‘Our purity is above 99%': the Chinese labs churning out legal highs for the west

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Raquel Baranow (CC BY 2.0)

As Western governments play a futile game of whack-a-mole with legal drugs, chemists in China are consistently synthesizing new, legal compounds to sell.

Nicola Davison via The Guardian:

The mass production of legal highs began only in 2008, when UN drugs officials destroyed 33 tonnes of safrole oil, a precursor of MDMA, in Cambodia.

As MDMA stocks in Europe dwindled, suppliers shopped around for an alternative – and found mephedrone, a substance that was chemically similar to MDMA but not controlled in the UK. For the two years before it was banned, users could not get enough of this cheap, cocaine-meets-ecstasy high.

Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer originally developed synthetic cannabinoids – drugs designed to mimic the effect of cannabis – as research tools to investigate the mechanisms of the brain’s endocannabinoid system for clinical therapy.

Vendors began trawling obscure scientific journals for compounds, consumers described their highs on online drug forums, and the nascent market took shape.

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100-Million-Year-Old Predatory Cockroach Found in Amber

Manipulator modificaputis gen. et sp. n. (Manipulatoridae fam.n.) holotype SMNS Bu-116 (deposited in the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History) from the Cretaceous Myanmar amber. A – left view, B – dorsal view, C – detail on the forewing articulation, D – forewing surface hexagonal structure. Scales 0.5 mm. Photo credit: Geologica Carphatica

Manipulator modificaputis gen. et sp. n. (Manipulatoridae fam.n.) holotype SMNS Bu-116 (deposited in the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History) from the Cretaceous Myanmar amber.
A – left view
B – dorsal view
C – detail on the forewing articulation
D – forewing surface hexagonal structure. Scales 0.5 mm.
Photo credit: Geologica Carphatica

It’s the stuff of nightmares: a predatory cockroach (which hunted at night, of course) was recently found preserved in amber. The cockroach and its kin coexisted with dinosaurs and was found near a mine in Noije Bum, Myanmar.

This predator bears a striking resemblance to a praying-mantis. Scientists, Peter Vršanský from the Geological Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia, and Günter Bechly from the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany, say that its long legs and and long neck indicate that these critters were adept hunters.

“The specimen is one of dozens of preserved insects found in the area, making it the most important site of dinosaur-age amber in the world,” says Vršanský.… Read the rest

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Don’t Be a Coward — Order a Custom Video Today

rjp (CC BY-SA 2.0)

rjp (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Let’s pretend you have some sort of sexual fetish. Just for fun, let’s make it a weird one.

It’s something you don’t want anyone in your life to know about. That kind of thing can be awkward. You don’t want your boss to know you get turned on by chicks that are passed out and drooling, and the last time you asked your girlfriend to act like a robot, she got totally pissed. When you go out and booze with your buddies and they are talking about the Red Sox, you feel odd changing the subject and talking about how badly you want to feed a woman until she gets fat and explodes.

So what do you do? You pay a fetish model to do the things the women in your world won’t. More and more fetish models and websites are offering custom videos. All you have to do is send her an assload of money and the fetish model of your choosing will make a video just for you.… Read the rest

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Insurance Companies Blatantly Ignore ACA’s Free Birth Control Mandate

Since the ACA's birth control requirement went into effect in August 2012, more than 48 million women no longer face cost barriers to accessing birth control, according to the National Women's Law Center. (Photo: UC Irvine/flickr/cc)

Since the ACA’s birth control requirement went into effect in August 2012, more than 48 million women no longer face cost barriers to accessing birth control, according to the National Women’s Law Center. (Photo: UC Irvine/flickr/cc)

This was originally posted on Common Dreams.

Not only are insurance companies across the country flouting the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control coverage mandate, they are violating a slew of other women’s health requirements related to maternity care and more, the National Women’s Law Center charged in dual reports released this week.

“Insurance companies are breaking the law by denying women coverage to which they are entitled,” NWLC vice president for health and reproductive rights Gretchen Borchelt said in a statement. “The Affordable Care Act has made dramatic improvements in women’s health coverage, but insurers’ failure to comply with its requirements has serious consequences that affect women every day.”

In State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act(pdf), NWLC looked at coverage of FDA-approved birth control methods—which the ACA says must be covered without co-payments or deductibles—and found widespread violations nationwide.… Read the rest

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Space Ventures Will Spawn First Trillionaire

One can almost imagine TV scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson saying “Go into space, young man” as a latter day Horace Greeley. NBC News reports on his prediction that space pioneers will be the first trillionaires:

A passion for exploration is the fuel to an innovative economy, says astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

In an interview with CNBC’s On the Money, the host of the new National Geographic Channel show StarTalk — based on Tyson’s podcast and Sirius XM radio show of the same name — described the dynamic implications of scientific discovery.

“You have to innovate,” said Tyson, arguably the most famous astrophysicist in America. When “an engineer comes out with a new patent to take you to a place — intellectually, physically … that has never been reached before, those become the engines of tomorrow’s economy.”

When it comes to space innovation, many of the headlines about exploration beyond Earth have been generated by private enterprises like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, tech giant Google and even Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

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Myth, Math and Synchronicity Summoning with Marty Leeds| midwest real

Via Midwest Real

Marty Leeds is the author of several books and a researcher on the subjects of myth, math, spirituality, philosophy and lost civilizations. He has an ongoing lecture series available on Youtube and he hosts The Marty Leeds’ Mathemagical Radio Hour

ITUNES  STITCHER DOWNLOAD

tumblr_meymllaAxE1r3jhqxo1_500After pretending we know what we’re doing for a few decades and attempting to deal with whatever attention-eating obligation fodder society flings our way, our childlike sense of wonder tends to seep out of us. We simply don’t have the energy to marvel at the omnipresent harmony around us while we’re being crushed by a mountain of student loan debt or whispering profanities at Turbo Tax.

Devoid of that underlying sense of purpose and awe, our existence becomes hollow. Try as we might, we just can’t fill that void through our usual repertoire of mundane behaviors. The more we ignore it, the more the issue becomes inflamed.… Read the rest

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Coincidence Control Network: File #84 – Back from the Great Infection

ccn84image **We got our candy asses hacked here at SittingNow, so it was all hands on deck sorting that, some chicken soup, and a hearty dose of antibiotics, and we're back!** This week: Frater brings the mystery of alien radio signals to their knees, Florida + dinosaurs = win, The great American Insurance saga continues, There's gold in dem der hills, Killer robots, and much more. Personnel –  Raymond Wiley, Roejen Razorwire, Frater Isla, and  Ken Eakins
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The Decline of Pseudoscience

“Now that “natural” living has gone mainstream, its days are numbered,” claims Phoebe Maltz Bovy for New Republic:

Have we reached peak green juice? The New York Times’ Brooks Barnes suggests as much in a recent story about what a haute-hippie refuge in California is bringing to an already over-saturated market:

With every mini-mall, gas station and gym in Los Angeles now boasting a juice bar, or so it seems, the truly cutting-edge folks need to raise the ante to the point of ridiculousness. Kale-avocado-dandelion-cucumber-caraway-seed-jalapeño-heirloom-pear smoothie? Snore.

When the “Style” section not only identifies a trend, but deems it passé, it’s a safe bet it has indeed run its course. But it’s not just glorified cold vegetable soup that’s lost its allure. The pseudoscience that persists more generally in America is losing its cultural cachet.

organic store 2

Photo: Nelson Tasman Tourism (CC)

 

In recent years, health trends became status signifiers to which mainstream Americans aspired.

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Sixty Percent of Large Herbivores Face Threat Of Extinction

Sixty Percent. More than half… The bad news from the BBC:

Populations of some of the world’s largest wild animals are dwindling, raising the threat of an “empty landscape”, say scientists.

Black rhino

Black Rhinoceros by Matthew Field (CC)

About 60% of giant herbivores – plant-eaters – including rhinos, elephants and gorillas, are at risk of extinction, according to research.

Analysis of 74 herbivore species, published in Science Advances, blamed poaching and habitat loss.

A previous study of large carnivores showed similar declines.

Prof William Ripple, of Oregon State University, led the research looking at herbivores weighing over 100kg, from the reindeer up to the African elephant.

“This is the first time anyone has analysed all of these species as a whole,” he said.

“The process of declining animals is causing an empty landscape in the forest, savannah, grasslands and desert.”

Prof David Macdonald, of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, was among the team of 15 international scientists.

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