5 Completely Insane Movies Starring Your Favorite Cartoons

Classic cartoon characters are loved by both the young and old. They’re almost like family pets, except better, because they never die and magically have access to dynamite at all times. But because these pop culture Methuselahs have been around since the dawn of entertainment, their IMDb pages are longer than a wolf’s eyes after seeing a pretty lady on stage. Sadly, not all Toons are able to land lucrative gigs hocking sneakers with NBA greats, so a lot of them have to take work where they can get it. And even the most iconic characters have shown up in some weird-ass movies. Such as …

5

There’s A Sex- And Fart-Filled Batman Cartoon

With the current big-screen incarnation of Batman more interested in murdering other superheroes than, say, solving mysteries, it’s natural that some of us have fled back to to the awesome, noir-y version of the Caped Crusader from the DC Animated Universe. For over a decade, multiple people behind shows such as the beloved Batman: The Animated Series have produced a string of direct-to-DVD DC animated films. But even this hallmark of Bat-quality took a major blow this past year, when it cashed in on the popularity of supervillain and CEO of Hot Topic Harley Quinn.

Inexplicably, Batman And Harley Quinn is an over-sexualized mess that relies on cheap frat boy humor. The movie opens with Harley Quinn working in essentially a superhero-themed Hooters, where waitresses are dressed in skimpy versions of superheroine costumes (or skimpier, at least). We get not one but two close-ups of her ass:

Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. AnimationComplete with camel toe. Classy!

But the movie is only getting warmed up. When Nightwing tracks Harley down, he gets knocked out and winds up tied to her bed. Of course she then casually starts undressing in front of him — at which point you have to wonder whether someone accidentally sent the animators a 13-year-old’s fanfiction instead of a script.

Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. AnimationOK, she’s got four cheeks and two cracks. Will someone please show these animators an actual ass?

Then Nightwing gets a boner. In a goddamn Batman movie.

Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. AnimationNightwing and Nightwang.

So Harley turns out the light, climbs on top of him, and they have not entirely consensual sex:

Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. AnimationYou know you messed up when there’s Rule 34 done with more taste.

And because Batman And Harley Quinn hates you, your rosy memories of Batman: The Animated Series, and the medium of film in general, there’s a prolonged sequence in the Batmobile wherein Harley insists Batman pull over so she can take a shit.

Warner Bros. Animation

When Batman refuses, she starts farting.

Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. Animation“Hand me down the Fart-Repellent Bat Spray, old chum.”

Then, as a last middle finger to everything the Batman ethos stands for, the movie ends with Batman deciding to burn a villain to death, and then kissing Harley.

Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. AnimationYou may want to keep open flames away from Harley’s multiple gassy asses, to be safe.

We didn’t think it was possible, but Batman and Harley Quinn makes the DC universe where Oscar winner Holly Hunter handles a jar of piss and Batman cattle-brands sex criminals seem downright classy by comparison.

4

Behold The Horror Of A Greek Live-Action Smurfs Movie From The ’80s

We’re not really sure how to introduce this next movie, other than by asking: Have you ever wondered what would happen if Soviet minimalist filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky had made a low-budget children’s movie funded by the CIA in order to test the potency of their LSD? If so, you might be interested what a plucky band of Greek psychopaths did when trying to make a live-action Smurfs movie.

Smurfs On The Moon, which is all on YouTube, bizarrely opens with the cast and crew getting ready to shoot the movie. We don’t want to be backseat filmmakers, but there’s a reason the opening scene of a Pixar movie is never a bunch of animators booting up computers and opening a bag of Cheetos.

via YouTube

via YouTubeTo clarify, despite the budget, this is not a porn parody.

It’s smurfing hard to explain the plot, as most of it is nothing but a bunch of actors wearing Smurf costumes made by their moms, traipsing through what looks like a public park and singing terrible songs.

via YouTube

via YouTube“This next one’s called ‘I Regret My Theater Degree.'”

And there are so many smurfing songs in this movie, with a surprisingly large number of them revolving around shoving other Smurfs.

via YouTube“The smurf you say to me, mothersmurfer?”

Something finally happens when one Smurf gets into a heated argument with Papa Smurf, perhaps over his anger that the gods have turned them all into monstrosities. When this Smurf leaves, he encounters the evil Gargamel, who looks like he wandered in from a Swedish existentialist drama, and he seemingly just wants get drunk with the Smurfs.

via YouTubeOr at least as drunk as the screenwriter.

But the movie is called Smurfs On The Moon, so eventually, they go to the moon. Strangely, shots of the moon look a lot like the exact same park the Smurfs were in before, only overexposed. This moon trip is also super creepy, which might be because some editing genius decided to play the Shining soundtrack over a bunch of monstrous blue creatures aimlessly wandering a wasteland.

via YouTube

via YouTube

via YouTubeMad Max: Furry Road

In case all of this hasn’t traumatized your kids yet, in the end, the Smurfs all peel their faces off.

via YouTubeAgain, not a porn parody.

See? They were regular people wearing morose ritualistic masks of comic book homunculi. Nothing to get forever nightmares over at all!

3

A Live-ActionWoody Woodpecker Movie Got Dumped In Brazil … Last Year

Animating movies is a drawn-out process — literally. That’s why studios much prefer to throw some cheap CGI at the screen and call it a day. But it’s even cheaper to make a live-action film and toss a CG character in there, like in Yogi Bear, The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle, or any movie featuring Andy Dick. But you might not have heard of the latest addition to the live cartoon slaughterhouse: the new Woody Woodpecker movie. That’s because it was made for release in Brazil … and then just stayed there like it was avoiding a war crimes tribunal.

Universal Pictures

The plot of Woody Woodpecker (or Pica-Pau O Filme) finds a big-city lawyer clear-cutting a patch of woods to build his family’s dream house. And in the family film genre, if you’re a lawyer who cuts down trees, you may as well be the goddamn devil.

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures“Hey, make sure you’re doing it in a pentagram pattern.”

Unfortunately for this family (and anyone in the audience who suffers from migraines), this forest happens to be the home of Woody Woodpecker, the famous cartoon bird whose name sounds like an antique dildo. However, the filmmakers didn’t get the memo about not using cartoon violence in live-action movies, so when his home gets invaded, the whimsical little fellow responds by trying to murder actual human beings. Like this harmless construction worker, who gets zapped harder than an Alabama death row inmate:

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures“Muh Muh Muh mur-der, Muh Muh Muh mur-der, huh huh huh ha huh huh huh huh huh huh!”

In true rampage fashion, not even wives and children are safe from Woody’s murderous wrath. When the lawyer’s family visits their new land, the bird tries to kill them by shoving a cement mixer that looks like Optimus Prime’s dick into their car …

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then, to satisfy his bloodlust, Woody (who, like a demon, doesn’t even cast a shadow) uses construction-grade explosives to bomb the family trailer.

Universal PicturesWhich is a perfect visual for how it did in the U.S.

Despite being made by Universal and featuring an icon from the golden age of animation, the studio rightly decided to throwWoody Woodpecker into the DVD market stateside. But they did properly release the film in Brazil, which has an inexplicable love for Woody. There, the movie shot up to number one at the box office.

2

The Scooby-Doo Gang Meets … KISS?

Landing firmly in the “Let’s throw together some bullshit with a property we own” category, once upon a time, Warner Bros. released Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock And Roll Mystery. The movie finds the Scooby Gang meeting an aging rock band, to the delight of … wait, who was this for, exactly?

The gang teams up with Kiss to, you guessed it, solve a spooky mystery. And it must be refreshing for them to meet adults who are honest and open about being dressed up as ghosts. Also, Daphne is super into Paul Stanley, presumably because the band insisted on accurately portraying how all hot 19-year-old girls want to hook up with 60-something-year-old men in leotards and clown makeup.

Hanna-Barbera

Hanna-Barbera“Let me pop one of our Kiss-brand erectile dysfunction pills while you grab an officially licensed Kiss condom, babe.”

The Kiss amusement park (which in real life is a minigolf course) is being terrorized by a supposed witch who is ruining rides. When the gang catches up with the witch, they end up being transported to another planet via a giant space guitar traveling through a wormhole of cosmic nightmares. Luckily, every member of Kiss knows how to fly, which is what happens if you take a very specific amount of LSD every week, kids.

Hanna-Barbera

Hanna-BarberaThis also doubles as the worst Powerpuff Girls episode ever.

Of course, Scooby-Doo is all about debunking the paranormal, so in the end, it turns out that the “witch” is a in fact disgruntled Kiss employee in a dumb costume. And that trippy adventure to another planet? It was all caused by a hallucinogenic gas. Leave it to Kiss to get the most innocent teenagers on the planet tripping balls.

Hanna-Barbera“This also explains how anyone past 1987 was still interested in listening to their music.”

Perhaps anticipating that this twist makes Kiss seem super pathetic, they add in a bit where it’s revealed that the band does have super powers. So that wasn’t part of the bad trip, but everything else was? Then Paul Stanley makes out with Daphne, which is sadly not followed by a twist of her yanking off her own rubber mask, revealing that she too is Paul Stanley, and this is all taking place inside Paul Stanley’s gross personal fantasies.

Hanna-Barbera“Don’t worry, we’re gonna start selling our own Kiss Valtrex next month.”

1

The Mario Bros. Made Their Movie Debut In A Weird-Ass Anime

You might assume that the first Super Mario movie was that one in the ’90s in which Mario and Luigi battled Dennis Hopper on a set made out of rejected Blade Runner props. However, almost a decade prior, Nintendo tried to give their plumber star his own feature-length anime film, Super Mario: The Great Mission To Rescue Princess Peach. And if you thought the live-action movie that expected us to believe John Leguizamo and Bob Hoskins could be Italian brothers was weird, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Shochiku

Let’s get something really dumb out of the way first: Despite the fact that basically the only thing we knew about Mario in 1986 was his job as a plumber, this movie recasts him as a chronically depressed grocery store clerk, for no reason whatsoever.

Shochiku

ShochikuThere are not enough magic mushrooms to make this job enjoyable.

Also, Mario is himself obsessed with playing video games, suggesting that at least one draft of this script was written by Charlie Kaufman. One late night, Mario’s game magically transforms and a distressed Princess Peach pops out of the TV. Immediately afterward, she gets kidnapped by Bowser, and so we’re off to the Mario races.

Eventually, Mario and Luigi magically enter the video game world to rescue the princess. But while the video games always suggested that the Marios were good at adjusting to alien worlds of magic, the movie versions have a hard time coping. As a result, things get surreal fast, like when Mario finds out that Bowser is going to marry the princess and his self-image literally shatters.

Shochiku

Shochiku

Shochiku*play for full effect*

It’s at this point that the movie bids a fond farewell to the games and decides it has a much better handle on what Super Mario is about than Nintendo themselves. Take Mario’s powers, for example. In addition to superb jumping, Mario suddenly has the surprisingly racist ability to morph into a gun-toting Mexican caricature.

Shochiku

ShochikuAs opposed to being an Italian caricature.

And when the lesser Mario Bro eats mushrooms, instead of getting slightly larger, like you’d expect, Luigi just trips balls and punches Mario right in the face.

Shochiku

Shochiku

Again and again and again.

Shochiku“Why am I always Player 2? Why? WHY?!”

Eventually, the Bros. get a sidekick in the form of a weird dog, because thankfully Toad’s agents had gotten him out of having to do a cameo. Of course, after defeating Bowser, it turns out that the dog is actually a slightly puppet-looking prince …

Shochiku

… who’s engaged to Princess Peach, who then apologizes to Mario for breaking his heart.

Shochiku“Your … your real princess is in another castle. Someday, I hope you find her.”

To the movie’s credit, it’s going to take everyone else another two decades to accept that yeah, Princess Peach is using Mario to constantly get her out of awkward relationship situations — Bowser or otherwise. Speaking of Bowser, in a Marvel-like post-credit stinger, it’s revealed that the King of Koopas is now working at the same grocery store, because even for a murder-crazed turtle monster, there’s no worse punishment than the living hell of customer service.

Shochiku“I’m sorry, but we only accept gold coins.”

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter, or check out the podcast Rewatchability.

We encourage each and every one of you to begin writing these cartoon characters into your own fun stories — start with a beginner’s guide to Celtx.

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

For more, check out The 6 Most Inexplicable Cartoon Adaptations Ever and The 10 Most Disastrous Saturday Morning Cartoon Adaptations.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25489_5-completely-insane-movies-starring-your-favorite-cartoons.html

20 Years Later, Viagra Means Something Different For Millennials

Jason K. was 27 the first time he tried to have sex with a woman and couldn’t get an erection. He knew it wasn’t a physiological problem, because he had no problem getting hard at home while watching porn and masturbating, but the embarrassing episode gnawed at him. Jason grew anxious that it could happen again, so he decided to bring it up at his doctor’s appointment a few weeks later.

After a brief exam, Jason’s doctor prescribed him a small dose of Viagra to “experiment” with. The next few times he tried to have sex, Jason popped a pill beforehand and his performance anxiety vanished.

“He gave me a dose that was a little bit more than I needed, but it was enough that it kind of broke my slump,” recalled Jason, who asked to use his middle name and initial to protect his privacy. But over time, as bouts of anxiety or stress came and went, Jason went on to refill the prescription four or five times. He is now 33, and while he tries to use Viagra as little possible, it has become a regular part of his sex life. He wonders if, in a world without Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications, he would spend more time prioritizing his own mental health care.

That world is difficult to imagine today. Tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of Viagra’s approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. From its conception to its marketing, the little blue pill embodies the might and ingenuity of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry and is a masterful example of how powerful sexual medicine can lodge itself in the psyche — and the medicine cabinet — of first the American man, and then men all over the world.

After scientists discovered that the drug could help men get erections, Pfizer executives began tying the ability to get an erection to other markers of health, like diabetes or heart disease, giving the pill legitimacy in the medical community. It was then famously marketed by Pfizer spokesman Sen. Bob Dole as a drug to help cancer survivors and people with other physical limitations overcome what was then known as “impotence,” casting a sheen of respectability and even nobility on the drug’s ability to make men erect.

Tittered over on television and in the media, the drug was nevertheless hailed by experts for not only providing men with the first non-invasive treatment for erectile dysfunction but also opening up a conversation between men, their partners and their doctors about sexual health issues and how they relate to overall health.

Over the years, Pfizer continued to break the mold with increasingly racy advertisements that seemed to broaden the scope of the use-case for Viagra, sold the pill directly to consumers online and opened up the pill to generic manufacturing before the patent expired — a smart way to regain some ground lost by competing erectile dysfunction drugs.

Two decades on, Viagra has so embedded itself in the culture that it has taken on talismanic properties. Millennial men, who came of age sexually in a world where Viagra was always an option, are encountering the drug at younger ages than the men to whom it was originally targeted 20 years ago, and for more diverse reasons beyond diseases like prostate cancer, diabetes or heart problems to include psychological reasons for erectile dysfunction. 

The handful of studies on this phenomenon suggest that while only a small minority of young men has ever taken erectile dysfunction drugs, men who go to the doctor about erectile dysfunction are getting younger over time, they’re healthier, and they’re exercising more.

Findings from a study among young men who take pills without a prescription suggest that they’re taking them for psychological reasons. While they generally have the same ability to get erect as men who don’t take the drugs, they have less confidence in their erections and lower satisfaction with their sex lives ― which could mean that young men feel they can’t get erections without the drug.

When Viagra first came out … there was really a strong belief that these medications should only be used in men who have a physical cause for their erection problem, and it needed to be pretty severe. Dr. Abraham Morgentaler

HuffPost spoke to five men’s health doctors about younger men asking for Viagra, and they all agreed the pill is so safe that they had no problems prescribing it or a similar drug to patients who may simply need a psychological salve to help them recover from the humiliation of a few episodes of erectile dysfunction with a partner.

Like other storied blockbuster drugs, Viagra was discovered by accident. Scientists in Pfizer’s Sandwich, U.K., laboratory developed the pill’s active ingredient, sildenafil citrate, in 1989 to treat chest pain and high blood pressure. While trials for these conditions were disappointing, test subjects tipped the researchers off to the pill’s unexpected and pleasurable side effect: more erections.

After successful trials, Viagra was approved by the FDA in 1998, offering an easy and much-preferred treatment option to men with erection problems who were using penile injections or implants. But while the drug solved a widespread health issue that men were often too embarrassed to talk about, Pfizer executives faced a respectability problem. Lest it be dismissed as a mere “boner” pill, the pharmaceutical company worked hard to tie it to serious medical conditions like the one that left Dole with erectile dysfunction.

Two years after the drug hit the U.S. market, The New York Times reported that for every million men who had inquired about Viagra, “an estimated 30,000 had untreated diabetes, 140,000 had untreated high blood pressure and 50,000 had untreated heart disease.”

“When Viagra first came out … there was really a strong belief that these medications should only be used in men who have a physical cause for their erection problem, and it needed to be pretty severe,” said Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, a urologist at Men’s Health Boston and author of the book The Truth About Men And Sex. But Viagra has proved to be so safe, and become so common, that Morgentaler compared downing a pill to having a drink or a cocktail before having sex.

“It just sort of becomes a lubricant, if you will, for that kind of pleasurable human activity,” he said.

Jason recognized early on that there was a link between his personal anxiety level outside the bedroom, stressful weeks at work, and his episodes of erectile dysfunction with a partner. Viagra was a way of addressing the symptoms of his angst but not the root causes.

“It might have kind of allowed me a shortcut on certain things,” Jason said about Viagra. “If I didn’t have that option, I might have been more inclined to dedicate myself to staying a little more stress-free and a little more healthy.”

And that’s exactly what makes sociologists like Meika Loe skeptical about Viagra’s effect on male psyches. Popping a pill is far easier than facing your own demons or being vulnerable with your sexual partners, said Loe, who authored The Rise of Viagra a few years after the pill debuted. Growing up with outsized expectations for sexual performance, and then needing to buy a pill to fulfill those expectations, could be emotionally harmful.

“The bar has been raised on what is expected for [men] in terms of sexual performance and optimization (the best, the hardest, the most reliable), and when we buy into this (literally) we can lose a bit of our humanity as individuals in and out of relationships,” she wrote in an email to HuffPost. “Perhaps what we need to do is the opposite ― to be more vulnerable with one another, not less.”

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Millennial men, who came of age sexually in a world where Viagra was always an option, are encountering the drug at younger ages than the men to whom it was originally targeted 20 years ago, and for more diverse reasons.

Patrick Q., 34, first encountered Viagra in high school, where his friends were sneaking pills from their fathers’ medicine cabinets and using it to enhance their sexual performance with girlfriends. But it wasn’t until his mid-20s, when he was dating casually around Chicago and having episodes of erectile dysfunction after drinking, that he started to use it himself.

Patrick, who asked to use just his first name and initial to protect his privacy, figured that he was too young to actually need a prescription. He didn’t think a doctor would prescribe him something to help him counteract alcohol’s effect on erections. So he turned to Craigslist and started buying Viagra generics from dealers who would meet him on the street and exchange the pills for money in their cars.

Looking back on those years, Patrick recognizes how reckless the purchases were. He told HuffPost he never knew whether he was getting a legitimate generic pill or something that had been cut with other chemicals. Patrick also said he felt scared getting into cars with dealers whom he didn’t know, and he was always nervous that the transactions could end up being undercover stings. And yet he kept on buying the pills illicitly because he was afraid he wouldn’t have access to the drug through a doctor.

These kinds of black market purchases are what moved U.K. health officials to designate Viagra as over-the-counter medicine late last year. Instead of getting a prescription from a doctor, men in the U.K. speak to a pharmacist to make sure they don’t have pre-existing conditions or take other drugs that could make Viagra dangerous before purchasing it. There is currently no effort to reclassify Viagra as an over-the-counter drug in the U.S.

Patrick is especially regretful about buying Viagra on Craigslist because he now knows how easy it is to get a prescription from a doctor. Now a Ph.D. student living on the East Coast, Patrick recently visited a urologist for the first time to get a handle on some other medical issues. When he brought up his situational erectile dysfunction, the doctor had no qualms about writing a prescription for him.

“He even stated that he uses it,” Patrick said. “He made it seem like its use is so widespread.”

Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs aren’t risk-free. Their use, and especially recreational use, has been linked to risky behavior like having unprotected sex, and interactions with certain drugs can cause serious health problems like heart attack or stroke due to plummeting blood pressure. There’s also the drug’s infamous warning-as-enticement: “Call a doctor if you have an erection that lasts longer than four hours.” 

Since Jason first started taking Viagra, he has used it through two long-term relationships ― one of which became a marriage a year ago. When he first started dating his wife, he told her early on that Viagra was something that he had to have in the bedroom, and that he may occasionally take the pill before sex.

Marriage hasn’t changed his relationship with Viagra. While he can be more frank with his wife about how he’s feeling, and may be able to plan when to use it more, pressure from work hasn’t let up, and stress from everyday life can creep into the bedroom. That means Jason still needs the pill.

Erectile dysfunction “is still very much tied to my mental state outside of a sexual situation,” he said.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/20-years-later-viagra-means-something-different-for-millennials_us_5ab98ab8e4b0decad04d2fec

Trump Issues Broad Ban on Transgender People in the Military

Trump Issues Broad Ban on Transgender People in the Military

Updated on

  • Move sparks immediate outrage from advocacy groups, Democrats
  • At least four lawsuits have been filed to overturn the ban

President Donald Trump moved to ban transgender people from the U.S. military in most circumstances, the latest in a series of actions that have met resistance from courts though may resonate with his most ardent supporters as midterm elections approach.

Trump’s statement was immediately denounced by civil-liberties groups and Democratic leaders. It capped a week in which the president followed through with his campaign pledge to impose sweeping tariffs on Chinese imports, and ousted his national security adviser, who was seen as a moderating influence, in favor of John Bolton, a hero of the right.

Trump said in the statement late Friday that the new policy would bar those with gender dysphoria. The term describes transgender persons uncomfortable with their biological sex, resulting in significant distress or difficulty functioning, according to a Feb. 22 memo to the president from Defense Secretary James Mattis. Persons with gender dysphoria "may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery," Trump said in his statement.

“Transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition are disqualified from military service,” according to the Mattis memo.

‘Nuanced’ Exceptions

The plan is less broad than a ban the president proposed in July that touched off a legal confrontation and reignited a cultural debate that has already seen fierce disagreements and campaigns in some states to require that students use school restrooms corresponding to their gender at birth.

The administration Friday asked a federal court in Maryland to lift its order against Trump’s prior transgender policy, saying that “far from a categorical ban,” the new rules would turn on gender dysphoria and contain “nuanced” exceptions allowing some transgender individuals to serve. The administration asked for a ruling from U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis in Baltimore by May 23.

In announcing the earlier ban with a flurry of tweets in July, Trump cited threats to troop readiness and morale, as well as costs associated with medical services as reasons to reverse President Barack Obama’s policy allowing transgender people to join the armed forces.

In August, Trump followed with a directive to the military to reject openly transgender people as new recruits, and for Mattis to decide how to handle transgender personnel already serving in the armed forces.

Mattis Memorandum

In the Feb. 22 memo, Mattis said “there are substantial risks” to allowing service by those with gender dysphoria, and their inclusion could “impose an unreasonable burden on the military that is not conducive to military effectiveness and lethality.” The document outlined “limited circumstances” permitting service by transgender persons with gender dysphoria.

Opponents, some of whom had been fighting the administration in court, were quick to responded to Trump’s latest move.

“The policy effectively coerces transgender people who wish to serve into choosing between their humanity and their country," Joshua Block, a senior staff lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement.

Aaron Belkin, the director of the the Palm Center, a California-based institute that researches the military service of sexual minorities, said there was "no evidence to support a policy that bars from military service patriotic Americans who are medically fit and able to deploy."

Pelosi Responds

“Cowardly, disgusting,” is how Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat and the House minority leader, described the ban in a statement. “No one with the strength and bravery to serve in the U.S. military should be turned away because of who they are."

In the 2016 campaign, Trump actively sought the support of socially conservative groups, some of whom supported the bathroom access restrictions, while also promising to “fight for” the gay and transgender community.

Gregory T. Angelo — president of Log Cabin Republicans, a group that advocates for equal rights for the LGBT community — said in a statement that the policy appeared to allow "continued open service of current transgender soldiers," tantamount to an admission by the Pentagon that "there is ultimately no difficulty with the status quo" and that the policy is reverse engineered and may succeed only in "stoking culture wars."

More Challenges

Civil-rights advocates said while some transgender service members might be permitted to continue to serve under the announced policy, the exceptions seemed unclear and the policy was likely to foster a hostile climate for those who do wish to remain in the military. They said they would continue to fight the policy in the courts.

At least four lawsuits have been filed seeking to overturn the ban, and several courts issued preliminary injunctions while the cases proceed. In November, Garbis, the federal judge in Baltimore, called the president’s tweets announcing the change in policy “capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified.”

And last week, a federal judge in Washington said that the Trump administration had failed to identify evidence it might use to defend the policy. That judge, Marsha Pechman, criticized the administration’s earlier claims that no such information could be identified because the policy was not in effect.

Care related to gender reassignment costs the Pentagon $2.4 million to $8.4 million annually, the larger number a little more than 0.1 percent of the military’s entire health-care bill, according to a 2016 Rand Corporation study. By contrast, the military spent $84 million on Viagra and other drugs for erectile dysfunction for active-duty troops, eligible family members and retirees in 2014 alone, the Military Times reported.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-24/trump-issues-broad-ban-on-transgender-people-in-the-military

‘I felt I was being punished for pushing back’: pregnancy and #MeToo

Pregnant women are still being patronised, blamed for our bodies failings, and made to feel guilty about our choices

I spent one third of 2015 about 120 days on bed rest. I moved only to visit a hospital or doctors office, where I was scrutinised and presented with a list of concrete and potential deficiencies. There was certainly something wrong with my cervix, likely something wrong with my hormone levels, probably something wrong with my placenta, and possibly something wrong with my babys heart. Every time I was examined which was constantly a new potential problem surfaced. Having already lost two pregnancies, I was overcome by the looming possibility of catastrophe. I refused to prepare for anything more than a week in advance, as if hope were interchangeable with hubris and therefore deserving of punishment.

Throughout the pregnancy, I was grimly enthusiastic about suggestions, tests, and treatments convinced that the more I endured, the more likely I would be to bring a baby home. I injected progesterone; sustained weekly ultrasounds; underwent a special MRI scan. I attended my appointments with the obstetrician, the maternal-foetal-medicine specialist and the foetal cardiologist. Most of all, I tried not to move. I believed that stillness might give me the best chance of giving birth to a healthy infant. Also, a sense of self-preservation urged me: if I were the most careful patient, then I would not have to blame myself were a tragedy to occur. Lying flat at home, I was in a dull, perpetual panic.

That panic ended two years ago, replaced by the more welcome panic of how to care for a baby. After so much dread, not a single could-go-wrong went wrong. I will never know if the precautions helped, or if everything was fine all along. My daughter, born healthy at full term, is a toddler now, and this, the spring of 2018, is the season of my fourth pregnancy.

Four pregnancies: two losses over two years, followed by one little girl, followed by one baby, currently inside, who occupies a tentative place between a pregnancy and a living child. I assess her week by week: if she were born today, she may never take a breath; if she were born today, she would soon die; if she were born today, she might even live. Yet, for months, Ive been seeing her face, formed and shifting, on a black-and-white screen, beamed out from within me. At the least, she is and has long been decidedly present.

As soon as my now-two-year-old daughter was placed, hollering, on my chest, the bitter struggle to have her receded in my mind. But now that struggle has come back clearly, because it is repeating: specialists, scans, injections, constraints, doomsday scenarios, cautionary tales. But this new pregnancy, which began 18 months later, is occurring in a different setting, in the context of #MeToo. What once seemed like bad behaviour that women were expected to bear has been revealed as oppressive, grotesque and often criminal. Pregnancy and birth experiences do not exist outside the greater culture, but firmly within, along an ugly, interminable continuum.

I entered my recent pregnancy, which began with my personal tradition of early bleeding and confusion, during the Trump presidency, a couple of months before the Harvey Weinstein allegations. My obstetrician, a feminist who skilfully guided me through my pregnancy in 2015, recommended that I see a specialist. She didnt know much about him, except that he had a high success rate with complicated pregnancies. He used aggressive techniques, but shed heard he saved babies.

I went to the specialist for a series of intricate scans. I had 38 vials of blood taken at once; my arm ran out. The specialist diagnosed me with a mild clotting disorder. According to him, it meant that my placenta could be compromised; without treatment, it might not provide the baby enough nourishment. Or then again, it might, as it had before, with my daughter. Thats the tricky thing about pregnancy: nobody knows. If you werent so privileged, if the equipment werent so advanced, you may never learn that something about you doesnt fit the many textbook requirements, yet you may have a robust little baby anyway. Or you might lose that baby and remain mystified as to why.

Once diagnosed, I was instructed to inject a blood thinner into my stomach every day. I was also prescribed progesterone, though my levels were only on the lower end of normal, placed on pelvic rest no sex for six months and scanned every two weeks. I was still mobile, and could continue with my daily life, so I felt lucky. Or that is what I told myself. To conceive my daughter, Id spent years undergoing minor surgeries, miscarriages, fertility treatments. I figured any subsequent conception would be a similarly long, painful journey. Just in case, when I stopped breastfeeding, I visited my obstetrician to discuss birth control. Six weeks later, I was staring at a plus sign on a stick. My husband and I had been sloppy just once, but as any idiot teen knows, once is enough.

The timing wasnt ideal. Beneath a thick veneer of gratefulness, I felt a guilty, unspoken regret. In what I considered the selfish recesses of my mind, I longed to be free. The path to parenthood, as it unfolded, had been invasive and constant, shocking in its intensity, grief-inducing, medicalised and without pleasure until my girl was born. Then I felt that I belonged to her. We were physically attached to each other, breathing the same pocket of air, and it had taken me more than a year to begin working in earnest again. After so long, I finally had autonomy over my own body and then, before I knew it, someone was residing within me. But that tiny resident was the priority, I told myself. I wouldnt dare tempt the universe with complaints.

At my 20-week check, the ultrasound technician informed me that, while my baby was in perfect condition, my cervix – the portion of the uterus that stands between the baby and the world – was shortening prematurely, the condition that had caused me much grief two years earlier. The official diagnosis is incompetent cervix. In a competent female body, the cervix stays long and closed until full term, and then dilates. But in an incompetent female body, the buffoonish cervix can shorten and open early, allowing a baby to tumble out. The incompetent cervix joins a number of curious obstetric diagnoses: the inhospitable uterus, hostile uterus, hostile cervical mucus, blighted ovum. Meanwhile, men experience premature ejaculation and not inadequate testicles; erectile dysfunction, but never a futile penis. They exhibit problems, but their anatomy is not defined as lacking. Pregnant women over 35 are of advanced maternal age, just a slight improvement over the previous term, only recently defunct: elderly. Those who have suffered more than two miscarriages are known as habitual aborters. We experience spontaneous abortions. A bad habit, that impetuous self-aborting: if only we had the selfcontrol to stop.

The specialist entered the exam room and inspected the images of my bungling cervix. He would perform a cervical stitch the next day, in an emergency surgery. My obstetrician had performed a similar intervention during my prior pregnancy, but she wanted a specialist to do it this time. Sitting on the examination table, I remembered my previous experience with bed rest. My obstetrician had steadfastly declined to order it, but another doctor had encouraged me to move very little and, terrified and vigilant, I decided to obey him. I recalled how, isolated and dull, I had worked half-heartedly on the edits of a book Id spent four years researching and writing. Then, I had stayed with my mother in a building with an elevator near the hospital. Now, I was living in a third-floor walk-up with a dog, a toddler, a babysitter on the payroll and deadlines to meet. The specialist appeared unmoved by the logistics of my life. I asked what I could expect in terms of physical activity and continuing with work. He did not answer, but told me to stay still for 24 hours.

The next day, I was wheeled into an operating room, where a male anaesthesiologist commented repeatedly on a tattoo on my back and then grappled, mumbling, to insert a needle into my spine, just above my bare ass; general anaesthesia is bad for a baby, so I would be awake during the procedure. My feet and legs went dead. I was manipulated into a most undignified position, a sort of naked traction. A coterie of male medical professionals took to fixing my most intimate parts.

Later, my husband told me he knew how I must have felt. No, I said. Imagine that over the course of your lifetime a flock of people, many of them women, have prodded, inspected and peered at your nether regions. Usually annually. Sometimes weekly and sometimes, while sighing in exasperation, shaking their heads in disappointment, or nodding approvingly. Imagine, then, that for the second time in as many years a few of these women hung your legs up while you were fully conscious and sewed up your balls. My husband, a shade of pale grey, muttered that I was right: he couldnt relate.

As instructed, I didnt leave the house that week. I took a cocktail of drugs. They made me sick, but, according to the specialist, they were good for my uterus. But they might be bad for the baby. But if I didnt take them, and the baby were born early, that would be worse for her: disabling, fatal. I stopped trying to assess the situation. I wondered if I would lose the baby because of either my flawed body or my poor choices or for no discernible reason at all. I also wondered about other things: if I would get to take a walk, pursue a lead for a story, keep up contacts, honour contracts.

At my next appointment, I learned that the baby was thriving and the surgery had been successful. Nothing was guaranteed the situation could change silently and abruptly but this was good news. The specialist nodded and seemed satisfied as he inspected the ultrasound images of my insides once rebellious, but now pliant and deferential. Before he left the room, I asked again about the restrictions on my job and movement.

You care only about your work, he said, suddenly raising his voice. Youre pressuring me.

I am not a woman who shies away from conflict and have never once been mistaken for a people-pleaser. But had this interaction occurred two years earlier, I would have experienced a furtive rush of fear, convinced that I was at the mans mercy. For the sake of my baby, I would have told myself, I would do well to yield, to calm him, to agree, to defuse and then to go home and privately rage, feeling young and dumb and female. But now I saw the situation from the outside, through the lens of the feminist uprising that saturated the news. From this view, a woman was sitting on the examination table, the specialist standing before her. He was up, she was down. He was the expert, she the civilian. He had recently been elbow-deep inside her. Each time they met, only one of them was carrying a baby they could lose. And only one of them was wearing pants.

I want to know how my medical situation will affect my professional life, I said, not sweetly, and looking him straight in the eye. You told me that we would assess it this week. I want to know what to expect.

What can you expect? he said, irritated. Fine, you can expect to be on bed rest for the rest of this pregnancy.

This was punishment, I felt, for pushing back: four months confinement.

Bed rest is not widespread protocol. It is, in fact, highly controversial. Some medical experts have deemed it ineffective, unsupported by data and risky: it can cause blood clots, muscle atrophy, depression, the loss of a job or money. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists cautions against it in most cases. Many argue that its an old-fashioned recommendation made when the stubborn mystery of female biology asserts itself. Doctors and patients want a solution, and bed rest allows them to prescribe and undergo something, rather than face the disconcerting reality of the unknown.

Then again, millions of women and doctors across the world have sworn by bed rest for centuries. They consider it a tried-and-true method to keeping a baby in. They have seen it work. To give your child a better chance, you simply have to stop your life for a few months. Can you really resist? I knew about this controversy, so when the specialist insisted that bed rest was imperative, I wanted him to justify himself. I reminded myself that if I felt inferior to this man, it was only because he wished it to be so, not because it was true. I asked again for him to explain his reasoning.

He took another tack. Ive had people disregard me and they lose a baby theyve wanted for 10 years, he said. Because of an obsession with work.

A woman who wanted or needed to work, then, and in so doing defied his orders, could be said to have caused her babys death. It seemed to me that he chose to place blame on that woman to imply that she had caused her own loss, even when that loss may have been unavoidable. Though this man had made a successful business in womens health, I understood then that he didnt know a thing about the interior lives of women.

I left the clinic. I would have liked never to return. But here is the pregnant womans conundrum: we are not unto ourselves. We hold within us the beginnings of other people; were supposed to preserve our own independent humanity while growing new, dependent humanity. Its a hard balance to strike, and were led to believe any decision, mistake, slip of the mind, can have atrocious consequences. Were expected to subvert everything in our lives if necessary. Also, if not necessary.

The expectations placed upon women by the obstetric establishment especially if our pregnancies dont follow a perfect course, and often even when they do are presented as normal. The field of obstetrics requires women to enter into an absurd realm, or perhaps to simply remain within the absurd realm in which we already exist. Were subjected to methods that verge on Victorian: to remain prone, and in extreme cases tilted on a hospital bed at an angle for months at a time; to forgo work, pleasure, money; to allow painful interventions and invasive procedures; to agree to major abdominal surgery. Were told its for babys sake; anything other than blind acceptance is selfish at best, murderous at worst.

Theres no easy alternative. Decades ago, a group of midwives, frustrated that pregnancy was treated as a condition and women as incapable children, created an empowering birth ideology, encouraging women to be confident about their bodies life-giving abilities. Their devoted following has morphed into a movement, itself sometimes restrictive and dogmatic, in which women are encouraged to forgo pain medication during labour which doesnt hurt, some adherents claim, but is simply a series of powerful sensations. By following this approach, the midwives claim, a woman and her child can avoid a host of devastating health disorders, possibly caused by hospital interventions. While this can result in positive, liberating birth experiences for some, its not a safe or reasonable option for others, especially those with high-risk pregnancies or those who dont have access to properly trained midwives. Plus, some women just want the epidural.

Whatever approach you pick, there are rules, and any deviation can result in devastation. Pregnant women can ruin everything by eating sushi, ricotta or beansprouts; drinking wine or coffee; using toxic face cream; riding a bicycle; vacuuming; working a long shift; taking out the dog; sleeping on our backs; having sex; reaching climax. By caring for older kids or trying to make a living. By not having supportive partners, or enough money for babysitters, or helpful relatives. We can ruin it by being black, sick, poor, or rural all factors that make a pregnancy or labour more dangerous. By moving, or not moving, taking medicine, or refusing to take medicine. By giving birth in the hospital, or in the home. Stress is harmful. We should relax. A bath could help, but could also be perilous. I often wake at dawn, hand on stomach, feeling my baby shift. I dont know how to do right by her.

So many doctors deal in the fear surrounding pregnancy. They can impose terror upon their patients with their diagnoses, prognoses, protocols and regulations, handed down with meagre explanation, no personalisation and little consideration for the intricacies of a womans life. They are part of a system that should be tipped towards supporting a woman during a time of vulnerability, but instead removes her free will and constrains her, while making her responsible for almost any tragedy that may befall her or her baby.

Women now make up more than half of obstetrician-gynaecologists, but the field was designed and dominated by men for centuries. I dont need the specialist to know what it is to give birth, to be a woman, a mother. I dont need him to be relatable, comforting, permissive, protective or a pal, a dad, a god or saviour. I do need him to acknowledge my humanity while dispensing his expertise. I expect him, and his contemporaries, to be honest about the mysteries of pregnancy and birth honest with themselves and their patients.

For all the research and money poured into this realm of medicine, so much remains unknown, unknowable. One cannot compare two treatments of the same pregnancy, nor can one experiment on pregnant women. I cannot judge whether it is right, then, to approach complications in a pregnancy as aggressively as possible. I do know that medical restrictions can radically affect a womans life, and because of this, the choice of how to proceed should not be a doctors to enforce. A woman should be able to choose how to conduct herself, rather than do it under threat. She must not be asked to pay a ransom of her own movement and free will.

I went back to my obstetrician. After discussing my situation, she and I decided together that I would stop many of the specialists interventions. But I have still chosen to follow some of his recommendations. I administer my shots. I limit my movements when I can. But I wonder: am I erring on the side of caution, or on the side of fear?

During my last pregnancy, I didnt ruminate on how the way women are treated during birth is linked to a cultural idea that the female body must be subdued, immobilised and controlled, and if the owner of that body is good and magnanimous, if she is on her way to becoming a wonderful mother, she must capitulate to any demand placed upon her. I didnt wonder why, if growing a baby and giving her life is such a powerful act, the experience of doing so is profoundly disempowering. I didnt ponder structures or systems. I just wanted to meet my daughter.

Times were different then, even though it wasnt long ago. More women lived in a sort of collective denial, accepting the unacceptable. I was different, too. Im a mother now, and I could say Im thinking of my two-year-old, and of the better world she deserves. But, really, Im thinking these days of what I deserve, not as a mother or a pregnant woman, but just as a human being, at once apart from all of that and intimately one with it. Im thinking of how I should be treated, for the person that I was before I got pregnant, and the person I will be after I am pregnant. The person I have been all along.

Commenting on this piece? If you would like your comment to be considered for inclusion on Weekend magazines letters page in print, please email weekend@theguardian.com, including your name and address (not for publication).

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/17/punished-pushing-back-pregnancy-metoo

4 Hilarious Side Effects Of Living Next To Businesses

Living near industry has its pros and cons. Sure, the nuclear power plant means everybody in town has a steady job, but it’s also why little Suzy is her own nightlight. But even when they’re not poisoning water supplies or causing property values to go down, there are plenty of other, weirder ways businesses can turn neighborhoods into psychedelic hellscapes. For example …

4

The Viagra Factory Is (Reportedly) Giving Boners To All The Locals

Life is sweet in the Irish village of Ringaskiddy. The scenery is lovely, crime is low, and the weather is fairly nice for Irish standards. But still, being a Ringaskiddyite is hard living and hard work, and it gets harder with every breath you take. Why? Because there’s Viagra in the air.

Located in County Cork, Ringaskiddy is home to one of Pfizer’s pharmaceutical plants — specifically, the plant that makes most of the world’s supply of Viagra.

Pfizer IrelandPetition to change the name from Cork.

And according to locals, there’s often a stiff breeze of fumes from the factory that’ll put a spring in your step and a tipi in your pants. Medical professionals attest to the very visible effect of Pfizer’s local business. On a windy day, many a man (and dog) can be spotted walking around “in a state of sexual excitement.” And you know how the old adage goes: Where there’s smoke, there’s a bunch of raging erections.

Naturally, Pfizer insists the claims are complete baloney, stating that their “manufacturing processes have always been highly sophisticated as well as highly regulated.” The company maintains that airborne boner dust is nothing but a myth, and the entire town is merely enjoying a group placebo effect. Not that the locals mind either way. A Ringaskiddy woman describes the town as having become a sort of Mecca for men with erectile dysfunction. She’s also quick to mention that she’s never once been lonely in the years since her husband’s passing. In Ringaskiddy, love is always in the air. Or something close enough, at least.

3

Your Garage Doors Won’t Work If You Live Near A Military Base

If you live near a military base, it’s reasonable to expect certain minor inconveniences, like packed bars or the occasional tank double-parking in front of your driveway. Then there’s the slight discomfort from living less than a blast radius away from what army folks proudly call a “high-value target.” But if none of those are reason enough to stay put, the military has more high-tech ways of keeping you indoors.

As it turns out, if you live within about 15 miles of a base, you really shouldn’t bank on your garage door opener working very often. In 2013, some 500 Georgia homeowners near Fort Gordon found themselves frantically clicking a remote like their TV had gotten stuck on Bravo. Since 2011, the same thing has started happening all over the country, including to residents of Norfolk, Virginia, Puget Sound, and Orange County, California, to name a few. Still, of all the excuses to be late for work, not being able to get out of your garage because the biggest army in the world won’t let you is one of the better ones.

Ken Kively/The Los Angeles Times“Oh God of War, please accept this token of my humility and allow me to go to my budget meeting.”

What’s causing the problem? Radio waves. Since World War II, the 380-399.9 megahertz range has been reserved by the Department of Defense for military communications. However, the frequencies were so infrequently used that some garage door manufacturers started “borrowing” that band without the military ever noticing. This changed when bases started switching to the relatively new Enterprise Land Mobile Radio System, creating a lot of interference on these channels and, as a result, a lot of dented cars. Military base neighbors wanting smooth garage action can buy a $60 device that changes their frequency, while others get to deal with the military randomly revoking their driving privileges. Fortunately, since the military doesn’t use the frequency for anything super-duper top secret, you’re not going to accidentally launch any nukes by pressing the button for your garage … probably.

2

An IHOP Will Make Your Entire Building Smell Like Bacon

Bacon is a close third to air and water when it comes to human necessity. There are few things that aren’t made better with bacon, which is why we have things like bacon soap, bacon condoms, bacon ice cream, and bacon vodka to add variety to our bacon-filled lives. But while most of us (secular types) think there’s no such thing as “too much” bacon, a certain group of New Yorkers begs to differ.

We’ve all had one of those neighbors whose cooking is a bit too pungent for our tastes, but what if that neighbor is a restaurant that pumps out the flavor 24/7? Since an IHOP branch opened up on their ground floor, the tenants of a New York City Union Square building have faced a particularly crispy calamity. The smell of “rancid bacon” has been wafting through the complex, the greasy cloud going up as far as the 11th floor. And because this IHOP is open 24 hours a day, these people are basically living on top of a round-the-clock bacon smell generator.

Google MapsI Have Odor Problems.

In fact, it had gotten so bad that the tenants lodged multiple complaints with the Department of Buildings in hopes of ridding themselves of bacon once and for all. How much beef could these people possibly have with pork? Quite a bit. According to one resident, the smell can be so overwhelming that it “clouds her thinking.” She added, “I just imagine it: a film of crap on my furniture, on my rugs, on my walls … Is it in my hair? Do I smell like IHOP now?” Unfortunately, after their initial salvo against city hall, the story simply disappeared, and the 14th Street IHOP has been filling the skies with greasy smells without an end in sight. It just goes to show, you can’t fight Big Bacon.

1

Whiskey Distilleries Coat Everything Nearby In A Black Fungus

Living in a town with a distillery must be great. The economy thrives, it puts the town on the map, and you can get absolutely wasted on the cheap. Surely, there are no downsides of living in Booze City? But while the residents are constantly painting the town red, the booze itself has a nasty habit of painting the town black.

Munchies/ViceThe fungus amongus.

If you’re a whiskey enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of the so-called “angel’s share,” the portion of the liquor that escapes from barrels and rises to the heavens during the aging process. Sounds harmless, what with the angels getting wasted and all. But ethanol is more dense than air, so instead of drifting upward to inebriate the heavenly, it eventually slumps back down to Earth, probably looking for a Taco Bell that’s still open.

But by the time the ethanol drops down again, it will have had a boozy hookup with moisture in the air, giving birth to a bastard called Baudoinia, or whiskey fungus, which has a sticky, sooty quality. So when the ethanol does its walk of shame back to the ground, it brings the fungus with it, coating every surface within a couple of miles of the factory in in disgusting black film — even stainless steel. Sure, you can get rid of it with some soap, a pressure wash, and some light-to-medium swearing, but since it comes right back, what’s the point, really? And the black gunk isn’t just ugly; it damages the buildings and cars it gets its hands on. It really is like your one buddy who’s constantly wasted, right down to the yeast infection.

Munchies/ViceI didnt see the stop sign because of all the whiskey is actually a valid excuse here.

Why live by an IHOP when you can just order their pancake syrup online?

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For more, check out 6 Bizarre Realities Of Life In A Town Owned By Disney and They Shoot ‘The Walking Dead’ In My Town: 6 Weird Realities.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25460_4-hilarious-side-effects-living-next-to-businesses.html

Millennial Viagra Startup Hims Is Now Worth $200 Million

Hims, a San Francisco-based e-commerce startup selling men’s wellness products, has raised $40 million in funding from venture firms IVP and Redpoint Ventures, according to sources familiar with the deal. The new round values Hims at $200 million not including the funding, the sources said.

Launched in late 2017, Hims has already sold around $10 million worth of products for baldness and erectile dysfunction, according to a source. The company, which did not comment on the funding, has been called a “Goop for men.”

Hims is proof of how quickly a direct-to-consumer business—one selling items exclusively online—can go from zero to millions in sales with an Instagram-friendly brand, a good digital marketing strategy, and some venture funding. Hims follows in the footsteps of Warby Parker, the online glasses startup, and Casper, the online mattress startup. Now there’s a direct-to-consumer brand for just about every product in one’s medicine cabinet, from contact lenses (Hubble) and acne products (Curology) to birth control (Nurx), braces (Candid), electric toothbrushes (Quip) and vitamins (Ritual).

Within the niche of millennial male insecurities, Hims is not alone. The company competes with Keeps, a hair loss-focused startup, and Roman, a startup aimed at treating erectile dysfunction. Both have raised a small amount of venture funding.

Hims’ sleek branding tells men that baldness and erectile dysfunctional are “optional.” “Prevention. More effective than denial,” the website declares, illustrating the point with a phallic cactus in a clay pot.

Hims had previously raised $7 million in venture funding from Thrive Capital, Forerunner Ventures and SV Angel, according to Crunchbase.

If You Buy It

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/millennial-viagra-startup-hims-is-now-worth-dollar200-million/

Biohacker Injects Himself With Stem Cells To “Get A Bigger Dick”

If you have a look on Ben Greenfield’s personal website, it will tell you that he is a personal trainer, holistic nutritionist, and health expert, but given his latest stunt, he might want to retract that last section.

Greenfield is also one of a growing number of biohackers: a group of people who are not content to sit and wait quietly for the scientific community to open up medical procedures to the public after years of tests and regulatory processes. They are willing to put their own health and safety on the line – as long as it grants them a fast track to the latest science has to offer.

Some biohackers test out experimental medical treatments. Greenfield’s ambition is far more banal. He wants a bigger penis.

He told Gizmodo: “I wanted to go from good to great, and to get a bigger dick.”

In his latest effort to achieve this lofty ambition, Greenfield had his own stem cells injected into his penis during a procedure at Floridian biotech faculty, US Stem Cell, last November.

Relevant side note: The clinic received bad press last year after three patients taking part in an unproven stem cell therapy went blind. They also received warnings from the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) concerning “significant deviations”.

Earlier this month, Greenfield and Kristin Comella, Chief Science Officer at US Stem Cell, held a Q & A session via webinar to explain the treatment to a curious audience.

The process began by extracting stem cells in Greenfield’s fat cells. These were then injected straight into his penis.

“You don’t feel a thing other than a little bit of pressure,” he assured viewers.

But did the bizarre experiment work?

If you take Greenfield’s word for it, yes. Yes, it did.

“With penis injection … it took about 3 to 4 days to kick in and the main things I noticed were significant increase in erectile function, a significant increase in size in what we call ‘at rest,’ better orgasms, better blood flow — the anatomical manifestations cannot be denied,” the personal trainer revealed in a statement.

Though when asked by Gizmodo had he measured his penis to confirm the size change, he admitted: “I haven’t taken out a ruler”.

There is very good reason to remain skeptical. Yes, there has been some research to suggest stem cells can help men suffering from erectile dysfunction but trials are still in the early stages and there is diddly squat to say stem cells would have any effect on a healthy penis.  There is also the risk of infection and unknown side effects to consider, all for a procedure that probably won’t do very much.

But when it comes to “improving” their manhood, whether it’s size or color, there seems very little some men won’t try. 

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/biohacker-injects-himself-with-stem-cells-to-get-a-bigger-dick/

Weinstein Forced Staff to Corner Starlets, Schedule Sex, Inject Erection Drugs, New York Attorney General Claims

Harvey Weinstein threatened to kill employees and their families, according to claims in a new civil-rights lawsuit filed against the now-notorious movie mogul, his brother Bob Weinstein, and their empire, The Weinstein Company.

Shocking allegations about the alleged serial sexual harasser were submitted in a suit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The complaint was filed in New York County Supreme Court late Sunday. It alleges stunning violations of the states human rights, civil rights, and business laws.

It claims Weinstein regularly berated women using gender-based obscenitiescalling female employees c–t or pussy instead of using their first names when he was angry. In addition to the sexual harassment, bullying, and allegations of sexual assault, Weinstein allegedly threatened the lives of his employees, saying I will kill your family, and, You dont know what I can do.

Weinstein often bragged about his connection to political figures and said he had contacts within the Secret Service that could take care of problems, the lawsuit alleges.

The court documents also claim that the management and board at the company were repeatedly presented with credible evidence of [Weinstein]s sexual harassment of employees and his use of corporate employees and resources to facilitate sexual activity with third parties.

In one episode, Weinstein fired a male assistant for being just a fucking f—-t boy, a stupid fucking f—-t boy, according to an email complaint sent to human resources about the incident.

According to another formal complaint made to the companys human-resources department, Weinstein berated a female employee in 2012, threatening to cut [her] loins, which traumatized her and made her feel forced out of her own job. She said in the complaint that the episode caused her severe stress. Her complaint was allegedly resolved through a deal involving a non-disclosure agreement.

In addition to the threats, at least three sets of employees were required to help Weinstein make sexual conquests, according to the suit.

The company employed one group of female employees whose primary job it was to go with Weinstein to events and facilitate his sexual conquests, the lawsuit states. Those women were kept on the payroll in various cities, including London, Los Angeles, and New York. Witnesses claimed they were called Weinsteins wing women.

The second group was made up of women who were compelled to take various steps to further [Weinstein]s regular sexual activity, including by contacting Friends of Harvey and other prospective sexual partners via text message or phone or at his direction and maintaining space on his calendar for sexual activity.

Members of this group at various times allegedly had to handle Weinsteins erectile-dysfunction shotsand even administer the injections. Others had to prepare rooms in his office for sexual activityand clean up after it was over.

The third, predominantly female group of employees responsible for such demeaning work, according to the lawsuit, had to facilitate Weinsteins sexual activity by meeting with prospective sexual conquests and then following through on the employment opportunities promised by Weinstein afterward.

Women in each of the groups, according to the lawsuit, described a hostile work environment created by such activities that was demeaning and humiliating.

His assistants, according to the lawsuit, maintained copies of a document they called the Bible, which detailed Weinsteins likes and dislikes and names that would help arrange sexual activity for him.

Weinsteins drivers, in Los Angeles and New York City, were all said to be required to keep condoms and erectile-dysfunction injections in their cars at all times.

Schneiderman alleges that Bob Weinstein, who was deeply aware of his brother's sexual misconduct, did nothing to stop it.

In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Schneiderman said the 4-month investigation revealed flagrant misconduct worse than anything else hes seen at any other company.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, the suitwhich seeks restitution and damage payments for Weinsteins alleged victimswill likely delay the sale of the company, which was expected to close this weekend. According to The New York Times, the company was anticipating a deal that would have brought in $275 million, as well as the assumption of $225 million in debt.

Any sale of the Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched, Schneiderman said in a news release.

We believe that a fair investigation by Mr. Schneiderman will demonstrate that many of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein are without merit, the movie moguls lawyer told USA Today, in a statement. While Mr. Weinsteins behavior was not without fault, there certainly was no criminality, and at the end of the inquiry it will be clear that Harvey Weinstein promoted more women to key executive positions than any other industry leader and there was zero discrimination at either Miramax or TWC.

More than 50 women have come forward since October with allegations against Weinstein that include everything from rape to sexual harassment. His alleged victims include starlets like Kate Beckinsale, Rose McGowan, Lupita Nyongo, Uma Thurman, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/lawsuit-weinstein-forced-staff-to-corner-starlets-schedule-sex-inject-erection-drugs

Murder Meets #MeToo in France

NICE, FranceWas 34-year-old Jonathann Daval the perfect son-in-law? An all-around good guy? Did he just flip out in one fatal moment because of his domineering, castrating wife, and then kill her?

Or was he a sociopath blubbering through a press conference about his missing spouse, and crying crocodile tears during her funeral after her partially burned body was found buried in the woods in the Haute-Sane?

Last week, after more than three months playing the devastated widower who claimed his wife vanished after going jogging, Daval was arrested by police. He said he was innocent. One day later he confessed to killing her but said it was an accident after an argument.

Time was, this murder thats gripped France since October would have just been a pulpy tale of a stormy marriage complicated by struggles with infertility and, possibly, sexual dysfunction on the part of the two-faced husband.

Instead the strangulation of Alexia Daval, a 29-year-old bespectacled blond bank employee in Gray-la-ville in eastern France, has turned into the countrys unlikely #MeToo murderin part pitting Frances minister of gender equality, Marlne Schiappa, 35, the youngest member of President Emmanuel Macrons Cabinet, against Jonathann Davals outspoken defense attorney.

Randall Schwerdoffer, one of two lawyers from nearby Besanon who is representing Daval, suggested that his client might have been provoked into killing Alexia because she had an overbearing personality. Jonathann felt completely crushed and put down.

Police said they read text messages from Alexia to her husband, an IT worker, written sometime before her death that were verbally violent and included her calling him impotent. The two had been trying to have a baby for a while without success and police say the tension caused serious problems in the marriage.

An enraged Schiappa took to Twitter calling Schwerdoffers words an example of victim-blaming.

So she had an overbearing personality and for that she was assassinated? Schiappa later asked on French radio. I find that scandalous. By saying that we legitimize femicides, we legitimize the fact that every three days there is a woman killed by the blows of her partner. Its not passionate, its not an argument, its not a passionate drama, its an assassination. We must stop minimizing domestic violence, stop finding excuses. There is nothing, nothing, that justifies striking your wife or your partner.

Schiappa insisted on calling Davals murder an assassination, a point she had to walk back Monday when several prominent French commentators criticized her for using the term and for joining the internet guillotine while serving in the government.

Schwerdoffer remained unmoved by Schiappas attack and the outpouring of anger directed at him on social media.

What I said was shocking but I dont care what people think, Schwerdoffer told The Daily Beast on Monday. In our country we need people who are allowed to say the truth. It doesnt excuse him. Its just to understand why a nice guy suddenly became a killer for a minute and to understand Alexia and Jonathann. Why he did what he did. A woman can be violent too and we have to say it.

Schwerdoffer says that Jonathann suffered from erectile dysfunction which made the texts from Alexia all that much more painful.

Alexia Davals disappearance on Oct. 28 initially struck such a chord that more than 10,000 people turned out in a march and rally for her on Nov. 5 in her hometown of Gray (population 5,000) in northeastern France. Women (and some men) all over the country undertook symbolic runs to honor Alexia and other victims of violence against women.

With these sporting gestures, you are making Alexia into a strong symbol, one of the freedom for all women to enjoy running and to live, Alexias mother, Isabelle Fouillot, said during the rally as she wept.

In 2016 in France, 123 women were killed by their partners, ex-partners, or husbands. That works out to be one murder every three days.

But Daval was not suspected of being one of those husbands, at least not on the surface.

In fact, Alexias parents seemed to set aside their own grief to be his biggest supporters, flanking him at the November rally as he clutched a rose and at Alexias funeral where he looked distraught and was said to be fragile.

Alexia was my biggest supporter, my oxygen, the force who pushed me to surpass myself in all my physical challenges, Jonathann said through tears at the rally as his in-laws propped him up by the shoulders.

Alexias father called him the perfect son-in-law and all three kept in almost daily contact after the murder until Jonathann was arrested.

The Fouillots had considered Jonathann to be family ever since he and Alexia met when she was 15. They allowed him to move into the family home with her soon after. The couple finally married in 2015.

When Jonathann was first questioned by police, he explained the scratches and bites on his hand were the result of an argument he and his wife had that turned physical right before her disappearance.

He was arrested last week when police checked the tracking device on his work car whose tire tracks were found close to the woodland where Alexias body was found hidden under branches. He denies burning the body.

The lawyer for Alexias parents said they are flabbergasted by Jonathanns confession.

They didnt see it coming, said Jean-Marc Florand. They want to understand.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/frances-shocking-metoo-murder-10

‘Everything Is Fine’: How ‘The Good Place’ Created 2018’s Greatest Memes

“Welcome! Everything is fine.”

So reads a large sign that faces Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) in the opening scene of the NBC sitcom “The Good Place.” Sitting in a nondescript lobby, she’s soon beckoned into an office where a man named Michael (Ted Danson), seemingly in charge of things, tells her that she’s dead. In fact, Eleanor died after being hit by a truck advertising an erectile dysfunction pill and has landed in the afterlife ― specifically, in the Good Place, a nondenominational version of what we might call “heaven.”

There’s just one problem: Eleanor isn’t the angelic human rights lawyer Michael thinks she is. During her lifetime, she actually peddled scam medication to senior citizens over the phone, so, she worries, she probably should have been sent to the Bad Place. Someone royally forked up. Oh, also, she can’t swear: In their neighborhood of the Good Place, the obscenities are converted into inoffensive phonetic siblings ― fork, shirt, bench ― since apparently the well-behaved residents don’t care for vulgarity.

For the meme-conscious, it should have been clear from that first moment that something would be rotten in the Good Place. “Everything is fine,” with its anxious and slightly defensive assurance, almost exactly echoes “This is fine,” a meme that originated in the webcomic “Gunshow” by K.C. Green in 2013. In the comic, a dog sits obliviously amid flames as the room he’s in burns down.

“This is fine,” the dog says. “That’s okay, things are going to be okay.”

Things rapidly devolve from “fine” to “maybe not fine” to “catastrophic” in “The Good Place.” (If you haven’t watched the show, be aware that this article contains major spoilers.) There, Eleanor meets her soulmate, Chidi, who was a professor of ethics and moral philosophy, and their neighbors, insecure socialite Tahani and Buddhist monk Jianyu. She quickly discovers that Jianyu represents another case of mistaken identity ― he’s actually Jason, a low-level criminal and professional amateur DJ from Florida. Eventually, she confides in Chidi, who undertakes to teach the seemingly misplaced Jason and Eleanor ethics so that they will be good enough people to stay. The stress of lying to Michael gnaws at his psyche the whole time.

At the end of the first season, though, everything changes. It turns out Michael is a demon, and he’s been torturing the four humans the whole time. The ambitious experiment was his brainchild, in which he hoped to goad Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason into tormenting one another for what he anticipated would be thousands of years. They were never in the Good Place at all. Cue Eleanor’s show-stopping revelation: “This is the Bad Place!”

And lo, a meme was born.

On liberal Twitter, Kristen Bell’s puckish face and raised finger, positioned above the words “This is the Bad Place!”, serve as a ubiquitous, catchall response to every new horrific bit of news out of the White House today. The phrase is both comically mild and comically extreme: We’re literally in hell, but we’re going to say it with a smile.  

It’s fitting that a sitcom would provide the meme for our new era, our reality-show presidency and our dystopian political landscape. At heart, sitcoms are meme delivery vehicles. As an art form, the sitcom doesn’t distinguish itself through narrative, character development, suspense or complexity; it’s repetitive, comforting and populated by archetypes. Where the sitcom excels is in repackaging the familiar, over and over again.

The best sitcoms provide us with a vocabulary for talking about our lives ― our quotidian lives, in particular. Shows like “Seinfeld” and “The Office” and “Friends” played out on tiny stages, just large enough to depict friendship quandaries, workplace hijinks and love triangles. They give us Platonic templates for our messy, specific problems: A workplace crush is so Jim and Pam, an overeager coworker is a Leslie Knope, and Ross and Rachel were on a break (maybe). They give us stock phrases, too, like “Did I do that?” and “That’s what she said” and “Yada yada yada.”

But in a time when pervasive, existential political angst has assumed the primary role in our private lives as well as our public ones, “Friends” GIFs simply won’t cut it. For the endless, despair-filled dialogues about our broken presidency and rising white supremacist violence, we need more than the anodyne yuks of a group of pals who frequent a coffee shop. We need memes about the loss of hope and innocence, and about the quandary of trying to be better people while living in a terrible world we mostly deserve. That’s exactly what “The Good Place” provides ― at least for viewers on the liberal side of the spectrum.

Given the gaping chasm between the left and right in 2018, that might be the most any TV show can accomplish. In July, Todd VanDerWerff argued that traditional, family-centered, multi-camera sitcoms like “The Carmichael Show” and “Mom” might be the salvation of our political discourse, as they incorporate political jousting into their comedy. “They all look at a deeply fractured America and see room for humor — modern-day ‘All in the Family’-style shows that see every argument between right and left as an opportunity to tweak the foibles of both,” he wrote. VanderWerff’s statement presumes that political conversation between left and right hasn’t already broken down. But it has. Sadly, conversation today takes place largely within the left and the right. Those who feel President Donald Trump is an imminent threat to the nation have little to say to those who believe he’s restoring America’s greatness.

For TV watchers in the former group, “The Good Place” has proven to be a startlingly realistic allegory for their own perception of America today. Startling, of course, because it’s on the unrealistic side for a sitcom. It’s a genre largely set in cubicle farms, living rooms, bars and diners. But “The Good Place” is set in the afterlife. The premise made it sound so hokey that I avoided it until midway through the first season. I gagged at the prospect of “The Office (Afterlife).” Instead, it’s “No Exit (The Sitcom),” a suspenseful comedy in which the stakes are enormous (eternal torment), the twists and turns thrilling, and the result always the same: They’re in the Bad Place.

What better comedy alter-ego for a world in which every new Russia investigation update and presidential tweet occasions immense sturm und drang, but deposits us exactly where we were before, with a racist imbecile as president and a sociopathic GOP platform setting the agenda?

For many left-leaning viewers ― specifically people who failed to vote or phone-bank for Hillary Clinton, people who didn’t want to ruin Thanksgiving by talking politics with their racist relatives, white people in general ― there’s also a sense of sinking culpability mirrored in “The Good Place.” We are the reason we’re here. Eleanor’s primary form of torture is her acute awareness that she doesn’t deserve eternal bliss. She was a selfish grifter, unpleasant to everyone she encountered, and openly amoral. She’s desperate to stay in the Good Place, and to try, however unevenly, to deserve it, but she knows she was the architect of her own misery.

Still, Eleanor has a rebellious sense that she doesn’t quite deserve the Bad Place, either. “I was a medium person,” she says helplessly. “I should get to spend eternity in a medium place.” The punishment, like the Trump presidency, feels disproportionate to the crime.

“The Good Place” would be notable simply for pulling off such a neat bit of timely commentary, for eerily reflecting the Trump era without directly engaging with it at all. But it doesn’t just offer commentary; it’s a primer for us to have tough, timely conversations. Its sitcom framework makes it perfectly suited to building an idiom for us to speak about politics.

Sitcoms thrive on simplicity and repetition, and in certain ways “The Good Place” subverts this expectation, with its “Lost”-inspired setting and suspenseful narrative. But it simultaneously makes the repetition overt ― each time Michael’s experiment fails and the humans figure out they’re in the Bad Place, he reboots everything and starts from the beginning (the second time, the sign reads “Welcome! Everything is great!”). In one episode, we watch Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason go through dozens of reboots, each ending the same way: “This is the Bad Place!” On a drama, we’d only get to see that revelation once; on a sitcom, we need to see it over and over again. The repetition ad absurdum transforms the horrifying into the silly, and repackages a dramatic reveal as a catchphrase.

And those catchphrases: They’re almost parodies of sitcom slogans. “The Good Place” waters them down to pitch-perfect blandness ― “This is the Bad Place”; “what the fork?”; “everything is fine.” It’s this very blandness that delivers the kick. (“This is the pit of relentless torment!” wouldn’t have quite the same resonance.) Even the most colorful swears ― “Holy motherforking shirtballs” ― come off as daffy, not caustic. The smooth-edged simplicity of much of the show’s vocabulary makes the weirdly specific memes ― like Jason’s obsession with Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, or the proliferation of frozen yogurt cafés ― all the more punchy.

The resulting memes slot seamlessly into our endless public reckoning with what America has done. “The Good Place” scripts out exactly the sort of conversation many on the left are now having daily, if not hourly: A discussion among flawed people who want to get better, and get to the Good Place, but who often differ as to how. No wonder the show’s foursome have become our Trump-era “Sex and the City” archetypes. Ethical purist Chidi, savvy Eleanor, virtue-signaling Tahini, and clueless Jason represent all of the ruling impulses in any #resistance debate.

Without hope of escape, of course, we’d all lose our minds. The show appeared in danger of skidding into a stultifying cycle of reboots, but quickly circumvented that by offering a glimmer of hope. Much of the show’s second season has revolved around an uneasy alliance between Michael, whose employees are on the verge of ratting him out to his boss if his torture experiment is figured out again, and the humans, who don’t want their memories wiped. Michael promises he can get them to the Good Place eventually ― a promise that, we learned in a recent episode, was a bald-faced lie. He can’t do it. Each avenue to paradise seems to go up in smoke. He even conjures up a hot air balloon with a moral-goodness-assessing scale that he claims will take the righteous among them to the Good Place, but he quickly must admit that it’s a hoax.

How fitting for a Trump presidency in which the consequences seem catastrophic, but the quick solutions ― impeachment, the 25th Amendment ― slip from our fingers as we grasp at them. Despair seems to stretch in every direction, because the onslaught is advancing from every horizon. The president and his allies have launched oratorical and policy attacks on immigrants, people of color, women, transgender people, the poor, journalists.  We can’t talk about it as a war on women’s reproductive rights, or the social safety net ― it’s a war on everything progressives hold dear.

We’ve lost specificity and nuance in the maelstrom of Trumpism; what’s left is a sense of good versus evil, and left versus right. We’ve also lost faith in our ability to improve things through usual channels; demanding decency from the president changes nothing, nor do falling approval ratings, and scandals that would have demolished previous leaders have made seemingly no impact. The moment calls for a similarly Manichean and Sisyphean meme ― we can’t speak in any other way. There’s a Good Place and a Bad Place. Turns out, we’re in the Bad Place, and we don’t know how to get out.

The show’s meme of realization, “This is the Bad Place,” also connotes the farce of the recycled epiphanies we have now. “Wow, Trump is a racist!” we exclaim after reading leaked comments in which he reportedly referred to majority black countries as “shitholes.” It still feels shocking to many, even though we’ve had that very epiphany before ― when he implied that most Mexican immigrants were rapists and criminals, when he propelled the racist birther conspiracy theory that held Barack Obama was not born in America, when he was investigated for racial discrimination in his housing developments in the 1970s.

We had the realization, and we failed to adequately address it, so Trump is still around, more powerful than ever, and still doing racist things. Again and again, we realize we’re in the Bad Place, and again and again, the realization fails to save us. We wake up every morning and we’re still here.

And you know what? There are too many frozen yogurt parlors, on the show and in the real world. That should have been the first sign that something had gone horribly wrong.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-good-place-sitcom-memes_us_5a70c920e4b0a6aa487409b3

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

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/

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

Ibuprofen may increase risk of fertility issues in men, study suggests

High doses of the common painkiller over a long period of time may put men at greater risk of fertility problems and other health issues, research indicates

Men who take high doses of ibuprofen for months at a time may be at greater risk of fertility issues and also other health problems, such as muscle wastage, erectile dysfunction and fatigue, scientists have found.

Research on healthy young men who took the common painkiller for up to six weeks showed that the drug disrupted the production of male sex hormones and led to a condition normally seen in older men and smokers.

The 18 to 35-year-olds who took part in the study developed a disorder called compensated hypogonadism within two weeks of having 600mg of ibuprofen twice a day. The condition arises when the body has to boost levels of testosterone because normal production in the testes has fallen.

Doctors in Copenhagen who led the study said that while the disorder was mild and temporary in the volunteers, they feared it could become permanent in long-term ibuprofen users. This would lead to continuously low levels of testosterone, because the body could no longer compensate for the fall.

Our immediate concern is for the fertility of men who use these drugs for a long time, said David Mbjerg Kristensen at the University of Copenhagen. These compounds are good painkillers, but a certain amount of people in society use them without thinking of them as proper medicines.

In March this year Jii Dvok, Fifas former chief medical officer, warned of an alarming trend among elite football players to abuse legal painkillers such as ibuprofen. Before he stepped down in November 2016 he asked players about their use of over-the-counter painkillers and found that nearly half of those who played in the past three World Cups took anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, every day.

Bernard Jgou, a senior author on the study at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, said he saw no problem in people taking ibuprofen to alleviate pain in the short term for toothache, for example but warned against taking the drug for months on end if it was not strictly necessary.

We normally see this condition in elderly men, so it raises an alarm, Jgou said. We are concerned about it, particularly for healthy people who dont need to take these drugs. The risk is greater than the benefit.

The finding comes after repeated warnings from other researchers that ibuprofen can raise the risk of heart attacks in the general population and cause medical problems for pregnant women and their babies, including a more than doubling of the risk of miscarriage.

In the latest research, scientists looked at the impact of ibuprofen on 31 healthy young men over six weeks and performed further tests on cells and pieces of human testes in the lab. Ibuprofen lowered testosterone production in the tissues, but levels of the hormone remained the same in the men. This is because the pituitary gland at the base of the brain had ramped up levels of another hormone that drives the production of extra testosterone.

In the living body the pituitary gland kicks in to compensate for this, but the brain is pushing more to get the same amount of testosterone, Kristensen said. If you go on and stress the pituitary gland over the long term, this state could become permanent and you develop a more serious condition. Details of the study are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

William Colledge, professor of reproductive physiology at the University of Cambridge, who was not involved in the research, said: Its a fascinating study that suggests that men should be cautious about using high doses of ibuprofen for extended periods. While the findings needed to be replicated in further studies, he said, a precautionary approach made sense. Based on these data, I personally would be very reluctant to take ibuprofen for longer than the 10 days normally indicated on the packet.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jan/08/ibuprofen-may-increase-risk-of-fertility-issues-in-men-study-suggests

Why a booze-free month may be the perfect start to 2018

Image copyright Getty Images

After the excesses of Christmas, many people decide to give up booze for the month of January in the hope that it will do them some good.

According to Alcohol Concern, five million Britons took part in Dry January last year.

So what are the benefits that experts say it can bring?

Lose weight

One of the main benefits is the chance to shed some of the pounds potentially put on over the Christmas period.

Alcohol is packed with “empty” calories – those with almost no nutritional value that can make us fat and don’t fill us up.

A pint of beer contains around 200kcal, similar to a packet of crisps.

According to Cancer Research UK’s alcohol calculator, if you would normally drink a large glass of wine each day, cutting this out for a month could save you nearly 10,000 calories – that’s four times the recommended daily allowance for an average man.

Sleep better, snore less

Alcohol can make you feel sleepy and drop off quicker, but drinking regularly can upset your overall sleep pattern and leave you tired, research suggests.

Image copyright Getty Images

A few years ago, Dr Richard de Visser from the University of Sussex carried out a study with 857 British adults taking part in January. After going for a month without alcohol, 62% of those in the study said they had better sleep.

Drinking can also make you more likely to snore because it relaxes the tissues in your throat.

More energy

If you abstain, you obviously won’t get any hangovers. And you may find that you feel more energetic if you are also sleeping better.

Image copyright Getty Images

Two-thirds of the participants in Dr de Visser’s study said they had more energy by giving up alcohol for a month.

Better skin

Alcohol can make you dehydrated and some say this takes its toll on the appearance of your skin.

Image copyright Getty Images

Certainly, some people find that alcohol gives them a flushed face.

Switching from alcohol to drinking more water is advisable to help your complexion.

Save money

An easily measurable benefit is a healthier bank balance. Cutting out alcohol could save you a significant amount of money if you normally spend quite a lot on drinks.

Image copyright Getty Images

Cutting out a large glass of wine every night could save your around £124 by the end of January, according to Cancer Research UK which is asking people to raise money for medical research by giving up booze and signing up to its Dryathlon.

You might also like:

Sense of achievement

Keeping your willpower can give you a feeling of satisfaction that you have reached your goal.

Nearly three-quarters of the Dry January participants in Dr de Visser’s study maintained lower levels of harmful drinking six months later.

Brewer’s droop

Although alcohol can make people feel more amorous, it is linked to erectile dysfunction. For some men, abstaining from alcohol may help reverse their impotence.

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42539839

Harvey Weinstein Hit With Class Action Lawsuit For Accused Racketeering To Cover Up Sexual Assaults With The Help Of ‘The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise’

Harvey Weinstein went through great lengths to cover up his decades of sexual misconduct — so great, some alleged victims believe it amounts to civil racketeering.

The disgraced movie mogul and The Weinstein Company have been hit with a class-action lawsuit filed by six women who say Weinstein sexually assaulted them when they auditioned for him or met him at company sponsored events.

The plaintiffs seek to be certified as a class to sue on grounds of racketeering, civil battery, assault, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Related: Taylor Swift, Rose McGowan, & Terry Crews Talk Sexual Assault!

The lawsuit, which aims to represent a class of “dozens, if not hundreds” of Weinstein’s alleged victims, claims the indie film producer was aided by a coalition of companies and individuals that worked with the producer to cover up his widespread sexual misconduct.

Entities of this so-called “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” included Weinstein’s staff, board members, hired operatives, attorneys, and National Enquirer writers — all of whom allegedly violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

The lawsuit claims:

“Each participant in the Weinstein Sexual Enterprise had a systematic linkage to each other participant through corporate ties, contractual relationships, financial ties, and the continuing coordination of their activities.”

Ick. These claims don’t come as much of a surprise given what has already come to light about Weinstein’s attempts to cover up his predatory tracks.

Related: Jennifer Lawrence Says Harvey Was Always ‘Paternal’ To Her

Last month, the New Yorker alleged the producer employed an “army of spies” to track and intimidate journalists and his alleged victims, including Rose McGowan and Asia Argento.

The plaintiffs’ attorney Steve Berman confirmed this report is the basis for the lawsuit’s RICO allegations, telling The Daily Beast:

“We think these entities, the army of spies, as one article called it, were all facilitating and using wires and mails to orchestrate. This A: allowed [Weinstein] to continue doing this over the years, and B: covered it up. When you’re using wires and mails —which are governed by the Racketeering Act — for the illegal purpose of raping and sexually harassing, that falls squarely within RICO.”

The plaintiffs include screenwriter/actress Louisette Geiss, actresses Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Thomas, Melissa Sagemiller, and Nanette Klatt. Each allege the familiar story of being lured into industry events, hotel rooms, Weinstein’s home, office meetings, or auditions under the pretense that they would be discussing a project.

The defendants include Weinstein’s brother, Robert; the company they founded, Miramax; along with several former Weinstein Company board members.

[Image via FayesVision/WENN.]

Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-12-06-harvey-weinstein-lawsuit-company-racketeering-sexual-assault-sexual-enterprise

Viagra: the little blue pill that revolutionised our sex lives | Observer profile

The virility drug, soon to be available over the counter in the UK, is a phenomenal success story, despite being the butt of many jokes. In 25 years, its also changed how we talk about male impotence

It all began 25 years ago in Britain. The UK division of the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was running trials on a new drug for the treatment of angina. It was called UK-92480 and it wasnt pulling up any trees.

But if UK-92480 failed with the heart, the symbolic home of love, it made a big impact on another organ, one with a rather more prosaic association with romance. Male participants in the trials reported a pronounced side-effect: erections. A lot of trees, and other things, were about to be pulled up.

Six years later, on 27 March 1998, the American Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of Viagra and the rest is hysteria. Or at least it was at first. The drug was a phenomenon. It registered sales of $1bn in its first year. And it seemed to drive some people just a little mad.

A chef was arrested in France after serving his customers a dish entitled beef piccata in Viagra sauce with fig vinegar and fine herbs. In Taiwan, a prostitute was arrested for killing a 74-year-old client who forced himself on her having already had sex once. And in Israel it was said that four Viagra pills had gone missing during a meeting of a five-member science committee in the Knesset.

Until the arrival of Viagra, the treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED) involved penile pumps or injections, neither of which, perhaps unsurprisingly, ever captured the male imagination. And probably did little for the female imagination either.

Now, suddenly, here was a drug for the problem-solving era, a drug that fitted the impatient acceleration of time in the personal computer age, a drug that, as the joke went, turned your floppy disc into a hard drive.

The research that underpinned the creation of Viagra itself stemmed from the work by three American scientists who would go on to win the Nobel prize for medicine in, coincidentally enough, 1998, the year of Viagras birth. The scientists discovered that the body uses nitric oxide to make blood vessels widen. Sildenafil citrate, the compound of which Viagra is the trademark, helps bind nitric oxide to receptors that enable relaxation of the helicine arteries, which, in turn, increases blood flow into the soft tissue of the penis, and results as long as no one spoils the mood in an erection.

Last week, it was announced that Britain would become the first country to make Viagra available over the counter. The move was initiated by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the hope that it would prevent men using unregulated websites, where drugs for ED form a large and lucrative black market.

The legitimate market is already, as it were, huge and growing. Prescriptions have trebled over the past decade to almost 3m. But the sales of unlicensed ED drugs remain a profitable and unscrupulous business: among the 50m worth of counterfeit Viagra and other similar drugs seized over the past five years in Britain, some have been found to contain plaster of Paris, printer ink and even arsenic.

Two reasons have accounted for the illegal market. First, the high price Viagra was originally sold at. That dropped significantly in 2013, when Pfizers 15-year exclusive patent ran out. The other reason why men have preferred the sometimes dubious anonymity of the internet to the prescriptive dependability of a GP is that if Viagra increases blood flow to the very core of male identity, its also a matter that brings blood to the facial cheeks.

Despite the apparent ubiquity of the small blue, diamond-shaped pill, the issue it addresses impotency remains a subject of no little embarrassment.

And where there is embarrassment, humour is seldom far behind. When Viagra launched almost 20 years ago, some of the first beneficiaries of the drug were comedians and chatshow hosts. Not necessarily because they were users of it, but because it formed the punchline to so many of their jokes: Did you hear about the first Viagra overdose? A guy took 12 pills and his wife died.

By all accounts, Pfizer was a little downhearted that its star turn had become a laughing matter. After all, it had used the conservative figure of Bob Dole, former Republican leader of the Senate, to front its very sober advertising campaign.

But the truth is that while ED is undoubtedly a serious issue, the vulnerability of the penis remains an inescapably comic idea manhood reduced to the unreliable dimensions of a fickle extremity.

Even celebrity endorsements could not shift the image of Viagra. Hugh Hefner referred to the drug as Gods little helper, but then, given that the dressing-gowned one was dating young Barbie-style twins at the time, his approval was never likely to normalise the drug or render it as unnoteworthy as, say, aspirin or indigestion tablets.

David Bailey (79) recently said that he had no problem getting old because Jack Nicholson had introduced him to Viagra. Michael Douglas has also lent his support, calling Viagra a wonderful enhancement that can make us all feel younger. Disinterested observers might note that his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones is 25 years his junior, just as Baileys spouse, Catherine Dyer, is 23 years younger than the photographer.

For all their promotional benefits, such testaments ultimately serve to highlight an imbalance: namely that a much younger female partner necessitates a certain chemical help. And yet there are reports of young men taking Viagra to improve sexual performance or to counteract the effects of overexposure to pornography. In both cases, it seems that the effects are perhaps more psychological than physiological. Pfizer has long insisted that the drug has no effect on those who dont suffer from ED, just as taking an aspirin will have no noticeable effect on someone without a headache.

Anecdotal evidence contradicts this view, but Pfizer points out the increased placebo effect of ED drugs. One executive said that in studies 20% of the men taking a sugar pill placebo reported rip-snorting erections. The mind can play tricks, especially on the penis, arguably the most gullible part of a man.

Another aspect of Viagras pulsating success story is its name. Rhyming almost with Niagara, it manages to conjure up an image of something vital and potent. But originally the brand name, which came out of Pfizers name bank (made up of invented words that have no meaning in any major language) was assigned to a drug for shrinking swollen prostate glands. It was only because the marketing people didnt like it for that product that it was returned to the name bank ready for its adoption by sildenafil citrate.

Apparently, another option was Alond. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but its fair to say that that rule does not apply to erectile dysfunction pharmaceutical treatments. Alond is just, well, limp. However, some names you cant make up, and one of them is Ringaskiddy, the village in County Cork, where Viagra is produced at the chemical plant. Nicknamed Viagra Falls, the village is rumoured to have love, or at least sex, in the air.

Across the water in Britain, the quality of aphrodisiacal air is open to debate, but the distribution of Viagra users is not. Figures show that men in Bradford are more likely to be prescribed the drug, or similar alternatives, than are those from anywhere else in the country. Blackpool comes second. The lowest prescription rates are in Richmond and Kingston upon Thames.

One explanation is a north-south class divide that health accompanies wealth and the southern middle classes are in a better physical shape and therefore less susceptible to the various complaints that cause ED.

Another is that there is a higher premium on having a good time in the north and that, as the Royal College of General Practitioners has found, an ageing population still expects an active sex life and just possibly the citizens of Bradford and Backpool are a little less inhibited about asking for it than their countrymen down south.

As they say in the pharmaceutical business, more research is needed. Until then, the only way for the drug formerly known as UK-92480 is up.

THE VIAGRA FILE

Born April 1998 in the US, although conceived six years earlier in the UK.

Best of times Its been an almost unrelenting success story, although the first year stands out for its billion-dollar arrival – almost unheralded in a new drug.

Worst of times In the early days, 130 people in the US were reported to have died after taking Viagra. Eventually, no causal link was found, but the scare threatened to derail a stunning campaign.

What they say People are strange when it comes to sex. David Brinkley, former head of Pfizers Team Viagra.

What others say I like to date a nice range of women each year, but I only use Viagra when I am with more than one. Jack Nicholson

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/dec/03/viagra-25-years-sex-virility-drug-male-impotence

Viagra can be sold over the counter

Image copyright Getty Images

Men will no longer require a prescription to obtain the impotence drug Viagra and will instead be able to buy it over the counter at pharmacies.

The decision by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency follows a public consultation.

It will be up to pharmacists to judge whether men over the age of 18 can safely be sold the little blue pills.

Manufacturer Pfizer hopes to get stocks of Viagra Connect (sildenafil 50mg) into UK pharmacies by spring 2018.

Experts say making the medication more widely available will help men who might not feel able to visit their GP about impotence.

The MHRA hopes it will stop some men buying unregulated medicines from websites operating illegally.

Mick Foy, MHRA’s group manager in vigilance and risk management of medicines, said: “This decision is good news for men’s health.

“Erectile dysfunction can be a debilitating condition, so it’s important men feel they have fast access to quality and legitimate care, and do not feel they need to turn to counterfeit online supplies which could have potentially serious side-effects.”

Pharmacists will decide whether treatment is appropriate and can offer advice on erectile dysfunction, usage of the medicine, potential side-effects and whether further consultation with a general practitioner is required.

Viagra Connect will not be sold to:

  • those with severe heart disease or at high risk of cadiovascular disease
  • those with liver failure
  • those with severe kidney failure
  • men taking certain medicines that could cause a bad reaction when combined with Viagra

Men who are sold it will be advised that they can take a 50 mg tablet an hour before having sex, but should not use more than one pill a day.

Sildenafil is already available on NHS prescription free of charge.

Erection problems

Most men occasionally fail to get or keep an erection.

This is usually due to factors such as stress, tiredness, anxiety or drinking too much alcohol, says NHS Choices.

Image copyright Getty Images

Men should see their GP or go to a sexual health clinic if erection problems keep happening because it can be a sign of an underlying health condition, it advises.

The MHRA received 47 responses to its consultation, with 33 in support of making viagra available off prescription and one ‘unsure’.

The 13 that did not support the proposal included eight pharmacists. Some were concerned that customers might withhold medical information from staff in order to get the treatment. Risk of abuse or misuse of the drugs was another worry.

In reaching its decision the MHRA judged that the benefits of permitting Viagra to be sold without a prescription would outweigh potential risks.

Denise Knowles, psychosexual therapist and counsellor at Relate, warned that taking a pill was not a sticking plaster for relationship problems.

“Many of the people I have spoken with have a misconception that it will give them a stronger erection or add to their desire. But it’s not there to enhance prowess.

“It’s not a magic pill that will cure problems in a relationship.”

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42155489

According To A New Study, These Are The 10 Most Overused And Unnecessary Medical Treatments

A new study by researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) has sought to find the most unnecessary and overused medical treatments used in 2016 in the US.

Their findings were recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The researchers studied over 2,252 articles, more than half of which specifically addressed medical overuse. The purpose of the study was not to shame any practitioners, the researchers say. Instead, they hope their findings will be used to develop strategies to make healthcare more effective. Many of the most overused techniques were found to be very complex and in-depth procedures, however, the same results can be achieved using cheaper, safer, and simpler methods.

“Too often, health care practitioners do not rely on the latest evidence and their patients don’t get the best care,” said lead author Daniel Morgan. “Hopefully this study will spread the word about the most overused tests and treatments.”

So, without further ado, these were the top 10 most overused medical procedures in 2016: 

Transesophageal Echocardiography: This procedure uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the heart. Although it has a reputation for being more sensitive than other methods, doctors can reach the same conclusions with images obtained from much simpler tests. It’s also more invasive, requires sedation, and entails more potential risk.

Computed Tomography Pulmonary Angiography (CTPA): Over recent years, this test has been used more and more in emergency departments to help diagnose pulmonary embolism, the blockage of a blood vessel in the lung. However, there are many other tests you can use that are less risky, less expensive, and don’t expose the patient to radiation and contrast dye.

Computed Tomography (CT) in Patients with Respiratory Symptoms: The study found that this was overused in patients who had non-life-threatening respiratory symptoms. In these cases, CT does not enhance the outcome of the patient and can cause false positive results. It also poses risks to patients by exposing them to radiation.

Carotid Artery Ultrasonography and Stenting: Over 90 percent of the time, this treatment is performed under uncertain or inappropriate indications, suggesting that it is often unnecessary. As both stenting and surgery pose risk to the patient, both the test and the procedure are probably used too much.

Aggressive Management of Prostate Cancer: Just 1 percent of men who had their prostate removed died of the cancer. That’s the same rate as the men who did not receive the operation. Prostate cancer treatments can also significantly increase the risk of erectile dysfunction and other problems. The researchers argue that aggressively treating prostate cancer is often not worth the risk in many scenarios.

Supplemental Oxygen Does Not Help Patients with COPD and Moderate Lack of Oxygen: Giving extra oxygen to patients with the lung illness chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, who had only mild oxygen deficit, did not improve either their quality of life or functioning of their lungs.

Surgery for Meniscal Cartilage Tears in the Knee: Having surgery for a meniscus tear did not improve symptoms. There are, however, other strategies that can be more effective, which entail fewer risks and lower costs.

Little Benefit to Nutritional Support in Medical Inpatients: This study looked at 3,376 patients with malnutrition or a risk of malnutrition. The researchers found that “nutritional support therapy,” whether received orally or administered straight into the gastrointestinal tract, didn’t reduce the patient’s chances of dying, becoming infected with a hospital-acquired infection, or their length of stay.

Antibiotics: Nearly half of all antibiotic use is inappropriate. Not only is this costing money and time, it’s also contributing to antibiotic resistance, perhaps one of the biggest problems set to hit the world in the coming years. However, according to a study used in this research, making doctors compare the antibiotics that they prescribe with their peers could lower inappropriate prescriptions from 20 percent to less than 4 percent.

Reducing the Use of Unnecessary Cardiac Imaging: Using advanced cardiac imaging on patients suffering from chest pain has more than tripled over the past 10 years. Many low-risk patients could be given noninvasive tests that lead to unnecessary hospitalization and intervention. A study has previously shown that if doctors and patients make decisions together, the number of tests used decreases. 

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/the-10-most-overused-and-unnnesccary-medical-treatments/

I Was a Sex Slave in the Modern U.S.

Slavery is something you’d hope the U.S. had already done a pretty complete job of stomping out. But it turns out there are still tens of thousands of enslaved people in our country right now. And on this episode of Cracked Gets Personal, our hosts Robert Evans and Brandon Johnson talk to two of them. You’ll hear from a woman who was tricked, and then forced, to work as a prostitute against her will. And you’ll hear from a woman who entered the United States legally and found herself trapped in a factory, forced against her will to make clothing for your favorite retailers. If you’ve ever wanted a look inside the dark, weird underworld of human trafficking, Cracked Gets Personal is about to take you there.

Heroin-induced erectile dysfunction! Suitcases full of murdered sex dolls and discarded porn! A request for military-issued pee funnels! It’s never too late to catch up on the first few episodes of Cracked Gets Personal.

Click here to subscribe to Cracked Gets Personal on Apple Podcasts or search for it your podcast app of choice.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/i-was-sex-slave-in-modern-u.s.

15 Real Science Stories That Would Make Great Sci-Fi Movies

If you’re a movie fan in 2017, you’re hard pressed to find many original sci-fi films. There are a lot more Alien: Covenants and Blade Runner: 2o49s than Ex Machinas. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just sometimes sci-fi fans want to experience something new, something fresh, something that’s not in the Transformers expanded universe.

I mean, it’s 2017. There are new planets and technologies being discovered every day. Surely some of them would make for the basis of a good sci-fi movie.

So on this week’s podcast, Alex Schmidt puts together a panel to research as many new and groundbreaking science stories as possible and pitch them as sci-fi movies. He’s joined live in New York at the Now Hear This podcast festival by Cracked’s Brett Rader and Michael Swaim, and comedians Claudia Cogan and Negin Farsad to discuss sense vests, head transplants, robot vines and more.

Footnotes:

Los Angeles Times: Caltech scientists make robots out of DNA that can pick stuff up and move it around

Wired: Lab-grown brain balls are starting to look more lifelike

TED: David Eagleman: Can we create new senses for humans?

New York Times: Microchip implants for employees? One company says yes

Business Insider: A surgeon aiming to do the first human head transplant says ‘Frankenstein’ predicted a crucial part of the surgery

Trailer: The Thing With Two Heads

Vice: The Mir Space Station was a marvel, a clusterfuck, and an underdog hero

The Guardian: Space savers: astronaut urine could make supplies from nutrients to tools

Mirror: Scientists say humans should learn from pigeons to be better at work

Independent: Facebook’s AI robots shut down after they start talking to each other in their own language

TechCrunch: Meet the adorable robot camera Japan’s space agency sent to the ISS

The Verge: These soft robots are inspired by plants and move like sentient vines

Trailer: Geostorm

Cracked: 6 ways driverless cars are going to kill lots of people

Video: Drone speared at renaissance fair

Futurism: The world’s largest and most powerful x-ray laser just went online

Space: Are solar sails the future of space travel?

Gizmodo: Hitchhiking robot lasts just two weeks in US because humans are terrible

Wired: Biometrics are coming, along with serious security concerns

Mary Roach: Grunt

Light bulbs stuck in butts! Heroin-induced erectile dysfunction! War vets taking Molly to quell their PTSD! Such are the subjects of Cracked’s new podcast mini-series, Cracked Gets Personal, hosted by Cracked’s Robert Evans and Rick and Morty’s Brandon Johnson. The first four episodes are available now, and you can hear the rest of season one every Wednesday by searching for “Cracked Gets Personal” in your podcast app of choice, or click here to find it on Apple Podcasts.

If you’re looking for some great back-to-school threads and want to show your support for The Cracked Podcast, check out the awesome Cracked Podcast merch we’ve got at PodSwag.com

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/15-real-science-stories-that-would-make-great-sci-fi-movies

Zach Braffs Scrubs character is the literal face of erectile dysfunction in Ukraine

Ukraine really loves Zach Braff.

Though Scrubs is long gone, Braff recently discovered that his character from the show is apparently still giving medical advice. An ad from Ukraine shows Braff in his scrubs, and a fan enlightened him as to what the ad’s really for: erectile dysfunction.

Having problems with your boner and your computer? Braff can help there, too.

And Zac Efron.

And Westworld‘s Ben Barnes.

And the Scrubs love apparently doesn’t stop at Braff.

I think we’ve found Braff’s next project.

H/T Pedestrian 

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/zach-braff-erectile-dysfunction-ukraine/

Zach Braff is the new illegal face of male enhancement pills in Ukraine, and he’s pretty cool with it

It’s important to have a sense of humor about yourself and when people use you to sell erectile dysfunction medicine. 

Zach Braff, also known as as J.D. from Scrubs, informed his twitter followers Wednesday that his lovely face is being used in Ukraine to advertise male enhancement pills. Except, he never really gave his permission. 

But who cares? Sex drugs should be readily available for all, and if his mug sells them, who cares about pesky things like laws.

I mean, can we blame Ukraine? Considering he’s charismatically dressed in character making him super believable to those who don’t know him, we’re sure it sells. Though, it may not entirelybe legal.

However, he doesn’t seem to mind and neither do we.

But it doesn’t stop there, his photo is also being used to advertise computer repairs.

Fans are reacting, loving both concepts.

While he may not be doing any advertisement (that we know of) in America, he definitely has fun with messing with his fans.

Image: giphy

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/14/zach-braff-erectile-dysfunction-ad/

11 Graphic Novels That Should Be Turned Into Movies

Another summer in the books, another summer of somewhat pleasing comic book movies. Wonder Woman was good! So was Spiderman! Guardians of the Galaxy was…a movie! What’s next? Oh no. Don’t say it.

Justice League. [cue the sound of failure from The Price is Right]

All we’re saying is there are tons of great indie comics and obscure graphic novels that would make awesome movies that aren’t necessarily about super-powered people. So that’s what we’re talking about on this week’s podcast.

Alex Schmidt is joined by Cracked’s resident comic experts Michael Swaim and Randall Maynard to pitch movie versions of 11 of their favorite un-adapted comics, including the Jodorowsky/Moebius collaboration that Luc Besson should’ve made before Valerian, a graphic novel that’s Casper the Friendly Ghost meets Lord of the Rings, and the Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) series that should get a adapted next.

Footnotes:

Road to Perdition (Max Allan Collins)

A History of Violence (John Wagner, Vince Locke)

Bone (Jeff Smith)

Scud: The Disposable Assassin (Rob Schrab, Dan Harmon, Mondy Carter, Jack Grey)

Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Chris Ware)

Soulwind (Scott Morse)

Invincible (Robert Kirkman, Corey Walker, Ryan Ottley)

Asterios Polyp (David Mazzucchelli)

Pride of Baghdad (Brian K Vaughan, Niko Henrichon)

Ganges (Kevin Huizenga)

Superman: Red Son (Mark Millar, Dave Johnson)

Bear Story (Short Film)

Understanding Comics (Scott McCloud)

Eightball (Daniel Clowes)

The Incal (Alejandro Jodorowski, Moebius)

The Elongated Man (John Broome, Gardner Fox)

The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century (Frank Miller, Dave Gibbons)

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (Brian Augustyn, Mike Mignola)

Light bulbs stuck in butts! Heroin-induced erectile dysfunction! War vets taking Molly to quell their PTSD! Such are the subjects of Cracked’s new podcast mini-series, Cracked Gets Personal, hosted by Cracked’s Robert Evans and Rick and Morty’s Brandon Johnson. The first four episodes are available now, and you can hear the rest of season one every Wednesday by searching for “Cracked Gets Personal” in your podcast app of choice, or click here to find it on Apple Podcasts.

If you’re looking for some great back-to-school threads and want to show your support for The Cracked Podcast, check out the awesome Cracked Podcast merch we’ve got at PodSwag.com

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/11-under-the-radar-comics-that-ought-to-be-amazing-movies

Rape, Pee Funnels and The Dolphin: Female Soldiers Speak Up

It’s hard to be a soldier: that’s part of the point of military service. But being a lady soldier in the modern U.S. military is way, way more difficult than it ought to be. Today on Cracked Gets Personal, Robert Evans and Brandon Johnson talk to a soldier who was raped in boot camp. We hear from a lady Marine sergeant about how she survives in the world’s biggest boy club, and we talk to an Army nurse who was stationed in Iraq about how kindness and gentleness can help win wars. You’ll also learn about the weird things that make it more difficult for women to serve, like the fact that the world’s most powerful military lacks a technology that Burning Man’s had for a decade.

Click here to subscribe to Cracked Gets Personal on Apple Podcasts or search for it your podcast app of choice.

Light bulbs stuck in butts! Heroin-induced erectile dysfunction! War vets taking Molly to quell their PTSD! It’s never too late to catch up on the first three episodes.

Click here to subscribe to Cracked Gets Personal on Apple Podcasts or search for it your podcast app of choice.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/rape-pee-funnels-dolphin-female-soldiers-speak-up

A rise in pubic hair grooming injuries teaches us to be way more gentle down there

It might be time to consider going 70’s-style where the sun don’t shine.

A recent study done by JAMA Dermatology shows that 25.6 percent of adults in the U.S. who groom their pubic hair have experienced injuries as a result of shaving, waxing, or other techniques. More than half of the common injuries were cuts, followed by burns, and rashes.

Yikes.

Most likely due to unrealistic beauty standards for women, the study shows 85 percent of American women between 18 and 65 keep things trimmed and tidy down there, whereas only 66 percent of American men do the same. Of these numbers, 27 percent of women have experienced an injury compared to 26 percent of men.

Please be careful. Steady hands, people.

It may seem like no big thing, but 1.4 percent of people reported seeking medical attention because of these pube-related afflictions. This is an increase from 2002 to 2010, in which there were approximately 11,704 visits to the E.R. because of grooming.

You know what will never cause you pain? A nice, retro bush. Hair is there for a reason.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/17/pubic-hair-grooming-injuries/

The $37 Billion Supplement Industry Is Barely Regulated And It’s Allowing Dangerous Products To Slip Through The Cracks

  • The $37 billion supplement industry is largely unregulated
  • Some supplements (a category that includes vitamins and herbs) can be dangerous and have been linked with ER visits and death
  • The FDA is currently recalling supplements found to be contaminated with banned drugs and bacteria
  • New supplement companies like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop continue to advertise their products as healthy despite potential side effects, and some say they target vulnerable consumers

When Pouya Jamshidi, a resident at Weill Cornell Medical College, delivered his first baby, the doctor on call told him to take the newborn away from its mother.

The baby, a healthy girl with mocha-pink skin and a powerful set of lungs, was being quarantined.

In the middle of the pregnancy, her mother had come down with tuberculosis. She’d contracted the contagious lung infection in her teens, and the illness came back despite preventative antibiotics and regular screenings. The cause: a popular herbal supplement called St. John’s wort.

“The trouble is most people don’t consider it a medication because you don’t need a prescription for it, and so she didn’t tell us,” Jamshidi told Business Insider.

St. John’s wort is one of the most popular herbal supplements sold in the United States. But in 2000, the National Institutes of Health published a study showing that St. John’s wort could severely curb the effectiveness of several important pharmaceutical drugs — including antibiotics, birth control, and antiretrovirals for infections like HIV — by speeding up their breakdown in the body.

“It basically overmetabolized the antibiotics so they weren’t in her system in the correct dose,” Jamshidi said.

The findings on St. John’s wort prompted the US Food and Drug Administration to warn doctors about the herbal remedy. But that did little to stem public sale or consumption of it. Over the past two decades, US poison-control centers have gotten about 275,000 reports — roughly one every 24 minutes — of people who reacted badly to supplements; a third of them were about herbal remedies like St. John’s wort.

Overdosing on a ‘natural’ supplement

The FDA defines supplements as products “intended to add further nutritional value to (supplement) the diet.” They aren’t regulated as drugs — only when a supplement is shown to cause significant harm is it called out as unsafe.

Half of all adult participants in a survey in the mid-2000s said they took at least one supplement every day — almost the same percentage of Americans who took them two decades ago. Yet research has consistently found the pills and powders to be ineffective and sometimes dangerous.

“Consumers should expect nothing from [supplements] because we don’t have any clear evidence that they’re beneficial, and they should be leery that they could be putting themselves at risk,” S. Bryn Austin, a professor of behavioral sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Business Insider. “Whether it’s on the bottle or not, there can be ingredients in there that can do harm.”

Despite many such warnings, the supplement industry’s market is as much as $37 billion a year, according to one estimate. Ads for supplements can be found on internet pop-up windows, on social media, in magazine pages, and on TV. They’re sold in corner health stores, pharmacies, and big grocery conglomerates.

But supplements do not come with explicit instructions on how much to take — only a suggested dose — or potential drug interactions. Jamshidi’s patient had no idea she was putting her life or that of her baby at risk.

But she was not alone. Using data from 2004 to 2013, the authors of a 2016 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that 23,005 emergency-room visits a year were linked to supplements. Between 2000 and 2012, the annual rate of negative reactions to supplements — or “exposures” as they are known in scientific parlance — rose from 3.5 to 9.3 cases per 100,000 people, a 166% increase.

Over that period, 34 people died as a result of using supplements, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology. Six of the deaths resulted from ephedra, the once popular weight-loss supplement banned by the FDA in 2004, and three people died from homeopathic remedies. One person died after using yohimbe, an herbal supplement used for weight loss and erectile dysfunction. (Certain formulations of it can be prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction.)

‘You don’t know what you’re dealing with’

Jamshidi said he knew many people who took a daily multivitamin and tried herbal formulations now and again when they were feeling tired or unwell and always withheld judgement. But he remembers the moment he became wary of supplements: when the pregnant woman his team was monitoring began coughing up phlegm.

“She had been an incredibly cooperative patient, super engaged and always showing up on time for her visits, taking all of our instructions carefully — just a really good patient,” Jamshidi said.

Business Insider / Skye Gould

When Jamshidi and his team realized their patient’s tuberculosis was back, they asked if she’d started any new medications. She said no, but the next day she arrived at the clinic with a small bottle of St. John’s wort.

She said she had been taking the herbal remedy for the feelings of depression she experienced after her last pregnancy. Although some small studies initially suggested St. John’s wort could have benefits for people with depressive symptoms, the NIH researchers failed to find enough evidence to support that.

Jamshidi’s patient had to be isolated to ensure the infection didn’t spread. She spent the last three months of her pregnancy alone.

“It was miserable — she was isolated for all that time, and then she couldn’t even hold the baby,” Jamshidi said.

In his opinion, one of the reasons many people end up in emergency rooms after taking supplements is that the quantities of active ingredients in them can vary dramatically. A 2013 study published in the journal BMC Medicine found that doses of ingredients in supplements could even vary from pill to pill — which poses a significant hurdle for doctors trying to treat a negative reaction.

“There are other medications that can have side effects, but patients come in and tell you the dose, and you can reverse it,” Jamshidi said. “But with supplements, you don’t know what you’re dealing with.”

‘Vitamines’ to prevent disease

By isolating the first “vitamine” in 1912, the Polish chemist Casimir Funk unwittingly unleashed a frenzy among chemists to create or synthesize vitamins in the lab.

Between 1929 and 1943, 10 Nobel Prizes were awarded for work in vitamin research. By the mid-1950s, scientists had synthesized 12 of the 13 essential vitamins. These were added to foods like bread, cereal, and milk, which were sold as “fortified.” Foods that lost nutrients during processing got these vitamins added back in and were labeled “enriched.”

When supplements were introduced in the 1930s and 1940s, they were presented as a way to address nutrient deficiencies that caused illnesses like rickets and scurvy. They were also seen as a way to avoid expensive and difficult-to-access medical treatment.

In recent years, however, a new generation of supplements has emerged targeting primarily middle-class and affluent women. These formulas ooze with the lifestyle trends of 2017: minimalism (“Everything you need and nothing you don’t!”), bright colors, “clean eating,” and personalization.

The actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s new lineup of $90 monthly vitamin packs — released through her controversial wellness company, Goop — have appealing names like “Why Am I So Effing Tired” and “High School Genes.” They claim to deliver health benefits like energy boosts and metabolism jump-starts.

“What is different about what Goop offers is that the combinations, the protocols put together, were done by doctors in Goop’s team,” Alejandro Junger, a cardiologist who helped design several of Goop’s multivitamin packs, told Business Insider.

But a look at the ingredients in “Why Am I So Effing Tired,” which Junger helped design, suggests the formula is not based on rigorous science. The vitamin packets include 12.5 milligrams of vitamin B6 — about 960% of the recommended daily allowance (although on Goop’s label it is listed as 625%) — and ingredients like rosemary extract and Chinese yam, whose effects have never been studied in humans and for which no standard daily allowance exists.

Goop

According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin B6 is “likely safe” in the recommended daily intake amount: 1.3 milligrams for people ages 19-50. But taking too much of the supplement has been linked with abnormal heart rhythms, decreased muscle tone, and worsened asthma. High doses of B6 can also cause drops in blood pressure, the Mayo Clinic notes, and can interact with drugs like Advil, Motrin, and those prescribed for anxiety and Alzheimer’s.

“People using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions,” the Mayo Clinic’s website says.

Junger declined to comment on specific ingredients in the formula but said that many of them were added to “address the most common nutrient-mineral deficiencies of today: B, C, D, and E vitamins, iodine, magnesium, molybdenum, among others.”

Other shiny new pills and powders that have materialized in recent months include one called Ritual, which arrives at your doorstep in a white-and-yellow box emblazoned with the words “The future of vitamins is clear.”

A month’s supply of the glasslike capsules — filled with tiny white beads suspended in oil — costs $30. But the pills don’t differ much more than your standard, cheaper multivitamin — they have similar amounts of magnesium, vitamin K, folate, vitamin B12, iron, boron, vitamin E, and vitamin D.

VitaMe, another new supplement manufacturer, ships personalized daily packets with names like “Good Hair Day” and “Bridal Boost” in a box resembling a tea-bag dispenser each month for $40.

Its website says: “Our mission is peak nutrition. Delivered.” But its ingredients don’t differ drastically from those in conventional vitamins either.

content-1502789722-ritual-supplement.jpg
One of Ritual’s supplements. Ritual

When vitamins can’t save us from ourselves  

No matter how colorful their packaging or messaging, all these supplements fall prey to the same problem: We simply do not need them to be healthy.

“We use vitamins as insurance policies against whatever else we might (or might not) be eating, as if by atoning for our other nutritional sins, vitamins can save us from ourselves,” Catherine Price, a science reporter, writes in the book “Vitamania.”

A large recent review published in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at 27 trials of vitamins involving more than 400,000 people. The researchers concluded that people who took vitamins did not live longer or have fewer cases of heart disease or cancer than people who did not take them.

Another long-term study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in May divided nearly 6,000 men into groups and gave them either a placebo or one of four supplements touted for their brain-protecting abilities. The results showed no decreased prevalence of dementia among any of the supplement-taking groups.

Study after study has also found that many popular supplements can cause harm. A large, long-term study of male smokers found that those who regularly took vitamin A were more likely to get lung cancer than those who didn’t. And a 2007 review of trials of several types of antioxidant supplements put it this way: “Treatment with beta carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E may increase mortality.”

Risks aside, research has suggested that our bodies are better equipped to process the vitamins and minerals in whole foods than those in pills. When we bite into a juicy peach or a crunchy Brussels sprout, we’re ingesting dozens of nutrients, including phytochemicals like isothiocyanates, as well as carotenoids.

Austin said that’s why “nutritionists recommend people get their nutrition from whole foods, not things that have been packaged and put into a box.”

Virtually any registered dietitian, physician, or public health expert is likely to reiterate the advice health professionals have been giving for decades: Eat real food, like fruits and veggies, in moderation, and stay away from processed foods and sugary beverages. Or, in the words of the journalist and food writer Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

with wind/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Where’s the FDA regulation?

After spending the last few months of her pregnancy and the first few weeks of her new baby’s life in isolation, Jamshidi’s patient was able to go home and be with her family. Jamshidi said the experience changed the way he thought about supplements for good.

“I feel very negatively about them, and I didn’t feel this way going into it,” he said.

Ask Steven Tave, the director of the office of dietary supplement programs at the FDA, why the agency isn’t stopping more similar situations, and he’ll give a simple answer: “We’re doing the best we can.”

In 1994, Congress passed a controversial law called the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Tave said that before DSHEA passed, the FDA was starting to regulate supplements more stringently, the way it does pharmaceutical drugs, but getting “pushback from the industry.” The law forced the agency to be more lenient.

Before a new drug can be sold, the company making it has to apply for FDA approval, and the agency has to conclude that the drug is safe and does what it claims to do.

“So if the drug says, you know, ‘used to treat cancer,’ then the agency’s reviewers are going to look at it and make a determination that there’s evidence that it does treat cancer,” Tave said.

New supplements don’t face any burden of proof. The agency can review products that add new dietary ingredients when it gets a notification, Tave said, but it doesn’t “have the authority to stop anything from going to market.”

When DSHEA was passed, Tave said, the bill still made sense. In 1994, about 600 supplement companies were producing about 4,000 products for a total revenue of about $4 billion. But that market has since ballooned — today, close to 6,000 companies pump out about 75,000 products.

“We’re regulating that with 26 people and a budget of $5 million,” Tave said.

Removing a supplement from store shelves comes down to documented emergency-room visits and calls to poison-control centers. Only when a supplement is reported to be unsafe as a result of one of these “adverse events,” as the FDA calls them, is the agency compelled to act.

“Most of the time, we don’t know a product is on the market until we see something bad about it from an adverse-event report. It’s a very different regime from when we know everything is out there and we know what’s in it,” Tave said, adding: “We don’t want to be reactive. We want to be proactive. But we can’t be.

‘Consumers have no way to know’

Most unsafe supplements have been found to contain ingredients that aren’t listed on their labels — usually, these are pharmaceutical drugs, some of which have been banned by the FDA.

A study of product recalls published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that of the 274 supplements recalled by the FDA between 2009 and 2012, all contained banned drugs. A 2014 report found that more than two-thirds of the supplements purchased six months after being recalled still contained banned drugs.

“The products we see today have gone way beyond that sort of core group that they were in 1994,” Tave said. “Now they’re promoted for all sorts of things — some are long term, some are short term, some are chemicals no one’s ever seen before. It’s a much different universe than it was at the time.”

Austin says three categories of supplements are the “most lawless of the industry”: physical enhancement, weight loss, and sexual performance.

“Some of these companies won’t identify ingredients that they purposefully put in the products,” she said. “Some weight-loss drugs, for example, that have been pulled from the market — we can still find these in the bottle even though they don’t put it on the label.”

Tave’s 26-person team, the only government employees looking into these issues, didn’t even have a dedicated office until about a year and a half ago.

“We’re pretty sure were not aware of everything that’s out there, but we do what we can,” he said. “All we can do is enforce the law.”

Dangerous supplements continue to seep through the cracks, however.

In 2016, the world’s largest supplement maker, GNC Holdings Inc., agreed to pay $2.25 million to avoid federal prosecution over allegations that it sold a performance-enhancing supplement that claimed to increase speed, strength, and endurance with an active ingredient called dimethylamylamine, or DMAA. Two soldiers who used the supplement died in 2011, which prompted the Defense Department to remove all products containing DMAA from stores on military bases.

A recent indictment against USPlabs, the Texas-based company that made the supplement, accused it of falsely claiming the product was made of natural plant extracts when it really contained synthetic stimulants made in China.

The problems are ongoing. Earlier this year, the FDA recalled several supplements after they were found to contain unapproved new drugs, and two more were recalled after they were found to contain unlisted anabolic steroids. On August 11, just days before this article was published, the FDA recalled another batch of supplements — this time pills manufactured by a company called PharmaTech — because of possible contamination with bacteria that can cause serious respiratory infection.

“Consumers have no way to know that what’s in the label is what’s actually in the bottle or box,” Austin said. “There are many dubious companies out there that are willing to take a risk with consumers health and their lives.”

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/the-billion-supplement-industry-is-barely-regulated-and-its-allowing-dangerous-products-to-slip-through-the-cracks/

You will not believe how weird this dude’s leg cramp looks

Brace yourselves, everyone. You’re about to see something super gross.

A leg cramp is one of the most painful things a human body can experience. And the worst part is, there’s not much you can do about it you kind of just have to let it pass, while not accidentally making it worse.

Facbeook user Angel Bermudez posted a video of him experiencing a leg cramp so violent and disgusting that it looks like a baby alien is living in his leg. It’s hard to watch, but also hard to look away from.

OMG, ow ow ow ow.

“After the workout. Start to relax and then this happens. Fucken cramp. Look at this shit. Painful yes it was,” he captioned the video.

Is it just us or can you physically feel his pain through this video?

Let this be a lesson: stretch after workouts, drink tons of water, eat lots of potassium, and don’t let alien lifeforms take over your body.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/16/leg-cramp/

How Pornography is Changing Millennial Men (Hint, The Sex Is Worse, Much Worse)

Technically, I live in Los Angeles County. They make a lot of movies here. They make a lot of pornography here, too, though that is changing. A law passed in 2012, Measure B (technically the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex In the Adult Film Industry Act), requires male pornographic actors to wear condoms. It also requires adult film productions to obtain health permits before shooting. Violations of this ordinance will result in civil fines and criminal charges.

Porn is a big money maker, or at least it was until the internet made its product freely available, and what weve gained in health weve lost in production revenue. Film LA estimates that porn permits in the county have declined 95 percent since Measure B took effect, and most studios are moving their business to Las Vegas.

I live in LA county, but Im often in Orange County. The parties are different, more laid back, and the beer is cheaper. While sitting on the back of a couch with a friend of a friend, I found myself sucked into that black hole of the house party wherein the subject gradually shifts from good-humored superficiality to stark, surprising seriousness.

The girl asked me what I thought about porn.

I shrugged and said it was out there, that I had seen plenty of it in college where clips were shared and discussed and even bookmarked by roommates, but that since college it rarely came up in conversation and, since moving in with my girlfriend, rarely came up on my screen. I laughed. She didnt laugh. Rather, she smiled and took me deeper into her embattled psyche.

She described for me the awkward conversations and situations shed found herself in with men shed dated in the past few years, their misunderstanding of what she wanted in bed, their condescending attitudes to condoms, their ignorance of foreplay, their roughness – the things they said to her, the way they treated her. I was a few shades short of puzzled until I realized she was genuinely, acutely upset. All it had taken was a few cans of PBR and suddenly I was in a confessional with a girl who loved sex and hated what it had become.

Im on the farther end of the Millennial spectrum, twenty-eight, and while free porn was available while I was losing my virginity, it was never a factor during those halcyon years. First of all, I lived at home with two siblings and a conservative single mother and limited computer access. Second of all, I tried to spend as little time at home and as much time riding in cars with girls as possible. I was committed to physical and emotional exploration in the real world. But I seem to be one of the last survivors of a twilight sexual ethic.

Pornography: Everywhere, All the Time

Browsing through Reddit, surfing down a video comments section, and perusing the general offerings of internet web series, one gets the sense that pornography has jumped from smutty sub-culture to generally acceptable pastime – at least among young males. And thats bled over into the real world. Its not only in your dorm room, its in your American Apparel ads.

The internet is both a blessing and a curse to our generation. On the one hand, we have an instant connection to everything: information and people alike. There is more free entertainment and oddness than one person can possibly browse in their lifetime, and that is part of its dark charm. But that darkness is vast, and browsers can easily lose themselves in a sea of links.

It is easier to communicate via text, it is easier to keep in touch online and it has always been easier and will always be easier to passively consume rather than actively pursue.

The internet is a second world in itself, one which delivers at the click of a button. The stress and disappointments of life cannot compete with it. That may sound excessively dire, but the convenience of this second world has altered men both socially and sexually.

Japan: Losing Human Sexual Contact

In 2008, Japans Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare conducted a survey on male-female relations. They found that 17.5 percent of men between the ages of 16-19 had no interest in sex or have an aversion to it, with 11.8 percent of 20-24-year-olds reporting the same. Arguably, these are the ages when men are at their absolute randiest. One young man said that the problem was not that he lacked a sex drive but that having sex with someone is just too much of a bother.

Virtual sex is much more convenient, and virtual women, pillows stamped with the images of anime characters and sexual Real Dolls, have become popular enough that there is an entire subculture of men dedicated to them – not only in Japan but in America as well.

Dr. Kunio Kitamura, an obstetrician and gynecologist, has treated young men who complain of erectile dysfunction, a condition that typically affects males over the age of 50. Kitamura reports that the sex they watch online has left them with a bad taste in their mouth for human sexual contact, but their frequent masturbation has satisf[ied] all their sexual needs. They have been absorbed into the second world, with very physical consequences.

The Retreating Male Libido

Naomi Wolf, writing in New York Magazine, recalls the warning of Andrea Dworkin, a prominent anti-porn activist in the 1980s. Dworkin feared that easy access to pornography would turn men into monsters. But Wolf has discovered just the opposite.

What women are experiencing is pornographys gradual mission creep, a Pavlovian buzz (the male, onanistic orgasm) that lowers the value of real, willing but imperfect sexual partners in favor of an endless stream of ever-more-transgressive images of cybersex slaves.

Is it really so bad as that?

Pornography Becomes Addictive

Physical addiction creates chemical changes in the body. Adrenaline, testosterone, epinephrine, these are triggered when a person achieves a high from drugs or alcohol. The same chemicals are triggered during a sexual high. The same reward pathways light up, the same relief is received and, over time, the same stimulus is not enough to satisfy it. The more you put in, the more your body can tolerate.

The Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine studied 20,000 men who had begun watching pornography in their early teens. What they found was that by their middle twenties, some of these men had developed sexual anorexia. Sex itself gradually became stripped of enjoyment, their lust secondary to the compulsiveness of the masturbatory act. Moreover, the types of pornography they searched for became more hardcore over time. They built up an immunity to what they saw.

Rewiring the Brain

Doctor William Struthers of the University of Illinois at Chicago found that men who fall deeper into the mental habit of fixating on [pornographic images] create neural pathways that set the course for the next time an erotic image is viewed. Over time these neural paths become wider as they are repeatedly traveled with each exposure to pornography. They become the automatic pathway through which interactions with woman are routed.

In this way, the act of viewing pornography objectifies women into a step in the process of achieving the addictive rush (i.e. orgasm). Porn, writes Struthers, turns sex into masturbation. In these cases, when real sexual relationships occur, there is no reciprocative intimacy, only a compulsive, self-serving need. A point-and-click routine.

The Italian study posits that, apart from the sheer taboo of it, pornography may be used by young men to counteract feelings of inadequacy or emotional torment they may have experienced. But while it may initially be used as an escape, Struthers further claims that it has lasting psychological and physiological effects. Men who are addicted to porn became controlling, highly introverted, have high anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and experience disassociation from real life.

Turning Sex into a Product

In Pornified, Pamela Paul relates similar findings of psychologists at Texas A&M: Pornography gives men the false impression that sex and pleasure are entirely divorced from relationships.

This is further explored by Robert Weiss, founding director of the Sexual Recovery Institute. He writes,

All of this, according to Texas A&M, combines to turn sex into a product to consume, something to be obtained (often for free), used and discarded.

The Internet Is for Porn?

A popular myth about the internet is that it is anywhere from one-third to 80 percent pornography. In 2011, Forbes dispelled the myth by consulting neuroscientist Ogi Ogas who, along with his colleague Sai Gaddam, amassed the largest collection of online pornography statistics in the world. According to them, a mere four percent of the internet is actually porn.

That four percent, however, gets a lot of mileage. In 2013, Paint Bottle put together an infographic on porn usage, discovering that porn sites received 450 million visitors per month, which is more than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

In this article, Ive briefly touched on the physical and psychological effects of pornography on young males of the Millennial generation, also known as Generation Y. It is my contention that this generations issue with pornography is the same issue it confronts at every entertainment venue: .

Outfitted with a mobile arsenal of internet-enabled gadgets, Millennials are exposed to more news, entertainment and titillation than at any point in recorded history. The internet is so bound up into the fabric of day-to-day life that not participating in that abyssal sea of data must be an active choice. But its easy to forget what ones options are when one has infinite options.

Pornography is an extension of the internet; it does not exist by itself. And accessing pornography requires virtually no effort. There are no tolls, no restrictions and an endlessly updating stream of new content. Like the internet itself, it is a messy, perpetually gushing fountain, pun absolutely intended.

The question that needs to be asked is not whether porn is good or bad for an individual but how much choice young men have in what they are now being exposed to. The internet is teaching entirely new and passive methods of socialization, entirely passively, and all that is required to learn from it is sitting down and staring at a computer screen for hours on end.

The Twin Dangers of Addiction and Enculturation

Human beings are naturally curious, and were most curious about those things that excite us. Its not surprising at all to believe the internet is mostly pornography, because sex is the most basic of the many addictions the internet enables. The danger of its porn is not only that it provides a stimulus without effort but also that that stimulus comes pre-packaged with a misogynistic philosophy.

The best example of this comes from Adam Savage (of Myth Busters fame) in an episode of The Moth. While trying to teach his son about sex in the age of digital pornography, he explains to his audience that he finally realized this disturbing truth:

How Pornography Is Changing Millennial Women

I do not have anything approaching the time and resources to definitively say whether or not the internet hates women, nor to conclude with any certainty that internet pornography is destroying young mens brains. What I can definitely say, however, is that the availability of internet porn has changed us – how we view sex, how we pursue sex, how we have sex. And whenever I hear this notion dismissed, I think back on that party in Orange County, those few cans of PBR, and that friend of a friend sitting on the back of a couch. She really enjoyed sex, but she hadnt felt comfortable having sex with a man in a very long time.

As Naomi Wolf wrote,

Im sure to some readers that all sounds quite boring.

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/pierce-nahigyan/2015/11/how-pornography-is-changing-millennial-men/

5 Most common types of cancer and their symptoms

Cancer is a deadly disease that affects an enormous amount of people every year.

Treatments are touch and go, but detection is really the key so the treatments can be applied as quickly as possible. Here are common forms of cancer and the early warning signs to look for.

1. Breast Cancer

This is the most common non-skin type of cancer as 1 out of 8 women have chances of developing it. The main sign is a node in the breast tissue. Pain in the arms is another sign. Men also can get breast cancer and the same node in the breast tissue can be a sign of such as well as nipple discharge.

Detected early, breast cancer can be treated.

2. Prostate Cancer

Located below the bladder, in front of the rectum, prostate glands in part are responsible for semen production. Prostate cancer can be treated when detected early. Diagnosis has helped greatly in successful treatment.
Men over 50 should especially get a regular prostate check. Usual signs are blood in stool, erectile dysfunction and an ejaculation that is painful. 100 percent recovery can be had if detection is early.

3. Cervical Cancer

When cancer cells confine to the surface of the cervix and eventually spread to the uterus, pelvis walls, and lower vagina (eventually reaching the lungs and liver at final stages) thats when cervical cancer takes place. Vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain are common signs while advance stage signs include weight loss, body pain and urine or faeces leakage from the vagina. Those twice as likely to get cervical cancer are women who have had two or more full-term pregnancies and those who had their first full-term pregnancy before 17.

While some types of sexual behavior may lead to this as well, the most common cause is infection of the cervix with human papillomavirus. A routine Pap test is the ideal way for early detection.

4. Oral Cancer

Oral cancer consists of swelling or thickening of lips or bumps that protrude on the lips. Red or white velvety or speckled patches in the mouth can also be a sign as the mouth may start to bleed for seemingly no reason.

For prevention and detection, regular oral hygiene is highly recommended as well as regular checkups. If you are a smoker you should especially be aware, since their is a higher risk for smokers.

5. Skin cancer

Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma are the common types of skin cancer and they usually are easily visible, thus making chances of early detection really good.

Basically it comes down to melanoma or non melanoma as far as skin cancer goes.

The non melanoma look like patches on the neck which are translucent. If on the chest it will be reddish brown and as it develops, crusty, bleeding skin will form.

The melanoma skin cancer will come through in moles, patches and any change in the texture of skin or the color.

Basically any change in skin appearance should be looked at, even the most little change you should take serious.

The most important thing is early detection along with regular health checkups in order to catch cancer as quickly as possible so you can start treatment to get rid of it. Keep your health in check and be aware of any changes that take place. Prevention is very important and certainly better than having to go through treatments, especially in the late stages.

Read more: http://damn.com/5-most-common-types-of-cancer-and-their-symptoms/

Shockwaves To The Penis Could Replace Viagra

Fed up of having to take that little blue pill? How about a shock to the penis instead?

That may sound like some horrific form of torture, but a new study has found that administering small shockwaves could help, and maybe even curesome cases of erectile dysfunction.

Although medications like Viagra have long been successfully helping soldiers stand to attention, they dont treat the underlying problem and only work for a matter of hours. While that might be enough to have sex, it means the deed cant be done spontaneously and essentially requires scheduling not exactly everyone’s recipe for a great sex life. But thats what sets this new treatment apart: it actually aims to restore erectile function so that men can have erections naturally.

Called extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), it involves delivering a focused beam of acoustic waves to a target area where they interact with tissues and induce a small amount of stress and trauma. That may seem counterintuitive, but this effect triggers a cascade of events that ultimately culminate in the release of chemical signals that facilitate the growth of new blood vessels. So by doing this to the penis, the idea is to improve its blood supply and thus restore the erectile mechanism. And before you start firmly crossing your legs, dont worry the waves delivered are weak and low-intensity, although you might feel a little burning sensation.

Having already seen positive results from a small pilot study, a group based in Denmark conducted a larger, placebo-controlled study to scrutinize its effects on erectile function. Described in the Scandinavian Journal of Urology, they recruited 112 men ranging in age from 37 to 80 who couldnt have sex either with or without medication.

They split them into two groups and gave half the treatment and half sham therapy, directed at six positions on the penis, five times over a five-week period. They then assessed the men 5, 12, and 24 weeks after treatment, but after the first stage men in the placebo group were offered the real thing, although they didnt previously know they were being given a placebo.

Five weeks after treatment, 57 percent of those receiving the shockwaves were able to achieve an erection and have sex without medication, compared to only nine percent in the placebo group. Although this diminished by 24 weeks, positive results were still seen as 19 percent in the active treatment group were still able to have sex without drugs, alongside 23 percent in the group that first received the placebo.

This study shows a possible cure in some patients, but more research, longer follow-up in the placebo group and an international multi-centre randomized study are needed, the authors conclude. If such studies continue to be supportive, though, this treatment would certainly be welcomed, especially in light of the growing number of cases of diabetes and heart disease, which can lead to erectile dysfunction.

[H/T: New Scientist]

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/shockwaves-penis-could-replace-viagra

Farage is now Britains face at the EU: petty, unlovable, essentially terrified | Marina Hyde

The Ukip leaders boo-winning European parliament rant shows he isnt going anywhere but will Brownfinger drag us all down in a race to the bottom?

In a crowded field, I think it was the flag that was the killer. The absolute state of that flag. Nigel Farages desktop Union Jack, with its little sucker pad leeching obnoxiously on to the unlovely beech of the European parliament chamber. Part of the genius of the TV series The Office was its ability to distil all human life down to a series of recognisable archetypes most people had encountered at work. To see Farage there with his desktop flag was to suddenly and irrevocably understand it: the UK is the Gareth Keenan of Europe. This is how we must look to those still condemned to share continent-space with us: petty, unlovable, essentially terrified, our workplace set up in a show of cod-martial defiance, which in fact only flags up our raging insecurity.

Farage has been building up to this moment his entire political life, as he tells everyone at every single opportunity. In which case, how is it humanly possible that his speech to the European parliament today could be so artless, so crass, a scarcely refined version of some England fans infamous recent chant: Fuck off Europe, we voted out? To couch it in the sort of imbecilic historical inaccuracy which is the only language Farage understands: this speech was so bad that theyre now quits with us for saving them in the second world war.

You may disagree with this reading of the war; Nigel would regard it as hugely overcomplicated. This, he repeated once more, was a victory against big politics. Virtually none of you, he bellowed at the MEPs, have ever done a job in your lives.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/28/nigel-farage-european-parliament-petty-rant-ukip

19 Fun and Weird Sex Facts You Never Learned In Biology Class

Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/fun-and-weird-sex-facts-you-never-learned-in-biology-class/

6 Historic Sex and Dating Rituals You’ll Be Glad Died Out

It’s fair to say that the social norms around love and sex have gotten a lot more complicated in the past few decades. If you want to go on a date these days, you’ll need to spend upwards of 17 hours finding the angle from which your face looks the most attractive, and then master the fine art of responding to incoming flirtation. Respond too quickly and you look like a desperate loser, but respond too late and you look like an asshole. That said, although pursuits of romance were simpler back in the olden days, they weren’t necessarily better. Not when an argument with your significant other could lead to a perfectly legal deathmatch, or when getting a divorce from your husband meant being sold at auction.

6

Marital Disputes Were Occasionally Settled Via Fights To The Death

There’s a lot of advice about how to resolve arguments with your partner. One school of thought is that you should be like the stream and let everything but the most heinous stuff float away. Another suggests you should jack-jaw about every conflict, sitting down and talking everything through like rational adults so that resentment doesn’t build over time. Of course, there’s always a third option, courtesy of the 13th century: entering into a no-holds-barred battle to the death.

Throughout the Middle Ages, it wasn’t unheard of for disputes to be negotiated via trial by combat. This method wasn’t just restricted to royalty or the upper classes; anyone could participate and just, like, wail on whomever did them wrong. And although they weren’t an everyday activity, fights between husband and wife aren’t uncommon in the historical record. In 1200, for instance, there was a battle between a husband and wife in Bale, Switzerland, whilst another battle in 1228 resulted in a (literally) crushing defeat for the husband, in what must have been some extremely heavy petting.

In one of the few moments in history in which women weren’t being dunked on by the system, the husbands were handicapped during such fights by having to fight from inside a three-foot-deep hole dug into the arena floor using only clubs. Oh, and if they touched the sides of the hole, one of their clubs was confiscated. The wife, meanwhile, was free to wander around the arena picking him off from a distance with, we shit you not, rocks in a sack:

It was such an … interesting … setup that one artist of the day was able to fill an entire book with fighting styles that either side could employ to victory. Victory, of course, is a term here meaning “killing.” Which is probably why we don’t do things this way any more.

5

Spending Your First Night Together Meant Being Sealed In A Sack

Teenagers have forever been easily combustible sacks of hormones and body fluids. These days, we deal with this by encouraging them to wear tight clothes and drink, because we’re incredibly cool. But previous generations weren’t so accommodating.

For instance, in the 17th century, teen couples interested in spending the night together were wrapped in burlap sacks and left to lie next to each other. Known as “bundling,” this practice was incredibly popular in rural areas of England and Wales. It worked like so: When a teenage couple were to spend the night together, the girl would have a sack tied around her waist in order to ward off any intruders. The dehornified couple would then be tucked into bed, and just to make sure that no nonsense happened, they were separated further by a wooden plank.

The objective wasn’t all-out psychological warfare (although that was a bonus). It afforded the couple a chance to spend the night together whilst simultaneously allowing the parents to spend the night without worrying they’d have another mouth to feed in nine months. It was kind of sweet, in a way — one of the first steps toward allowing young people to pick their own partners rather than have them thrust upon them.

Bundling proved such a successful method of boner-foiling that it soon made its way to New England, where the situation reportedly got even weirder. Supposedly, if a passing traveler needed a bed for the night, the wife and daughter(s) of the house might be bundled and made to share a bed with them. Whether this is merely a prurient rumor or not is a little hard to say, but bed-sharing did happen a lot more back then, and craftsman were selling beds with built-in bundling boards. So it’s possible. And certainly one way to boost your Yelp reviews.

4

You Could Carry Creepy, Intense Talismans Of Your Lover’s Eye

If you love someone, you’ve probably spent a fair amount of time gazing deeply into their eyes, lost in the starburst patterns around their dilating pupils (often a green light for smoochin’!), or their flecks of gold, or their cat irises or whatever. Now how would you like to have that to carry around with you forever?

Politely disinterested? Entirely weirded out? Oh.

Well, we got it for you anyway.

These little pictures were called Lover’s Eyes, and were en vogue in Western Europe around the start of the 19th century. Legend has it that they got their start when the future King George IV fell in love with a Catholic widow of two husbands, Maria Fitzherbert. After a lengthy and generally fruitless courtship — including a faked suicide attempt, an illegal proposal, and Maria fleeing the goddamned country — George finally hit on a winning formula. He sent a painting of his eye, with the postscript: “I send you a parcel, and I send you at the same time an eye. If you have not totally forgotten the whole countenance, I think the likeness will strike you.”

Something about this struck her (possibly the futility of trying to escape a persistent prince), because she came back to England and married him in a secret ceremony on December 15, 1785. This creepy love story was the beginning of a creepy love trend, and while it faded out quickly, experts suspect that some 1,000 of these little paintings exist to this day. It’s all but impossible to identify them without an inscription though. The subjects, and certainly the depth of meaning of these objects, were clearly intended for one person alone. Which, while still incredibly creepy, is kind of romantic.

Also they let you lie pretty easily about who your lover might be, which is fun.

3

You Had To Get Birth Control Advice From Illicit Pamphlets

In 1968, students at Montreal’s McGill University had a problem: They wanted to crush some ass, but had little knowledge about birth control or pregnancy or whatever bizarre STIs they have in the Great White North (that might indeed be the name of one). This was all thanks to stringent laws that outlawed the dissemination of such forbidden knowledge. But as there’s no problem that students won’t solve if it allows them to bone or drink, they hit the books, went underground, and mass-produced their own pamphlet, inventively titled The Birth Control Handbook.

Within, students could find information on everything from the menstrual cycle to contraception to sex positions. With regards to birth control and abortion, it gave students everything they could possibly need to know, from information on procedures to broaching the subject in conversation to price guides and reviews of local clinics. As one reader makes clear, “women were desperate for this information, so starved for information … you wanted it, in as much detail as you could get, as graphic as it could be made.”

The publication of the pamphlet was made possible by donations from students, as well as secret funding from Princeton University and the University of Maine, and boy did they do a lot with it. Between 1968 and 1975, they’d distributed a staggering three million copies of the handbook — a figure boosted by horny students in the U.S. writing to get their hands on this mythical book that they’d heard about via whispers in sexual backrooms.

There was another illicit sex guide before this. In the 1830s, The Fruits Of Philosophy informed sex-havers everywhere about the science of birth control. Although most of it is hilariously antiquated, it was one of the first publications to espouse the benefits of vaginal douching with a spermicide post-sex. Unlike the Canadians, the author of this pamphlet, Charles Knowlton, was found out by The Man, fined $50 for flouting obscenity laws, and sentenced to hard labor. You’ll be glad to know though that this didn’t hurt his cause, because his cause was awesome. Case in point: Not only did a member of the jury that convicted him ask for a copy of the book, so did the prosecutor and the judge. It turns out that while they were duty-bound to impose the law, they didn’t agree with it.

They also probably liked to fuck.

2

Finding A Partner Was All About Disgusting, Vomitous Love Potions

When the ne’er-smooth path to love went super off-road in the old days, romance’s four-wheel drive came in the form of love potions. Horrifically disgusting love potions:

The Pitt Rivers Museum/University of Oxford
Feeling roused yet?

That’s ambergris, a “growth” found in sperm whale intestines. In the Middle Ages, they used to make love potions with ambergris mixed with gypsum (found more commonly today in walls), wax, and labdanum (a resin you can pick out of the fleece of passing goats). Is that making you musky? If not, consider the version of love potion recommended by Pliny the Elder, made of hyena eyes. And Cleopatra was said to have imbibed pickled pearls — that’s mushy oyster ooze-grit and vinegar — to keep her, uh, milkshake frosty.

Moving right along the dark tunnel of old-timey love, we see that love potions in France were once made up of natural herbs, natural flies, and natural menstrual blood. And the 1500s love potion of choice was a mixture of periwinkle, leeks, and earthworms.

Raphael
Love and fish-killing are two activities not normally so closely related.

Now, beyond the fact that these potions don’t work (presumably, ingesting this stuff would actively make a person decidedly unappealing), the production and consumption of these things didn’t always end well for either party. In New Mexico during the days of Spanish control, women making love potions — made of fried or mashed worms, milk, bodily fluids, and powdered shells, since you’re asking — were reportedly rounded up as witches. Which ended in the usual theatrical murder of unpopular women, in this case at the hands of men who we’re going to go out on a limb and call unsatisfied customers. Which honestly doesn’t seem fair. If someone hands you a plate of jizz-worm meal and you eat it and suddenly no one wants to kiss you, at least some of that has to be on you, lover-boy.

1

Ending A Marriage Meant Being Sold At Market (If You Were A Woman)

Marriage used to be simple. Two people vowed to live their lives together, angry, on a farm, facing none of the risks posed by extramarital sexting, or extramarital streaming, or one of them taking up vaping. And while that sounds delightful, one upside today’s lovebirds have is that there are options for escaping a doomed relationship other than “selling your ex-partner like an unwanted exercise bike.” Which was something which actually happened.

Up until the 1850s, getting divorced in England involved navigating a complex annulment process or petitioning parliament into drafting a law to allow it, which essentially invited the government to cross-examine you on your erectile dysfunction. In absence of either the money or mutual hatred necessary to put themselves through such a process, it used to be commonplace for couples in rural areas to offer themselves for sale to other potential suitors.

Wiki Commons
This may still be occurring in some of the shadier parts of Craigslist, come to think of it.

And by “themselves,” we mean “the wife.” Although this was a mutually agreed-upon process, there was never any question of the wife putting the husband out to someone else’s pasture. One person walked away single and rich, the other walked away with another husband, and that was that.

Mind you, the wife had some control over this process. In the event that her husband was on the cusp of selling her off to a drunken psycho, the wife had the option to veto any sale that she wanted, thus affording her some hope of being paired off with one of those long-haired lotharios who are always buying women at the market.

And how much could you buy a bride for, you ask, checking your wallet? Well, that all depended on the husband. If he was a businessman, he’d certainly try to get a good price, if only for the sake of his own reputation. But if the husband was a drunken wretch, he’d sell her for whatever pocket change someone had … or a pint of beer, as one wife in 1862 found to her dismay.

When they aren’t ruining history like two drunkards with a time machine, Marina and Adam can be found on Twitter. Adam also has a Facebook page, but that’s only for the cool kids. Uncool kids will appreciate that Marina is behind the times and still needs one — please help her. Thanks again for enduring the punchy puns of Team Marinadam! See you next time!

Also check out 7 Ways Dating Used To Be A Horrifying Game Of Roulette and 6 Reasons Online Dating Will Never Lead To Love.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_24886_6-ways-sex-dating-totally-sucked-centuries-ago.html

Reasons for avoiding sex are often treatable

Sex has a strong influence on many aspects of well-being: it is one of our most basic physiological needs. Sex feeds our identity and is a core element of our social life.

But millions of people spend at least some of their adulthood not having sex. This sexual avoidance can result in emotional distress, shame and low self-esteem — both for the individual who avoids sex and for the partner who is rejected.
Yet while our society focuses a lot on having sex, we do not know as much about not having it.
    As a researcher of human behavior who is fascinated by how sex and gender interact, I have found that sexual avoidance influences multiple aspects of our well-being. I also have found that people avoid sex for many different reasons, some of which can be easily addressed.

    The more sex the merrier?

    People who have more sex report higher self-esteem, life satisfaction and quality of life. In contrast, lower frequency of sex and avoiding sex are linked to psychological distress, anxiety, depression and relationship problems.
    In his landmark work, Alfred Kinsey found that up to 19 percent of adults do not engage in sex. This varies by gender and marriage status, with nearly no married males going without sex for a long duration.
    Other research also confirms that women more commonly avoid sex than men. In fact, up to 40 percent of women avoid sex some time in their lives. Pain during sex and low libido are big issues.
    The gender differences start early. More teenage females than teenage males abstain from sex.
    Women also are more likely to avoid sex because of childhood sexual abuse. Pregnant women fear miscarriage or harming the fetus — and can also refuse sex because of lack of interest and fatigue.
    The most common reasons for men avoiding sex are erectile dysfunction, chronic medical conditions and lack of opportunity.

    Medical problems top the list

    For both men and women, however, our research and the work of others have shown that medical problems are the main reasons for sex avoidance.
    For example, heart disease patients often avoid sex because they are afraid of a heart attack. Other research has shown the same for individuals with cerebrovascular conditions, such as a stroke.
    Chronic pain diminishes the pleasure of the sexual act and directly interferes by limiting positions. The depression and stress it causes can get in the way, as can certain medications for chronic pain.
    Metabolic conditions such as diabetes and obesity reduce sexual activity. In fact, diabetes hastens sexual decline in men by as much as 15 years. Large body mass and poor body image ruin intimacy, which is core to the opportunity for having sex.
    Personality disorders, addiction and substance abuse and poor sleep quality all play major roles in sexual interest and abilities.
    Many medications, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, reduce libido and sexual activity, and, as a result, increase the risk of sexual avoidance.
    Finally, low levels of testosterone for men and low levels of dopamine and serotonin in men and women can play a role.

    Social and emotional factors — and consequences

    For both genders, loneliness reduces the amount of time spent with other people and the opportunity for interactions with others and intimacy. Individuals who are lonely sometimes replace actual sexual relations with the use of pornography. This becomes important as pornography may negatively affect sexual performance over time.
    Many older adults do not engage in sex because of shame and feelings of guilt or simply because they think they are “too old for sex.” However, it would be wrong to assume that older adults are not interested in engaging in sex.

    What is the solution?

    Few people talk with their doctors about their sexual problems. Indeed, at least half of all medical visits do not address sexual issues.
    Embarrassment, cultural and religious factors, and lack of time may hold some doctors back from asking about the sex lives of their patients. Some doctors feel that addressing sexual issues creates too much closeness to the patient. Others think talking about sexuality will take too much time.

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

    Yet while some doctors may be afraid to ask about sex with patients, research has shown that patients appear to be willing to provide a response if asked. This means that their sexual problems are not being addressed unless the doctor brings it up.
    Patients could benefit from a little help. To take just one example, patients with arthritis and low back pain need information and advice from their health care provider about recommended intercourse positions so as to avoid pain.
    The “Don’t ask, don’t tell” culture should become “Do ask, do tell.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/01/health/avoiding-sex-partner/index.html

    Penis enhancement surgery results in man’s death

    One man’s penis enlargement surgery turned fatal has become a cautionary tale, with doctors in Sweden warning those desiring to enhance their manhood.

    A healthy, 30-year-old man in Stockholm wanted to increase both the girth and length of his genitals using a process where fat is transferred from his belly to his penis. The man was one of 8,4000 people worldwide who seek to enhance their girth every year (statistics were not available on length since they are often done at the same time, like in this case, even though many doctors recommend against it).

    MORE: HOW GETTING OVER A COLD CAN GIVE YOU A HEART ATTACK

    A description of the case in the Journal of Forensic Sciences explained that surgeons had finished the elongation portion of the surgery and were in the enlargement part, which involved injecting the patient with two fluid ounces of his own fat cells, when things went wrong. The fat leaked into his veins and traveled to his lungs, which resulted in a lung embolism, rupturing his blood vessels. The patient, who was found to have no prior heart conditions, ended up having a heart attack on the operating table. Despite attempts from doctors to perform CPR, the man passed away two hours later.

    The conclusion of the study said, This is the first described case where a seemingly simple and safe procedure of penis enlargement by autologous fat transfer caused sudden death in a healthy young man. It also suggested that the surgery was riskier since it combined two procedures.

    Urologist Tobias Kohler, of the Mayo Clinic, who was not involved in this study, told BuzzFeed News that among the reasons surgeons advise against the “completely useless” surgery, is because it “never works” and because of “other horrible consequences, from disfigurement to permanent erectile dysfunction to even worse.

    MORE: 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE DATING A COWORKER

    A 2017 scientific review in Translational Andrology and Urology showed that “the majority of men seeking penile elongation treatment have a normal penile size, which is functionally adequate.” Instead, it is suggested that most patients seeking this elective surgery suffer from body dysmorphic disorder and cannot accurately see their bodies.

    This article originally appeared on Mens Health

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/07/31/penis-enhancement-surgery-results-in-mans-death.html

    Doctor Will Provide Free Surgeries For Trans Military Personnel

    A former Navy surgeon said that because of President Donald Trumps announcement of a ban on transgender peopleserving in the armed services,she will waive the cost of gender confirmation surgery for some military personnel.

    Dr.Christine McGinn, who is also transgender and was once nominated for the Navys flight surgeon of the year award, told CNNs Michael Smerconish on Saturday that if the military wont pay for its trans service members gender confirmation surgeries, any patients she already has scheduled for those operations will receive them for free.

    If the commander-in-chief wont take care of our veterans, our veterans will.I will do surgery for free on the number of people that I have already lined up for surgery, she said. She added that shes more than happy to do so.

    The scope of the transgender military ban, which Trump announced in a series of tweets on Wednesday, remains unclear. Military officials were caught off-guard about the policy change and said they were awaiting instruction on how to implement it. White House officials were unable to answer reporters questions on when the ban would go into effect and whether it would apply to current military members, leaving the fate of McGinns patients and thousands of others hanging in the balance.

    Its obvious discrimination, McGinn said. I think any fifth-grader could see that.

    Trump claimed in his announcement that transgender service members burdened the military with tremendous medical costs and disruption. But as McGinn and many others have noted, the cost of caring for those personnel is a drop in the bucket of the militarys massive budget.

    The militarys transition-related health care costs, for example, amounted to less than 10 percent of what it spent on erectile dysfunction prescriptions in 2014.

    I think its being twisted and spun to make it seem like it would be more than it is, McGinn told CNN of Trumps budget claims. I think the cost of getting rid of very well specialized, trained military service people is exponentially larger than just taking care of them.

    Those that choose to have transition-related surgeries may only be out of work for a few weeks, she added.

    Most of my patients are back to work in six weeks, sometimes two weeks, she said. I think that this is getting inflated to make it a little more political.

    Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/doctor-free-transgender-surgery_us_597e0e1fe4b02a4ebb760a2f

    Trump Said Trans Soldiers Come With ‘Tremendous’ Costs. He Is So, So Wrong.

    PresidentDonald Trumphas justified his Wednesday announcement banning transgender people from the military by saying they burden the armed services with tremendous medical costs.

    But this statement could not be more false.

    After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military, Trump said in a series of tweets. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.

    Last year, the Pentagon lifted its ban against transgender people serving in the U.S. armed forces.The Williams Institute said in a 2014 study that trans people make up more than 15,000 soldiers serving in active duty or in reserve. In total, the study found nearly 150,000 transgender people serve in the military in some capacity.

    Its unclear why the president, who has passed no meaningful legislation and continues to be embroiled in scandal, has decided to set his sights on discriminating against the trans community.But looking at the numbers shows that Trump isnt doing this simply because of medical costs.

    Since the Pentagons 2016 decision,health care costs for active duty personnel in the armed forces increased between $2.4 million and $8.4 million a year, according to study from the nonprofit RAND Corp, which was commissioned by the Department of Defense.

    Those costs make up a 0.04 to 0.13 percent increase in health care expenditures. Furthermore, only between 29 and 129 service members in active duty will seek transition-related care each year.

    As CNN points out, and as is obvious by the numbers, the costs for the most powerful military in the world to care for its transgender soldiers isnegligible in comparison to the overall budget.

    Another study in 2015 showed that transition care for trans soldiers would be little more than a rounding error at $5.6 million a year. That amounts to 22 cents per service member per month, Aaron Belkin, an academic at the San Francisco State University, told Reuters. The current budget for annual health care in the armed forces sits at around $47 billion.

    Perhaps most disturbing of all is the fact that while Trump decries the costs of caring for trans soldiers, the Department of Defense currently spends more than $84 million a year on Viagra. Viagra is a pill designed to treat erectile dysfunction in men.

    Alissa Scheller/HuffPost

    If the president wants to target the trans community actively serving this country with political vitriol, he should at least be honest enough to call his decision what it is: discrimination.

    Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-said-trans-soldiers-come-with-tremendous-costs-he-is-so-so-wrong_us_5978ab01e4b0c95f3760a3e7

    Trump Says His Trans Military Ban Is Because Of Costs, But Viagra Costs More

    On Wednesday, July 26, President Donald Trump announced he’s banning transgender people from serving in the military. Trump cited medical costs and disruption as the justification for this move. But, research doesn’t support this assertion.

    In fact, the military spends less on medical care for transgender troops than it does on Viagra, which helps treat erectile dysfunction,the reports.

    A 2016 study from the RAND Corporation found providing transgender troops with gender-transition-related medical treatment would cost the military between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually. That represents, at most, a 0.13% increase in spending.

    Meanwhile, the military spends $84 million annually on Viagra, according to The Military Times.

    The United States has the highest military budget in the world by far roughly $600 billion. There’s a very strong case to be made it could easily afford to provide medical treatment for transgender troops.

    The Pentagon is also notorious for wasting money. It was recently reported, for example, that it blew$28 million on uniforms for Afghan soldiers that were the wrong camouflage pattern for the region.

    Trump’sclaim transgender people cause disruption in the military is not supported by research, either.

    The RAND study, cited above, also showed 18 countries allow transgender people to serve openly in the military with little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.

    These countries include major U.S. allies: Australia, Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

    In the U.S., trans people were barred from serving in the military until June 2016, when the Obama administration reversed the policy.

    It’s estimated that as many as 15,000 trans people currently serve in the U.S. military.

    Following Trump’s announcement, trans veterans began to speak out.

    Speaking with Business Insider, Kristin Beck, a 20-year veteran of the Navy SEALs who is transgender, asked Trump to meet her face to face and you tell me I’m not worthy.

    Long story short, Trump’s justifications for banning transgender people from the military don’t add up.

    Read more: http://elitedaily.com/news/politics/trump-says-trans-military-ban-costs-viagra-costs/2028315/

    Trump’s Mar-a-Lago visits cost twice as much as all transgender military medical expenses

    President Donald Trumpon Wednesday said the military will no longer allowtransgender individuals to serve in the United States military due to tremendous medical costs.

    After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military, Trump wrote on Twitter. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelmingvictory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.

    However, the data on which the Department of Defense crafted its own policy notes that the costs are exceedingly small and account for less than half of 1percent of the Department of Defense’s healthcare budget.

    The RAND Corporation, a research organization that helps craft public policy, worked with the Department of Defense last year to review its policy on allowing transgender personnel to serve in the military and receive treatment during their military service.

    In a report last year, RAND found that only 29 to 129 service members in active duty would seek any type of gender transition care in any given year, between 30 and 140 people would seek hormone therapy, and 25 to 130 people would seek surgical treatment.

    Overall, the military’s health system costs for active members would only raise between 0.038 to 0.134 percentbetween $2.4 million and $8.4 million annuallyand overall DoD health-related costs would only rise between 0.005 to 0.017 percent, according to the group’s findings.

    To put this in perspective, Trump’s trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida areestimated to have cost taxpayers $21.6 million during the first 80 days of his presidency. Further, an analysis by the Military Times concluded that the Pentagon spends $84 million annually on erectile dysfunction medication like Viagraat least 10 times the healthcare costs associated with transgender service members.

    This represents an exceedingly small proportion of active component health care expenditures, RAND wrote in the report. RANDadded: Even upper-bound estimates indicate that less than 0.1 percent of the total force would seek transition-related care that could disrupt their ability to deploy.

    The DoD’s entire fiscal year 2017 budget is $582.7 billion. Trump has called for significant increases in the 2018 budget.

    Screengrab via RAND Corporation

    The RAND study found that between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender personnel were in the military out of a total of about 1.3 million service members. The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates approximately 15,000 transgender service members.

    Only a small portion of service members would likely seek gender transition-related medical treatments that would affect their deployability or health care costs, Agnes Gereben Schaefer, lead author of the study and a senior political scientist at RAND, said at the time.

    The DoD transgender policy allowed transgender service members to serve openly and specified that they could not be separated or discharged from the military solely for being transgender individuals. It was enacted last year.

    The DoD originally planned to begin accepting new transgender recruits on July 1, but the effort was delayed until Jan. 1, 2017, at the request of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which said the military needed more time to assess the policy. However, Defense Secretary said in a memo that the delayin no way presupposes an outcome.

    Since becoming the secretary of defense, I have emphasized that the Department of Defense must measure each policy decision against one critical standard: Will the decision affect the readiness and lethality of the force? Mattis said. Put another way, how will the decision affect the ability of Americas military to defend the nation? It is against this standard that I provide the following guidance on the way forward in accessing transgender individuals into the military Services.

    Members of the Joint Chiefs have said thattransgender service members currently serving in the military are not an issue.

    Ultimately, Trump’s decision appears to have beena political ploy rather than a move to protect the effectiveness of the U.S. military, according to a Trump administration official.

    Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/transgender-military-trump-cost/

    Hey Trump, Viagra costs Pentagon 5 times as much as trans services

    Viagra costs the military a pretty penny, but no bans have been announced on the erectile dysfunction drug.
    Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    President Donald Trump says his ban on trans people in the military is cost-based, but no one’s buying it after Twitter pounced on this data nugget: the Pentagon spends more on Viagra than trans medical services.

    The Washington Post took a Military TimesU.S. Department of Defense spending analysis from 2015 and found that erectile dysfunction drugs cost the military a lot. Like $84.24 million a lot.

    Spending on Viagra alone was $41.6 million in 2014. That’s five times what a 2016 Rand study estimates transgender health care costs the military between $2.4 and $8.4 million a year, according to the Washington Post.

    These numbers put things into perspective, as many noted on Twitter. Looks like Trump was just spinning when he noted in his three-tweet announcement of the ban Wednesday morning that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption” of trans service members.

    The American Medical Association also issued a statement saying that the financial cost “is a rounding error in the defense budget and should not be used as an excuse to deny patriotic Americans an opportunity to serve their country.”

    But there’s more. The real reason for the trans ban appears to be political vote jockeying.

    Politico reported that GOP leaders wanted to ban military-funded gender confirmation procedures, not ban trans service members outright.

    But here’s the cherry on top, purportedly: Wednesday’s sudden announcement came after Trump was apparently trying to protect funding for the Mexican border wall construction in some delicate political maneuvering.

    But Trump doesn’t do delicate. Instead, he’s discriminating against people fighting for the country and spinning them as the costly burden.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/26/trump-transgender-military-ban-viagra-costs-more/

    The creepy doll on ‘The Bachelorette’ is a viable suitor given their low, low standards

    Image: abc

    Rachel Lindsay suffered many indignities in the season premiere of The Bachelorette and accepted it all with poise, even when a man attacked her by playing an acoustic guitar at her. Another dude who’s known her since they were children was suddenly interested once it meant he could be on television.

    Still, she was only thrown off her game when she met Adam Jr., a doll who is, apparently, French.

    “That’s scary looking,” Lindsay says, backing the hell away. “I don’t know which one to look at.”

    Adam Jr.’s chaperone, Adam, is a real estate agent based in Dallas, so it’s sort of unclear how the pair met. Also, does Adam Jr. have a job? Even a fake job, like Whaboom? A lot of questions here.

    The Bachelor franchise has always had an iffy grasp on personhood. Take, for example, The Twins.

    On Bachelor in Paradise, The Twins (legally named Haley and Emily Ferguson although, if you watch these shows religiously like I do, you’re still unlikely to know that) were treated as a single individual. Even their “best friends” like Amanda Stanton, just called them “The Twins” all the time. Accordingly, the rules of the game treated them as one entity: if one twin matched up with a suitor, the other twin got to stay.

    Soon, they’ll have their own Freeform spinoff, The Twins: Happily Ever After? where, presumably, no one’s allowed to get married unless it’s a double wedding.

    So what’s the deal with Adam and Adam Jr.? Adam, bless Rachel’s heart, got a rose. But was that just so she could keep Adam Jr., who unlike pretty much everyone else, doesn’t say anything horrific because he literally cannot open his mouth?

    Adam Jr. (or AJ) did get to express himself with voiceover, though, and revealed that he actually has more emotional intelligence (hey, Taylor) than most of the contenders. The ability to read the room is a rare gift in Bachelor Nation.

    Adam Jr. had a staggering amount fan support and even some conditional cosigns from fellow suitors.

    “I really feel like everybody’s here for love, including AJ. He doesn’t have to say much for you to know what he’s thinking and I can tell he’s getting a little jealous,” observed Josiah.

    “AJ’s dressed fresh, he’s actually got a pretty dope fade if you look,” added Kenny before offering to light the doll on fire if he ventures into true horror movie territory.

    Look, we know AJ isn’t going to win this thing, but since there are like two viable suitors for Lindsay to pick from, why not go for a hometown date in the French countryside at the doll factory he comes from?

    Oh, yeah, that’s why.

    Well, if he floats, he’s a perfect contender for Bachelor in Paradise, where even Evan the Erectile Dysfunction Expert who faked an illness so his crush would accompany him in an ambulance found love.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/23/creepy-doll-adam-jr-the-bachelorette/

    Saturday Night Live: Rock’s solid guarantee of strong finale

    Dwayne Johnson teams up with Tom Hanks while long-time cast members Vanessa Bayer and Bobby Moynihan leave on a high

    In recent years, Dwayne The Rock Johnson has been toying with the idea of running for president and the idea seems less ludicrous by the day.

    So it was a natural fit that the monologue for his fifth time as host of Saturday Night Live would take this idea and run with it, positing that the actor and former wrestler would use his on-screen bravado to win over voters. Hes a lock for the minority vote, he explained, because everyone just assumes Im … whatever they are.

    His natural fit for a running mate? Fellow five-timer Tom Hanks, of course, who brought his calming, paternal gravitas to the ticket. I have been in two movies where a plane crashed, Hanks reminded us, and people are still happy to see me on their flight.

    It kicked off a strong season finale: Johnson is a great host, and the episode featured a ton of Vanessa Bayer and Bobby Moynihan, long-time cast members who are leaving the show. Both are great, goofy players who will be tough to replace.

    Other sketches worth checking out include:

    • Johnson and Moynihan resurrected their wrestler characters Koko Watchout and Trashyard Mutt, who were trying to outdo each other in the promos for a big fight, but Koko couldnt quite understand why his way-too-personal insults (exposing Mutts infertility, complex familial history) didnt fly. It wasnt the most sophisticated premise, but it was executed very well, with some great punchlines for Johnson.
    • A commercial parody of erectile dysfunction drugs, starring Johnson as a construction worker who is recommended Zentrax by a co-worker, only to be informed by his doctor that it is effectively poison. What started as an obvious take on awful prescription drug ads had a nice slow build and ended with a great run of gags.
    • Weekend Update had some good one-liners Colin Josts President-for-Now Trump and Michael Ches Trump is a politician like Ja Rule is a festival organiser but the standouts where Bayer and Moynihan reprising some beloved characters. Bayer was back as Dawn Lazarus, the gibberish-speaking meteorologist whose melodic tone is oddly mesmerising: On the west coast, sun is always a wow. Moynihan brought back Drunk Uncle, the Trump-supporting old-school guy who cant quite deal with the modern-day world: Is this pomegranate juice gender fluid?
    • Kenan Thompson tried to control his New Money Crew in a rap video that quickly got out of control. Worth watching for one special cameo.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/may/21/saturday-night-live-rocks-solid-guarantee-of-strong-finale

    Trump makes ready for his attack on Mueller

    **Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

    On the roster: Trump makes ready for his attack on Mueller – Power Play: Your forecast? Delicious bacon – Trump officials now back findings on Russia – Ryan sells tax reform while on the road – Theres stiff coffee and then theres stiff coffee

    TRUMP MAKES READY FOR HIS ATTACK ON MUELLER  
    The story of most outsider presidents who come to Washington is one of learning the ways of the capital and governance and, as part of that, broadening out an inner circle to include more seasoned advisors.

    Maybe not surprisingly, President Trump is going a different way.

    With the departure of Press Secretary Sean Spicer, we see the strongest evidence yet of the shift to a war footing in the White House as the besieged president surrounds himself with hometown loyalists for what he clearly expects to be a struggle to remain in power.

    The elevation of Trump loyalist and Wall Street insider Anthony Scaramucci to the top message man for the White House is further proof that the new focus isnt about winning the Washington game but rather survival.

    It also tells us whats likely to happen next. 

    The competing voices inside the presidents inner circle, and maybe within the presidents own mind, have been whether or not to go to war with special counsel Robert Mueller

    This is something of a predictable moment since, as we said when Mueller was appointed back in May that it would be hard to imagine a figure who would perturb Trump more than the patrician Boy Scout Mueller.

    If you will excuse us for quoting ourselves: If [James Comey] got Trumps goat, Mueller will get the whole pasture. 

    Trump and his team have flirted from time to time since then with the idea of waging open war against Mueller, even as most prominent Republicans praise the former FBI director and say that he and his team should be allowed to finish their work. 

    But as we have also talked about in the context of Trump and the Russia matter, as recently as in regard to his attack this week on his own attorney general, Trump seems to believe that other people think and function as he does. 

    The basic thesis of Trumpism is that the system is rigged and that Trump can effectively exploit that corruption for the people of the United States as he did for himself personally in his business career. 

    If you looked at the world like that, youd assume then that Mueller from his Bronze Star as a marine in Vietnam, across his decades of service, through his appointment by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama as FBI director and now as the finder of fact in the Russia probe is a big fat phony. 

    Mueller is exactly the kind of WASP blue blood who Trump has loved taking on and tearing down throughout his life. And now, Mr. Prep-School Prefect is rooting around through Trumps tax returns and business records. 

    We wont waste a lot of time talking about if Trump did fire Mueller, or take steps causing Mueller to be fired. To say that it would close the door to a successful presidency is no overstatement. The second firing of the person in charge of an investigation into your own campaign is a very guilty-seeming act. Doing it to a person who is as esteemed and trusted as Mueller would bring the house down. 

    The option short of a bloodbath at the Justice Department, however, is to do what Bill Clinton did when he was similarly under siege 20 years ago, and seek to discredit Mueller. Trump is working right out of the Clinton playbook as he tries to turn Mueller into a 21st century Ken Starr.

    Certainly, for the 27 percent of voters in this weeks Fox News poll who said that they strongly support Trump, attacking Mueller in advance of any findings will help inoculate the president when the evidential findings to come. 

    And for surviving the scandal, it may be Trumps only remaining hope. 

    Keeping core Trump supporters on board as bad news comes in requires doing just what Trump is doing: Attack the process as corrupt, attack the reporters covering the story and attack the prosecutor on the case. 

    For the persuadable members of the other 73 percent of the electorate, though, the question becomes whether Trump is a victim fighting against an unfair system or simply a guilty man taking desperate steps to save his own skin. Is Trump Richard Kimble or Dudley Smith?

    THE RULEBOOK: ALL DRESSED UP 
    What degree of agency these reputed lawgivers might have in their respective establishments, or how far they might be clothed with the legitimate authority of the people, cannot in every instance be ascertained.  James MadisonFederalist No. 38

    TIME OUT: JUST A TAD
    The Atlantic: On its own, this feature seems doomed to mechanical failure. But the risk is worthwhile to facilitate the toasters star ability: the A Bit More button. That modest attribute offers a lesson for design of all stripes The button also makes toasting bread, normally a quantitative act, more qualitative. The lever dials in numerical levels of browning, and the A Bit More button cuts it with you-know-what-I-mean ambiguity. That dance between numbers and feelings apologizes even for a slightly over-browned slice of toast by endearing the eater to the result the button helped produce. It highlights an obvious but still unseen problem with electric toasters, devices that have been around for more than a century. And then it solves that problem in an elegant way that is also delightful to use. Its just the kind of solution that designers desperately hope to replicate, and users hope to discover in ordinary products. 

    Flag on the play? – Email us at
    HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with
    your tips, comments or questions.

    SCOREBOARD
    Trump net job-approval rating: -17.2 points
    Change from one week ago: -1.4 points

    POWER PLAY: YOUR FORECAST? DELICIOUS BACON 
    We have a rookie and a vet in this weeks weekly news and trivia quiz. Chris Stirewalt welcomes our Fox News colleague Griff Jenkins for his first time and the return of FiveThirtyEights Harry Enten. Which player will know who was president when an American last walked on the moon? Play along! WATCH HERE

    TRUMP OFFICIALS NOW BACK FINDINGS ON RUSSIA 
    The Hill: Top homeland security and intelligence officials in President Trump‘s administration have thrown their support behind the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign, breaking from the president’s own wariness to endorse the findings. At the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on Thursday, Thomas Bossert, the president’s homeland security adviser, said there was no question that Russia had meddled in the 2016 election in comments reported by USA Today. There is a pretty clear and easy answer to that and that is yes, Bossert said when asked if he backed the conclusion from U.S. intelligence agencies. President Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo joined Bossert, asserting that Russia had involved itself in several U.S. elections. Of course, Pompeo said Thursday when asked if Russia interfered. And the one before that, and the one before that. (Russia) has no intention of backing off.

    Putins hackers under attack from Microsoft – Daily Beast: Last year attorneys for the software maker quietly sued the hacker group known as Fancy Bear in a federal court outside Washington DC, accusing it of computer intrusion, cybersquatting, and infringing on Microsofts trademarks.  The action, though, is not about dragging the hackers into court. The lawsuit is a tool for Microsoft to target what it calls the most vulnerable point in Fancy Bears espionage operations: the command-and-control servers the hackers use to covertly direct malware on victim computers.

    Congress likely to tie Trumps hands on Russia sanctions – Politico: Senior Republican lawmakers and aides gave their clearest comments Thursday that the bill would ultimately move forward without changes sought by the White House, potentially undermining Trump’s ability to warm relations with Moscow. The Senate already passed the bill on a 98-2 vote. And while its stalled in the House amid partisan finger-pointing, most Republicans are joining Democrats to support adding new sanctions while curbing Trump’s power to roll back the penalties against Russia.

    Special counsel investigating possible money laundering by Manafort – WSJ: Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible money laundering by Paul Manafort, Donald Trumps former campaign manager, as part of his criminal investigation into what U.S. intelligence agencies say was a Kremlin-backed campaign to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    Sessions wont resign for now, but gets Trumps message – 
    Politico: the president was sending a message, said a Trump adviser who talked with him after the interview making a deliberate effort to convey his lingering displeasure with his attorney general [Jeff Sessions], who recused himself in March from the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He didnt just do that randomly, the adviser said of the president.

    Report: Spokesman for Trumps legal team resigns – 
    Politico: The spokesman for President Donald Trump’s legal team has resigned within two months of being on the job, according to people familiar with the matter. Mark Corallo, the spokesman, had grown frustrated with the operation and the warring factions and lawyers, these people said. Corallo also was concerned about whether he was being told the truth about various matters, one of these people said.

    RYAN SELLS TAX REFORM WHILE ON THE ROAD 
    Boston Globe: US House Speaker Paul D. Ryan pitched the outlines of his tax reform package at a sneaker factory Thursday, promising congressional Republicans are more united on that issue than over their ailing health care plan. Addressing local business leaders and New Balance factory workers, Ryan said a simplified, streamlined tax code would goose the national economy, encouraging employers who have sent jobs overseas to bring them home. The Wisconsin Republican said the tax rates for all employers should come down from roughly 35 percent to closer to the average across the rest of the industrialized world of 22.5 percent. He said he wanted to eliminate loopholes and, for individual taxes, cut rates and consolidate deductions. Still, contending that the current political climate offered a once-in-a-generation moment, Ryan vowed, Were going to get this done in 2017.

    Under fire for opposing health bill, Mike Lee hits back – Politico: Mike Lee hears the chorus of critics, with blame from the establishment wing of the GOP cascading on the Utah senator for being the Republican that stopped Obamacare repeal. And he’s ready to respond. In an interview in his Capitol Hill office Thursday, Lee said he was willing to be the lone senator to bring down his partys health care bill because it did not do much to stop Obamacare in its tracks. Im not being an absolutist, he said, adding that he didnt need 100 percent of the law to be repealed. Im a little frustrated by some who are eager and willing to call me out for saying this doesnt go far enough in doing what we promised to do for seven years.

    PLAY-BY-PLAY 
    DNC lags behind RNC in June, brings in $5.5 million – Free Beacon

    Rumored DNC motto ripped straight from Papa John’s Pizza – WashEx

    Trump Picks Richard Grenell for U.S. Ambassador to Germany – NYT

    Ralph Peters writes about the everyday patriotism of John McCain – NY Post

    ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
    This Sunday, Chris Wallace will have Sens. John Thune R-SD., and Ben Cardin D-Md., to discuss passing the GOP healthcare bill. Watch Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

    #mediabuzz – Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the weeks media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.

    AUDIBLE: LOWKEY
    Let me put it this way, Im glad that Trump is drawing all the fire so I can get stuff done.  Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson in an interview with the Wash Ex.

    FROM THE BLEACHERS
    I totally understand your arguments about the investigation. Here is the problem. What is the crime we are investigating? What Statute? There are no parameters in this investigation. I say again, what is the crime? Jeff Sessions can recuse himself all he wants but he is in charge of the AG department budget, so he would well be in his right to ask what is the crime? What are we spending millions investigating? I think that is what frustrates the President.  Doreen HowardNewmarket, N.H.

    [Ed. note: It is not illegal, Ms. Howard, to eat maple syrup on your cod cakes or put thumb tacks on your bed. There are lots of things that are not illegal that are still not good to do. The special counsel is investigating what Kremlin agents did to influence the 2016 election, and whether any Americans helped them do it. That focus has fallen to Trumps campaign. Those who suggest that the national-security investigation be suspended because of a technicality that colluding with a hostile foreign power to interfere with an American election isnt a black-letter crime seem to express little confidence in the innocence of their president.]

    Why would Russia want Trump in the White House?  Above all else, they want the president to be predictable.  Hillary is predictable; not only that, Russia knows they could walk all over her.  Trump is a wild card; unpredictable and uncontrollable.  It doesn’t make sense that Russia would help Trump win the presidency. I don’t hear anybody asking that question.  Tom Kilian, Burtrum, Minn.

    [Ed. note: The conclusion of the intelligence community, even now under the Trump administration, is that Russian operatives did, in fact, mean to harm Clinton and help Trump. Now, it is possible that they did not expect their efforts to be successful, thinking they would be left with a weakened Hillary. Some of what Trump has done has been more helpful to Moscow than the stated policies of his 2016 opponent. But, some of it has been harsher toward the Kremlin than Clinton might have been. With Clinton, the Russians suspected theyd see a continuation and probably a toughening on the U.S. line against Moscow, but with Trump had plenty of reason to hope that he would favor a thaw. Time will tell if whether they made a good bet or a bad one.]

    Are there polling data available for just those directly affected by the proposed changes in ACA, excluding those on Medicaid, Medicare or having employer-paid insurance? It doesnt seem possible to present an accurate picture of the impact of Republican Healthcare efforts if those not impacted are included in the polls.  Peter Booth, Atlanta

    [Ed. note: Well, Mr. Booth, that wouldnt be exactly cricket. After all, the beneficiaries are not the only ones involved. Taxpayers are certainly involved. Everyone with private insurance who sees changes to markets and regulations is certainly involved. Every employee and employer is involved, since the way health insurance is provided is so central to Americas working life. Plus, what about those who arent enrolled in an ObamaCare program this year, but might be next year? That is a long way of saying no issue touches more Americans more intimately than that of health insurance and health care.]

    Thank you so much for that trail note link.  I swear that that final line in that article brought a tear to my eye.  Senator McCain is a hero like no other.  He is a patriot and a true American who puts the welfare of others ahead of his own.  I will truly never forgive our current president for his cold/callous and inaccurate words during the campaign in reference to his perception that Senator McCain was no hero. Dont get me wrong, I voted for Mr. Trump – as the alternative was way too dire to even contemplate. But, I have NO RESPECT for any human being who can be so callous and cold and disrespectful in regard to others – especially extraordinary worthy Americans such as John McCain.  I still, to this day, wish with all my heart that Mr. Trump would take those words back in a sincere and heartfelt apology.  Susan St. Onge, Nashua, N.H.

    [Ed. note: One of the tests for our words in this life is to consider how we would feel if they were our last to someone else. Different seasons of life call for different responses and attitudes, so we are not able to always be tender, but when we think about how we wish to be received and heard, sometimes it helps to think about the lasting legacy our remarks might leave.]

    Mind your manners, peasant! Address his royal highness as King George! I kid; but what are your top 4 favorite King George Strait tunes? You gave great Tom Petty recommendations, try your hand at this impossible task! Did Dana make you include this?  Jack Whiteman, St. Louis 

    [Ed. note: I will confess that Strait has never been exactly my particular can of Copenhagen, which is why I found the piece so great. I personally believe that country-Western is a misnomer. Texas swing and good Hillbilly music are both enjoyable but have about as little in common as KISS and Bob Seeger. The piece gave me a new appreciation for Strait who, if anyones does, bridges the gap between two disparate genres. His workmanlike style and approach to his music added greatly to my admiration.]

    Share your color commentary: Email us at 
    HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

    THERES STIFF COFFEE AND THEN THERES STIFF COFFEE
    USA Today: A Texas company issued a voluntary recall after a substance similar to one used in Viagra was found in its coffee, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration notice. Bestherbs Coffee LLC issued a recall of New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee after FDA testing found the presence of desmethyl carbodenafil, according to the FDA. Desmethyl carbodenafil is structurally similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, an FDA-approved prescription drug for erectile dysfunction, the FDA said in a statement. The product also contained undeclared milk, according to the FDA. While the New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee is marketed as a male enhancement product, the desmethyl carbodenafil could interact with nitrates in some prescription drugs and possibly lower blood pressure to dangerous levels, the FDA said in a statement.

    AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES
    Look, Trump is completely unconventional. We knew that coming in. But theres a reason for the conventions. And that is you so undercut an underling that he can’t really function effectively, and thats whats just happened now.  Charles Krauthammer on Special Report with Bret Baier.

    Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

    Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including Americas Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNCs coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/21/trump-makes-ready-for-his-attack-on-mueller.html

    Guys, you might want to lay off the porn. Ladies, science says you can carry on.

    It turns out too much porn can be a bad thing at least if you’re a guy. Women can carry on enjoying as much as they like.

    New research has found that unlimited access to online porn may be damaging to mens sex lives. Looking at it too often can lead them to become less interested in their IRL sex lives, which obviously has all kinds of negative consequences for their health and relationships. Meanwhile, women are lucky enough to remain pretty much unharmed by their porn consumption.

    This new data is the result of two separated surveys that were led by Dr. Matthew Christman, a urologist at the Naval Medical Center of San Diego. The findings were presented last week at the 112th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association.

    The first survey focused on women between 20 and 40 years old, most of whom were married, heterosexual, white, and on active duty in the military. (They were all patients at a military urology clinic.) The results showed that these women werent exactly porn-loving machines.

    About 40 percent of the survey respondents reported looking at porn on occasion, and one-fourth of them said they did so less than once a week. But regardless of how much they were watching, there were no accompanying ill-effects or sexual dysfunction.

    The second survey, however, was a little more alarming. It looked at 312 men in the same age range (and with a similar demographic makeup). Some 20 percent of these guys said they viewed porn three to five times a week. That’s not too shocking, but it appears that some of the men took things too far.

    For instance, four percent of them said they actually preferred masturbating to porn over having intercourse with their partner. Not great for the health of a relationship, that’s for sure. There was also a correlation between the guys who were avid consumers of porn and those who reported experiencing less sexual desire and satisfaction, and also those with erectile dysfunction.

    There are some obvious limitations here, since these surveys are only examining a pretty narrow population of people. Still, it’s nice to think that women, for once, can enjoy something pleasurable without having to worry about any consequences.

    But even for men, there’s no need to panic just yet. Taking advantage of the internet’s vast store of adult entertainment from time to time will probably not ruin your life.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/15/men-too-much-porn-study/

    Ex-teacher accused of abducting teen planned to go to Mexico, FBI says

    Nashville (CNN)Former teacher Tad Cummins, who allegedly abducted his student in Tennessee and vanished for five weeks, planned to kayak to Mexico with the 15-year-old girl, authorities said.

    Cummins, 50, and the teen threw their phones in a river and disabled their car’s GPS device to avoid detection, FBI agent Utley Noble said.
    The two went missing on March 13, and were found on April 20 at a remote cabin in Northern California, ending a frenzied search that involved law enforcement agencies across the country.
      Cummins is charged with taking a minor across state lines for the purpose of sexual activity. He has not yet entered a plea. If convicted, he faces 10 years to life in prison.
      Cummins will remain in jail until his trial, a federal judge ruled Friday. Assistant US Attorney Sara Beth Myers presented Noble as a witness at a detention hearing.

      Plans to paddle to Mexico

      Cummins told authorities he had sexual contact with the teen “most nights” during their time on the run, Noble testified.
      While on the run, he bought an electronic tablet to keep up with news of their disappearance, along with a two-person kayak worth $1,500, Noble said.
      The pair planned to paddle to Mexico from Coronado Island in San Diego, he said. They used aliases of a married couple, John and Joanne Castro, so they would blend in once they crossed the border.
      Before ending up in California, they made stops in Alabama, where they threw their phones into the Tennessee River, federal authorities said. They also allegedly switched license plate tags from Tennessee to Alabama, then from Alabama to Colorado.
      Before he disappeared, Cummins left his wife a note saying he had gone to Virginia Beach to clear his head, the authorities said.
      “Don’t call the police. They’ll think I ran because I’m guilty and I’m not!” reads the note, which was entered into the court record.

      ‘I can’t explain what he’s done’

      Friday’s hearing was held to address Cummins’ request to be released from custody while he awaits trial.
      The request was denied by Magistrate Barbara Holmes, who deemed Cummins a flight risk and a danger to the public. The case is being heard in the Middle District of Tennessee.
      Cummins’ sister, Daffney Quinn, attended the hearing, along with his father, cousins and two daughters.
      Quinn defended Cummins’ character and tearfully described him as “the best brother a sister could ask for.”
      “I can’t explain what he’s done,” she testified. “Something has happened psychologically and mentally to cause what he’s done.”
      “I strongly believe that something is wrong with him, because the brother and man I know would never do something like this.”
      If Cummins were released before his trial, Quinn said his family would supervise him constantly and would be the first to turn him in if he broke any probation rules.
      Asked if her brother has expressed regret, she paused.
      “No. Not necessarily,” she said. “I don’t think he knew this would happen or realized he would be in this much trouble.”
      After the hearing, Cummins’ cousins, Tony and Jerry Brawner, said the most important thing is for the girl to get help.
      “It’s a horrible thing he’s done, and we don’t condone his actions,” they said. “But he’s family, and we still love him.”

      The disappearance

      Cummins and the girl disappeared March 13 as a police investigation into their relationship was heating up.
      The former high school health sciences teacher in Culleoka, Tennessee, had been suspended in February, less than a month after a student reported seeing him and the teenage girl kissing in a classroom.
      Authorities believe the teacher groomed the girl for nearly a year before they vanished.
      According to a criminal complaint, Cummins refilled a prescription for Cialis, which is used to treat erectile dysfunction; took out a cash loan; and made hotel reservations in Oklahoma. Investigators argue those actions show he was planning to leave with the girl.
      Cummins was fired the day after they disappeared.

      State charges

      Cummins also faces state charges of sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said last month.
      He has pleaded not guilty.
      Tennessee law allows children older than 12 to decide whether to leave their families unless their removal or confinement “is accomplished by force, threat or fraud.”
      To prove kidnapping, prosecutors would need to show the teen was unlawfully removed or had her freedom restricted.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/13/us/tad-cummins-detention-hearing-mexico-plans/index.html

      Twitter is going to town on Montreal’s scrawny Christmas tree

      This year, Montreal wanted to have the tallest, most magnificent Christmas tree in all of North America. It did not do that.

      But the city did achieve part of its goal. Its new fir is not the tallest in North America (it’s about six feet shorter than the Rockefeller Plaza tree), nor does anyone seem to find it magnificent in any way. But it sure is a tree! Good job on that.

      And as it is a funny-looking thing displayed in public, people have lots of jokes about it. Hey, we shouldn’t be so harsh Charlie Brown would probably be very impressed.

      As with any viral object unable to speak for itself, the tree has even acquired its own Twitter account, @SapInLaid (“ugly tree” in French).

      Admit it, though. With the proper care and a few lights, the tree is kinda cute and isn’t that what Christmas is all about or whatever?

      A photo posted by melissakimm (@melissakimm) on

      BONUS: Starbucks holiday cups are here and America gets some much-needed feels

      Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/12/07/montreal-christmas-tree-ugly/

      New Laser Treatment Based On Deep-Sea Bacteria Effectively Treats Prostate Cancer

      Scientists have developed a novel therapy to treat men who have the early stages of prostate cancer, radically improving their chances of completely eliminating the disease without the need to remove the gland. With successful trials already completed, and the results published in The Lancet, it is hoped that the treatment could be offered to patients within just a few years.

      The new technique utilizes a bacteria usually found in the depths of the ocean. Found in near total darkness on the seafloor, the bacteria converts light into energy with amazing efficiency. Researchers used this ability to create a drug that releases free radicals when exposed to light, which is then injected into the blood stream, eventually finding its way to the tumor in the prostate.

      They then insert 10 fiber optic lasers into the cancerous part of the gland. When the lasers are turned on, it activates the drug that then only kills the cancerous cells in the prostate, leaving the healthy cells intact. With only the tumor being destroyed, leaving the rest intact, the outcome for patients in phase three trials have been far better than the standard treatment.

      Currently, when a patient is diagnosed with early localized prostate cancer, they are placed under surveillance, but doctors are usually reluctant to act further until it becomes more severe. This is because the only treatment up until now has been radical therapy that involves removing or irradiating the whole prostate. This leads to severe long-term side effects, such as erectile dysfunction and even incontinence, hence the reluctance to perform the treatment.

      But this latest development, using the newly developed “vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy”, means that all men who have been diagnosed with early stages of the disease can be treated.

      Just under half (49 percent) of the men in the trial went into complete remission, with the tumor completely destroyed. After the trial, only 6 percent of the men who had the new treatment needed to go on to have their prostate removed, compared to 30 percent who had not received it.

      This is truly a huge leap forward for prostate cancer treatment, which has previously lagged decades behind other solid cancers such as breast cancer, explainedUniversity College Londons Professor Mark Emberton, who led the study. These results are excellent news for men with early localized prostate cancer, offering a treatment that can kill cancer without removing or destroying the prostate.

      Now the researchers have to wait, as the treatment is currently being reviewed by the European Medicines Agency. Only then can it be approved and offered to patients with early stage prostate cancer.

      Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/new-laser-treatment-based-on-deepsea-bacteria-effectively-treats-prostate-cancer/

      Montreal pines for Rockefeller Center-style tree, fails spectacularly

      Philippe Pelletier and his Christmas tree delivery business promised the citizens of Montreal a tree that would be bigger and more impressive than the famed evergreen in New York Citys Rockefeller Center.

      That didnt happen not by a long shot.

      I was really surprised by the reaction to the tree, Pelletier told FoxNews.com of the 88-foot, gangly tree in the citys Quartier des spectacles. We want to show people a natural Quebec Christmas tree, so thats what we got.

      When a flatbed truck accompanied by police escort brought the balsam fir through the streets of the Canadian city in late November broken branches, bare spots and all Montrealers were far from impressed. After hoisting the tree up and covering it with lights and mini red Canadian Tire logos for the Le Grand Marché de Noël festival, things only got worse.

      Montreal’s Christmas tree looks like it was just released from Xmas tree rehab and needs any spare change you might have for a bus ride home, one Twitter user said on the social media site. Other social media users compared it Charley Browns sad Christmas tree and, worse off, an erectile dysfunction.

      Local media tried to put a better spin on the scraggly tree, with an anchor on CTV saying the tree was not perfect, but unique, they say just like this city.

      A columnist at the Montreal Gazette waxed poetic that the balsam fir made him ponder the long history of the word balsam.

      The balsam fir is a North American species; indigenous peoples used its gum to treat coughs, colds and asthma, columnist Mark Abley wrote in the newspaper. Yet long before balsam meant the type of tree now often adorned with Christmas lights and ornaments, it referred to a fragrant resin.

      Pelletier, who started the tree delivery company Sapin MTL last year with some friends, is used to attracting attention with his trees. Last year the company hosted the first Pan-Am Tree Toss in Montreal but the scorn and criticism for the lanky tree is something he didnt expect.

      He added that the tree which they found in a rural area near Quebec border with the United States is what a real Christmas tree looks and that the one in Rockefeller is not what a tree looks like in nature.

      What weve realized is that people expect perfection from a tree, but we didnt add any branches, he said. We presented the tree in its natural state.

      Despite the Christmastime criticism, Pelletier echoed the old saying that any publicity is good publicity.

      If it wasnt for this tree, we wouldnt have all these people talking about us, he said. We wouldnt be getting calls from media all over the world.

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/12/21/montreal-pines-for-rockefeller-center-style-tree-fails-spectacularly.html