauce.
9. Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until bubbly. Remove the foil and top the lasagna with the remaining 1 cup soy mozzarella. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Allow the lasagna to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into eight squares.
To serve: Divide the remaining 1 cup pesto among 8-12 plates, spreading it out with the back of a spoon. Set a lasagna square on top.
Makes about 4 cups
We add fresh herbs to the almond ricotta to bring a little something extra to the pasta filling.
Also check out this Creamy-Dreamy Herb Cashew-Hemp Cheese
4 cups Kite Hill almond ricotta
6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
4 fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Mash together the almond ricotta, basil, parsley, garlic, and shallot in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. The ricotta can be prepared in advance, covered, and refrigerated for up to five days before using it as a pasta filling; leftovers keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Makes 1 cup
Pesto, among the best-known sauces to come out of Italy, is simple to make, requires no cooking, and has only a few ingredients. Yet it adds the most delicious pop of colour and flavour to pastas, soups, and roasted vegetables.
2 cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes (see Note)
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
4 garlic cloves, smashed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Combine the basil, parsley, nutritional yeast flakes, nuts, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a food processor and pulse until a paste forms, pushing down the basil and parsley as needed. With the motor running, pour in the oil in a steady stream, making sure it directly hits the blade (this is the best way to distribute the oil and emulsify it evenly and quickly). Transfer to a container. If you’re not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to keep it from oxidizing.
Note on Nutritional Yeast Flakes: Nutritional yeast may not sound like the most appetizing ingredient, but it has a cheesy, nutty, savoury quality that gives any dish extra oomph. Just a tablespoon or two adds a creamy, salty richness to dips, soups, and sauces. Look for nutritional yeast flakes in the supplement section of the market or health food store. Be sure to select flakes instead of granules, which will deliver a bit of texture to whatever you add them to.
Makes 8 cups
Puttanesca is a robust old-school Italian red sauce made from pantry staples — olives, capers, and red pepper flakes.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups Scoty’s Marinara Sauce (recipe follows) or store-bought sauce
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
1/3 cup capers, drained
8 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Put a medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, shallots, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the shallots are translucent, two to three minutes.
2. Pour in the wine and cook, stirring, for one to two minutes to evaporate some of the alcohol. Stir in the tomato paste and marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the olives, capers and basil, and season with salt and black pepper. Gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes.
Makes 6 cups
Two 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, finely grated (about ½ cup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pinch of baking soda
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter stick
1. Working in batches, put the tomatoes, along with their juice, in a food processor or blender and puree just until semi-smooth; you want a little bit of chunky texture.
2. Put a medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, and carrot, season with salt, black pepper and the red pepper flakes, and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the pureed tomatoes, stirring to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 45 minutes. Season the sauce with more salt and black pepper, to taste. Remove from the heat, stir in the baking soda, making sure it dissolves, and add the basil and butter substitute.
Once cooled, the sauce can be refrigerated covered for up to three days or frozen for up to two months.Source: http://ift.tt/R7c12l
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 400 million people, of all ages, suffer from depression, making it the leading cause of disability worldwide.
This is a massive target market for pharmaceutical companies, and that’s no secret. There are huge profits to be had, and drug companies are taking every opportunity to make the most of this seemingly limitless source of income — at the expense of the consumer. It is not difficult to find evidence to support this notion, and a recent study published in the British Medical Journal is just one of many compelling examples. The study showed that pharmaceutical companies were not disclosing all information regarding the results of their drug trials. Researchers looked at documents from 70 different double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) and found that the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports went unreported.
And it’s not the first time this has happened. To read more about that and to find the study, click here.
Not feeling well can take a toll on your physical health in a number of ways; when it comes to the brain, episodes of constant depression can actually reduce the size of your hippocampus — an area of the brain involved in forming and regulating emotions and memory. This is especially concerning for teenagers, given their brains are still developing in significant ways.
There is good news, however: the damage can be reversed, and you can change your brain in a number of different ways, but to do so requires you to make the decision to help yourself and then act on it.
Several studies have stated that depressed people tend to have a smaller hippocampus. According to Professor Ian Hickie of The University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute:
[The] more episodes of depression a person had, the greater the reduction in hippocampus size. So recurrent or persistent depression does more harm to the hippocampus the more you leave it untreated.
This largely settles the question of what comes first: the smaller hippocampus or the depression? The damage to the brain comes from recurrent illness…
Other studies have demonstrated reversibility, and the hippocampus is one of the unique areas of the brain that rapidly generates new connections between cells, and what are lost here are connections between cells rather than the cells themselves.
Treating depression effectively does not just mean medicines. If you are unemployed, for example, and then sit in a room doing nothing as a result, this can shrink the hippocampus. So social interventions are just as important, and treatments such as fish oils are also thought to be neuro-protective. (source)(source)
It’s also noteworthy to mention here that feelings of sadness and negativity can code different information into the heart’s electromagnetic field, and the heart will actually send signals to the brain that can create chaos in the nervous system. These findings come from the scientists at the Institute of HeartMath, who investigate heart and brain interaction. You can read more about that here.
Scientists have also used brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data to test the hypothesis that depression changes the brain. For example, an international team of researchers found those who suffered from recurring depression do indeed have a smaller hippocampus.
Joseph Coyle, a neuroscientist from Harvard Medical School, perhaps sums it up best when he explains that this idea of a “chemical imbalance is sort of last-century thinking. It’s much more complicated than that.” And it’s true; depression cannot truly be reduced to the commonly accepted notion of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Posed in the late 1950s, this theory essentially posits that depression is a deficiency of select neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) at critical points, like synapses. One of these neurotransmitters is serotonin; others include norepinephrine and dopamine.
As Scientific American reports, “much of the general public seems to have accepted the chemical imbalance hypothesis uncritically,” but “it is very likely that depression stems from influences other than neurotransmitter abnormalities.”
Harvard Medical School also put out a press release a few years ago stating it’s “often said that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but that figure of speech doesn’t capture how complex the disease is.” Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, a prominent author and British psychiatrist, explains further:
Of course, there are brain events and biochemical reactions occurring when someone feels depressed, as there are all the time, but no research has ever established that a particular brain state causes, or even correlates with, depression. . . . In all cases studies yield inconsistent results, and none have been shown to be specific to depression, let alone causal. . . . The fact that more than 50 years of intense research efforts have failed to identify depression in the brain may indicate that we simply lack the right technology, or it may suggest we have been barking up the wrong tree!
The most commonly cited evidence to support the chemical imbalance theory is the ability of some drugs to increase and decrease mood in human and animal models. While many antidepressants increase the amounts of serotonin and other neurotransmitters at synapses, they do not address the underlying issues or help the brain heal itself. And what we fail to realize today is that just because mood can be artificially manipulated with drugs does not mean that depression cannot be treated in other ways, or that the chemical imbalance theory is true.
We are simply incapable of saying with certainty that a human being has a chemical imbalance (to whatever extent) or identifying what neurotransmitters are involved. This is why the chemical imbalance theory of depression remains a theory. Chemical levels in the brain cannot accurately be measured or ‘looked at,’ either.
Yet much of the general public still accepts the chemical imbalance theory. A survey conducted in 2007 of 262 undergraduates at Cleveland State University found more than 80% of the participants found it “likely” that chemical imbalances cause depression. Yet according to Jonathan Leo, an associate professor of neuroanatomy at Lincoln Memorial University, this really has yet to be proven: “At best, drug-induced affective disturbances can only be considered models for natural disorders, while it remains to be demonstrated that the behavioral changes produced by these drugs have any relation to naturally occurring biochemical abnormalities which might be associated with the illness.
It’s important to keep in mind there are probably many chemicals involved, working both inside and outside of our nerve cells. As Harvard Medical School points out, there are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system responsible for your mood, perceptions, and experience of life.
Jonathan Leo further points out that “the cause of mental disorders such as depression remains unknown. However, the idea that neurotransmitter imbalances cause depression is vigorously promoted by pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatric profession at large.”
As I hope I have made clear, the theory that depression is caused by low levels of serotonin, along with similar such theories, came into existence because scientists were able to observe what drugs do to the brain. It is a hypothesis that attempted to explain how drugs were able to fix the problem, but whether or not depressed people actually have lower serotonin levels remains to be proven. You can read more about the science here.
“The serotonin theory is simply not a scientific statement. It’s a botched theory – a hypothesis that was proven incorrect.”
– Dr. Joseph Mercola (source)
Not only is there no solid scientific proof to back up the chemical imbalance theory, many depressed people are not even helped by taking antidepressants like SSRIs. For example, a review done by the University of California in 2009 found one third of people treated with antidepressants do not improve, and a significant portion of these people remain depressed. Scientific American too points out that “if antidepressants correct a chemical imbalance that underlies depression, all or most depressed people should get better after taking them.”
That being said, there are many who do report positive benefits, but there is no way to tell if the drugs are working or if they are just working like a placebo.
Think about this for a moment: So many of us are made to believe that depression is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, when there is actually little scientific evidence to support that statement. Association between various brain changes and depression is large, and no studies have established a solid, cause-and-effect correlation between the brain and the disorder.
Depression science has one focus — brain chemistry — despite it being a multi-faceted problem. Focusing on this one theory and then dishing out drugs that alter brain chemistry is, as Scientific American puts it, simply “shortsighted.”
“In spite of the enormous amounts of money and time that has been spent on the quest to confirm the chemical imbalance theory, direct proof has never materialized.” (source)
I am astounded that people fail to see the irony in the situation. The only chemical imbalances we can prove exist in people’s brains are the ones being inflicted upon them by psychiatric drugs.
As Dr. Mercola points out:
Contrary to popular belief, depression is not likely caused by unbalanced brain chemicals; however there are a number of other biological factors that appear to be highly significant. Chronic inflammation is one such factor.5
Scientists have also found that your mental health can be adversely impacted by factors such as vitamin D deficiency and/or unbalanced gut flora — both of which, incidentally, play a role in keeping inflammation in check, which is really what the remedy to depression is all about.
He also talks about sugar, which is extremely toxic to the body and a catalyst for multiple diseases. You can read his article on depression and these other biological factors here.
Neuroplasticity refers to the idea that the brain can change and adapt. The concept is now being used to treat learning disabilities, brain damage, chronic pain, and more. A great person to learn more about this from is Dr. Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself. He writes:
The idea that the brain is plastic in the sense of changeable, adaptable and malleable is the single most important change in our understanding of the human brain in four hundred years. Neuroplasticity is that property of the brain that allows it to change its structure and its function, it’s a response to sensing and perceiving the world, even to thinking and imagining. Human thoughts and learning actually turn on certain genes in our nerve cells which allow those cells to make new connections between them.
Simply put, the way you think can change your brain. This is not a new idea, and it has been demonstrated by a number of experiments, ranging from quantum physics, where factors associated with conscious can change the behaviour of an atom, to placebo studies, which demonstrate the power of the mind.
For example, a Baylor School of Medicine study, published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at surgery for patients with severe and debilitating knee pain. Many surgeons know there is no placebo effect in surgery, or so most of them believe. The patients were divided into three groups. The surgeons shaved the damaged cartilage in the knee of one group. For the second group they flushed out the knee joint, removing all of the material believed to be causing inflammation. Both of these processes are the standard surgeries people who have severe arthritic knees must undergo. The third group received a “fake” surgery; the patients were sedated and then tricked into thinking they had actually undergone knee surgery. Doctors made the incisions and splashed salt water on the knee as they would in normal surgery, then sewed up the incisions like the real thing. All three groups went through the same rehab process, and the results were astonishing. The placebo group improved just as much as the other two groups who had surgery.
“My skill as a surgeon had no benefit on these patients. The entire benefit of surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee was the placebo effect.”
– Dr. Moseley (surgeon involved in the study) (Lipton, Bruce. The Biology of Belief. Hay House, Inc, 2005)
The power of the placebo effect was also clearly demonstrated in a report published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services in 1999. It discovered that half of severely depressed patients taking drugs improve compared to the 32% taking a placebo. Considering all of the side effects and dangers associated with antidepressant use, this marginal difference hardly seems worthwhile. And let’s not forget that the antidepressant industry is a multi-billion dollar one.
A 2002 article published in the American Psychological Association’s Prevention & Treatment by University of Connecticut psychology professor Irving Kirsch titled “The Emperor’s New Drugs” made some more shocking discoveries. Kirsch found that 80% of the effect of antidepressants, as measured in clinical trials, could be attributed to the placebo effect. This professor even had to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get information on the clinical trials of the top antidepressants. Kirsch found the difference between the response of the drugs and the response of the placebo was less than two points on average on this clinical scale that goes from 50-60 points. That difference, as Kirsch points out, is clinically meaningless.
Researchers all over the world have found that placebo treatments can stimulate real biological and physiological responses — everything from changes in heart rate to blood pressure and even chemical activity in the brain. It’s been effective with a number of different ailments, from arthritis and fatigue to depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s, and more. Why are we not utilizing our brain’s own remarkable ability to heal itself more often?
Take a look at these factors.
Exercise has been shown to effectively combat depression and help rebuild the hippocampus, and studies have shown very clear links between inactivity and depression. As Dr. Mercola tells us, women who sit for more than seven hours a day have a 47% higher risk of depression than women who sit for four hours or less per day. Furthermore, women who do no physical activity whatsoever have a 99% higher risk of developing depression compared to women who exercise. Studies have shown its efficiency typically surpasses that of antidepressant drugs, and it also helps rid your body of stress chemicals that can lead to depression.
As Forbes points out:
The practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits – from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the ‘me’ centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions. . . .
Skeptics, of course, may ask what good are a few brain changes if the psychological effects aren’t simultaneously being illustrated? Luckily, there’s good evidence for those as well, with studies reporting that meditation helps relieve our subjective levels of anxiety and depression, and improve attention, concentration, and overall psychological well-being.
Related CE article: Harvard Study Unveils What Meditation Literally Does to the Brain
For more helpful ways to overcome depression, you can check out this article.
Thanks for reading.