January 24, 2015
"The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection"
If you had asked me what causes drug addiction at the start, I would have looked at you as if you were an idiot, and said: "Drugs. Duh." It's not difficult to grasp. I thought I had seen it in my own life. We can all explain it. Imagine if you and I and the next twenty people to pass us on the street take a really potent drug for twenty days. There are strong chemical hooks in these drugs, so if we stopped on day twenty-one, our bodies would need the chemical. We would have a ferocious craving. We would be addicted. That's what addiction means.
Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It's how we get our satisfaction. If we can't connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find -- the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about 'addiction' altogether, and instead call it 'bonding.' A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn't bond as fully with anything else.
So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.
He points to the experience of Portugal where decriminalization of drugs has been a great success.
An independent study by the British Journal of Criminology found that since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. I'll repeat that: injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. Decriminalization has been such a manifest success that very few people in Portugal want to go back to the old system. The main campaigner against the decriminalization back in 2000 was Joao Figueira, the country's top drug cop. He offered all the dire warnings that we would expect from the Daily Mail or Fox News. But when we sat together in Lisbon, he told me that everything he predicted had not come to pass -- and he now hopes the whole world will follow Portugal's example.
This isn't only relevant to the addicts I love. It is relevant to all of us, because it forces us to think differently about ourselves. Human beings are bonding animals. We need to connect and love. The wisest sentence of the twentieth century was E.M. Forster's -- "only connect." But we have created an environment and a culture that cut us off from connection, or offer only the parody of it offered by the Internet. The rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live -- constantly directing our gaze towards the next shiny object we should buy, rather than the human beings all around us.
January 23, 2015
Health roundup: Coffee, nuts, brain food, a drink a day, a lunch hour walk and chilly feet
From Well at the New York Times
The Benefits of a Lunch Hour Walk - even gentle lunchtime strolls can perceptibly — and immediately — buoy people’s moods and ability to handle stress at work.
A Drink a Day to Lower Heart Failure Risk - A new study, in the European Heart Journal, followed 14,629 people for 24 years, starting at an average age of 54. It found that moderate drinkers have a lower risk of heart failure than either heavy drinkers or abstainers. Compared with abstainers, men who drank up to a drink a day — a glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer or a shot of liquor — had a 20 percent reduced risk, and women a 16 percent reduced risk, of heart failure. The advantage gradually declined with heavier drinking.
Coffee May Cut Melanoma Risk - slightly. Drinking four or more cups of coffee was associated with a 20 percent risk reduction compared with those who drank none.
London Telegraph. Brain food: 6 snacks that are good for the mind .Blueberries, salmon, avocado, whole grains, broccoli, dark chocolate.
Chewing gum for 10 minutes can be just as effective as flossing
Salt 'is less of a health threat the older we get': Study finds there is no link between consumption in over-70s and mortality
Why juicing might not be so healthy after all…experts have warned of its dangers labelling it ‘as bad as Coca-Cola’ They claim juice is to blame for weight gain, diabetes and dental problems. Whole fruit is better.
Chilly feet CAN increase the risk of catching colds and flu, leading expert warns
Many people carry the bugs which cause colds and flu in their nose already, without it causing symptoms that make them ill. But if the temperature of their feet drops, it causes a change in the whole body which leads to their nose becoming cold, he explained. …and the blood vessels in the nose to constrict,' ....
‘Your skin goes white, the inside of your nose and throat goes white and blood flow to the nose is reduced.
‘The white cells that fight infection are found in the blood, so then there are fewer white cells to fight the virus.’
Bigger every year
Annual March for Life, Washington, D.C. 2015.
650,000 marched, over half under the age of 30. So why is the national news media almost completely silent about it?
John C. Wright writes this
My question for the reader is this: why can the Morlocks not even admit the size and vehemence of the opposition here? What is gained by pretending we do not exist? Or, to ask a more precise question, would not striking the pose that they are opposing such a large and bold movement allow them to portray themselves as heroes, and gain them more?
They cower before the weather, and before the Koch Brothers, which do not threaten them at all, but these marches display the strength of a society that bids fair to abolish abortion in our lifetimes.
The young and highly motivated survivors of the antinatal holocaust are gathering, and they see the economic disaster overpopulation scaremongers have done them, they can see the demographic disaster of Europe.
Why do the Left pretend real threats to their hellish hegemony do not exist, but flaunt in comical excesses of emotion their pantomimes gestures of exaggerated opposition to utterly unreal and imaginary dangers?
January 17, 2015
"I’m now retired, so I have no scientific career to protect by spreading lies."
A retired climate professor and glacier expert publicly declared global warming to be a good thing.
That's Dr. Terry Hughes, professor emeritus of earth sciences and climate change at the University of Maine,
in an interview by the College Fix.
But what he wants people to understand is that climate change researchers and politicians collude to create fear of a disaster that will never happen. - climate cycles overlap with election cycles, which helps politicians “get electoral visibility by pounding the panic drums.”
“You will never read or hear any of this from the scientific and political establishments,” Dr. Terry Hughes, professor emeritus of earth sciences and climate change at the University of Maine, told The College Fix. “I’m now retired, so I have no scientific career to protect by spreading lies.”
He said he thinks dire global warming predictions are really all about lassoing federal research funding and votes.
“Too many (the majority) of climate research scientists are quite willing to prostitute their science by giving these politicians what they want,” the glaciologist added.
His reasons for why global warming is a good thing, Hughes told the Capital Journal, is that “atmospheric CO2 would greatly increase agricultural production,” “thawing permafrost would increase by one-seventh Earth’s landmass open to extensive human habitation,” and “if the sea level did rise, there would be a global economic boom,” among other arguments.
In Aeon, How Stories Change Hearts and Minds
One man talked about his identification with Santiago, the beleaguered fisherman in Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. The man said he sometimes felt an inner pull to go back to his drug habit, but that Santiago’s will to persevere motivated him to stay a sober course. ‘The fictional character was alive for the student at that crucial moment, an inspiration, a stranger become a friend,’ Waxler writes. ‘It was not an exaggeration to say that a story had caught this student’s attention and perhaps saved his life that day.’ In a study of 600 participants, rates of criminal activity declined by 60 per cent compared to only 16 per cent in a control group.
You won'f forget the Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation commercial for veteran dogs.
The Beautiful Math Inside All Living Things from RealClearScience
For most evolved life, efficiency is everything. It is in pursuit of this perfection that some of nature's most astounding patterns have arisen. Ever count the petals of a flower or the spirals of a pinecone? Each will always be a number from the Fibonacci Sequence, in which the previous two numbers add up to the next: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, etc……At first, this is mind-boggling. Why would Nature do this? But as YouTube educator Vi Hart pointed out, the reason is beautifully simple. Plants want to maximize the amount of sunlight they receive, so logically, each petal should never completely block another out. "This design provides the best physical accommodation for the number of branches, while maximizing sun exposure," the University of Georgia's Nikhat Parveen described.
The Victorian Fight Against Filth Mud was ubiquitous on London’s streets during Victoria’s reign. It was mostly horse dung, plus particles of iron and cobblestone…..Lady F.W. Harberton ( Florence Wallace Pomeroy, wife of Viscount Harberton), who campaigned for sensible female attire, claimed to describe the flotsam caught up in a trailing skirt during a walk through Piccadilly—including a piece of pork pie, orange peel, cigar ends, toothpicks and part of a boot.
On 26 November 2010, Yara Gambirasio, 13, went missing. Three months later her body was discovered in scrubland nearby. So began one of the most complex murder investigations in Italian history, which will reach its climax later this year.
Much of the investigation focused on DNA evidence from Ignito 1 (unknown 1)
If Ignoto 1 really was the son of the late Giuseppe Guerinoni, the only explanation was that, somewhere out there, was his illegitimate child. “It became,” Ruggeri says, “an investigation within an investigation.” She was now hunting a woman, presumably in middle- to old-age, who 30 or 40 years ago had had an affair with a married man, now long dead, and given birth to a boy who went on to murder Yara Gambirasio.
Long-forgotten infidelities and old suspicions surfaced. Bonicelli laughs as he describes how his journalists discovered five illegitimate children in two small villages: “Five! We could have started a gossip magazine. It was like an open sewer: we were receiving anonymous letters, stories, people telling us about backgrounds and cuckolds.” A society which had always prided itself on its sense of loyalty and traditional Catholicism, suddenly discovered the betrayals in its midst. “Perhaps the point is this,” Bonicelli wrote in an editorial, “we don’t know each other any more.”
The Overprotected Kid A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution.