11 Things People Would Tell Their Pets If They Could Speak the Same Language

Sometimes, it feels like pets speak the same language you do. But what if you could actually, truly understand your pets, and they could understand you?  What would you say? Here are 11 pet owners on what the subject of their conversation would be if they had one hour to tell their pets everything they felt.

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Bernie Sanders Economic Inequality Town Hall Draws 1.7 Million Live Viewers

WASHINGTON ― Sen. Bernie Sanders’ televised town hall on economic inequality drew about 1.7 million live viewers during an online broadcast Monday night.

The panel-discussion-style event, called “Inequality in America: The Rise of Oligarchy and Collapse of the Middle Class,” exceeded the viewership of Sanders’ first live town hall on single-payer health care in January.

The broadcast provided the Vermont independent with an opportunity to expand his new alternative media revue beyond “Medicare for all” to the broader issue of economic inequality, which he maintains that commercial media outlets frequently ignore.

“What I would say to our friends in the corporate media: Start paying attention to the reality of how many people in our country are struggling economically every single day ― and talk about it,” Sanders declared at one point during the discussion.

Not content to wait for the cable television channels and newspapers to take him up on his advice, Sanders partnered with The Guardian, The Young Turks, NowThis and Act.tv to do just that for about an hour and a half on Monday night.

Three co-hosts aided Sanders in his efforts: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), New School economist Darrick Hamilton and filmmaker Michael Moore.

Together they interviewed three guests with specialized knowledge of the economic and political structures suppressing economic mobility and funneling wealth upward. Catherine Coleman Flowers, a founder of the anti-poverty Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise Community Development Corp., spoke about the destitute poverty of the rural black community in Lowndes County, Alabama, where exposure to untreated sewage prompted a rare outbreak of hookworm.

Cindy Estrada, a vice president of the United Auto Workers, addressed the role of organized labor in raising living standards ― and how its decline has lowered them. And Gordon Lafer, a political scientist from the University of Oregon, explained how corporate interests neutralized public opposition through campaign donations and massive lobbying efforts.

An audience of about 450 people attended the town hall in person in the U.S. Capitol auditorium. An additional 100 people viewed the event on monitors in an overflow room.

The rest of what Sanders’ staff estimates were 1.7 million live viewers saw the event online. (HuffPost’s back-of-the-envelope tally from the social media pages of Sanders, Warren and the various digital partners produced a similar figure.)

Billed as a seminar on the causes of, and solutions to, rising income and wealth inequality, the town hall often doubled as a progressive pep rally for social democratic reforms.

During Estrada’s appearance, for example, Warren’s homage to labor unions elicited thunderous applause. “Unions built America’s middle class. It’ll take unions to rebuild America’s middle class,” she said.

For his part, Moore focused on the failure of the Democratic Party, which fashions itself as the party of working people, to stand true to its mission. This line of inquiry took Moore first into a discussion of the ostensibly Democratic leanings of the three wealthiest men in the country ― Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos ― and later into a riff on the Democrats who voted to authorize the Iraq War exactly 15 years earlier.

Moore appeared to be saying that letting Democrats off the hook had contributed to the collapse of the middle class.

“It’s so important that we hold the people who say they’re for the people ― hold their feet to the fire! And if they’re not going to do the job they say they’re going to do, let’s get somebody else,” he concluded to loud ovation.

The origins of American inequality that Sanders and his allies sketched on Monday are by now familiar to left-leaning activists immersed in the works of Robert Reich and Jacob Hacker, among other progressive thinkers.

In this history, former President Ronald Reagan ushered in a new era of corporate domination with his symbolic decision to fire striking air traffic controllers in August 1981. The move was the opening salvo in a prolonged war against organized labor that steadily diminished unions’ ranks and reduced their clout, according to numerous liberal scholars.

A host of tax breaks, deregulatory measures, corporate-skewed trade agreements and safety net reductions backed by members of both parties in subsequent decades served to heighten the inequality generated in the 1980s. The result, Sanders said in his introductory remarks, is a country where “the top 10th of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 99 percent.

“In recent years, we have seen incredible growth in the number of billionaires, while 40 million Americans continue to live in poverty and we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on Earth,” he continued.

A prominent feature of the evening’s analysis that Sanders’ critics have sometimes accused him of downplaying was an explicit breakdown of the racial roots of American poverty.

Flowers, who invited the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty to witness the squalid conditions in Lowndes County, argued that state authorities have failed to address the issue of inadequate sewage systems because of entrenched racist views.

Some of those same types of attitudes that existed prior to the 1960s, the structural racism that was reinforced by racial terror, is still in existence today,” Flowers said.

Hamilton suggested that the universal programs Sanders favors would not erase the racial inequities that follow black Americans at every level of socioeconomic and educational attainment. He noted that a black household headed by a college graduate has, on average, less wealth than a white household headed by a high school dropout.

“So when Sen. Sanders proposes that we should have tuition-free public education ― absolutely, but as an end unto itself. We exaggerate the returns from education, particularly to marginalized groups,” Hamilton said.

Sanders, Warren and Moore all endorsed relatively well-known left-leaning solutions to inequality, including a $15 minimum wage, stronger unions, free college education and paid family leave policies.

Perhaps in keeping with his intersectional focus, Hamilton embraced more radical measures. His preferred solutions included the creation of trust funds for every American at birth, a federal job guarantee, the replacement of private payday lenders with postal banking and an end to academic tracking in grade school, which he argued often replicates racial segregation, even within relatively integrated schools.

“To really get beyond our race problem, when we’re ready as a nation to come together, we need to come to grips with reparations,” Hamilton concluded, prompting cheers from the crowd.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-economic-inequality-town-hall-million-viewers_us_5ab08fb6e4b0e862383ab6b4

Apple releases iOS 11.3 with new Animojis

Apple just released an iOS update for your iPhone and iPad. 11.3 introduces a ton of bug fixes but also a bunch of new features. If you forgot about Animjois, today is your lucky day as Apple is adding four new Animojis — a dragon, a bear, a lion and a skull.

But that’s not all. Apple already shared a preview of iOS 11.3 a couple of months ago. There’s a big ARKit update to ARKit 1.5. It can recognize more objects and surfaces.

And iOS 11.3 is also the battery update we’ve all been waiting for. There’s some new info in the settings about the status of your battery. It tells you the overall capacity and if it’s time to change your battery.

You can also choose to disable Apple’s controversial decision to throttle performance with old batteries. Apple says it’s a beta feature for now.

Apple is also introducing a new feature in the Health app. You can now centralize all your health records in the app. It’s only limited to a handful of clinics for now.

Apple is adding customer support conversations to Messages. You can initiate a conversation with a business to order something, book a table and more. Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo are already on board. Health Records and Business Chats are only available in the U.S. as a beta for now.

You’ll also see a new privacy icon across the operating system. A new website to export all your data is coming in May as well. Apple needs to add those features to comply with GDPR.

Finally, Apple Music is getting a new video clips section, the App Store Updates tab now shows you the size of each update and more tiny little things. And if you care about security, it’s always a good thing to update to the latest version of iOS. Unfortunately, iOS 11.3 still doesn’t include iMessage in iCloud.

Back up your iPhone or iPad to iCloud or your computer using iTunes before updating. You can then head over to the Settings app, then ‘General’, then ‘Software Update’. macOS, watchOS and tvOS updates are also available today.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/29/apple-releases-ios-11-3-with-new-animojis/

7 WTF Details About Historical Events Everyone Forgets

Tragic events are typically followed by periods of shock, grief, anger, and the occasional flash of inexplicable horniness. So it’s only natural that when we’re dealing with lives lost and places destroyed, we tend to only focus on these important matters and damn everything else to hell. But sometimes, that means we ignore all of the chaotic insanity that typically accompanies history, making textbooks just that little bit blander. So let’s put on our Indiana Jones hats and dive into the past, and remind ourselves of some truly crazypants parts of history that usually get left out of the conversation. For example …

7

The Manual For The German Tiger Tank Contained Poetry And Porn

War is chaos. With bullets flying and bombs whizzing everywhere, preparation and alertness are the keys to survival. But while combat is exciting, combat training can be mind-numbingly boring. So how do you get a group of disinterested, overly hormonal boys to sit up, pay attention, and remember stuff? By turning that stuff into smut, of course.

During World War II, German commanders needed to quickly familiarize new recruits with the inner workings of the complicated Tiger Tank. Unfortunately, the Fuhrer’s finest were less than thrilled with spending long days memorizing the dry technical manuals. Finally, the Nazis came up with an elegant solution to motivate the laser-like focus necessary to master the tank: They included a naked lady on every other page, and made sure the important parts rhymed.

German Federal ArchivesTranslation: “Danger lurks in the sump! Read your manual well, otherwise your Tiger goes to hell!”

After the war, it was discovered that the manual for the German Panzerkampfwagen was full of nudes, jokes, and dirty limericks. This masterpiece was the brainchild of Josef von Glatter-Goetz, who had novel ideas on how to warm up his cadets’ learning muscles (among others). And most of the warming up was done by Elvira, a buxom blonde who appeared every few pages to keep the boys thumbing — or whatever else helped them get there faster.

German Federal Archives“Klaus, why do you keep taking the manual to the bathroom?”

She would pop up (often with her clothes popped off) whenever the cadets were supposed to pay extra attention to the lesson, like the importance of making accurate measurements when firing or keeping the engines clean, even if it led to making the cockpits sticky.

German Federal Archives“I only read it for the articles.”

The program was a demonstrable success, and both von Glatter-Goetz’s excellent understanding of his target audience and Elvira’s ass helped untold numbers of troops masturbate their way to mastering the Tiger Tank.

6

Hurricane Katrina Ejected Over A Thousand Coffins From Graves

According to FEMA, Hurricane Katrina was “the single most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history.” It caused over $41.1 billion in damage and killed more than 1,800 people. But not content with causing misery for the living, Katrina decided to go after the deceased as well, digging them up so she could pee her hate water on their faces.

Petty Officer Kyle Niemi/US Navy“You whine when it doesn’t rain, you whine when it rains too much, what do you want from me??”

During the disaster, over 1,000 coffins — and, more gruesomely, those coffin’s residents — were ejected from their places of rest. The transition wasn’t gentle, either. One New Orleans native found his grandmother’s body, still in her pink burial dress, splayed out in the open like she was trying to get a tan. Skeletal remains were sprawled among cemetery statues, and more than one coffin was found up a tree. According to the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (Dmort), it’s unlikely that all the uprooted bodies will ever be located and returned. “Many are in extremely remote and inaccessible areas,” a spokesman said. “They have been carried way downrange into muck and swamp and forest.”

APWe don’t want to sound too alarmist, but this is exactly how a zombie apocalypse would start.

Despite the difficulties, officials are still doing their best to return the drifting dead to their correct burial sites — or as much of them as they can scoop up, at least. Unfortunately, since we have this silly idea that the dead aren’t supposed to move about, corpses and coffins tend to not have any labels of traceable information. Finding a corpse that’s buried with something unique is like finding a corner piece of an especially macabre puzzle. So far, officials have been able to identify bodies buried with their favorite golf club, some unusual rosary beads, and a six-pack of beer. It won’t be long before the government starts insisting we all get buried with a valid driver’s license and two utility bills.

In the meantime, less stringent coffins laws have been introduced in order for us to better retrieve these lost soulless husks. After Katrina, Louisiana passed a law requiring labels for coffins. However, they weren’t clear enough in their wording, so now Louisiana morticians are labeling their coffins with everything from smartphone tracking apps to the less-than-ideal paper tags. Inhabitants of one particularly low-lying cemetery now have beacons attached to their coffins, but the battery life for the floater-be-found is still to be determined.

William Widmer/The New York Times“Warmer … warmer … colder …”

5

King George V Was Euthanized So His Death Could Make The Right Headlines

For all the perks associated with being born into a royal family (unlimited wealth, the right to eat peasants, fancy hats), living the life of royalty also means you’re always in the public spotlight. Never can you falter from keeping up appearances, making sure your every action benefits the crown as best as possible. That includes your death, because god forbid a royal should die at an inconvenient time of day like some low-class pleb.

Library of CongressGod Save the Facial Hair

When Britain’s King George V lay on his deathbed in 1936, doctors were concerned about more than his failing health. Convinced that the king was not long for this world, medical staff began suspecting he might not kick the gilded bucket at the most dignified of times. Deciding that the matter couldn’t be left in the clumsy hands of God or fate, steps were taken to “hasten” the king’s death, and he was euthanized in his sleep shortly before midnight on January 20th.

Why the rush? According to the notes of his physician, Lord Dawson, the king was given lethal doses of morphine and cocaine so that word of his death would appear ”in the morning papers rather than the less appropriate evening journals.” Dawson administered the injections to King George himself at around 11 p.m., right after he’d had his wife in London ”advise The Times to hold back publication.” That’s right, the king’s life had a literal deadline.

Bradford Timeline“Here is the royal speedball, your grace.”

Whether the injections counted as mercy or murder is still a topic of debate. Though the king had been in generally poor health for some time, the doctor had only been summoned to care for him four days prior to his death. On the morning of his last day, the king held a meeting with his privy counselors, which is pretty lucid for someone who’s about to get injected with mercy coke. Documents give “no indication that the King himself had been consulted,” but seeing as his last words were “God damn you” to a nurse administering a sedative, we don’t think he would’ve liked being involuntarily Belushied so that the morning papers would sell a few extra copies.

4

Millions Of Landmines Were Left In The Sahara After WWII, And Now ISIS Is Digging Them Up

Aside from proving how adept people can be at killing each other, World War II also highlighted how much the resulting clean-up sucks. Entire continents had to deal with the debris of their broken nations, the costly effects of which can still be felt. One group that was exempt from their collective spring cleaning were, of course, the Nazis, who were a bit busy getting tribunaled to death. Which is a shame, because they had millions of unexploded landmines buried in the African desert, and every other country had already touched their noses and called “Not it!”

German Federal Archives“I’m sure my actions will have no lasting consequences.”

But that was over 70 years ago. Surely we’ve taken care of those pesky balls of death we left buried in the sand since then, right? While countries like Egypt have tried to reduce the 17 million landmines both Nazi and Allied forces left behind in their desert, the place is still a minefield of … minefields. Thanks to the high temperatures and dry climate, the Sahara is doing an amazing job of preserving these war relics, which means they’re still very capable of taking a limb (or life) if fiddled with too much. But while most people are content with not going near any unstable explosives, there’s one pesky little death cult that doesn’t mind going out in a blaze of glory, intentional or otherwise.

In the past few years, ISIS has realized that one man’s minefield is another man’s massive cache of explosives, so they’re digging up and reusing landmines and their components. There have been several reports of ISIS terrorist attacks in which they used old munitions “MacGyvered” into IEDs. At least when it comes to age, ISIS seems to be quite open-minded.

NATOAs well as being adrenaline junkies.

And landmines aren’t the only type of antique firepower people in the region are packing these days. In 2015, video footage showed Syrian rebels firing a 1935 German howitzer. Meanwhile, Iraqi weapons inspectors documented the capture of a 1942 Lee-Enfield rifle, and the Armament Research Services report that British Webley revolvers, Italian cavalry carbines, Mausers, and Bren guns have appeared for sale in Libya. As long as it goes “boom” and someone dies, they’re only too happy to put it to terrible use.

via Shaam News NetworkNazis: ruining your day since 1933.

3

The Feud Between The Hatfields And The McCoys Was Probably Caused By A Medical Condition

History has seen its share of epic feuds, but few are as legendary as the pissing contest that took place between the Hatfields of West Virginia and the Kentucky McCoys in the late 1800s. Why were they so special? Longevity. They kept their fiery hatred going for a solid decade. But recent medical tests have revealed that, at least on the McCoy side, that might have been because hatred literally runs in their blood.

via Encyclopaedia BritannicaMoments later, the man on the right was riddled with bullets.

Why did these two ornery tribes want to shed each others’ blood so badly? Some say the beef started over a stolen hog, while others think it was residual hostility from the families having fought on opposite sides during the Civil War. Over a hundred years later, we still have no idea what spark started the fire, but we have an idea of where they got the gasoline. In 2007, a young girl called Winnter [sic] Reynolds was struggling at school. She had anger issues, and would often fly into fits of rage. While her teachers thought it was nothing but a bad case of ADHD, a series of medical tests revealed it was worse than that. She had bad blood. McCoy blood, to be specific.

Winnter is the latest offspring of the McCoy bloodline, from whom she had inherited her temper. She suffers from a rare genetic condition called von Hippel-Lindau disease. The illness causes the formation of adrenal tumors which cause, among other things, “hair-trigger rage and violent outbursts.” After Winnter’s diagnosis, it was revealed that several other McCoy descendants had also been diagnosed with the same condition. And while having tumors keeping you pissed off 24/7 still doesn’t shed any light on the start of the feud, it does go a long way toward explaining their whole “I’m going to kill you over some bacon” reputation.

Earl Neikirk/AP“Cleetus, go fetch the tumor chart, we gotta black another circle.”

2

We Are Still Paying A Civil War Pension

War is never not tragic, but civil wars pile all the hurt on one people. With an estimated 620,000 lives lost during the American Civil War, the cost of that little disagreement hurt the nation badly. The price paid was terrible — not only in human lives, but also in the long-term financial state of the country. How long-term? They’re still adding up, apparently.

US ArmyYeah, were sure their main concern was how much this was gonna cost.

While the indirect ramifications are impossible to calculate, there is still one straightforward bill the U.S. Civil War is serving America: $73.13, to be exact, paid monthly to one woman in North Carolina. You see, because soldiers have a tragic tendency of not always being able to collect what Uncle Sam owes them, the government compensates by also paying out pensions to widows and children of war veterans. And while the Civil War ended more than 150 years ago, believe it or not, there’s still one soldier’s child alive and kicking. That would be Irene Triplett, 86 years young, and she’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Irene’s father, Mose Triplett, was born in 1846, and managed to fight on both sides of the Civil War — though that sadly didn’t mean he’d get to draw two pensions. He later married a woman 50 years his junior, who we’re assuming must’ve been into antique cannons. When Irene was born, Mose was 83 years old and ready to mosey on up to Heaven.

via Stoneman Gazette“Ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex …”

But Irene’s isn’t the only 19th-century war pension that still being paid out. We’re also still supporting 88 people for their families’ contributions to the Spanish-American War, which started and ended in 1898. And while we’re certainly not begrudging anyone their dues, if we keep up our current military policies, half of our country’s 2080 budget will be going to Iraq vets’ second families.

1

The Search For Wreckage Of The Challenger Turned Up A Lot Of Junk — And A Duffel Bag Of Cocaine

Being an air crash site investigator must be a harrowing gig. Their entire job revolves around cataloging the most horrific of disaster scenes, where the Earth has gotten a dose of corpse buckshot to the face. But finding 73 separate pieces of the same human being isn’t the only weird thing they might find at a crash site. Sometimes they also find a shit ton of coke.

CNNGodspeed, friends.

Like 9/11, the Challenger disaster is one of those awful tragedies seared into memories of all who witnessed it. Seven people lost their lives simply because some faulty O-rings and unusually cold weather caused their vessel to blow up and plow into the ocean. After the crash, NASA immediately began searching the Atlantic for any and all portions of the shuttle that survived the crash, as well as any remains of the crew that could be retrieved and given a proper burial. But with such a spread out investigation site in constantly shifting water, the crew was bound to encounter some weird stuff.

For nine weeks, experts spent 15-hour days combing sonar data of a 420-mile area. But when their submarines or robots finally found the wreckage, they also stumbled upon what looked like Poseidon’s garage sale. During NASA’s investigation, they encountered a whole warehouse full of lagan (that’s maritime for “junk”). Some of the more ordinary items included batteries and paint cans, a refrigerator, a filing cabinet, a kitchen sink, and a toilet. More interesting finds were eight shipwrecks, a Pershing missile, and half of a torpedo.

But the best non-shuttle find by far was a duffel bag containing 25 kilograms of cocaine. When NASA handed it over to the police (what a bunch of goody-two-shoes), they revealed the estimated street value of the marching powder at $13 million, roughly the cost of the entire salvage mission. So if you’re struggling to find rent money or hoping to remodel your house, maybe spend more time hanging out at the beach.

Kelly Stone remembers watching the Challenger explode, and speaks only as much German as Google Translate does. She sometimes Tweets about cats and Star Trek.

History is insane — find out more from the Cracked De-Textbook!

Support Cracked’s journalism with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.

For more, check out 6 Dark Details History Usually Leaves Out (For Good Reason) and 6 Disasters With Details So Awful, History Left Them Out.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25481_7-wtf-details-about-historical-events-everyone-forgets.html

Trump Is Freaking Out About the Wrong Border: Killer Fentanyl Is Coming From Canada

President Donald Trump has made building a wall along the southern border the backbone of his anti-drug policy to keep deadly narcotics like fentanyl from entering the country from Mexico.

But last month, as the president was delivering remarks at yet another public listening session on the opioid crisis, focusing his attention on a multimillion-dollar security investment on Americas southwest border, law enforcement officials in Canada announced they had shut down a massive flow of deadly narcotics coming to the U.S. from the opposite direction.

The trafficking operation, based in Calgary, Albertajust a three-hour drive north of the Montana borderwas capable of producing an estimated 18,000 counterfeit pills an hour for export to the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Cutting dyes on seized pill presses bore the stamps 80 and CDN, which are commonly associated with the prescription painkiller OxyContin. But there was no oxycodone (the active ingredient in Oxys) to be found. Instead, investigators from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team discovered 18 kilos of suspected fentanyl in two different locations.

The investigation began in 2016 when police near Provo, Utah, pulled over a pickup truck carrying three men and 200 pounds of methamphetamine. Press reports at the time described it as the states largest ever meth bust, valued at $1.5 million on the street.

The men were all Canadian, and police would soon learn that meth trafficking was just a small part of the bilateral flow of drugs the group was moving across the U.S. border with Canada.

Had their trip been successful that day, the men would have continued traveling north on I-15, through Montana, and into Canada for their final stretch into Calgary. Thats where the leader of their group, Allistair Chapmanonce a rising star in Albertas competitive amateur ice hockey communityhad assembled a multi-national narcotics enterprise that exported counterfeit pills from Canada to the U.S. and returned home with cocaine and methamphetamine trafficked from Mexico. Primarily this group acted as a wholesale drug distributor. Were talking about large scale drug shipments at the multi kilo level, said Staff Sgt. Barry McCurdy, a spokesperson for the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) in Calgary, at a press conference on March 1 announcing the arrests of Chapman and five associates on drug and firearms charges.

At the time of the raid authorities said the pill presses were being used to manufacture steroids, but tests showed they were contaminated with fentanyl.

By dismantling this lab we cut off a significant amount of fentanyl, McCurdy said.

Investigators believe the group was also responsible for a double homicide committed in 2017 outside a Calgary shopping center that they believe was tied to a drug dispute.

The bust was the third major fentanyl seizure in Alberta in less than a year, and the second since January. Last July, police in Edmonton raided five homes in what was then-touted as the largest fentanyl seizure in Canadian history: 130,000 counterfeit pills along with two presses capable of producing 10,000 pills an hour. Then in January, rescue personnel responding to a house fire discovered 16 kilos of carfentanila powerful synthetic opioid believed to be 10,000-times more powerful than morphinemixed with a cutting agent in the basement of another house in Edmonton. The powder was dyed pink and blue (indicating is was prepared to be pressed into pills).

For the Edmonton Police Service, in respect to carfentanil, its the largest seizure that Im aware of, Inspector Shane Perka of the Edmonton Police Service told reporters after the bust. This is a very substantial seizure.

Last July, police in Edmonton raided five homes in what was then-touted as the largest fentanyl seizure in Canadian history: 130,000 counterfeit pills along with two presses capable of producing 10,000 pills an hour.

Some of that fentanyl is making it onto U.S. soil. From 2013 to 2016 fatalities linked to illicit fentanyl in the U.S. rose more than 500 percent; most of those who died, including the musician Prince, didnt choose to take the drug.

A report this month indicates that Prince, who died in Minnesota (which shares a border with Canada) had exceedingly high levels of the synthetic narcotic in his system. Authorities found an assortment of counterfeit pills in the musicians home.

Investigators have not revealed where the fentanyl that killed Prince came from or how he obtained it, but the Minnesota Department of Health has identified Canada as a primary conduit for Chinese-made synthetic opioids entering the state.

As The Daily Beast reported in 2016, in recent years Chinese labs have become a supplier of powerful fentanyl analogs designed to skirt U.S. law by modifying the chemical structure of the drugs.Last year China banned more than 100 of these analogs, and over the past two years the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has scheduled dozens of new novel opioids with close chemical structures to fentanyl. However they were unable to keep up with innovative clandestine chemists, and in February the DEA classified all chemicals with a structure similar to fentanyl under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

Canada is hardly a new player when it comes to satisfying demand for contraband in the U.S.

Long-established smuggling routes exist across Americas notoriously porous northern border, which has 120 points of entry, and stretches more than 5,500 milesencompassing large areas of remote wilderness and numerous waterways.

The Northern Border doesnt always make headlines, but for too long it has been understaffed and there have not been sufficient resources to effectively combat drug trafficking and other crimes that can come across the border, said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who has sponsored legislation to strengthen security at the U.S.-Canada border.

During Prohibition, its estimated that 60-90 percent of booze entering the United States came from distilleries and breweries north of the U.S. border.

The border between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit was a nexus of post-war drug trafficking; and until the early 1980s, heroin traffickers associated with fragments of the French Connection were still funneling large quantities of heroin from French-speaking Quebec to distribution networks in New York.

In 1987, federal prosecutors in Florida indicted 49 people in a massive cross-border conspiracy that was responsible for supplying 3.5 million counterfeit quaaludes to the U.S. market, or 70 percent of the illegal trade in the drug, according to prosecutors. And in 2008, authorities shut down a marijuana smuggling operation that had been shuttling hundreds of pounds of high-quality pot across the border from Ontario and into Western Pennsylvania disguised as commercial food shipments.

In recent years, Canada emerged as a global epicenter of synthetic and counterfeit drug manufacturing and processingwith everything from MDMA to fake Viagra flowing from clandestine labs north of the U.S. border. A 2005 State Department cable identified Canada as a significant producer and transit country for precursor chemicals used to produce synthetic drugs, and a hot spot of rising clandestine lab activity.

From 2012 to 2015 more than 500 pounds of MDMA was seized at the northern border, accounting for more than 90 percent of all Customs seizures of the drug.

We are increasingly concerned about the multitude of routes of travel these illegal and grey-market synthetic drugs are taking as they come into the region, and Canada is one route we feel bears watching, said Jeremiah Daley, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), a program run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. While cross-border cooperation remains very strong with Canadian law enforcement, with so much focus being placed on our Southern Border, with good reason, we still need to be vigilant about threats coming from the North.

In 2016 alone, U.S. Customs officials reported 2,015 drug arrests at land crossings at the U.S.-Canada border, while Canadian officials made more than 18,000 drug seizures. Trafficking groups routinely engage in so-called double exchanges in which designer drugs passed from Canada to the U.S. are exchanged for other narcotics, such as cocaine, for shipment back to Canada.

Trafficking groups routinely engage in so-called double exchanges in which drugs passed from Canada to the U.S. are exchanged for other narcotics like cocaine for shipment to Canada.

A dozen U.S. states share a border with Canada, including some of those hit hardest by the overdose crisis, such as New Hampshire and Vermont.

A State Department document published in 2011 describes the difficulty of policing the flow of drugs over these border crossings:

The stealth with which both natural and synthetic drugs including marijuana, MDMA, and methamphetamine are produced in Canada and trafficked to the United States, makes it extremely difficult to measure the overall impact of such transshipments from this shared border country, although U.S. law enforcement agencies record considerable seizures of these substances from Canada.

For years hockey bags have been described as a favored means of moving drugs from the U.S. to Canada, and in some cases they have been literally thrown across the border for pickup on the other side.

A story published in the Canadian news magazine MacLeans in 2009 refers to Canada as The New Global Drug Lord, citing data showing that more than 60 percent of the methamphetamine seized in Japan and more than 80 percent in Australia is synthesized in Canada.

While the fentanyl crisis is often treated like a monolith in the U.S. press, there are wide geographical variations in supply of the drug. Mexico remains the dominant supplier of illicitly manufactured powdered fentanyl in most major heroin markets, but the first wave of fentanyl overdoses following the crackdown on prescription-drug abuse in the U.S. was driven largely by a wave of adulterated pills, many of the them from Canada.

Part of the blame lays with the pharmaceutical industry.

When Purdue Pharmaceutical introduced a new abuse-deterrent OxyContin in the U.S. in 2010which made it more difficult to crush for snorting and shootingthe original formulation remained on the market in Canada for another two years.

Smuggling of OxyContin from Canada to the U.S. spiked.

Im talking about trafficking organizations that are bringing in a thousand pills or so at a time, said James Burns, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administrations operations in the state of New York.

Then, suddenly, OxyContin dried up in the Canadian market as well. In May 2013, just months after Purdue began withdrawing the drug from the Canadian market, authorities in Montreal seized 10,000 pills made of acetyl fentanyl in a microwave oven and toaster that were destined for Colorado. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration enough additional material was seized to make three million more pills.

The RCMP blames much of the trafficking on criminal groups with connections to Asian source countries, where the precursors for most synthetic drugs are sourced. The Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada says Asian gangs are especially strong in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Torontoall cities where fentanyl is endemic. According to published reports, the powerful 14K and Sun Yee On triads are suppliers of precursor chemicals to Mexicos Sinaloa Cartel.

Much of the focus is on transnational shipments of the drugs and their precursor ingredients from China. And Asian organized crime groups in Canada have been implicated in a number of cross-border drug trafficking schemes over the years. A 2011 report from the Department of Justice said Vietnamese and Chinese gangs produce tens of millions of [MDMA] tablets for the U.S. market, smuggling the drugs through border crossings in Washington, Michigan, New York, and Vermont.

Last year, when federal authorities in the U.S. unveiled their first indictment of Chinese nationals for trafficking fentanyl they traced shipments to from China via Canada. The investigation was launched following the death of an 18-year-old North Dakota man.

Five Canadians were arrested as part of the trafficking ring.

Fentanyl is easier to synthesize in a lab than MDMA, and Canadian syndicates are not only pressing pills but also manufacturing the drug.

Between 2011 and 2015, six clandestine labs were identified in Canada where illicit fentanyl production occurred or was intended to occur, according to Health Canada.

In 2015 authorities in Alberta seized 100 kilograms of the fentanyl precursor N-phenethylpiperidinone (NPP) at the Edmonton International Airport. They said the precursor was capable of producing 38 million fentanyl pills. The seizure led to a nine-month investigation dubbed Project Alchemy that ultimately turned up four kilos of the synthetic opioid W-18, 3,200 fentanyl pills, 2.5 kilos of methamphetamine, and more fentanyl precursor chemicals.

Canadian authorities are so concerned about transnational trafficking in designer opioids that they issued an advisory in January describing red flags for exposing money laundering tied to the importation of fentanyl or precursors used to make the drug.

The Department of Justice declined comment on the administrations commitment to northern border security.However, the emerging threat of synthetic drugs trafficked from Canada has not gone unnoticed by officials in the U.S. In 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Northern Border Security Review Act, which was sponsored by Sen. Heitkamp and passed Congress with bipartisan support. As a result of the law, last year the U.S. government issued its inaugural Northern Border Threat Assessment identifying bilateral drug trafficking as the single greatest threat along the U.S.-Canada border.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) has just one agent at the northern border for every nine patrolling southwest points of entry, despite the Canadian border being more than twice as long.

With fentanyl on its way to replacing heroin in most major drug markets, its not a matter of if, but how traffickers will get the synthetic opioid on U.S. soil. President Trump seems intent on closing one window for traffickers, but it will have limited effect as long as another, even bigger window, remains ajar.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-is-freaking-out-about-the-wrong-border-killer-fentanyl-is-coming-from-canada

Several wounded, one dead in shooting at YouTube headquarters

At 12:46PM, an active shooter was reported in an outdoor patio area at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, California. Police arrived at the scene in a manner of minutes, police chief Ed Barberini confirmed during a brief press conference.

“We have four victims who have all been transported for gunshot related injuries and we have one suspect who is deceased inside the building with a self-inflicted wound,” Barberini added, “who at this time we believe to be the shooter but we are still following up on that.”

The department confirmed that the individual believed to be the shooter is a female. Two of the four victims were discovered “at an adjacent business.” All of the wounds on the victims are believed to be “treatable.”

Emergency teams quickly evacuated “hundreds” of employees from the facilities, as they continued to search the premises for additional potential shooters, according to police. Google provided employees shelter at its own San Bruno office.

The event, unsurprisingly, was thoroughly documented on various social media platforms. Snap Maps photos captured the large scale evacuations of the office building. In addition to the images of multiple police cars, eye witness reports have also noted the presence of the bomb squad and fire trucks at the scene.

Google has issued a statement noting that it is “coordinating with authorities,” promising further updates as information becomes available. The company has also confirmed the location of the incident through its own Maps app, pinpointing the location and noting nearby road closures.

San Francisco General Hospital, a nearby Level 1 trauma center, has admitted three victims related to the shooting. According to Hospital spokesperson, Bret Andrew, two female victims, aged 27 and 32 are in serious and fair condition, respectively. A third male victim, age 36, is currently in critical condition.

Stanford Health Care Center confirmed with TechCrunch that it has not admitted any patients from the incident. TechCrunch has been in touch with other nearby hospitals.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Google CEO Sundar Pichai issued the following statement addressing the incident to employees.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki later tweeted out her own statement on the day’s events.

We will update this story as we learn more. 

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/03/breaking-active-shooter-reported-youtube-hq/

This Gently Breathing Robot Cuddles You to Sleep

It's breathing. The chest rises and falls rhythmically, hypnotically. We guess it's the chest. Nobody's marketed a sleep robot before, and we're not even sure it's a robot. It looks like a pillowy four-pound kidney bean, about the size of a novelty prize at a carnival game. "Spooning the sleep robot during the night, you will be soothed to sleep," the sales literature claims, with "thousands of years of Buddhist breathing techniques."

To bring upon sleep, breathing has to become slow and even, says Natalie Dautovich, a psychologist and sleep specialist at the National Sleep Foundation. You can't fall asleep when you're huffing like a sled dog, but insomniacs fear bedtime, and fear raises breathing rate, and that makes it hard to fall asleep. The claim goes that, as you hold the sleep robot, called Somnox, you'll subconsciously match your breathing to its slow and steady rhythm, which will lure you to sleep.

Somnox

Work began on the prototype Somnox in 2015 at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. "We were robotics engineers, personally exposed to the effects of sleep deprivation," says Julian Jagtenberg, Somnox's co-founder. "We designed a soft robotic prototype to help ourselves and our family members get sleep again," he says. “We fell asleep faster, we slept longer. Once people we didn't know started reaching out to us because they were having a hard time falling asleep, that was the moment we decided this shouldn't be just an academic project."

Somnox debuted on Kickstarter in November 2017, asking for €100,000, or about $123,000. After a month, 509 backers had pledged double that for an estimated July 2018 delivery, which Jagtenberg says the company is still on track to meet.

Catch Your Breath

Breathing has long been the key to relaxing and, eventually, falling asleep. The 4-7-8 Breathing Method, popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil in 2015 and subsequently copy-and-pasted across the internet, suggested one such method to reduce stress and induce sleep. It directs you to breathe in for four seconds through your nose, hold your breath for seven seconds, and breathe out for eight seconds through your mouth. "We've found out people are having a really hard time doing [the 4-7-8 Breathing Method] because you need to be very focused and disciplined in order to get it working," says Jagtenberg, who acknowledges that it's an effective method. "But we humans, if you interact with one another, you start copying behaviors without even knowing it. We thought this relationship was very strong when it comes to breathing. If you feel it [through the Somnox], you will subconsciously adjust your own breathing."

LEARN MORE

The WIRED Guide to Artificial Intelligence

While few studies have researched breath-mirroring in adults, several have looked at its effects on newborns. A 1995 study by the University of Connecticut suggested that infants who slept with a Breathing Bear—a not-for-sale device that respirated and coaxed sleepy babies to copy its breathing—had slower and more-regular respiration and more restful sleep than the control group. A follow-up study published in 2003 concluded only that Breathing-Bear-babies developed a better mood, presumably from better sleep.

The Somnox hopes to product a similar effect. Looking at it and watching it in action, it's a stretch to call the Somnox "the world's first sleep robot." It just lies there and breathes—a convincing imitation of humanity, but not what you'd call a robot. "It depends on what your concept of a robot is," says Jagtenberg. "In our perception, a robot is a system that can analyze its environment with sensors that think about how to act upon that environment." Somnox is more like a Nest thermostat than a semi-mobile, sentient threat to humanity that falls down stairs.

So it's more like a smart pillow, one that will become smarter with software updates. At launch, it's only got inklings of intelligence: It can play white noise, meditation tracks, heartbeat rhythms, and audio books as you drift off. Bluetooth links it to a Somnox app on your Android or iOS phone, which you can use to speed up or slow down the Somnox's breathing rate and adjust the depth of each breath. After launch, Somnox plans two software updates later this year: an alarm that wakes you gently in the morning by moving and murmuring instead of blaring buzzers, and what Somnox calls a sleeping coach, which will be able to pair with a wearable fitness device and detect when you've had a particularly strenuous or stressful day, then develop a custom breathing rhythm for you that night to compensate.

Kickstarter backers will receive theirs in July. The second batch, taking pre-orders now for $549, will ship in October. So far, Somnox has 1,210 orders.

It's not quite a robot, and it's not yet all that smart, but the Somnox has something more important than limbs or a heart of gold: fake lungs. And would anybody really want to spoon a robot that could throw elbows and mule kicks?


More WIRED Gear

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/somnox-sleep-robot/

When Surviving Cancer Gets In The Way Of Your Sex Life

The closer Robert “Tripp” Moore got to his new girlfriend, the more he knew he had to end things.

Moore, now 26, had started seeing an elementary school teacher he described as a “really good and nice person” casually last summer. But when things started to get physical, she started to have some questions. She asked him why he never seemed to respond physically when they were intimate ― why she could never feel anything “down there.” Moore, not willing to tell her the truth, dismissed his impotence as a consequence of too much coffee.

Eventually, and before they had sex, he told her he was too young for a relationship and needed to “explore.”

“I would’ve done anything to have stayed with her, but I was too anxious about what would happen if we tried to have sex and I couldn’t get it up,” he recalled.

Moore is a testicular cancer survivor who had chemotherapy and one testicle removed. Immediately after treatment, he struggled to get erections.   

“It’s bad enough to have cancer, but then to survive it and not be able to have a normal sex life makes it even tougher on a person,” he said.

For most cancer patients — Moore included — survival is the No. 1 goal during treatment. But as cancer treatments continue to improve, the population of survivors is growing larger. An estimated 5 percent of the U.S. population, or 15.5 million people, survived cancer in 2016, and that number is estimated to grow to more than 20 million people by 2026. 

As survivors are living longer, there’s a growing need to address the unique and often lifelong health issues they face as a result of treatment. That includes addressing sexual dysfunction.

It’s bad enough to have cancer, but then to survive it and not be able to have a normal sex life makes it even tougher on a person. Cancer survivor Robert Moore

Studies show that an estimated 30 to 100 percent of women experience sexual dysfunction of some kind immediately after receiving cancer treatment, while less than 25 percent of men who’ve had some kind of pelvic cancer can achieve the erections they had before cancer ― even among those who had excellent erections before treatment and were under 65 years old.

For teens and young adults who survive cancer, this is especially pressing. Older survivors may already be paired up with a partner or have a lifetime of sexual exploration to draw from, but young adults can struggle with telling potential new partners about their medical history ― especially if it’s tied to present-day sexual dysfunction.

Therapists who work with these young survivors have to walk a fine line between basic sex education and making space for the patient’s own sexual expression to unfurl naturally, said Aleece Fosnight, a physician assistant and sexual health counselor at Transylvania Regional Hospital in North Carolina.

“When it comes to adolescents or people in their 20s that haven’t been as sexually experienced, it’s still a little controversial,” she said. “Do you give them Viagra? Do you give them Cialis? Do you give them a vibrator? Especially under the age of 18, how much do you push?”

Research on how surviving cancer affects younger survivors’ sex and relationships paints a complex picture of what it’s like to be simultaneously grateful to be alive and anxious about defining sexuality with a changed body.

In the most recent study on the matter, which surveyed more than 800 young cancer survivors in Denmark, more than 400 respondents said that cancer changed their perception of their bodies for the worse, while 45 percent said they felt less attractive. Cancer reduced the desire for sex in 31 percent of respondents, while 24 percent said they had no desire to flirt, date or be in a relationship.

Treatment-related physical impediments to sex, like vaginal dryness, difficulty having an orgasm or maintaining an erection, put these young adults at particular risk for these psychological problems.

American researchers have found similar rates of sexual dissatisfaction and poor self-esteem, said Christian Graugaard, who led the Danish study. For instance, a 2017 study in the U.S. found that 49 percent of teen and young adult survivors said that cancer negatively affected their sexual function a year after diagnosis, and 70 percent of those respondents said the same thing two years after diagnosis.

Graugaard’s study hinted at one way to mitigate the sexual dysfunction and related fallout that cancer treatments cause: encouraging open conversation between patients and health professionals. People who spoke to health care providers about their sexual problems during follow-up consultations were significantly more likely to express a desire to flirt, date, have a partner or have sex after cancer. Seven sex therapists HuffPost spoke to also said that doctors could prepare patients for the sexual fallout before their cancer treatment starts.

This link between open dialogue and better sex ― something so simple and common-sense ― makes Graugaard’s final finding all the more dismaying: While 80 percent of respondents said they needed to discuss these issues with a health care provider, 62 percent said their doctors did not broach the topic or did so only in a limited fashion.

“Sadly, I am also quite sure that the failure of health-providers to address these important life dimensions is trans-national,” Graugaard told HuffPost in an email. “We know this from adult patients, and I have no reason to believe that doctors and nurses in adolescent oncology are any better at talking about sensitive stuff. Neither in Scandinavia nor in the US.” 

A 2017 study in the U.S. found that 49 percent of teen and young adult survivors said that cancer negatively affected their sexual function a year after diagnosis.

To address these issues, comprehensive cancer centers are beginning to incorporate clinics specifically dedicated to survivors’ sexual issues. Because the discipline is relatively new, these programs can take many different forms ― some are headed by gynecologists or urologists, some by psychiatrists or other experts. There is now some kind of aftercare program specifically addressing sexual function at places like the University of Chicago, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, the University of Wisconsin and Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York.

“There’s a wave across the country now to create these programs,” said Jeanne Carter, head of the female sexual medicine and women’s health program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “I think people feel it’s a very important survivorship concern, and I know that there are many programs across the institutions that are trying to help cancer patients as they are coping with the changes to their body.”

While more cancer centers are getting the message, Dr. Thomas Schwaab of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center said there was only so much a doctor could do to prepare patients for sexual side effects.

“I will cover side effects with the patient, but the patient really is focused on, ‘I want to get rid of my cancer and have my cancer treated,’” he said. “But then six months later, when the cancer has successfully been treated, the patient all of sudden realizes that there was a significant impact on quality of life.”

That’s where survivorship clinics play a role, said Schwaab. Once patients feel safe and can begin to mentally process what the future looks like, they can get care for things like sexual side effects or new health concerns that arise after treatment. As a cancer doctor, Schwaab calls such clinics or survivorship treatments a “must-have,” but says they are still relatively new and can be an afterthought in some clinics.

Indeed, Moore says his urologist did warn him that erectile dysfunction could be a side effect of cancer treatment, but he wasn’t in a place to process it at the time because his choice was either treatment or death. After treatment, Moore said it took him six months to work up the courage to approach his doctor about his erectile dysfunction. He was prescribed a pill to get erections as his nerves continued to heal, and Moore said the confidence boost that came from achieving erections again helped him begin a new relationship ― one in which he was completely honest about his potential sexual challenges.

“Everyone knows sex isn’t everything, but it’s still an important part of a relationship,” Moore said. “I’m so thankful that I was born in the time I was — first of all for the chemo, and second of all for the medicine ― [specifically] Viagra.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/when-surviving-cancer-gets-in-the-way-of-your-sex-life_us_5ace3b4ae4b0648767760e6d

Jeremy Wade: My Wet-and-Wild Search for Missing River Monsters…and Answers

I have a confession to make: For nine years I made a TV show, River Monsters, that left some people believing that everywhere you go, there are fish that can bite pieces out of you or pull you under. But its not quite like that.

The fish are real enoughfrom dog-sized super-piranhas in the Congo to 300-pound river stingrays in South America, and armor-plated alligator gar in the U.S.and youd be well advised not to get too close to most of them. But the thing is, theyre really hard to find. So the chances of ever being in the wrong place at the wrong time are reassuringly small.

But (anglers would say) surely thats the whole thing about big fish: Theyre a lot smarter than small fish, and there arent so many of them. Thats true, but they havent always been as scarce as they are now. Fish have been in our rivers for 300 million years. This decline has happened in just a few human generationsthe last 100 years.

Unlike the state of our oceans, which is well documented, this story isnt widely known. Its something that has slowly revealed itself to me over 35 years, during my travels to far-flung rivers. Partly its from historical records, but mostly its oral history, which nobody has ever collated or written down. Its a vast database, but it exists only in the memory of the old fishermen, who are dying as we speak.

What Ive been doing since 1982, without realizing it until very recently, is taking blood samples. And the results demand investigation.
Jeremy Wade

So why am I telling you this now? Because it has a significance that goes way beyond making my life harder when Im on a film shoot.

Long before I worked in TV I was a biology teacher, and in science-speak most of the fish that I go after are apex predatorsthey sit at the top of the food pyramid. That makes them really good indicators of the health of the whole river. If the apex predator is there, you can normally assume that the rest of the pyramid is there toothe middle-sized fish that they eat, the small fish that they eat, and all the bugs and plankton that they eat. But if the apex predator is not there, it suggests that something is wrong.

Take a minute for a quick thought experiment. Imagine someone discovering that they have an abnormally low count of white blood cells (the apex predators of the bloodstream). What do they do? They go for more tests, as a matter of urgency. They want to find out how serious this is, and whats the prognosis. Most importantly, they want to know what can be done about it. What they dont do is ignore it.

Now consider what is often said about our rivers: that they are our planets arteries. If thats the case, then what Ive been doing since 1982, without realizing it until very recently, is taking blood samples. And the results demand investigation.

The obviousand simpleexplanation for the decline of these top predators is overfishing. But it could be a symptom of something more serious. Thats the real worry. And its important we look into this because we are water-based life forms too. Water doesnt just cycle from rivers to oceans to clouds to rain and back to rivers againit flows through every one of us, through every cell in our bodies. So we all have a vested interest in the state of our planets water.

This was the genesis of Mighty Rivers, and it was an insight that meant putting everything else on hold. But where to begin? How can you make any meaningful survey of the worlds rivers in a half-dozen programs? It was a challenge that seemed impossiblelike trying to film goonch catfish underwater in the Himalayas, or catch a 250-pound arapaima from the Amazon on a fly rod, or swim with oarfish at night in a mile and a half of water. But wed been there and done all that, in River Monsters season 1, 6 and 8 respectively.

More of a challenge, perhaps, was making a show about the environment that people would want to watch. But here again we had our River Monsters heritage to draw on. Strange as it may seem now, we faced a similar challenge nine years ago. A conventional program about fishing is never going to attract a big audience, or a diverse audience. But River Monsters did both, to spectacular effect, by busting out of existing categories and creating its own genre.

Will Mighty Rivers achieve the same? My fervent hope is that it will achieve more, in its own special way. Thats not just a fishermans blind optimism speaking. A fishermans faith is always rooted in realism. And make no mistake: Im still fishing. But this time Im not just fishing for fishIm fishing for answers, Im fishing for surprises, and Im fishing for hope. And Im fishing for an audience that I know is out there, who are interested in looking at fish and rivers and water and the world in a new way.

Ill see you on the riverbank.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/jeremy-wade-my-wet-and-wild-search-for-missing-river-monsters-and-answers

Marijuana legalization could help offset opioid epidemic, studies find

(CNN)Experts have proposed using medical marijuana to help Americans struggling with opioid addiction. Now, two studies suggest that there is merit to that strategy.

The studies, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, compared opioid prescription patterns in states that have enacted medical cannabis laws with those that have not. One of the studies looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicare Part D between 2010 and 2015, while the other looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicaid between 2011 and 2016.
The researchers found that states that allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes had 2.21 million fewer daily doses of opioids prescribed per year under Medicare Part D, compared with those states without medical cannabis laws. Opioid prescriptions under Medicaid also dropped by 5.88% in states with medical cannabis laws compared with states without such laws, according to the studies.
    “This study adds one more brick in the wall in the argument that cannabis clearly has medical applications,” said David Bradford, professor of public administration and policy at the University of Georgia and a lead author of the Medicare study.
    “And for pain patients in particular, our work adds to the argument that cannabis can be effective.”
    Medicare Part D, the optional prescription drug benefit plan for those enrolled in Medicare, covers more than 42 million Americans, including those 65 or older. Medicaid provides health coverage to more than 73 million low-income individuals in the US, according to the program’s website.
    “Medicare and Medicaid publishes this data, and we’re free to use it, and anyone who’s interested can download the data,” Bradford said. “But that means that we don’t know what’s going on with the privately insured and the uninsured population, and for that, I’m afraid the data sets are proprietary and expensive.”

    ‘This crisis is very real’

    The new research comes as the United States remains entangled in the worst opioid epidemic the world has ever seen. Opioid overdose has risen dramatically over the past 15 years and has been implicated in over 500,000 deaths since 2000 — more than the number of Americans killed in World War II.
    “As somebody who treats patients with opioid use disorders, this crisis is very real. These patients die every day, and it’s quite shocking in many ways,” said Dr. Kevin Hill, an addiction psychiatrist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the new studies.
    “We have had overuse of certain prescription opioids over the years, and it’s certainly contributed to the opioid crisis that we’re feeling,” he added. “I don’t think that’s the only reason, but certainly, it was too easy at many points to get prescriptions for opioids.”
    Today, more than 90 Americans a day die from opioid overdose, resulting in more than 42,000 deaths per year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid overdose recently overtook vehicular accidents and shooting deaths as the most common cause of accidental death in the United States, the CDC says.
    Like opioids, marijuana has been shown to be effective in treating chronic pain as well as other conditions such as seizures, multiple sclerosis and certain mental disorders, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Research suggests that the cannabinoid and opioid receptor systems rely on common signaling pathways in the brain, including the dopamine reward system that is central to drug tolerance, dependence and addiction.
    “All drugs of abuse operate using some shared pathways. For example, cannabinoid receptors and opioid receptors coincidentally happen to be located very close by in many places in the brain,” Hill said. “So it stands to reason that a medication that affects one system might affect the other.”
    But unlike opioids, marijuana has little addiction potential, and virtually no deaths from marijuana overdose have been reported in the United States, according to Bradford.
    “No one has ever died of cannabis, so it has many safety advantages over opiates,” Bradford said. “And to the extent that we’re trying to manage the opiate crisis, cannabis is a potential tool.”

    Comparing states with and without medical marijuana laws

    In order to evaluate whether medical marijuana could function as an effective and safe alternative to opioids, the two teams of researchers looked at whether opioid prescriptions were lower in states that had active medical cannabis laws and whether those states that enacted these laws during the study period saw reductions in opioid prescriptions.
    Both teams, in fact, did find that opioid prescriptions were significantly lower in states that had enacted medical cannabis laws. The team that looked at Medicaid patients also found that the four states that switched from medical use only to recreational use — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — saw further reductions in opioid prescriptions, according to Hefei Wen, assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Kentucky and a lead author on the Medicaid study.
    “We saw a 9% or 10% reduction (in opioid prescriptions) in Colorado and Oregon,” Wen said. “And in Alaska and Washington, the magnitude was a little bit smaller but still significant.”
    The first state in the United States to legalize marijuana for medicinal use was California, in 1996. Since then, 29 states and the District of Columbia have approved some form of legalized cannabis. All of these states include chronic pain — either directly or indirectly — in the list of approved medical conditions for marijuana use, according to Bradford.
    The details of the medical cannabis laws were found to have a significant impact on opioid prescription patterns, the researchers found. States that permitted recreational use, for example, saw an additional 6.38% reduction in opioid prescriptions under Medicaid compared with those states that permitted marijuana only for medical use, according to Wen.
    The method of procurement also had a significant impact on opioid prescription patterns. States that permitted medical dispensaries — regulated shops that people can visit to purchase cannabis products — had 3.742 million fewer opioid prescriptions filled per year under Medicare Part D, while those that allowed only home cultivation had 1.792 million fewer opioid prescriptions per year.
    “We found that there was about a 14.5% reduction in any opiate use when dispensaries were turned on — and that was statistically significant — and about a 7% reduction in any opiate use when home cultivation only was turned on,” Bradford said. “So dispensaries are much more powerful in terms of shifting people away from the use of opiates.”
    The impact of these laws also differed based on the class of opioid prescribed. Specifically, states with medical cannabis laws saw 20.7% fewer morphine prescriptions and 17.4% fewer hydrocodone prescriptions compared with states that did not have these laws, according to Bradford.
    Fentanyl prescriptions under Medicare Part D also dropped by 8.5% in states that had enacted medical cannabis laws, though the difference was not statistically significant, Bradford said. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, like heroin, that can be prescribed legally by physicians. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and even a small amount can be fatal, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
    “I know that many people, including the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, are skeptical of cannabis,” Bradford said. “But, you know, the attorney general needs to be terrified of fentanyl.”

    ‘A call to action’

    This is not the first time researchers have found a link between marijuana legalization and decreased opioid use. A 2014 study showed that states with medical cannabis laws had 24.8% fewer opioid overdose deaths between 1999 and 2010. A study in 2017 also found that the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado in 2012 reversed the state’s upward trend in opioid-related deaths.
    “There is a growing body of scientific literature suggesting that legal access to marijuana can reduce the use of opioids as well as opioid-related overdose deaths,” said Melissa Moore, New York deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “In states with medical marijuana laws, we have already seen decreased admissions for opioid-related treatment and dramatically reduced rates of opioid overdoses.”
    Some skeptics, though, argue that marijuana legalization could actually worsen the opioid epidemic. Another 2017 study, for example, showed a positive association between illicit cannabis use and opioid use disorders in the United States. But there may be an important difference between illicit cannabis use and legalized cannabis use, according to Hill.
    “As we have all of these states implementing these policies, it’s imperative that we do more research,” Hill said. “We need to study the effects of these policies, and we really haven’t done it to the degree that we should.”
    The two recent studies looked only at patients enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare Part D, meaning the results may not be generalizable to the entire US population.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    But both Hill and Moore agree that as more states debate the merits of legalizing marijuana in the coming months and years, more research will be needed to create consistency between cannabis science and cannabis policy.
    “There is a great deal of movement in the Northeast, with New Hampshire and New Jersey being well-positioned to legalize adult use,” Moore said. “I believe there are also ballot measures to legalize marijuana in Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota as well that voters will decide on in Fall 2018.”
    Hill called the new research “a call to action” and added, “we should be studying these policies. But unfortunately, the policies have far outpaced the science at this point.”

    Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/02/health/medical-cannabis-law-opioid-prescription-study/index.html

    How Smallville Actress Allison Mack Became a Women-Branding Cult Leader

    The difficult-to-pronounce word on everybodys lips this week is Nxivm, the self-help company that former members have deemed a cult.

    Nxivm (pronounced Nexium) is currently in the press because its leader Keith Raniere was arrested in Mexico on Sunday. Subsequently, hes been charged with sex-trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor. FBI official William Sweeney detailed on Monday that, As alleged, Keith Raniere displayed a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves.

    Sweeney continued, He allegedly participated in horrifying acts of branding and burning them, with the co-operation of other women operating within this unorthodox pyramid scheme. These serious crimes against humanity are not only shocking, but disconcerting to say the least, and we are putting an end to this torture today.

    Unlike other, less glamorous cults, Nxivm has always flirted with celebrity. A 2010 Vanity Fair piece alleged that Raniere went out of his way to court wealthy and influential followers. That article, The Heiresses and the Cult, told the story of Seagrams heiresses Sara and Clare Bronfman, who quickly rose through the Nxivm ranks, helping to organize high profile events like the Dalai Lamas visit to Albany in 2009.

    Vanity Fair reported that the Bronfman sisters relationship with Raniere lead to a massive gutting of their trust funds to help finance nxivm and the alleged investment schemes of its leader. The article continued, According to legal filings and public documents, in the last six years as much as $150 million was taken out of the Bronfmans trusts and bank accounts, including $66 million allegedly used to cover Ranieres failed bets in the commodities market, $30 million to buy real estate in Los Angeles and around Albany, $11 million for a 22-seat, two-engine Canadair CL-600 jet, and millions more to support a barrage of lawsuits across the country against nxivms enemies.

    Slaves must immediately answer their masters any time they text or call them, and if they do not recruit enough slaves of their own, they are beaten with a paddle on their buttocks.

    In 2017, The New York Times published a shocking report, substantiated by the testimonies of former members. One woman, Sarah Edmondson, claimed to have been branded during a Nxivm ritual. The Times reported that, Each woman was told to undress and lie on a massage table, while three others restrained her legs and shoulders. According to one of them, their master, a top Nxivm official named Lauren Salzman, instructed them to say: Master, please brand me, it would be an honor.

    A female doctor proceeded to use a cauterizing device to sear a two-inch-square symbol below each womans hip, a procedure that took 20 to 30 minutes, the article continued, For hours, muffled screams and the smell of burning tissue filled the room.

    A text message Raniere allegedly sent to a female follower that was obtained by The New York Times acknowledged both the branding and its unique design, reading, Not initially intended as my initials but they rearranged it slightly for tribute. The KR initials also, when inverted, spell the initials AM.

    The New York Times also reported that the state police investigator told Ms. Edmondson and two other women that officials would not pursue their criminal complaint against Nxivm because their actions had been consensual.

    Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg spoke with the Times as wellher daughter, India, had reportedly also been initiated into the top-secret sorority.

    Before fleeing the country, Raniere wrote a letter in response to the Times expose, describing the sororitys members as thriving, health, happy and better off, insisting that they haven't been coerced.

    Catherine Oxenberg isnt the only minor celebrity to make an appearance in Ranieres tangled web. Smallville fans were shocked to learn that Allison Mack, the Teen Choice Award-winning actress who played Chloe Sullivan on the CW series, is allegedly a key recruiter at Nxivm.

    Frank Parlato is a businessman who was accused by the Bronfman sisters of defrauding them in 2011. Hes gone on to publish information about Nxivm on his blog, The Frank Report, often citing anonymous ex-followers. According to Parlato, Mack helped form the secret sorority, otherwise known as DOS (Dominos Obsequious Sororium, which means Master Over the Slave Women), envisioning a united group of women branded in the name of Mr. Raniere and Miss Mackwhich will be a force for good, and a female force against evil.

    According to a 2017 Daily Mail article, DOS operates as a master-slave hierarchy, with Raniere at the top and Mack as his immediate subordinateWomen in the group are allegedly kept on a 500- to 800-calorie a day diet because Raniere likes thin women and believes fat interferes with his energy levels, Parlato claims. Slaves must immediately answer their masters any time they text or call them, and if they do not recruit enough slaves of their own, they are beaten with a paddle on their buttocks.

    The Frank Report alleged that Mack herself introduced corporeal punishment into the sorority.

    In that 2017 blog post, Parlato claimed that Mack had also taken over Jness, a Nxivm womens group, writing, Both womens groups, Jness and DOS are based on the teachings of Mr. Raniere. Both require members to keep the teachings secret. Jness is open to females who want to take entry level self improvement courses on female empowerment. Abeginner is not told about the higher level teachings until she proves qualifiedSince Miss Mack has assumed control of both organizations, Jness is evolving into a training ground and recruitment camp for women who may qualify for the teachings of DOS. The cream of Jness women are invited to join DOS, and the cream of DOS women are invited to join Mr. Ranieres harem [subject to his approval].

    According to the BBC, The FBIs criminal complaint similarly claims that, Once recruited as slaves, women were allegedly expected to perform menial chores for masters and have sex with Mr. Raniere, who was known as The Vanguard.

    Raniere has maintained a rotating group of fifteen to twenty women with whom he maintains sexual relationships, the FBI further stated in its complaint. These women are not permitted to have sexual relationships with anyone but Raniere or to discuss with others their relationship with Raniere. Some of the Nxivm curriculum included teachings about the need for men to have multiple sexual partners and the need for women to be monogamous.

    Mack, who has acted sparingly since Smallville, praises Raniere on her blog. In the bio section, she writes, Over the course of several years, Mr. Raniere mentored Allison in her study of acting and music. As such, she has developed a deep connection to the nature of humanity as it relates to acting as an art form, and a tool for personal evolution. The blog continues, In 2013, Mr. Raniere worked with Allison and a small group of equally skilled and dedicated professionals to develop a curriculum that is currently taught through a private arts academy, The Source. There Allison serves as president and is one of its top trainers.

    Frank Parlato told The Sun that Mack is one of the women who can be seen panicking over Raniere in a leaked video clip of his arrest. According to prosecutors, the women that were reportedly living with Raniere in Mexico chased the car in which the defendant was being transported in their own car at high speed.

    Nxivms official website currently reads, In response to the allegations against our founder, Keith Raniere, we are currently working with the authorities to demonstrate his innocence and true character.

    Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-smallville-actress-allison-mack-became-a-women-branding-cult-leader

    Melissa McCarthy Worked Hard On MAJOR Weight Loss For A New Movie Role!

    Surprise!

    The talented actress is playing a down-and-out author who turns to crime to pay the bills in this movie (set to open on the 19th of October), and to make it happen for the part, McCarthy lost a whopping 75 pounds!!!

    Of course, she downplays the whole thing.

    In the past, she has said about her weight and general health and fitness (below):

    “I’ll be up, I’ll be down, probably for the rest of my life. The thing is, if that is the most interesting thing about me, I need to go have a lavender farm in Minnesota and give this up. If I, off the top of my head, name 20 of the most amazing women in my life, it’s all shapes, sizes, ages, colours, jobs. I can only go off my reality. What people pass off as ‘normal’, I just have to keep in my head that it’s bullshit.”

    Well then!!

    Ch-ch-check out the trailer to her new movie set to come out in six months (below):

    Looks inneresting!!

    And she looks SOOOO different, doesn’t she?!

    What do y’all think, Perezcious readers?!

    Let us know in the comments (below)!!!

    [Image via Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.]

    Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2018-04-01-melissa-mccarthy-weight-loss-movie-role-can-you-ever-forgive-me-trailer-video-quotes-fitness-health

    London murder rate overtakes New York’s

    Image caption Two teenagers were stabbed to death in Camden on 20 February

    A spike in violent crime in London saw more murders committed in the city in February and March than there were in New York, figures show.

    So far in 2018, the Met Police has investigated 46 murders, compared with 50 in the US city.

    But, while New York’s murder rate decreased from the end of January, London’s rose markedly from that point.

    Ex-Met Police Ch Supt Leroy Logan says it is proof that “London’s violent traits have become a virus”.

    Statistics from the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Metropolitan Police, reported in the Sunday Times and obtained by the BBC, highlight narrowing murder rates between the two cities, which have similar population sizes.

    City Hall says it is “deeply concerned” by knife crime in the capital, but, along with the Met Police, insists London “remains one of the safest [cities] in the world”.

    • In January, the Met investigated eight murders whereas the NYPD looked into 18 killings
    • By February, the NYPD’s figures had dropped to 11, while London’s rose to 15
    • In March, 22 murders were investigated in London while 21 inquiries were launched in New York

    The Met said it was “concerned at the increase in murders in London”.

    “One murder is one too many, and we are working hard with our partners to understand the increase and what we can all do to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place,” a spokesman said.

    However, it is a murder rate that has left Mr Logan feeling “absolutely devastated”.

    Image caption Former Ch Supt Leroy Logan retired from the Met Police in 2013 after 30 years’ service

    “I cannot understand how things have gotten out of hand,” he said.

    “We have seen the virus of violence spreading. It is endemic in so many different parts of societies.

    “It can only be dealt with in a holistic manner, because it is so holistic in its impact.

    “Police can’t just arrest or stop and search their way out of this problem; it has to be done in partnership with the communities.”

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media captionYouth club leader describes an ‘increasing level of violence’ among teenagers.

    The Met Police has launched 44 murder investigations in 2018, 31 of which have been as a result of stabbings.

    The deaths of 47-year-old Laura Cecilia Navarrete De Figueira, from Twickenham, and her sons Claudio, 10, and Joaquin, seven, are part of the same Met Police murder investigation. She was found stabbed in London, while the boys were discovered dead, along with their father, at the foot of Birling Gap, in Sussex.

    Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime, told the BBC’s Today programme that London could learn from New York in how to reduce violent crime.

    Image copyright Jacob Sacks-Jones
    Image caption Sarah Jones says “London needs to treat violent crime like a disease”

    “New York has been able to bring down serious violence through a public health approach,” she said.

    “We need a proper strategy that looks at all of the issues.

    “Knife crime and violent crime acts like an epidemic, so you need to go in at the source to cut it off and then you need to inoculate the future young people against it.

    “Going in at source means major intervention work with youth workers, inoculating means going into schools, changing the social norms, educating kids, teaching them what it is to be a man, teaching them how they don’t need to carry knives.”

    Image copyright PA
    Image caption The Met has investigated 46 murders in 2018 – of which 31 were stabbings

    In February, the Met’s Commissioner Cressida Dick visited police in Glasgow to learn about a public health approach which has seen murder rates in Scotland drop dramatically.

    There are plans for Ms Dick to carry out more “fact-finding trips”, in New York and with the West Midlands, Durham and Avon & Somerset forces.

    Meanwhile, the government has launched a £1.35m campaign aimed at 10 to 21-year-olds.

    The adverts to run across social media and digital channels feature stories of teenagers who have been stabbed.

    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-43610936

    Beyond beauty: Korean makeup provides ‘cosmeceuticals’

    (CNN)There’s face powder in panda palettes, hand gel in gummy bears and bubble tea sleeping packs.

    Often packaged in bright colors and decked out with cartoon characters, Korean beauty products are too cute to ignore, but they also provide some health benefits.
    It’s “skin-tertainment,” said Christine Chang, who co-created the Glow Recipe brand to bring Korean beauty products to the American market. She and partner Sarah Lee travel to South Korea multiple times a year to find new products and are repeatedly “blown away by the new innovation in the market.”
      The Korean beauty market is among the top 10 around the world, with an estimated worth of over $13.1 billion in salesin 2018, according to Mintel, a global market intelligence agency. Facial skin care products alone make up half of the total market share and are projected to reach $7.2 billion by 2020. And one in five facial skin care launches in South Korea, the agency reports, is actually a mask.
      “For a long time, France and Japan were considered a symbol of cosmetics business around the globe,” said Ryan Park, who founded the Korean beauty brand Whamisa in 1999. “Korea was able to catch up with them within a very short time thanks to the balance of its accumulated fundamental industry, chemistry, bioscience and Korean Wave culture.”
      The Korean wave, called “hallyu,” is about the spread of South Korean pop culture and how all things Korean — food, dramas, makeup, movies and music — have propagated throughout the world through social media and online platforms. A lot of this wave radiates off of the music, K-pop, with artists like PSY, Wonder Girls and BTS whose edgy look, style and sound attract global fans.
      Simply put, consumers want the skin of Korean celebrities, who supposedly use it too, said Dr. Soyun Cho, a dermatology professor at Seoul National University.

      Starting trends

      Korea is also one of few countries with “functional cosmetics,” Cho said, a label allowed by the Korea Food and Drug Administration for anti-wrinkle, elasticity-boosting, pigment-fading and sunscreen properties. This has fueled more research for better products, she said.
      “Korea has become the test bed of many world-famous cosmetic companies,” said Cho, who has studied the behavior behind cosmetic use in Koreans. “Korean consumers are very knowledgeable about different cosmetic types and ingredients, and they are picky. They are early adapters of new products, and cosmetic trend comes and goes at a very fast rate in Korea, partly due to the ubiquitous high-speed internet and heavy use of social media.
      “Young Korean women are very keen to try the new trend, and they don’t want to be left out of the loop when all their friends are using a new product.”
      To showcase new Korean beauty products,Chang co-founded Glow Recipe in 2014 after working at Kiehl’s in global skincare marketing and at L’Oreal in Korea and the US. “A key strength of K-beauty products is the experience,” she said. “Formulas often have enjoyable, unique textures or flexible usage methods.”
      Chang cites the use of aloe instead of water for intense nourishment, applying “rubber masks” — instead of paper sheet face masks — for better nutrient absorption and fermented botanicals for more efficient absorption into the skin.
      Fermented botanicals contain micro-organisms that release enzymes that ferment and break down molecules into the raw material, resulting in the creation of new substances that benefit the skin, explains dermatology professor Cho. Fermentation helps the skin absorb the product better due to the smaller molecular sizes, and it also reduces skin irritation, because the fermentation process neutralizes potentially toxic substances like pesticides.
      Another exampleof innovation is the combination of beauty balm cream, BB cream, with an air cushion compact, Cho said. Although these creams were created in Germany, Korean companies popularized the merging of foundation, moisturizer, anti-aging cream, whitening agent and sunscreen in one product.
      The air cushion compact “wicks the formula off a sponge and effortlessly applies evenly onto the face for that dewy, no-makeup makeup look,” Chang said.
      Many of these products follow that “baby-like” look with “cosmeceuticals,” Cho said, combining cosmetics and therapeutics with such natural ingredients as traditional Korean herbs and plant extracts. Snail slime has also been a popular component in many Korean beauty products,because it reportedly improves skin imperfections like scars, wrinkles and acne.

      Unique recipes

      Glow Recipe worked with Whamisa on a green tea line with antioxidants and botanical extracts that melts makeup and removes pore-clogging impurities. Its star product, the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, sold out eight times with the French cosmetics giant Sephora last year and had a wait list of over 20,000 on the Glow Recipe website.
      The Soko Glam e-commerce site helps people find Korean skin care and opened a pop-up shop in Bloomingdales in New York last year. Co-founders and spouses Charlotte and David Cho also recommend products with botanicals like E Nature Birch Juice Hydro Cream Sheet Mask.
      “Our Birch Juice Hydro line formulas completely replace water, commonly used as the main ingredient for other skin care products, with birch sap, which is the liquid that is tapped straight from Japanese birch trees,” E Nature’s Anna Kim said. “Birch sap has been deemed the next ‘coconut water’ because it is full of electrolytes and antioxidants, thus providing the skin with intense hydration and soothing abilities when it is applied.”
      The brand SkinFood takes this even further with “food cosmetics,” applying the belief that “you are what you eat,” with products that contain natural food extracts rather than artificial preservatives. Their research finds ingredients by “eating, applying and studying foods,” said Jae-mo Park from SkinFood. He recommends their products with black sugar, like Black Sugar Mask Wash Off, which softens the skin.
      Seoul National University’s Cho says many of these Korean makeup products are beneficial because they contain sunscreen filters with high SPF, which help protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. But as for the effectiveness of their botanical ingredients, they are “basically all antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging functions, albeit weak.”
      Some ingredients may be beneficial, she said. Black sugar can leave the skin surface more hydrated, and birch sap can reduce inflammation and retain moisture.
      However, while rubber masks help with absorption, she doesn’t believe a facial mask is any more beneficial than a good moisturizing cream but can be “a fun way to pamper yourself for 15 minutes.”
      Besides health benefits, Korean beauty products also tout eco-consciousness. E Nature uses packaging that is recyclable, and Innisfree incorporates eco-friendly ingredients, such as organic green tea and camellia flower petals, grown in Jeju Island in Korea.
      As for the future of Korean beauty products, they’re only going to get better, Cho said.
      “As all Asians age with wrinkles and age spots, multifunctional cosmeceutical products with whitening and anti-aging properties all in one will continue to be in high demand,” she said. “With continued advancement of cosmetics science and technology, new products with more innovative and functional properties will keep coming out.”

      Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/11/health/korean-makeup-beauty-health-benefits/index.html

      20 Symptoms of Mental Illnesses You May Not Have Recognized

      Mental illness in the United States is surprisingly common. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an estimated 43.8 million people experience mental illness a year. That’s 18.5 percent, or (to be more precise) one in five people. Even more alarming, most of these illnesses aren’t immediately visible. While people may experience a lot of stereotypical symptoms, there are however, some other warning signs that are not as apparent.

      Advertisement

      Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/20-symptoms-of-mental-illnesses-you-may-not-have-recognized/

      10 Sex Facts They Never Taught You in High School Sex Ed

      Ah, sex education in America. It’s really not the best, is it? Sex Ed teaches you the basic facts, very cut and dry, but it definitely doesn’t teach all the strange, wacky facts about sex you definitely should know. Here are 10 of the best ones.

      Advertisement

      Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/10-sex-facts-they-never-taught-you-in-high-school-sex-ed/

      Male Birth Control Pill Is Effective And Safe, According To A Recent Trial

      Scientists are one step closer to achieving gender parity, at least as far as birth control is concerned. While there are currently several contraceptive options targeted at women, there are only two for men – condoms and vasectomies.

      The good news is that there are various reversible male birth control prototypes currently undergoing clinical trials. And the latest, a male oral contraceptive called dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU), appears to be safe and effective when taken daily for a month. The results of a recent study were presented by researchers at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago, on Sunday.

      “These promising results are unprecedented in the development of a prototype male pill,” Stephanie Page, professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said in a statement.

      Eighty-three men aged 18 to 50 completed the study, which tested the effects of different doses (100, 200, and 400 milligrams) and formulations inside capsules (castor oil and powder) of DMAU. The men took the contraceptive or a placebo once a day for 28 days with food.

      At 100 milligrams, the contraceptive was comparable to effective male contraception in long-term trials, Page said. At 400 milligrams, it produced “marked suppression” of testosterone levels and two other hormones necessary for sperm production.

      So, how does it work? The drug combines the activity of a male hormone (or androgen) such as testosterone with synthetic progesterone. The pill also contains a long-chain fatty acid called undecanoate, which slows the breakdown of the testosterone so that it remains effective all day in contrast to older editions. These cleared the body too quickly and would, therefore, have required at least two doses daily to make it as a viable form of birth control.

      As for any negative side effects, the volunteers did show signs of weight gain and a decrease in good cholesterol but these were mild. All passed safety tests including those suggestive of liver and kidney health, a hurdle previous attempts at male contraceptives have failed to meet.

      “Despite having low levels of circulating testosterone, very few subjects reported symptoms consistent with testosterone deficiency or excess,” Page said.

      This is excellent news. Previous studies on male birth control have been cut short, not because they were ineffective but because they may have produced side effects such as depression, changes in libido, and acne. All of which, incidentally, happen to be well-known side effects of female birth control. 

      While the results so far are promising, the next step is to see how DMAU stacks up efficacy and health-wise when taken on a continuing basis. According to Page, longer-term studies are already taking place.

      Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/male-birth-control-is-effective-and-safe-according-to-a-recent-trial/

      Heartbeat actor Bill Maynard dies at 89

      Image copyright PA

      Heartbeat actor Bill Maynard has died at the age of 89 after a career spanning eight decades.

      Daughter-in-law Jacqueline Reddin said he died in hospital in Leicestershire, shortly after breaking his hip in a fall from a mobility scooter.

      “He was larger than life and he just loved showbiz,” she said. “He was so proud of the fact that he had been working for 81 years.”

      He was perhaps best known as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass in Heartbeat.

      Maynard – whose real name was Walter Williams – starred as the scruffy, eccentric poacher in the police drama for eight years, from 1992 to 2000, and was in its spin-off The Royal until 2003.

      Other roles included Oh No, It’s Selwyn Froggitt!, The Gaffer and In Sickness and In Health. He also made appearances in Carry On films Carry On At Your Convenience, Carry On Matron and Carry On Dick, and was Sergeant Beetroot in TV series Worzel Gummidge in 1980.

      Maynard’s most recent role was a brief appearance in 2017 drama The Moorside, about the disappearance of Shannon Matthews.

      Image caption Maynard, back right, appeared in In Sickness and In Health

      Outside of acting, Maynard tried his hand at singing – coming second in the British heat of the 1957 Eurovision Song Contest – and politics, standing as an independent against Tony Benn in the 1984 Chesterfield by-election.

      From 2003 to 2008 he had a BBC Radio Leicester show and he celebrated 60 years since his first TV appearance in 2013 by releasing a version of What a Wonderful World.

      Speaking at the time, he said that “making people laugh and smile brings me a lot of personal satisfaction”.

      “I am delighted to be still in the entertainment industry doing what I love most – 76 years since I began my career,” he had said. “I have had an amazing career and I consider myself to be very lucky to still have the energy and enthusiasm to take on new work.”

      Maynard’s daughter-in-law said he had recently filmed an episode of BBC One quiz show Pointless, which was yet to air.

      He leaves a daughter and a son, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

      Image copyright Getty Images
      Image caption Bill Maynard in 1970, preparing for a role as Charles Dickens

      Tributes have been paid to Maynard, with actor Ian Champion saying he “had the blessing” to work with the “colourful, warm and mischievous” actor on Heartbeat.

      Photographer Mike Sewell, who had met Maynard at his home in Burbarge, said he was a “friendly and funny gentleman”.

      Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

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      Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43596854

      Narnia and Middle Earth appear on signs

      Image caption The mysterious signs appeared on the A420

      Fictional worlds such as Narnia, Gotham City and Neverland have mysteriously appeared on road signs in Oxfordshire.

      The roundabout signs in Didcot – described as England’s most normal town – also direct drivers to Middle Earth and Emerald City.

      The fantasy locations were recently added to five signs along the A4130 in Oxfordshire.

      The county council said although the signage was amusing, it was “vandalism” and could distract drivers.

      A statement said: “We will investigate as soon as the weather improves. While on the surface amusing, it is vandalism and a potential distraction for drivers.”

      Local resident Charlotte Westgate said she saw a hooded man in his 20s adding “Gotham City” to a sign on Friday afternoon.

      She said: “He was on his own, and didn’t seem worried that anyone might be looking at him, but no one driving past did anything to stop him.”

      Image caption The county council said the names were “vandalism”

      Many people described seeing the signs after they were posted on Facebook, with Bethany Jade writing: “These are actually real. How brilliant.”

      Didcot’s mayor Jackie Billington said said she thought the signs would make motorists smile when they spotted them.

      She said: “It proves yet again, that Didcot is more than just a “normal” town, it’s quite quirky now with the new signage.”

      You may also like:

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      Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-43459598

      Pennsylvania couple beat toddler to death over spilled cereal, police say

      A Pennsylvania couple has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly beating to death a 4-year-old child for spilling his cereal.

      Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele announced Friday that the boy’s 19-year-old mother, Lisa Smith, and her boyfriend, Keiff King, 26, are being charged “for the senseless killing of young Tahjir (Smith).”

      On January 22 at about 6 p.m., police responded to a reports “of a respiratory emergency,” according to a report from the Montgomery County District Attorney.

      When paramedics arrived, they found the boy “limp and unresponsive.” He was later pronounced dead at Abington Jefferson Health Hospital.

      MARYLAND MOTHER ARRESTED AFTER ATTMEPTING TO SAW OFF HEAD OF AUTISTIC SON BECEAUSE SHE FELT ‘OVERWHELMED,’ POLICE SAY

      An investigation by Abington Police revealed that Tahjir had been beaten by his mother and King earlier in the day for spilling his breakfast cereal, police said. Investigators said Smith and King told them they used their hands and a sandal to give Tahjir a “butt whooping.” He was repeatedly beaten in the head and torso.

      The final autopsy report showed that the toddler died “from multiple blunt injuries, thermal injuries and shock,” and concluded that the cause of death was “homicide.”

      “The forensic pathologist’s determination that Tahjir’s death was homicide shows what detectives found in our investigation—that this was a violent, sustained beating of a 4-year-old that caused his death,” Steele said in the press release. “And it was a beating at the hands of the mother’s boyfriend and the mother, the very person entrusted to care for the boy.”

      MOM CHARGED WITH DECAPITATING HER 7-YEAR-OLD SON IN WESTERN NEW YORK

      The two are charged with first degree murder and are scheduled to appear in court on April 18. They were not offered bail.

      The Associated Press contributed to this report.

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/04/06/pennsylvania-couple-beat-toddler-to-death-over-spilled-cereal-police-say.html

      6 Classic Movies That Get Ruined By Grade-School Science

      Some movies are destined to be classics. One look, and you know their harrowing escape scenes and climactic battles are going to be pop culture legend. And then you look again. And again and again, until you finally realize the writer got something terribly wrong, and it is ruined for you forever. Pardon us for pulling a Neil deGrasse Tyson, but we’re going to do exactly that.

      6

      You Could Probably Outrun A T-Rex

      With a massive body and incredible bite strength, the Tyrannosaurus Rex reigned as the apex predator of all apex predators. And she’s an inescapable threat in the movies, tenacious enough to smash through walls and fast enough to run down any meaty human. If T-Rex wants you dead, you’re dead. In the first Jurassic Park, one of them chases down a jeep going 50 mph!

      Here’s Why It’s Bullshit:

      Buzzkill scientists have analyzed T-Rex remains, and concluded that the A#1, Duke of New York, King of Dinosaurs was, well … rather plodding, by predator standards. There is a very good chance you could survive an encounter with one simply by running away from it at your normal human speed. Every healthy adult in the Jurassic Park franchise had decent odds of surviving if they left on foot with any kind of urgency. Paleontologists’ best estimates place a T-Rex’s top speed around 16 mph, roughly the same as the sustained top speed of the average human, and considerably slower than the average CrossFitter.

      Universal PicturesGoing with the name “CrossFit” instead of “T-Rex Survival Training” was a real missed opportunity.

      We aren’t as vulnerable as movies make us out to be. Humans evolved to run over distances, and can even theoretically beat a horse in a marathon. Large animals take longer to build up speed, and are gassed in no time. And large animals aren’t built like a cheetah or greyhound, instantly running down prey. A T-Rex would be something closer to a Saint Bernard trying to catch a tennis ball rolling down a hill and giving up on it after ten yards. A cranky ol’ T-Rex huffing and puffing after Jeff Goldblum as he casually hustles away would be a very different movie, but … not necessarily bad?

      You can try this “leaving in a hurry” defense against a lot of big animals still alive today. The size-to-endurance ratio is a consistent principle of biology in elephants, hippos, and rhinos. Large size is a disadvantage for predators. Smaller, tastier prey like us have a huge metabolic advantage. T-Rex’s prey was believed to consist of other large, bumbling dinosaurs, like hadrosaurs or triceratops, or maybe even each other. The point is, a T-Rex chasing after a single human would be like you chasing a speeding taxi because you left a French fry inside it.

      5

      Andy Dufresne Should Have Died In The Sewage Pipe

      At the climax of The Shawshank Redemption, after 20 years of digging and planning, only one more thing stands between our hero, Andy Dufresne, and justice: a long pipe filled with five inches of fetid sewage. All he has to do is low-crawl through 500 yards of wretch-inducing filth to win his freedom. Here’s one of the most iconic scenes from the internet’s favorite movie of all time.


      Even schlepping through shit can be made majestic by a Morgan Freeman voiceover.

      Here’s Why It’s Bullshit:

      No human could survive that five-football-field-long crawl through a poorly ventilated sewage pipe. Noxious vapors like ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and methane gases would displace all of the oxygen. All that ammonia would sting his eyes to the point of blindness, and all that methane would kill him in minutes, probably before he even knew it was happening.

      Methane inhalation fatalities occur all the time, thanks to faulty pipes in basements, landfills, and agricultural cesspits. We aren’t supposed to breathe poison, is the point. When oxygen levels dip to 12 percent or lower, you black out and die before you even have time to drown in diarrhea. Though the movie still works if you imagine the beach was a hallucination as Andy’s brain was choked by poop fumes.

      Columbia Pictures“Wow, look at these blue waters. Let me dunk my head!”

      Similar jailbreak attempts have been attempted using steam pipes, drainage pipes, and tunnels connected to sewers, but no one has ever made it through 1,500 feet of a 18-inch pipe full of raw sewage. Such attempts have happened, and they all ended about as badly you’d think. A 2003 jailbreak in Brazil is the most gruesome example — at least six, maybe 13, prisoners asphyxiated in their daring attempt. The fumes were so dangerous that their bodies had to be retrieved with a backhoe. The point is, if you’re in prison, enjoy it, because it beats sucking lethal shit gas in a pipe.

      4

      The Kids In Honey, I Shrunk The Kids Would Have Suffocated To Death Within A Few Agonizing Minutes

      Honey, I Shrunk The Kids had everything you could want from a kid-shrinking adventure film. They made friends with an ant, flew on a bee, and gorged themselves on a giant cookie. Lawnmowers and sprinklers became life-ending apocalypses, and after 90 minutes of watching children taken to the very brink of death, they all came together as a family.


      It was really normal for ’80s movies to put children in unspeakable danger just to see what would happen.

      Here’s Why It’s Bullshit:

      The kids are shrunk down 10,000 times their normal size, and that means their cells are also reduced 10,000 times. The issue is that the oxygen, water, and countless other elements they need to live remain the same size. And having a water molecule 10,000 times larger relative to your blood vessels is no small thing. A slight fluctuation in the chemistry of a cell or the surrounding molecules can have catastrophic consequences, like cells bursting — or in this case, drying up.

      Smaller molecules, like water, slip into and out of semipermeable cells in order to create a balance. This is called osmosis if you’re a nerd, and hydro-fucking if you like to party. But if the molecules were suddenly 10,000 times bigger, the discrepancy would be fatal. An absence of water in a red blood cell causes it to shrivel and malfunction. Any number of substances that need to be expelled might be too large to exit cells, and only the smallest molecules or ions would have access into them. It’s only a question of which compromised bodily process would kill them first. The second Rick Moranis miniaturized his kids, they were doomed to a grim fate. Think less Disney, and more David Cronenberg nightmare.

      3

      The Blood Farming Operation In Fury Road Would Poison The War Boys, Not Save Them

      In Mad Max: Fury Road, Max happens to be a universal blood donor, which makes him a mobile blood bank for any road warrior lunatics who might be missing some. That’s why the irradiated War Boys use him for quick transfusions so they can stay alive long enough to die a death worthy of Valhalla.


      This information now qualifies you for your post-apocalyptic medical degree.

      Here’s Why It’s Bullshit:

      “Universal donor” doesn’t mean you can exchange blood at will, like swapping out a half-chewed piece of gum. Blood has two primary components: red blood cells and plasma. The universal donor type for plasma (the liquid part that acts like the broth for the red blood cells, facilitating easy flow) is actually AB, and you need special equipment to separate plasma from red blood cells before you can safely inject it into a needy patient. Imagine taking the filling out of a Twinkie and replacing it with the ingredients for the filling of a Twinkie. You mash in corn syrup, industrial lubricant, white house paint, and 84 types of preservatives. It’s like that, but far more complicated and less delicious.

      Warner Bros. PicturesOr equally so, depending on your Tom Hardy feelings.

      An emergency transfusion might save Furiosa’s life temporally, but unless she then immediately gets a transfusion from the right donor, she is in for a world of pain. We’re talking “filled with angry bees” levels of agony. Doctors call this acute hemolytic reaction. Most of the War Boys would die from clotting complications or organ failure long before they had the chance to impress King Immortan Joe. Their glorious deaths would be more of a painful, wheezing, bed-ridden affair. A botched transfusion recipient experiences breathing problems, heart problems, excruciating muscle pains, nausea, hypertension, severe bleeding, and a series of symptoms the medical community describes as a “feeling of impending doom.”

      While you can overlook Academy Award voters and viewers for missing this, it’s strange that writer/director and former physician George Miller never noticed.

      2

      The Great White From Jaws Would Have Puked Up All Its Victims

      Nothing sends down a chill down a surfer’s spine like a shark fin jutting out of the water. Great whites are the terrors of the seas, able to smell a drop of blood from a mile away and packing 20,000 more teeth than they need to shred you into human poke.

      The Jaws franchise did for sharks what Halloween did for the William Shatner mask industry — a dead-eyed beast was turned into public enemy number one overnight. To this day, most people think of themselves as a shark’s favorite food.

      Here’s Why It’s Bullshit:

      We’re not really in a shark’s food chain. Only younger sharks feed near the coastline, and juvenile great whites risk breaking their face on your durable human femur. Their jaws are surprisingly flimsy, secured to their heads only by ligaments and cartilage. We are the human peanut brittle to their shark dentures.

      Mature sharks don’t eat humans — we’re “too bony,” and take days to digest. Sharks eat fat to survive, and filling up on a skeleton-rich diet like people could kill them. They need a massive intake of calories, and that’s only obtainable in animals rich in hundreds of pounds of fat, not scrawny ’70s teenagers. Essentially, if you’re fat enough that a shark wants to eat you, you’re only in the water because something terrible has happened already.

      A stomachful of humans might even result in brain damage, as a great white needs that blubber to warm its body in order to maintain homeostasis and keep its brain functioning. Statistically, people tend to survive attacks because sharks (regardless of their size) suck at eating us. Rather than devouring prey whole, marine biologists say they engage in complicated eating practices, and the shark that kills an animal isn’t necessarily the one who eats it. Sharks are also quite picky, and known to puke at will. If a shark did eat a person, license plate, or errant oxygen tank, it would not be lurking around looking for co-eds to eat; it would be vomiting its guts out and leaving a zero-star review on Land’s yelp page.

      1

      Batman’s “Nonlethal” Arsenal of Tools Is Pretty Lethal

      Batman carries any number of devices ready to incapacitate, electrocute, or tie up his enemies. And aside from the time he blew up a man dick-first with a bundle of dynamite, he uses all these devices to take criminals down without murdering them. For instance, here’s a six-and-a-half-minute video of him fucking people up with grappling hooks alone.

      Here’s Why It’s Bullshit:

      People die, and not infrequently, from chokeholds and blows to the head, and that’s most of Batman’s day. When joy-killing scientists calculated the amount of force that Batman’s grappling hooks would apply to the bodies of criminals, they concluded that most of them would likely end up dead. If you’re looking for realism, the 1966 Adam West series is more accurate than the Chris Nolan movies ever were.

      Warner Bros. VideoYup, checks out.

      Batarangs are no better. Boomerangs were designed as deadly weapons by Aboriginal hunters, and aren’t much different than throwing a wrench at someone’s head. You do that at ten different heads, and at least one of them isn’t getting up. Basically, every graveyard in Gotham has an ever-growing “Batman” section.

      Doesn’t mean Batarangs aren’t still really cool to have sitting around on your desk.

      Support Cracked’s journalism with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.

      For more nonsense Hollywood science, check out 6 Famous Movie Scenes With Horrific Scientific Implications and 6 Futuristic Movie Scenarios Already Disproven By Science.

      Also, follow us on Facebook. Or don’t. It’s your life.

      Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25498_6-classic-movies-that-get-ruined-by-grade-school-science.html

      A Hurricane Flattens Facebook

      Two weeks ago, Facebook learned that The New York Times, Guardian, and Observer were working on blockbuster stories based on interviews with a man named Christopher Wylie. The core of the tale was familiar but the details were new, and now the scandal was attached to a charismatic face with a top of pink hair. Four years ago, a slug of Facebook data on 50 million Americans was sucked down by a UK academic named Aleksandr Kogan, and wrongly sold to Cambridge Analytica. Wylie, who worked at the firm and has never talked publicly before, showed the newspapers a trove of emails and invoices to prove his allegations. Worse, Cambridge appears to have lied to Facebook about entirely deleting the data.

      To Facebook, before the stories went live, the scandal appeared bad but manageable. The worst deeds had been done outside of Facebook and long ago. Plus, like weather forecasters in the Caribbean, Facebook has been busy lately. Just in the past month, they’ve had to deal with scandals created by vacuous Friday tweets from an ad executive, porn, the darn Russian bots, angry politicians in Sri Lanka, and even the United Nations. All of those crises have passed with limited damage. And perhaps that’s why the company appears to have underestimated the power of the storm clouds moving in.

      Facebook has burned its fingers on issues of data privacy frequently in its 14 year history. But this time it was different.

      On Friday night, the company made its first move, jumping out in front of the news reports to publish its own blog post announcing that it was suspending Cambridge Analytica’s use of the platform. It also made one last stern appeal to ask The Guardian not to use the word “breach” in its story. The word, the company argued, was inaccurate. Data had been misused, but moats and walls had not been breached. The Guardian apparently did not find that argument sympathetic or persuasive. On Saturday its story appeared, “Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach.”

      The crisis was familiar in a way: Facebook has burned its fingers on issues of data privacy frequently in its 14 year history. But this time it was different. The data leakage hadn’t helped Unilever sell mayonnaise. It appeared to have helped Donald Trump sell a political vision of division and antipathy. The news made it look as if Facebook’s data controls were lax and that its executives were indifferent. Around the world lawmakers, regulators, and Facebook users began asking very publicly how they could support a platform that didn’t do more to protect them. Soon, powerful politicians were chiming in and demanding to hear from Zuckerberg.

      As the storm built over the weekend, Facebook’s executives, including Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, strategized and argued late into the night. They knew that the public was hammering them, but they also believed that the fault lay much more with Cambridge Analytica than with them. Still, there were four main questions that consumed them. How could they tighten up the system to make sure this didn’t happen again? What should they do about all the calls for Zuckerberg to testify? Should they sue Cambridge Analytica? And what could they do about psychologist Joseph Chancellor, who had helped found Kogan’s firm and who now worked, of all places, at Facebook?

      By Monday, Facebook remained frozen, and Zuckerberg and Sandberg stayed silent. Then, late in the afternoon in Menlo Park, more bad news came. The New York Times reported that Alex Stamos, the company’s well-respected chief of security, had grown dissatisfied with the top of senior management and was planning to exit in a few months. Some people had known this for a while, but it was still a very bad look. You don’t want news about your head of data security bailing when you’re having a crisis about how to secure your data. And then news broke that Facebook had been denied in its efforts to get access to Cambridge Analytica’s servers. The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office, which had started an investigation, would handle that.

      A company-wide Q&A was called for Tuesday but for some reason it was led by Facebook’s legal counsel, not its leaders, both of whom have remained deafeningly silent and both of whom reportedly skipped the session. Meanwhile, the stock had collapsed, chopping $36 billion off the company’s market value on Monday. By mid-Tuesday morning, it had fallen 10 percent since the scandal broke. What the company expected to be a tough summer storm had turned into a Category 5 hurricane.

      Walking in the Front Door

      The story of how Kogan ended up with data on 50 million American Facebook users sounds like it should involve secret handshakes and black hats. But Kogan actually got his Facebook data by just walking in Facebook’s front door and asking for it. Like all technology platforms, Facebook encourages outside software developers to build applications to run inside it, just like Google does with its Android operating system and Apple does with iOS. And so in November 2013 Kogan, a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge, created an application developer account on Facebook and explained why he wanted access to Facebook’s data for a research project. He started work soon thereafter.

      Kogan had created the most anodyne of tools for electoral manipulation: an app based on personality quizzes. Users signed up and answered a series of questions. Then the app would take those answers, mush them together with that person’s Facebook likes and declared interests, and spit out a profile that was supposed to know the test-taker better than he knew himself.

      About 270,000 Americans participated. However what they didn’t know was that by agreeing to take the quiz and giving Facebook access to their data, they also granted access to many of their Facebook friends’ likes and interests as well. Users could turn off this setting, but it’s hard to turn off something you don’t know exists and that you couldn’t find if you did. Kogan quickly ended up with data on roughly 50 million people.

      About five months after Kogan began his research, Facebook announced that it was tightening its app review policies. For one: Developers couldn’t mine data from your friends anymore. The barn door was shut, but Facebook told all the horses already in the pasture that they had another year to run around. Kogan, then, got a year and a half to do his business. And when the stricter policies went into effect, Facebook promptly rejected version two of his app.

      By then Kogan had already mined the data and sold it to Cambridge Analytica, violating his agreement with Facebook and revealing one of the strange asymmetries of this story. Facebook knows everything about its users—but in some ways it knows nothing about its developers. And so Facebook didn’t start to suspect that Kogan had misused its data until it read a blaring headline in The Guardian in December 2015: “Ted Cruz using firm that harvested data on millions of unwitting Facebook users.”

      That story passed out of the cycle quickly though, swept away by news about the Iowa caucuses. And so while Facebook’s legal team might have been sweating at the end of 2015, outwardly Zuckerberg projected an air of total calm. His first public statement after the Guardian story broke was a Christmas note about all the books he’d read: “Reading has given me more perspective on a number of topics – from science to religion, from poverty to prosperity, from health to energy to social justice, from political philosophy to foreign policy, and from history to futuristic fiction.”

      An Incomplete Response

      When the 2015 Guardian story broke, Facebook immediately secured written assertions from Cambridge Analytica, Kogan, and Christopher Wylie that the data had been deleted. Lawyers on all sides started talking, and by the early summer of 2016 Facebook had more substantial legal agreements with Kogan and Wylie certifying that the data had been deleted. Cambridge Analytica signed similar documents, but their paperwork wasn’t submitted until 2017. Facebook’s lawyers describe it as a tortured and intense legal process. Wylie describes it as a pinkie promise. “All they asked me to do was tick a box on a form and post it back,” he told the Guardian.

      Facebook’s stronger option would have been to insist on an audit of all of Cambridge Analytica’s machines. Did the data still exist, and had it been used at all? And in fact, according to the standard rules that developers agree to, Facebook reserves that right. “We can audit your app to ensure it is safe and does not violate our Terms. If requested, you must provide us with proof that your app complies with our terms,” the policy currently states, as it did then.

      Kogan, too, may have merited closer scrutiny regardless, especially in the context of the 2016 presidential campaign. In addition to his University of Cambridge appointment, Kogan was also an associate professor at St. Petersburg State University, and had accepted research grants from the Russian government.

      'All options are on the table.'

      Paul Grewal, Facebook Deputy General Counsel

      Why didn’t Facebook conduct an audit—a decision that may go down as Facebook’s most crucial mistake? Perhaps because no audit can ever be completely persuasive. Even if no trace of data exists on a server, it could still have been stuck on a hard-drive and shoved in a closet. Facebook’s legal team also insists that an audit would have been time-consuming and would have required a court order even though the developer contract allows for one. A third possible explanation is fear of accusations of political bias. Most of the senior employees at Facebook are Democrats who blanch at allegations that they would let politics seep into the platform.

      Whatever the reason, Facebook trusted the signed documents from Cambridge Analytica. In June 2016, Facebook staff even went down to San Antonio to sit with Trump campaign officials and the Cambridge Analytica consultants by their side.

      To Facebook, the story seemed to go away. In the year following Trump’s victory, public interest advocates hammered Cambridge Analytica over its data practices, and other publications, particularly The Intercept, dug into its practices. But Facebook, according to executives at the company, never thought to double check if the data was gone until reporters began to call this winter. And then it was only after the story broke that Facebook considered serious action including suing Cambridge Analytica. A lawyer for the company, Paul Grewal, told WIRED on Monday evening that “all options are on the table.”

      What Comes Next

      Of Facebook’s many problems, one of the most confusing appears to be figuring out what to do with Chancellor, who currently works with the VR team. He may know about the fate of the user data, but this weekend the company was debating how forcefully it could ask him since it could be considered a violation of rules protecting employees from being forced to give up trade secrets from previous jobs.

      A harder question is when, and how exactly, Zuckerberg and Sandberg should emerge from their bunkers. Sandberg, in particular, has passed through the crucible of the past two years relatively unscathed. Zuckerberg’s name now trends on Twitter when crises hit, and this magazine put his bruised face on the cover. Even Stamos has taken heat during the outcry over the Russia investigation. And a small bevy of brave employees have waded out into the rushing rivers of Twitter, where they have generally been sucked below the surface or swept over waterfalls.

      At its core, according to a former Facebook executive, the problem is really an existential one.

      The last most vexing question is what to do to make Facebook data safer. For much of the past year, Facebook has been besieged by critics saying that it should make its data more open. It should let outsiders audit its data and peer around inside with a flashlight. But it was an excess of openness with developers—and opaque privacy practices—that got the company in trouble here. Facebook tightened up third-party access in 2015, meaning an exact replay of the Cambridge Analytica fiasco couldn’t happen today. But if the company decides to close down even further, then what happens to the researchers doing genuinely important work using the platform? How well can you vet intentions? A possible solution would be for Facebook to change its data retention policies. But doing so could undermine how the service fundamentally works, and make it far more difficult to catch malevolent actors—like Russian propaganda teams—after the fact.

      User data is now the foundation of the internet. Every time you download an app, you give the developer access to bits of your personal information. Every time you engage with any technology company—Facebook, Google, Amazon, and so on—you help build their giant database of information. In exchange, you trust that they won’t do bad things with that data, because you want the services they offer.

      Responding to a thread about how to fix the problem, Stamos tweeted, “I don’t think a digital utopia where everybody has privacy, anonymity and choice, but the bad guys are magically kept out, can exist.”

      At its core, according to a former Facebook executive, the problem is really an existential one. The company is very good at dealing with things that happen frequently and have very low stakes. When mistakes happen, they move on. According to the executive, the philosophy of the company has long been “We’re trying to do good things. We’ll make mistakes. But people are good and the world is forgiving.”

      If Facebook doesn’t find a satisfactory solution, it faces the unsavory prospect of heavy regulation. Already in the UK, the General Data Protection Regulation rule will give people much more insight and control over what data companies like Facebook take, and how it’s used. In the US, senators like Ron Wyden, Mark Warner, Amy Klobuchar, and others may have the appetite for similar legislation, if Facebook’s privacy woes continue.

      Facebook will hold its all-hands today, and hope for that inevitable moment when something horrible happens elsewhere and everyone’s attention turns. But it also knows that things might get worse, much worse. The nightmare scenario will come if the Cambridge Analytica story fully converges with the story of Russian meddling in American democracy: if it turns out that the Facebook data harvested by Cambridge Analytica ended up in the hands of Putin’s trolls.

      At that point, Facebook will have to deal with yet another devastating asymmetry: data from a silly quiz app, created under obsolete rules, fueling a national security crisis. But those asymmetries are just part of the nature of Facebook today. The company has immense power, and it’s only begun to grapple with its immense responsibility. And the world isn’t as forgiving of Silicon Valley as it used to be.

      Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

      This story has been updated to include further details about Tuesday's company-wide meeting.

      Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/facebook-cambridge-analytica-response/

      15 Healing Scriptures to Comfort Your Heart

      How lucky are we to have been created and loved by an all-mighty, all-knowing, and all-powerful God? He is Jehovah Rapha, The Lord that heals, and in times where our hearts, souls and even bodies need healing, the only place to turn is up.

      The Bible is chalk-full of healing scriptures that are the living, breathing promises of God.

      Whether you’re in need of a miracle or just some solid comfort, here are 15 healing scriptures to lift you up!

      1. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

      2. Worship the LORD your God, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you. (Exodus 23:25)

      3. For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 30:17)

      4. Then Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 2:17)

      5. Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. (Jeremiah 33:6)

      6. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you. (Luke 10:9)

      7. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-3)

      8. The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health. (Psalm 41:3)

      9. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

      10. Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. (Jeremiah 17:14)

      11. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelations 21:4)

      12. The Lord will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you. (Deuteronomy 7:15)

      13. Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 58:8)

      14. Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. (Matthew 9:35)

      15. Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” (Luke 8:50)

      Read Next On FaithIt
      Is Addiction a Disease or a Choice? An Addict’s Perspective.

      Read more: https://faithit.com/15-healing-scriptures-comfort-your-heart/

      Mini Brains Just Got CreepierTheyre Growing Their Own Veins

      The first human brain balls—aka cortical spheroids, aka neural organoids—agglomerated into existence just a few short years ago. In the beginning, they were almost comically crude: just stem cells, chemically coerced into proto-neurons and then swirled into blobs in a salty-sweet bath. But still, they were useful for studying some of the most dramatic brain disorders, like the microcephaly caused by the Zika virus.

      Then they started growing up. The simple spheres matured into 3D structures, fusing with other types of brain balls and sparking with electricity. The more like real brains they became, the more useful they were for studying complex behaviors and neurological diseases beyond the reach of animal models. And now, in their most human act yet, they’re starting to bleed.

      Neural organoids don’t yet, even remotely, resemble adult brains; developmentally, they’re just pushing second trimester tissue organization. But the way Ben Waldau sees it, brain balls might be the best chance his stroke patients have at making a full recovery—and a homegrown blood supply is a big step toward that far-off goal. A blood supply carries oxygen and nutrients, allowing brain balls to grow bigger, complex networks of tissues, those that a doctor could someday use to shore up malfunctioning neurons.

      “The whole idea with these organoids is to one day be able to develop a brain structure the patient has lost made with the patient’s own cells,” says Waldau, a vascular neurosurgeon at UC Davis Medical Center. “We see the injuries still there on the CT scans, but there’s nothing we can do. So many of them are left behind with permanent neural deficits—paralysis, numbness, weakness—even after surgery and physical therapy.”

      Last week, it was Waldau’s group at UC Davis that published the first results of vascularized human neural organoids. Using brain membrane cells taken from one of his patients during a routine surgery, the team coaxed them first into stem cells, then some of them into the endothelial cells that line blood vessels’ insides. The stem cells they grew into brain balls, which they incubated in a gel matrix coated with those endothelial cells. After incubating for three weeks, they took a single organoid and transplanted it into a tiny cavity carefully carved into a mouse’s brain. Two weeks later the organoid was alive, well—and, critically, had grown capillaries that penetrated all the way to its inner layers.

      A stained cross-section of a brain organoid showing that blood vessels (in red) have penetrated both the outer, more organized layers and the inner core.
      UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures

      Waldau got the idea from his work treating a rare disorder called Moyamoya disease. Patients have blocked arteries at the base of their brain, keeping blood from reaching the rest of the organ. “We sometimes lay a patient’s own artery on top of the brain to get the blood vessels to start growing in,” says Waldau. “When we replicated that process on a miniaturized scale we saw these vessels self-assemble.”

      While it wasn’t clear from this experiment whether or not there was rodent blood coursing through its capillaries—the scientists had to flush them to accomplish fluorescent staining—the UC Davis team did demonstrate that the blood vessels themselves were comprised of human cells. Other research groups at the Salk Institute and the University of Pennsylvania have successfully transplanted human organoids into the brains of mice, but in both cases, blood vessels from the rodent host spontaneously grew into the transplanted tissue. When brain balls make their own blood vessels, they can potentially live much longer by hooking them up to microfluidic pumps—no rodent required.

      That might give them a chance to actually mature into a complex computational organ. “It’s a big deal,” says Christof Koch, president of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, “but it’s still early days.” The next problem will be getting these cells wired into circuits that can receive and process information. “The fact that I can look out at the world and see it as spatially organized—left, right, near, far— is all due to the organization of my cortex that reflects the regularity of the world,” says Koch. “There’s nothing like that in these organoids yet.”

      Not yet, maybe, but it’s not too soon to start asking what happens when they do. How large do they have to be before society has a moral mandate to provide them some kind of special protections? If an organoid comes from your cells, are you then its legal guardian? Can a brain ball give its consent to be studied?

      Just last week the National Institutes of Health convened a neuroethics workshop to confront some of these thorny questions. Addressing a room filled with neuroscientists, doctors, and philosophers, Walter Koroshetz, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said the time for involving the public was now, even if the technology takes a century to become reality. “The question here is, as those cells come together to form information processing units, when do they get to the point where they’re as good as what we do now in a mouse? When does it go beyond that, to information processing you only see in a human? And what type of information processing would be to a point where you would say, ‘I don’t think we should go there’?”

      Of course, that assumes that neuroscientists would be able to recognize consciousness in an organoid if they saw it. Biology has yet to settle on a theory of consciousness in humans, let alone measure it in a ball of brain cells. Because, after all, a brain isn’t really a brain until has experience. You can have all the right wires and connections, but until it’s hooked up to some kind of input, it won’t process anything. Blood vessels are a good start—but we won’t start worrying about consciousness until the brain balls have eyes.


      More Brain Balls

      Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/mini-brains-just-got-creepiertheyre-growing-their-own-veins/

      Sociologists Examine Hackathons and See Exploitation

      As the gospel of Silicon Valley-style disruption spreads to every sector in the economy, so too have the industry’s favorite competitive ritual, hackathons. The contests, where small teams of “hackers” build tech products in marathon all-night coding sessions, are a hallmark of Silicon Valley culture. Recall Facebook’s most famous hackathon, thrown on the eve of its IPO to show the world that the demands of being a public company would not kill the “hacker way” at One Hacker Way.

      Now, sponsors ranging from Fortune 500 conglomerates to conference organizers host them. Even New York Fashion Week and the Vatican have hosted hackathons. They’ve become part of a “toolkit” for large organizations seeking a veneer of innovation. Some organizers view them as recruiting opportunities, others as opportunities to evangelize their company’s technology platforms, and others simply want to be associated with something cool and techie. They’re so common that hackathon enthusiast Mike Swift started a company dedicated to organizing and building community around them called Major League Hacking. Last year the company provided services for more than 200 hackathons with more than 65,000 participants.

      The phenomenon is attracting attention from academics. One pair of sociologists recently examined hackathons and emerged with troubling conclusions. Sharon Zukin, professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center, spent a year observing seven hackathons, mostly sponsored by corporations, in New York City, interviewing participants, organizers, and sponsors. In a study called “Hackathons As Co-optation Ritual: Socializing Workers and Institutionalizing Innovation in the ‘New’ Economy,” she and co-author Max Papadantonakis argue that hackathons create “fictional expectations of innovation that benefits all,” which Zukin writes is a “powerful strategy for manufacturing workers’ consent in the ‘new’ economy.” In other words, institutions use the allure of hackathons, with sponsors, prizes, snacks, and potential for career advancement, to get people to work for free.

      To Zukin, this is a problem, because hackathons are making the “hacker subculture” they promote into the new work norm. That norm, which coincides with the labor market trend of less-secure employment, encourages professional workers to adopt an “entrepreneurial” career and market themselves for continually shifting jobs. The trend also includes motivating workers with Soviet-style slogans venerating the pleasures of work.

      Zukin tells WIRED the unpaid labor of hackathons recalls sociological research on fashion models, who are also expected to spend time promoting themselves on social media, and party girls, who go to nightclubs with male VIPs in hopes of boosting acting or modeling aspirations. Participants are combining self-investment with self-exploitation, she says. It’s rational given the demands of the modern labor market. It’s just precarious work.

      Zukin was surprised to find that hackathon participants almost universally view the events positively. Hackathons are often social, emotionally charged, and a way to learn. Swift says his company found that 86 percent of student participants say they learn skills they can’t get in the classroom, and a third of them believe skills they learned at a hackathon helped them get a job.

      Zukin observed hackathon sponsors fueling the “romance of digital innovation by appealing to the hackers’ aspiration to be multi-dimensional agents of change,” she writes. The themes of exhaustion (participants often work for 24 or 36 hours straight), achievement, and the belief that this work could bring future financial reward, were prevalent at the events she observed.

      To the tech industry and its imitators, these are normal ideas. To a sociologist, they’re exploitative. “From my perspective, they’re doing unpaid work for corporations,” Zukin says. (Even hackathons thrown by schools, non-profits, publishers, and civic organizations tend to have corporate sponsors.)

      Viewed through a sociologist’s framework, Zukin says the events’ aspirational messaging—typical Silicon Valley-style futurebabble about changing the world—feels dystopian. Hackathons show “the fault lines of an emerging production system” by embodying a set of “quasi-Orwellian” ideas that are prevalent in the current economic climate, she writes. Zukin encapsulates those ideas in slogans that could be at home on the walls of a WeWork lobby: “Work is Play,” “Exhaustion is Effervescent,” and “Precarity is Opportunity.”

      Zukin only examined hackathons that were open to the public. But many companies, like Facebook, host internal hackathons over weekends. Zukin notes that such events, in which employees may feel obligated to participate, are a form of labor control. “They’re just trying to squeeze the innovation out of [their workers],” she says.

      Hackathons reflect an asymmetry of power between the hackathons’ corporate sponsors and their participants, the study argues. Their corporate sponsors outsource work, crowdsource innovation, and burnish their reputations while concealing their business goals.

      I noticed this phenomenon while reporting on a dozen hackathons between 2012 and 2014. At a 2013 college-sponsored hackathon, it seemed that everyone involved wanted something from the participants: Sponsors wanted to lay the groundwork for potential investments, hire the hackers, convince them to use particular software to build tools and apps, and boost their own reputations by offering cash, snacks and other prizes.

      Swift, of Major League Hacking, doesn’t think sponsor involvement is bad for participants. “The corporate sponsors enable these amazing experiences that the students have at these hackathons,” he says. Their sponsorship “demonstrates that the companies understand developers, care about their interest and goals, and are investing in this community,” he says. He notes that because of sponsors, participants get to work with tools they might not have access to, like VR headsets or expensive software platforms.

      The irony is that, regardless of whether hackathon participants willingly participate in self-exploitation or are simply having fun and learning, they rarely produce useful innovations that last beyond the event’s 36 hours. Startup lore has plenty of tales of successful companies that were created at hackathons—a popular example is GroupMe, the messaging app created at a TechCrunch hackathon, which sold to Skype for $85 million one year later. But such examples are rare. “Hacks are hacks, not startups,” Swift wrote in a blog post. “Most hackers don’t want to work on their hackathon project after the hackathon ends.”

      Hackathons are not particularly effective as recruiting strategies for large companies, either, the study finds. But they sell the dream of self-improvement via technology, something companies want to be associated with regardless of any immediate benefit to their bottom line. As symbols of innovation, they’re not likely to go anywhere anytime soon.

      Hacking Away

      • More than 100 students recently coded for 36 hours straight at the Vatican’s first-ever hackathon.
      • Some participants in a federal government hackathon aimed at solutions to the opioid crisis had second thoughts.
      • A photographer documented the networking parties, hackathons and grubby crash pads where techies tap away at their laptops.

      Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/sociologists-examine-hackathons-and-see-exploitation/

      People Are Posting Hilarious Life Progress Pics That Will Make You Look Twice, Then Laugh

      As difficult as changing your life is, people have started sharing before-and-after photos that prove nothing is impossible if you commit to your goals 100%. Usually titled “progress pic,” these images are going viral on reddit, and they’re so ridiculously impressive, even the most memorable fitness or haircut transformations ain’t got nothing on them.

      Escaping the Upside Down once and for all to become a successful rapper? Yep. Ending your cleaning product mascot career in showbiz to hunt Harry Potter as the Dark Lord? You bet. We’ve included these and much more ridiculous life progress posts that are simply too funny to be true. Scroll down to check out the entries and upvote your favorites!

      Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-progress-photos/

      Pro-Second Amendment student Kashuv calls for debate with March for Our Lives organizer Kasky

      Kyle Kashuv, a Second Amendment-supporting student at the Parkland, Fla., high school that was the site of the shooting massacre last month, on Sunday called for a debate with a classmate who helped organize the pro-gun control March for Our Lives, based on a quote made to Fox News.

      The organizer, Cameron Kasky, was responding to a claim in a recent National Rifle Association (NRA) video, that “no one would know [Parkland students’] names” had their classmates not died.

      “I think that’s the most pathetic thing I’ve seen out of this… And that’s the NRA — you’ll notice, they can’t attack our argument, so they’re attacking us personally. The fact that they’re saying all we want out of this is for people to know our names. They have no idea how much each of us would give for it to be February 13th again,” Kasky told “Fox News Sunday,” referencing the day before the massacre.

      “Happy to debate you live tomorrow so we can dissect each other’s arguments. Interested? No personal insults allowed here,” Kashuv tweeted to Kasky.

      Kasky responded that he’d be interested in organizing a debate “in the near future.”

      The “March for Our Lives” events on Saturday drew massive crowds in cities across the country. In Washington, D.C., New York City, Denver, Los Angeles and other cities, demonstrators heard from student survivors of last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The gunman killed 17 people and wounded 17 more.

      Speaking to Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Kasky said that the argument from the NRA and Kashuv, that those supporting the March for Our Lives movement “truly don’t know what they’re marching for,” is a fallacy.

      “We are not just marching to end school violence. We are marching to end violence all over the country, because that’s where it happens,” Kasky said, reiterating that “we are not trying to take everybody’s guns away.”

      MARCH FOR OUR LIVES ORGANIZERS RALLY FOR ‘COMMON SENSE’ ACTIONS ON GUNS

      Kasky’s call for “common sense” regulations include issuing mental health checks and having gun owners be age 21 and older. He said assault weapons should be completely banned, but smaller guns used for protection could be sold under better regulations.

      Kashuv, who wasn’t invited to speak at the main demonstration in Washington on Saturday, told Fox News’ Leland Vittert on “America’s News HQ” that Trump “does care about stopping school violence,” despite what his opposition claims.

      Fox News’ Katherine Lam and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

      Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/03/25/pro-second-amendment-student-kashuv-calls-for-debate-with-march-for-our-lives-organizer-kasky.html

      16 Times Multi-Level Marketers Rose To New Levels of Stupid

      MLMs promise you that you’ll make easy money at home by selling health and beauty products to your friends. But these people weren’t even trying. And if they were… yeesh.