Marijuana not actually medicinal

Aaron Brachfeld - - - There has rarely been truth in advertising, and much advertising for addictive substances.  Any product which represents a potential lifetime subscription is a significant investment for a consumer.  And if that lifetime subscription presents secondary costs – such as ill health or even death – the manufacturer must make a very good case for why it should be bought.
        Cigarettes were once argued – against the conventions of medical science – to be wholesome, natural plant-based herbs whose active chemicals (some of which were psychoactive) had long-term health benefits.  And, it is a fact that tobacco can cure skin cancer, and the nicotine in tobacco has a beneficial impact on PTSD, and several other psychological diseases.  Yet even against these real benefits, the cost made the cure worse than the disease.  And it has become so commonly understood today that tobacco is not worth the cost that consumption is noticeably decreasing.
        Cocaine, too, was used in numerous medical compounds to treat disease – against the conventions of medical science.  So was opium. 
        And the health benefits of even alcohol – which, medical convention aside, is commonly understood to be unwholesome and bad for health – has even been touted recently.  With limited success: nobody is buying into the advertising that a drink a day keeps the doctor away.
        There is no need to make the same mistake with marijuana.
        Marijuana is promoted as having many of the same benefits as tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, opium and other narcotics have been promoted as having.  The reason is simple: they are all narcotics, and therefore have similar properties.  This means, too, that they have similar risks.
        Narcotics are addictive.  They are carcinogens. They prevent normal cognition and are a cause for psychological disease.  They cause irreparable harm to the several organs of the body, and can even lead to birth defects through both the paternal and maternal inheritance.
        Just because marijuana, tobacco, cocaine and opium are all from plants does not mean they are necessarily good for you like vegetables are.  Socrates is not famous for enjoying a long and healthy life because of his choice in herbal tea.
        Similarly, just because they may have a positive effect on a disease does not mean that they are the best choice, or that the benefit hasn’t come at great cost.  Amputation is an effective and safe cure for a papercut, but the side-effects make the cure worse than the disease.  And to use amputation as a cure for a headache? 
        Alcohol does in fact treat migraines, anxiety, arthritis, insomnia, bladder infections, the common cold, heartburn, indigestion, sinus congestion, hot flashes, PMS and other illnesses – just as well as marijuana or other narcotics, in fact.  But narcotics tend to worsen the disease whose symptoms they treat, and cause other diseases as well and none of these should be the first choice for a patient.
        As for those rare cases when it is the last choice of desperation?  Federal law already permitted and provided for the free use of narcotics for those few diseases which require them when the legalization of marijuana for medical use was undertaken by several States under the false political advertisement that patients could neither obtain nor afford these narcotics. 
        Shortly after states redundantly legalized marijuana for medical use, the narcotic was legalized for recreational use as a harmless high and good source of tax revenue.
        But already economic analysis is indicating that the public is the loser in this bad bargain: tax revenues did increase, but insufficiently to balance the increased costs in social services required by that legalization.  So taxes were raised, and raised again: but high as they are, the taxes are not covering the costs.

        Your taxes right now are very high.  High as in inebriated.  The “down” will come, and then we will all be left feeling a little sick.

Volume 5 Issue 37

In this week's issue, the best little museums of Colorado, getting out of illinois, Sela's Doll, DEEPAK MORRIS!, some great photos from our new photographer, another selection from the Anguttara Nikaya, and MUCH more!
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The best little museums in Colorado

by Aaron Brachfeld - - - The number of museums in Colorado is vast, for such a young state, we have a lot of history to preserve.  Or at least the inclination to preserve it.
Georgetown Energy Museum
        I visited the Georgetown Energy Museum, and found the lively tourguide Ellen Page to be both knowledgeable and witty, though at times shocking (forgive the pun?) in her manner.  The visitor to this free museum is confronted by several interactive displays which they may use at their leisure to learn about the finer aspects of electrodynamics and the other physics of hydroelectric production.  Then, entering the still-functioning hydroelectric plant, the visitor can see the turbines working, the diverted water, and understand the tremendous opportunity that hydroenergy presents to Colorado.
        Nikola Tesla’s contributions to our state cannot be understated, and they are not by the devoted tourguide, who brought the story of the man to life.  Standing in the modern hydroelectric plant beside the ancient artifacts, one has the instant glimpse into the continuous nature of hydroenergy: so long as the river continues to flow, there will be energy to be harnessed.
        It is at 600 Griffith Street (the end of the road at 6th) in Georgetown, Colorado 80444.  (303) 569-2840.
Nederland Mining Museum
        I also visited the Nederland Mining Museum on one of their frequent free days.  Which is, like the Georgetown Energy Museum, every day during tourist season.
        Containing numerous artifacts and ancient maps of former mining claims, the tungsten and other ore samples were particularly interesting.  There is a chance to win a postcard by answering a history question from the steward (who invented the electric headlamp for miners? Thomas Edison was the correct answer – I won the postcard, and now you can too.  Don’t ever say that your subscription to the Herald is overpaidfor).
        There is also, for the geologist, a mystery rock to guess.  In fact, nobody knows what kind of rock it is, and they would like your help in labeling it.
        You can see old mining equipment, trophies from competitions that the Nederland miners won, and other artifacts from the not-too-distant past.  Nederland’s mining industry collapsed when imports from foreign nations (which do not have the same labor costs) became cheaper than the mines could produce.
Castle Rock History Museum
        Close to home, but not by any means the least enjoyable little museum, is the Castle Rock History Museum, located at 420 Elbert St, Castle Rock, CO 80104 in a former rail road depot building.
        Though short on artifacts, the dynamic displays and dioramas bring life to the small town.  The town has been, for most of its existence, a microscopic feature on the front range for those passing on to major tourist destinations, and is now coping with overwhelming popularity as not only a tourist destination in its own right, but as a home to numerous commuters.  Consequently, there is an attempt to conserve the historical nature of the town, which remained largely unchanged during most of its history.
        One of the more interesting display of artifacts is the ancient medical equipment and compounded medicines.  This inspired numerous visitors with terror and horripilation – I heard one visitor discoursing upon how little medical science has advanced, “this is why I see an acupuncturist.”   

        Old photographs and maps also provided constant interest.

Destroying a 2,000 watt system with 1812 cannon fire


by Gary TwoHorse Green - - -  Of all the music in the world, only a few stand out to the point where when the piece is played, people recognize it. “Funeral March of a Marionette” is known as the theme from “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “The Blue Danube” is known from “2001; A Space Odyssey”, “William Tell Overture” is also known as “The Theme from the Lone Ranger”, “Ride of the Valkyries” from “Apocalypse Now”, “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” and “Adagio for Strings and Organ” from “Roller Ball”.

        None, however, are more recognizable than Tchaikovsky’s “Overture of 1812”.

        You will hear it played most often at 4th of July Celebrations while the fireworks are going off. Usually, the “orchestra” playing the tune, will get to the Cannon Part and someone on the Bass drum will bang away. At the part of the bells, chimes will ring. It is not the same.

         The lineage of descriptive battle piece in music goes back as far as the Ancient Greeks but it was the redoubtable Ludwig Von Beethoven who set the pace in the field of symphonic battle pieces with his ”Wellington’s Victory, the Battle of Vittoria Op 91”. Besides the regular symphony, he called for two Brass bands, a pair of oversized bass drums to be placed on opposite ends of the stage as well as watchmen’s rattles to supply the necessary Musket effects.

         In 1789, Giuseppe Sarti, in his capacity as Court Conductor to Catherine the Great, composed a Te Deum to celebrate Potemkin’s capture of Otchakow from the Turks. This work called for Cannons, Bells and Fireworks and was to be performed in the open air.

         In 1880, Tchaikovsky was approached by his mentor, Nicholas Rubinstein, to write a piece for events which would take place in a year or two. Tsar Alexander II was about to celebrate his 25th year of ascension to the throne, the Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer was nearing completion and would doubtless be ready for dedication.

         Tchaikovsky frankly hated the Tsar and he had little concern for organized religion. He tried to beg off but in the end capitulated and started work using Beethoven’s “Wellington’s Victory” as a guide.

         There is no historical precedent which ties the Overture to the actual battle. In fact, Russian Forces retreated before Napoleons Army after a bitterly fought battle, Napoleon captured a deserted Moscow and waited for the Tsar to capitulate…in fact he waited too long. “General Famine and General Winter, rather than Russian Bullets, defeated the Grand Army” wrote Napoleon before his long retreat back to France. Fewer the 40,000 of the 100,000 troops made it back to Paris that winter.

         The solemn mood is set at the very beginning with solo cellos and violas playing the Russian Hymn, “God, Preserve Thy People” which begins and ends the piece. The savagery of battle is contained in pieces of Russian Folk Music and the Marseillaise. This finally comes to a crescendo of Cannon Fire, Bells pealing; Marching Brass bands all celebrating the Russian Victory.

         That is the history. However, to make a recording of the Overture of 1812 the way it is to be played is either a Sound Engineers Nightmare or Greatest Dream.

         In the late 1950’s, early 60’s, Mercury records made recording history by doing just that. However, many obstacles had to be overcome. None of least was the cannons.

         In the original score, the cannons were to be used in the Courtyard of the Kremlin in front of the newly completed Christ the Redeemer Cathedral. The cannons presumably used by the Russian Forces were the breach loaded instant fire type. For the recording, Mercury records were able to secure a 1761 bronze cannon from West Point Military Academy. Various charges were used until they settled on the one they felt best exemplified cannon fire. The Bells were another concern. In the Original Piece, bells all over Moscow were to be rung. The bells ranged in size from high pitched chimes to a 100 ton monster which hangs with 33 companion bells in the Tower of Ivan the Great in the Kremlin. Unlike European and bells in the United States, Russian Bells are stationary and the clappers move. For the Mercury recording, the Harkness Memorial Tower on the Yale Campus was used. The bells in the tower range from 7 tons to 1500 pounds and are played by Clavier.

         In 1979, history was made again by Telarc in which the Overture was digitally recorded. Whereas Mercury commissioned the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, directed by Antal Dorati, Minnesota Brass Band, Bronze Cannon from West Point Military Academy and Bells of the Harkness Memorial, Telarc went with Eric Kunzel of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Bells of the Emory Memorial Carillion, Artillery of the Fifth Virginia Regiment.

         As stated before, the orchestral part was easy, but the cannons were another matter. Three field pieces were used to see which one gave the best effect. 24 charges of different sizes were used and recoded. The largest piece with an oversized charge, when fired, manages to take out the windows one the first floor of a building several yards away. The one thing the engineers were trying to capture is the initial crack of the charge going off (somewhere in the 2,000 to 3,000 Hz range) and the resulting boom going down as low as 6 cycles.

         The Carillion bells were operated by keyboards which required the use of eight people to replicate the clamorous noise of the bells.

         Should you buy this album, or the follow up in Dolby 7.1, do not play at loud volume for you will destroy your system. I should know. I destroyed a 2,000 watt system…

Volume 5 Issue 26

In this week's issue, a brief history of the German Shepherd, Raj More’s “Oh my God” wins Mumbai exhibition, Remembering Pilot Julia ClarkLincoln’s fleas, Rabbi Levi Lebovits, DEEPAK MORRIS!, Wildlife Photography, Anguttara Nikaya, and MUCH more! 
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Editor's pick: Nature photography


EDITOR’S PICK: A resting elk poses for a tourist at a parking lot in Estes Park, whose camera phone requires her to approach the elk at close proximity. The relatively tame animals enhance the recreational experience of the tourists to the town, many of whom have come to visit Rocky Mountain National Park.

Raj More’s “Oh my God!” wins National Lalit Kala Akademi

by Aaron Brachfeld - - - Raj More’s acrylic “Oh my God!” won the National Lalit Kala Akademi Exhibition.  More, whose work and awards have been previously covered by the Herald, reflects the city of Mumbai where he lives and works.  Combining vehicles, animals and people to express the sentimental side of the self-engaged city, he transcends the natural violence of his home. 

“Oh My God” presents the dominance of a wealthy male’s gaze upon the slums, part of a new series focusing on the violence between men and women.  “I am deeply saddened  by it ,  it is really very shameful.  As an artist, my responsibility is to make society aware.  I think women make fine friends, life partners and  best guides. I believe in equality and equal rights for women in society.” 

More spoke with the Herald more extensively about his painting.  “Urban development is a two sided coin tossed in the air by government, builders and moneyed people, always favouring them.  A city is a concrete jungle with “urban v/s urban” feel. 10 people living in 10’ x 10’ sq.foot room compared to two people living in 3000 sq ft flat. My painting “Oh My God” depicts this contrast. Common people always suffer from this, example, there is a metro-rail construction happening in this overcrowded city.  The rate of house-development in this city increased in the last twenty years and it is critical."

the German Shepherd


by Gary TwoHorse Green - - - German Shepherd Dog in the English language, sometimes abbreviated as "GSD", and it also formerly was known as the Alsatian and Alsatian Wolf Dog is perhaps one of the most recognized dogs in the world. The German Shepherd is a relatively new breed of dog, with their origin dating to 1899. As part of the Herding Group, German Shepherds are working dogs developed originally for herding sheep.

        Since that time, however, because of their strength, intelligence, trainability and obedience, German Shepherds around the world are often the preferred breed for many types of work, including search-and-rescue, police and military roles and even acting. The German Shepherd is the second-most popular breed of dog in the United States and fourth-most popular in the United Kingdom.

        The Society for the German Shepherd Dog (Verein fur deutsche Schaferhunde) came into existence in 1899 in Stuttgart, the concept of a retired Prussian cavalry captain, Max von Stephanitz (1863-1936). Sheepdogs in that area were rather polymorphous and were not recognized as a breed, and the Society resolved to change this. The first German shepherd was not exhibited until 1907, but by 1923 there were 50,000 members of the Society, and its popularity had already spread well beyond Germany. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1927.

        German Shepherds are large sized dogs. The breed standard height at the withers is 24–26 in for males and 22–24 in for females. The weight standard is 66–88 lb for males and 49–71 lb for females. They have a domed forehead, a long square-cut muzzle and a black nose. The jaws are strong, with a scissor-like bite. The eyes are medium-sized and brown with a lively, intelligent and self-assured look. The ears are large and stand erect, open at the front and parallel, but they often are pulled back during movement. They have a long neck, which is raised when excited and lowered when moving at a fast pace. The tail is bushy and reaches to the hock.

        German Shepherds have a variety of colors, the most common of which are tan/black and red/black. Most color varieties have black masks and black body markings which can range from a classic "saddle" to an over-all "blanket." Rarer colour variations include the sable, all-black, all-white, liver and blue varieties. The all-black and sable varieties are acceptable according to most standards; however, the blue and liver are considered to be serious faults and the all-white is grounds for instant disqualification in some standards.

        German Shepherds sport a double coat. The outer coat, which sheds all year round, is close and dense with a thick undercoat. The coat is accepted in two variants; medium and long. The long-hair gene is recessive, making the long-hair variety rarer. Treatment of the long-hair variation differs across standards; they are accepted but not competed with standard coated dogs under the German and UK Kennel Clubs while they can compete with standard coated dogs but are considered a fault in the American Kennel Club. The FCI accepted the long-haired type in 2010, listing it as the variety b - while short-haired type is listed as the variety a.

        One research project on ancestral behavioral patterns in dogs found that the fact that German shepherds have been bred to have the physical appearance of wolves does not mean that wolf-like behavior has come back into the breed. Describing the German shepherd and the Shetland sheepdog, the researchers state that “the physical appearance of these two breeds is more wolf-like than their behavioural scores would predict, suggesting that once a behaviour has been lost from the repertoire it cannot be reconstructed merely by altering the physical appearance of the breed. The German shepherd, which was developed from shepherding stock with the deliberate intention of producing a physically wolf-like animal..., displayed fewer wolf-type signals than did the Siberian husky and the golden retriever.” D. Goodwin, J.W.S. Bradshaw, and S.M. Wickens (1997). Paedomorphosis Affects Agonistic Visual Signals of Domestic Dogs. Animal Behaviour 53, 297-304. Stephanitz must have rolled over in his grave (assuming corpses have access to scientific journals).

        As has happened with pit bulls in the United States, the glorification of a breed by the wrong people for the wrong reasons can do more harm than good. In World War I, German shepherds were mobilized by a number of countries and served in national and colonial armies. Between the wars, the breed so quickly dominated law enforcement that in many places it is still just called the “police dog.” The “Germanness” of the dog obviously appealed to the Nazis, who made it into an icon of the Third Reich. They were picking up on the views of Stephanitz himself, who as noted above had seen the dog as reflecting the character of the Volk and described it, despite its mixed origins and recent breed status, as having an ancient and intimate relationship with Germans. Hitler named his first German shepherd “Wolf.” In Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944, Hitler is recorded saying: “I love animals, and especially dogs. But I'm not so very fond of boxers, for example. If I had to take a new dog, it could only be a sheepdog, preferably a bitch. I would feel like a traitor if I became attached to a dog of any other breed. What extraordinary animals they are—lively, loyal, bold, courageous and handsome!”

        Shepherds were used by the Nazis to control prisoners of war and guard concentration camps. Germany’s alliance with Japan entered the history of the German shepherd. Stephanitz wrote the president of the Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Dog, Saito Hirokichi, that German shepherds and Japanese dogs were closely related, both moving from central Asia, but in different directions (again, possibly true but if so true of all dogs). Despite this praise from Stephanitz for Japanese dogs, Japanese military authorities seem to have preferred German shepherds, importing thousands of them with the help of Stephanitz. In the annexation of Manchuria, two German shepherds being used as messenger dogs, Kongo and Nachi, became Japanese national heroes for supposedly joining a battle, killing a number of enemy soldiers, and giving up their own lives. The Japanese army had 10,000 military dogs by 1944, and used them as messengers, sentries, draft animals, trackers, and patrol auxiliaries. Perhaps 90% of Japanese military dogs were German shepherds (shepado).  The Japanese military’s use of the dogs makes them unpopular still in areas once subjected to Japanese aggression, such as Korea and China. (See Aaron Skabelund, Breeding Racism: The Imperial Battlefields of the “German” Shepherd Dog, Society and Animals, 16, 354-371 (2008).)

        The modern German Shepherd breed is criticized by some for straying away from von Stephanitz's original ideology for the breed: that German Shepherds should be bred primarily as working dogs and that breeding should be strictly controlled to eliminate defects quickly. He believed that, above all else, German Shepherds should be bred for intelligence and working ability.

        Some critics believe that careless breeding has promoted disease and other defects. Under the breeding programs overseen by von Stephanitz, defects were quickly bred out. However, In the United States, the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals currently ranks the German Shepherd 40th in incidence of hip dysplasia as the percentage of those affected continues to drop (http://www.offa.org/stats_hip.html).  The Kennel Club, in the United Kingdom, is involved in a dispute with German Shepherd breed clubs

about the issue of soundness in the show-strain breed. The show-strains have been bred with an extremely sloping topline (back) that causes poor gait in the hind legs. Working-pedigree lines, such as those in common use as service dogs, generally retain the traditional straight back of the breed.  The debate was catalyzed when the issue was raised in the BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which said that critics of the breed describe it as "half dog, half frog". An orthopedic vet remarked on footage of dogs in a show ring that they were "not normal".  The Kennel Club's position is that "this issue of soundness is not a simple difference of opinion, it is the fundamental issue of the breed’s essential conformation and movement." The Kennel Club has decided to retrain judges to penalize dogs suffering these problems.

        It is also insisting on more testing for hemophilia and hip dysplasia, other common problems with the breed.

Volume 5 Issue 35

In this week's issue, Japanese radioactive fallout contaminates Californian food, evidence of global warming melting the northern hemisphere's ice, fishing at Cebolla, the enlightenment of a plant, review of Afro Vegan Cooking, 2 yards of Chaffee County Trash, and so much more!
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2 yards of Chaffee County Waste

EDITOR’S PICK: Sometimes, the perspective of the camera matters as much as anything else. But there is a limit to what can be done: trash, and urban, industrial and mineral developments have become ubiquitous in Colorado, and the scenic value of these 2 yards of Chaffee County Waste could not be ignored.