From The Book Big Tobacco Doesn't Want You to Read:
Amid the impressive collection of cactuses outside his modern two-story abode on the Stanford University campus, science historian Robert Proctor points to a few sad-looking tobacco plants that he's growing just for the hell of it. "They're not thriving here," he tells me offhandedly.
They obviously know their enemy. "I like to write about the history of the unseen and the untold," he explains. "Of controversy, but also of evil. Of abuse of science. Of science used for horrific purposes." Proctor's wide-ranging scholarly interests include Charles Darwin, the politics of gemstones, and Nazi doctors. But his magnum opus is Golden Holocaust, a devastating new compendium of the tobacco industry's sins that lays out in head-shaking detail how a handful of companies painstakingly designed, produced, and mass-marketed the most lethal product on the planet.
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By his own estimate, Proctor spent a decade poring over more than 100,000 tobacco industry documents unearthing details such as a primer on how to reach "young starters" and a 1970 Lorillard memo suggesting that "Negroes" smoke menthols to "mask" their "real/mythical odor." The 57-year-old prof is a walking encyclopedia of tobacco arcana, apt to mention things like "beaver," a rodent anal secretion sometimes added to cigarettes, perhaps to enhance "pack aroma." Or that as much as 90 percent of America's licorice supply is used as a cigarette sweetener. (Honey, chocolate, and sugar are also employed to make cigarette smoke more inhalable—and thus more addictive.) Or that around 4 percent of a cigarette's weight is made up of humectants like propylene glycol—basically antifreeze.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
From The Book Big Tobacco Doesn't Want You to Read:
A Moscow court on Tuesday ordered the police to break up a week-long occupy protest that spontaneously emerged on a scenic square after strongman Vladimir Putin’s swearing in for a third Kremlin term. The city district court said it was acting on behalf of local residents who complained of too much noise. A judge ordered the authorities to immediately “liquidate” the camp and clear the area. The small but daring action — not seen in any Russian city since Putin’s domination began in 1999 — tested the limits to which the ruling elite was willing to put up with a form with dissent now popular in much of the West. ~ ~ ~ See also:
Richard Boudreaux writes for the Wall Street Journal
Forget the youthful bloggers, pro-democracy crusaders and TV celebrities who launched Russia's five-month-old movement of street protests against autocratic rule. The anti-Kremlin crowd has a new unifying symbol: Abai Kunanbayev.
The city district court said it was acting on behalf of local residents who complained of too much noise. A judge ordered the authorities to immediately “liquidate” the camp and clear the area.
The small but daring action — not seen in any Russian city since Putin’s domination began in 1999 — tested the limits to which the ruling elite was willing to put up with a form with dissent now popular in much of the West.
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See also:Demonstrators Find Poetry in 'Occupy Moscow' Movement
Never mind that he lived 2,000 miles away on the Central Asian steppe and died nearly 108 years ago. Or that few Russians had heard of him until this week. The Kazakh poet, composer and philosopher—represented by a 20-foot-tall bronze statue—just happened to be in the right place at the right time.Starting with President Vladimir Putin's inauguration Monday, protesters in Moscow had been scurrying from one public square to another, pursued round the clock by riot police who were detaining hundreds. When the police backed away late Wednesday, the mobile crowd found itself under Abai's Buddha-like gaze in a public park and dug in there, creating the first Occupy-style challenge to Mr. Putin's 12-year rule.
The unlikely rise of the camp, a new test of the limits of dissent here, reflects the improvisation and fluid tactics of an opposition movement held together as much by Facebook and Twitter as by any leader. By Friday, #OccupyAbai had become the most popular hash for Russia's Twitter users. Activists in the camp held a public reading of the writer's poetry, embracing it as humanist.
[ ... ]Local bookstores report surging sales of Abai's once-obscure poetry collections. Demonstrators lay white carnations at his statue's granite base. A public poetry reading at the base of the statue featured such lines as:
"No one possesses a power enough to intimidate people nowadays." And "Train your will; it is the armor that keeps the mind alive."
"It's a funny coincidence that he has become this trendy person and everyone wants to read his stuff," said Marina Dikareva, an 18-year-old student who had attended.
Abai, born to a wealthy Kazakh herder in 1845, was educated and enlightened by Russian students who had been exiled by the czar to his family's lands for having protested a death sentence—later commuted—that was meted out to a prodemocracy activist. ...
From The Greek Streets posted:
The total number of those detained in Syntagma has reached 25 (all the March2Athens participants) and their detentions have now become arrests.
On the morning of May 15th, at least 16 protesters (out of an alleged 25) of the pacifist March 2 Athens were detained by riot police and removed from Syntagma square.
Some photographs here.
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The detainees have issued an urgent appeal for legal aid.
There will be a solidarity concert at Syntagma Square later today at 20:00.
People have been misinformed about the tragedy at Fukushima and its consequences. There is a continuing cover up, the reactors have not been stabilized, and radiation continues to be released. The Japanese College of Intravenous Therapy (JCIT) has recently released a video for people wishing to learn more about how to protect themselves from contamination by taking large doses of vitamin C.
All four parts of the video are also available here http://firstlaw.wordpress.com/. ...
In the fall of 2011, JCIT presented a study that Fukushima workers had abnormality gene expression, which may be avoided using dietary antioxidants, especially vitamin C. The data was presented in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. The JCIT sent letters to the government urging the government to tell the people how they may protect themselves from radiation. To date, the recommendation has been ignored by Japanese government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company).
Linus Pauling gained the Nobel Peace Prize in part based on his calculations of the number of deaths from nuclear weapons fallout. He was supported by physicist and father of the Soviet bomb Andrei Sakharov, who also later received the Nobel Prize for peace. These and other scientists estimated that there would be an extra 10,000 deaths worldwide for each megaton nuclear test in the atmosphere. A nuclear reactor can contain much more radioactive material than a nuclear weapon. Fukushima had six reactors, plus stored additional radioactive material and nuclear waste.
Ionizing radiation acts to damage living tissue by forming free radicals. Essentially, electrons are ripped from molecules. Removing an electron from an atom or molecule turns it into an ion, hence the term ionizing radiation. X-rays, gamma rays, alpha- and beta-radiation are all ionizing.
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Vitamin C is of particular importance and should be included at high intakes for anyone trying to minimize radiation poisoning. High dose vitamin C provides continual antioxidant flow through the body. It is absorbed from the gut and helps to replenish the other antioxidants. When it is used up, it is excreted in the urine. Importantly, it can chelate, or grab onto, radioactive heavy metal atoms and help eliminate them from the body. Large dynamic flow doses of vitamin C (about 3,000 mg, taken 4 times a day for a total of 12,000 mg) would exemplify antioxidant treatment. Higher doses have been used by Dr. Atsuo Yanagisawa and colleagues.
Omar R. Valdimarsson reports for Bloomberg:
Since the end of 2008, the island’s banks have forgiven loans equivalent to 13 percent of gross domestic product, easing the debt burdens of more than a quarter of the population, according to a report published this month by the Icelandic Financial Services Association.
“You could safely say that Iceland holds the world record in household debt relief,” said Lars Christensen, chief emerging markets economist at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “Iceland followed the textbook example of what is required in a crisis. Any economist would agree with that.”
The island’s steps to resurrect itself since 2008, when its banks defaulted on $85 billion, are proving effective. Iceland’s economy will this year outgrow the euro area and the developed world on average, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates. It costs about the same to insure against an Icelandic default as it does to guard against a credit event in Belgium. Most polls now show Icelanders don’t want to join the European Union, where the debt crisis is in its third year.
The island’s households were helped by an agreement between the government and the banks, which are still partly controlled by the state, to forgive debt exceeding 110 percent of home values. On top of that, a Supreme Court ruling in June 2010 found loans indexed to foreign currencies were illegal, meaning households no longer need to cover krona losses.
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“The lesson to be learned from Iceland’s crisis is that if other countries think it’s necessary to write down debts, they should look at how successful the 110 percent agreement was here,” said Thorolfur Matthiasson, an economics professor at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, in an interview. “It’s the broadest agreement that’s been undertaken.”
Without the relief, homeowners would have buckled under the weight of their loans after the ratio of debt to incomes surged to 240 percent in 2008, Matthiasson said.Iceland’s $13 billion economy, which shrank 6.7 percent in 2009, grew 2.9 percent last year and will expand 2.4 percent this year and next, the Paris-based OECD estimates.
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Iceland has news for the BBC
Great Britain sends an envoy to the colony of Iceland to inform Iceland that debt repudiation is simply not acceptable to the British and that the Icelandic people are wrong again. Birgitta Jonsdottir, Member of Parliament : 'Iceland has news for the BBC' It is getting hard to be a bankster these days. Enslaving the colonies is hard when the 'natives are restless'.
A group of students and professors from Yale University have found a fungi in the Amazon rainforest that can degrade and utilize the common plastic polyurethane (PUR). As part of the university’s Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory educational program, designed to engage undergraduate students in discovery-based research, the group searched for plants and cultured the micro-organisms within their tissue.
Before his ferocious ascent to Hollywood new-guard and celebrated psychotic, a young Dennis Hopper kept the flame guttering through photography. Parties, bar rooms, film sets, diners, bull fights, friends, artists, riots, bikers, the backrooms of celebrity – through the blizzard of the sixites Hopper was never without his camera. “I never made a cent from these photos” he said. “They cost me money but kept me alive … They were the only creative outlet I had for these years until Easy Rider. (After that) … I never carried a camera again.”
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