February 21, 2018

NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett

I continue to adore my WBEZ app which allows me to catch all of my favorite NPR broadcasts no matter the time or day.

One of the marvelous programs that concerns itself with philosophical, spiritual and metaphysical topics is On Being with Krista Tippett. As the web site notes, “We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Not only have I heard celebrities interviewed like poet Nikki Giovanni and actor Martin Sheen, but also academics, religious figures, artists, poets, civil rights advocates and thinkers of all stripes. Big questions about life, death and meaning are frequently tackled.
Seekers of audio fluff need to look elsewhere!

Four ways to experience On Being:

Live on air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and Sundays at 7 a.m. on WBEZ (91.5 FM)

At the WBEZ Web site: https://www.wbez.org/shows/on-being/53693dfa-bfc9-43ec-a09f-6f5de55e9e9f

as an On Being with Krista Tippett podcast

or add the WBEZ app to your smart phone or tablet.

One of my favorite recent programs is with Daniel Kahneman, author, psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics. He discusses why we think and do what we do which sheds light on the current cultural and political scene.
https://www.wbez.org/shows/on-being/unedited-daniel-kahneman-with-krista-tippett/ef9062da-7f48-4249-8d8a-b14180f3b5a7

Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo, Caldwell Lily Pond and Waterfowl Lagoon at Lincoln Park Zoo

Having lived across the street from the Lincoln Park Zoo for ten years, I got in the habit of frequently visiting the country’s oldest free urban zoo, sometimes daily.  New exhibits, refreshed settings and old favorites were the draw.

Kids playing around nature forms and next to a glass barrier with a black bear on the other side

New to me was the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo, featuring North American animals to the right of you as you enter from Stockton. One is immediately struck by the visual layers in the exhibit. Tree tops with nesting herons are in the foreground. Red wolves can be seen in the next layer, behind a barrier, of course. A service dog-in-training in the people zone was being intently stared at by one wolf as I reconfirmed that there were at least two fences between them. A few steps more and one can see lumbering black bears with one snoozing in a glass observation portal the day we visited. Other creatures featured in the exhibit are the American beaver, the American kestrel, the American toad, Blanding’s and Eastern Box turtles along with the Eastern screech owl and the Hooded merganser. Inventive play structures add still another layer of interest for families. Any child would love this engaging area, but I can attest that adults will be charmed as well.


The Lincoln Park Zoo Waterfowl Lagoon also appears to be newly landscaped with Chilean flamingos matching the orange tiger lilies surrounding their area. A bridge and an overlook allow the viewer to admire the swan geese and a pair of snow white trumpeter swans. In 1868, New York’s Central Park Commissioners sent the Lincoln Park Zoo two swans and those graceful birds continue to be a big draw in the zoo. Native Illinois wildflowers and grasses complete the idyllic scene along with Ruddy ducks, Baikal teals and red-breasted mergansers. 

One of my favorite areas continues to be the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond. While you may exit into the zoo from the pond area, for entrance, you must go to Fullerton, south of the zoo. The Lincoln Park Conservancy is responsible for this serene setting with its Prairie-style rock structures, birds and diverse native plantings. If you meander upon the path that circles the pond, or sit in one of the pavilions to listen to birdsong and gaze at lily pads, you can forget that you are in the middle of a bustling big city. We were lucky enough to hear the big croak of a resident bull frog when exiting, as if he were giving us an exclamation point to our bucolic visit.

I frequent the Zoo less often since I moved out of that neighborhood but the occasional stop to the environs always introduces me to some new view of nature. A big thank you to the Auxillary Board of the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Zoological Society for keeping this experience free to all!

Micro Wind Turbine for off-grid power

Imagine packing a contraption called the Micro Wind Turbine that is no bigger than an umbrella and can catch enough wind to power your electronic devices when you are “off grid.”

The inventor, Lausanne design student Nils Ferber, is looking for partners for his 2-pound invention that can capture wind at night and on overcast days when sunlight is not an option. The Turbine can power up electronics directly or charge the device’s battery pack.

Campers and survivalists, take note.

http://www.treehugger.com/wind-technology/portable-micro-wind-turbine-prototype-weighs-2-lbs-and-packs-down-size-umbrella.html

Energetic Medicine – Part One

This will be part one of a brief overview of some of the cutting edge energetic therapies currently in use or in trials.

A friend is about to undergo a six week treatment protocol using NeuroStar TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) Therapy for depression. The patient sits in a chair similar to a dentist’s and has magnetic waves beamed into the areas of their brain that are under active. Stimulation of these areas may result in decreased depression. Many oral medications for depression have side effects so this non-invasive energy treatment holds great promise for the over 16 million people in the U. S. who suffer from this debility.

https://neurostar.com

Cold laser therapy is used to reduce inflammation and heal specific areas on the body or to target acupuncture trigger points that may improve functions of the body. Chiropractors, acupuncturists and physical therapists were some of the first to adopt this treatment. The actual laser beam looks like simple focused light which is painless, non-invasive and has no side effects. The only caution is not to look directly into the laser light which can cause eye damage.

The therapy may increase cell growth, increase vascular activity, reduce scar tissue formation and reduce pain. I look forward to seeing more medical practices adopt this cost-effective, painless and effective treatment.

I myself have used cold laser therapy for bruises, sprains, strains and foot problems thereby avoiding surgery.

http://www.healthline.com/health/cold-laser-therapy

More speculative are “electroceuticals,” tiny implanted devices that will monitor our nervous system and fire into action if a counter-pulse is needed. This treatment sounds like science fiction, but Alphabet Life Sciences (formerly Google Life Sciences) predicts that these nerve-zapping implants will be ready for use in seven years. Implantable devices are already being used for heart regulation, sleep apnea and weight loss.  This may be a revolutionary treatment for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, auto-immune disease and a host of other illnesses that are due to faulty electrical signals in the human body.

http://singularityhub.com/2016/08/07/no-more-pills-tiny-nerve-zapping-implants-to-fight-disease/

The Hadrian, a robotic brick layer in Australia

Named for the Roman Emperor who built a wall in Great Britain, the Hadrian is a one-armed robotic invention that can lay bricks four times faster than a human. Invented by an Australian engineer, the machine boasts being able to work 24 hours non-stop, lays the bricks with an accuracy within one hundredth of inch and secures them with mortar.

The Hadrian could ostensibly build 150 houses per year. It could also make one of the world’s oldest jobs go the way of the dinosaurs. Is this another step towards the demise of human manual labor?

Drone-ovic, your tennis buddy

For tennis devotees, check out this high tech invention that is being tested for production.
Using drone technology, the machine drops a tennis ball at an optimal angle so you can practice your serves. The flying gizmo also has a camera so you can record your swing and analyze your form in playback.

http://mashable.com/2016/07/01/drone-improves-tennis-training/#jc0xfR1RSmq1