Daily Archives: March 13, 2020

Beating the Philidor – BusinessWorld Online

Posted: March 13, 2020 at 8:44 am

I am sure most of our readers have seen the famous 1858 Morphy versus Duke of Brunswick game played at an opera house in Paris. It has been called the most famous game in chess history.

Morphy, Paul Duke of Brunswick, Count [C41]Opera House, Paris, 02.11.1858

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4?

A bad move. We will discuss alternatives later. Bobby Fischer mentioned here that 3Nd7 is the right move, but even that has been proven to be weak.

4.dxe5 Bxf3

Black loses a pawn after 4dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Nxe5

5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4

Threatening mate on f7. The move is close to winning, but GM Larry Kaufman points out that 6.Qb3! was even stronger, for after 6b6 7.Bc4 White has a lead in development, threats, and the bishop pair, while Black has weakened his position with b7b6. White should win.


Fischer tells the story that he played simultaneous exhibitions in Sarajevo and two of his opponents played 6Qf6 Maybe they were trying to lose the same way, as a joke or something (Fischer). 7.Qb3 b6 8.Nc3 c6 (preventing Nd5) 9.Bg5! Qg6 (9Qxg5 10.Bxf7+ Ke7 11.Bxg8 wins.) 10.Rd1 (I couldnt castle: 10.000? Qxg5+) 10Be7 (10Nd7 11.Nb5! cxb5 12.Bxb5 Ngf6 13.Bxf6 the d7knight is lost) 11.Bxe7 Nxe7 12.Bxf7+ Qxf7 13.Rd8+ Kxd8 14.Qxf7 both of his opponents reached this position and lost.


Attacking both f7 and b7 and he is winning one of them

7Qe7 8.Nc3!

If he had taken the b7pawn then 8.Qxb7 Qb4+ 9.Qxb4 Bxb4+ Black will survive to the endgame.

8c6 9.Bg5 b5


10.Nxb5! cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7

[11Kd8 12.Bxf6 Qxf6 13.Qd5+ Kc7 14.Qxa8]

12.000 Rd8 13.Rxd7! Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 15.Bxd7+! Nxd7 16.Qb8+! Nxb8 17.Rd8# 10

Ok, we now know that 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 is a mistake. As mentioned above, Bobby Fischer commented that 3Nd7 is correct. The idea is to support Blacks pawn on e5 with the setup Nd7, Be7 and c6, the so-called Hanham Variation (apparently there was an American chess master many years ago named James Moore Hanham). This strikes a cord with me, for my very first chess book was The Pan Book of Chess by Gerald Abrahams and this was the line he recommended as well.

I mentioned GM Larry Kaufman in the notes up there on move 6. He is a respected name in chess engines and openings. He worked on the opening database of Rybka, and later on collaborated with Don Dailey and Mark Lefler on the development of world computer chess champion Komodo, especially on its evaluation function. As most of our readers know, Komodo is consistently ranked near the top of most major chess engine rating lists, along with Stockfish and Houdini.

GM Kaufman wrote a very good book on the openings in 2004 entitled The Chess Advantage in Black and White. A new edition came out in 2012 entitled The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White, and an even newer edition was entitled Kaufmans New Repertoire for Black and White (2019). I would suggest to my readers to get a copy as it is very informative and useful for amateur players like me who want to know a little bit about most openings but do not have enough time to comprehensively study the details. We have to ensure, though, that the little bit we know is the part that we will get to use in actual tournaments, and in that the book is just the right mix of theory and practice.

But I digress. Grandmaster Larry Kaufman notes that the Hanham Variation aims to maintain Blacks pawn on e5, analogously to closed lines of the Ruy Lopez, and opines that it would be quite popular and on a par with the major defences to 1.e4, except for the annoying detail that Black cant actually reach the Hanham position by force.

Let us take a look at how the late GM Vugar Gashimov, a very aggressive player, attacks the Philidor.

Gashimov, Vugar (2585) Managadze, Nikoloz (2430) [C41]Athens Acropolis op Athens (3), 08.03.2005

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nd7

Black can try another move order with 3Nf6 hoping for 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.00 (You can also try 6.Ng5 00 7.Bxf7+ Rxf7 8.Ne6 Qe8 9.Nxc7 Qd8 10.Nxa8 b5 11.f3 [11.Nxb5? Qa5+ 12.Nc3 Nxe4 Black has strong compensation for the sacrificed material] 11Ba6 12.a3 Qxa8 13.Be3 Black is doing fine) 600 7.a4 c6 this is the set-up that Black wants to get in the Hanham. But are all those contortions worth it? Take a look at the next game.

After 3Nf6 though White can play more aggressively with 4.dxe5 Nxe4 5.Qd5! The Rellstab Variation 5Nc5 6.Bg5 Be7 7.exd6 Qxd6 8.Nc3 White is better.


[4.Nc3 Ngf6 5.Bc4 Be7 6.00 00 7.a4 gives us the Hanham, but the text move is much stronger than 4.Nc3]



4Ngf6 5.dxe5 (5.Ng5 is also good) 5Nxe5 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qxd8 Bb4+ 9.Qd2 Bxd2+ 10.Nxd2 White is clearly better;

4Be7 loses a pawn: 5.dxe5 Nxe5 (5dxe5? 6.Qd5 White wins) 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Qh5! wins at least a pawn]

5.00 Be7 6.dxe5 dxe5

[6Nxe5? 7.Nxe5 dxe5 8.Qh5]

7.Ng5 Bxg5 8.Qh5 Qe7 9.Bxg5

White has an edge due to his two bishops and his better development.

9Ngf6 10.Qh4 Nf8 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Qh6 Rg8 13.Nc3 Bg4 14.Qe3 Ng6 15.f3 Be6 16.Bxe6 fxe6 17.Ne2 Rd8 18.Kh1 b6 19.f4 exf4 20.Nxf4 Nxf4 21.Qxf4 Rg6 22.Rad1 c5 23.h3 Kf8 24.e5 f5 25.Qf3 Kg7 26.Rxd8 Qxd8 27.Rd1 Qh4 28.Kh2 Kh8 29.g3 Qe7 30.Rd6 Rg8 31.h4 Rc8 32.Qb3 c4 33.Qe3 Rc5 34.Qh6 Rxe5 35.Rd7! 10

Just one more illustrative game.

Gashimov, Vugar (2730) Bologan, Viktor (2690) [C41]Poikovsky Karpov 10th Poikovsky (1), 03.06.2009

1.e4 d6

Bologan goes for the Hanham through a different move order.

2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7

If they had gone through the regular move order then whites knight would still be at its home square of b1 and his bishop on c4 and now Ng5 would be very hard to meet for Black. In modern times, if you want to play the Philidor Defense, you have to start off with the Pirc!

5.Bc4 Be7 6.00 00 7.a4 c6

This is exactly the same position as my first comment, note B, in the game above. But even though Black has attained his desired position White still has the freer position and his pieces are active. Watch how Gashimov harnesses all his pluses.


A logical move here would be 8.h3 to keep off Blacks light-squared bishop from g4, but lately Black has discovered the move 8Nxe4!? 9.Nxe4 d5 10.Re1 (10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.dxe5 dxc4 12.Nd6 Be6 13.Nxb7 Qc7 14.Nd6 Rad8 15.Qf3 Bxd6 16.exf6 Qxd6 17Bf4 1/2-1/2 Salgado Lopez,I (2618)-Baklan,V (2614) Drancy 2016) 10dxe4 11.Rxe4 exd4 12.Bf4 Nc5 13.Rxd4 Qe8 14.Bd6 Bxd6 15.Rxd6 Qe7 16.Ra3 Be6 17.Bxe6 Nxe6 18.Rad3 Rad8 Sevian, S. (2580)-Indjic, A. (2542) Dallas 2016 23.

8a5 9.h3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nc5 11.Bf4 Ne8

The idea is to play Ne6, which if played immediately will be met by an exchange on e6 followed by e4e5.


Played so that after 12Ne6 his bishop on f4 wont be attacked and he can respond 13.Nf5.

12Nxe4?! 13.Nxe4 d5 14.Ng3! dxc4 15.Ndf5

The knights position on f5 is untenable for Black and he has to find a way to get it out.


[15Nf6 16.Bd4 Be6 17.Qf3 Re8 18.Nxg7! Qxd4 (18Kxg7 19.Nh5+ Kf8 (19Kg6? 20.Qg3+) 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Nxf6 White is clearly winning) 19.N3f5 Bxf5 20.Nxf5 Qxb2 21.Rab1 Bd6 22.Nxd6 Rxe1+ 23.Rxe1 Blacks king is not secure]

16.Nxe7+! Qxe7 17.Ne4

Threatening Bc5.

17Qd8 18.Bc5 Nf6 19.Bxf8 Qxf8 20.Nxf6+ gxf6 21.Qd4 Qd8 22.Qf4 f5 23.Qg3+ Kf8 24.Qe5

Whites game is completely winning.

24Qg5 25.Re3 Qg7 26.Qd6+ Ke8 27.Rae1 10

Blacks woes can be traced to his intention of maintaining the strongpoint on e5. Why not just give it up and play solid? Whats wrong with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7, the Antoshin Variation? GM Larry Kaufman in Kaufmans New Repertoire for Black and White, remarks that this line is a pretty reasonable choice for Black in a must-win situation, because although White is better, both sides have play, and the chances of a draw are fairly low. He then revealed that he selected this defense for Black repeatedly and successfully for the computer program Rybka in a match were it gave draw and White odds in every game to GM Joel Benjamin.

But there is something wrong with the Antoshin. That is what we will take up on Tuesday.

Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.


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Beating the Philidor - BusinessWorld Online

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Top 10 Richest Tech Company CEO’s Ranked By Net Worth | TheTalko – TheTalko

Posted: at 8:44 am

Every great idea isnt always tangible. People just aren't born into money and opportunities like Kylie Jenner.Few people have the ingenuity and determination to become successful in a career environment, let alone a millionaire in the tech industry. Even fewer people have what it takes to just become a bonafide billionaire.

It takes a lot of brains, a concise plan, serious connections, and a sprinkle of luck. We have decided to compile a list of the 10 richest tech billionaires in the world these ten individuals have totally shattered the barrier between rich and extremely wealthy.

Numerous households across the world own a Dell computer or have owned one in their lifetime. Michael Dell has remained relatively quiet for someone worth $31.9 billion. Technology has evolved since a considerable deal since the '80s, but Dell seems to always be evolving one step ahead of the competition.

Dell has created his vast empire by crafting sustainable devices that are worth the asking price. His anonymity has only made him richer, especially with his private MSD Capital investment firm, which is where most of his fountain of wealth flows from.

Elon Musk is the real-life Tony Stark. Much like Tony Stark, he loves his toys, but his judgment sometimes gets the best of him. But as far as his life's work his Telsa company is the future of technological advancements. He's a genius beyond his years, who will help shape car designs and much more Tesla is truly a remarkable brand and innovative company lightyears ahead of its competition.

RELATED: 20 Sketchy Things About Elon Musk Everyone Just Ignores

Equipped with its own charging stations, Telsa is bound to pioneer flying cars, helicopters, and probably everything viewers have ever seen on the Jetsons. Musk has been the only man daring enough to attempt to bring his massive toy imagination to fruition.

Ma Huatang isn't that well known in America, but he's a titan in the tech work in China. With his tech company Tencent he has managed toaccumulate $46 billion.

Hautang also got his fat pockets from his messaging company Wechat. They say money can't buy happiness but Huatang can afford anything else. He isn't in the spotlight but he doesn't need anything distracting him from his work. As far as tech giants go he's on the upper hierarchy on a shortlist.

Sergey Brin may not ring bells, but if money talks he's one of the loudest people in the room. Brin has made a killing from being one of the other Google cofounders, and his other company Alphabet.

RELATED: 10 Google Earth Easter Eggs Everyone Should Check Out

Many may not know the name but countless people have seen his work on Google. Either way, Brin is still the president of the company and oversees business relations to extensive capacity. He is teetering on $63 billion in total final assets, and he isn't slowing down for competitors like Bing or Yahoo.

Larry Page is one of the cofounders of Google, and he knows how to stay out of the public eye. Google is no doubt his crowning achievement in terms of investments, and that's all he needed. Google is now one of the most recognizable search engines available, and it wouldnt be possible without Page and his cohorts finding their niche in the tech industry.

Sometimes all it takes is one ingenious idea to never have to work again, and Page is one of the few who own that reputation. He is already worth over $50.8 billion, and Google isn't going anywhere. Lucky him.

Steve Balmer may be the happiest billionaire alive. Balmer was so successful at one point that he stepped down as CEO of Microsoft in 2014. Now he enjoys spending a lot of his time sitting courtside during Los Angeles Clippers games with his wife Connie. He's charismatic and doesn't seem to have a care in the world.

It's clear Ballmer's life is on cruise control, and his impertinent business moves have set him up for a permanent vacation. He deserves it He's still worth 0ver $65 billion even after giving away an unprecedented $128 million away to charity. Mere mortals can only dream to have even 5% of that amount.

Larry Elison dropped out of college twice and still found a way to be a billionaire 60 times over. Elison'smade a name for himself as the benefactor of Oracle with most of his real estate holdings tied up in Silicon Valley.

Elon Musk must've seen something in him because he had enough faith in him to appoint him to board of directors at Telsa. Elisons got connections to a lot of other rich people, and that could be a contributing factor to justifying Musks hiring choice. Gosh, it must really feel good to have billionaire friends.

Mark Zuckerberg is a social media giant who makes power moves like a game of chess. Facebook acquired Instagram and that's proving to be quite the intuitive acquisition. Facebook started off initially as a platform for connecting with family and friends, but since then its even evolved into a dating website.

RELATED:Comments By Celebs: 10 Of The Best IG Posts, Ranked

Zuckerberg doesn't live a glamorous life like someone such as Dolly Parton, but that works best for him. After all, he's got no competition, and hes run all of his rivals out of town. Unfortunately, Zuckerberg did hit a snag after his Facebook invasive security scandal, and According to ScreenRant, Zuckerberg and Facebook have been accused of "manipulatingvotes," and subsequently lost $9 billion. Be that as it may, Zuckerberg is still stinking rich.

Bill Gates has built his empire with Microsoft and there's no sign of the company slowing down. However, he sold most of his shares but according to Business Insider, he only owns just a little over 1% of his assets. Normally owning 1% of anything is a small number, but when you have Bill Gates money thats an exuberant amount of cash-flow.

With Gates expanding his business investment expenditures into the XBOX franchise, he's still making money hand-over-fist with his stake share in the company. Gates is quite generous giving away a jaw-dropping $35.8 billion in stocks to charity.

Jeff Bezos wasn'texactly born into a fortune like others were. Where Elon Musk is the future of technological advancements, Jeff Bezos is now the future of online produce and shipping. In the future, Amazon may put grocery stores, UPS, Fed Ex, USPS and every other shipping company out of business.

With more shoppers opting to get products shipped rather than going to physical stores, it seems inevitable. Plus there are mounting Amazon delivery vehicles being pushed into production. Bezos saw a niche and he even decided to acquire the reputable Washing Post. Bezos tops our list because he is simply the richest man on the planet.

NEXT:The Irishman: The Net Worth Of The Main Cast

Next10 Photos From Amy Schumer's Instagram That We Can All Relate To

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Top 10 Richest Tech Company CEO's Ranked By Net Worth | TheTalko - TheTalko

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Conscious Evolution TV – The Convergence of Science …

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Today we examine quantum mechanics, the existence of god, and near death experiences to see the truth of spirituality.

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In this compelling lecture by Alan Watts, we take a cosmic perspective on reality to make sense of our existence.

Soundtracks by PBO & Lockjaw

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Leo Gura, founder of Actualized.org, shows what is necessary to get the most out of life. Through discipline, self mastery, and a compelling vision, you can unleash your full potential through your life purpose.

The full speech can be found here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey3x1...

Edited by Focus Shift Media: https://www.facebook.com/TheFocusShift

Music by PBO: https://soundcloud.com/pbo25

Produced by Conscious Evolution: http://www.consciousevolution.tv/

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"If the universe began in the past, when that happened it was Now. And it trails off like the wake of a ship from Now and just as the wake fades out, so does the past. Things aren't explained by what happened in the past. They're explained by what happens Now"-Alan Watts

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Exponential technological and cultural progress have given us the opportunity to more fully realize our potential.

Speech by Jason Silva

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Posted: March 12, 2020 at 10:45 am

The juvenile defendants get more of the individualized attention and treatment they need to keep them from re-offending.

TAMPA A couple of weeks ago, a teenage boy walked into Courtroom 53A bristling with anger.

His criminal case had been diverted to Hillsborough Countys juvenile mental health court. He told Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta he was worried about his sisters who, like him, were in the foster care system.

Instead of speaking from the bench, the judge sat down with the teenager in the courtrooms jury box to talk. I told him, Thats got to be your motivation. Youve got to be strong and get through this so you can be there for your sisters,'" Ficarrotta recalled Wednesday.

It was a small but meaningful moment in a specialty court that has transformed the countys approach to juvenile offenders who have mental health issues.

The first of its kind in Florida when it was launched a year ago, juvenile mental health court focuses on providing resources to children and their families to get them out of the system and keep them from returning.

The signs of success are already clear, Ficarrotta and other officials said Wednesday at a news conference in Courtroom 53A.

You have to remember that for a long, long time, the focus as it related to juvenile kids was not in the area of mental health, Hillsborough Public Defender Julianne Holt said. Thats whats unique here. We have finally embraced, recognized and accepted that mental illness has an impact on how people conform and conduct their behavior.

The court was initially created to give special attention to the cases of juveniles deemed by mental health professionals incompetent to proceed in the criminal justice process. The cases were piling up because the process to diagnosis children and match them with mental health care providers could take six months, Holt said.

But officials soon realized that some juveniles who were found competent to proceed still had mental health issues or other challenges that could be better addressed by the courts individualized approach. So Holt and Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren asked Ficarrotta to make the program available to other juveniles who have mental health issues, intellectual disabilities or other challenges.

Our courtrooms cant be revolving doors for anyone, especially not those with mental illness and especially not our kids, Warren said. If we want to prevent individuals from committing further crimes, then we need to address the underlying problems and thats exactly what were doing with this juvenile mental health court.

When a child shows up for the court, held every other Wednesday, psychologists and psychiatrists are available to evaluate them and report to the judge. Hillsborough County school district officials are present to provide school records and keep the district informed of the childrens progress, care plans and sanctions.

We can say, Here are the needs of the children as they return to school, Holt said. Thats extremely important because that is the only way you have continuity in services and continuity in stability.

About 110 cases have come through the court since its inception, and there are currently 64 defendants on the docket. The process to evaluate the courts strengths and areas to improve is underway. One measure of success will be a reduction the recidivism rate, and officials are optimistic, Holt said.

I think from what weve seen we are going to impact recidivism, and I also think were going to impact the ability of these kids to go on into life and navigate themselves, she said.

Positive reinforcement is important. Defendants get punch cards to keep track of successes and get incentives for progress. On the courtrooms Success Board, kids write down their achievements on gold paper stars.

Im proud of not being locked up.

Im proud of having good grades and great friends.

Im proud of being alive.

Ficarrotta said he spends much of his time off the bench, talking with children and families face to face, giving them hugs and pats on the back to build trust and convey that everyone in the courtroom is there to help.

You start out with these kids being very withdrawn and then you see them come in and theyve got a smile on their face and theyre proud of their accomplishments, theyre proud of their successes, theyre thankful for things, Ficarrotta said. We celebrate that in this courtroom.

Ficarrotta called the court a natural extension of the adult mental health court he helped launch in 2017. That docket currently has about 350 defendants.

The juvenile court is also another example of how Holt, Warren, and law enforcement officials including Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister have collaborated on progressive criminal justice programs. In the last few years, theyve created and expanded a juvenile citation program, launched a pre-arrest diversion program for adults and supported the County Commissions decision to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

Chronister said at Wednesdays news conference that he is grateful to be able to help change the criminal justice system in Hillsborough. But as the father of a 24-year-old son with addiction and mental health issues who is now serving time in state prison, he said, the juvenile mental health court feels personal.

I stand here next to you and wonder how his path would have been different if this resource would have been available to him," Chronister said. But I find great comfort knowing that the children who are following him have this resource.

Day Cops, Hillsborough Sheriff, Tampa Police Department Reporter

More here:A year on, Hillsboroughs juvenile mental health court showing signs of success, officials say - Tampa Bay Times

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Life is like the Choose Your Own Adventure book series. Let me explain why.

Choose Your Own Adventure is a series of childrens books where each story is written from a second-person point of view. The reader assumes the role of the main character and influences the plots outcome by deciding their actions and behavior.

During the 80s and 90s, this series was one of the most popular children books. Originally published by Bantam Books (now Random House), the books are based on the concept created by Edward Packard in 1976. Packard developed the idea from bedtime stories he crafted for his daughters which featured the character, Pete, and the adventures he went on.

I had a character named Pete, and I usually had him encountering all these different adventures on an isolated island, Packard said in an interview with the Beaver County Times. But [one] night I was running out of things for Pete to do, so I just asked what they would do.

It was his two daughters who came up with unique paths for Pete to take as he ventured on, motivating Packard to build several endings for each path. Inspired by his daughters creativity and eagerness, Packard went on to apply his personal experience to his professional career.

Though this style of literature is catered toward young children, his books invite people of all ages to be their own hero. Having the audience pick from three to four options every two or three pages for what the main character does fosters a deeper and stronger relationship between the reader and the protagonist. Breaking the wall between fiction and the real world, a Choose Your Own Adventure book transports readers into an alternative universe, allowing them to experience new worlds and situations.

But, the greatest life lesson these books contribute is the simple yet profound truth that life is filled with adventures of your own choosing.

When applying this universal principle to daily life, it becomes evident just how complex and difficult it is to live by this motto. Our thoughts, our actions, our beliefs, our quirks and, most notably, our values are highly influenced by various factors surrounding us. From a young age, teenagers face all sorts of pressure manipulating them to change their attitudes and decisions. According to a publication by Parent Further, 90% of teens surveyed said that they had been influenced by peer pressure. While peer pressure may not always be negative, this phenomenon significantly affects adolescent decision making.

And USC is no exception to this trend.

From small decisions like attending the Visions and Voices event of the week because everyone is going or eating at Parkside Dining Hall because it supposedly has the best food (even though EVK is only a two-minute walk from you) to larger decisions such as supporting a particular presidential candidate solely because they are the most popular, we all succumb to peer pressure.

It is this societal constraint that builds the foundation of being easily swayed by those around you later in life, such as in your professional career or with your future family. We must all learn to stop making decisions based on the influence of others. Instead, we need to start making decisions for ourselves.

Though its more complex than that, I nevertheless underscore the importance of choosing your own path. I understand that decision-making is guided by several factors ranging from past experiences and cognitive biases to individual preferences and social circumstances. Yet, I believe that if we begin to prioritize being comfortable with making our own choices, we work toward creating our own real-life version of the books we loved to read when we were younger.

Both you and I should start being our own heroes. It is up to you to choose your own adventures, write new memories and narrate your personal success. So, go out there and start chasing your wildest dreams because maybe one day theyll turn into a reality.

Ultimately you are your own protagonist in the story called life.

Aisha Patel is a freshman writing about fiction in parallel to current events. Her column, Fiction but Fact, runs every other Wednesday.

Go here to read the rest:Fiction but Fact: Life is one of those choose-your-own-adventure books - Daily Trojan Online

Posted: at 10:45 am

Wile out with extreme wheelchair, watch in awe as Paralympic table tennis ace plays with his mouth and feel inspired by this 85-year-old record-breaking great-grandma.

By Evelyn Watta and Ken Browne

What is the perfect body for you?

Olympic Channel has launched a brand new original series that celebrates difference, focussing on athletes who use sports to redefine body standards.

What does an American deaf college basketball team, an extreme wheelchair athlete, a 158kg 'fat activist', an armless table tennis player and an 85-year-old pole-vaulting great-grandmother have in common?

They are all dedicated to their sports, to inclusiveness, to changing the way they see the world and the way the world sees them.

The Olympic Channels new original five-part series Body+, follows the lives of four athletes and a team looking at their world in a different way

The Olympic Channels new original series Body+ focusses on the lives of four athletes and one team embracing and celebrating their bodies regardless of size, age, disability, or limitations.

The series highlights how Aaron Fotherhingham, the Gallaudet Basketball team, Ragen Chastain, Flo Meiler and Ibrahim Hamadtou are redefining what it means to have the perfect body.

Im super excited to be featured in the new Body+ series by the Olympic Channel. Its a series about athletes who use their diverse bodies to make sport their own. Its super exciting to be a part of, said Aaron Fotherhingham, the four-time Wheelchair Motocross World Champion.

The series will run for five weeks focussing on a different athlete or team each week.

Watch our new original series that profiles individuals embracing and celebrating their bodies regardless of size, age or perceived limitation.

The 28-year-old American who, despite being confined to a wheelchair, refused to let his dream of becoming a professional athlete die.

Born with spina bifida, a birth defect of the spinal cord, it caused him to lose the ability to use his legs.

But that didnt limit Aaron who has inspired a new generation of riders into Wheelchair Motocross, WCMX. He uses a custom wheelchair for death-defying stunts and has a crash-reel that would make your eyes peel.

"Every wipe-out has a hint to what you did wrong," he says, but refuses to call crashing and burning and getting back up to try again a hundred times work.

"I dont think of it as practice, I think of it as a fun way to live my life". - Fotheringham

In 2006 at 14 years of age he became the first person ever to land a wheelchair backflip, at 18 the first to nail a double backflip.

Aaron has toured the world with 'Nitro Circus' and starred in the Rio 2016 Paralympics Opening Ceremony (Click on the video below to see how he lit up Brazil four years ago).

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With No Progress in Therapy, NYC Couple Turns to Psychedelics for Help – NBC New York

Posted: at 8:41 am

It wasnt always smooth sailing for Vanessa Velez and Danny Panzella.The Ditmas Park couple started dating again a few years ago and very quickly they felt tension. Vanessa was helping Danny raise his son, now 9 years old.

I would take my wine, go off to my room, said Vanessa, And just stay to myself.

We were suffering from PTSDfrom our previous relationships, said Danny. We brought that into ourrelationship.

Vanessa was struggling withinfertility and felt she had trouble getting through to Danny.

It made it really difficult for me to talk to Danny. He didnt understand what I was feeling.

The two had been trying traditional couples therapy for months but they had yet to make progress. And then a friend suggested they try MDMA, a psychedelic drug more commonly known as ecstasy or molly.

I was definitely scared, I was afraid, said Vanessa. All those things your parents instill like dont do drugs, something can happen to you.

A lot of time in western medicine, youre treating a symptom. You have a headache and we give you a pill to treat the headache, said Rebecca Kronman, a therapist in downtown Brooklyn.With psychedelics, we can get more curious about whats causing the headache.

Kronman is the founder of Plant Parenthood, a community and online resource for parents interested in psychedelic therapy.It may not remain at the fringe for long, there are nearly 200 clinical trials, some happening in New York City, that are studying the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

My patients have experienced anythingfrom decrease in anxiety, decrease in symptoms of depression, ability to lovethemselves and care for themselves better.

Vanessa and Danny decided to givepsychedelics a try.

It was amazing!It was life changing, said Danny. A mushroom trip is like, years of therapy packaged into one night.

LSD, MDMA and psilocybin are classified as Schedule 1 drugs, which according to the DEA means they are not currently accepted for medical treatment in the United States.Having these drugs could land you in jail. Kronman cautions her patients there are risks.

Psychedelics are not for everyone, said Kronman. Ill never make a recommendation to someone, partially because I cant. Its not legal.

Kronman says she has seenthese drugs help patients understand the causes of their behaviors but that thehard work comes after the trip is over.

I like to work with people pretty soon after they have their experience, said Kronman.There is so much to unpack.

Danny agrees.He says they do not use psychedelics as often now, but says the benefits have been worth the risk.

If our trips are helping us become more understandingpeople then that helps us become better parents, said Danny.

I dont have this anxiety over not being able to have a baby, said Vanessa.I love him as my child.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse told NBC New York that MDMA and psilocybin are not yet approved for therapy, but have been granted breakthrough therapy designations by the FDA and could be developed into medications in the future.

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Upscale Psychedelics Therapy Center Opens On New Yorks 5th Avenue – Forbes

Posted: at 8:41 am

Psychedelic Therapy

Psychedelic medicine is quickly going mainstream. This week, New York City witnessed the debut of its first legal, upscale guided psychedelic therapy center.

Located on New York Citys emblematic 5th Avenue, the new Mindbloom center offers science-backed, clinician-prescribed, guided ketamine therapy in an upscale, spa-like setting, for $150 to $250 per session.

After conducting a few hundred private sessions over the past couple of months, Mindbloom is now making its clinical protocols (designed by well-known psychedelics researcher and psychiatric practitioner Dr. Casey Paleos) available to the public. The company will seek to address common conditions like anxiety and depression at first.

Mindbloom also offers technology-enabled, remote therapy options. Were essentially One Medical meets Headspace, but for psychedelic therapy, says CEO Dylan Beynon, when asked to briefly explain what his company does.

As per Mindblooms protocol, all patients need to undergo a rigorous initial screening, including a clinician-led psychiatric evaluation, before receiving the green light to receive ketamine therapy.

See Also: Are Shrooms And Other Psychedelics The Next Big Thing?

The program then consists of four one-hour sessions where FDA-approved ketamine is administered via sublingual tablets or an intramuscular injection in a spa-like setting.

Friendly, expert guides accompany the patients throughout their experiences. Each session is followed by some introspection time.

Dr. Casey Paleos

Dr. Paleos, Mindblooms medical director and a board-certified psychiatrist, has spent more than a decade researching psychedelics such as ketamine, MDMA and psilocybin (a psychedelic prodrug compound found in magic mushrooms) in both academic and clinical settings. After such a long time working with these remedies, he feels its a privilege to help bring these cutting edge medicines to the people who need it most.

Mindblooms therapeutic protocols are science-backed, medically supervised and expertly designed to help clients achieve optimal wellness and mental health, he explains.

Beynon has also experienced profound healing and personal growth with ketamine therapy. This is why he decided to found Mindbloom: to bring psychedelic medicine out of the shadows and make it an approachable, accessible option for people battling anxiety and depression.

Every detail of our first psychedelic therapy center in New York City has been thoughtfully designed to deliver a comfortable, elevated and inspired client experience, he assures.

Mindbloom says its clinic is the first of its kind to open in the U.S. Acknowledging there are other clinics administering ketamine in the country, the company claims its business model is completely different.

Instead of a white coat doctors office or a psychedelic tourism experience outside the U.S. (like the kind Goop did), people can do this right on 5th Avenue, in a spa chair under a weighted blanked, using a ketamine tablet instead of an IV, and for a $250 or less price point versus other clinics that administer ketamine transfusions intravenously for a price range of around $900-$1200, a company representative explained. Its essentially revolutionizing the model and making it both mainstream and patient-driven... This means a person can walk in on their own and get evaluated to do it, rather than going to their doctor and getting a diagnosis, a referral, and doing it in-patient.

Only last week, Field Trip Health, a wholly owned subsidiary of psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy company Field Trip Psychedelics, opened a clinic in Toronto.

Sublingual Ketamine

The Field Trip clinic is also administering ketamine, using its own protocol.

Field Trip says it will open additional centers in New York and Los Angeles over the course of 2020. Similarly, Mindbloom has planned openings in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Austin.

See Also: Julian Marley On Losing His 11-Year-Old To Cancer: Medical Cannabis Should Be Easier To Access

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Why Kevin O’Leary is betting on psychedelics – Wealth Professional

Posted: at 8:41 am

He thinks the risk is worthwhile, though, because of MindMeds innovations like the non-hallucinogenic drug candidate 18-MC. 18-MC is based on a psychedelic substance called ibogane and has been shown in preclinical research to help curb addiction.

OLeary insists that despite a cultural conflation between psychedelic drugs and cannabis, he is investing in MindMed because theyre not following the model set out by cannabis companies. He cited the initial hype around cannabis as deeply flawed given its continued status as a schedule 1 narcotic at the federal level in the U.S. MindMed, conversely, is subjecting all its products to FDA approval. Theyll be sold as pharmaceutical drugs, subject to extreme controls but with an existing path to wide market reach.

At the time of cannabis legalization in Canada, OLeary warned against investing in the sector.

Theres also no focus, OLeary says, on MindMed as a producer of recreational drugs. OLeary is optimistic that if drugs like 18-MC prove effective in curbing opioid addiction, the ongoing crisis will make for fast-tracked FDA approval.

Though OLeary doesnt endorse the practice, he noted the growing anecdotal popularity of microdosing, taking miniscule amounts of a psychedelic drug like LSD, as a means of improving focus and productivity, especially in the tech and engineering sectors. He thinks that a focus-aid derived from psychedelics could pay off big for the company that develops it and gets it approved.

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Learning the hard way that psychedelic drug use can have long-term consequences – Dailyuw

Posted: at 8:41 am

Seven years ago in my middle school health class, I was introduced to a diverse array of recreational drugs. I still remember my friends' innocent, carefree chats on the way to the gym and our bespectacled, strict health teacher.

I remember at the time I wasn't much concerned with the drugs themselves. For our unit-ending project, I diligently researched and compiled the facts, prepared something to say, presented my work, and collected my grade.

At the most, perhaps I briefly wondered why anyone would actually be driven to consume substances with qualities like that. It was unthinkable to me that one day I might be interested in actually trying any of them. Today, I marvel at my transformation from unquestioning obedience to eager open-mindedness.

Despite all of my health teacher's efforts, none of those teachings could dampen my curiosity just years later. I knew that nothing could replace firsthand experience.

But the risks still existed, no matter how prepared or determined I felt.

About 4% of those who have taken psychedelic drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms develop the condition known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD). It's characterized by visual distortions, similar to those experienced while tripping, but persisting after the drug has cleared ones system. HPPD can last for months and even years.

For me, the symptoms consist primarily of visual snow and afterimages. Visual snow refers to an intrusive layer of static over the visual field; as for afterimages, most people are familiar with the scenario of looking at a bright light and having the image "seared" into their vision. HPPD afterimages are similar, but they occur sporadically, in all kinds of scenarios throughout the day.

After a trip midway through 2019, the symptoms appeared for me within a month. They can be pretty awful. Theyre especially noticeable when trying to admire distant mountains and finding them difficult to focus on through the visual distortions. They also obscure and distort the blue sky.

There are plenty of folks out there who have it worse than I do; for some, the condition hinders their ability to work and navigate daily life. Some require treatment with anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines. Thankfully, my symptoms arent that extreme.

Dr. Charles Chavkin, a professor in the department of pharmacology, shed some light on the condition. He said that, as of right now, scientists generally hypothesize that HPPD occurs not as the result of drug-induced neural damage, but as a result of the drug interacting with a person with already predisposed neurochemistry.

"There's really no evidence that typical hallucinogens like LSD or psilocybin are themselves neurotoxic," Chavkin said. Some people are uniquely vulnerable for reasons we dont yet understand.

He pointed out that only a small, specific subgroup of UW students decides to ever experiment with hallucinogens.

You gotta ask, what is it about that subgroup? Chavkin said. What preselects them, and is this vulnerability that we just described a part of that selection? Where's that curiosity com[ing] from? Could it be that they've been experiencing [something] that is triggered by some underlying differences in their existing neurochemistry?"

Chavkin also brought up the well-documented antidepressant effects of psychedelics and hypothesized that there might be a connection between them and the HPPD phenomena since both arise after the drug has cleared the system. In all the excitement over psychedelic therapy, perhaps something's being overlooked: If the psychedelic trip facilitates a long-term alteration in mood, then perhaps it causes other, less desirable long-term effects on the brain.

[These drugs] have actions that are unknown; you're taking great risks that we don't really understand or appreciate, Chavkin said. Don't be assuming that you're invulnerable, as many people do."

Sound advice. It's always hard to imagine that you'll be among that tiny percentage that contracts a condition, until it happens.

The truth of the matter is that no amount of education, influence from my family, or advice from experts could have altered my decision to experiment with drugs. I don't regret it on the whole, but in the end, I believe I may have indulged in one trip too many.

I think for many college students, the drug education of their youth didn't make much of an impression. Maybe the voice of a fellow college student can be more effective. If you're like me, you're gonna do some drugs. Satisfy your curiosity, but maybe afterward, respect the substances enough to let them go.

Reach contributing writer Aidan Treat at wellness@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @aidantreat

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Forget taking a pill a day. Canada is using psychedelics to revolutionize the way we treat mental health and addiction – The GrowthOp

Posted: at 8:41 am

There are many people that see the lack of effectiveness in traditional treatments and yearn for something more effective and psychedelics seem to be the most promising thing on the horizon.

Before Mind Medicine Inc. rang the bell at Torontos NEO Exchange last week, signalling the arrival of the worlds first publicly traded psychedelic company, they held a moment of silence.

It was Stephen Hursts idea. Hurst, who has worked in biopharmaceuticals for 35 years, co-founded the company with JR Rahn, a Silicon Valley tech executive who previously worked at Uber, in 2019. Together they are part of a growing movement thats pushing neuro-pharmaceuticals and psychedelics into the mainstream.

Hurst has brought a secret weapon to Mind Med. For more than two decades, his research team has been developing a derivative of ibogaine, a naturally occurring psychedelic from the root and bark of Iboga a rainforest shrub that grows across West Africa.

Ibogaine is used as a religious sacrament in some regions of Africa and can induce powerful, discomforting hallucinations. It can also be toxic to the heart, and fatal even months after ingestion. But it has shown promise in treating some of the worlds most destructive and damaging addictions: heroin, alcohol, methamphetamine and opioids.

The derivative, 18-MC, maintains the anti-addictive properties of ibogaine but is non-toxic and non-hallucinogenic. The drug is in phase two clinical trials for treating opioid addiction, which kills more than 130 people a day in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Research from the New York Times indicates that drug deaths are occurring at a higher rate than at any other time in human history. Meanwhile, mental health disorders have been soaring for the past decade, especially among youth.

This is the backdrop for a revival in psychedelic research. In the 1950s, psychedelics were thoroughly studied and celebrated for their therapeutic potential. Much of the leading research happened in Canada and specifically at the Weyburn Mental Hospital in Weyburn, Sask., where LSD was studied as a treatment for alcoholism and a range of mental health disorders.

In the late 1960s, as recreational use of LSD increased, the perception of psychedelics began to change. Fears of moral and societal decay ran rampant. When Timothy Leary, one of the towering figures of the psychedelic movement, instructed young people to Turn on, tune in, and drop out, the popular conception of psychedelics were irrevocably changed. By 1968, LSD was outlawed in Canada and by the U.S. federal government, which deemed it to have no medicinal value.

But the potential never went away. Neither did the research. Some of the leading figures from that period are still alive, like Czech psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, who predicted in the 1970s that Psychedelics will be for the study of the mind what the telescope was for astronomy, and what the microscope was for biology.

In 2017, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration gave MDMA a breakthrough therapy designation for post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2018, they gave the same designation to psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. In March of last year, the FDA approved a new antidepressant for the first time in decades, a nasal spray that mimics the effects of ketamine.

In 2018, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration gave psilocybin breakthrough therapy designation for treatment-resistant depression.iStock / Getty Images Plus

When used properly, the belief is that psychedelics can play an important role in psychotherapy and make headway where traditional treatments have failed. Momentum is building from medical and grassroots organizations to nonprofits and Silicon Valley financiers.

We knew that 2020 was going to be the year for psychedelics, Rahn told The GrowthOp the day after the company went public. The momentum is there. The science is there. And we were more or less expecting this.

While comparisons to the cannabis industry are common, Rahn says psychedelics are vastly different, and the potential for the sector is much larger than cannabis.

There are some folks who think they can apply this cannabis paradigm or way of doing business to the psychedelic market and its just not going to happen, he says. The market here is 100 per cent medical. We have no desire to be in the recreational psychedelics market and we dont see one even forming. We are pursuing rigorous science and the FDA pathway, and its going to give us access to institutional capital that never came into the cannabis space.

On the floor of the NEO Exchange, the moment of silence was to remember the lives lost to addiction, Rahn says, and to recognize the millions of people who are currently suffering.

Were trying to create the antibiotic for addiction, he says. Were not trying to put people on a pill a day for the rest of their life. What were trying to do is actually cure a disease.

The day after Mind Med went public, another psychedelics company, Field Trip Inc. announced its first medical clinic in downtown Toronto. The space resembles a spa more than a traditional doctors office. It is open and airy, with lounge seating, a juice bar and soft light falling on walls of Norwegian moss.

Inside, patients will be dosed with ketamine, which is legal in Canada for medicinal use, and have psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy.

The company is less than a year old and was founded by Joseph del Moral, who previously co-founded CanvasRx Inc., and Canadian Cannabis Clinics, a national network of medical cannabis clinics with more than 20,000 patients.

Theres definitely a feeling that this is the next big wave in plant-based medicine, del Moral says. Were not encountering the same type of resistance we did when we started our cannabis businesses.

The clinics are set up to deliver psychotherapy at scale, he says. Additional locations are under construction in Manhattan and Los Angeles. They also have a research facility in Jamaica, where they are growing and studying psilocybin mushrooms in partnership with the University of West Indies. The goal is to have 60 clinics operating across Canada by 2023.

The medical director for Field Trip is Dr. Michael Verbora, who is also the Chief Medical Officer for Alefia Health, a cannabis company. Ketamine, Verbora says, is a safe, dissociative drug that works the same way other psychedelics do, by taking consumers out of their default mode network.

We have 99 per cent of the same thoughts every day, Verbora explains. Your brain, after age 10 or 11, gets stuck in this circuit, it forms a lot of biases and beliefs about the world. These psychedelics disrupt this pattern of thinking. You wake up the next day and youre kind of looking at things from a different perspective and questioning a lot of your assumptions. That can be extremely therapeutic because a lot of our assumptions are self-sabotaging and harmful to our health.

Experiences range from complete ego dissolution to smaller subtle changes to peoples baseline thinking. Insights experienced during the trip are discussed with a psychotherapist and the hope is that those insights can lead to lasting changes in behaviour and patterns of thinking.

Its extremely therapeutic just to have a third perspective on your own life, to look at things from a different lens, especially if for 20 or 30 years youve looked at life in the same way and its made you severely depressed or anxious, Verbora says.

In the dosing room, patients recline in a zero-gravity chair. They are blindfolded, given bluetooth headphones with a curated playlist, and draped in a heavy blanket. The intention is to replicate a sensory deprivation tank, to increase the intensity of the experience. The ketamine trip lasts about an hour.

A dosing room at Field Trip Healths Toronto clinic, where patients will be administered ketamine.

A week before opening, a waitlist was already forming. The treatment is not currently covered by OHIP, del Moral says, but they are working on it.

For some patients, the experience will not be easy.

You have to sometimes do work, Verbora says. You have to revisit things that have caused major pain mentally and we want to provide the safest environment to do that.

Despite the therapeutic potential, Verbora says the medical community remains divided.

A lot of young physicians feel the future is, instead of taking a pill every day, go for an experience of three sessions of a drug, open up your connections and try and look at the world from a different perspective. See if you get six months, or 12 months, or even longer, of relief. As you can imagine thats a massive paradigm shift. Those are two very different approaches and there are a lot of people who are going to put up resistance to this.

But he doesnt see the momentum slowing. Verbora predicts that within five years, MDMA will be approved for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, psilocybin will be legal for end of life care and anxiety, and ketamine therapy will be much more commonplace.

I want to help those patients who feel like there are no other options, he says. I want to give them hope and I want to give them a safe setting and a safe place to have an expert help them to use these drugs in a new way to give them joy, happiness, and their lives back.

When you enter the clinic the first thing you see is a wall of the same book, backlit with soft purple light. It is Harvard professor Michael Pollans 2018 investigation into the psychedelic reemergence, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. The book became a #1 New York Times bestseller.

When the ego dissolves, so does a bounded conception not only of our self but of our self-interest, Pollan writes on page 390. What emerges in its place is invariably a broader, more openhearted and altruistic that is, more spiritual idea of what matters in life. One in which a new sense of connection, or love, however defined, seems to figure prominently.

I want people to know that there are better alternatives in the future, says Irie Selkrik, the co-founder and director of Rise Wellness Retreat, a legal psilocybin microdose retreat-based in Jamaica. We dont have to keep doing what weve been doing. Its not working.

Selkirk is also the co-founder of Sansero, a psilocybin life sciences company thats developing psilocybin-based treatments for mental health disorders, inflammation and addiction.

She has been working with plant-based medicine for more than a decade and doesnt believe normalizing these therapeutic approaches will be as much of an uphill battle as some might assume.

Remember that MDMA was legal in my lifetime, she says. And people are really looking for better ways to take care of their mental health. In my opinion, this is an evolution and a necessary step as we use more technology-based medicine.

She understands the skeptics and the critics who say the industry is being propped up by investors looking to score big in a Green Rush 2.0 scenario, but shes hopeful there will be less pump and dump in psychedelics.

It would be an incredible missed opportunity, she says. Its important that people understand that this is definitely a long term approach to meaningful change in the way that people take care of their mental health.

There are also lessons from the cannabis industry that can be applied to psychedelics. For those of us who created real businesses coming from a place of expertise and understanding of the industry, not just hopping over, thats where you see success in the cannabis industry, she says.

This is a rising tide. And the markets are there to push this forward socially, as well.

Mark Haden, the executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Canada and an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia, agrees with that characterization. Theyll be a huge number of people who want to improve treatments and a lot of people who want to make money and both will come together and legalization will move forward, he predicts.

There are many people that see the lack of effectiveness in traditional treatments and yearn for something more effective and psychedelics seem to be the most promising thing on the horizon, says author and educator Mark Haden.Rebecca Blissett/Postmedia

Haden worked as a supervisor at Vancouvers Pacific Spirit Community Health Centre for 28 years. Through that work, he witnessed how unsuccessful traditional treatments were for many people. I spent my career trying to help people with addiction and we werent very effective, he says. There are many people who see the lack of effectiveness in traditional treatments and yearn for something more effective and psychedelics seem to be the most promising thing on the horizon.

He distinguishes between the cannabis industry and psychedelics, explaining that cannabis is a product and psychedelics are a service.

Cannabis can be safely consumed by most adults, without doing harm to themselves or others. Psychedelics need a container of safety that needs to be structured.

He also sees therapeutic potential for otherwise healthy adults.

For adults who would like to have a mystical experience at some point in the future, it would be reasonable to allow those folks to have that experience, but again, it has to be wrapped in a container of safety. And so having a new profession that is there to guide these experiences makes complete sense to me.

After a lifetime of work and research, Haden is optimistic about the future of psychedelics and the momentum building behind the industry.

At this point in our human history, we certainly need to have access to psychedelics, he says. There are a lot of untreated mental health conditions. And we can certainly improve our bonding to each other and improve our bonding to nature. Thats where were hoping to go in the long run.

Kevin OLeary, of Shark Tank fame, is perhaps one of the last people you might envision championing this industry. But about 18 months ago, he invested in Mind Med.

Bruce Linton, considered by many to be one of the architects of Canadas cannabis industry, is also an investor with the company. OLeary stayed out of cannabis and doesnt plan on changing that, but psychedelics, he says, is a different ballgame.

Kevin OLeary invested in Mind Medicine Inc. about 18 months ago.

When I first got approached on this one, my initial reaction was no, this is another cannabis situation with a schedule one narcotic, he says. But the more I investigated it, the benefits of just pursuing one outcome, such as solving, or at least helping, opiate addiction, was a multibillion dollar business. And thats when I started to do some due diligence.

He defines psychedelics as a binary investment. The returns could be extraordinary, or its a zero, he says.

Thats the way you have to look at developing new medicines, you dont know. But then I started to talk to some of the sovereign wealth and the pension plans that I work with and they were just as intrigued. This is not a secret. People have been looking at the space now for a few years.

OLeary says there is tremendous potential for institutional investment and that it will be needed to finance clinical trials in multiple jurisdictions and countries.

FDA approved trials are very expensive. And so as the industry grows, and they keep hitting milestones, and proving efficacy, youre going to get a lot of capital coming out. And thats my basic premise of why I invested. The entire medical community is looking for solutions. The governments looking for solutions because its a multibillion dollar cost to enterprises in America, Canada and Mexico.

OLeary also hears in his day to day how effective psychedelics can be. Microdosing in Silicon Valley began to gain traction about six years ago. Steve Jobs, Tim Ferriss, and many others, have all publicly discussed how microdosing psychedelics has improved their work output and creative problem solving. Bill Gates has even hinted at it.

I dont endorse this at all, but theres all kinds of anecdotal evidence right now, particularly in areas like engineering and coding, where microdosing is going on illegally and having some very positive outcomes, OLeary says. Now, I dont endorse it. Im totally against it. Its illegal. But, you know, I hear it every day. I work in the tech industries and I talk to engineers all the time, and its going on all over the place, and theyre getting great outcomes. People with ADD, great outcomes. People that have difficulty concentrating, great outcomes. So when I hear that, I want this research to go on, and I certainly want to be part of it as an investor.

Before joining the company, Rahn made a handshake deal with OLeary that Mind Med would never pursue the recreational market. He said If you ever invest in or develop recreational psychedelics, Im out, and Im selling all my shares and youre on my hit list, Rahn says. So, you know, I think thats very clear.

Rahn believes that if you can provide something of value to society, it will lead to a successful business, and thats where he sees psychedelics heading. We are doing good work here, he says. Its not just about a stock listing. Its going to be a big business but its also going to have a big impact on society.

Teaming with OLeary whose moniker Mr. Wonderful is somewhat at odds with his sharp-tongued, no-nonsense image required looking past reputation. Something similar is happening within psychedelics.

Im an advocate for this now, OLeary says. There is no other solution right now and theres a massive multibillion dollar problem. This research is of great interest to many regulators, many politicians, and many leaders. Im optimistic.

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High Stakes: Will The Legalization Of Psychedelics Mimic That Of Cannabis? Will It Learn From Its Mistakes? – Benzinga

Posted: at 8:41 am

By Double Blind's Madison Margolin, provided exclusively to Benzinga Cannabis.

The cannabis industry has drifted from its grassroots values. Will the psychedelic field learn from its mistakes?

Im in the back corner of a Hollywood cafe and I just took a hit off my vape pen. For focus, mainly, and to get some creativity flowing. No one seemed to notice or care, plus the vapor smells more like rose than like weed. The pen itself is pink, now sitting in the front pocket of my purse with my earbuds, chapstick, car keys, and a small jar of cannabis salve for my tendinitis.

At home, I have a ziplock baggie of psilocybin mushrooms hidden in my bedroom. Theyre tucked away with a square of tin foil wrapped around some MDMA powder. The baggie, the foil, the hiding spotits the definition of a drug stash. The last time I treated cannabis this way was my freshman year of college nearly a decade ago.

Things have changed since then, at least here in California. My designer weed feels like an accessory to my makeup bag, and I cant remember the last time someone gave me bud in a ziplock. I know its only a matter of time before psychedelics go the same way. But do we want them to?

Granted, microdosing psychedelicsis on its way to becoming almost as socially acceptable as vaping cannabis before work. As of a 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly7%of the American population had taken MDMA, while on any given weekend, dozens of ayahuasca ceremonies are happening in lofts, yoga studios, and private homes all over Brooklyn, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and beyond.

Psychedelics are fast re-entering the mainstream, with prudent visionaries, scientists, and academics like Rick Doblin, founder of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, Michael Pollan, author ofHow to Change Your Mind, and Johns Hopkins researcher Roland Griffiths, among others, leading the way.

Some arguethat the psychedelic movement is where the cannabis movement was only a decade agoand they have a point. California pioneered medical marijuana in 1996 and, since then,33 states have legalized cannabisfor medical or adult use, the FDA has approvedthe first cannabis-based medicine for prescription, and cannabis has become a central issuefor some candidateson the campaign trail. In many ways, the cannabis plants route to legalization serves as both a template for psychedelics, as well as an example of what not to do along the way.

In many ways, the cannabis plants route to legalization serves as both a template for psychedelics, as well as an example of what not to do along the way.

See Also: What You Need To Know About Publicly-Traded Psychedelics Companies

Thoughdisproven as a gateway drug, cannabis indeed is a gateway plant, introducing consumers to a plant-based approach to wellness. Having experienced the power of cannabis therapy, those who may otherwise have feared psychedelic drugs are seeing their merit.

The approach to cannabis legalization has been threefold. The most obvious route has been local, with state measures to decriminalize or legalize cannabis for medical or recreational purposes. Key players in state markets like Californias, luring the brightest minds in marketing, haverebranded cannabis as a wellness and lifestyle product. Once embraced only by hippies, cannabis has been sterilized enough to lure even the most conservative squares (like John Boehner) into the industry. Congress is catching on, too, now considering arecord number of billsto deschedule or otherwise promote cannabis law reform. The federal approach comprises the second route to reform.

Meanwhile, the third prong is through FDA rescheduling. Currently, Sue Sisley, president and principal investigator at the Scottsdale Research Institute, has partnered with MAPS to study cannabis floweras a treatment for veterans with PTSD. When the research is complete, the idea is for cannabis, in its organic form, to become an affordable, prescription medication.

One of the things that the cannabis movement has done right is having operated in multiple levels of government, says Noah Potter, author of The Psychedelic Law Blog and an attorney with cannabis firm Hoban Law Group. Theres no central organizing on cannabis, but it has happened organically as people have stepped up in different capacities as journalists, as physicians, and as entrepreneurs, [while] for better and for worse, theres a diversity of messaging on cannabis.

Similar to organizations like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or the Drug Policy Alliance, MAPS, a nonprofit which has sponsored much of the recent, pioneering psychedelic research, has strong political leanings.

Yet MAPS and other research nonprofits are not alone in seeking to make psychedelics legal, as medications. Theres been concern among some key players in the psychedelic community that COMPASS Pathwaysa for-profit company whose research has recently been put on the fast-track by the FDA to develop psilocybin therapy for depressionis an indication that people looking to profit from psychedelics, rather than ensure their accessibility, are getting into the space. The company is backed by major venture capitalists including Peter Thiel and Michael Novogratz.

Were now seeing at least a two-pronged approach to psychedelics, mirroring cannabis. The first is government-approved research on MDMA for PTSD and psilocybin for anxiety, addiction, and other conditions. The second is state- and city-level initiatives in places like Denver and Oregon to decriminalize or legalize psilocybin.According to Oaklands Decriminalize Nature campaign, more than 55 cities now want to replicate the citys initiative, which passed in June, to decriminalize all naturally-occurring psychedelics.

But as Potter mentioned, the diversity of messaging has its drawbacks, too: Without a central tenant to either the cannabis or psychedelic movement, theres no way to ensure these industries grow to be accessible or equitable.

How is it that in the cannabis industry, for instance, thousands of Drug War victims (mainly people of color)remain incarcerated for minor cannabis violations, while white men (those like Boehner) make headway in yet another increasingly corporate American industry?

You combine cannabis with capitalism, in which cannabis is now just a consumer product, and its now just all about the money, Potter says.

Consequently, were now in a place where even black market farmers and gray market dispensary owners, who for decades lived under the looming threat of having their livelihoods taken from them, are bemoaning legalization amid burdensome regulations and an inability to compete with Big Marijuana. And whereas women once comprised 36% of executives in the cannabis industry, the mainstreaming of pot has had the side effect of reducing that statistic byabout 9%, according to a 2017 survey byMarijuana Business Daily. With a number of industry execs having never even gotten high themselves, its hard not to wonder how the cannabis industry digressed so far from the morals of its original, grassroots movement.

And thats just the question we should be asking about the coming psychedelic industry: How can the commercial market uphold the values of community and compassion so often reinforced when a person is under the influence of these entheogenic plants?

While, admittedly, there are far fewer prisoners of the War on Psychedelics than the War on Weed, equity in the case of psychedelics means not only including marginalized groups in the nascent industry, but ensuring psychedelic medicine as a right, rather than a privilege. Also, says Potter, to go about psychedelic legalization solely for the purpose of providing medicine feeds into the prohibitionist paradigm that these substances may still be unsafe outside that paradigm; it neglects their merit in recreational or spiritual purposes, the line between both often being hazy.

See Also: Will Shroom Dispensaries Become A Thing Anytime Soon?

There remains a need, within the movement, to uphold the right to cognitive liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the innate yearning for spiritual connectionall alongside the need for better medicine. At the same time, we need to ensure that the movement and industry give due respect to the indigenous cultures that have been using these substances, safely and wisely, for generations. You now have potential exploitation of these substances for-profit and first-world psychedelic tourism, says Potter.

Ultimately, psychedelic legalization would be preferable to decriminalization, Potter argues, because it would allow psychedelics to be regulated and make a larger dent in the Drug War. But, in order for psychedelics to actually become integrated into society, the medical-spiritual-commercial divide will have to shift, too. If done properly, says Potter, that will have profound implications for everything we do.

Photo byAhmed ZayanonUnsplash

2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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High Stakes: Will The Legalization Of Psychedelics Mimic That Of Cannabis? Will It Learn From Its Mistakes? - Benzinga

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Scientists Just Proved These Two Brain Networks Are Key to Consciousness – Singularity Hub

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Consciousness is one of the greatest mysteries of the human species. Where and how does it originate? Why do we have it? Is it even real, or just an illusion?

These questions arent just hard to answereven looking for answers is difficult. But scientists are slowly chipping away at them, with teams all over the world carrying out studies on the brain aimed at cracking the consciousness code.

One of the most recent studies showed a clear relationship between two brain networks critical to consciousness. In a paper published this week in Science Advances, a team from the University of Michigan described their finding that the default mode network (DMN) and the dorsal attention network (DAT) are anti-correlated, meaning that when one is active, the other is suppressed. The team also found that neither network was highly active in people who were unconscious.

These findings suggest that the interplay of the DMN and the DAT support consciousness by allowing us to interact with our surroundings then to quickly internalize those interactions, essentially turning our experiences into thoughts and memories.

Say youre walking through your neighborhood on a sunny afternoon. Youre thinking about the party you went to over the weekend, remembering people you met and conversations you had. Then theres a crashing noise and a car horn starts honkinga biker has run into a car and fallen over not ten steps from you. No one appears to be hurt, but you rush to the bikers side to see if she needs help.

In a few seconds, youve switched from using one brain network to another. The default mode network (DMN) is active when were internally focused, thinking about ourselves and using our memory and imagination. The dorsal attention network (DAT), on the other hand, is activated when were aware of and paying attention to the environment around us.

Of course, switching between different brain networks happens constantly, as does simultaneous use of multiple networks; wed use both the frontoparietal network (active in higher-level processing) and the visual network (used for sight) to analyze and react to images we see or words we read, for example.

But when it comes to the default mode and dorsal attention networks, the situation is a little different; the two are rarely, if ever, active at the same timein fact, neuroscientists had long suspected the two networks werent simultaneously active. The relationship between the two has been studied before, but the Michigan teams research yielded the first definitive proof that the DMN and DAT are, in fact, anti-correlated.

If you think about it, it makes sense; its hard to be fully engaged with your surroundings and be deep in thought about yourself at the same time.

People meditate to try to get out of their heads and focus on the present moment, that is, to quiet the DMN and activate the DAT. Psychedelics like psilocybin or LSD have the same effect: the default mode network is quieted, often resulting in intense feelings of connection to the natural world, other people, or ones surroundings. Since the DMN is where our egos live and where negative thought loops about ourselves take place, the use of psychedelics to quiet this brain region is increasingly being studied as a treatment for depression, PTSD, addiction, and other neurological disorders.

Indeed, were trying pretty hard these days to get out of our own headsand its not easy. This study showed that not only can we not be in our own heads and out of them at the same time, but this mutually exclusive relationship between the DMN and the DAT and the consistent switching between them is what enables us to interact with our environment then internalize and process our experiencesin other words, to be conscious.

The results provide novel scientific insight into the neuronal mechanisms of consciousness, said Zirui Huang, the lead author on the study, and these insights could eventually be used to develop an indicator of the state of consciousness in patients with brain disorders.

The team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow, to study the brains of 98 participants. Some of the participants were awake, while others were mildly sedated or generally anesthetized, and some suffered from brain disorders of consciousness.

The team built a machine learning model to analyze when different parts of participants brains were in use at the same time. Many previous studies of these patterns used fMRI data averaged over several minutes, but the Michigan team took second-to-second images of brain activity.

We know the brain is changing second to second with different networks engaged in collaboration, said Anthony Hudetz, Professor of Anesthesiology and Director of the Center for Consciousness Science, and a senior author of the paper. Temporal averaging can miss the actual dynamics of the brain and what underlies everything the brain does, from our thinking to our imagination.

They observed eight primary brain networksfrom higher-level processing to visual processing and the activity of the whole brainin addition to the aforementioned DAT and DMN. Using the first 98 participants, the team created a model of the activity patterns of these networks, including which ones were activated simultaneously, for how long, and which network activated subsequently.

Once they had a reliable model, the team further evaluated their results in an additional group of 248 participants, all of whom were conscious but some of whom had psychiatric disorders that could alter the functioning of their brain networks.

The researchers saw that the brain quickly transitions from one network to another in regular patterns, and the conscious brain cycles through a structured pattern of states over time, including frequent transitions to the default mode and dorsal attention networks.

But in patients who were unconsciouswhether theyd been sedated or they suffered from brain disorderstransitions to the DMN and DAT were much less frequent.

This is key: though the experiences of unresponsive patients would have differed depending on how they became unconscioustheir brain networks would have been impacted and reorganized in different waysthey all shared the same isolation of the DMN and DAT networks.

In people who are conscious, turning off the DMN (which is what happens when you take psychedelics) results in an inability to deeply self-reflect. Turning off the DAT, on the other hand, would result in an inability to be aware of and respond to ones surroundings. Its the switching between these two networks that allows us to be engaged, aware, self-reflective humansconscious beings, you could say.

We wanted to pinpoint which networks are related to consciousness, said Huang. By suppressing consciousness, we developed a better sense of which networks are important for consciousness by process of elimination.

We already knew that youre in a conscious state whether youre daydreaming and caught up in memories or out of your head and engaged with the world around you.

But now we have further proof that, one, you dont use the brain networks required for self-reflection and external engagement at the same time, and two, you dont use much of either when youre unconscious.

Huang hopes to next identify how the brain regulates these moment-to-moment changes from one network to another. These structured patterns of brain changes are important for consciousness, he said.

Cracking the codeor, rather, the many codesof the human brain will likely take decades, and thats taking into account the decades scientists have already devoted to studying, probing, imaging, and analyzing the three-pound ball of neurons and fatty acids inside our heads.

But after all, the brain is the seat of consciousness, as well as that of every thought, memory, emotion, and sensation we have; we couldnt have expected its inner workings to be straightforward.

Image Credit: Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash

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Scientists Just Proved These Two Brain Networks Are Key to Consciousness - Singularity Hub

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