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Wind and Window Flower

LOVERS, forget your love,
And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.

When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the cagèd yellow bird
Hung over her in tune,

He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by,
To come again at dark.

He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.

But he sighed upon the sill,
He gave the sash a shake,
As witness all within
Who lay that night awake.

Perchance he half prevailed
To win her for the flight
From the firelit looking-glass
And warm stove-window light.

But the flower leaned aside
And thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze
A hundred miles away.

by Robert Frost

Lots of sex, dark chocolate and the Scandinavian routine of cold meat for breakfast are the best ways to boost brain power, a new book claims. And watching soap operas, mixing with serial moaners and fat-free diets should be avoided in the quest for increased mental ability, the book says.

Much of the advice in Teach Yourself Training Your Brain is unconventional, but its co-authors, Terry Horne and Simon Wootton, say it is based on leading scientific research. They claim that people can combat the considered wisdom that the brain deteriorates with age.

Mr Horne, a university lecturer, said: "For decades we have thought that the capacity of our brains is genetically determined, whereas it's now clear it's a lifestyle choice.

"People can make lifestyle choices that will not only prevent what used to be seen as an inevitable decline in cognitive ability after the age of 17, but will constantly increase it throughout our adult lives.....Our suggestions will empower people to develop their cognitive capacity or just to let it die."


The ancestors of modern Scottish people left behind mysterious, carved stones that new research has just determined contain the written language of the Picts, an Iron Age society that existed in Scotland from 300 to 843.

The highly stylized rock engravings, found on what are known as the Pictish Stones, had once been thought to be rock art or tied to heraldry. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, instead concludes that the engravings represent the long lost language of the Picts, a confederation of Celtic tribes that lived in modern-day eastern and northern Scotland.

"We know that the Picts had a spoken language to complement the writing of the symbols, as Bede (a monk and historian who died in 735) writes that there are four languages in Britain in this time: British, Pictish, Scottish and English," lead author Rob Lee told Discovery News. "We know that the three other languages were -- and are -- complex spoken languages, so there is every indication that Pictish was also a complex spoken language," added Lee, a professor in the School of Biosciences at the University of Exeter.

He and colleagues Philip Jonathan and Pauline Ziman analyzed the engravings, found on the few hundred known Pictish Stones. The researchers used a mathematical process known as Shannon entropy to study the order, direction, randomness and other characteristics of each engraving.

Source:  Discovery News

Near-death experiences are tricks of the mind triggered by an overload of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, a new study suggests.

Many people who have recovered from life-threatening injuries have said they experienced their lives flashing before their eyes, saw bright lights, left their bodies, or encountered angels or dead loved ones. In the new study, researchers investigated whether different levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide—the main blood gases—play a role in the mysterious phenomenon.

The team studied 52 patients who had been admitted to three major hospitals and were eventually resuscitated. Eleven of the patients reported near-death experiences. During cardiac arrest and resuscitation, blood gases such as CO2 rise or fall because of the lack of circulation and breathing.

"We found that in those patients who experienced the phenomenon, blood carbon-dioxide levels were significantly higher than in those who did not," said team member Zalika Klemenc-Ketis, of the University of Maribor in Slovenia.

Other factors, such a patient's sex, age, or religious beliefs—or the time it took to revive them—had no bearing on whether the patients reported near-death experiences. The drugs used during initial treatment—a suggested explanation for near-death experiences after heart attacks—also didn't seem to correlate with the sensations, according to the study authors.

Read more at National Geographic

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
     Beside the springs of Dove:
A maid whom there were none to praise
     And very few to love.


A violet by a mossy stone
     Half-hidden from the eye!-
Fair as a star, when only one
     Is shining in the sky.


She lived unknown, and few could know
     When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
     The difference to me!

The greatest treasures are those invisible to the eye but found by the heart.

The history of Ninjutsu is stepped in myth and superstition. The origins of some aspects within this art are still under debate in a few circles around the world. The very nature of the art makes it hard to find early records dealing with it. As part of tradition, Ninjutsu was not recorded on paper. Rather it was passed down verbally from teacher to student for over 800 years. This was due partly to the need for protecting their identities from the upper ruling classes of the period.

Only within the past few hundred years has the art started to be documented. In this time over seventy “Ninjutsu ryu” (school/families) have been catalogued/identified. A majority of which have died out or evolved into a new art. Some systems have adapted and changed. Some have become arts that are today known as something completely different. This has led to much debate over the authenticity of some lesser known Ninjutsu ryu. There is still much debate over the number of true ryu remaining.

Most of the known Ninjutsu families and practitioners originated in the Iga/Koga (Modern Mie/Omi) regions of Japan. The Terrain of the Iga/Koga regions was largely unexplored. Inhabitants lived a relatively isolated life. Most of the families in this region were farmers and craftsmen of various types.

People inside as well as outside this region kept records, some of these records refer to the individuals/families now recognized as Ninja/Ninjutsu families as “Iga/Koga no Bushi” (Warriors of Iga/Koga) and “Iga/Koga no Mono” (Men of Iga/Koga). This relatively isolated existence freed them from the oppressive “mainstream” society of the period, also enabling them to cultivate views that were otherwise not given the same chance to develop elsewhere in Japan.

Gradually over time, direct influences of the upper ruling classes crept into the Iga/Koga regions. This slow wave of influences eventually caused political and social unrest. These differences in perspective also created turmoil in the ruling classes of the middle to late 1500’s, ultimately leading to the invasion and destruction of communities in both the Iga and Koga regions of ancient Japan. Facing outnumbering samurai forces, the inhabitants started to create the art we now know as Ninjutsu. Due to this the “Iga/Koga no Bushi” (Warriors of Iga/Koga) and “Iga/Koga no Mono” (Men of Iga/Koga) were forced into fighting for their lives. They were known to use the superstitions of society and social groups around them as a tool/weapon. As a result they became feared and shrouded in a veil of shadows and myth.

The term “Ninja” was not in use until the Tokugawa period (1605-1867). This is also the period in which the stereotypical image of the “Ninja” started to take shape. This image was unfortunately a somewhat negative one. Ninja were made out to be the bad guys (“assassins without honor who used their cunning and stealth to kill anyone for a cost”) this was not a common practice. Unfortunately within all groups there are a few that do go bad. This is what people saw when they looked at the Ninja. This view of the Ninja was and still is to this day most always totally inaccurate.


New pornographic figurines from the Stone Age have been discovered in Germany. But researchers can't agree on what the 7,000-year-old sculptures mean. Were our ancestors uninhibited sex fiends, or was reproduction strictly controlled to improve mobility? An increasing number of finds seem to indicate the Stone Age was an orgy of sexual imagination.

The project itself was far from extraordinary. Workers near the Eastern German city of Leipzig were digging a ditch for a new gas line. Hum drum. But what they discovered was far from routine. A backhoe unearthed a 7,200-year-old, Stone Age garbage pit -- and it was filled with refuse from some of the first farmers on the European continent.

Moreover, upon rushing to the site, archeologists discovered an 8.2 centimeter (3.2 inches) clay torso buried underground. The legs, abdomen and head were missing, but, according to the lucky archeologists, the figure still had its most important features intact: a "well-shaped behind" and a "short, but impressive" penis.....

And the project is becoming ever more fascinating as archeologists continue uncovering additional fragments while sifting through the Stone Age garbage pit. One fragment, which extends from the left calf to the pelvis, appears to be part of a female statue; Adonis, apparently, had a girlfriend. In fact, in an article soon to be published in the journal Germania, Staeuble speculates on how the pieces could fit together. He writes that "there is strong evidence that this is a copulation scene."

According to Staeuble, the fragments show that the man was standing with his pelvis at a slight angle. The woman in front of him was bent forward, almost at a 90-degree angle. Another indication that the two figures belong together is the fact that they are both made to the same scale -- both figures were originally just under 30 centimeters (11.7 inches) tall.

The only depictions of sexual activity known until now were Greek paintings, but they were created more than 4,000 years later. Given this enormous difference in time, the Saxony find has created some confusion. Some believe it was a toy. Archäo, a professional journal, speculates that it may have been "chic" to display these types of sculptures in the "houses of the first farmers between the Saale and Elbe rivers." Researchers speculate that the figure could also be evidence of a "fertility cult" -- a theory that sounds as straightforward as it is vague.

Source:  Spiegel Online International

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