Friday, August 09, 2013

Today's Internets - "Here, have a good kick in the feels..."

"Here, have a good kick in the feels, courtesy of Saundra Young at CNN: In Colorado, parents Matt and Paige Figi struggled with trying to help their daughter Charlotte, suffering from long, untreatable seizures. Eventually, she was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. Its seizures cannot be controlled through conventional medication. They tried everything. Matt, having given up a military career, searched for anything else that could help as Charlotte was slipping away from them...

He found a video online of a California boy whose Dravet was being successfully treated with cannabis. The strain was low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound in marijuana that's psychoactive. It was also high in cannabidiol, or CBD, which has medicinal properties but no psychoactivity. Scientists think the CBD quiets the excessive electrical and chemical activity in the brain that causes seizures. It had worked in this boy; his parents saw a major reduction in the boy's seizures.

They decided to give medical marijuana a try, even though Paige said she had voted against legalizing it. They struggled to find  doctors who would sign off. Even though Colorado’s medical marijuana program recognized it as a valid treatment for seizures, Charlotte was so young. Studies have shown that marijuana use while the brain is still developing can have negative impacts on IQ and other potential mental problems. Given the severity of Charlotte’s situation, though, would it be worse than what she was already suffering through?

...the results were stunning. "When she didn't have those three, four seizures that first hour, that was the first sign," Paige recalled. "And I thought well, 'Let's go another hour, this has got to be a fluke.' " The seizures stopped for another hour. And for the following seven days. Charlotte is now 6 years old: Today, Charlotte, 6, is thriving. Her seizures only happen two to three times per month, almost solely in her sleep. Not only is she walking, she can ride her bicycle. She feeds herself and is talking more and more each day."

In other marijuana news, Sanjay Gupta decides to no longer believe blindly in authority and do some due diligence.  You know, it's nice the tide is turning and all, but all this info was out there already for anyone who didn't have blinders on.

This is pretty awesome.

"...after a new study has revealed a clear correlation between intelligence and childlessness - with cleverer women more likely to choose not to have a family. The study, which was conducted by Satoshi Kanazawa, a researcher at the London School of Economics, found that a woman's urge to have children decreases by a quarter for every 15 extra IQ points."

"Back in July, it was reported that Snowden was using an email account provider by the small privacy-focused Texas-based company Lavabit. But in an abrupt move, the company shut down its service Thursday, saying in a statement that it had taken the decision on the grounds that it refused to become “complicit in crimes against the American people.” The statement, written by Lavabit’s owner Ladar Levison, hints that he was served with some sort of surveillance gag order. He says that he cannot share his experiences over “the past six weeks” and is taking up a legal case to “fight for the Constitution” in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The statement concludes: This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States The intriguing development strongly suggests that Lavabit has been served with a secret order for the government demanding that it turn over user data."

"Girls are the perpetrators of some form of dating violence nearly as often as boys, surprising new studies show. More girls – 43 percent – than boys – 28 percent – reported committing an act of physical dating violence, said researchers who are presenting their findings beginning Wednesday at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting." 

"Here's that Walking Dead/Scooby-Doo crossover you've always wanted. Ever since the amazing Travis Pitts "Thelma and Scooby kill all the zombies" art dropped back in 2009, there have been a plethora of good Scooby Gang Vs. Zombies tributes. But this photoshoot by photographer Jeff Zoet could be one of the best. "

Crooks rip off nonprofit rape crisis center, then return the stuff with an apology note - Boing Boing: "The day after burglars ripped off the San Bernardino Sexual Assault Services office, they broke back in again and returned everything they'd stolen, with a note reading "We had no idea what we were takeing. Here your stuff back we hope that you guys can continue to make a difference in peoples live. God bless." As ABC 7 News reported, the office has no sign outside, in order to protect those who desperately need its help. The nonprofit's executive director, Candy Stallings, told NBC News: "We were all pretty shocked. You've got to be kidding me. I was in disbelief. I got chills. I got very emotional." The police admitted they'd never heard of thieves returning property. It seems counter to their intentions." 

"By an amazing coincidence, the worst terrorist attack that never happened since 9/11 is not happening right now, proving that everyone who was worried about out-of-control NSA spying had lost the plot. Which is ZOMGTERRISM. So 28 US diplomatic posts have been evacuated (that is to say, "experienced an ordered departure"), including ones in places like Mauritius or Madagascar, where al Qaeda has nefariously never operated as part of its devious plan to lure everyone there into a false sense of security.

Well, some people are cynical and just don't believe it, despite all the overwhelming secret evidence that we're not allowed to see or know about or hear about or even have described to us. People like State Department counterterrorism advisor Will McCants, who called the evacuation of the diplomatic posts "Crazy Pants" ("you can quote me"). Loose cannons like Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, who called the terrifying and nonspecific warnings "absurd hyperbole that is coming almost entirely from reckless commentators or ill-informed or ill-spoken [Capitol] Hill one who really knows al Qaeda or its history thinks that this is as huge a deal as portrayed—and certainly nothing remotely close to the worst thing we have seen since 9/11." But what the hell does he know?"

"TSA has not shown itself to be exceptionally useful for thwarting terrorism. It has never caught a terrorist in its airport checkpoints or anywhere else, as far as anyone knows. But the bureaucratic urge to expand cannot be easily suppressed. Lacking evidence of its value in airline terminals, TSA is branching out to other places where it can be equally ineffective. The agency "has vastly expanded its reach to sporting events, music festivals, rodeos, highway weigh stations and train terminals," reports The New York Times. Its Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) program, created in 2005, now gets $100 million a year "and is growing rapidly, increasing to several hundred people and 37 teams last year, up from 10 teams in 2008," the Times says. In 2012, it conducted some 8,800 unannounced operations outside of airports, or 24 per day. No, it's not requiring concertgoers and train passengers to take off their shoes and empty their pockets, but give it time."

"At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader." -  Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading

Via Richard Kadrey's Damn Tumblr: "INSEPARABLE, a short film starring Benedict Cumberbatch in two roles."

"Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently." - Unknown

Pretty damn funny.

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