Digitalife

It seems like Atlantic magazine covers ideas in a people-centered way, lending personal credence to stories where ethics qOptical_illusion_greysquaresuestions may otherwise cloud one’s reading.     Kind of like allowing us to imagine our world as bias-free… in other words: illusion!

“…a professor of neuroscience says it will one day be possible to live on in a computer after death.  “The principle of a neural network is that it gains complexity by combining many simple elements. One neuron takes in signals from many other neurons. Each incoming signal passes over a synapse that either excites the receiving neuron or inhibits it. The neuron’s job is to sum up the many thousands of yes and no votes that it receives every instant and compute a simple decision. If the yes votes prevail, it triggers its own signal to send on to yet other neurons. If the no votes prevail, it remains silent. That elemental computation, as trivial as it sounds, can result in organized intelligence when compounded over enough neurons connected in enough complexity.“”  Read whole article: Why You Should Believe in the Digital Afterlife

Aging Alone – Prepared

Here is an insightful article by a young journalist about our growing elder population lacking support systems.

Monet_Le_bateau

Monet_Le_bateau

“…growing older without kids or a partner doesn’t mean you’re doomed – just as aging with kids and a partner doesn’t mean all’s clear. “We’re all at risk for becoming isolated and becoming elder orphans,” Carney says. You could outlive your spouse or even your children, find yourself living far from your family or wind up in the caretaker role yourself” Source: How to Prepare to Age Alone – US News

Don’t like Oregon weather?  Wait 15 minutes!  Don’t like fad health trends? Wait…

Wow, is it my imagination or are we seeing massive swings in how research is interpreted by clinicians? The oft-told admonition to lower one’s salt intake is now coming into question.

Salt Varieties

Salt Varieties

“The researchers showed that regardless of whether people have high blood pressure, low-sodium intake is associated with more heart attacks, strokes, and deaths compared to average intake.“While our data highlights the importance of reducing high salt intake in people with hypertension, it does not support reducing salt intake to low levels.”… the harm associated with high sodium consumption appears to be confined to only those with hypertension… this suggests that the majority of individuals in Canada and most countries are consuming the right amount of salt… targeted salt reduction in those who are most susceptible because of hypertension and high salt consumption may be preferable to a population-wide approach.”  Source: Low-salt diets may not be beneficial for all, – ScienceDaily

Community Gardens – help or hurt? NOT!

Is it April 1st?  Here’s an article about something close to many of our hearts.  A subject combining the joy of gardening with community engagement.  The article’s focus is on a study by “learned researchers” who came up with rather lame downsides of community gardens:  they exclude some people, chemicals may not be used efficiently, gardeners could be harmed by the soil and air, gardeners drive cars and finally, we need more government & money thrown at the issue!

“Working in the garden offers physical and mental health benefits from exercise to stress reduction. Yet, there are also negatives.” Source: How community gardens help (and even hurt)

Redefining Well-being

What… the medical world can’t explain all life transitions and prescribe a dose for everything?

Voyage to Eternity

Voyage to Eternity

“The new comprehensive model of health identifies constellations of health completely hidden by the medical model and reclassifies about half of the people seen as healthy as having significant vulnerabilities that affect the chances that they may die or become incapacitated within five years,” said UChicago biopsychologist Martha McClintock, lead author of “An Empirical Redefinition of Comprehensive Health and Well-being in the Older Adults of the U.S.,” in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Redefining health and well-being in America’s aging population | EurekAlert! Science News

Vowed Not to be Poor, Old & Alone

One local group took matters into their own hands over thirty years ago and the idea matches other models co-oping efforts to live well.

'Four_Stages_of_Life'_Munch,_1902

‘Four_Stages_of_Life’_Munch,_1902

“…all began one day in the winter of 1985, when Weaver and Snyder were having coffee at the Oregon Electric Station after seeing the movie “Starman,” starring Jeff Bridges…   the Bag Ladies of the World began monthly potlucks at group members’ homes three decades ago, they began collecting $2 dues. Why? So they could one day afford a “BLOW house,” of course, where they all could live and grow wrinkled together.

But they haven’t exactly raised enough money to pull it off. They do have $25,000 to $30,000, though, which they’ve divvied up among three funds, including a “lifeboat” fund that members can access if in need.

Dendrocopos_major_Sure, it was just a joke that day at the restaurant in 1985, when Snyder, responding to Weaver’s concern about their economic futures, said, “We could all be bag ladies together…” These women have been lawyers, schoolteachers, entrepreneurs and struggling artists. They have been married, divorced, single, gay and straight. Some are or have been affluent, some have come close to dipping below the poverty line.” Source: Oregon women vowed not to be poor, old, alone