Author Archive | Marcie Gainer

Scientology: My First Audit

AJ+ (a recently launched digital-only news network from Al Jazeera) has just released this short on Scientology. AJ+’s Francesca Fiorentini visited the Church of Scientology in San Francisco for her very first dip into the religion, or, as some would call it, cult. In Scientology, “going clear” means reaching a state of happiness and freedom. To get there, you’ve got to go through “audits.” Years of them.

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Buckminster Fuller on The Geodesic Life


Buckminster Fuller on The Geodesic Life | The Experimenters | Blank on Blank from Quoted Studios on Vimeo.

“I must reorganize the environment of man by which then greater numbers of men can prosper” – Buckminster Fuller as told to Studs Terkel during interviews recorded in 1965 and 1970

The Experimenters, from the creators of Blank on Blank: Icons of science, innovation and technology on what spurred their creativity.

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Florida’s Bathroom Law

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mike LaBossiere via Talking Philosophy:

Being from Maine, I got accustomed to being asked about the cold, lobsters, moose and Stephen King. Living in Florida, I have become accustomed to being asked about why my adopted state is so insane. Most recently, I was asked about the bathroom bill making its way through the House.

The bathroom bill, officially known as HB 583, proposes that it should be a second-degree misdemeanor to “knowingly and willfully” enter a public facility restricted to members “of the other biological sex.” The bill proposes a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Some opponents of the bill contend that it is aimed at discriminating against transgender people. Some part of Florida have laws permitting people to use public facilities based on the gender they identify with rather than their biological sex.

Obviously enough, proponents of the bill are not claiming that they are motivated by a dislike of transgender people.

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1000-year-old Remedy Kills MRSA Superbug

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This article was sent to us by a reader. He asks, “How did ancient people have this knowledge?”

A medieval remedy of leeks, garlic, wine, and the bile of a cow’s stomach was used as an “eyesalve” circa the 10th Century. Scientists have recently discovered, much to everyone’s surprise, that this salve is also effective against antibiotic-resistant MRSA.

via New Scientist:

Sourcing authentic ingredients was a major challenge, says Harrison. They had to hope for the best with the leeks and garlic because modern crop varieties are likely to be quite different to ancient ones – even those branded as heritage. For the wine they used an organic vintage from a historic English vineyard.

As “brass vessels” would be hard to sterilise – and expensive – they used glass bottles with squares of brass sheet immersed in the mixture. Bullocks gall was easy, though, as cow’s bile salts are sold as a supplement for people who have had their gall bladders removed.

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David and Goliath: What do we do about surveillance?

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Douglas Heaven via New Scientist:

“DEAR subscriber, you have been registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.” This text was sent by the Ukrainian government last year to everyone with a cellphone known to have been near a protest in the capital, Kiev.

Just what you’d expect from an ex-Soviet country? Not so fast. In the US and Europe, police are also seeking information on phones linked to specific places and times – and always without a warrant. We’re all spied on. Our phones are bugged, our laptops inveterate informants. Reports on activities that define you – where you go, who you meet, what you buy – are sold to the highest bidder. But do we notice? And do we care?

Bruce Schneier does his best to make us do both. But it’s tough: as it fades into the background, surveillance gets easier to ignore.

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Study debunks common misconception that urine is sterile

epSos .de (CC BY 2.0)

epSos .de (CC BY 2.0)

via EurekAlert:

Bacteria have been discovered in the bladders of healthy women, discrediting the common belief that normal urine is sterile. This finding and its implications were addressed in an editorial published by researchers from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM) in the latest issue of European Urology.

“Clinicians previously equated the presence of bacteria in urine to infections. The discovery of bacteria in the urine of healthy females provides an opportunity to advance our understanding of bladder health and disease,” said Alan Wolfe, PhD, lead author and professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, SSOM. “Physicians and researchers must reassess their assumptions surrounding the cause of lower urinary tract disorders and consider new approaches to prevent and treat these debilitating health issues.”

Stritch researchers evaluated urine specimens collected directly from the bladder through an aspiration or a catheter to avoid contamination.

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‘Exploding Head Syndrome’ More Common in Young People

Geert König (CC BY 2.0)

Geert König (CC BY 2.0)

via EurekAlert:

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University researchers have found that an unexpectedly high percentage of young people experience “exploding head syndrome,” a psychological phenomenon in which they are awakened by abrupt loud noises, even the sensation of an explosion in their head. Brian Sharpless, a Washington State University assistant professor and director of the university psychology clinic, found that nearly one in five — 18 percent — of college students interviewed said they had experienced it at least once. It was so bad for some that it significantly impacted their lives, he said. “Unfortunately for this minority of individuals, no well-articulated or empirically supported treatments are available, and very few clinicians or researchers assess for it,” he said.

The study also found that more than one-third of those who had exploding head syndrome also experienced isolated sleep paralysis, a frightening experience in which one cannot move or speak when waking up.… Read the rest

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Bruce Lee’s Four Philosophies

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via Bruce Lee: Artist of Life:

1. Aboutism keeps out any emotional responses or other genuine involvement — as though we were things. In therapy, Aboutism is found in rationalization and intellectualization, and in the “interpretation” games where the therapist says “This is what your difficulties are about.” This approach is based on noninvolvement.

2. With Shouldism you grow up completely surrounded by what you should and should not do, and you spend much of your time playing this game with yourself—the game I call the “top dog/underdog game” or the “self improvement game” or the “self-torture game.” Shouldism is based on the phenomenon of dissatisfaction.

3. The Existential (“is-ism”) approach is the external attempt to achieve truth, but what is truth? Truth is one of what I call the “fitting games.”

4. Gestalt attempts to understand the existence of any event through the way it comes about, which tries to understand becoming by the how, not the why, through the all-pervasive gestalt formation; through the unfinished situation, which is a biological factor.

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Potential Arizona Bill Mandates Doctors To Tell Patients Abortions Can Be “Reversed”

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Scott Camazine/Alamy

There’s currently an abortion bill (S.B. 1318) in Arizona waiting to be signed into law by Republican Governor Doug Ducey. The bill, which made it through the House and Senate, will force doctors to tell patients that abortions can be “reversed.” Furthermore, under this bill, abortions will not be covered by the Affordable Care Act.

If Gov. Ducey signs this bill into law (he’s previously stated that he’s against abortion), doctors will essentially be forced to lie to their patients. Republican Rep. Regina Cobb of Kingman argued fiercely against the bill stating that it forced doctors to spread “non-evidence based medicine.” As Brandy Zadrozny notes at The Daily Beast, if S.B. 1318 is passed, it will not be the first law that binds doctors to relay misinformation to abortion patients:

It’s the first reversal language of its kind to make it through a state legislature, and should it become law, will join a long list of information that doctors in The Grand Canyon State are forced to relay to patients seeking an abortion—much of which providers know to be misleading and aimed less at informed consent and more at dissuading women from choosing the procedure.

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