Author Archive | majestic

Smoking Skunk Triples Chances of Psychosis

Cannabis Plant.jpg

Cannabis Training University (CC)

Hey stoners, did you know that smoking your favorite skunk weed triples your chances of psychosis? From BBC News:

Smoking potent cannabis was linked to 24% of new psychosis cases analysed in a study by King’s College London.

The research suggests the risk of psychosis is three times higher for users of potent “skunk-like” cannabis than for non-users.

The study of 780 people was carried out by KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.

A Home Office spokesman said the report underlines the reasons why cannabis is illegal.

Scientists found the risk of psychosis was five times higher for those who use it every day compared with non-users.

They also concluded the use of hash, a milder form of the drug, was not associated with increased risk of psychosis.

Psychosis refers to delusions or hallucinations that can be present in certain psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

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Brain-Altering Devices Now Available

Imagine this: you can change your mood without drugs, meditation, or any of the other more or less undesirable techniques now in use for mood alteration. How? With brain-altering devices now coming to market, reports the Daily Dot:

It feels like a long time since the Quantified Self movement caught us in its clutches. The first fitness bands and their corresponding apps sucked us in; the ability to monitor self-defined statistics made us feel more in control of ourselves. It’s part narcissism, part hypervigilance.

(C) Zen Vibez

(C) Zen Vibez

 

But the most significant roadblock has been taking all the information we’re self-quantifying and acting on it. You know you’re taking 1,000 too few steps a day, eating 500 more calories than you should, and getting only a fraction of the outside time you need; actually doing something with the data is the hard part.

Motivation and habit change are hard, and no heart-monitoring bracelet is going to magically solve that problem.

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The Three Most Desirable Jobs in Britain: Author, Librarian, Academic

It seems that Britain is about to change from a nation of shopkeepers to a nation of bookworms if this report in the Independent is to be believed:

Forget dreams of a glittering career in Premier League football or Hollywood. The three most desirable jobs in Britain are an author, a librarian and an academic, according to a new study that suggests the country is increasingly bookish in its career aspirations.

British Museum Reading Room by Eneas (CC)

British Museum Reading Room by Eneas (CC)

 

The “aura of prestige” connected with a career in writing or academia is preferable to jobs that brought promises of wealth and celebrity status, according to a Yougov survey with more than 14,000 respondents.

Being an author was the most popular choice among both men and women, with more than 60 per cent selecting it as their dream job. It was followed by a career as a librarian (54 per cent) and in academia (51 per cent).

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2015 Watkins Spiritual 100 List

Dalai Lama (14481761838).jpg

Dalai Lama by Christopher Michel (CC)

Watkins Books has published its annual “most spiritual” people list for 2015, including quite a few friends and allies of disinformation®. Check out all one hundred names here; the top ten are:

1. Dalai Lama
2. Pope Francis
3. Eckhart Tolle
4. Thich Nhat Hanh
5. Desmond Tutu
6. Deepak Chopra
7. Paulo Coelho
8. Oprah Winfrey
9. Ram Dass
10. Alice Walker

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The Latest Economic Conspiracy Theory

USCurrency Federal Reserve.jpgConspiracy theories and money go together like … [fill in the simile]. From Bloomberg View:

Friday’s jobs numbers were big, and the revisions below the surface were huge. Yet even before the release, the birther/vaxxer/flat-earther crowd had warned us about phony numbers. As public policy, this kind of conspiracy thinking can cause the deaths of infants and the elderly. At least in markets, it merely loses you money.

In December, I wrote:

Today’s column is about stupidity. Perhaps that’s overstating it; to be more precise, it is about the conspiracy-theorist combination of bias, innumeracy and laziness, with a pinch of arrogance thrown in for good measure.

I am talking about the manifold ways various economic reports get misinterpreted, sometimes in a willful and ignorant manner.

That column discussed some of the sillier theories from within the darker corners of the Internet. Admittedly, these weren’t from influential people or important media outlets; it was the usual collection of oddballs in tinfoil hats.

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The Movement To Completely Change The Way You Get High

“Cannabis is joining the coca leaf in the ranks of drugs improved by technology,” claims Cece Lederer at Kernel:

“I’ve got something special for us,” A.J. said as I cued up my recording device. “Have you ever done dabs?”

A.J. is about as close to weed royalty as you can get. If you’ve heard of Sour Diesel, you’ve heard of him. He’s cultivated some of the most potent strains of marijuana and has large-scale grow facilities clamoring for his advice.

Butane honey oil after being whipped 2

Butane honey oil with cannabis sativa exterior trimmings, by Vjiced (CC)

Careful to keep it horizontal, he unzipped a rolling suitcase and took out a blowtorch. Then came the “rig.” At first it looked like a regular water pipe, but instead of a slide, there was a ceramic “nail” that resembled a bird bath for a dollhouse.

Then came the jars. “The flavor is in the liquid,” he said as he put a jar of brown oil on my coffee table.

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The Real Story of ‘Monopoly’ (It Was Anti-Capitalist)

As those of you who have seen the excellent documentary Pay 2 Play know, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding the board game Monopoly. Now Mary Pilon is about to publish a tell-all book, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game, and the New York Times piles on with an article by Pilon titled “Monopoly’s Inventor: The Progressive Who Didn’t Pass ‘Go’”:

For generations, the story of Monopoly’s Depression-era origins delighted fans almost as much as the board game itself.

Landlords Game board, based on Magie's 1924 US patent (no. 1,509,312) (by Lucius Kwok (CC))

Landlord’s Game board, based on Magie’s 1924 US patent (no. 1,509,312) (by Lucius Kwok (CC))

 

The tale, repeated for decades and often tucked into the game’s box along with the Community Chest and Chance cards, was that an unemployed man named Charles Darrow dreamed up Monopoly in the 1930s. He sold it and became a millionaire, his inventiveness saving him — and Parker Brothers, the beloved New England board game maker — from the brink of destruction.

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Warning: Thoughts Can Kill

To die, sometimes you need only believe you are ill, and as David Robson discovers at BBC Future, we can unwittingly ‘catch’ such fears, often with terrifying consequences:

Beware the scaremongers. Like a witch doctor’s spell, their words might be spreading modern plagues.

Vudu

We have long known that expectations of a malady can be as dangerous as a virus. In the same way that voodoo shamans could harm their victims through the power of suggestion, priming someone to think they are ill can often produce the actual symptoms of a disease. Vomiting, dizziness, headaches, and even death, could be triggered through belief alone. It’s called the “nocebo effect”.

But it is now becoming clear just how easily those dangerous beliefs can spread through gossip and hearsay – with potent effect. It may be the reason why certain houses seem cursed with illness, and why people living near wind turbines report puzzling outbreaks of dizziness, insomnia and vomiting.

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When Taking Anxiety Medication Is A Revolutionary Act

“Without the medicine, I live a life of ‘I can’t do this, but I’m somehow doing it anyway.’ With it, it’s more ‘this is sometimes difficult, but I got it'” writes Tracy Clayton at Buzzfeed:

If I had to describe what having anxiety feels like, I’d say that it’s kind of like walking through the world beneath tornadic skies without an umbrella, unsure if you’ll be able to find shelter if things get bad. When friends invite you out, you politely decline because while you’d like to enjoy their company, the sky could open up and wash you out to sea at any minute so it’s probably safer for you to stay at home. In the background of anything you do is the gentle hum of your nervous system as it tosses and turns, wondering when the deluge will hit, thinking about how unfortunate will be if you don’t survive it.

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America Is Really Good At Putting People Behind Bars

It’s no secret that the United States’ incarceration rate has gone through the roof, but FiveThirtyEight has some statistics that prove the point, and then some:

There are 2.3 million Americans in prison or jail. The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its prisoners. One in three black men can expect to spend time in prison. There are 2.7 million minors with an incarcerated parent. The imprisonment rate has grown by more than 400 percent since 1970.

US federal prison population

Pick a stat, any stat. They all tell you the same thing: America is really good at putting people behind bars.

It’s supposed to help the country reduce crime in two ways: incapacitation — it’s hard to be a habitual offender while in prison — or deterrence — people scared of prison may do their best to not end up there.

But recent research suggests that incarceration has lost its potency. A reportreleased this week from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law finds that increased incarceration has had a very limited effect on crime over the past two and a half decades.

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