Guess what? Masterbation is a sin and is really unhealthy according to this web site (link via Zerone on Barbelith)
“Britain’s Ministry of Defense says it has paid for sex-change operations for as many as five serving soldiers.” Read all about it here:
A spokesman said on Saturday that “a small number, no more than five” soldiers had undergone gender reassignment operations funded by the ministry.
“The MoD medical services provide similar services to the military that are available to civilians on the National Health Service,” he said.
“If the doctors treating a soldier think there is an appropriate and genuine need, then surgery is considered.
“There have been a small number of operations carried out. We do not have the surgical facilities for the surgery. It is carried out by the National Health Service,” he said.
The US is blaming China for recent government web site hacks. Sounds like more new Cold War crap to me. The story also mentions the fact that “American hackers have vandalized scores of Chinese Web sites since the spy plane collision.”
Websites operated by the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services were working properly Sunday after being vandalized one day before by hackers who federal officials believe are from China.
A picture of Wang Wei, the Chinese pilot who was killed in a collision with a U.S. Navy spy plane April 1, was posted Saturday on the Department of Labor’s website. Agency spokesman Stuart Roy compared the vandalism to graffiti: “You can lock up a store so the merchandise is safe,” he said, “but you can’t stop somebody running by with a can of spray paint.”
Salon.com has a good feature on the Bush administrations denial of financial aid to students who have been convicted of drug charges:
When then-candidate George W. Bush answered questions during the presidential campaign about whether he had ever used illegal drugs, he refused to give a yes or no answer, claiming that his past was irrelevant. “I am asking people to judge me for who I am today,” he said in a September 1999 interview. “I hope it doesn’t cost me the election. I hope people understand.”
That nonanswer was good enough to get Bush into the White House, but it wouldn’t be good enough to get him a student loan under his administration’s higher education policy. On Tuesday, the Department of Education announced that it would enforce a law that would deny financial aid to students who answer “yes” — or refuse to answer at all — to one simple question: “Have you ever been convicted of selling or possessing drugs?”
Also, Plastic has two different stories about clubs being blamed for the drug use of their customers one here and the other here.
According to one research scientist too much excercise can lead to memory loss and premature senility (link via Barbelith Underground):
He added: “People who would rather laze in a hammock instead of running a marathon or who take a midday nap instead of playing squash have a better chance of living into old age.”
He said he was in favour of moderate exercise such as walking, but said excessive exertion was not recommended.
Middle-aged people should be wary of using up their energy on activity, he said.
Prof Axt said: “Research shows that people who run long distances into their 50s are using up energy they need for other purposes.”
He said they could suffer memory loss and risked premature senility.
Update: Axt has subsequently written a book called The Joy of Laziness. Judging by the Amazon reviews, it seems like his research is questionable.
The Guardian reports that scientists in Chicago have created a cyborg:
Researchers in Chicago have built a cyborg, a half-living, half-robot creature which connects the brain of an eel-like fish to a computer and is capable of moving towards lights.
The device, developed at a research centre owned by Evanston’s Northwestern University, consists of the brain stem from the larva of a lamprey, a bloodsucking fish, attached by electrodes to an off-the-shelf Swiss robot.
In an arrangement reminiscent of the genesis of the Daleks, the living brain floats in a container of cool, oxygenated salt fluid.
Wired News reports that the National Foundation for Cancer Research is hoping to have PC users download a program that searchs for cancer cures while your computer is idle – sort of like SETI@home for do gooders.
Update: The Wired News story is still up, but the program is no longer available for download. According to Wikipedia, the project ended in April of 2007. But if you’re still interested in donating CPU cycles to do good, the IBM-sponsored World Community Grid has projects dedicated to finding cures for cancer, AIDS as well as projects dedicated to solving other problems.
Smokedot pointed to an article on THC Today that states that the US government has known about studies that indicate that THC may slow the growth of certain cancers. The article mentions a study that was suppressed in the 70s, as well as a more recent Madrid Test (which I remember reading about last year on Yahoo! Daily News but I can’t find it anymore). Anyway, I’m not sure this is reliable info about the 1974 study, but the Madrid study is certainly interesting.
And speaking of weed… Plastic reports that there is a Dutch company that has figured out a way to legally ship weed to the US (I don’t recommend trying this, though).
Update: The link to overgrow.com is now permanently broken. The domain name has apparently been seized by the Canadian government, and it’s excluded from Archive.org.
But this may be the same article, I can’t remember:
The term medical marijuana took on dramatic new meaning in February, 2000 when researchers in Madrid announced they had destroyed incurable brain tumors in rats by injecting them with THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.
The Madrid study marks only the second time that THC has been administered to tumor-bearing animals; the first was a Virginia investigation 26 years ago. In both studies, the THC shrank or destroyed tumors in a majority of the test subjects.
Most Americans don’t know anything about the Madrid discovery. Virtually no major U.S. newspapers carried the story, which ran only once on the AP and UPI news wires, on Feb. 29, 2000.
The ominous part is that this isn’t the first time scientists have discovered that THC shrinks tumors. In 1974 researchers at the Medical College of Virginia, who had been funded by the National Institute of Health to find evidence that marijuana damages the immune system, found instead that THC slowed the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice – lung and breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia.
The DEA quickly shut down the Virginia study and all further cannabis/tumor research, according to Jack Herer, who reports on the events in his book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.” In 1976 President Gerald Ford put an end to all public cannabis research and granted exclusive research rights to major pharmaceutical companies, who set out – unsuccessfully – to develop synthetic forms of THC that would deliver all the medical benefits without the “high.”
William Gibson has written a bit on the The Guardian about London, Japan, and Vancouver. An interesting read:
‘Why Japan?’ I’ve been asked for the past 20 years or so. Meaning: why has Japan been the setting for so much of my fiction? When I started writing about Japan, I’d answer by suggesting that Japan was about to become a very central, very important place in terms of the global economy. And it did. (Or rather, it already had, but most people hadn’t noticed yet.) A little later, asked the same question, I’d say that it was Japan’s turn to be the centre of the world, the place to which all roads lead; Japan was where the money was and the deal was done. Today, with the glory years of the bubble long gone, I’m still asked the same question, in exactly the same quizzical tone: ‘Why Japan?’
Because Japan is the global imagination’s default setting for the future.
The Japanese seem to the rest of us to live several measurable clicks down the time line. The Japanese are the ultimate Early Adaptors, and the sort of fiction I write behoves me to pay serious heed to that. If you believe, as I do, that all cultural change is essentially technologically driven, you pay attention to the Japanese. They’ve been doing it for more than a century now, and they really do have a head start on the rest of us, if only in terms of what we used to call ‘future shock’ (but which is now simply the one constant in all our lives).
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