Here you go. Not 5 or 50 minutes, but 11 hours of rain forest sounds!
If you don’t achieve enlightenment after this, you should go into politics.
Natural sounds of a rain forest for relaxation, yoga, and reverie.
Here you go. Not 5 or 50 minutes, but 11 hours of rain forest sounds!
If you don’t achieve enlightenment after this, you should go into politics.
Researchers say men are more likely to use drugs alone, which has been called a death sentence in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Drug overdoses killed hundreds of people in British Columbia in 2016, and no group died more often than men.
Men accounted for more than 80 percent of OD deaths across the province, or 605 of the 755 recorded deaths between January and November of 2016. Nearly 60 percent of them were between the ages of 19 and 39.
The super-potent opioid fentanyl has been detected in 299 male OD cases so far, compared with 75 cases involving women.
Though the gender gap appears to be a striking one, it’s far from a new trend. Over the last decade, the proportion of men dying of overdose has hovered around 75 percent—rising from 72.2 to 80.1 percent since 2011, according to coroner data.
Why do so many more men die of drug overdose than women? As anyone who has ventured onto a Reddit comment forum can probably guess, it’s difficult to raise this question without eliciting a fair volume of rage and anti-feminist conspiracy. What you don’t tend to hear are answers based on scientific research and first-hand experience. VICE reached out to a few experts to get a fuller picture of what’s going on.
One of the reasons for the disparity, say researchers in the field, is that men on average take more hard drugs than women. The most recent Canadian survey on alcohol, tobacco and drug use found that about one percent of women reported taking “hard” drugs (including coke, crack, ecstasy, meth, acid, or heroin) within the past year, compared with three percent of men.
According to a University of British Columbia nursing professor who studies youth, gender and drug use, the way men and women use drugs may also be a contributing factor.
“Some research has shown that women tend to use with others, and are less likely to be alone when they’re injecting drugs or using other medications,” UBC’s Elizabeth Saewyc told VICE. When other people are around, there’s a better chance that someone will be able to respond quickly and get them some help, she said.
With the rise of deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil, which have increasingly been found in BC street drugs, the risk of dying while using alone has risen significantly. On top of using alone, opioid-dependent men may be less cautious, according to Saewyc: “It may be that they’re taking larger doses without recognizing the potential risks there.”
Frontline activist Sarah Blyth, who helped establish a cluster of volunteer-run overdose prevention tents in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, told VICE that theory is backed up by her experience on the ground. “Men are more likely to use alone,” she said. “Using alone is the thing that’s actually killing people.”
Blyth added that men are also over-represented in Vancouver’s homeless population. “It’s not surprising to people in the Downtown Eastside,” she said. “There are more men than women living here.” The latest homeless count in Vancouver found that about 76 percent of the city’s street homeless were men.
Although the percentages may match up, Saewyc warned against jumping to conclusions about street homelessness and overdose rates. “You have to be careful about definitions of street homelessness, and who gets counted where,” she said. “If women are able to temporarily access couch surfing, or go home with a sexual partner, they may not be counted… I would be cautious, as we don’t have an underlying denominator.”
Though risk taking, drug use and homelessness are cross-cutting issues, Saewyc says more research is needed. “It’s clearly a huge health issue, and one that we definitely need to get a better handle on,” she said.
VICE reached out to the BC Coroner for comment, but did not receive a reply by press time.
Follow Sarah Berman on Twitter.
Photo by Jackie Dives
This post is from 2012 at another blog.
June 27, 2012
A few years ago I was living in a small town in Vancouver Island, Canada. A town already on the brink of collapse because the main employer, a pulp mill, had decided to shut down its operations in that town. ( The fact that the corporation is a foreign-owned company is for another post.)
I had a new friend. He was an assistant manager for one of the big supermarkets that dominate the food supply in that town. Owned by Loblaw, the largest food retailer in Canada, with over 1400 supermarkets.
That night he called me at around 11pm and asked me to come over. I sensed urgency in his voice so I was there in short time. He explained to me that, earlier on we had experienced a major black out, a power storm had knocked out the electricity supply to the town for three days. He had been told by senior management that all frozen foods were to be discarded. I asked him, why couldn’t they just give the foods to a local food bank? He said that they had to scan the frozen foods for insurance reasons, and then all the foods were to be put in the crusher and destroyed.
OK, so why not give the foods after the scanning ? They could not be bothered.
That’s why he called me. He knew I was an activist that had contacts in town. I knew many of the social outcasts in town. He asked me if I had an idea.
Doh! Not difficult really.
So after he scanned some of the foods, he let me take them. I proceeded for the next few hours to grab as much of the goods that my little vehicle could handle and brought them to Crack House Central. The place in town where no one knows your name. Crack heads have to eat and have families by the way. And yes, they do spend most, if not all of their money, on crack.
You should have seen the faces of the users when I showed up with about $1000 worth of frozen foods. I asked them to please take the foods home before continuing on their ride to Hell.
By the way, crack is gender neutral. There were as many women as men in the house when I arrived. 14 people sitting so quietly that you would not even suspect a cat lived there. That drug makes you paranoid to the extreme.
So we managed to save approximately $1000 worth of frozen food. My friend told me that altogether he must have destroyed another $5000 worth of stuff through the night.
So there you have it.
Capitalism at its most efficient self.
Jan 3, 2017
Anxiety takes a toll on people: they worry, they feel irritable, they avoid social gatherings — like an upcoming New Year’s Eve party. Juvenile salmon also experience stress when faced with unfamiliar situations, such as migrating out to sea where they’ll encounter predators. While anti-anxiety medication helps countless humans function better in their daily lives, new research shows the drugs also make salmon less inhibited, which can have potentially devastating effects.
In a study out of Sweden’s Umeå University, researchers show oxazepam — a pharmaceutical prescribed to humans for the treatment of anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and insomnia — affects the downstream migratory behaviour of Atlantic salmon.
Exposing fish to anti-anxiety medication isn’t something that only happens in scientific studies: when humans excrete drugs, some can end up in wastewater effluent and subsequently in sensitive habitats where salmon may get an unintended dose. The researchers found that when fish ingest oxazepam, it makes them migrate faster and farther — potentially recklessly so.
Leaving the freshwater nursery and heading out to sea is part of the salmon lifecycle, but landing in the big blue too soon can be risky. Fish may find ocean conditions unfavourable — too cold, too dangerous, or lacking food, for example.
Source: God Hates Mexicans
With permission from
People will believe anything if it flatters their vanity. Think of the idea that Americans are God’s favorites and that the Almighty directs history for America’s benefit, even when that harms non-Americans, particularly non-Whites.
From the belief that divine providence guides America’s destiny came two more bad ideas. American exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny were heroic-sounding euphemisms used to justify the trampling of Native Americans and Mexicans in the course of the US Empire’s mad dash across the continent.
Divine providence was such a transparently self-serving and chauvinist notion that we can be thankful that it has vanished from American thinking. Except that it hasn’t. Michael Medved, nationally syndicated conservative radio host, makes the case for heavenly intervention on behalf of the United States in his new book, The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic.
Medved argues that the rise of the US cannot be explained naturalistically; there must have been a divine guiding hand. The American Miracle opens with the “extraordinary coincidence” of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both dying fifty years to the day from the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Such a wildly improbable conjunction of events, writes Medved, could not have been mere coincidence. In another early chapter, Medved describes how unusual weather conditions saved the Continental army following the disastrous Battle of Long Island. A fierce storm on the night of August 29/30, 1776 kept British troop ships from reaching vulnerable American positions. A dense fog, unprecedented during the Summer months, rose up towards morning and continued past daybreak, concealing the Americans and allowing them to make a strategic retreat from Long Island across the East River to Manhattan. Incredibly, not one American life was lost during the retreat.
The Almighty also brought about the freeing of the slaves. President Lincoln had determined not to issue an Emancipation Proclamation until there was a major Union victory; otherwise, Emancipation would be seen as an act of Northern desperation. The Union victory at Antietam on 17 September 1862 gave Lincoln what he wanted. That victory, Medved writes, came about through a literal miracle. Confederate battle plans wrapped around three cigars were found by Union soldiers in a campground which Confederate troops had vacated the day before. Possession of the Confederate plans ensured Union victory. Five days later, on September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
Medved finds in such wildly improbable occurrences “a pattern for which the influence of some higher power remains the most rational explanation.”
Baloney. Strange concatenations of unlikely circumstances happen everywhere, not just to Americans. People in every nation can point to “evidence” that God loves them best. Were George Washington’s many escapes from death testament to divine protection, as Medved insists? Fidel Castro survived dozens of assassination attempts by the CIA and lived to be 90. Washington only lived to be 67. Did God love Castro 34% more than George Washington?
Washington and Fidel may just have been lucky. Still, if you want to believe that God kept Jefferson and Adams alive long enough so that they could expire on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, be my guest. That belief is harmless. And if you believe as does Medved that the attempt on the life of President Andrew Jackson failed because God kept the powder in the assassin’s gun from igniting, that belief is harmless too (although even the reviewer for the conservative Commentary magazine questioned why God would want to save the life of this slaughterer of thousands of Native Americans).
What should disturb us, however, is occasions when, to hear Medved tell it, God’s intervention on behalf of America harms non-Americans, particularly non-Whites. On such occasions, ruling elites use divine providence to justify American imperialism and racism.
Consider Medved’s chapter on the Mexican War. The Mexican War divided the US public between extremists who wanted to seize all of Mexico and moderates who just wanted half. Moderation won out. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed by the US and Mexico on February 2, 1848, formally ended the war and ceded California and large chunks of what would become New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado to the United States for $15 million.
Unknown to both Mexico and the Administration of President James K. Polk, gold had been discovered nine days earlier on January 24 at Sutter’s Mill, California. The deal would not have gone through had Mexico known what it was losing. Medved says that the timing of the discovery was no accident. Medved quotes a French prospector who said at the time: “It had been so ordered by Providence, that the gold might not be discovered until California should be in the hands of the Americans.”
What the hell had the Mexicans done to piss God off? The US had been the aggressor in what Mexicans aptly call la intervención norteamericana. The Mexican War was a blatant land grab which the US cloaked in the half-baked notion of Manifest Destiny. In asking for a Declaration of War, President Polk told Congress that Mexico had “invaded” US territory. Polk knew that was false. Americans were the invaders. Washington sent troops into Mexico pursuant to a bogus claim that the border of Texas (which had become a US state in 1845) extended as far south as the Rio Grande (p. 241). Medved unquestioningly accepts Polk’s bogus claim as sincere. The US House of Representatives did not. In November 1848, the House voted to censure President Polk for starting an unnecessary war.
As for Manifest Destiny, Medved is fine with it. Medved told a caller to his December 2 show that he was glad the US acquired California. California, he said, had been going to waste under the Mexicans. The Mexicans, and the Spanish before them, had done nothing to develop California. Or to populate it. Medved tells us that in 1848, a mere “7,500 people of European ancestry” (because Whites are the people who matter) lived in California. California must have seemed to Americans like a land without people for a people without (enough) land.
Today, the phrase “Manifest Destiny” has gone out of fashion, replaced by the secular doctrines of “humanitarian intervention” and the “right to protect” (with its hip abbreviation “R2P”). Don’t be fooled. These are simply this season’s imperialist styles. The US still goes where it pleases and takes what it wants.
Why then does God “shed his grace” on America rather than let loose the thunderbolts we deserve? It is not because Americans are better than other people, Medved assures us. Medved explains that God blesses the US “not as reward for distinctively righteous behavior but as an exercise of his inscrutable will” (p. 21). I’ll say it’s inscrutable. In the case of the Mexican War, God’s will was downright perverse if we believe that God gave victory to the nation that started the war.
Medved insists that God’s grant of His favor imposes “obligations” on America towards the rest of the world. Tell that to the Pentagon and State Department. Medved is aware of the left’s criticism of US foreign policy, but rejects it. Medved points out that America’s military interventions in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. (it is a lengthy “etc.”) added no territory to the US. Yes, but what Medved does not consider is that it is less hassle for an imperial power to rule indirectly from outside than directly from inside. Medved also declares that US military interventions have largely not benefited the US, but are carried out at great expense. To US taxpayers, certainly, but the military-industrial complex does just fine.
I told a priest in my antiwar group about Medved’s book. He replied by telling me about eisegesis. Don’t confuse that with exegesis. In exegesis, believers approach a biblical text with an open mind with the purpose of determining the text’s meaning. Eisegesis, on the other hand, is imposing your own meaning on Scripture. My friend said that it sounded like that is what Medved was doing.
Medved sees himself in The American Miracle as telling history’s greatest success story. It has not been a success story for non-Whites. It still isn’t. The US robbed Mexicans of half of their country in the 1840s. Medved’s subtext, whether he intends this or not, is that God hates Mexicans. Why else would He hand half of Mexico—including California’s gold—to the American aggressors? It seems like many Americans hate Mexicans, too. We have just been through a Presidential election where 62,979,636 voters cast their ballots for a candidate who promises mass deportations. That’s 46.1% of all votes cast. (To his credit, Michael Medved rejects Donald Trump’s plans for mass deportations.)
God must hate Native Americans, too. Western expansion drove Native Americans from their homes, and to this day, Whites continue to displace Native Americans. Running an oil pipeline through a mostly White city like Bismarck, ND is unthinkable. But Whites don’t have a problem with the Dakota Access Pipeline fouling Native American water and destroying Native sacred grounds at Standing Rock. (Medved has referred to the water protectors on air as “morons.”)
My purpose has not been to attack religion. My purpose has been to attack the misuse of religion in the service of imperialism. It is a misuse of religion to suggest that God blesses one people by bringing calamity down on another. It is a misuse of religion to suggest that God favors the strong over the weak, Americans over non-Americans, Whites over non-Whites. I prefer to think that God blesses the downtrodden, the victims of injustice, not the conqueror. I do not know how many Americans share Medved’s views. Let’s hope it is not many. That would be a blessing.
 The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History remarks that “The American takeover of California caused an indigenous population decline that was sharper than in any other time or place in U.S. history. In 1848 the California Indian population was probably about 150,000. By 1860, it was only 30,000.” See Jeffrey Ostler, “Genocide and American Indian History,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History (Mar. 2015).
The Philippines decades-old foreign policy dependence on the US State Department has ended, in favor of the non-dictatorial sphere of Russia and China.
With permission from
Jan 3, 2017
The decision has already brought relative peace in the region, rendered the Clinton-Obama “Pivot to Asia” sinister plan, and have brought the archipelago concrete gains in terms of socioeconomic and military cooperations with the two BRICS countries.
Russia flags war games with US ally PH, and S. China Sea joint drills with claimants
By: Agence France-Presse January 3, 2017 4:46 PM
MANILA – The Russian Navy said Tuesday it was planning to hold war games with the Philippines, as two of its ships made a rare stop in Manila following Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s pivot from the United States.
Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, the deputy commander of the Russian Navy’s Pacific fleet, said the joint military exercises would focus on maritime piracy and terrorism, which he described as the region’s two top security concerns.
“We’re very sure that in the future we’ll get such exercises with you, maybe just the maneuvering or maybe use some combat systems and so on,” Mikhailov told reporters beside the docked Russian destroyer Admiral Tributs.
Mikhailov also raised the prospect of joint exercises with China and Malaysia in the South China Sea, where competing territorial claims have been a major source of tension and potential conflict for decades.
“We really hope that in a few years, the military exercises for example in your region, in the South China Sea, will (involve) for example, not only Russia-Philippines, but Russia, Philippines, China and maybe Malaysia together.”
The visit was only the third ever by Russian military vessels to the Philippines, according to the Filipino Navy’s Commodore Francisco Cabudao, who led the welcoming ceremony for the Russian ships.
The Philippines, a former American colony, had for decades been one of the United States’ most important and loyal allies in Asia. The two are bound by a mutual defense pact.
But Duterte, a self-described socialist, has during his six months in power sought to dramatically shift his nation’s foreign and military alliances towards China and Russia.
Philippines no longer seen as ‘Trojan horse of the US’ – envoy to China
Despite warming relations between the Philippines and China, Manila will not sever ties with its long time ally the United States, Philippines new envoy to China has said.
The Philippines are undertaking “a strategic shift in foreign policy,” according to the country’s new ambassador to China Jose “Chito” Sta. Romana.
The assurance comes despite the harsh, sometimes crude statements from Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, which led many to believe that the Philippines leader had turned away from the US and was looking toward China.
“We were one-sidedly imbalanced in favor of the US,” he said. “We are not abandoning our alliance with the US … We are basically trying to normalize our relations with China.”
“The Chinese viewed the Philippines as a geopolitical pawn or Trojan horse of the US. Now they look at us as a friendly neighbor,” Romana added.
The Philippines have been one of the most loyal and long-term allies of the US in the South Asian region, but President Duterte has threatened to end the relationship on numerous occasions.
… China, unlike the US, respects the “internal affairs” of the Philippines, the new ambassador said.
“The problem came after they began lecturing him. The president considers it an internal affair,” he said. “The Chinese don’t comment on your internal affairs.”
In November, Duterte canceled the purchase of over 26,000 US rifles for the national police force after the US decided to halt the sale over alleged human rights violations. The Philippines leader last month threatened to cancel a signed 1998 pact between the US and the Philippines if the US did not renew a large-scale aid package.
The pact allows the US troops to conduct joint drills on the islands. The US had maintained permanent military bases in the Philippines, but the last of them was removed 25 years ago. Since 2012, around 600 US military have been deployed in the Philippines to train troops, but their numbers have been reduced in recent years.
China, in turn, offered the Philippines $14 million worth of arms, as well as a $500 million long-term loan for other Chinese equipment, such as small arms and motor boats.
… Apart from military cooperation, the Philippines are “seriously studying” opportunities of joint exploration of natural resources with China in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
The Philippines’ pivot to the BRICS was unthinkable six months ago. Now, the geostrategic location of the country will never be exploited by any warmongering superpower, in the next six years, under the strong leadership of a President Duterte.
That should give the region a respite from the troublesome Khazarian clique which might still be embedded in the incoming Trump administration.