Blasting Off: My First 5-MeO-DMT Experience

This is a continuation of previous reflections on my psychedelic experiences, see: Real of Ayahuasca VisionsReturn to Origin: A Night with PeyoteReal of Ayahuasca Revisited The substance 5-MeO-DMT is a psychedelic substance in the same class as "regular" DMT and bufotenin. Although it has received less popular attention then DMT, 5-MeO-DMT has a small but … Continue reading Blasting Off: My First 5-MeO-DMT Experience

Dialectical Thinking (Part 2)

YouTube: Dialectical Thinking (Part 2): Principle of Dialectical Negativity and the Beyond of Religion and Science In this second essay on dialectical thinking we are going to be covering Part 2, "Principle of Dialectical Negativity and the Beyond of Religion and Science". In using the principle of dialectical negativity in order to go beyond both … Continue reading Dialectical Thinking (Part 2)

A ‘Great’ Crisis

Change is in you

I have been thinking a great deal about happiness and how we can best study the happiness of our species.  That is why a recent study on great ape mood caught my eye.  I found it quite insightful.  The study was led by psychologist Alexander Weiss, who investigated patterns of well-being in two great ape species: chimpanzees and orangutans (Coles, 2012).  In this study, Weiss and his colleagues wanted to understand if our closest relatives share the same general life pattern of well-being that humans seem to possess.  Social scientists have established that humans experience a U-shaped pattern of well-being.  This means that as a species we tend to experience greatest mental health in youth, become far less happy throughout midlife, and then become happier again in old age (Weiss et al., 2012).  This seems to be a general pattern regardless of various socio-cultural and economic factors.  The study by…

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The Advanced Apes Podcast with Dr. Jonathan Marks

The Advanced Apes Podcast with Dr. Jonathan MarksFor the past few years, biological anthropologist Dr. Jonathan Marks has been a tremendous influence to me academically.  I love his books What It Means To Be 98% Chimpanzee, and Why I Am Not A Scientist.  Last week I had a chance to interview him for a The … Continue reading The Advanced Apes Podcast with Dr. Jonathan Marks

Are Chimpanzees Cultural?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhacaxJ240Q For the past two months I, along with my two friends Alicia Herbert and Drew Hewitt, have been working on launching a new YouTube channel. We want this channel to be educational and focus on evolutionary and environmental science. Our first video is on chimpanzee culture. If you have any thoughts or comments, I … Continue reading Are Chimpanzees Cultural?

Change is in you

I recently watched a BBC documentary about the Congo. It was part of a larger documentary series on Africa narrated by David Attenborough that I highly recommend. Whenever I watch BBC nature documentaries I feel like I learn something new each time. But while I was watching Congo, one scene in particular caught my attention. It was a scene on “chimpanzee fire.” Immediately my curiosity piqued. In the scene, a camera panned across a dark forest floor, and within moments it started coming to life with a green glow.

Was it chimpanzee fire? Unfortunately, it was not. It was bioluminescent fungi that the local Congolese call “chimpanzee fire.” Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. Several animal, plant, and fungi species have adapted the ability to produce their own light, and it serves many important functions. I actually had a chance to learn a lot…

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“Chimpanzee Fire”

I recently watched a BBC documentary about the Congo. It was part of a larger documentary series on Africa narrated by David Attenborough that I highly recommend. Whenever I watch BBC nature documentaries I feel like I learn something new each time. But while I was watching Congo, one scene in particular caught my attention. … Continue reading “Chimpanzee Fire”

Change is in you

A few posts ago, I wrote about how genetic testing could help conservationists reintegrate chimpanzees into the wild.  This is because chimpanzees are extremely diverse genetically; making it easy for geneticists to pinpoint what area of Africa an individual chimpanzee originated from.  In fact, chimpanzees (and all other great apes) are more genetically diverse than our species: Homo sapiens.  Recent genetic studies by molecular anthropologists have revealed that there are only 38 million unique genetic variants among the 3 billion base pair sequences within our species genome.  Although 38 million unique variants may seem like a lot, it is actually a very small fraction of our genome.  All the great apes are far more dissimilar than humans.  We appear to be a homogenous group!

But this begs the question: why are we so similar?

On further reflection it becomes very perplexing.  After all, there are seven billion humans on…

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