I have been trying to figure out how to write about this year’s Dreamland Festival and having a hard time. Some things happened there that were beyond the extraordinary, and I just almost don’t know where to begin. One thing: this year, we recorded the parts of it that were not involved with people’s personal material, so it will be possible for those who could not make it to hear and see some of these presentations.

Here were the highlights for me:
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Many Native American tribes have a deity called “Trickster Coyote,” who plays pranks on people in order to bring them enlightenment, and the Visitors often do this as well. In her new diary, Anne Strieber writes, “This is the story of how Whitley, in the role of Trickster Coyote, played a practical joke on one of the world’s most famous religious leaders without meaning to.” She read this diary aloud at the recent Dreamland Festival. You will notice that she does not mention the name of this religious leader, but Whitley blurted it out after her reading, so if you attended the Festival, you KNOW who she’s talking about!

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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Do we get cancer because we evolved big brains? That’s a depressing thought, but it may be true.

It’s a question that has nagged cancer researcher John McDonald, who says, “I was always intrigued by the fact that chimpanzees appear to have lower rates of cancer than humans.”

McDonald and team compared chimp-human gene expression patterns in five tissues: brain, testes, liver, kidneys and heart. They found distinct differences in the way programmed cell death operates, suggesting that humans do not “self-destroy” cells as effectively as chimpanzees do. This “self-destruction” is one of the primary mechanisms by which our bodies get rid of cancer cells.
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In autistics, anyway – There are more savants out there than we realized.

In New Scientist, Celeste Biever describes her meeting with a 29-year-old blind musical savant with autism who can play any music you request, entirely from memory. She quotes psychiatrist Darold Treffert, who consulted on the film “Rain Man”, as saying, “What makes savants so interesting is this jarring juxtaposition of ability and disability in the same person. We are used to seeing skills that are consistent with each other.”
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