bending light

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We did some physics experiments today. These are pictures of light bending after passing through a semi-solid substance with an index of refraction similar to water 🙂

Healthy Living

serious times

 

 

World Hunger

  • 842 million people – or one in eight people in the world – do not have enough to eat. 2
  • 98% of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries.2
  • Where is hunger the worst?
    • Asia: 552 million2
    • Sub-Saharan Africa: 223 million2
    • Latin America and the Caribbean: 47 million2

Aiming at the very heart of hunger, The Hunger Project is currently committed to work in BangladeshBeninBurkina FasoEthiopiaIndiaGhana,MalawiMexicoMozambiquePeruSenegal and Uganda.

Women and Children

  • 60 percent of the world’s hungry are women.2
  • 50 percent of pregnant women in developing countries lack proper maternal care, resulting in 240,000 maternal deaths annually from childbirth.3
  • 1 out of 6 infants are born with a low birth weight in developing countries.4
  • Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. That is 8,500 children per day.6
  • A third of all childhood death in sub-Saharan Africa is caused by hunger.5
  • 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.6
  • Every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger-related diseases.5

The Hunger Project firmly believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty. Wherever we work, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity.

HIV/AIDS and other Diseases

  • 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.7
  • 52 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS are women.7
  • 88 percent of all children and 60 percent of all women living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa.7
  • 6.9 million children died in 2011 each year – 19,000 a day- mostly from preventable health issues such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.5

Launched in 2003, The Hunger Project’s HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Campaign works at the grassroots level to provide education about preventative and treatment measures.

Poverty

  • 1.4 billion people in developing countries live on $1.25 a day or less.8
  • Rural areas account for three out of every four people living on less than $1.25 a day.9
  • 22,000 children die each day due to conditions of poverty.10

Rural Hunger Project partners have access to income-generating workshops, empowering their self-reliance. Our Microfinance Program in Africa provides access to credit, adequate training and instilling in our partners the importance of saving.

Agriculture

  • 75 percent of the world’s poorest people — 1.4 billion women, children, and men — live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihood.11
  • 50 percent of hungry people are farming families.11

In each region in which we work, The Hunger Project provides tools and training to increase farming production at the local level. In Africa, our epicenter partners run community farms where they implement new techniques while producing food for the epicenter food bank.

Water

  • 1.7 billion people lack access to clean water.12
  • 2.3 billion people suffer from water-borne diseases each year.12
  • 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water, and none of the 12 percent lives in developing countries.13

The Hunger Project works with communities to develop new water resources, ensure clean water and improved sanitation, and implement water conservation techniques

 

Sources:

  1. US Census Bureau, International Data Base
  2. State of Food Security in the World 2013
  3. MDG Report – Goal 5, 2013 (pdf)
  4. World Hunger and Poverty Statistics, 2013
  5. MDG Report – Goal 4, 2013 (pdf)
  6. World Food Programme Hunger Statistics
  7. UN AIDS Report on the Global Epidemic, 2013
  8. IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2011
  9. Human Development Report, 2007/2008
  10. UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2010 (pdf)
  11. FAO Addressing Food Insecurity in Protracted Crises, 2010 (pdf)
  12. WHO Unsafe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (pdf)
  13. Water as Commodity – The Wrong Prescription by Maude Barlow, The Institute for Food and Development Policy
  14. A Life Free From Hunger: Tackling Child Malnutrition, Save the Children, Feb 2012

 

 

VICTIMS

SHORTLY after the birth of her sixth child, Mathilde went with her baby into the fields to collect the harvest. She saw two men approaching, wearing what she says was the uniform of the FDLR, a Rwandan militia. Fleeing them she ran into another man, who beat her head with a metal bar. She fell to the ground with her baby and lay still. Perhaps thinking he had murdered her, the man went away. The other two came and raped her, then they left her for dead.

Mathilde’s story is all too common. Rape in war is as old as war itself. After the sack of Rome 16 centuries ago Saint Augustine called rape in wartime an “ancient and customary evil”. For soldiers, it has long been considered one of the spoils of war. Antony Beevor, a historian who has written about rape during the Soviet conquest of Germany in 1945, says that rape has occurred in war since ancient times, often perpetrated by indisciplined soldiers. But he argues that there are also examples in history of rape being used strategically, to humiliate and to terrorise, such as the Moroccan regulares in Spain’s civil war.

As the reporting of rape has improved, the scale of the crime has become more horrifyingly apparent (see table). And with the Bosnian war of the 1990s came the widespread recognition that rape has been used systematically as a weapon of war and that it must be punished as an egregious crime. In 2008 the UN Security Council officially acknowledged that rape has been used as a tool of war. With these kinds of resolutions and global campaigns against rape in war, the world has become more sensitive. At least in theory, the Geneva Conventions, governing the treatment of civilians in war, are respected by politicians and generals in most decent states. Generals from rich countries know that their treatment of civilians in the theatre of war comes under ever closer scrutiny. The laws and customs of war are clear. But in many parts of the world, in the Hobbesian anarchy of irregular war, with ill-disciplined private armies or militias, these norms carry little weight.

Take Congo; it highlights both how horribly common rape is, and how hard it is to document and measure, let alone stop. The eastern part of the country has been a seething mess since the Rwandan genocide of 1994. In 2008 the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a humanitarian group, estimated that 5.4m people had died in “Africa’s world war”. Despite peace deals in 2003 and 2008, the tempest of violence has yet fully to subside. As Congo’s army and myriad militias do battle, the civilians suffer most. Rape has become an ugly and defining feature of the conflict.

Plenty of figures on how many women have been raped are available but none is conclusive. In October Roger Meece, the head of the United Nations in Congo, told the UN Security Council that 15,000 women had been raped throughout the country in 2009 (men suffer too, but most victims are female). The UN Population Fund estimated 17,500 victims for the same period. The IRC says it treated 40,000 survivors in the eastern province of South Kivu alone between 2003 and 2008.

“The data only tell you so much,” says Hillary Margolis, who runs the IRC’s sexual-violence programme in North Kivu. These numbers are the bare minimum; the true figures may be much higher. Sofia Candeias, who co-ordinates the UN Development Programme’s Access to Justice project in Congo, points out that more rapes are reported in places with health services. In the areas where fighting is fiercest, women may have to walk hundreds of miles to find anyone to tell that they have been attacked. Even if they can do so, it may be months or years after the assault. Many victims are killed by their assailants. Others die of injuries. Many do not report rape because of the stigma.

Congo’s horrors are mind-boggling. A recent study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Oxfam examined rape survivors at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, a town in South Kivu province. Their ages ranged from three to 80. Some were single, some married, some widows. They came from all ethnicities. They were raped in homes, fields and forests. They were raped in front of husbands and children. Almost 60% were gang-raped. Sons were forced to rape mothers, and killed if they refused.

The attention paid to Congo reflects growing concern about rape in war. Historically the taboo surrounding rape has been so strong that few cases were reported; evidence of wartime rape before the 20th century is scarce. With better reporting, the world has woken up to the scale of the crime. The range of sexual violence in war has become apparent: the abduction of women as sex slaves, sexualised torture and mutilation, rape in public or private.

In some wars all parties engage in it. In others it is inflicted mainly by one side. Rape in wars in Africa has had a lot of attention in recent years, but it is not just an African problem. Conflicts with high levels of rape between 1980 and 2009 were most numerous in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Dara Kay Cohen of the University of Minnesota (see chart). But only a third of sub-Saharan Africa’s 28 civil wars saw the worst levels of rape—compared with half of Eastern Europe’s nine. And no part of the world has escaped the scourge.

The anarchy and impunity of war goes some way to explaining the violence. The conditions of war are often conducive to rape. Young, ill-trained men, fighting far from home, are freed from social and religious constraints. The costs of rape are lower, the potential rewards higher. And for ill-fed, underpaid combatants, rape can be a kind of payment.

Full article: http://www.economist.com/node/17900482

 

 

Internal Arts

Nei Jia is a system of work that allows for the cultivation of heath and longevity in a balanced state of peace, attainment, and tranquillity. Nei Jia is an enlightened system that leads to the highest end when fully embodied and understood. The attainment of physical and mental/spiritual health and well being allows for intellectual growth and consciousness expansion. Many who fully embody the physical and mental/spiritual aspects of Nei Jia go beyond in their experience. My friend and brother Shifu Micah David (Hern Heng) has been blessed to learn from great masters of the art. To learn more please visit http://wkfhf.com/neijiakungfu.com/ Ask about training opportunities! Regular seminars are held in various locations in the United States.

The following are relevant lineages of the Nei Jia taught at Three Temples Kung Fu and Tactical Training. Other systems’ lineages are available by request. If you are curious about a system we teach not listed here, just ask!
Contact info: ThreeTemples@gmail.com

 

Hebei Style Xingyiquan (Black Sash, Instructor Ranking) xingyi

Chen Style Taijiquan (Black Sash, Instructor Ranking) chen-lines

 

Yang Style Taijiquan (Black Sash, Instructor Ranking) yang-lines

 

Chen, Pan-Ling Style Taijiquan (Permission to teach)

 

Cheng Style Baguazhang (Permission to teach) bagua

Traditional Northern Celestial Mountain Kung Fu (Black Sash, Instructor Ranking), basis for the Three Temples Internal Kung Fu 18 Forms

calibrations

Just some thoughts…

How much does mental health impact physical health?

If we consider the emotional state of an individual who has just received news that a close loved one has suddenly died, most people would respond in a state of sadness and sorrow. In times of extreme grief, the impact of the mind on the body can be harsh and long lasting. In grief, despair, and sorrow, the mind is “sick.” The body naturally embodies the sickness, as a shadow follows one walking in light.

If that person were able to gain command over his or her mind, he or she would come to make peace with all reality and settle into a balanced and healthy state of mind functioning in good mental and physical health.

Cultivating a more focused mind, harmoniously aligned with the universal laws of morality, will allow greater consciousness expansion and intellectual development.

Overcoming grief requires liberation from false ideas. Letting go of all despair and finding peace is difficult for most people. Many people suffer miserably with bad health, physically and mentally.

Understanding the mysteries of life will enable people to take control of their health and well being. Knowledge is power. The truth removes the barriers of growth and allows an avenue for one to attain total freedom and liberation. Bringing our emotional minds into a harmonious balance will help us transcend all sickness. As in the example of the person receiving news of a loved one’s death, this person may fall into extreme despair and this can lead to destruction. However if one knew that no one really dies, then one would have no need to fall into a state of extreme despair/suffering.

Maintaining regular exercise will help one begin to regulate and balance the bodily system. Focusing on good health and being disciplined will provide an opportunity for positive change. When done in a harmonious manner, exercise will help one rise up from despair and relax. Most people suffer from varying degrees of stress and all the reasons for it. Being aware of this, the way to overcoming it is to focus on regulating all stress through elimination and balancing the mind in equanimity. Relaxing all tension, letting all stress go. Gently and with grace.

Understanding the difference between the body and the mind will allow one to attain a greater command of one’s health if one is disciplined enough to maintain discipline. It requires work, not too much, not too little.

Aligning one’s mind with the living power that sustains all life will allow one to begin to know the creator of reality and this leads to the highest end. It is mighty and powerful, and it is silent and elusive.

The power that gives life

Do you believe it’s possible that SOMETHING created the universe and all existence? Is it possible that a power greater than the universe exists?

-“yes, God is the creator of all existence, God alone commands all…”

-“How did the universe come into existence? That’s a hard one, but evidence suggests that the giver of life is controlling the universe, which makes it a greater power than the universe.”

-“SOMETHING HAD to have made life!! Louis Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation of microorganisms, life doesn’t arise from nothing. The universe too, didn’t arise from nothing. The SOMETHING that brought the universe into existence is what most people in America refer to as GOD. The universe came from SOMETHING. That something is a power greater than the universe and what is known to mankind.”

-“How did we get here? I think the answer is so BIG that we would have difficulty wrapping our minds around it.”

-“I definately believe it’s possible. At our core we are but the light of consciousness. A power gives life to that light.”

-“Our people believe that the power that gives life is alive and we communicate with it and we give thanks for life and all the blessings of life. We live our lives in thanks and gratitude. It is a power that is greater than the universe…”

-“יהוה alone gives life to the universe. יהוה alone has power over all.”

Eating organic food protects from pesticide exposure

Eating organic food protects from pesticide exposure

Filed Under: Pesticides Organics Health Children
Children who switched to eating organically-grown food greatly reduced their exposure to organophosphate insecticides. Scientists from Seattle and Atlanta just published the results of their study which linked pesticides in children’s urine to pesticide residues on food. Scientists worry that organophosphates might harm children’s developing nervous systems.

Children who switched to eating organically-grown food greatly reduced their exposure to organophosphate insecticides. Scientists from Seattle and Atlanta just published the results of their study which linked pesticides in children’s urine to pesticide residues on food. Scientists worry that organophosphates might harm children’s developing nervous systems.

Twenty-three elementary-aged children participated in a 15 day study which was divided into three parts. First the children ate their usual diet of conventionally-grown food for 3 days. Then they were switched to organically-grown substitutes for 5 days. For the final 7 days, they switched back to conventional food.

The organic substitutes were mainly fruits, vegetables, juices, and grain products (such as wheat) because these foods are often contaminated with organophosphates.

Urine samples were collected twice a day for each child. Researchers tested the urine for signs of pesticides.

In the case of two organophosphate insecticides — malathion and chlorpyrifos — the results were startling. Signs of these two chemicals were found in the urine in the first part of the study. Almost immediately after the children switched to an organic diet, these chemicals could not be detected. The chemicals showed up again when the children switched back to their normal diet.

The researchers said “We were able to demonstrate that an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to organophosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agriculture.”

More information on chlorpyrifos

The organophosphate family of chemicals damages the nervous system (which includes the brain), so scientists are particularly concerned about children’s exposure because their bodies are still developing. Chlorpyrifos is one of the many insecticides in this chemical family.

In 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency decided to start cancelling some uses of chlorpyrifos, in part because of some disturbing animal studies. For example, newborn rats were much more susceptible to toxic effects of chlorpyrifos than adults. Also, even low doses of chlorpyrifos caused structural changes in the development of the brain.

While chlorpyrifos has been greatly restricted for uses in and around homes, it is still widely used in agriculture. The study described above makes it clear that children are still exposed to chlorpyrifos from residues on food.

http://www.pesticide.org/the-buzz/eating-organic-food-protects-children-from-pesticide-exposure

deep inside the forest is a door into another land

The human psyche and methods for altering behavior patterns (teaching resource)

Behaviorist Views of Learning

Behaviorism is a theory that explains the process of learning, which is defined as a change in observable behavior patterns as a result of life experience. Behaviorism focuses on observable behavior. The following review will summarize the two major components of behaviorism: classical conditioning and operant conditioning.

Classical conditioning is a component of behaviorism that explains how people learn involuntary physiological and emotional responses that are similar to instinctive or reflexive (unlearned) responses. We can apply this to a social setting as an example. We are conditioned to dress and behave in a manner that is acceptable in a specific context. If a student in America shows up to class wearing only a rag to cover his privates like Tarzan, then everyone would stare at him confused as to why in the world he is dressed like this. Therefore, as a result of being conditioned to society’s expectations, the student dresses accordingly, in a manner that is accepted by the majority.

Ivan Pavlov, a Russian scientist, reflected on animal behavior which led him to open the field of classical conditioning. After seeing the same person come with food to feed the dogs over and over, the dogs responded the same even when the person did not have food because they were conditioned to associate food with that person and they expected it. This led to an exploration into the psyche of humans after comparing similar responses and behavior patterns exhibited in animals.

Failure can traumatize people sometimes. When we fail, we can develop fear-based anxiety associated with our failure. This can continue to play out every time we attempt to repeat whatever it was that we failed at. The failure is an unconditioned stimulus caused by an unconditioned response (fear-based anxiety). Associating this with the context within which it happened causes a conditioned response to what was formerly a neutral response to a neutral stimuli. This response can continue to plague one with fear-based anxiety if one doesn’t work to correct the problem. If one works to succeed and does so and continues to do so, then one can transcend this negative response to failure. When the conditioned stimulus occurs over and over without the unconditioned stimulus occuring, then extinction will occur and it will no longer elicit the conditioned response. It pays succeed and it pays to work hard and overcome failure with earned success.

Operant Conditioning describes learning in terms of observable responses that change as a result of consequences. For example, being punished for an offense will often times create a paradigm shift that will lead to one to prefer to avoid repeating the incident. Reinforcers play a major role in human behavior patterns and are a major area of study when analyzing operant conditioning. Positive and negative are often regarded as two charges, such as those of a magnet, or two electrical charges. However, in human society, we refer to a positive environment as one that is safe, harmonious, peaceful, and balanced. If someone is really positive, then their outlook is optimistic, happy, motivated, and upbeat. If one is negative or if the environment is negative, then it is generally dark and unloving, unhappy, and when manifested in a person’s consciousness, it can be miserable and even hateful.

As educators, we seek to offer positive reinforcement to all, knowing that the more positive one is, the happier one will be, and the more motivated and inspired one will be. We know that positive reinforcement can only help and heal and produce good results, so we seek to positively reinforce as much as possible. Negative reinforcement is defined as the process of increasing behavior by removing or avoiding an aversive/negative stimulus. Negative “reinforcement” is the terminology used, but I wouldn’t say reinforcement, but instead negative removal. In order to maintain a balanced and harmonious consciousness, as one sees fit, one seeks to remove what is perceived to be the negative stimuli.

As educators, the Premack principle should be employed often, in my opinion. Students will sometimes not be too motivated about certain assignments, so in order to motivate them, we can use a positive reinforcer inspire the student to focus harder on the assignment. For example, an educator could say, “as soon as you are done with this assignment, we will have free time (or whatever activity the educator decided will elicit a positive response that will motivate the student to do the assignment knowing a “reward” of sorts will be the result)”. Shaping is a term used in educational psychology to describe how a teacher, for example, may continue to reinforce a student’s outlook on life by continuously and systematically working to help the student develop a positive outlook through patterns in the frequency and predictability of reinforcers to create a desired behavior.

A student’s self-esteem, perception of life, and overall state of consciousness plays a major role in learning and development. Therefore it is important for a teacher to be aware, as much as possible, and as appropriate as is expected, of a students state of consciousness in order to help the student reach the pinnacle of human consciousness evolution. Ultimately, every human should, ideally, be extinct in ego, and at peace to the depths of all being, which lies at the core of consciousness. We can’t expect everyone to achieve this because it is difficult to achieve in this world. Even more so, if one does achieve this, how long can one maintain this state of equanimity? As educators, we need to recognize that humans are complex beings that are emotional and in need of support. When we genuinely care and genuinely want to help all people with equal love and care, then we will make leaps and bounds. As educators, we need to be trained thoroughly in this area so we can understand what is happening and how to improve the classroom environment in order to make it a more productive learning experience for the students.

Fight Oppression.

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