House Passes Bill Allowing Government to Microchip Citizens with “Mental Disabilities”

Though the bill only targets those with conditions such as Alzheimers and autism, critics say the bill’s passage will open a “pandora’s box” of invasive government surveillance.

Six years ago, NBC Nightly News boldly predicted that all Americans would be fitted with RFID microchips by the year 2017. Though at the time, NBC’s prediction seemed far-fetched, the House recently passed a bill that would bring a micro-chipped populace closer to reality before year’s end.
Last Thursday, the House passed HR 4919, also known as Kevin and Avonte’s Law, which would allow the US attorney general to award grants to law enforcement for the creation and operation of “locative tracking technology programs.” Though the program’s mission is to find “individuals with forms of dementia or children with developmental disabilities who have wandered from safe environments,” it provides no restriction on the tracking programs inclusion of other individuals.
The bill would also require the attorney general to work with the secretary of health and human services and unnamed health organizations to establish the “best practices” for the use of tracking devices.
Those in support of the legislation maintain that such programs could prevent tragedies where those with mental or cognitive disabilities wandered into dangerous circumstances. Yet, others have called these good intentions a “Trojan horse” for the expansion of a North American police state as the bill’s language could be very broadly interpreted.
Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said in a floor speech opposing the bill:

While this initiative may have noble intentions, ‘small and temporary’ programs in the name of safety and security often evolve into permanent and enlarged bureaucracies that infringe on the American people’s freedoms. That is exactly what we have here. A safety problem exists for people with Alzheimer’s, autism and other mental health issues, so the fix, we are told, is to have the Department of Justice, start a tracking program so we can use some device or method to track these individuals 24/7.

Gohmert’s assessment is spot-on. Giving local police the authority to decide who is micro-chipped and who is not based on their mental soundness is a recipe for disaster. Though the bill specifically mentions those with Alzheimer and autism, how long before these tracking programs are extended to those with ADHD and Bipolar disorder among other officially recognized disorders. Even the dislike of authority is considered a mental disorder known as “Oppositional Defiant Disorder,” which could also warrant micro-chipping in the future.
If these programs expand unchecked, how long will it be before all Americans are told that mass microchipping is necessary so that law enforcement and the government can better “protect” them? Many Americans have been content to trade their liberties for increased “security” in the post-9/11 world, particularly when the state uses these talking points.
Yet, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

Scientists have developed a material that generates electricity simply by touching it.

Welcome to the future of touchscreens.

Scientists have developed a flexible, film-like material that generates electrical energy when touched, meaning devices like smartphones and tablets could one day be powered simply by people using them.

And beyond just touchscreen gadgets, the researchers say the thin, flexible device could also be used in our clothing or shoes, helping us harvest energy from our body movements potentially all day long.

“We’re on the path toward wearable devices powered by human motion,” says electrical engineer Nelson Sepulveda from Michigan State University.

“What I foresee, relatively soon, is the capability of not having to charge your cell phone for an entire week, for example, because that energy will be produced by your movement.”

The film the researchers have created is what’s known as a nanogenerator, in which energy is produced by a small-scale physical change, such as the tap or swipe of a finger.

In this case, the device works on the principle of piezoelectricity, where an electric charge accumulates in response to applied mechanical stress.

What makes this possible is the interaction between the substances that make up the film.

The core structure is a silicon wafer, which is then layered with thin sheets of other materials, including silver, polyimide, and polypropylene ferroelectret, which serves as the active material in the device.

Polypropylene ferroelectret is a thin polymer foam that contains charged particles. When pressure is applied to the device, the foam layer compresses, creating a change in what’s called dipole moments – an interaction between positive and negatively charged molecules in the ferroelectret.

This in turn generates an electric charge, and as you can see in the videos below, it’s one that’s capable of powering the kinds of devices we use every day, like a touch-sensitive keyboard:


While it’s true that none of those devices require much power, it’s a promising start to a wholly new kind of piezoelectric generator – especially given that it includes an amazing ability to multiply its output when folded.

“Each time you fold it you are increasing exponentially the amount of voltage you are creating,” says Sepulveda.

“You can start with a large device, but when you fold it once, and again, and again, it’s now much smaller and has more energy. Now it may be small enough to put in a specially made heel of your shoe so it creates power each time your heel strikes the ground.”

In testing, a hand-sized sheet of the material was able to generate about 50 volts, but the researchers acknowledge they currently have no way to create a stable current from the material.

As you can see in the videos, every time the researchers interact with their prototypes, the lights or displays activate, but as soon as they remove the applied pressure, the devices become inert once more.

Figuring out how to concert the voltage into a steady flow of useable current will be the next challenge for the team.

They’re also looking into the possibility of technology that can transmit the current wirelessly, so the charge generated by your footsteps could power your Bluetooth headphones.

It may be a while, of course, before we see this technology in our own devices, but if it does hit, it will finally give us a way of repurposing the huge amounts of energy our bodies currently lose when we move around, walk, and even just make gestures with our hands.

“What if you could take the mechanical energy from swiping pages on your tablet and use that to charge the battery of the device itself?” Sepulveda told Tracy Staedter at Seeker.

“That could reduce the time required to recharge your device.”

Watch the video. URL:

Is the universe a hologram? 

The ‘holographic principle,’ the idea that a universe with gravity can be described by a quantum field theory in fewer dimensions, has been used for years as a mathematical tool in strange curved spaces. New results suggest that the holographic principle also holds in flat spaces. Our own universe could in fact be two dimensional and only appear three dimensional — just like a hologram.

Is our universe a hologram?
At first glance, there is not the slightest doubt: to us, the universe looks three dimensional. But one of the most fruitful theories of theoretical physics in the last two decades is challenging this assumption. The “holographic principle” asserts that a mathematical description of the universe actually requires one fewer dimension than it seems. What we perceive as three dimensional may just be the image of two dimensional processes on a huge cosmic horizon.

Up until now, this principle has only been studied in exotic spaces with negative curvature. This is interesting from a theoretical point of view, but such spaces are quite different from the space in our own universe. Results obtained by scientists at TU Wien (Vienna) now suggest that the holographic principle even holds in a flat spacetime.

The Holographic Principle

Everybody knows holograms from credit cards or banknotes. They are two dimensional, but to us they appear three dimensional. Our universe could behave quite similarly: “In 1997, the physicist Juan Maldacena proposed the idea that there is a correspondence between gravitational theories in curved anti-de-sitter spaces on the one hand and quantum field theories in spaces with one fewer dimension on the other,” says Daniel Grumiller (TU Wien).

Gravitational phenomena are described in a theory with three spatial dimensions, the behaviour of quantum particles is calculated in a theory with just two spatial dimensions — and the results of both calculations can be mapped onto each other. Such a correspondence is quite surprising. It is like finding out that equations from an astronomy textbook can also be used to repair a CD-player. But this method has proven to be very successful. More than ten thousand scientific papers about Maldacena’s “AdS-CFT-correspondence” have been published to date.

Correspondence Even in Flat Spaces

For theoretical physics, this is extremely important, but it does not seem to have much to do with our own universe. Apparently, we do not live in such an anti-de-sitter-space. These spaces have quite peculiar properties. They are negatively curved, any object thrown away on a straight line will eventually return. “Our universe, in contrast, is quite flat — and on astronomic distances, it has positive curvature,” says Daniel Grumiller.

However, Grumiller has suspected for quite some time that a correspondence principle could also hold true for our real universe. To test this hypothesis, gravitational theories have to be constructed, which do not require exotic anti-de-sitter spaces, but live in a flat space. For three years, he and his team at TU Wien (Vienna) have been working on that, in cooperation with the University of Edinburgh, Harvard, IISER Pune, the MIT and the University of Kyoto. Now Grumiller and colleagues from India and Japan have published an article in the journal Physical Review Letters, confirming the validity of the correspondence principle in a flat universe.

Calculated Twice, Same Result

“If quantum gravity in a flat space allows for a holographic description by a standard quantum theory, then there must be physical quantities, which can be calculated in both theories — and the results must agree,” says Grumiller. Especially one key feature of quantum mechanics -quantum entanglement — has to appear in the gravitational theory.

When quantum particles are entangled, they cannot be described individually. They form a single quantum object, even if they are located far apart. There is a measure for the amount of entanglement in a quantum system, called “entropy of entanglement.” Together with Arjun Bagchi, Rudranil Basu and Max Riegler, Daniel Grumiller managed to show that this entropy of entanglement takes the same value in flat quantum gravity and in a low dimension quantum field theory.

“This calculation affirms our assumption that the holographic principle can also be realized in flat spaces. It is evidence for the validity of this correspondence in our universe,” says Max Riegler (TU Wien). “The fact that we can even talk about quantum information and entropy of entanglement in a theory of gravity is astounding in itself, and would hardly have been imaginable only a few years back. That we are now able to use this as a tool to test the validity of the holographic principle, and that this test works out, is quite remarkable,” says Daniel Grumiller.

This however, does not yet prove that we are indeed living in a hologram — but apparently there is growing evidence for the validity of the correspondence principle in our own universe.

Quantum Equation Suggests the Big Bang Never Occurred and the Universe Has No Beginning 

New study gives an astonishing answer to the eternal question of how the world began. Two astrophysicists argue that the Big Bang may never have happened, meaning the universe may have existed forever.

The model they suggest complements Einstein’s theory of general relativity with quantum corrections, and could also explain dark matter and dark energy.

It’s needless to say that this hypothesis on the origin of the universe is drastically different from most modern cosmological models. One of the most popular ones, the Big Bang theory, suggests that the universe began from a single, infinitely dense point known as the “singularity,” which began to expand 13.8 billion years ago resulting in a “Big Bang.” This is when the universe began according to the proponents of this model.

The Big Bang theory is derived from the mathematics of general relativity, but there are some weak points in it, since it can only explain what happened immediately after the Big Bang, but not before.

Now, Dr. Ahmed Farag Ali of Benha University, Egypt, in collaboration with Professor Saurya Das of the University of Lethbridge, Canada, came up with a series of equations that present an eternal universe with no beginning nor end.

In their work, Ali and Das used the ideas of David Bohm, American theoretical physicist, to make quantum corrections to an equation developed by Indian physicist Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri (the so-called Raychaudhuri’s equation), thus combining elements from both quantum mechanics and general relativity. As a result, they got a universe that was much smaller in the past, but never existed as the infinite density point.

The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there,” says Ali.

What about dark energy and dark matter? It is another unsolved mystery of the universe that has been torturing scientific minds for years, as it has been confirmed that dark matter together with dark energy form approximately 95% of the total content of the universe, but yet so little is known about these mysterious phenomena.

Here Das and Ali’s model suggests that dark energy and dark matter may be derived from a Bose-Einstein condensate, a state of matter in which particles display macroscopic quantum phenomena. This condensate existed in the early universe and may have been formed by gravitons – hypothetical particles that flood the universe and carry gravity but have no mass.

Of course, the model suggested by Ali and Das is not a full theory of quantum gravity, but it is another major attempt to unite quantum theory and general relativity, which has been one of the most significant challenges in physics for the last decades.

Featured image: This is an artist’s concept of the metric expansion of space, where space (including hypothetical non-observable portions of the universe) is represented at each time by the circular sections.

Another nuclear fusion record just got broken in South Korea.

We’re getting closer.

Scientists working to make nuclear fusion a viable reality have smashed another record, after the Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) reactor in South Korea maintained ‘high performance’ plasma in a stable state for 70 seconds this week– the longest ever recorded for this type of reaction.

Containing this ultra-hot type of matter is key to unlocking nuclear fusion, so it’s a big step forward in our attempts to make this clean, safe, and virtually limitless source of energy something we can rely on.

Unlike nuclear fission, which our existing nuclear power plants achieve by splitting atoms, nuclear fusion involves fusing atoms together at incredibly high temperatures – the same reaction that powers our Sun.

If we can manage to control the reaction safely and sustainably it would be huge, because nuclear fusion can generate power for thousands of years using little more than salt water, and without putting out nuclear waste. And the Korean reactor just took us a step closer to that.

The KSTAR reactor is housed at the National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) and is a tokamak-type reactor, where plasma blobs reaching temperatures of up to 300 million degrees Celsius (about 540 million degrees Fahrenheit) are held in place by super-powerful magnetic fields.

If the blobs can be contained for long enough, hydrogen atoms can fuse together to create heavier helium atoms, releasing energy – a similar process is happening on the Sun, which is why reactors are sometimes described as trying to put “a star in a jar”.

And while the reactors of today take up much more energy than they produce, each time a record like this is broken, scientists get closer to their ultimate goal.

“This is a huge step forward for [the] realisation of the fusion reactor,” the NFRI said in a statement, World Nuclear News reports.

There are plenty of variables scientists can alter to tweak nuclear fusion reactions and different ways they can be measured: from pressure to temperature to time.

Usually, there’s a trade-off between these three variables, and indeed other reactors have managed to sustain plasma for longer periods of time – but with the KSTAR we’re talking about a “high performance” plasma, which is better suited for nuclear fusion.

At the same time, the researchers at the NFRI have also developed a new plasma “operation mode” that they hope will enable reactions to handle greater pressures at lower temperatures in the future.

And getting the whole process more efficient is important if we’re to get nuclear fusion working at the right scale.

If scientists can crack the “star in a jar” problem, we’d have a nuclear energy source that’s far safer than the nuclear fission plants we rely on now, because no radioactive waste is produced and there’s no chance of a plant meltdown.

We should note that the results haven’t been published in a journal or independently verified yet, so we’ll have to wait for confirmation that 70 seconds really is the new benchmark to hit for this high-performance plasma.

But as the KSTAR reactor continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible, it should help bring scientists closer and closer to figuring out how to harness the potential of nuclear fusion.

As NFRI president Keeman Kim puts it: “We will exert efforts for KSTAR to continuously produce world-class results, and to promote international joint research among nuclear fusion researchers.”

A controversial new gravity hypothesis has passed its first test.

Einstein might have been wrong.

A controversial new hypothesis that suggests our understanding of gravity is wrong has just passed an important first test.

First proposed back in 2010, the new hypothesis states that gravity might behave and arise very differently than Einstein predicted, and an independent study of more than 30,000 galaxies has now found the first evidence to back this up.

The hypothesis is referred to as ‘Verlinde’s hypothesis of gravity’ after the theoretical physicist who came up with it, Erik Verlinde from the University of Amsterdam. If it can stand up to further testing, it could completely overhaul over a century of physics – including getting rid of dark matter altogether.

It could even be part of the puzzle that takes us one step closer to one of modern physics’ Holy Grails – a much-longed-for ‘theory of everything‘, that merges the observable effects of classic physics, with the weird, microscopic world of quantum mechanics.

The problem with our current understanding of gravity – even though it’s widely accepted by the physics community – is that it doesn’t quite account for everything we see in the Universe.

Most glaringly, researchers have shown that there’s more gravity in our Universe – especially in our galaxies – than can be produced by all the visible matter out there.

This inconsistency has been explained by assuming the presence of dark matter– a mysterious force in the Universe that we can’t see that’s forming all of this extra gravity. But despite decades of searching and many leading candidates for a dark matter particle, researchers are still no closer to actually detecting this invisible substance.

Verlinde’s approach, on the other hand, says we don’t need dark matter at all, we just need to rethink gravity.

As we described back in November:

“His suggestion is that gravity isn’t a fundamental force of nature at all, but rather an emergent phenomenon – just like temperature is an emergent phenomenon that arises from the movement of microscopic particles.

In other words, gravity is a side effect, not the cause, of what’s happening in the Universe.”

For the past six years, this hypothesis has been left untested. But now a team of researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands has tested it for the first time, and shown some evidence that it could actually hold up.

The team, led by Margot Brouwer, looked at the distribution of matter in more than 33,000 galaxies, and said that what they say could indeed be explained without dark matter if they used Verlinde’s hypothesis of gravity.

Testing this involved studying something called gravitational lensing – the way galaxies closer to us bend the light of more distant galaxies. This is a well-established way of measuring the amount of dark matter in galaxies.

But the team found that if they just factored in Verlinde’s modified gravity, then their results made sense without them having to add in the idea of dark matter.

The team compared their results to the predictions made by Einstein’s general theory of relativity and those made by Verlinde, and found that both fit.

But they found that Verlinde’s predictions matched their observations without needing to use any free parameters – which are values that can be tweaked to make observations match a hypothesis. The presence of dark matter, on the other hand, required four free parameters.

“The dark matter model actually fits slightly better with the data than Verlinde’s prediction,” Brouwer told New Scientist. “But then if you mathematically factor in the fact that Verlinde’s prediction doesn’t have any free parameters, whereas the dark matter prediction does, then you find Verlinde’s model is actually performing slightly better.”

Importantly, this is just one very early test of Verlinde’s hypothesis, and it’s going to take a lot more than that to throw out over a century of accepted thinking on gravity and dark matter.

Also, Verlinde’s hypothesis might get rid of mysterious dark matter, but it doesn’t match up with everything else we see in the Universe, either. String theorist Lubos Motl recently took down Verlinde’s ideas a blog post, saying: “I wouldn’t okay this wrong piece of work as an undergraduate term paper.”

So, to be very clear, our current understanding of gravity, based on Einstein’s generally theory of relativity, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But neither is Verlinde’s hypothesis.

“The question now is how the theory develops, and how it can be further tested,” said Brouwer in a press release. “But the result of this first test definitely looks interesting.”

Low-fat diets and exercise are pointless for losing weight, warns surgical expert

Low fat diets and exercise are pointless for those wanting to lose weight and obese people should simply eat less, a former shadow health minister told the House of Lords yesterday.

Lord McColl, emeritus professor of surgery at Guys Hospital in London, warned that current health advice to avoid fat was ‘false and misleading’ and was fuelling the obesity epidemic.

Speaking at a House of Lords debate, the former surgeon warned that exercising was useless against the huge levels of calories from carbohydrates and sugars that people are now consuming. He warned that the obesity epidemic was as bad for public health as the 1919 flu epidemic.

“In the UK the Department of Health and Nice (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) maintains for many years that the obesity epidemic was due to lack of exercise,” he told peers.

“It’s a pity that the 500 people employed by Nice didn’t think to go into the gymnasium get on a machine and exercise to see how few calories you actually burn off.

“One can pedal away on one of those machines for half an hour and only two or three hundred calories are burned up. One has to run miles to take a pound of fat off.

“The whole subject has been bedevilled by all sorts of theories about the course of the obesity; genetics, epigenetic, psychological disturbances. None of them is the cause of the obesity epidemic.

“One fact remains. It is impossible to be obese unless one is eating too many calories.”

Lord McColl the former Tory health minister 
Lord McColl the former Tory health minister

In May the National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration called for a major overhaul of dietary guidelines saying 30 years of urging people to adopt low-fat diets was having ‘disastrous health consequences.’

Their report claimed the low-fat and low-cholesterol message, which has been official policy in the UK since 1983, was based on “flawed science” and had resulted in an increased consumption of junk food and carbohydrates.

Lord McColl said eating fat was important because it kept people feeling fuller for longer, and advised overweight people to start adding fat into their diet.

“Fat enters the small intestine and greatly delays the emptying of the stomach,” he told peers.

“As the stomach emptying is delayed it gives the feeling that one has had enough to eat. Later when the fat has been absorbed the stomach then starts to empty again, It’s a beautifully balance mechanism which tends to prevent us from eating too much and prevents us from getting obese.”

Researchers at Imperial College recently found that Britons are on course to be the fattest in Europe within a decade, with almost four in 10 people predicted to be dangerously overweight by 2025.

Earlier this week, Sir Simon Stevens the chief executive of the NHS said the obesity crisis was now costing more than the police and fire brigade combined.

Lord McColl speaking in the House of Lords 
Lord McColl speaking in the House of Lords 

“Obesity and its related illness is costing the country a fortune and it is not sustainable,” said Baroness Jenkin who called the debate in the Lords.

“If we don’t wake up to the extent of this crisis the NHS could end up bankrupt. Already enormous amounts of money are spent on disease which are entirely preventable

“The current dietary advice is confusing. The ‘Eat Well guide recommends potatoes, rice, pasta and other starchy carbs. Are we so sure that is good advice? We feed starchy crops to fatten animals so why would they not have the same effect on us?”

Health Minister Baroness Chisholm 
Health Minister Baroness Chisholm said people should not go to the gym but continue to eat badly

Health minister Baroness Chisholm said: “There is no point going to an exercise class or a gym then going around the corner for a fizzy drink a donut. It is this sort of culture that needs to change.

“Tackling obesity is an important issue. Obesity is a complex issue to which there is no single solution.

“I would like to underline that Public Health England bases it dietary guidelines on comprehensive reviews. They consultant with academics, health charities and public health professionals.”

Anton Chekhov on the 8 Qualities of Cultured People.

“In order to feel comfortable among educated people, to be at home and happy with them, one must be cultured to a certain extent.”

What does it mean to be “cultured”? Is it about being a good reader, or knowing how to talk about books you haven’t read, or having a general disposition of intellectual elegance? That’s precisely the question beloved Russian author Anton Chekhov (January 29, 1860–July 15, 1904) considers in a letter to his older brother Nikolai, an artist. The missive, written when Anton was 26 and Nikolai 28 and found in Letters of Anton Chekhov to His Family and Friends (public domain | public library), dispenses a hearty dose of tough love and outlines the eight qualities of cultured people — including honesty, altruism, and good habits.

Chekhov writes from Moscow in 1886:

You have often complained to me that people “don’t understand you”! Goethe and Newton did not complain of that…. Only Christ complained of it, but He was speaking of His doctrine and not of Himself…. People understand you perfectly well. And if you do not understand yourself, it is not their fault.

I assure you as a brother and as a friend I understand you and feel for you with all my heart. I know your good qualities as I know my five fingers; I value and deeply respect them. If you like, to prove that I understand you, I can enumerate those qualities. I think you are kind to the point of softness, magnanimous, unselfish, ready to share your last farthing; you have no envy nor hatred; you are simple-hearted, you pity men and beasts; you are trustful, without spite or guile, and do not remember evil…. You have a gift from above such as other people have not: you have talent. This talent places you above millions of men, for on earth only one out of two millions is an artist. Your talent sets you apart: if you were a toad or a tarantula, even then, people would respect you, for to talent all things are forgiven.

You have only one failing, and the falseness of your position, and your unhappiness and your catarrh of the bowels are all due to it. That is your utter lack of culture. Forgive me, please, but veritas magis amicitiae…. You see, life has its conditions. In order to feel comfortable among educated people, to be at home and happy with them, one must be cultured to a certain extent. Talent has brought you into such a circle, you belong to it, but … you are drawn away from it, and you vacillate between cultured people and the lodgers vis-a-vis.

Cultured people must, in my opinion, satisfy the following conditions:

  1. They respect human personality, and therefore they are always kind, gentle, polite, and ready to give in to others. They do not make a row because of a hammer or a lost piece of india-rubber; if they live with anyone they do not regard it as a favour and, going away, they do not say “nobody can live with you.” They forgive noise and cold and dried-up meat and witticisms and the presence of strangers in their homes.
  2. They have sympathy not for beggars and cats alone. Their heart aches for what the eye does not see…. They sit up at night in order to help P…., to pay for brothers at the University, and to buy clothes for their mother.
  3. They respect the property of others, and therefor pay their debts.
  4. They are sincere, and dread lying like fire. They don’t lie even in small things. A lie is insulting to the listener and puts him in a lower position in the eyes of the speaker. They do not pose, they behave in the street as they do at home, they do not show off before their humbler comrades. They are not given to babbling and forcing their uninvited confidences on others. Out of respect for other people’s ears they more often keep silent than talk.
  5. They do not disparage themselves to rouse compassion. They do not play on the strings of other people’s hearts so that they may sigh and make much of them. They do not say “I am misunderstood,” or “I have become second-rate,” because all this is striving after cheap effect, is vulgar, stale, false….
  6. They have no shallow vanity. They do not care for such false diamonds as knowing celebrities, shaking hands with the drunken P., [Translator’s Note: Probably Palmin, a minor poet.] listening to the raptures of a stray spectator in a picture show, being renowned in the taverns…. If they do a pennyworth they do not strut about as though they had done a hundred roubles’ worth, and do not brag of having the entry where others are not admitted…. The truly talented always keep in obscurity among the crowd, as far as possible from advertisement…. Even Krylov has said that an empty barrel echoes more loudly than a full one.
  7. If they have a talent they respect it. They sacrifice to it rest, women, wine, vanity…. They are proud of their talent…. Besides, they are fastidious.
  8. They develop the aesthetic feeling in themselves. They cannot go to sleep in their clothes, see cracks full of bugs on the walls, breathe bad air, walk on a floor that has been spat upon, cook their meals over an oil stove. They seek as far as possible to restrain and ennoble the sexual instinct…. What they want in a woman is not a bed-fellow … They do not ask for the cleverness which shows itself in continual lying. They want especially, if they are artists, freshness, elegance, humanity, the capacity for motherhood…. They do not swill vodka at all hours of the day and night, do not sniff at cupboards, for they are not pigs and know they are not. They drink only when they are free, on occasion…. For they want mens sana in corpore sano [a healthy mind in a healthy body].

And so on. This is what cultured people are like. In order to be cultured and not to stand below the level of your surroundings it is not enough to have read “The Pickwick Papers” and learnt a monologue from “Faust.” …

What is needed is constant work, day and night, constant reading, study, will…. Every hour is precious for it…. Come to us, smash the vodka bottle, lie down and read…. Turgenev, if you like, whom you have not read.

You must drop your vanity, you are not a child … you will soon be thirty.
It is time!
I expect you…. We all expect you.

A. P. Chekhov (left) with Nikolai Chekhov (right), 1882

12 Plants Native Americans Used to Cure EVERYTHING (From arthritis to cancer)

The Cherokee are a Native American tribe, indigenous to the South-Eastern United States. They believed that the ‘Creator’ gave them a gift of understanding and preserving medicinal herbs. The Cherokee trust the healing and preventative properties of nature’s pharmacy.

The Cherokee promote proper gathering techniques of medicinal plants. The elders have taught them that if you are gathering, you should only pick every third plant you find. This ensures that enough still remain and will continue to propagate.

We have compiled a list of the medicinal plants that were commonly used and foraged for by the Cherokee tribe. Before we explain their properties however, we must warn you that they can be quite strong and dangerous if not used properly.
Keep in mind that the Cherokee healers were experienced as they had centuries of practice. Furthermore, it is of high importance to understand their value as powerful natural medications, so you should be gentle when scavenging them.

These are the plants used by the natives that provide astonishing medical benefits:

Big Stretch (Wild Ginger)

The Cherokee tribe believed that the mild tea from the foundation of wild ginger animates digestion of food, and treats stomach problems, colic, and intestinal gas. Likewise, the solid tea from the foundation of wild ginger can wipe out emission from the lungs.
Another Native American tribe, The Meskwaki, cured ear infections by utilizing pulverized, soaks stems of wild ginger. The rootstocks can supplant standard ginger and blossoms as enhancing for various formulas you prepare.

Hummingbird Blossom (Buck Brush)

Hummingbird blossom has been used by the Cherokee for treatment of cysts, fibroid tumors, inflammation, and mouth/throat problems. Present day research has concluded that this herb is also great for treating high blood pressure and lymphatic blockages.
The Cherokee mainly use hummingbird blossom as a diuretic to stimulate kidney function, however it was was also used to treat conditions such as:
  •  inflamed tonsils
  •  enlarged lymph nodes
  •  enlarged spleens
  •  hemorrhoids
  •  menstrual bleeding.
To get all of the benefits from hummingbird blossom, the Cherokee would steep the leave and flowers in a boiling water for about five minutes then drink the tea while it is still warm.

Pull Out a Sticker (Greenbriar)

This plant’s roots are rich in starch, which is full of calories, but has a strange flavor. The stems and leaves are high in numerous minerals and vitamins. As it has a rubbery texture, you can use its roots like potatoes.
This plant has been used as a mild diuretic in the case of urinary infections and to purify the blood. Its bark and leaves have also been used for the preparation of an ointment which heals burns and minor sores.
Its leaves can be added to tea in order to treat arthritis, and the berries can be either consumed raw, or made into jam.

Wild Mint

Mint is a very popular herb in present day culture and is commonly used in tea. However, many people don’t know that mint contains a variety of antioxidant properties. It also contains magnesium, phosphorus potassium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber!
The Cherokee use this herb to aid with digestion. The leaves can be crushed and used as cold compresses, made into ointments, and even added to your bath to sooth itchy skin.
The Cherokee healers use a blend of stems and leaves to lower high blood pressure. If you are breast feeding and find your nipples cracking, try applying some mint water.


This has been the most well known prescription on account of an agitated stomach, yet it additionally has various different healthy purposes. It can be utilized to soothe bleeding gums on the off chance that you chew the leaves.
You can make hack syrup by setting up a decoction from the roots, sweetened with maple syrup or honey. The solid tea from its root decreases the swelling of the joints and tissues.
These delightful berries are rich in vital supplements, for example, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin K, riboflavin, thiamine, folate, and niacin, and potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous. Moreover, they are plenteous in vital amino acids and dietary fiber.

More advantages of blackberry include:
  •  Reinforces the immune system
  •  Alleviation from endothelial brokenness
  •  Malignancy anticipation
  •  Healthy functioning of the heart
  •  Enhanced digestion


This plant has been regarded as a potent preventative medicine, which is easily digested and promotes recovery from various health conditions. Despite the seed heads and the mature leaves, all other parts of this herb have medicinal properties. Its root is rich in starch and the male plants are rich in pollen.
It can be prepared similarly to potatoes, mashed and boiled. The resulting paste treats sores and burns. Also, its pollen is rich in protein and can be used as a supplement in baking.
Its blooms can help on account of diarrhea. You can likewise utilize the fluff from blooms, known as the seed down, with a specific end goal to avert skin irritation in infants, similar to diaper rash.
Qua lo ga (Sumac)
Every single part of this herb can be used for medicinal purposes! Sumac bark can be made into a mild decoction that can be taken to soothe diarrhea. The decoction from the bark can also be gargled to help with a sore throat. Ripe berries can make a pleasant beverage that is rich in vitamin C. The tea from the leaves of sumac can reduce fevers.
You can even crush the leaves into an ointment to help relieve a poison ivy rash. A study published in Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research reported that sumac, if added to daily diet, can help lower cholesterol levels.
Jisdu Unigisdi (Wild Rose)
This plant’s fruit is high in vitamin C and effectively treats the flu and common cold. The Cherokee prepared a mild tea out of wild rose hips to stimulate the function of the kidneys and the bladder.
The wild rose petal infusion can be used to soothe your sore throat, and a decoction of the root will treat diarrhea. Its petals can also be used in the preparation of a tasty jam.
This herb has the power to soothe asthma and chest congestion. According to the Cherokee, inhaling the smoke from burning mullein roots and leaves works miracles to calm your lungs and open up pathways.
Mullein is exceptionally helpful to soothe the mucous membranes. You can make a warm decoction and soak your feet in it to reduce swelling and joint pain. Due to mullein’s anti-inflammatory properties, it soothes painful and irritated tissue. Mullein flowers can be used to make tea which has mild sedative effects.
Kawi Iyusdi (Yellow Dock)
This herb has been a typical ingredient in the kitchen, as it is like spinach, yet incorporates a great deal of minerals and vitamins. Its roots accumulate supplements from deep underground.
Its leaves are high in iron and go about as a purgative. Set up a juice decoction out of the stems to alleviate the tingling, minor bruises, or diaper rash. Also, the decoction from its smashed roots has effective cleaning properties and can be utilized as a warm wash.
Squirrel Tail (Yarrow)
This herb is known best for its blood clotting properties. Fresh, crushed leaves can be applied to open wounds to stop excess bleeding.
Yarrow’s juice, mixed with spring water, can stop internal bleeding from stomach and intestinal illnesses. You can also use the leaves to make tea which will stimulate abdominal functions and assist in proper digestion.
It can also help with kidney and gallbladder related issues. It also works wonders for chapped hands and other skin irritations.

Karolinska Institute finds 10 puffs on e-cigarettes increases risk of heart disease.

  • Vaping has gained popularity across the globe as a substitute to smoking
  • But studies have cast doubt on the assumption they are almost harmless
  • Scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have been researching
  • Just ten puffs on an e-cigarette can ‘start the heart disease ball rolling’

A decade ago, e-cigarettes were nothing more than a novelty. The battery-powered devices, which heat up a liquid containing nicotine and flavouring so it can be inhaled as a vapour, were dismissed by many as little more than a passing fad.

Now they are everywhere. Almost three million people use e-cigarettes in Britain today, drawn in by the seductive proposition they can happily puff away without damaging their health. The legion of users here grows daily.

So-called ‘vaping’ is also gaining popularity across the globe, encouraged by doctors who believe it is far safer than smoking real cigarettes.

Not surprisingly, tobacco giants, keen to defend their profits, are getting in on the act by buying up brands and creating their own products. But now a growing number of studies has cast serious doubt on the rosy assumption that e-cigarettes are an almost harmless alternative to smoking. And the latest research is truly worrying.

'Vaping' is gaining popularity across the globe, encouraged by doctors who believe it is far safer than smoking real cigarettes

‘Vaping’ is gaining popularity across the globe, encouraged by doctors who believe it is far safer than smoking real cigarettes

Scientists at the world-renowned Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have discovered that just ten puffs on an e-cig is enough to trigger physiological changes that, in the words of one leading expert, ‘start the heart disease ball rolling’.

This study follows others which have found that – just like ‘real’ cigarettes – e-cigs raise blood pressure and promote a hardening of the arteries.

Separate research indicates that the food additives used to flavour the vapour could be dangerous when heated and inhaled.

And another hotly disputed study, published earlier this year, even suggested that those who vape are 28 per cent less likely to quit tobacco than those who do not.

Despite all this, a number of medical organisations in the UK strongly support encouraging smokers to switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes.

Public Health England has issued a statement saying the devices are ‘around 95 per cent less harmful than smoking’. And only last week the Royal College of GPs told its 52,000 members to advise those trying to give up smoking to switch to e-cigarettes.

However, critics of this approach are unconvinced by such enthusiasm.

Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: ‘Many health organisations across the UK have significant concerns about promoting e-cigarettes to smokers.

‘We simply can’t know what their effect will be on health, if used over the long term, because they have not been around long enough.

‘To me, it would be sensible to take a precautionary approach and regulate them as much as possible.’

And Dr Filippos Filippidis, lecturer in public health at Imperial College, London, said: ‘We don’t know whether we may start to see diseases emerge in ten or 20 years’ time associated with some of the ingredients. We urgently need more research into the devices.’ His warning is particularly pertinent because it took decades for the link between tobacco and lung cancer to emerge.

It became clear only thanks to the pioneering work of statistician Sir Richard Doll in the 1950s – work that has saved millions of lives.

In the Karolinska study, published in the journal Atherosclerosis, Swedish researchers took 16 occasional smokers of cigarettes and asked them to each take ten puffs on an e-cigarette.

Within the first hour, there was a ‘rapid rise’ in levels of a type of cell indicating damage to the inner lining of blood vessels, called endothelial progenitor cells or EPCs, said the scientists. This increase, they wrote ‘was of the same magnitude as following smoking of one traditional cigarette’.

This ‘very short exposure to e-cigarette vapour… may indicate an impact on vascular integrity leading to future atherosclerosis’ – better known as hardening of the arteries.



By Prof John Britton

We should not let studies rightly highlighting the potential dangers of e-cigarettes blind us to the fact that these devices are much, much safer than smoking tobacco.

For a smoker, moving to e-cigarettes brings a huge health benefit. The decision should be a no-brainer. When you smoke a cigarette you inhale not only nicotine but also more than 4,000 highly toxic chemicals, including carcinogens. And you inhale many of them in fairly high concentrations. So there’s nothing better you can do for your health than to quit smoking. Let’s be clear: e-cigarettes are not harmless and we shouldn’t be complacent. E-cigarette vapour contains toxic chemicals, and tiny particles that can harm lungs and blood vessels.

But in terms of the harm they cause, they simply aren’t in the same league as smoked tobacco.

Levels of EPCs only returned to normal 24 hours later.

Professor Joep Perk, a heart specialist and spokesman for the European Society of Cardiology, said: ‘It really surprises me that so little vapour from an e-cigarette is needed to start the heart disease ball rolling.

‘It’s worrying that one e-cigarette can trigger such a response.’

So will long-term use of e-cigs cause heart disease? That remains to be seen. But the Swedish team noted that the average user takes 230 puffs a day – raising the prospect that prolonged use could cause serious damage.

Nor is this study alone. In August, a team at the University of Athens Medical School claimed that puffing on an e-cigarette for half an hour led to similar levels of stiffness in the aorta – the main artery – as smoking a tobacco cigarette. Both activities raised blood pressure, too.

Study leader Professor Charalambos Vlachopulos said at the time: ‘E-cigarettes are less harmful [than smoking tobacco] but they are not harmless.

‘I wouldn’t recommend them as a method of giving up smoking.’

New research is coming thick and fast. Last month, an American study found teenagers who used e-cigarettes were 71 per cent more likely to suffer bronchitis.

On Friday, another study claimed just one puff contained up to 270 times the safe level of toxic chemicals called aldehydes.

But it is a study in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine – which found e-cig users were 28 per cent less likely to quit tobacco smoking than those who didn’t vape – that has perhaps caused the most dispute. This finding matters because the vast majority of e-cig users are those trying to quit tobacco.

Co-author Stanton Glantz wrote: ‘While there is no question that a puff on an e-cigarette is less dangerous than a puff on a conventional cigarette, the most dangerous thing about e-cigarettes is that they keep people smoking conventional cigarettes.’

His findings have been leapt on by e-cig sceptics, who frequently quote the headline result.

But e-cig advocates have dismissed it as unscientific and even ‘grossly misleading’.

Peter Hajek, of the Tobacco Dependency Research Unit at Queen Mary, University of London, said it looked only at current smokers who had used e-cigarettes in the past – ignoring ex-smokers who had given up tobacco thanks to the devices.

This study follows others which have found that – just like 'real' cigarettes – e-cigs raise blood pressure and promote a hardening of the arteries

Advocates of getting smokers to swap tobacco for e-cigarettes now fear their simple message – that switching saves lives – is getting lost in a cloud of confusion.

Smoking claims the lives of 93,000 people in the UK every year – accounting for almost one in every five deaths – as it significantly increases the risk of killer diseases including cancer, heart disease, and a lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.

Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at Nottingham University, said: ‘The decision to switch should be a no-brainer… There’s nothing worse you could do for your health than smoke.’

And e-cigarettes did help 18,000 people quit smoking last year, according to research by University College London and Cancer Research UK.

Scientists such as Dr Britton believe that, despite the lurking dangers of e-cigarettes, they could deliver huge benefits to the country’s overall health.



By Prof Martin McKee

Do we know what the long-term effects of regular e-cigarette use will be on human health? No – because they haven’t been around long enough.

But the evidence that is accumulating causes me very considerable concern.

For a start, nicotine is more dangerous than previously thought. It negatively affects the developing brain, helps cancer spread by encouraging the growth of blood vessels around tumours, and increases the risk of dangerous heart rhythms in those who have just had a heart attack. The flavourings in e-cigs – usually food additives – might have been tested for safety in terms of ingestion though the gut, but taking them in through the lungs after heating is completely different.

Vaping is almost certainly safer than smoking tobacco. But the limited evidence suggests using e-cigs actually reduces the chance of a smoker quitting tobacco.

To that end, a group of 13 health bodies, led by Public Health England and including Cancer Research UK, the Royal College of Physicians and Faculty of Public Health, issued an unprecedented ‘consensus statement’ in July supporting the principle that smokers should be encouraged to switch.

They wrote: ‘We all agree that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than smoking.

‘One in two lifelong smokers dies from their addiction.

‘All the evidence suggests that the health risks posed by e-cigarettes are relatively small by comparison, but we must continue to study the long-term effects.’

They concluded: ‘The public health opportunity is in helping smokers to quit, so we may encourage smokers to try vaping.’

Yet this position is ‘out of step’ with opinion in the US and Europe, according to Prof McKee and Dr Filippidis, where health bodies are far more cautious.

Dr Filippidis said: ‘Only time will tell who is right, but my personal opinion is that some more caution would be prudent until the evidence is more clear.

‘Very soon, major tobacco companies will enter the market with their own e-cigarettes or similar products that promise harm reduction.

‘I would feel very uncomfortable promoting products created by companies which have caused so much death and pain.

‘I don’t think we could trust them with our people’s health.’

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