Where do we descend from? An interstellar civilization dwelling the geometric realms located in the backyard of the universe or, perhaps from a shrew-like creature that lived more than 150 million years ago?
Evolution is the theory in biology postulating that the various types of species on Earth have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations.
Even though more than 2 million existing species of organisms have been named and described; many more remain to be discovered, from 10 to 30 million, according to some estimates.
All living creatures are related by descent from common ancestors. Reptiles, amphibians, and fishes seem to share an ancestors what is known as “aquatic worms” that lived 600 million years ago, and plants derive from bacteria-like microorganisms that originated more than 3 billion years ago.
The diversity of the living world is staggering. The flora and fauna we are familiar with, has an ancestor but…what is their ancestor and, where did it went?
12 months ago we walked into the year 2020 not having the slightest idea about these terrifying, dark times we where about to encounter.
Today, a deep psychological fear for this biological parasite, aka COVID-19, has gripped the world population resulting in an avalanche of (conspiracy) theories passing the revue… this ever since the World Health Organization recognized this health attacking virus as a global pandemic.
What is its origin? Where is it traveling towards and when does it all stop?
Paramedic, Thomas van Brunschot, explains how he is experiencing this fear inducing pandemic from both a professional and personal point of view as his mother (93), my mother-in-law, is also being diagnosed with Corona.
For print-on-demand & digital issues of the magazine, visit:
“The NBC News has put it bluntly Covid models predicted devastation in Africa, but the reality is starkly different”, says J. A. Jones Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University, Adrian Bejan.
As of 24 March 2020, more than 63.090.470 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in more than 190 countries and territories, resulting in 1.465.415 deaths and 40.366.250 recoveries. An avalanche of theories have passed the revue ever since the World Health Organization recognized this health attacking virus as a global pandemic.
What is its origin? Where is it traveling and when does it all stop?
Even though many tent to think that COVID-19 is a young virus, the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all corona-viruses is, according to Wikipedia, estimated to have existed as far as 8000 BCE, although some models place the common ancestor as far back as 55 million years or more, implying long term coevolution with bat and avian species. The most recent common ancestor of the alpha-corona virus line has been placed at about 2400 BCE, of the beta-corona virus line at 3300 BCE, of the gamma-corona virus line at 2800 BCE, and of the delta-corona virus line at about 3000 BCE.
Can we merge this historic human story with an unexpected discovery of a new mental ‘connection’ between two previously disconnected physical phenomena? Can we predict the travel path of COVID-19? J. A. Jones Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University, Adrian Bejan, says we can.
In the attached PDF Prof. A. Bejan, who has made contributions to modern thermodynamics and developed what he calls the constructal law, supports the prediction he made in March 2020 concerning the travel-path of COVID-19 and why Africa was relatively untouched by the corona virus.[Top]
With author Lynn Russell
Are we, in some unexplainable manner, 100% aware of this final journey we take in the moment death is medically declared? Or is it just the mind playing tricks with you?
Traditionally, death has been determined by the medical profession using basic methods. These methods took the form of using either a heart or lung functioning criteria for death. To declare ones death, physicians would ‘feel for the pulse, listen for breathing, hold a mirror before the nose to test for condensation, and looked to see if the pupils were fixed.
But, as medical technology developed, a gap began to form between traditional cardiopulmonary standards and our conceptions of death. The spirit world became both an accepted fact for many and a topic for myriad scientific researchers.
I am your host Maria Anna van Driel… and you’re listening to “The Next Truth; Where Science and Myth Meet” and this week I am speaking with the author of “The Wonder of Your” Lynn Kathleen Russell about if Near death and Out of Body Experiences are our connection with this vast space we have become familiar with as, the universe.[Top]
With Retired British Murder Squad Detective Trevor Marriott
In the autumn of 1888 a series of brutal murders in the East End of London lit a flame that sent shockwaves reverberating around the civilized world and caused a scandal that struck right at the heart of the British establishment.
During the 1880s, the city of London was in parts a dirty, rotten, festering maze of slums replete with wandering gin addicts and foul-mouthed harlots and was experiencing a population explosion, with immigrants from around the world coming to the great city to find work.
But it wasn’t exactly the land of hope and glory for everybody, and some of the streets in the poorer East end of the city were a long way from being a yellow brick road.
This is where our man Jack the Ripper chose to ply his trade.
I am your host Maria Anna van Driel… and you’re listening to “The Next Truth; Where Science and Myth Meet” and this week I am speaking with retired British murder squad detective Trevor Marriott about what drove this serial killer nabbing mostly working girls from the streets and brutally killing them in 1888 and… did he figured out this mystery of who Jack the Ripper was?[Top]
Attorney of Law Ms. Karen Conti weighs in on her experience with serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Clowns, they were once figures of innocent fun, brightly colored jesters performing to laughing children – but the real-life story of killer clown John Wayne Gacy is more disturbing than anything you will see in cinemas.
John Wayne Gacy, aka Pogo the Clown, was one of the most sadistic serial killers in the 1970s. No one could suspect that beneath the colorful makeup a cruel and pitiless murderer was lurking who was luring his young victims back to his home in Norwood Park, Illinois. … killing at least 33 young men and boys.
It was in March of this year that I became tremendously curious to this horrifying case when I encountered Ms. Conti’s story about how she had served as one of John Gacy’s last attorneys as he fought to overturn his pending death sentence that has now become part of America’s true crime hall of fame.
Not only does Ms. Conti know what it is like to look the killer clown in the eye, she is a dynamic and influential attorney in the local and national legal community and has handled of numerous high-profile cases.
She is a member of the Illinois, California, and U.S. Supreme Court bars. She taught and lectured at Stanford University and American University in Washington, D.C., regular appears on MSNBC, Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, truTV, and other media venues. Her current focus is on her practice in family law, where she has gained prominence among her peers and the bench.
I am your host Maria Anna van Driel… and you’re listening to “The Next Truth; Where Science and Myth Meet” and this week I am speaking with Ms. Karen Conti about how the story of a young lawyer, whose client turned out to be a sadistic serial killer wearing a painted smile, begins.[Top]
Have you ever wondered how your brain is reacting when you eat too much sugar…why mountain climbers have chocolate in their backpacks or how cotton candy is being made?
The Next Truth: Young People Science has research these, and more, fun questions for you to wrap your mind around and to become smarter than you teachers.
But wait! This month you don’t have ask your parents…you can download the FREE PDF via the website and read all about “The Science of Candy”
* Questions you have been walking around with for years? The Next Truth provides an answer! Email your questions to; firstname.lastname@example.org[Top]
In one of my FB posts I have mentioned that The Next Truth was leaving the door ajar concerning the gained the opportunity to go ON-AIR. Well, a few days back the first requests were send out what has started the process of recording and editing some of the very first Skype interviews.
Yesterday The Next Truth had the privilege to speak with Mrs. Chiara Chiesa who is an International Public Relation expert and Space Technology Commercialization Transfer advisor and recently has being selected as mentor, female model and ambassador for the Space4Woman Network of the United Nations for Space Affairs. UNOOSA United Office for Outer Space Affairs.
It was about 3 weeks ago that a friend of mine from the scientific community mailed me a highly interesting link what directed me to Chiara’s LinkedIn post what read that she is one of the 27 women, chosen between space professionals and space industry leaders from all over the world, who will engage in popular activities and, with personal stories, aim to inspire and mentoring girls and women to study STEM subjects and access the space sector.
And if that is not impressive enough, she is also the president and co-founder of INTERSTELLARS and fond of new technologies, sales advisor for Graphene-xt and PR and advisor for Walle mobility, which is a taxy-drone startup.
Chiara is one of the 1000 “Unstoppable women” who are changing Italy through innovation, list by StartupItalia and aims her focus on inspiring girls and women to pursue STEM and space careers.
* Stay tuned for the precise date of the first podcast to be broadcasted.[Top]
By Maria Anna van Driel
As they say, trauma is a vivid nightmare that comes while we are in this state of being ‘awake’. Not only is it, for a myriad of people, difficult to overcome the psychological bruises which are accompanied with trauma, it also takes tremendous perseverance and resilience to overcome this invisible battle that is taking place day-in and day-out.
Not knowing how to cope with it, you knock on the door of a professional psychologist or psychiatrist who will then let you run into a new wall by telling you to act as a stereo-type victim as well as that you have to replenish your medicine cabinet and…they have the best recipes for you to suppress any nasty thought and/or spooky dream, which will wake you up screaming, you are about to experience in the future.
There is no doubt that, for some people, medication is a true working remedy but, as we all know, we are all unique individuals meaning, everyone has their own way in responding to a traumatic event. Even though Cliniclowns are doing incredible and important work, a professional psychologist and/or psychiatrist does not have to dress-up and/or act as such all the time but is seems that the above mentioned psychologist and psychiatrist have forgotten that positivity and laughter, for instance, do have a deeper and longer effect in losing certain tensions whereby this suffering suddenly has a transformative power.
We have all hear about stress and its inevitability, yet succumb to the displeasure when it strikes us. While resilience may help to withstand the pain to some extent, PTGO allows us to grasp the knowledge of using the pain to change our lives for the better.
When we think about it for a moment, it is remarkable to see that the brain is, somehow, capable of ‘choosing’ such a vivid form of processing the stress that is accompanied with PTSD. In this it would be an almost logical line of thought that this reality is as real as the sandwich you are eating during lunch…right?
This made me curious about PTGO. I read many articles concerning PTSD and PTGO during the last weeks and even had the privilege to speak with several Neuro-Psychologists and (clinical) Psychologists via Skype. The pro’s and con’s of medical and spiritual healing processes were indeed interesting topics to discuss as well as trauma being the main cause for a foggy/altered reality.
However, be in religion, poetry, philosophy, or literature, the general understanding of how pain can be beneficial is not a new concept altogether. The scientific field of positive psychology has embraced this process of thriving and calls it Post-Traumatic Growth Order (PTGO) better known as the self-improvement one undergoes after experiencing life challenges.
The idea of Post Traumatic Growth Order is a popular one and describes how survivors of traumatic events cannot only heal from their trauma, but may actually grow into a stronger, more driven, and more resilient person because of their trauma.
With evidence-backed examples, the astonishing and eye-opening articles of experts, which can be read in this month’s issue of The Next Truth, will delve a little deeper than what we have known so far about trauma. They will help you in understanding the essentials of PTGO, how to weather it and how to apply this in our lives.[Top]
Behavioral expert and Psychologist Professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin Weighs In
By Maria Anna van Driel, www.nexttruth.com
It was inevitable! The threat of the corona virus pandemic has gripped the world population. The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 was, according to Wikipedia, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China, in December 2019, and was recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. As of 24 March, more than 414,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in more than 190 countries and territories, resulting in more than 18,500 deaths and more than 108,000 recoveries. But besides the clinical picture of COVID-19 and the myriad news broadcasts spreading an avalanche of information on how to reduce the process of becoming sick and how to prevent the virus spreading, there is also a psychological effect. An effect what is most likely finds its source in the isolation that has imposed on people and will remain visible for a longer period after COVID-19 is so abundantly present in our lives.
How do people perceive the risks of this novel threat? What are the psychological effects of the isolation we are experiencing? To gain both a deeper insight in these questions and a clearer view on the latest research developments of today’s pandemic I reached out to an expert on public behavior during risky times and decision-making from the Netherland, Prof. Wändi Bruine de Bruin, PhD.
Prof. Bruine de Bruin moved to USC from the University of Leeds (United Kingdom), where she directed the Center for Decision Research and held a Leadership Chair in Behavioral Decision Making. In January 2020 she imitated the new position of “Provost Professor of Public Policy, Psychology, and Behavioral Science” at the University of Southern California (USC) where her research aims to understand and inform how, across the life span, people make decisions about their health, their well-being, and their environmental impacts.
‘At USC, Prof. Bruine de Bruin explains, Provost Professors are appointed by the Provost in recognition of their contribution to multiple academic disciplines.’ ‘It feels great to get this recognition and that interdisciplinary research is valued so much at the University of Southern California. In my view, important societal problems cannot be resolved by looking at them through the narrow lens of just one academic discipline.’
Together with her colleagues at the USC, she is conducting a national US longitudinal survey to track people’s risk perceptions of and experiences with COVID-19, as well as economic and mental health consequences. But when Prof. Bruine de Bruin started her career, applied and interdisciplinary research was often frowned upon – because it was thought to not make sufficient theoretical contributions. In this she disagrees, given that insights from other disciplines can help improve on theories and methods for testing theories.
‘Needless to say, my first semester at USC did not turn out the way I had anticipated’, Prof. Bruine de Bruin adds. ‘Fortunately, my USC colleagues are also wonderful to work with over Skype, Zoom, phone, and email.’
Nowadays she has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers on these topics, in journals targeting psychology, public policy, health, and environmental science. She is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Experimental Psychology:Applied, the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Decision, Medical Decision Making, the Journal of Risk Research, and Psychology and Aging.
‘We have come a long way in showing that interdisciplinary research can lead to new insights – with both practical and theoretical implications’, Prof Bruin de Bruin states proudly.
To become more familiar with the work of Prof. Wändi Bruine de Bruin you can visit the Website of the University of Southern California, https://priceschool.usc.edu/people/wandi-bruine-de-bruin/
Welcome Professor Bruine de Bruin. I appreciate the time you are taking for letting us peer into your career as a provost Professor of public policy, psychology, and behavioral science and your psychological view on this frightening topic of COVID-19.
Q: Can you tell the readers of The Next Truth a little bit about yourself? Who is Professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin?
Prof. Bruine de Bruin: I grew up on a flower farm in the Netherlands, and was the first in my family to attend university. I received a BSc in psychology and an MSc in cognitive psychology from the Free University in Amsterdam. My family wasn’t sure how to feel about my chosen path, but that changed when I got into the PhD program in Behavioral Decision Research at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States.
Q: What inspired you to step into the science of psychology and behavioral science?
Prof. Bruine de Bruin: I originally wanted to be a therapist, so I went to the Free University in Amsterdam to study clinical psychology. However, the initial classes I was taking on that topic did not involve a lot of discussion of the evidence base for their approaches. I was much more attracted to the psychology of judgment and decision making, which was taught as part of cognitive psychology, and offered a more rigorous approach for identifying potential problems, developing interventions, and testing their effectiveness. Although a lot of the research in that field focused on studying decision problems in the lab, with undergraduate students as participants, I thought it had great promise for understanding and informing people’s decisions about real-world issues, such as those related to their health, finances, and environmental impacts.
Q: I spoke briefly to your colleague Professor Baruch Fischhoff and he made me extremely curious about the origin of your surname. Would you reveal to our readers what the peculiarity and history is of your surname?
Prof. Bruine de Bruin: My mother spent some time tracking our family history and it turns out that our last name is a mistake. “De Bruin” is a common last name in the Netherlands and it means Brown. At some point in my family history, someone added “Bruine” (which also means brown) to indicate the first name of their father. A lot of people think that our name indicates some kind of fancy heritage, but it was simply a mistake. My family has existed of farmers or farm hands for many generations.
My name is unique, but hard to spell. Even my co-authors have a hard time getting it right. I often get mis-cited as de Bruin, WB or with several other variations.
Q: If I understood correctly, you are originally from the Netherlands. How did you come to work as a collaborating professor at Carnegie Mellon University?
Prof. Bruine de Bruin: Gideon Keren supervised my masters thesis and he strongly encouraged me to apply to the PhD program at Carnegie Mellon University. I had never been to the United States, and wasn’t so sure that I wanted to live there. But I loved the idea of working with Baruch Fischhoff, whom I had cited heavily in my masters thesis. I got in, and have been working with Baruch ever since. (And I liked living in the United States much more than I thought I would. I lived in Pittsburgh for a total of 16 years, and live in Los Angeles now, after 7 years in Leeds, United Kingdom. I am still a collaborating professor at Carnegie Mellon today, although my main affiliation is now as Provost Professor at the University of Southern California.)
Q: The world has undergone a lock-down so to speak. What do you think will be the psychological and economical effect(s) of this global isolation?
Prof. Bruine de Bruin: In the baseline survey of our national longitudinal COVID-19 survey that we conducted in March 2020, when COVID-19 was starting to spread in the United States, we were already seeing the initial mental health consequences. Participants were reporting elevated levels of anxiety and depression, which are likely to worsen over time, as the health and financial consequences worsen.
Q: Are you in a quarantine area yourself? If so, how limited are your social activities at the moment and how do you experience this isolation?
Prof, Bruin de Bruin: My husband and I only recently moved to Los Angeles. I started my new job at USC in January of 2020. We were hardly settled in when the stay at home order went into effect in California. We had not even gotten around to buying a car yet – not that we need it now.
I have been working from home since March 10. I started earlier than was required by USC or the state of California, because I had been taking the bus to work, and it seemed wise to avoid public transportation.
Although I am not a pandemic flu expert, I had served on two expert panels on pandemic flu in 2005-2006, to contribute expertise in psychology and behavioral science. I had learned a lot about pandemic flu and non-pharmacological interventions such as social distancing.
We still go out for walks in our neighborhood, where the streets are quiet and it is easy to maintain a safe distance from others. Because we only just moved here from England, we very much enjoy the weather and the beautiful gardens in our neighborhood. I think those walks are keeping me sane. And, even though it may sound strange, all the work associated with the COVID-19 survey is also helping to keep my mind off worries about COVID-19.
Q: According to the website of World Health Organization; “Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.” Which impact has information as such on the decisions people make?
Prof. Bruine de Bruin: In our initial survey that we conducted in March 2020, we are not yet seeing a lot of differences between older vs. younger people, and people with vs. without diabetes, in terms of their tendency to step up their hand-washing and social distancing. I think that at that time, people were still unsure about how serious it was, and what to do.
We did find that older adult age was associated with reporting better mental health, despite older adults recognizing the greater case-fatality rate for their age group. This finding is in line with other research in the psychology of aging, which suggests that older adults experience less negative emotions, have better emotion regulation, and are less responsive to stressors.
It is possible that these findings will change as the epidemic continues, and people who are older and those with serious health conditions are disproportionally affected. I expect that our first follow-up survey will show more responsiveness to the information that has been released, in regards to greater risk perceptions and anxiety, and even more implementation of protective behaviors. We will also be examining how people with serious health conditions are faring.
Q: Racism or xenophobia seems to rise in people’s minds as soon as social media hints in the direction of a possible origin of a flu outbreak. It was only recently that the world was in a panic mode about Ebola, which originated in Africa. How do you think that a previous shock as such plays into how people are reacting today on the threat of the COVID-19?
Prof. Bruine de Bruin: Our survey had questions about discrimination and unfair treatment associated with COVID-19. In our initial analysis of data collected between March 10-16, we found that 14 percent of Asians and 10 percent of non-Hispanic blacks had such experiences, as opposed to 4 percent of non-Hispanic whites, 6 percent of Hispanics and 6 percent of people in other racial and ethnic groups.
Q: Professor Bruine de Bruin, thank you so much for this interview. Do you have any additional advice you can give on how people can manage their anxiety around this novel virus?
Prof. Bruine de Bruin: A lot of people are feeling increased anxiety, which is normal under these circumstances. Some helpful suggestions from the field of psychology for reducing anxiety:
- Focus on the things you can control
- Limit exposure to anxiety-provoking news sources
- Do slow breathing exercises
- Be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up for being stressed and distracted
- Take care of your health
- Stick to a daily routine
- Connect with others (via the phone, Skype, or zoom)
- Seek professional help (via phone or telehealth) if your anxiety is too hard to deal with
For additional suggestions, please see the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html[Top]