Daily diary reveals how cannabis use affects people with bipolar

Experiences in real-time. Rafael-castillo, CC BY

Experiences in real-time. Rafael-castillo, CC BY

By Elizabeth Tyler, Lancaster University

Rates of substance use are higher in people with mental health problems compared to the general population and particularly in people with bipolar disorder, with cannabis the street drug most frequently used. Estimates suggest that up to 64% of this group have tried cannabis at least once in their lives, against about 30% of those without the disorder, despite only being about 2% of the overall population.

Specific reasons for the high levels of cannabis use in bipolar disorder are not yet fully understood. Retrospective studies (using case histories and qualitative interviews) suggest that individuals see cannabis as sometimes useful for managing symptoms of mania and depression. However, a number of large scale research studies have found that cannabis use is associated with significantly more manic and depressive episodes.

The daily experience

A study we published in PLOS ONE is the first to explore the use of cannabis in bipolar disorder in daily life.… Read the rest

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Thor Steinar: Authoritarian Outfitters

Thor Steinar, German neo-Nazis’ favorite clothing brand, is expanding throughout Europe, reports Berlin-based Thomas Rogers for New Republic:

Around 2010, Pavel Klymenko started noticing a curious brand of clothing gaining popularity with Kiev’s upper-middle class. The hoodies and shirts weren’t especially fashionable. They were covered in garish Nordic imagery, like a wolf howling at the moon, and fit into the macho style favored by many Ukrainian men. But Klymenko, an activist who monitors the extreme right in European football, recognized the name often emblazoned on the clothes in Gothic letters: “Thor Steinar,” two words that, for the past decade, have been synonymous with Germany’s fascist fringe. “Previously it had been worn by Ukrainian neo-Nazis who want to show off,” he says. “Now it was becoming popular among wealthy people.”

(C) Thor Steinar

(C) Thor Steinar

Klymenko learned that Thor Steinar had just opened a Kiev store in Dream Town, an upscale mall co-owned by a flashy Jewish businessman.

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Scientists capture first ever image of light acting as a particle and a wave


Ryan Whitwam via ExtremeTech:

Despite being a well-established tenet of modern physics, the particle-wave duality of light can be a real mind-bender. This approach to understanding the universe was pioneered by scientists like Albert Einstein and Max Planck, eventually leading to quantum mechanics. Researchers have been trying to visualize light in both forms ever since, but haven’t had success until now. A team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) claim they’ve devised an experiment to photograph light as both a particle and wave.

Einstein’s eureka moment in the study of light came when he described the photoelectric effect. When UV light hits a metal surface, it results in an emission of electrons. Einstein explained this phenomenon by proposing that light can act as a particle in addition to a wave. We now know these particles as photons, but that term wasn’t coined until later. Subsequent experiments have confirmed the dual property of light, but actually seeing both at once would be something.

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“A Death” By Stephen King

wazimu0 (CC BY 2.0)

wazimu0 (CC BY 2.0)

Stephen King’s short story, “A Death” (originally titled “The Man in the Black Suit”) is released in this month’s edition of the The New Yorker:

Jim Trusdale had a shack on the west side of his father’s gone-to-seed ranch, and that was where he was when Sheriff Barclay and half a dozen deputized townsmen found him, sitting in the one chair by the cold stove, wearing a dirty barn coat and reading an old issue of the Black Hills Pioneer by lantern light. Looking at it, anyway.

Sheriff Barclay stood in the doorway, almost filling it up. He was holding his own lantern. “Come out of there, Jim, and do it with your hands up. I ain’t drawn my pistol and don’t want to.”

Trusdale came out. He still had the newspaper in one of his raised hands. He stood there looking at the sheriff with his flat gray eyes.

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What Scares The New Atheists

“The vocal fervour of today’s missionary atheism conceals a panic that religion is not only refusing to decline – but in fact flourishing,” writes John Gray in a very #longread at the Guardian:

In 1929, the Thinker’s Library, a series established by the Rationalist Press Association to advance secular thinking and counter the influence of religion in Britain, published an English translation of the German biologist Ernst Haeckel’s 1899 book The Riddle of the Universe. Celebrated as “the German Darwin”, Haeckel was one of the most influential public intellectuals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; The Riddle of the Universe sold half a million copies in Germany alone, and was translated into dozens of other languages. Hostile to Jewish and Christian traditions, Haeckel devised his own “religion of science” called Monism, which incorporated an anthropology that divided the human species into a hierarchy of racial groups. Though he died in 1919, before the Nazi Party had been founded, his ideas, and widespread influence in Germany, unquestionably helped to create an intellectual climate in which policies of racial slavery and genocide were able to claim a basis in science.

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The Voice of Openness: Does social media aid Democracy? [Debate]

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Social media had all the appearance of a democratic revolution, hailed after the Arab Spring as the power of the people. But there’s now a growing army of government and corporate propagandists seeking to control and influence opinion. Has social media become a threat to democracy? Or is it still the voice of freedom? Lyse Doucet, Carl Miller, Steve Richards and Caspar Melville discuss.

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Neil Gaiman Salutes Douglas Adams

Neil Gaiman pays tribute to Douglas Adams, immortal to many through his creation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, at the annual Douglas Adams Memorial lecture:

“I haven’t known many geniuses in my life. Some brilliantly smart people, but only a tiny handful would I class as geniuses. I would class Douglas, because he saw things differently, and he was capable of communicating the way he saw things, and once he explained things the way he saw them, it was almost impossible to see them the way you used to see them.”

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The Four Stages of Being a Dive Bar Regular

Alper Çuğun (CC BY 2.0)

Alper Çuğun (CC BY 2.0)

I am what is commonly known as a binge drinker. I don’t ever drink at home, but I like to go out. When I go out I like to drink a ton. When I hit the town, I, like all of the other true partiers in the world, want a place to go where I know the vibe and know I am going to get my mind crushing buzz on with the least possible hassle, combined with the most possible fun.

It should also be cheap. For a boozebag, checking your wallet the next day can be a terrifying experience.

Which is why I always have a regular bar that I frequent. The last thing you want to do if you really want to get hammered is wander around aimlessly looking for a good place to drink.

I have been a regular at different bars numerous times throughout my life.… Read the rest

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