The Daily Grail - What's in a Name?

What do you think of the name 'Daily Grail'? I've cringed in recent years at the name association with the Daily Mail, with their regular posting of bigoted and sensationalistic stories. I also, for a long while now, have referred to the site simply as 'The Grail' when chatting with others, simply for brevity.

So with the site relaunch coming up, I've been wondering whether it might worth shortening the name, to just 'The Grail', or even simply 'Grail'. There are reasons not to - e.g. many long-time readers identify good things with the name 'Daily Grail', and those shorter names aren't available as website domain names. But I also have a feeling that shortening the name would also freshen up the name (not least by separating it from the Daily Mail association), and might be more attractive for new readers coming to the site.

But I'd like to hear readers thoughts - so here's a Twitter poll I'm running to get people's thoughts. Feel free to chime in!

News Briefs 16-08-2017

Only five more days of wall-to-wall eclipse-related news stories!

Thanks Jason.

Quote of the Day:

The true guide of life is to do what is right.

Winston Churchill

This Promotional Video for a Killer Robot is Like Something Out of a Dystopian Sci-Fi Movie from the '80s

Robocop Ed

Every day we seem to be getting more and more confirmation that all those tacky dystopian sci-fi movies of the 80s, from Robocop to The Running Man, actually pretty much nailed how things would be in the future. The latest piece of evidence: this promotional video for the 'Tikad', a remote-controlled drone developed by Duke Robotics that is armed with a machine-gun and grenade launcher.

Governments are spending more than ever before on Defense budgets today, which provides an enormous incentive to solve problems that troops currently face.

TIKAD, the Future Soldier, saves lives by replacing boots on the ground.

Duke Robotics will work with select government clients around the globe with the goal to reduce the number of deployed troops as well as empower troops with immediate air-power deployment, improving prospects of mission success, minimizing battlefield injuries, loss of life to friendly troops and saving innocent civilians.

We never seem to learn the lesson that whatever weapons 'good guys' create, the other side will eventually get. How long until one of these things is flying through Times Square on New Years Eve?

Related stories:

News Briefs 15-07-2017

You won't believe what those children from Village of the Damned look like now...

Thanks to @G4MMA.

Quote of the Day:

We think we understand rules when we become adults, but what we really experience is a narrowing of the imagination.

David Lynch

Against Everyone with Conner Habib: Consciousness, Technology and the Contraction of Space and Time

My friend Conner Habib has just started a new Youtube series called Against Everyone, in which he explores many fascinating topics by himself or with special guests.

Episode #5 is a thought-provoking exploration on how our modern technology has changed both the way we humans deal with Space and Time. Yes, the world is literally at our fingertips whenever we reach out for our rectangular, portable mini-oracles --i.e. our smartphones-- but how does that change the way we perceive that world, or interact with each other?

If you like what Conner's doing, please consider supporting him through Patreon, which will grant you access to bonus videos. Lord knows what Youtube needs is more intelligent content intended to engage and educate its audience, instead of just numbing entertainment.

News Briefs 14-08-2017

Do what you can...

Quote of the Day:

They say that great beasts once roamed this world, as big as mountains. Yet all that’s left of them is bone and amber. Time undoes even the mightiest of creatures

Dolores, in 'Westworld'

News Briefs 11-08-2017

”The more false we destroy the more room there will be for the true.”

Quote of the Day:

“The present is the necessary product of all the past, the necessary cause of all the future.”

R. G. Ingersoll

Eternal Nightmare: Sleep Paralysis Found to be Linked to Traumatic Experiences and Stress

Fuseli - The Nightmare

Sleep paralysis is a well-known syndrome where, usually during the the transition into and out of sleep, the muscles of the body become paralysed, and in many cases terrifying hallucinations occur. But there has been little understanding so far of what might cause these scary events, and as such clinicians are not very well advised on how both recognize, and treat, sufferers.

Researchers involved in a new study have attempted to shed a bit more light on the subject, by conducting a systematic review of 42 previous published studies that have investigated variables "associated with both the frequency and intensity of sleep paralysis episodes". They found that, although many of the most obvious categories - such as age, gender, and ethnicity - showed little evidence of difference in frequency and intensity of sleep paralysis experiences, there were a few areas that seemed to be related. One of those areas was a history of trauma or stress:

A confirmed or unconfirmed history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) was found to be significantly related to frequency of sleep paralysis episodes... The frequency and intensity of intruder and incubus hallucinations were significantly greater in both CSA groups as compared to those who did not report sexual abuse... Sleep paralysis prevalence was significantly higher in both CSA groups compared to a control group who reported not having experienced CSA.

Other experiences of threatening/traumatic events also appear to be related to sleep paralysis. In a sample of Hmong immigrants living in the USA, stressful experiences during the Vietnam war (e.g., “I was exposed to chemical warfare”, “I lost family, close relatives or friends”) were related to increased odds of experiencing sleep paralysis. General experiences with potentially traumatic events (such as assault, death of a loved one, disasters, etc.) were found to be related to sleep paralysis in terms of the occurrence of a traumatic event. Also a link was found between increasing numbers of traumatic events experienced and sleep paralysis. Relatedly, self-report levels of life-stress showed similar associations with sleep paralysis.

The survey also found some evidence of a hereditary link to likelihood of suffering sleep paralysis, a higher level of sleep paralysis in those with narcolepsy, and also a higher frequency and intensity of the experience in individuals with higher “imaginativeness” - a composite measure "that comprised scales of absorption, fantasy proneness, magical thinking, imagery vividness, paranormal and mystic beliefs, perceptual aberration, and unusual sensory experiences". (Though it's possible there might be some correlation between "higher imaginativeness" and being a victim of trauma or stress.)

The study finishes by offering some 'practice points' for clinicians in identifying and treating likely sufferers of sleep paralysis, as well as a research agenda for future studies to continue improving our understanding of the phenomenon. And, the researchers note, the review suggests a couple of areas where potential interventions could be targeted at helping sufferers: "As factors such as anxiety and stress appear to be linked with sleep paralysis, techniques aiming to reduce levels of these factors [such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)] may also help in alleviating sleep paralysis episodes."

For non-sufferers of sleep paralysis, you can get a real feel for how horrible it can be by checking out Rodney Ascher's documentary The Nightmare, which is available on Netflix (trailer below):

Link: "A systematic review of variables associated with sleep paralysis (full-text)

Related stories:

News Briefs 10-08-2017

Welcome to Fire&Furyland. Population: ALL

Thanks to Rius and Calzonzin.

"Quote of the Day:

"Mix epic individualism with extreme religion; mix show business with everything else; let all that ferment for a few centuries; then run it through the anything-goes ’60s and the internet age. The result is the America we inhabit today, with reality and fantasy weirdly and dangerously blurred and commingled."

~Kurt Andersen, How America Lost Its Mind