In the first half, author and adventurer Robert Young Pelton, who has traveled the globe working with private military contractors, spoke about our devolving geopolitical future, with the falling apart of countries such as Iraq, South Sudan, and Afghanistan, locations which the US has supported or backed. In Iraq, we're seeing a bloody civil war between the Sunni and Shia, two denominations of Islam. The insurgent group in Iraq, ISIS, is not composed of al Qaeda, rather they're a former Baathist group run by a senior member of that party from Saddam Hussein's regime, he explained.
Al Qaeda has evolved into a criminal enterprise, with kidnapping and bank robbing in their repertoire, and have managed to self-fund themselves, he reported. But their numbers remain small, and they continue to be targeted by Special Forces, he added. Pelton also touched on such locations as Libya, Syria, and Dubai, and topics including America's manufacture and exporting of military weapons, his search for Kony in Africa, and 9-11 conspiracy theories (he doesn't believe in them).
In the latter half, Professor Todd Murphy addressed his extensive studies in the neuroscience of spirituality including near death experience, reincarnation, psychic skills and how religious experiences can be induced in a laboratory setting. The scientific community assumes that everything we experience comes from the brain but "when that belief breaks down, that is where we will find the point that mind is more than brain, where some kind of spirit that has no physical basis actually informs our consciousness and helps us to be aware," he commented.
Regarding reincarnation, Murphy believes the process does exist, but sees it from an evolutionary perspective, in which it serves to adapt people to new social environments in their successive lives. He spoke of his work with cognitive neuroscience researcher Dr. Michael Persinger, who demonstrated that the sense of God and spiritual experiences can be created by stimulating certain parts of the brain. Persinger's has cited two senses of self in the human brain-- the left side has the language center, and the right side is the silent self. "What I think is happening is that when we're experiencing God, an angel, a non-physical being, a demon... [or] a sensed presence...the you that is on the left side of the brain and the you on the right side of the brain are not in communication the way they normally are...they've fallen out of phase, and the sense of self on the right side of the brain emerges into our awareness as a prevalence outside of ourselves," Murphy outlined.
2 powerful solar X-flares were seen about an hour apart back in June (check out video). Yet, overall the recent peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle that we've been going through known as the Solar Maximum, has turned out to be one of the quieter cycles that's been recorded. Some have even called it a "minimax." Further info at the NY Times.