Can animals count?


Neuroscientists resolve long-standing debate

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Some monkeys have shown the ability to count objects 

(Image credit: Michael Woodruff/Shutterstock)

Research co-led by neuroscientists Professor Yung Wing-ho from City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) and Professor Ke Ya from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Faculty of Medicine (CU Medicine) has made a groundbreaking discovery regarding number sense in animals by confirming the existence of discrete number sense in rats, offering a crucial animal model for investigating the neural basis of numerical ability and disability in humans.

Read more: Can animals count?


Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

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Just imagine two debaters ...

One of them, number 1, a sociopath. is operating influenced by egotism, narcissism and voracity thus representing a threatening dark force, acting like a mob boss, fully determined to obliterate everything his opponent is and stands for.


Newly found genetic variant defends against Alzheimer's disease

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Columbia researchers have discovered a genetic variant that reduces the odds of developing Alzheimer's disease by up to 70% and may be protecting thousands of people in the United States from the disease.

The discovery of the protective variant, which appears to allow toxic forms of amyloid out of the brain and through the blood-brain barrier, supports emerging evidence that the brain's blood vessels play a large role in Alzheimer's disease and could herald a new direction in therapeutic development.

Read more: Newly found genetic variant defends against Alzheimer's disease

Obituary to Pisces

Tim Wyatt – England

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Tim petting some (Greek) cats

As we reach the end of the first quarter of the first century of this still new-ish millennium, one of the few remaining certainties is that we live in a world riddled with total uncertainty. The only sure bet is that we’ll almost certainly continue to be hit between the eyes by major upheavals of one sort or another. Chaotic leitmotifs predominate. The key uncertainty is whether this will be a path to regeneration or a road to perdition. Whatever our trajectory no doubt the new crunch-point or cataclysm will be dished up in some exotic new variety we haven’t come across before. And it will probably scare the hell out of us.

Read more: Obituary to Pisces

Meditation training can support wellbeing in older adults

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Following an 18-month meditation programme can improve the wellbeing of older adults, finds a new randomized controlled trial by an international team co-led by UCL. (University College London)

The findings, published in PLOS ONE, show that meditation can improve people's awareness, connection to others, and insight.

While the meditation training did not confer significant benefits on two commonly used measures of psychological wellbeing and quality of life, the researchers say their findings may reveal limitations in existing methods of tracking wellbeing.

Read more: Meditation training can support wellbeing in older adults

Suicide by Modernism

Tim Wyatt – England


The author

As I reach a certain late stage in my life, I have a confession to make. I detest virtually all aspects of the modern world. It’s not just because I’m getting old and grumpy. And I know that I’m not alone in this loathing.

Those of us in the twilight of our current bodily existence can feel fortunate – or perhaps otherwise – for experiencing the most aggressively rapid advancement the world has ever seen. We’ve witnessed consecutive decades of greater wealth, longevity and scientific progress than our ancestors ever did. Healthcare, social justice and communications have all witnessed radical transformation. Yes, I’m the first to admit that there have been huge benefits.

Read more: Suicide by Modernism

Combine mindfulness with exercise for mental health boost in 2024

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New research shows how combining mindfulness with exercise boosts people's mental health and well-being and could help change exercise habits

For people looking to start 2024 with a new routine to feel fitter and happier, a new study from the University of Bath suggests that combining mindfulness with exercise could be your key to success.

A study, published in the academic journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, suggests that life changes which combine both physical activity and mindfulness are most effective at lifting mood and improving health and wellbeing.

Both physical activity and mindfulness practice have well established psychological benefits.However, by reviewing existing research studies, this is one of the first to show how the positive effects can be increased when the two are combined.

Read more: Combine mindfulness with exercise for mental health boost in 2024

Dancing to a Different Rhythm: A Southern Hemisphere Perspective of the Sacred Seasons

Esther Pockrandt – Australia

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The Wheel of the Year, Southern Hemisphire

[Friday December 22, 2023]

It is dark outside. It is 4 am. Pre-dawn and far away calls of kookaburras break the night silence from across the distant hills.  The eager call of a currawong trying to get a foot grip on the wet tin roof chimes in, letting the world know nature is waking up.  A possum Mum scurries hastily yet sure-footed across the spines of roofs, from foraging overnight in nearby bushes and trees for fruit, leaves and nectar, like a tight rope walker with a piggy-backed young one, balancing on the electric wires that connect homes to poles, and more poles to homes, hurrying to bed and sleep in a tree hollow somewhere, before the hot sun strikes. The whip birds are still dozing. The drip of remnant rain from leaves of last night’s storms provides that silent drip-drip drone as the dark of the night fades barely noticeable into promise of more light in the east…not quite yet, but soon.  And ‘soon’ comes, and so it is.  Yet there is no colourful sunrise this morning.  The drip-drip from leaves turns to gentle but steady rain again. It is a wondrous new, moist dawn on this special day, an unseasonal, welcome relief from the scorching heat over the past week and a respite from the threat of bushfires, parched cracking earth … for now. 

Read more: Dancing to a Different Rhythm: A Southern Hemisphere Perspective of the Sacred Seasons

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