Finding Happiness:

Cajole Your Brain to Lean to the Left: “All too many years ago, while I was still a psychology graduate student, I ran an experiment to assess how well meditation might work as an antidote to stress. My professors were skeptical, my measures were weak, and my subjects were mainly college sophomores. Not surprisingly, my results were inconclusive.

But today I feel vindicated.

To be sure, over the years there have been scores of studies that have looked at meditation, some suggesting its powers to alleviate the adverse effects of stress. But only last month did what I see as a definitive study confirm my once-shaky hypothesis, by revealing the brain mechanism that may account for meditation’s singular ability to soothe.” — Dan Goleman, NY Times Another in the series of remarkable findings emerging from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain. [I happened to have been Dan Goleman’s research assistant on the study he writes about above, BTW. -FmH]

Germany, France work on plan to avert Iraq war:

‘Germany and France are working on a new initiative to try to avert war in Iraq, a German government spokesman said on Saturday, with a magazine saying they aim to present the plan to the United Nations Security Council.

“I can confirm that there are joint considerations on finding a peaceful alternative to a military solution to the Iraq conflict,” the government spokesman told Reuters.

He declined to provide details.’

Spaced Out
Another maudlin, media-crazed moment. But hold the scorn. ” ‘The Columbia is Lost’ story involved large themes, important policies and billions of dollars mixed in with drama, tragedy and heroism too. If not this, then what kind of story should the media go overboard about?” — columnist Jonah Goldberg in WSJ opinionjournal.

Agency Warns Blood Centers to Inspect Bags for Odd Clumps

The mysterious white clumps have been reported in over a hundred units of blood so far, most but not all in transfusion bags from a particular manufacturer. One desperately ill patient has died while receiving a transfusion of the adulterated blood (although officials hasten to say the patient was so ill that the association of the death with the transfusion may have been only coincidental) and there have been six other adverse reactions. NY Times Filters remove the clumps during transfusions, but what is causing them?

R.I.P. Lou Harrison

Composer, 85, Dies, eulogized by John Rockwell in the New York Times: “Lou Harrison, a distinguished composer in all genres of classical music, founder of the American gamelan movement and a leading exemplar of the marriage of Asian and Western music, died on Sunday evening at a Denny’s restaurant in Lafayette, Ind. He was 85 and lived in Aptos, Calif.”