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Archive for the ‘Documentary’ Category

Here I post for you 8 hours of wonderful evolutionary viewing pleasure! This is a brilliant documentary series called Evolve and comes at the subject of evolution from specific traits of animals, 11 episodes are devoted to a single trait such as the evolution of ‘eyes’. Enjoy!

1. Eyes – Seeing is believing … not to mention evading, eating and surviving! Learn how the eyeball evolved from ancestors of jellyfish who developed light-sensitive cells to the unique adaptations that allowed primates to better exploit their new habitat, while the ability to see colors helped them find food.

2. Sex – Sex is a necessity for most species to survive. As evolution continues, are we approaching a time when sex will no longer be a necessity? How is this possible?

3. Size – How do we measure up? Understand the amazing processes that gave us vertebrates smaller than a thumbnail (a Cuban frog) and longer than a diesel locomotive (a blue whale). But what are the mechanisms of these adaptations, the evolutionary pressures that effect size, and the physical limits life can attain?

4. Skin – Skin is absolutely amazing, far more complex and versatile than we ever give it credit for. It makes up 16% of your body weight, is the largest organ in the human body, allows birds to fly, mammals to nurse their young, and provides a lifelong defense against predators and parasites alike.

5. Flight – In this high-flying episode, unearth the secrets, and the continuing mysteries, of the very first vertebrate flyer, the pterosaur, which escaped its earthly bounds 220 million years ago. This creature eventually evolved into flying Goliaths the size of small planes!

6. Communications – Communication isn’t just the key to a good relationship; it also goes a long way toward ensuring the success of a species. While humans, comfortable at the top of the food chain, have made the most out of this particular evolutionary achievement, organisms everywhere – from dolphins to amoebae – can be found speaking to one another.

7. Guts – It doesn’t just take willpower to survive. It takes guts. Life needs energy to exist and almost all animals get their energy in the same way – with a built in power plant, a digestive system that turns food into fuel. Take a close look at the role guts have played in shaping some of Earth’s most successful animals: dinosaurs, snakes, cows, and us.

8. Venom – The deadliest natural weapon employed in the animal kingdom has independently evolved in creatures as diverse as jellyfish, insects, snakes, and even mammals. Scientists from around the globe show how evolution adapted venom to fit the needs of the animals who wield it.

9. Speed – The ability to react and move can often mean the difference between life and death in the animal kingdom. Some animals have evolved into championship fliers, swimmers, and runners. What are the forces that create this need for speed, and how do animal bodies adapt to go into overdrive?

10. Jaws – Get ready to pry open some of the deadliest jaws on the planet as we expose this fierce and ferocious anatomical weapon. Sharp, menacing and more than an eating apparatus, the jaws of many animals are key to their survival. Go back along the evolutionary line to discover how various jaws developed in the first place.

11. Shape – Every shape in nature, no matter how bizarre it may appear, evolved as a result of the struggle for survival. Today, animals are shaped in so many different ways and most of them have strange bodies, weird looking. But shape is still vital.

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The evidence is becoming more and more clear these days regarding the effects of marijuana, or cannabis, have on their users. We’ve known for decades now (since at least 1974) that cannabis can fight and even cure cancer, let alone it’s uses alleviating the symptoms of other diseases like HIV AIDS, glaucoma, alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory skin disease, and on and on and on…. On top of this, it has been disproven to be a causative factor in acquiring schizophrenia, it has also shown not to cause brain damage (it’s been shown to protect brain cell death caused by alcohol), to the contrary it has been shown to stimulate the growth of neurons (this study also found it reduced measures of anxiety and depression).

Shall we keep going? It’s been shown to be protective against the neurotoxic effects of stroke and head injury. Further evidence has also proved that cannabis is able to slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, MS, Parkinson’s, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

But more recently, and this is the crux of my post, the greater effects of marijuana on society are being studied.

Two recent studies published in the IZA Journal have found that the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes has some interesting side effects. Although an increase in adult users has been found, surely because it becomes more acceptable and more readily available, no increase is seen its use by minors. Furthermore, and this is the interesting/awesome part, US states that have legalised medicinal marijuana has been found to be linked with a significant decrease in suicides, and on top of that a significant decrease in fatal car accidents (by being a substitute for alcohol).

The abstracts from the two studies:

High on Life? Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide

Using state-level data for the period 1990 through 2007, we estimate the effect of legalizing medical marijuana on suicide rates. Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30- through 39-year-old males. Estimates of the relationship between legalization and female suicides are less precise and are sensitive to functional form.

Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption

To date, 16 states have passed medical marijuana laws, yet very little is known about their effects. Using state-level data, we examine the relationship between medical marijuana laws and a variety of outcomes. Legalization of medical marijuana is associated with increased use of marijuana among adults, but not among minors. In addition, legalization is associated with a nearly 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely to due to its impact on alcohol consumption. Our estimates provide strong evidence that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes.

This suggests that the effects of legalising cannabis could be positive in many more ways than helping its medicinal users. Who’d have thunk it? If we legalise weed it may apparently become safer on the roads, and fewer people are would commit suicide…

Of late the argument I often hear and read as to why people don’t care about marijuana legalisation one way or another is simply because they are either ignorant to its uses and effects, or they just don’t use it themselves and thus don’t care. It’s high people started looking at the evidence, politicians included, and start making laws that help people instead of deny people help, let alone their personal freedom.

I think it’s only a matter of time before the US completely legalise marijuana. However, that said, people have been saying the same thing since the 1960s. Until that happens I’m going to remain incredibly ashamed of our society staying tough on marijuana (and other drugs), and continue to deny both the sick and the recreational user access to it. Especially, if in the process people’s lives are being lost that could otherwise be saved.

Our society has plenty of issues that need our attention, and this may not be the most important one to focus on for everyone, but it is a good place to start. And good law reform and increased public awareness and education is only going to help improve our society dramatically.

I’ll throw up a few docos and some links FYI:

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/what-if-cannabis-cured-cancer/

http://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/does-marijuana-cause-schizophrenia/

http://patients4medicalmarijuana.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/marijuana-cures-cancer-us-government-has-known-since-1974/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_cannabis

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A man named Rob Spence has designed a camera that he wears in a prosthetic eye. Although he cannot see through the eye it allows him to record his experiences subjectively and transmits them to a portable device he carries.

He lost sight in his eye after a shooting accident with friends. Soon after he started work on the what he’s called the ‘Eyeborg Project’. Since his ‘eye catching’ invention he has been commissioned by Square Enix to create a documentary examining people with prosthetics.

For the launch of the game “DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION,” Square Enix commissioned filmmaker Rob Spence to investigate prosthetics, cybernetics and human augmentation. Spence is a self-proclaimed cyborg who lost one eye, and replaced it with a wireless video camera. He is now known as “Eyeborg.”

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I watched a brilliant story on ABC today regarding entrepreneur and author of The Blue EconomyGunter Pauli. It really opened my eyes to the possibilities that exist within grasp to really improve the quality of life for everyone in our world as well as achieving a green and sustainable future. It’s just a matter of avoiding waste of anything and everything. Focusing on increasing revenue as opposed to cutting costs when it comes to the business world. Byproducts always have another use instead of just being seen as rubbish, we need to be sure to harness everything and use it to our benefit.

 

Here’s a bit on the book:

The book expresses the ultimate aim that a Blue Economy business model will shift society from scarcity to abundance “with what we have”, by tackling issues that cause environmental and related problems in new ways. The book highlights potential benefits in connecting and combining seemingly disparate environmental problems with open-source scientific solutions based upon physical processes common in the natural world, to create solutions that are both environmentally beneficial and which have financial and wider social benefits. The book suggests that we can alter the way in which we run our industrial processes and tackle resultant environmental problems, refocusing from the use of rare and high-energy cost resources to instead seek solutions based upon simpler and cleaner technologies. The book aims to inspire entrepreneurs to adopt its insights, by demonstrating ways in which this can create economic benefits via job creation, reduced energy use, and more revenue streams from each step of the process, at the same time benefiting the communities involved. ‘The Blue Economy’ is presented in 14 chapters, each of which investigates an aspect of the world’s economies and offers a series of innovations capable of making aspects of those economies sustainable.

 

Gunter Pauli has started 12 businesses, only 2 of which have since failed. They are incredibly variable in what they produce, but all have the same business model his uses and its aim all have the same emphasis on sustainability. They work all over the world producing things such as the worlds most environmentally friendly (biodegradable) soaps, bamboo houses that require only 65 sticks of bamboo and are incredibly affordable at $1200 per house (they’re 2 stories high I might add), farming maggots that are fed on waste from abattoirs in order to harvest their saliva which can be used to heal wounds. Another used the waste produced from coffee to grow mushrooms, some of which was sold and some of which was fed to live stock, which generate manure that can then be used to create biofuel. Another business based in Brazil used spirulina algae to sequester CO2, after which they could give 1g per day of the dietary supplement to children, but they soon ran out of children and started producing biofuel.

Gunter is leading the way for those who want a healthier world and better future for them and their children. He’s changing the rules and changing the way that people think. He has definitely opened my eyes and as they say ‘one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure’, and hopefully more and more of us realise that the idea of ‘waste’ does not exist. Everything can be used and reused to improve sustainable living.

I thoroughly recommend you all visit this link and watch his lecture. He’s a captivating speaker and it will undoubtedly change your view on sustainable living for the future. There is yet hope!

Here’s a lecture by Gunter Pauli in Tokyo for TED.

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This documentary really impressed me. It covers a great deal of information about Cannabis and hemp, their history and usage, as well as the politics surrounding them, and much more. Give it a watch!

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