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WWE Smackdown without an audience is a like Beckett-esque absurdist theatre

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Don't get me wrong — it's fun to be in the audience during a big, zany wrestling match, cheering on the drama both despite and to embrace the kayfabe. But this gloriously bizarre performance art satisfies a very different part of my brain.

 

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diogro
15 days ago
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São Paulo
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Making your own hand sanitizer is a cinch

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Since the latest coronavirus broke cover and started scaring the bejaysus out of everyone, you may have noticed that the supplies that folks think they’ll need in the event of a pandemic are becoming hard to find.

I'm paranoid about potential pandemics, but I come by it honestly enough.

In my old life, I worked in law enforcement while SARS was scaring the shit out of everyone in Toronto. Years later, I was charged with coming up with a Swine Flu action plan for the company I worked for in Vancouver. This time around, at the first sign of things going sideways in China, I stocked up on hand sanitizer, disposable gloves and, in case anyone in my household gets sick, N95 masks.

Not everyone's as uptight about hygiene in a time of plague as I am though. If you can’t lay hands on a bottle of hand sanitizer to save your life (hopefully not literally), you'll be happy to know that making your own at home is crazy easy.

The fine folks from ThoughtCo have an easy-to-follow recipe that’ll have you sanitizing your meat-hooks without soap or water, in no time. They explain, at length, how to make the gooey magic happen, but here’s the short version:

  • Take 2/3 of a cup of 99% isopropyl alcohol or ethanol and mix it with 1/3 of a cup of aloe vera gel.
  • Mix them together.
  • Dump the resulting goo into a dispenser of one sort or another.
  • That’s it.

Like all good recipes, this one should be shared with your friends, family and community: being able to create an unobtainable safety product on your own can go a long way towards reliving stress.

Image via NeedPix

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diogro
29 days ago
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São Paulo
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Minimum Wage Machine dispenses free money at the simple turn of a crank

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Take as much money as you want, at $7.25 an hour (current Fed minimum wage). All you have to do is turn the crank, which dispenses one penny every 4.97 seconds. Easy money, right?

This brilliant art piece by Blake Fall-Conroy provides a visceral demonstration of just how little $7.25 an hour really is. If cranking this handle starts to quickly feel not worth the effort, imagine doing an actual job and making this little. Nearly two million Americans know the feeling daily.

Details here.

Image: Used by permission of the artist

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diogro
29 days ago
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São Paulo
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Drugs Without the Hot Air: the best book I've ever read on drugs and drug policy, in an expanded new edition

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Nutt came to fame when he served as the UK "Drugs Czar" under the Labour Government in the late 2000s; especially when Home Secretary Jacqui Smith fired him for his refusal to lie and say that marijuana was more harmful than alcohol, despite the extensive evidence to the contrary (Smith also threatened Nutt for publishing a paper in Nature that compared the neurological harms of recreational horseback riding to harms from recreational MDMA use, a paper that concluded that if horses came in pill form we might call them "Equasy").

Since then, Nutt -- an eminent psychopharmacologist researcher and practioner -- has continued to campaign, research, and write about evidence-based drugs policy that takes as its central mission to reduce harm and preserve therapeutic benefits from drugs.

Like the first edition of Drugs Without the Hot Air, the new edition serves three missions:

1. First, to describe how a wide variety of drugs -- benzos, cocaine, opoiods, cannabis, etc, but also alcohol, caffeine and nicotine -- work in the body, in clear, nontechnical language that anyone can follow.

2. Next, to describe the harms and benefits of drugs, considered both on individual and societal levels -- and also to describe what the best medical evidence tells us about maximizing those benefits and minimizing those harms.

3. Finally, to recount how governments -- mainly in the UK but also in the USA and elsewhere -- have responded to the evidence on drug mechanisms, harms and benefits.

Inevitably, part 3 becomes an indictment, as Nutt describes in eye-watering, frustrating, brutal detail how harmful, incoherent, self-serving and cowardly government responses to drugs have been, and how many lives they have ruined -- through criminalizing harmless conduct, through treating medical problems as criminal ones, and through badly thought-through policies that caused relatively benign substances to be replaced with far more harmful ones (for example, Nutt traces the lethal rise in fentanyl partly to the successful global interdiction of opium poppies).

One important difference between the new edition and the original is visible progress on this last. In the years since Nutt was fired for refusing to lie about science, he has founded Drugscience, a research and advocacy nonprofit that has scored significant policy wins and made real therapeutic breakthroughs through hard work and rigour.

I don't think you could ask for a more sensible, clear-eyed, and useful book about drugs, from the ones your doctor prescribes to the ones your bartender serves you to the ones you can go to jail for possessing. Nutt is not just a great and principled campaigner, nor merely a talented and dedicated scientist -- he's also a superb communicator.

Drugs Without the Hot Air is part of an outstanding series of technical books -- mostly about climate change -- that have greatly influenced my thinking. The publisher, UIT Cambridge, has several more that I recommend.

Drugs without the hot air: Making sense of legal and illegal drugs [David Nutt/UIT Cambridge]

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diogro
31 days ago
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Brilliant book
São Paulo
organelas
29 days ago
Vou ler
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WATCH: Parasites removed from hornet

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In this video, Xenos moutoni are carefully extracted from hornets. Xenos parasites, in the order Strepsipsera, live their entire lives in the abdomens of wasps and similar insects, altering the host's behavior. Here's a story about Xenos vesparum, which parasitizes paper wasps. And here's a scientific paper about Xenos myrapetrus, which lives within swarm-founding wasps.

The infected wasp begins to suffer nutritionally, then flies to meet with other infected wasps. The male parasite exits the wasp's abdomen and mates with the female parasites which stay inside their host. Wasps infected with the male parasite die. Wasps infected with the female parasite then fatten themselves up much like queen wasps do. They then fly to meet with other uninfected queen wasps. Then when the parasite is mature, the infected wasp flies to mingle with other uninfected wasps, thereby spreading brood and larvae into new environments.

Tiny tweezers and a steady hand.

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diogro
36 days ago
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São Paulo
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O que significa ser um criacionista defensor do Design Inteligente em 2020?

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O Governo Federal indicou para a direção da CAPES – uma agência do Ministério da Educação que regula, avalia e financia atividades de ensino superior - um adepto do Design Inteligente (DI), uma vertente do criacionismo, que nega a teoria da evolução. Por que isso importa?



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diogro
55 days ago
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São Paulo
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