Archive for the ‘Worldly Things’ Category

LSD.

Trippy

Lysergic Acid Diathylamide (LSD) is a psychoactive hallucinogenic drug. It comes in a variety of forms, but is most commonly sold in the form of blotter paper, which is small paper squares that has been dipped in LSD.

LSD was first synthesized in 1938 by Dr.Albert Hoffman, a chemist in Switzerland. It was originally made to stimulate circulation but since there were no real benefits they stopped production. It was made again a couple of years later when it was found that LSD could help cure behavioral problems like schizophrenia, alcoholism and such. It was introduced to the United States in the 50’s undergoing a 15-year research period in which several hundred articles and a handful of books were written about the drug and its effects. Over 40,000 patients were prescribed with the drugs and even some doctors took the drug themselves in order to gain a deeper understanding of the schizophrenic. Though it did seem to have potential pharmaceutical value, there were no solid benefits so the  production stopped. Still other illegitimate producers kept making it.

The drug was extremely popular in the late 60’s and gained its fame from Timothy Leary, a Harvard student that got expelled for using the drug, and other student volunteers to study the effects on LSD on the brain. Leary later became a ‘spokesman’ for the drug, promoting its mind expanding qualities. The late 60’s and early 70’s adopted LSD as it became the psychedelic drug of choice for the people, especially within the hippie culture. Many artists say they have been inspired by the drug, or simply taken it, amongst them are John Lennon, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. LSD  has the reputation for being a mind-expanding drug. It was legal until 1966.

This high to enter

Many claim that after using LSD, their life has changed and some that they have had epiphanies or internal revelations. Users in the first hour of “tripping” feel anxious, a little tingly and colors seem brighter. After the first three hours, the peak begins. Extreme visual, open and closed eyes, hallucinations. Some report that everything seems like it is in motion, and colors are vivid, sometimes seeing things that are not there. Mental changes are the most intense. Users often experience extreme mental stages, going from periods of giddiness, to extreme insight. They also show extreme paranoia, especially when put in a situation with people who are not tripping.

LSD is sold for under under many names like acid, blotter, trip, doses and more than 350 types of blotter paper have been found since 1975. Dosages of LSD are measured in micrograms, a millionth of a gram. By comparison, LSD is one-hundred times stronger than other drugs such as cocaine or heroin which are measured in miligrams, a thousandth of a gram. The dosage level that will produce an hallucinogenic effect in humans generally is considered to be 25 micrograms. Over the past several years, the potency of LSD obtained during drug law enforcement operations has ranged between 20 and 80 micrograms per dosage unit. It is inexpensive, commonly sold for under 5$ a unit dose.

LSD is slowly making a comeback into the drug scene having been forgotten since the mid 70’s. It is still popular amongst high school and college students.

By: Humberto De Armas, IB12

Alcohol Cheaper Than Water? Find it Down Under!

Ethanol in various shapes.

On October 8, 2010 a study in New Zealand pointed out that alcohol has become cheaper than one thing humans rely on…water! Researchers conducting this survey convey that they feel there may be a serious health issue when it comes to the price ratio of alcohol to water. “International scientific evidence strongly indicates that cheap alcohol is a factor in promoting binge drinking by young people, and in increasing the overall size of the health and social harm from alcohol misuse,” associate professor Nick Wilson said. In Otago, New Zealand, researchers of Otago University found the cost of wine (.62 cents) per drink was .5 cents cheaper than a bottle of water (.67 cents). The New Zealand medical Journal has also discovered that the price of alcohol keeps decreasing as the minimum wage continues to increase. The reason for such cheap booze in the past recent years is due to the fact that winemakers seek to offload excess stock they have. Wilson and co-researcher Fiona Gunasekara feel that this cheap alcohol is taking a toll on New Zealand’s health. They urged the government to raise taxes on alcohol and control marketing and sponsorship actives to control the consumption of alcohol. “Our analysis suggests alcohol is now probably the cheapest recreational drug in New Zealand and has become increasingly affordable, at the same time as concern about binge drinking culture has grown,” Wilson said. While New Zealand seems to look down upon the price of alcohol, in ones opinion, one can be sure that everywhere else, people are wishing for the same price change to happen in their own region.

By: Roxanne Allen, IB12

 

Larry King Sits Down With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Larry King & Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

On September 22nd 2010, Larry king sat down once again with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to discuss issues from the American hikers who were taken captive and await trial in Iran to Nuclear weapons, Israel, and the opportunity for peace in the Middle East. This interview was an opportunity to let Ahmadinejad answer the many questions surrounding Iranian politics and the middle east, and Larry King wasted no time. The questions were fired off, and the President answered just as sharply, careful not to profess any leniency on the issues brought up. By the end it seemed that both King and Ahmadinejad were frustrated, and it began to look more like a debate than an interview, as both representatives from completely different worlds and viewpoints clashed. Accusations flew back and forth, and by the end, little had seemed to be resolved. As host Fareed Zakaria noted in the post interview conversation with King, “I thought he (Ahmadinejad) was tough. He did not seem to want to give satisfaction on any issue”.

Right out of the gate, Larry King questioned the Iranian president about the two remaining captive hitchhikers who were detained in Iran for an illegal border crossing. Ahmadinejad was insistent on the fact that he had no say in the matter, and that it was up to the judge. He also stressed the fact that it was up to the judge and the legal process when asked if the trials could not be sped up that legal so that the families could be reunited. The case of the missing FBI agent in Iran was also brought up, and the President made clear he did not know the agent’s whereabouts, and that he would like to work with the FBI and the US to locate said agent. He also remarked that the FBI should be more willing to share information and be more active in the case.

Larry king then began to bring up the worldwide fear of nuclear weapons and the tension heightened. Ahmadinejad was quick to express that the US did not represent the world as a whole. When it was pointed out that Israel was very concerned about nuclear activity in Iran, and that if not assured they might make a “first strike”, the president calmly waved it off, saying “Who is he (Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu) in the first place, to begin with? He is a skilled killer. All dictators in the world have condemned others, and he’s one of many of them”. He then attacked the US support of Netanyahu, remarking “I think that the way to control people like Mr. Netanyahu and design this regime is to cease supporting him. The U.S. government should stop using U.S. taxpayers’ money to assist him…Why should this money go to him to acquire weapons, to attack Lebanon under different pretext and threaten Iran?” Ahmadinejad then goes on to affirm that “We (Iran) are not seeking the bomb. We have no interest in it” and voices the opinion that the Zionist regime and the US should disarm. The interview continues, and turns hectic as King poses questions about human rights, continually trying to get the Iranian president to admit Iran needs work in this area, mentioning the students who held a protest in Iran and were incarcerated. Ahmadinejad continually counters these statements by mentioning the immense amount of the US population in prison, the highest in the world. The president was also decidedly inconclusive about the issue of stoning as a legal punishment.

The interview peters out, leaving enough time for one last stubborn bicker about the recognition of the holocaust and anti-semitism. Ahmadinejad again leaves much to be desired on this issue, supporting peace in the middle east, but backing Palestine primarily. When reminded that Castro had urged the president to be more aware of anti-Semitism, he diverted away from the central question by comparing it to a hypothetical case in which all the Iraqis occupy the US because of the million people who have died in their country. The interview spirals downward as more accusations are thrown by both parties, and King eventually runs out of time, abruptly ending the segment. Little can be taken in the way of progress from this interview, it merely confirms that President Ahmadinejad is unwavering in his policy and beliefs, and will continue to be so henceforth. I have included a link to the interview from youtube. It is split into four parts, three of which are with Ahmadinejad, and the fourth is the post interview discussion.

By: Jake Linne, IB12

Stimulating the US Economy with Monopoly Money.

Competition contribution designed by a Mr. Lee Willet

It appears that Americans are starting to catch on with the rest of the world when it comes to currency. Creative Consultant Richard Smith created a contest which is on its second year. The contest challenges American citizens to create new designs for the current U.S. currency. Over 120 entries have been submitted for this contest that has not yet been bespoken by the government. The contest was not meant to be taken seriously, however, Smith would find it amazing if it was.

United States bills have not changed in a significant way since the 1930’s. Most of the designs submitted to the contest seemed to have the same pattern: vibrant colors, and vertical pictures. Smith expresses how it makes sense for the United States to change the current money considering the fact that almost every country in the world has multi-coloured bills. Not only would the new coloured bills brighten the currency up, but it would help the visual impaired distinguish the different bills.

“I was searching for ways, pushing for ideas to stimulate the economy,” he says. “The new Euro had a huge impact on several nations” stimulating some economies by 25 per cent. Statistics show that most applicants who submit their designs feature Barack Obama on the $1 bill. Smith also pointed out another factor that would be helpful if the bills were changed.

Designed by Mr. Duncan Dowling

“When we researched how notes are used, we realized people tend to handle and deal with money vertically rather than horizontally. The majority of people hand over notes vertically when making purchases. All machines accept notes vertically. Therefore, a vertical note makes more sense.”

From the positive results that this contest has shown, it would be wise for the government to actually eradicate the old design of the bill, and brighten things up this year.

By: Roxanne Allen, IB12

Legalized Marijuana: The 21 Century Gold Rush of California?

The State of California

On November 2, 2010 a proposal in California will be brought up regarding Proposition 19. Proposition 19 legalizes the distribution, sale, and cultivation of marijuana. With seven more weeks to go, tensions are starting to rise and issues on whether or not cannabis should be legalized are being questioned. Many citizens feel that legalizing Marijuana could be the 21st century ‘Gold Rush’ of California. Predicting the outcome of the ballot’s however, is almost impracticable due to fact that there are various outlooks on this certain matter. Some individuals, such as former policemen, congress men, and billionaire business men favour proposition 19, while others, such as pot growers and dealers, savour the idea of marijuana being prohibited.

On Monday (September 13, 2010) prior and current staff members who were part of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stated at a news conference how gravely concerned they were by the upcoming ballot. The DEA wrote to U.S. attorney General Eric Holder requesting to sue California, if the vote was passed. Holder was urged to use the Federal Supremacy Clause which gives the Federal courts the right to obstruct laws that are passed by state or local jurisdiction. Individuals who support the use of marijuana for recreational purposes feel that by legalizing marijuana, overcrowded jails would decrease in size. Marijuana is also known to be safer than cigarettes and alcohol combined. On top of that, the California Board of Equalization can see a $1.4 billion in possible tax profits. The purpose of the bull is to raise the revenue and cut the costs of enforcement.

Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger smoking a joint on the documentary "Pumping Iron" from 1976.

Taxing marijuana is the reason why pot growers and dealers feel the need to vote no on proposition 19. Kristi (last name not given due to secrecy issues), 68, has been cultivating as early as 1970. Growing earns her about $2, 600 a month. However, ever since the legalization of marijuana for medical use, prices per pound have dropped. She relies solely on the income she gets from the crops. Now she, as well as other cultivators, fears prices will continue to drop. “I never thought I would depend on it. I feel that way now,” says Kristi, “I’m kind of greedy right now. I’m not quite ready to let go. I haven’t got a plan to get me through…its weird to find myself saying it. Morally I know it’s the right thing. I might pass judgment on people who put themselves first financially, but here I am doing it.”

The more controversial topic is how to integrate the recreational use of marijuana. In order to be able to legally smoke marijuana for leisure purposes, it must rid itself of its dissident image and become part of the mainstream. Citizens of California are able to use cannabis for personal medical use already. The use of medical marijuana was legalized on November 5, 1996, and was passed with 5,382,915 (55.6%) votes. It allows patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation, and the patient’s authorized cannabis dispensary, to possess and cultivate marijuana for medical use, and has since been expanded to shelter an increasing system of communal and mutual distribution.

As time runs out, citizens of California are urged to become aware of the bill and vote on what they feel is best for the state. Final results will be given after the ballots are registered and counter. Voting day will be on November 2nd, 2010.

By: Roxanne Allen, IB12

Ground Zero Mosque Creates Huge Debate In the US.

Imam Feisal Abdul Raif

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s plan to build “Park51”, an Islamic cultural center complete with recreational activities and a prayer room, sparked huge conflict when conservative bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, founders the group “Stop the Islamization of America”, brought it to the public eye. The controversy lies in the location of the Mosque, planned to be situated a mere 2 blocks away from “Ground Zero”, the location of the September 11 attack on the twin towers. The debate continues to grow as supporters for and against building Park51 voice their opinions, making it a key political campaign issue for the upcoming 2010 midterm elections (meaning the election for seats in the US Congress). This altercation has further soured relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in America, creating new intense opposition to Islam across the US (Pastor Terry Jones planned to burn a stack of Qur’ans on the anniversary of 9/11 for example).

Outspoken opposition has mainly come from conservative politicians and their supporters. Many see it as an insult to those families who lost relatives or friends in the 9/11 attacks. Debra Burlingame, co-founder of “ 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America” told Fox News on august 8th

“This is a place which is 600 feet from where almost 3,000 people were torn to pieces by Islamic extremists…. it is incredibly insensitive and audacious … for them to build a mosque … so that they could be in proximity to where that atrocity happened… The idea that you would establish a religious institution that embraces the very shariah law that terrorists point to as their justification for what they did … to build that where almost 3,000 people died, that is an obscenity to me.”

Republican Senator John McCain and former running mate Sarah Palin have spoken out against Park51, as well as many of their fellow Republicans. Former House Speaker Republican Newt Gringrich commented on the original name of the Mosque (“Cordoba House”)

“Cordoba House is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors, who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex… every Islamist in the world recognizes Cordoba as a symbol of Islamic conquest” (Fox News July 29th)

In response to this the Economist wrote “Like Mr bin Laden, Mr Gingrich is apparently still re-litigating the victories and defeats of religious wars fought in Europe and the Middle East centuries ago. He should rejoin the modern world, before he does real harm.” (The Economist August 5th)

There are also many politicians, organizations, and even 9/11 victims who support the project, however. On August 13, in a speech at the White House dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, President Obama acknowledged the right of Muslims to build the center. Obama commented, “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.” (Forbes.com august 14th)

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke in favor of the Ground Zero Mosque on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart saying ‘People say “well in Saudi-Arabia you can’t build a church”, Yes, that’s the difference between Saudi-Arabia and America’, and “This Mosque has been operating for over a year, there is nothing new here, the difference is we’re in election season… This is plain and simple people trying to stir up things, to get publicity, and trying to polarize people so they can get some votes.” Polls show that a majority Manhattanites themselves support the building of the Mosque, while an updated Marist poll in September 2010 showed that support for Park51 had grown, with 41% in favor and 51% opposed throughout the nation.

Saturday’s 9/11 ceremonies in New York turned mean when when mobs began to protest outside the proposed Islamic center. A few incidences of Koran burnings took place across the country, a few of these activist were even detained by the police. These acts of violence and discord prove that there may not be a clear end in sight for the Ground Zero Mosque debate, or the sour relations between Muslims and anti-Muslims in the US.

By: Jake Linne, IB12