In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert are joined in the first half by Russell Brand to talk about the austerity headlines. They chat about the UK government’s expanding debt and growing deficit, despite the alleged austerity and GDP expanding thanks to heroin addiction and prostitution. Russell learns about the water cannons bought for use against anti-austerity protests which the government itself will stoke. Finally, they talk about the people revolting as they must do when the social contract has been broken: and crypto currencies are one of the most visible revolts. In the second half, Max interviews Russell Brand further about his independent media outlet – The Trews; they discuss revolution and spiritual journeys.
Hayfever is such a cruel ailment. There should be nothing more joyous than lying in the grass, eating strawberries and sleeping away the afternoon. But for hayfever sufferers, a relaxing day in the sun becomes a tortuous experience, seen through teary eyes and interrupted by a perpetually streaming nose.
Sports presenter John Inverdale claimed he was tortured by hayfever on the day he said Marion Bartoli, the Wimbledon champion, was “never going to be a looker”, and countless social incidents have been marred by less widely-broadcast faux pas.
The Met Office has reported that this summer could be one of the warmest on record, which will be celebrated by all but the sniffly hayfever sufferers, who will be further upset by news that the warm days interspersed with showers will create a longer pollen season.
But if you’re forever armed with three packets of tissues and a litre-bottle of water, then these treatments could help calm hayfever.
Take antihistamines – even when you don’t need them
For mild hayfever sufferers, the odd antihistamine pill when you feel sniffly should do the trick. But if you find your eyes streaming and your nostrils red from nose-blowing, then take the tablets before your symptoms appear. A regular dose of antihistamine will make sure the drug remains high in your system to fight off the effects of pollen. And if the pills still don’t work, speak to your GP about a stronger prescription antihistamine.
When the pollen is flying up your nose and you can barely make it through a sentence without blowing your nose, deep breathing as a cure seems like an impossibly cruel hoax. But a 2005 Swiss study found that hayfever sufferers reported fewer symptoms after they were taught hypnotherapy. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, let go of your tension – and try to ignore the tickle in your nose.
Use a red light
Shining a red light up your nose can increase blood flow circulation, reduce histamine production and calm inflammation. Lloyds pharmacy has created a phototherapy probe that’s found to alleviate sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes and an itchy mouth.
If you find yourself bolting the door against pollen and sun, ask your GP about immunotherapy, which slowly introduces small amounts of pollen to your system to build up resistance. The treatment can be given as an injection or a tablet that dissolves under your tongue, but is reserved for severe cases and can take months to have any effect.
Clear out the pharmacy
Nasal sprays and eye drops can help relieve specific symptoms: namely, a blocked nose and itchy eyes. Get some help with your spraying technique – too many a spray has been wasted on the eyelid, which won’t help hayfever at all.
Clear out the herbal remedies
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, fish oil, reishi mushrooms and oil leaf extracts have all been used to treat summer sneezing. The results, so far, are inconclusive. Some people swear by natural treatments, while others don’t notice a difference. There’s no harm in trying – at the very least, the vitamins will add to a well-rounded diet.
A spoonful of honey
Although it still relies on anecdotal evidence, a daily spoonful of honey is one of the most delicious remedies for hayfever. Honey that is grown in Britain, derived from manuka crops, and left unprocessed is highly recommended.
Wear wrap-around sunglasses
Looking cool in summer is over-rated anyway. Wrap-around sunglasses – which leave no inch of the eye area exposed to outside air – can help protect your eyes from pollen. It won’t do much for the sneezing and raspy breath, but at least your eyes will stop itching.
Cigarette smoke is another allergen and will further irritate the lining of your nose, eyes, throat and airways. So if you’re going through five packets (of tissues) a day, summer could provide the ultimate motivation to quit smoking. After all, cigarette breaks aren’t much fun if you have to keep pausing to gargle water.
A widely used traditional Asian health food supplement can actually help to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells depending on its production process, according to New Zealand research released Thursday.
University of Auckland researcher Ben Kao compared the impact of different ethanol and water based extracts of the ganoderma lucidium genus of mushrooms on cell lines of prostate cancer and identified how the compound killed cancer cells and reduced inflammation.
Ganoderma mushrooms, which grow on wood, include about 80 species and are often referred to as shelf mushrooms or bracket fungi.
Known as “lingzhi” in China and “reishi” in Japan, they are widely available in Asian countries and have been used for millennia in Chinese medicine to promote good health.
Available in Asia in a variety of forms and strengths, from low-strength pills to high quality red mushroom extract, they are believed to boost the immune system, improve circulation, reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, destroy tumors and slow aging.
“Ganoderma lucidium has been seen to have a growth inhibitory effect on prostate cancer, but most of the research has tested only one type of extract,” Kao said in a statement.
“For this study we compared four different extraction methods to see which is the most powerful and to see how it exerts its effects.”
Two extracts were made using ethanol based extraction and two used water based extraction methods.
“The ethanol based extracts had the more direct effect on cancer cell growth by inhibiting the cell cycle and were more powerful than water based extracts,” said Kao.
“For the water based extracts, the mechanism of action involved the immune and anti-inflammatory pathways within the cell.”
Ganoderma lucidium was shown to have a strong effect on limiting cell growth in the cancer cell lines and had no negative effect on normal cell lines.
A Japanese man suspected of holding guns made with a 3D printer has been detained in Japan – in the first such case in the country.
Yoshitomo Imura, a 27-year-old college employee, was reported to possess five weapons, two of which could fire lethal bullets, NHK reported. He also had a 3D printer at home, but no ammunition for the guns, Jiji Press reported.
The investigation into illegal firearms possession reportedly started after the suspect posted a video online with him shooting the guns.
“It is true that I made them, but I did not think it was illegal,” the Mainichi Shimbun daily newspaper reported Yoshitomo Imura as saying.
The suspect allegedly purchased a 3D printer for around ¥60,000 ($600) on the Internet, and downloaded the blueprints for making the guns from foreign websites. Broadcasters showed Imura being taken in for questioning.
It is the first time that Japan’s firearm control law has been applied to the possession of 3D-printed weapons.
The debate around the use of guns that contain no metal has been going on for some time: last year, a Texas-based group, Defense Distributed, posted blueprints for a fully functional, 3D-printed firearm, a single-shot pistol made almost entirely out of hard polymer plastic.
Following that, in December, the US Congress renewed a ban on non-metal firearms.
The situation is Japan is different, with very strict firearms control laws in place and very few people who possess guns or even ever come into contact with them.
The suspect has often posted on Twitter, justifying the possession and manufacture of guns, and once said on the Internet that “gun restrictions are violation of human rights,” NHK reported. The man also had 10 replica guns, Jiji news agency reported.
Honey bees are quickly disappearing from the US – a phenomenon that has left scientists baffled. But new research shows that bees exposed to common agricultural chemicals while pollinating US crops are less likely to resist a parasitic infection.
As a result of chemical exposure, honey bees are more likely to succumb to the lethal Nosema ceranae parasite and die from the resulting complications.
Scientists from the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture on Wednesday published a study that linked chemicals, including fungicides, to the mass die-offs. Scientists have long struggled to find the cause behind the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), in which an estimated 10 million beehives at an average value of $200 each have been lost since 2006.
Last winter, the honey bee population declined by 31.1 percent, with some beekeepers reporting losses of 90 to 100 percent of their bee populations. Scientists are concerned that “Beemageddon” could cause the collapse of the $200 billion agriculture industry, since more than 100 US crops rely on honey bees to pollinate them.
The new findings are key in determining one of the causes of the CCD, but they fail to explain why entire beehives sometimes die at once.
UMD and DOA researchers found that pollen samples in fields ranging from Delaware to Maine contained nine different agricultural chemicals, including fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and miticides. One particular sample even contained 21 different agricultural chemicals. To test their theory, they fed pesticide-ridden pollen samples to healthy bees and then infected them with the parasite. They found that the pesticides hindered the bees’ abilities to resist the infection, thus contributing to their deaths. The fungicide chlorothalonil was particularly damaging, tripling the risks of parasitic infection.
“We don’t think of fungicides as having a negative effect on bees, because they’re not designed to kill insects,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s senior author, said in a news release.
He explained that federal regulations restrict the use of insecticides while pollinators are foraging, but noted that “there are no such restrictions on fungicides, so you’ll often see fungicide applications going on while bees are foraging on the crop. The finding suggests that we have to reconsider that policy.”
Bees are declining at such a fast rate that one bad winter could trigger an agricultural disaster. California’s almond crop would be hit particularly hard, since the state supplies 80 percent of the world’s almonds. Pollinating California’s 760,000 acres of almond fields requires 1.5 million out-of-state bee colonies, which makes up 60 percent of the country’s beehives. The CCD is a major threat to this $4 billion industry.
Entomologists suspect that a number of other factors also contribute to the CCD, including climate change, habitat destructing and handling practices that expose bees to foreign pathogens. But the effect of agricultural chemicals is particularly alarming, especially since the US does not have laws banning the use of the pesticides that are affecting bee health.
“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to believe,” vanEngelsdorp said. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”
Every one of us, on average, will be sleeping for 24 years in our lifetime. Still, there are many unanswered questions about sleep and how much we need of it. With this post, Leo Widrich sets out to uncover what the most important research has taught us about sleep. And of course, how you can use this knowledge to create an unbeatable daily routine.
One of the biggest problems I’ve discovered is that sleep is such an overly-talked about topic. We get the general idea that we know all about it: how much we need of it, how it impacts us, and why this or that happens when we sleep. Once I took a step back to really think about where our knowledge about sleep comes from, I realized that nearly all of it is based on hear-say or what my mom told me when I was in elementary school.
Eliminating the 8 hours per night sleep myth
Everyone has an answer to “how much sleep do you need”? A common one—and one that I have given on many occasions—is to respond “Oh yes, I need my 8-9 hours of sleep every night, I know that.”
It turns out, that might not be true after all.
One of the most acclaimed sleep researchers, Daniel Kripke, said there’s never been any evidence to back the 8-hour rule. In his most recent study, Kripke found that “people who sleep between 6.5 hours and 7.5 hours a night, live the longest, are happier, and most productive.”
What’s even more interesting here is that sleeping longer than that might actually be worse for your health.
Personally, as an 8 hour/night sleeper, this definitely opened my eyes and I have started to experiment by decreasing my sleeping time slightly to see if 7.5 hours makes a difference.
Of course, the general idea about the “one-fits all sleeping amount” is particularly odd, as Jim Horne, one of Europe’s most acclaimed sleep experts mentions in his book:
“It’s like saying everybody should have size eight shoes, or be five foot eight inches.”
It seems that finding your optimal sleeping time in between Kripke’s finding is a good way to go. It’s certainly something I’m giving a go now.
The trap of too little sleep: What happens to our brains if we don’t have enough sleep?
Now this part is one of the most fascinating aspects about sleep. Have you ever been with someone who got only 4 hours of sleep but looks just as attentive, fresh, and up to his game as you, who spent 7.5 hours in bed?
Well, the answer is this: someone who is severely sleep deprived is in fact as attentive and awake as you are.Here is what a recent study found: The sleep deprived person can in fact deliver the exact same results as someone who isn’t sleep deprived in an exercise, when they give it their best shot. Odd right?
Now onto this though:
The problem lies elsewhere. Whether we are sleep deprived or not, we lose focus at times. And that is precisely where the sleep deprived person lands in a trap. If we start to lose focus but have received the right amount of sleep, our brain can compensate for that and increase attention(see the image below for the increased yellow bits that shift your focus back.). If we are sleep deprived, our brain can’t refocus.
The main finding is that the brain of the sleep-deprived individual is working normally sometimes, but intermittently suffers from something akin to power failure.
That’s from Clifford Saper at Harvard. In the image you can see what this means. As you lose focus and your attention is drifting, the yellow bits show how people with enough sleep activate parts in their brain to refocus on the task at hand. Sleep deprived people will have barely any activity in that area (the amygdala reactivity) and will struggle to regain focus.
So really, this can turn into a huge trap. The person bragging that they only slept 4 hours and still do great work, well, they are actually right with what they are saying. The only issue is that, they have no brainpower to steer them back to focus once they lose attention. Even worse so, sleep-deprived people don’t notice their decrease in performance.
Sleep-deprived workers may not know they are impaired. According to Saper, “the periods of apparently normal functioning could give a false sense of competency and security when, in fact, the brain’s inconsistency could have dire consequences.”
Sleeping your way to success
Not getting enough sleep is a pain. So now, onto the good stuff: what we can actually do to optimize our sleeping habits to new heights and sleep our way to success.
When it comes to developing focused techniques that work on better sleeping habits, the web isn’t short of answers. Querying some of the smartest brains I know, here are the top 3 things to do in order to have better sleep and work more productively:
Start napping every day—here is why and how
For the past 2 years, since I started working on Buffer, I have been napping every day, for around 20 minutes. One of my favorite writers and New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt does the same things for many years and posted his insights in this great post about napping.
As Michael points out, some of the core benefits of napping are that you can restore alertness of your brain with just a few minutes of falling into light sleep.
Personally, I know that my productivity takes a dip at 3 PM every day. This is exactly where I place my nap, and it has been one of the most powerful ways to bring my productivity back to 100% after that.
In a great video Michael pointed me towards, one of the key benefits of napping daily is to simply feel less tired. Although this may sound stupidly obvious, it can help a great deal to contribute to your daily happiness. Check out this quick video on this topic.
To get into a napping routine is often very difficult. Here are the top 3 ways I think you can make it work:
-One of the key things I found here is to make others aware of the fact that you are napping every day.Try and get encouragement from your co-workers or your boss, so you can set yourself up for developing a successful habit.
-Timing very important. In fact, in the video above, the common sentence of “napping doesn’t work for me” is often down to the fact that people nap too long. Don’t let your naps exceed 30 minutes max; personally, 20 minutes has proven to be the optimal timing for me.
-The last tip I find most crucial is to make napping a consistent habit. Keep both the frequency (daily) and the time of day (3pm seems to be a very popular time as productivity dips) the same and consistent.
Develop a sleep ritual—here is how and why:
How can you make this as easy as brushing your teeth every evening? It’s very simple: develop a sleep ritual that will set you up for a great night of sleep ahead. Rituals, different from habits, can be something a lot more compelling: “Whilst habits are often seen as activities you have to force yourself to do, rituals are instead activities which you are pulled towards,” Joel Gascoigne writes in this great post on developing a sleep ritual.
When it comes to creating a sleep ritual, one of the key things is to have the last activity completely disengage you from the tasks of the rest of your day. Here are a few activities you can try to properly disengage:
-A 20 minute walk on a specific route and at a specific time. It is a great way to clear your head and be ready for sleep. For a specific way to develop your evening walk, try Coelho’s speed exercise.
-Another thing that has worked greatly is to read fiction. Different to non-fiction books, it is a great way to completely disengage, enter a different world and mindset, and then be ready for great sleep.
-The last point I had great success with is to have a clear wake-up time by tying it to an immediate event afterwards. If you just set your alarm for say 7:30, but you always hit the snooze button, try something else. Keep the alarm, but plan the first thing you will do and tie it to a specific time. For me, that has been to have breakfast immediately at 7:40. Or that my support session starts at 7:45. Joel hits the gym exactly 5 minutes after wake-up time. Those things can help a great deal to get over the inertia of getting out of bed.
It could be a village fete. There are rugs spread out, bunting, and several green gazebos. People are sitting on folding camp stools, and knowledgeable locals are keeping an eye on the Sussex skies for the first sign of rain. Only the placards and banners strike the wrong note. Because the villagers and visitors gathered together are here not to raise money for the church roof, but to try to stop a plan to drill for fossil fuels under their homes and fields.
That was my first experience of the protest at Balcombe, last summer. It’s been a long journey since then, via five hours in the cells of Crawley police station, months of preparing our case, and finally six days at the magistrates court in Brighton.
Balcombe, as one of the first places in the UK to be earmarked as a potential fracking site, has been the frontline in a major struggle over the search and exploitation of yet more fossil fuels – and the stakes could hardly be higher.
Fracking not only has a range of serious local environmental impacts, including risks of air and water contamination, but it also radically undermines efforts to tackle the climate crisis – which in turn means our children will inherit a much more hazardous world. Many of my constituents have written to raise their concerns about this with me. Our peaceful protest in August 2013 was designed to raise greater awareness about the dangers of fracking, and to put pressure on the government to change course.
The window for action is closing fast. Two UN climate reports that came out during the trial have made it clear that greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are rising faster than ever, and that the only way to avoid the worst impacts of climate change is to switch urgently to renewable energy, reduce energy demand, and wean ourselves off fossil fuels for good.
As an MP, I’m in the privileged position of being able to make the case in parliament. I’ve tabled motions, put questions to ministers, spoken out in the media – and will continue to do so. But the government is ignoring the evidence, rejecting the climate science, and dismissing the enormous benefits of a secure and affordable energy system based on renewables and energy efficiency. Instead they are set on a reckless and irresponsible new dash for gas, offering the fossil fuel companies generous tax breaks as well as influence within government itself.
Experts are clear that we need to leave around 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we’re to have any chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. With this in mind, it makes no sense to start a new industry extracting shale oil and gas.
That’s why I decided to join the peaceful protest in Balcombe. There is a proud tradition of nonviolent direct action in this country, and I believe that using peaceful means to try to stop a process that will cause enormous damage is not only reasonable, but also morally necessary.
My acquittal and that of my four other co-defendants yesterday is a huge relief, but it’s by no means a cause for celebration. That will only happen when David Cameron announces an end to fracking, and invest instead in cleaner, greener energy sources.
Fittingly, people in Balcombe are showing the way again. Last month saw the launch of REPOWERBalcombe, a new community energy company set up by local residents with the aim of generating the equivalent of 100% of the village’s electricity from clean, renewable energy. This initiative and many like them are the way forward, creating genuine energy security, lower emissions, lower fuel bills and more jobs – not ever more government support for a dirty, polluting dinosaur of an industry that should be well down its evolutionary path to extinction.
As even the most ‘fluoride friendly’ countries begin to rethink their positions, a new report signals that widespread water fluoridation may once again be on the cards for the UK. Tellingly, the report relies on statistical smoke and mirrors to draw its conclusions while bringing little new data to the table – and overlooks most fluoride-associated health problems.
Pushing against the anti-fluoride tide
To be charitable, the UK government must be fond of irony. When, in the USA, “Citizens in Wichita, Kansas and Portland, Oregon voted NO on water fluoridation; Connecticut, South Carolina, and Minnesota are looking at lifting mandatory fluoridation rulings”; when in Queensland, Australia, 15 regional councils are refusing to fluoridate or are halting the practice, encouraging other parts of Australia and New Zealand to follow their lead; when even the most pro-fluoridation administrations in the world, in other words, are following Europe’s lead and ditching fluoride – the UK government is heading in completely the opposite direction.
So is its renewed fluoride fervour is based on groundbreaking new evidence? Irrefutable data proving once and for all that fluoride is both safe and good for our teeth, perhaps? Does the new report, published by Public Health England (PHE) offer a persuasive case that artificial fluoride added to the water supply (“adjustment of fluoride levels” in PHE’s words) is not a medicine?
Smoke and mirrors
In a word: no. The PHE report is based on an analysis of area-based fluoride intake, rather than individual intake, and the areas chosen for study are as artificial as hexafluorosilicic acid itself. The vital point here is that this is not a real-world study in any sense of the word: the study populations, results and conclusions are plucked almost entirely from the statistical netherworld. Here’s a flavour of the report’s methodology: “The Drinking Water Inspectorate provided the boundaries of all English water quality zones (WQZs) in digital format with a binary variable attached indicating whether they were subject to fluoridation schemes in 2012. Using ESRI ArcGIS geographic information systems (GIS), the population weighted centroid for each 2001 LSOA in England was assigned a fluoridation status – fluoridated yes/no – depending on the WQZ it was located within…” Any UK citizen wishing to understand how PHE reached its uncritically reported pro-fluoride conclusions is confronted by a brick wall of statistical jargon.
Ignoring the evidence
Not only is the report unnecessarily opaque scientifically, but it also commits the cardinal sin of omitting data it doesn’t like. Here are some of the fluoride-associated health effects not even mentioned in the report:
PHE versus the facts
As well as torturing the data and ignoring most of the evidence, PHE concludes that “there is no scientific difference between naturally occurring and added fluoride in the water that comes out of consumers’ taps” – a plain lie. It also claims that “[there is no] clear biological mechanism for putative adverse health effects of fluoridation…”, which would surprise the authors of a recent Lancet Neurology article.
All in all, this report isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, or even the bandwidth it’s transmitted on. Whether it heralds a concerted push by the UK government to artificially medicate the population with fluoride remains to be seen. If it does, the resistance will be both mighty and mightily well informed – seemingly unlike PHE.