Archive for May 21st, 2013

Book Club: “What the Dog Saw” by Malcolm Gladwell (Ariticles from the New Yorker Magazine)

May 21st, 2013 Comments off


Malcolm Gladwell, an excellent storyteller, chose a variety of topics and fleshed them essaysout for us to consider. Some of the subjects were more interesting to me than others, but each held my attention to the end, and made me want to know more. 

“What the Dog Saw is a compilation of 19 articles by Malcolm Gladwell that were originally published in The New Yorker which are categorized into three parts.

The first part, Obsessives, Pioneers, and other varieties of Minor Genius, describes people who are very good at what they do, but are not necessarily well-known.

Part two, Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses, describes the problems of prediction. This section covers problems such as intelligence failure, and the fall of Enron.

The third section, Personality, Character, and Intelligence, discusses a wide variety of psychological andsociological topics ranging from the difference between early and late bloomers and criminal profiling.”

Artist Judith Braun

May 21st, 2013 Comments off

JudithBraun wall fingering@schick Gallery

As strange as it sounds, New York-based artist Judith Braun creates all these wonderful landscapes and abstract patterns using nothing but her fingers dipped in charcoal dust. Braun says that she often uses her both hands simultaneously to the extent of arms’ reach as this allows the inherent symmetry of the body to generate a gestural vocabulary of mark making.  



Harry Hill

May 21st, 2013 Comments off

UnknownEnglish comedian and author Harry Hill

said he knew he was going bald

when it took him longer, and longer,

to wash his face.

How MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction)affects alpha rhythms. Meditation might act as a “volume knob” for selective attention, leading to better control over pain and negative emotions

May 21st, 2013 Comments off


Photo on 2013-04-02 at 08.51 I completed the 8 week training through Kaiser, and although I do not practice it every day, I consider it a valuable tool to have in dealing with life.  It is not mystical or ‘new agie’ as some might think.  It is a simple method of focusing attention on your breathing for short periods of time, learning to be nonreactive.  It is harder than you might think to sit still, palms open, feet flat on the floor with eyes shut, concentrating only on your breath for 5 or 10 minutes.  Your mind wants to distract you, which is normal,  but you just go back to thinking of the in and out of your breath. 

There is strong evidence that the MBSR techniques of increasing attentional control have measurable effects on alpha wave behavior in patients’ brains. Alpha rhythms are a key part of the sensory system: they’re related to how the brain processes and filters irrelevant sensory inputs.

Filtering inputs is a crucial part of higher order cognitive process such as selective attention and working memory. Both of these processes are based on a person’s attention to focus on relevant information while ignoring irrelevant information. Without proper filtering, your ability to carry out even the most basic cognitive operations can be crippled.

Imagine the simple task of backing your car out of the driveway. In order to reach the street safely, you must hold your destination in mind while steering the car and ignoring distractionsfrom every modality: the news on the radio, children playing at the end of the block, an itch on your foot, the glare of the sun in your eyes. Most of us do this filtering subconsciously—but if you let such irrelevant stimuli distract you, even such a daily task can become a difficult ordeal.

That’s why MBSR’s value extends even beyond its ability to improve attention during regular tasks: one of its primary clinical uses is in the treatment of patients suffering from chronic pain, who struggle with ignoring irrelevant pain stimuli on a daily basis. In fact, MBSR has been shown to have positive emotional benefits in those suffering from chronic pain and depression.


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