Friday, May 04, 2007

I Can Has Digg Hits?

I'm still reeling. No, that does not mean spinning uncontrollably in a wild dervish with a condom-sheathed plunger handle protruding from my ass. Nor does it mean I'm fishing. Or Irish dancing. This is the figurative kind of reeling.

Tuesday, my post on marijuana, the media, and psychology got picked up by Crooks and Liars in Mike's Blog Roundup. Cool. I usually get about 20 people daily feeding their brains at this mental food cart I call a blog, and the last time they linked me, I saw almost 1000 hits.

Wednesday, I noticed I had over 30 comments on the post (most ever: 12). I checked the numbers:

Cause for Concern Analytics

Ho. Lee. Shit.

Over 10,000 hits Wednesday. Over 6,000 hits yesterday. Wha happon?

I can has digg hits?

I been Dugg. Here's the Digg post linking my blog to, well, lots of people. It's called BREAKING: Marijuana/Schizophrenia Study Debunked, Nobody Surprised.

Shit again. Wait. I didn't debunk anything.

Sorry, Mr. Shambles, the Internets say you do, and what the internets says, is.

Well, it did finally get me registered on Digg. And it spurned a good deal of discussion. 46 comments on my post as of now, 164 on the Digg post. Most popular topics/points:
  • Legalize pot!
  • OMG this guy my friend knew smelled pot at a party and now he's totally schizo.
  • Marijuana has kept me sane.
  • OMGLOLZ Digg <3 Liberals, hates Microsoft
  • Natural medicine can cure [enter disease here] but drug companies won't make money
  • I've been stoned every day for [??] years and I'm fine / have Ph.D. / own business.
A nice, broad spectrum. Criticism came from readers who were obviously expecting some official debunking with research and resources to back me up. And while I am working on a journalistic piece about lead paint, paint companies, and shady lawyers, this - as most of the blog - is social and political commentary with some occasional fun images.

I can has sum em-jay plz?

Best comment from Digg (cheezit9109): Wait, this is a BLOG? You fucking idiots.

The macros are mine. Was reading Live Grenades's Trek Macro post which lead me to I Can Has Cheeseburger? I was inspired.

So enjoy, and I'll see you later today with some Hannity Shennanigans.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

You Can't Veto the Truth

Today Americans United for Change released this ad in response to President Bush's veto of historic legislation to wind down the war in Iraq.

Make a difference. Call: 202-456-1111

I did. It's kind of fun.

Marijuana Duck, Duck, Goose - Same Old Story

Smoke More Marijuana
(2nd International Cannabis and Mental Health Conference Programme [PDF] Logo)

Today, 13 states currently have active medical marijuana programs. Illinois, Texas, and Connecticut are chompin' at the bit (Connecticut just did the civil union thing - watch out). Grandma in the Bronx (colorectal cancer) isn't getting tagged for smokin' the rope. Hell, even Sanjaya's fam is in the growing business. Good reports? You got it: Marijuana has shown to cut lung tumor growth in mice and a marijuana-like compound may slow Alzheimer's.

So what has to come out? Marijuana makes makes you crazy and damages the brain. Sorry, that's FOX News. How about a more credible reporting source like Reuters through Scientific American?

Quick Psych 101: Psychology is only useful for broad, sweeping statements and we don't have a true understanding of all aspects of the brain or how they work, let alone how drugs interact with it (note: Not talking out of my ass; I have a Psych degree and recently had a great conversation with a neuroscientist on this exact topic).

From the article: the two main active components of marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD produces a calming effect. THC is associated with the paranoia, euphoria.

There are upwards of 300 active compounds in marijuana. This study took the two most abundant (THC and CBD), and looked to see where the brain was affected. Because of anti-drug taboos, these studies are almost always conducted with synthesized THC. And an MRI will give you an image of activity or inactivity, but - as already mentioned - we don't know all the details of activity in certain areas of the brain.

To sum up: Doctors treated patients with a synthesis of a compound known to cause mild paranoia. They then put their patients in this machine:
No, Mommy, don't put me in there!
and reported that the brain scan showed affected areas related to paranoia. No shit.

I am not trying to slam the study. The media and its fervor, however, can go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut on this one. Reuters has this article titled "Brain scans pinpoint cannabis health risk." But they didn't. The brain scans show activity or inactivity of the brain, and and the implications affect mental health outlook, while "health" implies physical health or brain damage. First sentence: "Brain scans showing how cannabis affects brain function...." Hold it right there. Function is not measured but by behavior. See previous explanation of what is being measured.
"It's no longer a contentious issue. The expert community, by and large, accepts that cannabis contributes to the onset of psychotic symptoms in general and the severe form of psychosis, schizophrenia," [Professor Robin Murray, conference organizer] said.
Wrong. That sounds like the "Weed makes you crazy" defense. Dr. Zerrin Atakan, author of the study, was found to be an astute, reasonable human being completely void of the sensationalism that would follow a story like this. He was quoted in the Telegraph in 2004 as saying:
Cannabis psychosis is a very vague term. If we ever use the phrase, it is only to describe very short-term effects immediately following smoking, and it certainly doesn't refer to users having a psychotic disorder. People may feel frightened or paranoid, but these feelings pass in a matter of hours or, more rarely, days, and practically never require treatment.
He even laid out some very lucid guidelines in a message to the 2005 Cannabis Education March & Rally, telling everyone to make up their own mind about marijuana, but hitting on some basic facts about smoking before your brain is done growing, smoking if you have mental illness, or smoking every day. Very understanding and well-understood.

So why the hullabaloo? Two words:

Reefer Madness
(note: The Movie is public domain and the Musical is phenomenal.)

The media loves a good weed story; Marijuana's been tried by 1/4 to 1/3 of the US population, probably twice that have been affected by proximity. Sensationalism sells. So if you can blow a study into a headline, go for it, especially if it concerns marijuana and something bad. The federal government is in love with that. It wants to marry it and kiss it on the privates.

As for Robin Murray and his "weed causes schizophrenia" sensationalism, you might want to ask him to tone it down a bit. Of course, he may have to conference in the pharma behind his conference: Janssen-Cilag and Sanofi-Aventis. But I'm sure that their involvement and their production of schizophrenia treatment drugs are all just a coincidence.

I'll dismount the soapbox now and spare you, fair reader, a venture into legalization, the justice system, hypocrisies, and alternative energy, and leave you with this:
"Casual drug users should be taken out and shot"
Darryl Gates
Head of Los Angeles Police Department
United States Senate Judiciary Committee (1990)
For real information about marijuana, please visit NORML.

(Bonus: 420 Origin Story)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Christ on a Bun! Christ on the Battlefield!

Over at the fabulous Princess Sparklepony's Photo Blog, I saw this lovely with the comment that it hadn't been commented on (h/t, BFF?). A semi-orderly analysis follows.

For shame:

Combat Jesus

Let's get all analytical on the Lord, crown to boot.

The Lord of...?
Who uses this representation to imagine or dwell on Christ? Granted, the entire site,, is absurd (really, go there, see all the Jesi, then cry), but Jesus armed like some bad Kirk Cameron remake of the Matrix?

JESUS: I'm the Lord.
GUARD: Lord of what?
JESUS: Lord of y'all.
[His robes fall open to reveal a rifle. JESUS drops the dove, raises the gun, pops COMMIES (1-7) in the head, guts OSAMA BIN LADEN, and dives, sliding on the tile floor of one of Saddam's palaces, just in time to catch the dove.]
JESUS: Yippie Kai-yay, God-haters. I am peace.

This isn't what Jesus was about.

Some quotes from Jesus:
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
- Matthew 5:7,9

If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.
- John 8:7

Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Mark 12:31
This is what Jesus was about.

The look, the feel, of Jesus, the Fabric of our lives.
  • What was the sculptor thinking? This guy looks like Tommy Chong after a weekend and a QP! "Peace, man. Though I'm holding a dove, I'm not happy about it because Jenny ganked my last two pinners and I totally thought I had a bag of Cheetos but Billy must've mowed it. Wanna get high? I gotta crown. We could use it to buy a bag. Um, dude, I think the dove just shit in my hand."Jesus Chong
    (Tommy looks way more with it than the Lord.)

  • Hinted in the last point, this Jesus looks sad, like he's riddled with clinical depression or PTSD or both or on medication for one or the other. Why is Jesus sad? This may be the only bit of truth in this sorry exhibition; This is where the sculptor was "touched" by God, and made Jesus sad. Sad because of the truth of the situation: he wasn't a violent fighter, a soldier. And maybe Jesus didn't want anyone to think otherwise.

  • He has a gun. Appropriate quote (Full Metal Jacket): "Yea, though I walk in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for I am the baddest motherfucker in the valley."

  • Plastic crown of thorns, rubber dove, and bathrobe: Wal Mart, $23. Wasting Muslims lookin' like JC? Priceless.

  • Hey, shoot that Arab! He stole a US Uniform!

  • Combat Jesus makes Baby Jesus cry. But when Combat Jesus moves to comfort baby Jesus - BLAMMO! Damn. Those insurgents'll IED anything.
The Lord of...
Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, John Hagee, Ted "Dick'n'Meth" Haggard, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and George W. Bush. This is the kind of Lord they can look up to, this is the kind of Lord they seek approval from. A large chunk of our country believes in this Arm for Peace mentality with the mental backup that Christ is there to allow us to kill the millions of people who don't believe in Him.

The Message
The underlying message of this figurine is not "Gilded thorn crown will get you free dove if you are visibly armed. Lucky Numbers: 2, 15, 16, 25, 33, 39." It is "We can have peace and Jesus, as soon as we kill every single non-believer out there. Only then, only then..."

This makes me sadder than Combat Jesus.