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This Is How Powerful The Mind-Body Connection Really Is

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The interaction of our thoughts with the physical material world is of huge interest today, garnering increasing attention by academics around the world. Despite a wealth of scientific data showing that one can influence the other, and even more evidence proving that certain emotional states can lead to chronic illness, many who work in mainstream medicine remain entirely ignorant of these concepts.

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Perhaps this is why more and more people are gravitating towards alternative forms of medicine. As Garth Cook from Scientific American points out:

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A growing body of scientific research suggests that our mind can play an important role in healing our body — or in staying healthy in the first place. . . There are now several lines of research suggesting that our mental perception of the world constantly informs and guides our immune system in a way that makes us better able to respond to future threats. That was a sort of ‘aha’ moment for me — where the idea of an entwined mind and body suddenly made more scientific sense than an ephemeral consciousness that’s somehow separated from our physical selves.

The Research/Placebo

When it comes to learning about the mind-body connection and its relationship to our health, it can be difficult to choose a starting place amongst the vast and growing body of research; one of the best places to start, however, is the placebo effect, which demonstrates that the mind can create physiological changes in the body. Neuroscientist Fabrizio Benedetti explains:

There isn’t just one placebo effect, but many. Placebo painkillers can trigger the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins. Patients with Parkinson’s disease respond to placebos with a flood of dopamine. Fake oxygen, given to someone at altitude, has been shown to cut levels of neurotransmitters called prostaglandins (which dilate blood vessels, among other things, and are responsible for many of the symptoms of altitude sickness.

The placebo effect is so wondrous because it unlocks the power of the mind; the biological changes observed in the body after administration of a placebo are not triggered by the placebo itself, but rather by our mind, by our perception, by our psychological response to these fake treatments.

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Despite intriguing results, research into the placebo effect has been limited. So far, only a few model systems have been investigated, like pain, depression, and Parkinson’s, but there is much more to be learned. One thing, however, does remain clear, and that is that we can change our biology simply by changing what we believe to be true. In his book The Biology of BeliefBruce Lipton, PhD, persuasively argues for further research into this untapped resource within ourselves:

The placebo effect should be the subject of major, funded research efforts. If medical researchers could figure out how to leverage the placebo effect, they would hand doctors an efficient, energy-based, side effect-free tool to treat disease. Energy healers say they already have such tools, but I am a scientist, and I believe the more we know about science of the placebo, the better we’ll be able to use it in a clinical setting.

Let’s take a look at a few more interesting studies that warrant further investigation into the matter. One great one is a Baylor School of Medicine study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002. It looked at surgery for patients with severe and debilitating knee pain. Many surgeons know there is no placebo effect in surgery, or so most of them believe. The patients were divided into three groups. The surgeons shaved the damaged cartilage in the knee of one group. For the second group they flushed out the knee joint, removing all of the material believed to be causing inflammation. Both of these processes are the standard surgeries for people who have severely arthritic knees. The third group received a “fake” surgery; the patients were only sedated and tricked into believing they had had the knee surgery. Doctors simply made the incisions and splashed salt water on the knee as they would in normal surgery. They then sewed up the incisions like the real thing and the process was complete. All three then groups went through the same rehab process, with astonishing results: the placebo group improved just as much as the other two groups who had surgery. 

Dr Moseley, the surgeon involved in the study, made a bold comment, emphasizing that his “skill as a surgeon had no benefit on these patients,” and that “the entire benefit of surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee was the placebo effect.” (Lipton, Bruce. The Biology of Belief. Hay House, Inc, 2005)

Another very interesting example of a placebo technique used in medicine comes from researchers in Seattle, who have developed a virtual reality landscape known as ‘Snow World.’  In the game, the participant flies around inside an ice canyon shooting snowballs at other characters, theoretically distracting them from the pain of their physical body. Gareth Cook from Scientific American reports on his experience trying the game:

It’s mean meant to work as a painkiller: the idea is that the brain has a limited capacity for attention, so if the ice canyon commands that attention, there is less capacity left over for experiencing pain. When I tried Snow World, the researchers used a heated box to simulate a burn to my foot – it was quite painful outside the game, but once immersed, I had so much fun I barely noticed it. (source)

The technique was utilized to help burn victims deal with their sessions of wound treatment and physiotherapy, which can be extremely painful. In trials, researchers discovered that undergoing these therapy sessions while immersed in Snow World lessened patients’ pain by fifteen to fourty percent.

This, among other research, tells us that the brain plays an enormous role in the level of pain we feel. Cook explains:

So I think we’ve got our approach to pain all wrong. Our focus is almost exclusively on trying to banish it with drugs, which is incredibly costly and causes huge problems with side effects and addiction. Research like Snow World shows the potential of psychological approaches for treating pain: both to maximize the effectiveness of drugs and perhaps in some cases to replace them.

Another great example of the power of the placebo effect was demonstrated in a 1999 report by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The report discovered that half of severely depressed patients taking drugs improve compared to the thirty-two percent taking a placebo. Considering all of the dangers and side effects associated with antidepressants — not to mention how much pharmaceutical companies profit from their sale — this statistic seems an important one. If we can accomplish nearly as much with our minds alone, without harming our health or creating chemical dependencies, shouldn’t we be exploring that avenue first?

Yet in a study published in the British Medical Journal by researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen, it was revealed that pharmaceutical companies were not disclosing all information regarding the results of their drug trials. Researchers looked at documents from 70 different double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) and found that the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports went unreported. These are the reports sent to major health authorities like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You can read more about that and access the studyhere.

A 2002 article published in the American Psychological Association’s Prevention & Treatment, by University of Connecticut Psychology Professor Irving Kirsch titled “The Emperor’s New Drugs,” made even more shocking discoveries. He found that 80 perecent of the effect of antidepressants, as measured in clinical trials, could be attributed to the placebo effect. This professor even had to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get information on the clinical trials of the top antidepressants. (source)(source) “The difference between the response of the drugs and the response of the placebo was less than two points on average on this clinical scale that goes from fifty to sixty points. That’s a very small difference, that difference is clinically meaningless,” he reveals.

And the placebo effect is not just limited to depression. One trial found that patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) had much greater relief from their symptoms if the practitioner was warm and empathetic rather than cold but polite. Another found that patients with acid reflux disease did dramatically better after an extended consultation with a physician, compared to the usual quick go-around. From back pain to childbirth and more, many patient outcomes depend not just on what drugs are prescribed, but on how care is delivered.

There are even studies indicating that the mind plays a role in both cancer growth and recovery. In animal studies, for example, stress hormones make a range of cancers spread faster, and patient trials suggest that stress management interventions reduce inflammation. (source)

The list goes on and on,

Researchers all over the world have found that placebo treatments can stimulate real biological and physiological responses — everything from changes in heart rate to blood pressure and even chemical activity in the brain. It has been effective with a number of different ailments, from arthritis and Parkinson’s to depression, fatigue, anxiety, and more.

Beyond Placebo

The placebo effect is most commonly cited during discussions of the power of the mind-body connection, but there is a wealth of other data that also strengthens the argument. For example, studies have been conducted which investigate the influence of A’s intention on B’s physiological state — a process referred to as “remote intention.” They further examine the influence of A’s attention on B’s physiological state while A gazes at B over a 1 way video link, called “remote staring.” Last but not least, they study the influence of A’s intention on B’s attention or behaviour, which is referred to as “remote helping.”

The effects of distant mental interactions are measured using electrodermal activity, heart rate, blood volume pulse, and electrocortical activity (EEG electrodermal activity, heart rate, blood volume pulse, brain blood oxygenation [MRI], and electrogastrogram [EGG]).

These studies have yielded remarkable results which have since been successfully repeated in laboratories around the world. They actually hint at the possibility that another person’s mental attention could possibly have some sort of physiological effect on someone else.

For more information this, you can read the publication titled “Distant Healing Intention Therapies: An Overview of the Scientific Evidence.”

If our thoughts and intentions can actually affect physical systems, just imagine what our own thoughts and intentions could do to us.

If we look at it from a Quantum Mechanical perspective, factors associated with consciousness (measurement, observation, attention) have indeed influenced physical systems, which is why all of the pioneering and prominent figures in this field regarded consciousness fundamental, where matter is seen as a derivative from consciousness.

Then, we have studies published in peer-reviewed journals making even more astonishing claims. A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, as seen in the the US National Library of Medicine, for example, demonstrated that a women with special abilities was and is able to accelerate the germination of specific seeds for the purposes of developing a more robust seed stock. As the study states:

Chulin Sun is a woman with exceptional powers (Shen and Sun, 1996, 1998; Sun, 1998). A member of the Chinese Somatic Science Research Institute, she is a practitioner of Waiqi. Waiqi is a type of qigong that teaches the practitioner to bring the qi energy of traditional Chinese medicine under the control of the mind. Chulin Sun can induce plant seeds to grow shoots and roots several cm long within 20 min using mentally projected qi energy (Fig. 1). This has been demonstrated on more than 180 different occasions at universities as well as science and research institutions in China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong) as well as other countries (e.g., Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.) (Ge et al., 1998; Qin et al., 1998; Lee et al., 1999). We took part in and repeated the qi germination experiments seven times, and five of them succeeded (Ge et al., 1998). This remarkable effect on seed development has drawn widespread attention (Tompkins and Bird, 1973; Lee, 1998), but the biological mechanisms that underlie this phenomenon are unknown.(source)

You can read more about that here.

The examples are endless, making clear that the mind-body connection definitely warrants more attention when it comes to mainstream medicine and therapeutic interventions.

Mind Matter Interaction/Healing

Nikola Tesla once said that “the day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” In fact, Vedic philosophy heavily influenced Nikola Tesla’s ideas about free energy. You can read more about that here.

Fast forward to today, and we now know hundreds, if not thousands of internationally recognized scientists from around the world coming together to stress the fact that matter (protons, electrons, photons, anything that has a mass) is not the only reality.

If we wish to understand the true nature of our reality, we must stop limiting ourselves to only examining physical systems. We must consider the role of non-physical systems, such as factors associated with consciousness, and their interaction with physical systems (matter).

Today, this type of science is known as post-materialist science. If Nikola Tesla was around, there would be no doubt that he would be leading the charge in this important field.

To summarize the current contrast between material science and post material science, is to look at the points made in a document that was co-authored by r. Gary Schwartz, professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery at the University of Arizona, Mario Beauregard, PhD, from the University of Arizona, and Lisa Miller, PhD, from Columbia University. It was presented at an international summit on post-materialist science, spirituality, and society. They (and hundreds of other scientists) have come to several conclusions which you can view in their Manifesto For Post-Material Science.

Below is an intriguing short video by the Institute of Noetic Sciences,  with regards to mind-matter interaction, which is the topic of this article, because ‘psychic healing’ deals with mind interacting with human biology.

When it comes to mind/matter interaction, which is part of non-material science, measurements can and have been made in both blind and double blind peer-reviewed literature.  To learn more about and examine these concepts, feel free to browse through a selected list of downloadable peer-reviewed journal articles reporting studies of psychic phenomena, mostly published in the 21st century, you can click HERE. It is the home of Dr. Dean Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

I also wanted to provide a brief background with regards to this topic, because it is often ridiculed within the mainstream, despite the fact that we have some of the most brilliant scientists in the world attesting to its credibility. One of them is Elizabeth Rauscher.

She is a nuclear physicist who is a former researcher with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Stanford Research Institute, as well as NASA.

The interviewer is Jeffrey Mishlove, founder of Thinking Allowedwhere he interviews a number of fascinating guests on various interesting topics.

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Consciousness

The Study of Fundamental Consciousness Entering the Mainstream

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Consciousness is appearing to be a fundamental property, just like liquids, solids and gas, consciousness and its connection to the physical material world is now gaining big time credibility.

  • Reflect On:

    How much do we have yet to discover? Are we ready to abandon what we thought we knew in light of new discoveries and evidence?

The world-renowned neuroscientist Christof Koch, spent nearly two decades working alongside the co-discoverer of the DNA molecule, Francis Crick. Their mission was to find the neurobiological basis of consciousness. They discovered many insights into cognition and the functioning of perception, yet the central enigma, the nature of consciousness itself, remained mysteriously elusive.

In 2009, Koch shocked the scientific community by publishing his conviction that consciousness probably isn’t just in brains, but is a fundamental feature of reality. This is a view known to philosophers as ‘panpsychism.’ The theory Koch is now dedicating his research to is called ‘Integrated Information Theory’ or ‘IIT.’ It is the brainchild of neuroscientist Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In explaining his theory, Tononi asks us to consider a simple light sensitive photo diode like those found in a digital camera. A simple diode might respond to just two states: light or dark. We could present our diode with any number of images, yet regardless of the picture, the diode conforms to one of only two possible states. Is it light, or is it dark?

Now consider yourself looking at the same picture, lets say, of the Eiffel Tower on a beautiful spring day in Paris. For us, looking at this image results in a reduction from a near infinity of possible states. Not an image of the Andromeda galaxy, not a childhood picture of your mother, not cells dividing in a Petri dish and so on.  Because of the vast number of images we are capable of recognizing, each one is highly informative. For Tononi, the vast amount of information capable of being integrated in the brain means that we have a comparatively huge capacity for consciousness.

Tononi’s theory, that consciousness is born out of networks with high integrated information, has novel ways of being tested in the laboratory.

In studies with sleeping participants, Tononi and his colleagues used transcranial magnetic stimulation to send a ripple of activity through the cortex of sleeping participants. The researchers found that when dreaming, this ripple reverberated through the cortex longer than when participants were in stages of dreamless sleep. This demonstrated that during dreaming, when the brain is conscious, the cortex has a higher degree of integration.

In another experiment, the researchers built tiny robots known as ‘animats’ that were placed into mazes. The animats used simple integrated networks capable of evolving over sequential generations. To their surprise, the greater the degree of integration that the animats evolved, the quicker they were able to escape the mazes. For Tononi this finding suggested that consciousness may play a more central role in evolution than had previously been thought.

The mathematical value of integrated information in a network is known as phi. But Tononi’s theory, now the topic of serious mainstream discussion, has an extraordinary implication. Phi didn’t just occur in brains, -it is a property of any network with a total informational content greater than its individual parts. Every living cell, every electronic circuit, even a proton consisting of just three elementary particles have a value of phi greater than zero. According to Integrated Information Theory, all of these things possess something, albeit but a glimmer of ‘what it is like’ to be them. Tononi states:

“Consciousness is a fundamental property, like mass or charge. Wherever there is an entity with multiple states, there is some consciousness. You need a special structure to get a lot of it but consciousness is everywhere, it is a fundamental property.”

Integrated information theory is in its infancy and there are still many questions it must face. Did the information of brains operate at the level of the neuron, or the protein, or something deeper still? The electromagnetic field of the brain, as observed by psi researcher Dean Radin, is always re-establishing its quantum connection to the entire universe. Could a much richer informational interaction exist than has yet been imagined?

Physicists such as John Wheeler have laid the groundwork for a radical new understanding of reality, in which matter, the laws and constants of nature, and indeed the entire universe is best described, not in terms of physical objects, but through the play and display of a fundamental dynamic information.

Quantum mechanics suggests that at the deepest level of nature, the entire physical universe is interconnected. Might the total information of the universe be integrated in some deep sense? Is it in a mysterious way conscious of itself?

As spiritual traditions throughout the ages have long asserted, instead of isolated and separate experiencing beings, we may experience on behalf of the greater evolving system in which we find ourselves.

In Koch’s highly anticipated 2012 book, ‘Consciousness – Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist’, he states:

“I do believe that the laws of physics overwhelmingly favored the emergence of consciousness. The universe is a work in progress. Such a belief evokes jeremiads from many biologists and philosophers but the evidence from cosmology, biology and history is compelling.”

Regardless of the validity of Tononi’s theory, today increasing numbers of scientists and academics are convinced that the existence of consciousness simply cannot be sensibly denied. The study of fundamental consciousness is now entering the mainstream. This movement consists of thinkers in and outside of the mind sciences. Yet despite their different academic backgrounds, they are united by two common convictions: that consciousness is an intrinsic rather than incidental emergence in the universe, and that any complete account of reality must include an explanation of it.

 Sources:

 Koch, C. (2009, August 18). A complex theory of consciousness: Is complexity the secret to sentience, to a panpsychic view of consciousness? Scientific American.

 Tononi, G. (2008). Consciousness as integrated information: A provisional manifesto. Biological Bulletin, 215(3), 216-242.

 Edlund, J. A., Chaumont, N., Hintze, A., Koch C., Tononi G., & Adami, C. (2011). Integrated information increases with fitness in the evolution of animats. PLoS Computational Biology, 7(10).

 Radin, D. I. (2006). Entangled Minds: Extrasensory experiences in quantum reality. New York: Simon & Schuster.

 Koch, C. (2012). Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist. MIT Press Books.

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Alternative News

If You Could Power Your Entire Home With 60 Minutes Of Cycling, Would You Do It?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Mechanical energy, converted into kinetic energy can provide the energy that we use on a regular basis to power our homes and electronic devices.

  • Reflect On:

    Rather than focusing on the current problems in our world it is great to change gears and have a look at all of the solutions that are popping up all over the world.

Imagine if your morning workout could power your home for the entire day, all the way until your next morning workout. Well, you may not have to imagine, as this technology exists now. Manoj Bhargava has invented a new exercise bike that can power some homes for 24 hours after use for only sixty minutes per day.

This invention was a part of a new initiative to bring electricity to places that undergo frequent power outages or may only have access to power for a few hours during the day. In our modern age, going without electricity can really separate a person from the rest of the world. Bhargava’s mission is to bridge the gap for those who suffer from poverty and make it easier for them to access the same information as the rest of the world, potentially giving them more opportunities in life.

The Free Electric

The above heading is also the name of this awesome and innovative bike serving as a solution to a pretty significant issue in the underdeveloped nations of the world.

According to Bhargava, the Free Electric is meant to lead to “better health, more leisure time, better access to education and opportunities for entrepreneurship.” He also feels that it could, “literally change the world.”

Power to change the world? Bold statement, but if this is able to be implemented worldwide, I would absolutely have to agree with him. This technology not only has the capacity to assist those in poverty, but can also be used by the rest of the world as well as more and more people around the world who are aiming to reduce their usee of fossil fuels. I have a feeling that Millennials (such as myself) and younger generations would be all over this if its made available! Not only is it a great way to get your cardio in, but it provides FREE electricity that produces no other pollution.

As mentioned in the video, it is also a great solution in the face of natural, or even man made disasters because this type of electricity would not rely on that generated and sold by power companies. Perhaps even one day a way to stock up and store this energy will be possible — then, the opportunities here will be much more plentiful and could be a huge factor in reducing the amount of pollution our current methods of energy production are creating.

The Future Is Friendly

As much as there is sometimes destruction all around us, there is also innovation and ingenuity. Human beings have tremendous potential. Even though there are many problems that we as a society are facing, solutions are popping up and fast, and in most cases they already exist. Finding solutions doesn’t seem to be the problem, so ask yourself, what is?  It’s so great to see ideas such as these being conceptualized and then created and put into use so efficiently, it shows how our species is capable of stopping and potentially reversing some of the destruction that we have caused over the years.

This is absolutely a double win! We are constantly bombarded with news stories and articles that are telling us to be more active, stop sitting so much, and now with the Free Electric, we will have to be active before we can relax and enjoy the use of our precious technology.

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Physicists ‘Grow’ A Man Made Diamond From Nuclear Waste That’s Able To Generate Electricity

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Scientists have developed a technology that can convert leftover radioactive materials into diamond batteries to power a wide range of electronics.

  • Reflect On:

    Could this be the solution to use op all the radioactive materials on the planet and shut down nuclear power plants worldwide?

Currently there is more than 2 billion tons of nuclear waste across the globe. This nuclear waste is a hazardous threat to the environment if not disposed of correctly. Scientists have recently begun attempting to transform nuclear waste into batteries that could last for thousands of years. If they are successful with this conversion project it would be a double win, less nuclear waste contaminating our environment, and a way to reuse energy that was generated to give power to whatever requires it.

Diamond batteries that use the energy from leftover radioactive materials have been developed and tested by researchers at the University of Bristol. They are now hoping to be able to recycle the waste leftover from decommissioned nuclear power plants in the UK. According to the University, “New technology has been developed that uses nuclear waste to generate electricity in a nuclear-powered battery….A team of physicists and chemists from the University of Bristol have grown a man-made diamond that, when placed in a radioactive field, is able to generate a small electrical current.” (source)

How Does This Work?

According to The Independent,

Carbon-14 isotopes extracted from graphite blocks produced by the plant are infused with wafer-thin diamonds to create the batteries, which researchers say are capable of providing power on a “near-infinite basis”.

Potential applications range from powering hearing aids and pacemakers, to extending the range of spacecraft to distances much further than are currently possible.

“Eventually, a highly powerful version of a diamond battery could power a mobile phone,” James Barker, from the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Engineering, told The Independent.

“Primarily though, they are best for devices requiring long lifetime, low power and where it is difficult to replace energy sources.”

In order to make these diamond batteries safe for medical and consumer use they are encased in a non-radioactive diamond layer, which will absorb any radiation given off by the C14 source.

According to the University,

Unlike the majority of electricity-generation technologies, which use energy to move a magnet through a coil of wire to generate a current, the man-made diamond is able to produce a charge simply by being placed in close proximity to a radioactive source.

Tom Scott, Professor in Materials in the University’s Interface Analysis Centre and a member of the Cabot Institute, said: “There are no moving parts involved, no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation.  By encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds, we turn a long-term problem of nuclear waste into a nuclear-powered battery and a long-term supply of clean energy.”

Could This Be The Solution We’ve Been Searching For?

“The ultimate aim is to have a factory based at one of the former power stations in the South West that takes Carbon-14 isotopes directly from the graphite blocks for use in diamond batteries. This would significantly reduce the radioactivity of the remaining material, making it easier and safer to manage,” said Professor Tom Scott, director of the South West Nuclear Hub.

“With the majority of the UK’s nuclear power plants set to go offline in the next 10-15 years this presents a huge opportunity to recycle a large amount of material to generate power for so many great uses.”

Time will tell how effective this method that scientists have come up with will be able to be implemented worldwide, but if it is, just imagine the implications of what this technology could represent.

Is It Time To Move Away From Nuclear Energy?

You’d think since the Fukushima disaster there would be a worldwide agreement for countries to stop generating power from nuclear reactors and to safely shut down these plants. Nuclear disasters have devastating effects on our planet and all of it’s inhabitants, recovery from such accidents can take tens of thousands of years to lose their hazardous radioactivity. Take the Chernobyl disaster that occurred in 1986 and is now contained under a metal shell, this site will likely remain radioactive for up to 20,000 years.

Instead of waiting for these disasters to occur, shouldn’t we be safely dismantling these sites before any more devastating disasters occur? Thankfully many countries are vowing to shut down their nuclear power plants and we can only hope that the rest of the world will follow suit.

The Future Is Here

There are so many amazing technologies that have the capacity to revolutionize the way we use energy on this planet. Of course many of those are hidden from us, especially if they cannot be in some way profited from, and unfortunately as it seems, if they don’t exploit the environment and our resources in some way.

As innovative ideas abound and technology continues to rapidly develop, we have to assume that safer and more innovative means of producing electricity will be uncovered. Hopefully these technologies will also have the capacity to undo some of the damage that we have done to our planet.

At the end of the day, using nuclear energy is not needed anymore, and in reality nuclear waste should not even exist at this point in our development as a collective.

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