Friday, January 27, 2012

Scientists shift electron orbits for atomic storage and quantum computing

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Jupiter’s orbital mechanics inspires mesoscopic physicists
Scientists have found a way to stabilize and regulate the orbit of electrons in an atom, after drawing inspiration from the orbit of asteroids around Jupiter.

In 1913 Danish physicist Neils Bohr’s eponymous Model postulated atoms were formed of electrons orbiting a nucleus, much like planets around the sun – only using electrostatic attraction rather than gravity. Electrons have since been shown to be more akin to waves surrounding the nucleus, but teams in Austria and the US have shown they can be made to perform in the same way as planetary systems, and the technique can be used to change the overall size of the atom.
Bohr atomic model
"Nuclei was born under a wandering electron..."
The research, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, was inspired in part by the function of Jupiter’s Lagrange points: Two specific points where forces of the Sun and the largest planetary gravity well in the Solar System cancel each other out. These collect matter, known as the Trojans, and the best guess is that the two belts contain more than a million asteroids over a kilometer in diameter.

“It’s similar to the way Jupiter sets the beat for asteroids,” Florian Aigner, science editor of Vienna University of Technology, told The Register. “It has a certain orbital period that’s well defined and you can’t slow down Jupiter. It acts like a metronome by applying repeated force. So you use an electromagnetic beam of light to apply force to the atom.”
A team at the Vienna University of Technology got the mathematics right and Rice University performed the actual experiment. They fired an atomic beam through a vacuum chamber and then crossed the stream with a tuned laser oscillating with the orbital period frequency of the electron around the nucleus.

The laser created a localized electronic state that moves in a near-circular orbit around the nucleus, and they could then extend and reduce the size of the orbit by modulating the laser’s frequency. The team got an atom up to the size of a human blood cell during testing.

“The level of control that can be reached with these techniques is remarkable, and has applications in, for example, quantum computing and in chaotic computing,” explained Professor Barry Dunning of Rice University.

However, the technique may also provide a route to the ultimate form of memory. It may be possible, much further down the line, to use the atoms to store information by regulating their size Aigner postulated. This would take storage to its near atomic level.

But it’s by no means there yet. The electron can only be controlled when the force is applied and then reverts to its natural state within a few cycles. Then again, Jupiter is not perfect either. Simulations suggest 17 per cent of the Trojans are unstable enough to fall out of the orbits and go wandering, potentially Earthward bound.

The next step is to see if the technique can be used on multiple atoms simultaneously, and to monitor how they interact with each other during operations. Aigner said the experiments showed the potential of mesoscopic physics to explore the boundaries between the quantum world and the physics of larger objects.

Sandwiched between venerable classical physics and the extremes of quantum studies, mesoscopic physics is very much the red-headed stepchild of the physical sciences, but has huge potential. It generally deals with objects from an atom up to 1,000 nanometers – about the size of the average bacterium. By investigating the boundaries between the sub-atomic quantum world and everyday physics, mesoscopic scientists hope to find usable results that could have applications in both fields. ®
DNA tests show first modern man settled in Arabia

PTI | Jan 28, 2012, 12.43AM IST
LONDON: Scientists claim they have found vital clues which suggest that the first modern humans settled in Arabia on their way from the Horn of Africa to the rest of the world.

An international team, led by the University of Leeds in Britain and the University of Porto in Portugal, says it has used genetic analysis in its research to look for clues about human migration over 60,000 years ago.

"A major unanswered question regarding the dispersal of modern humans around the world concerns the geographical site of the first steps out of Africa.

"One popular model predicts that the early stages of the dispersal took place across the Red Sea to southern Arabia, but direct genetic evidence has been thin on the ground," said team leader Dr Luisa Pereira at the University of Porto.

In fact, in its research, the team analysed three of the earliest non-African maternal lineages. These early branches are associated with the time period when modern humans first successfully moved out of Africa.

Using mitochondrial DNA analysis, which traces the female line of descent, the scientists compared complete genomes from Arabia and the Near East with a database of hundreds more samples from Europe.

They found evidence for an ancient ancestry within Arabia.

Team member Prof Martin Richards at the University of Leeds added: "The timing and pattern of the migration of early modern humans has been a source of much debate and research.

Our new results suggest that Arabia, rather than North Africa or the Near East, was the first staging-post in the spread of modern humans around the world."

The findings have been published in the latest edition of the 'American Journal of Human Genetics'.

India: A secular nation.

Must India downplay its secular credentials?

January 28, 2012
By Kishwar Desai
As part of a secular nation, one must be able to respect and appreciate religions other than one’s own without prejudice or dismay. And what better way to do it than as an academic and intellectual exercise? But is India ready to display its multi-faith credentials in an analytical fashion?

So when a senior Indian official in charge of culture was visiting London, I had suggested that Indian museums should do well-researched exhibitions on all the various religions that have originated and flourished in India — just as the British museums do ever so often. The presentation of homegrown spirituality, in the historical context, would repackage India’s image in the world as an intellectual and spiritual powerhouse — not just of a country led by outsourcing and Bollywood. Why not have India-led exhibitions about the Ramayana or Buddhism or the myriad Sufi cults, for example?

But, to my surprise, I was very firmly told that this wasn’t possible, as the area of “religion” is still a minefield in India, and would lead to endless trouble. How terrible for us! Thus it is only “foreign” institutions such as the British Library and the British Museum which use their collections and curators to put up some wonderful exhibitions on aspects of various religions, including those which are uniquely Indian — and which rightly should have been done in India and by Indian experts. Not only do they acquire spectacular exhibits, but also display religious material and forms of worship that encourage thousands of people to flock to their doors.

Can you imagine the impact of different exhibitions if organised by Indian curators, dealing with Buddhism, Jainism, Sufism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam… they would be authentic and exciting. But apparently we are not yet mature enough to handle these and it is an area best left to the West!

Thus I cannot resist a twinge of envy every time a well-curated exhibition on any aspect of a non-Christian faith opens in London. How sad that in India we still shy away from all of this — even though the country has been a multi-faith hub for centuries!

Right now it is the Haj, or the holiest pilgrimage of the Islamic faith — on which all Muslims are supposed to go at least once in their lifetime — which has an exhibition devoted to it at the British Museum. It covers a myriad aspects of the journey in as much detail as was possible. Understand-ably neither the director of the British Museum nor the curator of the exhibition may have been able to actually go near the Kaaba, or participate in the rituals or the physical journey as they are non-Muslims. But that has not deterred either Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Musuem, or its lead curator, Venetia Porter, in any way. They maintain that is precisely why they felt the need for an exhibition like this — so that non-Muslims could also appreciate why such staggering num-bers go to Mecca each year.

In fact , last year, just in one week, over three million people had undertaken the journey. The exhibition covers all aspects of the pilgrimage — right from the accounts of early pilgrims to the histori-cal and traditional narratives. The attire, the arrangements and the rites have all been presented. It also fo-cuses on the travel diaries and photographs of several outsiders who did go on the Haj, including the best-selling accounts of the intrepid explorer and writer Richard Burton, who went in disguise in 1853.

MacGregor has said that Haj is “the high point of the intersection between theology and logistics”, and of course, the exhibition also captures the enormous arrangements required to accommodate the sheer number of pilgrims as well as the hardships suffered by the early travellers, including some early converts such as the Scottish lady, Evelyn Cobbold, who became the first British Muslim woman pilgrim in 1933, saying enthusiastically: “It seems that I have always been a Moslem.” One wonders when will we be able to have similar exhibitions in India — without the threat of either misrepresentation or violence?

Meanwhile, the controversy over Dow Che-mical as a sponsor of the London Olympics rumbles on and on — but from all signs, the London Olympics committee has little desire to call off the seven-million pound deal.

It must be remembered that there is also a 100-million pound sponsorship arrangement with the International Olym-pics Committee. The numbers are not small.

The excitement over the resignation of Meredith Alexander this week from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, while embarrassing for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Locog), may be premature.

After all, it was an unpaid job, and while it has raised the pitch, unless there is a larger campaign against Dow, there promises to be little change in the current stance. In a statement, the commission said it was “sorry to confirm the resignation of Commissioner Meredith Alexander, whose remit covered supply chains and behaviour change.

“Meredith has stated that the reason for her resignation is that she does not feel she can remain with the commission in light of Locog’s appointment of Dow Chemical as the stadium wrap supplier, and the commission fully respects her decision to leave on this basis,” the statement elaborated, non-committally.

But the London mayor, Boris Johnson, has stated that he hopes that Ms Alexander will be persuaded to think differently. And then there are those sceptics who wonder why after 25 years the Indian government has still not got its act together and given the victims of the Bhopal tragedy a better life — or a secure environment or clean water. It is odd, to say the least, that while it allowed Union Carbide to escape almost without liability — it is now trying to use an international sports arena to settle scores. Will the activists, encouraged by Ms Alexander’s resignation, manage to push their agenda and will Boris Johnson — or the Olympics committee — blink? Right now, unless they find an equally big-ticket sponsor it doesn’t seem likely.

The writer can be contacted at

Bangladesh:Attempted coup

Haunted by their histories

Syed Badrul Ahsan
Fri Jan 27 2012, 03:17 hrs==================================================
The disclosure by the Bangladesh army of a coup attempt by mid-ranking and retired military officers has left the country in a state of disbelief. The disbelief stems not so much from the thought that such a conspiracy had been in the works, but that such moves should be made at all, two decades after the restoration of democracy. Bangladesh’s history, after it liberated itself from Pakistan in 1971, has not been a particularly pleasant one as far as the role of the military in politics is concerned. Contrary to popular expectations of a substantive democratic order underpinning the country’s politics following its emergence as an independent state, governance in Bangladesh has largely, and for a good number of years, revolved around the question of the military’s role in the work of government. The country has gone through major upheavals, almost always when the army decided to shoot down democratic politics.

But that phase, where the army exercised profound, and therefore, unquestioned, loyalty as the source of power in Bangladesh, drew to an end in February 1991 when free and fair general elections made it possible for the country to go back to government by the consent of the governed. In these past twenty years, since the country’s last military ruler left the scene, democracy has kept the social engine going. To be sure, it has been a flawed democracy, with cabinet government dwindling into a personalised, prime minister-led, administration. Even so, little thought was given to the possibility of the soldiers striking again. If Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder of Bangladesh, could be assassinated by soldiers, if mutinous soldiers could cause the murder of the four figures who led the country to freedom, of Major General Ziaur Rahman and of Major General Khaled Musharraf, it follows that fears will keep rising about future attempts to overthrow governments by force. The discovery of the plot hatched by right-wing military officers, reportedly supported by non-resident Bangladeshis, to remove Sheikh Hasina’s government, is being seen as a vindication of such fears.

There is little question that the Awami League-led government finds itself in difficult circumstances, especially in light of the trial of the war criminals of 1971. The trials have spurred the supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami, whose leaders have for the past four decades been accused of assisting the Pakistan army in the genocide of Bengalis, into action, to have the process halted. Intriguingly, former prime minister Khaleda Zia, who heads the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, has already demanded that the war crimes trials be halted on the ground that loopholes in the working of the International Crimes Tribunal have, in her party’s view, been raising questions. Khaleda Zia’s position has not gone down well with large sections of the population, which have seen in her statement a move to prevent justice from being done on an issue that ought to have been resolved years ago. The BNP chief undermined herself a little more when, a couple of days before the coup plot came to light, she accused the government of being behind what she called a disappearance of army officers in mysterious circumstances. That statement now looks to have been ill-advised.

If reports of a coup attempt have set Bangladeshis thinking about the future of their democracy, the clear power struggle involving the government, the judiciary and the army has led to renewed fears of political instability in Pakistan. The parallels with Bangladesh are eerie, for a good number of reasons. In these past many weeks, rumours of a coup in Pakistan or at least pressure on the part of the country’s influential army on President Asif Ali Zardari to quit over a so-called Memogate scandal have been rife. And into the scene stepped the Supreme Court, chastising Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani over his failure to reopen old corruption cases against the president. In Bangladesh, despite the large measure of relief expressed by citizens when the war crimes trials got under way, there had been the suspicion that the government could come under assault. Leaflets disseminating inflammatory material relating to “abductions” of military officers and their “interrogation in Hindi” at secret locations, together with a repetition of the propaganda by former prime minister Khaleda Zia at a public rally in Chittagong, were clear pointers to mischief being afoot.

For now, conditions in Bangladesh are relatively calm and even the opposition BNP, founded by the country’s first military ruler Ziaur Rahman, has been scrambling to reiterate its adherence to democratic principles. In Pakistan, the army and the courts, despite having significantly weakened the Zardari-Gilani administration, have appeared to take a step back from the brink. That does not, however, imply that democracy is safe in Pakistan. With suspicion growing that the military establishment has been behind the sudden surge in the popularity of cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, the feeling persists that politics in Pakistan will remain in a vulnerable state for quite a while. Besides, Islamabad’s difficult relations with the United States, coupled with its unending battle against Islamist extremists, continue to cause haemorrhage in the country’s body politic.

Bangladesh and Pakistan, having emerged as a single Muslim state in 1947 through the partition of India, went their separate ways after a bloody war of Bengali liberation in 1971. At some later point, though, it became hard for one to distinguish the politics of the two nations one from the other. Both countries have gone through long periods of military rule, with democratic politics getting stymied in the process. Both have resumed their slow march to democracy at certain periods of time. Both have wallowed in chaotic politics and continue to do so.

And yet, if the events of the past few days are any guide, both need to be on guard against any new attempt by soldiers to foist themselves on the state as new, familiar rulers. If indeed such a tragedy comes to pass, it will be a sad throwback to the darkness of the past.
The writer is executive editor, ‘The Daily Star’, Dhaka 

Tibetans News

Sangay urges Tibetans for worldwide demonstrations

DHARAMSHALA: Tibetan prime minister Lobsang Sangay has given a call for world-wide vigils on February 8 to express solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet. He also urged Tibetans not to celebrate Losar (Tibetan new year) this time.

In his statement issued here on Thursday, he also urged the Chinese authorities to pay heed to the ongoing crisis in Tibetan, with protestors being fired upon and lamas carrying out self-immolations. "Stability cannot be restored inTibet through violence and killings of Tibetans. The only way to resolve the issue and bring about lasting peace is by respecting the rights of the Tibetan people and through dialogue," the statement said.

"I call on the international community to show solidarity and to raise your voices in support of the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people at this critical time. I request that the international community and the United Nations send a fact-finding delegation to Tibet and that the world media be given access to the region as well," said Sangay.

Sangay has also called upon the Tibetans to hold traditional prayers and spiritual offerings for the Tibetan friends inside Tibet, facing "brutal suppression of the Chinese forces".

"To my fellow Tibetans, I request you not to celebrate Losar, which falls on February 22 this year. However, please observe the basic customary religious rituals such as burning incense, going to temple and making traditional offerings," he said.

"Let's send a loud and clear message to the Chinese government that violence and killing of innocent Tibetans is unacceptable! I request everyone to conduct these vigils peacefully, in accordance with the laws of your country, and with dignity," the statement noted.

Austria: International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Some slam Nazis; others gather for right-wing ball
VIENNA (AP) — Austrians gathered in memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis condemned plans to hold a ball of extreme rightists later in the day Friday, saying the event's timing transformed it into a macabre dance on Holocaust victims' graves.

Friday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, celebrated each year on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Ball organizers insisted the fact that their event coincided this year with the 67th anniversary of the death camp's demise was coincidental and denied suggestions that those attending were extremists.
But opponents vehemently criticized both the day chosen to hold the WKR ball and the political views of those attending it, suggesting it regularly attracts elements from the neo-Nazi fringe. The ball is to be held in Vienna's ornate Hofburg palace, less than a minute's walk away from the memorial event.
The dispute reflects both the distance Austria has come in acknowledging its role in Nazi atrocities and stubborn rightist sentiment among some here, who see themselves as Germans and Germans as the superior race — a common regional building block of anti-Semitism.
Some of the most bitter comments came from the crowd that converged on Vienna's Heldenplatz, or Heroes' Square, to lay wreaths for the victims of the Holocaust.
"You, who will dance and celebrate here; we remind you of the murder of two-thirds of Europe's Jews," proclaimed death camp survivor Rudolf Gelbard. Insisting that Nazi atrocities must never be forgotten, Greens' Party head Eva Glawischnig declared, "It is all the greater perfidy that there will be dancing today on the graves of Auschwitz."
Organizers point out that the ball traditionally takes place on the last Friday in January, but federal government minister Gabrielle Heinisch-Hosek scoffed at their insistence that the timing this year with international Holocaust commemorations was coincidence.
She called the timing "a big provocation" in comments to The Associated Press, while Greens' Party member Niki Kunrath said the fact "that right-wing extremists can still assemble in the most magnificent halls of the country" was a national shame.
Formally, Austria has moved from a postwar portrayal of being Nazi Germany's first victim to acknowledging that it was Hitler's willing partner. Most young Austrians reject Nazi ideology and condemn the part their parents might have played in the Holocaust.
At the same time, the rightist-populist Freedom Party — whose supporters range from those disillusioned with the more traditional parties to Islamophobes and Holocaust deniers — has become Austria's second-strongest political force.
The party, a strong defender of the ball, confirmed Friday that Marine Le Pen, head of France's National Front, planned to attend the event, along with Belgium's Philip Claeys of the Vlaams Belang party and other European far rightists.
The Freedom Party itself went on the offensive, saying the real threat to society came from leftists planning to demonstrate against the ball and warning Austrian Jewish leader Ariel Muzicant that it might press charges of incitement against him for encouraging the protests.
The ball is staged mostly by dueling fraternities including far-right members who display saber scars on their cheeks as badges of honor and mix on the dance floor with other guests of various ideological hues. Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache described the event as "an academic ball, not a political ball."
He accused "extreme-left" opponents of trying to sabotage his party and warned that the protests being organized outside the venue were being organized by anarchists backing "the rule of the street."
But demonstrations that began as the ball guests started to converge on the Hofburg were generally peaceful, with most of the approximately 2,500 demonstrators respecting police lines separating them from the venue.
In the only reported incident, some of the guests were delayed when the two buses carrying them were briefly blocked by sitting protesters who were quickly removed by police.
"I find this is wrong because today is the liberation day of Auschwitz," said demostrator Michael Wolfram of the event. "And I think it's impudent that the right-wing fraternities chose this day to celebrate."
Although the ball regularly comes under criticism, its overlap this year with the Auschwitz liberation anniversary had increased pressure on organizers and attendees
Because it was listed among other annual champagne-laced Viennese balls, an Austrian committee reporting to UNESCO, the U.N.'s culture organization, struck all the balls from its list of Austria's noteworthy traditions last week.
While some of the more opulent Vienna balls are criticized as a showcase of the rich, most are devoid of direct political controversy. For centuries, the city's high society has waltzed blissfully through wars, recessions and occasional firebomb-throwing anarchists opposed to the moneyed decadence they think such events represent.
But the WKR ball started drawing flack as Austrians began to come to grips decades ago with the fact that their country was one of Nazi Germany's most willing allies instead of its first victim through its 1938 annexation by Hitler.
Bowing to the pressure, the Hofburg palace announced late last year that the ball will have to 
move elsewhere as of 2013.
Philipp Jenne contributed to this report.
George Jahn can be reached at

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Syria: Opinion

A terrifying menu for Syria’s endgame

January 28, 2012 01:15 AM
By Rami G. Khouri

Now that the Arab League has decided to ask the United Nations Security Council to back its plan to resolve the crisis in Syria, the prospects of international involvement in Syria inches forward just a bit more. This adds a new dimension to the already fertile debate on how the mounting violence and expanding political crisis will end.
In the last few months, I have heard dozens of scenarios for how things might play out in Syria. Some are plausible, others are fantastic, but all are suggested seriously by usually knowledgeable observers and analysts. They go something like this.
The most common scenario I hear is that tensions and violence will continue to the point in the coming year where economic collapse causes some influential figures in regime of President Bashar Assad to carry out a coup, after despairing that Assad can find a political solution to the crisis. Such a coup would be led by Alawite and Sunni military officers who would recognize the need to make a deal with the demonstrators and send Syria onto a path of serious political democratization, while sparing Alawites widespread retribution after the fall of the House of Assad. A variation of this sees an inside plot to assassinate the top leaders, and bring an immediate end to the crisis.
Another common scenario is that the Russians will recognize that Assad’s approach is doomed to fail and will shift away from their current course of using a veto to prevent Security Council moves to pressure Damascus. In this script, Russia convinces Assad to step down and leave the country with his extended family and their riches.
A variation on this sees a combination of Alawite leaders, military officers and top businessmen collectively deciding that they are all doomed if the current trends persist, and working together to do one of two things: either to engineer a coup and force Assad’s exit, or to sit him down and make clear that they – his pillars of support – see only doom, so that he must turn over power to a democratic transitional leadership before total collapse ruins the country.
A more dramatic possibility in some people’s view is for regional and global powers to impose no-fly zones and safe havens along Syria’s northern and southern borders. This would speed up the regime’s abandonment by tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians, speeding up its collapse from within. This process would be hastened by further economic deterioration impacting on all sectors of society, as tighter international sanctions – including bans on aviation and banking links with Syria – lead to shortages of basic goods and runaway inflation that make it impossible for most Syrians to live a normal life. This would also spark massive anti-regime demonstrations in Damascus and Aleppo, the death knell of the Assads.
A more drastic possibility is that the polarization of Syrian society along ethnic lines and full civil war will reach a point where the unified state collapses, and the Alawites retreat into their mountains to form their own state in their northwestern heartland. Some suggest this has been the aim of the crisis all along, with “outsiders” provoking civil strife to the point where Syria breaks up into statelets, including Alawite, Druze, Kurdish and Sunni entities.
This would occur at the same time as Iraq faces similar disintegration as a unified country and leaves behind Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish entities of some sort. Culprits behind this scenario it is said, of course, is Israel and America, whose desire for hegemony over the Middle East would be made much easier by the presence of weaker ethnic statelets rather than larger, stronger Arab states. In such a scenario, Israel would quickly come to the aid of some of these ethnic statelets – as it tried to do with some Lebanese groups in the 1980s – and thus cement both the fragmentation of the Levant and its dominance of it.
The most terrible scenario sees the deterioration in Syria leading the Assad regime to implement the Sampson Option. It would seek to instigate strife and chaos across the region, in order to plunge the Levant into a regional conflagration. This option would be based on the Assads’ assumption that if they cannot rule over a unified Syria, then nobody in the neighborhood should be able to live in peace and security either. Such a scenario would involve attacking or fomenting strife in Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, perhaps resulting in the desperate use of chemical or even nuclear weapons.
These are only the most plausible scenarios that are widely circulated in the region these days. The more outrageous ones we will leave for another day to ponder.
Rami G. Khouri is published twice weekly by THE DAILY STAR
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 28, 2012, on page 7.
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And now Bangladeshi pirates!

Bangladeshi pirates kill 4 Indian fishermen, kidnap 12

PTI | Jan 28, 2012, 02.26AM IST

Bangladeshi pirates on Friday night killed 4 Indian 
fishermen, injured 8 others and hijacked a trawler 
carrying 12 fishermen in the Bay of Bengal, police said.
KAKDWIP: Two groups of Bangladeshi pirates on Friday night killed four Indian fishermen, injured eight others and hijacked a trawler carrying twelve fishermen in the Bay of Bengal, police said.

One group of pirates fired at the fishermen travelling in 'Maa Basanti' trawler at Kendua in the bay resulting in four of them being killed, Rahul Majumdar, SDO at Kakdwip, said, adding eight others were injured.

In the meantime, another group of pirates hijacked 'Tara' trawler carrying twelve fishermen and sailed away to the Bangladeshi side, he said.

As soon as another group of fishermen who were nearby heard about the firing incident, they confronted the pirates and managed to catch eight of them.

The fishermen are now bringing the captured pirates and the injured men to Kakdwip, the officer said.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Benefits of Meditation
Posted: 11/24/2010 | MeditationDr. Jennifer Howard - Changes That LastComments

Are you one of those who roll out of bed in the morning scrambling for your coffee or dashing out the door to head to the office, hoping your socks match? Do you think that there’s simply no time in your crammed day to take a few moments to meditate? Or do you think that meditation is only for the yogi who sits all day on a mountaintop contemplating his navel?  
What would you say if I told you that taking a few moments every day to tune into yourself would benefit you in numerous ways?
Whether you take a few moments to pray or simply sit still, it’s been shown that meditation yields rewards physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Here are a few of those rewards:
…relieves stress, which leads to a deeper level of relaxation.
…reduces anxiety attacks.
…decreases muscle pain and headaches.
…lowers heart rate and blood pressure.
…decreases respiratory rate.
…helps balance brain chemistry, which aids in stabilizing mood.
…helps with depression.
…enhances the immune system. (Research has shown that meditation increases activity of ‘natural-killer cells’, which kill bacteria, funguses, parasites and cancer cells.)
…helps in dealing with personal issues.
…creates new neuronal tracks in both the prefrontal cortex as well as the mid-insular regions of the brain, which helps us change and learn.
…helps align us with higher/deeper realms.
…aids in our connection with God, Spirit, Absolute or the Universe.

Isn’t that enough to take a few moments to meditate?
In the beginning, it will take effort to remember to tune into yourself. Here’s an exercise that will hopefully help:
During the day, take a moment to pay attention to what you are thinking and notice the emotion that is attached. This will help you build consciousness and better know yourself.
Also, even in busy situations, you can become still. Here’s how: focus on breathing deeply and slowly for a minute at your desk, while standing in lines or in the shower. You will soon discover that stillness can be woven into many of your everyday tasks.
After all, isn’t good health and happiness something worth striving for? 
Have you found a way where stillness was woven into one of your everyday tasks? I welcome your comments or questions.


terri mahler hoagland    Posted: 2/26/2011 6:41:15 AM
You are so right Dr. Howard. When I think of something, I need to focus on the emotion that is attached with that thinking. This is a great daily exercise that I will for sure use, thank you so much. It is so simple and easy to utilize in every day thinking & feeling. Sometimes or often when i do and do for others especially my family, I have expectations that are not being met, so I get into that self-pity thinking. And I end up hurting myself. I also continue to let others take advantage of me. One of my sisters said, "your just too easy Terri." I thought to myself, "no, everyone just takes advantage of me too much, because I allow this to happen, I am the only one that can control that." However, I continue to do and do for everyone, they only call me if they want or need something, which is all the time, I sometimes feel like their mother. I grew up playing the mother role, so my habits of today continue. Why is it so hard to just say no? And when my family visits me, they like wearing my clothes, so i end up letting them wear them, but never not once do the ever return my clothes or dishes. Every time I cook, they love taking my food home with them with my dishes. They never return any thing that they use. I love them, but my goodness this is not any fun, if you give them an inch they take a mile.
When I invite G_d Most High into my life through prayer, meditation, and conversation, I open myself to infinite possibilities.
"Today, I will take the time to cultivate that thinking and emotion that is attached."
Thank you for taking the time to ready this letter, May you have a nice day today and everyday.
Respectfully Yours,
Thank you and I will for sure try this daily.

terri hoagland    Posted: 3/4/2011 6:54:08 PM
Thank you Dr. Jennifer for opening your door to me. I appreciate it.

Marie    Posted: 11/26/2010 7:51:04 PM
Love this reminder Jennifer! I''m the worlds worst at this. From the time I get up till the time I go to bed, seems like I''m doing something, even multitasking.

I do take some time each morning to pray & read but as the Christmas Season approaches and things get busier, that time is beginning to be lessened.

Thanks for all you do and I the animation in your pictures.


Chris       Posted: 12/2/2010 1:25:38 PM
Thanks for the great post! It is hard at first to tune out everything but with practice it becomes easier and easier to get in tune with your body and relax physically and mentally. Thank you for the wonderful inspiration!

Mat    Posted: 5/11/2011 2:45:00 PM
You hit the nail on the head with regards to us needing to take the time to do our meditation. Taking the short amount of time to do it has such a huge impact on my daily routine, that I don''t know how I went through my days before without doing it.

Thank you for this.

Now that Facebook Timeline has rolled out, many of you have become more familiar with its most prominent feature, resulting in a plethora of creative and noteworthy profiles. Now, we’ve scoured the social network and asked our readers for some of the funniest cover photo designs.
SEE ALSO: Facebook Timeline Roll Out: Everything You Need to Know
Whether it’s a tribute to an old Nintendo game or a play on placement or lighting, one of these cover photos is likely to make you smile. If you’re not a fan of the new profile changes, you may want to check out these browser tricks to get the old Facebook back.
Think you have a funnier cover photo? Share yours with us in the comments.