Scientists trace the boozing gene: Taste for drink ‘originated 10million years ago in common ancestor of humans and chimps’

February 25, 2013

now explain the Irish?

Here's to those who came before us... Scientists have traced the ability to metabolise alcohol back to a gene first found in the common ancestor humans share with gorillas and chimpanzees( boozing gene can be traced back 10million years to the common ancestor humans share with chimpanzees and gorillas, new research claims.
It is believed these ancient forebears were the first to pick up fruits fermenting on the ground after they developed a lifestyle away from the trees.
Individuals able to stomach the boozy fruit would have survived better in this new environment than those who could not, programming the ability into their descendants’ genetic codes.

Here’s to those who came before us… Scientists have traced the ability to metabolise alcohol back to a gene first found in the common ancestor humans share with gorillas and chimpanzees

The theory could explain why humans, chimps and gorillas are able to digest alcohol, while our tree-dwelling cousins like orangutans cannot.
Chemist Steven Benner of the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Florida, came to the conclusion after he ‘resurrected’ the alcohol-metabolising enzymes of extinct primates.
By estimating the enzymes’ genetic code, they rebuilt them in the lab and then analysed how they worked to understand how they have changed over time.
Biochemist Romas Kazlauskas of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, told Science News: ‘It’s like a courtroom re-enactment.
‘Benner can re-enact what happened in evolution.’

To break down alcohol in the body, modern humans rely on an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase 4, or ADH4, which is found throughout the aesophagus, stomach and intestines.
However, not all ADH4s are the same, meaning some species of primate can effectively metabolise ethanol while others are unable to.
To understand why, researchers mapped the DNA sequences that make up ADH4 in 27 species of modern primate on a primate family tree to infer how the enzyme looked at points on the tree where branches separated.
Their findings showed most primate ancestors would have been unable to metabolise alcohol, but at the branching point leading to gorillas, chimps and humans the enzyme emerged as a powerful alcohol digester.
This enzyme was nearly 50 times more efficient at digesting alcohol than earlier versions, Dr Benner reported. That made it nearly capable or breaking down the alcohol found in modern alcoholic drinks.

Lightweights: The findings could explain why tree-dwelling primates like orang-utans (pictured) are less able to metabolise alcohol, since fruits are less likely to ferment while still hanging on a branch

Lightweights: The findings could explain why tree-dwelling primates like orang-utans (pictured) are less able to metabolise alcohol, since fruits are less likely to ferment while still hanging on a branch

He concluded that it must have been the result of the early primate’s descent from the trees where it came across fruits lying on the ground.
If these fruits had damaged skins, yeast could have invaded them and fermented their sugars, turning them into ethanol.
Any primates unable to digest the fermented fruits would have died before passing on their genes, but those who could would have passed the boozing gene on to their offspring.
Dr Benner believes his findings could explain why land-loving primates like humans and gorillas can metabolise alcohol, but tree dwellers like orangutans, which rarely encounter fermented fruit, cannot.
He presented his findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Friday.


Reducing Gun Violence By Legalizing Drugs

December 21, 2012

In the wake of the Newtown massacre, there has, understandably, been a new wave of advocacy of policy proposals aimed at preventing future incidents of the same kind. However, gun violence in schools is already extremely rare, with the average child far more at risk of dying in a car accident or backyard pool accident than in school. And we are unlikely to reduce the already low incidence of mass shootings by gun control or other policy changes. Fortunately, as Yale law professor Dan Kahan explains at the Cultural Cognition Project blog, we can achieve a significant reduction in violence by legalizing drugs:

[W]hile the empirical evidence on the relationship between gun control and homicide is (at this time at least) utterly inconclusive, there certainly are policies out there that we have very solid evidence to believe would reduce gun-related homicides very substantially.
The one at the top of the list, in my view, is to legalize recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine.
The theory behind this policy prescription is that illegal markets breed competition-driven violence among suppliers by offering the prospect of monopoly profits and by denying them lawful means for enforcing commercial obligations.
The evidence is ample. In addition to empirical studies of drug-law enforcement and crime rates, it includes the marked increase in homicide rates that attended alcohol prohibition and the subsequent, dramatic deline of it after repeal of the 18th Amendment.

Kahan makes a number of other good points in his post, and cites lots of additional evidence. As they say, read the whole thing.
As an extra bonus, this approach to reducing gun violence doesn’t threaten anyone’s civil liberties or Second Amendment rights. It would actually increase protection for civil liberties by cutting back on the many abuses associated with the War on Drugs, such as bogus asset forfeitures and paramilitary paramilitary police raids that often kill or injure innocent people, and the erosion of the Fourth Amendment. And, unlike stepped-up gun control or “zero tolerance” policies of the sort we got after Columbine, it would actually save the government a great deal of money by reducing expenditures on enforcement efforts and prisons. Drug legalization would also help promote family values in poor communities, which is both good in itself and might help reduce violence still further.
As President Obama said in Newtown, “we can do better than this” when it comes to curbing gun violence. Cutting back on the War on Drugs is a great place to start. Polls show that marijuana legalization, at least, is rapidly gaining in popularity. That might give the president and other politicians the chance to effect change we can believe in in this field.

"Magic Mushrooms" Show Signs of Helping in Addiction, Cancer Anxiety

December 7, 2012

In research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) scientists highlighted the latest findings on the use of psilocybin, the synthetic version of the active compound in “magic mushrooms,” as a treatment for anxiety in terminal cancer patients, in smoking cessation and as a treatment for alcoholism.
Some of the studies are not complete and have not yet been reviewed by other experts, but they provide new information on psilocybin’s effect….
In its ongoing program of psilocybin research, scientists at Johns Hopkins have treated over 150 volunteers in 350 drug trial sessions.  Although many participants experienced at least some type of anxiety reaction while on the drug, none of them reported lasting harm and 70% rated the experience as one of the top five most meaningful events of their lives, comparable to the birth of a first child or the loss of a parent….
UCLA’s [Dr. Charles] Grob studied 12 cancer patients with end-stage disease, aged 18 through 70, all of whom were highly anxious in facing death.  They were given preparatory therapy sessions so that they would know what to expect while under the influence of psilocybin, and then had two sessions a month apart, one with placebo and one with psilocybin.  The vitamin niacin was used in a high dose as the placebo, because it produces a physiological sensation of burning or itching on the face that is harmless but produces some “drug” effect….
“Nobody had a significant anxiety reaction or ‘bad trip’” Grob reported, citing data he published in the Archives of General Psychiatry on the research in 2011….
The studies on smoking cessation and on alcoholism have only just begun, but show encouraging results in a small group of volunteers. Says Paul Kenny, associate professor of neuroscience at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, and a member of program committee for the ACNP meeting, “The potential beneficial effects of psilocybin on addiction is an important question that should thoroughly explored….”

Kenny goes on in a scientistic, “let’s make an industry out of this” way to say it would be better if they can develop new drugs that mimic the “good” parts of the mushroom without the hallucinogenic part, though he acknowledged that might not be possible.
Fitting that this article appears in Time as its founder Henry Luce enjoyed psychedelics himself.
Jacob Sullum and me from 2006 on earlier research into the spiritual uses of the mushroom.
Maia Szalavitz’s work discussed at Reason.

Hezbollah in Mexico :: by Anna Mahjar-Barducci

July 15, 2011

In June, a computer hacker group, Luiz Security, commonly abbreviated as LuizSec, targeted the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS). LuizSec has claimed responsibility for several high profile attacks; this time, however, the 440 megabytes AZDPS documents displayed a bulletin mentioning the presence of Hezbollah militants operating in smuggling corridors on the U.S. border with Mexico.The document, from the Tucson Police Department, is dated September 20, 2010. At the time, just few months earlier, the Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Seyassah published an article saying that operatives of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah were employing Mexican nationals to set up a network in Latin America to target Israeli and Western interests. According to the newspaper, the Hezbollah group’s alleged leader, Ali “Jameel” Nasr, a 30-year-old Mexican national of Lebanese descent, was arrested in the Mexican city of Tijuana in July 2010. The Kuwaiti daily also mentioned that for a period before his arrest, Nasr was under surveillance by Mexican authorities. He was also reported to be travelling frequently to Lebanon to receive instructions from Hezbollah, and making trips around Latin America, including a two-month stay in Venezuela in 2008.

As reported in 2010 by Fox News, however, U.S. and Mexican officials did not (or did not want to) confirm that a Hezbollah leader had been arrested in Mexico. “Police officials in Tijuana told that they have no information pertaining to Nasr […]. U.S. State Department officials said they could not confirm Nasr’s arrest, but would be unable to do so if the arrest occurred in Mexico. […] The Department of Homeland Security said it does not have ‘any credible information’ that terrorist groups are operating along America’s Southwest border,” wrote

After a year, in June 2011, LulzSec disclosed instead not only that the Tucson police were informed about the arrest of Nasr, but that LuisSec was seriously worried about Hezbollah infiltrations in the U.S. through its neighbor, Mexico. The document states the following:
“Based on a study done by Georgetown University, the number of immigrants from Lebanon and Syria living in Mexico exceeds 200,000. Along with Iran, Syria is one of Hezbollah’s strongest financial and political supporters, and Lebanon is its country of origin.
“In July of this year, Mexican authorities arrested Jameel Nasr in Tijuana, Baja California. Nasr was alleged to be tasked with establishing the Hezbollah network in Mexico and throughout South America.
“In April of last year [2009], the arrest of Jamal Yousef – in New York City – exposed a weapons cache of 100 M-16 assault rifles, 100 AR-15 rifles, 2,500 hand grenades, C4 explosives and antitank munitions. According to Yousef, the weapons, which were being stored in Mexico, had been stolen from Iraq with the help of his cousin who was a member of Hezbollah.
“With the arrest of Jameel Nasr and Jamal Yousef, obvious concerns have arisen concerning Hezbollah’s presence in Mexico and possible ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTO’s) operating along the U.S.–Mexico border. The potential partnership bares alarming implications due to Hezbollah’s long established capabilities, specifically their expertise in the making of vehicle borne improvised explosive devises (VBIED’s).
“Recent incidents involving the use of VBIED’s in Mexico mark a significant change in tactics employed by DTO’s and conjures images expected to be seen in the Middle East. While no connection has been made, Hezbollah’s extensive use of VBIED’s raises strong suspicion concerning a possible relation to Mexico’s DTO’s.”
The case of Jamal Youssef, arrested in New York City, is even more worrying than the arrest of Jameel Nasr in Tijuana. As reported by the Center of Immigration Studies in February 2011, Jamal Yousef, a former member of the Syrian military and senior agent of Hezbollah, was conducting a business deal to provide thousands of new U.S. arms stolen from American forces in Iraq that had been shipped and stored in Mexico, and were to be sold to the terrorist group Colombian FARC, allegedly supported by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in exchange for drugs that were to be couriered into the U.S. by Mexican cartels.
In a letter that U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-NC addressed to Homeland Security a year ago, she called for more “intelligence gathering” on Hezbollah’s presence along the U.S.-Mexico border.” “Many experts believe Hezbollah and drug cartels have loosely been working together for decades. We have seen their cooperation in countries across South America […] Hezbollah operates almost like a Mafia family in this region, often demanding protection money and “taxes” from local inhabitants,” Myrick wrote.
Congresswoman Myrick adds in her letter that in the U.S., particularly in the Southwest, officials are beginning to notice that tattoos of gang members in prisons are written in Farsi, implying an Iranian influence that can be traced back to its proxy army, Hezbollah. Further, these tattoos in Farsi are usually seen in combination with gang or drug cartel tattoos, meaning that the individuals in jail are tied both to Hezbollah and to gangs and drug cartels. In the document hacked by LulzSec it is possible to see photos of these tattoos on individuals in jail; some of them portray a crossed AK-47 gun, the symbol of Hezbollah.

Law Enforcement Finally Admits Hezb’Allah is Operating in Mexico – Atlas Shrugs
…I could not find any other sources for this information

Arturo Zamora Jiménez, a Mexican congressman affiliated with the Institutional Revolutionary Party, recently stated that Hezbollah is operating in drug trafficking in the North of Mexico. Without any doubt, he said, the Lebanese terrorist group has links with Mexican drug cartels and has trained Mexican organizations on how to handle guns and explosives. Zamora also stated that Hezbollah is using drug revenues to buy weapons to fight in the Middle East. Moreover, political analysts point out that tunnels used for connecting drug trafficking are also used to infiltrate Hezbollah operatives in the U.S.
As noticed by the Center for Immigration Studies, the presence of Hezbollah on the U.S. border provokes several questions about security, and on how to face the problem: “These questions go beyond the horrendous cartel violence in Mexico we are witnessing on both sides of our border, bringing to light the national security aspect of drug- and gun-running, the volatility of our southwest border, and the playground northern Mexico has become for extreme lawlessness and anti-American activity.”by Anna Mahjar-Barduccivia

Global: Torture in Drug Treatment Detentions

June 25, 2011

20733_full_Kunming Municipal Compulsory Rehabilitation CentreIn China convicted drug users are required to complete at least 2 years in their drug rehab program, a span of time that is filled with forced labor, physical abuse and no drug treatment according to many who’ve completed the program many of whom say they are haunted by the experience. via

People detained in these centers are denied medical care that has been proven effective and subjected to physical and sexual violence, forced labor, and involuntary or experimental medical procedures, the campaign said.  A 36-page report, “Treated with Cruelty: Abuses in the Name of Drug Rehabilitation,” compiles personal testimony by detainees in Russia, China, Cambodia, and Mexico. A 64-page publication, “Treatment or Torture?: Applying International Human Rights Standards to Drug Detention Centers,” reviews the multiple forms of abuse common in drug detention centers and shows how these practices in many cases constitute torture, or at least cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment – in violation of basic human rights treaties widely ratified by most nations worldwide. via

by the way… the links from HRW go to George Soros… who was the one who spent the money so we would be in debt to China.  I’m sure our country will degrade to this standard of abuse when our society crumbles.  Till then… I’m just another Marijuana smoking Conservative.

Mexico’s Drug War

March 21, 2011

The Mexican Drug War is an armed conflict taking place among rival drug cartels who fight for regional control, and between the drug cartels and the Mexican government, which seeks to reduce drug trafficking. Although Mexican drug cartels, or drug trafficking organizations, have existed for a few decades, they have become more powerful since the demise of Colombia’s Cali and Medellín cartels in the 1990s. Mexican drug cartels now dominate the wholesale illicit drug market in the United States. Arrests of key cartel leaders, particularly in the Tijuana and Gulf cartels, have led to increasing drug violence as cartels fight for control of the trafficking routes into the United States.

Arabs Need More of These Pills :: protesters were being driven by "hallucinogenic pills."

March 8, 2011


In a number of speeches, the half-clown, half-murderer who has been slaughtering many Libyans in the past few weeks, declared that the protesters were being driven by “hallucinogenic pills.”
The pills, according to Gaddafi, were dipped into Nescafe that was given to the “rats” that are revolting against him.
So the Libyan revolution – according to Gaddafi – is nothing but riots and acts of vandalism committed by a bunch of drugged rats that had Nescafe mixed with hallucinogenic pills.