Sunday, March 25, 2012
Alleged Brazilian Psychic Surgeon
Every so often, some of these healers are legit. In all the years of research, I have found a few who actually do miraculous-like-healings. Sadly, the vast majority are frauds. When people are desperate, they can become easy prey! RubyNorma *o*
Mar 24, 2:17 PM EDT
Ill flock to Brazil 'psychic surgeon' John of God
By MARCO SIBAJA Associated Press
AP Photo/Eraldo Peres
ABADIANIA, Brazil (AP) -- John of God grabs what looks like a kitchen knife from a silver tray and appears to scrape it over the right eye of a believer.
The "psychic surgeon" then wipes a viscous substance from the blade onto the patient's shirt.
The procedure is repeated on the left eye of Juan Carlos Arguelles, who recently traveled thousands of miles from Colombia to see the healer.
For 12 years, Arguelles says, he suffered from keratoconus, which thinned his cornea and severely blurred his vision.
John of God is Joao Teixeira de Faria, a 69-year-old miracle man and medium to those who believe. He's a dangerous hoax to those who do not.
For five decades he's performed "psychic" medical procedures like that for Arguelles. He asks for no money in exchange for the procedures. Donations are welcomed, however.
The sick and lame who have hit dead ends in conventional medicine are drawn to Abadiania, a tiny town in the green highlands of Goias state, southwest of the capital of Brasilia.
Faria says he's not the one curing those who come to him. "It's God who heals. I'm just the instrument."
"Psychic surgeons" are mostly concentrated in Brazil and the Philippines with roots in spiritualist movements that believe spirits of the dead can communicate with the living. Like Faria, they often appear to go into a trance while doing their work, allowing God, dead doctors or other spirits to flow through them.
Such practices have been roundly denounced.
The American Cancer Society has said practitioners of psychic surgery use sleight of hand and animal body parts during procedures to convince patients that what ails them has been snatched away.
But Arguelles, the 29-year-old Colombian who had his eyes worked on by John of God, doesn't care what the medical establishment says.
A week after visiting Brazil and undergoing the procedure, he said his vision had improved "by 80 percent" and was getting better each day.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Possible New Human Species in China
Scientists say the specimens display features that are quite distinct from fully modern humans
Continue reading the main story
Human origins story takes new turn
Humans 'got to Asia much earlier'
Fossil finds extend human story
The remains of what may be a previously unknown human species have been identified in southern China.
The bones, which represent at least five individuals, have been dated to between 11,500 and 14,500 years ago.
But scientists are calling them simply the Red Deer Cave people, after one of the sites where they were unearthed.
The team has told the PLoS One journal that far more detailed analysis of the fossils is required before they can be ascribed to a new human lineage.
"We're trying to be very careful at this stage about definitely classifying them," said study co-leader Darren Curnoe from the University of New South Wales, Australia.
"One of the reasons for that is that in the science of human evolution or palaeoanthropology, we presently don't have a generally agreed, biological definition for our own species (Homo sapiens), believe it or not. And so this is a highly contentious area," he told BBC News.
Much of the material has been in Chinese collections for some time but has only recently been subjected to intense investigation.
The remains of some of the individuals come from Maludong (or Red Deer Cave), near the city of Mengzi in Yunnan Province. A further skeleton was discovered at Longlin, in neighbouring Guangxi Province.
The skulls and teeth from the two locations are very similar to each other, suggesting they are from the same population.
Scientists continue to excavate at Maludong
But their features are quite distinct from what you might call a fully modern human, says the team. Instead, the Red Deer Cave people have a mix of archaic and modern characteristics.
In general, the individuals had rounded brain cases with prominent brow ridges. Their skull bones were quite thick. Their faces were quite short and flat and tucked under the brain, and they had broad noses.
Their jaws jutted forward but they lacked a modern-human-like chin. Computed Tomography (X-ray) scans of their brain cavities indicate they had modern-looking frontal lobes but quite archaic-looking anterior, or parietal, lobes. They also had large molar teeth.
Dr Curnoe and colleagues put forward two possible scenarios in their PLoS One paper for the origin of the Red Deer Cave population.
One posits that they represent a very early migration of a primitive-looking Homo sapiens that lived separately from other forms in Asia before dying out.
How the Red Deer Cave people might have looked 11,500 years ago
Another possibility contends that they were indeed a distinct Homo species that evolved in Asia and lived alongside our own kind until remarkably recently.
A third scenario being suggested by scientists not connected with the research is that the Red Deer Cave people could be hybrids.
"It's possible these were modern humans who inter-mixed or bred with archaic humans that were around at the time," explained Dr Isabelle De Groote, a palaeoanthropologist from London's Natural History Museum.
"The other option is that they evolved these more primitive features independently because of genetic drift or isolation, or in a response to an environmental pressure such as climate."
Dr Curnoe agreed all this was "certainly possible".
Attempts are being made to extract DNA from the remains. This could yield information about interbreeding, just as genetic studies have on the closely related human species - the Neanderthals and an enigmatic group of people from Siberia known as the Denisovans.
Whatever their true place in the Homo family tree, the Red Deer People are an important find simply because of the dearth of well dated, well described specimens from this part of the world.
And their unearthing all adds to the fascinating and increasingly complex story of human migration and development.
Project leaders Darren Curnoe and Ji Xueping discuss the Longlin skull
"The Red Deer People were living at what was a really interesting time in China, during what we call the epipalaeolithic or the end of the Stone Age," says Dr Curnoe.
"Not far from Longlin, there are quite well known archaeological sites where some of the very earliest evidence for the epipalaeolithic in East Asia has been found.
"These were occupied by very modern looking people who are already starting to make ceramics - pottery - to store food. And they're already harvesting from the landscape wild rice. There was an economic transition going on from full-blown foraging and gathering towards agriculture."
Quite how the Red Deer People fit into this picture is unclear. The research team is promising to report further investigations into some of the stone tools and cultural artefacts discovered at the dig sites.
The co-leader on the project is Professor Ji Xueping of the Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology.
Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on Twitter
Human origins story takes new turn 08 SEPTEMBER 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT
Humans 'got to Asia much earlier' 26 OCTOBER 2010, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT
Fossil finds extend human story 01 OCTOBER 2009, SCI/TECH
'Peking Man' older than thought 11 MARCH 2009, SCI/TECH
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
DO WE NEED RELIGIONS TO BECOME ENLIGHTENED?
Friday, August 03, 2007
Last night we attended meditation at a Tibetan Buddhist Center near my home. The spiritual director is ZaChoeche Rinpoche of Emaho Foundation. http://www.emahofoundation.org/
As is our beloved guru’s style, the meditation was simple and brief, followed by Rinpoche’s inimitable and ever so clear to understand discussion. After meditations he likes to elaborate, clarify, and bless us with his joy-filled humor. It was so beautiful and profound that I asked his permission to write the essence of this teaching in an article…. ZaChoeche said, “YES!” I have no doubt that Rinpoche’s own revered guru and teacher, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, spoke eternal volumes through our teacher’s wisdoms.Enlightenment was reasonably defined as “performing to our highest potential.” After that, ZaChoeche spoke with statements and also questions. This rhetorical style is adorable and shows him to be so human. First he says something and then he asks himself and us a question. The answers are to the point sans ego interference. For example: “Was the Buddha a Buddhist?” Rinpoche thought no. But rather that The Buddha had discovered his wonderful enlightenment through a process everyone can enjoy. All the schooling in the world will not guarantee personal enlightenment. Yet…. It is available for everyone, rich, poor, and of any level in our societies. This made me ask myself, “Was Jesus a Christian?” In other words, did the Buddha or Jesus think of themselves as what MAN eventually called them? I also pondered if animals who mentally live in the now, can become enlightened and/or are they already enlightened = working to our highest potentials? I see a pureness in many animals that humans seem to vaporize in themselves. Often times we choose to destroy our own happiness.Then ZaChoeche went on to explain an ancient spiritual concept in modern day simple terminology….“Before becoming enlightened we pay our bills and cook our food. After enlightenment, we pay our bills and cook our food.” It is our attitude that may go through the transformation, but bodily, we still have to perform our daily tasks.In our harried and hurried stressed out world of techno-modernity, we push, push, push. What in the eternal universe are we pushing for?I say we are all seeking the joy, happiness of “ENLIGHTENMENT!” Apparently, I am in wonderful company.Thank you ZaChoeche Rinpoche for allowing me to enjoy your treasured wisdoms given so generously to us, along with your stunning humility and sweet sense of humor. And…… thank you for permission to write my brief article telling others of the simplicity and yet deep sage knowledge you share with so many around our planet. Your teachings supercede cultures, religions, foreign languages, and all our perceived man-made differences. Be Blessed.
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Andrew Breitbart Gone
Thursday 01 March 2012
Conservative US blogger Andrew Breitbart dies
The conservative American journalist, author and blogger Andrew Breitbart died in Los Angeles of natural causes on Thursday morning, according to an announcement posted on his Big Journalism website. He was 43 years old.
A tribute to Breitbart on Big Journalism read: 'We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.' Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images