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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: July 18, 2021
Posted: July 18, 2021 at 5:47 pm
Since the publication of Planet-Sized X-Men #1, I have enjoyed amateur scientists weighing up what the mutants of Krakoa and Arakko did, terraforming Mars into a mutant home. From Magneto bringing in an iron core, Oceans and fertile land being created, Iceman forming coeanic sheets, Storm controlling and creating an atmosphere and more. But plenty of folk have been asking other questions online regarding gravity, heat, solar radiationand even the effects of Mars' moons. And today's Way Of X #4, not following on from the death of the Scarlet Witch, but rather reintroducing X-Men Sooraya Qadir, also known as Dust.
And with Mars suddenly being a lot heavier and denser, it is getting more attention from the smaller moons that orbit it.
And Dust is the one who is left to literally, sweep up the mess. Across the entire planet. Before it causes a major intrgalactic incident. One of many things the founders of Arakko may not have planned for. There's going to be a long list.
Do we have another Omega Level mutant in the making? Say, I wonder what the wifi signal is like on Krakoa? Maybe something going down in X-Corp #3 could be ported across
Surely that is too much for just one world?
WAY OF X #4MARVEL COMICSMAY210592(W) Si Spurrier (A) Bob Quinn (CA) Giuseppe CamuncoliKILL NO MAN! (BUT SOME EXCEPTIONS MAY APPLY) Nightcrawler must act fast to avoid catastrophe as the laws of Krakoa (and physics) are tested to their limits. Also: a nice family bonding sesh with no violent repercussions. Just kidding. This is Xavier vs. Legion in a boozed-up Tiki bar, with the sanity of mutantkind at stake. Rated T+In Shops: Jul 14, 2021 SRP: $3.99
X-CORP #3MARVEL COMICSMAY210590(W) Tini Howard (A) Valentine De Landro (CA) David AjaMULTIPLE MEN, MULTIPLE SOLUTIONS! He's everywhere you want to be. He's never not in the office. And his direct reports always fall in line. How does X-CORP meet their nearly impossible quotas with maximum synergy and minimal bandwidth? They've got Dr. Jamie Madrox, and he's the world's best boss. Rated T+In Shops: Jul 14, 2021 SRP: $3.99
Originally posted here:
Posted: at 5:47 pm
Three of the richest billionaires on Earth are now busily spending billions to exit our Earths atmosphere and enter into space. The world is watching and reflecting.
Some commentators see our billionaire trio Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk as heroic heirs to the legacies of Charles Lindbergh and Sir Edmund Hillary, the first mere mortals to high jump the Atlantic alone and scale the worlds highest mountain.
Our billionaires racing into space, other charmed commentators are adding, arent just thrilling humankind. Theyre uplifting us. The technologies that the space operations Branson, Bezos, and Musk develop could benefit people worldwide far into the future, says Yahoo Finances Daniel Howley.
But most of our commentators seem to be taking a considerably more skeptical perspective. Theyre dismissing the space antics of Branson, Bezos, and Musk as the ego trips of bored billionaires, cynical stunts by disgustingly rich businessmen, as one British analyst puts it, to boost their self-importance at a time when money and resources are desperately needed elsewhere.
Space travel used to be about us, a collective effort by the country to reach beyond previously unreachable limits, writes author William Rivers Pitt. That was the Cold War propaganda, anyway, and it had an unavoidable allure. Now, its about them, the 0.1 percent.
The best of these skeptical commentators can even make us laugh.
Really, billionaires? comedian Seth Meyers asked earlier this month. This is what youre going to do with your unprecedented fortunes and influence? Drag race to outer space?
Lets enjoy the ridicule. But lets not treat the billionaire space race as a laughing matter. Lets see it as a wake-up call, a reminder that we dont only get billionaires when wealth concentrates. We get a society that revolves around the egos of the most affluent among us and an economy where the needs of average people go unmet and dont particularly matter.
Characters like Elon Musk, notes Paris Max, host of the Tech Wont Save Us podcast, are using misleading narratives about space to fuel public excitement and gain tax-dollar support for various projects designed to work best if not exclusively for the elite.
The three corporate space shells for Musk, Bezos, and Branson SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic have all benefited greatly through partnerships with NASA and the US military, notes CNN Business. Their common corporate goal: to get satellites, people, and cargo into space cheaper and quicker than has been possible in decades past.
Posted: at 5:47 pm
The cruise lines are planning to expand Grand Bahama's capabilities (Grand Bahama Shipyard)
PublishedJul 15, 2021 6:01 PM by The Maritime Executive
Efforts are underway to expand the capabilities of the Grand Bahama Shipyard located at Freeport in the Bahamas. According to the government of the Bahamas, the new investment will be one of the biggest investments in the islands history. When completed, the yard will be capable of handling and servicing the largest ships in the world.
Developed in response to the cruise industrys desire for a shipyard facility close to its base of operations in Florida and the Caribbean, Grand Bahama Shipyard started in 2000 with one drydock capable of handling ships to up to 27,000 tons displacement. The yard added a second drydock in 2001 capable of handling ships up to 50,000 tons displacement and by 2009 a third drydock was added, giving the yard a lifting capacity of up to approximately 82,500 tons displacement. Ownership of the yard includes 40 percent stakes each from Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Group, with the remaining portion held by the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
I am pleased to announce that Carnival and Royal Caribbean have agreed to a new, combined investment of approximately $350 million in the Grand Bahama Shipyard, Bahamas Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis recently told the House of Assembly. To understand the scale of this investment, the House may recall that the original investment and other investments to date in the shipyard have totaled approximately $250 million.
Carnival Corporation confirmed the plans for the investment, which will be used to expand the yards capabilities. The largest portion of the investment will go into the addition of two large drydocks capable of handling the newer generations of cruise ships. Currently, the largest cruise ships have to head to Europe for their maintenance and overhauls.
Grand Bahamas largest drydock was damaged in an April 2019 accident. They were doing a partial lift of one of the worlds largest cruise ships, Royal Caribbeans Oasis of the Seas, when the dock cracked and one of the cranes toppled over hitting the cruise ship. The yard also suffered damage during Hurricane Dorian in September 2019 but has continued to operate while plans for the future were developed.
Giora Israel, Carnival Corporations senior vice-president for port and destination development, told the Bahamas Tribune Business news outlet that the plan is to build two new drydocks including one that will be the largest floating drydocks in the Americas. They explored building the docks in Europe but determined that they will be built in Asia.
Dr. Minnis speaking about the plans said the expansion of Grand Bahama Shipyard is set to begin as early as this October. The new drydocks are expected at the yard in the second half of 2022.
Grand Bahama is on the move and Grand Bahama is coming back, the Tribune Business quoted Dr. Minnis as telling the House of Assembly. The government and the owners of the shipyard will work on a new partnership agreement that benefits the people of Grand Bahama.
Expanding the facilities of Grand Bahama Shipyard provides the cruise lines with a nearby facility to meet the needs of its ships. The yard was also working to expand its range of services, including supporting more work for the hotel side of the cruise ships hosting the large revitalization projects some cruise lines have been undertaking to modernize older ships.
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Posted: at 5:47 pm
Looking back on our sitdown in 2018, its difficult to ignore his messaging and his motivation.
I think it was in the pre-draft, when they were doing the lottery for the teams, I was saying Hey, you know, theres times where I just wanna go back and not have people have to leave the Caribbean to exceed their goals, he said back then.
And since then, hes quietly dedicated himself to bringing attention down to the Antilles the same attention that eluded him for far too long.
One of the major turning points for him, he recalled, was attending the Basketball Without Borders camp in Toronto in 2016. There, aside from receiving instruction and inspiration from Yao Ming, he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Rui Hachimura, Frank Ntilikina, Thon Maker and others. The neophytes all hoped to make it in the NBA. Some have succeeded, many havent.
Nonetheless, the experience opened Aytons eyes, in a number of ways.
I met Yao Ming, that was the exciting part of it, Ayton recalled in 2018. I played with different players, you had kids my age, 14, 15, that were playing pro and you know their IQ and the way how they handle themselves was way more mature, and you wanna be mature too. If a kid is your age and you see his swag on and off the floor, being around players helps you develop, so I just fed off of them.
From then to now in just three short years hes come pretty far.
The road from Nassau, Bahamas to the NBA Finals has been long, but it has been as inspiring for those coming behind Ayton as its been fulfilling for him.
As a foreigner, its not gonna be easy, Ayton said of the journey. Theres a lot of trials and tribulations, you just gotta keep pushing If you really wanna succeed in your craft, you will be successful.
Ayton recalled some of the struggles he encountered along the way, and as he looked forward to becoming a force in the league, he looked back at them with a smile.
Its not easy Especially if youre coming out the Bahamas young," Ayton said. "People mess with your accent, theres all types of trolls around you, and if youre not good starting out, people are gonna doubt you and put you down.
He encountered the doubters. He heard people question his desire to be great and whether he could help anchor a championship contender. Those questions have now been answered. Emphatically.
You just gotta find some type of motivation that can give you an outlet and just have you keep going. Basketball is my outlet, so when Im not in [a good] mood, I just play basketball. Its something to do to get your mind off of [negative] things, he said back then.
For those who have been around Ayton from the beginning, his growth has been appreciable. And with the arrival of Chris Paul, he has the opportunity to play with a point guard who has a long legacy of maximizing and effectively utilizing his big man. Ayton now joins a long list of big men that includes David West, Tyson Chandler, Emeka Okafor, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Clint Capela all of whom enjoyed some of their most productive years playing alongside the Point God.
In a league where guards dominate the ball more than ever, perhaps we all now realize whats been missing for Ayton someone who can effectively and consistently set the table.
In his own right, though, Ayton has developed the skills necessary for a big man who wishes to succeed in today's NBA, which embraces switching on the defensive end and floor-spacing on offense. Hes unusually quick and nimble for a man his size and is a better-than-advertised midrange shooter.
As he enters next season the final year of his rookie contract win or lose in these Finals, the Suns will have an important decision to make with respect to the investment they wish to make in the big man.
Ayton, to his credit, has made it a rather easy decision.
Nonetheless, as he approaches stardom in the NBA as well as the most elusive goal, a championship, through it all, he hasnt forgotten where it all began on an outdoor court in Nassau.
Dreaming of becoming one of the few Caribbean-born NBA champions, Aytons journey is really just beginning.
Already having traveled pretty far in a number of ways thats perhaps whats most inspiring.
See the rest here:
Posted: at 5:47 pm
Kenya Moore impressed fans with a video from the Bahamas. Check out what has her followers excited.
Someone said: 'That looks beautiful. I view it as a tribute to our ancestors who we lost in transit during the despicable transatlantic slave trade ' and another follower posted this: 'Man what part of the Bahamas is this? Because If I wouldve seen this while snorkeling in Freeport Bahamas, I probably wouldve drowned trying to get away '
RELATED: 'RHOA's Kandi Burruss Explains Why Nene Leakes Is Upset With The Cast --- Says The Fans Should See Kenya Moore!
A fan wrote: 'All that our ancestors encountered Power to our ancestors. We are resilient because of them' and someone else posted: 'I would of been crying under water I always wanted to see the under sculpture art '
One follower said: 'Your brave that would have scared me its looking like what are you doing down here ' and someone else posted this: 'Its amazing right have you taken a tour of any of the old historic sites around the island.'
RELATED: Power Couple Kandi Burruss And Todd Tucker Spoke At The Clark Atlanta University And Tiny Harris, Cynthia Bailey, Shamea Morton, And More Praised Them
Kenya Moore has her very own magazine and she shared the first edition on her social media account. Needless to say, fans are completely in awe and they made sure to praise her like there's no tomorrow.
'Kenya Magazine is finally here. All my favs for Summer in one issue! You asked and Im answering! Ive finally found the products that work for me. This is just our first issue and Ill be sharing more beauty, health and fashion and fitness tips and products to come. #Enjoy #beauty #health #hair #skin #summer #fitness,' she captioned her post.
Other than this, Kenya Moore showed off her natural hair for the gram and her fans are here for this. Check out her post below.
'#MooreHairCareMondays All my real hair! No tracks, weave, clip ins, wigs, lace-front, gorilla glue no voodoo or Magic just @kenyamoorehair When you are kind to your hair your hair is kind to you! Love the hair you were born with! Now available at @sallybeauty order yours today! #realhair #naturalhair #nowweave #hair #celebrityhair #kenyamoore #kenyamoorehair #sallybeauty,' Kenya said.
6-Banner Sunday: CJ Gunn suffers injury and another non-conference opponent is revealed – Inside the Hall
Posted: at 5:47 pm
6-Banner Sunday is Inside the Halls weekly newsletter in partnership withThe Assembly Call. Nearly 8,000 Indiana fans receive the newsletter each week. In addition to appearing each week on the site, you can also opt to receive 6-Banner Sunday by email. A form to subscribe via email is available at the bottom of this weeks 6-Banner Sunday.
Welcome to another edition of 6-Banner Sunday, a joint production betweenThe Assembly CallandInside the Hallwhere we highlight the five most essential IU basketball stories of the past week, plus take a look at how the other IU sports programs are doing.
One more offseason week is in the books, which means were now one week closer to the Mike Woodson era tipping off in Bloomington.
In the meantime, well keep you up to date on all of the most important stories involving your Hoosiers.
Lets get to this weeks:
Class of 2022 commit CJ Gunn suffers a broken wrist. Chris Reynolds tabbed to head NCAA DI mens basketball committee in 2022-2023 IUs new president Pamela Whitten tours the IU athletic campus Indiana adds UNC Asheville to its non-conference slate for 2021-22 Under a month until Indianas Bahamas trip Hoosier Roundup
Indianas lone commit for 2022, CJ Gunn, suffered a broken left wrist on Thursday while competing at the Peach Jam. The injury is not considered serious, but it may keep Gunn out of action for up to five weeks.
If there is a silver lining, the injury was to the left wrist and not Gunns shooting hand. Not only does that alleviate concern for lingering issues going forward, but it will also allow Gunn to continue to work on several skills during his recovery.
You can read more details on Inside the Hall: CJ Gunn suffers broken left wrist at Peach Jam
The success of former Indiana players continued this week when former Indiana guard, Chris Reynolds, was selected to chair the NCAA DI mens basketball committee.
Reynolds played at Indiana from 1989-1993 during one of the most successful stretches in IU history. He was on two Big Ten Championship teams in 1991 and 1993, and the Final Four squad in 1992.
Reynolds currently serves as the vice president for intercollegiate athletics at Bradley.
Some fun images came out of Bloomington this week when new Indiana University President Pamela Whitten took time to tour the Indiana athletics facility with AD Scott Dolson.
Whitten assumed her new post on July 1 and is no doubt getting a crash course in all things IU. With the recent success of so many of IUs athletic teams, she will have the good fortune of presiding over what many are calling a potential golden age of Indiana athletics.
President Whitten also displayed a pretty tight spiral on Twitter as she threw a little touchdown pass to Indiana Football coach, Tom Allen, during her tour of Memorial Stadium. Welcome to Hoosier Nation, President Whitten! Nice pass!
Another date on the non-conference schedule has been filled. Indiana will host UNC Asheville at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Dec. 29th.
UNC Asheville is a part of the Big South Conference and finished last season with a 10-10 record. Last season UNC-A was a fast-paced, high-scoring team, who struggled on the defensive end to keep their opponents from scoring. This should be an interesting matchup and a test for Indianas transition defense.
This addition brings the total of non-conference games for the Hoosier to eight.
Indianas much an anticipated trip to the Bahamas is less than a month away. It is scheduled for Aug. 10-16. While there, Indiana will play a pair of exhibition games against BC Mega, a professional team from Serbia. Indiana fans will get their first glimpse at a Mike Woodson-led Indiana team, and all the new additions on the roster for 2021-22.
The games are not slated to be televised, however, there will be no shortage of media coverage from the event with all of the buzz that is surrounding the Indiana Basketball program.
By Aaron (Ari) Shifron
Ali Patberg Named NCAA Woman of the Year Candidate Berger, Bezerra and Capobianco Named IU Athletes of the Year Indiana Ink: The Permanent Art of Indiana Football Tom Allen Named to Dodd Trophy Watch List Six Hoosiers Selected In MLB Draft Locked InJaquez Smith Aims To Be Receiver Ready High Expectations Loom Again for Indiana Mens Soccer Drew Johansens Divers Prepared to Challenge the World Crider Earns Spot on CoSIDA Academic All-America Division 1 Football Team
Thanks for your continued support for The Assembly Call. Well be back next weekend with a new roundup.
Now go enjoy yourself a 6-banner Sunday.
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KEEPING OPTIONS OPEN: Vaccine committee hasn’t decided on mixing vaccines but will explore all suggestions – EyeWitness News
Posted: at 5:47 pm
NASSAU, BAHAMAS National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee Co-Chair Ed Fields said yesterday that while it was not in his purview to decide whether the committee will mix-and-match COVID vaccines, the committee will explore the measure of mixing doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
When contacted for comment, Fields said the committee will explore all suggestions made to it and will ultimately follow the science, guided by international health agencies on best practices.
We have not had to do that because we dont have doses to mix, he said.
So, thats sort of a moot scenario.
But Ill have to take that to the committee if we are going to be dealing with that once we get other vaccines.
As you know, weve always been guided by the science, so I am sure wherever the science leads us, thats the direction we will take. But I am not singularly qualified to make that statement off the cuff.
Asked if the committee plans to explore it, Fields said: Anything that is brought to our attention as it relates to the science, comes before the committee, so I am sure we will address it.
In a separate interview last night, Minister of Health Reward Wells said while studies suggest mixing vaccines is the best way, The Bahamas will await the final position of the World Health Organization (WHO) and advice of the governments health professionals.
Germany has obviously gone and mixed Pfizer and AstraZeneca and said they believe it is the best way to actually administer the vaccine, Wells said outside the Holy Trinity Activity Centre.
WHO, I do believe, is putting out its view that countries perhaps should not do that, but when you look at the facts that Germany has already engaged in that and put out a very definitive study that says the efficacy of both vaccines in their view is better if you mix AstraZeneca and Pfizer
The Bahamas government is not in the business of doing that; we follow the WHOs guidelines, and until WHO or our Ministry of Health professionals direct us in a particular direction, then we would go in that particular direction.
Eyewitness News reported on Wednesday that The Bahamas could join other countries in mixing doses of the UKs AstraZeneca and US Pfizer vaccines, which has been shown to provide an even greater immune response to the virus a point raised by Wells earlier this week.
The WHO has said public health agencies, and not individuals, should make decisions on mixing and matching COVID vaccines, based on available data.
As of July 10, more than 97,992 vaccine doses had been administered in The Bahamas, with 60,303 people receiving a first dose of the vaccine and 37,689 fully vaccinated.
There have been concerns about the availability of vaccine supplies in recent weeks, with the number of administered doses exceeding The Bahamas supply of vaccine doses.
In a statement yesterday, the committee advisedthat only second doses of the vaccine will be administered until additional supplies have been received.
Posted: at 5:46 pm
The beefy armed guard at the door of the Church of Entheogenic Plants chuckled at the sight of me, and I guessed what he might be thinking: Whats that 60-something lady doing here?
It wouldnt have been unreasonable to wonderand not just because everyone else waiting to pass through the metal detector that day last winter was roughly 40 years younger than I. Vice News has called the Oakland, CA, church, also known as Zide Door, Americas most prominent magic mushroom club, implying that its religious decor is a ruse to evade state and federal laws against selling psychedelic drugs. In accepting contributions for strains of shrooms with names like Blue Meanies and Penis Envy, Zide Door claims the same exemption that lets the Navajo legally ingest peyote, a traditional sacrament.
Ruse or not, that hasnt offered much protection. In August 2020 police raided the premises and seized about $200,000 worth of cash and drugs. Pastor David Hodges told me he planned to sue the city government for violating his congregants religious freedom.
Potentially breaking the law was not my only concern when it came to trying magic mushrooms. I was an unusually suggestible child in the 1960s, when well-meaning parents scared their kids straight with stories about acid trippers who went blind from staring at the sun, mistook a baby for a turkey and stuffed it in the oven, or woke up convinced theyd turned into a glass of orange juice. In the late 1970s, when many of my college pals were experimenting, I declined even to smoke weed.
But last February, I was standing in front of the church out of desperation, hoping that psilocybin, the active ingredient in mushrooms, would relieve my excruciating pain. I was in my 12th week of a siege of cluster headaches, and I felt as if a Lilliputian with a tiny ice pick were jabbing at the back of my right eye for an hour each day, starting at 5 a.m.
Cluster headache is a rare disorder, estimated to affect roughly one or two in 1,000 people (migraines are at least 120 times as common). Theyd plagued me for a month or so every two years since 2005, and usually prednisone knocked them out. But this time the only thing that brought even brief respite wasno jokesnorting cayenne pepper, which made me sneeze until I felt as if I might pass out. I also worried that it might be corroding the inside of my nose.
Im far from the only person seeking out these long-demonized drugs for medical reasons. Using LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA (Ecstasy) to relieve suffering appears to be on the rise. While most self-experimenters use psychedelics to enhance well-being, a portion self-medicate preexisting mental health conditions, wrote psychiatrist Adam Winstock, M.D., in the Global Drug Survey. His annual polls of more than 500,000 people suggest that the use of LSD and psilocybin among respondents has roughly doubled over just the past five years. An honorary clinical professor at the Institute of Epidemiology at the University College of London, Dr. Winstock joins other experts in comparing the drugs favorably with prescription antidepressants. The benefits are really clear for patients, he says. They want things that work, work quickly, and dont require them to take medications every day.
If youve ever had cluster headaches, you know why theyve been called suicide headaches.
Americans interest in hallucinogens was supercharged by Michael Pollans 2018 best seller, How to Change Your Mind. A year later, Johns Hopkins launched a $17 million center to study a variety of illicit-drug therapies that showed promise in treating disorders such as depression, trauma, anorexia nervosa, tobacco addiction, and even post-treatment Lyme disease. Researchers are excited, even as psilocybin and LSD continue to be classified as Schedule I substances, which are seen as having no medical use, a high potential for abuse, and unacceptable risks even under professional supervision.
But if youve ever had cluster headaches, you know why theyve been called suicide headaches. People in the midst of an attack are believed to die by suicide at roughly three times the rate of the general population, and sufferers describe the attacks as more painful than childbirth, gunshot wounds, and kidney stones, according to University of West Georgia psychology professor Larry Schor, Ph.D., who has conducted a large survey of cluster-headache patients (and suffers from them himself). On average, cluster-headache patients take more than five years to be properly diagnosed, after which even prescribed drugs may fail. Early on, I tried taking sumatriptan, a drug for migraine headaches, and at first it was helpful, but then made my headaches worse, sending me to an emergency room three times. As this latest attack stretched on, I knew I had to try something new.
Researchers first investigated the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs in the 1950s and 1960s, when hundreds of Americans, including actors Cary Grant, Rita Moreno, and Jack Nicholson, joined a series of supervised experiments in California. (Grant credited acid with helping him control his alcohol use and cope with the long-unexplained disappearance of his mother when he was a child.) The backlash began after Harvard lecturer Timothy Leary and psychologist Richard Alpert (who became known as Ram Dass) championed wider use of LSD and psilocybin, with Learys call to turn on, tune in, drop out becoming a slogan of the counterculture. President Richard Nixon branded Leary the most dangerous man in America and in 1971 launched the war on drugs.
These days, the hope is that psychedelics may help the many millions of Americans who suffer from depression and other serious mental disorders, particularly when nothing else has worked. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 17.3 million U.S. adults have at least one major depressive episode each year, while up to 30% dont receive sufficient help from mainstream anti-depressants. PTSD affects nearly 8 million people, including more than half a million U.S. veterans, while 40 million adults have anxiety. (Some of these rates were higher during the pandemic.) Researchers have been studying psychedelics to alleviate cluster headaches since 2006, but I learned of them through an activist patients group called Clusterbusters, which has touted their use since 2002.
Amid all the hoopla, some people may get a boost from just the idea of psychedelics: More than 60% of participants in a 2020 study said theyd experienced mind-altering effects after taking a placebo. Still, researchers have gathered sufficient evidence of psilocybins power to convince the FDA in 2019 to classify it as a breakthrough therapy for two types of severe depression. That fast-tracked it for approval, similarly to how esketamine (related to ketamine, an illegal party drug) was OKd for treatment-resistant depression that same year.
The treatment of PTSD may be the next potential boon: Some scientists have found MDMA both safer and more effective in treating trauma than conventional antidepressants. In May, a major study published in Nature Medicine provided new evidence along these lines, and late last year Rick Doblin, executive director of the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), predicted that MDMA-assisted psycho-therapy for PTSD could win federal approval as soon as next year.
Its not clear just how psychedelics might supply mental and emotional benefitsor, in my case, relieve physical painbut scientists have some ideas. Studies suggest that psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs affect levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter and hormone involved in regulating mood. MDMA is believed to activate receptors for oxytocin, a peptide linked to trust and bonding, possibly helping soften trauma sufferers defensive shells. So far the explosion of discoveries has involved small studies that need to be expanded and replicated. Yet the drumbeat of positive developments has likely helped increase official tolerance in some parts of the nation.
Many jurisdictions are considering rewriting their laws on psychedelics. In May 2019, Denver became the first U.S. city to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, and Oakland, CA, followed suit. Voters in Oregon and Washington, DC, have approved the therapeutic use of psilocybin, while California lawmakers recently took up a bill to decriminalize some hallucinogens. The trend is familiar: Whereas barely 20 years ago cannabis was outlawed everywhere in the United States, today 36 states and four territories have legalized it for medicinal purposes. (Decriminalization doesnt make a drug legal. It simply reduces penalties associated with it. Selling psychedelics is still illegal everywhere, and possession of them can lead to federal prosecution that could result in up to a year in prison and $1,000 or more in fines.)
Of course, breaking the law isnt the only risk involved. Some recreational magic mushroom users have reported frightening bad trips, panic attacks, seizures, and hospitalizations. Scientists and drug aficionados alike warn against casual use, and participants in psychedelic studies to date have all been carefully screened and supervised, with researchers rigorously excluding subjects with preexisting conditions such as heart trouble, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. I really worry about people in a time of crisis choosing to take psychedelics without supervision and making themselves worse, says Dr. Winstock, whose surveys indicate that approximately 8% of LSD and psilocybin users had a bad experience over the past year.
Still, in reporting a story for the Washington Post, I learned that many scientists regard psilocybin as one of the least toxic and addictive of all recreational drugs, and that the reports of bad trips involved much larger doses than the therapeutic amount for my cluster headaches. In severe pain, I decided to give it a try.
Psilocybins chemical structure is similar to melatonins, says Yale University neurologist Emanuelle Schindler, M.D., Ph.D., referring to a hormone that regulates circadian rhythm and is taken supplementally for insomnia as well as headache prevention. It is also akin to triptans, which are prescribed to treat one headache at a time. Psilocybin has a longer-term effect, though, notes Dr. Schindler, who is currently working on a study on its effects for cluster headaches.
Over the years, Clusterbusters members have offered invaluable support to Dr. Schindler and other scientists, recruiting patients for their studies and providing them with information from their self-treatment with psychedelics. In 2004, the group convinced Harvard researchers to conduct a pioneering study on psilocybin and LSD. The Harvard team gathered testimonies from 53 cluster-headache patients, most of whom said the drugs had helped. John Halpern, M.D., a psychiatrist who led the Harvard study, told me he has since seen many patients go from being incapacitated to having as close to a functional cure as you can get. The two drugs may prove to be the best we have to offer to cluster-headache patients, he adds, although legally we cant offer them.
The only psychedelic-ish effect that I noticed was that my dogs face was utterly gorgeous.
I followed Clusterbusters recommended protocol of taking small amounts of psilocybinmore than microdoses, but short of what would lead to trippingbrewed in a multi-ingredient tea containing lemon, honey, vitamin C, and a little instant coffee, with three doses spaced five days apart. The first time I didnt feel anything remarkable until the next morning, when I had a more-awful-than-usual headache: the slap-back side effect the website had warned me to expect. Over the next five days, however, I noticed that there were two days when I didnt have a headache at all.
Maybe a little overconfident, I overestimated with my second dose. Twenty minutes after sipping the tea, I found myself staring for half an hour at our backyard pistache tree, which seemed to have grown beckoning silvery branches. I felt as if I could see the tree breathing, which was wondrous. I was back to myself within a couple of hours, and the next morning I had another slap-back headache. But the two mornings after thatnothing. For the rest of the week, the headaches were milder.
Then I took my third dose, measuring carefully this time. The only psychedelic-ish effect that I noticedreally noticedwas that my dogs face was utterly gorgeous. Then I fell asleep next to my husband. I woke up to yet another fierce headache the next morning, but the morning after that I had zero pain. Zero again the next day, and the next. Two months have now passed without my having a single headache.
As the psychedelic-therapy revolution matures, there have been calls to ensure that its potentially powerful benefits are accessible to all. That will require some significant change considering that Black people are much more likely than white people like me to be arrested for possession of any drug, even after decriminalization.
Equity of access to these drugs will address the burden of disease we know is greatest among people of lower socio-economic status, who have higher rates of depression and PTSD, says Dr. Winstock. MAPS has trained scores of therapists of color to prepare for the time when treatment with them becomes legal.
In the meantime, research continues. It doesnt strike me as weird that the same molecule used by someone in a bedroom listening to Pink Floyd can also be a healing drug, says Dr. Winstock. He says that psychedelics capacity to disrupt existing brain networks and allow new pathways and new ways of thinking is why they can have wide potential in so many different conditions.
As for me, I cant say whether my cluster-headache siege ended on its own or whether using shrooms really did do the trick. But I do know that Ive got a plan if the headaches returnand that Ill never look at our pistache tree the same way again.
This article originally appeared in the August 2021 issue of Prevention.
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California Bill To Legalize Psychedelics Possession Advances Again, With New Amendments That Add Limits – Marijuana Moment
Posted: at 5:46 pm
A second California Assembly committee on Tuesday approved a Senate-passed bill to legalize possession of psychedelics like psilocybin and and LSD. But new amendments that add limits on allowable amounts of the substances is creating controversy among advocates.
The Assembly Public Health Committee advanced the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D), in a 8-4 vote. This comes weeks after the Public Safety Committee approved the measure.
Wiener has spent significant energy building support for the reform proposal as it has moved through the full Senate and now two Assembly committees, including by holding a recent rally with military veterans, law enforcement and health officials.
SB 519 would remove criminal penalties for possessing numerous psychedelicsincluding psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMAfor adults 21 and older.
Our racist and failed war on drugs and war on drug policy approach has done nothing to make us safer, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D), who presented the bill on behalf of Weiner, said ahead of the vote. But its led to massive public expenditures, torn apart communities, deeply impacted brown and black communities and did nothing to make drug use safer or reduce overdoses. Indeed, the opposite is true.
Its time we stopped this failed mass incarceration strategy and acknowledge that not all substances are harmful or dangerous, she said. In fact, quite the opposite has been found of psychedelics.
Now, as a result of changes approved by the latest panel, the bill includes language laying out the limits for what is an allowable personal possession amount for each substance. Thats led Decriminalize Nature (DN), a group thats worked to enact psychedelics reform across the country, to call for the tabling of the legislation.
Setting allowable amounts is just a creative way to say when can law enforcement arrest you, DN argued.
In a letter about its boards recent decision to switch from a supportive position on the legislation to neutral, DN listed several reasons not to include the possession limits provision. Beyond enabling law enforcement to penalize people possessing certain amounts of entheogenic substances, it also said the measure has sacred value for communities whove used them for centuries and local decriminalization initiatives without possession limits have had no negative impacts.
But other advocates say they are taking a practical position on the revision, accepting the possession limits in the interest of advancing the reform through a legislature that may otherwise defeat the bill if it contained no such restrictions.
David Bronner, CEO of the soap company Dr. Bronners who has contributed considerable financial resources to reform efforts across the country, is one such advocate.
As always, do we let the perfect be the enemy of the good? he said in an email. Senator Wiener is doing an amazing job for us, and we are able to preserve the essential goal that people can heal in ceremony together, and legally produce and consume quantities of the medicine adequate for community-based healing. And theres nothing stopping local city level efforts that have no limiting language whatsoever.
Bronner said that stakeholders discussed the changes extensively, and Decriminalize Nature had full chance to input and review, and we all would have been beyond psyched if their eloquent defense of not having any limits whatsoever could convince the Health Committee chair, but it was unlikely and it hasnt.
As passed in committee on Tuesday, these are the prescribed limits for personal possession that would be legalized:
-2 grams of DMT
-15 grams of ibogaine
-0.01 grams of LSD
-4 grams of mescaline
-2 grams of the controlled substance psilocybin or 4 ounces of a plant or fungi containing the controlled substance psilocybin.
-2 grams of the controlled substance psilocyn or 4 ounces of a plant or fungi containing the controlled substance of psilocyn
-4 grams of MDMA.
It should be noted that while personal possession limits would be imposed under the revision, facilitators could have aggregate amounts for group use, meaning they could possess the allowable amount for each individual involved in a ceremony. And when it comes to personal cultivation, there would not be any limits.
SB 519 still represents protection of community-based healing and the quantities of medicine involved, which is the crucial goal, Bronner said.
Responding to accusations from DN that the possession limits are part of a plot to help deep-pocketed investors corner the market for psychedelics, Bronner said there are no backroom deals going on and that DN has been fully looped real time as weve been navigating this.
While social sharing would have been allowed under the bill as introduced, those provisions were also reframed in the new committee amendment to provide for facilitated or support use so that people could provide the substances to one another in a group context.
The new amendment adopted on Tuesday also requires the state Department of Public Health to develop harm reduction education for the substances.
In the prior Assembly panel, Wiener supported a committee amendment that removed ketamine from the list of psychedelics included in the reform. Thats in addition to a series of technical revisions that were made to the legislation.
The fullSenate approved the bill last month. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee as its final stop before potentially heading to the floor of that chamber. If approved there, it will have to go back to the Senate for concurrence on recent changes before it can be sent to the governors desk
Wiener has described its prospects going forward as very challenging, but he made the case at a recent press event that it is a necessary policy change to advance mental health reform and end criminalization.
Under the measure, the state Department of Public Health would be required to establish a working group to study and make recommendations regarding possible regulatory systems that California could adopt to promote safe and equitable access to certain substances in permitted legal contexts. Those recommendations would be due by January 1, 2024.
For psilocybin specifically, the legislation would repeal provisions in California statute that prohibit the cultivation or transportation of any spores or mycelium capable of producing mushrooms or other material that contain the psychoactive ingredient.
Thebilloriginally included record sealing and resentencing provisions for people previously convicted of psychedelics possession offenses, but that language was removed in its last committee stop prior to the Senate floor vote as part of an amendment from the sponsor.
Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they dont miss any developments.Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.
Wiener said the reasoning behind that deletion was that the policy ended up generating a huge price tag based on a fiscal analysis, but it could be addressed in separate legislation if the main bill passes.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Psychedelic and Entheogen Academic Council (PEAC) last month, the senator said advancing the legislation would be first step toward decriminalizing all currently illicit drugs.He reiterated that point on Monday, stating that this bill is one step in the direction of ending the failed war on drugs.
While the bill is being described by lawmakers and advocates as simple decriminalization, the official legislative analysis of the proposal states that it would make lawful the personal possession of these substances.
If the bill does ultimately clear the Assembly, it still remains unclear whether Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) would sign itthough the governor has long been an outspoken critic of the war on drugs.
Wiener backed the prior ketamine-related amendment in an effort to build support for the legislation.
There are disagreements within the psychedelic world on it, the senator said at a meeting with activists last month. My view as you keep things in until you have to make a give, and thats one that we could potentially give on. You dont want to spontaneously give on things without getting some ability to move the bill forward as a result.
Mescaline, a psychoactive compound derived from peyote and other cacti, is another controversial psychedelic.
It was specifically excluded from the bills reform provisions in peyote-derived form, but the possession of the compound would be allowed if it comes from other plants such as the Bolivian Torch Cactus, San Pedro Cactus, or Peruvian Torch Cactus.
That decision on the peyote exclusion was informed by native groups who havestrongly pushed back against decriminalizing the cactifor conservationist reasons and because of its sacred value for their communities.
Meanwhile, a group of California activists announced plans earlier this year to put aninitiative to legalize the use and retail sale of psilocybinon the states 2022 ballot. That group, Decriminalize California, said that it would first work to convince lawmakers to pursue reform and then take the issue directly to the people if the legislature fails to act.
The psychedelics effort in the California legislature, whichWiener first previewed back in November, comes as activists are stepping up the push to enact psychedelics reform locally in cities in the state and across the country. The bill notes those efforts in an explanation of the proposal.
The Northampton, Massachusetts City Councilpassed a resolutionin Aprilto deprioritize enforcement of laws against the possession, use and distribution of a wide range of psychedelics such as psilocybin and ayahuasca. Its the third city in the state to advance the policy change, followingSomervilleandCambridge.
These are some of the latest iterations of a national psychedelics reform movement thats spread rapidly sinceDenver became the first city to decriminalize psilocybin mushroomsin 2019.
Besides the cities in Massachusetts, four othersOakland,Santa Cruz,Ann ArborandWashington, D.C.have also decriminalized possession of plant-and fungi-based psychedelics.
In Oregon, Novembers election saw the passage of a historic initiatives tolegalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic purposesand more broadlydecriminalize possession of all drugs.
The governor of Connecticut signed legislation recently that includes language requiring the state to carry out a study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.
Texas also recently enacted a bill to require the statestudy the medical benefits of psychedelics for military veterans.
A New York lawmaker introduced a bill last month that would require the state to establish an institute to similarly research the medical value of psychedelics.
In Oakland, the first city where a city council voted to broadly deprioritize criminalization of entheogenic substances, lawmakersapproved a follow-up resolutionin December that calls for the policy change to be adopted statewide and for local jurisdictions to be allowed to permit healing ceremonies where people could use psychedelics.
After Ann Arbor legislators passed a decriminalization resolution last year, a county prosecutor recently announcedthat his office will not be pursuing chargesover possessing entheogenic plants and fungiregardless of the amount at issue.
The Aspen, Colorado City Councildiscussed the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like psilocybin and proposals to decriminalize such substances at a meeting in May. But members said, as it stands, enacting a reform would be more better handled at the state level while entheogens remain strictly federally controlled.
Seattle lawmakers also recently sent a letter to members of a local task force focused on the opioid overdose epidemic, imploring the group toinvestigate the therapeutic potential of psychedelicslike ayahuasca and ibogaine in curbing addiction.
Biden Selects White House Drug Czar Who Helped Implement State Marijuana Program And Touted Medical Benefits
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Posted: at 5:46 pm
Researchers at Macquarie University are seeking people who microdose with magic mushrooms to see if reports of performance enhancement and improved mental health will show up in brain scans and biomarkers.
In the spotlight: The research team hope to recruit around 80 people who currently microdose with psilocybin, the active ingredient in 'magic mushrooms'.
Cognitive psychologist Dr Vince Polito will put psychedelic microdose users through a series of tests while imaging their brains, to uncover the neurobiological, physiological and performance impact of low-dose psychedelic drugs.
The study (which has formal ethics approval) will use magnetoencephalography (MEG) to record brain activity, and look for biomarkers, in one of the worlds first neuroimaging studies to independently assess the impact of low doses of hallucinogenic drugs.
Polito is working with three other Macquarie University scientists Professor Paul Sowman, Professor Dick Stevenson and Professor Gilles Guillemin, along with Dr Paul Liknaitzky at Monash University.
Participants will be part of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, using their own supply of psychedelic substances.
The team hope to recruit around 80 people who currently microdose with psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) to take part in two lab-based sessions that will investigate the impact of the drug.
Psilocybin remains a prohibited (Schedule 9) substance in Australia, and despite recent applications to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to have psilocybin rescheduled as a controlled medication, it is only available for research under certain very limited conditions.
Participants will be part of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, using their own supply of psychedelic substances, Polito says.
Microdosing is a recent phenomenon where users take a very low dose of psychedelic substances, semi-regularly.
Counter culture: Writer and icon Ken Kesey (pictured) was involved in early psychedelic research with Dr James Fadiman, one of the leaders in the field.
Some people will microdose every three or four days, while others might microdose perhaps several times a month, Polito says.
But microdose users arent seeking a short intense hallucinogenic high, and want to avoid changing their perception or consciousness through the drug.
Instead, they hope these regular tiny doses will prompt long-term improvements, help them think more clearly, become more creative and productive, and expand their mental and emotional health.
Polito says that a microdose is typically one-tenth or less of that used to prompt a hallucinogenic state, with users adjusting their dose to make sure they dont experience noticeable visual effects.
Psychedelic substances used by microdosers include psilocybin mushrooms (commonly called magic mushrooms), LSD, peyote, MDMA and ketamine but Polito says this study will focus on psilocybin which is one of the most commonly used hallucinogens.
There were hints around the 1980s of people trying low dose regimes, but it has only really caught on in the past six years or so, Polito says.
Weighing in:Participants in a survey of microdosers were mostly male and university educated, with an average age in their late 30s.
One of the leaders in the field is US scientist and researcher Dr James Fadiman, who was involved in early psychedelic research with well-known cultural icons of the time including the writers Ken Kesey and Stewart Brand.
Fadiman continued his interest in the field of psychedelic research despite its prohibition, and his 2011 book included a small section about people who had claimed health benefits from microdosing, Polito says.
A few years later, in 2015, a Rolling Stone article on microdosing sparked international interest and since then there have been thousands of articles, websites and internet groups dedicated to exploring microdosing.
We expect to find if there is really something physiological happening, or if it is all just people's expectations and beliefs that are driving their responses.
Polito says that the surge in microdosing popularity has coincided with (and is likely partly related to) the growth of the dark web, or hidden areas on the internet harbouring illegal online marketplaces, which make it far easier for people to access psychedelics.
But Polito says that researchers are in catch-up mode.
Online spaces like Reddit and Facebook have huge microdose communities, with probably tens of thousands of people out there experimenting with low-dose psychedelics, but the first scientific papers only came out in 2018.
Polito is one of the early scholars in this field, and his research on microdosing published in 2019 reported the results of a survey that ran from April 2016 for a year, tracking 63 regular microdosers over a two-month period.
He found some surprising results and a cohort very different to stereotypes of recreational drug users.
Participants were mostly male, with an average age in their late 30s, mostly employed or in fulltime education, and around 70 per cent were university educated.
People claim a broad range of benefits from microdosing, reporting that it helps with their attention and focus at work, with their social relationships, it helps their mood, their mental health, and with creativity across a whole range of different domains, he says.
While he says that the breadth and variety of these claims of microdose miracles may seem remarkable and somewhat unlikely, the popularity of microdosing has co-incided with a surge in interest in the use of high-dose psychedelics to treat a range of mental illnesses including PTSD, depression, anxiety and substance use disorders.
The compelling results coming from the high dose research suggests that the reintroduction of psychedelics may have a massive impact in psychology and psychiatry in the near future; and it also suggests there could be a plausible explanation for the positive effects of low-dose psychedelics.
Most research into microdosing to date has relied on users own reports to investigate such effects as improved mood or reduced stress, which could be subject to a placebo effect.
'Magic' v fact: Dr Vince Polito (pictured) says people claim a broad range of benefits from microdosing, but he wants to find out what exactly is happening in the brain.
Politos team will use a self-blinding research protocol developed by Imperial College London, where participants are mailed two coded gel capsules in a kit designed to let them fill one with their regular microdose, the other with a placebo, without viewing the different capsules.
On each of two laboratory visits, participants will take one capsule, record the code, and proceed with the tests not knowing until the study has been completed, whether they took the placebo.
We will get people to do some psychometric tasks and behavioral tasks while we use a scanner to really look in detail at what's happening in people's brains, he says.
The researchers will also take a blood sample and look for different biomarkers that might indicate various effects of psychedelics.
We expect to find if there is really something physiological happening, or if it is all just people's expectations and beliefs that are driving their responses, he says.
While the team's optimistic target is 80 candidates, Polito candidly admits theres little certainty about how many people will sign up.
We need to find people who are already microdosing, he says, adding that anecdotal evidence suggests there are plenty of microdosers in Sydney.
We hope to encourage enough to come and have their brain scanned for science."
Dr Vince Polito is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Cognitive Science.
Interested in signing up? More information:https://www.microdosingstudy.com/