“The Solution for Skin Ailments Could Be Right Under Your Nose” by FERRIS JABR

Adam McCauley

June 26, 2017 (nytimes.com)

Your skin is a tapestry of ecosystems roughly the size of three bath towels. Complex societies of bacteria, viruses and fungi live in these diverse habitats — from the oil fields of the face and back, to the damp caverns of the nose, to the parched and hairless palms.

For decades researchers have argued that some of the skin’s microscopic residents are partly to blame for certain disorders, such as acne and eczema. Now, it seems, bacteria may be part of the treatment, too.

Dr. Richard Gallo, a dermatologist and biologist at the University of California, San Diego, and his colleagues recently concocted an innovative microbial treatment for eczema, a disorder characterized by red, itchy, inflamed skin. The recipe was relatively simple.

Dr. Gallo had discovered that Staphylococcus hominis and Staphylococcus epidermidis, typically friendly members of the human skin microbiome, can kill Staphylococcus aureus, which is known to play a role in eczema. So the team swabbed S. hominis and S. epidermidis from the skin of a few volunteers with eczema, grew the bacteria in the lab, and incorporated the microbes into Cetaphil lotion.

Dr. Gallo and his collaborators published their results earlier this year in Science Translational Medicine.

“It’s the first time anything like this has been shown,” said Elizabeth Grice, a research dermatologist and microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania who was not involved in the experiment. “What remains to be seen is whether this kind of treatment can reduce the severity of skin disease over the long term.”

Only in the last few years have scientists seriously studied how to therapeutically modify the skin’s native colonies of microbes. Understanding this unique microbiome may yield new ideas for treating various dermatologic conditions.

Some studies suggest, for example, that people prone to acne carry more of the microbe Propionibacterium acnes on their skin. A disturbance in typical bacterial populations leads to conflict between P. acnes and neighboring species, the theory goes, which in turn triggers an inflammatory response in the skin.

In another study published late last year, Dr. Gallo and his colleagues injected a beneficial strain of Staphylococcus epidermidis, along with some food that only it could digest, into the ears of mice. The combination treatment, known as a synbiotic, encouraged the growth of S. epidermidis, which in turn reduced both the number of P. acnes and level of inflammation in the mice.

Other scientists have been reporting similar findings. In 2014, a team in South Korea and the United States showed that an extract from Helicobacter pylori — a common resident of the human stomach — also can inhibit P. acnes and decrease skin inflammation in mice.

Scientists in Canada have demonstrated that people who take both probiotics and antibiotics have significantly fewer acne lesions after 12 weeks, compared with people who take only one or the other.

Several private companies are racing to capitalize on a growing consumer appetite for probiotic cosmetics, toiletries and topical treatments. The biotech company AOBiome offers a “live probiotic spray,” for instance, that is meant to replenish populations of beneficial skin bacteria.

Many microbiologists worry, however, that the science is nowhere near advanced enough to justify the proliferation of these products. Scientists still have a lot to learn about what microbial ecosystems look like on healthy skin, how they change during illness, and how to safely interfere.

Topical probiotics can easily rub off and be transferred to other parts of the body or other people, Dr. Grice pointed out. Just because a microbe kills one species of pathogen does not mean it is unwaveringly “good” or peaceful.

And what if the bacteria in a lotion or spray were to infiltrate the body via a cut or scratch?

Dr. Grice agreed, however, that the idea is intriguing. Whereas typical antibiotics and antiseptics indiscriminately kill all kinds of bacteria throughout the body and drive the evolution of highly dangerous microbes impervious to existing drugs, probiotics may be much more selective.

And probiotics that successfully colonize the body have the unique ability to evolve in concert with a surrounding ecosystem. After all, genuine microbe-based therapies are not just cocktails of molecules; they contain living organisms that persist and adapt. Dr. Gallo calls his experimental lotion an “evolutionarily honed” treatment.

“There are so many new potent medicines right under our nose,” he said.

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“To Train an Athlete, Add 12 Minutes of Meditation to the Daily Mix” by GRETCHEN REYNOLDS

 CreditGetty Images

June 21, 2017 (nytimes.com)

If athletes practice meditation for a few minutes a day, they may become better able to withstand the mental demands of hours of strenuous physical training, according to an interesting new study of Division I college football players.

The study, which compared different types of mental training for stress resilience, could have relevance for anyone planning to start exercising or competing more intensely this summer.

Exercise, as most of us know, is a form of stress. The demands of exercise require our bodies to respond and adapt, and the greater the intensity of the exercise relative to our current fitness, the greater the level of stress it generates.

Much of this strain is physical, but some of it also involves the mind, says Amishi Jha, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Miami in Florida, who led the new study. Prolonged, strenuous training “requires attention,” she says, and a stern focus on continuing to exercise when it might be more pleasant to stop.

So for the new study, which was published in April in The Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, she and her colleagues wondered whether teaching people to relax or to hone their focus might improve their overall well-being. In effect, they wanted to find out whether training the athletes’ minds while they were also taxing their bodies might help to mitigate some of the undesirable effects of exercise on their thinking and emotions.

To find out, she and her colleagues turned to a group of athletes who face reliably outsize levels of physical and mental stress: Division I football players.

With the cooperation of the team’s coaches and student captains, Dr. Jha and her colleagues gathered players for the University of Miami team just as they were about to start four weeks of preseason training. During this time, the players would be attending summer classes while also undertaking a grueling regimen of aerobic and strength training, culminating in evaluations from coaches about starting positions. It is a particularly stressful period for the athletes.

Dr. Jha and her colleagues asked each player to complete a computerized test of his ability to focus and rapidly respond to various combinations of numbers flashing on the screen. The players also filled out questionnaires about their current mood and sense of well-being.

The researchers then divided 100 of the athletes into two groups.

One began a program of supervised relaxation training, during which they listened to calming music and learned to systematically relax their muscles.

The other group was taught mindfulness meditation, which involves paying close attention to breathing and to the present moment.

These sessions, whether of relaxation or meditation, were short, lasting for about 12 minutes, and usually took place immediately after the players had finished strength training and were still gathered in the team gym. The students also were asked to practice the same mental techniques on their own throughout the week.

The mental training was voluntary, though, and some players attended more sessions and practiced more frequently at home than others.

At the end of four weeks of the intense preseason, the players repeated the original tests of their attention and happiness.

The results showed that, in general, they were feeling the strain. For most of them, performance on the test of sustained attention dropped significantly, meaning that they were far more apt to lose focus now. They also were gloomier, according to questionnaires about their moods.

But there were differences. The more an athlete in the relaxation group had practiced relaxing, the less his mood had tended to decline, the researchers found.

And those in the meditation group, if they had practiced often, showed considerable mental resilience, with higher scores than the other athletes in either group on the measures of both attention and mood.

Over all, these data suggest that mental training of almost any kind may help to alleviate some of the emotional and cognitive strains that otherwise occur during physical training, Dr. Jha says.

But mindfulness meditation was more effective than simple relaxation at helping athletes to maintain their ability to focus, she points out.

This study was, of course, specialized, involving young, male, elite football players, whose lives and bodies are not representative of those of the rest of us. The study was also short-term and its scope limited. The researchers did not examine whether mental training improved players’ performance on the field, although Dr. Jha says that they hope to study that issue in the future.

Still, the results are promising, she says, in part because the commitment required was so slight.

“We only asked for about 12 minutes a day” of mental training, Dr. Jha says.

For the rest of us, she says, the study’s message would seem to be that if we plan to substantially ramp up our normal exercise routine, perhaps in anticipation of our first triathlon or a faster 5-kilometer race time, we might wish also to learn to mindfully meditate. (You can find advice about how to start in the Well Meditation Guide.)

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“Sex Without Condoms” by Matthew Terrell

(Photo by Matthew Terrell)

  • Jun 21st, 2017 (sfweekly.com)

For Pride this year, I’m celebrating by having sex without a condom for the first time.

Pride calls on us to embrace the freedoms queer folks have fought for — especially the right to free sex. Generations of my gay brothers were silenced by fists, intimidation, prison, religion, and the law — all because of the joy they found in other men’s bodies.

The halcyon days of 1970s sexual liberation are not some abandoned paradise, a shadow disappearing into a boarded-up bathhouse. Gay men gave of their bodies to overcome HIV as another obstacle to our sexual freedom. They gave us both PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and TasP (treatment as prevention) to continue a lifestyle of free gay sexuality. Considering how many people fought and died for me to have condomless sex with other men, I’ll take that option as a way to honor their legacy.

As a 31-year-old gay man, I’ve inherited a world where my desires are not criminalized, but it’s still haunted by the ghosts of our past sexual liberation.

When I came out, my mother said, “You’re going to die of AIDS.” I took it quite seriously, as many gay men have. For the better part of my sexual history, condoms were mandatory. However, they represent a physical and emotional barrier, a tool of a sex-negative society trying to keep us from experiencing true intimacy. The condom, like police brutality, anti-homosexuality laws, and gay conversion camps, stands as another tyrannical force we’ve fought to overcome. Gay men fought for HIV treatment as a means to help us live our sexual truth, because the exchange of seed is central to our power. We’ve come to a place with HIV-prevention medicine where we can once again have the same sex we fought to enjoy generations ago. Thousands of HIV-positive gay men gave their bodies to clinical trial after clinical trial, all to bring us to a place where two men of different sero-status can have sex without fear. It’s not just that “Every time we fuck, we win,” but also that “Every time we fuck, we honor those who died for this freedom.”

 One reason we remain sexually suppressed is that natural gay sex represents an exchange of power that makes us more beautiful beings. We can shape ourselves into exquisite creatures of light, something that a homophobic society finds threatening. Even if we are not procreating, our seed has the possibility to give life. This is how we strengthen ourselves against a sex-negative society that would otherwise have us erased. When queer, spiritual beings have a human experience by exchanging seed, we fill ourselves with magic. There’s nothing more life-affirming than allowing another man to take your body so you may both experience the sublime. This is a gift we give each other, to hold ourselves up against society’s judgment, to transcend the limitations of our bodies, and share spirits with our gay brothers.

Last week, I let a dear friend top me without a condom. Probably more than anybody I know, he’s got the magic inside of him, and I hope a bit of it will flow through my own body now. Allowing him inside me was an incredibly freeing experience. Finally, I knew that I was capable of loving and trusting another man enough to feel the deepest form of male intimacy. In that moment, I felt connected to more than just him. Natural sex gives gay men the chance to commune with the spirit of gay rebellion. It gives us the chance to connect with so many who came before us. We were but two men, each on PrEP, who shared our love without fear of reprisal. This is how we honor those who have fallen for our cause.

Every day, as I take my PrEP, I reflect on the countless gay bodies whose suffering brought us to the place where I can take a pill to prevent HIV. It’s more than a prevention pill; it’s a revolutionary tool. PrEP gives us the chance to share our magic, without the fearful barriers of condoms, while being protected on the cellular level. I want to honor them and their legacy for ringing in this revolution, and with each pill I thank my unnamed gay brethren for making the ultimate sacrifice so that I may experience freedom.

I view my fallen brothers not as victims of some plague, but as soldiers in a battle for our freedom. They represent the best of American idealism: valor, strength, resilience, and sacrifice.

HIV constantly evolves. The virus holds inside it the permanent imprint of each body it has passed through. Sometimes, I like to imagine my own possible seroconversion — the souls of positive men hardening into my veins, pulsing through me with every heartbeat, spreading to every cell.

But, for now, I take my PrEP daily, and consider myself part of a new phase in human evolution. One where mankind can live in symbiosis with a deadly disease. One where we can create community and identity around HIV as a means to erase its stigma. Gay people show the world how to overcome, through brotherly connection, what would otherwise eliminate us. I’m proud of that.

This Pride, I’m having sex without a condom as a means to return to my truth as a gay man.

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We Are Free…

When the shadows fall
and the fires burn
The forest calls to me and I must return
The night becomes primordial it murmurs and it hums
It draws me into mysteries with the sound of beating drums

And I’m so alive
I cant explain
I feel the moonlight
I sense the rain
The ghosts inside the looking glass
I hear their spectral sighs
and the tender sounds of innocence that haunt me with their cries

You and I
We are free
We belong to eternity
Ancient exiles are we

When the hunger comes
and I lose control
Hold me in the darkness
Bless my tarnished soul
I will run beside you
We’ll leave the past behind
We’ll hide inside the ages
Beneath the sands of time

You and I
We are free
We belong to eternity
Ancient exiles are we

You and I
We are free
We belong to eternity
Ancient exiles are we
Yes we’re exiles
You and me

Read more: Mary Fahl – Exiles: The Wolves Of Midwinter Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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“WE ARE NEVER UPSET FOR THE REASON WE THINK!” by Robert McEwen, H.W., M.

WE ARE NEVER UPSET FOR THE REASON WE THINK!
 
This is a widely taught premise in Releasing the Hidden Splendor, Jungian psychology, transpersonal psychology, ACIM, and a mirad collection of other modern new thought.
 
So here goes…
 
Your partner likely has nothing to do with how hurt you feel.
 
When you’re this hurt and convinced your partner is the cause of your pain, you’re almost certainly projecting. And when you project, you wholeheartedly believe your problem is one thing, but it actually comes from something else.
 
Projection happens when we blame our partners for old hurts. We don’t do it consciously. Conflict triggers unresolved issues from our past – including childhood wounds and disappointments from previous relationships.
 
It FEELS as if the other person is the cause of our upset, because, after all, he or she is right there with us and so they must be the problem. What else could it be?!
 
As we self observe, and do some self inquiry we discover the mirror our partner is for us.  I think it is so funny how angry, jealous, or sad I have gotten in the past in my relationships.  It is growing up and learning.  
 
Are you having fun too?   You gotta Laugh!
–Robert McEwen, H.W., M.
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Scientists Now Believe the Universe Itself May Be Conscious

June 28, 2017 at 6:56 pm

(ANTIMEDIA) – You don’t have to look far to find outlandish theories on the nature of the cosmos and human consciousness. These days, notions once relegated to science fiction are finding their way into esoteric academic journals, and from there, into mainstream discourse. One example of this is the Simulation Argument, recently championed by Elon Musk; another is ‘time crystals,’ a tantalizing non-linear phase of matter. The newest symphony of mind jazz being broadcast across the Internet posits new ideas about the embattled theory of “panpsychism,” or the belief that mind is a fundamental property of the physical universe and is imbued into all states of matter.

new paper, published by physicist Gregory Matloff, has brought the idea back into scientific discussions, promising experimental tests that could “validate or falsify” the concept of a ubiquitous “proto-consciousness field.” Matloff also pushes the controversial idea of volitional stars, suggesting there is actually evidence that stars control their own galactic paths.

As absurd as the theory sounds, it has several prominent adherents, including British theoretical physicist Sir Roger Penrose, who introduced panpsychism three decades ago. Penrose believed consciousness arises from the properties of quantum entanglement. He and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff authored the Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch-OR) hypothesis, which asserts, among other things, that consciousness results from quantum vibrations inside microtubules.

“The only dominant theory we have of consciousness says that it is associated with complexity — with a system’s ability to act upon its own state and determine its own fate,” Koch argues“Theory states that it could go down to very simple systems. In principle, some purely physical systems that are not biological or organic may also be conscious.”

Matloff and other scientists are moving the argument into a new phase: experimentation. Matloff intends to study the behavior of stars, specifically analyzing an anomaly in stellar motion known as Paranego’s Discontinuity. Matloff wants to know why certain cooler stars appear to emit jets of energy pointed in one direction, a characteristic that seems oddly and inexplicably ubiquitous in the galaxy. In 2018, he plans to use results from the Gaia star-mapping space telescope to show that the anomaly may be a willful stellar action.

Meanwhile, as Matloff studies cosmic activity on the grandest scale, Koch approaches the experimental phase of the theory using brain-impaired patients. He wants to know if their information responses match underlying neurochemical foundations of consciousness. He plans to test this by wiring the brains of mice together to see if their minds merge into a larger information system.

Panpsychism certainly has critics, as well. In an article for The Atlantic entitled “Why Panpsychism Is Probably Wrong,” Keith Frankish writes:

“Panpsychism gives consciousness a curious status. It places it at the very heart of every physical entity yet threatens to render it explanatorily idle. For the behavior of subatomic particles and the systems they constitute promises to be fully explained by physics and the other physical sciences. Panpsychism offers no distinctive predictions or explanations. It finds a place for consciousness in the physical world, but that place is a sort of limbo.”

The quote expresses a general sense that panpsychism oversimplifies the hard problem of consciousness in the universe, an opinion many scientists share. However, Matloff, Penrose, and other proponents continue undertaking the job of venturing outside the margins of accepted science to try reconciling intractable contradictions and anomalies exposed by quantum theory.

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Zeno effect, quantum biology, and spacetime geometry

Quantum Zeno dynamics in a superconducting qubit

By: William Brown

The Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea posed several philosophical arguments that have become collectively known as Zeno’s paradoxes. One such argument is known as Zeno’s arrow paradox; the simplistic explanation of which is that in order for motion to occur an object must change its location, like an arrow flying to its target, yet at any instantaneous moment the arrow is motionless, and since, as Zeno posed, time is composed of a sequence of many such duration-less instants, then motion of the arrow is impossible. This paradox is actually highly salient to an understanding of the fundamental nature of motion and time, and hence the fundamentals of physics.

Zeno’s paradox has found its way into the lexicon of quantum mechanics in a class of phenomena known as quantum Zeno dynamics. As the name would indicate, quantum Zeno effects have to do with time evolution of a system, often with effects that are paradoxically counter to what is normally observed in quantum experimentation. For instance, frequent measurements of a quantum system can in fact arrest its evolution, delaying its decay — even going so far as to decouple a system from its decohering environment. This is the opposite of what “measurements”, or interactions with the environment are normally thought to do in quantum mechanics theory.

Quantum Zeno Dynamics

In quantum Zeno dynamics, the decoherence rate of a quantum state can be either increased or decreased by how the system is coupled to the environment. When the time evolution or decay of a quantum state is frozen, it is referred to as the Zeno effect. An increased decay rate is known as the anti-Zeno effect, because instead of “freezing” the state of the quantum system in time, it accelerates its time evolution. Frequent measurements will alter how a quantum state, such as a qubit, will interact with the environment, essentially allowing control of quantum evolution with tunable environmental interactions.

Certain schemes of coupling a quantum system with the environment are referred to as “quasi-measurements”, as the interaction with the environment does not necessarily transmit information about the state of the quantum system – highlighting that the effect is not necessarily antithetical to the normal description of environmental decoherence in quantum theory.

in the June 14, 2017, issue of Physical Review Letters physicists describe the observation of quasi-measurements producing quantum Zeno effects. Their protocol used a qubit uniquely coupled to a thermal bath to produce both enhanced and diminished decay times. Researchers were able to show that by changing the frequency and type of interaction of the qubit with a noise-source they could arrest the evolution of the system, such that the qubit did not decohere or decay, or they could accelerate the decay.

The latest experiment was a first because “while Zeno effects, and more broadly Zeno dynamics, have been studied with superconducting qubits, the anti-Zeno effect has not yet been studied at the level of a single quantum system.”

Does the Zeno effect have relevance beyond quantum computing?

In addition to potential implications and applications in quantum computing, Resonance Science Foundation researchers are taking notice in the results because of potential implications in understanding the finely ordered and coherent state of the biological system. Just as quantum measurements are being utilized to stabilize the fragile state of the artificial qubit, similar mechanisms may be involved in stabilizing quantum states, natural qubits, in the biological system.

For instance, the quantum Zeno effect can be considered in evaluating how theories involving non-classical information processing dynamics in a strongly interacting environment like the cell may in fact be occurring. Information processing that may involve quantum correlation (entanglement) or nonlocal interaction have largely been summarily dismissed because of the presumed high amount of noise of the biological system.

Such a presumption, however, may be problematic or largely erroneous because the molecular structures of the biological system are in a highly ordered arrangement and are comprised of novel forms of matter that have been exquisitely fine-tuned by natural selection over billions of years. It is no stretch of the imagination that novel molecular forms that optimally capitalize on nature’s intrinsic properties, such as quantum informational dynamics, will have an immediate selective advantage – highly improved efficiency of photosynthesis and metabolism, greater environmental sensitivity, memory, responsiveness, and perhaps greater cognitive capabilities.

As such, biomolecules may not be comparable to the “simple matter” — often times individual quanta like free photons and electrons — used in experimentation where non-classical quantum phenomena are observed. The biological supramolecular assemblies of the cell are a special state of matter. And the large numbers of interacting units and their frequent interaction may in fact enable a certain degree of increased “quantumness” instead of being the primary source of decoherence as is naively assumed.

For instance, there are relatively new developments in quantum mechanics such as quantum discord, where the “quantumness” of correlations can be variable and present in certain mixed separable states – that is to say, quantum correlations that exist but that are not necessarily entanglement. In terms of the relatively high temperature of the biological system, a condition that is supposed to inhibit strong coherence, it has been shown that for a qubit pair in contact with a normally decohering environment, like a heat bath, the strength of correlations can actually increase with increasing temperature.

This brings us to the quantum Zeno effect, where measurements made in rapid succession can actually prolong the quantum coherency of a state. This is quite the paradoxical situation, because measurements are supposed to be the agents of decoherence and decay of quantum states, yet here increased interaction can do the opposite. Leading to the question of whether the frequent interactivity / communication of components of the supramolecular assemblies of the biological system may work to prolong and enhance the lifetime of strongly coupled and coherent states.

Relevant supramolecular assemblies include the plasma membrane, mitochondria, DNA, and microtubules. Mitochondria and microtubules are significant in that they can theoretically function as quantum electrodynamic cavities, where interactions between light, atomically ordered water, and electron dipole moments can form quantum coherent states for intra- and inter-cellular dissipation-less solitonic energy transfer and quantum teleportation.

Mitochondria and microtubules, in close association, form dendritic networks in which coherent photon emission can be channeled through the cell. Coherent photons modulate the electronic properties of biomolecules, a QED-like mechanism that can be used to holographically store information as well as initiate physicochemical responses in the cellular system. This system is referred to as the holographic information network of the mitochondrial reticular matrix.

Intercellular networks are formed by gap junctions and tunneling nanotubes, the latter of which contain filamentous mitochondria and microtubules that can connect multiple cells, enabling gestalt information transmission and processing. Quantum coherence and nonlocal phenomena can enable the cellular information system to perform massively parallel processing, enabling remarkable organizational synergy and unified orchestration of function.

Zeno effect, quantum biology, and spacetime geometry – a unified picture

As explained in the manuscript the Unified Spacememory Network by Haramein et alia, nonlocality is a result of spacetime geometry, such that entanglement is the manifestation of multiply-connected spacetime architecture, i.e. a Planckian micro-wromhole network, or quantum spacetime foam. This multiply-connected geometry represents a kind of hyperspace, comprised of information resulting from the quasi-instantaneous communicativity of all spacetime frames across spatial and temporal domains. The interaction across this transtemporal, nonlocal connectivity network is one way in which memory, recorded in the entanglement connectivity patterns, is produced. Hence the moniker, spacememory network.

This has important implications for considerations of entanglement and other quantum processes of nonlocality in the biological system. Specifically, entanglement necessarily results from the underlying spacetime geometry – therefore any such process interlaces functions of the biological system with the informational manifold of the spacememory network. A possibly important dynamic that, theoretically, would be intricately and inextricably involved in processes of evolution, development, sentience and memory of the living system.

Experiments that advance our understanding of quantum entanglement and other phenomena involving nonlocality, like the testing of quantum Zeno dynamics with qubit stability, are important for developing a deeper understanding of how nature may be utilizing quantum dynamics, particularly in the biological system. While theoretical considerations of quantum coherence, entanglement, and other nonlocal phenomena in the living organism remain relatively controversial, the true test of these ideas will be to conduct experiments aimed at observing just such phenomena. Resonance Science Foundation researchers are designing experimental protocols to do exactly that, so that soon they will be able to experimentally test whether or not the entanglement and information exchange with the nonlocal spacememory network is in fact supported observationally and empirically.

 

More to Explore:

Quantum Zeno effects from measurement controlled qubit—bath interactions

Experimental realization of quantum zeno dynamics

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