Thursday, November 27, 2008

Six Techniques for Remembering Dreams

By: Dayna Davis

Even though I remember a lot of my dreams, I tend to get hung up on the ones I don’t remember. I’ll sit up in my bed, trying my best to remember what I dreamt before it fades away. Sometimes I’m able to recall parts of the dream, but as much as I try, I just can’t remember all of it.

We dream about every hour and a half and the longest dreams last from thirty to forty-five minutes. One would think that so many dreams unfolding each time we sleep would leave a more lasting impression. So why don’t they? They can—if you’re willing to do a little work. If you want to tap into your subconscious and start recalling your dreams, these tips will help get you started.

1. Keep a Dream Journal
Writing our dreams down as soon as we wake is one of the best ways to remember them; it also helps us decipher them since we’re able to reference them at any time. Craig Hamilton-Parker suggests an experiment for remembering our dreams in his book, The Hidden Meaning of Dreams. Hamilton-Parker recommends investing in a long-lasting, hardcover blank book and resolving to enter at least one dream in it every night for an entire month. Once you’ve got your journal, he suggests drawing a line down the middle of the page; on the left side of the line, write your dream. On the right side, give your interpretation of it.

When writing down your dreams, don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, or the sequence of events. Concentrate on getting it all on paper as fast as you can before it fades away.

When the month is up, look back through your dreams. You’ll be amazed at what you remembered and you’ll have a lot more insight into what’s influencing your dreams.

2. Give Your Dreams a Title
If you wake up and don’t have time to journal, create a title for your dream and write that down instead. You should title dreams in your dream journal anyway, but this can be an effective way of remembering aspects of your dream without journaling right away.
Use the title of your dream as often as you can throughout the day, whether you’re telling others about it or just trying to remember more details. When you have time to go back, expand on the title as much as you can. This could give you more clues into what you dreamed.

3. Use Pictures Instead of Words
If the idea of journaling all your dreams is intimidating, try drawing them. If you’re better at images than words, this might be the best technique for you. Buy a sketchbook and keep it by your bed with a pencil nearby. When you wake up, draw images you saw in your dreams. They don’t have to be masterpieces of art, just stick figures or colors you remember.

Once you get all the images down, go back and try to connect them to reconstruct your dream. If you have time later on, look up the images in a dream journal to see what they might mean.

4. Create a Map
Have you ever seen one of those mind maps with all the bubbles connected to one another and words inside each bubble? That’s what this technique is all about. If you dream about running down a windy canyon road, but the only thing you really remember is the canyon, write the word “canyon” in a bubble, then start branching off and drawing other bubbles off of that. One of the bubbles can have the word “road” and one “running.” The more you remember about each part of the dream, the more bubbles you can add. Once you get it all mapped out, you may be surprised at how much you actually remember. By zeroing in on key words and not worrying about the sequence or plot, you may be able to fill in the gaps of your fuzzy dream.

5. Wake Yourself Up
In 1955, Eugene Aserinsky and Nathan Kleitman published a paper about rapid eye movements, or the REM phase of sleep. They found that REM sleep takes up about 20 percent of our nightly sleep and that dreams in this phase of sleep are some of the easiest ones to remember.

Try waking yourself up at different times of the night to remember more dreams. Set an alarm for early in the morning and when it goes off, challenge yourself to remember what you were dreaming.

Or, drink a glass of water before you go to bed. When you wake up to use the bathroom, see if you remember what you were dreaming. Once you get a feel for what time is the best for dream catching, you can make it a regular thing.

6. Get Yourself in the Right Mind Set
Before going to bed, say aloud, “I will remember my dreams tonight.” When you wake up, lay still in bed for a couple of minutes, eyes closed, and try to remember. Once you start remembering, sit still a little longer and try to reach for more. To get yourself motivated to remember dreams, it may also be helpful to read a dream book before going to bed.
We all dream every night; we just don’t always remember them. If we make a conscious decision to remember our dreams and try a few new techniques, we’re bound to get a little closer to our own dream worlds.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Japanese man makes airport home. The Terminal 2?

MEXICO CITY – Hiroshi Nohara is on a layover at the Mexico City airport. It has lasted almost three months, and he has no plans to leave.

For reasons he can't explain, the Japanese man has been in Terminal 1 of the Benito Juarez International Airport since Sept. 2, surviving off donations from fast-food restaurants and passengers and sleeping in a chair.

At first, he frightened passengers, and airport authorities asked the Japanese Embassy to investigate why the foul-smelling man refused to leave. Now, he's somewhat of a celebrity, capturing Mexico's collective imagination with nearly daily television news reports on his life at the food court.

Tourists stop to pose with him for photographs or get an autograph.

The Tokyo native flew into Mexico with a tourist visa and a return ticket home, but he never left the airport. In an interview Thursday alongside the airport McDonald's, he said he had no motive for his extended stay and doesn't know how much longer he'll remain.

"I don't understand why I'm here," he said through a visiting interpreter originally hired by a television station. "I don't have a reason."

The embassy can't force him to leave, and since Nohara's visa is valid all Mexican officials can do it wait for it to expire in early March.

During his stay, Nohara's wiry goatee has grown into a scraggly mass. His red-tinted hair is speckled with dust and dandruff, and his cream-colored jacket and fleece blanket are dingy with overuse. He smells like he hasn't had a shower in months.

"He's a calm person, a nice man," said Silvia Navarrete del Toro, an airport janitor. "He just sits here and eats all day."

Various stalls in the food court give Nohara free snacks and drinks, sometimes even throwing in hats or coffee mugs with store logos to get free publicity during his frequent television appearances.

Strangers often buy him pastries or hamburgers; he prefers the latter.

He sits with the interpreter, talking and laughing for hours, at a small table covered with cups of cold coffee, packets of ketchup and sandwiches wrapped in foil.

Stroking his facial hair, Nohara said the 2004 film "The Terminal," starring Tom Hanks as an Eastern European man stuck in a New York City airport, was not his inspiration. But he acknowledged the similarities.

"My life," he joked, "is 'The Terminal 2.'"


Friday, November 21, 2008

e=mc2: 103 years later, Einstein's proven right

PARIS (AFP) – It's taken more than a century, but Einstein's celebrated formula e=mc2 has finally been corroborated, thanks to a heroic computational effort by French, German and Hungarian physicists.

A brainpower consortium led by Laurent Lellouch of France's Centre for Theoretical Physics, using some of the world's mightiest supercomputers, have set down the calculations for estimating the mass of protons and neutrons, the particles at the nucleus of atoms.

According to the conventional model of particle physics, protons and neutrons comprise smaller particles known as quarks, which in turn are bound by gluons.

The odd thing is this: the mass of gluons is zero and the mass of quarks is only five percent. Where, therefore, is the missing 95 percent?

The answer, according to the study published in the US journal Science on Thursday, comes from the energy from the movements and interactions of quarks and gluons.

In other words, energy and mass are equivalent, as Einstein proposed in his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905.

The e=mc2 formula shows that mass can be converted into energy, and energy can be converted into mass.

By showing how much energy would be released if a certain amount of mass were to be converted into energy, the equation has been used many times, most famously as the inspirational basis for building atomic weapons.

But resolving e=mc2 at the scale of sub-atomic particles -- in equations called quantum chromodynamics -- has been fiendishly difficult.

"Until now, this has been a hypothesis," France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) said proudly in a press release.

"It has now been corroborated for the first time."

For those keen to know more: the computations involve "envisioning space and time as part of a four-dimensional crystal lattice, with discrete points spaced along columns and rows."


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Michael Jackson sued by Arab sheikh in UK court

LONDON (AP) — The son of an Arab monarch took the King of Pop to court Monday, charging that Michael Jackson took $7 million as an advance on an album and an autobiography that he never produced.

Lawyers for Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa say their client paid Jackson expenses as an advance on the book and joint recording project with the sheikh, who is an amateur songwriter. Jackson claims the money was a gift.

Al Khalifa, 33, was due to testify at London's Royal Courts of Justice Wednesday. Jackson's lawyer Robert Englehart said he was seeking permission to have Jackson testify by video link from Los Angeles.

A lawyer for Al Khalifa said the royal first spoke to Jackson, 50, by telephone while the singer was on trial in California following his 2003 arrest on child molestation charges. Attorney Bankim Thanki said that Al Khalifa wanted to work with Jackson on rebuilding his career. Jackson's finances fell apart after his arrest and he was desperately short of cash.

Al Khalifa's first payment, for $35,000, went toward paying the utility bills at Neverland, Jackson's 2,500-acre (1,000 hectare) ranch and miniature amusement park in California, Thanki said. When Jackson was found innocent of the molestation charges in June 2005, Al Khalifa footed $2.2 million in legal bills, the lawyer said.

Al Khalifa said he believed the money would be repaid once Jackson's career recovered from the damaging trial.

"I saw the payment as an investment in Michael's potential," the sheikh in a statement he read out in court. "He said he would pay me back ... through our work together."

Al Khalifa moved Jackson and his entourage to Bahrain almost immediately after the trial, setting up a recording studio for him in Manama, the Gulf state's capital. The sheikh, who is the governor of the Bahrain's Southern Province, supplied Jackson with $500,000 in cash to subsidize his lifestyle and splashed out on a $350,000 European vacation for Jackson and his associates in February of 2006, Thanki said.

"The costs even included the expenses of bringing out Mr. Jackson's hairdresser," he said.

The lawyer said Jackson and the sheikh became close friends and at one time both lived in a palace in Abu Dhabi owned by Al Khalifa's father, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Bahrain's king. The singer stayed nearly a year in Bahrain as a guest of the son, but the relationship soured when Jackson repudiated a business deal Thanki said they had agreed to.

Jackson's lawyers say the pair never entered a valid agreement and that Al Khalifa's money was given freely.

Thanki acknowledged that Al Khalifa gave some gifts to Jackson but said that most of what the singer received was part of a business deal.

The gifts, he said, "were essentially personal effects — watches, jewelry."

Thanki said the sheik was wealthy but that paying Jackson's bills had taken a big bite out of his finances.

"Some of the payments were staggering by any standards," Thanki said, saying the expenditure "should not be regarded as loose change for my client."

As for Jackson, he still appears to be in difficult financial straits.

Last week he was forced to give up the deed on Neverland, which is named for the mythical land of Peter Pan.

The trial is being held in London because the parties had agreed to take any disputes over their deal to an English court, Al Khalifa's representatives said. The trial is due to wrap up by the end of the month.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Mystery solved: How bleach kills germs

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Associate Professor Ursula Jakob (L) and Jeannette Winter, Ph.D. in an undated photo courtesy of the University of Michigan. Bleach has been killing germs for more than 200 years but U.S. scientists have just figured out how the cleaner does its dirty work.

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Bleach has been killing germs for more than 200 years but U.S. scientists have just figured out how the cleaner does its dirty work.

It seems that hypochlorous acid, the active ingredient in bleach, attacks proteins in bacteria, causing them to clump up much like an egg that has been boiled, a team at the University of Michigan reported in the journal Cell on Thursday.

The discovery, which may better explain how humans fight off infections, came quite by accident.

"As so often happens in science, we did not set out to address this question," Ursula Jakob, who led the team, said in a statement.

The researchers had been studying a bacterial protein called heat shock protein 33, which is a kind of molecular chaperon that becomes active when cells are in distress, for example from the high temperature of a fever.

In this case, the source of the distress was hypochlorous acid or hypochlorite.

Jakob's team figured out that bleach and high temperatures have very similar effects on proteins.

When they exposed the bacteria to bleach, the heat shock protein became active in an attempt to protect other proteins in the bacteria from losing their chemical structure, forming clumps that would eventually die off.

"Many of the proteins that hypochlorite attacks are essential for bacterial growth, so inactivating those proteins likely kills the bacteria," Marianne Ilbert, a postdoctoral fellow in Jakob's lab, said in a statement.

The researchers said the human immune system produces hypochlorous acid in response to infection but the substance does not kill only the bacterial invaders. It kills human cells too, which may explain how tissue is destroyed in chronic inflammation.

"Hypochlorous acid is an important part of host defense," Jakob said. "It's not just something we use on our countertops."


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lindsay Lohan Admits Her Relationship With Samantha Ronson

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Lindsay Lohan is finally speaking at length about her relationship with celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson.

Though she first confirmed she and Samantha are a couple during a phone-in to syndicated radio show "Loveline" in late September, in a new cover story for the December issue of Harper's Bazaar, Lindsay tackled the question again, revealing more about her feelings for the DJ.

"I think it's pretty obvious who I'm seeing," Lindsay told the magazine, which hits newsstands November 18. "I think it's no shock to anyone that it's been going on for quite some time... She's a wonderful person and I love her very much."

Lindsay, who recently wrapped up an abbreviated four-episode arc on "Ugly Betty," told the magazine that her family, with the exception of her father Michael Lohan (who publicly criticized Samantha), has been supportive of her relationship.

"It's never really come up as an issue," the actress said. "We're close; we've been through a lot. They're supportive of me whether I'm with a guy or a girl. They're just supportive of me as a person."

And sister Ali Lohan, who originally denied to the press that Lindsay was in a homosexual relationship when rumors about the couple first surfaced, has also offered Lindsay her blessing.

"Ali's known Samantha for a really long time. And she's like, 'Whatever it is, I support you. I probably won't ever do what it is you're doing, but I'm happy for you,'" Lindsay said. "Ali's very mature. I've told her that it's okay to like a boy or a girl if you're comfortable with it and it's something you believe you want to do. And I told her not to be afraid of who she wants to be."

While Samantha is the first woman Lindsay has admitted to dating publicly, when asked if she had previously "been with a girl" by Harper's, the actress replied, "I don't know, maybe."

Lindsay said she does not consider herself a lesbian, but as for whether she thinks of herself as bisexual, she told the magazine, "maybe."

"I don't want to classify myself," she continued. "First of all, you never know what's going to happen -- tomorrow, in a month, a year from now, five years from now. I appreciate people, and it doesn't matter who they are, and I feel blessed to be able to feel comfortable enough with myself that I can say that."

The star of the upcoming film "Labor Pains" also said she plans to get married some day, though she doesn't know whether it would be to a man or a woman. Lindsay also said she isn't ready to talk children.

"I don't know if I could really set a time because then it's like pressure to do it and failure if I don't," she said. "It shouldn't be about that. It should be about knowing that you're ready."

And, Linsday added, "I still need to be in charge of taking care of myself and getting my sh** in line and buying a house."

In fact, the 22-year-old admitted that prior to her 2007 rehab stints, she used up a lot of money while living at the Chateau Marmont hotel - money that could have gone to permanent digs,

"I was living here [at the Chateau] for almost two years. Who blows that much money on a hotel?" she said. "I could have bought a house!"

Now however, with rehab behind her and her relationship with Samantha making her happy, Lindsay suggested she is on the right track.

"Now I feel clear. That's my past, and I'm a different person now. I have goals and I'm working to achieve them. I'm not hanging out with people who are out every night getting f***ed up," she said. "And... I think that I'm happy."


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama is the New US President

Obama elected president

Obama wins California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, giving him 324 electoral votes to McCain's 124 (AP). He will be the 44th president of the United States. After a tight battle against Republican Sen. John McCain, Obama has become the first African American president in the history of the United States.

Obama is set to address his supporters from Chicago's Grant Park.

Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware will be accompanying Obama to the White House as his vice president. Biden made his first unsuccessful bid for president in 1988, and again this year before dropping out. A six-term senator, Biden is the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. One of his adult sons from his first marriage is currently serving in Iraq.

On June 4, Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination, beating Sen. Hillary Clinton in a tight primary race. The 47-year-old Democratic senator from Illinois stepped into the national spotlight in 2004, delivering the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

By now, Obama's personal history is well-known: He was born in Hawaii, the son of a white mother and Kenyan father. Obama's father returned to Kenya when Obama was two years old, leaving him to be raised by his mother and her family, including his beloved grandmother, "Toot," who died one day before her grandson was elected one of the most powerful leaders in the world.

After graduating from Columbia University, he went to Harvard Law School, becoming the first African American president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, where he sits on several committees, including Foreign Relations, Homeland Security and Veterans' Affairs.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, have two young daughters, Malia and Sasha