Dead Man Walking…

Firstly a massive apology to all our friends, family and fans! It’s been awhile since we’ve graced your screens with one of our off the cuff and yet hilariously outrageous blogs. It’s safe to say we’ve been a tiny bit distracted with getting another little project up and running. Now that’s in full swing we can get back to putting the fingers to the keyboards and taping out some much needed time wasters for you ladies and gentlemen, in a time when we are finding ourselves with a lot of spare time. Safe to say living amidst a global pandemic, it’s piqued our interest and we’ve decided to take an investigative look at the wonderful yet dangerous world of virology. What is that you ask? Read on dear friends and discover for yourselves…

Well depending on which website you go to it’ll tell you that Virology is either the study of viruses or a branch of science that studies viruses, same same but different?. Either way we are currently looking at viruses whilst we have a show about pandemics playing in the background. Why a show about pandemics? Well that should be pretty self explanatory given we are currently all locked at home because of one. Many of us for the first times in our lives are having to adapt to what could potentially be the new normal for the next six or so months. With COVID-19 still ravaging many parts of the world, the fight to flatten the curve and keep people at home is an ongoing battle. Even with some locations reporting low to no new cases people shouldn’t feel they are being given the green light to become complacent and go back to their old way of life. Should we even be going back to business as usual or should we be using this as an opportunity to check in and make some changes that will better all of humanity and the environment? We’ve all heard about the wildlife now returning to clean waters, such significant reductions in air pollution that it’s visible from space and the release of animals back into their natural habitats.

It was around 1898 that scientists first started to isolate viruses and assign them to specific diseases. Over time as technology has improved and with that so has our ability to classify and identify viruses. It wasn’t until 1960 that Nobel Prize winner in Medicine and Physiology, Peter Medawar (for his integral work in the area of transplantation), to paraphrase, defined viruses as a piece of nucleic acid surrounded by some extremely bad news. Early pioneers in virology had a limited collection of medicines, techniques and equipment available to them to be able to classify and identify viruses as microbial agents. At the time of their discovery, microscopes lacked the sufficient power to see viral agents. How to grow cell cultures was unknown to scientists and probes such as antibodies and nucleic acids to mark infectious agents were not yet known and identifiable. Thankfully technology has come a long way and we are better able to research and study viruses, and from there develop medications such as antivirals and vaccinations.

A virus is actually quite different to bacteria or fungi, the other two types of infections we as humans have to face. Whilst bacteria and fungi are cells that can survive on their own accord, viruses are much smaller than a cell and require host cells to provide the energy and nutrients required to survive and replicate. Most of the time hosts are unwilling or ignorant to the fact their body and cells have been invaded. Virus’s spread and transfer through direct cell to cell contact such as through respiratory passages, open wounds and the sharing of bodily fluids. Or they hitchhike a ride through an intermediate host such as mosquitoes and the saliva they inject when they bite. Studies have shown that viruses can replicate both inside insects and the host cells ensuring smooth transition from one host to another. A good example of this is the viruses that cause yellow fever and dengue fever. Viruses attach themselves to hosts cells through receptors on the cell’s surface much like interlocking puzzle pieces. They then begin the process of invading the cell and replicating either within the cell until it bursts and spreads integrating itself in to a cells DNA so that each time the cell replicates it also replicates the virus

So now that we have a basic understanding of viruses, let’s delve a little deeper into them and look a little closer at the main one affecting the world today because let’s be real this isn’t the first pandemic the world has suffered and it won’t be the last. Throughout man’s time on earth viruses have ravaged the population, think the Spanish flu or in more recent memory Swine flu. Over time we have developed the science and medicine necessary to combat viruses through vaccines and various other means. But there will always be viruses out there that we do not know about it. It is estimated that at any one time there are over a million undiscovered corona viruses within the animal population, however most of these strains of the virus aren’t transferable to humans. Bats appear to be the prevalent carriers and studies as recently as 2015 in the Yunnan province of China showed the genome sequence of the Betacoronavirus (RaTG13) in the Intermediate Horseshoe Bat was 96% identical to that of SARS-CoV-2. Fast forward to February 7th 2020 and it was learned that a virus even closer to SARS-CoV-2 had been discovered in Pangolin. It’s similarities registered a 99% genome sequence.

Now before you go blaming the poor little pangolins as being the cause of COVID-19 recent studies of the Malaysian pangolin have shown they are less similar with only a 90% genomic concordance. Not sure what this means? Well these results have led scientists to the conclusion that the virus isolated in pangolins is not responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic currently raging. Furthermore if we have previously been able to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus in animals why is it now causing such a problem for humans. Well further studies have shown that whilst the virus identified in bats can’t enter human cells and the one isolated in pangolins can, the comparison of these genomes suggests that the SAR-CoV-2 virus is the result of a recombination between two different viruses, the process where virus’ restructure themselves in order to overcome adversity and adapt to new environments and hosts, In other words it’s a chimera between two pre-existing viruses. This recombination mechanism has previously been seen in coronaviruses in particular in explaining the origin of SARS.

For recombination to occur, the two divergent viruses must have infected the same organism simultaneously. That still leaves questions unanswered, the main one being in which organism did the recombination occur. Was it a bat, was it a pangolin or was it another species? And above all under what conditions did this recombination take place? Whilst the threat of man made biological weapons produced in labs is a valid risk to the world’s population in this case it looks like mother nature is taking care of things herself.The environment and mother nature has a way of creating its own biological time bombs or chimeras that are just as deadly to the world as man made viruses. The world has known of these threats for centuries in one form or another, some called them curses, some call them diseases and overtime they became known as viruses. It’s even kept up to date with technological advances and we can give them to our computers.

To further confuse people it is because of the process of recombination, that the specific strain SARS-CoV-2came into existence and formed into a virus that is transferable to the human population. It shares genetic similarities with other human respiratory coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS. However the subtle differences in the virus’s genetic makeup translates to significant differences in how readily it is transmitted and the symptoms of infection experienced.. SARS-CoV-2 has all the same core genetic makeup as the original SARS-CoV which caused global panic and outbreak in 2003, and it shares genetic similarities with MERS which emerged in the middle east in 2012.This new virus has weaponised it’s itself, it has versions of the same general equipment for invading cells and replication, however SARS-CoV-2 has a totally different set of genes called accessories, which give this new virus its advantages in specific situations. Not enough is known yet about the roles these accessories play and all of the advantages they give SARS-CoV-2 however an example can be seen in the MERS virus in which a particular protein shuts down a cell’s ability to sound the alarm about viral invaders.

The scientific community has banded together throughout the pandemic in a surprisingly fast and effective manner to pull together results and research allowing us to understand SARS-CoV-2 and it’s disease COVID-19. We understand how it infects the human body, how it’s transferred, partly how it came about and potentially a vaccine to combat this coronavirus in the future. The current pipeline for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines isn’t as full as we would hope but that comes down to the tough science and time it takes to actually make a successful vaccine for human use. The trials alone would take years to seek approval from the various governing bodies before being released world wide. The reason behind this is that no current vaccines for coronaviruses are on the market and no large scale manufacturing capacity for these vaccines exist, we need to build these processes and capacities.

Creating these processes and capacities for the first time can be tedious and time consuming. Funding has been awarded to several highly innovative players in the field, many of them may be successful in eventually creating a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. After consulting many medical journals and spending a weird amount of time on Google looking at YouTube videos and reading about how vaccines are created we’ve come to understand, after further Googling and videos, in attempting to make vaccines most of the companies that are trialing them are targeting something called RNA. What is RNA? Well read on and get lost with us…

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a bit like Deoxynucleic acid (DNA) in the fact that both are nucleic acids composed of a sugar, a phosphate group and a nitrogenous base. We all learn about DNA being the building blocks of all life forms, but don’t often hear about RNA’s. Like DNA, RNA is assembled as a chain of nucleotides, but unlike DNA, RNA is found in nature as a single strand folded onto itself, rather than a paired double strand. There are 3 types of RNA’s that work together to produce proteins that are essential in various biological roles in coding, decoding, regulation and expression of genes.Messenger RNA (mRNA) transcribes the genetic information from the DNA, Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) directs the translation of mRNA and Transfer RNA (tRNA) is involved in the actual transfer of the initial genetic information into protein synthesis. Are you with us so far? You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with the process of developing a vaccine… well many viruses encode their genetic information using an RNA genome.

New technology has allowed us to take a step away from traditional vaccines and to start to take a look at using RNA in vaccines however it has not yet been used on a global scale — meaning scientists can’t yet predict what manufacturing problems might crop up. The idea for this type of vaccine is that a group of RNA’s would attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus when it tries to infect the body. Our bodies naturally have these RNAs however with age and comorbidities they diminish. The vaccine would be designed to boost the specific RNA required for combatting COVID-19. Other groups, such as Duke, the Imperial College of London and Fudan University in China, are also exploring this promising approach. RNA technology leaves researchers with many unsolved challenges, compared to more traditional vaccine types that are already mass produced. One Of these problems is storage to ensure the vaccine doesn’t degrade, which is especially tricky because by nature RNA‘s are intrinsically unstable molecules.

Yet another problem the world is facing in developing a vaccine is securing enough accessory chemicals, critical for vaccine production. Many of the RNA based vaccines are formulated with “magical chemicals” for lack of better words, that look like oil droplets. These accessory materials are expensive and hard to make in large quantities. With all the technology available no one has figured out how to scale up their manufacturing or get the costs low enough so that everyone can get the vaccine.

More traditional methods for vaccine creation are also being researched, where variants of the SARS-CoV-2strain are placed into the vaccine with the idea that our body’s own immune system will be able to develop the antibodies required to fight off the virus when it tries to invade the body. . Pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline, Novavax and Clover are all at various stages of testing this approach. Protein subunit and recombinant protein vaccines use an approach that is similar to existing vaccines used for HPV and Hepatitis B.

This is all sounding quite promising however even this more traditional approach to vaccines comes with its own distinct scale-up challenges. These vaccines may require booster shots to provide lasting protection against COVID-19. For other vaccine candidate types, scientists are unsure if one dose is enough to generate and maximize a protective immune response, meaning each person might have to be given multiple doses which further complicates an already complicated manufacturing scale-up. All the issues of development, manufacturing, scale-up and distribution, would be nearly insurmountable for one group to tackle on their own. Of the confirmed active vaccine candidates, 56 are being developed by private industry developers, while 22 projects are being led by academic, public sector and other non-profit organizations, according to all the googling we did whilst researching vaccines.

The pandemic has brought unprecedented collaboration among vaccine developers across the world. The National Institute of Health is launching a public-private partnership to speed up COVID-19 vaccine and treatment options, known as ACTIV — short for Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines. Scientists continue to work tirelessly to curb the pandemic through developing a safe, effective vaccine that can reach people across the world. The so-called lab coat wearing experts hope that the enthusiasm for collaboration on a COVID-19 vaccine will transfer to other vaccination efforts in the future.

So to sum it all up into even more words, we are a little while off a vaccine curing us all from the disease COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2. There are going to be newer and even deadlier viruses for us to contend with in the future and now is the time, if not earlier for the world to be identifying them, creating vaccines, medicine and or nanomites to ensure that we do not have to go through pandemic after pandemic. If there is one good thing to come out of all of this though and that’s the environment is starting to spring back. The holes in the ozone layer are starting to close over, animals are migrating back to their regular patterns and we are seeing species that haven’t been seen in years. So when you sit at home and try to find a silver lining to all that is happening in the world around you it’s this. Life is bouncing back, the planet is bouncing back and so will mankind.

The only hope is that we bounce back with some form of respect for what we have and learn lessons from all of this. What’s the saying, “Lack of preparation leads to piss poor performances”. In taking a look back we can safely say the world was not prepared for a virus on this scale or how to contain it. A vaccine is still most likely 12 months away if not longer and each country needs to ensure that it is able to manage in times of crisis that includes Pandemics. Well that’s enough from us and it feels good to finally get something down for you all. Also if you are interested in hearing the voices behind the blog head over to your favourite podcasting app and download “Conversations with The Captain and Commander” trust us you’ll enjoy it. For now it’s adios amigos, stay safe and stay home to save lives…

It’s the End of the World as we Know It…

You know we like to keep our fans happy, so at the request of our good friend the Legal Beagle or as he’s better known to his friends Captain Google. This week’s blog is an homage to his request for our guidance through what is proving to be a turbulent time in our lives and in the lives of many of those around us. The uncertainty of not knowing is always a “Head Fuck” for lack of better words and the fact most of Australia is still scrambling for rolls of toilet paper is enough to get anyone in a flap, let alone the people that may actually need it the most. As the country begins to go into lock down, the uncertainty for so many becomes more and more overwhelming and with this we all need a little extra guidance. Many of us will experience hardship throughout this time with the effects of the virus reaching far into our economy and ripping the guts out of many of our industries.

The sad truth is that people are going to die, people are going to lose their jobs, friends and family will be affected. Those are the unavoidable facts of this matter. We are in a time of uncertainty, something that has never been experienced by any of us. There have been depressions, famines and even pandemics in the past but few of us were around to experience any of them. Unless of course you are nearing your centenary, then you may have experienced some of them. As the saying goes “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. You can thank the former president of the United States affectionately known as FDR, Franklin D. Roosevelt, for that little gem but given our current situation, it is oh so very fitting. We fear what we do not know or understand and given this is a novel virus, meaning that we have not seen it before, it’s no wonder most people are in a state of fear.

Whilst taking your time to read through, keep in mind that there are those within our communities that will need a lot more help than most of us. We aren’t just talking about those who are most at risk of contracting the virus, we are talking about those who need a little extra community minded help from time to time. Yes we are talking about the elderly and disabled. These are the people who all you able bodied, panic stricken peanuts are stopping from being able to get the essentials they need to survive. As you panic buy enough toilet paper and supplies to last for the next 8 years. The 400 rolls of toilet paper , the 80 bottles of hand sanitizers, the 100 boxes of panadol and the months and months worth of food you’re stockpiling in every available space in your house and your brand new freezer, consider those within our communities who aren’t able to afford that luxury. Even the supermarkets have started to come to the table and offer concession card holders their own shopping hours.

Unfortunately just like the recent outbreak of COVID-19, panic is also contagious. You only need to head to your local shopping centre to see how contagious panic currently is. That panic is translating into obscene buying habits. This is where we come in, the team at A Mind of Its Own have decided to help you all out. We want to ensure that there is enough supplies to go around and that we flatten the curve of panic buying. It’s a tough ask for a little blog, but what we lack in size we certainly make up for in our ability to write a good piece, in which we hope to spread a message that gets through some of your thick skulls. It’s a little self serving but very community minded, we would all like to stop having to use sandpaper to wipe our butts and stop having to pour the good vodka over our hands in place of sanitiser, all because people have gone against what the governing bodies are advising and bought more than 14 days of supplies. We wrote the other day about the virus (Wasn’t Expecting That…) and in this follow up piece we’ll give you some recommendations for surviving the virus. Something of a ‘A Mind of Its Own preppers guide to surviving in isolation’.

To start with you need to know where to get local information regarding the virus, know how to stay up to date with the latest developments, and you need to know the signs and the symptoms. For those of you that have decided to bury your head in the sand and try and last this out without understanding or knowing what it is, we’ve listed them for you. For everyone else as you might have read or heard, if you are living in the real world that is, people don’t start to see symptoms until 2-14 days after exposure. The virus is transferred through droplets, so coughing, sneezing will transfer the virus if you have it or anyone around you has it and they do anything that allows transfer of droplets. The warning signs are there if you pay attention, so if you start to see any of the following symptoms you should immediately seek medical help and get yourself tested. So ladies and gents if you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or sore throat and you have been overseas in the past 14 days, in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of corona, please go see a doctor, the hospital or get yourself tested at one of your local testing centres. If you don’t have any of those symptoms please don’t waste the valuable time or resources of our medical professionals, the healthcare system is already short staffed and you thinking, you have something you probably don’t isn’t going to help.

The next part of preparing for COVID-19 is to ensure the safety of those at high risk, yes those at risk we told you to keep at the forefront of your mind earlier, the elderly and those with underlying diseases or health issues, particularly those with breathing related issues or autoimmune diseases. These are the people most at risk, whether they are young or old they need to be able to be at home and to be practicing social distancing. Guidelines in Australia stipulate that you should have at least a metre and half between you and anyone else in a four square metre radius, that you should also stay home when possible and avoid as much contact between you and others. Stay home for everyone else’s sake, the best way to fight this is to curb the spread of the virus. Listen to the advice of the medical professionals, they went through years of schooling and training to give you the advice and recommendation that they have.

Both the CDC (the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) and the WHO (World Health Organisation) recommend 14 days’ worth of supplies. Both these organisations have the best Epidemiologists in the world working for them to help set these guidelines. So why on god’s green earth are people stocking up on toilet paper? We aren’t talking a couple of weeks’ worth, we are talking months and in some cases years’ worth of toilet paper and other supplies. No one needs that much toilet paper in one hit unless you suffer from chronic diarrhoea and if that’s the case you should be stocking up on Gastrostop and may as well wear adult diapers, oh and seek some medical advice. So 14 days of supplies people, 14 days, that’s all you need, 14 days on top of your usual shopping. If you are a family of four you might go through a max of 3 rolls a week, so a 24 pack of TP will get you through your 14 days where you may or may not be able to leave your house. You also need to ensure that you consider over the counter medications and prescription meds you may need an additional supply of. The best thing to do is create a plan. List out what you need and how much you are going to need to last an additional fourteen days. That’s 14 days on top of your regular shopping people…

That doesn’t mean you need months and months’ worth of meat, frozen meals, pasta, sauces and other hygienic products ladies and gentleman. A walk around your local Coles, Woolies or Aldi will show you just how silly some of us have become in the recent weeks with all of this Coronavirus panic buying. Even pet food has made its way into the trolleys of terrified customers who feel they need stock up in case the shops all magically close down and stocks dry up. It’s not the first time we’ve experienced panic buying and hoarding, back in 2009 during the H1N1 Influenza outbreak we saw countries hoarding vaccines and people panic buying. There is a psychology behind it all, people do it as a sort of ‘retail therapy’ in an attempt to take back some control in a world where they feel out of control, but that doesn’t excuse it.

The hoarding of toilet paper is a lot safer than what our American friends across the ditch are doing, they’re stocking up on guns and ammo. We do not need to do that, thankfully there are laws restricting such actions in Australia, there is not a Zombie apocalypse coming ladies and gentleman… Oh and whilst we are handing out advice we don’t recommend you watch the Walking Dead whilst you’re at home in isolation or any shows or movies about pandemics or viruses for that matter. , It is not good for your mind. Whilst we punch on in the supermarkets over rolls of toilet paper the Americans are rioting and looting in fear, with all of these guns they’ve been stockpiling of late, this makes the situation in some towns scarier than others. So in some ways we are a lot better off, as we are only having to beat the toilet paper and sanitizer hoarders to the supermarkets before they get there and pile their trolleys to the roof but these actions are not the community minded actions we need. Thank the heavens the supermarkets have put in place item restrictions..

Once you’ve managed to store away your 14 days’ worth of additional items, you are going to want to establish a plan to communicate with loved ones and the outside world because you need to be participating in social distancing. Thankfully with the internet, smartphones and the ability to communicate face to face through video chat, we are able to do that and more. You’ll need to adapt to the cancellation of social events because let’s face it in times like these, as much as we are social creatures, we need to be isolating ourselves as much as possible from others. Now that doesn’t mean we can’t still communicate whether it be over the phone, text message, video chat, email or the good old fashioned hand written letter. If you’re looking for ideas there are a plethora of them floating around the internet. For families with small children you need to prepare what you are going to do about childcare needs should they shut down as well as schooling now that most states are advising keeping kids at home if you’re able?

That our friends, leads us to the next conundrum that people are facing, the singles are all looking for their apocalypse buddy and madly swiping right on every Tom, Dick and Harriett. Those in relationships are wondering how they’ll get to spend quality time with their partner and most of all be intimate with them or how to avoid being intimate with them. Remember no glove, no love and try not to sweat on each other, we aren’t scientists but we are pretty sure that it could be transferred through dripping sweat on each other or we made it up to ensure the hospitals aren’t packed to the brim with Corona babies in 9 months’ time. Married couples are wondering how they’ll avoid each other and those with children are wondering how they are going to cope with them being around twenty four seven, three sixty five when childcare and schools shutdown and how they can ensure they don’t end up with another one. Many parents are questioning their ability to teach their own children the basics, just a friendly reminder we no longer have the three R’s. We actually call them what they are these days, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

There are plenty of articles online surrounding the best things to binge watch and do to keep you occupied throughout this period. Everything from home gym setups to how to date in an apocalypse, oh wait the second one is our next blog for all those wondering how social distancing and dating is going to work. There are plenty of things to do and you can even take up a hobby, if you haven’t already, build a model, do some wood work, paint something, draw or write something or those things your wife or partner have been asking you to do around the house for months now and you keep making up excuses for… Well you could potentially do those.

So to reiterate the best thing you can do is have a plan, plan out what you need, when you’ll need it, who you’ll need to contact and if we’ve learnt anything from all the survival books we’ve read, always have a go bag ready in case you need to leave. Keep 1.5 meters between you and everyone else at all times and for everyone’s sake stay at home. If you need to go outside do it in the safety of your own backyard. If you need to leave your house, get what you need and get back home as soon as you can. 14 days’ worth of supplies people in case you have to go into total isolation that is all you need additionally. The supermarkets are still open and you can still get what you need, so long as people are sensible about what they take. Keep in mind those more vulnerable members of our community whilst you’re out and about activating your Coronavirus isolation plan. We don’t need to hoard things ladies and gentleman, particularly not the dunny roll.

A little like the title of this blog which we stole from an REM song, at present it might seem like the end of the world as you know it but no one is certainly feeling fine. Things are changing and they are going to change, it’s time to accept that, we are going to have a lot of ups and downs but we need to come together and do the right thing for each other over the next couple of months. Check in with your friends and family, check in with your neighbours and your work colleagues. We’ll get through this and there’ll be plenty of stories both good and bad that will come out of it. We’ll keep you all updated over the weeks as we continue to go through the pandemic. Lastly but not least we’d like to both thank and welcome our newest member of the team. We aren’t sure she is open to being officially named so for now we’ll call her Little Miss Competitive. Not only is she good at correcting the team’s poor spelling and grammar but she’s good at adding on and subtracting the parts that don’t make any sense. So to LMC welcome to the team! Until the next blog you keep yourselves and your family safe, do the right thing and stay at home. Hasta Manana amigos.

Wasn’t Expecting That…

A couple of months ago during the height of the bush fire season we wrote about the apocalypse, we didn’t go into detail or discuss the four horsemen but we did discuss what apocalyptic event could potentially wipe us out, which then turned into a little preppers guide to the end of the world. Little did we know that the specific blog would be read by family and friends and the following events would ensue and thus the great people of this country would react the way they have causing pain and heartache for thousands of their fellow countrymen. Well ladies and gentlemen we (not this fine blog) but the nation of Australia have officially lost the plot. We’ve officially gone off the deep end and look it’s a little troubling if we are honest. As we dive into this week’s blog and change tracks like a runaway train we’ll hit you with yet another double punch as we had already started another piece to provide you with when we decided that we needed to weigh in on matters at home.

Let us take you on a little journey to discover the facts and figures around why Australian’s are currently duking it out in the middle of their local Coles and Woolworths. Why panic is beginning to grip the world, why conspiracy theorists are having a field day and why if you own shares you are losing money hand over fist at a rapid rate. In order to do that we’ve decided to look at a chronological order of events. We’ll give you the who, what, where, when and how in the hopes of giving you a little more information and dispelling some of the myths. It might even calm people down hopefully but we’ll see what happens. We may have the opposite effect on the masses and we’ll have riots in the streets inspired by the words from those idiots over at the A Mind of Its Own Blog. So without further distraction or segways we’ll crack the egg of this week’s topic and let the issues of CoVID-19 simmer in your minds while we tap away at our freshly sanitized keyboards in our air conditioned offices where people can easily spread disease.

CoVID-19 or the Coronavirus as it’s better know came to light in late December 2019 when the little, we say little but when there are roughly 11.8 million inhabitants it’s far from little, city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of China, reported a pneumonia that was sickening dozens of people. It wasn’t till the 31st of December that the World Health Organisation (WHO) finally caught wind of this. According to reports Novel Coronavirus (nCov) was identified in early December with the first case diagnosed on the 12th of December. Eleven days later the first death from what would become known as CoVID-19 was recorded. Now depending who you listen to and what articles you read the time lines are little skewed, the number of deaths is inaccurate and the virus was released by the US to kill off Chinese and Iranian’s. Fast forward to the 21st of January and other countries are now reporting their first cases of the Novel Coronavirus. The US, Japan, South Korea and Thailand all recording their first cases. All the people diagnosed had been to Wuhan and all of them had visited a live animal market according to all reports.

By the 23rd of January the Chinese government had decided to impose travel restriction into and out of Wuhan. This could well have been 23 days too late, in an attempt to restrict the spread of the virus they shutdown flights, trains, buses, ferries and ringed the city with checkpoints. By the 30th of January the WHO had declared a global health emergency for just the 6th time in history a designation reserved for extraordinary events that threaten to spread internationally. If you weren’t watching the news on the 5th of February the cruise ship the Diamond Princess was quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan while crew and passengers under went screenings for CoVID19. 700 cases would be later confirmed making it the largest outbreak outside of China. February 11th saw the WHO renaming the novel coronavirus to CoVID-19 with the Co standing for Coronavirus, Vi for Virus and the D for disease. The 19 tacked on at the end is the year in which it was identified. Health officials purposely avoided naming COVID-19 after a geographical location, animal or group of people, so as not to stigmatise people or places.

Yet people are avoiding anyone of Asian descent as they are ignorant, somewhat racist and most of all ill informed. There was even a case in Chinatown, Sydney where a man suffered a heart attack and no one wanted to help him for fear of catching CoVID-19. Our first case was diagnosed on the 25th of January with three other cases being diagnosed by the 27th across two separate states. On the 28th January Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy makes a fatal mistake in telling the nation there is no need to wear masks as there has been no human to human transmission in Australia. By the start of March there were 27 confirmed cases across the country the number would rise quickly as the first cases of human to human transmission were confirmed. To date there have been 91 confirmed cases, only 3 deaths reported in elderly. But what is CoVID-19?

To break it down for you all, CoVID-19 is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Like our two headed Tasmanian friends from down south it’s a little strange. Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases they are what the smart white coat wearing ladies and gentlemen call Zoonotic, meaning they can be transferred from animals to humans. But how do they transfer you ask? There are 5 main ways in which Zoonotic diseases can transfer from an animal to human.

Direct contact: Coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, mucous, feces, or other body fluids of an infected animal. Examples include petting or touching animals, and bites or scratches.

home icon

Indirect contact: Coming into contact with areas where animals live and roam, or objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with germs. Examples include aquarium tank water, pet habitats, chicken coops, barns, plants, and soil, as well as pet food and water dishes.

flea icon

Vector-borne: Being bitten by a tick, or an insect like a mosquito or a flea.

Foodborne: Each year, 1 in 6 people get sick from eating contaminated food. Eating or drinking something unsafe, such as unpasteurized (raw) milk, under cooked meat or eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables that are contaminated with feces from an infected animal. Contaminated food can cause illness in people and animals, including pets.

Waterborne: Drinking or coming in contact with water that has been contaminated with feces from an infected animal.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from global patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir. The science is a little hard to explain and we’ve had to do a lot of research in order to understand what it is but to paint you a tiny picture they are called Coronaviruses due to the fringe they have which is reminiscent of a crown or of a solar corona. The name “coronavirus” is derived from Latin ‘corona’, meaning crown or halo, which refers to the characteristic appearance of the virus particles (virions), they have a fringe reminiscent of a crown or of a solar corona when viewed under two-dimensional transmission electron microscopy, due to the surface covering in club-shaped protein spikes. From what we could translate into our tiny non-scientific brains it’s these protein spikes that attach to cells in the host body and begin replication of the virus. We also found out that the common cold is also a coronavirus, don’t believe us Google it!

So there’s a virus and a disease but what’s the difference? A virus can’t survive without a living host and the disease occurs when cells in your body are damaged as a result of an infection. So the virus in this case is SARS-CoV-2 and damage it causes to your cells resulting in disease has been named COVID-19. Coronaviruses cause colds with major symptoms, such as fever and sore throat from swollen adenoids, primarily in the winter and early spring seasons. Coronaviruses can cause pneumonia – either direct viral pneumonia or a secondary bacterial pneumonia – and may cause bronchitis – either direct viral bronchitis or a secondary bacterial bronchitis. If you aren’t up to date with your doomsday virus and what will kill you the symptoms you need to look out for are fever, cough, shortness of breath and in some cases diarrhea.

How could you get it you ask? Well it is most likely transmitted from human to human via respiratory droplets from either a cough or sneeze, the impact or blast zone is usually around 6 foot, it is also possible that indirect contact via contaminated surfaces is another possible cause of infection as viral RNA has been found in peoples stool samples who are infected. What does that mean for us? Well the usual cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and wash your hands after using the bathroom or spraying your DNA over them through your mouth or nose. The stats state that at least 60% of the world’s population will be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and mortality rate is something like 3% so there is a good chance if you get it, you will survive. If you are older you are more at risk of the symptoms being more than just mild. Those under 20 seem to be the safest group, representing the smallest percentage of those who have been infected globally.

Ok so you know the who, what, where, how and when now but the burning question for us is why are we having to use rough as guts paper towel to wipe our derrieres because Australia has gone into panic mode and is stocking up on toilet paper? We kid you not, supermarkets can’t get the stuff on the shelves quick enough and the people stocking up like the worlds about to end can’t explain why? We’d kill for just one roll of 4 ply, that quilted goodness against one’s rectum feels so much better than the paper cut razor blade of death paper towel we’ve been using for the past week. Like the potato famine of 1845 to 1849 the supermarket shelves are bare of the number one bathroom product, bogroll, dunny wipes, loo roll call it what you like it’s in short supply or non existent and to make matters worse people are even buying all the paper towel, sanitary wipes, tissues anything they can get their hands on to wipe their bums they are buying in bulk. It’s got to the point we have people throwing fisty cuffs in the isles just to get some dunny roll. We even checked out several supermarkets to see for ourselves, standing in the isle we couldn’t help but laugh at just how far the prepping some people had gone with the threat of SARS-CoV-2 and contracting COVID-19.

Like all crises there are those who are keen to make a quick buck off the misfortunes of others. The fact that we have countries closing their borders and restricting travel and supermarket shelves are left bare of pasta sauce, pasta and toilet paper shows an evident fear in the Australian populace. Check out eBay or Facebook marketplace and people are selling packs of toilet tissue for well above the recommended retail price. The memes that have been generated are both hilarious and disturbing at the same time. There are even cases in which people are stocking up with 14 days worth of food and supplies in case they need to quarantine themselves or hide out for fear of catching the world’s latest Coronavirus.

Viruses mind you which have been around for centuries and will continue to be around for centuries to come. There is some psychology behind why people have chosen toilet paper to stock up on opposed to any other item. It’s an everyday necessity in the modern, western world and therefore the fear of being without it or missing out runs high within the community. Don’t forget in some countries they are still squatting over holes in the floor and hoping for a clean break without having the luxury of toilet paper and here we are punching on in the isles over it. Is it that people have not researched what COVID-19 is, enough to understand or is it just a knock on effect to our already fragile minds after the worst bush fire season to date. There is no doubt some psychologists, looking at the causation and effects of this and the science community, are working double time to understand the virus and whether or not a vaccine can be developed.

For now though we just need to take a couple of deep breaths and chill out when doing the grocery shopping, there is no reason to punch on with your fellow Aussies over bog roll, after all the old saying sharing is caring rings true and last time we checked toilet paper will not protect you from catching a virus despite wrapping yourself to look like an ancient Egyptian mummy. So maybe you don’t need the 3 packets of 24 rolls that are taking up your entire trolley or the whole box of hand sanitizer. Like you do every flu season, wash your hands after using the bathroom or coughing and sneezing, if you are feeling sick stay at home and if pain persists please see your doctor. Chances are you’ve had a coronavirus in the past and just not known about it. That’ll just about do it from us here, we’ve given you an overview of the virus and yes it’s a close relative of the SARS virus and MERS virus, go google them we don’t have time to explain what they are if you haven’t heard of them.

Until next week don’t hog the bog roll, be kind to your neighbours, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze and most of all just be a good human being. From all the crew here at A Mind Of Its Own, look after yourselves and avoid public areas where large groups tend to congregate if you are that worried about catching the coronavirus and for all our slow mind friends no you can’t catch it from drinking the beer, the poor company have suffered enough over the past couple of months with American idiots Googling if they’ll contract it after a hard night on the Coronas. With that said it’s time to sign off for another week… Take it easy!

I Slept With Somone In Fallout Boy…

Firstly no one has slept with anyone from Fallout Boy here at A Mind of Its Own that we are aware of, yeah we might joke around that we identify as a helicopter or glow stick from time to time but the writers here are very much heterosexual and more often than not a lads, lad. Sorry if that bursts anyone’s bubble but as they say the truth shall set you free. After what’s been a big couple of weeks at our other jobs, you know, the one that pays for us to be able to continue this side project with passion and gusto we’ve finally managed to spend some time behind the keyboard pumping out some blogs that actually interest us. Safe to say politics bores the absolute crap out of us!. Give us controversy and madness, we are all for it and apparently so are our readers who seem to have similar minds like ours that spend a fair bit of time in the gutter.

A Mind of Its Own has always been an outlet, a way in which we can be open and honest about things that we often struggle with in day to day life. It’s given a voice to mental health issues particularly anxiety and depression, it’s also allowed the writers to be reflective and often take lessons out of what has been written or what they themselves are writing. We are truthful in what we write and will always give both sides of the coin as we toss it in the air and throw caution to the wind. Over time though we have learnt that people often don’t really want the truth when it comes down to it. As the famous line voiced by Jack Nicholson from A Few Good Men goes “You can’t handle the truth”. Human’s often struggle to hear what is often true or to often speak the truth for that matter and why? Well there are various reasons in which you will soon learn as you read on.

Be honest with yourself for a minute, we’ve all done it at some point throughout our lives, heck some people even make careers out of it (Politicians, conman etc). Lying is something that we do as human beings, we are the only species capable of deceiving each other with what is often something so simple and so small and more importantly, not needed at all. But we’ve all done it, whether you’ve lied to your boss to get time off work or your parents about going to a party or most importantly yourself about why you lie, everyone has lied it’s part of what makes us human. Honesty may be the best policy, but scheming and dishonesty are part of what makes us human. Throughout history there are 100’s if not 1000’s of examples of people who have lied about who they are, what they do, what happened, how it happened, why it happened etc.

So for some home truths to start with, we decided to write this week’s A Mind of Its Own on Lying, as well to be honest it all just fell into place with things that were going on around us. The boss-man had been lying to himself about why he was feeling the way he did, he’d been lying to everyone that would ask him if he was OK, but most of all he’d mislead and he’d not been honest with someone that he cares about. That’s the thing about lying, dishonesty and keeping things to yourself, we all do it for various reasons, whether it be to present a false image in order to hide our inadequacies or to protect the feelings of others or in some cases just as a poor excuse when confronted with something we were supposed to do.

Not all lies are harmful, In fact sometimes lying is the best approach for protecting privacy, ourselves and others from malice. Some deception such as boasting and lies in the name of tact and politeness can be classified as less than serious. But bald-faced lies (whether they involve leaving out the truth or putting in something false), are harmful, as the corrode trust and intimacy, which lets be honest once again, in a lot of peoples eyes this is the glue of society that keeps us all together.

Lying, as it turns out, is something that most people are very adept at. Most people lie with ease, some in big ways and some small. We lie to strangers, we lie to coworkers, friends and to our loved ones and family. Our capacity for dishonesty is as fundamental as our need to trust others. Ironic that this then makes us terrible at detecting lies. Being deceitful is woven into our very fabric, so much so that it would be truthful to say that to lie is human. One of the strangest, yet truthful sentences you will read on A Mind of Its Own. The commonality of lying was first documented over two decades ago by Bella DePaulo a social psychologist at the University of California in a study in which they asked 147 adults to jot down for a week every instance they tried to mislead someone. This research showed that on average subjects lied one to two times a day without even realising it.

It’s been speculated that lying as a behavior arose not long after the emergence of language. The ability to manipulate others without having to use physical force would have likely conferred an advantage in the competition for resources, a mate and could be akin to the evolution of deceptive strategies in the animal kingdom such as camouflage. Sissela Bok an ethicist at Harvard University was quoted saying “It’s much easier to lie in order to get somebody’s money or wealth than hit them over the head or rob a bank”. Here’s where it all gets interesting and as you all know we love a topic when there is a heap of research involved. As lying became more and more recognised as a deeply ingrained human trait, social science researchers began working to illuminate the nature and roots of the behavior.

How and when do we learn to lie? What are the psychological and neurobiological underpinnings of dishonesty? Where do most people draw the line? The research is beginning to suggest that we’re prone to believing some lies even when they are unambiguously contradicted by clear evidence. This suggests that our proclivity for deceiving others and our vulnerability to being deceived are especially consequential in the age of social media. Our ability as a society to separate truth from lies is under unprecedented threat. Just like learning to walk and talk, lying is something of a developmental milestone. Parents may find it troubling that little Tommy or Tessa has begun to lie. It is more they see it as a loss of innocence in their child. However the emergence of this behavior in toddlers is a reassuring sign that their cognitive growth is on track according to Psychologist Kang Lee of the University of Toronto who has conducted several studies on the psychology of lying in children.

Sadly for all those parents out there the research also suggests that we only get better at lying with age. In fact the Studies Doctor Lee and his colleagues conducted with children around lying suggested that the older the child the better the deception or lie became. Why, you ask? Well remember that little thing called empathy? The increase in the sophistication of the lie comes with the development of a child’s ability to put him or herself in someone else’s shoes. Known as Theory of Mind, this is the facility we acquire for understanding the beliefs, intentions and knowledge of others. A fundamental of lying is the brain’s executive function, the required abilities required for planning, attention and self control.

In studies conducted by Dan Ariely at Duke University, they paid subjects a dollar amount for each math question they got right, the participants were told to shred their sheets before reporting their answers. Little did they know their answer sheets didn’t actually get shredded. What fascinated Ariely the most was not that people lie but rather why they didn’t lie a lot more. Even when the value was increased for each right answer most people didn’t increase their level of cheating. Something stops us from lying all the way, the reason Ariely believes is that we want to see ourselves as honest, because to some degree we have internalised honesty as a value taught to us by society. Which is why unless you are a sociopath most of us place limits on how much we are willing to lie. Ariely and others in the field have shown that this is determined by social norms arrived at through unspoken consensus, a little like taking home a few pencils from the office supply cabinet it OK as long as the bosses don’t find out but your colleagues are ok.

There appears to be no agreement among psychologists and psychiatrists about the relationship between mental health and lying. However there are certain disorders that exhibit specific lying behaviors. Individuals diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder tend to tell manipulative lies, while narcissists may tell falsehoods to boost their image. The Sociopathic disorders tend to have the strongest link and as pointed out exhibit specific lying behaviors. Unless you are a pathological liar, which could be an underlying indicator of a mental health issue as there is motivation behind the lie in the first place, however more research needs to be conducted.

Over the last two decades researchers have studied the brain in order to see if there was anything unique about the brains of individuals who lie more than others. Using three different controls groups broken down into repeated liars, those who met the criteria for antisocial personality disorder but not frequent liars and those who were neither antisocial or had a lying habit. The research showed that the liars had at least 20 percent more neural fibers by volume in their prefrontal cortices thus suggesting that habitual liars have greater connectivity within their brains.That then poses the question as to whether this predisposes them to lying because they can think up lies more readily or is it the result of repeated lying?

Another joint study conducted by Psychologists Nobuhito Abe of Kyoto University and Joshua Greene of Harvard University scanned the brains of subjects using functional magnetic resonance imaging machines (fMRI) found that those acting dishonestly showed greater activation in the nucleus accumbens (a structure in the basal fore-brain) that plays a key role in reward processing. As it turns out the more excited your reward system gets the more likely you are to cheat. Or in other words, greed may increase one’s predisposition to lying. Tali Sharot a neuroscientist at the University of London found that the amygdala’s response to lies got weaker with each lie, even as the lies got bigger.

Tim Levine, a psychologist from the University of Alabama outlines in his ‘truth default theory’ that much of the knowledge we use to navigate the world comes from what others have told us. We implicitly trust others in when it comes to human communication and without that trust we would be paralysed as individuals and cease to have social relationships. He even went on to explain there is little harm caused when we occasionally get duped. We are hardwired to be trusting which makes us intrinsically gullible we’ll use Frank Abagnale Jr, a security consultant whose cons as a young man went on to inspire the 2002 movie Catch me if You Can. He explains that scams work because people believe what they want to believe and aren’t searching for a lie.

It’s called the Liar’s Advantage according to Robert Feldman, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts. “People are not expecting lies, people are not reaching for lies and a lot of the time, people want to hear what they are hearing. According to Feildman we put up little resistance to the deceptions that please us and comfort us whether it be false praise or the promise of impossibly high investment returns. Researchers have also shown that we are especially prone to accepting lies that affirm our worldviews. Alternative facts have thrived on the internet and social media because of this vulnerability in humans. Debunking false truths or fake news does not demolish their power because we assess the evidence presented to us through a framework of preexisting beliefs and prejudices.

A recent study out of the University of Western Australia by doctoral candidate in cognitive psychology, Briony Swire-Thompson documents the ineffectiveness of evidence-based information in refuting incorrect beliefs. Studying our closest friend across the seas (The Americans) they gave them two statements to choose from. The statements both false saw that people chose with bias, for example one of the statements was about Trump in which Trump supporters immediately believed it. When presented with the evidence that it was incorrect they readjusted their view but only for a short period of time. Within a week they were back to believing the original statement. Other studies have shown that evidence undermining lies may in fact strengthen belief if them. So you run the risk of watching them grow and become hulks in front of you if you try to counteract their inaccuracies.

When it comes to lying it looks like the deck is stacked against us people, yeah we can attempt to justify them by telling ourselves it was just a ‘white lie’ or a little ‘fib’ to ease our guilt or cross our fingers behind our backs as if it somehow suspends the rules and we can judge ourselves on the right side of communicative fair play, but at the end of the day we lie because of behavioral conditioning as well as cognitive evolutionary biology. Lying can bail us out of awkward situations, spare the feelings of others. Preserve or strengthen alliances, Enhance social standing, keep us out of trouble and even save our lives. Lying is unfortunately tied into our self esteem, it’s all down to the shifting sands of the self and trying to look good both to ourselves and others.

Men lie no more than women, but they tend to lie to make themselves look better, while it is said that women are more likely to lie to make the other person feel better. Extroverts lie more than introverts according to research. Lying tends to be short term focused, when we decide to deceive someone whether to save our self image or self worth we aren’t thinking long term but if the person finds out it can have long term consequences. We need to become more aware of the extent in which we tend to lie and focus on the fact that honesty yields more genuine relationships and trust.

So if we look at what we now know about lying, we are faced with yet another seemingly adult decision in our lives, to admit we are liars or to just continue through life justifying that everyone lies and evolutionary? The problem with lying and science has now backed this up is that, the more you do it, the easier it gets and the more likely you are to do it again. “We are our own judges about our own honesty” It is both behavioral and evolutionary, we do do it for various reasons both good and bad, everyone has lied at least once if not more in their lives and we as humans have become very adept at it. To lie or not to lie that is the question but like all things in life it’s a decision that only you can make in that moment but remember the truth always finds a way to the surface.

So until the next blog all we can do is apologise to those we may have wronged, lied to and deceived throughout our lives from our hearts to yours we are sincerely sorry. Weird apologising to people at the end of blog about lying but as we said we like to reflect on our writing at the end and take something from it. From this blog we took a lot that we didn’t expect to. We don’t condone lying but we now understand a little better why people do it and from the looks of things most people don’t lie to be malicious, in fact most lies told are to protect others. The truth however shall set you free as they say and so with that in mind we say honesty is the best policy and be true to yourself, love yourself. Until next time take it easy…

Broke and Hungry…

Everyone can write, well almost everyone, there are those that unfortunately are left behind by society and struggle to string a sentence together through no fault of their own initially. However as they grow older they do have a choice to do something about it. It is never too late to learn, to teach, to guide, to share but it is a choice as to whether or not you want to better yourself. This blog is often a way for us to better ourselves as we research topics to ensure we are providing you with not just an opinion piece but something factual and inspiring. Over time our style of writing has evolved to the point we’ve even noticed it as we read through some of the past pieces that have graced your screens. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the fundamentals and the purpose of A Mind of Its Own…

This week’s blog idea came to us via the south coast, as many of you know much of Australia has been devastated by bushfires in recent months and yet the spirit and sense of community is so strong and apparent in these areas it would melt the coldest of hearts. Despite the destruction and devastation people are getting on with life and it hasn’t dampened their imaginations or want to learn or share with others. So to our good friend known as the Hammer thank you for your ongoing support and inspirational ideas for this weeks blog. As much as we enjoyed the conversation about starting a bush dildo racing league we feel the thought and controversy behind the suggestions offered up will have the pundits running to the local Bunnings or hippy shop.

Again this is another topic that we’ve had to research as our knowledge was limited despite the fact that we use it on a daily basis. With all things that we (Human’s) don’t understand there is an inherent fear, a fear of the unknown, just look at vaccinations and the reaction from those that don’t understand or want to understand the science behind them. As humans we tend to react before we understand all the facts or have done any research into things. So we thought before everyone overreacts we’d do some research and read a few papers on the effects of this week’s topic on your health. But in order to do that we first need to give you an understanding of what it is that we are writing about and thanks to the Hammer how this all came about. So let’s crack in and get started, welcome to another week down the rabbit hole Alice…

What is 5G and why does it scare people so much? Wireless networks have been around for decades now and if you believe the Americans they developed the technology for WiFi or wireless and yet there is strong evidence that it was a “Failed experiment to detect exploding mini black holes the size of an atomic particle” by our very own Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation or the CSIRO as they are better known that uncovered the keys to developing WiFi and subsequent wireless mobile networks. 5G literally stands for fifth generation, 5G surprisingly like its name is the fifth iteration of the global digital cellular wireless networks. Since the introduction of 1G and GSM there have been great advancements in technology, speed and ability of the cellular networks.

5G networks are digital cellular networks, in which the service area covered by providers is divided into small geographical areas called cells. Analog signals representing sounds and images are digitized in the telephone, converted by an analog to digital converter and transmitted as a stream of bits. All the 5G wireless devices in a cell communicate by radio waves with a local antenna array and low power automated transceiver (transmitter and receiver) in the cell, over frequency channels assigned by the transceiver from a pool of frequencies that are reused in other cells. The local antennas are connected with the telephone network and the Internet by a high bandwidth optical fiber or wireless back haul connection. As in other cell networks, a mobile device crossing from one cell to another is automatically “handed off” seamlessly to the new cell.

OK so we now know that 5G is the thing that will allow our phones to communicate, send messages, watch YouTube, stream videos, video chat and all the rest. The major benefits of 5G though are the speeds at which we can connect and if all the reports coming out are correct the network will be faster than your home internet connection. By faster we mean a hell of a lot faster reportedly at almost up to 10 to 20 Gbps fast. That’s up from the 10 Mbps the current 4G network roles out. Goodbye NBN and hello 5G and a larger data plan. We may just see a lot of Aussies doing this and “hot spotting” from their mobile devices. It would make sense wouldn’t it given that our internet is slower than some third world countries. Yeah the NBN was a great outdated Idea by the time it was rolled out, oh wait there are still parts of the country waiting for the NBN to be switched on.

From a technology standpoint having fast, speedy, reliable networks to connect your mobile devices to is amazing. However there are pundits out there that believe the health effects from 5G are much more significant compared to the generations of cellular digital networks that came before it. Firstly we aren’t saying they are wrong, there is still a lot of research to be done on the effects of high energy radiation on the human body. Yes we hear you and yes we just used the word radiation. Before we all get our undies in a twist let’s look at the actual science behind and not just focus on the articles being pumped out by reputable news sites such as Facebook and alternative health websites. The latter are the same sites that tell us vaccination is killing children and bad for us, so they are rating quite low on the list of things to read here at A Mind of Its Own.

Whilst sighting studies and research from reputable places such as the world health organisation (WHO) those studies do say that there is still a lot of research to be done to prove the effects 5G has on the body. Some of the articles go on to explain the following effects without having the science or research behind them to actually back it up. They are more opinion pieces, that have gathered stories or taken from other articles without fully understanding what they are putting out into the ether that is the internet. The new 5G network generates radio frequency radiation that can damage DNA and lead to cancer, cause oxidative damage that can cause premature aging, disrupt cell metabolism and potentially lead to other diseases throughout the generation of stress proteins.

These claims are quite scary on their own and until the science is there to back them up quite unsubstantiated. They create panic and fear among communities rather than generating conversation and understanding. Again like all things in life we fear the unknown, the unexplainable and most importantly what we don’t understand. At a Mind of Its Own we aim to give you both sides of the proverbial coin and educate rather than cause panic and misunderstanding among the masses. So let’s take a deeper look into the science behind 5G networks and what the potential health risks are compared to earlier generations of digital cellular networks.

Like 5G its concerns are only the latest iteration of headlines and unclaimed, unfounded sentiment on the world wide web by people who often don’t have degrees let alone doctorates. The main concern is electromagnetic radiation that includes everything from WiFi to smart meters. At the root of all concerns about cell phone networks is radio frequency radiation (RFR). RFR is anything emitted in the electromagnetic spectrum, from microwaves to x-rays to radio waves to the light produced from your monitor or light the sun. RFR clearly isn’t as inherently dangerous as some of the sites and blogs make it out to be, so the problem becomes discovering under what circumstances they could potentially become dangerous.

Science and the guys that do it Scientists say that the most important criterion about whether any particular RFR is dangerous is whether it falls into the category of ionizing or non-ionizing radiation. We aren’t in the sciences so we’ll need to go to Wikipedia to find out what non-ionizing and ionizing. Simply put, any radiation that’s non-ionizing is too weak to break chemical bonds. That includes ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, and everything with a lower frequency, like radio waves. Everyday technologies like power lines, FM radio, and Wi-Fi also fall into this range. (Microwaves are the lone exception: non-ionizing but able to damage tissue, they’re precisely and intentionally tuned to resonate with water molecules.) Frequencies above UV, like x-rays and gamma rays, are ionizing.

Dr. Steve Novella (Sounds like a made up name, we assure you it is not), an assistant professor of neurology at Yale and the editor of Science-Based Medicine website, understands that people generally get concerned about radiation. “Using the term radiation is misleading because people think of nuclear weapons, they think of ionizing radiation that absolutely can cause damage. It can kill cells. It can cause DNA mutations.” But since non-ionizing radiation doesn’t cause DNA damage or tissue damage, Novella says that most of the concern about cell phone RFR is misplaced. “There’s no known mechanism for most forms of non-ionizing radiation to even have a biological effect,” he said in a recent report. Or, in the less refined but more visceral words of author C. Stuart Hardwick, “radiation isn’t magic death cooties.”

Of course as is always the case, just because there’s no known mechanism for non-ionizing radiation to have a biological effect, that doesn’t’ mean it’s safe or that no effect exists. But in order to find out those effects, researchers will need to continue conducting studies into the effects. One recent study was released by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), an agency run by the Department of Health and Human Services in the United States. This widely quoted study about cell phone radio frequency radiation, found that high exposure to 3G RFR led to some cases of cancerous heart tumors, brain tumors, and tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats. The study was a good objective lesson in how hard it is to do scientific research of this type. The science points out, the number of tumors detected were so small that they statistically could have occurred by chance (which may be more likely since they were only detected in male subjects). Moreover, the level and duration of the RFR exposure were well in excess of what any actual human would ever be exposed to, and in fact, the irradiated test rats lived longer than the unexposed control rats.

“Experienced researchers look at a study like that and say that doesn’t really tell us anything.” Ongoing studies aside, 5G is coming, and as mentioned, there are concerns about this new technology. A common complaint about 5G is that, due to the lower power of 5G transmitters, there will be more of them. The Environmental Health Trust contends that “5G will require the buildout of literally hundreds of thousands of new wireless antennas in neighborhoods, cities, and towns. A cellular small cell or another transmitter will be placed every two to ten homes according to estimates.” Says Dr. Novella, What they’re really saying is dose is going to be higher?. Theoretically, this is a reasonable question to ask. But skeptics caution you shouldn’t confuse asking the question with merely asserting that there’s a risk. As Novella points out, “We’re still talking about power and a frequency less than light. You go out in the sun, and you’re bathed in electromagnetic radiation that’s far greater than these 5G cell towers.”

It’s easy to find claims online that the greater frequency of 5G alone constitutes a risk. RadiationHealthRisks.com observes that “1G, 2G, 3G and 4G use between 1 to 5 gigahertz frequency. 5G uses between 24 to 90 gigahertz frequency,” and then asserts that “Within the RF Radiation portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the higher the frequency, the more dangerous it is to living organisms.” But asserting that the higher frequency is more dangerous is just that—an assertion, and there’s little real science to stand behind it. 5G remains non-ionizing in nature. The FCC—responsible for licensing the spectrum for public use in the United States weighed in as well. Neil Derek Grace, a communications officer at the FCC was quoted saying the following, “For 5G equipment, the signals from commercial wireless transmitters are typically far below the RF exposure limits at any location that is accessible to the public.” The FCC defers to the FDA for actual health risk assessments, which takes a direct, but low-key approach to addressing the risks: “The weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems.”

In 2011, the World Health Organization classified RF Radiation as a Group 2B agent, which defined it as possibly carcinogenic to humans. In saying that you have to look at all the other things they classify as a possible carcinogen. They have been put in the same class as things like caffeine. It’s like saying everything causes cancer. Part of the problem with the WHO declaration is that it’s focused on hazard, not risk, a subtle distinction often lost on us non-scientists, not unlike the rigorous distinction between “precision” and “accuracy.” (Precision refers to how tightly clustered your data is; accuracy refers to how close that data is to the real value. You might have a dozen mis-calibrated thermometers that all tell you the wrong temperature with a very high degree of precision.) When the WHO classifies coffee or nickel or pickles as a possible carcinogen, it’s asserting hazard without regard for real-world risk. Dr Novella went on to explain, “A loaded pistol is a hazard because theoretically, it can cause damage. But if you lock it in a safe, the risk is negligible.”

Scientists will continue to test new network technology as it evolves, to make sure the technology we use every day remains safe. As the NTP study showed, research into radiation risks is difficult and often inconclusive, meaning it can take a long time to make real progress with quantifiable data. For now, everything we know about 5G networks tells us that there’s no reason to be alarmed. After all, there are many technologies we use every day with a substantially higher measurable risk. With 5G the hazard is low but not zero and the actual risk appears to be zero.

As we’ve pointed out there are risks but they are low, very low risk and there is still not enough evidence, support or research to point to a definitive yes or no. So for now ladies and gents we recommend that you not read anything on Facebook or any sites suggested through the book. If you do be sure to at least do your own research before you make up your mind on whether or radio frequency radiation is good or bad. On that note we’ll leave you to it for yet another week while we go and research next weeks blog so we can get to work on the writing for you fine people. Adios amigos until next week have a frothie or two for us. A Mind of it’s own team out (insert Mic drop).

Bigger Than My Brain…

As we stared out the 3rd floor window of the nondescript office building in which we conduct our day to day job we couldn’t help but think of a post apocalyptic world. As smoke from what will go down in history as one of Australia’s biggest crisis blankets the skies and the news reels continue to show devastation, loss and tragedy across the nation. Our minds wondered to what would happen and where would we go if the world was to descend into chaos. After all there are plenty of maniacs in power who would love nothing more than to leave there stamp on history that have come close to kicking off the world’s next and what would likely be the final world war. Or the fact that we have pretty much poisoned the planet beyond repair in some places.

Perhaps it was waking up at 9am on a Sunday morning thinking it was earlier than it actually was due to the sun being blotted out by the thick smoke or perhaps it was not seeing blue sky for weeks on end that got us to start thinking about our mortality and what we’d do if there was an event that forced us to literally pack up and run. Then we began to think about what we would need and what we would take with us in such an event was to happen. Unlike all the crazy Yanks, Australians aren’t so big on prepping, we are sure there are the crazy, rich likely cashed up bogans who have no doubt built a fallout shelter or have a bug out plan in place but in general should an apocalyptic event unfold itself, most Australians would not have a clue about what they would do.

There are plenty of apocalyptic events that could have people heading for the hills cause lets face it, if there ever is to be an apocalypse the last place you want to be is in a major population center. Particularly if World War Three is to breakout, major population centers would be targeted right after major military installations. Sadly we have researched all this but on the flip side the best place to move to would be New Zealand. Well that’s our thoughts and we think as we unpack this week’s A Mind of Its Own everyone might start to agree with us for a change. So without any further segways and side notes lets get on with this weeks blog and put together a plan for surviving the apocalypse.

Firstly we need to understand what if anything could these apocalyptic events be and what would they consist of, who would they initially effect and what would the ramifications be if any? In order to answer those questions we’ve asked our chief investigator Google to do a little research and begin combing through articles and research papers. We like to keep everything we write about as close to the truth as possible after all why let the truth get in the way of a good story. But in all seriousness if the science is available to back up our blog we’ll always take it. So to start with we’ll look at the very unlikely but potential threat of a Zombie apocalypse.

We were hoping to find some good news that a Zombie apocalypse was something that could never happen but thanks to science we are now armed with the possibility that it could become very, very true. Reading one particular article it unpacked the 5 most likely causes behind a zombie apocalypse and to be Frank for a minute (We had to ask him if it was ok) they scared the absolute crap out of us. Like change your jocks scary. The first of the freaky 5 to cause a Zombie Apocalypse is Brain Parasites according to Google they turn victims into mindless, zombie like slaves. One in particular Toxoplasmosa Gondii is terrifying and to make matters worse half the human population of the earth is already infected with it. The likelihood of it turning us all into zombies though would a little human intervention and a perhaps a megalomaniac with a highly evolved version of the parasite that had been weaponised.

Then you have neurotoxins whilst not rating highly on the likelihood scale there have been cases documented in Haiti where the word Zombie comes from of Alkaloid toxins being used to control people and make mind numbed zombie like workers who harvested sugarcane. We then turn to a rage virus type scenario something like a super mad cow disease where people turn into mindless killing machine and don’t forget that we are only one brain chemical (Serotonin) away from that happening. We already have a human version of mad cow disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and again it would only take some mad scientists to play around with it in a lab to make it a weapon. Moving on to Neurogenesis or basic stem cell research, yeah we spoke about animal/human hybrids a couple of blogs ago but what about regrowing dead brain tissue? You wanted the undead well science is finally delivering, it is now possible to re-grow the brains of comatose head trauma patients until they wake up and can walk around again, throw in the new ability to keep dead bodies in a suspended state of animation and we are starting to sound like a science fiction novel but its all true. Whilst the cortex may die the stem remains so you will be able to function but not actually have any thoughts, feelings or emotions.

Finally we have nanobots yes nanobots, tiny little microscopic, self-replicating robots that can invisibly build or destroy anything. Studies have shown with a decade we’ll have nanobots that can setup and replace neural pathways in your brain. That’s right ladies and gents little mini self replicating robots will be able to rewire your thoughts. So the likelihood of the robot uprising now takes form in the shape of a zombie apocalypse. Think about it, the nanobots are programmed to self replicate but once the host dies so do they. So to preserve themselves they’d need a new host, therefore the last act of the nanobot zombie would be to bite a healthy victim so they can steam in and set up camp. And just like that it’s eat, sleep, bite, repeat and the robot zombie uprising is a real thing.

So what are the other possible apocalyptic events that could have us scurrying like rats leaving a sinking ship? The most likely yet unlikely event is a robot uprising, according to Artificial Intelligence researchers the likelihood of us having a robot overlord is quite slim but if it did happen our robot overseers could combat some of the other threats. The most likely apocalyptic event in which we’d need to bunker down somewhere and then scavenge till the end of days would be a global pandemic or nuclear war and with Trump in power and happy to divert attention away from his pending impeachment trial the later is the most likely to happen as he rattles sabers and assassinated people from the skies above. If it’s not Trump shooting missiles at foreign dignitaries to spark off a war it’ll be climate change deniers that are our undoing as we kill the earth.

If you are wondering if it’ll be something from space that does us in, the chances of an asteroid taking us out is one in 10,000. We are more likely to be wiped out by volcanoes and they are the most underrated threat on the matrix we’ve developed. The sleeping giants that could erupt around the world and blackout the sun while blanketing the earth in ash. There is also the possibility of aliens invading in which we would recommend you hide down the deepest darkest hole you can find and don’t come out for at least a decade. Perhaps Hollywood had been quite prophetic in some of their alien invasion movies over the past century. There is always over population and or of the next big freeze, heck there have even been suggestions that we could be attacked by something below us lurking in the depths of the oceans or below the earth’s surface. There are several other possibilities but these were just the ones that actually made sense or had a likelihood of possibly ever happening.

Chances are that if the world was coming to an end any semblance of order would quickly dissolve into chaos. People would riot and looters would roam the streets. From there things would begin to look a little like the Tom Clancy video game franchise The Division. Whilst we’d like to think people might actually behave in a manner which is respectful and considerate that just doesn’t seem likely and if history is any indication of human behavior in times of chaos we definitely become a bunch of words that mum only allows us to use in the paddock. In times of chaos we change our morals values to benefit ourselves over others so it’s no wonder that people loot stores and gangs lord themselves over others in times of crisis. The end of the world would be one such crisis.

The more research we did, the more we realised that unless you’ve gone to a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) course which are generally reserved for military personnel with a role designation that could see them behind enemy lines, or have studied prepping and began to put in place the resources and tools required to survive most of us are very much under prepared for any of the likely apocalyptic scenarios that we could be faced with over the next couple of decades. Even the basics evade most people, how many people are trained in self defense or hand to hand combat, not to be confused with hand to gland combat which would only take a quick google search for most people to become experts in that one. Getting back on topic how or would you be able to defend yourself if you were required to? There are several books that outline the basics of survival and having read several of them when researching for our pet project we can highly recommend the following if you are interested in staying safe and surviving.

Safe by former 22 SAS Trooper Chris Ryan is a good read and then there is the Violent Nomad series ‘100 Deadly Skills’ by Former Navy Seal Clint Emerson, that outlines survival tips and techniques for all scenarios and environments. There is also the SAS Survival books written by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman also a former SAS Trooper. There are several other survival books that have good information but we’ve found the above books fonts of knowledge as well as having good example pictures and providing a B.L.U.F or Bottom Line Up Front, in other words there is a paragraph where the conclusions and recommendations are placed at the beginning of the text to facilitate rapid decision making rather than placing it at the end of the text.

So we now know what we can start to prepare, how we are going to survive them. In order to do that we need to prepare for all likely scenarios. A little like the scouts we’ll always be prepared or at least that’s what we think the scouts motto is. What would you put in your end of the world kit? Well we think we’d start with a vehicle or two and our vehicle of choice if money was no option to survive the end of the world would either be a suped up, all the mods & cons Toyota Prado armored up to protect us from either the infected zombies or the less fortunate trying to steal our prized wheels or a Land Rover Defender and yes it would have a machine gun turret. Desperate times call for desperate measures and if it’s the end of the world we want to be protected. Worst case we’d break into a defence base and steal a Bushmaster or a tank, we’d then find the armory and go nuts like a kid in the candy store taking all the toys we wanted and needed.

We’ve put together a list of things that are required for initial survival. First thing you’ll need is a bug out bag these suddenly chic survival satchels, also known as go bags, are typically lightweight military-grade backpacks stocked with provisions for at least 72 hours. Gray wolf Survival recommends a chain-saw blade stashed in an Altoids tin to harvest firewood. Feminine hygiene products are also recommended as something you should have in your Go Bag, even for men, to soak up blood from wounds. One of those things that you should have is currency. While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies make news, many people are quietly packing their bug-out bags with rolls of pre-1965 American dimes, quarters or half-dollars, which are 90 percent silver and available from coin dealers and precious-metals websites (silver is currently about 17 US dollars an ounce).

Imagine a true economic apocalypse, one that makes the German hyperinflation of the 1920s, with its wheelbarrows of near-worthless paper currency, look like a hiccup. To prepare for the worst worst-case scenario, some doomsday preppers prefer to stock up on daily staples like tampons, vegetable seeds and cigarettes (that timeless prison medium of exchange) to silver or gold as an alternative-currency. Liquor, particularly in easy-to-swap airline bottles would likely prove a hot commodity, since it not only deadens the pain of surviving in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but also provides useful off-label functions as a disinfectant or an ingredient in herbal remedy tinctures. In the event of apocalypse, bring condoms explained one prepper site. This may sound like a slogan from a sex safety campaign but condoms being featherweight, ultracompact and durable (nonlubricated, please) can be used as a makeshift canteen to store water, a fire starter or as elastic bands for an improvised slingshot to hunt small game.

Should law and order on the streets break down after, say, a massive hurricane or nuclear-reactor meltdown, that condom slingshot might come in handy. But where guns are illegal or highly regulated what are defenseless, law-abiding citizens to do? “100 Deadly Skills,” by Clint Emerson is filled with improvised alternative weapons, like a collapsible umbrella lined with wrenches, Sure, you could master jiu-jitsu but if it’s really on, hand-to-hand self-defense will only take you so far. To balance legality with lethality in a bug-out bag, you have to go simpler hammers, hatchets, heavy tools. That roll of old silver quarters might come in handy, too.

In the event of a breakdown of the food supply that leaves the shelves of Woolworths and Coles bare, you will still have to eat. Many survivalists are placing their hopes of sustenance in rabbit, a high-protein, low-fat meat that is also being embraced as “the new chicken” by sustainable food types. By livestock standards, rabbits are relatively clean and quiet. They can survive on table-scrap vegetables or even grass, and as a bonus, yield valuable fur for improvised winter clothing. And boy do they breed. A doe can produce up to 50 kits a year, yielding 250 pounds of meat, according to researchers.

To master archery and broadsword combat or how to manufacture fabric, bread, ceramic cookware and wood furniture by hand, or to perfect the preindustrial arts of iron craft and tanning of leathers should Armageddon arrive say, in the form of a limited nuclear exchange, global pandemic or cyber mega-attack these hobbies could mean your survival. In other words, chivalry may not be dead after all. You just don’t want to be running around in a suit of chain-mail Armour chances are you’ll be a little slow.

So what we’ve worked out is that, if the world is coming to an end anytime soon your average Joe is not going to be prepared enough to survive for any lengthy duration. In case of a nuclear holocaust the safest place is New Zealand due to it’s lack of major military targets and it’s Australia’s forgotten ugly (yet beautiful, scenery wise) cousin therefore people often overlook they are also an ally of the great Satan. Plus most of New Zealand has moved to the Gold Coast. Everyone needs a go bag with at least 72 hours worth of provisions and tools you’ll need to survive. Having a plan is always a good idea and various iterations of that plan, make it even better. If you can get some self defence training it’s always a good idea even if an apocalyptic event isn’t coming. Ensure you have something to trade or a form of currency and lastly a little faith that it never comes down to you having to survive.

As we wrap up the conclusion is that it’ll only take a couple of deranged scientists and a world leader with an inferiority complex to make the Zombie apocalypse happen. Volcanoes are the most likely apocalyptic event, we’ve researched this way too much and now we are thinking we need to start planning for the worst while we hope for the best. It gets you thinking though and well life is too short for regrets or to be pondering crap like this, live in the moment and make memories that’s what we plan on doing. And just because you identify as a helicopter does not mean you can fly in times of crisis. Until next week we wish well and hope that we haven’t scared the absolute crap out of you. Sometimes it’s good to know that there are freaky things and not all science fiction books and films are made up…

Heroes Of The Sidewalk…

What a year 2019 was, there was certainly some highlights and low lights and in our annual review we plan to cover them all. It’s what we do here at A Mind Of Its Own. As the decade came to a close, a new chapter was opened and the history books were finalised once again with the who, the what, the where and the why of the last 10 years. The team at A Mind of Its Own were there for a lot of it but as it’s our annual review we’ll focus on 2019 and the year that created a lot of change within our country and personally within our lives. It was a year that saw some sadness, some growth and some strange and unusual things, so without further adieu we’ll let the team take it away from here.

Like all good publications we’ll cover the things that made the headlines in 2019 across Australia, yeah we are going to stick to our homeland and spread some of the craziness that made us stop and think over the past year. There was a lot of questioning done throughout the year and not a lot of answers were forthcoming. So to kick us off we’ll look at events and commentary from each month of the year that had heads turning and people palming their own faces.

January

  • 3 January – One man is killed and another is injured following a double stabbing at the Asia-Pacific headquarters of the Church of Scientology in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood, and they still deny they are a cult?
  • 5 January – A far-right political rally held in Melbourne, marked by scuffles with police and counter-protesters, is attended by Independent Senator Fraser Anning, who admits to using tax-payer funded travel to attend the event. Afterwards he got the Australian version of the swastika tattooed on his back for the next rally so he fit in with the rest of the far right bogans.
  • 7 January – A mass fish die-off occurs on the Lower Darling River at Menindee Lakes. Up to 1 million fish, including endangered species, ultimately die in what is described as possibly the largest fish die-off in Australian history. Where’s Greta when we need her to give the government a serve about killing our rivers?
  • 24 January – Professor Tanya Monro is appointed Australia’s next Chief Defence Scientist, the first woman in the position. The female Sheldon Cooper with a personality she’s a smart cookie who has some inspired ideas.
  • 29 January – The South Australian Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission report is released. The commission, which commenced in 2018, was critical of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and the Commonwealth Murray Darling Basin Authority. *Note to the government! Stop selling our water to overseas interests!

February

  • Four people are killed and over a thousand people remain evacuated from homes in Townsville as flooding peaks in the city, following a metre of rainfall in the first week of the month. Among the dead were two men on February 4, and two young boys on February 25, all from drowning. – No comment needed 😦
  • 4 February – The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry final report is tabled in Parliament. The report makes 76 recommendations. Well we all know banks are in the business of making money and that’s just what they did. Not just one of the banks but all of them.
  • 12 February – The Liberal-National Coalition government becomes the first Australian federal government to lose a vote on its own legislation in 78 years, after a defeat on the floor of the House of Representatives. Hmm we’ve touched base on politics a few times throughout the year and well it’s just been disappointing.
  • 13 February – Nineteen homes are destroyed by bushfires in the New England and Northern Rivers regions of New South Wales. Was this a sign of things to come later in the year? We certainly think so!
  • 26 February – Following the lifting of a suppression order, it is revealed that Cardinal George Pell had been convicted in December 2018 of sexually abusing two choirboys in 1996. All we can say is about time! The church has been hiding it’s secrets and disgusting people for way too long!

March

  • 13 March – Cardinal George Pell is sentenced to six years in prison following his conviction over the sexual abuse of two choirboys. Yeah boy! But six years isn’t long enough he should be locked up and the key thrown away! Where do we stand on the death penalty?
  • 23 March –
    • The Liberal-National Coalition government led by Gladys Berejiklian wins the 2019 New South Wales state election and returns to office with a reduced majority. Didn’t stop her from wasting money on a new stadium that wasn’t needed.
    • Tropical Cyclone Trevor makes landfall in the Northern Territory. Who comes up with the names for Cyclones? And how do we get that job?

April

  • 11 April – Actor Geoffrey Rush is awarded $850,000 in damages after winning a defamation case against The Daily Telegraph. What’s the saying mum? Oh that’s right if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.

May

  • 18 May – 2019 Australian federal election: Scott Morrison’s Liberal/National Coalition Government is narrowly re-elected, defeating the Labor Party led by Bill Shorten. Scotty from marketing got his job and is now leading the Nation, opinion is divided whether he is doing a good job or not.
  • 30 May – Anthony Albanese is elected unopposed as leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition, replacing Bill Shorten. Richard Marles is elected deputy unopposed, succeeding Tanya Plibersek. Politics is boring enough through in Albanese and it just makes us want to stab our eyes out with teaspoons.

June

  • 4 June – At least four men are killed and a woman was injured after a 45-year-old gunman allegedly goes on a shooting spree in the city centre of Darwin, Northern Territory. When things like this happen it makes us sad but at the same time we are thankful our gun laws are as tough as they are.
  • 4–5 June – The Australian Federal Police raid the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst and the headquarters of the ABC over national security and special forces stories. Not sure what they found or whether Annika had anything that was of interest but the allegations levelled at some of our national heroes were quite interesting.
  • 24 June – Parts of the Darwin CBD are evacuated after the city is impacted by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake originating in Indonesia. Another precursor that the planet is furious with us for killing it.

July

  • 1 July – David Hurley is sworn in as the 27th Governor-General of Australia. Onya Davey boy!
  • 8–27 July – A biennial joint Australia-United States military exercise Talisman Saber 2019 is held. What an exercise it was, tanks, ships, planes and troops stormed the beaches of Australia in what can only be explained as a joint readiness exercise. Perhaps they knew Trump would attempt to start a war to stay in office.

August

  • 13 August – 2019 Sydney stabbing attack. Senseless violence on the streets once again.
  • 16 August – Pro-Hong Kong protesters clash with pro-China supporters in Melbourne, while police are forced to intervene during similar confrontations in Sydney and Adelaide, following the 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests.
  • 21 August – The Victorian Court of Appeal dismisses George Pell’s appeal to overturn his conviction for child sex offences. Yeah they did, rot in jail George you scum.
  • 29 August – An attempt to deport Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers Kokilapathmapriya Nadesalingham (Priya) and Nadesalingam Murugappan (Nades) was thwarted by a last minute injunction, forcing the plane carrying the couple and their children out of Australia to land in Darwin.

September

  • 9 September – Homes and buildings, including the historic Binna Burra Lodge, are destroyed by a bushfire in Queensland’s Scenic Rim region.

October

  • 26 October – Climbing Uluru is banned by authority of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park board. About bloody time!
  • 31 October – The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety interim report is published and tabled in Parliament.

November

  • 8 November – Three people were killed and 150 homes are destroyed by a large number of bushfires burning across New South Wales and South East Queensland. Little did Scotty from marketing know that they would just get worse and the entire country would be on fire.
  • 11 November – A week-long State of Emergency is declared in New South Wales and the Australian Defence Force is put on alert amid mounting bushfire warnings.

December

  • 30-31 December – Eight people were killed, hundreds of homes are destroyed and the Royal Australian Navy is mobilised to assist evacuation efforts following bushfires on the New South Wales South Coast and in Victoria’s East Gippsland.

Sport

We saw the return of Smith and Warner to Australian Cricket, as well as the birth of the man affectionately known as “Loose Bus Change” Marnus Labuschagne which immediately instilled faith in all Aussies that we might actually win a test or two this summer. After dispatching Pakistan and now tearing through the Kiwis it looks like we are back on track to continue our domination of the test arena. Meanwhile Rugby suffered a setback when it lost test winger and religious faithful Israel Folau after a tweet went viral condemning most of us to hell. To make matters worse we struggled on the big stage and failed to make the semifinals at the World Cup hosted in Japan.

Our tennis brats continued to make headlines for doing just that being brats. Some of our Olympic swimmers failed drug tests, Richmond won the AFL Grand Final and all barbers opened up for Dusty cuts. In League the the boys from the Eastern Suburbs took the win over the Raiders in the who cares cup. Some horse won the Melbourne Cup after thousands of people got shitfaced and missed the race while some of our bleeding hearts protested the races altogether. Some of the lesser known sports dominated with the Green and Gold fairing well on the world stage. Our Men’s hockey team took out the inaugural FIH Pro League over Belgium while our women went down in an extra time shootout to the Dutch to take silver. As Ricky Bobby said “If you ain’t first, you’re last”.

The netballers lost the world cup to the mother country in a tight fought contest over in the UK, Motorsport well as you are aware it’s not a sport unless it involves a ball so we’ll just say some blokes drove cars or bikes around a track for hours on end. Our soccer players did what they do best diving around the ground in agony after breaking a nail. The athletics department did what they always do and ran, jumped and threw things trying to beat the juiced up Americans and really quick Jamaicans. Our equestrians jumped and trotted around on horses setting the arenas alight with their displays of pure horsemanship. Australia’s water sports people had a good year ensuring they stayed afloat for another year. The golfers holed out and well we must of done alright in every other sport we competed in we are Australians after all.

Other News

Worldly Swedish 17 year old Greta Thunberg rises to fame after telling the world we are killing it and not having seen anywhere outside of Sweden. Whilst her point is very valid and we appreciate her voice in the world there are people actually doing things to make a difference to climate change who are completely ignored. But that’s a story for another day. The reefs are dying around the world so we’re right with Greta on her message of climate change. President Oomph Loom-pa finally got impeached and 2020 will hopefully see him found guilty and thrown in jail, that’s if someone doesn’t claim the $80 million dollar bounty on his head thrown out by Iran recently. The US had even more mass shootings than any previous year recorded. Trump made the news for just being Trump, the UK finally entered Brexit and Boris Johnson got a new taupe. China caused a ruckus in the South China sea once again, Japan made human/animal hybrids. The Russians meddled in everyone’s affairs, the Stans continued fighting among themselves, Africa was once again pillaged for it’s natural resources and Europe well their economy faulted and terrorism ran rife once again.

In a nutshell 2019 was a year that a lot of are happy to see the back of, there was a lot of heartbreak, some good times and plenty of wow and what the fork moments. It was a year in which we learnt, researched and wrote some of our best pieces. The discovery of our own style of writing mixed in with a humorous approach locked in a formula that works for us and allows us to tackle the tough topics that people often find taboo. Strangely enough a lot of them are sexual in nature or relate to things that we’ve been brainwashed not to talk about for generation to generation. And so for the team at A Mind of Its Own we are looking forward to what the next 10 years bring and the evolution of ourselves as writers and a brand.

So until next week where we’ve decided to tackle an age old question that has plagued many a man and women for at least the last decade. Wish you all a fond farewell, again we’d like to send a massive shout out to the women and men on the front lines fighting to keep us all safe from the fires. You guys are truly the Heroes of the Sidewalks! Without our volunteers and the Rural Fire Service things could be a lot worse than they already are and things are pretty bad. To everyone who has donated or given up their time to help those in need we take out hats off to you. Again if you feel you need to help in some way we’ve provided links below for you to donate to one of the wonderful charities helping out those most affected… Thank you to each and everyone of you!

https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2019/12/31/how-you-can-help-bushfire-victims

https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/bushfire-crisis-how-can-i-donate-and-help/11839842

Dear Science…

Ahhh ok we thought we had seen it all, but no ladies and gentlemen the things of science fiction movies are becoming more and more real. We’ve got lasers, clones, electric cars, spaceships and several other things that have become reality from our favourite sci-fi shows and books. But what could get our goat so much that it would make this weeks blog? Read on if you dare but don’t be surprised if you start to question a few things afterwards like we are. We’ve always tried to deliver the hard hitting news with facts and figures as well as a little humor but there are just some things that even we can’t spin and this has seriously got to be one of them.

Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to another week of A Mind of Its Own. Throughout history we’ve had some innovative breakthroughs that have allowed society to grow, have allowed us to prosper, have brought us into the 21st century. They’ve allowed us to explore, to question, to wonder. Human ingenuity has allowed us to invent, create, inspire and to even destroy. We’ve climbed to the top of the evolutionary food chain and tried to claw our way even further. But there is one nationality that has pushed the boundaries, time and time again both socially, scientifically, culturally. They’ve aligned themselves on the wrong side of history from time to time again but they have always figured quite heavily in the academic and technology industries.

As some of you know a lot of the team that write this here blog work for a Japanese company and have done so for quite some time now. So it’s no surprise to us when the Japanese come up in Science and Technology news. We’ve seen a lot of the products released from Japan and a lot of it is cutting edge. They are building the technology and products of tomorrow. Some of our favourite brands come from the island nation. Mitsubishi, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, Subaru, Mazda, Yamaha, Sony, Toshiba, Nintendo, Seiko, Casio, Fujifilm, Olympus and Canon just to name a few. All of these brands at one time or another are releasing products that are new, innovative and at the bleeding edge. It’s what the Japanese do, they sink Millions upon millions of dollars into research and development (R&D).

So when we read that the Japanese Government had approved the first Human-Animal hybrid research to be conducted we were a little taken back. Our minds immediately went on a journey of all the human/animal hybrids we could come up with. From Minotaur to mermaids to rat boys the possibilities are endless. We even went as far to wonder whether we could finally see Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s vision of ManBearPig finally realized. Whilst our thoughts were somewhat adolescent in creating fanciful hybrids the application and ethics in hybrids is somewhat a little troubling should the ability and technology fall into the wrong hands, and when its the country who came up with Godzilla doing the research questions begin to be asked.

Have we got your attention yet? Fingers flew over the keyboard and hit up google in order to explore, research and find out more behind the intentions of the research teams involved in creating the first “approved” human-animal hybrid. Notice how we said first approved? Yeah there have no doubt been several illegal experiments conducted over the years by mad scientists in secret laboratories around the world. How else do you come up with biological weapons. Plus the Yanky doodles have been doing a similar experiment to the Japanese for years they just stop at some imaginary ethical line apparently.

Yeah, yeah, yeah there is a basement in Area 51 with all sorts of Hybrids running around maiming each other. So once we’d settled down from fanciful thoughts about exotic human-animal hybrids and actually read an article or two we began to see the benefits of this type of research. Whilst the ethics behind it all and the application of creating human-hybrid animals is a little scary the research is designed to get human cells to grow inside an animal which according to all the articles and journals we read isn’t an easy thing to do. So what is it all in Layman’s terms you ask and why? Good bloody questions because we needed to and wanted to know the answers ourselves. What’s got the scientific community in a flap about these experiments and the extent of them, well let’s enter a scientific journey together in order to find out the who, what, where and why.

Stem Cell research has been controversial since the early studies in 1981 where scientists discovered ways to derive embryonic stem cells from early mouse embryos. This early study led to the development in 1998 of the method in which to derive human stem cells and grow cells in laboratories. Fast forward 21 years and Japan has granted approval for Stem cell biologist Hiromitsu Nakauchi to legally conduct trials to not only transplant hybrid embryos into surrogate animals, but also to bring them to term. In previous experiments conducted around the world they had never bought any research to full term. By this they had never allowed the stem cells to fully grow within the animal they had been transported into and “come to term”..

The lead stem cell researcher at the University of Tokyo and Stanford University, Nakauchi has gone from country to country, chasing the dream of one day growing customized human organs in animals like sheep or pigs. With more than 116,000 patients on the transplant waiting list in the United States alone, Nakauchi hopes his idea can transform lives.The ultimate goal is still a long way off, but the next step in his research has at last been given the green light by ministry officials in Japan. As the first researcher to receive government approval since the 2014 ban, Nakauchi plans on taking things slowly so that public understanding and trust can catch up. Trust that he doesn’t create potential monster hybrids that will take over the world. The possibility of ManBearpig is a real thing by the looks of it.

“We don’t expect to create human organs immediately, but this allows us to advance our research based upon the know-how we have gained up to this point,” Nakauchi was quoted saying. So what is the experiment exactly you ask? The experiments will start by injecting human induced pluripotent stem cells (master cells according to Google) into rat and mice embryos, all of which have been genetically manipulated so that they cannot make pancreases. The goal is for the rodent embryo to use human cells to build itself a pancreas. For two years, the team plans on watching these rodents develop and grow. They will carefully monitor their organs and brains in the process. Only then will the researchers ask for approval to do the same with pigs.

While human-animal embryos have been created in the past – such as pig-human embryos and sheep-human embryos – they’ve never been allowed to develop to term before. One of the biggest fears with this type of research centers on exactly where these human stem cells actually go in an animal, and what type of cells they could develop into, once they are injected. While Nakauchi and his team are trying to target this treatment to just the pancreas, if they detect more than 30 percent of the rodent brains are human, they will suspend the experiment. This is part of the government’s conditions to prevent a “humanised” animal from ever coming into existence.

Nakauchi, however, doesn’t think this is going to happen. Last year, he and his colleagues at Stanford successfully made the first human-sheep embryo, and although it was destroyed after just 28 days, the hybrid contained no organs and very few human cells – only about one in 10,000 or less. So there are some caveats on the research and what can be done but the fear from the public and scientific community is still real. The goal of the research is to create viable human organs that can be transplanted. Taking a crystal ball and looking into the future should this research actually pan out would we see the production of organ farms with sheep and pigs running around growing human organs inside of them for transplant recipients? The possibilities are endless and while the experiment is exciting from that aspect, what are the ethical issues behind it all?

It’s a good thing we aren’t scientists there are way too many words to digest and we’ve been hitting Google a lot to understand this whole animal-human hybrid scenario. What do you get when you have a single organism derived from two sets of DNA? A Chimera apparently, and the first thing that came to mind was Mission Impossible 2 where Tom Cruise is running around fucking shit up in Syndey trying to find and destroy a deadly virus called “Chimera” that is created from two different viruses and is self replicating. Then there is the Chimera from Greek mythology that’s part lion, part goat and has a snake as a tail. A true hybrid. In this case it’s closer to the second one and hopefully something that we won’t be seeing anytime soon. However the more we researched, the more we realised that Chimeras can occur naturally in humans. What the Fork? Was our first response as well but when a twin absorbs its twin it naturally creates a Chimera.

So when we inject stem cells into embryos and let them grow, we are in a sense creating Chimeras and that’s not natural according to everything we have read on the internet and if it’s on the internet it has to be true, right?.The main ethical issues are the risks of consciousness and of human features in the chimeric animal due to a high contribution of human cells to the brain, in the first case, or for instance to limbs, in the second. Another critical point of concern is the production of human gametes (organisms reproductive cells), yeah we had to Google what it was ourselves, by such chimeric animals. Can you imagine a rat, pig or sheep that had human sperm or eggs? That would be forking weird but is a major concern within the scientific community when it comes to genetics and stem cell research. From what we can tell there are three main ethical issues with the production of human-animal chimeras.

Human-like external features

It can be argued that the injection of human genes and cells into animal embryos could have an effect on the physical aspect of the animal. In layman’s terms as a researcher at the Australian National University (ANU) put to us, on its appearance. The creation of human/animal chimeras can make the boundary between human beings and other living beings penetrable, inducing questions about human identity. These concerns are more obvious when it comes to a chimera whose physical attributes would let its chimeric quality start to appear. E.G a rat with human arms or organs. It is not only about the creature’s appearance, but also about its specific attributes, such as language.

Human gamete production

The Humanization of animals bearing human organs could result in the production of human gametes. Yep animals with human sperm that could mate with animals that aren’t genetically modified or hybrids. Human embryos could be created using such gametes. The worst-case scenario would be that a pig producing human sperm could accidentally mate with a sow or vice versa. Manbearpig is a real possibility. However, the possibility that the interaction between gametes of different species would result in a hybrid embryo is almost nonexistent, because the inter-species reproductive barrier is very strong. For instance, the injection of human sperm into a hamster egg (the “hamster test”, used to test the quality of human sperm cells) does not give rise to embryos capable of development. Even cross-breeding attempts between human and anthropoid apes failed when tested in the first part of the twentieth century. Keep in mind science has come a long way since then ladies and gents. In addition, this fear can easily be dissipated: sterilization of pigs bearing human organs would be sufficient to prevent their reproduction.

Alternatives to human organs in animals

In the absence of medical alternatives it is essential to justify the development of human organs in animals. However, the issue of organ shortage for the treatment of life-threatening conditions by organ transplantation could be solved by other means in the future. For instance, pig organs could be used. To prevent organ rejection, researchers are investigating the possibility of deleting the main pig genes responsible for organ rejection and breeding pigs in which all porcine endogenous retroviruses are inactivated. The importance of monitoring these developments is massive, because they might represent valid and more acceptable alternatives to the generation of inter-species chimeras.

So we’ll sit back and watch with bated breath as the Japanese create Human/Animal hybrids or Chimeras as they are better known throughout the scientific community and hope the creators of South Park weren’t predicting the future when they came up with their Manbearpig character. There are upsides and downsides for this type of experimentation but does one outweigh the other? In certain people’s eyes that is no doubt the case. With all things in life though knowledge is power, the more you educate yourself around this the more you will understand and be able to make a sound call on where you stand when it comes to Human/Animal hybrid experimentation.

It’s been a tough couple of months for Australia as we burn, homes have been lost, animals, people and much of our beautiful country is still on fire. Our prayers and thoughts go out to all those affected during this time of what we will call a crisis. The statistics alone lead us and many Australian’s to call for a better strategy for handling fire season that encompasses all of Australia not just state by state. Screw a surplus our current government are forecasting, get the women and men on the ground the tools and equipment they need to do their jobs properly and more importantly safely. We’ve provided links below to donate to those affected by the fires including our native animals.

So to a not so Happy New Year we welcome you all to a new decade, who knows whats install for each and every one of us but from the team here at A Mind Of Its Own wishes each and every one of you a cracker of a year even if we are off to a shaky start. Until next week when we launch our year in review we bid you a fond farewell and hope that that Japanese don’t make a Godzilla or Manbearpig. The world is already in enough chaos thanks to a little orange oompa loompa. Adios amigos…

https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/bushfire-crisis-how-can-i-donate-and-help/11839842

https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2019/12/31/how-you-can-help-bushfire-victims

You’re Crashing, But You’re No Wave…

Whilst there are those of us who look at dreams from a spiritual perspective the team here tend to look at them from the Psychological aspect. We thought since everyone dreams, despite the fact that over 80% of people don’t remember dreaming or more than 5% of their dreams, that we throw on a nightcap and sleeping gown to explore the dream state and look at the psychology behind them. If we have time we might get some spiritual mumbo jumbo for everyone to have a look at, you know to give you both sides of the proverbial coin. Clearly we’ve landed on the psychological side of the coin having watched it spin through the air for several years. Yes there are still things that science can’t explain but for most things there is a logical explanation available.

For the rest though there is always the whack job conspiracy theorist to help brighten up our days. Forward to dreamland we march. We would have liked to do an immersion study into Dreams however someone had to stay awake in order to write this blog for you. A screen full of Zzzz’s whilst looking quite interesting isn’t a very good read, last time we checked. So where does one start a dream blog and what is the appropriate response when someone asks you to interpret their dreams? Hopefully we’ll be able to answer that for you and more in the coming paragraphs. And if not well at least we’ve managed to somewhat entertain you for a couple of minutes with or unique blend of silly fact driven dribble.

Well firstly they say you learn something new everyday and if you haven’t for the day we’ll share with you what we just learnt. The study of dreams, more importantly the scientific study of dreams has its own name. Yep it’s got a scientific term, Oneirology (pronounced On-ear-ology, well at least that’s what the lady on youtube sounded like) which, yeah means the scientific study of dreams. So if you didn’t already know that you now do and potentially learnt something new for the day. Don’t say we’ve never taught you anything here at A Mind of Its Own. After all, sharing is caring as they say and we are all about educating our readers and promoting discussion of our topics. What is knowledge they say? That’s right its power!

According to reputable online forum Psychology Today, the most important scientific findings about dreams can be summarized into 9 key points. They could have made it an even number it would of looked a little tidier. Before we go into those though maybe we should answer the main question burning in our little brains. What is a dream? Well according to the not so reputable website where a lot of university students go to get their information these days. Wikipedia. A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Why we dream is a little harder to explain and is not yet fully understood from a scientific standpoint. But it hasn’t stopped the shrinks around the globe coming up with theories around dreams and we’ll cover some of these off a little later.

The catalyst for the blog was a conversation with one of our close friends who has had some weird dreams and well the team being who they are the research light bulb sparked and we thought we’d try and help everyone understand why they dream and how dreams happen, why we dream what we dream. So the team will embark on a journey through the synapses to understand the how, what, where and why of it all. After all the whole premise of this here blog to answer questions and create conversation isn’t? Or are we just writing for the fun of it and people have slowly started to join in and read the rubbish that gets post each week while they are sitting on the can voiding their bowels?

A little graphic from the writers but we are trying to paint a picture here and speaking of pictures did you know that not everyone dreams in colour? Studies have found that people who predominantly grew up watching black and white TV tend to dream in black white, what colours they do see are said to represent feelings. Those who grew up in the 21st century tend to dream in colour and rarely have black and white dreams or colours that represent feelings. Speaking of thoughts and feelings it is believed and scientists are working on proving it that you dream when your thoughts and memories are being reorganised. You also tend to express your hidden desires when you dream. Your mental schema is also modified when you dream. Most dreams we witness things happening through visual or auditory perception.

And yeah someone asked the question Do Blind people dream? Silly of course they do, their dreams are more auditory than visual and they images they “see” have been described as a blur or non-existant or even created from their memories that have been built with touch and sound. It made us wonder whether someone could input images into a blind person minds and they would then know what a lot of things look like and be able to experience and see colours for the first time. Science has no doubt had a few things in the pipeline for years, heck he CIA used to experiment with mind altering drugs in the 70’s. It’s not a far leap to think they may have started experiments to make the blind see and experience in their dreams.

For those of you who wish to understand the meaning of your dreams well that’s dependant on what you link your dream images to and how you wish to interpret them altogether. There is no science behind how to interpret your dreams it is purely up to the individual to work out their own dreams. The surprising fact that has been scientifically proven is that the average person spends around six whole years of their lives dreaming, on average that’s two hours per night. Early studies led to the belief that we only dream during the earliest phases of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. However, more recent studies have shown that we dream through all the various sleep phases. When it comes to remembering our dreams though that’s where the lightest REM phase comes into play. According to scientists anyway and we tend to trust those guys given they do these studies for a living.

The anatomy of the sleep cycle is actually quite interesting and helps to explain why we remember dreams during the various phases of REM and NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement). Over the course of the night the body goes through the five stages of sleep 4-6 times spending an average of 90 minutes in each stage. As we spend so much of our lives sleeping it’s no wonder that we dream and dream often. It’s our dreams that can inspire others or lead us to individual greatness. They say dream big, or to go big or go home and well we have to agree with them. Whilst dreams are often our subconscious coming through and pulling with it the things we want and need in our lives.

Ok now that we know sleep is broken down into 5 phases or four phases depending on which school of thought you come from, we now know we dream throughout those 5 or 4 phases. We can now take a deeper look into the breakdown and psychology of our dreams. Yes we’ll try to answer the questions for you as to whether your dreams are a presentation of the future, past of present, our just our hopes and dreams playing out in the dreamstate? Hopefully we can answer that for you in the next couple of paragraphs before you fall asleep and start dreaming about the day we write a blog that keeps you awake and doesn’t bore you to sleep. We are kidding we know you can’t stop once you pick up our blog each week.

Ok so we thought the best way to do this would be to pick out some facts that have been scientifically proven, queue the anti-vaxxers, flat earthers and conspiracy theorists to argue the point just because they can and they will. They are a little like a mosquito flying around your room when you are trying to sleep. Ok, we kid, we kid they are ok and they are entitled to their opinions, even if they go against science. So some of this we have covered already above and some of it is new to us but we thought we’d give you some of the psychological effects and reasons behind our dreams. We picked thirteen to be annoying and because the boss keeps telling us that everything has to be an even number and it’s annoying us.

1. In Our Dreams, We Only See Faces That We Know

When you first hear this fact, you might think it surely doesn’t sound right… But in our dreams, the faces we see are faces that we know! Experts insist that our brains cannot invent new faces to feature in our dreams. This means that any face we see in our dreams is one we’ve seen before. This doesn’t mean that you personally know that person. Since most of us encounter “extras” in our dreams, this information may come as a surprise.

However, consider that we constantly encounter faces that we don’t necessarily log as important. So, a newsreader on a TV segment and a stranger on your commute to work can feature in your later dreams, and we may not recognise them as people we’ve already seen.

Most of the major players in our dreams are likely to be people we know quite well, or at least used to know. In some cases, our brains can also present a strange hybrid of people we know and those we don’t. For example, you might believe you’re interacting with an old friend in a dream, and their personality may fit perfectly. However, when you wake up you, might suddenly notice that they were “played” by a person with a different face, sometimes someone you’ve only encountered in passing.

2. Not Everybody Dreams In Colour

Surprisingly, not everyone dreams in color. In fact, a full 12% of sighted people will dream in black and white. Studies which were conducted from 1915 to the 1950’s supported that a majority of dreams had been in black and white. However, after the 1960’s the numbers did shift over to color. Further, the number of people who dream in black and white is dropping as the years’ pass. Research suggests that this could be linked to the fact that this was around the time that TV switched from black and white to color, so there may be a correlation.

3. Your Mind Is More Active During a Dream Than When You’re Awake

Most of us associate the idea of sleep with a slowing down of the mind and body. This makes sense, given that being asleep is all about resting, recharging and getting ready for a new day. Plus, a good sleep is profoundly relaxing and refreshing, giving you the impression you’re your brain has been working more slowly. However, don’t assume that your mind is less active during dreams. In fact, it’s more active then than it is when you’re awake! You can see this in the concrete data provided by sleep studies that track electrical activity in the brain. The above fact may not make sense to you at first glance, but it has a lot to do with the variety and significance of waking life. This appears to be because your brain is busy learning from what you did over the preceding hours, processing problems that remain, and making sense of everything you’ve seen and felt during the day. Some research hints that the brain is even more active during sleep when you’ve had a novel experience in the last 24 hours, or when you’ve been through a major change of some sort, whether positive or negative.

4. Animals Dream Too

Have you ever noticed that when your pet is asleep, they sometimes make noises, or twitch their paws as though they are running? This is because animals also dream. Studies have been conducted which showed that when animals are in the REM stage of sleep, they all show the same brain waves as we do when we are dreaming. The studies have included chimps, dolphins, dogs, and cats. It’s fair to speculate that most mammals (at the very least) dream, just like we do. This means that they can also be unsettled by their experiences of dreams. So, keep an eye on your pet after sleep to make sure they aren’t feeling out of sorts after a nightmare. We can all relate to that feeling of discomfort and disorientation after a dream!

5. Blind People Can Also Dream

It’s not only people who can see that can dream. Blind people can also dream. Those who had become blind after birth can still see in their dreams, however, those who have been born blind cannot see in their dreams. Those who cannot see in their dreams, still experience dreams in a different way: through smell, sound, touch and other senses.

6. Dreams Speak Through Our Subconscious

Now, if you’re like most people, you’ve probably wondered “What do dreams mean when you dream about someone specific?”. As mentioned at the outset, there’s still a prominent school of thought according to which dreaming of someone or something can tell you something useful about how you feel, and about what you want from life. So, what does it mean when you dream of someone repeatedly? Psychological facts about dreams of someone suggest that it can indicate a range of things. In some cases, you repeatedly dream about someone because you care a lot about them and have some kind of unresolved issues with them. This could be a romantic interest, or it could be about losing touch with an old friend. It could just as easily indicate an ongoing conflict under the surface of your dynamic with a family member.

7. Dreams Are Often Forgotten

Everyone has dreams when they sleep, it’s just that a lot of us don’t remember them when we wake up. It is simply not easy to hold onto the bulk of the content of your dreams. Up to 60% of people do not remember their dreams at all, especially after the first 5 minutes of waking up. In addition, for the average person, 90% of the details from dreams have vanished within a mere ten minutes. This means you can really only remember a fraction of your dreams. The exception to this is if something ways you during the rapid eye movement stage of your dreams (i.e. REM sleep). When this happens, you’re typically more capable of recalling dream information. The downside is that you will also feel startled, and will miss out on one of the most important, healing parts of the sleep process. Of course, dreams are also more likely to stick with you if they repeat or have emotional resonance. However, if you have a general interest in remembering dreams, try keeping a notepad by your bed and noting down an outline as soon as you wake. This means you can regularly come back to your dreams and see if you notice overlapping themes or can figure out any potential messages from your subconscious mind.

8. Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is where you have a temporary inability to move or speak. This can occur either when you are waking up or when you are falling asleep. Most people will experience sleep paralysis once or twice in their life, whilst others can experience it more regularly.

Sleep paralysis does not feel like you are in a dream, it feels real. Some people have said that during their experience, they feel a sensation that someone or something is in the room with them. Sleep Paralysis normally lasts from a few seconds to several minutes.

9. Some Dreams Could Be Premonitions

There have been some cases where people have claimed to have dreamt things that turned out to actually happen later. Some say it is coincidence, while others say they can see the future and experience premonitions. The cases recorded include: Abraham Lincoln dreaming of his assassination, many victims of the 9/11 had dreams warning them, and there have also been 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic, to name a few.

10. You Can Act Out Your Dreams When Sleepwalking (And Worse!)

Sleepwalking is known as an extreme form of REM sleep disorder. For some, sleepwalking can be mild and for others, more serious. Some cases could be where you walk around your room or talk to others, whilst sleeping. However, there have been cases where people have left their homes, or drawn gorgeous paintings that they cannot paint when they are awake.

11. Dreams Recharge Your Creativity

You may have thought that apart from any subconscious messages they contain, dreams must be quite useless. That’s not so much the case. They can actually improve your performance in seemingly unrelated areas of your everyday life. According to research reported by the American Psychological Society on the psychology of dreams, they work wonders for your creative faculties in particular. If you’re an artist, you might have already spotted this, but the type of creativity we’re talking about here also applies to things like creative problem-solving. Apparently, this is because the process of dreaming is a lot like using your imagination to be creative. When your brain analyses and tackles problems during your sleep, it’s activity parallels that witnessed when you’re being creative in waking life. This means that no matter what your preferred artistic mode of expression might be, you’re likely to be better at it after a night of vivid dreaming. And, as a bonus, you may find direct inspiration in your dreams. For example, if you dream about a fantastical scenario, go through a challenging experience or revisit a moving aspect of your past, this can help you “tune into” the types of intense emotions that boost creative output.

12. Men And Women Dream Differently

When women dream there are normally an almost equal amount of both men and women that are involved in their dreams. However, for men, around 70% of the people in their dreams are other men. As well as this, men have been known to have more aggressive dreams than women too. Women also tend to have slightly longer dreams.

13. 50% Of Dreams Are Negative

Research has found that most dreams include negative emotions. 50% of all dreams are normally negative. In a study that was conducted, the common emotions that people experienced during their dreams were sadness, anger, fear, and anxiety.

So we aren’t too sure as to whether we answered any questions or all questions or just wasted a lot of our time and your time this week as we dreamed away 5 pages of what would no doubt be some of the most boring material we have come up with to date. The adventure into dreamland wasn’t as exciting as we had hoped it was even a little mind numbing and boring to us which is probably why it took so long to write and edit. That and we’ve actually been busy at the job that pays the bills so we thought rather than getting sacked and sitting around coffee shops all day writing books and blogs we should make some actual money and stop eating two minute noodles. Ok to be the struggling writer when you have nothing to actually do but it’s not ok when you have a job that pays you quite well.

Anyway that’s enough from us for another week, we’ll leave you in peace and wish you a fond farewell until the next piece of literary genius hits your inbox and dances across your screen like a burlesque dancer at a show on a friday night in northern siberia. Like always we’ll love you and leave you, thanks for being the ever faithful fans and supporting us like you have from day one on this amazing journey into the blogosphere. Yeah we just dropped blogosphere after saying we never would. And on that note we’ve been A Mind of Its Own and it’s been our pleasure have a good day or night wherever you may be.