The mindfulness conspiracy

Mindfulness has gone mainstream, with celebrity endorsement from Oprah Winfrey and Goldie Hawn. Meditation coaches, monks and neuroscientists went to Davos to impart the finer points to CEOs attending the World Economic Forum. The founders of the mindfulness movement have grown evangelical. Prophesying that its hybrid of science and meditative discipline "has the potential to ignite a universal or global renaissance", the inventor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabat-Zinn, has bigger ambitions than conquering stress. Mindfulness, he proclaims, "may actually be the only promise the species and the planet have for making it through the next couple of hundred years". So, what exactly is this magic panacea? In 2014, Time magazine put a youthful blonde woman on its cover, blissing out above the words: "The Mindful Revolution." The accompanying feature described a signature scene from the standardised course teaching...

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Jessica Biel joins anti-vaccine activist RFK Jr. to lobby against California pro-vaccination bill

On Wednesday, actress Jessica Biel came out as an "anti-vaxx activist," as The Daily Beast put it, joining anti-vaccination crusader Robert Kennedy Jr. at the California legislature to lobby against a bill that would make it harder to opt out of vaccinating children for medical reasons. This wasn't an activity Biel's publicist highlighted. Comment: Funny that in the next paragraph RFK describes Biel as "for safe vaccines and for medical freedom," yet the first line of the piece calls her "an anti-vaxx activist". Talk about hyperbole. ...

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Hollywood dystopia? Sir Peter Jackson and James Cameron team up to promote meatless future

The bromance between two Hollywood heavyweights has led to a project that could change the future of Kiwi farming. Avatar director James Cameron and Hobbit director Sir Peter Jackson have joined forces to create a "plant-based" food business. Rumours about the secret venture have swirled for two years, but the pair has remained tight-lipped until now. ...

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First Canadian case of insect resistance to genetically engineered corn discovered

Farmers in Nova Scotia have found that the European corn borer has developed resistance to the GM trait designed to kill it In Nova Scotia, corn farmers are observing that the European corn borer, an insect pest, has developed resistance to the genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) trait designed to kill it. This is the first report in the world of the European corn borer (ECB) developing resistance to a genetically engineered trait used to confer insect resistance. It is also the first report in Canada of any insect pest developing resistance to a genetically engineered trait. The development of resistance in other insect pests targeted by Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) traits in corn has been observed in the US, South Africa and Brazil.(2) Additionally, in the US and other countries, some cotton pests have also developed resistance to Bt...

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Science says silence is much more important to our brains than we think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing 'product'. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan "Silence, Please". A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, "No talking, but action." Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: "We decided, instead of saying that it's really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let's embrace it and make it a good thing". Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world...

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