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The Human Brain

A remarkable discovery has emerged in astrophysics: key properties of the universe have just the right values to make life possible. Most scientists prefer to explain away this uniqueness, insisting that a number of unseen universes must therefore exist, each randomly different. Astrophysicist Bernard Haisch joined George Knapp in the first half of the show to propose the alternative—that the special properties of our universe reflect an underlying intelligent consciousness.

In the second half of the program, veteran journalist Chris Taylor talked about how the Star Wars franchise has conquered our culture with a sense of lightness and exuberance, while remaining serious enough to influence politics, and spread a spirituality that appeals to religious groups and atheists alike.

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The Human Brain

Show Archive
Date: Monday - February 25, 2008
Host: George Noory
Guests: Dr. Sam Wang, Dr. Roy Spencer

Neuroscientist Dr. Sam Wang discussed the human brain and how it's wired to experience various phenomena. Made of 3 lbs. of tissue with 100 billion neurons, the brain acts as an information processing device and filter. The truth is, we use all parts of our brain, not just 10% of it (a myth propagated by Dale Carnegie), he noted.

There is evidence that some types of criminals have had brain injuries to their prefrontal cortex which regulates self-control, he reported. Scans have also revealed brain differences between professional and amateur musicians-- the amateurs show more generalized activity in the brain, while professionals exhibit smaller, more localized areas of focus.

Near-death experiences might be related to a lack of oxygen in the brain, he suggested, noting that mountaineers often describe unusual sensations at high altitudes, such as seeing light coming out of their body and 'sensing a presence.' There is not strong evidence that supplements such as gingko are effective in improving brain function and memory, he said. But 'healthy heart' activities such as exercise and moderate wine consumption are also good for the brain, he added.

Climate Commentary

First hour guest, research scientist Roy Spencer commented on America's plan to set "binding" climate goals in relation to greenhouse gas emissions. He does not believe such plans will be effective in reducing global warming-- for more, see his research paper.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Monday February 25, 2008

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