Wednesday, July 28, 2010

CancerGate and the Controversy of Medical Marijauna

I am normally not interested in a story relating to things such as cannabis rights, but the idea that our government, in collusion with the multinational pharmaceutical industry is suppressing life saving drugs is revolting to me. Rumors have been spreading amongst underground circles of the discovery in Madrid, Spain, that THC kills cancer cells.

In fact, a Canadian named Rick Simpson has been teaching people how to extract the oil from hemp to use as a medicine specifically for cancer treatment. What he advocates is not the wanton use of it to smoke and space out, but a controlled use in a manner in which the hallucinatory effects are mostly not present. Likewise, it has been found to have very little physical effects.

The only reason it seems for the government to deny this use to the general public is to force people to buy expensive and mostly counter-productive drugs from the big drug companies. However, I am no expert in this subject, so judge what you will at your own risk. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and that in fact, information has been suppressed from the public due to political posturing, fear, and capitalistic exploitation.

His story is posted here on Youtube. (Be warned, it is 58 minutes long).

Here is a link to a story of an older study about the possible positive effects of hemp on lung cancer.

Here is a re-print of the story that started CancerGate, many years ago.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blackmarket Human Organs

With the rise in witchcraft persecutions in Africa comes word of something else just as troubling. A growing black market in human organs has appeared. These organs are harvested, not for their value as transplants, but for their value in traditional "folk" remedies.

Genitals and Heads Removed While Alive

The Mozambique Human Rights League states that the problem is widespread across Southern Africa, with ritual killings and disappearances commonplace. Border-crossers are found with alarming regularity to be carrying bags containing human organs and body parts; genitals and heads being preferred items. It is said many of those who are killed have the organs cut-off while they are still living. An even more alarming trend, is that much of it comes from children. Matshidisho Ntsiuoa, a researcher for Child Welfare in Bloemfontein, South Africa, tells a story of a woman who was given a belt of children's fingers and penises to wear in order to help ease her pregnancy. She paid a very high fee to the Witch Doctor for this "treatment".

The true numbers may never be known, as Africa harbors vast quantities of orphans from the twin plagues of constant warfare, and AIDS. Many of these children end their very short existence far away from the watchful eyes of the local authorities, who in many cases, may actually be complicit in this vile trade.

Law is no Help

The strange thing about this problem is that in many African countries, the possession of body parts alone is not a crime. Unless the law can prove that the person possessing the body parts is also the killer, no law has been broken. Prosecutions are very rare in this most unusual crime.

On a side note, many of the legitimate traditional African folk healers are trying to distance themselves from this growing trend. The core of the problem is the outrageous profits this trade can bring to the charlatans while they prey on the ignorance of others.

You can see some case histories here: Trafficking Body Parts

Friday, July 23, 2010

Old is New Again... in Space?

Lately NASA has been reviving some very old concepts to get us back in the space race, along with a few new ones, like privatization. What portents does this seeming step backward show for the future of our space program?

A core concept is a return to expendable launch vehicles, similar to what was used in the 1960's, only run by private industry. Private industry, while fully capable, has not got a track record of "going out on a limb" for new concepts. They tend to use tried and true methods, leaving the more experimental stuff to others. What the result of this will be is anyone's guess.

Our space program has been stymied for nearly 25 years with a system (the shuttle) that was massively expensive and overly complex. This system was owned by the government, yes, but it was operated by contractors (private industry). The end result was a lack of innovation and no development of advanced programs to replace it, as it basically became a corporate money funnel and drained the life out of other research projects that could have replaced it.

I have posted a link to a very interesting document that shows some of the alternative concepts we could be developing, several of which the technology exists today and are far cheaper than orbital multi-staged rockets. They just need some development, much of which has been sadly lacking.

Some of these concepts are very interesting and show great promise, such as laser-powered lightships, and blast-wave accelerators. The laser lightship concept has actually flown, though on a small scale. With a little development, we could be in business on a far cheaper level than we currently see. However, I would not expect private industry to sink much into these new concepts, as they are unproven money-makers.

Anyway, if you don't mind a little technical reading in places, this document is very interesting and outlines many very strangely exotic systems actually envisioned by NASA and the US Air Force. Everything from magnetic railguns to cascading orbital launch fountains are detailed, some more exotic than the wildest sci-fi authors dreams. One common element pervades, however; They are all very close to our technological level to accomplish, and quite possibly achievable if the money and resources can be found to support them.

UFO nuts take heed; the section about RF powered lenticular craft is very interesting and they are well within our current tech levels to build - makes one wonder now doesn't it...

Here is the link - You must have Adobe Reader to open it.