Issue# 6 – 06/06/2021
The importance of living in the present | A life on our Planet | Organisms that eat viruses | Signs of cosmic strings from the Big Bang | Theory of mind | Hacks to become a morning person | Plus, minus & next journaling
Yesterday was World Environment Day, and the theme was ‘Time for Nature’. I invite you to think about one action you can do every day to contribute to protect Earth and its resources. It could be as simple as turning off the lights when you don’t need them.
Without further delay, on to Yntro!
The importance of living in the present
According to modern science, all life and existence is based on a kind of dynamic emptiness, take it as phenomena at a sub-atomic level popping in and out of existence in a quantum reality. Look at anything closely enough, even a rock or a table, and you will see that it is an event, not a thing. Every thing is, in truth, happening.
The present moment is perhaps zen’s the most distinctive characteristic. More than anything else, it is about reclaiming and expanding the present moment. Life exists in the present, or nowhere at all, and that is not an easy concept to understand by modern society.
There is no purpose in getting anywhere if, when you get there, all you do is think about getting to some other future moment. Forget about learning from the past and applying those lessons to the future: reclaim and expand the present moment.
A life on our Planet by David Attenborough
Last year Netflix published a documentary featuring David Attenborough. Instead of being a normal show about nature, it narrates David’s life history as a naturalist, showing all the different ecosystems he visited and studied. But it has a twist, it compares how those habitats were and how they look today. It was breathtaking, seeing how fast we degraded Earth. David uses the Chernobyl disaster as a metaphor of what can happen to us, we may disappear if we don’t take care of the environment, but nature will take its courses and reclaim its place. But he also shows us hope, and talks about how we can be part of nature instead of apart from it. By decreasing the population, using renewable energy, protecting the oceans and forests, we can imagine a future of the earth where we are still in there.
Organisms that eat viruses
Recently, two types of single-celled organisms were found drifting in the waters of the Gulf of Maine off North America’s coast, these might be the first true virophages known to science. The removal of viruses from the water may reduce the number of viruses available to infect other organisms, while also shuttling the organic carbon within virus particles higher up the food chain. Viruses are rich in phosphorus and nitrogen, and could potentially be a good supplement to a carbon-rich diet that might include cellular prey or carbon-rich marine colloids.
Signs of cosmic strings from the Big Bang
Cosmologists think that at the beginning of the universe, all the forces of nature were, for a brief fraction of a second, unified. But as the universe expanded and cooled, this super force condensed into its familiar parts: gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak forces. According to some calculations, the cosmos might have cooled so quickly that the fabric of space-time became fractured, creating a network of whisper-thin tubes filled by pure energy, called cosmic strings, that stretch across the breadth of the observable universe.
The universe would have kept expanding, cosmic strings growing along with it. But every so often, strings would fold in on themselves or collide with other strings, causing loops to pinch off in bursts of energy. These string loops would keep wobbling over billions of years, gradually losing energy as they emitted gravitational waves. Differences in the tension of these kinds of cosmic strings and in how string loops break away would create a unique gravitational-wave signature distinguishing them from other kinds.
Theory of mind
Theory of mind in Psychology refers to the ability to understand the mental states of others and to recognize that those mental states may differ from our own. It plays an important role in solving conflicts and developing social skills, and reasonably predict other people’s behavior. Children typically develop an understanding of theory of mind around age 4, although some research suggests it may start developing even earlier. The development of the theory of mind may explain why people with autism sometimes find certain types of social interactions confusing or difficult.
Hacks to become a morning person
If you never consider yourself a morning person, but always wanted to “seize the day”, try these hacks each morning after you wake up: 1. Put your alarm in a different room, or as far as possible from your bed 2. Immediately drink 2 glasses of water 3. Move your body, try some stretches 4. Do a round of deep breathing 5. Don’t look your phone for the first 20+ minutes 6. Do something you enjoy 7. Get a good night’s sleep
Plus, minus & next journaling
Having a journal can be beneficial to clean your mind and keep you focused. Nevertheless, making it a habit and write on it every day is not always easy. Sometimes life just get in the way, and we don’t have enough time for it. Here is a quick alternative, instead of writing a full page or more, open your notebook and draw three columns. At the top of each column write “+” for what worked, “-” for what didn’t go so well, and “→” for what you plan to do next. Whatever went well or made you happy goes in the first column, any negative events or inaction on your part in the second column, and all plans for the following day/week in the last column. I like this approach because of its simplicity, and you can always add more if you need it.
Friedrich Miescher discovered DNA in 1869, although scientists did not understand DNA was the genetic material in cells until 1943. Prior to that time, it was widely believed that proteins stored genetic information.
I hope you find any of the topics of this edition useful or interesting. And if you have some time, I really recommend you to watch David Attenborough’s documentary on Netflix. I will love to hear your thoughts or comments on that.
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You can read the past issues of Yntro here