Ed & Deb Shapiro
Through many years of being involved with meditation we have seen how easily people miss the point, mainly because they take the practice and themselves too seriously. Many ‘try’ to meditate but their minds are so busy they get frustrated and quickly believe they are no good at it. Others turn into die-hard advocates of a particular method or technique and become like a salesperson trying to sell their produce.
Just like Yoga, people want to own meditation and to believe that their technique is the best one. They give it a name: TM or Vipassana or Mindfulness and sometimes make outrageous claims of what can be achieved, but that is not the point. Meditation is not a technique – being quiet happens by itself, not because of following the breath in and out, reciting a specific mantra or creating a visualization.
Teachers, through their compassion, created the many methods and techniques in order to help their students to concentrate and focus their minds, to be one-pointed. No one technique is better than another; they equally give our monkey minds something to do other than drive us bananas. Many of the practices known as meditation are actually concentration; they bring the mental energy together so the mind is less fragmented. But this is not meditation.
Meditation invites us to stop, just stop, breathe and be. Just as with a musician playing or an artist painting, when we stop trying to make it happen something occurs, like the radiant sun that suddenly emerges in a cloudy sky. But because we try so hard, we identify more with the technique instead of allowing the meditation to reveal itself.
The practice of meditation easily gets put in a box: “I will practice now, at this time, at this place and in this posture, and I will do this particular method.” But a method is simply an aide; it is not the experience itself. A hammer can help build a house but it is not the house. There is no doubt that through practice we can release stress and feel wonderfully peaceful, but genuine meditation is about waking up, where the mind is clear and free of obscuration.
This is not a mental process but an experiential one as meditation is an opening, a release of ego identity when all attempts to meditate, all striving, all doing stops, when there is no past or future, just radiant emptiness. It is being present – fully aware and present in every moment — and we can do that whatever we are doing and wherever we are. It is the freedom to be fully oneself without limitations or ideologies – there is just this.
Deb’s father, Richard, was on a Zen retreat where he was taught to temper his sensuality, not to give in to his senses or think of sensual things but to stay focused and single minded. While walking in the garden he then came across a pond laden with happily fornicating frogs. We think meditation has to be something special but true meditation is opening and expanding our perception, as if seeing with new eyes.
The technique becomes redundant when meditation becomes our natural state. It doesn’t matter what the technique is — when we drive to Rome the car is necessary but when we get there it is immaterial – what matters is the attitude and awareness that we bring to practice. The teacher is also more important than the technique. They must be skillful, peaceful and clear, regardless of the method or tradition they are teaching.
The moon trusts that the world will continue to go round on its axis, birds trust there will be berries and seeds to eat, trees trust the seasons will follow in the right order. Until we trust that things will unfold naturally then we are slaves to our doubts, fears and neurosis, to the constant chatter in our heads that says we are useless and don’t know anything. But we don’t make the sun to rise or set. The planet is in orbit and neither we nor Jesus or Buddha or any of the wise ones run the show. Our job is simply to surrender to the moment.
See Ed & Deb’s award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Jack Kornfield, Jane Fonda, Father Thomas Keating, Marianne Williamson, Ram Dass, and many others.
The cure for an upset stomach ? A hot maiden.
31st October 2011
If the Duke of Cambridge is looking for a little guidance on how to behave once he inherits the throne, he should head straight to the British Library.
Offering advice on the art of kingship, a set of manuscripts dating back to the 9th century is set to go on display there as part of a new exhibition.
The manuscripts cover all aspects of a monarch’s life, including what to eat, when to sleep and the cure for an upset stomach – a hot maiden.
How to be king: Collected by the kings and queens of England over 800 years manuscripts are examples of the decorative and figurative painting of the era.
Treasured: The manuscripts are considered among the finest examples of royal decorative and figurative painting from the era, as many of the colours are still as vibrant as when they were first painted
The new exhibition will include manuals on royal etiquette, known as ‘mirrors for princes’ which were developed during the medieval period to advise monarchs how to rule themselves and their kingdoms.
One such manual is Secretum Secretorum, the Secret of Secrets, an adaptation of a text supposedly written by Aristotle for the ancient Greek king Alexander the Great, presented to a teenage Edward III.
The 152-page manuscript, dating from 1326-1327, was written in Latin and illustrated with exquisite miniatures flecked with gold, each of which would have taken professional scribes up to a week to paint.
THE MEDIEVAL GUIDE TO BEING KING OF ENGLAND
Selecting an advisor: ‘Choose men also of old experience. Their wit and intellect is glorious. Beware of young counsel; it is perilous.’
The Remedy for a stomach ache: ‘Clasp a hot and beautiful maiden or to place upon your belly a wide warm shirt.’
When asking for advice: ‘Beware flattery and beware also the greedy – they are both so desirous of gold they do not care what difficulty their lord is in, as long as they might amass gold and silver.’
How to choose a wife: ‘Beautiful in appearance, descended from noble family, well-appointed in limbs, having an agreeable expression and an entire body well-adorned. You may have a majestic wife with whom you may have sex as often as, and when, you wish.’
Given to Edward at the beginning of his reign by the court cleric Walter of Milimete, it was intended as a ‘guide to better kingship’ following the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, a monarch so unpopular he was deposed in 1327.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, the manuscript warns him ‘never to trust in the works and services of women, and may you not commit yourself to them.’
However, the text later includes a description of the kind of woman the king should marry: ‘beautiful in appearance, descended from noble family, well-appointed in limbs, having an agreeable expression and an entire body well-adorned … you may have a majestic wife … with whom you may have sex as often as, and when, you wish.’
In another passage, the king is advised of the best remedy for a stomach ache: ‘If you feel a pain or heaviness in your stomach and in your belly then the remedy is to clasp a hot and beautiful maiden or to place upon your belly a wide warm shirt.’
The Royal Collection’s 2,000 priceless manuscripts were donated to the nation by George II in 1757, having been built up since the 9th century. They are usually stored in the highest security room at the British Library.
Unlocking the secret lives of royals throughout the Middle Ages, around 150 illustrated manuscripts – many on display for the first time – will be shown as part of the Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination exhibition.
The manuscripts are considered among the finest examples of royal decorative and figurative painting surviving from the era, as many of the colours are still as vibrant as when they were first painted.
Dr Scot McKendrick, curator of the exhibition, said: ‘The surviving manuscripts associated with successive kings and queens of England form a remarkable inheritance. Together they offer by far the largest body of evidence for the relationship between two critical parts of British cultural heritage: its monarchy and its medieval art.
Priceless: The Royal Collection’s 2,000 manuscripts were donated to the nation by George II in 1757, having been built up since the 9th century
Unlocking the secret lives of royals: About 150 pieces – many on display for the first time – will be shown as part of the Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination exhibition
‘Parts of the built legacy of the British monarchy, such as Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey, occupy a very special place in the public consciousness but the royal manuscripts have largely remained hidden from view.
‘The very fact that they have been less accessible has in turn meant that they are fantastically well preserved; their gold still making their pages glow and flicker in the light for us, as they did for those who first viewed them centuries ago.
‘The exhibition is the culmination of a major research project started three years ago. It is with great pleasure that we are able to share the collection’s beauty with a wider audience.’
(NaturalNews) Since ancient times, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects. The result of a new body of research published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, demonstrates the specific anti-inflammatory action of the spice on the colon. Health-minded individuals will want to include ginger as part of their regular diet or include an organically harvested supplement to dramatically lower inflammatory risk markers for colon cancer.
Dr. Suzanna Zick, a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, and her team assembled 30 patient participants to conduct the study. Each was provided with two grams of ginger root supplements per day or a placebo for a period of 28 days. After the test timeframe, researchers measured standard levels of colon inflammation and found statistically significant reductions in most of these markers. They also found trends toward significant reductions in a number of other colon cancer biomarkers.
A critical inflammation marker in the colon is known to be PGE2, a naturally occurring prostaglandin also called dinoprostone. PGE2 is the prostaglandin that ultimately induces fever, and is therefore an important marker researcher’s monitor to determine inflammatory levels in the body. Inflammation has been implicated in prior studies as a precursor to colon cancer, and ginger root supplementation effectively lowers blood levels of the prostaglandin to reduce colon cancer risk.
Dr. Zick is a Naturopathic Doctor developing plant and naturally occurring compounds that specifically promote health without the need for deadly pharmaceutical interventions. She noted on the research findings, “We need to apply the same rigor to the sorts of questions about the effect of ginger root that we apply to other clinical trial research.” Dr. Zick concluded, “Interest in this is only going to increase as people look for ways to prevent cancer that are nontoxic, and improve their quality of life in a cost-effective way.”
Ginger is a spice that has been used for centuries both for its distinctive flavor and medicinal properties as well. Researchers from this study used supplements (2 grams per day) to achieve the inflammatory-reduction results. Most health-conscious people will want to use a lower recommended supplemental dose of 250 mg per day to lower inflammatory risk factors that promote colon cancer.
About the author:
John Phillip is a Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of ‘Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan’, a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your Free 48 page copy of ‘Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan’.
- Ginger root supplements may prevent colon cancer (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Separate Cancer Studies, but a Single Suspicion of Bacteria (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
An internet video has threatened to expose allies of Mexico‘s Zetas drug cartel in the local police and news media unless the gang frees a kidnapped member of the international hacker movement known as Anonymous.
The YouTube message, which claims to be from Anonymous “Veracruz, Mexico, and the world”, says it is “tired of the criminal group the Zetas, which is dedicated to kidnapping, stealing and extortion”, and threatens to fight back with information instead of weapons. It said it knows of police officers, journalists, taxi drivers and others working with the Zetas.
The video refers to an unidentified person kidnapped in the coastal city of Veracruz, and says: “You have made a great mistake by taking one of us. Free him.”
The hacker group, which has claimed responsibility for attacks on corporate and government websites worldwide, plans to act on Friday if the kidnapped activist is not freed or is harmed, according to the message.
“We cannot defend ourselves with weapons, but we can with their cars, houses, bars,” the message adds, apparently alluding to properties owned by cartel supporters. “It’s not difficult. We know who they are and where they are. Information is free,” it says. “We do not forgive. We do not forget.”
An official with the Veracruz state attorney general’s office, who could not be named, said the office could not confirm the video’s authenticity or the case of the kidnapping.
Veracruz, an oil state on the Gulf of Mexico with a major port of the same name, has seen a surge in drug violence in recent months in what authorities say is a battle between the Zetas drug cartel, which has controlled the territory for at least a year, and its rivals. Dozens of bodies have been discovered in recent weeks, including a 35-year-old dumped on a highway in rush-hour traffic in Boca del Rio city last month.
Two other internet postings since July have announced the arrival of the Mata Zetas group, or Zeta Killers, who authorities say are probably linked to the powerful Sinaloa cartel. Others have raised questions about whether the group’s members are vigilantes or other rogue organisations taking justice into their own hands against the Zetas.
The message, presented by someone wearing a theatre mask that is a trademark of Anonymous, was reportedly uploaded to websites early this month, but was first reported on Friday on the website of the Stratfor global intelligence thinktank.
Stratfor, in its analysis of the video, said anyone exposed by Anonymous as a Zetas collaborator – accurately or not – would be targeted by rival gangs, and the Zetas could respond by attacking internet activists, even if they were not affiliated with Anonymous.
Three people have been killed recently in the northern states of Nuevo León and Tamaulipas by suspected Zetas who apparently believed the victims used the internet to spread information about the gang.
- 30 October 2011 23.25 GMT
Chávez announced the latest takeover after saying that Venezuela refuses to pay compensation in foreign currency to Agropecuaria Flora, a local subsidiary of Britain’s Vestey Group.
Chávez said the company had demanded the government pay it in dollars for the previous expropriation of tens of thousands of acres. But the government insists in paying in bolivars, Venezuela’s currency.
It is difficult for foreign companies operating in Venezuela to repatriate profits and other income in bolivars because of foreign currency controls in the South American country. Representatives of Agropecuaria Flora did not answer calls seeking comment.
Venezuela’s expropriation of farm and ranch lands began in earnest in 2005, with the government employing a 2001 law allowing it to seize lands deemed idle or not adequately used.
Some landowners have negotiated compensation, while others have mounted legal challenges with mixed results.
The government has also seized some ranches for which it alleges the owners did not hold legal title in the first place.
Owners of large farms and cattle ranches have criticized the takeovers, arguing that Chávez’s socialist-inspired policies have failed to boost agricultural production and made Venezuela increasingly dependent on imports of food from countries such as Brazil and Argentina.
A decade after Canada legalized the medical use of marijuana, most doctors are still refusing to sign the declarations patients need to get legal access to pot — meaning patients in pain risk being jailed if they use a drug that helps them function.
It’s a predicament that threatens to become worse because of proposed changes to how Health Canada regulates access to the drug.
At first glance, it appears the government is easing up on strict rules for obtaining medicinal marijuana. Health Canada has proposed removing itself as the ultimate arbiter in approving or rejecting applications to possess.
Instead, doctors alone would sign off on requests.
But the nation’s largest doctors’ group said the proposals would have the perverse effect of putting even greater pressure on MDs to control access to a largely untested and unregulated substance they know little to nothing about; a drug that hasn’t gone through the normal regulatory review process. Their licensing bodies have told doctors that they are under no obligation to complete a medical declaration under the current regulations and that any one who chooses to do so should “proceed with caution.”
Dr. John Haggie, president of the 75,000-member Canadian Medical Association, said the changes being proposed would essentially off load all responsibility for using and monitoring marijuana to the doctors who sign an authorization — “and they’d be kind out of out there, without any infrastructure around them to assess it, to monitor it and to know if they were doing the right thing.
“I don’t think that’s appropriate or fair,” he said.
Observers said doctors fear doing harm, exposing themselves to legal action and becoming the “go-to” source for people seeking pot not to alter their pain but to alter their consciousness.
Haggie said physicians want fundamental research into some basic questions — is it safe? Who does it work for? Who should not use it? Yet the Conservative government abruptly terminated a medicinal marijuana research program in 2006. According to Health Canada, the government believes clinical research is “best undertaken by the private sector, such as pharmaceutical companies.”
A world leader in cannabis research said the logic defies him.
“I cannot imagine how a government agency can supervise (a marijuana access) program knowing that there is very little data out there — on safety issues in particular — and not try to stimulate research,” said Dr. Mark Ware, head of the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids, a non-profit network of more than 150 clinicians and researchers investigating the potential role of cannabinoids in diseases from arthritis to glaucoma.
No drug company wants to evaluate smoked marijuana as a medicine, Ware said, because there’s no money in it for them. Funding agencies have been less than approachable, he added, because there’s little appetite to support studies involving a product that’s often smoked. In clinical parlance, “They don’t see it as a safe, viable drug delivery system,” said Ware, director of clinical research at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at the McGill University Health Centre.
Ware said he wonders how much the government’s disinterest in research might be tied to its tough-on-crime political agenda — “that somehow facilitating research on medicinal cannabis is a way of accepting that it may have some value as a medicine.”
The Montreal doctor, who is helping reform medical school curricula to better educate physicians around pain, received about $2 million under the now-dead medicinal marijuana research program. In a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal last year that involved 21 patients with neuropathic pain — a common and dreaded condition that causes electric, stabbing pain — Ware’s group found that smoked cannabis at low doses reduces pain, improves mood and helps sleep, without making people high. All had “refractory” pain, meaning pain that had defied all traditional treatments. No serious or unexpected side effects were reported.
Ware avoids prescribing cannabis to patients with a history of psychosis or schizophrenia, because it’s psychoactive at high doses — and sometimes even therapeutic doses. It can also be dangerous to people with unstable heart disease.
Still, there has never been a proven overdose death caused by marijuana in humans, according to Ontario’s highest court. Ware said that for patients for whom it works, cannabis can achieve about 30 per cent reduction in pain intensity.
But doctors remain wary — their chief concern being: How do I know when a patient is seeking a licence for a legitimate medical purpose and not simply to get legal access to an otherwise illicit drug?
Ware’s consortium has been working hard to educate and support doctors around the use of cannabis. He said data from Health Canada suggest that the average medical user is consuming two grams per day — about four joints when smoked. “It’s just taking that information and getting it into the hands of practising physicians. Then at least they know what the ballpark is.”
Some patients were getting authorizations for far higher amounts, because doctors didn’t know that 30 or 40 grams a day could be outside the “normal” range, he said.
Health Canada said the proposed changes to the program — which would include removing the rights of patients to grow their own supply of marijuana or to appoint designated growers, forcing users to get their pot from a licensed commercial producer instead — would make the program less complicated for seriously ill Canadians.
Paul Lewin begs to differ.
Doctors already are boycotting the program en masse, the Toronto lawyer said. Lewin said medical regulators and insurers sent letters to the government, “saying, ‘Don’t put us in charge, don’t make us a gatekeeper, we don’t know anything about pot, this is a plant product, it’s an unapproved drug.’ ”
Lewin said the court heard stories of how some doctors encouraged their patients to use pot for their pain. The patients would return, reporting that the marijuana was helping, that they were feeling less pain. But when they asked the doctors to sign their forms, “that’s when the mood changes,” Lewin said.
“That’s when they say, ‘Get out. I’m not risking my practice over you.’ ”
Lewin’s client, Matt Mernagh, started growing marijuana when he found it provided some relief from chronic pain and other symptoms of scoliosis, fibromyalgia and epilepsy. But he couldn’t get a licence to grow, because he couldn’t find a doctor to sign his declaration.
Police found Mernagh’s plants in 2008 when they were in his apartment building on an unrelated call. He was charged with production.
Lewin took the case to the Superior Court in Ontario. The court declared the federal medical marijuana program unconstitutional. The case is scheduled to go to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in March.
Lewin said the proposed changes to the marijuana access program are likely to scare off some of the few doctors willing to sign declarations, meaning “more seriously ill, law-abiding Canadians will be wrongfully treated as criminals” and subjected to humiliating arrests, medicine seizures and possibly even jailed, he said.
Ware said doctors need education and guidance. They would need to know whether patients who come seeking a licence for medical pot have been arrested for trafficking or diversion in the past. Abuses of the designated production licenses have occurred and Ware believes they should be phased out. But the consortium of cannabinoid researchers said that it’s not only easier and cheaper for patients to grow their own supply but the act of growing their own “medicine” may be therapeutic in itself. “It gives them a sense of control and ownership of their health and treatments.”
The following information was provided by Health Canada to Postmedia News:
In 2001, 727 doctors supported an application for an authorization to possess marijuana. In 2010, 3,187 doctors signed a declaration. Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 25, 3,803 doctors supported an application for an authorization to possess.
As of Sept. 30, 12,216 people in Canada held authorization to possess marijuana for medical purposes.
Who has authority to approve or reject submissions in the new system?
Under the proposed changes, patients would continue to consult with their physician in order to obtain access to marijuana for medical purposes. Once it has been determined that the use of marijuana for medical purposes is appropriate, the physician would provide the individual with a document. Health Canada is consulting the medical community on the form that this document would take.
Individuals would then send the physician’s document directly to a licensed commercial producer of their choice. The licensed producer would validate the document from the physician by confirming that the physician is licensed to practice medicine in Canada. The licensed producer would register the individual as a customer and would process the order for a specific amount of dried marijuana. Health Canada would maintain an up-to-date list of licensed producers on its website, and work with the medical community to disseminate this information as widely as possible.
Scientists including those from Queen’s University have discovered that taking regular aspirin halves the risk of developing hereditary cancers.
Hereditary cancers are those which develop as a result of a gene fault inherited from a parent. Bowel and womb cancers are the most common forms of hereditary cancers. Fifty thousand people in the UK are diagnosed with bowel and womb cancers every year; 10 per cent of these cancers are thought to be hereditary.
The decade-long study, which involved scientists and clinicians from 43 centres in 16 countries and was funded by Cancer Research UK, followed nearly 1,000 patients, in some cases for over 10 years. The study found that those who had been taking a regular dose of aspirin had 50 per cent fewer incidences of hereditary cancer compared with those who were not taking aspirin.
The research focused on people with Lynch syndrome which is an inherited genetic disorder that causes cancer by affecting genes responsible for detecting and repairing damage in the DNA. Around 50 per cent of those with Lynch syndrome develop cancer, mainly in the bowel and womb. The study looked at all cancers related to the syndrome, and found that almost 30 per cent of the patients not taking aspirin had developed a cancer compared to around 15 per cent of those taking the aspirin.
Those who had taken aspirin still developed the same number of polyps, which are thought to be precursors of cancer, as those who did not take aspirin but they did not go on to develop cancer. It suggests that aspirin could possibly be causing these cells to destruct before they turn cancerous.
Over 1,000 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer in Northern Ireland last year; 400 of these died from the disease. Ten per cent of bowel cancer cases are hereditary and by taking aspirin regularly the number of those dying from the hereditary form of the disease could be halved.
Professor Patrick Morrison from Queen’s University in Belfast, who led the Northern Ireland part of the study, said: “The results of this study, which has been ongoing for over a decade, proves that the regular intake of aspirin over a prolonged period halves the risk of developing hereditary cancers. The effects of aspirin in the first five years of the study were not clear but in those who took aspirin for between five and ten years the results were very clear.”
“This is a huge breakthrough in terms of cancer prevention. For those who have a history of hereditary cancers in their family, like bowel and womb cancers, this will be welcome news. Not only does it show we can reduce cancer rates and ultimately deaths, it opens up other avenues for further cancer prevention research. We aim now to go forward with another trial to assess the most effective dosage of aspirin for hereditary cancer prevention and to look at the use of aspirin in the general population as a way of reducing the risk of bowel cancer.
“For anyone considering taking aspirin I would recommend discussing this with your GP first as aspirin is known to bring with it a risk of stomach complaints, including ulcers.” The research is due to be published in the Lancet Online on Oct. 28 2011.
Contacts and sources:
Queen’s University Belfast
- Daily aspirin ‘blocks bowel cancer’ (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
by Phillip Smith, October 26, 2011,
The Conservative government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been trying for years to pass a harsh drug crime bill that includes mandatory minimum sentences for growing as few as six marijuana plants. This year, with the Conservatives now holding an absolute majority in parliament, it looks like the Conservatives will get their wish..
“The bill will pass,” said Eugene Oscapella, head of the Canadian Drug Policy Foundation, who testified against the bill in parliament last week and who was attacked by Conservatives for doing so. “The government has a clear majority, and under the parliamentary system, MPs will vote like trained seals. Even though I know Conservative MPs who disagree with this, if you spit in the face of the prime minister, you will be out of the caucus.”
The Tories rolled out this year’s version of their perennial drug bill last month as part of an omnibus anti-crime bill known as Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act. Ironically, the government’s “tough on crime” initiative came just weeks before Statistics Canada reported that the country’s homicide rate had declined to levels not seen since 1966. Overall violent crime is down, too.
The omnibus bill runs to 110 pages and brings together nine separate previous proposals to strengthen police and prosecutorial powers aimed at child sex predators, violent offenders, drug traffickers, and “out of control” youthful offenders. In addition to Canada’s first mandatory minimum sentences, the package also includes tougher pre-trial custody conditions, restrictions on the use of probation, and lengthier sentences for violent and youthful repeat offenders.
“Since coming into office, our government has accomplished a great deal when it comes to cracking down on crime and better protecting Canadians,” said Justice Minister Rob Nicholson as he introduced the omnibus bill last month. “By moving quickly to reintroduce and pass the Safe Streets and Communities Act, we are fulfilling our promise to Canadians by taking action to protect families, stand up for victims and hold criminals accountable.”
“Our government remains committed to fighting crime, protecting Canadians and holding offenders accountable,” said Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews. “Canadians gave us a strong mandate to improve safety for Canadians where they live, work and raise their families.”
Voters may have given the Tories a mandate at the polls, but it’s not clear that it was Tory crime policies driving the vote. A Nanos poll earlier this summer had only 2% of respondents selecting “fighting crime” as their highest priority for the Harper government. Instead, respondents were much more concerned about the provision of health care (40%) and reducing the deficit (26%).
Canada’s other major political parties, the Liberals and the New Democrats, both oppose the bill, as does a broad swath of civil society. The Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network are among the groups opposing the bill, as are criminal defense attorneys, prisoners’ advocates, and critics who point toward falling crime numbers and question whether the country can afford a massive expansion of its prison system.
The government has so far declined to specify projected costs of the bill or reveal its own projections about how much the prison population would increase under the bill.
“We believe the substance of this legislation both to be self-defeating and counterproductive, if the goal is to enhance public safety,” vice-chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Criminal Justice Section Eric Gottardi said last week. “It represents a profound shift in orientation from a system that emphasizes public safety, rehabilitation and reintegration to one that puts vengeance first.”
“The Conservatives are completely divorced from the reality of what’s going on,” said NDP Deputy Leader Libby Davies (Vancouver East) during a 10-minute House of Commons speech attacking the bill. “They have branded themselves and wrapped themselves in a cloak of crime and punishment, and as a result they are blind to evidence, they are blind to the costs, they are blind to the fact that we have the lowest crime rate since 1973, they are blind to building safe and healthy communities, they are blind to the horrendous experience of the United States and its war on drugs regime that is now being slowly repealed — including the repeal of mandatory minimum sentencing… because of its catastrophic failure on people and society overall. They are blind to the evidence here in Canada and they are blind to the real impacts of what these bills will have on the lives of people and on communities overall.”
The Tories are “only interested in manipulating people, creating fear, division, and creating a ‘them and us’ scenario,” Davies continued. “I believe from the bottom of my heart that this omnibus bill is offensive because it is politically motivated and will have enormous negative impacts.”
It’s not just progressives, or even Canadians, who are upset by the bill. Crime-fighting conservative Texans have come out against it, citing their own unhappy experience with “lock ‘em up and throw away the key” policies. “You will spend billions and billions and billions on locking people up,” said Judge John Creuzot of the Dallas County Court. “And there will come a point in time where the public says, ‘Enough!’ And you’ll wind up letting them out.”
Still, with the Conservatives holding a solid parliamentary majority, the bill’s passage now appears to be all but a done deal. That doesn’t mean the fight against it will go away, though — not before it passes and not after it passes. The lawyers are already gearing up for that second phase of the struggle.
“They are trying to ram this through as quickly as possible, and I don’t know what can be done to stop it,” said Oscapella. “It will have to be done at the back end, by means of constitutional challenges under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But that will take years.”
- Martha Hall Findlay: Tough on Crime, Facts Be Damned (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
By Lynsey Bews
Sunday, 30 October 2011
New research on brain cells could shed more light on neurological diseases, scientists have discovered.
Researchers from The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh have found brain cells alter their genetic make-up during a person’s lifetime.
They have identified genes – known as retrotransposons – responsible for thousands of tiny changes in the DNA of brain tissue.
Researchers, whose work is published in the journal Nature, found that the genes were particularly active in areas of the brain linked to cell renewal.
By mapping the locations of these genes in the human genome, scientists could identify mutations that impact on brain function and that may cause diseases to develop.
The study shows for the first time that brain cells are genetically different to other cells in the body and are also genetically distinct from each other.
Scientists are now researching whether brain tumour formation and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s are associated with a change in retrotransposon activity.
Dr Geoff Faulkner said: “This research completely overturns the belief that the genetic make-up of brain cells remains static throughout life and provides us with new information about how the brain works.
“If we can understand better how these subtle genetic changes occur we could shed light on how brain cells regenerate, how processes like memory formation may have a genetic basis and possibly link the activity of these genes to brain diseases.”
The research was carried out in collaboration with scientists from the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Japan and the United States, and was funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.
ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2011) — Uh-oh. Here comes temptation — for a dieter, it’s a sweet treat; an alcoholic, a beer; a married man, an attractive, available woman. How to defeat the impulse to gratify desire and stick to your long-term goals of slimness, sobriety, or fidelity?
Here’s some advice: Don’t stop and think. Thinking may not help.
That is one surprising conclusion of a new study by Loran Nordgren and Eileen Chou at Northwestern University‘s Kellogg School of Management, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Nordgren and Chou wanted to make sense of two contradictory bodies of literature. “One shows that the presence of temptation contorts cognition in ways that promotes impulsive behavior,” says Nordgren. Another shows that “temptation engages protective [thought] processes that promote self-control. You show a dieter a piece of cake, and an early thought is ‘I’m dieting’ — and ‘no thanks.’”
Both stories leave out a crucial factor, he says: the interaction between temptation and “visceral state” — hunger, thirst, sexual desire, satiation or craving — which “dictates whether the same cognitive processes will be oriented toward impulsive behavior or self-control.”
The researchers looked at different cognitive mechanisms, including attention and “motivated valuation” — how much we care about something depending on other rewards — to see how temptation affected them. In one experiment, 49 male students in committed relationships watched either an erotic film, putting them in an aroused (“hot” visceral) state; or a filmed fashion show, creating a “cool” state. The experimenters then showed them images of attractive women and observed how long they gazed at them. A week later, the procedure was the same, but the men were told the women were incoming students — thus, available. This time, the aroused men gazed longer. More temptation promoted less fidelity. The cool-state men did the opposite.
In a second study, some of 53 smokers were instructed to smoke directly before the experiment, while the rest abstained for three hours. Then both the satiated and craving groups rated the pleasure of smoking, showing how much they valued cigarettes. Phase two, same conditions, same question — and a choice: Delay smoking for 40 minutes and earn 3 Euros or smoke immediately and earn nothing. Predictably, the sated smokers more readily delay gratification. But they also rated the pleasure of smoking lower than the first time, whereas the cravers rated it higher. The “cool” group gave themselves reasons to wait; the “hot,” to indulge.
What does all this tell us? “If we think of the reason versus passion struggle, we tend to think that cognition serves long-term interests and passion serves immediate gratification — the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other,” Nordgren explains. “We also think that if you are horny or hungry, your thoughts — the angel — are in the right place, but you give into temptation — the devil.
“This is not accurate, actually. Yes, need or desire abets impulsivity, but it also corrupts the cognitive processes that would help you interrupt that behavior,” Nordgren concludes. “When you’re craving and being tempted, your rationalization succumbing and so, in a hot state, you have the devil on both shoulders.”
By Iain Hunter, Times Colonist October 30, 2011
What, news commentators ask with the suggestion of a sneer, is the Occupy Wall Street movement and its imitators protesting against, exactly?
The fact that these demonstrations have become the magnet for so many competing grievances, that they are not focused and are – deliberately at this point, I think – leaderless means exactness isn’t easy to elucidate. And at this stage, when where this is leading isn’t at all clear, exactness is rather beside the point.
What is termed the “call and response” system that allows people to rail against high university tuition fees, the rape of the environment, 9/11 as an inside job or anything else that offends or disgusts them shows the respect occupiers have for one another but gets no respect from phlegmatic onlookers.
Those who take to the streets to protest against “the system” are urged by those who write in financial journals to infiltrate it like those nice, clean, organized Tea Party folks who want to restore to America the greatness which it fumbled and dropped.
They’re told to get political, raise funds and memberships and run for office. Then, they’re assured, they can persuade those responsible for what ails them to change their ways, to act in the public interest instead of their own and those who nourish their political lives with money.
I can’t imagine that this appeals to those who think the way to end corruption is to dethrone the corrupt; the only way to erase conspiracies to banish the conspirators.
Like the Tea Partiers, they look back. They say they want to restore a fair country where the law applies to everyone equally, where all boats are bailed out, not just the big ones, as they founder. A lot of them recite quotations of Thomas Jefferson, particularly the one about the “monstrous abuses of power” which he believed unfettered corporations would be capable of.
They believe that there’s a corrupt cosiness between politicians and the financiers and corporations who advise and finance them and to whom they deal out rewards where punishments are called for. They see, too, “the enormous fortunes of a few citizens founded on the ruin and misery of all the rest.”
Those aren’t the words of a speaker on Wall Street last week. They were addressed publicly by Maximilien Robespierre to Louis XVI well before the king lost his crown in 1792 and his head the year after.
I don’t know how many occupiers in Wall Street are waiting for a Lenin or a Cardinal Sin to emerge to lead them, or a Danton, but I’ve noticed some dark references to the French Revolution.
I can see some shadows of that past – gross mismanagement of national and global economies as in pre-revolutionary France, a corporate aristocracy with privileges similar to those of the French nobility, expressions of regret from above about the conditions of those below similar to Marie Antoinette’s just before the blade descended, the tooing and froing of the powerful to set things right but showing every sign of creating the same “Grand Espoire” that Louis was unable to meet.
But the Obama regime, against which, presumably, the Wall Street demonstrators are protesting, hasn’t collapsed despite its problems, as that French regime pretty well had before the Bastille was stormed.
I’m not convinced the occupiers have, at this point anyway, the support, let alone respect, of enough citizens to embolden them to march instead of sit.
And I don’t think they’re really looking for a fight against citizens with whom they have no quarrel. If they examine real revolution, they won’t like it.
But there’s always a tipping point, and if an Arab Spring doesn’t come to New York, a Wall Street Winter might have begun. If it’s a mild one this year, there are others ahead.
This wind of change merits sniffing. All the so-called side issues that are talked about by occupiers of public thoroughfares are symptoms of a grand malaise which young Robespierre expressed two and a quarter centuries ago.
Why are the few able to amass such fortunes at the expense of others? And today: Why must duties that properly belong to government depend on charity?
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
Why else would they have eliminated the mandatory long-form census last year, despite the uproar from virtually every person and every organization across the country regardless of political stripe — a rare consensus. Every policy-maker knows that you need facts, you need information with which to make the right decisions for government and society. But this government? God forbid you pay attention to the facts — particularly if they get in the way of the policy you already decided you want. Facts be damned.
Inconveniently, Statistics Canada has gone and done it again. It has just reported that “the national crime rate has been falling steadily for the past 20 years and is now at its lowest level since 1973.” The severity of crimes has also gone down — the lowest since 1998. There have been fewer murders — to the lowest rate since 1966 (45 years ago!). Attempted murder, car theft, robbery, serious assaults, break-ins, even impaired driving — are all down. Sexual assault and child pornography have gone up, but the former could be affected by more people being willing to come forward, and the increase in child pornography is likely an increase not in its incidence, but in people being caught, thanks to greater international cooperation and much better technological search and investigative abilities. But no crime is OK, and everyone wants to reduce it more. The question is how?
The Harper government keeps talking about the ‘victims’ rights.’ But really, isn’t it a bigger right to not become a victim in the first place? And victims may, understandably, want revenge, but that serves only a base human instinct that society — and government policy — must rise above. The rest of society wants to prevent more crime. Revenge doesn’t do that, and virtually every study has shown that deterrence is NOT the most effective at preventing crime. (Those damn facts again.)
Harper’s proposed crime legislation flies in the face of the facts. More and more, we see the results of other ‘tough on crime’ efforts — and they don’t work. Putting more people in jail for longer periods does NOT reduce crime; community efforts at prevention actually work; efforts to reform drug addiction and address mental illness are far, far more effective in creating a safer community. And in times where fiscal restraint is so important, preventative efforts are far more cost-effective than prisons. But despite all of the evidence to the contrary, the Harper guys want to be ‘tough,’ and just throw all the ‘bad guys’ behind bars — at huge expense.
We need look no further than next door to benefit from the U.S.’s own hard-earned lessons. Many states took the ‘tough on crime’ approach — it was, in the day, the Conservative way. Over the years, however, they have seen it fail, at huge cost financially and to society. Several states have now taken much different, more preventative approaches and have achieved much better results — at far less cost. And, rare for the U.S., this issue isn’t stuck in partisanship politics — indeed, some of the most conservative of U.S. Republicans are saying, bluntly, that the Harper approach is backward. The U.S. Right on Crime movement is pushing for exactly the opposite of what Harper’s government wants to do. It has some pretty heavy hitters, and they back up their calls for change with a lot of — wait for it — statistics. Evidence that shows that the decades-old effort in the U.S. of throwing more people in jail for longer not only hasn’t worked, it’s made things worse. And it has cost a fortune. A quote from the Right on Crime website: “Conservatives know that it is possible to cut both crime rates and costly incarceration rates because over the past 10 years, seven states have done it: Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.” It takes no small amount of courage, by the way, for politicians to acknowledge a mistake, which makes this Conservative turnaround even more significant.
So here’s a plea to Mr. Harper that I never thought I’d hear myself make: Even if you won’t rely on Canadian statistics and the majority of Canadian studies, please take a page from those U.S. Conservatives. They get it — and they have a whole lot of statistics to back them up.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that antidepressant use in the United States has increased nearly 400 percent in the last two decades, making antidepressants the most frequently used class of medications by Americans ages 18-44. Among Americans 12 years and older, 11 percent were taking antidepressants by 2005-2008 (the most recently reported study period), and 23 percent of women ages 40–59 years were taking them.
Why has U.S. antidepressant use skyrocketed? Are the symptoms of what is commonly called depression—helplessness, hopelessness, and immobilization—always evidence of a medical condition? Or is it time to repoliticize a great deal of our despair, and reconsider the old-fashioned antidepressant of political activism?
Common Explanations for Soaring Antidepressant Use
Nowhere in the CDC report is there any explanation for the 400 percent increase of antidepressant use from 1988 to 2008, however, there are several common explanations offered by mental health professionals and journalists.
Money is a large factor. It has become more lucrative for psychiatrists and other physicians to prescribe medication than to provide talk therapy. This was detailed in the New York TimesMarch 2011 investigative report “Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy” which reported, “A 2005 government survey found that just 11 percent of psychiatrists provided talk therapy to all patients.” Actually, most antidepressant prescriptions are written by physicians other than psychiatrists and, according to the recent CDC report, among Americans taking one antidepressant, less than one-third of them have seen a mental health professional in the past year.
Antidepressant use has also skyrocketed because of the increased practice of prescribing antidepressants for many conditions other than severe depression, and prescribing them for longer periods of time. Among the 2005-2008 antidepressant user group (no data offered on earlier study periods), only 33.9 percent had severe symptoms of depression; 28.4 percent of antidepressant users had moderate symptoms; and 19.2 percent had mild symptoms; while 7.6 percent had no depression symptoms. And, according to the CDC report, more than 60 percent of Americans who are taking antidepressants have taken them for 2 years or longer, with 14 percent having taken them for 10 years or more.
According to antidepressant manufacturers, the increase in antidepressant use has been caused by their creation of more effective antidepressants, including the so-called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft which came on the market in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, by the late 1990s, psychiatry textbooks had already rejected the idea of increased effectiveness of SSRIs (for example, Robert Julien’s A Primer of Drug Action (1998) states, “The newer antidepressants [SSRIs] are not necessarily more effective than the older TCAs [tricyclics] ).”
Rather than SSRIs’ greater effectiveness, it was their greater publicity that stimulated public acceptance. One publicity coup commenced in 1997 when U.S. government agencies changed the rules for broadcast advertising, no longer requiring full information about side effects (which had previously made it problematic for drug companies to run a thirty-second spot). TV advertising dramatically increased patient requests for antidepressants from their physicians. A study reported in 2005 by the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Influence of Patients’ Requests for Direct-to-Consumer Advertised Antidepressants,” concluded, “Patients’ requests have a profound effect on physician prescribing.”
A Neglected Explanation: The Depoliticizing of Despair
A largely neglected explanation for the huge growth of antidepressant use is that Americans have increasingly been socialized to equate all states of demoralization and immobilizing despair with a medical condition, and to seek medical treatment rather than political remedies.
Depression is highly associated with a variety of overwhelming pains, including physical pain, relationship pain (such as a dissatisfying marriage and social isolation), trauma—and financial pains.
Financial pains include unemployment, poverty, and debt. In 2007 the U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration reported depression in 12.7 percent of unemployed people compared to 7 percent of employed people. And the Urban Institute in 1996 reported that Americans on public assistance have at least three times higher rate of depression than those not on public assistance. A person who has suffered mental illness is three times more likely to be in debt than someone who is not in debt, according to Richard Wakerall, director of the U.K. mental health organization Mind in Plymouth.
Recently, I had a chance encounter at Cincinnati’s Findlay Market with five young adults who reported large student-loan debt and who appeared mildly depressed about it. I happened to be in a charged-up mood, having just participated in an Occupy Cincy march, and I told them that the entire U.S. $1 trillion student-loan debt could be forgiven if the U.S. government paid it off rather than funding the damn military-industrial complex, which costs us over $1 trillion a year if you include everything. They started to smile and look more energized, and three of them seemed interested in the Occupy Cincy movement. If America’s millions of depressed student-loan debtors could politicize their despair and take it to the mall in Washington D.C., we could dwarf the crowds in Tahrir Square.
Can Activism Be an Antidepressant?
Almost as soon as I entered Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C. on October 6, I experienced a wave of pleasant feelings and energy. My wife, Bon, and I showed up about 10am on the first day of “October 2011” (“Occupy Freedom Plaza”) in Washington D.C. after driving there from Cincinnati. In sharp contrast to the blank and depressed faces that I had just seen on the D.C. Metro and on the D.C. streets, we were now surrounded by a thousand or so people who were smiling, laughing, engaged in political discussions, and eagerly awaiting the day’s events. I chatted with two of the organizers, David Swanson and Margaret Flowers, and found their hope and energy a supreme antidote to cynicism. The opposite of depression is vitality, and so by just stepping into Freedom Plaza, I had received a strong antidepressant.
Then came the day’s major march. Depression is much about feeling hopeless, alienated, isolated, and powerless, and this march was an antidote to all those feelings. For a couple of hours, we felt some real power. We marched on the streets— not the sidewalks—and traffic was blocked by police, who for those moments in time actually were the People’s servants. We marched past the White House and the Treasury, paused at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to “drop off some job resumes” and for some short speeches, then up and over to K Street, with many cars honking approval and some non-marchers on the sidewalks raising their fists and shouting encouragement. Then back to the Plaza, and a couple of hours later a General Assembly.
The General Assembly was attended by about 500 people who experienced, some for the first time, a non-hierarchical, anti-authoritarian, respectful democracy where the issues of the day were discussed. No one was rude and all seemed jovially patient. We hadn’t planned to stay more than that day, but leaving the Plaza late that evening, we had an urge to return.
The next morning, I found my pace quicken as I headed from the Metro station back to Freedom Plaza, as I was excited to return to this piece of “federal property” that had begun to feel like a “People’s Oasis.” We had succeeded, at least for the time being, in taking back a small piece of the United States and restoring it to some kind of sanity and humanity. A section of the Plaza was filled with sleeping bags, backpacks and cardboard shelters, and our food, media, and first-aid tents still stood.
We decided to prolong our visit and stay for the afternoon march to the Martin Luther King Memorial. At this march, there were the chants that are common to all Occupy marches: “We are the 99 percent.” “The banks got bailed out, we got sold out.” “Hey, hey, ho, ho, corporate greed has got to go.” “Show me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like.” On this march, we paused at the International Trade Center (in the Ronald Reagan Building), where there were about 75 demonstrators protesting the tar sands pipeline. As some of our marchers had earlier participated in their protest, the pipeline protesters returned the favor by joining our march. We shouted our appreciation and our morale kicked up another notch.
Leaving Freedom Plaza at the end of my short stint there, I thought that even a little dose of democracy, especially when it has not been experienced, is the best damn antidepressant that many people will ever experience. And even if the cynics are right and the movement dies from cold weather or gets large enough for the corporatocracy to bring out their tanks and crush it, something still will have been won. Everybody who participated will remember that their demoralization and despair was “cured,” at least for a time, not by a pill or any other consumer product but by their own political actions.
- How to avoid being like the 11 percent of Americans who now take antidepressant drugs every day (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- What if the drugs don’t work? (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Antidepressant Use Skyrockets (psychologytoday.com)
The CRTC is investigating Rogers Communications because it believes the way the company deliberately slows down some of its internet traffic violates federal rules.
The probe stems from a complaint by the Canadian Gamers Organization, an advocacy group for people who play video games, that Rogers has been hindering online games.
Rogers admitted in March that its network systems were unintentionally slowing down, or “throttling,” internet traffic for the game World of Warcraft, then said it had resolved the problem.
It further acknowledged in September that other games and programs might be getting tripped up by its throttling. The Canadian Gamers Organization’s complaint detailed slow internet speeds experienced while playing Call of Duty: Black Ops.
The CRTC informed the gamers group on Thursday that it has referred the matter to its enforcement division, meaning commission staff consider Rogers to be violating the Telecommunications Act or CRTC regulations. Those rules allow throttling of peer-to-peer file sharing programs like BitTorrent, but not of time-sensitive internet traffic like video chatting or gaming.
“We are aware of several games that have had issues, but we don’t know 100 per cent right now. We can’t tell from the ends of the network,” said Jason Koblovsky, a Canadian Gamers Organization co-founder. “But it’s quite clear the CRTC thinks there’s something wrong.”
The CRTC’s enforcement division has the power to inspect Rogers equipment or order a third-party audit of the company’s internet systems. That could help give a more comprehensive picture of whether Rogers is illegally throttling games, or if the Call of Duty slowdowns are just part of broader internet congestion.
“There’s a lot of confusion and testing that needs to be done,” Koblovsky said. “Sometimes it can takes months of troubleshooting at the consumer’s end to determine whether it’s throttling or not.”
Rogers spokesperson Carly Suppa said in an email Thursday night that the company has “just received” a letter from the CRTC and “we are reviewing its contents.” She repeated the company’s position that it believes it is complying with CRTC rules.
If the CRTC confirms Rogers is in violation, the regulator can go so far as to order the company to partially reimburse customers and to change its practices.
Many critics denounce internet traffic management because it amounts to censorship over what content gets priority transmission on the internet, violating the principle of “net neutrality.”
(NaturalNews) Though it has the highest mortality rate of all forms of cancer, pancreatic cancer is largely preventable and treatable through simple dietary and lifestyle changes, says Dr. Robert Wascher, MD, a surgical oncologist from California. In a recent interview with Newsmax Health Wascher explained how the simple act of consuming turmeric, a natural spice popular in Asian and Indian food, may be enough to prevent and cure the type of pancreatic cancer that afflicted former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as well as other forms.
“It’s a dismal, deadly disease,” Wascher is quoted as saying to Newsmax Health. Wascher is author of the book A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race. “But like other forms of cancer, up to 65 percent can be prevented by relatively modest diet and lifestyle changes.”
Pancreatic cancer is very slow to develop, often taking 20 years to grow into a detectable condition. Once it is identified, the conventional cancer industry typically pushes chemotherapy and radiation treatments as a solution, despite the fact that both treatments are completely ineffective apart from surgery. And even when surgery is involved, the cure rate remains at a dismal low five percent.
“Conventional medical and surgical procedures obviously do not cure pancreatic cancer for the vast majority of patients,” says Wascher. “So, I think it’s reasonable to be a little more open-minded about complementary and alternative therapies when you have tried conventional therapies and have no other options. Both laboratory and clinical studies suggest there are some nutritional therapies that might have an effect on pancreatic cancer.”
One such alternative therapy that Wascher often prescribes to his cancer patients is to take turmeric, a powerful anticancer spice that contains curcumin. A Phase II clinical trial conducted at MD Anderson Cancer Center found that turmeric was equal to or better than all currently available US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs, except that it does not cause the same negative side effects.
When combined with other powerful nutrients like fish oil, olive oil, or black pepper, turmeric’s anticancer effects are even further amplified, as the spice is not very well absorbed by the body on its own. Getting plenty of vitamin D, drinking green tea, and eating cruciferous vegetables will also help to thwart the disease (http://www.naturalnews.com/pancreat…).
Avoiding things like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), aspirin, and processed meats containing nitrates will also help to prevent pancreatic cancer, as each of these has been shown to fuel cancer cell growth.
- Take Turmeric to Avoid Pancreatic Cancer that Killed Steve Jobs (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Flu Vaccine Isn’t Foolproof (nlm.nih.gov)
- Flu Vaccine Safety and Efficacy (randi.org)
- World needs to update its flu vaccines (scorpsshadow.wordpress.com)
- Shock vaccine study reveals influenza vaccines only prevent the flu in 1.5 out of 100 adults (not 60% as you’ve been told) (zionistoutrage.com)
New data published by the Canadian broadband management company Sandvine reveals that on the average day Netflix and BitTorrent are responsible for 40 percent of all Internet traffic in North America. During peak hours Netflix accounts for a third of all download traffic, while BitTorrent is credited for nearly half of all upload traffic during the busiest time of the day.
Over the years, many Internet traffic reports have been published. Back in 2004, long before the BitTorrent boom had started, studies already indicated that BitTorrent was responsible for an impressive 35% of all Internet traffic.
In the years that followed the Internet traffic distribution underwent a metamorphosis, as video streaming took off with the launch of YouTube and later Netflix. However, all this time BitTorrent remained a significant player and new data confirms that this is still the case.
Sandvine, the company that’s best known for manufacturing the hardware that slowed down BitTorrent users on Comcast, has released their latest Internet traffic report. The report highlights several emerging trends in Internet traffic consumption in North America.
Netflix is by far the most bandwidth-consuming source of traffic. On an average day, 23.3% of all North American traffic comes from or goes to Netflix. BitTorrent is a good second with 16.5% of the traffic pie, meaning that Netflix and BitTorrent together account for almost 40% of all traffic.
The main difference between BitTorrent and Netflix traffic is that the former is more spread out over the day, as BitTorrent users continue downloading overnight.
The graph below shows the usage of various types of traffic during peak hours, where BitTorrent takes up nearly half of all upstream bandwidth. Netflix is the absolute king in terms of downstream traffic here, accounting for nearly one third of all traffic during peak hours.
Peak hour traffic in North America (source Sandvine)
The data further shows that BitTorrent is the last major P2P network standing. After LimeWire was shut down exactly one year ago, major traffic to and from the Gnutella network vanished completely. Last year it was responsible for 11% of upstream traffic and 2% of downstream traffic during peak hours. In October 2011 it is no longer present among the top 10 traffic sources.
Interestingly enough, none of the popular file-hosting services generates enough traffic to make it into the top 10 in North America. However, the report shows that this is quite the opposite in Brazil, where a massive 9.45% of all traffic during peak hours goes through Megaupload, and another 1.97% through its sister site Megavideo.
Both Megavideo and Megaupload are also listed in the top 10 in Africa with 2.33% and 3.11% respectively. Other regional differences that stand out include Google Video being twice as popular than YouTube in Eastern Europe. In Brazil on the other hand, YouTube is generating nearly a quarter of all Internet traffic during peak hours.
Aggregate peak hour traffic (source Sandvine)
While keeping in mind that Sandvine might benefit from overestimating the percentage of P2P traffic because they sell traffic shaping applications, the above shows that BitTorrent is still a major player on the internet in terms of the traffic it generates. But the question is for how long.
The rise of Netflix in North America – despite negative results earlier this week – shows that there is plenty of interest in paid entertainment. Combined with the traffic stats above it is fair to assume that many more people pay for movies than those who download. For Hollywood this leads to the disappointing conclusion that even if all movie pirating BitTorrent users got a Netflix account, the effect on the movie industry’s revenues would only be ‘marginal’.
(NaturalNews) There is no need to get vaccinated against tuberculosis if you maintain high enough levels of vitamin D, suggests a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Researchers found that, in the presence of even minimally adequate levels of vitamin D, the body’s own immune system will naturally trigger an immune response against the disease and many others without the need for drug or chemical interventions.
Mario Fabri, who currently works in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Cologne in Germany, examined the effects of vitamin D on immunity during his time at the University of California, Los Angeles. He discovered that the vitamin D hormone is crucial for T-cells, which are the first responders to immune invaders, to produce a protein called interferon. And interferon has been shown to directly attack tuberculosis bacteria and prevent it from taking hold.
“Over the centuries, vitamin D has intrinsically been used to treat tuberculosis,” said Fabri, referencing the age-old practice of putting tuberculosis patients in areas of high sun exposure as part of their treatment. “Our findings suggest that increasing vitamin D levels through supplementation may improve the immune response to infections such as tuberculosis.”
Fabri’s previous studies also found that vitamin D is necessary for the immune system to produce cathelicidin, an antimicrobial peptide that, like interferons, provides humans and other mammals with protection against bacterial infections. In other words, vitamin D equips the body with the tools it needs to prevent infection without the need for drug-based antibiotics.
“At a time when drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis are emerging, understanding how to enhance natural innate and acquired immunity through vitamin D may be very helpful,” added Barry Bloom, co-author of the study and former dean of faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health.
What is even better is that interferons fight more than just tuberculosis. These powerful pathways of cell communication are known to exhibit an immune response to all sorts of viruses, bacteria, parasites, and even tumor cells, which means they can help prevent a host of other diseases besides just tuberculosis.
To learn more about the amazing health benefits afforded by vitamin D, be sure to visit the Vitamin D Council website:
Sources for this article include: