On the science side:
- Plant microbiomes. "Distinct microbial communities live inside roots, on leaves and within flowers, and all in all have an estimated three to six orders of magnitude greater genetic diversity than their plant hosts." These microbes hold a key to plant health and yield. The article noted that large agri-chemical companies, such as Monsanto, are investing heavily to develop "living crop aids."
- Epigenetic inheritance. Evidence is mounting that environmental factors (such as exposure to pollution and stress) can be passed on through multiple generations through epigenetic markers -- not DNA, but affects how DNA manifests in future generations. That is to say, exposure to toxic chemicals -- that's everyone these days, as well as trauma and stress -- such as racism and fear, will be passed on to several generations. Many of the chemicals and stresses are produced by the same companies that we are counting on (in above bullet point) to save us.
- Acquired Savant. Head injuries, or being struck by lightening, sometimes unleash Rain Man style creative and super-human potentials in formerly average people. That reminds me of what one mentor observed, that reality is highly malleable, and that humans have enormous untapped potentials.
- Increase in global temperature is allowing ticks and mosquitoes, among other things and pathogens, to move much further North, threatening the ecosystems and species.
- Earth is just one planet around the Sun, which is just one of the 200 billion stars in Milky Way, which is just one of the hundreds of billions of galaxies in the observable universe. Putting things in perspective.
On the "fiction" side
- Watched the documentary "The Corporation," and tied together a few themes. A Frankensteinian nightmare; a monstrous creation that magnifies some of the worst in our species. Corporation is a form of socially-accepted -- and socially-constructed -- madness. Good news is, as the Shambhala Warrior prophecy says, it is all mind-made, and can be unmade.
- Watched the latest X-Men. It touched upon the themes of the corporation, of greed, and of mutants.
- Given our reckless experimentation with life forms and genes, of course, there will be mutants.
- I believe there are superhuman powers, and so-called "ghosts" and "spirit." We just don't recognize them. And there no need to dwell on it.
- Watched the excellent movie "Her," that pictures an eerily romantic and hopeful future of artificial intelligence and human relations.
- It's not hard -- and only logical -- to picture that artificial intelligence will one day surpass human intelligence, just as the collective stock of machine power has way surpassed all the human "blood, toil, tears and sweat" added together. Will AIs have a easier time meditating than me?
- Read some teachings from the Buddhist master Xuan Hua, that touched upon "ghost and spirit" and the nature of reality. Rings true, and shows me how limited my existing paradigm of interpreting reality is.
All of these wonderful data points are now stored in my mind, and I will trust sleep and dreams to paint a mysterious night sky with these shooting stars. Never bother to make sense of it.