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Gender: Male
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Home country: Canada
Current location: Toronto, Ontario
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 03:34 PM
Number of posts: 3,021

Journal Archives

Lots of people rely on homeopathy. Can they all be wrong? Yes

From the article:

Homeopathy has nothing to do with herbal remedies, many of which have legitimate uses. It is a practice hatched in the dark ages of science based on the idea that substances that cause symptoms in a healthy person can cure those same symptoms in an ill person. (So, for instance, onions, which make eyes itchy and tearful, can be used to relieve the symptoms of hay fever.) There is no logic to this, but this is not where it stops. Homeopaths, defying everything we know about toxicology, believe that diluting a solution containing a homeopathic remedy increases its potency. In fact, to potentiate the remedy, dilutions are carried out to an extent that the final product in most cases doesn’t even contain a single molecule of the original “remedy.”

Obviously it’s easy to make fun of homeopathy. The concept is absurd. But millions of people around the world do rely on homeopathic medications. Can they all be wrong? The simple answer is: Yes.

It is hard to understand how this has happened, since the directorate’s stated goal is for “all Canadians (to) have ready access to natural health products that are safe, effective and high quality, while respecting freedom of choice and philosophical and cultural diversity.”

Safety is not an issue with homeopathic products, because they contain nothing. I’m not sure what “high quality” means in this context; presumably that the pills are produced in an environment free of contaminants. But what about efficacy? There is actually no requirement that homeopathic producers demonstrate this — which is lucky for them, because no proof of efficacy is to be had for homeopathic mercury, arsenic, “Berlin Wall” or, most alarmingly, homeopathic “vaccines” and mosquito repellents.

Homeopathy isn't the same as herbal remedies or legitimate alternate therapies, it is pure snake oil. It's not unsafe in and of itself, but as indicated in the article, people are passing off homeopathic vaccines and mosquito repellants that will not actually do anything. This is actively dangerous if you're going into an area that has a danger of West Nile (the example in the article) or Malaria.

Read the article from the Montreal Gazette here: http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Right+Chemistry+Debunking+homeopathy/8852871/story.html

And as Tim Minchin quotes in his fantastic poem Storm:
It's a miracle! Take physics and bin it!
Water has memory!
And while it's memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite
It somehow forgets all the poo it's had in it!

Read the whole poem here: http://www.lyricsmania.com/storm_lyrics_tim_minchin.html

Stephen Harper to seek prorogation of Parliament (AGAIN!)

From the CBC article:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has confirmed he will ask the Governor General to prorogue Parliament until October, when his Conservative government will introduce the next speech from the throne.

"There will be a new throne speech in the fall, obviously the House will be prorogued in anticipation of that. We will come back — in October is our tentative timing," Harper told reporters in Whitehorse Monday. Harper is in the Yukon on the second day of his annual summer tour of the North.

The Prime Minister's Office later clarified that Harper will ask for Parliament to be prorogued before the scheduled return of the House on Sept. 16, meaning Parliament will not sit again until after the throne speech in October.

It will be the third time since Harper took office in 2006 that he has sought prorogation. He first used the tactic in 2008 to successfully out-maneouvre the opposition's attempt to unseat him and form a coalition government. He prorogued again in 2010 in the midst of a controversy over Canada's treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan and ahead of Vancouver's hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Why does he need to do this? He's got a -majority government-!!! He doesn't face a vote of non-confidence! This is absurd beyond comprehension. Time to hand this man his pink slip.

Full article here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/08/19/pol-harper-commons-prorogation.html

Fracking: Meet the town that’s being swallowed by a sinkhole

From the article on Grist:

Texas Brine’s operation sits atop a three-mile-wide, mile-plus-deep salt deposit known as the Napoleonville Dome, which is sheathed by a layer of oil and natural gas, a common feature of the salt domes prevalent in Gulf Coast states. The company specializes in a process known as injection mining, and it had sunk a series of wells deep into the salt dome, flushing them out with high-pressure streams of freshwater and pumping the resulting saltwater to the surface. From there, the brine is piped and trucked to refineries along the Mississippi River and broken down into sodium hydroxide and chlorine for use in manufacturing everything from paper to medical supplies.

What happened in Bayou Corne, as near as anyone can tell, is that one of the salt caverns Texas Brine hollowed out — a mine dubbed Oxy3 — collapsed. The sinkhole initially spanned about an acre. Today it covers more than 24 acres and is an estimated 750 feet deep. It subsists on a diet of swamp life and cypress trees, which it occasionally swallows whole. It celebrated its first birthday recently, and like most 1-year-olds, it is both growing and prone to uncontrollable burps, in which a noxious brew of crude oil and rotten debris bubbles to the surface. But the biggest danger is invisible; the collapse unlocked tens of millions of cubic feet of explosive gases, which have seeped into the aquifer and wafted up to the community. The town blames the regulators. The regulators blame Texas Brine. Texas Brine blames some other company, or maybe the regulators, or maybe just God.

Bayou Corne residents need only drive a quarter mile down Highway 70 to see the worst-case scenario. On Christmas Day 2003, a methane leak from a Napoleonville Dome salt cavern storing natural gas forced residents of Grand Bayou, a neighboring hamlet, to evacuate. Dow Chemical, which owned the cavern, bought out the mostly elderly residents, leaving only concrete slabs behind. In places like Barbers Hill, Texas, similar leaks have turned once-thriving neighborhoods into ghost towns. A 2001 cavern leak in Hutchinson, Kan., spewed 30-foot-tall geysers of gas and water and caused an explosion that left two people dead.

“I hate to say, but it’s not an unusual event,” says Robert Traylor, a geologist at the Railroad Commission of Texas, the state’s oil and gas regulator. “These things happen. In the oil business, a million things can go wrong, and they usually go wrong.”

And the corporations in charge are just passing the buck. Not that it would make much difference if they were indicted, because the maximum fines for destroying entire towns would likely be barely a blip in their bottom line.

Read the article here:

Inequality: Why are the rich getting richer?

... and is it too late to change?
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