What you seek you shall never find.
For when the Gods made man,
They kept immortality to themselves.
Fill your belly.
Day and night make merry.
Let Days be full of joy.
Love the child who holds your hand.
Let your wife delight in your embrace.
For these alone are the concerns of man.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, Sumerian, 1800 BCE (via panatmansam)

centuriespast:

Three quarter view Country of Origin: Tibet Culture: Buddhist Date/Period: 18th century Material Size: Bronze and jewels h=10” / Formerly Philip Goldman Collection, LondonCreditVajrasattva, also known as Vajradhara, the Supreme Buddha, identified by his hands which are held in the Vajrahumkara mudra, a thunderbolt in each, sits in yab-yum with the Supreme Wisdom Visvatara / Werner Forman Archive / Bridgeman Images
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centuriespast:

Three quarter view Country of Origin: Tibet Culture: Buddhist Date/Period: 18th century Material Size: Bronze and jewels h=10” / Formerly Philip Goldman Collection, LondonCreditVajrasattva, also known as Vajradhara, the Supreme Buddha, identified by his hands which are held in the Vajrahumkara mudra, a thunderbolt in each, sits in yab-yum with the Supreme Wisdom Visvatara / Werner Forman Archive / Bridgeman Images
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centuriespast:

Three quarter view Country of Origin: Tibet Culture: Buddhist Date/Period: 18th century Material Size: Bronze and jewels h=10” / Formerly Philip Goldman Collection, LondonCreditVajrasattva, also known as Vajradhara, the Supreme Buddha, identified by his hands which are held in the Vajrahumkara mudra, a thunderbolt in each, sits in yab-yum with the Supreme Wisdom Visvatara / Werner Forman Archive / Bridgeman Images

neurosciencestuff:

Americans Reporting Increased Symptoms of Depression

A study by San Diego State University psychology professor Jean M. Twenge shows Americans are more depressed now than they have been in decades.
Analyzing data from 6.9 million adolescents and adults from all over the country, Twenge found that Americans now report more psychosomatic symptoms of depression, such as trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating, than their counterparts in the 1980s.
“Previous studies found that more people have been treated for depression in recent years, but that could be due to more awareness and less stigma,” said Twenge, the author of “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable than Ever Before.”
“This study shows an increase in symptoms most people don’t even know are connected to depression, which suggests adolescents and adults really are suffering more.”
Troubling times
Compared to their 1980s counterparts, teens in the 2010s are 38 percent more likely to have trouble remembering, 74 percent more likely to have trouble sleeping and twice as likely to have seen a professional for mental health issues.
College students surveyed were 50 percent more likely to say they feel overwhelmed, and adults were more likely to say their sleep was restless, they had poor appetite and everything was an effort — all classic psychosomatic symptoms of depression.
“Despite all of these symptoms, people are not any more likely to say they are depressed when asked directly, again suggesting that the rise is not based on people being more willing to admit depression,” said Twenge.
The study also found that the suicide rate for teens decreased, though the decline was small compared to the increase in symptoms of depression. With the use of anti-depressant medications doubling over this time period, Twenge speculates that medication may have helped those with the most severe problems but has not reduced increases in other symptoms that, she says, can still cause significant issues.
Twenge’s findings were published in the journal Social Indicators Research, and an updated and revised edition of “Generation Me” is being released today.
(Image: Photodune)

neurosciencestuff:

Americans Reporting Increased Symptoms of Depression

A study by San Diego State University psychology professor Jean M. Twenge shows Americans are more depressed now than they have been in decades.

Analyzing data from 6.9 million adolescents and adults from all over the country, Twenge found that Americans now report more psychosomatic symptoms of depression, such as trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating, than their counterparts in the 1980s.

“Previous studies found that more people have been treated for depression in recent years, but that could be due to more awareness and less stigma,” said Twenge, the author of “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable than Ever Before.”

“This study shows an increase in symptoms most people don’t even know are connected to depression, which suggests adolescents and adults really are suffering more.”

Troubling times

Compared to their 1980s counterparts, teens in the 2010s are 38 percent more likely to have trouble remembering, 74 percent more likely to have trouble sleeping and twice as likely to have seen a professional for mental health issues.

College students surveyed were 50 percent more likely to say they feel overwhelmed, and adults were more likely to say their sleep was restless, they had poor appetite and everything was an effort — all classic psychosomatic symptoms of depression.

“Despite all of these symptoms, people are not any more likely to say they are depressed when asked directly, again suggesting that the rise is not based on people being more willing to admit depression,” said Twenge.

The study also found that the suicide rate for teens decreased, though the decline was small compared to the increase in symptoms of depression. With the use of anti-depressant medications doubling over this time period, Twenge speculates that medication may have helped those with the most severe problems but has not reduced increases in other symptoms that, she says, can still cause significant issues.

Twenge’s findings were published in the journal Social Indicators Research, and an updated and revised edition of “Generation Me” is being released today.

(Image: Photodune)

We Can Be Heroes

thenewinquiry:

image

By Ben Valentine

By associating itself with the selfish pleasures of visibility, the wearable camera GoPro has staved off criticism for how it enhances surveillance

In On Photography, Susan Sontag laments the disconnected voyeurism photography produces. “Photographs are a way of…

biomorphosis:

Aye-aye is one of the strangest looking primates. They can only be found in the north-eastern parts of Madagascar. They are nocturnal and usually at the altitude above 700 meters of rain forest trees.
It has specifically designed middle finger which is used for extraction of food from trunks, braches and hard shells. Aye-aye taps a branch with its finger and listens if there is any sound of moving insects or larvae inside. If the movement is detected, aye-aye will make a hole with sharp teeth and use its middle digit to scoop the prey.
The ancient legends of Malagasy considered it the symbol of death due to its scary looks and eerie call. They believe that if the long pointed finger is pointed to any person, death befalls him/her. This leads people to kill aye-ayes on sight. Aye-aye is listed as nearly threatened species with 1000 left on the wild  and it is currently under protection.
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biomorphosis:

Aye-aye is one of the strangest looking primates. They can only be found in the north-eastern parts of Madagascar. They are nocturnal and usually at the altitude above 700 meters of rain forest trees.
It has specifically designed middle finger which is used for extraction of food from trunks, braches and hard shells. Aye-aye taps a branch with its finger and listens if there is any sound of moving insects or larvae inside. If the movement is detected, aye-aye will make a hole with sharp teeth and use its middle digit to scoop the prey.
The ancient legends of Malagasy considered it the symbol of death due to its scary looks and eerie call. They believe that if the long pointed finger is pointed to any person, death befalls him/her. This leads people to kill aye-ayes on sight. Aye-aye is listed as nearly threatened species with 1000 left on the wild  and it is currently under protection.
Zoom Info
biomorphosis:

Aye-aye is one of the strangest looking primates. They can only be found in the north-eastern parts of Madagascar. They are nocturnal and usually at the altitude above 700 meters of rain forest trees.
It has specifically designed middle finger which is used for extraction of food from trunks, braches and hard shells. Aye-aye taps a branch with its finger and listens if there is any sound of moving insects or larvae inside. If the movement is detected, aye-aye will make a hole with sharp teeth and use its middle digit to scoop the prey.
The ancient legends of Malagasy considered it the symbol of death due to its scary looks and eerie call. They believe that if the long pointed finger is pointed to any person, death befalls him/her. This leads people to kill aye-ayes on sight. Aye-aye is listed as nearly threatened species with 1000 left on the wild  and it is currently under protection.
Zoom Info

biomorphosis:

Aye-aye is one of the strangest looking primates. They can only be found in the north-eastern parts of Madagascar. They are nocturnal and usually at the altitude above 700 meters of rain forest trees.

It has specifically designed middle finger which is used for extraction of food from trunks, braches and hard shells. Aye-aye taps a branch with its finger and listens if there is any sound of moving insects or larvae inside. If the movement is detected, aye-aye will make a hole with sharp teeth and use its middle digit to scoop the prey.

The ancient legends of Malagasy considered it the symbol of death due to its scary looks and eerie call. They believe that if the long pointed finger is pointed to any person, death befalls him/her. This leads people to kill aye-ayes on sight. Aye-aye is listed as nearly threatened species with 1000 left on the wild  and it is currently under protection.

anthrocentric:

The Experts The Ebola Response May Need: Anthropologists

As the Ebola outbreak gains steam, experts continue to deploy to the region. Teams from Doctors Without Borders, the World Health Organization, the U.S. military and others are in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia assembling treatment centers and fighting the deadly virus. There’s one group of experts missing from the picture, says Ann Kelly, senior lecturer at the University of Exeter: anthropologists.
Anthropologists understand local traditions and can explain to health care workers how commerce and social functions could facilitate transmission of the virus, Kelly tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer. They can also give insight into residents’ fears of those workers.
[read more]

anthrocentric:

The Experts The Ebola Response May Need: Anthropologists

As the Ebola outbreak gains steam, experts continue to deploy to the region. Teams from Doctors Without Borders, the World Health Organization, the U.S. military and others are in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia assembling treatment centers and fighting the deadly virus. There’s one group of experts missing from the picture, says Ann Kelly, senior lecturer at the University of Exeter: anthropologists.

Anthropologists understand local traditions and can explain to health care workers how commerce and social functions could facilitate transmission of the virus, Kelly tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer. They can also give insight into residents’ fears of those workers.

[read more]

descentintotyranny:

White House exempts Syria airstrikes from tight standards on civilian deaths 
Amid reports of women and children killed in U.S. air offensive, official says the ‘near certainty’ policy doesn’t apply
Sep. 30 2014
The White House has acknowledged for the first time that strict standards President Obama imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes will not apply to U.S. military operations in Syria and Iraq.
A White House statement to Yahoo News confirming the looser policy came in response to questions about reports that as many as a dozen civilians, including women and young children, were killed when a Tomahawk missile struck the village of Kafr Daryan in Syria’s Idlib province on the morning of Sept. 23.
The village has been described by Syrian rebel commanders as a reported stronghold of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front where U.S officials believed members of the so-called Khorasan group were plotting attacks against international aircraft.
But at a briefing for members and staffers of the House Foreign Affairs Committee late last week, Syrian rebel commanders described women and children being hauled from the rubble after an errant cruise missile destroyed a home for displaced civilians. Images of badly injured children also appeared on YouTube, helping to fuel anti-U.S. protests in a number of Syrian villages last week.
“They were carrying bodies out of the rubble. … I saw seven or eight ambulances coming out of there,” said Abu Abdo Salabman, a political member of one of the Free Syria Army factions, who attended the briefing for Foreign Affairs Committee members and staff. “We believe this was a big mistake.”
Asked about the strike at Kafr Daryan, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said Tuesday that U.S. military “did target a Khorasan group compound near this location. However, we have seen no evidence at this time to corroborate claims of civilian casualties.” But Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, told Yahoo News that Pentagon officials “take all credible allegations seriously and will investigate” the reports.  
At the same time, however, Hayden said that a much-publicized White House policy that President Obama announced last year barring U.S. drone strikes unless there is a “near certainty” there will be no civilian casualties — “the highest standard we can meet,” he said at the time — does not cover the current U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.
The “near certainty” standard was intended to apply “only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as we noted at the time,” Hayden said in an email. “That description — outside areas of active hostilities — simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now.” 
Hayden added that U.S. military operations against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Syria, “like all U.S. military operations, are being conducted consistently with the laws of armed conflict, proportionality and distinction.”
The laws of armed conflict prohibit the deliberate targeting of civilian areas and require armed forces to take precautions to prevent inadvertent civilian deaths as much as possible.
But one former Obama administration official said the new White House statement raises questions about how the U.S. intends to proceed in the conflict in Syria and Iraq, and under what legal authorities.
Read More

descentintotyranny:

White House exempts Syria airstrikes from tight standards on civilian deaths

Amid reports of women and children killed in U.S. air offensive, official says the ‘near certainty’ policy doesn’t apply

Sep. 30 2014

The White House has acknowledged for the first time that strict standards President Obama imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes will not apply to U.S. military operations in Syria and Iraq.

A White House statement to Yahoo News confirming the looser policy came in response to questions about reports that as many as a dozen civilians, including women and young children, were killed when a Tomahawk missile struck the village of Kafr Daryan in Syria’s Idlib province on the morning of Sept. 23.

The village has been described by Syrian rebel commanders as a reported stronghold of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front where U.S officials believed members of the so-called Khorasan group were plotting attacks against international aircraft.

But at a briefing for members and staffers of the House Foreign Affairs Committee late last week, Syrian rebel commanders described women and children being hauled from the rubble after an errant cruise missile destroyed a home for displaced civilians. Images of badly injured children also appeared on YouTube, helping to fuel anti-U.S. protests in a number of Syrian villages last week.

“They were carrying bodies out of the rubble. … I saw seven or eight ambulances coming out of there,” said Abu Abdo Salabman, a political member of one of the Free Syria Army factions, who attended the briefing for Foreign Affairs Committee members and staff. “We believe this was a big mistake.”

Asked about the strike at Kafr Daryan, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said Tuesday that U.S. military “did target a Khorasan group compound near this location. However, we have seen no evidence at this time to corroborate claims of civilian casualties.” But Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, told Yahoo News that Pentagon officials “take all credible allegations seriously and will investigate” the reports.  

At the same time, however, Hayden said that a much-publicized White House policy that President Obama announced last year barring U.S. drone strikes unless there is a “near certainty” there will be no civilian casualties — “the highest standard we can meet,” he said at the time — does not cover the current U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.

The “near certainty” standard was intended to apply “only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as we noted at the time,” Hayden said in an email. “That description — outside areas of active hostilities — simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now.”

Hayden added that U.S. military operations against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Syria, “like all U.S. military operations, are being conducted consistently with the laws of armed conflict, proportionality and distinction.”

The laws of armed conflict prohibit the deliberate targeting of civilian areas and require armed forces to take precautions to prevent inadvertent civilian deaths as much as possible.

But one former Obama administration official said the new White House statement raises questions about how the U.S. intends to proceed in the conflict in Syria and Iraq, and under what legal authorities.

Read More

rtamerica:

First US Ebola patient was in contact with school-aged children - Texas governor
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has confirmed that the first US diagnosed Ebola patient, who is now in serious but stable condition in Dallas, had contact with children before he showed symptoms of the virus.

At a Wednesday news-conference, Texas officials and doctors said they do not believe the children have contracted the virus, but all involved will be monitored for any signs of infection. 

rtamerica:

First US Ebola patient was in contact with school-aged children - Texas governor

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has confirmed that the first US diagnosed Ebola patient, who is now in serious but stable condition in Dallas, had contact with children before he showed symptoms of the virus.

At a Wednesday news-conference, Texas officials and doctors said they do not believe the children have contracted the virus, but all involved will be monitored for any signs of infection. 

…that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain…

Ray Bradbury, The October Country

Earth Has 52 Percent Fewer Wild Animals Today Than in 1970: Report

Since 1970, more than half of the world’s population of wild vertebrate animals have died off, according to a biennial report from the World Wildlife Fund.

The organization’s “Living Planet Report”studies the populations of more than 10,000 populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. According to the study, 52 percent of the overall total population of wild animals died between 1970 and 2010.

"We’re gradually destroying our planet’s ability to support our way of life," Carter Roberts, WWF’s CEO, said in a statement.

According to the 180-page report, the decline is most notable in tropical regions and in poorer countries. In Latin America, for instance, the decline is roughly 83 percent.

This graph shows the decline in worldwide animal population since 1970. Image: WWF

"Habitat loss and degradation, and exploitation through hunting and fishing, are the primary causes of decline," the report suggested. "Climate change is the next most common primary threat, and is likely to put more pressure on populations in the future." 

Among all vertebrate animals, terrestrial species are down 39 percent, as are marine species. The major decline, the group says, is in freshwater-dwelling fish and amphibians, where scientists have seen a 76 percent drop in overall animal numbers.

An explanation of how the ‘Living Planet Index’ works. Image: WWF

The group uses what it calls the “Living Planet Index” to calculate these numbers, which it says are calculated from trends in 10,380 populations of 3,038 vertebrate species.

"These species groups have been comprehensively researched and monitored by scientists and the general public for many years, meaning that a lot of data is available to assess the state of specific populations and their trends over time," the report says.

Image: WWF

Of course, the WWF is an organization that is deeply committed to preserving the planet’s biodiversity, so this report should probably be taken with a grain of salt or two. But, as far as wildlife organizations go, it’s been one of the most trustworthy, and it’s not as if its findings are all that out-of-line with what you’d expect. It’s no secret that the Earth is undergoing its sixth mass extinction event, and a lot of the evidence points to the idea that we’re the driving force behind a lot of that.

Add to that the well-known phenomena affecting amphibians and coral reefs, the dwindling numbers of giant fauna in Africa, massive oil spills and environment destruction in the Gulf of Mexico, the proliferation of micro plastics in our waterways, and the clear cutting and oil extracting that’s going on in the Earth’s rain forests, well, can you say you’re surprised?

kateoplis:

"Since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China, the semi-autonomous city has operated under a "one country, two systems" formula, allowing a limited democracy. In August, the Chinese government announced plans to vet candidates in Hong Kong’s 2017 elections, virtually assuring only pro-Beijing politicians would be on the ballots. Student groups and pro-democracy supporters have taken to the streets in recent days to protest the limitations and to demand universal suffrage. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have occupied Hong Kong’s Central District, bringing parts of the city to a standstill. The protests are one of the largest political challenges to Beijing since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Chinese officials have scolded protesters and warned against any foreign interference."
Occupy Hong Kong | InFocus
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kateoplis:

"Since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China, the semi-autonomous city has operated under a "one country, two systems" formula, allowing a limited democracy. In August, the Chinese government announced plans to vet candidates in Hong Kong’s 2017 elections, virtually assuring only pro-Beijing politicians would be on the ballots. Student groups and pro-democracy supporters have taken to the streets in recent days to protest the limitations and to demand universal suffrage. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have occupied Hong Kong’s Central District, bringing parts of the city to a standstill. The protests are one of the largest political challenges to Beijing since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Chinese officials have scolded protesters and warned against any foreign interference."
Occupy Hong Kong | InFocus
Zoom Info
kateoplis:

"Since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China, the semi-autonomous city has operated under a "one country, two systems" formula, allowing a limited democracy. In August, the Chinese government announced plans to vet candidates in Hong Kong’s 2017 elections, virtually assuring only pro-Beijing politicians would be on the ballots. Student groups and pro-democracy supporters have taken to the streets in recent days to protest the limitations and to demand universal suffrage. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have occupied Hong Kong’s Central District, bringing parts of the city to a standstill. The protests are one of the largest political challenges to Beijing since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Chinese officials have scolded protesters and warned against any foreign interference."
Occupy Hong Kong | InFocus
Zoom Info
kateoplis:

"Since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China, the semi-autonomous city has operated under a "one country, two systems" formula, allowing a limited democracy. In August, the Chinese government announced plans to vet candidates in Hong Kong’s 2017 elections, virtually assuring only pro-Beijing politicians would be on the ballots. Student groups and pro-democracy supporters have taken to the streets in recent days to protest the limitations and to demand universal suffrage. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have occupied Hong Kong’s Central District, bringing parts of the city to a standstill. The protests are one of the largest political challenges to Beijing since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Chinese officials have scolded protesters and warned against any foreign interference."
Occupy Hong Kong | InFocus
Zoom Info
kateoplis:

"Since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China, the semi-autonomous city has operated under a "one country, two systems" formula, allowing a limited democracy. In August, the Chinese government announced plans to vet candidates in Hong Kong’s 2017 elections, virtually assuring only pro-Beijing politicians would be on the ballots. Student groups and pro-democracy supporters have taken to the streets in recent days to protest the limitations and to demand universal suffrage. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have occupied Hong Kong’s Central District, bringing parts of the city to a standstill. The protests are one of the largest political challenges to Beijing since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Chinese officials have scolded protesters and warned against any foreign interference."
Occupy Hong Kong | InFocus
Zoom Info

kateoplis:

"Since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China, the semi-autonomous city has operated under a "one country, two systems" formula, allowing a limited democracy. In August, the Chinese government announced plans to vet candidates in Hong Kong’s 2017 elections, virtually assuring only pro-Beijing politicians would be on the ballots. Student groups and pro-democracy supporters have taken to the streets in recent days to protest the limitations and to demand universal suffrage. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have occupied Hong Kong’s Central District, bringing parts of the city to a standstill. The protests are one of the largest political challenges to Beijing since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Chinese officials have scolded protesters and warned against any foreign interference."

Occupy Hong Kong | InFocus