Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tired of hearing lies about pot? I’ve got some science for you to share

Good Day World!

If you’re tired of hearing critical myths about Marijuana, the following information will help you educate the plant’s detractors.

It’s not uncommon to hear – or see on TV – outrageous lies about pot. The state I live in, Oregon, currently has an anti-pot campaign that pumps out lies like flies on shit!

I guess they don’t think anyone is going to challenge them.

Oregon is looking at marijuana legalization in November, but I’m not sure there’s going to be enough “Yes” votes to carry the day. There’s still plenty of hardline foes who are fighting legalization in this state.

One thing I’ve seen time and again is people who believe negative sound bytes because they want to. They really don’t want to know that marijuana has medicinal properties, or that it isn’t as harmful as cigarettes and alcohol.

Let’s look at the Science behind Marijuana:

There’s a vast gap between antiquated federal law enforcement policies and the clear consensus of science that marijuana is far less harmful to human health than most other banned drugs and is less dangerous than the highly addictive but perfectly legal substances known as alcohol and tobacco.

Marijuana cannot lead to a fatal overdose. There is little evidence that it causes cancer. Its addictive properties, while present, are low, and the myth that it leads users to more powerful drugs has long since been disproved.

As with other recreational substances, marijuana’s health effects depend on the frequency of use, the potency and amount of marijuana consumed, and the age of the consumer. Casual use by adults poses little or no risk for healthy people. Its effects are mostly euphoric and mild, whereas alcohol turns some drinkers into barroom brawlers, domestic abusers or maniacs behind the wheel.

An independent scientific committee in Britain compared 20 drugs in 2010 for the harms they caused to individual users and to society as a whole through crime, family breakdown, absenteeism, and other social ills. Adding up all the damage, the panel estimated that alcohol was the most harmful drug, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana ranked eighth, having slightly more than one-fourth the harm of alcohol.

A 1995 study for the World Health Organization concluded that even if usage of marijuana increased to the levels of alcohol and tobacco, it would be unlikely to produce public health effects approaching those of alcohol and tobacco in Western societies.

While tobacco causes cancer, and alcohol abuse can lead to cirrhosis, no clear causal connection between marijuana and a deadly disease has been made. Experts at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the scientific arm of the federal anti-drug campaign, published a review of the adverse health effects of marijuana in June that pointed to a few disease risks but was remarkably frank in acknowledging widespread uncertainties.

Marijuana “does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse,” the Institute of Medicine study said. The real gateway drugs are tobacco and alcohol, which young people turn to first before trying marijuana. (source)

Related Stories:

The Injustice of Marijuana Arrests

America’s four-decade war on drugs is responsible for many casualties, but the criminalization of marijuana has been perhaps the most destructive part of that war.

The toll can be measured in dollars — billions of which are thrown away each year in the aggressive enforcement of pointless laws.

It can be measured in years — whether wasted behind bars or stolen from a child who grows up fatherless. And it can be measured in lives — those damaged if not destroyed by the shockingly harsh consequences that can follow even the most minor offenses.

In October 2010, Bernard Noble, a 45-year-old trucker and father of seven with two previous nonviolent offenses, was stopped on a New Orleans street with a small amount of marijuana in his pocket. His sentence: more than 13 years. (source)

The Federal Marijuana Ban Is Rooted in Myth and Xenophobia

The federal law that makes possession of marijuana a crime has its origins in legislation that was passed in an atmosphere of hysteria during the 1930s and that was firmly rooted in prejudices against Mexican immigrants and African-Americans, who were associated with marijuana use at the time.

This racially freighted history lives on in current federal policy, which is so driven by myth and propaganda that it is almost impervious to reason. (source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, August 29, 2014

Opinion: ‘Dear Mr. President, Please Come Up With a Plan to Stop ISIS’

What is the US going going to do about the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS?

Without a doubt they’ve become the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world in a relatively short time. And what does the leader of the free world have to say about this growing threat?

We don’t have a strategy yet.”

Say what?

President Barack Obama’s failure to articulate how the U.S. plans to crush the growing threat posed by rampaging Islamic militants is deeply disturbing.

Even as the terror group finds ways to grow its ranks — amid disturbing reports that U.S. citizens are taking up arms with ISIS in Syria — there’s still time to bring the network to its knees. But there has to be a plan.

I find it hard to believe that with all of the experts in the Pentagon we don’t already have a plan. I heard Obama was still making up his mind on what to do. I hope he doesn’t wait too long or ISIS will continue it’s mission to conquer the Middle East.

That’s just for starters. ISIS has a grand plan. They intend to convert the rest of the world into their extreme interpretation of being a good Muslim. This is one group that needs to be stopped before they go any further.

Thus far, Obama’s foreign policy (if he really has one) is in shambles. If you can think of anything he’s done right regarding world affairs lately, please let me know. Meanwhile, let’s hope Obama suddenly gets clarity and comes up with a plan to stop ISIS.

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Future Hack: Man 3-D Prints Backyard Castle, 2 Story House Next


Good Day World!

I’ve been watching 3-D technology explode in the last decade with a wary eye.

In 2005, 3-D printing expanded to the hobbyist and home-use market with the inauguration of the open-source RepRap and Fab@Homeprojects.

(Photo – A 3-D Castle)

Virtually all home-use 3D printers released to-date have their technical roots in the on-going RepRap Project and associated open-source software initiatives

When it became possible to make your own gun, I was concerned but figured the initial price for the right 3-D printer – $20,000 in 2010 – would prohibit most people from buying one.

That same technology today has decreased in price and now runs about $1,000. So far, it appears that there’s nothing this 3-D technology can’t make. Now you can 3-D print your own home like Andrey Rudenko of Minnesota.

Here’s the story:

“We've been using cement as a building material for thousands of years — but never quite like this.

Andrey Rudenko of Minnesota used it in a custom 3-D printer to create a tiny castle in his backyard, layer by layer, and next, he plans to build a two-story house. He's not the first to attempt a cement 3-D printer, but this castle is easily the most impressive example of the technique yet. It puts down layers about three quarters of an inch wide and a fifth of an inch tall with remarkable precision, leaving a textured but solid surface.

The castle, pretty as it may be, was only a test run for his real project: building a house. "All interior walls, fireplaces, stairs, some interior elements... I have my own innovative design and I'm going to print with insulation," Rudenko told NBC News in an email. Even the roof will be printed. It needs to be in a warm, dry climate and, of course, things like doors and glass will have to be added, but he's confident it'll work.” (source)


Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Today in History: August 27th

Associated Press – Today in History

Mine-sniffing rodents: I wish they had ‘HeroRats’ when I was in Vietnam

Good Day World!

While serving as a combat engineer in Vietnam (1970), my primary mission was to detect landmines.

Minesweeping then meant a few guys slowly walking along a hostile dirt road and waving a heavy modular mine detection unit back and forth.

 (Photo -A HeroRat receives her food reward.)

We didn’t have the advantages today’s Army Engineers have with mine-sweeping vehicles preceding us. I’m talking “old school” here.

And we sure didn’t have any trained rats to stand in for us! The only rats I remember back then were mean little things that occupied bunkers and hooches.

If I would have known back then what I recently discovered about rats, I’m sure I would have been on the cutting edge for training the furry little beasts to take my job!

But no one thought about such a novel way to detect landmines in the 1970s. It wasn’t until Bart Weetjens came along that the idea of using rodents for mine detection became a reality.

Weetjens is the founder of Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikkeling (APOPO) (Anti-Personnel Landmines Detection Product Development – English Translation) which is a registered Belgian non-governmental organization that trains African giant pouched rats to detect landmines and tuberculosis!  

APOPO's mission is to develop detection rats technology to provide solutions for global problems and inspire positive social change. For today, we’ll just look at the rats searching for landmines and leave the tuberculosis sniffing abilities aside for another post.

Due to Weetjens childhood experience, he knew that rats, with their strong sense of smell and trainability, could provide a cheaper, more efficient, and locally available means to detect landmines.

Using African giant pouched rats (they call them HeroRats) to detect landmines has several advantages. The rats are indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa, where they are used and, thus, are well-suited to the climate and are resistant to many endemic diseases.

They are also widely available and inexpensive to procure. Few resources are needed to raise a rat to adulthood, and African Giant Pouched Rats have a relatively long lifespan of six to eight years.

Furthermore, HeroRats do not form a bond with a specific trainer but rather are motivated to work for food. This adaptability allows for the trained rats to be transferred between handlers.

In the minefields, the HeroRats are too light to detonate a pressure-activated mine by walking over it. Their small size also means that the rats can be easily transported to and from operational sites.

Mine Detection Rats (MDR), the name given to the African giant pouched rats (genus Cricetomys) also used by APOPO, work to detect landmines by using their exceptional sense of smell.

In a minefield, MDRs wear harnesses connected to a rope suspended between two handlers. The HeroRats methodically sweep up and down a demarcated hazardous area and indicate the scent of explosives by scratching at the ground.

The insignificant weight of the rats means they do not detonate a landmine; their scratching solely indicates the presence of a mine. Each suspected area is screened by two animals.

The locations that are indicated by the rats are marked off, and then followed up later by a manual demining team, who detect and destroy the mines.

Full training of a Detection Rat takes approximately nine months on average, and is followed by a series of accreditation tests.

The rats are socialized and then trained through principles of operant conditioning. When the rats first begin their training, they learn to associate a “click” sound with a food reward of banana or peanuts.

Once they learn that "click" means food, the rats are trained on a target scent.

Rats trained to become Mine Detection Rats are taught that when they indicate TNT (the explosive in most mines), they will hear a click and then get food.

After various stages of training which build on the skills learned in the previous stage, the HeroRat is ready to go to work in either a minefield or into the research lab for tuberculosis or remote scent tracing (RST) detection.

(Information and photos Via Wikipedia)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Uncle Sam looking to buy 12 acres of marijuana for research


Calling all pot farmers: Uncle Sam is looking to buy.

An arm of the National Institutes of Health dedicated to researching drug abuse and addiction “intends” to solicit proposals from those who can “harvest, process, analyze, store and distribute” cannabis, according to a listing posted Tuesday night on a federal government website.

A successful bidder must possess a “secure and video monitored outdoor facility” capable of growing and processing 12 acres of marijuana, a 1,000 square foot (minimum) greenhouse to test the plants under controlled conditions, and “demonstrate the availability” of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Food and Drug Administration-approved vault to maintain between 400 and 700 kilograms of pot stock, extract and cigarettes.

NIDA spokeswoman Shirley Simson said the the agency was simply starting a new bidding competition since its existing marijuana farm contract is set to expire next year. The original solicitation for that contract was issued in 2009. (Source)

Study shows more Americans are using pot for pain instead of opioids


Good Day World!

I’ve been using medical marijuana for years to deal with my chronic back pain – a result of spine stabilization surgery.

My doctor prescribed Percocet for up to a year after my surgery. I had nothing but trouble taking that pain-killer. My stomach and bowels were constantly in an uproar.

Then I quit taking it. I switched to marijuana, which still does the job today, years after my surgery.

Needless to say, I became an advocate for pot for pain. There are no after affects. I’ve heard so many lies about the use of medical marijuana that I could write a book chronicling them. The good news is more research on the subject has been released. See study below.

It’ll take time, Big Pharma will fight every inch of the way, but the day is rapidly coming when people throughout America will be able to use pot for pain – and other uses.

Check out the following article: 

“States with medical marijuana laws have fewer deaths from opioid overdoses compared to states that do not allow medical marijuana, according to new research.

Opioids for chronic pain, like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, are meant to suppress pain.

Recent data shows that not only are prescriptions for these drugs up, but rates of overdose and death are increasing as well.

New research published Monday in the journalJAMA Internal Medicine shows that states with medical marijuana laws have rates of anticipated opioid-related deaths 25% lower than states that don’t allow it.

The researchers say more research is needed to understand why people choose medical marijuana and whether people at risk for opioid abuse would consider it as an alternative. There’s also the issue of presenting a split medical community with the risks and benefits of prescribing someone marijuana.” (Read more here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Taste Sensation: Grapes That Really Taste Like Cotton Candy

Jim Beagle

(Jim Beagle, chief executive of the Grapery, holds a Cotton Candy Grape in his vineyard in Bakersfield. Photo by Anne Cusack)

                                              Good Day World!

Imagine you’re biting into a juicy grape, expecting it to taste “grape-like” and suddenly your crunching down on some sugary cotton candy!

Surprise! You’ll never look at grapes the same way again after tasting geneticist David Cain’s new addition to the grape family. He doesn’t plan on resting upon his laurels and is already experimenting with the next hybrid grape flavor - described as a mix of raspberry and lemonade.

The Cotton Candy tasting fruit gained nationwide attention last year after being featured in the Los Angeles Times article.

Only one man is growing David Cain’s Cotton Candy Grapes; Jim Beagle. Because buyers couldn’t get to the handful of grocery chains such as Gelson’s and Sprouts Farmers Market that carried the grapes, Beagle came up with a solution.

Beagle started the Grapery in Bakersfield, which offers a home-delivery service called that mails a bunch overnight using FedEx.

The Grapery will ship anywhere in the U.S., though there’s a flat $12 shipping rate for California, parts of Nevada and the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas. (read more about these novel grapes here)

I wonder if Beagle has thought about turning those sweet fairground flavored grapes into wine? Meanwhile, I guess I’ll just have to buy some and see what crunchy, yet squishy, cotton candy tastes like.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stop 1033 Program: Guess who is profiting from military gear sent to civilian police?

Good Day World!

It’s getting harder to tell civilian police apart from members of our military. The fact that both are dressing alike more often contributes to that general impression.

(Photo - A riot police officer aims his weapon while demonstrators protest the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri in this file photo taken August 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Images of police wielding military-style guns and armor have shocked many Americans following clashes that were triggered by the fatal shooting of a black teenager, Michael Brown, by a white police officer in Ferguson two weeks ago.

Visions of jack-booted Nazis-types goose-stepping down the road are dancing in people’s imaginations as more events like Ferguson happen.

Even our normally clashing lawmakers have voiced concern about the militarization of U.S. police forces through programs administered by the Pentagon, Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security.

Programs like the 1033 program.

The 1033 program was begun in 1991 to help police forces in the "War on Drugs," and was revamped in 1997 to include counterterrorism activities. After 911, the program got a massive lift.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said last week he planned a review to ensure that the Pentagon's 1033 program, which transfers surplus equipment to local and state authorities, was working as intended before the full Senate considers the annual bill that authorizes military spending.

Not a bad idea. I just wonder how it’s going to be received.

Key concerns include a clause in the program that requires police to use the equipment within a year, something the American Civil Liberties Union argues may give police forces an incentive to use the equipment in inappropriate situations.

The program also does not mandate training for crowd control or other uses.

What else is contributing to the militarization of our civilian police forces?

Try the U.S. weapons makers. They’ve been eyeing what they call "adjacent" markets for years, keen to drum up fresh demand for products initially developed for the military, and recently, to offset declines in U.S. and European over the past year alone, according to the Pentagon.

The Pentagon transferred some 600 armored military trucks known as MRAFollowing Ferguson protests, Obama orders review of programs that arm police with military gearPS that were built for the war in Iraq.military spending.

By now, you’ve probably seen them where you live, or on TV. They’re scary-looking vehicles intended for full-out war (Photo right).

How much has the Pentagon transferred to local and state agencies since 2006? Hold on to your hat; more than $4 billion of equipment including armored vehicles, tents, rifles and night-vision goggles has been spent.

The 1033 program needs to be stopped. Flat out. It’s about profit, not saving lives.

Americans are looking at the specter of militarized civilian cops with increasing alarm. And for good reason. Civilian protestors no longer “see” cops – they see men hidden under combat gear, their faces barely visible under Nazi-looking helmets and face-shields.

If you agree with me, please write your congressman and tell him to do away with this divisive and un-needed 1033 program.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, August 24, 2014

San Francisco Bay area rocked with 6.0 earthquake

                                          Breaking News!

A 6.0-magnitude quake jolted the Bay Area early Sunday morning, injuring at least 70 people, and causing some road closures, water main breaks and fires and damaging at least one building in the Napa Valley.

The quake struck near southwest of Napa at 3:20 a.m. causing houses to shake in the center of San Francisco and knocking out power to more than 50,000 houses.

CAUGHT- Moment Magnitude 6.1 earthquake hits Napa Valley - American Canyon San Francisco 2014!

Visit Any National Park for Free on Monday

                                             Good Day World!

The U.S. National Park Service (NPS) turns 98 years old on Monday (Aug. 25), and to celebrate, the agency is throwing open the doors to all national parks, and inviting people to visit for free.

Many parks will host special events this weekend to celebrate the anniversary, including lecture series and concerts, and some will even serve a birthday cake to visitors. It may be the perfect chance to check out some of the least-visited national parks and to take advantage of tours at parks like Grand Teton and Yellowstone, which usually cost around $25. (Via LiveScience)

For a full list of events on Monday, visit the National Park Service website.


Time for me to walk on down the road…

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...