First-ever LSD microdosing study on its way

Popularized by Ayelet Waldman's book A Really Good Day, microdosing LSD (ingesting LSD in such minuscule amounts that its psychedelic effects aren't felt) is said to improve cognitive function and relieve pain and depression. At least that is what microdosers claim. Of course this isn't backed by science, since acid was made illegal in 1968 and researching the controlled substance is almost impossible.

But researcher Amanda Fielding, who once drilled a hole in her head in the name of consciousness exploration and who now runs the Beckley Foundation for psychedelic research, is planning a study to see if these microdosing claims are legitimate.

According to Motherboard:

As the first scientific trial to investigate the effects of microdosing, Fielding's study will consist of 20 participants who will be given low doses—10, 20 and 50 micrograms of LSD—or a placebo on four different occasions. After taking the acid, the brains of these subjects will be imaged using MRI and MEG while they engage in a variety of cognitive tasks, such as the neuropsychology staples the Wisconsin Card Sorting test and the Tower of London test. Importantly, the participants will also be playing Go against an AI, which will assess the players' performance during the match.

By imaging the brain while it's under the influence of small amounts of LSD, Fielding hopes to learn how the substance changes connectivity in the brain to enhance creativity and problem solving. If the study goes forward, this will only be the second time that subjects on LSD have had their brain imaged while tripping.

Read the rest

Watch thin-skinned GOP Rep. Rod Blum storm out of easy interview

Jeez, what just happened here?

Reporter Josh Scheinblum with a local Iowa TV station had just started an interview with Congressman Rod Blum, when, after only 1-1/2 minutes, Blum stormed out of the room.

The questions were simple, such as "Today you're having your first town hall meeting since January – what are you expecting?" and "Shouldn't all Iowans have a voice at the table?" But for some reason Blum was getting tenser and tenser. And then the question that made him snap: "Would you still take donations from a Republican?"

"I'm done...this is ridiculous," the fragile Congressman said.

The schoolchildren surrounding Blum were brought there per his request. Great role model, Blum!

Click here for more details. Read the rest

Weird video on how to remove ingrown pubic hair

There's something really odd, if not a bit eerie, about this tutorial. It's as if robots observed human beings for a few weeks, then decided to make this video on how to pluck a pubic ingrown hair. Read the rest

Watch what happens when man brings accordion on Ryanair flight

Rather than knock out some teeth and drag off a passenger United Airlines style, watch this new twist on air passenger treatment when these Irish flight attendants on Ryanair find out a man, who doesn't understand English, has brought an accordion onto the plane. Luckily the passenger sitting next to him is able to translate. What comes next is astonishing. Read the rest

Congress like rogue cells that need to be cured

Here's a thoughtful, passionate piece in CNN by Xeni that anyone who breathes (and thus needs health care) should read. It's about the time before Obamacare, when her new insurance company had opened a fraud investigation because they suspected she might have sneakily been living with cancer before she signed up with them. In other words, she might have had a pre-existing condition. (Off with her head!) Thankfully (or luckily, because the timing of her new insurance, right before her diagnosis, was pure luck), she had signed up for insurance first and was cleared of any wrong-doing.

Her piece is also about the American Health Care Act, that some Republicans didn't even read before it passed in the House yesterday by only five votes.

When news broke that the American Health Care Act had passed the House by less than five votes, it aired with footage of that bizarre Rose Garden party at which lawmakers and President Donald Trump, pretty much all older white men, gathered with cases of Bud Light to party. Some reports have them pre-gaming before the vote, getting pumped up by listening to "Takin' Care of Business" and the theme from "Rocky."

Seriously, who does those things before or after stealing health care from 24 million people?

My favorite part of Xeni's article is when she compares our ignorant Congress to rogue cells – the rogue cells of America's body that we need to seriously treat.

During my treatment, I learned that people like to speak of cancer as a battle.
Read the rest

Trump not welcome on Ellen DeGeneres show

Today Show host Matt Lauer interviewed Ellen DeGeneres, and after asking her what it was like to publicly come out as gay 20 years ago, he moved on to Trump.

Lauer: What's your relationship with Donald Trump? Do you know him at all? Have you had a chance to interview him?

DeGeneres: I mean, I know him from Celebrity Apprentice because when we first started the show... we filmed something with him. I flew in his helicopter and did a bit with him. So I knew him then. I have not spoken to him since he he's run for president or become president.

Lauer: Would you like him to come on the show?

Degeneres: Um...No.

[Explosive laughter, hoots and applause from audience.]

Lauer: Why not?

DeGeneres: Because I'm not gonna change his mind. He's against everything I stand for.

Here's the full segment: Read the rest

Watch: Pikachu starts deflating during dance show, wrestled off stage

All this cute Pikachu wants to do is dance centerstage with his fellow Pikachus at the The Pokemon World Festival 2017 in South Korea, but because of his pre-existing condition – deflating mid-performance – security swarms up and manhandles him off stage as if he is a ticking bomb. At around 4:30 the Pikachu looks hopeful as he tries to rejoin the other dancers, and almost makes it, but his luck runs out as a stagehand decides he's still not fit for the job.

Thanks The Verge! Read the rest

Watch: Explosive fist fight on plane between passengers going from Narita to LAX

It's not just security and airline staff you've gotta watch out for on planes these days. Here's an aggressive fight between two passengers on an ANA Japanese flight from Narita to LAX. The flight hadn't yet taken off when the men started pummeling each other.

"Someone help, this guy is crazy!" one of the men screams. You can also hear one of them shouting, "Get this guy off this plane!"

Passengers are begging them to stop while a baby cries and a flight attendant tries to break it up. It quiets down for half a minute, then starts back up.

According to the Daily Mail, one of the men – a 44-year-old American – was drunk. When the airline asked him to get off the plane, he became even surlier.

According to Japan Today:

Deeming him a potential safety threat, the airline decided to ask him to disembark before takeoff. However, the man resisted, hit a woman passenger and after leaving the plane, proceeded to choke a male airline employee, which led to his arrest.

Have plane rides always been this crazy, or is it something in the air? Read the rest

Black art student with glue gun mistakenly thought to be dangerous, caused 4-hour lockdown at university

"Sir, put down the glue gun!"

As ridiculous as that may sound, Colgate University in upstate New York was placed on lockdown last night after someone spotted a a man carrying a gun. A glue gun, that is. The man was a black student working on an art project.

"There is a dangerous situation in the Coop. Everyone is advised to leave the building," the university tweeted. And, “There is an armed person at the Coop. Find a safe space and remain indoors. If you are off-campus, stay away." The Coop is a dining hall on campus.

Then rumors spread. Suddenly there were two gunmen, and one had committed suicide. This was false.

According to Huffington Post:

During the lockdown, students in campus dorms were advised to keep their lights off to avoid attracting attention, a student told The Huffpost. The college finally lifted the shelter-in-place order shortly before midnight.

“After thorough investigation, and with the assistance of the person in question, law enforcement identified the individual as a student who was using a glue gun for an art project, confirmed the misunderstanding, and released the campus from lockdown,” said a Colgate statement.

Some students expressed concerns on social media about the reaction to the student with the hot glue gun, and worried about what could have happened to him because of his race, particularly as rumors mounted.

Image: Luke Surl Read the rest

Minister gives wooden bats to 700 brides in India to clobber drunk husbands

A state minister in India gave foot-long wooden bats that say "For beating drunkards" as gifts to nearly 700 brides during a mass wedding on Saturday. The bats, which are normally used to help clean dirty laundry, now have a dual purpose.

When Gopal Bhargava handed out the gifts, he told the brides that they should first try to talk to their drunk husbands, but if reasoning doesn't work, “let the wooden paddles do the talking.” According to The Guardian:

Bhargava said he wanted to draw attention to the plight of rural women who face domestic abuse from their alcoholic husbands.

“Women say whenever their husbands get drunk they become violent. Their savings are taken away and splurged on liquor,” he said.

And this is just the beginning. The minister has ordered 10,000 bats to give to future brides.

Image: Prakhar Amba Read the rest

The 10 worst jobs in America right now

Not all careers are created equal. Take journalism, for example. High stress, low growth, very low pay. Why would anyone choose this field? (You're asking the wrong person.) According to CareerCast, who ranked the 200 most common jobs in America, journalism is a pretty crummy field to be in this year (as in, last place on the list).

CareerCast used metrics such as "growth outlook, income, environmental conditions and stress" as their basis in creating this list. Here is the methodology they used.

And now (...drumroll...), here are the 10 worst jobs of 2017:

1. Newspaper reporter (Median Salary: $37,820)

2. Broadcaster (Median Salary: $38,870)

3. Logger (Median Salary: $37,590)

4. Enlisted military personnel (Median Salary: $27,936)

5. Pest control worker (Median Salary: $33,040)

6. Disc jockey (Median Salary: $30,830)

7. Advertising salesperson (Median Salary: $50,380)

8. Firefighter (Median Salary: $48,030)

9. Retail salesperson (Median Salary: $22,900)

10. Taxi driver (Median Salary: $24,300)

And in case you're wondering, the very best job these days is that of statistician (Median Salary: $80,110). To see CareerCast's full list of 200 ranked jobs, click here.

Image: Israel Government Press Office Read the rest

Johnny Depp surprises Pirates of the Caribbean riders as live animatronic at Disneyland

Haha! Lucky riders on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland were treated to a live Jack Sparrow animatronics performance yesterday by Johnny Depp. He made a surprise visit to the park as part of a PR stunt. It's fun to hear the passengers as they realize that the real Johnny Depp is standing right in front of them. Read the rest

Watch cool 84-year-old granny who is said to be world's oldest female sharpshooter

When Chandro Tomar was 65, she took her granddaughter, who was interested in learning how to shoot, to a rifle club. Tomar, from a small village in northern India, decided to try it herself, and fired some shots with a pistol. A coach noticed her natural skill, and since then Tomar has won more than 25 national championships.

When she first began practicing, her family made fun of her, since women in their village are expected to stay home all day to do household chores. But once Tomar started winning medals they became impressed. She then began knocking door to door, recruiting girls in the village to learn the sport. The girls would ask their parents, "If this old granny can do it, why can't we?" And so she now teaches the girls how to shoot. "It will be useful to them," she says.

Tomar, who has 8 children and 15 grandchildren, never plans to retire from her sport. "I'll keep shooting until my last breath."

This video is part of Great Big Story's "Human Condition" series of short "microdocs". Read the rest

The Simpsons on Trump's first 100 days in office

Here is The Simpsons' take on Trump's 100th day in the White House, which includes Sean Spicer hanging himself with a sign that says, "I Quit!" and a strangling match between Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon. We also get to see Trump in his jammies, lying in bed with a remote in his hand. An aide comes to his side and asks him to read a bill that will lower taxes for Republicans. "Can't Fox News read it and I'll watch what they say?" the president asks.

With the 100th day hitting us this Saturday, thank god for comic relief! Read the rest

Ann Coulter cancels Berkeley speech after conservative sponsors back out

Ann Coulter was supposed to speak at UC Berkeley tomorrow night, but is canceling after the conservative groups who were sponsoring her, Young American's Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans, backed out. Both groups say the atmosphere surrounding her visit has grown too hostile.

"It's a sad day for free speech," Coulter told The New York Times. But administrators at Berkeley see it differently.

“Sadly and unfortunately, concern for student safety seems to be in short supply in certain quarters,” he said. “This is a university, not a battlefield.” He added, “We must make every effort to hold events at a time and location that maximizes the chances that First Amendment rights can be successfully exercised and that community members can be protected.”

Administrators at Berkeley offered to hold the event next week, when students are no longer in class, but Coulter turned the offer down.

This comes two months after the university canceled conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos's event, after violence erupted on campus in protest to his appearance.

Photo by Gage Skidmore Read the rest

Watch: Dog barks with suspicion after owner loses 50 pounds, until he finally recognizes him

After spending five weeks in the hospital and losing 50 pounds, Shane Godfrey is home only to find that he's become unrecognizable to his dog, Willie. The dog barks and barks – personally I would have been scared – but Godfrey sits calmly until the dog comes over and sniffs. Finally recognizing him, the dog becomes overjoyed. Watch his adorable reaction.

Thanks News and Observer! Read the rest

RIP: Silence of the Lambs Director Jonathan Demme dies at 73

Director Jonathan Demme, best known for his horror-thriller movie Silence of the Lambs, has died in New York at age 73. He had been battling cancer.

My first introduction to Demme's work was his quirky 1986 film Something Wild, about a free spirited young woman (played by Melanie Griffith) who kidnaps an uptight yuppie (played by Jeff Daniels), who then are both held hostage by her creepy thug ex-boyfriend (played by Ray Liotta). I fell in madly love with this film, which turned me into an instant Demme fan.

Some of his other brilliant films include Married to the Mob, Philadelphia, The Manchurian Candidate, and his Talking Heads documentary Stop Making Sense. And the list goes on. He was survived by his second wife, Joanne Howard, and their three children, Ramona, Brooklyn and Jos. Our hearts at Boing Boing go out to his family.

For more on Demme, here's a write-up by Variety. Read the rest

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