We are Pussy Riot

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I know I would buy Pussy Riot’s latest single if it meant the freedom of oppressed people. I sent a letter to Apple requesting this band’s music be offered. I think you should too,

Well, This Is What I Think

 

I have a simple question for Apple and iTunes.

When will I be able to buy Pussy Riot’s latest single? Putin Lights the Fires it’s called.

It strikes me as by far the simplest and most direct way I – anyone – can show my support for their right to free expression. No one should be jailed for a peaceful three minute protest in a church.

If the song went to the top of every chart in the Western world – not to mention in Russia – what a statement that would make to the Russian authorities. And might help pay for their legal case, and support their families, too, I guess. (Two of those jailed are mothers, I believe.) Pussy Riot have been in jail already for months. Now they are sentenced they will get one phone call a quarter, and be able to see their families once…

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Why I don’t like Autism Speaks…

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Now before anyone reading this thinks that I have anything against the people who help the autistic or the families of autistic children, I don’t.  What I am objecting to when it comes to the organization Autism Speaks is their statements about the prevalence of the condition.

This is a direct quote from the What is Autism page on their website, “Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness.” 

The last part of that quote is what I have issue with.  The science surrounding autism does not lend itself to any definitive statements about the increase in diagnosis.  Let me explain how that works.

In scientific research, there is a technique to evaluate the diagnostic tools used by scientists, psychologists, and researchers.  This is called inter-rater reliability.  This basically works by evaluating the agreement and reproduction of diagnosis and research between professionals.  In psychology, inter-rater reliability is measured on a scale from .0 to 1.  the closer to 1 that the IRR is, the more professionals are coming to the same conclusion.

I’ll use a hypothetical to explain how this works and what it translates to.  If the inter-rater reliability of a mental disorder was .8, that means that the vast majority of professionals agree with each other on the symptoms and diagnosis techniques of that disorder.  This means that the disorder is better understood by science than a disorder where the IRR is say .4 or lower.  So what is the IRR of autism?

According to this paper, which looks at these rates over many studies over large amounts of time, the inter-rater reliability of autism and autism spectrum ranges from .42 to .73 depending on the individuals that make the diagnosis, the year that the diagnosis was made, and the symptoms presented.  This creates a rough average of .575 according to this paper.  Now this is over time and with many variables.  However this still proves my point about the statements made by Autism Speaks.

As I said, I do not like how they represent the growing rate of diagnosis over time.  This is why.  The inter-rater reliability of autism has shown itself to be highly variable and fluctuating over time and over individual cases/studies.  This means that the diagnostic tools are inconclusive and more research is needed before science can say what is causing this growth with any certainty.   When Autism Speaks says that they know that the growing rate is only partially caused by a higher rate of recognition, they are miss-representing the facts.

Science can only create hypothesis as to why the diagnosis of autism has increased over the years.  When you look at the science, it could be any one of or combination of many different factors.

I support Autism Speaks and what they stand for.  They do so much in terms of helping people and raising awareness.  But when it comes to their presentation of the science surrounding autism, they really drop the ball.  This miss-information can lead to improper treatment of autistic children, alienation of the group from people who would support them, and further abuse from people who would use the improper information to further scams.

I hope that Autism Speaks can get some people on staff who will better their understanding of autism and help them relay the science to the public in a way that better educates and informs so that the people who need help can get the best help possible.

How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps

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This is a must read. Our education system is falling apart, and this post can give you a good idea about how and why that is happening. I highly recommend this blog,

The Homeless Adjunct

A few years back, Paul E. Lingenfelter began his report on the defunding of public education by saying, “In 1920 H.G. Wells wrote, ‘History is becoming more and more a race between education and catastrophe.’ I think he got it right. Nothing is more important to the future of the United States and the world than the breadth and effectiveness of education, especially of higher education. I say especially higher education, but not because pre- school, elementary, and secondary education are less important. Success at every level of education obviously depends on what has gone before. But for better or worse, the quality of postsecondary education and research affects the quality and effectiveness of education at every level.”

In the last few years, conversations have been growing like gathering storm clouds about the ways in which our universities are failing. There is talk about the poor educational outcomes apparent in…

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Drinking Hydrogen Peroxide to Cure Disease…

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DON’T DO IT!!!  I repeat, do not do it!  Seriously, if you ever hear anyone say that hydrogen peroxide can cure anything by drinking it or taking it intravenously; they are wrong.

Now I’ll tell you why the sudden interest in this particular subject.  I recently heard a really funny science joke which goes as follows,

“two men go to a bar, the first man orders a glass of H2O.  The second man says ‘I’ll have a glass of H2O too.’  The second man died.”

The joke is that H2O2 is the chemical hydrogen dioxide, commonly called hydrogen peroxide, which is deadly if consumed in large amounts.  After hearing this I went online to see if there were any other jokes like that one.  And this little website popped up.  To give you an idea of how dangerous this substance can be, this link will take you to a lab supply’s warning about the handling and dangers of the 35% “food grade” hydrogen peroxide that they supply. 

So if this stuff is so dangerous, why would anyone buy into the idea of drinking it to cure disease?  It’s actually pretty simple when you look at what these people claim.  They claim that they have the cure for cancer, AIDS, hepatitis, and many other chronic diseases.  How can they claim this?  Well they rely primarily on the work of Dr. Otto Warburg.  Warburg believed that a lack of oxygen in the body’s tissues was the cause of cancer and that flooding the tissues with oxygen would reverse the growth of tumors.  Now there are many things that cause cancer, but the key reason cancer cells develop is damage to the dna of the cell, which causes uncontrolled cellular reproduction.

This damage could happen for a wide and ever expanding set of reasons.  But two things are clear.  One, flooding the body with oxygen does not cure cancer.  Two, the ingestion of hydrogen peroxide does not cure cancer, AIDS, or any other disease.  In fact, the ingestion of hydrogen peroxide will very likely kill you.  Let me explain how.

Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizer.  What this means is that it is an unstable chemical at the molecular level.  See atoms/molecules have a little quirk about the number of electrons they have in the outer electron layer.  If an atom/molecule doesn’t have the correct number of electrons in the outer most layer, it will do one of three things to correct this problem.  One, it will give an extra electron to another atom/molecule.  Two, it will take an electron from another atom/molecule.  Three, it will bond with another atom/molecule.

Now hydrogen peroxide, being an oxidizer, takes electrons from the atoms and molecules around it in order to stabilize itself.  This destabilizes the tissues that hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with; creating high concentrations of free radicals which continue to destroy tissues in the body.  This is also why chlorine gas is so deadly.

This is a warning label of high concentration hydrogen peroxide. Note the dangers of corrosion and flammability. Also not the “DO NOT TAKE INTERNALLY,” warning found at the top of the label.

So what happens to people who take these “treatments?”  Typically, people who ingest solutions of hydrogen peroxide will experience erosion of the stomach lining, esophagus, and damage to the various tissues of the mouth.  People who take these solutions through an IV will see deterioration of the veins, damage to the blood cells, and erosion of tissues near the injection site.  If a person is lucky enough to survive when starting these “treatments,” they will die as a result of prolonged exposure to hydrogen peroxide.

This is a dangerous pseudo science that takes advantage of people in duress due to chronic illness.  If you know anyone who is considering hydrogen peroxide “therapy,” tell them about the dangers and encourage them to seek professional treatment for their illness.

[Edit] Many people have asked me to provide studies for this article.  Well here they are.

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2006/ucm108701.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658134/

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/pharmacologicalandbiologicaltreatment/oxygen-therapy

http://www.hvchemical.com/msds/hype.htm

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