Victoria NeuroNotes

Sending Emails Brain-to-Brain Is Now Possible

131 Comments

Emailing your thoughts?

This month, in a study published (on the 19th) in PLOS One (an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication), researchers used non-invasive neurotechnology, the internet, and human brain waves, to transmit “emails” from one person’s brain to another brain ➡ as far as five thousand miles (8047 kilometers) away.

We’ve had the technology to transmit brain waves to control toys and computer games. Also, this past May, German scientists used 7 pilots as subjects in an experiment utilizing their own brainwaves to fly (flight simulator) with amazing accuracy.

“Just by thinking commands, the pilots who participated in the experiment were able to complete maneuvers such as takeoffs and landings, and they were able to keep the plane within a few degrees of a given compass direction.”

Back to the brain-to-brain communication study.
PLOS ONE - www.plosone.org
Abstract
“Human sensory and motor systems provide the natural means for the exchange of information between individuals, and, hence, the basis for human civilization. The recent development of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) has provided an important element for the creation of brain-to-brain communication systems, and precise brain stimulation techniques are now available for the realization of non-invasive computer-brain interfaces (CBI). These technologies, BCI and CBI, can be combined to realize the vision of non-invasive, computer-mediated brain-to-brain (B2B) communication between subjects (hyperinteraction).

journal.pone.graphic

On the left (above image), the BCI (Brain Computer Interface) subsystem is shown schematically, including electrodes over the motor cortex and the EEG amplifier/transmitter wireless box in the cap. On the right, the CBI (Computer Brain Interface) system is illustrated, highlighting the role of coil orientation for encoding the two bit values. Communication between the BCI and CBI components is mediated by the internet.

 

Abstract cont.

Here we demonstrate the conscious transmission of information between human brains through the intact scalp and without intervention of motor or peripheral sensory systems. Pseudo-random binary streams encoding words were transmitted between the minds of emitter and receiver subjects separated by great distances, representing the realization of the first human brain-to-brain interface.

journal.pone.computer and TMS

View of emitter and receiver subjects with non-invasive devices supporting, respectively, the BCI based on EEG changes driven by motor imagery (left) and the CBI based on the reception of phosphenes elicited by a neuronavigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (right) components of the B2B (brain to brain) transmission system.

Abstract cont.

In a series of experiments, we established internet-mediated B2B communication by combining a BCI based on voluntary motor imagery-controlled electroencephalography (EEG) changes with a CBI inducing the conscious perception of phosphenes (light flashes) through neuronavigated, robotized transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), with special care taken to block sensory (tactile, visual or auditory) cues.

From the images below, figure 3 shows the location and orientation of hot spot for phospene production overlaid on MRI image of the head of subject 2 (see Figure 2).  The active direction producing phospenes is highlighted in orange.

Shows the location and orientation of hot spot for phospene production overlaid on MRI image of the head of subject. The active direction producing phospenes is highlighted in orange.

Abstract cont.

Our results provide a critical proof-of-principle demonstration for the development of conscious B2B communication technologies. More fully developed, related implementations will open new research venues in cognitive, social and clinical neuroscience and the scientific study of consciousness. We envision that hyperinteraction technologies will eventually have a profound impact on the social structure of our civilization and raise important ethical issues.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Transcranial_magnetic_stimulation

Photo credit: National Institute of Health

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in 2008 for therapeutic use.  Clinically, it’s used to stimulates nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression.   It is a noninvasive means of using magnetic pulses (penetrating the skull) inducing weak electric currents to targeted regions in the brain.

In these experiments, researchers used various robotic rotations of the TMS coil over the right occipital cortex site to stimulate phosphenes.  Phosphene is a phenomenon characterized by the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye.   You may have experienced  this phenomena in the form of “seeing stars” during sneezing, laughter, a heavy and deep cough, blowing your nose, a blow on the head or low blood pressure, etc.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Here’s the gist of the study:

One person was designated as the emitter (transmitting thoughts), and another person was designated as the receiver (receiving the thoughts).  Researchers recorded EEG (electroencephalography) signals emitted from the brain waves of one of the participants using electrodes on the scalp. The emitter said “hola” (hello) and/or “ciao” (hello or goodbye). The information (words) went directly to a computer and converted to binary code; encoded by pseudo-random binary streams.

The second computer decoded the information and transmitted it to the brain of another participant through robotized transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Tactile, visual and auditory sensations were blocked.  Although the receiver(s) did not feel anything, they had a conscious perception of flashing/flicking lights and were able to interpret the signals of information at a fairly accurate rate.

According to the study, there was a total transmission error rate of about 15 percent. The encoding side error rate was around 5 percent, and the error rate on the decoding side, around 11 percent.  Not bad considering that B2B communication is in its infancy stage of development.

Amazing!

The researchers anticipate that computers, in the not-so-distant future, will interact directly with the human brain “in a fluent manner”, supporting both computer and brain-to-brain communication routinely.  They also state that these initial results suggest new research directions, including the non-invasive direct transmission of emotions, feelings and sense synthesis via brain stimulation.

Researchers:  “The widespread use of human brain-to-brain technologically mediated communication will create novel possibilities for human interrelation with broad social implications that will require new ethical and legislative responses.  Full study

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

The technology was developed as part of a collaboration between the University of Barcelona (Spain), Starlab Barcelona (Spain), Axilum Robotics (France) and Harvard Medical School (United States).

Check out my video (under 3 minutes), and discover what your brain and central nervous system are picking up (as a receiver) every day in your environment, and without your conscious awareness.

cerebro05

The implications of B2B research are mind-boggling.  I’m rather psyched about it, although I have mixed feelings.  However, I think it would be rather cool if we could communicate with one another (by choice), “telepathically”.

 

What are your thoughts about this discovery and future implications?


My thanks to Morti for bringing this study to my attention.  🙂

US Copyright Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 
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Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

131 thoughts on “Sending Emails Brain-to-Brain Is Now Possible

  1. Neuromancer, here we come!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Quite possible, John. Will we need spam filters, too? 😉

      Like

      • Damn, hadn’t thought about that, and nor did William Gibson. Imagine it; an ad can come complete with taste or smell. You could wrap an ad for a new phone in the smell of roast chicken 😦 Sheet, imagine hacking someone’s brain!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Exactly. Neuromarketing on steroids.

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          • ‘Feed’ by M.T. Anderson talked of viruses and spam and side effects. It’s YA and has been years since I read it, but a lot of things have been making me think of it recently.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Oh wow — I had never heard of that novel and just looked it up. Fascinating.

              “The novel portrays a future in which the feednet, a huge computer network (apparently an advanced form of the Internet), is directly connected to the brains of about 73% of American citizens by means of an implanted device called a feed.

              The feed allows people: to mentally access vast digital knowledge databases (individually called “sites”); to experience shareable virtual-reality phenomena (including entertainment programs, music, and even others’ memories); to continually interact with intrusive corporations in a personal preference-based way; and to communicate telepathically on closed channels with others who have feeds through a feature called m-chatting.

              Privacy and self-ownership are constantly obstructed by messaged advertising from corporations that participate in data mining (used to fit individuals into consumer profiles based on their buying patterns).”

              Like

  2. Reblogged this on Fascinating Future and commented:
    Fascinating article on sending one’s thoughts to someone else through email. This could be an inspiration for a new story, I will think about this.

    Like

  3. Fascinating stuff. But the little question that pops into my mind is did not humans always have the capacity to transmit and receive? There’s anecdotal ethnographic info about the San bushmen for instance, and their ability to communicate with other groups over considerable distances across the Kalahari.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very interesting, Tish. I’ve read a good bit of research by cognitive neuroscientist, Michael Persinger, in this area. I’ve also read research by Dr. Neil Cherry. It has been discovered that our cells (including neurons) are little antennas emitting and transmitting an electromagnetic frequency. Our cells are electrical systems sensitive to their electromagnetic milieus, and the cell membranes are capacitors. They use oscillating ion currents for the control of release of neurotransmitters and in the cell to cell communication systems. They also use frequency encoders and decoders and phase-locked loop circuits to tune into external signals of a slightly different frequency. So if there exists no definite border between the electromagnetic fields in our brains/cells and those that exist in the environment, and if the geomagnetic field is quiet as to not cause disturbances in “transmissions”, it certainly seems possible.

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      • Gosh, Victoria. Thanks for that info. This really is a very very interesting subject. I started reading Bruce H Lipton (cell biologist) and must now return to him as I think his thesis fits in with what you’ve just explained. The Biology of Belief is one of his books. Do you know his work?

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        • Indeed I do, Tish. Have you watched any of his lectures? While there are some things he says that I don’t necessarily agree with him on, other data he presented complimented a lot of the research I had read myself. If you haven’t watched it, here’s one of his best docs: The New Biology — Where Mind and Matter Meet.

          Part 1

          Part 2

          The study with mice in utero, and how their brains developed, depending on their mother’s environment, was mind blowing.

          Like

  4. I just love science! Another thought provoking and fascinating post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it sounds amazing and can just imagine the future communicating telepathically

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fascinating!
    Did you get the e-mail my brain sent you? Or…did it go to Spam 😉
    I’m going to have to come back and reread this–lots to absorb and understand and right now my brain is occupied with healthcare reform and a standardized quality exam that I’m studying for. In other words, my brain is mush! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fascinating stuff, Victoria! Just think, all those times I said, “We’re on the same brainwave” to my friend, can now be proven! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Half of me is like, ‘F YEAH! SCIENCE!’
    The other half of me is ‘OH NO! OH NO! OH NO! OH NO! EVERY SCI-FI BOOK EVER!’
    So…cool. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This was fascinating, Victoria! I loved your video–even sent it to my mom!

    Like

  10. Interesting technology that warrants further research. Although, like all technological developments, we should ask our collective selves this fundamental question: Is humankind currently capable of using it responsibly?

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    • Well, yes and no. That’s why I said I had mixed feelings. Like any other technological invention, it can be used for good or to bring harm to others. I have faith in humankind as a whole. It’s the very small percentage that give humanity a bad name. — those obsessed with power and a need to control the masses.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Did I read this correctly, as in a capability to read minds? Perhaps a weapon by the police to investigate and incarcerate for thought crimes. I’m not liking it, Victoria, but thanks for the read.

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    • I understand your concerns, Peter. Right now we have the neurotechnology that can tell if someone is lying, and I hope to see this technology advance. The brain lights up like fireworks when someone is lying. How many people have been wrongly incarcerated? A lot. Imagine such technology being mandated on politicians and potential leaders and those in authority positions.

      There are several humanitarian benefits — some noted in the study. Like the scientist stated, there are broad social implications that will require new ethical and legislative responses. As I told Robert, I have faith in humanity. I just don’t have faith in people with unfettered power. Studies show that it literally changes their brain. They become like alpha male chimps and baboons — worse, IMO. Unfettered power will need to be illegal on a global scale if humanity is to flourish and evolve. But right now — this technology will be abused if people with unfettered power get their greedy, bloody hands on it.

      Like

  12. Fascinating post Victoria.
    Spam filters will be important and as Mordanicus wrote in his post, sending spam should be criminal

    Like

  13. As I understand what’s been written here, there’s a distinction to be made between constructing a message and sending it (email), versus instant brain-to-brain communication, which is more akin to Skype. Either way, the research is astonishing. (Luv, luv this blog.)

    Something about the future of the study of consciousness in there that caught my eye, which is always intriguing to me; and actually, I was getting ready to blog about it. That is, that consciousness is somehow energy, so that this energy is thus the spirit and thus, if the spirit exist, then so must the supernatural!

    It’s murky territory, where the spiritualists try and blend science with spirituality to prove the spirit world exist.

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    • Yeah, the technology is a little clunky right now, but still — quite amazing, considering. Thank you for luving my blog. 😀

      Yeah, I see where you’re coming from regarding the blend of science with spirituality. Like Sam Harris mentioned, religion hijacked the term spirituality and distorted its original meaning. I’ve noticed in my own research that when the geomagnetic field becomes active or storming, and especially on a global scale, I often read of people experiencing ‘spirits’, ‘ghosts’. Or if I’ve read of an increase in these sitings I’ll check the NOAA space weather forecast that goes back 75 days, and I’ve seen a significant correlation. I have to laugh because IMO, and based on 10 years of my own research, it’s nature messing with their heads, pure and simple.

      Just one small sampling of many studies I’ve come across.

      “Data from the 19th century on hallucinations and magnetic disturbances were found to exhibit a direct and statistically significant correlation. The aa magnetic index over the period 1868-89 and concurrent visual hallucinatory activity were found to co-vary. Magnetic influences on the pineal hormone, melatonin, are suggested as a source of variation.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2012623

      I’ve also read studies where poltergeist phenomena increases during geomagnetic storming. Even infrasound around 18 – 19Hz has been shown to cause a resonant vibration in the structure of human eye and produce hallucinations and physical sensations like nausea and sweating. Nature has the last laugh, LOL.

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  14. That explains why my wife can read my mind! 🙂

    Seriously, this is really cool stuff. Since you posted I’ve been googling things like “brain to brain interface” and “brain computer interface” and finding a lot of really good information out there. Not sure, but I get the impression that while we’ve made huge progress in understanding the brain that perhaps we’ve only scratched the surface. I’m excited to see where neuroscience can take us in understanding ourselves and perhaps healing ourselves as well.

    And this definitely reminded me of Persinger’s work as you mentioned to Tish. The more we can understand about how religious belief and mystical experience is related to our brains then the better off I believe we’ll be.

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    • “That explains why my wife can read my mind! “

      And why so many women were accused of witchcraft throughout history, besides having utter disdain towards our sex. 😉

      “Not sure, but I get the impression that while we’ve made huge progress in understanding the brain that perhaps we’ve only scratched the surface. “

      I couldn’t agree with you more.

      ” The more we can understand about how religious belief and mystical experience is related to our brains then the better off I believe we’ll be.”

      Again, I couldn’t agree more. And how religious belief and mystical experience is related to environmental causes, like infrasound (man-made or natural), earth directed coronal mass ejections (disturbing the geomagnetic field) and other space weather affects on our physiology. There, we are only scratching the surface as well. But someday, I hope to see alerts like NOAA Space Weather Forecast sends to tech companies, power companies, and NASA, letting people know their brains, behavior, hormones, neurotransmitters are at risk of being messed with my Nature.

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      • Actually, currently having a discussion with someone who has mystical experiences. Please let me know of any other names than Persinger who has done research on this.

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        • Few have the gumption to go against status quo. 😉 I’ll look for more researchers, as there were several besides Persinger, and some have also been involved with Persinger’s research, and vice versa. I watched CSPAN over the weekend as they were having their National Book Festival book review. Dr. Michio Kaku, one of the speakers, who as you know is a theoretical physicist gave a fascinating review of his book “The Future of the Mind”. One of the things he talked about was brain injuries, epileptics, magnetism, hyper-religiosity and neurotechnology that can induce these “religious/spiritual phenomena. So naturally I looked into his book, online, and found an interview podcast about his book, which he had done with Wired.com’s “The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy” and the transcript was posted here. —> http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-michio-kaku/

          Question: “You mention that we can see these different parts of the brain come out sometimes with epileptics or if people have brain injuries or things like that, but you also say in the book that there is this technology now, called “trans-cranial ultra-magnetic scanners,” with which you can actually turn off parts of people’s brains at will.”

          Answer: “It turns out that this actually has religious implications as well. It turns out that injuries to the left temporal lobe make you hyper-religious, and that is every time you see somebody fall or [witness] misfortune, you think there are evil spirits and it was meant to be, and so these people are hyper-religious. We think that many individuals like Joan of Arc, and throughout history, many prophets, probably suffered from some kind of injury to the left temporal lobe which induced this behavior. Now, with magnetism, we can actually induce this behavior without having to hit somebody over the head.”

          —————————

          and I shared this in a comment to LEJames

          “Data from the 19th century on hallucinations and magnetic disturbances were found to exhibit a direct and statistically significant correlation. The aa magnetic index over the period 1868-89 and concurrent visual hallucinatory activity were found to co-vary. Magnetic influences on the pineal hormone, melatonin, are suggested as a source of variation.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2012623

          But — if you are wanting to know more about the CMA’s and GMA, and the studies done on how they affect our physiology, I did a post on my other blog. http://neuroresearchproject.com/2013/03/18/the-sun-giveth-the-sun-taketh-away/ Well, actually, I’ve done a couple of posts on this subject. Let me know what exactly you are looking for with regard to the discourse you are having right now.

          And here’s another post I did on infrasound messing with your head and causing hallucinations: http://neuroresearchproject.com/2013/02/19/1289/ This information was backed my Neil deGrasse Tyson in a podcast he did with Vic Tandy. If you need the podcast source I’ll share that, too.

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          • “Few have the gumption to go against status quo.”

            That reminds me so much of “Breaking the Spell” like you and I have talked about before.

            “Dr. Michio Kaku, one of the speakers, who as you know is a theoretical physicist”

            I can’t remember talking about Kaku, but yes you are right I do know that. Is he very famous, or does my active interest in the subject show, or did my knowledge of him transmit to your brain through the internet? 😉

            Actually that information was very much what I was looking for. I’m really just curious about any science that’s been done on trying to explain or investigate natural causes of mystical experiences.

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            • Well Howie, we’ve been on the same wavelength before, so I’m not surprised. 😉

              Have you ever heard about sleep paralysis? It causes people to have hallucinations and they can’t move, but they “feel” and “sense” a spirit world. http://www.assap.ac.uk/newsite/articles/Mind.html As it turns out, I was doing research on this and sleep paralysis just so happened to be very prevalent along the Pacific Ring of Fire where there’s very high seismic activity.

              These folk lures of spirits, ghosts, etc., were birthed in this areas. That’s not to say that that’s the only area where people experience sleep paralysis which include hallucinations, but it’s much more common in those areas. Just look at the hub of 3 major religions — another one of the most seismically active areas in the world. Seismic activity causes infrasound.

              And again — geomagnetism: A quote from a BBC article:

              It would seem that some researchers in the field of sleep paralysis also believe that geomagnetism has something to do with the condition. The Social Science Department of the Everett Community College in Washington has speculated that people living in geologically active areas of the Pacific Ocean (the so-called ‘Ring of Fire’) experienced a higher incidence of sleeping paralysis, based on a study of SP frequency and its correlation with geomagnetic activity k-index values, along with research into folklore references to these experiences. “ http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/place-london/plain/A6092471

              And

              “A significant correlation was obtained between periods of local geomagnetic activity and the incidence of isolated sleep paralysis. Specifically, periods of relatively quiet geomagnetic activity were significantly associated with an increased incidence of episodes.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7478886

              You’ve got me going here now. I’ve got lots more. Would you be interested in an extensive scientific study done in a famous haunted castle in the UK where they measured frequencies in the room as the GMA changed through the night and how just having metal bed springs and a mental headboard along with the fluxing GMA between the hours of 2AM and 4 AM changed the frequencies around the pillow area which just so happened to be a frequency conducive to hallucinations?

              With all this abundant research about how the environment affects our brain. People living in caves have had similar experiences — and think about all those people back in biblical times living in caves and said they heard god speak to them and wrote it down. Or all those who had “visions” and “dreams” of god. 😀

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              • Howie, here’s that haunt study I mentioned previously:

                Magnetic Variances Associated with ‘Haunt-type’ Experiences: A Comparison Using Time-Synchronised Baseline Measurements
                Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, School of Psychology University of Birmingham

                Abstract
                Recent laboratory studies have revealed that human exposure to low-frequency complex electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can induce strange and exceptional hallucinatory experiences under controlled conditions. A number of field-studies have also shown that reputedly haunted locations can be magnetically distinguished from non-haunted areas in the natural setting. However, none of these studies have employed appropriate time-linked baseline measurements taken from haunted and baseline areas simultaneously.

                This study presents the first magnetic investigation of a reputedly haunted location that employs and formally compares high-speed time-linked magnetic baseline measurements. The results show separate effects of both elevated levels in the ambient spatial magnetic field, and the nature of how magnetic fields vary over time (i.e., their complexity) in areas of interest. The implications of the current findings for the magnetically remarkable nature of reputedly haunted buildings are discussed.”

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              • I’ll be honest, while I’ve heard the term “sleep paralysis” I know next to nothing about it. So I googled it and got this from wiki:

                “It is a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep characterized by complete muscle atonia (muscle weakness). It is often associated with terrifying visions, such as an intruder in the room”

                I’ve had these kind of dreams while waking up, yet still in dream mode – somewhere in between I guess. I dream there is a robber in the house and that I can’t move to attack or run. Can’t stand those dreams, but I’ve never connected it to sleep paralysis. Maybe mine is just a very mild case, because I always wake up fully aware that it was a dream, and I don’t sense any “spirit” world.

                All this info you’re providing is perfect! And just saw your other one come through my e-mail. Thank you!

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                • You’re most welcome. You know this is right up my alley, having this conversation and so few indulge me, so naturally when someone shows an interest I tend to bombard them. LOL In the first link I left when I mentioned sleep paralysis, the ASSAP link, it goes into great detail.

                  I used to have these after my partner died. I asked my pastor about it and he told me I was under “spiritual attack”. Now naturally, I was scared chitless. And trust me when I say that a lot of people are fed this same BS. Anyways, it’s very scary when you are having them — especially if you are superstitious and around religious fanatics who don’t know how to open up a science book and investigate further than a bible.

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                  • I’ll have to check out all your links tonight. I guess I can see how people might interpret those as spiritual. They’ve always just seemed like typical dreams to me (the scary kind) – only difference is that you feel like you are on the very edge of waking up. That’s the feeling right?

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                    • Yes, that’s the feeling — but you can’t move at all and you can’t speak. I also learned that extreme stress can cause SP and I was under a lot of stress after my partner’s death. But when I was having them, I felt like I was wide awake, but simply couldn’t move. Every once in a while I’ll experience the beginning of SP but have learned how to curtail them before they become full fledged episodes. I’ve definitely noticed a strong correlation with GMA storming. When I’ve felt them coming on, I would check space weather.

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                    • Yes, that’s the feeling — but you can’t move at all and you can’t speak.” – I’ve had that same experience, but it has generally involved a bottle of tequila.

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                    • LOL — why doesn’t that surprise me? 😀

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                    • Vodka and I are old friends, but for me, tequila is that strange uncle you’ve heard about but been told never to go near —

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                    • I’ll remember that for future reference. Btw, doctors told my sister she couldn’t get pregnant because of some “female” issues. She got pregnant twice and gave birth. Both times she had been drinking tequila shots, which was very uncommon for her to do. True story.

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                    • I don’t doubt it – I no longer touch the stuff! In Mexico, it’s almost a national insult to turn down a tequila, and while I lived there, I woke up in more strange bathrooms —

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                    • I continually wake up in strange bathrooms and I rarely drink. Sorry to butt in. I know this adds nothing to the conversation, but, waking up in strange bathrooms is, embarrassingly so, something I’m very familiar with and interested in. I hope to continue doing it all my days on Earth. Amen.

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                    • Welcome to the party, Jeff. 😀

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                    • Glad to join. I’m shocked to learn that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by natural causes. What’re the odds, of them actually NOT being destroyed by god because was tried of all the homosexual gang raping of angels that went on in them. That’s the more logical reason, if ya ask me. 😀

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                    • Heh, and a “godly” man, which god spared, who was willing to give over his daughters to be ganged raped by strangers. Yep, their god is an awesome god. I’m so sorry to disappoint you about the seismic facts on what actually went down in S ‘n G. How’s that superglue holding up? 😀

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                    • Still keepin’ the bolt on my hand. I’m gettin’ used to it. BTW, Mak is the dude who introduced me to you, John Z and many others as well. He’s a fine fellow, for a non-believing heathen, that is. Just puttin’ my two cents in again in a conversation that’s got nothin’ to do with me. Hope you don’t mind.

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                    • No, I don’t mind at all. I don’t have issues with OT discussions on my blog. I know a lot of people do on there’s, though. You and Mak are two other bloggers who don’t mind OT on your blogs, and I think such blogs are more user friendly. Makes me want to come back. Some of the finest people I’ve ever met in my life have been heathens, and do you know that I didn’t discover that until I started my deconversion process. I had been fed so many lies from the religious about how untrustworthy and depraved unbelievers were. Geesh, don’t even get me started. “Avoid the appearance of evil”. Pfft, I saw more “evil” behavior from believers than I’ve ever seen from “heathens”. 😉

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                    • I agree entirely. It was about 4 years ago that I realized I was, and always have been, an atheist. I just got, and still get sometimes, a terrible chill going through me from the sound of that word. Thus, I avoided facing the fact that I am an atheist and do not believe in gods any more than I believe in bigfoot. Only in our society, it is OK to not believe in bigfoot but HORRIBLE to not believe in an invisible god. I’d been conditioned to think atheists were crazed demon loving monsters who hated America, even though, by definition, I’d always been one, even during all my years in Catholic school. Total bullshit to be made to think and feel that way about who I am. Sam Harris’ books are the things that opened my eyes to the utter stupidity of basing laws and governmental decisions on “faith” in invisible guys and ancient, sexist, disgusting religious dogmas. I’m an atheist, and I’m a wonderful human being who’s morals are based on what I feel is best for all human beings. All human beings deserve to be treated with decency and respect, even if they do not have “faith” in invisible guys. Harris says, and I agree with him, that our country is light years away from even beginning to have political discussions on the merits of eliminating “faith” from its political vocabulary. That is sad. BTW, I just pre-ordered Harris’ new book “Spirituality Without Religion.” The excerpts I’ve read from it are fascinating. I like Harris because he thinks for himself and is unfazed by the criticism he gets from both theists and radical atheists because of his ideas. That to me is what America is and should be about: Freedom to be who you are and believe what you wish about the world without being condemned for it. It isn’t like that here. Not yet anyway, but maybe someday. I can only hope.

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                    • “Harris says, and I agree with him, that our country is light years away from even beginning to have political discussions on the merits of eliminating “faith” from its political vocabulary. That is sad. BTW, I just pre-ordered Harris’ new book “Spirituality Without Religion.” The excerpts I’ve read from it are fascinating.”

                      It is sad, and we’ve discussed this before, but I wouldn’t have any issues with people of faith if it wasn’t for those who are hell bent on making us all bow down to their Bronze/Iron Age rules that do not benefit our society. They are stuck in the past and stagnate our country and world. Let me know what you think of Harris’ book. I’ve read his blog posts about spirituality and really enjoyed them. The first atheist book I ever read was by Harris — The End of Faith.

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                    • I agree with you again. I’ll let you know what I think of his new book. “End of Faith” was the first book of his I read too.

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                    • No kidding? Hah! 😀 Very cool.

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                    • His book called “Lies” is very good, as is the one he wrote on free will. Both are clearly written and quick reads with lots of thought provoking info. I truly like his style.

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                    • I just downloaded it so I can listen to it on my Mp3 player. Thanks. I’ve a track of him doing a guided meditation exercise I like a lot. His voice is soothing. He seems like a genuinely decent human being.

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                    • Didn’t realize it would embed. Here’s the link showing all his tracks.

                      https://soundcloud.com/samharrisorg

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                    • Thanks. I get his blog postings regularly, and he took the time once to respond to an email I sent him. Thought that was nice as I’m sure he’s a lot busier than me.

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              • A major faultline runs from the Great Rift Valley, of which Olduvai Gorge is a part, all the way to and past the Dead Sea in Palestine, and possibly as far north as the Sea of Galilee, along the Jordan River – the very heart of Jewish mysticism.

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                  • It is believed by geologists that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, both located along the faultline (and both long gone by the time ascribed to the fictitious Abraham) were destroyed by an earthquake that tossed super-heated bitumen (oil, at a point about halfway to becoming coal) into the air – Egyptians traveled there to mine it, for use in embalming – and it came down flaming.

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                    • Arch, I love info like this. I’ve read a good bit about seismic activity in that area. Of course you know why? 😉 For example:

                      “Investigators can point to compelling evidence for ancient, damaging earthquakes in the anthropologically and archaeologically crucial area bordering the Jordan River. The first-century A.D. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, writing of the destructive earthquake of 31 B.C., describes “an earthquake in Judea, such as had not occurred before, which killed many cattle…. And about thirty thousand persons also perished in the ruins of their houses. Characteristically toppled and fractured blocks of limestone that were once columns are evident among the ruins of early Jericho and elsewhere. And the sediments in the Dead Sea basin incorporate evidence of a good deal of seismic upheaval during the past 70,000 years.”

                      http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/htmlsite/1003/1003_feature.html

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                    • I’m just sorry I can’t cite references for my info, but it was all on my website, in His own image, and is now in a giant Zip file, which once I open it, I’ve got a hard drive full of files and images and no where to put them until I begin my new website, which looks to be an all-Winter’s job, and I ain’t wading through THAT mess for all the “purdy pleases” you got! For now, you’ll just need to take my word.

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                    • I’ve never asked you for sources, ever. I know you know your chit.

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                    • I’ve never asked you for sources, ever. I know you know your chit.” – And while I appreciate that, if you ever use anything I’ve told you, you’re going to be asked to back it up, and for that, you need sources that I, at the moment, can’t give you. That’s all I’m saying.

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                    • Oh, I understand Arch, which is why I am the queen of sources. If I ever question your data, I know how to look it up for myself.

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            • Howie – RE: “I can’t remember talking about Kaku, but yes you are right I do know that. Is he very famous” – he’s one of the leading proponents of String Theory, I used to have several of his books.

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              • I don’t have any of his books Arch, but I’ve listened to a few video interviews with him. How do you find time to peel yourself away from those Kathy posts that you love so much?

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                • I’m a multi-tasker, Howie – and I don’t love it over there, so much as I see her agenda – she wants to be the last one standing, so she can claim bragging rights on Christian blogsites, that she argued us into the ground. I can’t let that brainless twit get away with it.

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                  • I definitely think there’s more going on upstairs with her than just a strategy to claim bragging rights. She’s cult material if ever I saw such. The fact that she’s a faithful follower to a convicted felon says a lot about her, IMO. That guy is a total whack job, and she has to be herself if she’s such a faithful follower of his message.

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                    • She’s cult material if ever I saw such.” – Oh, I agree with that completely, but simultaneously, and at the same time, she hasn’t the brains to concoct anything sinister.

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                    • But the guy she creams in her jeans over and his ministry has been listed as a hate group by the SPLC.

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                    • Yes, you’ve mentioned that – near-eidetic memory, remember?

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                    • “more going on upstairs with her”

                      Yup Victoria, from early on it was clear with Kathy’s comments that she’s an extremist. According to her, everything she writes is “the truth” and anyone who disagrees is dishonest. It’s socially bizarre.

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                    • Socially bazaar indeed, Howie, and it’s like watching a freak show when she’s posting. But Arch, Nate, Ruth, William, Ratamacue, Nan, Carmen, you and others have posted excellent information and counters for those who are lurking — those who are asking the questions, so I see that there has been much benefit from Nate’s posts in spite of her extremism.

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                  • Arch – trying to catch up on all the comments after kids soccer. I was just messing with you, but since you mentioned, yeah, I figured you and William were both continuing because of that and I think it’s good that there are people like you two who have the strength to muddle through all that stuff, because you’re right, if every atheist was like me then we’d all get run over like we did for hundreds of years. (and I know there are others over there as well, but you 2 are the ones that are there every day making the difficult effort).

                    That’s a thank you if it wasn’t clear.

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            • Oops, I didn’t finish the first sentence in the last paragraph. Edit: I meant to say, with all thIs abundant research about how the environment affects our brain, why would people in this day and age automatically assume it’s supernatural? No need to answer that — it was meant to be rhetorical. 😀

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          • and how can I italicize on your blog? the “i” tag doesn’t seem to work for me.

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            • how can I italicize on your blog? the “i” tag doesn’t seem to work for me.” – be glad, Howie, when it does, our illustrious hostess with the mostess has it set so that it prints so tiny that no one can read it!

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              • Don’t use “i” Howie, use “em” and “/em” – (emphasis?)

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              • Well, like I told you not long ago, Arch, if you use “cite” rather than “em” it won’t be small. Now pay attention — oh ye who often boasts about having an eidetic memory. 😛

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                • Ah yes – that reminds me of something Arch said to Laurie the other day on Nate’s blog. 😀

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                • NEAR eidetic memory! And whoever heard of using “em” on one blog, “i” on another, and “cite” on a third, and those all on WordPress blogs?!! Get thee behind me, WordPress!

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                  • Arch, what part of “free” don’t you understand? Don’t give WP a hard time. Besides, most templates were designed by different programmers, and WP and the developers were generous enough to offer us a large variety. If you want perfection, you’ll have to pay for it Bubba. 😛

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                    • Arch, what part of ‘free’ don’t you understand?” – for your info, MZ SmartyPants, in my effort to find a new blogsite provider, I have learned that most blogsites cost between $3 and $4 per month, much like my old one. It’s worth that much to have one that’s user-friendly – you don’t have to learn HTML or Mandarin Chinese to use them. Granted, NING is $65, but most others are in the range I described.

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                    • Well, Bubba, I had (paid for) a website for years and while it was a decent website, it didn’t have the community like WP has. I didn’t see you much involved on your website when it was up and running. No — but you sure as hell are active here, aren’t cha? 😉

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                    • I didn’t see you much involved on your website when it was up and running.” – Uh, ‘scuse me? I responded to every comment that was ever left on my site. I have suggested, time and again, to people I’ve met on yours and Nate’s and Mak’s and Matt’s sites, that they read various entries on mine – most didn’t, and of those who did, only one or two left comments. Several, after it was closed, admitted to reading part of it, and at least one asked what happened to it, but of all of my WordPress “friends,” only Mak has ever read it from beginning to end, and in fact, credits it with being the inspiration he needed to begin his own.

                      Some of these sites contain great information, but many others are merely social clubs, for friends across the world to get together, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it doesn’t meet my personal needs. i wrote, to get information out there, and if people found it too much to digest or too much trouble to read, that wasn’t my problem, and I can’t wait to begin again.

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                    • ” but of all of my WordPress “friends,” only Mak has ever read it from beginning to end, and in fact, credits it with being the inspiration he needed to begin his own.”

                      Arch, I told you a while back that I read all the data on your site. And I never mentioned anything about you not responding to comments. There just weren’t that many comments to address.

                      My point earlier was that your website didn’t get as much exposure as it would on WP, as WP takes up 20% of the Internet. Think about that for a minute and let it sink in. There are some bigwigs on WP. You get lots of exposure. I’ve gotten more exposure on WP in just one year than I did with my website in 6 years, and I had over 50 pages of data on a very professional looking website.. The point I’m trying to make here, if you will put the vodka bottle down for a minute, is that you have excellent data that should be getting more exposure. That’s the problem with many older men, they are too damn set in their ways. 😛

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                    • Arch, I told you a while back that I read all the data on your site. And I never mentioned anything about you not responding to comments. There just weren’t that many comments to address.

                      I recall you saying you had visited it, but I certainly don’t recall your saying you had read it all. However, if you say you did, I have no reason to doubt you. Could it be that “There just weren’t that many comments to address” because people like you read 40+ chapters and never left any?

                      WP takes up 20% of the Internet.” – That means nothing to me. Do you think I’m on your site because you’re part of that WP 20%? No, it’s because Onyango Makagutu is a good friend of mine, from Think Atheist (a NING site, btw), and you just happened to have commented there, mentioned something on your own site, and I followed you and liked what I saw. All of you – Nate, Matt, John Zang, Violet, Ark – I know all of you because you know each other, and I’ve visited each of your sites, but it all began with that little Kenyan and friendship, and had nothing to do with WordPress.

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                    • Well Arch, I did tell you that I spent the better part of the day reading your website, then came back the next day. I did comment on there once or twice. But it wasn’t really discussion friendly simply because you hardly got anyone discussing stuff there. Here’s your sign. Nate gets thousands of comments on one series of blog posts. What could you be doing wrong? 😉

                      Come to the dark side, we have cookies. My point “again” was that you will get exposure on WP, where you didn’t seem to get much on your website and certainly not much interaction because it simply was dead there and a big reason was because it was some lone website out in cyberspace with no community to speak of.

                      Had it not been for WP, most of us who DO use WP and get lots of exposure would have never known about you. John Z gets hundreds and hundreds of comments when he posts. You both have posted similar data. So what do you think the problem is, Arch?

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                    • So what do you think the problem is, Arch?” – I didn’t know there was one —

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                    • The problem is that your files are zipped away while you wait to find a website (most likely with zero community connections) and in hopes that people will be able to put “b” and “i” in comment sections or post images. You have something very vital to offer, but I think you are allowing these obstacles to stand in your way. They’re not a big deal to most of us. Yes, it would be nice if WP allowed for images to be posted in comments, but that’s not the case right now, and I don’t mind clicking on a link.

                      Btw, I didn’t think you were pissed at me and I hope I didn’t come across as being too terse. You know when I call you Bubba, it’s a term of endearment with you with a splash of sarcasm. I haven’t called someone Bubba in years. 😀

                      All I’m saying is your info should get more exposure than it has, and I think that perhaps your priorities are a little skewed.

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                    • Btw, I didn’t think you were pissed at me and I hope I didn’t come across as being too terse.” – No, not at all – I was just trying to get ahead of you and eliminate any possibility that you might have thought because I was on a rampage, I was pissed at you. Some of my best friends are Butinski’s —

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                    • RE: “you just happened to have commented there,” – I just realized I didn’t clarify, I meant that you commented on Mak’s site, not on TA – it could have been taken either way – mea culpa.

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                    • I want my commenters – regardless of how few they may be – to be able to highlight a word and click “i” in the toolbar above, and the word is instantly italicized, “b,” and the word is bolded, “u,” and it’s underlined. I want them to be able to upload an image from their computers if they like, and not have to stage it somewhere and link to it – but to actually place it within the text, so the concentration isn’t broken. To highlight a section of text, click ” and have it set apart in quotes.

                      I can’t do any of that with WordPress. It’s just not user-friendly, no matter how “free” it may be. While it may be free to you, we users pay for it in inconvenience.

                      And no, DO NOT judge by my attitude that I’m pissed at you, I’m pissed at WordPress – it wouldn’t have taken that much more to have designed a decent program. About some subject, a while back, you said, “Don’t get me started!” Well, WordPress is that subject for me.

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                    • Arch, since you’re already “started” now’s a good time to jump in with a question: does WordPress have any upgrade options that might get you at least somewhat close to what you’d like for your website? I think there are tons (not sure how many) of template options with some of the upgrades. I’m guessing you’ve checked and the answer is no, but just thought I’d ask anyways, because I think Victoria has a good point. The only people that come over to my blog are from people seeing it in their wordpress readers or people who see me comment on other wordpress blogs. Other than that I do no advertising. I still have very low traffic on my blog which suits my schedule very well, but to be honest I never thought I would get as much comments and traffic as I do now. So the whole thing about there being a community that would give you more visibility very quickly seems like a good draw since it does sound like that is a desire of yours.

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                    • I’m guessing you’ve checked and the answer is no” – I know, Howie, that Kathy would say that’s not very objective of me, but no, I haven’t – the very name, “WordPress, sets my teeth on edge and gives me that fingers-on-the-chalkboard feeling.

                      the whole thing about there being a community that would give you more visibility very quickly seems like a good draw since it does sound like that is a desire of yours.” – actually, in the beginning, that was true, but I’m not so sure anymore. That last year, I was getting 200+ hits per day, according to the stats, but I’ve no doubt many of those stumbled onto the site because the title, “in His own image,” sounded like a theist site, and they rapidly left, crossing themselves on the way – or in the case of any Jewish visitors, spitting – “Patooey! Patooey!”

                      The more I consider it, I would rather it became more like a library, where you go to research, learn, and pick up information to share with others. I would much rather that – a gathering of those who want to learn – than a WWB knock-down, drag-out like the one that’s been raging over at Nate’s for the past two months. And if anyone wants to have serious discussions, fine, I’ll be available to detail what I think, and why.

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                    • “The more I consider it, I would rather it became more like a library, where you go to research, learn, and pick up information to share with others. I would much rather that – a gathering of those who want to learn – than a WWB knock-down, drag-out like the one that’s been raging over at Nate’s for the past two months.”

                      Arch, I completely get where you are coming from. My website was static. And when I joined WP, I pretty much created a static website there as a library of information of sorts. But…I can tell you that having this blog has been more rewarding, more beneficial for me for a number of reasons, and I still get a lot of exposure at the other site even though I haven’t added any new data in a year. But people come here then on my other blog and vice versa. Still, I have met so many more people since I started this blog; people who’ve become my good friends. So I don’t see WP like you do. I’ve had very positive experiences, with a little splash of vinegar here and there — but like Rock Hudson said in the movie Giant, “we Texans like a little vinegar with our greens.” 😉

                      If static is what you’re looking for, then leaving images in comment sections and such shouldn’t be a big deal. When people see you posting very educational information on other people’s blog, they are going to clink on your name to read your blog. That’s where most of my followings (subscribers) have come from — people who saw me posting on other people’s WORDPRESS blogs.

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                    • Soak peeled cucumber slices in it overnight, or onion slices – makes for good condiments.

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                    • I like putting herbs in it. I love cucumber, tomatoes and onions in a little vinegar and oil. Mmmm

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                    • I may have neglected to mention – you soak them overnight, then drain and serve in a condiment dish, with a meal.

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                    • salt and pepper, too, of course.

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                    • S & P optional.

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  15. Well?

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  16. Be afraid. Be VERY afraid…

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  17. I see bloody Arch is here and is monopolizing your Dance card! Sheesh! 😉

    First thing that came to mind after reading – Scanners!
    Remember ?

    Like

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