Articles by Easy Rider

Writes Eric W. Dolan on RAW Story:

Nearly three out of four Americans believe that the federal government should respect state laws regarding medical marijuana and halt raids on dispensaries, according to a poll released.

“These results are consistent with the clear and growing body of evidence that documents substantial voter support for the legalization of medical marijuana,” said Larry Harris, a principal with Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

The polling agency found that 74 percent of Americans believed the federal government should respect states’ medical marijuana laws. Support for medical marijuana laws was highest among Independents, at 79 percent, and lowest among Republicans, at 67 percent. Younger age groups were more likely to think the federal government should respect medical marijuana laws than older age groups…

Reports Tom Philpott on Mother Jones:

In November, California voters will decide on a ballot initiative that would require labeling of all foods containing ingredients from genetically modified crops. The initiative made it to the ballot after almost 1 million Californians signed a petition in favor of it—nearly double the 504,760 signatures needed under the state’s proposition rules. The campaign that organized the push to get the measure on the ballot focused on possible health effects of GMO foods.

This news will not likely be applauded by my friends over at Croplife America, the main trade group of the GM seed/agrichemical industry. The big GMO crops—corn, soy, sugar beets, and cotton—are processed into sweeteners, fats, and additives used widely by the food industry. Everything from high fructose corn syrup-sweetened Coke to soybean oil-containing Hellman’s mayo would have to bear a label reading something like “Contains GMO ingredients.”…

Abnormal Cannabidiol StructureVia Mind Hacks:

If you want any evidence that drugs have won the drug war, you just need to read the scientific studies on legal highs.

If you’re not keeping track of the ‘legal high’ scene it’s important to remember that the first examples, synthetic cannabinoids sold as ‘Spice’ and ‘K2′ incense, were only detected in 2009.

Shortly after amphetamine-a-like stimulant drugs, largely based on variations on pipradrol and the cathinones appeared, and now ketamine-like drugs such as methoxetamine have become widespread.

Since 1997, 150 new psychoactive substances were reported. Almost a third of those appeared in 2010.

Last year, the US government banned several of these drugs although the effect has been minimal as the legal high laboratories have over-run the trenches of the drug warriors…

Cocaine BricksRichard A. Serrano writes in the LA Times:

Police and federal agents pulled the car over in a suburb north of Denver. An FBI agent showed his badge. The driver appeared not startled at all. “My friend,” he said, “I have been waiting for you.”

And with that, Jesus Audel Miramontes-Varela stepped out of his white 2002 BMW X5 and into the arms of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Over the next several days at his ranch in Colorado and an FBI safe house in Albuquerque, the Mexican cartel chieftain — who had reputedly fed one of his victims to lions in Mexico — was transformed into one of the FBI’s top informants on the Southwest border.

Around a dining room table in August 2010, an FBI camera whirring above, the 34-year-old Miramontes-Varela confessed his leadership in the Juarez cartel, according to 75 pages of confidential FBI interview reports obtained by The Times/Tribune Washington Bureau.

Via the Huffington Post:

More than 300 economists, including three nobel laureates, have signed a petition calling attention to the findings of a paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, which suggests that if the government legalized marijuana it would save $7.7 billion annually by not having to enforce the current prohibition on the drug. The report added that legalization would save an additional $6 billion per year if the government taxed marijuana at rates similar to alcohol and tobacco.

That’s as much as $13.7 billion per year, but it’s still minimal when compared to the federal deficit, which hit $1.5 trillion last year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

While the economists don’t directly call for pot legalization, the petition asks advocates on both sides to engage in an “open and honest debate” about the benefits of pot prohibition.

Dead BulbPorn, children, it’s just a click away / It’s just a click away … As Stephanie Pappas writes on LiveScience:

Watching pornography would seem to be a vision-intensive task. But new research finds that looking at erotic movies can actually quiet the part of the brain that processes visual stimuli.

Most of the time, watching movies or conducting any other visual task sends extra blood flow to this brain region. Not so when the movies are explicit, the researchers found. Instead, the brain seems to shunt blood — and therefore energy — elsewhere, perhaps to regions of the brain responsible for sexual arousal.

Turns out, the brain may not need to take in all the visual details of a sex scene, said study researcher Gert Holstege, a uroneurologist at the University of Groningen Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Jason SilvaRoss Andersen writes in the Atlantic:

I want to introduce you to Jason Silva, but first I want you to watch this short video that he made. It will only take two minutes, and watching it will give you a good idea if it’s worth your time to read the extensive interview that follows. If you ever wondered what would happen if a young Timothy Leary was wormholed into 2012, complete with a film degree and a Vimeo account, you have your answer: Jason Silva. If Silva, who was born in Venezuela, seems to have natural screen presence, it’s because he’s no stranger to media; he worked for six years as a host at Current TV before leaving the network last year to become a part-time filmmaker and full-time walking, talking TEDTalk.

Pink Slime In Ground BeefReports Phil Milford and Shruti Date Singh on Bloomberg:

AFA Foods, a ground-beef processor owned by Yucaipa Cos., sought bankruptcy court protection with a plan to sell some assets after media coverage of “pink slime” cut demand for its products. The company, based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, listed assets of $219 million and debt of $197 million in Chapter 11 papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is among food activists who have criticized the use of what they dubbed “pink slime,” a filler produced by treating finely ground beef scraps with ammonia hydroxide to kill pathogens. Beef Products Inc. last week temporarily suspended production at three plants because of consumer concerns. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said March 28 that the product, referred to in the industry as lean, finely textured beef, is safe to eat…

Antonin ScaliaCan’t make this stuff up. Reid Pillifant writes on Capital New York:

To some longtime observers of the Supreme Court, the surprising part of yesterday’s oral argument wasn’t that Justice Anthony Kennedy critically questioned the individual mandate; it was the harshly skeptical tone from Justice Antonin Scalia.

Scalia, one of the court’s most outspoken characters, has long been an originalist villain to those on the left, but there was a distinct strain of thought, at least among some constitutional scholars, that he might be inclined to look favorably upon the Affordable Care Act.

That idea rested primarily on his concurrence in Gonzales v. Raich, a 2005 case out of California, in which the court found that the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce extended to marijuana that was grown at home solely for personal consumption…

Fruit FlyReports Bloomberg via the San Francisco Chronicle:

Male fruit flies become barflies when rejected by females, choosing alcohol-spiked food more often than their successful brothers in a study that suggests it may be due to a brain chemical also found in humans.

The spurned flies had lower levels of a molecule in their brains called neuropeptide F than the males who were allowed to mate, according to findings published today in the journal Science. Neuropeptide Y, the version found in humans, has been tied to addiction and mental illness, said Ulrike Heberlein, one of the researchers.

The molecule may begin to explain how experience and environment shape human addictions, said Heberlein. About half of a person’s risk of addiction is genetic, and environment is known to play a role. The experiment may help explain the biological triggers that affect certain behavior or cravings and could help research into treatments for addiction …