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Explaining the Neurobiology of Illusions: A Talk from Caltech

6 Mar

The Amazing World of Psychiatry: A Psychiatry Blog

Professor Markus Meister gives a fascinating talk on the neurobiology of vision as part of a TEDx conference at Caltech. He references two visual illusions both of which involve colour perception. Two very interesting explanations are offered based on sensory processing in the retina and possible cells responsible for these effects are identified.

Contrasting Visual Hallucinations and Visual Illusions

Visual hallucinations are complex phenomenon that occur in many types of illness. Visual hallucinations are distinct from visual illusions. Visual illusions occur in the presence of a visual stimulus whilst visual hallucinations occur without this stimulus. A better understanding of visual illusions will be helpful in better understanding visual hallucinations.

The Promise of Neuroscience

The neuroscience of visions is well developed. Visual pathways in many species including humans have been very well characterised. Professor Meister’s talk hints at the sophisticated understanding of the circuitry particularly in the retina. If common…

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Humanity in a nutshell ?

22 Feb

“The human race had always disgusted me. Essentially, what made them disgusting was the family-relationship illness, which included marriage, exchange of power and aid, which like a sore, a leprosy, became then: your next door neighbour, your neighbourhood, your district, your city, your country, your state, your nation…. everybody grabbing each other’s assholes in the honeycomb survival out of a fear-animalistic stupidity”. -Charles Bukowski, Tales of ordinary madness.

Those were the prettiest words in this whole book. The prettiest, most honest words of all. After I read those few sentences, I closed the book and drifted away.. He described the human race in such an astonishing way! this got me to thinking about him, about “Humanity” he sometimes talked about humans as if he wasn’t one of us, he have always had disillusioned views on life. He had few “real” friends, he clearly hated people! and the question that killed my brain is: What made him dislike humans so bad? Was it his pride? Pride is the enemy of all other emotions, I’ve had issues with my pride as well, but I don’t really know. Dear Mr Bukowski, I’d like to pick your brain about HUMANITY.

“Humanity, you never had it to begin with.” – Bukowski

Egypt Tomorrow

14 Mar

A year had passed by, moments had passed by as well, and here we are; February 2012. A year passed since the Arab revolutions or, the Arab spring as what others call it had started. And a year and 18 days since Hosni Mubarak had resigned the office of president. A revolution that had a lot of hopes, dreams, that came along with it. Things were changing in Egypt, no one knew how it would be like, but we all knew that things will not go back as they were before. It all started when the tunisian revolution had been twittered by the people of Tunisia, and that what made the Egyptians wonder, Tunisia had what they wanted, why cant we? And so they discussed in Facebook, and went to Tahrir Square. Hm, a square? Aren’t that weird? Chanting for freedom in a square that has it’s limitations and a fixed area? Well, my friends, if you have seen the Tahrir Square or even ever been there, with all of the protestors, you will think twice about what you just said.  

 

I wont start describing what exactly happened, because I am pretty sure that we all got fed up with the events and with the revolution related articles, we all know what exactly happened around Egypt, In Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta, Suez. etc,.The other day I read my timeline on twitter, I saw a couple of my egyptian followers tweeting about politics and expressing their feelings, with no fear like before, it got me thinking, all of what happened had us all messed up, it certainly did, all of the Arab world, not just Egypt, they have fought for their freedom and we watched them on media. And most importantly, how efficient were the outcomes of this revolution? Did they pay off the souls of the martyrs? The sleepless nights? The bloody days at Tahrir square? Let us discuss this in length, shall we? 

 

We all can not deny that Egypt today is in a better shape than Egypt yesterday, or last year, or the years before. But, did the people of Egypt finally got what they want? Was their revolution efficient? Although they and we know that it will take a long time for Egypt to heal itself, it’s economy, and to fixed the hearts of the egyptians. I will no discuss the affect of media, or the effect of football or economy, but i will talk about the effect of the Revolution! 

 

After almost a year now, Mubarak is and was no longer the leader of Egypt, that if he ever have been. Egypt is now rolled by SCAF(Supreme Council of the Armed Forces).  From February up until June everything was going just fine, then July came, some people had started a Facebook page entitled “The Second Egyptian Revolution of Rage” read: “Seeing that the situation, under the leadership of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, is only going from bad to worse, this page had opened the eyes of a lot of egyptians, helped them to know what was going to happen, the following, Disaster? Thousand of protestors around the country had gathered together. Essam Sharaf the prime minister of SCAR made a televised statement, concludes: That the government would respond to public demands and also included a timeline in which these demands would be met. Although Essam’s era did not last for a long time, in December Kamal Ganzouri was appointed prime minister of SCAF. On Janurary 24th, the leader of Egypt, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi left the State of Emergency. And just today, it was announced that Presidency Elections will take place at the 23rd of May 2012. And finally, after awaiting for almost a year and a half, people of Egypt will get what they really want. 

 *I wrote this article about a month ago, but i only had the chance to post it today. 

could the power of positive thinking give life to your dreams?

23 Sep

A life full of success and achievement is a direct result of utilizing the power of positive thinking. Your thoughts are the most important asset you have in your desire to achieve your dreams. They affect you in ways you never thought possible. The truth is, whether you know it or not, your thoughts are responsible for whatever place or situation you are in right now. Moreover, Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions. So let us not forget that you are, after all, what you think. Have you ever thought about the power of positive thinking? well, if you plant beautiful, healthy thoughts into your mind you will reap a beautiful, healthy life. If you plant negative thoughts you will reap destruction and despair in your life. some people think that most challenging thing in their life is their competition or their colleges while yourself is the most challenging thing you will ever face, your struggling to find the right perspective. And what is making this topic even more interesting to me, is that most of us don’t realize this, that our thoughts somehow have the ability to control us, or even control our future, our destiny, our path in this life. So i am telling you that it is possible to control your way of thinking that will eventually change your thoughts, turn them from negative to positive. With the the help of you, yes you. You don’t need to be defeated by anything, that you can have peace of mind, improved health, and a never-ceasing flow of energy. In short your life can be full of joy and satisfaction, there are many types of satisfaction, can you fill all of those? YES. you can fill them all.

There are a lot of techniques and examples which demonstrate that changing your thoughts can give life to your dreams. These assertions, which may appears extravagant, are based on bona  fide demonstrations in actual human experience. Firstly, and before going any further to the steps of changing your way of thinking and to be more positive. We need to know what is positive thinking? It is a mental attitude that admits into the mind thoughts, words and images that are conductive to growth, expansion and success. It is a mental attitude that expects good and favorable results. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds. So how can you achieve this, very easy, by believing in yourself first. Have faith in your abilities! without a humble but reasonable confidence. Without believing in yourself you cannot be successful or happy, without the full confidence in your abilities and powers, you cannot achieve anything, you will not be able to prove yourself, if you did not believe in yourself then who would possibly will?.

Secondly, A peaceful mind generates power. a primary method for gaining a mind full of peace is to practice emptying the mind. definitely practice emptying your mind of fears, insecurities, regrets, and guilt feelings. Of course, emptying the mind is not enough. When the mind is emptied, something is bound to enter. The mind cannot long remain a vacuum. You cannot go around permanently with an empty mind. So after that start filling your mind with creative and healthy thoughts. If you cant generate those thoughts well, you simply can read some quotations or books that will help you to fill your mind with positive thoughts, and my piece of advice for you is to go for our holy book “Quran” it is the best book were you can refresh your thoughts with and fill your mind with positive thoughts, it heals souls. You cannot find a better book that will make you feel secure and peaceful. So whenever you want to empty you mind and fill it with peace, then, read quran.

Who decides whether you shall be happy or unhappy? The answer, Yo Do! A television celebrity had as a guest on his program an aged man. And he was very rare old man indeed. His remarks were entirely unpremeditated. He was happy and radiant, And whenever he said anything, it was so naive, so apt, that the audience roared with laughter. They loved him. The celebrity was impressed, and enjoyed it with the others. Finally he asked the old man about the secret of his happiness, He suggested :”You must have a great secret of happiness”. The old man replied :”No, I haven’t any great secret.l It’s just as plain as the nose of your face, When i get up in the morning,” He explained, “I have two choices, either to be happy or to be unhappy, And what do you think i do? I just choose to be happy, And that is all there is to it”. So after reading this small story about this old, happy man, You can see that the only person whose responsible for your happiness is no one but you.

You do not need to be a victim of worry. Reduced to its simplest form, what is worry? It is simply an unhealthy mental habit. You were not born with the worry habit. You acquired it. And because you can change any habit, You can simply get rid of this annoying and destroying habit that will soon destroy you if you did not control it from the beginning. Why should we take the worry problem thus seriously? The reason is clearly stated by Dr. smiley Blanton, eminent psychiatrist :”Anxiety is the great modern plague”. A famous psychologist asserts tar “Fear is the most designtegration enemy of the human personality”.

So apparently our thoughts does control us, somehow they really does. And our thoughts are what make us and we have the ability to build our thoughts. William james once said :”The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind”. As you think so shall you be. Clearly our thoughts can lead us to so many roads in life, and to the most important and challenging road, our thoughts will lead us to success because by changing our thoughts our body will change its vibrations and will attract the good stuff and the wanted stuff towards us, so when we have the ability to do so, what are we waiting for?

 A life full of success and achievement is a direct result of utilizing the power of positive thinking. Your thoughts are the most important asset you have in your desire to achieve your dreams. They affect you in ways you never thought possible. The truth is, whether you know it or not, your thoughts are responsible for whatever place or situation you are in right now. Moreover, You emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions. So let us not forget that you are, after are, what you think. Have you ever thought about the power of positive thinking? well, if you plant beautiful, healthy thoughts into your mind you will reap a beautiful, healthy life. If you plant negative thoughts you will reap destruction and despair in your life. some people think that most challenging thing in their life is their competition or their colleges while yourself is the most challenging thing you will ever face, your struggling to find the right perspective. And what is making this topic even more interesting to me, is that most of us don’t realize this, that our thoughts somehow have the ability to control us, or even control our future, our destiny, our path in this life. So i am telling you that it is possible to control your way of thinking that will eventually change your thoughts, turn them from negative to positive, with the the help of you, Yes you. You don’t need to be defeated by anything, that you can have peace of mind, improved health, and a never-ceasing flow of energy. In short your life can be full of joy and satisfaction, there are many types of satisfaction, can you fill all of those? YES. you can fill them all.

There are a lot of techniques and examples which demonstrate that changing your thoughts can give life to your dreams. These assertions, which may appears extravagant, are based on bona  fide demonstrations in actual human experience. Firstly, and before going further to the steps of changing your way of thinking and to be more positive. we need to know what is positive thinking? It is a mental attitude that admits into the mind thoughts, words and images that are conductive to growth, expansion and success. It is a mental attitude that expects good and favorable results. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds. So how can you achieve this, very easy, by believing in yourself first. Have faith in your abilities! without a humble but reasonable confidence. without believing in yourself you cannot be successful or happy, without the full confidence in your abilities and powers, you cannot achieve anything, you will not be able to prove yourself, if you did not believe in yourself then who would possibly will?.

Secondly, A peaceful mind generates power. a primary method for gaining a mind full of peace is to practice emptying the mind. definitely practice emptying your mind of fears, insecurities, regrets, and guilt feelings. Of course, emptying the mind is not enough. When the mind is emptied, something is bound to enter. The mind cannot long remain a vacuum. You cannot go around permanently with an empty mind. So after that start filling your mind with creative and healthy thoughts. If you cant generate those thoughts well, you simply can read some quotations or books that will help you to fill your mind with positive thoughts, and my piece of advice for you is to go for our holy book “Quran” it is the best book were you can refresh your thoughts with and fill your mind with positive thoughts, it heals souls. You cannot find a better book that will make you feel secure and peaceful. So whenever you want to empty you mind and fill it with peace, do read quran.

Who decides whether you shall be happy or unhappy? The answer, Yo Do! A television celebrity had as a guest on his program an aged man. And he was very rare old man indeed. His remarks were entirely unpremeditated. He was happy and radiant, And whenever he said anything, it was so naive, so apt, that the audience roared with laughter. They loved him. The celebrity was impressed, and enjoyed it with the others. Finally he asked the old man about the secret of his happiness, He suggested :”You must have a great secret of happiness”. The old man replied :”No, I haven’t any great secret.l It’s just as plain as the nose of your face, When i get up in the morning,” He explained, “I have two choices, either to be happy or to be unhappy, And what do you think i do? I just choose to be happy, And that is all there is to it”. So after reading this small story about this old, happy man, You can see that the only person whose responsible for your happiness is no one but you.

You do not need to be a victim of worry. Reduced to its simplest form, what is worry? It is simply an unhealthy mental habit. You were not born with the worry habit. You acquired it. And because you can change any habit, You can simply get rid of this annoying and destroying habit that will soon destroy you if you did not control it from the beginning. Why should we take the worry problem thus seriously? The reason is clearly stated by Dr. smiley Blanton, eminent psychiatrist :”Anxiety is the great modern plague”. A famous psychologist asserts tar “Fear is the most designtegration enemy of the human personality”.

So apparently our thoughts does control us, somehow they really does. And our thoughts are what make us and we have the ability to build our thoughts. William james once said :”The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind”. As you think so shall you be. Clearly our thoughts can lead us to so many roads in life, and to the most important and challenging road, our thoughts will lead us to success because by changing our thoughts our body will change its vibrations and will attract the good stuff and the wanted stuff towards us, so when we have the ability to do so, what are we waiting for?

Could This Be Club Brugge’s Golden Season?

2 Aug

Is it the right time for the club brugge to shine again? and go back to the top of the Jupiler pro league?  well maybe who knows? it looks like that the dutch manager took it seriously after the last season, and show it in the 2011 summer transfers season.

Club brugge eneded  last season, in the 4th place in the league table, with 53 points. it was considered as an average season for the club, and everybody from the fans to the media started to question  adore koster, who took over the head coach job back on 2009.

However, all of us were not so excited at the beginning of the transfers season this summer, with big names leaving the club, such as ivan perisic  and ronald vargas, who left the for bundsliga side dortmund, and the second for anderlachet.

We saw the first player leaving and he was ivan Perisic, brugge’s superstar last season, being the Juplier league’s top scorer with 22 goals. and with him leaving,  This, however, begged certain questions.will the club will ever find his perfect replacement? because the squad had clearly lost one of the most essential players.

Things started to move faster in the transfer season, that was followed with a second disappointment for the club fans, “ronald vargas had left for Anderlecht”. that newspaper headline was not so shocking but yet , it was disappointing. The 25 year old venezuelan had started the past season in a good shape, then in february he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury, in a league match against KRC Genk. With these two names leaving the club, the dutch man was in a journey of, looking for the perfect replacements.

Reports started to link Lior Rafaelov’s name to the belguinum club. as soon as his name was on the market, everybody thought of him as the next player who will be as successful as ivan perisic.  The 25 year old Israei midfielder, who had joined the club for  2.5 Million. had a fantastic  last season with his former club;  Maccabi Haifa.  he was voted at the player of the year in the israeli football,won the league title, were he was the top scorer, scoring 11 goals, Quite frankly i don’t think that he can ask for a better season. 

That was just the beginning of a very successful summer transfer market, the second step was signing a very well known name for the spanish fans and la liga viewers, Victor Vasquez, FC Barcelona’s former Player,  joined the team on 10 may for a three years contract, Vazquez has entered barcelona’s youth team at the age of 9, and he was in the same group along with; pique,fabregas and the argentine  lionel messi.Victor is an attacking midfielder which will make him a great replacement for vargas. Names just kept coming,  but obviously the ducth manager focused more on the midfielders and attackers.

The Last two signings were; Niki Zimling and Bjorn Vleminckx.  Niki is danish Midfilder who came from udiniese, the italian club after a loan to N.E.C that lasted for one season, Zimling signed a 4 year contract with the club, for a fee estimated to be around €500,000, he would definitely be a perfect backup midfielder. 

Now after that koster brought a great world class-to be midfielders, its time to bring a striker. The first name that was on the market was Bjorn Vleminckx, the belgian footballer who came from N.E.C.Vleminckx was the top scorer in the Erdivisne during the 2010\2011 season. scoring 23 goals. looking up and at all of the statistics we can see that most of club brugge’s new players were the top stars in their league last season and the top scorers, by scoring 10+ goals, That can show us that we are going to witness a season full of goals for the club.

in July 28th it was the first official game of the season for the club, in the Europa League qualifying round against Qarabag, club brugge won 4-1 it its own stadium and between their fans, direr, Vlemickz, Vazquez and Donk scored brugge’s goals. Aliyev scored qarabag’s only goal. 

we all have been wondering about the lineup of the team, will the dutch manager play with 4-2-3 or a 4-3-3, with two wingers that will manage to switch places during the match? and we are talking about  Dirar and zimimlng here, or will we see Vazquez alone in the front? many questions had poped in our head before the kick off of the first official match. 

 koster started the match with ; coosemans –  Hoefkens, Donk, Almebäck, Stenman – Odjidja, Zimling, Vazquez – Dirar, Vleminckx, Refaelov. and as what we have all expected we saw plenty of goals.

After facing qarabag in the EL qualifiers, the royal club had to face westerly in the start of the competition, Koster had descried the westerly match as “more difficult than qarabag’s”. but his players proved him wrong by beating westerlo by 5 amazing goals, and a breathtaking performance by the team in their first match of the jupiler pro league, the 5 goals were by ; Vlemickx,vazquez,donkmodjidja-ofoe and meunier. 

 we have witnessed some big transformations for the team in the summer transfers season, the new up coming stars that have an catchy eyes for the goals, the great willing for a smart manager and his youth team, Could this be the time? for the royal club to go back to the top, and win the league? well, i wont get surprised if they did! because i am warning you all from now club brugge’s season will be full of goals!.