Saturday, May 31, 2008

Do You Want to Live Forever?

Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey (born 20 April 1963 in London, England) is a British biomedical gerontologist educated at Cambridge University in the UK.

He is the author of the Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging. He is now working to develop a tissue-repair strategy that would rejuvenate the human body and thereby allow an indefinite lifespan -- a medical goal he calls engineered negligible senescence. To this end, he has identified seven tissue-damages caused by aging that need to be repaired medically before this can be done.

De Grey argues that the fundamental knowledge needed to develop effective anti-aging medicine mostly already exists, and that the science is ahead of the funding. He works to identify and promote specific technological approaches to the reversal of various aspects of aging, or as de Grey puts it, "the set of accumulated side effects from metabolism that eventually kills us,"[5] and for the more proactive and urgent approaches to extending the healthy human lifespan. Regarding this issue, de Grey is a supporter of life extension.

As of 2005, de Grey's work centered upon a detailed plan called Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) which is aimed at preventing age-related physical and cognitive decline. He is also the co-founder (with David Gobel) and chief scientist of the Methuselah Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Springfield, Virginia, United States.

A major activity of the Methuselah Foundation is the Methuselah Mouse Prize, a prize designed to hasten the research into effective life extension interventions by awarding monetary prizes to researchers who stretch the lifespan of mice to unprecedented lengths. Regarding this, de Grey stated in March 2005 "if we are to bring about real regenerative therapies that will benefit not just future generations, but those of us who are alive today, we must encourage scientists to work on the problem of aging." The prize reached US$4.2 million in February 2007. De Grey believes that once dramatic life extension of already middle-aged mice has been achieved, a large amount of funding will be diverted to this kind of research, which would accelerate progress in doing the same for humans.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why We Fight

Why We Fight (2005) is a documentary film directed by Eugene Jarecki about the United States's relationship with war. Its title is an allusion to the World War II-era newsreels of the same name, which were commissioned by the United States to justify their decision to go to war against the Axis Powers.

Why We Fight describes the rise and maintenance of the United States military-industrial complex and its involvement in the wars led by the United States during the last fifty years, and in particular in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. The film alleges that in every decade since World War II, the American public has been told a lie to bring it into war to fuel the military-economic machine, which in turn maintains American dominance in the world.

It includes interviews with John McCain, Chalmers Johnson, Richard Perle, William Kristol, Gore Vidal and Joseph Cirincione. The film also incorporates the stories of a Vietnam War veteran whose son died in the September 11, 2001 attacks and then had his son's name written on a bomb dropped on Iraq; a 23-year old New York man who enlists in the United States Army citing his financial troubles after his only family member died; and a former Vietnamese refugee who now develops explosives for the American military.

Wanna watch this film in high-quality, buy the DVD of this documentary...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Super Rich: The Greed Game

As the credit crunch bites and a global economic crisis threatens, Robert Peston reveals how the super-rich have made their fortunes, and the rest of us are picking up the bill.

No. Name Net worth (USD) Age Citizenship Residence Sources of wealth Ref.
&0000000000000001.0000001 Buffett, WarrenWarren Buffett $62.0 billion 77 Flag of the United States United States Flag of the United States United States Berkshire Hathaway [1]
&0000000000000002.0000002 Helú, Carlos SlimCarlos Slim Helú $60.0 billion 68 Flag of Mexico Mexico Flag of Mexico Mexico Telmex, América Móvil [1]
&0000000000000003.0000003 Gates, BillBill Gates $58.0 billion 52 Flag of the United States United States Flag of the United States United States Microsoft [1]
&0000000000000004.0000004 Mittal, LakshmiLakshmi Mittal $45.0 billion 57 Flag of India India Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom Arcelor Mittal [2]
&0000000000000005.0000005 Ambani, MukeshMukesh Ambani $43.0 billion 50 Flag of India India Flag of India India Reliance Industries [2]
&0000000000000006.0000006 Ambani, AnilAnil Ambani $42.0 billion 48 Flag of India India Flag of India India Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group [2]
&0000000000000007.0000007 Kamprad, IngvarIngvar Kamprad and family $31.0 billion 81 Flag of Sweden Sweden Flag of Switzerland Switzerland IKEA [2]
&0000000000000008.0000008 Pal Singh, KushalKushal Pal Singh $30.0 billion 76 Flag of India India Flag of India India DLF Group [2]
&0000000000000009.0000009 Deripaska, OlegOleg Deripaska $28.0 billion 40 Flag of Russia Russia Flag of Russia Russia Rusal [2]
&0000000000000010.00000010 Albrecht, KarlKarl Albrecht $27.0 billion 88 Flag of Germany Germany Flag of Germany Germany ALDI, Trader Joe's [2]

The Kogi - From the Heart of the World - The Elder Brothers' Warning

The Kogi are an indigenous people living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of northern Colombia, in South America.

They are the only civilisation to have survived the Spanish conquests and to have kept their individuality. They are perhaps the only indigenous people in the world who, because of the particular nature of their surroundings, have been able to keep themselves apart and sustain their culture inviolate. And not only that.

The one anthropologist who managed to study them in the 1940's and 50's concluded that though they are similar in some ways to the other Indian peoples around the Caribbean, northern Central America and south to the Andes, there are such profound differences that "in the end the Kogi stand alone".

They have survived to this day, keeping their traditions and relying upon, and looking after, the mountain environment. They believe it is their duty to look after the mountain which they call "The Heart of the World". They call themselves the Elder Brother and refer to the new- comers as the Younger Brother, who they believe is destroying the balance of the world.

In 1990 the Kogi decided they must speak out to the rest of the world. They had survived by keeping themselves isolated but they decided that it was time to send a message to the Younger Brother. They could see that something was wrong with their mountain, with the heart of the world. The snows had stopped falling and the rivers were not so full. If their mountain was ill then the whole world was in trouble.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Extraordinary people - The boy who lived before

Do you believe in reincarnation? Ever since he could talk, Cameron has been telling stories of his life on Barra, a remote island in the Outer Hebrides, some 220 miles from his current home in Glasgow. He describes in detail his childhood on the island: the white house he lived in, the black-and-white dog he walked on the beach. He talks about his mother, seven siblings and his father, Shane Robertson, who died when he was run over by a car.

Nothing strange about all that. Except the fact that Cameron is only five years old now; his memories seem to be of a former life. Cameron’s stories have become increasingly more detailed since he first started telling them, and the shock of him insisting “I’m a Barra boy, I’m a Barra boy” has worn off a little. But his emotional attachment to his ‘Barra mum’ concerns his mother, and there’s clearly something going on in the poor kid’s head when he says, “My real barra dad doesn’t look left and right.” Intrigued by her enigmatic son, Cameron’s mother Norma has decided to investigate his claims.

Everyone who comes across Cameron is sceptical, but his stories are just so consistent. In her search to find a rational explanation for Cameron’s tales of his Barra childhood, Norma first visits psychologist Dr Chris French, editor of The Skeptic magazine. French suggests that Cameron might simply have acquired knowledge about Barra through TV or a family friend, and thus invented the stories himself.

Norma isn’t satisfied by this. Her next port of call is educational psychologist Karen Majors, who tells her that the way that Cameron describes his Barra world is similar to the way in which some children speak about imaginary places and people, except that Cameron really seems to believe that he has seen the things he describes first-hand; he also doesn’t seem to be able to control his ‘fantasy’ as other children do. Norma decides to investigate the possibility of reincarnation, contacting leading expert Dr Jim Tucker at the University of Virginia.

Tucker has investigated countless statements of reincarnation from children across the world. One of the cases he refers to comes from the American mid-West. Gus Taylor was 18 months old when he first began claiming to be his own grandfather returned to his family, saying “I used to be big and now I’m a kid again.” At four he was given a photograph album in which he identified his grandfather as a young boy in a group school photo as well as his first car. He startled his parents with knowledge they couldn’t comprehend him having about an aunt who had been murdered. Gus talks about falling through a porthole. Cameron also frequently alludes to falling through a hole from Barra; he is very calm about death because he believes we come back.

What the Bleep Do We Know

What the Bleep Do We Know!? is an extraordinary project which transcends traditional cinema and presents a hybrid ‘feature documentary’ that challenges and inspires its audience – it’s a unique cinematic creation - really three films in one, interwoven like a DNA helix, into an original tapestry.

It's a documentary. It's a story. It has mind-blowing special effects. These three elements combine to bring about a film experience that will rock your mind and lift your soul! It's a new genre about a New Worldview for a new audience. This outrageous film plunges you into a world where quantum uncertainty is demonstrated – where neurological processes, and perceptual shifts are engaged and lived by its protagonist - where everything is alive, and reality is changed by every thought.

It has been called by some theater goers 'The Handbook to The Matrix'. Like The Matrix it shows you a greater reality behind the one we all accept as true, and you have the ability to create absolutely anything from your own thought while laughing all the way! The difference between this film and that movie is that this isn't science fiction. It's even stranger. It's real. And it's the first film to say it. And it does so boldly and with a BLEEP of a lot of humour.




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Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus






Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus is the first feature length documentary (85 mins) to explore the Darwin vs. intelligent design controversy. Filmmaker/evolutionary ecologist/surfer Dr. Randy Olson pokes fun at both sides of this debate and eventually uses his own mother, Muffy Moose, to make sense out of the issue that both Time and Newsweek recently featured on their covers. He travels to his home state of Kansas, the top battle ground for evolution, where he sits down with his mothers neighbor, John Calvert, one of the top lawyers backing intelligent design, for a confrontation that leaves audiences squirming in their seats.

School districts are now grappling with the new efforts to introduce intelligent design, the movement evolutionists prefer to call, creationism in a cheap tuxedo. However, Olson, in a surprising turn given his evolution background, also paints an unflattering portrait of his fellow scientists. Pulling together eight evolutionists for a night of poker, he reveals them to be arrogant, condescending, and self-certain until they eventually turn on themselves in a spat that sounds like a flock of dodos.

From the opening statistic (a pie chart in the form of an apple pie) the film provides equal amounts of laughter, guffaws, and eventually enough serious thought to prompt hours of discussion.










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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Inside Mecca

For over 1400 years, Mecca has been one of the most important cities in the Arabian Peninsula. By the middle of the 6th century, there were three major settlements in northern Arabia, all along the southwestern coast that borders the Red Sea, in a habitable region between the sea and the great desert to the east. This area, known as the Hejaz, featured three settlements that had grown around oasis, where water was available. In the center of the Hejaz was Yathrib, later renamed as Medina. 250 miles (400 km) south of Yathrib was Taif, a mountain town, and northwest of Taif was Mecca.

Though the area around Mecca was completely barren, Mecca was the wealthiest and most important of the three settlements. Islamic histories state that it had abundant water via the Zamzam Well, which was the site of the holiest shrine in Arabia, the Kaaba, and was also at the crossroads of major caravan routes. In actual fact the well of Zamzam was barely sufficient to support the small community there, the Kaaba was but one of many such Arabian Polytheistic temple found in the peninsula, and the city was the terminus for a single caravan route which ran from Mecca to Syria.

The Meccan economy is almost entirely dependent on money spent by people attending the Hajj. The city takes in more than $100 million during the Hajj. The Saudi government spends about $50 million on services for the Hajj. There are some industries and factories in the city, but Mecca no longer plays a major role in Saudi Arabia's economy, which is mainly based on oil exports. The few industries operating in Mecca include textiles, furniture, and utensils. The majority of the economy is service oriented. Water is scarce and food must be imported via Shu'eyba water plant and Jeddah.

The cultural environment of today's Mecca has been influenced by a religious movement that began in central Arabia in the mid-eighteenth century. This movement is commonly known as the Wahhabi movement. It has been also influenced by the Shafi`i school. Also, the conflict between liberals and religious scholars made a major impact on the Society of Mecca.

As one might expect, the existence of cities closed to non-Muslims and the mystery of the Hajj aroused intense curiosity in people from around the world. Some have disguised themselves as Muslims and entered the city of Mecca and then the Grand Mosque to experience the Hajj for themselves. The most famous account of a foreigner's journey to Mecca is A Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, written by Sir Richard Francis Burton. Burton traveled as a Qadiriyyah Sufi from Afghanistan; his name, as he signed it in Arabic below his frontispiece portrait for "The Jew, The Gypsy and al-Islam," was al-Hajj 'Abdullah.

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Note: a 30 second delay appears before the video. The film has been checked for completeness.

Stupidity by Albert Nerenberg Features Bill Mahe
r, Noam Chomsky, George W. Bush, Mark Crispin Miller and many others. A humorous examination of stupidity in contemporary American culture, covering: the effects of television and mass media on the American intellect; the "dumbing down" of American culture; the popularity of Steve-O and Jackass; role of religion in willful stupidity; the identifaction of many Americans with George W. Bush; the evolution of such concepts as "idiot" and "moron."

The DVD edition contains extra interviews commentaries and readings. The film is not connected
to Matthijs van Boxsel's book called Encyclopaedia of Stupidity -- also 2003- but recommended.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Building Gods

Beginning in 2002, American filmmaker Ken Gumbs began traveling the globe interviewing some of the world's leading technological, religious and philosophical theorists. He went out in the hopes of discovering how our quickly evolving technology may someday challenge who we are and what our world will become.

Robots. Cyborgs. God. Souls. Immortality. Building Gods investigates the world of technology to reveal some of humanity's biggest questions. What is life? Where do we come from? Where is humanity heading? What are souls?

For the first time anywhere, some of the world's leading theorists are allowed to openly debate the technological future of the human race: a future that may involve paradise or war, immortality or extinction.

Building Gods stands as a testament for future generations to understand what the world's greatest thinkers believed at the beginning of this new century. Their worst fears and greatest hopes may soon become a reality.

Human 2.0

Meet the scientific prophets
who claim we are on the verge of creating a new type of human - a human v2.0.

It's predicted that by 2029 computer intelligence will equal the power of the human brain. Some believe this will revolutionise humanity - we will be able to download our minds to computers extending our lives indefinitely. Others fear this will lead to oblivion by giving rise to destructive ultra intelligent machines.

One thing they all agree on is that the coming of this moment - and whatever it brings - is inevitable.

The Deception of Carlos Castaneda

Carlos Castaneda (December 25, 1925 – April 27, 1998) was a Peruvian-born American author. Starting with The Teachings of Don Juan in 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that describe his purported training in traditional Mesoamerican shamanism. His 12 books have sold more than 8 million copies in 17 languages. The books and Castaneda, who rarely spoke in public about his work, have been controversial for many years. Supporters claim the books are either true or at least valuable works of philosophy and descriptions of practices which enable an increased awareness. Academic critics claim the books are works of fiction, citing the books' internal contradictions, discrepancies between the books and anthropological data, alternate sources for Castaneda's detailed knowledge of shamanic practices and lack of corroborating evidence.

In his books, Carlos Castaneda narrates in first person what he claims were his experiences under the tutelage of a Yaqui shaman named don Juan Matus whom he met in 1960. Castaneda reports that he was identified by don Juan Matus as having the energetic configuration of a "nagual", who, if the spirit chose, could become a leader of a party of seers.

He also used the term "nagual" to signify that part of perception which is in the realm of the unknown yet still reachable by man, implying that, for his party of seers, don Juan was a connection in some way to that unknown. Carlos Castaneda often referred to this unknown realm as nonordinary reality, which indicated that this realm was indeed a reality, but radically different from the ordinary reality experienced by human beings who are well engaged in everyday activities as part of their social conditioning.