Author Archive | majestic

Spiritual Leader Made 400 Men Get Castrated to be ‘Closer to God’

Fellas: Would you castrate yourself to be closer to God? Didn’t think so, but there are at least 400 people who did, reports the Independent:

A man has been accused of encouraging hundreds of followers to be castrated in a promise for them to become closer to God.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, an Indian pop-star and telepreacher with a reported wealth of more than $50 million, is being investigated after he allegedly manipulated around 400 men to get their testicles removed – according to India Today.

Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan addressing a spiritual congregation. Photo: Musogd (CC)

Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan addressing a spiritual congregation. Photo: Musogd (CC)

 

One of his former followers who underwent castration seven years ago – named Hans Raj Chauhan – is one of the few to break the silence to speak out against him and the group.

“[The victims] were told that only those who get castrated will be able to meet God,” said Chauhan’s lawyer, Navkiran Singh, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Pope Francis Calls Money the ‘Devil’s Dung’

Pope Francis. Photo: Korean Culture and Information Service (CC)

Pope Francis. Photo: Korean Culture and Information Service (CC)

Pope Francis describes money as “the devil’s dung” in a speech carried by Vatican Radio. “When money becomes an idol, it controls man’s choices,” he said. “It makes him a slave”:

First, the Pope said, co-operatives must continue to be “the motor that uplifts and develops the weakest parts of our local communities and civil society.”

The first priority is to establish new co-operatives, while developing existing ones, so as to create new employment opportunities, especially among youth, he said.

Second, the Pope urged the co-op movement to be a “protagonist” in proposing new welfare solutions, particularly in the area of healthcare.

As a third point, he spoke of the economy and its relationship with social justice and human dignity. Speaking of the need to “globalize solidarity,” he urged the confederation to bring co-operatives to the “existential peripheries” and to continue to be “prophetic” by “inventing new forms of co-operation.”

The Pope spoke of “a certain liberalism,” which “believes it is first necessary to produce wealth—and it does not matter how—to then promote some state redistribution policy.”…

[continues at Vatican Radio, which has audio of the speech]

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The Anarchist Cookbook: Burn After Reading

Anarchist cookbook“In 1971, William Powell published The Anarchist Cookbook, a guide to making bombs and drugs at home. He spent the next four decades fighting to take it out of print,” writes Gabriel Thompson at Harpers:

In September 10, 1976, during an evening flight from New York to Chicago, a bearded passenger handed a sealed envelope to an attendant. The note began: “One, this plane is hijacked.” In the rest of the letter, the passenger, a Croatian nationalist named Zvonko Busic, explained that five bombs had been smuggled onboard, and that a sixth had been placed in locker 5713 at Grand Central Station in Manhattan. Busic added that the pilot should radio the authorities immediately and that further instructions would be found with the bomb in the locker. “[It] can only be activated by pressing the switch to which it is attached,” he added, “but caution is suggested.”

While the captain notified air traffic control, Busic entered the cockpit wearing what looked like three sticks of dynamite attached to a battery.

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Welcome to Gibtown, the Last ‘Freakshow’ Town in America

“With the demise of the carnival, an important slice of American history risks being lost – but the residents of Gibsonton, Florida, are trying to keep the legacy of the town’s famous ‘freaks’ alive,” report Kim Wall and Caterina Clerici for the Guardian:

For those who didn’t quite fit elsewhere, Gibtown was a utopia. Its first settlers, the Giant, and his wife, the Half-Woman, ran a campsite, a bakeshop and the fire department. The post office catered to little people with extra-low counters, and the beer hall had custom-built chairs for the Fat Ladies and the Tallest Man. Special zoning regulations allowed residents to keep and train exotic animals in their gardens. Siamese-twin sisters ran a fruit stand. Three factories manufactured Ferris wheels and carousels.

Gibtown. Photo: janhatesmarcia

Gibtown. Photo: janhatesmarcia

 

Or at least that’s how Ward Hall, aka the King of Sideshow, remembers it.

In the golden days of American carnival, all roads led to Gibsonton, Florida.

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Is Scurvy the New Diabetes?

Scurvy is the new poor people’s disease in the United States. Yes you read that right. Leigh Cowart tells the sad story at Medium:

… It’s true: Scurvy is not something that you will readily encounter in mainstream American life, since death from lack of vitamin C requires poor medical care and consistent and prolonged lack of access to fresh or fortified foods. It also often involves a cofactor such as alcoholism, being an elderly shut-in, or inadequate infant nutrition. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook: Like so many diseases with social roots, scurvy doesn’t come on like flipping a switch; it’s not as if one day you’re fine, and the next all your old scars are opening up and your tongue is covered in sores. This kind of malnutritive illness exists on a sliding scale of grays. Vitamin C deficiency is no joke, and acting like we don’t have to worry about historical diseases is arrogant and stupid.

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First Full Body Transplant Two Years Away

Anatomical Male Figure Showing Heart, Lungs, and Main Arteries.jpg An Italian doctor plans to graft a living person’s head on to a donor body using procedures he believes will soon be ready, per the Guardian:

A surgeon says full-body transplants could become a reality in just two years.

Sergio Canavero, a doctor in Turin, Italy, has drawn up plans to graft a living person’s head on to a donor body and claims the procedures needed to carry out the operation are not far off.

Canavero hopes to assemble a team to explore the radical surgery in a project he is due to launch at a meeting for neurological surgeons in Maryland this June.

He has claimed for years that medical science has advanced to the point that a full body transplant is plausible, but the proposal has caused raised eyebrows, horror and profound disbelief in other surgeons.

The Italian doctor, who recently published a broad outline of how the surgery could be performed, told New Scientist magazine that he wanted to use body transplants to prolong the lives of people affected by terminal diseases.

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How Emulsifiers Are Messing with Our Guts (and Making us Fat)

Common food ingredients like polysorbate 80, lecithin, and carrageenan interfere with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract, reports Elizabeth Grossman at Civil Eats:

Scan the fine print on almost any processed food in the grocery store and you’re likely to find emulsifiers: Ingredients such as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan and other “gums,” all of which keep ingredientsoften oils and fatsfrom separating. They are also used to improve the texture and shelf-life of many foods found in supermarkets, from ice cream and baked goods, to salad dressings, veggie burgers, non-dairy milks, and hamburger patties.

Light Mayo Ingredients

Now, a new study released today in the journal Nature suggests these ingredients may also be contributing to the rising incidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease by interfering with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract, known as “gut microbio.”

This news may surprise consumers, given the fact that emulsifiers are approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and appear in many foods otherwise considered “healthy,” including some in which their presence helps to reduce transfats and gluten, and many labeled organic and non-GMO.

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How Stephen Hawking, Diagnosed With ALS Decades Ago, Is Still Alive

Stephen Hawking truly is a very special specimen – not only a verifiable genius but also seemingly able to be one of the only people to beat death from ALS. Terrence McCoy reveals how at the Washington Post:

On April 20, 2009, a moment arrived that doctors had foretold for decades. Stephen Hawking, a scientist who overcame debilitating disease to become the world’s most renowned living physicist, was on the cusp of death. The University of Cambridge released grim prognoses. Hawking, diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21, was described as “very ill” and “undergoing tests” at the hospital. Newspapers ran obituary-esque articles. It seemed time was up for the man who so eloquently explained it.

But, as is his custom, Hawking survived.

Stephen Hawking with New Computer

Hawking shouldn’t be able to do the things he now does. The 73-year-old shouldn’t be able to deliver meditations on the existence of God.

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Heavy Drinkers Have Lowest IQs

A Soldier Drinks a Pint of Beer on his Return from Afghanistan MOD 45152497.jpg

Photo: Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC/MOD (CC)

New findings show a link between a lower IQ and and alcohol consumption amongst young men, reports the Telegraph:

People with low IQs are more likely to consume higher amounts of alcohol than those with higher IQs, a new study has claimed.

The study, which was carried out by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, surveyed 49,321 Swedish men who were born between 1949 to 1951 and were conscripted for Swedish military service from 1969 to 1971. IQ tests done upon conscription, alcohol intake, pattern of drinking, tobacco use, and medical conditions were all examined.

The results showed that men with lower results on their IQ test consumed higher levels of alcohol, leading the team to conclude that “a higher IQ results in healthier lifestyle choices”.

Sara Sjölund a student at the Institutet and corresponding author for the study, said that this was the first study to find “consistent” links between “cognitive ability and alcohol-related problems”.

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The Water Wars

Michael Specter describes a thirsty, violent world fighting for water, at the New Yorker:

Angry protesters filled the streets of Karachi last week, clogging traffic lanes and public squares until police and paratroopers were forced to intervene. That’s not rare in Pakistan, which is often a site of political and religious violence.

But last week’s protests had nothing to do with freedom of expression, drone wars, or Americans. They were about access to water. When Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the Minister of Defense, Power, and Water (yes, that is one ministry), warned that the country’s chronic water shortages could soon become uncontrollable, he was looking on the bright side. The meagre allotment of water available to each Pakistani is a third of what it was in 1950. As the country’s population rises, that amount is falling fast.

2014-009 - dry folsom

Photo: Robert Couse-Baker (CC)

 

Dozens of other countries face similar situations—not someday, or soon, but now.

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