Author Archive | majestic

This Is Your Brain on Drugs

A Harvard-Northwestern study has found differences between the brains of young adult marijuana smokers and those of nonsmokers. In these composite scans, colors represent the differences — in the shape of the amygdala, top, and nucleus accumbens. Yellow indicates areas that are most different, red the least. Credit The Journal of Neuroscience

A Harvard-Northwestern study has found differences between the brains of young adult marijuana smokers and those of nonsmokers. In these composite scans, colors represent the differences — in the shape of the amygdala, top, and nucleus accumbens. Yellow indicates areas that are most different, red the least. Credit The Journal of Neuroscience

Want to know what your brain looks like when you smoke weed? If so you’re in luck because some scientists at Harvard and Northwestern University have taken photographs of marujuana-affected brain scans and analyzed what happens. Report via the New York Times:

The gray matter of the nucleus accumbens, the walnut-shaped pleasure center of the brain, was glowing like a flame, showing a notable increase in density. “It could mean that there’s some sort of drug learning taking place,” speculated Jodi Gilman, at her computer screen at the Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine. Was the brain adapting to marijuana exposure, rewiring the reward system to demand the drug?

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Terms of Service: Al Jazeera’s Cool Web Comic About Big Data

Could you see any stalwart of the mainstream media in America using the medium of an online comic to address the tensions that so-called Big Data present? Upstart Al Jazeera America commissioned cartoonist Josh Neufeld and reporter Michael Keller to create a graphic novella that you can read here online and you’ll also find download links for iBooks, ePub and PDF versions. This is the first page:

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 4.06.04 PM

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Google Nanotech Pill Will Search Your Body For Disease Detection

There’s an emerging theme in contemporary science fiction of medical nanotechnology running amok with disastrous consequences for humanity. The inevitable science fact is catching up fast with fiction and no surprise, Google is among the first mega-corporations working on a nanotech pill that will run around the human body detecting problems (and no doubt eventually “fixing” them). From PC Mag:

Google X is working on another moonshot: a nanoparticle-filled pill intended to help doctors identify and prevent fatal diseases.

Andrew Conrad, head of the Life Sciences team at the Google X research lab, told attendees at the The Wall Street Journal’s WSJD Live conference (video below) that he wants to “functionalize” nanoparticles and “make them do what we want.”

These particles are less than one-thousandth the size of a red blood cell, and small enough that millions can fit within a grain of sand – or the human body. But don’t expect to start swallowing nanoparticle-infused pills during your next visit to the doctor.

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Ed Snowden Taught Me To Smuggle Secrets Past Incredible Danger. Now I Teach You

Edward Snowden-2.jpg

Edward Snowden by Laura Poitras / Praxis Films (CC)

Micah Lee was staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and chief technology officer of the Freedom of the Press Foundation when he was first contacted by Edward Snowden. He tells us what he learned about smuggling secrets at The Intercept:

Late on the evening of January 11, 2013, someone sent me an interesting email. It was encrypted, and sent from the sort of anonymous email service that smart people use when they want to hide their identity. Sitting at the kitchen table in the small cottage where I lived in Berkeley with my wife and two cats, I decrypted it.

The anonymous emailer wanted to know if I could help him communicate securely with Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who had repeatedly cast a critical eye on American foreign policy.

From: anon108@■■■■■■■■■
To: Micah Lee
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013

Micah,

I’m a friend. I need to get information securely to Laura Poitras and her alone, but I can’t find an email/gpg key for her.

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Pope Francis Loves Exorcists

ExorcistExorcists are becoming more and more important in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and now Pope Francis is recognizing them reports Breitbart:

According to Pope Francis, priests devoted to the ministry of exorcism “manifest the Church’s love and acceptance of those who suffer because of the devil’s works.”

Francis wrote these words in a message addressed to Father Francesco Bamonte, the president of the International Association of Exorcists, which is holding a convention in Rome this week. Vatican Radio has reported that more than 300 exorcists from around the world have participated.

This was the first conference to be held by the International Association of Exorcists since the Vatican formally approved its statutes this past June 13.

Father Bamonte said that the approval of the organization was “cause for joy not only for the association, but for the whole Church” and said that “God calls some priests to this important ministry of exorcism and deliverance” to be able to “accompany the persons with humility, faith and charity.”

Dr.

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More People Believe in Aliens and Ghosts Than God

Alien01.svg

By Lionel Allorge (CC)

Are you surprised? From i100:

Today in unnerving statistics, a poll has found more Britons believe in aliens and ghosts than God.

The survey of 1,500 adults and 500 children, carried out online for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! by OnePoll, found more than half of adults believe that there is alien life, while only a quarter believe in God.

Of the children polled, 26 per cent believe aliens are disguised as humans while one in 20 thought they knew an alien – and of those, one in 20 suggested their mother as the likely culprit.

In the 2011 census 59.3 per cent of the population described themselves as Christian – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they were believers. A YouGov poll of 1,500 Anglican clergy this week found one in 50 priests believe God to be a human construct, while 16 per cent of priests say they are unclear on what they think about God.

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Population Control Measures Won’t Solve Global Sustainability Problem

Not an inch to spare - geograph.org.uk - 1328122.jpg

Photo: G H Clarke (CC)

Bad news for the New World Order oligarchs: killing billions of us won’t solve the world’s sustainability problems, reports BBC News:

Restricting population growth will not solve global issues of sustainability in the short term, new research says.

A worldwide one-child policy would mean the number of people in 2100 remained around current levels, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Even a catastrophic event that killed billions of people would have little effect on the overall impact, it said.

There may be 12 billion humans on Earth by 2100, latest projections suggest.

Concerns about the impact of people on the planet’s resources have been growing, especially if the population continues to increase.

‘Can’t stop it’

The authors of this new study said roughly 14% of all the people who ever existed were alive today.

These growing numbers mean a greater impact on the environment than ever, with worries about the conversion of forests for agriculture, the rise of urbanisation, the pressure on species, pollution, and climate change.

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The Biggest CIA-Drug Money Scandal You Never Read

Nicholas Deak

Nicholas Deak

Mark Ames digs in the crates of CIA scandal and comes up with Nicholas Deak, writing for Pando:

With the release of the new Gary Webb film “Kill The Messenger” and the sudden renewed interest in what goes on in that dark underbelly of the US Empire — drug running, money laundering, death squads, assassinations of lives and of reputations — I’m reminded of the incredible life and death of Nicholas Deak, the CIA’s Cold War banker hailed in Time magazine as “the James Bond of the world of money” until the mid-1980s, when his global finance empire was destroyed by Reagan Administration accusations of large-scale Latin American drug money laundering.

The Reagan Commission on Organized Crime spent much of 1984 attacking Deak’s global foreign exchange firm, Deak-Perera. By the end of the year, Deak was forced to appear before the commission in a testy public interrogation; his financial empire collapsed within days.

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Jediism: A New Religion?

What’s Jediism? Devotion to Star Wars? Apparently more than a few people are taking it so seriously that it’s more or less a religion, reports BBC News Magazine:

Followers of Jediism are aiming to build a belief system that goes beyond the Star Wars films. But does it amount to a new religion?

It began as a joke at the expense of statisticians. In the UK’s 2001 Census, 390,127 people – or 0.7% of the population – described themselves as Jedi. A question on religious belief had been asked for the first time in a census and Jedi – from the cloak-wearing, lightsaber swishing rebels in the Star Wars films – was a tongue-in-cheek response.

Jedi census phenomenon 2001

It was a post-modernist Star Wars joke by atheists. Or so many assumed. But for some the force was strong.

An ideas festival at Cambridge University this weekend will look at how new “religious movements”, such as Jediism, the Indigo Children and Wicca, have expanded online.

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