Sunday, November 27, 2016

Daniel Tammet -- Autistic Savant

Daniel Tammet was born in January of 1979 in London, England -- the oldest of nine children, he is an autistic savant

When he was a baby, Daniel would constantly bang his head against the wall. His mother was deeply concerned and breastfed him for two years.

One afternoon, Daniel was playing with his brother in the living room and went into an epileptic fit. His father's father had epilepsy and had died because of it. Soon thereafter, Daniel was put on medication to control the seizures.

Autism is a neurological disorder characterized by restricted behavior, weakened communication skills (speech impediments) and impaired social skills. It is usually an inherited issue, often noticeable before age three. It affects about one or two per 1,000 people globally and occurs four to five times more often with boys than girls.

A savant is a person with extraordinary mental ability. Scans of the brains of autistic savants suggest that damage to the left side of the brain may be causing the right side of over-compensate for the damage. They struggle with comprehension (left brain hemisphere) but often have amazing skills in memory and mathematics (right brain hemisphere), which also accounts for a lack of empathy.

For example, a blind autistic savant, Leslie Lemke, was able to play Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 after hearing it for the first time, even though he had never had so much as a piano lesson.

Daniel Tammet is fluent in German, French, Spanish, Icelandic, Lithuanian and Esperanto. He has also invented his own language, called "Manti." He is able to figure out cube roots faster than a calculator. He does not see "numbers" -- he sees them as shapes, colors and textures.

The mathematical constant "pi" is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter -- its value, to the first 11 decimal digits, equals 3.14159265359. In 2004, Daniel broke the European record for recalling the value of "pi" to the furthest decimal. He had memorized this number to 22,514 decimal digits and can also recite it backwards.

"I do love numbers. It isn't only an intellectual or aloof thing that I do," Daniel contends. "I really feel that there is an emotional attachment, a caring for numbers. I think this is a human thing -- in the same way that a poet humanizes a river or a tree through metaphor, my world gives me a sense of numbers as personal. It sounds silly, but numbers are my friends."

The 1988 movie, Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman as an autistic savant, won four Oscars at the Academy Awards in 1989:

  • Best Picture -- Rain Man
  • Best Original Screenplay -- (Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass)
  • Best Director -- Barry Levinson
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role -- Dustin Hoffman

Barry Morrow created the character of the autistic savant based on a real-life savant he had met, named Kim Peek, who is able to read two pages of a book simultaneously and recall in exact detail the 7,600 books he has read. When at home in Utah, Peek spends his afternoons at the Salt Lake City Public Library, memorizing phone books.

Daniel Tammet is also an avid reader. His favorite book is a good dictionary and the works of G.K. Chesterton, because he likes Chesterton's humorous aphorisms.

"Poets have been mysteriously silent the subject of cheese." G.K. Chesterton

During his early school years, Daniel was a shy loner, unable to make eye contact. He would hurry outside during the recess time, but not to play with the other kids. "The place was surrounded with trees," he pointed out. "While the other children were playing football, I would just stand and count the leaves."

After his schooling, Daniel wanted to be a teacher. Initially, he worked as a volunteer in Lithuania. Later, he returned home to London to live with his parents and found work as a tutor of mathematics.

Eventually, Daniel had set up his own business. He works at home, creating e-mail courses in numeracy, learning languages and literacy for private clients. Working from home via e-mail has allowed him to minimize human interface and also gives him time to work on his own language of Manti.

Daniel Tammet is definitely an odd and wonderful specimen of the human species -- but then again, incredibly intelligent people always seem odd to those who aren't.
Quote for the Day -- “Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.” Albert Einstein
Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where a chicken is the egg’s way of making more eggs.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Substitute for Love

Food is a substitute for love -- it's also a fairly important item concerning the survival of the human species.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates

There are places in the world where people go to bed hungry. However, that doesn't stop people from proliferating.

As the human population continues to expand, the availability of potential agriculture land continues to shrink. Thus, more people results in less food sources. It's a conundrum that mostly goes unnoticed, until there becomes a time when food is in short supply and basically unavailable to those who are unprepared for the consequences -- then all hell will break loose.

Top Ten U.S. States in agriculture crops (billions of dollars of cash receipts)

1) California -- 33.6
2) Iowa -- 17.2
3) Minnesota -- 14.6
4) Illinois -- 14.5
5) Nebraska -- 11.6
6) Indiana -- 81.
7) North Dakota -- 7.6
8) Ohio -- 7.4
9) Washington -- 7.2
10) Kansas -- 6.7

Top Ten U.S. States in livestock (billions of dollars of cash receipts)

1) Texas -- 15.1
2) Iowa -- 13.9
3) California -- 12.7
4) Nebraska -- 11.9
5) Kansas -- 8.8
6) North Carolina -- 8.3
7) Wisconsin -- 8.2
8) Minnesota -- 7.8
9) Georgia -- 6.1
10) Arkansas -- 5.2

Food is a gift and should be consumed with reverence.

Quote for the Day -- “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” J.R.R. Tolkien

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where food is an important part in a proper diet.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Top Ten Disturbing Computer Error Messages

1) Keyboard not responding -- press any key to continue
2) An error occurred, because an unexpected error occurred
3) An error occurred while displaying the previous error
4) No can do -- consult your nearest nerd
6) Non Ducor Duco -- Sic Semper Tyrannis -- Igne Natura Renovatur Integra -- Οι υπολογιστές είναι άχρηστοι, μόνο απαντήσεις μπορούν να δώσουν
6) Internet is down -- no one hears your screams
7) A Bug has been detected in your system -- it has 6 legs -- probably a spider.
8) You have not received an error message recently -- this is a non-error message to let you know we remain vigilant of your intellectual aptitude and overall computer prowess -- Press F8 to continue
9) ERASE ALL -- finished
10) Missile launched

Computer viruses say something about human nature -- human beings are a highly imperfect form of life that can be purposely destructive of others, simply for their own amusement

Quote for the Day -- “Computers are like Old Testament gods -- lots of rules and no mercy.” Joseph Campbell

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where cyber friends are at a safe distance, far away.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Baba Vanga -- Blind Mystic

Vangeliya (Vanga) Pandeva Dimitrova (1911 - 1996) was born in Bulgaria. At age 12, she went missing for several days during a massive storm. When she was found, her eyes were covered with sand and she had lost her eyesight.

In 1925, at age 14, she spent three years at a school for the blind in the city of Zemun where she learned to read braille, do knitting & cooking & cleaning. When her stepmother died, she returned home to care for her younger siblings.

During World War II, Vanga had become well-known for her ability to heal others and as a prophet (predictor, prognosticator). Many people visited her during the war, seeking information on their relatives, whether alive or the place of their death.

One of those who sought Vanga's visions was Dimitar Gushterov, a Bulgarian soldier, who wanted to learn the killers of his brother, promising not to seek revenge.

On May 10, 1942, Vanga married Dimitar and the couple moved to Petrich, where Vanga became even more well-known as a soothsayer. Soon thereafter, Dimitar was conscripted into the Bulgarian Army and spent time in northern Greece. He became ill in 1947, fell into alcoholism and died in April of 1962.

After her marriage, Vangelia Gushterova would be later known to millions of people as Baba Vanga -- "Baba" being a term of honor and meaning a wise person. She was known as the Nostradamus of the Balkans

Baba Vanga was sought out by many people after World War II, including Leonid Brezhnez, President of the USSR, in the 1990s, and a church was built with money left by visitors.

On August 11, 1996, Baba Vanga died from breast cancer.

She is said to have predicted the attack on the Twin Towers in 2001 (as well as the rise of ISIS and many other events). Her words -- "Horror, horror. The American Brethren will fall after being attacked by the steel birds... The wolves will be howling in a bush and innocent blood will gush."

Some of her predictions for after 2016.

Baba Vanga had predicted that the 44th president of the USA would be an African American and that after leaving office when the country was in economic ruin and a huge divide between South & North, Urban & Rural. Also, a Muslim War would begin in Syria. Muslims would invade Europe, which will go on for many years. Chemical weapons would be used by extremists across the continent of Europe, creating a wasteland void of life.

2018 - 2023, China will become the new global super power, surpassing the USA and its economy.

2023 -- The Earth's orbit will change slightly.

2025 - 2028 -- A new energy source will be developed and global hunger would slowly be eradicated. Humans will travel to Venus, seeking new sources of energy, perhaps even creating a colony on that planet.

By 2043, Muslims will have completed their invasion of Europe and Rome will be the capital of this new caliphate.

By 2045, the ice caps will have melted.

2046 -- Body organs will be cloned and utilized as the easiest method of treatments.

2066 -- The USA will attack Muslim dominated Europe in an attempt to retake Rome, which will include the use climate weapons (sharp cooling, instant freezing).

2072 - 2086 -- Communism (classless society) will dominate globally and nature will be restored.

2088 -- A new disease emerges, causing people to "get old" in a matter of seconds and will be eradicated by 2097.

2111 -- A man-made sun will light up the dark side of the planet.

2123 -- Wars between small countries, but large countries do not interfere.

2130 -- With the assistance of aliens, humans will learn how to live in colonies under water.

2154 -- Animals become half human.

2167 -- A new religion emerges.

2170 -- A massive drought.

2183 -- A colony on Mars becomes a nuclear nation and attempts to become independent from Earth.

2187 -- The eruptions of two volcanoes are successfully stopped.

2201 -- Thermonuclear reaction slows down on the sun causing global temperatures to drop.

2221 -- While searching for alien life, humans engage with something frightening.

2256 -- Returning spacecraft bring a dangerous new disease back to Earth.

2262 -- Orbits of planets begin to progressively alter and Mars is under threat of a comet collision.

2279 -- Energy is created out of nothing (dark matter?)

2288 -- Time travel and new alien contacts.

2291 -- Sun cooling, as attempts are made to alter it.

2291 -- The force of gravity changes as powerful sun spots erupt, causing older satellites and space stations to begin to fall to Earth.

2299 -- An uprising in France as partisans clash against Islam.

2302 -- Certain mysteries of the universe are discovered, creating new laws of physics.

2304 -- A mystery of the moon becomes known.

2341 -- Something is closing in on Earth from space, causing great concern.

2354 -- An accident on one of the man-made suns causes a drought.

2371 -- Global hunger.

2480 -- A collision of two man-made suns causes global darkness.

3005 -- War on Mars

3010 -- The moon is struck by a comet, creating a belt of rocks & dust around the Earth.

3797 -- Humans will have relocated to a new star system and all matter on Earth will cease to exist.

3805 -- Climate on new planet affects human organisms, causing war between humans over scarce resources, whereupon half of the population will die.

3815 - 3878 -- Development of civilization halts. A new prophet emerges, receiving support from all, creating a new church and re-training the people in forgotten sciences.

4302 - 4674 -- New cities emerging as a new church encourages new technology. Scientists discover impact of diseases on organism behavior and a way to cure all diseases. Due to human mutation, human brains advance in capacity and elimination of evil minds. Eventually, the development of civilization reaches its peak, with 340 billion people living on various planets. Assimilation with aliens begins.

5076 - 5078 -- A decision to leave the boundary of the Universe. About 40 percent of the population is against it.

5079 -- The Planet Earth ceases to exist.

* * *

Some of this may or may not happen.  Prophecy is a tricky endeavor, especially concerning the future.

 However, I find it interesting. After going through a period of experiencing precognitive dreams of future events occurring in my life, well in advance of them actually happening (several days or more), when I was in my late 30s through the present, I have come to believe that glimpses of the future can indeed take place. But perhaps those glimpses of the future are revealing the future as it would exist from that moment on, unless something "unpredictable" took place to alter the precise future.

Life on Planet Earth is strange & magical & mysterious & wonderful & often difficult -- all rolled into one.

But dwelling on the past can create depression over regrets and dwelling on the future can create anxiety over an unknown path of events.

Clearly, living in the present is the way to inner peace.

What will be, will be -- go with the Flow.

Quote for the Day -- “Be Here Now." Baba Ram Dass

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where tomorrow is another day.