Medley

Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 24

Leo Babauta – USA 

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

– Henry David Thoreau

The simple act of walking can be a tremendous boost to your focus, productivity, clarity of mind, not to mention your health and waistline.

Medley Focus 2 Morning Walk

The simple act of WALKING…..

Recently a fellow blogger wrote to me talking about how many pounds she lost on vacation because she walked all day long — something many of us have experienced. She ended by saying, “If only I could find the time to walk 6 hours a day.”

That got me to ask — why not? Why can’t we work out a routine where we walk all day long?

What follows are a couple of radical but incredibly fulfilling and productive changes from most people’s daily routine. I think they’re worthy of consideration if you:

  • have any control over your schedule;
  • can work from different locations;
  • want to get more active and trim your waistline; and
  • need to find new ways to focus and get important things done.

I recently tried both these routines and loved them and am working them into my life in different ways.

Read more: Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 24

How music lessons can improve language skills

Medley How 2

 

Study links piano education with better word discrimination by kindergartners

Many studies have shown that musical training can enhance language skills. However, it was unknown whether music lessons improve general cognitive ability, leading to better language proficiency, or if the effect of music is more specific to language processing.

A new study from MIT has found that piano lessons have a very specific effect on kindergartners' ability to distinguish different pitches, which translates into an improvement in discriminating between spoken words. However, the piano lessons did not appear to confer any benefit for overall cognitive ability, as measured by IQ, attention span, and working memory.

“The children didn't differ in the more broad cognitive measures, but they did show some improvements in word discrimination, particularly for consonants. The piano group showed the best improvement there,” says Robert Desimone, director of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the senior author of the paper.

The study, performed in Beijing, suggests that musical training is at least as beneficial in improving language skills, and possibly more beneficial, than offering children extra reading lessons. The school where the study was performed has continued to offer piano lessons to students, and the researchers hope their findings could encourage other schools to keep or enhance their music offerings.

Yun Nan, an associate professor at Beijing Normal University, is the lead author of the study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of June 25.

Other authors include Li Liu, Hua Shu, and Qi Dong, all of Beijing Normal University; Eveline Geiser, a former MIT research scientist; Chen-chen Gong, an MIT research associate; and John Gabrieli, the Grover M. Hermann Professor in Health Sciences and Technology, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences, and a member of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research.

Read more: How music lessons can improve language skills

God, War, Work, Sex, Death and Money: An Esoteric Perspective

Medley God 2

The author

 Tim Wyatt – England 

[Introduction:These six ideas dominate our thinking and obsess our lives but our understanding of them all is deeply flawed because we look on them from a purely material rather than a deeper spiritual perspective. When we begin to explore these ideas esoterically from an Ageless Wisdom perspective, we realise that there is much more to them than we may have originally imagined and so we need to radically re-think these notions. God is not a separate and seasoned sadist waiting to punish us. War is cruel, but it has also been a key catalyst for evolution. Work is undergoing its biggest transformation in the history of the human race. Sex is widely misused and misunderstood but will ultimately prove to be redundant. Death is a myth. And because money has been systematically degraded from an energy into a toxic form of control it needs to be re-spiritualised.] 

 

Read more: God, War, Work, Sex, Death and Money: An Esoteric Perspective

Novel synaptic architecture for brain inspired computing

Medley Novel 2

Two New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) researchers, working with collaborators from the IBM Research Zurich Laboratory and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, have demonstrated a novel synaptic architecture that could lead to a new class of information processing systems inspired by the brain.

The findings are an important step toward building more energy-efficient computing systems that also are capable of learning and adaptation in the real world. They were published last week in a paper in the journal Nature Communications.

Read more: Novel synaptic architecture for brain inspired computing

Identity Politics – The Esoteric Truth

Tim Wyatt – England

Medley TW 2

The bulk of humanity has largely failed to answer those fundamental questions it has relentlessly been asking itself for countless millennia: Who exactly are we? Where do we come from? What is our purpose? And where are we going? 

Read more: Identity Politics – The Esoteric Truth

Rudolf Steiner (25 Feb 1861- 30 Mar 1925): The Laws of Nature

René Wadlow – USA

Medley Rudolf 2 Steiner

“Man is not a being who stands still; he is a being in the process of becoming.  The more he enables himself to become, the more he fulfils his true mission.”-  Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner was for many years prior to World War I a leader of the German branch of the Theosophical Society.  One of his best-known books is titled Theosophy and the two pillars of Steiner’s approach are in common with other theosophical writers: the law of karma and evolution through the workings of spiritual energy.  For Steiner karma and spiritual energy, which he called love, are the basic laws of Nature.

Read more: Rudolf Steiner (25 Feb 1861- 30 Mar 1925): The Laws of Nature

Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 23

Leo Babauta – USA 

 

Medley Focus 2 A book is a garden

“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”

Chinese Proverb

 Focused reading is something that’s becoming a rarer and rarer animal these days. We have a hard time reading even a single blog post if it’s not a simple list or longer than a couple hundred words – we’ll skim, and then move on to the next post or email.

Our reading habits have changed because of the persistence and ubiquity of online distractions. We read shorter, faster, more frequently, but longer reading is dwindling. Focused reading is harder.

One effect is that we’re reading fewer books and longer articles, and more blogs and shorter articles. Another effect is that any research we need to do is filled with distractions – landmines when it comes to getting work done.

However, it’s not impossible to read or do research with focus. Just harder.

Read more: Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 23

Digital addiction increases loneliness, anxiety and depression

Medley Digital 2 addiction

Study suggests ways to outsmart smart phones

Smartphones are an integral part of most people's lives, allowing us to stay connected and in-the-know at all times. The downside of that convenience is that many of us are also addicted to the constant pings, chimes, vibrations and other alerts from our devices, unable to ignore new emails, texts and images. In a new study published in NeuroRegulation, San Francisco State University Professor of Health Education Erik Peper and Associate Professor of Health Education Richard Harvey argue that overuse of smart phones is just like any other type of substance abuse.

Read more: Digital addiction increases loneliness, anxiety and depression

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