Is there something to the Shrooms?

Researchers are testing the effects of psilocybin, the “active ingredient” in psychoactive mushrooms to see if they have a positive effect on people suffering from end-of-life anxiety.

So apparently the FDA has approved a few studies right out of the 60’s. Researchers are testing the effects of psilocybin, the “active ingredient” in psychoactive mushrooms (“shrooms”) to see if they have a positive effect on people suffering from end-of-life anxiety.

Apparently the shrooms work! The folks who took the drug reported a significant decrease in their anxiety & depression. They also reported an increased level of connection with loved ones. The positive effects lasted for months after the initial therapy.

I guess the hippies had it right, after all.

A Hydrocarbon Chernobyl

In this clip from CNN.com, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar cites Chernobyl as a comparable disaster to the Deep Horizon spill. Who wants to bet that he’ll regret using that analogy?

In this clip from CNN.com, Wolf Blitzer asks Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar “When will the oil spill end?” Salazar admits it could be months. In the end, he cites Chernobyl as a comparable disaster. Who wants to bet that he’ll regret using that analogy?

 
The thing is, he’s not the first one to notice the similarities. Dmitry Orlov outlines them with great clarity, coming to a conclusion that any realist will admit is all too likely:

The energy industry has run out of convenient, high-quality resources to exploit, and is now forced to turn to resources it previously passed over: poor, dirty, difficult, expensive resources such as tar sands, heavy oil, shale, and deep offshore. Under relentless pressure to do more with less, people are likely to try to cut corners wherever possible, and environmental safety is likely to suffer. Before it finally crashes, the huge final effort to wring the last few drops of energy out of a depleted planet will continue to serve up bigger and bigger disasters.

When I ignore my friends harassing me about not driving a car, each time I spend a few extra dollars on CFL or LED lighting, and every time I pack my reusable bags before heading to the grocery store, blunting this upcoming catastrophe is the greatest motivator for my actions. I know I’m not the only one, but I’m afraid there aren’t enough of us.

Mattingly takes on Hayward

CNN.com reporter David Mattingly isn’t afraid to push one of the most powerful men in the world for uncomfortable answers to serious questions.

 
I’m loving CNN’s David Mattingly. He’s not afraid to push one of the most powerful men in the world for uncomfortable answers to serious, scary questions.

Schneier on Terrorism & Aviation Security

Bruce Schneier, one of the foremost experts on Network & Information Security, dares to point out the glaringly obvious truths about our government’s current anti-terror strategy.

Bruce Schneier, one of the foremost experts on Network & Information Security, has written an essay on terrorism and aviation security that’s currently running on CNN.com, and he spent a bit of time recently with Maddow, as well.  The essay on CNN.com is a bit long, but definitely worth the read. He dares to point out the glaringly obvious truths about our government’s current anti-terror strategy.

The best defenses against terrorism are largely invisible: investigation, intelligence, and emergency response. But even these are less effective at keeping us safe than our social and political policies, both at home and abroad. However, our elected leaders don’t think this way: They are far more likely to implement security theater against movie-plot threats.

This type of “security theater” was something the American Public readily accepted during the early post-9-11 period; we were scared to death, and thinking with all the rationality of an injured animal. Today, however, even pilots are questioning the reactionary security measures the TSA has implemented. Schneier’s take on the new measures is even more contemptuous; he terms them “magical thinking”.

Schneier opines that by acting out this “security theater”, our governments are simply empowering the terrorists to accomplish their ends. I find his opinion on how we should treat terrorists refreshing, intuitive and logical:

By not overreacting, by not responding to movie-plot threats, and by not becoming defensive, we demonstrate the resilience of our society, in our laws, our culture, our freedoms. There is a difference between indomitability and arrogant “bring ’em on” rhetoric. There’s a difference between accepting the inherent risk that comes with a free and open society, and hyping the threats.

We should treat terrorists like common criminals and give them all the benefits of true and open justice — not merely because it demonstrates our indomitability, but because it makes us all safer.

The White House and officials at the TSA and Justice Department need to stop and listen. Our current strategy has largely kept terrorists from hitting targets on US soil – if not abroad – but terrorism and extremist rhetoric is on the rise. The Christmas day episode over Detroit is being interpreted as a stark warning that the current system is far from perfect. I think the real question should be “In the long view, is it working at all?”