Ibuprofen linked to male infertility, study says

(CNN)Ibuprofen has a negative impact on the testicles of young men, a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found. When taking ibuprofen in doses commonly used by athletes, a small sample of young men developed a hormonal condition that typically begins, if at all, during middle age. This condition is linked to reduced fertility.

Advil and Motrin are two brand names for ibuprofen, an over-the-counter pain reliever. CNN has contacted Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, the makers of both brands, for comment.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group that represents manufacturers of over-the-counter medications and supplements, “supports and encourages continued research and promotes ongoing consumer education to help ensure safe use of OTC medicines,” said Mike Tringale, a spokesman for the association. “The safety and efficacy of active ingredients in these products has been well documented and supported by decades of scientific study and real-world use.”
    The new study is a continuation of research that began with pregnant women, explained Bernard Jégou, co-author and director of the Institute of Research in Environmental and Occupational Health in France.
    Jégou and a team of French and Danish researchers had been exploring the health effects when a mother-to-be took any one of three mild pain relievers found in medicine chests around the globe: aspirin, acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol and sold under the brand name Tylenol) and ibuprofen.
    Their early experiments, published in several papers, showed that when taken during pregnancy, all three of these mild medicines affected the testicles of male babies.

    Testicles and testosterone

    Testicles not only produce sperm, they secrete testosterone, the primary male sex hormone.
    All three drugs then are “anti-androgenic,” meaning they disrupt male hormones, explained David M. Kristensen, study co-author and a senior scientist in the Department of Neurology at Copenhagen University Hospital.
    The three drugs even increased the likelihood that male babies would be born with congenital malformations, Kristensen noted.
    Tringale noted that pregnant and nursing women should always ask a health professional before using medicines.
    Knowing this, “we wondered what would happen in the adult,” he said. They focused their investigation on ibuprofen, which had the strongest effects.
    A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, ibuprofen is often taken by athletes, including Olympians and professional soccer players for example, before an event to prevent pain, Jégou said. Are there health consequences for the athletes who routinely use this NSAID?
    The research team recruited 31 male volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35. Of these, 14 were given a daily dosage of ibuprofen that many professional and amateur athletes take: 600 milligrams twice a day, explained Jégou. (This 1200-mg-per-day dose is the maximum limit as directed by the labels of generic ibuprofen products.) The remaining 17 volunteers were given a placebo.
    For the men taking ibuprofen, within 14 days, their luteinizing hormones — which are secreted by the pituitary gland and stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone — became coordinated with the level of ibuprofen circulating in their blood. At the same time, the ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormones decreased, a sign of dysfunctional testicles.
    This hormonal imbalance produced compensated hypogonadism, a condition associated with impaired fertility, depression and increased risk for cardiovascular events, including heart failure and stroke.
    For the small group of young study participants who used ibuprofen for only a short time, “it is sure that these effects are reversible,” Jégou said. However, it’s unknown whether the health effects of long-term ibuprofen use are reversible, he said.
    After this randomized, controlled clinical trial, the research team experimented with “little bits of human testes” provided by organ donors and then conducted test tube experiments on the endocrine cells, called Leydig and Sertoli cells, which produce testosterone, explained Jégou.
    The point was to articulate “in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro” — in the living body, outside the living body and in the test tube — that ibuprofen has a direct effect on the testicles and so testosterone.
    “We wanted to understand what happened after exposure (to ibuprofen) going from the global human physiology over to the specific organ (the testis) down to the endocrine cells producing testosterone,” Kristensen said.
    More than idle curiosity prompted such an extensive investigation.

    Questions around male fertility

    The World Health Organization estimates that one in every four couples of reproductive age in developing countries experiences childlessness despite five years of attempting pregnancy.
    A separate study estimated that more than 45 million couples, or about 15% of all couples worldwide, were infertile in 2010, while another unrelated study suggested that men were solely responsible for up to 30% and contribute up to 50% of cases overall.
    Meanwhile, a recent analysis published in the journal Human Reproduction Update found that sperm counts of men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand are plunging. Researchers recorded a 52% decline in sperm concentration and a 59% decline in total sperm count over a nearly 40-year period ending in 2011.
    Erma Z. Drobnis, an associate professional practice professor of reproductive medicine and fertility at the University of Missouri, Columbia, noted that most drugs are not evaluated for their effects on human male fertility before marketing. Drobnis, who was not involved in the new study, has done extensive research into sperm biology and fertility.
    “There is evidence that some medications are particularly harmful to the male reproductive system, including testosterone, opioids, antidepressants, antipsychotics, immune modulators and even the over-the-counter antacid cimetidine (Tagamet),” she said. “However, prescribing providers rarely mention these adverse effects with patients when prescribing these medications. 
    She believes the new study, though small, is “important” because ibuprofen is among the most commonly used medications.
    Though the new research indicates that ibuprofen disrupts the reproductive hormones in healthy young men, she thinks it’s possible there’s an even greater negative effect in men with low fertility. The other OTC drugs concerning for potential fathers are cimetidine and acetaminophen. She recommends that men who are planning to father a child avoid drugs for several months.
    “Larger clinical trials are warranted,” she said. “This is timely work that should raise awareness of medication effects on men and potentially their offspring.”
    Jégou agrees that more study is needed to answer many questions, including whether ibuprofen’s effects on male hormones are seen at low doses and whether long-term effects are reversible.

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

    “But the alarm has been raised now,” he said. “if this serves to remind people that we are really dealing with medical drugs — not with things which are not dangerous — this would be a good thing.”
    “We need to remember that it is a pharmaceutical compound that helps a lot of people worldwide,” Kristensen said. He noted, though, that of the three mild analgesics examined, ibuprofen had “the broadest endocrine-disturbing properties identified so far in men.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/08/health/ibuprofen-male-fertility-study/index.html

    A Definitive List Of All The Things Millennials Have “Killed”

    Insane as it sounds, in a world where our highest ranking public official watches four to eight hours of television a day and every male Hollywood exec has like ten assault allegations against them, millennials are still considered society’s villains.

    The olds are threatened by fast-texters and have decided the only way to take us down is to write lengthy articles about products, brands, and trends we’ve “killed.” By “killed” they just mean, things we DGAF about anymore. Sorry face-to-face conversations are boring, Grandma.

    Here is a list of my favorite things millennials have killed. 

    Diamonds

    When millennials started swiping instead of settling, diamond companies freaked out and were like who TF will buy our unethically sourced jewels?! Honestly, we’re receiving false alarms that Hawaii is being nuked and our president is in a dick measuring contest with an insane dictator across the world. That “forever” diamonds are promising doesn’t have much value at the moment. Also, have you ever seen a millennial’s bank account? They’re mostly overdraft fees caused by 2am drunk purchases on Amazon. Diamonds aren’t exactly on the menu.

    Doorbells

    Millennials are texting their friends when they roll up instead of ringing doorbells and this is hurting Baby Boomers’ feelings. This feels nitpicky and anyone who has strong feelings about doorbells and how often they are used can just chill. Plus, I’m not going to just answer the door if I don’t know who is going to be there? I think that is a shared sentiment and coincides with the decrease in popularity of serial killers. No need to look that up, seems undeniably true.

    Napkins

    Well, first of all, we aren’t buying napkins because we’re getting free napkins in our takeout bags. Duh. Second of all, we’re using paper towels. Rent costs like 90% of my paycheck and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty products account for the rest of the what I spend. I don’t have the luxury to buy two different types of paper products? Napkins are over.

    Cereal

    HAVE [CLAP] YOU [CLAP] HEARD [CLAP] OF [CLAP] AVOCADO [CLAP] TOAST [CLAP]???

    Motorcycles

    Millennials have “killed” motorcycles but tbh I think that’s just because we haven’t hit a midlife crisis yet. Give us like 15 years and we’re all going to buying those bad boys to rev up our lives and seem sexy again. Just be patient and those Harley sales will spike back up. For now we will spend our life saving on Lyft rides and then wonder why we can’t afford luxuries like “health insurance.”

    Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!

    Read more: http://www.betches.com/millennials-ruined-list

    Doctors want President Trump’s head examined

    (CNN)President Donald Trump is “in excellent health,” White House physician, Dr. Ronny Jackson, said following his physical Friday. But it’s not clear whether any mental health tests were conducted, despite urging from mental health professionals.

    Jackson received an urgent letter from dozens of doctors and health professionals Thursday urging him to perform basic mental health tests on the President.
    While reviews of the past five presidents’ physical exams show only a brief mention of mental health and none of the records includes a readout of the mental health tests, this letter points out that mental evaluations are routine during physicals, particularly for patients who are 66 or older. Trump is 71.
      Medicare guidelines suggest patients in this age range should be evaluated for cognitive and neural health function.
      The White House has dismissed questions about Trump’s mental fitness, calling them “disgraceful and laughable.” They said, prior to the physical, that mental health testing was not something Trump would undergo. It will be up to President Trump what information he shares with the public.
      The letter was written to Jackson, who examined Trump.
      “Without performing an evaluation of this kind, President Trump would be receiving care that is inadequate to the standard care regularly administered to millions of Americans covered by Medicare,” the letter argues. “Equally important, without this evaluation, the American people will not have a clear understanding about the health and well-being of the President, which is essential for Americans to know of any president.”
      While a true mental health evaluation can only happen in person, these experts have noted there is some “increasing concern” that the President may be struggling with some mental health challenges and they recommend the President’s doctor screen Trump for dementia.
      The letter does not explain how these concerns arose.
      Problems these experts say they have observed include rambling speech; episodes of slurred speech; failure to recognize old friends; frequent repetition of the same concepts; decreased fine motor coordination; difficulties reading, listening and comprehending; suspect judgment, planning, problem solving and impulse control; and markedly declining vocabulary in recent years, with overreliance on superlatives, according to the letter.
      The issue of the President’s mental capacity has received significant attention in recent weeks as Michael Wolff’s best-seller, “Fire and Fury,” has raised concerns about the commander in chief.
      Citing people close to the President, Wolff has said the President has begun repeating three stories in conversations in less than 10 minutes, when he used to repeat stories in about a 30-minute window. Wolff told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that “100% of the people around the President believes he’s incapable of carrying out the duties of office.”
      In full damage control, Trump and the White House trashed Wolff and his book as fiction and tabloid garbage while defending the President’s mental fitness.
      “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart,” Trump said in a tweetstorm earlier this week. He called himself a “very stable genius.”

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

      While some experts advise doctors to look for early signs or symptoms of cognitive issues that include problems with memory or language changes, the US Preventive Services Task Force concluded that “the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for cognitive impairment.”
      Among the medical professionals who wrote the letter, at least 15 made contributions to Democrats, and at least two have donated to Republicans, according to FEC records; however, not all have and many are well known experts in their field, from the United States, Canada and Germany.
      The letter concludes that a mental health evaluation is a must because “the health of the President relies on it — as do American lives and the safety of our nation.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/13/health/trump-mental-health-exam/index.html

      Go home, CNN, you’re DRUNK: CNN’s take on Martin Luther King is their dumbest take YET

      DAFUQ? Appears CNN finally figured out that Martin Luther King Jr. was actually a registered Republican so in their desperation to IGNORE that inconvenient tidbit they decided to make him a socialist hero.

      What in the blue Hell are they talking about?

      Read more: https://twitchy.com/samj-3930/2018/01/15/go-home-cnn-youre-drunk-cnns-take-on-martin-luther-king-is-their-dumbest-take-yet/

      Donald Trump Just Called Himself ‘A Very Stable Genius’

      President Donald Trump hit back at critics who have questioned his mental stability by branding himself a “very stable genius” on Saturday morning.

      In a series of tweets, Trump said that throughout his life his “two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.” He also bragged about going from “VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star… to President of the United States (on my first try).”

      Trump’s comment about his mental stability appeared to reference reporters questioning the president’s “mental fitness” during a White House press briefing this week.

      Democratic lawmakers have also previously called for Trump to undergo a psychological evaluation, and Michael Wolff alleges in his new book, Fire and Fury, that White House aides openly question the president’s mental health.

      Trump is set to undergo a medical examination with White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson next Friday, although it will likely focus more on his physical health. 

      Walter Shaub, who quit as head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics in July, said the tweets themselves “might be enough to lead the board of any corporation to call an emergency meeting on its CEO’s mental status.” 

      Other Twitter users seemed like they couldn’t quite believe the posts:

      Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-pays-himself-a-very-high-compliment_us_5a50c24ce4b01e1a4b155ce0

      Fresh Perspective: The NFL Has Announced That Instead Of Studying Whats In The Players Brains, We Should Be Studying Whats In The Players Hearts

      From flat-out denying the science behind CTE research to discrediting those who tout it, the NFL has long countered the neurological disease’s stigma with its own blunt force. But now it looks like the league is offering a fresh perspective on the matter altogether: The NFL has announced that instead of studying what’s in the players’ brains, the real focus should be studying what’s in the players’ hearts.

      Wow. After years of total pushback against the CTE conversation, it seems like the NFL is ready to pivot the focus and look at things in a whole new light.

      The league’s new approach to player safety and research, which prioritizes how players tackle life’s adversities over how they’re tackled on the field, marks a serious break from the CAT scans and lab studies that have dominated the conversation in recent years. At a press conference announcing the NFL’s new point of view, commissioner Roger Goodell insisted that overanalyzing player concussion data has been a dead end, and that the only things under the microscope should be the passions and dreams that flow out of the players’ souls like the sweetest poetry.

      “The well-being of our players is the NFL’s No. 1 priority, and we now see that the best way to move forward is not by studying their brains, but by studying what’s right in here,” said Goodell while repeatedly pointing to his own chest and dramatically scanning the room. “Instead of trying to understand what repeated blows to the head will mean for these players over time, we should be listening for the songs that live in all our players’ hearts, set to the tick-tock rhythm of a little thing called life. And that’s something you can’t learn from some medical textbook.”

      Incredible. When it comes to an issue as hotly debated as CTE, you’ve got to give it up for the NFL trying to bring a fresh perspective to the table. It’ll be interesting to see how everyone reacts to the league’s new approach, and whether this will be the step that finally gets everyone on the same page to prioritize player health.

      Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/article/fresh-perspective-nfl-has-announced-instead-studyi-7229

      Video shows Baltimore hospital discharging half-naked woman into cold winter night

      Generally speaking, it’s considered medically irresponsible to discharge a woman from a hospital with nothing but a hospital gown on for protection, especially when it’s nearly freezing outside. But a video from a student at the University of Maryland Medical Center depicts just that, despite the patient clearly needing medical attention.

      Psychotherapist Imamu Baraka was walking near the University of Maryland Medical Center’s midtown campus location when he saw a woman being dropped off by security at a bus stop with her clothes and belongings scattered on the sidewalk. The woman, who Baraka proceeded to help, struggled to speak and appeared to have a wound on her head, staggering around in the cold for several minutes while moaning in agony. Baraka said she had no underwear on and was only draped in a hospital gown, with the weather that night resting just above freezing.

      The situation left Baraka stunned, believing that, due to possible mental health issues, the hospital decided to discharge her instead of involuntarily committing her to a psych ward. So after an ambulance arrived and returned the woman for medical care, Baraka posted his footage on Facebook early Wednesday morning, criticizing the medical center.

      “You can’t expect those with mental health issues to be pleasant,” Baraka said in one of the videos. “Because they’re ill.”

      Is this what healthcare in Baltimore City has come to?*** PLEASE WATCH, SHARE and COMMENT ***I just witnessed this…

      Posted by Imamu Baraka on Tuesday, January 9, 2018

      Shortly after Baraka posted the video, the discharged patient’s treatment went viral, and public backlash against the medical center grew. On Wikipedia, one user edited the University of Maryland Medical Center page, calling out the hospital for “ patient wearing only a hospital gown at a nearby bus stop in freezing temperatures.” And on Facebook, dozens of negative reviews have flooded the center’s page, with users criticizing the woman’s treatment.

      “The institution is deplorable. How DARE you leave that woman on the street like a bag of garbage!” one woman wrote. “Your institution is garbage! You are suppose to help people. Please tell me how you are going to spin this video to justify your employees actions??”

      A spokeswoman for the University of Maryland Medical Center later confirmed with the Washington Post that what was in the video was true, admitting that the hospital “clearly failed to fulfill our mission” for quality care based around a patient’s needs.

      “We share the shock and disappointment of many who have viewed the video showing the discharge of a patient from the Emergency Department of UMMC Midtown the night of January 9,” spokeswoman Lisa Clough told the Post in a statement. “This unfortunate event is not representative of our patient-centered mission.”

      H/T the Washington Post

      Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/video-baltimore-hospital-half-naked-woman/

      Phone-addicted teens arent as happy as those who play sports and hang out IRL, new study suggests

      To no parent’s surprise, too much smartphone use makes teens unhappy.

      So says a new study from San Diego State University, which pulled data from over one million 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders in the U.S. showing teens who spent more time on social media, gaming, texting and video-chatting on their phones were not as happy as those who played sports, went outside and interacted with real human beings.

      But is it the screen time bringing them down or are sadder teens more likely to insulate themselves in a virtual world? Lead author of the study and professor of psychology Jean M. Twenge believes it’s the phone that contributes to making them unhappy, not the other way around.

      “Although this study can’t show causation, several other studies have shown that more social media use leads to unhappiness, but unhappiness does not lead to more social media use,” Twenge said.

      Though abstinence doesn’t seem to fix the problem, either, as noted in the study, there’s something to Twenge’s theory. Another recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and also lead by Twenge, found a spike in depression and suicide among teen girls increased the more time they spent on their phones.

      That’s alarming, especially considering the age in which kids get smartphones has continued to climb lower — dropping from 12 in 2012 to 10.3 years in 2016.

      Twenge has been studying teen behavior since the early 90’s and has been on the forefront of research suggesting an abrupt change in behavior and emotional states of teenagers due to smartphone use. She says there’s been a dramatic shift starting in 2012 when younger and younger kids starting getting more screen time.

      Researchers found more of the same while sifting through the data for this study. Teenagers’ life satisfaction, self-esteem and happiness plummeted after 2012.

      To back up that work, Twenge’s previous studies suggest kids who spend at least four or five hours on their phone increase their risk factor for suicide by a whopping 71 percent, regardless of whether it was cat videos or something else. It was the time spent on the device, not the content, that mattered most.

      “By far the largest change in teens’ lives between 2012 and 2016 was the increase in the amount of time they spent on digital media, and the subsequent decline in in-person social activities and sleep,” Twenge said. “The key to digital media use and happiness is limited use.”

      She suggests teens aim to spend no more than two hours a day on digital media, exercise more and try to hang out with friends face-to-face to increase happiness — all things adults could probably use more of as well.

      Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/23/phone-addicted-teens-arent-as-happy-as-those-who-play-sports-and-hang-out-irl-new-study-suggests/

      Ruth Bader Ginsburg saw Kate McKinnon portray her on ‘SNL.’ Here’s what she thought.

      She’s delighted fans weekly on “Saturday Night Live” for nearly six years and stole the show as Dr. Jillian Holtzmann in 2016’s “Ghostbusters” reboot — clearly, actress and comedian Kate McKinnon has mastered the art of impersonation.

      I mean, which other “SNL” star could flawlessly pull off Hillary Clinton, Justin Bieber, and Jeff Sessions?

      *crickets*

      Exactly!

      And one of McKinnon’s especially hilarious portrayals is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

      McKinnon’s Ginsburg is spry, unfiltered, and bursting with memorable one-liners.  

      The character even generated a perfectly out there term for the 84-year-old’s fiery takedowns: Gins-burns.”

      It’s a term the realNotorious RBG” has come to love.

      Sitting down with NPR’s Nina Totenberg on January 21 at the Sundance Film Festival, Ginsburg finally answered the years-old ‘SNL’ question.

      “So, what did you think of your portrayal on ‘Saturday Night Live’?” Totenberg asked.

      “I liked the actress that portrayed me,” a smiling Ginsburg answered. “And I would like to say ‘Gins-burn’ sometimes to my colleagues.” The crowd erupted with laughs and cheers.

      You can watch the full exchange below:

      Much to the (likely) consternation of President Trump — who once said Ginsburg’s mind is “shot” and called on her to resign — it sounds like we’ll be hearing many more ‘Gins-burns’ in the months and years ahead.

      The Supreme Court justice — one of only four women in U.S. history to hold the title — just hired a slate of law clerks through 2020, dimming hopes from conservatives that she’d be retiring prior to the next presidential election. Ginsburg previously said she’ll remain on the court as long as her health allows.

      If her rigorous workout routine is any indication, that will be a while!

      Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/ruth-bader-ginsburg-saw-kate-mc-kinnon-portray-her-on-snl-here-s-what-she-thought

      Left-Handed People Less Likely To Believe In God And More Likely To Believe In Ghosts

      People who are left-handed have to deal with a world that’s set up against them.

      Most utensils, seating arrangements, and tools are created with right-handed folks in mind. Relatives of mine who went through Catholic school back in the day got rapped on their knuckles any time they tried to write with their left hands. Since being right-handed was considered “normal” and “correct,” we’ve evolutionarily and socially encouraged right-handedness in potential partners.

      The implications of this aren’t just about access to left-handed scissors, though. Strangely enough, our dominant hand may even indicate what kind of beliefs we hold dear.

      A new study published in a journal on evolutionary psychology suggests a “weak but significant” connection between traits like left-handedness, schizophrenia, and autism to atheism. People who identify as religious tend to have a lower “mutational load” than those who don’t. But there’s a reason that’s the case.

      Throughout history, Western people looking for suitable mates would consider believing in a single moral god to be a sign of mental health and social acceptability. People who believed in a god were more likely to reproduce and thus the result is they have fewer mutations in their genetic code.

      While the study’s findings are interesting, it’s important to note that atheism is increasing in Western societies across the board. Non-religious people make up almost 50 percent of Britain and 22 percent of the United States.

      Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/left-hand-beliefs/

      Lawsuit: Weinsteins Assistant Was Made to Clean Up the Semen on the Couch

      Harvey Weinstein made his assistant clean semen off the couch after his sexual encounters, according to a new lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court. Sandeep Rehal, who worked at The Weinstein Company for two years between 2013 and 2015, claims she felt demeaned and terrified while working for the disgraced film mogul.

      Weinstein even made the then-26-year-old type emails he dictated while naked, according to the suit.

      As Ms. Rehal soon learned, Harvey Weinsteins assistants were expected to be available at all times; there was no boundary between Harvey Weinsteins work life and personal life, the lawsuit claims. Much of Ms. Rehals work as an employee of TWC involved catering to Harvey Weinsteins sexual appetites and activities, and catering to his demeaning and often abusive family members.

      Rehals duties included preparing for and cleaning after Weinsteins extremely prolific sexual encounters. She claims that didnt spare her from experiencing unwanted sexual advances as well.

      Weinstein touched her thigh when she wore skirts to work, according to Rehals lawsuit, and began rubbing her between her thighs when she switched to wearing pants. When Rehal began sitting cross-legged to prevent his advances, she said Weinstein touched the back of her legs and butt.

      You used to dress so cute and now whats going on? he allegedly asked after Rehal began wearing pants to discourage his advances.

      Rehal was also subject to verbal abuse, including being called a cunt or pussy, according to her suit.

      Whats wrong Sandeep, is the tampon up too far today? Weinstein would ask her.

      Rehals suit comes amid allegations that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted over 80 women. The assistant reveals that her duties included setting up an apartment for Weinsteins sexual activities and managing his erectile dysfunction drugs.

      Another task Ms. Rehal was forced to do to aid Harvey Weinsteins sexual encounters was to clean up the semen on the couch in Harvey Weinsteins office, sometimes as many as three times a week when the mogul was in New York, according to the suit. She also had to pick up his used condom, and clean up rooms before housekeeping personnel would do their work.

      Rehal quit her job in February 2015. Shes now suing for damages over discrimination and harassment, and violations of New York Citys Human Rights Law.

      Weinstein was forced out of The Weinstein Company, which he co-founded with his brother, after reports in October that he sexually harassed and assaulted multiple women going back decades. Police in Los Angeles, New York, and London say they are investigating potential criminal cases against him. The Manhattan district attorney was reportedly close to filing charges against Weinstein over his alleged rape of actress Paz de la Huerta last fall, but no charges have been filed to date.

      Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/lawsuit-weinsteins-assistant-made-to-clean-up-the-semen-on-the-couch

      Norwegians troll Trump over sh*thole comments

      Norwegians have a surprising message for Donald Trump, following reports the president claimed he would rather receive immigrants “from places like Norway” instead of, what he called, “shithole countries” in South America and Africa.

      “Haiti? Why do we want people from Haiti here?” Trump was reported to have said in an Oval Office meeting on immigration reform, according to two people who spoke with the Washington Post. (While Trump denied the comment on Twitter, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has confirmed the account.) 

      “Why do we want these people from all these sh*thole countries here?” he then allegedly said of African countries. “We should have more people from places like Norway.”

      The offensive language and comments caused an international controversy and furthered questions about the president’s mental fitness for the job.

      As citizens of the richest Scandinavian country, named the happiest and most prosperous country to live in, Norwegians enjoy free healthcare and college tuition. They took to Twitter to tell the president just what they thought about moving to the U.S.

      Even some Americans joined in.

      In 2016, exactly 895 Americans moved to Norway, while 502 Norwegians moved to the States. 

      Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/trump-shithole-twitter-norway/

      6 Unpredictable Dangers Of Being An Atheist

      Are you an atheist? If so, that’s totally cool. We don’t have any fake hundred-dollar bills to give you which reveal that “true wealth comes from the Lord” when they unravel. However, we do have some rough news: While a lot of people act like atheism is shunning the responsibility that comes with religion in order to waste time wearing black clothes and getting to third base with unmarried demons or whatever, it actually means taking up a few unforeseen hardships. For example …

      6

      Everyone Thinks Atheists Are Immoral — Even Atheists

      Let’s start with the fact that everyone apparently thinks atheists are the scum of the Earth, according to many surveys. I don’t particularly believe in God myself, so I’m just as disappointed by this news as anyone. And while I’d love to hold this up as an example of believers being jerks, those same polls show that even atheists hate and mistrust other atheists. Even we can’t wrap our heads around the idea of someone having a moral code without a higher power to enforce it.

      To determine how this anti-atheist bias works, researchers asked 3,000 people in 13 countries the most reasonable question ever: “If there was a person who used to torture animals as a child, then they grew up and became a teacher who murdered a bunch of homeless dudes, would you figure this person was an atheist or religious?” I wish that was my joke, because it’s kind of awesome, but it’s not. That’s literally the question they asked. And across the whole study, people were twice as likely to suspect the killer of being an atheist. Even atheists believed the person was more likely to be an atheist. Incidentally, I’m pretty sure I had that teacher for art history.

      In a second study which polled Canadians and Americans, participants were asked to imagine a hit-and-run driver fleeing after hitting a parked car, then later finding a wallet and stealing all the money. What a shitberg. They then asked participants if said shitberg was more likely to be a teacher, an atheist teacher, or a rapist teacher. Your first inclination here might be to wonder why, in both this example and the previous one, all the shitbergs are teachers. Maybe people aren’t biased against atheists as much as they just hate teachers. The second takeaway here is that yes, people suspected the driver of being an atheist over a rapist. Over a goddamn rapist. Come on.

      5

      Atheism Is Still Political Suicide

      If the year 2017 taught you nothing else about politics, it should be that politics is worse than having a hedgehog chew a hole through one of your kidneys. We’ve experienced financial tomfuckery, sexual harassment and assault, enough lies to choke a circus elephant, and more childish insults than a roast battle at a daycare. People the world over will officially tolerate anything from politicians — except atheism.

      In the grand scheme of things people hate from their elected officials, it looks like atheism is getting close to the last straw. 37 percent of people would be less likely to vote for a politician who’d had an affair, and 41 percent would be less likely to vote for one who’d had financial problems, but 51 percent would be less likely to vote for an atheist. A bankrupt philanderer could become president if he claimed to be Christian. Can you imagine? What a world, am I right?

      A Gallup poll suggests that 58 percent of Americans would be willing to vote for an atheist candidate, and while that number sounds promising, the polls also show that only a socialist would have less support, at 47 percent, and a Muslim candidate would have 60 percent support, while a gay candidate comes in at 74 percent. So for the socialists/atheists out there who were hoping for a like-minded government some day, it looks like we’ll probably be colonizing Mars before that happens.

      4

      Atheists Make Everyone Think Of Death

      If you’re a religious sort of person, what comes to mind when you think of atheists? Is it some smug Richard Dawkins kind of guy trying to explain the miracle of magnets to you with so-called science? Or is it the cold, grim hand of death? Bet it’s that second one. And also that first one. But mostly that second one, since atheists just make everyone think of the Reaper, apparently. This, as you can imagine, does not improve people’s attitudes toward them.

      Researchers found this out via studies that began with putting subjects in a morbid mindset with questions like “What’s going to happen to you after you die?” and “How many explosive charges do you think you could plant in your own butt before using a Slip ‘N Slide becomes a fatal mistake?” (Paraphrasing — they were all about death, is the point.) Another group was asked dark but non-death-related questions.

      Everyone was then asked their opinions on Quakers and atheists. As expected, everyone thought the first group were just smug-ass oatmeal jockeys, and had much darker thoughts about the second one. But while there were negative views on atheists across the board, the subjects who were focusing thinking about death really, really hated them.

      A second study just had people do some fill-in-the-blanks fun after being asked to think about atheism, pain, or death. The atheism and death crowd both filled in their blanks with that gloomy, morose shit, with the study concluding that the very idea of atheism is existentially threatening to a ton of people. So if you’re an atheist and you find yourself on the shit end of some evangelical hatred, it’s only because your entire being threatens not just that person’s existence, but their entire understanding of said existence. You literally cause people to question the fabric of their reality. Good for you! But before we go patting ourselves on the back too hard …

      3

      Atheists Aren’t As Open-Minded As You’d Think

      If you had to guess who is more open-minded between atheists and religious folk, you’d probably choose atheists without even putting much thought into it. “Conservative” tends to be synonymous with “religious,” and “liberal” goes hand in hand with “atheist,” right? Well hold onto your non-denominational butts, because it looks like there are some circumstances in which atheists tend to be more rigidly dogmatic than their happy Christian counterparts.

      Now, don’t go writing letters to your congressperson about what a lying asshole I am, because odds are they’re probably more of a lying asshole anyway. Plus I’m Canadian, so I can abuse whatever narrative I want in the U.S. and no one can stop me, save a very skilled and unceasingly polite beaver and syrup technician. But I’m also citing a study which does support the notion that when “it came to subtly measured inclination to integrate views that were diverging and contrary to one’s own perspectives, it was the religious who showed more openness.”

      Does this mean gay people are going to be way more welcome at Roy Moore’s Evangelical Jamboree and Sidewalk Sale? Probably not. The point of the study was mostly to show that close-mindedness is not the exclusive purview of the religious, and that atheists can actually become so dogmatic in their disbelief that anything that challenges that lack of belief will be met with more rigidity than information which may challenge the beliefs of someone who is religious. In short, everyone loves to put their fingers in their ears and yell “Nuh-uh, I can’t hear youuuuu” sometimes.

      2

      Atheists Are More Prone To Addiction

      When you hit high school, a whole new world opens up to you, in which super cool kids who wear leather jackets and use switchblade combs offer you beers and cigarettes and that wicked electric lettuce. Will you give in to peer pressure, or will you remain stalwart and square? What makes you more likely to choose one over the other? Fear of divine retribution, apparently.

      Studies of both Swiss and Mexican / Mexican American youth have shown that those who have a religious affiliation benefit from a protective effect when it comes to substance abuse. Religiosity is associated with less use of alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana … despite the fact that even the godless teens grew up in a world full of anti-drug PSAs and preachy sitcom episodes.

      Numerous studies show that if a religious or spiritual community expresses direct prohibitions and limitations against use or abuse, the followers are probably going to go along. This may not just be about fearing eternal hellfire; it could also be that simply having a community of like-minded people provides a sense of acceptance and belonging. That support group means you’re less likely to want some sweet Schnapps for breakfast, and also they’ll be able to help you resist it if/when you do.

      1

      Atheists Just Might Die Sooner

      There’s evidence to suggest that religious people who regularly attend church have a longer lifespan than people who don’t, like your friendly neighborhood atheist. So the people who believe there’s something after life have to wait longer to find out than the people who don’t, on average. That’s a final insult for someone — you just need to decide for whom.

      A study of 75,000 middle-aged nurses in the United States showed that participants who regularly attended church services over a 20-year period, as in once a week, had a 33 percent lower risk of dying during the study period than those who didn’t. Jesus saves! Maybe!

      The thing to keep in mind with this research is that it isn’t exclusively faith that’s keeping anyone alive. The same data shows that countries that are much more religious overall, such as places in Sub-Saharan Africa, still have much higher mortality rates than the U.S. Conversely, more secular nations like Japan have higher life expectancy overall. So what’s the point? It’s in the difference between the two.

      People who are not religious in the U.S. are, as every other entry here shows, walking piles of rapidly steaming shit in the eyes of everyone else. Atheists are the gangly, body-odor-laden children of the Babadook. That special brand of ostracism places atheists, by and large, outside of social involvement. If you’re not trusted as a politician, if you’re not as able to engage in charitable and community outreach projects because most of them are organized by churches and religious groups, if people assume you’re a rapist teacher, then you don’t have that same support base as religious people. On average, you don’t have the encouragement of others, or a ton of organized people who will take an interest in your welfare. And you would if you lived in a predominately secular nation, where many of these community groups are also secular and atheists are more accepted as part of the community.

      Is the conclusion here that religious people are inadvertently killing atheists? I never said that, and neither did you. Not even sure who typed that sentence. But you can conclude that in a nation that leans more toward religion, those who do not partake have social disadvantages that the majority does not take into account. The majority just wants them to burn in a Hell they don’t even believe in, which they’ll get to slightly earlier.

      Nothing wrong with being a child of the Babadook. Get Babashook!

      If you loved this article and want more content like this, support our site with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.

      Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-unpredictable-dangers-being-atheist/

      Ex-Weinstein assistant sues over ‘sexually hostile’ working environment

      Sandeep Rehal alleges she had to clean up after producers sexual encounters and take dictation from him while he was naked

      Ex-Weinstein assistant sues over ‘sexually hostile’ working environment

      Sandeep Rehal alleges she had to clean up after producers sexual encounters and take dictation from him while he was naked

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jan/25/harvey-weinstein-lawsuit-assistant

      Passenger who lost seat to Rep. @JacksonLeeTX18 to United: ‘show me proof!’; Lee plays the race card

      It’s a slow news week and it looks like this story of a passenger accusing United Airlines of giving away her first class seat to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas isn’t going away anytime fast.

      As we told you yesterday, United claims that the passenger, Jean-Marie Simon, cancelled her reservation using an app on her phone. Simon responded yesterday with, “show me proof!”:

      Read more: https://twitchy.com/gregp-3534/2017/12/27/passenger-who-lost-seat-to-rep-jacksonleetx18-to-united-show-me-proof-lee-plays-the-race-card/

      The DNCs New Chief Security Officer Knows All About Crisis

      The Democratic National Committee has hired Bob Lord, most recently Yahoo's head of information security, to be its chief security officer—a brand new position, created in the aftermath of the historic hack by Russian operatives of the DNC's servers during the 2016 presidential campaign.

      This is Lord's first foray into the world of politics, having spent his career in Silicon Valley working at companies like Twitter, AOL, and Netscape. But it's far from Lord's first stint leading a cleanup crew in the wake of an extensive and deeply damaging hack. Lord was responsible for detecting two massive data breaches that occurred prior to his arrival at Yahoo, and worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to track down those responsible.

      "I'll be working to protect my new colleagues at the DNC from the attackers who would prefer to keep us distracted from our mission of getting Democrats across the nation elected," Lord said in a statement. "And my job doesn’t stop at the front door of the building—my team and I will work with state parties to update their information security strategies and deployments to change the economics for the attackers.” On Thursday, Lord was already meeting with state party chairs, leading a tutorial on security protocol for volunteers and new hires.

      According to Raffi Krikorian, who worked with Lord at Twitter and now serves as the DNC's chief technology officer, Lord's experience dealing with the Yahoo hack was central to the committee's decision to hire him.

      "There are very few people in the world who actually found foreign actors in their system and did something about it," Krikorian says.

      DNC chairman Tom Perez found that background compelling as well. “When I took this job, I made it crystal clear that our organization’s cybersecurity required immediate attention and resources," Perez said in a statement to WIRED. "I’m confident Bob’s skills and hard work will help protect us against the sort of cyberattacks and intrusions that are unfortunately all too common in today’s age."

      The DNC is still recovering from the hack of its servers in 2016. Russian hackers penetrated the system with a barrage of phishing emails that appeared to be from Google, encouraging DNC staffers to change their passwords. According to the Associated Press, 29 of those attempts failed. One succeeded. Internal emails which were then leaked to and published by WikiLeaks sent the committee, and arguably the country, into a chaotic spiral over Russian attempts to influence the American election.

      'There are very few people in the world who actually found foreign actors in their system and did something about it.'

      Raffi Krikorian, DNC

      It's a kind of chaos with which Lord is all too familiar. After spending four years at Twitter, where he was the company's first dedicated security hire, Lord joined Yahoo in 2015. Just a year later, he broke the news to the world that half a billion Yahoo accounts had been exposed during a 2014 data breach. Just months later, the company disclosed the even larger 2013 breach, which Yahoo now says affected all three billion of its users. The hackers used stolen information from the Yahoo accounts to gain entry to users' Google accounts, skim credit card information, and redirect Yahoo searches for "erectile dysfunction medication" to a phony online pharmacy in what seemed to be a profit-making spam campaign. In March of 2017, the Department of Justice announced it had charged two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service and two additional accomplices with computer hacking, economic espionage, and other crimes, and credited Yahoo with helping them track down the perpetrators.

      “Working closely with Yahoo and Google, Department of Justice lawyers and the FBI were able to identify and expose the hackers responsible for the conduct described today, without unduly intruding into the privacy of the accounts that were stolen," US attorney Brian Stretch said at the time.

      In an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt last year, Lord described the experience of discovering the cascade of hacks as a kind of vertigo. “If you’re familiar with that effect that Alfred Hitchcock perfected—where things look like they’re sort of telescoping out. And you can still see everything but you still have this weird parallax going on,” he said. “I remember feeling that when I was putting all of the different pieces together. And that’s not a great feeling.”

      'This is in my opinion one of the hardest challenges in cybersecurity.'

      Raffi Krikorian

      Lord's new position has clear parallels to his work securing Yahoo in the wake of the attacks. But it also differs in critical ways, says Krikorian. Unlike a major tech company, the Democratic party is essentially a nationwide network of small offices that scale up and down overnight. They also need to open their systems up to volunteers, who often work on unsecured, personal devices. "It’s an absolute nightmare," Krikorian says. "This is in my opinion one of the hardest challenges in cybersecurity."

      Krikorian's team of 25 has worked hard to convince the DNC's full-time staffers that they are constantly under attack. The tech team periodically launches phishing attacks on its own staffers. It was a phishing attack, after all, that gave Russian operatives a window into the DNC's servers to begin with. One recent attack conducted by Krikorian's team used an email that appeared to be an ad for a Nordstrom sale—it elicited more clicks than Krikorian would have hoped for.

      Krikorian says the committee sees "interesting traffic," everyday: repeated login attempts with incorrect passwords, odd patterns in times of usage, logins from IP addresses in places other than the Washington DC area, and at least one phony Google Hangout request that was flagged by the recipient. Lord's job, Krikorian says, is to rethink all of the organization's existing systems, from its email provider to its physical infrastructure, in order to prevent history from repeating itself.

      "I've always taken the position we probably still have someone in the system. We have to have that kind of posture," Krikorian says. "I'll never claim we’re fully locked down. This is an arms race."

      H-A-C-K in the DNC

      Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/bob-lord-dnc-chief-security-officer/

      Bayeux Tapestry to be displayed in UK

      Image copyright Getty Images
      Image caption The Bayeux Tapestry is 70m (230ft) long

      The Bayeux Tapestry is set to be displayed in the UK after France agreed it could leave its shores for the first time in 950 years, the BBC understands.

      French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce the loan during his visit to the UK on Thursday.

      He has said the tapestry – which depicts the Norman Conquest of England – would not be transferred before 2020.

      The Times said the loan was subject to the outcome of tests to make sure the 11th Century artwork was safe to move.

      The tapestry tells the story of the future William I’s conquest of England, culminating in the Battle of Hastings and the defeat of Harold in 1066.

      It is on permanent display at a museum in the town of Bayeux, in Normandy, and has very rarely been moved.

      However, President Macron is expected to announce the proposed loan at a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May in the UK this week.

      The Times said the agreement was made after “months of talks between culture department officials in London and Paris” but it has not yet been decided where in the UK the tapestry will be displayed.

      What are the origins of the tapestry?

      Historians have long debated the origins of the tapestry, which is 70m (230ft) long and 50cm high.

      The earliest written reference to it is an inventory from Bayeux Cathedral in 1476, but little is known about how or why it was created.

      According to Reading Museum, which houses a replica of the tapestry, it was “probably commissioned” in the 1070s by the half-brother of William the Conqueror – the Bishop Odo of Bayeux.

      Some say it was created by teams of nuns across England – not France – possibly in Canterbury, Kent.

      In 2012, a PhD researcher at the University of Manchester said the artwork’s needlework was “consistent throughout”, suggesting one group of specialist embroiderers worked on it, in the same place at the same time.

      What does it depict?

      The tapestry shows the events leading up to the Norman takeover of England.

      It starts with Edward the Confessor, who became king in 1042, on the throne and tells the story of his death and the questions over who was the rightful heir.

      In 1066, on the day of Edward’s funeral, his brother-in-law Harold was crowned king.

      News of his appointment reached France and William of Normandy, who claimed he should be king as Edward had promised him the throne of England.

      Image caption Harold is crowned king after the death of Edward the Confessor

      On 14 October 1066, William I and King Harold II came to loggerheads at the Battle of Hastings – one of the most famous battles in English history.

      It is likely both sides had between 5,000 and 7,000 men each when they met in battle at a hilltop near Hastings.

      Thousands of soldiers were killed in a day of a fighting, which ended in King Harold II’s death.

      It was a turning point in history as it ended the Anglo-Saxons’s long reign of more than 600 years.

      You might also like:

      Where has it been exhibited?

      Image caption The tapestry shows King Harold being killed by an arrow in his eye

      Napoleon put the tapestry on display in Paris in 1804, while he was planning an invasion of England.

      It was then exhibited in Paris for the second time in 1944, during World War II, before it was returned to Bayeux.

      Mr Macron’s offer comes after previous attempts to bring the tapestry to Britain failed.

      One request is thought to have been made ahead of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, while another was made for the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, in 1966.

      Some have suggested the tapestry could be relocated to the British Museum if it gets the go ahead to come to the UK.

      Dr Michael Lewis of the museum told the Victoria Derbyshire programme 1066 was a date “we all know” from being at school so it would be “amazing” if children could go and see the tapestry.

      “For the wider public, people will be amazed about how long it is, and it definitely has a real impact when you see this work of art,” he added.

      Can it be moved?

      Tests will decide if the tapestry can be moved safely and get to the UK in one piece.

      BBC History magazine’s Dr David Musgrove says its size, age and obvious fragility makes moving it a concern.

      But he told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme moving it would also present an opportunity to conduct some interesting historical research on its dyes and fabrics.

      What are the myths and legends of the tapestry?

      The story that Harold was killed by an arrow in the eye is thought to have come from the tapestry. However, earlier sources dispute this and claim he was hacked to death by four Norman knights.

      Dr Levi Roach, a medieval historian at the University of Exeter, said the tapestry was confiscated for military use, for covering weapons, during the French Revolution, before a lawyer saved it.

      Should we give them something in return?

      Tom Tugenhadt, chair of the foreign affairs select committee, said the UK should “definitely” consider it.

      “This is an opportunity for us to cement the relationship,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

      “One of the interesting items we might perhaps think about lending… is the Rosetta stone, which was discovered in Egypt.”

      According to the British Museum, it is likely that the stone was found by Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers while on a mission to threaten Britain’s hold on India.

      Related Topics

      Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42713552

      Why No Gadget Can Prove How Stoned You Are

      If you’ve spent time with marijuana—any time at all, really—you know that the high can be rather unpredictable. It depends on the strain, its level of THC and hundreds of other compounds, and the interaction between all these elements. Oh, and how much you ate that day. And how you took the cannabis. And the position of the North Star at the moment of ingestion.

      OK, maybe not that last one. But as medical and recreational marijuana use spreads across the United States, how on Earth can law enforcement tell if someone they’ve pulled over is too high to be driving, given all these factors? Marijuana is such a confounding drug that scientists and law enforcement are struggling to create an objective standard for marijuana intoxication. (Also, I’ll say this early and only once: For the love of Pete, do not under any circumstances drive stoned.)

      Sure, the cops can take you back to the station and draw a blood sample and determine exactly how much THC is in your system. “It's not a problem of accurately measuring it,” says Marilyn Huestis, coauthor of a new review paper in Trends in Molecular Medicine about cannabis intoxication. “We can accurately measure cannabinoids in blood and urine and sweat and oral fluid. It's interpretation that is the more difficult problem.”

      You see, different people handle marijuana differently. It depends on your genetics, for one. And how often you consume cannabis, because if you take it enough, you can develop a tolerance to it. A dose of cannabis that may knock amateurs on their butts could have zero effect on seasoned users—patients who use marijuana consistently to treat pain, for instance.

      The issue is that THC—what’s thought to be the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana—interacts with the human body in a fundamentally different way than alcohol. “Alcohol is a water-loving, hydrophilic compound,” says Huestis. “Whereas THC is a very fat-loving compound. It's a hydrophobic compound. It goes and stays in the tissues.” The molecule can linger for up to a month, while alcohol clears out right quick.

      But while THC may hang around in tissues, it starts diminishing in the blood quickly—really quickly. “It's 74 percent in the first 30 minutes, and 90 percent by 1.4 hours,” says Huestis. “And the reason that's important is because in the US, the average time to get blood drawn [after arrest] is between 1.4 and 4 hours.” By the time you get to the station to get your blood taken, there may not be much THC left to find. (THC tends to linger longer in the brain because it’s fatty in there. That’s why the effects of marijuana can last longer than THC is detectable in breath or blood.)

      So law enforcement can measure THC, sure enough, but not always immediately. And they’re fully aware that marijuana intoxication is an entirely different beast than drunk driving. “How a drug affects someone might depend on the person, how they used the drug, the type of drug (e.g., for cannabis, you can have varying levels of THC between different products), and how often they use the drug,” California Highway Patrol spokesperson Mike Martis writes in an email to WIRED.

      Accordingly, in California, where recreational marijuana just became legal, the CHP relies on other observable measurements of intoxication. If an officer does field sobriety tests like the classic walk-and-turn maneuver, and suspects someone may be under the influence of drugs, they can request a specialist called a drug recognition evaluator. The DRE administers additional field sobriety tests—analyzing the suspect’s eyes and blood pressure to try to figure out what drug may be in play.

      The CHP says it’s also evaluating the use of oral fluid screening gadgets to assist in these drug investigations. (Which devices exactly, the CHP declines to say.) “However, we want to ensure any technology we use is reliable and accurate before using it out in the field and as evidence in a criminal proceeding,” says Martis.

      Another option would be to test a suspect’s breath with a breathalyzer for THC, which startups like Hound Labs are chasing. While THC sticks around in tissues, it’s no longer present in your breath after about two or three hours. So if a breathalyzer picks up THC, that would suggest the stuff isn’t lingering from a joint smoked last night, but one smoked before the driver got in a car.

      This could be an objective measurement of the presence of THC, but not much more. “We are not measuring impairment, and I want to be really clear about that,” says Mike Lynn, CEO of Hound Labs. “Our breathalyzer is going to provide objective data that potentially confirms what the officer already thinks.” That is, if the driver was doing 25 in a 40 zone and they blow positive for THC, evidence points to them being stoned.

      But you might argue that even using THC to confirm inebriation goes too far. The root of the problem isn’t really about measuring THC, it’s about understanding the galaxy of active compounds in cannabis and their effects on the human body. “If you want to gauge intoxication, pull the driver out and have him drive a simulator on an iPad,” says Kevin McKernan, chief scientific officer at Medicinal Genomics, which does genetic testing of cannabis. “That'll tell ya. The chemistry is too fraught with problems in terms of people's individual genetics and their tolerance levels.”

      Scientists are just beginning to understand the dozens of other compounds in cannabis. CBD, for instance, may dampen the psychoactive effects of THC. So what happens if you get dragged into court after testing positive for THC, but the marijuana you consumed was also a high-CBD strain?

      “It significantly compounds your argument in court with that one,” says Jeff Raber, CEO of the Werc Shop, a cannabis lab. “I saw this much THC, you're intoxicated. Really, well I also had twice as much CBD, doesn't that cancel it out? I don't know, when did you take that CBD? Did you take it afterwards, did you take it before?

      “If you go through all this effort and spend all the time and money and drag people through court and spend taxpayer dollars, we shouldn't be in there with tons of question marks,” Raber says.

      But maybe one day marijuana roadside testing won’t really matter. “I really think we're probably going to see automated cars before we're going to see this problem solved in a scientific sense,” says Raber. Don’t hold your breath, then, for a magical device that tells you you’re stoned.

      Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/why-no-gadget-can-prove-how-stoned-you-are/

      Oprah Winfrey: one of the world’s best neoliberal capitalist thinkers

      Oprah is appealing because her stories hide the role of political, economic and social structures in our lives. They make the American dream seem attainable

      In Oprah Winfrey lore, one particular story is repeated over and over. When Oprah was 17, she won the Miss Fire Prevention Contest in Nashville, Tennessee. Until that year every winner had had a mane of red hair, but Oprah would prove to be a game changer.

      The contest was the first of many successes for Oprah. She has won numerous Emmys, has been nominated for an Oscar, and appears on lists like Times 100 Most Influential People. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She founded the Oprah Book Club, which is often credited with reviving Americans interest in reading. Her generosity and philanthropic spirit are legendary.

      Oprah has legions of obsessive, devoted fans who write her letters and follow her into public restrooms. Oprah basks in their love: I know people really, really, really love me, love me. And she loves them right back. Its part of her higher calling. She believes that she was put on this earth to lift people up, to help them live their best life. She encourages people to love themselves, believe in themselves, and follow their dreams.

      Oprah is one of a new group of elite storytellers who present practical solutions to societys problems that can be found within the logic of existing profit-driven structures of production and consumption. They promote market-based solutions to the problems of corporate power, technology, gender divides, environmental degradation, alienation and inequality.

      Oprahs popularity stems in part from her message of empathy, support, and love in an increasingly stressful, alienating society. Three decades of companies restructuring their operations by eliminating jobs (through attrition, technology, and outsourcing) and dismantling both organized labor and the welfare state have left workers in an extremely precarious situation.

      Oprah
      Oprah in the early days of the show. Photograph: Everett Collection/Rex

      Today, new working-class jobs are primarily low-wage service jobs, and the perks that once went along with middle-of-the-road white-collar jobs have disappeared. Flexible, project-oriented, contingent work has become the norm, enabling companies to ratchet up their requirements for all workers except those at the very top. Meanwhile, the costs of education, housing, childcare, and health care have skyrocketed, making it yet more difficult for individuals and households to get by, never mind prosper.

      In this climate of stress and uncertainty, Oprah tells us the stories of her life to help us understand our feelings, cope with difficulty and improve our lives. She presents her personal journey and metamorphosis from poor little girl in rural Mississippi to billionaire prophet as a model for overcoming adversity and finding a sweet life.

      Oprahs biographical tale has been managed, mulled over, and mauled in the public gaze for 30 years. She used her precocious intelligence and wit to channel the pain of abuse and poverty into building an empire. She was on television by the age of 19 and had her own show within a decade.

      The 1970s feminist movement opened the door to the domestic, private sphere, and the show walked in a decade later, breaking new ground as a public space to discuss personal troubles affecting Americans, particularly women. Oprah broached topics (divorce, depression, alcoholism, child abuse, adultery, incest) that had never before been discussed with such candor and empathy on television.

      The shows evolution over the decades mirrored the evolution of Oprahs own life. In its early years the show followed a recovery model in which guests and viewers were encouraged to overcome their problems through self-esteem building and learning to love themselves.

      Barack
      US President Barack Obama presents broadcast journalist Oprah Winfrey with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

      But as copycat shows and criticisms of trash talk increased in the early 1990s, Oprah changed the shows format. In 1994, Oprah declared that she was done with victimization and negativity: It s time to move on from We are dysfunctional to What are we going to do about it? Oprah credited her decision to her own personal evolution: People must grow and change or they will shrivel up and their souls will shrink.

      In an appearance on Larry King Live, Oprah acknowledged that she had become concerned about the message of her show and so had decided to embark on a new mission to lift people up. Themes of spirituality and empowerment displaced themes of personal pathology. For Oprah, the transformation was total: Today I try to do well and be well with everyone I reach or encounter. I make sure to use my life for that which can be of goodwill. Yes, this has brought me great wealth. More important, it has fortified me spiritually and emotionally.

      A stream of self-help gurus have spent time on Oprahs stage over the past decade and a half, all with the same message. You have choices in life. External conditions dont determine your life. You do. It s all inside you, in your head, in your wishes and desires. Thoughts are destiny, so thinking positive thoughts will enable positive things to happen.

      When bad things happen to us, its because were drawing them toward us with unhealthy thinking and behaviors. Dont complain about what you dont have. Use what youve got. To do less than your best is a sin. Every single one of us has the power for greatness because greatness is determined by serviceto yourself and others. If we listen to that quiet whisper and fine-tune our internal, moral, emotional GPS, we too can learn the secret of success.

      Janice Peck, in her work as professor of journalism and communication studies, has studied Oprah for years. She argues that to understand the Oprah phenomenon we must return to the ideas swirling around in the Gilded Age. Peck sees strong parallels in the mind-cure movement of the Gilded Age and Oprahs evolving enterprise in the New Gilded Age, the era of neoliberalism. She argues that Oprahs enterprise reinforces the neoliberal focus on the self: Oprahs enterprise [is] an ensemble of ideological practices that help legitimize a world of growing inequality and shrinking possibilities by promoting and embodying a configuration of self compatible with that world.

      Nothing captures this ensemble of ideological practices better than O Magazine, whose aim is to help women see every experience and challenge as an opportunity to grow and discover their best self. To convince women that the real goal is becoming more of who they really are. To embrace their life. O Magazine implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, identifies a range of problems in neoliberal capitalism and suggests ways for readers to adapt themselves to mitigate or overcome these problems.

      Does your 60 hour-a-week desk job make your back hurt and leave you emotionally exhausted and stressed? Of course it does. Studies show that death by office job is real: people who sit at a desk all day are more likely to be obese, depressed, or just dead for no discernible reason. But you can dull these effects and improve your wellness with these O-approved strategies: Become more of an out-of-the-box thinker because creative people are healthier. Bring photos, posters, and kitschy figurines to decorate your workspace: Youll feel less emotionally exhausted and reduce burnout. Write down three positive things that happened during your workday every night before leaving the office to reduce stress and physical pain from work.

      In December 2013, O devoted a whole issue to anxiety and worry. The issue conquers a lifetime s worth of anxieties and apprehensions, an apt subject given rising levels of anxiety across the age spectrum.

      In the issue, bibliotherapists Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin present a list of books for the anxious, prescribing them instead of a trip to the pharmacy. Feeling claustrophobic because youre too poor to move out of your parents house? Read Little House on the Prairie. Feeling stressed because your current project at work is ending and you dont have another lined up? Read The Man Who Planted Trees. Worried that you wont be able to pay the rent because you just lost your job? Read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles. Instead of feeling depressed, follow the lead hero Toru Okada, who, while jobless, embarks on a fantastic liberating journey that changes the way he thinks.

      Oprah recognizes the pervasiveness of anxiety and alienation in our society. But instead of examining the economic or political basis of these feelings, she advises us to turn our gaze inward and reconfigure ourselves to become more adaptable to the vagaries and stresses of the neoliberal moment.

      Oprah is appealing precisely because her stories hide the role of political, economic, and social structures. In doing so, they make the American Dream seem attainable. If we just fix ourselves, we can achieve our goals. For some people, the American dream is attainable, but to understand the chances for everyone, we need to look dispassionately at the factors that shape success.

      Oprah
      Oprah Winfrey gestures during the taping of Oprahs Surprise Spectacular in Chicago May 17, 2011. Photograph: John Gress/Reuters

      The current incarnation of the American Dream narrative holds that if you acquire enough cultural capital (skills and education) and social capital (connections, access to networks), you will be able to translate that capital into both economic capital (cash) and happiness. Cultural capital and social capital are seen as there for the taking (particularly with advances in internet technology), so the only additional necessary ingredients are pluck, passion, and persistence all attributes that allegedly come from inside us.

      The American dream is premised on the assumption that if you work hard, economic opportunity will present itself, and financial stability will follow, but the role of cultural and social capital in paving the road to wealth and fulfilment, or blocking it, may be just as important as economic capital. Some people are able to translate their skills, knowledge, and connections into economic opportunity and financial stability, and some are noteither because their skills, knowledge, and connections dont seem to work as well, or they cant acquire them in the first place because theyre too poor.

      Today, the centrality of social and cultural capital is obscured (sometimes deliberately), as demonstrated in the implicit and explicit message of Oprah and her ideological colleagues. In their stories, and many others like them, cultural and social capital are easy to acquire. They tell us to get an education. Too poor? Take an online course. Go to Khan Academy. They tell us to meet people, build up our network. Dont have any connected family members? Join LinkedIn.

      Its simple. Anyone can become anything. Theres no distinction between the quality and productivity of different peoples social and cultural capital. Were all building our skills. Were all networking.

      This is a fiction. If all or most forms of social and cultural capital were equally valuable and accessible, we should see the effects of this in increased upward mobility and wealth created anew by new people in each generation rather than passed down and expanded from one generation to the next. The data do not demonstrate this upward mobility.

      The US, in a sample of 13 wealthy countries, ranks highest in inequality and lowest in intergenerational earnings mobility. Wealth isnt earned fresh in each new generation by plucky go-getters. It is passed down, preserved, and expanded through generous tax laws and the assiduous transmission of social and cultural capital.

      The way Oprah tells us to get through it all and realize our dreams is always to adapt ourselves to the changing world, not to change the world we live in. We demand little or nothing from the system, from the collective apparatus of powerful people and institutions. We only make demands of ourselves.

      We are the perfect, depoliticized, complacent neoliberal subjects.

      And yet were not. The popularity of strategies for alleviating alienation rests on our deep, collective desire for meaning and creativity. Literary critic and political theorist Fredric Jameson would say that the Oprah stories, and others like them, are able to manage our desires only because they appeal to deep fantasies about how we want to live our lives. This, after all, is what the American dream narrative is about not necessarily a description of life lived, but a vision of how life should be lived.

      When the stories that manage our desires break their promises over and over, the stories themselves become fuel for change and open a space for new, radical stories. These new stories must feature collective demands that provide a critical perspective on the real limits to success in our society and foster a vision of life that does fulfill the desire for self-actualization.

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/may/09/oprah-winfrey-neoliberal-capitalist-thinkers

      Harvey Weinstein Assistant Says She Regularly Had To Clean His Semen From The Couch!

      Blughhh!

      OK, we’re back. Oof. And we thought

      Yes, she had to set up his sexual liaisons. (As we’ve heard

      She says she managed his erectile dysfunction shots and kept a list of available women for him — a rolodex we’re sure law enforcement would be very interesting in.

      Rehal is suing Harvey, Bob Weinstein, and The Weinstein Company for an unspecified amount.

      Whatever it is, it’s NOT ENOUGH! Ick!

      [Image via BBC/WENN.]

      Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2018-01-25-harvey-weinstein-sexual-harassment-personal-assistant-sandeep-rehal

      Democrats Score Huge Special Election Upset In Wisconsin GOP Stronghold

      Democrat Patty Schachtner won a special election for a state Senate seat in Wisconsin on Tuesday, scoring a huge upset victory for her party in a district that President Donald Trump handily captured just over a year ago. 

      It was the latest in a string of election victories for Democrats since Trump took office, and a sign of hope for the party that the energy from the base and frustration with the president could lead to more wins in November.

      With every precinct counted, The Washington Post reported that Schachtner, the chief medical examiner for St. Croix County, won by 9 percentage points.

      Republican Sheila Harsdorf had held the seat since 2001, but she left in November to become Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s agriculture secretary. In 2016, Harsdorf won re-election by 26 percentage points, and Trump beat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by 17 points. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won the district in 2012. 

      “This campaign was about investing in people and revitalizing our area, whether that is making sure that every Wisconsinite has access to affordable health care, funding our public schools, technical colleges and UW campuses, or investing in good-paying jobs right here in Western Wisconsin,” Schachtner said in a statement. “Tonight, voters showed that they share those priorities, and I am deeply grateful for their support.”

      Attorney Adam Jarchow, Schachtner’s GOP opponent, conceded the race Tuesday night. 

      Republicans clearly sensed that this district was vulnerable. The conservative Americans for Prosperity spent at least $50,000 on ads, and the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce threw in another $80,000. 

      On the Democratic side, Greater Wisconsin spent $30,000, and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee spent $10,000. 

      Republicans will still control the state Legislature, with an 18-14 majority and one vacancy in the Senate. 

      Democrats have fared well in other special elections since Trump became president, scoring big wins in Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma and other places around the country. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to state office, said that, with the win in Wisconsin, there are 34 districts that have flipped from red to blue since Trump’s inauguration.

      Walker is up for re-election this year, and he has built up a formidable political machine in the state. So far, there’s a crowded field of Democrats running to unseat him, but there’s no solid front-runner. 

      The governor tweeted Tuesday night, however, that Republicans needed to acknowledge that 2018 was shaping up to be a tough year. 

      Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is also running in 2018, and her seat is a prime target for Republicans. Conservative groups have so far spent at least $3.1 million against Baldwin, which is more than what all the other Democratic Senate incumbents on the ballot this year have faced combined (under $550,000), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

      Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/patty-schactner-wins_us_5a5ec4e2e4b096ecfca88c03

      Doctors Take Moms Baby Off Life Support After Husband Dies1 Week Later, They Find Out How Wrong They Were

      Thirty-five-year-old Sarah Rodriguez has processed more pain and suffering in a few short years than most of us could fathom enduring in a lifetime. But this widowed mother’s warrior spirit has become all the stronger for it. And now she’s sharing her profound journey of beauty from ashes in her new book, From Depths We Rise.

      It all started seven years ago when her husband Joel was diagnosed with an aggressive form of kidney cancer.

      “We found out in 2010 that he had Stage 3 kidney cancer that had eaten away his entire kidney,” recalls Sarah.

      Though chemo treatments sent Joel into remission, it returned stronger than ever two years later, just three short days after their son Milo was born.


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      This time, Joel would not win the battle against the “Big C.” But several months before the kidney cancer took his life in 2013, he left his wife with a message that she was simply unable to shake.

      “I need to tell you something. You and I are going to have another child and it’s going to be a girl,’” he told her. “I’m looking at him, thinking, ‘There’s no way we’re going to,’” Sarah recalls.

      After Joel passed, Sarah couldn’t help but think about the frozen embryos they had placed down the street in an infertility clinic. The couple had struggled to get pregnant for five years, and after successfully conceiving Milo through in vitro, they decided it may be their only shot at having another baby.

      Sarah just never thought she’d be doing it alone.

      But as it often goes, God’s plans don’t necessarily align with our own. Soon, He opened her grieving heart to the idea of having another child. Sarah even recalled a dream she had years before Joel died, where she was holding a little girl named Ellis, and she wondered if it could have any tie-in with the prophetic words of her late husband.

      “Within days of his death, I thought about that conversation and knew there was this piece of him – two more embryos – just down the street at the infertility clinic,” said Sarah. “I had this feeling in my heart that I should have another child and that there would be purpose to her life.”

      Sure enough, on Nov. 6, 2014, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Ellis.

      As Ellis reached her tiny fingers up to clutch Sarah’s necklace embossed with Joel’s thumbprint, the proud mama could taste the bittersweet redemption this miracle child would bring.

      “She was the beauty that came from the ashes of our story,” she said. “It felt like a part of Joel had returned to me with her birth.”


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      However, just two weeks later, she would be faced with losing the little miracle that had brought so much meaning to her life.

      Ellis’ health quickly took a turn for the worse after she contracted a deadly form of Bacterial meningitis and Sepsis. Doctors gave Sarah no hope for her daughter’s survival and recommended she be taken off life support.

      “Basically, they told us that she would not live, and if she did, she would be in a vegetative state,” she told ‘The Church Boys’ podcast. “A decision had to be made to remove the [ventilator].”

      As Sarah stood in the hospital bathroom processing the unfathomable event that was to unfold after the devastating loss of her husband, she asked God in a tone reminiscent of Job, “Haven’t I endured enough?”

      “I didn’t understand why the miracle of her life, why her name, why this conversation with my husband — if it was all going to end at this point,” said Sarah. “It was the lowest I had ever been.”

      Still, she refused to curse God and lose faith in His healing power.

      In an act of total surrender, she cried out, “God, I don’t know if you will, but I know that you can … so please, please don’t allow her to die.”

      Shortly after, doctors gently placed Ellis on her chest as they took her off life support and removed every last tube, other than the one that monitored her vitals.

      As she prayed, Sarah sang to her sweet baby who was breathing her final breaths right there on her bosom.

      “She let out a cry and she was moving and wiggling around, and she wasn’t seizing,” says Sarah, but doctors still assured her that Ellis wouldn’t last long off of the ventilator.

      But as seconds turned into minutes, and minutes into hours, they were forced to reconsider their diagnosis.

      “It was just a moment of, ‘Oh my goodness, are we witnessing a miracle?” she said.

      In fact, they were.

      “They were dumbfounded that she was able to go from not breathing on a vent to breathing room air on her own,” she said. “By the end of the week, doctors and nurses were just coming in the room and saying, ‘We want to look at her, because she’s a miracle.’”

      Today, almost two years later, Sarah’s living breathing miracle continues to thrive, inspiring her mama with her courage.


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      Though it’s hard to imagine being thankful for the kind of brutal pain and heartache Sarah walked through, in looking back, she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

      “I think that that’s part of the mystery of God, and I think He keeps some things a mystery because it keeps us seeking Him always,” says Sarah. “We never want to talk about suffering. We always want to talk about blessing. In suffering, I’ve become a better version of myself.”

      Now she’s on a mission to share her story in hopes that it may encourage others to march toward purpose out of their pain, so our suffering may produce in us a character that conforms us to the likeness of Christ. To read more from Sarah’s miraculous story of hope and overcoming, purchase your own copy of From Depths We Rise: A Journey of Beauty from Ashes today.

      Read more: https://faithit.com/sarah-rodriguez-widowed-miracle-baby-life-support-depths-rise-book/

      This Is What Could Happen To You If You Try The “Tide Pod Challenge”

      It’s 2018. As a species, we are more advanced than ever before. We can excavate the remains of colossal volcanoes using robotic submarines. We can walk on the surface of other worlds, and push rare diseases into extinction – and yet, certain people still believe the Earth is flat or that eating laundry detergent tablets is a good idea.

      The latter, admittedly, is a recent development.

      The Onion, a satirical news site, posted an op-ed back in 2015 by a “toddler” wherein he explained his single-minded determination to ingest a multicolored detergent pod. This piece likely didn’t start the latest trend, but it’s worrying to think that 2018 is the year where the line between surreal parodies and satire can’t be distinguished from reality.

      A typical video shows a person with not enough sense and too much bravado placing a Tide Pod, or a similar brand laundry detergent pod, on their tongue or in their mouths. Within moments, it begins to dissolve in their mouths, and they are seen choking, coughing, or vomiting. Naturally, this “challenge” even has a hashtag.

      This is both stupid and dangerous. Although no-one has yet died from this challenge, it’s absolutely possible. Those with dementia, and several toddlers, have eaten these pods in recent times and have subsequently perished; tens of thousands more have been made incredibly sick.

      If you still think this is just a bit of fun and you’re about to do the challenge yourself, then don’t. This is what could happen to you if you put one of those technicolor tabs in your mouth – and what happens if you ingest any of it.

      Foaming Bellies, Aching Bowels

      The purpose of detergent – in case you were oddly unaware of this – is to break up components of the waste that’s clinging so frustratingly to your crockery or, as it so happens, your hair. Composed of a mixture of synthetic chemicals, their most important ingredients are surfactants.

      Surfactants are long chain molecules, with a hydrophilic (water-loving) head and a hydrophobic (water-hating) tail, the latter of which goes for grease instead. When you dissolve these surfactants into water they form “supermolecules.”

      Grease gets trapped inside the grease-loving center of these supermolecules, and – thanks to the sheer attractive molecular force keeping the hydrophilic head in the water, grease is lifted right off the surface.

      Your mouth and digestive system are full of water, but they are also full of fats. Having these aggressively stripped away from your digestive system is, as you may suspect, not ideal.

      A 2012 report by a scientific body of the European Commission notes that, in small quantities, “surfactants have low oral acute toxicity,” adding that “in general, surfactants have an irritating effect on mucous membranes,” which are tissues that line the gut and the surfaces of plenty of tube-shaped organs.

      It can be worse than just having an itchy, aching digestive tract though. Take a higher dose, and the severity of the effects can step up a gear.

      “Manifestations may also include vomiting, abdominal pain, flatulence and diarrhea,” the report notes. “In rare cases, vomiting or formation of considerable amounts of foam in the mouth involve an aspiration risk.”

      No, not in the sense of your personal aspirations – the sense of accidentally inhaling toxic materials, either new or freshly regurgitated. Both this and the foam, created as air gets mixed into the alchemical mixture, can leap into your lungs and stop you being able to breathe properly.

      Healthy people might get away without any serious harm, but for extremely young children, the elderly, and anyone with a pre-existing medical condition, these surfactants can cause serious health problems. That’s not all that’s in these tablets, though.

      This will be the most common reaction. Tomacco/Shutterstock

      Don’t Eat Bleach, People

      Take sodium percarbonate, a bleaching agent. It’s a dry, granulated form of hydrogen peroxide, and like all bleaches, it is responsible for removing stains from things by introducing a whitening effect.

      Bleaches are oxidizing agents, which means that electrons are removed from these stain molecules, altering its overall structure. This can either destroy them completely, or take away their ability to absorb light and thereby give off its color.

      Again, there is no reason why you should be eating bleaching molecules. Sometimes bleach can be an irritant, but concentrated bleach can be corrosive.

      The bleach in a laundry detergent tablet would probably cause burns to your digestive tract, which can induce painful vomiting. If the bleach is concentrated, the damage will be worse. If the inflammation of the esophagus is bad enough, it will narrow the opening, and digestion will be restricted. One study suggests that the ingestion of bleach, or other caustic materials, could cause “esophageal perforation” in the long-term.

      Ingesting isn’t the only option here, by the way. You can breathe these substances into your lungs too, wherein similar irritant/corrosive effects will manifest themselves – something that can cause varying degrees of respiratory distress and damage.

      One study even notes that the various other chemicals, including some detergents (like ethoxylated alcohol) and other compounds, like propylene glycol, can lead to the depression of the central nervous system. This means that you can become drowsy or, in a serious case, you can fall into a coma.

      The full range of effects, and what chemicals specifically cause them, is unknown at this time – and we’ve reached out to medical professionals for comment. Nevertheless, reports on individual cases, like this one, generally come to the same conclusion: namely, there is a “potential for significant toxicity” from ingesting these tablets.

      Don’t let this be you. Alberto Zanado/Shutterstock

      Oh, The Humanity!

      As noted in a recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the median age for tablet/pod-based exposure to laundry detergents was 3 years of age. The reason for this is that the pods are extremely vibrant and colorful, and toddlers wonder what would happen if such an aesthetically garish product was placed in their mouths.

      As a teenager or an adult, you don’t have that excuse. Don’t do it – you’re engaging in an activity whose click-based rewards simply don’t outweigh the risks.

      Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/this-is-what-could-happen-to-you-if-you-try-the-tide-pod-challenge/

      Mariah Carey Reportedly Nailed Sound Check And Rehearsal Looks Ready For New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Tonight

      Looks like

      But now, unlike last year, she’s actually on stage beforehand preparing for the show! What a concept!

      Ch-ch-check out the behind-the-scenes pictures and video of her pre-show rehearsals and prep (below):

      And more here (below):

      Not cutting any corners!!!!

      According to sources at the event, Carey ran through her sound check with no issues, and she appears ready for tonight.

      Also, it really was her — and not a stand-in — at the sound check this year.

      Unlike last year, Carey’s there and she appears to be motivated to make it happen.

      Good for her!!!

      [Image via FayesVision/WENN.]

      Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-12-31-mariah-carey-new-years-rockin-eve-celebration-rehearsal-sound-check-instagram-video-photos

      Twitter troll opens up after Sarah Silverman responds with kindness

      Image: John Salangsang/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

      When a troll called comedian Sarah Silverman the C-word on Twitter, she responded with level-headed kindness, finding out he was in a lot of pain and eventually helping him pay for his medical bills.

      On Dec. 28, Twitter user Jeremy Jamrozy responded rudely to one of Silverman’s tweets where she was trying to reach out to a Trump supporter in the hope of understanding where they were coming from. Instead of ignoring him or responding angrily, she went in a completely different direction, taking the two down a path that eventually led to her helping him take care of his medical expenses.

      Jamrozy, it turns out, has several slipped discs in his spine, and with no insurance and no way to work through the pain, he is unable to cover the costs of fixing it on his own. Along with that, he was dealing with the trauma of an abuse he suffered when he was 8 years old, he told Silverman on Twitter.

      After a series of back-and-forth messages, Silverman asked Jamrozy to go to a support group. He agreed to go, and apologized for being rude.

      The conversation continued and grew friendlier and friendlier throughout the day, with Jamrozy telling Silverman he enjoys her comedy, is amazed by her love for humanity, and that she’s got herself a fan in him.

      As for his back problems, Jamrozy went for a consultation to see what needed to be done to help him get back on his feet. It was not going to be a simple, cheap path to recovery, so Jamrozy started a GoFundMe campaign and Silverman gave him a shout out on her Twitter.

      In an interview with My San Antonio, Jamrozy said Silverman offered to pay for his medical expenses. 

      With donations coming in from people on his GoFundMe, Jamrozy was inspired to spread that money around to other people who need help in the San Antonio area where he lives.

      “I was once a giving and nice person, but too many things destroyed that and I became bitter and hateful,” Jamrozy told My San Antonio. “Then Sarah showed me the way. Don’t get me wrong, I still got a long way to go, but it’s a start.”

      Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/06/sarah-silverman-troll/

      Cuomo Seeks New York Tax Revisions to Thwart Federal Changes

      New York state would end income taxes on wage earners and make up the revenue with an employer payroll tax that’s federally deductible as part of a restructuring plan that Governor Andrew Cuomo is recommending to mitigate harmful effects of the new U.S. tax code.

      The new federal law limits deductions for individuals’ state and local taxes — raising levies 25 percent on all New Yorkers, no matter where they live, Cuomo said Tuesday. The federal changes could push residents and businesses out of state, the Democratic governor said as he presented a budget for the next fiscal year.

      “We’re doing everything we can to thwart the effects of the federal plan,” Cuomo said. “This is going to be the most difficult challenge that we’ve had to take on because it’s the most complicated, but I have no doubt that this is the fight of New York’s future.”

      Earlier this month, Cuomo said his administration would file a lawsuit seeking to repeal the new federal tax law, arguing that it discriminates against states with high local and state taxes. In his budget speech, Cuomo for the first time fleshed out his plan to further reduce the impact of the federal law by changing the way the state taxes wage earners’ income.

      In the tax-overhaul legislation that President Donald Trump signed last month, the Republican-controlled Congress cut income-tax rates on businesses and individuals across the board. But it also limited the deductions that individuals can take for state and local taxes — including income and property levies — to $10,000.

      That so-called SALT provision is widely viewed as an attack on Democratic-leaning states, which tend to have higher taxes. On Tuesday, Cuomo called the SALT cap “ an economic missile” aimed at New York, which he said pays $48 billion more to the federal government than it gets back each year. The changes will add $14 billion more to that tally this year, Cuomo said.

      New York’s ‘Penalty’

      “It targets New York with a penalty,” he said. Overall, he said 12 states would be targeted by limiting the SALT deductions to help pay for other cuts. “Coincidentally, they all happen to be Democratic.”

      In response, Cuomo said his proposal, the “New York State Taxpayer Protection Act,” would eliminate the state income tax on wage earners. Instead, the state would levy a wage tax on the employer. By doing so, the tax burden would shift from workers — who face new limits on their ability to deduct state income taxes — to employers, who could still take full deductions for such payroll taxes. The legislation would spell out which kinds of companies would be eligible for this treatment.

      “It may actually reduce the liability because it may bring the worker down to a lower income bracket,” Cuomo said. 

      The plan would apply only to wage earners. For other sources of income — including investment gains — the state would continue to run its personal income tax system, Cuomo said. The state Department of Taxation will spell out more details Wednesday, he said.

      Cuomo also said he intends to create state charitable funds for education and health care, which would allow individuals to get state tax credits for their donations. This would mitigate the impact of the federal tax plan on high-income earners, he said. California and New Jersey officials are considering similar proposals.

      The governor also proposed deferring tax credits for companies that receive $2 million or more in credits for one year, which would raise $300 million in state revenue, he said. The federal tax changes — which cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent — will more than make up for that change, he said.

      “They weren’t expecting the tax cut; they got the tax cut,” Cuomo said. “It’ll more than offset the deferral of our credits.”

        Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-16/cuomo-says-new-york-to-alter-tax-law-to-thwart-federal-changes

        Psychiatrist who briefed Dems on Trump afraid restraining the president might look like a coup

        While it seems like everyone in America is reading Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” an article in Vox is getting some attention as well. As Twitchy reported, a Yale psychiatry professor and editor of the book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” in December briefed some Democrats in Congress on the president’s mental state despite having not evaluated him in person. That psychiatrist, Bandy X. Lee, was interviewed by Vox, and her answers, published Saturday, tell quite a bit about the person calling Trump dangerous and mentally unfit to serve. For example, Lee, “who has devoted her 20-year career to studying, predicting, and preventing violence,” blames Trump for an increase in gun violence and claims his decision to locate America’s embassy in Jerusalem is “poking a beehive” in the Middle East. But it’s nothing partisan, OK?

        Byron York highlighted a passage in which Lee says physically restraining the president and evaluating him “will really look like a coup, and while we are trying to prevent violence, we don’t wish to incite it through, say, an insurrection.”

        Read more: https://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2018/01/06/psychiatrist-who-briefed-dems-on-trump-afraid-restraining-the-president-might-look-like-a-coup/

        She Quit Working For Trump. Now She’s Running For Congress To Fight Him.

        WASHINGTON ― Gina Ortiz Jones thought she could work for President Donald Trump.

        When he won the presidency in November 2016, Jones, a career civil servant who served in the Air Force in Iraq under George W. Bush and as an intelligence officer under Barack Obama, stayed in her job as a director in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. But by June, she couldn’t do it anymore. Trump’s plans to gut education and housing aid hit too close to home for Jones, as someone who relied on reduced-cost school lunches and subsidized housing when she was a kid being raised by a single mom in San Antonio. She was also appalled by the president’s hires for top jobs.

        “The type of people that were brought in to be public servants were interested in neither the public nor the service,” Jones, 36, said in an interview. “That, to me, was a sign that I’m going to have to serve in a different way.”

        She found a new way to serve: She’s running for Congress. Jones has never run for office before, and if she wins, she would make history as the first lesbian, Iraq War veteran and first-generation Filipina-American to hold a U.S. House seat in Texas. Her hometown district, Texas’ 23rd, has also never been represented by a woman.

        Jones wouldn’t have been able to grow up healthy or get an education without the opportunities she got from the federal government, she said. The only reason she could afford college, she added, was that she got a four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship — and it infuriates her to see politicians try to take away those chances for others.

        “Talent is universal. Opportunity is not,” she said. “Folks in Congress, they do three things. They create opportunities, they protect opportunities and they erase opportunities. That’s how we have to be thinking about this very plainly.”

        Gina Ortiz Jones campaign
        Jones talks to supporters at a event. She has endorsements from groups including EMILY’s List, VoteVets and Victory Fund.

        Jones, a Democrat, is trying to unseat two-term Rep. Will Hurd (R). It won’t be easy. She has to beat three other Democrats in the March 6 primary, including Jay Hulings, a well-known former federal prosecutor. If she can pull that off, she’ll face Hurd, who has the advantage of being the incumbent and well-financed. As of Sept. 30, Hurd had $870,000 in cash on hand compared with Jones’ $74,000.

        But Jones is certainly viable. She’s picked up endorsements from major national groups including EMILY’s List, VoteVets and Victory Fund. Former Texas Democratic state senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis endorsed her. A couple of weeks ago, Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who gave a passionate speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, announced his support for her campaign, too.

        “With leaders like Gina, our nation’s affairs are in good hands,” Khan said in a video announcing his endorsement. “I am supporting her for Congress because of her selfless, courageous leadership. She’s the leader we need for an interdependent world.”

        If she can win the primary, Jones has some advantages over Hurd. This district, which stretches halfway across the state thanks to insane gerrymandering, has flip-flopped between Democratic and GOP representation for years, with nobody holding it for more than two terms since 2007. Hurd won his first term in 2014 by 2,400 votes against Democratic Rep. Pete Gallego. In 2016, Hurd won by 3,000 votes. Those are pretty close races in a district where roughly 115,000 people voted in the midterm and 229,000 voted in the presidential election.

        This race is also happening amid a wave of Democratic victories around the country, with some high-level GOP operatives already bracing for a possible bloodbath in 2018.

        Jones expressed frustration that Hurd routinely votes against his constituents’ interests but seems to get away with it because of his reputation for being “the nice guy.” Last year, Hurd gave people warm fuzzies about bipartisanship by live-streaming a 1,600-mile road trip with Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke. HuffPost thought it looked fun (even if it was a political calculation by O’Rourke, who proposed the trip and announced a Senate run weeks later). Jones scoffed.

        “When bipartisanship means two dudes get in a car and help each other get elected, we’re all fucking screwed,” she said.

        Instead, Jones ran through Hurd’s record. He voted to delay the implementation of smog reduction measures by eight years, despite 1 in 13 Texans having asthma (with even higher rates in communities of color, like his). He voted nine times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He voted for the GOP’s tax bill, which benefits the rich and raises taxes on middle-class families over time. He’s been quiet about Congress’ failure to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is set to expire and would affect 400,000 kids in Texas.

        When bipartisanship means two dudes get in a car and help each other get elected, we’re all fucking screwed. Gina Ortiz Jones

        It’s particularly outrageous that Hurd hasn’t signed onto a bipartisan bill, the Dream Act, to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Jones said. Trump ended the program in September, and young undocumented immigrants will begin losing protections in greater numbers in March unless Congress passes a law to keep it. If lawmakers fail to act, hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants are at risk of being deported.

        Jones said the uncertainty around DACA is “a huge deal” in Texas’ 23rd District, where more than 70 percent of constituents are Latino.

        “So I push back on the fact that some say, ‘Oh, he’s not that bad.’ His voting record is awful,” she said. “You don’t get to be a moderate just because you don’t say crazy shit.”

        Hurd’s campaign spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

        Since moving back to San Antonio in June, Jones has been living in the house she grew up in. Most people in her community are minorities. Many are low-income. As she’s traveled around the district, she’s met people in border towns living in rank poverty. Some have no running water. Some have no paved roads. Jones said the experience has been a stark reminder of how badly Congress needs diverse voices ― and that now is the time for her to throw her hat in. 

        “There’s just a point where you just ask yourself the question, ‘Can I afford not to do this?’” Jones said. “I think like a lot of women, you’re done assuming that somebody is going to do for you that which you can do yourself.”

        Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gina-ortiz-jones-will-hurd-texas-2018_us_5a4c069ce4b0b0e5a7a94c48

        Trumps War on the Press Follows the Mussolini and Hitler Playbook

        Beneath the madness and the lies of The Year of Trump there remains a constant drumbeat, unyielding and determined. It broke cover on Jan. 22, 2017 when Kellyanne Conway introduced the term alternative facts.

        The abasement of language by Donald Trump and his assorted flacks began long before, but this concept was so naked, so novel and so unblinkingly forthright that it established the rules for the assault to come, just as the first salvo of an artillery barrage signals the creation of a new battlefield where there will be many casualties.

        And lets face it, the English language has taken a real pounding since then. Lies have poured forth from the White House at an astonishing rate: The Washington Post estimated that in Trumps first 355 days he made more than 2,000 false or misleading claims, averaging five a day.

        Trump has spent two years vilifying the dishonest media (including The Daily Beast), even invoking the Nazi chant of enemies of the people. Aided by the alt right zealots at Breitbart, he has successfully persuaded millions of Americans that The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC are seditious forces bent on denigrating and destroying the man they elected.

        It is dismaying that it was so easy for him to do this, dismaying that independent journalism of quality is so easily discredited and dismaying that none of this seems to trouble the Republican Party.

        And lets be clear: The protection of independent journalism isnt something that a lot of politiciansor a good number of the populationreally care about. Yet, in the end, it has really been a strong year for journalism. In particular, two papers, The New York Times and Washington Post, have re-established themselves as bulwarks against abuses of power, as they were at the time of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate.

        Why have these two newspapers in particular once more demonstrated the best of American journalism? Its partly luck. The Post was basically saved by Jeff Bezos whose deep pockets have restored the resources of the newsroom. Under the editorship of Marty Baron they were positioned to seize the Trump moment and rediscovered the art of investigative reporting. Similarly the Times passed through a period in which it struggled to find a new business model for the digital age and eventually found it, enabling its Washington newsroom to become competitive again.

        This underlines the fragile dependency of journalism on enlightened patronageon who owns a newspaper and particularly who owns the two papers that are regarded as national in prestige and potency together with the editorial independence and authority that that position requires. For all its fine reporting over the last year The Wall Street Journal does not have that kind of reputational backbone because it is owned by Rupert Murdoch, blatantly a Trump stooge.

        But the battle is not yet won, and will not be without eternal vigilance. To realize the gravity of where we are now we need more context than is provided by recent history, we need to look at the history of Italy in the 1920s and Germany in the 1930s. In both nations tyrants arose who on the way to seizing power found it remarkably easy to denigrate and destroy independent journalism.

        In Italy, Benito Mussolini came to power in October 1922. At the age of 39 he was the youngest ever prime minister, charismatic and full of energy. He was also careful to move slowly as, almost by stealth, he built a new illiberal state. In a country that for years had lacked unity he proposed a new focus for nationalism: himself. He was Italy. He described a parliament made impotent by its own factionalism a gathering of old fossils. Parliaments powers and the rights of a free press were stripped away.

        The people, Mussolini said in July 1924, on the innumerable occasions when I have spoken with them close at hand have never asked me to free them from a tyranny which they do not feel because it does not exist. They have asked me for railways, houses, drains, bridges, water, light and roads. In that year the fascists won more than 65 percent of the vote in national elections.

        Mussolinis absolute hold on power was made clear on Jan. 3, 1925, when he said: I and I alone assume the political, moral and historic responsibility for everything that has happened. Italy wants peace and quiet, work and calm. I will give these things with love if possible and with force if necessary.

        As the editor, successively, of two newspapers in Milan and with a talent for populist polemic Mussolini had skillfully used the press for his own ends. Now he made sure nobody else would follow his example. Within a few years most of Italys newspapers were suppressed or put under party control. Some smaller newspapers claiming to be independent were still tolerated to give the appearance of freedom of opinion but they were a fig leaf to cover the end of press freedom. Without any effective challenge Mussolinis megalomania flourished. The crowds who gathered for his speeches cried Duce, Duce, Duce! We are yours to the end.

        None of the ministers, officials and party secretaries around him were safe from his caprice. He was always right and anyone who contradicted him was fired. Mussolini was, simultaneously, prime minister, foreign minister, minister of the interior, commander in chief of the militia, and minister for the whole military, army, navy, and air force.

        Some smaller newspapers claiming to be independent were still tolerated to give the appearance of freedom of opinion but they were a fig leaf to cover the end of press freedom.

        These flagrant excesses of the founder of European fascism were later to seem buffoonish against the cold-blooded terror machine that Adolf Hitler built, just as rapidly, in Germany. But there was nothing comical about the 1920s for Italians: they had succumbed very readily to a maniac, and a maniac who understood that the state should control all propaganda (which is, after all, an Italian word) down to details such as decreeing that the national tennis team should wear black shirts.

        In Germany the man who would go down in history as the evil genius of alternative facts, Joseph Goebbels, was appointed Minister for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda on March 14, 1933little more than a month after Hitler came to power in Berlin.

        Goebbels said he wanted a ministry that was National Socialist [Nazi] by birth.

        To staff it he was smart enough to tap into one of the most corrosive influences on the national mood at the time: a grudge, widely held, that Germanys descent into economic chaos had left many of the countrys best educated young people out of well-paid government jobs. From this group Goebbels recruited party zealots who were notably younger and smarter than other Nazi officialshe specified that he wanted those who displayed ardor, enthusiasm, untarnished idealism. (Watching the instant classic encounter between CNNs Jake Tapper and Trumps senior adviser for policy, Stephen Miller, suggests that Miller would have been a perfect recruit.)

        Goebbels priority was to exert immediate control of the pressthe press, he instructed his staff, had to be a piano, so to speak, in the hands of the government. Germanys newspapers had been messengers of decay that were harmful to the beliefs, customs and national pride of good Germans.

        Within a year all of Goebbels goals were achieved. Three previously independent news services were merged into one state-directed national news agency, the German News Service. All journalism was subjected to the policy of Gleichschaltungmeaning that they had to toe the party line on all issues.

        A piano, so to speak, in the hands of the government.
        Joseph Gobbels on the press

        Previously newspaper publishers had been the legal entity responsible for everything that was published. Goebbels issued the Editor Statute that made editors equally accountable and any editor who resisted Gleichschaltung could be removed and, if particularly recalcitrant, would be sent to a concentration camp.

        However, as had Mussolini, Goebbels recognized that the German press should be left with a fig leaf of apparent independence. One great liberal newspaper that happened to have an international following, the Frankfurter Zeitung, was allowed to remain publishing until 1943. Its editors grew expert at a kind of coded reporting with a semblance of neutrality that allowed experienced readers to sense what was really going on.

        Two new and growingly important news outlets, radio and cinema newsreels, were put totally under Goebbels control: We make no bones about it, he said, the radio belongs to us, to no one else! And we will place the radio at the service of our idea, and no other idea shall be expressed through it.

        The collapse of media independence was rapid and complete. But, as with all historical comparisons, this one can be pushed either too far or too little. Plainly America in 2018 is not the Europe of the 1930s and liberal paranoia in itself is not a sound basis for assessing just how dangerous an assault on journalism may turn out to be.

        In 1933 Hitler was at the threshold of creating the instruments of a terror state. We are nowhere near that point. But what is striking now is how friendless the press was. Nobody fought the Goebbels takeover. Mussolini had identified and seized the same opportunity, finding it easy to issue edicts that closed down critical newspapers on the grounds of sedition.

        This might seem astonishing in a country like Germany that had one of Europes most deeply rooted intelligentsias. But the universities were quiescent, the bourgeoisie, the aristocracy and the barons of industry were all tired of the Weimar Republics violent polarization between the fascists and the communists and for them press freedom was secondary to personal interests like jobs and, for the industrialists, to the fortunes to be made from re-armament.

        Of course Trump has little if any grasp of European history and probably only the vaguest idea of who Goebbels was but his use of tweets reflects one of Goebbels basic tenets about propaganda: Berlin needs sensations as a fish needs water. Any political propaganda that fails to recognize that will miss its target.

        So it happens that when it comes to news management Trump has pulled off something that Goebbels would applaud. He has made himself the Great Dictator of the news cycle. To do this he didnt need to knowingly emulate anyone in the propaganda arts because he is directed by his two dominant personal traits: narcissism and paranoia.

        Almost every event is refracted through his own response to it, its media lifespan no longer than can be held in his own gnat-like attention span. His tweets are so bizarre, unhinged and frequent that they effectively confuse and distract much of the competing daily coverage. What seems aberrant at 6 p.m. suddenly seems the new normal by 7 p.m. (As Ron Rosenbaum powerfully demonstrates writing in the Los Angeles Review of Books, getting people to readily accept the aberrant as normal was one of Hitlers most effective early tactics.)

        He has made himself the Great Dictator of the news cycle. To do this he didnt need to knowingly emulate anyone in the propaganda arts because he is directed by his two dominant personal traits: narcissism and paranoia.

        And when Trump faces a news narrative that he cant derail, like the Mueller investigation, he sees it as a violation of his own powers, as he imagines them to be rather than as they really exist under the constitution.

        Mussolini, very early in his rule, did the same thing, equating himself with the nation and regarding any insult to him as an insult to Italy. In Trumps mind it his base that exclusively represents the nationa belief constantly reinforced by Fox News for whom that base is a ratings gold mine. Trump and his lackeys on Fox have succeeded in equating respect for the kind of truth-telling that is built on learning and the ability to marshal facts with a simple demographic: its the exclusive province of metropolitan elites.

        This tactic is based, at least in part, on a condition described by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist. He calls it cognitive ease in which humans tend to avoid facts that are uncomfortable or require work to understand.

        Goebbels understood that the reinforcement of prejudice was an intoxicating weapon of propaganda. Fed the right message, aggrieved and resentful minorities could be made to coalesce into a critical mass of activists. The Trump base has been built on this principle, and feels grateful to be led by such a man with whom they readily identify, even though his real interests (personal enrichment) are the opposite of theirs.

        But perhaps the weirdest side of Trumps perception of his role and office is that in his mind his fate and that of the mainstream media are locked together in a life or death embrace. This is new. No demagogue in recent history has seen the effectiveness of his role being interdependent with a force that for most of the time he purports to despise.

        Consider how he framed this belief when Michael Schmidt of The New York Times recorded one of the most bizarre interviews with him in the Grill Room of his West Palm Beach golf club during the holidays:

        Were going to win another four years for a lot of reasons, most importantly because our country is starting to do well again and were being respected again. But another reason that Im going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if Im not there because without me their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win. And eventually probably six months before the election theyll be loving me because theyre saying, Please, please, dont lose Donald Trump.

        Most of the rest of that interview was delusional drivel that provided an alarming insight into his mental processesin fact, it served as a kind of impromptu warm-up for the revelations of Michael Wolffs book, a kind of journalistic bomb cyclone.

        What Wolff delivered between the covers of a book was an explosive concentration of reporting that isnt achievable through the daily news cycle. His method is really no different than that used by Bob Woodward in his books, notably on the origins of the Iraq war, where whole scenes are reconstructed with dialog without attribution, but carry the ring of authenticity. The difference in public impact is that Woodward was reporting after the event whereas Wolff delivers as, so to speak, the crime is still in progress.

        Some sniffy journalists, David Brooks surprisingly among them, have complained that Wolff doesnt operate according to their understanding of journalistic standards. Well, for one thing he doesnt have the resources of a paper to support him. And he also demonstrates another vital point about the scope of journalism: sometimes the force of one is equal to the force of hundreds. At this moment we need both kinds of consequential reporting, the collective effort of a newsroom and the disruptive brilliance of the loner.

        Calling out the lies hasnt stopped Trump. His motives may differ from those of Mussolini and Hitler. Hes not ideological. In his case autocratic instincts come as a psychological motor in the pursuit of greed and the protection of his unbridled and ludicrous ego. The lack of ideology doesnt make him any less dangerous, though.

        Trump has no time for scruples. With his lawyers unable to kill Wolffs book (can book burning be far off in his mind?) he once again threatened to ramp up the libel laws to prevent the defamation of people like him. Hes trying to block the merger of AT&T and Time Warner in the hope that Time Warner will be forced to divest itself of his bte noir, CNN, hoping that someone more sympathetic to him will take it over, although Rupert Murdoch, the obvious candidate, says hes not interested, and he has been clearly looking for ways to punish Jeff Bezos for his re-arming of The Washington Post in changes to the tax code that would hit Amazon.

        No demagogue in recent history has seen the effectiveness of his role being interdependent with a force that for most of the time he purports to despise.

        All this should be very alarming, but Trump is operating in a worryingly permissive arena. There isnt, it seems, a stable public standard of truth in todays America. This is a culture where scientific truths are dismissed if inconvenient and ignorance is nourished. (Forty-three percent of Republicans believe that climate change is not happening.) One of the foundations of secular Western polities is that truth can be sustained only by honesty in language, that language must be used to interrogate information critically, no matter what its source.

        In this struggle journalism is our last dependable line of defense. Its no exaggeration to say that the health, security, and integrity of the republic is at stake. History is an unforgiving judge and, just as the history of Europe in the 1920s and 30s reveals shameful failures in democratic institutions Americas current crisis will be judged by how effectively, or otherwise, the institutions designed to protect democracy worked.

        No institution can achieve this without being able to operate on a generally agreed foundation of facts, of which the single most consequential fact is that the president is patently unfit for office. The second is that he is being kept in office by the obsequious Republican leadership who remain supine even after the outrage of the shithole outburst.

        Principal among these are toadies like Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who, rather than pursue the investigation of Trump would rather pursue the whistleblower, the British former spy Christopher Steele. Other Republicans are calling for Muellers investigation to be purgedusing a term that Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin all employed to protect themselves. Then there is Ayn Rands posthumous wrecking ball, House Speaker Paul Ryan, who delivered a groveling encomium when Trump signed the so-called tax reform bill, thanking him for exquisite presidential leadership.

        There is a word for people like these. Its a word that needs to be revived from earlier use: Quisling. It was first used as a general pejorative early in 1933 as Hitler came to power, identifying a Norwegian fascist named Vidkun Quisling who modeled his party on the Nazis and, when the Nazis invaded Norway in 1940, urged collaboration with them.

        As is so often the case it was Winston Churchill who gave it a permanent meaning when, in 1941, he said: A vile race of Quislingsto use a new word which will carry the scorn of mankind down the centuriesis hired to fawn upon the conqueror, to collaborate in his designs and to enforce his rule upon their fellow countrymen while groveling low themselves.

        Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-war-on-the-press-follows-the-mussolini-and-hitler-playbook

        Meet 2018’s Newest Bonkers Health Trend: “Raw Water”

        Welcome to 2018, where some things never change. Selling snake oil to those with more money than sense is still a thing, and the newest “health” trend is already upon us.

        According to the New York Times, a new “raw water” movement is springing up in the West Coast of America, particularly in affluent areas like Silicon Valley and San Francisco, in an attempt to “get off the water grid”.

        We’re sure many of you are scratching your heads and wondering what on Earth “raw” water means, and, taking its literal meaning, why on Earth that would be a good thing. So, let us explain.

        “Raw” water (yep, sticking to air quotes) is, according to Live Water – who sell 11-liter (2.5-gallon) bottles for a hefty $37 – unfiltered, unsterilized, untreated spring water, and this is a good thing because unfiltered water has some kind of loosely defined probiotic quality, filtering water removes beneficial minerals and tap water is poisoned by those in charge.

        “Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” Mukhande Singh, founder of Live Water told the NY Times. “Chloramine, and on top of that they’re putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.”

        You can see why people would want to drink what they see as natural and pure water. The danger of lead poisoning is real, as the Flint water crisis of 2016 showed us, and it created feelings of distrust towards publically supplied water. Though this is more an example of what happens when you try to cut corners as officials in the Michigan town decided to stop buying treated drinking water and treat the Flint River water themselves.

        There’s also very little evidence that tap water is less safe than bottled water, after all they are both filtered, treated, and regulated. (And, FYI, fluoride is not a mind-control drug, only conspiracy theorists think that. It does, however, help prevent dental decay.)

        Of course, untreated water carries all sorts of nasties too, and what the proponents of raw water see as dangers to our health are actually important safety measures that can be traced as far back as 1500 BCE when the ancient Egyptians clarified their water.

        Treating water has been saving lives for hundreds of years. Public water utilities in the US started using chlorine to disinfect water in 1908, removing dangerous microbes and reducing deaths from diarrhea, typhoid, and cholera – all spread by contaminated water – to the extent that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called it “one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century”.

        And if the complete lack of evidence that “raw” water is better than any other kind of water doesn’t deter you from throwing your money at this get-rich-quick scheme, perhaps the fact it’s supported by this guy will? 

         

        Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/meet-2018s-newest-bonkers-health-trend-raw-water/

        You can get that $29 battery replacement, regardless of your iPhones health

        Apple hasn’t been super specific when it comes to those $29 iPhone battery replacements. After all, the company would no doubt like to the whole business behind it. What precisely it would take to qualify one’s out-of-warranty handset for the $50 discount hasn’t been spelled out, but it seems to be easier than anticipated. 

        The company had previously mentioned the threshold of “anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced,” which seemed to apply to the in-house diagnostic tests it was running on handsets, recommending a replacement once the battery drops below 80-percent its initial capacity. The actual bar, however, is apparently quite a bit lower, with the company allowing for replacement regardless of testing.

        The news was first spotted by iGeneration by way of an internal memo, and has since been confirmed by MacRumors. We’ve reached out to Apple as well, and will update as soon as we hear something official. It seems likely the company’s simply looking to cause as little friction as possible, in the wake of bad publicity surrounding its policy of slowing down older handsets to preserve battery.

        Many of its chief competitors jumped on the news — Samsung, HTC, LG and Motorola all issued statements noting that they had not implemented similar policies. iFixit, meanwhile, offered its own $29 battery replacement, which, unlike Apple’s apology offering, is good on phones older than the iPhone 6.

        Apple’s own offering runs through this December. More details are available on Apple’s site, where you can also schedule a trip to the Genius Bar. 

        Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/02/you-can-get-that-29-battery-replacement-regardless-of-your-iphones-health/

        Sessions Ending Obama-Era Policy That Ushered In Legal Weed

        Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding an Obama-era policy that helped states legalize recreational marijuana, throwing a wet blanket on the fledgling industry during what could have been a celebratory week.

        The Justice Department will reverse the so-called Cole and Ogden memos that set out guardrails for federal prosecution of cannabis and allowed legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the U.S., according to two senior agency officials. U.S. attorneys in states where pot is legal will now be able prosecute cases where they see fit, according to the officials, who requested anonymity discussing internal policy.

        Shares of pot companies plunged as news of the policy change surfaced, though many began to rebound after investors weighed the potential impact.

        The change comes at a high point for the weed industry. California, the biggest U.S. state and sixth-largest economy in the world, launched its legal marketplace on Jan. 1. Sales in California alone are expected to reach $3.7 billion in 2018, according to estimates from BDS Analytics. 

        Seven other states and the District of Columbia have also legalized cannabis for adult use. Twenty-one additional states have voted to allow the plant to be used for medicinal purposes. The market is expected to skyrocket from $6 billion in 2016 to $50 billion by 2026, according to Cowen & Co.

        Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, has long been opposed to marijuana, equating it with heroin. But this is the first action he’s taken that deviates significantly from the Obama administration. Many in the industry said the news is unsurprising but disappointing.

        “While dismantling the industry will prove impossible, the move by Sessions will sow more seeds of uncertainty in an industry that already has its fair share of risks and unknowns,” said Chris Walsh, vice president of Marijuana Business Daily. “Businesses could be in for a bumpy ride amid this uncertainty, and we certainly could see some types of regional crackdowns or delays in upcoming medical or recreational cannabis markets.”

        Shares Plummet

        The Bloomberg Intelligence Global Cannabis Competitive Peers Index dropped as much as 24 percent after the Associated Press first reported the Justice Department plan. Most companies in that group are small. Still, there are a few big names that could be hit by the changing policy. 

        Constellation Brands Inc., which sells Corona beer and Svedka vodka in the U.S., got involved in the cannabis industry in October when it acquired a minority investment in Canopy Growth, a Canadian marijuana company. Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has also made its way into the Green Rush. It fell as much as 5.7 percent after the news, the biggest intraday drop since May. 

        A tightening of enforcement also would be felt in Canada, where the cannabis industry has blossomed. Ontario’s Canopy Growth fell as much as 19 percent to C$29.06 in Toronto, while Aphria Inc. plunged as much as 23 percent to C$16.59. ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, the first pure-play pot ETF to be listed in the U.S., dropped as much as 9.7 percent, the biggest intraday decline since May.

        Fear and Doubt

        Sessions’s policy may cause investors to think twice before putting their money into the Green Rush, according to Adrian Sedlin, founder of Canndescent, a marijuana cultivation and branded-flower company.

        “Fear, uncertainty and doubt will rip through our industry like a California wildfire because of this,” he said. “Whatever happens longterm, this will retard and limit capital flows into the industry for the foreseeable future.”

        The move is likely to sow confusion among consumers and state officials, and may spark a backlash if state-approved retailers are prosecuted. Sixty-four percent of the U.S. population now wants to make pot legal, according to a Gallup poll released in October.

        But it’s too late to stop the industry from growing, said Laura Bianchi, a partner and director of cannabis, business and corporate transactions and estate planning at Rose Law Group in Scottsdale, Arizona.

        “To undo this industry would be like closing Pandora’s box once it’s been opened,” she said. “It would be a Herculean effort that would undermine another Republican cornerstone, which is the importance of states’ rights.”

        Senators React

        Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, where marijuana is legal, said in a tweet that Sessions’s move contradicts what he told the senator before his confirmation.

        “I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me,” Gardner said.

        Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, said Sessions’s actions are an affront to medical patients who need to use the plant as medicine. 

        “Parents should be able to give their sick kids the medicine they need without having to fear that they will be prosecuted,” she said in a statement. “This is about public health, and it’s about reforming our broken criminal justice system that throws too many minorities in prison for completely nonviolent offenses.”

        Still, the federal policy change may not actually hurt business much at all. Entrepreneurs starting marijuana businesses have already been working under risky circumstances. The plant has remained federally illegal, meaning most large companies — including banks — have shied away. Instead, the business has relied on state regulators, many of whom previously said they would defend the industry through any federal crackdown. 

        “We’re not overly concerned that a change in DOJ policy around cannabis will be meaningfully disruptive to legal adult use cannabis states, given the vocal support offered by these state-level AG’s,” said Vivien Azer, a Cowen & Co. analyst who covers the industry.

          Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-04/sessions-said-to-kill-obama-policy-that-ushered-in-legal-weed

          British Ban on Microbeads to Protect Oceans Comes Into Force

          U.K.’s ban on making products with microbeads — tiny plastic particles in everything from cosmetics to shampoo and toothpaste — takes effect Tuesday in an effort to protect marine life.

          “I am delighted that from today cosmetics manufacturers will no longer be able to add this harmful plastic to their rinse-off products,” said Environment Minister Therese Coffey. “The world’s seas and oceans are some of our most valuable natural assets. I am determined we act now to tackle the plastic that devastates our precious marine life.”

          The plastic beads are added to these products to act as an exfoliant. They are typically so small that they flow through treatment filters, polluting waterways with particles that are ultimately eaten or absorbed by wildlife in rivers and seas.

          Other countries have also taken steps to banning them in products. Former U.S. president Barack Obama signed a bill to outlaw microbeads in rinse-off products in the U.S. in 2015. New Zealand and Canada have also prohibited them, effective this year.

          The U.K.’s is “the strongest and most comprehensive ban to be enacted in the world and will help to stem the flow of micro plastics into our oceans,” said Sue Kinsey, senior pollution officer at the Marine Conservation Society.

          The nation added a 5 pence charge to plastic bags in supermarkets and other shops in 2015. It may also enact other initiatives to try to reduce waste, according to Coffey. Next up will be a ban on the sale of products with microbeads, according to an emailed statement.

          “Now we have reached this important milestone, we will explore how we can build on our world-leading ban and tackle other forms of plastic waste,” she said.

            Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-09/u-k-ban-on-microbeads-takes-effect-to-save-oceans-from-plastics

            Run, Joe, Run? Donald Trump Would Lose ‘Overwhelmingly’ To Joe Biden In 2020

            Ready for 2020 yet?!

            Neither are we, but politicians are definitely thinking about it — and according to one powerful Democrat, it sure sounds like

            According to former Pennsylvania governor and DNC chair Ed Rendell, Biden isn’t just one of the options, he is “a superstar.”

            Speaking on a New York radio show

            The Democrats need a leader — preferably a slightly younger one, and perhaps a woman or a person of color. Maybe everyone could vote for Kris Jenner again???

            The Republicans already have a leader, and he’s one of the worst of all time.

            Oh yeah… 2020 is gonna be fascinating…

            [Image via JLN Photography/Johnny Louis/WENN.]

            Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-12-31-joe-biden-donald-trump-2020-campaign-run-president-election-politics

            Law enforcement raids Newsweek and IBT Media offices

            The New York office of Newsweek and its parent company, IBT Media, were raided by law enforcement on Thursday, according to numerous reports.

            “The law enforcement visit is related to a DA investigation that’s been going on for over a year,” The Outline reported, citing “several sources” in its reporting.”A company lawyer today told employees that the investigation is related to the ‘procurement of servers,’ and that no arrests or indictments have been issued.” 

            Sources told the New York Post that agents were “photographing servers in the offices,” tracking the serial numbers on the machines but not downloading files. The New York Police Department said it was not involved.

            Staffers apparently were misled about the chaos, as The Outline reported, ”Employees were told that it was because a white substance had been mailed to Executive News Director Ken Li, which they were then told turned out to be a false alarm.”

            IBT Media was founded by Jonathan Davis and Etienne Uzac in 2006, and the IRS placed a $1.2 million federal tax lien against Uzac in December 2017, according to the Post. IBT has also been linked to a Christian college founded by a mysterious South Korea pastor who is not believed to be an investor.

            The news came on the heels of a story published by Newsweek that has been mocked across social media. The story inferred that President Trump could be suffering from erectile dysfunction because it was revealed as part of his recent physical that he takes the hair-loss drug Propecia.

            TheWrap media editor Jon Levine spoke with a “Newsweek insider” who criticized the once-proud publication with a vicious statement.

            “Newsweek was once a premier media organization and an incredible springboard for young journalists hoping to grow a name for themselves,” the source told Levine. “The company culture has turned the newsroom into a toxic work environment, while the publication has descended into a content farm for last-resort clickbait.”

            Newsweek sold for only $1 back in 2010 when the buyer was forced to assume the magazine’s financial liabilities. The magazine issued at least 20 corrections in 2017 and even has a page on its website dedicated to its mistakes – though it has not been updated since September. The magazine admitted to more than 50 mistakes in 2016 and recently issued an embarrassing retraction about a story that falsely detailed the life of the Las Vegas shooter’s girlfriend with salacious information that turned out to be fake news.

            The Manhattan district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

            Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.

            Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2018/01/18/law-enforcement-raids-newsweek-and-ibt-media-offices.html

            Sexist Troll Attacks Sarah Silverman On Twitter, And Her Unexpected Response Turns Mans Life Upside Down

            Sarah Silverman is known for her rather dark comedy but her heart is full of kindness. Instead of fighting fire with fire and insulting a sexist troll who called her the C-word, she responded with getting to know him and actually improving his life.

            On the 28th of December, Twitter user Jeremy Jamrozy replied rudely to Silverman’s tweets, as she was reaching out to a Trump supporter in the hope of understanding where they were coming from. She didn’t ignore him nor did she got angry. Instead, Sarah took a completely different route, finding the roots of Jeremy’s anger – his health. Scroll down to read the most compassionate act on Twitter, and join me by making a 2018 resolution to be as empathetic as Sarah.

            Sarah Silverman is known for her dark comedy, but that doesn’t mean she has a dark soul

            So when one Twitter user replied rudely to Silverman’s tweets

            Instead of fighting fire with fire, Sarah had a different idea

            Things escalated quickly after her response

            Everything is heading towards a happy ending

            And the internet applauded Silverman’s kindness

            Image credits: Zebra_Park

            Image credits: Azanmi

            Image credits: MichaelDooney_

            Image credits: unbarn

            Image credits: Ellen_2Kool

            Image credits: RoxieDemartin

            Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/comedian-twitter-response-sarah-silverman/

            Somebody Please Explain the Morning-After Pill to Male TV Writers

            One of lifes more enduring mysteries is how an astonishingly small percentage of television writers understand the female reproductive system.

            Black Mirrors fourth season hit Netflix last week, entertaining audiences with mini-movie-length meditations on all of the ways the tech-driven future will kill our bodies and souls.

            This season is special. All six episodes feature a female lead, since women seem to be a newly-discovered demographic in entertainment.

            But despite the deliberate effort to produce a show that is less pale and less male than most, one episode in particular has some women and public-health advocates rankled. (If you care about spoilers, now would be a good time to stop reading.)

            Episode 2, entitled Arkangel, features a mother named Marie, played by Rosemarie DeWitt, who has a chip installed in her young daughters head that allows her to track the little girls movements and vitals. Complications arise as Sara matures, and boil over when Sara becomes sexually active as a teenager. In the scene that serves as the linchpin to the episodes bloody climax, Marie discovers, through her app companion to her daughters tracking chip, that the girl is pregnant. She drives to a drug store in the middle of the night and obtains Emergency Contraception, which she grinds up and casually adds to her daughters smoothie the next morning. Sara becomes nauseous at school, and the nurse informs her that her illness is due to the emergency contraception she took to end her pregnancy.

            Black Mirror is a fictional show set in an imagined future, but none of the details of Saras pregnancy or drugging make any biological sense.

            Pregnancy doesn't happen right after you have sex, explains Elizabeth Clark, Planned Parenthood Federation of Americas Director of Health Media.

            And emergency contraception doesnt cause a morning-after abortion. Sperm can actually live inside someone's body for up to six days after sex, waiting for an egg to show up to be fertilized, Clark adds. The morning-after pill works by temporarily stopping ovulation so the ovary doesn't release an egg.

            Emergency contraception wont work if pregnancy has already occurred and cant interfere with a pregnancy that already exists.

            Further, the drug is most effective the sooner it is taken after unprotected sex, thus its availability over the counter is helpful to women who dont want to waste precious hours for a doctors permission. It doesnt make any sense, even in the world of Black Mirror, for Marie to hold the pills overnight and casually drop them in her daughters smoothie the next morning; that diminishes the drugs effectiveness.

            Does it matter if nobody in the team behind ArkangelBlack Mirror creator and writer Charlie Brooker, episode director Jodie Foster, star Rosemarie DeWitt, the rest of the cast and crew and production teamcould pass a detailed exam on how pregnancy works? Of course not. But whats unfortunate about this particular mass flub is that their misconception mirrors the misconception contraception opponents rely on to justify restricting womens access to reproductive options.

            Contraception opponents like the Catholic Church, the March for Life, Susan B. Anthonys List (a group that aims to elect anti-abortion politicians, a sort of Bizarro World EMILYs List), and others use emergency contraception and the abortion pill interchangeably, and by design. Belief that life begins at the moment of conception and not the moment of implantation means that anything that might deliberately interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus is the same thing as murder.

            Conflation of emergency contraception and the abortion pilltwo very different medicationsreinforces that belief. Im not sure thats what director Jodie Foster would have intended.

            Black Mirror is far from the first show to get it wrong. Back in 2011, The Walking Dead flubbed a morning-after pill plotline in a nearly identical way. When audiences pointed out the flaw, the shows creator Glenn Mazzara issued a flippant dismissal of their concerns.

            We exercised our artistic creative license to explore a storyline with one of our characters, not to make any pro-life or pro-choice political statement, he said. We sincerely hope that people are not turning to the fictional world of 'The Walking Dead' for accurate medical information.

            Seven years later, TV writers are making the same mistake, Donald Trump is president, and the Department of Health and Human Services is stacked with people who believe that myth. But sure, its just television.

            Film and television have a unique opportunity to portray sexual and reproductive health care in medically accurate and nonjudgmental ways for millions of viewers, PPFAs Elizabeth Clark adds. With access to health care and sex education under constant attack, its more important than ever for us to see accurate storylines when it comes to contraception, abortion, and other sexual health issuesas well as a whole range of peoples authentic experiences.

            Netflix and Black Mirror have not returned a request for comment.

            Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/somebody-please-explain-the-morning-after-pill-to-male-tv-writers

            25 People Share the Worse Examples of Parenting They’ve Ever Seen

            These parenting failures probably shouldn’t have been allowed to have children.