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Sun, 18 Nov 2018
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Health & Wellness

Evil Rays

Smart cities - dumb people. 5G's corporate holy grail

5G Tower
© Alan Levine CC
There's a lot of hype about 5G, the fifth-generation wireless technology that is being rolled out in various "5G test beds" in major cities including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, New York, and Los Angeles. But it's hard to see why we should be excited. Proponents talk about the facilitation of driverless vehicles and car-to-car "talk," better Virtual Reality equipment, and, of course, "The Internet of Things" (IoT) - the holy grail of Big Tech that is just vague enough to sound sort of promising.

But when it comes to specifics, there seems to be a lot of hot air in the IoT bag.

For example, in March 2018, Canada's Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, while pumping $400 million into 5G test beds, reportedly "gushed" about IoT applications, including "refrigerators that monitor food levels and automatically order fresh groceries."

Then there is the 5G proponent who enthused to CBC News (March 19, 2018) about "augmented reality headsets" being replaced by "a pair of normal looking glasses," which everyone would be wearing in 10 years. Those glasses would "automatically recognize everyone you meet, and possibly be able to overlay their name in your field of vision, along with a link to their online profile."

Apparently, the future human will be too brain-addled to make a grocery list or remember the names of acquaintances... which may not be the image that 5G proponents are hoping for.

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China plans to let victims sue vaccine makers for punitive damages after string of scandals

chinese vaccine scientist

China plans to let victims sue vaccine makers for punitive damages after string of scandals
China is planning new laws that would allow people to sue drug makers for punitive damages in cases of death or serious illness caused by faulty vaccines.

The draft Vaccine Management Law, posted online for public consultation on Sunday night, follows the country's largest vaccine safety scandal earlier this year.

The State Administration for Market Regulation said past scandals have exposed numerous flaws in supervision and in vaccine production and distribution.

Comment: Nice to see China has some sense in allowing patients to sue the manufacturer if they are injured, unlike in the US, where they are forced to try their case before a 'Vaccine Court' and the companies remain untouched.

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Study: Panic attacks and anxiety episodes linked to nutrient deficiencies

With approximately 40 million adults across the United States experiencing anxiety each year, scientists and researchers have dedicated their careers to trying to better understand this condition. Despite this work, we are still somewhat unclear on what actually causes this condition to occur.

Characterized by feelings of nervousness and restlessness, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, sweating, trembling, difficulty concentrating and uncontrolled worry, it has the ability to impact every area of one's life. There are many theories regarding the root cause of the condition, including genetics, brain chemistry, environmental factors or other medical factors and/or disease, however, nothing has been proven definitively. Instead, the scientific community continues to explore these leads further in the hope of an answer.

Comment: It seems rather straight forward that a body that is missing key nutrients will not be able to function properly, leading to any number of differing symptoms, including mood and cognitive symptoms. Yet this idea is apparently still 'controversial' in mainstream medicine, who would rather throw psychotropic pharmaceuticals at mental issues rather than examining root causes.

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Tech workers seeking an edge on peers turn to all-meat 'carnivore diet'

tech industry carnivores
© Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle
Hvmn employees Michael Brandt and Paul Benigeri and CEO Geoff Woo eat a meat-based lunch at the biohacking startup’s San Francisco offices in October.
As a meat-loving child, Ryan Parks cried on the way home from a video rental store when his parents said, as a joke, they were becoming vegetarian.

It came as little surprise when Parks, now 31, told his folks he'd begun a "carnivore diet" back in July.

His typical Whole Foods haul includes 6 pounds of ground beef or rib-eye steak, cheese and butter. U.S. dietary guidelines recommend less than 10 percent of calories per day come from saturated fats, in which Parks' food staples are replete.

Comment: It's nice to see the carnivore diet get some mainstream attention in a relatively positive light, even if the author feels the need to include a quote from some "experts" about it being unhealthy and tell readers how bad it is for the environment. It would be nice if they reached out to Joel Salatin or Lierre Keith about the environmental question of sustainable meat, but that's probably hoping for too much.

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When an FDA ruling curbed fecal transplants, I performed my own

Clostridium difficile
© BSIP/UIG via Getty Images
To treat stubborn gut bacterial infections caused by Clostridium difficile, some patients have performed their own fecal microbial transplants.

Doctors and policymakers have been slow to endorse the treatment - a last line of defense against the superbug C. Diff. - even as many patients have embraced it.

I'd had intestinal distress before, but never like this. I was excreting not just waste, but blood and bits of my colon's lining - up to 30 times per day. My abdominal pain hit deeper and felt less productive than the pain of giving birth, epidural-free, to my second child. Even shingles, which stung like a dental drill against my face, paled in comparison. Such was the agony of Clostridium difficile.

Commonly known as C. diff., Clostridium difficile is an antibiotic-resistant superbug carried by approximately 5 percent of the adult population. The harmful gut bacterium is normally kept in check by other, good bacteria in the gut's microbiome. But when the microbial balance is upset - for example, by a dose of antibiotics - C. diff. can gain a foothold. Left to multiply unchecked, it may kill its human host.

Comment: As off-putting as the procedure may sounds, fecal transplants may just be the miracle procedure to fight off the plague of antibiotic resistant bacteria like C. diff. That doctors are so resistant to the idea likely means more and more people will be trying it themselves, or under the care of an alternative practitioner that cares more about the health of the patient than what arbitrary decision the FDA has made.

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'Troubling allegations' prompt Health Canada review of studies used to approve popular weed-killer


Health Canada says its scientists are reviewing hundreds of studies used during the approval process for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Canada's most popular herbicide, Roundup.
Health Canada says in light of "troubling allegations," its scientists are reviewing hundreds of studies used during the approval process for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Canada's most popular herbicide, Roundup.

The decision comes after a coalition of environmental groups claimed Health Canada relied on studies that were secretly influenced by agrochemical giant Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, when it re-approved use of glyphosate in 2015 and confirmed that decision in 2017.

The coalition, which includes Equiterre, Ecojustice, Canadian Physicians for the Environment and others, says academic papers looking at whether the herbicide causes cancer were presented to Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency as independent, when in fact Monsanto had a hand in writing them.

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How the EPA and the Pentagon downplayed a growing toxic threat of perfluoroalkyl substances

© Environmental Protection
A family of chemicals - known as PFAS and responsible for marvels like Teflon and critical to the safety of American military bases - has now emerged as a far greater menace than previously disclosed.

The chemicals once seemed near magical, able to repel water, oil and stains.

By the 1970s, DuPont and 3M had used them to develop Teflon and Scotchgard, and they slipped into an array of everyday products, from gum wrappers to sofas to frying pans to carpets. Known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, they were a boon to the military, too, which used them in foam that snuffed out explosive oil and fuel fires.

It's long been known that, in certain concentrations, the compounds could be dangerous if they got into water or if people breathed dust or ate food that contained them. Tests showed they accumulated in the blood of chemical factory workers and residents living nearby, and studies linked some of the chemicals to cancers and birth defects.

Comment: PFAS chemicals: Hidden studies conducted up to four decades ago found serious health effects

Life Preserver

Digital detox: The health benefits of unplugging & unwinding

Recent studies have shown that 90% of Americans use digital devices for two or more hours each day and the average American spends more time a day on high-tech devices than they do sleeping: 8 hours and 21 minutes to be exact. If you've ever considered attempting a "digital detox", there are some health benefits to making that change and a few tips to make things a little easier on yourself.

Many Americans are on their phones rather than playing with their children or spending quality family time together. Some people give up technology, or certain aspects of it, such as social media for varying reasons, and there are some shockingly terrific health benefits that come along with that type of a detox from technology. In fact, more and more health experts and medical professionals are suggesting a periodic digital detox; an extended period without those technology gadgets. Studies continue to show that a digital detox, has proven to be beneficial for relationships, productivity, physical health, and mental health. If you find yourself overly stressed or unproductive or generally disengaged from those closest to you, it might be time to unplug.

Comment: Tech addiction: Photos depict how modern technology is 'stealing souls'
Addiction to technology "is placing the screen as an object of 'mass subculture', alienating the relation to our own body, and more generally to the physical world."

Antonie Geiger is a 20-year-old photographer from France who has perfectly outlined how our electronics are sucking the life out of us. They consume out attention tricking us into thinking it is about affection and all the while distracting us from living our present physical lives.

When we are not grounded in the present moment we are disconnecting. Since many of us are on a path of seeking connection we need to remember to keep our electronic tools in balance with our interpersonal connections.

Microscope 2

Water Science: Evidence for Homeopathy

water science
© The Asian
If the common physician, scientist and educated consumer were to believe Wikipedia, they would assume that there is absolutely no research that shows the efficacy of homeopathic medicines in the treatment of any ailment. Furthermore, they would conclude homeopathic medicines are so small in dose, there is literally "nothing" in a homeopathic medicine.

And, if you are this gullible and vulnerable to Big Pharma propaganda, then we've got an island to sell you for $24! According to The Washington Post, Wikipedia's article on homeopathy and Jesus Christ are the two most controversial on that website in four leading languages (English, French, German and Spanish).


The 'remarkable' decline in fertility rates

Mother and baby
© Getty Images
There has been a remarkable global decline in the number of children women are having, say researchers.

Their report found fertility rate falls meant nearly half of countries were now facing a "baby bust" - meaning there are insufficient children to maintain their population size.

The researchers said the findings were a "huge surprise".

And there would be profound consequences for societies with "more grandparents than grandchildren".

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