Monday, March 26, 2007

Lucid dreaming on the radio

Veteran lucid dream researchers will be live on the web on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - 9am Pacific (noon Eastern) to share their experiences about dreaming and consciousness.

Check them out at Bob Hoss's portal for the live radio program.

Below is the blurb from sponsors the Association for the Study of Dreams:

Lucid Dreaming – Exploring the Inner Space of Your Dreams!
Robert Waggoner and Dr. Ed Kellogg

Description: Have you ever become aware you were dreaming while in your dream? Did you know that with proper training you can explore your own dreamscape from within? This week Robert Waggoner and Dr. Ed Kellogg will discuss the research, as well as well as decades of personal experience, into the profound nature of the lucid dream. They will discuss methods for learning to dream lucidly as well as some of the extraordinary experiences they have encountered in this inner space exploration of dreams. Conscious explorations of your dreams can help you understand the nature dream reality, your own inner mental processes, and perhaps become a personal aid in the self-healing and transformational process of dreaming.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hard pill to swallow

Neuropsychiatrists are on their way to learning how memories are formed, consolidated and stored. I think this is cool. But this study has some Dark City implications.

I'm not sure why this is a major paradigm in neuropsychology, but many scientists want to learn about memory so they can destroy it. Very quickly the fascination moves from how interior experiences are represented in the brain to how those processes can be halted and erased.

And, of course, how to pump the recipe into an over-the-counter pill.

This will all play out in later years with the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, which used to be called "shell shock" and later, "combat fatigue." These days, the term PTSD has widened its umbrella, and now is considered to play a role in any traumatic experience, such as child abuse or rape.

My biases as a lucid dream researcher are here, because in my experience trauma comes to consciousness in order to be dealt with, not to be a cruel overlord over human frailty. Jeremy Taylor sez it like this, "No dream ever came to be remembered so that it can say 'Nah, nah, nah, you've got all these problems and there's nothing you can do about it.'"

But this position makes me sound like a dark overlord myself, as I decide who can and cannot be eased of their suffering, and how. According to experienced Buddhist meditators, "enlightenment doesn't care how you get there."

Since the flip side of enlightment is the condition of human suffering, maybe deleting our traumatic experiences really would be worth the meddling?

But then again... around the landmine of trauma and secrets and fears, fortifications of defenses build up, and these networks would not just disappear too.

Say, do you know the way to Shell Beach?

Thanks to transhumanist George Dvorsky for the tip.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mead in America

Last weekend, we brewed the first concoction of the year: a classic mead. AKA honey wine. AKA worst hangovers ever.

Honey is amongst the first substances ever fermented. Last I checked, the oldest evidence of mead was discovered in pottery jars in Northern China, dated to 7000 BCE. The chemical analysis revealed a fermented mixture of rice, honey, and fruit. So it's more of a sake/mead. I suggest this brew also resulted in mean hangovers, especially for the scientists involved.

According to the Masters of the Public Domain, the first known description of mead is in the hymns of the Rigveda, one of the sacred books of the Historical Vedic religion, dated around 1700-1100 BCE.

Here is pic of our mead, post brew, cooling down in the bathtub so we can pitch the yeast. Note the sterile conditions, which is very important when performing science.

Brewmaster Brian was forced to supply one of his freeweights to prevent the kettle from tipping over. Yes, it's true that the barbell is, in fact, saturated with Brian's sweat, but this actually improves the science due to a phenomenon we have identified as "tainting it with the taint." In a sacrifical taint, we ensure the quality of the rest of our sterile environment.

Sounds stupid, doesn't it? It works.

Assuming the yeast will take ("Hey look, we're in a sea of food! Let's poop out some alcohol!"), our mead will be drinkable by summer, delicious by winter, and absolutely divine in about a year.

Not too sure about 9000 years from now.