A Nobel prize may not be essential to becoming a modern mystic, but it helps. Georges Charpak, the physics prizewinner in 1992, has co-authored a rapid guide to becoming a fakir or astrologer and making a fortune by bamboozling a gullible public.
His co-author, Henri Broch, who runs a paranormal research unit at Nice University, went through sessions of firewalking and tongue-piercing to prove that all mystic arts were based on trickery, natural circumstances or mathematical probability. Guardian UK
Fifty years ago, it took a Nobel Prize to get the press and public to pay attention to a crank theory like Linus Pauling’s notion that vitamin C could prevent the common cold. But, increasingly, all it seems to require is a degree in some field related to science and an idea off-the-wall enough to make a good headline–and get the attention of well-heeled backers who find your ideas attractive.
One of the pioneers of this branch of gunslinger science was Barry Commoner… Seattle Weekly
Review: The Dream Drugstore by Allen Hobson: “In broad strokes, his claim is that the neurochemistry of dreaming is quite similar to what we find in these other conditions, and that if we can understand the former, then we can also understand the latter. Even if you don’t quite agree with this broad-strokes claim, there is still lots and lots worthwhile in his book to ponder.” Metapsychology
Andrew Weil: Stop the Federal War on Medical Marijuana
Today, in dozens of cities and towns across the United States, something remarkable happened: Thousands of people battling cancer, AIDS and other terrible illnesses, their families, friends and supporters delivered cease-and-desist orders to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to stop it from blocking their access to a needed medication.
Their request was so simple, so obviously correct that it is heartbreaking that people — many very seriously ill — were forced to deliver their message in this way, with many risking arrest. But as individuals who have found that medical marijuana relieves their symptoms when conventional medicines fail, they felt they had no choice: The federal government continues to fight an irrational war against medical marijuana, and the sick and struggling are its principal victims.
Make no mistake: The government’s demonization of marijuana is irrational. When I first published a study in the journal, Science, on marijuana’s physical and psychological effects back in 1968, I was certain that medical use of the plant would be legal within five years. This is, after all, a medicinal plant for which no fatal dose has ever been established and that has been used in folk medicine for millennia. SF Chronicle [via CommonDreams]
Arianna Huffington: Did The Drug War Claim Another 3,056 Casualties On 9-11? CommonDreams
Stupefying Stance on Global Warming: ‘Throwing around words like “fantastic” and “stupefying” is considered bad form outside the tabloid press. But I’m damned if I know what else to say about the news that the Bush administration has decided that global warming is indeed taking place and they are planning to do exactly nothing about it.’ — Molly Ivins, Baltimore Sun [via CommonDreams]
The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat): “Here’s the main thing about The Fast Runner, a strange and memorable movie that comes to us from the Canadian Arctic and is the first feature ever made in Inuktitut, language of the Inuit people: light. I mean, this is one bright movie, all dazzling expanses of ice and snow and sea and sky; the ghostly interiors of igloos by daylight and by firelight. You could read a book by it. It’s a difficult film to follow and at 172 minutes is maybe a half-hour too long. But simply as a sensory experience The Fast Runner (which opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles) is amazing; I can see why some of my critical colleagues have gone gaga for it. In some of its early scenes, those enormous vistas of brilliant white seem to fill up your ears, your nostrils and the inside of your head. It’s like swimming in illuminated milk.” Salon
Trauma lessons: “Young women working as paramedics in Jerusalem divide their lives between bloody mayhem and the rituals of adolescence.” Salon
ReplayTV Users Sue to Skip Commercials: “Owners of ReplayTV Digital Video Recorders have struck back at media empires with a lawsuit that asserts they can zap commercials and swap recorded programs over the Internet without being sued for copyright infringement.” atnewyork.com
The FBI and the CIA would not be replaced by the new agency, but some of their operations could be given over to it. The agency would envelop 22 other federal agencies, including the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Customs Service, the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Border Patrol, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Program, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Secret Service.
…Civil liberty and privacy watchdog groups were grim upon hearing the news, which was only the latest bit of government security tightening to occur in the last couple weeks.
… Several experts have noted that intelligence centrality of the sort proposed by Bush was the main goal of the creation of the CIA — an agency now best known for not letting the FBI know before Sept. 11 that two members of al Qaida had entered the United States. Those men, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, were on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.” Wired
Skakel Convicted in 1975 Beating Death of Greenwich Neighbor New York Times