The coming fight over "nonlethal neuroweapons"


The Chemical Weapons Convention has a giant loophole in that it allows for the stockpiling and use of chemical agents in law-enforcement; with the Eighth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) coming up next month, there's an urgent question about whether "neuroweapons" (chemical agents intended to pacify or disperse people) will become tools of law-enforcement and "defensive warfare." Read the rest

Coca-Cola is paying dietitians to tweet scare-stories about soda taxes


When registered dietitians like Roseanne Rust, Sylvia Klinger, Carol Berg Sloane tweet about proposed taxes on sugary drinks and claim that these will be used to impose "stealth tax" on other food, promoting the anti-soda-tax group Cart Choice (funded by Coke) they're reflecting the deeply held views of the Coca-Cola company and its industry body, the American Beverage Association -- and amazingly enough, they all take money from Coke or the ABA. Read the rest

Penn Jillette lost over 100 lbs and still eats whatever he wants


Magician Penn Jillette used to weight about 340 lbs. He was happy with his weight and the way he looked. He said he didn't even mind not having a lot of energy. But his blood pressure was dangerously high, and his doctor said he might die before his children grew up. So he changed his eating habits. It's been 17 months since he lost 100 lbs, and in this video he explains how he did it.

Here's Penn in 2013, talking about Donald Trump: Read the rest

Sci-Chi: Tai Chi for science fiction fans


Author Sean Williams writes, "Last weekend I was MC of a small con in Canberra, Conflux 12. To keep people limber, psychically as well as physically, I devised a form Sci-fi form of Tai Chi, which GOH Alan Baxter helped me demonstrate over the course of the weekend." Read the rest

Poland abandons total abortion ban: "a lesson in humility" -UPDATED


Mass protests in Poland and across the world have led Poland's far-right government to drop its Vatican-pleasing total ban on abortion, which was so sloppily overbroad that it potentially criminalized miscarriage and surgeries to save foetuses' lives. Read the rest

Johnson & Johnson says people with diabetes don't need to worry about potentially lethal wireless attacks on insulin pumps


Rapid7 security researcher Jay Radcliffe (previously) has Type I diabetes, and has taken a personal interest in rooting out vulnerabilities in the networked, wireless-equipped blood-sugar monitors and insulin-pumps marketed to people with diabetes, repeatedly discovering potentially lethal defects in these devices. Read the rest

Ghosts: Raina Telgemeier's upbeat tale of death, assimilation and cystic fibrosis

YA graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier is a force of nature; her Babysitters Club graphic novels are witty and smart and snappy; her standalone graphic novels are even better, but her latest, Ghosts, is her best to date: an improbably upbeat story about death, assimilation and cystic fibrosis.

Polish women go on strike over insane abortion law


Poland's ultra-right government has passed an insane, incoherent ban on abortion that is so badly drafted that it potentially criminalizes miscarriage and surgeries to save the lives of fetuses. Read the rest

Meet 2 real-life guys behind Donald Trump's "400 pound hacker" stereotype


At the first presidential debate this week, GOP nominee Donald Trump fat-shamed a fictional IT character he made up. Speaking about a series of hacks on Democratic National Committee organizations, Trump said, “I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? You don’t know who broke in to DNC.”

Trump's mean trope of a hacker “sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” is nothing new to “XXL and greater” sized information security professionals.

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Understanding vulvas: what do they really look like?


The Guardian's released the first of "The Vagina Dispatches," four short documentaries about women's genitals. This episode is about vulvas, labiaplasty, anatomy, and sex, and is a fascinating 15 minutes. NSFW, if you work somewhere where images of vulvas are frowned upon. (Thanks, Mae!) Read the rest

SF writer Peter Watts needs help diagnosing mysterious, debilitating illness


Blue writes, "Peter Watts has be stricken with debilitating pain, loss of range of motion and motor control. Watts' doctors remain baffled despite a battery of tests, and Watts has reached out to his fans to ask for their theories and ideas as to what might be causing his illness." Read the rest

Novum Pharma's $240, semi-useless acne cream now costs $10,000/tube


The cost of Aloquin -- an acne cream based on iodoquinol and aloe, whose component ingredients cost virtually nothing -- was raised by 128% this week by manufacturer Novum Pharma, who now charge $9,561 for a 60g tube. Read the rest

DIY Epipen: the $30 Epipencil


Mylan, the company with a monopoly on FDA-improved epinephrine auto-injectors ("epipens") has quintupled the price of their life-saving technology since 2004, to $600/unit (and they have the be thrown out and replaced every year); for this, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch (daughter of US senator Joe Manchin, who secured her initial job interview through political connections while he was Governor of West Virginia, moving her laterally from her gig as an aerobics instructor) received a 671% raise , bringing her compensation up to $18,931,068. Read the rest

Clinton medical info released after pneumonia, doc says 'fit to serve.' On Oz, Trump weighs in at 267 lbs.

Hillary Clinton at the DNC in Philadelphia, 2016. REUTERS
Today was health record day in the 2016 US presidential campaign news cycle. After an embarrassing round of press involving Hillary Clinton's pneumonia diagnosis, the Democratic nominee's team released some medical reports. Dr. Lisa Bardack says "she is in excellent mental condition," and is “healthy and fit to serve as president.”

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Cancer now beats heart disease as top cause of death in 22 U.S. states


A new report out today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cancer is now the leading cause of death in California and 21 other states, surpassing heart disease.

Back in the early 2000s, only Alaska and Minnesota lost more lives to cancer than heart disease. And back in the 1950s, heart disease deaths were overall 2.5 times the number of cancer deaths.

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Mylan CEO raises price of EpiPens over 400% in 9 years, is rewarded with 671% raise


The head of the pharmaceutical company that makes EpiPens raised the price of the life-saving device by over 400%. She was rewarded with a 671% raise. Read the rest

5 years after Texas GOP's attack on women's reproductive health, TX leads developed world in maternal mortality


Remember when Texas governor Rick Perry and the GOP state government led an unprecedented assault on women's reproductive health in the name of preventing abortions, using dirty tricks to pass an unconstitutional law that led to a boom in unsafe home abortions and a black market for day-after pills, while ending Planned Parenthood's vital cancer-screening program, before defunding Planned Parenthood altogether? Read the rest

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