Praise Bacon! And May Bacon Be With You Always.

Escuse me, sir. Can you spare a few moments to talk about Bacon?

United Church of Bacon | Praise Bacon! And May Bacon Be With You Always.

The United Church of Bacon founders have set forth a general mission.

  • First and foremost, Praise Bacon! (Even if you don’t like bacon – gasp – all you have to do is enjoy the scent.)
  • Openly fight religious discrimination against non-religious people and demand equal rights for everyone
  • Provide wedding services to the secular people of the world
  • To encourage people to report violations of the law by church members or officials who believe they deserve special privileges while at church

Drink unfiltered coffee

Reading this compelled me to make a pot of what my dad called “Sheepherder’s Coffee”, otherwise known as cowboy coffee. He learned to make coffee that way hanging out with guys in southern Idaho, and he made coffee that way every morning, frequently letting it boil over and making a mess on the stove. It takes a long time and you inevitably get grounds in your teeth, but it is the most delicious coffee.

Should you drink your coffee filtered?

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Arguably a key reason for this is that coffee has psychoactive properties that we may be hardwired to value, even if subconsciously. For example, it increases alertness; possibly a fitness-enhancing effect in our evolutionary past. Here the term “fitness” in “fitness-enhancing effect” means “reproductive success”, and does not mean having great athletic ability or having shredded abs.

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The Bicameral Mind Theory

I recently read Jaynes’ The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind and really enjoyed it. You need nothing more to recommend it than the following quote from Richard Dawkins.

“It is one of those books that is either complete rubbish or a work of consummate genius, nothing in between! Probably the former, but I’m hedging my bets.”

Wikipedia offers a fine description of bicameralism, Jaynes’ theory of a human consciousness split into two parts. He argues in the book that ancient man may have experienced the world in what we would consider an unconscious state. Instead of an integrated consciousness we take for granted, he suggests until perhaps 2000 BCE, people’s left and right hemispheres communicated indirectly through auditory hallucinations similar to those of schizophrenics.

It’s fascinating how this theory is nearly forty years old, not widely accepted but still hanging in there.

Julian Jaynes Society | Exploring Consciousness and the Bicameral Mind Theory Since 1997

Why are gods and idols ubiquitous throughout the ancient world? What is the relationship of consciousness and language? How is it that oracles came to influence entire civilizations such as Greece? If consciousness arose far back in human evolution, how can it so easily be altered in hypnosis and “possession”? Is schizophrenia a vestige of an earlier mentality? These are just some of the difficult questions addressed by Julian Jaynes’s influential and controversial theory of the origin of subjective consciousness or the “modern mind.”

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People are not right-brained or left-brained

It’s true that different parts of the brain typically provide different functions. It’s just that the idea that some people are dominated by their right hemisphere turns out be conclusively wrong. But let me mix in another idea. It’s possible that thousands of years ago, minds weren’t so integrated and there were people who were dominated by the right hemisphere. More on that tomorrow.

Debunked: ‘Right-Brain’ and ‘Left-Brain’ Personalities — PsyBlog

Evidence from over 1,000 fMRI brain scans finds no evidence people are ‘right-brained’ or ‘left-brained’.

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More evidence about poor sleep making you fat

If you need another reason to get good sleep, here it is.

Poor sleep makes food more appealing – health – 07 August 2013 – New Scientist

If there was ever a study not to lose sleep over, it’s this one. People deprived of a good night’s rest are more likely to experience changes in brain activity that can increase the urge to eat high-calorie foods.

Matthew Walker at the University of California in Berkeley and colleagues conducted the first study of brain activity in relation to food among sleep-deprived people. The team used fMRI to study brain patterns in 23 people, first after a night of peaceful sleep and then after a night without sleep.

Sleep deprivation reduced activity in three areas of the brain that help, among other things, to process odour and flavour signals. It also led to more activity in the amygdala, which helps govern the motivation to eat. The team also found that volunteers rated pictures of high-calorie foods as more desirable after no sleep than after a good rest.

It may make evolutionary sense, says Laurent Brondel at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France. The long summer days at higher latitudes deprive animals of sleep, but they use their time awake to eat more, which helps them get through the short days of winter when food is scarcer.