“Wildman” Steve Brill – NYC’s wild edible plant forager extraordinaire

For years, a pith helmet, nearly comic determination, and astounding know-how have combined to fashion Steve Brill’s persona, as he leads expeditions through Central Park and New York’s other semi-wild places in search of edible plants and flowers.  Adventurers get a dose of accomplishment and renewed respect for the bounty of nature, right here in one of the most man-made environments in the world.  Come with us!

Posted in Health, Oral History-oid, Science Tags: , , , , , ,

Affective Computing at the MIT Media Lab

Much silicon has been programmed and ink spilled about the human/machine interface and how to make computers truly interactive.  No one has been more busy or more intelligent and playful about this than the folks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab.  Here we talk with Justine Cassell (now at Carnegie) about what interactivity is, and her dreams of world where computers aid in helping us to realize our very human potentials.

Posted in Science

Astrobiology: The Search for Extra-terrestrial Life

The search for life forms (or life-like) forms has intensified in recent years as our technical prowess has increased and our understanding of the forms and chemistry of what life could be has expanded and grown more refined. This piece examines the branch of science that deals with this, and looks at various ways we might recognize and relate to life beyond our planet.

Posted in Science Tags: , , , , , ,

California’s Coastal Redwood Forests

Of all the species of life on earth, none are as grand a symbol of life’s majesty and diversity as the giant redwood trees of Northern California and the coastal ecosystems in which they have grown for tens of millions of years.  I visited a small and precious preserve and talked to rangers and an environmental scientist about the biology of the place, and the spirit it evokes.

Posted in Science Tags: , , , , ,

Carl Jung’s “Red Book”

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung created the psychological theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious. He advocated the scientific exploration of dreams, mythology, religion and art to understand the mind. Yet, unknown to millions of the people who have followed Jung’s work over the decades, Jung developed most of those ideas during a period of intense crisis and creativity between 1913 and 1918. He chronicled that voyage of self-discovery through words and images in what he called “The Red Book.”

Posted in Religion, Science, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , ,

Gifts of the Rainforest: Indigenous Healing Systems of Belize (NPR)

A sound-rich odyssey in which Adam explores various healing systems that use the plants of the rainforest for physical and spiritual healing. Includes interviews with Mayan shamans, and peasant Catholic and Creole healers.

Posted in Health, Immigrants and Ethnic Life, Religion, Science, Spirituality, Travel outside the USA Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Grassroots Group Helps Restore New York Estuary

Oysters may seem like humble shellfish, but ecologically, they tower above many other species. They are a tasty food source for a variety of creatures, including humans. But more importantly, oysters help to filter pollutants from coastal estuaries, places where fresh river waters and ocean salt waters co-mingle. Fourteen out of 20 of the world’s largest cities are built near estuaries, and urban pollution, development and other factors are now threatening these delicate ecosystems. In response, some grassroots groups, are using oyster beds to help restore and stabilize damaged estuaries. New York and New Jersey Baykeeper is one of them.

Original VOA posting of this story

Posted in History, New York, Science Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ken Steele and the Experience of Schizophrenia

Many of us are familiar with people who walk down the street conversing with people and other entitities that we cannot say, but which exist in a hyper-real and undeniable way to them.  What is it like  inside their minds, what do those voices sound like and what do they say?  And what happens when the voices quiet down after a lifetime due to Rispardal or other psychiatric drugs? Meet the late Ken Steele, who vividly described his lifelong struggle with paranoid shizophrenia, and the road back to the shared world.

Posted in Health, Science Tags: , , , , ,

Maine Fisherman Plots Endangered Ground Fishing Ecology

Legend has it that cod, haddock, perch and other North Atlantic fish were once so plentiful off the coast of New England that fisherman could almost literally scoop them from the water. Today, that bounty is almost gone, due mainly to many decades of severe-over-fishing. Innovative research into the area fish decline is helping scientists and fishermen understand what makes the marine ecosystem and how fish populations might be restored – for humans and the untold numbers of other living things that depend on them.

Posted in Americana, Science Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Masonry as a Spiritual Path for Men

The Masons have long been the subject of curiosity, derision, persecution and admiration for their tight brotherhood, which claims millions of members worldwide, and which has been a mainstay for most American presidents and untold numbers of movers and shakers. The purported “secrecy” of their rites and symbols,  which are sometimes riffs on the belief systems of non-Christian cultures, notably that of Egypt and ancient Greece, has added to their allure and cache.  I met with a group of elite Amercian Masons, who described for me the spiritual path that Masonry can represent for men, and was granted some insight into how this fraternity works.

Posted in History, Religion, Science, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , , ,
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