Matt Rammelkamp's Blog

Personal blog of Matthew Rammelkamp from 2005 - 2009. Blog is now changing sites to

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

France moves to stub out smoking

PARIS (AFP) - Part one of a French ban on smoking in public places comes into force on Thursday, covering workplaces, schools and hospitals and setting the clock ticking for smoke-filled cafes and bars which have until next January to kick the habit.

Smokers will now have to stub out on the doorstep of shops, sports clubs and entertainment venues that still allowed smoking, while "smokers' corners" in school staff rooms and hospitals will vanish entirely.

Panicked owners of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and casinos -- anticipating a loss of custom in a country where almost one in three adults is a smoker -- have been given a year to prepare for the minor earthquake.

"From February 1, no one should be forced to breathe other people's smoke," Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said last week. "I am sure that in future our children will find it inconceivable that we used to smoke in offices or schools."

Unruly smokers will face fines of 68 euros (88 dollars) for lighting up in the wrong place, while business owners will be fined 135 euros.

Companies can choose to provide hermetically-sealed smoking rooms, with powerful extractor fans, but few are expected to install the costly systems, preferring to let staff puff away on the pavement and offer them advice on how to quit.

The rare exceptions to the new rules are places considered as "substitutes for the home" -- such as hotels or retirement homes.

The government has also said it will be lenient towards hospital patients with mental illnesses, who would not understand a sudden ban, or those already struggling to give up alcohol or drug addiction.

The February 1 ban is largely seen as a test run ahead of next year's complete ban on smoking in restaurants and bars -- a cultural earthquake in a country of coffee- and cigarette-lovers.

But some restaurants have already taken the bull by the horns, as in the southern city of Marseille where a growing number are going completely smoke-free well ahead of the legal deadline.

"We felt the time was right," said Stephane Pandeli, who runs a seafood restaurant, Toinou, in the city centre. He said he had not lost any custom, and even gained some as non-smokers flocked back.

"Eventually, people won't have a choice anyway. They haven't stopped catching the train or plane since they banned smoking," he said.

Around the corner, the Shambala oriental cafe has always been smoke-free. Its owner, Eric Martin, said he has a loyal customer base of "young women who come here when they're pregnant, then with the children", to enjoy the fragrance of tea and incense without the smell of smoke.

The Cafe des Epices, a restaurant perched in Marseille's historic Panier neighbourhood, is booked up a week in advance despite its smoking ban.

"We do a lot of work with spices. Cigarettes affect the taste buds -- people wouldn't get as much out of the chef's work" if people were smoking, said owner Eddy Reignoux.

But he admits the mild climate in Marseille -- as in Italy where a ban on smoking in restaurants has been an overall success -- is a help: smokers can comfortably nip outside with a glass of wine for an open-air cigarette.

Overall, recent figures show the number of French smokers to be rising, especially among the young. Smokers now account for 32 percent of 15- to 75-year-olds, and almost one in two in the 18 to 25 age bracket.

Smoking is thought to kill 66,000 people in France each year, while passive smoking claims some 6,000 lives -- 1,000 of them non-smokers, the rest smokers who also breathe the cigarette smoke of others.

The anti-smoking decree, adopted by the government last November, goes one step further than a 1991 law that banned cigarettes in many places including train stations and airports, but still allowed designated smoking areas.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Chemtrails on NBC and FOX News

Monday, January 22, 2007

My Big Pharma Article

Here is an article I wrote a while back. I definately think we don't need any of their pharmaceutical drugs or the industry, but that's such a radical claim to most (uninformed about natural medicine) that I wrote this is written in sort of a way to compromise and have most who read it agree...

Drug companies injure and kill millions of Americans every year by speeding the drug approval through the FDA, using unreliable animal test models, and being dishonest about clinical studies and the drugs dangers. An entire overhaul of the drug and health industry is needed in order for the government to take over these industries and cut out the private interests and corruption involved. Experimenting with these industries may just create loopholes, and will be fought against vigorously by an industry with money to spend on public policy. We need a president who is going to put the public and not private interests, in charge of the development, approval, and dispensing of drugs in this country. The current system has created dozens of pharmaceutical companies, all competing with each other for similar products that wind up putting similar and dangerous drugs onto the market. In addition, their existence perpetuates the myth that the best way to solve our health problems is with “wonder drugs”. The best way to save both lives and money is to prevent disease. Promoting and subsidizing a healthier American diet and cleaning up the environment should be the job of a National Health Agency which will significantly reduce the dependence of deadly pharmaceuticals.

According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, the public's respect for pharmaceutical companies continues to fall . Only 44% of adults think the pharmaceutical companies are doing a good job for consumers (compared to 48% who think they are doing a bad job), this number has fallen 35% over the last seven years.

Since the industry has immense amounts of money to find their way around regulations, governmental takeover of the entire drug industry is the only sure way these regulations will not be stepped around by those with money. The industry uses their own researchers and scientists and outdated animal research models to manipulate results of drugs in order to get swift approval for drugs that are dangerous and fatal. In addition to injuring and killing thousands, the frequency of these adverse drug reactions that require hospitalization has kept health care costs unaffordable to millions of Americans.

The drug industry was small and unregulated until the Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal reform, notably the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1936 which created the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The law established a class of drugs available by prescription, and the FDA was given control over the approval and safety of drugs. It was until this time that the effects and dangers of drugs were widely recorded, and information on dangerous drugs is more or less unavailable.

The drug and pharmaceutical industry, like many other America industries, expanded widely after World War II, due to government-sponsored research of chemical and biological agents, as well as the need for medicine to help those injured in the war. In addition, the outbreak of polio, malaria, and other infectious diseases around the world propelled people into the field of medicine. After the war, the 1950’s was an era of consumer culture, and the drug industry started to produce products other than those that would strictly cure life threatening diseases. Thalidomide was first introduced in the 1950’s to combat symptoms of morning sickness associated with pregnancy. However, it was found to cause severe birth defects in children whose mothers had been taking the drug during their first trimester, it was thus never approved in the United States, and was pulled off the market around the world as a result .

Dr. Robert Coleman, who has been working for GlaxoSmithKline for three decades, describes the current animal testing method as “one of the great scandals .” Not only does he tell us that we can only predict the side affects of any drug prior to its use in humans. The current method cannot predict the short-term or long-term effects of the drug. In many instances, there may be no way of finding out the dangers until it is too late, such was the case with Thalidomide.

In late September 2004, the anti-arthritis drug Vioxx, manufactured by Merck was pulled off the market after a study showed the drug doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Pain specialist at United Hospital in St. Paul Dr. Todd Hess, says the dangers of the drug are not news. He has seen patients in their 30s and 40s develop dangerously high blood pressure after taking Vioxx - "high enough to take people to the emergency room. " Hess is not alone, "[I] encourage patients to cut their dose if not to switch to another drug," says heart specialist Dr. Norman Chapel . In June 2000, one of Merck's own studies found that patients on Vioxx had an increased number of heart attacks than other pain killers . After being approved in 1999, Vioxx became number twenty among top-selling prescription drugs in the nation, with $1.8 billion in U.S. sales in 2003 .

Cases such as Vioxx are very common. Our own government itself admits that the majority of drugs put on the market are extremely dangerous. A report by the General Accounting Office of the U.S. government states that of the 198 drugs approved by the FDA between 1976 and 1985, 102 (or 51.5%) had serious post-approval risks that included heart failure, kidney and liver failure, sever blood disorders, respiratory depression and arrest, seizures, birth defects and fetal toxicity, blindness, myocardial infarction, and anaphylaxis. "

The discovery of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) has helped put warning labels on many medications, and on their advertisements, yet this is clearly not enough. Each year prescription drugs injure an unknown amount of people, but the Journal of American Medicine gives a figure of 1.5 million people in 1998 were injured so severely they require hospitalization, among those, approximately 100,000 die. . In 1994, the reports were staggering: the overall incidence of serious ADR’s was estimated to be 6.7%, or 2,216,000 hospitalized patients, and that the number of fatal ADRs was 0.32%, or 106,000 deaths, “making these reactions between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death. ”

These scary figures raise some serious questions about the drug industry and the government organization that approves these drugs. How can we as consumers trust companies to monitor and publish the risks of their drugs, if the research and experiments are carried out in their own research labs, under their management? A survey of clinical trials shows that there is a 40% increase in the changes that a drug will be perceived as effective when a drug company funds a study, as opposed to a non-drug company-funded study . Owning your own labs shouldn’t magically make drugs safer. The entire nature of their industry and their companies survival is simply to get approval of these medicines. Once they’re onto the market, extensive media campaigns occur in order to promote these drugs. In the first six months of 2004, Merck spent an estimated $45 million in advertising Vioxx, despite other painkillers already on the market, that were not shown to have high risk of heart attack or stroke . These companies keep trying to tell us that millions of Americans unknowingly have depression, anxiety disorders, and high blood pressure, and that we need to take drugs in order to cure all our problems. This is obviously not the case; these drugs are clearly killing us, so how do these deadly pills wind up on pharmacy shelves?

The Food and Drug Administration is supposed to see a multitude of evidence of the each drug, and they are required to go through years of rigorous animal testing. Testing the drugs on animals is required by law, but not because of a scientific consensus on the issue. The rejection of the safety and reliance of animal testing has been growing. A new poll conducted in August 2004 by Taylor Nelson suggests that the medical community is walking away from trusting the efficiency of animal testing. The survey of 500 General Practitioners found that:

-82% were “concerned that animal data can be misleading when applied to humans”
-51% would have more confidence in human, rather than animal-based safety tests for new drugs
-83% “would support an independent scientific evaluation of the clinical relevance of animal experimentation .”

Americans for Medical Advancement (AFMA) and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) oppose the animal-modeled research as a method for seeking cures and treatments for human disease. They base this on “overwhelming scientific evidence that findings from animal models cannot be reliably extrapolated to humans”. If this is true, then why are we stuck with this unreliable method of approving drugs? The answer: the drug companies would rather not move into the future where drugs are safe before they are on the market. They would rather make quarterly profit expectations for their shareholders, despite the outcry of scientists themselves, such as the AFMA who consummate that:

“…the reliance on animal-modeled research, as well as other pseudoscientific endeavors, harms rather than helps humans, and prolongs human suffering by inhibiting medical progress .”

In June, 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine announced that it will now accept “biased journalists” (those who accept money from drug companies) because it is too difficult to find ones that have no ties . In 2002 ABC News reported that ties between doctors and pharmaceutical companies amounts to over $2 billion a year spent for over 314,000 events that doctors attended . Representatives from drug companies bribe doctors into prescribing their drugs. Some of these “special events” that ABC reported were drug reps renting out the top floors of high-scale restaurants (paying for dinner and transportation), and giving presentations on how good their drugs are.

Changing the law mandating animal tests will not change the entire industry and its ethics as a whole, but it is a good start. Non-animal methods that are more reliable and not easy to manipulate could put the industry in the right direction. Public policy analysist Ronald Coase would argue that the industry regulates itself, because victims can simply sue the companies for compensation. The FDA legally requires full disclosure of potential lethal side effects of drugs, and drug companies have an incentive to comply to protect the firm against public liability lawsuits .

Contrary to Coase, the Pigouvian tax system is the proposal to align the individual costs with the social costs the company causes. In this case, the social costs are death and injury to millions of people every year, and driving health insurance costs up to make care unaffordable for million Americans. If the later were the only issue, the Pigouvian system might seem reasonable, but how do you put a dollar amount on the lives of 100,000 people dying every year? Taxing these companies the price it costs to care for all the drug-related hospital visits would drive down the costs of health care significantly. It would probably be enough for most of the 45 uninsured Americans to afford services . At the same time, a tax might be so large that it would tax the companies to the extent that the entire industry would collapse, as investors would pull their money out before the taxes went into effect. With all the money and conflicts of interest in our own government with the drug industry, the Pigouvian tax seems relatively unrealistic.

In the case of an industry that takes the lives of 100,000 people every year, the avocation of modest reforms should be shunned upon. This is genocide such as Sudan or Rwanda, only it is happening right here at home, and is killing an unknown amount of people all over the world as well. Extreme measures need to be taken to take the publics control over our own health. Political candidates such as the Green Party advocate a national healthcare system, and they should also be advocating a federal National Health Agency (NHA). Such an agency would be responsible for providing all American citizens with healthcare and educating the public via mass media of preventive measures for chronic diseases that most Americans commonly suffer from: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, obesity, etc. The best way to reduce the need for taking potentially dangerous drugs is to eat and live a healthy organic vegetarian lifestyle. According to the American Dietetic Association (and thousands of doctors, scientists, and nutritionists), vegetarians have lower rates of death from heart disease, lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels, lower rates of type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and lower instances of prostate and colon cancer . The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society both recommend vegetarian diets to reduce cancer risk .

Subsidizing organic food proven by studies to prevent cancer and prolong health shall complement the education of the public about these studies and the best way to be healthy. Subsidies on corporate agribusiness should be stopped, and major food companies and retailers will be forced to compete with a new and healthier demand. The National Health Agency will also be responsible for research for new drugs and the production and distribution of vaccines. No profit will be involved, so the incentive to force dangerous drugs into consumers hands is abolished. The National Health Agency will also take over the Environmental Protection Agency’s job, and money saved from hospital visits and subsidizing agribusiness will be put into enforcing strict EPA guidelines which will force power plants, automotive manufacturers, loggers, agribusinesses, and other industries to comply with new and stricter pollution and conservation standards. Such a system will make the country even cleaner and healthier, preventing cancer, asthma, neurological disorders, mercury poisoning, and other conditions related to environmental pollution. We will save a magnitude of money and lives if we clean up pollution and prevent illness, rather than put money into curing illnesses. Creating a National Health Agency will make people less dependent on pharmaceuticals and potentially deadly “wonder drugs” or “cure alls.” If a presidential candidate would only advocate a National Health Agency to take back America, we can prevent the misfortunes of the drug disasters by making America a country of healthier citizens, and less dependent upon dangerous drugs.

Reducing our dependence on drugs should ultimately be a major public policy goal. When politicians and political parties take stances on issues, they should think about what Melville and Johnson say in their book Cured to Death, “All drugs, whatever their virtues, are inherently dangerous. ” This assumption places the entire fundamentals of Western medicine into question, telling us to use drugs only in extreme circumstances, and as little as possible. They do argue that drugs can benefit humanity, but only if they are properly tested and applied correctly under skilled supervision. With an industry seeking speedy drug approval to selfishly profit itself and stockholders, while putting human lives at risk, nothing can save more lives than the government taking control over the health and drug industry in this country, while simultaneously promoting healthy eating and stricter environmental standards.

Works Cited:

McKenzie J. “Conflict of Interest? Medical Journal Changes Policy of Finding Independent Doctors.” June 12, 2002. ABC News.

Johnson, Colin and Arabella Melville. 1983. Cured to Death: The Effects of Prescription Drugs. New York: Stein and Day.

Silverman, Milton. 1976. The Drugging of the Americas: How Multinational Drugs Companies Say One Thing about Their Products to Physicians in the United States, and Another Thing to Physicians in Latin America. Los Angeles: University of California.

Aids Healthcare Foundation. "South Africa: Glaxo Aids Drug Price Probe Proceeds." News Coverage 2004: 28 September.

Vaccine Website. "Vaccine Conflict of Interest Quotes". 2003. 2 October. .

Null, Gary, PhD, Carolyn Dean MD ND, Martin Feldman MD, Debora Rasio MD, Dorothy Smith PhD. Death by Medicine. “Medical Ethics and Conflicts of Interest in Scientific Medicine” 2003 October.

United Kingdom Parliament. "Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures." 3 October 2002. a)

PBS Home Video. 1998. "The People's Pharmacy with Joe Graedon and
Terry Graedon, Ph.D." Public Broadcasting Service and Graedon Enterprises. VHS.

Harris Interactive. “Reputations of Pharmaceutical and Health Insurance Companies Continue Their Downward Slide.” 22 June 2004. <>.

Journal of American Medicine. “Time to Act on Drug Safety.” Thomas J. Moore; Bruce M. Psaty, MD, PhD; Curt D. Furberg, MD, PhD. Vol 279. No. 19. 20 May 1998.

Journal of American Medicine. “Incidence of Adverse Drugs Reactions in Hospitalized Patients.” Vol 279. No. 15. 15 April 1998.

Americans, Europeans, and Japenese for Medical Advancement. “Mission”. Undated.

Americans, Europeans, and Japenese for Medical Advancement. “Contents”. Undated.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “PCRM Position Paper on Animal Research.” 4 June 2004. <>.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “Animal Experimentation Issues.” Undated. .

A Drug Recall. “Rezulin lawsuits continue despite Rezulin recall in 2000.” 14 April 2004. .

Greek, Ray. Americans, Europeans, and Japenese for Medical Advancement. “New Survey Among Doctors Suggests Shift in Attitude Regarding Scientific Worth of Animal Testing.” 9 September 2004.

Thalidomide Victims Association of Canda. 2003.

Bhandari, Shailesh. United States Census Bureau. “People with Health Insurance: A Comparison of Estimates From Two Surveys.” 8 June 2004.

Orlans, F. Barbara, "Data on Animal Experimentation in the United States: What They Do and Do Not Show," Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 37, 2. Winter 1994.

Now That You Have Read all that I'd like to let you know about my friends profile which exists to counteract all the propoganda that the pharmaceutical industry put out to doctors and the public effectively convincing much of society that their drugs are necessary, work, are safe, and are the best option.

Everything from how to legally get into school without being vaccinated, to information on the best cure: prevention, we have the natural cure for every single type of illness disease or condition, info on finding alternatives to risky and potentially deadly painkillers, birth control pills, antidepressants, or cholestrol medications. This site also has some scary information on how the pharmaceutical industry is succeeding in banning all natural vitamins and supplements and other natural cures to guarantee their monopoly on treating disease.

The pharmaceutical cartel (industry) have more wealth than the entire "big oil" "military industrial complex", the meat industry, the garment industry, and the food industry combined. they brainwash people, liberals and conservatives, moderates, radicals, socialists and anarchsits alike into thinking there are no alternatives. and so no one is safe from their trap of endless side effects, poor health and nutrition, and toxic bodies which bread more and more disease. Each year over 100,000 americans die from prescription or over the counter drug disasters and 2 million get hospitalized. Learn the truth - offset their propoganda.

Please read my friends profile, Pharmaceuticals Kill and send 'em a friend request, then explore the page and the links, videos, and articles on it. Pass this along.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Vegan Podcast Quote

Great quote from the markus podcast...

"A persons committment to animals is measured by what happened to be the 14th ingredient in their bagel. To me the most important metric is whether you are taking the time to make sure that college students find it impossible to get all the way through college and graduate without being exposed to the realities of factory farming."

-Erik Marcus, author of Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating and Meat Market, owner of, also runs Erik's Diner podcast (click to listen! great episode)

“Why would they slow down? They are succeeding.”
-Kay Johnson, executive vice president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, which is an umbrella industry organization for vested stakeholders in factory farming.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Organic Consumers Association (OCA)

Organic Consumers Association (OCA)

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children's health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. We are the only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation's estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers.

The OCA represents over 850,000 members, subscribers and volunteers, including several thousand businesses in the natural foods and organic marketplace. Our US and international policy board is broadly representative of the organic, family farm, environmental, and public interest community.

The Organic Consumers Association was formed in 1998 in the wake of the mass backlash by organic consumers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture's controversial proposed national regulations for organic food. Through the OCA's SOS (Safeguard Organic Standards) Campaign, as well as the work of our allies in other organizations, the organic community over the last eight years has been able to mobilize hundreds of thousands of consumers to pressure the USDA and organic companies to preserve strict organic standards. In its public education, network building, and mobilization activities such as its Breaking the Chains campaign, OCA works with a broad range of public interest organizations to challenge industrial agriculture, corporate globalization, and the Wal-Martization of the economy, and inspire consumers to "Buy Local, Organic, and Fair Made."

OCA's overall political program is the Organic Agenda 2005-15, a six-point platform calling for:

*The conversion of American agriculture to at least 30% organic by the year 2015, including major reforms in agricultural subsidies and appropriations to help family farmers make the transition to organic, develop local and regional markets, and adopt renewable energy practices.

*Fair Trade and economic justice, not so-called corporate-driven "Free Trade" as the global norm.

*A global moratorium on genetically engineered foods and crops.

*A phase-out of the most dangerous industrial agriculture and factory farming practices.

*Universal health care with an emphasis on prevention, nutrition, and wellness promotion.

*Energy independence and the conversion of US and global agriculture, transportation, and utilities to conservation practices and renewable energy.

Our website, publications, research, and campaign staff provide an important service for hundreds of thousands of consumers and community activists every month. Our media team provides background information, interviews, and story ideas to television and radio producers and journalists on a daily basis - from national television networks to the alternative press.

Save The Internet!

Save the Internet!

Safe Food

Two Thirds of Canned Foods Found to Have Low Levels of Potent Carcinogen

Store Your Food in Glass Not Plastic

Eat Like Our Great Grandparents Ate

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Vegan Dogma Hurts The Animals

If someone is mindful of the end they are trying to accomplish and whether their action will help achieve that end, then that person's actions are not being dictated by dogma. However, when someone avoids something only because it's "not vegan," then they are acting from dogma.

It's not always easy to find out if the bread in a restaurant contains whey, eggs, dairy, sugar, or honey. As polite and charismatic as one might be when questioning the waiter, observers get the impression that to be vegan you must do bold and uncomfortable things. This gives them a welcome excuse for thinking they could never be vegan.

An example of not acting from dogma, so as to reduce animal suffering: Say you’re out with nonvegetarian friends who want to go to BK, and there will be no other options for you for a few hours. In this case, eating the BKV would show your friends that vegans have food choices and do not have to fast. This could reduce more animal suffering – especially if you can convince one of them to get the BKV, too. Saying, “You should eat the veggie burger, but it’s not ethically up to my standards” sends a mixed message.
Some of my omnivorous friends think they cannot possibly be "pure" vegans, but they respect my rationale and some of them admire my idealism.

Do we want respect, or would we prefer results?

Perhaps the best course is to emphasize to our friends that it's not necessary to be "pure"; they can reduce their support of animal cruelty by avoiding obvious animal products. This makes the avoidance of cruelty more obvious and more convenient. Why present veganism as an impossible (to them), idealistic philosophy?

In our experience, for every person who has been turned on to veganism by seeing a shining example of consistency and purity questioning waiters and hosts, a greater number have been turned off by thinking, "I could never do that." A practical vegan example is more welcoming to people who want to help the animals, but fear the slippery slope to fanaticism (or religion) and/or having nothing to eat at times when the only foods available are judged to be taboo.

Purity is great for self-satisfaction. But for persuading others, purity has less force than convenience.

vegan outreach

Another (realistic) approach needed?

"More people are realizing that we aren't going to chant and scream animal liberation into existence."

Vegan Outreach advocate a positive, non-confrontational approach to animal liberation that eschews demonstrations and other similar types of activism. Their philosophy of offering humble, honest information as a primary activist strategy as a result of (or lack thereof) of past activist experiences. Vegan Outreach still are – always searching, debating, trying, listening, and evolving. Right now, they hope animal liberation to slowly come through the widespread distribution of pamphlets to younger generations; particularly on college campuses, who have statistically been more inspired to change their diet.

Here are some articles by them

Eventual Robot Takeover?

Robot on the run

By Dave Higgens, London
June 20 2002

Scientists running a pioneering experiment with "living robots" which think for themselves said they were amazed to find one escaping from the centre where it "lives".

The small unit, called Gaak, was one of 12 taking part in a "survival of the fittest" test at the Magna science centre in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, which has been running since March.

Gaak made its bid for freedom yesterday after it had been taken out of the arena where hundreds of visitors watch the machines learning as they do daily battle for minor repairs.

Professor Noel Sharkey said he turned his back on the drone and returned 15 minutes later to find it had forced its way out of the small make-shift paddock it was being kept in.

He later found it had travelled down an access slope, through the front door of the centre and was eventually discovered at the main entrance to the car park when a visitor nearly flattened it with his car.

Sharkey said: "Since the experiment went live in March they have all learned a significant amount and are becoming more intelligent by the day but the fact that it had ability to navigate itself out of the building and along the concrete floor to the gates has surprised us all."

And he added: "But there's no need to worry, as although they can escape they are perfectly harmless and won't be taking over just yet."

Motorist Dan Lowthorpe, 27, from Sheffield, who nearly prematurely terminated Gaak said: "I have visited Magna a couple of times in the past but came on this occasion especially to see the new robots.

"You can imagine how surprised I was when I nearly ran over one on my way in. I knew the robots interacted with each but didn't expect to be personally greeted by one."

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Is Your Personality Making You Sick?

Sniffling? Sneezing? Coughing? Blame your cold on your personality. At least that's the word from researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh who insist that happy, energetic people are more resistant to colds, while those who are depressed, nervous, or angry are three times more likely to get sick, report USA Today and

Of course colds are contagious and can infect anyone--no matter how happy his or her disposition. Americans get about 1 billion colds every year. But it seems that people who are extroverted, handle stress well, have a positive, sunny outlook on life, and have a complex social network are more resistant to cold germs. And when they do get a cold, the symptoms are markedly milder.

The study: During this 16-year study led by Carnegie-Mellon psychologist Sheldon Cohen, healthy volunteers were first given an emotional assessment to rate their personality for such qualities as pleased, relaxed, happy, or anxious, depressed, and hostile. Then their noses were squirted with a shot of rhinovirus, the germ that causes colds. The daring volunteers were quarantined for five days while researchers watched who got sick and who didn't.

The results:

· The more relaxed and contented a person is, the less likely he or she is to get sick.

· Introverted people are more likely to catch a cold than extroverted people.

· Your chances of getting a cold are greatly increased if you have serious stress caused by work or personal issues. The longer you live with intense stress, the more likely you are to catch a cold.

· People who have a number of roles in their life--spouse, parent, employee, friend, volunteer, club member, and more--boost their resistance to infection. This is a pretty potent protector: Those who had three or fewer roles in life were four times more likely to catch a cold than people who had six or more roles in life.

· People with negative personalities were also more likely to complain about their cold symptoms than people with happy dispositions.

Why does happiness keep us healthy? puts it this way: In simple terms, when the brain is "happy," it sends messages to our organs that help keep the body healthy and sound. Happy people are also more likely to have good health habits, including diet, regular exercise, and sleep.

The study findings were published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Flouride for dummies (literally)

Tenerife has recently had a drinking water scare due to too much fluoride getting added to the supply in some areas but there is plenty of evidence, which shows that even the approved levels of the substance actually pose a danger to our health.

The first occurrence of fluoridated drinking water was in Germany’s Nazi prison camps, which were maintained partly by I.G. Farben, a German chemical manufacturing company. The Gestapo was not interested in fluoride’s supposed effect on children’s teeth. According to The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben by Joseph Borkin, the alleged reason for mass-medicating water with sodium fluoride was to sterilize people and force them into a docile submissive state.

This is the reason it is being used today, according to conspiracy theorists who put forward the idea that human populations are being deliberately “dumbed down.” This theory makes a lot of sense when you consider that fluoride remains one of the strongest anti-psychotic substances known, and is contained in twenty-five percent of major tranquillisers.

Sodium fluoride is not just in our drinking water but also in virtually every brand of toothpaste on sale, apart from those you can get from health shops? A large part of the answer as to how this came about is that it is a poisonous by-product from the aluminium manufacturing industry and also comes from the making of explosives, and fertilizers. Convincing people it was good for their teeth and adding it to the water supply was a way that was found of disposing of it.

Oscar Ewing, head of the Federal Security Agency (FSA), left being employed by ALCOA, the largest producers of sodium fluoride at the time, not long before he started the American fluoridation campaign back in the early 1950’s.

A large amount of the water we use goes down the drain and with it goes the fluoride. We get charged water rates to help them dispose of a toxic waste product!
A fluoride is a combination of the element fluorine with some other substance such as sodium. Fluorine is also a common ingredient in rat and cockroach poisons, in anaesthetics, in psychiatric anti-psychotic drugs like Stelazine (Trifluoperazine) and anti-depressants such as Prozac (Fluoxetene hydrochloride) and the military nerve gas Sarin (Isopropyl-methyl-phosphoryl fluoride). The infamous date-rape hypnotic Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) is a fluorinated drug from the benzodiazepine family, which also includes Valium.

It is known by scientists that too much fluoride stains and discolours teeth, causing a condition called dental fluorosis. However, besides this, some studies, although not offering conclusive proof, have linked fluoride to serious adverse health effects including bone cancer and osteoporosis.

Dr. Russell Blaylock, a respected neurosurgeon and editor of the Blaylock Wellness Report, warns that fluoride may be linked to neurological impairment, brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, male impotence and infertility, sleep impairment and many forms of cancer.

The August 1948 Journal of the American Dental Association shows that evidence of adverse effects from fluoride was censored by the US Atomic Energy Commission for reasons of “national security.”

Fluoride is so much a part of a multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry, that any withdrawal of support from pro-fluoridationists is financially impossible, legally unthinkable and potentially devastating to careers and so this dangerous substance continues to endanger our health.

Recently declassified US Military documents such as the Manhattan Project, show how fluoride is the key chemical in atomic bomb production and millions of tons of it were needed for the manufacture of bomb-grade uranium and plutonium. Fluoride poisoning, not radiation poisoning, was revealed as the leading chemical health hazard for both workers and communities nearby.

by Steve Andrews

Thursday, January 04, 2007