Fake Birth Control in Peru

The organization, Prosalud Interamericana, worried that emergency contraception pills being sold in Peru were not, in fact, birth control pills at all. They investigated and what they found was disturbing: 1 out of 4 pills was a generic antibiotic.

A split dose of two emergency contraceptive pills (most are now provided as one single-dose pill). [photo by Anka Grzywacz]

A split dose of two emergency contraceptive pills (most are now provided as one single-dose pill). [photo by Anka Grzywacz]

via Popular Science:

As a traditionally Catholic country, Peru has been slower than most to accept contraceptives. Over the past decade, most citizens’ ideology has gradually stretched to accommodate the need for birth control, but emergency contraception (AKA the “morning after” pill) is still highly controversial in Peru. Although some question the pill on moral grounds, others are starting to question it based on sinister scientific findings: some of the pills are not the pill.

With a growing number of “verified” emergency contraceptives being registered in Peru over the past few years, leaders of Prosalud Interamericana, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about sexual health, became suspicious that some of the birth control being sold in Peruvian pharmacies was not the pill described on the packaging.

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Natural News: A Truly Deadly Brand of Pseudoscience?

What do you make of Mike Adams and his Natural News site, disinfonauts? Big Think has a very negative take:

If there was an award for the single greatest hub of pseudoscience on the internet, the website Natural News would well and truly take the crown tin foil hat. Expect to find anti-vaccine paranoia which extends not only to your garden variety antivaxxer favorites such as the debunked link to autism but to crackpot claims that vaccines caused the “cancer epidemic” and were even responsible for the “origin” of AIDS. According to Natural NewsMicrosoft is developing “eugenics vaccines that target specific races and nationalities with infertility-inducing pharmaceuticals“. Alongside this you’ll also find full blown AIDS denialism (emphasis mine):

1-Aids-Denialism
HIV does NOT cause AIDSHIV does not cause anything. A staggering statement given the hype and acceptance by the scientific establishment and, through them, the public that the HIV virus is the only cause of AIDS. HIV is a weak virus and does not dismantle the immune system.

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EPA to Host Four Public Hearings on Climate Change Reduction

mokestack of Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Facility waste-to-energy plant.

Smokestack of Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Facility waste-to-energy plant.

And yet another battle in the climate change arena.

via EcoWatch:

This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host four public hearings on its plan to reduce climate change pollution from power plants. The speakers list is already filling up. Physicians will outline the health hazards linked to climate change. Farmers will talk about the challenges of raising crops in the face of extreme weather. And governors and mayors will describe the benefits of attracting clean energy investment to their communities.

Many people will testify in favor of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This should come as no surprise considering 7 in 10 Americans view global warming as a serious problem and want the federal government to reduce the pollution that causes it, according to a recent ABC News poll.

But the hearings will also attract another group of speakers: representatives from the American Coal Council, Americans for Prosperity and other dirty industries.

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Oldest Medical Report of Near-Death Experience Discovered

What an amazing thrift store find.

Cover of the book "Anecdotes de Médecine," by Pierre-Jean du Monchaux (1733-1766) Credit: Archive.org - Book contributor: Fisher - University of Toronto. Digitizing sponsored by University of Ottawa

Cover of the book “Anecdotes de Médecine,” by Pierre-Jean du Monchaux (1733-1766)
Credit: Archive.org – Book contributor: Fisher – University of Toronto. Digitizing sponsored by University of Ottawa

via Live Science:

Reports of people having “near-death” experiences go back to antiquity, but the oldest medical description of the phenomenon may come from a French physician around 1740, a researcher has found.

The report was written by Pierre-Jean du Monchaux, a military physician from northern France, who described a case of near-death experience in his book “Anecdotes de Médecine.” Monchaux speculated that too much blood flow to the brain could explain the mystical feelings people report after coming back to consciousness.

The description was recently found by Dr. Phillippe Charlier, a medical doctor and archeologist, who is well known in France for his forensic work on the remains of historical figures. Charlier unexpectedly discovered the medical description in a book he had bought for 1 euro (a little more than $1) in an antique shop.

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Massachusetts Monks Brew ‘Trappist Ale’ to Pay for Medical Costs

St. Joseph’s Abbey is the only monastery in the US that brews “Trappist Ale.” The other monasteries are located in Belgium (6), the Netherlands (2), and Austria (1).

Example beers of the 8 recognised Trappist breweries as of August 2013. Soon to include the ale of St. Joseph's Abbey. (Photo by Philip Rowlands)

Example beers of the 8 recognised Trappist breweries as of August 2013. Soon to include the ale of St. Joseph’s Abbey. (Photo by Philip Rowlands)

via Reuters:

(Reuters) – Tucked off a two-lane highway in a hilly, wooded section of central Massachusetts, a group of Roman Catholic monks has embraced a centuries-old tradition they hope can sustain their aging members in a world of rapidly rising health costs.

The 60 monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey still rise at 3 a.m. for prayers and pass most of their days in silence. But when it is time for work, a handful head down to the monastery’s new brewery, the first outside Europe to produce certified Trappist Ale.

The venture has proven to be less labor-intensive than the monks’ other businesses, making religious vestments and fruit preserves.

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Furniture That Looks and Feels Like Human Flesh

I don’t think I’ll be buying the chair and stool anytime soon, but I’d definitely be willing to try it out if ever given the opportunity.

both pieces_1

via Wired:

“Children have been one of the most interesting demographics in relation to the work,” Barker, creator of the skin series and founder of design studio 9191, told Wired.co.uk. “Without any of the hang ups we later develop, they are free to truly explore and interact with the work. Work regarding the human body is very personal and we all have a very immediate reaction to it so the reactions have reflected this.”

The skin stool and skin chair sell for £440 and £1,500 respectively. And in case there was any doubt as to whether furniture that looks, feels and smells like skin (it’s impregnated with human pheromones and aftershave) is on the consumer agenda, Barker’s MA show at Central Saint Martin’s was a sell-out last month and she’s already in talks with retailers.

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Big Pharma’s Latest Trick: Testing Meds on Homeless People

Homeless Veteran on the streets of Boston, MA

Homeless Veteran on the streets of Boston, MA

Are the massive pharmaceutical corporations known collectively as “Big Pharma” now the world’s worst corporate villains? Carl Elliott writes of a dastardly plan to test trial medications on homeless people, at Medium:

Two years ago, on a gray January afternoon, I visited the Ridge Avenue homeless shelter in Philadelphia. I was looking for poor people who had been paid to test experimental drugs. The streets outside the shelter were lined with ruined buildings and razor wire, and a pit bull barked behind a chain-link fence. A young guy was slumped on the curb, glassy-eyed and shaky. My guide, a local mental health activist named Connie Schuster, asked the guy if he was okay, but he didn’t answer. “My guess is heroin,” she said.

We arrived at the shelter, where a security guard was patting down residents for weapons. It didn’t take long for the shelter employees to confirm that some of the people living there were taking part in research studies.

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Genetic Engineering and Our Obsession with Beauty

chu20140727aBut once we learn how to democratize movie-star looks through genetic engineering, will we be satisfied? Most likely not. As looks become less of a differentiator, we will appreciate other personal characteristics more, such as kindness and intelligence.”

via Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies:

A Korean woman was on the verge of divorce because her husband no longer found her attractive and was having an affair. Nothing worked in her efforts to save the marriage and as a last resort she underwent cosmetic surgery. The result was so dramatic and her son didn’t recognize her when she returned home.

Even more dramatic was her husband’s attitude towards his new “goddess”: no more mention of divorce, and he was now  willing staying at home all the time! This seems to be a true story as the woman appeared on a TV show. Unfortunately the show is in Korean, but you can see many amazing “before-and-after” faces on this short video.

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The Sixth Extinction Is Here — And It’s Our Fault

Layla1.jpg

If it’s sounds serious, it is. The Sixth Extinction is a very real and massive loss of bioversity on Earth, happening right now, reports James Temple at re/code:

The Earth appears to be in the early stages of the Sixth Extinction, the latest in a series of mass biodiversity losses that have punctuated the history of life on the planet, according to a paper published in Science this week.

The defining characteristic of the current round — the latest since the dinosaurs disappeared about 65 million years ago — seems to be driven mostly by the actions of humankind. We’re steadily encroaching on the habitat of millions of species while fundamentally altering the environment.

More than 320 terrestrial vertebrates have become extinct since 1500, according to the researchers at Stanford University. Surviving species have declined in abundance by about 25 percent, particularly devastating the ranks of large animals like elephants, rhinoceroses and polar bears.

And it’s only likely to get worse. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changereport in 2007 predicts that an increase of 3.5 degrees Celsius, within the range of scientistic forecasts for 2100, could wipe out 40 to 70 percent of the species assessed so far…

[continues at re/code]

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