Trump’s DoubleBind


Reuters has an interesting article on how Trump is failing to fire up the conservative base. I the think the problem is actually deeper than that.

Here is one of the charts they use to illustrate their point:

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Their main point is that Trump is down 20 points (61.5%-82.6%) with moderately conservative voters, compared to Romney in 2012. What i find striking is that he is also down by 10 points (74.1%-83.9%) with Very Conservative men as well. This may mean that if Trump finds a way to win over the moderates, he may very well further alienate the  die-hards. So  he’s down 10 now with the far right, and he moves to the middle on some issues, which he may have already started to do over this past weekend, then he improves his standing with the moderates, but he looses ground with the far-right doctrinaires.

 

Adding the Wim Hof Technique to My Meditation Practice


 

I’ve recently added the Wim Hof breathing and meditation to my daily meditation practice. I’ve read a lot about him, and seen him on some documentaries, and it is hard to argue that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, so  I decided to try out his breathing technique just to see what it was like,  and was quite surprised with how deep and quiet my normal meditation is after doing the Wim Hof breathing.

Wim Hof

Wim hof is a guy from Holland who holds over 20 Guiness World Records, most of them having to do with withstanding cold, but one is for running a marathon in 2011 in the Namib desert without water. Befoire that, in 2009, in another astonishing feat he ran a full marathon  above the arctic circle in nothing but shorts (no shoes) in temperatures of -4 degrees Fahrenheit, in 5 hours 25 minutes. His most recent record in 2011  was to  stand submerged in ice for 1 hour and 52 minutes. Most normal people would die after about 20 minutes.

So how does he do it? According to Wim, it is all about meditation, focus, and breathing- and he says he can teach anyone to do what he does!

The great thing about Wim, is that he is open about his technique. Yes you can take a class from him, both via the internet and in person, but you can learn pretty close to everything he teaches through the internet. At the end of the post I’ll share what I’ve learned and been practicing.

There are some great documentary videos about Wim Hoff, but one of the things that really impressed me are the research studies that have been done on Hof.

The first study in 2011 was just on Hof, and yielded amazing results on the physiological effects. The second study in 2014 was a follow up and instead of examining just Hof, it also looked at 12 volunteers trained in his method, and 12 untrained comparison subjects.

2011 Study

In this study they injected Wim with an “endotoxin,” basically a dead bacteria, that the body thinks is alive for about 3 hours. So for that 3 hours people experience flu-like symptoms, including fever, trembling and headaches. In the blood stream “inflammatory agents from the immune system goes way up. After 3 hours the body realizes nothing is wrong and returns to normal. It is a safe and standardized way of measuring a person’s immune response.

The researchers looked at brain activity, and monitored the inflammatory response in Wim When the endotoxin was injected into Wim, in terms of flu-like symptoms. The inflammatory agents were close to normal levels, and cortisol levels were much higher. This stress hormone is known to suppress the immune response.

This study amazed the researchers, who decided to do a follow up study in 2014 with a larger group of subjects.

2014 Study

This study looked a t a group of 24 people- 12 trained in Wim Hof’s method of breathing and meditation, and 12 normal people untrained in breathing or meditation. In this study the followed the same method. All participants were injected with the endotoxin, and their bodies monitored. Incredibly all 12 normal people went through 3 hours of flu-like hell, while those trained by Wim were fine: No flu-like symptoms, significantly higher blood PH, epinephrine, and anti-inflammatory agents, with significantly lower levels of inflammatory agents in the blood.

Incredibly the researchers reported that the trained individuals epinephrine levels rose higher than those reported in a recent study that monitored epinephrine in people about to bungee  jump!

In the end the researchers concluded that: “…The sympathetic nervous system and immune system can be voluntarily influenced through practicing techniques that are relatively easy to learn within a short time frame. It therefore could have important implications for the treatment of a variety of conditions associated with excessive or persistent inflammation, especially autoimmune diseases” (Kox, et. al, 2014 p. 7383).

Prior to this most researchers believed the immune system and sympathetic nervous system were beyond voluntary control. Now we now that we can in fact control them and affect how our bodies react to inflammatory disease! Now for me this study was the clincher for why I decided to try this out, but the documentaries are also very powerful. The reactions of the researchers is quite impressive and can be seen in the documentary by vice, and in other videos around the web. Check them out.

So what I’ve been doing is:

  1. Breath in as deeply as you can
  2. Release breath naturally, but don’t force yourself to exhale completely
  3. Do this 30-40 times
  4. On last Breath, breath out fully and hold until gasp reflex(my record after 3 days of practice is 2 minutes 28 seconds)
  5. Inhale fully and hold for 10-15 seconds.
  6. Repeat this cylce 5 times.
  7. Meditate for 20 minutes.

 

Couple Other Things

Another thing that Wim recommends is cold training. This involves getting into cold showers for as long as you can stand it, which is actually harder than it sounds, then working your way up to ice baths. I’ve actually done ice baths in the past, as a way to recover from a long run, which I picked up from Dean Karnazes, but stepping into a cold shower is actually harder I think. I’ve made it for 2 minutes so far. I’ve lasted in an ice bath for 10 minutes.

Finally, he recommends throwing in exercise on the last set of breathing exercise. So after the 5th set of breathing exercise try to do as many push-ups as you can while holding your breath. I’m up to 35.

Studies:

Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. (2011, April 22). Research on ‘Iceman’ Wim Hof suggests it may be possible to influence autonomic nervous system and immune response. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 17, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110422090203.htm

Kox, M., van Eijk, L. T., Zwaag, J., van den Wildenberg, J., Sweep, F. C., van der Hoeven, J. G., & Pickkers, P. (2014). Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(20), 7379-7384. http://www.pnas.org/content/111/20/7379.long

 

 

How-to Guide for Wim Hof Method:

http://highexistence.com/the-wim-hof-method-revealed-how-to-consciously-control-your-immune-system/

 

Documentary video:

http://www.vice.com/video/iceman

Many others on YouTube.

How to Grow Your Brain from a Neural-Stem Cell Researcher


A fascinating 10 minute talk by a neural stem cell researcher Sandrine Thuret :

You can grow new brain cells. Here’s how

http://www.ted.com/talks/sandrine_thuret_you_can_grow_new_brain_cells_here_s_how?share=11ab6178f9

The breakdown is neurogenesis is a lifelong process that can be helped or hindered by what we do in our lives. Increasing neurogenesis improves learning, memory, and mood. Decreasing it impairs them.

Highlights of factors that increase neurogenesis:

  1. Learning
  2. Exercise- running
  3. Diet-
    1. Calorie restriction of 20-30%
    2. Intermittent Fasting
    3. Flavonoids-
      1. Chocolate
      2. Blueberries
    4. Omega-3 fatty acids
    5. Zinc
    6. Cumin
    7. Folic acid
    8. Caffeine
    9. Vitamin E
    10. Vitamin B
  4. Red Wine – resveratrol

Factors that decrease Neurogenesis

  1. Diet
    1. Saturated fats
    2. Sugar
    3. Vitamin E deficiency
    4. Vitamin B Deficiency
    5. Alcohol

Interestingly, healthy neurogenesis is not only related to better learning and memory, but also improved mood.

 

Dell Dimension 8400 HyperThreading (Dual Core) Off by Default and how to Fix it


I have had a Dell Dimension 8400 for a few years now. For the last couple years I have had it hooked up to my big screen TV to watch Netflix, Youtube and XMBC. It was ok, sometimes when I watch the audio would be way ahead of the video, and this has become majorly annoying to me over time. Not all videos, but often enough to make me just turn the damn thing off.

So I was thumbing through the owners manual and saw that there is something called Hyperthreading, that basically emulates a dual core processor, and it may or may not be enabled. I checked my processor in the device manager, and Hyperthreading was not enabled. If it were there would be two processors there.

So quick search on Google found that Hyperthreading is enabled in the BIOS, and that it is always off by default for some strange reason that only Dell knows.

So I go into BIOS, by hitting F2 while the PC is booting up. Arrowed down to Performance, and enabled Hyperthreading. Reboot. Windows found a new device, and needed to reboot again. Finally opened the task manager and now I have 2 processors and my video is smooth and in sync.

Wish I knew this 5 years ago. Thanks for that Dell.

Just got the UG007 Android HDMI Stick


UG007_744I just received the UG007 – 8G mini PC TV Dongle, Quad-Core RK3188 1.6GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB Internal SD storage, Google Android 4.2, HDMI, 1080P, integrated WiFi and Bluetooth . So far its pretty sweet. I had to have a USB mouse in order to get my Bluetooth mouse and keyboard linked up, which seems like a step that should be spelled out a little bit more in the product description. Otherwise you have a flatscreen tv with Android 4.2.2 and no way to interact with it. Luckily I had a USB mouse, and was able to get everything working.

My next step is to get XBMC up and running on the UG007, followed by Netflix. Hopefully the scripts from XBMChub will work on Android so I can get down to serious TV watching.

My daughter got the Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player
for Christmas, and we have been testing it out, but the UG007 seems like a much more versatile solution, I’ll let you know how it goes.