Benedict Cumberbatch race row: 9 offensive words we need to ditch .

Benedict Cumberbatch has come under fire for misguidedly using the word ‘coloured’ in an interview. Radhika Sanghani lists the other inappropriate terms that are still used colloquially today.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in 12 Years a Slave. The film won the Audience Award at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival

Benedict Cumberbatch is so well-loved that you can buy an entire outfitcovered with images of his face. He’s adored for his looks, his ability to play brooding characters (Sherlock), and the fact that he doesn’t seem to have the arrogance of other celebs – instead he just comes across as rather nice and well-bred.

Which is why it’s come as rather a shock that he made a massive faux pas, using the word “coloured” on television.

Cumberbatch was actually trying to talk about how awful racism is, when he made the error. In his own words, he was an “idiot” for using “outmoded terminology”.

This isn’t really something everyone can relate to. For instance, it would never occur to me to say ‘coloured’. I just didn’t grow up in a time when that word was considered the norm,or even vaguely acceptable.

What is understandable is having a bunch of inappropriate words in your repertoire. We all do. They hover on the tips of our tongues, mostly because we were taught them before understanding how offensive they could be.

But, try as we might, some still linger – even if we try our hardest not to use them.

Occasionally, they even slip out.

These words will doubtless be banished from our language in the future, in the way that many other outdated and potentially derogatory terms have been.

But, currently, they’re the words that many people struggle to fully eliminate from their vocabulary – even if they knew they shouldn’t really use them this way.

Sometimes it’s not the word itself that’s offensive, but the context in which it’s used.

Here are the nine words we’d like to see dropped. Today.

1) Gay

Once, this word meant ‘happy’ – think Victorian children dancing prettily around a maypole.

Now, the common word for ‘homosexual’ can also be used to mean ‘pathetic’. Many young people (this is often a millennial thing) still have a hangover from the playground and utter sentences such as ‘that’s so gay’ – meaning ‘that’s lame’.

Use this instead: C**p

2) Retarded

‘Retard’ as a verb originally meant to ‘delay or hold back in terms of progress or development’.

But the noun is used as an offensive term used to describe a person with a mental disability, or to suggest that someone is being stupid.

Use this instead: Twit.

3) Rapey

It’s OK to use the words ‘rape’ or ‘rapist’ in context. But the invented adjective ‘rapey’ is an unwelcome knock-on effect. Typically it’s used by people to describe someone who might look like a rapist (Myth buster: rapists look like anyone and everyone), is acting in a lecherous way, or a potentially sinister situation (“that alley is really rapey”).

It might sound harmless, but it can trivialise a serious crime.

Use this instead: Creepy.

4) Spastic

As with ‘retard’ this term is often used to describe people with disabilities, in a derogatory way.

It was in the 1990s that it started to be employed as an insult, mostly to describe someone clumsy: such as ‘you spaz’ or ‘you’re so spastic.’

Such was the impact of this, that charity The Spastics Society changed its name to Scope in 1994, in an attempt say something more positive about disability.

Use this instead: Clumsy

5) Paedo

‘Paedo’ is a shortened term for a ‘paedophile’ – but it’s also often used as a joke. For example, if a guy has a younger girlfriend. Or if someone takes their young nieces and nephews to the park.

Making light of such a horrendous offence is something that needs to stop.

Use this instead: Just don’t – unless you’re describing a real child sex offender.

6) Half-caste

This term was traditionally used to describe people who of mixed heritage, but its literal meaning is ‘half-pure’. That’s not cool. Avoid it, so you don’t come across as racially ignorant.

Use this instead: Mixed race.

7) Cretin

This one might seem a bit outdated – hence safer. But it’s true meaning is little known. The seemingly harmless word for ‘idiot’ actually refers to someone with ‘cretinism’ – a congenital disease.

Use this instead: Stupid.

8) Dyke

While ‘lesbian’ refers to a homosexual women, the word ‘dyke’ has crept up as an offensive synonym. It’s a way for people to describe someone, or something, that seems quite masculine. Think androgynous fashion choices and haircuts -‘dyke chic’.

Use this instead: If you want to comment that something seems to have masculine traits, just say that.

If you’re talking about a homosexual woman, she’s a lesbian.

9) Special

Jose Mourinho calls himself the ‘special one’ and means it quite literally. But other people use the term, not to suggest that someone is extraordinary, but that they’ve done something so silly they seem to have special needs.

As with cretin, spastic and retard this is just another word that’s offensive to people with disabilities.

Use this instead: Anything that doesn’t have any relation to any kind of disability or mental illness.

The world’s oldest known snake fossils: Rolling back the clock by nearly 70 million years — ScienceDaily

Fossilized remains of four ancient snakes have been dated between 140 and 167 million years old — nearly 70 million years older than the previous record of ancient snake fossils — and are changing the way we think about the origins of snakes.

Artist’s conception of three of the four newly identified ancient snakes: (top left) Portugalophis lignites (Upper Jurassic) in a gingko tree, from coal swamp deposits at Guimarota, Portugal; (top right) Diablophis gilmorei (Upper Jurassic), hiding in a ceratosaur skull, from the Morrison Formation in Fruita, Colorado; (bottom) Parviraptor estesi (Upper Jurassic/Lower Cretaceous) swimming in freshwater lake with snails and algae, from the Purbeck Limestone in Swanage, England.

Fossilized remains of four ancient snakes between 140 and 167 million years old are changing the way we think about the origin of snakes, and how and when it happened.

The discovery by an international team of researchers, including University of Alberta professor Michael Caldwell, rolls back the clock on snake evolution by nearly 70 million years.

“The study explores the idea that evolution within the group called ‘snakes’ is much more complex than previously thought,” says Caldwell, professor in the Faculty of Science and lead author of the study published today in Nature Communications.“Importantly, there is now a significant knowledge gap to be bridged by future research, as no fossils snakes are known from between 140 to 100 million years ago.”

New knowledge from ancient serpents

The oldest known snake, from an area near Kirtlington in Southern England, Eophis underwoodi, is known only from very fragmentary remains and was a small individual, though it is hard to say how old it was at the time it died. The largest snake,Portugalophis lignites, from coal deposits near Guimarota in Portugal, was a much bigger individual at about a metre long. Several of these ancient snakes (Eophis, Portugalophis and Parviraptor) were living in swampy coastal areas on large island chains in western parts of ancient Europe. The North American species, Diablophis gilmorei, was found in river deposits from some distance inland in western Colorado.

This new study makes it clear that the sudden appearance of snakes some 100 million years ago reflects a gap in the fossil record, not an explosive radiation of early snakes. From 167 to 100 million years ago, snakes were radiating and evolving toward the elongated, limb-reduced body shape characterizing the now well known, ~100-90 million year old, marine snakes from the West Bank, Lebanon and Argentina, that still possess small but well-developed rear limbs.

Caldwell notes that the identification of definitive snake skull features reveals that the fossils — previously associated with other non-snake lizard remains — represent a much earlier time frame for the first appearance of snakes.

“Based on the new evidence and through comparison to living legless lizards that are not snakes, the paper explores the novel idea that the evolution of the characteristic snake skull and its parts appeared long before snakes lost their legs,” he explains.

He adds that the distribution of these newly identified oldest snakes, and the anatomy of the skull and skeletal elements, makes it clear that even older snake fossils are waiting to be found.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. The original article was written by Julie Naylor. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Michael W. Caldwell, Randall L. Nydam, Alessandro Palci, Sebastián Apesteguía.The oldest known snakes from the Middle Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous provide insights on snake evolution. Nature Communications, 2015; 6: 5996 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6996

Research Confirms Sweating Detoxifies Dangerous Metals, Petrochemicals .

Research is revealing something remarkable about why the body sweats. Beyond its obvious role in regulating body temperature, sweating has been found to facilitate the elimination of accumulated heavy metals and petrochemicals, indicating that if we want to be healthy we should put regular effort into doing more sweating. 

Sweating has long been known as a source of bodily, if not also spiritual “cleansing.” But until recently, very little ‘scientific’ confirmation existed proving that using heat and/or exercise to facilitate perspiration-induced detoxification actually works the way that many natural health advocates claim.


With the Rise of Biomedicine and its so-called ‘evidence-based’ model of determining what is true and thereby legal to practice, this conspicuous lack of clinical proof has resulted in a veritable inquisition against those who claim that bodily detoxification through sweating is anything more than a form of ‘quackery.’

Sweating Confirmed As A Detoxifier of Metals

Enter the findings of a groundbreaking 2011 study published in the Archives of Environmental and Contamination Toxicology, which explored the effects of bioaccumulated toxic elements within the human body and their method of excretion:

“Toxic elements were found to differing degrees in each of blood, urine, and sweat. Serum levels for most metals and metalloids were comparable with those found in other studies in the scientific literature. Many toxic elements appeared to be preferentially excreted through sweat. Presumably stored in tissues, some toxic elements readily identified in the perspiration of some participants were not found in their serum. Induced sweating appears to be a potential method for elimination of many toxic elements from the human body.”[1]

The researchers also made the important observation that, “Biomonitoring for toxic elements through blood and/or urine testing may underestimate the total body burden of such toxicants. Sweat analysis should be considered as an additional method for monitoring bioaccumulation of toxic elements in humans.”

These are truly novel findings insofar as sweating, at least from the perspective of evolutionary biology, is considered to exist primarily for thermoregulation (sweat cools the surface of the skin and reduces body temperature, functioning as a wholebody cooling system). While the sweat glands have a well-known secondary role for the excretion of water and electrolytes, this function is not generally understood to be a form ‘detoxification.’

Also, this study underscores just how common it is for conventional medical practice to overlook the relevance of environmental factors in health (e.g. exposures to metals, petrochemicals, toxins), as many of these ‘vectors’ of exposure/poisoning are not properly measurable via blood or urine tests; that is, when they even care to look. This blind spot, of course, feeds the delusion that one can suppress bodily symptoms associated with environmental exposures with additional patented chemicals, in the downward spiral that is drug-based medicine. The obvious alternative method –identify and remove the poisons – isn’t even on the table, unless the practitioner happens to be aware of natural, integrative or functional medical principles and has the courage to go against the FDA-approved and liability-shielding grain to employ them.

Why Blood and Urine Analysis May Fail To Reveal The Problem

These preliminary research findings were further confirmed in a 2012 meta-analysis published in theJournal of Public and Environmental Health. The study titled, “Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat: a systematic review,” was performed by researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ontario, Canada, and was based on a review of 24 studies on toxicant levels in the sweat.[2]

The researchers discovered the following:

  • In individuals with higher exposure or body burden, sweat generally exceeded plasma or urine concentrations, and dermal could match or surpass urinary daily excretion.
  • Arsenic dermal excretion was severalfold higher in arsenic-exposed individuals than in unexposed controls.
  • Cadmium was more concentrated in sweat than in blood plasma.
  • Sweat lead was associated with high-molecular-weight molecules, and in an interventional study, levels were higher with endurance compared with intensive exercise.
  • Mercury levels normalized with repeated saunas in a case report.

The researchers concluded, “Sweating deserves consideration for toxic element detoxification.“

Sweating Also Removes The Insidious Petrochemicals BPA and Phthalates

But it gets better.  Two additional studies published in 2012 found that sweating enhances the elimination of dangerous endocrine-disrupting petrochemicals.

The first study, involving 20 subjects made to undergo induced sweating, found that the ubiquitous petrochemical Bisphenol A (BPA) was excreted through sweat, even in some individuals with no BPA detected in their serum or urine samples.[3]  This clearly indicates that the body uses sweat to rid itself of the BPA that has bioaccumulated in tissue.

The second study by the same research group, also involving 20 subjects, found that phthalate, a plasticizer tied to breast cancer and various other conditions associated with endocrine disruption, was present in concentrations twice as high in their sweat compared to their urine, and in several individuals was found in their sweat but not in their blood serum, “…suggesting the possibility of phthalate retention and bioaccumulation.”

The researchers concluded:

“Induced perspiration may be useful to facilitate elimination of some potentially toxic phthalate compounds including DEHP and MEHP.” [4]

Concluding Remarks and Tips

The conclusion? Sweating performs more than simply a cooling function for the body. It appears that it is also a way through which the bodily burden of accumulated toxins can be more rapidly detoxified. The natural medical tradition has long argued that the skin is the largest organ of elimination, and that oftentimes skin problems reflect a state of chronic toxicity. Perhaps modern science is only now catching up to these age-old observations.

As far as practical implementation, what are the best ways to sweat? Exercise and Sauna Therapy carry a wide range of additional ‘evidence-based’ health benefits (not to mention you feel great afterwards!), providing plenty of reason to engage these activities with enough effort and discipline to obtain a good sweat.  Truly, any form of purposeful movement sustained for long enough, with the right intensity, can produce a healthy sweat. As Edgar Allan Poe said “The best things in life make you sweaty.”   

Article Resources

[1] Stephen J Genuis, Detlef Birkholz, Ilia Rodushkin, Sanjay Beesoon. Blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study: monitoring and elimination of bioaccumulated toxic elements. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2011 Aug ;61(2):344-57. Epub 2010 Nov 6. PMID: 21057782

[2] Margaret E Sears, Kathleen J Kerr, Riina I Bray. Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat: a systematic review. J Environ Public Health. 2012 ;2012:184745. Epub 2012 Feb 22. PMID: 22505948

[3] Stephen J Genuis, Sanjay Beesoon, Detlef Birkholz, Rebecca A Lobo. Human excretion of bisphenol A: blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study. J Environ Public Health. 2012 ;2012:185731. Epub 2011 Dec 27. PMID: 22253637

[4] Stephen J Genuis, Sanjay Beesoon, Rebecca A Lobo, Detlef Birkholz. Human elimination of phthalate compounds: blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study. ScientificWorldJournal. 2012 ;2012:615068. Epub 2012 Oct 31. PMID: 23213291

90-Year-Old Kenyan Woman Goes To School, Learns To Read And Write Alongside Great-Great-Grandkids

A 90-year-old woman is going to school to learn skills that she never had the opportunity to acquire when she was younger.

Priscilla Sitienei has been attending Leaders Vision Preparatory School in her village of Ndalat, Kenya, for the past five years according to BBC News. Sitienei didn’t have the chance to learn how to read and write, but is finally doing so now.

The 90-year-old, who goes to school with six of great-great-grandchildren, says she has some big goals.

I’d like to be able to read the Bible,” Sitienei, whose classmates are between the ages of 11 and 14, told BBC News. “I also want to inspire children to get an education.”

Sitienei’s school day is just like any other student’s at the prep school, BBC News reported. She wears the school uniform to classes, and takes math, English, physical education, dance, drama and singing. She also lives in one of the campus dormitories, where she rooms with one of her great-great-grandchildren.

Her commitment to learning has made her a role model for the students.

Gogo has been a blessing to this school, she has been a motivator to all the pupils,” David Kinyanjui, the school’s principal, told BBC News, using Sitinei’s nickname which means “grandmother” in the local Kalenjin language. “She is loved by every pupil, they all want to learn and play with her.”

The 90-year-old, who served as a midwife in her village for several decades, wants her story to spur others to take another chance at getting an education.

Too many older children are not in school. They even have children themselves. They tell me they are too old,” she told BBC. “I tell them, ‘Well I am at school and so should you.'”

Sitinei’s passion for learning is shared by Charlotte Butler of Naugatuck, Connecticut,who began pursuing a Post University college degree in 2013 at the age of 80, according to the University’s website. The 80-year-old, who set out to attain her Bachelor of Science in human services, wished to set an example for her sons, helping them understand the importance of education.

Allen Fleming also decided to complete his degree later in life,
attaining his Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Georgia in August of last year, at the age of 88, reported. The World War II veteran attended several universities while in the service but didn’t have the chance to finish his schooling. Getting his diploma had always been a lifelong dream of his. Now, with a degree in English literature and a minor in journalism, Fleming hopes to inspire younger generations to pursue higher education.

Pancreatic Cancer: Targeted Treatments Hold Promise

Scientists are working to develop breakthrough therapies for pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancers affecting both men and women.

Pancreatic cancer is a disease that frequently presents no symptoms until it reaches very advanced stages. Surgery is the only chance for a cure, but most patients are not surgical candidates because of the location of the tumor in the pancreas or because the cancer has spread. Moreover, most people who undergo surgery relapse and subsequently die of pancreatic cancer.

FDA has approved three treatments in the past 20 years for advanced pancreatic cancer to help patients live longer: (1) gemcitabine; (2) erlotinib in combination with gemcitabine; and (3) nab-paclitaxel in combination with gemcitabine.

“Today we know more about this form of cancer. We know it usually starts in the pancreatic ducts and that the KRAS gene is mutated in tumor samples from most patients with pancreatic cancer,” says Abhilasha Nair, M.D., an oncologist in the FDA team that works on cancers of the digestive system, including the stomach, pancreas and colon.

Hematologists/oncologists are doctors who study and treat cancers of the blood and various solid organs such as lung, stomach and brain.

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Deadly and Evasive

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Yearly, about 46,420 people will be diagnosed with the disease and 39,590 will die from it, according to the National Cancer Institute.

This cancer accounts for less than 3 percent of new cancer diagnoses each year, but it is aggressive and deadly. The five-year survival rate is only about 5 percent. If untreated, patients can die quickly, Nair says. Treatments include chemotherapy and, for some patients, surgery and/or radiation therapy.

The most frequent symptoms that bring patients to a health care provider are jaundice, back pain and unexplained weight loss. Other symptoms include new onset diabetes or worsening diabetes, nausea, vomiting, bowel changes, tiredness, weakness and changes in appetite.

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Targeting Mutations

Scientists are researching how certain factors increase the risk for pancreatic cancer. They include smoking, pancreatitis (chronic inflammation of the pancreas, characterized by abdominal pain, chronic pain, loss of weigh and diarrhea), longstanding diabetes, genetic changes (BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations) and Lynch syndrome (an inherited disorder that increases the risk for certain cancers).

Scientists continue to work on developing drugs that target the KRAS mutation found in pancreatic tumors. “Getting the right drug to target the right mutation would be a big break for treating patients with pancreatic cancer,” Nair says. “KRAS is a very evasive target. We need to learn more about it so we can better understand how to overcome it.”

To achieve that, scientists are digging deep into the cells of tumors to learn why pancreatic cancer is resistant to most available chemotherapy drugs.

“Something in the extracellular matrix (the tissue space between the tumor cells) may be preventing the tumor cells from being affected by chemotherapy,” Nair says. Much of the research focuses on the tumor’s environment, identifying ways to overcome the tumor’s defenses, and improving the delivery of chemotherapy directly to cancer cells.

Researchers are also exploring immune therapies, which have been successful in treating melanoma and other cancers. With immune therapy, doctors could improve the patient’s own defenses against the cancer.

“Not too long ago, the prognosis for melanoma patients was very poor. But with the advent of these new therapies that boost the patient’s own immune system, the landscape has greatly improved,” Nair says. “We hope that new research in pancreatic cancer will ultimately give us a similar if not better outcome in the fight against this aggressive cancer.”

Hidden Personality Traits Revealed Through Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavor .

Vanilla lovers are impulsive.

Vanilla ice cream

Vanilla is one of the simplest of ice cream flavors, but its fans are actually likely to be colorful, impulsive, idealistic risk-takers who “rely more on intuition than logic,” according to studies conducted by neurologist Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. Vanilla lovers were also emotionally expressive and successful in close relationships. As for the research: Hirsch uses various standardized psychiatric test results to make statistical correlations, explaining that the same part of the brain (the limbic lobe) is responsible for both personality traits and food preference. Interestingly, Hirsch says the taste for your favorite ice cream is set during childhood and tends to remain consistent throughout your life.


Strawberry lovers are introverts.

In a study by Hirsch for Baskin Robbins, strawberry lovers were often tolerant, devoted, and introverted; in research conducted for Dreyer’s/Edy’s, he found fans of the berry flavor were also logical and thoughtful.


Chocolate lovers are flirtatious.

If you prefer a chocolate scoop, Hirsch determined you are likely to be flirtatious and seductive, and also lively, charming, dramatic, and gullible.


Mint chocolate chip lovers are argumentative.

Always mixing it up? There’s a good chance mint chocolate chip is your favorite flavor, according to Hirsch’s study for Dreyer’s/Edy’s, which found this ice cream signified ambition, confidence, frugalness, and argumentativeness. “[They] aren’t fully satisfied until they find the tarnish on the silver lining,” said Hirsch about its fans. However, Hirsch predicts that mint chocolate chip lovers are compatible with one another.


Rainbow sherbet lovers are pessimistic.

This flavor’s bright colors and fruity taste is no match for the downbeat attitude of those who choose it as their favorite. “We found that people who prefer rainbow sherbet are more pessimistic than you would think,” says Hirsch, who also found they’re analytic and decisive.


Rocky Road lovers are aggressive.

If this flavor-packed cone is your favorite, you’re most likely aggressive and engaging, but a good listener, according to Hirsch’s Baskin Robbins study. The Dreyer’s/Edy’s panel also determined that the goal-oriented Rocky Road lover is often successful, but sometimes aggressive behavior can “inadvertently hurt the feelings of those that surround him.”


Coffee lovers are dramatic.

If you’re lively, dramatic, and approach life with “gusto,” you’re probably a fan of coffee ice cream. Hirsch’s study for Dreyer’s/Edy’s says coffee ice cream fans are not concerned about the future and thrive on the “passion of the moment,” needing constant stimulation in a romantic relationship.


Chocolate chip lovers are generous.

If you choose classic chocolate chip, you’re generous, competent, and a go-getter, according to Hirsch’s survey for Baskin Robbins.


Butter pecan lovers are conscientious

Fans of this nutty flavor are devoted, conscientious, and respectful, according to Hirsch’s study for Dreyer’s/Edy’s. They hold high standards for right and wrong and are afraid of hurting people’s feelings.

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Russian student invents bracelet to tackle computer addiction .

Russian students have invented a unique bracelet capable of preventing kids from spending too much time in front of a computer. Tracking children’s biorhythms, it can even autonomously switch off computers, averting possible health-related consequences.

RIA Novosti/Igor Zarembo

The bracelet is currently in the final stages of development at the Academic IT School of Perm State University, with a model ready for production expected by the end of year.

“The project is aimed at lowering the psychological pressure experienced by the personal computer users. It’s especially important for children as we live in the 21st century when kids have unlimited access to computers, which don’t always have a positive effect on them,” Dmitry Zotin, the bracelet’s inventor and an Academic IT School student, told RT.

It’ll be “more like parental control,” but it’ll be the hardware and software, not parents, managing the time spent by the youngster in front of a PC, he explained.

Spending too much behind the computer can make it hard for children to sleep at night and increase risk of attention problems, anxiety, depression and even obesity, medics warn.

The bracelet will be tracking the child’s cardiac rhythm and skin temperature, using Bluetooth to transfer this data to a program installed on the computer.

Based on the physiological data, the software will decide whether to change the computer’s settings, adjust screen brightness, block certain parts of the operating system or even shut down the whole PC.

The program will also record all actions performed by the user on the computer, including mouse clicks, buttons pressed and others, to provide him with advice on how to use his time in front of the monitor more effectively.

It’s going to be “an enforcement procedure” for the children, Zotin said, adding that the bracelet will turn the computer off automatically if the kid ignores the program’s warnings that he or she spent too much time in social networks or playing.

As for adult users, the bracelet will inform them that they are tired or stressed and advise to change activity or take a break, he added.

Zotin says that in the future his invention may also be introduced in offices to monitor how effectively employees use their time behind the computer and to ensure they get enough rest from staring at the screen.

The bracelet is currently only compatible with desktop computers, with no plans yet to make a version for tablets and video game consoles.

Out of All Drugs Legal And Illegal, Which Ones Kill?

If we were to have a sane and adult conversation about drug use and abuse in America instead of waging a war on drugs the same way we wage a war on terror, we might come to the realization that  we’re letting the bad ones in our homes freely while some of the most helpful to improving the quality of life of the average person carry some of the highest minimum prison sentences of all, while touting an infinitesimal number of related deaths.  Some of you may have read Thad McKracken’s well thought out article on the state of drugs in society today.  The numbers fall in lockstep with his thoughts.

Picture: William Rafti (CC)

It turns out that, aside from Alcohol, Big Pharma is the #1 killer  while drugs that have been used traditionally as entheogens hardly appear in the statistics at all.  Drugs like LSD, DMT, Marajuana, Peyote and other psychedelics are used as a religious sacrament in many belief systems around the world, but are vilified because of their tendency to provide people with what Terence McKenna simply called ‘funny ideas’. reports:

In 2010, there were 80,000 drug and alcohol overdose deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WONDER database. The database, maintained by the National Center for Health Statistics, keeps a tally of all the deaths listed on certificates nationwide. They’re classified by the ICD-10 medical coding reference system.

Death reporting in the U.S. requires an underlying cause—the event or disease that lead to the death. This chart represents all those listed in the CDC database as “accidental poisoning,” “intentional self-poisoning,” “assault by drugs,” and “poisoning with undetermined intent.” In addition to the underlying cause, a death certificate has space for up to 20 additional causes. That’s where “cocaine” or “antidepressants” would show up. The subcategories are limited in their detail—many drugs are lumped together, like MDMA and caffeine, which are listed together as “psychostimulants.” And about a quarter of all overdose death certificates don’t have the toxicity test results listed at all, landing them in the “unspecified” stripe.


– See more at:

Groundbreaking Study Sheds New Light on Treating Blood Cancers

When we fight cancer, we want to target tumors aggressively and spare surrounding healthy tissue. But blood cancers present unique challenges. Fewer treatments can truly pinpoint the cancerous cells that flow in a person’s bloodstream.

Groundbreaking Study Sheds New Light on Treating Blood Cancers

The answer may not be a new drug or therapy — but perhaps just a new way of using the drugs we have. New research shows that existing drugs used to fight blood-based cancers, such as leukemia, might work more effectively by adjusting treatment regimens. How much drug is administered and how often can be a game changer in cancer treatment.

New study explores blood cancer treatment

In a new study, researchers explored ways to treat life-threatening blood cancers in a less toxic way. They worked to wipe out cancer cells in the blood without destroying healthy surrounding cells. Yogen Saunthararajah, MD, who treats cancer patients at Cleveland Clinic, led the study. He explains how the new approach works by comparing it to a popular arcade game.

“The way the medicine works is like the game Whac-a-Mole™. You have a mallet and you’re only getting the moles that happen to be in a particular phase of their growth cycle. You don’t want a huge mallet because you’re just going to damage the golf green. You want a little mallet and you want to keep on whacking regularly,” Dr. Saunthararajah says.

In the same way, the new treatment involves using an existing drug but in a more targeted, repetitive way. The idea is to use more and smaller doses, as though the drug were the mallet you use to strike the cancercells.

Sparing normal cells

Dr. Saunthararajah and his team focused the study on treating a blood cancer called myelodyplastic syndrome. It is typically treated with the drug decitabine. The researchers’ goal was to see if redesigning the regimen by which the drug is given would not only stop cancer cells from growing but also spare normal cells.

They recruited 25 people, whose average age was 73 to test their theory. Researchers lowered medication dosages, administered it by injection, and gave the injections more frequently.

‘Striking’ results

Results show this treatment method does have the potential to stop cancer cells from growing, while sparing normal cells. Dr. Saunthararajah stops short of calling it a cure, but he says it is a good first step towards safely and effectively treating cancers without causing damage to healthy cells.

“These results are so striking that I have no doubt that this is going to be an expanding area. It seems likely that we will see more cancers treated this way in the years to come,” Dr. Saunthararajah says.

Complete findings for the study titled: “Evaluation of non-cytotoxic dnmt1-depleting therapy in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes” are in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The 10 Greatest Books of All Time .

Let’s not mince words: literary lists are basically an obscenity. Literature is the realm of the ineffable and the unquantifiable; lists are the realm of menus and laundry and rotisserie baseball. There’s something unseemly and promiscuous about all those letters and numbers jumbled together. Take it from me, a critic who has committed this particular sin many times over.

But what if—just for argument’s sake—you got insanely rigorous about it. You went to all the big-name authors in the world—Franzen, Mailer, Wallace, Wolfe, Chabon, Lethem, King, 125 of them— and got each one to cough up a top-10 list of the greatest books of all time. We’re talking ultimate-fighting-style here: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, modern, ancient, everything’s fair game except eye-gouging and fish-hooking. Then you printed and collated all the lists, crunched the numbers together, and used them to create a definitive all-time Top Top 10 list.

Each individual top 10 list is like its own steeplechase through the international canon. Look at Michael Chabon’s. He heads it up with Jorge Luis Borges’s Labyrinths. (Nice: an undersung masterpiece by a writer’s writer.) He follows that up with by Pale Fire by Nabokov at #2. (Hm. Does he really think it’s better than Lolita? Really?) Then with number 3 he goes straight off the reservation: Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini. (What? By who?) The whole exercise is an orgy of intellectual second-guessing, which as we all know is infinitely more fun than the first round of guessing.

There’s plenty of canon fodder on the lists. Zane, who’s the books editor at the Raleigh News & Observer, has done a statistical breakdown of the results, so we know, for example, that Shakespeare is the most-represented author (followed by Faulkner, who ties with Henry James; they’re followed by a five-way tie, which you can read about for yourself). But I’m more interested in the dark horses, the statistical outliers, which lay bare the secret fetishes and perversions of the literati. Douglas Coupland puts Capote’s unfinished Answered Prayers at number one, blowing right by Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, too. Jonathan Franzen begins straight up the middle, with The Brothers Karamazov, but turns a sharp corner at #9 with The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead, and another at #10 with Independent People by Halldor Laxness. The quintessentially American Tom Wolfe starts by reeling off four French classics in a row. Norman Mailer revives John Dos Passos’s out-of-fashion U.S.A. trilogy for his #6 (and shows uncharacteristic forebearance by leaving his own works off the list). And so on. (At times one reads in the knowledge that one is being messed with. There’s an outside, screwball chance that David Foster Wallace really reveres C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters above all other books, but I feel comfortable asserting—having read Infinite Jesttwice—that Wallace does not feel that way about Stephen King’s The Stand (at #2) or The Sum of All Fears, by Tom Clancy (#10).)

  1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  2. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  6. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  7. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
  8. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
  9. The Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
  10. Middlemarch by George Eliot