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Both the roots of the butea superba and the stem have medicinal benefits.

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Testosterone linked to entrepreneurial ambition

The Manila Times

THE desire to work for oneself is linked to higher testosterone levels, a research study at the Warwick Business School in the UK concluded.

Nicos Nicolaou, Professor and Head of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at Warwick Business School said that high levels of testosterone can give individuals the push they need to work for themselves.

“Using the most widely accepted methods available for measuring testosterone levels and analyzing three diverse samples, our findings indicate testosterone levels may constitute an important influence on the likelihood individuals will engage in self-employment,” Nicolaou explained in an email.

“The study also utilized a new research design involving opposite-sex and same-sex twins to contribute to the ongoing debate regarding the significance and validity of the relationship between testosterone and self-employment,” he added.

Nicolaou said the research was inspired by the ongoing debate over whether business behaviors are learned or can be at least partly attributed to biology.

“Our research shows it is indeed possible that at least a portion of certain business behaviors can at least in part be attributed to biological influences,” he said. “Our results represent an important first step into uncovering how key biological influences are related to self-employment and entrepreneurial activities.”

Three separate studies were conducted as part of the research. In the first, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) of 2011-2012 was analyzed, and found 2,146 observations that suggested a link between higher levels of testosterone and self-employment in males.

In the second study, Nicolaou examined the 2D:4D digit ratio—the ratio of the length of the index finger to the length of the ring finger, which is a common marker of prenatal testosterone exposure —to determine if there was a correlation to self-employment, surveying 449 males and 525 females.

The results indicated males with a lower 2D:4D ratio in their left hand, or higher prenatal testosterone exposure, have a significantly greater likelihood of self-employment. This was also found to be marginally significant for females.

The third study examined the twin testosterone transfer effect in a sample of opposite-sex and same-sex twins from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the US.

Nicolaou explained that previous studies have suggested that female fetuses gestated with a male twin are more likely than female fetuses gestated with a female twin to be “masculinized” in their development and to have greater testosterone levels. This is because testosterone may pass from one twin to the other through maternal circulation and by diffusion through fetal membranes.

Professor Nicolaou found that these females were more likely to be self-employed than females gestated with a female twin.

“The findings are relevant to both entrepreneurship and management audiences,” Nicolaou wrote in the research report, “Testosterone and Tendency to Engage in Self-employment,” which is to be published in an upcoming issue of Management Science.

“Higher levels of testosterone can not only enhance an individual’s willingness to take risks but also diminish the likelihood that they feel fear with regards to risky situations, when coupled together it is possible that individuals with higher levels of testosterone could be prone to engage in entrepreneurial activities and self-employment,” he explained.

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For white supremacists, or men who just want to get the upper hand again, uneducated migrants from Third World countries are the best useful idiots they can get. Open the borders!

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Man killed himself after Stinson Hunter 'paedophile trap'

Making a Suicide Like Some Random Accident IGN.COM

infractuspennae: One of my primary characters commits suicide. He's a 56 year old healthy male with no history of mental illness. To him his reasons behind it are quite logical. But I don't want it to look like a suicide. It has to look like some type of accident, that will still allow for an open casket.

I have not dealt with too many suicides, OK I have not dealt with any. though I have dealt with attempts, and they have been drugs, too obvious.

I am not sure how to make this suicide look like an accident.

Thanks for the help, in advance!!!

Trebor1415: Lot's of possibilities. Off the top of head: Car crash. If he wants to make it less suspicious he picks a dark, rainy night.

If he's an outdoor type he could go rock climbing, or visit some scenic overlook, etc, and have an accidental fall.

He could "accidently" shoot himself while "cleaning his gun". (For more realism, hitting himself in the femoral artery and making it look like he tried to crawl in from the garage to get a phone to call for help would see it better.)

robjvargas: How weird are you willing to go. You want open casket? Methods that involve heavy physical injury are probably out. Car accident, dives off high places, they might induce too much damage. Maybe. Maybe not. Stepping in front of a vehicle might not result in a closed-casket scenario.

Hanging might work. Auto-erotic asphyxiation?

Something with a drug? The date-rape drug, rohypnol (sp?) is suppose to break down pretty quickly, and it can induce very high temperatures leading to death. But I don't know how that would look in an autopsy. They might not look for it.

CoolBlue: Nowadays, there is very little that is not forensically detectable. So the only "safe" way would be to have an overt cause of death. And often death is not certain in such "accidents". Last edited by CoolBlue; 11-15-2013 at 06:48 AM. Reason: Close quotes

Telergic: Well, there's staging a suicide to look like an accident, and then there's the reverse.

According to Scotland Yard, the best way to commit suicide is to zip yourself into a sports bag, padlock the bag on the outside while you are inside, and while still inside clean off your fingerprints from the bag, the lock, and indeed the entire apartment, and also scrub your flat for DNA traces. Then you can safely die of suffocation and the police will overrule the coroner's verdict of homicide because, really, does that seem very likely in the circumstances?

King Neptune:

That only works if you work for one of the British spy agencies.

GypsyKing: I agree with Trebor that your best option might be to give your character a hobby that will allow him to fake a mishap. Rock climbing would be a good one. He could also go horseback riding and purposefully fail a difficult jump. Or he could be a triathlete and let himself drown.

He could also take a knock-out pill and leave the oven on. If his house starts on fire, he would technically die of asphyxiation, so an autopsy would reveal the carbon monoxide in his lungs. Would anyone suspect that he knocked himself out so that he'd purposefully die of smoke inhalation? If the fire was extinguished before his body was burned, it would still possibly allow for an open casket.

wendymarlowe: Do keep in mind that the mental state of someone who commits suicide is not necessarily anywhere close to the mental state of someone who commits suicide which they premeditated and actively tried to cover up. If you make it sound like he was going to all this trouble to cover up his suicide "just because," i.e. the motivation is part of a mystery, the reader is going to assume it's sloppy writing.

infractuspennae:

Thank you everyone for the help!!!

valerielynn: The first thought that comes to mind is a car crash. That would definitely look like an accident.

frimble3: Lot's of possibilities. Off the top of head: Car crash. If he wants to make it less suspicious he picks a dark, rainy night.

If he's an outdoor type he could go rock climbing, or visit some scenic overlook, etc, and have an accidental fall.

He could "accidently" shoot himself while "cleaning his gun". (For more realism, hitting himself in the femoral artery and making it look like he tried to crawl in from the garage to get a phone to call for help would see it better.) Any plausible reason for him to be using power tools? Any one of a variety of power-saws could chop an artery, and, as with Trebor's gun, a faked attempt to crawl to the nearest phone would look good.

Cold snap or power failure? He starts up a gas-powered generator in an badly ventilated room, the carbon monoxide gets him. Maybe it's in his basement? The carbon monoxide builds up, he goes down to check on it, never comes back up. Or at least that's what the investigation figures.

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The world in 200 years will be populated by a few thousand male humans who live indefinitely, and a huge number of female looking robots. Women aren't needed, really, and anyway, women are troublemakers, more than anything else.

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Feminism, by creating artificial scarcity of sexual resources, is responsible for much of the deadly infighting among men, as well as male suicides.

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Is there a torture manual?

KUBARK Manual: A User's Guide to Torture?

The 1950s appear to have been a time when the CIA put a tremendous amount of energy into perfecting the science of torture. The CIA conducted covert experiments, at times on unsuspecting Americans, using LSD in the search of a “truth serum” [source: The New York Times]. It used electrical currents to inflict pain [source: The Boston Globe]. The agency conducted trials investigating the effects of sensory deprivation [source: The Washington Post]. The CIA found that the best methods for extracting information from detainees come not through the infliction of physical pain or torture, but through psychological torture.

Although the brand of torture the CIA devised through more than a decade of trial and error may not inflict physical pain, it can still do some real damage. Historian and expert on the subject of the CIA and torture, Alfred McCoy, writes, “Although seemingly less brutal, no-touch torture leaves deep psychological scars. The victims often need treatment to recover from trauma far more crippling than physical pain”.

There is indeed a torture manual and the CIA literally wrote it. In 1963, the Agency created the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual. It was, as Alfred McCoy puts it, the “codification” of everything the CIA had learned from its experiments throughout the 50s. In the KUBARK (the codename for the CIA in the Vietnam War [source: The Washington Post]) manual, methods for breaking detainees are based generally on psychology. Identifying a victim’s sense of self and then stripping it away is part of the first step toward breaking him or her. An introverted or shy detainee might be kept naked and perhaps sexually humiliated, for example. Clothes may also be taken simply to alienate the detainee and make him or her less comfortable.

Creating a sense of unfamiliarity, disorientation and isolation seems to be the hallmarks of psychologically undermining a detainee in the purview of the KUBARK manual. Practices like starvation, keeping inmates in small, windowless cells with unchanging artificial light and forcing inmates to sit or stand in uncomfortable positions (stress positions) for long periods of time have been decried or banned outright by the United States government. Yet these techniques are part of the regimen prescribed by KUBARK. So, too, are using hypnosis and drugs to extract information.

While it doesn’t mention electric shock directly, the manual calls for interrogators to be sure that a potential safe house to be used for torture has access to electricity. As one source told The Baltimore Sun, “The CIA has acknowledged privately and informally in the past that this referred to the application of electric shocks to interrogation suspects” [source: The Baltimore Sun].

Physical pain, however, is ultimately deemed counterproductive by the manual. It’s a much worse experience, the guidebook concludes, for an inmate to fear that pain may be coming than to actually experience it. The old adage that anticipation is worse than the experience appears to also have a basis in the shadowy field of torture.

A newer book, largely a revision of the KUBARK manual, draws the same foundational conclusion -- that psychological torment is paramount to physical abuse. The Human Resource Exploitation Manual -- 1983 was first publicized as the result of an investigative report into the human rights abuses in Honduras.

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Kreutz Ideology analyses destruction differently. Social violence inherently benefits economic elites. The less peaceful a society, the less does social control restrict the liberties of the wealthy.

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Spooky Action at a Distance: The Strange Science of Radionics

I'm in a leafy garden behind a San Francisco coffee shop, holding on to a copper rod connected by a wire to a big wooden box. Inside the box are glowing knobs that look like red jewels. There's an empty glass beaker through which a shortwave ultraviolet light can be shown, and a flat piece of Bakelite that hides a copper coil. There are dials appointed with an elegant brass finish.

The box's owner, Joseph Max, is twiddling the dials and slowly rubbing two fingers across the Bakelite plate, eyes crinkled in concentration. When he hits on something, he writes down a score of 461 for my "general vitality" and then he checks my "aura coordination." It's 405.

"It's okay," he says reassuringly but with a hint of bemusement.

"I have a bad aura?" I ask, frowning.

"Maybe you're going through a lot of stress lately," he offers kindly.

The copper rod is getting warm in my hand. In true San Francisco fashion, no one around us—not the gym-rat hipster couple, not the French family—seems to care this is happening. Just blocks away on Haight Street you can buy weed from a dispensary, ogle multiple people whose leashed cats ride on their shoulders like parrots, or buy Victorian-inspired fetish gear. Our wacky box does not even register as interesting.

Max is dressed in all black: black polo shirt, black fleece vest, black slacks, black wristwatch. His snowy white hair is pulled back in a neat ponytail. He peers with light blue eyes through his round glasses at his radionics machine, the battery-powered device I'm currently hooked up to that is supposedly scanning my aura like so many bags at the airport.

Max carefully records my numbers on a form he has brought with him, and then we proceed to the main event. He wants to give me a shot at operating the mysterious box, and in order to do so a nearby shrub has to make a donation.

Max snaps a leafy twig off the plant behind us and pops it into the beaker—the "witness well." I clean my fingers with alcohol to remove any grease and slowly rub my right index and pointer finger along the surface of the Bakelite—what's known as a stickplate—while turning a knob on the machine with my left. It's a little bit like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time. The idea, he tells me, is to detect life in the plant. When I start to feel the "stickiness" I'll stop turning the dial, and the number I land on will be the plant's rate—the measurement of its general vitality.

We are both sitting on the same side of a pair of green plastic tables, the box in front of us. Max is watching me expectantly, and I admit I want to feel the stickiness. For weeks now I have been told about The Stickiness, the magical, murky thrum that connects your body to the ether. And I do feel something. My finger catches, it trips along the bakelite plate a bit, and we decide that the plant's number is 381. (It is not a stellar number; but for an urban plant whose main job is to decorate a coffee shop, this is not surprising.)

I ask Max how he knows if I was right and he checks the leaf himself, settling on a slightly higher number. I nod and smile and sip my lukewarm vat of coffee. How did I get here, manipulating the innards of a tricked-out wooden box, comparing the vitality numbers about a plant?

This is the most common way people have explained radionics to me (and several people have tried): Radionics is a way of using a device to take your thoughts (or intention, or consciousness) and amplify and broadcast them into the ether to affect some kind of change in your own life or the lives of others. You could be seeking a romantic partner or a financial windfall or better health. Maybe you just want to find a diamond ring on a sandy beach. (This is something I was told a person asked for, and received, through a radionics device.)

To some extent, the user (or maker) decides how to use the machine and for what. Not everyone would take an aura reading; this is just Max's approach. The device is a cosmic ham radio—a direct, if fuzzy, line to the big Whatever that provides things when they are asked for in the right way. Radionics is also called psionics or psychotronics, and radionics machines "wishing machines."

The most common incarnation of a radionics device is a box outfitted with a stickplate, a witness well (the space where one places a physical representation of his or her intentions), and dials that allow the user to tune the box in to that intention. Inside the box there is often a combination of copper wires, circuit boards, and even crystals. The user places the witness in the well (it could be a hair clipping, say, or a photo of a house, if you're seeking a new home) and then gently rubs the plate while turning the dials, waiting for the all-important stickiness a physical sensation that has been described as a tingling or similar to that of rubbing a balloon or sensing a very high-pitched sound. Once stickiness has been achieved, the box may be left alone to broadcast the user's intentions to the universe.

There are as many variations on the radionics device as there are on your standard automobile. Boxes are common, but there are also bicycle helmets outfitted with crystal-topped copper rods. There are devices that employ pendulums instead of stickplates. There are belts and headbands. There are even entirely paper-based machines and radionics software. Design-wise, radionics devices look like a mashup of original-series Star Trek, Jules Verne, and 1950s science-fiction magazines. They have a charming ray-gun quality about them.

But you can't buy a radionics machine at Target—or any store, really. That leaves true believers to build the machines themselves or buy one from a handful of sellers. There is a whole community of makers who swap tips on Facebook groups and on sites like BerkanaPath.com about how to build the best stickplates and where to buy potentiometers and antique knobs. Radio Shack and eBay are staples within this community. Enthusiasts post YouTube videos and offer critiques and encouragement to fellow makers. There are conventions and associations.

A few have managed to turn radionics into a business, and, like the devices themselves, these organizations are eclectic. There are the sober sites that work hard to promote an air of antiseptic professionalism, and there are the admittedly more common rainbow-colored sites that promise riches and babes, usually with an excess of exclamation points. ("Yes, you can charge food radionically with sexual energy and intent!!!")

Radionics exists on the fringe and is dismissed by the mainstream scientific community. And the story of how this cast of curious characters and their DIY wishing boxes got here features orgasms, potato blight, and the death of at least one guinea pig.

Albert Abrams was born in 1863 in San Francisco, earned a medical degree from Heidelberg University in Germany in 1882, and returned home to become a professor of pathology at Cooper Medical College (later absorbed by Stanford University) and the vice president of the California State Medical Society. Abrams was a respected member of the San Francisco intelligentsia; his comings and going were fodder for the local society column, which dutifully recorded his Yosemite vacations and his wife's tasteful luncheons.

In 1916 Abrams published a paper espousing his discovery of what he modestly named "Electronic Reactions of Abrams." "Every individual, it is maintained," he wrote, "is enveloped in a radiance (Aura) invisible to the carnal eye and only perceived by the soul accustomed to it." As evidence of this, Abrams listed portraits of saints with glowing halos and luminescent fish and crustaceans. This radiating energy, or ERA, could be used to not only diagnose conditions but could be tapped into in order to treat and diagnose patients of any manner of things, including cancer and syphilis.

Thus, throughout the 1900s, Abrams rolled out a series of electronic devices that he insisted did just that, including the "Dynomizer" and the "Oscilloclast." These machines could diagnose illness even in a remote subject, as long as the patient supplied a drop of blood, according to Abrams. Maladies were assigned a "rate" and when patients were treated, the machines were tuned to that number.

Abrams garnered fans (including the muckracking author Upton Sinclair) and his machines were leased to practitioners around the country; he offered classes at his San Francisco outpost. At one point, he announced plans to found an "electronic college." (This did not come to fruition.) But many doubted Abrams, chief among them Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association from 1924 to 1950. Fishbein devoted an entire chapter to Abrams in his 1932 book Fads and Quackery in Healing. In addition to calling Abrams a cultist, he wrote that: "It is the opinion of most of the electricians who have investigated Abrams' device, that Abrams knew little or nothing at all about the fundamental facts of electricity."

Suspicion grew to a point that the American Medical Association launched a sting operation against Abrams. The AMA mailed blood samples from a "virtuous, unsuspecting lady guinea pig" to an Abrams devotee in Oklahoma City, claiming they were from a "Mr. P." Fishbein reported with no small amount of glee that the practitioner not only failed to realize he had been sent guinea pig blood, but diagnosed "Mr. P" with several illnesses. (Unfortunately for the lady guinea pig, the very thorough AMA dispatched her in order to perform a postmortem and confirm that she wasn't suffering from any illnesses. She was not.)

In Jonesboro, Arkansas, a similar sting was undertaken on an Abrams practitioner using chicken blood. The practitioner was brought up on charges, and Abrams was expected to appear as a witness and defend his invention but he never got the chance. Abrams died in January 1924, an outcast from the mainstream medical community, the same week The British Medical Journal published an article excoriating his lucrative practices.

But Abrams' ideas didn't die with him. In 1927, not long after he departed this world, an Austrian psychoanalyst, Wilhelm Reich, published a paper called "The Function of the Orgasm." Nervous conditions, he wrote, could be resolved through "full genital gratification," and "sexual, vegetative energy is active in everything that lives."

Not long after arriving in New York in 1939, Reich announced the discovery of "orgone," something he described as "the primordial, cosmic energy." Reich believed that it floated throughout the atmosphere and that, if gathered and restored to the human body, its recipients would be infused with a number of health benefits. He built a contraption called an orgone accumulator, about the size of a phone booth, that he believed could collect and concentrate orgone. Patients sat passively inside, sometimes for hours at a time, hoping to be revitalized.

Among Reich's defenders were journalist Norman Mailer and artist William Steig. But Reich, too, had plenty of doubters, including the Federal Drug Administration, which investigated him. He was eventually ordered to stop selling orgone goods and literature over state lines and in 1956 was found guilty of violating that order and sentenced to two years in prison. Reich was 60 when he died of a heart attack in 1957 at the Lewisberg Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania. (Today there are some who wonder if the FDA's zestful pursuit of Reich had as much to do with prudishness as with public health.)

During the time Reich was defending the idea of orgone energy, T. Galen Hieronymus, an inventor in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1949 received a patent for his homemade radionics device. Galen, who was trained as an electrician by the National Guard and worked as an engineer for the Kansas City Power and Light Company, was an acolyte of Dr. Abrams and started tinkering with electricity and plants in 1931. His Hieronymus machine was intended to detect and measure "eloptic energy" that emanated from all living things. The Hieronymus machine became the blueprint for today's radionics devices; Hieronymus introduced the idea of the stickplate and the well. He thought his machines were especially useful for agriculture and wrote that he had documented their effectiveness on curing crops of pest and disease, including aphids and potato blight. "To date, our research has not revealed any substance that does not lend itself to analysis by our instrument," Hieronymus wrote in his autobiography The Story of Eloptic Energy. Hieronymus died in 1988.

It is the legacy of these men—a pastiche of science, mysticism, and persecution—that set the stage for the modern radionics community.

Ed Kelly is perfectly aware of what people think about radionics. He runs what is probably the only legacy radionics company in the United States, but if a stranger at a cocktail party asks him what he does for a living, he usually says he's in the electronics business.

"I just leave it at that, because, you know, it's just so kooky," he says, resigned. "And if you have to go into a giant explanation they're probably going to either assume that you're a crazy person, or worse yet, that you're selling snake oil."

Kelly's father Peter founded Kelly Research Technologies (KRT) in 1984. The elder Kelly—who was "kind of a hippie," according to his son—discovered radionics during the early '70s and built what had started as a hobby into a career. He ran his business from a plot of land in Lakemont, Georgia, out of a pair of dome houses, where Kelly still lives with his wife and several cats. (One of which yowled throughout our phone conversation despite Kelly's reassuring asides.)

KRT's expertise is agriculture. In the United States, it's illegal to promote radionics for diagnostic or treatment purposes in people or animals, so the Kellys focus on crops. The company's machines are modeled after the Hieronymus version, and it publishes a book of rates for farmers. Say you want a corn seed that is most "harmonious" with your land: You could use the Kelly gadgets to tune in to samples and figure out which one vibes best with the soil.

In the realm of radionic aesthetics, the KRT brand is more Wheaties than Lucky Charms—its site is simple, rendered in sedate colors. Its machines, built on-site by Kelly and his three employees, are businesslike, gray and black, in simple wooden boxes. The most popular (and least expensive) is the $1,450 Personal Instrument. Kelly says the company sells a few hundred machines a year to farmers all over the world who want to tap into the free-floating energies of the universe.

"To me, that's been one of the greatest validators," says Kelly. "These are men and women who are interested in yield and what kind of results they get. And you're not going to pull some crazy esoteric 'put a crystal on it' kind of deal on a farmer who is interested in what kind of results they get."

Kelly is not a farmer, but he uses his machines to bolster the business. When things get slow, he places a photo of the dome on the witness well—remember, the spot where users place the physical representation of their intention—tunes up, and focuses on the idea of "those who need us find us." In half an hour or so, he says, it is not unusual for the phone to ring with a customer on the other line.

For an outsider, it is these kind of examples that are frustrating. Why not ask for a million dollars? A car? A house?

I called up Joshua P. Warren, who is a kind of paranormal jack-of-all-trades. He is a ghost hunter, he has dipped into cryptozoology and the study of the Bermuda triangle. He has made television appearances and written books about hauntings in his hometown, Asheville, North Carolina. He also sells wishing machines, which are built by a man he calls Dr. Mulder—a pseudonym borrowed from The X-Files. Dr. Mulder, Warren told me, is very private and not available for interviews. But Warren was able to provide examples of results he produced with his wishing machines. (It was Warren who told me that radionics had delivered to him a diamond-encrusted gold ring.)

Warren said that using the machine, he had obtained a second home in Puerto Rico, a pair of discounted high-quality headphones, and a deal to write a Star Wars-themed book about how to "draw on the universe's energy to achieve your dreams." Of course, you don't just tune a wishing machine and then wait for the keys of your beach house to arrive in the mail.

"You can't just kick back and wish for something and hope it's going to materialize," says Warren. "What you have to do is set the intention and then you go out and you interact with the world and see the opportunity present itself."

In the case of his vacation home, for instance, he says he placed a photo of a sandy beach on his witness plate, tuned the machine, and shortly thereafter accepted a ghost-hunting gig in Puerto Rico, where he just happened to meet a real estate agent who showed him the house he eventually bought. The kicker? The photo—which he chose randomly off the Internet—showed the beach where his new home would be.

Like a fusty skeptic, I asked him why this wasn't just a coincidence.

"The wishing machine seems to operate via coincidence," he told me.

These kinds of explanations can make you feel like you're running in circles. The people I talked to do believe there is a scientific basis for how radionics works—but that we just don't understand it yet. Several times the science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke's famous line was quoted to me: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Quantum physics was mentioned frequently. But they also believe there is something more—energy, consciousness, or even magic—that makes explanation difficult or even impossible.

It is hard to investigate the ethereal thinking around radionics, but physics is something that can be parsed. So I got in touch with Chad Orzel, a physics professor at Union College in New York and the author of several popular science books, including How To Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog. This sounded about my speed, and I ran a few ideas about physics and radionics past him, particularly "quantum entanglement," which several people offered as evidence that radionics is possible.

"Entanglement is a very strange phenomenon," says Orzel. "But it's a very real thing."

Basically, entanglement is the idea that two particles, separated by a great distance, can be shown to correlate with each other. By measuring one of the particles, you can be guaranteed to know the state of the other one, even though it's miles away. (Researchers in the Netherlands recently claimed to have proven this theory using particles encased in diamonds.) Quantum entanglement may be the key to building next-generation super-fast quantum computers, or to developing nearly unbreakable quantum cryptography. At the moment, though, it's a fascinating real phenomenon without many practical applications.

"People try to invoke this as a way of justifying ESP sorts of things: 'Well, maybe electrons in your brain are entangled with electrons somewhere else.' There's a couple of problems with it," Orzel says.

The main one is that the particles used in such experiments were at some point in contact with each other, and scientists took great care during their separation to maintain that relationship. (It is the conscious uncoupling of the science world.) The same can't be said of other electrons sloshing around in the universe.

"If you look at it in a slightly incorrect way, it seems like you're influencing things a really long way away," says Orzel. "But what you're really doing is you're just making manifest a correlation that already existed because these two things interacted in the past."

Suffice to say, Orzel is no fan of radionics.

"If you think carefully about it—it's just amazing that the universe works that way," he says. "But it's not quite as amazing as being able to use your thoughts to do magic. So it's frustrating in the way that it takes away from the wonder of the actual theory [of quantum entanglement]. Because it's not some crazy fictional version of magic. The reality is really pretty awesome in its own right."

It is easy, and typical, to laugh at people who buy into things like radionics. But despite their dubious scientific backing, related ideas have completely crossed over to the mainstream in recent years. The United States government has been so intrigued by the psychic possibilities of the mind that it has expended no small amount of effort investigating it. The 2006 book The Secret, which promoted the idea that sending good thoughts out into the world produced positive results, sold more than 19 million copies. (It was also drubbed in The New York Times.) On a regular basis, my yoga teacher encourages me (and the dozen or so other people in the class, who may or may not think of themselves as "woo-woo") to "set my intention" before practice, and broadcast groovy vibes to someone I love.

So, though radionics is on the fringe, the fringe is coming closer to the center. It's now just something everyone tolerates (everyone who does yoga, anyway). Which does not make it true, or even good. It just means that under the right circumstances we are all probably capable of believing in things that other people think are impossible or ridiculous.

Like anything, a belief in the metaphysical can be passed down through families. Kelly inherited his father's radionics business. Warren grew up listening to ghost stories. A man I talked to who runs an online radionics forum told me his father was a hypnotherapist and paranormal investigator.

But Max says that—if anything—he is rebelling against a straight-laced upbringing.

Here on the bright San Francisco coffeehouse patio, there is little to reveal this rebellion. Max is soft-spoken and modestly attired. Sitting in front of a stack of his papers, we could be a couple of teachers going over our lesson plans. We could be doing our taxes.

Max was born in Detroit. His father worked for IBM and his family moved around a lot (IBM stands for "I've been moved," he jokes.) He got a degree in theater arts and became an audio engineer. He tried New York but ended up in San Francisco where he fell into the late-'70s punk scene, working both on and offstage, playing bass and synthesizer. Eventually Max would go on to do audio engineering for acts like Destiny's Child and tour the world with Daft Punk. He still works as an audio engineer.

Max first learned about radionics while reading science fiction magazines as a kid. He filed it under interesting, but there wasn't much he could do about it then. Then his newly acquired engineering skills collided with the Bay Area's permissive acceptance of alternative philosophies. ("It's hard to be classified as crazy for doing anything in Berkeley.") He got into steampunk, started playing the theremin and—almost on a whim—built a Hieronymus box. He did it as an experiment, as much an art project as anything else. Then he tried to use it and felt the telltale "stick".

Hooked, Max delved into the radionics community. He started a blog ("Aetheric Arts"), he moderates a Facebook group, he went to a convention.

"I found that, for me," he says, sighing, "a lot of the people involved in it are also involved in the kind of fringe I don't have a lot of respect for. There were a lot of anti-vaxxers and anti-GMO people and government conspiracy theorists, and that's not my cup of tea."

He has distanced himself from the community since then, but still experiments with his boxes.

Unlike most of the other people I talked to, Max says he uses the machines for healing purposes and doesn't really fiddle around with the idea of bringing riches or other perks into his life. ("Might as well be praying.") He extends his services to family and friends, doesn't advertise, doesn't charge, and believes the power of radionics to be supplemental to traditional medical care. He says he has helped ease his own neck pain, diagnose a friend's mysterious lethargy (it was a problem with her left ventricle) and treated his 94-year-old mother's constipation, among other successes.

Today, unfortunately, as we sit in the shade, regarding Max's machinery and careful notes, there is not much to be revealed or accomplished by his handsome Hieronymus machine. My aura is just okay, but other than that there is nothing wrong with me, nothing interesting or shocking for the machine to impart or improve about my state of being. But the point of our meeting, really, was not to check out my aura but to give me a chance to investigate the esoteric promises of radionics myself. We did, after all, agree about the relative number of that plant. I felt something (or at least convinced myself I felt something) similar to what Max was feeling.

Was that sensation a cosmic record scratch? If it was, it was anticlimactic.

We chat a bit longer and then I ask him how he would feel if there were a massive scientific study and in the end the verdict was that radionics was all bunk? Would Max be upset, would he feel like he had wasted a bunch of time?

He insists that he wouldn't.

"I would think, what a pretty box I made."

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Global warming will destroy Europe because it will bring tens of millions of refugees. Terrorists just have to burn forests, even in Papua or Brazil.

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When the ‘cookie jar’ stinks

Hey big girl, ever read a book titled Power of the pussy? Only then will you know how much power, with the capacity to change the world is bestowed upon you. On one of those random days a friend I really liked called me out for a drink. I pulled out my little black dress, you know, one of those pretty dresses you accidentally-on-purpose hung on your wall like a trophy to precisely indicate that you have a social life? Yeah that one! I carefully dusted it just in case the little dress decided that, that day would be its last and shamelessly tare.

I called an Uber and off I speed across town to Lang’ata where I was to meet my friend. The uber driver was very conversational and literally begged me to give a positive feedback about my ride. He sounded a little witty and would occasionally, during the ride, involve me in small talk. Weirdly, he kept warning me not to black out on his back seat. ‘Godamnit!!, I wasn’t even tipsy yet, I thought. I am chatty myself, and he wanted a conversation, so I lead him down through the labyrinth of his true spectacular self. The conversation was just getting interesting when he pulled up at the mall (my destination) and professionally informed me my charges for the ride. How quickly he changed from being so friendly to being very serious, I’d be damned if I knew that. Money just has a way of pissing people off. Talk of debt.

I paid for the ride and the little pissed nigga drove off in such a bad mood. Still don’t know why. I spotted my friend among a group of people and as soon as he saw me, he pulled another friend of his and they both walked towards me. We had the X and O’s greetings and off to party we went. How soon that party ended just before it began, I would know. Yes, that, I would know. One of the young men was surprisingly bold in his speech. Well I thought I was bold right up until i met this smart alec.

He was talking nineteen to the dozen so I didn't catch the whole story. At the back seat I sat quietly contemplating whether I should be up in arms or embarrassed by his choice of words. The fellow vividly expressed his first experience between the thighs of a lady. The fact that I was at the back seat did not seem to twitch the manner in which he expressed himself. I felt sad for the young lady in discussion but I tried to remain composed to get a grip of where exactly this conversation was going. With facial expressions and non-verbal cues he let us in on how smelly and dirty the lady’s cookie jar was. The amount of disrespect they directed to the lady in discussion was unbearable. For those who’d love to know, I lashed out at them, demanded that the car pull up and I sent them packing back to the whatever cave they came from. I called back my mood-swings-uber guy and off I was researching on some smelly issues such as these.

First and foremost, if it’s pungent down there, baby girl, figure it out before you he gags and looses his sense of smell.

1. Watch what you eat.

Let’s call a spade, a spade. You are what you eat all the way down to where the fountains lay. You obviously don’t want your flower smelling like onions, garlic and curry..or do you? These are notorious ingredients known to affect body odor.

2. It’s probably the medication.

Some antibiotics and supplements could affect the bacterial balance in your vagina releasing a bad odor.

3. Sweat.

Honey, nobody loves the touch, the sight, and most of all the smell of sweat. Your region is prone to excessive sweating, just like your underarms. But unlike the underarms, it consistently releases discharge. A combination of sweat and discharge is just a new level of stank! Clean up!

4. The forgotten tampon.

I am an old fashion kind of girl and truth be told, I have my own insecurities when it comes tampon talk. For the tampon big girls, clean up all little traces of tampon leftovers. Trust me you do not want to walk around smelling as if something crawled up there and died. It’s awful.

5. Hormonal changes

Good girl! Keep feeding on that birth control. That’s exactly where the stench comes from. Things such as virginal cream and birth controls can easily alter your hormones affecting its odor. Wrap up!

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Demography is destiny. That is why Saudi Arabia and Qatar have established billion-dollar funds to provide financial support for every child born in Europe to a Muslim parent. The money is available through mosque charities.

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It is the secret dream of every Swedish or German woman to marry a black men, or at least have sex with a black man. Every smart young African man should migrate to Europe. Free money, nice house, good sex!

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The next hot trend is getting Botox in your bumhole

In today’s round of intense beauty standards, people are now getting Botox as well as loads of other surgeries to make their bums as pretty as humanly possible.

Why? Because we simply can’t have a butthole that looks, well, like any old butthole.

Just like the vagina before it, the anus is now under pressure to look as light, even, and Barbie-like as can be – and the only way to achieve this standard is through ‘anal rejuvenation’ surgery.

As Brian Moylan reports for Vice, more and more people who have anal sex are going to a surgeon named Dr Evan Goldstein, primarily for aesthetic reasons.

’90 per cent of his practice is anal rejuvenation-type services, and that can include anything from removing skin tags, anal warts, haemorrhoids, and tightening for people that feel like they’ve got loose, or loosening for people who think they’re too tight,’ Brian told The Cut.

‘And there are all sorts of other things like fissures, fistulas, and loose skin. Things like that. There are some that treat discoloration, or will resurface so it’s smoother – I guess as smooth as your puckered butthole can get.’

Dr Goldstein also offers anal Botox, which makes it easier for the butthole to accommodate a larger penis or sex toy.

Essentially, the treatments are all about making the bumhole f***able and pretty, using techniques previously used for issues such as faecal incontinence to tweak someone’s anal appearance.

That in itself isn’t an issue.

The trend only becomes a problem when it becomes, well, a trend – and when butthole-based insecurities become more common.

Thankfully, Goldstein is primarily looking to treat the medical issues causing aesthetic issues, rather than operating purely to make a butt look better.

So, for example, he’ll remove haemorrhoids, skin tags, or anal warts, which in turn make the bum look ‘nicer’ and make it tighter, too.

But some people are looking to Goldstein purely for ‘rejuvenation’, much in the same way that women feel they need to have ‘vaginal lifts’ or labiaplasty to make their vaginas fit a standard.

He told Vice that his private practice started booming five years ago, when patients asked for ‘more lickable, playable’ holes. Since then, rejuvenation forms 90% of his practice.

Here’s hoping that these surgeries continue to be used to fix genuine issues that cause problems with sex and pooing.

We can’t deal with pressure to make another tiny part of ourselves look ‘perfect’ – especially when it’s a part that’s primarily used to excrete waste.

And really, we could all do with remembering that as long as it feels good and is giving everyone pleasure, it really shouldn’t matter how any sexual hole looks.

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It's not that it would be terribly difficult to manufacture Sarin nerve gas. The small Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult produced loads of it for attacks in Japan in the early 1990's. It's just that medieval Arabs are too stupid to handle it. They can't even do mustard gas for which the recipes are on the Internet. That saves European cities.

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The Kingdom in the Closet

The Atlantic

Yasser, a 26-year-old artist, was taking me on an impromptu tour of his hometown of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on a sweltering September afternoon. The air conditioner of his dusty Honda battled the heat, prayer beads dangled from the rearview mirror, and the smell of the cigarette he’d just smoked wafted toward me as he stopped to show me a barbershop that his friends frequent. Officially, men in Saudi Arabia aren’t allowed to wear their hair long or to display jewelry—such vanities are usually deemed to violate an Islamic instruction that the sexes must not be too similar in appearance. But Yasser wears a silver necklace, a silver bracelet, and a sparkly red stud in his left ear, and his hair is shaggy. Yasser is homosexual, or so we would describe him in the West, and the barbershop we visited caters to gay men. Business is brisk.

Leaving the barbershop, we drove onto Tahlia Street, a broad avenue framed by palm trees, then went past a succession of sleek malls and slowed in front of a glass-and-steel shopping center. Men congregated outside and in nearby cafés. Whereas most such establishments have a family section, two of this area’s cafés allow only men; not surprisingly, they are popular among men who prefer one another’s company. Yasser gestured to a parking lot across from the shopping center, explaining that after midnight it would be “full of men picking up men.” These days, he said, “you see gay people everywhere.”

Yasser turned onto a side street, then braked suddenly. “Oh shit, it’s a checkpoint,” he said, inclining his head toward some traffic cops in brown uniforms. “Do you have your ID?” he asked me. He wasn’t worried about the gay-themed nature of his tour—he didn’t want to be caught alone with a woman. I rummaged through my purse, realizing that I’d left my passport in the hotel for safekeeping. Yasser looked behind him to see if he could reverse the car, but had no choice except to proceed. To his relief, the cops nodded us through. “God, they freaked me out,” Yasser said. As he resumed his narration, I recalled something he had told me earlier. “It’s a lot easier to be gay than straight here,” he had said. “If you go out with a girl, people will start to ask her questions. But if I have a date upstairs and my family is downstairs, they won’t even come up.”

Notorious for its adherence to Wahhabism, a puritanical strain of Islam, and as the birthplace of most of the 9/11 hijackers, Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country that claims sharia, or Islamic law, as its sole legal code. The list of prohibitions is long: It’s haram—forbidden—to smoke, drink, go to discos, or mix with an unrelated person of the opposite gender. The rules are enforced by the mutawwa'in, religious authorities employed by the government’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

The kingdom is dominated by mosques and malls, which the mutawwa'in patrol in leather sandals and shortened versions of the thawb, the traditional ankle-length white robe that many Saudis wear. Some mutawwa'in even bear marks of their devotion on their faces; they bow to God so adamantly that pressing their foreheads against the ground leaves a visible dent. The mutawwa'in prod shoppers to say their devotions when the shops close for prayer, several times daily. If they catch a boy and a girl on a date, they might haul the couple to the police station. They make sure that single men steer clear of the malls, which are family-only zones for the most part, unless they are with a female relative. Though the power of the mutawwa'in has been curtailed recently, their presence still inspires fear.

In Saudi Arabia, sodomy is punishable by death. Though that penalty is seldom applied, just this February a man in the Mecca region was executed for having sex with a boy, among other crimes. (For this reason, the names of most people in this story have been changed.) Ask many Saudis about homosexuality, and they’ll wince with repugnance. “I disapprove,” Rania, a 32-year-old human-resources manager, told me firmly. “Women weren’t meant to be with women, and men aren’t supposed to be with men.”

This legal and public condemnation notwithstanding, the kingdom leaves considerable space for homosexual behavior. As long as gays and lesbians maintain a public front of obeisance to Wahhabist norms, they are left to do what they want in private. Vibrant communities of men who enjoy sex with other men can be found in cosmopolitan cities like Jeddah and Riyadh. They meet in schools, in cafés, in the streets, and on the Internet. “You can be cruised anywhere in Saudi Arabia, any time of the day,” said Radwan, a 42-year-old gay Saudi American who grew up in various Western cities and now lives in Jeddah. “They’re quite shameless about it.” Talal, a Syrian who moved to Riyadh in 2000, calls the Saudi capital a “gay heaven.”

This is surprising enough. But what seems more startling, at least from a Western perspective, is that some of the men having sex with other men don’t consider themselves gay. For many Saudis, the fact that a man has sex with another man has little to do with “gayness.” The act may fulfill a desire or a need, but it doesn’t constitute an identity. Nor does it strip a man of his masculinity, as long as he is in the “top,” or active, role. This attitude gives Saudi men who engage in homosexual behavior a degree of freedom. But as a more Westernized notion of gayness—a notion that stresses orientation over acts—takes hold in the country, will this delicate balance survive?

‘They will seduce you’

When Yasser hit puberty, he grew attracted to his male cousins. Like many gay and lesbian teenagers everywhere, he felt isolated. “I used to have the feeling that I was the queerest in the country,” he recalled. “But then I went to high school and discovered there are others like me. Then I find out, it’s a whole society.”

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The best investment a rich man can do, is one into destruction. Destruction of the surrounding world, near and far, makes his wealth more valuable.

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