Posts Written By Taylor Devarie

Oxytocin: What makes pets so awesome, hugs so good and love so magical

Oxytocin, a neuropeptide produced in the brain’s hypothalamus, has gained popularity as the “love hormone.”

But NY Times sheds light upon “The Dark Side of Oxytocin” and Gizmodo calls it “The Most Amazing Molecule in the World”—so it’s apparent that there are many shades of oxytocin. This chemical evidently helps newborns bond with their mothers and is released when snuggling with our partners or pets, but have you heard that it’s responsible for much more of our behavior than once thought? It is natural for emotions to accompany our behaviors, and scientists have found that these emotions activate the release of peptides like oxytocin into our bodies. Thus, our behaviors and emotions are inextricably connected. As Dr. Candice Pert explains, “the chemicals that are running our body and our brain are the same chemicals that are involved in emotion,” so it follows that our actions (a.k.a. “behaviors”) are reinforced by oxytocin, and vice versa. Which means oxytocin is responsible for reinforcing negative behaviors as well positive, like cuddling. So is oxytocin good or bad?

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How one woman went from making furniture to making bank

Ibukun Awosika had never worked in finance a day in her life but somehow managed to become a financial success. In fact, she has a degree in Chemistry and used to manufacture furniture for a living. So, how did a furniture maker land the position as first chairwoman in the history of Nigeria’s largest bank?

It all began when 25-year old Awosika resigned from her showroom manager position at Alibert Nigeria Ltd. in order to start her own furniture manufacturing company, The Chair Centre Ltd. (formerly known as Quebees Ltd.). But how? Awosika wasn’t supported by angel investors, and she wasn’t sitting on a cash payout or an inheritance. As a new entrepreneur, she was unknown and had no advantages over larger furniture manufacturers that had been in business for years. To top that, manufacturing costs kept rising higher and higher due to economic difficulties caused by years of industry mismanagement.

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Mushrooms can do more than just please your palette

“Imagine an organism that feeds you, heals you, reveals secrets of the universe, and could help save the planet…today. Now imagine that it’s in the ground beneath your feet.”

Human use of fungi usually goes as far as selecting edibles (like the Oyster mushrooms pictured above). And if we can’t eat ’em, they’re as useful as the dead wood they grow from, right?

But the disappearance of fungi would end life as we know it.

Did you know that all plants are part fungi? Plants cannot even exist without fungi. So you have fungi to thank for that apple you just ate. While fungi are most commonly known for fighting infections (penicillin) and making bread & beer possible (yeast), new discoveries are being made that show fungi are the networks by which plants communicate.

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Are Vegetarian and Vegan Diets Healthy?

Vegetarianism and veganism have grown in popularity over the years and are the subjects of many health studies. Some reasons for eating vegetarian or vegan are avoidance of antibiotics and hormones, religious conviction, moral concerns and fitness, among many others. But how just how healthy is it to strictly adhere to diets that prohibit meat and/or animal-based products?

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Physician-assisted suicide now legal in the state of California, as SB-128 goes into effect

Dr. Jack Kevorkian is the largest advocate of euthanasia in American history, and he began the widespread conversation about end of life options.

He’s known to have said “Dying is not a Crime,” and his advocacy led in part to Oregon’s passing of the Death with Dignity act, which made Oregon’s jurisdiction one of the first in the world that allows terminally ill patients to determine the time of their own death. In euthanasia, the attending doctor administers the final lethal dose. In PAS (physician-assisted suicide), the attending doctor merely provides the final lethal dose and the patient administers it (PAS is the one to have been recently legalized in California). It bears noting here that there are a number of terms associated with end of life rights, but we’ll deal with PAS primarily.

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Bhutan Creates Gross National Happiness Metrics to Gauge a Nation’s Well Being

Have you heard of Bhutan’s unique way of measuring national progress?

The United States use GDP as a measure to gauge national progress, but nations all over the world are realizing how narrow-minded it is to measure a nation’s progress by how much it can produce. There has been growing interest in this concept all around the world, and the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted what is known as the ‘happiness resolution’ in 2011, which makes note of the GDP indicator’s inability to adequately reflect a country’s happiness and well-being.

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Tony Robbins becomes Chief of Investor Psychology at Creative Planning

Tony Robbins is a harbinger of disruption.

He has written 3 best-selling books, Unlimited Power, Awaken the Giant Within, and Money: Master the Game, and they each focus on changing your way of thinking about personal achievement, giving you roadmaps for reprogramming your mind and body to reach your ultimate level of success and, thus, master your life. He’s a master of empowering people to take charge of their destinies despite their circumstances–and he’d know something about that due to his experience as a child of divorce and domestic violence.

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Part 2: History of the Soul

If you just joined us, you’ve happened upon an attempt to cover the vast ocean of contributions to what we know as the ‘soul’ today.

Quick recap: initial consideration of the soul began circa 200,000 BC, which lead to organized religion circa 9831 BC. Earliest written records date to around this time, and the first human considerations of the soul, religion and afterlife are evident from the remnants of ancient Egyptian culture. Worldwide, a boom in philosophical thought took place circa 5th century, which lead to Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and many other religions common today. We have this philosophical boom to thank in large part for Western concepts of Dualism. There isn’t much to note about the soul between the 5th and 16th centuries due the advent of monotheistic religions, which diverted focus from the individual soul to an omnipotent God. We last left off in the 17th and 18th centuries with Descartes and scientific research on the pineal gland.

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Part 1: History of the Soul

Do you believe you have a soul?

That all living things have souls (Animist religions)? That all living things have souls, but only human souls pass on to an afterlife, like supporters of Christianity and many—if not all—Abrahamic religions? That all things have souls resurrected within different forms depending on their karma, like Buddhists, Hindus, Jainists, etc.? Ever wonder just how the concept of this thing we call a ‘soul’ has evolved throughout the ages? Where did the soul begin?

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