Author Archive | Amber Pollock

Pot Tourism On Its Way to Colorado

It’s going to be very interesting to see how this one plays out. Personally, I wish them the best of success.

 Marijuana tourism is on the way to Colorado, under a recommendation made Tuesday by a state task force to regulate the drug made legal by voters last year.

But Colorado should erect signs in airports and borders telling visitors they can’t take pot home, the task force recommended.

Colorado’s marijuana task force was assembled to suggest regulations for pot after voters chose to flout federal drug law and allow its use without a doctor’s recommendation. Made up of lawmakers, law enforcement authorities and marijuana activists, the task force agreed Tuesday that the constitutional amendment on marijuana simply says that adults over 21 can use the drug, not just Colorado residents. If lawmakers agree with the recommendation, tourists would be free to buy and smoke marijuana.

“Imposing a residency requirement would almost certainly create a black market for recreational marijuana in the state,” said Rep.

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Cancer Loves Antioxidants

Picture: ECEMAML (PD)

Supplement addicts beware. It may be old news that Vitamin A elevates a smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer, but until now the general wisdom was that antioxidants are generally a good cancer preventative (except maybe Vitamin E). James Watson, Nobel Prize winner and co-discoverer of DNA, has news that will make you put down the vitamin bottle and rethink your approach to what you put in your body.

io9:

Celebrated geneticist James Watson, one of several researchers who won the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA, has just published what can only be called a cancer manifesto in Open Biology. It’s full of fairly harsh criticisms for current cancer researchers, but also suggests several ways forward in the “war on cancer.” Among other claims, Watson asserts that antioxidants like vitamin C — often recommended as cancer-prevention supplements — could be causing some forms of cancer.

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The Mind’s Compartments Create Conflicting Beliefs

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Scientific American shows its biases in an article about the psychological basis for biased thinking, cognitive dissonance, and mental compartmentalization. The article also includes some handy tips on how to bring people around to your way of seeing things.

If you have pondered how intelligent and educated people can, in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence, believe that evolution is a myth, that global warming is a hoax, that vaccines cause autism and asthma, that 9/11 was orchestrated by the Bush administration, conjecture no more. The explanation is in what I call logic-tight compartments—modules in the brain analogous to watertight compartments in a ship.

The concept of compartmentalized brain functions acting either in concert or in conflict has been a core idea of evolutionary psychology since the early 1990s. According to University of Pennsylvania evolutionary psychologist Robert Kurzban in Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite (Princeton University Press, 2010), the brain evolved as a modular, multitasking problem-solving organ—a Swiss Army knife of practical tools in the old metaphor or an app-loaded iPhone in Kurzban’s upgrade.

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Doctor Assisted Bulimia or Revolutionary Weight Loss Tool?

Wannabe weight loss cyborgs take note! Dean Kamen, inventor of the segway, has come up with an invention designed to help you lose your lunch. It is now possible to get a port implanted into your stomach, through which you can purge about a third of the food you eat at each meal. This bizarre device is currently in use in Europe, but not yet available in the US.

The Register reports:

The cynical among you might observe that there’s also a practical similarity between Aspiration Therapy and a certain, much older technique, one well known to ballerinas, runway models, and Roman senators. But Aspire is quick to point out that this new technique has significant advantages over sticking one’s finger down one’s throat.

For one thing, patients are meant to practice Aspiration Therapy only under the supervision of their doctors, who will monitor their electrolyte and metabolite levels and administer supplements as necessary. Furthermore, vomiting causes stomach acids to enter the mouth and esophagus, which can cause long-term damage over time. The Skin-Port presents no such risks.

Moreover, Aspire says, people who habitually vomit after meals are often bulimics, while candidates for Aspiration Therapy are just obese people who want to lose weight. “There is little overlap between people with bulimia and obesity,” the company says, adding that patients will be screened for bulimia and other psychological disorders to determine their eligibility for the treatment.

Aspire says patients should be able to bathe, swim, and conduct most other activities normally with the Skin-Port installed. And if you want to back out, or if you’ve managed to wean yourself off the therapy, the A-Tube can be removed in a 15-minute procedure under conscious sedation.

What do you think about this technology? Is it responsible to peddle a device which essentially mimics the function of  a dangerous eating disorder, or are the differences significant enough to justify marketing it to people who may otherwise opt for more invasive surgical measures?

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The War on Drugs Dropped the N-Bomb on America

The DEA is racing to ban the latest newcomer to the synthetic drug scene which includes Spice and the now infamous “bath salts.” Known as N-Bomb or Smiles, the new designer drug supposedly mimics the effects of LSD. Unlike LSD, however, the chemicals 2C-1-NBOMe or 251NBOMe which make up this new drug appear potentially deadly.

St. Louis Post Dispatch:

According to media reports, the drug was banned in Virginia last year and later outlawed in Louisiana after a 21-year-old man died at a New Orleans music festival in November. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported a man apparently took N-Bomb from a stranger, began convulsing and died a short time later.

A 21-year-old man Texas man died after taking the drug at a party in June, according to the Houston Chonicle.

With drug makers tweaking their chemicals faster than drug laws can be implemented, resulting in untested and potentially hazardous new substances reaching the public at unprecedented speed, isn’t it time to change our focus to one of harm reduction rather than the disastrously ineffective criminal model?… Read the rest

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