John Legend Makes Slavery Comparison in Acceptance Speech

“We live in the most incarcerated country in the world,” Legend said. “There are more black men under correctional control today than there were under slavery in 1850.”

The sometimes painfully slow growth of activist memes.

And PolitiFact was on Twitter, verifying that it was, in fact, true…

NFL Knocks Out Its Concussion Study

Much like the domestic violence problem, the NFL has lost the benefit of the doubt when it comes to concussions. A league that says the use of helmets reduces the risk of brain injury by “only 20 percent” and hires a non-full-time, non-concussion-expert as its first chief medical officer can’t expect us to take it seriously…

Looking up medical info on the web poses a privacy risk

Researchers found that nine out of ten visits result in personal health information being leaked to third parties, including online advertisers and data brokers…

The vast majority of these requests go to a handful of online advertisers: Google collects user information from 78% of pages, comScore 38%, and Facebook 31%. Two data brokers, Experian and Acxiom, were also found on thousands of pages…

Libert points out that the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) is not meant to police business practices by third party commercial entities or data brokers. The field of regulation is widely nonexistent in the U.S., meaning that individuals looking up health information online are left exposed and vulnerable.

The findings are reported in the article “Privacy Implications of Health Information Seeking on the Web,” appearing in the March 2015 issue of Communication of the ACM.

Alaska, welcome to 2015 :)

This perhaps comes as good news in Alaska, where a ballot measure to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults takes effect tomorrow (Tuesday). Alaskans age 21 and older will legally be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate no more than six plants at home, though commercial sales will have to wait until regulations have been established.

Marijuana much safer than previously thought, study finds

Marijuana is even safer than everyone thought it was while alcohol is even more dangerous, according to the study, published in Scientific American.

Looking at what it takes to ingest a lethal dose, the researchers found that alcohol was 114 times more dangerous than THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.  The study compared the estimated lethal dose of a number of drugs to the estimated human intake. Using this approach, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and heroin fell into the “high risk” category, with alcohol having by far the highest risk profile…

“We anxiously await the same public safety improvements from Alaska that we have already seen in Colorado and Washington,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “Cops will spend more time going after dangerous criminals and protecting communities, and parents can rest assured that their local marijuana retailer is barred from selling to their children.”

ACLU documents reveal police use of secret cell phone tracking program

This secrecy is allegedly justified in the name of “national security” although, as the ACLU notes in the records it released yesterday, a detailed list of over 250 investigations from just one city’s police department showed not a single case related to national security…

In other words, police keep information about this program secret not only from the public they presumably serve, but from the judges who presumably are supposed to oversee those police to ensure their behavior stays within legal and constitutional guidelines. Indeed, authorities would sooner let an armed robber avoid jail than reveal any details of how they use Stingray…

“[Tadrae McKenzie] and two buddies robbed a small-time pot dealer of $130 worth of weed using BB guns. Under Florida law, that was robbery with a deadly weapon, with a sentence of at least four years in prison. But before trial, his defense team detected investigators’ use of a secret surveillance tool. … In an unprecedented move, a state judge ordered the police to show the device — a cell-tower simulator sometimes called a StingRay — to the attorneys. Rather than show the equipment, the state offered McKenzie a plea bargain.”

The ACLU’s records show that one Stingray customer, the city of Tallahasee, went on to use its Stingrays in 250 investigations over the six years spanning mid-2007 to early in 2014. As the Post noted, “That’s 40 or so instances a year in a city of 186,000, a surprisingly high rate given that the StingRay’s manufacturer, Harris Corp., has told the Federal Communications Commission that the device is used only in emergencies.”

The ACLU’s records also show that police have not been obtaining warrants before using these cell phone trackers to determine peoples’ locations…

3/19/2014, Law against ‘encouraging suicide’ is ruled unconstitutional

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed the convictions of a former nurse accused of encouraging two people whom he met online to kill themselves…

Melchert-Dinkel, 51, was convicted on two counts of aiding suicide in the deaths of two people: Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, who hanged himself in 2005; and Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, who jumped into a frozen river in 2008…

Synthetic vs. Natural: What’s the Difference?

So when we talk about “synthetic” substances versus “natural” substances, we’re referring the difference between how they are made—how they come into being—not any difference between their molecules. The molecules are identical. [Or so the FDA would have us believe.]

One important difference between substances found in nature and those synthesized in the lab, however, can be the difference in cost. Generally, substances like physostigmine occur in nature in small quantities that are hard to extract from the plant or animal in which they occur. So one great advantage of being able to unravel nature’s secrets and reproduce them in the lab is that, once the process is discovered, it becomes much cheaper to synthesize substances in the lab than it is to get them from nature. This is what Percy Julian did.

One of the chief differences in “health food store” vs “drug store” brands is what is not in the tablet. For example, the natural brands leave out artificial chemical colors, which is a good thing to do. Just about all brands contain tablet fillers and excipients, needed to physically hold the pill together. Since these will vary, the only way to find out exactly who uses what is to write to the company and find out.

Some tableting ingredients are pretty standard, such as magnesium stearate or stearic acid, sodium citrate, dicalcium phosphate, cellulose and silica. I consider these harmless fillers to be “natural enough” for me.

Vitamins can legally be called “Natural” even if made in a laboratory. You would not think so, but it is true. Vitamin C, for example, is factory-made from starch. Starch is certainly natural, so the product can be termed “Natural.” Is this starch-based vitamin C identical to orange-juice vitamin C? Most biochemists say yes, because:

What is the difference between natural and synthetic material?

Natural versus Synthetic Chemicals Is a Gray Matter

Butterbur are plants that contain an anti-inflammatory compound called petasin, which is a natural remedy for migraine treatment and prevention. Unfortunately, butterbur plants also contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) that can cause severe liver damage, and thus it’s important that butterbur extract is purified to remove PAs…

Opiate vs. Opioid – What is the difference between Opiate and Opioid?

opiate – narcotic analgesic derived from a opium poppy (natural)

opioid – narcotic analgesic that is at least part synthetic, not found in nature

Prevent and Treat Childhood Trauma #1000Speak for Compassion

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on…