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Dean Radin, PhD is an accomplished bluegrass banjo and fiddle player.

Dr. Radin is also Senior Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Psychology at Sonoma State University (Rohnert Park, CA). Dr. Radin began his academic career after earning a degree in electrical engineering, magna cum laude with senior honors in physics, from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), a masters degree in electrical engineering and a PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

For a decade Dr. Radin worked on advanced telecommunications R&D at AT&T Bell Laboratories and GTE Laboratories. For over two decades Dr. Radin has been engaged in consciousness research. Before joining the research staff at IONS, Dr. Radin held appointments at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, University of Nevada, and three Silicon Valley think-tanks, including SRI International, where he worked on a classified program investigating psychic phenomena for the US government.

Dr. Radin has presented over a hundred invited lectures in venues including Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford and Princeton Universities, Google headquarters, DARPA, and the US Navy.

I excerpted the following discussion from :

David Jay Brown and Rebecca McCLen Novick interview Dean Radin:

David: What do you think are some of the most important implications of parapsychological research?

Dean: I kind of get stuck on implications, because from a scientific point of view, in a sense, it’s extremely mundane. The history of science shows that for a long time scientists have a good sense of what they think the world is like, and then somebody comes up with a nutty idea and revolutionizes everything. There’s great chaos, and then it settles back down. It goes through these cycles over and over again, and the speed with which those cycles are changing are getting shorter and shorter. What used to take centuries, became decades, and now takes like six months.

The direction that science in general seems to be moving is perfectly compatible with the idea that there is some kind deep interconnection between things. There’s a quickly growing interest in religion and science, and the two are probably not incompatible, but, perhaps, are two sides of the same coin. I mean, they’re different obviously, but they may not need to be as different as people have thought. So where does it fit in?

One time I gave a talk where I was suggesting the topic of psychic phenomena as the middle ground between science and religion. This was because it addresses a lot of the phenomena that give religion it’s power– namely things that look supernatural, therefore can’t be us, and must be from some higher place or something. Yet all our research suggests that the cause of all this is people. It’s not disembodied entities doing it; it’s us doing it.

If you follow the logic out– especially with Eastern ideas, and even some Western notions about how reality is created– and if it truly is the result of an interaction between observation and some formless stuff out there, then parapsychological phenomena is just the tip of the iceberg. The evidence almost suggests that a solipsistic view of the world might be right, that we are engaged in continuous creation by virtue of our observation.

Jessica: What’s your sense of how music might influence the development of these kinds of abilities?

Dean: Well, the line of research came out of the observation that creative people generally have a much higher belief in psychic phenomena; correlations are very high, like .6, .7, or .8. Given the observation, empirical tests were done with different kinds of creative people to see who would be better in a telepathy test. It turns out that musicians are best, especially early-trained musicians. We know from other research that their corpus callosum is different from most other people’s.

If you’re an early-trained, string musician in particular, where one hand is doing something complicated, and the other hand is doing something even more complicated, the hemispheres need to talk to each other at a much higher frequency or facility, than in a person who is not trained to do complicated things with both hands, listen to the music, analyze it, do pitch intonation, and lots of other things. The brain is very fully engaged.

Jessica: So it’s a capacity for simultaneity?

Dean: Or a hemispheral integration of a higher order than is usual.

David: You know there’s culturally-created differences too in how brains respond to music. PET scans were done with American and Japanese musicians, and they found that Japanese musicians used their left hemisphere when they were performing more than American musicians, who used their right hemispheres more.

Dean: No, I didn’t know that. I do know that the musicians who are trained to read music are different than musicians who are learned by ear.

David: Their training is such that their brains actually get wired or programmed differently?

Dean: That’s right.

David: There’s more left hemisphere activity in people who were trained to read music?

Dean: That’s right, because it becomes another language. I was trained as a classical violinist, and played for many years. More recently I’ve switched into the banjo, because it’s just more fun. When I play the violin, or the banjo, I can not speak. I become aphasic. What it feels like internally is that whatever brain mechanism is used for language articulation is exactly the same mechanism for articulating music.
So it’s not surprising to me that some brain areas begin to specialize in these ways. There’s something perhaps we don’t know, but maybe for somebody to be perceived as good psychic in a lab test, where we’re asking them to articulate, they have to have this strange combination of perhaps right-brain intuitive who-knows-what, and a very fast connection to the other side so they can articulate it.

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Wow.

Just when you think it can’t possibly get any worse in the American political landscape along comes a rough beast slouching toward Conneaut, Ohio; Conneaut City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a proud resident of Cuyahoga County (practically next door to Ashtabula) where we have learned to shrug our shoulders at the antics of our own wildly corrupt, arrogant and retarded political class. We have determined over time that ‘corrupt, arrogant and retarded’ is a ‘lifestyle choice’.

No, we here in Cuyahoga are no pikers in that regard, I assure you. In fact, I would put our corrupt, arrogant and retarded politicians up against your corrupt, arrogant and retarded politicians at any time and at any place.

I can almost certainly say that in any such contest our corrupt, arrogant and retarded politicians would leave your corrupt, arrogant and retarded politicians in the dust, binding their wounds, crying for their mothers and otherwise turning tail from the radiant corruption, the epic arrogance and massive retardation embodied by Cuyahoga’s elected representatives.

I say this without boasting.

working man reading socialist newspaper

Or at least that’s what I used to think until I read the Ashtabula Star Beacon earlier this week. It seems that Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. had some concern over a local blog posted by Ms. Katie Schwartz.

It seems Ms. Schwartz had the temerity to publish ‘information concerning City offices, fees and other City government information…without the express (sic) written permission of the City.’ In his hubris Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. demanded that Ms. Schwartz immediately ‘cease and desist’ publishing any and all material related to Conneaut city government and under threat of court order remove any and all material related to Conneaut city government from her site.

Evidently, no one in Conneaut, or anywhere else for that matter, was ever going to publish anything regarding Conneaut city government without the ‘permission’ of the city’s political class. Presumably public information would hereafter be communicated in hushed and reverential tones only by certain officialy annointed individuals and only then after some sort of vetting process held deep within the dark bowels of the Conneaut Star Chamber.

That is, at least, if Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. was going to have anything to say about it.

According to the Star-Beacon article, it didn’t take long after Katie Schwartz posted her blog until Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. corralled lick-spittle thug Council President James Jones, lap-dog stooge Councilman-at-Large Chris Castrilla and lackey idiot Ward 4 Councilman Tony Julio to join him in attempting to crush Schwartz’s web site under the hobnailed heels of their collective jackboots.

The site is still active. The site and all its archived posts are there for anyone to read.

The site is pleasant, conversational and full of a charming, straight forward, mid-western boosterism. Nowhere does Ms. Schwartz stoop to calling Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. ‘an arrogant little snot’, ‘a martinet’, a ‘neo-Stalinist’ or ‘The Pig’. Nowhere does she suggest that Conneaut, Ohio or even the entire world would be better off if only Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. would crawl back into his dirty little worm hole and leave everyone else alone. She never describes Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. as ‘silly’, ‘puffed-up’, desperate’, ‘clawwing’ or even ‘laughable’. She never once declares that Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. is ‘just another stupid asshole’. Not once.

Because she doesn’t have to.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. goose-stepping around his office in full SS regalia, grasping his riding crop and monocle, stomping his foot, shaking both fists, flailing his arms and screaming ‘But-but-but…she does NOT have my PERMISSION!’. Imagine Jones, Castrilla and Julio standing in a circle holding tire chains, and ball bats and with stupid, vacant smirks across their jowly faces pointing to Schaumleffel and muttering ‘yeah, what he said…’.

men and women of america - the militant

I think Schaumleffel and his goons are suggesting that the open exchange of public information is an idea which is probably too abstract for most of Conneaut’s huddled masses. It only follows that spirited public debate among free citizens in a free society will almost certainly lead to contention, ill will and possibly even (shudder) speech privilege abuse.

I think that Schaumleffel and his thugs are suggesting that the Little People frankly need to speak only when spoken to and otherwise keep their eyes lowered and their mouths shut in deference to their betters. The Little People frankly do not know what their best interests are and must never be trusted to use either words or ideas.

Far better that Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. and his brown shirted bullies take that gate keeping responsibility to themselves.

And anyway, aren’t the complexities, subtleties and nuance of city government best left to the great architects, the giants of public administration, the great and selfless Philosopher Kings such as are Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr., Council President James Jones, Councilman-at-Large Chris Castrilla and Ward 4 Councilman Tony Julio?

It’s for Conneaut’s own good, after all.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The current and continuing 20 year depression here in the rust-belt is not an economic failure; it is a failure of our political class who lined their own pockets and consolidated raw political power rather than advocate for the citizens upon whom they fed. Like a grotesquely bloated, insatiable and ultimately fatal parasite feeding on a sallow and wasting patient, our politicians grew corpulent and morbidly obese while willfully and systematically starving their constituencies.

Think Jabba the Hutt gurgling ‘I’ll teach them what it means to offend the Empire. Send me Solo and the Wookie…and then send me Kathie Schwartz’.

Which brings us back to our first question: what would Woody do?

What indeed.

this machine kills facists

Woody was no stranger to thugs, bullies and goons. Woody’s autobiography Bound for Glory is one tale following another of individuals betrayed by their institutions and left to fend for themselves in the face of desperate circumstances. Bound for Glory is that one simple story repeated in variation again and again.

Woody wrote of the worst of times and the worst of people in 1913 Massacre, Dead or Alive, All You Fascists, Don’t Kill My Baby and Son, Hangknot, Slipknot, Pretty Boy Floyd, The Outlaw and hundreds of other songs.

I imagine that Woody would shrug with a familiar ‘seen it all before’ attitude, pick up his six string and begin to document with simple melody and rhythm the names, places and details of each affront, each insult and each abuse. Woody would build a picture of each and every insufferable fat-head, each self-important Kommissar and each of the creepy sycophants with whom they surround themselves.

And in each song Woody would let those people speak in their own voice and he would let them strut and preen and posture and stomp in their own gait through their own stories of petty insult, intrigue, greed and malfeasance.

And he would let them tell their own story without editorializing, without adding any artificial emphasis on their insolence and venality and criminality and stupidity.

Because he wouldn’t have to.

And then Woody would move on to the next song. And the next. And the next. Because it would be just one simple song repeated in variation again and again.

Here’s hoping that Katie Schwartz tells Conneaut, Ohio City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. and the rest of his bully boys to take their ‘cease and desist order’ and go straight to hell.

Because THAT’S exactly what Woody would do.

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from Boston.com
by James Reed of the Boston Globe

CAMBRIDGE – It’s the rare, and wonderful, night you see a big, old-school tour bus parked across the street from Club Passim in Harvard Square. License plates? Virginia. The name adorning the blue luxury liner in white letters? Ralph Stanley.

Yes, as in the 81-year-old bluegrass patriarch who’s accustomed to playing much bigger venues (Sanders Theatre, Newport Folk Festival) than the 125-seat Passim.

Turns out Stanley had played at Club 47, the precursor to Club Passim, back in the 1960s with his late brother, Carter. But the novelty of seeing him as such an established icon in an intimate room was the big draw and joy of Friday night’s concert.

Ralph Stanley (center) and his Clinch Mountain Boys barely fit on the stage at Club Passim. (Aram boghosian for the boston globe)

Ralph Stanley (center) and his Clinch Mountain Boys barely fit on the stage at Club Passim. (Aram boghosian for the boston globe)

Ticket prices were steep – $125 a pop, as part of Passim’s fund-raising Legacy Series that has previously brought in Richard Thompson, Tom Rush, and others – so it didn’t quite sell out. But that didn’t dampen the spirit of the music, or the audience.

For a moment, it looked like Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys – for a total of seven country boys ranging in ages but wearing the same white cowboy hats – weren’t going to fit on the stage.

As he’s done for years now, Stanley fashions his concerts as in-the-round showcases for his band, which often leaves you wanting more of the man himself. It was seven songs in before we heard Stanley on lead vocals on a rousing version of “Little Maggie.”

But the Clinch Mountain Boys are faithful to Stanley’s legacy, particularly his Stanley Brothers catalog. Stanley’s mandolin-playing grandson, Nathan, took lead on the country-gospel tune “The White Dove,” while his son, rhythm guitarist Ralph II, played selections from his new solo album.

Stanley doesn’t play banjo anymore, but, he said, if someone requests it, he’ll do it. Good thing: It’s still a marvel to witness Stanley launch into the clanging clawhammer style he mastered more than 60 years ago.

I’ve seen Stanley three times since 2005, and at each performance I half-expect (and dread) the realization that his age has caught up with him. It hasn’t happened. About the only thing that’s wobbly at a Ralph Stanley show is the cornball humor. (I’m betting Friday night was the only time the words “Y’all remember Cooter from ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’?” have been uttered at Passim.)

And when Stanley sings, he still sounds like a living, breathing museum artifact when he unleashes his Appalachian warble that many folks first heard in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

Just as he did in that film, Stanley sang the dirge “O Death” a cappella, and it still raises the hair on your neck. Almost as much as the evening’s encore, a spare rendering of “Amazing Grace,” which no doubt has been sung countless times at Club Passim but perhaps never quite so movingly.

James Reed can be reached at jreed@globe.com.

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